The Leamside line

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by spoony, 5 Oct 2008.

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  1. spoony

    spoony Member

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    Currently mothballed and running between Pelaw and south Durham. Does anyone think there may be any merits to re opening it? Cant admit to knowing much about it myself but would like to think it could be put to some use. Seems a shame as I travel past it most days and its all overgrown:|
     
  2. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    There is plenty of talk about it, it's even mentioned in the latest Network Rail report that it could be used for freight and passenger diversions. My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is that it will be reopened.

    To tell you the truth, around 3 weeks ago, Network Rail were working on the signalling near Tursdale, maybe looking into the current state.
     
  3. spoony

    spoony Member

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    Really thats good news:D Although they will need to replace the track that was stolen a few years back:roll::lol:
     
  4. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    Well yeah, but that is something that has been done many times. The report is quite good, I originally saw it linked from here but I then got it from the Network Rail website.

    If you are interested in the ECML in general and the surrounding branches then there is loads of interesting info.
     
  5. spoony

    spoony Member

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    I shall have a look thanks:)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I got a bit excited reading that report. I read about the "new" Sunderland-Darlington proposal (A service I would use regularly) but realised it was only a proposal and was never going to happen:cry:
     
  6. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    At least you found the bloody thing! Post the link or send me a PM, I cannot find what I was looking at anywhere.
     
  7. djw1981

    djw1981 Established Member

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    Diverting some of the York-Newcastle services that way (especially non stop ones0 would allow more stopping (local) services to use the existing ECML - a 4tph Durham-Newcastle train may help relieve some of the road pressure on A690/A1. This coudl include the current NXEC / XC services as part of that pattern, since to remove the stop would be to do what EMT have done to Bedford, and would mean passengers had to change at Newcastle.

    The problem is that to do that Leamside would need to be 125mph and electrified (unless only HST's / Voyagers) were sent that way.
     
  8. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    So that leaves a good argument for freight then, I see many freights put in the loop north of Durham for a while but then they sometimes seem to be let out a bit early, in front of FTPE services for example. Diverting them via the leamside would sort that out.
     
  9. spoony

    spoony Member

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  10. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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  11. william

    william Established Member

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    There is a proposal to create a large freight terminal at Tursdale, with rail access and hence the need for the new A1 (M) A181/A19 link road (soon to be opened).
    There was talk a year or so ago of network rail ripping up the entire leamside route, much to the opposition of local residents/transport groups, although in defence, Network Rail said that this would not affect plans to reopen the line and the entire track would need to be replaced anyway (the locals weren't convinced!).

    As for a case for reopening....I believe yes, a strong one. With the ECML approaching capacity, the leamside line would undoubtedly provide a strategically important relief line (for freight at least), as well as scope for decreasing journey times between Tyneside and Teesside, via leamside and the Stillington route, at the same time providing much needed, improved access to the North Easts two major conurbations from towns/ villages along the route.

    Unfortunately our local authorities seem to favour the road.
     
    Last edited: 5 Oct 2008
  12. djw1981

    djw1981 Established Member

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    Is there much freight on ECML, or does a lot (during the day) go round the coast? In which case, diverting the freight will free more paths for GC and Northern around the coast without the need for re-signalling. I know the coast is closed at noight so freight is obviously down ECML then.
     
  13. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    AFAIK most freight still goes via the ECML due to the Tyne Yard. Otherwise it would have to go north for a while and clog up the King Edward approach to Newcastle, it's bad enough at 30mph. Then there s the Metro which shares its lines from Pelaw to Sunderland.
     
  14. william

    william Established Member

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    no mostly ECML i believe. The durham coast line will suffer from capacity problems at a guess from sharing access with metro services ..
    the ecml is very busy with freight. i think most teesside bound freight travels via ecml and the stillington line. theres very little on the durham coast now since the pits closed, and im not even sure the hartlepool-sellafield nuclear train runs anymore? this used to travel at night.
     
  15. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    Yeah, pretty sure that now goes by road in an unmarked container for anonymity although it's not that anonymous because people know about it!
     
  16. djw1981

    djw1981 Established Member

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    I thought most Teeside freight was going south though, and Leamside won't help with that. It may however remove the need for a Metro extension to Washington, if the line was opened for local passenger services as well - perhaps a Newcastle-Darlington round trip? There are good station site in Washington (2) Carville for Durham (& P+R). Would need perhaps slow lines (as opposed to loops) Darlington-Tursdale.

    Would transferring frieght from Tyne Yard to the old Freightliner terminal in Washington be possible? I assume that http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&h...8188,-1.507015&spn=0.017947,0.038624&t=h&z=15 was the site of the freight terminal (the line running N-S up the middle and under the roundabout)? There is also an interesting branch running along south Washinton From Leamside line to ECML (at Chester-le-Street)
     
  17. william

    william Established Member

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    The Leamside line would help relieve the already congested ECML by offering an alternative route in general. Slow trains previously routed via the ECML, could be routed via Leamside, Stillington and Teeside, for example. The Stillington line sees regular freight traffic, which itself suggests one of two things;
    1. There is freight moving to/from Teesside to/from the north
    2. Teesside lines are being used as relief lines for the congested ECML lines.

    Bearing in mind the fact that traffic at Teesside ports is bucking a regional trend and growing, the future demand for extra train paths to ALL parts of the network will be an important consideration imo.

    I personally dont think so. Running local passenger trains down the leamside line into Darlington will put EXTRA strain on the ECML, especially so considering the 70mph max speed of traction likely to be used. Also it would mean taking up valuable paths at Darlington itself, which has only two main through platforms and no northern bays (long been removed and turned into a car park). There used to be a regular Newcastle-Darlington-Teesside service operated by sprinters/pacers, routed via the ECML and the Tees Valley, but these took up valuable paths and as a result weren't very frequent.
    There is also the question of 'need' and demand. Is there enough from what is essentially an ECML feeder route to warrant the cost of reopening? I would doubt it.

    Rather than look for reasons to open a line like the Leamside line (which will require a large amount of investment no matter which way you look at it) the question of reopening should be borne out of need, not the other way round. Ultimately, to get the funding it requires, it will also need to fulfill or facilitate long term European and national development goals.

    It is in my opinion that the currently congested ECML could be a major obstacle in the future economic growth of the region. I personally think the reopening of the Leamside line is possible one solution. Then again looking at recent economic events, who knows.......

    Currently, a direct link between the two major conurbations (Newcastle and Teesside) is very poor. An hourly service via the Durham coastline takes well over 90 minutes?. Regular bus services take twice as long. I think the Leamside line could provide a link between the two cities in under one hour, which can compete with the A19/ A1 in rush hour.
     
  18. Craig

    Craig Established Member

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    IIRC weren't Nissan interested in developing this site (or somewhere nearby) to allow cars to be loaded from the factory for transportation?
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2008
  19. william

    william Established Member

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    I remember reading that somewhere. I think they currently transport them by road to Tyne Dock for loading?
     
  20. Craig

    Craig Established Member

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    Yeah, I believe so.

    If the Leamside was reopened as a secondary route for freight then it might also be worth reopening this curve from the Tyne Valley line round to Tyne Yard. It would allow freight from the Leamside/Sunderland/Jarrow lines to access Tyne Yard without needing to cross the ECML main lines south of Newcastle.
     
  21. william

    william Established Member

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    It would indeed. didn't there used to be a Royal Mail depot on this curve? Why was the curve lifted?
     
  22. Craig

    Craig Established Member

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    The Royal Mail platform is still there, south west of the disused curve. I'm not sure how long it has been lifted, but it's been a while.
     
  23. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    Interesting thread!

    Here's three other factors to consider -
    1.There are other movements on the dual-track stretch of the ECML between Newcastle and the south end of the Leamside branch: at the (former freight depot) yard at Birtley, several XC trains (and occasionally others) are stabled and so also compete for paths between there and Newcastle station.
    2. If the Leamside line was electrified (at 25kV) then that would preclude its availablilty for further extension to the Metro services (using lower V).
    3. As Sir Clagalot recently pointed out, the current Sunderland terminus of the Metro is only 5km away from the Leamisde line (South Hylton) where the old trackbed to extend it is still intact, (tho' to run services in a loop from Sunderland-Washington-Gateshead would require a new curve where it approaches the Leamside line's viaduct over the Wear). There is a lot of commuter and leisure travel between Sunderland & Washington - (but sadly the Leamside line is not near Washington Centre).

    The stretch of ECML which the Leamside bypasses is 45kms long, already carries fast NXEC and XC, local stopping services, and a lot of freight - is only dual track apart from a single loop at Durham (triple tracked and not normally used for up traffic) and another at Birtley yard (not electrified and also only on the down side), includes 2 stations (Chester le Street and the busy Durham), the Birtley yards not to mention Gateshead's branches west onto the Tyne Valley and east to Sunderland/Tyne Dock
    But despite this heavy demand from existing services, I believe even more traffic COULD be generated by some of the suggestions here - including a local passenger traffic, both from further extension of Metro to complete the Sunderland-Washington-Gateshead loop AND for new Newcastle-Gateshead-Washington-Stockton-Middlesbrough services. And freight!
     
  24. william

    william Established Member

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    Theres both an up and down loop at Durham (just to put you right):oops:

    theres the down loop in the station (platform 2) and then there is (or at least there was) an up loop to the north of Durham station. (you can see this from the north end of platform 1).

    In fact the ECML north of Durham is four tracked for about a mile, with additional sidings
     
    Last edited: 6 Oct 2008
  25. Sir_Clagalot

    Sir_Clagalot Member

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    I think the flasks are still railed, not sure of the day but I have seen class 20s and a flask on the line...
     
  26. Craig

    Craig Established Member

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    Yeah, they tend to run in cycles so they have a few weeks of running then a few weeks break. They often change the day they run between cycles too.
     
  27. william

    william Established Member

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    I thought Hartlepool power station was out of action and has been for a couple of years now?
     
  28. Sir_Clagalot

    Sir_Clagalot Member

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    Doesnt mean there isnt any radioactive material that needs shifting...
     
  29. william

    william Established Member

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    Theres always radioactive material needs shifting.........
     
  30. AutoKratz

    AutoKratz Member

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    Hi guys. I would really like to see this rail line opened. I live meters from the Leamside Line track in Washington and being forced to crawl into Newcastle by bus everyday is a complete nightmare. The alternative of just hopping on a train is much more attractive. I think it is disgraceful that not more attention has been given to this line by Network Rail. If the line were in the south east it would be another story. It does not make any sense that a direct rail line connecting two cities in the fourth largest urban area in the UK lies completely unused. I would urge anyone to sign this petition and get behind the campaign to re-open this line.

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/leamsidereopen/#detail
     
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