Tram Train proposals for East Midlands Airport and East Midlands Parkway news

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thenorthern

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Not sure this has been mentioned yet but on East Midlands Today the other night they had a story saying that the LRTA thinks that the Nottingham Express Transit should be extended to East Midlands Airport by use of a tram train along the Midland Main Line.

Nottingham Post said:
A pro-tram lobby group has said it would like to see access to East Midlands Airport improved.

TramForward, the campaigning arm of the Light Rail Transit Association (LRTA), has said tram-trains should be developed to link the region's airport to Nottingham, Leicester and Derby, as well as the new HS2 station when it is built.

They said: "(The tram-trains) would run into the airport on a dedicated track, and could connect to the Midland Mainline both north and south. In the northerly direction, tram-trains could run to Toton, the site of the future HS2 East Midlands station.

"In the southerly direction, tram-trains could run to Leicester via Loughborough, operating on-street into Leicester city centre to form the basis of a larger Leicester area network. It has been proposed that the Leicester to Burton-on-Trent railway is reopened to passengers. This again would be better served by TramTrains to improve passenger distribution in Leicester."

A tram-train is a light-rail public transport system where trams run through from an urban tramway network to main-line railway lines which are shared with conventional trains.

The plans are just an idea at this stage and no proposals for funding or development of the idea are currently in place.
http://www.nottinghampost.com/tram-...ands-Airport/story-26757003-detail/story.html

I also note that they mention that East Midlands Parkway is not fit for purpose as it doesn't link to the airport very well although given the station was built to serve as a park and ride station and not an airport station I don't think that it really matters.

Personally I just can't see a tram train from Nottingham ever working as trams are very slow and bringing a large amount of luggage on the trams often annoys the conductors and other passengers. I also don't see how trams could be timetabled in on the Midland Main Line given that most of the trains operating are much faster that trams will ever run at.

What does everyone else think.
 
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ivanhoe

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The idea is fascinating but the reality is so different. At present, the three cities and the towns and villages are well served by Skylink. If we are talking about travelling from further afield, I can't see how the tram train would be of any use. East Midlands Airport is totally different to the likes of Manchester and Birmingham. It's clientele are mainly from the region which although geographically speaking is quite large, population wise is much smaller than say Manchester or Birmingham. Given the pausing of MML electrification, this is a non starter.
 

Jordeh

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The idea is fascinating but the reality is so different. At present, the three cities and the towns and villages are well served by Skylink. If we are talking about travelling from further afield, I can't see how the tram train would be of any use. East Midlands Airport is totally different to the likes of Manchester and Birmingham. It's clientele are mainly from the region which although geographically speaking is quite large, population wise is much smaller than say Manchester or Birmingham. Given the pausing of MML electrification, this is a non starter.
I completely agree. Considering only a few years ago the Nottingham Skylink didn't even run on a commercial basis, to be suggesting tram routes is sheer madness. There will never be the demand or money. In addition to this, as a resident of Long Eaton and Loughborough I have always found bus and train links between Derby, Nottingham and Leicester to be quite good.

Lets just focus on opening the new tram extensions in Nottingham and electrification of the Midland Mainline first.
 

Philip C

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Whilst being a member of LRTA and, freely admitting to being a tram enthusiast, I find many of the "ideas" of the association quite potty.
 
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I completely agree. Considering only a few years ago the Nottingham Skylink didn't even run on a commercial basis, to be suggesting tram routes is sheer madness. There will never be the demand or money. In addition to this, as a resident of Long Eaton and Loughborough I have always found bus and train links between Derby, Nottingham and Leicester to be quite good.

Lets just focus on opening the new tram extensions in Nottingham and electrification of the Midland Mainline first.
Agreed the next phase of tram expansion in Nottingham should bring the tram into new urban areas like extending the Phoenix park branch to Kimberly and Eastwood and into areas like West Bridgeford. Not some cross country jaunt to a regional airport that is much smaller than either Manchester or Birmingham.
 

thenorthern

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I have always felt that the East Midlands as a whole is a very car dependent region.

Each of the 3 cities (Nottingham, Leicester and Derby) only has 1 major railway station with the rest of the stations within the cities being simple unstaffed halts on semi-rural long distance routes most of which with hourly services and no dedicated commuter trains and thus are often very little used, i.e. Carlton, Spondon and Netherfield.

I noticed talk of extending the trams to Derby and Leicester which might work although I think new dedicated lines would be a better choice than the current proposal of tram trains as I doubt it would be possible to path trams to fit into the current timetable.
 

Kettledrum

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Not sure this has been mentioned yet but on East Midlands Today the other night they had a story saying that the LRTA thinks that the Nottingham Express Transit should be extended to East Midlands Airport by use of a tram train along the Midland Main Line.
After checking the date wasn't April 1st, I then gave this more thought.

Tram trains sharing busy track with 110MPH trains is really not sensible. Building a tram track alongside existing or new build train track could be possible - but at a cost and with increased land take.

A new rail line is planned going under the airport and then yards from the East Midlands Parkway station before going on to a new station at Toton. (HS2 of course). At least they're not suggesting tram trains on that.:p

Could the land take be widened and a bi-directional tram track be built alongside HS2 between East Midlands Airport, East Midlands Parkway, and Toton?

Would it get any use?
 
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edwin_m

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Could the land take be widened and a bi-directional tram track be built alongside HS2 between East Midlands Airport, East Midlands Parkway, and Toton?
Anything's possible, but given that this section includes a bridge over (or under?) the M1, a long viaduct over the Soar and another over the Trent and Trent Junction, and a short tunnel, it would be a very expensive tram line.

Would it get any use?
Not enough to justify the cost. East Midlands Airport's market is mainly regional so it's unlikely to attract many passengers arriving via high speed rail or indeed classic rail via Parkway. East Midlands Parkway doesn't have any walk-up catchment and anyone driving there could drive to Toton nearly as easily and shorten their journey by one leg.

Bear in mind also that the maximum speed for a tram is 45-50mph. The A453 is now a 70mph dual carriageway into the outskirts of Nottingham so even on a shorter route alongside the A453 from Clifton the tram would be slower that an express coach. And no express coach runs today, so how can there be a market for a tram?
 

Bletchleyite

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Tram trains sharing busy track with 110MPH trains is really not sensible.
Why not? I thought the whole point of a tram-train (rather than a high platform tram like Metrolink) was that it had rail crashworthiness and speed capability and thus could run as part of a rail service?

(I agree it might cause a capacity issue, though, but one no different to if a stopping DMU was introduced)

That said, EMA is near enough dead other than for holiday traffic unless another big airline comes in and takes over. It's never really recovered from easyJet's departure.
 

thenorthern

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How long would it take to the airport on a tram? With the Airport line now open to Manchester Airport people are still sticking to the 15 min train journey from Piccadilly rather than the hour tram journey which I suspect would be the same here.

If the tram stopped at East Midlands Parkway and then East Midlands Airport then I think the two of them could potentially work.
 

gordonthemoron

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Perhaps they should extend the Clifton tram line down the old GCR and then up the MML towards EMA? Trams sharing with heritage railway shouldn't be a problem, e.g. Harzschmalspurbahn in the Nordhausen area and the MML is 4 track from Loughborough to EMP and they could stop in East Leake
 
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AndyW33

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Perhaps they should extend the Clifton tram line down the old GCR and then up the MML towards EMA? Trams sharing with heritage railway shouldn't be a problem, e.g. Harzschmalspurbahn in the Nordhausen area and the MML is 4 track from Loughborough to EMP and they could stop in East Leake
By the time the tram has got from Clifton to to Loughborough (over 9 miles), taken the curve down on to the MML slow lines, the driver has changed ends, and the tram set off again, stops at Loughborough Midland, arrived at EM Parkway and set off on the new 4 mile alignment to the Airport, anyone from Nottingham who wanted to catch a plane would have given up and caught a bus, checked in, gone through security and be waiting in the departure lounge.
 

61653 HTAFC

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If Nottingham Skylink was about getting to EMA quickly, it'd go down the A453 like it used to rather than via Long Eaton
Most regional airports don't generate enough traffic for a dedicated direct express shuttle bus to be viable. Even Manchester, which is significantly busier than any other non-London airport. The only way a bus service can cover the running costs is by also providing a service to the residential and commercial areas between the city centre and airport. Leeds/Bradford's 757 link, and (some of) Liverpool's 86 do use buses with larger luggage racks for airport passengers but it will only be a small minority of passengers that are actually using the services to get to the airport. In the case of Liverpool I'd hazard a guess that there's more airport staff on board than airport passengers!
 

ivanhoe

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Why not? I thought the whole point of a tram-train (rather than a high platform tram like Metrolink) was that it had rail crashworthiness and speed capability and thus could run as part of a rail service?

(I agree it might cause a capacity issue, though, but one no different to if a stopping DMU was introduced)

That said, EMA is near enough dead other than for holiday traffic unless another big airline comes in and takes over. It's never really recovered from easyJet's departure.
The airport is far from dead. Whilst I would agree that the range of non holiday routes is relatively small in comparison to say Birmingham, it has a large freight operation with DHL and Royal Mail. Easy Jet routes have been absorbed by Flybe, Jet2 and Ryanair and Manchester Airport Group has invested quite a bit into terminal and security upgrades. As I have stated in a previous post, there is no scope for tram train or rail connections as Skylink does it pretty effectively. I'd also argue that like Manchester and Birmingham, most passengers (more than 50%)arrive by car or taxi. All three airports mentioned here are well connected to motorways and hence the dominant car/taxi use.
 

Haydn1971

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When I was involved in the initial West Yorkshire transport investment fund process about 3-4 years ago - we were getting feedback (in rough terms) that in order to justify a heavy rail station at an airport, the airport needed to have at least 10m passengers to make the proportions arriving by rail sufficient enough. Which is partly why the idea of tram-trains to Leeds Bradford found initial favour.

Once I was involved in the similar process for Sheffield City Region, there were considerable levels of forehead slapping going off when heavy rail to Robin Hood was being suggested - it was at about 7% of the volumes set as a benchmark for heavy rail.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Mainly the holiday routes, and not to anything like the frequency. It's a shadow of its former self.
Nevertheless "holiday routes" are a significant volume at many airports (other than possibly Heathrow and Gatwick), so if the number of flights is sufficient it can justify a rail service. Manchester has heavy rail services from a wide range of destinations, and the airport itself is almost a "mini-hub". Light rail or metro/tube services are only really any use to people from or to the nearest large city. Robin Hood (a stupid name for an airport, especially one in Doncaster!) additionally would most likely have only an hourly service at best, so even if over half the passengers were prepared to use it, it wouldn't be very resilient. In its favour is the fact that other than platforms and associated structures no additional rail infrastructure would be required. Leeds-Bradford would need quite a lengthy spur, which increases the costs significantly.

Of course another issue with the holiday market is the seasonal nature. A link to East Midlands would be carrying fresh air outside of the school holidays.
 
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Haydn1971

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In its favour is the fact that other than platforms and associated structures no additional rail infrastructure would be required.
Doncaster ? The nearest railway is nearly a mile from the terminal ! Three heavy rail options were being thought about last year - a spur from the Gainsborough line, a spur from ECML and a complete link through - there was a fourth option of running a tram-train shuttle from Doncaster Station via the Gainsborough line and about a mile of tramline - none are going to be economically sound vs other transport needs in the city region and specifically Doncaster - northern link road, dualing the A630 from the M18, replacing level crossings and platform 0 are all much more vital to job creation than getting more passengers to Donny Airport

Leeds-Bradford would need quite a lengthy spur, which increases the costs significantly.

I seem to recall issues over gradients too, which is why a roads based solution or tram-train was looking more favourable.
 

HowardGWR

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Most regional airports don't generate enough traffic for a dedicated direct express shuttle bus to be viable. Even Manchester, which is significantly busier than any other non-London airport. The only way a bus service can cover the running costs is by also providing a service to the residential and commercial areas between the city centre and airport. Leeds/Bradford's 757 link, and (some of) Liverpool's 86 do use buses with larger luggage racks for airport passengers but it will only be a small minority of passengers that are actually using the services to get to the airport. In the case of Liverpool I'd hazard a guess that there's more airport staff on board than airport passengers!
That's not correct. Bristol has a dedicated frequent coach link to station and bus station.

Update
I forgot to add that they also run one now to Bath via Keynsham so that is very useful for those people. Lulsgate is a ridiculous location for Bristol's airport (bit like C. Donington actually) but the connections are very good.
 
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johnnychips

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A rail link to Doncaster airport was always a daft idea. Most passengers travel by car or taxi and arrivals from Eastern Europe get picked up by friends or take the X19 or 91 to town then get the train. Not helped by departure patterns, concentrated in the very early morning or between 1800-2100.
 

Kettledrum

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Why not? I thought the whole point of a tram-train (rather than a high platform tram like Metrolink) was that it had rail crashworthiness and speed capability and thus could run as part of a rail service?

(I agree it might cause a capacity issue, though, but one no different to if a stopping DMU was introduced)

.
I don't know enough about crash worthiness or the acceleration capabilities, but having a tram train sharing heavy rail routes where you are trying to run a reliable and fast heavy rail express service is not a good idea. as it affects the paths available, line capacity and timetable reliability. If you then have any cross overs where the tram train will have to cross over any of the lines, then you have more problems.

It's the same principal why slow goods trains are not going to run on HS2, albeit not as extreme.

Wherever possible, I'd always look at grade segregation first, and only suggest tram trains on slower tracks where there is less scope to make the express trains unreliable.
 

Haydn1971

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Wherever possible, I'd always look at grade segregation first, and only suggest tram trains on slower tracks where there is less scope to make the express trains unreliable.

The Rotherham trial is on slow tracks sharing typically with Pacers and Sprinters, with the very infrequent diverted Voyager. The Penistone line trial would have been a tad different as there are much faster sections of track in particular between Sheffield and Barnsley - I'd suggest it wise to be track sharing with trains that run at lower speeds though
 

edwin_m

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Tram-train isn't a good idea on routes where trains are either very fast or very frequent. There is a capacity penalty if the tram-trains are slower in average speed than the other trains, and may also be one if the signal overlaps have to be lengthened to provide mitigation against collisions between tram-trains and the heavier trains. ERTMS may solve the second problem.

Routes where tram-train might be a good idea are typically those where the suburban passenger service is limited in frequency by capacity issues in and near the main city station, especially in cities where there is already a light rail network and a connection could be built to bypass those busy sections. There also needs to be a good reason to keep the route as part of the national network (for example use by longer-distance passenger or freight trains) otherwise why not just convert it to tramway.
 
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Kneedown

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I stand to be corrected, but i'm fairly sure that HS2 is planned to go underneath East Mid's Airport. Would it not make sense to have the East Midlands station here instead of Toton? Similar distance from Derby and Notts, closer to Leicester. Of course, it would need a link to the MML whereas Toton already has one, but it kills two birds with one stone?
 

HowardGWR

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I stand to be corrected, but i'm fairly sure that HS2 is planned to go underneath East Mid's Airport. Would it not make sense to have the East Midlands station here instead of Toton? Similar distance from Derby and Notts, closer to Leicester. Of course, it would need a link to the MML whereas Toton already has one, but it kills two birds with one stone?
That has been discussed at length in the HS2 threads (see sub forum).
 

Kettledrum

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I stand to be corrected, but i'm fairly sure that HS2 is planned to go underneath East Mid's Airport. Would it not make sense to have the East Midlands station here instead of Toton? Similar distance from Derby and Notts, closer to Leicester. Of course, it would need a link to the MML whereas Toton already has one, but it kills two birds with one stone?
It would be much easier to build the public transport links to Toton - and people live nearer Toton as well.
 
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