Trivia - Rambling freight journeys

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billio

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Having recently watched and enjoyed Don Coffey's video of a journey from Hindlow to Crewe, I just wondered if there are other freight journeys which have rather rambling routes to their destination - in this case around east Manchester.
Is there any possibility that changes to infrastructure could make these journeys more direct ?
Reducing a journey's length by a significant amount could make a significant difference to carbon emissions.
 
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John Webb

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Another roundabout route involves trains to/from Angerstein Wharf near Charlton. The branch is only connected to the down line between Blackheath and Charlton, so to get to destinations north of London the train has to go down to Slade Green on the line via Woolwich Arsenal, and use either the Bexleyheath line or the Sidcup line to reach Lewisham and go via the Nunhead line to circle round London via the West London line to reach amongst others the Midland Main line via Cricklewood.
It's impossible to make a new connection from the branch to the up line between Charlton and Blackheath as former BR land needed was sold off some decades ago.
 
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There's a freight movement between Newhaven in Sussex and Grain in Kent that has to be routed via the WLL and Kew. https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:H13630/2021-07-13/detailed
In order to make it shorter you'd need to build a curve at Redhill onto the Tonbridge line.
Or have the locomotive run round the train at some point. In the cited Don Coffey video, the train has to change direction at Buxton which involves the Class 66 running around its train. (The other alternative, of course, would be to reopen a long closed line. That train was destined for Northampton. In days gone by, Wigston to Rugby or Wellingborough to Northampton would have made that detour via Guide Bridge unnecessary)
 
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zwk500

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Another roundabout route involves trains to/from Angerstein Wharf near Charlton. The branch is only connected to the down line between Blackheath and Charlton, so to get to destinations north of London the train has to go down to Slade Green on the line via Woolwich Arsenal, and use either the Bexleyheath line or the Sidcup line to reach Lewisham and go via the Nunhead line to circle round London via the West London line to reach amongst others the Midland Main line via Cricklewood.
It's impossible to make a new connection from the branch to the up line between Charlton and Blackheath as former BR land needed was sold off some decades ago.
The connection was moved to facilitate selling off the land, of course. Facing east means trains don't have to cross the junction at the London end of Lewisham Station, and Slade Green or Hither Green provide opportunities to hold trains if the path isn't available.
Or have the locomotive run round the train at some point. In the cited Don Coffey video, the train has to change direction at Buxton which involves the Class 66 running around its train. (The other alternative, of course, would be to reopen a long closed line. That train was destined for Northampton. In days gone by, Wigston to Rugby or Wellingborough to Northampton would have made that detour via Guide bridge unnecessary)
You'd need a major infrastructure intervention to run round the Newhaven-Grain train anywhere useful. And it requires more time and staff.
 

John Webb

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The connection was moved to facilitate selling off the land, of course. Facing east means trains don't have to cross the junction at the London end of Lewisham Station, and Slade Green or Hither Green provide opportunities to hold trains if the path isn't available.
The area at one time was a railway works dealing with signals and in BR days sleepers, I recall. The connection to the London direction was removed many decades before the railway works were closed down and the land sold off. (Maps at the National Library of Scotland suggest the connection was removed in the early 1900s, possibly to give the works more room?)
 

Fenchurch SP

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Another roundabout route involves trains to/from Angerstein Wharf near Charlton. The branch is only connected to the down line between Blackheath and Charlton, so to get to destinations north of London the train has to go down to Slade Green on the line via Woolwich Arsenal, and use either the Bexleyheath line or the Sidcup line to reach Lewisham and go via the Nunhead line to circle round London via the West London line to reach amongst others the Midland Main line via Cricklewood.
It's impossible to make a new connection from the branch to the up line between Charlton and Blackheath as former BR land needed was sold off some decades ago.
A few years ago the Angerstein trains were diverted via Maidstone West and Redhill because of engineering works
 

zwk500

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alf

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All this extra mileage, in some cases three times more than via the shortest route, does the rail industry no harm.
Freight Volume is measured in ton miles.m in the annual statistics.

It means the industry appears to be moving much more freight each year than it really does if the least CO2( or greenest & shortest route) were used.

My favourite was Crossrail tunnel spoil from Westbourne Park to barges on the Thames estuary.
Work out the longest possible route it would take & that is what was chosen. The first 25 minutes was spent in going in precisely the wrong direction.
 

Western 52

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Robeston to Westerleigh oil trains go via Gloucester to avoid reversing at Yate. Quite a lot longer than via the Seven Tunnel.
 

daodao

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The trains from the Liverpool Biomass terminal to Drax power station take a convoluted route via Altrincham, and in the daytime double-back to run via Summit (rather than Standedge, which is used at night). An example today (13/7/21) is train 6E10.

The data is available (for the next 7 days only) on Real Time Trains at:
 

The Planner

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The trains from the Liverpool Biomass terminal to Drax power station take a convoluted route via Altrincham, and in the daytime double-back to run via Summit (rather than Standedge, which is used at night). An example today (13/7/21) is train 6E10.

The data is available (for the next 7 days only) on Real Time Trains at:
That is down to capacity through Manchester as well as Diggle and Miles Platting bank being a tad steep.
 

daodao

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That is down to capacity through Manchester as well as Diggle and Miles Platting bank being a tad steep.
I was aware of the steepness of Miles Platting bank as being the main reason for these detours, but overnight similar trains run via Diggle, presumably when this line is less busy.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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Several engineers services from possessions on the southern region headed for Hoo Junction ‘turn round’ using the Hounslow loop.
 

ExRes

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alangla

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There’s a daily Network Rail infrastructure train between Millerhill & Carlisle that goes from Midcalder Junction to Carstairs via Shotts & Motherwell https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:H16184/2021-07-13/detailed

Also some Grangemouth to North Eastern England services go via Cumbernauld and Shotts though that makes more sense with the junction arrangement at Falkirk Grahamston/Grangemouth Junction, difficult to see a practical alternative to that one
 

MadMac

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There’s a daily Network Rail infrastructure train between Millerhill & Carlisle that goes from Midcalder Junction to Carstairs via Shotts & Motherwell https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:H16184/2021-07-13/detailed

Also some Grangemouth to North Eastern England services go via Cumbernauld and Shotts though that makes more sense with the junction arrangement at Falkirk Grahamston/Grangemouth Junction, difficult to see a practical alternative to that one
There used to be a Cockenzie-Ravenstruther that passed Midcalder Junction around 7AM and was booked via Cobbinshaw. More often than not, the Control Log would have an entry along the lines that it had stopped at Midcalder Junction with the driver advising that he doesn’t sign Cobbinshaw and was rerouted via Benhar.
 

Bill57p9

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The coal traffic from Greenburn Kier Mining near New Cumnock used to deal with Bank Junction facing north by taking a tour of Ayrshire: Bank junction, Mauchline, Newton Junction, Barassie, Kilmarnock, Mauchline and back through Bank Junction.
 

Taunton

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Another roundabout route involves trains to/from Angerstein Wharf near Charlton. The branch is only connected to the down line between Blackheath and Charlton, so to get to destinations north of London the train has to go down to Slade Green on the line via Woolwich Arsenal, and use either the Bexleyheath line or the Sidcup line to reach Lewisham and go via the Nunhead line to circle round London via the West London line to reach amongst others the Midland Main line via Cricklewood.
It's impossible to make a new connection from the branch to the up line between Charlton and Blackheath as former BR land needed was sold off some decades ago.
I have sometimes seen at Lewisham the freight between Angerstein Wharf and Churchyard Sidings (near St Pancras) pass through. It goes out nearly to Dartford, comes back to Lewisham, Clapham Junction, South Acton, Cricklewood, Kentish Town, and to the destination. It takes 7 hours.

Realtime Trains - 684Q 0458 Angerstein Wharf (Tarmac) to Churchyard Sdgs Tarmac

Now Angerstein and Churchyard are about 6 miles apart as the crow flies. So an average of 1mph. It would be much quicker to walk. Incidentally the land for a triangle connection at Charlton has never been developed. It's used by the Met Police as a car pound for all the towed away/recovered/crashed cars.
 

BigB

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I have sometimes seen at Lewisham the freight between Angerstein Wharf and Churchyard Sidings (near St Pancras) pass through. It goes out nearly to Dartford, comes back to Lewisham, Clapham Junction, South Acton, Cricklewood, Kentish Town, and to the destination. It takes 7 hours.

Realtime Trains - 684Q 0458 Angerstein Wharf (Tarmac) to Churchyard Sdgs Tarmac

Now Angerstein and Churchyard are about 6 miles apart as the crow flies. So an average of 1mph. It would be much quicker to walk. Incidentally the land for a triangle connection at Charlton has never been developed. It's used by the Met Police as a car pound for all the towed away/recovered/crashed cars.

It's not quite 7 hours - it is looped at Hither Green for three hours, but possibly still quicker to walk though it's a lot to carry with you....
However there isn't track in a straight line between the two, and this seems the most direct route given the available infrastructure offering least impact on existing services.
 

norbitonflyer

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The coal train involved in the Great Heck disaster was taking a very circuitous route from Immingham Docks to Eggborough Power Station. Eggborough is only about 3 miles from Great Heck as the crow flies, but the train would have had to travel nearer twenty via Gascoigne Wood because the power station (between Whitley Bridge and Hensall) only had a west-facing connection, designed for trains from the Yorkshire coalfield (in particular the Selby Drift Mine at Gascoigne Wood), not from Poland via Immingham.

As was mentioned in a letter at the time "Why was 1,000 tonnes of coal imported at Immingham travelling across the largest and most productive coalfield in Europe?"
 

John Webb

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I have sometimes seen at Lewisham the freight between Angerstein Wharf and Churchyard Sidings (near St Pancras) pass through. It goes out nearly to Dartford, comes back to Lewisham, Clapham Junction, South Acton, Cricklewood, Kentish Town, and to the destination. It takes 7 hours.

Realtime Trains - 684Q 0458 Angerstein Wharf (Tarmac) to Churchyard Sdgs Tarmac

Now Angerstein and Churchyard are about 6 miles apart as the crow flies. So an average of 1mph. It would be much quicker to walk. Incidentally the land for a triangle connection at Charlton has never been developed. It's used by the Met Police as a car pound for all the towed away/recovered/crashed cars.
It's this one from Angerstein Wharf I'm most familiar with https://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/service/gb-nr:H13408/2021-07-14/detailed as it passes through St Albans mid-afternoon heading for Bardon. I'll probably see it today while working at St Albans South box.

I hadn't realised it was being used as a car pound:
Police car pound, Charlton

© Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
The few times I passed it I assumed it had been built as an industrial estate from the glimpse of the buildings.
 
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There's an EM Gateway to Felixstowe service, which runs up to Doncaster and back down the ECML. Seems very out of the way!

I think that may be down to crewing issues

Thats our job at Peterborough sadly I am one of the few that actually sign Toton to get Loco, therefore sometimes covered by East Mids Hub but has been know South Yorks Hub
 

Dr Hoo

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zwk500

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Possibly some container types/wagon combinations not gauge cleared between Trent and Syston?
I would have thought anything cleared between Swinton and Doncaster would be cleared between Trent and Syston. (EDIT: Just checked NESA and the MML is more restrictive than Sheffield-Doncaster). As the post above yours mentions, with the crew stop at Doncaster it looks like an operational choice.
 
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