upgrading the Midland Mainline to 125mph

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by cambsy, 4 Nov 2011.

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  1. cambsy

    cambsy On Moderation

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    I read recently that the Midland Mainline is being upgraded to 125mph in places.

    I know the Turbine Powered APT did London-Leicester in 58 minutes in the 1970s doing 125mph.

    I'd imagine they will get London-Leicester to about 60 mins, Sheffield in 2hrs should be possible.

    • How much is the projected cost?
    • Which stretches are suitable for 125mph?
    • Has the work started and when is it due for completion?

    I don't know the line that well but think London to Bedford and Leicester to Derby would be suitable for 125mph.
     
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  3. Firestarter

    Firestarter Member

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    Think i read somewhere that Bedford to Elstree & Borehamwood would be 125mph, not sure about Elstree to Kentish town/St Pancras
     
  4. Edvid

    Edvid Member

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    Here's a list of the linespeed alterations based on mileage. The lowest values mark the southern portal of Elstree Tunnel; they increase as you head north towards Trent Junction, which is north of East Midlands Parkway.
     

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  5. Edvid

    Edvid Member

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    The latest I've heard is that are 3 milestones for this project - December 2011/12/13. So it'll be a fair while yet.
     
  6. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I guess that the slowest line speed is where the line passes Leicester station, seeing that the station is at 98mi 75ch according to railmiles?
     
  7. Edvid

    Edvid Member

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    That's right.
     
  8. Barrett M95

    Barrett M95 Member

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    And how much would those increases shave off the journey time to:
    Leicester
    Derby
    Sheffield
    ?
     
  9. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    The reason The Midland was never upgraded to 125 before now is simply down to the nature of the route, which has a lot of curves.

    The principle set out by The Midland Railway when the London Extension was designed was that the ruling gradient should not be greater than 1 in 200, and that where possible the railway should follow the natural lie of the land without the need for extensive earthworks or structures. This can be specially seen between Luton and Harpenden.

    The "original" sections between Leicester and Bedford are somewhat more tightly curved at some points, simply because of the age of the route.

    Of course curves in those days were not an issue, although for the time, the curvature of the line was and still is quite generous - one or two locations excepted.
     
  10. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Yes, I posted those dates in a thread here a few weeks ago - but I'm *%$ed if I can find it again...

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---

    NR CP4 enhancement plan. Where the table Edvid posted comes from.
     
    Last edited: 5 Nov 2011
  11. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    The reduction from 125 around 18m 39ch until 20m 77ch on the fast lines is undoubtedly due to the significant curve through St Albans City station.
    Members of the St Albans Signal Box Preservation Trust recently found evidence in the Hertfordshire archives that the Midland Railway had intended to take a straighter route further East of the present line. But between the MR getting their Act through Parliament and starting on the ground, the City fathers built a new jail. Apparently not wanting visitors to have to pass the jail as their first experience of St Albans, they prevailed on the MR to move the line Westwards to its present location, even allowing the MR to slice off a corner of the prison yard to gain access to the engine shed. (The prison front door was used in 'Porridge' and now gives access to the local registry office......:D)
     
  12. Bedpan

    Bedpan Member

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    Surely there must be a case for pendo style tilting trains in view of the many curve related speed restrictions.
     
  13. Old Timer

    Old Timer Established Member

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    Not withstanding the obvious track geometry issues theoretically there is no reason in my opinion why the Midland could not run at 125 most of the way to Sheffield with the right stock.
     
  14. brianthegiant

    brianthegiant Member

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    Hmm,

    there's been a few articles in the Nottingham evening post recently, moaning that the local aspiration for 'Nottingham in Ninety' cannot be achieved under current NR plans. Given most of the improvements are south of Trent Junction, there will presumably be a significant reduction in the current 2 hours NOT-STP, even if it's not quite 90 mins...?

    Will there be any further changes to Trent Junction? seems that NOT-STP & NOT-DBY trains really crawl through in spite of recent changes.
     
  15. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Doubt it, seeing as it was all re-signalled recently, can't see them going in and ripping things up again.
     
  16. cle

    cle Established Member

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    How will this affect Thameslink trains which use the fasts until St Albans?
     
  17. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    As there are no cross-overs until close to Harpenden, the fasts to St Albans would have to travel to at least there before switching over to the slow line; otherwise at Leagrave, Flitwick or Bedford South.
     
  18. Rugd1022

    Rugd1022 Member

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    Morning John,

    They can also cross at Radlett Junction ;)
     
  19. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    OK for Up fasts, although my experience is that they stay on the Fast Up until close to London, but if they're on the Down fast line at St Albans they've a bit further to go. I am a bit uncertain what cle was trying to ask, on reflection!
     
  20. cle

    cle Established Member

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    Sorry if unclear - I was asking if the fast TL trains which run on the fasts to St Albans would basically be caught up by MML trains now at 125mph after Elstree - and so might this have pathing implications?
     
  21. silvermachine

    silvermachine Member

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    At the moment the fastest trains are 99minutes from Nottingham ( 7:50) and 92 minutes from Derby, as the distances are pretty much the same it does seem that modest line speed improvements as well as the Nottingham area resignalling (next summer?) could deliver 90 minutes to both.
     
  22. John Webb

    John Webb Established Member

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    Possibly, but I don't know enough about the present time-tabling to try and work out any comparisons. Main problem I suspect would be a late-running fast TL train - I note that often fast and slow down TL trains seem to arrive closely to each other at St Albans which might hinder a switch from fast to slow at Radlett for the fast down train.
     
  23. Firestarter

    Firestarter Member

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    They may have to look to retimimg the bedford trains booked on platform 4 departure times. Two or Three years ago at non peak time their departure times were xx.24 and xx.54 now their xx.25 and xx.55 if its on time more often than not it will arrive 3mins early, sometimes more if its a 377. The non peak Brighton trains booked on 3 have been re-timed in the last year from xx.04 and xx.34 again those trains use to come in 2 or 3 mins early
     
  24. bengolding

    bengolding Member

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    Last week, I travelled on the 55 past express from St Pancras to Sheffield, non stop to Leicester, where we arrived in approximately 64 minutes instead of the scheduled 67. If line speed was increased to 125, how much further can the St Pancras-Leicester journey time be reduced? Virgin can do Euston to Nuneaton, a similar distance, in 53 minutes. There is a large commuter flow from Leicester to St Pancras, so I'm sure any improved journey time would be welcome.
     
  25. Gus

    Gus Member

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    Haven't the cross overs at Radlett and Harpendon been relaid and re-signalled so that a train going from say the Down Fast to Down Slow can complete the manouvre more quickly with less chance of delaying a train on the Up Fast?
     
  26. shinkansen1966

    shinkansen1966 Established Member

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    By December 2013, the Midland main line 125 mph upgrade is supposed to be complete. Network Rail indicate this will reduce London St Pancras to Sheffield journey times by 8 minutes, so we could see a few end-to-end 1 hr 57 min timings.
     
  27. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    The linespeeds don't give you the whole 8 minutes, there is some cheeky removal of engineering allowance to get that figure. Give it a few years when they need to start doing some heavier maintenance of the track and the headline figure will creep upwards again.
     
  28. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    The best way to improve London - Sheffield speeds would be to run some services via Erewash.

    At the moment there's a xx.45 slot spare at St Pancras (xx.00, xx.15 and xx.25 in the first half of the hour, but only xx.30 and xx.55 in the second half of the hour), and a service running "fast" from East Midlands Parkway to Chesterfield would cut a lot off the journey time between the two cities.

    No new infrastructure required, just some more Meridians.
     
  29. shinkansen1966

    shinkansen1966 Established Member

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    Indeed. Would passengers numbers hold up on London to Sheffield service running direct via Erewash and missing out Derby or Nottingham ?

    Or the 'sparks effect' of electrifying the Midland main line, plus Sheffield onto Wakefield Westgate via Rotherham.
     
  30. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    I make no claims about passenger numbers, but at the moment we have four/hour from Sheffield to Derby (which the current volumes between the two places don't really justify - obviously the majority of passengers are going longer distance).

    Running one of those "fast" (avoiding Derby) would give Sheffield a much more competative London time (bear in mind that London - Leeds/ York is often faster, despite them both being further north). It'd also free up seats on London - Derby services for Derby passengers.

    Any tinkering with MML speed limits seems to be a lot of effort to shave just a couple of minutes off journeys - honestly I think they should either electrify it or just not bother with spending all that money on such small increases.
     
  31. button_boxer

    button_boxer Established Member

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    To get the benefit you'd have to divert the "fast" service (the one that only stops at Leicester), but that would leave Derby with only 1tph to London, and that would be the slower one with stops at Long Eaton, EMD and Loughborough which would eat into the headline 93 minutes time from Derby to London.

    How much difference does the Erewash route make compared to going via Derby at the moment, doesn't it have a rather lower speed limit that offsets the reduced distance (and more intensive freight use that eats up paths)?
     
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