die belebende Bedenkung

The plot to build a station at Darlaston

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With the Combined Authority having acquired a plot for a station at Darlaston, passengers could be buying tickets and riding trains between Walsall and Wolverhampton by 2021, Rob Mayor reported.

twitter @robmayor, passenger trains could be running between Walsall, Darlaston and Wolverhampton by 2021

However, ‘more work needs to be done on the feasibility’, according to Andy Mayor (Andy Street).

twitter @andy4wm, land secured for Darlaston station

Darlaston and Willenhall are two of nine new stations proposed for the West Midlands county by the Combined Authority. Most likely, they would be served by just an hourly shuttle between Walsall and Wolverhampton, and an hourly service between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street.

TfWM, proposed new stations in the West Midlands

Because Darlaston town centre is some distance for the railway, most local public transport journeys would continue to be done by bus, and the value of the new stations is more totemic than real.

No doubt the case for Willenhall and Darlaston would be much better, for longer journeys, if a frequent (4 to 6 trains per hour) service could operate between Wolverhampton and Birmingham. This could be done if the Benson Road curve were built, and trains ran via the Soho loop, into Snow Hill station.

Benson Road ought to be the #1 priority for railway investment in the West Midlands, but the Combined Authority has a very different view.

Soho loop line, showing location of possible new stations and the Benson Road curve (none of which are supported by the Combined Authority)

Soho loop line, showing location of possible new stations and the Benson Road curve (none of which are supported by the Combined Authority)


Written by beleben

August 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Politics, Transport

Does Yin have a yen to save twenty minutes?

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What kind of journey benefits could arise, if the “£56 billion” HS2 project were built as planned? The Greengauge 21 (Jim Steer) ‘Beyond HS2‘ report (May 2018) gave two illustrations of future rail journeys.

Case 1, Oli

Oli is travelling from Gravesend to Middlesbrough. He begins his journey on HS1 in Rochester, and, once in London, he makes his way to the new Euston Station (via a travelator). Oli’s journey to the new Hub station in Darlington will take 1h52, a saving of 27 minutes from pre HS2 days.

But in the very same report, Greengauge argued that London to Newcastle and York intercity trains should “remain on the [East Coast Main Line] with a target of closely matching the journey times that would be achieved by HS2″. So if that happened, Oli wouldn’t need the “£56 billion” HS2 line from Euston to make his journey to Darlington, nor would he need the travelator from St Pancras to Euston (which is not even included in the HS2 budget).

Greengauge 21, 'Beyond HS2', illustrative future journey 1, Oli

Case 2, Hui Yin

Hui Yin, from China, is spending a few days in London before travelling to the University of Birmingham to deliver a lecture and attend a number of meetings – the main purpose of her visit. She will then continue her journey up to Glasgow, to visit some family. She arrives into the UK at Heathrow Terminal 5 and travels into Central London on the Elizabeth Line. She travels up to Birmingham Curzon Street from Euston a few days later and uses the tram to New Street to catch a local train to University station.

If Hui Yin has travelled (at least) 10 hours from China to London, is she really going to be bothered about saving about 20 minutes on a trip to the University of Birmingham? And it is ~20 minutes, not “33 minutes”. The tram between Curzon Street HS2 and New Street station would run five times an hour (according to Transport for West Midlands), and take about 5 minutes, giving an average transit time of ~11 minutes.

Greengauge 21, 'Beyond HS2', illustrative future journey 2, Hui Lin

According to Jim, Hui Yin would travel into “Central London”, presumably because he has decided that most HS2 trains should not stop at Old Oak Common.

These ‘illustrations’ are further evidence that the best course of action available to government is to cancel the HS2 project immediately.

Written by beleben

August 12, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Posted in HS2

Well beyond the highest

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The service plan proposed by HS2 Ltd of 17 trains per hour out of Euston is “well beyond the highest service frequency achieved to date on a high-speed line” noted Greengauge 21 (Jim Steer).

Greengauge 21, Old Oak Common should only be served by 4 trains per hour

The Greengauge ‘Beyond HS2’ report (May 2018) suggested that no more than 16 trains per hour should run in each direction on the Euston – Water Orton trunk, with just 4 stopping at Old Oak Common. However, there was no indication of which Country destinations would then no longer be reachable from Old Oak, or any crowding effects on the Northern and Victoria lines (etc).

Greengaue 21 Newcastle intercity trains should stay on the East Coast Main Line

Jim has also decided that Newcastle and York intercity trains should “remain on the [East Coast Main Line] with a target of closely matching the journey times that would be achieved by HS2”. So, the East Coast Main Line should, er, be upgraded. But what about the ‘14 years of weekend closures‘ this would ’cause’? And if existing lines were upgraded in that way, what remains of the case for HS2’s eastern leg?

Written by beleben

August 12, 2018 at 11:14 am

Posted in HS2

Passion or luck

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@rail, Peter Hendy, Carne passion saved lives

@philatrail, Network Rail near misses

Written by beleben

August 10, 2018 at 10:28 am

Posted in Railways

Useless nonsense perspective

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Apparently, ‘Rail’ magazine is going to start a sort of ‘fact checking’ service for claims on social media.

Perhaps they should begin with some of the factoids put about by their ‘technical expert’, Gareth Dennis.

Gareth Dennis onabout

Thameslink ‘current’ peak system capacity is 24 trains per hour in each direction? Not on their nelly. Whether that will be reliably achievable with the proposed service pattern, is open to question.

Which bits of the Metropolitan line see 36 trains per hour?

And how does Crossrail ‘currently’ do 24? It hasn’t even opened yet.

twitter, @GarethDennis, useful technical perspective?

In any case, throughput on a metro-type railway is not going to be any kind of guide to capacity on a 360 km/h intercity railway like HS2.

Written by beleben

August 9, 2018 at 10:50 am

A light on disembarkations

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The rail utilisation strategies published by the Strategic Rail Authority contained information of a kind not replicated in later documents created by Network Rail. For instance, the 2005 West Midlands strategy included a breakdown of passenger arrivals at Birmingham New Street, by time of day.

Because of the existence of Silverlink, it was possible to see the relative (un)importance of both intercity and regional West Coast Main Line traffic at Birmingham New Street.

Strategic Rail Authority, 2005, alighting at Birmingham New Street by time band

Most of the passenger volume was, and is, non-WCML and / or short distance. No doubt total volume has increased since the mid-noughties, but the proportions are probably much the same.

Written by beleben

August 9, 2018 at 9:43 am

Easy eighteen

with one comment

Pretty easy to achieve

Written by beleben

August 8, 2018 at 9:30 am

Posted in HS2