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Adder nuff Midlands Connect capacity nonsense

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The 2+3 seat version of the 5-car Bombardier trainsets on order for the West Midlands franchise has a standard class seating capacity of ~426, giving a 10-car total of ~852, according to the Department for Transport

‘HS2 all the way’ is needed because is needed because ‘the 17:46 from Euston to Crewe [commuter train] has an average “load factor” (capacity) of 214%. Upgrading the WCML [West Coast Main Line] directly disrupts all of these passengers and thousands more for years and provides only minor improvements’, according to David Blackadder-Weinstein, from Midlands Connect.

twitter, @weinsteinlinder, 'Welcome aboard the country’s most overcrowded service. The 17:46 from Euston to Crewe has an average “load factor” (capacity) of 214%. Upgrading the WCML directly disrupts all of these passengers and thousands more for years and provides only minor improvements.'

This ‘214%’ figure comes from the Department for Transport’s ‘Rail passenger numbers and crowding on weekdays in major cities in England and Wales: 2018’ report, so it is historic, rather than current, data. This publication included a list of the 10 ‘busiest peak trains’ in England and Wales in autumn 2018, but noted ‘These trains make up a small fraction of all services and do not represent general conditions on the railway’.

The Beleben blog has pointed out that HS2 is simply not required to address commuter demand on the West Coast Main Line. All commuter demand into and out of Euston can be accommodated by using space-efficient rolling stock. This is the approach being adopted for the busiest commuter railways into London – on the former Southern and Eastern regions.

The 2+3 seat version of the 5-car Bombardier trainsets on order for the West Midlands franchise has a standard class seating capacity of ~426, giving a 10-car total of ~852. There seems to be no reason why a future ’17:46 to Crewe’ could not be operated with a train of this sort, given that (i) most platforms are already long enough, and (ii) platform lengthening is generally the lowest-cost way of increasing capacity.

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Written by beleben

September 9, 2019 at 11:24 am

Posted in HS2, Railways

Northern powerhouse rail and commutability

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In June 2019, Boris Johnson ‘pledged‘ he would be the PM who builds ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’.

But is the ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’ concept a good fit with travel patterns in the north of England, and the levels of transport demand seen there?

Some Northern England inter-city modal share comparisons, 2011 census, Alasdair Rae

The available information suggests that the spatial distribution of people — and the diffuse travel patterns — limit the role that rail could play in northern commuting. Spending £39 billion on ‘Northern powerhouse rail’ would be very unlikely to change that.

The best opportunities for rail would come from creating S-Bahn systems in Manchester and Leeds, but this would require the existing, NPR-focused, policy to be torn up.

NPR is supposed to enable people to ‘commute from one city to another’, but most people do not live in city centres.

Consider a more realistic inter-city commute, from Crosby (Merseyside) to Salford Quays (Greater Manchester) using existing rail, and new-build ‘HS3 Northern powerhouse rail’.

1. Crosby (Merseyside) to Salford Quays (Greater Manchester) using existing rail

Outbound commuting activity steps
1. Walk / bus to Crosby station.
2. Wait.
3. Train (Merseyrail) to Central station.
4. Walk to Lime Street station.
5. Wait.
6. Train to Eccles station.
7. Wait.
8. Tram to Salford Quays.
9. Walk to end destination.

Crosby to Salford Quays commute with the existing railway (base map: OpenStreetMap)

2. Crosby (Merseyside) to Salford Quays (Greater Manchester) using ‘Northern powerhouse rail’

(For the purposes of this comparison, it is assumed the Liverpool NPR station is at Lime Street, and the Manchester NPR station is at Piccadilly.)

Outbound commuting activity steps
1. Walk / bus to Crosby station.
2. Wait.
3. Train (Merseyrail) to Central station.
4. Walk to Lime Street station.
5. Wait.
6. Train (Npr) to Piccadilly station.
7. Wait.
8. Tram to Salford Quays.
9. Walk to end destination.

Crosby to Salford Quays commute with conceptual 'Northern powerhouse rail' (base map: OpenStreetMap)

It should be apparent that for journeys like this, Northern powerhouse rail would make very little difference to commutability.

Written by beleben

August 22, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Is Crossrail ‘complex’? It’s complicated

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Crossrail is not ‘complicated’, says Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild, but the complex nature of the project is ‘not lost‘ on him (according to ‘Rail’ magazine).

Crossrail is not complicated, says TfL's Mark Wild, but the complex nature of the project is not lost on him

But surely, if Mr Wild is saying ‘Crossrail is not complicated’, then the ‘complex nature of the project’ is ‘lost on him’?

dictionary.com, meaning of 'complicated'

Borat, thumbs up

Written by beleben

August 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Bizarre, London, Railways

Woodland of confusion

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The UK has roughly one million hectares of ancient woodland, according to an article attributed to Ian Walmsley (Modern Railways magazine, presumably August 2019).

The UK has roughly 1 million hectares of ancient woodland, according to an article attributed to Ian Walmsley of Modern Railways magazine

But according to the Woodland Trust (2000), the figure is more like 309,000 hectares (excluding Northern Ireland).

No doubt a fair bit of the remaining ancient woodland must be in Scotland. Figures for how much there is in England, do not seem to be readily available.

The Woodland Trust (2000), there around 309,000 ha of ancient woodland in Great Britain

Written by beleben

August 16, 2019 at 8:11 am

Allegedly ‘full’ railway has room for ‘more seats and more frequent services’ (shocker)

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gov.uk, 'West Coast marks new partnership model for rail', 14 Aug 2019

Homer hedge

Written by beleben

August 14, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics, Railways

Acton and inaction

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The ‘Great North Rail Project’ has brought Acton Grange junction ‘up to modern standards’ to ‘improve reliability on a route used by 260 trains each day’ (apparently).

twitter, @TheGNRP, 'We’ve brought #ActonGrange junction up to modern standards to improve reliability across this vital junction on the West Coast main line - used by 260 trains  each day

“Modern standards”?

From the photos in the GNRP tweet, it would appear that the overhead lines are just as vulnerable to failure propagation after the junction ‘has been brought up to modern standards’, as they were before.

If HS2 were cancelled, resources could be switched to fixing things like this, thereby making the whole railway much more reliable.

Written by beleben

August 5, 2019 at 9:52 am

Posted in Planning, Railways

That pesky Victorian wiring

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twitter, @WesleyTaylor2, 'Chaos with yet another de-wirement on the ECML today. Do we spend billions patching up a Victorian railway for sub optimal gains, or do we build a brand new purpose built mainline with huge capacity gains and without the inherent flaws of existing lines?'

 

Written by beleben

July 24, 2019 at 7:44 am

Posted in Bizarre, HS2, Railways