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Archive for the ‘Railways’ Category

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’?

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)

leave a comment », '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

At least triple

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This morning, Midlands Connect ‘launched Midlands Rail Hub [MRH] plans for a £2 billion investment’ with a photocall at Birmingham’s Moor Street station.

twitter, @Modern_Railways, Midlands Rail Hub  photocall at Birmingham's Moor Street station

In a tweet thanking @railfuture, Midlands Connect said plans had been submitted to government.

twitter, @MidsConnect, Midlands Rail Hub plans submitted to government

This is curious, because in a freedom of information response dated 20 June 2019, Midlands Connect said MRH plans were still “in the course of preparation”.

Midlands Connect, 20 June 2019, MRH plans still 'in the course of preparation'

The MRH ‘summary report‘, published today, suggests that the idea of diverting some East Midlands trains into Moor Street station, via a north chord at Camp Hill, has been ‘unditched’, and is a key element of the scheme. Whether it is still intended for the west (Moseley) and north chords to meet in mid-air above the existing line, is not clear.

Midlands Rail Hub, interventions diagram, June 2019

One of the report’s twenty four pages is given over to a picture of Network Rail technicians carrying out electrification works, yet the MRH scheme does not appear to involve such works.

The MRH scheme does not appear to involve electrification works, Jun 2019 (pic: Network Rail)

In the West Midlands HS2 connectivity package, the Camp Hill chords were costed at £240 million.

In the West Midlands HS2 connectivity package, the Camp Hill chords were costed at £240 million

But in today’s MRH summary report, they are costed at £900 to £950 million.

In today's MRH summary report, the Camp Hill chords are costed at £900 to £950 million

So, the new official cost of the chords, is at least triple the previous estimate.

The document is very short on specifics, and Midlands Connect still hasn’t even selected a preferred option for reinstatement of direct trains between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham (via a dive under, flyover or reversal at Nuneaton).

Written by beleben

June 26, 2019 at 2:14 pm

How much latent capacity

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Virgin Trains, the operator of intercity trains from London to major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Preston and Glasgow, recorded 39.5 million journeys over the last year (2018/2019), compared to 14 million in 1997, when it took over the West Coast route. Based on the last six years of growth, passenger journeys would reach 55 million in 2026, ‘when HS2 is due to open’, if growth were unconstrained.

This announcement came as a new report by Campaign for Better Transport [CBT], Transformation of the West Coast Mainline, found that upgrades to the service, including the Virgin High Frequency timetable, had led to 7 million fewer car journeys a year between London and Manchester (etc).

'Virgin Trains on course for 50m passengers ahead of HS2 after breaking new records'

The increase from 14 million to a possible 50+ million annual ‘intercity’ passengers is an indicator of how much latent capacity there was — and is — on the West Coast tracks. HS2 is not mentioned in the main text of the CBT report, and available information suggests that it is not required to meet foreseeable future demand, even in the Department for Transport’s so-called Higher Growth scenario.

As an aside, there must be a question mark over the CBT claim that the enhanced West Coast service has led to ‘7 million fewer car journeys a year between London and Manchester’.

How was that number arrived at? Are there even 7 million rail journeys a year — in total — between those two cities?

Written by beleben

April 5, 2019 at 10:13 am

Posted in Politics, Railways