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Old June 30th, 2011, 11:32 AM   #61
DXNewcastle
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The Shaftholme junction remodelling is due for completion in 2013-14.

From your list of 'bottlenecks' on the ECML, the 4th running line at Holgate junction (York) will be put in place this winter (2011) and the Hitchin flyover is also in-hand.

A stream of minor improvemens to both the Hertford Loop and to the 'joint line' via Lincoln will both assist movements during disruption (the 'joint line' won't be electrified but will remain open later in the evenings to allow freight and diesels to use the diversion when its re-signalling is completed).
Quote:
Originally Posted by JetStreak View Post
But in reality all the bottlenecks need to be rectified to realise the full benefit and improve journey times. To me we need the following to happen in addition to the Doncaster project:
  • Quadrupling of the track at Welwyn over the Digswell Viaduct and 2 new tunnels
  • Improvements to the Hertford loop diversionary route
  • Upgrade the current at grade junction with Hitchin to Cambridge line at Hitchin North to be fully grade separate enabling Cambridge trains to cross the main line
  • Provision of a new up side platform at Doncaster
  • Replacement of the flat crossing North of Newark with a flyover for the Nottingham to Lincoln line
  • A fourth track at Holgate Junction South of York station to relieve capacity problems/delays caused when additional services join from the West
  • Increasing the speed limit to 140 mph for when the new IEP trains are introduced
  • Reinstate and electrify the Leamside Line increasing capacity and providing diversionary routes
However, the trouble with removing a bottleneck is that they only magnify the lack of capacity at the next pinch-point, so there is a limit to what can be done.
In particular, the Digswell Viadcut and the 2 tunnels at its north end (Welwyn) is never going to be quadrupled; the cost of the disruption during rebuilding and the local opposition would be prohitive quite apart from the problem of simply 'displacement' of the bottleneck. Neither is 140mph running.

In fact, this is where the cost of a wholly independent new line (HS2) becomes cheaper than a chain of fixes to the existing network. Its hard for some to believe, but the costs of HS2 are lower than the dozen or two 'improvements' to the ECML and elsewhere. As for any speed benefit, that will always depend on exactly where the line is routed and so is the focus of most lobbying; the principal benefit of HS2 is not speed but capacity - by relieving the demand on the existing infrastructure then we free up paths for more local services, more freight and more new routes.

The North East can still see benefits already, though. The best end to end journey times may be no better than 20+ years ago, but there's more services running at higher speeds now. My preferred evening train is the 19:00 from Kings Cross and that's consistently getting me to Newcastle in 2:50hrs rather than the 3:10hrs before May (and there are several other faster services now too).
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Old June 30th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigchrisfgb View Post
I'm amazed that I haven't heard of that proposed new line in Doncaster. I have family there, in fact they live quite close to Barnby Dun which is in the southern part of that map. next time I go down I'll try to get more information on it from friends and family members down there who work on the railways.
There's a few more details about the project, how it might be constructed and what the new crossing might look on the project page.

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/10669.aspx
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Old July 4th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #63
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...-fife-14015850

Geordie Shore-inspired travellers making life unpleasant on trains.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 06:12 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXNewcastle View Post
In particular, the Digswell Viadcut and the 2 tunnels at its north end (Welwyn) is never going to be quadrupled; the cost of the disruption during rebuilding and the local opposition would be prohitive quite apart from the problem of simply 'displacement' of the bottleneck. Neither is 140mph running.

In fact, this is where the cost of a wholly independent new line (HS2) becomes cheaper than a chain of fixes to the existing network. Its hard for some to believe, but the costs of HS2 are lower than the dozen or two 'improvements' to the ECML and elsewhere. As for any speed benefit, that will always depend on exactly where the line is routed and so is the focus of most lobbying; the principal benefit of HS2 is not speed but capacity - by relieving the demand on the existing infrastructure then we free up paths for more local services, more freight and more new routes.

The North East can still see benefits already, though. The best end to end journey times may be no better than 20+ years ago, but there's more services running at higher speeds now. My preferred evening train is the 19:00 from Kings Cross and that's consistently getting me to Newcastle in 2:50hrs rather than the 3:10hrs before May (and there are several other faster services now too).
I agree with you and I realise, for instance, that the work at Welwyn is unrealistic.

The problem I have with HS2 is that it doesn't really help me get to London which is primarily what I need to do. I know you're talking about capacity, but what matters to me would be speed and HS2 isn't going to deliver that.

We will get better links to Birmingham for instance, which is good as it takes too long at present, but I think we need as many improvements to the ECML as we can get. We won't be able to eliminate all the pinch points but the more we do remove the easier it will be to manage and there would be speed benefits.

Out of interest, why do you think 140mph trains are unrealistic? Is it because it is not technically possible or is it a lack of will? Just I seem to recall 140mph running was what was originally planned back on the early 90s.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 10:12 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetStreak View Post
Out of interest, why do you think 140mph trains are unrealistic? Is it because it is not technically possible or is it a lack of will? Just I seem to recall 140mph running was what was originally planned back on the early 90s.
Yes, the 20+ year old electric trains on the East Coast were designed to run at up to 140mph, as were the more recent 'Pendolino's on the West Coast.
The problem is signalling.

The time required to stop a train with conventional lineside signals exceeds the ability to see those signals in the distance with adequate confidence to bring a train to a stop; the current 'traffic light' signals simply don't provide the visibility and distance - it takes a mile to stop at 125 on the level, it gets worse at higher speeds, downhill gradients, wet rails, heavier trains and poor visibility (which is very common!).
To test 140mph running, NR installed an additional element to the signals on the ECML on a stretch of test track between Stoke Tunnel (Grantham) and Tallington Jn (Peterborough) where the existing 4 aspects had another one added - a flashing green - indicating that 4 blocks ahead were clear, the flashing signals are still operating and can be seen today (but speeds are restricted to 125mph).

The similar attempt to increase speed on the West Coast 12 years ago assumed that the European ETRMS signalling system (used on TGV etc) would be used; this provides signalling and speed data directly into the cab. NR have been struggling with this, they failed miserably to even specify it for the West Coast, the cost was uncalculable and has only just been introduced to a few trains on the slow local Cambrian line (Wales).
ETRMS signalling in all UK trains running on our mainlines is an incomprehesibly massive re-signalling challenge, involving reworking all track detectors, all signals, all real-time rail movement computing, and of course, all trains' operational and comms controls.

This is yet another reason why a new and independent HighSpeed line can avoid those heritage-upgrade issues and, like HS1 in Kent, can operate at 180mph or more from the outset.

Last edited by DXNewcastle; July 4th, 2011 at 10:18 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 12:09 PM   #66
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I can confim that the much ballyhooed new at-seat service in First Class on East Coast could charitably be described as shite. The acme of the early evening service yesterday was a choice of a very limp ham or Philadephia sandwich (or rather, a third of a sandwich) in Tesco Value white bread and a bag (or rather a half-size bag) of plain crisps. I did chuckle at this further evidence of East Coast's swift regression to BR standards since renationalization. They should have branded it Traveler's Fare!
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Old July 7th, 2011, 01:09 AM   #67
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Interesting - I had the free sarnie on Saturday and it was pretty good. Better than say an M&S ready-prepared one. Didn't sample the crisps though.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 11:30 AM   #68
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Has there been any further news at all on the potential reopening of the line to Ashington for passenger traffic?
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Old July 9th, 2011, 10:31 AM   #69
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Historic Corbridge Station footbridge to get exact replica
by Paul Tully, The Journal, July 9th 2011



ONE of the earliest railway station footbridges in Britain – at Corbridge in the Tyne Valley – is to be replaced with an exact replica.

The cast-iron Corbridge Station footbridge, built in 1847, has been closed after coming to the end of its lifespan.

But now plans have been laid to have a modern steel replica in place by March 2012.

As Corbridge Station is a listed building, the replica bridge will need permission from Northumberland County Council.

Network Rail has commissioned structural engineers to devise the new bridge and the image shown here illustrates the similarity of design to the mid-19th-Century original.

Network Rail project manager James Hall said: “The old bridge is very much life-expired and no longer had the capacity for pedestrians to walk over it.

Corbridge Station was constructed in the 1830s as part of the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway which closely followed the Stockton & Darlington Railway and the famous pioneering engine, Stephenson’s Rocket, devised by George Stephenson of nearby Wylam.


Read More (Two Pages) - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1RawhGUow
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Old July 9th, 2011, 11:21 AM   #70
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It doesn't say what will happen to the old bridge - scrap (which would be a shame) or given perhaps to the NRM.
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Old July 9th, 2011, 09:29 PM   #71
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National Express 'got away scot-free'
over East Coast failure

BBC Newcastle, Tyne Website, 9th July 2011



MPs have criticised the Department for Transport for letting National Express "get away scot-free" when terminating its East Coast rail franchise in 2009.

The DfT rejected an offer of £150m from the company to quit the loss-making franchise by mutual consent. Instead it terminated the contract, receiving £120m from the company.

The report said the DfT judged giving up the extra cash would reduce the risk of other companies with loss-making franchises seeking similar deals.

But the DfT "undermined its position" by telling National Express any future franchise bids would be unaffected, the Commons public accounts committee said.

National Express, a coach and rail operator, had taken control of services between Edinburgh and London in 2007. But instead of paying the government £1.4bn over seven-and-a-half years, it paid just £120m as the contract was terminated after less than two years.

The rail line is now being operated by the government.


Read More - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14087578
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Old July 11th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #72
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Ooof, just found this map on google images, this would be my idea of heaven! No more sitting in traffic on the way to work. Would something like this be feasible?
I notice that it doesn't end at Newcastle and continues to Blyth?!! Is there any talk of a service like this?

image hosted on flickr


SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!
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Old July 11th, 2011, 10:54 PM   #73
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Would be a fantastic service that.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 11:16 PM   #74
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I would love to see it but I doubt it will ever happen, these routes have been mentioned for many years and in the current situation I don't see it happening for many more years if at all
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Old July 12th, 2011, 09:06 AM   #75
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"MPs told high speed rail may widen north south divide"
"London will accrue the majority of the benefits of the investment”


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-14113764
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Old July 25th, 2011, 10:18 AM   #76
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Network rail plans to slash signal work
by Graeme Whitfield, The Journal, July 25th 2011


NETWORK RAIL has started consulting on plans to drastically reduce the number of signal workers and signal boxes as part of a modernisation programme aimed at saving £250m a year and improving punctuality.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said the plans could see the number of signallers cut from 6,000 to 2,000 over the next 30 years.

There were 10,000 signal boxes at the start of the 20th Century but that number has been reduced to around 800 today, and Network Rail (NR) wants to introduce a new system, widely used in the United States and Europe, which could see the number of locations cut to just 14.

An NR spokesman said: “Network Rail is in the early stages of a proposal that could accelerate its signalling modernisation programme, delivering significant benefits in terms of more punctual services, more flexible services, better passenger information and savings approaching £250m per year.


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1T6Rc0aie
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Old August 4th, 2011, 11:19 AM   #77
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.
I thought about putting this on the 'HISTORIC' thread, but as it relates exclusively to RAIL, I put it on here . . .

Records of North East rail workers are now online
by Alastair Craig, The Journal, August 4th 2011



THE true grit of North East workers in establishing the great age of the railway is revealed in never-before-seen data released by historians.

A huge collection of employment information relating to the railways was published online yesterday.

The dossier, consisting of thousands of pages, includes employment details of British railway workers dating back to the invention of the locomotive in the early 19th Century.

Family history website Ancestry.co.uk said the Railway Employment Records 1833-1963 include details of almost two million workers, including the pay of train drivers in the late 19th Century, which was equivalent to £10,000 today.

The records of thousands of rail employees from across Durham, Northumberland and Tyneside are included.



One worker, Newcastle-based C Hough, was just 13 when he started on trains carrying cattle across the region.

He worked on the London and North Eastern Railway, a section of which went on to become the modern day East Coast Main Line linking Newcastle with the capital.

The collection is designed to allow people to search for details of the careers of family members spanning the generations.

The rail employment records can be accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1U2tqTQEU
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Old September 6th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #78
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Concerns at North East Rail Ticket office closure plans
by Brian Daniel, The Journal, September 6th 2011


TICKET offices at four train stations in the region could be axed as part of Government cuts, it emerged yesterday.

Stations in Northumberland, North Tyneside and Cleveland may be set to lose their offices, along with 670 others across England and Wales – one in four of the total number, under savings put forward to transport secretary Philip Hammond.

The proposals in the McNulty Report suggest that the offices at Alnmouth, Morpeth, Northumberland Park and Redcar Central be axed. Berwick station is not on the hit list.

The plans were last night attacked by rail user groups in Northumberland, while people at Morpeth station earlier in the day gave a mixed reaction.


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1X9jFWzc2
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Old September 6th, 2011, 11:54 AM   #79
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Northumberland Park? Could the editorial staff at the good old Journal have assumed that this station http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northum...ailway_station is in the north-east? Maybe they thought it was Northumberland Park Metro Station. What a shame that (a) they imagined that a report on National Rail provision would cover the Metro and (b) they seemingly never travel on the Metro and so would not realise that the system does not have ticket offices.

<sigh>
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Old September 9th, 2011, 10:18 AM   #80
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Government aims to make North East
a design centre for new trains

by William Green, The Journal, September 9th 2011


THE GOVERNMANT is aiming to make the North East a centre for designing new trains as well as building them, the Transport Secretary has said.

Japanese firm Hitachi has already committed to establishing a new European assembly and manufacturing plant in County Durham – set to create hundreds of direct jobs and thousands more in the supply chain – after winning a £4.5bn Government contract to build a fleet of new inter-city trains.

And Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has now revealed that the Department for Business (BIS) is working to persuade the company to build on its plant in Newton Aycliffe, by making the North East a centre for designing trains as well.

He said: “Once Hitachi establish their assembly plant here, the key to making that a sustained fixture of the UK economy will be eventually persuading them to tap into the UK’s undoubted expertise in train engineering and design to establish a design centre in the UK as well.

“And that would certainly be one of the objectives of my colleagues at BIS.”

Trains will begin rolling off the production line in 2016 and run on the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines. Some 530 carriages will be built, with 2,500 more peak-time seats every day on the East Coast Main Line.


Read More - http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...#ixzz1XRQC83Qf
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