The Woodhead Route

The Woodhead route provided a link between Sheffield and the Yorkshire coalfield with Manchester and latterly a power station near Widnes. Roughly midway between Sheffield and Manchester the railway plunged through the Pennines via the Woodhead Tunnels. There are three bores in all – the first two used by the Sheffield, Ashton-under Lyne, and Manchester Railway from its opening in 1845. This company combined with other local railways in 1847 to form the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, renamed the Great Central Railway in 1897. The 1923 amalgamations brought it into the LNER and later British Railways. Very heavy coal traffic and relatively heavy passenger traffic was carried from the early years and there were plans in 1936 to electrify the route but these were delayed by World War 2. Over time the old bores had degraded substantially and repairs would have been extremely costly so that the option to dig a single bore for the double track line became the obvious way ahead. The original bores had become seriously damaged by the powerful blast from the steam locomotives and the southern bore was deemed unrepairable.

When World War 2 was over work started on the construction of a single double track tunnel and this was completed in 1955 together with electrification of the route using the then “standard” power at 1500v DC from overhead wires. To operate the line two designs of locomotive were produced at Gorton Works, Manchester, The EM1 class (class 77) was produced to haul the heavy coal trains while the EM2 class 78 would handle the hourly express passenger services. Class 506 emus were produced for the Manchester (Piccadilly) Glossop – Hadfield suburban service.

Traffic was heavy for a good number of years but coal traffic began to fall and it was clear that this would cease in future years. An alternative route between Manchester and Sheffield via the Hope Valley was available and this would be difficult to close because it served several rather isolated villages. The fast passenger service was transferred to the Hope Valley line from 05-01-1970 and the remaining freight traffic soon followed. The Class EM1s were sold to the Netherlands Railways and served out a decent lifespan there. The EM2s needed a costly upgrade if they were to continue in use but this was rejected since it had been decided to convert the Manchester – Hadfield section to 25kV AC (the new standard system) with the Class 506 emus replaced initially by 303s from Glasgow and now by Class 323 emus. The line from Hadfield through the Tunnel was mothballed and in 2007 the tunnels were purchased by the National Grid to provide a route across the Pennines for major cables that was protected from severe weather conditions. This was achieved during the period 2008-12. Redundant track was lifted but much of the line east of the Tunnels remains in use by a daily Rotherham – Stockbridge freight service that serves a rather isolated steel plant.

Today one of the early Woodhead bores is felt to be in very fragile condition and will not be repaired. The other bores are used as a safe route for the cables. Proposals to use the tunnels for motor vehicle traffic as part of the Motorway network have been quietly dropped. There has been occasional mention of a possible suburban service at the Sheffield end but the population has not grown enough and the Sheffield station serving the Woodhead line is poorly located.

Iain Frew

                                                                                                                                
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British Timetable Review May 2019

Introduction

On 20 May 2018 took place the greatest change in the timetables of Britain’s railways at any one time in the 20+ years since privatisation. As readers will know, this did not go well because of ‘timetable melt down’ at both Govia Thameslink and at Northern. This led to a near complete freeze of changes for a year. Only in May 2019 has it been deemed practical to make further significant timetable changes including electrification in London, the West Midlands, the North-West and especially Scotland. The most extensive changes are again on Northern, Govia Thameslink and the electric services of London Northwestern / West Midlands Railway. Further deliveries of a large number of new types of trains will make timetabling quite volatile for the next 2 or 3 years at least.

c2c (emus)

On Saturdays and Sundays there is a new hourly train stopping only at Barking between Fenchurch Street and Benfleet. At the same time weekend trains from Fenchurch Street via Chafford Hundred which previously terminated at Southend Central continue to Shoeburyness.

Chiltern Railways (dmus and diesel loco-hauled)

Branch trains between Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon have mostly become extensions of trains from Marylebone to Banbury.

CrossCountry (dmus and HSTs)

On Mondays to Fridays three Manchester – Bristol Temple Meads trains are extended to Exeter St. Davids. 4 minutes has been added to the schedules of Nottingham – Birmingham – Cardiff trains for the future new station at Worcestershire Parkway.

East Midlands Trains (dmus and HSTs)

There are some shuffles of the timings of peak InterCity trains.

Great Western Railway (IETs, emus, dmus and diesel loco-hauled)

Great Western Railway (GWR) is preparing a largely new timetable from December 2019 to reflect electrification works from Didcot to Cardiff and to Chippenham. New hybrid IET trains already delivered have already replaced HSTs on express services from Paddington without change of timetable. In the meantime GWR have introduced one additional train from Cheltenham Spa to Paddington and back on Mondays to Fridays and added about 4 minutes to the schedules of most trains between Oxford and Worcester in anticipation of the opening of the new station at Worcestershire Parkway.

There are two changes in the West of England. After installation of extra signalling sections, on Mondays to Saturdays there are about half a dozen extra trains between Plymouth and Penzance filling in the gaps of the present irregular services. On the St. Ives branch the previous park and ride site at Lelant Saltings has been replaced by one at St. Erth. The halt at Lelant Saltings now has just a nominal service.

(Abellio) Greater Anglia (emus, dmus, and electric loco-hauled, plus possibly diesel)

Greater Anglia has ordered a completely new train fleet but none had entered service in time for the new timetable. On Mondays to Saturdays there are additional ‘Norwich in 90’ trains leaving Liverpool Street at 11 00 and 19 00 returning at 09 00 and 17 00. This has somewhat disrupted the pathing of other trains.

The timetable now reflects the temporary closure of the line between Reedham (Norfolk) and Great Yarmouth for engineering work. The few trains concerned now run via Acle. A new station in the Lea Valley at Meridian Water has replaced Angel Road. From September 2019 it will also be served by a half-hourly shuttle from Stratford all 7 days of the week. On Sundays the Liverpool Street – Southend Victoria trains which previously ran slow from Romford are now fast from Romford to Shenfield

London Northwestern / West Midlands Railway (emus, dmus and gas/flywheel)

In this timetable change the TOC has made widespread changes and improvements, mainly to electric services but diesel serves haven’t been forgotten. One important operational change was to link services north and south of Birmingham New Street on Mondays to Saturdays. The linkages aren’t symmetrical so one train per hour from Rugeley TV terminates at Birmingham International but returns to Liverpool. They offer through services from Euston, Watford Jn. and Milton Keynes to points beyond Birmingham such as Walsall, Wolverhampton and and Liverpool at fares often much cheaper than the faster express services of Virgin Trains.

Emu service via Stafford

The hourly service all 7 days from Euston via Nuneaton and other Trent Valley stations to Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe is diverted to run direct between Stafford and Crewe. On Sundays this service used to run via Northampton as well but now runs direct except on Sunday mornings. An alternative service for Stoke-on-Trent runs hourly from Birmingham via Wolverhampton, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent to Crewe with trains originating south of Birmingham on Mondays to Saturdays.

Emu service Euston to Milton Keynes, Northampton, Coventry and Birmingham

This is changed in detail with some extra peak short workings from Euston. On Sundays there is an extra hourly service from Euston to Birmingham via Northampton; south of Rugby this replaces the Euston – Crewe via Trent Valley service now running direct to Rugby.

Walsall and Cross-City

Walsall to Rugeley Trent Valley has been electrified but with little change of train service. Half of Cross-City emu services except evenings and Sundays used to terminate at Lichfield City; they now continue to Lichfield Trent Valley. The half-hourly evening service north of Birmingham to Lichfield has been increased to 4 trains per hour on Mondays to Fridays to Lichfield City and on Saturdays to Four Oaks.

Dmu services

There are various improvements to peak services through Birmingham Snow Hill. On Monday to Saturday evenings frequencies have been improved to very approximately half-hourly to Kidderminster, Whitlocks End and Dorridge. Between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury there are 2 changes. On Mondays to Saturdays there is a new hourly daytime semi-fast service from Birmingham New Street to Shrewsbury. On Sundays this TOC has replaced the 2-hourly TfW service local service between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury by an hourly service through from Birmingham New Street. Further south, on Mondays to Saturdays the services from Coventry to Nuneaton on one side and to Kenilworth and Leamington Spa on the other are linked into a through hourly service from Nuneaton to Leamington Spa.

London Overground (emus)

The timetable shows that the 7 days stopping service between Euston and Watford Jn. has been increased to quarter-hourly. In practice it is now 3 trains per hour very unevenly spaced. Because of delays in implementing new emus, the 7 days quarter-hourly service between Gospel Oak and Barking was only running half-hourly with extras at the beginning of the timetable period.

LNER (‘Azumas’, electric loco-hauled and HSTs)

Probably from 9 September the Monday to Saturday 2-hourly short working trains from Kings Cross to Newark Northgate are extended to Lincoln.

Northern (emus and dmus)

Northern continues to add services as transfer of additional units from other TOCs and electrification between Manchester, Bolton and Preston make possible.

Broadly east of the Pennines (diesel unless stated)

On Mondays to Saturdays most trains from Lincoln to Sheffield (on to Leeds) now run fast Worksop to Sheffield. The stops between are covered by an extra hourly shuttle Gainsborough Central – Sheffield

The following changes apply on Mondays to Saturdays. The gaps in the York via Selby to Hull service have been filled. The Sheffield – York direct service increased from 2 to 3 trains per day. There is an extra hourly off-peak semi-fast between Leeds and Harrogate, while the Huddersfield – Wakefield Kirkgate service is extended to Castleford. On Sundays the Leeds – ‘Dearne’ – Sheffield and the electric Leeds – Doncaster services increased form 2-hourly to hourly. There is an extra hourly Leeds – York stopping service enabling the Blackpool – York services to omit some intermediate stops.

On Mondays to Saturdays the half-hourly service from Hull to Bridlington continues to Scarborough hourly rather than every 1½ hours. On Sundays the hourly service to Bridlington continuing 2-hourly to Scarborough now runs through hourly. On Mondays to Saturdays there is an additional semi-fast from Newcastle to Carlisle operated as an extension of the Morpeth to Newcastle shuttle. Further south the service from Skipton to Lancaster and Morecambe is improved with changes in the ‘triangulation’ between Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth.

The North West (emus and dmus)

Electrification between Manchester, Bolton and Preston has enabled services to be rationalised, but presumably because of constraints of resources (human or rolling stock?), the new timetable only took full effect on 1 July. Northern’s new hourly service pattern between Manchester and Preston on Mondays to Saturdays is as follows:

Manchester Airport via Wigan to Preston and Lancaster, then 2 in 3 to Barrow-in-Furness and 1 in 3 to Windermere. The gap in hourly service between Lancaster and Barrow is filled by a train from Lancaster via Barrow and the Cumbrian Coast to Carlisle. These trains are diesel at least at present.

Manchester Airport via Bolton to Blackpool North skipping a few stops.

Hazel Grove via Bolton to Blackpool North skipping a few different stops.

Manchester Victoria to Preston all stations from Bolton.

Trains have barely been accelerated. In addition in the off-peak the Manchester Victoria – Bolton – Wigan Wallgate – Kirkby service has been split in two at Wigan Wallgate. Sunday services now follow a similar pattern without the Hazel Grove – Blackpool North train but the Manchester Victoria – Preston stopping train continuing to Blackpool North.

Other changes on Mondays to Saturdays are the re-extension of York – Preston services to Blackpool North, while one Leeds – Bradford Interchange – Manchester Victoria service continues hourly fast to Warrington Bank Quay and Chester. No doubt due to human resource constraints 3 hourly services have been withdrawn for the summer resuming in mid-September:

Manchester Piccadilly – Hazel Grove

Liverpool Lime Street – Wigan North Western

Manchester Victoria – Wigan Wallgate

ScotRail (HSTs, emus, dmus and diesel loco-hauled)

Under the EGIP (Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme) a number of lines have been electrified and with new trains services have been accelerated but without increases in service frequency, for example:

Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street High Level via Falkirk High

Edinburgh to Dunblane and Glasgow Queen Street High Level to Alloa in both cases via Sirling

Kirknewton via Shotts to Holytown for service from Edinburgh to Glasgow Central. However trains on this route still observe diesel timings

Frequency improvements can be expected when work at Glasgow Queen Street High Level is completed in 2020. Continued disruptive engineering works are in progress on the route from Aberdeen to Elgin and Inverness for completion in time for the December 2019 timetable change.

South Western Railway (emus and dmus)

South Western Railway took over the franchise from South West Trains in August 2017 with a commitment to making extensive changes. Most previously promised off-peak changes are unlikely to be implemented, but in May 2019 a number of improvements took place mainly to peak and shoulder-peak services. These particularly apply from Waterloo to the Portsmouth Direct line, towards Southampton and Bournemouth and in the suburban / outer suburban area of the Windsor Lines.

There are 2 sets of all-day changes to electric services. Almost all Portsmouth Direct express services join their equivalents on Sundays by calling at Godalming. On Mondays to Saturdays the Ascot – Aldershot – Guildford shuttle service is divided into 2 services. The trains from Ascot now terminate at Aldershot to connect into a new Guildford – Aldershot – Farnham shuttle. Finally for electric services, the Portsmouth Direct line has 3 extra Sunday fasts each way at 16 26, 17 26 and 18 26 from Portsmouth & Southsea to Waterloo and return, plus a single 18 10 from Poole to Waterloo restoring a 100-minute schedule from Bournemouth to Waterloo (a journey time customary when the line was electrified 50 years ago).

There are a large number of improvements to diesel services based at Salisbury. East of Salisbury the service from Waterloo on Monday to Saturday evenings increases to half-hourly. On Sundays there is an extra hourly service from Salisbury to Basingstoke and Reading from 07 52 to 15 52 for connections to Waterloo. West of Salisbury towards Yeovil Jn. there are two daytime ‘infill’ services on Mondays to Fridays to Yeovil Jn. and on Sundays two to Gillingham. There are various complex additions all days of the week on the services through from Waterloo via Salisbury to Westbury and variously on to Bristol Temple Meads, Frome, Castle Cary and Yeovil Pen Mill. There are now sufficient trains to make practical day trips from these stations to Waterloo.

TfL Rail (emus)

On Sundays the half-hourly short workings from Liverpool Street to Gidea Park continue to Shenfield as with the rest of the service. The Monday to Saturday TfL Rail half-hourly service from Paddington to Hayes & Harlington now runs on Sundays as well but not after mid-evening.

(Govia) Thameslink Railway (emus), Southern (emus and dmus) and Great Northern (emus)

Great Northern

On Mondays to Fridays with a few night exceptions, Hertford Loop trains have been withdrawn between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage for engineering work at Stevenage.

Thameslink

The process of ‘filling out’ Thameslink services continues with the following additions to the hourly pattern through the ‘core’ between St. Pancras International and Blackfriars:

Mondays to Fridays
Up from 15 to 16 trains per hour with the Cambridge – Brighton service up to half-hourly.

Saturdays
Up from 7 to 11 trains per hour:

Extra Cambridge – Brighton hourly

Extra Bedford – Gatwick Airport half-hourly

Kentish Town – Rainham up to half-hourly

Sundays
Up from 5 to 11 trains per hour:

Extra Cambridge – Gatwick Airport hourly (previously to Kings Cross)

Extra Bedford – Gatwick Airport hourly

Extra Bedford – Three Bridges hourly

Kentish Town – Rainham up to half-hourly

Luton – anti-clockwise via Sutton to Blackfriars extended to Luton

Blackfriars – clockwise via Sutton to Luton now extended from St. Albans but terminates at St. Albans. The oddity of the last 2 entries is that anti-clockwise trains run Luton to Luton but clockwise St. Albans to St. Albans

(First) TransPennine Express (emus and dmus)

Manchester to Edinburgh / Glasgow services via Carlisle serve Manchester Oxford Road again. From 9 September TPE will be running what is in principle a new 4-hourly service between Liverpool Lime Street and Glasgow Central 7 days. Intermediate stopping patterns and routing especially at both ends of the route are somewhat irregular. In various tables extensions are shown of a few trains north of Newcastle to Edinburgh. None are shown in operator publicity and have yet to start.

Transport for Wales (dmus and diesel loco-hauled)

A new service generally hourly has started between Liverpool Lime Street, Runcorn and Chester with odd extensions to Wrexham General.

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Stadler Trams and Trains

The tram and train manufacturer, Stadler, has appeared many times in our news reports as the supplier of a new batch of stock for light railways in many locations across the world. The company has its headquarters in the Swiss town of Bussnang, in Thurgau Canton in the far north of Switzerland. The town has a population of a little over 2,000 and therefore cannot be the location of the factories in which its wide range of light rail, tram:train, and heavy rail multiple units are built. In fact Stadler has factories or assembly plants in many locations across the world and with an eye for business production facilities are opened up in countries where new metros or light railways are planned. In mid 2019 such factories exist in Poland, Hungary, Belarus, and Spain. The company took over a factory complex in Valencia, Spain, and vehicles for the UK are being assembled there. In India, where smog is an increasing dangerous problem, new Metros are to be built in the cities of Amaravat and Visakhapatnam, and anticipating possible orders for trains for one or both of these new metros Stadler is planning to built an assembly plant in Andhra Pradesh. This will be well placed to handle orders from the Indian sub-continent and nations across the Pacific. A plant in the USA is being considered to meet that nation’s requirement that a large proportion of manufactured items must include local content.

Stadler exhibited at the recent Railtex exhibition in the NEC in Solihull, West Midlands. There were three categories of vehicle about which there was information being displayed at their stand – different types of Low Floor LRV – Citylink tram:trains – and various types of emu for use on suburban railway networks or on new Metro lines. The company has produced attractive leaflets describing each of these vehicles with information about orders from specific customers.

Leaflets gave information about three models of low-floor LRV produced by the company. In 2013 Stern and Hafferl, the Austrian light railway operator, ordered eleven metre gauge five-segment LRVs for use in the city of Gmunden. In many respects these trams are similar to the six standard gauge five-section LRVs ordered for the Croydon Tramlink network in 2011 with repeat orders for four LRVs in 2013, and two more in 2015. Both have a stainless steel body, with four doors on each side, 75 and 72 seats respectively, and standing room for 100 or 134 respectively. The higher number of standing passengers in the Croydon LRVs reflects the slightly wider bodies of the standard gauge LRVs compared with the metre gauge Gmunden vehicles. Both types take power at 750 V DC while the top operating speed is 70km/hour (Gmunden) or 80km/hour (Croydon).

A third type of Low-floor LRV was included in the leaflets – the seven-section LRVs of which nine were ordered in January 2018 for use in Lugano, Switzerland. In many respects these metre gauge LRVs which will be delivered from the Valencia factory in 2020, are similar to the Croydon trams. The stainless steel bodies will have 70 seats and standing space for 228 passengers. Power will be taken at 1200 V DC through a pantograph. These long LRVs will be carried on four bogies and there will be 8 double doors on each side to ensure rapid loading and unloading at stops.

Three types of tram:train were highlighted on the Railtex stand. The oldest version was the Citylink tram for use on the commuter rail network around Chemnitz in Germany, eight being ordered in August 2012, with a further four ordered in July 2015. These standard gauge three section trams operate on power at 750 V DC taken via a pantograph, with diesel-electric power pack
for operation on non-electrified branches. These tram:trains have 87 seats and have standing room for 141. They can attain a top speed of 100 km/hour.

Although tram:trains have operated on various systems in Europe, the UK’s first venture into the type of vehicle is in Sheffield. The South Yorkshire PTE ordered seven tram:trains in June 2013 with delivery in 2017. They were to provide vehicles that could operate over BR metals through Rotherham and onwards to a new shopping centre, and also to add a little to the overstretched fleet on the exiting Supertram network. They can take power through a pantograph at 750 V DC on the existing Supertram network, or at 25kV AC when on British Railways tracks. A top speed of 100 km/hour can be attained. These vehicles provide 96 seats with standing room for 140. The bodies are made with stainless steel and sadly two of these tram:trains have been involved in significant accidents. One has sustained severe damage and has had to be returned to the manufacturer where repairs may be possible. The other was less badly damaged and will be repaired locally.

The third type of tram:train lies in the future. The Wales and Borders franchise to operate heavy rail services throughout Wales was awarded in 2018 to the Keolis Amey Wales consortium which has decided to invest heavily in local rail services. They have ordered 36 three segment Citylink tram:trains and also 35 “Flirt” trains. The tram:trains will operate on 25 kV AC as well as battery power enabling which will avoid the need for providing costly overhead power wire equipment on quieter sections of the routes. The tram:trains will have the usual stainless steel bodies, will seat 130, and provide standing room for 256 passengers. There will be three double doors on each side of the tram:train and hopefully this will be sufficient when a service is filled to maximum capacity. The top speed for these tram:trains is 100 km/hour. These vehicles will take over services along the South Wales Valleys and will transform the level and style of service that exists at present.

There remains for consideration multiple units for use on standard gauge suburban railways, and one oddity – a medium gauge underground railway with an extremely restricted tunnel diameter.
First let us look at the WINK multiple units ordered by the Netherlands Railways. The eighteen two-car trains are designed for this era when there is concern for the future of the planet and when pollution is something that we are starting to realise is damaging the fabric of our world. These trains will operate at 1500 V DC taken from an overhead wire, or from engines powered by diesel fuel or by hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). There is a longer term plan to replace these diesel or HVO powered engines by batteries to make the WINK units zero emission trains. They are likely to be introduced into service in 2020 and will seat 135 (151 if tip-up seats are included) people. They will reach a speed of 140 km/hour and there will be three wide doors on each side.

The largest order received by Stadler in recent years – for 52 four car emus was received in February 2017 from Merseytravel to replace the entire fleet operating of Liverpool’s Northern Line and between Liverpool and destinations in the Wirral. These services are among the best performing local services in the UK with high levels of customer satisfaction but the trains are now elderly and new trains are the only sensible answer. Platforms throughout the network are a standard height so these low floor emus are able to achieve level boarding for passengers. The trains will be able to be retrofitted for ERTMS and for handling a power supply at 25 kV AC when appropriate. At present power at 750 V DC is taken from a third rail. They will have batteries to allow movement in depots etc where there is no third rail. The new trains are expected to enter service during 2019-20 and each train will seat 182 people, plus 8 tip-up seats. They will have a top speed of 120 km/hour. These new trains will transform travel on what has been a group of lines that has always achieved high standards.

Now what is the odd sounding last in our list of current Stadler contracts? It is a line well known to myself – the 4’0” gauge Glasgow Subway that follows a roughly circular course between the city centre and inner suburbs to the west of the city. The tunnels are small in diameter so careful planning was necessary to produce a train that would fit in the tunnels and which would provide space inside the coaches for a tallish passenger. Originally the first trains were hauled around the route by gripping a moving cable but the route was later electrified using tramcar motors. The original stock was eventually replaced by the present fleet and the time has come for a third fleet to take over services on what is the third oldest underground railway in the world. Seventeen Metro trains have been ordered and each comprises two half-trains coupled together to form what looks like a four car train, the outer coaches being somewhat longer than the two middle coaches. Each complete train will have 104 seats plus 8 tip-up seats, and space for 199 standees. It must be stressed that all the train/LRV types detailed so far have assumed that standing passengers will be 4 per square metre. On the Glasgow Subway, on which travel times will be very short, the number quoted is on the basis of 6 standees per square metre. Watch out! Co-ordinate your breathing! More seriously, there will be a powerful ventilation system. The complete train will have four coaches so that the complete train can negotiate the relatively sharp curves along the route. A three coach train, as with the present fleet, would have longer coaches which would have to be slightly narrower to fit along the route. There will be six double doors per train side to allow rapid loading and unloading.

The Subway had a charmed life in the later part of the 20th century with the tunnel walls crumbling and all the equipment on the trains and at the Govan Depot out of date. Many of the suburbs on the south side of the city had seen a sharp decline in population and whole areas had seen the demolition of virtually all of the buildings. Govan Parish Church, a truly historic ancient building, stood alone with all other nearby buildings swept away. Today new building has brought people back to these areas and the Subway is proving to be the pollution-free way to travel. The new trains should be introduced during 2020 and will have a top speed of 58 km/hour although there will not be many places where this can be achieved.

Iain Frew

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OBITUARY: Alex Kerr

The annual exchange of greetings cards over Christmastide has one sad but none-the-less helpful result. This is when relatives get in touch to inform the sender that unfortunately the intended recipient had passed away during the previous months. I received a card from Alex’s daughter Fiona just before Christmas telling me that Alex had died suddenly at home on 25 February 2018 and that his wife Margaret had had a severe stroke on the following day. Alex was a good friend and co-worker during the late 1950s and early 1960s when I was undertaking a piece of research. He was the head technician in the laboratory complex in Glasgow where I worked. But he was more than a brilliant technician – he was an expert in the operation of the network of railways around Glasgow (he lived in Kirkhill) and also of the Clyde steamer fleet that used to take Glaswegians “doon the watter” to the many resorts sprinkled along the Clyde estuary. Alex was a good photographer and many of the Clyde steamer views in this Society’s “Electrail Slides” range are from shots taken by Alex. Alex and Fiona visited the Society’s stand at Model Rail Scotland most years and was pleased to see that copies of his slides were still a draw for many customers.
Iain Frew, December 2018


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London Underground Route Diagrams

A large number of route maps of the LUL network exist, some produced by LUL itself and others by commercial firms wanting to show where their premises are in relation to LUL stations. In addition to the conventional diagrammatic route map there is now a similar map with highlighted sections that are in tunnels. This is designed to help passengers who are frightened of being in a confined space to find a more comfortable route. An extremely helpful map highlights stations that have a public toilet in the station or very close by, and this could be very useful if the passenger has made use of the map showing stations that include a coffee shop in or adjacent to the station.
There are maps showing how long it takes to get between stations on foot, on a bike, and using a scooter. Another map shows the location of the major theatres and their proximity to stations. A similar map shows where the small theatres or meeting venues are located. For those who feel hungry at unsocial hours McDonald’s have produced a map to show the location of those restaurants that are open until midnight, or throughout the whole 24 hours. A geographically correct map has been produced in which the various lines are so crowded together in the central areas that it is virtually impossible to identify all the stations – hence the reason for the usual diagrammatic map in which a useful amount of space has been created for downtown areas.. A fashion orientated map has been produced and shows altered station names such as Picca-Twiggy Circus with some connections with the fashion industry. A similar map showing a Shakespeare theme has been produced jointly by the Globe Theatre and TfL. Each Christmas TfL produces a map highlighting the location of festive attractions.

Iain Frew

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British Timetable Review – December 2016

BRITISH TIMETABLE REVIEW –  December 2016
by Alan de Burton

Overview and Timetable Format

Unless otherwise specified, the text refers to Monday to Saturday timetables. This is very much a ‘marking time’ timetable before major changes in many parts of the country later in 2017 based on either new trains or infrastructure improvements. The main landmark this time has been the extension by Chiltern Trains of their service from Marylebone to Oxford Parkway on to Oxford.

C2c (emus)

C2c’s ‘start again’ timetable in December 2015 hadn’t worked well on Monday to Friday peaks and has been subject to frequent changes. In January 2017 they implemented another version this time bolstered by some extra rolling stock.

Cross Country (dmus and a few HSTs)

Completion of the flyover at Norton Bridge north of Stafford has enabled acceleration of trains from Bournemouth to Manchester by about 10 minutes.

Great Western (HSTs, dmus and diesel loco-hauled sleepers)

From September 2016, a few peak dmu services between Paddington and Greenford were diverted to Hayes & Harlington as emus and replaced by shuttles between West Ealing and Greenford. This arrangement now applies for the full working day.

Merseyrail (all emus)

Although not shown in the published timetable, engineering works are interrupting Wirral Line services under the Mersey between January and June 2017. At some periods trains are terminating at Birkenhead Central or North, at other times only the Loop under Liverpool is closed and trains are terminating at James Street.

ScotRail (emus, dmus and diesel loco-hauled)

The new station at Edinburgh Gateway has opened. On Mondays to Saturdays, half the trains that used to call at South Gyle now call here instead. However, the hourly faster trains from Edinburgh to Perth and to Dundee now call as well. The only other improvements of note are the through early morning trains on the Highland Main Line at 05 08 from Perth to Inverness and at 05 36 from Inverness to Edinburgh.

South West Trains (emus and dmus)

In December 2016 there were further improvements to the additional diesel services west of Salisbury which commenced in December 2015. Notable is a new Sunday train at 18 04 from Frome to Waterloo as an extension of a train previously starting at Salisbury. There are various other minor improvements.

TransPennine Express (dmus and emus)

The present hourly service 7 days between York and Newcastle has been supplemented by an extra train every 2 hours all 7 days, although on Mondays to Fridays there are some gaps. Pathing difficulties impose some curious stopping patterns, and most of the extra trains on Mondays to Saturdays run northbound non-stop from York to Durham.

Virgin Trains East Coast (electric loco-hauled and diesel HST)

This time there are some extra off-interval trains on Saturdays and Sundays between Kings Cross and mainly Leeds.

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Farewell to Friends

Two good friends of the Society died recently and this note acknowledges the help that they gave over many years.
Brian Martin Longworth was born in Toronto to Scottish parents but soon the family returned to Scotland and Brian spent the rest of his life in the Glasgow area.    He worked for Glasgow Corporation’s Transport Department at the Bath Street headquarters and came to know just about everything about the extensive tramway network, and in more recent years about the complex suburban railway network.    Much of the Scottish news in our Journal came indirectly from Brian.    He died on 24 September 2016 – just 8 hours short of his 73rd birthday – from a brain tumour.   He had no living relatives and regarded the enthusiast railway and tramway bodies as his family.    Well over 100 attended his funeral on 06 October 2016 and at least six ERS members were present.   Many of those present had attended Glasgow’s Hutcheson’s Grammar School, including Brian, so that the reception at times became almost a school FP gathering complete with the singing of the school song!

Ernest Walker was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father had been born and brought up but he moved to a job in Glasgow so that Ernie attended Hutcheson’s Grammar School then Glasgow University where he studied mathematics and accountancy.     He moved to the Toronto area soon after the completion of his studies becoming a prominent accountant in the Barrie area, moving to Waterloo after retirement.    Ernie was the source of much of the Canadian news material that appeared in the Journal over a period of over 40 years.    His funeral service was held in a Presbyterian Church in Waterloo and was conducted by his daughter Leslie, until recently one of a team of ministers at the Scots Kirk in Calgary.
Iain Frew.

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British Timetable Review – May 2016

BRITISH TIMETABLE REVIEW –  May 2016
by Alan de Burton

Overview and Timetable Format

Unless otherwise specified, the text refers to Monday to Saturday timetables. Major changes this time are limited to unplanned temporary line closures between Appleby and Carlisle and Folkestone and Dover because of earthworks failures, planned electrification works between Gospel Oak and Barking, through the Severn Tunnel and at Glasgow Queen Street High Level, and finally reconstruction at London Bridge for Thameslink.

The December 2015 issue appeared at one time to be the last for a complete Network Rail paper timetable. Middleton Press initially decided to publish no more than the British section of the European timetable (previously ‘Cook’s’) because of poor data quality. After pressure on Network Rail from the regulators Middleton Press was finally able to publish the May 2016 timetable in usual format at the end of August. I compiled much of this summary originally from a combination of operator publicity backed up by timetable articles published in the relevant railway magazines. The eventual ‘May’ issue is in 2 volumes of enormous bulk, partly because it includes major duplication or triplication of tables for the engineering work already mentioned.

Abellio Greater Anglia (emus, dmus, electric loco-hauled and diesel loco-hauled)

In recent years the company has operated summer Saturday extras between Norwich and Great Yarmouth; this year they run on Mondays to Fridays as well. A new station has opened at Lea Bridge, on the line between Tottenham Hale and Stratford.

Arriva Trains Wales (dmus and some diesel loco-hauled)

Although too late for any publicity, the company was able to extend its Monday to Saturday trains from Llandudno to Manchester Piccadilly on to Manchester Airport at off-peak times on Mondays to Fridays and all day on Saturdays. Since the timetable only shows the extension by footnote, it doesn’t actually give departure times from Manchester Airport.

Chiltern Trains (dmus and some diesel loco-hauled)

There is the usual array of minor changes.

C2c (emus)

C2c’s ‘start again’ timetable on Mondays to Fridays introduced in December 2015 hasn’t worked well and has been subject to frequent changes. They have promised a new timetable in December 2016 and I won’t comment further till then.

East Midlands Trains (HSTs and dmus)

The service from Matlock to Nottingham already extended to Newark (Castle) on Mondays to Fridays has been extended on Saturdays too.

Great Western (HSTs, dmus and diesel loco-hauled sleepers)

The timetable is largely ‘marking time’ while electrification work is in progress. From September, a few peak dmu services between Paddington and Greenford will be diverted to Hayes & Harlington as emus and replaced by shuttles between West Ealing and Greenford. There are stock changes on Paddington to Oxford fast services between HSTs and class 165 / 166 and class 180 dmus to better balance train capacity against train loadings.

Stops at Didcot on Paddington to Bristol and South Wales services have been shuffled somewhat. GWR have supplemented the basically hourly Sunday service from Paddington to Bristol by a number of off-interval extra trains.

The route through the Severn Tunnel will be closed between 12 September and 23 October for electrification work. Paddington – Swansea trains will be diverted via Gloucester adding 30 – 40 minutes to the journey. The additional Monday to Friday service from Paddington to Cardiff will be cut short at Bristol Parkway. Trains from Portsmouth Harbour and Taunton to Cardiff will be diverted to Bristol Parkway for bus connections to Newport.

London Overground (emus and dmus)

The line between Gospel Oak and Barking is closed for most of the timetable period for electrification works. East London services after 22 00 in the evening have been improved on Mondays to Saturdays.

Northern Trains (emus, dmus and diesel loco-hauled)

Remapping of franchises between TransPennine and Northern took place on on 1 April 2016. Northern now have full responsibility for trains from Manchester to Blackpool, Barrow-in-Furness and Windermere, although at first continuing to hire stock from TransPennine Express. Stock changes have led to significant detailed alterations to train services.

A new station opened at Kirkstall Forge on 19 June between Leeds and the new station at Apperley Bridge itself opened at the previous timetable change. However, Kirkstall Forge is only served hourly, mainly by Ilkley trains. The Settle & Carlisle line between Appleby and Carlisle has been closed since February because of a serious embankment slip, and will remain closed at the Carlisle end for the rest of this timetable period. The timetable book shows most services extended from Appleby as far as Armathwaite from 1 August although the extension actually occurred on 27 June.

ScotRail (emus, dmus and diesel loco-hauled)

There were major changes to services from 20 March 2016 till 8 August 2016 when the High Level platforms at Glasgow Queen Street were closed for major engineering work. Services from Edinburgh via Falkirk, Stirling and the West Highland Line were diverted to the Low Level platforms at Glasgow Queen Street, while services from Inverness and Aberdeen were diverted to Glasgow Central.

Some of the changes were in effect permanent. On Mondays to Saturdays, electric services via Glasgow Queen Street Low Level and to a lesser extent via Glasgow Central Low Level were extensively revised in detail, for example in stopping patterns and service linkages across central Glasgow. The Monday to Saturday service from Cumbernauld via reversal at Springburn through to Dalmuir was extended to Dumbarton Central. In the evenings an extra half-hourly service from Airdrie to Dalmuir has enabled the Edinburgh – Helensburgh services to be speeded up by omitting many wayside stops.

Southeastern (emus)

With the previous timetable change, a new station west of the old replaced the previous station at Rochester. However, various essentially temporary timetable changes had to be made pending resignalling which took place at Easter 2016. Further changes took place then including reversal of a few peak trains at Sole Street and at Rainham (Kent) for the first time.

During the 2015 Christmas period, the line between Folkestone Central and Dover was severed by a serious collapse of the sea wall which closed the line for over 8 months. The main change was to terminate all trains from the Ashford direction at Folkestone Central and introduce temporary service patterns between Dover and Ramsgate. While Network Rail restored service from 5 September, this was rather ahead of publicity which shows the blockage extending till December.

Major engineering works related to the Thameslink project took place in the London Bridge area over the August Bank Holiday period. All the comments hereafter refer to the service after the Bank Holiday. Trains from Cannon Street are now unable to stop at London Bridge but trains from Charing Cross resumed calling except in the Down direction in the morning peak and in the Up direction in the evening peak. While the beginning of the blockage in January 2015 had surprisingly little impact on service structures, Southeastern have taken the opportunity to make much more extensive changes and improvements including the use of some 12-car suburban services. They intend this timetable to last until final Thameslink services are implemented probably in 2018.

There are varying changes on the routes to Dartford and beyond. Some morning peak trains run fast against peak flow. There are changes in the peaks to route linkages east and west of Dartford. On Sunday mornings the stopping service starting at Gravesend commences 2 hours earlier. Most stations on the line via Woolwich now have a peak flow service to and from Charing Cross. The Sidcup line benefits in 2 ways; on Mondays to Saturdays the reduction in evening services from 4 to 2 trains per hour takes place 2 hours later, while the 4 trains per hour service on Saturday mornings starts 2 hours earlier.

Previously the 4 trains per hour off-peak Hayes service was divided 2 and 2 between Charing Cross and Cannon Street. It now all runs from Charing Cross, except on Sundays when it all runs from Cannon Street. The Bromley North service starts an hour earlier on Mondays to Fridays and ends an hour later on Mondays to Saturdays; Sundridge Park has lost from an increase in the peak service from 3 to about 4 trains per hour since it is then skipped by some trains against peak flow. The off-peak Sevenoaks service runs from Charing Cross rather than Cannon Street on Mondays to Saturdays, but as with Hayes continues to serve Cannon Street on Sundays. The late evening frequency break on Mondays to Saturdays is now 1½ hours later.

The Victoria – Orpington 15 minute stopping service continues for another 3 hours almost to end of service on Mondays to Saturdays. The Medway Valley line runs an hour later on Sundays, when there are also a couple of extra trains between Faversham and Canterbury East. Finally the off-peak Cannon Street  – Tunbridge Wells service on Mondays to Saturdays is rerouted to run from Charing Cross.

South West Trains (emus and dmus)

There have been some further improvements to diesel services around Yeovil. South West Trains operated 2 return workings between Yeovil Junction and Weymouth with a reversal at Pen Mill on summer Saturdays. Some of the recently introduced extra Sunday evening fast trains from Waterloo to Salisbury call additionally at Andover.

Virgin Trains East Coast (electric loco-hauled and diesel HST)

On Mondays to Fridays most of the daytime trains from Kings Cross just to Newcastle have been extended to Edinburgh leaving only about 3 gaps in a 2 trains per hour service.

Virgin Trains (i.e. West Coast) (emu and dmu)

The ‘flagship’ Monday to Friday 16 30 from Euston to Glasgow in 4h 08m now follows the normal stopping pattern and takes 4h 31m. There are a number of shuffles and extra intermediate stops at Rugby and the Trent Valley stations and post evening peak on Fridays.

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Scottish Transport 66  –  2014 Edition

Scottish Transport 66 is the 2014 edition of the STTS’s annual magazine. It comprises 48 A5 pages with card covers, and includes a variety of well illustrated articles covering tram, bus, and railway topics. Continue reading

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Scottish Transport 67 – 2015 Edition

The annual magazine of the Scottish Tramway and Transport Society was published in September 2015 and contains as usual a selection of articles covering a wide range of transport modes. Continue reading

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