12:08 - Redux

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Devvy, Oct 24, 2018.

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  1. QTXAdsy That Fifer

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    Interesting to see that we have another A4, White Rose, making it into preservation. I have actually one story of a man I knew who works with the SRPS who almost bought Kingfisher at Aberdeen Ferryhill just when John Cameron bought Union of South Africa but pull out at the last minute for personal reasons, he does though regret not getting her though knowing that it circumstances weren't all that bad.. Quite a thought that IOTL we could've had two A4's working during those early preservation days and no doubt Kingfisher would be then be part of the SRPS fleet in the long-term.

    Wonder how many A4's have survived into preservation and where each of them have ended up ITTL? I get the feeling that the LNER will still have a number of locomotives that have survived here rather than just being a last member of the class that represents them E.G Flying Scotsman and Great Marquess. I'd like the idea of another A3 that survives, maybe Papyrus? That was one of the Scottish built A3's that that would no doubt find itself in the SRPS collection if it had happened to survive the scrapper's torch.
     
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  2. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    Wow! Northern popular with passengers! This really is an alternative universe! :closedeyesmile:

    Good update. Been missing this.
     
  3. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    I think many more "more modern" steam locomotives survived. A slower transition during the 50s/60s to electric, and also diesel means that more steam will inevitably continue being used. My thoughts were that steam would predominately survive on longer distance journeys; no need to turn locomotives around, and less performance penalty due to slower acceleration rates. I can definitely see a longer life for A4 and A3 locomotives on the ECML before being switched to diesel traction for the London-Scotland slog (London-West Yorkshire converted to Pullman high speed operations in the 1980s). So more A4 and A3 locomotives in preservation, although here obviously Northern has renamed them to Red Rose and White Rose for local publicity reasons given the counties it serves.

    Yep. It's easier to be popular when you only have one line with a fork at one end to deal with, and control over the infrastructure! No need to think about other for timetabling changes (and indeed little requirement to even change the timetable given the segregated line), owning and operating the trains themselves (no need to pay to the train leasing companies) and no track/train segregation.

    Small and simple to run in concept, with a clear focus on relationship with the subsidy payers and generating further passenger revenues through off-track business ventures.
     
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  4. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    No doubt there will be a loud grinding noise coming from the purist enthusiasts. ;)

    Were I them, I would contract out track maintenance and operation (signals etc.) to BR. They, after all, have the experience in this area. Btw, what are the other two privatised areas?
     
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  5. Swede Tech-priest

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    Footnote 6 is essential for building a strong railway company, and isn't it also similar to how London's underground and NYC's subways etc were built?

    I like this alternate privatisation. Reminds me of a private line near Elsinore that was never nationalised iirc, but different in scale of course. I especially like how it mentions not all the ones spun of staying spun of (thanks to it all being long-term leases ).
     
  6. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Definitely, but a preserved loco is better then non-preserved even if the name is changed! :)

    Undoubtedly. The lines are in the private sector, and Northern have control over the infrastructure. However, they'll be contracting out upgrade projects to tender as well as most maintenance; a railway company of the size it is isn't going to be able to afford the kind of specialisation required to economically look after the tracks. I could see them doing some smaller maintenance themselves. But this outsourcing of infrastructure maintenance, and it's associated costs will be one of the things pushing them towards resignalling the line and slashing maintenance costs (and the cynical might say a private railway looking to eliminate drivers from the train and increase profits at the risk of safety!).

    I spent a good bit of time looking for possible small rail networks which served at least some population areas, were not part of national networks (ie. basically not used for Intercity services), and could be completely separated. I came up with a few, but the only ones I could see as being long term sustainable are:
    1) "Northern" as we've just discussed.
    2) C2C (ie. Essex Thamesside) out of Fenchurch Street. The Thames ports would be a nice extra bit of financial income with freight trains out via Barking.
    3) "Network Ayrshire" (undecided on the name), basically the Ayrshire Coast Line out of Glasgow Central dedicated platforms via Paisely and as far as Ayr. Remember from a long time ago, the OTL Inverclyde Line got hived off as part of the Glasgow Electrics Transclyde Line (Glasgow's urban rail network)

    In part, the Metropolitan Line/Railway was the big one for this (much of it now the Beck Line in this TL), with a lot of far north west London built as "Metro-Land" for the centre. No idea about NYC but it's likely for the same reasons; as people become wealthy, they want to move out to leafy suburbs but still commute in for their well paid job. It's also how all the private railways have worked in Japan; almost all of them own shopping centres or high end department stores built either on top of or adjacent to their railway stations, driving more passengers on their trains.

    Is that the Hornbaek Line (I say after much googling to find a private railway out of Helsingor!)? Subject to what I wrote above about the three remaining private lines, some got leased and failed once they found that BR had already made as many efficiency savings as possible without destroying the service completely (comparable to OTL 1990s); they've therefore invested in loss making services which they'll either run in to the ground to lose money or just terminate their lease, resulting in ownership and operation returning to British Rail. It'll "prove" that BR is the only real viable operation for the large majority of the country (especially where you want a national network serving the town), privatisation isn't feasible except in a couple of places. Privatisation can only work on the already profitable areas of the network, and privatising those means terminating cross-subsidisation of the unprofitable areas.
     
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  7. Swede Tech-priest

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    Hornbæk's the one I ment, yes. I got the island right at least, I hope?
     
  8. Threadmarks: 1995-P300

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    1995 - "Pullman the Second", by Dick Barnson

    [​IMG]
    Concept artwork for the Pullman-2 train

    By 1995, the original Pullman trains had completed almost 15 years of operation, covering the tracks from London to Liverpool or Leeds repeatedly and reliably for that time. Over the course of time, the new Britannia Airport had opened, and Nottingham station had to be expanded slightly due to the increase in passengers; largely due to the expansion in commuter traffic to London, something which had been unforeseen by British Rail, but was a welcome benefit. Although little looked like changing at the southern end of the route, despite the closeby terminii of the high speed routes to the north and to Europe, yet unconnected, to the north things were a little different. The Government was making some noise about extending the Pullman further north, using as much existing infrastructure as possible, and connecting Newcastle to the Pullman network, whilst also connecting Manchester and Leeds more directly to allow a Pullman regional express to operate. This would undoubtedly require new trains to operate, and the existing trains were starting to get to the point of requiring a large overhaul, renovation and heavy maintenance.

    British Rail decided to embark upon a new trainset, and thus be able to re-engineer the train to suit 15 years of experience in running the Pullman Line, whilst also being designed specifically for the route is was operating on; the original Pullman trains had been designed in an ill-fated attempt to run on the traditional British Rail network, with tighter curves and smaller loading gauge. This led to the problems which eventually meant Pullman trains would operate on a dedicated set of lines.

    The new trains were to do away with all that as far as possible. They would be designed in the hope that the two stretches of high speed line might later be connected together, allowing services from the north of England directly to Europe. The loading gauge could be larger, as they would only be operating on the dedicated network, although some clearance work would be required on the London approach where the West Coast Route fast tracks had been switched to Pullman services, as well as some platforms. Finally, the traction equipment could be upgraded; experience had shown that acceleration was key to fast services and delay recovery, particularly in the north of England where many stations lay in close proximity to each other (in contrast to the line south from Nottingham).

    A new testing train was built, dubbed the P300, indicating the desired increased design top speed of the new Pullman train at 300km/h. It emulated several Japanese technologies in order to increase speeds; a testament to an information sharing programme with the West Japan Railway Company in the mid-1990s. Realistically, desires were to hit 280km/h reliably and other increased metrics, rather then a higher headline speed. Newer three-phase asynchronous AC motors were installed in the P300, which were designed to be robust, less expensive to maintain and crucially more powerful then it's predecessors, and the twelve motors together gave the P300 train a whopping 14.4MW power output (*1).

    [​IMG]
    The Win350 test train in Japan, in testing just before the P300.

    The four intermediate coaches, specially built for the trial were filled with sensors and sat upon a new design of articulated bogie, designed for a smoother ride. The coaches themselves - now wider at 2.9m (*2) - used a new aluminium honeycomb panel structure, given British Rail's desire to thoroughly test new technologies again. This time however, they would be evolutionary instead of revolutionary - having learnt the lessons from the earlier APT/Pullman-1 project. One of the most notable features by the public was the increased streamlining of the train along the entire profile, and such refinements reduced the power required accordingly, better slicing through the air rather then against it.

    During testing, the P300 train logged thousands of miles on daily runs up and down the Pullman route, often during the less busy early afternoon period. Acceleration was much improved, and work British Rail had done over the years on the Pullman route (making sure the entire trackwork was continuously welded rail for a smoother ride, as well as superelevation on the curves, particularly between Britannia Airport and Nottingham which was the longest stretch between stations) allowed the P300 to log a record speed for the Pullman network of 322km/h (*3) during a special overnight run when no other trains were operating.

    -------------------------
    (*1) Calculated on 3 motored bogies (2 under the locomotive, and 1 on the closest bogie of the adjacent carriage) at each end of the train, so 12 motored axles, each with a 1.2MW motor which seems right for the time. The OTL Class 91 locomotive, dating from late 1980s early had 1.16MW motors...
    (*2) About the widest I can see being technically possible on the former GCML.
    (*3) Probably just reached somewhere around Rugby before having to rapidly slow down again for curves at that speed. But superelevation on the reasonably gentle curves between Britannia and Nottingham should produce some good speedy areas.
     
  9. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

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    Very nice looking engine there.

    If its using new track how far can that be extended up the country? I'm sure Scotland would like Pullman services!

    BTW- Will you be covering Northern Ireland rail?
     
  10. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Getting to Scotland is the promised land for British Rail / Intercity / Pullman. OTL timing with IC225 is approx 4:30 London to Edinburgh. If Pullman can get that far north, you'd probably be comfortably taking an hour off the travel time and giving the airlines a real run for their money.

    For geography; depends where exactly really. The northern tip of the current rail is approx at Ferrybridge near the power station. Running from there via York (either directly or Parkway station....same quandry as HS2) as far as Darlington is easy & plain sailing. From Darlington to Newcastle is a bit fiddly. Newcastle to Edinburgh gets difficult quickly due to the Cheviot Hills / Southern Uplands...the generally hilly terrain whichever name you use.

    I've pondered it, and now and then had a think what would be happening over there. Probably not much yet; until the Good Friday Agreement is implemented, there are bigger concerns to worry about then the train.
     
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  11. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    Even if Pullman services can continue on north via the ECML or WCML (as HS2 services will), it will reduce journey times noticeably. In @ Edinburgh to London in 4 hours seems to be the goal with existing ECML services. HS2 is currently promising an Edinburgh to London journey time of 220 minutes, which is about 40 minutes faster. Pullman services that continue north on existing track might manage something similar. I'm guessing they would have to go via the WCML, since there are no wires on the East (yet?).

    In the '94 edition of The InterCity Story there is a suggestion that a tunnel under York Station and a diversionary line near Newcastle would allow high speed. The idea mentioned was to allow 160 mph running all the way from London to Newcastle.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
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  12. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Yeah, there's no wires on the ECML yet; the raison d'etre for that has been largely usurped by the Pullman services. But clearly, Newcastle, Edinburgh & Glasgow are the primary aims of any Pullman extension. It's where the nice market share lies, in journeys too long for car and too short for the plane. I've pored a few times over the options document for HS2 routes north of York/Newcastle to Scotland to check out options.

    I've got the '94 edition of it, but I didn't spot that little snippet, even though I've seen similar suggestions. I'd think the difficulty of tunnelling under York station, and York itself, would be a nightmare. The amount of archaeological ruins under York itself are large I believe.
     
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  13. El Pip Well-Known Member

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    As long as its pure tunnel (I.e. No stations) and you can find good sites each end for the portals it would be a fairly easy job.

    Deepest archeology is 7/10m absolute max, typically far less. Assuming a minimum 1diameter cover above the tunnel crown (minimise settlement and surface impact, plus structural issues if you go shallow) archeology won't be an issue at tunnel depth. Hopefully your portals arent put on top of old roman villas though. ;)

    Under the station, its just another sensitive structure. But hopefully one were the owner supports the scheme and will cooperate with the mitigations. Not to be lightly dismissed certainly, but not an expensive problem in the scheme of things.

    Typically the issue bypass tunnels face is the Benefit/Cost is crap as you don't save that much time or increase capacity. However If you have the business case then engineer wise its straightforward enough job, by tunnel job standards.
     
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  14. Lindseyman Am I a Northerner? I think that I am!

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    Those are quite some understatements methinks!
     
  15. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    @Devvy HS2 seems to be planning for services to get to Glasgow and Edinburgh via the WCML and the Carstairs route. The suggestion is that both cities will be served by HS2 from Day 1.

    The tunnel under York suggestion is in the case study for the modernisation for the ECML. The suggestion to use existing rolling stock is an interesting one. 140 mph running was well within the capabilities of the HST & 91, & 160 mph is within the capability of the 91.

    I am beginning to warm to the idea of the unpowered MU. Coaching stock seems to last longer; MK.3 & 4 ae still very good coaches in @; and it could be cheaper to simply replace locos than entire trains. Moreover, you don't need a whole new train when wires go up, not a whole new train.

    It is making me think about an AH possibility where instead of the IEP, the Class 91 loco and Class 43 power cars simply get replaced. The former by a new electric loco and the later by something like a more powerful Class 88.
     
  16. Threadmarks: 1995-Thameslink

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    Chapter deleted due to author error. Long hours at work and being away on business trips, I'd made some mistakes when I came back to this TL. We already discussed the reopening of this TL version of Thameslink (see bookmark: 1986-London), and this chapter here also covers the same kind of thing in a similar vein, but with some differences which should have been changes after the correct 1980s reopening.

    1995 - "Rails Through London" by John Mitten

    [​IMG]
    Historical rail around Blackfriars

    The double track stretch of railway, usually called the "City Widened Lines", harks back to the Metropolitan Railway in 1863, and their requirement to quadruple track their own system (which would later form the London Underground Circle Line). The result would later see gradual separation between what would become the Underground tracks and the British Rail tracks, and then the introduction of goods depots in the area to serve the Great Western, Great Northern and Midland railways. Passenger operators ventured in via St Pancras and Kings Cross, allowing trains to terminate at Moorgate on the edge of the City of London. The link further south, towards Elephant & Castle or London Bridge did not prosper though due to the nearby London Underground alternatives; the route became a staple ingredient in cross-city freight services however (*1).

    The cross-city link between Holborn Viaduct and Farringdon was later terminated, mostly due to the installation of an international rail terminus at Holborn Viaduct for trains to/from Europe. Originally deemed to be a temporary location, it lasted over 20 years and the station was far from ideal for that purpose. With the Beck Line the only rail access to the station, London Underground worked with British Rail on a new concept; a cross-city heavy rail link (*2). The joint proposal heavily references the Hamburg S-Bahn and Parisian RER system; both heavy rail cross-city routes, which were well used by passengers and commuters. The price of creating the London version was cheap compared to the route it would provide; the only significant expenditures would be the electrification of the Midland Main Line as far as Dunstable, the reconfiguration of the tracks just north of London Blackfriars to allow the new route to dive under the high speed tracks from Europe heading in to Holborn Viaduct, and the rolling stock itself. Freight trains would be diverted to run via the West London Line, via Kensington Olympia (*3).

    [​IMG]
    The under development Crossrail train - the 1991 date on the side actually refers to the project launch date, confusingly for readers. Note the dual Network South East and London Transport branding.

    The new rolling stock would need to be dual voltage capable; neither British Rail nor London Transport had any intention of paying to convert the third rail system south of the river in to an overhead system. The tunnel itself, damp in places with the inherent safety risks of a highly powered rail along the ground, was converted to overhead power, with the changeover to the third rail system now occurring at Blackfriars station (which was dual equipped with both systems). Initial artistic mockups were quickly available, and used for advertising in the London Underground system early on, back in the days when the name for the new link looked to be "Crossrail". The design elements of both London Transport and Network South East are abundantly clear; the smaller wheels look similar to London Underground trains, although didn't make it through to production versions. The body, equally resigned would feature 2 sets of wider-than-normal doors for the expected heavier usage through central London, with seating only 2x2 transverse seating (*4), to allow space for standing passengers along the coaches.

    Equally, the management structure changed. The project had been for years a joint NSE-LT one, but with the project approved by Government, choices had to be made for where it would sit within the London transport structures. This is where British Rail's new structure, even if somewhat foisted upon it, came up trumps. The route would be marketed as part of London Transport, and ticketed as such, branded as "London Overground", with London Transport accepting the revenue risk for the route. Any Thameslink-only stations would be managed and maintained by London Transport; shared stations (such as London Bridge) would continue to be British Rail/Network South East managed. Train/rail operation of the route would be done under contract to British Rail's "Abellio" unit (*5), for contract operations - legally speaking, the route would continue to form part of the British Rail network as Thameslink services would interweave with other NSE services, particularly around London Bridge. This was much to the chagrin of Network South East who stood to lose out financially from the deal. Operations would, a few years later, be transferred as a unique exception to Network South East due to their operation of all other routes in the area. Such a move simplified the management structure, as well as HR affairs (having a larger shared pool of drivers to utilise).

    The new line, by 1993 branded as "Thameslink" instead, opened in 1994 (*6). The first routes saw an 8 trains per hour service (4 trains on each of the pair of branches to the north and south). To the north, the route ran as far as Luton using the Midland suburban lines, where it then diverged from the Midland Main Line and terminated at Dunstable. The other branch would take over the suburban lines of the East Coast Route as far as Welwyn Garden City - it could go no further north anyway, due to the restricted capacity Welwyn Viaduct which was only dual track (*7). A separate, but linked, project in the area would see Thameslink also operate the new "Hertford - Moorgate" service (*8), which would likewise utilise it's own tracks and be operated under the same Thameslink structure.

    [​IMG]
    East Croydon station in quieter years.

    To the south, the mess of routes, all diverging using flat junctions was made for difficulty in fitting a new service pattern through. For simplicity more than any other reason (although being well utilised was certainly a factor in the decision), the first branch was chosen to be the Greenwich & North Kent Line, with the Brighton Main Line as far as West Croydon in an effort to divert local passengers away from the busy East Croydon station (*9).

    Passenger traffic grew rapidly; numbers more than quadrupled within the first year of operation as people enjoyed far faster cross-London services, with passengers numbers then continuing to grow at a lower rate (*10). The huge success of the new network encouraged British Rail and London Transport to work on improving the route. Extension of the northern branch at Dunstable along the mothballed former tracks to Leighton Buzzard were a quick win (*11), helping to divert some traffic away from the saturated West Coast Route. Contributions from the British Airports Authority to extend again the short distance to Britannia Airport would give another rail link to the airport (*12), and allow public transport access via another axis of towns, whilst a smaller contribution from Hertfordshire County Council was for the same thing due to the high levels of congestion around Leighton Buzzard on roads to access the airport. The airport, which had been operating for over a decade now, was in full swing of the "low cost carrier" boom, and was planning for a new "international terminal" to handle all international flights. The existing terminal, now too small for requirements, would be used for all domestic and Irish flights where customs, immigration and security check requirements were far lower (*13).

    2005 would see the beginning of the "Thameslink Programme" (*14). This would see improvements on the North Kent Line, with better separation in to terminal platforms at Dartford, as well as a new branch stub to serve Thamesmead. On the Croydon branch, services would be extended from West Croydon to new terminating platforms at Sutton (*15). Both branches would call at a new station at Bermondsey, where the former Spa Road station used to be sited (*16), to improve access to this area of London. Improved service frequencies would occur on both branches to 6 trains per hour (a train every 5 minutes through the core section). Through the middle core section, new flyovers would be required to the north and south of London Bridge station to separate the route from other Network South East services as much as possible, whilst reconstructed platforms at Farringdon would lend some extra width to the platforms. However, most of the changes would lie around the Kings Cross & St Pancras area. The former Kings Cross York Road platform(s) (*17), allowing access from the Thameslink route to the East Coast Route would be closed, with a new set of platforms to be built below the northern area of St Pancras station to service both stations (*18). The tracks would then continue north, to serve the new Boudica station (*19), where it would then separate in to two sets of tracks to towards the Midland Line or the East Coast Route. The works concluded 10 years later in 2015, but an extension to the project agreed in 2009 would see Finsbury Park station reorganised to allow better cross-platform interchange between the two Thameslink branches, allowing quicker access to Moorgate and the City of London from Welwyn. Finally, new Class 378 rolling stock, operating would operate the route, featuring similar 2x2 transverse seating as well as luggage racks for airport-bound passengers, but with inter-carriage connections to allow passengers to spread along the train more easily.

    [​IMG]
    New Class 378 rolling stock, with London Overground livery.

    ----------------------------
    (*1) This first paragraph is all roughly OTL.
    (*2) This TL version of Eurostar is obviously hindered by the less connected terminus at Holborn Viaduct; the Beck Line is directly connected. The Central Line is underneath, but it's technically difficult to create new platforms on a route which is in heavy use without taking it out of service which is somewhat difficult for such a busy line. Farringdon station is perhaps 400m walk away with the services there. So, obviously, Holborn Viaduct adds an extra reason for this route.
    (*3) Roughly as per OTL; cross-London freight either running via the West London Line, or electric freight (especially from the Channel Tunnel) using the London Orbital Line Ashford-Tonbridge-Redhill-Guildford-Reading-Oxford-Bletchley-Bedford-Cambridge-Bury-Ipswich as discussed in previous chapters.
    (*4) Transverse seating is more comfortable for longer distance travellers, but obviously need some standing room for when it goes through central London.
    (*5) Abellio was one of the British Rail subsidiary units, when we covered the BR reorganisation a few chapters ago.
    (*6) Surprise, surprise, it's ended up with the OTL name of Thameslink. Funnily enough, means I can use pictures from OTL....
    (*7) Welwyn Viaduct is a capacity bottleneck in OTL too, and is why the suburban service terminates at Welwyn Garden City.
    (*8) The Northern City Line is an offshoot of the Thameslink network, with a Hertford North to Moorgate service.
    (*9) Chose North Kent Line (Greenwich-Woolwich-Dartford) as a) it's on the north side of the junctions, so easily accessible using separated lines, serves busy areas, connects with Beck Line at Greenwich, and can also access as far as Dartford with minimal further works. The Brighton Main Line to West Croydon is equally busy, and also will ease London Bridge somewhat. What the role for Cannon Street is longer term is an open question.
    (*10) As per OTL.
    (*11) The line Luton-Dunstable was still in use for freight until the late 1980s; here it's continued a little longer, and now happily accommodating Thameslink trains.
    (*12) The line beyond Dunstable is mothballed, but easily reactivated, and a short stretch from Leighton Buzzard to the airport to allow more public access to the airport without car.
    (*13) Britannia Airport is large and expanding rapidly.
    (*14) Imaginative name I know....
    (*15) Using space available next to the station.
    (*16) As there is no tube line station at Bermondsey in this TL, and much of the space/works required are still there.
    (*17) These platforms were taken out of use in the 1970s OTL, but here are still present and being used for Thameslink until now.
    (*18) New Kings Cross / St Pancras Thameslink station built roughly where the new one under St Pancras International is in OTL.
    (*19) Boudica Station making an appearance here...
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  17. Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    That was my prime thought before forgetting to write it; the cost will be enormous for little gain. Can't see a bypass tunnel being financially realistic, much as I love York.

    :)

    The unpowered MU, as you correctly identify, allows quick change of traction when electrifying, before the adoption of electric multiple units. The style is also heavily used in Europe, so don't see why the same lessons can't be used here; the "UMU" can then be cascaded at a later date back to unelectrified lines.

    The prime problem we have in this TL as opposed to OTL is the change in electrification. TGV obviously uses dual systems to allow inter-running between 25kv AC and 1.5kv DC, but British Rail, in an age of slim budgets and not particularly reliable timetables, are finding that the captive Pullman network works perfectly for generating revenue as it's punctual, fast, efficient and "just works". Don't fear though; Pullman will go further north soon, as I can hardly imagine this TL SNP & Scottish Parliament being happy with the current situation! :)
     
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  18. Threadmarks: 1995-Docklands Line

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

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    1995 - Beck Line Extension

    [​IMG]
    Stratford station lower platforms in former days.

    By the early 1980s, the position of Canary Wharf as the "second financial district" of London - or at least the second big business hub - seemed essentially secure. 5 large towers were either under construction, or complete, with several others in planning. The Beck Line served the heart of it, via a branch, with up to 14 trains per hour (at least one every 5 minutes) during the peak hours, and up to 12 trains per hour off-peak, on it's position on one of the eastern branches of the Beck Line. Back then, the idea was to stimulate regeneration, in much of the former Docklands area; Canary Wharf rapidly sprang up, around the new tube station and backed by the former Olympia & York, whilst other smaller projects occurred further east. The large exhibition centre at Royal Victoria Dock (now the "ExCeL"), the London City Airport (a smaller business centred airport) and the large University of East London campus all sit further east, but all situated near Beck Line stations. By 1995, employment was almost triple that it had been in the early 1980s in the Docklands, with the amount employed in white collar industries (particularly banking, finance, insurance), rising from a paltry 1,500 to approx 35,000 (*1). As the economy recovered after the early 1990s economic slump, Docklands had been in a prime position for new investment, and the Beck Line was by 1994 extremely congested during rush hour.

    The Government, eager to continue the economic growth in the area needed new options to get employees in to growing Docklands area, and Canary Wharf in particular, but options were limited bar building a whole new Underground line in some form. The London Docklands Development Company had suggested a light rail approach in the late 1980s to complement the Beck Line (*2), although this would need substantial reconstruction in areas to weave the line in around existing buildings and was dismissed by the Government at the time. By 1992, the East London Rail Study had been published, and suggested making better use of the existing rail corridors, in particular the Stratford - Docklands part of the North London Line which saw little usage by British Rail due to it's run down nature. The extreme end of it, from the ExCeL to North Woolwich had already been taken over by the Beck Line (now sporting an extremely long travellator to connect the London City Beck Line station to the actual airport), but the Stratford to ExCeL portion saw little usage with most North London Line services terminating at Stratford (*3). Commuters from the rest of East London - particularly those along the C2C Line and Great Eastern Route found getting to Canary Wharf difficult, with commuters having to go change at Fenchurch Street station on to the Beck Line at Tower Hill to travel back out of the central area again.

    Looking at cheaper options, London Transport worked together with the Department of Transport, and suggested an inverse branch (*4), which would allow the Canary Wharf branch to operate at a higher frequency. To the north side, it could use parts of the North London Line to provide interchange with British Rail and C2C at West Ham and Stratford, before potentially running further north. To the south, it could either serve more branches from the existing route, or potentially peel off in a new area to serve south eastern London.

    Construction began in 1995, authorised by a flagging Government either (depending on the viewpoint) trying to shore up it's election chances and appeal to it's banking backers, or further aid regeneration in less affluent areas of East London. To the south, all trains from central London would now terminate at Hayes, giving a service every 5 minutes, and the new branch, tentatively called the "Stratford Branch", would terminate at Addiscombe giving a service every 5 minutes there (*5). Intentions to expand the route anywhere else were hampered by a lack of funding from central Government; the most elaborate idea would have used 3 more underground stations and taken over the Bromley North Line instead (*6), giving a better service to Bromley. To the north, the line would link to the existing Beck Line station at Blackwall, and then use existing rail alignments to access existing stations at West Ham, Stratford, before continuing further north as far as Walthamstow Central (thereby eliminating the "Walthamstow Stub" from the Network South East network) in order to give some relief to the busy Viking Line (*7). The line opened a mere 3 years later, a testament to the short and sharply defined project, eventually named the "Docklands Line" after alternative names such as "Dow Line" (named after the LNER map designer who was said to have inspired Beck's later work), the "East Side Line" (said to be too similar to the already existant East London Line) and the "Lea Line" (after the river which would be nearby the northern extension, but which was less favoured during surveys).


    ---------------------------
    (*1) Much of this is taken from OTL, but skewed for the Beck Line being present rather then the DLR; faster and more convenient links better integrated with the rest of London. The employment figures are OTL.
    (*2) Which became the DLR in OTL.
    (*3) This happened in OTL.
    (*4) Inverse as in the branch faces away from central London - in this case towards Canary Wharf.
    (*5) Very cheap extension to the south, basically no works needed.
    (*6) My original intention, before deciding the finances wouldn't be available for such works for reasons we'll come on to later.
    (*7) Viking Line will be extremely busy - remember here it is basically the OTL Victoria Line with even more stations on each end. The North London Line terminates at new platforms at Stratford as per OTL, and the "Docklands Line" continues under the station using former BR tracks, then continues up through Lea Bridge and in to Walthamstow Central platforms.

    Apologies for the previous chapter; long days at work and business trips away meant I'd lost track of the TL flow in my head a bit!
     
    JN1, Swede, scretchy and 4 others like this.
  19. Ogrebear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    Interesting East London update!

    Is the Dome still built or is Battersea used for the same purpose or something else? How does that effect transport please?
     
    Railmotive likes this.
  20. Threadmarks: 1995-HS-NSE

    Devvy Idiot. Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    1995 - High Speed Commuter Services

    [​IMG]
    Milton Keynes Central station

    From the north, the use of the West Coast Route "fast tracks" as part of the Pullman Express Line had been causing severe congestion for passengers from the north-west axis / M1 corridor for many years now. During rush hour, commuter expresses trundled slowly along the track from Tring southwards; the sheer volume of trains had to go slower then usual to accommodate the number of them. Something had to break come the 1990s, and rapidly rising passenger numbers forced Network South East's hand. The new town at Milton Keynes had grown extremely rapidly from it's origins as a "New Town" in the late 1960s, located specifically roughly equidistant between London & Birmingham, Oxford & Cambridge. The city grew rapidly, but it's position at the crossroads between the earlier mentioned 4 cities, and then the introduction of the UK's premier airport just outside Milton Keynes changed the area beyond anything imagined earlier. An influx of construction workers for the airport, later replaced by the tens of thousands of airport workers - and those who service their requirements - boosted the population what is now called "County Ouzel" (named after the local river, and despite not being county, as it lies across three different counties). This area is made up chiefly of the urban areas of Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard and Luton/Dunstable, and now features a range of high-tech industry and multinational headquarters, due to it's high quality transport connections by road, rail and air, highly educated population from the Oxbridge universities nearby and proximity to London. (*1)

    All this left the Network South East commuter services, and the array of Intercity services to Birmingham and places beyond not served by Pullman competing for limited track space. As such, the benefit/cost ratio was unparalled for rolling stock investment and a new rail junction at Rugby, to allow new high speed commuter services. British Rail quickly ruled in favour of using the route, overriding Intercity's own concerns about affecting the punctuality and reliability of Pullman services and capacity for Pullman expansion, but in lieu of their concerns, commuter services were to be limited to 6 trains per hour. This would be matched by 6 trains per hour for Pullman, although they currently only used 4 of those, and Pullman services would get "right of way" over other services. A new section of rail route for Intercity services to Birmingham, linking from the Pullman Express Line near Dunchurch would run alongside the M45 for a short distance before joining the West Coast Route at Wolston; a distance of only approx 8 miles, although it would have to cross over the Leamington Spa - Rugby railway line and motorway (*2). An extra 2 platforms would be provided at Euston station, which would force a very fast turnaround of terminating trains to depart again, but further space was difficult to find; many other West Coast Route trains were locomotive hauled, and took along time to prepare for departure again (*3).

    [​IMG]
    Early artistic concepts drew inspiration from the Pullman-1 train.

    Discussions over access rights, and who would run which trains then became a battleground between Network South East and Intercity. Both wanted the lucrative passengers; London-Birmingham could be classed as both Intercity or "Outer-Commuter" depending on the author due to the short travel time. The end result was again a split; 3 trains for each, with all trains running express from Euston station to Britannia Airport; NSE services would then branch off to serve Milton Keynes, Northampton and Rugby, whilst Intercity services would continue to run north, branching off and avoiding Rugby to call at Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton (High Level). This new service pattern would itself require changes in Birmingham due to the limited space in Birmingham New Street, with the Birmingham Snow Hill - Wolverhampton (Low Level) line being completely renovated in one of the first "Total Route Modernisation" projects (*4). This would allow other services to be moved across, to free up capacity in New Street station.

    [​IMG]
    First class compartments on the new train.

    All this allowed Network South East in particular to move forward at pace; their whole proposed route was already electrified (although both with 25kV AC for the Pullman portion, and 1.5kV DC for the legacy portion), and new rolling stock would be needed (later designated the Class 395). Considering the limited route network such a train would be required to run on, it was decided to push all Northampton/Milton Keynes services in to the new service pattern, only leaving slower stopping services using the older slow lines towards Tring or Milton Keynes, competing with other Intercity services. A new streamlined train was designed, early artistic work was clearly inspired by the Pullman-1 train, although the production version was somewhat different. Internally, 2 by 2 seating across the train in standard class dropped any notion of tables except the middle where the "towards-middle" airline style seating met. Smaller luggage racks were included near the doors for any passengers with large luggage, considering the train called at Britannia Airport, although the train was primarily aimed at passengers to/from London rather than the airport. In first class, compartments seating 6 first class passengers with high backs sat next to a side corridor, with reading lights above the seats. A small guards area between the two classes also contained wheelchair areas on the train, a newer design requirement to allow disabled access, and powered plug-style doors completed the aerodynamic look. All this sat within a 5 coach unit (almost always coupled together in to a 10-coach unit), with all three middle coaches having all axles powered, giving traction power of 2.5MW per train; only the outer coaches of the EMU were unpowered as they had the pantographs and electrical systems. One end had the 25kV AC pantograph and underslung rectifiers, whilst the other end had the 1.5kV DC pantograph and the power inverters. Internal electronic destination displays, a public address system and chemical retention toilets - then reasonably new - were all standard on the stock, whilst traction motors were for the first time new three-phase AC traction motors. Trains, when on DC overhead systems would feed in to their core systems directly, with power systems then converting power to AC for the traction motors and separately to in-train systems along the carriages. When under AC power, power would be converted to DC, and then back to AC for the traction motors (*5).

    [​IMG]
    The final train (*6)

    The overall design was later copied for the Class 465 electric multiple unit (minus streamlining and AC power capability, and adding 750v DC capability), which was ordered in large numbers. The train would take over a lot of services on the Southern and South-Western sectors of Network South East, operating services from London to Guildford, Portsmouth, Gatwick Airport, Brighton and places in between.

    ----------------------
    (*1) So "County Ouzel" has basically taken the role of the Thames Valley in OTL, largely because of the reasons the Thames Valley became successful OTL.
    (*2) Considering the Chiltern Main Line is not electrified, this seems to be the easiest and cheapest way of accessing Birmingham at high speed. It's a standard Intercity service, not Pullman as it does not have reserved seating and is a very short journey in comparison.
    (*3) The West Coast Main Line in OTL was still predominately locomotive hauled even in the 1990s until Virgin took over.
    (*4) Birmingham is another chapter....
    (*5) A lot of this is a mesh of OTL. The side compartment first class is from the axed Class 471, other parts from the Class 465, and other parts from the never-got-off-the-drawing board Class 381 or 342 depending on source. It's all 1990s technology, and believe it or not it's not uncommon for OTL EMUs to feed from DC third rail, and then convert to AC power for traction motors. It's also far from unusual for dual voltage stock to take AC overhead, convert to DC for internal purposes, and then convert back to AC for the traction motors. AC traction motors are that efficient and simple to maintain it's worth doing.
    (*6) I used this picture in a TL of mine from ages ago, but sadly I have no idea who did it. Cracking photoshop job though.

    -----------------------
    I think the Dome will take a very different form for reasons to come; at a guess Battersea PS will likely fill the arts and venue role, with the OTL Greenwich Peninsula likely playing host to houses, smaller shopping centres and possibly a redeveloped Valley for Charlton Athletic to play at I think.
     
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