Saturday, 28 March 2015

Electrification Task Force

I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but I must confess to being a little miffed when I discovered that the recently published  "Report of the North of England Electrification Task Force" is called Northern Sparks.

The report comes up with a prioritised list of lines in northern England which are recommended for future electrification projects.  In the Northwest these are as follows:

Tier One (2019 to 2024)
  • Calder Valley – Leeds to Manchester and Preston via Bradford and Brighouse.
  • Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington Central.
  • Southport and Kirkby to Salford (via Atherton).
  • Chester to Stockport.
  • Bolton to Clitheroe.
  • Hazel Grove to Buxton.
  • Warrington to Chester.
Tier Two (Post 2024)
  • Manchester to Sheffield and local services in south east Manchester.
  • Chester to Crewe.
  • Burnley to Colne.
  • Preston to Blackpool South.
Tier Three (Long term)
  • Carnforth to Barrow.
  • Preston to Ormskirk.
  • Skipton to Carlisle.
  • Cumbrian Coast.
  • Skipton to Heysham.
You can read the full report here.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Progress - Or The Lack Of It

An interesting article in Rail Technology Magazine discusses the progress of various projects in the railway's North Of England Programme.  A number of these are now running late, and "Configuration State 5", which includes electrification Preston-Blackpool North, Ordsall Lane-Euxton Junction, and Manchester Victoria-Stalybridge, Huyton four tracks, and the Ordsall Chord has been put back a year, to December 2017.

The March 2015 update to the CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan, which came out this week, does not fully reflect these delays, but does include notes which imply that there may be significant changes in the next (June) update.

Quality Control

A contributor kindly sent me this picture of a stanchion base at Broad Green with a nut missing, taken in October of last year.
He returned a couple of weeks ago to find it was still missing.  As he says, Network Rail's QA procedures are not working.

Let's hope nothing falls over.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Huyton, Victoria and Farnworth

Judging by the pulleys I spotted at Huyton station yesterday, I think the installation of the missing autotransformer wire on the up side must be imminent.  Of course, that doesn't mean the autotransformer system is imminent, I notice the autotransformer wires over most of the rest of Wavertree to Earlestown are all strapped to earth for safety purposes.


I also paid a quick visit to Manchester Victoria yesterday and was impressed by the progress on the electrification, it looks like the five day blockade will be enough time to finish it.

Contact wire and catenary seems to present the full length of four platforms, albeit on temporary fixings in some places.

The main reason for my trip was to take some pictures of the tunnels at Farnworth before the main work begins there in May.  I had foolishly failed to get any shots of the tunnel mouths when I took my "before" pictures of Farnworth Station a couple of years ago.

Staff were on the station installing signalling for the temporary single line working, the crossover at Kearsley is already in place, as is the one at Moses Gate I believe

And here are the tunnels themselves.

Very simply, the plan is to reline and strengthen the small tunnel and then use single line working through that while the larger tunnel is bored out to make it big enough for two electrified tracks.  At the end of the work the smaller tunnel will be redundant.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

What On Earth??

This morning's timetable updates include a number of peculiar Pendolino workings in the early hours of 31 March and 1 April, shuttling backwards and forwards between Newton or Warrington Bank Quay and Edge Hill.

You can see them on Realtime Trains.

Is this a load test for the new wiring?  Or an April Fool joke by the schedulers?

The trains are shown as Class 1, not ECS, so can I get a ticket?