Monday, 1 September 2014

Mersey 30 Map

My first stab at a map detailing some of the changes outlined in the Echo's article Merseytravel plan to open or reopen host of new stations
I haven't seen the plan so I have had to make some guesses about how the connection to the airport will be made and exactly which bits of the Wapping Tunnel will be used. Also the details of the Skem link are rather vague I have left the STock Interchange Line between James Street and Central in.

A PDF that details some of the infrastructure in the region and an explanation of some of the technologies can be found at Merseytravel Plan.

And some thoughts on HS2/HS3 From Lymm to Lime Street.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Merseyrail Plus

As we wait with bated breath for Merseyrails 30 year plan got to ask why we haven't seen it yet? See Echo article here.

Train Tram Routes to Liverpool Airport

A possible map for an expanded Merseyrail

A PDF that details some of the infrastructure in the region and an explanation of some of the technologies can be found at Merseytravel Plan.

And some thoughts on HS2/HS3 From Lymm to Lime Street.

Some of the old lines have very little use, but if you include all of them and add a bit of imagination then you get the map below. There really should be a link between Sefton and Maghull and Old Roan, but just a bit too much trouble. It is worth keeping in mind you could do it all for 1/4 the price of London's Crossrail.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


The terror of being trapped without access to air travel seems to be gripping the nation as an Icelandic volcano rumbles a bit. Bárðarbunga is by no means a small volcano and one that has in the past produces some big eruptions, big enough to have an effect on the climate in the north Atlantic. Effects like those of Laki in 1783 are possible today and because of the greater population the results could be just as disastrous. The tell tale of events in about 1258 have been found in burial pits in London though the volcano itself have still not been located, it was far further away than Iceland as it must have been in the tropics.
These events fell upon Great Britain and Ireland with no warning and also no explanation, unsurprisingly given the beliefs at the time all sorts of religious explanations were put forward. Today I can sit and get a list of the volcanic activity going on in Iceland, with a delay of only a few seconds, via this website. Even without that if a major eruption was to occur there would be news flashes on all broadcast media, twitter would explode with a force similar to that of the volcano.
The amount of airspace that was closed as a result of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010 caught a lot of people by surprise, it wasn't just the size of the eruption, which was given as VEI 4, but its location close to so many major air routes.
Bárðarbunga eruption of 1477 was a VEI 6, as was Laki's 1783, this represents a 100 fold increase in ejecta over that 2010 event. The effect of such an eruption is global on a scale similar to the biggest recorded eruption the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, which knocked 0.5 C of the world's temperature over the following year.
Such a giant release would be the first in the high technology era and slap bang in the middle of the most highly developed part of the world. It is not if there are vulnerabilities, to such natural events, but which vulnerabilities will be exposed by such an event. The impact of dust was felt on air travel, but the injection of even greater quantities may start to affect radio communications, if not at ground level, then between spacecraft and the ground.
We have seen a couple of hard long winters recently, which people are connecting with reduced sunspot activity, increased instability in global weather systems, caused by the increase atmospheric CO2. A big eruption now will cause problems, mostly likely at worse gross inconveniences rather than anything civilisation threatening, but so far our high tech world has not been subject to some of the electromagnetic effects that we know have happened in the past and each time they are, tested problems are found. We narrowly missed a major Solar Flare in 2013 and a minor one at Halloween 2003 but we haven't been hit by a large Geomagnetic Storm  since the Carrington Event of 1859, again while it most like will not kill civilisation, it is something we are very blase about.
Unlike asteroid impact, which we currently can do nothing about, making are electronic and electrical system more robust is something we should be aware of, and prepared for. Ironically, in the dark days of the cold war when we were the greatest threat to ourself, we did take precautions against EMP, but we gave it up.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A Blog

It is all very well, having a blog, but it means thinking of things to write. The most interesting things about this blog is its complete and utter lack of regular readers. While it is somewhat disappointing it is probably typical of most blogs.
You may have noticed adverts on this blog provide by Google, given the current rate at which it is accruing clicks it should be something like 2020 before I get my first payment out of it. Which is considerably more than my writings have ever earned me before.
Any apparent improvements in the grammar or spelling of these articles are down not to me learning anything but to the improvement in grammar and spell checking technology that I have access to. In a lot of ways it is infinitely preferable to being told off in class by someone who will not tell you the correct spelling but any how expects you to learn. Perhaps children will in the future use better spelling and grammar because they have not been told off by for doing it badly, but have just got rid of a few red lines that the computer drew on the screen.
I can't say I have put a lot of effort into the blog, the articles with the most effort are those where I have lifted most of the content from other documents I have written, but I've put slightly more in than some and they manage to accrue at least some random followers but this blog nothing at all. It isn't like I haven't rammed it down some people's throats via their comments sections of newspapers and through twitter. What this tells me to some extent is that my sociability is not down to me smelling bad, which at least is some relief.
The exact value of this posting is zero, if it earns even a single penny it will be over achieving.

Friday, 1 August 2014


It is not just me who has been campaigning for an HS2 connection for Liverpool there is also 20MilesMore

This is there document 20 Miles More Report, it is a lot more detailed in terms of benefit analysis and includes several other possible routes. The area they highlight relating to the plans I have suggested here are the cost of a subterranean station at lime street and the cost of path widening.

These are all things that HS2 Ltd is the best position to assess but all the suggestions from both groups are possible, it is just a matter of which one is the most cost effective. It is possible to mix and match suggestions to produce hybrids of the various plans.

The earlier articles can be found here HS2 Phase 2 LiverpoolFrom Ditton to Lime Street and East of Lymm.  And some more Rail Docs of mine.

Another route idea can be found here.

Monday, 21 July 2014


This morning at 4:30 GMT NIMBY special forces, supported by NIMBY Land, Sea and air forces, all across the land, began a combined building offensive in the backyards of those who had threatened their backyards. They toiled in haste, as they knew at any time those that threatened the sanctity of their own back yards would rouse and seek to prevent them from building the much needed, schools, hospitals, railways and airports.
They toiled on through the day, keeping a wary eye on the Horizon, for the sight of the selfish masses, who had opposed this obviously sensible and well thought out plan, to build on this spot and had instead proposed a totally unsuitable spot in the backyard of this NIMBY brigade.
As dusk fell, the forces of NIMBY had finished their mighty toil and they had erected builds of such beauty and elegance that they could only add to the beauty and amenity of this dark blighted area. So as the darkness fell they returned back to their homes knowing that their backyard was safe.
The next morning, as the Sun rose and the curtains were pulled back a great wailing was heard all across the land of the NIMBYs as, in the previous day, while they had been away building things of beauty afar, people had snuck into their beautiful back yard and erected horrendous eyesores that were in the wrong place for the catchment area.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

East of Lymm

The earlier articles can be found here HS2 Phase 2 Liverpool & From Ditton to Lime Street.

From HS2 to Warrington

In planning to use the remaining track of Warrington & Stockport line to provide access to for Liverpool. It is important to understand that this part of the line would not be capable of the high speeds on the mainline nor could it have the same wide cross section. It is not intended that it should be a captive line spur of HS2 but that it should provide passage for HS2s GC gauge trains at reasonable speeds and with an unobstructed run.
This does not mean that other services could not use the line, but that they would have to totally subordinate to the HS2/HS3 trains. The route could provide an opportunity to provide a link between Warrington and Altrincham and Manchester Metro Link. The line could also carry Train/Trams from Widnes to the Warrington BQ providing a feeder service from both sides, potentially with some intermediate tram stops.
There are several obstacles other than the lack of GC gauge to overcome if parts of the Warrington & Stockport line is to be used as part of the spur from HS2 to Liverpool.
In several places there are level crossings which would need to be replaced with bridges, there are several existent bridges where the clearance may need to be increased. The state of the passage under the M6 is unknown, all that can be said it that up until 1988 trains used a tunnel to pass under the Motorway, what has happened since then is unclear.
South of Lymm
One thing that has happened however is that a number of the settlements have grown along the track and may even have encroached on it in places, and while these may not present a physical obstacle to the route, they will most certainly need to be addressed if any of the residents are to be in any way happy. It is unlikely that the residents will just accept that after 30 years trains are to be reintroduced and that those trains will be travelling faster than before and therefore making more noise.
There is also the matter of the Trans Pennine way which uses the track bed as part of its route.

Existing route

Of the 2 miles between HS2 and the M6, the 0.8 miles north of Rushgreen.
And the 0.9 miles between Lymm & Statham need to have the maximum mitigation. The 4.2 miles to Warrington has a greater uninhabited area around it and with the trains either slowing for Warrington station or accelerating from the reduced speed should significantly reduce noise. However, some mitigation may be needed and be possible.

Trains & Pantographs

The Japanese have done considerable research into lowering the sound produced by high speed trains two of these can be founhere & here.
For the pantograph one modification suggested is piecing the collector to allow air through the collector, the complex airflow that this produces introduces destructive interference reducing the over sound levels.
One of the more significant sources of noise is the wheels. The metal wheels against the metal track induces vibration in both. The Japanese are starting to use full enclosed bogies to reduce the noise level at track side.
A further possibility might be to use an active suppression system in which electromagnets, controlled by the computer are used to induce destructive interference.. I can find no reference to experiments being done in this area, but it would seem to be a technique with possibilities. The system would need to contain a sensor capable of quickly determining the vibration pattern in the wheel, allowing the computer to control the magnets to cancel this out.


Various mass damping system have been suggested for reducing the noise from train lines 2 of these are described here or here. It may be possible to further enhance this using an active system similar to the one suggested for damping wheels.

Track bed

Various reports have been produced by using various system for reducing the transmission of sound via the track bed. The Benefits and Limitations of Floating Slab Track for Controlling Groundborne Noise and Vibration/
One system if made by Tiflex, see

Walls, Tunnel and earth banks

One the primary methods of reducing noise pollution from trains is via the use of sound absorbing walls. Where shielding is needed on only 1 side this would be ideal. However, in other areas where shielding is needed, it may make more sense to enclose the entire track in a prefabricated box tunnel. This would also be useful in isolating the track from external interference, providing protection for both the track and the general public.
Where a tunnel is used, the entire structure can be covered by earthwork providing further sound insulation as well as removing the concrete from view. It may also allow the height of the structure to be lower, as no addition fencing will be needed.
Using Ballast free track it would be possible to integrate the base of the track into the floor of the box. Provided the lengths of the tunnels.

Replacing Level Crossings

There are 7 level crossings on the proposed route, none of them are major roads at a rough estimate it may be possible to replace them at between £10-£15 million. This is based upon several articles citing network rail quotes.

Route description

Proposed HS2 route.
  1. Bridge over River Bolin. See map here.
    • The track bed here is bounded on either side by fields.
  2. Level Crossing at the site of Heatley & Warburton station. See map here.
    • The old station buildings appear to intact and in use as residential housing, there is a small business unit to the south of the line. Land is available to the west to allow a temporary relief road while a bridge is constructed over the track bed. The road is the B5169
    • After a short distance the track is bounded to the south by Farcroft Close, on the south side of the road are houses. This situation or similar continues for about 1300 meters, a distance which includes several level crossings. There is a 200 meter stretch where the line is also bounded to the north.
  3. Level Crossing at Birch Brook road & Chaise Meadow, Lymm Cheshire. See map here.
    • These two crossing are close together and is seems that there is enough space to divert traffic between the 2 using the track bed and some adjoining roads. This is particularly important in the case of Chaise Meadow is it provided the only access to a housing estate south of the line. Birch Brook road is the A6144 and while the diversion via Chaise Meadow could be used, there a several other alternative routes. Installing 1 bridge and then the other would create the minimum inconvenience.
  4. Level Crossing at Reddish Crescent. Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This level crossing is over a minor road and both land for a re-routing and alternate routes are available. This crossing is also at the western end of the buildings in RushGreen.
  5. Underpass at Reddish Lane, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This seems to be a farm underpass that may provide access to a series of allotments. It may be usable to provide relief for when the following level crossing is bridged.
  6. Level Crossing Lymmhay Lane, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This seems to be a farm level crossing pass that may provide access to a series of allotments. If it were to be bridged the precede underpass might provide sufficient alternative. It may be possible that improvements in the underpass could render this crossing redundant or perhaps reduce it to a pedestrian bridge. From this point there is housing to the south of the route for the next 1400m.
  7. Level Crossing at the site of Lymm Station. Whitbarrow Road, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • From this point on the route has housing on both sides. Whilst bridging at this point an alternative route exists via the following Barsbank Lane crossing. Here the old station building still exists and seem to be used as private residences.
  8. Level Crossing Barsbank Lane, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This level crossing has close to it buildings that were in existence when the line was in use. There appears to be no encroachment and an alternative route via the preceding level crossing exists for use during construction.
  9. Foot Bridge intact. See map here.
    • Clearances would need to be checked. This marks, the end of the buildings on both sides of the route.
  10. Bridge at Camsley Ln(A56), Lymm, Cheshire, See map here.
    • This a modern bridge which is in good condition. The clearances may need to be increased.
  11. M6 See map here.
    • The M6 was built before the closure of the line and a tunnel was provided, the state and height of that tunnel are unknown, though presumably is still there, though it may have been in-filled, in which case it will need to be emptied and the clearance increased.
  12. Bridge over. See map here.
    • This appears to be a farm track bridge which is still in use at this point the line is in a slight cutting.
  13. Underpass. See map here.
    • This appears to be an underpass associated with a farm.
  14. Bridge over lines at Deans Lane. See map here.
    • The bridge carries a small possibly B class road.
    • Around this area are several buildings to the north of the line. This continues for 200 meters, though at point there is a road between the line and the houses. There may be a need for pedestrian bridge here to provide access to the Bridgewater canal.
  15. Bridge over. See map here.
    • Seems to be a small farm track.
  16. Bridge over Stockport Road(A56). See map here.
    • This is a fairly major modern bridge. From this point on towards the west the amount of land on either side of the track increases.
  17. Underpass at Bradshaw Lane See map here.
  18. Viaduct over MSC. See Map here.
    •  There are tracks across the bridge, but are in unusable. Apparently it was the repairs needed to this viaduct which forced the final closure of the line, in 1986. It conditional is not likely to have improved in 30 years.
  19. Underpass taking Knustford Road(A50). See map here.
  20. Underpass taking Grammar School Road. See map here.
  21. Site of Latchford station, now Cantilever Gardens See map here.
  22. Underpass taking Wash Lane. See map here.
  23. Pedestrian underpass. See map here.
  24. Pedestrian underpass. See map here.
    • Start of usable track head end shunt. Housing to the north of the line.
  25. A bridge carries Wilderspool Causeway over. See map here.
  26. Viaduct over Mersey. See Map here.
  27. Site of Warrington Arpley station.
  28. A bridge carries Slutchers Lane over. See map here.
  29. Passes under Warrington Bank Quay station and WCML. See map here.

South of Lymm Route

Most of these problems occur to the east of the M6(Item 11) in Lymm, one solution would be to build a new alignment of 4 to 5 miles stretching from HS2 and heading Northwest intercepting the Warrington and Altrincham line alignment near where it pass under the M6.
It is unlikely that the interception can happen too the east of the M6 due to the tight curves this would require, this would necessitate building an M6 crossing. It may also be needed to start the spur south of the M56 necessitating another motorway crossing. In addition the Bridgewater canal would have to be crossed. This would remove the need to build 7 crossings of level crossings and the additional sound proofing but it would be far more expensive.

Trans Pennine trail

If a boxed and covered tunnel is used, then it would be possible to use the top of the tunnel as a route for the Trans Pennine trail. However, at the site of Thelwall station the Trans Pennine trail is very close to the Bridgewater canal, the canal follows a more winding route but eventually approaches very close to the rail line at Altrincham. The track from Bradshaw Lane east may be wide enough to fit both the line and the path. However, after passing under the A56 Stockport road some land may need to be acquired to provide an alternate track.