Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Clever chaps in God’s Own County. Even if you have to crowbar their wallets open

Posted in Great Britain, Infrastructure, Metro, Politics, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 27 July 2011

A story arose last week that piqued my interest markedly. Harrogate Chamber of Commerce have made a proposal to improve the train service to the town of Harrogate, which would involve electrifying the Harrogate Line. But, rather than electrify it to 25kV using OHLE, this proposal would see it electrified using a side contact third rail. But that’s only a third of it. They also propose taking on a fleet of D78 Stock from London Underground once they are replaced by the new S Stock. This would at a stroke increase passenger capacity enormously, as a D78 Stock train is six cars long, while the current mix of Pacers and Sprinters are a maximum of three cars each. Finally, because Harrogate is in the centre of a line that has Leeds at one end and York at the other, the proposal suggests making the route a “metro” type service, with a much higher frequency than at present, likely to be at least every 15 minutes. For a sum of money that in the grand scheme of things isn’t massive – the cost is estimated at £150m – an artery between two major northern cities will have more trains (the proposal suggests purchasing between 25 and 30 D78 Stock units) that are longer, will run faster thanks to the better acceleration of electric over diesel, and more frequently. In addition, because this would be a standalone project, there is no danger of rolling stock being withdrawn to services elsewhere. I think the best way of describing this proposal is “roaringly splendid”, as it the kind of high output for (relatively) low cost investment recommended in the McNulty Report. Let’s applaud Harrogate Chamber of Commerce for their sparkling vision, the leader of Harrogate Borough Council for taking up the rallying cry, and hope that it proves irresistable to the DfT.

“‘District Line to Harrogate’ electrification plan unveiled”
“Tube Trains Could Be Sent To Yorkshire”
“Leader calls on councillors to get on board rail upgrade plan”

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