Rail freight latest

PUBLISHED: 11:18 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

SIR – Eric Roberts seems to have completely misunderstood the figures I gave regarding the capacity of the railway line through St Albans. This line is signaled with four aspect colour light signaling. This should in theory be capable of handling a train

SIR - Eric Roberts seems to have completely misunderstood the figures I gave regarding the capacity of the railway line through St Albans. This line is signaled with four aspect colour light signaling.

This should in theory be capable of handling a train every two minutes or 30 trains per hour per track. To allow for the effects of trains stopping at stations this reduces to 24 trains per hour which means that we could get 48 trains per hour through St Albans in each direction if all trains on each pair of tracks ran at the same speed and had the same stopping patterns.

The 15 trains per hour figure is to allow for different train speeds and this includes trains joining and leaving the main line.

He is quite correct to suggest that a container train arriving at or leaving the proposed freight terminal will consume more than one path, however if he looks at the off peak schedule of five East Midland trains and eight Thameslink trains, then he should realise that you have quite a considerable number of spare paths to consume even after the existing freight flows.

In fact I would say that there are at least 17 paths per hour and that would allow at least five freight trains an hour to run each way through St Albans.

If you don't believe me just pop over to Watford and check out the number of trains using that line which, incidentally, as a 125mph route, has a greater speed difference between fastest and slowest trains.

I did say in my letter that capacity constraints south of Bedford are peak-hour only and the only capacity problems with running this number of freight trains are north of Bedford and can be overcome by relaying track removed by British Rail in the 1990s.

I also said that East Midland trains is restricted in the number of trains that they can run by the number of platforms at St Pancras and as such we are unlikely to see any further Express services through St Albans and even if we did, it would be peak periods only and would require additional capacity built into the junctions at Camden Road.

RF Collins suggests that as work to increase clearances etc on the Midland main line is only planned, we should wait until this becomes a reality. Perhaps those planning such work will need to put that on hold until the Park Street depot is built as they may otherwise be wasting time and money? As for who pays for it, Network Rail will and recoup the money through rail access charges.

RF Collins also sees my desire to see a direct access onto the M25 which the developer has not included in their plans and the Highways Agency does not want to allow as somehow proving the whole thing should not be built.

No, it is just a reason for the district to fight to ensure that this depot has the least impact it possibly can have on the district.

ROSS MIDDLETON

Berkley Close

St Albans


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