it was an uneventful trip to Bognor, except for the loss of the pen. And all at a ticket cost of just £14.75 in a very clean train.
The only excitement on the way down was two Dutch tourists, who in killing time changing planes at Gatwick, decided they’d visit Crawley. Surely, there must be something better to do at the Airport!
Here are some of the pictures I took.
It could all have been Felixstowe, as I remember it as a child.
That town wasn’t the best place to be a teenager. Especially, where you had no transport, buses were rare and there were about three trains a day.
At least Bognor had a bus to get me back to the train station, which seemed to run about every fifteen minutes. I needed the bus, as I’d probably walked about three miles.
Once off the sea-front, I only passed one pub. And I think, I only saw two in the first mile or so, whilst in the town centre.
Did King George V liked a drink, and couldn’t find any in the town? Hence his supposed remarks.
Perhaps, James Joyce went there to stay sober enough to write Finnegan’s Wake.
As the train to Woodbridge passed onto the East Suffolk Line, north of Ipswich station, it would appear that at last work is starting on creating the Bacon Factory or Ipswich North Curve to allow trains, and especially heavy freight ones, to pass to and from Felixstowe without reversing in Ipswich station.
i always trawl the BBC’s web site in the morning to look for thought provoking articles. This one about the latest generation of container ships is fascinating. Describing the capacity of the ship it uses this paragraph.
Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU).
If those containers were placed in Times Square in New York, they would rise above billboards, streetlights and some buildings.
Or, to put it another way, they would fill more than 30 trains, each a mile long and stacked two containers high. Inside those containers, you could fit 36,000 cars or 863 million tins of baked beans.
It also talks about the knock-on effects of such large ships for ports.
Ship owners also want vessels to be unloaded and loaded within 24 hours, which has various knock-on effects. More space is needed to store the containers in the harbour, and onward connections by road, rail and ship need to be strengthened to cope with the huge surge in traffic.
Felixstowe, which handles 42% of the UK’s container trade, has 58 train movements a day, but plans to double that after it opens a third rail terminal later this year.
Have we got the capacity on the railways to move that large number of boxes?
The next big complaint from the public, will be the noise of freight trains rumbling through their neighbourhood at all hours of the day. The standard freight engines, the Class 66, are not the quietest of beasts.
So for a start, all of the freight routes, like Felixstowe to Nuneaton and Gospel Oak to Barking must be electrified.
But that will only be a stop-gap and we need to put in new lines to the north of the United Kingdom. At least HS2, if it is to be built will be a start.
The North London Line of the London Overground is not only a passenger route, but a main freight artery.
As I waited at Homerton station today, this long train of boxes passed through.
Many of these trains are going to and from the Port of Felixstowe and the West Coast Main line. As the North London line, is the only electrified route between the Great Eastern Main line and the West Coast Main line, there is virtually nowhere else the trains can go.
The main new route will be a more direct line from Felixstowe to Nuneaton. But this route is not complete yet and there are no plans to electrify it, so it may need an engine change or two. It also requires reversing at Ipswich, due to the nature of the track layout, where the Felixstowe branch joins the main line.
There is also an alternative route via the Gospel Oak and Barking line of the London Overground. This takes four freight trains an hour and by-passes eight stations on the North London line. But unlike the North London line, it is not electrified.
This problem is going to get worse when London Gateway, a new port on the Thames east of London starts operating in late 2013. Trains to and from London Gateway will probably feed in directly to the Gospel Oak and Barking line, via the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway.
As to the size and number of trains, read this press release from DB Schenker, who will be handling the rail traffic. Here’s an extract.
The agreement will see DB Schenker Rail introduce at least four rail freight services a day (four in, four out), subject to volumes, and will serve a range of inland terminals including potential new UK locations. Additional rail freight services will be introduced in the future.
DB Schenker Rail will also pursue the development of rail freight services from London Gateway to mainland Europe using the Channel Tunnel.
Something most certainly needs to be done! In the meantime, I certainly wouldn’t buy a house that backed on to either the North London or Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
In this report from the BBC, about the opening of Donald Trump’s new golf course near Aberdeen, there is these two paragraphs.
The development at Menie has been controversial, with environmental campaigners opposed to the construction of a course on protected sand dunes.
However, Mr Trump said he believed he had created the world’s greatest course.
I know nothing about golf, except a few good jokes, but no sporting venue could be called the greatest in the world, just after it opened. If I take my local football stadium, the Emirates, where Arsenal play, it was designed to be one of the best club grounds in the world and it is certainly good. But no Gooner would say it is the best for a few years yet, until he or she has visited every club ground with a capacity of over 60,000 or so.
Trawl the Internet and there is a lot of deep discussion about this golf course. I have read some tonight on respected web sites and I can’t get it out of my head, that the development has annoyed too many people to succeed. As I said, I know nothing about golf, but many others do and they will build developments, that will appeal to Trump’s target market. If they are better courses, the punters won’t go to Trump’s course. Trump should also remember he’s not dealing with bumpkins in the Southern part of the United States, but proud Scots, who don’t like being told they are wrong. Has he ever watched Local Hero?
I also feel that Trump is going to have to fight the dunes at Menie. I used to live at Felixstowe and I know Suffolk isn’t Scotland, but the dunes there had a mind of their own, which didn’t help the golf course by the Deben.
Yesterday was July the Fourth or Darrell’s Day in Suffolk, when the Dutch tried to invade in 1667.
So surely the torch should have visited Felixstowe yesterday, rather than today.
I went to Ipswich today, with the aim of seeing the Olympic Torch Relay in either Woodbridge or Felixstowe, so I travelled out of Liverpool Street in a rake of forty-year-old Mk 3 coaches, pushed by a thirty-year old Class 90.
I haven’t been on one of these trains for a couple of months and the ride quality seemed to have improved. At one point, I walked a couple of coaches to get a coffee and it was easier than last time. I also talked to a mother sitting on the floor with her young child and she said it was very comfortable. Why she was sitting on the floor, I do not know, the train wasn’t very full.
They have been improving the track through to Norwich, so it was probably that or something to do with new balls in the wheel-bearings of the coaches.
On the other hand my balance could have been better?
On the other hand, Greater Anglia certainly haven’t improved their Ipswich to Felixstowe services, as the train I wanted to catch had gone AWOL. So I missed the Olympic Torch Relay.
So I came home in another excellent Mk. 3 coach. Is there rail vehicle in service as good as the Mk. 3?
It is reported in the latest Modern Railways, that work has started on a new rail terminal at Felixstowe. It will be able to handle trains of 30 wagons carrying 90 x 20 ft. containers.
It also appears that the port would like some passenger trains on the branch replaced by buses. As the port had agreed to double-track the branch to increase the capacity, this is a bit of a cheek.
I used to live in Felixstowe and as a teenager, getting back from Ipswich after about five was impossible, due to the appalling bus and train services, which stopped around six or seven.
So do Hutchison Ports want the people of Felixstowe to return to those dreary times I had to suffer. At least, now the last midweek trains leave Ipswich at around 22:30.
There is a petition on the Government’s e-Petition site to get the line dualled.
A few years ago there were only three freight trains a day out of Felixstowe. Now because of new infrastructure in the docks, there are over thirty.
One side effect of this, has been a very large reduction of trucks on the A14.
Before we build large numbers of new roads, we should make sure that the rail freight network is as efficient as possible.
One trouble with rail freight is that it needs terminals for local distribution near major conurbations and these developments tend to bring out the nimbys in large numbers.
But you can’t have truck-free main roads, without interfaces between long-distance freight trains and local deliveries.
This photo shows the two major changes at Ipswich station.
The bridge with lifts means that it is now easy for those with difficulties, buggies or heavy cases can now get across to the other platforms.
It also shows how they have changed the track layout, so that they can split the main platform to get two trains there at the same time.
The biggest change will come, when the new track layout, where the Felixstowe branch joins the main line, will mean that freight trains from and to Felixstowe will not have to reverse in the station.