Posted by HumberTransport on

Transport for the North today published their submission to the National Infrastructure Commission Rail Needs Assessment. On Page 20 there is this:

"51. Electrification of main rail routes will make a significant contribution to decarbonisation. There are also other initiatives that may be capable of introduction in the shorter term. Bi-modal electric/diesel trains already operate in the North and there is significant work to develop Hydrogen fuelled trains, which are zero-emission at point of use and with proposals to trial between Barton and Cleethorpes. There is also potential for infill electrification of some routes in advance of a wider implementation."

I presume there is an intention to source hydrogen from industry on the South Humber Bank. In that respect it is logical, although if in the long term Cleethorpes-Habrough(-Doncaster) and Brocklesby-Immingham gets wired - i.e. Ulceby station, at which point maybe do Ulceby-Habrough too - as hopefully happens, then would full electrification to Barton, or battery fitted trains, be a better option?  

Posted by Anthony Berridge on

That would be interesting!  In 1905 the GCR introduced experimental steam rail cars on the Barton branch.

As for electrification to Barton, that might depend on whether the track is ever re-instated from Killingholme but to Thornton Abbey rather than Goxhill.

Posted by TomIrvin on

Network Rail have today published their Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy.

I have not had time to read and digest the full 257 page document, however their map (page 85 of the pdf) shows proposed electrification of the lines out of Cleethorpes and part way up the Barton Line, probably to about Thornton Abbey. There is also a stated intention to electricly haul the bulk freight out of Immingham. The remainder of the Barton Line is shown as battery operated, so presumably their idea is to use battery units with the batteries being recharged whilst the train is running from OHLE between Thornton Abbey and Cleethorpes and back.


On the idea of the hydrogen trial, the DfT announcement of the award of the new East Midlands Railway franchise to Abellio stated

  • "trialling of hydrogen fuel cell trains"

in the list of benefits, but did not state which line this would occur on. I am aware of a couple of projects to convert redundent electric multiple units into trial hydrogen powered trains, I imagine the idea is to conduct one of these trials on the Barton Line. Of course, if this goes ahead and the hydrogen storage facilities are installed at Cleethorpes, perhaps we will end up with bi mode hydrogen-electric trains rather than batteries.


Other than the obvious hydrogen storage facilities, the one piece of infrastructure work that I do think would be required would be to modify Ulceby Level Crossing to allow overlength trains to stop at the station with the rear portion fouling the level crossing. This modification seems to have been done quite easily and effectively at Habrough to allow the 6 car 185s to call.


We may also need some short platform extensions, as the hydrogen trial units seem to be using above floor hydrogen storage we will be look at 3, possibly 4 car units. Of course if the access for persons with reduced mobility and for bicycles is in the middle of the train such that it is platformed everywhere regardless of the train's orientation, perhaps this will not be necessary.


Hopefully there will be a diesel unit that can be sourced should the hydrogen unit blow up on a regular basis and the traincrew at Cleethorpes remain competent on the alternative diesel traction until the hydrogen trial proves itself.