Hertford loop line
|Hertford Loop Line|
East of England
|Rolling stock||Class 717 "Desiro City"|
|Line length||24 mi (39 km)|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Route availability||RA 7-9|
|Electrification||25 kV AC OHLE|
|Operating speed||Maximum 75 mph (121 km/h)|
Hertford Loop Line
The Hertford Line (also known colloquially as the Hertford Loop) is a branch of the East Coast Main Line, part of the Northern City Line commuter route to London for Hertford and other Hertfordshire towns and an occasional diversion route for the main line. The line is part of the Network Rail Strategic Route 8, SRS 08.03 and is classified as a London and South East Commuter line.
The line was opened in three stages between 1871 and 1924. The first section called the Enfield Branch Railway was developed by the London and York Railway and went from Wood Green to Enfield. In 1898, a plan was approved to extend the line north to Hertford and Stevenage, in order to relieve congestion on the main line without having to widen the Welwyn Viaduct. Work started in 1905 and Cuffley was reached on 4 April 1910. The construction of two major viaducts and the Ponsbourne Tunnel (at 2,684 yards or 2,454 metres, the longest in the eastern counties of England and the last to be built by traditional methods), combined with World War I shortages of men and materials, delayed the opening of the route to Stevenage until 4 March 1918. Then it was single track and for goods services only. The line finally opened to passengers on 2 June 1924 when a new Hertford North Station was opened. The line was electrified in 1977.
The line was also used frequently during the Second World War as the Welwyn/Digswell viaduct was at high risk from bombs
Route and settlements served
- Watton-at-Stone, serving the village of Watton-at-Stone
- Hertford North, serving the town of Hertford
- Bayford, serving the villages of Bayford and Brickendon
- Cuffley, serving the villages of Cuffley, Northaw and Goffs Oak
- Crews Hill, serving the village of Crews Hill
- Gordon Hill, serving Gordon Hill and Forty Hill, also close to Chase Farm Hospital.
- Enfield Chase, serving Enfield Town
- Grange Park, serving Grange Park
- Winchmore Hill, serving Winchmore Hill
- Palmers Green, serving Palmers Green
- Bowes Park, serving Bowes Park, Bounds Green and Wood Green
Great Northern operates suburban services along the Hertford Line between London King's Cross or Moorgate, and Stevenage, Watton-at-Stone or Hertford North. Occasionally, London North Eastern Railway, Hull Trains, Grand Central and other faster Great Northern services operate non-stop along the route when diverted off the main section of the East Coast Main Line, due to engineering work. There is a reversing siding to the north of Bowes Park which is occasionally used to reverse London North Eastern Railway trains heading for the Bounds Green Depot. There are also bay platforms at Hertford North, Stevenage, and Gordon Hill, the latter acting as a terminus during peak hours and night only.
The line is about 24 miles (39 km) long, is double track throughout and is electrified at 25 kV AC using overhead line equipment. It has a loading gauge of W9 and a maximum line speed of 75 mph (121 km/h).
Grade-separated junctions connect each end of the northbound track with the main line. All stations are long enough to accept two, three-car (20m) EMUs. Not all stations are long enough for newly-introduced 6-car EMUs, but their walk-through design allows for access.
Tunnels and viaducts
Major civil engineering structures on the Hertford Line include the following.
|Railway Structure||Length||Distance from London King's Cross||Location|
|Molewood Tunnel||364 yards (333 metres)||20 miles 31 chains – 20 miles 14 chains||North of Hertford North station|
|Hertford Viaduct||14 chains||19 miles 15 chains – 19 miles 01 chains||Between Hertford North and Bayford stations|
|Hornsmill Viaduct (River Lea)||6 chains||18 miles 58 chains – 18 miles 52 chains|
|Ponsbourne Tunnel||1 mile 924 yards (2454 metres)||16 miles 21 chains – 14 miles 59 chains||Between Bayford and Cuffley stations|
|Sopers Farm Viaduct||6 chains||12 miles 43 chains – 12 miles 37 chains||Between Cuffley and Crews Hill stations|
|Rendlesham Viaduct||7 chains||10 miles 40 chains – 10 miles 33 chains||Between Crews Hill and Gordon Hill stations|
|Down Enfield Viaduct (Down line)||5 miles 22 chains||North of Alexandra Palace Station|
ERTMS trials on the Hertford loop line
Network Rail is using Beacon Rail owned Class 313 unit 313121 as a test vehicle for ERTMS on the Hertford Line. The plan involved resignalling a 5 1⁄2-mile (8.9 km) section of the double track route to allow existing passenger and freight services to work bi-directionally over the up Hertford loop line, freeing the down line for ERTMS tests and evaluation.
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