The Anonymous Widower

Bi-Mode Trains And CrossCountry

The CrossCountry franchise runs trains all over the UK.

I wonder how bi-mode trains will effect their services.

These are just a few thoughts.

InterCity 125 Trains

CrossCountry have enough Class 43 locomotives and Mark 3 carriages to make-up five 2+8 InterCity 125 sets.

These trains will not meet the regulations in a couple of years, so will they be replaced or refurbished.

It is probably not an easy decision for the following reasons.

  • Passengers and I suspect drivers too, love them.
  • They are probably ideal for longer routes like Devon and Cornwall to Scotland
  • Scotrail and Great Western Railway will be updating several trains each.
  • They are forty years old.
  • There may be pressure to retire the trains because of environmental problems.
  • If they even wanted to acquire a few extra sets, the type retirement by other operators might help.

Left to the Marketing \department, there would only be one decision.

Class 800 Trains

Class 800 trains or more likely Class 802 trains, specified for their routes may offer advantages to CrossCountry on some of their routes.

Consider these features of Class 802 trains.

  • Available in any number of cars between four and twelve.
  • Designed around a flexible interior.
  • Dual voltage is probably available.
  • Wi-fi and power sockets.
  • Hitachi have designed the trains for lower track-access charges.

Costs and the marketing advantage of new electric trains will probably decide.

Devon and Cornwall to Scotland

Consider.

  • Plymouth to Edinburgh and Glasgow is an hourly service that takes just under nine hours to Edinburgh with no changes.
  • One train per day goes from Plymouth to Aberdeen in eleven hours.
  • A lot of the route is not electrified, but it is North of York.
  • Would a Class 802 train have enough fuel capacity?

I suspect current arrangements will continue.

Southampton Central And Bournemouth To Manchester And Newcastle

Consider.

  • North of Leeds, the route is electrified using 25 KVAC overhead
  • South of Basingstoke, the route is electrified using 750 VDC third-rail.
  • Any bi-mode train would need to be dual-voltage.
  • Range should be less of a problem

A dual-voltage bi-mode Class 802 train might be ideal.

Other Routes

Most other routes only have a small proportion of running on electrified track.

Conclusion

I think it unlikely, that CrossCountry will go for a total replacement of their fleet with bi-mode trains.

But I suspect, they’re keeping a watching brief on developments in  electrification and trains.

 

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Electricity Shake-Up Could Save Consumers ‘up to £40bn’

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the BBC.

The electricity shake-up was forecast in yesterday’s Sunday Times and I wrote about it in Giant Batteries To Store Green Energy.

In We Need More Electricity, I talked about what RWE are doing to create an all-purpose Energy Centre at Tilbury.

The Tilbury Energy Centre will feature.

  • Efficient energy generation from natural gas.
  • Substantial energy storage.
  • Peak energy production from natural gas.
  • Load balancing of wind power with storage and generation from natural gas.

But I suspect, it will get involved in other advanced techniques, like using carbon dioxide to get greenhouse fruit and vegetables to grow quicker.

The electricity market is changing.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s Floating Wind Farm

This article on the BBC is entitled World’s first floating wind farm emerges off coast of Scotland.

In the early 1970s, I worked on a unique concept for a reusable oil platform called a Balaena.

I wrote about using a Balaena for a wind turbine in Could a Balaena-Like Structure Be Used As a Wind Power Platform?.

There is also a brief description of the idea in The Balaena Lives.

I have a strong feeling that revisiting all of the work done for a Balaena over forty years ago, could enable a better way to build a floating wind farm.

I would build my Baleana-based floating wind-power turbine like this.

  • A steel cylinder is built, which will form the tower, horizontally in a dry dock.
  • It is floated out horizontally to some very deep water perhaps in a fjord.
  • It is then raised to a vertical position by letting a calculated amount of sea water into the tank.
  • It will float vertically, if the weight profile is right and by adjusting water levels in the tank, the top can be raised on lowered.
  • The tower is adjusted to a convenient height and the turbine is placed on the top.
  • It would then be towed vertically into position.

Note that Balaenas were designed to sit on the sea-bed using a skirt and a gum-boot principle to hold them to the bottom, with extra anchors and steel ropes.

 

July 24, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Grayling Sets An Excellent Precedent

This article on the BBC is entitled St Mellons Private Rail Station Welcomed By Chris Grayling.

This is said.

A proposal to create Wales’ first privately-owned railway station has been welcomed by UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

He told MPs he was very happy to see plans for St Mellons Parkway in east Cardiff go ahead.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty said south Wales needed new stations to make the most out of rail electrification.

The new station has been provisionally named Cardiff Parkway.

Mr Doughty said the proposals to build the station in east Cardiff were “backed by the private sector, backed cross party, backed by the Welsh Government, backed by Cardiff council”

Chris Grayling said he was happy to see it go ahead and that as it was privately-funded, it didn’t need the same form of public funding.

At the present time, there is only one privately-funded station; Southend Airport.

There is also this article on Wales Online, which is entitled There could be 12 new railway stations built in Wales.

Builders are going to be busy!

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Giant Batteries To Store Green Energy

In today’s Sunday Times, there is a small article with this title.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Britain could soon be relying on battery power under plans to create a network of electrical storage facilities around the national grid.

Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, is expected to announce plans this week for giant rechargeable battery facilities to be installed near wind and solar farms to store the energy generated when demand is low. It can then be released when demand rises.

The article also says that householders will be encouraged to use batteries alongside solar panels.

I think this is only the start.

Imagine an estate of new houses, an office development, a factory estate or a business park.

  • Solar panels would be everywhere.
  • Wind turbines could be strategically placed.
  • A central CHP system would provide heating and some electricity.

Everything would be backed up by a suitably-sized battery.

 

July 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments

We Need More Electricity

Everything we do, seems to need more and more electricity.

We are greening our transport and every electric train, car, bus and truck will need to be charged.

Unless it is hydrogen-powered, in which case we’ll need electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Computing and the Internet needs more electricity and is leading to companies putting server farms in countries like Iceland, where there are Gigawatts of low-cost electricity.

We’re also using more energy hungry equipment like air-conditioning and some household appliances.

And then there’s industry, where some processes like metal smelting need lots of electricity.

At least developments like LED lighting and energy harvesting are helping to cut our use.

Filling The Gap

How are we going to fill our increasing energy gap?

Coal is going and rightly so!

A lot of nuclear power stations, which once built don’t create more carbon dioxide, are coming to the end of their lives. But the financial and technical problems of building new ones seem insoluble. Will the 3,200 MW Hinckley Point C ever be built?

That 3,200 MW size says a lot about the gap.

It is the sort of number that renewables, like wind and solar will scarcely make  a dent in.

Unfortunately, geography hasn’t donated us the terrain for the massive hydroelectric schemes , that are the best way to generate loe-carbon electricity.

Almost fifty years ago, I worked briefly for Frederick Snow and Partners, who were promoting a barrage of the River |Severn. I wrote about my experiences in The Severn Barrage and I still believe , that this should be done, especially as if done properly, it would also do a lot to tame the periodic flooding of the River.

The Tilbury Energy Centre

An article in The Times caught my eye last week with the headline of Tilbury Planned As Site Of UK’s Biggest Gas-Fired Power Station.

It said that RWE were going to build a massive 2,500 MW gas-fired power station.

This page on the RWE web site is entitled Tilbury Energy Centre.

This is from that page.

RWE Generation is proposing to submit plans to develop Tilbury Energy Centre at the former Tilbury B Power Station site. The development would include the potential for a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station with capacity of up to 2,500 Megawatts, 100 MW of energy storage facility and 300MW of open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT). The exact size and range of these technologies will be defined as the project progresses, based on an assessment of environmental impacts, as well as market and commercial factors.

The development consent application will also include a 3km gas pipeline that will connect the proposed plant to the transmission network which runs to the east of the Tilbury power station. The proposed CCGT power station would be located on the coal stock yard at the site of the former power station, but would be physically much smaller than its predecessor (a coal/biomass plant).

I will now look at the various issues.

Carbon Dioxide

But what about all that carbon dioxide that will be produced?

This is the great dilemma of a gas-powered power-station of this size.

But the advantage of natural gas over coal is that it contains several hydrogen atoms, which produce pure water under combustion. The only carbon in natural gas is the one carbon atom in methane, where it is joined to four hydrogen atoms.

Compared to burning coal, burning natural gas creates only forty percent of the carbon dioxide in creating the same amount of energy.

If you look at Drax power station, which is a 3,960 MW station, it produces a lot of carbon dioxide, even though it is now fuelled with a lot of imported biomass.

On the other hand, we could always eat the carbon dioxide.

This document on the Horticultural Development Council web site, is entitled Tomatoes: Guidelines for CO2 enrichment – A Grower Guide.

This and other technologies will be developed for the use of waste carbon-dioxide in the next couple of decades.

The great advantage of a gas-fired power station, is that, unlike coal, there are little or no impurities in the feedstock.

The Site

This Google Map shows the site, to the East of Tilbury Docks.

Note that the site is in the South East corner of the map, with its jetty for coal in the River.

These pictures show the area.

The CCGT power station would be built to the North of the derelict Tilbury B power station. I’ll repeat what RWE have said.

The proposed CCGT power station would be located on the coal stock yard at the site of the former power station, but would be physically much smaller than its predecessor (a coal/biomass plant).

Hopefully, when complete, it will improve the area behind partially Grade II* Listed Tilbury Fort.

Another development in the area is the Lower Thames Crossing, which will pass to the East of the site of the proposed power station. As this would be a tunnel could this offer advantages in the design of electricity and gas connections to the power station.

What Is A CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) Power Station?

Combined cycle is described well but in a rather scientific manner in Wikipedia. This is the first paragraph.

In electric power generation a combined cycle is an assembly of heat engines that work in tandem from the same source of heat, converting it into mechanical energy, which in turn usually drives electrical generators. The principle is that after completing its cycle (in the first engine), the temperature of the working fluid engine is still high enough that a second subsequent heat engine may extract energy from the waste heat that the first engine produced. By combining these multiple streams of work upon a single mechanical shaft turning an electric generator, the overall net efficiency of the system may be increased by 50–60%. That is, from an overall efficiency of say 34% (in a single cycle) to possibly an overall efficiency of 51% (in a mechanical combination of two cycles) in net Carnot thermodynamic efficiency. This can be done because heat engines are only able to use a portion of the energy their fuel generates (usually less than 50%). In an ordinary (non combined cycle) heat engine the remaining heat (e.g., hot exhaust fumes) from combustion is generally wasted.

Thought of simply, it’s like putting a steam generator on the hot exhaust of your car and using the steam generated to create electricity.

The significant figures are that a single cycle has an efficiency of say 34%, whereas a combined cycle could be possibly as high as 51%.

In a section in the Wikipedia entry called Efficiency of CCGT Plants, this is said.

The most recent[when?] General Electric 9HA can attain 41.5% simple cycle efficiency and 61.4% in combined cycle mode, with a gas turbine output of 397 to 470MW and a combined output of 592MW to 701MW. Its firing temperature is between 2,600 and 2,900 °F (1,430 and 1,590 °C), its overall pressure ratio is 21.8 to 1 and is scheduled to be used by Électricité de France in Bouchain. On April 28, 2016 this plant was certified by Guinness World Records as the worlds most efficient combined cycle power plant at 62.22%. The Chubu Electric’s Nishi-ku, Nagoya power plant 405MW 7HA is expected to have 62% gross combined cycle efficiency.

There is also a section in the Wikipedia entry called Boosting Efficiency, where this is said.

The efficiency of CCGT and GT can be boosted by pre-cooling combustion air. This is practised in hot climates and also has the effect of increasing power output. This is achieved by evaporative cooling of water using a moist matrix placed in front of the turbine, or by using Ice storage air conditioning. The latter has the advantage of greater improvements due to the lower temperatures available. Furthermore, ice storage can be used as a means of load control or load shifting since ice can be made during periods of low power demand and, potentially in the future the anticipated high availability of other resources such as renewables during certain periods.

So is the location of the site by the Thames, important because of all that cold water.

But surely using surplus electricity to create ice, which is then used to improve the efficiency of the power produced from gas is one of those outwardly-bonkers, but elegant ideas, that has a sound scientific and economic case.

It’s not pure storage of electricity as in a battery or at Electric Mountain, but it allows spare renewable energy to be used profitably for electricity generators, consumers and the environment.

The location certainly isn’t short of space and it is close to some of the largest wind-farms in the UK in the Thames Estuary, of which the London Array alone has a capacity of 630 MW.

Wikipedia also has a section on an Integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC), where a CCGT power station is combined with a solar array.

I can’t see RWE building a new CCGT plant without using the latest technology and the highest efficiency.

Surely the higher the efficiency, the  less carbon dioxide is released for a given amount of electricity.

Building A CCGT Power Station

The power station itself is just a big building, where large pieces of machinery can be arranged and connected together to produce electricity.

To get an idea of scale of power stations, think of the original part of Tate Modern in London, which was the turbine hall of the Bankside power station, which generated 300 MW.

Turbines are getting smaller and more powerful, so I won’t speculate on the size of RWE’s proposed 2,500 MW station.

It will also only need a gas pipe in and a cable to connect the station to the grid. There is no need to use trains or trucks to deliver fuel.

Wikipedia has a section entitled Typical Size Of CCGT Plants, which says this.

For large-scale power generation, a typical set would be a 270 MW primary gas turbine coupled to a 130 MW secondary steam turbine, giving a total output of 400 MW. A typical power station might consist of between 1 and 6 such sets.

I feel that this raises interesting questions about the placement of single unit CCGT power stations.

It also means that at somewhere like Tilbury, you can build the units as required in sequence, provided the services are built with the first unit.

So on a large site like Tilbury, the building process can be organised in the best way posible and we might find that the station is expanded later.

RWE say this on their web site.

The exact size and range of these technologies will be defined as the project progresses, based on an assessment of environmental impacts, as well as market and commercial factors.

That sounds like a good plan to me!

100 MW Of Energy Storage At Tilbury

RWE’s plan also includes 100 MW of energy storage, although they say market and commercial factors could change this.

Energy storage is the classic way to bridge shortages in energy, when demand rises suddenly, as cin the classic half-time drinks in the Cup inal.

In Wikipedia’s list of energy storage projects, there are some interesting developments.

The Hornsdale Wind Farm in Australia has the following.

  • 99 wind turbines.
  • A total generating capacity of 315 MW.

Elon Musk is building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery next door with a capacity of 129 MwH

But those energy storage projects aren’t all about lithium-ion batteries.

Several like Electric Mountain in Wales use pumped storage and others use molten salt.

Essex doesn’t have the mountains for the former and probably the geology for the latter.

But the technology gets better all the time, so who knows what technology will be used?

The intriguing idea is the one I mentioned earlier to make ice to cool the air to improve the efficiency of the CCGT power station.

What Is The Difference Between A CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine) And An OCGT (Open Cycle Gas Turbine) Power Station?

RWE have said that they will provide 300 MW of 300MW of Open Cycle Gas Turbines, so what is the difference.

This page from the MottMacdonald web site gives a useful summary.

OCGT plants are often used for the following applications:

  • Providing a peak lopping capability
  • As a back- up to wind and solar power
  • As phase 1 to generate revenue where phase 2 may be conversion to a CCGT

CCGT plants offer greater efficiency.

I’ve also read elsewhere, that OCGT plants can use a much wider range of fuel. Used cooking oil?

Conclusion

There is a lot more to this than building a 2,500 MW gas-fired power station.

RWE will be flexible and I think we could see a very different mix to the one they have proposed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Could Hitachi Produce A Bi-Mode Class 385 Train?

Before I start, I’ll ask a simple question.

Is It Advantageous To A Train Operating Company (TOC) To Have Electric And Bi-Mode Versions Of The Same Train?

Their are two pairs of electric and bi-mode train types in the IK.

  • The bi-mode Class 800 trains and the electric Class 801 trains.
  • The bi-mode Class 769 trains and the electric Class 319 trains.

As the latter was specified jointly by a TOC and a ROSCO, I’m sure that it is advantageous for two closely-related versions to exist.

Hitachi’s New Trains

Hitachi will soon have four of their new train types in service in the UK.

Class 800 Trains – Electro-Diesel

Class 800 trains will soon be in service with Great Western Railway. The July 2017 Edition of Midern Railways says this.

The RMT union’s National Executive Committee has accepted Great Western Railway’s latest offer detailing the operational procedures proposed fpor the new Inter-City Express (IEP) due to start entering service in October.

So if that it is an affirmative, trains could be running by the end of the year!

Class 801 Trains – Electric Only

Class 801 trains will soon be in service with Virgin Trains East Coast. Wikipedia says service entry is planned to be 2017, but there is nothing definite on the Internet.

Although the new trains did make the cover of the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

Note the headline of Azuma’s Are Coming!

I suspect though, that Sir Richard Branson will hate to be seen to have his trains in service after Great Western Railway.

Class 802 Trains – Electro-Diesel

Class 802 trains are just a version of the Class 800 trains, built not in Newton Aycliffe, but in Pistoia in Italy.

The July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways reports that two pre-production trains built in Japan arrived in the UK in June for testing, so the in-service date of December 2018 quoted in Wikipedia, should be achieved.

Modern Railways says this about the trains.

A key element in enabling fast delivery and subsequent entry into service is that the Class 802 trains are technically very similar to the IEP (Class 800/801) trains on order for both Great Western and East Coast services, featuring the same design of seats, kitchens and most components. Hitachi expects this to reduce significantly the time required for approvals prior to operational service. Key technical differences to the earlier lass 800 trains are different engine management software, enabling higher power output (700kW) from the MTU diesel power packs fitted with larger 120-litre urea (emission control) tanks.

Other features include larger fuel tanks, more powerful brakes and special features to cope with sea water spray at Dawlish.

Class 385 Trains – Electric Only

Class 385 trains are the babies of the four trains, being intended for Scottish routes between and around Edinburgh and Glasgow. Wikipedia gives an in-service date of December 2017.

Hitachi Have A Lot To Digest

Hitachi have the following trains on order for delivery by the end of 2019.

  • 46 x 3-car Class 385 trains
  • 24 x 4 -car Class 385 trains
  • 46 x 5-car Class 800 trains
  • 34 x 9-car Class 800 trains
  • 12 x 5-car Class 801 trains
  • 30 x 9-car Class 801 trains
  • 46 x 5-car Class 802 trains
  • 14 x 9-car Class 802 trains

That is a total of 252 trains involving a total of 1,456 carriages, which will have been built in three difference factories.

But at least they are all based on the same Hitachi A-train concept!

The Design Of The Class 80x Train

In Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I did more than discuss the posed question.

I looked at the overall concept of the trains, as discussed in this document on the Hitachi Rail web site, which dates from 2014 and is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme.

The document provides this schematic of the traction system.

Note BC which is described as battery charger.

Reading the document in detail, I discovered the following facts.

  • The 80x trains are effectively Plug-and-Play and automatically detect the configuration of a train, be it a single unit or two coupled together.
  • Train length can be adjusted between five and twelve cars, by just adding or removing  trailer or motor cars.
  • In certain situations like train recovery, train length can be up to 24-cars.
  • Coupling and uncoupling of two trains takes less than two minutes.
  • Passengers are counted automatically. By a tiny Japanese robot walking up and down?
  • Trains can be locomotive-hauled.
  • The all-electric Class 801 train has at least one diesel power-pack per train for hotel power and emergency recovery in case of complete power failure.

The big omission is any talk of how regenerative braking is handled.

I have come to the conclusion, that the energy returned from the traction motors on braking goes through the APS (auxiliary power supply) to be used as hotel power, with any spare energy being stored using the battery charger in an appropriately-sized battery.

As a life-expired Control Engineer, I still know enough to realise that there is scope for a really intelligent control system, which takes note of myriad inputs to run the train in the most energy-efficient manner.

Inputs could include.

  • Train position from GPS.
  • Train route and terrain.
  • Outside weather conditions
  • Passenger load and expected journey patterns.
  • Signalling and other train issues.
  • Is electrification available?
  • How much fuel is on board?

The train could be driven against the following.

  • Minimum use of the diesel engines.
  • Maintaining an appropriate level of power in the batteries.
  • Optimal station stopping and restarting profiles.
  • Driving to the terrain.

But probably most importantly, the trains will make sure they stick to the timetable.

Driving trains will be going through the revolution that flying planes went through some decades ago, where the pilots’ roles became much more of a supervisory one. But , if course they were there for emergencies or unexpected situations.

So How Do The Class 385 Trains Compare?

There is a document on the Hitachi web site, which is entitled Development of Class 385 Semi-customised/Standard Commuter Rolling Stock for Global Markets, which gives insights into Hitachi’s thinking.

This is the introduction.

The Class 385 is based on the AT-200, which was developed for global markets with the aim of providing flexibility of configuration while making maximum use of standardisation. It is a semi-customised model of a type common in global markets, with fewer components and greater standardisation of components achieved by adopting the “mother design” developed for the AT-300 (a typical example of which is the Class 800) and competitive lead times achieved by shortening the specification-setting process.

Note the close relationship between the Class 385 and Class 800 trains.

The Hitachi document gives a schematic of the Class 385 traction system.

Compared with that given for the Class 80x train, it is a lot simpler, with each bogie having its own converter unit. This is to allow both the three-car and four-car trains to have similar electrical layouts, that is easily modified for the shorter train, which has a smaller number of traction motors to save one and a half tonnes.

The document also says this.

The Class 385 uses the same main electrical components as the AT-300. However, the following electrical systems were adopted for use in the Class 385.

It then describes how the traction, brake and door systems have been modified.

In this Hitachi promotional video, power sockets and wi-fi are promised.

So where is the auxiliary power supply to power all these features and how is regenerative braking handled.

In the data sheet for the AT-200 train on the Hitachi web site, the following details are given.

  • Three to twelve cars.
  • 100 to 125 mph operating speed.
  •  Dual Voltage (25KVAC / 750 VDC / Battery)

As the Class 385 train is a member of the AT-200 family, could it be that like the Class 80x, it has similar electrical layout to the larger train?

So I have come to the conclusion that the regenerative braking energy goes to a battery, that is used to provide hotel power.

How Big Would A Battery For A Class 385 Train Need To Be?

In How Big Would Batteries Need To Be On A Train For Regenerative Braking?, I work through the calculation of the kinetic energy in a four-car Class 710 train, which would be Bombardier’s equivalent to a Class 385 train.

I said this.

To calculate the kinetic energy in the train, which will have to be transferred to the battery, we need the mass of the train and its velocity.

I’ll start with the velocity of the train.

As it approached a station, it will be at whatever is the appropriate line speed, which to make things easy I’ll assume is 100 kph or just under 28 metres per second.

In most cases after stopping and discharging and loading a few passengers, it will probably return to a similar line-speed to go to the following station.

The mass of each car of an Aventra, is found at several places on the Internet, including this entry in Wikipedia iwhich gives it as 30-35 tonnes. So the four-car Class 710 train could have a mass of 130 tonnes. Add 100 passengers at an average of 80 kg. each and this would make the mass 138 tonnes

Applying the standard formula gives a kinetic energy of 53240741 joules or in common-or-garden units 14.8 kilowatt hours. So the energy of an Aventra going at 100 kph could power a one bar electric fire for fifteen hours.

If you take the battery in one of London’s Routemaster buses, that has a capacity of 75 kWH.

As the specification for an Hitachi At-200 includes a battery option, fitting has probably been engineered.

Could A Diesel Powerpack Be Fitted Underneath A Class 385 Train?

I can only suppose that just as the Class 801 train has an diesel generator under one car, that the Hitachi design for the AT-200 train has provision for this feature in case an operator requires it.

If as I believe the Class 385 train has a similar electrical layout to the Class 80x trains, then incorporating a small diesel generator would not be a major redesign of the train.

But having a Bi-Mode Class 385 train might clinch a few sales.

Would A Bi-Mode Class 385 Train Have Uses?

There is no use building a train, that doesn’t have any uses.

The Class 385 train has been built with very careful considerable for weight. The design document says this.

Railway businesses in the UK include ROSCOs, TOCs, and track maintenance and management companies.

The TOCs pay fees, called track access charges, which are based on the weight of rolling stock and the distance travelled, and are obliged to pay the track maintenance and management company for the electrical power consumed in train operation. Because lighter trains put less load on the track, they incur lower track access charges. As lighter trains also consume less electrical power, there was strong demand from the TOC to make the rolling stock lighter, right from the pre-contract stage.

So if the bi-mode version of the Class 385 is a bit heavier because of the diesel powerpack, the train will be more expensive to run, which is probably acceptable to the TOC.

Looking at Scottish rail routes, there are several services in the area between Edinburgh and Glasgow, which will be run on partially-electrified lines.

Conclusion

Due to the modular nature of these Hitachi trains, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is possible to fit a small diesel power pack under a Class 385 train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?

I ask this question, because I think that it could be key to the announcements about electrification yesterday, as reported  in this article in Global Rail News, which is entitled UK Ditches Electrification Plans In Wales, The Midlands And The North.

If you look at all these Wikipedia entries for Hitachi trains being built for the UK.

You will find no reference to regenerative braking.

If you type “Class 800 regenerative braking” into Google, you will find this document on the Hitachi Rail web site, which is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme.

The only mention of the R-word is in this paragraph.

An RGS-compliant integrated on-train data recorder (OTDR) and juridical recording unit (JRU), and an EN-compliant energy
meter to record energy consumption and regeneration are fitted to the train.

If you search for brake in the document, you find this paragraph.

In addition to the GU, other components installed under the floor of drive cars include the traction converter, fuel tank, fire protection system, and brake system.

Note that GU stands for generator unit.

Traction System

I will start by having a detailed look at the traction system as described in the document.

The document provides this schematic of the traction system.

Note BC which is described as battery charger.

This is said in the text.

The system can select the appropriate power source from either the main transformer or the GUs. Also, the size and weight of the system were minimized by designing the power supply converter to be able to work with both power sources. To ensure that the Class 800 and 801 are able to adapt to future changes in operating practices, they both have the same traction system and the rolling stock can be operated as either class by simply adding or removing GUs. On the Class 800, which is intended to run on both electrified and non-electrified track, each traction system has its own GU. On the other hand, the Class 801 is designed only for electrified lines and has one or two GUs depending on the length of the trainset (one GU for trainsets of five to nine cars, two GUs for trainsets of 10 to 12 cars). These GUs supply emergency traction power and auxiliary power in the event of a power outage on the catenary, and as an auxiliary power supply on non-electrified lines where the Class 801 is in service and pulled by a locomotive. This allows the Class 801 to operate on lines it would otherwise not be able to use and provides a backup in the event of a catenary power outage or other problem on the ground systems as well as non-electrified routes in loco-hauled mode.

This is all very comprehensive.

But nothing is said about how regenerative brake currents from the traction motors are handled.

Any trained Control Engineer, of which I’m a life-expired example, can see all sorts of questions to ask.

  • Could it be that all regenerative brake currents are fed into the Auxiliary Power Supply and then used for hotel power and to charge the battery?
  • Is the generator unit switched on and off by a sophisticated control system, that uses GPS, train velocity, train weight battery level etc.
  • We know battery power can move the train in emergency, but is battery power used to help start the train?
  • How big is that mysterious battery?

In 2010, I wrote Edinburgh to Inverness in the Cab of an HST, after taking a memorable trip.

One memory of that trip is of the skill of the driver as he adjusted the twin throttles of the power cars and used the brakes, as the train travelled up hill and down dale.

This line will be Class 800 territory and I suspect that it will be worked by two five car units working as a ten-car train.

As I think that each five-car unit will have three generator units, does this mean that the driver will have six throttles?

Control Engineering has moved on in the forty years since the InterCity 125 entered service and I suspect that like an Airline Pilot, the driver of a Class 800 train, will have little control about how power is delivered. Except probably in a supervisory role.

So on routes like the Highland Main Line, the Class 800 will come into its own, using the generator units and stored energy as appropriate.

Obviously, the less the generator unit is used the better, as this minimises noise and vibration, and cuts carbon emissions.

Other features in the train design have been disclosed.

All Class 801 Trains Have At Least One Generator Unit

All Class 801 trains have at least one GU (generator unit), so it can obviously provide hotel power and probably enough power to limp to the next station, in case of overhead line failure.

Third Rail Class 800/801 Trains Are Possible

The layout of the traction system surely makes a third rail  or even a dual-voltage version of the trains possible.

After all, their cousin; the Class 395 train is a dual voltage train.

Locomotive Haulage Is Possible

As I said, the specification is comprehensive.

The document is also forthcoming in other areas.

Train Configuration

This is said.

Trains have a unit configuration of up to 12 cars, including the ability to add or remove standardised intermediate cars and the generator units (GUs)
(generators with diesel engines) needed to operate commercial services on non-electrified lines.

So if say GWR wanted an eleven-car train, it would be possible.

Automatic Coupling And Uncoupling

This is said.

Because the coupling or uncoupling of cars in a trainset occurs during commercial service at an intermediate station, the automatic coupling device is able to perform this operation in less than 2 minutes.

This is definitely in line with Class 395 train performance.

Automatic Train Identification Function

This is said.

To simplify the rearrangement and management of train configurations, functions are provided for identifying the train (Class 800/801), for automatically determining the cars in the trainset and its total length, and for coupling and uncoupling up to 12 cars in
normal and 24 cars in rescue or emergency mode.

I suspect most modern trains can do this.

One Twelve-Car Train Can Rescue Another

See the previous extract.

Flexible Interior Layout

This is said.

The rolling stock is designed to facilitate changes to the interior layout to accommodate changes to services or to the number of cars in the train.

I suspect that was expected.

An Interim Conclusion

In answer to the question, I posed with this post, I suspect that the answer is in the affirmative.

Extra Evidence

I also found this article on the Hitachi Rail web site, which is entitled Hybrid Propulsion with a sub-title of Energy-saving hybrid propulsion system using storage–battery technology.

This is the introductory paragraph.

As a step toward producing environmentally friendly propulsion systems, Hitachi has supplied a hybrid propulsion system that combines an engine generator, motor, and storage batteries. This system provides regenerative braking which has not been previously possible on conventional diesel-powered trains, and enables increased energy savings via regenerated energy.

They list the advantages as.

  1. 10% improvement of fuel consumption
  2. 60% reduction of the hazardous substances in engine exhaust
  3. 30db reduction of noise in stopping at the station

They also give various links that are worth reading.

All of these pages seem to have been published in 2013.

Conclusion

I will be very surprised if Class 800/801/802 trains don’t have batteries.

Will the Class 385 trains for ScotRail have similar traction system?

 

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

UK Ditches Electrification Plans In Wales, The Midlands And The North

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Global Rail News. This is the first two paragraphs.

The UK government has abandoned plans to electrify the railway between Cardiff and Swansea, the Midland Main Line north of Kettering and the line between Windermere and Oxenholme in favour of bi-mode, or ‘alternative-fuel’, trains.

An announcement from the Department for Transport (DfT) this morning said electrification of the lines was no longer needed and that cancelling the work would result in less disruption for passengers.

So do I agree with the Government’s decision?

Before I answer that question, I will put a few facts into this post!

All Trains Should Be Powered By Electricity

Most trains in the UK are actually powered by electricity.

If you take the noisy and smelly Class 66 locomotive, the wheels are actually turned by electricity, although that electricity is generated by a 2,460 kW diesel engine and an alternator, which is then fed to the traction motors.

The great advantage of electricity is that when you need to deliver precise power to move the train, it is very easy to control.

As an example of precise electric control, think of a variable-speed drill or food mixer.

What makes some trains more efficient than others, is the way they handle the electricity and get it to the traction motors.

Electrification; Overhead Or Third Rail

Ptobably the most efficient way to get electrical power to a train is from an electrification system, which in the UK can be 25 KVAC overhead wire or 750 VDC third rail.

25 KVAC overhead electrification has the following problems.

  • Bridges and tunnels must be raised to give sufficient clearance for the wires.
  • Stations must be designed so that passengers can’t get near the wires.
  • Overhead wires are liable to damage.
  • Overhead gantries can be unsightly and subject to objection by local interest groups.
  • Erecting overhead gantries on an existing railway seems subject to various problems.

I could add that in the UK, we seem to be particularly bad at overhead electrification, but then most other countries electrified their lines decades ago.

750 VDC third rail electrification has one main problem, which is one of Health and Safety.

What is the purpose of this palisade fence at Abbey Wood station?

It certainly doesn’t protect passengers on the North Kent Line platform from where I took the photo from the 750 VDC third rail electrification in front of the fence.

The Crossrail tracks behind the fence are electrified with 25 KVAC, which is several metres in the air.

So is the fence to protect passengers on the platform behind the fence from running across the electrified track?

I think it probably is!

Electrification of both types has problems in certain track layouts.

  • Switches and crossings sometimes need very complicated layout of the power system.
  • Level crossings can present difficult Health and Safety problems.
  • Depots can be dangerous places, even without live rails and overhead wires.

Engineers are constantly coming up with ideas to make electrification safer and more efficient.

Diesel Power

Putting an appropriate diesel engine on a train coupled to an alternator is a common way to generate electricity to power the train.

But.

  • There is the noise and the smell.
  • Diesel engines are very heavy.
  • Diesel fuel has to be carried.
  • Diesel trains have to be regularly refuelled.

To cap it all, diesel trains are not very green.

Gas Turbine Power

One version of he Advanced Passenger Train of the 1970s was intended to be powered by gas turbines and this shows how engineers tried all sorts of power for trains.

Gas turbine power, although very successful in aircraft is probably not suitable for trains.

Hydrogen Power

The Alstom Coradio iLint is a train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. This is said in the Wikipedia entry.

Announced at InnoTrans 2016, the new model will be the world’s first production hydrogen-powered trainset. The Coradia iLint will be able to reach 140 kilometres per hour (87 mph) and travel 600–800 kilometres (370–500 mi) on a full tank of hydrogen. The first Coradia iLint is expected to enter service in December 2017 on the Buxtehude-Bremervörde-Bremerhaven-Cuxhaven line in Lower Saxony, Germany. It will be assembled at Alstom’s Salzgitter plant. It began rolling tests at 80km/h in March 2017.

As we have successful hydrogen-powered buses in London, I suspect we might see trains powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Battery Power

Powering a heavy train for a long distance, by means of batteries seems very much of a fantasy.

I was sceptical until I rode inn Bombardier’s Class 379 train, that took part in the BEMU trial.

I believe strongly, that the place for a battery in a train is not normally as a primary power source, but as an intermediate electricity store in much the way the battery is used in a hybrid bus or car.

The battery would be charged, when running on electrified track or by using an onboard diesel engine or hydrogen fuel cell.

It could then power the train on a length of track without electrification.

Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking can save as much of twenty percent of the electricity use of a train.

Every time the train brakes, the traction motors turn into generators and transform the train’s kinetic energy into electricity.

On some systems like the London Underground, the electricity is returned to the network and used to power nearby trains.

But on some trains, it is passed through resistors on the train roof and just turned into heat.

Hybrid vehicles have shown how it is possible to use batteries to store and reuse the energy and I believe that this technique is now starting to be used on trains.

In Thoughts On Batteries, I said this.

A typical four-car electric multiple unit like a new Class 710 train, weighs about 130 tonnes or 138 tonnes with passengers. Going at a line speed of 100 kph, it has a kinetic energy of 15 KwH. So this amount of kinetic energy would be well within the scope of a 75 KwH battery from a Routemaster bus.

I think that the typical four-car electric multiple unit can easily be fitted with a battery to handle the braking for the train.

The physics of steel-wheel-on-steel-rail are also very efficient, as Robert Stephenson, if not his father, would have known.

So it would appear that combining regenerative braking with batteries of a practical size can improve the efficiency of a train.

One of the great advantages of handling the regenerative braking on the train with batteries, is that expensive transformers to handle the return currents are not needed at trackside.

Putting It All Together

I very much feel that the ultimate train should have the following characteristics.

  • The ability to work on 25 KVAC overhead and/or 750 VDC third rail electrification.
  • A suitable independent power source, which today would probably be diesel.
  • Regenerative braking.
  • A battery of sufficient size.
  • The ability to switch modes automatically.

As a Control Engineer, I feel sure that some form of Automatic Power Management would be welcomed by the driver.

The Class 800 Train

The Class 800 trains, have the following maximum speeds.

  • 125 mph on 25 KVAC overhead wires
  • 140 mph on 25 KVAC overhead wires with ETCS in-cab signalling.
  • 100 mph on diesel.

I think it is true to say, that on 125 mph lines, they may be capable of going faster.

But whatever they can do is probably well known now as Hitachi have over two years of experience of running the trains on British tracks.

In Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I analyse the posed question.

After spending several hours searching the Internet, I found this very helpful document on the Hitachi web site.

Reading every word several times, I came to the conclusion, that it is more likely than not, that all variants of Class 80x trains have batteries, that are used for the following.

  • Handling regenerative braking
  • Providing hotel power for the train in case of complete power failure.
  • Providing emergency train recovery in case of complete power failure.

I also discovered the following.

  • The all-electric Class 801 train, has at least one onboard diesel engine for emergency situations.
  • All Class 80x trains could be modified to use third rail electrification.
  • All Class 80x trains can couple and uncouple in under two minutes.
  • Class 80x trains can rescue another.
  • Class 80x trains can be locomotive-hauled.

Hitachi have worked hard to produce a seriously comprehensive train.

This specification will lead to some interesting operational strategies.

More Destinations

Great Western Railway currently has services between London Paddington and the following destinations in South Wales

  • Bridgend
  • Carmarthen
  • Cardiff
  • Llanelli
  • Neath
  • Newport
  • Pembroke Dock
  • Port Talbot
  • Swansea

But how many other stations in South Wales could benefit from a direct service?

The intriguing thing is that a Class 800 train is narrower at 2.7 metres, than the following trains.

A five-car Class 800 train is also considerably shorter and a lot quieter than an InterCity 125.

So it raises the possibility of direct services between London and the following stations.

  • Smaller stations in West Wales like Fishguard Harbour and Milford Haven
  • Important stations in the Cardiff Valley Lines.

Could a five-car Class 800 train reach Aberdare, Ebbw Vale and Merthyr Tydfil, with some platform and track modifications?

Or if not a five-car, what about a four- or three-car train, which due to the flexible nature of the trains, I’m sure is possible?

Joining And Splitting Of Trains

In Wales, smaller separate trains could join into a train of up to twelve-cars at say Cardiff or Newport stations and then run to London as a single train.

Similar processes could apply in West Wales, with trains joining at perhaps Port Talbot Parkway station.

Returning from London, the trains would split at an appropriate station.

The big advantage of this approach, is that two or even three services share one path and driver between the join/split station and London, which means an increased number of separate services and total seats between Wales and London.

Similar processes will be possible on the following sets of routes, which will or could be run by Class 80x trains.

  • London Paddington to Cheltenham, Gloucester, Hereford, Oxford and Worcester.
  • London Paddington to Devon and Cornwall.
  • Midland Main Line services.
  • East Coast Main Line services.

How many stations on these lines will receive a new direct service to and from London?

Network Rail’s Secret Weapon

I have been suspicious for some time, that Network Rail have a very sophisticated simulation of the UK rail network. In fact, I’d be very surprised if they didn’t have one.

But that’s because I’ve done extensive dynamic simulation and scheduling in my working life.

It’s just that some of the new franchises have developed some quite radical train patterns.

So I would suspect, a lot of the thinking behind the dropping of electrification has been thoroughly tested on the computer.

So how will the three lines quoted in the article be handled?

Oxenholme To Windermere

The Windermere Branch Line is just ten miles long with four stations.

This article in the Railway Gazette, says this.

‘We have listened to concerns about electrification gantries spoiling protected landscapes’, Grayling said when confirming the cancellation of plans to electrify the Windermere branch in the Lake District, adding that Northern would begin work to trial an ‘alternative-fuelled’ train on the route by 2021. Grayling mentioned the ongoing development of battery and hydrogen power in his statement, but Northern said it had only just begun to explore possible options following the cancellation of the electrification, and so any decision on the technology to be used was still some way off.

From May 2018 Northern plans to operate services to Windermere using Class 769 Flex electro-diesel units to be formed by fitting diesel powerpacks to Class 319 EMUs. New CAF DMUs would then be introduced to the route from December 2019.

It is both a short-term and a long-term solution, that is probably to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Given that the Class 769 train has been designed to serve Manchester to Buxton, you can’t accuse Porterbrook and Northern of hiding their creation under a bushel.

Cardiff To Swansea

The South Wales Main Line between Cardiff Central and Swansea stations is a forty-five mile double-track with the following operating speeds.

  • 90 mph from Cardiff Central to East of Bridgend station
  • 75 mph from Bridgend to   Swansea Loop North Junction
  • 40 mph from  Swansea Loop North Junction to Swansea

But there is a short section at 100 mph through Pyle station.

This is said in the article in Global Rail News.

Referring to the Cardiff-Swansea route, the statement said, “Rapid delivery of passenger benefits, minimising disruption and engineering work should always be our priority and as technology changes we must reconsider our approach to modernising the railways.”

The argument is based on the planned introduction of bi-mode Class 800 trains later this year.

I have flown my virtual helicopter along the tracks and it doesn’t seem a badly designed route.

  • It appears to be fairly straight with flowing curves.
  • There are only eleven stations to pass through.
  • Looking at the current timetables, it would appear that the fastest trains take about 51-53 minutes to go between Cardiff and Swansea.
  • Wkikpedia says this about the South Wales Main Line, “resignalling and line speed improvements in South Wales, most of which would be delivered in 2010–2014”.

So have Network Rail found a way to increase the operating speed nearer to the 100 mph of the Class 800 trains, when running on diesel?

I obviously don’t know for sure, but given the improvements to the South Wales Main Line and the performance of the new trains, I wonder if Network Rail’s calculations have shown that there is very little to be gained by full electrification.

As I indicated earlier, by joining and splitting services, the number of trains and the total number of seats can be increased to West Wales without needing more train paths between London and Cardiff.

Midland Main Line

There has been discussions in Modern Railways recently about the problems of devising a timetable for the Midland Main Line.

The article in the Railway Gazette says this.

Hitachi is supplying bi-mode trainsets for Great Western services under the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme, while the operator of the next East Midlands franchise will be required to introduce bi-mode trainsets from 2022. DfT said the use of electro-diesel trainsets instead of electrification would mean passengers would ‘benefit sooner’, because ‘disruptive’ work to install ‘intrusive wires and masts’ would ‘no longer be needed’.

It looks to me that simulation has shown, as in South Wales, there is little to be gained from full electrification.

But there could be a lot to gain from creative joining and splitting of trains.

Conclusion

I think that someone asked the heretical question.

What would happen if instead of electrification, we used bi-mode trains?

Both the South Wales Main Line and the Midland Main Line have similar characteristics.

  • Operating speed upwards of 90 mph.
  • Sections where the operating speed can be higher.
  • Partial electrification at the London end.
  • All London suburban trains sharing the routes are 100 mph trains.
  • Modern signalling

Couple this with the Class 800 trains and a very good simulation, and I suspect that Network Rail have found ways to improve the service.

I very much feel that similar techniques are being used to increase the capacity of the electrified Great Eastern Main Line to achieve Norwich-in-Ninety.

I can’t of course prove my feelings, but then I started writing computer simulations in the mid-1960s and like to think,  I know when I see some good numerical analysis.

Where Else Could Bi-Mode Trains Be Used In This Way?

This is very much speculation on my part.

Basingstoke To Exeter Via Salisbury

Consider.

  • There have been ambitions to electrify this route for decades.
  • South Western Railway and Great Western Railway are partially in the same ownership.
  • Third rail or dual voltage Class 800 trains are possible.
  • The trains are 100 mph units on diesel against the current 90 mph Class 158 trains.
  • The trains would save four minutes between London Waterloo and Basingstoke.
  • The trains could take advantage of speed improvement South of Basingstoke.
  • If Basingstoke to Exeter was a 100 mph line, then up to fifteen minutes could be saved.
  • The trains could join and split to serve multiple destinations.

But perhaps the biggest advantage would be that all trains between London Waterloo and Basingstoke would be 100 mph trains, which must mean that more trains could use the line.

Cardiff to Brighton via Southampton, Portsmouth Harbour and Bristol

Consider.

  • This route has significant overcrowding according to Wikipedia.
  • Cardiff to Bristol should eventually be electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires.
  • Brighton to Southampton is electrified with 750 VDC third rail.
  • Great Western Railway run this route and have Class 800 trains.
  • Dual voltage Class 800 trains are possible.

To run this route efficiently, Great Western Railway would need an appropriate number of five-car dual voltage Class 800 trains.

Norwich To Stansted Airport via Ely and Cambridge

The Breckland Line between Norwich and Cambridge has the following characteristics.

  • Double-track throughout its just over fofty miles.
  • Sections of electrification at Norwich and South of Ely.
  • A variable operating speed of up to 90 mph.

The line has recently been upgraded with improved track, removal of level crossings and modern signalling.

As part of their new franchise proposal, Greater Anglia decided to run services from Norwich to Stansred Airport using new Stadler Class 755 trains, with the following characteristics.

  • Three- or four-car
  • Bi-mode power.
  • 100 mph capability.
  • Running on 25 KVAC, where available.

I think this is a good plan and is an example of the sort of use of bi-mode trains that will be seen increasingly.

Consider.

  • Norwich gets a much better connection to Cambriodge and Stansted Airport.
  • Some services on the route are still run by 90 mph Class 158 trains.
  • Speed improvements will come because of the nearly fifty miles of electrification between Ely and Stansted Airoport.
  • There may be further track improvements possible.

There is also the big possibility of being able to run a direct service between Norwich and London via Cambridge.

Leeds To Glasgow Via Settle

Why not?

If you look at timings for Leeds to Glasgow, they are typically as follows.

  • 3 hours 58 minutes with an 11 minute change at Haymarket.
  • 4 hours 12 minutes with a 30 minute change at Carlisle
  • 4 hours 4 minutes on a direct train via Edinburgh.

The Settle-Carlisle Line has been stoutly repaired after the 2015-2016 Temporary Closures and is probably in its best state for years, if not ever.

  • Leeds to Skipton is electrified.
  • Carlisle to Glasgow is electrified.
  • Virgin Trains East Coast run to Skipton, using InterCity 225s.

I estimate that a Class 800 train could reduce the journey time to around three-and-a-half hours.

Would that be a successful service considering  driving between Leeds and Glasgow probably takes almost four hours?

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

17 Tube Stations That Face Chronic Overcrowding If Crossrail 2 Is Stopped

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s Standard.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Hundreds of thousands more Londoners will suffer chronic overcrowding on the Tube if Crossrail 2 does not go ahead, it was claimed today.

Transport for London released a list of 17 Underground stations that could buckle under the strain of too many commuters within a few years.

It then lists the stations.

  • Euston
  • King’s Cross St. Pancras
  • Liverpool Street
  • London Bridge
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo
  • Finsbury Park
  • Stockwell
  • Stratford
  • Oxford Circus
  • Highbury & Islington
  • Clapham Common
  • Clapham North
  • Clapham South
  • Holborn
  • Warren Street
  • Leicester Square

It then quotes Caroline Pidgeon, who obtained the list, as follows.

Overcrowding on the Underground is already a daily battle, with many passengers facing regular delays to simply get through barriers at stations.

Unless Crossrail 2 is built these delays will increasingly build up until drastic measures are necessary at 17 key Tube stations, not to mention Clapham Junction railway station.

“Planning ahead for Crossrail 2 is not an optional extra for London’s transport network but of vital importance to keep London moving.

She has certainly highlighted a serious problem.

Call For Crossrail 2

Two years ago to the day, I wrote a post called Call For Crossrail 2 in response to a letter in The Times, from a wide cross section of business leaders calling for a start to be made on the line.

In the post, I talked about improving various stations, just by building Crossrail 2, so in the following notes on the list of crowded stations, I will refer to this post several times in the following.

Euston

Euston tube station is a particular problem in that in the next decade or so, the following will or could happen.

Hopefully, the rebuilding for whichever comes first of  HS2 or Crossrail 2, will make provision for even the most fanciful of expansions.

One Transport for London engineer told me that one of the main reasons for building HS2 and terminating it at Euston, is to be able to sort out the dreadful Euston tube station.

Kings Cross St. Pancras

Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station had a pretty good makeover around the time of the 2012 London Olympics, but it does suffer congestion and travellers have to walk long distances.

The Wikipedia entry for Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station has a section for Crossrail 2. This is said.

Since 1991, a route for a potential Crossrail 2 has been safeguarded, including a connection at King’s Cross St Pancras and Euston, forming the station Euston King’s Cross St Pancras. The proposed scheme would offer a second rail link between King’s Cross and Victoria in addition to the Victoria line. The locations for any new stations on the route will depend on the loading gauge of the final scheme. In the 2007 safeguarded route, the next stations would be Tottenham Court Road and Angel.

There is also a proposal to reopen the closed York Road tube station. In the Wikipedia entry for York Road station under Proposed Reopening, this is said.

One of London’s largest redevelopment projects, King’s Cross Central, began construction in 2008 across the road from the station. Islington council and Transport for London commissioned a study in 2005 to consider the possible reopening of the station. At the same time, however, it was recognised that other transport priorities reduced the likelihood of such a project moving forward in the near future. The site would need extensive overhauls to bring the station up to modern day standards, at a cost estimated at £21 million in 2005. Local political groups have been keen to see the station reopened in order to reduce passenger congestion at King’s Cross St. Pancras and to encourage development in the surrounding community. The Islington Liberal Democrats advocated the reopening of the station in their 2006 local election manifesto, and at least one candidate for the Islington Conservative Party similarly campaigned for the station to be reopened. However, to date, the reopening proposal has not been taken forward.

I wonder if York Road tube station will ever be reopened.

Liverpool Street

The Liverpool Street station complex will be even bigger and busier after Crossrail opens.

The main difference will be that the current Shenfield Metro will now disappear into the ground at Stratford and go under Central London to Heathrow and Reading.

Crossrail 2 will effectively channel the Lea Valley services, that current go into Liverpool Street station under London to emerge in the Wimbledon area.

Effectively, Crossrail and Crossrail 2 major effect on Liverpool Street station are to free up capacity in both tracks and platforms, thuis allowing more longer distance services to use the station.

London Bridge

London Bridge station is being rebuilt and expanded, but little seems to be planned for London Bridge tube station to cope with more passengers.

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this about Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line.

Crossrail 2 will have interchanges with the Northern Line at Angel, Kings Cross St. Pancras, Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Tooting Broadway and possibly Clapham Junction. So it looks like that Crossrail 2 will certainly make journeys easier for users of the Northern Line.

This should mean that travellers on the Northern Line will be able to avoid a congested London Bridge tube station.

Victoria

Victoria tube station is being extended and rebuilt, which should result in sufficient capacity for more than a few years.

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this about Crossrail 2 and the Victoria Line.

Crossrail 2 will effectively by-pass the central part of the Victoria Line as the two lines connect at Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters, Kings Cross, Euston and Victoria.

This should take some of the pressure from Victoria tube station.

Waterloo

Waterloo tube station is a very busy tube station, as it has to cope with all the passengers using Waterloo station.

Crossrail 2 will allow passengers to bypass Waterloo, when travelling to and from Central London.

However, three major improvements will be delivered this year.

  • The old Eurostar platforms are being brought back into use.
  • Extra capacity is being added to the Underground station.
  • I also think that when they have completed the improvements at the Bank end of the Waterloo and City Line. 
  • Will improvements follow at the Waterloo end?

I think Waterloo shouldn’t be judged until the current round of work is completed.

Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park station is a station that suffered badly when the Victoria Line was tunnelled through in the 1960s.

Lifts are being installed, but extra services will be added.

  • Thameslink will call regularly at the station.
  • The services on the Northern City Line will become the Great Northern Metro with an increased frequency.

Crossrail 2 will provide relief for Finsbury Park, as it provides a by-pass for the Victoria Line.

But the station needs to have quite a bit of rebuilding.

Stockwell

Stockwell tube station is where the Victoria and Northern Lines meet South of Victoria.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Stockwell station.

I’m not sure how Crossrail 2 helps here, but I suspect Transport for London hope that the new line will divert passengers away from Stockwell.

Stratford

Stratford station is another station that will be partially bypassed by Crossrail 2.

I do think that after Crossrail opens, that changes will be made at Stratford station to perhaps move some Liverpool Street services to Stansted and Cambridge.

This would bring more services to some not very busy platforms.

In West Anglia Route Improvement – The High Meads Loop, I described how it might all work.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in this area.

Trains from Cambridge and Stansted would arrive at Temple Mills East Junction and would go round the High Meads Loop dropping and picking up passengers in Platforms 11 and 12 bwfore returning North.

An extra platform could even be added to serve services in Stratford International station.

The tunnels under the platforms at Stratford station would probably need improvement, but who knows how Eastenders will duck and dive after Crossrail opens.

As an example, passengers from Shenfield to Canary Wharf will probably use the cross-platform change at Whitechapel station, rather than pick up the Jubilee Line or the DLR at Stratford.

Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus tube station has needed improvement for years.

Crossrail will give some relief, as there will be new additional entrances to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations closer to Oxford Circus.

I did look at what might happen in What Will The Elizabeth Line Do For Oxford Street?.

I came to this conclusion about Crossrail 2 and Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 has just one interchange in the Oxford Street area at Tottenham Court Road station.

I would be very surprised in that in the massive rebuilding of the current station for Crossrail, that provision hasn’t been made to connect to Crossrail 2.

There have been surface issues around the station concerned with Crossrail 2, but given good planning of the project, I feel that the building of Crossrail 2 would only effect the area in a similar way to the replacement of a major block on Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 will have two major effects.

  • It will bring large numbers of visitors to the Oxford Street area.
  • Just as Crossrail and the Central Line will work as a high-capacity pair, it will work closely with the Victoria Line to relieve that line.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the wider Oxford Street area needs to be and will be pedestrianised.

In some ways preparation for the pedestrianisation has already started by reorganising the buses.

Oxford Circus tube station is also high on Transport for London’s improvement list.

This map from carto.metro,free.fr shows the lines through the station.

I suspect that if developers were interested in rebuilding any of the buildings on the South side of Oxford Street or perhaps even around the BBC to the North, that there could be arm-twisting and deal-making to sneak new entrances into Oxford Circus tube station.

Highbury & Islington

Highbury & Islington station, is one of my local ones and it is getting some much-needed improvement.

  • The Northern City Line will be getting frequent new Class 717 trains to create the Great Northern Metro.
  • Highbury Corner will be remodelled to improve pedestrian access to the station.
  • Bus and taxi access is being improved..

But nothing has been announced about improving the chronic access to the two deep-level lines at the station.

Speaking to staff at the station, they feel that a solution is possible, using the second entrance on the other side of the road.

In some ways the Great Northern Metro with its cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line could be the saviour of this station, as it gives direct access to the City and to Crossrail at Moorgate station.

One of London’s forgotten lines could be riding to the rescue.

Clapham Common

Clapham Common tube station is one of my least favourite. This picture shows why.

It’s downright dangerous now, so when the Northern Line frequency is increased will the station cope?

Clapham North

Clapham North tube station is another dangerous island platform.

But at least the station has escalators.

In A Journey Round The Clapham Stations, a post I wrote in December 2015, I said this.

Having seen Clapham North and Clapham Common stations today, I do wonder if a diversion could be dug as at Angel, Bank and London Bridge, to create safe new stations. This new tunnel could surely be part of the works to add step-free access to one or both stations and connect the tunnels to Clapham High Street station.

What with the Northern Line Extension to Battersea, the rebuilding of Bank and Camden Town stations and all the resignalling of the past few years, the Northern Line could at last be fulfilling its potential.

This could go a long way to  sorting the problem of the Clapham stations.

Clapham South

Clapham South tube station is not as bad as the other two Clapham stations discussed earlier.

Crossrail 2 may reduce the level of overcrowding on the Northern Line trains through the three Clapham stations, as passengers could change at Balham or Tooting Broadway stations to and from the new high-capacity line.

However, nothing short of some serious building work will solve the island platform problems at Clapham Common and Clapham North stations.

Holborn

Holborn tube station is very busy, but is one that could benefit from Crossrail, due to that line’s relationship with the Cerntral Line.

Crossrail 2 will certainly benefit the station, as it will relieve the pressure on the Piccadilly Line.

But Transport for London have published plans to add a second entrance and full step-free access. This is a 3-Dview of the plans.

Note the second entrance will be in Procter Street.

The only problem is that it could be 2021 before a decision is made.

However as a Piccadilly Line station, Holborn will benefit from the New Tube For London, before the upgrade.

Warren Street

Warren Street tube station is another Central London station on the Victoria Line, that could benefit from Crossrail 2’s duplication of the Victoria Line.

Leicester Square

Leicester Square tube station is just one stop on the Northern Line from the major new interchange of Tottenham Court Road station, which will be served by both Crossrail and Crossrail 2.

The station has needed more capacity since I first used it in the 1950s.

It needs step-free access.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Leicester Square station.

There is quite a tight knot of stations, of which only Tottenham Court Road has both escalators and lifts, although Goodge Street and Covent Garden have lifts only.

Leicester Square is an unusual station in that both the Northern and Piccadilly Lines are accessed by short passages and a short staircase from a fair-sized lobby at the bottom of a long set of escalators.

Clapham Junction

Clapham Junction station is the only non-Underground station in the seventeen stations named, where overcrowding could become chronic if Crossrail 2 is not built.

It is the busiest station by number of trains in Europe, so it must be difficult to keep on top of increasing numbers of passengers.

In the Wikipedia entry for the station under Future Proposals, this is said.

In 2007 the alignment of one of the two variants of Crossrail 2, that via the station rather than Putney and Wimbledon, was safeguarded. The Department for Transport and Transport for London continue to discuss proposal for a Clapham Junction Northern Line extension and its London Underground alignment has been legally reserved through Battersea Park, and would connect Clapham Junction to the London Underground for the first time.

Government and Network Rail funding for in the early 2010s of £50 million of improvements was granted. This comprised an upgrade to the main interchange: new entrances and more retail.

Surely something needs to be done, if Crossrail 2 is not built.

My proposals would include.

  • Developing the West London Line services.
  • Extending the Northern Line from Battersea Power Station station.
  • Improving the frequency of trains into Waterloo.
  • Make the station subway step-free.

There may be a need for more platforms, but the London Overground found this difficult.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the platforms in the station.

Simple it isn’t!

Conclusions

It surprised me how many of these stations will need substantial building work to cure the overcrowding.

Note.

  1. Every Victoria Line station between Oxford Circus and Finsbury Park is on the list.
  2. Four Northern Line stations between Stockwell to Clapham South is on the list.
  3. I think this shows how the designers of the Northern and Victoria Lines didn’t expect the traffic the lines now handle.

But overall, I think it shows how when you design a station, you don’t cut corners.

I also think to blame all these problems on the uncertainty about Crossrail 2, is probably a bit strong.

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street will probably have enough capacity when Crossrail opens, especially as the station will incorporate Moorgate and be substantially step-free.
  • The new London Bridge effectively adds high-frequency rail lines to Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross and St. Pancras and when Thameslink and Southeastern are fully developed, the station will cope.
  • Victoria shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Waterloo shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Finsbury Park shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Stratford will probably have enough capacity when Crossrail  opens, especially as the station is substantially step-free.
  • Oxford Circus should see improvement when Crossrail opens, especially as there’ll be new step-free entrances to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, that will be closer to Oxford Circus, than the current stations.
  • Highbury & Islington should see marginal improvement, when the Northern City Line is updated.

However, nothing short of substantial construction will sort Euston, Clapham Common, Clapham North, Holborn, Leicester Square and Clapham Junction.

 

 

 

 

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment