The Anonymous Widower

The Aventra Car Length Puzzle

I think that Bombardier have a very flexible nature to how long a car can be in the new Aventra.

They now have three orders for the train and they can be summarised as follows.

The information has been gleaned from  Wikipedia, Modern Railways and other sources.

Crossrail Class 345 Trains

The Class 345 trains for Crossrail have the following characteristics.

  • 9 cars – Wiki
  • articulated trains
  • 200 metres long – Wiki
  • Around 23 metres long cars – MR
  • 3 pairs of doors per car – MR

Seating will be a mixture of Metro-style and some groups of four.

This article in Rail Technology Magazine says a lot about the design of the trains. This is said about seating.

“The layout of the seats is also different per different carriage, so where people will crowd there’s more space, and at the end of the trains, where people might not be crowding on, there’s more seats. So a lot of thought has gone into the ergonomics of this train.

“But generally, the average journey on this train will be 15 minutes – so what people want is to be safe, comfortable, and air conditioned, but they really want to get on. Capacity is one of the big drivers – but 450 seats if a really good ratio.”

So perhaps the old Tube rule will apply – If you want a seat go to the front or back of a train.

Dividing nine-cars into a 200 m. long train, gives a car-length of 22.22 m, which is probably good enough for around 23 metres.

But if you assume that the two driving cars are identical and the trailer-cars between them are 23 metres long, you get two 19.5 metre driving cars at either end. Given that the train is articulated and there is a need for a Crash-worthiness crumple zone at both ends of the train, it could be that so that the middle cars are identical, that the end cars are shorter, which could be structurally stronger.

Could it be too that all different facilities like wheelchair spaces and transverse seating are in the driving car?

Only a detailed look inside a finished train will find out what they are really like.

London Overground Class 710 Trains

The Class 710 trains for London Overground have the following characteristics.

  • 4 cars – Wiki
  • articulated trains (?)
  • Around 20 metres long cars – MR – Similar to Class 378 trains
  • 2 pairs of doors per car – MR

Seating will depend on where the trains are deployed and will be Metro or traditional, although the September 2016 edition of Modern Railways says its all longitudinal. Passengers won’t like that between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt.

Abellio East Anglia Trains

These trains haven’t been allocated a class yet and this is the best description from this article in Rail Magazine describes the trains.

The Bombardier units will be based on the Class 345 Aventras being delivered for Crossrail, but with the focus on seating capacity rather than standing space. The trains will come in two versions: ten-car and 240 metres long; and five-car and 110 metres long. All will be electric.

Note, if these train and car lengths are correct, the cars are longer than for the Class 360 trains and a ten-car Aventra is as long as a twelve-car Class 360 train.

Two different ways of calculating the car lengths can be used, if it is assumed that the two driving cars are identical for all trains.

Method 1 – If d is the length of the driving car and t is the length of the trailer car, you get two simultaneous equations.

2d+8d = 240

2d+3t = 110

These give a trailer car length of 26 metres and a driving car length of 16 metres.

Method 2 – Car sizes are the same as Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, which are 19.5 m for the driving cards and 23 metres for the trailer cars.

This gives the following train lengths.

  • 10-car – 223 metres
  • 5-car – 108 metres


  • Both train layouts, allow two five-car trains to fit a ten-car platform and if they can, work as a pair.
  • As with the Crossrail trains, I wonder if the driving cars will have all the specials like disabled toilets, wheelchair and bicycle spaces and First Class seating.
  • You could even have different versions of the driving cars.
  • Perhaps only one First Class seating area is needed per train.
  • Would all routes need bicycle spaces?
  • If the trailer cars were longer, then this would mean there could be a more relaxed interior with more space for tables.

Again as with the Crossrail trains, only a detailed look inside a real train, will show the car lengths and the interiors.


It all leads me to the conclusion that Bombardier have a very flexible design.

  • Pictures show the driver’s cab to be generously-sized.
  • Pictures show that the driver’s cab might be cantilevered outwards from the train, which would increase crash-worthiness.
  • I’m tending to believe that driving-cars will all be the same for the driver, but the space behind the cab will be used for special parts of the train like disabled toilets, bicycle spaces and First Class seating. The latter is traditionally placed at one end of many EMUs, anyway.
  • Trailer cars might be of a flexible length between 20 and 26 metres long.
  • Saying you could only have one length of trailer and dtiving cars would be so Henry Ford
  • The number of doors in each car can be two or three pairs.

Bombardier have attempted to allow the customer to procure a train to their precise needs.




August 28, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Contactless Card Explosion

According to Becky Barrow in the Sunday Times, it not yet ten years since contactless cards were introduced.

She says that during the first six months of this year, we spent £9.3billion using the cards.

In the same period of 2009, we spent just £315,953 and half of that was Patsy and Edina in Harvey Nicks.

That is some increase.

When contactless cards were introduced on London’s buses, after listening to quite a few idiot techophobe politicians, I set up a very tight Internet trawl about ticketing problems on London’s transport.

I have not found a single problem reported in a newspaper or web-site.

My problem with contactless cards, is that I can’t use them for small train or tram trips outside London. Every train company and local authority seems to be reinventing London’s wheel.

No wonder London gets all the tourists!

I also had a small problem where a branch of a well-known store set up their tills incorrectly and AMEX thought it was fraud and refunded my purchases.


August 28, 2016 Posted by | Finance | , , | 2 Comments

Meet Linda From Coventry: She’s In The Driving Seat At Citroen

The title of this post is from an article in the Business section of The Sunday Times.

How many ladies run car companies? And how many are English and run iconic quirky French ones?

According to the article she is the first British woman to run a big car company and only the third woman in ever.

She’s probably one of the first widows of either sex too!

I think it must be well done to Linda from Coventry!

August 28, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Should We Ban Microbeads In Household Products?


Read this article on the BBC

August 28, 2016 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Hitachi To Power Up Before Hinckley

This is the title of a small article in the Sunday Times, which talks about Hitachi’s plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Wylfa on Anglesey.

Hitachi would build a proven commercial reactor, that could be built by 2025.

Why are we bothering to still even think about the gold-plated Franco-Chinese dead elephant at Hinckley Point?

Hitachi is a private company and have to live from good designs, technology and engineering, whereas those behind Hinckley Point are governments or their agencies.

When you consider that the last big project of Hitachi in the UK, was to build a factory at Newton Aycliffe to construct trains and it would appear that that has gone to the plans, I suspect that going for Wylfa and putting Hinckley Point out of its misery, would be a pair of decisions, that have the much lesser risk.

August 28, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Hamilton’s 55-Place Penalty Be Good For The World?

If you want a good explanation of how Lewis Hamilton ended up with a 55-place penalty in a 22-car race, then this article on the BBC, which is entitled Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalties explained.

It does what it says in the title.

This extract, which describes the new technology in Formula One, is significant.

Governing body the FIA realised that the turbo-hybrid engines were highly complex pieces of kit, as well as introducing revolutionary new technology.

How revolutionary? A road-car petrol engine has a thermal efficiency – its ability to convert fuel-energy into usable power – of about 29%, a figure they have been stuck at for decades. A road-going turbo-diesel can be as efficient as about 35-40%.

Modern F1 engines, the best of which produce more than 950bhp, are approaching 50% thermal efficiency – and exceed it when the hybrid system is on full energy deployment.

It is a truly amazing step forward in technology in such a short amount of time, and these advances will soon filter down to road cars, which was the whole point of introducing them into F1.

So that means that if your vehicle does say 29 mpg, then in perhaps a decade, its equivalent will be doing over 50 mpg, as increased thermal efficiency translates into less fuel usage.

There is a lot of innovative technology generally getting itself involved with the humble internal combustion engine and where they are used.

  • Engines, whether petrol or diesel will get more efficient, in terms of energy efficiency.
  • Engines will get lighter and smaller.
  • Transmission and braking will increasingly be electric, with onboard energy storage.
  • Energy storage for larger applications like buses, trucks and trains, will use alternatives to batteries.
  • Engines will become more complex and will be controlled by sophisticated control systems.

It is definitely a case of |Formula One leading the way.

But I suppose Formula One is one of the few places where there is an incentive to be more efficient.

With passenger cars, more efficient vehicles have generally sold better. But an incentive is probably needed to get people to scrap worthless and inefficient vehicles.

Perhaps a properly thought out carbon tax, would accelerate more efficient buses, trucks and trains.

It is interesting to note, that hybrid buses are commonplace, but when did you see a hybrid truck?

Could it be, that local politicians have more control over the bus fleets in their area and many of the worst trucks are run by cowboys, who don’t care so long as they earn their money?

It is also easier to complain about your buses, than say trucks moving builders rubbish around, if they are noisy, smelly or emitting black smoke.

But I do think the key to more efficient buses, trucks and large off-road construction equipment, is probably a mixture of better engines and some better method of energy storage, that means say an eight-wheel thirty-tonne truck, could sit silently at traffic lights and then move quietly away, when the lights go green. A lot of buses can do that! Why not trucks?

I also think that the next generation of trains will use onboard energy storage.

  • It enables regenerative braking everywhere, saving as much as a quarter of the electricity.
  • Depots, sensitive heritage areas and downright difficult lines can be without electrification.
  • It enables a get to the next station ability , if the power should fail.

As modern trains from many manufacturers, are increasingly becoming two end units with driving cabs, where you plug appropriate units in between to create a train with the correct mix for the route, energy storage and hybrid power cars will start to appear.

Intriguingly, Bombardier have said that all their new Aventra trains will be wired for onboard energy storage.

So a four-car electric multiple unit, might be changed into a five-car one with on-board energy storage to run a service on a short branch line or over a viaduct in an historic city centre.


August 28, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daryl Murphy To Newcastle

Daryl Murphy is leaving Ipswich to go to Newcastle United.

It is reported in this article on the BBC. This is said.

“It’s a really good move for him in his career, at his age, and it’s good for us,” McCarthy told BBC Radio Suffolk.

I agree.

Daryl is thirty-three and I’ve met him a couple of times and found him to be an intelligent man, who is a good talker at a meeting.

He must be seeing the end of his career and going to Newcastle is a simple way to get a pension pot.

Town also get some money in and given the new rules about loan players, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mick does another deal on the lines of Grant Ward from Tottenham at a reported £600,000, according to this article in the EADT. Someone said about that deal yesterday, that Ward came to Ipswich because he had worked with Bryan Klug, when he was at Tottenham.

Perhaps, a case it’s not what you know, but who you know!

Incidentally, living in North London, quite a few Tottenham fans have told me, that they sold the wrong player.

In some ways though, if Ward continues to contribute goals from midfield, Murphy won’t be missed so much.

When did Ipswich last have four quality midfield players in Bishop, Bru, Dozzell and Ward with a combined age of just eighty-five?

One of the rumours going around yesterday, was that McCarthy will be signing Adam Armstrong.

I don’t think he’ll be bought, as he’s just signed a new deal at Newcastle. But there is an interesting link between Ipswich and Armstrong. His father; Alun, played for Town for three years, leaving in 2004.

Could we be seeing a case of the son following his father?

Although, I suspect the son, could be a similar player to his father and quite different to Murphy.

But does Ipswich need a similar target man to replace Murphy? Perhaps, one on the subs bench, like Leon Best. Intriguingly, Ward and Best both played for Rotherham United last season.

As I said, it’s all about who you know!

I suspect that, if he thinks it is a possible deal for Armstrong, McCarthy will be using all his Yorkshire strength and Irish charm to bring it about.

We’ll know what is happening, when all is revealed late on Tuesday.

August 28, 2016 Posted by | Sport | | Leave a comment

What A Plonker!

Of all the stupid road accidents that happen every year, yesterday’s one in Kent must rank as the most stupid.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled M20 motorway shut after lorry crash causes bridge collapse, gives full details.

There will be a lot of questions asked about this digger and as Dellboy would say, its right plonker of a driver.

  • Why didn’t the truck and the digger have a specialist escort?
  • Did the driver understand metres and/or feet and inches?
  • What is the name of the company responsible, so that I can sue for a ruined holiday, spent camping on the M20?

At least the driver didn’t kill or serious hurt anybody, although it must have been a close run think for the motorcyclist.

A couple of weeks ago, I was seriously delayed because of another plonker, who crashed with a train on a level crossing at Waterbeach.

I think we could bring in a law, which meant that everybody, who is delayed by anything like this incident can contact a central insurance number or web site, where you can easily add your claim to the pile.

After all if my train is late, I can get a refund and have been able to for years. Recently, I was travelling  on a Cheap Day Single ticket from Manchester to London, which arrived in London about two hours late, due to an unspecified problem. I filled in a form on the Virgin web site, when I got home and I had my compensation in a week or so.

The insurance companies have the power to knock some sense firmly into the minds of these idiots, who endanger everyone’s lives.


August 28, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

A Second New Stations Fund Is Launched

This article in the European Railway Review is entitled £20m fund for new railway stations across England and Wales.

The twenty million pounds is the second New Stations Fund, which provides up to seventy-five percent of the cost of a new or reopened station.

The first fund was used to help fund the following stations.

Note that all stations are on existing railway lines.

Incidentally, I use Lea Bridge station about three or four times a month, as I have a direct bus connection to the station to connect to trains along the Lea Valley.

Which stations in Wikipedia’s lkist of possible proposed stations, do I think will be funded by the next New Station Fund?

These are a few that I think could be possible.


  1. Bristol seems to have a lot of possibilities, but that is because they are creating MetroWest.
  2. I have rejected several schemes as they are rather large and I reckpon, there is a practical limit of a station costing say five million pounds.
  3. I have also rejected stations, where a whole line like the Camp Hill Line or the Wealden Line is proposed to be reopened.
  4. Leiston, Soham and Wisbech are additions of my own, based on my thoughts in Making Sense Of The New East Anglia Franchise.
  5. There are no new Welsh proposals outside South-East Wales, which got Pye Corner in the first New Stations Fund.

I suspect that now the fund has been announced, some good proposals will be put forward.

Out of interest, these are the numbers of new and reopened stations of the last few years.

  • 2013 – 1
  • 2014 – 3
  • 2015 – 12
  • 2016  – 4

I think that 2015 has the highest total, due to the reopening of the Borders Railway.




August 27, 2016 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

An Illustration That Ipswich In Sixty Is Possible

I went to football at Ipswich today.

The match was a bit mediocre, but the result was the right one and Grant Ward scored a delightful goal.

Usually, after a three o’oclock kick-off, I try to get the fast 17:09 train back to Liverpool Street, where it is scheduled to arrive at 18:19 after two stops at Manningtree and Colchester. I can’t ever remember this train ever being later than more than a couple of minutes.

Today, instead of the usual rake of Mark 3 coaches pulled by a Class 90 locomotive, the train was a Class 321 electric multiple unit. I suspect the change of train was due to engineering works on the line North of Ipswich and the fact that London-Norwich services were being run as two separate services; London-Ipswich and Ipswich-Norwich.

From Colchester, which was left on time, after a stop of perhaps three minutes, the train ran non-stop to London, probably at about an average speed of 100 mph or nearly so.

I didn’t notice any slackening of speed at Shenfield, and after just 59 minutes, the train was passing through Stratford.

We eventually stopped outside Liverpool Street to wait for a platform at 64 minutes and finally stopped in platform 10 at Liverpool Street station at 67 minutes, three  minutes ahead of schedule.

This article in the East Anglian Daily Times, is entitled Faster trains to Ipswich as part of new franchise.

This is said.

Rail journeys between Ipswich and London will take, on average, 64 minutes from the introduction of the new timetable in 2019 once new “Stadler Flirt” InterCity trains are introduced on trains to the capital. At present the average journey time is 73 minutes.

That is more than the stated aim of the Great Eastern rail campaign to have services running to Ipswich in 60 minutes – but Abellio Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles said the last four minutes could only be shaved off journey times once Network Rail has carried out improvement work to the line.

So it looks like Abellio aren’t that far from 64 minutes with a nearly thirty-year-old British Rail designed and built Class 321 train.

  • Judging by the smooth ride all the way, I suspect that most of the track and overhead wires is now to a good standard.
  • Perhaps a minute or so can be saved in each of the two stops, by the better acceleration, braking and door systems of the new Stadler Flirts.
  • Better signalling and control of trains at Liverpool Street would surely save a couple of minutes.

Having seen a full station at Ipswich, when I arrived for the match, I suspect that work needs to be done at that station, to create more capacity for Cambridge, Felixstowe, Lowestoft and Peterborough trains, so that London-Norwich services are not slowed by full platforms at Ipswich.

But overall, I’m led to the conclusion, that Jamie Burles statement is substantially correct.

I suspect that once all of the trains on the line are 100 mph trains, with a fast 100-0-100 mph profile for stops, that we’ll be approaching that 64 minute average for trains between Ipswich and London.

I suspect for the magic 60 minutes to be obtained consistently by all trains, that the following will have to be done.

  • Enough extra platform space is created at Ipswich so that London-Norwich and London-Lowestoft services have exclusive use of the current platforms 2 and 3.
  • All electrification on the Great Eastern Main Line needs to be of a high standard and capable of handling regenerative braking.
  • Crossrail needs to be fully integrated with longer distance East Anglian Services.
  • The Southend to Shenfield Line needs to be updated, so it can reliably present and accept trains to fit the schedule at Shenfield
  • All trains are either Stadler Flirts or ombardier Aventras, with perhaps a few 100 mph trains awaiting replacement.
  • Liverpool Street station has enough platforms for the longer trains.

I suspect too, that Network Rail will have to do some smaller work, like lengthening some platforms, adjusting the signalling and adding a crossover.

With some work North of Ipswich, I suspect that Norwich in Ninety will be implemented at the same time as Ipswich in Sixty.



August 27, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , | 5 Comments


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