The Anonymous Widower

More On Class 345 Trains

In an article in this month’s Modern Railways, which is entitled 345 Counting On It, Ian Walmsley gives more details of the new Class 345 trains for Crossrail.

Ian uses phrases like.

Let’s get this out of the way first before I start enthusing (and I will) – personally I don’t like the interior colours.

Now I will go into full enthusing mode,

The bogies are the FLEXX Eco Bogie B5000-derivative inside-frame design similar to that on the Meridian (probably the only good thing about Meridians in my view)

The bodyshell is brilliant, and I say this as a passenger and an engineer.

The train is a fine piece of work.

He finishes by saying that he thinks the train will be a success for Bombardier.

Ian also throws in a few clues as to where Aventras might end up.

The 125 mph Aventra

Apparently, 125 mph Aventras are a possibility.So we could see High Speed Trains with similar performance to an InterCity 125, based on a train originally designed for commuters across London.

The High Speed Train With Batteries

One thing that Ian doesn’t mention about the Class 345 trains is whether they will be fitted with onboard energy storage. But he does say this.

Most braking will be done electrically, regenerating power to the grid.

So the answer is probably no! But it should be noted that Bombardier have told me that all Aventras are wired to accept onboard energy storage.

This raises the interesting possibility of the High Speed Train running on batteries.

I think that this could be a surprisingly large market.

Think of the routes which consist of two types of line.

  • A high speed electrified line, which permits trains to travel at 100-125 mph.
  • A secondary or branch line without electrification, that is up to about forty or fifty miles long.

On a quick look, I can think of these routes.

  • London Liverpool Street – Ipswich – Lowestoft
  • London Liverpool Street -Norwich – Yarmouth
  • London Kings Cross – Bradford
  • London Kings Cross – Harrogate
  • London Kings Cross – Huddersfield
  • London Kings Cross – Hull
  • London Kings Cross – Lincoln
  • London Kings Cross – Perth
  • London Kings Cross – Sheffield
  • London Kings Cross – Sunderland
  • London St. Pancras – Hastings – Eastbourne – Brighton
  • London Euston – Blackpool
  • London Euston – Chester
  • London Euston – Huddersfield
  • London Euston – Shrewsbury
  • London Waterloo – Exeter

I am assuming that electrification is at 2016 mileage.

As electrification increases more and more routes will be possible using a High Speed Train with batteries to extend the route away from the main line.


Ian mentions Merseyrail as another target.

They would appear to be a good match to Merseyrail’s specification, that I wrote about in Is Liverpool Planning To Invade Manchester By Train?

  • Merseyrail are looking to buy energy-efficient trains.
  • Merseyrail stated in Modern Railways that they were seriously interested in having IPEMUs.
  • Merseyrail want to expend their network and routes to Preston, Manchester via Kirkby, Chester via the Halton Curve and Wrexham via the Borderlands Line are very IPEMU-friendly routes.
  • Merseyrail needs trains that are certified for working in tunnels.
  • Merseyrail needs trains that can work on both third-rail and overhead electrification, which the dual-voltage Class 710/2 Aventra trains for the London Overground can do.
  • Ian feels the train’s low weight could be enough to avoid sub-station upgrades.

In addition, the modular nature of the Aventra design means that Merseyrail could have a mixture of train lengths and voltages to optimise their procurement and operating costs.

East Midlands Trains

Ian says this about using Aventras for East Midland trains electrics.

As a 125 mph unit it would cope well with Corby commuters and the ‘Master Cutler’ crowd. – It is all about the interior.

I think there are other factors, that could be useful, if some or all of the trains were an IPEMU variant.

  • I think Corby could be reached from St. Pancras by an IPEMU using the existing electrification.
  • Running on batteries through the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site, might avoid tricky negotiations with the heritage lobby.
  • Services could be extended past the current terminals of Nottingham and Sheffield.

Using Aventra IPEMUs would enable a whole new method of railway electrification.

Starting from Bedford, the electrification would be performed northward and as each section was completed, the Aventras could reach twenty or thirty miles further.

So electric train services would arrive at a town earlier than by using traditional methods.


Ian finishes the article with.

With the new design, Bombardier can take them all on. I think we will see this product platform around for many years, capitalising on the succes of Electrostar, and who knows, maybe even exporting to Europe? 345 – count on it.

If Bombardier have the right product, why not?








March 24, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] has started on the Midland Main Line. As I said in More On Class 345 Trains, Ian Walmsley of Modern Railways feels that Aventras would be ideal for this […]

    Pingback by Are More Class 387 Trains On The Way? « The Anonymous Widower | June 23, 2016 | Reply

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