The Anonymous Widower

Slow Line Traffic Into Paddington

I was thinking today, as I came back from my trip from Paddington, that I described in A Low Key Launch Of New Electric Trains, that when all of the new trains are running on Crossrail and the GWR, the slow lines will be very busy.

According to Wikipedia, Crossrail will be running.

  • 4tph Abbey Wood – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 2tph Abbey Wood – West Drayton – Peak Hours Only
  • 2tph Shenfield – Reading
  • 2tph Shenfield – Maidenhead

In addition there will be non Crossrail services on the line.

  • 4 tph Heathrow Express
  • 2 tph Paddington Main Line – Bedwyn
  • 2 tph Paddington Main Line – Oxford
  • 2 tph Paddington Main Line – Hayes and Harlington

So that gives eighteen services an hour, with probably all except the Heathrow Express on the slow lines.

As the Shenfield Branch of Crossrail is going to handle 16 tph, 14 tph would seem to be within the capacity of the slow lines to Reading, even leaving some space for freight.

I do wonder that as GWR has ordered forty-five Class 387 trains, which in view of today will probably be run mainly as eight-car trains, for where they are going to add services to the network.

So how many trains will they need for current services?

  • 2 tph to Hayes and Harlington – Under half an hour, so 2 trains, or 4 if running as a pair.
  • 2 tph to Oxford (stopping)  – Two hours, so 8 trains or 16 if running as a pair.
  • 2 tph to Bedwyn – 90 minutes, so 6 trains or 12 if running as a pair.

Oxford and Bedwyn will also be served by fast Class 800 long distance trains.

This gives a total of 32 Class 387 trains.

So what happens to the other thirteen trains?

There has been talk of giving some of the trains an  IPEMU-capability, which I reported in Rumours Of Battery Powered Trains to run the branch lines to Henley, Marlow and Windsor and the Reading to Gatwick service.

I just wonder, if the Electrostar might have made a good demonstrator for the IPEMU technology, but that an IPEMU based on an Aventra is so much better, that there is little point in creating an Electrostar IPEMU.

Or are Bombardier wanting to get the Aventra fully designed in all its variants before they tackle creating an Electrostar IPEMU?

So how many trains with an IPEMU-capability would be needed for the branch lines and Reading to Gatwick?

  • Gatwick to Reading takes 90 minutes, so 6 trains could provide 2 tph.
  • 4 tph on the Greenford Branch, would need 2 trains charging at West Ealing.
  • 2 tph on the Henley Branch, would need 1 train charging at Twyford.
  • 2 tph on the Marlow Branch would need 2 trains charging at Maidenhead. – By a bit of fiddling, the trains might pass at Bourne End or there could be a passing loop.
  • 2 tph on the Windsor Branch, would need 1 train charging at Slough.

This adds up to the missing thirteen trains, if you add in a spare. In Modern Railways for June 2016, one paragraph in a larger article gives some news about the progress of Bombardier’s IPEMU technology. This is said.

Industry sources confirm that options for some of the GWR order to be produced as independently powered EMU (IPEMU) variants fitted with batteries for operation away from electrified routes are still being explored. This would enable GWR services to Gatwick Airport and on some of the Thames Valley branches to be worked by ‘387s’ prior to electrification. Any decision to look seriously at this proposal will depend on final electrification timescales being confirmed by Network Rail.

Ordering the number of trains they have means that GWR  can offer a workable solution on all routes in the Thames Valley, depending on what Network Rail deign to deliver and if Bombardier come up with an affordable IPEMU solution.

  • No electrification, no IPEMU – Use refurbished diesel multiple units.
  • Electrification – Use Class 387 trains as electric multiple units.
  • No electrification, IPEMU – Use Classs 387 trains in IPEMU mode.

Obviously, if Network Rail decide to electrify any part of the network later, the trains can be driven and controlled accordingly.

I’m also sure, there will be routes in the Bristol area, where a Class 387 train with an IPEMU-capability could be very useful.



September 5, 2016 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,

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