The Anonymous Widower

The Class 319 Flex Train And Third Rail Routes

In writing The Electrical System Of A Class 319 Flex, I came to the conclusion, that the designers of the Class 319 Flex had taken great care that the train would perform to a high standard on lines with third-rail electrification..

There are three routes that could be given an improved service using a third-rail bi-mode train.

Ashford to Brighton on the Marshlink Line.

Oxted to Uckfield on the Oxted Line.

Reading to Tonbridge via Gatwick Airport on the North Downs Line.

Note.

  1. From Ashford, trains on the Marshlink Line could go to London, but probably not on High Speed 1.
  2. The East Coastway Line between Hastings and Brighton can accept eight-car trains, and is a 90 mph line, that has recently been resignalled.
  3. From Oxted on the Oxted Line trains could go to London.
  4. The Uckfield Branch has been updated to accept twelve-car trains.
  5. Tonbridge to Gatwick Airport was electrified as a Eurostar diversion route.

For operational reasons on the Uckfield Branch and along the South Coast, it would probably be a good idea, if the ability to run as eight- and twelve car formations was developed for the Class 319 Flex.

The South Coast Express

The East Coastway Line could be connected to the West Coastway Line to Southampton Central station with a reverse at Brighton.

At present because the Marshlink Line is not electrified and the two Coastway Lines are run independently, you can’t travel between stations on the West Coastway Line to any station on the East Coastway Line without changing trains at Brighton.

Consider creating a South Coast Express between Ashford and Southampton using bi-mode trains.

  • The Class 800 train, which is the only current bi-mode train, comes as a five-car train, but doesn’t have a dual voltage version, although its cousin the Class 395 train can work on third rail networks.
  • The Class 319 Flex train could do the whole route and would only need to use diesel power for twenty-six miles.
  • The speed limit along the two Coastway Lines could probably be upgraded to 100 mph.
  • A new Eastbourne Parkway station could be created on a reopened direct line between Polegate and Pevensey & Westham stations, to avoid all trains reversing at the current Eastbourne station and hence save time.
  • It would be a feeder railway to Thameslink services at Brighton and Eurostar services at Ashford.
  • Eight-car or even twelve-car formations could work through Falmer station on match days at The Amex.
  • Southampton have plans to develop the railway to serve St. Mary’s Stadium and the Waterfront, which could be part of an upgraded West Coastway Line.

Currently, with a change at Brighton, Southampton to Ashford takes three hours forty-seven minutes. With a 100 mph train on an updated 100 mph line, the service could surely be a lot faster.

If an hourly service was required, then you get this table of trains required to run the service against  the journey time between Ashford and Southampton.

  • Three hours needs six trains.
  • Two and a half hours needs five trains.
  • Two hours needs four trains.

Southern use more trains than that now to provide a slower service, with a change at Brighton.

West Of Basingstoke

The West of England Main Line is only electrified as far as Basingstoke station, which is just under fifty miles from London.

Distances from Basingtoke are approximately.

Could a Class 319 Flex carry enough fuel to serve this route?

I have seen an early copy of the brochure for a Class 319 Flex and Porterbook say that the train is designed to handle ten round trips from Hazel Grove to Buxton, which is a seventeen mile trip, where the steep gradients up are probably balanced by the coming down.

This would indicate that the Class 319 Flex could do a round trip without refuelling.

The route is currently worked by eleven two-car Class 158 trains and thirty three-car Class 159 trains and they take three and a half-hours for each hourly service between London Waterloo and Exeter St. Davids.

The Class 319 Flex train has a comparable speed to the Class 158/159 trains on diesel and is ten mph faster, when running on electricity.

I don’t think that the trains would be used all the way to Exeter, as they are not really designed for a journey of that length, but there may be other places where they could be ideal.

  • Running between London Waterloo and Salisbury to increase the frequency, where they might save upwards of fifteen minutes between Basingstoke and Waterloo, as they are faster than the diesel Class 158/159s.
  • Running the hourly circular service from Salisbury to Chandlers Ford via Southampton, which has sections of electrified line, where they could replace Class 158/159s.
  • Existing lines like the Lymington Branch, where they could replace Class 158/159s
  •  Reopened lines like the Fawley Branch,  Ludgershall Branch and the Swanage Railway.
  • New services like Portsmouth Harbour to Salisbury via Southampton and Romsey.

It could be that some selective electrification like Southampton to Romsey could be very beneficial.

 

 

 

 

 

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Could There Be A Class 321 Flex Train?

I took these pictures of a Class 321 train at Ipswich station.

Like the Class 319 train currently being updated to a bi-mode Class 319 Flex train, I wonder if the same bi-mode  upgrade could be applied to a Class 321 train.

Look at this picture of a Class 319 train.

A Class 319 At Lime Street

A Class 319 At Lime Street

Both trains do seem to have generous space underneath.

Consider.

  • Both trains are 100 mph four-car trains based on Mark 3 coaches.
  • Ten Class 321 trains are being given the Renatus treatment by Eversholt Leasing for Greater Anglia with air-conditioning and new interiors.
  • The Class 321s were built after the Class 319s.
  • The Class 321s are 25 KVAC overhead operation only.
  • There are 117 Class 321 trains.
  • As the two trains were launched within a year of each other, they can’t be that different under the skin.

It should also be remembers that train companies have a lot of experience about running both type of train.

Porterbrook Versus Eversholt

Could we be seeing a strong commercial battle, where the two leasing companies; Porterbrook and Eversholt, fight it out to sell the best four-car bi-mode train to the train operating companies?

This could only be of benefit to train companies and passengers.

The Electrical System Of a Possible Class 321 Flex

The only problem, I can envisage is that as I wrote in The Electrical System Of A Class 319 Flex, the DC electrical bus of the Class 319 train makes the design of the Class 319 Flex train easy. If the Class 321 Train doesn’t have a similar layout, then it might be more difficult to create a Class 321 Flex!

On the other hand Vossloh Keipe have received a contract to upgrade the traction systems of thirty Class 321 trains to give them.

  • AC traction motors and the associated control systems.
  • Regenerative braking.

This work is fully described onb this page of the Vossloh Keipe web site.

Probably, with a suitable alternator from ABB and some quality electrical engineering, I would think that a Class 321 Flex could be created.

Conclusions

Each train will have their own big advantages.

  • The Class 319 Flex train will work third rail routes.
  • The Class 321 Flex train will have regenerative braking on electrified routes.

But in the end, if two bi-mode fleets can be created, there will probably be a lot of conviviality in hostelries in Derby and York, where the probably long-retired engineers, who designed the Mark 3 coach and its various derivative multiple units, will be laughing loudly into their beer.

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Electrical System Of A Class 319 Flex Train

This press release from Porterbrook, which is entitled Porterbrook and Northern to introduce bi-mode Class 319 Flex trains, says this about the electrical system of the the Class 319 Flex train.

The Class 319 Flex concept is designed to create a bi-mode train by fitting two diesel powered alternators, one under each of the driving trailer cars. The diesel alternators provide power to the existing traction and auxiliary equipment to allow the EMU to operate without an overhead or 3rd rail supply. The systems will provide power through the train’s DC bus, avoiding any significant changes to the existing equipment and creating a unit capable of operating from a number of different power sources whilst maintaining its full capabilities on electrified routes.

As an electrical engineer, it looks to me, that British Rail’s original design of the dual-voltage Class 319 train with a DC bus has actually helped in creating an easy-to-design and build interface between the new diesel powered alternators and the train’s current systems.

I have seen an early copy of the brochure for the Class 319 Flex train and can add the following statements.

  • The train is powered by two MAN D2876 LUE631 diesel engines, which each generate 390kW of power. This page on the MAN web site shows MAN’s range of engines for rail applications. This page shows the data sheet for the engine.
  • The engines are Stage IIIB compliant with respect to emissions and use Selective Catalytic Reduction technology to achieve this.
  • The proposed alternator is from ABB. This page on the ABB web site, shows their wide range of alternators.
  • A new negative return bus line will be added throughout the unit to prevent return current flowing through the vehicles or rails.
  • The design uses a power-pack raft. This should ease maintenance and replacement.
  • Obviously various modules and controls are added to enhance the uses of the system and allow the driver to control the new systems.
  • Great care seems to have been taken that the Class 319 Flex train will perform well on third rail lines.

I do have a feeling that the direction of technology over the last few years has certainly helped to enable a better design.

  • The major components have probably got smaller and more reliable.
  • Control system technology has moved on substantially.
  • Adding batteries to the train should be relatively easy, given the DC bus and the large amounts of experience from hybrid road vehicles.
  • 3D CAD  systems must help in a space-critical installation.

Combined with all the statements about design and testing in the brochure, I have no reason to suspect that the train designers are doing anything other than a comprehensive and professional job. Their choice of engines and alternators is certainly picking some of the best available and the brochure states that long-lead components have already been ordered.

 

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Work Has Finished Behind Platform 1 At Ipswich Station

In Curious Rail Construction At Ipswich Station, I questioned if construction had started on a Platform 0 at Ipswich station.

When I went through the station yesterday, I took this picture from of Platform 1 and the works behind.

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There is still need to create more platforms at Ipswich.

The full length of the main Up Platform 2 will be needed for Greater Anglia’s new and longer, Stadler Flirts, which will call three times an hour on their way to London.

In addition, there will be a Peterborough to Colchester service stopping at Platform 2 once an hour.

So it will be unlikely, that the occasional Lowestoft or Felixstowe can stop at the Norwich end of Platform 2, as they do now.

A Platform 0 has been talked about to solve the problem, but nothing seems to have happened yet.

 

 

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

A Man Who Changed History

I’d never heard of the British colonial administrator; Sir  Cosmo Haskard, until I read his obituary in The Times.

In the 1960s, he was the Governor of the Falkland Islands, when Harold Wilson’s government was seeking to transfer sovereignty of the islands to the Argentinians. He realised the islanders wouldn’t be a favour and fought a virtually one-man campaign to stop the transfer. The Times tells the story in detail, but I can’t find it elsewhere.

It is a fascinating tale, but without the efforts of Sir Cosmo, the history of the world would be very different.

March 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment