The Anonymous Widower

Slow Trains In The North

I was asked a few hours ago, as to why would TransPennine Express want to get rid of their Class 350/4 trains.

These ten 110 mph trains were only delivered in 2013 -2014, so why should TransPennine Express replace them?

They work Manchester Airport to Glasgow and Edinburgh services, but they have two major problems.

No Wi-Fi

It looks like none of the Class 350 trains have wi-fi, so possibly passing them on now3, will give that problem to the new owner.

They Are Only 110 mph Trains

The trains are being replaced with Class 397 trains from Spanish manufacturer; CAF.

I suspect the Class 397 trains have a few advantages over the Class 350 trains.

  • The new trains are probably built with wi-fi.
  • The interiors are custom-designed for the Scottish and Manchester Airport markets.
  • The trains are five-cars as opposed to four.
  • The capavity of the new trains is 286 seats as opposed to 229.

But the major difference is that the Class 397 trains are 125 mph trains, like the Class 390 trains used by Virgin.

Looking at times between Glasgow and Preston on the West Coast Main Line, it would appear that the Class 390 trains are up to twelve minutes faster than the current Class 350 trains, so when both companies are running 125 mph trains will we see an improvement in both?

Similar improvements will probably happen on the East Coast Main Line, where the Class 397 trains will be mixing it with Class 800 trains.

Could The Class 397 Trains Handle 140 mph?

This question has to be asked, as at some point in the next few years, when the signalling allows, there may be possibilities for 140 mph. running on both the West and East Coast Main Lines.

I would hope that the Class 397 trains can be uprated to allow 140 mph running.

Will The Class 397 Trains Get In The Way Of HS2 Trains?

HS2 could reach Crewe as early as 2027 and the trains will take to the West Coast Main Line to go North.

I hope that the Class 397 trains are future-proofed to share a line with these new trains.

Other Trains On The West And East |Coast Main Lines

There are other trains that will use the West and East Coast Main Lines, which will not be able to operate at speeds in excess of 125 mph.

I suspect these trains will have to be kept away from the two main lines to Scotland.

Conclusion

The Class 397 trains will have to be capable of being uprated to 140 mph.

I also suspect that any train not capable of holding 140 mph may not be allowed on the West and East Coast Main Lines.

 

July 5, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. TPE’s 350/4 might ONLY be 110mph, but this matters little. The common section is Preston to Carstairs. South of Preston the trains will diverge (once through Bolton is electrified, currently it is at Wigan), North of Carstairs the timetabling is arranged so that trains running near together go to alternate destinations, and anyway there are only four long distance trains per hour. In between the track mostly winds about in the lake district and southern uplands so 125mph is not achievable and possibly not even allowed (there were temporary limits when I actually made the trip).

    Comment by Mark Clayton | July 5, 2017 | Reply

  2. I can’t find the power of the Class 397 trains, but they could have a higher power-weight ratio and acceleration thaqn the 350s. 125 mph may not be achievable, but fast acceleration will be needed.

    Incidentally, as CAF know their batteries, I wonder if we’ll be seeing batteries handling the regenerative braking on the Class 397 trains. They would certainly reduce costs and might even increase performance.

    Bombardier and Hitachi have talked for a couple of years about putting batteries on trains, so somone will have to be first.

    Comment by AnonW | July 5, 2017 | Reply


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