The Anonymous Widower

How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?

I was reading this article in The Guardian, which is entitled Full speed ahead for train builders as minister pulls plug on electrification, when I found this useful nugget of information, from the General Manager of Bombardier’s Derby plant.

Building trains in an “ergonomically correct” fashion, he says, means completing and testing the carriage’s constituent parts, then assembling them, rather than wiring them up afterwards – and also takes the risk away from a production line which boasts a rate of 25 carriages per week.

It sounds like Bombardier’s engineers have been drinking and swapping ideas, with Toyota’s production engineers a few miles down the road at Burnaston.

But even so 25 carriages a week is an impressive  figure, as that is almost three Class 345 trains for Crossrail in a week.

Bombardier have not been producing at that rate until now, as if they had, there would be Aventras in sidings all over the place. In The Class 345 Trains Are More Numerous, I described how I saw four yesterday and Transport for London have said they will have they will have eleven in service by September.

But this is all consistent with not going into full production, until you are sure, that you’ve got everything right, as any prudent company would do!

The Trains On Order

Bombardier have the following orders for Aventras.

  1. Crossrail – Class 345 – 70 x nine-car – 630 cars – To be delivered in 2015-2018
  2. London Overground – Class 710 – 45 x four-car – 180 cars – To be delivered in 2017-2018
  3. Greater Anglia – Class 720 – 89 x five-car – 445 cars – To be delivered in 2018-2020
  4. Greater Anglia – Class 720 – 22 x ten-car – 220 cars – To be delivered in 2018-2020
  5. South Western Railways – Class xxx – 30 x five-car – 150 cars – To be delivered in 2019-2020
  6. South Western Railways – Class xxx – 60 x ten-car – 600 cars – – To be delivered in 2019-2020
  7. West Midlands Trains – Class xxx – 36 x three-car – 108 cars – To be delivered from 2020
  8. West Midlands Trains – Class xxx – 45 x five-car – 225 cars – To be delivered from 2021
  9. c2c – Class xxx – 10 x six-car – 60 cars – To be delivered from 2021

This gives a total of 2,618 cars to be built.

The Building Schedule

Orders 1 and 2 are both directly or indirectly for Transport for London, with Wikipedia stating that the Class 710 trains for the Lea Valley  Lines are being stabled at Ilford TMD, where the current Class 345 trains are also stabled, whilst they are being tested between Liverpool Street and |Shenfield stations.

I suspect that this close relationship between the orders means that Bombardier and Transport for London have agreed a delivery schedule, that brings in trains as they are needed. There’s not much point in building Class 345 trains for Crossrail, when some won’t be needed until 2019, if there is a more urgent need for Class 710 trains for the Overground.

To improve matters for Bombardier, Orders 3 and 4 for Greater Anglia, will probably be stabled in part at Ilford TMD.

Bombardier have not only got four substantial initial orders, but because they can all be introduced into service from Ilford TMD, they must have a tremendous advantage in terms of testing, introduction into service, manpower and costs.

So it looks to me that the two London orders will be built first, followed by the Greater Anglia and then the South Western Railways.

The London orders total 810 cars, which would take 32 weeks using Bombardier’s figure of 25 cars per week in The Guardian.

But assuming they started full production on the 1st of August, that gives them seventy-two weeks until the end of 2018, which gives a equired production rate of under twelve cars a week.

Surely, given their past history of building around a couple of thousand Electrostar cars, that must be achievable. Especially, as the modular structure of the Aventra, which has been developed with suppliers, must make building quicker.

The Greater Anglia and South Western Railways orders, which total 1,415 cars, would need to be built in 2019-2020 or lets say a hundred weeks.

So the build rate would be 14 cars a week, which is well below Bombardier’s figure.

The Body Shells

It should also be stated that Bombardier make their body shells at Derby, whereas Hitachi make their’s in Japan and ship them to Newton Aycliffe. This must ease having a high production rate for Bombardier, as for this you must have timely and reliable deliveries.

The Class 345 and 710 trains seem to have different car lengths, so it would appear that their production of body shells is flexible.

Little can be discerned about the production process from the Internet, as articles like this one on Global Rail News, which is entitled Bombardier completes first Crossrail body shell, are short on production details.

If they have a capacity to produce twenty-five body shells a week, I don’t believe that this can be done without the use of sophisticated designs assisted by large amounts of automation, as used in most car and van body production.

I have found this picture of a number of Aventra car body sides on the Internet.

Note the double-skinned nature of the body sides, with reinforcing ribs inside, which must have great strength, light weight and a minimum number of components. I have read somewhere, that Bombardier are extruding aluminium for body components.

All of the holes could then be automatically cut by robots.

The joys of modern manufacturing!

Final Assembley

Modern manufacturing methods, as employed by car companies for years doesn’t mean you have to produce a sequence of identical vehicles on the line. Computer systems make sure all the components to build each car arrive at the right time.

A Class 345 train might have four or five different types of car, so similar methods would be used to speed production of the individual cars.

West Midlands Trains

Abellio, who own Greater Anglia, have decided they want to use Aventras on their new West Midlands Trains franchise.

According to Wikipedia, the new franchise is proposing to introduce the following trains

  • 333 new Aventra carriages in three and five-car trains.
  • 80 new CAF Civity carriages in two and four-car trains.

Some of the trains are direct replacements for other trains.

  • The 36 x three-car Aventras will replace the 26 x three-car Class 323 trains.
  • The CAF Civity trains will replace various diesel multiple units around Birmingham.

In some ways the puzzle is that there are 29 x five-car Aventras on order for electrified suburban lines.

Adding up the current and future number of electrified carriages on Birmingham suburban routes, shows that the number of carriages to be used will increase by three times.

New electrification is on the way.

  • Chase Line to Rugeley Trent Valley.
  • Cross-City Line to Bromsgrove.

But these short schemes won’t need all those trains, unless West Midlands Trains are going to run ten-car trains across Birmingham.

But possibilities exist.

  • Electrification further towards places like Nuneaton and Worcester.
  • Electrification of the Camp Hill Line across the City Centre.
  • Aventras will be using batteries to reach places without electrification.
  • Some Aventras could be bi-mode. I discuss the concept of a bi-mode Aventra in Is A Bi-Mode Aventra A Silly Idea?.

All will become clear in the next couple of years.

The West Midlands Trains orders for Aventras  total 333 new carriages, which will all be pretty similar to previous orders, except in details like car length, number of cars, top speed and the interiors.

At Bombardier’s quoted production rate of 25 cars per week,l that means they would take jus fourteen weeks to build them, after the design was finalised.

That sounds unbelievable!

c2c

This order is for just sixty carriages, which will be delivered as six x ten-car trains.

This is an extract from c2c’s Press Release.

The Aventra is one of the fastest-selling trains in the UK rail industry, and these new trains will be manufactured at Bombardier’s factory in Derby. Each new train, which will operate in a fixed set of 10-carriages, will include over 900 seats, plus air-conditioning, wifi, plug sockets and three toilets onboard. Each new carriage is larger and contains more seats than on c2c’s current trains, so each 10-carriage new train provides capacity for 15% more passengers onboard compared to a current 12-carriage c2c train.

So three x four-car trains working as a twelve-car train are replaced by one ten-car train, which results in.

  • A modern instead of a twenty-year-old train.
  • 15% more capacity.
  • Wi-fi and plug sockets.
  • Better passenger experience.
  • Two cabs instead of six.
  • Fixed-formation trains don’t have end gangways.
  • Twenty bogies instead of twenty-four.

Revenue per train will surely increase, but electricity and maintenance costs will also decrease.

So the accountants get a double dose of pleasure!

c2c also hint that more new trains are on thew way.

But as they are also reported to have extended the lease on their Class 387 trains, they have excellent cover whilst waiting for delivery of new Aventras.

Currently, they have the equivalent of 25 x twelve-car trains with a few spares.

So a complete train replacement if they like the Aventras, will probably be something like another twenty to thirty trains.

This would seem to be a very low-risk plan!

The New South Eastern Franchise

The needs of the current South Eastern and West Midlands franchises are surprisingly similar.

  • High speed running on HS1 and the West Coast Main Line.
  • Suburban services in city networks; London and Birmingham.
  • A few short branch lines.
  • Some lines without electrification.
  • An ageing fleet without wi-fi.

So could we be seeing a mass fleet replacement with Aventras, as in West Midlands Trains.

Note that one of the bidders for this franchise is the same consortium of Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui, who successfully bid for West Midlands Trains.

Abellio bought a large number of Aventras for Greater Anglia and helped develop battery power for the trains.

So could we be seeing a large number of Aventras added to the fleet for the South Eastern franchise?

Currently, the franchise runs 824 Electrostar and 674 Networker carriages.

To replace the Networkers would be 27 weeks of production at Bombardier’s rate of 25 carriages a day.

The South Eastern franchise also needs more high speed trains for HS1. I can’t believe that Bombardier couldn’t achieve a top speed of 140 mph with an Aventra. They probably will have a solution for covering the line between Ashford and Hastings. My money’s is on some form of energy storage.

Conclusion

Bombardier would not quote the capability of being able to make 25 trains per week to a newspaper like the Guardian, if they didn’t know it was possible.

But to meet the deliveries needed by the four initial customers, probably needs about half the quoted production rate, which is the sort of conservative thinking I like.

This gives Bombardier the float to sort out production problems or non-delivery of sub-assemblies outside of their control.

But it would also give them the capacity to fit in other orders. Suppose Crossrail decided to extend to Gravesend or Southend and needed another five Class 345 trains, then in theory, that is only two days production, provided the suppliers can deliver.

The UK’s railways are going to be full of Aventras.

 

 

 

August 20, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. […] In How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?, when discussing the new London Midland franchise, that has recently been awarded to West Midlands Trains, I said this about the proposed eighty new carriages for the Snow Hill Lines. […]

    Pingback by Is A Bi-Mode Aventra A Silly Idea? « The Anonymous Widower | August 21, 2017 | Reply

  2. […] Exciting New Aventra, I laid out the philosophy of the new trains and in How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?, I discussed how Bombardier will build the trains, at a rate of twenty-five carriages a […]

    Pingback by Thoughts On Highspeed to Hastings « The Anonymous Widower | September 7, 2017 | Reply

  3. […] at what we know about assembly in Derby, which I reported on in How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?, we know or surmise the […]

    Pingback by An Interesting Snippet From The Engineer « The Anonymous Widower | September 28, 2017 | Reply

  4. […] at what we know about assembly in Derby, which I reported on in How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?, I know or have surmised the […]

    Pingback by Is This Organisation Behind The Aventra Manufacture? « The Anonymous Widower | September 28, 2017 | Reply


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