The Anonymous Widower

Can Class 230 Trains Work On Third Rail Electrified Lines?

London Underground’s D78 Stock used to share tracks between Gunnerbury and Richmond stations with London Overground’s Class 378 trains.

So the answer to my question used to be yes and I suspect that the Class 230 trains could be configured, so that they could still run on third-rail electrified lines.

Running A Service Using Class 230 Trains

Now that West Midlands Trains have ordered three Class 230 trains for the Marston Vale Line, I think we can see how operators could use the trains.

  • The operator has enough trains to run the service, even if one train is out of service for routine maintenance or repair.
  • The trains are stored overnight in a convenient siding or terminal station.
  • The trains will be supported by probably a well-designed service vehicle and if needed a fuel bowser.
  • The trains will be refurbished to a high standard, with wi-fi, power sockets and universal access toilets.
  • Vivarail have talked about on-board drinks machines.
  • Drivers and support staff would probably come from the local area.

You could even envisage a train with an onboard ticket machine.

Would A Third-Rail Ability Be Any Use?

Consider the following lines.

Bromley North Branch Line

The Bromley North Branch Line is a short branch line between Grove Park and Bromley North stations.

  • Service is three trains per hour from Mondays to Saturdays.
  • There is no service on Sundays.
  • Bromley North station is Grade II Listed and has a ticket office.
  • The branch is double-track and fully electrified with one intermediate station.
  • The service is run by a two-car Class 466 train, which travels to the line each morning.
  • The Class 230 train has a higher passenger-focused specification than the twenty-year-old Class 466 train.

I believe that one Class 230 train could run the existing service, but as Bromley North station has two platforms, that two trains could run a four trains per hour service.

I also believe that the Grade II Listed station could be released for sympathetic development, by doing the following.

  • Improving the automatic ticketing facilities and perhaps putting ticket machines on the trains.
  • Closing the ticket office.
  • Putting staff on the platform to assist passengers who need help.

The station could become a transport hub with cafes and stops catering for the needs of train travellers and those using the many buses serving the station.

The South Eastern franchise is up for renewal in the next couple of years, and I think that those bidding will have ideas about what to do the the Bromley North Branch Line.

Lymington Branch Line

The Lymington branch line  runs between Brockenhurst and Lymington Pier.

  • Service is normally two trains per hour between Brockenhurst and Lymington Pier
  • The branch is single track and fully electrified.
  • The service is run by a Class 158, Class 159 or Class 450 train.
  • Brockenhurdst has a comprehensive four trains per hour service  between London/Southampton and Bournemouth.

I believe that one Class 230 trains could run the existing service. With the addition of a passing loop, two trains may be able to run a four trains per hour service.

Sheerness Line

The Sheerness Line runs from Sittingbourne station to Sheerness station across the Isle of Sheppey.

  • Service is normally two trains per hour between Sittingbourne and Sheerness.
  • There are extra services between Victoriia and Sheeness in the Peak.
  • The branch is partly double-track and fully electrified with four intermediate stations.
  • Sheerness station has two platforms.
  • The shuttle service is run by a two-car Class 466 train.
  • Sittingbourne has a comprehensive six trains per hour service to and from London, with extra peak hour services.

As with the Bromley North Branch Line, the Class 230 train has a higher passenger-focused specification than the current Class 466 train.

I believe that two Class 230 trains could run the existing service, but as Sheerness station has two platforms and the route is partly double-track, that an extra train or two, could see the service upgraded to three or even four trains per hour.

Conclusion

I suspect that we’ll see Class 230 trains considered for lines with third-rail electrification.

 

 

 

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

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