The Anonymous Widower

Diesel And Battery Trains ould Be The Solution For Island Line

The title of this post is the same ass this article on the Island Echo.

The article discusses what is going to happen to the Island Line. I wrote about this line in A Trip On The Island Line.

This is said.

South Western Railway have revealed that the Island’s 80-year-old trains could be replaced with a diesel, battery or flywheel powered locomotive, a tram or even a guided bus lane.

The train operator, which took over the running of Island Line earlier this year, has stated in a consultation document published this week that the Class 483 former London Underground trains are no longer viable, with parts availability becoming an issue and limited capability of electricity. supply.

They are obviously looking for some new trains.

The Current Trains On The Island Line

The current trains on the Island Line are Class 483 trains, which started life as London Underground 1938 Stock.

The trains are 2597 mm. wide and 2883 mm. high.

Looking at the height and widths of London Underground’s 1972 Stock and 1973 Stock, these current trains are about thirty mm. wider and a few mm. higher.

So it might be possible to take some o0f these trains and remanufacture them for the Island Line.

But there are problems.

  • These trains are over forty years old.
  • London Underground won’t be replacing these trains for several years yet.
  • London Underground probably needs all the of the trains in these classes that it’s got.

So the Island Line needs some new trains from another source.

The Trains On The Glasgow Subway

The Glasgow Subway trains were constructed in the late 1970s, by Metro-Cammell, who  built the 1972 and 1973 Stock for London Underground.

The Glasgow Subway has an unusual gauge of four foot, as opposed to standard gauge of four foot eight and a half inches. So the Glasgow hauge is 220 mm. narrower than standard.

The Glasgow Subway trains also seem to be 300 mm. narrower and 240 mm. shorter than the 1972 Stock.

I wouldn’t be surprised to be told, that the Glasgow Subway trains were designed by making them slightly smaller than the 1972 and 1973 Stock that had just been built.

New Glasgow Subway trains are being designed and built by Stadler. These will obviously be designed to fit the current platforms and tunnel, as they will have to work with the current trains.

New Trains For The Island Line

Modern computer-aided-design systems can probably scale up Stadler’s Glasgow Subway design to a train that would fit the Island Line.

Standard gauge bogies would have to be fitted.

But it surely is a route to get a basic train, that could be then fitted with appropriate motive power.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed For The Island Line?

Currently, trains on the Island Line run in pairs of two-car trains. This means that to maintain the the current two trains per hour service needs four two-car trains. According to Wikipedia, there are five operational Class 483 trains, with one in store.

If the new trains were similar to the new Glasgow Subway trains, which are four cars, two trains could provide the current service.

After upgrading the Brading loop, four trains would allow a four trains per hour service.

Would a spare train be needed?

Why Would A Big Company Like Stadler Want To Supply A Small Order For The Island Line?

This question has to be asked and I’ll use an extract from this article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled Subway Revival – Glasgow to introduce UTO.

Although there had been concerns that suppliers may not be interested in an order for a small number of four-foot gauge Subway trains, this proved not to be the case. Charlie commented that the Swiss company Stadler was “quite excited at the idea” as it has a bespoke manufacturing operation and its production lines can easily be changed to produce small orders, such as 34 cars for the Berlin Underground and 10 Croydon trams.

Sixteen or twenty cars for the Island Line doesn’t seem so small!

It certainly seems, that if you are a train or tram operator and you want a vehicle that is a little bit out-of-the-ordinary, then Stadler are interested!

What Would The Stadler Trains Be Like For Passengers?

Another extract from the Rail Engineer article, describes the new trains for the Glasgow Subway.

Stadler is to supply 17 four-car articulated trains with wide walk-through connections and a standard floor height, made possible by using smaller diameter wheels. Each train will be 39.25 metres long, compared with 37.74 metres for the current three-car units. The trains have 58 km/hr maximum speed and will have capacity for 310 passengers compared with the current 270. They will also accommodate wheelchairs.

I would suspect that the Island Line trains would be slightly wider and taller, which would give welcome space.

Battery Trains For The Island Line

The Island Echo article mentions battery trains.

So would they be a good idea on the Island Line?

Regenerative Braking

I would be pretty sure that the current Class 483 trains are not fitted with regenerative braking, which saves energy and cuts the electricity bill for running the trains.

I also suspect that the electrical power supply, is not capable of handling the return currents generated by regenerative braking.

However, the new trains for the Glasgow Subway, which I believe could be the basis for an Island Line train, do have regenerative braking.

Putting batteries on the train is a simple way of handling the electricity generated by braking. It is just stored in the battery and then used again, when the train accelerates away.

Health And Safety

Bombardier have stated that batteries on trains can be used to move trains in depots, so the amount of electrification in depots can be reduced.

As batteries can move the train short distances, there may be other safety critical places, where removing the electrification could be recommended.

Track Maintenance Savings

Reducing the amount and complication of electrified track, must save on maintenance.

Emergency Power

Despite the best of intentions, power failures do happen and having a capability to get the train to the next station using batteries must be a good thing.

Running On Batteries

The Island Line is less than ten miles long and the possibility must exist of being able to charge the batteries at each end of the line and run between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin on batteries.

There would be a balance to be struck between battery size and the length of electrification at each end.  Perhaps electrification could be kept on the following sections.

  • Ryde Pier Head to Smallbrook Junction
  • Sandown to Shanklin

A lot would depend on the state and design of the line’s power network.

Route And Track Extensions

Short extensions or new track layouts could be built without electrification to save building costs.

Conclusion

On balance, battery trains would seem t0 be a useful feature for the new trains on the Island Line.

Improvements To The Island Line

The Wikipedia entry for the Island Line has a section called Future. Various improvements are put forward.

It seems there has been a lot of talk and very little action.

My thoughts follow.

Brading Loop

Wikipedia says this about a loop at Brading station.

A suggestion in early 2009 was to reinstate the loop at Brading, thus allowing a ‘Clock Face’ timetable to encourage greater use. The outcome of this is still awaited.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the loop is clearly visible to the East of the station.

Trains with a battery capability will give advantages.

  • Flexibility of design.
  • Simplified track layouts.
  • No electrification of new track.

The much-needed loop could become affordable!

Extension to Ventnor

There have been proposals to reopen the line south of Shanklin, to the original terminus at Ventnor.

You can still  trace the line on Google Map and if the need is there, trains with a battery capability would surely aid its reopening.

The line could be single track and without electrification.

 

Conclusion

New trains with a battery capability will give the Island Line a new lease of life.

I also believe that Stadler have the capability to build a suitable battery train, based on their design for the new trains for the Glasgow Subway.

 

 

 

November 15, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , ,

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