The Anonymous Widower

Porterbrook Targets OffLease DMU Class 153s As ‘Capacity-Busters’

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

I wrote about my visit to the new Kenilworth station in Kenilworth Station – 1st May 2018.

I travelled between Coventry and Kenilworth stations in a well-turned out Class 153 train.

The pictures show it is no scrapyard special.

As the article says, Porterbrook own thirteen of these trains and they are looking at ways of using them profitably for a few more years.

The article suggests these uses.

  • Reforming them as two-car Class 155 trains, which is how they were built.
  • Inserting them into other DMUs.
  • Converting them to luggage/cycle-carrying vehicles.

When I was at Oxenholme Lake District station on Monday, a Class 153 train, was being used to convert two-car Class 156 train into a three-car train, to increase capacity on the Windermere Branch Line.

Many of the Class 153 trains are due to be replaced in the next few years and as there are seventy in total, there will need to be a lot of good ideas.

Route Development

For a start, there is the job the single Class 153 train is doing at Kenilworth, which is route testing and development.

  • Drivers are being trained on the route.
  • Systems are being tested.
  • Passengers have a train service, they can use.

On the Kenilworth route, it doesn’t matter if it is too small a train, as in a couple of months a ten-year-old Class 172 train should be available to double the capacity.

Stand-In Trains

East Anglia has a problem with trains being severely damaged in level-crossing accidents.

Pairs of Class 153 trains could be used as stand-in trains on many branch lines.

Network Rail Uses

Don’t underestimate the uses that Network Rail will find for the trains!

Conclusion

I think that some of the uses will  e very innovative.

 

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

TPE Earmarks Top-And-Tail ’68s’ For Passenger Services

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

The article describes how TransPennine Express are going to use four Class 68 locomotives and four-carriage rakes of Mark 3 coaches to provide passenger services between Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough.

From the 20th of May, services will leave Liverpool at 0556, 0656, 1156, 1256, 1756 and 1856 and Scarborough at 0846, 0946, 1446, 1546, 2050 and 2149.

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Catenary Masts Erected On Alloa Branch

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

Alloa is one of the many Scottish towns and cities, that I only know through the results of Alloa Athletic FC, at around 17:00 on a Saturday afternoon.

Alloa station has a chequered history with growth through the Victorian era and total closure in October 1968.

The station was demolished to make way for a leisure centre.

But then in 2008, the line to Stirling station was reopened and a new station was built.

Wikipedia says this about the reopening.

Passenger use of the new railway station has greatly exceeded forecasts and since re-opening the service has been improved by increasing evening and Sunday frequencies from two-hourly to hourly and by adding the peak hour service to Edinburgh in 2009. In its first year the station was used by 400,000 passengers, against a forecast of 155,000.

Now the branch to Alloa is getting the ultimate upgrade – It is being electrified.

This could provide a lot of useful data on the financial returns of electrification.

Use Of Battery Trains

When I first saw a map of this line which clings to the North shore of the Forth of Firth, I was surprised that Strling to Alloa should be electrified.

It is only eight miles and if it is a level coastal railway, it could surely be handled by battery-powered trains.

So why electrify now, rather than wait for Hitachi to bring their technology to the UK and save costs?

But digging deeper, there are two large industrial sites further to the East.

The railway from Alloa extends to Dunfermline Town station on the Fife Circle Line and could play a part in the development of both sites.

An electrified line to Alloa, leaves all options open.

The Wikipedia entry for the Stirling–Alloa–Kincardine Rail Link says more.

This is the first paragraph.

The Stirling–Alloa–Kincardine rail link was a project to re-open 21 kilometres (13 mi) of railway line between Stirling, Alloa and Kincardine in Scotland. The route opened to rail traffic in March 2008.

The rail link effectively had two purposes.

  • To allow passenger trains to run as far as Alloa station.
  • To allow coal trains to run to Longannet power station, without using the Forth Bridge.

The Wikipedia entry says this under Future Expansion.

The retention of the coastal route offers the possibility of providing passenger services to Dunfermline via Clackmannan, Kincardine, Culross, Valleyfield and Cairneyhill. The former direct main line from Alloa to Dunfermline (which was not proposed for closure by Dr. Beeching) is now partly obstructed by developments on the site of the old Dunfermline Upper station. There would appear to be no prospect of access to the existing Dunfermline Town (formerly Dunfermline Lower) station by this route, unless a new stretch of line were built west of Dunfermline. However, the coastal Kincardine line does give direct access to Dunfermline Town.

There has been some discussion of the possibility of providing a service to Rosyth Ferry Terminal.

The Scottish Government have a lot of options to provide the best rail system for the current rail travellers and future developments in the area.

 

 

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wet Wipes Could Face Wipe-Out In Plastic Clean-Up

The title of this post, is the same as this article on the BBC.

What are wet wipes?

In my seventy years, I’ve never used or even seen one!

I don’t think my late wife ever used one either!

Do we really need them?

May 8, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

TPE Pledges Capacity Boost With Class 68/Mk 5A Sets

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

It adds a few extra details to those, that I wrote about in Nova 3 On The Test Track.

This information is revealed.

The Route

The TransPennine Express fleet will run on the Liverpool Lime Street-Manchester Airport-Scarborough/Middlesbrough Routes, replacing three car Class 185 trains.

Train Length

Each Mark 5A car has a length of 22.2 or 22.37 metres.

Adding on the Class 68 locomotive gives a train length of 131.84 metres.

This compares with a train length for the Class 185 train of 71.276 metres.

It means that two Class 185 trains working together, which is current practice, are longer than the new fleet.

This must limit platform and depot modifications.

The Capacity

The number of seats on the two trains are as follows.

  • Class 185 train – 15 First Class – 165 Second Class
  • Class 68/Mk 5A sets – 30 First Class – 261 Second Class

This gives twice as many seats in First Class and nearly sixty percent more in second.

Both trains seem to have around sixty seats in each car.

Technical Characteristics

The Rail Magazine article gives several technical characteristics.

  • Each coach has two passenger doors, except the First Class coach which has one.
  • There is Selective Door Opening controlled by GPS.
  • Door controls are in the Driver Trailer and Class 68 cans, which the driver controls.
  • Two door control panels are in every vehicle for usde by the conductor.
  • Wheel Slip Protection is fitted.
  • Automatic passenger counting is provided.
  • Wi-fi is fitted.

The trains have a high specification.

 

 

 

 

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

LO ‘710s’ To Be Tested On ECML

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

After a period testing at the Old Dalby test track, the first Class 710 train will move to the East Coast Main Line.

I think this could be a pragmatic decision.

  • On the slow lines of the Southern part of the East Coast Main Line, there are typically four trains per hour (tph), which might be a low enough frequency for extra paths to be found for train testing.
  • Trains can access the East Coast Main Line from both the Gospel Oak to Barking and the North London Lines.
  • These lines give access to Willesden TMD, where some of the trains will be stabled.
  • The trains could be turned back at the sidings at Welwyn Garden City station.
  • The Class 710 trains are probably 90 mph units, which is faster than some of the older trains using the slow lines.

It will be interesting to see, where the testing is actually performed.

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

OLE Upgrades Complete At Anglia As Part Of £46m Transformation

The title of this article, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

I hope this is actually the case.

  • I’ve had enough of rail replacement buses, when trying to get to football at Ipswich on a Saturday.
  • For at least the last three years, I’ve probably seen more away matches, than those at Portman Road.
  • Three hours each way to Ipswich, effectively means, the only pleasurable thing you do is see the match.
  • This work has probably hit attendances at both Norwich and Ipswich.
  • I’ve renewed my season ticket fort next season, but if it is as thin on home matches as this one has been, it will be my last season of travel.

What puzzles me, is why can’t Network Rail adjust their work schedule, so that at least important matches like the two Derbies have trains?

But then you wouldn’t rate Network Rail highly for Project Management!

 

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment