The Anonymous Widower

A Tale Of Two Trains

Last week I attempted to have rides in two ground-breaking trains.

Some months ago, I also had an early public run in a Crossrail Class 345 train.

The latter trains have now been introduced more fully into service, although there are still some Class 315 trains in service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield stations.

Transport for London performed the introduction with plenty of well-trained staff about to both handle any problems and ask passengers for feedback.

It was all very professional and despite Crossrail’s well-reported lateness, it is difficult to find bad reports about the performance of the Class 345 trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Vivarail’s Class 230 Train

I went to the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, to see this train last Wednesday and wrote about the train in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

This service was not a paid-for public service but a free demonstration open to all, who wanted to turn up.

Many people did for the first run at 11:00 and they looked to be a mixture of locals, people with transport interests, families and enthusiasts.

Vivarail came mob-handed with engineers, designers, public relations staff and the Chairman; Adrian Shooter.

There was no restrictions as to who talked to whom.

Search the Internet and it is very difficult to find negative reaction to the demonstration.

This article with a video in the Scotsman is entitled Video: Battery Trains On Track To Cut Emissions and gives a lot of information.

  • Each car weighs thirty tonnes.
  • Chassis and body are aluminium.
  • Each car has two 100 kWh batteries underneath.
  • New batteries in 2019 will enable sixty mph for forty miles and take just four minutes to charge.
  • Regenerative brakes recharge the batteries.

The article has a very positive, typified by this paragraph.

Beyond the recycled exterior, Adrian explains how renewable energy and eco-friendliness are at the heart of the train’s design and a sign of things to come.

I haven’t read any reports from bloggers, enthusiasts or the general public about the train, but like myself, I suspect many went home quietly satisfied after watching a very professional demonstration.

My only negative comment about the Vivarail demonstration, is that it could probably have done with a modicum of classic marketing and upsexing.

Alstom’s Coradia iLint

Last week was the second time, that I tried to get a ride on this train.

But as with my first trip, although I saw a train, none were actually running.

This time, I heard that there was a shortage of drivers and one train had gone back to the manufacturer.

These innovative trains are going to attract visitors from all over the world and I think that Alstom are not being at all professional with their handling of the testing.

There was just no information, let alone staff at any of the stations, that will be served by the hydrogen-powered trains.

The important people were happy enough to turn up for the grand launch, but did not see fit to provide the information for the general public, who are interested in a genuine innovation, that could cut carbon emissions.

Conclusion

We will see a diesel-powered Class 230 train in service this December and it will then be possible to judge this innovative train on a fair basis.

But after the professional demonstration I saw in Scotland, I very much feel that this launch will not be handled in a sloppy way, such that it leaves a lot of disillusioned travellers.

But I am beginning to wonder, if Alstom’s  project was launched too early without real planning to gain lots of brownie points about green issues.

It is one thing to get a new train working on a test track, but passengers with their own needs and appointments to keep, add a whole new dimension.

Alstom may well not be alone, as Porterbrook seem to be having troubles with launching their innovative Class 769 train.

October 15, 2018 - Posted by | Travel | , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Just took a look at Alstom’s site and couldn’t find any mention of these trains not operating. Did however find https://bioenergyinternational.com/storage-logistics/hydrogen-fuel-consortium-selected-as-preferred-partner-by-alstom about hydrogen train plans in neighbouring Schleswig Holstein.

    It may well be that the one has gone back to Alstom for something that has nothing to do with the hydrogen stuff. And I would have thought the driver shortage was the responsibility of the operator, not Alstom. So I think you’re being a bit harsh. It would not be surprising if there are problems with the 230s too once they start running live.

    The SNCF has also just started a TERHybride battery-hybrid project with Alstom and a few of the regions https://www.sncf.com/fr/groupe/newsroom/ter-hybride (there may be an English version somewhere). First trials in 2020. They seem to see this as a stepping stone to hydrogen in the future. So everybody is at it.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 16, 2018 | Reply


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