The Anonymous Widower

An Inter7City Class 43 Locomotive At Dundee Station

This Inter7City Class 43 locomotive was waiting at Dundee station, when I protographed it.

I suspect it was a training run.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Can You Fit These Cases In A Class 800 Train?

I took this picture at Edinburgh station, after arriving there on an Aberdeen to London train.

Could these cases be fitted into a new Class 800 train?

I’ve seen surfboards and heavily-loaded bikes being swallowed by a Class 43 locomotive in an InterCity 125.

Perhaps, passengers with loads like this, will fly to Edinburgh and then use ScotRail’s Inter7City trains around Scotland.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brand-New Bi-Mode Trains For Long Term Use By Abellio East Midlands Railway

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These trains are proposed for working on several routes and some of their features are given.

In this section, I will try to ascertain, what they will be like.

These trains will replace the interim Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive sets on the Midland Main Line from April 2022.

They will also be used on the following services.

  • London – Lincoln.
  • London – Oakham – Melton Mowbray
  • London – Leeds – York

Features include.

  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system
  • Free on-board Wi-Fi
  • At-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • increased luggage space
  • On-board cycle storage

I think it wouldn’t be speculating too much, to expect that shorter versions of these trains would also be used on other routes of the franchise.

I also think, that these trains will have other properties.

Ability To Run At 125 mph On Both Electric And Diesel Power

Bombardier, Hitachi and Stadler are proposing or have built fast bi-mode trains, which run at the same speed on both diesel and electric power.

  • Bombardier are proposing a 125 mph Aventra with batteries.
  • Hitachi’s 125 mph Class 800 trains are running at 125 mph on electric power, but can they achieve the 125 mph on diesel needed for the Midland Main Line?
  • Stadler’s 100 mph Class 755 trains, will be running between London and Norwich at this speed from next month.

As parts of the Midland Main Line, that will not be electrified by 2022, to have a 125 mph operating speed, it is essential that the trains can do this speed on either power source.

Ability To Switch Power Source At Line Speed

Some trains do this, but others don’t!

To run as fast a timetable as possible, it is essential. Hitachi’s Class 800 trains can do it!

240 Metre Long Trains

Consider.

  • The notes on the interactive map, says that Corby services will be this length in the Peak.
  • 240 metre long platforms will be needed at St. Pancras for Corby services.
  • Thameslink services are already this length.

These points lead me to the conclusion, that the new bi-mode trains can be up to 240 metres long.

Passenger Capacity

A seven-car Class 222 train has the following properties.

  • 236 Standard Class seats.
  • 106 First Class seats.
  • 161.8 metres long

As the interiors of the existing and proposed trains seem similar with lots of tables and comfort, adjusting for the longer bi-mode train gives the following numbers of seats.

  • 349 Standard Class seats.
  • 157 First Class seats

There will be a large increase in the number of seats.

Step-Free Access Between Train And Platform

Stadler are the masters of this and are providing it on Merseyrail and on the Great Eastern Main Line.

Other companies will have to follow suit!

Hitachi in particular and surprisingly seem to design their trains with a big step.

This picture shows the step up into a Class 395 train at St. Pancras station. It is unacceptable!

Step-free access improves the dwell time of trains at stations and is essential on any high-frequency service.

Digital Signalling

This will be essential to run the trains faster and closer together, so that more services can be run between London and the Midlands,

140 mph Running

IDigital signalling could even enable 140 mph running on sections of the route.

Improved Dwell Times

The performance of these trains and easy access, will mean that every station stop will be faster and will enable two pssenger benefits.

  • Journeys will be faster by a few minutes.
  • It will be possible to add extra station stops, with only a small penalty of overall journey times.

I doubt passengers will be unhappy.

High Speed Two Compatibility

High Speed Two should reach the East Midlands Hub station in 2032 and Sheffield station in 2034.

Between Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield, High Speed Two and Midland Main Line services will use the same sixteen mile electrified railway.

Good project management probably says that this joint electrified line is created early, by say 2025. This would obtain maximum benefit to the City of Sheffield and the surrounding area.

As it is likely, that the new bi-mode trains will still be in service to past 2034, whatever is decided, these bi-modes must be able to run on High Speed Two infrastructure.

Conclusion

Even if, the current  service pattern of two trains per hour to Derby, Chesterfield, Nottingham and Sheffield is maintained, there will be a large increase in capacity.

But if a fully-digital railway is created with 125 mph trains, I can see the Midland Main Line becoming one of the finest high speed railways in the world, that has been created by updating a classic rail line built in the Nineteenth Century.

Operating speed and capacity will be up there with the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines.

I can see Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield having a four trains per hour service from London in times of 75, 90 and 120 minutes respectively.

By comparison, High Speed Two is looking at a sub-ninrty ,minute time between London and Sheffield.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

East Midlands Class 222 Trains

The Class 222 train is the workhorse of the Midland Main Line.

Where will they go, when they are replaced by new bi-mode trains in 20222?

They have some good properties.

  • Built in 2003-2005 and refurbished in 2011-2012.
  • 125 mph capability
  • Lots of tables.
  • Meet all the access reguilations.
  • Good ride on FLEX-Eco bogies.

But there is the annoying noise of the under-floor diesel engines.

In Have Bombardier Got A Cunning Plan For Voyagers?, I commented on a statement by Bombardier to upgrade these trains with batteries, to give full regenerative braking, improve their efficiency and require less running of the engines in stations.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Luton – An Unwelcoming Town For Coeliacs

On my visit to Luton station, I decided to take a walk to the town centre for some lunch.

I took these pictures.

Except for the town hall, I saw nothing of any architectural merit.

Gluten-Free Food In Luton Town Centre

If like me, you need gluten-free food, then I suggest you don’t go near Luton.

All I saw was two ageing sandwiches in the Marks and Spencer, which is closing on May the fourth.

If there’s a worse town in the UK, for gluten-free food, I haven’t found it.

Blackburn, Bardford, Crewe, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are all several times better.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Luton Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Luton station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

Without doubt, this is the worst station, I’ve found so far in an important town, that is to be made step-free.

There is nothing of any architectural merit at all in this station.

Will Abellio East Midlands Railway Improve Their Service To Luton?

Currently, Luton station has the following.

  • Full electrification, which is being upgraded to a high standard for 125 mph running.
  • Platforms long enough to accommodate Thameslink’s 242 metre long twelve-car Class 700 trains.
  • The Class 700 trains are already fitted for working with digital signalling and this will be added to all trains.

It certainly treats trains better than it does passengers.

From December 2020, the following trains will run through Luton station.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) to/from Corby, which will be 240 metre long twelve-car electric trains in the Peak. Why not in the Off Peak?
  • Two tph to/from Leicester and Nottingham
  • Two tph to/from Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield

At the present time, only the single Corby service stops at Luton.

From 2022, East Midlands Railway will be running new bi-mode trains through the station.

  • For compatibility with the electric trains to Corby and to make full use of long platforms, I suspect that these trains could be up to 240 metres long.
  • They will have a larger capacity, than the current Class 222 trains.
  • They will effectively be electric trains between London and Market Harborough, where the electrification ends.
  • They will have fast acceleration and smooth regenerative braking, because of the electric power.
  • They could have step-across access between train and platform.

As Luton station is electrified and has long platforms, these trains will be able to stop at Luton (and Luton Airport Parkway) in minutes.

Network Rail intend to make Luton station step-free by 2024.

The improved access will give easier connections between the expresses and Thameslink, and entry/exit to the station.

I can see several trains per hour stopping at Luton.

Conclusion

If money was no object, this station should be totally rebuilt.

But money is an object, so the architects will be struggling.

But by 2024 at the latest and possibly a couple of years earlier Luton station could be sorted for passengers and handling well upwards of a dozen 240 metre long high capacity trains in every hour.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

A High Visibility Truck

I saw this concrete truck outside Kings Cross station.

I hope the concept works!

It’s a Mercedes-Benz Econic.

There is a review on this page.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | | 1 Comment