The Anonymous Widower

East Midlands Railway Announces Three Brands

The title if this article is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is a quote about their electric trains to Corby, which will run under the brand name of EMR Electrics.

EMR said that once various developments had been completed, passengers would be able to reach the terminal at Luton Airport in ‘a little under half an hour’ from central London.

Currently, the fastest services going to between St. Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway stations take twenty-four minutes using 125 mph Class 222 trains with Luton Airport Parkway as the first stop.

Thameslink using 100 mph Class 700 trains take 30 minutes and more!

I question, whether the 100 mph Class 360 trains, running with Luton Airport Parkway as the first stop, can do the trip in the 24-26 minutes to get to the terminal in under half an hour, even with Luton Airport’s  DART shuttle train working!

In Are Class 360 Trains Suitable For St. Pancras And Corby?, I looked at Class 360 trains running the service between St. Pancras and Corby stations.

I came to this conclusion.

In my view there is a lot of upgrade work to be done to the Class 360 trains to make them suitable for working on the services between St. Pancras and Corby.

  • They need a new upgraded interior.
  • The trains need upgrading to at least 110 mph.
  • A possible upgrading with digital signalling.

I can’t help feeling that the Class 360 trains would make a good stop-gap, but in the long-term it might be better to have a small fleet of electric trains.

Electric AT-300 trains must be one of the favourites, although Class 745 trains, similar to those that Abellio will run between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport, would do nicely.

So will East Midlands Railway have updated and faster Class 360 trains or will they be bringing in 125 mph trains to hit the required schedule to Luton Airport Parkway?

Conclusion

Luton Airport will have a real Airport Express!

But will the Class 360 trains, be able to deliver it? I have my doubts!

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leuchars Station – 21st Aug 2019

I took these pictures at Leuchars station after arriving on an Inter7City train from Edinburgh.

I didn’t stay log as I was running late and needed to get to Edinburgh for my train home.

My reason for going to Leuchars was to look at the proposed St. Andrews Rail Link.

This Google Map shows the position of St. Andrews in relation to Leuchars station.

Leuchasrs station is in the North-West corner of the map, with St. Andrews in the South-East.

It looks like most of the route has been dismantled or built on and it might not be the easiest route to reinstate.

Wikipedia says this about an alternative plan.

The original reinstatement plan espoused by StARLink was simply a reestablishment of the historical Leuchars – St Andrews line but since the publication in 2012 of a report by Tata Steel Rail Consultancy StARLink now advocates an entirely new 21st-century layout with a twin-cord high-speed rail link travelling west and southwards via Cupar and northwards via Leuchars. StARLink has estimated that the railway could be reinstated for £76 million.

I am rather suspicious of the low value of the costing.

What ouzzled me at Leuchars was that there were no signs that I saw, telling visitors how to get St. Andrews.

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Around The Fife Circle Line

Although, I’ve been to Scotland many times, I’d never knowingly been over the Forth Bridge in good light.

So I went all the way round the Fife Circle Line and took these pictures.

The route was fairly busy and I very much feel that the three-car Class 170 train could at times be rather small for the route.

The Fife Circle Line

This map from Wikipedia shows the stations on the Fife Circle Line.

Consider.

The route is double-track.

  • The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton station via Comdenbeath is 22.3 miles
  • The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton station via Kirkcaldy is 21.4 miles
  • The train I was on waited a couple of minutes at Glenrothes with Thornton station before turning to Edinburgh.

In addition my pictures show the following.

  • Many of the bridges are high- enough to allow electrification.
  • On the East side of the Circle, there are some old stone bridges that would need to be raised for electrification.
  • Some of the stations are step-free with ramps.

Overall, it is a typically-Scottish neat-and-tidy line, that needs some improvement, like longer electric trains and some improved stations with step-free access.

Electrification Of The Fife Circle Line

In my view, there are two major obstacles to full-electrification of the Fife Circle Line.

The Forth Rail Bridge

I feel that engineers could electrify the Forth Rail Bridge without too much difficulty.

But that is not the problem.

  • The bridge is on the main route between Edinburgh and Aberdeen and North East Scotland and electrification would cause major disruption during the installation.
  • There is also the Heritage Lobby, who would probably be totally against major changes to a World Heritage Site.

For these reasons, I don’t think that the Forth Bridge will be electrified.

The Stone Bridges On The Eastern Side Of The Circle

There are nearly a dozen stone arch bridges on the route through Kirkcaldy and raising these for electrification would cause major disruption to one of Scorland’s main rail routes.

Third-Rail Electrification Of The Fife Circle Line

In my view, this would be an option to get round the problems of disruption and the Forth Rail Bridge.

But, third-rail electrifrication is still-considered a method non-grata, despite being used successfully for over a hundred years in Merseyside and South of London.

I do wonder, if Brexit will make it easier to install third-rail systems.

Certainly, Hitachi who would probably make most of the electric trains that would use the Forth Rail Bridge and the Fife Circle Line have the technology for third-rail trains, which they used on the Class 395 trains for HighSpeed commuter services to Kent.

I do wonder, if Brexit will make it easier to install third-rail systems.

Battery-Electric Trains On The Fife Circle Line

In Hitachi Plans To Run ScotRail Class 385 EMUs Beyond The Wires, I discussed Hitachi’s plan to fit batteries to Class 385 trains, so they could run on unelectrified lines.

The Fife Circle Line would be an ideal route for battery-electric trains.

This map shows the rail lines to the South of the Forth Rail Bridge.

Note.

  1. An unelectrified line, through South Gyle and Edinburgh Gateway stations, connects the Forth Bridge to the main electrifield Edinburgh and Glasgow Line through Edinburgh Park station.
  2. There is also another unelectrified line, that connects the Forth Rail Bridge to Linlithgow, Falkirk and Glasgow.
  3. Shown in yellow is a proposed chord, which would create another route between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Electrification as far as Dalmeny station, which is between the Forth Bridge and the proposed chord would enable LNER’s bi-mode Class 800 trains to use electric power for a few extra miles.

As I said earlier, the distance between Dalmeny and Glenrothes with Thorntonh station is under twenty-five miles using either the Western or Eastern side of the Fife Circle Line.

  • Twenty-five miles is well within range of a battery-electric train, that has charged the battery using the electrification between Edinburgh and Dalmeny.
  • Most quoted ranges for battery-electric trains are in the order of sixty miles, so a well-designed train could probably do a complete round trip from Dalmeny station.
  • A charging point could be provided at Glenrothes with Thorton station to top up the batteries, whilst the train waits to return, if that were deemed necessary.

In my view, the Fife Circle Line is an ideal route for battery-electric trains. Especially, as the only new infrastructure required is as follows.

  • Electrification to Dalmeny station, which may be under consideration anyway.
  • Provision of a charging station at Glenrothes with Thornton station.

It is undoubtedly, the lowest cost way to provide new electric trains on the Fife Circle Line.

How Big Would The Batteries Need To Be?

I use a figure of three kWh per vehicle mile for the energy consumption of an electric multiple unit running on a typical route. My reasoning for this figure is given in How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?.

On that basis a three-car Class 385 train would need a battery capacity of 3x3x50 or 450 kWh to do a complete trip around the Fife Circle Line.

Note that Vivarail are talking about putting 424 kWh in a three-car Class 230 train.

This page on the Vivarail web site is entitled Battery Train Update.

This is a paragraph.

Battery trains are not new but battery technology is – and Vivarail is leading the way in new and innovative ways to bring them into service. 230002 has a total of 4 battery rafts each with a capacity of 106 kWh and requires an 8 minute charge at each end of the journey. With a 10 minute charge this range is extended to 50 miles and battery technology is developing all the time so these distances will increase.

So it looks like Vivarail manage to put 212 kWh under each car of their two-car train.

Surely, Hitachi have the technology to put 450 kWh in a three-car Class 385 train.

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

In Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link, I talked about using Class 385 trains with batteries on the Levenmouth Rail Link.

The same Class 385 trains with batteies could do both routes.

Extension To The Borders Railway

There has been suggestions, that Borders Railway and Fife Circle Line trains run back-to-back across Edinburgh.

It is just over thirty miles between Newcraighall, where the electrification from Edinburgh ends, and Tweedbank.

With a charging station at Tweedbank, Class 385 trains with batteries could run both routes.

Conclusion

It appears that running battery-electric Class 385 trains on the Fife Circle Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link is a feasible option.

It would also be superb publicity for the company, who supplied the trains, if videos were shown of the trains on the Forth Rail Bridge.

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

My First Ride In An Inter7City Train

These are some pictures I took of a ride between Edinburgh and Leuchars station.

In some ways, I wasn’t particularly impressed and the interiors were not up to the standard of some InterCity125 trains and Mark 3 coaches I’ve ridden lately.

These are some other pictures of Inter7City trains, I took on my recent trip to Scotland.

They may look nice and are what the public wanted, but would the right new trains have been better.

 

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Breakfast At Amarone In Edinburgh

I had my gluten free breakfast in Amarone in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago.

I would certainly go back again.

  • Service was friendly.
  • Price was reasonable.
  • Food was excellent.
  • Tea was at it should be in a pot!

It was a bit quiet, but that was probably due to the early hour.

I’ll certainly use their restaurant in Glasgow as well!

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

Little Has Been Said About East Midlands Railway’s Promised Hydrogen Trains

In their proposal for the East Midlands franchise, Abellio said that they would trial hydrogen-powered trains on the Midland Main Line.

But little has been heard of this promise since winning the franchise.

So where could the franchise use hydrogen-powered trains on the Midland Main Line?

Extending Corby Trains To Oakham And Melton Mowbray

This is a distance of under thirty miles, so it would probably be within range of a well-designed hybrid battery-hydrogen-electric train.

  • Refuelling with hydrogen could be at Corby or Melton Mowbray stations.
  • Trains would be 240 metres long.
  • In addition batteries would be charged between St. Pancras and Corby stations.
  • Trains would run at 125 mph for much of the route between St. Pancras and Corby.
  • Hydrogen power would be used as a top-up between Corby and Melton Mowbray if required.

The service could even go further and turn back at Leicester.

Perhaps one train per hour (tph) of the two Corby services could be extended.

Non-Stop London To Leicester Trains

The Midland Main Line will be electrified as far as Market Harborough, so there would be under twenty miles without electrification on the route between St. Pancras and Leicester stations.

  • Trains would run at 125 mph for much of the route between St. Pancras and Leicester.
  • Refuelling could be at Leicester.
  • To publicise the service, it might be best to run two tph non-stop.
  • Perhaps the only stop would be Luton Airport Parkway, as the Airport wants more fast services.

As with the Corby Extension service, it wouldn’t require a great deal of running on hydrogen.

Why Not Run A Loop From London?

If the Corby Extension service went as far as Leicester it would approach the station from the North, whereas the London service would approach from the South.

So why not run the services back-to-back?

  • There could be two tph in each direction.
  • There could be a longer stop at Leicester to take on hydrogen.
  • Stops could include Luton Airport Parkway in both directions, to give the Airport four tph to and from London and Leicester.
  • There might also be the possibility of an improved station at Syston, which is to the North-East of Leicester.

It wouldn’t need any new platforms or other infrastructure, except for the hydrogen filling station at Leicester and the possible improvements at Syston.

It would deliver high speed hydrogen-powered trains to Leicester at a frequency of two tph direct and two trph via Corby.

It would fit Luton Airport’s ambitions as I outlined in Luton Trains Its Eye On Sub 30-Minute Express.

What would that do for the prestige of the Leicester and the ambitions of Luton Airport?

Who Would Build The Trains?

These are my thoughts.

  • Alston have the technology, but do they have the train?
  • Bombardier have stated they are not interested in hydrogen.
  • CAF have the train and the battery technology, but do they have the hydrogen technology?
  • Hitachi have the train, but do they have the battery and hydrogen technology?
  • Stadler have the train and the battery technology, but do they have the hydrogen technology?

I have heard rumours they are pushing hydrogen technology and also that their PowerPack concept works at 125 mph, so I suspect that Stadler are as likely as any to produce a working high speed hybrid hydrogen train.

But they will have several dozen trains working in the UK in a year or so.

They are not to be underestimated.

But then the prize for successfully running a 200 kph or 125 mph zero-carbon train will be immense, and this will not be lost on the train builders.

Or East Midlands Railway for that matter!

The first person, who does something is always remembered!

Losers come second!

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment