The Anonymous Widower

The Shape Of Train Services To Come

Today, I went to Lincoln, which as I reported in LNER To Put Lincoln On The Rail Map, is now a city, that has five trains per day to and from London.

It actually appears that from the timetable change on December 15th, 2019, the LNER timetable will be as follows.

  • On Mondays to Saturdays, there will be six trains per day (tpd) in both directions.
  • On Sundays, there will be five tpd in both directions.
  • Services stop at Stevenage, Peterborough, Grantham and Newark Northgate.
  • All direct services are under two hours, by at least a couple of minutes.
  • Indirect services with a change at Newark are generally no more than ten minutes over two hours, with some under two hours.
  • All direct trains would appear to be five-car Class 800 trains.

I can’t see any cause for passenger complaint.

On The 10:06 To Lincoln

Today is a Friday and I had expected more people on this direct service to Lincoln Central station.

As this was the first direct Friday service at this time to Lincoln, perhaps the word has been slow to get around?

The train arrived on time in Lincoln, although it had been a few minutes late at Grantham.

I asked several people, including a knowledgeable journalist, if Lincoln had ever had a two-hourly service from London and all said the answer was never!

On The 13:23 From Lincoln

This train was very close to maximum capacity with only a few empty seats.

The only problem was a young Lady, although I hasten to add she didn’t behave like a lady, who was sitting on the other side of the carriage.

She was constantly shouting into her phone and using the F-word to boot.

An elderly gentleman politely asked her to calm it down and it made no difference.

I did say to the very large guy, who looked like a prop forward opposite me, that will you ram her phone down her throat or shall I? All it got was a few laughs all round.

Perhaps her mother, didn’t wash her mouth out with soap often enough?

Catering

The train had a buffet and we had a visit from the trolley on the way to Lincoln.

Coming back, there was no trolley, but the train might have been too busy to get it through.

First Class

Five-car Class 800 trains have forty-five First Class and two hundred and seventy Standard Class seats.

Given that some train companies are reducing the number of First Class seats, I wonder if LNER will follow suit on the service to and from Lincoln and perhaps replace them with Second Class seats.

Performance And Train Times

The journey is effectively in two parts.

  • 120 miles between Kings Cross and Newark, which is electrified.
  • 16 miles between Newark and Lincoln, which is not electrified.

A two hour trip between Kings Cross and Lincoln is an average of around sixty-eight mph.

The current two hour schedule is not a convenient time for an operator running a service. Something more under two hours would make timetabling easier.

Suppose, the train took an hour and forty minutes to do the trip and that twenty minutes were to be allowed for turnround and any short delays of a few minutes. This would enable a two-hourly clockface timetable, with a train both ways every two hours.

This would need an overall average speed of 81 mph, including all the stops.

Would this average speed be possible?

In the next few aub-sections, I’ll discuss various factors.

The Class 800 Trains

Consider.

  • The Class 800 trains have fast acceleration and deceleration.
  • Each stop currently takes about two minutes and probably with better systems and staff training could be improved.
  • Most of the time on the electrified East Coast Main Line, the trains are running at speeds in excess of 110 mph and at times up to 125 mph.
  • The trains can run at 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling, as their cousins; the Class 395 trains do on High Speed One.
  • Between Newark and Lincoln, the trains will be slowed by the maximum linespeed.
  • The trains will be running on diesel between Newark and Lincoln.
  • The next generation of AT300 trains are being designed for the Midland Main Line.

These trains will only get better.

In Thoughts On The Next Generation Of Hitachi High Speed Trains, I laid out my thoughts about how they will develop.

One development will be battery-electric trains and these will use battery power between Newark and Lincoln. This will mean that the trains would only need one diesel engine for emergencies like overhead line failure.

The 140 mph East Coast Main Line

Digital in-cab signalling is planed to be installed on the East Coast Main Line between London and Doncaster.

This will allow the following.

  • Closer control of the trains.
  • 140 mph running, where track and traffic allow.
  • More trains per hour (tph)

It was originally planned to be operational by 2020.

It should be noted that High Speed Two is planned to run at eighteen tph. Surely, the slower East Coast Main Line could allow an increase in frequency.

I estimate that this higher speed running could save upwards of ten minutes between Kings Cross and Newark.

Improvements Between Newark And Lincoln

Wikipedia says this about the line between Newark and Lincoln.

The line between Newark and Lincoln is currently only cleared for 50–70-mile-per-hour (80–100 km/h) speeds. Nottinghamshire County Council has paid for a study into 90-mile-per-hour (140 km/h) running.

From my helicopter, the line looks to be all double-track, fairly straight, in good condition, with signs of recent improvements. But there are also up to a dozen level crossings.

With improvements, I suspect that a 90 mph linespeed will be possible.

Summing Up Performance

My mathematical nous, feels that with the digital signalling and other improvements, that the required four hour round trip would be possible.

If this can be achieved, then just two trains would be needed to run a one train every two hours and between Kings Cross and Lincoln.

Other Services

The Wikipedia entry for LNER, says this about the services to Lincoln and other new destinations in the North.

An expanded service to Lincoln began on 21 October 2019 when four terminating services at Newark Northgate were extended into Lincoln. This is in addition to the sole one train per day service, which in all, now provides five out and back workings to and from London King’s Cross. LNER also plans for December 2019 timetable change that a sixth return service to London from Lincoln will be introduced and 5 extra services on a Saturday will begin from 7 December 2019. From December 2019, LNER will introduce a Harrogate to London service 6 times a day. LNER expects to introduce two-hourly services to Bradford and a daily service to Huddersfield in May 2020 when more Azuma trains have been introduced. The Middlesbrough service is expected to begin in December 2021 after infrastructure work required to run the service is completed.

That looks like a comprehensive increase in service to Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough

Conclusion

LNER seem to have made a good start on the increased service levels to Lincoln.

Harrogate would appear to be next!

It will be interesting to follow both places, to see if they benefit from an improved train service.

But I can certainly see a day in the not too distant future, when LNER’s or other operator’s Azumas and other 140 mph trains are running to multiple destinations via the East Coast Main Line.

 

 

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Footbridges Over The Railway At Lincoln

Both footbridges at Lincoln station over the railway are now complete.

This Google Map shows their location.

These pictures show the bridge at the High Street level crossing, which is the nearest one to the station.

It is not your average footbridge with lifts across a railway.

These pictures show the bridge at the Brayford Wharf East level Crossing, which is the one further to the West.

I like this unusually-designed bridge.

It is not step-free, but it does offer shelter whilst you wait for the level crossing to open.

Conclusion

Lincoln has now got two unusual footbridges over the railway.

 

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Orders For A New All-Electric Airplane Now Top 150

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Bloomberg.

This looks to be a very positive article as Eviation Aircraft now have more orders for the all-electric Alice aircraft.

This is a couple of paragraphs from the article.

Talks are underway with a fourth possible client in Australia, while the CEO has previously said that prospective customers include major U.S. carriers like United Airlines Holdings Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corp., which are interested in planes to feed their hubs.

The U.K. also represents a natural market, given its relatively small size and plethora of regional airports, Bar-Yohay said. The Alice would be well suited to Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd.’s Connect arm — previously Flybe — which has an average flight time of 55 minutes. The executive was appearing with Virgin founder Richard Branson and CEO Shai Weiss at a technology conference.

I hope the second paragraph is true, as flying in an all-electric aircraft is definitely on my bucket list!

I would feel that if the aircraft does well, then this experience would translate to France.

 

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The Next Generation Of Hitachi High Speed Trains

In Rock Rail Wins Again!, I started with this section, describing the new Hitachi AT-300 bi-mode trains for the Midland Main Line.

This article on the Railway Gazette, is entitled Abellio Orders East Midlands Inter-City Fleet.

The order can be summarised as follows.

  • The trains will be Hitachi AT-300 trains
  • There will be thirty-three bi-mode trains of five cars.
  • The trains will be 125 mph capable.
  • Unlike the similar Class 802 trains, the trains will have 24 metre long cars, instead of 26 metres.
  • They will have a slightly modified nose profile.
  • The new trains will have an extra diesel engine.
  • The new trains will cost a total of £400 million.

I also came to these general conclusions.

  • The trains may well have a more sophisticated diesel-electric system using regenerative braking to batteries.
  • Capacity of the trains is difficult to predict, as East Midlands Railway have said there will be lots of tables.
  • The new nose may improve aerodynamics.

I also suspect that the trains will still be able to automatically split and join, as Class 395 and Class 80x trains can do.

Summing Up The Class 80x Trains As A Passenger

I certainly don’t have any seriously negative comments, but I do think a new generation could address some problems.

  • I’d like to see level entry between train and platform.
  • There have been complaints about the carrying of bicycles.
  • Some passengers would like a buffet.

These are not major problems with the basic design of the train itself and surely could be improved reasonably easily.

Further Thoughts On The Car Length

The AT300 trains for East Midlands Railway have a car length of twenty-four metres, as opposed to the twenty-six metres of the Class 80x trains.

If you look at some of the new fleets that are starting to be delivered, they have car lengths as follows.

  • Class 710 trains – 20 metres
  • Class 720 trains – 24 metres.
  • Class 195 and 331 trains – 24 metres

Twenty metres has for decades been the UK standard length, so could it have been replaced with twenty-four metres?

It should be noted that a twelve-car train with twenty metre cars and a ten-car train with twenty-four metre cars are more or less the same length.

With respect to the Midland Main Line, this means that platforms built to take two five-car AT300 trains, will also take a twelve-car formation of Class 360 trains.

Augmenting And Possible Replacement Of The Class 395 Trains

Class 395 trains run Southeastern’s HighSpeed services between St. Pancras and Kent.

  • They are six-car trains.
  • Each set is 121.3 metres long with twenty metre cars.
  • Extra sets are needed for the proposed Hastings service and to possibly serve a second London terminus.
  • Independent power, which could be diesel or batteries is needed for the Hastings service.
  • The trains were built in 2007-2009, so still have plenty of life left.

Extra or replacement trains built with five cars, that were twenty-six metres long, could cause operational issues and possibly mean some platforms needed to be lengthened.

However, trains with a similar size specification to the AT300 trains for the Midland Main Line, might be ideal.

  • Five twenty-four metre cars.
  • A reprofiled nose for better aerodynamics.
  • Regenerative braking to batteries.

But all or some of the diesel engines would be replaced by batteries. As with the Class 801 train, units may always have one diesel engine for use in case of power failure.

Has anybody got any statistics on how often the Class 801 trains that are in service have used their diesel engine?

If Class 395 Trains Were To Be Replaced, Where Would They Go?

These trains are too good to be scrapped, but I’m sure they will find a use.

  • Kings Cross and Kings Lynn via Cambridge – This service uses the Southern section of the East Coast Main Line, which is going to be digitally-signalled to allow 140 mph running. Currently, the Kings Cross and Kings Lynn service is run by 110 mph trains. Class 395 trains could probably run this service and keep out of the way of the Azumas and other 140 mph trains.
  • Waterloo And Portsmouth Harbour Via The Direct Line – Because it is a challenging route, more powerful and faster trains may be an ideal train for this line. The Class 395 trains already have third-rail shoes.
  • Manchester And Blackpool Via The West Coast Main Line – This could be a possibility, especially if High Speed Two connects into Manchester from the West,

I suspect there will be other routes, which would welcome the speed and/or power of Class 395 trains.

Other Uses For Battery-Electric AT300 Trains

In Shapps Wants ‘Earlier Extinction Of Diesel Trains’, I gave this list of main-line services, which are run partly on electricity and partly on diesel.

  • London and Aberdeen – 126 miles
  • London and Bradford – < 27 miles
  • London and Chester – 21 miles
  • London and Cheltenham – 42 miles
  • London and Exeter – 120 miles
  • London and Fishgruard – 119 miles
  • London and Gobowen – 25 miles
  • London and Harrogate – <18 miles
  • London and Hereford – 106 miles
  • London and Holyhead – 108 miles
  • London and Hull – 45 miles
  • London and Inverness – 136 miles
  • London and Lincoln – 17 miles
  • London and Llandudno – 68 miles
  • London and Middlesbrough – 20 miles
  • London and Ocford – 10 miles
  • London and Paignton – 148 miles
  • London and Penzance – 252 miles
  • London and Plymouth – 172 miles
  • London and Shrewsbury – 42 miles
  • London and Sunderland 41 miles
  • London and Swansea – 46 miles
  • London and Weston-super-Mare – 19 miles
  • London and Worcester – 66 miles
  • London and Wrexham – 23 miles

Note.

  1. The distance given is between the end of the electrification and the final destination.
  2. I am assuming continuous electrification from London to Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central, Dunblane and Newbury
  3. Plans already exist from West Coast Rail to use bi-mode trains on the Holyhead route via Chester.

How far will an AT300 train go on battery power?

  • I don’t think it is unreasonable to be able to have 150 kWh of batteries per car, especially if the train only had one diesel engine, rather than the current three in a five-car train.
  • I feel with better aerodynamics and other improvements based on experience with the current trains, that an energy consumption of 2.5 kWh per vehicle mile is possible, as compared to the 3.5 kWh per vehicle mile of the current trains.

Doing the calculation gives a range of sixty miles for an AT300 train with batteries.

As train efficiency improves and batteries are able to store more energy for a given volumn, this range can only get better.

Routes can be divided as follows.

  • Diesel Power Needed – Aberdeen, Exeter, Fishguard, Hereford, Holyhead, Inverness, Llandudno, Paignton, Penzance, Plymouth and Worcester.
  • Battery Charge At Terminus Needed – Cheltenham, Hull, Shrewsbury, Sunderland and Swansea.
  • Battery Power Only – Bradford, Chester, Gobowen, Harrogate, Lincoln, Middlesbrough, Oxford, Weston-super-Mare and Wrexham.

There are some interesting points dug out by my figures.

West Coast Rail Could Reach Chester, Gobowen, Shrewsbury And Wrexham On Battery Power

With a range of sixty miles on batteries, the following is possible.

  • Chester, Gobowen, Shrewsbury And Wrexham Central stations could be reached on battery power from the nearest electrification.
  • Charging would only be needed at Shrewsbury to ensure a return to Crewe.

Gobowen is probably at the limit of battery range, so was it chosen as a destination for this reason.

I feel that trains with a sixty mile battery range would make operations easier for West Coast Rail.

London To Lincoln

LNER have just started an augmented service between Kings Cross and Lincoln from today..

  • There are five trains per day in both directions.
  • The service runs seven days a week.
  • The service is being run using bi-mode Class 800 trains or Azumas to the marketing men.
  • The trains make intermediate stops at Newark North Gate, Grantham, Peterborough and Stevenage..

In some ways it is more of a long-distance high speed commuter, than an inter-city train.

It will get better in future.

  • Digital signalling will allow 140 mph running South of Newark and this will reduce journey times.
  • If demand grows LNER might be sable to extend another Newark train to Lincoln.

As Newark to Lincoln is only seventeen miles, I’m certain that this route could be handled by a battery-equipped train, if Hitachi develop one.

What would it do for Lincoln’s tourism from London, if the train service was advertised as a high speed battery train?

London To Middlesbrough And Sunderland

There has been plans to electrify between Northallerton and Midfdlesbrough for some years, but they never seem to get started.

If electrification were to be erected on the fourteen miles between Northallerton and Eaglescliffe, there would only be a six mile gap without electrification between the end of the electrification and Middlesbrough.

  • Battery-electric Azumas would be able to serve Middlesbrough from London.
  • They wouldn’t need a charging facility at Middlesbrough.
  • It might remove the need to electrify Middlesbrough station, if the proposed Tees Valley Metro could be run on batteries.

In December 2019, TransPennine Express will be extending their Manchester Airport and Middlesbrough service to Redcar Central station, which is just another five miles from Middlesbrough.

Currently, this service is run by a Class 68 locomotive and a rake of Mark 5 coaches, but surely an AT300 train with batteries could handle this end of the route.

There are four sections of lines without electrification between Redcar and Manchester Airport.

  • Redcar and Northallerton – 26 miles – Has been talked about for years.
  • Colton Junction and Leeds – 18 miles – Has been talked about for years.
  • Holbeck Junction and Huddersfield – 16 miles – Currently planned to be electrified.
  • Huddersfield and Stalybridge – 18 miles

It looks to me, that an AT300 with batteries could cross the Pennines, if the Holbeck Junction and Huddersfield section was electrified.

Electrification of this section would also benefit TransPennine services between Manchester and Edinburgh, Newcastle and Scarborough.

  • Some or all could be run by an AT300 train with batteries.
  • A substantial about of carbon emissions would be eliminated.
  • In an ideal world, Hitachi will have a route to add batteries to Class 802 trains.
  • Obviously, the more electrification the better.

It certainly looks as if, progress is being made on the North-Eastern section of Northern Powerhouse Rail.

London To Bradford And Harrogate

These routes are both short extensions from Leeds, that would be easily handled by AT300 trains with a battery capability.

Conclusion

I strongly believe that the next generation of the AT300 train will greatly rxtend the UK’s electrified network

A lot depends on how far it will go on battery power.

I have stated that the train will go for sixty miles on battery power and that it will have a single diesel engine, as does the all-electric Class 801 train.

But even a range of forty miles and charging stations at some terminals like Hull and Redcar could still have a major impact.

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 7 Comments

Hydrogen Safety: Busting The Myth That Hydrogen Is More Dangerous Than Gas

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

It is a must read. Especially for hydrogen sceptics!

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , | Leave a comment