The Anonymous Widower

Will Future Hitachi AT-300 Trains Have MTU Hybrid PowerPacks?

I have mentioned this possibility in a couple of posts and I feel there are several reasons, why this might be more than a possibility!

What Do We Know About The Second Iteration Of An AT-300?

The first order for East Midlands Railway is for thirty-three five-car trains.

  • Four engines instead of three.
  • 125 mph on diesel power.
  • A modified nose profile.

I find the nose profile significant, as I don’t believe that the current trains are aerodynamically much more efficient than British Rail’s legendary InterCity 125 trains.

On the other hand, Bombardier’s Aventras look as if the company’s aerospace division has been involved in the design. They certainly are very quiet, when they pass close by.

The second order for West Coast Rail is thin on detail, but they do mention that services from Euston could reach as far as Godowen.

I would also feel that 125 mph on diesel could be very helpful on the North Wales Coast Line to Holyhead.

Will 140 mph Running Be Commonplace?

Very much so!

For 140 mph running by the current trains, the following is needed.

  • Tracks able to accommodate that speed.
  • ERTMS signalling
  • In-cab signalling

Wikipedia speaks of unspecified minor modifications to the trains.

To answer my question, I believe there will be running over 125 mph, if not 140 mph on substantial stretches of the following lines.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

I also believe other routes could see large increases in operating speed on certain sections.

  • Basingstoke and Exeter
  • Breckland Line
  • Bristol and Exeter
  • East and West Coastways
  • Golden Valley Line
  • Great Eastern Main Line
  • Hitchin and Kings Lynn via Cambridge
  • North Wales Coast Line
  • Reading and Exeter via Newbury

If trains are capable of 125 mph and faster running without electrification, I can see Network Rail, doing what they have shown they can do well on the Midland Main Line, which is increasing line speed.

Note that on my list, I have included the second route to Norwich via the East Coast Main Line, Cambridge and Thetford and Kings Lynn services.

I can envisage hourly 125 mph services to and from Norwich and Kings Lynn joining and splitting at Cambridge and then running at high speed between Kings Cross and Cambridge.

It would be a massive boost for West Norfolk and Norwich, but it would not require extra high speed paths on the East Coast Main Line.

There must be other routes that by proven conventional track engineering can be turned from 80-100 mph lines into 125-140 mph high speed lines. No problem electrification to promote, design and erect. It just needs appropriate trains.

I can see the following routes without electrification being run at 125-140 by the new AT-300 trains.

  • Euston and Holyhead
  • Kings Cross and Cleethorpes via Lincoln
  • Kings Cross and Hull
  • Kings Cross and Kings Lynn/Norwich
  • Liverpool and Edinburgh via Leeds
  • Paddington and Exeter via Basingstoke and Yeovil
  • Paddington and Gloucester/Cheltenham
  • Waterloo and Exeter via Basingstoke and Yeovil

There are probably other routes.

Without doubt, the new AT-300 trains must be able to run at 140 mph on lines without electrification, once Network Rail have raised the operating speed.

Thoughts On AT-300 TrainsWith MTU PowerPacks

These are my thoughts on various topics.

Weight

The data sheet for the MTU PowerPack gives the mass at around five tonnes for a diesel engine of 700 kW.

Depending on the way you read the figures this appears to be less than that of a similar power diesel..

Fuel Economy

This is obviously better and MTU are quoting a forty percent saving.

Regenerative Braking

This comes as standard.

One PowerPack Per Car

I always like this concept, especially as many trains these days seem to have a lot of powered axles.

It also reduces the energy losses in the cables between cars.

The East Midlands Railway trains seem to have five cars and four engines, so is that four motor cars and one trailer.

Would trains be lengthened by adding extra trailer and/or motor cars as appropriate in the middle of the train?

Simpler Control System

MTU will have responsibility for the software of the PowerPack and all Hitachi’s control system for the train, will need to do with the PowerPacks is tell them how much power is required.

Hopefully, this will help in the debugging of the train, for which Bombardier had so much trouble with the Aventra.

Batteries

It appears that the design of the PowerPacks is very flexible with respect to size and number of battery packs.

Would it be an advantage for a train builder or an operator to tailor the battery capacity to the speed and length of a route.

Compatible AT-200 Local Trains

The AT-200 is Hitachi’s smaller and slower train of which the Class 385 train is an example.

If a version were to be produced with say three or four cars and one or more MTU PowerPacks, Hitachi would have a very nice bi-mode with a lot in common with the new AT-300, which would ease servicing for train operators, who were running both trains

Hitachi’s Relationship With MTU

MTU engines are used in the current Hitachi trains, so unless I am told otherwise,I am led to believe they have a good working relationship.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next generation of AT-300 use MTU PowerPacks.

November 20, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

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