The Anonymous Widower

Speeding Down To Bristol By Train

On Wednesday, I went to Bristol to take a few photographs.

I took these pictures, where the electrification ran out at Chippenham station.

There is some half-hearted erection of electrification going on between Chippenham station and Box Tunnel, but despite the fact, that the iconic tunnel is ready for wires, construction work seemed noticeable by its absence.

Line Speed Observations

I had my personal dynamometer car connected for much of the journey.

  • Between Southall and Slough we were at times running at only a few miles short of 130 mph. Are Great Western Railway starting to wind up the speed.
  • Most of the journey, when well clear of stations, we were at around 125 mph until Chippenham station.
  • At Chippenham, it was noticeable that the diesel engine under my seat kicked in.
  • Onwards from Chippenham, we were at around 100 mph on diesel.

I suspect that London and Bristol services could be improved and/or speeded up.

  • Timings could be reduced between London Paddington and Reading by running at faster speeds under digital ERTMS signalling. The train certainly felt comfortable at 128 mph.
  • Any increase in electrification past Chippenham station will increase the the reach of a Class 800 train with a battery capability on a mile-for-mile basis.
  • Trains should be able to increase speed towards 125 mph for some of the twelve miles between Chippenham and Bath Spa stations.
  • As trains would not be swapping between diesel and electricity in Chippenham station, would panning up and down happen automatically  further West?
  • It might be possible to fit in a third London Paddington and Bristol service, that doesn’t stop at Chippenham station.

None of these improvements would need the line through Bath Spa station to be electrified.

 

July 30, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Lack of activity maybe due to Covid-19. A few years back the DfT did say all electrification projects were on hold, pending reviews into battery and hydrogen.

    If the GW is not to be electrified into Bristol, I see no point in electrification thru Box Tunnel and onwards. Take it the extra 5 miles from Chippenham to Box of course. Trains thru Box Tunnel have to slow anyhow, so no need to string up wires or copper rods inside.

    Comment by John | July 30, 2020 | Reply

    • Even a couple of miles might help getting a Class 800 train with a battery capability to get a bit further. Every mile past Chippenham gets counted twice on a return journey, as you save a mile going out and a mile going back!

      Comment by AnonW | July 30, 2020 | Reply


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