The Anonymous Widower

Skeleton To Supply Ultracapacitors To CAF

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

These two sentences are in the last paragraph.

In its German plant in Großröhrsdorf, Skeleton Technologies is working on so-called hybrid energy storage systems. In short, the advantages of lithium-ion batteries (high energy density) are to be combined with the advantages of ultracapacitors (high performance, long service life) in such hybrid storage systems

But I suggest you read the article as it indicates how supercapacitors could be used on battery-trams and trains.

If CAF use supercapacitors on their trains it will not be their first application on heavy rail in the UK. In Brush Traction Signs Contract With Skeleton Technologies For Modules For Class 769 Trains, I describe how supercapacitors are used to start the engines.

September 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 13 Comments

Thoughts On CAF’s Battery-Electric Class 331 Trains

I first wrote about CAF’s battery-electric trains in Northern’s Battery Plans, where I describe how CAF and Northern are planning to convert a number of three-car Class 331 trains into four-car battery-electric trains.

  • The fourth car would contain batteries.
  • Batteries would also be added to the PTS (pantograph) car.

I suspect that the battery range could be arranged so that all Northern’s routes suitable for battery-electric operation could be handled.

These are my thoughts.

How Much Would The Conversion Cost?

I will first make rough estimate of what the extra car would cost.

Northern placed a £500 million order for the following trains.

  • 31 x three-car Class 331 trains
  • 12 x four-car Class 331 trains
  • 25 x two-car Class 195 trains
  • 33 x three-car Class 195 trains

This is a total of 290 trains.

So on a rough estimate, each car will cost around £1.72 million.

As batteries would also be added to the pantograph car, the cost of updating a three-car train to a four-car battery-electric train would probably be around two million.

Why Are CAF Proposing A Four-Car Train With Two Battery Cars?

When I first read about CAF’s and Northern’s plans, I wondered, why CAF were also putting batteries in the pantograph car, as surely, with their extensive experience with battery-powered trains, CAF could fit enough batteries into one battery-car for a reasonable range, as Bombardier did seven years ago.

Having done all the calculations around Wigan and Bolton in Bolton-Wigan £78m Rail Electrification Project Announced, I suspect that CAF and Northern want a trans-Pennine range, so they can compete with TransPennine Express.

Two cars with batteries is probably needed for that.

Could The Three-Car Trains Be Converted To Three-Car Battery-Electric Trains?

But there is a collateral benefit of putting batteries in the pantograph car.

I suspect that in a four-car Class 331 trains have a trans-Pennine range, which between Manchester Victoria and Leeds stations is 50.2 miles and between Carlisle and Newcastle stations is 61.5 miles. So let’s say that the four-car Class 331 train with two battery packs has a range of 70 miles.

So what would be the range of a three-car train with one battery pack.

One battery pack would only take a four-car train 35 miles, so a single battery pack would contain 140 car-miles of electricity.

If a single-battery were to be fitted to the pantograph car of a three-car train, 140 car-miles would give a range of 46.7 miles.

My conclusion about the Bolton and Wigan electrification  in Bolton-Wigan £78m Rail Electrification Project Announced, was as follows.

This electrification of just 6.5 miles of double-track between Lostock junction and Wigan Wallgate station seems to be one of the smaller electrification projects.

But on closer examination, when linked to a fleet of battery-electric trains with a range of perhaps forty miles, the electrification enables battery-electric trains to run these services.

  • Southport And Alderley Edge
  • Southport And Stalybridge
  • Kirkby And Manchester Victoria

With a charging station in Blackburn station, then the Wigan Wallgate And Blackburn service can be added.

All these four services could be run by three-car battery-electric Class 331 trains. And if the services are to be run by six-car trains, a pair can be coupled up.

What Would Be The Range Of A Four-Car Battery-Electric Train With Only One Battery?

If I’m right that a four-car battery-electric Class with two batteries has a range of seventy miles across the Pennines, then a train with one battery should be able to manage 35 miles.

Conclusion

It sounds like the Spanish might have come up with a cunning plan, that might be able to convert both three- and four-car Class 331 trains to battery-electric operation.

By adding a battery to the pantograph car, this enables a four-car battery-electric train with a trans-Pennine range.

Summing up the various options gives the following ranges.

  • Three-car battery-electric train with one battery pack – 46.7 miles
  • Four-car battery-electric train with one battery pack – 35 miles
  • Four-car battery-electric train with two battery packs – 70 miles

I’m impressed.

 

September 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Rail Service From Newcastle To Edinburgh To Stop At These Northumberland Stations

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Chronicle Live.

Details of the service are as follows.

  • It will be run by TransPennine Express.
  • It starts in December 2021.
  • It will run five times per day (tpd)
  • It will call at Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

It is planned to run at least until May 2023.

These are my thoughts.

What Trains Will TransPennine Express Use?

The service will probably need a single train, if it was run by a dedicated fleet of trains, that just shuttled between Edinburgh and Newcastle. TransPennine could use either an electric  Class 802 train or a diesel Class 185 train.

The diesel train might not be a good idea for operational reasons as TransPennine’s current services to Newcastle and Edinburgh use Class 802 trains.

But this service wouldn’t need a Class 802 train, as the route is fully electrified, so TransPennine might use a Class 800 train, if one were available from another company in the First Group.

TransPennine could also extend selected Manchester Airport and Newcastle services to Edinburgh, which might be the most efficient ways of using both trains and platforms in Newcastle.

This would give those using the intermediate stations between Edinburgh and Newcastle a service to and from Manchester Airport and the intervening stations, with a change at Newcastle, which would involve staying on the same train.

I’d organise the service as five tpd between Manchester Airport and Edinburgh with calls at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street, Newcastle, Cramlington, Morpeth, Widdrington, Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Reston and Dunbar.

The big advantage of this, is that TransPennine could use the existing Class 802 trains, although they may need one more.

Reston Station

It looks like it will be a much needed service, that will get the new Reston station up and running.

I suspect that,  passenger numbers at Reston station will determine the calling pattern after May 2023.

Will Other Services Continue?

TransPennine Express only has one service that stops between Newcastle and Edinburgh and that is the hourly service between Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh stations and that only stops at Morpeth.

I doubt this service will be changed, although after May 2023, it may make some extra stops depending on passenger numbers on the new service.

It should be noted that CrossCountry and LNER call irregularly at Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar.

As LNER are in rather a mess over their new timetable, I suspect that after May 2023, there could be a bit of a sort out of services.

How Will The New Service Fit With The Reopened Northumberland Line?

Initially the Northumberland Line will run as far as Ashington and won’t open until 2023 at the earliest.

But plans exist to extend the Northumberland Line to Morpeth.

The new service would fit well with an extended Northumberland Line service.

How Will The New Service Fit With East Coast Trains New London And Edinburgh Service?

East Coast Trains will be running a new Open Access service between London and Edinburgh from this autumn.

  • It will have a frequency of 5 tpd.
  • It will stop at Newcastle, Morpeth and Stevenage.
  • It will offer one way fares of £25.

East Coast Trains are another First Group company.

As both services are five tpd in both directions, will the two services co-ordinate stops, so that passengers between say London and Reston can take advantage?

Going North, the stopping train could follow the East Coast Trains express and going South the stopping train would be a few minutes in front of the express.

This would also help with maximising capacity between Edinburgh and Newcastle on the busy East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

This new stopping service between Edinburgh and Newcastle looks to be a simple solution to improve passenger services for intermediate stations between the two important cities.

 

September 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments