The Anonymous Widower

What Will Happen To The Eighty-Seven Class 350 Trains

At the current time, West Midlands Trains have a fleet of eighty-seven Class 350 trains.

  • The trains are being replaced by new Class 730 trains.
  • They are of different specifications.
  • The interiors vary, but there are a lot of tables.
  • All are four-car sets.
  • They are 110 mph trains.
  • Thirty of the trains are dual-voltage.
  • Fifty are owned by Angel Trains.
  • Thirty-seven are owned by Porterbrook, who have looked at converting the trains to battery-electric operation.
  • They are a bit of a dog’s breakfast, although they are excellent trains.
  • The future of the trains is rather uncertain and even Porterbrook’s plans have gone rather quiet.

So perhaps a big dog ought to round up all these trains and turn them into something more useful.

Consider.

  • All the trains were built in this century by Siemens in Germany.
  • Siemens service the Class 350 trains at Kings Heath Depot in Northampton.
  • Siemens have recently opened a factory in Goole to make new trains for the London Underground.
  • Siemens are developing the Mireo Plus B, which is a battery-electric multiple unit in Germany.

Siemens must have the knowledge and experience to turn these trains into a quality fleet of battery-electric trains.

  • Thirty would be dual-voltage and fifty-seven would be 25 KVAC overhead only.
  • All would be 110 mph trains.
  • I doubt there would be many places on the UK rail network, where they couldn’t run.

All appear to be in excellent condition, as these pictures show.

I very much feel, that these fleets could be converted into a quality fleet of very useful battery-electric trains.

Charging The Batteries

Most of the charging would be done from existing electrification, but as all trains have pantographs, they could use specially-erected short lengths of 25 KVAC overhead wires or charging systems like the Furrer + Frey Voltap system.

Possible Routes

I will start with the dual-voltage trains.

  • Uckfield Branch, where a charger would be needed at Uckfield station.
  • Marshlink Line
  • Basingstoke and Exeter, where chargers would be needed at Salisbury and Exeter and possibly Yeovil Junction.

I feel with 25 KVAC overhead applications, we will soon run out of trains.

 

 

October 19, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. The 350s are lardbutts so not suited to Uckfield line and really should be staying on AC routes.
    The 730s are another build that wasn’t necessary but should be battery electric from outset as plenty of WM routes could have be served with voltfap style solutions. The 350s should be left on WCML duties.

    The 350s are underpowered overweight ardbutts on DC let alone karting an extra 5T of batteries so not suited to Uckfield line and really should be staying on AC routes.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | October 19, 2021 | Reply

  2. I thought the 50 Angel trains units will stay with West-Midlands Railway, and only the 37 Porterbrook units would be given back to its owners???
    But it is right to think of Southern to use them to replace their diesel units, and even if the 37 350/2’s were not intended to they shouldn’t be too difficult to convert to both 25kV and 750V operation with batteries.

    Comment by Daniel Altmann | October 23, 2021 | Reply

    • Would be more sensible to have sent them to SWR as they are exactly the same inverters as the 450’s they only need shoegear although carting around a transformer is wasteful in energy but plenty of 377’s do the same let alone 800’s with all there engines and fuel!!

      Anyhow my logic here is SWR are about to spend another 30m putting the 458’s back to 4 cars after spending 60m to make them 5 cars this will get rid of a non standard train in their fleet.

      Comment by Nicholas Lewis | October 23, 2021 | Reply

      • I’ve always felt that battery-equipped 350s would open up the engineering for battery-equipped 450s to work Waterloo and Exeter.

        But there is a fly in the ointment in this.

        In order to run electric trains between Paddington and Penzance, it is likely that there will be some 25 KVAC electrification, so they would need to be dual voltage.

        But there is probably a good compromise. Especially, as battery-equipped 450s would be ideal for parts of the network, where power is dodgy.

        Comment by AnonW | October 23, 2021

    • The government has set themselves a precedent today by reportedly giving Merseyrail £710 million to fund expansion using battery-electric trains.

      https://lbndaily.co.uk/chancellor-fund-710m-merseyrail-expansion/

      It won’t be long before other places want them and it is my view that the Class 350s are the best trains to convert.

      Comment by AnonW | October 23, 2021 | Reply


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