The Anonymous Widower

Road-Rail Midi-Buses To Start Revenue Service On December 25

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

There’s more about this bus in this article on Coach and Bus Week, which is entitled Japan Launches Road-Rail Bus.

Engineers have been trying to design a road-rail busfor decades. Finally, it looks like one is up and running.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 7 Comments

How Much Electrification Will There Be In The TransPennine Route Upgrade?

My visit to Mirfield station which I wrote about in Mirfield Station – 16th December 2021, has prompted me to write this post.

This document on the Network Rail web site, which is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade , says this about the Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury) section of the project.

Throughout this eight-mile section of the route, we’re proposing to double the number of tracks from two-to-four, electrify from Huddersfield to Dewsbury and make big improvements to the four stations in this section – Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe; where we also need to separate the lines going to/from Leeds from the lines going to/from Wakefield, with either a bridge or a tunnel.

This map of the lines was clipped from this article on Modern Railways, shows the proposed track layout.

Note.

  1. The fast lines are shown in pink.
  2. The slow lines are shown in blue.
  3. Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations are eight miles apart and trains typically take ten minutes.
  4. All fast trains stop at Huddersfield.
  5. The intermediate stations between Huddersfield and Dewsbury are all on the slow lines.

There will only two tracks West of Huddersfield and East of Dewsbury.

This would very much appear to be a layout built for speed.

These are my thoughts.

The Fastest Run Between Dewsbury And Huddersfield

There will be eight miles of electrified fast line between Dewsbury And Huddersfield and the time will depend on the following.

  • The operating speed of the new fast lines.
  • How long it takes the trains to accelerate to and decelerate from the operating speed.
  • The distance travelled during acceleration and deceleration.

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train, which are used by TransPennine Express and is a bi-mode AT-300 train with three diesel engines.

The data sheet shows that a five-car train can accelerate to 125 mph and then decelerate to a stop in six minutes in electric mode.

A rough estimate gives a distance of 6.25 miles to accelerate and decelerate, so a train will only be at 125 mph for 1.75 miles, which would take 50 seconds.

As trains currently take ten minutes between Huddersfield and Dewsbury, it looks like a saving of three minutes is possible.

This saving could be increased if the trains were able to accelerate and decelerate faster or high speed running were to be possible further towards Leeds.

Will Between Leeds And Dewsbury Be Electrified?

It is likely, that the nine miles of double-track line between Dewsbury and Leeds will be electrified, as this would mean the following.

  • TransPennine Express’s Class 802 trains could use electricity all the way between Leeds and Huddersfield.
  • Electrification would allow the fast trains to accelerate and decelerate at a maximum rate to and from operating speed, whilst in the new section.
  • Electrification would also allow stopping trains to perform their stops on the double-track section to the East of Dewsbury faster.

Timetabling is going to be a challenge.

Will The Slow Lines Between Dewsbury and Huddersfield Be Electrified?

I feel it would be sensible to electrify the slow lines as this would help to make operation simpler and possibly allow stopping services to be run by electric or battery-electric trains.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Huddersfield And Castleford

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 21 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Deighton, Mirfield and Wakefield Kirkgate.
  • Services seem to take around forty minutes.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, all but fifteen miles at the Castleford end of the route, will be electrified.

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about thirty miles could handle this route.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Wigan And Leeds

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 68 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough, Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Morley and Cottingley
  • Services seem to take around two hours and nine minutes.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, the 12.2 mile section to the East of Mirfield station will be electrified.
  • Electrification is also planned at the Wigan end of the line and this would electrify the 17.7 mile section between Wigan and Manchester Victoria stations.
  • This would leave an electrification gap of 38.1 miles

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about forty miles could handle this route.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Leeds And Huddersfield

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 28 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Bramley, New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax and Brighouse.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, Huddersfield station will be electrified.
  • Under the Integrated Rail Plan for the North And Midlands, it is planned to electrify between Leeds and Bradford Interchange stations.
  • This would leave an electrification gap of 18.6 miles

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about twenty-five miles could handle this route.

Conclusion

By electrifying all the lines in the TransPennine Upgrade, it would allow all the stopping and slower services to be run by battery-electric trains.

This Hitachi infographic shows the specification of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

Note that a range on batteries of 90 km is 56 miles.

This train would work all three routes.

I also suspect that CAF’s proposed battery train will have a similar range.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Alternative Rail Connections For Bradford After IRP Snub

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on New Civil Engineer.

This is the first paragraph.

Of all the losers from the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), Bradford is arguably the biggest.

I agree! But then Bradford is a very difficult problem.

The article talks about several solutions.

These are probably the best of a rather mixed and downright impractical bunch.

The big problem with Bradford Interchange station is that it is a terminal and not a through station. Through trains between say Leeds and Halifax or Huddersfield have to reverse in the station, which slows the services down by up to five minutes.

Currently the following local services call at Bradford Interchange station.

  • Blackpool North and York
  • Chester and Leeds
  • Halifax and Hull
  • Huddersfield and Leeds
  • Manchester Victoria and Leeds

Note.

  1. All services have a frequency of one tph.
  2. All trains are diesel-powered.
  3. All services reverse in Bradford Interchange station.
  4. Platforms 1 and 2 can accommodate five-car Class 180 trains, which are 120 metres long.

This Google Map shows Bradford Interchange station.

Note.

  1. Platforms 1 and 2 are the longer pair of platforms to the West.
  2. Platform 3 and 4 can probably handle a four-car train.
  3. I suspect that if necessary platforms could be lengthened so they could all take a five-car Class 802 train, which is 130 metres long.

In Would Automated Trains With The Ability To Run Backwards Improve Passenger Train Services?, I proposed providing sufficient automation and signalling improvements, so that drivers could drive the train from either cab.

This would make the reverse at Bradford Interchange station take as long as a normal stop, without any reduction in safety.

If this could be made to work efficiently, it must open up the possibility of a Leeds and Manchester Airport service.

  • It would call at Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse and Huddersfield.
  • It would satisfy Bradford’s need of a direct service to Manchester Airport.
  • It would improve getting to the airport for Low Moor, Halifax and Brighouse.

There would be no need for large amounts of new or modified infrastructure.

 

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Would Automated Trains With The Ability To Run Backwards Improve Passenger Train Services?

At several stations on the UK rail network trains reverse direction, where the driver changes cabs before driving the train out of the station.

A classic example is at Bourne End station on the Marlow Branch Line.

  • There is one train per hour (tph)
  • The branch is seven miles long.
  • The journey takes around twenty-three minutes.
  • There are several level crossings.
  • Turnrounds take around ten minutes at Marlow and Maidenhead.
  • There are three intermediate stations; Furze Platt, Cookham and Bourne End.
  • Stops at the first two stations are timing for half-a-minute, whereas four-and-half minutes are allowed at Bourne End.

I wonder whether with a specially-designed train, that the service frequency could be doubled to two tph.

In the 1960s, Victoria Line trains had a sophisticated control system, which when the driver saw that everything was safe in a station and the signals were green, they just pushed a button and automation moved the train to the next station, where the doors opened automatically.

I am sure that sure a system would work on the Marlow Branch Line.

  • All station stops, including Bourne End would be half-a-minute and this would save four minutes.
  • The driver would stay in one cab making sure everything was working well.
  • The driver would monitor everything on CCTV.
  • The driver would probably be in the Bourne End end of the train for safety reasons.
  • There would only be one train on the line at any one time, which increases safety.

Could track improvements and faster running bring the Marlow and Maidenhead time back to under fifteen minutes?

This would give two tph with the only infrastructure work being probably realigned track for faster running and repeater signals, so the driver would be informed all the time.

This is just a simple example and I am sure there are many more.

Conclusion

Automation can improve service frequency to the benefit of both passengers and operators.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment