The Anonymous Widower

Piling Work To Get Underway To Electrify Line To Fife

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Network Rail.

These four paragraphs outline the project.

Work to lay foundations that will pave the way for the electrification of the Fife Circle is about to get underway.

The £55million Scottish Government investment in the line between Haymarket and Dalmeny will see the railway transformed to accommodate quieter, more environmentally friendly electric trains.

The first phase of work between Haymarket and Dalmeny will see Network Rail pile the foundations for masts that will carry overhead wires up to the Forth Bridge. In total it will see 25 single track kilometres (STKs) of railway electrified by December 2024.

Subsequent phases of work will see ‘partial’ electrification of lines in Fife – totalling a further 104 STKs, to enable the introduction of Battery Electric Multiple Units (BEMUs) to replace life-expired diesel units which will be phased out.

This map from Wikipedia shows the stations on the Fife Circle Line.

Note.

  1. The route is double-track.
  2. The route is not electrified.
  3. The train service is generally two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  4. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath is 22.3 miles
  5. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy is 21.4 miles
  6. Trains appear to wait between three and seven minutes at Glenrothes with Thornton before returning to Edinburgh by the alternate route.

I have a few thoughts.

Partial Electrification And Battery-Electric Trains

In the Notes To Editors, this is said about what Network Rail means by partial electrification.

The ‘partial’ electrification approach to the decarbonisation of the railway – beyond delivering a reduction in carbon emissions, will also reduce the ongoing net cost to the taxpayer of operating the railway at an earlier point.

Reduced upfront infrastructure and associated capital expenditure makes projects more affordable and enables electrification of key trunk routes to start as a priority so the benefits of electrified railways will be realised earlier. Additionally, it does not preclude full electrification occurring at a future date.

The Fife electrification scheme has been approved for partial electrification, using battery electric multiple units, and further development work is to be undertaken to support this. The project is part of the plan to decarbonise the passenger railway network by 2035.

This map has been downloaded from the Network Rail web site.

The electrification is split into four phases.

  1. Haymarket and Dalmeny – 25 km
  2. Kirkcaldy and Thornton North – 25 km.
  3. Lochgelly and Thornton North – 20 km.
  4. Thornton North and Ladybank – 34 km.

Note that the last three phases of electrification connect to Thornton North.

Thornton North is Thornton North Junction, which is shown in this map from OpenRailwayMap.

Note.

  1. The orange line is the main Edinburgh and Aberdeen Line. South from here, it forms part of the Fife Circle Line and goes over the Forth Bridge.
  2. The yellow lines going West via Glenrothes with Thornton station are the Fife Circle Line via Dunfermline.
  3. The lines form a triangle which is Thornton Junction.
  4. North Thornton Junction is the Northern point of the triangle marked by a blue arrow.
  5. The black hashed line going to the North-East is the Levenmouth Rail Link, which is under construction.

As the Levenmouth Rail Link will be electrified, there will be four electrified lines fanning out from Thornton North Junction.

This must make construction easier.

  • Power supply can be established at Thornton North Junction.
  • The Levenmouth Rail Link can be built and electrified.
  • Phase 1 of the Fife Electrification between Haymarket and Dalmeny can be installed, as an extension of the electrification at Haymarket station.
  • These two sections of electrification could also allow battery-electric trains to run between Edinburgh and Leven stations, as the gap is less than thirty miles.
  • Phase 2, 3 and 4 of the Fife Electrification can then be installed in the preferred order.

It would appear, that someone has designed the electrification to a high standard.

The Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge will be a nightmare to electrify.

I suspect the engineering problems can be solved, but the Heritage Taliban would probably protest about the desecration of a World Heritage Site.

Electrification Gaps And The Hitachi Regional Battery Train

The gaps in the electrification after all phases of the electrification have been completed, will be as follows.

  • Dalmeny and Lochgelly – 15.2 miles
  • Dalmeny and Kirkaldy – 16.4 miles
  • Ladybank and Perth – 17.8 miles
  • Ladybank and Dundee – 20.1 miles

The performance of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that a battery range of 90 km. is 56 miles.

A battery train of this performance, should be able to handle these routes.

  • Edinburgh and Dundee
  • Edinburgh and Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy
  • Edinburgh and Glenrothes with Thornton via Lochgelly
  • Edinburgh and Leven
  • Edinburgh and Perth

With one of more further stretches of electrification North of Dundee, a train with this performance should be able to reach Aberdeen.

But to handle the Fife Circle and Levenmouth Rail Link, would probably need a train with a battery range of about forty miles, to allow for a round trip, if say there were problems like lifestock on the line.

Rolling Stock Procurement

The Network Rail press release also says this about Rolling Stock Procurement.

Approval has also been given hold a procurement competition to identify a preferred manufacturer and financier for new suburban trains to operate decarbonised rail passenger services on the routes covered by East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes, replacing 42 Class 156 trains and to replace the 55 Class 318 and 320 trains operating in the Strathclyde area.

Note.

  1. It would appear that the East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes would be worked by battery-electric trains, as they are all routes without electrification.
  2. I wrote about the East Kilbride and Kilmarnock services in East Kilbride Electrification Underway. The largest gap is about 16.8 miles.
  3. I wrote about electrification of the Borders Railway in Scottish Government Is Considering Plans To Electrify The Borders Railway. The largest gap is just under 31 miles.

It looks to me that a Hitachi Regional Battery Train with a battery range of over 40 miles would be suitable for the East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes’

 

 

 

June 5, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Work has also started on electrifying Barrhead and E Kilbride, although double-tracking the latter has been put on hold to provide funds to partially electrify Borders (I don’t think they’ve decided yet how much of this to electrify). https://www.transport.gov.scot/public-transport/rail/prioritisation-of-rail-projects/ is the latest prioritisation plan, somewhat amended because of uncertainties over passenger numbers post-covid. There’s also a plan in this to extend and electrify the Alloa line to Longannet.

    I think the battery distances are based on Hitachi’s 2019 comment that it would be “relatively straightforward to fit batteries under a Class 385 [Scotrail’s electric trains] to enable it to travel for 20 miles beyond the wires under battery power. If required, sufficient batteries could be fitted to extend this range to 60 miles, although this would be a much more complex modification.”

    Comment by Peter Robins | June 5, 2022 | Reply

  2. I suspect the protests about ‘desecrating’ a World Heritage Site would be much wider than your mocking reference to a ‘Heritage Taliban’ suggests.

    Comment by JohnC | June 6, 2022 | Reply

    • Modern Railways have used the term Heritage Taliban several times.

      Comment by AnonW | June 6, 2022 | Reply


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