The Anonymous Widower

Bedwyn, Didcot Parkway And Oxford Services After Crossrail Opens To Reading

When Crossrail opens to Reading as it is rumoured with happen in December 2019, what will happen to the Great Western Railway (GWR) services to Bedwyn, Dicot Parkway and Oxford?

The Current Services

These services currently run to these destinations from London Paddington station.

  • Bedwyn station has an hourly service, that goes non stop between London and Reading and then calls at all stations between Reading and Bedwyn.
  • Didcot Parkway station has a two trains per hour (tph) stopping service, that stops at most stations, including those between Reading and Didcot Parkway.
  • Oxford station has a two tph fast service.
  • Reading station has a two tph stopping service, that stops at most stations.
  • The Didcot Parkway and Reading services give London and Reading a four tph electric service.
  • Other trains stop at important stations and there are some shuttle trains serving Reading, Didcot Parkway and Oxford.

Recent developments have included

  • Oxford and Bedwyn services now generally seem to run from the main station.
  • The fast Oxford services now run by Class 802 trains.

GWR are also testing running Class 802 trains to Bedwyn.

Future Services To Bedwyn

The turnback facility at Bedwyn station has been upgraded, so that it can take a five-car Class 802 train.

When some sighting and safety issues are settled, it is likely that Class 802 trains will take over services to Bedwyn.

  • Five-car bi-mode Class 802 trains will be used.
  • Trains will not stop between London and Reading.
  • Trains will stop at all station between Reading and Bedwyn.
  • Trains will run on electric power between London and Newbury.
  • Trains will run on diesel power between Newbury and Bedwyn.

Will the current seventy minute time be reduced by the faster trains, running at higher speed between London and Reading?

Battery Trains To Bedwyn

In Hitachi Plans To Run ScotRail Class 385 EMUs Beyond The Wires, I wrote about how batteries could be added to Class 385 trains, so they could run services without electrification.

Consider.

  • Class 802 and Class 385 trains are both both members of Hitachi’s A-Train family, sharing many features and systems.
  • Newbury to Bedwyn and back is about thirty miles.
  • Batteries could be charged between London and Newbury.

I very much feel that if Hitachi apply battery technology to the Class 802 trains, that Bedwyn could be an ideal test destination.

Extension Of Bedwyn Services To Marlborough

In A Station For Marlborough, I wrote about a local plan to open a new station in the twon of Marlborough, which would be on a single track branch, that leaves the main line to the West of Bedwyn.

Class 802 trains with a battery capability, would be the ideal trains for this extension.

Future Services To Oxford

GWR have started running bi-mode Class 802 trains to Oxford at a frequency of two tph

  • Services stop at Slough and Reading.
  • I have seen nine-car trains on this route.
  • Trains run on electric power between London and Didcot Parkway
  • Trains run on diesel power between Dicot Parkway and Oxford.

The service is augmented with a diesel shuttle between Oxford and Didcot Parkway.

  • This service runs at a frequency of two tph
  • One train every two hours is extended to Banbury.
  • This service is the only way to get to the intermediate stations of Appleford, Culham and Radley.

I very much feel that services between London and Oxford can be improved.

Four tph To Oxford

If train companies feel that Reading is worth four tph on Crossrail between the city and London, surely Oxford needs a four tph GWR service to the capital.

  • Two would be fast trains stopping only at Reading and Slough.
  • Two would stop at Slough and all stations between Reading and Oxford.
  • Bi-mode Class 802 trains would be used.
  • Trains run on electric power between London and Didcot Parkway
  • Trains run on diesel power between Dicot Parkway and Oxford.

Note.

  1. All intermediate stations would have a direct two tph service to London, Reading and Oxford.
  2. Currently, many journeys involve a long wait or a change at Didcot Parkway.

In addition, no station between Reading and Didcot Parkway gets a worse service than they do now, with the Class 387 trains to Didcot Parkway.

Battery Trains To Oxford

If Hitachi develop them, why not?

A Reading And Oxford Shuttle

I very much believe that important commuter routes need a frequency of four tph, as this enables a Turn-Up-And-Go service and encourage passenger numbers. Especially on a route like Reading and Oxford, where there is a lot of new housing being built.

If two tph are run between London and Oxford, stopping at all staions between Reading and Oxford, perhaps the way to give this service would be to run a shuttle between Reading and Oxford using bi-mode Class 769 trains.

  • A two tph shuttle would give four tph at all intermediate stations.
  • Trains would run on electric power between Reading and Didcot Parkway.
  • Trains would run on diesel power between Didcot Parkway and Oxford.
  • Some or all trains could be extended to Banbury.
  • I estimate that four trains would,d be needed for two tph.

Oxford would only be getting the quality of railway system a city of its size and standing needs.

Conclusion

There is a lot of scope to improve the train services in the Thames Valley, whether or no Crossrail takes over the Reading services.

 

 

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two East Midland Power Cars In Kings Cross

I was surprised to see two East Midlands Class 43 locomotives in Kings Cross station yesterday.

I have noticed an East Midlands-branded set recently and it looks like they have been separated.

 

 

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Battery Storage Backers Energized By Prospect Of New Tax Credit

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Bloomberg Tax

  • Thirty percent tax relief would be provided for energy storage.
  • It might also stand a chance of becoming law in the US.

Read the article and question as I did, that tax relief may be the best way to get investors to build energy storage to keep the lights on, when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

When Crossrail Opens To Reading, Will Great Western Railway Have Too Many Class 387 Trains?

Currently, Great Western Railway has a fleet of 45 Class 387 trains

Twelve trains are currently being converted to Heathrow Express duties.

But if Crossrail takes over services between London and Reading, then their main use wuill have disappeared.

As Reading to Oxford is not fully-electrified, they can’t be used on this route, but both Class 802 and Class 769 trains can.

There may be used for trains on routes like.

  • Reading and Didcot Parkway
  • Reading and Newbury

But there won’t be opportunities to use thirty-three trains.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

If Crossrail Opens To Reading In December 2019, How Will It Terminate In Paddington?

If you look at the Services in the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, the services on the Western Branch are the following in trains per hour (tph).

  • Reading and Abbey Wood (5 stops) – Two tph in the Peak, None in the Off-Peak
  • Reading and Abbey Wood (12 stops) – Two tph all day
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood (10 stops) – Two tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood (6 stops) – Four tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood (6 stops) – Two tph all day

If these services terminate in Paddington station, then the station must be able to handle twelve tph in the Peak and ten tph at all other times.

Perhaps two platforms could be used as follows.

  • Reading and Maidenhead services handling six tph in the Peak and four in the Off Peak.
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5 services, handling six tph all day.

Or to give a bit of spare capacity and make it easier for passengers, three platforms could be used as follows.

  • Reading and Maidenhead services handling six tph in the Peak and four in the Off Peak.
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 services, handling four tph all day
  • Hesthrow Terminal 5 services, handling two tph all day

For convenience, services could terminate in the two Northernmost platforms 12,and 14. 13 hseems to have disappeared.

  • These platforms have their own short gate line.
  • They are on the same side of the station, as the slow lines that Crossrail will use to leave the station.
  • Platform 14 is 164 metres long, with platforms 11 and 12 longer.

So could these two platforms be turned into a self-contained Crossrail station?

  • There would be enough capacity, if each platform could handle six tph.
  • I don’t think full-length nine-car Crossrail trains could be used, but seven-car trains could fit a 164 metre platform.
  • The lighting needs to be improved.
  • If these platforms could be used for exclusively for Crossrail, there would be no crossing of tracks outside the station involving Crossrail trains.
  • It would be convenient for passengers as they’d just go to the Crossrail station and through the gate.

But above all, there would not be a lot of work needed to create a Crossrail station.

Unless it was decided to make all platforms capable of handling full-length trains. But hopefully, it would only be needed for a couple of years.

A Diesel-Free Station At Paddington

One collateral benefit of Crossrail providing the main stopping services to Reading and running Class 802 trains to Bedwyn and Oxford stations, is that almost all use of diesel East of Reading on passenger trains will be eliminated.

 

 

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Irish Rail And Porterbrook Order MTU Hybrid PowerPacks

The title of this post is the same as that of this this article on the International Rail Jotnal..

This is the first paragraph.

Irish Rail (IE) and British rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook have signed contracts with Rolls-Royce for the supply of 13 MTU Hybrid PowerPacks, the first firm orders for the hybrid rail drives.

Other points are made in the article.

  • IE has ordered nine PowerPacks for Class 22000 trains. If the technology works they intend to convert all 63 trainsets, which will need 234 PowerPacks, as each car has a diesel engine.
  • Porterbrook has ordered four for Class 168 and Class 170 trains.
  • The PowerPacks will be delivered between mid-2020 and 2021.
  • The MTU engines are built to EU Stage 5 emission regulations.
  • The PowerPacks can switch to battery power in stations and sensitive areas.
  • Under battery power, noise is reduced by 75 % and CO2 emissions by up to 25 %
  • Operating costs are significantly reduced.
  • The PowerPacks have regenerative braking, thus they reduce brake pad wear.
  • Due to electric power, the trains have been acceleration, which may reduce journey times.

It seems that passengers, train operating companies, train leasing companies and those that live by the railway are all winners.

If the concept works reliably and meets its objectives, I can see MTU selling a lot of Hybrid PowerPacks.

Which Operators Will Be Used For Trials?

This is a valid question to ask and I’ll put my thoughts together.

Irish Rail Class 22000 Train

These trains only run in Ireland with one operator;Irish Rail, so they will be used for trials.

As each car has one MTU diesel engine and Irish rail are stated in Wikipedia as wanting to run three-car and six-car sets, could they be converting one train of each length?

British Rail Class 168 Train

All the nineteen Class 168 trains of various lengths are in Chiltern Railway’s fleet, they will be the trial operator.

Chiltern also have nine two-car trains, which could be ideal for trial purposes as they will need two Hybrid PowerPacks.

British Rail Class 170 Train

Porterbrook own upwards of thirty two-Car Class 170 trains with CrossCountry, Greater Anglia and West Midlands Trains.

As Greater Anglia and West Midlands Trains are replacing their Class 170 trains, this means that CrossCountry will soon be the only user of two-car units.

The four two-car trains from Greater Anglia, will be going to Trains for Wales (TfW).

TfW currently has sixty two-car Pacers in its fleet, which must be replaced by the end of 2019.

TfW is bringing in the following trains.

  • Nine four-car Class 769 trains from Porterbrook.
  • Eight three-car Class 17 trains from Greater Anglia
  • Four two-car Class 17 trains from Greater Anglia

This is a total of sixty-eight cars.

So TfW are replacing a load of scrapyard specials with quality, more powerful trains, with approximately 13 % more capacity.

TfW are proposing to use the Class 170 trains on the following routes.

  • Heart of Wales line (from 2022)
  • Regional services between South and West Wales
  • South Wales metro lines – Ebbw Vale/Maesteg (until 2022)
  • Crewe-Shrewsbury local services (from 2022)

There is a mixture of routes here and it would be a good trial,

Other Trains

If the MTU PowerPack proves successful and leads to widespread conversion of the Class 168 and Class 170 fleets, will we see the twenty Class 171 trains and thirty-nine Class 172 trains converted to hybrid power?

Conclusion

It looks like a good solid project to me!

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail’s Class 345 Trains Are Not Suburban Trumdlers

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had several trips on Class 345 trains, running to Hayes & Harlington station.

  • I found that I was able to time the trains at almost 80 mph in places.
  • They don’t seem to go this fast to Shenfield.
  • Wikipedia says the maximum speed of the trains are 90 mph.

I would not be surprised to see 90 mph cruising on some of the longer stretches between stations towards Reading.

This will surely mean that when Crossrail opens to Reading, the Crossrail service with all its stops might not be the slowest way to travel between Reading and London.

Consider.

  • Some Class 800 trains do the trip in as fast as 26 minutes.
  • Class 387 trains do the trip with eight stops in 56 minutes.
  • Most Crossrail Class 345 trains from Reading To Paddington will have fourteen stops.
  • In the Peak, two Class 345 trains in each hour, will take just five stops.

Although the Class 387 are modern trains, they probably don’t have the performance and certainly don’t have the digital signalling of the Class 345 trains.

I suspect that even with fourteen stops, the Class 345 trains will still do the journey in under an hour, when Crossrail is completed.

I suspect that many travellers between Reading and London will be changing their routes.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

It is rumoured that Crossrail will open to Reading in December 2019, with all services terminating at Paddington in Brunel’s station.

I believe that the Class 345 trains will be able to provide a high-capacity service between Paddington and Reading, which will complement the faster and mostly non-stop Great Western Railway services.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Hayes & Harlington Station – 19th April 2019

These pictures show Hayes & Harlington station.

It will be an important station.

  • There is still a lot of work to do for the station to look like the picture on the hoarding.
  • There are a lot of residential development in the area, including the conversion of an old office block, where I once worked to flats.
  • It will be a step-free interchange for local passengers from the West to Heathrow.

The station and the new bay platform are already fully operational.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

As current rumours are that Crossrail will open in December to Reading, it looks like the station will be usable.

It is planned that Hayes & Harlington station will have a train every six minutes.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Southall Station – 19th April 2019

These pictures show Southall station.

The station still needs the new footbridge to be installed and lifts from the station buildings to the platforms.

It appears that there will be a Crossrail train every six minutes  all day in both directions.

The Missing Footbridge

This picture was taken on July 4th, 2016.

Note the footbridge across the station, that doesn’t appear in the pictures I took today.

This picture, that I took today, clearly shows blue barriers around places where the footbridge might be installed on the two island platforms.

Is it a replacement bridge over the station  being installed, or is it just a footbridge connecting the platforms?

Or could it be for both purposes?

Preparing For The Brentford Branch

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of lines at Southall station.

Note.

  1. The pair of lines at the top  in blue are Crossrail
  2. The pair of lines in the middle are the fast lines.
  3. The single line going off to the East is the Brentford Branch Line, which has been proposed for reopening.

It would appear that the layout of the footbridge and the lifts would give good access to the Southernmost platform, which is connected to the Brentford Branch line.

So it looks like, that after the station has been refurbished and made step-free, connecting the Brentford Branch line would not be difficult.

As the Brentford Branch is only four miles long, a modern train like a Class 230, Class 710 or a Class 321 Hydrogen train,  could do two round trips per hour between Southall and Brentford stations.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

As current rumours are that Crossrail will open in December to Reading, it looks like the station will be usable.

It is planned that Southall station will have a train every six minutes.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Hanwell Station – 19th April 2019

These pictures show Hanwell station.

Hanwell station will be unlike any other station on Crossrail.

  • It is Grade II Listed.
  • It doesn’t have a high passenger usage.
  • Platforms will be too short for the Class 345 trains and selected door opening will be used.
  • The stairs up to the platforms must be some of the most Victorian in any station.
  • To complete the station, two lifts are to be installed on the Crossrail platforms.

I do wonder if it could become a tourist attraction for those interests in modern metros and Victorian architecture.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

As current rumours are that Crossrail will open in December to Reading, it looks like the station will be ready in all its Victorian splendour..

It is planned that Hanwell station will have a train every ten minutes.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment