The Anonymous Widower

Is The West Midlands Going To Get A Tram-Train Line?

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Midland Metro Extension Receives £200m Boost From UK Government.

This is the first paragraph.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street has confirmed that £200 million from the UK government’s new ‘Transporting Cities Fund’ will be used to extend the Midland Metro to Brierley Hill.

The Brierley Hill Extension would use the currently disused South Staffordshire Line. It would link Wednesbury to Stourbridge, via Dudley, Brierley Hill and the Merry Hill |Shopping Centre.

Wikipedia says that ten trains per hour would run South of Wednesbury and five services would go to each of Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

The Need For Tram-Trains

The South Staffordshire Line is also wanted by Network Rail for use as a freight line.

Tram-trains would be the solution for a line-share.

  • The extension could be configured to suit Class 399 Tram-trains.
  • Class 399 tram-trains seem to be working well in Sheffield as trams.
  • In Rotherham the Class 399 tram-trains will co-exist with the heaviest of freight trains.
  • Dual-voltage tram-trains would allow electrification of the South Staffordshire Line with 25 KVAC at a later date if required.

The biggest advantage would be the cost savings, as both the tram-trains and the freight trains could use the same standard of track.

But I also feel that all the design problems for the extension will have been explored in a practical way in the Sheffield-Rotherham trial.

Should the Tram-Trains Terminate At Stourbridge?

The Global Rail News article doesn’t mention Stourbridge, but Wikipedia indicates it could be the terminus of the tram route.

If tram-trains are used on the route, then to run them as trains to Stourbridge Junction station may be a good idea.

Conclusion

This extension of the Midland Metro has a lot of possibilities.

I think that like the Midland Metro’s proposed use of battery trams, it shows that the West Midland Combined Authority is not afraid to be innovative.

 

 

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Why Has 319448 Not Been Repainted?

In the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a picture of this Class 319 train passing behind the Ordsall Chord bridge on Page 49.

The train is on the right hand page and appears not to be in the usual Northern Electrics blue.

So why has it not been painted?

319448 Is A Class 319/4 Train

319448 is a Class 319/4 trains, which are probably the best variant of the Class 319 trains, as they have been refurbished a couple of times and have a First Class section, less 2+3 seating and a Universal Access Toilet.

These pictures which show a typical Class 319/4 train, were taken when the trains were being used on Thameslink.

So preparing 319448 for service in the North-West was probably a lot easier, than some of the other Class 319 trains.

Northern probably needed an extra Class 319 train urgently and bringing it into service in Thameslink condition was probably acceptable to customers and their cash-flow.

The exterior painting and the tidying up of the interiors can probably be done later, when there is less pressure on stock numbers.

319448 Is Going To Be Converted To A Class 769 Bi-Mode Train

In the Wikipedia entry for the Class 769 train, the serial numbers of the Class 319 trains to be converted are given.

769424, 769431, 769434, 769442, 769448, 769450, 769456, 769458, 769???, 769???, 769???

Note.

  1. The first three digits identify the train class and the last three digits the train number in that class.
  2. After conversion 319424 will become 769424

According to Issue 834 of Rail Magazine, 319456 and 319434 are in Loughborough for the conversion.

So it looks like 319448 will be converted to 769448.

Northern’s Need For Class 769 Trains

The Wikipedia entry for the Class 769 train, says this about Northern’s initial use of the trains.

Northern have indicated that the use of these trains would be of most benefit on routes that are part electrified, whereby they would be able to use the pantograph for the main part, while being able to operate using diesel power away from the overhead lines. The first route to be confirmed by Northern for the running of Class 769 units was the Windermere branch line between Oxenholme and Windermere in North West England.

Once the current electrification program between Manchester and Blackpool, Preston and Stalybridge is complete, there are several partially-electrified routes, where Class 769 trains might be used in North West England.

  • Blackpool South to Colne
  • Liverpool Lime Street to Chester via Ruincorn asnd the Halton Curve.
  • Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton
  • Manchester Piccadilly to Liverpool Lime Street via Warrington
  • Manchester Victoria to Blackburn via Todmodern and Burnley
  • Manchester Victoria to Clitheroe via Bolton and Blackburn
  • Manchester Victoria to Kirkby
  • Manchester Victoria to Southport
  • Preston to Barrow
  • Preston to Ormskirk

If the trains are a success, then surely more trains will be deployed around the electrical networks in Leeds and Newcastle.

A Possible Conversion Plan

Could the conversion of a Class 319 train to a Class 769 train be something like this multi-stage process.

1. Pre-Service Changes

The Class 319/4 trains have for several years been running without serious problems on the Thameslink route,

However, due to different operational rules, I suspect that there will be some changes that have to be carried out before the trains can run in the North.

2, Pre-Conversion Test Running

If I’ was going to spend a lot of money converting a train, I’d give it a thorough testing with experienced drivers and engineers to make sure there wasn’t an expensive fault.

Northern have a team of drivers with lots of experience of their current fleet of thirty-two Class 319 trains.

The train could even be used in passenger service, as it is an unmodified Class 319/4 train no different to the others in Northern’s fleet.

3, Conversion To Class 769 Train

The train can then be removed from service and converted to a Class 769 train.

4, Testing And Entry Into Service

The trains can be appropriately tested.

5. Interior Refurbushment And External Painting

Doing this last is probably a lot easier, given that the Class 319/4 trains are generally in a good state cosmetically.

A Production Line Would Be Possible

I believe if you do the Project Management professionally for the conversion of the eleven trains need by Northern and the extra five for Wales, it will be possible to fit together a very orderly and efficient production line.

I can envisage that production of units being quicker as experience is gained.

 

 

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized, Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Ordsall Chord Progress – 17th November 2017

The Ordsall Chord is now more or less complete.

I started my walk by the Museum of Science and Industry and walked in a circle finishing up in the car park of the Manchester Marriott Victoria and Albert Hotel.

Ticketing

One thing that needs to be sorted around the Ordsall Chord is the ticketing.

Suppose I arrive at Piccadilly from London and want to go to say Salford Crescent or Salford Central, which in my view are both stations in the centre of Manchester.

Will I have to buy a ticket or would a London to Manchester Stations ticket be OK?

If I was in charge of Manchester ticketing, all of the following stations would be considered Manchester stations.

  • Deansgate
  • Oxford Road
  • Piccadilly
  • Salford Central
  • Salford Crescent
  • Victoria

It’s going to get more complicated.

Suppose a train operator decided to run a service from London Euston to Huddersfield via the Ordsall Chord stopping at perhaps Piccadilly, Oxford Road, Deansgate, Salford Central and Victoria. Would a London to Manchester Stations ticket be available?

Such a ticket is available to Liverpool and I regularly use my ticket from London to go down to James Street station for the Pier Head.

Incidentally, I just tried to buy a day return to Manchester and the ticketing site didn’t offer me a Mancunian equivalent of a London Zone 6 Travelcard, that is valid on trains and trams. Does such a ticket exist?

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 3 Comments

Blackburn To Manchester Every Thirty Minutes

That’s what it says on this poster, I photographeds at Blackburn station on Saturday.

Full words on the poster are.

Blackburn To Manchester

Every  30 minutes

Starts December 10

Mon-Sat  9.30am – 17.30pm

Both Directions

Certainly one young guy I spoke to, said it would change his travelling for the better.

Looking at the online timetable gives a few clues.

  • The current Manchester Victoria to Clitheroe service continues.
  • The current Manchester Victoria to Blackburn service via Todmorden continues.
  • The second service in each hour uses the Bay Platform 3 at Blackburn.
  • Some services seem to be Stalybridge to Blackburn via Manchester Victoria.

As Stalybridge to Preston and Blackpool via Bolton will be electrified soon, could it be that Northern are gearing up to have an electrified core route with diesel branches, that would be ideal for Class 769 trains.

Consider.

  • Four-car Class 769 trains could replace pairs of Class 150 and Class 156 trains.
  • The trains have a respectable top speed in both electric and diesel mode.
  • The pantograph can be raised and lowered as appropriate.
  • The trains have a Universal Access Toilet and meet all the Persons of Restricted Mobility Access rules.
  • If more electrification is added, the trains will take advantage.

Could we see the upgrade between Manchester and Blackburn on December 10th, implemented using Class 769 trains?

News on the Class 769 trains has been very sparse lately.

According to a technical specification that I’ve seen, four of the Class 769 trains are planned to be in service by December 2017.

So is everything going to plan or has it all gone pear-shaped?

What trains turn up on December the 10th will be useful information!

 

 

 

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

A Walk Between Burnley Barracks And Burnley Manchester Road Stations

Burnley Barracks and Burnley Manchester Road stations are not that far apart.

This Google Map shows Burnley’s three stations in relation to the Town Centre and Turf Moor.

The various locations are as follows.

  • Turf Moor is indicated by the red arrow in the East.
  • Burnley Barracks station is in the North-West corner.
  • Bunley Central is at the North.
  • Burnley Manchester Road is at the South.
  • The Leeds and Liverpool canal weaves its way through the town passing close to Burnley Barracks station.

What the map doesn’t show is the terrain. The main station at Manchester Road is on one stretch of high ground and Central station and Turf Moor are on another.

So I walked between Barracks and Manchester Road  stations along the canal.

It was a pleasant walk, but I still had a stiff climb up to Manchester Road station.

The East Lancashire Line

The East Lancashire Line is the line that runs through Burnley Barracks station.

One train per hour in each direction runs between Blackpool South station on the coast and Colne station in the hills.

The line joins the cross-Pennine Calder Valley Line at Gannow Junction to the East of Rose Grove station.

In the Wikipedia entry for Colne station, this is said.

The remainder of the branch from Gannow Junction (near Rose Grove) to Nelson was also reduced to single track in December 1986 and so the entire line from there is now operated as a 6 1⁄2 miles (10.5 km) “long siding” with no intermediate passing loops (this restricts the service frequency that can operate along the branch, as only one train can be on the branch at a time).

It would thus appear that without major engineering works, the service along the line will be restricted to an hourly train.

To make improvement of the line ore difficult, the line crosses Burnley town centre on a high viaduct. This picture was taken from a train crossing the viaduct.

However, I have been in a four-car train on the line, so I feel it could be theoretically easy to double the capacity by running four-car trains instead of the current two-car Class 150 trains.

The November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways indicates that the Sunday service on this line will increase from two-hourly to hourly.

Burnley Barracks Station

There would appear to be a lot of development planned along the canal.

Surely, this development will generate passenger traffic, as many will prefer to walk along the level canal tow-path, rather than climb the hill to Burnley Manchester Road station.

Burnley Barracks station needs improvement.

  • Better shelter.
  • Ticket machine.
  • Better means of requesting the train to stop.
  • Ideally, there would be a lift to street level.

But at least Network Rail are replacing the bridge over the canal and the platform can already accommodate a four-car train.

Trains For Between Blackpool South And Colne

Four-car trains could be made by running Class 150, Class 156 or even new Class 195 trains as pairs.

Currently, the line uses three trains, so would the extra expense of six trains by justified.

But there is an alternative.

Current plans will see electrification of the route between Preston and Kirkham and Westham stations.

This would men that nearly ten miles of the Blackpool South to Colne route will be electrified.

So would it be more advisable to call for Bedpan Specials or Class 769 trains, which could make use of the electrification?

Consider.

  • According to a technical specification that I’ve seen, the trains have been designed to handle the Buxton Line, which is stiffer than the hill up to Colne.
  • The trains are four cars.
  • Three Class 769 trains would replace the current three trains, which could then be appropriately scrapped or refurbished.
  • If more electrification is added between Blackburn and Blackpool South, the trains will take advantage.

But above all, the Class 769 trains are affordable and are probably available within a year.

An interesting observation, is that Northern have increased their order by three trains recently. So have they decided to use them on the Blackpool South to Colne service?

 

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolton Station Is Still An Ongoing Project

I Bolton station still needs a lot of work to be done to allow electric trains to pass through.

I had just intended to change trains at Bolton on a trip from Deansgate to Blackburn. But because the trains to Blackburn are only hourly, I had to wait nearly an hour.

Hopefully, when the service between Bolton and Blackburn is doubled in frequency, as I wrote about in Blackburn To Manchester Every Thirty Minutes, the wait will be reduced too!

Hopefully

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Progress At Pomona – 17th November 2017

Pomona tram stop will become the interchange between the Eccles Line and the new Trafford Park Line on the Manchester Metrolink.

As work has now started on the Trafford Park Line, I went to take a look.

I also walked along the canal to the entrance to the Trafford Park Estate.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  • The single bridge to the East takes the tram over the Irwell.
  • The double-bridge takes masses of traffic to and from Manchester City Centre.
  • The Trafford Park Line goes along the River Irwell.

When completed, there will be the River Irwell, the Trafford Park tram line, the Canal and the railway running through together.

The rail line is a curious one, as it has a two-hourly service between Manchester Piccadilly/Oxford Road and Liverpool Lime Street via Warrington, which stops at Trafford Park station and additionally Manchester United Football Ground station on match days only.

I’m pretty certain, that in perhaps 1966, I had my last ride on a steam-hauled British Rail service between Oxford Road and the football ground.

Surely in these days, a two-hourly service is inadequate and the frequency should be at least two trains per hour.

Karlsruhe would apply a tram-train solution and tram-trains from perhaps Warrington, would join the Trafford Park tram line to go through Manchester City Centre.

 

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

How Much Energy Does A Crossrail Class 345 Train Use?

I will start with the Crossrail Rolling Stock Technical Fact Sheet, which dates from 2012.

The Class 345 trains were built to this specification.

This is said about the power required.

Energy efficiency of 24 KWh per train kilometre (equivalent of 55g CO2 per passenger kilometre)

So what does this mean now that trains are running and trains will have been designed and probably accepted to this specification.

Assuming, that trains will be nine-car when completed, 24 KWh per train per kiometre translates into 2.67 KWh per car per kiometre or 3.29 KWh per car per mile.

Ian Walmsley’s Train Energy Usage Figure

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

My calculated value is in line with this figure, as the Uckfield Branch is not that different to some of the Crossrail branches.

What Is The Kinetic Energy Of A Crossrail Train?

I ask this question to show the energy values involved.

If I take a nine-car Class 345 train, this has a mass of less than 350 tonnes and a maximum speed of 145 kph.

1500 passengers at 80 kg each works out at another 120 tonnes.

So for this crude estimate I’ll use 450 tonnes for the mass of a loaded train.

This gives the train an energy of 365 megajoules or 101 KWh.

This amount of energy is only a couple of KWh larger than the largest battery size of a Tessla Model S car.

It leads to the conclusion, that batteries could be large enough to store the regenerative energy generated by the train, when it stops.

How Far Could A Crossrail Train Run On Batteries?

If the batteries were sized for the regenerative braking, then a battery of 100 KWh would probably be sufficient in most circumstances.

Using Crossrail’s figure of 24 KWh per train per kiometres, gives a convenient range of four kiometres, which is probably in excess of the largest distance between stations.

But Crossrail trains are effectively two half-trains with two pantographs.

So perhaps they will be fitted with two batteries!

The battery capacity would be arranged to give the desired amount of emergency power.

Conclusion

There’s a lot more to learn about these Crossrail trains.

 

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Siemens Joins The Hydrogen-Powered Train Club

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Siemens Working On Fuel Cell-Powered Mireo Train.

Siemens Mobility’s Mireo is their next-generation electric multiple unit.

This description is from Wikipedia.

The railcars have an articulated design and aluminium carbodies, with 26 metres (85 ft) cab cars on each end of a trainset and 19 metres (62 ft) passenger cars between them, with trainsets between two and seven cars long. The use of aluminium, combined with new control systems, is intended to reduce energy use by up to 25%. compared to previous Siemens EMUs. The railcars can reach a top speed of up to 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph)

The first units were ordered in February 2017 by DB Regio, which ordered 24 three-car trainsets with a passenger capacity of 220 for service on its routes in the Rhine valley in southwestern Germany.

This train has a lot in common with other offerings from the major train manufacturers.

  • Light weight
  • Articulated design.
  • Sophisticated control systems.
  • Low energy use.

Is it a case of engineering minds thinking alike?

The Global Rail New article says this about the hydrogen-powered trains.

Siemens is partnering up with Canadian manufacturer Ballard Power Systems to develop a fuel cell engine for its new Mireo train platform.

The two companies have signed a Development Agreement to produce a 200 kilowatt fuel cell engine to power a Mireo multiple unit.

The first fuel cell-powered Mireo could be running by 2021, Siemens and Ballard have announced.

There is a page on the Ballard web site, which lists their fuel cell engines called FCVeloCity.

  • FCVeloCity-MD – 30 kW
  • FCVeloCity-HD – 60kW, 85kW, 100kW
  • FCVeloCity-XD – 200 kW

I would assume that as there is no product sheet for the XD, that the 200 kW unit is still in development.

The first application would appear to be the Siemens Mireo.

Is Two Hundred Kilowatt Enough Power?

Bombardier’s four-car Class 387 train, is a typical electric muiltiple unit, that has been built in the last few years.

It has an installed power of 1.68 megawatts or 420 kW per car.

Porterbrook’s brochure says this about the two diesel engines in their Class 769 train, which is a bi-mode conversion of a Class 319 train.

The engine is a MAN D2876 LUE631 engine which generates 390 kW at 1800 rpm, giving an acceptable power output.

So that works out at 195 kW per car.

Both these trains have similar performance to the Siemens Mireo.

  • The trains will be substantially heavier than the Mireo.
  • The trains will do a lot of acceleration under electrification.

The 200 kW of the Mireo, isn’t much compared with the current generation of train.

As with the Alstom Coradio iLint, that I wrote about in Is Hydrogen A Viable Fuel For Rail Applications?, I suspect the Mireo has the following features.

  • Use of batteries to store energy.
  • Regenerative braking will use the batteries.
  • Selective use of electrification to drive the train directly.
  • Intelligent control systems to select appropriate power.

Given that the light weight will also help in the energy-expensive process of electrification, the intelligent control system is probably the key to making this train possible.

Will The Train Have One Or Two Hydrogen Power Units?

Wikipedia says this about the layout of the train.

The railcars have an articulated design and aluminium carbodies, with 26 metres (85 ft) cab cars on each end of a trainset and 19 metres (62 ft) passenger cars between them, with trainsets between two and seven cars long.

The trend these days in modern trains, is to fit large numbers of axles with traction motors for fast acceleration and smooth regenerative braking. As an Electrical Engineer, I believe that the most efficient electrical layout, would be for any car with motors to have some form of energy storage.

Have Siemens designed the train to use two identical cab cars?

  • These are longer to meet higher crash-protection standards.
  • Any diesel or hydrogen generator would be in these cars.
  • Energy storage would be provided.

Two cab cars with generators would have 400 kW, which would be more likely to be an acceptable power level.

Would the intermediate passenger cars be powered or just trailer cars?

I very much believe that the ideal intermediate cars should be powered and have a battery for regenerative braking.

Will Other Companies Join The Hydrogen Club?

Alstom, who are merging their train business with Siemens have announced orders for the Coradia iLint, so they are obviously a full-paid up member.

Bombardier have said nothing, but like Ballard, they are a Canadian company.

The key though, is that modern intelligent train control systems, which are used by all train manufacturers, have been designed to do the following.

  • Select appropriate power from electrification, battery or an on-board diesel generator.
  • Deploy pantograph and third-rail shoe as required.
  • Drive the train in an efficient manner.

Just swap the diesel generator for a hydrogen one.

Having a light weight, energy efficient train design will also help.

Conclusion

Expect hydrogen-powered trains from most manufacturers.

 

 

 

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Location! Location! Location!

I’ve heard it several times, that the title of this post is the three most important things about property.

This article on Construction Enquirer is entitled Great Portland Estates Plans Work on £233m Trio Of Schemes.

The three schemes are.

Cityside House E1

This Google Map shows the location.

Note.

  1. The block is indicated by a red arrow.
  2. It is a short walk from Whitechapel station, which is served by Crossrail.

The office accommodate is being upgraded and residentialo and a hotel will be added.

Oxford House W1

This Google Map shows the location.

Note.

  1. The block is indicated by a red arrow.
  2. The building site opposite is the under-construction Western entrance to Tottenham Court Road station, which is served by Crossrail.
  3. Tottenham Court Road station is just thirty minutes to Heathrow on Crossrail, with a train every ten minutes.

The block is to be redeveloped.

Is there a better location for an office block?

Hanover Square W1

This Google Map shows the location.

Note.

  1. The site is on the North-West corner of Hanover Square.
  2. The building will be on top of the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station, which is served by Crossrail.
  3. Bond Street station is just twenty-seven minutes to Heathrow on Crossrail, with a train every ten minutes.

I doubt Great Portland Estates will have problems filling this development.

Conclusion

These three property developments are all tightly tied to Crossrail.

There will be many more!

 

 

 

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment