The Anonymous Widower

Freightliner’s New Livery

.As I passed through Ipswich yesterday, I took these images of Freightliner’s locomotives in their new livery.

Note.

  1. Freightliner’s new depot on the town side of the Great Eastern Main Line appears to be fully open.
  2. Freightliner’s Class 90 locomotives, which they received from Greater Anglia now seem to be in the new livery.
  3. Freightliner’s Class 08 shunter is also shown in the new livery.

It also looked like up to four Class 90 locomotives were parked by Ipswich station.

This Google Map shows the tracks at the Western end of Ipswich station.

Note.

  1. The Greater Anglia Class 755 train in Platform 1 of Ipswich station.
  2. The two Freightliner Class 90 locomotives in the old green livery in the locomotive parking.
  3. I wonder, if freight trains are now changing to electric haulage after being hauled out of Felixstowe into Ipswich Yard, before continuing their onward journey.

Yesterday, by the use of Real Time Trains, I found these trains changed to electric haulage at Ipswich.

  • 0250 – 436K – Felixstowe North to Garston – Changed back to diesel at Crewe.
  • 0912 – 496K – Felixstowe North to Trafford Park – Changed back to diesel at Crewe.
  • 0932 – 497K – Felixstowe North to Ditton
  • 1113 – 412L – Felixstowe North to Trafford Park
  • 2046 – 410M – Felixstowe North to Trafford Park
  • 2152 – 412M – Felixstowe North to Garston – Changed back to diesel at Crewe.

These are my thoughts.

Changing Locomotives At Ipswich

It seems to take about 25 minutes to change a locomotive from diesel to electric.

At Ipswich, this seems to fairly easy.

  • The freight train from Felixstowe stops in Ipswich Yard to the West of the station.
  • The diesel locomotive is detached and probably moved to the yard to the South of the station.
  • The electric locomotive is moved from by the station and attached to the train.
  • The train goes on its way using electric traction.

All locomotive movements don’t seem to be too challenging.

Could More Electric Services Be Run?

I found these paths yesterday, where services left Felixstowe and went South to London.

  • Coatbridge – 1
  • Ditton – 2
  • East Midlands Gateway – 1
  • Garston – 2
  • Hams Hall – 2
  • Lawley Street – 3
  • Trafford Park – 5
  • Wentloog – 3

This is a total of nineteen trains and currently only six are electrified between Ipswich and London.

Would Bi-Mode Locomotives Be More Efficient?

In GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I wrote about how GB Railfreight were planning to acquire a fleet of bi-mode locomotives.

In the related post, I said this.

I feel that, as the locomotive must fit current routes and schedules, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the following specification.

  • UK loading gauge.
  • Co-Co
  • Class 90 locomotive power and operating speed on electricity of 3.7 MW and 110 mph.
  • Class 66 locomotive power and operating speed on diesel of 2.5 MW and 75 mph.
  • Ability to change between electric and diesel power at speed.
  • Ability to haul a heavy freight train out of Felixstowe.
  • Ability to haul passenger trains.

Stadler will have one eye on the fact, that if they get this design right, this order for up to fifty locomotives could be just the start.

These locomotives would be ideal for Felixstowe to Ditton, Garston and Trafford Park.

  • They would eliminate changing locomotives on these routes.
  • They would reduce carbon emissions and fuel usage.
  • They would be able to run at at least 100 mph on the Great Eastern and West Coast Main Lines.

They might also open up other partially electrified routes from Felixstowe via London.

Felixstowe And Wentloog

Wentloog freight terminal in South Wales.

In Movable Overhead Electrification To Decarbonise Freight, I used the Ipswich and Wentloog route to show how a long route could be decarbonised by the use of moveable electrification.

Conclusion

It looks like a philosophy is emerging to decarbonise a large proportion of freight services out of the Port of Felixstowe.

 

 

 

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DB Cargo UK Successfully Trials The Use Of ‘Combi-Consists’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on DB Cargo UK.

This is the first paragraph.

DB Cargo UK is trialling the use of ‘combi-consists’ to increase capacity, improve customer service and improve its efficiency.

The next four paragraphs describe the trial.

This month the UK’s largest rail freight operator ran a unique jumbo train from Belmont Yard in Doncaster to Barking, East London, carrying a mix of wagons for two altogether different types of customers.

The train consisted of two sets of empty wagons – 21 x MBA wagons for Ward Recycling and 18 x JNA wagons for FCC Environment – with an isolated DIT (dead-in-train) locomotive – in the middle.

The MBA wagons had previously been discharged at Immingham in North Lincolnshire and the JNA wagons discharged at FCC Environment’s new waste transfer facility at Tinsley in South Yorkshire.

Both sets of wagons were then taken to DB Cargo UK’s Belmont Yard depot in Doncaster where the jumbo train was assembled. The train travelled from Belmont Yard to Barking via Lincoln Central, Spalding, The East Coast Mainline, Hertford North and Canonbury Tunnel.

There is also a video embedded in the press release, which shows the formation of the train in detail.

This train is certainly efficient, as it uses less train paths, crew and fuel.

DB Cargo UK now intend to trial the concept on a greater portion of the East Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

I have a few thoughts.

Could The Concept Work With Loaded Trains?

This trial was with empty trains, but would it be possible to use the concept with two shorter loaded trains?

Would there be advantages in terms of efficiency, if the following were done?

  • Two container trains leave Felixstowe as a pair, with one going to Plymouth and the other going to Cardiff.
  • They split at say Swindon and then proceed independently.

Obviously, all the weights would have to be in order and the locomotive would need to be able to pull the combined train.

Other possibilities might be.

  • Stone trains running from the Mendips and the Peak District to London.
  • Biomass trains running from import terminals to power stations in the Midlands.
  • Trains delivering new cars.
  • Trains delivering goods for supermarkets. Tesco are certainly increasing their use of trains.

I would suspect that DB Cargo UK have several ideas.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go In The Middle?

A Class 90 locomotive weighs 84.5 tonnes, as against the 129.6 tonnes of the Class 66 locomotive used in the trial.

So if the electric locomotive can be run dead-in-train, the weight would be slightly less.

But this might give a big advantage, if they ever wanted to run a pair of trains from Felixstowe to Plymouth and Cardiff, as per my earlier example.

  • The trains would split anywhere on the electrified section of the Great Western Main Line.
  • The lead train would go to Plymouth.
  • The second train would go to Cardiff, which is now fully electrified.

There would appear to be possibilities to save carbon emissions.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go On The Front?

Some routes out of Felixstowe are fully-electrified from the Great Eastern Main Line.

It could be possible for the following.

  • Two diesel-hauled trains to leave Felixstowe with ubiquitous Class 66 locomotives and form up as a combi-consist train in Ipswich yard.
  • The Class 66 locomotive on the front is replaced by an electric locomotive.
  • Both Class 90 and Class 92 electric locomotives have twice the power of a Class 66 locomotive, so both should be able to haul the combi-consist train.

The trains would split en-route with the electric locomotive hauling a train to an electrified destination.

This picture shows, what could be an experiment by Freightliner at Shenfield.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to ask the driver, if the Class 66 locomotive was running dead-in-train or helping the Class 90 locomotive with a very heavy load.

The picture shows, that the electric and diesel locomotives can work together, at the front of a train.

Since I took this picture, I’ve never seen a similar consist again.

Could A Bi-Mode Locomotive Go On The Front?

In GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I talked about how GB Railfreight had started negotiations to purchase a fleet of powerful bi-mode locomotives from Stadler.

  • Provisionally, they have been called Class 99 locomotives.
  • The locomotives will be Co-Co bi-modes.
  • The diesel engine will be for heavy main line freight and not just last-mile operations.
  • I suspect that on diesel the power will be at least 2.5 MW to match a Class 66 locomotive.

These locomotives could be ideal for hauling combi-consist trains.

Would Combi-Consist Trains Save Energy?

This could be a big driver of the use of combi-consist trains and may push DB Cargo UK to acquire some powerful bi-mode locomotives.

Conclusion

Combi-consist trains seem to be an excellent idea.

 

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment