The Anonymous Widower

Flirt Akku Battery Multiple-Unit Unveiled

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in Railway Gazette International.

This is the first paragraph.

Stadler has officially unveiled the prototype Flirt Akku, a version of its Flirt family of electric multiple-units which is equipped with a battery to permit operation on non-electrified or partly-electrified routes.

So it looks like another train with batteries, that joins the following, that have been announced in recent months.

There are also several projects using MTU Hybrid Power Packs.

What new projects will emerge in the next couple of years?

October 26, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Future Of Great Western Railway’s Class 165 Trains

My excursion to Greenford was to get a detailed look at the Class 165 train that works the Greenford Branch.

I took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The trains are internally in reasonable condition.
  2. They have a Universal Access Toilet.
  3. This particular train had a large number of well-placed point points and USB sockets.

The interior would not need much work to bring it up to a very good standard.

Moving To Bristol

The majority of the trains are moving to the Bristol area to provide local services including some longer distance ones to Cardiff, Exeter and Gloucester.

Conversion To Class 165 HyDrive Trains

If the initial conversion of a Chiltern Class 165 train to a hybrid train, that I wrote about in Class 165 Trains To Go Hybrid,  is a successful conversion, I think there could be several reasons to look at converting Great Western Railways trains.

  • Improved performance.
  • Less noise and pollution.
  • Lower operating costs.
  • The marketing value of a hybrid train

The financial details will decide whether the conversion is worthwhile.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Could Class 165 HyDrive Trains Be The Solution To The Greenford Branch?

I ask this question, as I think the Greenford Branch should be developed and run at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

I give my reasons in An Illustration Of Why The Greenford Branch Needs Four Trains Per Hour.

The Class 165 HyDrive Train

I described the proposed Class 165 HyDrive trains in Class 165 Trains To Go Hybrid.

These are given as the advantages of these and other hybrid trains.

  • Improved acceleration.
  • Smooth and powerful regenerative braking.
  • Less gaseous and noise emissions.

A two-car Class 165 train can already run on the branch, so I’m pretty sure, that to run on the route,, a Class 165 HyDrive train would require no new major infrastructure, like lengthened platforms or electrification.

The Track Layout Of The Greenford Branch

The Greenford Branch is double-track.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Greenford station.

Note that both tracks of the branch, are connected to the following.

  • The bay platform in Greenford station, where the service on the branch terninates.
  • Both tracks of the Acton-Northolt Line going West using Greenford West Junction.
  • Both tracks of the Acton-Northolt Line going East using Greenford East Junction.

It is a well-designed junction, where all required movements seem possible.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at West Ealing station.

Unlike at Greenford station, it appears that, there is no connection from the bay platform at West Ealing station to the left track towards Greenford station.

This might make it difficult to run the more frequent service of four tph, that this line needs.

So there might be a need for an extra crossover or minor track updates.

The Current Passenger Service On The Greenford Branch

The current service is two tph, which is based on a single train, shuttling backwards and forwards.

  • West Ealing to Greenford – 12 minutes
  • Turnround at Greenford – 3 minutes
  • Greenford to West Ealing – 11 minutes
  • Turnround at West Ealing – 4 minutes

Obviously, the train can only do two round trips in an hour.

Service Improvements With The Class 165 HyDrive Train

The proposed Class 165 HyDrive train will not offer and dramatic improvements, but its superior acceleration and braking, could speed up the three intermediate stops by a minute or two.

But I doubt that this would be enough time savings to enable one train to achieve the much-needed four tph.

Four Tph On The Greenford Branch

This could be achieved by two trains.

Train 1 would run as follows.

WE Dep – XX:00

GF Arr – XX:12

GF Dep – XX:15

WE Arr – XX:26

WE Dep – XX:30

GF Arr – XX:42

GF Dep – XX:45

WE Arr – XX:56

Train 2 would run as follows.

WE Dep – XX:15

GF Arr – XX:27

GF Dep – XX:30

WE Arr – XX:41

WE Dep – XX:45

GF Arr – XX:57

GF Dep – XX:00

WE Arr – XX:11

Note how Train 2 is fifteen minutes behind Train 1.

With the track improvements at West Ealing station, two Class 165 trains could run this timetable, if they were well driven and nothing went wrong.

But I believe that if the more agile Class 165 HyDrive trains were to be used, they could use their performance to regain the timetable.

Their extra performance might also allow the  creation of  some extra paths for freight trains and empty stock movements.

Conclusion

Four tph is possible on the Greenford Branch, but it will need an extra crossover just outside West Ealing station.

Class 165 HyDrive trains with their extra performance would make the four tph timetable more reliable.

The lower noise and emissions of the trains would also please the local residents.

I also feel that a well-designed battery-powered two-car train, with perhaps a charging station at either end could also provide the improved service.

 

 

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Class 165 Trains To Go Hybrid

There must be something in the DNA of British Rail’s rolling stock.

Mark 3-based trains like the InterCity 125, Class 319 and Class 321 trains seem to have had collectively more lives than a city full of feral cats.

It is also understandable, that MTU are looking at upgrading modern rolling stock built with their engines to be more efficient and environmentally-friendly. They have launched the MTU Hybrid PowerPack, which adds up to four 30 kWh batteries, electric drive and regenerative braking to a typical diesel multiple unit built in the last twenty years.

So now, upgrading the traction systems of the Class 165 trains is being undertaken.

The Wikipedia entry for Class 165 trains, says this under Future Development.

It was reported in September 2018 that Angel Trains were to convert class 165 units for Chiltern Railways to hybrid diesel and battery-powered trains, and that the first Class 165 HyDrive train should be ready by late 2019.

There is more in this article on Rotherham Business, which is entitled Magtec Changes Track To Convert Diesel Trains.

This is said.

Magtec, the UK’s largest supplier of electric vehicle drive systems, is working to deliver the rail industry’s first conversion of a diesel-powered train to hybrid drive.

Founded in 1992, MAGTEC designs and manufactures electric drive systems and components for a wide range of applications including trucks, buses and military vehicles.

This is also said about the modified trains performance.

In future, passengers using the Class 165 HyDrive could benefit from potentially reduced journey times, thanks to the improved acceleration offered by the hybrid technology compared to its diesel-only counterparts. Additionally, when the hybrid system detects proximity to stations or depots, it will turn the engines off and run on its battery, removing gaseous and noise emissions from populated areas.

That sounds very good to me.

There is also a serious article in the Financial Times, which is entitled Hybrid Battery Trains Set To Shorten Commuter Journey Times.

The headline sounds like hype, but then it is the FT, who usually tell it as it is. Read the article and there is a lot of philosophy and reasons behind this avalanche of retrofitting old trains with new innovative traction systems, in Germany, France and the UK.

It should be remembered that Chiltern have a record of doing the right things.

Further Development

MAGTEC look to be a very innovative company.

The Class 465 train is a third-rail electric train, that is closely-related to the Class 165 train.

It should be noted that sixteen miles of the London to Aylesbury Line is electrified using London Underground’s fourth-rail system.

So could we see the creator’s of the Class 165 HyDrive train, raid the Class 465 train’s parts bin, so the trains can use London Underground’s electrification?

Conclusion

If the project produces a successful outcome, there are seventy-five Class 165 trains running on Chiltern and Great Western Railway, which all seem to be in good condition.

 

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments