The Anonymous Widower

What Will Happen To Northern’s Class 195 Trains?

Northern’s Class 195 trains could be a problem in the future.

  • They are diesel multiple units.
  • There are twenty-five two-car trains and thirty-three three-car trains.
  • All cars have a Rolls-Royce MTU 6H1800R85L diesel engine, that drives the train through a ZF EcoLife 6-speed transmission.
  • They are 100 mph trains, which is adequate for the routes they serve.
  • According to Wikipedia, the trains are designed for a lifespan of thirty-five years, which takes the trains past the date, when it is intended that all trains should be zero-carbon.

It looks to me, that a plan will be needed to decarbonise these trains, as they are probably too new and costly to scrap.

These are possibilities to upgrade them to zero-carbon.

Rebuild as Class 331 Electric Trains

The design of the Class 195 trains is based on the same platform as that of the Class 331 trains.

I would expect that it could be possible to rebuild the Class 195 trains as Class 331 trains.

But it would be an expensive and disruptive process and would require a lot of electrification.

Some battery-electric versions could be created to cut the need for electrification.

Run The Trains On Net-Zero Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Or Other Fuels

In Powered By HVO, I wrote about research going on into the use of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil or HVO.

There is also ongoing research into other net-zero fuels that can be used in a diesel engine.

The process used by Velocys to create sustainable aviation fuel can also be used to produce diesel from various sources like disposable nappies, household waste and scrap wood.

Run The Trains On A Dual Fuel Basis With Hydrogen

In Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial, I talk about how Grand Central in collaboration with a company called G-volution are running experiments with dual-fuelling a Class 180 train. G-volution state that they could dual fuel with hydrogen using their technology.

The Class 180 trains have Cummins engines, but I suspect G-volution’s technology or something similar could be applied to the Rolls-Royce MTU engines in the Class 195 trains.

This could be a very promising route.

Convert The Diesel Engines To Run On Hydrogen

Cummins and JCB have developed internal combustion engines, that can run on hydrogen. I would be very surprised if Rolls-Royce MTU are not developing this technology.

Conclusion

There are options to convert the Class 195 trains into low or zero-carbon trains.

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December 23, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first two paragraphs.

An Alstom Class 180 Adelante diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit is to be converted to run on a combination of diesel and liquefied natural gas in a dual-fuel technology demonstration project.

One car of the DMU which Arriva-owned open access inter-city operator Grand Central leases from Angel Trains is to be equipped with dual-fuel technology company G-volution’s Optimiser system, which is used in the road sector. The modifications are expected to be straightforward, enabling trials on the national network to start later this year.

The article dates from May 2019 and I suspect the small matter of the pandemic and Grand Central’s resulting three closures due to lockdowns are the reason this development hasn’t been heard of since.

But this was the London end of the Class 180 train, that I rode from Mirfield to King’s Cross.

I haven’t ridden in a Class 180 train for some years and there was nothing to indicate from the performance, that it was not a standard train.

There are fourteen of these 125 mph trains.

This explanatory video of G-volution’s technology is on the G-volution web site.

Note that in the video, one of G-volution’s Managing Director; Chris Smith says that the technology is fuel agnostic and will work with a range of fuels including ammonia, biodiesel, bio-LPG, hydrogen and methanol.

Conclusion

It will be very interesting to see what is decided to be the ideal fuel-combination and how much reduction is possible for the various emissions.

I’ll end with two questions.

Will Passengers Like The New Trains?

What is there not to like! Same train and performance with lower emissions.

Will Cummins Like What G-volution Have Done To Their Engines?

Cummins might be a bit miffed, as they built the QSK19 engines for the Class 180 trains and may have their own plans for them. But they are a practical and flexible company in my experience and generally they do what the customer needs or wants. Decarbonisation is surely in everybody’s interest.

Incidentally, the same Cummins diesel engines are used in the TransPennine Express, Class 185 trains, I’ve been riding in most of today.

There are fifty-one of these 100 mph trains in use in the UK. They could be ideal for some long routes, if they could be converted to low-emission.

 

 

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lumo: Why Won’t The New Train Service Stop At Yorkshire Stations?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Yorkshire Post.

This is the first article, I’ve found about Lumo, that has a negative headline.

The reason is probably very simple, in that most Lumo services are planned to stop at only at Newcastle and Morpeth, with two services having an extra stop Stevenage.

They are intending to run the service in as short a time as possible between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh.

As each stop has a time penalty, not stopping in Yorkshire will give potential to go cut the journey time.

But the positive message that comes from the writer of the Yorkshire Post article is that Yorkshire likes the concept.

This paragraph is their take on the service.

The goal is to encourage a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation and affordable travel. Lumo will provide low-carbon emissions, affordable long-distance travel for more than one million passengers every year.

Perhaps they would like their own Yorkshire flyer.

The obvious way for this to happen would be for the Open Access operator; Grand Central to convert themselves into a train operator like Lumo.

  • The ten diesel Class 180 trains would be replaced by new electric trains.
  • The trains would need a 140 mph capability under digital signalling to fit in with the plans of Network Rail, LNER and Lumo to create a top-class high-speed high-capacity East Coast Main Line.
  • The trains would need a battery capability as Grand Central’s routes are not fully electrified.
  • They could copy Lumo’s green marketing philosophy, ticketing and catering offering.

As to the trains, I’m sure that Hitachi could offer a version of their Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, the specification of which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

The trains would need a range of fifty miles on battery-power.

Charging facilities wold be needed at Bradford Interchange and Sunderland stations, as neither has suitable 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

Conclusion

The conversion of Grand Central to work on the Lumo model is possible and as the trains will need to be changed to zero-carbon ones soon to meet decarbonisation objectives, I would suspect that at least that will happen.

 

 

 

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Hitachi Rolling Stock Unveiled by Hull Trains As Part Of £60m Investment

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

Five new Class 802 trains will replace Hull Train‘s current fleet of four Class 180 trains and an InterCity 125.

Currently, the InterCity 125 runs the service between Kings Cross and Beverley stations, whilst three Class 180 trains are needed to run the six round trips between Kings Cross and Hull stations.

So Hull Trains have a spare train, that can be in maintenance.

With five new Class 802 trains, replacing the current fleet, four will be needed for the current service, thus leaving a spare train.

The new trains will give various advantages.

  • The Class new 802 trains have a top speed of 140 mph, whereas the current Class 180 trains can only do 125 mph.
  • The Class 802 trains have an increase of thirteen percent in seating capacity.
  • They will obviously have a better interior, with everything passengers expect.

In a few years time, the extra speed may offer a big advantage.

The Southern part of the East Coast Main Line is being upgraded to allow 140 mph running, which would probably save around ten minutes on a journey between Kings Cross and Hull stations.

Could this time-saving mean, that extra services between Kings Cross and Hull stations are possible?

If 140 mph running allowed a round trip in under five hours, I have a feeling this could mean over ten trains per day in each direction, if there are enough paths available.

But flights of Class 800 trains and Class 802 trains running at 140 mph might just do it.

Conclusion

What would ten trains per day between Kings Cross and Hull, do for the economy of Hull?

The East Coast Main Line might not have the 250 mph operating speed of High Speed Two, but 140 mph isn’t that slow.

 

 

February 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Central Opts For Split And Join

An article in the April 2018 Edition of Modern Railways is entitled Grand Central Appies For Extra Services.

Grand Central wants to run the following services.

  • An extra daily round trip between Sunderland and Kings Cross.
  • An extra service from Bradford to Kings Cross.
  • An early morning service from Wakefield Kirkgate to Kings Cross.
  • A late evening service of two trains; one for Wakefield and one for York, whicj would split at Doncaster.

Cleethorpes would also be served by running West Riding services as two trains, which would split and join at Dncaster.

All this can be done with the current fleet of ten Class 180 trains, supplemented by four extra released by Hull Trains, on delivery of new Class 802 trains.

By running as pairs between Kings Cross and Doncaster, the operator cuts the number of paths needed, on a crowded East Coast Main Line.

Joining and splitting is not without problems.

  • Train timings need to be accurate.
  • Joining and splitting hasn’t been done on the East Coast Main Line before, so would need permission.
  • I suspect that, the process won’t be automatic, as on Hitachi’s trains.

But get it right and this would surely open up the possibility of extra destinations in the North, provided like Bradford, Cleethorpes, Sunderland, Wakefield and York, they are on railway routes North of Doncaster.

The Class 180 trains are 125 mph diesel trains, that are about fifteen years old.

All other operators on the East Coast Main Line in a few years will be running variants of Class 800 trains, which will be capable of running at 140 mph on large parts of the route, when in-cab signalling is up and running.

As these trains can split and join with ease, surely Grand Central will be looking for some suitable new trains.

Currently, the fastest trains take about around a hundred minutes between London and Doncaster.

A rough estimate says that savings of around ten minutes could result from all trains being 140 mph capable, which would benefit all services.

But all operators on the line would have joining and splitting, so expect some new destinations from Kings Cross.

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March 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment