The Anonymous Widower

Rolls-Royce Releases mtu Rail Engines For Sustainable Fuels

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

The press release starts with these bullet points.

  • mtu Series 1300, 1500 and 1800 engines already released; Series 1600 and 4000 to follow shortly
  • Up to 90% CO2 savings by operating existing engines with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO/renewable diesel)
  • Locally emission-free operation possible in combination with mtu Hybrid PowerPack
  • Field tests with DB Cargo and RDC Autozug Sylt

Note.

  1. Hitachi Class 800, 802, 805 and Class 810 trains appear to use Series 1600 engines.
  2. CAF Class 195, 196 and Class 197 trains appear to use Series 1800 engines.
  3. Class 43 power cars, as used in InterCity 125 trains appear to use Series 4000 engines.

It would appear that many of the UK’s new diesel trains and the remaining Class 43 power-cars can be converted to run on HVO.

This paragraph from the press release gives more details.

Rolls-Royce is taking a significant step towards even more climate-friendly rail transport with the release of mtu rail engines for use with sustainable fuels. With synthetic diesel fuels of the EN15940 standard, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 100 percent compared to fossil diesel. Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO or renewable diesel), which is already commercially available today, reduces CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent. If the fuels are produced with the help of renewable energy and green hydrogen – through what is termed a Power-to-X process – existing rail vehicles can be operated in a completely CO2-neutral manner. The mtu Series 1800 engines which are used in mtu PowerPacks, as well as Series 1300 and 1500 for locomotives and multi-purpose vehicles, are already approved for use with synthetic fuels such as HVO. Series 1600 and versions of Series 4000 engines will follow in the near future. The release of engines for climate-friendly fuels requires a series of tests and trials and Rolls-Royce has found strong partners for this activity. DB Cargo and RDC Autozug Sylt have already tested or are currently testing mtu Series 4000 engines with HVO in their locomotives.

Rolls-Royce mtu seem to have covered all issues.

This is a very significant statement in the paragraph.

If the fuels are produced with the help of renewable energy and green hydrogen – through what is termed a Power-to-X process – existing rail vehicles can be operated in a completely CO2-neutral manner.

This must be the most affordable way to make your diesel trains zero carbon.

Conclusion

Rolls-Royce and Cummins seem to be doing a thoroughly professional job in decarbonising the diesel engines they have made in recent years.

It now needs someone to take small diesel engines down the conversion route, just as Rolls-Royce mtu and Cummins are cleaning up their large engines.

September 24, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

UK’s First 100mph Battery-Diesel Hybrid Train Enters Passenger Service

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

The UK’s first 100mph battery-diesel hybrid train is entering passenger service to cut carbon emissions and boost air quality.

It was developed by adding a powerful battery to a 20-year-old diesel train to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 25%, according to owner Porterbrook.

The firm added that the two-carriage train, named HybridFLEX, also provides a 75% decrease in noise and a 70% decrease in nitrogen oxide.

The battery-diesel hybrid transmission is from MTU, who are a Rolls-Royce company and they go further with this press release which is entitled World Premiere: MTU Hybrid PowerPack From Rolls-Royce Enters Passenger Service.

This is the first paragraph.

Rolls-Royce, Porterbrook and Chiltern Railways are making rail history together with a climate-friendly world premiere: A hybrid diesel-battery-electric train that reduces CO2 emissions by up to 25% entered passenger service in the UK today for the first time. The so-called HybridFLEX train is powered by two mtu Hybrid PowerPacks and is operated by Chiltern Railways on the route between London Marylebone and Aylesbury. Together with the leasing company Porterbrook and Chiltern Railways, Rolls-Royce has converted a Class 168 DMU into the HybridFLEX train. The partners are proving that existing rail vehicles can be used in a climate-friendly way without the need to install complex and expensive new infrastructure. It is the world’s first regular passenger operation with mtu Hybrid PowerPacks, of which 13 have already been ordered.

This is significant for the railways of the UK.

The train that has been converted is a Class 168 train, which itself had been converted from a Class 170 train, when it transferred to Chiltern Railways in 2016.

I think this means that all Bombardier Turbostars in Classes 168, 170, 171 and 172 can probably be fitted with MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.

That is the following numbers of trains and cars.

  • Class 168 – 28 trains – 86 cars
  • Class 170 – 139 trains – 372 cars
  • Class 171 – 20 trains – 56 cars
  • Class 172 – 39 trains – 93 cars

Note.

  1. This totals to 226 trains and 607 cars.
  2. As each car has an engine, this will be an order of 607 PowerPacks, if all trains were to be converted.

This could certainly help to meet the Government’s aim of getting rid of all diesel only trains by 2040.

Can The CAF Civities Be Converted?

There are three Classes of CAF Civity diesel multiple units; 195, 196 and 197, all of which have Rolls-Royce MTU engines.

Could these be converted to hybrid operation by the swapping of the current diesel engines for MTU Hybrid PowerPacks?

I would suspect they could, as the CAF Civity trains might have been designed after MTU disclosed plans of the MTU Hybrid PowerPack to train builders prior to its announcement in September 2018.

Conclusion

MTU Hybrid PowerPacks could go a long way to eliminating diesel-only trains on UK railways. They could even run the diesels on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) to lower their carbon-footprint further.

 

February 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Northern Seeks Battery-Hybrid Class 195 Variant

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

This is the introduction to the article.

Northern Trains is seeking to introduce a battery-diesel hybrid version of its CAF Class 195 diesel multiple-units.

The article makes these points.

  • The trains will be used on the lines modernised under the TransPennine Upgrade.
  • Offers for trains with finance is being requested.
  • Technology similar to Chiltern Rail’s Class 165 Hydrive train from Magtec would be ideal.

But I am not sure that this is the right train.

In How Much Electrification Will There Be In The TransPennine Route Upgrade?, I came to this conclusion.

By electrifying all the lines in the TransPennine Upgrade, it would allow all the stopping and slower services to be run by battery-electric trains.

I also said that battery-electric trains from both Hitachi and CAF had enough range to work all the TransPennine routes.

Given that I had my first ride in a battery-electric train in 2015, they have certainly been a long time coming.

It’s almost, as if the Men from the Ministry believe that battery trains will be inferior to diesel.

January 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 46 Comments

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

My Current Thoughts On Electric Trains To Windermere

These are my current thoughts on electric trains to Windermere station.

Passengers And Battery-Electric Trains

I don’t think any reputable journalist interviewed passengers on either of the two battery electric services that have successfully run for longer than a couple of days.

Those that used British Rail’s Aberdeen and Ballater service in the 1950s, are probably thin on the ground, although I did meet an elderly lady, who’d regularly used it to go to school and she said the service was reliable.

She also said that the Queen Mother was an enthusiastic passenger.

I rode the Manningtree and Harwich battery electric train during its short trial.

But more significantly, since then I have met two passengers, who used it every day during the trial to commute.

Both would like to see the train return, as it seemed more reliable. I wonder, if like much of East Anglia’s overhead wires, the route suffers from the wind.

It does appear that providing a reliable service with battery electric trains is not a difficult problem.

Two Trains Per Hour To Windermere

In Passing Loop Hope For Windermere, I discuss a passing loop on the Windermere Branch Line to enable two trains per hour (tph) along the line.

The Treasury wouldn’t like this, as it would need twice the number of trains.

But hopefully, it would double the ticket revenue.

Battery-Electric Class 331 Trains

It has been some time now since in the March 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, that it was announced that CAF announced they were building a battery-electric version of the Class 331 train, which I wrote about in Northern’s Battery Plans.

Little has been heard of CAF’s progress since, although I did write Battery-Electric Class 331 Trains On The Radar, which was based on an article in the June 2021 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Northern Looks To The Future.

Lack Of Progress On Battery And Hydrogen Train Projects

Is this typical of battery and hydrogen projects?

Southern’s project on the Uckfield Branch and to close the electrification gap between Ashford and Hastings has only been conspicuous by its absence. This project is important as it releases the Class 170 trains, so that EMR can fulfil franchise commitments.

The project to use hydrogen trains on Teesside has also progressed at a snail’s pace.

It is almost as if someone in the Department of Transport or more likely the Treasury, feels that the best thing to do is to carry on using diesel, as it’s the cheapest alternative.

I don’t think it is any politician, as their public statements seem to be very much in favour of decarbonisation.

Other Electric Trains In The Lake District

I also think, that if battery-electric trains were to be run to Windermere, that they would also run to Barrow-in-Furness. Am I right in thinking that the Furness Line is rather flat, so would be ideal for battery-electric trains?

But I do wonder, if Sellafield and Direct Rail Services are pushing for electrification, as it would surely help their operations, as they could use Class 88 locomotives to bring in the flasks for processing.

Also in Battery-Electric Class 331 Trains On The Radar, I did say this.

I feel it would be possible to electrify the Cumbrian Coast Line using battery-electric Class 331 trains, with a range of at least fifty miles and some short sections of new electrification.

Surely, a battery-electric train along the Cumbrian Coast by the Lake District would be the ideal train for the area.

I can certainly see a small fleet of battery-electric working services between Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle, Carnforth, Manchester Airport, Sellafield, Whitehaven, Windermere and Workington.

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Thoughts On CAF’s Battery-Electric Class 331 Trains

I first wrote about CAF’s battery-electric trains in Northern’s Battery Plans, where I describe how CAF and Northern are planning to convert a number of three-car Class 331 trains into four-car battery-electric trains.

  • The fourth car would contain batteries.
  • Batteries would also be added to the PTS (pantograph) car.

I suspect that the battery range could be arranged so that all Northern’s routes suitable for battery-electric operation could be handled.

These are my thoughts.

How Much Would The Conversion Cost?

I will first make rough estimate of what the extra car would cost.

Northern placed a £500 million order for the following trains.

  • 31 x three-car Class 331 trains
  • 12 x four-car Class 331 trains
  • 25 x two-car Class 195 trains
  • 33 x three-car Class 195 trains

This is a total of 290 trains.

So on a rough estimate, each car will cost around £1.72 million.

As batteries would also be added to the pantograph car, the cost of updating a three-car train to a four-car battery-electric train would probably be around two million.

Why Are CAF Proposing A Four-Car Train With Two Battery Cars?

When I first read about CAF’s and Northern’s plans, I wondered, why CAF were also putting batteries in the pantograph car, as surely, with their extensive experience with battery-powered trains, CAF could fit enough batteries into one battery-car for a reasonable range, as Bombardier did seven years ago.

Having done all the calculations around Wigan and Bolton in Bolton-Wigan £78m Rail Electrification Project Announced, I suspect that CAF and Northern want a trans-Pennine range, so they can compete with TransPennine Express.

Two cars with batteries is probably needed for that.

Could The Three-Car Trains Be Converted To Three-Car Battery-Electric Trains?

But there is a collateral benefit of putting batteries in the pantograph car.

I suspect that in a four-car Class 331 trains have a trans-Pennine range, which between Manchester Victoria and Leeds stations is 50.2 miles and between Carlisle and Newcastle stations is 61.5 miles. So let’s say that the four-car Class 331 train with two battery packs has a range of 70 miles.

So what would be the range of a three-car train with one battery pack.

One battery pack would only take a four-car train 35 miles, so a single battery pack would contain 140 car-miles of electricity.

If a single-battery were to be fitted to the pantograph car of a three-car train, 140 car-miles would give a range of 46.7 miles.

My conclusion about the Bolton and Wigan electrification  in Bolton-Wigan £78m Rail Electrification Project Announced, was as follows.

This electrification of just 6.5 miles of double-track between Lostock junction and Wigan Wallgate station seems to be one of the smaller electrification projects.

But on closer examination, when linked to a fleet of battery-electric trains with a range of perhaps forty miles, the electrification enables battery-electric trains to run these services.

  • Southport And Alderley Edge
  • Southport And Stalybridge
  • Kirkby And Manchester Victoria

With a charging station in Blackburn station, then the Wigan Wallgate And Blackburn service can be added.

All these four services could be run by three-car battery-electric Class 331 trains. And if the services are to be run by six-car trains, a pair can be coupled up.

What Would Be The Range Of A Four-Car Battery-Electric Train With Only One Battery?

If I’m right that a four-car battery-electric Class with two batteries has a range of seventy miles across the Pennines, then a train with one battery should be able to manage 35 miles.

Conclusion

It sounds like the Spanish might have come up with a cunning plan, that might be able to convert both three- and four-car Class 331 trains to battery-electric operation.

By adding a battery to the pantograph car, this enables a four-car battery-electric train with a trans-Pennine range.

Summing up the various options gives the following ranges.

  • Three-car battery-electric train with one battery pack – 46.7 miles
  • Four-car battery-electric train with one battery pack – 35 miles
  • Four-car battery-electric train with two battery packs – 70 miles

I’m impressed.

 

September 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

WYCA To Discuss Latest Plans For £24.2m White Rose Rail Station

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

I briefly commented on this proposed station in Is There Going To Be Full Electrification Between Leeds And Huddersfield?, where I said this.

White Rose Station

There are plans to build a new White Rose station in the next couple of years at the White Rose Centre..

This would be between Morley and Cottingley stations.

This station will surely increase the passenger numbers on the Huddersfield Line.

This Google Map shows the White Rose Centre.

The Huddersfield Line runs North-South alongside the Centre and there must be plenty of space for a new White Rose station.

From Wikipedia and other sources, the following seems to be on the agenda for the station.

  • Two platforms.
  • Ability to take six-car trains, with a possibility to extend to eight-cars.
  • Two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • Up to 340,000 passengers per year.

These are my thoughts.

Will White Rose Station Be Electrified?

The Rail Technology Magazine article has a visualisation of the new White Road station and very swish it looks too!

But it doesn’t show any electrification through the station.

This document on the Network Rail web site is entitled Overhead Line Electrification – Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury).

This is the first paragraph.

We’re proposing to electrify the railway between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) – and right through to Leeds.

This will enable train operators to use electric – or bi-mode (hybrid) trains – along this section of the route.

I am pretty certain, this paragraph can be interpreted, as saying that Leeds and Huddersfield will be connected by a fully-electrified railway.

This Google Map shows the current Ravensthorpe station, where the line to and from Wakefield joins the Huddersfield and Leeds Line.

This document on the Network Rail web site is entitled Scheme Proposals – Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury).

It indicates that the triangle of land between the two lines will be used for a sub-station to provide power for the electrification.

It says this.

We propose to build an electricity substation within the Ravensthorpe and Westtown area, to provide power for the electrification of the railway (known as traction power). To facilitate this work, a temporary construction compound which will provide essential welfare facilities for staff will be established in an area of land occupying the current landfill site to the east of Ravensthorpe Station. Access to the facilities will be made via Forge Lane or the existing Thornhill Power Station access road. In addition, Northern Powergrid will be undertaking extensive works to their overhead network within the Ravensthorpe area.

This looks like a convenient place to build a sub-station.

  • Northern Powergrid would be able to combine one of their projects, with one for Network Rail.
  • It looks like the location of the sub-station gives both good road and rail access.

It would also be ideal to provide power to the line to Wakefield Kirkgate station, which is only ten miles away.

Services At White Rose Station

Currently, the following services would appear to go through the site of White Rose station.

  • Northern Trains – Wigan Wallgate and Leeds
  • TransPennine Express – Huddersfield and Leeds
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Redcar Central
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Piccadilly and Hull

Note.

  1. All services are one tph.
  2. The first two services are stopping services, that stop at the two stations, that will be either side of White Rose station; Cottingley and Morley.
  3. Dewsbury station, which will be three stations away, has a service of three tph.

There may also be an LNER service between London and Huddersfield via Leeds, which might go through White Rose station.

When sources like Wikipedia, say the station will get two tph, they are probably basing this on the two stopping services.

Does White Rose Station Need A Direct Manchester Airport Service?

I think if the station becomes important, it will certainly need a direct service to Manchester Airport.

If one of TransPennine’s Manchester Airport services stopped at White Rose station it would give a direct fast hourly service to Manchester Airport.

  • It would take about eighty minutes on current timings.
  • In addition the service would call at Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds and York.

In my view it would be a very useful service.

Does White Rose Station Need A Direct London Service?

The reasoning for Manchester Airport, would probably apply to London.

Consider.

  • Leeds currently has a two tph LNER service to London.
  • I believe that LNER’s Leeds and London service could be uprated to three tph.
  • Huddersfield should be getting a daily service or perhaps better to London.
  • White Rose station is only planned to have a two tph service to Leeds.

I think there is scope to improve the service between White Rose and London.

  • Stopping services between Leeds and Huddersfield should connect conveniently with the London trains at Leeds.
  • If a third tph between Leeds and Huddersfield stopped at White Rose, that might help.
  • Perhaps, some or all services between Huddersfield and London, should stop at White Rose.

It would all depend on the needs of passengers, once the station opened.

White Rose Station And Elland Road Stadium

This Google Map shows the distance between the White Rose Centre and Elland Road stadium.

Note.

  1. Elland Road stadium is in the North-East of the map
  2. The White Rose Shopping Centre is towards the South of the map.
  3. The Huddersfield Line runs down the Western side of the White Rose shopping centre.
  4. Cottingley station in North-West corner of the map is the nearest station to Elland Road stadium.
  5. I estimate it is about a mile-and-a-half walk, which is typical for many football grounds.

Would it be sensible on match days to run longer trains to White Rose station?

I also feel, that thought be given to the walking route between White Rose Station and Elland Road Stadium.

Would it also be better, if the new station was towards the North of the shopping centre?

Platform Length At White Rose Station

Platform length at White Rose station is stated that it will initially take six-car trains, with a possibility to extend to eight-cars.

Consider the lengths of trains likely to call at White Rose station.

To handle pairs of three-car Class 185, Class 195 and Class 331 trains, it looks like 150 metre long platforms will be needed.

But to handle pairs of four-car  Class 195 and Class 331 trains, it looks like 200 metre long platforms will be needed.

I suspect that because of the proximity of Elland Road and there is a lot of shopping in the build up to Christmas, that a thorough analysis of platform length should be done, before White Rose station is built.

Will A Cross-Leeds Service Serve White Rose Station?

If you look at Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle, suburban lines fan out all around the city.

If you look at Leeds, you find the following routes.

  • Bradford – West – Electrified
  • Harrogate -North – No Electrification
  • Dewsbury and Huddersfield – South-West – Electrification planned
  • Ilkley – North – Electrified
  • Skipton – North-West – Electrified
  • Wakefield – South-East – Electrified
  • York and Selby – North-East and East – No Electrification

It appears to me, that the suburban routes are better on the Western side of the City, with more electrification in operation or planned.

The planned electrification between Leeds and Huddersfield via White Rose station can only make matters more uneven.

The Rail Technology Magazine article also says this.

The Investment Committee will also consider plans for a new £31.9m parkway rail station at Thorpe Park on the Leeds to York section of the Transpennine route.

Wikipedia says that proposed Thorpe Park station, will be built on the Selby Line to the East of Leeds, in the Thorpe Park are of the city. Wikipedia also says this about the operation of the station.

It would be served by trains from the west of Leeds which would normally terminate at Leeds station; by continuing eastwards to this station, it is hoped that extra capacity for through trains would be created at Leeds. The station would also form the first phase of electrifying the railway line to the east of Leeds. As a parkway station (an early name was East Leeds Parkway), the intention would be to allow for a park-and-ride service and the plans include parking for 500 cars.

This Google Map shows the area where the station could be built.

Note.

  1. The Selby Line curving across the Northern side of the map.
  2. Cross Gates station is the next station to the West.
  3. Going East on the Selby Line, you pass through Garforth, East Garforth and Micklefield stations before the line divides for York to the North and Selby and Hull to the East.
  4. The M1 Motorway passing to the East of Leeds.

Other features of the proposed station and the area include.

  • Wikipedia says that the station will have two island platforms and the ability to handle inter-city trains.
  • The route through the station would be electrified.
  • High Speed Two could be routed to go close to the station.

Currently, the following services would appear to go through the site of Thorpe Park station.

  • CrossCountry – Plymouth and Edinburgh/Glasgow
  • LNER – Leeds and Edinburgh
  • Northern Trains – Blackpool North and York
  • Northern Trains – Halifax and Hull
  • Northern Trains – Leeds and York
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Redcar Central
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Piccadilly and Hull

Note.

  1. Most of these trains are one tph.
  2. I believe that LNER, when they get extra paths on the East Coast Main Line, could run a London, Leeds and Edinburgh service to increase frequency to the two Northern destinations to three tph.
  3. All the TransPennine Express services will pass through White Rose, Leeds and Thorpe Park stations.

I can see a high-capacity Leeds Crossrail service emerging.

These could be some example frequencies.

  • Leeds and York – 6 tph
  • Leeds and Thorpe Park – 10 tph
  • Leeds and Hull – 2 tph
  • Leeds and Huddersfield – 6 tph
  • Leeds and Manchester Victoria/Piccadilly – 6 tph
  • Leeds and Manchester Airport – 2 tph
  • Leeds and White Rose – 4 tph

A four-track electrified route could be developed through Leeds station.

Are Two Platforms Enough At White Rose Station?

Superficially White Rose and Thorpe Park stations seem aimed at similar purposes in different parts of Leeds.

But White Rose station will only have two platforms and it appears that Thorpe Park could have four.

So does White Rose station need more platforms?

Conclusion

White Rose and Thorpe Park stations could be the start of something very big in Leeds.

 

 

February 2, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Northern Powerhouse Rail – Significant Upgrades And Journey Time Improvements To The Hope Valley Route Between Manchester And Sheffield

In this article on Transport for the North, which is entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government, one of the recommendations proposed for Northern Powerhouse Rail is significant upgrades and journey time improvements to the Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield.

I shall look at a few of the possibilities for the route.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s Objective For The Route

Wikipedia, other sources and my calculations say this about the trains between Manchester and Sheffield.

  • The distance between the two stations is 42.6 miles
  • The current service takes 49 to 57 minutes and has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph)
  • This gives an average speed of 52.2 mph for the fastest journey.
  • The proposed service with Northern Powerhouse Rail will take 40 minutes and have a frequency of four tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 63.9 mph for the journey.

This last figure of 63.9 mph, indicates to me that a 100 mph train will be able to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Current Trains On The Hope Valley Line

In July this year, I went along the Hope Valley Line between Manchester Piccadilly and Dore and Totley stations, which I wrote about in Along The Hope Valley Line – 13th July 2020.

My train was a pair of refurbished Class 150 trains.

These trains can handled the current timetable but they have an operating speed of only 75 mph.

Looking at Real Time Trains for last week, it now appears that Northern are using new three-car Class 195 trains.

These are much better.

  • They are 100 mph trains with much better acceleration.
  • The train was still running the timetable for the slower trains.

With thirteen stops, I suspect that these new trains could be under fifty minutes between Manchester and Sheffield.

Will The Hope Valley Line Be Electrified?

Consider.

  • Currently, the Hope Valley Line is electrified between Manchester Piccadilly and Hazel Grove stations.
  • In the future, the line is likely to be electrified between Sheffield and Dore & Totley stations, in conjunction with rebuilding the Midland Main Line, to the North of Clay Cross North junction for High Speed Two.
  • After the electrification at the Eastern end, just over thirty miles will be without electrification.
  • The Hope Valley Line has an operating speed of 90 mph.

This Hitachi infographic shows the specification of the Hitachi Regional Battery train.

As these are a 100 mph train with a range of 90 km or 56 miles on battery power, these trains could work Manchester and Sheffield in the required time of forty minutes. provided they could be charged at the Sheffield end of the route.

TransPennine’s Class 802 trains can be fitted with batteries to become Regional Battery Trains, so it would appear that TransPennine’s services on this route could go zero-carbon.

In addition Northern, who are the other passenger operator on the route are working with CAF on battery electric trains, as I wrote about in Northern’s Battery Plans,

I don’t believe there are pressing reasons to electrify the Hope Valley Line to allow passenger trains to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Will Operating Speed On The Hope Valley Line Be Increased?

Under Plans in the Wikipedia entry for the Hope Valley Line, this is said.

Network Rail, in partnership with South Yorkshire ITA, will redouble the track between Dore Station Junction and Dore West Junction, at an estimated cost of £15 million. This costing is based on four additional vehicles in traffic to deliver the option, however, this will depend on vehicle allocation through the DfT rolling stock plan. This work will be programmed, subject to funding, in conjunction with signalling renewals in the Dore/Totley Tunnel area.

Other proposals include a 3,600 feet (1,100 m) loop in the Bamford area, in order to fit in an all-day (07:00–19:00) hourly Manchester–Sheffield via New Mills Central stopping service, by extending an existing Manchester–New Mills Central service. Planning permission for this was granted in February 2018, but delays mean that this will now not be completed until 2023.

These changes to allow three fast trains, a stopping train and freight trains each hour were also supported in a Transport for the North investment report in 2019, together with “further interventions” for the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme.

It would also probably be a good idea, to increase the operating speed of the line to 100 mph where possible.

Effect On Passenger Services

100 mph trains on a track with an operating speed of 100 mph, could show some impressive timings.

On the Great Eastern Main Line, which is a very busy 100 mph double-track railway, 100 mph trains, achieve a 77 mph average for 90 minutes over the 115 miles, between London Liverpool Street and Norwich with a single stop.

A one-stop Manchester and Sheffield service at this speed would take just 33.2 minutes.

The stopping trains would be more of a challenge to get under forty minutes, but at least if they were battery electric trains, they’d have the better acceleration and deceleration of the electric trains.

  • Fifty minutes would be a realistic time.
  • Ten minutes turnround time at each end, would be ideal for charging the batteries and give an efficient two hour round trip.

Efficient timetabling could create a very comprehensive service for the Hope Valley Line.

Freight Trains On The Hope Valley Line

Under Freight in the Wikipedia entry for the Hope Valley Line, this is said.

Over a million tons of cement a year is taken away by rail from Earle’s Sidings at Hope.

That is a very large number of freight trains, all of which are currently hauled by diesel locomotives.

  • Looking at Real Time Trains, there are nearly always two freight trains in every hour of the day.
  • If you look at the routes, they go to a myriad number of destinations.
  • Following the routes between Dore Junction and the quarries to the South of the Hope Valley Line, there are several tunnels.
  • There are numerous quarries in a cluster, all served by their own rail lines.

Electrifying the delivery of the cement and limestone from the quarries would be a large and very expensive operation.

This Google Map shows Earle’s Sidings at Hope.

Perhaps a half-way house solution would be to use diesel to haul trains between the quarries and Earle’s sidings, where the locomotive is changed for an electric one?

  • But that would then mean that all routes from between the Peak District quarries and their destinations would need to be fully-electrified.
  • It should be noted that that the problem of zero-carbon trains, also exists at port and rail freight interchanges, where safe operation with 25 KVAC overhead wires everywhere can be a nightmare.
  • Rail freight companies are unlikely to change their old diesel locomotives for new expensive electric locomotives, until all possible routes are fully electrified.
  • It is also a big problem, all over the world.

Perhaps, what is needed is a self-powered zero-carbon locomotive with sufficient power to haul the heaviest trains?

I believe such a locomotive is possible and in The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I explored the feasibility of such a locomotive, which was based on a Stadler Class 68 locomotive.

The zero-carbon locomotive, that is eventually developed, may be very different to my proposal, but the commercial opportunities for such a locomotive are so large, that I’m sure the world’s best locomotive designers are working on developing powerful locomotives for all applications.

Conclusion

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s ambition for Manchester and Sheffield via the Hope Valley Line is simply stated as four tph in forty minutes. But this may be something like.

  • Three fast tph in forty minutes.
  • One stopping tph in perhaps fifty minutes.
  • One freight tph in each direction to and from the quarries that lie to the South of the line.

I didn’t realise how close that the line is to that objective, once the following is done.

  • Introduce 100 mph passenger trains on the route.
  • Improve the track as has been planned for some years.

Note that all the passenger trains, that now run the route; Class 185, 195 and 802 trains, are all 100 mph trains, although they are diesel-powered.

With a length of just under 43 miles, the route is also ideal for battery electric trains to work the passenger services, be the trains be from Hitachi, CAF or another manufacturer, after High Speed Two electrifies the Midland Main Line to the North of Clay Cross North Junction, in preparation for high speed services between London and Sheffield.

I would recommend, that one of High Speed Two’s first Northern projects, should be to upgrade the Midland Main Line between Clay Cross North junction and Sheffield station to the standard that will be required for High Speed Two.

I would also recommend, that the Government sponsor the development of a hydrogen electric locomotive with this specification.

  • Ability to use 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC electrification
  • 110 mph operating speed on electrification.
  • Ability to use hydrogen.
  • 100 mph operating speed on hydrogen.
  • 200 mile range on hydrogen.

A locomotive with this specification would go a long way to decarbonise rail freight in the UK and would have a big worldwide market.

Project Management Recommendations

This project divides neatly into three.

  • Perform the upgrades at Dore Junction and add the loop in the Bamford area, as detailed in Wikipedia, which will increase the capacity of the Hope Valley Line.
  • Electrify the Midland Main Line between Clay Cross North junction and Sheffield, as will be needed for High Speed Two. This electrification will allow battery electric trains to run between Manchester and Sheffield and between Sheffield and London.
  • Procurement of the trains. CAF and Hitachi are currently finalising suitable designs for this type of operation.

It would also be helpful, if the freight trains could be hauled by zero-carbon hydrogen electric locomotives, to create a much-improved zero-carbon route between Manchester and Sheffield.

 

 

 

 

 

November 23, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Along The Hope Valley Line – 13th July 2020

These pictures show my return trip between Manchester Piccadilly and Dore & Totley stations.

There are an assorted set of stations.

  • Some stations appear to have new platforms.
  • Marple station has a impressive step-free bridge.
  • Some stations may be Listed or should be.
  • There are walking routes from some stations.
  • Some stations need improvements to the access.

I also have some thoughts on the service.

The Class 150 Trains

The Class 150 trains have these characteristics.

  • Installed Power – 426 kW
  • Weight – 35.8 tonnes
  • Operating Speed – 75 mph.

This compares with these for a Class 195 train.

  • Installed Power – 780 kW
  • Weight – 40 tonnes
  • Operating Speed – 100 mph.
  • Acceleration – 0.83 m/sec/sec

Unfortunately, I can’t find the acceleration for a Class 150 train, but I suspect that it’s not as good as the Class 195 train.

  • I was in a Class 150 train, for both journeys.
  • IThe train was on time both ways.
  • The engine under my carriage wasn’t working that hard.
  • The train was trundling around at around 60 mph.
  • The operating speed of the line is 90 mph.

So I suspect, that a well-driven Class 195 train will shave a few minutes from the journey time.

Transport For The North’s Plan For Manchester And Sheffield

Transportbfor the North objective for Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield stations can be summed up as follows.

Four tph in forty minutes.

As current trains take over anhour, it could be a tough ask!

The Timetable

The timetable isn’t very passenger-friendly with no easy-to-remember clock-face timetable.

This must be sorted.

Hopefully, it will increase the number of passengers riding on the route.

Battery Electric Trains

Consider.

  • Sheffield station will be electrified for High Speed Two.
  • It is likely that the route between Dore & Totley and Sheffield station will be electrified.
  • There is electrification at the Manchester end of the route.
  • The distance without electrification in the middle is probably about thirty-six miles.
  • Fifty-sixty miles seems a typical range quoted for a battery electric train by train manufacturers.

As electric trains generally accelerate faster than their diesel equivalent, these could run the route reliably and save time on the journey.

Conclusion

I’m coming round to the opinion, that Transport for the North’s objectives for the route can be met without electrification.

July 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Minister Quotes Definitive Dates For Final Northern Pacer Withdrawals

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Class 142 Pacers are expected to be withdrawn by Northern by February 17 2020, with all the ‘144s’ out of service by May 17 2020, according to Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris.

This is a mess and a mess, where the main culprits are not those usually blamed by the unfortunate travellers; Northern Rail  and the Government.

  • Network Rail made a terrible hash of installing electrification, mainly it appears to some bad surveying, some bad management decisions and their hiring of Carillion.
  • CAF for the late delivery of Class 195 and Class 331 trains.
  • Porterbrook and their contractor for the late delivery of Class 769 trains.

There was a similar problem on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line as Bombardier were having problems with the computer systems on the Class 710 trains, which came into service several months after the electrification was finally complete.

So Bombardier put their hands up and paid for a free month’s travel on the line.

Surely, those that are responsible for the Pacers still being in service, should follow Bombardier’s  lead.

 

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments