The Anonymous Widower

Did Adrian Shooter Let The Cat Out Of The Bag?

This article with a video in the Scotsman is entitled Video: Battery Trains On Track To Cut Emissions and gives a lot of information about the Class 230 train. This is a paragraph.

The train is restricted to a 25mph speed on this week’s test trips, but Vivarail Chief Executive Adrian Shooter says it can sustain speeds of “60 mph for 40 miles” when new batteries become available next year.

Moreover, the batteries need just four minutes to recharge.

So what does this mean for the various routes?

Borderlands Line

Transport for Wales have ordered Class 230 trains for the Borderlands Line.

The line runs between Bidston and Wrexham Central stations is around twenty-seven miles and takes an hour. There is a generous turnround time at both ends in the current schedule.

This Google Map shows the layout of the two-platform station at Bidston.

This picture shows the red-roofed shed in the middle of the island platform, with the tracks on either side.

Would it be sensible to add a dedicated bay platform at Bidston for charging the battery trains?

The train will certainly be able to start with a full battery after a long charge at Wrexham Central and then do the following.

  • Run to Bidston on battery power.
  • Turnround at Bidston, where four minutes could be used to charge the batteries.
  • Run back to Wrexham Central on battery power.
  • Regenerative braking would be used at the thirteen intermediate stations.

If necessary during the long runs the diesel engines could be used to provide more power or top up the batteries.

Chester To Crewe Line

Transport for Wales have ordered Class 230 trains for the Chester to Crewe Line.

It runs between Chester and Crewe stations, is around twenty miles long and services take about twenty minutes.

As there are no stations between Chester and Crewe and the maximum speed of the Class 230 train is sixty mph, it looks like the train will be almost at maximum speed  along this route.

So will the four diesel engines be working hard?

When these trains were built in the 1980s, I doubt that anybody thought they’d be running services on a section of the North Wales Coast Line.

Conwy Valley Line

Transport for Wales have ordered Class 230 trains for the Conwy Valley Line.

It runs between Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog stations, is around thirty miles long and services take eighty minutes to ascend and seventy to come down.

The train will certainly be able to start with a full battery after a long charge at Llandudno and then do the following.

  • Ascend to Blaenau Ffestiniog on battery power, with help from the diesel engines.
  • Turnround at Blaenau Ffestiniog, where four minutes could be used to charge the batteries.
  • Descend to Llandudno on battery power, with help from gravity.
  • The descent would be controlled by regenerative braking.
  • Regenerative braking would be used at the eleven intermediate stations.

If necessary during the long ascent the diesel engines could be used to provide more power or top up the batteries.

Greenford Branch

What do you do with a problem like the Greenford Branch?

In Could Class 165 HyDrive Trains Be The Solution To The Greenford Branch?, I looked at the possibility of using the proposed Class 165 Hydrive trains to provide a four trains per hour (tph) service on the Greenford Branch.

This was my 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.

That well-designed battery-train has arrived in the shape of the Class 230 train.

Island Line

It appears likely, that Class 230 trains will be ordered for the Island Line.

It runs between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin stations, is under nine miles long and a typical round trip is as follows.

  • Shanklin to Ryde Pier Head – 24 minutes
  • Turnround at Ryde Pier Head – 20 minutes
  • Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin – 24 minutes
  • Turnround at Shanklin – 5 minutes

The Island Line has an operating speed of just 45 mph.

Adding all that up, I would estimate that a train doing a round trip would do under twenty miles at a maximum speed of 45 mph.

Adrian Shooter said that the trains will be able to store 2,400 miles² /hour, whereas the Island Line would use only 900 miles² /hour in a round trip. They may be weird units, you won’t find in any text book, but I want to prove if something is possible or not.

It looks like it most definitely is possible for a battery-powered Class 230 train to perform a round trip on one charge of of the batteries.

Suppose though, the line was reinstated to Ventnor station, as a  line without electrification. A quick estimate gives the round-trip as thirty miles, which would need  1350 miles² /hour.

There could even be a second charging station at Ventnor.

Could we see a future Island Line like this?

  • No electrification.
  • Extension to a new Ventnor station.
  • A passing loop at Brading station.
  • Battery trains.
  • Relaid track for very gentle curves and high efficiency.
  • Charging stations at Ryde Pier Head and Ventnor stations.

I suspect with some faster running, where it is possible and perhaps one diesel power pack per train, three-car Class 230 trains could run a two tph service.

This type of service would not be unique for long, as other places would quickly copy.

Marston Vale Line

West Midlands Trains have ordered Class 230 trains for the Marston Vale Line.

It runs between Bedford and Bletchley stations, is around twenty-four miles long and services appear to take about forty-five minutes, with a turn-round time of well over four minutes.

So it would seem that each leg of a return journey would be less than forty miles and there would be sufficient time for a full four-minute charge at either end.

The regenerative braking would be useful in handling the eleven stops.

Conclusion

It isn’t one cat!

It’s a whole destruction, glorying or nuisance of felines!

 

 

 

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Tale Of Two Trains

Last week I attempted to have rides in two ground-breaking trains.

Some months ago, I also had an early public run in a Crossrail Class 345 train.

The latter trains have now been introduced more fully into service, although there are still some Class 315 trains in service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield stations.

Transport for London performed the introduction with plenty of well-trained staff about to both handle any problems and ask passengers for feedback.

It was all very professional and despite Crossrail’s well-reported lateness, it is difficult to find bad reports about the performance of the Class 345 trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Vivarail’s Class 230 Train

I went to the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, to see this train last Wednesday and wrote about the train in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

This service was not a paid-for public service but a free demonstration open to all, who wanted to turn up.

Many people did for the first run at 11:00 and they looked to be a mixture of locals, people with transport interests, families and enthusiasts.

Vivarail came mob-handed with engineers, designers, public relations staff and the Chairman; Adrian Shooter.

There was no restrictions as to who talked to whom.

Search the Internet and it is very difficult to find negative reaction to the demonstration.

This article with a video in the Scotsman is entitled Video: Battery Trains On Track To Cut Emissions and gives a lot of information.

  • Each car weighs thirty tonnes.
  • Chassis and body are aluminium.
  • Each car has two 100 kWh batteries underneath.
  • New batteries in 2019 will enable sixty mph for forty miles and take just four minutes to charge.
  • Regenerative brakes recharge the batteries.

The article has a very positive, typified by this paragraph.

Beyond the recycled exterior, Adrian explains how renewable energy and eco-friendliness are at the heart of the train’s design and a sign of things to come.

I haven’t read any reports from bloggers, enthusiasts or the general public about the train, but like myself, I suspect many went home quietly satisfied after watching a very professional demonstration.

My only negative comment about the Vivarail demonstration, is that it could probably have done with a modicum of classic marketing and upsexing.

Alstom’s Coradia iLint

Last week was the second time, that I tried to get a ride on this train.

But as with my first trip, although I saw a train, none were actually running.

This time, I heard that there was a shortage of drivers and one train had gone back to the manufacturer.

These innovative trains are going to attract visitors from all over the world and I think that Alstom are not being at all professional with their handling of the testing.

There was just no information, let alone staff at any of the stations, that will be served by the hydrogen-powered trains.

The important people were happy enough to turn up for the grand launch, but did not see fit to provide the information for the general public, who are interested in a genuine innovation, that could cut carbon emissions.

Conclusion

We will see a diesel-powered Class 230 train in service this December and it will then be possible to judge this innovative train on a fair basis.

But after the professional demonstration I saw in Scotland, I very much feel that this launch will not be handled in a sloppy way, such that it leaves a lot of disillusioned travellers.

But I am beginning to wonder, if Alstom’s  project was launched too early without real planning to gain lots of brownie points about green issues.

It is one thing to get a new train working on a test track, but passengers with their own needs and appointments to keep, add a whole new dimension.

Alstom may well not be alone, as Porterbrook seem to be having troubles with launching their innovative Class 769 train.

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

The Silent Transport Revolution

Today, I rode in two battery-powered modes of transport.

Returning from Kings Cross, I was a passenger in one of London’s new black cabs; the LEVC TX.

Earlier in the day, I’d ridden in a battery-powered version of the Class 230 train.

Both vehicles are quieter than diesel-powered versions, as is to be expected.

But what surprised me about the Class 230 train today, is that you can have a normal conversation in the train without raising your voice. The D78 trains from which the Class 230 train has been developed, weren’t that quiet.

The Class 379 BEMU, that I rode in three years ago, was also quiet.

I came back from Scotland in a Standard Class Mark 4 Coach, which was also quiet, but it is a trailer without motors and probably plenty of sound-proofing.

Does the design of a battery-electric vehicle with regenerative braking reduce the noise and vibration emitted?

The Class 230 train has an electrical system based on DC batteries and AC traction motors. So there must be aone very clever heavy electronics to manage the power. So there is orobably little in the electrical system to make the clatter one typically hears on a train. The train obviously has a mechanical brake for emergencies and to bring the train to a funal halt, but that was not used in anger on our short trip.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway

I went to Vivarail‘s demonstration of battery version of the Class 230 train, which was given at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway.

For some pictures of the original D78 Stock see Raw Material For A New Train.

So what did I think of the train?

Build Quality

From what I saw, the build quality was certainly better than that of a Pacer, which these trains could replace on some routes.

Doors

The single-leaf doors are unusual, as most London Underground stock, only has these at the ends of the cars.

But they worked successfully for nearly forty years of heavy service on the District Line, so they are probably up to the lesser rigours of service outside the Capital.

London Underground Legacy

I talked with one of the Vivarail engineers and he said, that the trains had been retired with a lot of new parts and he pointed out the quality f the floors, some of which go back decades.

It certainly seemed, that the trains could be described as having One Careful Owner.

Noise Levels

Noise levels were low, but then they were in the Class 379 BEMU, that I rode in January 2015.

Intriguingly, both trains have the same batteries, but that has nothing to do with it.

Ride

The quality of the ride was good and very much up to the standard of the S Stock that replaced the D78 Stock on the District Line.

Seats

As the pictures show, the seats of the Class 230 train are based on those of those in the D78 Stock.

The seats in the new train weren’t hard and seemed to my memory to be about the same standard as those in the older train.

So perhaps they were!

Vivarail are offering the train with different interiors, so I suspect those that pay, will get what they want.

Toilets

This train was not fitted with a toilet, but Vivarail will be fitting them to some trains.

USB Ports

There is a USB port between the seats and I was able to charge my phone, as one picture shows.

Conclusion

I think it is true to say, that this battery Class 230 train was a good start.

With more new components like seats, tables and toilets they could be impressive.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

I’m At The Vivarail Demonstration

Vivarail are demonstrating the battery version of their Ckass 230 train on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway at 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00 today.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Battery Train To Make Debut In Scotland

The title of this post is the same as this article in The Scotsman.

Vivarail are taking their demonstration battery-powered Class 230 train to the Bo’Ness and Kinneil Railway, from the 10th to the 12th of October, when members of the public have been invited to view the train.

It is an interesting marketing concept for a train.

The train will also be tested on gradients and under leaf fall conditions.

October 4, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Will There Be Hydrogen-Powered Class 230 Trains?

In the October 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article which is entitled Vivaral Delivers First Class 230.

In addition to discussing the deployment on the Marston Vale Line, the article has various sub-sections describing future plans for the Class 230 trains.

One such sub-section is entitled Isle of Hydrogen Hybrid?.

This is the first paragraph.

Vivarail is still waiting to hear whether it will receive a European Union grant to develop a hydrogen fuel cell version of the Class 230, although Mr. Shooter was hopeful confirmation of this would be received in September. The application has been made with a range of other organisations including Canadian fuel cell company Ballard.

Other points from the sub-section include.

  • The train will be a hydrogen-battery hybrid.
  • The design would be similar to the diesel-battery hybrid for the Borderlands Line.
  • The hydrogen fuel cells would be in the centre vehicle.

It is also said that hydrogen storage can’t be on the roof, due to the UK’s restrictive loading gauge.

Conclusion

At the moment, it’s just adding another prototype train to a long list of trains with a better environmental footprint.

If this train is successful, it will be a three-car independently-powered train, with no emissions and low noise, which will be ideal for a lot of routes in the UK and possibly other countries, which share out passenger loading gaue and requirements.

 

September 29, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Will Class 230 Trains Run On The Island Line?

In the October 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article which is entitled Vivaral Delivers First Class 230.

In addition to discussing the deployment on the Marston Vale Line, the article has various sub-sections describing future plans for the Class 230 trains.

One such sub-section is entitled Isle of White Next?.

This is the first paragraph.

Introduction of Class 230s on the Island Line between Ryde and Shanklin is South Western Railway operator FirstGroup’s preferred solution for the line.

Other points from the sub-section include.

Vivarail are also reported to have found a way to fit their larger trains in the Ryde Tunnel.

The picture from Wikipedia, shows a Class 483 train approaching Ryde Tunnel.

The height and width of the two trains in London Underground service are as follows.

  • Class 483 – Width 2.60 metres – Height 2.88 metres
  • Class 230 – Width 2.85 metres – Height 3.62 metres

According to the article 45 mm. of packing will be removed.

But it still could be a very tight fit.

Will The Class 230 Trains Feature Battery Operation?

A year ago in Diesel And Battery Trains Could Be The Solution For Island Line, I reported on a report in the Island Echo.

I discussed battery operation extensively and there are several benefits.

  • Energy saving through regenerative braking.
  • Health and safety
  • Lower maintenance cost.
  • Emergency train recovery.
  • The addition of a passing loop at Brading station to improve the timetable.

The line could also be extended to Ventnor station as a single-track without electrification.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Class 230 trains offer more than just a newer train with wi-fi and power sockets.

One thing puzzles me!

If Vivarail can modify London Underground D78 Stock to work on the Island Line, why wasn’t this option considered before?

 

September 29, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 4 Comments

Brand New Vivarail Train Arrives At Bletchley

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

The first Class 230 train has now been delivered to its new home at Bletchley depot for service on the Marston Vale Line.

This unlikely project finally seems to be closing in on a successful conclusion.

But then never underestimate the power of engineering!

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

Northern’s Latest Class 319 Trains

I took these pictures of the interior of a couple of Northern’s latest Class 319 trains.

The train companies certainly seem to be improving their refurbishments, as these posts show.

Personally, I hope I stick around long enough to get a ride in the following trains, that are in the line for substantial rebuilding.

And of course, I want a ride in one of Great Western Railway or ScotRail’s short-formation InterCity 125.

Will We See Any Other Substantial Rebuilds?

It would be unfair not to ask this question.

I think it would be reasonable to say that if refurbishment of the quality that has been applied to Class 319 and Class 321 trains, then train owners and their engineers could probably bring the Networkers and Voyagers, up to scratch.

If nothing else, batteries could be fitted to harness the braking energy and use if for hotel power on the train.

Bombardier have hinted, they will be doing this to Voyagers and I wrote about it in Have Bombardier Got A Cunning Plan For Voyagers?

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments