The Anonymous Widower

Latest On The New London Overground Class 710 Trains

The August 2018 Edition of Modern Railways has a two-page article on the latest on the new Class 710 trains for the London Overground.

Seating Arrangement

Wikipedia says this about the seating.under Background And Specifications.

The units will be delivered in two sub-classes; an AC-only version with longitudinal and transverse seating (very similar to the S8 units on the Metropolitan line of the London Underground) for use on the West Anglia and Romford-Upminster services, and a dual-voltage version with longitudinal seating for the Watford DC and GOBLIN services.

But it now appears that all the seats on the trains will be longitudinal ones.

I use the current trains a lot to go to Walthamstow and I also use the Class 378 trains, which have longitudinal seats, frequently on the North and East London Lines of the Overground.

I probably aren’t bothered too much about longitudinal seats, but I suspect there will be others who will complain.

This discussion of RailForums is entitled Annoying Things About The Class 378. Search for “seat” and you don’t find many complaints about the longitudinal seating, which is also used on much of the Underground.

On the other hand, if all the trains have identical interiors, this must save on construction and maintenance costs.

If the interiors are basically similar to the Class 378 trains, it must also save on staff training costs.

I actually think, that the biggest complaint will not be about the new trains, but why don’t the older Class 378 trains have wi-fi and USB charging points!

Eight-Car Trains On West Anglia Routes

The article also states that services on West Anglia routes to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town stations will work as eight-car trains or a pair of four-car trains.

If they are always working in pairs, why not build them as eight-car trains in the first place?

In A Detailed Layout Drawing For A Class 345 Train, I said that the formation of a Class 345 train for Crossrail is as follows.

DMS+PMS+MS1+MS3+TS(W)+MS3+MS2+PMS+DMS

Note.that the train is composed of two identical half-trains, which are separated by the TS(W) car.

As the Modern Railways article says that these trains are to be the last to be delivered, would it not be sensible to fully understand the four-car units and then decide if instead of pairs of four-car units, they were built as eight-cars.

Consider.

  • Trains would be formed of identical four-car half-trains.
  • An eight-car Class 710 train would be nearly fifty metres shorter than a nine-car Class 345 train.
  • Passengers would be able to walk through the whole train.
  • Passengers can position themselves for their best exit at their destination station.
  • Would passenger security be better on a train, where passengers could walk all the way through?
  • I have seen drivers on Class 345 trains change ends inside the train
  • Aventras and other modern trains are fitted with intelligent control systems, that determine the number and type of the intermediate cars in the train.
  •  Two Driving Motor Standard Cars (DMS) would be replaced with simpler Trailer Standard (TS) or Motor Standard (MS) cars.
  • The choice of a TS or MS car would depend partly on performance issues, which could be tested with the earlier four-car trains.
  • Building and maintenance cost savings by reducing the number of driving cars, must be possible.
  • Capacity could be increased by adding cars in the middle, if platforms were long enough!
  • Would providing overnight stabling for fifteen eight-car trains be easier than for thirty four-car trains?

It should also be noted, Cheshunt station has a very long platform without a roof. Passengers could walk to the front of the train inside a warm dry train. This already happens with the Class 378 trains at Highbury & Islington station.

Romford-Upminster Shuttle

The Modern Railways article says this about the service on the Romford-Upminster Line.

TfL is still considering whether to utilise a ‘710’ on the Romford to Upminster shuttle or to retain an older unit for the line.

I wrote about this in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line, after this article in London Reconnections, which is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated,   said that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

I came to this conclusion.

If it is decided that a Class 315 train is to be used on the Romford to Upminster Line, I believe that the service could be marketed as a quirky heritage unit, that in conjunction with its main purpose of providing a public service, could also be used for other education, training, marketing, innovation and research purposes.

Eversholt Rail Group might even shift a few redundant Class 315 trains!

Why not?

Chingford Upgrades

The Modern Railways article says this.

A £7million investment has seen the stabling facility at Chingford upgraded, including the addition of an AVIS-scanner here as well.

These pictures show the investment.

With the Automatic Vehicle Inspection System (AVIS), Chingford is becoming more than a stabling facility.

Note the large maintenance structure, so that trains can be worked on in the dry.

A Few Questions Of My Own

I have a few of my own questions.

If The Thirty Four-Car Trains For West Anglia Routes Are Converted To Eight-Cars, What Happens To The Spare Driving Motor Cars?

If the thirty four-car trains are converted to fifteen eight-car trains, it appears to me that Bombardier could  have at best many of the long-lead components for thirty Driving Motor Standard (DMS) cars. At worst, they would have thirty DMS cars for Class 710 trains.

But London Overground will have need for a few more trains in a few years.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I showed this London Overground table of improvements.

LO Improvements

Note that two extra tph are proposed on the Liverpool Street to Enfield Town service. I calculate, that this would need another two Class 710 Trains.

Similarly, to add two tph to the Liverpool Street to Cheshunt service, would appear to need another three trains.

The Mayor is also looking favourably at creating the West London Orbital Railway.

I estimate that the two proposed routes would need around four trains each to provide a four tph service, if they could be run using dual-voltage Class 710 trains with a range of perhaps ten miles on battery power.

What Is Happening About The Hall Farm Curve?

I heard from someone, who should know, that the Hall Farm Curve and the Coppermill Curve will be reinstated.

These curves would allow the following.

  •  A direct service between Chingford/Walthamstow and Stratford.
  • Better access to the upgraded stabling at Chingford.

But I think these curves would be invaluable in maintaining services, during the construction of Crossrail 2.

Will A Bay Platform Be Developed At Lea Bridge Station?

I also wonder if a bay platform will be developed at Lea Bridge station, which would enable a four tph service to be run between Lea Bridge and Chingford stations, if Chingford Branch trains couldn’t get into Liverpool Street station, because of construction works.

I certainly feel that the curves connecting the lines at Coppermill Junction will have a major part to play in the development of East London’s railways.

 

 

 

July 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line

The Romford To Upminster Line is slated to get a brand-new Class 710 train to work the two trains per hour shuttle.

This article in London Reconnections, which is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated,   says that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

This would mean a new Class 710 train could be deployed elsewhere, where its performance and comfort levels would be more needed.

Surely, a single Class 315 train, would be enough capacity for the line and a lot cheaper than a new Class 710 train! Provided of course, that it was reliable, comfortable and could maintain the current service.

A Heritage Unit

Why not market the train, as an updated heritage unit?

  • It could be painted in British Rail livery from the 1980s.
  • It would have wi-fi!
  • It might have an information car, describing the history of the line and the area.
  • It might even have a coffee kiosk!

It would be very much a quirky train to asttract regular passengers and even tourists.

But of course, it would be run as professionally as any other train on the network.

An Educational Purpose

I feel strongly, as do many in education, that not enough people are choosing subjects like engineering as a career.

Could it be used to show that engineering and particularly rail engineering could be a worthwhile career move?

Surely, it could also be used for training staff!

A Technology Or Capability Demonstrator

Eversholt Rail Group own sixty-one of these Class 315 trains, which although they are nearly forty-years old, don’t seem to feature much on BBC London’s travel reports.

They are reportedly destined for the scrapyard, but if they were to show they could still perform after a refurbishment, they might find a paying application somewhere.

Research

Regularly, innovations are suggested for the railway, but often finding somewhere to test them can be difficult.

However, as the Romford to Upminster Line is an electrified single-track line without signalling, the line is about as simple as you can get.

So supposing a company wanted to test how a sensitive electronic instrument behaved on a moving vehicle, this could be done without any difficulty.

Conclusion

If it is decided that a Class 315 train is to be used on the Romford to Upminster Line, I believe that the service could be marketed as a quirky heritage unit, that in conjunction with its main purpose of providing a public service, could also be used for other education, training, marketing, innovation and research purposes.

Eversholt Rail Group might even shift a few redundant Class 315 trains!

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Are Crossrail And Bombardier Having Us On?

A rail journalist sent me this sentence in an e-mail.

Everyone who’s been on a 345 tells me it takes half its time at stations waiting for the timetable to catch up.

So it would appear that they are saving time at each stop.

Liverpool Street To Shenfield

Currently, this twelve stop journey takes 43 minutes in a 75 mph Class 315 train.

It is also scheduled at 45 minutes in the 10:35 service, which is run by a Class 345 train.

The journey time calculator for Crossrail gives 41 minutes.

This works out at a saving of just  ten seconds a stop.

Paddington To Reading

Currently, this nine stop journey takes 60 minutes in a 90 mph Class 165 train.

Crossrail will call at five more stations

The journey time calculator for Crossrail gives 49 minutes.

This works out at a saving of forty-seven seconds a stop.

Reading To Shenfield

Currently, the fastest this journey can be done is 103 minutes with two changes and the Underground between Paddington and Liverpool Street.

The journey time calculator on Crossrail gives 102 minutes.

Liverpool Street To Paddington

Currently, this journey rakes 21 minutes on the Circle Line,

The journey time calculator on Crossrail gives 10 minutes.

Conclusion

These figures don’t make sense.

  1. More time is predicted to be saved on the Reading branch.
  2. The current trains are faster on the Reading branch.
  3. I would assume that the current Class 345 train to Shenfield is timed at 45 minutes for scheduling reasons or in case something goes wrong.
  4. The Shenfield to Liverpool Street times seem to be based on the current timetable with a minute taken off.
  5. The Reading to Shenfield times can’t be right.

I do wonder if the figures in the journey time calculator on the Crossrail web site are the best estimate that could be made, when the web site was created.

Now, that an Aventra is running, they are not very good estimates.

 

 

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

How’s The Overground To Enfield Town Doing?

In Transport for London Do The Sensible Thing, I said this.

Various news items on the Overground like this story in the Enfield Independent, have been reporting that the Class 315 and Class 317 Trains on the Lea Valley Lines are not very reliable.  I’ve read somewhere that they are spending up to two million pounds to get them running better.

So I thought I had better go and check to see how the lines to Enfield were doing, by taking the train to Enfield Town from Hackney Downs and then walking to Enfield Chase to get a Class 313 train back home.

The pictures show the following.

1. An eight-car Class 315 train was working one of the last of the rush-hour services into Liverpool Street. So hopefully, London Overground have now got all services back up to their correct length.

2. Most trains I saw seemed to have a London Overground roundel on the side, even if they weren’t repainted.

3. I travelled out to Enfield Town in a very clean eight-car Class 317 train, that had been upgraded for the Stansted Express with tables, luggage racks and First Class. When was Enfield Town last served by a train so luxurious? In some ways it’s a waste, as surely there are other places, where as soon as the replacement Class 378 trains arrive, these old Stansted Expresses could be more gainfully employed.

Perhaps, they could serve Glasgow Airport? But then the Scots would complain, that they were getting London’s clapped-out second-hand trains. I noticed as I left that the train had had a full service in September last year. Old they may be, but they are far from scrapyard-ready! I suppose an old Mark 3-based train, is still a Mark 3-based train, with all the strength and ride quality that means.

4. In the meantime, this Class 317 train, is probably doing a good job in pacifying the natives of Enfield.

5. After my walk through Enfield Town centre, I got on a Class 313 train to get back to London. Now that is a clapped-out train and I wonder how many passengers for London from Enfield are thinking about changing their point of departure for London. If you commute and have a Freedom Pass, this is now unrestricted from Enfield Town, so this must have an effect on commuting pstterns.

6. I took the picture of the pantograph on the Class 313 train, as this is a special job, so that the trains can run in the restricted tunnels to Moorgate. It only needs to fold away very snuggly, as that section of line uses third rail for its electricity.

I will ask this question, about what I saw.

London Overground have put an option for 249 extra vehicles in the order for the Class 378 trains, as I reported in Have Transport for London Other Plans For The Overground?

So will some of these optional vehicles in the Class 378 order end up working the Great Northern lines into Moorgate and Kings Cross?

They have a lot going for them.

1. They are certified for working in tunnels, as on the East London Line, they run sixteen times each hour both ways through the Thames Tunnel.

2. There is a dual-voltage variant of the Class 378 train.

3. There would be the problem of designing a new pantograph well and certifying them for the Great Northern tunnel, but that is not as great a task as designing a whole new class of train.

It would probably be a special variant of the Class 378 train, but it hopefully, it would not be a difficult design to create.

We can do a little calculation on where the 249 extra vehicles might go.

Various documents show that by 2030, London Overground wants to be running six-car trains on the North and East London Lines. So if the existing fleet was all made six car, that would probably need 63 vehicles, as there are 57 trains on the system currently and another six are on order.

If we assume that Transport for London’s other target, the Dartford Lines, comes with some fairly new trains, this may or may not use up some of those options.

Taking the 63 off the 249 gives us 186 vehicles, which leaves 186, which can be 62 three-car trains or 46 four-car ones, with a few vehicles left over. Intriguingly, they could also be configured as 31 six-car trains.

So how many trains would be needed? At present the line is worked by 44 3-car trains. So if it was deemed that under London Overground, the service would be as now, there would be plenty of vehicles.

But as I pointed out, 186 vehicles gives us 31 six-car trains. Wikipedia states that the tunnels to Moorgate will accept trains of this length, so would it be a simple decision to make all the Great Northern trains six-car to turn the service into a higher-capacity, seven days a week, Metro service? As this would be a distinct variant, they might even be given a bit more performance to ease them along the East Coast Main Line to Hitchin. After all other members of the family to which a Class 378 belongs are 100 mph as opposed to 75 mph trains.

Running six-car walk-through trains into Morgate, rather than two three-car ones coupled together, gets rid of one of the restrictions of running in tunnels, which insists that passengers can walk through the train to get out in case of trouble.

So the more I look at this, the more I think, that Transport for London has an option on trains to work the Great Northern services.

As Transport for London have said, they might like to take over some of the inner Thameslink services, I suspect that the flies on the wall in meetings between Govia Thameslink Railway and Transport for London will have interesting tales to tell.

 

June 22, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Looks Like 315817 Is The Prototype Overground Class 315 Train

Since Sunday, I’ve ridden on quite a few Class 315 trains, both of the Overground and TfL Rail. Although, I saw 315817 on Monday at Enfield Town station, I hadn’t got a chance to ride in one that as one the Overground’s managers had told me, had spent ten days in the maintenance shop being cleaned, painted and dressed. Today, there had been overhead line problems, so what should turn up at Hackney Downs station after a longer than usual wait, but 315817.

In my view, the design of the new livery is good and the ten days in the shop were well spent.

Good points include.

1. Getting rid of the awful pink!

2. Cleverly adapting the Class 378 colours and fabric, so that costs of the refurbishment are minimised.

3. The new Tube-style route map and the cut down central Tube map. Harry Beck, Frank Pick et. al., set down a good set of rules.

4. Affordable seat refurbishment on the original frames.

When the train arrived at Liverpool Street, I noted it was an eight-car train, with an unrefurbished unit in tandem with 315817. But then eight-car trains are used quite regularly on Lea Valley Lines services in the peak periods.

So it would appear that if business becomes too much for four-car trains, London Overground will just couple them together and make them 8-car trains, thus avoiding the problems of success on the North and East London Lines.

And there is probably no shortage of Class 315 trains, with London Overground having seventeen of them and TfL Rail forty-four.

I do suspect though, that 315817 is probably the only train that has so far been refurbished. I look forward to see the rest as they trickle through.

June 2, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

TfL Rail’s Newly-Repainted Class 315 Trains

Until the delivery of Crossrail’s new Class 345 trains in a few years, TfL Rail will have to make do with the current Class 315 trains.

In the interim, they have given them a repaint.

As you can see, they are also removing the dreaded pink plastic, that I so dislike.

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

It’s Not Just An Elderly, White Male Prejudice

I find the pink, plastic interiors of British Rails Class 315, 317 and 319 trains not too my taste but I’ve always thought it was to do with being elderly, white and male.

The Pink Interior Of A Class 315 Train

The Pink Interior Of A Class 315 Train

But after a trip on a Class 315 train today, where I took this picture, I think there are others who think that the colour choice was that of a fifth-rate designer, who had some rather unusual preferences. An Asian lady in her twenties saw me take the picture and when I told her why, she wholeheartedly agreed with my opinion.

It is interesting to note, that all refurbishments of these trains in recent years have removed the pink plastic.

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Enfield Town Is Almost Ready For Boris

I went through Enfield and Enfield Town station this morning before nine thirty. I used my Freedom Pass, which of course I couldn’t have done before the Overground takeover.

Apart from the 307 bus from Oakwood tube station, that I used to get to Enfield, which still thought National Rail was in charge, there didn’t seem to be too much to fault.

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Wandering On Day One Of The New Overground And TfL Rail

Today was the first official day of the addition of the Lea Valley Lines to the Overground and the first day that the Shenfield Metro was being run by TfL Rail. I went for a couple of wanders and these are some of the pictures I took.

There were a couple of problems in that the there weren’t enough drivers at TfL Rail for whatever reason and the Romford to Upminster branch of the Overground wasn’t working.

May 31, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment