The Anonymous Widower

Alstom And Eversholt Rail Develop Hydrogen Train For Britain

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the International Rail Journal.

This is the first paragraph.

Alstom confirmed on September 11 that it is working with British rolling stock leasing company Eversholt Rail to refit class 321 EMUs with hydrogen tanks and fuel cells for hydrogen operation, in response to the British government’s challenge to eliminate diesel operation on the national network by 2040.

Other points about the conversion of Class 321 trains include.

  • Alstom will convert trains in batches of fifteen.
  • The first trains could be ready by 2021.
  • Up to a hundred trains could be converted..
  • A range of up to 1000 km on a tank of hydrogen.
  • A maximum speed of 160 kph.

The article also suggests that the Tees Valley Line and Liverpool to Widnes could be two routes for the trains.

A few points of my own.

  • Fifteen is probably a suitable batch size considering how Class 769 trains have been ordered.
  • Hydrogen is produced in both areas for the possible routes and could be piped to the depots.
  • In Runcorn it is plentiful supply from the chlorine cell rooms of INEOS and that company is thinking of creating a pipeline network to supply the hydrogen to users with high energy needs.
  • As the maximum speed of the hydrogen train is the same as the current Class 321 trains, I would suspect that it is likely that the hydrogen-powered train will not have an inferior performance.
  • I’ve now travelled in Class 321 Renatus trains on three occasions and in common with several passengers I’ve spoken to, I like them.
  • I hope the Class 321 Hydrogen trains have as good an interior!

I very much feel that there is a good chance that the Class 321 Hydrogen could turn out to be a good train, powered by a fuel, that is to a large extent, is an unwanted by-product of the chemical industry.

A Comparison Between The Alstom Coradia iLint And The Class 321 Hydrogen

It is difficult for me to compare the Alstom Coeadia iLint or even a bog-standard iLint , as I’ve never rode in either.

Hopefully, I’ll ride the iLint in the next few weeks.

The following statistics are from various sources on the Internet

  • Cars – 321 – 4 – iLint – 2
  • Electric Operation – 321 – Yes – iLint – Not Yet!
  • Loading Gauge – 321 – UK – iLint – European
  • Operating Speed – 321 – 160 kph – iLint – 140 kph
  • Range – 321 – 1000 km. – iLint – 500-800 km.
  • Seats – 321 – 309 – iLint – 150-180

Although the Class 321 Hydrogen will be a refurbished train and the iLint will be new, I suspect passengers will just both trains as similar, given the experience with refurbished trains in the UK.

In some ways, they are not that different in terms of performance and capacity per car.

But the Class 321 Hydrogen does appear to have one big advantage – It can run at up to 160 kph on a suitable electrified line, This ability also means the following.

  • Hydrogen power is not the sole way of charging the battery.
  • On some routes, where perhaps a twenty kilometre branch line, which is not electrified, is to be served, the train might work as a battery-electric train.
  • A smaller capacity hydrogen power unit could be fitted for charging the battery, when the train is turned back at a terminal station and for rescuing trains with a flat battery.
  • The depot and associated filling station, doesn’t have to be where the trains run most of their passenger services.

I also suspect that a Class 321 hydrogen could run on the UK’s third-rail network after modification, if required.

If you were an operator choosing between the two trains, you would probably find that because of your location, there would be a strong preference for one of the two trains.

I also doubt we’ll see iLints running in the UK because of the loading gauge problem.

Will the platform height scupper the running of Class 321 Hydrogen trains in Europe?

In Riding Docklands Light Railway Trains In Essen, I reported on seeing redundant Docklands Light Railway trains running in Essen.

For this reason, I wouldn’t totally rule out Class 321 Hydrogen trains invading Europe!

 

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

More Thoughts On Aberdeen Crossrail

In A Crossrail For Aberdeen, I put down my initial thoughts for Aberdeen Crossrail.

Now that I’ve been to Aberdeen and travelled on most of the Aberdeen Crossrail route between Inverurie and Montrose stations, I can add more thoughts.

I shall express my thoughts in generally a Southerly direction.

Inverurie Station

Currently, this is a two-platform station on a passing loop.

This picture gives a flavour of the station, which is Grade B Listed.

You can just see, the rather elderly iron footbridge across the tracks.

I suspect that platform usage will be as follows.

  • Platform 1 – All through trains to and from the West and Inverness.
  • Platform 2 – All trains starting or terminating at Inverurie.

If platform 2 is to be in regular use, then there will be pressure to improve the footbridge.

Double Track From Inverurie To Aberdeen

Most of this section seems to be single track, with passing loops at Inverurie and Dyce stations.

The only difficult bit is probably where the track goes under the new Aberdeen Western By-Pass.

This Google Map shows where they cross to the West of Dyce station.

The difficulty is not the engineering, but the insolvency of Carrilion, who were the contractor for the road.

Dyce Station

These pictures show Dyce station, where I changed from train to bus.

I’m pretty sure that once the track is complete, Dyce station will only need a small amount of work.

Aberdeen Station

Aberdeen station is not only a transport hub with a bus station, but it is also connected directly to the Union Square development.

It is certainly ready for Aberdeen Crossrail.

InterCity 125s

In my travels up and down between, Aberdeen, Montrose, Stonehaven and Dundee, it surprised me, how many journeys were made on an InterCity 125.

I’ve read somewhere, that one of the reasons, ScotRail are bringing in shortened InterCity 125s, is that passengers tend to use these faster trains on journeys like those between Stonehaven and Aberdeen.

Although the shorterned InterCity 125s will be limited to 100 mph, their bags of grunt, will mean good acceleration and surely faster times between Aberdeen and Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

Trains For Aberdeen Crossrail

I timed the InterCity 125s at 100 mph on large sections of the route between Aberdeen and Montrose, as this picture of the SpeedView App on my phone shows.

I think this means, that any trains working passenger services on the Edinburgh-Aberdeen and Glasgow-Aberdeen Lines must be capable of continuous operation at 100 mph.

As Wikipedia gives the operating speeds of both lines as being this figure, it does appear that Aberdeen Crossrail will be a fast local service, very much in line with the performance of services from London to Basingstoke, Brighton, Chelmsford and Oxford.

Initially, I suspect that ScotRail will be using Class 170 trains to provide the stopping service on Aberedeen Crossrail. Class 158 trains could also provide the service, but their 90 mph operating speed may not be enough.

ScotRail certainly have enough Class 170 trains, but I suspect that running two-car trains between Montrose and Inverurie stations, which stop everywhere will not have enough capacity. So a pair of trains will need to be used for each service.

In A Crossrail for Aberdeen, I said this under Frequency Issues.

The route of Inverrurie to Montrose has been deliberately chosen.

  • Inverurie to Aberdeen takes around 23 minutes.
  • Montrose to Aberdeen takes around 35 minutes.

So with slightly faster trains and line speed, than currently used, it should be possible for a train to go from Inverurie to Montrose and back in two hours to include a few minutes to turn the train round.

A two hour round trip means that a train leaving Inverurie at say 06:00 in the morning, will if all goes well, be back in Inverurie to form the 08:00 train.

How convenient is that?

This means that one tph will need two trains, two trph will need four trains and four tph will need eight trains.

These figures would be doubled if four-car trains were to be run on the route.

I feel that four-car trains will be needed on all services on Aberdeen Crossrail, if some of the passenger loading I saw, were to increase. As it surely will do, if they have a more convenient and much better quality service.

Passengers will also see the lots of seats on the shortened InterCity 125s, speeding past and will want some of that.

Two two-car trains working as a four-car train can provide the capacity, but in my view they are not what passengers want, as they can’t circulate in the train to find a preferred seat.

I also think, that at least two tph should run between Montrose and Inverurie stopping at all stations.

This would require four four-car trains.

ScotRail doesn’t at present have any suitable four-car trains.

Will It Be Hydrogen Trains For Aberdeen Crossrail?

Trains will need to be independently powered, as I think it unlikely that the route will be electrified.

I’m sure that CAF, Stadler or another manufacturer, will be happy to supply a small fleet of four-car diesel trains.

But would Abellio want to introduce more diesel trains, when they have enough Class 170 trains to provide a pretty good four-car service

Class 769 trains, which are bi-mode could be used, but they only do around 90 mph on diesel.

I am led to the conclusion, that the only suitable train available to a reasonable time-scale will be Alstom’s proposed conversion of a Class 321 train, running on hydrogen.

  • The trains are capable of 100 mph using electric power.
  • I would be very surprised if these trains couldn’t do 100 mph on hydrogen power.
  • The new interiors fitted under the Renatus project, are a quality upgrade, as I said in A Class 321 Renatus.
  • The trains could be available from 2020.

There is plenty of wind in the Aberdeen area to generate the hydrogen.

Conclusion

Aberdeen Crossrail will become a two trains per hour service using four-car trains.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those trains are Alstom’s Class 321 trains, powered by hydrogen.

August 15, 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

A Class 321 Renatus

I finally got to ride in a Class 321 Renatus today.

Quite frankly I was impressed.

  • The seats were more comfortable than those in a Class 700 train.
  • There was wi-fi.
  • There were plugs to charge a phone or a laptop everywhere.
  • There was air-conditioning.
  • There was a new Universal Access Toilet.
  • There was new lighting.

Generally, the trains also seemed to have more space.

Will Alstom’s hydrogen-powered version of the Class 321 train have interiors as good as these?

July 25, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 3 Comments