The Anonymous Widower

Shuffling The Class 165 Trains

The May 2020 Edition of Modern Railways has an article, which is entitled West Of England Improvements In GWR Deal.

The sub-title is the following.

EMU Trailers Could Be Inserted Into Turbo DMUs

GWR‘s Turbo DMUs are.

The article says, they will be internally-refreshed with interiors better suited for long-distance services.

It also looks that they might get hybrid transmissions, if a trial with a Chiltern Class 165 train is successful. In Class 165 Trains To Go Hybrid, I wrote about this trial.

The article says this about the retractioned units.

The additional power available from the new hybrid units would allow the sets to be lengthened with trailers released from withdrawn Class 365 or 465 EMUs, lengtheing two-car Turbos by one vehicle and the three-car sets to five carriages. The EMU vehicles are 20 metres long, rather than the 23 metres of the DMU design, but it is thought integration into the diesel sets would be relatively simple.

This sounds like a cunning plan, from BREL’s book of Cut-And-Paste With Trains.

At the time of writing there are nineteen Class 365 trains in storage, which could release 38 trailer cars. However, Varamis Rail may need some of these trains for their proposed parcel business, that I wrote about in Varamis Plans Electric Freight To Carry Light Goods.

If all the fifty-six trains were to be lengthened, this would need ninety-two trailer cars. So I suspect, that GWR will be awaiting the retirement of some of the 147 Class 465 trains, which are currently in service with Southeastern.

A sister company to GWR, South Western Railway is transferring thirty Class 707 trains to Southeastern. I wrote about the transfer in Southeastern Signs Deal To Lease Unwanted Class 707s. As each pair of Class 707 trains, could release two Class 465 trains containing four trailer cars, this could be the source of sufficient trailer cars to lengthen the Turbos.

This would mean that the following suitable trailer cars would be available.

  • Thirty-eight from stored Class 365 trains.
  • Sixty from Class 465 trains displaced by Class 707 trains at Southeastern.

It’s a close-run thing.

But there may be trouble ahead, as Chiltern have twenty-eight two-car and eleven three-car Class 165 trains, which would need another fifty trailer cars, if Chiltern decided to lengthen their trains in the same way as GWR.

  • There appear to be twenty-one trains or forty-two trailer cars in service with Great Northern.
  • Six trailer cars should be available from the previous swaps.

So it looks like they are one train or two trailer cars short, if they want to do a full conversion.

Unless the thirty Class 707 trains going to Southeastern, with their faster operating speed can scoot route the network faster and do the work of more than thirty Class 465 trains.

 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Varamis Plans Electric Freight To Carry Light Goods

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in Issue 902 of Rail Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Freight trains using electric multiple units could be operating on the East Coast Main Line by the end of the year, in plans unveiled by Varamis Rail.

This is their promotional video.

From the video and the Rail Magazine article, the following can be ascertained.

The Route

From the video, the basic route is circular and the concept is explained in the article, by Phil Read; the Managing Director of Varamis Rail.

Our vision is to create a circular network around the UK via both the East Coast Main Line and West Coast Main Line, with a stop/go method of service delivery serving major towns and cities en route.

And we could move goods in both directions.

Longer term, there could be extensions to Bristol and South Wales and into East Anglia.

Note.

  1. From the video is looks like the main loop will start and finish in London.
  2. Trains on the main loop will call at Doncaster, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Carlisle, Manchester and Birmingham.
  3. Varamis have said they will stick to electrified lines.

I like the concept of the route.

  • It covers a lot of the country.
  • It can be easily extended.
  • Extra stops could be easily added. Darlington, Leeds, Peterborough, Preston and Reading come to mind.

With dual-voltage trains, it could even be extended South of London.

The Trains And The Organisation

Varamis are certainly looking to keep the operation efficient and low-cost. This is said about the trains.

The plan is to remove all the internal furnishings in the umits we lease utilise them without altering any of the loading or dynamic characteristics that the trains had when formerly used as passenger trains. I’m in discussions with rolling stock leasing companies and the DfT at present to lease the trains.

The DfT owns all 40 Class 365 trains.

In addition, the following is said.

  • Maintenance would be outsourced, with one of two likely companies.
  • Operations Director will be appointed soon.
  • Company headquarters would be in Doncaster.
  • Varamis will employ all their own staff, including drivers, fitters and logistics operators.

A small point is that Phil Read has worked for the Rail Operations Group.

Class 365 Trains

Class 365 trains have the following characteristics.

  • Four cars
  • Up to three trains can be coupled together.
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Two pairs of wide double doors on the side of each car.
  • They are not a train with a reputation for unreliability.

This is a picture of a Class 365 train.

Note.

  1. They could probably be converted to dual-voltage, by adding third-rail gear.
  2. The trains could probably be made available at short-notice.

The company talks about an end-on cross-transfer system at their hubs, where goods can be moved through the train.

I will be interested to see what this means, but I suspect it will give a quick and easy transfer of pallets of goods between trains and the trucks doing the local delivery.

Green Logistics

Varamis are marketing their services as Green Logistics.

Conclusion

As someone, who needed this sort of system in the early days of Metier to distribute new copies of the Artemis software, I think the service will fulfil a large need.

I said earlier that I like the concept of the route.

But thinking about it more, I suspect it can be very easily extended.

  • Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton could be served by dual-voltage trains.
  • Could for instance a hub in Edinburgh, distribute pallets and parcels to and from the North of Scotland?
  • Could bi-mode trains serve the towns and cities on the Midland Main Line?
  • A connection to Heathrow would be very valuable.

A large proportion of the country could be connected.

If it existed now, would it help in the fight against COVID-19?

 

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Class 365 Trains To The Rescue

I had intended to get a ride on a new Class 385 train, but I only caught a glimpse of one going the other way, from a Class 365 train, that I used both ways between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Passengers seemed to be quite happy with the Class 365 trains cascaded from the Cambridge Cruiser.

I really think that Hitachi have got their production of the Class 385 trains, seriously wrong here.

The body shells are made in Japan and then sent to Newton Aycliffe by sea. This must be an easy way to ensure a slow production of trains.

Bombardier make the body shells in the same factory as they design and assemble the trains.

Even if CAF make their body shells in Spain, that is a much shorter and probably more reliable journey.

I must admit if I was the CEO of a train operating company, I wouldn’t buy a Hitachi train.

But then Tony Blair only wanted a new factory, close to his constituency!

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Queen Street Station – August 10th 2018

I took these pictures as I passed through Glasgow Queen Street station.

Note the four-car InterCity 125 in the station, testing and training staff for new services to Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Perth and Stirling.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s New Railway Race

There have been  five railway races involving Scotland over the years.

This article in Rail Engineer is entitled Full Glasgow To Edinburgh Electric Service In July.

The article suggests this could be another railway race with Scotland involved.

In the red corner are the devious English, who are entering a series of redundant Class 365 trains, that nobody else wants.

  • They are thirty-year-old trains
  • They were built by British Rail.
  • To improve their relationship with drivers, WAGN fitted them with cab air-conditioning. Marketing then named them Happy-Train, as the air-conditioning inlet, had given them a smile.
  • It has also been rumoured that their class number was chosen to give the air of year-round reliability.

To gain an advantage, the first train was actually sneaked into Glasgow by road, as no-one was sure that they could fit the routes to Scotland.

To get the trains ready for Scotland, work is being done by the German company; Knorr-Bremse Rail Services at Springburn in Glasgow.

The Scottish entry in the blue corner, is the Hitachi Class 385 train, which is manufactured mainly in Japan and screwed together at Newton-Aycliffe.

Unfortunately, the train was designed for drivers with Asian eyesight and the curved windows in the cabs, give unreliable images at night, with the average Scottish driver, even if they’ve been training hard on Irn-Bru!

It is hoped that new windscreens will be approved for use soon!

So the race is on to see who can get their train into service first.

As to the verdict on which train is better, I think we could be seeing a split decision.

Glasgow will prefer one train and Edinburgh will prefer the other!

 

 

 

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

The Scotsman Gives A Warm Welcome To The Class 365 Trains

This article on the Scotsman is entitled New ScotRail Trains To Ease Crush On Edinburgh-Glasgow Line.

The article also has a rather interesting picture of a lorry-mounted train negotiating heavy traffic in Glasgow.

It broadly welcomes the Class 365 trains, and this is a comment from a rail group.

Andrew Stephen, of rail lobby group RailQwest and the Cumbernauld Commuters Association, said: “The Class 365s are perfectly serviceable and comfortable trains – and it is fortunate more than a few four-car sets are available.”

The article also confirms that ten trains will be going North.

As there are a total of forty of the Class 365 trains, that will be replaced by Class 387 trains and new Class 700 trains, I wonder where the others will be deployed.

 

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

ScotRail Hires In Class 365s For Glasgow-Edinburgh Route

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

This is the first paragraph.

Three Class 365s have been leased by ScotRail, with more to follow. They will be used on an interim basis on the Edinburgh-Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High route while windscreen modifications are made to Class 385s

The Class 365 trains may have been delivered in 1995, but they are no scrapyard specials.

I recently rode one to Cambridge and although some things are dated, the ride is good and they are 100 mph trains, just like the Class 385 trains.

Wikipedia and others reckon that as many as ten trains will go to Crossrail.

How Do The Trains Compare?

The trains are of different generations but how do they compare?

Train Length

On the major route, between Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is intended to run Class 385 trains as seven-car trains formed by a three-car Class 385/0 train

and a four-car Class 385/1 train. As the cars are twenty-three metres long, that gives a train length of 161 metres.

Each four-car Class 365 train is 81.9 metres long, so an eight-car unit would be  just under 164 metres.

I doubt that three metres would cause too many platform-length problems.

Capacity

The capacity of a three-car Class 385/0 is 206 seats, so I suspect a four-car Class 385/1 would seat around 275. This would give a total capacity for the seven-car train of 481 seats.

I can’t find the capacity of a Class 365 train, but it has 2 +2 seating and a fair sprinkling of tables, so I suspect the capacity of the two different formations is not that different.

Operating Speed

Both trains have a 100 mph operating speed.

Passenger Comfort

I suspect that the Class 385 trains will be more to the standard ciustomers expect, wth wi-fi and power sockets and probably more tables.

But the Class 365 trains are one of the better 100 mph long-distance commuter trains, rating above Thameslink’s new Class 700 trains and below the Class 387 train.

Conclusion

The Class 365 trains will make quality substitutes.

May 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment