The Anonymous Widower

Could Class 800/801 Trains Work Southeastern Highspeed Services?

Southeastern Highspeed services are run by Class 395 trains.

These trains are capable of the following.

  1. 140 mph running on HS1.
  2. Running on third-rail lines.
  3. Joining and separating in under a couple of minutes.

As the electric Class 801 trains are also members of Hitachi’s A-train family, I’m sure that they could built to a similar specification.

  • The trains are capable of 140 mph on suitable lines.
  • Rhird-rail gear can probably be easily added.
  • The joining and separating is in the specification.

So I think the answer to my question must be in the afformative.

November 10, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Filming Trains On Rochester Bridge

This weekend, I’ve been involved in helping a Japanese company take video of Class 395 trains for one of their corporate clients.

These pictures show the filming at Rochester on the magnificent Rochester Bridge over the River Medway.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Filiming Trains At Rochester

I took these pictures at Rochester.

The station is new, as the last picture shows.

I filmed from the North side of the station from a probable development site, where people were working dogs and jogging.

The camera was a top of the range Nikon Coolpix

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Highspeed to Hastings

Since I wrote Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Highspeed To Hastings, a couple of months ago, several things have happened.

And Now There Are Three!

Trenitalia has pulled out of bidding for the new Southeastern franchise as reported in this article in the International Rail Journal.

This leaves just three bidders.

  • A joint venture of Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui
  • Govia
  • Stagecoach

The same joint venture were recently awarded the West Midlands franchise.

The new franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with services starting in December 2018.

Electrification Has Been Abandoned

Major electrification schemes have been abandoned, so I suspect it will be even more unlikely that Ashford to Hastings will be electrified.

The Aventras Are Coming

Class 345 trains have started to appear on Crossrail and it is my opinion that they are a fine train.

In An Exciting New Aventra, I laid out the philosophy of the new trains and in How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?, I discussed how Bombardier will build the trains, at a rate of twenty-five carriages a month.

The rate comes from this article in The Guardian, which is entitled Full speed ahead for train builders as minister pulls plug on electrification, where I found this useful nugget of information, from the General Manager of Bombardier’s Derby plant.

Building trains in an “ergonomically correct” fashion, he says, means completing and testing the carriage’s constituent parts, then assembling them, rather than wiring them up afterwards – and also takes the risk away from a production line which boasts a rate of 25 carriages per week.

It sounds like Bombardier’s engineers have been drinking and swapping ideas, with Toyota’s production engineers a few miles down the road at Burnaston.

The New South Eastern Franchise

So do we have any clues as to what the new South Eastern franchise will be doing?

South Western Railway

South Western Railway‘s routes have a similar pattern to those of the South Eastern franchise, with an intense suburban network and longer distance services.

You could also argue that Greater Anglia isn’t much different.

Both these other franchises have are replacing their suburban trains with new 100 mph trains with all the trimming like wi-fi and toilets.

Both have chosen a mix of five and ten-car Aventras.

This would appear to give the following advantages.

  • The 100 mph trains with excellent acceleration and smooth regenerative braking help to make services faster and more frequent.
  • A near identical fleet will help maintenance and crew training.
  • It is easier to get the train-platform interface better, if only one class of train calls at a station.
  • Platform compatibility with Crossrail and Crossrail 2.

I suspect that the new South Eastern franchise will think on similar lines.

The Networkers Must Be Going

Southeastern currently has a total of 674 Networker carriages, most of which will surely be moved on by the new franchise holder.

I believe that these trains with their 75 mph speed and average performance, is not high enough for efficient timetabling of services and that consequently the new franchise holder will probably replace these trains with 100 mph units.

One choice would be to use a mix of new five and ten-car Aventras as chosen by Greater Anglia and South Western Railway. Replacing Networker carriages with the same number of Aventra carriages would take around six months of production at Bombardier.

The Aventras must be high on the list of new trains, as some of the new trains, may have to use the same platforms as Crossrail, if the line is extended from Abbey Wood station.

The Extra High Speed Trains

To serve Hastings and increase the number of Highspeed services, the new franchise holder, will have to obtain some more trains that can use High Speed 1.

Some of these trains will need the ability to travel on the Marshlink Line between Ashford and Hastings.

Consider.

  • It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to have two different types of trains working to Ashford on High Speed 1.
  • Class 800 trains, which are closely related to the Class 395 trains have onboard diesel power and might have energy storage to handle regenerative braking.
  • Class 395 trains are getting towards ten years old and are approaching the need for a refresh.
  • Hitachi have built trains with onboard energy storage in Japan.
  • Diesel fuel might not be allowed in the tunnels of High Speed 1.
  • Hitachi would probably be very disappointed to not get this order.

More Class 395 trains fitted with either onboard energy storage must be the favourite.

Conclusion

Kent will get Aventras to improve suburban services and more Class 395 trains with batteries for Highspeed services.

 

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Automatic Splitting And Joining Of Trains

Hitachi And Automatic Splitting And Joining Of Trains

The Hitachi Class 395 train was the first train in the UK  to be able to automatically split and join in service.

In The Impressive Coupling And Uncoupling Of Class 395 Trains, I linked to this video.

Impressive isn’t it?

In Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I quoted this comment from a public on-line Hitachi document.

Because the coupling or uncoupling of cars in a trainset occurs during commercial service at an intermediate station, the automatic coupling device is able to perform this operation in less than 2 minutes.

This is definitely in line with Class 395 train performance.

This document from the Hitachi web site talks about the design of Hitachi’s Class 385 trains for Scotland. This is said.

The lead and rear railcars have an automatic coupler at the front and walk-through gangway hoods. When train sets are coupled together, the hoods fit together as part of the automatic coupling operation to provide access between train sets, meaning that passengers and staff are able to move freely from one train set to another.

Obviously, Hitachi have got automatic splitting and joining of trains spot on!

Current Split/Join Services

There are several places in the UK network, where splitting and joining of trains is used.

  •  Southeastern Highspeed do it at Ashford.
  • Great Northern Kings Lynn do it at Cambridge.
  • Southern do it at Haywards Heath.
  • Virgin Trains do it at Crewe.
  • South West Trains do it at Southampton.

But currently only the Class 395 trains can do it automatically.

The in-service entry of the Class 800 trains will change everything, as it will make a lot more new routes possible.

Virgin Trains East Coast

Currently, Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) run two trains per hour (tph) between Kings Cross and Leeds. In the Peak, some services are extended to Bradford Forster Square, Skipton and Harrogate, where the last route is not electrified.

Will some services to Leeds be run by two five-car Class 800/801 trains working together as a ten-car train?

  • Class 800 trains are electro-diesel which could work to Harrogate under diesel power.
  • Class 801 trains are all-electric, which could work all electrified routes from Leeds.

At Leeds the two trains could separate, with each train going to a different destination. Reading Hitachi’s published documents, the split would take under two minutes at Leeds and I don’t think there would be a restriction of a Class 800 and a Class 801 working together between Kings Cross and Leeds using the overhead electrification.

VTEC gets advantages by using this split and join approach.

  • Frequencies and train length to the eventual destinations can be adjusted to what the market will sustain.
  • Extra expensive train paths between the split/join station and London are not needed.
  • Between the split/join station and London, the train can usually run using electrification.
  • Costs are probably saved, if only a half-train is run to some destinations, as track access charges are based on weight.
  • A five-car electro-diesel could probably access more routes than a nine-car train.

This is the fleet that VTEC have ordered.

  • Class 800 – 10 x five-car
  • Class 800 – 13 x nine-car
  • Class 801 – 12 x five-car
  • Class 801 – 30 x nine-car

These Class 800 and Class 801 trains give VTEC all sorts of of possibilities.

The backbone of the service which is a half-hourly service to Edinburgh probably needs about 35 nine-car trains, some of which would be electro-diesels to work North of the electrification to Aberdeen and Inverness.

But that still leaves quite a few five-car trains available for other services.

Great Western Railway

Great Western Railway (GWR) will probably use their Class 800/801802 trains in a similar manner.

This is the fleet that GWR have ordered.

  • Class 800 – 36 x five-car
  • Class 800 – 21 x nine-car
  • Class 802 – 22 x five-car
  • Class 802 – 14 x nine-car

Note that the electro-diesel Class 802 train is similar to the Class 800, but with the engines tuned for more power and larger fuel tanks, so it can handle Devon and Cornwall routes easier.

I think that given the number of five-car trains on order and the lack of promised electrification, I think that GWR will be using splitting and joining  in some surprising places, to make sure that as many routes as possible get the new trains.

The Stadler Flirt

This article on Railway Technology describes the Stadler Flirts built for Swiss Federal Railways. This is said.

The train consists of articulated train sets, which contains light rail cars attached semi-permanently sharing a common bogie. The trains are available in two to six car combinations with two to six motorised axles. The automatic couplers, installed at both the ends of the trains, permit connection and disconnection of up to four train cars easily and quickly.

Does this mean that two trains can split and join like the Hitachi trains?

The Bombardier Aventra

The Aventra is a train that has been designed to have everything that customers might need. This is the description of the train in Wikipedia.

The train has been designed to be lighter and more efficient, with increased reliability. It will have lightweight all-welded bodies, wide gangways and doors to shorten boarding times in stations, and ERTMS. The design incorporates FlexxEco bogies which have been used in service on Voyagers and newer Turbostars. The gangway is designed to allow maximum use of the interior space and ease of movement throughout the train.

As Hitachi have published a lot of their thinking on Class 800/801 trains on the Internet, I would find it astounding that Bombardier and the other train building companies haven’t read it.

There have been four orders for the Aventras so far, which total over two thousand carriages.

Two of these orders are for mixed fleets of five-car and ten-car trains.

Are these trains and half-trains just like with the Hitachi trains?

If the answer is in the affirmative, I think it is very likely that Aventras will have the capability of splitting and joining automatically.

Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia has a complex route structure that fans out from a very busy electrified core into Liverpool Street on both their main lines.

They have ordered 89 x five-car and 22 x ten-car of Class 720 trains.

Many of their outer-suburban routes currently run twelve-car services and as their two main lines are only double-track, I can see a lot of five car trains working in pairs.

In Harlow Council Leader Jon Clempner Hopes Crossrail 2 Will Extend To Town, I suggested that Greater Anglia might use splitting and joining on the West Anglia Main Line to get four tph on the Hertford East Branch.

It may not be practical in that case, but Greater Anglia have several electrified branches.

South Western Railway

South Western Railway have a similar route structure to Greater Anglia, with a very busy electrified core into Waterloo.

They have ordered 30 x five-car and 60 x ten-car of Aventra trains.

In Waterloo Upgrade August 2017 – Virginia Water Station, I talked about used splitting and joining to provide a better service on the Waterloo to Reading Line and the Chertsey Branch.

However, I think that most services will be run by ten-car trains given the make-up of the fleet.

The five-cars could generally run on routes where the capacity only needs five-car trains or the infrastructure wouldn’t allow anything longer.

They could then split and join to maximise the capacity and use only one path from the split/join station to Waterloo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 6, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Could South Western Railway Use Class 395 Trains Instead Of The Proposed Class 442 Trains?

In When Do Mark 3 Coaches Accept The Inevitable?, I mused about why South Western Railway were using refurbished Class 442 trains on the routes betweenLondon and Portsmouth.

The reasons for using these refurbished trains include.

  • They could be very powerful trains if they were retractioned.
  • The Portsmouth Direct Line is very challenging.
  • The trains might become 100 mph plus trains, which could save minutes on journey times and aid timetabling.

|The current Class 444 and Class 450 trains working the route may be 100 mph trains, but could it be that the required performance improvements need a more powerful and/or faster train?

I suspect too, that as the trains are based on legendary Mark 3 coaches, the interiors can be refurbished to a high standard with everything passengers need and want.

In Ultimate Class 395 Train, which is part of my analysis into Kentish routes in Kent On The Cusp Of Change, I proposed upgrades to a new batch of Class 395 trains.

  • Batteries To Enable Working To Hastings For The New Southeastern Franchise
  • Wi-Fi And 4G Capability
  • Up To 125 mph Capability On 750 VDC Third-Rail Electrification

Would these trains be an alternative to the Class 442 trains for the Portsmouth Direct Line even using batteries to handle the topography of the line, regenerative braking and save energy?

If they were working a line like the Portsmouth Direct Line, where acceleration and power is probably more important than outright speed, the trains could be rated accordingly. The operating speed on the line is currently 90 mph, but how much time would be saved with perhaps a 110 mph train and some or all of the line able to handle speeds of 100 mph plus?

The choice of refurbished Class 442 trains, which are claimed to save five minutes on fast services and seven minutes on slow ones, says a lot about what is possible between London and Portsmouth.

But would a Class 395 train, similar to those needed on Kentish routes without the 25 KVAC capability be an off-the-shelf new train that could give the same or even better journey time improvements?

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Ultimate Class 395 Train

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways talks about the need for more Class 395 trains.

The Class 395 train has the following features.

  • 140 mph capability on 25 KVAC overhead electrification
  • 100 mph capability on 750 VDC third-rail electrification
  • Six-cars
  • The ability for trains to couple and uncouple automatically in a couple of minutes.
  • Modern interiors.

Upgrades, that I can see in a new batch of trains are discussed in the next three sections.

Batteries To Enable Working To Hastings For The New Southeastern Franchise

The Modern Railways article  says this about the Highspeed service to Hastings.

What form the new trains would take is asnother question; Kent County Council is keen on Class 800s, to give bi-mode capsability over the Romney mashes so that Hastings and Bexhill could be given a high-speed service to London via Ashford.

However, question marks continue to hang over any such service: there is some doubt as to whether diesel tanks would be allowed in the London tunnels of HS1 (so battery electric could be an option)

It should be noted that, Hitachi have experience in the field of battery electric trains and I think that their engineers will find a solution to bridge the twenty-six miles of the Marshlink Line, between Ashford International and Ore stations, that is not electrified.

The key could be that a passing loop is needed at Rye station for efficient operation of the trains. As Rye is under sixteen miles from Ashford and under eleven miles from Ore, it might be feasible to electrify the passing loop, so that trains could have a quick battery top-up, whilst stopping at Rye station.

Electrification around the station in a town like Rye would mean safety would be easier to ensure, than in some of the remoter parts of Romney Marsh.

Wi-Fi And 4G Capability

These facilities will probably be required of the bidders for the new franchise.

Up To 125 mph Capability On 750 VDC Third-Rail Electrification

The Class 395 trains can obviously go safely at a lot higher speed and Network Rail have the knowledge and engineering to turn 100 mph lines into ones with an operating speed of 125 mph, if  the topography of the line is suitable.

125 mph wouldn’t probably be needed but the ability to run at 110 mph might be particularly useful on various of the lines in Kent.

In a Network Rail document about the East Kent lines, Network rail says this.

Increase speed to rolling stock and signalling capability.

As the East Kent Re-Signalling Project seems to be improving the signalling, the faster Class 395 trains would set the desired operating speed.

Network Rail have been particularly successful in upgrading the speed of the Midland Main Line in recent years, so with a faster third-rail train available, they might be able to speed up services on the East Kent Lines.

I doubt all of this has not occurred to Hitachi and the other train manufacturers.

It should also be born in mind that High Speed One is not unique amongst dedicated high speed lines in the world and other countries and operators must want to mix high speed long distance and commuter services on the high speed lines.

So if Hitachi can demonstrate their skills between London and Kent on the way to the iconic Channel Tunnel, it can’t be at all bad for the company.

It also probably means, that the companies bidding to take over the Southeastern franchise will get a good deal for extra Class 395 trains.

Or would Bombardier come up with an Aventra with a 140 mph capability on High Speed One?

Other Applications Of Class 395 Trains

Most of the third-rail electric trains south of the Thames like the Class 377 trains are 100 mph trains.

But as there is a need for more and faster services South of the Thames, there will probably be a need for a faster train.

This probably explains why South Western Railway are bringing the Class 442 trains back into service on the Portsmouth Direct Line, as these trains are capable of more than 100 mph.

An alternative might have been to buy some Class 395 trains with a 110 mph or higher capability on third-rail lines.

Conclusion

The next versions of Class 395 trains and trains of similar performance from other manufacturers will not be limited to High Speed One and Kent.

Hitachi can easily create a third-rail train with a capability of running at over 110 mph and if Network Rail upgrade the tracks and signalling to accommodate higher speeds, we could see improved services all across the South of England.

Routes where they would bring improvement include.

  • Waterloo to Portsmouth
  • Waterloo to Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth
  • Ashford to Southampton via Brighton and Portsmouth.

As energy storage gets better will we be seeing Waterloo to Salisbury run by electric trains, using battery power to and from Basingstoke?

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 17 Comments

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Victoria As A Highspeed Terminal

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways has made me ask  questions about services into St. Pancras International station.

Is There Enough Capacity For Continental Services At St. Pancras International Station?

Platforms 5-10 at the station are allocated to Continental services.

Under Eurostar (High Speed 1) in the Wikipedia entry for the station this is said.

Seventeen pairs of trains to and from Paris Gare du Nord every day, ten pairs of trains to and from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid for Brussels and the European Union de facto capital, and one train to and from Marne-la-Vallée for Disneyland Resort Paris. Extra services run to Paris on Fridays and Sundays, with a reduced service to Brussels at weekends. Additional weekend leisure-oriented trains run to the French Alps during the skiing season, and to Marseille via Lyon and Avignon in the summer.

So it looks like on a typical day, there are  just under thirty pairs of trains between St.  Pancras International station and the Continent. So on a typical operational day from 0700 to 2200, that means it’s approximately two trains per hour (tph).

I feel that with perhaps some changes to the operation of the passenger and train cleaning and victualling systems, that six platforms could easily handle up to six tph.

So I doubt, that there is too much of a problem increasing the number of Continental services from St. Pancras International station.

Is There Enough Capacity For Highspeed Services At St. Pancras International Station?

Platforms 11-13 at the station are allocated to Southeastern‘s Highspeed services, which are run by Class 395 trains.

Is There Enough Capacity On High Speed 1 Between Ebbsfleet International And St. Pancras International Stations?

Under Services in the Wikipedia entry for High Speed 1, this is said.

High Speed 1 was built to allow eight trains per hour through to the Channel Tunnel. As of May 2014, Eurostar runs two to three trains per hour in each direction between London and the Channel Tunnel. Southeastern runs in the high peak eight trains per hour between London and Ebbsfleet, two of these continuing to Ashford. During the 2012 Olympic Games, Southeastern provided the Olympic Javelin service with up to twelve trains per hour from Stratford into London.

I think the key figures here are the ability to handle eight tph for the Channel Tunnel and the twelve tph that was achieved during the Olympics.

Let’s fast forward to 2024 when Paris could be hosting the Olympic Games.

Given too, that by then, Continental services to Germany, the Netherlands and other parts of France could have expanded and there must be a strong possibility, that the full eight Channel Tunnel paths will be needed.

So that would leave just four train paths for the Highspeed services.

I suspect that whoever is running the Highspeed services will want to develop them with services to other destinations like Hastings and Eastbourne and more frequent services to the existing destinations in Thanet.

This leads me to the conclusion, that more capacity is needed for Highspeed services into London.

Some extra capacity can probably be created by improving the signalling and operational methods, but will that be enough.

The Problems With The Highspeed Services

Every time, I use the Highspeed services, they work well, but they do have problems.

  • The only London terminal is St. Pancras International station.
  • The interchanges at Stratford International station to the Underground is a long walk.
  • The interchange at Stratford International station to Crossrail will be equally poor.
  • The frequency of services are not what passengers demand these days.
  • The services need to connect to Hastings and Eastbourne.
  • Passengers complain about the cost.

Expanding the Highspeed services would solve some of these problems, but if the Continental services of Eurostar and other operators expand, there could be a capacity problem before the mid-2020s.

The Two London Terminal Solution

Network Rail and the train operating companies (TOCs) seem to have come up with a cunning plan.

In the Kent on the Cusp of Change article and in one in the May 2017 Edition, Modern Railways, the magazine reports that consideration is being given to reopening the Fawkham Junction link, that used to be used by Eurostar trains to access Waterloo station from the Channel Tunnel.

Trains would not now go to Waterloo, as there are other plans for the expansion of the station.

But it would be fairly simple for trains to go via Swanley and Bromley South stations into Victoria station.

In the next few sections, I will outline why I think this station could and probably will be used as a second London terminal for Highspeed services.

Extra Highspeed Terminal Capacity In London

As I indicated earlier, I think that within the next few years, there may be a capacity problem between London and Ebbsfleet and opening a second terminal at Victoria would add extra train psths on the surface through South L:ondon.

A Second Highspeed Terminal In London

Services to Victoria with its Underground connections, that are currently being improved dramatically, would be welcomed by many travellers, who want to go to places like Kensington and Westminster or perhaps avoid the long walks at Stratford International station to the Underground or Crossrail.

Crossrail 2 will also call at Victoria, if it’s ever built.

Services Between Victoria And Thanet Could Go Highspeed

All or some of the services between Victoria and the Thanet area would be able to go Highspeed and use the Class 395 trains.

The Highspeed services would use the reinstated Fawkham Junction link and High Speed One between stops at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International stations.

Suppose All Services Between Victoria And Thanet Used Class 395 Trains

Surely, this would have tremendous advantages for Network Rail and the operator in that, all of the stations and tracks, to the East of Ashford International station,  could be updated, so that they efficiently handled twelve-car Class 395 trains.

In a Network Rail document about the East Kent lines, Network rail says this.

Increase speed to rolling stock and signalling capability.

As the East Kent Re-Signalling Project seems to be improving the signalling, the faster Class 395 trains would set the desired operating speed.

As I indicated earlier, if the new batch of Class 395 trains could have a faster capability on third-rail routes.

What Times Could Class 395 Trains Achieve On Classic Routes?

As an illustration of the operating speed on the East Kent lines, Ashford International to Ramsgate stations takes thirty-six minutes for a journey of about thirty-five miles with only one stop.

Network Rail probably know how to reduce this important journey by at least ten minutes, which would benefit Highspeed and Classic services.

Currently, London Victoria to Ashford International stations takes just under an hour and a half via Maidstone East and another ten stops.

This document from Network Rail has two projects, that will improve times on the Chislehurt to Ashford section of this route.

  • Journey Time Improvement – Reduce impact of Permanent Speed Restrictions
  • Maidstone signalling interlocking renewal – Renewal of interlocking and external equipment

The document indicates they could be completed in 2019.

The Class 395 trains are a modern train with bags of grunt and probably the ability to execute a station stop in double-quick time.

So with the track improvements to allow higher speeds between London Victoria and Ashford International station, I suspect that it might be possible to trim perhaps twenty minutes from the journey time.

Could Network Rail be aiming for an hour between Victoria and Ashford International stations on the Classic route, via Bromley South, Swanley and Maidstone East stations?

If they could manage the magic hour, then Hastings could be within perhaps 95 minutes of Victoria in a Class 395 train with either diesel or battery power.

This would be a few minutes faster than the current faster times to Cannon Street on the Hastings Line.

It would certainly be a good interim alternative, until trains can go between High Speed One and the Marshlink Line.

What Times Could Class 395 Trains Achieve Using High Speed One Between Victoria and Ashford International Stations?

I estimate that Victoria to Ebbsfleet International using the Fawkham Junction link and Class 395 trains could be in the order of thirty minutes.

As Class 395 trains take nineteen minutes between Ebbswfleet International and Ashford International stations, I believe it would be reasonable to assume between Victoria to Ashford International stations will tqke forty-nine minutes or just twelve minutes longer than the current time between St. Pancras and Ashford International stations.

Victoria To Fawkham Junction

If the Fawkham Junction link were to be reinstated, a number of the trains between Victoria and Thanet would take the Chatham Main Line after passing Swanley station and then take the Fawkham Junction link to Ebsfleet International station.

Other than the Fawkham Junction link, no substantial new infrastructure would be required, but if line improvements increased the speed between Victoria and Fawkham Junction, the Class 395 trains could certainly take advantage.

I suspect that each Class 395 train, would just take over the path of the Classic service it replaced.

There might even be a bonus, in that all fast trains through Bromley South and Swanley became Class 395 trains, w3hich might aid the timetabling.

Class 395 Trains At Victoria Station

There are various reports on the Internet of Class 395 trains running into Victoria station, sometimes as a twelve-car train.

Class 377 trains also appear to run as twelve-car trains to Ramsgate.

So I think we can assume that Class 395 trains can run into Victoria.

Conclusion

I think that it is possible that Victoria can be used as a second terminal for Highspeed services from Thanet into London.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

 

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 16 Comments

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Fawkham Junction Link

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways discusses the Fawkham Junction Link, which was originally used to allow Eurostar trains to get to Waterloo station. It is now used as a siding for old Eurostar trains, that are waiting for the scrapyard.

I wrote about this link in Connecting Ebbsfleet International To South London, which connects the Chatham Main Line to Ebbsfleet International station and High Speed One.

A quick look on Google Maps appears to show, that the third-rail electrification is still in place, which must make the link easier to reinstate.

Obviously, Network Rail and the TOCs (train operating companies) have a cunning plan to create extra services using the reinstated link and High Speed One.

 

Ebbsfleet International Station

Bear in mind, that Ebbsfleet Internation station is an important transport hub.

  • Services to and from the Continent call.
  • Highspeed services between St. Pancras and Thanet call.
  • There is masses of car parking.

If Ebbsfleet Interbational has a problem, it is badly connected to the local area and only serves St. Pancras in London.

London Victoria To Thanet Services

At present, services between Victoria and Thanet services that go through Bromley South and Swanley stations are as follows.

  • 1 tph – Victoria to Ramsgate via Longfield and Chatham.
  • 2 tph – Victoria to Dover Priory via Longfield and Chatham
  • 1 tph – Victoria to Canterbury West via Swanley and Maidstone East
  • 1 tph – Victoria to Ashford International via Swanley and Maidstone East

Note that in all these services the first stop is Bromley South station.

Could the plan be as simple as this?

  • Some services between Victoria and Broadstairs, Canterbury, Dover Priory, Ramsgate and Thanet Parkway stations would be run by Class 395 trains or similar trains with a 140 mph capability on High Speed One.
  • Trains would go to from Victoria to Swanley, with just the single stop at Bromley South station, as they do now, and then join High Speed One via the Fawkham Junction Link.
  • Once at Ashford, they take the routes to Thanet as used by the current Highspeed services.

I suspect this would give times from Victoria as follows.

  • Broadstairs in ninety-seven minutes as against 111 minutes now.
  • Canterbury West in seventy-two minutes as against 125 minutes now.
  • Dover Priory in seventy-six minutes as against to 122 minutes now.
  • Ramsgate in ninety minutes minutes as against to 124 minutes now.

Times could probably be improved further with a bit of work in Thanet and between Swnley and Victoria.

This could mean.

  • Nearly all trains in Thanet are Class 395 trains., so tracks and stations could be designed accordingly.
  • The Class 395 trains use the Thanet paths into Victoria from Swanley.
  • Provision would have to be made for stations losing their services to High Speed One.

It could all be very efficient and a simple way to improve timings to Thanet.

Thameslink Services

Thameslink services serve Swanley station and could easily be extended to Ebbsfleet International, if that was desired via the Fawkham Junction link.

Bromley South Metro Services

The Southeastern Metro service on the Bromley South Line could use Ebbsfleet as an alternative terminal to Petts Wood station, by using the Fawkham Junction link.

Conclusion

There are lots of possibilities, with perhaps the most important being to create a second Highspeed terminus in London, to relieve the inadequate capacity at St. Pancras.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

June 30, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 16 Comments

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Highspeed Routes

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways talks about the Southeastern Highspeed routes through Kent.

Some principles are laid down.

The article gives an estimate that at least another twenty Class 395 trains are needed of which perhaps three would have batteries for operation along the Marshlink Line between Ashford International and Ore stations.

The new timetable proposed in the article is similar to that now, with the following changes in each hour.

  • All Day – A St. Pancras – Ashford – Dover Priory service runs once per hour and splits at Ashford with one six-car train going to and from Hastings and the other six-car train going to and from Dover Priory.
  • Off Peak – A new St. Pancras – Ashford – Canterbury West service runs once per hour.
  • All Day –  A new St. Pancras – Ebbsfleet service runs twice per hour.
  • Off Peak – A new St. Pancras – Gravesend – Strood – Maidstone West service runs once per hour.

In addition all trains passing Thanet Parkway station will stop after it opens.

The Fawkham Junction Link

The article talks about reinstating this link , which connects the Chatham Main Line to Ebbsfleet International station and High Speed One.

I wrote about this link in a related post called Fawkham Junction Link, which shows how it can be used to create additional Highspeed services between London and Thanet.

  • Victoria becomes a second terminal for Highspeed services.
  • Victoria gets a Highspeed connection to Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International stations for Eurostar.
  • Most if not all of the Thanet services become Highspeed services.
  • Thanet services are faster with more capacity.

Obviously, Network Rail and the TOCs (train operating companies) have some cunning plan to use the Fawkham Junction Link.

Should All Victoria To Thanet Services Be Run By Highspeed Trains?

In my trip to Longfield Station, I came back iat a leisurely pace in a Class 465 train, that had started at Dover or Ramsgate.

As the routes to Thanet from Victoria can all be run by twelve-car trains and the platforms in East Kent are accessible to twelve-car Class 377, Class 395 and Class 465 trains, I wonder if Class 395 trains or a train with a similar performance, should run all these routes in an identical manner to the slower trains.

Consider.

  • Calls at many stations would only be made by twelve-car Highspeed trains, which must make station design simpler and station stops easier and faster.
  • Highspeed trains would be able to take advantage of any line speed improvements on the route.
  • Highspeed trains are fitted with modern signalling systems including ERTMS, which would allow more capacity on busy sections of the routes. Between Victoria and Swanley could benefit.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink trains already have ERTMS, so this must give advantages, on shared routes.
  • A single unified fleet to Thanet must ease servicing and maintenance, which is done currently at Ashford and Ramsgate.
  • High Speed One could be used as a diversion route if required.
  • Victoria could be used as a diversion for Highspeed services, if there were problems on High Speed One to the West of Ebbsfleet station.

The outcome would surely be that even the Victoria to Thanet stoppers would be several minutes faster.

What would faster services be worth to the new train operating company?

Conclusion

Highspeed services could be increased in frequency and developed to a second terminal at Voctoria.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see all services to Thanet run by a single uinified fleet of Highspeed trains.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

 

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 18 Comments