The Anonymous Widower

Five Mark 4 Coaches, A Driving Van Trailer And A Stadler UKLight Locomotive

In writing Would Electrically-Driven Trains Benefit From Batteries To Handle Regenerative Braking?, I started to analyse the mathetics and possibilities of a train with the following formation.

The sub-section got too large and important so I decided to write it as a separate post.

I like the Class 68 locomotive, as it looks professional and seems to do all asked of it.

So what would be the kinetic energy of a formation of five Mark 4 coaches, between a DVT and a Class 68 Locomotive?

  • The five Mark 4 coaches would weigh 209 tonnes.
  • The Class 68 locomotive weighs 85 tonnes.
  • The DVT weighs 42.7 tonnes
  • I will assume that a five cars will seat around 300 passengers.
  • The passengers weigh 27 tonnes, if you assume each weighs 90 Kg, with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • The train weight is 363.7 tonnes.

At 100 mph, which is the maximum speed of the Class 68 locomotive, the Omni Kinetic Energy Calculator gives the kinetic energy of the train as 100 kWh.

I doubt there’s the space to squeeze a 100 kWh of battery into a Class 68 locomotive to handle the regenerative braking of the locomotive, but I do believe that a locomotive can be built with the following specification.

  • Enough diesel power to pull perhaps five or six Mark 4 coaches and a DVT at 125 mph.
  • Ability to use both 25 KVAC and 750 VDC electrification.
  • Battery to handle regenerative braking.
  • As the Class 88 electro-diesel locomotive, which is around the same weight as a Class 68 locomotive, I suspect the proposed locomotive would be a bit heavier at perhaps 95 tonnes.

This train would have a kinetic energy of 160 kWh at 125 mph.

Consider.

  • If the locomotive could have a 200 kWh battery, it could harvest all the regenerative braking energy.
  • Accelerating the train to cruising speed uses most energy.
  • Running at a constant high speed, would conserve the kinetic energy in the train.
  • Stadler, who manufacture the Class 68 and 88 locomotives are going to supply a diesel/electric/battery version of the Class 755 train, for the South Wales Metro. In What Is The Battery Size On A Tri-Mode Stadler Flirt?, I estimated the battery size is about 120 kWh.
  • The Class 68 and 88 locomotives are members of Stadler’s Eurolight family, which are designed for a 125 mph capability with passenger trains.
  • I don’t believe the UK is the only country looking for an efficient locomotive to haul short rakes of coaches at 125 mph, on partially-electrified lines.

It should also be noted, that to pull heavy freight trains, the Class 88 locomotive has a 700 kW Caterpillar C27 diesel that weighs over six tonnes, whereas 200 kWh of battery, would weigh about two tonnes. I believe that a smaller diesel engine might allow space for a large enough battery and still be able to sustain the 125 mph cruise.

Stadler have the technology and I wonder, if they can produce a locomotive to fill the market niche!

In HS2 To Kick Off Sheffield Wiring, I reported on the news that the Northern section of the Midland Main Line between Clay Cross and Sheffield will be electrified.

This would greatly improve the performance of diesel/electric/battery hybrid trains between London and Sheffield.

  • Between London and Kettering, the trains would be electrically-powered.
  • Between Kettering and Clay Cross, they would use a mixture of diesel and battery operation.
  • Between Clay Cross and Sheffield, the trains would be electrically-powered.

Note.

  1. Going North, trains would pass Kettering with a full battery.
  2. Going South, trains would pass Clay Cross with a full battery.
  3. Regenerative braking at stops between Kettering and Clay Cross would help recharge the batteries.
  4. The diesel engine would be sized to keep the train cruising at 125 mph on the gentle Midland Main Line and back up the acceleration needed after stops.

It would be a faster and very electrically-efficient journey, with a large reduction in the use of diesel power.

The locomotive would also have other uses in the UK.

  • TransPennine services, where they could surely replace the Class 68 locomotives, that will haul Mark 5A coaches between Liverpool and Scarborough and Manchester Airport and Middlesborough.
  • Between London and Holyhead
  • Waterloo to Exeter via Basingstoke and Salisbury.
  • Marylebone to Birmingham via the Chiltern Main Line, if the two ends were to be electrified.
  • Services on the East West Rail Link.
  • Between Norwich and Liverpool
  • CrossCountry services.

Note.

  1. Services could use a rake of Mark 4 coaches and a DVT or a rake of new Mark 5A coaches.
  2. If more electrification is installed, the trains would not need to be changed, but would just become more efficient.
  3. The competition would be Bombardier’s proposed 125 mph bi-mode Aventra with batteries, that I wrote about in Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power.

And that is just the UK!

Conclusion

Using the Mark 4 coaches or new Mark 5A coaches with a new 125 mph diesel/electric/battery hybrid Stadler UKLight locomotive could create an efficient tri-mode train for the UK rail network.

The concept would have lots of worldwide applications in countries that like the UK, are only partially electrified.

 

 

August 5, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

TPE Earmarks Top-And-Tail ’68s’ For Passenger Services

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

The article describes how TransPennine Express are going to use four Class 68 locomotives and four-carriage rakes of Mark 3 coaches to provide passenger services between Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough.

From the 20th of May, services will leave Liverpool at 0556, 0656, 1156, 1256, 1756 and 1856 and Scarborough at 0846, 0946, 1446, 1546, 2050 and 2149.

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

TPE Pledges Capacity Boost With Class 68/Mk 5A Sets

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

It adds a few extra details to those, that I wrote about in Nova 3 On The Test Track.

This information is revealed.

The Route

The TransPennine Express fleet will run on the Liverpool Lime Street-Manchester Airport-Scarborough/Middlesbrough Routes, replacing three car Class 185 trains.

Train Length

Each Mark 5A car has a length of 22.2 or 22.37 metres.

Adding on the Class 68 locomotive gives a train length of 131.84 metres.

This compares with a train length for the Class 185 train of 71.276 metres.

It means that two Class 185 trains working together, which is current practice, are longer than the new fleet.

This must limit platform and depot modifications.

The Capacity

The number of seats on the two trains are as follows.

  • Class 185 train – 15 First Class – 165 Second Class
  • Class 68/Mk 5A sets – 30 First Class – 261 Second Class

This gives twice as many seats in First Class and nearly sixty percent more in second.

Both trains seem to have around sixty seats in each car.

Technical Characteristics

The Rail Magazine article gives several technical characteristics.

  • Each coach has two passenger doors, except the First Class coach which has one.
  • There is Selective Door Opening controlled by GPS.
  • Door controls are in the Driver Trailer and Class 68 cans, which the driver controls.
  • Two door control panels are in every vehicle for usde by the conductor.
  • Wheel Slip Protection is fitted.
  • Automatic passenger counting is provided.
  • Wi-fi is fitted.

The trains have a high specification.

 

 

 

 

May 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Class 88 Locomotives To Start Testing

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled Testing programme in place for first Class 88.

The Class 88 locomotive could revolutionise locomotive haulage on some routes in the UK.

It is a go anywhere locomotive with the ability to use 25 KVAC electric or onboard diesel power. Wikipedia says this.

The UK version will be able to run either on electrified lines using the pantograph, which will be the UK’s standard OHLE current at 25kV AC, or away from electrified lines with the Caterpillar C27 950 hp (710 kW) engine.

The diesel engine is not as powerful the  2.8 MW (3,800 hp) C175-16 engine fitted to its cousin the Class 68 locomotive, which is used by Chiltern on their Main Line services to Birmingham.

The Class 88 has a powerful dual-mode capability, with the locomotive being able to haul a train on diesel power, despite having only twenty percent of the power on electricity.

It will be interesting to see which routes these locomotives serve.

With the completion of the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, the two major freight routes across North London will be electrified on much of their length, but some of the secondary routes like the Dudding Hill Line will not be electrified. Also, as many ports in the UK  are not electrified, could we see Class 88 locomotives replacing Class 66 locomotives on some of the cross-London freights.

If Sadiq Khan is serious about pollution and noise, then he should push Network Rail and the rail freight companies to go for electric haulage on all routes across London.

I also wonder, if the diesel power of the Class 88, is enough to take a heavy freight train out of the Port of Felixstowe to join the Great Eastern Main Line for London,

The Class 88 is also capable of hauling passenger trains, so could we see them hauling rakes of coaches on long routes, which are only partially electrified.

  • London to Holyhead
  • London to Aberdeen
  • London to Inverness
  • London to Sunderland

It could be a suitable locomotive for sleeper services, especially if the Class 88 can work North of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

I suspect though initially, as there are only ten of the locomotives, they will be used in high-profile services with an ecological dimension.

  • Services through sensitive areas for noise and pollution, where the line is electrified like North London are an obvious application.
  • Direct Rail Services provide motive power for Tesco’s delivery from Daventry to Inverness, which is electrified a lot of the way. This would surely generate headlines if hauled by a Class 88 instead of a Class 66.
  • It would be an ideal locomotive for a Whisky-Liner from Scotland to the South,
  • Would BMW like it to haul their miniLiners from Oxford to the Channel Tunnel?

The last two applications ask if the locomotive could use the Channel Tunnel. I doubt that using the locomotive to take Minis all the way to Germany though, would be an efficient use of the locomotive, so at some point the locomotive would change. Being able to use the tunnel though, would enable the locomotive change to be made in either England or France.

I think that Stadler will see an order for more Class 88 locomotives before the end of the year. After all, the Class 68 locomotive fleet has continually grown since its introduction in 2013 and not stands at 25 in service and seven on order.

 

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Modern Trains From Old

In the February 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there  are several articles about the updating of old trains to a modern standard.

There was also an article about the revival of locomotive hauled trains called Long Live The Loco!

The Class 321 Renatus

Note the following about the Class 321 trains.

  • There are a total of 117 of the four-car trains.
  • ,The trains have a 100 mph capability.
  • Many of them are in need of a refurbishment after nearly thirty years in service.

So train leasing company; Eversholt, has come up with a plan to create thirty Class 321 Renatus for Greater Anglia as a stop-gap until their new Aventras arrive in a couple of years time.

The updated trains will feature.

  • New air-conditioning and heating systems
  • New, safer seating throughout
  • Larger vestibules for improved boarding and alighting
  • Wi-Fi enabled for passengers and operator
  • Improved space allocation for buggies, bicycles and luggage
  • Passenger power sockets throughout
  • New, energy efficient lighting
  • One PRM compliant toilet and a second controlled emission toilet on each unit
  • Complete renewal and remodelling of all interior surfaces

The trains will also be given an updated traction package, which is described on this page on the Vossloh Kiepe web site.

This is said.

In 2013, Eversholt Rail and Vossloh Kiepe embarked on the pre-series project to demonstrate modern AC traction on a Class 321 unit. The key objectives were to reduce journey time for passengers, improve reliability and maintainability, and reduce the total cost of operation through a combination of reduced energy consumption and regenerative braking.

The prototype certainly looks good in the pictures.

Eversholt is stated as believing that if the market likes these trains, then other operators could be interested and other trains might be converted.

The Class 319 Flex

I like this concept and I wrote about the Class 319 Flex in Porterbrook Launch A Tri-Mode Train.

I felt one of the first routes would to be to Windermere and Modern Railways says the same.

Northern are quoted as saying, that after the concept is proven, the trains will be made available to a wide range of operators.

Consider.

  • There are 86 of the four-car units.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They are Mark 3-based, so ride well.
  • They can work on 750 VDC or 25 KVAC electrification.
  • With diesel alternators, they can go virtually anywhere.

If the trains are a success, I think we’ll be very surprised as to the routes they work.

I also think that Porterbrook could keep a small fleet ready for immediate lease for the purposes, like the following.

  • Proving the economics of new routes.
  • Blockade busting.
  • Extra capacity for special events.
  • Replacement capacity after train problems or accidents.

I suspect Porterbrook have got lots of ideas. Some of which could be quite wacky!

Bi-Modus Operandi

This is the title of an article by Ian Walmsley in the magazine, who makes the case for adding an extra coach with a pantograph to the Class 220, 221 and 222 and effectively creating a bi-mode train.

The idea is not new and I wrote about it in The Part-Time Electric Train, after a long editorial comment in Modern Railways in 2010.

If anything, the case for convcersion is even better now, as quality high-speed bi-mode trains are desperately needed.

As the article suggests, they could sort out some of the other problems with the trains.

There are quite a few suitable trains.

  • Class 220 trains – 34 trains of four cars.
  • Class 221 trains – 43 trains of a mix of four and five cars.
  • Class 222 trains – 27 trains of a mix of four, five and seven cars.

All are 125 mph trains.

The Vivarail Class 230 Train

The magazine also has an extensive report on the fire in a Class 230 train.

The report says that the definitive report will be published before the end of January, but on reading the detailed report of the damage, I think it will be some months before the rebuilt train is ready to roll.

In a post entitled Class 230 And Class 319 Flex Fight It Out, I came to this conclusion.

Vivarail will have a struggle to sell large numbers of trains, against a larger, faster, more capable train of proven reliability.

I stand by what I said.

Long Live The Loco!

This article describes the various uses of locomotive-hauled passenger trains on the UK rail network.

The title could be read another way, as it talks about the following locomotives.

Some could not be considered modern, but they perform.

The article goes on to detail how TransPennine Express will use their new Mark 5A carriages.

  • Wikipedia says each set will be composed of 1 first class car, 2 Standard class cars, 1 brake standard class car and a standard class driving trailer.
  • Sets will be able to be lengthened if required.
  • The trains will be worked push-pull between a Class 68 locomotive and a driving trailer.
  • The coaches will have a 125 mph design speed for future-proofing reasons.

It is also said, that a Class 88 locomotive is not powerful enough under diesel power to operate on the TransPennine route.

So the article speculates, that there may be a place for  a bi-mode locomotive with full diesel capability, given the success of the Hitachi bi-mode concept.

The article finishes by saying that as Chiltern and TransPennine have shown that push-pull operation is viable, could the concept become more widespread?

 

 

 

 

 

January 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Stadler On A Swiss Roll

Over the past couple of years, I have written about several orders for new trains or deliveries, where the manufacturer is  Stadler Rail or a company controlled by the Swiss group.

If there is one theme that goes through these articles, it is that a lot of the products involved are innovative., whether they were designed by Stadler or other companies the group now owns.

Locomotives

The Class 68 locomotive has proven itself, as a capable locomotive for hauling express passenger trains with Chiltern Railways and will be doing a similar task for TransPennine. A total of 32 have been delivered or are on order.

The Class 88 locomotive is an electro-diesel version of the Class 68 and is just starting to be delivered. Will it find its home on the front of passenger or freight trains? A total of ten is planned for this go-anywhere locomotive.

Sheffield’s Tram-Train

The Class 399 tram/train has rather stalled in the sidings at Sheffield, probably more to do with Network Rail’s inability to get a job done on time, than anything to do with the tram/train, which runs successfully in Germany and Spain.

Greater Anglia’s Flirts

Electric and bi-mode versions of the Stadler Flirt will make an appearance in East Anglia in the next few years. Very little is known about the trains, except for visualisations for the press like this.

Stadler Flirt

Stadler Flirt

This press release on the Stadler web site says little of substance. This is a typical paragraph.

The trains are designed to provide a significantly enhanced passenger experience that will transform rail travel for the people of Norfolk and Suffolk.  The FLIRT trains to be used on the East Anglia franchise will be equipped with air-conditioning; ‘2×2’ seating; Wi-Fi and power points throughout the train; a low floor design, allowing easier access to platform from the train; passenger information systems with real-time information; and have regenerative braking.

But then it’s not for serious consumption and could be said by any manufacturer about their trains.

This is a section from the Specification section in the Wikipedia entry.

The FLIRT is a new generation of multiple units, even though it has a striking resemblance with GTW vehicles. The trains can have two to six sections and electric variants are available for all commonly used power supply systems (AC and DC) as well as standard and broad gauge. It has jacobs bogies between the individual sections, with wide walk-through gangways. The floor height at the entrances can be chosen by the operator, providing level boarding at most stations. Automatic couplers of either Schwab type (on all Swiss units) or Scharfenberg type at both ends of the train allow up to four trains to be connected.

Look closely at the press picture and you can see, that there are two cars either side of a smaller power section. In A Train With The Engine In The Middle, I described a Stadler GTW, that I saw in Kassel.

A Train With The Engine In The Middle

So it looks like East Anglia’s bi-mode Flirts could have a power car in the middle. Stadler says this about the power car in the product specification for the GTW.

The GTW is a low-floor single-decker regional train. The drive unit is arranged between the carriages, but the train can still be accessed throughout.

Is the train in my picture considered to be a two-car or three-car train?

I obviously haven’t ridden one of Stadler’s trains with a power unit in the middle, but is the full-accessible toilet in the power car? It would seem logical that it could be!

Glasgow And Merseyrail

This visualisation shows Glasgow’s proposed tram-train link to the Airport.

Glasgow Airport Tram-Train

Glasgow Airport Tram-Train

And this visualisation shows Merseyrail’s new train.

Merseyrail's New Train

Merseyrail’s New Train

Could they be related?

  • The Merseyrail train is definitely to be built by Stadler
  • Stadler are building the new vehicles for the Glasgow Subway.
  • The rail routes to Liverpool and Glasgow Airports are very similar in nature.
  • Both vehicles are reported to possibly use onboard energy storage.
  • Stadler have all the tram-train technology.
  • Supporting a small number of vehicles in Glasgow could be expensive, but having similar vehicles in Liverpool must make it easier.

I said that the two routes to the airports are similar in nature.

  • In Glasgow, the train starts at Glasgow Central station and goes to Paisley St. James station using the Inverclyde Line’s 25 KVAC overhead electrification and then could use onboard stored energy to run as a tram on a dedicated track without electrification to Glasgow Airport.
  • In Liverpool, the train starts to the North of the City, calls at Moorfields and Liverpool Central stations in the City Centre and then goes to Liverpool South Parkway station using the third-rail electrification and then could use onboard stored energy to run as a tram on a dedicated track without electrification to Liverpool Airport.

I don’t know, but it would surely mean that the vehicles needed for the Glasgow Airport tram-train, would be substantially cheaper, if they were one of Merseyrail’s vehicles with a modified exterior and interior.

Conclusion

Stadler seem to be picking up all of the small and tricky rail vehicle projects, by applying large dollops of innovation and a fair helping of common sense.

I wouldn’t give odds, that Stadler will land the contract to build new trains for the Docklands Light Railway!

 

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Where Next For Chiltern?

Chiltern Railways have now got their Marylebone to Oxford service up and running.

Wikipedia gives a list of their future plans. Included are the following.

  • Platform lengthening.
  • Restoration of former tracks.
  • Remodelling Banbury, which has already been done.
  • Building of the West Hampstead Interchange.
  • Development of services between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.
  • Creation of a Chiltern Metro.
  • Reopening various branch lies.

In addition there has been talk of electrification and opening a route along the New North Line to Old Oak Common.

Building On Oxford

As of yesterday, as I wrote in Oxford To Marylebone Opens For Business, they now have a two-platform terminus at Oxford station.

I can’t believe they have made this investment there, without other plans to use it. Wikipedia says this about the platforms at Oxford station.

The scheme also includes two new platforms at Oxford station, to be built on the site of the disused parcels depot. The new platforms will initially be five carriages in length, but provision will be made for them to be extended southwards to eight carriages.

A two platform terminus like this, will have a large capacity, when fully developed.

  • Two of Chiltern’s Class 68 locomotive hauled sets of Mark 3 coaches could be accommodated at the same time.
  • Two shorter trains could be handled in one platform at the same time.
  • Rebuilding plans for Oxford station would improve passenger handling.
  • The two-platform underround terminus at Moorgate handles 12 tph.

It could probable handle the proposed two trains per hour (tph) for the East West Rail Link with ease.

I can’t believe that these two platforms, won’t become a vibrant mini-station within Oxford station.

But where will trains and passengers go?

Expansion At Birmingham Moor Street

Birmingham Moor Street station is one of those stations, that spent decades in the wildeness and has now become an important alternative station.

Wikipedia says this about Proposed Future Developments concerning expansion of the station.

The currently disused third bay platform would be reopened, and an additional new fourth bay platform would be opened to accommodate the new services.

This is also said about HS2.

The High Speed 2 terminus in Birmingham is planned to be built on an adjacent site and will likely be linked to Moor Street, though have a separate name (either Fazeley Street or Curzon Street). The station and high-speed line is proposed to be completed by the mid-2020s.

So it looks as if Moor Street will become a more important Birmingham station for commuters and a gateway to high speed vservices from the city.

Services Between Oxford And Birmingham

Currently around two tph run between Oxford and Birmingham.

  • Typically, they call at places like Banbury, Leamington Spa, Coventry and Birmingham International.
  • Services are run by Cross-Country.
  • Services take between sixty and seventy minutes.
  • Services continue to places like Bournemouth, Manchester Piccadilly and Newcastle.

I’ve travelled on the route several times.

  • It tends to be overcrowded.
  • Service quality is not of the quality, you get with Chiltern, London Midland or TransPennine Express.

I think there could be a niche for an extra service between Oxford and Birmingham,, just as Chiltern hope and probably know, there’s room for one between London and Oxford.

  • Services would go between the bay platforms at Oxford and Birmingham Moor Street.
  • The Banbury remodelling must have helped the timetabling of the service.
  • A Chiltern quality service would be provided.
  • Two tph would leave at the same minutes past the half-hour.
  • Services could call at Banbury, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Warwick Parkway and Solihull, or whatever was appropriate.
  • Journey time could be sixty minutes or just under.
  • 2 tph on an hourly service would need four trains to run a service all day.
  • The Oxford Birmingham route would get four tph.

The only loser would be Cross-Country, who might lose passengers to the new service.

But then like Chiltern, they are ultimately owned by Deutche Bahn.

But, you can’t run a service without trains.

From 2019, Greater Anglia will start to receive new twelve-car Flirts for Liverpool Street to Norwich services. Currently, to run this service Greater Anglia uses 15 sets of eight Mark 3 carriages, with Class 90 locomotives and driving van trailers. In the last couple of years, all have been superbly refurbished with the addition of wi-fi and retention toilets. All the trains need is to fit sliding doors, as Chiltern have done for their Mark 3 coaches and replace the Class 90 with a Class 68 locomotive.

This would enable, Chiltern to offer a Mark 3 -only service between Marylebone and Birmingham and Oxford and the release of other trains for the Oxford to Birmingham service.

As every operator is short of trains and delivery timescales slip, it might be worth looking at the availability of suitable trains.

  • According to Wikipedia, as many as twelve driving van trailers could be in store at Long Marston. How many could be brought back into service?
  • Greater Anglia are replacing fifteen sets of Mark 3 carriages and a DVT, with ten electric Flirts, that will increase the frequency from 2 tph to 3 tph. Could this mean that one or two sets could be released before the Flirts enter service?
  • Hopefully, InterCity 125s will start to be available, as they are replaced with Class 800 trains from Summer 2017.

There are also other possibilities if events go to plan.

This is certainly a development to file under Watch This Space.

 

 

 

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

More On The Class 88

The Class 88 locomotives will be arriving soon in the UK.

I have found this article on the inCumbria web site, which gives more details of their introduction by the Cumbrian-based company; DRS.

This is a quote from Stadler, who manufacture the Class 88 locomotive.

“As our first dual locomotive, new functionalities of control software have been validated as dynamic mode changing between electrical operation to diesel operation (and vice versa) and fine tuning of automatic speed control.

So it would appear that a Class 88 from Felixstowe could use diesel power on the branch and then once on the Great Eastern Main Line, switch to electric power without stopping.

It is certainly a locomotive for the UK, with its multitude of lines without electrification.

I do wonder, if we’re going to see Class 88s working passenger trains in East Anglia. After all two of their sister Class 68 locomotives and a rake of coaches are currently providing cover for a Class 170 train, damaged in a level crossing accident.

Years ago, when the London Norwich expresses were steam and diesel hauled, some of the services were extended to Great Yarmouth. But that line was not electrified.

There also used to be direct expresses to Norwich via the West Anglia Main Line and the Breckland Line, which is a route that is only electrified to Ely.

The Class 88 locomotive is a 160 kph locomotive with regenerative braking, whereas the current Class 90 locomotives working the Norwich trains, are a less powerful 180 kph locomotive without regenerative braking.

The rakes of coaches on the Norwich route will have to be scrapped or updated to meet the new regulations, but as Chiltern Railways have shown, the classic Mark 3 coaches have more lives than the most streetwise of cats.

So could we see, just a few moths into the new franchise, Class 88s being used in East Anglia to provide new services.

If nothing else, the appearance of an appropriately liveried brand-new Class 88 on a London-Norwich service on Day 1 of the new franchise, would be an important statement of intent.

As the new TransPennine franchise is going to use new rakes of Mark 5 coaches pulled by Class 68 locomotives, as I wrote about in TransPennine Express Buys Spanish Trains, I wonder if instead of buying new electric multiple units for London to Norwich, that the new franchise will use Class 88 locomotives and Mark 5 coaches.

 

August 6, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Stray Class 68 Locomotive At Stratford Station

I took these pictures of a Class 68 locomotive.

You don’t see them very often at Stratford station.

But when you see them in a station, as I did here, you realise how much less noisy and smelly they are than the ubiquitous Class 66 locomotive.

This blog post from Reading University entitled EU Emission limits bite for new freight locomotives, gives a few details.

  • The Class 66 meets the Stage 3A emission regulations, but the author does not know of any plans to meet Stage 3B.
  • The Class 68 meets the Stage 3A regulations, and can be easily modified to meet Stage 3B.
  • The Class 70 meets the Stage 3A regulations, but not Stage 3B, although that could be a future option.

You certainly don’t see anything other than a Class 68 pulling a passenger train.

July 10, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

TransPennine Express Buys Spanish Trains

After Arriva Rail North bought 98 Civity trains from CAF, which I wroye about in Arriva Rail North’s New Trains, it probably wasn’t much of a surprise that TransPennine Express have gone to the same source for twenty-five new trains, as is detailed in this article in Global Rail News. This is said.

The new fleet, which will be maintained by Alstom at Longsight depot, will consist of 12 five-car Civity EMUs from CAF – financed by Eversholt Rail – and 13 five-car loco-hauled intercity trains.

The announcement follows an order placed earlier this year with Hitachi for 19 bi-mode train sets. Both fleets of new trains are due to be delivered between 2018 and 2019.

If there is a surprise, it is that they are going for locomotive-hauled sets or rakes of coaches.

The 12 five-car Civity EMUs will be running between Liverpool/Manchester and Edinburgh/Glasgow. According to the CAF data sheet, there will be a 200 kph version available, so these could mix it with other operators’ Class 800 trains.

The article also says this about the locomotive-hauled rake of Mark 5 coaches.

In addition to the new CAF trains and carriages, Beacon Rail-owned Class 68 locomotives will be leased from Direct Rail Services to operate intercity services between Liverpool and Newcastle.

So it would appear that the Class 68 locomotives could work Liverpool to Newcastle before the line is fully electrified. They would also be ideal for routes to Hull and Scarborough.

I would also suspect, that as the Class 88 electro-diesel locomotive is very similar to a Class 68, that these locomotives could also work some of the services, once the route is partially electrified.

The Mark 5 coaches, are probably similar to those being built for the Caledonian Sleeper. One question that has to be asked, is why haven’t TPE opted to bring some of the legendary Mark 3 coaches up to a modern standard.

  • The concept of a quality set of coaches with a locomotive at one end has been proven to work in East Anglia, on Chiltern and on Deutsche Bahn.
  • The conversion of doors, toilets and other issues, might mean that new coaches are better value for money.
  • New coaches are probably good for at least thirty years.
  • All the basic design has been paid for in the Caledonian Sleeper order.
  • One of the five coaches in each set, could have a driving cab integrated into one end, so there would be no need for a separate driving van trailer.
  • Have CAF applied all their designs for the modular Civity train to build a train, where you just plug a suitable locomotive into one end?
  • New coaches sell seats, especially if they are designed for a good passenger experience.
  • If you want six, seven or more coaches, you could probably just slot them into the rake.

I suspect that CAF have seen a gap in the market and have produced a design for a rake of coaches, that will appeal to the UK. I think we could be seeing these coaches appearing elsewhere.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to cost, reliability, flexibility and the quality of the passenger experience.

It does look to me, that by virtue of good design and manufacturing capacity, that CAF seem to have nicked a nice order from under the noses of the big companies.

  • CAF could probably deliver coaches in 2018.
  • Suitable locomotives are already in the UK and Stadler/Vossloh would probably oblige with a few more.
  • The Class 68 locomotive doesn’t seem to generate bad reports in the media.
  • The three previous points, might mean that TPE could be running new reliable trains earlier than anybody thinks.
  • The Civity family is proven and is being built for Arriva Rail North.
  • Hitachi haven’t probably got the capacity to build more Class 800 trains early enough.
  • Bombardier haven’t built a high-speed Aventra, although they might have the capacity, but not a diesel variant.

I certainly think that TPE have got a good replacement at an affordable price for the overcrowded Class 185 trains.

May 23, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment