The Anonymous Widower

An Airport Train For A Pandemic?

These pictures show one of Greater Anglia‘s new Class 745 trains on a Stansted Express service at Hackney Downs station, on the way to Liverpool Street station.

Stansted Express services do not usually use Platform 3, but it would appear that the service had started from Bishops Stortford.

The Future Of Stansted Express Trains

The previous Stansted Express trains; the more-than-adequate Class 379 trains are still waiting for a future, after being replaced.

Now because of the pandemic, the excellent Class 745 trains are running virtually empty.

Perhaps, it’s not a lucky route for trains.

June 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Does Harlow Need An Improved Train Service?

I ask this question, because I am increasingly seeing articles like this one on My London, which is entitled The Large Town Just Outside London Desperate For A London Underground Station.

The town is Harlow.

This Google Map shows the West Anglia Main Line, as it runs through the North of the town.

Note.

On the face of it the town seems well-served by the trains.

Harlow Town Station

This Google Map shows Harlow Town station to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The station has four platforms.
  2. The station has full step-free access.
  3. The station has 697 parking spaces with 18 fully accessible spaces.

The station was built in the 1950s and is a Grade II Listed building.

Train services at the station are as follows.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 2 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Bishop’s Stortford, Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale and Stansted Mountfitchet

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. The Stansted services are fast services and take 29 minutes between London Liverpool Street and Harlow Town.
  3. The other services seem to take a few minutes longer.
  4. London Liverpool Street or Stratford and Tottenham Hale both get six tph.
  5. Bishop’s Stortford gets a four tph service from Harlow Town.
  6. The two Cambridge stations only get two tph.

Harlow Town station has a fairly good service, but it could probably be improved.

Harlow Mill Station

This Google Map shows Harlow Mill station to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms.
  2. The station has step-free access to the London-bound platform only.
  3. The station has 29 parking spaces with 1 fully accessible space.

The station was built in the 1840s and gets about 13 % of the passengers compared to Harlow Town station.

Train services at the station are as follows.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 1 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. London Liverpool Street or Stratford and Tottenham Hale both get only two tph.
  3. Bishop’s Stortford gets two tph service from Harlow Mill.
  4. The two Cambridge stations only get one tph.

Unless you lived or worked nearby, I doubt you would be likely to use Harlow Mill station.

Recent And Planned Improvements

These improvements are planned and it is very unlikely they won’t happen.

Class 710 Trains

London Overground now runs new four-car Class 710 trains between London Liverpool Street and Cheshunt.

  • Each has 189 seats and can accept 489 standing passengers.
  • Busy services to Cheshunt will probably are pair of trains.
  • There are four tph between Cheshunt and London.
  • Will the trains shave a few minutes from journey times?

This massive increase in capacity and train quality must attract some passengers to change to and from the London Overground at Cheshunt.

Class 720 Trains

Greater Anglia has 133 new five-car Class 720 trains on order.

  • Each has 540 seats and can accept 145 standing passengers.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • Busy services through Harlow will probably be a pair of these trains.

These new trains will be a massive increase in capacity and should attract more passengers to the route.

Class 745 Trains

Greater Anglia has recently introduced ten new twelve-car Class 745 trains on Stansted Express services.

  • Each has 767 seats.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They run a two tph service between Harlow Town and London Liverpool Street station and Stansted Airport.

These new trains should attract more passengers to the route.

Crossrail

Services through Harlow will connect to Crossrail at both London Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Will this mean that some passengers will switch from the Victoria Line to Crossrail for their onward journeys?

  • Crossrail will have more capacity than the Victoria Line.
  • Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Heathrow, Paddington and West London will be easier by Crossrail.
  • Victoria and Waterloo will probably be easier by the Victoria Line.
  • London Liverpool Street station’s new connection to the Northern Line will give easier access to parts of South London.
  • London Liverpool Street station will have much improved step-free connections to all London Underground lines.

Crossrail will certainly change the way many people travel between Harlow and London.

Four Lines Modernisation

This page on the Transport for London web site explains the Four Lines Modernisation. This is the first paragraph.

We’re transforming the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. When the work is done we’ll be able to run trains more frequently and reliably to make journeys faster and more comfortable.

The project should increase Peak Hour capacity by 33 %.

This will benefit those who change trains at London Liverpool Street between the West Anglia Main Line and the Circle and Metropolitan Lines.

Possible Improvements

These are possible improvements that may happen.

Crossrail 2

It is unlikely, that a start will be made on Crossrail 2 in the near future.

Victoria Line Improvements

The Victoria Line will continue to do, what it has done reliability for over fifty years.

But there could be improvements.

I also suspect that engineers will find a way to increase the frequency to forty tph.

Four Tracks On The West Anglia Main Line

There are two reasons for four-tracking sections of the West Anglia Main Line.

  • To separate Crossrail 2 trains from fast expresses to Stansted and Cambridge.
  • To speed up services to and from Stansted Airport.

However four-tracking the route between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations would probably be very beneficial.

  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge services could be speeded up.
  • Extra services could be run on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • It could make it easier to extend the Overground from Cheshunt.

Four-tracking will be needed for Crossrail 2, so there is surely the possibility, that it could be done earlier to bring benefits to those living along the Lea Valley.

ERTMS Signalling On The West Anglia Main Line

ERTMS Signalling could speed up services and increase their number on the West Anglia Main Line.

It might also enable four-tracking, which would be very disruptive to both train services and road traffic to be delayed.

Station Improvements On The West Anglia Main Line

The stations between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge are a poor bunch with only Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park, Meridian Water, Waltham Cross, Broxbourne, Harlow Town, Bishop’s Stortford and Audley End having full step-free access.

Some of the other stations need refurbishment and step-free access.

As step-free access will be needed for Crossrail 2, why not setup a rolling program of station improvements.

Level Crossings On The West Anglia Main Line

There are four level crossings on the route to the South of Broxbourne, including three at Cheshunt, Enfield Lock and Brimsdown stations.

They all need to be removed for safety reasons.

New Trains And Capacity

The new trains being rolled out by Greater Anglia and the London Overground will certainly have effects on the services on the West Anglia Main Line.

  • The better performance could speed up services by a few minutes.
  • The capacity increase on the new trains should be welcome.
  • The trains will be of better quality than those they replace.

I also wonder, if the better quality of the trains and their facilities will surely attract more passengers. I suspect the train companies hope so!

Extending The London Overground

This map from cartometro.com shows Cheshunt station and Cheshunt Junction just to the South.

Note.

  1. The two platforms on the West Anglia Main Line and the single bay platform for the London Overground.
  2. The level crossing to the North of Cheshunt station.
  3. The comprehensive Cheshunt Junction which trains to go between the Southbury Loop and the West Anglia Main Line.

Cheshunt Junction is occasionally used by Greater Anglia trains to access the Southbury Loop.

It certainly seems to me, that the Overground could connect to the West Anglia Main Line.

  • All trains from London going to the North of Cheshunt could use Platform 2.
  • All trains to London coming from the North of Cheshunt could use Platform 1.
  • The bay Platform 3 would still be available to turn local trains on the Southbury Loop.
  • An extra crossover could probably be inserted to allow trains from London on the West Anglia Main Line to use Platform 3.

London Overground trains could run to a terminal further North.

Trains Between Cheshunt And London

It is worth looking at the number of trains between Cheshunt and London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 4 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport via West Anglia Main Line
  • London Overground – 4 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cheshunt via the Southbury Loop

This means that the West Anglia Main Line has 10 tph and the Southbury Loop has 4 tph.

This suggests possibilities.

  • Move some services from the West Anglia Main Line to the Southbury Loop.
  • Extend some or all of the London Overground trains to the North of Cheshunt.
  • Stations like Bishop’s Stortford, Broxbourne, Harlow, Hertford East and Ware could get extra services to London.
  • The new services would connect to extra stations without changing trains.

Very little new infrastructure would be required.

Bishop’s Stortford Station As A London Overground Destination

Bishop’s Stortford station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Bishop’s Stortford station could probably easily handle up to an extra two tph.
  • London Overground’s Class 710 trains only have an operating speed of only 75 mph.
  • The trains may need a speed upgrade to serve Bishop’s Stortford, as their speed could slow the Cambridge and Stansted Airport expresses.

If the London Overground services ran to Bishop’s Stortford station, all the smaller stations South of Bishop’s Stortford, could travel to and from Stansted Airport with a single change.

Bishop’s Stortford station may be a possibility, as a destination of two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Broxbourne Station As A London Overground Destination

Broxbourne station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North

Consider.

  • Broxbourne station could probably easily handle up to an extra two tph.
  • As Broxbourne is only 3.2 miles and six minutes to the North of Cheshunt, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

Broxbourne station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Harlow Town Station As A London Overground Destination

Harlow Town station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Harlow Town station could probably easilyhandle up to an extra four tph.
  • If one is needed there would appear to be space for a turnback facility or an extra platform.
  • As Harlow Town is only 5.4 miles and eight minutes to the North of Cheshunt, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

If the London Overground services ran to Harlow Town station, all the smaller stations South of Harlow Town, could travel to and from Stansted Airport with a single change.

Harlow Town station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to four tph on the London Overground route to London.

Hertford East Station As A London Overground Destination

Hertford East station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East
  • There is an extra tph in the Peak.

Consider.

  • Hertford East station has platforms long enough for eight-car trains and may need modification to accommodate a pair of Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains.
  • Ware station would need to be remodelled to increase frequency above three tph.
  • As the route from Broxbourne is on a branch line, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

Hertford East station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Conclusion

I think the best two destinations of the London Overground service to the North of Cheshunt would be Harlow and Hertford East.

  • Trains could terminate at Harlow Town station to connect with Stansted Express and Cambridge trains.
  • It appears that the slightly shorter Class 710 trains may have advantages when using the short platforms at Hertford East station.

Perhaps each destination should receive two tph.

  • Harlow Town would be connected to the Overground.
  • Passengers using stations between Hackney Downs and Cheshunt on the Southbury Loop would change at Harlow Town to and from Cambridge and Stansted Airport.
  • But the biggest benefit would be that two paths on the West Anglia Main Line would be released, as the two tph to Hertford East would be using the Southbury Loop.

I feel there are possibilities to increase the number of trains on the West Anglia Main Line without adding expensive extra tracks.

 

 

April 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Trip To Stansted Airport In A Class 745/1 Train

This lunchtime a friend was passing through Stansted Airport on the way to Glasgow. As we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years, we had decided to have a coffee at the Airport.

I took these pictures on the trip.

Property Development At Tottenham Hale

There is a lot of development going on around Tottenham Hale station.

There will be a lot more to come.

The New Class 745/1 Train

I travelled in a new Class 745/1 train, which are replacing the Class 379 trains.

Note.

  • The trains have twelve articulated sections.
  • The trains are 236.5 metres long.
  • Only 11-car Class 390 trains or a pair of five-car Class 80x trains are longer.
  •  The train has767 seats at a density of 3.24 seats/metre

This picture through the train emphasises the train’s length.

Note.

  • There are some light slops, but no steps.
  • A coffee and snack trolley would be possible.
  • The overhead racks are generously-sized.
  • Some seats are higher and you step up into them, as they are over the wheels.

The ride was also excellent.

Class 745/1 Train Performance

I made these observations.

  • My train stopped at Tottenham Hale, Harlow Town, Bishops Stortford and Stansted Mountfitchet.
  • The train was at 80 mph most of the time on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • The maximum speed if a Class 745 train is 100 mph.
  • The operating speed of the West Anglia Main Line is given on Wikipedia as 100 mph maximum.
  • The train was didn’t exceed 70 mph on the Stansted Branch.
  • Between Stansted Airport and Stansted Mountfitchet, the train accelerated to 70 mph and then braked at the right time to stop precisely in the following station.

At all times, I felt the train was running very easily. But then there are 125 mph members of the Flirt family running in Norway.

I can see these trains cutting the current 49 minutes between Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport.

Other times to London’s airports are as follows.

  • London Bridge – Gatwick – Thameslink – 48 minutes.
  • Victoria – Gatwick – Gatwick Express – 30 minutes.
  • Victoria – Gatwick – Southern – 32 minutes.
  • Paddington – Heathrow Central – Heathrow Express – 15 minutes
  • Paddington – Heathrow Central – Crossrail – 28 minutes

With the exception of Heathrow Express, the new Stansted Express doesn’t stand up too badly.

Rye House Gas-Fired Power Station

One of the landmarks you pass on the West Anglia Main Line is Rye House power station.

The weather wasn’t good, but the pictures give an impression of the  715 MW gas-fired power station.

This Google Map shows the power station.

Note.

  1. The West Anglia Main Line running SW-NE across the map.
  2. Sainsbury’s distribution centre to the North of the railway.
  3. The power station to the South of the railway.
  4. The grid-like structure is an air-cooled condenser.

But where is the station’s carbon capture equipment?

The Lea Valley is London’s greenhouse, as this second Google Map shows.

Note all the nurseries and salad producers on the map, which is a mile or so to the South East of the power station.

Drax Group used to pipe carbon dioxide to salad producers from Drax power station, so why aren’t they doing it here?

Changing At Tottenham Hale Station

This set of pictures show my change at Tottenham Hale station, when I returned to London.

Note.

  1. The step-free entry to the Class 745 train.
  2. The Stansted Express used Platform 3.
  3. It was then followed in Platform 3, by a train to Liverpool Street via Hackney Downs station.
  4. At the same time, a train arrived in Platform 4, which went to Stratford via Lea Bridge station.
  5. I took the Stratford train to Lea Bridge station.
  6. The train was a Class 379 train, which has been replaced by the Class 745 train.

It looks like all Stansted Expresses have an interchange to trains to Hackney Downs and Stratford after a few minutes.

This sums up, what travellers can do at Tottenham Hale station, after arriving on a Stansted Express.

  • Stay on the Stansted Express for Liverpool Street.
  • Wait for the next train to Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street, on the same platform.
  • Wait for the train to Stratford, on the other side of the same platform.
  • Catch the Victoria Line, as passengers have done for decades.
  • There are also lots of buses and taxis.

When Crossrail opens, there will be connections at Stratford and Liverpool Street.

Lea Bridge Station

I took these pictures at Lea Bridge station.

Note, that not all trains on this route are Class 379 trains.

Property Development At Lea Bridge Station

There is a lot of development going on around Lea Bridge station.

As at Tottenham Hale and Stratford, there will probably be more to come.

Lea Bridge Road In Mid Afternoon

As I just mixed a 56 bus home, I walk about half-a-mile to the next bus stop.

It was not a pleasant walk!

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Design, Energy, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Flexible Train For A Pandemic

Anybody, who believes that COVID-19  will be the last pandemic is an idiot!

The virus has shown, those with evil intentions to take over the world, that a pandemic, started by a weaponised virus, whether natural or man-made, can be a useful tool in your arsenal.

We must prepare for the next pandemic.

So how will we travel by train?

Current Train Interiors And The Need To Social Distance

The need to social distance will remain paramount and some of our current train interiors are better than others for passengers to remain two metres apart.

These are some typical UK train interiors.

Typical London Overground Interior

These pictures show a typical London Overground interior on their Class 378 trains and Class 710 trains.

Distancing at two-metres will reduce the capacity dramatically, but with wide doors and common sense, this layout could allow social distancing to work.

Siemens Desiro City Suburban Interior

These pictures show the interior of the two Siemens Desiro City fleets; Thameslink‘s Class 700 trains, Great Northern‘s Class 717 trains and South Western Railway‘s Class 707 trains.

As with the London Overground layout, as the trains are fairly spacious with wide doors, social distancing could probably be made to work at reduced capacity.

Four Seats And A Table

These pictures show a selection of trains, where you have four seats around a table.

Trains include Greater Anglia’s Class 379 trains, Class 745 trains, Class 755 trains, and a selection of Class 800 trains, Class 377 trains from various operators and a superb reconditioned Class 150 train from Great Western Railway.

Could these be made to work, if there was only one person or self-isolating group living together at each set of four seats?

Designing For A Pandemic

These are my thoughts on various topics.

Seating Layouts

Consider.

  • As the pictures show, maintaining social distancing will be difficult on some trains.
  • Could the number of seats in use, be determined by the avert level of the pandemic?
  • Could seats have lights on them to show their status?
  • Will companies insist on reservations?

As to the last point, some train companies are already doing this!

 

Luggage

Will there be limits on the luggage you can take?

Entering And Leaving The Train

Would someone with a dangerous infectious disease be more likely to pass it on, when entering or leaving a train, through a narrow doorway?

I believe coaches with narrow single end doors make social distancing impossible.

  • Passengers get stuck in the bottleneck that these doors create.
  • Passengers are entering and leaving through the same crowded door.
  • Anybody in a wheelchair, pushing a child in a buggy or dragging a large suitcase, will make the bottleneck worse.

They are not fit for purpose in a post-COVID-19 world!

It might be possible to make the doors work using a traffic light system, which allowed passengers to leave, before any passengers were allowed to enter.

But any safe system, would be likely to increase dwell times in stations.

These pictures show the doors and entry and exit for Greater Anglia’s Class 745 and Class 755 trains.

These trains have been designed to be able to run London and Norwich services over a distance of more than a hundred miles, so the trains could be considered InterCity services in all but name.

Note.

  1. All doors are double and lead into a wide and spacious lobby.
  2. Entry and exit is level, as there is a gap filler between train and platform.
  3. Entry and exit in a wheelchair, pushing a buggy or wheeling a large suitcase doesn’t

Greater Anglia’s new trains would appear to be better in a post-COVID-19 world.

I also think, that these trains are better designed for the disabled, those with young children, and the elderly and just plain worn-out.

Finding A Seat

If you watch people entering a train, they often take forever to find their seat and sit down. Especially, if they’ve got a massive suitcase that won’t fit in the space provided.

Rules on boarding a train and how much luggage you can bring will be developed.

Toilets

Will visiting the toilet still be allowed? Or will toilets even be removed?

Flexibility

I think a degree of flexibility must be built into the design.

I mentioned lights on seats to show which could be used, that could be lit up according to the threat level.

Conclusion

Travelling will get more complicated.

 

 

 

 

May 17, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Hardly Any Passengers – But Greater Anglia’s Trains Are More Reliable

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Great Yarmouth Mercury.

This is the introductory paragraph.

It may be operating fewer trains and carrying a fraction of the passengers it was – but Greater Anglia’s trains are now much more reliable for essential workers, figures show.

Greater Anglia’s most punctual route was Manningtree to Harwich at almost 99 %.

April 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | 3 Comments

Greater Anglia Completes Directly-Managed Norwich Victoria Sidings Project

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Greater Anglia has opened four sidings able to stable 12-car trains just outside Norwich station, with its first train using the facility on March 3.

Other information can be found in this and other articles.

  • It was Greater Anglia’s biggest infrastructure investment to date.
  • The sidings are on the South side of the Trowse Swing Bridge, that crosses the River Wensum.
  • The project took nine months to complete.
  • The sidings look to be fully electrified.

I would assume that each siding can take one of the following.

  • A twelve-car Class 745 train, which are 236.6 metres long.
  • A ten-car Class 720 train, which are 240 metres long.
  • Two five-car Class 720 trains, which are 122 metres long.
  • More than one Class 755 trains, which are 65 metres long (3-car) and 81 metres long (4-car)

They will certainly be able to pack in the trains.

 

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Stansted Express Train At Liverpool Street Station

I took these pictures yesterday of a new Stansted Express train at Liverpool Street station.

Note that it is numbered 106 on the front. The leading one indicates a Class 745/1 train or one for use on Stansted Express.

The Class 745 train data sheet is now on the Stadler web site, which gives a lot of interesting data.

For instance, it gives the train’s mean acceleration between 0 and 40 mph as 0.9 m/s².

This compares with the following.

The maximum acceleration for a Hitachi AT-300 train given on this page of their web site as 0.75 m/s².

The acceleration of a Class 345 train is given as up to 1 m/s².

Eversholt give the acceleration of a Class 321 Renatus as 0.6 ms².

It looks to me that Class 745 trains have a quick getaway, but not as quick as the Crossrail trains.

But they do appear to be faster off the mark than the Hitachi trains.

 

April 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

A Class 755 Train PowerPack Car

The picture shows the PowerPack car of a Class 755 train.

Note.

  1. The two covers to give access to the two engines on each side of the car.
  2. The shared Jacobs bogies between the cars.
  3. The pairs of shock absorbers between cars.

The Jacobs bogies and the shock absorbers are probably used to help give the trains a smooth ride. The Wikipedia entry for Jacobs bogies says this.

Instead of being underneath a piece of rolling stock, Jacobs bogies are placed between two carbody sections. The weight of each car is spread between the Jacobs bogie. This arrangement provides the smooth ride of bogie carriages without the additional weight and drag.

After my half-dozen or so rides in Class 745 and Class 755 trains, I wouldn’t be averse to seeing a lot more of these trains in the UK.

 

March 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

First Time On A Saturday

Yesterday, after a dreadful match at Ipswich, I came back to London in a new Class 745 train.

I have a feeling, this was the first time that the trains have been running with passengers on a Saturday.

They really are seriously good trains!

I shall be interested to see how the number of passengers increase between London and Norwich via Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich.

February 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

My First Ride In A Class 745 Train

I took these pictures as I took a ride in a new Class 745 train between Liverpool Street and Colchester.

These are my thoughts on various subjects.

Seating

I found no problem with the seats in Second Class, although there have been reports, that they are harder than those of the Mark 3 coaches.

I came back from Colchester in one of British Rail’s finest products and prefer the new train.

Note that in both cases I had a seat with a proper table, so I was comparing like with like.

In the Class 745 train, I was sitting in one of the higher seats over a bogie and I like this position with its better view, which I have also used in the smaller bi-mode Class 755 trains, that are used for local services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

These higher seats, which are in groups of four are a good design solution to maintaining the level floor in the train over the bogies and with their large windows, I feel they would be ideal for families.

You are also slightly isolated from the rest of the train, so could be ideal for a group of people wanting to have a slightly confidential meeting on the train.

Do you get some of the advantages of a compartment, without any of the inconvenience for train operators and passengers?

This article on Rail Magazine is entitled First Pictures: Greater Anglia Reveals Interior Of New Intercity Fleet.

This paragraph describes the seating.

The ‘745/0s’ feature 752 seats (672 in Standard Class and 80 in First Class) compared to the 614 on existing nine-car sets (528 in Standard and 86 in First Class), while they retain the 2+2 seating in Standard Class and 2+1 in First Class. There is space for 245 standing passengers.

Greater Anglia claims there is the maximum padding allowed under stricter fire regulations.

First Class Seats

First Class looks spacious and the seat was better, as I stole a quick try, as I walked through.

If Greater Anglia continue Weekend First, I shall pay the extra if Ipswich lose on the way home.

Tables

In First Class all seats have proper tables and in Standard Class, there are more proper tables than in the Mark 3 coaches.

I didn’t check, but it appears most airline seats in Standard Class have a seat back table. As the Mark 3 coaches are well-provided with seat back tables, there would be protests, if the new trains aren’t the same.

I actually counted the number of four-place tables in Standard class and found their were forty-three pairs of tables on either side of the aisle.

As each table has four seats, this means that 344 seats in Standard Class have a full size table.

This means that just over half of Standard Class seats have a full size table.

In the old Mark 3 rakes of coaches, there are five Standard Class coaches, which each have seventy-four seats, which gives a total of 370 seats.

I feel that at most times of the day, nearly all Standard Class passengers will get a seat with a full-size table.

Greater Anglia seem to be giving passengers on their premium service a lot more space.

The Buffet

I only passed through the buffet, when the train was in Liverpool Street station and it was closed.

So I didn’t get to see the food and drink offering.

The buffet is placed between First and Standard Class, which is where it should be.

Walk-Through Train

The Class 745 train is the UK’s first walk-through express train, with a nearly level floor from end to end.

You can even walk through the equipment sections in the middle of the train, where the two halves join.

At very nearly 237 metres long, it is over thirty metres longer than Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, so the Class 745 trains must be the UK’s longest walk-through trains.

Note that a twelve-car Class 321 train is just over 239 metres long, with a twelve-car Class 360 train at 244 metres.

But these trains are not walk-through.

 

Catering Trolley

One benefit of the level walk-through floor, is that it must be easier for staff to push the catering trolley through the train.

As, it came through on both trips, it looks like Greater Anglia are doing the right thing with catering in both First and Standard Class.

However, I did meet a steward, who wasn’t looking forward to pushing a trolley all that way!

Ride Quality

I had no complaints, although not everyone likes sitting on top of the bogie, as it can be choppy.

It should be noted that like the bi-modes, the train has yaw dampers between carriages.

Note the second one lower down! That is not engineering by accountants!

Does these improve the ride? I didn’t ask Greater Anglia to take them off and have another trip!

Step-Free Access

One of my gripes with many trains is the large step to get in or out of the train.

Compare this picture, which shows a Class 717 train at Moorgate station, with this second picture of the step on a Class 745 train at Colchester.

Note too, the wide-double door, which is much more like that of a high-capacity commuter train, than an express designed for two-hour journeys.

I appreciate these touches, as I could have been in a wheel-chair after my stroke.

But the Devil thought I’d be a troublemaker, so she gave me a second chance and threw me back!

A Driver’s View

Sitting opposite was a Greater Anglia driver having his first trip on a Class 745 train.

He was training to change from Class 321 trains to the bi-mode Class 755 trains and seemed genuinely enthusiastic to get driving his new charges.

But he said the best feature of both fleets of new trains from a driver’s point of view in the acceleration and he showed me an impressive video, which compared the acceleration of the old and new trains.

This acceleration will save a few minutes,

He was also very interested in hydrogen power, so I told him about my adventures in the North of the Netherlands.

Performance

When Norwich-in-Ninety services started in May 2019, I wrote Norwich-In-Ninety Is A Lot More Than Passengers Think!.

I described a ride from Norwich to London in ninety minutes in the Mark 3 coaches hauled by a Class 90 locomotive, where for much of the route, we were cruising at the route’s maximum speed of 100 mph.

Today, the Class 745 train was at 100 mph for long periods and appeared to be running easily.

But then a Class 745 train, has a power output of 5,200 kW compared with the 3,730 kW of a Class 90 locomotive. The new train may have twenty-three percent more seats, but it also has nearly forty percent more power.

This is certainly one reason for the acceleration, shown in the driver’s video.

Various fast trains can be compared.

  • Pendelino Class 390/0 – 125 mph – 9 cars – 469 seats – 5,100 kW
  • Pendelino Class 390/1 – 125 mph – 11 cars – 589 seats – 5,950 kW
  • Class 745 – 100 mph – 12 cars – 747 seats – 5,200 kW
  • Class 755 – 100 mph – 4 cars – 229 seats – 2,600 kW
  • Class 801 – 125 mph – 9 cars – 611 seats – 4,000 kW
  • InterCity 125 – 125 mph – 8 cars – 514 seats – 3,400 kW
  • InterCity 225 – 125 mph – 9 cars – 535 seats – 4,700 kW

Note.

  1. Except for their 100 mph, the Class 745 fit well into the table.
  2. They have more seats than any other trains in the table.
  3. They have more power than a Class 801, an InterCity 225 and the short Pendelinos.
  4. The bi-mode Class 755 trains are no wimps either.

Both the Class 745 and Class 755 trains really are high-powered Swiss rockets.

Could they go faster?

There are 120 mph Flirts running in Norway, but the maximum speed on the Great Eastern Main Line is only 100 mph, so they couldn’t run any faster there.

But a senior Greater Anglia driver told me, that the bi-mode Class 755 trains have been designed for 125 mph.

As an engineer, this is not unexpected, as Europe has a plethora of rail lines with a 200 kph or 125 mph operating speed, that have branches that extend to sizeable towns and cities that need an improved rail service.

In the UK, think of LNER’s recently introduced services to Lincoln and Harrogate, where there is a 125 mph electric dash on the East Coast Main Line and a diesel trundle to the destination.

As the two classes of Greater Anglia  trains and the Norwegian Flirts seem to use the same running gear, is there lucking in that body a cheetah wanting to be unleashed.

If so, the Hitachi trains have a serious rival!

But could the Class 745 trains go faster on the Great Eastern Main Line?

For periods yesterday, the Speedview app on my phone, was showing a steady 100 mph. But the route to Colchester is crowded with 100 mph commuter trains, which probably preclude faster running.

But get North of Ipswich and in a few months, the only non-Flirt traffic, will be the freight trains to and from Felixstowe, which use the Great Eastern Main Line on the fifteen miles between Ipswich and Haughley Junction.

The Northern section of the Great Eastern Main Line has two major bottlenecks.

  • Haughley Junction, which needs remodelling to handle the large numbers of freight trains.
  • Trowse swing bridge and its single track, which needs replacing with a proper bridge and a double track.

Both projects are under development by Network Rail.

However, between the two bottlenecks, the track was built for Victorian high speed. and is reasonably straight across flat country, with one station and a few level crossings.

Currently, the Norwich-in-Ninety trains can achieve the following.

  • Norwich and Haughley Junction, which is 32 miles,  in around 26 minutes at an average speed of 73 mph.
  • Norwich and Ipswich station, which is 46 miles,  in around 35 minutes at an average speed of 79 mph.

Note there is a stop at Diss, where the Class 745 trains might save a few seconds because of their level access and fast acceleration.

Whilst the two major projects at Trowse and Haughley Junction are carried out, will Network Rail improve the track between Ipswich and Norwich to allow faster running.

Being able to average 100 mph between Norwich and Ipswich would knock several minutes off the journey time.

Conclusion

Hitachi have a serious competitor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment