The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On The Design Of Hitachi’s Battery Electric Trains

If you look at a Class 800 or Class 802 train, they have underfloor diesel engines. Their powertrain is described like this in its own section in Wikipedia.

Despite being underfloor, the generator units (GU) have diesel engines of V12 formation. The Class 801 has one GU for a five to nine-car set. These provide emergency power for limited traction and auxiliaries if the power supply from the overhead line fails. The Class 800 and Class 802 bi-mode has three GU per five-car set and five GU per nine-car set. A five-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/4 and a nine-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/5/7/8.

There have been rumours of overheating.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

Hitachi have teamed up with Hyperdrive Innovation to create a Regional Battery Train. There is this Press Release on the Hyperdrive Information web site, which is entitled Hitachi Rail And Hyperdrive Agreement P[ens Way For Battery Trains Across Britain.

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification.

Note, that this is a 100 mph train, with a range of 56 miles.

Typical routes would include a route like Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge.

  • It is 93 miles.
  • There are thirty-nine miles of electrification at the Stansted Airport end.
  • Norwich station is fully-electrified.
  • There is just 53 miles between the Trowse swing-bridge and Ely station, that is not electrified.

Trains would charge the batteries at both ends of the route and use battery power, where no electrification exists.

There are many similar routes like this in the UK.

Hitachi have also produced this video.

My thoughts lead me to a few questions.

Are The Battery Modules Simulated Diesel Engines?

At the age of sixteen, for a vacation job, I worked in the Electronics Laboratory at Enfield Rolling Mills.

It was the early sixties and one of their tasks was at the time replacing electronic valve-based automation systems with new transistor-based systems.

The new equipment had to be compatible to that which it replaced, but as some were installed in dozens of places around the works, they had to be able to be plug-compatible, so that they could be quickly changed. Occasionally, the new ones suffered infant-mortality and the old equipment could just be plugged back in, if there wasn’t a spare of the new equipment.

Stadler have three very similar trains, that are destined for the UK.

All share the same PowerPack-in-the-Middle design, which is shown in this picture.

There are four slots in the PowerPack, with two on either side and they can all hold, either a diesel engine or a battery. Only, the Class 756 trains, are planned to have batteries at present, to make the trains tri-mode and capable of being powered by overhead electric, on-board batteries or a diesel generator.

If I was designing the battery modules to slot into the PowerPack, I and many other engineers would make the battery module deliver similar characteristics and plug compatibility to the diesel module.

The train’s control computer, would be simpler to program and debug and would use modules appropriately to drive the train according to the driver’s instructions.

This interchangeability would also give the operator lots of flexibility, in how they configured and used the trains.

So will Hyperdrive Innovation use an approach for Hitachi, where the battery module has similar characteristics and plug compatibility to the current diesel module?

I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, as it allows modules to be quickly swapped as operational needs change and the train’s computer sorts out the train’s formation and acts accordingly.

On An Hitachi Regional Battery Train Will All Diesel Engines Be Replaced With Battery Modules?

If the computer is well-programmed, it should handle any combination of diesel engines and battery modules.

Perhaps for various routes different combinations might apply.

  • For maximum battery range, all modules would be batteries.
  • For maximum power, all modules would be diesel engines.
  • To handle some out and back routes, there might be three battery modules and a diesel engine to charge the batteries before return.
  • Could perhaps one or two battery modules be fitted to avoid using the diesel engines in stations and in sensitive areas?

On some routes all diesel engines will be replaced with batteries on Battery Regional Trains, but on others there could be a mixture of both battery and diesel engines.

It should be noted that Stadler achieve the same flexibility with their PowerPack-in-the-Middle design.

Operators will like this flexibility.

What Is The Capacity Of A Battery Module?

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I calculated that an all-electric Class 801 train uses 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile.

I can do a simple estimate based on this figure.

When running on batteries the train will need less energy due to less air resistance, because it is going at 100 mph, rather than 125 mph.

  • If the energy use is proportional to the speed, then at 100 mph, the energy use will be 2.73 kWh per vehicle mile.
  • But if the energy use is proportional to the square of the speed, the energy use will be 2.19 kWh per vehicle mile.

I will compromise and use 2.5 kWh per vehicle mile.

Total energy needed to move a five-car train 56 miles would be 5 x 56 x 2.5 or 700 kWh, which could be three batteries of 233 kWh.

These are not outrageous sizes and the batteries could probably be of a comparable weight to the current diesel engines. So replacement wouldn’t affect the handling of the train.

In addition, the batteries would need to be large enough to hold all the regenerated by braking during a stop.

  • The weight of a Class 800 train is 243 tonnes.
  • It can carry 326 passengers, who probably weigh 80 Kg with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • This gives a total train weight of 269 tonnes.
  • Using Omni’s Kinetic Energy Calculator, the kinetic energy at 100 mph is just 75 kWh.
  • For completeness, at 125 mph, the kinetic energy is 117 kWh and at 140 mph, the kinetic energy is 146 kWh.

All these figures are small compared to the battery size needed for traction.

Will East Coast Train’s Class 803 trains Use The Same Technology?

On East Coast Trains‘s Class 803 trains, batteries will be fitted to maintain onboard services, in case of a power failure.

Have these batteries been designed by Hyperdrive Innovation, with perhaps less capacity?

As East Coast Trains’s route between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is fully electrified, the trains probably won’t need any auxiliary traction power.

But would increasing the battery size make this possible?

Where Do Avanti West Coast Class 807 Trains Fit In?

Avanti West Coast‘s Class 807 trains are also members of the same Hitachi A-Train family.

In the January 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Hitachi Trains For Avanti.

This is said about the ten all-electric AT-300 trains for Birmingham, Blackpool and Liverpool services, which have now been numbered as Class 807 trains.

The electric trains will be fully reliant on the overhead wire, with no diesel auxiliary engines or batteries.

It may go against Hitachi’s original design philosophy, but not carrying excess weight around, must improve train performance, because of better acceleration.

It may also have the wiring for a diesel engine or a battery module, should operational experience indicate one is needed.

Will All Cars Be Wired Ready For A Diesel Or Battery Module?

A five-car Class 802 train currently has a diesel engine in cars 2, 3 and 4.

The Hitachi infographic says that a Regional Battery Train has a range of 56 miles on batteries.

Let’s assume that this range applies to a Class 802 train, that has been fitted with three battery modules.

If we take Hull Trains as an example, their Class 802 trains do the following sections using their diesel engines

  • Temple Hirst Junction and Beverley – 44.34 miles or 87 miles round trip
  • Temple Hirst Junction and Hull – 36 miles or 72 miles round trip

These distances mean that with a 56 mile range, there needs to be some form of changing at Hull and/or Beverley.

But supposing all cars are wired to accept batteries or diesel engines. This could mean the following.

  • A train with three batteries and a range of 56 miles, could fit a standard diesel engine as a range extender, which could also be used to charge the batteries at Hull or Beverley.
  • A train with four batteries, could have a range of 75 miles, which with regenerative braking and precise energy-saving driving could be able to go between Temple Hirst Junction and Hull and back on battery power.
  • A train with four batteries and a diesel engine,, could have a range of 75 miles on battery power. The diesel energy could be used as a range extender or to charge the batteries at Hull and/or Beverley.
  • Could a train with five batteries, which could have a range of 90 miles, be able to reach Beverley and return to Temple Hirst Junction?

Note.

  1. I have assumed that battery range is proportional to the number of batteries.
  2. There must also be scope for running slower to cut the amount of energy used.

In addition, all Hull Trains schedules seem to spend fifteen minutes or more in Hull station. This would be enough time to recharge the batteries.

I’m fairly certain, that if all cars were wired  for batteries or diesel engines, it would give the operators a lot of flexibility.

Running With Batteries And A Range Extender Diesel Engine

The LEVC TX taxi is described as a plug-in hybrid range extender electric vehicle, where a small petrol engine, can also be used to generate electricity to power the vehicle.

Suppose a Class 802 train was fitted with two battery modules and a diesel engine. Could the diesel act as a range extender, in the same way as the petrol engine does on the LEVC TX?

The diesel engines fitted to a Class 802 train are 700 kW, so if I’m right about the train having total battery capacity of 700 kWh, one engine would take an hour to charge the batteries.

Returning to my Hull Trains example, drivers could probably ensure that the train didn’t get stranded by judicial use of the a single diesel engine to charge the batteries, whilst running in rural areas along the route.

As there would only be one diesel engine rather than three, the noise would be much lower.

I suspect too, that a simple charger in Hull station could charge a train, as it passes through, to make sure it doesn’t get stranded in the countryside.

I suspect that a mix of batteries and diesel engines could be part of an elegant solution on some routes.

  • Edinburgh and Aberdeen
  • Edinburgh and Inverness
  • London Kings Cross and Hull
  • London Paddington and Swansea
  • London St. Pancras and Sheffield.
  • London St. Pancras and Nottingham

It might also be a useful configuration on some TransPennine routes.

Charging Battery Trains

Having a charger in a terminal station would open up a lot of routes to Hitachi’s battery electric trains.

At stations like Hull and Scarborough, this charger could be as simple as perhaps forty metres of 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • The train would stop in the station at the appropriate place.
  • The driver would raise the pantograph.
  • Charging would start.
  • When the battery is fully-charged, the driver would lower the pantograph.

This procedure could be easily automated and the overhead wire could be made electrically dead, if no train is connected.

It should be noted that Hitachi have recently acquired ABB’s power grid business, as announced in this Hitachi press release which is entitled Hitachi Completes Acquisition of ABB’s Power Grids Business; Hitachi ABB Power Grids Begins Operation.

Rail is not mentioned, but mobility is. So will this move by Hitachi, strengthen their offering to customers, by also providing the systems in stations and sidings to charge the trains.

This Google Map shows Hull station, with its large roof.

Could an integrated solution involving solar panels over the station be used to power electrification to charge the trains and dome electric buses next door?

Integrated solutions powered by renewable energy would appeal to a lot of municipalities seeking to improve their carbon profile.

Conclusion

These trains will transform a lot of rail services in the UK and abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

October 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

GWR Buys Vehicles Outright In HST Fleet Expansion

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Despite concerns over future passenger numbers, the Department for Transport has given permission for Great Western Railway to procure three more shortened HST diesel trainsets, branded as the Castle Class by the franchisee.

These pictures show some of the Castle Class trains.

They must be profitable and/or popular with passengers.

If I have a problem with these trains, it is with the Class 43 diesel power cars.

  • Each train has two power cars.
  • It would appear that there are about 150 of the Class 43 power cars in regular service.
  • Each is powered by a modern MTU 16V4000 R41R diesel engine, that is rated at 1678 kW.
  • The engines are generally less than a dozen years old.
  • They will be emitting a lot of carbon dioxide.

As the trains are now only half as long as they used to be, I would suspect, that the engines won’t be working as hard, as they can.

Hopefully, this will mean less emissions.

The article says this about use of the fleet.

With its fleet now increasing to 14, GWR expects to use 12 each day on services across the west of England. Currently the fleet is deployed on the Cardiff – Bristol – Penzance corridor, but the company is still evaluating how the additional sets will be used.

It also says, that they are acquiring rolling stock from other sources. Some of which will be cannibalised for spares.

Are First Rail Holdings Cutting Carbon Emissions?

First Rail Holdings, who are GWR’s parent, have announced in recent months three innovative and lower-carbon fleets from Hitachi, for their subsidiary companies.

Hitachi have also announced a collaboration with Hyperdrive Innovation to provide battery packs to replace diesel engines, that could be used on Class 800 and Class 802 trains.

First Rail Holdings have these Class 800/802 fleets.

  • GWR – 36 x five-car Class 800 trains
  • GWR – 21 x nine-car Class 800 trains
  • GWR – 22 x five-car Class 802 trains
  • GWR – 14 x nine-car Class 802 trains
  • TransPennine Express – 19 x five-car Class 802 trains
  • Hull Trains – 5 x five-car Class 802 trains

Note.

  1. That is a total of 117 trains.
  2. As five-car trains have three diesel engines and nine-car trains have five diesel engines, that is a total of 357 engines.
  3. In Could Battery-Electric Hitachi Trains Work Hull Trains’s Services?, I showed that Hull Trains could run their services with a Fast Charging system in Hull station.
  4. In Could Battery-Electric Hitachi Trains Work TransPennine Express’s Services?, I concluded that Class 802 trains equipped with batteries could handle all their routes without diesel and some strategically-placed charging stations.

In the Wikipedia entry for the Class 800 train, there is a section called Powertrain, where this is said.

According to Modern Railways magazine, the limited space available for the GUs has made them prone to overheating. It claims that, on one day in summer 2018, “half the diagrammed units were out of action as engines shut down through overheating.

So would replacing some diesel engines with battery packs, also reduce this problem, in addition to cutting carbon emissions?

It does appear to me, that First Rail Holdings could be cutting carbon emissions in their large fleet of Hitachi Class 800 and Class 802 trains.

The Class 43 power cars could become a marketing nightmare for the company?

Could Class 43 Power Cars Be Decarbonised?

Consider.

  • Class 43 power cars are forty-five years old.
  • They have been rebuilt with new MTU engines in the last dozen years or so.
  • I suspect MTU and GWR know everything there is to know about the traction system of a Class 43 power car.
  • There is bags of space in the rear section of the power car.
  • MTU are part of Rolls-Royce, who because of the downturn in aviation aren’t performing very well!

But perhaps more importantly, the power cars are iconic, so anybody, who decarbonises these fabulous beasts, gets the right sort of high-class publicity.

I would also feel, if you could decarbonise these power cars, the hundreds of diesel locomotives around the world powered by similar diesel engines could be a useful market.

What methods could be used?

Biodiesel

Running the trains on biodiesel would be a simple solution.

  • It could be used short-term or long-term.
  • MTU has probably run the engines on biodiesel to see how they perform.
  • Biodiesel could also be used in GWR’s smaller diesel multiple units, like Class 150, 158, 165 and 166 trains.

Some environmentalists think biodiesel is cheating as it isn’t zero-carbon.

But it’s my view, that for a lot of applications it is a good interim solution, especially, as companies like Altalto, will be making biodiesel and aviation biofuel from household and industrial waste, which would otherwise be incinerated or go to landfill.

The Addition Of Batteries

This page on the Hitachi Rail Ltd web site shows this image of the V-Train 2.

This is the introduction to the research program, which was based on a High Speed Train, fotmed of two Class 43 power cars and four Mark 3 carriages.

The V-Train 2 was a demonstration train designed in order to demonstrate our skills and expertise while bidding for the Intercity Express Programme project.

The page  is claiming, that a 20 % fuel saving could be possible.

This paragraph talks about performance.

The V-Train 2 looked to power the train away from the platform using batteries – which would in turn be topped up by regenerative braking when a train slowed down to stop at a station. Acceleration would be quicker and diesel saved for the cruising part of the journey.

A similar arrangement to that Hitachi produced in 2005 could be ideal.

  • Technology has moved on significantly in the intervening years.
  • The performance would be adequate for a train that just trundles around the West Country at 90 mph.
  • The space in the rear of the power car could hold a lot of batteries.
  • The power car would be quiet and emission-free in stations.
  • There would be nothing to stop the diesel engine running on biodiesel.

This might be the sort of project, that Hitachi’s partner in the Regional Battery Train; Hyperdrive Innovation. would probably be capable of undertaking.

MTU Hybrid PowerPack

I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that MTU have a drop-in solution for the current 6V4000 R41R diesel engine, that includes a significant amount of batteries.

This must be a serious possibility.

Rolls-Royce’s 2.5 MW Generator

In Our Sustainability Journey, I talk about rail applications of Rolls-Royce’s 2.5 MW generator, that has been developed to provide power for electric flight.

In the post, I discuss fitting the generator into a Class 43 power car and running it on aviation biofuel.

I conclude the section with this.

It should also be noted, that more-efficient and less-polluting MTU engines were fitted in Class 43s from 2005, so as MTU is now part of Rolls-Royce, I suspect that Rolls-Royce have access to all the drawings and engineers notes, if not the engineers themselves

But it would be more about publicity for future sales around the world, with headlines like.

Iconic UK Diesel Passenger Trains To Receive Green Roll-Royce Jet Power!

COVID-19 has given Rolls-Royce’s aviation business a real hammering, so perhaps they can open up a new revenue stream by replacing the engines of diesel locomotives,

I find this an intriguing possibility. Especially, if it were to be fitted with a battery pack.

Answering My Original Question

In answering my original question, I feel that there could be several ways to reduce the carbon footprint of a Class 43 power car.

It should also be noted that other operators are users of Class 43 power cars.

  • ScotRail – 56
  • CrossCountry – 12
  • East Midlands Railway – 39
  • Network Rail – 3

Note.

  1. ScotRail’s use of the power cars, is very similar to that of GWR.
  2. CrossCountry’s routes would need a lot of reorganisation to be run by say Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train.
  3. East Midlands Railway are replacing their Inter-City 125s with new Class 810 trains.

The picture shows the power car of Network Rail’s New Measurement Train.

These may well be the most difficult to decarbonise, as I suspect they need to run at 125 mph on some routes, which do not have electrification and there are no 125 mph self-powered locomotives. After the Stonehaven crash, there may be more tests to do and a second train may be needed by Network Rail.

Why Are GWR Increasing Their Castle Class Fleet?

These are possible reasons.

GWR Want To Increase Services

This is the obvious explanation, as more services will need more trains.

GWR Want To Update The Fleet

There may be something that they need to do to all the fleet, so having a few extra trains would enable them to update the trains without cutting services.

GWR Want To Partially Or Fully Decarbonise The Power Cars

As with updating the fleet,  extra power cars would help, as they could be modified first and then given a thorough testing before entering passenger service.

GWR Have Been Made An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Suppose Rolls-Royce, MTU or another locomotive power plant manufacturer has a novel idea, they want to test.

Over the years, train operating companies have often tested modified trains and locomotives for manufacturers.

So has a manufacturer, asked GWR to test something in main line service?

Are Other Train Operators Thinking Of Using Introducing More Short-Formed InterCity 125 Trains?

This question has to be asked, as I feel there could be routes, that would be suitable for a net-zero carbon version of a train, like a GWR Castle or a ScotRail Inter7City.

Northern Trains

Northern Trains is now run by the Department for Transport and has surely the most suitable route in the UK for a shorted-formed InterCity 125 train – Leeds and Carlisle via the Settle and Carlisle Line.

Northern Trains may have other routes.

Transport for Wales Rail Services

Transport for Wales Rail Services already run services between Cardiff Central and Holyhead using diesel locomotive hauled services and long distance services between South Wales and Manchester using diesel multiple units.

Would an iconic lower-carbon train be a better way of providing some services and attract more visitors to the Principality?

Conclusion

GWR must have a plan, but there are few clues to what it is.

The fact that the trains have been purchased rather than leased could be significant and suggests to me that because there is no leasing company involved to consult, GWR are going to do major experimental modifications to the trains.

They may be being paid, by someone like an established or new locomotive engine manufacturer.

It could also be part of a large government innovation and decarbonisation project.

My hunch says that as First Rail Holdings appear to be going for a lower-carbon fleet, that it is about decarbonising the Class 43 power cars.

The plan would be something like this.

  • Update the three new trains to the new specification.
  • Give them a good testing, before certifying them for service.
  • Check them out in passenger service.
  • Update all the trains.

The three extra trains would give flexibility and mean that there would always be enough trains for a full service.

Which Methods Could Be Used To Reduce The Carbon Footprint Of The Class 43 Power Cars?

These must be the front runners.

  • A Hitachi/Hyperdrive Innovation specialist battery pack.
  • An MTU Hybrid PowerPack.
  • A Rolls-Royce MTU solution based on the Rolls-Royce 2.5 MW generator with batteries.

All would appear to be viable solutions.

 

 

 

 

September 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel

The Wapping Tunnel in Liverpool was designed by George Stephenson and was the first tunnel in the world to be bored under a city.

It used to take goods trains between Liverpool Docks and the Liverpool and Manchester Line.

During the 1970s preparations were made to connect the Wapping Tunnel to Merseyrail’s Northern Line, so that trains could run between the Northern Line and the City Line, which would have connected the North and East of the City.

But the project was never completed.

It now appears, the project is on the agenda again.

This article on TransportExtra is entitled Liverpool CR Develops Plan To Boost City Centre Rail Capacity.

The plan outlined is as follows.

  • At present, as many as two thirds of trains on the Northern Line turn back as Liverpool Central station.
  • Between four and eight trains per hour (tph) could be diverted into the Wapping Tunnel to serve places like St. Helens, Warrington Central and Wigan.
  • This would free up platforms in Liverpool Lime Street station for Inter-City and Inter-Regional services.

It is also pointed out, that a 2016 study, didn’t find any serious technical problems with the project.

I do have my thoughts on this project.

Services That Could Be Connected

Local services running from Liverpool Lime Street station include.

Manchester Oxford Road Via Warrington Central

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has a frequency of two tph.
  • One service calls at Edge Hill, Mossley Hill, West Allerton, Liverpool South Parkway, Hunts Cross, Halewood, Hough Green, Widnes, Sankey For Penketh, Warrington West, Warrington Central, Birchwood, Irlam, Urmston and Deansgate.
  • The other service calls at Mossley Hill, West Allerton, Liverpool South Parkway, Hough Green, Widnes, Warrington Central, Padgate, Birchwood, Glazebrook, Irlam, Flixton, Chassen Road (1tp2h), Urmston, Humphrey Park, Trafford Park and Deansgate
  • Both trains appear to take the same route.
  • Some stations like Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington West and Deansgate have lifts, but disabled access is patchy.
  • The service has a dedicated terminal at Manchester Oxford Road, which is without doubt Manchester’s worst central station for location, access to the Metrolink, onward travel and step-free access.
  • It takes seventy-two minutes. which is an inconvenient time for train operators.
  • The route is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead electrification at both ends.

I’ve used this route several times and usually pick it up from Deansgate, as it has a convenient interchange to the Metrolink.

I am fairly certain that Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains running on battery power in the middle could handle this route.

  • They would charge the batteries at the electrified ends of the route.
  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • These trains are built for fast stops, so could all services call at all stations?
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

I estimate that these trains are fast enough to do the return trip between the Wapping Tunnel portal at Edge Hill and Manchester Oxford Road in under two hours.

  • A two-four tph stopping service between Liverpool and Manchester City Centres, that took less than an hour, would be very convenient for passengers.
  • The service would be well-connected to local tram, train and bus services in both City Centres.
  • The service would also very easy for train schedulers to integrate with other services.

Liverpool and Manchester would have the world’s first battery-powered inter-city railway.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Wigan North Western Via St. Helens Central

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has a frequency of two tph.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Prescot, Eccleston Park, Thatto Heath, St Helens Central, Garswood and Bryn
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • It takes fifty-one minutes. which is a very convenient time for train operators.

Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains could handle this route, if fitted with pantographs for 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

I estimate that these trains are fast enough to do the return trip between the Wapping Tunnel portal at Edge Hill and Wigan North Western in under two hours.

  • A two-four tph stopping service between Liverpool and Wigan, that took less than an hour, would be very convenient for passengers.
  • Wigan North Western has good connections using the West Coast Main Line.
  • The service would also very easy for train schedulers to integrate with other services.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Blackpool North

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Huyton, St Helens Central, Wigan North Western, Euxton Balshaw Lane, Leyland, Preston, Kirkham & Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • It takes seventy-seven minutes. which is a reasonable time for train operators.

This is a service that could continue as now, but would probably be timed to fit well with four Merseyrail trains between the Wapping Tunnel and Wigan North Western.

Manchester Airport Via Warrington Central And Manchester Piccadilly

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington West, Warrington Central, Birchwood, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly and Mauldeth Road
  • The route is partially-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service is operated by diesel trains.
  • The service uses the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor.
  • It takes sixty-nine minutes, which is an inconvenient time for train operators.

This is one of those services, which I think will eventually be partially replaced by other much better services.

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail is planning six tph between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport, which will take just twenty-six minutes.
  • Two-four tph on the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road via Warrington Central would be a better service for the smaller stations. Passengers going to and from Manchester Airport would change at Liverpool Lime Street, Deansgate or Manchester Oxford Road.

Continuing as now, would definitely be possible.

Crewe And Manchester Airport Via Newton-le-Willows And Manchester Piccadilly

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Whiston, Rainhill, Lea Green, St Helens Junction, Earlestown, Newton-le-Willows, Patricroft, Eccles, Deansgate, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Mauldeth Road, Burnage, East Didsbury, Gatley and Heald Green.
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service uses the overcrowded Castlefield Corridor
  • It takes eighty-five minutes, which is an inconvenient time for train operators.

This is one of those services, which I think will eventually be partially replaced by other much better services.

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail is planning six tph between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Warrington South Parkway and Manchester Airport, which will take just twenty-six minutes.
  • Two-four tph on the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western would be a better service for the smaller stations. Passengers going to and from Manchester Airport and Crewe would change at Liverpool Lime Street or Wigan North Western.

Continuing as now, would definitely be possible.

Warrington Bank Quay Via Earlstown

This service is run by Northern.

  • It has an hourly frequency.
  • The service calls at Edge Hill, Wavertree Technology Park, Broad Green, Roby, Huyton, Whiston, Rainhill, Lea Green, St Helens Junction and Earlestown.
  • The route is fully-electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • The service takes forty-three minute, which is a convenient time for train operators.

Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains could handle this route, if fitted with pantographs for 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • They would join the route at Edge Hill station.
  • They would offer step-free access between train and platform.
  • On Merseyrail’s principles, the service would probably be at least two tph, if not four tph.

Other than the connection of the Wapping Tunnel no extra infrastructure works would be needed.

Three Possible Routes Through Wapping

Summing up this section, these are possible routes that could be replaced by services through the Wapping Tunnel.

  • Two tph – Manchester Oxford Road
  • Two tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • One tph – Wigan North Western

Increasing the Wigan North Western service to two tph, would increase the frequency between Edge Hill and Huyton to a very passenger-friendly four tph.

If eight tph could be accommodated in the Wapping Tunnel, the frequency could also be doubled to Manchester Oxford Road.

This would give the following services through the Wapping Tunnel.

  • Four tph – Manchester Oxford Road
  • Two tph – Warrington Bank Quay
  • Two tph – Wigan North Western

The only local services that would need to run into Liverpool Lime Street would be.

  • One tph – Northern – Blackpool North via Wigan North Western.
  • One tph – Northern – Manchester Airport and Crewe via St. Helens and Newton-le-Willows.
  • One tph – Northern – Manchester Airport via Warrington Central.
  • One tph – Trains for Wales – Chester via Runcorn

I can understand, why so many seem to be enthusiastic about using the Wapping Tunnel to connect the Northern and City Lines.

Echoes Of The Brunels’ Thames Tunnel

George Stephenson’s Wapping Tunnel may be the first tunnel under a city, but the Brunels’ Thames Tunnel was the first under a navigable river.

The Brunels’ tunnel was built for horses and carts, but today it is an important rail artery of the London Overground, handling sixteen tph between Wapping and Rotherhithe.

I would expect that the Wapping Tunnel could do for Liverpool, what the Thames Tunnel has done for East London.

Modern signalling techniques probably mean that the theoretical capacity of the Wapping Tunnel is way in excess of the planned maximum frequency of eight tph.

High Speed Two Between Liverpool And London

The latest High Speed Two plans as laid out in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, say that there will be two tph between Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston.

  • Both trains will call at Old Oak Common, Crewe and Runcorn.
  • Both trains will be 200 metres long classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.
  • One train will split and join with a similar service between London Euston and Lancaster.

Will these High Speed Two services replace the current Avanti West Coast services?

Northern Powerhouse Rail Between Liverpool And Manchester

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I looked at Transport for the North’s  report, which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail.

This report says that Northern Powerhouse Rail between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly will be as follows.

  • Services will go via Manchester Airport.
  • There could be a new Warrington South Parkway station.
  • Six tph between Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport and Warrington are planned.
  • Journey times will be 26 minutes.

I would assume that several of the six tph will continue across the Pennines to Huddersfield, Bradford, Leeds, York and Hull.

Will these Northern Powerhouse Rail services replace the current TransPennine and some of the Northern services?

Northern Powerhouse Rail Trains

Nothing has been said about the trains for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

I suspect they will be versions of the 200 metre long classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.

I do wonder, if Avanti West Coast have already ordered a prototype fleet of these trains,

Look at the specification of the Class 807 trains, they have ordered to boost services on the West Coast Main Line.

  • 7 x 26 metre cars.
  • 182 metres long. Shorter than an eleven-car Class 390 train.
  • All-electric, with no diesel engines or traction batteries. Are they lightweight trains with sparkling acceleration?
  • 125 mph operating speed. All Class 80x trains can do this.
  • 140 mph operating speed with ERTMS digital signalling. All Class 80x trains can do this.
  • Ability to work in pairs. All Class 80x trains can do this, up to a maximum length of twelve cars in normal mode and twenty-four cars in emergency mode. I doubt fourteen cars would be a problem!

To be classic-compatible High Speed Two trains, they would need to be able to cruise at 205 mph, whilst working on High Speed Two. I suspect that Hitachi have got some higher-capacity electrical gear and traction motors with lots more grunt in their extensive parts bin!

If these are a prototype fleet of classic-compatible High Speed Two trains, they will certainly get a lot of in-service testing even before the order is placed for the trains for High Speed Two.

Northern Powerhouse Rail will need trains with a slightly different specification.

  • As they won’t generally work on high speed lines, for most trains an operating speed of 140 mph will be sufficient.
  • For serving some destinations like Cleethorpes, Harrogate, Hull, Middlesbrough and Redcar an independently-powered capability would be desirable. Sixty miles on batteries would probably be sufficient!

Nothing would appear to be out of Hitachi’s current capabilities.

Liverpool Lime Street Station After Remodelling

Liverpool Lime Street station has two groups of platforms.

  • Platforms 1-5 on the Western side
  • Platforms 6-10 on the Eastern side.

These pictures show some views of the platforms at Liverpool Lime Street station after the remodelling of 2017-2019.

Note,

  1. The platforms are not narrow!
  2. It appears that the five platforms in the Eastern group are all long enough to take an eleven-car Class 390 train, which is 265.3 metres long.
  3. TransPennine Express trains can use the Western group.

I have looked at a whole day’s traffic on Real Time Trains and it appears that the new track layout allows almost all services to use any available platform.

This flexibility must make operation of the station much easily than it was!

Liverpool Lime Street Station As A High Speed Station

It would appear that the Eastern Group of Platforms 6-10 will all be capable of the following.

  • Handling a 182 metre long Avanti West Coast Class 807 train.
  • Handling a 200 metres long classic-compatible High Speed Two train.
  • Handling a 130 metre long TransPennine Express Class 802 train.
  • In the future, handling a Northern Powerhouse Rail train, which will probably be less than 200 metres long.

But they won’t be able to handle High Speed Two’s full-size trains.

Currently, these services capable of over 125 mph are running or are planned from Liverpool Lime Street station.

  • 2 tph – Avanti West Coast – Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Newcastle
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough
  • 3 trains per day(tpd) – TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Glasgow

This totals to four tph.

High Speed Two will add two classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.

Will these replace the two Avanti West Coast services?

  • They will be run by the same company.
  • They will take different routes.
  • The current service takes 134 minutes.
  • The High Speed Two train will take 94 minutes.

I can see Avanti West Coast running a  one tph slower train via stations with difficult connections to Liverpool Lime Street. Think Watford Junction, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.

This would bring the total to five tph.

Northern Powerhouse Rail will run six high speed trains to Manchester and beyond.

If they replaced the two TransPennine Express services, that would bring the maximum number of 200 metre long high speed trains to nine tph.

Could Liverpool Lime Street station handle nine high-speed tph?

Comparison With Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street station on High Speed Two will handle high speed trains from three directions, as will Liverpool Lime Street station.

The Birmingham station will handle nine tph on seven platforms.

As Liverpool Lime Street station will have ten platforms and also need to handle nine tph, I think it will be able to handle the trains.

Will There Be A Station In The Wapping Tunnel?

Just as London has its clay, which makes excavating for the Underground easy, the Centre of Liverpool has its sandstone, which has been honeycombed with tunnels. In addition to the Wapping Tunnel, there are two other tunnels from Edge Hill station to the Docks; the Waterloo Tunnel and the Victoria Tunnel.

Liverpool has plans for a Knowledge Quarter based on the Universities on Brownlow Hill.

As part of the development, it is intended to develop an area called Paddington Village.

Wikipedia says this about the village.

Paddington Village is a site at the eastern gateway to the city centre and has been earmarked as 1.8m sq ft of science, technology, education and health space.

This is also another paragraph.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson announced that the council were looking into a new Merseyrail station to serve the site. A mention of a station is made in the October 2017 Liverpool City Region Combined Authority update to the Long Term Rail Strategy. Merseytravel commissioned a feasibility report into re-opening the Wapping Tunnel in May 2016 which found that it was a valid proposal which would allow for a new station to be built that could serve the Knowledge Quarter.

Someone has thought up a proposal for a Lime Line, which would be a tram or bus system, linking the Knowledge Quarter and the City Centre.

This map shows how their proposal fits in with all the other rail systems in Liverpool City.

Note the Wapping Tunnel is shown on the map, as a dotted blue line.

  • It connects to the Northern Line to the South of Liverpool Central station.
  • It connects to the City Line to the West of Edge Hill station.
  • A station named University/KQ is shown.

A new St. James station is also shown

Conclusion

Using the Wapping Tunnel to increase capacity in Liverpool City Centre could be used if required to improve capacity for the high speed network in the city, by removing local trains from Liverpool Lime Street station.

August 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Should High Speed Two’s Macclesfield And London Service Call At Birmingham Interchange?

Connecting Manchester City Centre to the High Speed Two network will be a major undertaking.

  • It looks increasingly likely that High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail will have a shared line running from the main High Speed Two route through Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly via Manchester Airport.
  • Between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly will be in a high speed tunnel.
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail will connect Liverpool Lime Street and Warrington to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • There will be a major problem keeping train services running between Manchester and Birmingham, London and the South.

But just at Project Rio kept Manchester connected during the rebuilding of the West Coast Main Line in the early years of this century, I believe that a similar creditable alternative route may be starting to evolve.

Avanti’s Additional Class 807 Trains Will Be Delivered

These trains will allow additional services and release some Class 390 trains to reinforce other services.

Avanti West Coast’s Future West Coast Main Line Service

The small fleet of Class 807 trains are needed to provide extra services on the West Coast Main Line.

  • But if these trains are successful, will more be used as replacements for the nearly twenty-years-old Class 390 trains?
  • Will they also be given more traction power to double as the classic-compatible trains for High Speed Two.
  • Other operators might also like to purchase a high capacity 200 metre long high speed train, which would share routes used by High Speed Two.

In Thoughts On Class 807 Trains And High Speed Two’s Classic-Compatible Trains, I discuss the design of extra trains for High Speed Two and the West Coast Main Line.

Surely, though having similar trains handling both roles on the West Coast Main Line and High Speed Two, would be an advantage to Avanti West Coast?

London And Manchester Services

Currently, there are these services between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly stations.

  • Via Milton Keynes Central, Stoke-on-Trent and Stockport
  • Via Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport
  • Via Stafford, Crewe, Wilmslow and Stockport

All services have a frequency of one train per hour (tph)

High Speed Two plans to run these services between the South and the Manchester area.

  • 1 tph – 200 metres – London Euston and Wigan North Western via Old Oak Common, Crewe and Warrington Bank Quay
  • 1 tph – 200 metres – London Euston and Macclesfield via Old Oak Common, Stafford and Stoke.
  • 1 tph – 400 metres – London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Manchester Airport
  • 2 tph – 400 metres – London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Old Oak Common and Manchester Airport
  • 2 tph – 200 metres – Birmingham Curzon Street and Manchester Piccadilly via Manchester Airport
  • 1 tph – 200 metres – Birmingham Curzon Street and Wigan North |Western

Note.

  1. I have included Wigan North Western, as it has good connections to North Manchester.
  2. Services can’t go via Manchester Airport until the tunnel is completed.
  3. The 400 metre services will need to use dedicated High Speed Two tracks, so will need to use the tunnel via Manchester Airport.

Wigan and Macclesfield stations will not be requiring major rebuilding, during the construction of High Speed Two. That should mean the stations will not need to be closed for long periods.

  • Macclesfield station could probably handle up to three tph from the South.
  • Wigan North Western station could probably handle two tph from the South.
  • Work in the Manchester Piccadilly area, may well close the station at times.

I suspect Macclesfield and Wigan North Western could be very useful alternative stations for travelling to and from the South.

Manchester And Birmingham Via Macclesfield

I can see that there could be difficulties for some passengers, if they found themselves at Macclesfield wanting to go to the Birmingham area.

A solution would be for the Macclesfield and London service to stop at Birmingham Interchange, which will be extremely well-connected.

Birmingham Interchange

This map from High Speed Two, shows Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham International stations.

Note.

  • Birmingham Interchange station is marked by the blue dot.
  • Birmingham International station is to the West of the M42.

The two stations will be connected by an automatic people mover.

Destinations and their frequencies available from Birmingham Interchange, when High Speed Two is complete will include.

  • 2 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street
  • 1 tph – Carlisle
  • 1 tph – East Midlands Hub
  • 1 tph – Edinburgh Haymarket
  • 1 tph – Edinburgh Waverley
  • 1 tph – Glasgow Central
  • 1 tph – Leeds
  • 5 tph – London Euston
  • 1 tph – Manchester Airport
  • 1 tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 5 tph – Old Oak Common
  • 1 tph – Preston

It looks like if you miss your train to many important cities at Birmingham Interchange, it will be an hour to wait for the next train.

Destinations and their frequencies available from Birmingham International are currently.

  • 8 tph – Birmingham New Street
  • 1 tph – Bournemouth
  • 1 tph – Crewe
  • 0.5 tph to Edinburgh Waverley
  • 0.5 tph to Glasgow Central
  • 7 tph – London Euston
  • 1 tph – Macclesfield
  • 1 tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 1 tph – Reading
  • 1 tph – Shrewsbury
  • 1 tph – Southampton
  • 1 tph – Stafford
  • 1 tph – Stoke-on-Trent
  • 2 tph – Wolverhampton

Note that 0.5 tph is one train per two hours.

These two lists can be combined.

  • 10 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street/New Street
  • 1 tph – Bournemouth
  • 2 tph – Carlisle
  • 1 tph – Crewe
  • 1 tph – East Midlands Hub
  • 1.5 tph – Edinburgh Haymarket
  • 1.5 tph – Edinburgh Waverley
  • 1.5 tph – Glasgow Central
  • 1 tph – Leeds
  • 12 tph – London Euston
  • 1 tph – Macclesfield
  • 1 tph – Manchester Airport
  • 2 tph – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 5 tph – Old Oak Common
  • 1 tph – Preston
  • 1 tph – Reading
  • 1 tph – Shrewsbury
  • 1 tph – Southampton
  • 1 tph – Stafford
  • 1 tph – Stoke-on-Trent
  • 2 tph – Wolverhampton

This list is surely missing Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.

Conclusion

We should not underestimate the importance of Macclesfield and Wigan North Western stations in getting to and from Manchester during the building of High Speed Two.

July 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Class 807 Trains And High Speed Two’s Classic-Compatible Trains

Avanti West Coast’s New Class 807 Trains

Avanti West Coast have ordered a small fleet of Class 807 trains.

This article on Railnews, gives this short description.

There will be more seats, because a seven-car train will have 453 and five-car sets will have 301. First said the seven-car version will have about the same number of seats as a nine-car Pendolino, because each IET vehicle is longer, at 26m.

Adding standard details of other Hitachi trains in the family, the following seems to be known.

  • They are seven-car trains.
  • The cars are the standard twenty-six metres, so a seven-car train will be 182 metres.
  • Ten trains have been ordered.
  • I suspect that like all the other trains in the family, they will be 125 mph trains, that are capable of 140 mph, when the signalling and track allows.
  • They are pencilled in for services between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, Blackpool North and Liverpool Lime Street stations
  • They will not have batteries or diesel engines for emergency or hotel power. Could this mean, that the trains have been designed for high performance, by removing excess weight?
  • The trains don’t have a tilting capability. Does this save weight and increase acceleration?
  • The trains have 453 seats, as opposed to the nine-car Class 390 trains, which have 469 seats.

Could these trains be designed, to be able to better the Class 390 train schedules on the West Coast Main Line?

  • They have no tilting capability.
  • They can only work on electric power, like the Class 390 trains.
  • They could have very fast acceleration, due to the weight loss.
  • They only reduce capacity by 3.5 %, when compared to a nine-car Class 390 train.

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, this was my conclusion.

I believe the following will be possible.

    • A two hour service between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street will be possible with Avanti West Coast’s new Class 807 trains.
    • The current Class 390 trains could go a bit faster.
    • I estimate that a Class 807 train could save as much as two-and-a-half-minutes at each stop.
    • Blackpool North and London times will be comfortably under three hours.
    • Coventry and London times will be comfortably under an hour.

The performance of these Class 807 trains will improve the West Coast Main Line.

What will London in two hours, do for Liverpool?

Class 807 Trains With Different Car Lengths

It is possible to create a table showing car length, train length and capacity for Class 807 trains

  • 26 metres – 182 metres – 453 seats
  • 26.5 metres – 185.5 metres – 462 seats
  • 27 metres – 189 metres – 470 seats
  • 27.5 metres – 192.5 metres – 479 seats
  • 28 metres – 196 metres – 488 seats
  • 28.5 metres – 199.5 metres – 497 seats

It seems that by lengthening all cars by half a metre, just adds nine seats.

Does this point to the fact, that twenty-six metres was a carefully-chosen optimal car length?

Class 807 Trains With Different Numbers Of Cars

A similar table can also be created for different numbers of twenty-six metre cars.

  • 7 cars – 182 metres – 453 seats
  • 8 cars – 208 metres – 518 seats
  • 9 cars – 234 metres – 582 seats
  • 10 cars – 260 metres – 647 seats

Note that as an eleven-car Class 390 train is 265.3 metres, a ten-car Class 807 train will fit all platforms, currently used by eleven-car Class 390 trains.

Replacement Of Eleven-Car Class 390 Trains With Class 807 Trains

The eleven-car Class 390 trains are 265.3 metres long and seat 589 passengers.

Looking at the two tables, nine-car Class 807 trains would be almost direct replacements for an eleven-car Class 390 trains.

  • The performance of the Class 807 trains would be as good if not better.
  • The passenger capacity of both trains would be similar, with just seven seats less in the new trains.
  • The Class 807 trains would also be shorter and could fit any platform currently served by an eleven-car Class 390 train.

It should also be noted, that the Class 807 trains would have to run as singles, as platforms on the West Coast Main Line can’t handle a four hundred metre train.

I believe it is highly likely that the classic-compatible trains for High Speed Two and the trains that replace the Class 390 trains will be the same and based on the Class 807 trains, that are now being assembled at Hitachi’s factory at Newton Aycliffe.

Could A Class 807 Train Be Stretched To Become A High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Train?

The Classic-Compatible trains are described in this section in Wikipedia, by this sentence.

The classic-compatible trains, capable of high speed but built to a British loading gauge, permitting them to leave the high speed track to join conventional routes such as the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and East Coast Main Line. Such trains would allow running of HS2 services to the north of England and Scotland, although these non-tilting trains would run slower than existing tilting trains on conventional track. HS2 Ltd has stated that, because these trains must be specifically designed for the British network and cannot be bought “off-the-shelf”, these conventional trains were expected to be around 50% more expensive, costing around £40 million per train rather than £27 million for the captive stock.

The trains will have the same characteristics as the full-size trains.

  • Maximum speed of 225 mph.
  • Cruising speed of 205 mph on High Speed Two.
  • Length of 200 metres.
  • Ability to work in pairs.
  • A passenger capacity around 500-600 passengers.

A seven-car Class 807 train with twenty-six metre long cars would appear to be a partial match and tick all the boxes, except for the following.

  • The train’s maximum and cruising speeds are well below what is needed.
  • The train is only 182 metres long.
  • The train has a passenger capacity of 453.

Would a train with eight twenty-five metre long cars be a better fit?

  •  The train length would be 200 metres.
  • I doubt twenty-five metre cars would cause a problem!
  • I estimate the passenger capacity would be 498 seats.

The trains or members of the same family have already shown.

  • They can run on the East Coast, Great Western, Midland and West Coast Main Lines.
  • They can run on High Speed One.
  • They can split and join automatically.
  • When needed they can run on local lines.

If I was Avanti West Coast’s train-Czar, I would be seriously interested in a Classic-Compatible High Speed Two train, that was very similar to one, that I already had in service. Provided, of course it did what it promised in the specification.

In Wikipedia, the car lengths for Class 800, Class 801, Class 802, Class 805 and Class 810 trains are all given and have been reported in the media.

But the car lengths of the Class 803 and Class 807 trains are not given. Is it just an omission or is it deliberate?

Both these trains are designed for demanding routes.

  • The Class 803 trains are designed for London and Edinburgh in four hours.
  • I believe that the Class 807 trains are designed for London and Liverpool in two hours.

To get these demanding times, have Hitachi changed the car lengths?

  • Trains with shorter cars might accelerate better.
  • A redesigned interior might get more passengers in the shorter length.

I shall await the launch of both these lightweight speedsters with interest!

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised that Hitachi’s offering for more trains on the West Coast Main Line and the Classic-Compatible trains for High Speed Two are very similar to the Class 807 trains.

  • The classic-compatible trains for High Speed Two could be eight-car trains with twenty-five metre cars.
  • The replacements for the eleven-car Class 390 trains could be nine-car trains with twenty-six metre cars.

Both would be based on the Class 807 train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Birmingham-Black Country-Shrewsbury

On the Midlands Connect web site, they have a page, which is entitled Birmingham-Black Country-Shrewsbury.

This is the introductory paragraph.

We’re examining the case to increase services from three to four per hour, made possible by capacity released post-HS2.

They then give the outline of their plans, which can be summed up as follows.

  • Services on the corridor are slow and unreliable.
  • Network Rail say the service is in danger of acute overcrowding.
  • Services will be increased from three trains per hour (tph) to four.
  • A direct hourly service from Shrewsbury, Wellington and Telford to London will be introduced.
  • Services to Birmingham International will be doubled.
  • The economic case will be examined for speeding up services between Shrewsbury and Birmingham from 56 to 45 minutes, via track upgrades and possible electrification.

It seems a safe, and not overly ambitious plan.

These are my thoughts.

Shrewsbury’s Unique Position

These are distances and times from important stations.

  • Birmingham International – 51 miles and 83 minutes
  • Birmingham New Street – 42.5 miles and 71 minutes
  • Chester – 42.5 miles and 53 minutes
  • Crewe – 33 miles and 53 minutes
  • Hereford – 51 miles and 59 minutes
  • Telford – 14 miles and 21 minutes
  • Wellington – 10 miles and 13 minutes
  • Welshpool – 20 miles and 25 minutes
  • Wolverhampton – 30 miles and 50 minutes

In Sparking A Revolution, I quoted this Hitachi-specification for a battery-electric train.

  • Range – 55-65 miles
  • Performance – 90-100 mph
  • Recharge – 10 minutes when static
  • Routes – Suburban near electrified lines
  • Battery Life – 8-10 years

I can’t see any problem, for a train with this specification being able to reach Shrewsbury from Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street and Crewe on battery power.

In Hitachi Trains For Avanti, I quote an article with the same title in the January 2020 Edition of Modern Railways as saying this.

Hitachi told Modern Railways it was unable to confirm the rating of the diesel engines on the bi-modes, but said these would be replaceable by batteries in future if specified.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shrewsbury served from Birmingham and Crewe by fast electric trains, that used battery power. Avanti West Coast certainly seem to have that thought in mind.

Zero Carbon Trains Between Shrewsbury And Wales

It will be a formidable challenge to run battery trains from Shrewsbury to the Welsh destinations.

  • Aberystwyth – 81.5 miles
  • Cardiff – 107 miles
  • Carmarthen – 185 miles
  • Holyhead – 133 miles
  • Milford Haven – 225 miles
  • Swansea – 121.5 miles

Note.

  1. These are challenging distances for battery-electric trains.
  2. South Wales destinations served via Newport and Cardiff could use the electrification on the South Wales Main Line.
  3. Many of these services start from East of Shrewsbury and can use the electrified lines that connects to Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly.

Unless someone like Riding Sunbeams, makes a breakthrough, I can’t see battery-electric trains running to Welsh destinations from Shrewsbury.

Transport for Wales New Trains

Transport for Wales have ordered seventy-seven new Class 197 trains, and these diesel trains will be used for services through Shrewsbury, mainly on services to Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International stations.

  • If these trains are similar to Northern’s Class 195 trains, they will be diesel multiple units with a noisy mechanical transmission.
  • I was surprised in these days of global warming that Transport for Wales didn’t buy something more eco-friendly, as they have for South Wales and the services around Chester.
  • The transmission of the Class 197 trains has not been disclosed.

Perhaps, CAF are going to do something innovative.

  • The CAF Civity is a modular train, with either electric or diesel power options.
  • The diesel-powered options use MTU engines.
  • A logical development would be to use an MTU Hybrid PowerPack to reduce diesel consumption and emissions.
  • This PowerPack would also reduce noise, as it has an electric transmission.
  • I wonder, if CAF can raid their parts bin and fit a pantograph, so where 25 KVAC overhead electrification is available, it can be used.
  • If CAF can convert a bog standard diesel multiple unit into a hybrid diesel-electric-battery multiple unit, by performing a heart transplant, it is a neat way of keeping new diesel Civities running until a later date.
  • Remember that Northern and West Modlands Trains have another seventy-four similar new diesel Civities in operation or on order. With trains having a forty year life, they don’t fit with an early phasing out of diesel.

I have no idea, what is actually happening, but my engineer’s nose tells me to expect a surprise from CAF.

Increasing Birmingham And Shrewsbury Services From Three Trains Per Hour To Four

Four trains per hour or one train every fifteen minutes seems to be a preferred frequency on several UK suburban lines.

These services seem to provide four tph or better on most, if not all of their routes.

  • Birmingham Cross-City Line
  • London Overground
  • Merseyrail
  • Tyne and Wear Metro

Four tph seems to be a very handy Turn-Up-And-Go frequency that encourages people to use rail services.

So I am not surprised to see Midlands Connect wanting four tph between Birmingham and Shrewsbury.

Currently, the following services seem to operate between Shrewsbury and Birmingham.

  • Avanti West Coast – 2 trains per day (tpd) – Shrewsbury and London Euston via Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International.
  • Trains for Wales – 1 train per two hours (tp2h) – Holyhead and Birmingham International via Birmingham New Street.
  • Trains for Wales 1 tph – Aberystwyth/Pwllheli and Birmingham International via Birmingham New Street
  • West Midlands Trains – 2 tph – Shrewsbury and Birmingham New Street – One semi-fast and one stopper.

Note.

  1. All services call at Wolverhampton, Telford and Wellington.
  2. Shrewsbury and Birmingham New Street is a 3.5 tph service.
  3. Shrewsbury and Birmingham International is a 1.5 tph service.

It relies heavily on services from Trains for Wales, who probably don’t put Shrewsbury and Birmingham services at the top of their priorities.

I remember, when local services in the North-East of London were run by Greater Anglia from Norwich. Moving some services to Transport for London, brought about a large improvement

Quite frankly, the current service is best described as pathetic.

Should Trains for Wales Services Terminate As Shrewsbury?

I suspect some local politicians in Shrewsbury and Birmingham, think it would be best to adopt this sort of strategy.

  • All Welsh services terminate at Shrewsbury.
  • Birmingham and Shrewsbury mandate West Midlands Trains and Avanti West Coast to provide a frequent service between Shrewsbury and Birmingham.

It might be the way to go, but many travellers from the Marches, would probably want direct connections to Birmingham, Birmingham Airport and in the future High Speed Two.

Introducing A Direct Hourly Service From Shrewsbury, Wellington And Telford To London

On the face of it, it looks like a much needed service to and from Shrewsbury.

  • It will be hourly.
  • Initially it will use Class 221 diesel multiple units, but these will be replaced with bi-mode Class 805 trains.
  • The current infrequent service calls at Watford Junction, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Sandwell and Dudley, Wolverhampton, Telford Central and Wellington.
  • There are also six other stations between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, which might like an improved service.
  • The service will be run by Avanti West Coast.

There might also be the possibility of using battery power between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury, which is only thirty miles each way.

But there are other collateral benefits.

  • The service increases the frequency between Shrewsbury and Birmingham New Street stations by one tph to 4.5 tph
  • The service increases the frequency between Shrewsbury and Birmingham International by one tph to 2.5 tph.
  • The service increases the frequency between Wolverhampton and London Euston by one tph.
  • The service increases the frequency between Sandwell and Dudley and London Euston by one tph
  • The service increases the frequency between Birmingham New Street and London Euston by one tph.
  • The service increases the frequency between Birmingham International and London Euston by one tph.
  • The new service will provide an hourly quality connection to High Speed Two at Birmingham International for stations between Shrewsbury and Coventry.
  • It appears that the Class 390 trains to Birmingham New Street and being replaced by new Class 807 trains, so Birmingham will have three out of four tph, run by new trains.
  • The new Shrewsbury service , has a similar calling pattern to that of the current Scottish service through Birmingham. Will it replace that service, when High Speed Two opens?

Note.

  1. Midlands Connect’s objective of four tph between Shrewsbury and Birmingham has been met.
  2. Several stations get a better direct service to London.
  3. Connectivity to High Speed Two is improved.
  4. Birmingham New Street and London is now a Turn-Up-And-Go frequency of four tph.
  5. The Class 805 train will also mean that Avanti West Coast could be zero-carbon in Birmingham. Especially, if it used battery power between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury stations.

The hourly direct service between Shrewsbury and London will make a lot of difference to train services between Shrewsbury and Birmingham.

Avanti’s London Euston and Birmingham New Street Service

Consider.

  • There are two tph that terminate in Birmingham New Street station, that take 88-89 minutes, from London Euston
  • There is one tph that goes through Birmingham New Street station to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Preston, or Shrewsbury, that takes 82-84 minutes, from London Euston.
  • Currently, the two terminating trains are Class 390 trains, whereas the through train can be a Class 221 train as well.
  • Through trains are allowed  5-10 minutes to pass through Birmingham New Street.
  • Trains that terminate at Birmingham New Street station are allowed 20-30 minutes to arrive and leave.
  • Avanti West Coast have said, that they will be running Class 807 trains between London and Birmingham New Street.

It doesn’t seem to be the best use of scarce platform resources in a busy station to park a train there for half-an-hour.

In Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?, I came to the conclusion that the Class 807 trains have been designed as simple, fast, lightweight all-electric trains with no heavy batteries, diesel engines on tilt mechanism.

  • I think they’ll be able to shave a few minutes on the timings between London Euston and Birmingham New Street station.
  • I would suspect that they will match the 82-84 minutes of the through trains
  • The ultimate would be if they could do a round trip between London Euston and Birmingham New Street in three hours.
  • Two tph run by what would effectively be a London-Birmingham shuttle would need just six trains.

It might mean new methods of manning the trains, to reduce turnround times.

Doubling Of Services Between Shrewsbury And Birmingham International

The hourly direct London and Shrewsbury Avanti West Coast service will raise the current 1.5 tph service between Shrewsbury and Birmingham International to 2.5 tph, so will be a good start.

  • Perhaps Trains for Wales could find the missing 0.5 tph.
  • West Midlands Trains might be able to squeeze in another train.

But I suspect that the crowded line between Birmingham New Street and Birmingham International is the problem.

Shrewsbury And Birmingham In Forty-Five Minutes

This is the last objective and saving eleven minutes on this route would suggest that the best way would surely be to fully electrify the route.

  • Between Wolverhampton and Birmingham International stations is fully electrified.
  • Electric trains have faster acceleration and deceleration, so would probably achieve the required savings if they stopped more than five times.
  • From my virtual helicopter it doesn’t appear to be the most challenging of routes to electrify.
  • Only about thirty miles of double track would need to be electrified between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury stations.
  • Both Trains for Wales and West Midlands Trains would have to obtain new electric trains.
  • Avanti West Coast have already got bi-mode Class 805 trains, that could use the electrification.

But will Trains for Wales go along with Midlands Connect, when they tell them to get electric or bi-mode trains to work between Shrewsbury and Birmingham International stations?

It is because of dilemmas like this, that I feel that electric trains using battery or hydrogen power, when away from electrification can be a very good alternative.

  • There is no major disruption raising bridges for the electrification.
  • Stations don’t need to be closed for electrification.
  • The trains have all the comfort and performance of electric trains.
  • Costs and timescales can be reduced.
  • When running on battery or hydrogen power, these trains are very quiet, as there is no pantograph noise.

To run battery-electric trains between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, the only infrastructure needed would be a method of charging the train at Shrewsbury station.

This Google Map shows the Southern end of Shrewsbury station.

Note.

  1. The platforms are built over the River Severn.
  2. The five-car Class 221 train in Virgin livery sitting in Platform 5.
  3. When this train leaves it will turn left or to the East for Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
  4. Trains can turn right for Wales.

It is a very unusual station layout.

  • Platform 5 is one of a pair of bay platforms; 5 & 6, that can access either Wales or Birmingham.
  • Outside of the bay platforms are a pair of through platforms; 4 & 7, that can also access Wales or Birmingham, but they can also access Chester by going through the station.
  • The 115 metre long Class 221 train fits easily in the bay platform 5.
  • The 130 metre long Class 805 train would probably need to use Platform 4 or 7.

But with well-planned electrification, it would be ideal for charging electric trains as they pass through or turned back!

Once the train reaches Wolverhampton, it will connect to electrification again.

Shrewsbury And High Speed Two

Currently, Shrewsbury has three connections to stations, where it would be convenient to take a High Speed Two train.

  • Birmingham International, which is 51 miles and 83 minutes away. Plus a ride on a people mover for High Speed Two.
  • Birmingham New Street, which is 42.5 miles and 71 minutes away. Plus a walk to Birmingham Curzon Street for High Speed Two.
  • Crewe, which is 33 miles and 55 minutes away.

Passengers will make their own choice.

Could Shrewsbury Have A Classic-Compatible High Speed Two Service To Manchester Piccadilly?

London To Shrewsbury, Now And Post-High Speed Two

Travel On Monday

If I want to go to Shrewsbury next Monday, one fast journey is taking the 09:10 from Euston and changing at Crewe, which gives a journey time of two hours and thirty-two minutes.

I can also get a train with a change at Birmingham International that takes seven minutes longer.

Travel On High Speed Two

After High Speed Two opens to Birmingham Curzon Street and Interchange in Phase 1 what sort of times to Shrewsbury can be expected?

I estimate the following.

  • Travelling via Birmingham Curzon Street could produce a time of around one hour and fifty minutes, if you’re lucky with the trains.
  • Travelling via Crewe could produce a time of one hour and thirty minutes, if you’re lucky with the trains.
  • Travelling via Interchange could produce a time of around one hour and fifty-five minutes. or forty-four minutes faster.

If I was going to Shrewsbury after High Speed Two has opened, I would probably change at Birmingham Curzon Street, if the walk to New Street station was still within my capabilities, as there will be a Turn-Up-And-Go frequency of four tph between Birmingham New Street and Shrewsbury stations.

Looking at the Midlands Connect objectives, these help with linking Shrewsbury with London.

  • Increasing services between Birmingham and Shrewsbury to four tph, as it’s Turn-Up-And-Go!
  • The direct hourly service to London from Shrewsbury, Wellington and Telford might be the quickest way to London by changing at Birmingham New Street/Curzon Street or Interchange.
  • Doubling the service between Shrewsbury and Birmingham International, may be a good move, as Interchange, which will be connected to Birmingham International by a high capacity people mover, will have five tph between London Euston and Old Oak Common stations.
  • Saving eleven minutes between Shrewsbury and Birmingham will certainly help.

Travelling between London and Telford, Wellington and Shrewsbury will be much improved.

 

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Existing Stations Where High Speed Two Trains Will Call

The June 2020 Edition Of Modern Railways has an article called HS2 Minister Backs 18 tph Frequency, which gives a detailed diagram of the route structure of High Speed Two and it is possible to summarise the stations, where High Speed Two trains will call.

  • Carlisle – 3 tph – 400 metres – Split/Join
  • Chesterfield – 1 tph – 200 metres
  • Crewe – 2 tph – 400 metres – Split/Join
  • Darlington – 2 tph – 200 metres
  • Durham – 1 tph – 200 metres
  • East Midlands Hub HS2 – 7 tph – 400 metres – Split/Join
  • Edinburgh Haymarket – 2.5 tph – 200 metres
  • Edinburgh Waverley – 2.5 tph – 200 metres – Terminal
  • Glasgow Central – 2.5 tph – 200 metres – Terminal
  • Lancaster – 2 tph – 200 metres – Terminal
  • Leeds HS2 – 5 tph – 400 metres
  • Liverpool Lime Street – 2 tph – 200 metres – Terminal
  • Lockerbie – 1 tph – 200 metres
  • Macclesfield – 1 tph – 200 metres – Terminal
  • Manchester Airport HS2 – 5 tph – 400 metres
  • Manchester Piccadilly HS2 – 5 tph – 400 metres
  • Motherwell – 0.5 tph – 200 metres
  • Newcastle – 3 tph – 200 metres – Terminal
  • Oxenholme – 0.5 tph – 200 metres
  • Penrith – 0.5n tph – 200 metres
  • Preston – 4 tph – 400 metres
  • Runcorn – 2 tph – 200 metres
  • Sheffield – 2 tph – 200 metres
  • Stafford – 1 tph – 200 metres
  • Stoke-on-Trent – 1 tph – 200 metres
  • Warrington Bank  Quay – 1 tph – 200 metres
  • Wigan North Western – 1 tph – 200 metres
  • York – 4 tph – 200 metres

Note.

  1. HS2 after the station name indicates a new station for High Speed Two
  2. tph is trains per hour
  3. 0.5 tph is one train per two hours (tp2h).
  4. 200/400 metres is the maximum length of trains that will call.
  5. Terminal indicates that trains will terminate at these stations.
  6. Split/Join indicates that trains will split and join at these stations.

These are more detailed thoughts on how existing stations will need to be modified.

Train Lengths

Before, I look at the individual stations, I’ll look at the train lengths.

  • High Speed Two train – Single – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two train – Pair – 400 metres
  • Class 390 train – 11-car – 265.3 metres
  • Class 390 train – 9-car – 217.5 metres
  • Class 807 train – 7-car – 182 metres
  • Class 810 train – 5-car – 120 metres
  • Class 810 train – Pair of 5-car – 240 metres
  • InterCity 125 – 2+8 – 220 metres
  • InterCity 225 – 9-car – 245 metres
  • Class 222 train – 4-car – 93.34 metres
  • Class 222 train – 5-car – 116.16 metres
  • Class 222 train – 7-car – 161.8 metres
  • Class 222 train – 4-car+5-car – 209.5 metres
  • Class 222 train – 5-car+5-car – 232.32 metres

These are the thoughts on the individual stations.

Carlisle

Carlisle station will need two 400 metre through platforms, so each can accommodate a pair of 200 metre trains.

This Google Map shows the station.

 

I estimate the platforms are about 380 metres, but it looks like, they could be lengthened, without too much difficulty.

As High Speed Two trains to the North of Carlisle will be 200 metres long, there would probably be no need for platform lengthening North of Carlisle, as these trains are shorter than the Class 390 trains, that currently work the routes to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Carlisle station is step-free, has good secondary rail connections and is within walking distance of the city centre.

The only thing it needs, is a connection to Edinburgh on a rebuilt Borders Railway.

Chesterfield

Consider.

  • Chesterfield station will need to handle 200 metre trains.
  • Chesterfield station may be rebuilt for High Speed Two.
  • Chesterfield station can handle an InterCity 125, which is 220 metres.
  • It will need to handle a pair of Class 810 trains, which would be 240 metres.

This Google Map shows Chesterfield station.

Note.

  1. The slow lines passing the station on the Eastern side.
  2. There are two long through platforms and a third bi-directional platform on the down slow line.

There is space to build two long platforms for High Speed Two, but is it worth it, when one one tph will stop?

  • According to High Speed Two’s Journey Time Calculator, trains will take just twelve minutes between Sheffield and Chesterfield stations.
  • This compares with 12-15 minutes for the current diesel trains.
  • The distance between the two stations is 14 miles, which means that a twelve minute trip has an average speed of 70 mph.
  • If there are still two tph to St. Pancras, there will be four tph, that run fast between the Sheffield and Chesterfield stations, of which three will stop at Chesterfield.

I think this could result in a simple and efficient design for the tracks between Sheffield and South of Clay Cross, where High Speed Two joins the Erewash Valley Line.

Chesterfield station is step-free.

Crewe

Crewe station will need two 400 metre through platforms, so each can accommodate a pair of 200 metre trains.

This Google Map shows the station.

There have been references to rebuilding of Crewe stations, but it does appear that some platforms are over 300 metres long.

Darlington

Darlington station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 245 metre InterCity 225 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Durham

Durham station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 245 metre InterCity 225 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Edinburgh Haymarket

Edinburgh Haymarket station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 245 metre InterCity 225 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Edinburgh Waverley

Edinburgh Waverley station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 245 metre InterCity 225 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Glasgow Central

Glasgow Central station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Currently, Avanti West Coast runs the following services to Glasgow Central.

  • One tph from London Euston calling at Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme Lake District (1tp2h), Penrith (1tp2h) and Carlisle.
  • One tp2h from London Euston calling at Milton Keynes Central, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Sandwell and Dudley, Wolverhampton, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme Lake District (1tp2h), Penrith (1tp2h) and Carlisle.

High Speed Two is proposing to run the following trains to Glasgow Central.

  • Two tph from London Euston calling at Old Oak Common, Preston and Carlisle.
  • One tp2h from Birmingham Curzon Street calling at Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme (1tp2h), Penrith (1tp2h), Carlisle, Lockerbie and Motherwell (1tp2h)

If the current services to Glasgow Central  were to be replaced by the High Speed Two services, most travellers would get a similar or better service.

But if Avanti West Coast decide to drop their classic services to Glasgow via Birmingham, will travellers starting between Milton Keynes and Crewe, be a bit miffed to lose their direct services to Glasgow?

Glasgow Central station would appear to be ready for High Speed Two.

Lancaster

I was initially surprised, that on High Speed Two, one tph would terminate at Lancaster station.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. There are two bypass lines without any platforms on the Western side of the tracks, where trains can speed through.
  2. The station has five platforms.
  3. Some Avanti West Coast services terminate at Lancaster station.
  4. 265 metre, eleven-car Class 390 trains, stop in Lancaster station.

As High Speed Two services will use 200 metre trains, which are shorter than all Class 390 trains, I would suspect that High Speed Two services will be able to be turned at Lancaster station, without too much difficulty.

Liverpool Lime Street

Liverpool Lime Street station will need to be able to turn two 200 metre High Speed Two tph.

  • The remodelling of the station in 2018, probably allowed for two tph between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street station.
  • From 2022-2023, it will be turning two Class 807 trains per hour, which will probably be 182 metres long.

Liverpool Lime Street station may well be ready for Phase One of High Speed Two. It’s also very much step-free.

There are also alternative plans for a new High Speed station in Liverpool.

  • It would be alongside the current Liverpool Lime Street station.
  • The station would have a route to High Speed Two at Crewe via Warrington and a junction at High Legh.
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail would start in the station and go to Manchester via Warrington, High Legh and Manchester Airport.
  • It would enable six tph between Liverpool and Manchester, in a time of just 26 minutes.

I talked about this plan in Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, where I included this map.

High Legh Junction is numbered 5 and 6.

Nothing published about High Speed Two, would appear to rule this plan out.

Lockerbie

Lockerbie station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Macclesfield

I was initially surprised, that on High Speed Two, one tph would terminal at Macclesfield station.

This Google Map shows the station.

Wikipedia says this about the platforms in the station.

There are three platforms but only two are in regular use, the up platform for services to Manchester and the down platform to Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham. Platform 3 sees a small number of services. Evidence of a fourth platform can be seen, on which a Network Rail building now exists.

As the station has a regular Avanti West Coast service every hour, the platforms must be over 200 metres long and they will be long enough for the 200 metre High Speed Two trains.

So why would High Speed Two want to terminate a train at Macclesfield, rather than at Manchester Piccadilly as they do now?

Currently, Avanti West Coast runs these services between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly.

  • One tph via Milton Keynes Central, Stoke-on-Trent and Stockport.
  • One tph via Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport
  • One tph via Stafford, Crewe, Wilmslow and Stockport

The diagram in the Modern Railways article shows these High Speed Two services to Manchester Piccadilly.

  • One tph from London Euston via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Manchester Airport
  • Two tph from London Euston via Old Oak Common and Manchester Airport
  • Two tph from Birmingham Curzon Street via Manchester Airport.

Note.

  1. None of these five tph serve Macclesfield, Milton Keynes Central, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent or Wilmslow.
  2. All five proposed services are shown to call at Manchester Airport.
  3. It is likely, that a tunnel will be bored between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly stations.
  4. The High Speed Two station at Manchester Piccadilly might even be in a tunnel under the current Manchester Piccadilly station or central Manchester.
  5. A below-ground High Speed Two station for Manchester could also serve Northern Powerhouse Rail services to Leeds and the East.
  6. According to the plans, I talked about under Liverpool Lime Street earlier, there could also be up to six tph running between Liverpool and Manchester via Manchester Airport, as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Plans need to be developed to serve the towns and cities, that will not be served by High Speed Two’s current proposals.

  • It appears Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield will be served by an independent High Speed Two service from London Euston.
  • Terminating one tph at Macclesfield station doesn’t appear to be challenging.
  • A rail route between Macclesfield and Manchester Airport to link up with the proposed tunnel could be very difficult.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Macclesfield stations have a frequent rail connection, with most trains calling at Stockport station.
  • Perhaps during construction work for High Speed Two in the centre of Manchester, Macclesfield station can be used as an alternative route into the city, using the existing Manchester Piccadilly station.

The London Euston and Macclesfield service via Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent could be a pragmatic solution to part of the problem, but what about Milton Keynes, Wilmslow and Stockport?

According to the title of the Modern Railways article, High Speed Two will have a maximum frequency of 18 tph.

When fully-developed, the current proposed timetable shows the following.

  • A frequency of 17 tph between London Euston and Birmingham Interchange stations.
  • A frequency of 11 tph between Birmingham and Crewe.
  • A frequency of 9 tph through East Midlands Hub station.

It would appear that if there is a capacity bottleneck, it is between London and Birmingham.

However if classic services to Manchester Piccadilly are replaced by the High Speed Two services to the city via the new tunnel from Manchester Airport to a new station in the City Centre, there will be spare capacity on the Crewe and Manchester Piccadilly route via Wilmslow and Stockport stations.

This could lead to a number of solutions.

  • A direct High Speed Two service runs using the spare path, between London and the current Manchester Piccadilly station.
  • Similar to the previous service, but the service splits and joins at Crewe, with one individual train going to Manchester Piccadilly and the other somewhere else. Blackpool?
  • One service between London and Liverpool is planned to split and join at Crewe with individual trains going to Lancaster and Liverpool. The other Liverpool service could split at Crewe with individual trains going to Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • The service between London and Macclesfield is run by a pair of trains, that split at Birmingham Interchange, with individual trains going to Macclesfield and Manchester Piccadilly. The advantage of this service, is that if you got into the wrong train, you’d still be going to roughly the same destination.
  • Wikipedia says “At peak times, the current Avanti West Coast services may additionally call at one or more of: Watford Junction, Rugby, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley.” So why not run classic services on the West Coast Main Line between Euston and Manchester Piccadilly via Milton Keynes using suitably fast trains. Perhaps, the new Class 807 trains would be ideal.

Note.

  1. All services serving the current Manchester Piccadilly station would call at Crewe, Wilmslow and Stockport stations.
  2. Passengers going to or from Manchester Airport would change at Crewe.

The more I look at Macclesfield, the more I like using it as a High Speed Two destination.

Motherwell

Motherwell station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Newcastle

Newcastle station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 245 metre InterCity 225 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Oxenholme

Oxenholme station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Penrith

Penrith station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Preston

Preston station will need two 400 metre through platforms, so each can accommodate a pair of 200 metre trains.

This Google Map shows the station.

 

I estimate that the main through platforms aren’t much short of the required 400 metres.

But something must be done to make the station step-free.

Runcorn

Runcorn station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 217 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The station is also step-free.

Sheffield

Sheffield station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

This Google Map shows the station.

As the station can already handle a 220 metre InterCity 125, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The station is also substantially step-free.

Stafford

Stafford station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

This Google Map shows the station.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The station is also step-free.

Wikipedia says this about Stafford station and High Speed Two.

Under current proposals, Stafford will be a part of the High Speed 2 network, via a ‘Classic Compatible’ junction, which will allow HS2 trains to operate to Stafford, and further on towards Liverpool. This would shorten journey time from Stafford to London, to an estimated 53 minutes. Under current proposals it is expected that an hourly services will operate in both directions, however it is currently unclear if these services will terminate at Stafford, or Liverpool.

This does appear to be rather out of date with High Speed Two’s latest proposals as disclosed in the Modern Railways article, which say that Stafford is served by the following service.

  • One tph between London Euston and Macclesfield.
  • Calls at Old Oak Common, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.
  • A 200 metre train.

One possibility must surely be to run a pair of 200 metre trains to and from Stafford, where they would split and join.

  • One could go as currently proposed to Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield.
  • The second train could go to Liverpool via Crewe and Runcorn or Manchester Piccadilly via Crewe, Wilmslow and Stockport.
  • The recent works at Norton Bridge Junction will have improved the route for the second train.

There would need to be platform lengthening at Stafford to accommodate the 400 metre pair of trains.

A split and join at Stafford does show the possibilities of the technique.

Another possibility is mentioned for Stafford in Wikipedia.

There is also been proposals to reintroduce services to Stafford to terminate on the Chase Line which was cutback to Rugeley Trent Valley in 2008. The Key Corridors states “Extension of Chase Line services to Stafford”. This is proposed to be in development.

It will surely connect a lot of people to Stafford for High Speed Two.

The extract from Wikipedia, that I used earlier, mentions a Classic Compatible junction, which will allow High Speed Two trains to reach Stafford.

This map clipped from the High Speed Two web site, shows the junction North of Lichfield, where High Speed Two connects to the Trent Valley Line through Stafford.

Note.

  1. High Speed Two runs North-South across the map.
  2. After the Junction by Fradley South,
  3. High Speed Two to Crewe and the North, is the branch to the East.
  4. The other branch connects to the Trent Valley Line, which can be picked out North of Lichfield, where it passes through Lichfield Trent Valley station.

The Trent Valley Line is no Victorian double-track slow-speed bottleneck.

  • Most of the route between Rugby and Stafford is three or four tracks.
  • The speed limit is generally 125 mph.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Avanti West Coast’s Class 390 and Class 807 trains running at 140 mph on the route.
  • This speed would probably be attained by High Speed Two trains.

London Euston and Stafford would only have under twenty miles of slower line and that could be 140 mph, so High Speed Two  times on the route could be very fast. High Speed Two is quoting 54 minutes on their Journey Time Calculator.

Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

This Google Map shows the station.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The station is also step-free.

Warrington Bank Quay

Warrington Bank Quay station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 265 metre Class 390 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Wigan North Western

Wigan North Western station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

In Is Wigan North Western Station Ready For High Speed Two?, I said this.

Wigan North Western station would accept a single-train now, but the platforms would need lengthening to handle a double-train.

As all trains through Wigan North Western station will only be 200 metre single trains and the station is step-free, the station appears to be ready for High Speed Two.

York

York station will need to accommodate 200 metre trains.

As it already accommodates 245 metre InterCity 225 trains, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Conclusion

I have come to these conclusions.

  • Because most of these stations have been rebuilt in the last few decades to accommodate the 200-plus metre InterCity 125s, InterCity 225s and Class 390 trains, all the stations can handle a 200 metre High Speed Two train without significant lengthening.
  • Some stations like Carlisle, Crewe, Preston and Stafford may need a small amount of platform lengthening to accommodate a pair of trains, but most of the improvements needed for a world-class High Speed railway will be more refurbishment than a complete rebuild.
  • Using existing platforms at Lancaster and Macclesfield stations as terminal platforms is an elegant and a much more affordable solution than building new stations or even platforms.
  • Because all five tph into the High Speed Two station at Manchester Piccadilly go via Manchester Airport, I would envisage that this will be in a tunnel, that can be part of a future Northern Powerhouse Rail.

I also think that the plan has been devised with the Project Management and minimising disruption to travellers in mind.

 

 

June 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Will Avanti West Coast’s New Trains Be Able To Achieve London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street In Two Hours?

Note that I have rewritten this post to take account of this information from the January 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, in an article, which is entitled Hitachi Trains For Avanti.

This is said about the ten all-electric AT-300 trains for Birmingham, Blackpool and Liverpool services, which have now been numbered as Class 807 trains.

The electric trains will be fully reliant on the overhead wire, with no diesel auxiliary engines or batteries.

It may go against Hitachi’s original design philosophy, but not carrying excess weight around, must improve train performance, because of better acceleration.

Currently, Avanti West Coast‘s trains between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street stations are timetabled as follows.

  • The journey takes two hours and thirteen or fourteen minutes.
  • There are three stops at Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn.
  • The stops with the current Class 390 trains seem to take around a minute.
  • There is one train per hour (tph)
  • A second hourly service with a stop at Liverpool South Parkway is planned to be introduced in December 2022.

In 2022, a new fleet of Hitachi AT-300 trains will be introduced on the route. I believe, it would be reasonable to assume, that these Class 807 trains will have similar or better performance, than the current Class 390 trains.

  • Acceleration and braking are likely to be better.
  • Regenerative braking energy may well be handled more efficiently.
  • The trains may well be equipped with in-cab digital signalling and be able to travel in excess of 125 mph in places, where the track allows.

I would expect, that these trains could be running near to or at 125 mph on most of the journey.

London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street are 193.5 miles apart, so if a train could be running at 125 mph all the way, a train would take 93 minutes.

Extra time must be added for the following.

  • Acceleration from a standing start to 125 mph at London Euston, Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn.
  • Deceleration from 125 mph to a stop at Stafford, Crewe, Runcorn and Liverpool Lime Street.
  • Dwell time in the platforms at Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn.

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train, which is a bi-mode AT-300 train with three diesel engines.

The data sheet shows that a five-car train can accelerate to 125 mph and then decelerate to a stop in six minutes in electric mode. As Avanti West Coast’s Class 807 trains will be all-electric seven-car trains with no heavy engine or battery, I doubt they will be slower than a Class 802 train in electric mode. So four accelerations/deceleration cycles  to 125 mph should take no more than twenty-four minutes.

I will assume two minutes for each of the three stops.

I can now give an estimate for the journey.

  • Base journey time – 93 minutes
  • Acceleration from and deceleration to stops – 24 minutes
  • Station dwell time – 6 minutes

This gives a journey time between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street of two hours and three minutes.

The journey time can probably be improved in the following ways.

  • Take full advantage of the track improvements on the approach to Liverpool Lime Street station and at Norton Bridge Junction.
  • Better train pathing, as has been done on London Liverpool Street and Norwich services to create the fast Norwich-in-Ninety services.
  • Track and signal improvements to pinch a minute here and a minute there.
  • As Runcorn now has an hourly Liverpool Lime Street and Chester service, will the Runcorn stop be dropped to save time?
  • Reduction in station dwell time.
  • Better driver aids.
  • Better staff operating procedures at stops and whilst turning the train.

It should be born in mind, that a two hour journey between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street would be a start-stop average speed of 97 mph on a 125 mph route. Intriguingly, this means the trains would run at 77 % of the maximum operating speed of the route, which is the same figure for Norwich-in-Ninety services.

Some of these improvements may enable the Class 390 trains to go a bit faster.

It has to be considered, that Avanti West Coast’s Marketing Department would be ecstatic, when told that London and Liverpool were less than two hours apart.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed?

Currently, this is a typical train round trip to Liverpool Lime Street.

  • 07:07 – Leave London Euston
  • 09:20 – Arrive Liverpool Lime Street
  • 09:47 – Leave Liverpool Lime Street
  • 12:02 – Arrive London Euston

The five-hour round-trip would indicate that five trains would be needed for the one tph service.

This train didn’t return to Liverpool, but went off to the Wembley Depot.

After their Liverpool trip, there is no real pattern of where the train will go next, as this table shows.

  • 06:41 – 6 – 33 minutes – Wembley Depot
  • 07:48 – 2 – 36 minutes – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 08:47 – 1 – 40 minutes – Manchester Piccadilly
  • 09:47 – 7 – 30 minutes – Wembley Depot
  • 10:47 – 4 – 42 minutes – Preston
  • 11:47 – 4 – 37 minutes – Preston
  • 12:47 – 1 – 34 minutes – Preston
  • 13:47 – 15 – 13 minutes – Birmingham New Street
  • 16:47 – 6 – 16 minutes – Glasgow Central
  • 17:47 – 1 – 42 minutes – Manchester Piccadilly

Note.

  1. The time is departure time from Liverpool Lime Street, the number is the platform and the minutes are the turnround time in Euston.
  2. I have left out a couple of trains as there was a very late train.
  3. There doesn’t seem to be any regular pattern.
  4. It looks like trains can be turned in under fifteen minutes.
  5. I think there was a time, when Liverpool couldn’t accept eleven-car trains, but the new longer platforms appear to accept them.
  6. Trains appear to be running services to Glasgow Central and Manchester Piccadilly, who seem to usually get eleven-car trains.

I almost think, that they’re allocating trains as they go.

With the new Class 807 trains, I suspect the following is possible.

  • London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street – Two hours
  • Turnround – Fifteen minutes
  • Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston – Two hours
  • Turnround – Fifteen minutes

This means it’s a four-and-a-half hour round trip.

  • Journey times of two hours.
  • Time enough for well-drilled staff to turn the trains.
  • Dedicated platforms at London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street.
  • It would be a very attractive customer-friendly service.

Two tph would need nine trains.

It would be everything the Marketing Department wanted!

Thoughts On The Current Class 390 Timings

As the Class 390 trains are a 125 mph train, their base timing of 93 minutes, between London and Liverpool should still be the same.

As their doors and lobbies are similar in design to those of the Hitachi AT-300 trains, I would allow the same two minutes of dwell time at each station.

Current timings of services on the route vary between 132 and 134 minutes. I’ll take the average of 133 minutes.

So the current services take thirty-four minutes to perform the four accelerate and decelerate sequences on the route.

It would appear that this sequence would take eight-and-a-half minutes in comparison with the six minutes of the new Hitachi AT-300 trains.

An Improved London Euston and Blackpool North Service

The new AT-300 trains will also be running to Blackpool.

  • London Euston and Blackpool North takes between two hours and forty-four minutes and two hours and fifty-nine minutes.
  • Journey times are not very consistent, probably due to timetabling difficulties.
  • Trains stop between four and five times on the West Coast Main Line.

Would the faster stops of the new AT-300 trains mean that Avanti West Coast could run a more regular timetable, with all services under three hours?

It should also be noted, that Grand Central will start a London Euston and Blackpool North service in Spring 2020.

As the rolling stock for this new service will be Class 90 locomotives hauling rakes of Mark 4 coaches, that will be limited to 110 mph, are Avanti West Coast making sure, that they have the fastest trains on the route?

Would AT-300 Trains Save Time To Other Avanti West Coast Destinations?

If we assume that AT-300 trains can save two-and-a-half minutes per accelerate and decelerate sequence times could change as follow.

  • Birmingham New Street – One hour and twenty-two minutes – Three stops – One hour and twelve minutes
  • Coventry – One hour – Two stops – Fifty-five minutes
  • Crewe – One hour and thirty-four minutes – One stop – One hour and thirty minutes
  • Glasgow – As services stop six or thirteen times, there may be substantial savings to be achieved.
  • Manchester – Between two hours and seven minutes and two hours and thirteen minutes – Three stops – Between one hour and fifty-seven minutes and two hours and three minutes.

Note.

  1. The number of accelerate and decelerate sequences is one more than the number of stops.
  2. Coventry services would be under an hour.
  3. Two out of three Manchester services would be under two hours.

This analysis illustrates how fast train performance is important in more customer-friendly services.

Conclusion

I believe the following will be possible.

  • A two hour service between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street will be possible with Avanti West Coast’s new AT-300 trains.
  • The current Class 390 trains could go a bit faster.
  • I estimate that a Class 807 train could save as much as two-and-a-half-minutes at each stop.
  • Blackpool North and London times will be comfortably under three hours.
  • Coventry and London times will be comfortably under an hour.

The performance of these Class 807 trains will improve the West Coast Main Line.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments