The Anonymous Widower

Is Lumo The Ryanair Of Rail?

Someone had to draw the comparison between Lumo and Ryanair and it was The Times, that used a headline of Lumo, The Ryanair Of Rail, Gets The Green Light On East Coast, for their article about the new London and Edinburgh rail service in their article today.

But how alike are the two business models?

Standard Planes And Trains

The Boeing 737 and the Airbus A 320, as used by Ryanair and easyJet  are the two workhorses of short haul airlines.

It can also be said, that Hitachi’s AT-300 train is becoming the workhorse of long-distance rail services in the UK.

Customised Interiors

Ryanair and easyJet do customise the interiors of their aircraft to a certain extent and from pictures on the Internet Lumo appear to have done the same.

If you look at the widths of the planes and trains on Wikipedia, you find these values.

  • Airbus A 320 – 3.95 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 3.8 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 2.7 metres

Dividing by the number of seats across, which is six for the planes and four for the train gives these figures.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.66 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.63 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.67 metres

I know there is an aisle down the middle, so let’s say that it is 0.60 metres. This gives these spaces for each seat.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.56 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.53 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.53 metres

I think that is adequate space for a designer to do a good job.

This picture shows the interior of a Great Western Railway Class 802 train, which use a similar body shell to the trains used by Lumo.

Note.

  1. The aisle looks to be similar in width to a seat.
  2. There is a bag shelf above the windows and lots of coat hooks.

As both Lumo and Great Western Railway are both First Group companies, is it likely that the interior dimensions are similar, so that standard trolleys could be used and training could be eased and shared between companies in the group.

This picture shows a trolley fitting in between the tables on a Great Western Railway service.

I suspect, if they design everything together, Lumo could make best use of a narrow aisle to give the seats a bit more width.

This last picture shows TransPennine Express Class 802 train at Willesden Junction station.

Note how the lower part of the side of the train is curved. Is this to get a bit more room for the seat squab?

Passengers Per Metre

This is only a rough calculation and shows typical passengers, fuselage or car length and passengers per metre.

  • Airbus A 320 – 164 passengers – 37.57 metres – 4.4 px/metre
  • Boeing 737 – 160 passengers – 37.0 metres – 4.3 px/metre
  • Class AT-300 train – 96 passengers – 26 metres – 3.7 px/metre

Passenger density in the train is about fourteen percent less.

Toilets

In The Definitive Seating Layout Of Lumo’s Class 803 Trains, I said this.

This article on Economy Class and Beyond is entitled Enter Lumo – The New East Coast Railway Competitor.

It contains a drawing from Lumo,  which shows the layouts of the seats on the train.

    • Coach A – 44 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Wheelchair spaces – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 56 Total seats
    • Coach B – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach C – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – 96 Total seats
    • Coach D – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach E – 52 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 62 Total seats

Note.

    1. This is a total of 406 seats.
    2. Judging by the position of the tip-up seats they are for staff and perhaps emergency use, if say a coffee gets spilled on a seat.
    3. Each car has a pair of tables, where four can sit. As Lumo’s business model allows early booking, if you and your partner want to take the kids to see granny on her birthday, you should be able to get a table, by booking early.
    4. There are two bike stores in Coaches B and D.

These are some further thoughts.

Toilet Provision

I was on an LNER Class 800 train earlier this week and needed to go to the toilet.

    • I wasn’t sure which way I needed to go, as I couldn’t see a sign pointing me to the toilet, but in the end I struck lucky.
    • You don’t have that problem with Lumo’s trains, as there appears to be a toilet at both ends of the three middle coaches, either in your car or the next.
    • If you’re in one of the driver cars, there is an accessible toilet at the blunt end.

I don’t think anybody will argue with the toilet provision on Lumo’s trains.

Typically a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 will have two toilets for about 160 passengers.

Lumo’s trains have two accessible toilets and two ordinary ones for 406 passengers.

Ease Of Boarding

If you want to catch a train at virtually any station in the UK, in most cases, you just turn up something like fifteen minutes before the departure time, present your ticket and get on the train.

Planes used to be like that in the UK, but they aren’t any more.

Catering

In the article in The Times, Matt Lee, who is Lumo’s customer experience director, said they have been free to develop their own systems. He says this about the catering.

Catering will be a Deliveroo-style service: passengers can order M&S or Pret sandwiches in advance and have them delivered to their seat. “We are a testbed for other FirstGroup train operators.

Will they do gluten-free?

Luggage

Lumo have a luggage courier service called LumoLuggage.

Service Expansion

Suppose an airline or a train operating company wants to run additional services to add capacity to a route.

With an airline, they will need to obtain additional take-off and landing slots to fly the route.

But Lumo are running five-car trains on a route, where all the stations can handle nine-car trains and possibly a pair of five-car trains.

So Lumo just add extra cars to the fleet, so that they match the number of cars running on the route to the demand.

The only costs to increase the capacity are those of the extra cars and a proportionate number of extra staff.

Conclusion

I can see this service model being copied by other train operators in other countries.

I’m looking forward to going North on Wednesday.

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

RMT Threatens Strikes Over ‘Guardian Angels’ Plan

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The RMT has warned of possible industrial action in protest at a government plan for unpaid volunteers to help guide railway passengers and prevent overcrowding at stations.

They don’t seem to be in favour.

This was a statement from the Department of Transport.

These volunteers will play a crucial supporting role in keeping people moving by easing crowding and providing advice to help maintain social distancing, protecting passengers and tackling the spread of the virus.

‘We are clear these volunteers will not be performing any tasks or roles that vital frontline staff are trained to carry out, and they will be deployed at key stations in the short term when the easing of lockdown restrictions could see the increased use of public transport.

It puzzles me, why the RMT didn’t strike during the Olympics, as we had all those charming volunteers, helping visitors with their needs.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Top Class Service With A Smile

I only went into this busy Leon on Tottenham Court Road for a hot chocolate and a gluten-free cake.

As it takes a minute to make a hot chocolate, the young lady at the counter, suggested I sit down and she’d bring it over.

Which she did with a smile.

December 22, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , | 2 Comments

A Hotel That Loves To Say No!

Last night I stayed in the easyHotel in Ipswich.

It was convenient for after the match. affordable and I wanted to see what the low cost chain was like.,

I took these pictures.

Note all these Noes!

  • No Space
  • No Two-Ply Toilet Paper
  • No window.
  • No Space For Two People To Hang Clothes
  • No Glass For Water
  • No Bottles Of Water In The Vending Machine. This made worse the fact that there is no late-night shop in the centre of Ipswich.
  • No automated check-in system.
  • No free wi-fi
  • No free television. The need to enter a code each time you switched it on, was a total pain.
  • No free room cleaning
  • No space to put a large suitcase.
  • No space to put a cot for a baby.
  • No flat space to change a baby’s nappy! A real one, I hope!
  • No bottle opener.
  • No food to buy except chocolate or even a good nearby cafe.

I know it’s designed down to a price, but I’ve been in sleeper trains, caravans and boats that do it much better.

Note that I’m only one metre seventy and sixty kilos and C was a little bit smaller. We could just about have managed, as we always travelled light.

I don’t think, I’ll use it again, but if I do, I’ll use it this way.

  • No case bigger than a brief-case.
  • Bring a bottle!
  • Bring a plastic glass.
  • Make sure, I arrived as late as possible and left as early as possible.
  • Expect to leave in the same clothes I arrived in.
  • Ask how to get radio on the TV.

But at least, I slept reasonably well!

Rumours about the possible Ryanair hotels include.

  • Pay-As-You-Go use of the bathroom.
  • Corkage charges for any wine or beer taken into the room.
  • Extra charges for those not checking in online.
  • Extra charges to put your large cases in a secure separate room.
  • Shielded room, so you get no mobile signal and have to pay to use wi-fi.

I do wonder, if there is to be a race to the cheapest, whether Governments will legislate on room size and various charges.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

On The Caledonian Sleeper To Glasgow

I started this post on the Caledonian Sleeper to Glasgow.

It’s one of the new Mark 5 trains and they are a great improvement, although one Scottish hard man, preferred the old Mark 3s.

Out of Euston we were doing 80 mph and the ride in the Lounge Car is good. At least up to the standard of a Greater Anglia Mark 3, which are some of the best!

These are some pictures of my train.

I don’t think I could fault the train.

But the service was rather sub-standard, due to a strike and I got a partial refund.

 

 

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

I Have Just Setup My July Tax Payment

I received my Self Assessment Statement yesterday and have just setup the payment on-line.

My father didn’t do any Government printing, as he said, that they always wanted very small type and at fifty, his eyes weren’t up to it.

I find in checking the account to pay the money, that the form is still confusing and I need to get my magnifying glass out.

  • There would also appear nowhere to print a large format version of the instructions.
  • Or details in another language for that matter!
  • There is a help web-address at the bottom. In very small type. It should be in an easy-read twelve point type.

HMRC can do better!

But they don’t care, as if you put in the wrong amount, it’s your fault not theirs.

 

June 22, 2019 Posted by | Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

InterCity Quality For Rural Routes

The title of this post is a quote from the Managing Director of Greater Anglia; Jamie Burles about the Class 755 trains in this article on Rail Magazine.

This is the complete paragraph.

Burles said of the Class 755s: “These will be the most reliable regional train in the UK by a country mile – they had better be. They will be InterCity quality for rural routes, and will exceed expectations.”

Initially, the Class 755 trains will be deployed between Norwich and Great Yarmouth stations.

  • It is 18.4 miles long
  • There are four intermediate stations.
  • Trains currently take thirty-three minutes.

It is certainly not your traditional InterCity route and it only runs at a maximum frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

Consider.

  • Norwich is a City of over 140,000.
  • Great Yarmouth is a town of 40,000.
  • There are lots of business and leisure reasons to travel between the two.
  • The A47 road between the two is totally inadequate.

Greater Anglia are purchasing a fleet of 38 trains with a total of 138 carriages to replace 27 trains with a total of 58 carriages.

  • This is a forty percent increase in the number of trains.
  • This is nearly two and a half times as many carriages.
  • The average number of carriages per train is raised from 2.1 to 3.6.

That is a massive increase in train capacity.

I don’t believe that Greater Anglia will park these trains in a siding, but use them to increase frequencies.

  • Will the 100 mph operating speed of the trains allow a round trip between Norwich and Great Yarmouth to be done in after an hour?
  • Will the frequency be increased to up to four tph?

If this can be arranged then Greater Anglia could need as few as four trains to run a Turn-Up-and-Go service between Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

How many passengers would that attract to the route?

Comparing Three-Car Class 755 And Class 170 Trains.

Some three-car Class 170 trains were bought some years ago, to run services between London and Great Yarmouth.

In recent years, they have become the mainstay of Greater Anglia’s regional routes.

  • Ipswich and Cambridge
  • Ipswich and Peterborough
  • Norwich and Cambridge

All three routes are currently run at a frequency of one tph.

These trains have the following specification.

  • 100 mph operation
  • Two-class layout.
  • Between 100 and 200 seats.

They have proven to be a  capable train for the routes and appear to have been driving increasing traffic levels.

It should also be noted that other operators use these trains on routes including.

  • Birmingham and Stansted Airport
  • Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport
  • Cardiff and Nottingham

I think it is true to say that Class 170 trains are 100 mph trains for running on InterCity routes that can’t justify a full-size train like a bi-mode Class 802 train.

Some operators will also be running five-car Class 802 trains on routes that have been run in the past or still are run by Class 170 trains.

The Class 755 trains are 100 mph trains, which Greater Anglia are using in two sizes.

  • Class 755/3 train – three cars with 167 seats
  • Class 755/4 train – four cars with 229 seats

The longer trains will probably be used on Greater Anglia’s longer regional routes.

  • Ipswich and Cambridge
  • Colchester and Peterborough
  • Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • Liverpool Street ans Lowestoft via Ipswich

Note that the last three routes are electrified for nearly have the route.

Except for the Ipswich and Cambridge route, these routes are longer than those run in the past and these routes will probably need four-car trains with InterCity interiors and service.

The Liverpool Street and Lowestoft service of the 1960s and 1970s had a buffet car and passengers on this route will at least expect a trolley service of drinks and snacks.

I very much feel that the Class 755 trains will in a worse case be better than the Class 170 trains, that have run InterCity services in the past.

Will Class 755/3 And Class 755/4 Trains Have The Same Interiors?

Greater Anglia haven’t said definitely that the interiors in the two classes of train will be the same, but I think it will be likely, with respect to the ease of building and maintaining the trains.

This video shows the train being tested at Diss.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t show the interior.

So I’ll have to wait until the end of June to have a look at a real train.

It should also be noted that Class 755 trains can be lengthened by adding extra trailer cars.

So it would be unlikely that the interiors in the driver and trailer cars were different, as this would mean that shuffling of cars could create a train with a mixed interior.

Conclusion

Consider.

  • Some of the Class 755/4 trains will be running InterCity services.
  • Both Class 755 variants are capable of 100 mph running.
  • Ease of building and maintenance probably requires identical interiors.

It would appear that all services where Class 755 trains are used, will get the same InterCity passenger experience.

Although some services could be slower than InterCity services, due to track limitations.

Will Abellio use a similar philosophy, with the new fleet for East Midlands Railway?

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Leon The Only Fast-Food Restaurant, Where You Get Personal Service?

When I ordered my full English pot in Leon a few minutes ago, they were temporarily out. So the assistant told me to sit down and he brought it to me a couple of minutes later.

This regularly happens in Leon and it’s one of the reasons I go!

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

A Trip Around The West Midlands

Today, I did a trip around the West Midlands, using five different trains.

Tain 1 – 19:10 – Chiltern – London Marylebone To Leamington Spa

This was one of Chiltern’s rakes of Mark 3 coaches hauled by a Class 68 locomotive.

I like these trains.

  • They are comfortable.
  • Everybody gets a table and half sit by a big window.
  • There is more space than Virgin Train’s Class 390 trains.
  • They may be slower, but they are fast enough for most journeys I make.

The train arrived seven minutes late at Leamington Spa at 11:32.

Train 2 – 12:02 – West Midlands Trains – Leamington Spa To Nuneaton

This is a new West Midlands Trains service, via the new station at Kenilworth and Coventry.

The trains are Class 172 trains, that used to run on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Note.

  1. The have been repainted and refreshed.
  2. The seat cover on the driver’s seat is a relic of the London Overground.
  3. The train now has a toilet.

The train was about half-full and I got the impression, that the new service had been well-received.

The train arrived on time at Nuneaton at 12:38.

Train 3 – 12:54 – West Midlands Trains – Nuneaton to Rugeley Trent Valley

The train was a Class 350 train and it arrived eight minutes late at 13:29.

These pictures show Rugeley Trent Valley station.

It is very minimal with just a shelter, a basic footbridge and no information on how or where to buy a ticket.

Passengers deserve better than this!

Train 4 – 13:43 – West Midlands Trains – Rugeley Trent Valley to Birmingham New Street

This is a new West Midlands Trains electric service.

Compared to the Leamington Spa to Nuneaton service, passengers were spread rather thinly in the train.

The train was a Class 350 train and it arrived five minutes late at 14:44.

Train 5 – 15:55 – Chiltern – Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone

Another comfortable Chiltern Railways train back to London, which arrived four minutes late at 17:47.

Customer Service

Customer service and especially that from West Midlands Trains was rather patchy.

  • Leamington Spa station was rebuilding the entrance, but staff were around.
  • Nuneaton station was very quiet.
  • Rugeley Trent Valley station needs a lot of improvement.
  • The two Birmingham City Centre stations were much better.

I actually had to travel ticketless from Rugeley Trent Valley to Birmingham New Street, as the Conductor on the train didn’t check the tickets.

But Virgin Trains were very professional at Birmingham New Street.

Service Pattern

I have some observations on the service patterns.

  • For comfort reasons, I would prefer that Chiltern ran Mark 3 coaches and Class 68 locomotives on all Birmingham services.
  • In the future, it looks like Leamington Spa and Nuneaton needs at least a half-hourly service.
  • There definitely needs to be more services on the Chase Line.

There also is a serious need for staff and better facilities at Rugeley Trent Valley station.

No-one even a hardened member of the SAS would want to spend thirty minutes changing trains there on a blustery and cold winter’s day.

Conclusion

I tried two new services today, that started on the May 2019 timetable change.

  • A diesel service between Leamington Spa and Nuneaton via Kenilworth and Coventry.
  • An electrified service between Rugeley Trent Valley and Birmingham New Street.

The first would appear to be what passengers want, but the second needs a bit of promoting.

 

May 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Union Seeks ’91s’ To Cardiff

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the May 2019 Edition Of Modern Railways.

These are points fro the article.

  • Grand Union Railway is a new open access operator.
  • Trains will be formed of a Class 91 locomotive, nine Mark 4 coaches and a driving van trailer.
  • Trains will go between London and Cardiff, stopping at Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction and Newport
  • Trains will leave Paddington hourly from 07:35 to 21:35
  • Trains will leave Cardiff hourly from 06:35 to 19:35
  • The journey time will be one hour and forty-five minutes.
  • To run this timetable would appear to need four trains. Grand Union will probably have a fifth train, to allow for one in maintenance.

The service is subject to regulatory approval.

Note that the company has been formed by Ian Yeowart, who was previously Managing Director of Grand Central.

Currently, Great Western Railway (GWR) runs the following trains to South Wales

  • Paddington and Cardiff via Reading, Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Bristol Parkway and Newport
  • Paddington and Swansea via Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway and Neath

Services will soon be run exclusively by Class 800 or Class 802 trains.

Note.

  1. Some of the Swansea services are extended to Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock.
  2. Paddington to Cardiff takes two hours and eight minutes.
  3. Paddington to Swansea takes just under three hours.
  4. These times will be improved when the the electrification is completed between Paddington and Cardiff

Paddington and Cardiff will be getting three trains per hour (tph) and two operators

Great Western Railway And Grand Union Services Compared

It is interesting to compare the two services.

Journey Times

Consider.

  • The Grand Union service at one hour forty-five minutes appears to be quicker than the GWR service at two hours eight minutes.
  • But are we comparing times after full electrification of the route to Cardiff, which the Class 91 locomotives will need to operate?
  • There is also the possibility of digital signalling being fitted to both sets of trains.
  • Both trains can run at 140 mph with in-cab signalling
  • The Grand Union service has less stops than the GWR service.

Will the trains settle for a draw and have the same journey times?

Capacity

The seating capacity of the two trains are as follows.

  • GWR Class 800/802 train – 655 seats
  • Grand Union – InterCity 225 – 535 seats

My only thought, is that is there enough space in the GWR train or all luggage.

Bicycles And Bulky Luggage

Tourists with cycles are increasing in number and Wales will become a destination.

Hitachi Class 800 trains do not have much space for bicycles and  bulky luggage.

On the other hand, the driving van trailer of an InterCity225 can swallow a lot.

Will There Be Sufficient Demand For An Extra Service between London and Cardiff?

A friend asked.

Is there actually a market/capacity for an extra hourly service?

I made these points in reply.

  • The South Wales Metro will be one of the best City metros in the world and will improve feeder services to Cardiff Central dramatically.
  • The M4 is getting busier between Bristol and Cardiff, partly due to the abolition of tolls on the Severn Bridge.
  • The Principality Stadium
  • Tourism to South Wales is growing.
  • Business and finance in Wales is finally looking up.
  • All trains will be at 140 mph for long stretches, so journey times will be one hour forty-five minutes.
  • Paddngton is not an attractive place to arrive at in London, but after Crossrail opens, all should  be different.
  • City of London to City of Cardiff in two hours.
  • Cardiff will be closer to the City of London, than Brussels, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester or Paris!
  • Heathrow’s Third Runway.
  • Four wheels bad, rails good
  • Kids are getting to like trains, just as  we did.
  • The next generation of on-train Internet will be much faster for working and keeping kids of all ages amused.
  • GWR, Grand Union and the Welsh Government could market the route as High Speed Wales!

Will three tph be enough?

My Prediction In October 2013

In October 2013, I wrote Will We Get HSW Before HS2?

This was the conclusion of that post.

So I believe that even if it still goes slower on opening, trains to Bristol and Wales will be doing 225 kph before the end of this decade.

If that isn’t a high speed railway like HS1, I don’t know what is?

But whatever we call it, it’ll be here several years before HS2!

I think we need to call for three cheers for Brunel, who got the route right in the first place.

I felt the biggest problem would be the Severn Tunnel! I got that wrong, as that difficult job is now done.

Conclusion

I like this proposal.

  • The important Paddington and Cardiff route gets a fifty percent increase in train frequency.
  • There could be genuine competition on the route.
  • Grand Union would be using five of the thirty InterCity225 sets, which are in good condition, judging by my recent journeys.
  • Could we see a customer service and catering war between the two operators?

If Grand Union Railway runs to Cardiff, I’ll give it a go.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments