The Anonymous Widower

The Wrong Kind Of Bleach?

This article on Railnews is entitled 9 September: News In Brief.

It has the following sub-title.

Wrong Bleach Took Caledonian Sleepers Out Of Service

This is the first sentence.

Cleabers who used the wrong specification of bleach in the toilets and shower rooms on Caledonian Sleepers caused significant damage after the chemicals reacted with stainless steel pipes,

To my knowledge stainless steel, especially when it contains increased levels of chromium and some molybdenum, can be very proof to attack from most substances.

Look at this Butler Shba cutlery made in Sheffield from stainless steel with black Delrin plastic handles, which have seen continuous use in my household for fifty years.

Now that’s what I call stainless steel!

Perhaps, the Spanish used the wrong type of stainless steel?

Delrin is a form of polyoxymethylene, which is an engineering plastic.

This plastic has a wide spectrum of usage, including in zips, bagpipes and metered dose inhalers, to name just three of hundreds.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climbing Stairs Two At A Time

This set of stairs is at Syon Lane station.

It is typical of many sets of stairs in London and all over the UK.

I have recently found that it is easier and faster for me to climb stairs like these, two steps at a time.

Sometimes, I will climb up the right side of the stairs pulling myself with my good right arm.

I can understand, why when using my good arm, it is easier and faster, as I am pushing with two limbs and pulling with one.

But the surprise is that if I walk up the middle of the stairs, it’s easier too!

Is it down to the fact that most stairs are to the same standard, which was designed to fit the mechanics of the average human.

I suspect too, that practice helps.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The New Bathgate Depot

As I passed through Bathgate station, I took these photographs of the new Bathgate depot.

This Google Map shows the station with its extension car parking and the depot.

Note how the layout is so much simpler, than most depots in the UK, which were designed over a hundred years ago.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

My First Ride In An Inter7City Train

These are some pictures I took of a ride between Edinburgh and Leuchars station.

In some ways, I wasn’t particularly impressed and the interiors were not up to the standard of some InterCity125 trains and Mark 3 coaches I’ve ridden lately.

These are some other pictures of Inter7City trains, I took on my recent trip to Scotland.

They may look nice and are what the public wanted, but would the right new trains have been better.

 

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Traction System Of A Class 385 Train

This document on the Hitachi web site is entitled Development of Class 385 Semi-customised/Standard Commuter Rolling Stock for Global Markets.

The Hitachi document gives a schematic of the traction system of a Class 385 train.

This is the description, that accompanies the diagram.

Railway businesses in the UK include ROSCOs, TOCs, and track maintenance and management companies. The TOCs pay fees, called track access charges, which are based on the weight of rolling stock and the distance travelled, and are obliged to pay the track maintenance and management company for the electrical power consumed in train operation. Because lighter trains put less load on the track, they incur lower track access charges. As lighter trains also consume less electrical power, there was strong demand from the TOC to make the rolling stock lighter, right from the pre-contract stage.

There are two types of Class 385, a four-car train set and a three-car train set. The four-car train set has two motor cars (M) and two trailer cars (T) in what is called a 2M2T configuration. For a three-car train set, in contrast, sufficient traction capacity is provided by 1.5 M cars. Accordingly, the Class 385 adopts a system in which the traction unit (converter) is split into two drive systems, with each car having two motor bogies that are controlled separately (see Fig. 4). This means that three-car train sets can have a 1.5M1.5T configuration in which one of the bogies on one of the two M cars is a trailer bogie, thereby eliminating two traction motors and one traction unit drive system. This configuration reduces the weight of a three-car train set by approximately 1.5 tonnes.

Next time you design a train, will you stand more chancw of getting the order, if you think out of the box?

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The Lengths Of Hitachi Class 800/801/802 Trains

Hitachi’s Class 800/801/802 trains are part of the AT-300 family of trains, with 26 metre long cars.

  • A five-car train is 130 metres long
  • A nine-car train is 234 metres long.

Current trains and ones the Hitachi trains are going to replace have the following lengths.

I think the Hitachi trains will fit platforms designed for these trains well.

Perhaps a five-car train might be a bit short for a eight-car BR standard 160 metre log train. But a six-car Hitachi train is 156 metres long.

Conclusion

Twenty-six metre long carriages seem to work well against BR’s historic standards based on a twenty-metre cars.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Kinetic Energy Of A Five-Car Class 801 Train

The standard argument against the bi-mode Class 800 train, was that it would be lugging heavy diesel engines around the country wasting energy.

The Class 801 train is the all-electric version of the Hitachi train.

  • Wikipedia says each coach weighs 41 tonnes.
  • An empty five car train will therefore weigh 205 tonnes.
  • A five-car train seats 315 passengers.
  • If each passenger with baggage, bikes and buggies weighs 90 Kg, this mean they weigh 28.35 tonnes.
  • So the train has a weight of 233.35 tonnes.
  • The train is travelling at 125 mph.

Putting these figurea into Omni’s Kinetic Engine Calculator gives a kinetic energy of 101.2 kWh.

Five-car Class 801 trains have one underfloor MTU 12V 1600 R80L diesel engine, which weigh seven tonnes, whereas the bi-mode Class 800 trains have three.

The engines have a rating pf 700 kW in the Class 802 trains and are derated to 560 kW in the other  two classes.

So adding engines and repeating the calculation gives.

  • One engine – 104.2 kWh
  • Two engines – 107.2 kWh
  • Three engines – 110.3 kWh

To accelerate a train with three engines to 125 mph will need an extra six kWh compared to a train with only one engine.

There will be a small acceleration penalty. But as three engines have a total power of 1,680 kW (Class 800) or 2,100 kW (Class 802), the penalty would be measured in seconds.

When the train is at the cruising speed of 125 mph, the only difference will be a two tonne difference in axle loading on some axles.

All Class 80x trains will have to overcome the same air resistance and provide similar hotel power., so I’m fairly certain, that all trains will consume very similar amounts of power in the cruise.

Power Comparison With An InterCity 125

Each Class 43 power car of an InterCity 125 has a single diesel engine rated at 1,700 kW.

Divide this by three and you get 566.7 kW

The de-rated MTU diesel engines in the Class 800 train are rated at 560 kW.

So did Hitachi look at the power of half an InterCity 125, feel that they could put diesel engines in three cars of a five-car train and then size the engines to get InterCity 125 power, with two trains working as a pair.

All they would then need to do is to design the cars of the new train to have aerodynamics, dynamics, performance and power usage as good or better than a forty-year-old train.

As they knew that the InterCity 125 had the capabilities needed for the routes, it would mean that their new train would perform, as required.

And if they needed more power for some routes, there was a 700 kW engine available.  Great Western Railway did need some more powerful trains and ordered thirty-six extra Class 802 trains with the larger engine.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Japanese have been showing tremendous respect to the InterCity 125.

Conclusion

It really is extraordinary, that the installed power of two five-car Class 800 trains, is little different to that of an InterCity 125.

The vindication is that both trains work well.

 

 

July 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Market Harborough Station – 11th July 2019

Compare these pictures taken today, with those in Market Harborough Station – 10th May 2019.

In the intervening two months, there have been major changes at Market Harborough station.

Two Shorter Curved Platforms Have Been Replaced

The two shorter curved platforms have been replaced by two long straight platforms.

  • They can handle the longest trains likely to stop in the station.
  • As they are straight, it is likely that there will be a smaller gap to mind, between platform and train.
  • The platforms and the tracks have been moved to the West by several metres.
  • The platforms are now furnished to a high standard, with shelters and information screens.

The new platforms and tracks are a great improvement for passengers, staff and train operators.

But they also mean.

  • Trains that stop at the station, can perform faster stops, as the better train-platform interface speeds passengers entering or leaving the train.
  • Passing trains can benefit from a higher speed limit through the station.

This should mean a faster journey time along the Midland Main Line.

The Land Released Will Be Used To Extend The Car Park

Several hundred new car parking spaces will be provided on the Eastern side of the line, in the land released by moving the platforms and tracks.

There Is A Fully Working Step-Free Bridge

The new step-free bridge is now fully working.

  • The steps are wide enough for bi-directional traffic.
  • There are lifts on both sides.

It is asymmetric, with the steps probably leading in the direction most passengers will be walking to and from.

  • On the Eastern London-bound platform, passengers will be walking to and from the car park.
  • On the Western Leicester-bound platform, passengers will be walking to and from the main station building with the exit to the town, the ticket office and the cafe.

The bridge will certainly handle commuters to London or Leicester, who drive to the station and have to cross the tracks before or after one journey.

It will also handle commuters, who walk or cycle from the town centre.

This bridge has been placed by someone, who knows what they’re doing!

There Are A Pair Of Crossovers To The North Of the Station

I don’t know whether these are new, but they certainly will give operational advantages, if for instance, a train should fail in Market Harbprough station.

As it is likely, that the Midland Main Line will be electrified as far North as Market Harborough station, could they be used for other purposes?

125 mph electric services could be run between London and Market Harborough.

  • The two crossovers would easy turnback of the trains or the building of a stabling siding, North of the station.
  • Trains would probably take under an hour.
  • They could stop at intermediate stations like Luton Airport Parkway Luton, Bedford and Wellingborough.
  • Market Harborough station has a lot of parking.
  • It could be a second electric service into St. Pancras.

It could be a useful complimentary service or an alternative one whilst planned major regeneration work is ongoing at Leicester station.

Market Harborough Station Has A Bigger Capacity

Consider.

  • The longer platforms will allow longer trains with more seats to call at the station.
  • The shorter dwell times at the station of stopping trains will allow more trains to stop in the station every hour.
  • The step-free bridge is additional capacity for crossing the tracks.
  • There will be a massive increase in car parking.

It looks to me that the station has been upgraded to fulfil a need for more trains.

These figures show the population and passenger numbers at stations around Market Harborough.

  • Corby – 70,800 – 300,000 – 4.24
  • Kettering – 56,200 – 1,070,000 – 19
  • Market Harborough – 22,900 – 900,000 – 39.3
  • Wellingborough -49,100 – 1,015,000 – 20.7

The last figure was obtained by dividing the number of journeys by the population.

Does Market Harborough’s high figure mean that there is a high demand for travellers living around Market Hsrborough and the large amount of extra car parking will be well-used.

Note.

  1. I travelled to Market Harborough with a lady and her two young children, who wee actually going to Leicester and were being picked up by family at the earlier station due to all the traffic problems around Leicester station.
  2. There used to be four stations between Market Harborough and Leicester, but all closed in 1968.
  3. There used to be two stations between Market Harborough and Kettering, but all closed in the 1960s.
  4. Market Harborough is well-connected by roads.

So is Market Harborough station used by locals as a Leicester South station?

As an aside, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new parkway station developed in conjunction with a large housing development, built between Kettering and Leicester, at some point in the future..

Future Electrification

There is a section entitle Electrification in the Wikipedia entry for the Midland Main Line.

This is the last paragraph.

On 26 February 2019 Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, announced that electrification would be extended northwards from Kettering to Market Harborough, enabling the connection of the railway to a new power supply point at Braybrooke.

I will assume that this means, that electric trains will be able to run to Market Harborough station.

As I said earlier, there are a pair of crossovers to the North of the station, which could be useful for turning trains or giving easy access to a couple of stabling sidings.

Hopefully, electrifying the station will not be difficult, as it has only recently been built and foundations for the electrification gantries have either been built or surveyed thoroughly.

Battery Trains Through Market Harborough Station

One thing that won’t be needed at Market Harborough station is a charging station for battery-electric trains, as this will be handled by the electrification.

Bi-mode and battery-electric trains would either raise or lower the pantograph at speed or at a stop in the station.

The operation of a battery-electric train going North could be interesting.

If it wasn’t scheduled to stop in the station, the train would go through Market Harborough station, with maximum charge in the onboard storage, after being charged by the overhead electrification, on the way up from London. The train would also run through the station, at the highest possible speed, as allowed by the track, so that the train had the highest possible kinetic energy.

Electrification to Market Harborough will act like a catapult to send trains North at their maximum kinetic energy and they could probably glide all the way to Leicester station using little of their energy stored in the onboard battery.

The electrification would probably go a short way North of Market Harborough station, so that sropping trains could be accelerated to full speed using the electrification.

There Is Still Work To Be Done

Work to be done appears to include.

  • Refurbishing the original subway to give access between the London-bound platform and the station building.
  • Finishing the shelters and other platform furnishings.
  • Landscape the car-park and create ramped access to the London-bound platform.

A notice said the subway would reopen in December 2019.

Conclusion

Market Harborough now has a much higher capacity modern station.

 

July 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Class 710 Train Rooves At Blackhorse Road Station

I took these pictures at Blackhorse Road station.

I couldn’t spot any resistor banks on the rooves, that could be used to burn off excess energy, that is generated by regenerative braking.

Consider.

  • The rooves do have a rather clean aerodynamic look.
  • I’ve never seen resistor banks placed anywhere other than on the roof of a train.
  • Regenerative braking must either return the energy through the electrification or store in in some form of onboard energy storage.

It looks to me, that Bombardier have designed a very efficient train.

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

My First Ride In A Class 195 Train

Today, I rode the ten o’clock Virgin to Manchester Piccadilly station.

I then waited for one of the new Class 195 trains going South to Manchester Aurport station.

These pictures show the Class 195 train.

These are my views on various aspects of the train.

Noise, Vibration And Harshness

The Class 195 train is a diesel multiple unit, with an MTU engine and a ZF Ecolife transmission.

Wikipedia describes the transmission as is a 6 speed transmission for city buses. It also lists these features.

  • Boosted operating economy, longer service life, and higher temperature resistance for operation with Euro 5 (1st generation) and Euro 6 (2nd generation) compatible engines.
  • An integral retarder,
  • Longer operational intervals between oil changes.
  • Higher torque capacity.

It looks like ZF have created a sophisticated and very efficient gearbox for diesel buses and trains.

During today, I rode also rode in Class 156 and Class 175 trains, that are also diesel powered.

I would put the noise, vibration and harshness of the diesel engine and the transmission of the Class 195 trains, as worse than that of the Class 175 train and better than than that of the Class 156 train.

I am surprised that the Class 195 train doesn’t use a hybrid electric transmission, which are starting to be developed by MTU and will be retrofitted into various diesel multiple units like Porterbrook’s Class 170 trains, as I talked about in Rolls-Royce And Porterbrook Launch First Hybrid Rail Project In The UK With MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.

I said this in the linked post.

As I understand it, the current hydraulic traction system will be replaced by an electric one with a battery, that will enable.

  • Regenerative braking using a battery.
  • Battery electric power in urban areas, stations and depots.
  • Lower noise levels
  • Lower maintenance costs.

This should also reduce diesel fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

As the Class 195 train has a similar electric cousin; the Class 331 train, I would have felt that it would be possible to fit the Class 195 trains with an MTU Hybrid PowerPack or similar.

This should reduce, what to me, are unacceptable noise levels.

As the MTU Hybrid PowerPack has been developed, at the same time as the Class 195 train, which uses a traditional MTU engine, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Class 195 train has been designed to be retrofitted with the more efficient MTU Hybrid PowerPack.

Interior Design

The designj of the interior is disappointing in some of the details and I would rate it inferior to the Class 385 trains, built for ScotRail by Hitachi.

The most annoying aspect is that the seats and windows are not aligned, as they are in Hitachi’s design.

This picture taken in a Chiltern Railways Mark 3 carriage, shows the alignment done in a better manner.

 

But I believe, that it can be done better still.

Entrance And Exit

As the pictures show, there is a big gap and a high step getting into the train. I know that the platform at Manchester Piccadilly is not easy, but the gap was still large on the straight platform at Manchester Airport.

With any new train, a passenger in a wheelchair, should be able to push themselves into and out of the train.

They certainly can’t in a Class 195 train.

Conclusion

I was rather disappointed with the Class 195 train.

Good points were the number of tables and build quality.

Bad points were the noise, vibration and harshness, execution of the interior design and entry and exit.

Compared to the Class 385 train, which I would score at 8/10, the Class 195 train, is no better than 6/10.

In some ways though, my biggest disappointment, is that they didn’t get the smaller points of the design right first time!

 

 

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments