The Anonymous Widower

Brand-New Bi-Mode Trains For Long Term Use By Abellio East Midlands Railway

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These trains are proposed for working on several routes and some of their features are given.

In this section, I will try to ascertain, what they will be like.

These trains will replace the interim Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive sets on the Midland Main Line from April 2022.

They will also be used on the following services.

  • London – Lincoln.
  • London – Oakham – Melton Mowbray
  • London – Leeds – York

Features include.

  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system
  • Free on-board Wi-Fi
  • At-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • increased luggage space
  • On-board cycle storage

I think it wouldn’t be speculating too much, to expect that shorter versions of these trains would also be used on other routes of the franchise.

I also think, that these trains will have other properties.

Ability To Run At 125 mph On Both Electric And Diesel Power

Bombardier, Hitachi and Stadler are proposing or have built fast bi-mode trains, which run at the same speed on both diesel and electric power.

  • Bombardier are proposing a 125 mph Aventra with batteries.
  • Hitachi’s 125 mph Class 800 trains are running at 125 mph on electric power, but can they achieve the 125 mph on diesel needed for the Midland Main Line?
  • Stadler’s 100 mph Class 755 trains, will be running between London and Norwich at this speed from next month.

As parts of the Midland Main Line, that will not be electrified by 2022, to have a 125 mph operating speed, it is essential that the trains can do this speed on either power source.

Ability To Switch Power Source At Line Speed

Some trains do this, but others don’t!

To run as fast a timetable as possible, it is essential. Hitachi’s Class 800 trains can do it!

240 Metre Long Trains

Consider.

  • The notes on the interactive map, says that Corby services will be this length in the Peak.
  • 240 metre long platforms will be needed at St. Pancras for Corby services.
  • Thameslink services are already this length.

These points lead me to the conclusion, that the new bi-mode trains can be up to 240 metres long.

Passenger Capacity

A seven-car Class 222 train has the following properties.

  • 236 Standard Class seats.
  • 106 First Class seats.
  • 161.8 metres long

As the interiors of the existing and proposed trains seem similar with lots of tables and comfort, adjusting for the longer bi-mode train gives the following numbers of seats.

  • 349 Standard Class seats.
  • 157 First Class seats

There will be a large increase in the number of seats.

Step-Free Access Between Train And Platform

Stadler are the masters of this and are providing it on Merseyrail and on the Great Eastern Main Line.

Other companies will have to follow suit!

Hitachi in particular and surprisingly seem to design their trains with a big step.

This picture shows the step up into a Class 395 train at St. Pancras station. It is unacceptable!

Step-free access improves the dwell time of trains at stations and is essential on any high-frequency service.

Digital Signalling

This will be essential to run the trains faster and closer together, so that more services can be run between London and the Midlands,

140 mph Running

IDigital signalling could even enable 140 mph running on sections of the route.

Improved Dwell Times

The performance of these trains and easy access, will mean that every station stop will be faster and will enable two pssenger benefits.

  • Journeys will be faster by a few minutes.
  • It will be possible to add extra station stops, with only a small penalty of overall journey times.

I doubt passengers will be unhappy.

High Speed Two Compatibility

High Speed Two should reach the East Midlands Hub station in 2032 and Sheffield station in 2034.

Between Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield, High Speed Two and Midland Main Line services will use the same sixteen mile electrified railway.

Good project management probably says that this joint electrified line is created early, by say 2025. This would obtain maximum benefit to the City of Sheffield and the surrounding area.

As it is likely, that the new bi-mode trains will still be in service to past 2034, whatever is decided, these bi-modes must be able to run on High Speed Two infrastructure.

Conclusion

Even if, the current  service pattern of two trains per hour to Derby, Chesterfield, Nottingham and Sheffield is maintained, there will be a large increase in capacity.

But if a fully-digital railway is created with 125 mph trains, I can see the Midland Main Line becoming one of the finest high speed railways in the world, that has been created by updating a classic rail line built in the Nineteenth Century.

Operating speed and capacity will be up there with the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines.

I can see Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield having a four trains per hour service from London in times of 75, 90 and 120 minutes respectively.

By comparison, High Speed Two is looking at a sub-ninrty ,minute time between London and Sheffield.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Luton Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Luton station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

Without doubt, this is the worst station, I’ve found so far in an important town, that is to be made step-free.

There is nothing of any architectural merit at all in this station.

Will Abellio East Midlands Railway Improve Their Service To Luton?

Currently, Luton station has the following.

  • Full electrification, which is being upgraded to a high standard for 125 mph running.
  • Platforms long enough to accommodate Thameslink’s 242 metre long twelve-car Class 700 trains.
  • The Class 700 trains are already fitted for working with digital signalling and this will be added to all trains.

It certainly treats trains better than it does passengers.

From December 2020, the following trains will run through Luton station.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) to/from Corby, which will be 240 metre long twelve-car electric trains in the Peak. Why not in the Off Peak?
  • Two tph to/from Leicester and Nottingham
  • Two tph to/from Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield

At the present time, only the single Corby service stops at Luton.

From 2022, East Midlands Railway will be running new bi-mode trains through the station.

  • For compatibility with the electric trains to Corby and to make full use of long platforms, I suspect that these trains could be up to 240 metres long.
  • They will have a larger capacity, than the current Class 222 trains.
  • They will effectively be electric trains between London and Market Harborough, where the electrification ends.
  • They will have fast acceleration and smooth regenerative braking, because of the electric power.
  • They could have step-across access between train and platform.

As Luton station is electrified and has long platforms, these trains will be able to stop at Luton (and Luton Airport Parkway) in minutes.

Network Rail intend to make Luton station step-free by 2024.

The improved access will give easier connections between the expresses and Thameslink, and entry/exit to the station.

I can see several trains per hour stopping at Luton.

Conclusion

If money was no object, this station should be totally rebuilt.

But money is an object, so the architects will be struggling.

But by 2024 at the latest and possibly a couple of years earlier Luton station could be sorted for passengers and handling well upwards of a dozen 240 metre long high capacity trains in every hour.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Abellio’s Plans For Nottingham And Crewe Via Derby

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for services between Nottingham and Crewe via Derby.. This is an extension of the current service which is two separate services, that need a change at Derby.

Crewe-Derby Services Will Operate With Increased Capacity Compared To Today

Consider.

  • Currently, the service between Derby and Crewe takes 43 minutes with another 30 minutes for Derby And Nottingham.
  • It is run by a Sprinter with one or two cars.
  • The service is hourly.
  • I suspect that a well-driven train will be able to do a round trip from Nottingham to Crewe and back in under three hours.

This would mean that three trains are needed to provide the hourly service.

But put four- or five-car Class 222 trains on the route and this would mean.

  • Much greater capacity.
  • Faster journeys.
  • More comfort and facilities.

If a train could do the round trip in under two hours, then just two trains would be needed for the hourly service.

Most Services Will Be Extended To And From Nottingham

I assumed this in the previous section and it appears sensible.

, Later Evening Service Is To Be Provided In Both Directions

Trains can never be too late.

Enhanced Sunday Service With A Regular Hourly service Starting Early In The Morning

You can’t fault that!

Increased Community Rail Partnership Funding

Or that one!

Refurbished Modern Trains

As with their plans for Nottingham to Norwich, they use the same words about the trains.

Read Abellio’s Plans For Norwich And Liverpool, to see what I said.

Wikipedia’s View

The Wikipedia entry for the Crewe-Derby Line says this about services on the route.

The line sees a basic hourly service in each direction with trains calling at all stations on the route however Peartree which is served by 2 Derby bound trains and 3 Crewe bound trains per weekday.

The majority of services on the route since December 2008 have been provided by Class 153 “Super Sprinter” Diesel Multiple Units however Class 158 “Express Sprinter” and Class 156 “Super Sprinter” units are occasionally used. Overcrowding remains a major issue on the route, particularly in the morning and evening peak and a weekends. Passengers are occasionally left behind.

A Class 222 train on this line with a 70 mph operating speed, must provide a better service.

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abellio’s Plans For Norwich And Liverpool

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for services between Norwich and Liverpool.

Splitting Of The Service

Early in the new franchise the Liverpool – Nottingham section will transfer to another operator, which will enable the two halves of the service to better meet the needs of customers.

This has been said for some time by the Department of Transport.

It is also said that limited services will continue to operate via Stamford and Loughborough.

Looking at trains between Nottingham and Norwich., they take these routes.

  • Grantham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford
  • East Midlands Parkway, Loughborough, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Peterborough, Ely, Thetford

The service will be extended from Nottingham to Long Eaton and Derby.

Refurbished Modern Trains

It is proposed that the service will be run by refurbished modern trains.

Features include.

  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system displays
  • free on-board Wi-Fi
  • at-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • Increased luggage space.
  • No date for introduction is given.

This all sounds fine to me.

The Current Trains On The Route

Before discussing the possible new trains, I will look at the current service, that I have used many times.

Class 158 trains are used,

Normally, a pair of two-car trains run together to make a four-car formation.

  • At times, these trains are very overcrowded.
  • I don’t think, the trains have a universal access toilet.
  • The trains are thirty years old and some detailing is not very good or very last century.
  • The air-conditioning may be a bit dodgy.
  • Nottingham and Norwich is probably about the maximum comfortable range for passenger on these trainss.

I suspect too, that they have operational problems.

  • They are only 90 mph trains and they will share tracks with faster trains.
  • As part of this route could be on the East Coast Main Line, scheduling trains would be easier, if the trains were capable of 125 mph.
  • On board catering is provided by a trolley. Can it be pushed between the two trains?

Abellio are obviously quite right to promise a better train for both passengers, staff and their bottom line.

An Ideal Train For The Route

An ideal train would have a specification something like this.

  • Modern train, built since 2000.
  • Five or six cars
  • 125 mph operating speed.
  • An onboard cafe-bar.
  • Universal-access toilet.

It sounds to me, like a Class 222 train with a high-class refurbishment.

Currently, there are these  Class 222 trains available to the franchise.

  • Four by four-car
  • Seventeen by five-cars
  • Six by seven-cars.

Many of the Class 222 trains, will be replaced in 2022, when the new bi-mode trains are delivered.

The New Trains For The Route

It does look to me, that East Midlands Trains could do a lot worse, than use refurbished Class 222 trains between Norwich and Derby.

  • Their engineers and drivers know the trains well.
  • They could be arranged as four or five coaches for the route.
  • Tory are 125 mph trains, which must bring journey time savings, especially on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Bombardier have proposed, that they could be fitted with batteries to reduce the need to run the engines in stations.

Refurbishing something you know, is probably one of the cheaper options.

How Many Trains Are Needed For An Hourly Service Between Nowich And Derby?

I suspect that running to a well defined timetable that times of around three hours could be achieved between Norwich and Derby.

This would probably mean that a train could go from Norwich to Derby and back in under seven hours.

This would mean that seven trains would be needed for an hourly service running all day.

If the 125 mph trains could use their speed on the East Coast Main Line and perhaps on the Breckland Line, it might be possible to do the round trip in six hours and therefor need a train less.

Would Finding Seven Class 222 Trains Be Possible?

Obviously, once the Midland Main Line routes have been replaced by new bi-mode trains in 2022, there will be a lot of Class 222 trains available and seven trains to run  the Norwich and Derby service will not be a problem.

Some other factors will help.

Trains Will Be Released By The London And Corby Electric Service

In December 2020, when the London and Corby service receives electric trains, the current Class 222 trains on this route will become available.

I think that this service currently needs three trains.

More Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive Sets Could Be Created

In Abellio’s Plans For The Midland Main Line, I described how interim sets could be built by replacing the non-compliant Mark 3 coaches in an InterCity 125, with the compliant Mark 4 coaches from an InterCity 225.

These trains would be used to release some of the Class 222 trains on the Midland Main Line.

Another five Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 Locomotive sets would probably release the same number of Class 222 trains.

Trains Could Be Reorganised With A Better Plan

I have a feeling that by reorganising the Class 222 trains and bringing in more more Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 Locomotive sets, could mean that a better plan on the Midland Main Line could be developed.

As an example, when boarding a train at St. Pancrass, I often notice two trains are in the platform and you have to walk to the far train. This is not efficient and surely slows down the turnround of trains.

Platforms 1 to 4 are reserved for East Midlands services at St. Pancras station.

  • Two trains per hour to Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield
  • Two trains per hour to Nottingham
  • One train per hour to Corby, which goes to two trains per hour in December 2020.

Surely, it would be easier, if the station was organised as follows.

  • Sheffield, Nottingham and Corby trains all have their own platform, with one spare for luck!
  • All trains are full length, with First Class at the London end
  • One train per platform.

This would make things easier for passengers and reduce turnround times.

No More Two Trains Running Together

I think that the practice of train companies running two or more trains together to increase capacity is a bad idea, unless you have no other way.

Consider two four-car trains running together as an eight-car train.

  • You have two driving cabs in the middle, which serve no purpose and just take up space. and add useless weight.
  • A buffet car in the train can be available to all passengers.
  • The First Class seats could be in two separate places on the train.
  • With trains like the Hitachi Class 800 trains, onboard staff can only move between trains in a station.
  • Walk-through trains allow passengers to position themselves for a convenient and quick exit.

Anybody who procures trains to run in multiple formations all the time, instead of buying longer trains, is generally incompetent.

A Rough Estimate

I have done a very rough estimate and feel that the Midland Main Line services can be run with the following numbers of trains.

  • Sheffield services – Ten trains
  • Nottingham services – Eight trains
  • Corby services – Six trains

As the Corby services will be run by refurbished twelve-car trains, it looks to me that there is a need for eighteen diesel trains for Sheffield and Nottingham services.

I would go for eighteen Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive sets, with perhaps a couple of spare sets..

Conclusion

The following services should be run with Mark 4 Coach/Class 43 locomotive sets of an appropriate length.

  • London and Nottingham
  • London and Sheffield

This would release the Class 222 trains for other services like those between Norwich and Derby.

 

 

 

 

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

Abellio’s Plans For London And Melton Mowbray Via Corby And Oakham

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for services to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.

  • After electrification of the Corby route there will continue to be direct service each way between London and Oakham and Melton Mowbray once each weekday, via Corby.
  • This will be operated with brand new 125mph trains when these are introduced from April 2022.

This seems to be a very acceptable minimum position.

In Abellio’s Plans For London And Corby, I suggested that Class 379 trains could be used on the route and that the trains might be fitted with batteries.

  • Corby and Melton Mowbray are about twenty-fives apart.
  • Batteries and their fast-charging technology has come on at a fast pace since Abellio participated in the Class 379 BEMU Trial in 2015.

Are Abellio thinking about extending some Croby services using battery technology?

The technology is certainly capable, but is there a proven passenger need?

Turning Trains At Melton Mowbray stations

This Google Map shows Melton Mowbray station.

It looks to be a station on a large site with more than adequate car parking and I suspect building a bay platform with charging facilities would not be the most difficult of projects.

Conclusion

As current trains take about thirty minutes between Corby and Melton Mowbray, with a bay platform at the latter station, I think it would be possible to run hourly Class 379 trains with batteries to and from St. Pancras.

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

Abellio’s Plans For London And Corby

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for Midland Main Line services to Corby.

Dedicated Corby – St Pancras express Service Will Be Introduced From December 2020 With 12-car Trains In The Peaks

In 2020, the route between London and Corby will have been improved.

  • It will be fully electrified.
  • There will be double-track between Kettering and Corby.
  • Corby station will have a second platform.
  • 125 mph running will be possible in sections of the route between London and Corby.
  • Twelve-car trains indicate, that the rolling stock would be modern electric multiple units.

Possible trains include.

To run the current hourly service, three trains are needed, so if each train was three four-car electric multiple units, nine trains would be needed.

As these electric trains will need to mix it with the 125 mph trains on the fast lines brtween St. Pancras and Kettering, 110 mph trains would probably be preferable.

Class 387 trains were originally mooted for this route, but they all seem to have been snapped up by other operators, who may be reluctant to let them go.

The two other possible trains are used in Abellio-run franchises.

  • ,Abellio Greater Anglia are replacing their thirty Class 379 trains with new Stadler Class 745 trains in 2019.
  • West Midlands Trains have a large fleet of Class 350 trains.

As the Class 379 trains should be available in good time for a December 2020 service introduction, I would suspect that these ten-year-old trains, are the most likely to be used on the route.

  • Do Bombardier have the knowledge and time to upgrade the trains to 110 mph trains?
  • There is certainly time to upgrade the trains with any necessary refurbishments and updates.
  • Train availability could allow prolonged testing and driver training, prior to service introduction.
  • Only three new Class 745 trains would need to be in service for Greater Anglia to release the nine trains required to run an electric service between London and Corby.

If Class 379 trains are used, it could be a very relaxed train introduction.

Class 379 trains to Corby could explain, why Abellio Greater Anglia are introducing the Class 745 trains on Cambridge and Stansted Airport services before those on the Great Eastern Main Line.

There could be over a year, to turn the excellent Class 379 trains into perfect trains for a high-capacity London and Corby service.

I think using Class 387 and Class 350 trains wouldn’t be so simple.

Corby – London Service Doubled To Two Trains Per Hour All Day

This would mean the need would be eighteen four-car trains.

There are enough Class 379 trains, but obtaining the originally-planned Class 387 trains could be problematic.

Kettering, Luton And Luton Airport Parkway Services Provided With 2 Trains Per Hour for Most Of The Day

Note.

  1. Luton station is on the latest list of stations to be made step-free by 2024.
  2. Luton Airport has been agitating for more fast trains to and from London and now gets a half-hourly express.
  3. Class 379 trains are designed for airport services.

It appears to be a better service for passengers.

Enhanced Sunday Service Throughout The Route With Regular Direct Sunday Services Between London And Corby

No passenger complaints here.

Refurbished Modern Express Trains From December 2020,

Features include.

  • Increased capacity
  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system
  • Free on-board Wi-Fi
  • at-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • Increased luggage space
  • On-board cycle storage

What more could passengers want?

Many of these features are already installed in the Class 379 trains.

  • When I rode the BEMU Trial train between Maningtree and Harwich, the information on the Class 379 train was word perfect.
  • The trains are reliable and comfortable.
  • Wi-fii, power sockets, air-conditioning and increased luggage space are already fitted.
  • The trains have lots of tables, but not at every seat.

Updating the trains would not be a major problem.

Will The Class 379 Trains Be Fitted With Batteries?

The BEMU Trial in 2015, showed that this was feasible. Abellio was involved in this trial and must have therir own views on the technology.

  • Depots are safer places.
  • Electrification can be simpler.
  • Regenerative braking can be handled on the train without using the overhead wires for return currents.
  • Batteries increase train efficiencies.

This picture shows, the wires are going up at Corby.

So it doesn’t look like battery power will be used to Corby.

But batteries could still be fitted for efficiency and safety reasons or possibly to power the trains to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.

Conclusion

I’m fairly certain, that services between London and Corby will be run by refurbished Class 379 trains.

As there is plenty of time before service introduction, this could be a very relaxed and painless introduction of new trains. Unlike some others recently.

There may even be time to upgrade the top speed of the trains, so they fit in better with East Midlands Railway’s 125 mph expresses.

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Abellio’s Plans For The Midland Main Line

This page on the Department for Transport web site is an interactive map of the Abellio’s promises for East Midlands Railway.

These are mentioned for Midland Main Line services to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

From May 2020, Modern Diesel Trains Will Begin To Replace Ageing HSTs.

May 2020 is only a year away. Is that enough time to order and build new or refurbish existing diesel trains.

So how will they obtain new trains?

Timetable Changes Will Enable Faster Journey Times From December 2020

These HST-replacement trains must be faster too!

This article on Rail Magazine is entitled Government Seeks Midland Main Line HST Upgrade Update.

It describes how the current eleven HSTs are being updated with retention tanks and accessible toilets, so they can continue to run after this year.

But as the doors won’t be replaced, this means that eleven trains with between six and eight coaches must be found.

One solution mooted is to use Mark 4 Coaches released from LNER, by new Class 801 trains.

In Midland Mark 4, I talk about a possible solution described by Ian Walmsley in the March 2018 Edition of Modern Railways.

  • Two Class 43 power cars would be at each end of a rake of Mark 4 coaches.
  • The current 2+8 formation may need to be shortened to 2+7 because of the heavier coaches.
  • The coaches meet all the regulations.
  • There are plenty of power cars available.

I rode in a Mark 4 coach back from Scotland recently and these will be comfortable trains.

The pictures show First Class, is as good as anything in Europe. The only thing worse, than Eurostar’s latest Class 374 trains is the space, which is due to our smaller loading gauge.

Not bad for a thirty year old train.

But

  • They were designed for a 140 mph maximum speed.
  • There are 302 coaches of various types available.
  • They meet all current and future accessibility regulations.
  • They have push-button automatic doors.

I estimate that a seven-car set of coaches for the Midland Main Line would have a capacity of around 400-420 passengers in two classes.

As there are currently, eleven InterCity 125 trains working the Midland Main Line, I can’t see there being a shortage of carriages.

Earlier And Later Train Service Each Day To East Midlands Parkway Enabling better Airport Connectivity

iIt won’t affect me, but I suspect other travellers will benefit.

Earlier And Later Trains To And From London, With A More Regular Evening Service Between London And Sheffield

I have moaned about this for a long time.

Try going to Derby or Sheffield from London for an evening football match and getting home that day!

Brand-New 125mph trains Will Be Introduced Into Service From April 2022

Fwatures include.

  • More reliable service
  • Improved comfort
  • Passenger information system
  • Free on-board Wi-Fi
  • At-seat power sockets
  • USB points
  • Air conditioning
  • Tables at all seats
  • increased luggage space
  • On-board cycle storage

I speculate as to who will build them in Hydrogen Trains To Be Trialled On The Midland Main Line.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Hydrogen Trains To Be Trialled On The Midland Main Line

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Bimode And Hydrogen Trains As Abellio Wins Next East Midlands Franchise.

Abellio will be taking over the franchise in August this year and although bi-mode trains were certain to be introduced in a couple of years, the trialling of hydrogen-powered trains is a surprise to me and possibly others.

This is all that is said in the article.

Abellio will also trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line.

It also says, that the new fleet will not be announced until the orders are finalised.

In this post, I’m assuming that the hydrogen trial will be performed using the main line trains.

Trains for the Midland Main Line will need to have the following properties

  • 125 mph on electric power
  • 125 mph on diesel power
  • Ability to go at up to 140 mph, when idigital n-cab signalling is installed and the track is improved.
  • UK gauge
  • Ability to run on hydrogen at a future date.

I think there could be three types of train.

  • A traditional bi-mode multiple unit, with underfloor engines like the Hitachi Class 800 series, is obviously a possibility.
  • An electrical multiple unit, where one driving car is replaced by a bi-mode locomotive with appropriate power.
  • Stadler or another manufacturer might opt for a train with a power pack in the middle.

The second option would effectively be a modern InterCity 225.

  • South of Kettering, electricity would be used.
  • North of Kettering, diesel would be used
  • Hydrogen power could replace diesel power at some future date.
  • Design could probably make the two cabs and their driving desks identical.
  • The locomotive would be interchangeable with a driver car.

Bi-modes would work most services, with electric versions working to Corby at 125 mph.

Which manufacturer has a design for a 125 mph, hydrogen-powered train?

Alstom

Alstom have no 125 mph UK multiple unit and their Class 321 Hydogen train, is certainly not a 125 mph train and probably will still be under development.

Bombardier

In Mathematics Of A Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, I compared diesel and hydrogen-power on bi-mode Aventras and felt that hydrogen could be feasible.

In that post, I wrote a section called Diesel Or Hydrogen Power?, where I said this.

Could the better ambience be, because the train doesn’t use noisy and polluting diesel power, but clean hydrogen?

It’s a possibility, especially as Bombardier are Canadian, as are Ballard, who produce hydrogen fuel-cells with output between 100-200 kW.

Ballard’s fuel cells power some of London’s hydrogen buses.

The New Routemaster hybrid bus is powered by a 138 kW Cummins ISBe diesel engine and uses a 75 kWh lithium-ion battery, with the bus being driven by an electric motor.

If you sit in the back of one of these buses, you can sometimes hear the engine stop and start.

In the following calculations, I’m going to assume that the bi-mode |Aventra with batteries has a power source, that can provide up to 200 kW, in a fully-controlled manner

Ballard can do this power output with hydrogen and I’m sure that to do it with a diesel engine and alternator is not the most difficult problem in the world.

So are Bombardier designing the Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, so that at a later date it can be changed from diesel to hydrogen power?

All an Aventra needs to run is electricity and the train, the onboard staff and passengers don’t care whether it comes from overhead wires, third-rail, batteries, diesel or hydrogen.

Bombardier  also have the technology for my proposed locomotive-based solution, where one driver-car of an Aventra is replaced by what is effectively a locomotive.

If Bombardier have a problem, it is that they have no small diesel train to replace Abellio’s small diesel trains. Could the longer services use the bi-mode Aventras and the shorter ones Aventras with battery power?

CAF

CAF probably have the technology, but there would be a lot of development work to do.

Hitachi

Hitachi have the bi-mode trains in the Class 802 trains, but haven’t as yet disclosed a hydrogen train.

Siemens

They’ve made a few noises, but I can’t see them producing a bi-mode train for 2022.

Stadler

In a few weeks time, I will be having a ride in a Stadler-built Class 755 train, run by Abellio Greater Anglia.

The Class 755 train is a bi-mode 100 mph train, from Stadler’s Flirt family.

Could it be stretched to a 125 mph train?

  • Stadler have built 125 mph electric Flirts.
  • It is my view, that Stadler have the knowledge to make 125 mph trains work.
  • Flirts are available in any reasonable length.
  • I’ve read that bi-mode and electric Flirts are very similar for drivers and operators.

These could work the Midland Main Line.

If the mainline version is possible, then Abellio could replace all their smaller diesel trains with appropriate Class 755 trains, just as they will be doing in East Anglia.

Stadler with the launch of the Class 93 locomotive, certainly have the technology for a locomotive-based solution.

East Midlands Railway would be an all-Stadler Flirt fleet.

As to hydrogen, Stadler are supplying hydrogen-powered trains for the Zillertalbahn, as I wrote in Zillertalbahn Orders Stadler Hydrogen-Powered Trains.

Talgo

Talgo could be the joker in the pack. They have the technology to build 125 mph bi-mode trains and are building a factory in Scotland.

My Selection

I think it comes down to a straight choice between Bombardier and Stadler.

It should also be noted, that Abellio has bought large fleets from both manufacturers for their franchises in the UK.

Zero-Carbon Pilots At Six Stations

This promise is stated in the franchise.

Once the electrification reaches Market Harborough in a couple of years, with new bi-mode trains, running on electricity, the following stations will not see any passenger trains, running their diesel engines.

  • St. Pancras
  • Luton Airport Parkway
  • Luton
  • Bedford
  • Wellingborough
  • Kettering
  • Corby
  • Market Harborough

These are not pilots, as they have been planned to happen, since the go-ahead for the wires to Market Harborough.

Other main line stations include.

  • Beeston
  • Chesterfield
  • Derby
  • East Midlands Parkway
  • Leicester
  • Long Eaaton
  • Loughborough
  • Nottingham
  • Sheffield

Could these stations be ones, where East Midlands Railway will not be emitting any CO2?

For a bi-mode train to be compliant, it must be able to pass through the station using battery power alone.

  • As the train decelerates, it charges the onboard batteries, using regernerative braking.
  • Battery power is used whilst the train is in the station.
  • Battery power is used to take the train out of the station.

Diesel power would only be used well outside of stations.

How would the trains for the secondary routes be emission-friendly?

  • For the long Norwich to Derby and Nottingham to Liverpool routes, these would surely be run by shorter versions of the main line trains.
  • For Stadler, if secondary routes were to be run using Class 755 trains, the battery option would be added, so that there was no need to run the diesel engines in stations.
  • For Bombardier, they may offer battery Aventras or shortened bi-modes for the secondary routes, which could also be emission-free in stations.
  • There is also the joker of Porterbrook’s battery-enhaced Class 350 train or BatteryFLEX.

I think that with the right rolling-stock, East Midlands Railway, could be able to avoid running diesel engines in all the stations, where they call.

Why Are Abellio Running A Hydrogen Trial?

This is a question that some might will ask, so I’m adding a few reasons.

A Train Manufacturer Wants To Test A Planned Hydrogen Train

I think that it could be likely, that a train manufacturer wants to trial a hydrogen-powered variant of a high-speed train.

Consider.

  • The Midland Main Line is about 160 miles long.
  • A lot of the route is quadruple-track.
  • It is a 125 mph railway for a proportion of the route.
  • It has only a few stops.
  • It is reasonably straight with gentle curves.
  • Part of the route is electrified.
  • It is connected to London at one end.

In my view the Midland Main Line is an ideal test track for bi-mode high speed trains.

A Train Manufacturer Wants To Sell A Fleet Of High Speed Trains

If a train manufacturer said to Abellio, that the fleet of diesel bi-mode trains they are buying could be updated to zero-carbon hydrogen bi-modes in a few years, this could clinch the sale.

Helping with a trial, as Abellio did at Manningtree with Bombardier’s battery Class 379 train in 2015, is probably mutually-beneficial.

The Midland Main Line Will Never Be Fully Electrified

I believe that the Midland Main Line will never be fully-electrified.

  • The line North of Derby runs through the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Would UNESCO allow electrification?
  • I have been told by drivers, that immediately South of Leicester station, there is a section, that would be very difficult to electrify.
  • Some secondary routes like Corby to Leicester via Oakham might be left without electrification.

But on the other hand some sections will almost certainly be electrified.

  • Around Toton, where High Speed Two crosses the Midland Main Line and the two routes will share East Midlands Hub station.
  • Between Clay Cross Junction and Sheffield, where the route will be shared with the Sheffield Spur of High Speed Two.
  • The Erewash Valley Line, if High Speed Two trains use that route to Sheffield.

The Midland Main Line will continue to need bi-mode trains and in 2040, when the Government has said, that diesel will not be used on UK railways,

It is my view, that to run after 2040, there are only two current methods of zero-carbon propulsion; on the sections without overhead electrification battery or hydrogen power.

So we should run trials for both!

Abellio Know About Hydrogen

Abellio is Dutch and after my trip to the Netherlands last week, I wrote The Dutch Plan For Hydrogen, which describes how the Dutch are developing a green hydrogen economy, where the hydrogen is produced by electricity generated from wind power.

So by helping with the trial of hydrogen bi-mode trains on the Midland Main Line, are Abellio increasing their knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of hydrogen-powered trains.

In Thoughts On Eurostar To North Netherlands And North West Germany, I  proposed running bi-mode trains on the partially-electrified route between Amsterdam and Hamburg via Groningen and Bremen, which would be timed to connect to Eurostar’s services between London and Amsterdam. These could use diesel, hydrogen or battery power on the sections without electrification.

If hydrogen or battery power were to be used on the European bi-mode train, It would be possible to go between Sheffield and Hamburg on a zero-carbon basis, if all electric power to the route were to be provided from renewable sources.

Abellio Sees The PR Value In Running Zero-Carbon Trains

In My First Ride In An Alstom Coradia iLint, I talked about running hydrogen-powered trains on a hundred mile lines at 60 mph over the flat German countrside

The Midland Main Line is a real high speed railway, where trains go at up to 125 mph between two major cities, that are one-hundred-and-sixty miles apart.

Powered by hydrogen, this could be one of the world’s great railway journeys.

If hydrogen-power is successful, Abellio’s bottom line would benefit.

Conclusion

This franchise will be a big improvement in terms of  carbon emissions.

As I said the choice of trains probably lies between Bombardier and Stadler.

But be prepared for a surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

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