The Anonymous Widower

Could We See A Plastic Station?

The Pedesta Bridge, that I talked about in Would You Trust Your Weight On A Thirty Metre Long Plastic Bridge?, has got me thinking.

Look at this picture of the soon-to-be-built Maghull North station.

Maghull North Station Building

The station would appear to be in a cutting with lift towers sticking their heads above the cutting and these are connected by an open walkway to the station building.

Pedesta bridges would surely be a lot easier to slot between the station building and the lift towers., than the traditional heavy steel and glass constructions. From pictures on various web sites, the bridges could even have a roof to protect travellers from the weather.

But why stop at just the bridges?

Could we see prefabricated plastic steps for example?

Anything that cuts the cost of new stations, would surely mean more!

March 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Would You Trust Your Weight On A Thirty Metre Long Plastic Bridge?

I might as I’m only just over sixty kilograms, but others might not!

But never underestimate the power of World Class engineering.

This article in The Construction Index is entitled Mabey and Arup Launch Plastic Modular Bridge.

The bridge has the following characteristics.

  • Built of metre long sections bolted together.
  • Up to thirty metre spans.
  • Installed without heavy machinery.
  • The bridge is 70% lighter than steel.
  • Low maintenance

The first bridge has been installed over the railway at a Site of Special Scientific Interest In Oxford.

I feel that Arup have designed this bridge system for purposes other than permanent structures.

This Google Map shows the centre of Tadcaster.

The road bridge that connects the two parts of the town was swept away by floodwater, as this BBC report, which details the destruction and rebuilding shows.

The new system couldn’t replace a road bridge, but there must be many instances around the world, after a an earthquake or floods, where the first thing that the rescuers need is a bridge to access a destroyed town or village.

The size and low weight of this bridge system, means it could be an early arrival.

There is more about the Pedesta bridge on Mabey’s web site.

 

March 18, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

Could There Be A Class 321 Flex Train?

I took these pictures of a Class 321 train at Ipswich station.

Like the Class 319 train currently being updated to a bi-mode Class 319 Flex train, I wonder if the same bi-mode  upgrade could be applied to a Class 321 train.

Look at this picture of a Class 319 train.

A Class 319 At Lime Street

A Class 319 At Lime Street

Both trains do seem to have generous space underneath.

Consider.

  • Both trains are 100 mph four-car trains based on Mark 3 coaches.
  • Ten Class 321 trains are being given the Renatus treatment by Eversholt Leasing for Greater Anglia with air-conditioning and new interiors.
  • The Class 321s were built after the Class 319s.
  • The Class 321s are 25 KVAC overhead operation only.
  • There are 117 Class 321 trains.
  • As the two trains were launched within a year of each other, they can’t be that different under the skin.

It should also be remembers that train companies have a lot of experience about running both type of train.

Porterbrook Versus Eversholt

Could we be seeing a strong commercial battle, where the two leasing companies; Porterbrook and Eversholt, fight it out to sell the best four-car bi-mode train to the train operating companies?

This could only be of benefit to train companies and passengers.

The Electrical System Of a Possible Class 321 Flex

The only problem, I can envisage is that as I wrote in The Electrical System Of A Class 319 Flex, the DC electrical bus of the Class 319 train makes the design of the Class 319 Flex train easy. If the Class 321 Train doesn’t have a similar layout, then it might be more difficult to create a Class 321 Flex!

On the other hand Vossloh Keipe have received a contract to upgrade the traction systems of thirty Class 321 trains to give them.

  • AC traction motors and the associated control systems.
  • Regenerative braking.

This work is fully described onb this page of the Vossloh Keipe web site.

Probably, with a suitable alternator from ABB and some quality electrical engineering, I would think that a Class 321 Flex could be created.

Conclusions

Each train will have their own big advantages.

  • The Class 319 Flex train will work third rail routes.
  • The Class 321 Flex train will have regenerative braking on electrified routes.

But in the end, if two bi-mode fleets can be created, there will probably be a lot of conviviality in hostelries in Derby and York, where the probably long-retired engineers, who designed the Mark 3 coach and its various derivative multiple units, will be laughing loudly into their beer.

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Electrical System Of A Class 319 Flex Train

This press release from Porterbrook, which is entitled Porterbrook and Northern to introduce bi-mode Class 319 Flex trains, says this about the electrical system of the the Class 319 Flex train.

The Class 319 Flex concept is designed to create a bi-mode train by fitting two diesel powered alternators, one under each of the driving trailer cars. The diesel alternators provide power to the existing traction and auxiliary equipment to allow the EMU to operate without an overhead or 3rd rail supply. The systems will provide power through the train’s DC bus, avoiding any significant changes to the existing equipment and creating a unit capable of operating from a number of different power sources whilst maintaining its full capabilities on electrified routes.

As an electrical engineer, it looks to me, that British Rail’s original design of the dual-voltage Class 319 train with a DC bus has actually helped in creating an easy-to-design and build interface between the new diesel powered alternators and the train’s current systems.

I have seen an early copy of the brochure for the Class 319 Flex train and can add the following statements.

  • The train is powered by two MAN D2876 LUE631 diesel engines, which each generate 390kW of power. This page on the MAN web site shows MAN’s range of engines for rail applications. This page shows the data sheet for the engine.
  • The engines are Stage IIIB compliant with respect to emissions and use Selective Catalytic Reduction technology to achieve this.
  • The proposed alternator is from ABB. This page on the ABB web site, shows their wide range of alternators.
  • A new negative return bus line will be added throughout the unit to prevent return current flowing through the vehicles or rails.
  • The design uses a power-pack raft. This should ease maintenance and replacement.
  • Obviously various modules and controls are added to enhance the uses of the system and allow the driver to control the new systems.
  • Great care seems to have been taken that the Class 319 Flex train will perform well on third rail lines.

I do have a feeling that the direction of technology over the last few years has certainly helped to enable a better design.

  • The major components have probably got smaller and more reliable.
  • Control system technology has moved on substantially.
  • Adding batteries to the train should be relatively easy, given the DC bus and the large amounts of experience from hybrid road vehicles.
  • 3D CAD  systems must help in a space-critical installation.

Combined with all the statements about design and testing in the brochure, I have no reason to suspect that the train designers are doing anything other than a comprehensive and professional job. Their choice of engines and alternators is certainly picking some of the best available and the brochure states that long-lead components have already been ordered.

 

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

A First Ride Through The Bermondsey Dive-Under

I found this video of a ride on through the newly-opened Bermondsey Dive-Under.

The video indicated the train was going to New Cross Gate station.

So camera at the ready, I took a ride from London Bridge station to New Cross Gate station.

Note how you can pick out the pictures on the video.

So now the Dive-Under is partially open.

When I wrote Passing The Completed Acton Dive-Under, I said this.

I’m certain, there are other places on the UK’s rail network, where a similar technique can be used to sort out places, where two rail lines need to cross each other.

I think the same could be said here.

A and B are well on the way to completion. So where’s C?

Dive-Under seems to be a new word for the dictionary.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

The New Footbridge At Kenton Station

Kenton station must be the only station, that shares its name with a character in a soap.

Murphy’s have just erected a new footbridge to replace one, that according to reports, suffered a severe attack of the moths.

I can’t say, I like the colours.

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Network Rail Seem To Have Survived Christmas Without Indigestion

This article in the International Railway Journal is entitled Network Rail completes £100m of upgrades over Christmas.

It lists all the projects that were completed over Christmas,

I’m pleased that a lot of work seems to have been completed between London and Norwich, so hopefully, I’ll be seeing a more reliable rail service to Ipswich next season.

I also saw some of the fruits of the work yesterday, which I wrote about in Through The Acton Dive-Under.

So far, there have been no complaints on the news about the work, that I’ve seen.

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Timelapse Video Of Ordsall Bridge Replacement Over Christmas 2016

I have created a post of this video, to make it easy to find.

I was pointed to the video from this page from Place North West.

January 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Passing The Completed Acton Dive-Under

I took these pictures as I passed the Acton Dive-Under going towards Paddington.

It looks substantially complete.

The dive-under is on the Slow Line into Paddington, soon after Ealing Broadway station.

It was a very clever piece of engineering to create the Acton Dive-Under in the middle of a working railway with trains passing on either side.

I’m certain, there are other places on the UK’s rail network, where a similar technique can be used to sort out places, where two rail lines need to cross each other.

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Railway Depots Are Boring Places

If you thought the title to this post was correct, then read this article in Rail Engineer, which is entitled In case you missed it – Cutting-edge equipment for tomorrow’s depots.

It’s about an innovative company in Sheffield called Mechan, who make specialist mechanical handling equipment for railway depots.

They are not a large company, but their orders include.

  • Two large train traversers for Hitachi’s new factory at Newton Aycliffe, that is building the Class 800 trains.
  • A mllion pound order for Crossrail’s Old Oak Common Depot.
  • A 130-tonne traverser for Bombardier’s Ilford Depot.

Their website also details orders for Alstom, Port of Felixstowe, MTR and Siemens.

A lot of people think heavy engineering is boring. It isn’t, it’s just that the scale is bigger, but the problems remain the same.

 

December 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment