The Anonymous Widower

Students Design ‘Mitt’ Prosthetic Limb For Children

The title of this post, is the same as this article on the BBC.

This was the good news story of the day, which started with these two paragraphs.

Even the most up-to-date prosthetic limbs can often be too heavy, or hard for young children to use with ease.

But now, a group of Imperial College engineering students has created a new, lighter one.

There is a video in the BBC article, which shows how it works.

  • It looks like it doesn’t have any power, so there are no heavy batteries.
  • Tools are attached by a powerful magnet.
  • As the name suggests, it is worn like a glove.
  • Judging by the look on the little girl’s face, as she used it to do simple tasks, it has found a satisfied customer!

What puzzles me, is that it is such a simple idea, that it hasn’t been thought off before.

Could The Mitt Have Other Applications?

I have a feeling it could.

I recently cut the back of my hand badly.

The picture shows it soon afterwards.

I don’t work or do many dirty tasks around the house, but could the students use their design principles for someone, who has perhaps damaged their hand and needs some protection.

This second picture shows how well it healed in the end.

I think the principle behind the Mitt has legs.

December 29, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health | , , | 1 Comment

Greener And Brighter Stations Across Hampshire And Surrey

The title of this post. is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail hope to save 25% in electricity by rewiring and relighting their Wessex Route stations.

Worcester Park and Andover stations are two of the latest stations to be rewired, forming part of the drive to replace old and inefficient electrical equipment and incandescent lights at 32 stations in Hampshire and Surrey.

As Worcester Park station is Freedom Pass territory, I went to have a look.

Note.

  1. It appears that all the original light fittings have been updated with some form of LED conversion.
  2. The LEDs are clearly visible in some of the pictures.

The whole project is called Rewire and Relight and is due to be finished in 2024.

Conclusion

I suspect Network Rail can apply these techniques to a lot more places, than just 32 stations in Hampshire and Surrey.

 

November 3, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Hand Sanitiser In A Quiet Corner

This corner at Moorgate station never gets any passenger traffic, but thousands pass within three or four metres or so.

So what a good place to put a hand sanitiser.

I often use these sanitisers, when I pass and wonder if they should be a permanent feature, even after COVID-19 has passed.

Would they help in the control of winter influenza?

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

First Of A Kind Funding Awarded For 25 Rail Innovation Projects

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Department for Transport and Innovate UK have announced the 25 projects which are to share £9·4m of funding under the 2020 round of the First of a Kind rail industry innovation programme.

It appears to be a longer list, than I’ve seen previously awarded.

Project 1 Train Swap From Seatfrog Ops

Seatfrog is an app, that enables passengers to quickly and remotely update their seat reservation to a different service.

It already appears to be in use with Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, GWR and LNER.

This application could have legs, as it looks a bit like eBay for First Class seats.

Project 2 Dynamic Capacity Management From Esoterix Systems Ltd

It is described as follows.

Ticketing that adjusts to travel patterns and rewards particular choices, using a monthly subscription that will help customers to save money on a large upfront fee.

Their web site doesn’t give much specific detail, as I write this.

Project 3 Next Generation Composite Poles For A 5G Enabled Railway From Hive Composites

It is descrtibed as follows.

Installation of lightweight composite poles along railways to improve wi-fi speed, consistency and connectivity.

Their web site doesn’t give more specific detail, as I write this.

Project 4 Illumin Heated Concrete Platform Coper Slabs From Sheffield Hallam University

It is described as follows.

Illuminated and heated low-energy concrete slabs for station platforms, which automatically switch on in freezing conditions to help prevent passengers from slipping on ice.

The Sheffield Hallam University doesn’t give more specific detail, as I write this.

Project 5 LAMINAR From iProov

It is described as follows.

iProov, WorldReach Software and Eurostar are to establish a walk-through ’facial biometric corridor’ at London St Pancras International to allow passengers to complete ticket checks and border exit processes without needing to come into contact with people or hardware.

There is more on the iProov web site.

I think, this could be the way to ensure safe train travel in these pandemic times.

It would certainly cut queues.

Project 6 Track-To-Train Communications To Transport for Wales From Ingram Networks

It is described as follows.

Lab-based study into cost-effective 10 Gbps+ trackside to train communications infrastructure, to be tested on an 8 km heritage railway in Leicestershire.

Their web site doesn’t give more specific detail, as I write this.

Project 7 Prototype Zero Emissions Trac Rail Transposer (TRT-e) From Unipart Rail

This is described as follows.

A zero-emissions machine which removes and replaces rails.

The Unipart Rail web site, doesn’t give more specific details as I write this

Will it be battery or hydrogen-powered?

Project 8 LoCe: Less Oil, Cleaner Exhaust From Porterbrook Leasing

This is described as follows.

£400 000 to support Porterbook, Eminox, Bosch Rexroth and DG8 in retrofitting a Bombardier Class 170 Turbostar DMUs leased to East Midlands Railway with with Eminox SCRT technology to evaluate whether this can reduce CO, particulate, hydrocarbon and NOx emissions to make mid-life diesel engines more environmentally sustainable.

There is more on Porterbrook’s web site.

Project 9 Zero Emission Rail Freight Power From Steamology Motion

This is described as follows.

Hydrogen-based steam turbine system to provide zero emission power for existing freight locomotives.

In Steam, But Not As You Know It…, I give more details of their technology.

Could Steamology Motion really be on the verge of reengining a Class 66 locomotive with a zero-carbon steam technology that uses hydrogen and oxygen as a fuel?

Project 10 Daybreak From Riding Sunbeams

This is described as follows.

A direct connection between renewable energy generation and overhead electrifcation systems.

There is more on this page on the Riding Sunbeams web site.

Project 11 Resi-Glaze From FAR-UK

This is described as follows.

Resilient glazing solution to ensure passenger safety on trains and a potential CO2 emissions saving.

I can’t find anything more about this.

Project 12 HydroFLEX Raft Production From BCRRE

This is described as follows.

£400 000 grant to support final production design and testing  by the University of Birmingham and Porterbrook of a hydrogen power pack intended to minimise the loss of passenger saloon space.

Just reading the extract, it seems that the University of Birmingham have found a solution to the big problem of hydrogen-powered trains in the UK; the small loading gauge.

Project 13 Low Environmental Impact Composite  Footbridge From Associated Utility Supplies

This is described as follows.

A footbridge made entirely from fibre reinforced polymer, which is designed to be significantly easier to install than an equivalent steel bridge to help reduce network disruption and local environmental damage.

Could their share of the £9.4 million, almost build the first footbridge?

Looking at the Associated Utility Supplies web site, amongst the wide range of equipment, that they source for various industries, where danger is ever present, there are no footbridges.

So did their expertise and that of some Network Rail engineers, all come together in a convivial meeting to produce an innovative design of footbridge?

Project 14 Integrated Optical Fibre Sensing (OptRail-PRO) From rcm2

This is described as follows.

Optic fibre sensors to monitor the condition of switches and crossings.

The rcm2 web site doesn’t give more specific details, as I write this.

Project 15 Train Axle Crack Monitoring From TAMON – Perpetuum

This is described as follows.

Using sensors and pattern-recognition technologies to identify cracks in axles, helping to reduce returns to depot.

Perpetuum seem a very capable company.

Project 16 High Speed Cryogenic Blasting For Rail Cleaning To Alleviate Low Adhesion From Sheffield University

This is described as follows.

High speed cryogenic cleaning system for tracks to prevent low adhesion and slow running of trains.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled Dry ice ‘could stop leaves on line rail delays’, explains the technology.

Dry Ice Blasting is also explained on this page on the IceTech Technologies web site.

As the dry ice is carbon dioxide, will the Green Movement object?

The Wikipedia entry for dry ice blasting says this about its environmental effects.

Dry ice blasting is an environmentally responsible cleaning method. Dry ice is made of reclaimed carbon dioxide that is produced from other industrial processes, and is an approved media by the EPA, FDA and USDA. It also reduces or eliminates employee exposure to the use of chemical cleaning agents.

Compared to other media blasting methods, dry ice blasting does not create secondary waste or chemical residues as dry ice sublimates, or converts back to a gaseous state, when it hits the surface that is being cleaned. Dry ice blasting does not require clean-up of a blasting medium. The waste products, which includes just the dislodged media, can be swept up, vacuumed or washed away depending on the containment.

It appears it could be one of those processes, that when it replaces a traditional method, has more benefits than disadvantages.

Project 17 InnoTamp From Fugro

This is described as follows.

Data gathering to ensure the maintenance of optimum rail alignment.

The project is described on this page of the  Fugro web site.

Prokject 18 Thermal Radiometry For The Remote Condition Monitoring Of Railway Vehicles From Rail Innovations

This is described as follows.

Using thermal radiometry camera technology to measure temperatures of mechanical systems on moving trains, sending automatic alarms in the event of over heating.

I can’t find any more information on this project.

Project 19 Minimising Disruption Of Overhead Line Renewals Via Novel Headspan Assemblies From Associated Utility Supplies

This is described as follows.

Span wire clamping system to enable rapid, low-cost overhead line equipment headspan renewals with minimum network disruption.

This is a second project from the same company.

Project 20 Trainserv Software User Trial And Preparation For Commercialisation From Cogitaire

This is described as follows.

Integrating multiple sources of real-time data for use by rail workers to help them improve services and respond to incidents.

Cogitare seem a very capable company.

Project 21 Cleartrak On-Train Testing From Garrandale

This is described as follows.

Innovative and efficient system for processing toilet waste, reducing cost and maintenance requirements.

Ptoject 22 IRIS: Information System For Railway Station Staff From Liverpool John Moores University

This is described as follows.

An information system for frontline station staff to enhance communication and enable them to help passengers in making travel decisions and planning more effectively.

Another project from a University.

Project 23 Railway Optical Detection & Obstructions – Tunnel & Station Monitoring From Vortex IoT

This is described as follows.

Sensors and data analysis tools to detect and identify intrusion and obstructions on the track, and send real-time situational alerts to the rail control centre to prompt further investigation. 

This page on the Vortex IoT web site shows some of the technology they will use.

Project 24 Improving Resilience Through A Surface Water Flooding Decision Support System from IBA Consulting

This is described as follows.

This project seeks to develop a first of a kind surface water flood forecasting and early warning system for Network Rail using technology and data to map the surface water flood likelihood in real time, ahead of the event and forecast rainfall intensity.

I can’t find the company or this project.

Project 25 Improved Railway Operations Through Train-Mounted Water Addition From CoCatalyst

This is described as follows.

Spraying a small amount of water from the train when slippery rails are detected to improve traction and braking, and prevent subsequent services from being affected.

There’s a detailed description on this page on the Water=Trak web site.

This looks to be a simple idea, that may be significant, to stop wheel slippage.

Conclusion

The ideas are more numerous than usual and they are a very wide-ranging bunch.

In Grants To Support Low-Carbon Technology Demonstrators, which were a similar group in 2019, that were also funded by Innovate UK, there were only five projects.

I also feel, some could have significant export opportunities.

 

 

June 18, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 11 Comments

My First Ride In A Class 745 Train

I took these pictures as I took a ride in a new Class 745 train between Liverpool Street and Colchester.

These are my thoughts on various subjects.

Seating

I found no problem with the seats in Second Class, although there have been reports, that they are harder than those of the Mark 3 coaches.

I came back from Colchester in one of British Rail’s finest products and prefer the new train.

Note that in both cases I had a seat with a proper table, so I was comparing like with like.

In the Class 745 train, I was sitting in one of the higher seats over a bogie and I like this position with its better view, which I have also used in the smaller bi-mode Class 755 trains, that are used for local services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

These higher seats, which are in groups of four are a good design solution to maintaining the level floor in the train over the bogies and with their large windows, I feel they would be ideal for families.

You are also slightly isolated from the rest of the train, so could be ideal for a group of people wanting to have a slightly confidential meeting on the train.

Do you get some of the advantages of a compartment, without any of the inconvenience for train operators and passengers?

This article on Rail Magazine is entitled First Pictures: Greater Anglia Reveals Interior Of New Intercity Fleet.

This paragraph describes the seating.

The ‘745/0s’ feature 752 seats (672 in Standard Class and 80 in First Class) compared to the 614 on existing nine-car sets (528 in Standard and 86 in First Class), while they retain the 2+2 seating in Standard Class and 2+1 in First Class. There is space for 245 standing passengers.

Greater Anglia claims there is the maximum padding allowed under stricter fire regulations.

First Class Seats

First Class looks spacious and the seat was better, as I stole a quick try, as I walked through.

If Greater Anglia continue Weekend First, I shall pay the extra if Ipswich lose on the way home.

Tables

In First Class all seats have proper tables and in Standard Class, there are more proper tables than in the Mark 3 coaches.

I didn’t check, but it appears most airline seats in Standard Class have a seat back table. As the Mark 3 coaches are well-provided with seat back tables, there would be protests, if the new trains aren’t the same.

I actually counted the number of four-place tables in Standard class and found their were forty-three pairs of tables on either side of the aisle.

As each table has four seats, this means that 344 seats in Standard Class have a full size table.

This means that just over half of Standard Class seats have a full size table.

In the old Mark 3 rakes of coaches, there are five Standard Class coaches, which each have seventy-four seats, which gives a total of 370 seats.

I feel that at most times of the day, nearly all Standard Class passengers will get a seat with a full-size table.

Greater Anglia seem to be giving passengers on their premium service a lot more space.

The Buffet

I only passed through the buffet, when the train was in Liverpool Street station and it was closed.

So I didn’t get to see the food and drink offering.

The buffet is placed between First and Standard Class, which is where it should be.

Walk-Through Train

The Class 745 train is the UK’s first walk-through express train, with a nearly level floor from end to end.

You can even walk through the equipment sections in the middle of the train, where the two halves join.

At very nearly 237 metres long, it is over thirty metres longer than Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, so the Class 745 trains must be the UK’s longest walk-through trains.

Note that a twelve-car Class 321 train is just over 239 metres long, with a twelve-car Class 360 train at 244 metres.

But these trains are not walk-through.

 

Catering Trolley

One benefit of the level walk-through floor, is that it must be easier for staff to push the catering trolley through the train.

As, it came through on both trips, it looks like Greater Anglia are doing the right thing with catering in both First and Standard Class.

However, I did meet a steward, who wasn’t looking forward to pushing a trolley all that way!

Ride Quality

I had no complaints, although not everyone likes sitting on top of the bogie, as it can be choppy.

It should be noted that like the bi-modes, the train has yaw dampers between carriages.

Note the second one lower down! That is not engineering by accountants!

Does these improve the ride? I didn’t ask Greater Anglia to take them off and have another trip!

Step-Free Access

One of my gripes with many trains is the large step to get in or out of the train.

Compare this picture, which shows a Class 717 train at Moorgate station, with this second picture of the step on a Class 745 train at Colchester.

Note too, the wide-double door, which is much more like that of a high-capacity commuter train, than an express designed for two-hour journeys.

I appreciate these touches, as I could have been in a wheel-chair after my stroke.

But the Devil thought I’d be a troublemaker, so she gave me a second chance and threw me back!

A Driver’s View

Sitting opposite was a Greater Anglia driver having his first trip on a Class 745 train.

He was training to change from Class 321 trains to the bi-mode Class 755 trains and seemed genuinely enthusiastic to get driving his new charges.

But he said the best feature of both fleets of new trains from a driver’s point of view in the acceleration and he showed me an impressive video, which compared the acceleration of the old and new trains.

This acceleration will save a few minutes,

He was also very interested in hydrogen power, so I told him about my adventures in the North of the Netherlands.

Performance

When Norwich-in-Ninety services started in May 2019, I wrote Norwich-In-Ninety Is A Lot More Than Passengers Think!.

I described a ride from Norwich to London in ninety minutes in the Mark 3 coaches hauled by a Class 90 locomotive, where for much of the route, we were cruising at the route’s maximum speed of 100 mph.

Today, the Class 745 train was at 100 mph for long periods and appeared to be running easily.

But then a Class 745 train, has a power output of 5,200 kW compared with the 3,730 kW of a Class 90 locomotive. The new train may have twenty-three percent more seats, but it also has nearly forty percent more power.

This is certainly one reason for the acceleration, shown in the driver’s video.

Various fast trains can be compared.

  • Pendelino Class 390/0 – 125 mph – 9 cars – 469 seats – 5,100 kW
  • Pendelino Class 390/1 – 125 mph – 11 cars – 589 seats – 5,950 kW
  • Class 745 – 100 mph – 12 cars – 747 seats – 5,200 kW
  • Class 755 – 100 mph – 4 cars – 229 seats – 2,600 kW
  • Class 801 – 125 mph – 9 cars – 611 seats – 4,000 kW
  • InterCity 125 – 125 mph – 8 cars – 514 seats – 3,400 kW
  • InterCity 225 – 125 mph – 9 cars – 535 seats – 4,700 kW

Note.

  1. Except for their 100 mph, the Class 745 fit well into the table.
  2. They have more seats than any other trains in the table.
  3. They have more power than a Class 801, an InterCity 225 and the short Pendelinos.
  4. The bi-mode Class 755 trains are no wimps either.

Both the Class 745 and Class 755 trains really are high-powered Swiss rockets.

Could they go faster?

There are 120 mph Flirts running in Norway, but the maximum speed on the Great Eastern Main Line is only 100 mph, so they couldn’t run any faster there.

But a senior Greater Anglia driver told me, that the bi-mode Class 755 trains have been designed for 125 mph.

As an engineer, this is not unexpected, as Europe has a plethora of rail lines with a 200 kph or 125 mph operating speed, that have branches that extend to sizeable towns and cities that need an improved rail service.

In the UK, think of LNER’s recently introduced services to Lincoln and Harrogate, where there is a 125 mph electric dash on the East Coast Main Line and a diesel trundle to the destination.

As the two classes of Greater Anglia  trains and the Norwegian Flirts seem to use the same running gear, is there lucking in that body a cheetah wanting to be unleashed.

If so, the Hitachi trains have a serious rival!

But could the Class 745 trains go faster on the Great Eastern Main Line?

For periods yesterday, the Speedview app on my phone, was showing a steady 100 mph. But the route to Colchester is crowded with 100 mph commuter trains, which probably preclude faster running.

But get North of Ipswich and in a few months, the only non-Flirt traffic, will be the freight trains to and from Felixstowe, which use the Great Eastern Main Line on the fifteen miles between Ipswich and Haughley Junction.

The Northern section of the Great Eastern Main Line has two major bottlenecks.

  • Haughley Junction, which needs remodelling to handle the large numbers of freight trains.
  • Trowse swing bridge and its single track, which needs replacing with a proper bridge and a double track.

Both projects are under development by Network Rail.

However, between the two bottlenecks, the track was built for Victorian high speed. and is reasonably straight across flat country, with one station and a few level crossings.

Currently, the Norwich-in-Ninety trains can achieve the following.

  • Norwich and Haughley Junction, which is 32 miles,  in around 26 minutes at an average speed of 73 mph.
  • Norwich and Ipswich station, which is 46 miles,  in around 35 minutes at an average speed of 79 mph.

Note there is a stop at Diss, where the Class 745 trains might save a few seconds because of their level access and fast acceleration.

Whilst the two major projects at Trowse and Haughley Junction are carried out, will Network Rail improve the track between Ipswich and Norwich to allow faster running.

Being able to average 100 mph between Norwich and Ipswich would knock several minutes off the journey time.

Conclusion

Hitachi have a serious competitor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Greater Anglia Launches New Intercity Trains On Norwich-London Route

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

The first Class 745 train to enter service left Norwich this morning at 0740 and arrived in Liverpool Street on time at 0924.

There is a more informative article in the East Anglia Daily Times, which is entitled East Anglia’s New Intercity Train Carries Its First Passengers.

Points include.

  • There is a cafe bar and First Class accommodation.
  • I’ve read elsewhere, there will be a trolley service.
  • All ten trains are expected to be in service by the end of March.
  • They will be introduced at a rate of one train per week.
  • Introduction will enable services run by older trains to be run by eight or nine carriages.
  • There are wide passages between carriages.
  • Seats are firmer than the older carriages.
  • Passengers liked the headrests.
  • Wi-fi is getting good reports.
  • Lots of charging points.
  • Step-free access is very good.
  • On-board toilets are fine.
  • One passenger said there were more tables.
  • Another passenger thought the new trains better than the old ones.

Inevitably these new trains will be compared with Hitachi’s Class 802 trains and other members of the family.

Operating Speed

These Stadler trains and the bi-mode Class 755 trains are only 100 mph trains, as that is the maximum speed anywhere in East Anglia.

But a driver told me, that both trains are designed for 125 mph and as some of their European siblings, run at that speed in service, I have no reason to disbelieve him.

On the other hand, the Hitachi trains are capable of 125 mph or 140 mph, where in-cab digital signalling is installed.

Train Length

The lengths of the two trains are as follows.

  • A nine-car Class 802 train is 234 metres long.
  • A twelve-car Class 745 train is 236.6 metres long.

The difference won’t matter much, whre it concerns, the stations, that the trains can serve.

Passenger Entry

Doors are different on the two trains.

  • A nine-car Class 802 train has two single doors on each side of the car or 18 single doors per train on each side.
  • A twelve-car Class 745 train a pair of double doors on each side of the car or 24 doors per train on each side.

Train-And-Platform Step

This picture shows the step across in a Class 802 train.

And this picture shows the step across in a Stadler Class 745 train.

All trains should have an entry like this at all platforms.

Passenger Capacity

  • A nine-car Class 802 train holds 576 standard, 71 First or 647 total passengers.
  • A twelve-car Class 745 train holds 757 total passengers, including some First Class.

The Greater Anglia train holds seventeen percent more passengers in a train of the same overall length.

Do passengers sit in each other’s laps?

No! I suspect it’s all down to good design.

Exit From A Full Train

Many InterCity trains arrive at their destination full and passengers are in a hurry to get on with their journey.

  • A full nine-car Class 802 train has 35 passengers per single door, a narrow lobby and a step down onto the platform.
  • A twelve-car Class 745 train has 62 passengers per double doors, a more spacious lobby and level access to the platform.

I shall be watching as a Class 745 train unloads 757 passengers at Liverpool Street station in the Peak.

C

 

January 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Nightjet Plans Mini-Capsules For Private Travellers

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

I think they look rather good and they will surely appeal to Japanese tourists.

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail And Stratford Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tangle of lines at Stratford station.

Note Maryland station in the North-East corner of the map.

  • The black lines and platforms are the fast lines
  • The blue lines and platforms are the slow lines used by Crossrail.

The Crossrail lines then curve round through Stratford calling in the following platforms.

  • Platform 5 for London-bound services.
  • Platform 8 for Essex-bound services.

Each Crossrail track is paired with a Central Line track, which are shown in red, in the same direction on an island platform.

These pictures show coming and going on the London-bound island.

Unfortunately, there were only old Class 315 trains running, when I took the pictures.

The layout used at Stratford is rarely used elewhere. Especially, as the layout  dates from probably the 1940s.

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Transport for London’s New Train Information Displays

I came across this train information display for the first time in Paddington station.

It appears to be wireless and battery-powered, which means they can be placed anywhere that an Internet signal can be obtained.

Surely, this must be the quickest way to improve the dreadful information provision at some places on the UK rail and bus network.

The display shown was placed in an area, where there is little information and I suspect that no-one thought torun any cables for a traditional display.

October 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

Could Merseyrail’s Class 777 Trains Run As Tram-Trains On The Manchester Metrolink?

Look at the main dimensions of the Stadler Class 777 train destined for Merseyrail  and the current M5000 tram of the Manchester Metrolink. I have also added the dimensions of the Stadler Class 399 tram-train, that is running on the Sheffield Supertram network.

Class 777 train

  • Width – 2.82 metres
  • Height – 3.82 metres
  • Floor Height – 0.96 metres
  • Overall Length – 64.98 metres
  • Capacity – 190 seats and 302 standing – 492 total
  • Operating Speed – 75 mph

M5000

  • Width – 2.65 metres
  • Height – 3.67 metres
  • Floor Height – 0.90 metres
  • Overall Length – 28.4 metres
  • Double Length – 56.8 ,metres
  • Capacity – 60 or 66 seats and 146 standing – 206 or 212 total
  • Operating Speed – 50 mph

Class 399 tram-train

  • Width – 2.65 metres
  • Height – 3.72 metres
  • Floor Height – 0.425 metres
  • Overall Length – 37.2 metres
  • Capacity – 96 seats and 140 standing – 236  total
  • Operating Speed – 62 mph

Note.

  1. Vehicle width and height could probably be incorporated on the same track
  2. The floor heights of the Class 777 train and the M5000 are surprisingly close,
  3. The floor height of the low-floor Class 399 tram-train is lower and wouldn’t allow step-free access from platform to tram on the Metrolink network.
  4. A double M5000 and a Class 777 train have similar lengths.
  5. A double M5000 has 86% of the capacity of a Class 777 train.

A Class 777 train looks to be able to go anywhere that a double M5000 tram can go and be able to give the same quality of passenger access.

Can double M5000 trams use the whole of the Metrolink network?

Power Supply

Around Manchester and Liverpool there are the following types of electrification.

  • 25 KVAC overhead – Connecting major cities and on the West Coast Main Line.
  • 750 VDC overhead – Manchester Metrolink
  • 750 VDC third-rail – Merseyrail

In the future it is intended that Class 777 trains will be able to handle.

  • 25 KVAC overhead
  • 750 VDC third-rail

It should also be noted that Class 399 tram-trains, which are also built by Stadler can handle.

  • 25 KVAC overhead
  • 750 VDC overhead

I wouldn’t be surprised to find, that Stadler can produce a Class 777 train, that could handle these voltages.

  • 25 KVAC overhead
  • 750 VDC overhead
  • 750 VDC third-rail

It’s all about the electrical systems on the train, but Stadler probably have the solutions in their boxes of tricks.

I very much feel it would possible for a version of a Class 777 train with an additional battery to do the following.

  • Run as a train on the Merseyrail network. using 750 VDC third-rail.
  • Run as a train between Otmskirk and Preston using a mixture of battery power and 25 KVAC overhead.
  • Run as a train between Kirkby and Wigan using the battery.
  • Run as a double tram on the Manchester Metrolink using 750 VDC overhead.
  • Run as a tram-train to extend the Manchester Metrolink using a mixture of battery power and 25 KVAC overhead.

Class 777 trains might even be able to run on the Sheffield Supertram network. But they might be too long and would not be able to provide step-free access from platform to tram, without modification of trains and/or platforms.

Poasible Routes

Just about anywhere a Manchester Metrolink M5000 tram or a four-car electric or diesel multiple unit can run.

Thjis article on Railway Gazette is entitled Battery Trial Planned For New EMU Fleet.

This is the first sentence.

The sixth of the 52 four-car 750 V DC third rail electric multiple-units which Stadler is to supply for Merseyrail services around Liverpool is to be fitted with a 5 tonne battery to test the business case for energy storage.

A five tonne battery will soon be able to have a capacity of 500 kWh, which should be able to give the train a range of fifty miles on battery power.

This would more than cover the thirty miles without electrification between Altrincham and Chester, where the battery could be recharged.

Conclusion

I am in no doubt that Merseyrail’s Class 777 trains, could run as tram-trains on the Manchester Metrolink.

But then, Stadler don’t do ordinary and obvious!.

Why should they?

There must also be an advantage to Manchester Metrolink and Merseyrail, if they were using the same or similar vehicles for their public transport networks.

 

 

September 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 14 Comments