The Anonymous Widower

More Train Companies Are Advertising Now

At the end of October, I posted Hull Trains Are Mounting A Big Advertising Campaign.

Today LNER are also advertising in The Times and these follow other companies like Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, Grand Central and Great Western Railway.

It looks like the Hull Trains campaign must have been successful.

January 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Will Happen To Northern’s Class 195 Trains?

Northern’s Class 195 trains could be a problem in the future.

  • They are diesel multiple units.
  • There are twenty-five two-car trains and thirty-three three-car trains.
  • All cars have a Rolls-Royce MTU 6H1800R85L diesel engine, that drives the train through a ZF EcoLife 6-speed transmission.
  • They are 100 mph trains, which is adequate for the routes they serve.
  • According to Wikipedia, the trains are designed for a lifespan of thirty-five years, which takes the trains past the date, when it is intended that all trains should be zero-carbon.

It looks to me, that a plan will be needed to decarbonise these trains, as they are probably too new and costly to scrap.

These are possibilities to upgrade them to zero-carbon.

Rebuild as Class 331 Electric Trains

The design of the Class 195 trains is based on the same platform as that of the Class 331 trains.

I would expect that it could be possible to rebuild the Class 195 trains as Class 331 trains.

But it would be an expensive and disruptive process and would require a lot of electrification.

Some battery-electric versions could be created to cut the need for electrification.

Run The Trains On Net-Zero Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Or Other Fuels

In Powered By HVO, I wrote about research going on into the use of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil or HVO.

There is also ongoing research into other net-zero fuels that can be used in a diesel engine.

The process used by Velocys to create sustainable aviation fuel can also be used to produce diesel from various sources like disposable nappies, household waste and scrap wood.

Run The Trains On A Dual Fuel Basis With Hydrogen

In Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial, I talk about how Grand Central in collaboration with a company called G-volution are running experiments with dual-fuelling a Class 180 train. G-volution state that they could dual fuel with hydrogen using their technology.

The Class 180 trains have Cummins engines, but I suspect G-volution’s technology or something similar could be applied to the Rolls-Royce MTU engines in the Class 195 trains.

This could be a very promising route.

Convert The Diesel Engines To Run On Hydrogen

Cummins and JCB have developed internal combustion engines, that can run on hydrogen. I would be very surprised if Rolls-Royce MTU are not developing this technology.

Conclusion

There are options to convert the Class 195 trains into low or zero-carbon trains.

.

December 23, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mirfield Station – 16th December 2021

To get the Grand Central Trains’s service back to London, I had to travel to Mirfield station. As the ticket was just £11.85, it was probably worth it.

I took these pictures of the station.

Note.

  1. The station has an unusual layout with a main island platform, where Eastbound trains call and a separate platform for Westbound trains.
  2. The platform can take a six-car train.
  3. Facilities are just a rudimentary shelter and a train information board.
  4. There is a lot of promotion for Mirfield in Bloom.
  5. Access to the station is up a staircase from the road under the station.

I took shelter in the nearby Navigation Tavern, which was a welcoming pub with lots of beer and food.

These pictures show the underpass and the pub.

This Google Map shows the station and the area.

Note.

  1. The wide island platform marked with the station symbol.
  2. Station Road running under the railway.
  3. The Navigation Tavern between the canal and the railway.

All this is going to change.

With the TransPennine Upgrade, the station will be turned into a modern station.

This diagram clipped from this article on Modern Railways shows the current layout at Mirfield station.

And this shows the future layout.

Note.

  1. The wide platform will serve both slow lines and all trains stopping at Mirfield station.
  2. Two fast lines will be created in the space to the South of the current platform.
  3. I would assume that the fast lines will be electrified with a much higher speed limit.
  4. Will the slow lines be electrified or will battery-electric power be used?
  5. There is certainly space on the island platform for some much better facilities.

I also think, that the station can be rebuilt without disrupting services.

Conclusion

As Roy Brooks, who was an infamous estate agent in London in the 1960s, would have said, this is a station with potential.

 

 

December 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

An Alstom Class 180 Adelante diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit is to be converted to run on a combination of diesel and liquefied natural gas in a dual-fuel technology demonstration project.

One car of the DMU which Arriva-owned open access inter-city operator Grand Central leases from Angel Trains is to be equipped with dual-fuel technology company G-volution’s Optimiser system, which is used in the road sector. The modifications are expected to be straightforward, enabling trials on the national network to start later this year.

The article dates from May 2019 and I suspect the small matter of the pandemic and Grand Central’s resulting three closures due to lockdowns are the reason this development hasn’t been heard of since.

But this was the London end of the Class 180 train, that I rode from Mirfield to King’s Cross.

I haven’t ridden in a Class 180 train for some years and there was nothing to indicate from the performance, that it was not a standard train.

There are fourteen of these 125 mph trains.

This explanatory video of G-volution’s technology is on the G-volution web site.

Note that in the video, one of G-volution’s Managing Director; Chris Smith says that the technology is fuel agnostic and will work with a range of fuels including ammonia, biodiesel, bio-LPG, hydrogen and methanol.

Conclusion

It will be very interesting to see what is decided to be the ideal fuel-combination and how much reduction is possible for the various emissions.

I’ll end with two questions.

Will Passengers Like The New Trains?

What is there not to like! Same train and performance with lower emissions.

Will Cummins Like What G-volution Have Done To Their Engines?

Cummins might be a bit miffed, as they built the QSK19 engines for the Class 180 trains and may have their own plans for them. But they are a practical and flexible company in my experience and generally they do what the customer needs or wants. Decarbonisation is surely in everybody’s interest.

Incidentally, the same Cummins diesel engines are used in the TransPennine Express, Class 185 trains, I’ve been riding in most of today.

There are fifty-one of these 100 mph trains in use in the UK. They could be ideal for some long routes, if they could be converted to low-emission.

 

 

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Would A Lumo-Style Service Work Between King’s Cross And Norfolk?

This is a bit of a fantasy and you’ll never know the real reason why I have written it!

With the upgrade of the East Coast Main Line to full digital signalling, there will be a problem South of Hitchin with 140 mph Azumas and Hitachi Class 802 trains and similar from Grand Central , Hull Trains and Lumo hogging the fast lines to and from King’s Cross. I first wrote about it in Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route.

One solution would be to replace the current Class 387 trains with a 140 mph train , such as a Hitachi Class 802 variant. This would enable these fast King’s Lynn and Cambridge trains to join the 140 mph trains on a fast run to and from King’s Cross.

The Future Of Cambridge

Cambridge is one of the UK’s four world cities, with its heritage and lately its high position in any technology league table.

The Current Rail Service Between London And Cambridge

Currently, it has a good service into King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and St. Pancras.

  • Great Northern – two tph to King’s Cross – A stopping train using Class 700 or Class 387 trains.
  • Great Northern – one tph between Ely and King’s Cross – A fast train using Class 387 trains.
  • Great Northern – one tph between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross – A fast train using Class 387 trains.
  • Thameslink  – two tph to Brighton – A semi-fast train using Class 700 trains.
  • Greater Anglia – two tph to Liverpool Street – A semi-fast train using Class 720 or Class 379 trains.

Note.

  1. tph means trains per hour.
  2. The similar Class 387 and Class 379 trains are both late-model Bombardier Electrostars with sensible seats and a large number of tables. Both train types can or could be modified to run at 110 mph.
  3. The Class 700 trains are unsuitable for the route, as they have ironing-board seats and no tables. These are only 100 mph trains.
  4. The Queen’s bottom doesn’t like the Class 700 trains.

A large proportion of the passengers and commuters between to and from Cambridge work in high-tech or information-rich businesses and I believe if the trains were more geared to this market they would attract passengers away from the roads.

The Cambridge Employment Problem

Fast-growing Cambridge is taking over the region and it is always looking for towns and villages to develop as places for dormitories and to build premises for the hundreds of high-tech businesses.

This is one of the reasons why Greater Anglia acquired new Stadler Class 755 trains to run services from Cambridge to Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Stansted Airport.

If you’re going to lure Cambridge’s well-paid high-tech commuters out of their cars, you must give them an equivalent seat to their car. The Class 379, 387 and 755 trains do this.

Living In Norfolk And Suffolk And Working In Cambridge

This has always been the choice of many who work in Cambridge, but using rail into Cambridge didn’t really take-off seriously until modern three-car Class 170 trains replaced the single-car Class 153 trains.

Greater Anglia have followed the upward trend in passenger numbers, by running hourly  four-car Class 755 trains from Cambridge to both Ipswich and Norwich.

Before the pandemic, it was starting to look like Norwich and Cambridge would soon need a second service, especially with the planned opening of the new Cambridge South station in 2025.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital And The Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Cambridge South station is being built to serve Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which intend to be create the foremost medical research cluster in the world.

Staycations And Holiday Homes In East Anglia

Life is changing because of the covids and more people are taking staycations or buying holiday homes.

And many are following the example of the Queen and going to Norfolk for their relaxation.

The Undoubted Need To Improve Rail Services Between London King’s Cross And Norfolk Via Cambridge

These factors convince me that there is a need for a new or repurposed rail service  between London King’s Cross and Norfolk via Cambridge.

  • The need to provide a high-class commuter service between London and Cambridge.
  • The need to bring workers into Cambridge from Norfolk.
  • The need to provide a fast high-class rail link to Cambridge South station with all its medical research.
  • The need to provide a comprehensive working environment on the trains.
  • The need to cater for all those people relaxing in Norfolk after a hard week in London.

It is my view, that a radical design of train is needed for this route.

  • It would need to have a high-class interior.
  • It would need at least a 125 mph capability, so that it can use the fast lines between Hitchin and King’s Cross.
  • The train may need the ability to split and join.
  • It would need an independent power capability for running on the Breckland Line between Ely and Norwich.
  • Because of Cambridge and because East Anglia is easy country for cycling, it would need a sensible capacity for cycles.

I also believe that because of the need to decarbonise, the train should be zero-carbon.

These are my thoughts.

Operating Speed

Because of running on the fast lines between Hitchin and King’s Cross with the 140 mph trains from the North, I suspect that an operating speed of at least 125 mph is needed. But if the Hitachi trains of LNER, Hull Trains, Lumo and in the future possibly other operators like Grand Central, will be capable of 140 mph, this speed could be desirable.

Speed limits once the trains have left the East Coast Main Line at Hitchin North junction are as follows.

  • Hitchin and Cambridge – 90 mph
  • Cambridge and King’s Lynn – 90 mph
  • Ely and Norwich – 75-90 mph

I can see Network Rail using their expertise to raise the speed limit on sections of these lines.

Flighting Of Trains On The East Coast Main Line

To increase capacity on the East Coast Main Line, I believe that at some point in the not too distant future that trains will be flighted. This will involve two or more trains leaving King’s Cross in a sequence and proceeding with all trains at a safe distance from each other.

I can envisage a flight like this from King’s Cross.

  • An Edinburgh train with York as the first stop – Leaves at XX.00
  • A Leeds train with Doncaster as the first stop – Leaves at XX.03
  • A Lincoln train with Peterborough as the first stop – Leaves at XX.06
  • A Cambridge train with Stevenage as the first stop – Leaves at XX.09

Note.

  1. The Edinburgh train would set the speed.
  2. Trains would maintain their time behind the lead train.
  3. Everything could be controlled by the digital signalling.
  4. Gaps between the trains would be sufficient for a safe stop.
  5. No train in the flight would make a station stop unless it was the last train in the flight.
  6. The last train in the flight would drop off and go to their destination.

As there are at least two tph to Edinburgh, Leeds and Cambridge, there would be two main flights per hour leaving King’s Cross, with the second flight perhaps incorporating a service to Hull.

Digital signalling and precise driving would enable the flights to be built in the opposite direction into King’s Cross.

The big advantage would be that instead of needing eight paths per hour on the East Coast Main Line, only two would be needed.

All trains would need to have similar performance, so this is another reason why the Cambridge trains need to be at least 125 mph trains.

Train Interiors

Lumo has broken new ground in train interiors.

  • It is one class.
  • Everybody gets a decent seat.
  • Everybody gets good legroom.
  • Everybody gets some form of table.
  • There are decent-sized overhead racks for hand-baggage and coats.
  • There is space for bicycles and heavy luggage appropriate to the route.

This can be built on to provide a good working and playing environment suited to the passengers who would use a fast King’s Cross and Norfolk service via Cambridge.

  • Lots of tables for four, as in the high-class Electrostars.
  • Better bicycle storage.
  • Better alignment of seats with windows.

Hitachi could obviously produce a train to this specification.

But what about other manufacturers.

Stadler’s Class 755 trains are surely a possibility.

  • A senior driver from Greater Anglia told me that the design speed for a Class 755 train is 200 kph or 125 mph.
  • They have good seats.
  • They have flat floors.
  • They have large windows.
  • They have step-free access between train and platform.
  • Like the Hitachi trains, they are in service.

I believe the closely-related Class 745 trains are probably the best commuter trains in the UK and are the only alternative to the Hitachi trains on a125 mph fully-electrified route.

Bridging The Electrification Gap Between Ely And Norwich

Between Norwich and Ely stations is 53.8 miles and this section is not electrified, although both stations have full electrification.

The line is not heavily used with typically only two passenger trains and the occasional freight trains in each direction in an hour.

This Hitachi infographic describes the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

A 90 km. range could be sufficient to cover the gap between Norwich and Ely.

Could Hitachi build a Class 802 train or similar with a battery range of 90 km or 56 miles?

Certainly, a speed of 100 mph would probably be sufficient to bridge the gap in a decent time.

Improving The Breckland Line

The Breckland Line is the route between Cambridge and Norwich.

  • Cambridge and Norwich is 68.5 miles
  • Only the sixteen miles between Cambridge and Ely North junction is electrified.
  • There are thirteen stops between the two cities.
  • A typical time is 79 minutes
  • This is an average speed of just 52 mph.
  • The operating speed is 75-90 mph.

I am sure that Network Rail can squeeze a few minutes here and there to get the operating speed up to the 100 mph of the Great Eastern Main Line.

But the big problem at Norwich is the Trowse swing bridge.

It is only single track and it is likely that this bridge will be replaced soon.

This Google Map shows Trowse junction, a short distance South of the swing bridge.

Note.

  1. The electrified double-track of the Great Eastern Main Line goes across the map from North East to South West.
  2. The double-track railway to the East of the main line is the unelectrified Breckland Line to Cambridge, which turns West and goes under the main line.
  3. On the West of the main lines are the Victoria sidings that I wrote about in Greater Anglia Completes Directly-Managed Norwich Victoria Sidings Project.

As the replacement of the swing bridge will require some work to be done to the electrification, I wonder if at the same time Network Rail would electrify the Norwich end of the Breckland Line.

There must be a balance point adding electrification or batteries to the trains.

As the Breckland Line has few freight trains, electrification is not needed for freight.

Ticketing

A high-speed high-capacity service as I’m proposing must be easy to use.

It is a classic route, where nothing short of London-style contactless ticketing will do, as I’m certain this encourages people to use the trains.

As East Anglia is self-contained and has few services that don’t terminate in the area or in London, I am certain that this could be achieved.

If you remove First Class as Greater Anglia has done on many services, you actually simplify the ticketing, so a Lumo-style mid-class is ideal.

High Speed Train Services

Currently Great Northern run two tph from King’s Cross to Ely via Cambridge.

  • One service is extended to King’s Lynn.
  • I could see the second service extended to Norwich.

Both services would need to be run by 125 mph trains because of the speed of other trains on the East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

I think duch a system would be possible.

November 21, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Grand Central Going To Order Some Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Trains?

I ask this question because I’ve just looked at the Hitachi infographic for the Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train, that I wrote about in Hitachi Rail And Angel Trains To Create Intercity Battery Hybrid Train On TransPennine Express

Note that in the background of the image Hitachi Grand Central can be seen.

Looking at Grand Central‘s routes I can say the following.

  • The Sunderland service uses the fully-electrified East Coast Main Line to the South of Northallerton.
  • The Bradford service uses the East Coast Main Line to the South of Shaftholme Junction.
  • The Sunderland service runs for 47.4 miles on lines without electrification.
  • The Bradford service runs for 47.8 miles on lines without electrification.
  • The trains run at 125 mph on East Coast Main Line.
  • Each service has around half-a-dozen stops, most of which are on lines without electrification.

Grand Central run the services using Class 180 diesel trains.

I think there are two possibilities for new trains.

Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train

This train would be similar to the Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train shown in the infographic.

  • It would be designed to run efficiently on diesel.
  • The train could run at 140 mph on electricity and with a signalling update.
  • The claimed extra performance could speed up the services.
  • Batteries would be used in stations.

There would be a worthwhile saving in fuel and less carbon emissions.

Hitachi Intercity Battery Hybrid Train With A Larger Battery

This would be similar to the standard train, but with a larger battery.

  • Battery range would be sufficient to cover the lines without electrification.
  • Charging would need to be installed at Bradford Interchange and Sunderland stations.
  • The other two diesel engines might be replaced with batteries.
  • No diesel would be used.
  • The train could run at 140 mph on electricity and with a signalling update.
  • The claimed extra performance could speed up the services.
  • Batteries would be used in stations.

There would be no fuel costs and zero emissions.

In Grand Central Opts For Split And Join, I wrote about Grand Central’s application to run more services that had been reported in the April 2018 Edition of Modern Railways in an article that is entitled Grand Central Applies For Extra Services.

If Grand Central are still interested in expanding and splitting and joining, then the Hitachi trains, which have a proven ability in this area would fit the requirement.

In

November 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Special Weekend Timetable Has Been Put In Place For Lincoln Christmas Market

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

This is the first paragraph.

The timetable has been put in place for Lincoln Christmas Market with direct services from Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.

It looks to be a clever piece of planning, whilst work is carried out on the East Coast Main Line between Doncaster and Peterborough.

  • Services will be diverted onto the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line though Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln.
  • Will the trains be using the new tracks at the Werrington dive-under.
  • Nine-car Class 800 bi-mode trains will be used.
  • On the Saturday, there will be two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • Of these trains, five trains per day (tpd)  in both directions will stop at Lincoln Central station.

It does appear that LNER are making the best of a difficult situation.

Passengers going to Lincoln for the Christmas Market will not be disappointed.

Grand Central Trains

Grand Central Trains are also using the diversion route.

Hull Trains

Hull Trains are also using the diversion route.

On the Saturday, there will be five tpd in both directions.

These can be doubled up to ten-car trains if the demand is there.

Lumo Trains

Lumo trains don’t appear to be running.

Conclusion

Network Rail seem to have done a cunning piece of timetabling.

There’ll be trainspotters galore in the centre of Lincoln.

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reopening The Askern Branch

On October 27th this Beeching Reversal Project was given £50,000 to build a case for reopening.

These are my thoughts.

The Askern Branch Line

This description of the Askern Branch Line is from Wikipedia.

The Askern branch line is a railway line which runs in North, South and West Yorkshire in England. The stretch of track runs from Shaftholme Junction north of Doncaster (on the East Coast Main Line between Doncaster and York), via Askern, Norton and Womersley to Knottingley, where it joins the Pontefract Line.

This map was also clipped from Wikipedia.

Note.

  1. Shaftholme junction is where the Askern Branch splits from the East Coast Main Line.
  2. There are three closed stations on the Askern Branch; Askern, Norton and Womersley.
  3. Between Shaftholme junction and Knottingley West junction, on the Pontefract Line is 10.7 miles.
  4. The operating speed of the line is between twenty and fifty mph.

Unbelievably, in those 10.7 miles there are nineteen level crossings.

Current Passenger Services

The only passenger services on the line are Grand Central‘s services between London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange.

  • Grand Central are an open-access operator.
  • Grand Central ran the first service in 2007.
  • There are four trains per day (tpd) in both directions.
  • They call at Doncaster, Pontefract Monkhill, Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Low Moor.

Perhaps, if they stopped at a station on the Askern Branch Line, it would give their finances a lift.

Freight Services

There are up to four freight services per hour on the line.

Askern Station

Askern station used to serve the village of Askern.

  • Askern has a population of about 6,000.
  • Askern used to be a spa town.
  • But then coal was discovered and it became a mining village.
  • Do spas and coal mining make a good mix? I doubt it.
  • Eventually the station closed in September 1948.
  • There is a level crossing at the station.

The village is now developing and there is pressure for the reopening of the station.

Railfuture has backed the reopening.

Norton Station

Norton station used to serve the village of Norton.

  • Norton has a population of about 5,000.
  • The station closed in September 1948.
  • There is a level crossing at the station.

There appears to be no pressure to reopen the station, although the site is protected.

Womersley Station

Womersley station used to serve the village of Womersley.

  • Womersley has a population of a few hundred.
  • The station closed in September 1948.
  • There is a level crossing at the station.

There appears to be no pressure to reopen the station.

Would This Project Be Better Described As Reopening Askern Station?

I can’t find any reference to reopening Norton and Womersley stations, so perhaps Reopening Askern Station would be closer to the reality.

A New Askern Station

This Google Map shows the site of the former station.

This could be a challenging station to design depending on the brief.

Services At A New Askern Station

I suspect that some or perhaps all of Grand Central’s Kings Cross and Bradford Interchange  services will call.

But these don’t go to Leeds and I suspect that a service is needed to and from Leeds.

Will The Askern Line Be Electrified?

Who knows?

 

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 6 Comments

London To Edinburgh On Lumo

Yesterday, I took the 10:45 Lumo service from King’s Cross to Edinburgh.

I took some pictures on the way.

I have split them into sepate topics.

Lumo’s Class 803 Train Arrives

Note.

  1. The train is in Platform 10 in the old suburban station.
  2. This has now been reduced to just two platforms.
  3. In the other platform is a Grand Central service to Bradford Interchange station.

At least it appears, that there could be space to reinstate a third platform, if it should prove necessary.

Seating On Lumo

Note.

  1. I didn’t get a seat with a proper window.
  2. The seat-back table is generously-sized.
  3. There is a light over the table.
  4. The luggage racks were well used.
  5. There is more than normal leg-room. My neighbour, who was taller than my 1.70 metres, also liked the leg-room.

Both of us, thought the seats were more comfortable than LNER.

I have a spine that curves outwards at the bottom and it often objects to train and car seats. But after four-and-a-half hours on Lumo, it wasn’t protesting.

York to Church Fenton Improvement Scheme

When the York To Church Fenton Improvement Scheme and the closely related Huddersfield To Westtown (Dewsbury) Upgrade are completed, the TransPennine route between Huddersfield and York will be fully-electrified.

These pictures show the electrification is underway.

York to Huddersfield will be over forty miles of electrified line, with a remaining gap of just eighteen miles to the electrification being installed between Stalybridge and Manchester Victoria.

Work At Reston Station

Reston station is being built North of Berwick-on-Tweed. I took these pictures as we passed through.

I describe the station in a post called A New Reston Station.

Arrival In Edinburgh

I took these pictures when we arrived in Edinburgh.

Note Edinburgh is not short of platforms that can take five- and ten-car trains.

These are a few other thoughts about the journey.

Non-Stop Between King’s Cross And Newcastle

It seemed to me, that a lot of passengers left the train at Newcastle.

  • Times between King’s Cross And Newcastle are comparable betyween LNER and Lumo.
  • Lumo is non-stop until Newcastle.
  • Lumo is probably more affordable.

I can see Lumo picking up a lot of business on this leg.

Football At Newcastle

I have come across several Newcastle United season ticket holders in London.

Looking at Lumo’s full timetable, there are these two trains on a Saturday.

  • A train leaves King’s Cross at 10:25 and arrives in Newcastle at 13:25.
  • A train leaves Newcastle at 19:35 and arrives in King’s Cross at 22:29.

These could be ideal to see the match and get back to London.

Food

The full food service isn’t in operation yet, but we the trolley did come through twice.

Passenger Loading

Most seats were taken, as we left King’s Cross, but due to high number, who left at Newcastle, there were a few gaps as we ran between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

But then this is a shorter leg and perhaps travellers are more likely to drive.

I suspect that Lumo can’t wait to build up their service to the full five trains per day, as it does look like the demand is there.

Morpeth Station

There wasn’t many boarders and leavers at Morpeth station, but as services build up and travellers realise the system is there, will business increase?

Conclusion

I shall take another trip in the New Year, when the full service is implemented.

October 28, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Open Access Operators And The Lumo Model

In the UK, there are only three established Open Access operators, who run UK train services.

  • Grand Central
  • Heathrow Express
  • Hull Trains

From the 25th of October, they will be joined by Lumo.

We probably don’t think of Heathrow Express as an Open Access operator and as it is effectively a short distance special service with new trains between Heathrow and Paddington, it has its own business model, that may or may not survive.

But how will Lumo and their bold new business model affect Grand Central, Hull Trains and any future Open Access operators?

Grand Central Trains

Grand Central is a well-established Open Access operator.

  • They run services between London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange, Sunderland and several other convenient en-route stations.
  • They are owned by Deutsche Bahn.
  • They also regularly seem to apply for new routes and extra services.

But they have a big problem fast catching up on them; they have a diesel-only fleet and need to decarbonise.

I also think that all express passenger services on the East Coast Main Line will at some date need to be run by 140 mph trains capable of running with full digital signalling and a degree of Automatic Train Operation.

In Lumo: Why Won’t The New Train Service Stop At Yorkshire Stations?, I said that to continue to be successful, they probably need to embrace the Lumo model and acquire new trains.

I will repeat what I said in the related post.

This would entail.

  • The ten diesel Class 180 trains would be replaced by new electric trains.
  • The trains would need a 140 mph capability under digital signalling to fit in with the plans of Network Rail, LNER and Lumo to create a top-class high-speed high-capacity East Coast Main Line.
  • The trains would need a battery capability as Grand Central’s routes are not fully electrified.
  • They could copy Lumo’s green marketing philosophy, ticketing and catering offering.

As to the trains, I’m sure that Hitachi could offer a version of their Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, the specification of which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

The trains would need a range of fifty miles on battery-power.

I have some other thoughts.

Financing

If you look at the finances of decarbonising Grand Central, they would need a new fleet of ten trains, which as Lumo’s fleet of five trains are reported to be costing £100 million, so that figure can be at least doubled.

There would also be costs for the two charging systems at Bradford Interchange and Sunderland. But at least there are several possible solutions for charging systems, so the price will probably not be more than a few million, if that.

Will Deutsche Bahn be prepared to stump up the extra finance?

A Service To Cleethorpes

In the Wikipedia entry for Grand Central, there is a section which is entitled London Kings Cross to Cleethorpes, which outlines a proposed service.

  • It would split and join with the London King’s Cross and Bradford service at Doncaster.
  • It would call at Crowle, Scunthorpe, Barnetby, Habrough and Grimsby.
  • Doncaster and Cleethorpes is 52.1 miles and should be in range of a Battery-electric train with a charging system at Cleethorpes.

Using current times from LNER and TransPennine Express, I estimate that Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains could travel between London and Cleethorpes in around two hours and twenty minutes.

With digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line to the South of Doncaster, the overall time could be much closer to two hours.

This could be a very viable service with battery-electric trains capable of running at 140 mph on the East Coast Main Line and for sixty miles at 100 mph on battery power.

Maximising The Use Use Of Train Paths By The Use Of Splitting And Joining

The proposed service to Cleethorpes is a classic use of splitting and joining, which enables two separate services to run a large part of their routes together.

  • On the East Coast Main Line, it means that maximum use can be made of the paths available.
  • Splitting and joining is part of the specification for the Hitachi trains and they do it automatically in under two minutes.
  • LNER are already talking about using the technique to serve various destinations from Leeds.

I wouldn’t rule out Grand Central’s two services working as a pair between London King’s Cross and Doncaster, where they would split and join.

Conclusion On Grand Central Trains

Decarbonisation with high-speed battery-electric trains could ensure the future of Grand Central Trains.

Hull Trains

Hull Trains is another well-established Open Access operator.

  • They run services between London King’s Cross and Hull and Beverley.
  • They have a fleet of five bi-mode Class 802 trains.
  • The company is part of First Group.

Hull Trains don’t have the decarbonisation problem of Grand Central Trains, as I suspect Hitachi will come up with a solution to turn Class 802 trains into a battery-electric train with a range of perhaps seventy miles on battery power.

  • Beverley and Temple Hirst junction is a distance of 44.3 miles and is the only section of the route without electrification.
  • Charging of the batteries will be needed at the Eastern end and probably would be best handled by a short length of electrification in Hull station or between Hull and Brough stations.

The Class 802 trains are also ready for updating to run under the new digital signalling of the East Coast Main Line.

First Harrogate Trains

First Harrogate Trains was a subsidiary of Hull Trains, which hoped to run the following services.

  • London King’s Cross and Harrogate via York
  • London King’s Cross and Cleethorpes via Peterborough, Spalding and Lincoln

Both these services could be run in conjunction with the current service with an appropriate split and join.

Conclusion On Hull Trains

As both Hull Trains and Lumo share London King’s Cross and are both owned by First Group, I would expect that both train operators would share some services, methods and ideas.

There may be advantages if Hull Trains’s Class 802 trains and Lumo’s Class 803 trains could run each other’s services.

Grand Union

Grand Union is a prospective open access operator who are proposing to operate train services from England to Wales and Scotland.

They are proposing two services.

London Paddington and Cardiff Central via Reading, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport and Cardiff Parkway, with a possible extension later to Swansea andLlanelli or Carmarthen.

London Euston and Stirling via Milton Keynes Central, Nuneaton, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell, Whifflet, Greenfaulds and Larbert.

Note.

  1. London Paddington and Cardiff Central is fully electrified, but there is no electrification West of Cardiff Central.
  2. Cardiff Central and Swansea are 45.7 miles apart.
  3. London Euston and Stirling is fully electrified.

Currently, the rolling stock for both services is proposed to be a tri-mode Class 93 locomotive hauling a rake of Mark 4 coaches and a driving van trailer.

The locomotive should be capable of handling the routes to Stirling and Cardiff using the electrification alone.

When the Cardiff route is extended, Grand Union would intend to use Class 802 trains, which could be fitted with batteries to serve Swansea, where the batteries would be charged.

There is no sign as yet, that the Office of Rail and Road have approved any of their possible services, but both services might be improved with some Lumo-style thinking.

Alliance Rail Holdings

Alliance Rail Holdings, which is a sister company to Grand Central, is ultimately owned by Deutsche Bahn, seems to have several ideas for new services, but only seems to have got approval to one.

They were given approval some years ago to run a service between London Euston and Blackpool North.

  • Calls would be made at Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Wesham, Preston, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes Central.
  • There will be six trains per day.
  • Trains would be InterCity 225 trains.
  • The approval is for seven years from 2018.

But because of the pandemic it hasn’t run.

Conclusion

The Lumo model will affect all these services.

 

 

 

September 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments