The Anonymous Widower

Regulator Approves New Grand Union Train Service From Carmarthen To London Paddington

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the Office of Rail and Road.

This is the sub-heading of the press release.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has opened up the Great Western Main Line to competition and enabled a significant increase in rail services between London and South Wales.

These points are made in the press release.

  • The rail regulator has approved the introduction of new train services between London, Cardiff and South West Wales from the end of 2024.
  • The services will be operated by a new open access operator, Grand Union Trains, bringing competition to the Great Western route out of Paddington.
  • Passengers travelling between London, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport, Cardiff, Gowerton, Llanelli and Carmarthen will benefit from an extra five daily return services and greater choice of operator.
  • The decision opens up the Great Western Main Line to competition for the first time, with potential benefits in terms of lower fares, improved service quality and innovation for all passengers using the route.
  • The application, submitted to ORR in June 2022, was disputed by Network Rail due to concerns about capacity on the network. But following careful consideration and analysis, ORR has directed Network Rail to enter into a contract with Grand Union.
  • Grand Union has committed to significant investment in new trains.
  • As an ‘open access’ train operator, however, it will not get paid subsidies from public funds, unlike current operators along the route.

ORR supports new open access where it delivers competition for the benefit of passengers. In making this decision, the regulator has weighed this up against the impact on Government funds and effect on other users of the railway, both passengers and freight customers.

These are my thoughts.

The Company

Grand Union Trains have certainly persevered to get this approval.

  • The company was created by Ian Yeowart, who previously created open access operators; Alliance Rail Holdings and Grand Central before selling both to Arriva.
  • After multiple negotiations with the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), Yeowart must know how to get an acceptable deal.
  • Grand Union Trains have a similar application for a service between Euston and Stirling with the ORR.

Grand Union Trains also have a web site.

The home page has a mission statement of Railways To Our Core, with this statement underneath.

At Grand Union we are passionate about Britain’s railways. We are committed to the traditional values of providing a high-quality customer service and a comfortable journey experience at a fair price.

I’ll go with that.

The Financial Backing Of The Company

All the UK’s open access operators are well-financed either by Arriva or First Group.

The ORR would not receive any thanks, if they approved an operator, which duly went bust.

So what is the quality of the financing behind Grand Union Trains?

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled RENFE Looks At Entering UK Rail Market Through Open Access Partnership, which starts with this paragraph.

Open access passenger service developer Grand Union Trains is working with Spain’s national operator RENFE and private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners on a proposed service between London and Wales.

That is fairly clear and would surely help in the financing of Grand Union Trains.

The Route

Trains will run between Carmarthen and London Paddington, with stops at Llanelli, Gowerton, Cardiff, Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol Parkway.

A new station at Felindre will replace Gowerton at some time in the future.

There will be five trains per day (tpd).

I have some thoughts and questions about the route

Felindre Station

Felindre station is named in Wikipedia as the West Wales Parkway station, where it is introduced like this.

West Wales Parkway is a proposed railway station north of Swansea, near to the boundaries of the neighbouring principal area of Carmarthenshire, and the villages of Felindre and Llangyfelach. The station is proposed to be situated at the former Felindre steelworks, near Junction 46 of the M4 and A48, and near Felindre Business Park and Penllergaer Business Park. The project is in the planning stages, as part of a wider Department for Transport proposal to re-open the Swansea District line to passenger traffic.

This Google Map shows where, it appears the Felindre station will be built.

Note.

  1. The Felindre Business Park in the North-West corner of the map, with a Park-and-Ride.
  2. The M4 running across the bottom of the map.
  3. The Swansea District Line runs East-West between the motorway and the Business Park.

It looks that the new station could be located on the South side of the Business Park.

When High Speed Two Opens Will Trains Call At Old Oak Common?

When High Speed Two opens, all GWR trains will stop at Old Oak Common station for these connections.

  • Chiltern for for Banbury, Bicester, High Wycombe and the West Midlands
  • Elizabeth Line for Central and East London and the Thames Valley
  • Heathrow Airport
  • High Speed Two for Birmingham and the North
  • Overground for Outer London

As Old Oak Common will be such an important interchange, I think they should.

Will The Platforms At Carmarthen Station Need Lengthening?

This Google Map shows Carmarthen station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms.
  2. There are certainly pictures of the station with an InterCity 125 in the station. There is a picture on the Wikipedia entry for Carmarthen station.

These pictures show the station.

I suspect that the station will be upgraded to accommodate Grand Union Trains.

The Trains

An article in the June 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Grand Union Bids For London To Carmarthen, gives these details of the trains.

  • Three classes.
  • 2023 start for the service.
  • Cycle provision.
  • Vanload freight will be carried.
  • Electric trains could start between London and Cardiff by 2023.
  • In 2025, trains could be nine-car bi-modes.
  • South Wales-based operation and maintenance.
  • 125 full-time jobs created.

It certainly seems to be a comprehensive and well-thought out plan.

I have a few thoughts on the trains.

What Make Of Trains Will Be Procured?

Consider.

  • Lumo’s Class 803 trains were ordered from Hitachi in March 2019 and entered service in October 2021.
  • So if they ordered their version of the Hitachi trains by the end of 2022, the trains could be in service by July/August 2025.
  • It would probably be easier, if the only fast trains on the Great Western Main Line between London and South Wales were all Hitachi trains with identical performance.

But the Spanish backers of Grand Union Trains may prefer Spanish-designed trains assembled in South Wales. So would a bi-mode version of CAF’s Class 397 trains be suitable?

On the other hand, the Carmarthen and Cardiff section of the route without a reverse at Swansea is only seventy-five miles.

This Hitachi infographic shows the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Consider.

  • Charging could be provided at Carmarthen using a short length of electrification or one of Furrer + Frey standard chargers.
  • Charging would also use the electrification between London Paddington and Cardiff.
  • A nine-car Class 800 or Class 802 train has five engines and a five-car train has three engines.
  • The Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train was announced in December 2022.
  • In the intervening two years how far has the project progressed?
  • For the last twelve months, Lumo have been running trains with an emergency battery-pack for hotel power. How are the batteries doing, whilst being ferried up and down, the East Coast Main Line?

Can Hitachi configure a train with more than one battery-pack and a number of diesel engines, that has a range of seventy-five miles? I suspect they can.

I suspect that CAF also have similar technology.

There is also a benefit to Great Western Railway (GWR).

If GWR were able to fit out their Class 802 trains in the same way, they would be able to run between Cardiff and Swansea on battery power.

  • It is only 45.7 miles.
  • Charging would need to be provided at Swansea.
  • GWR could still run their one tpd service to Carmarthen.

It looks like both train operating companies could be able to do as Lumo does and advertise all electric services.

What Could Be The Maxmum Range Of A Hitachi Train On Batteries?

This Hitachi infographic shows the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

Consider.

  • It has a battery range of 90 km or 56 miles on the single battery.
  • I would expect that by a regional train, Hitachi mean a five car Class 800 or 802 train, like those that go to Cheltenham, Lincoln or Middlesbrough.
  • A five-car Hitachi Regional Battery Train would have a battery that could contain power equivalent to 280 car-miles.
  • Five-car Class 800 or 802 trains have three engine positions.
  • These Hitachi trains have a very sophisticated control system, which I wrote about in Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?

I believe the engineers at Hyperdrive Innovation have designed the battery-packs that replace the diesel engines as simulations of the diesel engines, so they can be a direct replacement.

This would mean that battery-packs could be additive, so the following could apply to a five-car train.

  • Two battery packs could have a range of 112 miles.
  • Three battery packs could have a range of 168 miles.

GWR generally runs pairs of five-car trains to Swansea, which would be 90 miles without electrification.

If five-car trains with two battery packs, could be given a range of 112 miles, GWR could run an electric service to Swansea.

They could also run to Carmarthen, if Grand Union Trains would share the charger.

What ranges could be possible with nine-car trains, if one battery pack is good for 280 car-miles?

  • One battery-pack, gives a range of 280/9 = 31 miles
  • Two battery-packs, give a range of 2*280/9 = 62 miles
  • Three battery-packs, give a range of 3*280/9 = 93 miles
  • Four battery-packs, give a range of 4*280/9 = 124 miles
  • Five battery-packs, give a range of 5*280/9 = 155 miles
  • Six battery-packs, give a range of 6*280/9 = 187 miles
  • Seven battery-packs, give a range of 7*280/9 = 218 miles

Note.

  1. I have rounded figures to the nearest mile.
  2. There are five cars with diesel engines in a nine-car train, which are in cars 2,3,5, 7 and 8.
  3. Diesel engines are also placed under the driver cars in five-car Class 810 trains.
  4. For the previous two reasons, I feel that the maximum numbers of diesel engines in a nine-car train could be a maximum of seven.
  5. I have therefor assumed a maximum of seven battery packs.

These distances seem sensational, but when you consider that Stradler’s Flirt Akku has demonstrated a battery range of 243 kilometres or 150 miles, I don’t think they are out of order.

But, if they are correct, then the ramifications are enormous.

  • Large numbers of routes could become electric without any infrastructure works.
  • Grand Union Trains would be able to run to Carmarthen and back without a charger at Carmarthen. 
  • GWR would be able to run to Swansea and back without a charger at Swansea.

Prudence may mean strategic chargers are installed.

Rrenewable Energy Developments In South West Wales

In Enter The Dragon, I talked about renewable energy developments in South West Wales.

I used information from this article on the Engineer, which is entitled Unlocking The Renewables Potential Of The Celtic Sea.

The article on the Engineer finishes with this conclusion.

For now, Wales may be lagging slightly behind its Celtic cousin to the north, but if the true potential of the Celtic Sea can be unleashed – FLOW, tidal stream, lagoon and wave – it looks set to play an even more prominent role in the net zero pursuit.

The Red Dragon is entering the battle to replace Vlad the Mad’s tainted energy.

South West Wales could see a massive renewable energy boom.

Grand Union Trains will increase the capacity to bring in more workers to support the developments from South Wales and Bristol.

 

 

 

December 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Castle’ HSTs To Be Withdrawn By Great Western Railway

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

This quote from a  GWR spokesman, sums up the action that will be taken.

The Castles were always designed to be a temporary measure on the Cardiff to Penzance route. We expect to replace the Castle Class trains on a phased basis over the next couple of years, bringing customers the benefit of more modern trains that will reduce both cost and carbon emissions across the route.

These are my thoughts.

Could The Engines In The Power Cars Be Replaced With Modern Carbon-Neutral Engines?

This would be an alternative way to solve the decarbonisation problem.

It would also mean that other applications of the Class 43 power cars, like ScotRail’s Inter7City trains, Cross Country’s HSTs and Network Rail’s New Measurement Train would have a decarbonisation route,

In Rolls-Royce Releases mtu Rail Engines For Sustainable Fuels, Rolls-Royce mtu outline their route to decarbonise rail engines using sustainable fuels.

This was the first paragraph of my conclusion in the linked article.

Rolls-Royce and Cummins seem to be doing a thoroughly professional job in decarbonising the diesel engines they have made in recent years.

The Class 43 power cars have Rolls-Royce mtu Series 4000 engines, which will soon be available to run on sustainable fuel.

I think as a possible fall-back, one Class 43 power car should be converted to carbon neutral.

Could The Engines In The Power Cars Be Replaced With Modern Hydrogen Engines?

I looked at this in Will We See Class 43 Power Cars Converted To Hydrogen?.

I came to the conclusion, that this might be possible and said this.

It would be the ultimate Roller.

But then Rolls-Royce know about winning battles with large internal combustion engines.

The Option Of New Trains

This quote from a  GWR spokesman was fairly definite about new trains, when they said.

The Castles were always designed to be a temporary measure on the Cardiff to Penzance route. We expect to replace the Castle Class trains on a phased basis over the next couple of years, bringing customers the benefit of more modern trains that will reduce both cost and carbon emissions across the route.

What trains could replace the Castles?

  • The Cardiff and Penzance route is just short of 250 miles or roughly 400 kilometres.
  • Only about 30 miles at the Cardiff end is electrified.
  • Trains would need to be able to handle 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • 125 mph trains will be needed at the Cardiff end.
  • Four or five passenger cars will be needed.
  • Currently, there are twelve Castles, so I will assume twelve new trains.

As these trains will be lasting up to forty years, they must be zero-carbon, which must mean battery-electric or hydrogen.

Charging Battery-Electric Trains

Consider

  • Bristol Temple Meads, Exeter St. Davis and Plymouth are large stations with several platforms. I suspect that a number of Furrer + Frey’s charging stations can be installed along the route.
  • The timetable would be adjusted to allow trains to be charged as they stopped to set down and pick up passengers.
  • Trains would dwell in the station and then use their 125 mph performance to regain the time.
  • I’ve also found a Penzance to Cardiff service, that stopped at Plymouth for fourteen minutes, which is more than enough to charge the batteries.
  • Regenerative braking to the batteries would further eke out the range.
  • There might also be some extra electrification around Bristol or Exeter.
  • Some form of charging would be needed at Penzance.

Note.

  1. Putting up electrification may mean that it will delay the new trains for a few years.
  2. Charging stations along the route could probably be installed to a tight timetable.

I believe that with some top-class work, by battery and charger manufacturers, that a battery-electric train could be developed that could run between Cardiff and Penzance.

Thoughts On Hydrogen

Consider.

  • The Alstom Coradia iLint train has a range of about 1,000 km. on hydrogen.
  • Companies like Airbus, Boeing and a host of rocket makers will improve the storage and safety of hydrogen.
  • A range of a 1,000 km. would allow refuelling at one end of the route.
  • Trains could be multiple units or a hydrogen-electric locomotive pulling a rake of coaches with a driving van trailer.

I feel that hydrogen would be very feasible as a power source.

Alstom Could Offer A Hydrogen Aventra

Consider.

  • Alstom are developing a hydrogen-powered Aventra.
  • Bombardier were offering a 125 mph Aventra.
  • A typical Aventra like a Class 720 train seats a hundred passengers a car.

A hydrogen Aventra would be feasible.

Hitachi Could Offer A Battery-Electric Or Hybrid AT-300

In 2021, in Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%, I wrote about the announcement of the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Hybrid Train, which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. Batteries replacing an engine to cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions.
  2. First time a modern UK intercity train, in passenger service, will use alternative fuel.
  3. These Hitachi trains use mtu engines, so I suspect they will be switched to sustainable fuel like HVO.
  4. The trains are 125 mph and 140 mph with the latest digital signalling.
  5. Great Western Railway already have 58 five-car Class 800/802 trains and 35 nine-car 800/802 trains.
  6. They would not need any changing stations or other infrastructure changes.
  7. Staff retraining would be minimal.

Testing of the prototype of these trains must be getting very close or even underway.

Stadler Could Offer A Battery-Electric Flirt Akku

Consider

  • Stadler have run a Flirt Akku on batteries for 243 km.
  • Flirt Akkus will go into service soon.
  • Flirts have been designed for 125 mph running.

With charging at Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, I believe a Flirt Akku could handle the route.

Are Hitachi Home And Hosed?

I have a feeling that the announcement has been made about retiring the Castles as the prototype Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Hybrid Train is under test and is performing well.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see an order for twelve more Class 802 trains soon.

 

 

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

More On Batteries On Class 802 Trains

In the December 2021 Edition there’s an article called Battery Trial For TPE ‘802’.

Class 802 trains are now involved in two battery trials.

This article puts some flesh of the bones of the two trials.

It is hoped that replacing one diesel engine (generator unit) with a battery pack will enable the following.

  • Reduction of carbon emissions by at least 20 %.
  • Reduction of fuel consumption.
  • The ability to rely on battery power when entering and leaving stations to reduce noise pollution and emissions.

This paragraph explains a possible way the trains will be operated.

Another option is to use the battery to provide ‘classic’ hybridisation efficiency, allowing most diesel running to be done fuel-efficiently under two engines rather than three. In this case, the battery module would provide top-up power for peak demand and give regenerative braking capability when operating in diesel mode, which the trains currently do not have.

This is one of the aims of the GWR trial and I suspect anybody, who has owned and/or driven a hybrid car will understand Hitachi’s thinking.

The next paragraph is very revealing.

To fully test the 6m-long, 2.2m-wide battery module, the intention is for it to be flexibly programmable in order for different approaches to charging, including from the overhead line power supply, diesel engines and during braking , to be evaluated.

It looks to me that Hyperdrive Innovation will earn their fees for the battery design and manufacture.

This picture shows the underneath of a Class 802 train.

Note.

  • The car is 26 metres long
  • The car is 2.75 metres wide.
  • The MTU 12V 1600 diesel engines, fitted to a Class 802 train, each weigh around two tonnes.
  • The engines have a power output of 700 kW

I would think that the 6 x 2.2 m battery would fit under the car easily.

As an engineer, who has evaluated all sorts of weight and balance problems, I would make the battery similar in weight to the diesel engine. This would mean that the existing mountings for the diesel engine  should be able to support the battery pack. It would also probably mean that the handling of a car with a diesel engine and one with a battery pack should be nearer to being identical.

Tesla claim an energy density of 250 Wh/Kg for their batteries, which would mean a battery with the weight of one of the diesel engines could have a capacity of around 500 kWh.

As a Control Engineer, I believe that Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation have a tricky problem to get the algorithm right, so that the trains perform equally well under all conditions. But with a good simulation and lots of physical testing, getting the algorithm right is very much a solvable problem.

The article says this about the reliability of the diesel engines or generator units (GU) as Hitachi call them.

Whilst reliability of the generator units (GU) has improved, operators of the bi-mode sets still report frequent issues  which see sets ending their daily diagram with one out of use.

I wonder, if battery packs will improve reliability.

From statements in the article, it looks like Hitachi, MTU and the train operating companies are being cautious.

The article also says this about the design of the battery packs.

The battery pack has been designed so it is a like-for-like replacement for a GU, which can maintain or improve performance, without compromising on seats or capacity.

I have always said it would be plug-and-play and this would appear to confirm it.

How Will The Batteries Be Charged?

I showed this paragraph earlier.

To fully test the 6m-long, 2.2m-wide battery module, the intention is for it to be flexibly programmable in order for different approaches to charging, including from the overhead line power supply, diesel engines and during braking , to be evaluated.

GWR and TPE run their Class 802 trains to several stations without electrification. and they will probably need some method of charging the battery before leaving the station.

This is Hitachi’s infographic for the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Note.

  1. This infographic was published with the Hitachi press release announcing the development of the tri-mode train for GWR.
  2. One diesel engine has been replaced by a battery pack.
  3. Charging the battery can be under wires or 10-15 minutes whilst static.
  4. At some stations like Exeter St. Davids, Penzance, Plymouth or Swansea, heavily-laden services might need the assistance of batteries to get up to operating speed.

The infographic released with the Hitachi press release announcing the trials for TPE.

It is similar, but it says nothing about charging.

So how will these trains be charged in stations like Hull, Middlesbrough. Penzance, Scarborough and Swansea, so they leave on their return journey with a full battery?

Consider.

  • The formation of a five-car Class 802 train is DPTS-MS-MS-MC-DPTF.
  • Pantographs appear to be on both driver cars.
  • The middle three cars have diesel engines.
  • Only the middle three cars have traction motors.
  • There is probably a high-capacity electrical bus running the length of the train, to enable electricity to power all the cars from either or both paragraphs, when running on an electrified line.

The simplest way to charge the batteries would probably be to install a short lengthy of 25 KVAC overhead electrification in the station and then to charge the batteries the driver would just raise the pantograph and energise the electrical bus, which would then feed electricity to the batteries.

I wrote about Furrer + Frey’s Voltap charging system in Battery Train Fast Charging Station Tested. This charging system would surely work with Hitachi’s designs as batteries can be charged from overhead electrification.

Conclusion

I suspect that Hitachi will achieve their objectives of saving fuel and cutting emissions.

But there is more than this project to just replacing one diesel engine with a battery pack  and seeing what the savings are.

It appears that the battery packs could have an effect on train reliability.

If the battery packs are truly like-for-like with the diesel engines, then what will be effect of replacing two and three diesel engines in a five-car Class 802 train with battery packs.

Will it be possible to develop an ability to setup the train according to the route? It’s only similar to the way Mercedes probably set up Lewis Hamilton’s car for each circuit.

But then the speed Formula One cars lap Silverstone is not that different to the maximum speed of a Hitachi Class 802 train.

 

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%

The title of this post is the same as that of this press release from Hitachi.

The press release starts with these bullet points.

  • Batteries replacing an engine to cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions
  • First time a modern UK intercity train, in passenger service, will use alternative fuel
  • Tri-mode train can improve air quality and reduce noise across South West route’s non-electrified stations

They follow these with this introductory paragraph.

In a UK-first, Hitachi Rail and Eversholt Rail have signed an exclusive agreement aimed at bringing battery power – and fuel savings of more than 20% – to the modern Great Western Railway Intercity Express Trains that carry passengers between Penzance and London.

After a couple more paragraphs, the press return returns to the Penzance theme.

GWR’s Intercity Express Train fleet currently calls at 15 non-electrified stations on its journey between Penzance and London, all of which could benefit from trains running on battery-only power.

The press release then sets out their aims.

The projected improvements in battery technology – particularly in power output and charge – create opportunities to replace incrementally more diesel engines on long distance trains. With the ambition to create a fully electric-battery intercity train – that can travel the full journey between London and Penzance – by the late 2040s, in line with the UK’s 2050 net zero emissions target.

Penzance gets another mention, but the late 2040s for a fully electric-battery intercity train between Penzance and London, is not an ambitious target.

Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

Hitachi have called the train the Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train and the specification is shown in this infographic.

Note that fuel & carbon savings of at least 20 % are claimed.

Penzance To London In A Class 802 Train

It would appear that Penzance and London has been chosen as the trial route.

These figures were obtained from Real Time Trains figures for the 1015 from Penzance on the 14th December 2020.

  • Penzance to St. Erth – 5.65 miles – 8 mins – 42.4 mph – 1 mins stop
  • St. Erth to Camborne – 7.2 miles – 10 mins – 43.2 mph – 1 mins stop
  • Camborne to Redruth – 3.65 miles – 5 mins – 43.8 mph – 2 mins stop
  • Redruth to Truro – 9 miles – 10 mins – 54 mph – 2 mins stop
  • Truro to St. Austell  – 14.7 miles – 15 mins – 58.8 mph – 1 mins stop
  • St. Austell to Par – 4.5 miles – 6 mins – 45 mph – 1 mins stop
  • Par to Bodmin Parkway – 8 miles – 11 mins – 43.6 mph – 1 mins stop
  • Bodmin Parkway to Liskeard – 9.2 miles – 12 mins – 46 mph – 1 mins stop
  • Liskeard to Plymouth – 17.8 miles – 25 mins – 42.7 mph – 9 mins stop
  • Plymouth to Totnes – 23.1 miles – 25 mins – 55.4 mph – 1 mins stop
  • Totnes to Newton Abbot – 8.8 miles – 9 mins – 59.3 mph – 2 mins stop
  • Newton Abbot to Exeter St. Davids – 20.2 miles – 18 mins – 71.3 mph – 2 mins stop
  • Exeter St. Davids to Tiverton Parkway – 16.5 miles – 14 mins – 70.7 mph – 1 mins stop
  • Tiverton Parkway to Taunton – 14.2 miles – 11 mins – 77.4 mph – 2 mins stop
  • Taunton to Reading – 106.7 miles – 76 mins – 84.2 mph – 5 mins stop
  • Reading to Paddington – 36 miles – 25 mins – 86.4 mph

The route can be broken neatly into four very different sections.

  • Penzance and Plymouth – 79.5 miles – 112 mins – 42.5 mph – 75 mph operating speed
  • Plymouth and Exeter St. Davids – 52 miles – 57 mins – 54.7 mph – 100 mph operating speed
  • Exeter St. Davids and Newbury – 120.4 miles – 95 mins – 76 mph – 100 mph operating speed
  • Newbury and Paddington – 53 miles – 36 mins – 88.3 mph – 100-125 mph operating speed

Note.

  1. The speed builds up gradually as the journey progresses.
  2. Only between Newbury and Paddington is electrified.

How does Penzance and Paddington stand up as a trial route?

  • Penzance and Plymouth has eight intermediate stops about every nine-ten miles.
  • The nine minute stop at Plymouth, is long enough to charge the batteries, should that be incorporated in the trial.
  • The Cornish Main Line is generally double track, with an operating speed of 75 mph.
  • Plymouth and Exeter includes the running by the sea, through Dawlish.
  • Exeter could be given an extended stop to charge the batteries.
  • Exeter and Newbury is a faster run and the batteries may help with performance.
  • The Reading and Taunton Line has an operating speed of 110 mph.
  • Remember the trains are designed for 140 mph and they achieve nothing like that on diesel.
  • At each of the fifteen stops, the performance, noise and customer reaction can be evaluated. Strange, but my experience of battery trains, says that they are very much quieter than similar electric trains.

The route has a good selection of the types of routes, that Great Western Railway has in its network.

It would appear to be a good route to sort out the good and bad points of the train.

I have a few thoughts.

Possible Destinations For A Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

Currently, the following routes are run or are planned to be run by Hitachi’s Class 800, 802, 805 and 810 trains, where most of the route is electrified and sections do not have any electrification.

  • GWR – Paddington and Bedwyn – 13.3 miles
  • GWR – Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads- 24.5 miles
  • GWR – Paddington and Cheltenham – 43.3 miles
  • GWR – Paddington and Great Malvern – 76 miles
  • GWR – Paddington and Oxford – 10.4 miles
  • GWR – Paddington and Penzance – 252 miles
  • GWR – Paddington and Swansea – 45.7 miles
  • Hull Trains – Kings Cross and Hull – 36 miles
  • LNER – Kings Cross and Harrogate – 18.5 miles
  • LNER – Kings Cross and Huddersfield – 17 miles
  • LNER – Kings Cross and Hull – 36 miles
  • LNER – Kings Cross and Lincoln – 16.5 miles
  • LNER – Kings Cross and Middlesbrough – 21 miles

Note.

  1. The distance is the length of line on the route without electrification.
  2. Five of these routes are under twenty miles
  3. Many of these routes have very few stops on the section without electrification.

I suspect that GWR and LNER have plans for other destinations.

What Is The Kinetic Energy Of A Five-Car Class 802 Train At Various Speeds?

I will do my standard calculation.

  • Empty train weight – 243 tonnes (Wikipedia for Class 800 train!)
  • Passenger weight – 302 x 90 Kg (Includes baggage, bikes and buggies!)
  • Train weight – 270.18 tonnes

Using Omni’s Kinetic Energy Calculator, the kinetic energy at various speeds are.

  • 60 mph – 27 kWh
  • 75 mph – 42 kWh
  • 80 mph – 48 kWh
  • 90 mph – 61 kWh
  • 100 mph – 75 kWh
  • 110 mph – 91 kWh
  • 125 mph – 117 kWh – Normal cruise on electrified lines.
  • 140 mph – 147 kWh – Maximum cruise on electrified lines.

A battery must be large enough to capture this kinetic energy, which will be generated, when the train stops.

Acceleration And Deceleration Of A Five-Car Class 802 Train

The first Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains will be conversions of Class 802 trains.

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train.

The data sheet shows the following for a five-car Class 802 train.

  • It can accelerate to 120 kph/75 mph in 100 seconds in electric mode.
  • It can accelerate to 160 kph/100 mph in 160 seconds in electric mode.
  • It can accelerate to 120 kph/75 mph in 140 seconds in diesel mode.
  • It can decelerate from 120 kph/75 mph in 50 seconds in electric mode.
  • It can decelerate from 160 kph/100 mph in 90 seconds in electric mode.

Note.

  1. 75 mph is the operating speed of the Cornish Main Line and possibly the Highland Main Line.
  2. 100 mph is the operating speed for a lot of routes in the UK.
  3. It would appear that trains accelerate to 75 mph forty second faster in electric mode, compared to diesel mode.
  4. In diesel mode acceleration slows markedly once 100 kph is attained.

Can we assume that performance in battery mode, will be the same as in electric mode? I will assume that this is valid.

Battery Use In A Station Stop

Suppose the train is travelling at 75 mph with a full load of passengers and makes a station stop, without the use of the diesel engines.

  • If the train is decelerating from 75 mph, there must be space for 42 kWh in the battery.
  • Because regenerative braking is not 100 % efficient, only perhaps 80 % would be stored in the battery. This is 33.6 kWh.
  • To accelerate the train to 75 mph, the battery must supply 42 kWh, as diesel power will not be used for this purpose.
  • The train will take 50 seconds to decelerate, 100 seconds to accelerate and perhaps 60 seconds in the station or 210 seconds in total.
  • Let’s say the battery will need to supply 2 kWh per minute per car for hotel power, that will be 35 kWh for the 210 seconds.

Adding and subtracting inputs and outputs to the battery gives this equation 33.6 – 35 – 42 = -43.4 kWh

The energy in the battery has been reduced by 43.4 kWh, at each 75 mph stop.

Repeating the calculation for a 100 mph stop, which takes 310 seconds, gives an equation of 60 -51.7 – 75 = -66.7 kWh.

Note that in this calculation, I have assumed that the efficiency of regenerative braking is 80 %. These are a selection of figures.

  • For 60 % efficiency, the stops would cost 51.8 kWh from 75 mph and 81.7 kWh from 100 mph.
  • For 80 % efficiency, the stops would cost 43.4 kWh from 75 mph and 66.7 kWh from 100 mph.
  • For 90 % efficiency, the stops would cost 39.2 kWh from 75 mph and 59.2 kWh from 100 mph.

So it is important to raise the efficiency of regenerative braking to as near to 100 % as possible.

It should also be noted that with an 80 % efficiency of regenerative braking, hotel power has an effect.

  • With 1 kWh per minute per car, the stops would cost 25.9 kWh from 75 mph and 40.8 kWh from 100 mph.
  • With 2 kWh per minute per car, the stops would cost 43.4 kWh from 75 mph and 66.7 kWh from 100 mph.
  • With 3 kWh per minute per car, the stops would cost 60.9 kWh from 75 mph and 92.6 kWh from 100 mph.

It is important to reduce the hotel power of the train, as low as possible.

With a 90 % regeneration efficiency and hotel power of 1 kWh per car per minute, the figures are 21.7 kWh from 75 mph and 33.3 kWh from 100 mph.

London Paddington And Penzance By Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

Listing the stops between London Paddington and Penzance and their speeds gives the following.

  • St. Erth – 75 mph
  • Camborne – 75 mph
  • Redruth – 75 mph
  • Truro – 75 mph
  • St. Austell – 75 mph
  • Par – 75 mph
  • Bodmin Parkway – 75 mph
  • Liskeard – 75 mph
  • Plymouth – 75 mph
  • Totnes – 100 mph
  • Newton Abbot – 100 mph
  • Exeter St. Davids – 100 mph
  • Tiverton Parkway – 100 mph
  • Taunton – 100 mph
  • Reading – Electrified

This is nine stops from 75 mph, five from 100 mph and one where the electrification is used.

  • Each 75 mph stop needs 43.4 kWh from the battery.
  • Each 100 mph stop needs 66.7 kWh from the battery.

To achieve Hitachi’s aim of low noise and pollution-free station stops between London Paddington and Penzance will need 724.1 kWh of power from the battery.

With 80 % regeneration efficiency and hotel power of 2 kWh per minute per car gives a figure of 724.1 kWh.

With 90 % regeneration efficiency and hotel power of 1 kWh per minute per car gives a figure of 361.8 kWh.

The battery must also have sufficient capacity to handle the regenerative braking. I would suspect that provision will be made for a stop from 125 mph, which is 117 kWh.

So will the battery for the route be somewhere between 500 and 1000 kWh?

Note that each of the three MTU 12V 1600 diesel engines, fitted to a Class 800 train, weigh around two tonnes and Tesla claim an energy density of 250 Wh/Kg for their batteries.

This would mean a battery the weight of one of the diesel engines would have a capacity of 500 kWh.

A train with a full 500 kWh battery at Newbury could arrive in Penzance with some juice in the battery, if regenerative braking could be efficient and the demands of the train to run internal systems were at a low level.

Hitachi’s Increasing Efficiency Of Class 80x Trains

The next variant of the Class 80x trains to come into service, should be the Class 803 trains for East Coast Trains.

  • These trains will be all-electric like LNER’s Class 801 trains.
  • They are designed for a four-hour limited-stop service between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh.
  • They will be one-class and average single fares will be £25,

This sentence from Wikipedia, describes a big difference between Class 803 and Class 801 trains.

Unlike the Class 801, another non-bi-mode AT300 variant which despite being designed only for electrified routes carries a diesel engine per unit for emergency use, the new units will not be fitted with any, and so would not be able to propel themselves in the event of a power failure. They will however be fitted with batteries to enable the train’s on-board services to be maintained, in case the primary electrical supplies would face a failure.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the Class 803 trains have been put on a diet to increase their acceleration to meet the demanding schedule, which has been promised by East Coast Trains.

Hitachi has also given out clues to other efficiency improvements.

  • Class 807 trains for Avanti West Coast, will have no diesel engines or batteries.
  • Class 810 trains for East Midlands Railway will have a revised nose and different headlights. Is this for better aerodynamics?
  • Class 810 trains, also have slots for four diesel engines. I can’t see why they would need all this power on the relatively-flat Midland Main Line. Will two of the slots be used by batteries to reduce fuel consumption and/or increase efficiency?

Hitachi are only doing, what all good engineers would do.

Low-Carbon Between Plymouth and Penzance

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I estimated that an all-electric Class 801 train needs around 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 125 mph.

It will need less power to maintain the 75 mph of the Cornish Main Line. I would suspect that as air resistance is based on the square of the speed, that the energy consumption of the Class 802 train could be something under 2 kWh per vehicle. Or even less!

The Cornish Main Line is 79.5 miles between Plymouth and Penzance, but the Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, will not be on diesel all the way.

  • At each station stop deceleration and acceleration, the train will not be using diesel. This could take a mile away for each station.
  • All braking will be regenerative to the battery.

I suspect that by using the gradients on the route to advantage and by using diesel in selected areas, that a good driver or a well-written driver assistance system giving advice could safely navigate an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train all the way to Penzance on a minimum amount of diesel.

It’s not as if the train will be stranded, as they would have two onboard diesel engines.

I have a suspicion, that with a top-up at Plymouth, if Hitachi can raise efficiencies to a maximum and power consumption to a minimum, that on one battery, the train might be able to run between Plymouth and Penzance for much of the way, without using diesel.

The question also has to be asked, as to what would be the performance of the train with two diesel engines replaced by batteries?

I suspect this is something else to be determined in the trial.

Will Hitachi’s Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train And Regional Battery Train Have The Same Battery Packs?

The specification of Hitachi’s closely-related Regional Battery Train is described in this Hitachi infographic.

The Regional Battery Train is stated to have a battery range of 90 km/56 miles at 162 kph/100 mph.

Operating speed and battery range have not been disclosed yet for the Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train. I await them with great interest.

I would expect that it is likely, that Hitachi’s two battery trains and others that follow, will use identical battery packs for ease of manufacture, services and operation.

In their press release, which announced the Battery Regional Train, Hitachi said this.

Hitachi has identified its fleets of 275 trains as potential early recipients of the batteries for use in the UK, as well as installing them on new metro and intercity trains that will be needed in the coming years to replace ageing diesel fleets.

Battery trains produce no greenhouse gases, air pollution and are a far quieter, offering passengers cleaner air in stations, less noise disruption and a carbon-free way to travel. Installing batteries on to existing fleets can also extend their range and allow passengers to reach stations on non-electrified branch lines without having to change train.

They didn’t exactly say all battery packs will be the same, but they were close to it, by saying that they can already be fitted to 275 trains. I would read those paragraphs to say, that a series of trains would use the same technology for different purposes.

What Will Be The Battery Range Of A Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train?

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train, which says that a five-car Class 802 train has  an operating speed of 110 mph on diesel power.

According to Wikipedia and other sources, a Class 802 train has three diesel engines.

If the Regional Battery Train has replaced three diesel engines with battery packs in a five-car train like a Class 802 train to get the 90 km/56 mile range, would this mean?

  • Replacing one diesel engine with a battery pack, give a range of thirty kilometres or about nineteen miles.
  • Replacing two diesel engines with battery packs double the range to sixty kilometres or thirty-eight miles.

It looks like a Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train with one of the same battery-packs should easily reach several of the destinations in my list.

But they would need charging before return or some assistance from the two remaining diesel engines.

I talk about charging the Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train in Charging The Batteries On An Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Conclusion

It sounds like a worthwhile train to me and I await the results of the trial with interest.

 

 

 

 

 

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Reopening The Oswestry – Gobowen Line

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

These are my thoughts.

Gobowen Station

Gobowen station appears to be a fine station.

Wikipedia says this about the future of the station.

Gobowen station may become the northern terminus of the proposed Cambrian Heritage Railways line to Llynclys, Pant and Blodwel via Oswestry. Shropshire Council was to acquire the coal yard at Gobowen for railway-related uses, including car parking for the station. If the plans are fully realised, the station would have three platforms, one of which would be for the Heritage Railway.

It does look as if, Shropshire Council have got the money for a full study.

This Google Map shows Gobowen station.

Note.

  1. The two tracks of the Chester-Shrewsbury Line each have a platform.
  2. Step-free access is by the level crossing, which is at the North end of the station.
  3. It looks like it would be space to convert the Northbound platform into an island platform, where the Western platform face would be for the heritage trains.

This second Google Map shows the tracks at the South end of Gobowen station.

Note.

There is a set of points to allow trains to access a third platform at Gobowen station.

The single-track line to Oswestry branches off to the West at the bottom of the map.

It would appear that a bay platform at Gobowen station can be created to handle trains to Oswestry.

Oswestry Station

Oswestry station appears to be another fine station.

  • It is also Grade II Listed.
  • It has just a single platform.
  • It appears to be owned by the local authority.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station is the large building with the chimneys in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. The single platform is behind it.
  3. The platform is long enough to take a 1200 metre long train.

This station would make an ideal terminus.

The Track Between Oswestry And Gobowen

The track is single-track with a couple of foot crossings, so I don’t think it will need much to bring it up to a modern standard.

A Shuttle Service Between Oswestry And Gobowen

I suspect a two-car shuttle train between the two stations would suffice for most of the day.

Transport for Wales have some Class 230 trains and these would be ideal. They could even be battery-electric trains if a battery charging system were to be installed at one station.

Could Avanti West Coast Run A Service To London?

It looks like Avanti West Coast’s Class 805 trains could run along the line between Gobowen and Oswestry.

So could Avanti’s planned service to Gobowen terminate at Oswestry instead?

It would all depend on the passenger forecasts and actual numbers

Could Avanti West Coast Run A Battery-Electric Service To London?

Consider.

  • Oswestry is a town of 17,500 people, so probably has a reasonable electricity supply, especially if it were to be backed up by a battery.
  • The amount of renewable electricity produced over the border in Wales is only going to grow.
  • There is plenty of space at Oswestry to put in a charging system to replace the batteries.

Distances are as follows.

  • Crewe and Chester – 21.1 miles
  • Chester and Gobowen – 24.6 miles
  • Gobowen and Oswestry – 3.3 miles

This is a total distance of 49 miles.

Avanti West Coast have ordered thirteen bi-mode Class 805 trains, which will replace the diesel Class 221 trains currently working between London Euston and Chester. Holyhead and Shrewsbury.

  • They will run at 125 mph between Euston and Crewe using electric power.
  • If full in-cab digital signalling were to be installed on the electrified portion of the route, they may be able to run at 140 mph in places under the wires.
  • They will use diesel power on the North Wales Coast Line to reach places like Chester, Holyhead and Wrexham.
  • According to an article in Modern Railways, the Class 805 trains could be fitted with batteries.

I wouldn’t be surprised that when they are delivered, they are a version of the Hitachi’s Intercity Tri-Mode  Battery Train, the specification of which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. I suspect that the batteries will be used to handle regenerative braking on lines without electrification, which will save diesel fuel and carbon emissions.
  2. The trains accelerate faster, than those they replace.
  3. The claimed fuel and carbon saving is twenty percent.
  4. It is intended that these trains will be introduced next year.

But Hitachi have not given any predictions of the range of these trains on battery power alone.

However, they do claim a battery range of 56 miles for the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which is based on similar technology.

I believe it would be possible to run a zero-carbon London Euston and Oswestry service.

  • The trains would be Class 805 trains fitted with batteries.
  • Trains could stop at Milton Keynes Central, Lichfield Trent Valley, Stafford, Crewe, Chester, Wrexham General and Gobowen.
  • Trains would use electrification between London Euston and Crewe.
  • Trains would recharge their batteries South of Crewe and at Oswestry.

I doubt that a battery-electric zero-carbon train serving Cheshire, Shropshire and North-East Wales would have a negative effect on the area.

Just as Hull and Lincoln seem to be moving towards a frequency of one train per two hours from London, I wonder if this service could ever attain the same frequency.

Onward From Oswestry

Cambrian Heritage Railways are planning to run services past Oswestry on their heritage railway.

Will this be a good idea?

Where Now For First Group?

First Group are a shareholder in Avanti West Coast.

They also own Lumo, who last week launched their open-access service between London and Edinburgh. Their marketing is all about being green and sustainable.

I just wonder if a battery-electric service to Gobowen is successful, they will apply this model all over the group.

Hull Trains service between London and Hull is an obvious possibility for a battery-electric zero-carbon service.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that reopening of the Oswestry – Gobowen Line opens up other possibilities.

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reopening Corsham Station

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

Corsham is a town in Wiltshire.

  • It has a population of 13,000
  • It is very much a military town, with numerous defence establishments, some of which are deep underground in former bath stone quarries.
  • Corsham station closed in 1965.

As this Google Map shows the Great Western Railway passing through the town.

The dark scar of the railway across the map towards the bottom is clearly visible.

This second Google Map shows the site of the former station.

Note.

  1. Station Road is a bit of a giveaway.
  2. There is a footbridge over the double-track railway. Note the shadow.
  3. The railway is not electrified, but could be in the future.
  4. Chippenham station is to the East and Bath Spa station is to the West.
  5. The station was in a deep cutting on the approach to Box Tunnel, which is to the West.

I doubt that designing and building a new Corsham station will be a challenging project.

These are my thoughts on other issues.

Military Issues

The Wikipedia entry for Corsham has a section called Defence, which lists well over half-a-dozen defence sites.

Could these be a reason for the new station?

  • Just like many other businesses and families, does the Ministry of Defence feel it should decarbonise?
  • Are large numbers of employees and visitors driving in from Swindon and Bristol?

How many new stations would cut the country’s carbon footprint?

Services

Currently, it appears the only services going through Corsham are the Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads service

  • There are two trains per hour (tph)
  • The trains call at Reading, Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Chippenham and Bath Spa.
  • Between Chippenham and Paddington is fully-electrified
  • Trains run between Bristol Temple Meads and Chippenham, which is a distance of 24.4 miles on diesel.

These trains could stop, but would that slow the services?

Perhaps alternate services would stop at only one of Corsham and Chippenham. But that would mean the train couldn’t be used between those two stations.

An alternative philosophy would be to electrify between Chippenham and Bath Spa, so that the stops would be faster , as acceleration would be under electric power.

  • Box Tunnel has been prepared for electrification.
  • This would be thirteen miles of new electrification.
  • Trains would run between Bristol Temple Meads and Bath Spa, which is a distance of 11.5 miles on diesel.

But the good citizens of Bath, might object to electrification through Sydney Gardens and the City Centre.

If they do object, an alternative would be to electrify between Bathampton junction and Chippenham.

  • As before Box Tunnel would be electrified.
  • This would be eleven miles of new electrification.
  • Trains would run between Bristol Temple Meads and Bathampton junction, which is a distance of 13.7 miles on diesel.

Bath would not be despoiled by electrification.

Battery-Electric Trains

I touched on electrification in the previous section and I believe it would be reasonably easy to electrify between Chippenham station and Bathampton junction.

This would mean that there would be just 13.7 miles for the train to power itself between Bristol Temple Meads and Bathampton junction.

As it is 27.4 miles in total with perhaps a twenty minute wait in Bristol Temple Meads station, I believe this would be within the battery range of a Hitachi  Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. Hitachi haven’t disclosed the range of the train on battery power alone.
  2. Twenty minutes in Temple Meads station is enough to fully charge the battery.

If the train could be recharged at Temple Meads station, the battery range needed would be just fifteen miles.

Conclusion

All stakeholders would appear to benefit from this new station.

October 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Battery Train Fast Charging Station Tested

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

This is the first paragraph.

A prototype Voltap rapid charging station for battery trains has been tested under real-world conditions for the first time.

The Voltap system is from Furrer + Frey and this is the data sheet on their web site, which is entitled Voltap Charging Station For Battery Trains.

Looking at the pictures in the article, the system seems to consist of two components.

  • An overhead conductor rail suspended from pantries on the platform.
  • A container that contains all the power supplies and control systems.

It certainly looks to be a simple system to install and operate.

  • Charging would appear to take place through the pantograph, with no cables to handle.
  • It is claimed to be able to charge a train in an extremely short time.
  • The system is designed for areas, where the electricity network is perhaps a bit weaker.
  • It is available in 15 KVAC and 25 KVAC.
  • The system is future-proofed.

I can see these being suitable for several stations in the UK.

Norfolk And Suffolk

As an example, it looks like all the branch lines in Norfolk and Suffolk could be made suitable for battery-electric trains with Voltap systems at Cromer, Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Sheringham, Sudbury and Yarmouth.

Note.

  1. The Class 755 trains would be converted to battery-electric trains.
  2. Some stations would need more than one platform to have a charger.
  3. There may be other chargers to ensure that services like Norwich and Stansted Airport could be run electrically.

These pictures show Class 755 trains in various East Anglian stations.

Felixstowe and some other stations may need a slightly different installation due to the narrow platforms, but I’m sure Furrer + Frey have installations for all platforms.

I think Great British Railways are going to need a lot of these chargers and the battery-electric trains to go with them.

The Uckfield Branch

The Uckfield Branch probably needs to have some form of charging at Uckfield station.

The picture shows the single long platform at Uckfield station.

Consider.

  • Trains to work the branch will need to be able to use third-rail electrification between London Bridge station and Hurst Green junction.
  • Hurst Green junction to Uckfield station and back is probably too far for a battery-electric train, so charging will be needed at Uckfield station.
  • Third-rail charging could be used, but I suspect that Health and Safety will say no!

But using a dual-voltage train and a Voltap system at Uckfield station would probably be ideal.

Middlesbrough

From December the 13th, LNER will be running a new daily service between Middlesbrough and London, which I described in LNER’s Middlesbrough And London Service Starts On December 13th.

The route is fully electrified except for between Middlesbrough and Longlands Junction, where it joins the electrification of the East Coast Main Line, which is a distance of twenty-two miles.

Hitachi are developing a battery-train, which they call the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. LNER’s current Class 800 trains will probably be able to be converted to this train.
  2. Normally, these trains have three diesel generators.
  3. A range on battery power of upwards of forty miles would be expected.

If the range on battery-power can be stretched to perhaps sixty miles, this train should be capable of serving Middlesbrough without the need for any extra charging at the terminus.

I have just looked at the planned path of the first train on December 13th.

  • The train comes from Heaton depot in Newcastle via Sunderland and Hartlepool.
  • It passes through Middlesbrough station.
  • It then reverses amongst the chemical and steel works to the East, before returning to Middlesbrough station.

Once back at Middlesbrough station, it waits for eight minutes before leaving for London.

It looks to me to be a safe route, to make sure that the train leaves on time. It also only occupies the platform at Middlesbrough station for less than ten minutes.

But it would also be possible to find space amongst the chemical and steel works to find space for a well-designed reversing siding with refuelling for the diesel-electric trains or a Voltap charging system for a battery-electric train.

Lincoln

I have been looking at the pattern of LNER’s London and Lincoln service today.

  • There have been six trains per day (tpd) in both directions.
  • Trains going North take up to seven minutes to unload passengers at Lincoln station before moving on to Lincoln Terrace C. H. S., which I would assume is a convenient reversing siding.
  • Trains going South wait up to thirty-forty minutes at Lincoln station after arriving from Lincoln Terrace C. H. S., before leaving for Kings Cross.

It looks to me, that if London and Lincoln were to be run by a Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, that the timings would be ideal for charging the batteries on the train in either the reversing siding or the station.

But surely, the charging system in the station would allow extension of the service to Grimsby and Cleethorpes, which has been stated as being part of LNER’s plans.

This picture shows Lincoln station.

I suspect that Swiss ingenuity could fit a Voltap charging system in the station.

These are a few distances from Lincoln station.

  • Cleethorpes – 47.2 miles
  • Doncaster – 35.4 miles
  • Newark North Gate – 16.6 miles
  • Peterborough – 56.9 miles

How many of these destinations could be reached by a battery-electric train, that had been fully-charged at Lincoln station.

 

 

October 18, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

LNER’s Middlesbrough And London Service Starts On December 13th

Tucked at the bottom of the article entitled LNER Tickets For Christmas Getaway in Edition 939 of Rail Magazine, there is this paragraph separated from the article by a sole bullet point.

LNER has confirmed that from December 13 it will run a new weekday service between London King’s Cross and Middlesbrough.

It has already made an appearance on Real Time Trains and I can find the following details.

  • There will be one train per day (tpd)
  • Intermediate stops will be at Thornaby and York.
  • The Middlesbrough and London service will leave Middlesbrough from Platform 1 at 07:08 and arrive in King’s Cross at 10:22.
  • The London and Middlesbrough service will leave King’s Cross at 15:25 and arrive in Middlesbrough in Platform 2 at 18:18.

These are my thoughts.

Trains Per Day

One train per day, is obviously an introductory service and like services to Harrogate and Lincoln, the number of services will ramp up to perhaps four or five tpd, if the demand is there and the paths and trains are available.

Journey Times

Consider

  • The Southbound journey takes three hours and fourteen minutes with a time of two hours and nine minutes between York and King’s Cross
  • The Northbound journey takes two hours and fifty-three minutes with a time of one hour and fifty-six minutes between King’s Cross and York.
  • Some services between King’s Cross and York are as fast as one hour and forty-eight minutes.
  • Middlesbrough and York seems to take around 52-58 minutes.
  • These Middlesbrough and York timings are consistent with TransPennine Express.
  • Digital signalling could offer savings in journey time between York and London.

I think it is very likely as the timetable improves, that timings between Middlesbrough and London could be around two hours and forty minutes.

Electrification

The route is fully electrified except for between Middlesbrough and Longlands Junction, where it joins the electrification of the East Coast Main Line, which is a distance of twenty-two miles.

Hitachi are developing a battery-train, which they call the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. LNER’s current Class 800 trains will probably be able to be converted to this train.
  2. A range on battery power of upwards of forty miles would be expected.

If the range on battery-power can be stretched to perhaps sixty miles, this train should be capable of serving Middlesbrough without the need for any extra charging at the terminus.

I am sure Hitachi would like to see their battery-electric trains running between King’s Cross and Middlesbrough, as it would be an ideal route on which to show the trains to prospective customers, given that their factory is at Newton Aycliffe.

Conclusion

This could be good demonstration battery-electric service for Hitachi and LNER.

 

September 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lumo: Why Won’t The New Train Service Stop At Yorkshire Stations?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Yorkshire Post.

This is the first article, I’ve found about Lumo, that has a negative headline.

The reason is probably very simple, in that most Lumo services are planned to stop at only at Newcastle and Morpeth, with two services having an extra stop Stevenage.

They are intending to run the service in as short a time as possible between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh.

As each stop has a time penalty, not stopping in Yorkshire will give potential to go cut the journey time.

But the positive message that comes from the writer of the Yorkshire Post article is that Yorkshire likes the concept.

This paragraph is their take on the service.

The goal is to encourage a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation and affordable travel. Lumo will provide low-carbon emissions, affordable long-distance travel for more than one million passengers every year.

Perhaps they would like their own Yorkshire flyer.

The obvious way for this to happen would be for the Open Access operator; Grand Central to convert themselves into a train operator like Lumo.

  • 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.

Charging facilities wold be needed at Bradford Interchange and Sunderland stations, as neither has suitable 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

Conclusion

The conversion of Grand Central to work on the Lumo model is possible and as the trains will need to be changed to zero-carbon ones soon to meet decarbonisation objectives, I would suspect that at least that will happen.

 

 

 

September 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The London And Edinburgh Travel Market

This paragraph comes from of this article on Railway Gazette.

Lumo is aiming to carry more than 1 million passengers per year. It is particularly targeting people who currently fly between Edinburgh and London; in June it says there were 74 764 air journeys on the route, compared to 82 002 by rail.

Lumo’s million passengers per year, will equate to around 83,300 passengers per month.

What these figures don’t show is the number of rail journeys made to intermediate stations like Newcastle, York, Doncaster and Peterborough.

These are a few thoughts.

Rail Capacity Between London And Edinburgh

Consider.

  • LNER is currently the only rail carrier offering a daytime service between London and Edinburgh.
  • LNER run approximately 26 trains per day (tpd) in both directions between London and Edinburgh.
  • A nine-car Class 801 train can carry 510 Standard Class passengers and 101 First Class passengers.

That means that LNER had a capacity of just over 950,000 seats in June.

It might seem poor to have only sold 82,002 seats in June between London and Edinburgh, which is just 8.6 % of the available seats.

On the other hand, LNER’s two trains per hour (tph) are a lot more than London and Edinburgh trains, as they connect towns and cities all the way up the East Coast Main Line between London and Aberdeen.

Lumo’s capacity of a million seats per year, works out at 83,300 seats per month, which is another 8.7 % of capacity.

  • Lumo will sell seats on price initially and I suspect they’ll end up running about 85-95 % full.
  • It has been stated that they need to run 80% full to break even.
  • I also think, that they would like to have a few seats for late bookers.

But even so, they will surely affect LNER’s bookings.

What Will LNER Do?

Several of the things, that Lumo are doing can be easily copied by LNER.

  • Early booking.
  • Improve onboard service.
  • Better seating.

They could even reduce prices.

I think it is very likely we could end up with a price and service war between LNER and Lumo.

Would The Airlines Be The Losers?

This could be an outcome of competition between LNER and Lumo.

We are now talking about times of around four hours and twenty-five minutes between London and Edinburgh, but there are improvements underway on the East Coast Main Line.

  • The remodelling of the approach to Kings Cross station has not been reflected in the timetables.
  • The Werrington Dive Under has not been completed yet.
  • Digital signalling is being installed South of Doncaster.
  • The power supply is being upgraded North of Newcastle.

When these and other improvements are complete, I can see journey times reduced below four hours.

But would that only be for starters?great b

If a 1970s-technology Intercity 225 train, admittedly running as a shortened train formation, could achieve a time of just under three-and-a-half hours for the 393.2 miles between Kings Cross and Edinburgh stations in September 1991, what could a modern Hitachi train do, if all of the improvements had been completed and perhaps half of the route could be run at 140 mph under the watchful eyes of full digital signalling and an experienced driver.

Consider.

  • London and York is nearly two hundred miles of fairly straight railway, that is ideal for high speed.
  • Current trains run the 393.2 miles in four hours 25 minutes, which is an average speed of 89 mph.
  • A train running at 89 mph would take two hours and fifteen minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 125 mph would take one hour and thirty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 140 mph would take one hour and twenty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.

When Network Rail, Great British Railways or the Prime Minister renames the East Coast Main Line as High Speed East Coast, I think we can be sure that trains between London and Edinburgh will be able to achieve three-and-a-half hours between the two capitals.

High Speed Two is only promising three hours and forty-eight minutes.

What About LNER’s New Trains?

LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, was written to explore the possibilities suggested by a short article in the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

There has been no sign of any order being placed, but Hitachi have moved on.

  • They are building the prototype of the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery for testing on the Great Western Railway.
  • They have completed some of the Class 803 trains for East Coast Trains, which has now been renamed Lumo. These trains have a battery for hotel power in case of catenary failure, but no diesel engines.
  • They are building the Class 807 trains for Avanti West Coast, which appear to be designed for high speed and have no batteries or diesel engines.
  • The latest versions of the trains will have a reshaped nose. Is it more aerodynamic at high speeds?

It does seem that there is an emphasis on speed, better acceleration and efficiency.

  • Could the lessons learned be used to improve the performance of the existing trains?
  • Could a small high performance sub-fleet be created to run LNER’s Scottish services?

There are certainly possibilities, that would cut journey times between London and Edinburgh.

Conclusion

I can see the airlines flying between London and Edinburgh suffering a lot of collateral damage, as the two train companies slug it out.

 

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