The Anonymous Widower

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 | , , , , , , , , | 8 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

Werrington Dive-Under – 8th September 2021

I had gone to Peterborough to take pictures of the Werrington Dive Under, from a train between Peterborough and Spalding.

I took these pictures going Peterborough and Spalding.

My train between Peterborough and Spalding stations took the following route.

  • The Class 158 train was a great improvement on the Class 153 train, I took in From Peterborough To Lincoln in 2015.
  • It started in Platform 1b at Peterborough station.
  • It then crossed over to the Down Fast line to go North.
  • Finally, it slowed to cross the Up Fast and Up Slow lines to go towards Spalding.
  • It is surely not an efficient and the safest way to run a railway.

Think about turning right on a busy dual carriageway, by going through a gap in the central reservation.

This diagram shows the new track layout of Werrington Junction.

Note.

  1. My train was going North on Line 5, so it had to use the two crossovers to get to the lines to Spalding.
  2. The Up Stamford (Line 4) can be seen in the pictures after the two lines have disappeared into the dive-under.

It’s a pity the first of my pictures aren’t better, but the sun was in the wrong direction.

I took these pictures going Spalding and Peterborough.

Note.

  1. The train used the Up Slow (line 7) to go between Werrington Junction and Peterborough station.
  2. The last two pictures show the Class 158 train in Platform 1b at Peterborough station.

At least this time, the train didn’t cross the Fast lines.

Will Passenger Trains Use The Werrington Dive-Under?

I’m very sure they will!

  • On the Western side of Peterborough station, there are four platforms 4 to 7 and an avoiding line for freight trains going North.
  • It appears that all of these lines can access the Down Stamford (Line 1) and Up Stamford (Line 4) to go to Werrington Junction.
  • At Werrington Junction, trains either take the route to Stamford or use the dive-under for Spalding.

It looks to me, that if the trains to and from Spalding terminated in one of the Western platforms, then they could use the Stamford Lines to access the dive-under and they wouldn’t cross the Fast Lines of the East Coast Main Line on the flat.

Greengauge 21’s Suggestion, That Thameslink Be Extended To Spalding

In the study by Greengauge 21, which is entitled Connecting East Lincolnshire, this is said.

As noted the Spalding-Peterborough line should be a strong candidate for electrification because of its freight potential, and if so it could also accommodate an extension of Thameslink services from London and the South East to Spalding where interchange would be made with a Spalding–Boston–Louth–Grimsby express bus using the A16.

This proposal may be possible, if instead of using the dive-under, the Thameslink trains were able to use the Up Slow (line 7) to go both ways between Werrington Junction and Peterborough station.

As in the near future, full digital signalling will apply through Peterborough, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Electrification Of The Werrington Dive-Under?

Consider.

  • There is a gap of around ninety miles in the freight route between the comprehensive electrification at Peterborough and Doncaster stations on the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line (GNGE).
  • There are dozens of level crossings.
  • The route goes through the centre of Lincoln, where there are two level crossings.

There are two ways of decarbonising the route.

  • Full electrification
  • Using hydrogen-powered freight locomotives.

Both solutions have their proposers and opponents.

I favour hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives, that can use electrification where it exists, as it reduces the infrastructure cost on overbridges and in freight depots.

  • Hydrogen-powered locomotives have a go-anywhere capability.
  • There are also a lot of routes in the UK, where freight trains currently run and it would take a long time to electrify all of them.
  • As rail freight companies would have to purchase a lot of new locomotives, I can see them opting for hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives.

But there are others, who think the only way is full electrification.

London And Lincolnshire By Electric Train

Passenger trains are not a problem, as Alstom, CAF, Hitachi, Stadler and others have demonstrated battery ranges of over fifty miles.

LNER are currently serving Lincoln from London using Hitachi bi-mode Class 800 trains, which use diesel for the 16.5 miles between Newark and Lincoln.

Hitachi’s proposed Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, is described in this Hitachi infographic.

I believe it would be possible to handle London and Lincoln via Newark without using diesel.

It also looks like it will be possible to convert the LNER’s current Class 800 trains into Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains.

But I doubt their range would sufficient to go between London and Lincoln via Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford, unless there were to be a charging system at Lincoln.

But surely though, the ideal train for Lincolnshire would be a train that ran between London and Cleethorpes via Peterborough, Spalding, Sleaford, Lincoln, Market Rasen and Grimsby Town.

  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 56.9 miles.
  • Lincoln and Cleethorpes is 47.2 miles.
  • The service could be timed for a convenient interchange with the other Lincolnshire train services.
  • The service could run perhaps a few times per day.

With charging systems at Lincoln and Cleethorpes, similar to the Hitachi ABB Power Grids system that I described in Solving The Electrification Conundrum, this service could be run by an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Peterborough And Lincolnshire By Electric Train

If you could run between Peterborough and major places in Lincolnshire, as part of a London service, I also suspect that a well-designed Peterborough and Lincolnshire service could serve Lincolnshire almost equally well.

It might use Platform 5 to terminate at Peterborough.

  • This is paired with Platform 4, which is the platform generally used by LNER trains from London, so there would be a cross-platform interchange going North.
  • Going South, there would be a need to use the footbridge.

How many people would use an hourly cross-TransLincs service?

 

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Improving The Cross Country Route

The Cross Country Route is one of the UK’s forgotten railway lines.

  • It runs between York and Bristol Temple Meads.
  • Intermediate stations include Leeds, Wakefield Westgate, Rotherham Central, Meadowhall, Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Burton-on-Trent, Tamworth, Birmingham New Street, University, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire Parkway, Cheltenham Spa and Bristol Parkway.
  • At the Northern end trains can swap to the electrified East Coast Main Line and can extend services to Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
  • At the Southern end trains can swap to the Great Western Main Line and extend services to Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance.
  • Trains can also swap to the South Wales Main Line in the Bristol area, to serve Cardiff and South Wales.
  • Operating speeds are generally around 100 mph, but there are sections of 125 mph running.
  • Some sections of the route have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

I very much believe that it is a route that is ripe for improvement.

These are my thoughts.

Extra And Rebuilt Stations

Recently, Worcestershire Parkway station has been opened on the route.

Bromsgrove station was rebuilt and reopened in 2016.

Derby station was remodelled in 2018.

In addition, there are aspirations for other mew stations and station improvements on the route.

I can see more station improvements and additions on the Cross Country Route.

New Trains

Most services are run by CrossCountry, who only use diesel trains.

Their core services are as follows.

Plymouth And Edinburgh uses the route between York and Bristol Temple Meads. The service runs under wires North of Leeds and at Bristol Parkway and at Birmingham New Street.

Southampton Central And Newcastle uses the route between York and Birmingham New Street. The service runs under wires North of Leeds and at Reading and at Birmingham New Street.

Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly uses the route at Birmingham New Street. The service runs under wires North of Birmingham New Street.

Bristol Temple Meads and Manchester Piccadilly uses the route between Bristol Temple Meads and Birmingham New Street. The service runs under wires at Bristol Parkway and North of Birmingham New Street.

Cardiff Central and Nottingham uses the route between Gloucester and Derby. The service runs under the wires West of Bristol Parkway and at Birmingham New Street.

Birmingham New Street and Nottingham uses the route between Birmingham New Street and Derby. The service runs under the wires at Birmingham New Street.

Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport does not use the route. The service runs under the wires at Birmingham New Street and around Cambridge and Peterborough.

Birmingham New Street and Leicester does not use the route. The service runs under the wires at Birmingham New Street.

Note.

  1. Several services run under wires for sufficient time to charge a battery-electric train.
  2. Several services turn in stations for sufficient time to charge a battery-electric train.
  3. At least six or possibly seven of the services run for at least fifty miles on tracks that can handle 125 mph running. Some of this track will be upgraded to 140 mph with digital signalling.

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

I believe that Hitachi could produce a version of this train, that would partially meet CrossCountry’s need for a new fleet to reduce their carbon footprint.

For the purpose of this analysis, I will assume this about the trains.

  • Battery power will always be used in stations.
  • The trains have a battery range of around forty miles at 100 mph.
  • Running at 125 mph will need 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

This table shows the current electrification status of the Cross Country Route.

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Birmingham New Street – 96.6 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles- Not Electrified

The trains would appear to still need to use diesel on some parts of the route.

Or Hitachi ABB Power Grids could install short lengths of 25 KVAC overhead electrification to top up the trains’ batteries in appropriate places.

I believe CrossCountry could decarbonise this route using battery-electric trains and discontinuous electrification.

This would surely refresh the line and attract passengers, but would the trains speed up the service?

  • Birmingham New Street and Leeds is 116.4 miles and currently takes just under two hours at an average speed of 59.3 mph in a Class 221 train.
  • Several sections of line between Birmingham New Street and Leeds can sustain 125 mph running.
  • London Liverpool Street and Norwich is 114.5 miles and has regularly been achieved by British Rail-era electric trains in ninety minutes on a 100 mph line, which is an average speed of 76 mph.
  • Averaging 76 mph between Birmingham New Street and Leeds would give a time of 92 minutes.

For these and other reasons, I am fairly sure that a battery-electric train capable of running at 125 mph with fast acceleration could run between Birmingham New Street and Leeds in under ninety minutes, with the addition of some discontinuous electrification.

  • There is currently one tph between Birmingham New Street and Leeds, which also serves Sheffield.
  • There is also one tph between Birmingham New Street and Sheffield by a different route.
  • There is two tph between Birmingham New Street and Nottingham.
  • My calculations indicate that the Nottingham and Sheffield services would take under an hour to and from Birmingham New Street, with the Leeds service taking thirty minutes longer.

In normal circumstances no diesel would be used.

Track Improvements And Discontinuous Electrification

This table shows the current electrification status of the Cross Country Route.

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Birmingham New Street – 96.6 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles – Not Electrified

Solutions will have to be found to decarbonise a lot of the route.

I have flown my virtual helicopter from Tamworth to Sheffield and this part of the route seems to the sort of route that could be upgraded to a full 125 mph line, as it is fairly straight and some sections already allow trains to travel at this speed.

As the 15.5 miles between Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield will be updated and electrified for High Speed Two’s spur into Sheffield sometime in the future, I would feel that as updating this section benefits High Speed Two, the Midland Main Line, the Cross Country Route and the Hope Valley Line, that this section should be rebuilt as necessary and electrified, as soon as is practically possible.

I believe that Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield is one of the most important routes in the country to be electrified, if not the most important.

This table shows the electrification status of the Cross Country Route after electrification of Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield.

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Sheffield – 18.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Sheffield and Clay Cross North junction – 15.5 miles – Electrified
  • Clay Cross North junction and Birmingham New Street – 62.1 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles – Not Electrified

It looks that by electrifying the 15.5 miles between Sheffield and Clay Cross North junction, the gap of 18.8 miles between South Kirby junction and Sheffield could be easily bridged by a battery-electric train.

The section between Clay Cross North junction and Birmingham New Street can be split into three.

  • Clay Cross North junction and Derby – 20.9 miles
  • Derby and Tamworth – 23.9 miles
  • Tamworth and Birmingham New Street – 17.3 miles

If Hitachi ABB Power Grids installed discontinuous electrification at Derby and Tamworth, this should bridge the gap to the electrification at Birmingham.

As some of this section can sustain 125 mph running, it may be better to fully electrify part of the route.

This table shows the electrification status of the route would become

  • York and South Kirby junction- 45.4 miles – Electrified
  • South Kirby junction and Sheffield – 18.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Sheffield and Clay Cross North junction – 15.5 miles – Electrified
  • Clay Cross North junction and Derby – 20.9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Derby and Tamworth – 23.9 miles – Not Electrified
  • Tamworth and Birmingham New Street – 17.3 miles – Not Electrified
  • Birmingham New Street and Bromsgrove – 16 miles – Electrified
  • Bromsgrove and Bristol Parkway – 69.8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads – 4.8 miles – Not Electrified

I have also flown my virtual helicopter from Bromsgrove to Westerleigh junction, where the Cross Country Route joins the electrified Great Western Main Line, about 4.5 miles East of Bristol Parkway station.

It looks to me that this Southern short section of electrified line would be able to charge a battery-electric train so that it could reach Bristol Temple Meads station.

But the sixty-plus miles of route without electrification between Bromsgrove and Westerleigh junction would be too far to travel without some electrification.

This could either be full electrification or discontinuous using the methods proposed by Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

It certainly looks to me, that Hitachi’s technology or similar, that I talked about in Solving The Electrification Conundrum could be used to run battery-electric trains between York and Bristol Temple Meads on the Cross Country Route.

Digital Signalling

I would assume this will be installed on the route, to give more precise control of trains on the more complicated sections of the route.

East Coast Main Line Improvements

There are several improvements to the North of York, that will reduce journey times on all services using the East Coast Main Line.

These could contribute time saving of up to ten minutes, according to High Speed Two’s Journey Planner and current timetables.

Comparison With The Proposed Eastern Leg Of High Speed Two

With all the talk about possible cancellation of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two could an improved Cross Country Route be used in the interim?

I will look at a few timings from Birmingham.

Birmingham And Leeds

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming forty-nine minutes, as against the one hour and fifty-eight minutes today.

I have stated that ninety minutes is an attainable time on a 116.4 mile journey, where a good proportion of 125 mph running will be possible, sustained by electrification.

But with full electrification, more 125 mph running and even some 140 mph running under the control of digital signalling, I suspect that ninety minutes is only an upper limit to the journey time between Birmingham and Leeds.

High Speed Two are saying they will run two tph between Birmingham and Leeds, which is twice the current frequency.

I could see that an improved frequency on the Cross Country Route could be very convenient, if it increased the frequency between the two cities to four tph.

Is it going to annoy passengers, that services will leave from two different stations in Birmingham and if you go to the wrong one, you’ll have to wait thirty minutes for the next train?

Birmingham And Middlesbrough

Times between Birmingham and Middlesbrough will be determined by adding a Leeds and Middlesbrough time to the Birmingham and Leeds times.

The best time between Leeds and Middlesbrough today is one hour and 23 minutes, which I suspect will lose a few minutes due to East Coast Main Line improvements North of York.

This gives using High Speed Two to Leeds a time of two hours and eight minutes, as against two hours and forty-nine minutes using an improved Cross Country Route.

Birmingham And Newcastle

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming one hour and  fifty-seven minutes, as against the three hours and twenty-six minutes today.

Based on the current and possible times between Birmingham at Leeds using CrossCountry, I feel times to stations North of Leeds will be reduced by at least twenty-eight minutes, putting the Birmingham and Newcastle time a few minutes under three hours.

Birmingham And Nottingham

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming twenty minutes to East Midlands Hub, which when adding in the tram to Nottingham City Centre will be thirty-five minutes..

,Current services are one hour and ten minutes today.

On an improved Cross Country Route, with with battery-electric trains and some 125 mph running, I can see this time shrink to under an hour, even with the reverse at Derby.

Midlands Connect are also proposing a high speed service between Birmingham Curzon Street and Nottingham station, which will take thirty-three minutes.

High Speed Two are saying they will run three tph between Birmingham and East Midlands Hub, which compares with two tph using the Cross Country Route.

Birmingham And Sheffield

A fully-developed High Speed Two is claiming fifty-seven minutes, as against the one hour and fifteen minutes today.

I have stated that an hour is an attainable time on this route, with battery-electric trains and some 125 mph running.

A time of an hour would be very competitive with the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.

High Speed Two are saying they will run two tph between Birmingham and Sheffield with a change at East Midlands Hub, which compares with two tph using the Cross Country Route.

Conclusion

A fully developed East Coast Main Line will give High Speed Two a good run for its money on services between London and Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland. I indicated my thoughts and conclusions in What Is Possible On The East Coast Main Line?.

I also believe that an improved Cross Country Route could give the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two a very good run for its money.

Perhaps, we should safeguard the route of Eastern Leg of High Speed Two for building later to increase capacity when it is needed, but in the interim we should upgrade the following routes.

  • Cross Country Route
  • East Coast Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • West Coast Main Line

These routes should have at least these minimum standards.

  • All passenger trains electric or battery-electric.
  • All freight locomotives electric, battery-electric or hydrogen-electric.
  • Where possible all lines should allow 125 mph running.
  • Universal in-cab digital signalling
  • There should be sections of 140 mph running, where possible.

We will need the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two in the future, but we don’t need it in the next few years.

 

 

 

 

 

August 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments