The Anonymous Widower

Interview: Hitachi’s Nick Hughes On Driving Innovation In Rail Propulsion

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on The Engineer.

As with the article I discuss in Hydrogen On The Line, it is another well-written and informative article from The Engineer, where those at the sharp end of innovative rail technologies give their views.

This is the introductory paragraph.

As part of a series of articles exploring the propulsion technologies that will shape the future of key transport sectors The Engineer spoke to Hitachi Rail’s Nick Hughes about the innovations that will propel the rail sector into a low carbon future.

The Engineer asked these questions.

  1. What propulsion innovations will help power the rail sector towards net zero?
  2. Can you outline some of your organisation’s own key activities in this area?
  3. What are the key obstacles and challenges to developments in this area?
  4. What is your vision for the long-term future of propulsion in your sector?

I find the answer to the last question most interesting.

Rail is going to become increasingly digitised and integrated into other sectors involved in smart cities, mobility-as-a-service and flexible green grid. Therefore, Hitachi Rail won’t be able to stay at the forefront of innovation by its self. This is why we are focused on building partnerships with other like-minded, innovative, clean tech companies like Hyperdrive Innovation, Perpetuum and Hitachi group companies such as Hitachi ABB.

Hyperdrive Innovation is going to apply its knowledge and expertise from the automotive sector, to develop a market leading battery for Hitachi trains. Perpetuum predictive analytics improve reliability and availability of existing trains. Meanwhile, Hitachi ABB’s experience of the power sector allows our battery train solution to incorporate charging, storage and grid management. These partnerships creates an entry point into the rail market for our partners, potentially leading to future growth and jobs.

However, it is important to recognise that the established technologies of today – battery trains, discontinuous electrification and high-speed trains – are the technologies will help achieve the 2050 net zero emission target.

I would very much agree with all that is said.

 

 

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Hull Station

On my recent visit to Hull station I took these pictures.

This Google Map shows the station.

These are my thoughts on the station .

Platforms

Consider.

  • The station has seven platforms, which are numbers 1 to 7 from South to North.
  • My Hull Trains service from London arrived in the Northernmost platform, which is numbered 7.
  • Most Hull Trains services seem to use this platform.
  • LNER services also seem to use Platform 7.
  • Platforms 4, 5 and 6 seem to be the same length as Platform 7
  • A friendly station guy told me, that LNER have run nine-car Class 800 trains into the station. These trains are 234 metres long.
  • My pictures show that Platform 7 is more than adequate for Hull Train’s five-car Class 802 train, which is 130 metres long.
  • The platforms are wide.

This second Google Map shows the Western platform ends.

It looks to me, that the station should be capable of updating to have at least four platforms capable of taking trains, that are 200 metres long.

Current Long Distance Services To Hull Station

There are currently, two long distance services that terminate at Hull station.

  • One train per hour (tph) – Manchester Piccadilly – two hours
  • Eight trains per day (tpd) – London Kings Cross – two hours and forty-four minutes

Both services are run by modern trains.

Improvements To The Current London And Hull Service

I believe Hull Trains and LNER will run between London Kings Cross and Hull using battery-equipped versions of their Hitachi trains, within the next three years.

The trains will also be upgraded to make use of the digital in-cab signalling, that is being installed South of Doncaster, which will allow 140 mph running.

In Thoughts On Digital Signalling On The East Coast Main Line, I estimated that this could enable a two hours and thirty minute time between London Kings Cross and Hull.

It is very likely that the service will be hourly.

Hull Station As A High Speed Station

Plans for High Speed Two are still fluid, but as I said in Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, there is a possibility, that High Speed Two could be extended from Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds and ultimately to Newcastle and Hull.

In that post, I felt that services across the Pennines could be something like.

  • High Speed Two – Two tph between London and Hull via Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds
  • High Speed Two – One tph between London and Edinburgh via Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds, York and Newcastle.
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail – One tph between Liverpool and Edinburgh via Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds, York and Newcastle.
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail – Two tph between Liverpool and Sheffield via Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail – Two tph between Liverpool and Hull via Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds

There would be four tph between Manchester Airport and Hull via Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds and other intermediate stations.

I estimate that the following timings would be possible.

  • London Euston and Hull – two hours and 10 minutes – Currently two hours and forty-four minutes to London Kings Cross
  • Liverpool and Hull – one hour and thirty minutes – No direct service
  • Manchester and Hull – one hour and three minutes – Currently two hours

As I said earlier London Kings Cross and Hull could be only twenty minutes longer by the classic route on the East Coast Main Line.

I think it will be likely, that both High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail will use similar High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains, which will have the following characteristics.

  • Two hundred metres long
  • Ability to run in pairs
  • 225 mph on High Speed Two
  • 125 mph and up to 140 mph on Classic High Speed Lines like East Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and West Coast Main Line and sections of Northern Powerhouse Rail.

It would appear that as Hull station can already handle a nine-car Class 800 train, which is 234 metre long, it could probably handle the proposed High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains.

I could see the following numbers of high speed trains terminating at Hull in a typical hour would be as follows.

  • Two High Speed Two trains from London Euston
  • Two Northern Powerhouse Trains from Liverpool Lime Street
  • One Hull Trains/LNER train from London Kings Cross

As Hull already has four platforms, that can accept 200 metre long trains, I don’t think the station will have any capacity problems.

Charging Battery Trains At Hull Station

If Hull Trains, LNER and TransPennine Express, decide to convert their Class 800 and Class 802 trains, that run to and from Hull to Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, they will need charging at Hull station, to be able to reach the electrification of the East Coast Main Line at Temple Hirst Junction.

In Thoughts On The Design Of Hitachi’s Battery Electric Trains, I said this about having a simple charger in a station.

At stations like Hull and Scarborough, this charger could be as simple as perhaps forty metres of 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

    • The train would stop in the station at the appropriate place.
    • The driver would raise the pantograph.
    • Charging would start.
    • When the battery is fully-charged, the driver would lower the pantograph.

This procedure could be easily automated and the overhead wire could be made electrically dead, if no train is connected.

Platforms 4 to 7 could be fitted out in this manner, to obtain maximum operational flexibility.

Full Electrification Of Hull Station

Full electrification of Hull station would also allow charging of any battery electric trains.

I would hope, that any partial electrification carried out to be able to charge trains would be expandable to a full electrification for the station and the connecting rail lines.

A Full Refurbishment

The station would need a full refurbishment and a possible sorting out of the approaches to the station.

But this type of project has been performed at Kings Cross and Liverpool Lime Street in recent years, so the expertise is certainly available.

These pictures are of Liverpool Lime Street station.

I could see Hull station being refurbished to this standard.

Conclusion

It is my belief that Hull would make a superb terminal station for both High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail

In the interim, it could be quickly developed as a modern terminal for long-distance battery electric trains to make services across the Pennines and to London zero carbon.

The work could also be organised as a series of smaller work packages, without interrupting train services to and from Hull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On The Design Of Hitachi’s Battery Electric Trains

If you look at a Class 800 or Class 802 train, they have underfloor diesel engines. Their powertrain is described like this in its own section in Wikipedia.

Despite being underfloor, the generator units (GU) have diesel engines of V12 formation. The Class 801 has one GU for a five to nine-car set. These provide emergency power for limited traction and auxiliaries if the power supply from the overhead line fails. The Class 800 and Class 802 bi-mode has three GU per five-car set and five GU per nine-car set. A five-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/4 and a nine-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/5/7/8.

There have been rumours of overheating.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

Hitachi have teamed up with Hyperdrive Innovation to create a Regional Battery Train. There is this Press Release on the Hyperdrive Information web site, which is entitled Hitachi Rail And Hyperdrive Agreement P[ens Way For Battery Trains Across Britain.

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification.

Note, that this is a 100 mph train, with a range of 56 miles.

Typical routes would include a route like Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge.

  • It is 93 miles.
  • There are thirty-nine miles of electrification at the Stansted Airport end.
  • Norwich station is fully-electrified.
  • There is just 53 miles between the Trowse swing-bridge and Ely station, that is not electrified.

Trains would charge the batteries at both ends of the route and use battery power, where no electrification exists.

There are many similar routes like this in the UK.

Hitachi have also produced this video.

My thoughts lead me to a few questions.

Are The Battery Modules Simulated Diesel Engines?

At the age of sixteen, for a vacation job, I worked in the Electronics Laboratory at Enfield Rolling Mills.

It was the early sixties and one of their tasks was at the time replacing electronic valve-based automation systems with new transistor-based systems.

The new equipment had to be compatible to that which it replaced, but as some were installed in dozens of places around the works, they had to be able to be plug-compatible, so that they could be quickly changed. Occasionally, the new ones suffered infant-mortality and the old equipment could just be plugged back in, if there wasn’t a spare of the new equipment.

Stadler have three very similar trains, that are destined for the UK.

All share the same PowerPack-in-the-Middle design, which is shown in this picture.

There are four slots in the PowerPack, with two on either side and they can all hold, either a diesel engine or a battery. Only, the Class 756 trains, are planned to have batteries at present, to make the trains tri-mode and capable of being powered by overhead electric, on-board batteries or a diesel generator.

If I was designing the battery modules to slot into the PowerPack, I and many other engineers would make the battery module deliver similar characteristics and plug compatibility to the diesel module.

The train’s control computer, would be simpler to program and debug and would use modules appropriately to drive the train according to the driver’s instructions.

This interchangeability would also give the operator lots of flexibility, in how they configured and used the trains.

So will Hyperdrive Innovation use an approach for Hitachi, where the battery module has similar characteristics and plug compatibility to the current diesel module?

I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, as it allows modules to be quickly swapped as operational needs change and the train’s computer sorts out the train’s formation and acts accordingly.

On An Hitachi Regional Battery Train Will All Diesel Engines Be Replaced With Battery Modules?

If the computer is well-programmed, it should handle any combination of diesel engines and battery modules.

Perhaps for various routes different combinations might apply.

  • For maximum battery range, all modules would be batteries.
  • For maximum power, all modules would be diesel engines.
  • To handle some out and back routes, there might be three battery modules and a diesel engine to charge the batteries before return.
  • Could perhaps one or two battery modules be fitted to avoid using the diesel engines in stations and in sensitive areas?

On some routes all diesel engines will be replaced with batteries on Battery Regional Trains, but on others there could be a mixture of both battery and diesel engines.

It should be noted that Stadler achieve the same flexibility with their PowerPack-in-the-Middle design.

Operators will like this flexibility.

What Is The Capacity Of A Battery Module?

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

I can do a simple estimate based on this figure.

When running on batteries the train will need less energy due to less air resistance, because it is going at 100 mph, rather than 125 mph.

  • If the energy use is proportional to the speed, then at 100 mph, the energy use will be 2.73 kWh per vehicle mile.
  • But if the energy use is proportional to the square of the speed, the energy use will be 2.19 kWh per vehicle mile.

I will compromise and use 2.5 kWh per vehicle mile.

Total energy needed to move a five-car train 56 miles would be 5 x 56 x 2.5 or 700 kWh, which could be three batteries of 233 kWh.

These are not outrageous sizes and the batteries could probably be of a comparable weight to the current diesel engines. So replacement wouldn’t affect the handling of the train.

In addition, the batteries would need to be large enough to hold all the regenerated by braking during a stop.

  • The weight of a Class 800 train is 243 tonnes.
  • It can carry 326 passengers, who probably weigh 80 Kg with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • This gives a total train weight of 269 tonnes.
  • Using Omni’s Kinetic Energy Calculator, the kinetic energy at 100 mph is just 75 kWh.
  • For completeness, at 125 mph, the kinetic energy is 117 kWh and at 140 mph, the kinetic energy is 146 kWh.

All these figures are small compared to the battery size needed for traction.

Will East Coast Train’s Class 803 trains Use The Same Technology?

On East Coast Trains‘s Class 803 trains, batteries will be fitted to maintain onboard services, in case of a power failure.

Have these batteries been designed by Hyperdrive Innovation, with perhaps less capacity?

As East Coast Trains’s route between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is fully electrified, the trains probably won’t need any auxiliary traction power.

But would increasing the battery size make this possible?

Where Do Avanti West Coast Class 807 Trains Fit In?

Avanti West Coast‘s Class 807 trains are also members of the same Hitachi A-Train family.

In the January 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Hitachi Trains For Avanti.

This is said about the ten all-electric AT-300 trains for Birmingham, Blackpool and Liverpool services, which have now been numbered as Class 807 trains.

The electric trains will be fully reliant on the overhead wire, with no diesel auxiliary engines or batteries.

It may go against Hitachi’s original design philosophy, but not carrying excess weight around, must improve train performance, because of better acceleration.

It may also have the wiring for a diesel engine or a battery module, should operational experience indicate one is needed.

Will All Cars Be Wired Ready For A Diesel Or Battery Module?

A five-car Class 802 train currently has a diesel engine in cars 2, 3 and 4.

The Hitachi infographic says that a Regional Battery Train has a range of 56 miles on batteries.

Let’s assume that this range applies to a Class 802 train, that has been fitted with three battery modules.

If we take Hull Trains as an example, their Class 802 trains do the following sections using their diesel engines

  • Temple Hirst Junction and Beverley – 44.34 miles or 87 miles round trip
  • Temple Hirst Junction and Hull – 36 miles or 72 miles round trip

These distances mean that with a 56 mile range, there needs to be some form of changing at Hull and/or Beverley.

But supposing all cars are wired to accept batteries or diesel engines. This could mean the following.

  • A train with three batteries and a range of 56 miles, could fit a standard diesel engine as a range extender, which could also be used to charge the batteries at Hull or Beverley.
  • A train with four batteries, could have a range of 75 miles, which with regenerative braking and precise energy-saving driving could be able to go between Temple Hirst Junction and Hull and back on battery power.
  • A train with four batteries and a diesel engine,, could have a range of 75 miles on battery power. The diesel energy could be used as a range extender or to charge the batteries at Hull and/or Beverley.
  • Could a train with five batteries, which could have a range of 90 miles, be able to reach Beverley and return to Temple Hirst Junction?

Note.

  1. I have assumed that battery range is proportional to the number of batteries.
  2. There must also be scope for running slower to cut the amount of energy used.

In addition, all Hull Trains schedules seem to spend fifteen minutes or more in Hull station. This would be enough time to recharge the batteries.

I’m fairly certain, that if all cars were wired  for batteries or diesel engines, it would give the operators a lot of flexibility.

Running With Batteries And A Range Extender Diesel Engine

The LEVC TX taxi is described as a plug-in hybrid range extender electric vehicle, where a small petrol engine, can also be used to generate electricity to power the vehicle.

Suppose a Class 802 train was fitted with two battery modules and a diesel engine. Could the diesel act as a range extender, in the same way as the petrol engine does on the LEVC TX?

The diesel engines fitted to a Class 802 train are 700 kW, so if I’m right about the train having total battery capacity of 700 kWh, one engine would take an hour to charge the batteries.

Returning to my Hull Trains example, drivers could probably ensure that the train didn’t get stranded by judicial use of the a single diesel engine to charge the batteries, whilst running in rural areas along the route.

As there would only be one diesel engine rather than three, the noise would be much lower.

I suspect too, that a simple charger in Hull station could charge a train, as it passes through, to make sure it doesn’t get stranded in the countryside.

I suspect that a mix of batteries and diesel engines could be part of an elegant solution on some routes.

  • Edinburgh and Aberdeen
  • Edinburgh and Inverness
  • London Kings Cross and Hull
  • London Paddington and Swansea
  • London St. Pancras and Sheffield.
  • London St. Pancras and Nottingham

It might also be a useful configuration on some TransPennine routes.

Charging Battery Trains

Having a charger in a terminal station would open up a lot of routes to Hitachi’s battery electric trains.

At stations like Hull and Scarborough, this charger could be as simple as perhaps forty metres of 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

  • The train would stop in the station at the appropriate place.
  • The driver would raise the pantograph.
  • Charging would start.
  • When the battery is fully-charged, the driver would lower the pantograph.

This procedure could be easily automated and the overhead wire could be made electrically dead, if no train is connected.

It should be noted that Hitachi have recently acquired ABB’s power grid business, as announced in this Hitachi press release which is entitled Hitachi Completes Acquisition of ABB’s Power Grids Business; Hitachi ABB Power Grids Begins Operation.

Rail is not mentioned, but mobility is. So will this move by Hitachi, strengthen their offering to customers, by also providing the systems in stations and sidings to charge the trains.

This Google Map shows Hull station, with its large roof.

Could an integrated solution involving solar panels over the station be used to power electrification to charge the trains and dome electric buses next door?

Integrated solutions powered by renewable energy would appeal to a lot of municipalities seeking to improve their carbon profile.

Conclusion

These trains will transform a lot of rail services in the UK and abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

October 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hitachi Targets Export Opportunities From Newton Aycliffe

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Very High Speed Trains (VHSTs) built in Britain could be exported to Europe and even further afield from Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory.

The article would appear to confirm, that the AT-300 family of trains is now a family with a very wide reach.

Trains in the family include.

Very High Speed Trains (VHST)

The article states that VHST trains will form part of the AT-300 family.

The big order to be handed out in the UK, is for 54 Classic-Compatible trains for High Speed Two.

The Classic-Compatible trains are described in this section in Wikipedia, by this sentence.

The classic-compatible trains, capable of high speed but built to a British loading gauge, permitting them to leave the high speed track to join conventional routes such as the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and East Coast Main Line. Such trains would allow running of HS2 services to the north of England and Scotland, although these non-tilting trains would run slower than existing tilting trains on conventional track. HS2 Ltd has stated that, because these trains must be specifically designed for the British network and cannot be bought “off-the-shelf”, these conventional trains were expected to be around 50% more expensive, costing around £40 million per train rather than £27 million for the captive stock.

The trains will have the same characteristics as the full-size High Speed Two trains.

  • Maximum speed of 225 mph.
  • Cruising speed of 205 mph on High Speed Two.
  • Length of 200 metres.
  • Ability to work in pairs.
  • A passenger capacity around 500-600 passengers.

A seven-car Class 807 train with twenty-six metre long cars would appear to be a partial match and tick all the boxes, except for the following.

  • The train’s maximum and cruising speeds are well below what is needed.
  • The train is only 182 metres long.
  • The train has a passenger capacity of 453.

Would a train with eight twenty-five metre long cars be a better fit?

  •  The train length would be 200 metres.
  • Twenty-five metre cars would not cause a problem!
  • I estimate the passenger capacity would be 498 seats.

The trains or members of the same family have already shown.

  • They can run on the East Coast, Great Western, Midland and West Coast Main Lines.
  • They can run on High Speed One.
  • They can split and join automatically.
  • When needed they can run on local lines.

If I was Avanti West Coast’s train-Czar, I would be seriously interested in a Classic-Compatible High Speed Two train, that was very similar to one I already had in service. Provided, of course it did what it promised in the specification.

By adjusting the car-length and the number of cars, the Classic-Compatible High Speed Two train can probably made to fit any operators needs.

High Speed Trains (HST)

There are several fleets of these in service.

The picture shows one of LNER’s Hitachi trains going through Oakleigh Park station.

It would appear that the trains can be configured to the customers needs.

  • Trains have been ordered in lengths of five, seven or nine cars, with a maximum length of up to twelve or more cars.
  • Cars have been ordered in lengths of 24 and 26 metres.
  • Some fleets will be fitted with diesel engines for bi-mode operation.

Operating speeds will be as follows.

  • 100 mph operating speed on diesel.
  • 125 mph operating speed on electric power
  • 140 mph operating speed on electric power with in-cab signalling.

The signalling required for 140 mph running, is currently being installed between London Kings Cross and Doncaster.

High Speed Commuter Trains

As high speed lines proliferate, there will be a need for faster commuter trains.

In a few years time, the following lines out of London will see High Speed Trains like those made by Hitachi sharing tracks with commuter trains.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line

Already on the Great Western Main Line services to Bedwyn and Oxford are run by Class 800 or Class 802 trains, so these trains could be considered to be High Speed Commuter Trains.

  • Their 125 mph operating speed allows them to mix it, with the other High Speed Trains running into and out of London Paddington.
  • Digital in-cab signalling may allow running of both expresses and High Speed Commuter trains at 140 mph.

Other routes, where they could be used, would include.

  • London Kings Cross and Ely via Cambridge.
  • London Paddington and Cheltenham
  • London Paddington and Westbury
  • London St. Pancras and Corby.
  • Liverpool And Blackpool
  • Liverpool And Crewe

The trains would only be doing the same as already happens on High Speed One.

As more and more High Speed Trains run in the UK on existing 125 mph routes, there will be a greater need to increase the operating speed of commuter trains sharing the routes.

Regional Battery Trains

I described these trains in Hyperdrive Innovation And Hitachi Rail To Develop Battery Tech For Trains.

Their specification is given in this Hitachi infographic.

A Regional Battery Train has the following capabilities on battery power.

  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Ability to run for 56 miles.

It appears that all AT-300 based trains could be converted into either Regional Battery Trains or AT-300 trains fitted with batteries.

If you take one of Great Western Railway’s Class 802 trains, it will have the following specification.

  • 125 mph operating speed on electric power
  • 140 mph operating speed on electric power with in-cab signalling.

These speeds will be unaffected by fitting batteries, as when running using electrification, the batteries will effectively be more passengers, just as any diesel engines are today.

I also believe that the trains could be Plug-and-Play, with interchangeable diesel engines and battery packs. The train’s operating system would determine how much power was available and drive the car accordingly.

I also believe that Hitachi are being economical with the truth on range on battery power and that if every car was fitted with an intelligent battery pack, on some routes the range could be much greater in a few years.

As an example of their use, Harrogate is eighteen miles from electrification at Leeds. With a range of 56 miles, a Regional Battery Train could do the following.

  • Travel from London Kings Cross to Leeds using the existing electrification.
  • Travel from Leeds to Harrogate and back on battery power.
  • Travel back to London Kings Cross from Leeds using the existing electrification.

Note.

  1. Trains would charge their batteries on the run up from London Kings Cross.
  2. Trains would be travelling at up to 125 mph between London Kings Cross and Leeds.
  3. Once in-cab signalling is installed between London and Doncaster, this section could be run at up to 140 mph.

This battery train is no glorified milk-float!

There are other services off high speed lines , that could be handled

  • Bedwyn – 13 miles
  • Harrogate – 18 miles
  • Henley – 4.5 miles
  • Huddersfield – 17 miles
  • Lincoln – 16.5 miles
  • Oxford – 10.5 miles

These are just a few of many examples, which are probably increased by a factor of two or three if you have charging at both ends of route without electrification.

Conclusion

Hitachi have developed a family of high speed trains, that can handle anything from fast commuter trains to very high speed trains.

They also probably have battery options to fit all of them.

 

 

 

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hopes Rekindled Of Full Midland Main Line Electrification

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

This is the key section of the article.

During a House of Commons debate on transport on September 17, HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said in response to a question from Alex Norris (Labour/Co-op, Nottingham North): “We are currently delivering the Midland Main Line upgrade, which includes electrification from London to Kettering, with additional electrification to Market Harborough being developed.

“Further electrification of the MML is currently at an early stage, but it is being examined by Network Rail.”

Stephenson said the DfT will continue to work closely with NR on the development of a proposal that would include approaches to advancing the delivery of electrification across the route.

The title of the article, probably sums it up well.

Electrification Of The Midland Main Line

Having read lots of stories about electrification of Midland Main Line, I think the following must be born in mind.

  • Electrification on the line will reach as far North as Market Harborough station.
  • The route between Sheffield station and Clay Cross North Junction will be shared with High Speed Two. It will obviously need to be electrified for High Speed Two.
  • The section of the Midland Main Line between Derby and Clay Cross North Junction, runs through the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills. The Heritage Taliban will love the electrification, with a vengeance.
  • Electrification through Leicester station could be tricky, as the station building and the A6 road are over the tracks and there is limited clearance. Electrification could involve major disruption to the trains for some time.

These are some of the distances involved of sections of the route that are not electrified.

  • Market Harborough and Derby are 54 miles apart.
  • Market Harborough and Clay Cross North Junction are 67 miles apart.
  • Market Harborough and Chesterfield are 70 miles apart.
  • Market Harborough and Nottingham are 44 miles apart
  • Market Harborough and Leicester are 16 miles apart.
  • Derby and Clay Cross North Junction are 21 miles apart.

Since 2017, when electrification for the full route was originally abandoned, there have been big changes in rolling stock technology.

The biggest change has been the development of battery trains.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains

This infographic from Hitachi gives the specification for their Regional Battery Train.

Note.

  1. The trains have a range of 56 miles on battery power.
  2. The trains can cruise at 100 mph on battery power.
  3. Hitachi have said that all of their AT-300 trains can be converted into Regional Battery Trains.
  4. Trains are converted by removing the diesel engines and replacing them with battery packs.
  5. I suspect these battery packs look like a diesel engine in terms of control inputs and performance to the driver and the train’s computer.

It is extremely likely, that the bi-mode Class 810 trains, which are a version of the AT-300 train, that have been ordered for the Midland Main Line can be converted into Regional Battery Trains.

These trains have four diesel engines, as opposed to the Class 800 and Class 802 trains, which only have three.

These are reasons, why the trains could need four engines.

  • The trains need more power to work the Midland Main Line. I think this is unlikely.
  • Four engine positions gives ,more flexibility when converting to Regional Battery Trains.
  • Four battery packs could give a longer range of up to 120 kilometres or 75 miles.

It could just be, that Hitachi are just being conservative, as engines can easily be removed or replaced. The fifth-car might even be fitted with all the wiring and other gubbins, so that a fifth-engine or battery pack can be added.

I suspect the train’s computer works on a Plug-And-Play principle, so when the train is started, it looks round each car to see how many diesel engines and battery packs are available and it then controls the train according to what power is available.

London St. Pancras And Sheffield By Battery Electric Train

Any battery electric train going between London St. Pancras and Sheffield will need to be charged, at both ends of the route.

  • At the London end, it will use the electrification currently being erected as far as Market Harborough station.
  • At the Sheffield end, the easiest way to charge the trains, would be to bring forward the electrification and updating between Sheffield station and Clay Cross North Junction, that is needed for High Speed Two.

This will leave a 67 mile gap in the electrification between Market Harborough station and Clay Cross North junction.

It looks to me, the Class 810 trains should be able to run between London St. Pancras and Sheffield, after the following projects are undertaken.

  • Class 810 trains are given four battery packs and a battery range of 75 miles.
  • Electrification is installed between Sheffield station and Clay Cross North Junction.

Trains would need to leave Market Harborough station going North and Clay Cross Junction going South with full batteries.

Note.

  1. Trains currently take over an hour to go between Chesterfield to Sheffield and then back to Chesterfield, which would be more than enough to fully charge the batteries.
  2. Trains currently take around an hour to go between London St. Pancras and Market Harborough, which would be more than enough to fully charge the batteries.
  3. Chesterfield station is only three miles further, so if power changeover, needed to be in a station, it could be performed there.
  4. Leeds and Sheffield are under fifty miles apart and as both stations would be electrified, London St. Pancras and Sheffield services could be extended to start and finish at Leeds.

London St. Pancras and Sheffield can be run by battery electric trains.

London St. Pancras And Nottingham By Battery Electric Train

Could a battery electric train go from Market Harborough to Nottingham and back, after being fully-charged on the hour-long trip from London?

  • The trip is 44 miles each way or 88 miles for a round trip.
  • Services have either three or eight stops, of which two or three respectively are at stations without electrification.
  • Trains seem to take over thirty minutes to turnback at Nottingham station.

Extra power North of Market Harborough will also be needed.

  • To provide hotel power for the train, during turnback at Nottingham station.
  • To compensate for power losses at station stops.

If 75 miles is the maximum battery range, I doubt that a round trip is possible.

I also believe, that Hitachi must be developing a practical solution to charging a train during turnback, at a station like Nottingham, where trains take nearly thirty minutes to turnback.

If the Class 810 trains have a battery range of 75 miles, they would be able to handle the London St. Pancras and Nottingham service, with charging at Nottingham.

Conclusion

It appears that both the Nottingham and Sheffield services can be run using battery electric Class 810 trains.

  • All four diesel engines in the Class 810 trains would need to be replaced with batteries.
  • The route between Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield station, which will be shared with High Speed Two, will need to be electrified.
  • Charging facilities for the battery electric trains will need to be provided at Nottingham.

On the other hand using battery electric trains mean the two tricky sections of the Derwent Valley Mills and Leicester station and possibly others, won’t need to be electrified to enable electric trains to run on the East Midlands Railway network.

Will it be the first main line service in the world, run by battery electric trains?

 

September 28, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cleethorpes Station – 16th September 2020

On Wednesday, I took a trip on the South Humberside Main Line from Doncaster to Cleethorpes and back.

Cleethorpes station is a terminal station on the beach, with cafes not far away.

This Google Map shows the station and its position on the sea-front and the beach.

The station organisation was a bit shambolic at present, probably more to do with COVID-19 than anything else, but the station and the train services could be developed into something much better, when the good times return, as they surely will.

Improving The Station Facilities

The original station building is Grade II Listed and although it is only only a three-platform station, there used to be more platforms.

Five platforms or even six would be possible, if there were to be a need.

But as the station has wide platforms, is fully step-free and has most facilities passengers need, most of the improvements would involve restoring the original station building for a productive use.

The Current Train Service

The main train service is an hourly TransPennine Express service between Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport stations via Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly.

The trains are Class 185 trains, which are modern diesel multiple units, which entered service in 2006.

There is also a two-hourly service along the Barton Line to Barton-upon-Humber station.

It should be noted that all services to and from Cleethorpes, call at Grimsby Town station.

Could The TransPennine Service Be Run By Battery Electric Trains?

The route between Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport can be split into the following legs.

  • Cleethorpes and Grimsby Town – Not Electrified – 3,25 miles – 8 minutes
  • Grimsby Town and Habrough – Not Electrified – 8 miles – 12 minutes
  • Habrough and Doncaster – Not Electrified – 41 miles – 56 minutes
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – Not Electrified – 19 miles – 29 minutes
  • Sheffield and Stockport – Not Electrified – 37 miles – 41 minutes
  • Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly – Electrified – 6 miles – 10 minutes
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport – Electrified – 11 miles – 12 minutes

Note.

  1. At the Manchester end of the route, trains are connected to the electrification for at least 44 minutes.
  2. The longest non-electrified leg is the 52 miles between Cleethorpes and Doncaster stations.
  3. Doncaster is a fully-electrified station.

This infographic shows the specification of a Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

TransPennine Express has a fleet of nineteen Class 802 trains, which can have their diesel engines replaced with battery packs to have a train with the following performance.

  • 125 mph operating speed, where electrification exists.
  • 56 mile range at up to 100 mph on battery power.
  • 15 minute battery charge time.
  • Regenerative braking to Battery.
  • They are a true zero-carbon train.

What infrastructure would be needed, so they could travel between Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport stations?

  • If between Cleethorpes and Habrough stations were to be electrified, this would give at least 20 minutes of charging time, plus the time taken to turn the train at Cleethorpes. This would surely mean that a train would leave for Manchester, with a full load of electricity on board and sufficient range to get to Doncaster and full electrification.
  • If between Doncaster and Sheffield were to be electrified, this would give at least 25 minutes of charging time, which would be enough time to fully-charge the batteries, so that Grimsby Town in the East or Stockport in the West could be reached.

I suspect that Doncaster and Sheffield could be an early candidate for electrification for other reasons, like the extension of the Sheffield tram-train from Rotherham to Doncaster.

Could The Cleethorpes And Barton-on-Humber Service Be Run By Battery Electric Trains?

Cleethorpes And Barton-on-Humber stations are just 23 miles apart.

This is probably a short enough route to be handled on and out and back basis, with charging at one end by a battery electric train. Vivarail are claiming a sixty mile range for their battery electric Class 230 trains on this page of their web site.

If between Cleethorpes and Grimsby Town stations were to be electrified, this would mean that a range of only forty miles would be needed and the batteries would be charged by the electrification.

A full hourly service, which is surely needed, would need just two trains for the service and probably a spare.

Cleethorpes And London King’s Cross Via Grimsby Town, Market Rasen, Lincoln Central And Newark North Gate

The Wikipedia entry for Cleethorpes station has references to this service.

This is the historical perspective.

In the 1970s Cleethorpes had a twice daily return service to London King’s Cross, typically hauled by a Class 55 Deltic.

That must have been an impressive sight.

And this was National Express East Coast’s plan.

In August 2007, after National Express East Coast was awarded the InterCity East Coast franchise, it proposed to start services between Lincoln and London King’s Cross from December 2010 with one morning service and one evening service extending from Lincoln to Cleethorpes giving Cleethorpes a link to London and calling at Grimsby Town and Market Rasen. These services were to be operated using the Class 180s but was never introduced. These services were scrapped when East Coast took over the franchise.

It came to nothing, but LNER have been running up to five trains per day (tpd) between London King’s Cross and Lincoln.

I will split the route into legs.

  • London King’s Cross and Newark North Gate- Electrified – 120 miles
  • Newark North Gate and Lincoln Central – Not Electrified – 16,5 miles
  • Lincoln Central and Market Rasen – Not Electrified – 15 miles
  • Market Rasen and Habrough – Not Electrified – 21 miles
  • Habrough and Grimsby Town – Not Electrified – 8 miles
  • Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes – Not Electrified – 3.25 miles

Note that a  round trip between Newark North Gate and Lincoln Central is thirty-three miles.

This means it would be possible for one of LNER’s Class 800 trains, that had been fitted with a battery pack and converted into one of Hitachi’s Regional Battery trains, would be able to run a London King’s Cross and Lincoln Central service without using a drop of diesel or needing a charge at Lincoln Central station.

Would it be possible to extend this service to Grimsby Town on battery power?

I suggested earlier that between Cleethorpes and Habrough should be electrified.

As Newark North Gate and Habrough stations are 52.5 miles apart, it would be rather tight for a battery electric train to cover the whole route without an extra charge somewhere.

Possible solutions could be.

  • Fit a bigger battery in the trains.
  • Extend the electrification at Newark North Gate station.
  • Extend the electrification at Habrough station.

I;m sure that there is a solution, that is easy to install.

Conclusion

If between Habrough and Cleethorpes station were to be electrified, these services could be run by battery electric trains.

  • Cleethorpes and Manchester Piccadilly
  • Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber
  • Cleethorpes and London King’s Cross

Note.

  1. The Manchester and London services would be run by Hitachi Regional Battery Trains converted from Class 800 and Class 802 trains.
  2. The Barton service could be run by a Vivarail Class 230 train or similar.

The first two services would be hourly, with the London service perhaps 1 or 2 tpd.

Cleethorpes would be well and truly on the rail network.

September 18, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overhauls for LNER’s Remaining Class 91s And Mk 4s

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Eversholt Rail, which owns the trains, has confirmed that 12 London North Eastern Railway Class 91s and the remaining Mk 4 coaches will undergo overhauls at Wabtec Rail, Doncaster.

It had been expected, that LNER would purchase more trains, as I wrote about in More New Trains On LNER Wish List.

The article gives more details of the trains to be retained.

  • Twelve Class 91 locomotives, seven rakes of Mark 4 coaches and two spare coaches will be retained.
  • They will be confined to routes between London Kings Cross and Bradford, Leeds, Skipton and York.

How many trains will be needed to cover these routes?

  • Trains take two hours and fifteen minutes between London Kings Cross and Leeds and run at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph)
  • Trains take two hours and twenty-one minutes between London Kings Cross and York and run hourly.
  • I suspect that a round trip to Leeds or York can be five hours.

So a crude analysis says, that will mean fifteen trains will be needed,

But some of these trains will be extended past Leeds.

These are, electrification status and the times and distances between Leeds and the final destinations.

  • Bradford – Electrified – 22 minutes – 13.5 miles
  • Harrogate – Not Electrified – 40 minutes – 18 miles
  • Huddersfield – Not Electrified – 33 minutes – 17 miles
  • Skipton – Electrified  – 45 minutes – 26 miles

It appears that the following is true.

  • Trains serving Harrogate and Huddersfield must be worked by bi-mode Class 800 trains.
  • Trains serving Bradford and Skipton could be worked by InterCity 225 trains or an all-electric nine-car Class 801 train.

Note.

  1. Some times are those taken by LNER services and some are estimates from TransPennine Express.
  2. I have assumed 8-10 minutes for the Split-and-Join at Leeds and included it in the times.
  3. Class 800 trains seem to take around ten minutes to turnround at Harrogate.
  4. Times between London Kings Cross and Doncaster will decrease by a few minutes, with the addition of digital in-cab signalling on the route, which will allow 140 mph running by InterCity 225s, Class 800 trains and Class 801 trains.

I estimate that it will be possible for an InterCity 225, Class 800 train or Class 801 train to do a round trip between London Kings Cross and Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield or Skipton in six hours.

The round trip between London Kings Cross and York will be the five hours, I estimated earlier.

Wikipedia also says this.

LNER expects to introduce two-hourly services to Bradford and a daily service to Huddersfield in May 2020 when more Azuma trains have been introduced.

So would the pattern of trains to Leeds/York be as follows?

  • One tph – One pair of five-car Class 800 trains to Leeds, of which some or all split and join at Leeds, with one train going to and from Harrogate and the other going to and from Huddersfield.
  • One tph per two hours (tp2h) – An InterCity 225 or nine-car Class 801 train to Leeds, of which some or all are extended to Bradford.
  • One tp2h – An InterCity 225 or nine-car Class 801 train to Leeds, of which some or all are extended to Skipton.
  • One tph – An InterCity 225 or nine-car Class 801 train to York.

I estimate that it will be possible for an InterCity 225, Class 800 train or Class 801 train to do a round trip between London Kings Cross and Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield or Skipton in six hours.

This would need the following trains.

  • Six pairs of five-car Class 800 trains for the Harrogate and Huddersfield services.
  • Six full size all electric trains, which could be an InterCity 225, a nine-car Class 801 train or a pair of five Class 801 trains, for Bradford and Skipton services.
  • Five full size all electric trains, which could be an InterCity 225, a nine-car Class 801 train or a pair of Class 801 trains, for York services.

So why have LNER changed their mind and are retaining the InterCity 225?

Are InterCity 225 Trains Already Certified For 140 mph Running?

I wouldn’t be surprised, if a large part of the certification work for this had been done for 140 mph running and for it to be allowed, it needs digital in-cab signalling to be installed on the East Coast Main Line.

The Wikipedia entry for the InterCity 225 says this about the train’s performance.

The InterCity 225 has a top service speed of 140 mph (225 km/h); during a test run in 1989 on Stoke Bank between Peterborough and Grantham an InterCity 225 reached 162 mph (260.7 km/h). However, except on High Speed 1, which is equipped with cab signalling, British signalling does not allow trains to exceed 125 mph (201 km/h) in regular service, due to the impracticality of correctly observing lineside signals at high speed.

The Wikipedia entry for the East Coast Main Line says this about the future signalling.

A new Rail operating centre (ROC), with training facilities, opened in early 2014 at the “Engineer’s Triangle” in York. The ROC will enable signalling and day-to-day operations of the route to be undertaken in a single location. Signalling control/traffic management using ERTMS is scheduled to be introduced from 2020 on the ECML between London King’s Cross and Doncaster – managed from the York ROC.

A small fleet of InterCity 225 trains could be the ideal test fleet to find all the glitches in the new signalling.

Are InterCity 225 trains Already Certified To Run To Bradford and Skipton?

If they are, then that is another problem already solved.

A Fleet Of Seven Trains Would Cover Bradford And Skipton Services

Six trains are needed to run a one tp2h service to both Bradford and Skipton, so they could fully cover one tp2h to Bradford and occasional trains to Skipton with a spare train and one in maintenance.

Using InterCity 225s To Bradford and Skipton Would Not Require A Split-And-Join At Leeds

The number of trains that would Split-and-Join at Leeds would be only two tph instead  of four tph, which would be simpler with less to go wrong.

Not Enough Five-Car Bi-Mode Class 800 Trains

LNER’s full fleet of Azumas will be as follows.

  • 13 – Nine-car bi-mode Class 800 trains.
  • 10 – Five-car bi-mode Class 800 trains.
  • 30 – Nine-car electric Class 801 trains.
  • 12 – Five-car electric Class 801 trains.

This would appear to be a major problem, if Harrogate and Huddersfield were to be served hourly by Class 800 trains, existing services are to be maintained or even increased to Hull and Lincoln and extra services are to be added to Middlesbrough and perhaps Nottingham and other destinations.

The InterCity 225s only help indirectly, if they provided the London Kings Cross and Bradford and Skipton services.

Conversion Of Class 800 and Class 801 Trains To Regional Battery Trains

Hitachi have launched the Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

For LNER, they will be useful for any Journey under about 90 kilometres or 56 miles.

The trains should be able to serve these routes.

  • Leeds and Harrogate and back – 36 miles
  • Leeds and Huddersfield and back – 34 miles
  • Newark and Lincoln and back – 33 miles
  • Northallerton and Middlesbrough and back – 42 miles

Whilst Class 800 trains and Class 801 trains are converted, the InterCity 225 trains would act as valuable cover on services like London to Leeds and York.

Conclusion

I think it is a good plan.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hull Issues New Plea For Electrification

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Residents and businesses in Hull are being urged to support electrification of the railway to Selby and Sheffield.

This paragraph is about the difficulty of electrifying the route.

“Unlike elsewhere on the trans-Pennine routes, work here can start straightaway and would be a quick win. Our plans involve few extra land purchases, no tunnel widening, and no re-routing,” said Daren Hale, Hull City Council and Hull’s representative on the Transport for the North board.

Services to Hull station are as follows.

  • Hull Trains – London Kings Cross and Hull via Selby, Howden and Brough.
  • Hull Trains – Beverley and Hull via Cuttingham
  • LNER – London Kings Cross and Hull via Selby and Brough
  • Northern Trains – Halifax and Hull via Bradford Interchange, New Pudsey, Bramley, Leeds, Cross Gates, Garforth, East Garforth, Micklefield, South Milford, Selby and Brough
  • Northern Trains – Sheffield and Hull via Meadowhall, Rotherham Central, Swinton, Mexborough, Conisbrough, Doncaster, Kirk Sandall, Hatfield & Stainforth, Thorne North, Goole, Saltmarshe, Gilberdyke, Broomfleet, Brough, Ferriby and Hessle,
  • Northern Trains – Bridlington and Hull via Nafferton, Driffield, Hutton Cranswick, Arram, Beverley and Cottingham.
  • Northern Trains – Scarborough and Hull via Seamer, Filey, Hunmanby, Bempton, Bridlington, Nafferton, Driffield, Hutton Cranswick, Arram, Beverley and Cottingham.
  • Northern Trains – York and Hull via Selby, Howden, Gilberdyke and Brough.
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Piccadilly and Hull via Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, Selby, Brough

Note.

  1. Some services are joined back-to-back with a reverse at Hull station.
  2. I have simplified some of the lists of intermediate stations.
  3. Services run by Hull Trains, LNER or TransPennine Express use bi-mode Class 800 or Class 802 trains.
  4. All routes to Hull station and the platforms are not electrified.

Trains approach Hull by three routes.

  • Selby and Brough
  • Goole and Brough
  • Beverley and Cottingham

Could these three routes be electrified?

I have just flown my helicopter along all of them.

I’ve also had a lift in the cab of a Class 185 train between Hull and Leeds, courtesy of Don Coffey.

Hull And Selby via Brough

There is the following infrastructure.

  • Several major road overbridges, which all seem to have been built with clearance for overhead wires.
  • There are also some lower stone arch bridges, which may need to be given increased clearance.
  • No tunnels
  • The historic Selby Swing Bridge.
  • Four farm crossings.
  • Fourteen level crossings.

Hull And Goole via Brough

There is the following infrastructure.

  • Several major road overbridges, which all seem to have been built with clearance for overhead wires.
  • No tunnels
  • A swing bridge over the River Ouse.
  • A couple of farm crossings
  • Six level crossings

Hull And Beverley via Cottingham

There is the following infrastructure.

  • A couple of major road overbridges, which all seem to have been built with clearance for overhead wires.
  • No tunnels
  • A couple of farm crossings
  • Six level crossings

All of the routes would appear to be.

  • At least double track.
  • Not in deep cuttings.
  • Mainly in open countryside.

I feel that compared to some routes, they would be easy to electrify, but could cause a lot of disruption, whilst the level crossings and the two swing bridges were electrified.

Speeding Up Services To And From Hull

What Are The Desired  Timings?

The Rail Magazine article says this about the desired timings.

Should the plans be approved, it is expected that Hull-Leeds journey times would be cut from 57 minutes to 38, while Hull-Sheffield would drop from 86 minutes to 50 minutes.

These timings are in line with those given in this report on the Transport for the North web site, which is entitled At A Glance – Northern Powerhouse Rail,

The frequency of both routes is given in the report as two trains per hour (tph)

The Performance Of An Electric Class 802 Train

As Hull Trains, LNER and TransPennine Express will be using these trains or similar to serve Hull, I will use these trains for my calculations.

The maximum speed of a Class 802 train is 125 mph or 140 mph with digital in-cab signalling.

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 100 mph and then decelerate to a stop in 200 seconds in electric mode.

The time to 125 mph and back is 350 seconds

Thoughts On Hull And Leeds

Consider.

  • The Hull and Leeds route is 52 miles long, is timed for a 75 mph train and has an average speed of 55 mph
  • There are three intermediate stops, which means that in a Hull and Leeds journey, there are four accelerate-decelerate cycles.
  • A 38 minute journey between Hull and Leeds would be an average speed of 82 mph
  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 31 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 25 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds.

I also have one question.

What is the speed limit on the Selby Swing Bridge?

I have just been told it’s 25 mph. As it is close to Selby station, it could probably be considered that the stop at Selby is a little bit longer.

These could be rough timings.

  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 31 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds plus what it takes for the four stops. at 200 seconds a stop, which adds up to 43 minutes.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 25 minutes to go between Hull and Leeds plus what it takes for the four stops. at 350 seconds a stop, which adds up to 48 minutes.

Note how the longer stopping time of the faster train slows the service.

I think it would be possible to attain the required 38 minute journey, running at 100 mph.

Thoughts On Hull And Sheffield

Consider.

  • The Hull and Sheffield route is 61 miles long, is timed for a 90 mph train and has an average speed of 43 mph
  • There are five intermediate stops, which means that in a Hull and Sheffield journey, there are six accelerate-decelerate cycles.
  • A 50 minute journey between Hull and Leeds would be an average speed of 73 mph.
  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 36 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 29 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield.

I also have one question.

What is the speed limit on the swing bridge over the River Ouse?

As there is no nearby station, I suspect it counts as another stop, if it only has a 25 mph limit.

These could be rough timings.

  • A train travelling at 100 mph would take 36 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield plus what it takes for the six stops. at 200 seconds a stop, which adds up to 56 minutes.
  • A train travelling at 125 mph would take 29 minutes to go between Hull and Sheffield plus what it takes for the six stops. at 350 seconds a stop, which adds up to 64 minutes.

Note how the longer stopping time of the faster train slows the service.

I think it would be possible to attain the required 50 minute journey, running at 100 mph.

Conclusions From My Rough Timings

Looking at my rough timings, I can conclude the following.

  • The trains will have to have  the ability to make a station stop in a very short time. Trains using electric traction are faster at station stops.
  • The trains will need to cruise at a minimum of 100 mph on both routes.
  • The operating speed of both routes must be at least 100 mph, with perhaps 125 mph allowed in places.
  • I feel the Hull and Leeds route is the more difficult.

I also think, that having a line running at 100 mph or over, with the large number of level crossings, there are at present, would not be a good idea.

What Does Hull Want?

Hull wants what Northern Powerhouse Rail is promising.

  • Two tph between Hull and Leeds in 38 minutes and Hull and Sheffield in 50 minutes.

They’d probably also like faster electric services between Hull and Bridlington, London Kings Cross, Manchester, Scarborough and York.

When Do They Want It?

They want it now!

Is There An Alternative Solution, That Can Be Delivered Early?

This may seem to be the impossible, as electrifying between Hull and Leeds and Hull and Sheffield is not an instant project, although full electrification could be an ultimate objective.

Consider.

  • Hull and Brough are 10.5 miles apart.
  • Brough and Leeds are 41 miles apart.
  • Brough and Doncaster are 30 miles apart and Doncaster and Sheffield are 20 miles apart.
  • Brough and Temple Hirst Junction are 26 miles apart.
  • Brough and York are 42 miles apart.
  • Hull and Beverley are 8 miles apart.
  • Beverley and Bridlington are 23 miles apart.
  • Beverley and Seamer are 42 miles apart.

Note that Doncaster, Leeds and Temple Hirst Junction are all electrified.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

Hitachi have just launched the Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infograpic.

It has a range of 56 miles and an operating speed of 100 mph.

Class 800 and Class 802 trains could be converted into Regional Battery Trains.

  • The three diesel engines would be exchanged for battery packs.
  • The trains would still be capable of 125 mph on fully-electrified routes like the East Coast Main Line.
  • They would be capable of 100 mph on routes like the 100 mph routes from Hull.
  • The trains would have full regenerative braking to batteries, which saves energy.
  • Below 125 mph, their acceleration and deceleration on battery power would probably be the same as when using electrification. It could even be better due to the simplicity and low impedance of batteries.

But they would need some means of charging the batteries at Hull.

A Start To Electrification

If the ultimate aim is to electrify all the lines, then why not start by electrifying.

  • Hull station.
  • Hull and Brough
  • Hull and Beverley

It would only be 18.5 miles of electrification and it doesn’t go anywhere near the swing bridges or about six level crossings.

Battery Electric Services From Hull

I will now look at how the various services could operate.

Note in the following.

  1. When I say Regional Battery Train, I mean Hitachi’s proposed train or any other battery electric train with a similar performance.
  2. I have tried to arrange all power changeovers in a station.
  3. Pantograph operation can happen at line-speed or when the train is stationary.

I have assumed a range of 56 miles on a full battery and an operating speed of 100 mph on a track that allows it.

Hull And London Kings Cross

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Temple Hirst Junction – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • Temple Hirst Junction and London Kings Cross – 169 miles – Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 26 miles should be easy.
  3. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station.
  4. The other changeover will be done at line speed at Temple Hirst Junction, as it is now!

Hull Trains and LNER would be able to offer an all-electric service to London.

A few minutes might be saved, but they would be small compared to time savings, that will be made because of the introduction of full ERTMS in-cab signalling South of Doncaster, which will allow 140 mph running.

Hull And Leeds

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Leeds – 41 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 41 miles should be easy.
  3. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station, with the other in Leeds station.

If Leeds and Huddersfield is electrified, TransPennine Express will be able to run an all-electric service between Manchester and Hull, using battery power in the gaps.

Hull And Sheffield

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Doncaster – 30 miles – Not Electrified
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the battery.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 30 miles should be easy.
  3. Trains would charge using the electrification at Doncaster.
  4. Doncaster and Sheffield both ways should be possible after a full charge at Doncaster station.
  5. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station, with the others in Doncaster station.

Hull And York

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and York- 42 miles – Not electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Brough takes about 11 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 42 miles should be easy.
  3. One changeover between power sources will be done in Brough station, with the other in York station.
  4. Trains would be fully charged for the return in York station.

This journey will also be effected by the York to Church Fenton Improvement Scheme, which is described on this page on the Network Rail web site. According to the web page this involves.

  • Replace old track, sleepers, and ballast (The stones which support the track)
  • Install new signalling gantries, lights, and cabling
  • Fully electrify the route from York to Church Fenton – extending the already electrified railway from York.

There will be another five miles of electrification., which will mean the legs of the Hull and York service will be as follows.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles – Electrified
  • Brough and Church Fenton – 31.5 miles – Not Electrified
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrified

It is a classic route for a battery electric train.

Note.

  1. Church Fenton and York takes about 19 minutes, so added to the time spent in York station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. There will be a changeover between power sources in Church Fenton station.

This appears to me to be a very sensible addition to the electrification.

If you look at a Leeds and York, after the electrification it will have two legs.

  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles – Not Electrified
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrified

It is another classic route for a battery electric train.

Hull And Bridlington

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles – Electrified
  • Beverley and Bridlington – 23 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Beverley takes about 13 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 46 miles to Bridlington and back to Beverley, should be possible.
  3. The changeovers between power sources would be in Beverley station.

If necessary, there is a bay platform at Bridlington, that could be fitted with simple electrification to charge the trains before returning.

Hull And Scarborough

The legs of the service are as follows.

  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles – Electrified
  • Beverley and Seamer- 42 miles – Not Electrified
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. Hull and Beverley takes about 13 minutes, so added to the time spent in Hull station, this must be enough time to fully-charge the batteries.
  2. Regional Battery Trains will be able to do 56 miles on a full battery so 45 miles to Scarborough should be easy.
  3. The changeovers between power sources would be in Beverley station.

There would need to be charging at Scarborough, so why not electrify between Scarborough and Seamer?

  • Power changeover would be in Seamer station.
  • The electrification could also charge battery electric trains running between York and Scarborough.
  • Seamer and York are 39 miles apart.
  • All Northern Trains and TransPennine Express services appear to stop in Seamer station.

This could be three very useful miles of electrification.

Could This Plan Based On Battery Trains Be Delivered Early?

The project could be divided into sub-projects.

Necessary Electrification

Only these double-track routes would need to electrified.

  • Hull and Brough
  • Hull and Beverley
  • Seamer and Scarborough

There would also be electrification at Hull and Scarborough stations to charge terminating trains.

In total it would be under twenty-five double-track miles of electrification.

Note.

  1. There are no swing bridges on these routes.
  2. There are no tunnels
  3. Many of the overbridges appear to be modern with adequate clearance for electrification.
  4. I don’t suspect that providing adequate power will be difficult.
  5. Hull and Scarborough are larger stations and I believe a full service can be provided, whilst the stations are being electrified.

It would not be a large and complicated electrification project.

Conversion Of Class 800 And Class 802 Trains To Regional Battery Trains

Whilst the electrification was being installed, the existing Class 800 and Class 802 trains needed by Hull Trains, LNER and TransPennine Express could be converted to Regional Battery Trains, by the replacement of some or all of the diesel engines with battery power-packs.

I suspect LNER or GWR could be the lead customer for Hitachi’s proposed conversion of existing trains.

  • Both train companies have routes, where these trains could be deployed without any electrification or charging systems. Think London Kings Cross and Harrogate for LNER and  Paddington and Oxford for GWR.
  • Both train companies have large fleets of five-car trains, that would be suitable for conversion.
  • Both train companies have lots of experience with Hitachi’s trains.

It should be noted that GWR, Hull Trains and TransPennine Express are all part of the same company.

What About Northern Trains?

Northern Trains will need some battery electric trains, if this plan goes ahead, to run routes like.

  • Hull and Bridlington – 46 miles
  • Hull and Leeds – 41 miles
  • Hull and Scarborough – 42 miles
  • Hull and Sheffield – 40 miles
  • Hull and York – 42 miles
  • Scarborough and York – 31.5 miles
  • The distances are the lengths of the route without electrification.

I suspect they will need a train with this specification.

  • Four cars
  • Ability to use 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Battery range of perhaps 50 miles.
  • 100 mph operating speed.

There are already some possibilities.

  • CAF are talking about a four-car battery electric version of the Class 331 train.
  • Hitachi have mentioned a battery electric Class 385 train.
  • Porterbrook have talked about converting Class 350 trains to battery electric operation.
  • Bombardier have talked about battery electric Aventras.

There are also numerous four-car electric trains, that are coming off lease that could be converted to battery electric operation.

When Could The Project Be Completed?

There are three parts to the project.

  • Under twenty-five double-track miles of electrification.
  • Adding batteries to Class 800 and Class 802 trains.
  • Battery electric trains for Northern.

As the sub-projects can be progressed independently, I can see the project being completely by the end of 2024.

Across The Pennines In A Regional Battery Train

By providing the ability to run Class 802 trains on battery power to Hull and Scarborough, the ability to run Regional Battery Trains from Liverpool in the West to Hull, Middlesbrough and Scarborough in the East under electric power, could become possible.

Looking at Liverpool and Scarborough, there are these legs.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Not Electrified
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Not Electrified
  • Huddersfield and Leeds – 17 miles – Not Electrified
  • Leeds and York – 26 miles – Not Electrified
  • York and Scarborough – 42 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. East of Manchester Victoria, there is electrification in Leeds and York stations, which could charge the train fully if it were in the station for perhaps ten minutes.
  2. Currently, stops at Leeds and York are around 4-5 minutes.
  3. Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge is being electrified.
  4. In this post, I have suggested that between Seamer and Scarborough should be electrified to charge the trains.
  5. I have also noted that between Church Fenton and York is being fully electrified.

This could mean power across the Pennines between Liverpool and Scarborough could be as follows.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Battery Power
  • Huddersfield and Leeds – 17 miles – Battery Power
  • Leeds station – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles – Battery Power
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles – Battery Power
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery

There are three stretches of the route, where the train will be run on battery power.

  • Stalybridge and Leeds – 35 miles
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles

There will be charging at these locations.

  • West of Stalybridge
  • Through Leeds Station
  • Through York Station
  • East of Seamer Station

I feel it could be arranged that trains left the charging sections and stations with a full battery, which would enable the train to cover the next section on battery power.

To make things even easier, Network Rail are developing the Huddersfield And Westtown Upgrade, which will add extra tracks and eight miles of new electrification between Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

This would change the power schedule across the Pennines between Liverpool and Scarborough to this.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 32 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Battery Power
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Fewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles – Battery Power
  • Leeds station – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles – Battery Power
  • Church Fenton and York – 10.5 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles – Battery Power
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles – Electrification Power and Charging Battery

There are now four stretches of the route, where the train will be run on battery power.

  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9 miles
  • Leeds and Church Fenton – 13 miles
  • York and Seamer – 39 miles

I can envisage the electrification being extended.

But battery power on this route gives all the advantages of electric trains, with none of the costs and installation problems of electrification.

Conclusion

I believe a limited electrification of lines for a few miles from the coastal terminals at Hull and Scarborough and battery electric trains can deliver zero-carbon and much faster electric trains to the railways of Yorkshire to the East of Leeds, Sheffield and York.

If this approach is used, the electrification will be much less challenging and if skates were to be worn, the scheme could be fully-implemented in around four years.

The scheme would also deliver the following.

  • Faster, all-electric TransPennine services.
  • An all-electric Hull and London service.
  • A substantial move towards decarbonisation of passenger train services in East Yorkshire.

It is also a scheme, that could be extended South into Lincolnshire, across the Pennines to Lancashire and North to Teesside and Tyneside.

 

 

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Electrification Plans For Line Between Fife And Clackmannanshire

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The next stage of development work is due to begin for Network Rail engineers between Alloa and Longannet, which could see passenger services return between Clackmannanshire and Fife.

The article also makes these points.

  • As part of the Scottish Government’s decarbonisation plan, it is hoped the former freight line will be electrified.
  • Engineers will be conducting survey work and site and geological investigations.
  • Three new stations are also hoped to be introduced at Clackmannan, Kincardine and Longannet.
  • The work is also hoping to bring a two trains per hour (tph) passenger service between Alloa and Longannet.

There will be a lot of surveying and planning before work starts.

Existing Rail Routes And Services In The Area

These are the current routes and services in the area.

Alloa Station

Alloa station was closed in October 1968, when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister and re-opened in 2008.

Wikipedia says this about the re-opening.

Under Scottish Executive funding, the line between Stirling and Alloa was reopened to both passenger and freight traffic, with a key benefit being a reduction in congestion on the Forth Railway Bridge.

The basic train service is an hourly service to Stirling and Glasgow run by a Class 385 train.

Journey times are as follows.

  • Alloa and Stirling – 9-15 minutes
  • Alloa and Glasgow Queen Street – 45 minutes

Trains seem to take about twelve minutes to turnround at Alloa station.

This Google Map shows Alloa station.

Note.

  1. The station currently only has one platform.
  2. A second line is already laid through the station and although, it is not electrified, the gantries are positioned to electrify the second track.
  3. The two tracks merge into one to the West of the station.
  4. All passenger trains currently use the Southern platform.

This picture shows the station, just before the electric train services started.

The station also must have one of the largest station shops in the UK, which is an Asda superstore.

The Kincardine Line

The Kincardine Line is the one proposed for electrification.

  • It is currently, a freight-only route, that was re-opened to serve Longannet power station.
  • At Alloa station, it is an extension of the route from Stirling.
  • It may be connected to the new Talgo factory at Longannet, that I wrote about in A Spaniard In The Works!, as the factory will surely need electrified rail access, if any electric trains for the UK are to be built or serviced there.
  • The line passes through Clackmannan, Kincardine and Longannet.

As the route used to handle long coal trains, could it handle a 200 metre long classic-compatible high speed train, that Talgo might build for High Speed Two at Longannet?

The Fife Circle Line

According to Wikipedia, the Fife Circle Line is the local service North from Edinburgh, that goes in a long loop through Fife.

This map from Wikipedia shows the stations on the Fife Circle Line.

Note.

  1. The route is double-track.
  2. The route is not electrified.
  3. The train service is generally two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  4. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath is 22.3 miles
  5. The distance from Dalmeny to Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy is 21.4 miles
  6. Trains appear to wait between three and seven minutes at Glenrothes with Thornton before returning to Edinburgh by the alternate route.

The map doesn’t show the connection with the Kincardine Line at Dunfermline Town station.

This Google Map shows the Fife Circle Line, through Dunfermline Town station.

Note.

  1. Dunfermline Town station at the top of the map, is indicated by a station sign.
  2. The Northbound Fife Circle Line to Cowdenbeath leaves the map in a North-Easterly direction.
  3. The Southbound Fife Circle Line to Rosyth and Dalmeny, runs behind the building that looks strangely like a signpost and leaves the map in a Southerly direction
  4. There is a junction, called Charlestown Junction, where the Kincardine Line joins the Fife Circle Line.

This Google Map shows Charlestown junction.

Note.

  1. The Fife Circle Line is double-track.
  2. The Kincardine Line is only single-track.
  3. Trains must enter and leave the Kincardine Line from a Northerly direction.
  4. There is a cross-over between Charlestown junction and Dunfermline Town station.

The Google Map shows Dunfermline Town station to a larger scale.

It looks like fitting in an additional platform could be difficult.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

I am introducing this train into the discussion, as the train might be an alternative to electrifying the Kincardine Line.

This infographic from Hitachi, describes the train.

Note that 90 kilometres is fifty-six miles.

From what Hitachi have said, it is likely that Class 385 trains, as used by ScotRail could be fitted with batteries and become a version of the Regional Battery Train.

  • They could be three or four cars.
  • They could work in pairs.
  • They would have a 100 mph operating speed.

Even on battery power, they might save time, against the current diesel units working services in Scotland.

Regional Battery Trains And The Fife Circle Line

This map shows the rail system to the West of Edinburgh.

All lines except for the route through South Gyle and Edinburgh Gateway stations are electrified.

A train going round the Fife Circle Route would do the following legs.

  • Edinburgh and South Gyle – 4.5 miles – All but one mile electrified.
  • South Gyle and Dalmeny – 5 miles – Not electrified.
  • Dalmeny and Glenrothes with Thornton via Cowdenbeath – 22.3 miles – Not electrified
  • Glenrothes with Thornton and Dalmeny via Kirkaldy – 21.4 miles – Not electrified
  • South Gyle and Dalmeny – 5 miles – Not electrified.
  • Edinburgh and South Gyle – 4.5 miles – All but one mile electrified.

This gives the following  totals

  • Not electrified via Cowdenbeath – 28.3 miles
  • Not electrified via Kirkcaldy – 27.4 miles
  • Round trip – 62.7 miles
  • Electrified – 7 miles

It would be very tight for a Regional Battery Train to do a round trip of 62.7 miles consistently with a range of just 56 miles, with only seven miles of electrification at the Edinburgh end.

But if charging at Glenrothes with Thornton were added, this would enable the trains to start out on the near thirty miles without electrification with full batteries from both ends. They would be unlikely to run out of power halfway.

Regional Battery Trains And The Levenmouth Rail Link

In Scottish Government Approve £75m Levenmouth Rail Link, I wrote about the five-mile long Levenmouth Rail Link, and how it could be run by battery trains.

Since I wrote that post, Hitachi have announced their Regional Battery Train.

  • If these were used on the route, they would join the Fife Circle at Thornton North Junction.
  • I estimate that the track distance that is not electrified between Leven and Edinburgh via Thornton North junction, is about thirty-five miles, whether the trains go via Glenrothes with Thornton and Cowdenbeath or Kirkcaldy,

As with the Glenrothes with Thornton service, if there was charging at at both ends, the route would be within comfortable range of Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains.

Regional Battery Trains And The Kincardine Line

Rough distances by road along the Kincardine Line are as follows.

  • Alloa and Longannet – 8 miles
  • Alloa and Dunfermline Town – 15 miles
  • Alloa and Glenrothes with Thornton via Dunfermline Town – 30 miles

This would surely mean that Regional Battery Trains could work all these routes.

  • Trains would leave Alloa with full batteries after charging on the electrification from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.
  • Longannet and Dunfermline Town could be served by a return trip from Alloa on batteries.
  • Charging at the Fife end would only be needed for the Glenrothes with Thornton route.

Some might think, that this would mean the Kincardine Line needn’t be electrified. But I feel Talgo will want an electrified route to their factory, so trains can move in and out under electric power.

The Design Of The Kincardine Route

These are my thoughts on various topics, taken vaguely from West to East.

Alloa Station

Alloa station already has two tracks, but as the plans envisage two tph between Alloa and Longannet, I am fairly certain a second platform will be needed at Alloa.

There is certainly space, but the station would also need a bridge for passengers.

Perhaps, the architects will use something like this bridge design.

This step-free bridge won the Network Rail/RIBA Footbridge Design Competition, but has yet to be deployed on the UK rail network.

Will the two tph service between Alloa and Longannet continue West to Stirling?

I suspect the track layout with a passing loop at Cambus to add to the one at Alloa station will give sufficient track capacity, so I suspect there will be two tph between Longannet and Stirling.

Would both services terminate at Glasgow or would one go to Glasgow, with the other to Edinburgh?

Clackmannan Station

The small town of Clackmannan has a population of about 3,500 and used to be served by Clackmannan and Kennet station, which closed in 1930.

This Google Map shows the town of Clackmannan.

Note.

  1. The Kincardine Line runs between the North West and South-East corners of the map, through the centre of the town.
  2. The original Clackmannan and Kennet station was to the South-East of this map.

This second Google map shows an enlargement of part of the town.

It would appear that there is space for a station.

  • Only a single platform would be needed.
  • What is the plan for the development site?

It could be designed as a walkway station, as has been proposed for Magor and Undy station in Wales.

Kincardine Station

The Kincardine Line runs between the small town of Kincardine and the River Forth and Kincardine station closed in 1930.

This Google Map shows the railway alongside the river.

Note.

  1. Kincardine Bridge crossing the Firth of Forth.
  2. The bridge can be used by pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. The Kincardine Line running along the river.
  4. It is not a long walk between the town centre and the railway.
  5. The blue dot to the South of the road junction marks the start of the Fife Coastal Path, which is over a hundred miles long.

Will the station be built in this area?

Longannet Station

Longannet power station was at the time of closure in 2016, the third-largest coal-fired power station in Europe.

This Google Map shows the site.

Note.

  1. The actual power station is in the middle.
  2. To the West is the coal store.
  3. The Kincardine Line comes along the river and then loops North of the power station, before curving down to the river to go to the East.
  4. There appears to be two triangular junctions either side of the coal store with a loop around the store to allow delivery of coal.

This second Google Map shows between the power station and the coal store.

Note.

  1. The Kincardine Line running West-East across the map.
  2. The triangular junction connecting it to the loop line around the coal store.
  3. The coal conveyor that used to move coal from the store to the power station.

I’d certainly like to see the plans for the site, as it is one with a lot of potential.

  • There is space for a large rail-connected factory for Talgo.
  • The station could be placed at the most convenient place.
  • There is space for a two platform station to make sure a two tph service is possible.
  • There could be lots of housing and industrial units.
  • there could be waterside housing.
  • There could be a convenient rail service to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

It could be a big development for the Central Belt of Scotland.

Onward To Dunfermline

I have followed the route to Dunfermline Town station in my helicopter and it doesn’t seem the most difficult of lines to reopen.

  • Unlike many lines like this, there doesn’t appear to be too many bridges or level crossings.
  • The connection to the Fife Circle Line looks to be adequate.

I have these thoughts.

  • Cn this section of the line, could more stations be added?
  • As the Fife Circle Line is not electrified, would battery electric trains be ideal?
  • Would turnround facilities be needed at Dunfermline Town stations.

But at the moment, the plan is only to go as far as Longannet.

Thoughts On The Stations

The stations would generally be very simple.

  • Alloa would be a two-platform station.
  • Longannet might need provision for a passing loop and a second platform, so extension to Dunfermline wouldn’t be difficult.
  • All other stations could be single platforms.
  • All stations would be step-free.

Only two-platform stations would need footbridges.

Final Thoughts On Electrification

Consider.

  • All services on the Fife Circle Line, Kincardine Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link could be run using Hitachi’s proposed Regional Battery Train, with a few charging facilities at selected stations.
  • Talgo will need an electrified line to Longannet
  • As Alloa and Dunfermline Town is only about 15 miles, a Regional Battery Train could run a return trip without recharging.

It would appear that only the single-track between Alloa and Longannet needs to be electrified.

Conclusion

This looks to be a good scheme.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running Battery Electric Trains Between London Marylebone And Aylesbury

This post was suggested by Fenline Scouser in a comment to Vivarail Targets Overseas Markets, where they said.

I have long thought that one UK application that would make sense is the Marylebone – Aylesbury via Harrow on the Hill service, the intermediate electrified section lending itself to full recharge on each trip. ? stabling facility at Aylesbury with overnight charging.

It does look to be an idea worth pursuing.

Current And Future Services

Currently, the services between London Marylebone and Aylesbury are as follows.

  • London Marylebone and Aylesbury via High Wycombe
  • London Marylebone and Aylesbury via Amersham
  • London Marylebone and Aylesbury Vale Parkway via Amersham

All services are one train per hour (tph)

In the future, it is planned to extend the Aylesbury Vale Parkway service to Milton Keynes, according to information I found on the East West Rail web site.

  • It looks like the service will go via High Wycombe, Saunderton, Princes Risborough, Monks Risborough, Little Kimble, Aylesbury, Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Winslow and Bletchley.
  • The service will have a frequency of 1 tph.
  • Time between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury is quoted as 33 minutes.
  • Time between High Wycombe and Milton Keynes is quoted as 63 minutes.

Will this leave the Marylebone and Aylesbury are as follows?

  • 1 tph – London Marylebone and Aylesbury via High Wycombe.
  • 2 tph – London Marylebone and Aylesbury via Amersham

Passengers between London Marylebone and Aylesbury would have the same service.

Distances

These are a few distances, of which some have been estimated.

  • London Marylebone and Harrow-on-the-Hill – 9.18 miles.chains
  • Amersham and Harrow-on-the-Hill – 14.27 miles.chains – Electrified
  • Aylesbury and Amersham – 15.23 miles.chains
  • London Marylebone and High Wycombe – 28.11 miles.chains
  • Aylesbury and High Wycombe – 15.28 miles.chains
  • Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway – 2.25 miles.chains
  • Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Calvert – 8.19 miles.chains
  • Aylesbury and Milton Keynes – 16.40 miles.chains – Estimated

Note that there are eighty chains to the mile.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train, is the only battery electric train intended for the UK network for which a detailed specification has been released.

This infographic from Hitachi gives the specification.

Note that ninety kilometres is fifty-six miles.

I would suspect that battery trains from other manufacturers, like Bombardier, CAF and Stadler, will have a similar specification.

Battery Electric Trains Between London Marylebone And Aylesbury

I’ll take each possible route in turn.

London Marylebone And Aylesbury Via Amersham

The three sections of the route are as follows.

  • London Marylebone and Harrow-on-the-Hill – 9.23 miles – Not Electrified
  • Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham – 14.34 – Electrified
  • Amersham and Aylesbury – 15.29 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. The total distance is 38.85 miles
  2. A typical service takes just under twenty minutes to travel between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham. This should be enough to fully charge the batteries.
  3. A train going South from Harrow-on-the-Hill could reach London Marylebone and return.
  4. A train going North from Amersham could reach Aylesbury and return.

I am fairly confident, that a battery electric train, with the range of a Hitachi Regional Battery Train could work this route.

London Marylebone And Aylesbury Vale Parkway Via Amersham

The four sections of the route are as follows.

  • London Marylebone and Harrow-on-the-Hill – 9.23 miles – Not Electrified
  • Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham – 14.34 – Electrified
  • Amersham and Aylesbury – 15.29 miles – Not Electrified
  • Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway – 2.31 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. The total distance is 41.16 miles
  2. A typical service takes just under twenty minutes to travel between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham. This should be enough to fully charge the batteries.
  3. A train going South from Harrow-on-the-Hill could reach London Marylebone and return.
  4. A train going North from Amersham could reach Aylesbury Vale Parkway and return.

I am fairly confident, that a battery electric train, with the range of a Hitachi Regional Battery Train could work this route.

London Marylebone And Aylesbury Via High Wycombe

The two sections of the route are as follows.

  • London Marylebone and High Wycombe- 28.14 miles – Not Electrified
  • High Wycombe and Aylesbury – 15.35 miles – Not Electrified

Note.

  1. The total distance is 43.50 miles
  2. There is no electrification to charge the trains.

A battery electric train, with the range of a Hitachi Regional Battery Train will need charging to work this route.

However, with charging at both ends, this would be a route for a battery electric train.

At the London Marylebone end, there are two possible solutions.

  • Electrify the station traditionally, together with perhaps the tracks as far as Neasden, where the routes split. Either 750 VDC third-rail or 25 KVAC overhead electrification could be used.
  • Fit fast charging systems into all the platforms at the station.

Note.

  1. Turnround times in Marylebone station are typically nine minutes or more, so using a charging system should be possible.
  2. Power for the electrification should not be a problem, as the station is close to one of London’s central electricity hubs at Lisson Grove by the Regent’s Canal.

The final decision at Marylebone, would be one for the engineers and accountants.

At the Aylesbury end, it should be noted that much of the under twenty miles of track between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury and on to Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Calvert us single-track.

So why not electrify from Princes Risborough and Calvert, where the route joins the East West Railway?

The electrification in Aylesbury station could also be used to top-up trains going to London via Amersham.

I would use 25 KVAC overhead electrification, using lightweight gantries like these, which use laminated wood for the overhead structure.

There is also a video.

Electrification doesn’t have to be ugly and out-of-character with the surroundings.

London Marylebone And Milton Keynes Via High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway

The three sections of the route are as follows.

  • London Marylebone and High Wycombe- 28.14 miles – Not Electrified
  • High Wycombe and Aylesbury – 15.35 miles – Not Electrified
  • Aylesbury and Milton Keynes – 16.50 miles – Partially Electrified

Note.

  1. The total distance is sixty miles
  2. There is some electrification to charge the trains between Bletchley and Milton Keynes.

A battery electric train, with the range of a Hitachi Regional Battery Train should be able to work this route, if they can work London Marylebone and Aylesbury, with charging at Aylesbury.

Milton Keynes Central is a fully-electrified station.

The picture shows Platform 2A, which is South-facing electrified, five-car platform, which could be used by the Chiltern service.

Train Specification

Consider.

  • Chiltern Railway’s workhorse is a Class 168 train, which is a diesel multiple unit of up to four cars, with a 100 mph operating speed.
  • The longest leg without electrification could be London Marylebone and Aylesbury via High Wycombe, which is 43.5 miles.
  • Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train has a range of fifty-six miles.
  • As there is a need to work with London Underground electrification, a dual-voltage train will be needed.

So a battery electric train with this specification would probably be ideal.

  • Four cars
  • Ability to work with both 750 VDC third-rail and 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Battery range of perhaps 55 miles.

Could the specification fit a battery-equipped Class 385 train, which will probably be built for Scotland?

Conclusion

I am convinced that battery electric trains can run between London Marylebone and Aylesbury, Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Milton Keynes stations.

The following would be needed.

  • A battery electric range of perhaps fifty-five miles.
  • Some form of charging at Marylebone and Aylesbury stations.

I would electrify, the single-track route between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

September 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment