The Anonymous Widower

Battery-Electric Trains And The TransPennine Upgrade

In Is There Going To Be Full Electrification Between Leeds And Huddersfield?, I showed this map of the TransPennine Upgrade between Huddersfield and Westtown near Dewsbury.

Note.

  1. There will be electrification between Dewsbury and Huddersfield.
  2. Tracks will be doubled from two to four.
  3. Ravensthorpe, Mirfield, Deighton and Huddersfield stations will be electrified and probably upgraded.
  4. Dewsbury and Huddersfield stations are eight miles apart.

This page on the Network Rail website gives more information.

Click on Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) and you get this information.

On 31 March 2021, we submitted a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) application to the Secretary of State for Transport for the Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury) scheme.

Throughout this eight-mile section of the route, we’re proposing to double the number of tracks from two-to-four, electrify from Huddersfield to Dewsbury and make big improvements to the four stations in this section – Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe; where we also need to separate the lines going to/from Leeds from the lines going to/from Wakefield, with either a bridge or a tunnel.

It is a much larger scheme than the one between Bolton and Wigan, which I wrote about in Bolton-Wigan £78m Rail Electrification Project Announced.

  • Huddersfield-Westtown is eight miles, whereas Bolton-Wigan is 6.5 miles.
  • Both involve upgrading four stations.
  • Both involve full electrification.
  • Huddersfield-Westtown involves doubling the number of tracks, whereas Bolton-Wigan needs little work to the track.
  • Huddersfield-Westtown will need a bridge or a tunnel, whereas Bolton-Wigan might need minor work to a couple of flat junctions.
  • Huddersfield station is Grade 1 Listed, whereas Wigan Wallgate station has some good features.
  • The Huddersfield-Westtown scheme is costed at £2.9 billion, whereas Bolton-Wigan is just £78 million.

The Huddersfield-Westtown scheme is thirty-seven times larger in terms of money.

What Passenger Services Use The Route Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury?

These services use the route, all or in part.

  • Northern Trains – Wigan Wallgate and Leeds via Manchester Victoria, Hebden Bridge, Brighouse, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury – 1 tph
  • Northern Trains – Huddersfield and Castleford via Deighton, Mirfield and Wakefield Kirkgate – 1 tph
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough via Manchester Victoria, Stalybridge, Huddersfield and Leeds – 1 tph
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Redcar Central via Manchester Victoria, Stalybridge,  Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Leeds – 1 tph
  • TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh via Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield and Leeds – 1 tph
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle via Manchester Victoria,  Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Leeds – 1 tph
  • TransPennine Express – Manchester Piccadilly and Hull via Stalybridge,  Huddersfield and Leeds – 1 tph
  • TransPennine Express – Huddersfield and Leeds via Deighton, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury – 1 tph

Note.

  1. All trains are one train per hour (tph)
  2. Three tph run non-stop between Huddersfield and Leeds.
  3. Two tph stop at Deighton station, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

After completion of the Huddersfield and Westtown upgrade, there will be electrification at the following places.

  • West of Manchester Victoria station
  • Between Huddersfield and Westtown
  • Between Leeds and York – Currently being electrified between York and Church Fenton.

And these routes will not be electrified.

  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.2 miles
  • Leeds and Hull – 51.5 miles
  • Mirfield and Castleford – 16 miles
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Stalybridge – Could be electrified – 7.5 miles
  • Manchester Victoria and Heaton Lodge Junction via Hebden Bridge – 47.4 miles
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – Could be electrified – 7.7 miles
  • Redcar Central and Northallerton – 28.1 miles
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles
  • York and Scarborough – 42.1 miles

Note that all routes except Mirfield and Castleford and Leeds and Hull have electrification at both ends.

Which Routes Between Huddersfield And Westtown Could Be Handled By Battery-Electric Trains?

I will assume that operators will have a battery-electric train capable of running 56 miles on batter ypower. This distance comes from Hitachi’s specification for the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

These are the routes and my answers.

Northern Trains – Wigan Wallgate and Leeds

The longest section without electrification is Manchester Victoria and Heaton Lodge Junction via Hebden Bridge, which is 47.4 miles.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

Northern Trains – Huddersfield and Castleford

The longest section without electrification is Mirfield and Castleford, which is 16 miles.

But it must be handled on both an out and back basis. So the train will cover 32 miles on battery power.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough

The longest section without electrification to the West of Leeds, is Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield, which is 25.7 miles.

At the Eastern end, as York and Scarborough is 42.1 miles without electrification, there would need to be some electrification or a charging system at Scarborough station.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Redcar Central

The longest section without electrification to the West of Leeds,is Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield, which is 25.7 miles.

At the Eastern end, as Northallerton and Redcar Central is 28.1 miles without electrification, there may need to be some electrification or a charging system at Redcar Central station.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

TransPennine Express – Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh

The longest section without electrification is Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield, which is 25.7 miles.

Leeds and Edinburgh is fully electrified.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

TransPennine Express – Manchester Airport and Newcastle

The longest section without electrification is Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield, which is 25.7 miles.

Leeds and Newcastle is fully electrified.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

TransPennine Express – Manchester Piccadilly and Hull

The longest section without electrification to the West of Leeds, is Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield, which is 25.5 miles.

At the Eastern end, as Leeds and Hull is 51.5 miles, there would need to be some electrification or a charging system at Hull station.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

TransPennine Express – Huddersfield and Leeds

The longest section without electrification is Dewsbury and Leeds, which is 9.2 miles.

I am sure this route is possible with battery-electric trains.

Handling The Eastern Ends

At Hull, Redcar Central and Scarborough stations, there will need to be some means to recharge the trains, so they can get back to the electrification on the East Coast Main Line.

There could either be a short length of 25 KVAC overhead electrification or a special-purpose charging station.

There would need to be an allowance in the turnback, of perhaps 10-15 minutes to make sure trains started back with full batteries.

Will Huddersfield And Westtown Be Long Enough To Charge A Battery-Electric Train?

I have looked at train times between Huddersfield And Westtown and typically trains take around 11-12 minutes to go between Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations.

That should probably be enough, especially, as the trains will probably be using regenerative braking to batteries at any station stops.

Conclusion

I am absolutely certain that by completing the TransPennine Upgrade with full electrification between Huddersfield and Westtown, that all passenger services through the section could be run by battery-electric trains with a range of ninety kilometres or fifty-six miles.

There would probably need to be some electrification or a charging system at Hull, Redcar Central and Scarborough stations.

A Thought On Short Sections Of Electrification

As with the Bolton-Wigan scheme to the West of the Pennines, a length of electrified track that is less than ten miles, allows several services to be run by battery-electric trains and decarbonised.

How many other sections of less than ten miles of electrification can transform train services and reduce the use of diesel around the UK, by the introduction of fleets of battery-electric trains?

 

September 4, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Stadler FLIRT Akku Battery Train Demonstrates 185km Range

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

This is the first paragraph.

Stadler’s offering in the battery-powered rolling stock market, the FLIRT Akku has demonstrated a guaranteed range of 185km, even in energy-intensive conditions, it has been found following a three-year research period.

The range is very good and is over twice what Hitachi are claiming with the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

I can’t find out many details of the size of a Flirt Akku train, but this article on the International Railway Journal has these details.

  • A picture shows a three-car train.
  • The trains have a 100 mph operating speed.
  • Fifty-five two-car trains are on order for Schleswig-Holstein.

Stadler can also fit batteries into trains like Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains.

 

There have been reports of these trains being fitted with batteries in a couple of years to reduce carbon emissions.

September 2, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 7 Comments

Bolton-Wigan £78m Rail Electrification Project Announced

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

This is a small electrification project compared to many, but it still includes.

  • 13 miles of electrification.
  • 450 new overhead line equipment stanchions.
  • Modifications to 17 bridges and two level crossings.
  • Platform extensions at Westhoughton, Hindley and Ince stations, so that they can handle six-car trains.

Completion is expected to be 2025.

The numbers indicate it could be be a small project with quite a bit of work.

I have a few specific thoughts.

How Far Will The Electrification Go?

This document on the Government web site is entitled Green Light Given For Wigan To Bolton Electrification.

These are two paragraphs.

The track between Wigan North Western station and Lostock Junction near Bolton will receive a £78 million upgrade, targeted to complete in 2024/2025.

Through electrifying almost 13 miles of infrastructure and lengthening platforms, this investment will ensure that CO2 emitting diesel trains are replaced by electric rolling stock. As longer trains with additional capacity, these will provide passengers with greener, more comfortable and more reliable journeys.

Note.

  1. Lostock junction is on the Manchester and Preston Line which was electrified in 2019.
  2. As is typical, the electrification continues for a short distance from Lostock junction towards the Wigan stations.
  3. Wigan North Western station is a fully-electrified station on the West Coast Main Line.
  4. Wigan Wallgate station is not electrified.
  5. The distance between Lostock junction and Wigan Wallgate station is 6.9 miles.
  6. Lostock junction and Wigan Wallgate station is double-track all the way.
  7. My Track Atlas shows crossovers that allow trains to and from Lostock junction to access some platforms at Wigan North Western.

These facts lead me to these conclusions.

  • As thirteen files of electrification would be 6.5 miles of double-track electrification, the new electrification would create a fully-electrified line between Lostock junction and Wigan Wallgate station.
  • By electrifying the crossovers at Wigan Station junction, electric trains would to able to access both Wigan stations.

But this does mean, that electric trains can’t run past Wigan Wallgate station, as the wires seem to stop there.

Electrification At Wigan Wallgate Station

Mark Clayton has made this comment to this post.

Yes there is a single track connecting from the track through Hindley to the WCML and vice versa, however at Wallgate there are buildings straddling the line and the station itself. Maybe the track could be lowered, but it could well be a major engineering project to get the wires under Wallgate.

The best picture, that I can get of the tracks under Wallgate is this 3D image from Google Maps.

It does seem a bit tight in terms of height.

I have also looked at several videos of trains going trough the station and I suspect that the tracks may need lowering to get the wires through.

Or they could use some of the discontinuous tricks being used on the South Wales Metro.

It could be difficult, but I don’t think it will be impossible.

I do suspect though for operational reasons, Network Rail and the train operators would want the wires to extend to the station.

  • Train operators probably prefer to raise and lower the pantograph in a station, in case anything goes wrong.
  • If battery-electric trains should be used on the line, then if necessary, they could wait in the station to charge the batteries.
  • If the station is wired, then the West-facing bay-platform can also be wired, so that it could be used for a battery-electric shuttle train to Kirkby or Southport.

It looks to me, that for lots of reasons, the engineers will have to find a way of getting the wires under the low bridge under Wallgate.

Services That Use All Or Part Of The Route Between Lostock Junction And Wigan

These services use all or part of the route.

  • 1 tph – Southport and Alderley Edge via Ince (irregular), Hindley, Westhoughton and Bolton
  • 1 tph – Southport and Stalybridge via Hindley, Westhoughton and Bolton
  • 1 tph – Kirkby and Manchester Victoria via Ince (irregular), Hindley, Daisy Hill, Hag Fold, Atherton, Walkden, Moorside, Swinton and Salford Crescent.
  • 1 tph – Wigan Wallgate and Blackburn via Hindley, Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden, Swinton and Salford Crescent.
  • 1 tph – Wigan Wallgate and Leeds via Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden and Salford Crescent.

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. The two services that terminate at Wigan Wallgate sometimes terminate in Wigan North Western station.
  3. Wigan Wallgate station would appear to get up to five tph to Manchester, via a variety of routes.

I wonder how many of these services could be run by a battery-electric train, with a performance like the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note 90 kilometres is 56 miles.

I will look at each route in detail.

Southport And Alderley Edge

The only section without electrification will be between Wigan Wallgate and Southport stations, which is a distance of 17.4 miles.

With a battery range of 56 miles, a battery-electric train should be able to run a return trip between Wigan Wallgate and Southport stations on battery power and have time for a leisurely turnround in Southport.

The batteries would be charged on the fully electrified section of the line between Wigan Wallgate and Alderley Edge stations.

Southport And Stalybridge

There are two sections without electrification.

  • Wigan Wallgate and Southport stations – 17.4 miles
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge stations – 7.6 miles

With a battery range of 56 miles, a battery-electric train should be able to run a return trip on both sections without electrification.

The batteries would be charged on the fully electrified section of the line between Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria stations.

Kirkby And Manchester Victoria

There are two sections without electrification.

  • Wigan Wallgate and Kirkby stations – 12.1 miles
  • Hindley and Salford Crescent stations – 13.4 miles

With a battery range of 56 miles, a battery-electric train should be able to run services on both sections without electrification.

The batteries would be charged on the two fully electrified sections of the line between Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria stations.

Wigan Wallgate And Blackburn

There are two sections without electrification.

  • Hindley and Salford Crescent stations – 13.4 miles
  • Manchester Victoria and Blackburn stations – 39.4 miles

The first section could be easily run by a battery electric train, but the second section would need a charger at Blackburn station to return to Manchester Victoria station.

The batteries would be charged on the two fully electrified sections of the line between Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Victoria stations.

Wigan Wallgate And Leeds

There are two sections without electrification.

  • Hindley and Salford Crescent stations – 13.4 miles
  • Manchester Victoria and Leeds stations – 50.2 miles

The first section could be easily run by a battery electric train.

But the second section would be very much touch-and-go with a battery-electric train with a range of 56 miles, despite the fact that both Manchester Victoria and Leeds stations are electrified.

It should also be noted that Network Rail has plans in the TransPennine Upgrade to electrify the route between Leeds and Heaton Lodge junction between Mirfield and Brighouse stations. This would reduce the second section without electrification to a more manageable 37.1 miles.

I suspect that by the time the TransPennine Upgrade is complete, battery range would have improved to allow Manchester Victoria and Leeds stations to handle the route.

Battery-Electric Trains That Could Run The Services Through Wigan Wallgate Station

I have used the Hitachi Regional Battery Train as an example of a train that might run the services through Wigan Wallgate station.

  • It has an operating speed of 100 mph.
  • It could be based on a Class 385 train, which have three or four cars.
  • It would have a battery range of 56 miles.

I suspect a demonstration train will run by 2025, which is the expected date of completion of the Lostock and Wigan electrification project.

But other manufacturers and rolling stock companies could also supply trains, with this specification.

  • Alstom could create a battery-electric train based on an Electrostar, like a Class 379 or Class 387 train.
  • CAF are developing a battery-electric train based on a Class 331 train.
  • Porterbrook are developing a battery-electric train, based on a Class 350 train.
  • Stadler could probably deliver a battery-electric Flirt based on a Class 755 train.

Competition would hopefully result in an excellent train, that would be suitable for many routes in the UK.

Northern’s Battery Plans And CAF

I suspect though that CAF could be the front runner as Northern already have forty-three Class 331 trains in service.

In Northern’s Battery Plans, I describe how CAF and Northern are planning to convert a number of three-car Class 331 trains into four-car battery-electric trains.

  • The fourth car would contain batteries.
  • Batteries would also be added to the PTS (pantograph) car.

I suspect that the battery range could be arranged so that all routes suitable for battery-electric operation could be handled.

In this article on Rail Magazine, which is entitled Northern Plans More New Trains After CAF Milestone, this is a paragraph.

A CAF source confirmed that a lot of work was ongoing with Northern, including the continued development of a battery EMU that is planned to be tested on the Oxenholme-Windermere route.

As the article dates from January 2021, things should be progressing.

Possible routes for battery-electric operation could be.

  • Northumberland Line – Under construction
  • Csrlisle and Newcastle – 61.5 miles between electrification at both ends
  • Wigan Wallgate and Leeds via Dewsbury – 50.2 miles between electrification at both ends
  • Manchester Victoria and Leeds via Hebden Bridge – 49.8 miles between electrification at both ends
  • Leeds And Carlisle via Settle – 86.8 miles between electrification at both ends.
  • Leeds and Morecambe – 37.8 miles between electrification.
  • Manchester Airport and Barrow-in-Furness – 28.7 miles from electrification
  • Manchester Airport and Windermere – 10.9 miles from electrification

Note.

  1. The distance is the longest section without electrification.
  2. Some routes have electrification at both ends.
  3. Some need an out-and-back journey at one end of the route.

I was surprised that the Settle and Carlisle Line could be included and as battery technology improves it certainly will be possible.

What a tourist attraction that line would be if worked by battery-electric trains.

Conclusion

This electrification of just 6.5 miles of double-track between Lostock junction and Wigan Wallgate station seems to be one of the smaller electrification projects.

But on closer examination, when linked to a fleet of battery-electric trains with a range of perhaps forty miles, the electrification enables battery-electric trains to run these services.

  • Southport And Alderley Edge
  • Southport And Stalybridge
  • Kirkby And Manchester Victoria

With a charging station in Blackburn station, then the Wigan Wallgate And Blackburn service can be added.

It also looks that with the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade between Huddersfield and Leeds, that it might even be possible to run Wigan Wallgate and Leeds using battery-electric trains.

There will be a long list of stations, previously served by diesel trains, that will now only be served by electric or battery-electric trains.

  • Appley Bridge
  • Atherton
  • Bescar Lane
  • Burscough Bridge
  • Daisy Hill
  • Gathurst
  • Hag Fold
  • Hindley
  • Hoscar
  • Ince
  • Kirkby
  • Meols Cop
  • Moorside
  • New Lane
  • Orrell
  • Parbold
  • Pemberton
  • Rainford
  • Southport
  • Swinton
  • Upholland
  • Walkden
  • Wigan Wallgate
  • Westhoughton

That is a total of twenty-four stations.

Never in the field of railway engineering, has one small section of electrification delivered electric trains to so many stations.

 

September 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Where Are All The Battery-Electric Trains?

Consider these dates and notes

February 10th, 2015

, I wrote Is The Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) A Big Innovation In Train Design?, after an excellent first ride in Bombadier’s experimental battery-electric multiple unit or BEMU based on a Class 379 train.

October 10th, 2018

I wrote Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway, after a ride on Vivarail’s Class 230 train in Scotland.

October 15th, 2018

This article on Railway Gazette, which was entitled BatteryFLEX Desiro EMU Conversion Proposed, announced Porterbrook’s plan to convert their Class 350/2 trains to battery-electric operation.

September 30th, 2019

I wrote Battery Electrostars And The Uckfield Branch.

I indicated that according to Modern Railways, battery Electrostars were on their way to replace Class 171 trains, that need to be cascaded to East Midlands Railway by September 2021.

February 28th, 2020

I wrote Northern’s Battery Plans.

This described a plan by Northern Trains and CAF to convert three-car Class 331 trains into four-car battery electric trains, by adding a battery car.

July 6th, 2020

I wrote Hyperdrive Innovation And Hitachi Rail To Develop Battery Tech For Trains, which announced Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train, which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Hitachi are now testing Class 803 trains, which have batteries, but only for hotel purposes and not traction.

Although, I do suspect that the batteries in Class 803 trains will be very similar to those in other Hitachi trains.

It’s just not good engineering to do the same job twice and all Hitachi trains are members of the same A-train family.

August 12, 2020

In Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains, I mused on some remarks made by Mark Hopwood, who then was the interim Managing Director of South Western Railway.

December 15th, 2020

Hitachi released a press release which was entitled Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%.

This is the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Details given in the press release include.

  • A five-car train will be used as the prototype.
  • The objective is fuel savings of 20 %.
  • Battery power will be used in stations.

I have read elsewhere that testing will start in 2022, with trains entering service a year later.

In addition, I have written many posts on this blog about the possible deployment of battery-electric trains.

There are certainly a lot of ideas and aspirations for the development and use of battery trains, but except for the Class 803 trains, which only use batteries for emergency hotel power and are now under test, no battery-electric trains have been seen on the UK rail network.

I have a few thoughts.

Existing Trains That Could Be Converted To Battery-Electric Trains

The following trains would appear to be candidates for conversion to battery-electric operation for passenger operations.

  • Class 350 trains – 87 trains of four cars – 110 mph – Will be replaced by Class 730 trains.
  • Class 360 trains – 21 trains of four cars – 110 mph – In service with East Midlands Railway between St. Pancras and Corby, but with batteries could extend the route to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.
  • Class 379 trains – 30 trains of four cars – 100 mph – Have been replaced by Class 745 trains and now filling in for late delivery of new Class 720 trains.
  • Class 385 trains – 24 trains of four cars – 100 mph – In service with Scotrail and could be upgraded to Regional Battery Trains.
  • Class 385 trains – 46 trains of three cars – 100 mph – In service with Scotrail and could be upgraded to Regional Battery Trains.
  • Class 387 trains – 107 trains of four cars – 110 mph – Some are being replaced with new trains and it appears that some may be available for conversion. There must also be question marks over Heathrow and Gatwick Express services.

Note.

  1. All trains have an operating speed of 100 or 110 mph.
  2. I suspect most of the 100 mph trains could be upgraded to 110 mph trains.
  3. There is a total of nearly three hundred four-car trains.

In addition, there are other trains like Class 377 trains, Class 444 trains, Class 450 trains and Class 707 trains. that could be converted to battery-electric operation should it be necessary or the trains were withdrawn from service due to being replaced with new trains.

We could have access to over five hundred battery-electric trains, if all were to be converted.

Does that mean that until fleets start to wear out, we will not need to buy any new electric multiple units for the standard gauge UK rail network?

A Comparison Between A Hitachi Regional Battery Train And An Existing Electric Multiple Unit With Added Batteries

If you compare an Hitachi Regional Battery train based on a four-car Class 385 train with a four-car Class 350 train you get the following with Hitachi figures first.

  • Cars – 4 – 4
  • Operating Speed – 100 mph – 110 mph
  • Seats – 273 – 270
  • Length – 92 metres – 82 metres
  • Dual-voltage – Probably possible – Yes

The two trains could share a route and few passengers would complain or even notice the difference.

Will Battery-Electric Trains Have Collateral Benefits?

All these trains, that are available to conversion to battery-electric trains are modern 100 mph four-car units that meet all the regulations.

They will offer a better standard of service than say a Class 156 diesel train, but most importantly, their size will mean that most services in the UK would be run by a four-car train, which would help to ease overcrowding in a lot of places.

Where Are The Battery Electric Trains?

Could it be that someone has added up the number of trains we already have and has decided that with decarbonisation to the fore, that by using a mix of battery-electric trains and discontinuous electrification, we can create a unified electric train network in England, Scotland and Wales, without ordering large fleets of new trains.

The specification for the UK’s standard battery-electric local train may need to emerge first, but I suspect that train manufacturers and upgraders like Wabtec, want to make sure they create a battery-electric train to these standards.

  • Very reliable.
  • A range as long as feasibly possible.
  • Long-lasting

So with this technology change from pure-electric, bi-mode and diesel trains to pure-electric and battery-electric, is everybody making sure, that it ends up as a success, rather than a disaster?

Over the last few years, there have been a lot of late train deliveries for various reasons and releasing battery-electric trains too early might not be prudent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Plans To Introduce Battery Powered Trains In Scotland

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Scotsman.

This is said about the routes.

Hitachi said the trains could run up to 60 miles on batteries.

It said recharging would take ten to 15 minutes.

That would mean the trains could run beyond Dunblane – the northern extent of ScotRail’s electrified network – as far as Perth and Dundee.

Hitachi has suggested other routes they could be used on including from Glasgow to East Kilbride and Kilmarnock, and on a Glasgow northern suburban line to Anniesland via Maryhill.

The train described in the article sounds very much like the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

My only reservation is that the article is from 2019.

Since then, Scotland has decided to run battery-electric trains to Leven, as I wrote about in Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link.

August 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

North From Thornton Junction

This Google Map shows how all the railways connect at Thornton junction.

Note.

  1. The village of Cameron Bridge is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The A 915 running diagonally across the map and to the East of the village of Cameron Bridge.
  3. In The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link, I showed how Cameron Bridge station was positioned to the East of the A915 and the village.
  4. The Levenmouth Rail Link would appear to pass to the South of the village, according to a Network Rail map in the related post.

Thornton junction is a large triangular junction in the South-West corner of the map.

  • Thornton North junction is close to Thornton Golf Club, which is shown by the green marker.
  • Glenrothes with Thornton station is at the Eastern point of Thornton junction.
  • Trains going West from Glenrothes with Thornton station go through Dunfermline and over the Forth bridge to Edinburgh.
  • Thornton South junction is South of Thornton Golf Club and leads South through Kirkcaldy station and over the Forth bridge to Edinburgh.

This second Google Map shows the main Edinburgh and Dundee rail line between Thornton Golf Club (Thornton North junction) and Markinch station, which is the next station to the North.

Note.

  1. The village of Cameron Bridge in the East of the map.
  2. Markinch station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. Thornton Golf Club (Thornton North junction) is in the South-West corner of the map.

Looking at various maps, Thornton Junction appears very complicated.

  • The North-South leg of the junction is at least double-track.
  • The North-East leg of the junction appears to be single-track.
  • The South-East leg of the junction appears to be single-track.
  • The former Levenmouth Rail Link appeared to join the main line at a single-track junction to the North of Thornton North junction
  • There is lots of space.

.I’m sure Network Rail can come up with an efficient track layout, that will enable the following.

  • Trains can go between Glenrothes with Thornton and Kirkcaldy stations in both directions, as they do now.
  • Trains can go between Glenrothes with Thornton and Levenmouth Rail Link in both directions.
  • Trains can go between Kirkcaldy station and Levenmouth Rail Link in both directions.

This would enable the service provision, that was specified in Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link.

What Will Be Electrified At Thornton Junction?

This page on the Network Rail web site, says this about the trains that will run the service on the Levenmouth Rail Link.

And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see full electrification between Glenrothes with Thornton and Leven stations, to make sure that the battery-electric trains had full batteries for the run South to Edinburgh.

  • The other two legs of Thornton junction  would also be fully electrified to give all passing trains a good charge.
  • The distance between Kirkcaldy and Markinch stations is 7.3 miles and trains take about ten minutes. I suspect most of this section of the Edinburgh and Dundee line will be electrified. There looks to be about six overbridges that might need raising, but I suspect it would be nothing too terrible, with about the same degree of engineering difficulty as electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking Line in London.
  • I feel with good engineering and guile, enough electrification can be added to the route through Kirkcaldy to get the trains to the South.
  • West of Glenrothes with Thornton station, the track looks to be good territory for electrification and enough wires can be added, so that by Cardenden station, there is enough power in the batteries to get the trains to the South.

I have a feeling that by intelligently using the two routes via Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, Network Rail can increase the frequency of trains over the Forth Bridge.

  • This probably partly explains, why trains to Leven go alternatively via Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline.
  • 100 mph battery-electric trains help too with their sparkling acceleration.
  • Who’d have thought, that at the age of one hundred and thirty, the Forth Bridge will be at the heart of an electrified local train network?

And the only new electrification is based on Thornton junction, over twenty miles to the North.

Electrification Between The Forth Bridge And Edinburgh

Without doubt, the electrification to the South of the Firth of Forth must reach as far North as possible.

Dalmeny station is the most Northerly station South of the bridge and I feel that this could be a practical place for the electrification to end.

Distances from Dalmeny to stations further North include.

  • Leuchars – 41.4 miles
  • Leven – via Dunfermline – 28.2 miles
  • Leven – via Kirkcaldy – 27.3 miles
  • Dundee – 48.8 miles
  • Perth – 47.4 miles

All these destinations would be within range of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, which are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that the range on battery power alone is 90 km or 56 miles.

Given that the battery-electric trains would be able to grab a battery charge as they passed through Thornton junction, I am fairly certain that Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could reach Leuchars, Dundee or Perth.

An Electric Service Between Edinburgh And Dundee

Dundee is a new station and I doubt, that it was rebuilt without provision for full electrification.

It has two through platforms for Aberdeen and Edinburgh services.

There are also two South-facing bay platforms for regional services from the South.

This picture shows the two bay platforms with an Edinburgh-bound train to the left.

Note.

  1. In the picture the two Class 170 diesel trains will be going to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
  2. Scotrail’s plans include an hourly train to both of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If these two bay platforms were electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires, these battery-electric services will be possible.

  • Edinburgh and Dundee via Haymarket, Kirkcaldy, Thornton junction and intermediate stations.
  • Glasgow Queen Street and Dundee via Stirling, Dunblane, Perth, Gleneagles and intermediate stations.

I suspect other routes battery-electric will be possible.

An Electric Service Between Dundee And Aberdeen

The distance between Dundee and Aberdeen stations is 72 miles.

In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I described techniques being developed by Hitachi Rail and Hitachi ABB Power Grids to electrify routes like Dundee and Aberdeen.

With Hitachi looking to give battery-electric trains a range of over forty miles, it could be just two hops between Dundee and Aberdeen.

I suspect Montrose could be the charging point, as it is forty miles South of Aberdeen.

Conclusion

It appears that the proposed electrification of Levenmouth Rail Link creates an electrification island at Thornton junction, that enables battery-electric trains to reach Dundee.

Coupled with plans to electrify between Stirling and Perth, this means that both Perth and Dundee will be connected to Scotland’s electrified rail network.

I suspect it is also possible to easily extend battery-electric trains all the way to Aberdeen, with only short sections of carefully positioned overhead wires.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Trains On The Levenmouth Rail Link

This page on the Network Rail web site, says this about the trains that will run the service.

And while the line will be electrified with overhead wires, services will be operated initially by battery electric units in order to reduce the number of diesels operating on the network as early as possible.

The obvious battery-electric trains to be used will be Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, which are described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that the range on battery power alone is 90 km or 56 miles.

ScotRail currently run a fleet of the following Hitachi  trains.

  • 46 x three-car Class 385 trains.
  • 24 x four-car Class 385 trains.

Hitachi have indicated that these trains can be fitted with batteries

Could some of these trains be fitted with batteries to work the Fife Circle Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link?

Distances involved include.

  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Kirkcaldy – 29.6 miles
  • Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton via Dunfermline – 30.5 miles
  • Leven and Thornton junction – 5.9 miles

If between Haymarket and Dalmeny stations were to be electrified, this would reduce distances on battery power by over eight miles.

It would appear that if between Leven station and Thornton junction were to be electrified, then with a battery range of forty miles, the battery-electric trains could reach Haymarket station with ease.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Baldrick’s Scottish cousin has developed a cunning plan!

But it does show how one short length of easy electrification on a new track – Leven and Thornton Junction, can avoid a more difficult electrification – Haymarket and Glenrothes-with-Thornton, which goes over the culturally-sensitive World Heritage Site of the Forth Bridge.

North From Thornton Junction

It should be noted that Haymarket and Dundee via Kirkcaldy is 57.9 miles.

  • I have just flown my virtual helicopter on the route and much of it is flat farmland.
  • Electrification to the North of Thornton Junction could use the same power feed as that used for the Levenmouth Rail Link.
  • A good proportion of the battery-electric trains, that are pencilled in for Edinburgh and Aberdeen have been or will be built by Hitachi.

I would expect that Hitachi’s techniques, that I talked about in Solving The Electrification Conundrum could be used to enable battery-electric Class 385 and Class 80x trains to run between Edinburgh and Dundee.

I have a feeling, that electrifying the Levenmouth Rail Link, may only be 5.9 miles of double-track electrification, but that with a few miles of electrification North of Thornton Junction, it can enable electric trains to run the following routes.

  • Edinburgh and Leven via Kirkcaldy.
  • Edinburgh and Leven via Dunfermline.
  • Edinburgh and Dundee
  • Edinburgh and Perth

Note that as Dunblane is electrified, battery-electric trains might be able to reach Dundee from Glasgow with some charging at Perth.

It does appear that electric trains could be serving Dundee.

Related Posts

The New Leven Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

The New Cameron Bridge Station On The Levenmouth Rail Link

North From Thornton Junction

Service Provision On The Levenmouth Rail Link

Whisky Galore!

 

July 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Vivarail At COP26

This press release from Network Rail is entitled Network Rail And Porterbrook To Showcase Britain’s Green Trains Of The Future At COP26.

These two paragraphs are from the end of the first section of the press release.

It is envisaged that the HydroFLEX may also be used to transport visitors to see the Zero Emission Train, Scotland’s first hydrogen powered train.

Network Rail is also in the earlier stages of planning a similar event with Vivarail to bring an operational battery train to COP26.

Vivarail have taken battery trains to Scotland before for demonstration, as I wrote about in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

Will other train companies be joining the party?

Alstom

It looks like Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Class 600 train will not be ready for COP26.

But I suspect that the French would not like to be upstaged by a rolling stock leasing company and a university on the one hand and a company with scrapyard-ready redundant London Underground trains on the other.

I think, they could still turn up with something different.

They could drag one of their Coradia iLint trains through the Channel Tunnel and even run it to Scotland under hydrogen power, to demonstrate the range of a hydrogen-powered train.

Alstom have recently acquired Bombardier’s train interests in the UK and there have been rumours of a fleet of battery-electric Electrostars, even since the demonstrator ran successfully in 2015. Will the prototype turn up at COP26?

Alstom’s UK train factory is in Widnes and I’ve worked with Liverpudlians and Merseysiders on urgent projects and I wouldn’t rule out the Class 600 train making an appearance.

CAF

Spanish train company; CAF, have impressed me with the speed, they have setup their factory in Newport and have delivered a total of well over a hundred Class 195 and Class 331 trains to Northern.

I wrote Northern’s Battery Plans, in February 2020, which talked about adding a fourth-car to three-car Class 331 trains, to create a battery-electric Class 331 train.

Will the Spanish bring their first battery-electric Class 331 train to Glasgow?

I think, they just might!

After all, is there a better place for a train manufacturer looking to sell zero-carbon trains around the world to announce, their latest product?

Hitachi

A lot of what I have said for Alstom and CAF, could be said for Hitachi.

Hitachi have announced plans for two battery-electric trains; a Regional Battery Train and an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

I doubt that either of these trains could be ready for COP26.

But last week, I saw the new Hitachi Class 803 train speeding through Oakleigh Park station.

This is not a battery-electric train, where battery power can be used for traction, but according to Wikipedia and other sources, it is certainly an electric train fitted with batteries to provide hotel power for the train, when the overhead electrification fails.

Are these Class 803 trains already fitted with their batteries? And if they are, have they been tested?

And who is building the batteries for the Class 803 trains?

The traction batteries for Hitachi’s two battery-electric trains are to be produced by Hyperdrive Innovation of Sunderland, which is not far from Hitachi’s train factory at Newton Aycliffe.

As an engineer, I would suspect that a well-respected company like Hyperdrive Innovation, can design a battery-pack that plugs in to Hitachi’s trains, as a diesel engine would. I would also suspect that a good design, would allow an appropriate size of battery for the application and route.

I feel it is very likely, that all batteries for Hitachi’s UK trains will be designed and build by Hyperdrive Innovation.

If that is the case and the Class 803 trains are fitted with batteries, then Hitachi can be testing the battery systems.

This document on the Hitachi Rail web site, which is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme, gives a very comprehensive description of the electrical and computer systems of the Hitachi trains.

As an engineer and a computer programmer, I believe that if Hyperdrive Innovation get their battery design right and after a full test program, that Hitachi could be able to run battery-electric trains based on the various Class 80x trains.

It could be a more difficult task to fit batteries to Scotland’s Class 385 trains, as they are not fitted with diesel engines in any application. Although, the fitting of diesel engines may be possible in the global specification for the train.

It is likely that these trains could form the basis of the Regional Battery Train, which is described in this infographic.

Note.

  1. The Class 385 and Regional Battery trains are both 100 mph trains.
  2. Class 385 and Class 80x trains are all members of Hitachi’s A-Train family.
  3. Regional Battery trains could handle a lot of unelectrified routes in Scotland.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hitachi bring a battery-equipped train to COP26, if the Class 803 trains have a successful introduction into service.

Siemens

Siemens have no orders to build new trains for the national rail network in the UK.

But there are plans by Porterbrook and possibly other rolling stock leasing companies and train operators to convert some redundant Siemens-built trains, like Class 350 trains, into battery-electric trains.

According to Wikipedia, Siemens upgraded East Midlands Railways, Class 360 trains to 110 mph operation, at their Kings Heath Depot in Northampton.

Could Siemens be updating one of the Class 350 trains, that are serviced at that depot, to a prototype battery-electric Class 350 train?

Stadler

Stadler have a proven design for diesel-electric, battery-electric and hydrogen trains, that they sell all over the world.

In the UK, the only ones in service are Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains, which are diesel-electric bi-mode trains.

The picture shows one of these trains at Ipswich.

  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • Diesel, battery or hydrogen modules can be inserted in the short PowerPack car in the middle of the train.
  • Diesel-battery-electric versions of these trains have been sold for operation in Wales.
  • The interiors of these trains are designed for both short journeys and a two-hour run.

There is a possibility, that these trains will be upgraded with batteries. See Battery Power Lined Up For ‘755s’.

Conclusion

Times will be interesting in Glasgow at COP26!

 

June 6, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thoughts On Batteries On A Hitachi Regional Battery Train

This article is a repeat of Thoughts On Batteries On A Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, but for their other train with batteries; the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

This Hitachi infographic describes a Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

Hitachi are creating the first of these battery trains, by replacing one of the diesel power-packs in a Class 802 train with a battery-pack from Hyperdrive Innovation of Sunderland.

The Class 802 train has the following characteristics.

  • Five cars.
  • Three diesel power-packs, each with a power output of 700 kW.
  • 125 mph top speed on electricity.
  • I believe all intermediate cars are wired for diesel power-packs, so can all intermediate cars have a battery?

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 Or 100 mph?, I estimated that the trains need the following amounts of energy to keep them at a constant speed.

  • Class 801 train – 125 mph 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile
  • Class 801 train – 100 mph 2.19 kWh per vehicle mile

The figures are my best estimates.

We also know that according to Hitachi, the battery train has a range of 90 kilometres or 56 miles at a speed of 100 mph.

So applying the formula for energy needed gives that the battery size to cover 56 miles at a constant 100 mph will be.

56 * 2.19 * 5 = 613.2 kWh.

In the calculation for the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mofr Battery Train, I had assumed that a 600 kWh battery was feasible, as it would lay less than the diesel engine it replaced.

I can also apply the formula for a four-car train.

56 * 2.19 * 4 = 490.6 kWh.

That too, would be very feasible.

Conclusion

I can’t wait to ride in one of Hitachi’s two proposed battery-electric trains.

 

June 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Battery-Electric Class 331 Trains On The Radar

In the June 2021 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article which is entitled Northern Looks To The Future.

This is a paragraph.

Also on the radar is the creation of hybrid Class 331 EMUs fitted with batteries. A proposal has been developed by CAF and owner Eversholt Rail to augment three-car ‘331s’ with a fourth vehicle containing batteries, which would see batteries also fitted to the existing centre car. The Manchester to Windermere route has been touted as a possible location for deployment, with trains switching to battery power on the non-electrified branch from Oxenholme, although the line’s user group still favours electrification of the branch.

I have a few thoughts.

Electrification at Oxenholme

In Surprising Electrification At Oxenholme, I detailed the electrification at Oxenholme station in May 2018.

Consider.

  • Platform 3 used by the Windermere trains is fully electrified.
  • The crossover South of the station used by trains going between the Windermere Branch Line and the West Coast Main Line is fully electrified.
  • The electrification continues for perhaps a hundred metres along the Windermere branch.

I am fairly certain, that this electrification has been designed so that a bi-mode or battery-electric train can perform a reliable power changeover in Platform 3 at Oxenholme station.

What Will Be The Range Of A Four-Car Battery-Electric Class 331 Train?

This is very much a case of how long is a piece of string.

At least we know from the extract above that the train is designed to do a return trip between Oxenholme and Windermere stations, which is a distance of 20.4 miles and a six minute turnround.

We should also note that Hitachi are claiming a range of 56 miles for their Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

As the Class 331 with batteries will compete with the Hitachi Reional Battery Train, I would suspect that the range on easy level ground would be at least fifty miles at a speed of over 80 mph, if not 100 mph.

A Selection Of Possible Routes

These are a selection of other Northern routes where the battery-electric Class 331 trains might be used.

Manchester Airport and Barrow-in-Furness

Consider.

  • This is a sibling route to the Manchester Airport and Windermere route and currently has eleven services to Windermere’s four.
  • This is a 103.7 mile route.
  • All but 28.1 miles is electrified.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Barrow-in-Furness should be able to handle this route.

Lancaster and Barrow-in-Furness

Consider.

  • This is a 34.8 mile route
  • All but 28.1 miles is electrified.
  • Lancaster is a fully electrified station.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Barrow-in-Furness should be able to handle this route.

Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness

This is the 85.7 mile route of the Cumbrian Coast Line of which none is electrified.

Consider.

  • Carnforth is a fully-electrified station.
  • Barrow-in-Furness station could be electrified.
  • It is a fairly level route along the coast.
  • I suspect that electricity supplies are available at Barrow-in-Furness, Sellafield, Whitehaven and Workington to power electrification.
  • Carlisle is a fully-electrified station.
  • Barrow-in-Furness and Sellafield are only 35 miles apart.
  • CAF have produced trams for Birmingham and Seville, that work with discontinuous electrification.
  • There are parts of the route, where there would be those, who would object to the erection of electrification gantries.

I feel it would be possible to electrify the Cumbrian Coast Line using battery-electric Class 331 trains, with a range of at least fifty miles and some short sections of new electrification.

Surely, a battery-electric train along the Cumbrian Coast by the Lake District would be the ideal train for the area

Lancaster and Morecambe

Consider.

  • This is a 4 mile route.
  • None is electrified.
  • Heysham is another four miles past Morecambe.
  • Lancaster is a fully-electrified station.

This route might have been built for battery-electric trains.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

York and Blackpool North

Consider.

  • This is a 105.5 mile route.
  • In a few years about 62 miles will be without electrification.
  • It goes through the picturesque Calder Valley.

As with the Cumbrian Coast Line, I believe that this service could be run using battery-electric Class 331 trains, with a range of at least fifty miles and some short sections of new electrification.

Preston and Colne

Consider.

  • This is a 29 mile route.
  • None is electrified.
  • It is steeply uphill to Colne.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Colne should be able to handle this route.

Alternatively, they could use Newton’s friend to return down the hill.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

As with York and Blackpool North, this route would benefit with electrification between Preston and Blackburn.

Preston and Blackpool South

Consider.

  • This is a 20 mile route.
  • 7.7 miles is electrified.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains  should be able to handle this route.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

In an ideal world, Preston and Blackburn would be electrified and trains would run between Colne and Blackpool South, as they used to do.

Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport

Consider.

  • This is a 45.5 mile route,
  • 26.5 miles is not electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at both ends.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains  should be able to handle this route.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road

Consider.

  • This is a 34.2 mile route.
  • 26.5 miles is not electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at both ends.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains  should be able to handle this route.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

Southport and Alderley Edge

  • This is a 52 mile route,
  • 27 miles is not electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at the Southern end.
  • There is third rail electrification at Southport.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Southport should be able to handle this route.

Could some Class 331 be fitted with third-rail equipment to charge on Merseyrail’s third-rail electrification?

Manchester Piccadilly and Chester

Consider.

  • This is a 45 mile route.
  • 38 miles is not electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at Manchester end.
  • There is third rail electrification at Chester.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Chester should be able to handle this route.

Could some Class 331 be fitted with third-rail equipment to charge on Merseyrail’s third-rail electrification?

Manchester Piccadilly and Buxton

Consider.

  • This is a 25.5 mile route.
  • 17.8 miles is not electrified.
  • It is steeply uphill to Buxton.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Buxton should be able to handle this route.

Alternatively, they could use Newton’s friend to return down the hill.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

Manchester Piccadilly and Rose Hill Marple

Consider.

  • This is a 13.3 mile route.
  • 8.3 miles is not electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at Manchester end.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains should be able to handle this route.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

Manchester Piccadilly and New Mills Central

Consider.

  • This is a 13 mile route.
  • Only 2 miles is electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at Manchester end.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains should be able to handle this route.

This route might be possible with no extra infrastructure.

Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield

Consider.

  • This is a 42 mile route.
  • Only 2 miles is electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at Manchester end.
  • It is a scenic route.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a fifty mile range and a charge at Sheffield should be able to handle this route.

Southport and Stalybridge

  • This is a 45 mile route.
  • 27 miles is not electrified.
  • It will be fully electrified at the Southern end, when electrification between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge is completed.
  • There is third rail electrification at Southport.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Southport should be able to handle this route.

Could some Class 331 be fitted with third-rail equipment to charge on Merseyrail’s third-rail electrification?

Manchester Victoria And Kirkby

  • The Kirkby end of this route will change to the new Headbolt Lane station in a couple of years.
  • This is a 30 mile route.
  • 28 miles is not electrified.
  • It is fully electrified at the Southern end.
  • There is third rail electrification at Kirkby or Headbolt Lane.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a charge at Kirkby or Headbolt Lane should be able to handle this route.

Could some Class 331 be fitted with third-rail equipment to charge on Merseyrail’s third-rail electrification?

I would hope that the new Headbolt Lane station is being designed with battery-electric trains from Manchester in mind!

Rochdale And Clitheroe

Consider.

  • This is a 44.7 mile route.
  • There is 10.7 miles of electrification between Bolton and Manchester Victoria.
  • The Clitheroe end of the route has 23.7 miles of line without electrification.
  • The Rochdale end of the route has 10.4 miles of line without electrification.
  • It is steeply uphill to Clitheroe.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains should be able to handle the Rochdale end, but could struggle with the climb to Clitheroe.

But it appears that all services needing to climb the hills to Colne and Clitheroe now stop in Platform 2, which is different to Wikipedia, which says that services to Clitheroe stop in Platform 1.

  • With charging in platform 2 and a fifty-mile range battery-electric Class 331 trains could reach Clitheroe (9.8 miles), Colne (17 miles), and possibly Leeds (50 miles).
  • With charging in platform 4 and a fifty-mile range battery-electric Class 331 trains could reach Bolton (14 miles) and Preston (12 miles)
  • Would a fully-charged train leaving Blackburn be able to go via Todmorden and reach the electrification at Manchester Victoria, which is a distance of 39.4 miles?

Note.

If necessary a few well-planned extra miles of electrification would ensure reliable battery-electric services  in East Lancashire centred on Blackburn.

The closely-related Blackburn and Rochdale and Blackburn and Wigan Wallgate services would fit in well with an electrified Blackburn station, that could fully charge trains.

I certainly believe that electrifying Preston and Blackburn could give extra benefits.

  • Battery-electric trains between Blackpool and Liverpool in the West and Colne, Hebden Bridge, Bradford, Leeds and York in the East.
  • Direct electric services from Euston to Blackburn and Burnley.
  • Fast freight paths across the Pennines.

In addition, it would probably allow battery-electric trains to run to Leeds via a reinstated Skipton and Colne link.

Wigan And Leeds

Consider.

  • The route can terminate at either Wigan North Western or Wigan Wallgate station.
  • This is a 68.2 mile route using Wigan North Western.
  • Wigan North Western is a fully-electrified station.
  • The 16 miles between Wigan North Western and Salford Crescent stations is not electrified.
  • The 5 miles between Salford Crescent and Manchester Victoria stations is electrified.
  • The 37.2 miles between Manchester Victoria and Mirfield stations is not electrified.
  • The 12.2 miles between Mirfield and Leeds will be electrified in the next few years.
  • Leeds is a fully-electrified station.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a fifty mile range should be able to handle this route.

Chester And Leeds

Consider.

  • This is a 89.7 mile route.
  • There is third rail electrification at Chester.
  • The 18.1 miles between Chester and Warrington Bank Quay stations is not electrified.
  • The 21.8 miles between Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Victoria stations is electrified.
  • The 40.3 miles between Manchester Victoria and Bradford Interchange stations is not electrified.
  • The 9.4 miles between Bradford Interchange and Leeds stations is not electrified.
  • Leeds is a fully-electrified station.
  • There seems to be generous turnround times at Chester and Leeds.

It looks to me that the trains are going to need a full battery charge at Bradford Interchange or perhaps Leeds and Bradford Interchange needs to be fully electrified.

I also feel that it would help if the electrification through Manchester Victoria were to be extended towards Rochdale.

But I don’t think it will be impossible for battery-electric Class 331 trains to work the route between Leeds and Chester with some new electrification and/or charging at Bradford Interchange.

Manchester Victoria And Leeds

Consider.

  • This is a shortened version of the Chester and Leeds route.
  • This is a 49.8 mile route.
  • Manchester Victoria is a fully-electrified station.
  • The 40.3 miles between Manchester Victoria and Bradford Interchange stations is not electrified.
  • The 9.4 miles between Bradford Interchange and Leeds stations is not electrified.
  • Leeds is a fully-electrified station.

My comments would be similar to the Chester and Leeds route.

Leeds And York Via Harrogate And Knaresborough

Consider.

  • This is a 38.8 mile route.
  • Leeds is a fully-electrified station.
  • The Harrogate Line is not electrified.
  • York is a fully-electrified station.

Battery-electric Class 331 trains with a fifty mile range should be able to handle this route.

There are two other services on the Harrogate Line.

  • Leeds and Harrogate – 18.3 miles
  • Leeds and Knaresborough – 22.1 miles

I have a feeling that a fleet of battery-electric trains could electrify all services on the Harrogate Line with no extra infrastructure.

Summing Up The Possible Routes

I have assumed that the proposed battery-electric Class 331 train has a range of around fifty miles, which is not unlike that for the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

It would appear that many of Northern’s routes can be run by a train with this range including some that are around a hundred miles.

There are also routes like the Harrogate Line, which would accept a battery-electric Class 331 train tomorrow, if it were available.

Will A  Mix Of Four-Car Electric And Battery-Electric Trains Be Better Than A Mix Of Four-Car And Three-Car Electric Trains?

If the technology is right, I suspect that a four-car battery-electric Class 331 train will be able to substitute for one without batteries on a route that doesn’t need battery power.

This must surely have advantages when trains are in maintenance or otherwise unavailable, as nothing annoys passengers more than an overcrowded train.

Conclusion

The Modern Railways article also says this.

More widely, Northern has previously stated ambitions to acquire more trains, and work was underway last year to identify what this requirement might be.

From my simple analysis on some of their routes, I would look to acquire some four-car battery-electric Class 331 trains, once they have been oroven to work.

May 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment