The Anonymous Widower

Green Light For Major Transpennine Improvements

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

These paragraphs outline the project.

Improvements on the Transpennine route in West Yorkshire have been given the green light, after a Transport and Works Act order was signed by the transport secretary on 27 June, six months earlier than planned.

The cost of the upgrades was described as ‘multi-billion’ by Network Rail, which said it was the ‘biggest milestone’ so far on the Transpennine Route Upgrade programme.

The improvements will be carried out between Huddersfield and Westtown in Dewsbury, and include quadrupling the double line and remodelling track layouts as well as major renovations at Huddersfield, Deighton and Mirfield and a new station at Ravensthorpe. In addition, there will be a flyover near Ravensthorpe to separate the Wakefield and Leeds lines and reduce conflicting movements.

Effectively, Grant Shapps fired the starting gun for this project four days ago.

I have written various posts on the upgrade and they can be read from this link.

The Transpennine Route Upgrade Web Site

The project now has its own comprehensive web site, which is named the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

A Reply To Peter Robins About Electrification

Peter Robins made this very perceptive comment.

The main point of TPU isn’t electrification, though, it’s upgrading the track to remove bottlenecks, improve lines speeds, add capacity. This is mainly what the Hudd-Dew TWA order is about. If you electrify the line while you’re doing that, then you increase the number of connecting places/lines which are within range of current batteries.

I think that Lds-CF will also have to wait for the post-IRP review, meaning the full upgrade will be a long time coming.

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

Note.

  1. It is a 100 mph train.
  2. Batteries can be charged when travelling under wires or 10-15 mins static.
  3. Range on batteries is 90 km. or 56 miles.
  4. My experience of Hitachi bi-modes is that pantographs on these trains can go up and down, with all the alacrity of a whore’s drawers.

Hitachi have stated that they will be testing a Class 802 train with batteries later this year.

Could Hitachi Battery Trains Be Charged On The Electrification Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury?

Looking at the data from RealTimeTrains for this route it appears that the fastest time I can find between Huddersfield And Dewsbury is eleven minutes.

Would this be enough time to fully-charge the battery? If not the electrification could perhaps be extended for a couple of miles.

How Many Of Transpennine Express (TPE)’s Services Could Be Decarbonised, if Huddersfield And Dewsbury Were To Be Electrified?

I’ll look at each service that uses this route.

Liverpool Lime Street And Newcastle

This is an hourly service that calls at Newton-le-Willows, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington and Durham.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Colton Junction and Newcastle is electrified.
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be electrified by the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield – 25.8 miles
  • Dewsbury and Colton Junction – 29.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Leeds, which could be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 29.3 miles.

It looks to me that Liverpool Lime Street And Newcastle could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Manchester Airport And Redcar Central

This is an hourly service that calls at Gatley, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Yarm, Thornaby and Middlesbrough.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Colton Junction and Northallerton is electrified.
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be electrified by the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield – 25.8 miles
  • Dewsbury and Colton Junction – 29.3 miles
  • Northallerton and Redcar Central – 28.8 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Leeds, which could be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 29.3 miles.
  3. I suspect that charging could be needed at Redcar end of the route. Middlesbrough would probably be best, as it could also charge the LNER services, if they used battery power from Northallerton.

It looks to me that Manchester Airport And Redcar Central could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Manchester Piccadilly And Hull

This is an hourly service that calls at Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, Selby and Brough.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be electrified by the Transpennine Route Upgrade.
  • Leeds and Neville Hill Depot is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield – 25.8 miles
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 29.3 miles
  • Neville Hill Depot and Hull – 50 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Huddersfield and Leeds, which could be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 50 miles.
  3. I am sure that charging would be needed at Hull end of the route. Hull would probably be best, as it could also charge the Hull Trains, LNER and Northern Trains services, if they used battery power from the East Coast Main Line.
  4. Alternatively, there could be electrification between Hull and Brough. or Neville Hill and Micklefield. The latter would knock eight miles off the unelectrified section and is needed to allow electric trains to access Neville Hill Depot under electric power.

It looks to me that Manchester Piccadilly and Hull could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield

This is an hourly service that calls at Stalybridge, Mossley, Greenfield, Marsden, and Slaithwaite.

  • Manchester Piccadilly is electrified.
  • Huddersfield is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield – 25.5 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 25.5 miles.
  3. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Huddersfield And Leeds

This is an hourly service that calls at Deighton, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, Batley, Morley and Cottingley

  • Huddersfield is electrified.
  • Leeds is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 29.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury and Leeds, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 29.3 miles.
  3. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that Huddersfield and Leeds could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

York And Scarborough

This is an hourly service that calls at Malton and Seamer

  • York is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • York And Scarborough – 42.1 miles

Note.

  1. The largest unelectrified section would be 42.1 miles.
  2. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that York and Scarborough could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

How Many Of Northern Trains’s Services Could Be Decarbonised, if Huddersfield And Dewsbury Were To Be Electrified?

I’ll look at each service that uses this route.

Wigan North Western And Leeds

This is an hourly service that calls at Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough, Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Morley and Cottingley

  • Wigan North Western is electrified.
  • Salford Crescent and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Heaton Lodge East junction and Dewsbury is electrified.
  • Leeds is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Wigan North Western and Salford Crescent – 16 miles
  • Manchester Victoria and Heaton Lodge East junction – 37.6 miles
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 29.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Wigan North Western, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Mirfield, Dewsbury and Leeds, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 37.6 miles.
  3. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that Wigan North Western and Leeds could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Huddersfield And Castleford

This is an occasional service that calls at Deighton, Mirfield and Wakefield Kirkgate.

As it is run by buses at the moment, I can’t get the data to work out if it could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

But I suspect it can, after looking at a map.

How Many Of Grand Central’s Services Could Be Decarbonised, if Huddersfield And Dewsbury Were To Be Electrified?

I’ll look at each service that uses this route.

London King’s Cross And Bradford Interchange

This is a four trains per day service that calls at Doncaster, Pontefract Monkhill, Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Low Moor.

  • King’s Cross and Doncaster is electrified.
  • Mirfield is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Doncaster and Mirfield – 34.8 miles
  • Mirfield and Bradford Interchange – 17.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Mirfield, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 34.8 miles.
  3. Trains would need to be charged at Bradford Interchange, during the turnround of around an hour.
  4. It is likely, that some electrification will be erected in the Bradford area, to improve services to Leeds.

It looks to me that London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Conclusion

It looks like electrifying between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will enable a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar to work all passenger routes, that run on that section of track.

 

July 1, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Piling Work To Get Underway To Electrify Line To Fife

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

These four paragraphs outline the project.

Work to lay foundations that will pave the way for the electrification of the Fife Circle is about to get underway.

The £55million Scottish Government investment in the line between Haymarket and Dalmeny will see the railway transformed to accommodate quieter, more environmentally friendly electric trains.

The first phase of work between Haymarket and Dalmeny will see Network Rail pile the foundations for masts that will carry overhead wires up to the Forth Bridge. In total it will see 25 single track kilometres (STKs) of railway electrified by December 2024.

Subsequent phases of work will see ‘partial’ electrification of lines in Fife – totalling a further 104 STKs, to enable the introduction of Battery Electric Multiple Units (BEMUs) to replace life-expired diesel units which will be phased out.

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.

I have a few thoughts.

Partial Electrification And Battery-Electric Trains

In the Notes To Editors, this is said about what Network Rail means by partial electrification.

The ‘partial’ electrification approach to the decarbonisation of the railway – beyond delivering a reduction in carbon emissions, will also reduce the ongoing net cost to the taxpayer of operating the railway at an earlier point.

Reduced upfront infrastructure and associated capital expenditure makes projects more affordable and enables electrification of key trunk routes to start as a priority so the benefits of electrified railways will be realised earlier. Additionally, it does not preclude full electrification occurring at a future date.

The Fife electrification scheme has been approved for partial electrification, using battery electric multiple units, and further development work is to be undertaken to support this. The project is part of the plan to decarbonise the passenger railway network by 2035.

This map has been downloaded from the Network Rail web site.

The electrification is split into four phases.

  1. Haymarket and Dalmeny – 25 km
  2. Kirkcaldy and Thornton North – 25 km.
  3. Lochgelly and Thornton North – 20 km.
  4. Thornton North and Ladybank – 34 km.

Note that the last three phases of electrification connect to Thornton North.

Thornton North is Thornton North Junction, which is shown in this map from OpenRailwayMap.

Note.

  1. The orange line is the main Edinburgh and Aberdeen Line. South from here, it forms part of the Fife Circle Line and goes over the Forth Bridge.
  2. The yellow lines going West via Glenrothes with Thornton station are the Fife Circle Line via Dunfermline.
  3. The lines form a triangle which is Thornton Junction.
  4. North Thornton Junction is the Northern point of the triangle marked by a blue arrow.
  5. The black hashed line going to the North-East is the Levenmouth Rail Link, which is under construction.

As the Levenmouth Rail Link will be electrified, there will be four electrified lines fanning out from Thornton North Junction.

This must make construction easier.

  • Power supply can be established at Thornton North Junction.
  • The Levenmouth Rail Link can be built and electrified.
  • Phase 1 of the Fife Electrification between Haymarket and Dalmeny can be installed, as an extension of the electrification at Haymarket station.
  • These two sections of electrification could also allow battery-electric trains to run between Edinburgh and Leven stations, as the gap is less than thirty miles.
  • Phase 2, 3 and 4 of the Fife Electrification can then be installed in the preferred order.

It would appear, that someone has designed the electrification to a high standard.

The Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge will be a nightmare to electrify.

I suspect the engineering problems can be solved, but the Heritage Taliban would probably protest about the desecration of a World Heritage Site.

Electrification Gaps And The Hitachi Regional Battery Train

The gaps in the electrification after all phases of the electrification have been completed, will be as follows.

  • Dalmeny and Lochgelly – 15.2 miles
  • Dalmeny and Kirkaldy – 16.4 miles
  • Ladybank and Perth – 17.8 miles
  • Ladybank and Dundee – 20.1 miles

The performance of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note that a battery range of 90 km. is 56 miles.

A battery train of this performance, should be able to handle these routes.

  • Edinburgh and Dundee
  • Edinburgh and Glenrothes with Thornton via Kirkcaldy
  • Edinburgh and Glenrothes with Thornton via Lochgelly
  • Edinburgh and Leven
  • Edinburgh and Perth

With one of more further stretches of electrification North of Dundee, a train with this performance should be able to reach Aberdeen.

But to handle the Fife Circle and Levenmouth Rail Link, would probably need a train with a battery range of about forty miles, to allow for a round trip, if say there were problems like lifestock on the line.

Rolling Stock Procurement

The Network Rail press release also says this about Rolling Stock Procurement.

Approval has also been given hold a procurement competition to identify a preferred manufacturer and financier for new suburban trains to operate decarbonised rail passenger services on the routes covered by East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes, replacing 42 Class 156 trains and to replace the 55 Class 318 and 320 trains operating in the Strathclyde area.

Note.

  1. It would appear that the East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes would be worked by battery-electric trains, as they are all routes without electrification.
  2. I wrote about the East Kilbride and Kilmarnock services in East Kilbride Electrification Underway. The largest gap is about 16.8 miles.
  3. I wrote about electrification of the Borders Railway in Scottish Government Is Considering Plans To Electrify The Borders Railway. The largest gap is just under 31 miles.

It looks to me that a Hitachi Regional Battery Train with a battery range of over 40 miles would be suitable for the East Kilbride, Fife and Borders routes’

 

 

 

June 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Success For The Dartmoor Line

This article on Railnews is entitled Railway Braces For Weekend Changes.

The article flags up that rail timetables will change to the summer timetable and uses the Dartmoor Line where services will go hourly, as an example.

The article says this about the changes to the Dartmoor Line and the success of the restored service to Okehampton station.

One of the many changes includes the doubling of service frequencies on the recently-reopened Dartmoor Line between Exeter and Okehampton, where scheduled passenger trains were restored last November. From Sunday trains will be running every hour, and rail minister Wendy Morton visited Okehampton yesterday to celebrate the improvements.

The reopening is part of the government’s promise to ‘Restore your railways’, and the Okehampton line is the first practical example of this in action. The line was upgraded for £10 million less than the £40.5 million budgeted, and Network Rail said the route has proved ‘hugely popular’, because passenger numbers have been more than double than predicted, reaching an average of over 2,500 a week during the first 20 weeks. The number of passengers at nearby Crediton, where the Dartmoor Line joins services on the Tarka Line from Barnstaple, is also 39 per cent higher than it was before the pandemic.

I have some thoughts.

Reopening Of The Line

Network Rail can build projects on time and on budget, if they get the project management right.

Passenger Numbers Between Exeter And Okehampton

If 2,500 passengers per week can use the line in the winter, when there is only one train per two hours (tp2h), how many passengers will use the train, when there is an hourly service?

2,500 passengers per week, throughout the year would be 125,000 passengers per year and as surely the summer will be busier, I don’t think it will be an unreasonable figure.

Okehampton station car park appears to have around 300 spaces, so at 2,500 passengers per week, there might be a not too distant day, when it fills up.

Passenger Numbers At Crediton

I am not surprised that traffic at Crediton is up by 39 percent.

Consider.

  • Pre-pandemic, Crediton station had one train per hour (tph) to and from Exeter.
  • Post-pandemic, Crediton has three trains per two hours to and from Exeter.

It looks like the train frequency has been increased by 50 % and the number of passengers has increased by 39 %.

That surely is not surprising and passenger numbers might increase further when one tph are running between Exeter and both Barnstaple and Okehampton, if there are more possible passengers to attract.

Car parking at Crediton station may also be a problem, as there appears to be less than a hundred spaces.

Okehampton Parkway Station

Okehampton Parkway Station is likely to be built to the East of Okehampton. Wikipedia says this about the station.

Okehampton Parkway is a proposed railway station in Okehampton on the Dartmoor Line. The station would be part of the Devon Metro and has been described as a priority station. The station is to be sited at the A30 junction at Stockley Hamlet and would be sited at the Business Park at Okehampton as well as serving a further 900 homes close to the site.

Wikipedia, also says that Devon County Council has bought the site.

This must be one of the best sites to build a parkway station in the UK.

  • It’s on the dual-carriageway A 30, between London and Cornwall.
  • The good people of Devon seem to like to use trains given the passenger numbers at Okehampton and Crediton stations.
  • Housing is being built nearby.

This Google Map shows Devon and Cornwall to the West of Okehampton and Barnstaple.

Note.

  1. Okehampton with two stations is in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. Barnstaple, which has a station, is in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. There are well-visited holiday resorts all along the cost including Ilfracombe, Westward Ho! and Bude.

It strikes me that if Devon put together a network of zero-carbon buses, it would be well-used and they could sell the area for zero-carbon holidays.

Rolling Stock

Currently, the Okehampton and Barnstaple services are operated by Class 150 trains.

These are definitely not good enough, due to their age and diesel power.

The distances of the two services are as follows.

  • Exeter and Barnstable – 39.5 miles
  • Exeter and Okehampton – 25.5 miles

I feel that these routes could be handled by a battery-electric train like the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. For these routes, the trains would probably be based on four-car Class 385 trains, with a top speed of 90 mph.
  2. Charging would be in Exeter.
  3. Charging may not be needed at Barnstaple and Okehampton as the routes are downhill.

If battery-electric trains can’t handle the routes, I’m sure hydrogen-powered trains could.

May 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Proposed Mid-Cornwall Metro

In the January 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there is this description of the Mid-Cornwall Metro.

This would see an hourly service shuttling between the north and south coasts of the county and linking the main population centres at Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth. This would become the main service on the Newquay branch, and it would take over one of the twice-hourly services on the Falmouth branch, with the other service being a Truro to Falmouth shuttle as now.

Facilitating the Metro idea will be the latest phase of the modernisation of signalling in Cornwall, which will see the upgrade of a level crossing near Truro. Other infrastructure work required is a new passing loop on the Newquay branch at Tregoss Moor and restoration of a second platform face at the terminus at Newquay.

A business case was due to be submitted to the Department for Transport before Christmas 2021.

These are a few thoughts.

The Current Timings

If you look at the distances and timings of the various sections they are as follows.

  • Newquay and Par – Five stops – 20.8 miles – 49-52 minutes
  • Par and Truro – One stop – 19 miles – 22 minutes
  • Truro and Falmouth Docks – Four stops – 11.8 miles – 24 minutes

Note.

  1. It appears that the Newquay to Par service is three minutes quicker than the other way.
  2. There will be a reverse at Par, which could take three minutes.
  3. The Par and Truro times were either GWR Castles or Class 802 trains.

The total time is 98-101 minutes and the total distance is 51.6 miles

Possible Timing

Consider.

  • For the ease of timetabling and operation, it is probably best that a round trip between the two Newquay and Falmouth Docks takes an exact number of hours.
  • The operating speed between Par and Truro is 75 mph and it is only 50 mph elsewhere.
  • Turnround time at Newquay is five minutes.
  • Turnround time at Falmouth Docks is 4-6 minutes

For these reasons, I doubt that much improvement could be made on the fastest time of 98 minutes. Certainly, a round trip of three hours would appear impossible.

But a round trip time of four hours would be very sensible.

However, there would be a turnround time of between 19-22 minutes at each end of the route.

This time might seem overly long, but it would be ideal for charging a battery-electric train.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed?

As the round trip will be four hours and an hourly service is needed, there will be a need for four trains to run the service, with the addition of probably two extra trains to allow for one in maintenance and one covering for any breakdowns.

Could The Mid-Cornwall Metro Use Battery-Electric Trains?

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

Note

  1. The range of ninety kilometres is fifty-six miles and a longer distance than Newquay and Falmouth Docks.
  2. The operating speed of 90-100 mph is ideal.
  3. The time needed for a full charge at either end is within the timetable, I calculated earlier.

Hitachi Regional Battery Trains would be ideal for working the Mid-Cornwall Metro with a full charge at both ends of the route.

I have used my virtual helicopter to explore the Cornish Main Line between Par and Truro.

If it was decided to electrify the Cornish Main Line between Truro and Par, this could be an alternative way to charge the trains.

  • The Mid-Cornish Metro trains should be able to do a return trip to Newquay and Falmouth Docks from the main line without charging at the two terminal stations.
  • The electrification would be able to charge battery-electric Class 802 trains between Plymouth and Penzance.

But the extra infrastructure works to raise nine road bridges and several footbridges might blow the budget.

Where Would The Trains Be Serviced?

Great Western Railway has depots at both Penzance and Plymouth and with perhaps a charger at Truro and/or Par stations, the trains should be able to get to either depot at the end of the day.

Trains To Newquay

Wikipedia says this about the services to Newquay station.

The service is irregular with typically one train around every two hours.

As well as the local service, the station handles a number of long-distance trains in the summer. These services include Great Western Railway trains from London Paddington and CrossCountry trains from the North of England and the Scottish Lowlands, which do not stop at intermediate stations between Par and Newquay. On Sundays, there are some local trains and a small number of intercity services. As well as the weekend through trains, in peak summer months there is also a Monday-Friday through Great Western Railway intercity service to and from London, but local trains continue on these days too. Traditionally, there was no Sunday service in the winter, even in the ‘golden age’ between both of the 20th century’s world wars, but the line has a service of three trains each way on Sundays from 11 December 2011.

The Mid-Cornwall Metro will at least come with an hourly service.

But this will mean, that to run other services to the station with the hourly Metro will mean that a second platform will be needed.

I discuss the improvements needed in Beeching Reversal – Transforming The Newquay Line.

This is a quirky video, which describes an architect’s plans for the station.

It is the sort of simple solution, that I like.

Conclusion

I believe that a small fleet of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could create an iconic Metro for Cornwall, that would appeal to both visitors and tourists alike.

 

January 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

How Much Electrification Will There Be In The TransPennine Route Upgrade?

My visit to Mirfield station which I wrote about in Mirfield Station – 16th December 2021, has prompted me to write this post.

This document on the Network Rail web site, which is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade , says this about the Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury) section of the project.

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.

This map of the lines was clipped from this article on Modern Railways, shows the proposed track layout.

Note.

  1. The fast lines are shown in pink.
  2. The slow lines are shown in blue.
  3. Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations are eight miles apart and trains typically take ten minutes.
  4. All fast trains stop at Huddersfield.
  5. The intermediate stations between Huddersfield and Dewsbury are all on the slow lines.

There will only two tracks West of Huddersfield and East of Dewsbury.

This would very much appear to be a layout built for speed.

These are my thoughts.

The Fastest Run Between Dewsbury And Huddersfield

There will be eight miles of electrified fast line between Dewsbury And Huddersfield and the time will depend on the following.

  • The operating speed of the new fast lines.
  • How long it takes the trains to accelerate to and decelerate from the operating speed.
  • The distance travelled during acceleration and deceleration.

This page on the Eversholt Rail web site, has a data sheet for a Class 802 train, which are used by TransPennine Express and is a bi-mode AT-300 train with three diesel engines.

The data sheet shows that a five-car train can accelerate to 125 mph and then decelerate to a stop in six minutes in electric mode.

A rough estimate gives a distance of 6.25 miles to accelerate and decelerate, so a train will only be at 125 mph for 1.75 miles, which would take 50 seconds.

As trains currently take ten minutes between Huddersfield and Dewsbury, it looks like a saving of three minutes is possible.

This saving could be increased if the trains were able to accelerate and decelerate faster or high speed running were to be possible further towards Leeds.

Will Between Leeds And Dewsbury Be Electrified?

It is likely, that the nine miles of double-track line between Dewsbury and Leeds will be electrified, as this would mean the following.

  • TransPennine Express’s Class 802 trains could use electricity all the way between Leeds and Huddersfield.
  • Electrification would allow the fast trains to accelerate and decelerate at a maximum rate to and from operating speed, whilst in the new section.
  • Electrification would also allow stopping trains to perform their stops on the double-track section to the East of Dewsbury faster.

Timetabling is going to be a challenge.

Will The Slow Lines Between Dewsbury and Huddersfield Be Electrified?

I feel it would be sensible to electrify the slow lines as this would help to make operation simpler and possibly allow stopping services to be run by electric or battery-electric trains.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Huddersfield And Castleford

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 21 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Deighton, Mirfield and Wakefield Kirkgate.
  • Services seem to take around forty minutes.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, all but fifteen miles at the Castleford end of the route, will be electrified.

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about thirty miles could handle this route.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Wigan And Leeds

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 68 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough, Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Morley and Cottingley
  • Services seem to take around two hours and nine minutes.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, the 12.2 mile section to the East of Mirfield station will be electrified.
  • Electrification is also planned at the Wigan end of the line and this would electrify the 17.7 mile section between Wigan and Manchester Victoria stations.
  • This would leave an electrification gap of 38.1 miles

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about forty miles could handle this route.

Battery-Electric Trains Between Leeds And Huddersfield

The current service is as follows.

  • It is 28 miles long
  • It has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • Intermediate stations are Bramley, New Pudsey, Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax and Brighouse.
  • After the completion of the TransPennine Upgrade, Huddersfield station will be electrified.
  • Under the Integrated Rail Plan for the North And Midlands, it is planned to electrify between Leeds and Bradford Interchange stations.
  • This would leave an electrification gap of 18.6 miles

It looks to me that a battery-electric train with a range of about twenty-five miles could handle this route.

Conclusion

By electrifying all the lines in the TransPennine Upgrade, it would allow all the stopping and slower services to be run by battery-electric trains.

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

Note that a range on batteries of 90 km is 56 miles.

This train would work all three routes.

I also suspect that CAF’s proposed battery train will have a similar range.

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

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

The press release starts with these bullet points.

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

They follow these with this introductory paragraph.

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

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

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

The press release then sets out their aims.

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

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

Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

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

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

Penzance To London In A Class 802 Train

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

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

I have a few thoughts.

Possible Destinations For A Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

I will do my standard calculation.

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

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

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

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

Acceleration And Deceleration Of A Five-Car Class 802 Train

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

Battery Use In A Station Stop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London Paddington And Penzance By Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hitachi’s Increasing Efficiency Of Class 80x Trains

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

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

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

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

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

Hitachi has also given out clues to other efficiency improvements.

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

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

Low-Carbon Between Plymouth and Penzance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

 

 

 

 

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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

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

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

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

The Future Of Cambridge

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

The Current Rail Service Between London And Cambridge

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

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

Note.

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

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

The Cambridge Employment Problem

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

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

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

Living In Norfolk And Suffolk And Working In Cambridge

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

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

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

Addenbrooke’s Hospital And The Cambridge Biomedical Campus

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

Staycations And Holiday Homes In East Anglia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are my thoughts.

Operating Speed

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

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

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

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

Flighting Of Trains On The East Coast Main Line

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

Train Interiors

Lumo has broken new ground in train interiors.

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

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

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

Hitachi could obviously produce a train to this specification.

But what about other manufacturers.

Stadler’s Class 755 trains are surely a possibility.

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

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

Bridging The Electrification Gap Between Ely And Norwich

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

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

This Hitachi infographic describes the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

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

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

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

Improving The Breckland Line

The Breckland Line is the route between Cambridge and Norwich.

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

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

Ticketing

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

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

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

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

High Speed Train Services

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

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

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

Conclusion

I think duch a system would be possible.

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

Reopening The Oswestry – Gobowen Line

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

These are my thoughts.

Gobowen Station

Gobowen station appears to be a fine station.

Wikipedia says this about the future of the station.

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

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

This Google Map shows Gobowen station.

Note.

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

Oswestry Station

Oswestry station appears to be another fine station.

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

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

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

This station would make an ideal terminus.

The Track Between Oswestry And Gobowen

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

A Shuttle Service Between Oswestry And Gobowen

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

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

Could Avanti West Coast Run A Service To London?

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

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

It would all depend on the passenger forecasts and actual numbers

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

Consider.

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

Distances are as follows.

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

This is a total distance of 49 miles.

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onward From Oswestry

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

Will this be a good idea?

Where Now For First Group?

First Group are a shareholder in Avanti West Coast.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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/Travel | , , , , | 14 Comments