The Anonymous Widower

To Middlesbrough By LNER

Today, I took the new LNER service to Middlesbrough.

It left at 15:25 and should have arrived in just under three hours. But it was eighteen minutes late.

I took these pictures of our arrival in Middlesbrough.

Note.

  1. The train wasn’t full at Middlesbrough.
  2. Quite a few passengers left and joined at York.
  3. There were also a good number of leavers at Thornaby.
  4. The train was five cars.

As it is only the third day of the new service, passenger numbers seem to me to be on-line with what I’ve seen for other new services.

I have a few thoughts.

Is A London and Middlesbrough Service Needed?

In the 1970s, when I worked at ICI, I would regularly travel to Middlesbrough from London for a day’s work at their Wilton site.

In those days there was no direct train and you had to change at Darlington.

Since then I’ve also travelled to Middlesbrough to see football matches and visit the local countryside.

I suspect I’ve done well over fifty trips between the town and London, but today’s trip was my first one that was direct.

Will More Services Be Added?

If you look at LNER’s service patterns to Harrogate and Lincoln, they started with a single service and have quietly grown to between five and seven trains per day (tpd) in both directions.

I suspect that an early and a late train are essential to allow a full day in London or Middlesbrough.

Could This Route Be Run By A Nine-Car Train?

I suspect normally, a five-car train would be sufficient, but suppose one of the big London football clubs was playing Middlesbrough in an FA Cup quarter final, LNER might like to add capacity for the match.

King’s Cross and York stations regularly handle nine-car Azuma trains and from my pictures, it looks like Middlesbrough can too! The only other stop is Thornaby station, which is shown in this Google Map.

I suspect that it might just be possible, if Thornaby passengers were told to get in the first six cars.

Could This Route Be Run By A Battery-Electric Train?

Consider.

  • The trains run on diesel power North of Longlands junction, where they leave and join the East Coast Main Line.
  • It is a distance of only 22.2 miles.

With some form of charging at Middlesbrough, I think that within a few years, this could be an all-electric service.

It would be very handy for Hitachi, as any possible customers for battery-electric trains could be given a demo to or from London.

I Think The Stop At York Is A Good Idea

It could be argued that LNER’s King’s Cross and Middlesbrough service is two services in one.

  • A direct service between London King’s Cross and Thornaby and Middlesbrough.
  • A fast non-stop service between London King’s Cross and York, that takes several minutes under two hours.

Hence my view, that the York stop is a good idea.

Could The Middlesbrough Service Split And Join With Another Service At York?

The Middlesbrough service takes five minutes for the stop at York, but other services only take three minutes.

Has the longer stop been inserted into the timetable, so that the Middlesbrough timetable can be split to serve two separate destinations?

  • Secondary destinations would have to be North of York or York station itself.
  • These could include Bishops Auckland, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Scarborough and Sunderland.
  • Given the arguments, there have been over the new timetable not calling at smaller stations, could these be served by a train to Newcastle?

There are quite a few sensible possibilities.

An alternative could be to split and join at Thornaby to serve both Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

December 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Alstom Going To Build All FLEXX Eco Bogies For The UK In Crewe?

The Zefiro 300 is a high speed train, that was built by a consortium of Bombardier and Hitachi Rail in Italy.

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for the Zefiro 300.

An evolution of the Italian version of the Zefiro 300 was also offered by Bombardier (joined with Hitachi Rail) for High Speed 2 commercial tender.

Note that the Zefiro 300 uses FLEXX Eco bogies.

Aventras also use these bogies, as do some other Bombardier trains in the UK, like Class 172 trains.

In The Value of Research, I said this about FLEXX Eco bogies.

Sad though, that although design is still in the UK, the bogies are now made in Germany. Here‘s the brochure.

The brochure link doesn’t work anymore.

Conclusion

I think it would not be a bad commercial and operational decision by Alstom to build and maintain all FLEXX Eco bogies for the UK in one factory at Crewe.

December 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More On Batteries On Class 802 Trains

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

Class 802 trains are now involved in two battery trials.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next paragraph is very revealing.

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

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

This picture shows the underneath of a Class 802 train.

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wonder, if battery packs will improve reliability.

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

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

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

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

How Will The Batteries Be Charged?

I showed this paragraph earlier.

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

It is similar, but it says nothing about charging.

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

Consider.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

CAF To Acquire Alstom’s Coradia Polyvalent Platform

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

It looks like the EC’s conditions of Alstom’s takeover of Bombardier are as follows.

  • Coradia Polyvalent platform goes to CAF.
  • French Reichshoffen production site to CAF.
  • Talent3 platform to CAF.
  • Rights to the IP involved in the Hitachi/Bombardier joint venture to develop high speed trains goes to Hitachi.

It is interesting that there is no mention of the Aventra. But then in Alstom And Eversholt Rail Sign An Agreement For The UK’s First Ever Brand-New Hydrogen Train Fleet, I talked about Alstom’s new hydrogen-powered train based on the Aventra.

Perhaps, the Aventra was the stand-out design in Bombardier’s portfolio?

After all Alstom have already designed a hydrogen-powered train based on the platform

November 25, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alstom Hydrogen Aventras And Teesside

In Alstom And Eversholt Rail Sign An Agreement For The UK’s First Ever Brand-New Hydrogen Train Fleet, I give my thoughts on Alstom’s new hydrogen train, which I have called the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra.

Would this train be suitable for the local railways around Teesside?

Fuelling The Change On Teesside Rails is a post based on an interview with Tees Valley Mayor; Ben Houchen in Rail Magazine.

Teesside is getting ready for hydrogen.

  • They have identified a site for a specialist depot for hydrogen-powered trains.
  • There is plenty of hydrogen available from chemical works in the area.

All they need is some trains and I think the Alston Hydrogen Aventras would fill the need admirably.

I also believe that with its history of heavy industry, steel and chemicals, the residents of Teesside and the Tees Valley would take to hydrogen trains.

I wrote Fuelling The Change On Teesside Rails in January 2020 and since then the Department of Transport has funded a study to examine the extension of the Tees Valley Line past Bishop Auckland, which I wrote about in Reopening The Darlington – Weardale Line To Passenger Services.

On the subject of rolling stock for the Weardale Line, I said this in the Weardale Line post.

There is no point in extending the line in these days of global warming without providing zero-carbon trains.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority is keen on hydrogen and there are good reasons.

    • There is hydrogen available from chemical plants on Teesside.
    • Hydrogen will give the trains a long range.
    • The trains would probably only need refuelling once a day.
    • In addition, Alstom are looking for an order for their Class 600 train, which is a conversion of a Class 321 train.

But I have my doubts about Alstom’s trains and Hitachi have doubts about hydrogen.

Consider.

    • Do you really want to run hydrogen trains on a line where steam trains run?
    • Darlington station is fully-electrified and it is also to be remodelled for more capacity and High Speed Two.
    • Bishop Auckland and Darlington is just twelve miles.
    • Darlington and Saltburn is just thirty miles.

With charging systems at Bishop Auckland, Saltburn and Stanhope, I am fairly sure Hitachi could develop an electric train for Teesside’s railways.

When I wrote the Weardale Line post, I was veering towards the Hitachi battery-electric trains, but the launch of the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra may have changed that.

Conclusion

The new trains for Teesside could become a fight between Hitachi with their battery-electric trains and Alstom with their Hydrogen Aventras.

If there is a fight of the technologies, who wins on Teesside could be important in deciding the future of world-wide rail transport.

Is it slightly ironic, that this battle could be happening close to the birthplace of railways?

 

 

November 14, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hitachi Rail And Angel Trains To Create Intercity Battery Hybrid Train On TransPennine Express

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Hitachi Rail.

The press release starts with these three points.

  • Hitachi Rail, Angel Trains and TransPeninne Express (TPE) agree to trial retrofitting battery on intercity train
  • Trial, starting next year, can cut fuel usage by at least 20% and reduce emissions on Transpennine network from 2022 onwards
  • Tri-mode service can cut noise pollution in urban areas and improve air quality.

Hitachi also point to this infographic.

This very much looks to be a step forward from the Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train that was announced in December 2020 in this press release from Hitachi which is entitled Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%.

The Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train is described in this Hitachi infographic.

The specifications are very similar, except for the following.

  • The battery range is given as five kilometres.
  • Fuel savings are up to 30% instead of at least 20%.
  • A performance increase of 30 % is claimed.
  • The upgrade appears to be able to be fitted to Hitachi intercity trains, as opposed to a straight replacement of one engine by batteries.

It looks to me, that Hitachi have been working hard to improve their design.

I think this paragraph of the press release is key.

The trial will see a diesel engine replaced by batteries to help power a five-carriage train, along with the two remaining engines. The power provided by the batteries will help to reduce the amount of fuel required to operate the train.

Hitachi don’t say, but I suspect the trains and their batteries have a lot of energy saving features.

  • Regenerative braking is already used to power some services like lighting and air-conditioning on the trains.
  • But I suspect regenerative braking will also be used to recharge the batteries.
  • A sophisticated computer system will drive the train in the most optimal manner.
  • Hopefully, diesel will only be used as a last resort.

Features like these and others will enable the trains to jump gaps in the electrification. As more and more tricks are added and batteries hold more charge, the gaps the trains will be able to cross will get larger.

Five kilometres might not sound much, but I think it could be surprisingly useful.

I will use an example from the Midland Main Line to illustrate how the trains and discontinuous electrification might work.

In Discontinuous Electrification Through Leicester Station, I described the problems at Leicester station and how discontinuous electrification could solve the problem.

The following is a modified extract from that post.

This Google Map shows the bridge and the Southern end of the station.

It looks to me, that Leicester station and the road, would have to be closed to traffic for some time, if the bridge were to be rebuilt, to allow the erection of electrification through the area. Leicester and all train passengers would love that!

A solution could be discontinuous electrification.

  • The electrification from the South, would finish on the South side of bridge.
  • The electrification from the North, would finish at a convenient point in Leicester station or just to the North.
  • Electric trains would cover the gap of up to five kilometres on battery power.

Note.

Pantographs could be raised and lowered, where the wires exist.

Trains would probably use a stopping profile in Leicester station, that ensured they stopped with full batteries.

This would mean they had enough electricity to get back up to speed and reconnect to the electrification on the other side of the station.

To get an idea at how long five kilometres is in the Centre of Leicester, this Google Map shows the Leicester station.

Note that the platforms are around three hundred metres long.

In other words the electrification can be kept well away from the station and its troublesome bridge.

How much money would be saved and disruption avoided?

Application To The TransPennine Express Routes

These are the various routes, where Class 802 trains could be used.

Liverpool Lime Street And Edinburgh, Newcastle, Scarborough Or York

Sections are as follows.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria – 31.7 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Diesel
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.2 miles – Diesel
  • Leeds and York – 25.6 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • York and Newcastle – 80.2 miles – Electrified

Note.

  1. All services take a common route between Liverpool Lime Street and York.
  2. A surprising amount is electrified.
  3. A further 42 miles are being electrified.
  4. The 3 km Morley Tunnel between Dewsbury and Leeds might not be electrified.
  5. The 5 km  Standedge Tunnel between Huddersfield and Stalybridge might not be electrified.

It looks to me that the 5 km battery range will avoid electrification of two long Victorian tunnels.

Manchester Airport And Newcastle Or Redcar Central

Sections are as follows.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester Victoria – 13.2 miles – Electrified
  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Diesel
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.2 miles – Diesel
  • Leeds and York – 25.6 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • York and Newcastle – 80.2 miles – Electrified
  • Northallerton and Redcar Central – 29 miles – Diesel

The route goes through the Morley and Standedge tunnels.

Manchester Piccadilly And Hull

Sections are as follows.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Stalybridge – 7.5 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles – Diesel
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrified probably by 2024
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.2 miles – Diesel
  • Leeds and Selby – 21 miles – Diesel
  • Selby and Hull – 31miles – Diesel

The route goes through the Morley and Standedge tunnels.

Manchester Piccadilly And Huddersfield

The route goes through the Standedge tunnel.

Huddersfield And Leeds

The route goes through the Morley tunnel.

Manchester Airport And Cleethorpes

The Hope Valley Line which is part of this route has three tunnels.

Perhaps they will use a bit of diesel to get through Totley.

The Future

This paragraph sums up what Hitachi and Angel Trains could see as a possible future direction.

Once complete, the trial provides a pathway for Hitachi Rail, the train builder and maintainer, and Angel Trains, the train’s owner to develop plans to retrofit batteries to the wider fleet.

These plans will probably go in the directions like decarbonisation, more efficient operation and better standards for passengers.

Conclusion

This looks like a solution that has been helped by real ale in an appropriate hostelry.

  • The battery range has been chosen so Network Rail don’t necessarily have to electrify the tunnels.
  • Full electrification can be used either side of the tunnels.
  • Will any stations not be electrified. After all if the trains are using battery power in stations do they need electrification?
  • It might be useful to have some more bi-mode freight locomotives, that could traverse the tunnels on diesel or batteries.

Hitachi and Network Rail certainly seem to be cooking up a solution.

 

 

 

November 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Reopening The Darlington – Weardale Line To Passenger Services

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

The current Weardale Railway is a heritage line, that extends the current National Rail service between Darlington and Bishop Auckland stations further up Weardale.

  • It is a single track railway.
  • The current operational length is 18 miles between Bishop Auckland West and Stanhope stations.
  • The line could be extended a few miles to the site of the former Wearhead station.
  • Thre is a station at the village of Stanhope which i has a castle, a community hospital and a population of 1,600.
  • There is a station at the village of Frosterley which has a population of 700.
  • There is a station at the village of Witton-le-Wear which has a population of 700.
  • There seem to be lots of caravan parks along the river.
  • From my virtual helicopter, the track looks in reasonable condition.
  • There appear to be a couple of passing loops.
  • There don’t appear to be any tunnels.
  • The Weardale Railway has several bridges over the River Wear.
  • I suspect the scenery is not bad.

To my untrained eye, this section of railway would appear to have possibilities for reopening, without any serious engineering problems.

These are a few of my thoughts.

The Connection To National Rail

This Google Map shows Bishop Auckland station, where the Weardale Railway connects to the National Rail network.

Note.

  1. The station appears to be well-placed in the town.
  2. There is plenty of space for tracks connecting the two systems.

I suspect that building a combined through and terminal station that would satisfy the needs of all stakeholders would not be the most challenging of tasks.

Could The Extended Line Have A Japanese Fairy Godmother?

Consider.

  • Hitachi’s train factory at Newton Aycliffe is five miles to the South of Bishop Auckland.
  • Hitachi have stated that they are developing battery-electric trains for lines without electrification.
  • Developers of modern trains with complicated computer systems seem to go through many software versions.

I have to ask the question, if Hitachi would like to have a twenty-mile test track on their doorstep?

If they were testing trains that were agnostic about their power supply, the Weardale Railway would not need to be electrified, although there could be a couple of charging systems.

Would Access To The Quarries At Wearhead Be Needed?

The original Weardale Railway was built to access the quarries at Wearhead, but they switched to road transport some years ago.

This Google Map shows the Wearhead area.

Note.

  1. Wearhead is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. There is a quarry and there used to be a fluorspar mine.
  3. The white scar at the East of the map was a cement works.

Is there something, that could possibly be mined in this area, that could be taken out by train.

I think it should be born in mind, that mining and quarrying used to be a very dirty and carbon-intensive industry, but big mining companies are now embracing zero-carbon technology.

Could A Holiday Company Like Center Parcs Develop A Site In The Wear Valley?

I noticed a lot of caravans and chalets, as I examined the line.

Could a big operator like Center Parcs develop one of their holiday centres?

It could even be developed with a station.

Is New Housing Needed?

Does the local authority want to develop housing along the line?

What Rolling Stock Will Be Used?

There is no point in extending the line in these days of global warming without providing zero-carbon trains.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority is keen on hydrogen and there are good reasons.

  • There is hydrogen available from chemical plants on Teesside.
  • Hydrogen will give the trains a long range.
  • The trains would probably only need refuelling once a day.
  • In addition, Alstom are looking for an order for their Class 600 train, which is a conversion of a Class 321 train.

But I have my doubts about Alstom’s trains and Hitachi have doubts about hydrogen.

Consider.

  • Do you really want to run hydrogen trains on a line where steam trains run?
  • Darlington station is fully-electrified and it is also to be remodelled for more capacity and High Speed Two.
  • Bishop Auckland and Darlington is just twelve miles.
  • Darlington and Saltburn is just thirty miles.

With charging systems at Bishop Auckland, Saltburn and Stanhope, I am fairly sure Hitachi could develop an electric train for Teesside’s railways.

Conclusion

Hitachi could be key to the design of the reopening of the Darlington and Weardale Line.

 

October 29, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Northern Ends Of The Platforms At Kings Cross Station

These pictures show the Northern ends of the platforms at Kings Cross station.

The two trains are both nine-car Hitachi Class 800 or Class 801 trains and I was standing in line with their noses.

I wonder what is the maximum length of trains that can be handled in these platforms.

  • They can certainly handle ten-car trains, as LNER run these to Leeds.
  • Hitachi have designed the trains, so they can be up to twelve-cars, which are 312 metre long trains.
  • Looking at maps, I suspect that eleven-car trains would be the largest that can be handled.

But surely to maximum the number of passengers handled in the station, the platforms should be able to handle the longest Hitachi trains.

  • Unless, the capacity of an individual train is limited by the gate-lines and Network Rail have said that ten-car trains are the longest allowed.
  • Or would twelve-car trains be two far to walk with lots of luggage.

But ten-car trains would allow Lumo to double-up trains to increase capacity selectively, when perhaps, there is an important sporting event.

So when say the Culcutta Cup is taking place, an early morning train to the match and a late evening return could be doubled to add another four hundred seats.

But the current Lumo timetable only shows just two trains on a Saturday.

  • London King’s Cross – Edinburgh, which leaves at 10:25 and arrives at 14:57.
  • Edinburgh – London King’s Cross, which leaves at 08:49 and arrives at 13:17.

Not very good to go to the rugby or a birthday lunch with your mum.

But realtimetrains reveals two early morning paths allocated to Lumo.

  • London King’s Cross – Edinburgh, which leaves at 05:45 and arrives at 10:06.
  • Edinburgh – London King’s Cross,  which leaves at 05:36 and arrives at 10:04.

So you can get to the other capital, but is there a later last train back?

Oh! Yes there is! And again they are revealed by realtimetrains.

  • London King’s Cross – Edinburgh, which leaves at 18:27 and arrives at 22:56.
  • Edinburgh – London King’s Cross, which leaves at 17:56 and arrives at 22:29.

Is the Southbound service earlier, as Murrayfield is closer to Waverly station, than Twickenham is to King’s Cross?

If the return was fifty pounds and the trains were doubles, that could be revenue of around  £ 40,000. There would be more electricity and track access charges, and they’d need extra train crew, but Lumo would surely be quids in!

Lumo’s financial model has several nice little earners.

 

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

These are my thoughts.

Trains Per Day

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

Journey Times

Consider

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

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

Electrification

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

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

ORR’s Policy On Third Rail DC Electrification Systems

The title of this post is the same as that of a document I downloaded from this page on the Office of Rail and Road web site.

It is one of the most boring legal documents, that I have ever read and I have read a few in my time.

As I read it, effectively it says that new third-rail electrification is banned because of Health and Safety issues, which take precedence.

But only once in the document is new technology mentioned, that might make third-rail safer and that is a reference to the Docklands Light Railway, where the third rail is shielded.

I am an Electrical Engineer and I was designing safety systems for heavy industrial guillotines at fifteen as a vacation job in a non-ferrous metals factory.

One design of an ideal electric railway would have battery-electric trains, that were charged in stations by third-rail. The third-rail would only be energised, when a train was over the top and needed to be charged. In effect the train would act as an all-enclosing guard to the conductor rail.

Electrification Of The West Of England Main Line

The West of England Main Line runs between Basingstoke and Exeter via Salisbury. It is one of the longest, if not the longest main lines in England, that is not electrified.

It would probably need to be electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification, as that standard is used between London Waterloo and Basingstoke.

In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I described a system being developed by Hitachi, that would use battery-electric trains that were charged by short sections of electrified line every fifty miles or so. For reasons of ease of installation and overall costs, these short sections of electrification could be third-rail, that was electrically dead unless a train was connected and needed charging. These electrified sections could also be in stations, where entry on to the railway is a bit more restricted.

Conclusion

The Office of Rail and Road needs to employ a few more engineers with good technical brains, rather than ultra-conservative risk-averse lawyers.

As a sad footnote, I live in East London, where trespassers are regularly electrocuted on the railway. But usually, it is when idiots are travelling on top of container trains  and inadvertently come into contact with the overhead electrification.

July 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments