The Anonymous Widower

An American Take On Lumo

One of my Google Alerts picked up this article on an American site called Travel + Leisure, which is entitled A Brand-New Train Launched In The UK Today — Linking Cities Like Edinburgh And London For As Little As $20.

As I have sat next to American and Canadian couples and families on Anglo-Scottish trains, I hope that Lumo’s website is friendly to those living outside the UK.

Will The Lumo Concept Take Off In The United States?

I’m no expert, but on the right route, I don’t see why not!

After all, easyJet, Go and Ryanair took on the concept of the low-cost airline, which was pioneered by Pacific Southwest Airlines in California.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Is Lumo The Ryanair Of Rail?

Someone had to draw the comparison between Lumo and Ryanair and it was The Times, that used a headline of Lumo, The Ryanair Of Rail, Gets The Green Light On East Coast, for their article about the new London and Edinburgh rail service in their article today.

But how alike are the two business models?

Standard Planes And Trains

The Boeing 737 and the Airbus A 320, as used by Ryanair and easyJet  are the two workhorses of short haul airlines.

It can also be said, that Hitachi’s AT-300 train is becoming the workhorse of long-distance rail services in the UK.

Customised Interiors

Ryanair and easyJet do customise the interiors of their aircraft to a certain extent and from pictures on the Internet Lumo appear to have done the same.

If you look at the widths of the planes and trains on Wikipedia, you find these values.

  • Airbus A 320 – 3.95 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 3.8 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 2.7 metres

Dividing by the number of seats across, which is six for the planes and four for the train gives these figures.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.66 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.63 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.67 metres

I know there is an aisle down the middle, so let’s say that it is 0.60 metres. This gives these spaces for each seat.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.56 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.53 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.53 metres

I think that is adequate space for a designer to do a good job.

This picture shows the interior of a Great Western Railway Class 802 train, which use a similar body shell to the trains used by Lumo.

Note.

  1. The aisle looks to be similar in width to a seat.
  2. There is a bag shelf above the windows and lots of coat hooks.

As both Lumo and Great Western Railway are both First Group companies, is it likely that the interior dimensions are similar, so that standard trolleys could be used and training could be eased and shared between companies in the group.

This picture shows a trolley fitting in between the tables on a Great Western Railway service.

I suspect, if they design everything together, Lumo could make best use of a narrow aisle to give the seats a bit more width.

This last picture shows TransPennine Express Class 802 train at Willesden Junction station.

Note how the lower part of the side of the train is curved. Is this to get a bit more room for the seat squab?

Passengers Per Metre

This is only a rough calculation and shows typical passengers, fuselage or car length and passengers per metre.

  • Airbus A 320 – 164 passengers – 37.57 metres – 4.4 px/metre
  • Boeing 737 – 160 passengers – 37.0 metres – 4.3 px/metre
  • Class AT-300 train – 96 passengers – 26 metres – 3.7 px/metre

Passenger density in the train is about fourteen percent less.

Toilets

In The Definitive Seating Layout Of Lumo’s Class 803 Trains, I said this.

This article on Economy Class and Beyond is entitled Enter Lumo – The New East Coast Railway Competitor.

It contains a drawing from Lumo,  which shows the layouts of the seats on the train.

    • Coach A – 44 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Wheelchair spaces – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 56 Total seats
    • Coach B – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach C – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – 96 Total seats
    • Coach D – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach E – 52 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 62 Total seats

Note.

    1. This is a total of 406 seats.
    2. Judging by the position of the tip-up seats they are for staff and perhaps emergency use, if say a coffee gets spilled on a seat.
    3. Each car has a pair of tables, where four can sit. As Lumo’s business model allows early booking, if you and your partner want to take the kids to see granny on her birthday, you should be able to get a table, by booking early.
    4. There are two bike stores in Coaches B and D.

These are some further thoughts.

Toilet Provision

I was on an LNER Class 800 train earlier this week and needed to go to the toilet.

    • I wasn’t sure which way I needed to go, as I couldn’t see a sign pointing me to the toilet, but in the end I struck lucky.
    • You don’t have that problem with Lumo’s trains, as there appears to be a toilet at both ends of the three middle coaches, either in your car or the next.
    • If you’re in one of the driver cars, there is an accessible toilet at the blunt end.

I don’t think anybody will argue with the toilet provision on Lumo’s trains.

Typically a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 will have two toilets for about 160 passengers.

Lumo’s trains have two accessible toilets and two ordinary ones for 406 passengers.

Ease Of Boarding

If you want to catch a train at virtually any station in the UK, in most cases, you just turn up something like fifteen minutes before the departure time, present your ticket and get on the train.

Planes used to be like that in the UK, but they aren’t any more.

Catering

In the article in The Times, Matt Lee, who is Lumo’s customer experience director, said they have been free to develop their own systems. He says this about the catering.

Catering will be a Deliveroo-style service: passengers can order M&S or Pret sandwiches in advance and have them delivered to their seat. “We are a testbed for other FirstGroup train operators.

Will they do gluten-free?

Luggage

Lumo have a luggage courier service called LumoLuggage.

Service Expansion

Suppose an airline or a train operating company wants to run additional services to add capacity to a route.

With an airline, they will need to obtain additional take-off and landing slots to fly the route.

But Lumo are running five-car trains on a route, where all the stations can handle nine-car trains and possibly a pair of five-car trains.

So Lumo just add extra cars to the fleet, so that they match the number of cars running on the route to the demand.

The only costs to increase the capacity are those of the extra cars and a proportionate number of extra staff.

Conclusion

I can see this service model being copied by other train operators in other countries.

I’m looking forward to going North on Wednesday.

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The London And Edinburgh Travel Market

This paragraph comes from of this article on Railway Gazette.

Lumo is aiming to carry more than 1 million passengers per year. It is particularly targeting people who currently fly between Edinburgh and London; in June it says there were 74 764 air journeys on the route, compared to 82 002 by rail.

Lumo’s million passengers per year, will equate to around 83,300 passengers per month.

What these figures don’t show is the number of rail journeys made to intermediate stations like Newcastle, York, Doncaster and Peterborough.

These are a few thoughts.

Rail Capacity Between London And Edinburgh

Consider.

  • LNER is currently the only rail carrier offering a daytime service between London and Edinburgh.
  • LNER run approximately 26 trains per day (tpd) in both directions between London and Edinburgh.
  • A nine-car Class 801 train can carry 510 Standard Class passengers and 101 First Class passengers.

That means that LNER had a capacity of just over 950,000 seats in June.

It might seem poor to have only sold 82,002 seats in June between London and Edinburgh, which is just 8.6 % of the available seats.

On the other hand, LNER’s two trains per hour (tph) are a lot more than London and Edinburgh trains, as they connect towns and cities all the way up the East Coast Main Line between London and Aberdeen.

Lumo’s capacity of a million seats per year, works out at 83,300 seats per month, which is another 8.7 % of capacity.

  • Lumo will sell seats on price initially and I suspect they’ll end up running about 85-95 % full.
  • It has been stated that they need to run 80% full to break even.
  • I also think, that they would like to have a few seats for late bookers.

But even so, they will surely affect LNER’s bookings.

What Will LNER Do?

Several of the things, that Lumo are doing can be easily copied by LNER.

  • Early booking.
  • Improve onboard service.
  • Better seating.

They could even reduce prices.

I think it is very likely we could end up with a price and service war between LNER and Lumo.

Would The Airlines Be The Losers?

This could be an outcome of competition between LNER and Lumo.

We are now talking about times of around four hours and twenty-five minutes between London and Edinburgh, but there are improvements underway on the East Coast Main Line.

  • The remodelling of the approach to Kings Cross station has not been reflected in the timetables.
  • The Werrington Dive Under has not been completed yet.
  • Digital signalling is being installed South of Doncaster.
  • The power supply is being upgraded North of Newcastle.

When these and other improvements are complete, I can see journey times reduced below four hours.

But would that only be for starters?great b

If a 1970s-technology Intercity 225 train, admittedly running as a shortened train formation, could achieve a time of just under three-and-a-half hours for the 393.2 miles between Kings Cross and Edinburgh stations in September 1991, what could a modern Hitachi train do, if all of the improvements had been completed and perhaps half of the route could be run at 140 mph under the watchful eyes of full digital signalling and an experienced driver.

Consider.

  • London and York is nearly two hundred miles of fairly straight railway, that is ideal for high speed.
  • Current trains run the 393.2 miles in four hours 25 minutes, which is an average speed of 89 mph.
  • A train running at 89 mph would take two hours and fifteen minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 125 mph would take one hour and thirty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.
  • A train running at 140 mph would take one hour and twenty-six minutes to cover 200 miles.

When Network Rail, Great British Railways or the Prime Minister renames the East Coast Main Line as High Speed East Coast, I think we can be sure that trains between London and Edinburgh will be able to achieve three-and-a-half hours between the two capitals.

High Speed Two is only promising three hours and forty-eight minutes.

What About LNER’s New Trains?

LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, was written to explore the possibilities suggested by a short article in the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

There has been no sign of any order being placed, but Hitachi have moved on.

  • They are building the prototype of the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery for testing on the Great Western Railway.
  • They have completed some of the Class 803 trains for East Coast Trains, which has now been renamed Lumo. These trains have a battery for hotel power in case of catenary failure, but no diesel engines.
  • They are building the Class 807 trains for Avanti West Coast, which appear to be designed for high speed and have no batteries or diesel engines.
  • The latest versions of the trains will have a reshaped nose. Is it more aerodynamic at high speeds?

It does seem that there is an emphasis on speed, better acceleration and efficiency.

  • Could the lessons learned be used to improve the performance of the existing trains?
  • Could a small high performance sub-fleet be created to run LNER’s Scottish services?

There are certainly possibilities, that would cut journey times between London and Edinburgh.

Conclusion

I can see the airlines flying between London and Edinburgh suffering a lot of collateral damage, as the two train companies slug it out.

 

September 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lumo Aims To Be The Green Alternative To Edinburgh – London Flights

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

Some points from the article.

Lumo Is Targeting Flyers

This is a paragraph.

Lumo is aiming to carry more than 1 million passengers per year. It is particularly targeting people who currently fly between Edinburgh and London; in June it says there were 74 764 air journeys on the route, compared to 82 002 by rail.

I find it interesting that the number of passengers using air and rail are within nine percent. I thought it would have been more of a difference.

The Service Will Ramp Up

This is a paragraph.

Services will ramp up over a period of months to the planned timetable of five trains each way per day. A small increase is envisaged at the December timetable change, followed by full implementation in Q1 2022.

There is a lot of training to do and some more Class 803 trains to be delivered.

Viability Level

Industry sources are quoted that at the prices charged, the trains will need to be eighty percent full to be viable.

As a Control Engineer, who has built hundreds of mathematical models, I am fairly certain, that by adjusting ticket prices and getting the marketing right, they’ll hit that level.

Late Bookers

The eighty percent viability level probably means that they can afford to leave a few seats available for those that need to book the day before.

Yesterday, when I went to Spalding, I bought my ticket in the Booking Office half-an-hour before travel and got a seat with a window.

Seat allocation algorithms on LNER seem to be very good and I don’t think Lumo’s will be in any way inferior.

Early Bookers

The article says advance tickets can be bought earlier than the usual twelve weeks.

So say you always travel to Scotland for your mother’s birthday, you can buy the ticket early and not be hit by low availability, as it turns out later that Rangers are playing Celtic on the day you travel.

Mutual Support In Case Of Disruption

This is a paragraph.

Reciprocal contracts providing support in case of disruption have been signed with other operators, including LNER.

I think in all the troubles yesterday, that I wrote about in Azumas Everywhere!, LNER could have done with some help yesterday.

Lumo Want To Grow Rail

This is a quote from the company.

We want to grow rail and bring people to a more sustainable, environmentally way of travelling.

They also seem fairly relaxed if you want to travel in First on LNER.

Luggage

This is a paragraph.

Passengers will be able keep their luggage close by or, for an additional charge, have it delivered to their final station or destination.

Does that mean you’re going to Edinburgh to see the family at Christmas and the New Year, you can take a lot of luggage and get it delivered both ways?

Efficient Running North Of Newcastle

I particularly liked this paragraph.

The trainsets will be able to run with power draw limited to 80% of normal on the northern part of the East Coast Main Line where there is limited power supply, with modelling by FirstGroup’s engineers and Network Rail suggesting that for five-car sets this will not affect sectional running times and will allow electric trains to continue running.

If you’re on time, the passengers won’t mind, but the electricity saved is all profit.

As a Control Engineer, my philosophy would be to have an economy mode for 80 % power sections.

  • Trains would enter these sections with a full battery, that had been charged earlier from the electrification.
  • The battery would provide hotel power in these sections.
  • Traction power would come from the electrification.
  • Trains could leave these sections with an almost flat battery.

The battery is not used for traction, but because it is handling the hotel power, less power is drawn from the electrification for traction.

I always remember Freddie Laker was keen on getting his pilots to save fuel.

Charging The Hotel Power Battery

Obviously this can be charged from the overhead electrification, although I doubt they would charge it in sections where power supplies are limited.

But can the battery be charged using regenerative braking?

In Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?, I tried to answer this question using the information in this document on the Hitachi Rail web site, which is entitled Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme , which was published in 2014 and contains this diagram of the traction system.

Note that BC in the diagram stands for battery charger. So even in 2014, Hitachi were thinking about batteries.

In this diagram it seems to me, that electricity for the Auxiliary Power Supply and charging any batteries, can come from these sources.

  • The Electrification
  • The Generator Unit, if fitted
  • The Drive Converter if it can divert regenerative braking energy to the APS.

It is all very comprehensive.

Handling Engineering Blockades

This is a paragraph.

Lumo has looked at how to manage any engineering blockades involving diversions away from the wires, with options including transfers to Hull Trains or TPE services operated using bimode trainsets, transfer to buses if no alternatives are available, and even the cancellation of a service if passengers indicate they would prefer not to travel if their journey will be disrupted.

Being part of a larger group always helps.

Borrowing Trains

Yesterday, whilst waiting to leave Peterborough, I saw a TransPennine Express Class 802 train go through.

Peterborough isn’t exactly near the Pennines!

On checking today, it appears it was running in one of Lumo’s paths.

So was the train being borrowed for training purposes?

But I can envisage, when a difficult blockade say around Newark is to be enacted, that Lumo would borrow a bi-mode from TransPennine Express, so they could use diesel to run the service via Lincoln.

Conclusion

There’s a lot more to Lumo than has so far been disclosed.

In the meantime read the Railway Gazette article, as there’s more there for starters.

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments