The Anonymous Widower

Minister Quotes Definitive Dates For Final Northern Pacer Withdrawals

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Class 142 Pacers are expected to be withdrawn by Northern by February 17 2020, with all the ‘144s’ out of service by May 17 2020, according to Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris.

This is a mess and a mess, where the main culprits are not those usually blamed by the unfortunate travellers; Northern Rail  and the Government.

  • Network Rail made a terrible hash of installing electrification, mainly it appears to some bad surveying, some bad management decisions and their hiring of Carillion.
  • CAF for the late delivery of Class 195 and Class 331 trains.
  • Porterbrook and their contractor for the late delivery of Class 769 trains.

There was a similar problem on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line as Bombardier were having problems with the computer systems on the Class 710 trains, which came into service several months after the electrification was finally complete.

So Bombardier put their hands up and paid for a free month’s travel on the line.

Surely, those that are responsible for the Pacers still being in service, should follow Bombardier’s  lead.

 

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pacers To Continue Into 2020, Operators Confirm

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Operators have confirmed that their Pacer diesel multiple-units will remain in service into early 2020, in spite of previous announcements that the unpopular four-wheeled vehicles dating from the 1980s would be withdrawn before enhanced PRM accessibility requirements come into force on January 1 2020.

The article then summarises the situation in the three operators running Pacers.

Northern

Some Pacers used by Northern will continue in service into 2020, because of late delivery of new Class 195 diesel trains and Class 331 electric trains.

They are also still awaiting delivery of eight Class 769 trains, which are very late into service.

Great Western

Great Western has said, that some Pacers will continue in service around Exeter.

No reason is given, but it does appear that because of non-delivery of electrification to Oxford and the late arrival of Crossrail, Great Western they still need Class 165 and Class 166 trains to work services for London commuters.

They are also still awaiting delivery of nineteen Class 769 trains.

Transport For Wales

Transport for Wales are in the same position as Great Western, in that the Class 769 trains, they ordered have still not been delivered.

The Operator Will Get The Blame!

Obviously, the operator will get the blame, but I would argue that all three have at least tried hard to avoid this crisis, as they knew the Pacers would have to be on their way to the scrapyard at the end of 2019.

  • If CAF had delivered their trains for Northern on time, things would be much better in the North.
  • If Porterbrook and their engineers had delivered the Class 769 trains on time, all three operators would be in a better position.

Hopefully, in a few months, the new trains will have been delivered and the Class 769 trains will have been created and in service.

 

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Northern Retires First Pacer Train

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

You’d think they’d be missed by everybody!

On Monday, I talked to the driver of a Pacer at Manchester Piccadilly station and he gave the impression, that he will miss the trains.

August 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Steaming Up To Treforest In A Class 143 Train

On my trip to Treforest, I was in a Class 143 train or one of the dreaded Pacers.

It was performing well on the challenging route and I wondered how the power compared with that of the proposed tram-trains, that will be used in a couple of years.

Class 143 Train

  • Speed – 75 mph
  • Sections – 2
  • Weight – 48.5 tonnes
  • Length 31 metres
  • Power – 336 kW
  • Capacity – 122 seats
  • Gross Weight (90 Kg per passenger) – 49.6 tonnes
  • Kinetic Energy At Operating Speed – 7.7 kWh
  • Time to Operating Speed At Full Power – 1.5 minutes

The train I was on was pretty smooth! Or for a Pacer anyway!

Class 399 Tram-Train

  • Speed – 62 mph
  • Sections – 3
  • Weight -66.15 tonnes
  • Length – 37.2 metres
  • Power – 870 kW
  • Capacity – 88 seats and 150 standing.
  • Gross Weight (90 Kg per passenger) – 87.6 tonnes
  • Kinetic Energy At Operating Speed – 9.3 kWh
  • Time to Operating Speed At Full Power – 6 minutes

These figures are taken from details of the tram-trains in Sheffield.

The two trains are very similar in some respects, but the tram-train is heavier with a full load of passengers.

I certainly can see no reason, why the Class 399 tram-train won’t perform as well as the lass 143 train, but with a bigger and heavier load of passengers.

But one important factor should be born in mind.

The German cousins of the Class 399 tram-trains are used in Karlsruhe, where they easily climb out of the city into the surrounding hills.

A trip up the valleys to Aberdate, Merthyr Tydfil or Treherbert could be no more difficult, once the electrification is in place.

Conclusion

I can see other cities and tram networks around the UK, Europe and the wider world developing urban transport networks around these Stadler tram-trains.

UK cities for their deployment must include Manchester and Sheffield.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

42 Technology To Showcase Adaptable Carriage On Innovation Hub Train

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Cambridge Network,

This page on the 42 Technology web site, is the original press release.

These are the first two paragraphs.

42 Technology has installed its innovative Adaptable Carriage seating system into a real train carriage for the first time as part of its Innovate UK ‘First of a Kind’ project.

The system has been installed on Porterbrook’s Innovation Hub which will be launched next week at Rail Live 2019 (19-20 June) at Quinton Rail Technology Centre, the dedicated rail testing and trialling site near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Porterbrook’s Innovation Hub is a Class 319 train, that is made available for innovators.

Like 42 Technology, an innovator might have ideas for how to design the inside of a train, or someone might want to run an innovative freight service and wants to design the containers.

At the lowest level, the Innovation Hub, gives innovators, the chance to see inside a real train.

This article on the BBC is entitled Pacer trains ‘could be used as village halls’.

Surely, the leasing companies, who own these trains should park one at a convenient site and allow interested parties and the wider public to look at it.

Who knows what will happen? There are some crazy people with even crazier ideas out there! But successful innovation is liberally sprinkled with people, who were three-quarters of the way to the funny farm.

 

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Fact Or Fiction On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

I just took a short ride between Harringay Green Lanes and Gospel Oak stations.

At Harringay Green Lanes station, this was shown on the station display.

Saturday 16th to Sunday 22nd trains will be 30 minute intervals.

At Gospel  Oak station, this was shown on the station display.

Saturday 16th to Sunday 22nd trains will be 30 minute intervals.

I was also given a leaflet, which said.

Trains will run about every 30 minutes on weekdays, calling at all stations.

It also said that there will be service changes at weekend and on public holidays.

So what does the National Rail on-line timetable say?

  • Monday, March 18th – 2 trains per hour (tph)
  • Saturday, March 23rd – 4 tph
  • Sunday, March 24th – 4 tph
  • Monday, March 25th – 4 tph

I don’t believe it!

For four tph, that means they have to find three extra trains. Are they Class 710 trains or have they borrowed some surplus Pacers from Northern?

March 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Side-Effect Of Northern’s Plan To Use Class 769 Trains Across Manchester

It would appear that Northern will use some Class 769 trains on routes across Manchester’s electrified core to connect two lines without electrification.

I think that one route could be to connect Clitheroe on the Ribble Valley Line to Buxton on the Buxton Line.

These two branches could be connected by an electrified line between Hazel Grove and Bolton stations, outside of which they’d generate their own power using on-board diesel alternators.

Pacers, Class 150 trains or Class 156 trains currently work the two lines without electrification, but if it was designed to create a North-South cross-Manchester service, Class 769 trains could easily handle the extended route.

Northern have around a hundred Pacers and have pledged to remove all of them from service. Probably, most will go to the scrapyard, but some might end up with enthusiasts or masochists, or in strange export markets.

  • A 75 mph two-car train like a Class 150/156 train or a Pacer would be replaced with a 90 mph four-car train. Which must speed up and improve the service.
  • Capacity would be increased by at least one car in each replacement train.
  • If a Pacer is replaced on the route, it goes out of service.
  • If a Class 156 train is replaced it goes elsewhere to kick a Pacer out of service.
  • If a Class 150 train is replaced, it probably gets a good refurbishment to kick a Pacer out of service.

So as each new Class 769 train enters service, it can push a Pacer out of service and replace it with a better train.

The same probably occurs when a Class 319 train enters service on the Northern network, if it directly replaces another train.

Passengers on their local line, might not see a new electric train, but their Pacers will gradually be replaced with better stock.

Then as the brand-new trains from CAF get introduced in a couple of years, everybody will see better trains.

In some businesses, you might think it a way to con the customers. But here, they’ll just see a process of continuous improvement of the rolling stock on their regular journeys.

December 10, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Increasing Capacity Across The Pennines

I’m not sure, if this is what Northern said they would do to increase the capacity across the Pennines.

The Class 168 train is towing a Pacer to nearly double capacity.

I saw this approach three times between Todmorden and Leeds.

This gallery shows the Class 150 train pulling a Pacer, I used between Todmodern and Halifax.

Do you get a discount for travelling in inferior accommodation?

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

From Leeds To Rotherham

This was not what you would call a quality journey.

By train it took 56 minutes, which is about nine minutes longer than it would take in the average car according to various web sites.

There are also nine stops in another Cook’s Tour of Yorkshire.

It was also in a Class 142 train or Pacer.

The map clipped from Wikipedia shows the Wakefield Line, which is the route the train took.

These pictures were taken on the journey.

In this day and age for a journey of an hour a better train is needed, especially as the two end points are Leeds and Sheffield,where the two cities have a joint population of about 1.3 million.

The fastest trains between Leeds and Sheffield are run by CrossCountry and take forty minutes using the Wakefield Line.

As the fastest Rotherham Central to Sheffield trains take 14 minutes, I think it is reasonable to assume, that the right train could do Leeds to Rotherham Central in 26 minutes.

This route could become a Northern Connect route, run by new Class 195 trains.

As the route is electrified between Leeds and Fitzwilliam station, I wonder if this could be a route for a Class 319 Flex train.

Both trains are 100 mph units, as against the 75 mph of the Class 142 train, which probably defines the timetable.

From my observations, the route is not particularly arduous and I suspect that either train could do the journey in just over forty minutes, even with all the stops.

Certainly, the current service is truly dreadful and inadequate.

It appears that the overhead wires are going up for the tram-train to Sheffield. Or at least the gantries!

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Between Exeter St. Davids And Exeter Central Stations

Exeter St. Davids and Exeter Central are important stations in Exeter.

  • Many services call at both stations.
  • The two stations are about five minutes apart by train.
  • It takes fifteen to twenty minutes to walk between the two stations.
  • Exeter Central station is in the centre of the city and an easy walk to stops and restaurants.
  • Exeter St. Davis station is the junction station, where lines to and from the city meet.

The problem is that it is a very stiff walk up the hill from Exeter St. Davids station to Exeter Central station.

What eases matters, is that every few minutes, a train connects the lower St. Davids to the higher Central.

These pictures document a trip between the two stations.

Note the quality of the trains.

When staying in Exeter, if you come by train, make sure you pick a hotel at the best station for your visit.

I stayed in the Premier Inn by the station and met a couple, who were using the Mercure, which they didn’t fault.

This map clipped from Wikipedia, shows the stations in Exeter.

My ticket between the two main Exeter stations,  cost  £1.50 for an Anytime Day Return, but you can’t help thinking that the various train companies working in the area are looking at ways of improving the ticketing.

The fact that First Group is now involved in the two main franchises must help.

But as a visitor, who understands ticketing, I found my £6.60 Devon Day Rangers more than adequate.

 

 

 

 

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment