The Anonymous Widower

TfL Confirms Details Of Reading Services

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

This is first paragraph.

Details of the transfer of London Paddington – Reading stopping services from Great Western Railway to TfL Rail from the December 15 timetable change have been confirmed by Transport for London.

Some significant points to note from the article.

  • The service will be run by Class 345 trains.
  • Fast services from Reading and some stations to the East will continue to be run by Great Western Railway.
  • There will be four trains per hour (tph) in the Peak and two tph in the Off Peak.
  • After the New Year Bank Holiday, contactless payments will be available between Paddington and Reading.
  • Children under 11 who are accompanied by an adult, as well as people who are eligible for the Freedom Pass, will be able to travel for free to Reading on the TfL service.
  • Oyster will not be available to the West of West Drayton.
  • Great Western Railway , but not South Western Railway, are expected to bring in contactless ticketing in the New Year.

A few of my thoughts.

What Will Be The Service Pattern?

When the possibility of TfL Rail taking over theservices to Reading, I wrote Will Crossrail Open To Reading in 2019?.

The service pattern to Maidenhead to Reading appears to be.

Reading To Paddington – Limited Stop

This service will be run at two trains per hour (tph) in the Peak with no trains in the Off-Peak.

Stops are Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough, West Drayton and Ealing Broadway.

Reading To Paddington – All Stations

This service will be run at two tph all day.

The service will call at all stations except Hanwell and Acton Main Line.

Maidenhead To Paddington

This service will be run at two tph all day.

The service will call at all stations except Hanwell and Acton Main Line.

A Summary Of Peak/Off Peak Calls

Adding these services up, gives the following numbers for Peak and Off Peak calls in trains per hour (tph)

  • Reading – 4,2
  • Twyford – 4,2
  • Maidenhead – 6,4
  • Taplow – 4.4
  • Burnham 4,4
  • Slough – 6,4
  • Langley – 4,4
  • Iver – 4,4
  • West Drayton – 6,4
  • Hayes & Harlington – 4.4
  • Southall – 4,4
  • Hanwell – None to Reading/Maidenhead
  • West Ealing – 4.4
  • Ealing Broadway – 6,4
  • Acton Main Line – None to Reading/Maidenhead
  • Paddington – 6,4

Note.

  1. 4,2 means 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak.
  2. It would appear that all stations except Reading and Twyford have at least four tph all day.
  3. Stations between Hayes & Harlington and Ealing Broadway will get another six tph all day going to Heathrow.
  4. Acton Main Line station will get another four tph all day going to Heathrow.

The frequency of trains would appear to satisfy Transport for London’s Turn-Up-And-Go frequency for Metro services.

No one should wait more than fifteen minutes on a Metro for a train!

Freedom Pass Holders Will Be Winners

Being able to use a Freedom Pass between Paddington and Reading will be very useful for many travellers.

It would appear that the cheapest way to use the trains West of Reading for a Freedom Pass Holder, will be to use the pass to get to Reading on TfL Rail and then buy a tricket from Reading to your ultimate destination.

Note that on the Overground, you can buy a ticket between any two UK stations. So if I was going to Bristol, I’d buy a Return at my local Dalston Junction station and use it from Reading, afdter going there on TfL Rail.

Very covenient and with the best price!

September 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 15 Comments

The East-West Rail Link Plans For Services Between Reading And East Anglia

This report on the East-West Rail web site is entitled Eastern Section Prospectus and gives full details of their proposals for the train services along the East-West Rail Link.

This post is particularly about services to Reading and the report says this about services between Reading and East Anglia.

Proposed Core Train Services

This is a sentence.

It has been assumed that, by this stage, a half hourly service will operate on the Central and Western sections between Oxford – Cambridge.

The report then goes on to add.

25 minutes are added to the Oxford journey time to represent the option of one service being extended to / from Reading with a Reading – Oxford non-stop.

So that looks like there will be a core hourly service between Reading and Cambridge, which will take 98 minutes.

The report then goes on to detail how various towns and cities in East Anglia will be connected to Reading.

Bury St. Edmunds

2h16 hourly with cross-platform changes at Cambridge and new A14 Parkway station.

Great Yarmouth

3h14 hourly direct

Ipswich

2h43 hourly with cross-platform changes at Cambridge and new A14 Parkway station.

Lowestoft

3h30 hourly with change at Norwich and cross platform change at Reedham.

Norwich

2h40 hourly direct

Trains For The Route

It looks like there will be two direct hourly train services.

  • Reading and Great Yarmouth via Cambridge and Norwich, which will take three hours and fourteen minutes.
  • Oxford and Ipswich via Cambridge and Bury St. Edmunds, which will take two hours and nineteen minutes.

The long term service pattern, envisages extending the Oxford and Ipswich service to Manningtree, which would add twenty-five minutes.

These are long services and given the overcrowding that happens on the current service between Norwich and Liverpool, I would think that the trains should be as follows.

  • At least four or five cars.
  • An on-board buffet.
  • At least 100 mph operation.

I also think the trains should be bi-mode trains, able to use 25 KVAC overhead electrification or onboard power.

How Many Trains?

It looks like the Reading and Great Yarmouth service would be a seven-hour round trip, which would need seven trains.

The future Oxford and Manningtree service would be a six-hour round trip, which would need six trains.

So add in an allowance for maintenance and a spare, I suspect the fleet should be sixteen trains.

 

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

Crossrail Ltd Outlines Plan To Complete The Elizabeth Line

The title of this post is the same as this statement on the Crossrail web site.

These are a few points from the statement.

The Opening Date Of The Central Section

This is a sentence from the statement.

Crossrail Ltd has identified a six-month delivery window with a midpoint at the end of 2020. Crossrail will be making every effort to deliver the service as early as possible.

Does that meet some date between the 1st October 2020 and 31st March 2021?

And what will open on that date?

There is then this paragraph.

The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour during the peak.

Twelve trains per hour (tph) gives a capacity of 18,000 passengers per hour, which compares with the 36 tph and 31,500 passengers per hour of the Victoria Line.

Practically, this means that a twelve tph Crossrail could be carrying sixty percent of the number of passengers of the Victoria Line. It’s better than a kick in the teeth!

But then Dear Old Vicky is the Platinum Standard with lots of encrusted diamonds!

Bond Street Station

This is a sentence from the statement.

It is expected that all stations on the route will open except for Bond Street which is delayed because of design and delivery challenges.

The stations are designed so that trains can pass through, so this is not a problem.

Western Branch Services

This is a paragraph from the statement.

TfL Rail services between Paddington and Reading will commence in December 2019 with a frequency of 4 trains per hour in the peak. Testing of the signalling system continues to allow the new class 345 trains to be extended from Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow.

When Crossrail is fully open, the Western Branch frequencies are planned to be as follows.

  • Reading and Abbey Wood – 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood – 4 tph all day.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day.

Currently, TfL Rail’s services are as follows.

  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Paddington – 2 tph all day
  • Hayes & Harlington and Paddington – 2 tph all day

It appears that the two Hayes & Harlington services are designed and timed, so they can be extended to Heathrow Terninal 5, with trains leaving Paddington at these times.

  • XX:08 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:10 – Heathrow Terminal 5
  • XX:23 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:38 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:42 – Heathrow Terminal 5
  • XX:53 – Heathrow Terminal 4

Perhaps, if the signalling had worked as intended, we would now be seeing Class 345 trains working as follows.

  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Paddington – 4 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Paddington – 2 tph all day

Once the signalling works as needed and signed off in blood, sweat and tears, the difficult part of the job has been done.

The Reading and Maidenhead services could then be added to the mix. Especially, as no problems have been admitted or rumoured with running to these destinations.

These would mean twelve trains per hour in the Peak and ten trains per hour in the Off Peak needing to be handled at the London end of the Western Branch of Crossrail.

Paddington Station Or Central Tunnel?

The twelve tph in the Peak and ten in the Off Peak is an interesting frequency.

In If Crossrail Opens To Reading In December 2019, How Will It Terminate In Paddington?, I describe how Heathrow and Reading services at a frequency of twelve tph,  could run into Platforms 12 and 14 at Paddington.

This was my conclusion.

Platform 12 and 14 at Paddington could be converted into a two-platform Crossrail station handling seven-car Class 345 trains, at a frequency of twelve tph, with its own gate line.

I’ll ralso epeat this paragraph from the statement.

The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour during the peak.

Twelve tph in the Peak is the maximum frequency of the Western Branch into London.

Crossrail have designed a system, where trains can initially terminate in either Paddington or Abbey Wood stations.

Tp give themselves all options and get the Western Branch running, Crossrail would need to complete and certify the following.

  1. Get the signalling working to Heathrow.
  2. Make sure twelve tph could terminate in Paddington.
  3. Make sure twelve tph could run  through the tunnel between Royal Oak and Abbey Wood.

This would mean it would be possible to run twelve tph from Heathrow, Maidenhead and Reading in the West to either Paddington or Abbey Wood in London.

As twelve tph is only one train every five minutes, this surely could be run safely, once the three tasks above are complete and signed off.

Running A Split Service

This is said in the statement.

When the Elizabeth line opens the railway will operate as follows:

  • Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via Central London
  • Liverpool Street (main line station) to Shenfield
  • Paddington (main line station) to Heathrow and Reading

At a first look it appears to be a sensible plan.

  • All three services are independent of each other
  • Liverpool Street and Shenfield is working well and will carry on regardless as long as needed at six tph.
  • The Abbey Wood and Heathrow/Reading services can be run as two independent rail  services.

The following will also get a thorough testing.

  • Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The interchange tunnel between the Bakerloo Line and Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The important turnback facility at Royal Oak for trains turning in the Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)

The only problem, is that passengers will have to change trains at Paddington.

Running A Limited Preview Service In The Central Tunnel

Would it be possible to run a preview service in the Central Tunnel, after the following are tested and certified?

  • The turnback facility at Royal Oak
  • Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The intermediate stations.
  • The operation of trains in the tunnel at twelve tph.
  • Abbey Wood station.
  • The turnback facility at Abbey Wood.

A frequency of four or six tph may give the station systems a thorough testing.

Rolling Out The Full Service

This is a paragraph from the statement.

Once the central section opens, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, will commence as soon as possible.

I would assume stations and extra services will be added as soon as testing is complete and drivers and station staff are fully-trained.

Conclusion

The plan is good, as it allows these and other systems to be tested independently.

  • The signalling into Heathrow.
  • Twelve tph trains to and from Heathrow, Maidenhead and Reading.
  • Operation of the platforms in Paddington (main line station)
  • Operation of the turnback facility at Royal Oak
  • Operation of the platforms in Paddington (Elizabeth line station)
  • Handling of twelve tph and the signalling in the Central Tunnel.
  • Operation of the turnback facility at Abbey Wood.

I wouldn’t be surprised, that if all goes well, we may be seeing a very limited Crossrail service earlier than anybody currently thinks.

It would also appear to get the Western and Shenfield branches working independently to provide much needed, more frequent and quality services,.

These will then be joined by services in the Central Tunnel, which initially will be run independently.

As I said earlier a twelve tph Crossrail between Paddington and Abbey Wood through the Central Tunnel, would carry sixty percent of the passengers of the Victoria Line!

 

April 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Platforms 10-14 At Paddington Station

This Google Map shows the Western end of Paddington station.

Note.

  1. In the top right hand corner of the map you can see the canal boats parked alongside the station.
  2. The light brown flat roof, would appear to be the roof of the London Underground station, which has two platforms and is served by the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines.
  3. The thin platform pointing out from under the road bridge at the is probably the extension of the two Underground platforms, which are numbered 15 and 16.
  4. The next platform end which is wider, is platforms 12 and 14.

Now look at this picture taken by the end barrier on platform 15.

Note.

  1. The road bridge is over the top.
  2. Platform 14 is opposite, which is fitted with overhead electrification.
  3. The track for Platform 15, is the Westbound Underground line and has typical London Underground electrification.
  4. I think the signal gantry at the end of the platform can be seen on the Google Map.

The Google Map and my photo are two different views of the same area.

The Length of Platform 14

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled All Change At Paddington.

This is an extract, which is talking about Platform 14.

To extend the platform’s operational length to 164 metres, it had to be extended at both ends. On the London end, the buffer stop had already been moved by 11 metres, and that was all the room available. The country end had also been extended as much as possible.

164 metres is an interesting length.

The length of a four-car Class 387 train is just over eighty metres, so two working as a pair would fit Platform 14.

In Weight And Dimensions Of A Class 345 Train, I state that the length of a seven-car Class 345 train is 159.74 metres.

It looks like platform 14 can accept either of the electric trains that work the suburban services out of  Paddington.

The Length of Platform 12

Platform 12 is the other platform face of the island containing platform 14.

I took these pictures as I walked down the Underground platform.

I then left the Underground station and took these pictures on the island containing platforms 12 and 14.

Note that the train in Platform 12 is an eight-car Class 387 train, which is around 160 metres long.

The end of the train appeared to be about the same place as the end barriers on the Eastern end of the Underground platform.

As a S7 Stock train is 117.45 metres long, I estimate that the length of Platform 12 is almost 280 metres.

This picture was taken at the Eastern End of the platforms from behind the buffers.

As there is perhaps forty metres, between the buffer stop and the train, does that mean that Platform 12 and its neighbour; Plstform 11 are long enough to accommodate any of the following.

  • Up to four four-car Class 387 trains.
  • Two seven car Class 345 trains.
  • A Class 345 train at the maximum length of nine or ten cars.

Network Rail seem to have provided a lot of space for future services.

Conclusion

There is certainly enough space to run a Western Cossrail service to Reading. The space is available now, so it should be available in December 2019.

The only restriction would be that Platform 14 can only handle a seven-car Class 345 train.

 

 

 

 

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail’s Class 345 Trains Are Not Suburban Trumdlers

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had several trips on Class 345 trains, running to Hayes & Harlington station.

  • I found that I was able to time the trains at almost 80 mph in places.
  • They don’t seem to go this fast to Shenfield.
  • Wikipedia says the maximum speed of the trains are 90 mph.

I would not be surprised to see 90 mph cruising on some of the longer stretches between stations towards Reading.

This will surely mean that when Crossrail opens to Reading, the Crossrail service with all its stops might not be the slowest way to travel between Reading and London.

Consider.

  • Some Class 800 trains do the trip in as fast as 26 minutes.
  • Class 387 trains do the trip with eight stops in 56 minutes.
  • Most Crossrail Class 345 trains from Reading To Paddington will have fourteen stops.
  • In the Peak, two Class 345 trains in each hour, will take just five stops.

Although the Class 387 are modern trains, they probably don’t have the performance and certainly don’t have the digital signalling of the Class 345 trains.

I suspect that even with fourteen stops, the Class 345 trains will still do the journey in under an hour, when Crossrail is completed.

I suspect that many travellers between Reading and London will be changing their routes.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

It is rumoured that Crossrail will open to Reading in December 2019, with all services terminating at Paddington in Brunel’s station.

I believe that the Class 345 trains will be able to provide a high-capacity service between Paddington and Reading, which will complement the faster and mostly non-stop Great Western Railway services.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Should The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To Ascot?

The idea for this post came from an article in the October 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, that was entitled Windsor Link Railway Gains Momentum.

The article talks about the benefits of the Windsor Link Railway.

Property Development And Landscaping

Ever since I read about the Windsor Link Railway, I thought it would create or free-up sites in Windsor for property development.

I even wrote about this in Is This One Of The Most Valuable Sites For New Development In The UK?.

The article details or suggests the following.

  • Around twenty-one acres, which would include the two existing station sites could be developed.
  • The Windsor and Eton Riverside station, which Grade II Listed, could be developeed into a boutigue hotel on the river.
  • The gardens in the centre of Windsor could be extended.

The article also suggests that the property development could pay for the whole scheme.

Reducing Traffic In Windsor

Windsor is full of tourist coaches and other traffic.

The proposed railway would have.

  • A single sub-surface station in the middle of the town.
  • Twelve trains per hour (tph) through Windsor, in a single-track tunnel.
  • Areinstated Royal Curve at Slough to create a route between Reading and Windsor.
  • A Park-and-Ride by the M4 at Chalvey.
  • A journey between Waterloo and Windsor of around fifty minutes, with four tph.
  • Slough would be the Northern terminal, either in the current station or West of the town in the Trading Estate.
  • It should be noted that six-car Aventras similar to Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, would probably hold a thousand passengers.

If a railway like that didn’t cut traffic going into Windsor, then nothing will.

Western Access To Heathrow

The Windsor Link Railway could also serve Heathrow Terminal 5.

The article states that this would probably need a double-track tunnel, so provision should be made in the initial scheme.

Crossrail trains could also use the link to extend Crossrail to Reading via Windsor.

  • The Royal Curve at Slough would be rebuilt.
  • The new Windsor station would need to be able to handle two hundred metre long trains.
  • Trains would serve both Heathrow Central and Terminal 5.
  • Trains wouldn’t need a terminal platform at Heathrow Terminal 5 station.

But the biggest benefit (or even curse!) would be to connect Windsor to Central London.

Wider Connectivity

George Bathurst; the scheme’s proposer envisages trains from Windsor to the following places.

  • Heathrow
  • High Wycombe via Bourne End.
  • Reading
  • Waterloo
  • Woking

In one throwaway remake this is said.

The WLR connection to Heathrow could also be used (with dual-voltage stock) for extending the Elizabeth Line westwards, to Ascot for example.

This would need a chord at Staines, which I wrote about in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Chord At Staines.

Hence the title of this post!

The Heathrow Southern Railway And The Windsor Link Railway

I wrote about the interaction of the two proposals to access Heathrow from the West and South in Heathrow Southern Railway And The Windsor Link Railway.

This was my original conclusion.

Co-operation could be beneficial to both projects.

I have not changed my conclusion, although I have updated the related post.

Heathrow’s Destinations In The West And South

Taken together the two proposals; Heathrow Southern Railway and Windsor Link Railway, will or could offer the following destinations.

  • Basingstoke – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Heathrow Express
  • Guildford – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Heathrow Express
  • High Wycombe – Windsor Link Railway – Possible via Bourne End!
  • Reading – Windsor Link Railway – Possible Extension to Crossrail!
  • Slough – Windsor Link Railway – Possible Extension to Crossrail!
  • Staines – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Crossrail
  • Weybridge – Heathrow Southern Railway – Local Service
  • Windsor – Windsor Link Railway – Possible Extension to Crossrail!
  • Woking – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Heathrow Express

I can see two high-capacity stations at Terminal 5 and Windsor capable of handling upwards of ten tph in both directions, feeding services all over the area, bringing passengers, workers and freight to Heathrow.

A Crossrail Extension To Ascot

I’ll now look at this in detail.

The Route

As I said earlier this would need the reinstatement of the chord at Staines station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows former route of the chord as a dotted line.

Would it be possible to get one of Crossrail’s two hundred metre long trains around a rebuilt chord?

From Staines, it would be an easy run up the Waterloo-Reading Line, with calls at the following stations.

  • Egham
  • Virginia Water
  • Longcross
  • Sunningdale

All appear to be stations capable of taking long trains.

Current Service

Currently, there are two services on this route.

2 tph – Waterloo and Reading

2 tph – Waterloo and Weybridge, which branches off at Virginia Water.

Benefits Of Extending To Ascot

At present Heathrow Terminal 5 is planned to get just two tph from Crossrail. But as Terminal 5 is the busiest terminal at Heathrow by a large margin, surely it needs more services than this.

I also think, that the ideal number of services between Staines and Ascot should be at least four tph.

If two tph ran through Heathrow Terminal 5 to Ascot, this would mean the following.

  • There would be at least four tph on services between Staines and Ascot.
  • Travellers would have a wider choice of London terminals.
  • Travellers would be have direct access to all terminals and HS2 at Old Oak Common.

There would also probably be less road traffic into Heathrow.

Why Stop At Ascot?

Although, George Bathurst suggested Ascot as a terminus, why not continue all the way to Reading station?

Stations on the route are.

  • Martins Heron
  • Bracknell
  • Wokingham
  • Wnnersh
  • Winnersh Triangle
  • Earley

Note that Reading station has three third-rail electrified platforms to handle trains from Ascot, Guidford, Staines and Waterloo.

Note the train in the platform is a Great Western Railway train to Gatwick, which in a couple of years will be run by tri-mode Class 769 trains.

As the platforms only handle four tph, there is plenty of capacity to turn extra trains.

I can’t see any reason, why if Crossrail is extended to Ascot, it shouldn’t be extended to Reading.

Especially, as all the benefits I talked about earlier to Ascot would also apply to terminating at Reading.

Conclusion

I believe that an extension of Crossrail to Ascot would be worthwhile, but that it should continue to Reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 28, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hitachi Battery Trains On The Great Western Railway

The slow pace of the electrification on the Great Western Main Line has become a big stick with which to beat Network Rail.

But are rolling stock engineers going to pull Network Rail out of their hole?

On page 79 of the January 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, Nick Hughes, who is the Sales Director of Hitachi Rail Europe outlines how the manufacturer is embracing the development of battery technology.

He is remarkably open.

I discuss what he says in detail in Hitachi’s Thoughts On Battery Trains.

But here’s an extract.

Nick Hughes follows his description of the DENCHA; a Japanese battery train, with this prediction.

I can picture a future when these sorts of trains are carrying out similar types of journeys in the UK, perhaps by installing battery technology in our Class 395s to connect to Hastings via the non-electrified Marshlink Line from Ashford for example.

This would massively slice the journey time and heklp overcome the issue of electrification and infrastructure cases not stacking up. There are a large number of similar routes like this all across the country.

It is a prediction, with which I could agree.

I conclude the post with this conclusion.

It is the most positive article about battery trains, that I have read so far!

As it comes direct from one of the train manufacturers in a respected journal, I would rate it high on quality reporting.

Hitachi Battery Train Technology And Their UK-Built Trains

The section without electrification on the Marshlink Line between Ashford International and Ore stations has the following characteristics.

  • It is under twenty-five miles long.
  • It is a mixture of double and single-track railway.
  • It has nine stations.
  • It has a sixty mph operating speed.

As the line is across the flat terrain of Romney Marsh, I don’t think that the power requirements would be excessive.

In the Modern Railway article, Nick Hughes suggests that battery technology could be installed in Class 395 trains.

The Class 395 train is part of a family of trains, Hitachi calls A-trains. The family includes.

In Japan, another member of the family is the BEC819, which is the DENCHA, that is mentioned in the Modern Railways article.

As a time-expired electrical engineer, I would think, that if Hitachi’s engineers have done their jobs to a reasonable standard, that it would not be impossible to fit batteries to all of the A-train family of trains, which would include all train types, built at Newton Aycliffe for the UK.

In Japan the DENCHAs run on the Chikuhō Main Line, which has three sections.

  • Wakamatsu Line – Wakamatsu–Orio, 10.8 km
  • Fukuhoku Yutaka Line – Orio–Keisen, 34.5 km
  • Haruda Line – Keisen–Haruda, 20.8 km

Only the middle section is electrified.

It looks to me, that the Japanese have chosen a very simple route, where they can run on electrification for a lot of the way and just use batteries at each end.

Bombardier used a similar low-risk test in their BEMU Trial with a Class 379 train in 2015.

So How Will Battery Trains Be used On the Great Western?

On the Great Western Main Line, all long distance trains and some shorter-distance ones will be Class 80x trains.

The size of battery in the DENCHA can be estimated using a rule, given by Ian Walmsley.

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

So the energy needed to power the DENCHA, which is a two-car battery train on the just under twenty miles without electrification of  the Chikuhō Main Line in a one way trip would be between 112 and 187 kWh.

A Battery-Powered Class 801 Train

The Class 801 train is Hitachi’s all-electric train, of which Great Western Railway have ordered thirty-six of the closely-related five-car Class 800 train and twenty-one of the nine-car units.

The difference between the two classes of train, is only the number of generator units fitted.

  • Trains can be converted from Class 800 to Class 801 by removing generator units.
  • Bi-mode Class 800 trains have a generator unit for each powered car.
  • The all-electric Class 801 train has a single generator unit, in case of electrical power failure.
  • When trains couple and uncouple, the train’s computer system determines the formation of the new train and drives and manages the train accordingly.

If I was designing the train, I would design a battery module, that replaced a generator unit

This leads me to think, that a five-car Class 801 train, could have one generator unit and up to four battery modules.

  • The computer would decide what it’s got and control the train accordingly.
  • The generator unit and battery power could be used together to accelerate the train or at other times where high power is needed.
  • If the batteries failed, the generator unit would limp the train to a safe place.
  • The number of battery units would depend on the needs of the route.

It would be a true tri-mode train; electric, diesel and battery.

I will now look at some routes, that could see possible applications of a battery version of Class 80x trains.

Cardiff To Swansea

I’ll start with the most controversial and political of the cutbacks in electrification.

At present plans exist to take the electrification on the Great Western as far as Cardiff Central station, by the end of 2018.

The distance between Cardiff Central and Swansea stations is forty-six miles, so applying the Ian Walmsley formula and assuming the train is five-cars, we have an energy usage for a one-way trip between the two cities of between 690 and 1150 kWh.

As the Class 80x trains are a modern efficient design, I suspect that a figure towards the lower end of the range will apply.

But various techniques can be used to stretch the range of the train on battery power.

  • From London to Cardiff, the line will be fully-electrified, so on arrival in the Welsh capital, the batteries could be fully charged.
  • The electrification can be continued for a few miles past Cardiff Central station, so that acceleration to line speed can be achieved using overhead wires.
  • Electrification could also be installed on the short stretch of track between Swansea station and the South Wales Main Line.
  • There are three stops between Cardiff and Swansea and regenerative braking can be used to charge the batteries.
  • The single generator unit could be used to help accelerate the train if necessary.
  • There are only two tph on the route, so efficient driving and signalling could probably smooth the path and save energy.
  • Less necessary equipment can be switched off, when running on batteries.

Note. that the power/weight and power/size ratios of batteries will also increase, as engineers find better ways to build batteries.

The trains would need to be charged at Swansea, but Hitachi are building a depot in the city, which is shown in these pictures.

It looks like they are electrifying the depot.

Surely, enough electrification can be put up at Swansea to charge the trains and help them back to the South Wales Main Line..

The mathematics show what is possible.

Suppose the following.

  • Hitachi can reduce the train’s average energy consumption to 2 kWh per carriage-mile, when running on battery power.
  • Electrification at Cardiff and Swansea reduces the length of battery use to forty miles.

This would reduce the battery size needed to 400 kWh, which could mean that on a five-car train with four battery modules, each battery module would be just 100 kWh. This compares well with the 75 kWh battery in a New Routemaster bus.

Will it happen?

We are probably not talking about any serious risk to passengers, as the worst that can happen to any train, is that it breaks down or runs out of power in the middle of nowhere. But then using the single generator unit, the train will limp to the nearest station.

But think of all the wonderful publicity for Hitachi and everybody involved, if the world’s first battery high speed train, runs twice an hour between Paddington and Swansea.

Surely, that is an example of the Can-Do attitude of Isambard Kingdom Brunel?

Paddington To Oxford

The route between Paddington and Oxford stations is electrified as far as Didcot Parkway station.

The distance between Didcot Parkway and Oxford stations is about ten miles, so applying the Ian Walmsley formula and assuming the train is five-cars, we have an energy usage for the return trip to Oxford from Didcot of between 300 and 500 kWh.

If the five-car train has one generator unit,four battery modules and has an energy usage to the low end, then each battery module would need to handle under 100 kWh.

There are plans to develop a  South-facing bay platform at Oxford station and to save wasting energy reversing the train by running up and down to sidings North of the station, I suspect that this platform must be built before battery trains can be introduced to Oxford.

If it’s not, the train could use the diesel generator to change platforms.

The platform could also be fitted with a system to charge the battery during turnround.

Paddington To Bedwyn

The route between Paddington and Bedwyn is electrified as far as Reading station, but there are plans to electrify as far as Newbury station.

The distance between Newbury and Bedwyn stations is about thirteen miles, so applying the Ian Walmsley formula and assuming the train is five-cars, we have an energy usage for the return trip to Bedwyn from Newbury of between 390 and 520 kWh.

As with Paddington to Oxford, the required battery size wouldn’t be excessive.

Paddington To Henley-on-Thames

The route between Paddington and Henley-on-Thames station is probably one of those routes, where electric trains must be run for political reasons.

The Henley Branch Line is only four miles long.

It would probably only require one battery module and would be a superb test route for the new train.

Paddington To Weston-super-Mare

Some Paddington to Bristol trains extend to Weston-super-Mare station.

Weston-super-Mare to the soon-to-be-electrified Bristol Temple Meads station is less than twenty miles, so if  Swansea can be reached on battery power, then I’m certain that Weston can be reached in a similar way.

Other Routes

Most of the other routes don’t have enough electrification to benefit from trains with a battery capability.

One possibility though is Paddington to Cheltenham and Gloucester along the Golden Valley Line. The length of the section without electrification is forty-two  miles, but unless a means to charge the train quickly at Cheltenham station is found, it is probably not feasible.

It could be possible though to create a real tri-mode train with a mix of diesel generator units and battery modules.

This train might have the following characteristics.

  • Five cars.
  • A mix of  generator units and battery modules.
  • Enough generator units to power the train on the stiffest lines without electrification.
  • Ability to collect power from 25 KVAC overhead electrification
  • Ability to collect power from 750 VDC third-rail electrification.

Note.

  1. The battery modules would be used for regenerative braking in all power modes.
  2. The ability to use third rail electrification would be useful when running to Brighton, Exeter, Portsmouth and Weymouth.

The train could also have a sophisticated computer system, that would choose power source according to route,timetable,  train loading, traffic conditions and battery energy level.

The objective would be to run routes like Paddington to Cheltenham, Gloucester to Weymouth and Cardiff to Portsmouth Harbour, as efficiently as possible.

Collateral Advantages

Several of the routes out of Paddington could easily be worked using bi-mode Class 800 trains.

  1. But using battery trains to places like Bedwyn, Henley, Oxford and Weston-super-Mare is obviously better for the environment and probably for ticket sales too!
  2. If places like Bedwyn, Henley and Oxford are served by Class 801 trains with a battery option, it could mean that they could just join the throng of 125 mph trains going in and out of London.
  3. Battery trains would save money on electrification.

I also suspect, that the running costs of a battery train are less than those of using a bi-mode or diesel trains.

Conclusion

Hitachi seem to have the technology, whereby their A-train family can be fitted with batteries, as they have done it in Japan and their Sales Director  in the UK, has said it can be done on a Class 395 train to use the Marshlink Line.

We may not see Hitachi trains using batteries for a couple of years, but it certainly isn’t fantasy.

Great Western Railway certainly need them!

 

 

 

December 25, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Platform 0 At Redhill Station Is Progressing

Redhill station is being upgraded.

This picture of the new Platform 0 was taken from the existing Platform 1.

Works include.

  • The new Platform 0 will become a through platform for trains to London.
  • It is certainly long enough for a twelve car train.
  • It appears it will be fully connected to the entrsnce by the car park.
  • The current platform 1 will become a South-facing bay platform.

The January 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, also says this about the upgrade.

This is aimed to allow GWR to boost the Reading to Gatwick frequency from hourly to half-hourly from May 2018. The operator’s ultimate sim is to introduce a third hourly service on the North Downs line, although concerns from Network Rail about level crossing risk have affected progress with this plan.

Currently, the journey between Reading to Gatwick Airport takes 76 minutes without a change, but the train reverses direction at Redhill. One driver told me, that if GWR issued the drivers with better shoes, they could save a minute or so on the timetable at Rewdhill.

But 76 minutes isn’t a bad time by way of the North Downs Line. Especially, as the trains have to negotiste eleven level crossing! Is that what Network Rail mean by level crossing risk?

If you take Crossrail’s estimate of the Reading to Farringdon time of 59 minutes and the timetabled Farringdon to Gatwick Airport time of 54 minutes, you get a time 113 minutes or nearly forty minutes longer than the shorter and more direct route.

The North Downs Line is partly electrified with third rail and I wonder what time a Class 802 train could achieve!

Conclusion

The Platform 0 works at Redhill station are part of a fifty million pound project, whivh will do the following.

  • Increase capacity at Redhill station.
  • Remove conflicts between Brighton Line and Reading to Gatwick Airport services.
  • Enable a two trains per hour service between Reading and Gatwick Airport.

It will be interesting to see if it works in May 2018.

The works do show how money spent on smaller projects can give multiple benefits.

 

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail To Heathrow, Reading And Southend

Crossrail To Heathrow

In the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, there is a section called Extensions.

This is said under a sub-section called Heathrow Express.

The RUS also proposes integrating Heathrow Express services from Heathrow Terminal 5 into Crossrail to relieve the GWML and reduce the need for passengers to change at Paddington.

Note RUS refers to Network Rail’s Route Utilisation Study of 2011 and GWML is the Great Western Main Line.

Currently, Heathrow Express takes fifteen minutes to go between Paddington and Heathrow Central stations, with Heathrow Connect taking thirty-two minutes with five stops.

The journey time calculator on the Crossrail site, says the trains will take twenty-three minutes with six stops. But as I said in Are Crossrail And Bombardier Having Us On?, Crossrail’s journey time estimates aren’t very good to say the least.

I think until the Crossrail trains reach Heathrow next May 2018, any speculation I make of the time they take between Paddington and Heathrow Central will be very wide of the mark.

However, this can be said of Heathrow Express and Crossrail to Heathrow.

  • As the RUS says Heathrow Express services use four paths per hour on the GWML in both directions and these paths would be released for other services if Heathrow Express used the dedicated Crossrail tracks.
  • Most Heathrow Express passengers will not be going to Paddington or the surrounding area of the station.
  • When fully developed Crossrail will connect Canary Wharf, the City of London, the West End and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to name just four important destinations, directly to Heathrow Airport.
  • If Crossrail works as it says on the box, every travel guide and expert, will recommend you use your contactless bank card to travel on this wonderful new airport train.
  • I would suspect, that given Heathrow’s expansion plans, that the Heathrow branch of Crossrail has a capacity in excess of ten trains per hour (tph).
  • The accommodation and comfort level in Crossrail’s Class 345 trains is high and well suited for an airport service.

I think that Heathrow Express will be increasingly deserted by passengers, in favour of the cheaper and more convenient Crossrail.

So could the two services be integrated together?

In theory, Heathrow Express could use the Crossrail tracks to Paddington, but there would be problems.

  • Heathrow Express trains would have to leave the Crossrail tracks to get into Paddington.
  • Would Crossrail want non-stop trains speeding through suburban stations like Southall, with their high suicide rates?

So then why not create a Heathrow Express, that used the Crossrail tracks and stopped at say Old Oak Common (for HS2), Paddington, Bond Street, Farringdon (for Thameslink), Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf?

  • Heathrow Express would have to buy new trains compatible with the platform-edge doors in Crossrail’s tunnels.
  • Where would the trains be turned back? Perhaps a turnback facility could be built at Liverpool Street at a cost of several hundred million pounds!
  • It would still speed through suburban stations.
  • Trains moving at different speeds would reduce the capacity of Crossrail.
  • As Crossrail and Heathrow Express will use the same platforms at stations, how do you stop people without expensive special tickets using Heathrow Express?

Heathrow will continue to argue to keep Heathrow Express, but in practice in the future, it will be as outdated a concept as trains pulled by steam engines.

So one of two things will happen.

  • Heathrow Express will continue as now, using two valuable platforms at Paddington and the four equally valuable paths per hour on the GWML.
  • It will be discontinued.

I believe that in some date in the future, only three rail services will serve Heathrow.

The two Crossrail services would probably be run back-to-back, so that fewer trains were turned back at Heathrow.

The two Crossrail branches to Heathrow and Reading would merge easily to the West of Hayes and Harlington station and there would be no complications caused by Heathrow Express trains crossing to and from the fast lines.

Crossrail To Reading

Just over a month ago, Transport for London (TfL) ordered four extra Crossrail trains and announced extra services to Heathrow and Reading. I discussed this in Crossrail Expands Before It Opens

I said this.

Four new Class 345 trains are being ordered, which will mean that in the Off Peak the following will happen.

  • Trains between Whitechapel and Paddington will increase from 16 tph  to 20.
  • Trains between Paddington and Shenfield will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Abbey Wood will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Reading will double from two tph to four.
  • Trains between Paddington and Maidenhead will increase from four tph to six
  • From December 2019, six tph will call at Heathrow Terminal 5.

I also found this quote in the article on Global Rail News, that was the source for the increased services.

The increased service frequency will be achieved, in part, by replacing five Great Western Railway services with Elizabeth line trains.

So could we be seeing a degree of co-operation between TfL, Crossrail and Great Western Railway, whereby the following services are provided?

  • Slow stopping services are run by Crossrail on the two slow lines.
  • Fast and semi-fast services are run by Great Western Railway on the two fast lines.

This would be operationally simple and might even create extra paths into London for more long-distance services.

The problem are the local stopping trains to Oxford (2 tph) and Bedwyn (1 tph). Will they run on the slow or fast lines between Paddington and Reading?

Consider the service to Bedwyn.

  • A five-car Class 800 train could run the service.
  • Small modifications at Bedwyn would probably be needed to allow the Class 800 train to use the turnback.
  • The train would run using electricity until the wires ran out near Newbury and then diesel.
  • The service could run semi-fast or non-stop between Paddington and Reading.
  • Nine-car Crossrail Class 345 trains would probably need a lot of platform lengthening, in addition to the electrification to be used to Bedwyn.

And the stopping service to Oxford.

  • A five-car Class 800 train could run the service.
  • A planned new bay platform at Oxford station would handle the service.
  • The train would run using electricity until the wires ran out near Didcot and then diesel.
  • The service could run semi-fast or non-stop between Paddington and Reading.
  • Niine-car Crossrail Class 345 trains would probably need some platform lengthening, in addition to the electrification, to be used to Oxford.

If the two services are considered together, they could join and split at Reading to save paths on the fast lines.

I think that on balance to use a pair of Class 800 trains would be better than to extend Crossrail past Reading.

Consider.

  • A second service to Bedwyn could be easily added.
  • A large number of long-distance trains call at Reading station.
  • Reading has been designed for easy interchange between fast and slow services.
  • Crossrail will be providing at least four tph between Paddington and Reading that stop at all stations.
  • Reading has services into Waterloo.

I’m certain that the train companies can find a very efficient solution.

I can see a situation, where Great Western Railway aren’t going to need many Class 387 trains in the Thames Valley.

Crossrail To Oxford

This may seem a bit over the top, but analysis might show, that the best way to create more capacity between Reading and Oxford, might be to extend two Reading Crossrail services each hour to Oxford, when the electrification to Oxford is complete.

Crossrail To Southend

Just as it appears there is co-operation between Crossrail, Great Western Railway and TfL, could similar co-operation between Crossrail, Greater Anglia and TfL, result in improved services on the Shenfield to Southend Line? I wrote about this in Crossrail Tests Its Trains In Southend.

The Long Distance Class 345 Train

Adding Oxford and/or Southend to Crossrail services, may need a sub-class of Class 345 train to be created, due to the length of the journey. Toilets would be the obvious addition.

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Reading To Tonbridge

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways talks about reopening a service between Reading and Tonbridge stations.

This is said.

Kent County Council has recommended the restitution of through services to Reading, as existed many years ago when the route was operated by ‘Thumper’ stock. The council says that consideration should be given to a future option of providing a through Ashford – Tonbridge – Redhill – Gatwick – Redhill – Guildford – Reading service, potentially as a joint operation between the Great Western Railway (GWR) and South Eastern franchises.

This could build on the existing service level between Reading and Gatwick provided by GWR, and would link together several of the major towns of the south-east region with each other and with their local international airport.

The introduction of bi-mode rolling stock now being deployed across the railway network would resolve the problem of gaps in the electric power system on sections of this route.

In The East-Facing Bay Platforms At Reading Station, I talked about using trains with batteries to perform this service and considered it feasible.

I still do, but then bog-standard bi-mode trains might be a better option in terms of cost.

I also believe that a Reading to Ashford service via Gatwick Airport would be a very valuable route with the following connections.

  • Wales and the West at Reading station.
  • Gatwick Airport
  • Hastings at Tonbridge station.
  • Rail services to the Continent at Ashford station.

I also think, that once more Continental services stop at Ashford, as I indicated in Ashford Spurs, that this rail link could be one of those rail routes where usage is way about any forecast.

Conclusion

Given Gatwick Airport’s ambititious plans, I rate an Ashford to Reading service as a high possibility.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 16 Comments