The Anonymous Widower

South Wales Metro: Lack Of Toilets Tram-Trains ‘Dehumanising’

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

he lack of toilets on new tram-trains that will serve the south Wales valleys has been branded “dehumanising”.

Trams proposed for the new £738m south Wales rail network upgrade, planned for 2022, will not have toilets on board.

This toilet issue was raised with Crossrail and I wrote about it in 2015, in Do Crossrail Trains Need Toilets?.

Now that the Crossrail trains have been running for some time, toilet issues don’t seem to be raised.

September 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

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

Cadoxton Station Is Going Step-Free

This article on Rail Advent is rntitled MP Visits Cadoxton station to see upgrade work.

This is the first paragraph.

Vale of Glamorgan MP, Alun Cairns, met the Network Rail team upgrading Cadoxton station to see first-hand the work being delivered to make the station accessible for all passengers.

So as I was in South Wales, I had to go and have a look at Cadoxton station.

I took these pictures.

It appears to be a traditional step-free installation and will take about a year to complete.

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

Barry Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Barry station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

Note.

  1. The trains were very crowded.
  2. The bridge is approaching its rust-by date.
  3. I think it is true to say, that the station buildings need a thorough refurbishment.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows the lines around Barry station.

Note.

  1. The lines are not planned to be electrified.
  2. Barry station will get a new PRM-compliant bridge with step-free access between street and train.
  3. There will be an airport connection at the station.

I would assume that the station buildings will get the much-needed refurbishment.

Services To Barry, Barry Island, Bridgend and Penarth

The South Wales Metro services through Barry will be as follows.

  • Services will terminate in the South and West at Barry Island, Bridgend and Penarth
  • Services will terminate in the North at Coryton and Rhymney.
  • There will be increased train frequencies.

Trains will be tri-mode Stadler Flirts  with three or four cars, which will be similar to Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains.

Judging by yesterday this capacity increase will be welcome.

Installing The Step-Free Access

It would appear there is plenty of space for a step-free footbridge with lifts.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

A bridge like this could be built at the other end of the station.

It would also be able to built it, without disrupting the train services or the passengers.

Once complete, the old bridge could be demolished or left as required.

 

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Electrification West Of Cardiff Central Station

These pictures show erected gantries for the electrification to the West of Cardiff Central station.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows the lines to the West of Cardiff Central station.

Note.

  1. Electrified lines are shown in blue and unelectrified ones in black.
  2. The South Wales Main Line is shown as a feint line going East-West to the North of Ninian Park station.
  3. Trains for Barry Island, Bridgend, Cardiff Airport, Maesteg and Penarth go via Grangetown station.
  4. Tram-trains for Radyr will go via Ninian Park station.

It looks like tram-trains emerging out of Canton Depot will have immediate access to 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Treforest Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Treforest station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

The bridge is not the easiest to cross and I tripped.

I wouldn’t like to cross it in the worst weather the Valleys could through at it!

Installing The Step-Free Access

This Google Map shows the station.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

I believe that one of these bridges could be built at the Northern end of the station.

  • The Southbound platform could be widened if necessary.
  • The Western end of the bridge might mean a few car-parking spaces would be lost.
  • Disabled car-parking spaces could be close to the bridge.
  • The bridge could be used to support the electrification in the station.

But most importantly, the bridge could be installed without any disruption to trains and passengers.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows Treforest station.

Note.

  1. Treforest station is shown with a PRM-compliant bridge and step-free access from street to train. The new bridge would deliver this.
  2. The station is shown electrified.
  3. A short section of line North of the station is without electrification.

This Google Map shows the area to the North of the station.

It would appear, that instead of rebuilding the bridge to squeeze the wires underneath, a short earthed section of overhead conductor rail would be used.

Conclusion

Using one of Network Rail’s new bridges at Treforest station, solves all the problems of the station and could even make the electrification easier.

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

Is Taff’s Well Station Planned To Go Step-Free?

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Taff’s Well station is not on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

Crossing the tracks on the current bridge, is no easier, than at Cathays and Treforest stations, both of which are going step-free.

This map is a schemastic of the South Wales Metro.

Twelve trains per hour (tph) will go through the station, when the South Wales Metro is fully developed.

Passenger numbers for 2017/2017 South between Pontypridd and Cathays are as follows.

  • Pontypridd – 864,000 – Step-free
  • Treforest – 752,000 – Going step-free by 2024
  • Treforest Estate – 84,000
  • Taff’s Well – 364,000
  • Radyr – 539,000 – Step-free
  • Llandaff – 483,000 – Step-free
  • Cathays – 946,000 – Going step-free by 2024

Taff’s Well is the second least-used station.

But a doubling of the train frequency in the next few years, will certainly increase passenger numbers.

One guy, I spoke to said, that the station wasn’t busy.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows Taff’s Well station.

Note.

  1. There’s a lot of work to be done in the area.
  2. Taff’s Well station is shown with a PRM-compliant bridge and step-free access from street to train. The current bridge is not PRM-compliant.
  3. The station is shown electrified.
  4. Short sections of line around the station are without electrification.

I feel that to meet their objectives, the bridge needs to be replaced.

Installing Step-Free Access

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

I feel that, when Network Rail fully understand their installation procedures and costs, that a bridge like this could be used to replace the current monstrosity.

It also appears that the wires at Taff’s Well station will not be electrified, so could a bridge be used to hold up the overhead wires, that will guide pantographs through the station?

This Google Map shows Taff’s Well station.

The station has the common problem, of those that use the station as a Park-and-Ride have to negotiate the bridge one way.

Does the possibility of coming back from Cardiff, with lots of shopping, encourage shoppers to drive down the valley?

Taff’s Well station illustrates one of the benefits of the winning bridge design.

It could be built at the Northern end of the station, without disrupting the existing trains or their passengers.

I feel that Taff’s Well station would be ideal for one of the new bridges, even if it is not installed for a few years.

Electrification Through Taff’s Well Station

It is planned that electrification will be continuous through the station., which probably means that a new bridge with all the right clearances is desireable.

South of the station, there are a series of modern road bridges, which should have been built to give sufficient clearance  for the 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

North of the station, there are two modern footbridges.

This is the one nearest the station.

And this is the more Northerly bridge.

It appears that discontinuous electrification will be used on both bridges to make sure all safety clearances are met.

In an ideal world, the second bridge should surely have lifts!

Conclusion

Obviously, as the plans develop, we’ll know more about what will happen at Taff’s Well station.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Cathays Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Cathays station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This Google Map shows the station and its surroundings.

Note.

  1. As I went through I noticed a lot of development North of the station.
  2. The map shows developments to the South.
  3. There appears to be a lot of student accommodation in the area.

All this must add up to a large increase in passenger numbers at the station.

But the biggest driver of passenger numbers, will be the trains through the station, as shown on this map.

Twelve trains per hour (tph) will go through the station, when the South Wales Metro is fully developed.

  • South to Barry Island, Bridgend, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Central, Pearth and Rhoose Airport.
  • North to Aberdate, Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd and Treherbert.

Cathays station will be busy, with a very busy bridge, handling twice as many trains, as it does now!

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows Cathays station.

Note.

  1. Cathays station is shown with a PRM-compliant bridge with step-free access from street to train.
  2. There is a long and a short break in the electrification to the West of the station.

Cathays station is more complicated than it first appears.

Installing The Step-Free Access

I think that space for a footbridge could be tricky.

The platforms are narrow.

Is there enough space to add lifts to the existing bridge?

It could be difficult to keep the current bridge open, whilst a new one is installed.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

It might be possible to squeeze in an asymmetric version of this bridge. Or one, where the steps went out to the side!

Electrification And Property Development To The West Of Cathays Station

To the West of Cathays station, Corbett Road crosses the railway., as this Google Map shows.

This is probably the shorter break in the electrification.

The second one could be more innovative.

This Google Map shows the railway, as it runs through Cardiff University between Cathays and Llandaf stations.

Note, what looks to be a large development site on the North side of the tracks.

Could it be that the University plans to build over the railway?

It would certainly maximise land use and perhaps make it easier for the University to construct the buildings it needs.

A New Station At Gabalfa

A new Gabalfa station is also proposed between Cathays and Llandaf stations.

Conclusion

It looks like there is a lot happening around Cathays station.

T

 

 

and there a

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sheffield Region Transport Plan 2019 – A New Tram-Train Route To A New Station At Waverley

Sheffield’s plans state that a medium to long term priority is to have a new station on the Sheffield-Lincoln Line.

This Google Map shows the location of Waverley between Darnall and stations.

 

Note.

  1. Darnall station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Woodhouse station is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. Waverley is a new housing area and is highlighted in red towards the North-East corner of the map.

The plans also propose that the service will be run by tram-trains and they will also serve the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP)

This Google Map shows AMP and Waverley in a larger scale.

Note.

  1. Waverley in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. The AMP in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. The Sheffield-Lincoln Line curving through to the South.

Most rail and tram systems are straight out-and-back layouts, but there are two very important loops  that serve a wider area under Liverpool City Centre and Heathrow Airport.

Could Waverley and the AMP be served by a surface loop from the Shyeffield-Lincoln Line?

  • The loop could be single- or double-track.
  • Stops would be in appropriate places.
  • The loop could be electrified as needed with 750 VDC to the Sheffield Supertram standard.

As Sheffield is less than three miles from Waverley, the battery-electric version of Class 399 tram-trains, as ordered for the South Wales Metro, should be able to run to and from Sheffield on battery power, if the loop was fully electrified, so could charge the tram-trains.

The Sheffield-Lincoln Line passes to the back of the Sheffield Supertram Depot, so I suspect, if required the tram-trains could sneak through the depot to join the main tram route through Sheffield City Centre.

But as the Sheffield Supertram expands, there must surely come a point, where a second route across the City is needed to handle increasing numbers of trams. Manchester found this a few years ago and have since built the Second City Crossing.

Sheffield already has a second route across the City and it is the rail line through Sheffield station, which will be electrified in the next few years, to allow High Speed Two trains to reach the City.

So I can see no reason, why tram-trains from Waverley and the AMP can’t terminate in Sheffield station or go across the City.

To show what the Germans get up to, here’s one of Karlruhe’s tram-trains in a platform in Karlsruhe HBf, with a double-deck TGV in an adjacent platform.

This is one of Karlsruhe’s older train trains, that are being replaced by tram-trains, which are cousins of those in Sheffield.

If the Waverley loop is built, it can be considered as a separate tram system, that connects to Sheffield station, by running as a battery-electric train.

Conclusion

Why shouldn’t Sheffield have an advanced tram-train system to serve the Advanced Manufacturing Park?

 

July 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Stadler Receives First Flirt Akku Battery Train Order

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

This is said.

Schleswig-Holstein transport authority NAH.SH has selected Stadler to supply 55 Flirt Akku battery multiple-units to operate regional services and provide 30 years of maintenance.

Announcing its selection as preferred bidder on June 19, Stadler said that it will reveal more details when the contract is signed, which is expected after the 10-day standstill period. NAH.SH called tenders for zero-emission trains to run on non-electrified lines but did not specify the technology to be used.

NAH.SH becomes the launch customer for the Flirt Akku, which was officially unveiled last year at the Stadler Pankow factory in Berlin.

Information on the order is a bit short, but that doesn’t stop me speculating.

Do The Flirt Akku Trains Have A Power-Pack Like Greater Anglia’s Class 755 Trains?

Certainly, the Stadler Flirts for the South Wales Metro, do have both a power-pack and a battery, as Stadler use the same image for both trains and the trains have batteries.

These pictures show some of Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains in the sidings at Crown Point Depot.

Note, these are four-car Class 755 trains with a power-pack in the middle.

In Importance Of Battery Range: Stadler’s FLIRT BMU For Greater Anglia, I referenced an article, that said that Greater Anglia’s network is too long for battery trains. But the article seemed to suggest, that Greater Anglia could go battery in the future.

Until, I get more details on the Flirt Akku, I will assume that they use a power-pack containing batteries instead of diesel engines.

As in South Wales, there could also be a mix of diesel engines and batteries in the power-pack of a Flirt Akku.

 

June 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment