The Anonymous Widower

South Wales Metro Railway Works Imminent

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

Work starts on the third of August and is described in this sentence,

TfW is now starting to build the South Wales Metro which will see major infrastructure works including the electrification of over 170km of track mostly with overhead lines, station and signalling upgrades and the construction of at least five new stations.

It will be one of the most innovative electrification projects ever performed in the UK, as it uses discontinuous electrification.

I explained discontinuous electrification in More On Discontinuous Electrification In South Wales, where I said this.

In the July 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article entitled KeolisAmey Wins Welsh Franchise.

This is said about the electrification on the South Wales Metro.

KeolisAmey has opted to use continuous overhead line equipment but discontinuous power on the Core Valley Lnes (CVL), meaning isolated OLE will be installed under bridges. On reaching a permanently earthed section, trains will automatically switch from 25 KVAC overhead to on-board battery supply, but the pantograph will remain in contact with the overhead cable, ready to collect power after the section. The company believes this method of reducing costly and disruptive engineering works could revive the business cases of cancelled electrification schemes. Hopes of having money left over for other schemes rest partly on this choice of technology.

Other points made include.

    • A total of 172 km. of track will be electrified.
    • The system is used elsewhere, but not in the UK.
    • Disruptive engineering works will be avoided on fifty-five structures.
    • Between Radyr and Ninian Park stations is also proposed for electrification.

Nothing is said about only electrifying the uphill track, which surely could be a way of reducing costs.

I wrote the last sentence, as surely coming down the hills, the trains can be powered by Newton’s friend.

The New Stations

This article on Business Live, gives the list of new stations and their completion dates.

 

If the builders crack on as they did at Horden station, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those dates achieved, with time to spare.

July 10, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , | 9 Comments

Solar Firm To Develop Novel Electronics For Rail Renewables

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Engineering and Technology.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Solar energy company Riding Sunbeams has won funding to develop power electronics technology that will enable it to feed renewable electricity directly into railway overhead wires.

Because solar panels and lithium-ion batteries work in DC and overhead electrification works in AC, this sentence describes the main objective of the project.

The Daybreak demonstrator will repurpose existing technology already being used on UK rail networks for other purposes to create a new device that will provide the required power conversion.

Existing technology and equipment will be used to save time and costs and because it is already rail-certified.

The rest of the article fleshes out a few details.

The test system will be installed at Quinton Rail Technology Centre at Long Marston.

This is the closing paragraph.

In particular, Riding Sunbeams hopes its technology will be able to play a part in delivering 70MW of direct-wire renewable generation to help power the soon-to-be-electrified Core Valley Lines in South Wales through a mixture of solar, wind and energy storage.

As electrification in the Core Valley Lines will be discontinuous, it could appear that the technology developed in this project could help connect and reduce costs.

June 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Rail Solar Project Seen As Stepping Stone For Renewables

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Engineering & Technology.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A British solar power company is working on technology that could enable railways all over the world to be powered by renewable energy, with South Wales seen as a likely testbed for the equipment.

Riding Sunbeams is developing its technology to see if it can be part of the electrification of the South Wales Metro.

Some relevant points from the article.

  • Their test installation at Aldershot, which is rated at 37 kW, is quite small.
  • The Aldershot system is already delivering power to trains.
  • The Welsh Government are aiming for the South Wales Metro to be powered by renewable energy, of which 50 % is generated in Wales.
  • There could be export possibilities for the technology.

Note that the article gives an interesting insight into the various equipment needed to power railway electrification.

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

When The New Newport Railway Line To Cater For Major Events Is Set To Open

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

If you’ve ever been to a major event at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, as I have a couple of times, you’ll know that getting your train back to England can be a long wait.

So the Welsh have come up with a cunning plan to build a staging area, where they can hold trains near the former Llanwern steelworks site at Newport.

  • It will be 2.4 km. long.
  • I estimate that a nine-car Class 801 train is 234 metres long and holds 611 passengers, so the siding can hold ten trains which have a capacity of over six thusand passengers.
  • It is part of a £50million plan for a new Llanwern station, which is part of the South Wales Metro.
  • It will also be used for the testing of trains. It is very handy for CAF’s Newport factory.

This Google Map shows the site, with CAF’s factory highlighted.

Note the South Wales Main Line running along the North of the massive steelworks site. So if the staging area, is built between the main line and the steelworks site, which contains the CAF factory, it will be convenient for both uses.

This looks to be a good plan, that will solve more multiple problems and needs.

April 26, 2020 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

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