The Anonymous Widower

Additional Double Track In South Wales

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

This is said about the additional double track on the South Wales Metro.

Additional double track will be needed in 15 locations to support increased Core Valley Lines (CVL) frequencies.

So where are these locations?

I shall start by listing all the single platform stations.

I have ignored the following.

  • Terminal stations.
  • Stations on the Coryton Line.

I have grouped them by branch.

Aberdare Branch

Merthyr Branch

Rhondda Line

Rhymney Line

These total up to fourteen stations.

As the Butetown Branch will be extended through Cardiff Bay station and this station will need a second platform, does this add up to the fifteen new sections of double-track?

How Difficult Will It Be To Add A Second Track At Stations?

Of the fifteen stations, those on the Aberdate, Merthyr and Rhondda will only see the Stadler Citylink Metro vehicles, which will be running to the same rules as trams.

So could it be that these stations will be arranged like this stop on the London Tramlink, which is typical of many tram stops throughout the UK, Europe and the world?

Note.

  • There is no bridge.
  • There is full step-free access.
  • The overhead wires are kept well out of thew way.

As most tram networks have done in the UK, they could design a modern suite of shelters, ticket machines, information displays, seats help points and other items.

I suspect that the platform height would be designed to fit both the tri-mode Stadler Flirts and the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles.

The only stations that are served exclusively by the tri-mode Stadler Flirts and might be given an extra track are Pontlottyn and Brithdir stations at the Northern end of the Rhymney Line.

These stations only get four tph in both directions.

Do Many Stations Have Passing Freight Trains?

I never like to be on a platform, when a freight train goes through and it happens regularly at stations near me like Canonbury and Dalston Kingsland.

I looked on Real Time Trains and there don’t appear to be many such trains on the CVL

I suspect too, that they could use temporal separation, with any freight trains ruining, when the Metro is closed.

Conclusion

I do find it strange that the total number of one platform stations is the same as the number of locations, where the track will be doubled.

But surely, if all stations were on a double-track, this would give the maximum flexibility to run services.

If too, the stations could be built without footbridges to the standards of trams, then construction costs could be saved!

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

More On Discontinuous Electrification In South Wales

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.

Ystrad Mynach To Rhymney

The article also states that on the Rhymney Line, the section between Ystrad Mynach and Rhymney stations will be run on batteries.

  • The distance is about ten miles.
  • The altitude difference is is about 125 metres.
  • The station area at Rhymney station will be electrified.
  • Rhymney will be an overnight stabling point.
  • Trains will change between overhead and battery power in Ystrad Mynach station.
  • Trains could charge the batteries at Rhymney if required.

Effectively, there is a avoidance of at least fourteen miles of electrification.

  • Four miles of double track between Ystrad Mynach and Bargoed.
  • Six miles of single track between Bargoed and Rhymney.

But as Rhymney to Ystrad Mynach currently takes about fourteen minutes, there will have to be some extra double-track, so that the required frequency of four trains per hour (tph) can be achieved.

None of this extra track will need electrification.

As the trains working the Rhymney Line will be tri-mode Stadler Flirts, with the capability of running on electricity, diesel or battery, I don’t think that KeolisAmey are taking any risks.

The Merthyr Line

The Merthyr Line splits North of Abercynon station into two branches to Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil stations.

  • South of Abercynon the branch is double-track.
  • Both branches are single track.
  • The Aberdare branch is about eight miles long.
  • Aberdare is around 40 metres higher than Abercynon.
  • Trains take 27 minutes to climb between Abercynon and Aberdare stations and 21 minutes to come down.
  • The Merthyr Tydfil branch is about ten miles long
  • Merthyr Tydfil is around 80 metres higher than Abercynon.
  • Trains take 27 minutes to climb between Abercynon and Merthyr Tydfil stations and 21 minutes to come down.

If the proposed four tph are to be run on these branches, there would need to be some double-tracking North of Abercynon.

Will both tracks be electrified, or will it be possible with just electrifying the uphill track?

The Rhondda Line

The Rhondda Line splits from the Merthyr Line to the North of Pontypridd station and goes North to Treherbert station.

  • South of Porth station, the line is double-track.
  • North of Porth station, the line is single-track with a passing loop at Ystrad Rhondda station.
  • Treherbert is 90 metres higher than Porth..
  • Trains take 28 minutes to climb between Porth and Treherbert and 20 minutes to come down.

If the proposed four tph are to be run on this branch, there may need to be some double-tracking North of Porth.

Will both tracks be electrified, or will it be possible with just electrifying the uphill track?

Conclusion

I suspect there’ll be more savings, as the engineers get to grips with the capabilities of battery trains and discontinuous electrification.

As I said, will it be necessary to electrify downhill tracks?

The tri-mode Stadler Flirts and the Stadler Citylink Metro vehicles could use regenerative braking to their batteries.

The use of gravity in this way to charge the batteries, would increase the efficiency of the South Wales Metro.

 

 

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nexus Invites Bidders To Build New Metro Fleet

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

Reading the article, it appears that the contract will be awarded, by the end of 2019.

After writing Comparing Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles With Tyne And Wear Metro’s Class 994 Trains, I think it is highly likely that Stadler will be in pole position, with a member of the Citylink family.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Comparing Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles With Tyne And Wear Metro’s Class 994 Trains

As the Class 994 trains of the Tyne and Wear Metro, are being replaced, it will be interesting to compare them with the proposed Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles for the South Wales Metro.

New Trains For The Tyne And Wear Metro

Under Proposed New Fleet in the Wikipedia entry for Tyne and Wear Metro Rolling Stock this is said.

In November 2017, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the government would provide £337 million towards the new fleet. The proposed new fleet would consist of 84 trains to replace the existing 90 train fleet, as Nexus believe that the improved reliability of the newer trains would allow them to operate the same service levels with fewer trains. These are proposed to have longitudinal seating instead of the 2+2 bench seating arrangement of the present fleet, and a full width drivers cab instead of the small driving booth of the existing trains. The proposed new fleet is planned to have dual voltage capability, able to operate on the Metro’s existing 1.5 kV DC electrification system and also the 25 kV AC used on the national rail network, to allow greater flexibility. Battery technology is also being considered.

Note.

  1. A dual-voltage capability will be required.
  2. Battery capability would be ideal for short movements and regenerative braking.
  3. In my, view longitudinal seating needs a walk-though capability.
  4. Currently, trains are two-car units and generally work in pairs.
  5. Trains can work in formations of three and four units, but the ability is not used.

If trains generally work in pairs would it be more affordable to have four-car trains?

Comparing Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles With The Current Tyne And Wear Class 994 Trains

In the following I will assume that the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles are similar to Class 399 tram-trains, as they are both members of the Stadler Citylink family.

Train Width And Height

The width and height of the two vehicles are as follow.

  • Class 994 train – 2.65 x 3.45 metres
  • Class 399 tram-train – 2.65 x 3.60 metres

There’s not much difference here.

Train Length And Sections

  • Class 994 train – 55.6 metres and two sections.
  • Class 399 tram-train – 37.2 metres and three sections.
  • South Wales Metro’s Metro Vehicle – 40 metres (?) and three sections.

It should be noted that Citylink tram-trains in Valencia have four and five sections.

Having used the Class 378 trains, with their walk-through capability and longitudinal seating, on the London Overground for at least seven years, I believe there is no other way to design a high-capacity metro train.

So the Tyne and Wear Metro’s new trains could be 110 metres long and four walk-through sections.

  • This train would be the same length as two current trains working as a pair, which they generally do!
  • The design reduces the number of cabs.
  • Passengers distribute themselves along the train better.
  • Passengers can move to the convenient point to disembark at their destination.
  • On train staff are more prominent.

If in the future, the trains need more capacity, extra cars can be added.

Train Capacity

  • Class 994 train – 64 seats and 188 standing.
  • Class 399 tram-train – 88 seats and 150 standing
  • South Wales Metro’s Metro Vehicle – 129 seats and 128 standing

This works out as.

  • Class 994 train – 9 passengers per metre.
  • Class 399 tram-train – 6.4 passengers per metre.
  • South Wales Metro’s Metro Vehicle – 6.4 passengers per metre.

Are we creating trains, that give passengers more space?

Doors

The Class 994 trains have two double-doors on each side of all cars.

But with Stadler Citylink vehicles, it appears the number is flexible.

  • Sheffield’s three-car Class 399 tram-trains have four double-doors on each side of the train.
  • Visualisations of the proposed Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles, show a double-door in each of three cars.
  • Karlsruhe’s version only appear to have a double-door on the two end cars on one side only.

It would appear that the customer gets what they want.

Maximum Speed

  • Class 994 train – 80 kph
  • Class 399 tram-train – 100 kph
  • Karlsruhe’s Citylink tram-trains – 80 kph

There is no speed given for South Wales Metro’s Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles, but they are replacing diesel trains with a 120 kph maximum speed.

As tram-trains share tracks with faster trains, I would expect that a maximum speed of at least 100 kph is needed.

Power Supply

  • Class 994 train – 1500 VDC
  • Class 399 tram-train – 750 VDC and 25 KVAC
  • South Wales Metro’s Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicle – 25 KVAC and battery.

I also suspect thst the Class 399 tram-train and other members of the Citylink family, can run for a few metres on battery power in order to bridge the gap between different voltages.

It is worth noting that future vehicles for the Tyne and Wear Metro will need to access both 1500 VDC and 25 KVAC. A possible battery capability is also mentioned.

I suspect that Stadler could easily produce a Citylink to work on all these common European voltages.

  1. 750 VDC
  2. 3000 VDC
  3. 15 KVAC
  4. 25 KVAC

All except 3000 VDC are already in service in Gerrmany, Spain or the UK.

So the Tyne and Wear Metro’s unusual 1500 VDC shouldn’t be a problem.

Minimum Curve Radius

Wikipedia says this about the minimum curve radius for a Class 994 train.

The vehicles have a minimum curve radius of 50 m (55 yd), although there are no curves this tight except for the non-passenger chord between Manors and West Jesmond.

This page on Wikipedia, says that the Karlsruhe Citylink tram-trains can handle a minimum cure radius of twenty-two metres.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that a version of the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicle similar to those of the South Waes Metro, could be developed for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

My specification would include.

  • Length of two current Class 994 trains, which would be around 111 metres.
  • Walk through design with longitudinal seating.
  • Level access between platform and train at all stations.
  • A well-designed cab with large windows at each end.
  • Ability to use overhead electrification at any voltage between 750 and 1500 VDC.
  • Ability to use overhead electrification at 25 KVAC.
  • Pantographs would handle all voltages.
  • A second pantograph might be provided for reasons of reliable operation.
  • Ability to use onboard battery power.
  • Regenerative braking would use the batteries on the vehicle.

Note.

  1. Many of these features are already in service in Germany, Spain or Sheffield.
  2. The train would be designed, so that no unnecessary platform lengthening is required.
  3. As in Cardiff, the specification would allow street-running in the future.
  4. Could battery range be sufficient to allow new routes to be developed without electrification?

I also feel that the specification should allow the new trains to work on the current network, whilst the current trains are still running.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Radyr Station

Radyr station is a junction station on the Cardiff Valley Lines.

These pictures show the station.

It certainly has a massive modern step-free bridge.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  • The platforms are long.
  • South of the station, the tracks split into two, with the City Line going in a more Southerly direction.

Currently services at the station are as follows in trains per hour (tph).

  • Two tph North to Aberdare
  • Two tph North to Merthyr Tydfil
  • Two tph North to Treherbert
  • Six tph South to Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Central stations via Cathays.
  • Two tph between Radyr and Coryton stations via the City Line, and Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street stations.

In 2023 the service will be upgraded.

  • Four tph North to Aberdare
  • Four tph North to Merthyr Tydfil
  • Four tph North to Treherbert
  • Six tph South to Cardiff Queen Street and The Flourish stations via Cathays.
  • Two tph South to Cardiff Queen Street and The Cardiff Central stations via Cathays and back via the City Line.
  • Two tph South to Cardiff Queen Street and The Cardiff Central stations via the City Line and back via Cathays.
  • Two tph South to Cardiff Queen Street via Cathays.

All services will be run by new Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles.

Note.

  1. No services will start at Radyr station.
  2. No station will get a less frequent service.
  3. There will be a doubling of services through Radyr station.
  4. There will be level access between platform and vehicles at all stations.
  5. If required the new vehicles can run in pairs to increase capacity.

I also suspect this is only the start and that capacity will be increased on some lines.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Train Depot In Taffs Well, While Newport Factory Named As Preferred Bidder For New Diesel Trains

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

The interesting part is the holistic thinking, where a new depot is to be built at Taff’s Well, where the station is also to be modernised, with the addition of a Park-and-Ride.

Taff’s Well station is a very outdated affair, as these pictures show.

Note.

  1. The station could certainly do with a new step-free bridge.
  2. The train frequency is also being raised from six to twelve trains per hour (tph)
  3. Six tph will go to The Flourish.
  4. There will also be a new two tph service on the City Line.
  5. All trains will be new Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles.

That Park-and-Ride will certainly be needed.

As Taff’s Well station will be at the heart of the tram-train network, it is most certainly a good place for the depot.

The article also says that enhanced stabling facilities will be built at Treherbert and Rhymney stations.

Enhancements At Rhymney

Rhymney station is the terminal of the Rhymney Line.

 

These are my pictures of the station.

This Google Map gives an aerial view.

In addition to the enhanced stabling, the station will also be upgraded to accommodate more and longer Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts.

There’s certainly a lot of space for the stabling.

Enhancements at Treherbert

Treherbert station is the terminal of the Rhondda Line.

I took these pictures of the station in 2014.

This Google Map shows an gives view.

There certainly would appear to be space for the enhanced stabling.

 

 

 

 

June 11, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Flourish Station Is The Focus Of The South Wales Metro

On my visit, I walked for an hour in the Cardiff Bay area. Wikipedia says this.

Cardiff Bay is the area of water created by the Cardiff Barrage in south Cardiff, the capital of Wales. It is also the name commonly given to the surrounding areas of the city. According to Cardiff Council, the creation of Cardiff Bay is now widely regarded as one of the most successful regeneration projects in the United Kingdom.

These picture were taken as I walked.

I’m not exactly sure, where the new station at The Flourish will be placed.

This document on the KeolisAmey web site details their plans for the new Wales and Borders Franchise.

Look at this image that I clipped for the document.

And this Google Map of the area.

It looks like The Flourish station will go by the triangle of roads to the right of the Merchant Place building.

It will really bring the South Wales Metro to the heart of the action.

Battery Tram-Trains To The Flourish

The Cardiff Bay Line links to Cardiff Queen Street station and is only two kilometres long.

This distance should be well within the capabilities of a battery electric tram or train.

So will the Cardiff Bay Line be left totally without wires from Cardiff Queen Street station?

If it was, this would reduce costs and visual intrusion.

In Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles, I estimated that if a tram-train had a 50 kWh battery, this would have a range of five miles, which would take the vehicle from Queen Street to The Flourish and back.

If necessary, the uphill line to Queen Street station could be electrified.

But there would certainly be no wires South of Cardiff Bay station.

The Proposed Service To The Flourish

Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil and Treherbert will have a four tph service to Cardiff Queen Street station and a two tph service to The Flourish station.

This means there will be six tph between Cardiff Queen Street and The Flourish stations. Or a tram-train every ten minutes!

There will also be a new station at Loudon Square, between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay stations.

From figures in the KeolisAmey document, if appears that Cardiff Queen Street to The Flourish will take four minutes.

Conclusion

This will certainly be a World Class station fit for the area it serves.

 

 

 

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Between Cardiff Queen Street And Cardiff Bay Stations

Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay stations are the two termini of the Butetown Branch Line.

These pictures show my trip from Cardiff Queen Street to Cardiff Bay and the trip back.

Note.

  1. Cardiff Bay station is a Grade II* Listed Building.
  2. With passenger usage of nearly a million and a quarter last year, is it the busiest single-platform station in the UK?
  3. It was certainly busy yesterday.
  4. The access for the number of passengers is inadequate.
  5. After removing the foliage, there must be room to add a second track, between the two stations.

This Google Map shows where the railway lines cross.

Note.

  1. Cardiff Central station is to the West.
  2. Cardiff Queen Street station is to the North.
  3. Cardiff Bay station is to the South.

Does the map show that running a service between Cardiff Central and Cardiff Bay stations would be difficult?

Loudon Square Station

The planned Loudon Square Station would appear to be 300-400 metres North of Cardiff Bay station.

Capacity Increase

When the current Class 150 trains with a frequency of five trains per hour are replaced by new Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles with a frequency of six trains per hour, this will give an approximate doubling of capacity.

And there is always the option of using the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles in pairs!

 

 

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Cardiff Queen Street Station

Cardiff Queen Street station is the first station to be refurbished for the proposed South Wales Metro.

Note.

  1. The station is fully step-free.
  2. The platforms are wide, which helps interchange or waiting for your destination. See Canada Water on the Overground and St. Pancras on Thameslink.
  3. Currently, to get to Cardiff Bay station, you need to catch a five trains per hour (tph) shuttle train from Platform 1.

The service pattern is fairly-straight-forward, with the following lines passing though the station from South to North.

It is said, that to build anything, you need good foundations.

These services through Cardiff Queen Street station, seem to be a good foundation for the South Wales Metro.

The current proposed services through the station after the Metro is completed are.

  • 2 tph – Coryton Line between Penarth and Coryton stations via Cardiff Central – Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts
  • 2 tph – Cynon Line between The Flourish and Aberdare stations.. – Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles
  • 2 tph – Rhondda Line between Cardiff Queen Street and Treherbert stations – Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles
  • 2 tph – Rhondda Line between The Flourish and Treherbert stations – Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles
  • 2 tph – Rhymney Line between Barry Island and Rhymney stations via Cardiff Central – Tri-Mode Stadler Floirts
  • 2 tph – Rhymney Line between Bridgend and Rhymney stations via Cardiff Central – Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts
  • 2 tph – Rhymney Line between Penarth and Caerphilly stations via Cardiff Central – Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts
  • 2 tph – Taff Line between The Flourish and Merthyr Tydfil stations – Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles
  • 2 tph – Cynon and Taff Lines between Aberdate and Merthyr Tydfil stations via the City Line and Cardiff Central – Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles.

Summarising services gives these figures.

  • 6 tph – To and from The Flourish – Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles
  • 10 tph – To and from Cardiff Central – Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts
  • 2 tph – To and from Cardiff Central – Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles

This Google Map shows Cardiff Queen Street station.

Note.

  1. The bay platform, which is numbered 1, is in the South East corner of the station. is used for services to Cardiff Bay station.
  2. There is no North-facing bay platform.
  3. Northbound trains for Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil and Treherbert share Platform 5.
  4. Northbound trains for Bargoed, Coryton and Rhymney share Platform 4.
  5. Sounthbound trains use Platforms 2 and 3.

I believe that this layout will be changed  in the creation of the South Wales Metro.

In an ideal world passengers should have a same-platform or cross-platform interchange between services going in the same direction.

If services going in the same direction shared the same platform, this would meet sixteen tph using two platforms, as two tph will terminate at Cardiff Queen Street station.

Canada Water station on the East London Line of the London Underground in a couple of years will be handling twenty tph.

  • The platforms are wide with escalators, lifts and stairs.
  • Four Southern destinations and Two Northern destinations are served.
  • All services are run by Class 378 trains.
  • Access between train and platform is step free and wheel-chairs and buggies can be pushed across.
  • The East London Line has modern signalling.

If Crossrail and Thameslink will be able to handle twenty-four tph with digital signalling, I believe a solution can be found so that sixteen tph can pass through Cardiff Queen Street station.

Having seen wide platforms in operation at stations like Canonbury, London Bridge and Whitechapel, I feel an ideal layout at Queen Street station would be to use Platform 3 for all Southbound services and Platform 4 for all Northbound services, with as  wide a platform as possible in between.

Consider.

  • Passengers from Rymney and Coryton needing to go to The Flourish, would get off the train and get a Citylink for The Flourish.
  • Passengers between The Flourish and Cardiff Central would just have to walk across the platform at Queen Street station to change trains.
  • Passengers needing a train to Rhoose Airport could choose to change at Queen Street station.

Most waits at Queen Street station would be in a few minutes.

Although, passengers would wait longer for Barry Island, Bridgend and Rhoose Airport.

There is still the problem about what to do with the two tph that from Treherbert that terminate at Queen Street station.

  1. They could use Platform 2 or 5.
  2. They could use a new bay platform in the North end of Pltform 3/4.
  3. They could go through Queen Street station to terminate at The Flourish
  4. They could go through Queen Street and Central stations to terminate elsewhere.

Option 1 would have problems.

  • Every thirty minutes a Citylink would have to cross the busy lines to the North of Queen Street station.
  • Passengers wouldn’t always use the same platform for the Rhondda Line.
  • Passengers wouldn’t have an easy interchange at Queen Street station.

Option 2 would be better.

  • The track layout would be similar.
  • Rhondda Line passengers would only have the inconvenience of sometimes walking along the platform.

.Even if this option was not used to turn trains, I suspect it could be built, as it would also be useful for service recovery purposes.

I like Option 3, although it will have the following consequences.

  • ,The Flourish would need to be able to handle eight tph on the two proposed platforms.
  • Queen Street station would need to be able to handle eighteen tph in both directions.

I suspect that both problems are solvable.

The problem with Option 4 is where do you turn the two extra trains?

I suspect that the Citylink vehicles can only use the City Line after Cardiff Central.

Would it be a good idea or not to run four tph on this route?

I don’t know! But a personable young station man at Queen Street station, said that handling the football can be a problem.

So perhaps more trains going to Ninian Park station might be a good idea.

I write about it in detail in The South Wales Metro and Big Events.

Conclusion

Cardiff Queen Street station has the possibility to be a World Class Metro interchange.

 

 

 

June 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

KeolisAmey’s Plans For The Rhymney Line

This document on the KeolisAmey web site details their plans for the new Wales and Borders Franchise.

The Rhymney Line has the following characteristics.

  • It runs between Cardiff Queen Street and Rhymney stations.
  • Most of the line is double-track, with a short length of single-track from Tir-Phil station.
  • There is the Coryton branch line to Coryton station.
  • From Cardiff to Bargoed station, there are four trains per hour (tph)
  • North of Bargoed, an hourly service generally operates.
  • \from Cardiff to Coryton station, there are two tph.
  • Some services, run through Cardiff to Penarth or Barry Island stations.
  • Services take sixty-one minutes between Rhymney and Cardiff.
  • Services take eighteen minutes between Coryton and Cardiff.

What improvements will be made to the Rhymney Line?

New Trains

From 2019, cascaded Class 170 trains will run services on the line.

In 2023, these trains will replaced by new Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts.

Current plans, don’t envisage any of the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles working the line. But I don’t see any reason why they can’t, if say Transport for Wales wanted to run a service from Cardiff Bay to Coryton or any other station.

It could be that their batteries don’t have enough capacity for the Caerphilly Tunnel.

New Stations

The KeolisAmey document, states that a new station will be built at  Crwys Road.

I’ve also read somewhere that there may be a station on the Coryton Line to serve a major new hospital.

Improved Services

In 2023, the following services will be in place.

  • From Cardiff to Rhymney station, there will be four tph.
  • From Cardiff to Coryton station, there will be two tph.
  • Services will take forty-eight minutes between Rhymney and Cardiff.
  • Services will take twenty minutes between Coryton and Cardiff.

The Coryton service is slower because of the proposed new station.

Electrification

The line will be electrified using 25 KVAC.

  • There is a short tunnel at Bargoed station.
  • There is a mile-long tunnel at Caerphilly.
  • There were quite a few footbridges across the tracks.
  • The margins on either side of the track seem adequate on much of the route.

It looks to me, that electrification of the Rhymney Line cshuld be possible, provided the design is good.

The Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts will have batteries, which will have these purposes.

  • Provide traction power for the trains, where there is no electrification.
  • Capture the energy generated by the traction motors under braking.
  • Ensure that power is always available for the train’s control, driver and passenger systems.

On the Rhymney Line, battery power will also be used to provide traction power in the mile-long Caerphilly Tunnel.

I have been told that although the tunnel will not be electrified, there will be an overhead rail for the pantograph in the tunnel, which will not be electrified.

This means that the pantograph doesn’t have to be raised and lowered, as the train goes up and down the hill, as there is a continuous overhead rail and line for the pantograph to use all the way.

I believe that when the train is coming down the hill, that gravity and the onboard battery will give sufficient power to bring the train safely down the hill.

So is there any point in electrifying the downhill path?

  • The two terminals on the line; Rhymney and Coryton stations, are single platform stations on single-track lines, which will surely be electrified.
  • If necessary batteries could be topped up before on the single track sections, before joining the double-rack line to Cardiff.
  • There is very little if any freight or engineering trains on the line. But these will be diesel-hauled.
  • After the modernisation, all the passenger trains will be the new electric trains with batteries and/or diesel engines.
  • Diesel trains and locomotives could continue to work the lines as required.

I don’t think there is any operational reason for the downhill path to be electrified.

It would reduce costs in both construction and maintenance.

 

 

 

 

 

June 9, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment