The Anonymous Widower

Zillertalbahn Orders Stadler Hydrogen-Powered Trains

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

This is the first paragraph.

Austria’s narrow-gauge Zillertalbahn announced on May 15 that Stadler is the successful bidder for a €80m contract to supply five hydrogen fuel cell multiple-units.

The Zillertal Railway is in the Tyrol district of Austria and has a gauge of 760 mm.

It looks like Stadler are supplying another market, that is rather special.

August 6, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Five Mark 4 Coaches, A Driving Van Trailer And A Stadler UKLight Locomotive

In writing Would Electrically-Driven Trains Benefit From Batteries To Handle Regenerative Braking?, I started to analyse the mathetics and possibilities of a train with the following formation.

The sub-section got too large and important so I decided to write it as a separate post.

I like the Class 68 locomotive, as it looks professional and seems to do all asked of it.

So what would be the kinetic energy of a formation of five Mark 4 coaches, between a DVT and a Class 68 Locomotive?

  • The five Mark 4 coaches would weigh 209 tonnes.
  • The Class 68 locomotive weighs 85 tonnes.
  • The DVT weighs 42.7 tonnes
  • I will assume that a five cars will seat around 300 passengers.
  • The passengers weigh 27 tonnes, if you assume each weighs 90 Kg, with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • The train weight is 363.7 tonnes.

At 100 mph, which is the maximum speed of the Class 68 locomotive, the Omni Kinetic Energy Calculator gives the kinetic energy of the train as 100 kWh.

I doubt there’s the space to squeeze a 100 kWh of battery into a Class 68 locomotive to handle the regenerative braking of the locomotive, but I do believe that a locomotive can be built with the following specification.

  • Enough diesel power to pull perhaps five or six Mark 4 coaches and a DVT at 125 mph.
  • Ability to use both 25 KVAC and 750 VDC electrification.
  • Battery to handle regenerative braking.
  • As the Class 88 electro-diesel locomotive, which is around the same weight as a Class 68 locomotive, I suspect the proposed locomotive would be a bit heavier at perhaps 95 tonnes.

This train would have a kinetic energy of 160 kWh at 125 mph.

Consider.

  • If the locomotive could have a 200 kWh battery, it could harvest all the regenerative braking energy.
  • Accelerating the train to cruising speed uses most energy.
  • Running at a constant high speed, would conserve the kinetic energy in the train.
  • Stadler, who manufacture the Class 68 and 88 locomotives are going to supply a diesel/electric/battery version of the Class 755 train, for the South Wales Metro. In What Is The Battery Size On A Tri-Mode Stadler Flirt?, I estimated the battery size is about 120 kWh.
  • The Class 68 and 88 locomotives are members of Stadler’s Eurolight family, which are designed for a 125 mph capability with passenger trains.
  • I don’t believe the UK is the only country looking for an efficient locomotive to haul short rakes of coaches at 125 mph, on partially-electrified lines.

It should also be noted, that to pull heavy freight trains, the Class 88 locomotive has a 700 kW Caterpillar C27 diesel that weighs over six tonnes, whereas 200 kWh of battery, would weigh about two tonnes. I believe that a smaller diesel engine might allow space for a large enough battery and still be able to sustain the 125 mph cruise.

Stadler have the technology and I wonder, if they can produce a locomotive to fill the market niche!

In HS2 To Kick Off Sheffield Wiring, I reported on the news that the Northern section of the Midland Main Line between Clay Cross and Sheffield will be electrified.

This would greatly improve the performance of diesel/electric/battery hybrid trains between London and Sheffield.

  • Between London and Kettering, the trains would be electrically-powered.
  • Between Kettering and Clay Cross, they would use a mixture of diesel and battery operation.
  • Between Clay Cross and Sheffield, the trains would be electrically-powered.

Note.

  1. Going North, trains would pass Kettering with a full battery.
  2. Going South, trains would pass Clay Cross with a full battery.
  3. Regenerative braking at stops between Kettering and Clay Cross would help recharge the batteries.
  4. The diesel engine would be sized to keep the train cruising at 125 mph on the gentle Midland Main Line and back up the acceleration needed after stops.

It would be a faster and very electrically-efficient journey, with a large reduction in the use of diesel power.

The locomotive would also have other uses in the UK.

  • TransPennine services, where they could surely replace the Class 68 locomotives, that will haul Mark 5A coaches between Liverpool and Scarborough and Manchester Airport and Middlesborough.
  • Between London and Holyhead
  • Waterloo to Exeter via Basingstoke and Salisbury.
  • Marylebone to Birmingham via the Chiltern Main Line, if the two ends were to be electrified.
  • Services on the East West Rail Link.
  • Between Norwich and Liverpool
  • CrossCountry services.

Note.

  1. Services could use a rake of Mark 4 coaches and a DVT or a rake of new Mark 5A coaches.
  2. If more electrification is installed, the trains would not need to be changed, but would just become more efficient.
  3. The competition would be Bombardier’s proposed 125 mph bi-mode Aventra with batteries, that I wrote about in Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power.

And that is just the UK!

Conclusion

Using the Mark 4 coaches or new Mark 5A coaches with a new 125 mph diesel/electric/battery hybrid Stadler UKLight locomotive could create an efficient tri-mode train for the UK rail network.

The concept would have lots of worldwide applications in countries that like the UK, are only partially electrified.

 

 

August 5, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts

I would expect that these trains are very similar to the bi-mode Stadler Flirt DEMUs, but that the power-pack would also contain a battery.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I wouldn’t be surprised that the power-pack, which accepts up to four Deutz diesel engines, can replace one or two of these with battery modules. This could make conversion between the two types of Flirt, just a matter of swapping a diesel module for a battery one or vice-versa.

Note that the three-car Class 755 trains for Greater Anglia have two diesel engines and the four-car trains have four engines.

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

It gives a few extra details about the Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts

The KeolisAmey document gives extra a few extra details.

I assume the following.

  • That 100% electric operation includes battery operation.
  • Batteries will certainly be used in the mile-long Caerphilly tunnel.
  • Batteries will be charged when running on electrified lines or by capturing regenerative breaking energy whilst descending to Cardiff.
  • The diesel engine will be used for primary power on the Vale of Glamorgan Line, which is without electrification and nearly twenty miles long?

There will be a lot of commonality between the two types of Flirts and I suspect driver and other staff training for the two variant will be the same.

How Big Will The Batteries Need To Be?

Consider a three-car Tri-Mode Stadler Flirt

  • I reckon, that the weight of the train will be around 130 tonnes.
  • Rhymney has an altitude of 287 metres.
  • I will assume 150 passengers at 80 Kg. each, which gives a weight of 12 tonnes.

This means that the train has a potential energy of 111 kWh at Rhymney station.

On the way down the hill from Rhymney the regenerative braking will convert this potential energy into electricity, which will be stored in the battery.

But also consider.

  • There will be losses in energy conversion in the regenerative braking process.
  • Energy will be used running the train’s systems.
  • Energy will be used stopping and starting the train at each station.
  • Energy will be used bringing the train through some sections without electrification.
  • Energy will be used keeping the crew and passengers comfortable.
  • Energy can be burned off using braking resistors on the roof of the train.

When you consider that the battery on a London New Routemaster bus, has a capacity of 75 kWh, I think it is highly likely, that Stadler can design a battery module to fit one of the two spare engine positions in the power-pack.

Now, consider a four-car Tri-Mode Stadler Flirt

  • I reckon, that the weight of the train will be around 150 tonnes.
  • Rhymney has an altitude of 287 metres.
  • I will assume 200 passengers at 80 Kg. each, which gives a weight of 16 tonnes.

This means that the train has a potential energy of 130 kWh at Rhymney station.

Looking at the weight of Bombardier’s 50 kWh batteries, I suspect that it would be possible to design a battery module with the following characeristics.

  • 100 kWh capacity
  • A weight less than that of the Deutz engine, which is around 1.3 tonnes.
  • Plug compatibility with the diesel engine.

Doing this calculation with real data, is the sort of mathematics that I relished doing in my twenties.

How Far Would A Full 100 kWh Battery Take A Three-Car Flirt?

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, which probably has a terrain not much different to the lines to the South and West of Cardiff.

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

This would mean that a 100 kWh battery would take a three-car train between six and ten miles. It might even take the train from Cardiff to Barry Island or Penarth and back..

Conclusion

It looks a very interesting concept.

  • Most of the energy is provided by the electrification, which would power the train up the hill.
  • Coming down the hill, the batteries would be recharged using the regenerative braking.
  • Battery power would used to take the train on routes without electrification to the West and South of Cardiff.
  • When the battery power was low, the diesel engines would cut in.

Energy efficiency would be high.

 

 

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 9 Comments

Stadler Flirt DEMUs

Over a thousand Stadler Flirts have been sold to operators around the world. Most have been or will be built in Switzerland.

Greater Anglia

The first fleet in the UK, comprise fourteen three-car and twenty-four four-car Class 755 trains for Greater Anglia.

This visualisation shows a Class 755 train in Greater Anglia livery, running through the typical flat lands of East Anglia.

These trains will enter service next year.

  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They can run on 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • They have a diesel power-pack, which can have up to four Deutz diesel engines, for running on lines without electrification.
  • The three-car trains have two diesel engines and the four-car trains have four engines.
  • They can change power source at line speed.
  • Length is easily changed, by adding or removing cars.
  • Three-car Flirts have 166 seats and four-car Flirts have 224 seats.
  • They are designed to handle two-hour plus journeys, like Lowestoft to London for Greater Anglia.

I suspect they are fairly powerful trains and I wrote about this in Greater Anglia’s Class 755 Trains Seem To Have Bags Of Grunt.

Comparing the trains with a Class 170 train, I said this.

But the four-car Class 755/4 trains have fifty percent more power per car, than the Class 170 train, so these will be no sedate rural trundlers.

I’m certain, that their performance, will allow them to mix it on the Great Eastern Main Line with the London-Ipswich-Norwich expresses.

KeolisAmey Wales

From the pictures, the trains, that will be delivered to KeolisAmey Wales, look very much like the trains, that have been ordered by Greater Anglia.

The trains will operate services between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and extending to Severn Tunnel Junction and beyond.

I would assume that the trains will use diesel, where there is no electrification. One current service goes between Maesteg and Cheltenham Spa stations. On the South Wales Main Line between Cardiff and Seven Tunnel Junction, the trains would use the 25 KVAC  overhead wires, but at both ends of the route, they would use diesel.

One great advantage of bi-mode trains like these Flirts, is that as more electrification is added, they can take advantage.

I’m certain, that their performance, will allow them to mix it on the South Wales Main Line with the London-Newport-Cardiff-Swansea expresses.

Aosta Valley

A European version of the train will start to operate soon in the Aosta Valley in Italy, so when the trains for Wales are delivered, there will be lots of operational experience. Especially with climbing steep hills!

Norway

This article on the Railway Gazette is entitled Bi-Modes In Norway’s Next Flirt Order.

The bi-modes will be used around Trondheim, on routes without elewctrification.

What does Norway have a lot of? Mountains!

June 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Greening Of The Valleys

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

The documents gives these two definitions.

  • South Wales Metro – Includes the full set of local services around South East Wales. This includes what is currently known as the ‘Valley Lines’, plus services between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and extending to Severn Tunnel Junction and beyond.
  • Central Metro -Refers to the sub-set of the South Wales Metro train services which run from Treherbert, Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil, Radyr, Rhymney and Coryton, through Queen Street to Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Central, Penarth, Barry Island and Bridgend.

For these services around Cardiff and on the Cardiff Valley Lines, KeolisAmey Wales intend to acquire the following fleet.

  • 11 x four-car Stadler Flirt DEMU
  • 7 x three-car Stadler Flirt Tri-mode MU
  • 17 x four-car Stadler Flirt Tri-mode MU
  • 36 x three-car Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles

This diagram from the document shows the routes and the frequencies.

They also say the following surrounding the map in the document.

  • Maintains all existing connections to Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Central stations.
  • Service pattern easy to understand
  • Most frequencies even in the hour ‘clockface’ (e.g. 00-15-30-45 past)
  • Vale of Glamorgan, Barry, Penarth and City Lines integrated into Central Metro solution.
  • 2tph from Pontypridd station ‘divert’ via City Line but don’t terminate at Central i.e. Aberdare – City Line – Central – Merthyr

Note that Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney and Treherbert stations all get a total of four trains per hour (tph)

The Trains In More Detail

Stadler Rail are building the three fleets of rail vehicles.

Stadler Flirt DEMUs

Over a thousand Stadler Flirts have been sold to operators around the world. Most have been or will be built in Switzerland.

From the pictures, the trains, that will be delivered to Wales, look very much like the Class 755 trains, that have been ordered by Greater Anglia. These trains will enter service next year.

Stadler Flirt DEMUs gives more details of these trains and the closely-related fleets.

The trains will operate services between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and extending to Severn Tunnel Junction and beyond.

Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts

I would expect that these trains are very similar to the bi-mode Flirt DEMUs, but that the power-pack would also contain a battery.

Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts gives more details of these trains and how I think they will operate.

The Tri-Mode Stadler Flirts are intended for Rhymney/Coryton <> Penarth/Barry Island/Bridgend via the Vale of Glamorgan Line.

There will be a lot of commonality between the two types of Flirts and I suspect driver and other staff training for the two variants will be the same.

Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles

The Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles in the KeolisAmey document. look very similar to Sheffield Supertram‘s Class 399 tram-trains, that are providing a tram service in Sheffield and will soon be running on the heavy rail network to Rotherham.

Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles gives more details of these trains and how I think they will operate.

From Cardiff Queen Street To The Flourish

It looks like the Metro vehicles will use the batteries for power on the extension to the new terminal station at The Flourish.

I describe the proposal for the extension to the Flourish in The Flourish Station Is The Focus Of The South Wales Metro.

Electrically-Efficient Operation Of The Metro

I have a feeling that Stadler are bringing some of their mountaineering experience from Switzerland to the valleys of South Wales.

It is interesting that both the Tri-mode Stadler Flirts and the Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles will have batteries.

Climbing The Hills

The main purpose of the batteries is to make the climb and descent to the terminals at the heads of the valleys as energy efficient as possible.

Efficient climbing of the hills will need all uphill tracks to be electrified.

The KeolisAmey document states this about the electrification.

Discontinuous overhead line electrification to 25 KVAC with permanently earthed sections around restricted structures, saving 55 interventions e.g. rebuilding bridges/no need for wire in Caerphilly tunnel.

Battery power would be invaluable for jumping the gaps in the electrification.

Coming down, I believe that the trains and tram-trains will use the batteries to handle the energy generated by regenerative braking.

This means.

  • The electrification can be simpler.
  • There might be no need to electrify the downhill track in double-track sections.
  • Trains can use the battery power  to cross sections without wires or restarting from stations, when going downhill.
  • Tram-trains going to The Flourish will arrive at Cardiff Queen Street station with enough energy in the batteries for the return trip to The Flourish.
  • The Cardiff Bay Line doesn’t need to be electrified, which saves money and possibly increases safety and reduces visual intrusion.

It is not only energy efficient, but it saves construction costs and time.

Why Aren’t Citylink Metro Vehicles  Used On The Rhymney Line?

There are several possible reasons.

  • Calculations have shown, that the battery capacity of the smaller Citylink vehicle might not be enough to go uphill through the Caerrphilly tunnel.
  • The route may need more powerful vehicles.
  • More capacity may be needed on this line, so the larger Tri-mode Stadler Flirts will be used.
  • The Flirts could use their diesel engines to rescue a train stuck in the tunnel.

But whatever the reason, I’m sure it’s a good one!

Could Downhill Tracks Not Be Electrified?

I think this may be possible, as vehicles coming down the hills could use gravity and small amounts of battery power.

Regenerative braking would also be continuously charging the batteries.

It would certainly be simpler, than having to constantly swap between overhead and battery power on the descent, where the electrification was discontinuous.

As the lines are going to have a more intensive service, there will be additions of a second track in places to allow trains to pass.

Any electrification that could be removed from the project would be beneficial in terms of building and operational costs.

How Would Discountinuous Electrification Be Handled?

I discus this in How Can Discontinuous Electrification Be Handled?

The Lines In More Detail

Click these links to find out more about the individual lines.

Rhymney Line

Conclusion

The two types of compatible vehicles, allows the plans for the South Wales Metro to be a cost-effective and very green solution for Cardiff’s transport needs.

It is a model, that can be used elsewhere.

Will railway engineers in future talk of the Cardiff Model, just as they talk of the Karlsruhe Model?

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Reason Why The UK Is Fertile Territory For Tram Trains

The UK has several modern tram systems. If you look at the cross section of trams you get the following figures.

I wonder why Nottingham is twenty-five centimetres narrower!

If you look at the Class 399 tram-train, it has a width of 2.65 metres and a height of 3.67 metres.

So no wonder, there has been no problems with Class 399 tram-trains running on the Sheffield Supertram as trams!

Various trains that run local rail networks include.

  • Class 142 – Width 2..8 metres – Height 3.86 metres
  • Class 150 – Width 2.8 metres – Height 3.8 metres
  • Class 222 – Width 2.73 metres
  • Class 319 – Width 2.82 metres – Height – 3.58 metres
  • Class 345 – Width 2.78 metres – Height N/A
  • Class 378 – Width 2.80 metres – Height 3.78 metres
  • Class 700 – Width 2.80 metres – Height N/A
  • Class 769 – Width 2.82 metres – Height 3.58 metres
  • Mark 4 Coach – Width 2.73 metres – Height 2.79 metres

These are some figures from German trains.

  • DBAG 641 – Width 2.90 metres – Height 3.7 metres
  • BD Class 420 – With 3.08 metres
  • ICE 3 – Width 2.95 metres – Height 3.89 metres

I’ll look at various issues.

Tram And Train Height

I think this is not a big issue.

If a tram or electric train can run on a particular track, then there should be no height problems running a tram-train over the route, providing overhead wires can be erected.

UK Tram And Train Width

It would appear that the maximum width of UK trains is 2.82 metres. In some stations, where there is only one class of train, level access is possible.

The picture shows a Class 378 train on the London Overground.

This is not one of the best I’ve seen, but there is no reason, why someone in a wheelchair shouldn’t be able to wheel themselves into every train at every station.

This is in the train operating company’s interest, as one of the things that delays trains, is getting someone in a wheelchair on and off the train with a portable ramp.

If we take the UK train width of 2.82 metres and compare that to the width of a Class 399 tram-train, which is 2.65 metres, that means that there is seventeen  centimetres difference or eight and a half centimetres on each side of the train.

If the platform can be arranged to be level, that is not a large gap. It’s probably about the same size as this gap in this picture.

Shown is a Class 399 tram-train at a tram stop on the Sheffield Supertram.

Continental Tram And Train Width

But on the Continent, where the trains are wider and the loading gauge is bigger, the gap will be larger.

Trains on the Continent also often have a significant step up as this picture shows.

Shown is an Italian High Speed train.

If the EU wanted to improve train travel for the disabled, those in wheelchairs, those with buggies and the elderly, they should make it compulsory for all trains to have level access from the platform.

It’s very rare to find level access on the Continent and not that easy in parts of the UK.

Gap Fillers

But things are getting better, as this picture shows.

Shown is a Stadler Flirt with a rather nifty automatic gap filler.

Merseyrail’s New Class 777 Trains

Gap fillers will be fitted to Merseyrail‘s new Class 777 trains, which are being built by Stadler.

The Class 777 trains and the current Class 507 trains have the same width of 2.82 metres, but the new Stadler trains have an eighteen centimetre lower floor.

The picture shows a Class 507 train at one of Liverpool’s underground stations.

Eighteen centimetres wouldn’t be far away from the height of the step in the picture.

The design must also allow both classes of trains to be in service at the same time, to ease introduction of the new Class 777 trains.

Talk about Swiss precision!

South Wales Metro

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

For services around Cardiff and on the Cardiff Valley Lines, KeolisAmey Wales intend to acquire the following fleet.

  • 11 – four-car Stadler Flirt DEMU
  • 7 – three-car Stadler Flirt Tri-mode MU
  • 17 – four-car Stadler Flirt Tri-mode MU
  • 36 – three-car Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles

Note.

  1. The Stadler Flirts look very similar to Greater Anglia‘s Class 755 trains, that by the time of delivery of these trains for Wales, will have proven themselves on the mountains of East Anglia.
  2. The tri-mode multiple units will be able to run on electric, diesel or battery power.
  3. The Stadler Citylink Metro Vehicles look very similar to Sheffield Supertram‘s Class 399 tram-trains, that are providing a tram service in Sheffield and will soon be running on the rail network to Rotherham.
  4. It is an all-Stadler fleet.

This is a clip from the KeolisAmey document.

This looks like a visualisation of one of the Flirts, as the Citylink tram-trains have flat sides.

I will be very surprised if Stadler don’t provide the Cardiff area, with one of the best step-free networks in the world.

Conclusion

The UK’s standard tram width of 2.65 metres and our small loading gauge must make it easier to design tram-train systems for the UK.

 

 

 

 

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June 6, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every Pair Of Pictures Tell A Story

This picture on the Rail Technology Magazine website shows a Greater Anglia Class 755 train.

And this picture on the Global Rail News website shows one of the new trains for Transport for Wales.

It is captioned “A Tri-mode unit on the Rhymney Line”.

On another report it is captioned “How a KeolisAmey tram-train will look”.

All trains look very similar and I’m pretty certain that Wales will be getting some Class 755 trains.

Class 755 Trains

Class 755 trains will have the following characteristics.

  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Able to work on 25 KVAC overhead electrification
  • Able to work using an onboard diesel power-pack.
  • Three or more passenger cars.
  • Ability to be lengthened by adding extra cars as required.
  • Lots of power.

They would be ideal replacements for the current Class 175 trains, as the performance would appear to be similar.

They would also be ideal for services on the following routes.

When running around Birmingham, Cardiff, Crewe, Liverpool and Manchester, they would be able to use the electrification.

So are Keolis/Amey going for a predominantly uniform fleet of perhaps three-car and four-car Class 755 trains outside of the Cardiff Valley Lines, just as Greater Anglia used these trains on their routes without electrification North of Cambridge and Ipswich?

The Borderlands Line

The interesting route is the Borderlands Line between Wrexham Central and Bidston stations.

Currently, to get to and from Liverpool, there is a need to change trains at Bidston.

Merseyrail‘s new Class 777 trains are being built by Stadler.

  • They will link Bidston station to Liverpool, where they will call at several stations in a single-track loop tunnel.
  • The trains have been designed to work under battery power.
  • Both classes of train are likely to be very similar under the skin.

So to eliminate the time-wasting change of train at Bidston station, I wonder if Stadler have designed the Class 755 and Class 777 trains, so that they can both run in the loop tunnel.

The additions needed to the Welsh Class 755 trains, over the Greater Anglian versions would be.

  • Ability to use Merseyrail’s third rail electrification.
  • Clearance to run in the tunnel with diesel onboard.
  • Ability to evacuate passengers in the tunnel, in an emergency.

As Merseyrail have recently rebuilt the tunnel for the new Class 777 trains, I suspect that Stadler can design a Class 755 train, that would be able to avoid the change of train at Bidston.

I’ll Wait For More Information

It would seem prudent to wait for more information.

 

June 4, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Greater Anglia’s Class 755 Trains Seem To Have Bags Of Grunt

This article on Rail Magazine, is entitled IN PICTURES: Greater Anglia Unveils First New Stadler Bi-Mode Train In Switzerland.

The text with the excellent and numerous pictures is informative, with other details of the Class 755 trains.

Dynamic Testing

This starts in July and involves.

  • Sixteen trains.
  • Eight teams.
  • Seven locations across Europe including the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania and Switzerland.

No-one can say that Stadler are not being thorough.

Entry Into Service

The bi-modes will enter service in Summer 2019, when Greater Anglia hope to have twenty trains in service.

The first Class 755 train will be delivered to Norwich Crown Point depot in October.

Articulated Trains

The trains are articulated and the article has a good image of two carriages showing the join.

Power Car And Car Lengths

The article says that the engines will be located in a power car. There is also an image looking through the power car.

I’m still unsure, whether the length of the train, includes the power car!

There are two versions.

  • Three-car Class 755/3 trains.
  • Four-car Class 755/4 trains.

This clipped image from Wikipedia shows the train formats.

It looks like the four-car Class 755/4 trains, a three-car train with an extra passenger car.

The Class 755/4 train would appear to consist of the following

  • Two full-length drive cars, with passenger accommodation.
  • A half-length power car.
  • Two  full-length passenger car.

The three-car Class 755/3 car train would not have the extra full-length passenger car.

So in terms of full-length passenger cars, train lengths could be as follows

  • Class 755/3 trains – 3 cars
  • Class 755/4 trains – 4 cars

Wikipedia says that each train has the following number of seats

  • Class 755/3 trains – 166 seats
  • Class 755/4 trains – 224 seats

Calculating the seats per car, gives the following.

  • Class 755/3 trains – 55.3 seats/car.
  • Class 755/4 trains – 56 seats/car.

This suggests to me, that the interior of a passenger car is very similar to that of a driver car, which must mean manufacturing cost savings.

Diesel Engines

Both trains are fitted with  16 litre V8 engines supplied by Deutz which produce 478 kW.

The power cars have the following numbers of engines

  • Class 755/3 trains – 2 engines – 956 kW – 319 kW per car
  • Class 755/4 trains – 4 engines – 1912 kW – 478 kW per car.

I suspect that a fifth car could be added to a Class 755 train. This would have 1912 kW and 382 kW per car.

Add a sixth car and this would have 1912 kW and 319 kW per car.

Comparison With A Class 170 Train

Compare these figures with a diesel Class 170 train, which has 315 kW per car.

Both trains are 100 mph trains, built from aluminium, so I suspect that the performance of three-car Class 755/3 and Class 170 trains are roughly the same.

But the four-car Class 755/4 trains have fifty percent more power per car, than the Class 170 train, so these will be no sedate rural trundlers.

Looking at the power figures for five-car and six-car units, they would still have at least as much power per car as a Class 170 train.

Other Possible Routes For Class 755 Trains

Could Class 755 trains be a replacement for routes like the following?

  •  Aberystwyth to Shrewsbury
  • Basingstoke to Exeter – Stadler are doing third-rail in Liverpool
  • Birmingham to Stansted Airport
  • Cardiff to Holyhead
  • Cardiff to Shrewsbury
  • Holyhead to Liverpool via Halton Curve
  • Holyhead to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Liverpool to Norwich
  • Milford Haven to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Swansea to Shrewsbury

Trains could be any suitable length from three to six cars.

Note that electric FLIRTs can attain 125 mph, so could we see a train with the following characteristics?

  • 125 mph on electrified lines, where operating speeds allow.
  • 100 mph on lines with no electrification.

This performance is not far off Hitachi’s Class 802 train.

The other major competition could be Bombardier’s proposed 125 mph bi-mode Aventra, that I wrote about in Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power.

The winners will be the train operating companies and their passengers.

A Video

Greater Anglia have put a video on YouTube.

Conclusion

The Class 755 trains certainly seem to have bags of grunt!

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Alstom Seem To Be Stepping Up The Pressure To Get Hydrogen-Powered Trains Into The UK

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Alstom: Industry must start work bringing hydrogen trains to UK immediately.

This is said.

In an exclusive interview with RTM, Mike Muldoon, who leads on hydrogen for Alstom in the UK, also warned that if the British rail industry did not start trying to bring in hydrogen trains as quickly as possible, the country’s market could become less attractive.

Could it be that Alstom see the opportunity for hydrogen-powered trains closing and want to make sure that the UK Government comes on-side?

Would The Coradia iLint Be Able To Run In The UK?

This document on the Alstom web site is a data sheet for the Coradia iLint.

Unfortunately, the data sheet doesn’t give the height and width of the iLint, but I suspect that these and other dimensions are not much different to typical UK values.

Even if the current iLint is wider and taller, I suspect that on a lot of routes a Coradia iLint would be able to run.

Development Of A UK Hydrogen-Powered Train

The Alstom Coradia iLint was developed from an existing train in a few months, in much the same way that Bombardier’s Class 379 BEMU prototype was created.

There would be the following differences between a UK and a German version.

  1. Adjusted height, with and platform height.
  2. Would a different pantograph reach be required?
  3. 25 KVAC instead of 15 KVAC.
  4. Would a third-rail 750 VDC version be needed?

Notes.

  • Point 1 is probably covered by the way modern trains are built.
  • Point 2 is down to the pantograph manufacturer.
  • Point 3 is covered by developing an electrical system that handles both voltages. After all 25 KVAC will be needed for France.
  • Point 4 just needs the appropriate third-rail shoe and electrical system.

I think that all this could mean that a UK version of the iLint could be developed within a reasonable time and budget.

Have Alstom Said Anything Else About For The UK?

This article on the Engineer web site is entitled Alstom Eyes Liverpool Hydrogen Train Trials.

It would appear to be a good choice for the following reasons.

Location

Alstom’s UK base is at Widnes, which is in the South-East of the Liverpool City Region.

Test Partner

Merseyrail have shown in recent years, that they can think out of the box, about using trains and would be a very able partner.

Test Route

The article suggests that Liverpool to Chester via the Halton Curve could be the test route.

  • The route is partly electrified from Runcorn to Liverpool.
  • The route passes close to Alstom’s base.
  • The section without electrification from Runcorn to Chester is probably about twenty miles long, which is a good test, but not a very difficult one.
  • I don’t think that there are too many low over-bridges that would need to be raised.

There would also be good opportunities for publicity and photographs.

Availability Of Hydrogen

Hydrogen is available locally from the various petro-chemical industries along the Mersey.

Incidentally, I used to work in a chlorine plant at Runcorn, where brine was split into hydrogen and chlorine by electrolysis. There were hydrogen tankers going everywhere! Does the industry still exist?

Further Routes

If you look at a map of the railways in the area, there are several other possibilities of other services.

  • Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington
  • Chester to Manchester
  • Serving new stations like Middlewich

The trains might be a possibility for the Borderlands Line.

Conclusion

Hydrogen trains would seem to be a possibility for running services in the Liverpool area and especially over the Halton Curve.

  • Liverpool to Crewe via Runcorn is electrified.
  • Hydrogen-powered trains could easily handle the routes without electrification.
  • There is a plentiful local supply of hydrogen.
  • There will be no great difficulty in updating the track and signalling.

Services could be run by existing diesel trains, until the new trains are available.

I also feel that Stadler’s new Class 777 trains for Merseyrail, when fitted with the ability to run on 25 KVAC overhead electrification and batteries could be able to handle Halton Curve routes.

Although, it is obviously very feasble to run hydrogen-powered trains, I have a feeling that the finances might not be as simple. Especially if Stadler make sure that their new Merseyrail trains can extend the Merseyrail network to town along routess without electrification.

Are Alstom stepping up the pressure, as they can see other trains arriving?

 

February 22, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diesel And Battery Trains ould Be The Solution For Island Line

The title of this post is the same ass this article on the Island Echo.

The article discusses what is going to happen to the Island Line. I wrote about this line in A Trip On The Island Line.

This is said.

South Western Railway have revealed that the Island’s 80-year-old trains could be replaced with a diesel, battery or flywheel powered locomotive, a tram or even a guided bus lane.

The train operator, which took over the running of Island Line earlier this year, has stated in a consultation document published this week that the Class 483 former London Underground trains are no longer viable, with parts availability becoming an issue and limited capability of electricity. supply.

They are obviously looking for some new trains.

The Current Trains On The Island Line

The current trains on the Island Line are Class 483 trains, which started life as London Underground 1938 Stock.

The trains are 2597 mm. wide and 2883 mm. high.

Looking at the height and widths of London Underground’s 1972 Stock and 1973 Stock, these current trains are about thirty mm. wider and a few mm. higher.

So it might be possible to take some o0f these trains and remanufacture them for the Island Line.

But there are problems.

  • These trains are over forty years old.
  • London Underground won’t be replacing these trains for several years yet.
  • London Underground probably needs all the of the trains in these classes that it’s got.

So the Island Line needs some new trains from another source.

The Trains On The Glasgow Subway

The Glasgow Subway trains were constructed in the late 1970s, by Metro-Cammell, who  built the 1972 and 1973 Stock for London Underground.

The Glasgow Subway has an unusual gauge of four foot, as opposed to standard gauge of four foot eight and a half inches. So the Glasgow hauge is 220 mm. narrower than standard.

The Glasgow Subway trains also seem to be 300 mm. narrower and 240 mm. shorter than the 1972 Stock.

I wouldn’t be surprised to be told, that the Glasgow Subway trains were designed by making them slightly smaller than the 1972 and 1973 Stock that had just been built.

New Glasgow Subway trains are being designed and built by Stadler. These will obviously be designed to fit the current platforms and tunnel, as they will have to work with the current trains.

New Trains For The Island Line

Modern computer-aided-design systems can probably scale up Stadler’s Glasgow Subway design to a train that would fit the Island Line.

Standard gauge bogies would have to be fitted.

But it surely is a route to get a basic train, that could be then fitted with appropriate motive power.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed For The Island Line?

Currently, trains on the Island Line run in pairs of two-car trains. This means that to maintain the the current two trains per hour service needs four two-car trains. According to Wikipedia, there are five operational Class 483 trains, with one in store.

If the new trains were similar to the new Glasgow Subway trains, which are four cars, two trains could provide the current service.

After upgrading the Brading loop, four trains would allow a four trains per hour service.

Would a spare train be needed?

Why Would A Big Company Like Stadler Want To Supply A Small Order For The Island Line?

This question has to be asked and I’ll use an extract from this article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled Subway Revival – Glasgow to introduce UTO.

Although there had been concerns that suppliers may not be interested in an order for a small number of four-foot gauge Subway trains, this proved not to be the case. Charlie commented that the Swiss company Stadler was “quite excited at the idea” as it has a bespoke manufacturing operation and its production lines can easily be changed to produce small orders, such as 34 cars for the Berlin Underground and 10 Croydon trams.

Sixteen or twenty cars for the Island Line doesn’t seem so small!

It certainly seems, that if you are a train or tram operator and you want a vehicle that is a little bit out-of-the-ordinary, then Stadler are interested!

What Would The Stadler Trains Be Like For Passengers?

Another extract from the Rail Engineer article, describes the new trains for the Glasgow Subway.

Stadler is to supply 17 four-car articulated trains with wide walk-through connections and a standard floor height, made possible by using smaller diameter wheels. Each train will be 39.25 metres long, compared with 37.74 metres for the current three-car units. The trains have 58 km/hr maximum speed and will have capacity for 310 passengers compared with the current 270. They will also accommodate wheelchairs.

I would suspect that the Island Line trains would be slightly wider and taller, which would give welcome space.

Battery Trains For The Island Line

The Island Echo article mentions battery trains.

So would they be a good idea on the Island Line?

Regenerative Braking

I would be pretty sure that the current Class 483 trains are not fitted with regenerative braking, which saves energy and cuts the electricity bill for running the trains.

I also suspect that the electrical power supply, is not capable of handling the return currents generated by regenerative braking.

However, the new trains for the Glasgow Subway, which I believe could be the basis for an Island Line train, do have regenerative braking.

Putting batteries on the train is a simple way of handling the electricity generated by braking. It is just stored in the battery and then used again, when the train accelerates away.

Health And Safety

Bombardier have stated that batteries on trains can be used to move trains in depots, so the amount of electrification in depots can be reduced.

As batteries can move the train short distances, there may be other safety critical places, where removing the electrification could be recommended.

Track Maintenance Savings

Reducing the amount and complication of electrified track, must save on maintenance.

Emergency Power

Despite the best of intentions, power failures do happen and having a capability to get the train to the next station using batteries must be a good thing.

Running On Batteries

The Island Line is less than ten miles long and the possibility must exist of being able to charge the batteries at each end of the line and run between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin on batteries.

There would be a balance to be struck between battery size and the length of electrification at each end.  Perhaps electrification could be kept on the following sections.

  • Ryde Pier Head to Smallbrook Junction
  • Sandown to Shanklin

A lot would depend on the state and design of the line’s power network.

Route And Track Extensions

Short extensions or new track layouts could be built without electrification to save building costs.

Conclusion

On balance, battery trains would seem t0 be a useful feature for the new trains on the Island Line.

Improvements To The Island Line

The Wikipedia entry for the Island Line has a section called Future. Various improvements are put forward.

It seems there has been a lot of talk and very little action.

My thoughts follow.

Brading Loop

Wikipedia says this about a loop at Brading station.

A suggestion in early 2009 was to reinstate the loop at Brading, thus allowing a ‘Clock Face’ timetable to encourage greater use. The outcome of this is still awaited.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the loop is clearly visible to the East of the station.

Trains with a battery capability will give advantages.

  • Flexibility of design.
  • Simplified track layouts.
  • No electrification of new track.

The much-needed loop could become affordable!

Extension to Ventnor

There have been proposals to reopen the line south of Shanklin, to the original terminus at Ventnor.

You can still  trace the line on Google Map and if the need is there, trains with a battery capability would surely aid its reopening.

The line could be single track and without electrification.

 

Conclusion

New trains with a battery capability will give the Island Line a new lease of life.

I also believe that Stadler have the capability to build a suitable battery train, based on their design for the new trains for the Glasgow Subway.

 

 

 

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment