The Anonymous Widower

Are These Two Stories Related?

These are two stories recently published in Railway Gazette.

Deutsche Bahn Sells Arriva Businesses To Private Equity Holding Company, which starts with this paragraph.

Deutsche Bahn has reached agreement to sell its Arriva local transport activities in Denmark, Poland and Serbia to München-based private equity holding company Mutares SE & Co KGaA.

That is fairly clear and is probably related with the German government’s desire for DB to concentrate on its core business.seren

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled RENFE Looks At Entering UK Rail Market Through Open Access Partnership, which starts with this paragraph.

Open access passenger service developer Grand Union Trains is working with Spain’s national operator RENFE and private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners on a proposed service between London and Wales.

That also is fairly clear and would bring competition to services to and from South Wales.

It would also help in the financing of Grand Union Trains.

The article also says the following.

  • RENFE seem to be expanding into partnerships to run services outside Spain.
  • A parkway station at Felindre will be build to avoid the reverse at Swansea, that would save 20 mins.
  • It will be a high quality service with new electro-diesel trains.
  • Four trains will be needed.
  • A 2025 start is envisaged.

Will this partnership with Grand Union Trains proceed with the development of Grand Union Trains’ London and Stirling service?

I have some thoughts and questions.

Will Deutsche Bahn Sell Other Arriva Businesses?

I think this is a reasonable question to ask, especially, as Deutsche Bahn owns two Open Access Operators in the UK; Chiltern Railways and Grand Central Trains.

  • Both operators have a good reputation.
  • Both operators need to decarbonise, either by updating their current stock or buying new trains.
  • Both operators have solid niche markets, where they are often responsible for the stations.
  • Both operators have expansion plans.

Would RENFE and Serena Industrial Partners be interested in taking over Arriva UK and developing the business?

The Talgo Factory At Longannet

I believe that there is reason to believe that one of Talgo’s reasons for a factory in Scotland, is that it could have been used to build Russian and dual-gauge trains for Eastern Europe. The trains would have been delivered by ferry from Rosyth.

There is also the not-small matter of the fleet for Rail Baltica, for which Talgo will surely be a bidder.

But Russia’s attack on Ukraine has scuppered that plan, or at least delayed it for a few years. But now, there could be a much larger market for trains in Eastern Europe and especially Ukraine.

If RENFE Acquire Open Access Operators In The UK, They Will Need New Trains

They will certainly need new trains for the South Wales operations, if they go ahead, but if they were to decarbonise Chiltern and Grand Central, the order could be substantial.

With one Spanish train factory in the UK and another a possibility, I would suspect any train order would go to a Spanish train-builder.

If the orders fell right, could we see Talgo’s factory at Longannet built after all?

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Call For Rail Sector To Mobilise To Get Ukrainian Agricultural Exports Moving

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Rail has a central role in the European Commission’s plan to establish ‘Solidarity Lanes’ for the transport of Ukrainian agricultural exports which would normally use the Black Sea ports that are being blockaded by Russia.

Announcing its plan, the commission said the Russian blockade is threatening global food security, creating an urgent need for alternative transport routes. Ukraine is the largest exporter of sunflower oil (50% of world exports), the third largest of rapeseed (20%) and barley (18%), the fourth of maize (16%) and the fifth of wheat (12%).

It certainly is a big problem and not just for Ukraine, but for any country that habitually buys these agricultural products from Ukraine.

But it will probably require a lot of investment to solve.

These are points from the article.

  • Trains handling 1,400 tonnes are possible.
  • The average waiting time for wagons at the Ukrainian border is sixteen days.
  • The capacity of existing freight corridors must be expanded and new ones must be created.

After reading the whole article, it does seem that an EU plan is being created.

I have my thoughts.

Gauge Change

Consider.

  • There will be a gauge change between standard and Russian gauge.
  • Spanish company; Talgo has developed the technology, so that trains can run on both gauges and even change between gauges at a slow speed.
  • The technology is used on the Strizh train, which runs passenger services between Berlin and Moscow via Warsaw.

I feel it is likely, that Talgo could develop freight wagons to move the agricultural products between Ukraine and ports in Poland or Germany.

Talgo’s Plans

In A Spaniard In The Works!, I outlined Talgo’s plans, which included building a factory at Longannet in Scotland.

But their plans must have been disrupted, as the company did not secure the High Speed Two Classic-Compatible rolling stock contract.

On the other hand Longannet could be an ideal place to build trains for Eastern Europe. They could go on a ferry to Gdansk, Helsinki or other ports.

May 19, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Union Demands Withdrawal Of All HSTs After Carmont Report

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

This is the first paragraph.

The TSSA union says it has written to the regulator demanding the immediate withdrawal of all surving HSTs, after new revelations in the Carmont derailment. report.

Manuel Cortes of the TSSA feels that the corrosion problem found in the train that crashed at Carmont, may be present in other trains.

He finishes with this this statement.

Frankly, it’s time to ban the HSTs. They were great in their day, but that day is nearly 50 years ago now and they simply aren’t up to modern safety standards.

I must admit, that I tend to agree with him, on this last point.

Scotrail have the following fleet of Inter7City trains.

  • There are 52 Class 43 power cars and 120 Mark 3 coaches, which are arranged as nine four-car and seventeen five-car trains.
  • The trains have sliding passenger doors.
  • The trains meet all the regulations for Persons of Reduced Mobility.
  • The trains have wi-fi and power points.
  • They seem to run at up to 100 mph, as against the 125 mph for InterCity 125‘s in the past.
  • The power cars have generally been reengined with modern MTU 16V4000 R41R diesel engines.

But they are now on average over forty years old.

In Battery And Hydrogen Trains For ScotRail ‘Could Make Scotland A Global Leader’ In Zero-Emission Transport, which is based on an article in the Scotsman with the same title, I said this.

Other points from the article.

  • Talgo appear to have passed the story to Scotland on Sunday.
  • Three routes are mentioned; Borders Railway, Fife Circle and Glasgow-East Kilbride.
  • The new trains could help phase out diesel trains by 2035, which is Scottish Government policy.
  • The Inter7City trains might be replaced by 2030.
  • Talgo hopes to win an order for its factory in Fife.

Talgo’s Managing Director is quoted as saying, they are starting testing of a hydrogen and electric train with a range of 311 miles.

Consider.

  • I wrote about this train in Talgo To Begin Fuel Cell Loco Trials.
  • Talgo’s hydrogen and electric train would be ideal for Scotland’s railways of which only forty percent are electrified.
  • A four or five-car high specification hydrogen and electric train would be ideal for the Inter7City routes, if it were built specifically for the routes.
  • The range would cover all of Scotland.
  • Hydrogen hubs are being planned all over Scotland.
  • Scotland have 26 Inter7City trainsets.

This could be a rather nice order to fund the factory and test all the trains close to the factory.

  • There could be as many as fifty trains.
  • They would probably have an operating speed of 100 mph on electricity.
  • Would the speed on hydrogen be 100 mph or perhaps a bit less?
  • They would be able to use 25 KVAC overhead electrification, where it exists.
  • They could have a length of three, four or five cars.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see three or four car trains for the suburban trains and four or five car trains for the Inter7City replacements.

 

 

March 14, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Battery And Hydrogen Trains For ScotRail ‘Could Make Scotland A Global Leader’ In Zero-Emission Transport

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Scotsman.

This is the first paragraph.

New fleets of cutting-edge trains expected to include battery and hydrogen power are to be ordered for ScotRail which the rail industry believes will put Scotland at the forefront of zero-emission transport.

Other points from the article.

  • Talgo appear to have passed the story to Scotland on Sunday.
  • Three routes are mentioned; Borders Railway, Fife Circle and Glasgow-East Kilbride.
  • The new trains could help phase out diesel trains by 2035, which is Scottish Government policy.
  • The Inter7City trains might be replaced by 2030.
  • Talgo hopes to win an order for its factory in Fife.

Talgo’s Managing Director is quoted as saying, they are starting testing of a hydrogen and electric train with a range of 311 miles.

Consider.

  • I wrote about this train in Talgo To Begin Fuel Cell Loco Trials.
  • Talgo’s hydrogen and electric train would be ideal for Scotland’s railways of which only forty percent are electrified.
  • A four or five-car high specification hydrogen and electric train would be ideal for the Inter7City routes, if it were built specifically for the routes.
  • The range would cover all of Scotland.
  • Hydrogen hubs are being planned all over Scotland.
  • Scotland have 26 Inter7City trainsets.

This could be a rather nice order to fund the factory and test all the trains close to the factory.

Is there a better place to show off your new train to a prospective buyer than the Highlands of Scotland?

In A Class 319 Train, But Not As We Know It!, I told this tale.

I am reminded of a tale, that I heard from a former GEC manager.

He was involved in selling one of GEC’s Air Traffic Control radars to a Middle Eastern country.

The only working installation of the radar was at Prestwick in Scotland, so he arranged that the dignitaries and the sales team would be flown to Prestwick in GEC’s HS 125 business jet.

As they disembarked at Prestwick and walked to the terminal, the pilot called the GEC Manager over.

The pilot told him “The Scottish Highlands at this time of the year, are one of the most beautiful places in the world! Would you and your guests like a low-level tour on the way back? I can arrange it, if you say so!”

Despite knowing GEC’s draconian attitude to cost control he said yes.

The sale was clinched!

I’m sure that Talgo will exploit the scenery and the local produce.

Talgo’s Hydrogen Trains

This page on the Talgo web site, is entitled Talgo’s Hydrogen Train Will Be Ready In 2023.

This paragraph gives an overview of Talgo’s hydrogen power system.

This system is configured as a modular solution that can be installed on all types of trains, as well as in upgrades from diesel to hydrogen. However, it has been specifically designed for the Vittal platform for Commuter and Regional trains, which Talgo has presented in the bidding process for various tenders in Spain and other countries.

And these two paragraphs describe Talgo’s hydrogen trains in more detail.

This innovative system uses hydrogen batteries that provide the energy for the train’s electric motors. It is powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaic or wind, which produce hydrogen that is stored and then used to power fuel cell-based propulsion systems, such as the one designed by Talgo. The system is complemented by batteries that increase the speed of the train when it starts, taking advantage of the braking system to recharge it.

Unlike the extended battery systems in the automotive industry, hydrogen (H2) technology is the logical answer to the needs of heavy transport and, in particular, of those railway lines that do not have catenary electrification systems, and which today depend on trains powered by diesel engines. The hydrogen system designed by Talgo enables conventional network lines to be “electrified” without the need for costly and lengthy adaptation operations, and without the use of fossil fuels.

What do they mean by hydrogen batteries? Looking at the German and the Spanish on the page, I think Talgo means hydrogen fuel cells.

The Rebuilding Of Ukraine

It should be noted that Talgo have sold trains in the past to Russia, which has a gauge of 1.520 metres, which lies between Iberian gauge of 1.668 metres and our standard gauge of 1.435 metres.

  • Talgo have also sold trains to Germany, who use standard gauge.
  • Talgo have built Strizh trains for Russia, that are both standard gauge and Russian gauge for running between Berlin and Moscow.
  • According to the BBC and The Times, Ukraine’s railways have been an important lifeline during the Russian invasion, but pictures show they are in need of modernisation and more electrification.
  • The Strizh trains or a development would surely be ideal for running between Kviv and Berlin, Budapest, Prague and Warsaw.
  • There would also appear to be a need for a hydrogen and electric regional train to reconnect the country back together.
  • Other countries using Russian gauge include Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland.

So are Talgo positioning themselves to take part in the modernisation of Ukraine’s railways, once the war is over?

  • Development and testing is done in Spain and Scotland.
  • Manufacturing could be done in Spain and Scotland.
  • Delivery from Scotland could either be by ship or if they were dual-gauge trains, they could be hauled through the Channel Tunnel and then through Germany and Poland.

As Talgo has the technology, I can certainly see them exploiting the Russian gauge market once Vlad the Mad has gone.

 

March 13, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Talgo To Begin Fuel Cell Loco Trials

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Trials are to begin shortly with the TPH2 fuel cell test locomotive developed by Talgo as part of its hydrogen traction programme. This forms part of a low-carbon research and development strategy which is being supported by a green hydrogen supply alliance and financing from the European Investment Bank.

The TPH2 loco has been produced by fitting fuel cells and traction batteries to the Travca L-9202 ‘Virgen del Buen Camino’ prototype multi-system and variable gauge locomotive which was built by Talgo in 2005.

This page on the Talgo web site describes the Travca locomotive like this.

Travca: Traction Without Borders

Travca is a locomotive that stops at nothing; not at different power supplies, track gauges nor signalling systems all of which makes Travca Talgo’s most advanced development in the field of traction.

This is the specification of the electric locomotive from the Talgo web site.

  • Operating speed – Up to 250km/h (passenger version)
  • Configuration – Bo-Bo
  • Track gauge (mm) -1435-1668
  • Length (m) – 19400
  • Bodyshell width (mm) – 2950
  • Unladen weight (tonnes) – 72 (passenger version)
  • Number of axles – 4
  • Power – 2,400 kW (25kV, 50Hz) / 2,000kW (3kV dc)
  • Brakes – Regenerative, rheostatic and air brakes

Notes.

  1. It is a variable-gauge and variable-voltage locomotive.
  2. 1435 mm is standard gauge
  3. It is lighter and wider than a Class 90 locomotive.

It does seem to be the basis of a very useful locomotive.

This article on Railway News is entitled University Of Extremadura To Work With Talgo On Its Hydrogen Train, says this about the test train.

During the first stage of the hydrogen train project, Talgo is developing the necessary engineering for the assembly and commissioning of hydrogen traction in a test train. The train will comprise a Talgo Travca MS locomotive, which can change gauges and run under different electrification systems, and five Talgo hauled cars that will house the hydrogen fuel cell system. One of the cars will be a laboratory car.

This would appear to be an experimental train with the hydrogen power station in four of the coaches.

It also appears that Extremadura is developing a hydrogen infrastructure.

Applications In The UK

The obvious application in the UK, is as a Class 66 diesel locomotive replacement, for some of the light to medium duties.

The Class 66 locomotives have a power of 2400 kW, which could be within the range of the Talgo locomotive.

In LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, I speculated that Talgo, with all their experience of high speed trains might like to bid for the extra ten trains, that LNER requires.

They could be ideal to allow electric trains to run between London and Aberdeen and Inverness.

  • The Travca locomotive running on electricity could certainly handle 140 mph between London and Edinburgh.
  • The power requirements North of Edinburgh would be less, as speeds would be lower.
  • Ranges on hydrogen would be under two hundred miles.

It would be a flagship service for both LNER and Talgo.

 

 

February 7, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Talgo and Repsol To Develop Fuel Cell Trains Powered By Renewable Hydrogen

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

This article follows the pattern, of if you’re going to build hydrogen-powered trains, you need a quality partner for your hydrogen.

I still puzzle, what Talgo will do with their factory in Scotland, if they miss out on the orders for High Speed Two.

  • Russia is an obvious market for their Spanish gauge high speed trains and delivery from Rosyth by ship is probably easier, than from Spain.
  • The UK probably needs a quality modern hydrogen train for remote routes, as does the island of Ireland.
  • As I indicated in LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, there could be a niche for a small fleet of 140 mph hydrogen bi-modes to run between London and the North of Scotland.

Note.

The UK probably has enough capacity for regional and commuter electric and battery trains, with Alstom, CAF and Hitachi all with modern trains in production.

Ireland and Russia, with their similar gauge to Spain could be worthwhile markets.

However, I do believe that the 140 mph hydrogen bi-modes would slot into substantial markets in continents and countries like Africa, Australia, Canada, India, Norway, South America, Sweden and the United States, where there are enormous mileages of standard gauge railways without electrification.

August 3, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Talgo Unveils Plan To Have Vittal-One Hydrogen Train Operational By 2023

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

This is the most important paragraph of the report.

The company explained that the fuel cell technology it designed for its train is modular. In this way, the tech can be installed on any type of existing train. In this way, the transition away from diesel and into hydrogen fuel. That said, Talgo did underscore that its Vittal platform was the primary reason for which the H2 solution was designed. The company is hoping to win several Spanish tenders, as well as those in other countries, for this regional and commuter train.

Talgo hopes to start testing their train next year.

They certainly seem to have got their skates on, or whatever the Spanish say!

A Hydrogen Train For Scotland

Consider.

  • Scotland has a major need for a large number of zero-carbon trains to decarbonise routes outside the Central Belt, which is extensively electrified.
  • Talgo are building a factory at Longannet in Scotland.
  • Talgo’s Vittal-One train has a modular hydrogen traction system, but the train is designed for European standards.
  • This page on the Talgo web site, describes the design philosophy behind the Talgo Vittal. After reading that page, I feel  Talgo could build a version of the train for the UK. There are already standard gauge versions in Germany and they’d just need to make a different body, that was about a 100 mm. narrower.
  • The Talgo Vittal is a 100 mph train, which is what Scotland needs.

So I feel that Talgo have the technology to build a hydrogen-powered regional train for the UK. And the island of Ireland, which uses a 1600 mm track gauge, which is not far from the Iberian gauge of 1668 mm gauge!

The question has to be asked about, when Talgo chose the location for the factory, were there any nods and winks with the Scottish Government about the country’s future train needs?

It certainly appears that Scotland has the need and the hydrogen, and Talgo has the technology, to decarbonise the railways North and South of the Central Belt in Scotland.

 

December 2, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Talgo: Our Hydrogen Train Will Be Ready In 2023

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

This sentence from the opening paragraph, gives and explains the name.

The train will be called Talgo Vittal-One, which Talgo says is a reference to hydrogen’s atomic number.

It appears to be a commuter and regional train.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the opening paragraph.

LNER has launched the procurement of at least 10 new trains to supplement its Azuma fleet on East Coast Main Line services.

Some other points from the article.

  • It appears that LNER would like to eliminate diesel traction if possible.
  • On-board energy storage is mentioned.
  • No form of power appears to be ruled out, including hydrogen.
  • LNER have all 65 of their Azumas in service.

The last paragraph is very informative.

Infrastructure upgrades are due to prompt a timetable recast in May 2022 (delayed from December 2021) from which point LNER will operate 6.5 trains per hour, out of Kings Cross, compared to five today. As an interim measure, LNER is retaining seven rakes of Mk 4 coaches hauled by 12 Class 91 locomotives to supplement the Azuma fleet and support its timetable ambitions until the new trains are delivered.

These are my thoughts.

More Azumas?

Surely, It would require a very innovative train at perhaps a rock-bottom price from another manufacturer, for LNER to not acquire extra Azumas.

Classic-Compatible Trains For High Speed Two

Consider.

  • Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi, Siemens and Talgo are involved in the competition to design Classic-Compatible trains for High Speed Two.
  • As the York and Edinburgh section of the East Coast Main Line will eventually be upgraded and used by High Speed Two services,
  • Also in the December 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, is an article entitled 140 mph Plan For ECML North of York, which details improvements proposed by Northern Powerhouse Rail to improve services between Leeds and Edinburgh.

Would there be advantages to High Speed Two, LNER and Network Rail and Northern Powerhouse Rail, to have some commonality between the  High Speed Two, LNER and Northern Powerhouse Rail fleets?

Hopefully, the various government-controlled companies are talking.

A Flagship Train For Aberdeen And Inverness

The InterCity 225s, which consist of a Class 91 locomotive and a rake of nine Mark 4 coaches, have given thirty years of top-quality service on the East Coast Main Line and appear to be being asked to handle services until the new trains are delivered.

  • Full-length InterCity 225s are 245 metres long and have 406 Standard and 129 First seats or a total of 535 seats.
  • Nine-car Azumas are 234 metres long and have 510 Standard and 101 First seats or a total of 611 seats.
  • Two five-car Azumas working as a pair are 260 metres long and have 604 seats. They can also be handled on most platforms, that are used by LNER.
  • The power of a Class 91 locomotive is 4.83 MW.
  • A Class 91 locomotive is 19.4 metres long and weighs 81.5 tonnes.
  • Both Azumas and InterCity 225s can maintain 125 mph with ease on the East Coast Main Line and both will be able to reach 140 mph with in-cab signalling.

There would appear to be nothing wrong with locomotive-hauled high speed services, in terms of capacity and performance.

In The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I laid out my thoughts on a high-powered railway locomotive fuelled by hydrogen, that used one or possibly two Rolls-Royce gas-turbine engines to generate electricity for traction.

With all the work done, by the companies bidding for Classic-Compatible trains for High Speed Two, into very high speed trains, I believe that at least one company could build a locomotive with this specification.

  • 140 mph operation on 25 KVAC overhead electrification. As I said, that was done by British Rail almost forty years ago.
  • Ability to use full digital in-cab signalling. This is on its way and already working in some applications.
  • 110 mph operation on hydrogen. Hitachi are planning 100 mph battery trains, so it should be possible.
  • 400 mile range on one filling of hydrogen. This is working in Germany.
  • Ability to be upgraded to higher speeds on electric power, should the East Coast Main Line be upgraded for higher speeds in the future. The train manufacturers are probably ahead of track designers with this one.

Such a locomotive would be key to building a train with this specification.

  • Sub-four hour time between London and Edinburgh.
  • Sub-seven hour time between London and Aberdeen, which has 130 miles without wires.
  • Sub-eight hour time between London and Inverness, which has 146 miles without wires.
  • Hydrogen would be used, where there is no electrification.
  • Zero-carbon at all times.
  • A maximum length of 260 metres, which I estimate could give a passenger capacity of around 640 seats.
  • The last coach would include a driving van trailer.
  • They would not need the ability to split and join, except for the purpose of rescue, as there is no platform on the route, that could accommodate the resulting 520 metre long pair of trains.

I estimate that a fleet of around seven trains would be needed to run the current Aberdeen and Inverness services.

A few extra thoughts.

  • Could they have an up-market more spacious interior, as their main competition to the North of Scotland, would be the budget airlines?
  • Could they be slightly longer, with some platform work at Kings Cross and other stations?
  • Add a few extra trains to the order, so that extra services between London and Edinburgh could be added to the timetable.
  • Could the driving van trailer incorporate an observation car?
  • Hydrogen refuelling shouldn’t be a problem in Scotland, as the country is developing a hydrogen economy.
  • Hydrogen refuelling wouldn’t be needed in England, as they’d be using the electrification.
  • As an alternative to hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel could be used.

I suspect that Talgo, would be very happy to tender.

  • They are developing hydrogen-powered trains as I wrote in Talgo: Our Hydrogen Train Will Be Ready In 2023.
  • They are building a factory in Scotland, close to the Forth Bridge.
  • Because of the factory, Talgo probably have the ear of the Scottish Government, who would probably welcome a Scottish-built train.
  • A shorter version of these trains without the hydrogen, could be the design for a High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train, for which Talgo, are on the short list of suppliers.

What better way, would there be to sell your hydrogen-powered high speed trains, than to give prospective clients a ride up from London to the factory in the luxury version?

A New Elizabethan

I can remember The Elizabethan, which was a steam-hauled non-stop express between London and Edinburgh between 1953 and 1961.

I have laid out my ideas for a modern express train of the same name in A New Elizabethan.

It could be an interesting concept, to increase capacity between London and Edinburgh.

Splitting And Joining

Some of LNER’s philosophy to serve places like Harrogate, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough, depends on the ability to split and join trains.

A pair of Azumas could leave London and go to Leeds, where they would split, with one train going to Harrogate and the other going to Huddersfield.

When returning to London, the two trains would join at Leeds.

The big advantage of splitting and joining, is that it increases the capacity on the main line, as services can be arranged, so that every path always carries a full-length train. I would expect that LNER would prefer never to run a single five-car Azuma into Kings Cross.

Currently LNER have these paths to and from Kings Cross.

  • 2 tph between London Kings Cross and Leeds
  • 1 tph between London Kings Cross and Lincoln and East Yorkshire
  • 2 tph between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh

Note.

  1. LNER have already started to extend services from Leeds, so will we see splitting and joining being used on one tph at Leeds to provide services to several destinations, throughout the day.
  2. Splitting and joining at Edinburgh is surely another possibility, to serve Stirling and Glasgow, with the same train.
  3. Splitting and joining at York could serve destinations like Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Redcar, Scarborough and Sunderland.
  4. In A Trip To Grantham Station – 4th November 2020, I advocated splitting at Grantham station to serve both Nottingham and Lincoln.

There are a lot of possibilities for splitting and joining.

As LNER has a fleet of twenty-two five-car Azumas, if the new trains are needed to split and join on certain services, this might mean more five-car Azumas are a better buy.

What Will Happen To Nine Car Azumas?

Hitachi have launched the Regional Battery Train concept, the specification of which is given in this Hitachi infographic.

The diesel engines in LNER’s Class 800 trains will be able to be replaced with batteries, making them all-electric trains.

  • Destinations like Cleethorpes, Dundee, Grimsby, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Hull, Lincoln, Middlesbrough Nottingham, Perth, Redcar, Scarborough, Sheffield and Sunderland will be within range of battery electric Azumas.
  • Some destinations would need the ability to charge the train before it returned, but I can see lots of places getting an appropriate service, even if it was just one or two trains per day.
  • Unfortunately, Aberdeen and Inverness would be too far for battery electric Azumas, so services will still need to be run by nine-car bi-mode Azumas.

Five-car battery electric Azumas working in pairs from London could be the key to increasing LNER services.

I can see that LNER may end up with too many nine-car Azumas, if nine-car trains are replaced by pairs of five-car trains to serve two destinations by splitting and joining.

Would it be possible to shorten nine-car Azumas to five-car trains?

These are the formations of the two trains.

  • nine-car: DPTS-MS-MS-TS-MS-TS-MC-MF-DPTF
  • five-car: DPTS-MS-MS-MC-DPTF

It is known, that the trains have a computer, that does a quick check on start-up to determine, what cars are present and correct in the train.

  • This means that if LNER needed twelve-car trains for say London and Edinburgh, they could create a sub-fleet by just buying the requisite number of extra TS (Trailer Standard) and MS (Motor Standard) cars and coupling them up.
  • This feature also means that operators running fleets of five-car Hitachi trains, like TransPennine Express and Hull Trains can increase capacity by just purchasing the extra cars.
  • It would also allow, cars to be shuffled to create viable trains, after say several cars were damaged by vandalism.

All trains these days seem to have this very operator-friendly feature.

With LNER’s trains, I suspect that all cars of the same type are identical.

This would mean, that a nine-car train can be converted to a five-car by removing two TS (Trailer Standard), one MS (Motor Standard) and one MF (Motor First) cars.

The four cars, that have been removed could be reconfigured to form the middle three cars of a new five-car train, which would be completed by adding new DPTS (Driver Pantograph Trailer Standard) and DPTF (Driver Pantograph Trailer First) cars.

An Increase In Paths From 5 To 6.5

This will certainly allow LNER to run more services.

The odd half path could be easy to explain.

  • Hull is a city, that is on the up.
  • I suspect that it could support a five-car direct service from London with a frequency of one tph.
  • But Hull Trains are also running a successful service on the route.

Perhaps a fair solution, would be to allow both LNER and Hull Trains to run a one train per two hour (tp2h) service.

If LNER didn’t want to use the path to just run a five-car train to Hull, there are several possibilities for a split and join.

  • With a Cleethorpes, Lincoln or Nottingham service at Grantham.
  • With a Cleethorpes or Lincoln service at Newark.
  • With a Cleethorpes, Middlesbrough, Sheffield or Sunderland service at Doncaster.

I can only see splitting and joining increasing, which surely means an Azuma order is more likely.

As someone, who spent a working life, writing software to schedule projects, I can’t resist speculating on what to do with the extra whole path, that LNER will be allocated, when the infrastructure allows.

  • Many travellers wouldn’t mind LNER providing more seats between the English and Scottish capitals.
  • Many would like an alternative to flying.
  • Others would like a faster service.
  • Leeds and York will soon be a route, that LNER’s Azumas will be able to use without diesel, because of extra electrification and Azumas with traction batteries.

This leads me to believe that LNER could use the extra path for a third London and Edinburgh service in every hour, that ran via Leeds.

  • Additionally, it might stop at stations like Peterborough, York, Darlington or Newcastle.
  • It could also provide a non-stop London and Leeds service.
  • Some services could go non-stop between London and Edinburgh.
  • The direct London and Edinburgh service would be under four hours.
  • Going via Leeds would add under an hour.

It would be run by a nine-car all-electric Azumas, of which there will be unlikely to be a shortage.

How Many Azumas Could Be Fitted With Batteries Instead Of Diesel Engines?

The Wikipedia entry for the Class 800 train, has a section called Powertrain, where this is said.

Despite being underfloor, the generator units (GU) have diesel engines of V12 formation. The Class 801 has one GU for a five to nine-car set. These provide emergency power for limited traction and auxiliaries if the power supply from the overhead line fails. The Class 800 and Class 802 bi-mode has three GU per five-car set and five GU per nine-car set. A five-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/4 and a nine-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/5/7/8.

Consider.

  • Class 807 trains for Aventi West Coast will have no batteries or diesel engines. Does this save weight?
  • Class 803 trains for East Coast Trains will only have a small battery for emergency hotel power, in case of catenary failure. Does this save weight?
  • Saving weight should improve acceleration and deceleration, which could reduce journey times.
  • Removal of diesel engines would reduce the trains carbon footprint.
  • Removal of diesel engines could reduce maintenance costs.
  • Diesel engines are only needed for services that run North of Edinburgh. Other sections without electrification are probably within battery range or could be easily made so.
  • It appears every Motor car (MC, MF and MS) can be fitted with a diesel engine, although in Class 801 trains, only one is fitted. Does that mean that every Motor car in the future, could have a battery?

I think this could lead to the following.

  • The Class 801 trains are fitted with sufficient batteries to enable handling of expected emergencies. These could be similar to those in the Class 803 trains.
  • Enough nine-car Class 800 trains would be kept with diesel engines to work the Aberdeen and Inverness services. These routes at 130 and 146 miles without wires are too long for battery trains, without a succession of chargers along the routes.
  • If a third Edinburgh service were to be introduced, could some of the remainder of the nine-car Class 800 trains be converted to Class 801 trains, by removing the diesel engines?
  • I would expect most of the five-car thirty-six Class 800 trains would be fitted with batteries to run services to destinations, that can be reached on battery power. In a few years time, these will probably mean splitting and joining at Edinburgh, Leeds and other places.
  • Could we even see the twelve five-car Class 801 trains converted to battery electric Class 800 trains, which would surely give maximum flexibility about their use?

If the software on the trains, is as intelligent as it could be and can accept cars with diesel engines, batteries or no extra power, then LNER will have an enormous amount of flexibility, to configure the trains as they need.

I could even see a nine-car Class 800 train with a mix of batteries and diesel engines, that can be used as range extenders, reaching further towards Aberdeen and Inverness.

Consider a five-car Class 800 train with two batteries and a single diesel engine!

  • If I assume that Hitachi’s specification for the Regional Battery Train, is for a five-car train with three diesel engines replaced with battery packs, then a two battery pack train could have a range of 60 km or 37 miles.
  • If the route wasn’t very challenging, and the computer made judicious use of the diesel engine, could the train’s range be extended to beyond the ninety kilometres of the three-battery pack train.
  • The diesel engine could also be used to charge the batteries, before returning to the electrification of the main line.

In Vivarail’s Plans For Zero-Emission Trains, I talked about Adrian Shooter and his concept of a Pop-Up Metro, run for perhaps a year, to test if a Metro service would be viable, instead of spending the money on consultants.

The two-battery pack/one diesel Class 800 train, could run a Pop-Up London Service to test the need for a London service. All it would need is a convenient platform long enough to take a 130 metre long Class 800 train.

Possible destinations to test could include Cleethorpes, Dundee, Glenrothes-with-Thornton, Grimsby, Nottingham, Norwich, Perth, Redcar, Sheffield and Sunderland

Conclusion

There is a lot of scope to develop LNER’s services.

I think it is likely that the order will go to Hitachi.

But as I indicated, I do believe that there is scope for a manufacturer to design a zero-carbon train, that was able to serve the Aberdeen and Inverness.

  • I suspect a fleet of ten trains would be sufficient.
  • Trains would use the 25 KVAC overhead electrification, where it exists and hydrogen or battery power North of the wires.

The trains would also be capable of being upgraded to high speeds, should the East Coast Main Line be turned into a High Speed Line.

I also think, that whatever trains are bought, there will be a large upgrading of the existing Hitachi fleet, which will add batteries to a lot of trains.

November 25, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

HS2 Way Out In Front In Tunnel Design For High-Speed Rail

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

The article describes how Arup and Birmingham University are using physical and computer modelling to obtain the ultimate profiles of both tunnel portal and train nose to both increase train performance and reduce train noise as the trains enter tunnels.

They are even using a huge shed at the former British Rail Research Centre in Derby!

The biggest problem, is that there are aerodynamic effects, as the trains enter the tunnels at very high speeds, which result in what are inevitably called sonic booms, that disturb the local residents.

Because the new trains and tunnel portals are being developed together, there must be a greater chance, they will meet the objectives.

Collateral Benefits

Get the design right and there will be other benefits.

Lower Power In The Cruise

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I said this.

I have found this on this page on the RailUKForums web site.

A 130m Electric IEP Unit on a journey from Kings Cross to Newcastle under the conditions defined in Annex B shall consume no more than 4600kWh.

This is a Class 801 train.

  • It has five cars.
  • Kings Cross to Newcastle is 268.6 miles.
  • Most of this journey will be at 125 mph.
  • The trains have regenerative braking.
  • I don’t know how many stops are included

This gives a usage figure of 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile.

This figure is not exceptional and I suspect that good design of the train’s nose will reduce it, especially as the design speed of High Speed Two will be 360 kph or 224 mph.

Reduced Noise

Stand on a Crossrail platform at say Southall or West Drayton stations and listen to the Class 801 trains passing.

They are only doing about 100 mph and they are certainly not quiet! Noise comes from a variety of sources including aerodynamics, overhead wires and running gear.

Could the nose and profile of high speed trains also be designed to minimise noise, when cruising at high speeds?

Reduced Pantograph Noise

Travelling at up to 360 kph, pantograph noise could be a serious problem.

The only way to cut it down, would be to lower the pantograph in sensitive areas and run the train on battery power.

But if the trains energy consumption could be cut to a much lower level, it might be possible for the cruise to be maintained on battery power alone.

Consider a journey between Euston and Birmingham.

  • The train would accelerate away from Euston and go in a tunnel to Old Oak Common.
  • Batteries could be charged whilst waiting at Euston and in the run to Old Oak Common.
  • Accelerating away from Old Oak Common would bring the train to 360 kph as fast as possible.
  • It would now cruise virtually all the way to Birmingham Interchange at 360 kph.
  • At the appropriate moment the pantograph would be lowered and the train would use the kinetic energy to coast into Birmingham Interchange.
  • There would probably be enough energy in the batteries to take the train into Birmingham Curzon Street station after the stop at Birmingham Interchange.

One technology that will massively improve is the raising and lowering of the pantograph at speed.

So could we see much of the long non-stop intermediate section being run on batteries with the pantograph down. If power is needed, it would raise to power the train directly. If the raising and lowering was efficient, then it might be able to use the pantograph only in tunnels.

Could It Be Possible To Dispence With Wires Outside Of Tunnels?

Probably not on the first phase of High Speed Two, but consider.

  • High Speed Two is designed to have a lot of tunnels.
  • Arup and Birmingham may come up with even better aerodynamic designs.
  • Pantograph raising and lowering will get faster and extremely reliable.
  • Battery technology will hold more electricity for a given weight and volume.
  • Dispensing with visible wires could reduce the problems of getting planning permissions.
  • Noise and visible intrision will be reduced.

I believe there will come a time, when high speed railways could be built without visible overhead electrification.

The only places, where electrification would be used would be in tunnels and stations.

Are There Any Other Applications Of This Research?

These are a few thoughts.

Hitachi Trains For The Midland Main Line

I’m suspicious, that the research or similar research elsewhere, might have already produced a very handy result!

In an article in the October 2019 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled EMR Kicks Off New Era, more details of the new Hitachi bi-mode trains for East Midlands Railway (EMR) are given.

This is said.

The first train is required to be available for testing in December 2021 with service entry between April and December 2022.

The EMR bi-modes will be able to run at 125 mph in diesel mode, matching Meridian performance in a step-up from the capabilities of the existing Class 80x units in service with other franchises. They will have 24 metre vehicles (rather than 26 metres), a slightly different nose to the ‘800s’ and ‘802s’, and will have four diesel engines rather than three.

Could the new nose have been designed partly in Birmingham?

Consider.

  • Hitachi’s bi-modes for EMR InterCity could be running at up to 225 kph in a few years.
  • The Midland Main Line between Derby and Chesterfield goes through a number of tunnels in a World Heritage Site.
  • Hitachi have collaborated with UK research teams before, including on the Hyabusa.
  • Hitachi and Bombardier are submitting a joint bid for High Speed Two trains, which is based in Birmingham.

It should be noted that when the Tōkaidō Shinkansen opened in 1964 between Tokyo and Osaka average speed was 210 kph.

So are Hitachi aiming to provide EMR InterCity with almost Shinkansen speeds on a typical UK main line?

Arup and Birmingham University, certainly have the capability to design the perfect nose for such a project.

Aventras

Did the research team also help Bombardier with the aerodynamics of the Aventra?

I’m pretty certain, that somebody did, as these trains seem to have a very low noise signature, as they go past.

Talgo

Tsalgo are building a research centre at Chesterfield.

Will they be tapping in to all the rail research in the Midlands?

Conclusion

It looks to me, that there is some world-class research going on in Birmingham and we’ll all benefit!

October 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment