The Anonymous Widower

The Vivarail Fast Charge System At West Ealing – 4th May 2022

This article on Rail Business UK is entitled UK Railway News Round-Up.

This is the first section.

Vivarail has awarded Sella Controls a contract to supply of Tracklink III Readers and beacons for GWR’s Class 230 battery train fast charging trial on the Greenford branch. As the train enters the station one beacon will initiate the deployment of the train collectors for charging, and another beacon will trigger the charging process when the train is in the correct position.

I went to West Ealing station today and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The bay platform is Platform 5.
  2. I couldn’t see any signs of any Tracklink III Readers.
  3. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that two Class 230 trains could fit in Platform 5.

I took these pictures of the station in April 2021.

It does appear by comparing the pictures, that the biggest change is that the area on the far side of the track in Platform 5, which has been cleared.

May 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Battery Train And Fast Charger To Be Tested In London

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

This is the first paragraph.

Great Western Railway has signed an agreement to test Vivarail’s Class 230 battery multiple-unit and fast charging technology under real-world conditions on the 4 km non-electrified branch between West Ealing and Greenford in West London.

As an engineer, who started designing control systems for rolling mills in the mid-1960s and went on to get a Degree in Control and Electrical Engineering from Liverpool University, before working for ICI applying computers to a variety of problems, I can’t look at a railway line like the Greenford Branch without wanting to automate it.

I had one amateurish attempt in An Automated Shuttle Train On The Greenford Branch Line. I was trying to get four trains per hour (tph) on the branch and I don’t think that is possible, with the Class 230 trains.

Now we know the train we are dealing with, I could plan an automated system, that would drive the train.

  • Each journey on the branch takes around 11-12 minutes.
  • Two tph would take between 44 and 48 minutes shuttling between the two stations in an hour.
  • The article states that recharging takes ten minutes.
  • If the train charged the batteries once per hour, that would leave between two and six minutes for the other three stops.
  • Any freight train using the branch seems to take about six minutes, so they could sneak through, when the shuttle is having a fast charge.
  • I would also use a similar system to that originally used on the Victoria Line. After the driver has closed the doors and ascertained that there were no problems, they would press a button to move the train to the next station and then automatically open the doors.

From this rough calculation to run a two tph service, I suspect that the train needs to be able to go between West Ealing and Greenford stations in ten minutes. Assuming one ten minute Fast Charge per hour, this would give three minutes and twenty seconds to turn the train, at the three terminal station stops.

I certainly feel, that an automatic shuttle would be possible.

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

GWR To Test Battery Train On Branch Line

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

This is the first paragraph.

Great Western Railway has invited expressions of interest in trialling a battery powered train on the 4 km non-electrified branch line from West Ealing to Greenford in west London.

The article says that Vivarail have made a previous proposal, but other companies are also likely to declare their interest.

I feel some unexpected proposals could turn up.

The reason would be commercial,.

This is the last paragraph of the article, which says this.

The challenge on Great Western is we’ve got branches like Greenford, Windsor, Marlow and Henley along the Thames valley, and then in the West Country we’ve got St Ives, Falmouth, Newquay, Looe, Gunnislake and so on’, said Hopwood. ‘If we don’t electrify those could we fit the trains with a battery?’ The ideal solution may be a train that fast charges either at one end of the route or possibly at both ends, or on a route like Marlow, Gunnislake or Looe, where the trains reverse during their journey, could the charge point even be on that part of the branch?’

Note.

  1. Mark Hopwood is now the Managing Director of GWR.
  2. Nine branches are mentioned, so with spare trains and maintenance, it could be a good-sized order.

But this project could be even bigger.

South Western Railway are a sister company of Great Western Railway and in August 2020, I wrote Special Train Offers A Strong Case For Reopening Fawley Line about the plans to open the Fawley Line.

This was a section, I wrote about trains that might work the line.

South Western Railway’s Innovative Train Plan

This is another quote from the article.

However, SWR’s Mark Hopwood favours a much bolder plan. “We’d have to take a decision, once we knew the line was going ahead. But my personal belief is that we should be looking for a modern environmentally-friendly train that can use third-rail electricity between Southampton and Totton and maybe operate on batteries down the branch line.”

Pressed on whether that would mean Vivarail-converted former-London Underground stock, Hopwood ads. “It could be. Or it could be a conversion of our own Class 456, which will be replaced by new rolling stock very shortly. But I don’t think this is the time to use old diesels.

This is the same Mark Hopwood, who is now Managing Director of GWR.

These pictures show the current status of one of the twenty-four Class 456 train.

In Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains I discuss this conversion in detail.

Conclusion

Twenty-four battery-electric Class 456 trains would probably go a long way to satisfy GWR’s needs.

June 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

West Ealing Station Goes Step-Free As Part Of Crossrail Upgrades

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

The title says it all.

These pictures, which were taken on the 31st March 2021, show West Ealing station.

Note

  1. It is fully step-free.
  2. As at Acton Main Line station, the lifts are very disabled-friendly.
  3. The terrible staircases of the old station have yet to be demolished.
  4. There is just a small amount of work to finish.

It is a fine addition to London’s portfolio of stations.

But one thing is not covered in the article – What is going to happen to the Greenford Branch?

I think I would favour the automated shuttle! But then I’m a trained Control Engineer.

  • Two-car battery electric train.
  • Option of being lengthened to three cars.
  • I suspect Alstom, CAF, Stadler and Vivarail could all provide trains.
  • There would be level access between train and platform to reduce station dwell times.
  • Automated like the Victoria Line, where when ready to depart, the driver presses a button to close the doors and then the train moves automatically to the next station.
  • The driver could sit in the middle of the train with screens to see front and rear, so they wouldn’t even have to change ends, which wastes time.
  • Or they might choose to sit in the front cab or even use a sophisticated remote control, developed with gaming or military drone experience.
  • Charging would be automatic at both terminals.
  • One train would run a continuous service with a timetable, which just said services would be a service approximately every fifteen minutes
  • Trains would have wi-fi and passengers could view front and rear camera images on their devices.
  • Trains would be stabled at night in one of the two terminal platforms and could have a spruce up each night from a mobile or the station cleaning crew.
  • Trains might need to have sufficient performance to run a service into and out of Paddington, at the beginning and end of the day. But if Crossrail services were reliable and six tph, this feature could be superfluous. But other services might need a main line capability at say 60 or 70 mph to relocate to and from the main depot.
  • On the Greenford Branch, signallers and/or the driver would need the ability to park the train in the next terminal station, when a freight train is passing through.

Get this automated branch line right and the technology could be used in several places around the UK.

 

 

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

West Ealing Station – 12th October 2020

These pictures show the current state of West Ealing station.

A few of my thoughts.

The Size Of The Station

It is not small!

Will The Current Entrance Be Retained?

From the outside the original entrance looks to be in good condition.

Will it be retained?

I think it won’t be as the stairs are a bit of an accident waiting to happen.

Electrification Of The Greenford Branch

If the Greenford Branch is going to be electrified, the last picture shows that gantries and headspan wires are in place over the Western end of Platform 5.

The electrification could be fixed to the new station building, if it were to be electrified.

Power would not be a problem, as a main sub-station for Crossrail and the Great Western Main Line is nearby.

In Could Class 165 HyDrive Trains Be The Solution To The Greenford Branch?, I showed that a train with better acceleration could provide four trains per hour (tph) on the Greenford Branch.

I feel that a pair of powerful two-car battery electric trains could  provide four tph on the branch.

  • They would charge using a short length of 25 KVAC overhead electrification in Platform 5 at West Ealing station.
  • The route is only 2.5 miles.
  • Recharging time wouldn’t be very long, as the battery wouldn’t be enormous.

In Special Train Offers A Strong Case For Reopening Fawley Line, the Managing Director of South Western Railway; Mark Hopwood is quoted as saying, that their Class 456 trains could be converted to two-car battery trains. Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains discusses this conversion in detail.

A two-car Class 456 train equipped with batteries and the ability to use 25 KVAC overhead electrification, would be ideal for the branch and could probably provide four tph.

Conclusion

This station is starting to look like a quality station for Crossrail.

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 6 Comments

West Ealing Station – 12th June 2020

I took these pictures from a passing train of West Ealing station.

It looks like it will be a lot of steel and glass.

Nothing seems to have been said about improving the trains on the Greenford Branch.

June 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

An Interloper At West Ealing Station

These pictures show a Chiltern Railway‘s Class 165 train in West Ealing station.

Has the train just been borrowed by Great Western Railway or is there another reason?

It looks like as I passed, that I saw a Parliamentary Train, which uses the Greenford Branch to travel to High Wycombe

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

West Ealing Station – 2nd September 2019

These pictures show West Ealing station.

Some observations.

The Big Hole

A big hole is being dug on the North side of the station.

  • This is the side where the entrance will be giving access from the road at the side of the station.
  • There are no stairs or lift tower on this side.
  • There looks to be foundations in the hole!

Could these support the stairs and lift and the entrance on this side of the station? I suspect the answer is an affirmative!

Bay Platform 5 Electrification

Platform 5 is not electrified, but two gantries are at the Western end of the platform and these could easily be fitted with wires.

Perhaps at the Eastern end, the wires will be fixed to the station building, as they have been at Abbey Wood station.

An electrified bay platform would be ideal for charging a battery-electric train, that was working the Greenford Branch.

  • In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I calculated that to overcome air resistance and keep a high speed train at 125 mph needs around three k|Wh per vehicle mile.
  • I know that, trains on the Greenford Branch will be going a lot slower than 125 mph, so I will treat the three kWh figure as a maximum value.
  • The maximum size of train will be two cars.
  • The Greenford Branch is two-and-a-half miles long, so a round trip is five miles.

\Multiplying all the numbers together gives a maximum energy requirement for the cruise of thirty kWh.

I think that it should be possible to design a two-car battery-electric train with sufficient range to handle the Greenford Branch.

In Will The Class 230 Trains Be Coming Home?, I speculated that the Greenford Branch could be run by a small fleet of Class 230 trains.

Could this be right? Probably not!

But!

  • The diesel version is already in service at Bedford.
  • They are the right loading gauge and weight.
  • Two cars would be an ideal length.
  • They could have upwards of two hundred kWh of energy storage.
  • They can be fitted with a pantograph for charging or a Vivarail fast charger could be used.in one or both stations.

If the battery version were to be thought too risky, the diesel version, as at Bedford could be used.

Judging by their performance at Bedford, they would probably do a quality job.

 

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail Awards Final West London Station Upgrade Contracts For Crossrail Project

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

The stations are Acton Main Line, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Southall, Hayes & Harlington and West Drayton.

New buildings and step-free access is planned to be completed by December 2020.

Conclusion

About time!

May 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Ealing Station – 16th April 2019

These pictures were taken at West Ealing station.

At last there appears to be some progress, with the footbridge now under construction.

The station certainly looks to be advanced enough, to fit in  with Crossrail opening within a year, as I wrote about in Crossrail Service To Reading On Track For December Opening.

According to the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, West EWaling station will have the following trains, when Crossrail opens.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) between Reading and Abbey Wood
  • Two tph between Maidenhead and Abbey Wood
  • Four tph between Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood.
  • Two tph between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood.

What if you want to go to Shenfield?

If the Western section of Crossrail opens in December, would West Ealing station get the following service?

  • Two tph between Reading and Paddington
  • Two tph between Maidenhead and Paddington
  • Four tph between Heathrow Terminal 4 and Paddington
  • Two tph between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Paddington

That would surely be an excellent service!

If the frequency on the Greenford Branch could be doubled to four tph, there would also be an excellent interchange to the branch line.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

As current rumours are that Crossrail will open in December to Reading, it looks like the station will be usable.

It is planned that West Ealing station will have a Crossrail train every six minutes.

 

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 4 Comments