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1  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: June 18, 2018, 04:59:58 pm
My first reaction to this was "what do you expect with Swiss OLE? How may soggy underwater tunnels do they have?" But that's unfair - Furrer+Frey have many years' experience of fitting their kit all over Europe. In fact they are rather proud of its corrosion resistance, calling it "fit and forget" (though that phrase is usually unjustified hubris).

One place where corrosion is a specific problem with conductor rail (all systems, I suspect) is electrochemically between the conductor wire (copper alloy) and the beam (aluminium alloy). They squirt magic grease over this area to keep the air out, which doesn't sound to me like the height of high-tech. I can imagine that in this hyper-humid tunnel that could need to be inspected or re-done quite often.

But I hope the NR quote of:
Quote
"We are taking this opportunity to build on the modernisation work delivered in the tunnel during autumn 2016, including maintaining the new equipment and drainage system and removing redundant cables and telecoms equipment."

Network Rail said the maintenance of the new equipment mainly involves cleaning the conductor beam system.

It said it carries out maintenance work in the tunnel every year and that this will now form part of the annual process.
  doesn't really mean it will be closed for three weeks every year.
2  Sideshoots - associated subjects / News, Help and Assistance / Re: Cancellation map - what it's showing on: June 18, 2018, 04:47:56 pm
Didcot West End as well

Oh gawd - have they added a whole new layer of places onto the systems.

"Didcot West End" strikes me a confusing - I can just imagine someone looking to travel to "Didcot West End" to eat a meal in a fancy restaurant before going on to the theatre!

I think this has arisen because these are "shadow services" and were entered as if ECS - ending in the sidings (today's was STP, tomorrow it's VAR and (Q)). A passenger service wouldn't do that, it would terminate in a platform and a separate ECS move would then take it out - that way the sidings never appear as if stations. These services then appear in the list of service changes in a clumsy attempt to correct the first problem.

I suspect it ran as scheduled, just a few minutes late, i.e. into P4 at Oxford then to the down-side sidings, so as to cross to the up side, then via the Up Main (through) line and on to Didcot, where it reentered passenger service. I don't think there are ever any reports for RTT to use from the sidings, so in this case absence of evidence isn't evidence at all.
3  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Class 387 coming to Thames Valley - ongoing discussion on: June 16, 2018, 11:40:29 pm
There are two West Ealing Sidings, accessed off the loop, each capable of holding two 8-car 387s. That's what they were built for: "West Ealing Sidings (WES) is being redeveloped to house Great Western Railway’s (GWR) rolling stock during inter-peak hours between the West and Paddington station. The sidings shall provide a stabling facility for GWR’s existing Diesel trains and the newly introduced Electric trains."

The current timetable sends four trains there each morning, so even if one of those could be persuaded to go back out in service (e.g. to Reading) it wouldn't make space for a 12-car one. Hence that goes to the loop, not one of the sidings. Mind you, it does seem a bit optimistic to think you can have exclusive use all day of a loop that's partly there for goods trains to duck into.

As to my not so relevant comments about Didcot, I'm sure you're right - I don't now see what I did, either for P4 or the same thing for P3, so I must have misread it. And even if RTT did show two trains in for only one out, it does that quite often without it meaning a lot. So I guess we should assume that Reading Depot can pass each morining's Chinese puzzle exam even with a 12-car train or two to assemble.
4  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Thameslink on: June 16, 2018, 08:05:15 pm
I had a look at the record of operations via the Thameslink core to get some real numbers; what follows is taken from RTT for last Thursday. There are times given for arrival and departure, so a dwell time can be calculated by subtraction. I don't think that will be the same as you'd get with a stopwatch if you were on the platform, but it's the best we have. If anyone knows what the differences are we could try to correct for them.

The tph each way in the six peak hours at Farringdon (City Thameslink is, obviously, almost identical) were:
North - 10/13/11 and 7/7/8, south - 12/13/13 and 8/9/9.
So nowhere near 24 tph, even in the morning when there were almost no cancellations. In the evening, it was cancellations that took the numbers down so much.

For dwell times at Farringdon, over the whole day and both ways (336 trains called), only two exceeded 2 minutes and 5 equalled that time. The rest spread over 0.5 to 1.75 minutes, with 50% being either 0.5 or 0.75. In the morning peak (7-10) only 5 of 73 dwells exceeded 1 minute, and none 2 minutes. In the evening (5-8), of only 48 dwells, just 3 were of 1.25 minutes and the rest 1 minute or less. City Thameslink has generally lower dwell times, as you'd expect.

So the dwell times are not far from what is needed for 24 tph, but even the working timetable now has far fewer than that so it's not possible to say if they could actually achieve that.
5  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Class 387 coming to Thames Valley - ongoing discussion on: June 16, 2018, 03:30:20 pm
I have another theory. In the WTT shown in RTT for last week, 1P08 was assembled in Didcot P4 from two ECS workings from Reading Depot - suggesting there's nowhere there that can assemble a 12-car EMU. It ran to Paddington P9, arriving in P9 at 7:55, and then ran ECS to West Ealing Loop where it was to sit from 8:11 to 18:18. It then returned to Paddington, to form 1R05 18:42 to Reading. Reality didn't quite match that, but in different ways each day.

There is a freight movement, 6M70 "Brentford Town Days Gbrf to Neasden Engineers Sdg Gbrf", due through West Ealing Loop at 13:45-14:07. On Thursday it was cancelled, and the train ran (length unknown). On Friday it ran, and the train went into the loop and then vanished; the evening working was cancelled for staffing reasons (allegedly).
6  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion on: June 16, 2018, 01:01:35 pm
My guess is that the tripartite bid is in the hope of getting around the WECA ineligibility for these funds. Wiltshire will be hoping for an extension of the proposed Portishead to Bath services as far as Westbury. Gloucestershire can join in citing Severn Beach. Bristol and Bath combined probably have a workday population of 200,000, so it could be a goer, but I wouldn't bet on it.
It may also be that Bristol and Gloucestershire have figured that despite the bold promises, there is little chance of getting anything out of the Western Super Mayor for improvements to local transport, just more MetroBust.

The Rules of the Fund are pretty clear, though couched in DFT-specific jargon. The money will only be granted to "city regions", and that's not a region of a city but a city with its boundary extended to make more transport sense. It's the kind of a thing that could have a combined authority, and two do - Liverpool City region (which is mayoral) and Sheffield City Region (which is, I suppose, amayoral).

So does anyone really think the various bits involved here constitute a (major) city region without including anything within the WECA boundary? It must be cheap to do, as it's a very, very, long shot. It would only work if DfT come back and say "we've had no valid applications, so we'll have to share the money among your fatuous suggestion and a couple of similar ones".
7  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion on: June 15, 2018, 11:31:39 pm
According to the Bristol Evening Post, North Somerset has worked with Gloucestershire County Council and Wiltshire Council to apply for money for the Portishead Line by submitting 'an expression of interest' in the government's Transforming Cities Fund'. Not sure what the chances are there nor why the other two councils would want to get involved. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what the fund is intended to achieve.

Zero.

The fund is described in the call for proposals here. Not only is it for regions of big cities:
Quote
As the Fund is seeking to support the largest city regions, the application form will look for evidence of high workday as opposed to residential populations. City regions with workday populations above 200,000 people will therefore score more strongly in the first section.

but it would need to not be part of WECA:
Quote
As they have received automatic allocations, the six Mayoral Combined Authorities (Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, Greater Manchester, West of England, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the West Midlands) are ineligible to bid for additional funding.

Unless they are applying to the mayor for some of his allocation?
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Thameslink on: June 15, 2018, 04:59:27 pm
How well any of these other networks do I 'm not sure, apart from the Paris RER tunnel between Gare du Nord and Chatelet. This has to cope with 32 tph, though that's misleading for two reasons. The first is that it's just the tunnel between two four-platform stations, with no two-platform stations in it, and the second it that it never manages that many tph. There have been plans for a while to relieve it, the latest of which was to add one more track!

I've found numbers for the RER A, which doesn't share a central tunnel. It has three west ends and two east ones, which is less that Thameslink (which also runs further out than a classic RER). It's all controlled by old-style signalling, not ATO or CBTC.

Last December, the peak "cadence" was reduced from 30 tph to 26 tph, because the load/unload times have been going up and the previous timings were no longer possible. Actually, they have spread the peak too, replacing 1 hour of 30 tph within 1h30 of 24 tph with 2h30 of 26 tph. I don't have reports of how that's been going, even on non-strike days*.

* Line A is all RATP (track and train crew) except the part branching off north at Nanterre, which is all SNCF and shares its track with St Lazare services. Line B, on the other hand, is run jointly, with RATP and SNCF drivers doing the whole route. I'm sure that makes sense to someone...
9  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Thameslink on: June 15, 2018, 03:42:06 pm
As a mere passenger, but one familiar with some of the Thameslink core route, I've thought (ever since I found out about it) that squeezing 24tph through the likes of Farringdon was going to be a challenge. And even more so, as those trains are converging through that potential bottleneck from several different routes (if I have understood correctly)?

This is not a new nor a very demanding capacity level for two tracks. Even in 1965, in "A railway Plan for London", BR and LT gave their assumed capacities for a two-track railway as 24 tph for uniform outer suburban stock. Modern trains ought to have better performance, though less than the underground - given as 40 tph in 1965; I wonder where they achieve that now.

Merging several lines into a single track pair happens on the approach to most London Terminals, and at both sides of the central tunnel in an S-Bahn or RER system. At Waterloo, the slow lines have paths for 20 tph (vs. the fast Lines for 30), but they have to demultiplex into terminal platforms via flat junctions, rather than the simpler run through to (initially) grade-separated diverging junctions.

If you can't run the rest of your railway accurately to timetable, you will need a way of coping with that: e.g. somewhere for briefly holding trains and an acceptance that trains will run through the centre is whatever order they turn up. I reckon this is all doable, but how well it works will depend on getting a lot of details right consistently, and especially the people issues of loading and unloading enough people quickly enough. You may be sceptical about the ability of NR and one or more TOCs to do that in practice, of course.

How well any of these other networks do I 'm not sure, apart from the Paris RER tunnel between Gare du Nord and Chatelet. This has to cope with 32 tph, though that's misleading for two reasons. The first is that it's just the tunnel between two four-platform stations, with no two-platform stations in it, and the second it that it never manages that many tph. There have been plans for a while to relieve it, the latest of which was to add one more track!
10  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Unusual route on: June 13, 2018, 03:55:01 pm
Assuming this system generates CIS data based on the route in the day's timetable, it needs to be told about the diversion, and about any extra stops along the diversion. Presumably that is done by filling in a form, so the relevant points would be Westbury (diverge), Swindon (call), and Reading (rejoin). I would have though that was entered first into an operational system and then copied to the CIS one, in which case the mistake is less understandable, but I don't know. Either way, there might be some pick lists with standard diversions, but then maybe not.

If you got the message "line blocked at Midgham (not quite true, but not far off), divert via Swindon with a call there" you might get confused and enter Midgham as the start point. Lack of geographical knowledge would also help, of course! Whether either operational or CIS software ought to know better is an interesting question. Probably it is unwise to let it be too dogmatic about what's possible, or it will refuse very odd unforeseen routings if they ever are needed.
11  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: Morlaix-Roscoff Line Closed Indefinitely Due To Flooding on: June 13, 2018, 10:50:26 am
The latest "what the ...?" item is the first RERB this morning from the west that found an embankment near Courcelle-sur-Yvette had gone AOL overnight. That's probably all the words you need to accompany the pictures in e.g this report from France Ł.

Just a couple of things to add. There were all of seven passenger, of whom three were injured, none seriously. Well, it was still before 5 am.

The closure only affects the last two stations, for which 25 buses are providing cover - which sounds quite generous for about 5 km. They have chosen to turn trains at Orsay Ville, which has an extra platform and points, and the remaining three stations have a shuttle.

On another operational point, the terminus at Gif-sur-Yvette has three platforms and five sidings. Presumably it houses several trains overnight and these (bar the one that had the accident) are all trapped. That may not matter today, which is a strike day.

Oh, and you may have seen that Paris Saint-Lazare has been totally closed since early this morning due to a complete lack of signalling*. That's been identified as an insulation failure in a piece of equipment made in 1966 - which sounds rather like August last year at Paris Montparnasse.

*PS: SNCF actually said the fault they found was one of electrical supply control - I'd have though that was obvious at the start! There was one bay with seven failed (1966 vintage) relays in it; whether the last one was the one relay that rules them all or the relay that broke the camel's back isn't clear.
12  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: TPE to run trains without wheelchair provision on: June 13, 2018, 10:01:40 am
The 225 Castle Class that GWR uses is the same.

IMO a rather sensationalist headline that implies ALL trains will not be accessible.

Well, it is (at least in part) a campaigning organisation. But if you read down, the TPE words do say this applies to just two trains in use for six months or less, which isn't the tenor of the surrounding text. If it was, it would be fair to include that that's only a plan, and reality might not deign to follow it.

That cuts both ways. If it is just two trains, would it be that hard to get two with the conversions done?
13  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: June 13, 2018, 09:31:44 am
The NPxxx numbers are the allocated train diagrams for the day.  So, out of 36 available sets, only 26 are actually in service today.

On a technicality: "available" has a specific meaning in the franchise agreement and the MARA, where 32 units are to be available to GWR. I presume (not having seen it written anywhere) that Hitachi could add extras to their fleet if reliability isn't good enough, so 36 is the minimum supplier's fleet size.

Since one unit is in GWR service though not carrying passengers, and five units are shown against a depot name,  I expect that means these are available to GWR (making the total of 32 as required) but have not been called up.
14  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: TPE to run trains without wheelchair provision on: June 13, 2018, 09:05:00 am
From Disability News Service

(Corrects misplaced brackets in OP so link works.)
15  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: Morlaix-Roscoff Line Closed Indefinitely Due To Flooding on: June 12, 2018, 01:05:09 pm
I do hope, Lee, that this never-ending sequence of flash flooding, and now river flooding, events has managed to avoid you. The French (or, really, residents) would be justified in thinking someone's got it in for them by now.

The latest "what the ...?" item is the first RERB this morning from the west that found an embankment near Courcelle-sur-Yvette had gone AOL overnight. That's probably all the words you need to accompany the pictures in e.g this report from France Ł.

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