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Author Topic: Qn.2 for Mark Hopwood: Decarbonising local railways  (Read 8411 times)
broadgage
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2019, 06:07:03 pm »

I’m not sure there is a suitable train ready to trial yet. The experience of Class 230s on Marston Vale has not been a happy one so I only want to put trains into service where we have confidence they will work.

True, but it would be easy to modify an existing EMU by fitting batteries. The rest of the train should remain as standard as possible to minimise the number of things to go wrong.
A single unit should be regarded as a prototype and quantity production only considered if the prototype works as expected.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
MarkHopwood
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« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2019, 06:09:10 pm »

I think the point is lots of things may be possible but they haven’t happened yet and I am not keen to have my services used as a testbed - that should be done when customers won’t be put at risk of service disruption.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2019, 06:09:25 pm »

Mark, Thank you for responding to our questions.  I'm sure you are just as passionate about it as we are!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 06:19:53 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged
broadgage
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2019, 06:18:00 pm »

I think the point is lots of things may be possible but they haven’t happened yet and I am not keen to have my services used as a testbed - that should be done when customers won’t be put at risk of service disruption.


Time in my view for the government to procure a battery train and to test it perhaps on the West Somerset Railway, followed by use on a Cornish branch line, in the off season to begin with.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
johnneyw
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« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2019, 07:47:43 pm »

Perhaps a bit disheartened that Mark dismissed any possibility for the battery/hybrid/any Class 230s in GWR land. I thought they might have a role on the branches, be it The Severn Riviera Express or some of the Devon or Cornwall Lines.  It will be interesting to see how they fare mid to long term elsewhere.
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chuffed
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« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2019, 08:12:17 pm »

Mark mentioned that he thought the introduction of Vivarail Class 230s on the Marston Vale line had not been a happy experience. Can anyone find any evidence for this ?
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grahame
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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2019, 08:16:24 pm »

I think the point is lots of things may be possible but they haven’t happened yet and I am not keen to have my services used as a testbed - that should be done when customers won’t be put at risk of service disruption.
Time in my view for the government to procure a battery train and to test it perhaps on the West Somerset Railway, followed by use on a Cornish branch line, in the off season to begin with.

Taunton to Minehead ... followed by Bodmin Road Parkway to Bodmin General Town then ... Paignton to Kingswear.  Crediton to Okehampton, then Newton Abbott to Heathfield.  By that time it will no longer be a testbed.

Kidding, but many a true word written in jest.  I have a fresh thread to start on West Somerset .
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johnneyw
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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2019, 12:18:35 pm »

Mark mentioned that he thought the introduction of Vivarail Class 230s on the Marston Vale line had not been a happy experience. Can anyone find any evidence for this ?

That puzzled me too, unless he is talking about the few months delay in the delivery of the sets.
Reviews that I have read were largely positive. Although I've not seen it yet, I've been told that the current issue of Today's Railways has a several page review of the Class 230. From what I was told, the review was again not unfavourable, with the emphasis that it was designed to be suited to it's purpose, although I must repeat, this summary is from another (but trusted) source.
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Fourbee
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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2019, 12:21:43 pm »

There does have to be an degree of using the live railway for testing (maybe not as a "testbed"). Look at when the SWR 444s/450s were "unwrapped" with the electrical supply problems which were not experienced at the sandboxed testing facility. That introduction/testing needs to be better managed IMO, even phased with manufacturers/engineers/thunderbirds on standby, perhaps avoiding embarrassing curtain raising events until the rolling stock has matured. It is encouraging to see class 345s at Reading for example and one would hope despite the delays elsewhere in the project, these units will operate more reliably when they are in service throughout as a result.

To that end when/if the 769s come to the North Downs, they should be operated on diesel only for the first 3 months (say). Then a period of night testing switching to third rail operation and back, for example, before doing it in service.
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broadgage
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2019, 12:48:37 pm »

How to introduce a battery powered train.

1) Build a prototype, either completely new construction or by conversion of an existing EMU.
2) Run it on the WSR on non public operating days, encourage volunteers, friends and family to ride thereon and test the doors for reliability under a reasonable simulation of normal working conditions.
3) Run it on the WSR on public running days, in place of the diesel diagram.

If successful then use it on a GWR branch, and order some more like it. Design for simplicity and reliability, minimising the amount of new technology and reliance on computers.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Celestial
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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2019, 12:51:38 pm »

Mark mentioned that he thought the introduction of Vivarail Class 230s on the Marston Vale line had not been a happy experience. Can anyone find any evidence for this ?

That puzzled me too, unless he is talking about the few months delay in the delivery of the sets.
Reviews that I have read were largely positive. Although I've not seen it yet, I've been told that the current issue of Today's Railways has a several page review of the Class 230. From what I was told, the review was again not unfavourable, with the emphasis that it was designed to be suited to it's purpose, although I must repeat, this summary is from another (but trusted) source.


There have been a lot of cancellations and delays.  If you use recenttraintimes for Bedford to Bletchley for the last three months, you can see that the situation becomes a lot worse from mid afternoon, suggesting units are giving up half way through the day.  Though whether this is any worse than for any other new trains is debatable.
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grahame
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« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2019, 01:06:38 pm »

Mark mentioned that he thought the introduction of Vivarail Class 230s on the Marston Vale line had not been a happy experience. Can anyone find any evidence for this ?
That puzzled me too, unless he is talking about the few months delay in the delivery of the sets.
Reviews that I have read were largely positive ...

Personal review based on a statistically insignificant single journey ... fine and fit for purpose.  Biggest problems at the two ends of the line and nothing to do with the trains;  inadequate ticket sales facilities at Bedford / long queue even for the machines, so I nearly missed it.   Great to have a wheelchair accessible loo - pity the platform it came into at Bletchley only had a staircase and (to a first time station user) to obvious information about where and when my train to Milton Keynes was from until on (and at the far end) of the bridge.   Nope, trains fine for me!



This business of "but it's an old train" is a bit of a red herring to me.  The DfT's competition asking "what should we do with Pacers when they're replaced on their current lines lead me suggest, tongue in cheek, that they might run train services with them ... I would be quite happy to see them provide extra services every couple of hours Yeovil Pen Mill to Swindon, filling in the Heart of Wessex and TransWilts gaps, based at Exeter where they are known and running up in the morning from there via Honiton to enter service.   Two trains, 180 minute round trip, 240 minute cycle time, toilets replaced by luggage and cycle store which would make them compliant on that score (not dumping on the track, no worse for those in wheelchair).

"People demand a better train" you may hear.   Hmm ... let's try that.  Let's see how many people will let the 143 go at 16:30 and wait for the 17:36 because it'll be a 165. I can answer for Melksham ... but of course Yeovil folks may be different.  Bit of a side issue - the 143s would not be decarbonising the railways in this form.  But would they not be a step in the right direction if carrying passengers in bulk who would otherwise be using a whole set of gas guzzling, CO2 generating private cars?  We could then switch to the battery trains or bi-modes once assured of their reliable and none-test status.
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« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2019, 01:13:45 pm »

Everyone seems to have forgotten that NR did a trial of a battery train - the IPEMU, running between Harwich and Manningtree - already. The report of that trial is available from SPARK*. It doesn't say anything concrete about "next steps", and after nearly three years it's reasonable to ask "well? what's (not) been going on since then?".

* Registration with SPARK (free) required
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MarkHopwood
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« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2019, 02:03:10 pm »

Mark mentioned that he thought the introduction of Vivarail Class 230s on the Marston Vale line had not been a happy experience. Can anyone find any evidence for this ?


Is this suitable evidence?
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johnneyw
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« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2019, 02:40:45 pm »

Mark mentioned that he thought the introduction of Vivarail Class 230s on the Marston Vale line had not been a happy experience. Can anyone find any evidence for this ?


Is this suitable evidence?



I've also had first hand experience of the very protracted grim time that was had by passengers on the Severn Beach Line that followed the introduction of the Turbos with the regular and frequent delays, cancellations and early turn backs. It may be that Class 230s are not seen as the future for GWR but they ain't been the only ones with introduction problems on new services.


Edit to clarify:  I am aware that the Turbo cascade was a DfT decision and was not the result of a choice made by GWR. The point is that teething troubles for any rolling stock on a new service is not unusual and Class 230s seem to be no exception.
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