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Author Topic: North Downs December 2019 timetable changes and lack of investment  (Read 839 times)
sunfire
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« on: October 03, 2019, 12:47:23 pm »

Just a warning to people to expect timetabling changes on the Gatwick to Reading line in December.

Unfortunately the draft timetables shows the changes will be for the benefit of GWR not customers: longer journey times, no integration with timetables of connecting services and the continued use of platform 15A/B at Reading causing confusion and delay for passengers.

Expect further misery in May 2020 when the "new" Class 769 trains, which are currently experiencing large numbers of breakdowns during trial runs, are introduced. These are not new trains but simply refurbished trains which are actually older and slower stock than we have at the moment.

No word yet of improvements on this line: fixing the regular breakdown of signaling at Wokingham and Guildford, removing unnecessary rail crossing preventing access to platforms, removing the causes of frequent speed restrictions, electrification, or faster newer trains.

Feeling more and more like we are getting a Cinderella service.

Rgds.,
Sunfire

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eightonedee
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2019, 10:02:38 pm »

Thanks Sunfire - retirement looks even more attractive..

Can you direct me to where you found the new timetable please?
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stuving
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2019, 11:48:13 pm »

There are times on the data feeds, visible in e.g. Real Time Trains and Journey planners, which I guess is the basis for this. The timetable there was not complete when it first appeared and it still isn't - an afternoon gap with no trains through to Gatwick, and an evening one with no trains out of Reading. So, work still needed there.

Some of what was expected has been delayed, as we know, notably the third train per hour. The shifting of times of two trains to match those of two out of three (in an earlier draft feed) has disappeared too. I was expecting some issues with fitting trains around other increased services, at both ends and Guildford, though some of that has already happened and the extra Waterloo/Reading trains are also delayed.

What I do see are two things, one being a longer time for journeys at busier times (which may be what the OP was referring to). This is due to longer dwells from Reading to Guildford, up from one to two minutes (and three at Wokingham). I guess experience has shown that one minute isn't long enough for current passenger loads.

The other effect is the loss of the near-clockface service through much of the middle of the day. This is puzzling - surely the "more services" that have to be fitted around are also clockface? I can see that times might shift away from 30 minute spacing, but that was only ever possible at one end anyway. But a different time past every hour - why?

The rest of Cinderella's clothes are not timetabling issues, so there's no reason for her to change them for  a new timetable. And yes, 769s are pumpkins and will stay pumpkins.
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Timmer
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2019, 06:17:07 am »

The rest of Cinderella's clothes are not timetabling issues, so there's no reason for her to change them for  a new timetable. And yes, 769s are pumpkins and will stay pumpkins.
I have a great deal of respect for your very detailed and analytical posts on this forum stuving. So for you to call 769s pumpkins doesn’t fill me with a great deal of confidence. The silence on this project also brings cause for concern.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2019, 06:42:45 am »

They’ll be nice and whizzy on the 3rd rail sections at least, but I also have doubts about performance on diesel comparing favourably with a Turbo.
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2019, 07:11:36 am »

Presumably if they do end up providing a through service from Oxford they will have to use platform 15A/B, which is the only one that can access the cut under to the Wokingham line?
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2019, 08:25:23 am »

Presumably if they do end up providing a through service from Oxford they will have to use platform 15A/B, which is the only one that can access the cut under to the Wokingham line?

The ex-SR Diveunder can be accessed to/from Platform Nos.13, 14 and 15.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 09:58:20 am by SandTEngineer » Logged

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onthecushions
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2019, 10:02:37 am »


Presumably the extensive testing of the 769's is aimed at eliminating unreliabilty.

Looking at comparative powers, a 165 has 1050hp for 111t, about 7.6hp/t at rail.

A 769 at say 150t with 1046hp has about 5.6hp at rail but with 1440hp electric drive has 9.6hp/t at rail (again at 80% diesel transfer).

The route to Guildford from Reading is not that precipitous with only a mile climb to Crowthorne at 1:150 and an electrified descent into Guildford at 1:100.

However from Shalford Jn onwards the route is a switchback of c1:100 all the way to Reigate. This will tax and slow the 769's somewhat although being heavier they will be faster downhill!

Can marginal third rail electrification be that unsafe?

The 319, Thameslink units were much admired 30 years ago for their performance. It's not really fair to compare them with the latest over-powered units that have required so much upgrading of power supplies.

EOE,

OTC

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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2019, 07:44:33 pm »

I fear the 769s may be worse wimps on wheels than OTC foretells.

There is more information in a Rail Engineer article last year by Maclolm Dobell, based on going to visit Porterbrook. They are reported thus:
Quote
The rated output of two diesel engines at 780kW is the maximum they can produce. By the time alternator efficiency, auxiliary supplies, and traction control efficiency are taken into account, the electrical input to the traction motors will be approximately 550kW, little more than half the maximum rated output of the traction motors.

That's only 70% of prime power, and there's still motor losses to come (and these are still the old DC motors) - far worse than OTC's already rather miserable assumption. They are going to struggle to get rid of all that heat!

On performance, they resort to what sounds like waffle.
Quote
Simon and Helen are well aware of this deficit. They explained that simple headline figures do not tell the whole story and that the required performance on diesel was likely to be as good as, if not better than the Class 150.
...
Compared with a Class 150, the Class 769 has a higher tractive effort on starting, but the tractive effort falls away more steeply. This difference in tractive effort curves makes it difficult simply to predict performance on any particular route, illustrating the importance and value of modelling. Modelling has shown the gradient balancing speed on a flat gradient when powered by the diesel engines to be approximately 87mph and the trains will retain the 100mph capability when powered by electricity. The modelling has also shown that two 1000-litre fuel tanks should be ample for the expected duty.

If it can only do 87 mph on the flat, an envelope flip suggests it might just do 52 mph up 1 in 100.

Incidentally, the minimum tare weight of a 319 (based on equal axle loads in each vehicle) is 140.3 t and for a 769 the DTSOs put on 7.5 t each. Presumably the other two gain only a little, but the total must be over 156t. Note I used tare weights, I don't know if that 87 mph did - adding passengers will obviously make it even slower.

If you want an example that goes to the other extreme, look at the Stadler class 755/4 just come into service with GA. Here the weight is a bit of a guess, but based on this it's only 114 t. For some reason these 4-cars have four engines (the 755/3 has two) with an output of 1920 kW! Now, Stadler do say one is a spare - so they can run the rest at 75%, or give each a rest in turn. But even in that case you're looking at 12.6 kW/t (prime) - compared with 5.0 for the 769, before allowing for the very high losses. Must be for all those famous East Anglian hills.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2019, 10:39:12 pm »

Oh dear!

Quote
The other effect is the loss of the near-clockface service through much of the middle of the day. This is puzzling - surely the "more services" that have to be fitted around are also clockface? I can see that times might shift away from 30 minute spacing, but that was only ever possible at one end anyway. But a different time past every hour - why?

That is ridiculous! How are you going to encourage more usage of trains if passengers don't have a regular service that they know without looking it up when it's likely to be there? As GWR North Downs trains are the only users of several stretches (give or take a daily XC service), surely they could have achieved retaining the current pattern without too much difficulty.

Quote
If it can only do 87 mph on the flat, an envelope flip suggests it might just do 52 mph up 1 in 100

So a packed one climbing to Crowthorne crammed with Farnborough students on a day with poor railhead conditions keeping to time looks remote. The Turbos already readily spin their wheels on the gradients around Sandhurst.

Quote
What I do see are two things, one being a longer time for journeys at busier times (which may be what the OP was referring to). This is due to longer dwells from Reading to Guildford, up from one to two minutes (and three at Wokingham). I guess experience has shown that one minute isn't long enough for current passenger loads.

This is recognition of reality. My current regular morning trains (08-04 or 08-20 ex-Reading) usually are 2-3 minutes late at Guildford.

Hmm - not looking forward to the 769s coming to the North Downs line - Cinderella is very apt, Stuving!

 

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stuving
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2019, 11:38:01 pm »

So a packed one climbing to Crowthorne crammed with Farnborough students on a day with poor railhead conditions keeping to time looks remote. The Turbos already readily spin their wheels on the gradients around Sandhurst.

Oh, I didn't mention adhesion did I? The figure of merit for that, indicating how well a train copes with low friction or the steepest gradient it could ever climb, is the fraction of its weight on motored axles. For a Turbo that's 0.5 (provided all engines are pushing), while for a 319 it's 0.36. Adding engines to the two DTSOs brings that down to below 0.33, a significant disadvantage relative to the Turbos.

And it was Sunfire who first mentioned Cinderella - I just dragged in her pumpkin; there'll be no fine carriage to take you to the ballGuildford young man!
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eightonedee
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2019, 12:59:57 pm »

Apologies Sunfire for not correctly attributing the Cinderella idea to you!

Bearing in mind the use of elderly diesels for Cinderella services (rebuilt Brush Type 4s for Night Riviera), perhaps someone will acquire a few old class 37s, spray them "new" GWR green, name them (after Manors - that would be appropriate for the North Downs?) and use them as banking engines between Reading and Gatwick! Roll Eyes

PS - Cross thread query prompted by my apology above - has the extensive combined eclectic fount of obscure knowledge that is the Coffee Shop given up on the challenge of tracing the first use of the who reads what newspaper gag? (see - http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=5138.msg273919#msg273919) Or is Robin Summerhill still up in his loft looking - should someone call around to see if he's OK?
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FenMan
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2019, 09:37:17 am »

They’ll be nice and whizzy on the 3rd rail sections at least, but I also have doubts about performance on diesel comparing favourably with a Turbo.

An insider posting on the RailUK forum says the 769s are now planned to run on diesel throughout, as Network Rail have objected to the additional loading on the 3rd rail infrastructure between Redhill and Gatwick.

Also, the 769s cannot transfer to electric operation "on the go", which means that GWR had already discounted the use of the 3rd rail between Ash and Guildford.

[sarcasm]I am so looking forward to the introduction of this stock.[/sarcasm]
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Timmer
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2019, 10:11:09 am »

An insider posting on the RailUK forum says the 769s are now planned to run on diesel throughout, as Network Rail have objected to the additional loading on the 3rd rail infrastructure between Redhill and Gatwick.

Also, the 769s cannot transfer to electric operation "on the go", which means that GWR had already discounted the use of the 3rd rail between Ash and Guildford.

[sarcasm]I am so looking forward to the introduction of this stock.[/sarcasm]
I have another suggestion. I understand that EMR are releasing some 158s that currently operate Liverpool-Norwich. Keep 158s on the Cardiff-Portsmouth line where they are popular with the travelling public compared to 165/166s with 2+3 seating leaving 166s to continue to run Reading-Gatwick. Is it really worth converting an electric train over to diesel that from what is being said isn't looking a good option?
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2019, 12:05:49 am »

According to a post on railforums, the 3tph service on the North Downs Line, much delayed, is now happening next May.
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