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Author Topic: Call from GWR to invest and electrify from Cardiff to Swansea  (Read 2506 times)
grahame
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« on: February 13, 2021, 04:16:36 am »

From Business Live

Quote
GWR (Great Western Railway) boss calls for electrification to Swansea and faster train speeds in Wales

Mark Hopwood said his trains travel at 125mph but cannot do so in Wales

The boss of train company Great Western Railway (GWR), Mark Hopwood, has called for electrification of the South Wales mainline to reach Swansea alongside investment allowing his trains to travel at much higher speeds once through the Severn Tunnel.

Electrification of around 60 miles of track from Cardiff to Swansea was shelved by then UK (United Kingdom) Government Transport Secretary Chris Grayling back in 2017 on cost grounds. With the whole electrification of the Great Western Mainline starting from London over budget and running overtime, there were even, at one stage, concerns that it would only go as far as Bristol.

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GWR 158
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2021, 09:44:52 am »

It would be a good idea to electrify the Cardiff to Swansea line, then the trains will have improved journey times and it will be more environmentally friendly. So why not?
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infoman
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2021, 10:09:56 am »

Would anyone have a rough idea of the cost of the electrification of the 68 miles?
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2021, 11:31:47 am »

I have heard the cost will be on average £150m.
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broadgage
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2021, 11:37:21 am »

The future is 25KV overhead electric, however recent experiences on other GWR (Great Western Railway) routes have not been a great advert for the technology.
HMG would prefer to call for more research into battery power, hydrogen, and others rather than doing anything.

There is also a fear in political circles that rail electrification has turned/will turn from a good thing into a vote losing debacle.
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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 (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
grahame
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2021, 11:42:22 am »

I have heard the cost will be on average £150m.

£150 million was a suggestion 3 years ago - see https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/electrification-cardiff-swansea-rail-line-14851065 suggested against earlier 'official' estimates of around three times that.  It's a question of what you include, how much associated work you do, and what speed / robustness / life do you build it for.  Also at what point (inflation wise) you look at the price, including whether new covid work practises are going to put costs up.
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2021, 02:01:08 pm »

Would anyone have a rough idea of the cost of the electrification of the 68 miles?

I think that's exactly the key question, though maybe not in the sense intended by it.

At the time, it seemed to me that what DfT» (Department for Transport - about) (with the Treasury watching them) were demanding from NR» (Network Rail - home page) was cost estimates they could believe. When the money ran out in CP5 (Control Period 5 - the five year period between 2014 and 2019), they told NR to stop anything that had a completion date into CP6 (Control Period 6 - The five year period between 2019 and 2024), and use any unspent cash to cover their other overruns.

They then said: "You have a few smaller electrification schemes we need to do for political reasons. Demonstrate to us you can do cost estimates for those that match the actual costs, and until then don't come back and ask about anything big or the rest of GWR (Great Western Railway). These must be real estimates (i.e predictions) - no hindsight allowed, which probably rules out retrospective costings using new procedures."

Now, how have NR done against that yardstick? Or is it still to soon to know? I've not tried to follow the costs of MML» (Midland Main Line. - about) and the smaller projects. And I wonder whether DfT would allow the Scottish projects as evidence.

Given that almost all the work is contracted out anyway, there may not be a lot of mileage in this government's usual panacea of "bring in private contractors". All it would add is the possibility of getting guaranteed fixed prices, and we all know what that means in real life - much higher prices, and/or contractors going bust. 
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Jamsdad
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2021, 02:46:43 pm »

Pardon me for asking, as I do not know the S Wales Mainline very well, but is the limiting factor on line speed  there coming up to 125 mph the provision of electrification or the track allignment?
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GWR 158
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2021, 04:56:44 pm »

The provision of the electric wires
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2021, 05:08:48 pm »

Would anyone have a rough idea of the cost of the electrification of the 68 miles?

I think that's exactly the key question, though maybe not in the sense intended by it.

At the time, it seemed to me that what DfT» (Department for Transport - about) (with the Treasury watching them) were demanding from NR» (Network Rail - home page) was cost estimates they could believe. When the money ran out in CP5 (Control Period 5 - the five year period between 2014 and 2019), they told NR to stop anything that had a completion date into CP6 (Control Period 6 - The five year period between 2019 and 2024), and use any unspent cash to cover their other overruns.

Part of the problem is HMG never like the true cost at the planning stage.  Cost are shaved down to something politicians like the sound of and then wonder why costs go up as the project  progresses.

GWEP (Great Western Electrification Program) was also full of OTT (Open Train Times website) performance, reliability and compliance requirements that DfT, ORR» (Office of Rail and Road formerly Office of Rail Regulation - about) wanted and NR were fully complicit with.  The new NR Electrification and Plant policy has made a number of these performance, reliability and compliance requirements less onerous
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grahame
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2021, 07:25:14 pm »

The provision of the electric wires

Just wires (and assuming you also buy the substations to make them live) will probably not gain all that much in speed / end to end time ... at present, you have
60 minutes for the first 80 miles from Paddington
86 minutes for the last 80 miles into Swansea (it was 93 prior to December 2019)
and I would guess (experts please tell me) that electric starts from five intermediate stations (versus IET (Intercity Express Train) diesel starts) could gain perhaps 5 minutes (would anyone go as far as 10??).  Much immediately greener, yes. Top speeds would need to be lifted - engineering interventions - for further gains, as indeed the original article suggested.
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2021, 11:10:32 pm »

I would guess (experts please tell me) that electric starts from five intermediate stations (versus IET (Intercity Express Train) diesel starts) could gain perhaps 5 minutes (would anyone go as far as 10??).

I would say slightly less than 5 minutes at a guess - certainly not more.  IET diesel acceleration up to 30mph isn’t that far off of electric performance.  Losses from there are indeed quite marked, but I doubt a switch to OHLE would result in savings of more than one minute per station given the ruling linespeeds.
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To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
Kernow Otter
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2021, 10:16:02 am »

From Business Live

Quote
GWR (Great Western Railway) boss calls for electrification to Swansea and faster train speeds in Wales

Mark Hopwood said his trains travel at 125mph but cannot do so in Wales

The boss of train company Great Western Railway (GWR), Mark Hopwood, has called for electrification of the South Wales mainline to reach Swansea alongside investment allowing his trains to travel at much higher speeds once through the Severn Tunnel.

Electrification of around 60 miles of track from Cardiff to Swansea was shelved by then UK (United Kingdom) Government Transport Secretary Chris Grayling back in 2017 on cost grounds. With the whole electrification of the Great Western Mainline starting from London over budget and running overtime, there were even, at one stage, concerns that it would only go as far as Bristol.


Would love to see the equivalent line speed diagram for Paddington to Penzance.
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Lee
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2021, 10:48:06 am »

Would love to see the equivalent line speed diagram for Paddington to Penzance.

The new logo for the Paddington-Penzance campaign has just been unveiled:

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grahame
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2021, 11:27:56 am »

Would love to see the equivalent line speed diagram for Paddington to Penzance.

On researching that, I came across http://www.railperf.org.uk/index/fastest-times-listing from which there's a downloadable spread sheet that could be used to draw station to station timings.

As an aside ... speeding up the services significantly might also reduce the number of trains needed.  And at the cost of a train, every single one counts!

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