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Author Topic: Pacers are no more.  (Read 2077 times)
bignosemac
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« on: May 31, 2021, 11:53:23 pm »

The 28th May 2021 marked the final day of passenger operation for the Pacer family of DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit). A couple of Transport for Wales Class 143 units were out trundling, bouncing and squealing around the South Wales Valley Lines.

No fanfare, no day of celebration, no special railtours. No need!

Will they be missed? Will we look back on them with nostalgia in the future? I think their only legacy is that they may have saved some routes and services from closure or withdrawal in the 1980s. Beyond that I think they outstayed their welcome.

Geoff Marshall, of All the Stations fame, was one of very few enthusiasts who were out marking the 'occasion'.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2021, 10:12:59 am »

Nice little video but no; give us bogies please!
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broadgage
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2021, 10:15:33 am »

Nasty things.
Better a pacer than no train though.
I think they should have kept them for at least the rest of this summer and perhaps a bit longer. Over 50 short formations today, and a few pacers for branch line services would help a bit.

Although not much liked, they are an important part of railway history and I hope that a few will be preserved.

Possibly still useful as a very cheap way of introducing new services ? A pacer railbus from Minehead to Taunton would be a lot better than no train, and also an improvement over an actual bus. In the longer term, a battery train would be preferable for such a service, but pacers are cheap and available right now.
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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.
TonyK
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2021, 04:57:59 pm »

Let's hope that it makes it to the scrapyard.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2021, 01:50:58 am »

Although not much liked, they are an important part of railway history and I hope that a few will be preserved.

Around 20 Class 142 units are already in preservation with various heritage railways/museums across the UK (United Kingdom). I believe a 143 is headed to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway. No doubt several more 143s will find their way into preservation. Fifteen Class 144s are already with heritage operators.
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broadgage
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2021, 05:07:34 am »

Although not much liked, they are an important part of railway history and I hope that a few will be preserved.

Around 20 Class 142 units are already in preservation with various heritage railways/museums across the UK (United Kingdom). I believe a 143 is headed to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway. No doubt several more 143s will find their way into preservation. Fifteen Class 144s are already with heritage operators.

Had no idea that it was that many, thanks for the update.
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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.
stuving
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2021, 07:17:55 pm »

Just when you thought the idea of cheap, light, buslike trains was dead - along come some new ones!

From Revolution VLR:
Quote
The project combines extensive rail industry expertise with a range of additional, leading edge innovations from other relevant industries. Revolution utilises both automotive sector lightweight composite structure and hybrid power-train technologies combined with railway-proven systems that will ensure robustness and reliability in the operating environment.

This strategy is focused on providing rail scheme sponsors with a high-quality, affordable and sustainable solution that will facilitate achievement of Government commitments to decarbonisation and assist the business cases for line extensions and re openings.

PASSENGER CAPACITY       56 seated passengers
MAX SPEED                      60 mph
PROPULSION SYSTEM        Diesel electric hybrid battery system
DIMENSIONS                     Length 18.5m, width 2.8m, height 3.8m
ACCESS                           4 single leaf sliding plug doors
DRIVE SYSTEMS                Modal propulsion systems
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2021, 08:32:06 pm »

Just when you thought the idea of cheap, light, buslike trains was dead - along come some new ones!

Big question which I don't see in the text - 4 wheels or 8?

Looks like the sort out the equality access for loos on a single coach train by levelling down - no loo for anyone?" Business case ... line extensions and re-openings" it says. Likely good to try on existing freight lines and perhaps for the peak contra-flow train on line with one ended peak traffic ... sorry to sound so negative.   Possibly short and frequent routes?

* Paignton to Churston, early morning, late afternoon into evening and all day in winter?
* Bodmin Parkway to Bodmin General shuttle
* Taunton to Minehead, the contra-flow train in the hourly pattern (3 car needed for peak)
* Extras to Gunnislake - the contraflow (passing at Bere Alston)
* Yate to Iron Acton and Tytherington shuttle
* Mendip Vale to Witham, Frome and Westbury
* Castle Cary to Yeovil Junction via Sparkford, Queen Camel and Yeovil Pen Mill

Political will needed - unlikely that any of those would make a good profit but each potentially excellent for the area served?
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jamestheredengine
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2021, 08:46:24 pm »

Just when you thought the idea of cheap, light, buslike trains was dead - along come some new ones!

Big question which I don't see in the text - 4 wheels or 8?

Looks like the sort out the equality access for loos on a single coach train by levelling down - no loo for anyone?" Business case ... line extensions and re-openings" it says. Likely good to try on existing freight lines and perhaps for the peak contra-flow train on line with one ended peak traffic ... sorry to sound so negative.   Possibly short and frequent routes?

* Paignton to Churston, early morning, late afternoon into evening and all day in winter?
* Bodmin Parkway to Bodmin General shuttle
* Taunton to Minehead, the contra-flow train in the hourly pattern (3 car needed for peak)
* Extras to Gunnislake - the contraflow (passing at Bere Alston)
* Yate to Iron Acton and Tytherington shuttle
* Mendip Vale to Witham, Frome and Westbury
* Castle Cary to Yeovil Junction via Sparkford, Queen Camel and Yeovil Pen Mill

Political will needed - unlikely that any of those would make a good profit but each potentially excellent for the area served?

The problem I see with those is that at least a couple of them would be better used not being shuttles:
* Beyond Paignton: just extend the proper trains through to Kingswear. People aren't going to ride the trains if they're going to have to change even to get to Torquay.
* Tytherington? That's one where relaying a short distance of track back into Thornbury would make the line's business case significantly better. And it could be better still as an extension of existing Bristol local services currently terminating at Bristol Parkway.
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stuving
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2021, 09:07:02 pm »

Just when you thought the idea of cheap, light, buslike trains was dead - along come some new ones!

Big question which I don't see in the text - 4 wheels or 8?

Looks like the sort out the equality access for loos on a single coach train by levelling down - no loo for anyone?" Business case ... line extensions and re-openings" it says. Likely good to try on existing freight lines and perhaps for the peak contra-flow train on line with one ended peak traffic ... sorry to sound so negative.   Possibly short and frequent routes?

There's more details - e.g. in their brochure. But it does have carbon-fibre composite bogies, if that helps. This if from an RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) newlsetter:
Quote
The CaFiBo Carbon Fibre Bogie project has completed testing of its prototype, using the Huddersfield Adhesion and Rolling Contact Laboratory Dynamic test rig (Harold). The bogie weighs 350kg, compared to 936kg for the current steel version. All in, with steel fitting and fixings, there is a 36 per cent weight saving over a standard bogie. The design uses sustainable recycled carbon fibre and is compatible with existing hardware. Remote condition monitoring equipment is integrated into the design.   

Used across the GB (Great Britain) fleet, the bogie could save an estimated £11.5 billion over a 35-year lifespan, from reductions in energy use and lower track access charges. The team also estimates a cut of 2.3 million tons of CO2 over the same period. Further enhancements will be possible through component integration, such as integrated suspension, and the bogie could be part of the design of lightweight passenger and freight vehicles.   

Of the interior, they are much vaguer, as you might expect at this stage. But the ideas include:
Quote
INTERIOR
  • Air conditioned
  • Personal device charging facilities
  • Comfortable contemporary interior design
  • Seats 56 passengers, overall capacity of 120 passengers
  • Wheelchair facility for persons of reduced mobility

CONFIGURATIONS
  • Multiple vehicle layout options
  • Luggage / bicycle / ski / surfboard storage facilities

I wonder how many surfboards you can fit in ... or toilets, come to that.
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TonyK
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2021, 11:55:03 pm »

Just when you thought the idea of cheap, light, buslike trains was dead - along come some new ones!

Quote
PROPULSION SYSTEM        Diesel electric hybrid battery system

So diesel, then. That is my main reservation. Hybrid cars are being given the heave-ho 5 years after petrol / diesel cars, despite not being particularly "green". Allowing hybrid new-build trains would seem counter-intuitive.
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stuving
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2021, 12:19:37 am »

Just when you thought the idea of cheap, light, buslike trains was dead - along come some new ones!

Quote
PROPULSION SYSTEM        Diesel electric hybrid battery system

So diesel, then. That is my main reservation. Hybrid cars are being given the heave-ho 5 years after petrol / diesel cars, despite not being particularly "green". Allowing hybrid new-build trains would seem counter-intuitive.

Well, this one is. But its relationship with any train actually built is not that direct. It's not even a prototype - it's a demonstrator of very lightness. So its power source is there to make it move about a bit, without itself demonstrating anything.

But there is an odd point about the description they give: it doesn't separate the elements being demonstrated, those also realistically representing its intended use (like the interior), and those there just so it's got one while being demonstrated (the engine). So which of those covers its top speed of 60 mph?

I should add that, on rereading, the carbon fibre bogie is a separate project, and the words don't actually say the VLR train uses them. And if they are showing off its low weight, why don't they say what it weighs? Or, if they won't know exactly until it's finished (but then that's true of production trains!), what's the target?
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grahame
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2021, 05:43:42 am »

The problem I see with those is that at least a couple of them would be better used not being shuttles:
* Beyond Paignton: just extend the proper trains through to Kingswear. People aren't going to ride the trains if they're going to have to change even to get to Torquay.
* Tytherington? That's one where relaying a short distance of track back into Thornbury would make the line's business case significantly better. And it could be better still as an extension of existing Bristol local services currently terminating at Bristol Parkway.

I agree with those but I chose to suggest very short runs.  And for balance reasons.

For example, as soon as you extend Churston to Newton Abbot, you'll unbalance loadings - a single carriage train that does well from Churston to Paignton would likely overload Paignton to Newton Abbot.  As a shuttle with a driver (would it be DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard))?) for just one carriage, in itself it would likely be a loss leader but in combination with a 4 car connection onwards it would feed passengers into seats that were already running and help the bring in extra money - an overall better business case.

Rather sadly (?) it might be better to simply extend the 4 cars on to Churston and the Revolution VLR would then look like a solution looking for a problem.

 
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2021, 06:10:19 pm »

Just when you thought the idea of cheap, light, buslike trains was dead - along come some new ones!

I expect there would be a cab at both ends but it's not obvious from any of the images or text that I've seen.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2021, 10:13:31 pm »

This does not look like anything other than an early days start up - it shares its office address with Startford upon Avon Citizens Advice Bureau.

Could there be something more useful if they were designed to be two car units, with perhaps a capacity of 120+ (assuming that space released by deleting inner cabs is released for seats)?

We'll know that it's a chimera when the next Go-op proposal is for them to be used on their next wishful route proposal..........
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