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Author Topic: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion  (Read 673612 times)
Electric train
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« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2009, 05:02:32 pm »

Well after all the problems caused by WCML modernisation, it's perhaps not unreasonable to expect a smidgen of disruption.

The WCML was a re-electrification scheme much much more difficult to do that than electrify for the first time.  Also lessoned learned from the WCML means the selection and erection of the new OHLE will allow for renewals in the future.  With a new route it is easier to section prove the OHLE sections test and commission system control and electrical protection systems spaced over several week nights and or weekends where as when a re-electrification is done all the section proving etc has to be done in time for the first train, having been involved with both I'll opt for new electrification any day although there is something about the challenges during a re-electrification.

The days of headspan like the ECML and MML are over headspan is very unlikely to be used again, portals will be used where there are complex areas or a large span is required; the problems with a headspan system is when there is a dewirement on a line it tends to affect the other lines as the headspan comes down as well also isolations are troublesome when needed on a single track only
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bemmy
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« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2009, 05:48:03 pm »

Sadly, yes!  I suspect Penzance/Plymouth to Bristol FGW services are going to stay HST, then there will be a change of train at BRI, onto electric, for onward stations to London  I doubt many people travel from Cornwall/Devon to London via Bristol anyway, when there are faster services to the B&H.
In my experience, they do on at least 3 services. The first down and last up between Paddington and Cornwall travel via Bristol so although they are slow, they are essential for many travellers to and from Devon and Cornwall. Likewise the down Torbay Express always seems to have large numbers travelling through Bristol and Weston, presumably most of them have boarded at Paddington, as it's the only through train from there to Torbay before the evening service. Of course in the long term, if passenger numbers grow, these three might be replaced with direct trains.
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devon_metro
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« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2009, 06:08:20 pm »

I find the 1737 Penzance - Paddington via Bristol a very useful service! Used it at least twice recently.
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John R
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« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2009, 07:05:51 pm »

One major downside is cancellation of the 200 vehicle dmu order, on the basis that they won't be needed. Given these units were meant to be in place in 2 years, and electrification is another 7 years away, that seems to be an excuse to prevent a loss of face.

And by the time the Turbos are cascaded, as willc mentions, they will be 30 years old. 30 year old underfloor engined dmus are effectively life expired and will be fit only for scrap, not reallocation.

It does make sense though that the units released by Thameslink are reused. They will still have 10 to 15 years life left in them (assuming a 40 year lifetime), and so it helps the cost justification of the scheme.   

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paul7755
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« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2009, 07:24:45 pm »


At least that is the secondary BBC story though, this one appeared first, although subsequently updated:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8164070.stm

The Times went with the disruption angle as well though:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6723888.ece

I agree it's annoying though, they get grief all the time from journalists, if they do nothing they are letting the system 'creak' or 'rust' or something, if they plan something useful its always 'Misery for Commuters'...

Paul
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The Grecian
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« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2009, 07:29:19 pm »

Hmmm. Finally a new electrification project. Got to be a good thing. I can't find it now but earlier the BBC story mentioned that a lot of the bridges and tunnels will have to be demolished. I can't really see that demolishing any tunnels is likely to help.

I suspect the line to Exeter and on to Cornwall will probably keep diesel intercity services for a long time though - it could be electrified as far as Plymouth but I doubt it'd be any further and Cornwall wouldn't want to lose its through services. Weston is probably in danger of losing at least some of its IC services but that'll probably depend on the number of IEP trains FGW gets.

Waterloo to Exeter services were downgraded from full length locohauled trains to short DMUs with no buffet, cramped mainly bus seats, and space for only 1 cycle. Complaints about overcrowding being answered by advising passengers to allways book a seat.

Waterloo to Bournmouth services have been downgraded from proper intercity electric trains (the Wessex electrics) to suburban trains quite unsuited to long trips.


A bit of exaggeration there surely? The Salisbury line now sees trains of up to 9 or 10 coaches in the peaks, and the 158/159 'bus seating' is the same as in the Wessies, with plenty of tables throughout. I'm not sure about bikes, but I definitely see more than one in each unit on occasions, since the original bike store was removed...

Paul

If you can find anyone other than enthusiasts who's disappointed that totally unreliable 50s and 47s and elderly Mk 2s were replaced with ultra-reliable new 159s which were far better suited to the stop-start nature of the route due to their quicker acceleration and braking, bringing journey times down - then I'll be impressed!
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paul7755
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« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2009, 07:37:37 pm »

I can possibly see unit like the Hitachi ones on HS1 being used eventually on the GWML to Bristol and Cardiff, the GWML has a number of places where +125 running is feasible.  The problem with the 319's they are 20 years old now by the time electrifcation is inplace on the GWML outer suburban the units will be closer to 30 years old, I wounder if DfT mean the 321's


I think from all the existing bumph, what you'll see on Bristol and Cardiff is some variants of IEP, no need for Javelin type trains really. Commuter layout for the Bristols perhaps - which is basically as per the 2+7 HST AFAICT?

It is very definitely ex-Thameslink 319s though. The DfT electrification proposals are quite explicit on this point, also stating that they will be given a full modernisation including air con.  If the new Thameslink rolling stock all arrives as planned, (better if they go to Siemens rather than Bombardier obviously) units will probably be available for overhaul in the couple of years before they are actually needed...

Paul  
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willc
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« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2009, 09:00:56 pm »

Might I recommend that everyone reads the DfT report that is linked on the first page of the thread - you will find the answers to many of the points you raise contained within it, not least about rolling stock.

And you won't even have to get past the foreword to read the following from Lord Adonis:
Quote
Further work is ongoing to assess the detailed costs and benefits of electrification on other routes. The rail industry recently published for consultation its Network Route Utilisation Strategy: Electrification. The Government will carefully consider the costs and benefits of wider electrification, with particular reference to the Midland Main Line between London and Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield, as well as the routes between Manchester and Preston, and Liverpool and Preston.

The Network Rail strategy discusses going on even further, to the likes of XC, the Berks and Hants and TransPennine. Give them a chance - they're trying to roll back hostile attitudes towards railways built up over decades within DafT. 

Some of the 200 DMUs vehicles will probably still be bought, as Northern and Transpennine are going to be relying on oil for many services for quite a while yet - and they were never going to be available in two years' time. DafT always said delivery would be "by 2012" which could mean pretty much anything in their terms.

I don't imagine that transferred Turbos are necessarily going to be expected to keep going forever. If you wire XC to Plymouth and the Berks and Hants and Salisbury-Exeter, then you make wiring the likes of Bristol suburban and connecting routes like Bristol-Southampton and to Weymouth far more cost effective too - the kind of rolling electrification that NR and ATOC want and which most of the rest of Europe has been carrying through for decades, so the Turbos would tide you over in these sorts of places until the wires went up.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 09:07:15 pm by willc » Logged
Electric train
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« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2009, 09:52:33 pm »

If you wire XC to Plymouth and the Berks and Hants and Salisbury-Exeter, then you make wiring the likes of Bristol suburban and connecting routes like Bristol-Southampton and to Weymouth far more cost effective too - the kind of rolling electrification that NR and ATOC want and which most of the rest of Europe has been carrying through for decades, so the Turbos would tide you over in these sorts of places until the wires went up.

I agree and todays announcement has put a push to start the ball rolling still needs a bit more kinetic energy though
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« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2009, 10:13:06 pm »

Some of the 200 DMUs vehicles will probably still be bought, as Northern and Transpennine are going to be relying on oil for many services for quite a while yet - and they were never going to be available in two years' time. DafT always said delivery would be "by 2012" which could mean pretty much anything in their terms.


Apparently the whole order has been cancelled with the government to announce a new plan regarding stock allocations such as the cascade of turbos to other FGW services allowing the transfer of sprinters for example to Northern. I don't know how accurate it is but some people who have made accurate guesses to electrification before it was announced seem to suggest this
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willc
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« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2009, 10:54:34 pm »

But in a context where passenger traffic on Northern and TransPennine has skyrocketed in the past few years, creating massive overcrowding in the peaks around Leeds and Manchester, saying you'll have to hang on until 2016 for some very tired 150s and 158s from FGW, to follow the tired 150s you will get from LM in 2011 or so is not really a sensible answer - wiring the Liverpool-Manchester line via Rainhill will free up precious few DMUs, nor would the other routes in the North West Adonis mentions as electrification prospects, because you will still need diesel power to get past Preston to Blackpool and Carnforth to Barrow, to name but two of the lines with many through trains to Manchester.

I would not be surprised if the latest version of the ever-changing rolling stock plan recognises this fact and includes a modest batch of DMUs - they were planning to give the north about half of those new DMUs, on top of whatever LM 150s they are getting, and nothing DafT has come up with so far suggests how they will plug that capacity gap in the north.
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« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2009, 10:59:00 pm »

only big problem with this scheme is as 40% of our electricity is generated by ageing nuclear power stations which will be closed within a few years, where is the electricity coming from? ,,because i dont see any new generation capacity being introduced apart from a few windmills
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2009, 01:22:51 pm »

Might I recommend that everyone reads the DfT report that is linked on the first page of the thread - you will find the answers to many of the points you raise contained within it, not least about rolling stock.

And a very interesting document it is too! Let's hope this isn't going to be stamped upon by the likely next Government as there are so many facets to it that make sense. Aside from the usual comments from negative observers such as the Unions and those "anti-everything-British-connected-to-the-railways-for-the-sake-of-it" comment lovers on the national press websites, there really is so much common sense in these proposals. Adonis should be congratulated for the immense positive push he has given the railway industry since his arrival. If only he'd been in place 5 years ago!

I do have some comments and observations of the proposals though (apologies if they have already been touched on in this thread):

1) Crossrail extending to Reading- And about time too. I've always said this was a no-brainer. Assuming TfL play ball, then this makes perfect sense and always has done. Here's a thought though - why not extend Crossrail to Newbury and Oxford? Perhaps not all day, but if a few of the peak hour fast trains that currently run through from Newbury and Oxford were to extend through the Crossrail tunnel then journey times for commuters working in Canary Wharf and other areas of London could be cut and they would not have the hassle of changing trains. Calling points would logically be Didcot/Thatcham/Theale and Reading - with perhaps scope for some trains to stop at Cholsey, Goring, Pangbourne and Tilehurst as well as the other Kennet Line stations. The paths through the tunnel are available by the bucket load on services from the west.

2) Use of 4-Car ex-Thameslink stock on outer Suburban services - It makes sense for half-life stock to get a good refurb and then be used on these services, there's no doubt about that (as long as they do get air-con!). There is no mention of platform extensions though. Stations east of Reading will be lengthened as part of the Crossrail project, but replacing 3-car trains with 4-car ones does present some issues at places like Culham & Appleford (3-car, except Culham in down direction), and Cholsey, Goring, Pangbourne and Tilehurst are 6-car maximums, which means that trains will not be able to run coupled up in the peak hours unless they are extended. Also, Goring on the down main line is only of 3-car length. Hopefully these extensions will be undertaken as part of the project?

3) Bi-mode IEP's for non-electrified long distance through trains - Again it makes sense that trains to/from Weston, Carmarthan, the Cotwolds and Gloucester will use the Bi-mode IEP when the wires run out, but assuming that the majority of the Penzance trains will continue to use the B&H line after Reading, the amount of time they can draw from the juice is a fraction of the overall journey time. Perhaps a full diesel version of the IEP should still be procured for these services as Bi-mode trains with their one power unit will struggle performance wise on the gradients in Devon and Cornwall, with the only benefit being gained between London and Reading (or Newbury).

4) Curtailment of the electrification at Newbury - An Oxford extension makes perfect sense. Over half of the express trains start/terminate there and the few local services that come through from Banbury can easily form a diesel shuttle service. Also, extension of the electrification beyond Oxford to the Cotswold Line would probably be a step too far financially given the number of trains on the route, but what about Newbury? The current service off-peak is an hourly Newbury-Reading shuttle service that would become electric. No problem with that, it makes sense. However, what will become of the hourly diesel service from Paddington to Bedwyn? Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury stations enjoy probably their best ever service into London. Unless the plan is for these to continue to be diesel hauled, or possible IEP Bi-mode trains running as diesel trains between Bedwyn and Newbury, then perhaps the extra money to extend the electrification as far as Bedwyn (or maybe even Westbury) would be more sensible. If not, users of these stations may see their services worsen significantly!

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: July 24, 2009, 03:34:38 pm by IndustryInsider » Logged

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John R
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« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2009, 04:49:04 pm »

Your proposals make a lot of sense. If a sizeable proportion of commuters from Reading and Didcot exchanged the fast dash to Paddington and then onto the tube or Crossrail to a slightly slower but more comfortable journey without a change, then it could take a lot of the commuter pressure off the HSS. This would mean that the new units could be configured internally as intercity services, rather than the crammed sets we've currently got.(Sorry to re-open that old debate!) 
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Btline
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« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2009, 05:04:29 pm »

This is excellent news, although we should remember that there is a real threat of a conservative government next year!

Despite the assurances that the Tories are pro rail (e.g. the Heathrow debate), I saw on the news the Shadow Transport secretary adding her damper to the plans. Criticising them. I do hope some irreversible work is done soon - as the project could easily be "postponed" by the Tories, who of course won't benefit themselves.

Re: Oxford and Newbury. Seems very strange. Oxford seems ok, but Banbury trains will probably have to become shuttles, and there will be diesel under the wires for Cotswold trains but Newbury?

As has been mentioned, only ONE train per hour will go EMU! The money would be better spent electrifying to Weston. An alternative extension to Westbury would be good, allowing an hourly Westbury to Paddington semi-fast service.

A step in the correct direction. Good news. I'll keep my fingers crossed! Smiley
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