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Author Topic: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion  (Read 706574 times)
mjones
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« Reply #360 on: November 25, 2010, 11:55:05 am »

It was a pity the BBC report missed out the Oxford and Newbury electrification, that made all the difference to how it came across, so I don't blame people for being very concerned. Indeed, I found the interview with Hammond on Today quite disappointing: the interviewer didn't really ask him about GW electrification, and didn't press him at all on the IEP situation, which is so controversial an example of bungled government procurement that they should have picked up on it.
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paul7755
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« Reply #361 on: November 25, 2010, 12:15:11 pm »

The interviewer on the BBC Breakfast show seemed to have his one key question lined up, and it went a bit like this.

Hammond:  Blah blah, rolling stock introduction, 650 carriages across the country by 2014

Interviewer: So nothing til 2019 then?  Huh

Hammond: Did you not listen to what I just said...   Grin

Paul
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 02:31:12 pm by paul7755 » Logged
mjones
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« Reply #362 on: November 25, 2010, 01:24:42 pm »

And that, sadly, still seems to be what is being reported now on the BBC. The mid-day updates still seem to be unware of the Oxford/Newbury electrification.
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« Reply #363 on: November 25, 2010, 03:02:02 pm »

Luckily, a certain Mr William Crossley is keeping his local readers fully updated with the news:

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/8687765.BREAKING_NEWS__Oxford_rail_electrification_gets_green_light/

Overall, what a great day for the railways given the recent spending cuts.  I'm reminded by a post from Btline (what's happened to him lately?!) regarding the Great Western Electrification scheme after it was first announced and the fact that an incoming Tory government could scupper it all:

Why are you surprised? Roll Eyes

Of course the Tories won't do it! Say goodbye to Crossrail as well, that has not been confirmed by the Tories (Boris doesn't count, as he shares very little in common with his Westminster colleagues!) of course, Boris himself cut several transport projects proposed by Labour's Ken. That's what they do!

Their claim of "we can't afford it" is rubbish. We can't afford NOT to do it. The HSTs need replacing, and if the GWML is not electrified, we'll be confimed to DMUs for the next 40 years. The other benefit is the way Labour have planned a good rolling stock cascade, which co-incides with the Thameslink programme being completed.

But the Tories won't bother making the investment, despite the fact that the benefits will pay for it in the long term.

Well, the Tories haven't committed to Bristol/South Wales electrification yet, but just about everything else has survived the cull, and I think everything points to the fact we'll see wires at least as far as London to Bristol Temple Meads/Parkway, hopefully on to Cardiff and perhaps even as originally envisaged, Swansea.  We'll have to wait for a little longer to find out though...

For the time being though, I'm very relieved and pleased as punch!
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« Reply #364 on: November 25, 2010, 03:12:31 pm »

Hmmm, I've been giving some thought over lunch to the recent announcements. I suspect I've added 2 & 2 and got 5,324 but....

- The PM talking to the press about a "much bigger" scheme being considered... and
- The DfT seriously considering to replace the HSTs with an all electric fleet from Bombardier plus new diesel locos for when the wires run out (rather than the expected mix of bi and electric versions from Hitachi)

The original electrification proposal was for the wires to only go as far as Newbury on the B&H and Bristol on the GW Main Line. With all an electric fleet, that would require the locos to be attached at Reading or Newbury for all SW services. Reading would surely be a non starter for shunting locos around, even with the increased capacity currently going in & I can't see every train stopping at Newbury. The alternivite of running every train via Bristol is I suspect also not going to be an option for obvious reasons.

So... could they seriously be contemplating now running the wires into Devon? Exeter SD would be an option but I think Plymouth would be the more lightly choice if it were to happen (note the very big if):

  • With travel times in Cornwall less than ideal anyway due to geography, would a few extra minutes at Plymouth hooking up a loco matter so much? At the very least, I suspect the delay would be effect fewer people.
  • With fewer though trains, platform occupations times much less of a issued at Plymouth rather than Exeter SD.
  • Laira is already in Plymouth - with the extensive facilities it has it would be an ideal base for a diesel fleet. I suspect they would need a new depot at Exeter if they were going to be based there as the DMU is fairly cramped.
  • If the wires weren't going to Plymouth, Laira would need to be replaced elsewhere as it's not sensable to have a major depot in a location that can't be accessed by the fleet running under their own power.
  • Simple economics. If you've got an 100% electric fleet, it makes sense to run it with electricity as much as possible.

Pie in the sky?

TLM

Edit: Of course, I meant to include the South Wales line as far as Swansea was in the original proposal as well.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 05:12:05 pm by TheLastMinute » Logged
paul7755
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« Reply #365 on: November 25, 2010, 03:55:25 pm »

A few weeks ago someone (not necessarily here) wondered why IEP and Thameslink decisions were being linked by the Government.  It seemed to me that it was pretty obvious, because the business case for the wires to Newbury, Didcot and Oxford must depend to a significant extent on whether you buy new, or cascade existing rolling stock. Without the Thameslink go ahead, what's been announced today would not stack up. But once you have wires at Didcot, presumably the GWML-IEP business case gets much better, everything sort of pulls something else along...

Paul
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paul7755
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« Reply #366 on: November 25, 2010, 03:56:09 pm »

And that, sadly, still seems to be what is being reported now on the BBC. The mid-day updates still seem to be unware of the Oxford/Newbury electrification.

It's there now near the top of the piece. At last...

Paul
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Tim
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« Reply #367 on: November 25, 2010, 04:17:10 pm »

The original electrification proposal was for the wires to only go as far as Newbury on the B&H and Bristol on the GW Main Line. With all an electric fleet, that would require the locos to be attached at Reading or Newbury for all SW services.

If electrification stops at Newbury, it just means that local commuter services will be EMU and that long distance services to the SW will be desiels running under the wires.

My prediction is that GWML electrifcation will be extended to Bristol and possibly Swansea and that those services will be electric (with possible loco haulage from Cardiff if the wires stop there).  FGW will retain a desiel fleet for Paddington- SW services.  Wires beyond Newburby only make sense once you start thinking about XC electrification which is not going to happen for a while at least not until the current electrification is sucessfully completed and the XC stock needs replacing.

GWML electrification beyond Didcot and Newbury will only happen when the project to string wires closer to London is wel advanced and only when the HSTs need replacing.  They will need replacing eventually, but I predict that they will be kept going until 2020 ish.

The secret to makimng electrifcation affordable is to allow it to be driven by rolling stock replacement needs.  A;l this silly talk of bi-mode EIPs is an attempt to make the rolling stock fit the infrastructure rather than ungrading the infrastructure as and when it is needed to enabkle it to take cheaper electric stock.
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« Reply #368 on: November 25, 2010, 05:19:11 pm »

Totally agree that it's nuts to make the rolling stock fit the infrastructure but on the Great Western lines there's the problem of the services beyond Cardiff (although I think it would be a no-brainer to go to Swansea) and the "express" services from Paddington to stations beyond Exeter/Plymouth, to Cheltenham and to Worcester/Hereford. Building on the earlier comment, diesel motive power could be kept at Plymouth, Swindon and Oxford.

Of course, to go back to a point raised months ago in another post, the question of electrification to the south west begs the question of whether, taking the longer view, an alternative to the run along the sea wall at Dawlish/Teignmouth needs to be considered.
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TheLastMinute
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« Reply #369 on: November 25, 2010, 05:54:27 pm »

But the IEP plan has to replace all the HSTs. I agree that they'll almost certainly be around in 2020 but they'll be on the last legs - by 2020 the oldest will be almost 45 years old and the youngest 38.

We know the DfT are considering an all electric fleet. I just can't see DfT contemplating this with a significant number being dragged around the South West by a fleet of new locos. Besides, is there capacity at Paddington have these locos attach and detach? Of course, you could use some sort of DVT arrangement, but if your going to do that then surely it would be better to go for a bi-mode or a full on diesel design in the first place?

I also agree with Tim about needing to make the infrastructure fit the stock and it's for that reason I think behind the scenes, the DfT is seriously considering the option of taking the knitting into Devon.

Thinking about it, there might be an argument for doing the Swindon/Cheltenham section as it's the diversion route for the tunnel. Then you'd only need the locos for the Newport(or Severn Tunnel Junction) to Gloucester section.

I'm getting a bit carried away here - I think I need a lie down in a darkened room!  Shocked

TLM
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mjones
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« Reply #370 on: November 25, 2010, 07:14:54 pm »

Does confirmation of electrification to Oxford mean that there will be some re-thinking on Crossrail? It would surely be a good opportunity to make better use of the Crossrail tunnel, reducing the number of trains that will terminate at Paddington from the East, and free up some platform space at Paddington.
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onthecushions
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« Reply #371 on: November 25, 2010, 08:11:13 pm »


What good news, Paddington Suburban Electrification (PSE) approved at last. Under the BR modernisation plan it was due for completion in 1980.

Didcot Pway is 53m11ch from Paddington and the supergrid (440kV) supply point is there (at the power station). This makes wiring to Bristol TM,  only 65m20ch further on, much more attractive as its costs are therefore now marginal rather than full.

The announcement (as observed by a previous poster) is based on rolling stock decisions - untangling IEP
is bound to take longer, so we'll have to wait, probably more than a few weeks.

We might now expect more integration of Crossrail and PSE, freeing up more 319's for use elsewhere.

Bid for it FGW!

OTC
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« Reply #372 on: November 25, 2010, 09:05:05 pm »

What I think the current Government have done is applied a much more realistic time frame to the GWML electrification.  I suspect that what will happen is the team that electrify from Hayes to Maidenhead for Crossrail will continue west, perhaps with Crossrail extending to Reading as the first stage who knows it is very early stages in the whole process.

The extension to South Wales I am sure will follow there is a lot of political pressure for it to happen Bristol will be done as part of this.

The Grid feeds are planned to be Ladbrook Grove, Didcot both from the 400kV grid electrification using the 25kV-0-25kV auto transformer system if the extension west of Didcot does not happen then the classic 25kV booster transformer system as it is cheaper but may not provide for the future without a power supply upgrade,  if  the system goes west of Didcot there is another 400kV grid intake planned near Bristol Parkway with the Seven tunnel and South Wales being wired to the classic 25kV booster transformer system with I believe 2 grid sites between Swansea and the Tunnel

The options of going west of Didcot or not have been put together in a paper for the Government
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« Reply #373 on: November 25, 2010, 10:26:52 pm »

Hopefully, whatever happens, the otherwise usually amusing Railway Eye, drops their references to 'Petrol Head' when talking about the SoS for Transport.  It's becoming a little tiresome...  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #374 on: November 25, 2010, 10:35:12 pm »

In terms of new express rolling stock, the Stock Exchange statement first thing today contained the following:

Quote
The Department has evaluated possible alternatives to the original IEP proposal and has narrowed the consideration to two leading options; a revised bid from Agility Trains, and an alternative for a fleet of all electric trains  which could be coupled to new diesel locomotives where the overhead electric wires end.

"Leading options" is quite telling, as Hitachi/Agility was previously the clear preferred bidder for IEP, with Bombardier+Siemens very much the reserve. Slightly surprising that DafT seem to have ruled out the Voyager with an electric transformer coach idea which Bombardier has been pushing hard, in particular as a way to speed up MML wiring.

The new issue of Modern Railways contains a report about a speech given by a Bombardier director to the Rail Freight Group's Welsh members in which he said that they are looking at ways to introduce the Traxx family of locos (available as diesel or electric) in a UK-gauge version, as well as ways to meet the latest EU emissions rules for diesels from 2012.

Might have nothing to do with the all-electric plus diesels option, then again... and Bombardier also has a new high-speed train to sell, see http://innotrans.bombardier.com/en/3_0.jsp for details of this and the latest Traxx diesel - and some dual-power diesel and electric monster being built for US commuter trains, 131 tonnes on four axles! Think that would give Network Rail's track engineers a fit.
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