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[42] Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion
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Author Topic: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion  (Read 705860 times)
inspector_blakey
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« Reply #480 on: February 17, 2011, 03:16:47 pm »

I await the official announcement with interest, although with all the different rumours and contadictory press stories posted above I'm losing track of what's likely to be announced.

My impression was that HMG was likely to pitch for a half-arsed scheme in which the wires ran out at Bristol Parkway and bi-mode trains fired up their diesel engines to continue from there. But now there are WAG members saying they'll be disappointed if the scheme "only" makes it to Cardiff rather than all the way through to Swansea. What a mess.

One thing I would not be surprised to see though is WAG forking out the necessary to make sure the knitting does make it to Swansea - they seem to be very good at finding money from somewhere to fund various schemes in Wales e.g. free prescriptions, and not least the WAG Express!
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Tim
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« Reply #481 on: February 17, 2011, 04:10:07 pm »

One thing I would not be surprised to see though is WAG forking out the necessary to make sure the knitting does make it to Swansea

I am not so sure.  I suspect that if WAG had the kind of serious money for electrfication they would rather use it to electrify the valley lines and get rid of the "tin-trucks".  Especially if they have just got the English to splash out on some part new bi-mode trains to Swansea. 

Personally. I don;t have a problem with teh electifcatio stopping at Cardiff for now.  I expect the business case for electrifying the MMl is stronger than taking the wires to Swansea. 
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eightf48544
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« Reply #482 on: February 17, 2011, 04:42:49 pm »

IMO opinion bi-mode is a waste of money.

 140 mph 4 MW electric loco push pull change to 2MW diesel at end of wires.

As the wires expand less diesel running.
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Deltic
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« Reply #483 on: February 17, 2011, 05:29:26 pm »

I quite agree.  The changeover could take place at Bristol Parkway, Cardiff or Swansea as the electrified network expands.  Surely we have the railway skills and infrastructure to undertake a loco-change on a remove the pusher and add the puller basis without excessive delays, thus obviating the need to drag the diesel engine around under the wires.
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anthony215
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« Reply #484 on: February 17, 2011, 05:37:11 pm »

I quite agree.  The changeover could take place at Bristol Parkway, Cardiff or Swansea as the electrified network expands.  Surely we have the railway skills and infrastructure to undertake a loco-change on a remove the pusher and add the puller basis without excessive delays, thus obviating the need to drag the diesel engine around under the wires.

That is what a lot of people in the industry are saying. I do agree that it is stupid to have a Bi-mode EDMU

personally maybe the governemnt should have just overhauled the MK3 carriages and bought some of the chineese Polaris Bi-mode locomotives (Would have saved the governemnt a bit of money)
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #485 on: February 17, 2011, 06:01:47 pm »

Maybe not as much as you think - there comes a point when the overhaul that would be required to turn out a vehicle that's fit for another 30 years' service (like a new train would be) is so extensive that it would end up costing much the same as a new vehicle. Overhauling mark 3s yet again doesn't solve any problems, it just buys time. Now, a new build of vehicles based on the mark 3 and incorporating modern requirements like power doors and suitable wheelchair access is a different story...
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Tim
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« Reply #486 on: February 18, 2011, 11:05:15 am »

IMO opinion bi-mode is a waste of money.

 140 mph 4 MW electric loco push pull change to 2MW diesel at end of wires.

As the wires expand less diesel running.

I tend to agree with you.  Everything else being equal, I would favour diesel loco drags beyond, Cardiff, Bristol or wherever the electrification ends on the S Wales and BRI routes.  Your suggested power requirements seems about right too.  A slightly slower speed and acceleration to Swansea and Weston-SM would be OK because of line speed issues and stopping patterns anyway and overall journey times might still be lower if the electrified line speeds are decent.

For the route to Plymouth/Penzance, the fraction likely to be electrified is relatively small, so I think it could be diesel all the way.

BUT there is a wrinkle regarding making the MML Meridians bi-mode.  Although I am not generally in favour of bi-mode I think that this project might make some sense.  Is this proposal not at least as much about finding a use for Meridians after the MML is electrified and also about increasing capacity as it is about getting a bi-mode vehicle for its own sake?  The average Meridian is too short.  There are too many Meridian cab-vehicles and not enough intermediate vehicles.  MML has tried to remarshall its fleet, but the trains are still to short for the predicted future capacity to places like Cardiff.  You would be right in calling, bi-mode vehicles a waste of money if we were building them from scratch, but we are not, the Meridians are already available (in fact if the MML is electrified they will be redundant) and if adding pantograph vehicles provides bi-mode AND extra capacity at a sensible cost it might be the best option. 

Isn^t the current government^s cut-back scheme a sensible incremental approach?  AIUI, the far-west is to be served by refurbished HSTs.  That can only be a temporary solution because those trains cannot last for ever.  One day they will need to be replaced and the candidate train to replace them is surely the bi-mode meridian displaced from the SW line which by that stage (2025-ish) will be electrified to Swansea one hopes.   

By sticking new electric on the lines to Bristol and the MML,  making far west refurbed HSTs and S Wales bi-mode Meridians which can transfer to far west in due course when S Wales goes all electric, the plan does have advantages of requiring only one new train design (the all electric train)  which is much simpler than the EIP proposals. 

As for making the Meridians Bi-mode it is my understanding that this is relatively simple because the train is already a DEMU.  A new pantograph trailer is, one hopes not that much more heavy or complicated or expensive than a new trailer vehicle and I suspect that it might actually be cheaper than a new Meridian vehicle with an engine in it. 

If the lengthening of the Meridians is a sensible thing to do in its own right.  And I would argue that it is on capacity grounds alone, then we need to ask what do we lengthen them with.  The options would be: 1) a new Diesel-engined vehicle, 2) a new trailer or 3) a pantograph trailer.

Option 1 would be expensive and would result in a fleet with different engine ages in the same unit.

Option 2 would be cheap but would give a performance penalty especially in terms of acceleration.

Option 3 might be the best overall.  Hopefully no more expensive than option 1, and although there would be a performance penalty as with option 2 it would only apply away from the wires (which are likely to be lower line speeds anyway) so would be less of an issue. 


DaFT seems to have
Finally realised that electrification isn^t really about electrification.  It is about provision of rolling stock.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 11:11:08 am by Tim » Logged
Electric train
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« Reply #487 on: February 18, 2011, 03:03:56 pm »

There is a view in the UK that MU's are so urban only fit for low speed commuter routes when in reality the rest of Europe already has a high speed MU railway, I can not see much in the way of new build loco haul anything being adopted for passenger operation, TOC's like fixed formation MU's if you went for a loco haul for only part and went with the idea of coupling / uncoupling at an intermediate point there is added expense of stabling sidings and train crew facilities.   There is little technical difficulty in using diesel engined MU's the gear boxes isolate the engine when it not providing power moder traction motors could be fitted to axles that are not engine driven, modern 25kV transformers and traction control equipment is not that heavy.

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broadgage
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« Reply #488 on: February 18, 2011, 07:11:35 pm »

A great many passengers are opposed to the use of multiple units on intercity routes for two reasons, firstly most MUs are DMUs and underfloor engines produce noise and vibration.
Secondly MUs are linked in peoples minds with new shorter trains containing high backed, high density bus seats, without luggage space or catering facilities.

Cross country loco hauled trains used to have seats at tables, and often a buffet, they were replaced by new shorter multiple units.

Waterloo to Exeter services used to be operated by full length loco hauled trains with tables, luggage van, spacious seating etc. Then replaced by 3 car multiple units with higher density seating.
It was widely reported that the introduction of new trains meant standing on journies when a seat would have been available on a "real train"
One could of course build a new 12 car multiple unit with facing seats at tables, luggage space, a restaurant, and Victorian seat spacing.
Not likely to happen though is it ! Multiple units invariable mean shorter and less comfortable trains.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 10:31:58 am by broadgage » Logged

"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
inspector_blakey
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« Reply #489 on: February 18, 2011, 07:25:31 pm »

That's a "problem" (depending on one's point of view of course) with the way modern stock tends to be specified, not an inherent issue with MUs themselves. And whoever thought that public perception of MU stock would play any part in the government's decision?
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willc
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« Reply #490 on: February 18, 2011, 11:18:23 pm »

Quote
One could of course build a new 12 car mulitple unit with facing seats at tables, luggage space, a restaurant, and Victorian seat spacing.
Not likely to happen though is it !

Why not? The Germans have them, they're called the ICE3 (eight coaches, and can run paired in 16 car formations) and they knock the socks off anything running here, including the Mk3 coach, which, fine vehicle though it may be, is now nearing its 40th birthday, won't go on forever and, in FGW-land at least, was ruined by those stupid too-tall tombstone seats.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #491 on: February 19, 2011, 03:44:14 pm »

was ruined by those stupid too-tall tombstone seats.

Toast racks we call them.   Wink
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woody
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« Reply #492 on: February 20, 2011, 10:32:59 am »

A great many passengers are opposed to the use of multiple units on intercity routes for two reasons, firstly most MUs are DMUs and underfloor engines produce noise and vibration.


A taxi driver I know who worked the Plymouth station taxi rank called Voyagers "rattlers"
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eightf48544
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« Reply #493 on: February 20, 2011, 11:49:08 am »

Don't know whether it's been referred to before but Ian Walmsley in February's Modern Railways has a fantastic article on train comfort and using his own scoring system ranks most current British trains. With the ICE3 added for fun.

Guess the scores for standard ICE3  as a opposed to standard Voyagers?

ICE3 90.7 (1st 93.9)

Voyagers 220 37.8 (1st 51.9)

Highest British is Mark 4 First 89.3

You can obviously disagree, with his measurement criteria, the  scores he gives for each criterion and subsequent weighting in the overall score, but by and large he seems to have got most trians in roughly the right bracket.
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vacman
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« Reply #494 on: February 20, 2011, 01:02:07 pm »

12 car trains=platform extensions, higher track access charges, the fact that everyone will still try to cram into the two coaches nearest the station entrance (i.e. Padd-Reading commuters on HST's now who all cram into D and E and then moan that they have to stand rather than rubbing their two brain cells together to create a spark that will say "oh, lets move down to the front where it's empty...").
In a perfect world we would all love to be truly British and not have to sit next to anybody or within 7 feet of them and to have three spare seats next to you, one for your case, one for your coat and one for your lunch box but this is the real world! ............... it's strange how you become more cynical as you get older lol
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