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Author Topic: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion  (Read 726583 times)
Rhydgaled
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« Reply #645 on: April 16, 2011, 09:59:49 am »

Bad idea anywhere.

Second - where do you maintain these Voyagers?

Thirdly - IF the voyagers were to be used as you suggest, what would XC use in replacement? And where do you suggedt those are maintained?

Rather than pull suggestions out of thin air, cam you please make suggestions that make sense please? Because you've only make nonsensicsl ines so far.

Regarding Voyagers for Cotswolds line, my main query was whether 9 5-car units were enough. Someone mentioned earlier that the 180s did the trick before, but as far as I know there aren't any 180s running entirely under the wires. Nonsensical? Does it make sense to build a small fleet of 9 (assuming that's correct) new gas guzzling IEP bi-modes, especially as we have a similar number of gas guzzling diesels, that have been under discussion of conversion to bi-mode, running entirely under the wires? I think not. This would be a lot simpler if attaching a loco to electric IEPs at Oxford wasn't the impossibility you've informed me of.

Second, a good point about maintaining them (contrary to your belief, I've actually thought through most of this suggestion, but you've caught me out there). The question is, where do you maintain a similar small number of new diesel IEPs? Ok, they would share many more characteristics with the electric IEP stock than a Voyager would, but the diesel components would still require special treatment for a small fleet. I've just had an idea while writing this, perhaps the Cotswold Voyagers could have some diagrams end the day at Reading to allow the unit to be coupled with an XC Voyager passing through, which would go to wherever they are serviced (since the hub of XC is Birmingham and Virgin also operate Voyagers there I'm guessing the Voyager depot is there). Not ideal I admit, anyone got any better suggestions?

Third, the Voyagers under the wires the whole way, running Birmingham to Glasgow and Edinburgh via the WCML are Virgin sets aren't they? In that case, the obvious thing to do is to replace them with something electric, to avoid a micro-fleet I would suggest Pendolinos of an appropriate length. Anyway, 5-car is apparently enough for the Cotswolds line, so the 221s from Virgin would go to XC, and pantograph cars would be ordered for all of them, making most 6-car. The 9 220s replaced by the 9 221s from Virgin would be sent to the Cotswolds with the addition of a pantograph car (making them 5-car). The other 220s would gain an electric pickup car (a pantograph car with 3rd rail shoes as well) for XCs services on the 3rd rail network (if 5-car won't be enough you could take this opportunity to add a trailer car as well to make them 6-car like the 221s).

What about my query on the south-west services, does that idea make sense?
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ChrisB
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« Reply #646 on: April 16, 2011, 11:01:31 am »

Second, a good point about maintaining them (contrary to your belief, I've actually thought through most of this suggestion, but you've caught me out there). The question is, where do you maintain a similar small number of new diesel IEPs?

If you needed economies of scale, together with the same sets on the East Coast, somerwhere close to (North or West) London - Old Oak Common?

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I've just had an idea while writing this, perhaps the Cotswold Voyagers could have some diagrams end the day at Reading to allow the unit to be coupled with an XC Voyager passing through, which would go to wherever they are serviced (since the hub of XC is Birmingham and Virgin also operate Voyagers there I'm guessing the Voyager depot is there). Not ideal I admit, anyone got any better suggestions?

Yes - the DFT is so far beating you hands down! Nothing you've yet come up with has beaten the current DfT thinking. I think you need to admit that you don't know enough about the rail network to be making DfT-beating thinking.

RE your new suggestion.....You presyumably are intelligent enough to realise these couldn't all be attached to the one last northbound XC Voyager, and that they'd have to go probably one at a time - so xounting back up the timetable....what time woulod they have to start heading back to Birmingham each day? Probably in the height of the evening rush-hour, just when they'd be most wanted in service.

And how do you get them all back down south in time to start the morning peak? mWhich by definition doesn't start close to Reading / London but way out in the sticks @ Hereford? I'm not sure any XC trains go down that line?.....

Engage brain successfully please - this is another no-brainer....

Can I ask how old you are?: Because if you're a teenager, I think we ought to give you credit...but otherwise I think you need to gain a lot more knowledge before making suggestions like this.

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Third, the Voyagers under the wires the whole way, running Birmingham to Glasgow and Edinburgh via the WCML are Virgin sets aren't they? In that case, the obvious thing to do is to replace them with something electric, to avoid a micro-fleet I would suggest Pendolinos of an appropriate length.

Are the rigs for Pendos still available? If they've been scrapped, that's too costly ann idea....also, for anything else stockwise - how many Voyagers do you think make that entire trip in a day? Wouldn't this be just as small a micro-fleet as you are trying to avoid?
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #647 on: April 16, 2011, 04:14:05 pm »

Second, a good point about maintaining them (contrary to your belief, I've actually thought through most of this suggestion, but you've caught me out there). The question is, where do you maintain a similar small number of new diesel IEPs?

If you needed economies of scale, together with the same sets on the East Coast, somerwhere close to (North or West) London - Old Oak Common?
The whole reason we are having this argument is that I think we need to avoid new diesel Intercity trains, mainly because of climate change but there's the financial risk of rising oil prices too. As I've said before, bi-mode only makes sense when the layout at the last wired station prohibits attaching a diesel loco (I guess it also makes sense for XC's Voyagers because they are cutting across between main routes with diesel sections both sides of the wired section). As Oxford is the only station where I've been told this could be a problem, there wouldn't be any IEP bi-modes on East Coast either.

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I've just had an idea while writing this, perhaps the Cotswold Voyagers could have some diagrams end the day at Reading to allow the unit to be coupled with an XC Voyager passing through, which would go to wherever they are serviced (since the hub of XC is Birmingham and Virgin also operate Voyagers there I'm guessing the Voyager depot is there). Not ideal I admit, anyone got any better suggestions?

Yes - the DFT is so far beating you hands down! Nothing you've yet come up with has beaten the current DfT thinking. I think you need to admit that you don't know enough about the rail network to be making DfT-beating thinking.

RE your new suggestion.....You presyumably are intelligent enough to realise these couldn't all be attached to the one last northbound XC Voyager, and that they'd have to go probably one at a time - so xounting back up the timetable....what time woulod they have to start heading back to Birmingham each day? Probably in the height of the evening rush-hour, just when they'd be most wanted in service.

And how do you get them all back down south in time to start the morning peak? mWhich by definition doesn't start close to Reading / London but way out in the sticks @ Hereford? I'm not sure any XC trains go down that line?.....
Assuming my rough estimate of 9 units is correct, and that the depot for Voyagers is in Birmingham, how many units would actually need to be stabled at the depot overnight? ATW park units overnight where there is no servicing facilities don't they (maybe at Carmarthen and/or Pwllheli?)? XC currently have 21:11 and 21:46 departures from Reading that could be used, and perhaps you could extend a later Oxford train to Birmingham as well, that's 3 units back to depot. In the morning, perhaps services from Birmingham to Bristol/Taunton/Plymouth could make an extra stop at Worcester to drop of a unit for Hereford. Most of what I'm suggesting is a compromise, but IEP is a huge and dangerous compromise, so I don't think the DfT is beating me hands down. If we didn't have any diesel IC trains running entirely under the wires then bi-mode IEP for that route only is not really avoidable. However we do have the diesel stock, provided there's enough of it. An IEP bi-mode micro fleet for the Cotswold line might just be beating what I've suggested for that route so far, but elsewhere it is a really stupid idea. I am not alone:
rail industry sources suggest that Hammond has had the wool pulled over his eyes in numerous ways and  most specifically, on the question of why the design incorporates underfloor diesel engines when it would be far easier to simply have a locomotive haul the trains once the wires run out

There has been some simplification of the order, but the muddled thinking behind it does not seem to have been addressed.  The diesel trains have been scrapped but more than 300 of the 533 carriages ^ just over a third of the original order and a strange number given that the trains will be in 5 coach units ^ are to be in hybrid trains. Everyone I talk to in the rail industry seems to think this is madness of the greatest order, based on a false notion ^ that it would be too slow to hitch up a diesel locomotive to the front of the train when the wires run out. Indeed, it has even been suggested to Hammond that it would be dangerous to have a diesel locomotive waiting at the appropriate place on the platform and therefore it would take nine minutes to connect the loco when, in fact, it could be done in less than half that time and would be a routine exercise provided there was the right signalling.

Some of my ideas may be flawed and unworkable, that's why I'm putting them to forums to work out the kinks, but please don't try to claim bi-mode IEP is flawless. New Intercity diesel trains are undoubtedly a bad idea for the environment. It is better to make do and mend with what we've got, and electrify as much as we can. Where I might be going astray, is in finding the best way to make use of what we have.

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Can I ask how old you are?: Because if you're a teenager, I think we ought to give you credit...but otherwise I think you need to gain a lot more knowledge before making suggestions like this.
Born in 1990, completed a HND last year and in June I'll have finished my first year at university.

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Third, the Voyagers under the wires the whole way, running Birmingham to Glasgow and Edinburgh via the WCML are Virgin sets aren't they? In that case, the obvious thing to do is to replace them with something electric, to avoid a micro-fleet I would suggest Pendolinos of an appropriate length.

Are the rigs for Pendos still available? If they've been scrapped, that's too costly ann idea....also, for anything else stockwise - how many Voyagers do you think make that entire trip in a day? Wouldn't this be just as small a micro-fleet as you are trying to avoid?
As I said, I estimated 9 units. Needing confirmation of this is one of the reasons I posted the idea. As you say, I need to gain knowledge before making suggestions to the DfT. One of the comments under Wolmar's article suggested that's the only service Virgin use Voyagers for, which would be 20 sets I think. However, I Googled and they also use Voyagers for Chester and Holyhead services, which do go beyond the wires.

As for Pendolinios, I think the original fleet was built at the now-closed Washwood Heath factory. If they can close the factory down yet still produce extra carriages and some all-new 11-car sets, building more for Birmingham - Scotland shouldn't be too much of a problem.
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Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
ChrisB
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« Reply #648 on: April 16, 2011, 04:21:54 pm »

Spend enough money & electrify the lot.

There's the solution you're looking for.

Now - persuade the taxpayer that we need to pay for it.
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #649 on: April 16, 2011, 06:21:06 pm »

Spend enough money & electrify the lot.

There's the solution you're looking for.

Now - persuade the taxpayer that we need to pay for it.

That's the solution I would go for, but the problem isn't just persuading the government to pay for it, you've also got to find the money and there probably simply isn't enough money available to do it all in one go. So I'm saying electrify certain chunks by 2020 (PAD to SWA, Bristol, Cheltenham, ValleyLines (funded, possibly along with CDF to SWA, by cancellation of the extra lane for part of the Heads Of The Valleys road) and possibly Weston-Super-Mare), buy electric IEPs (not the less powerful bi-modes DfT call electric, but true EMUs without a diesel engine in sight), add a few more sets to the Pendo order to get the Voyagers off their entirely electrified route and make do with our existing diesel stock until a slow but continuous program of electrification allows more routes to convert to electric stock.

Does anyone know why the WCML is being gauge-cleared for IEP? I e-mailed the DfT to find out which routes would be cleared and WCML was on the list given in the reply, but the Pembroke Dock branch wasn't. That means Pembroke Dock will need it's own micro-fleet, Intercity 125s or Intercity 225s (225s being what I propose).

Using 225s for all Cheltenham and Carmarthen services, along with Swansea ones (possibly all of them) would allow the cost of expanding the gauge on the Severn Tunnel diversionary route and Swansea to Carmarthen (possibly SWA - CDF too) to take 26m coaches to be diverted to electrification. The work being done on the WCML to clear it for IEP would certainly be a candidate for cutting to pay for more extensive electrification, as a non-tilting IEP would probably not be able to keep time on most services. If anyone knows how much these gauge clearances would cost, that would be useful too.
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Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
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« Reply #650 on: April 16, 2011, 06:54:49 pm »

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gas guzzling IEP bi-modes

Now let me see, in order to generate electricity, you need power stations, which guzzle lots of coal, gas, oil and uranium. Renewables make up a very small part of this country's generating capacity, so unless you're about to advocate spending billions more that we don't have on covering the countryside and ringing the coast with wind turbines, we will continue to have to have a spread of generating capacity, relying on fossil fuels, just like diesel traction, for years to come.

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This would be a lot simpler if attaching a loco to electric IEPs at Oxford wasn't the impossibility you've informed me of.

No-one ever said impossible, just difficult and time-consuming, as it would be at other stations where wires end, eg Leeds and Edinburgh, and where loco-release facilities and stabling sidings were torn out years ago because they were no longer needed. And your environmentally-friendly policy revolves, unless it has changed yet again in the past week, on using ancient diesels, with ancient engines, which guzzle lots of fuel.

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since the hub of XC is Birmingham and Virgin also operate Voyagers there I'm guessing the Voyager depot is there

Again, do some research. The depot is at Barton-under-Needwood - as far north-east of Birmingham as Worcester is south-west of it - ie lots of empty-running, again not environmentally-friendly.

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The 9 220s replaced by the 9 221s from Virgin would be sent to the Cotswolds

No thanks, we don't want trains with lots of large (smelly) toilets and cramped interiors with pitifully few seats. And you are forgetting the need to provide extra capacity on the London-Oxford leg, so you need trains that can operate together - and more than nine of them.

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we need to avoid new diesel Intercity trains

Unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world. Large parts of the network are not electrified, we still have no coherent plan to do more wiring, so you need to be realistic about the situation and that means that we will need to build some new trains with diesel engines.

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IEP is a huge and dangerous compromise

Dangerous in what way? If you mean carbon emissions, we may be no saints in this country but compared with the US and China, we most certainly are - those are the two countries most at fault and unsurprisingly, the two least inclined to clean up their acts. And as I pointed out last week, or was it the week before, the further wiring extends over the years, the fewer and fewer miles bi-modes would actually end up running on diesel anyway.

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please don't try to claim bi-mode IEP is flawless. New Intercity diesel trains are undoubtedly a bad idea for the environment

And who said it was flawless? No-one. We all recognise bi-mode is a compromise - your obsession with lumbering diesels dragging stuff around is just as much of a compromise, in case you hadn't noticed.

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there probably simply isn't enough money available to do it all in one go

Too right there isn't.

Please forget wiring to Cheltenham - it's not going to happen until XC wiring, if that ever happens. The WAG is not going to pay for your fantasy wiring from Cardiff to Gloucester and the Goverment isn't going to pay to wire Swindon-Gloucester for an occasional weekend of diversions - in terms of passenger traffic, the Cotswold Line is more important than the London-Cheltenham route.

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Does anyone know why the WCML is being gauge-cleared for IEP

In earlier IEP plans, there was going to be a batch for Northampton-Euston fast trains, so it may be that DfT, being DafT, have forgotten this has been dropped, not that I can see there being any insuperable obstacles to operating a 26m coach on most of the WCML as it stands now anyway. Apart from the driving cars, all Class 390 Pendolino trailers are 23.9m long.

As for Pembroke Dock and IC225, give it a rest.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #651 on: April 16, 2011, 07:28:48 pm »

Using us to write your 1st year thesis is getting extremely annoying / boring - can you at least engage brain & do some proper research rather than continually pick our brains & immediately ignore the advice?

You are currently having a wet dream with the public purse and your rather fantastic ideas. Now go & read what those with experience write on other fora & ingest, rather than read ours & ignore! Try uk.rail on google groups.
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« Reply #652 on: April 17, 2011, 12:01:45 am »

caugh caugh......moving on children
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Ollie
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« Reply #653 on: April 17, 2011, 01:43:37 am »

Using us to write your 1st year thesis is getting extremely annoying / boring - can you at least engage brain & do some proper research rather than continually pick our brains & immediately ignore the advice?

You are currently having a wet dream with the public purse and your rather fantastic ideas. Now go & read what those with experience write on other fora & ingest, rather than read ours & ignore! Try uk.rail on google groups.

The coffee shop is for discussion, and that is exactly what is being created. Just because you don't like what is being said doesn't give you the right to be outright rude to other members on this forum who are purely just putting forward an idea.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #654 on: April 17, 2011, 08:12:46 am »

Indeed, you are right. Mods, please remove my post & those that follow. Time to ignore, rather than bite.
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« Reply #655 on: April 17, 2011, 10:54:10 am »

Can I just also add to the wcml comment on gauge clearance, could it not be freight?
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eightf48544
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« Reply #656 on: April 17, 2011, 05:11:51 pm »

This would be a lot simpler if attaching a loco to electric IEPs at Oxford wasn't the impossibility you've informed me of.

No-one ever said impossible, just difficult and time-consuming, as it would be at other stations where wires end, eg Leeds and Edinburgh, and where loco-release facilities and stabling sidings were torn out years ago because they were no longer needed. And your environmentally-friendly policy revolves, unless it has changed yet again in the past week, on using ancient diesels, with ancient engines, which guzzle lots of fuel.

The loss of engine release facilities is the real tradegy if it wasn't for this the DaFT wouldn't be coming up with the bi-mode.

NSE at Cambridge used to do a swap 86 for 47 in 3 minutes. Coupling a loco on the front of an electric unit ought to be less than a mnute. Provided they have compatible auto couplers and software. As for the numbers involved a small build of new locos meeting the Euro emmission standards isn't going to be that expensive. Allegedly (third hand) Haywards Heath has joined two units in 14 seconds.

Certainly at Hamm and Hanover where they join and split ICE 2 the rear unit comes up to stationary unit and couples staight up. They don't even shut the doors on the front unit.


Another thought why aren't the 5 car IEPs going to be gangwayed throughout. 1 TM 1 caterer maybe even ubits with and without catering C(I)EPS and B(I)EPS..   I see no reason why an auto opening gangway could not be devised with suitable interlocks to lock the doors when the units separate and open them when the sets join..
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« Reply #657 on: April 17, 2011, 06:07:27 pm »

Can I just also add to the wcml comment on gauge clearance, could it not be freight?

Freight wagons have a completely different profile to passenger stock.

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The loss of engine release facilities is the real tradegy if it wasn't for this the DaFT wouldn't be coming up with the bi-mode.

Sorry? They've come up with it because many inter-city services run off the core lines that are to be electrified under current plans. Why on earth would the railway have retained costly engine release facilities when there were no engines to release? And while you can swop a loco/join units in a short time, you still have to do basic stuff like brake tests before moving off, so it isn't quite so quick. Gangwayed sets are a no-no because of the strength needed at the front of the train to protect the passenger compartment in case of a crash at high speed. 

 
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a small build of new locos

Find me a manufacturer that wants to build a small batch of diesel locos to a peculiar loading gauge which are able to handle a demanding duty cycle of constant stops and starts like the Cotswold Line - and again I question how small this batch would be, given the numbers that would actually be needed just to operate an hourly service out to Worcester/Malvern/Hereford, never mind any of the other places off the wires, along with the economics of a loco hauling around five-coach trains all the time. There is a reason why railways everywhere are going over to multiple unit operation.

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« Reply #658 on: April 17, 2011, 06:08:50 pm »

The problem with set to set connecting corridors is in part the aerodynamic shaped front end required for a 125+ train also currently there are no connecting corridor trains that are passed to run over 100mph.

There is more to just a set of engine release sidings such locations would require crew rest rooms and could even require booking on points, its not only DfT that want bimode the ToCs would not want the coupling uncoupling of locos for such a short run as London Oxford
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« Reply #659 on: April 17, 2011, 06:15:51 pm »

I've seen the flip side where auto-coupling and uncoupling has failed.

Last year at Haywards Heath I saw two units fail to separate and one service was caped with the rear unit dragged empty to Brighton.

Also at Bristol Temple Meads some months back I watched 2 x XC Voyagers try for over 40 mins to couple. The process appeared to be to gradually bump noses harder and harder! Staff eventually de-trained everyone in the front unit and they then had further attempts with increasingly hard bumps, but the couplers weren't having it. No matter which unit was driven into the other they just wouldn't marry. Crew gave up in the end and I heard that the second unit ran in a relief path behind the first as far as Derby.

I'd be seriously concerned about reliability following any attempt to retrofit ageing diesel locos with auto-coupling gear. Or the waste of money that a new build small fleet of diesel locos whose only purpose is to drag units away from the wires. Much rather see a seemless switch from overhead to onboard diesel power.
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