DfT: bi-mode could en­cour­age line re­open­ings

Rail (UK) - - Network - Richard Clin­nick richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk

THE use of light­weight, re­freshed and re-pur­posed ve­hi­cles could strengthen the case for re­open­ing dis­used lines, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment for Trans­port.

In its Rolling Stock Per­spec­tive Fourth Edi­tion, pub­lished on Oc­to­ber 25, the DfT high­lights the hy­dro­gen-pow­ered Class 321s from Al­stom, Vi­varail’s hy­brid Class 230s, and An­gel Trains’ Class 165 HyDrive trains ( RAIL 862).

“These ve­hi­cles…of­fered to the mar­ket at com­pet­i­tive rates, could strengthen the case for the re­open­ing of dis­used lines,” it says.

“As the de­mand for hous­ing and busi­ness premises that are well-con­nected to the main line in­creases, the re­open­ing of these old align­ments would in­vig­o­rate lo­cal ser­vices.”

The DfT has also called for mea­sures to be put in place to re­duce pol­lu­tion at source, sug­gest­ing auto en­gine stop-start soft­ware, elec­tric launch sys­tems and sta­tion shore sup­plies could all be used dur­ing long dwell pe­ri­ods.

DfT adds: “We ex­pect train own­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers to fur­ther de­velop pro­pos­als to con­vert their ex­ist­ing or fu­ture diesel trains to bi-mode or use an al­ter­na­tive en­ergy source to diesel.”

The task­force cre­ated to in­ves­ti­gate the de­car­bon­i­sa­tion of the rail­ways by 2040 ( RAIL 847) will fol­low up its ini­tial find­ings next year, with a fi­nal re­port in­cor­po­rat­ing an eco­nomic ap­praisal and route map to de­liver its rec­om­men­da­tions.

DfT adds: “Re­cent ad­vances in en­ergy stor­age tech­nolo­gies like bat­ter­ies and hy­dro­gen are at, or ap­proach­ing, the stage where they will be suit­able for some types of jour­ney which do not have such high en­ergy and power de­mands, such as ru­ral branch line and sub­ur­ban com­muter ser­vices. It is ex­pected that this tech­nol­ogy will de­velop quickly in the com­ing years.”

The Rolling Stock Per­spec­tive

notes that a small per­cent­age of trains do not yet meet the ac­ces­si­bil­ity stan­dards which all trains must meet by Jan­uary 1 2020, say­ing: “We ex­pect train own­ers and op­er­a­tors to tar­get these ve­hi­cles for up­grade in the com­ing months.”

It makes no men­tion of the East Mid­lands Trains High Speed Trains fleet, which owner Porter­brook high­lighted as need­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions as far back as 2015, and which the DfT de­clined to au­tho­rise ( RAIL 850).

Writ­ing the Fore­word to the re­port, Rail Min­is­ter Jo John­son called the train mar­ket in the UK “vi­brant”, say­ing that pri­vate com­pa­nies “are show­ing how they can marry op­por­tu­nity and in­no­va­tion to re­pur­pose ex­ist­ing stock like the Vi­varail trains, An­gel’s HyDrive or Porter­brook’s tri-mode ve­hi­cles.”

The re­port also high­lights that since the third edi­tion was pub­lished last year, more than 900 new ve­hi­cles have been or­dered, with trains to be built for Cross­rail, Es­sex Thame­side, Wales & Borders and West Mid­lands (see panel).


On Oc­to­ber 18, North­ern 195103 crosses Carlisle Bridge (Lan­caster) with a test train. CAF built this diesel mul­ti­ple unit, and is build­ing trains for two other op­er­a­tors as part of or­ders for more than 600 ve­hi­cles placed in the past year.

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