New hybrid trains for HS1?
BATTERY-POWERED hybrid trains could be running on High Speed 1, offering a solution to capacity problems and giving the Marshlink route a direct connection to London.
Currently trains on the route are operated by Southern Class 171 diesel multiple units between Ashford International and Hastings. This operation could transfer to the new Southeastern franchise.
Hitachi Rail Europe Chief Operating Officer Jack Commandeur said: “We see benefit for a battery hybrid train that is being developed in Japan, so that is an option for the electrification problem. IEP [Intercity Express Programme] shows that hybrid is doable.”
Commandeur was responding to a question about capacity from Kent County Council, during a Hitachi Rail Europe conference in Ashford on November 10, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the depot.
Transport Focus Chief Executive Anthony Smith added: “Electrification is seen as a panacea, but it’s not - it’s slow. Get bi-modes in here and running, and it shows what can be done.”
It was suggested that Southeastern, which operates the HS1 domestic services, could also use Class 802s that are currently being built for Great Western Railway, First Hull Trains and TransPennine Express.
Southeastern uses a fleet of 29 six-car Class 395 Javelins that were delivered in 2007-09 and which entered traffic in June 2009, six months early. The Javelin HS1 domestic service was formally launched in December that year.
More Class 395s are unavailable because they are no longer being manufactured, but HRE does have the similar AT300 platform, of which IEP is a part.
Richard Thorp, Head of Route Engineering at High Speed 1, said that the trains would need approval from HS1 to run on the line, but that he saw no fundamental problems. There were unlikely to be any issues around high speed services with a diesel engine affecting the infrastructure, he said.
The need for more trains is not restricted to the Marshlink line, but also to HS domestic trains. Thorp highlighted that by 2044 there is an expected rise in demand of 127% for trains from St Pancras. There are already calls from various stakeholders for additional trains.
Regarding the value of HS1, Ashford MP Damian Green said: “In an historic perspective, HS1 is the biggest and best thing for 100 years. It creates a reality of dynamism. We have resisted downwards trends created in town centres by internet shopping, and instead are seeing shops opening. And that is through improved connectivity.”
On November 11, 395017 - operating the ‘Passchendaele Javelin’ charter -approaches London Victoria on its way from Ashford Down Sidings, raising money for the Royal British Legion. Class 395s operate on HS1, and more capacity is required, while there...