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Class 700 trains

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Class 700 trains

Old 27th Mar 2018, 08:32
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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From flaky memory, and I stand to be corrected, there was one main line built in the UK to the Continental loading gauge.....the Grand Central Railway (GCR). It was the line from Marylebone up to the midlands. They closed it.

You can still see the echoes of Brunel’s broad gauge: the platforms at stations such as Chippenham are much further apart than they need to be. In days of yore and as networks expanded and linked up, having a different gauge grew to be a major pain in the rear: so eventually they decided to convert the GWR to standard gauge. Obviously is had to be all done at once, so it was: it took a weekend. Kind of puts modern railway maintenance into perspective.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 08:34
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
ATNotts, from what I can find....

“In the 1820s-50s when our Railway system was being built at the rate of thousands of miles a year (much earlier than the Continental systems) technology prohibited the building of large locomotives, rolling stock etc. Small locos and trains were the norm - so it was only natural that the average loading gauge was not much bigger than these early trains. Whereas on the continent, by the time large scale railway building was taking place technology had developed to the point that Engineers were able to look to the future and build a loading gauge with ever-larger trains in mind.”

“Once the railways had been built to 'the standard' it would have been an enourmous cost to demolish and rebuild the countless bridges, enlarge cuttings/embankments and tunnels to accept a larger loading gauge, which in practice would have offered the individual railway companies little or no benefits in return. As an island our railway network has been cut off from adjoining countries, so their decision to utilise a larger loading gauge has had limited negative consequences - loading a train onto a ferry to get across the channel isn't quite as straight forward as a train crossing between mainland european countries.”

“Of course it's possible to have 5,000 - 15,000 ton trains in the UK without needing the Berne loading gauge, you just potentially have to have a longer train comprising of more wagons!

As for the speed, the limiting factor in that case is more the hilly and winding route that railways in the UK tend to follow. There is nothing stopping a train built to UK loading gauge travelling at 186mph given suitable track ...in the same way that adopting the larger proportions of the Berne gauge wouldn't have prevented UK railways snaking along valleys and climbing over hills - all factors that make high speed train travel in the UK a 'challenge'!

Once again, the 'benefits' of the larger Berne gauge offered minimal to no advantages to the numerous pre-grouping railway companies in this Country. Why on earth would the pre-grouping "Lower Wallop to Lesser Nowhere Railway" go to the expense of rebuilding their railway to a European loading gauge when there was no connection to that system in this country, much less that the LW to LN Railway Co. would ever be connected to it! The UK loading gauge had been working perfectly well for 100 years to haul famer Giles and his dozen chickens to market and drag local coal trains about, so what benefit would the Berne gauge have offered that would have justified the huge expense of rebuilding?”
Thanks, basically evolution, and rather like the way that some animal species survive in New Zealand and nowhere else - because they were cut off from the wider world.

I suppose that were the money, and the political will there, there may be a case for certain lines, the major arteries and busiest passenger and freight lines to be upgraded to the "Berne gauge".

Am I correct in recalling that one line in UK, the now defunct Great Central Line was built originally to, if not Berne gauge, to a gauge somewhat bigger than the UK standard? I recall this as some time ago there was an idea to reopen the line to freight, because the infrastructure had this advantage. It was a hairbrained scheme, that if I recall correctly came to nought.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 08:38
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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For those that use Thamslink the rear First Class coach is not Designated First Class so you get all the additional bells and whistles of first class for a second class price

Reason being the true first class punters want to be at the front of the train and so be first through the barrier at destination whereas the rear coach is not used by cattle class and have to stand

equals getting more customers on the train

We are off at the weekend Bedford to Gatwick on a second class ticket Off Peak and will use this coach
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 08:57
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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For those that use Thameslink the rear First Class coach is not Designated First Class so you get all the additional bells and whistles of first class for a second class price
When I was a kid in Glasgow in the 50s I used to travel to school by train. Usual stock was old suburban coaches with 6 a side compartments. Every now and then a coach would appear with compartments labelled "First class, for use of third class passengers" (this was before second class came in). There was always a rush to sample this luxury, where we enjoyed the rare delights of armrests and antimacassars.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 09:07
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Trains ??? I DREAM of trains, travel to Auckland for me involves 4+ hours of roads akin to the 6's UK West Country roads of Bank Holiday Monday memory, with a max. speed of 60 mph when one does get a wider stretch, full of caravans, camper-vans and logging trucks. "it's number two what starts the queue, Yah! Bah! to number two."
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 09:36
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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My local train (the station is about 100m from my front door) is the Tsubasa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsubasa_(train).

It is also known as "mini Shinkansen". The E3 Series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E3_Series_Shinkansen fit a standard loading gauge so can run as an Express on the branch line past my door. They can also be coupled to the Big Boys and run at 275kph on the dedicated Shinkansen system.

It is very comfortable with active suspension, 2x2 seating with folding trays, trolley service, reclining seats and armrests. Plus power and wifi of course.

When I left Reading (C1988) it was serviced by the slightly tired Intercity 125. Is that rolling stock still in service?
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 09:50
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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“In the 1820s-50s when our Railway system was being built at the rate of thousands of miles a year (much earlier than the Continental systems) technology prohibited the building of large locomotives, rolling stock etc.

Arguable at best. What aspect of the technology of the period "prohibited" building large locos or stock? The locos and cars of the broad gauge GWR were already considerably bigger than contemporary standard gauge equipment.

“Of course it's possible to have 5,000 - 15,000 ton trains in the UK without needing the Berne loading gauge, you just potentially have to have a longer train comprising of more wagons!

The limiting factor for train length is brake equipment, drawgear, crossing loop/refuge length and signal overlaps. All very relevant in the UK context.

As for the speed, the limiting factor in that case is more the hilly and winding route that railways in the UK tend to follow. There is nothing stopping a train built to UK loading gauge travelling at 186mph given suitable track ...in the same way that adopting the larger proportions of the Berne gauge wouldn't have prevented UK railways snaking along valleys and climbing over hills - all factors that make high speed train travel in the UK a 'challenge'!

The limiting factor for high speed trains is curve radius. When you run stock with all axles (over)powered, grades are not an issue. Classic example being the TGV lines - huge curves, savage grades.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 10:36
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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The Southern double deck units were not a success. Built to the maximum loading gauge limited their route availability. The upper deck was claustrophobic and passenger loading took more time.

Steam traction ceased on the Isle of Wight in 1966. The locomotives were built in the 1890s, the rolling stock was pre Grouping. The signage on my local station read Southern Railway. It really was a charming time capsule.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 11:06
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Having travelled on the 700 class they are a retrograde step in passenger comfort and an advance in profit maximisation. The ability to run in 12 car formations and pack 'em in during the rush hour is very cost efficient, as is the one person operation (no guard). During the periods it is needed the most, revenue protection will find it very difficult to move through the train to check tickets. The seats compared to the old 319s and 377s are very thin and uncomfortable. They have been built to a price and it shows.

Before I retired I was over on the GN side and our traction was 313, 317, 321 and 365. All getting a bit long in the tooth and in the former case over 40 years old. The advantage they had was that they were engineered by BR in York by people that had many years of understanding and experience of what was required for the various sectors of BR and they were built accordingly. Another advantage of these units is that if it lay down and quietly expired, a competent driver could fault find and in the majority of instances get it to a point where it could be taken out of use and the punters put onto other services.

Ken asked if the HST 125 units were still in service. Very much so albeit re-engined. The sets and locos are coming up to or are over 40 years old and IMHO are one of the nicest trains for long distance travel both down the back or sitting in the front seat.

Today's TOCs don't really give a monkeys as they know, with very few exceptions, that it will be some other company running it in a few years time. It is a dash for profits over the short term and sod the consequences for the travelling public.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 12:34
  #30 (permalink)  
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ATNotts.
The seats on the VTEC trains, HST &91’s have the high back Mallard seat. The first time I travelled on one I wasn’t too keen, but now I love them as you’re in your on little space. You can’t see the backs of people’s heads, nor people staring at you.
Sometimes I’m unlucky and get one of the Cross Country units hired in with the original low seat backs.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...s_Interior.jpg
Kiltrash.
The only thing different in the First class area of a 700 is an antimacassar with First Class on it!
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 12:49
  #31 (permalink)  
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Another problem with the 700 & I’d imagine the 800, is it’s not as simple as putting in the key, setting up the lights and GSMR & off you go like on a good old 365, as on the new trains with everything computerised, so it takes about 10 minutes for everything to come on line after self testing.
Must make shunting a bit of a nightmare.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 12:51
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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ATNotts
You are correct there were plans to reopen the line as part of a Lille - Liverpool freight link. I had a friend back then who spent the early 90,s recession surveying the old route for some consortium with a very cute female engineer as I re call, staying in nice local hostelries and a budget of circa £1m for the job! The southern part was an idea to form a trans shipment point for containers and piggyback trailers etc around Leicester, with the idea they would run from there to channel tunnel and cut down congestion and delay on M25 using the old track bed and some avoiding lines around London. The northern bit centred around re opening the old Woodhead route from Sheffield to Liverpool but the bits of the line from Leicester up to Sheffield had largely gone or been infilled so it would have had to have gone up the normal route to Sheffield. I know that the costs on the southern section to me did not seem too high given the odd large bridges which would have to be replaced and in comparison to any current scheme like HS2 / LHR 3rd runway it cost less than their public enquiries and we would have had a railway not a pile of papers and schemes many seem to not want. Such is life in GB PLC. Do not know what happened to the report, but cute engineer and Friend got married, unfortunately now divorced one in Sandpit other in US, report no doubt in shredder as well !!

Kind regards
Mr Mac
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 18:33
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Gauge
Part of the gauging issue is related to the fact that, as has been said already, there was no incentive to increase the gauge profile because of inter-working, which was becoming an important element on the movement of freight.

Again as has been stated, a larger structure gauge requires larger tunnels and bridges, plus a larger land-take along the route. Stations would also be bigger.

The usual nimby approach (which seems to be a UK thing) from landowners en-route that was seen by the railway developers resulted in expensive and long drawn out Parliamentary committees to gain acceptance of the route, then followed by (usually large compensatory payments to objectors, as well as the purchase of land at sometimes higher than value. WE thus can see pressure on the builders - replicated today - where "time is money" and construction was pushed forward in as quick a way as possible. That additional strip of land along say a 100 miles soon mounts up as do the extra groundworks, excavations, etc., whilst all the speculators want to see is an operational railway as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Improvements/betterments, etc. were things that could wait until the profits started rolling in, which of course they never did.

In addition vehicle dynamics were not understood, and no-one could really envisage what the future would hold.

UK railways cost far more per mile to build than our European partners because of the legal requirement for the Railway company to fence off completely the railway so as to prevent farm animals from straying onto the railway and being killed, I due course this came to include trespass. Again constructing and maintaining fencing comes at a high price.

One final benefit our neighbours had/have in Europe is the fact that the population per sq mile is much lower than the UK and it is much easier (and cheaper) to build a railway through the countryside, even more-so when you don't have to fence it.

Finally WW1 and WW2 did lay waste to a variety of conurbations, giving European city planners much easier routes and a better ability to construct bigger stations.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 19:33
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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I have recommended this book before here but Simon Bradley's The Railways, Nation, Network & People is an excellent laymans guide to the history of railways in Britain. It's not for rivet counters but for those interested in the economic, social and cultural impact that the railways made.

In my book, a damn good read.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 21:02
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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GC Freight Route
The original Central Railway proposal for a line that would run through the spine of England to the Channel Tunnel came to Parliament in 1996. It was voted down by MPs with barely a handful supporting the plan.
Five years later, the original plan was changed and now was to be a 400 mile £6bn railway linking Liverpool and Lille and like the original proposal was intended to operate flat wagons that could be used by lorry trailers, rather than being aimed at containers. This time part of the route went through Surrey, rather than Croydon which would have taken it through the heart of nimby territory. so it was never going to gain traction and faded away because of the likely opposition.

Kelvin Hopkins, the MP for Luton raised a proposal for a new route, now called the GB Freight Route. The plan was for a line that linked HS1, at Barking with Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester (via the Woodhead tunnel being reopened) Carlisle and Glasgow. The line would be built to the Continental Gauge able to accommodate full sized lorry trailers and European wagons and its main purpose would be for continental traffic to man points in Europe. The route would make use of some of the old Great Central alignment and it was reckoned that only 14 miles of new track would be required, nine miles of which would be in tunnels. According to a survey carried out privately by a major consulting engineer, the cost of the railway could be as little as £3bn though Hopkins said he had ‘doubled that to make it seem more credible’. The estimate was that some five million lorry loads of freight could be taken off the roads annually and that the railway would comfortably cover both its construction and operating costs over time.

This route was supported by the Scottish road haulier JG Russell but comes to nothing because it is seen as a competitor to HS2 by various people in the ORR
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 21:17
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Ken asked if the HST 125 units were still in service. Very much so albeit re-engined. The sets and locos are coming up to or are over 40 years old and IMHO are one of the nicest trains for long distance travel both down the back or sitting in the front seat.
And as posted earlier, currently being re-engineered for a further 20 years or so of service with both Great Western on shorter distances, and in Scotland where they are being promoted as "new trains". I won't see it but 60 plus years of service can't be bad.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 21:30
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Thing is that these were designed to run for extended periods at high speed rather than piddling about on short duration / length journeys like a milk train, and with these awful MTU engines they take ages to get up to 125mph.
It would be interesting to still be around when some of the recent plastic stuff is 40 years old to see how it performs, or indeed if it has not fallen apart
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 22:13
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by hiflymk3 View Post
The Southern double deck units were not a success. Built to the maximum loading gauge limited their route availability. The upper deck was claustrophobic and passenger loading took more time.

Steam traction ceased on the Isle of Wight in 1966. The locomotives were built in the 1890s, the rolling stock was pre Grouping. The signage on my local station read Southern Railway. It really was a charming time capsule.


And because the loading gauge was even smaller than the mainland the electric trains that replaced the chuffers were ex London Underground tube stock. The current IOW rolling stock is ex Bakerloo line stock of 1938 vintage.
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Old 27th Mar 2018, 23:00
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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GC Freight Route
The original Central Railway proposal for a line that would run through the spine of England to the Channel Tunnel came to Parliament in 1996.
I just got out my old DVD of Metroland by John Betjeman (1973) . In the film Betjeman follows the route of the Metropolitan Railway from Baker Street to Amersham. He points out that the original plan in the 1890s was for a railway linking the North of England to Paris, via London and a channel tunnel, of which the Metropolitan was but one section. A great film to watch if you like railways, architecture, cinema organs and even golf (or "goff" as Betjeman pronounces it!) There are bits and pieces of it on You Tube but I don't think they have the complete film
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Old 28th Mar 2018, 04:13
  #40 (permalink)  
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Metroland is a great programme, saw it some years ago and would love to see it again.

Re Central Railways, I'm afraid I was a NIMBY on that one; running a freight line through the middle of the urban delight that is south London seemed a ludicrous proposition to me, particularly given my proximity to the Brighton line whose course it would have followed hereabouts. My recollection was it involved running two additional lines through Croydon down to Redhill, then east through Tonbridge?

I don't know what capacity HS1 and HS2 would have for night light freight ops; are there any electric freight train ops or is it all diesel?
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