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Pan up for Voyagers

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The DfT is to look in more detail at a scheme to convert the Bombardier built CrossCountry Voyager fleet to hybrid operation, by inserting a pantograph-carrying carriage.

The e-Voyager project would provide more work for Bombardier’s Derby workforce.

Transport Minister, Justine Greening, has asked the department to check out costs and described herself as enthusiastic about the project.

Large parts of the CrossCountry network, such as Devon and Cornwall, will not be electrified in the medium term. However a number of CrossCountry journeys, such as those between Birmingham and the north-west, are made entirely along electrified routes.

Says Paul Roberts, president of Bombardier Transportation in the UK, ‘It is encouraging news from Ms Greening on her plans for the eVoyager project, where we hope a contractual agreement can be reached in the first quarter of 2012.’


    • dual mode IEP will be killed off

      they’ll still order just over 500 vehicles for use on great western to bristol and wales (they’ll electrify to swansea after all), plus the great eastern to norwich, plus the great northern to peterborough and kings lynn. probably a few extras for the east coast too

      • Unfortunatly it looks as if the IEP order for Great Western will reach finantial close (with only 11 electric sets planned versus 38 bi-mode) before a desision is made on Swansea electrification. Then, when they come to decide whether Swnasea will see electrification, the fact the order for diesel-powered trains has already been signed will then probablly ensure that Swansea is not electrified.

        As well as the pantograph cars for Voyagers project (which would need to be done for all 220 and 221 units, not just CrossCountry’s fleet, and hopefully the class 222 fleet too), I think the following is needed to avoid bi-mode IEP:
        – Electrification from Cardiff to Swansea
        – Life extension of Intercity 125 trains for services on the line to Taunton, Devon and Cornwall – Cascade of 5-car class 220 bi-mode units from CrossCountry to Great Western (to work Cotswolds line and Paddington – Westbury semi-fast services), requiring one of the following:
        1. Electrification from Crewe to Chester, refurbishment of class 57 Thunderbirds and introduction of additional Pendolinos taking over all Intercity West Coast services (dragged to Holyhead by the 57s), cascading 7-car bi-mode 221s to CrossCountry
        2. Life-extension of further Intercity 125s, which would go to CrossCountry
        – Electrification from Swindon to Cheltenham Spa (or both options 1 and 2 above would be needed, to cascade some of the 7-car 221s to Great Western also)
        – Reduced IEP deployment on Great Western, with Swansea services and fast Bristols operated by Intercity 225 rakes cascaded by introducing more IEPs on East Coast or similar trains to IC225s made up of mark 3 coaches and new electric locomotives. This arangment allows a change of locomotive to a TDM-equiped diesel at Swansea for services to Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock.

        Note these all relate to Great Western, I think East Coast’s small number of diesel services can already be met (esspecially once Leeds – York and potentially Leeds – Hull is electrified under the TPE scheme) by attaching a class 67 to an IEP electric for the off-wire section.

        The removal of the cost of the diesel engines in IEP trains would contribute some of the additional funds needed for the above requirements. Additionaly, since IEP trains will have 26m carriages there are probablly significant savings to be had by restricting guage clearance to East Coast, plus the following Great Western routes:
        – Paddington to Oxford
        – Paddinton to Bristol Temple Meads and from there to Weston-Super-Mare (dragged by a diesel loco if electrification isn’t extended)
        – Paddington to Cardiff Central
        – Paddington to Cheltenham Spa (only if electrified)

        Some of the trips on the Paddington – Westbury semi-fast, including all or most of those which extend to Taunton or Exeter, could be operated by the class 180s released from Cotswolds services.

        • I think Swansea will be electrified – as well as the Valleys lines. Economically, it’s good, although more marginal than other proposed projects, but politics dictates that it will be done. Elections come up in May. The government is waiting, just as last year, for St. Davids Day in March to announce it.

          My guess is that we can look forward to all class 323s being sent to Wales.

          The IEP contract as far as I know has a minimum contractural size of 580 vehicles. My breakdown has them all in 10 car electric only sets. 20 to Great Western for Bristol TM and Cardiff/Swansea, 15 to Great Eastern for Norwich, 15 to Great Northern for Peterborough/Kings Lynn, and 8 to East Coast to supplment the IC225s with both the Middlesborough and Hull routes being electrified to complete the northern transpennine route electrification.

          The class 365s will then go north to operate the transpennine route, or, of course there are lots of other permutations for EMU that are possible once the new Thameslink and Crossrail fleets have been delivered.

          The Pacers and Mark 3 stock will all be retired by 2026 at the latest. Don’t expect to see any EMUs retired, so those 1972 design classes will keep on being refreshed.

          The Midland Main Line will also be electrified by 2026 to Sheffield/Derby/Nottingham and Corby. London-Corby will be EMU operated by something like class 317s, but the other Midland destinations will use some of the Pendolino sets that will be excess to WCML requirements once HS2 is open and the new classic compatible high speed trains are in use.

  1. “The DfT is to look in more detail” means uncertainty and delay so don’t hold your breath.

    Why does the DfT have to be looking at it anyway? I would have thought the RoSCos should be the ones looking into this and making a decision, based on commercial and environmental feasibility and whether the benefits are viable to pass onto the TOCs.

    • It’s the DfT that would be paying – excuse my cynicism but the reason is that Bombardier knows it can milk the government for contracts by playing the “jobs=votes” card – if it made commercial sense then a ROSCO would buy.

      According to the last report the DfT would like Bombadier to drop the price before anything happens.. see http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/general/2011/12/23-evoyager-project-costs-still-seen.html

      I don’t know how much these are expected to cost but my expectation is “expensive”

      (clarify) It may be that if the government decides to go ahead then they will wish to get a ROSCO to purchase and rent the things – it is an odd situation – the Voyagers are leased from “Voyage Leasing” (Company No. 03984776) – it would be odd to be leasing half a train from one company, and the other from the DfT

  2. ,,,and next they will add a diesel carriage to each Pendolino so that when high winds bring power lines down, they can still operate!


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