Ashford to Folkestone - 100mph?

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Doomotron

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The line between Tonbridge and Ashford is 100mph, although I doubt many trains actually reach that speed in service, but what about Ashford to Folkestone? The trains seem to pick up quite a bit of speed between Ashford and Westenhanger, more so on Javelins going fast between Folkestone and Ashford (hopefully the loop services come back; having to change at Ashford is very annoying), but I struggle to tell what speed the train actually reaches. While I feel the 90mph is the speed limit, I read on this forum that the limit was 100 - whether it's true or not is something I do not know. So, what actually is the speed limit between Ashford and Folkestone?
 
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Doomotron

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Watershed

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In the boxes at the ends of the track which have the speed limits in, what do the different numbers in. Is the 90 for non-EMU trains? And is the 75 for trains going the wrong way?
Yes and yes. Bidirectionally signalled lines are almost invariably slower in the 'wrong' direction in order to keep costs and complexity down. Where there are differential speed limits, the upper limit applies to any train that doesn't match the lower category/ies.
 

Doomotron

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Yes and yes. Bidirectionally signalled lines are almost invariably slower in the 'wrong' direction in order to keep costs and complexity down. Where there are differential speed limits, the upper limit applies to any train that doesn't match the lower category/ies.
Thanks for you help. :)
 

brad465

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I'd have thought 395s don't have any trouble reaching 100mph on that stretch as they're more aerodynamic and of course don't stop at either Westenhanger or Sandling. I imagine top speed is easier to obtain in the up direction as trains are running at a higher speed already (70-75mph IIRC passing Dollands Moor, then 90 through Sandling), whereas in the down direction every passenger service has to accelerate from a standing out of Ashford station.

Between Tonbridge and Ashford the most likely trains to reach 100mph are ones that omit Pluckley, which happened often on a pre-covid timetable in the peak, and the current Saturday service interestingly has CHX-AFK trains that don't stop there, alternating with Ramsgate services which do. I don't know for sure if 100mph is reached on them but the Pluckley skippers are 3 minutes faster at the moment, so a clear saving for 1 stop. Of course if it ever returns one off peak train a day ran non-stop between Tonbridge and Ashford, I'm guessing covid has stopped that for now at least.
 

Doomotron

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I'd have thought 395s don't have any trouble reaching 100mph on that stretch as they're more aerodynamic and of course don't stop at either Westenhanger or Sandling.
While not stopping at Westenhanger and Sandling helps, the slow acceleration of the 395s on third rail probably mean it struggles and won't reach 100mph for long. If a 375 didn't stop at those two stations, I'd expect it to reach Ashford a minute or two ahead of the Javelin. The old fast services pre-HS1 (fast from Folkestone Central to Ashford, then fast to Tonbridge and strangely skipping London Bridge) would be the most likely the reach 100mph for the longest time.
 

notadriver

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While not stopping at Westenhanger and Sandling helps, the slow acceleration of the 395s on third rail probably mean it struggles and won't reach 100mph for long. If a 375 didn't stop at those two stations, I'd expect it to reach Ashford a minute or two ahead of the Javelin. The old fast services pre-HS1 (fast from Folkestone Central to Ashford, then fast to Tonbridge and strangely skipping London Bridge) would be the most likely the reach 100mph for the longest time.

it’s uphill from Ashford to just after Westenhanger. A 395 will reach 85 mph. A single 375 will reach 100 mph by Herringe. Going downhill the other way the javelin will do the full 100 but only having had a running start. Current draw has been artificially restricted on 395s using third rail at higher speeds to avoid damage in other third rail areas.
 

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swt_passenger

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As a non-railway employee, I was unaware of this resource. A bit of googling shows it could be an interesting browse :)
Does it have a 'home page' / directory or is it simply a collection of pdfs that you can only get to if you know the url?
You have to theoretically drill down through NR’s site until you get here:
You need to scroll past the stuff about registering, the links to the public versions of the docs are further down.
IIRC it used to come under a section called “operational rules”, I just put “sectional appendix” in their search box. Finding it from the home page looks almost impossible.
 

jfollows

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As a non-railway employee, I was unaware of this resource. A bit of googling shows it could be an interesting browse :)
Does it have a 'home page' / directory or is it simply a collection of pdfs that you can only get to if you know the url?
And if you google for "sectional appendix" the page swt_passenger refers to should appear near the top, it's what I always do.

The Sectional Appendix to the working timetable has been around for ever, by which I mean since before the 1970s when I started reading them. If you look on eBay you'll find ones for sale from 1960. The diagrams showing line speeds (part of which I posted above) used to be in a much more esoteric format, but these were revamped at least 20 years ago into a more novice-friendly format. They were obviously converted to electronic formats a number of years ago, then released via the Web site for non-employees like us to read, and these days they're reasonably up-to-date too. Lots of interesting and useful information, for example I looked up recently that a loop at New Mills South Junction was a goods loop and therefore couldn't be used by passenger trains.
 
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SolomonSouth

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it’s uphill from Ashford to just after Westenhanger. A 395 will reach 85 mph. A single 375 will reach 100 mph by Herringe. Going downhill the other way the javelin will do the full 100 but only having had a running start. Current draw has been artificially restricted on 395s using third rail at higher speeds to avoid damage in other third rail areas.
You are implying that a 375 can hit 100 by the time a Javelin can only hit 85 - this shows that the 375 is very impressive indeed for a DC train.
 

mr_jrt

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Is the 100mph limit due to that being the top speed for 3rd rail, i.e. if that section ever was converted to OHLE could it go up to 110 or even 125?
 

notadriver

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You are implying that a 375 can hit 100 by the time a Javelin can only hit 85 - this shows that the 375 is very impressive indeed for a DC train.

Yep 375s are quick in 4 car mode on DC. But even as an 8 car they still manage 95 on that stretch uphill.

Is the 100mph limit due to that being the top speed for 3rd rail, i.e. if that section ever was converted to OHLE could it go up to 110 or even 125?
Might as well use HS1 alongside and create a flying junction near Saltwood. I reckon neutral section apart a speed of around 125-130 max would be possible after leaving Ashford.
 

SolomonSouth

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Yep 375s are quick in 4 car mode on DC. But even as an 8 car they still manage 95 on that stretch uphill.
I believe that 375/6s are slightly slower, than /7s /8s and /9s, at least I have found that anyway.
They keep up until 60 (60 seconds), but lose out at the very top speed after that it seems.
 

notadriver

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I believe that 375/6s are slightly slower, than /7s /8s and /9s, at least I have found that anyway.
They keep up until 60 (60 seconds), but lose out at the very top speed after that it seems.

Disagree - I think the opposite way round. The /6 is quite spritely. The /9 seems to struggle.
 

SolomonSouth

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Disagree - I think the opposite way round. The /6 is quite spritely. The /9 seems to struggle.
OK, maybe the /9 is power restricted because the /6 definitely has some extra weight weighing it down (DV vs DC only for other 375s). The /7s and /8s seem to be the fastest.

I actually think it is mainly 375/3s (3 car units) that just seem to lack a bit of puff at higher speeds.
And although 375s might be fast alone, they are often in 7, 8, 11 and 12 car combinations which seem to restrict acceleration greatly.

A 375/6 takes 62 seconds to 60 from my timing vs 95 seconds for an 8-car 377/4 (identical acceleration alone) and the 375 hits 70 at about 89 seconds vs 132 secs for the 377. That's how much they seem to be slowed down in even 8-car formation, so would a 12 car be slower yet again?
Here are the videos:
375:
377:
 

mr_jrt

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OK, maybe the /9 is power restricted because the /6 definitely has some extra weight weighing it down (DV vs DC only for other 375s). The /7s and /8s seem to be the fastest.
I thought all DC-only (but DV capable) units had ballast in place of the transformer to keep things like the suspension consistent with their DV brethren?
 

cle

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Did the Ashford-Ramsgate speed increase work ever get done? I remember that was an intended project a while back.
 

Doomotron

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You are implying that a 375 can hit 100 by the time a Javelin can only hit 85 - this shows that the 375 is very impressive indeed for a DC train.
I think it more shows how sluggish the 395s are on DC. The 375s are certainly not the most impressive on DC - that goes to the Class 465 without question.
Is the 100mph limit due to that being the top speed for 3rd rail, i.e. if that section ever was converted to OHLE could it go up to 110 or even 125?
I'd reckon it's possible, but even if it wasn't the reason, an increase to 125mph (even to Tonbridge as well) would likely have little impact on journey times.
 

SolomonSouth

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I think it more shows how sluggish the 395s are on DC. The 375s are certainly not the most impressive on DC - that goes to the Class 465 without question.
Hmm I have found the /0 and /1 subclasses to be slower than a 375. Only the /9 is superior.
 

brad465

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Disagree - I think the opposite way round. The /6 is quite spritely. The /9 seems to struggle.
Maybe it's those extra low rate seats ;)
Did the Ashford-Ramsgate speed increase work ever get done? I remember that was an intended project a while back.
Ashford to Canterbury West is now 80mph, up from 70 (although a secondary speed limit of 65mph I think exists, but not an issue for any passenger services). It's been a long time since I went beyond CBW along that route but I believe it's still 70mph.
 

Doomotron

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Maybe it's those extra low rate seats ;)

Ashford to Canterbury West is now 80mph, up from 70 (although a secondary speed limit of 65mph I think exists, but not an issue for any passenger services). It's been a long time since I went beyond CBW along that route but I believe it's still 70mph.
Is the route mostly straight? Could an increase to 90 or even 100 be sensible?
 

brad465

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Is the route mostly straight? Could an increase to 90 or even 100 be sensible?
Not down the Stour Valley between Wye and Canterbury West, where some speed restrictions exist, especially through Chilham. Canterbury to Ramsgate is straighter, where 90 maybe possible, depending on how easily bends at Grove Ferry and Sarre (both between Sturry and Minster) can be traversed at higher speed.
 

Mollman

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Yep 375s are quick in 4 car mode on DC. But even as an 8 car they still manage 95 on that stretch uphill.


Might as well use HS1 alongside and create a flying junction near Saltwood. I reckon neutral section apart a speed of around 125-130 max would be possible after leaving Ashford.
I'm sure there was a proposal to remodel the area around Dollands Moor to allow access to HS2 from the Folkstone lines
 

brad465

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I'm sure there was a proposal to remodel the area around Dollands Moor to allow access to HS2 from the Folkstone lines
There may have been, but as nice as it is I wouldn't be surprised if the cost to benefit ratio was poor, given only around 1tph each way under current timetables would utilise it. Also I imagine the time saving is negligible, unless any trains using such a connecting link also skipped Ashford Int.
 

zwk500

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I'm sure there was a proposal to remodel the area around Dollands Moor to allow access to HS2 from the Folkstone lines
It would be quite the remodel to allow access to HS2! :D

And yes, it'd be pointless as to make any use of it you'd need to skip Ashford, which for domestic services is a key hub, especially for interchange to the St Pancras services.
 

D365

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When it comes to rated acceleration. The difference between four-car Electrostar subclasses is negligible. As a passenger, there is no way to take an accurate measurement.
 

43066

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A 375/6 takes 62 seconds to 60 from my timing vs 95 seconds for an 8-car 377/4 (identical acceleration alone) and the 375 hits 70 at about 89 seconds vs 132 secs for the 377. That's how much they seem to be slowed down in even 8-car formation, so would a 12 car be slower yet again?

12 car 375s automatically derate to avoid overloading the current supply (at least they did a few years back when I was briefly driving them with a DI). 12s were noticeably more sluggish than 8s, especially on the looong climb out of Rochester towards London on the Chatham mainline.
 

notadriver

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Sure rgetee
When it comes to rated acceleration. The difference between four-car Electrostar subclasses is negligible. As a passenger, there is no way to take an accurate measurem

Using a GPS and a stopwatch is a reasonable measurement ?
 
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