We're getting told off on the main class 197 topic so I've created this one for speculative stuff like alternatives.
In Ireland, the InterCity Railcars are getting new intermediate vehicles built after eight years, and the bi-modes that I propose should have been built instead of 197s could have variants built for Northern as well in the meantime. The follow-on order needn't be exactly the same spec as the originals, just as long as they are compatible as far as multiple working is concerned and don't need significantly different maintainance procedures or sets of spares; a 375 isn't exactly the same as a 379 built 10 years later but I assume there are more similarities than differences.Good luck getting a follow on order in 2030, let alone 2035-40. Other trains have had their production lines restart, but the gap between the 350/2s and the 3/4s was only 5/6 years apart. Similar thing with the electrostars, their production line was still open with not much gap between orders. I heavily doubt we will see the 197 line stay open.
The bi-mode Aventra is the obvious answer to that. Although the bi-mode itself hasn't been pictured with end-gangways, the Aventra family is presumably modular meaning they could supply the end-gangways found on the class 730. It's also possible that CAF could deliver a Civity variant that meets the bill, they have shown they can do end-gangways (196 and 197), 100mph EMUs (class 331) and single-width passenger doors in various positions (class 397). What is less clear is whether they can do a bi-mode, the CAF website does advertise a bi-mode Civity but it's not clear whether they offer that for the UK variant.But what bi-mode options are there with end gangways? And how do they compare to the suitability of TfWs network?
You're spouting out that the 197s are unsuitable and have an extensive list of requirements, but have yet to give an example of a train you think is suitable that is available on the market.
If TfW had specified significant changes, wouldn't they have made that clear? I admit that it is possible they have changed the specification of the Sophia but I think it is rather unlikely.I would imagine it is the standard Sophia with a better cushion, TPE has similar units to the GWR ones probably because they were needed by TPE pretty quickly.
A lot; likely slightly less than the ongoing leasing costs of the class 197 fleet. This might be slightly mitigated by the fact that I would accept all units that have already been built plus the balance needed to make a fleet but it would still be very expensive. My original hope was that COVID might put the other parties in breach of the 197 contract as well, allowing the whole thing to be nullified as a mutually breached contract, but now that TfW has taken the franchise in house that hope is now gone, the UK taxpayer will pretty much have to pay for them whether they are built or not.How much exactly do you think that your cancellation would cost? The ROSCO has a contract in place with CAF and would be liable for serious damages if they break it. Similarly TfW has a contract in place with the ROSCO....
Even if there was zero prospect of electrification anywhere on the TfW network outside of the Metro for another 20 years, the 197s would still have another 10-20 years of life remaining which could push the prospects of electrification further back from 20 years away to 30, 35 or even 40 years away. If all 77 class 197s are built then I believe electrification will indeed be at least 20 years away, but without the class 197s the prospects of some electrification within the next 10 years is better than nill. The draft Welsh Government transport strategy lists elimination of diesel traction by 2040 as an objective (although this does seem to be worded to allow alternative fuels like vegi-oil to be burnt in formerly diesel trains) and that they will work with the UK Government over the next five years to improve rail infrastructure across Wales including rolling out rail electrification schemes across Wales. Now, within 5 years that is unlikely to get beyond the design stage even if the UK Government is game, but I think Wolverhampton-Shrewsbury by 2030 would be a realistic ambition in a world with less than 30 class 197s in it.Buying the 197s now wont delay electrification. Outside the valleys electrification won't happen for 20 years. At that point the 197s will be half life and their depreciated value will be even more negligible than it is now when considering the costs of electrification.
If you are talking about me, my obsession is not about door positions as such. I am of the opinion that the product offering (particularly on long-distance routes) should be a pleasant, even enjoyable, journey. Not a service that passengers can just about put up with but one that they might recommend to their friends and thereby atract modal shift. As a perfectionist, I have noted various complaints from various sources and my idea of a perfect train is one that avoids all of them. I have quickly knocked up a rough drawing in Paint to illustrate possible door positioning for a new fleet for Regional Express services (the cab doors are visible at the extreme ends - I cropped off the rest of the cab because this was a drawing of a 195 and I don't have a drawing of a gangwayed cab to drop in there). The wheelchair symbol indicates that a UAT would go there, the bike symbols indicate a bike space on one side of the train and a normal small toilet on the other. This drawing has NOT been done to exact dimensions, the number, size and spacing of windows might be a bit out and so on. This is simply to illustrate a possible door positioning that, with appropriate interior features, I think may have the potential to be a perfect train for Regional Express services. The key thing to note is the doors are single, not double, width.In the end all this nonsense about toilets, electrification and seats is a distraction from a certain posters obsession about door positions.
He is a fairly well respected rail industry person, not a random enthusaist on a web forum who hasn't set foot on a train since 2019, so I thought his opinion may be considered more worthy of listening to. By the way, the random enthusaist I am talking about here is me, not you.Oh no - not IAN WALMSLEY?!
Why on earth is his opinion any more important that anyone else’s?
Recent studies? Network Rail did a study recently (the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy) which shows that, for most of the routes the class 197s were ordered to run, electrification is the most efficient means of decarbonisation (off the top of my head, only the Cambrian and Conwy Valley would have 197s and aren't recommended for electrification - even then Cambrian services would be under the wires east of Shrewsbury). No financial case maybe but if the UK Government is serious about decarbonising rail the alternatives presumably have an even worse case or Network Rail wouldn't have recommended electrification. And if the UK Government is not serious about decarbonising rail...I don't think there's a whole lot of uncertainly. Recent studies have shown their is no financial case for extending electrification in Wales. No Westminster government is likely to go against that for several decades and no Cardiff government has the money to do anything about it.
Well no; not directly. But if we're not serious about decarbonising rail what else aren't we serious about decarbonising? The arrival of the class 197s isn't armageddon, but exceeding 2 degrees of warming might well be. The arrival of the class 197s doesn't necessarily lead to the other but it increases the risk of it which is why I think it is worth arguing despite the overwelming odds that are stacked against me.many of us have tried patiently in that time to explain that the arrival of the 197s really won't mean Armageddon for the Welsh railway network.
I agree, Salisbury has advantages which means TfW will never get the Welsh units up to that level of reliability but I still think the performance many engineers are managing to get from the 158s shows that they are not nearly as awful as you seem to be trying to make out. I'm pretty sure the article that crowned the 158s as the best DMU ever was written by Ian Walmsley who before working for Porterbrook "worked in South Wales for 11 years, mainly at Cardiff Canton but also at Landore and Cathays" so may very well have worked on 158s (not sure if his time at Canton coincided with 158s being based there).With all due respect to the esteemed journalists at Modern Railways, I think the opinions of the staff at British Rail are more reliable and relevant. They have first hand experience. As do myself and several of my colleagues on this thread who work on these units and are trying to tell you that they're not that good
Two important differences. Salisbury is only dealing with Cummins engines, which seem to be more reliable. Also, given how frequently SWT were able to loan out units to other TOCs, and the fact they were much more of a commuter peak based railway I suspect they have a lot more slack in their fleet availability for maintenance. As has been shown for several years at Arriva and TfW, there just isn't any downtime with the 158s
I think Ian Walmsley falls firmly into that category.With all due respect, some of those journalists are highly experienced railway engineers.
Better spec than the diesel Civity units yes, but inferior to 158s, 175s and all three of TPE's Nova fleets.There is always a lot of complains about the number of toilets on the 197, but from what I can see it's the best spec'd train from its close relatives.
Pretty sure the 195 have only one toilet on the 2 car and 3 car units. The 196's have one toilet on the 2 car and two on the 4 car. The 197's have one toilet on the 2 car and two on a 3 car. Don't see the issue myself.