Class 43 Conversion to High-Speed Freight Haulage?

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Mordac

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I just saw this possibility mentioned in this article. It sounds far-fetched to me, but I know very little about freight operations.

http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2016/06/02-strategic-railfreight-interchange-debate-ignites.html

Strategic railfreight interchange debate ignites

PLANS have been unveiled for Rail Central, a major rail-connected freight terminal near Blisworth in south Northamptonshire promoted by Ashfield Land. It could be a base for high speed freight trains formed of converted Intercity 125 HSTs and also provide a home for the Royal Train, as the future of its present depot at Wolverton continues to be in doubt. However, local people in the Blisworth area are opposing the plans.

The plans show Rail Central connected to the Northampton loop and also the main West Coast line, just south of the A43 trunk road at Blisworth.

Rail Central’s Nick Gallop told Railnews it was the developer’s intention to connect with the up and down lines on both the loop and the main line, which would open the door to express freight trains consisting of converted Intercity 125 sets. Mr Gallop said that he was in discussion with Porterbrook on the potential costs.

When asked what Network Rail and franchisees would think of Rail Central, Mr Gallop said: “Rail Central is being encouraged by Network Rail to develop these proposals and more detail will follow. Ashfield Land could pay for the route enhancements over and above their requirements in exchange for a Track Access Agreement guaranteeing them paths for Rail Central’s customers.”

He said that they were looking for equity partners, possibly pension funds.

In a related development, he added: “The Royal Train could be based at Rail Central as there are plenty of former Wolverton Works staff in the area.” There is also growing doubt about the future of Wolverton Works, because the landlord has applied for permission to demolish them.

Mr Gallop said he had not yet spoken to DB Cargo or Knorr-Bremse but planned to do so. He also said that Toton is under threat from HS2 and DB Cargo could be looking for another depot with maintenance and fuelling facilities -- which could include stabling the Royal Train.

However, people living in the area are hotly disputing Rail Central’s claims that 8,000 jobs could be created locally and also questioning the need for a fourth rail connected freight terminal, given that Daventry Interntional Railfreight Terminals are just 30km away.

Mark Redding from the protest group ‘Stop Rail Central’ told Railnews: “Apart from the obvious noise and disruption from a 24/7 rail operation, the local road infrastructure just would not be able to cope with the extra HGV and service traffic needed to keep such an operation going.”

Nonetheless, Rail Central is hoping to be operational by 2019 or 2020.
 
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Harbornite

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There's no need for the 125mph capability of these machines. They'd be better off hiring classic traction or any surplus 66's.
 

pdeaves

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There's no need for the 125mph capability of these machines.

Unless, of course, you've got your eye on scarce paths on a congested 125mph railway. In that case you'd want the 125mph capability.

Of course, to get the best performance you'd want relatively lightweight freight like letters and parcels, and there's already a bunch of 125mph class 67s without much to do.

Maybe 'they' are considering something totally different and want lower top speed, heavier load hauling, regeared 43s! After all, the article only says InterCity 125s, not that they need to go at 125mph.
 

Harbornite

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Unless, of course, you've got your eye on scarce paths on a congested 125mph railway. In that case you'd want the 125mph capability.

Of course, to get the best performance you'd want relatively lightweight freight like letters and parcels, and there's already a bunch of 125mph class 67s without much to do.

Maybe they are considering something totally different and want lower top speed, heavier load hauling, regeared 43s! After all, the article only says InterCity 125s, not that they need to go at 125mph.

Let's ignore parcels for now. The fastest freight trains we have are 75mph max. Is it worth going to the hassle of regearing 43's when there are more suitable locomotives available? Just keep the 43's for passenger work or scrap them.
 

HSTEd

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What about through wiring a couple of relatively short container rakes with HST jumpers?
Ghetto freight multiple unit.
 

randyrippley

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as originally designed, the HST prototype power cars were intended to be used 24/7 - passenger duties during the day, parcels / mail / newspaper services overnight. That was one of the reasons for the front end buffer beam and the second cab.
Someone rapidly realised it wasn't going to work - and ordered them to be respecified as fixed formation sets.
It was never made clear at the time whether the intention was to run them singly, in pairs, or top and tail.
 

NSEFAN

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For certain applications there may be a market for 75mph+ parcels multiple units, similar to the class 325s. You wouldn't see a pair of HST power cars top and tailing and intermodal, though!
 

notlob.divad

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I am wondering if the idea of this is more for competition with the Royal Mail Trains. With the privatization of the Royal Mail and the huge increase in courier companies. DHL, Yodal, Hermes, etc all providing deliveries of lots of small items. Combined with the massive expansion of online shopping and people's expectation of same/next day delivery:

A short rake for containers that could be loaded and unloaded by Hiabs straight onto the couriers lorries at either end in a simple siding rather than needing all of the infrastructure of a full multi modal terminal. It might allow these companies to seriously reduce the amount of long distance lorry miles and be more reliable with increasing levels of congestion/disruption on the road.

If you can run them up and down the mainline routes at passenger speeds a couple of times a day, rather than the 60mph you would get on the road you may have a marketable delivery system. It would need to be a diesel HST or in the future a Class 88 so that you don't have wires at the unloading points.

Just s thought, a bit wacky maybe but a thought not the less.
 

43096

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as originally designed, the HST prototype power cars were intended to be used 24/7 - passenger duties during the day, parcels / mail / newspaper services overnight. That was one of the reasons for the front end buffer beam and the second cab.

Someone rapidly realised it wasn't going to work - and ordered them to be respecified as fixed formation sets.

It was never made clear at the time whether the intention was to run them singly, in pairs, or top and tail.

I think you are getting confused with Class 91.

The cab at the blunt end on the prototypes was for shunting use only. It was never intended for other uses and has limited functionality - power limited to notch 2 maximum. Second there are no ETH connections at the "normal" end, which would be needed for uses you suggest.
 

CosherB

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http://www.railmagazine.com/news/fleet/2016/01/27/plans-submitted-to-modify-mk-3s-as-freight-vehicles

Redundant Mk 3 and Mk 4 carriages could potentially be converted into freight vehicles coupled to high-speed passenger services.

InterCity Railfreight and rail consultancy Intermodality have submitted a proposal to the Government to get the carriages back in service.

Intermodality Director Nick Gallop told RAIL on January 25 that the Mk 3s would be the ideal carriages for the scheme, as they are modern, easily recognisable, and have at least ten years’ life left in them. He said that disused Mk 4s could then be considered if the Mk 3s prove successful.

Mk 3s currently used in High Speed Train formations by Great Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast will be replaced by Hitachi’s Intercity Express Programme Class 800/801s from 2018. IEP will also displace the majority of Mk 4s from VTEC from 2018.

But rather than the carriages then being scrapped, the freight plans could give them a new lease of life, in turn raising revenue for train operating companies (TOCs).
 

The Planner

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Sounds like they are clutching at straws to get the Milton Malsor scheme going again, been knocking about for years and has yet to go anywhere. Just how many class 4 paths do they think exist on the WCML? NR is obviously going to be neutral with it all and not going to say no.
 

IanXC

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I'm why this has anything to do with the price of fish...

Intermodality Director Nick Gallop told RAIL on January 25 that the Mk 3s would be the ideal carriages for the scheme, as they are modern, easily recognisable...

Why does a freight train need to be 'easily recognisable'?!
 

Master29

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Would be interesting to see Hapag Lloyd, Foster Yeoman and Eddie Stobart Containers belting past at 125 mph.
 

jopsuk

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I've noticed the "lets do post through the tunnel using TGV La Poste" and "lets supply Tesco in london usingex Motorail wagons into Euston" projects have come to nothing
 

Robbies

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Given the experiences that the French have had with converting old TGV trains to be Fast Freight trains, only to find that the service was not popular and the trains I believe where later scrapped. How is the HST/125 freight trains going to be economical and successful?
 

cjmillsnun

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Given the experiences that the French have had with converting old TGV trains to be Fast Freight trains, only to find that the service was not popular and the trains I believe where later scrapped. How is the HST/125 freight trains going to be economical and successful?

The TGV La Poste (parcels) sets were there from the start. They used specially built PSE sets and the last of those were built in '86 so were 30 years old. They only stopped running them last year.
 

Robbies

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The TGV La Poste (parcels) sets were there from the start. They used specially built PSE sets and the last of those were built in '86 so were 30 years old. They only stopped running them last year.

My apologies, my mistake about the TGV La Poste sets. But they have not been replaced though, correct?
 

bavvo

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Is any of this possible? Freight, even parcels tends to be heavy, and top heavy too relative to a passenger carriage, so how fast can you take them round bends on the main lines safely?

Also on the reusing Mk3 carriages for freight. As they exist today they are monocoque carriages with small end doors. For freight ideally you need to be able to side load large heavy palletised loads so to do that you would need to chop the sides off of the old carriages to provide access, like a curtain sided HGV trailer. I can't see how you would do this without fatally weakening the structure. You could use smaller roller doors cut at intervals in the sides but then that restricts loading ability. Plus to maximise internal capacity you would want a squareish interior space, not the tapered profile of a passenger carriage.

That said I'd say there is a huge market for shifting high value bulk loads of parcels on rail if they could get the right hardware and find paths on our already congested main lines.
 
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That said I'd say there is a huge market for shifting high value bulk loads of parcels on rail if they could get the right hardware and find paths on our already congested main lines.

aside from paths there is also the issue of railheads at both the local depot and the hubs ... as the cost is in the labour required to load and unload regardless of loose / cage / pallet
 

HSTEd

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Also on the reusing Mk3 carriages for freight. As they exist today they are monocoque carriages with small end doors. For freight ideally you need to be able to side load large heavy palletised loads so to do that you would need to chop the sides off of the old carriages to provide access, like a curtain sided HGV trailer. I can't see how you would do this without fatally weakening the structure. You could use smaller roller doors cut at intervals in the sides but then that restricts loading ability. Plus to maximise internal capacity you would want a squareish interior space, not the tapered profile of a passenger carriage.

Its worth noting that the largest openings in the side of a Mark 3 are not the doors, but the windows.
You could get some big objects through those I imagine.
 

cjmillsnun

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Its worth noting that the largest openings in the side of a Mark 3 are not the doors, but the windows.
You could get some big objects through those I imagine.

But they are not full height. You need something you can wheel trolleys through if it being used for parcels.
 
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