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Far North Sleeper - DMU?

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I've been looking at the Far North line sleeper proposals again. From the HITRANS report it seems that one of the (many) major factors precluding a service is that the standalone service and unique rolling stock simply costs too much, both to procure and operate.

I know it's far from ideal, but could a DMU - perhaps a 158/a pair of 158s - be converted into a sleeper train? Or as a less drastic refurb airline style lie-flat seats could be fitted? This could leave Thurso or Wick (or both!) at 10 or 11 at night, and then be attached to another DMU to provide the first train of the day from Inverness to Edinburgh. In the reverse direction it could be connected to the last train at night from Edinburgh to Inverness then run alone from there?

Running costs would in theory be much reduced, since there are no locos or a micro-fleet of coaches that require special maintenance and operating procedures. Since it can be attached to regular early morning/late in the evening trains between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Inverness it would drastically reduce costs on this section too. The only limitation would be that the first/last Inverness to Edinburgh trains would have to be DMU operated
 
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JohnMcL7

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I can't imagine trying to sleep with the noisy underfloor engines of a 158 which are bad enough in normal use. I'm perhaps misunderstanding the concept but it seems a very short distance for running a sleeper service.
 
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I can't imagine trying to sleep with the noisy underfloor engines of a 158 which are bad enough in normal use. I'm perhaps misunderstanding the concept but it seems a very short distance for running a sleeper service.
To be clear I mean Thurso/Wick to Edinburgh. It's an 8 hour journey at the best of times so it's a serious proposition, and it's been proposed before.
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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I think the underfloor engines would complete defeat the purpose of a sleeper train, but a train with an intermediate power pack car like on the 755s could work I guess.
 

Falcon1200

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It's a lovely idea, but the problems with all sleeper services are that the stock can only make one journey a day, and carry fewer passengers than day stock, thus the economics are horrendous. It would certainly make 'doing' the Far North Line much simpler though.
 

Bald Rick

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From the HITRANS report it seems that one of the (many) major factors precluding a service is that the standalone service and unique rolling stock simply costs too much, both to procure and operate.

but could a DMU - perhaps a 158/a pair of 158s - be converted into a sleeper train?

that sounds like the very definition of a stand alone service with unique rolling stock!
 

delt1c

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I've been looking at the Far North line sleeper proposals again. From the HITRANS report it seems that one of the (many) major factors precluding a service is that the standalone service and unique rolling stock simply costs too much, both to procure and operate.

I know it's far from ideal, but could a DMU - perhaps a 158/a pair of 158s - be converted into a sleeper train? Or as a less drastic refurb airline style lie-flat seats could be fitted? This could leave Thurso or Wick (or both!) at 10 or 11 at night, and then be attached to another DMU to provide the first train of the day from Inverness to Edinburgh. In the reverse direction it could be connected to the last train at night from Edinburgh to Inverness then run alone from there?

Running costs would in theory be much reduced, since there are no locos or a micro-fleet of coaches that require special maintenance and operating procedures. Since it can be attached to regular early morning/late in the evening trains between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Inverness it would drastically reduce costs on this section too. The only limitation would be that the first/last Inverness to Edinburgh trains would have to be DMU operated
Surely a 158 reconfigured as a sleeper would be a micro fleet as its use would be limited to overnight use.
 
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that sounds like the very definition of a stand alone service with unique rolling stock!
Well, not quite. Traditional LHCS sleepers as suggested by the report require maintaining a tiny fleet of coaches as well as providing a locomotive, driver and guard familiar with using this stock, and also dealing with run-arounds at each end and shunting movements. Tl:Dr - a headache.

If stock was based upon a unit that operates in the area already, like a 158, you would have a subfleet of units only operable on that service but essentially the same crewing and maintenance requirements as the regular fleet.
It's a lovely idea, but the problems with all sleeper services are that the stock can only make one journey a day, and carry fewer passengers than day stock, thus the economics are horrendous. It would certainly make 'doing' the Far North Line much simpler though.
Theoretically the units would be on the go 8-9 hours a day, so it wouldn't be drastically underutilised. I take your point on carrying fewer passengers, but it's the most efficient way that a sleeper service could be provided. If the LHCS option came close to passing a cost/benefit analysis I think this could be made to work.
 

IanXC

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I think the underfloor engines would complete defeat the purpose of a sleeper train, but a train with an intermediate power pack car like on the 755s could work I guess.

Indeed, I think the best chance for HITRANS to get anywhere with this is when the current stock for the Far North lines is replaced, apparently by 2035 (see Scotland decarbonisation proposals). Even then it seems unlikely a sleeper scheme could be achieved.
 

zwk500

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If stock was based upon a unit that operates in the area already, like a 158, you would have a subfleet of units only operable on that service but essentially the same crewing and maintenance requirements as the regular fleet.
Driving and maintenance would be largely the same, but the Guard's duties would likely be very different in terms of evacuation plans, safety checks etc.
Theoretically the units would be on the go 8-9 hours a day, so it wouldn't be drastically underutilised. I take your point on carrying fewer passengers, but it's the most efficient way that a sleeper service could be provided. If the LHCS option came close to passing a cost/benefit analysis I think this could be made to work.
I know this is speculative ideas, but if 9 active hours in 24 is the most efficient way to deliver the sleeper service, maybe the current way of providing it (i.e. Don't) is the best of all.
 

Bald Rick

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Well, not quite. Traditional LHCS sleepers as suggested by the report require maintaining a tiny fleet of coaches as well as providing a locomotive, driver and guard familiar with using this stock, and also dealing with run-arounds at each end and shunting movements.

But a tiny subfleet of units is still a tiny fleet, and they still need maintaining. Indeed, with engines underneath etc they would likely need more maintenance than regular sleeping coaches. Thy would certainly need bespoke maintenance and servicing , due to the extra kit that sleeping accommodation requires, and that expensive but.

Having traincrew familiar with the stock is almost irrelevant, particularly for a small operation. The cost is providing traincrew full stop. In the thread. A year or so ago on the thread on the subject I costed the operation up, you can find the details there.



If the LHCS option came close to passing a cost/benefit analysis I think this could be made to work.

The LHCS didn’t get remotely close to passing any cost/benefit analysis, and never could.
 
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Okkk, I read the previous threads and yeah, this is a non-starter.

Theoretically the idea of shifting foot passengers to Orkney from the 3 days a week overnight boat to the far more regular Scrabster-Stromness boat seems like an attractive proposition. My logic was that if Scotrail can afford to drag a 153 along to Oban and back then running an extra late night train to Thurso/Wick and then tacking a 158 onto existing early morning/late night trains between Edinburgh and Inverness might be in the same ballpark.

But, the demand is low, and the costs stack up quite fast.
 
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Surely converted HST coaches would be the way to go if you were going to do this. Has the benefits of using a 158 without the underfloor engines.
 
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Surely converted HST coaches would be the way to go if you were going to do this. Has the benefits of using a 158 without the underfloor engines.
Was under the impression that they had a ruinously expensive fuel bill, and swapping out coaches from a HST Set so the powercars could be used during the day sounds like a bit of a complication.

Maybe running a boat train with a HST to provide a better service, catering, etc, is closer to being possible.
 
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popeter45

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thinking back to the 158's or fruture DMU's/BMU's
as its a local fleet and prob wont be used elsewhere why not make them all couchettes that can be converted to bunks on one set for the last service of the day?
as a senic route may benifit from being able to offer comparments during the day, could even use 1 as a luggage room for hikers equipment/bikes/mail
no longer a micro-fleet if every unit that serves the line can take on the sleeper run
 

6Gman

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I've been looking at the Far North line sleeper proposals again. From the HITRANS report it seems that one of the (many) major factors precluding a service is that the standalone service and unique rolling stock simply costs too much, both to procure and operate.

I know it's far from ideal, but could a DMU - perhaps a 158/a pair of 158s - be converted into a sleeper train? Or as a less drastic refurb airline style lie-flat seats could be fitted? This could leave Thurso or Wick (or both!) at 10 or 11 at night, and then be attached to another DMU to provide the first train of the day from Inverness to Edinburgh. In the reverse direction it could be connected to the last train at night from Edinburgh to Inverness then run alone from there?

Running costs would in theory be much reduced, since there are no locos or a micro-fleet of coaches that require special maintenance and operating procedures. Since it can be attached to regular early morning/late in the evening trains between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Inverness it would drastically reduce costs on this section too. The only limitation would be that the first/last Inverness to Edinburgh trains would have to be DMU operated
I'd understand this idea better if you could provide a rough timetable:

Edinburgh XXXX
Inverness XXXX
dep XXXX
Wick/Thurso XXXX

and return
 

XAM2175

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I'd understand this idea better if you could provide a rough timetable ...

The idea is an old one, not one created anew by the OP. You'll find more information in previous threads, such as:

 

Bald Rick

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The idea is an old one, not one created anew by the OP. You'll find more information in previous threads, such as:


Just spent a pleasurable half hour reacquainting myself with the middle thread, and the comparison with an on demand helicopter service. I must have been on the cheap wine that weekend :)
 

XAM2175

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Just spent a pleasurable half hour reacquainting myself with the middle thread, and the comparison with an on demand helicopter service. I must have been on the cheap wine that weekend :)
One my favourites, by far :E
 

ScotTrains

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Would it be possible to use the 153's for a sleeper service attached to a standard 156/158? They could carry bikes/skis during the day then convert into sleepers with beds during the night.
Similarly, the Megabus sleeper service quickly transfers back into a normal bus with seats during the day then back into beds for the night services.
For extra comfort perhaps the 153 engine could be turned off.
 

zwk500

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Would it be possible to use the 153's for a sleeper service attached to a standard 156/158? They could carry bikes/skis during the day then convert into sleepers with beds during the night.
Similarly, the Megabus sleeper service quickly transfers back into a normal bus with seats during the day then back into beds for the night services.
For extra comfort perhaps the 153 engine could be turned off.
In theory, maybe. In practice, why (and who) on earth would want to do so?

The conversion of luggage space into beds would also seem to require rather fortuitous timing at Inverness station (or wherever they get converted).
 

Highlandspring

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Would it be possible to use the 153's for a sleeper service attached to a standard 156/158? They could carry bikes/skis during the day then convert into sleepers with beds during the night.
Similarly, the Megabus sleeper service quickly transfers back into a normal bus with seats during the day then back into beds for the night services.
For extra comfort perhaps the 153 engine could be turned off.

Just when you thought this thread couldn’t get any crazier… this post is peak RailUK forums. It will never be surpassed.
 

JKF

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Isn’t the obvious answer to convert Mk3 sleeper stock to work with class 43 power cars? Wiring/voltage would need changing.

Or perhaps some kind of class 442 and Mk3 sleeper cut and shut, powered by battery/hydrogen/turf or whatever.
 

Falcon1200

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Isn’t the obvious answer to convert Mk3 sleeper stock to work with class 43 power cars? Wiring/voltage would need changing.

Obvious answer to what question ? What demand is there, on a route which even now has just four through trains a day, which would justify the huge expense of providing and operating an overnight service, bearing in mind that Scotland/London sleepers only survive thanks to massive public subsidy ?
 

whoosh

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Just when you thought this thread couldn’t get any crazier… this post is peak RailUK forums. It will never be surpassed.

[Did someone just mention 442s? Standby..!]


I genuinely think it's one of the more sensible ideas I've seen on here!

I quite like it.

You'd have to do something like suggest to reopen the Caingorm Mountain Railway with one class 365 car, and one 442 car (the buffet car - obviously! - but with the driving car's cabs grafted on) both converted to run on the rack railway, to truly be entering craziness.
And, have the track the 365 is on having overhead power via a pantograph, and the track the 442 is on having third rail - in a nod to Thomas the Tank Engine "Experimental Engines" - to see which is less affected by snow and high winds on a mountain.

Great British Railways: the new Derby Research - in Scotland!


Swapping beds out for cycle racks is pretty sensible really in comparison. Unless you want to sleep and take your bike, in which case it's bad luck. A hotel with a cycle rack or a lamppost outside it is your only option.

Now there’s a challenge. I’m thinking of on demand Helicopters with beds in...

:D Can they take cycles? Or dangle them at least?
 

randyrippley

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Just raise line speed to 125. Cut the journey time = no need for sleepers

Or even better, rebuild it as a maglev route, powered by all that cheap hydro-electric.
Two hours end-to-end?? You could transform Scottish commuting
 
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