Heavy trams as Pacer and Sprinter replacement

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aformeruser

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In a GMPTE report (before they became TfGM) on the viability of using tram-trains on the Mid-Cheshire line, they bring up something called a heavy tram. It won't let me copy and paste from the pdf, it's mentioned at the bottom of page 6 of the below link. A heavy tram is defined as being able to operate on National Rail infrastructure without any changes to infrastructure but is unlikely to be able to operate on street running sections. They say they are a possible Pacer and Sprinter replacement and it mentions heavy trams as something they looked at for the Marple line.

http://www.mcrua.org.uk/chairmansbl...2/08/Altrincham-Greenbank-Report-REDACTED.pdf

Does anyone know any more about what they are calling 'heavy trams' Is a heavy tram something like a DLR train?
 
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michael769

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Does anyone know any more about what they are calling 'heavy trams' Is a heavy tram something like a DLR train?

It sounds to me like a kind of lightweight train that can be built more cheaply. Possibly DLR eque.

My thought is that such a thing may have some use on shorter branchline only routes where they can operate a lower speeds. For longer higher speed routes I struggle to see how a lightweight train could meet the necessary crash protection requirements.
 

aformeruser

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tram-train

I think they mean tram-trains. Trams that meet all the requirements of running on both tram lines and heavy rail networks. The Wikipedia page has a few examples.

No they don't. They specifically say a heavy tram is a different option to a tram-train and that a heavy tram might not meet street running requirements. I mentioned DLR as apparently the units used are similar in some way to the M5000s that Manchester Metrolink use but aren't suited for street running.

A real tram-train can run on the street.
 

sprinterguy

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The Light Rail Transit Association, in the link provided, provides the following brief, and not entirely enlightening, definition of what constitutes a heavy tram:

The tram-train and its "cousin" the heavy tram have very similar functions but somewhat different parameters although they both could be described as saviours of the branch line. Tram-trains for instance, often with line-of-sight operation and emergency track brakes, have the ability to operate safely when required on a street track. The heavy tram though, constructed for stronger buffing loads, can when required, operate safely over the main line for access to a workshop.
http://www.lrta.info/DDocs/dd023.pdf

And West Yorkshire Metro also have this to say, and offer an example of where heavy tram operation is already employed:
Heavy Tram

Information about Heavy Tram (or Train-Tram) systems
11 July 2007

Heavy Tram systems (also known as train-tram systems) use heavy rail vehicles which can also run on street on conventional tram tracks. Heavy tram systems are covered by tramway regulations rather than rail regulations which may pose some difficulties in terms of meeting regulatory requirements in this country. Heavy tram systems have the potential to carry significant numbers of passengers and are able to provide improved city centre penetration compared to a conventional heavy rail network.

Examples of Heavy Tram:
Several examples of this type of operation are on rural rail lines in Switzerland.

From the three documents that I have perused, including the GMPTE one, I gain the impression that a “heavy tram” would be something far more substantial than the DLR vehicles, and they most often seem to be mentioned in the context of diesel or dual-power operations, rather than being pure electric rail vehicles. The GMPTE report seems to insinuate that even the Tyne & Wear Metrocars are not equal in crashworthiness standards to the “heavy tram”, in that a heavy tram “would meet the standards for operation on Network Rail without changes to the signalling”, which it states was a necessity for the Sunderland extension of the Tyne & Wear Metro. IMO you can’t get much more substantial than a Tyne & Wear Metrocar before you are looking at a fully fledged heavy rail multiple unit, far more so than a DLR car.
 

asylumxl

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No they don't. They specifically say a heavy tram is a different option to a tram-train and that a heavy tram might not meet street running requirements. I mentioned DLR as apparently the units used are similar in some way to the M5000s that Manchester Metrolink use but aren't suited for street running.

A real tram-train can run on the street.

Then is it a tram anymore?

Tram-train by another name. They can brand it as they like.
 

aformeruser

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I gain the impression that a “heavy tram” would be something far more substantial than the DLR vehicles, and they most often seem to be mentioned in the context of diesel or dual-power operations, rather than being pure electric rail vehicles.

Generally I doubt a tram-train or heavy tram would be used on a wholly electrified route. Possibly the Glossop line is an exception.

From reading that I get the impression that heavy trams could perhaps work on the Blackpool tramway but maybe are less well suited for city centre running on newer tram systems like Metrolink and Supertram.
 

asylumxl

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From the three documents that I have perused, including the GMPTE one, I gain the impression that a “heavy tram” would be something far more substantial than the DLR vehicles, and they most often seem to be mentioned in the context of diesel or dual-power operations, rather than being pure electric rail vehicles. The GMPTE report seems to insinuate that even the Tyne & Wear Metrocars are not equal in crashworthiness standards to the “heavy tram”, in that a heavy tram “would meet the standards for operation on Network Rail without changes to the signalling”, which it states was a necessity for the Sunderland extension of the Tyne & Wear Metro. IMO you can’t get much more substantial than a Tyne & Wear Metrocar before you are looking at a fully fledged heavy rail multiple unit, far more so than a DLR car.

Sounds like an Alstom Regio-Citadis! Even down to the dual power!

http://www.alstom.com/transport/pro...tram-trains-citadis-dualis-and-regio-citadis/

Oh wait, that's a tram-train.
 

aformeruser

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Then is it a tram anymore?

Tram-train by another name. They can brand it as they like.

They are being seen as a different option. Maybe it's a bit like saying a 142 and a 150 are two different options of train but 142s have more restrictions on where they can go e.g. not being able to work Hazel Grove to Buxton.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sounds like an Alstom Regio-Citadis! Even down to the dual power!

http://www.alstom.com/transport/pro...tram-trains-citadis-dualis-and-regio-citadis/

Oh wait, that's a tram-train.

But then one option is they can run on an APS system supplying the electric: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-level_power_supply That certainly wouldn't work for city centre running in Manchester. They mention a Stream System as a workaround but another page says that is being removed in some cities, so possibly there are safety concerns relating to it.
 

LexyBoy

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A heavy tram is defined as being able to operate on National Rail infrastructure without any changes to infrastructure but is unlikely to be able to operate on street running sections.

So... a train then?

Then again, maybe a Pacer is a heavy bus - able to operate on National Rail infrastructure without any changes to infrastructure but is unlikely to be able to operate on street running sections.

For self-contained lines like the Abbey line or Stourbridge I could see such vehicles being used, if they are truly off-the-shelf rather than being a complex custom design. For pacer replacement I'd really like to see a proper lightweight MU along the lines of the FLIRT would be more flexible and could be standardised across the country (haha).
 

sprinterguy

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For pacer replacement I'd really like to see a proper lightweight MU along the lines of the FLIRT would be more flexible and could be standardised across the country (haha).
In many cases, Pacers are utilised on busy commuter routes with high peak demand. It surprises me that GMPTE would be considering the use of tram trains on inner suburban routes such as the Marple line when it is already starkly apparent that Pacers, our current answer to dirt cheap, dead basic, light on axle loadings rolling stock, are inadequate to the demands of present day commuting and the increased number of passengers that suburban routes are witnessing.

Surely the only sensible rolling stock solution for such routes is either electrification or 2 and 3-car Class 172 units. Not attempting to repeat the mistakes of the past by introducing the next generation of "Pacer" type units updated for the 21st century. Then again maybe I shouldn't be so surprised at GMPTE being keen on adopting this latter approach, given their predelection for turning all local rail routes to trams.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Sounds like an Alstom Regio-Citadis! Even down to the dual power!

http://www.alstom.com/transport/pro...tram-trains-citadis-dualis-and-regio-citadis/

Oh wait, that's a tram-train.
Very much so. The distinction between "tram-train" and "heavy tram" seems to be so blurred as to render the "heavy tram" term, which I hadn't seen before today, superfluous. As has been mentioned, you surely can't get much "heavier" than a tram-train before you're looking at, well, a train.
 
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aformeruser

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In many cases, Pacers are utilised on busy commuter routes with high peak demand. It surprises me that GMPTE would be considering the use of tram trains on inner suburban routes such as the Marple line when it is already starkly apparent that Pacers, our current answer to dirt cheap, dead basic, light on axle loadings rolling stock, are inadequate to the demands of present day commuting and the increased number of passengers that suburban routes are witnessing.

Surely the only sensible rolling stock solution for such routes is either electrification or 2 and 3-car Class 172 units. Not attempting to repeat the mistakes of the past by introducing the next generation of "Pacer" type units updated for the 21st century. Then again maybe I shouldn't be so surprised at GMPTE being keen on adopting this latter approach, given their predelection for turning all local rail routes to trams.

In principle I agree with 172s or equivalent replacing Pacers and 150s. However, if they use 'heavy trams' on shorter routes only, increase the frequency and retain National Rail ticketing. So, for instance, a Northern Rail operated heavy tram between Glossop and Manchester every 15 minutes, then that might not be a bad thing.

I would hope that any 'heavy tram' program does not focus on the North though. Just because we have the most Pacers doesn't mean we have the lightest loadings or the most branch lines. Had the Pacers not failed on the Cornish branch lines I imagine the South West would be very much Pacer county by now.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I posted this on another forum at the same time and the response I got there was along the lines of.

Tram-train with street running option: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Avg-898-00.jpg
Heavy tram without street running option: http://www.railwaymedia.co.uk/Foreign/Hungary/23945084_zSZf9h#!i=1952502389&k=3GsKJFx&lb=1&s=A
 

tbtc

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In principle I agree with 172s or equivalent replacing Pacers and 150s. However, if they use 'heavy trams' on shorter routes only, increase the frequency and retain National Rail ticketing. So, for instance, a Northern Rail operated heavy tram between Glossop and Manchester every 15 minutes, then that might not be a bad thing

Why would the Glossop line be used, since it gets EMUs already? I thought that this "heavy tram"/ "tram train" (etc) stuff was about Pacer/ Sprinter replacement?
 

aformeruser

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Why would the Glossop line be used, since it gets EMUs already? I thought that this "heavy tram"/ "tram train" (etc) stuff was about Pacer/ Sprinter replacement?

The Glossop line does keep coming up when tram-trains are mentioned despite being fully electrified.
 

tbtc

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The Glossop line does keep coming up when tram-trains are mentioned despite being fully electrified.

I'm surprised at its mention on this thread - I thought that the EMUs were well enough loaded for the current level of service (?) - and presumably there's not a lot of spare paths at Piccadilly to double the service (with shorter trains/trams)?
 

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YorkshireBear

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Forgive but in what way is the second one not just, a train...

Thats exactly what i thought.
And on that basis i think a lightweight train could be perfect for pacer replacement, we don't need anything like the 170 175 or 185 to replace them something light, these european DMUs with the bogies between cars rather than two at each end seem like the perfect solution to quite a few lines. Lincoln sheffield? Huudersfield sheffield? Devon branches? Lincolnshire(to cascade 156s)
 

aformeruser

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Forgive but in what way is the second one not just, a train...

It's defined as a "Fast Light Innovative Regional Train" so I'm not entirely sure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadler_FLIRT
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'm surprised at its mention on this thread - I thought that the EMUs were well enough loaded for the current level of service (?) - and presumably there's not a lot of spare paths at Piccadilly to double the service (with shorter trains/trams)?

There are frequency enhancements proposed for CP5 once the number of TPE services through Guide Bridge is reduced.

Based on the off-peak loadings on Monday 23rd July (when I used the line) they are better than the off-peak Manchester to Alderley Edge services but still a low loading for a train with up to around 280 seats, although they would be a healthy (not overcrowded) loading on a 142.
 
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Wyvern

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Very much so. The distinction between "tram-train" and "heavy tram" seems to be so blurred as to render the "heavy tram" term, which I hadn't seen before today, superfluous. As has been mentioned, you surely can't get much "heavier" than a tram-train before you're looking at, well, a train.

Well no. You get a train-tram.

According to this letter anyway
 

150001

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I'd say if the stock had proper, train seating then a tram train may be a good idea. Although the Class 172s would be a excellent option!
 

apk55

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What about a modified version of the tram trains that run around Karlsruhe. These can run on both DB main lines with 15KV16.7Hz AC and 750Vdc for street running. Some even have toilet so could be used for longer routes. They are also 3 section articulated units so would offer slightly more capacity than a 2 car DMU.
Producing a version with a 25KV 50Hz transformer would not be difficult and would save some weight.
The best information I can find on them is in German at http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/GT8-100D/2S-M
 

LE Greys

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It seems that the idea is not a new one. There have been plenty of systems that blur the distinction between trams and trains. Essentially, we are talking about an inter-urban vehicle that does just that.

http://www.lner.info/locos/Electric/immingham.shtml

One could also define Class 33s and 4-TCs as 'tram-trains' if one was being flippant.
 

aformeruser

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Lincoln Sheffield? Huddersfield Sheffield?

I think something needs to be with both those two lines.

Sheffield-Huddersfield direct is slower than via Leeds and Huddersfield-Leeds suffers horrendous overcrowding.

Sheffield-Lincoln isn't a short journey and is the fastest end to end service. It needs something better than a Pacer for a service linking two cities.

Remember people travelling from Lincoln may then travel beyond Sheffield on another Pacer service, which is why Pacers should only be on the shortest lines.

A couple of Chinese tourists who boarded a Merseytravel 142 at Southport the other week seemed very unimpressed.

It seems that the idea is not a new one. There have been plenty of systems that blur the distinction between trams and trains. Essentially, we are talking about an inter-urban vehicle that does just that.

The conclusion I've come to is a tram-train is a tram adapted to also allow working alongside heavy rail vehicles. While a heavy tram is a train which has been built using some tram technologies to reduce building and running costs.
 

tbtc

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I think something needs to be with both those two lines.

Sheffield-Huddersfield direct is slower than via Leeds and Huddersfield-Leeds suffers horrendous overcrowding.

Sheffield-Lincoln isn't a short journey and is the fastest end to end service. It needs something better than a Pacer for a service linking two cities

These two routes are sufficiently long that anything with the word "tram" in its description sounds wholly unfit to deal with.
 

Yew

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These two routes are sufficiently long that anything with the word "tram" in its description sounds wholly unfit to deal with.

Although a Light DMU, with articulate bogies and secondary air suspension, 75mph top speed and either end doors, or well sealed commuter doors, sounds a lot better, and that is fairly close to what these heavy trams seem to be.
 

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I'm surprised at its mention on this thread - I thought that the EMUs were well enough loaded for the current level of service (?) - and presumably there's not a lot of spare paths at Piccadilly to double the service (with shorter trains/trams)?

They are indeed, I believe one option that is being looked at to improve service provision is changing from 2tph to Glossop/Hatfeild via Glossop/Hatfeild to 2tph from Glossop and 2tph from Hatfeild with 1tph from Each into Victoria and Piccadilly respectively, and speeding up some of the DMU services between Ashburys and Guide Bridge by handing the stops over to the EMU services to Derbyshire. Potentially having these via Victoria services coming from Liverpool Lime Street or Bolton, or just using the bays at Victoria.

Although a Light DMU, with articulate bogies and secondary air suspension, 75mph top speed and either end doors, or well sealed commuter doors, sounds a lot better, and that is fairly close to what these heavy trams seem to be.

Or why don't we just have off the shelf trains and reduce costs?

Considering how much electrification is coming in soon and the amount of pure DMUs we already have, should we not be looking at some form of EDMU Commuter / Inter-Reigonal unit?

3x20m or 2x20m carriages with end doors, working from a 3 carriage principal, having AC Transformer and all ancillary equipment in the middle carriage and a 750hp Diesel Generator and 3rd Rail Pickups in the two end carriages?

2x20m version would have only one generator and one transformer, designed for running routes like Manchester Airport to Southport for example.
 

tbtc

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Although a Light DMU, with articulate bogies and secondary air suspension, 75mph top speed and either end doors, or well sealed commuter doors, sounds a lot better, and that is fairly close to what these heavy trams seem to be.

I'm all for 75mph DMUs (I keep arguing that we need some new stock at the "bottom" end of the market, rather than all these complicated plans to cascade 125mph units onto 100mph services and 100mph units onto 75mph services).

I'm just not sure what the advantage would be of having a small number of non-standard units would be - compared to having some fairly basic DMUs.

I think that the (mainly Pacer operated) Sheffield - Lincoln service would be more suited to upgrade to a 156 (to recognise the longer distance nature) than downgrading to a "heavy tram" / "tram train"
 
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