MML Electrification updates

mr_jrt

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...electrification will of course improve acceleration, making adding more stops less of an issue.
 
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Olaf

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Blame whoever suggested that the project should go ahead in the first place for its eventual cancellation? Interesting logic.

Quite clearly, Network Rail was not up to the job, and adding MML Electrification to the CP5 program broke the camel's back.
 

mwmbwls

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I still believe HS2 is in part behind this decision. When [if] it finally comes to Toton and Sheffield, I believe the MML south of Trent will be reduced to a commuter style route simply to drive custom onto the new services and justify its development. Why would many people from the East Midlands and South Yorkshire opt for HS2 when the MML could get them into London in an hour and a half to two hours, at a somewhat lower fare? I think eventually electrification of the MML will be extended from Kettering / Corby to Leicester, which will have some fasts and plenty of stopping services to London. Further north, lack of investment and journey time extensions resulting from MML trains calling all stations will be used as a lever to make HS2 the most viable and quick option in many travellers eyes. Investing in electrification - particularly beyond Trent - makes less sense if the long distance services it was to support will be largely gone in 10-15 years time.


Your analysis is correct. There has been an exchange of correspondence between Lillian Greenwood, the Head of the Transport Select Committee (TSC) and Chris Grayling.

It started when the TSC chairman asked the question what has happened to the very favourable cost benefit ratio generally quoted in making the case for MML electrification

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/transport/Chair-to-SoS-for-Transport-re-rail-electrification-2-11-2017.pdf

Chris Grayling’s reply is that it has been diluted by the yet to be built HS2 link from London to the East Midlands.

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/transport/Letter-from-Secretary-of-State-for-Transport-re-rail-electrification-29-11-2017.pdf

He then argues that bi-modes are an acceptable substitute and cites thr Rail Delivery Group as supporting his view in their response to the recent DfT strategy proposals..

https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/what-we-do/publications.html?task=file.download&id=469773459

4.2. RDG welcomes the attention given to rolling stock within the consultation document.

4.3. Recommendation: in the next East Midlands rail franchise, RDG would like to see continued support for new rolling stock for both intercity and regional services. This should be delivered in a way which is efficient and affordable for government, industry and the supply chain.

4.4. The Long-Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry is forecasting an increase of the national fleet between 41% and 89% over the next 30 years. The proportion of electric vehicles (including bi-modes) is forecasted to rise to over 85% by 2034, and the analysis indicates that between 11,000 and 16,000 new electric vehicles will be required over the 30 years to 2046.7

4.5. Bi-mode vehicles for the UK market are now being built for both 125 mph intercity services and 100 mph regional services, for six train operators. With a large number of new vehicles now committed for delivery, the introduction of bi-mode trains could unlock a raft of passenger benefits in terms of capacity, punctuality, reliability, passenger facilities and the environment.”

This in bald terms is Baldling’s cunning plan – the cunningest plan since James Watt watched a kettle steaming and then went on to invent the Expresso Coffee Machine.

I am somewhat surprised that neither major commentators in the railway press nor MPs, whose constituencies are overflown by HS2, have not picked up on this. I think that they might have been thinking in terms of a logical “and” solution - system improvements at a constituency/regional level and a National High Speed grid rather than Baldling’s “either/or”. How long will he last in his current position when the penny , or should that be pantograph,drops? My considered advice to the SOS would be “don’t buy any green bananas”.
 
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Kettledrum

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another poor response from Grayling, using selective bits of information to support a poor decision, with no understanding of the bigger picture such as the need for a rolling program of electrification to retain skills and keep overall costs down.

Goodness only knows how he has selected which costs to include/exclude in the business case to reduce it so much, and what wild guesses he has made about future passenger flows.

HS2 will have a zero affect on passengers from Leicester, Market Harborough or Loughborough so cutting the electrification from Kettering to Loughborough can't be anything to do with HS2.......and HS2 to the East Midlands is decades away from being operational.

And if the response from the RDG to the EM franchise consultation is the best he can come up with, then he obviously hasn't read all the consultation responses - again being foolishly selective.

Many of the contributors to this forum will have drafted better and more rounded responses.

If Graying had said bi-modes were a temporary stop gap, and acknowledged the benefits of electrifying the rest of the MML on a rolling basis, he might get more respect.
 
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Flying Phil

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As Kettledrum says
"If Graying had said bi-modes were a temporary stop gap, and acknowledged the benefits of electrifying the rest of the MML on a rolling basis, he might get more respect."
EXACTLY!
 

Senex

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another poor response from Grayling, using selective bits of information to support a poor decision, with no understanding of the bigger picture such as the need for a rolling program of electrification to retain skills and keep overall costs down.

What else would one expect from one of the weakest performers in a weak cabinet?

HS2 will have a zero affect on passengers from Leicester, Market Harborough or Loughborough so cutting the electrification from Kettering to Loughborough can't be anything to do with HS2.......and HS2 to the East Midlands is decades away from being operational.

And, as a good few others have pointed out here, the benefits for Derby and Nottingham will be pretty minimal (if anything). If the Midland line is the needed between London and Derby, and then has to be electrified from south of Chesterfield and through Sheffield for the planned HS2 services (when—if—the eastern limb gets built), that leaves only the short section from Derby to the CLay Cross area with no apparent claim on modernisation.

But might anything better be expected after an election? Have we heard anything at all of what Labour's attitude to electrification is, or have that party's pronouncements on railways been limited to re-nationalisation?
 

jyte

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Grayling make a comment about the 800s on the GWML along the lines of "we're running them as bi-modes until NR sorts its **** out?" implying they would become 'full' electric eventually, or has that position changed?

I don't understand the DfTs long term plan here when it comes to electrification - in the direction we're going diesel fuel will either be far too expensive or not usable (due to public opinion/new laws or regulations) within the at least 30 year timeframe these trains will be used in.

And batteries are bloody heavy - I doubt swapping out diesel motive power for batteries will be cheap or efficient. The Tesla Model S's 85Kwh battery pack weighs something like 500KG - I wonder how far that would get an 800.....
 

GRALISTAIR

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I don't understand the DfTs long term plan here when it comes to electrification - in the direction we're going diesel fuel will either be far too expensive or not usable (due to public opinion/new laws or regulations) within the at least 30 year timeframe these trains will be used in......

You and me both. A brilliant politically and otherwise move would be:
“ Bimodes are an excellent interim solution which allows us to have a nice steady rolling program of electrification and spread the cost over a large number of years protecting the skills base and the supply chain and letting us get greener and away from politically unstable crude oil hydrocarbon based technology all at the same time. A side benefit is we modernize our Victorian infrastructure but at a pace that is sustainable. Mr Speaker, I commend this to the House. “
 

jyte

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"Mr Speaker, I would like to remind The House that these British Built bi-modes offer the best of both worlds. Paying passengers get their new more reliable trains with extra seats in peak time, free on-board wifi and more comfortable journeys now, and will benefit from improved journey times and capacity over the next few years as our rolling electrification scheme continues. Eventually, we will remove the diesel engines from these trains completely, which will not only reduce costs to both train companies in the form of no fuel bills and cheaper maintenance, leading to lower ticket prices , but will also in conjunction with this governments Green Energy Policy and our new Hinkley Point Nuclear Reactor, lead to our rail network becoming one of the greenest in Europe."

Of course, all fiction. For all the 'credit' politicians get for being 'sneaky' and 'crafty', they seem to miss the easiest/best/best looking option so spectacularly sometimes.
 
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mwmbwls

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Chris Grayling is to be questioned over his responses to the TSC. Now that his decision to disinvest in the MML because of the benefits arising from HS2's Toton -Sheffield link has been become clear perhaps he might like to fill in the detail by providing the assumptions and the numbers that prompted his decision.

http://www.cityam.com/277917/chris-grayling-faces-further-scrutiny-mps-over-decision

The transport secretary has been called back before MPs for a further grilling in the New Year on cancelled rail electrification schemes.


Chris Grayling will be asked to produce information previously requested by the Transport Select Committee and explain in more detail his reasons for replacing plans with bi-mode trains on 22nd January 2018.


In July, the government announced it had scrapped electrification plans for railway lines in Wales, the north and the Midlands.


Grayling said instead, faster trains will be rolled out with more seats and improved facilities.


"Passenger numbers on the UK rail network have more than doubled since privatisation 20 years ago and our country’s railways need to adapt and change to be able to meet current and future demand," he said.


"New bi-mode train technology offers seamless transfer from diesel power to electric that is undetectable to passengers," Grayling added. "The industry is also developing alternative fuel trains, using battery and hydrogen power. This means that we no longer need to electrify every line to achieve the same significant improvements to journeys, and we will only electrify lines where it delivers a genuine benefit to passengers."


The routes affected included the Great Western route west of Cardiff, the line north of Kettering to Sheffield and Nottingham, and the line between Windermere and Oxenholme.


The secretary of state was previously questioned about the plans in October, and asked for further information on the benefit cost ratios for the schemes involved. The Committee said not all information requested has been provided.


Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said:


“Being accountable to parliament means ministers must explain and justify the decisions they take.


I am pleased that the secretary of state will appear before the Transport Committee again in January and I hope that after this session we will better understand his decision to cancel planned rail electrification schemes.


The choices the government have made lock us into a mode of operation that will persist for many years and we need to test and challenge their position to ensure it is robust”.[/UOTE]
Let us hope that assumptions to be tested include when will HS2 services begin to operate on the eastern arm of the "Y" as opposed to the completion of MML electrification? What isochronic (door to door journey time) mapping has been made showing the split whereby passengers going to their local station on the MML as opposed to a separate journey to Toton will get to St Pancras faster by the classic route. What sort of fare structure does he anticipate on both the HS and classic lines - what is the value of the deemed abstraction factor that an electrified MML could adversely impact HS2?

Speaking to the Rail Magazine Conference in Birmingham last year, Sir David Higgins said he expected Ryanair pricing structures to apply rather than Premium fares. Is it the Ministers intention to similarly disinvest in other adjacent rail routes by subnstantially degrading frequencies? Does he think that other MP's might have noticed his decision and does he still expect MPs from Kettering north to support the HS Phase 2 legislation as it goes through Parliament.

Finally in October 2017 Rail Engineer asked an interesting question
The bi-mode trains for the Midland main line are intended to deliver improved journey times – for example, a 20-minute reduction in journey time between Sheffield and London. It has become apparent, since the announcement, that this improvement will be delivered through infrastructure improvements and omitting station stops.

As has been shown, bi-mode trains do not deliver the performance of an electric train. Moreover, there are still many unanswered questions about the remaining electrification on this route from Bedford to Kettering and Corby. For example, will it (and the existing London St Pancras to Bedford section) be installed (upgraded) to allow 125mph operation with multiple pantographs? If not, the bi-mode trains might be slower on the southern half of the line than the current diesel Meridian and High Speed Trains.
 

Senex

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Chris Grayling is to be questioned over his responses to the TSC. Now that his decision to disinvest in the MML because of the benefits arising from HS2's Toton -Sheffield link has been become clear perhaps he might like to fill in the detail by providing the assumptions and the numbers that prompted his decision.

Does Grayling even understand what he's talking about, or is he simply the talking head spouting out whatever his bi-mode-fanatic civil servants tell him?

Perhaps a statement to the Commons might start: Mr Speaker, we all understand that the United Kingdom is exceptional and that experience gained in other countries, especially those of Europe, has no applicability here. That is why, even though there is nowhere else where the use of bi-mode trains is being seen as an acceptable substitute for the electrification of well-trafficked main lines, those bi-modes are the ideal solution for the railways here, in that they allow British governments to continue with their short-termism in planning and public investment and with their reliance on imported oil fuel with all its known environmental problems. This is a British solution for British circumstances, and we are certain that in due course others will find that they are convinced of its general sense and will be willing to buy necessary harware from us." [And, of course, thirty years later no-one will have bought the British products and Britian will be having to electrify rapidly, buying in not only the necessary kit but also the expertise to replace that which will have been lost.]
 

HSTEd

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Well is there any major reason why we couldn't provide a northward running 'slip' onto HS2 from the Classic line through Toton?

There are no capacity concerns as the Eastern branch is unlikely to be close to full, and it would allow, fast, electrified running between Toton and points north on the HS2 infrastructure.

You could run a hybrid MML/HS2-2E service
 

deltic08

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Well is there any major reason why we couldn't provide a northward running 'slip' onto HS2 from the Classic line through Toton?

There are no capacity concerns as the Eastern branch is unlikely to be close to full, and it would allow, fast, electrified running between Toton and points north on the HS2 infrastructure.

You could run a hybrid MML/HS2-2E service
But what about those from Derby and Nottingham who want to travel to Sheffield and beyond? They are stuck with XC and Northern respectively in slow speed diesel units. Where is the competition then to keep fares low?
 

HSTEd

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But what about those from Derby and Nottingham who want to travel to Sheffield and beyond? They are stuck with XC and Northern respectively in slow speed diesel units. Where is the competition then to keep fares low?
Competition inside the railway is largely a mirage anyway.
And it would be interesting to see a travel time comparison for Nottingham to Leeds via the existing route and Nottingham to Leeds via Toton.
 

Olaf

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Surely the driving force behind electrification is not politics, but the ability to enhance capacity where needed..

The Green considerations were a significant factor if you look back at the discussions, justifications, and reports in the lead-up period. Adding the MML scheme to the CP5 workload pushed NR beyond it's ability to resource all the schemes properly within the committed time-scales. Weak and out of touch management at NR was to blame for accepting a work bank that NR was unable to deliver, but there was political factor in pushing the MML route onto the list.
 

HowardGWR

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But what about those from Derby and Nottingham who want to travel to Sheffield and beyond? They are stuck with XC and Northern respectively in slow speed diesel units. Where is the competition then to keep fares low?

I have a lot of detrimental expressions I could use for XC Voyagers, but 'slow speed' would not be one of them.
 

deltic08

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Competition inside the railway is largely a mirage anyway.
And it would be interesting to see a travel time comparison for Nottingham to Leeds via the existing route and Nottingham to Leeds via Toton.
A change into HS2 services at Toton would be quicker but passengers shouldn't have to change to travel between cities as large as Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds for the fastest journey time. Changing trains is a disincentive to travel for many.
 

HSTEd

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A change into HS2 services at Toton would be quicker but passengers shouldn't have to change to travel between cities as large as Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds for the fastest journey time. Changing trains is a disincentive to travel for many.
That's why I wasn't talking about changing trains - I was talking about a north facing connection from the MML at Toton to HS2
 

edwin_m

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A change into HS2 services at Toton would be quicker but passengers shouldn't have to change to travel between cities as large as Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds for the fastest journey time. Changing trains is a disincentive to travel for many.
That's why I wasn't talking about changing trains - I was talking about a north facing connection from the MML at Toton to HS2
A train via Sheffield joining HS2 at Toton would only be on HS2 infrastructure for a relatively short distance before rereturning to the existing route south of Clay Cross. Nottingham-Sheffield would be slightly quicker but mostly by avoiding the three intermediate stops on this section; hence a train would still be needed on the existing route as well as one on the high speed route, so no capacity release or saving in operating cost. Leicester-Sheffield would also save a small amount of time by not running via Derby (but again a train would still be needed on the existing route). Derby-Sheffield today has a relatively direct route via Ambergate, where speeds are generally higher than on the Erewash line, so it's unlikely that they would save any time via Toton. Thus I think it would be difficult to justify the likely high cost of a grade-separated connection at Toton based on a small time saving to the relatively small Leicester-Sheffield and Nottingham-Sheffield flows (which include any passengers from beyond either end).
 

HSTEd

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There are Leeds flows however, and regular XC trains that could skip the York-Derby segment in a way they could not do if they went into Curzon Street
 

ScotGG

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It looks like Grayling could be on his way out.

The way he is losing votes for his party all over the country the sooner the better some may say.
 

IanXC

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The Green considerations were a significant factor if you look back at the discussions, justifications, and reports in the lead-up period. Adding the MML scheme to the CP5 workload pushed NR beyond it's ability to resource all the schemes properly within the committed time-scales. Weak and out of touch management at NR was to blame for accepting a work bank that NR was unable to deliver, but there was political factor in pushing the MML route onto the list.

This is one of the best summaries I have seen - although, as an outsider it is difficult to know whether it was 'weak management at NR' or 'DfT instance in-spite of NR management raising concerns' that got us into this position.
 

richieb1971

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I don't think Grayling is uneducated. He probably knows he cannot meet the expectations and just says whatever he needs to, to deliver something much cheaper on his watch.

If I were Grayling i'd let OHLE go ahead to reach Corby and then re-assess the situation at that point. The 700's will utilize the Corby route and the new trains will not have to be bought until a later date.

At least that shifts some of the budget from trains to infrastructure. As usual though, my ideas will be bombarded with at least 3 reasons this is unfeasible.
 

A0wen

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The 700's will utilize the Corby route and the new trains will not have to be bought until a later date.

No they won't - there are no plans to extend TL services beyond Bedford.

EMT need a fleet of EMUs for the Corby services - there are several candidates, but the obvious option seems to be the soon-to-be available 379s from the Stansted Express which will be ousted by GA's fleet refresh.
 

DarloRich

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I don't think Grayling is uneducated. He probably knows he cannot meet the expectations and just says whatever he needs to, to deliver something much cheaper on his watch.

If I were Grayling i'd let OHLE go ahead to reach Corby and then re-assess the situation at that point. The 700's will utilize the Corby route and the new trains will not have to be bought until a later date.

At least that shifts some of the budget from trains to infrastructure. As usual though, my ideas will be bombarded with at least 3 reasons this is unfeasible.

Are you sitting down? I agree with you.

I also don't think Grayling is uneducated. He went to Cambridge and got a 2:1. What he is a politician ;)
 

richieb1971

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No they won't - there are no plans to extend TL services beyond Bedford.

EMT need a fleet of EMUs for the Corby services - there are several candidates, but the obvious option seems to be the soon-to-be available 379s from the Stansted Express which will be ousted by GA's fleet refresh.

Personally would prefer the corby route to change to TL. At least that would stop squabbling over what franchise stops where and less people changing trains.
 

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