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Porterbrook Cl.769 'Flex' trains from 319s, initially for Northern

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by jcollins, 2 Dec 2016.

  1. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    Am I right in thinking that the Royal Mail EMUs (Class 325) are to an equivalent design as the Class 319? Could they be similarly converted?
     
  2. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    They will be very similar, with the same traction package, so in theory yes. However even minor differences in the underframe configuration could complicate the conversion, and the 325 fleet is pretty small. So if RM were in the market for bimode units, fitting the necessary above-solebar mods to a passenger unit already in series conversion would likely be preferred. Not sure how much of any likely RM distribution network is off the electrified railway.
     
  3. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    From north to south are the locations of mail centres below:

    Inverness (IV, HS, and KW)
    Aberdeen (AB and ZE)
    Edinburgh (EH, FK, KY, PH, DD, and TD)
    Glasgow (G, KA, ML, and PA)
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne (NE, SR, DH, DL, and TS)
    Carlisle (CA and DG)
    Leeds (LS, YO, HD, WF, BD, HG, and HX)
    Preston (PR, FY, LA, and BB)
    Sheffield (S, DN, LN, and HU)
    Manchester (M, SK, BL, and OL)
    Warrington (WA, WN, CW, and L postcodes)
    Chester (CH, LL, and SY)
    Nottingham (NG)
    Wolverhampton (WV, TF, WS, ST, and DY)
    Birmingham (B, WR, and HR)
    Coventry (CV, LE, NN, and MK postcodes)
    Peterborough (PE and CB postcodes)
    Norwich (NR)
    Hemel Hempstead (Home Counties Network - AL, LU, SG, WD, and EN postcodes)
    Cardiff (CF, NP, and LD)
    Swansea/Abertawe (SA)
    Swindon (SN, RG, and OX postcodes)
    Chelmsford (CM, CO, SS, and IP postcodes)
    Romford (RM, IG, and E postcodes)
    Greenford (UB, HA, NW, and W2-14 postcodes)
    Mount Pleasant (EC, WC, N, and W1 postcodes)
    Bristol (BS, GL, BA, and TA)
    Exeter (EX and TQ)
    Plymouth (PL)
    Truro (TR)

    The above are north of the mighty Thames. South of the Thames there are mail centres at:

    Croydon (CR, BR, SE, and SM)
    Hounslow (Jubilee MC - TW, KT, GU, and SW)
    Medway (ME, CT, DA, and TN)
    Gatwick (RH and BN)
    Southampton (SO, SP (stands for Salisbury Plain), and PO)
    Bournemouth (BH and DT)

    For the mail centres south of the Thames, the converted 319s could be used in their original form on DC. North of the Thames, the diesel mode could be used between Peterborough and Norwich, Cardiff and Swansea, Sheffield to other neighbouring mail centres, Inverness and Aberdeen to other mail centres, and Exeter-Plymouth-Truro.

    Most of the mail centres (assuming they are near railway lines) appear to be in electrified locations, therefore could be a good suggestion converting the 319s to carry second class parcels.
     
  4. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    The trouble is that a lot of these were built at a time when Royal Mail was deliberately turning its back on rail. Wembley and Warrington have sidings. How many others could even be connected by conveyors nowadays? Stafford has a purpose-built but abandoned mail platform, but RM has locked itself into air and road transport now...
     
  5. AndyW33

    AndyW33 Member

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    Actually all these postcodes are handled at South Midlands Mail Centre, Swan Valley Way, Northampton. Coventry Mail Centre closed in 2010, but obviously there are still Delivery Offices in Coventry serving the city, just no centralised sorting operation. Unfortunately this Mail Centre is not rail-connected and is a couple of miles from any railway line.
     
  6. kevjs

    kevjs Member

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    The Preston one has it's own platform(s) at Preston railway station doesn't it?

    Nottingham South is very near the Eastcroft sidings, but I don't think that's the one that does the sorting.
     
  7. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    Like Stafford then. Actually it looks as though they are still in the buildings next to the station, as at Stafford too. That will make it easier to go back to rail transport of mail...
     
  8. WideRanger

    WideRanger Member

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    Nottingham Sorting Office is located just next to the MML in Beeston
     
  9. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    And Mount Pleasant is sited directly over the Thameslink lines, unfortunately without the requisite infrastructure to link the two it is of no benefit, other than to highlight what could have been. I'm not suggesting that there would be any chance of directly connecting with the Thameslink core, but it's worth noting that there's virtually nothing left of the infrastructure in London that would allow a mail or parcels service to be reintroduced. Looking at Beeston, it appears that there was a rail connection to a mail dock, but that appears to have been lifted. It's doubtful a service will be considered without that.
     
  10. InOban

    InOban Established Member

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    If they're planning to use them for parcels, remember that Parcelforce depots are often separate from the depots mentioned above.
     
  11. MikePJ

    MikePJ Member

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    It's not just Royal Mail, remember. There are a lot of delivery companies catering to the online retail market that want to bring goods into urban areas quickly without getting stuck in traffic, and then doing last-mile delivery with small vehicles. I can imagine some of these services running into ordinary passenger stations - even quite small ones - early in the morning. It's much more like Red Star than the mail services.
     
  12. kevjs

    kevjs Member

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    And the East Midlands Railfreight terminal will have a rail connection - Amazon and the like ship quite a lot into the neighbouring airport (2nd largest volume of cargo in the UK IIRC) - could be quite handy for getting international deliveries to the local distribution centres
     
  13. Elecman

    Elecman Established Member

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    Nope, the building is separated from the station by the Strand Road Branch
     
  14. Bertie the bus

    Bertie the bus Member

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    I'm pretty sure he is referring to the parcel (RES) platform which is still in use and could theoretically be used for parcel trains, assuming that is what he is referring to. If anybody thinks mass mail transportation is coming back to the railway they need to get their head out of the clouds. It isn't.
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Mass mail transport isn't going anywhere, be it the railway or the roads - sending documents by post is dying and will soon be dead.

    It's all about parcels.
     
  16. modernrail

    modernrail Member

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    Could the flex (or a 321 varient) be a good option for Southern on the Marshlink from Ashford to Eastbourne? I am thinking...
    - I understand that about half of the line is electrified, I think with 3rd rail. That makes it an excellent candidate.
    - Marshlink services are often 2 carriages and overcrowded but the platforms can take 4 carriages.
    - There is not a hope in hell this line will be electrified to take HS1 servicee whatever chatter there may be about doing that. There are about a million priorities in the north above this. This is therefore the best upgrade passengers on that line could hope for with a de facto doubling of capacity on perfectly comfortable trains for that particular run.
    - The released DMUs could be put to very good work in the north until the wire knitting community gets its act together.

    This leads to a further thought. Can Southern not then put 319s unmodified on Coastway Services? Southern could then have a uniform product across the South coast and suitablely organised depot facilities. If not East Coastway (which already has decent stock) then certainly West Coastway as the 319s are newer and have an extra carriage than the current stock on that line.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jan 2019
  17. physics34

    physics34 Established Member

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    They would need SDO as a few stations down there can only fit 1 carriage!
     
  18. modernrail

    modernrail Member

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    Really! Is that what happens when they run 4 carriages on Marshlink in summer?
     
  19. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    It would have to be a 319-based unit. 321s do not have third-rail gear and DC buses - there's no inherent practicality there other than using a straight DMU. Also yes, I think SDO is needed down there which neither 319s or 321s have in their current guise that I recall. 319s replacing 313s could work but as I understand it, they need to be 3-car units. Now we have the opposite problem as well - 321s can be converted down to 3-cars easily, but 319s have too much auxiliary gear to relocate. 321s not having DC gear, the best bet for Coastway I think is to bolster the EMU fleet further and put the 3-car 377s back down there.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jan 2019
  20. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    319s were run under DOO on Thameslink.
     
  21. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    Whoops, I meant SDO, apologies - will edit.
     
  22. Fincra5

    Fincra5 Established Member

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    319s don't need to be shortened to 3 cars for use on SN. 313's no longer visit the East Coast between Eastbourne and Hastings , where the two 3 car stations (Pevensey Bay and Normans Bay). 769s would be good for the Marshlink but would need SDO - as mentioned some stations are 1-coach. But 313s will be here for a while...
     
  23. samuelmorris

    samuelmorris Established Member

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    Fair enough, I don't know the area well enough to know which stations were affected (though I suppose I could have looked it up in the sectional appendix).
     
  24. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    Depending on how busy the stations are I've seen 8 (maybe 12) coach trains serve a station which is normally 2 or 3 coache trains only without the use of SDO, by the guard just opening a local door. It does require a longer stop (say +1 minute) so that people have time to walk along the platform. However if it was always the first door on the second coach there could be a sign or platform markings to highlight the general area that People needed to wait in.

    For on train passengers there would be announcements and information on the PIS's ("xxxx is the next station stop, passengers wishing to leave here need to do so by the door the guard opens in the second coach")
     
  25. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    It gets a bit more complicated when accessibilty is taken into account. Not all passengers are able to walk through the train to use the correct door. At least where the station has step-free access to the platforms, it's probably necessary to use the door nearest the wheelchair area. Using this door in both directions makes it possible to put fixed signs in the rest of the train directing passengers there if alighting at the stations in question.
     
  26. a_c_skinner

    a_c_skinner Member

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    Does anyone know what is happening with the early units? Are any on the big railway? Are they still pottering up and down the GC line? I'm beginning to swing to the "it won't work" camp, if only because nothing seems to be progressing.
     
  27. notlob.divad

    notlob.divad Established Member

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    I believe at least one has been dragged to Allerton. Presumably for maintenance training.
     
  28. big all

    big all Member

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    because there seems to be definate units earmarked for specific areas so a pressing need they will tend to spend more resources to "make it work" rather than the 230 choice where it seems will only work if the figures add up and make financial and commercial sense
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2019
  29. Class 403

    Class 403 Established Member

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    Peterborough Sorting Office is a no go for rail services as:

    1. Although its bordering the ECML/Joint Line, there is no rail access at all.

    2. The closest rail access is Peterborough station which means you still need road traffic to get to the sorting office.
     
  30. Killingworth

    Killingworth Member

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    I'm sure that if it were practical Royal Mail must have thought about it, but Sheffield sorting centre is immediately next to the rail tracks between Meadowhall and Sheffield. There could be room for a dedicated track and facility for rail borne mail if it was deemed appropriate.
     

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