Scottish Electrification updates & discussion

Brissle Girl

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Indeed
That is why Transport Scotland are being fairly cautious on what self-powered means in the very long term.
Of the Long term self powered routes:
Stranrear - Girvan (limit of electrification) is 54 single/108 return miles - not far off battery for return trip.

Tain (limit of proposed electrification) - Wick is 116 single miles
Tain (limit of proposed electrification) - Thruso is 109 single miles
Dingwall - Kyle of Lochalsh is 64 single / 128 return miles

WHL: Craigendoran Jn (limit of current electrification) - Cairnlarich is 36 single / 72 return miles
WHL: Craigendoran Jn (limit of current electrification) - Oban is 71 single / 142 return miles
WHL: Craigendoran Jn (limit of current electrification) - Fort William is 100 miles
WHL: Fort William - Mallaig is 41 single miles / 82 return miles
WHL: Craigendoran Jn (limit of current electrification) - Mallaig is 141 single miles *significantly outside current battery envelope*

With some judicious charging points at the far end (and Fort Bill) and some long layover times then an awful lot of that could be battery with just few battery performance improvements.

(Or just rebuild a 153 and part fill with batteries and a bit of luggage space for bit of extra battery range and hook it up a one end :lol: . The batteries will take up a lot less space than Hydrogen!)
Indeed, particularly when you add in the claim that a full recharge will take just 10 mins. So even if battery technology didn't move on at all in the next 10 years, a couple of charging stations at strategically placed passing loops would give a 50 mile boost whilst waiting for the line to clear. (I'd assume that recharging would be automatic from a point in the four foot, without any driver intervention, and would be provided at all terminal stations.)
 
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hwl

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Indeed


Indeed, particularly when you add in the claim that a full recharge will take just 10 mins. So even if battery technology didn't move on at all in the next 10 years, a couple of charging stations at strategically placed passing loops would give a 50 mile boost whilst waiting for the line to clear. (I'd assume that recharging would be automatic from a point in the four foot, without any driver intervention, and would be provided at all terminal stations.)
I just don't believe the 10 minutes bit but the odd top up along the way if there is decent supply near a station with loop on single track line.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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As for the route via Dumfries, they specifically state in the document that it will be a valuable diversionary route; that's the first time I've seen that justification used in an official document rather than speculatively on here!
I guess that's because the WCML is a vital arterial link, which carries (under normal circumstances) significant freight traffic at all hours of the day along with the passenger service. And if you want freight operators to transition to defaulting to electric locos, you have to ensure that not only normal routes are electrified, but diversionary routes as well.
I don't think it's proposed so much for the resilience it offers passenger services (imagine being able to divert a Pendo/80x/HS2 unit without needing a Thunderbird, just like you can do with the West Midlands diversionary routes now) as it is for the potential for decarbonisation.
I can't see the GSW line south of Kilmarnock being wired by 2035.
Avanti hardly use it and freight has dropped off a cliff with the end of coal (and most of it runs via Beattock).
Diversion capability does not by itself make a business case.

The money for any of this will come from Scotland's share of the infrastructure pot being assembled by Westminster (which might include HS2 spend).
Scotland can choose to spend a greater proportion of it on rail than England, but it will only exist if the UK's GDP can support it.
Right now, with Covid and Brexit, that's a crystal ball activity.
And even the TP scheme has not got far in the decade since it was "announced" by HMG.
Is there a Holyrood election in the offing perhaps?
 

hwl

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Stranraer - Girvan. Looks like a round trip on batteries *could* be achievable, however a charging point at Stranraer would be advisable for confidence.

Dingwall - Kyle. Borderline for a round trip. A recharge at Kyle I'd say was essential.

WHL: Craigendoran jn is an inconvenient place to change modes. For the sake if a couple of miles I'd suggest wiring to Helensburgh Upper, makes for a convenient location for the mode change, allows a few more miles to charge them batteries, and shortens the miles without wires to Oban & Fort William, Also keep in mind the linespeeds on the WHL are such that high power isn't needed, which will extend the useful range of the battery charge. But will that range be sufficient? A top up at somewhere like Crianlarich would be useful.

Tain- Wick & Thurso also borderline. I'd suggest wiring from either Golspie to Brora or Golspie to Helmsdale: more or lass halfway, very few structures to clear and power grid not too far away. Plus a charging facility at Wick and Thurso stations, possibly even wiring from Wick - Georgemas - Thurso to enable recharge on the move.
Like I said charging point at the far end (away from the wires e.g. Girvan, Kyle) + Fort Bill and a decade of battery tech development then see where things stand. Then possible a few tweaks in wiring scope. Given the comparatively low usage levels and Grid /DNO supply points need to be cheap i.e. located adjacent to line and with spare capacity.

I suspect leaving Craigedoran Jn "as is" on the plans aligns with wait and see attitude.

A logical next step if needed might going to the passing loop @ Glen Douglas (local summit and just south of the National Park boundary) which would shave 15miles of the WHL distances.
 

hwl

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I can't see the GSW line south of Kilmarnock being wired by 2035.
My thinking was that it potentially removes container trains from ~80miles of two track WCML north of the border, with OHLE the extra mileage via GSW (25-30miles) for freight is far lower cost than with diesel.
 

InOban

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Except that the container trains are heading for Mossend. Not sure how you would get there easily from the G&SW.
 
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Except that the container trains are heading for Mossend. Not sure how you would get there easily from the G&SW.
There is the chords linking the GSW/Cathcart lines to the WCML at Polmadie. 156s have used it in diversions. Glasgow Central > Larkfield Junction > Crossmyloof (reversing at Larkfield both directions), though for freight it could just continue forward.

Though the issue would be the junctions at Rutherglen, would you be able to string a freight through there?
 

alangla

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Except that the container trains are heading for Mossend. Not sure how you would get there easily from the G&SW.
During the Lamington viaduct diversions they operated Mossend/Coatbridge- Kirkwood- Rutherglen- then I think largely via Irvine - Annbank - Mauchline - Dumfries- Carlisle. Alternatively you can go Rutherglen- Crossmyloof - Kilmarnock- Dumfries but that means threading through the single track south of Barrhead. Rutherglen isn’t a problem, there’s already freight plodding through there & there used to be a lot more when Hunterston was putting out coal
 

Class 170101

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Except that the container trains are heading for Mossend. Not sure how you would get there easily from the G&SW.
During the Lamington viaduct diversions they operated Mossend/Coatbridge- Kirkwood- Rutherglen- then I think largely via Irvine - Annbank - Mauchline - Dumfries- Carlisle. Alternatively you can go Rutherglen- Crossmyloof - Kilmarnock- Dumfries but that means threading through the single track south of Barrhead. Rutherglen isn’t a problem, there’s already freight plodding through there & there used to be a lot more when Hunterston was putting out coal
But presumably you enter Mossend from the north rather than the south which might put the freight trains the wrong way round.
 

60159

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The partial wiring of the WHL and Far North Line surely require it? You’d want to minimise the amount of self powered running to reduce hydrogen storage requirements on board.

Though I heard a suggestion recently that battery 385s would take over the WHL South of Crianlarich with passengers required to change onto 158s for onwards travel until new dedicated bi-mode alternative stock was developed.

It might not be the best for passenger convenience, but if well managed cross platform changes it would be tolerable, would eradicate WHL sprinters units from Glasgow QS and provide faster and possibly more frequent journeys from Crianlarich to QS. Would def not want to see 385s or similar suburban layouts running any further North.

TBH thought it was wibble and a windup by someone who could be in the know, but then this decarbonisation plan popped up! So who knows!
 

NotATrainspott

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The partial wiring of the WHL and Far North Line surely require it? You’d want to minimise the amount of self powered running to reduce hydrogen storage requirements on board.

Though I heard a suggestion recently that battery 385s would take over the WHL South of Crianlarich with passengers required to change onto 158s for onwards travel until new dedicated bi-mode alternative stock was developed.

It might not be the best for passenger convenience, but if well managed cross platform changes it would be tolerable, would eradicate WHL sprinters units from Glasgow QS and provide faster and possibly more frequent journeys from Crianlarich to QS. Would def not want to see 385s or similar suburban layouts running any further North.

TBH thought it was wibble and a windup by someone who could be in the know, but then this decarbonisation plan popped up! So who knows!
Any DMUs for the WHL have to come from a depot in Glasgow. At that point it doesn't make a vast amount of sense to not just run them in service. I mean, in the same document it talks about minimising diesel ECS runs.

The permanent alternative solution lines are also the scenic routes, and can justify a more custom type of rolling stock. Even if Hitachi can churn out some 385s with batteries to run over the Forth Bridge, that doesn't mean they'll end up on the WHL. Batteries will become as standard a component as a diesel engine, so any train type which might be a DMU today may well end up having a battery equivalent in future. The same goes for hydrogen.

The plans for electrification to stretch to Tain probably come about for the grid feeder reason, but they also reflect a desire to run a genuine commuter service into Inverness. I thought we'd see it only go as far as Dingwall, but it seems like you could run extra services to Tain relatively easily. Beyond that the more circuitous route by rail probably makes the journey time unviable compared to rail for most passengers. The population density also seems to drop off.

One of the things I'm sure the Scottish Government have realised is that the Covid work-from-home world means that in future, it'll be easier for people to move to these sorts of rural locations without also losing their jobs. So long as you're able to make your way to Inverness Airport once a week for a flight to Edinburgh or even London for meetings, and you have full fibre internet at home, you could live in these towns and villages just fine.
 

gsnedders

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The partial wiring of the WHL and Far North Line surely require it? You’d want to minimise the amount of self powered running to reduce hydrogen storage requirements on board.
I had two things in mind: one is whether we can practically store enough hydrogen (liquid/pressurised) on board a six-car train for Mallaig/Fort William/Oban style services (though I guess the absolute daily mileage is relatively low for the scenic lines, so the answer may well be yes); the other is that 25kV transformers add a fair amount of bulk and will there be enough running under OHLE to justify the resultant loss of hydrogen capacity? The space taken up by the transformers is a constant amount regardless of how much use they get, so it's not necessarily so clear cut that reducing the hydrogen demand by X and reducing the available storage by Y is necessarily a win.

WHL: Craigendoran jn is an inconvenient place to change modes. For the sake if a couple of miles I'd suggest wiring to Helensburgh Upper, makes for a convenient location for the mode change, allows a few more miles to charge them batteries, and shortens the miles without wires to Oban & Fort William, Also keep in mind the linespeeds on the WHL are such that high power isn't needed, which will extend the useful range of the battery charge. But will that range be sufficient? A top up at somewhere like Crianlarich would be useful.
I mean when it comes to Craigendoran Jn the silly suggestion from me would be to reopen the Craigendoran WHL platforms! (Please don't take this seriously.)
 

66C

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Plans are for Hydrogen units north of Inverness, West Highland and Stranraer services. Central belt to Aberdeen and Inverness will start with discontinuous electrification with battery electric bimodes and a gradual infill of the electrification following.
 

59CosG95

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Plans are for Hydrogen units north of Inverness, West Highland and Stranraer services. Central belt to Aberdeen and Inverness will start with discontinuous electrification with battery electric bimodes and a gradual infill of the electrification following.
I assume, with the "discontinuous" electrification, that each section of wires would be situated around key grid supply points?
Certainly one of the main 400kV distribution networks follows the Highland Main Line very closely.
 

66C

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Yes from what I heard HML was having wires erected around Perth and Inverness initially with an infill around Blair Atholl at a later date.
 

d9009alycidon

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But presumably you enter Mossend from the north rather than the south which might put the freight trains the wrong way round.
If you were routed from Polmadie - Newton - Hamilton Circle - Motherwell you would be the right way round OK.

On the more general topic of Power generation I would imagine that any new hybrid technology would take advantage of regenerative braking, so provided you had sufficient power to get to (say) Corrour you would generate power for the batteries all the way to Fort William, just dipping into the reserves to pick away from Spean Bridge. All the potential routes for hybrid power are like roller coasters so there is a lot of potential for regenerative supply.
 

chiltern trev

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A very interesting report.

To those who are red/green colour blind - send letter/email to the author(s) etc.

Re suggestion about WHL panoramic stock. Presumably something like the Glacier Express or the Rocky Mountaineer - so what about a spoof advert showing a Glacier Express type coach on the WHL? Must be a few graphic designers/photoshoppers on here up for a challenge and then publish.

As regards how long a 156/158 lasts. The WHL/Kyle/Thurs/Wick lines are not being electrified so you have 10 years or so to plan and introduce a fleet replacement which seems plenty of time (at the moment). So one fleet for all this group and maybe you could add on some for Stranraer.

Bi-modes of diesel and electric - given that diesel engines seem to get replaced quite frequently (some will will say exactly how often), is it not a simple case of remove/scrap/throwaway the diesel engine and a suitable replacement time.

As as regards axle loading and ballasting, then why not go for a GA type Stadler unit with a middle diesel gen-set section which you simply take out? Perhaps Stadler could do one combined family fleet (WHL/Kyle/Stranraer/Thurso/Wick/any other bi-mode route)with:
* panoramic roof where needed
* diesel gent set section where need
* or battery set section (instead of diesel gen-set)

and you get an added bonus of level boarding which will be an even bigger boost for tourism of elderly, families with buggies etc. and more people using the train?

Infinitely better than a high step Hitachi! And no need to book in advance for a ramp operative!
 
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hwl

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But presumably you enter Mossend from the north rather than the south which might put the freight trains the wrong way round.
With electric (container) freight it is easier to reverse in, hence Mossend is best approached from the south, so the electric locos can push the wagons back into the non electrified sidings for unloading. (then on exit, pull the wagons out then run round, only one set of loco uncoupling and coupling)
 

hwl

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If you were routed from Polmadie - Newton - Hamilton Circle - Motherwell you would be the right way round OK.

On the more general topic of Power generation I would imagine that any new hybrid technology would take advantage of regenerative braking, so provided you had sufficient power to get to (say) Corrour you would generate power for the batteries all the way to Fort William, just dipping into the reserves to pick away from Spean Bridge. All the potential routes for hybrid power are like roller coasters so there is a lot of potential for regenerative supply.
Agreed on both.

All Hydrogen and battery trains use regen and hydrogen trains need batteries to do this, they aren't just hydrogen trains.

For the WHL and Far North routes the Hydrogen trains are going to need quiet a lot of battery to store the recovered energy. (or else the range is going to be a lot shorter than in the manufacturers PR material (75mph max, flat, minimal stops)).
 

class26

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Agreed on both.

All Hydrogen and battery trains use regen and hydrogen trains need batteries to do this, they aren't just hydrogen trains.

For the WHL and Far North routes the Hydrogen trains are going to need quiet a lot of battery to store the recovered energy. (or else the range is going to be a lot shorter than in the manufacturers PR material (75mph max, flat, minimal stops)).
There is a stretch of the FNL which reaches 90 mph
 

66C

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They have another 15 years to perfect the technology and produce the hydrogen units. I suppose the 156 and 158s will be replaced at the end of their lives.
 

edwin_m

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Regenerative braking just means you get back on the downgrades some of the extra energy you used during the climbs. Because of system inefficiencies the overall consumption would be somewhat more than on a non-hilly route of the same length, and the range with the same battery would be shorter.
 

Philip Phlopp

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Plans are for Hydrogen units north of Inverness, West Highland and Stranraer services. Central belt to Aberdeen and Inverness will start with discontinuous electrification with battery electric bimodes and a gradual infill of the electrification following.
I'm more interested in the rolling stock strategy to allow this to happen. The strategy documentation suggests the first diesel stock will be coming out of service around 2025, and withdrawals will continue through to 2035. I'm slightly curious as to how much route mileage will be electrified prior to withdrawal of (primarily) the HST stock, what gaps will remain, and whether those gaps will exist for a long enough period to justify procurement of bi-mode battery stock.

If you were routed from Polmadie - Newton - Hamilton Circle - Motherwell you would be the right way round OK.

On the more general topic of Power generation I would imagine that any new hybrid technology would take advantage of regenerative braking, so provided you had sufficient power to get to (say) Corrour you would generate power for the batteries all the way to Fort William, just dipping into the reserves to pick away from Spean Bridge. All the potential routes for hybrid power are like roller coasters so there is a lot of potential for regenerative supply.
Battery units cannot rely too heavily on regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is typically blended out and friction braking blended in at lower speeds, to provide the necessary fine level of control needed to stop at platforms, at the end of loops, and before red signals. It there's lengthy periods of running due to TSRs or trains are cautioned for a lengthy period because of trespass, they potentially will not be regenerating enough electricity to meet demands on further sections. Battery kWh charge has to be treated more like litres of diesel fuel.
 

themiller

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Agreed on both.

All Hydrogen and battery trains use regen and hydrogen trains need batteries to do this, they aren't just hydrogen trains.

For the WHL and Far North routes the Hydrogen trains are going to need quiet a lot of battery to store the recovered energy. (or else the range is going to be a lot shorter than in the manufacturers PR material (75mph max, flat, minimal stops)).
There’s a fair bit of energy being proposed to be harvested from the Pentland Firth. This could be used in part to end feed the Far North line to either enable electrification or for battery charging at Thurso and Wick.
 

GRALISTAIR

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There’s a fair bit of energy being proposed to be harvested from the Pentland Firth. This could be used in part to end feed the Far North line to either enable electrification or for battery charging at Thurso and Wick.
Very interesting and ideal - may I ask is the energy proposed to come from tidal or solar or wind or combo?
 
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A slight presentational grizzle:
About 1 in 12 of the UK male* population is colourblind, with red-green colourblindness being the most common. Presenting people with diagrams where red lines and green lines are intermixed but mean opposite things is just plain ignorant, and could be described as discriminatory. Yes, I am aware of the usual railway standards on signalling diagrams, but this is a document designed to be read and used by the general population. It is utterly useless for me - and millions of other people like me.

* It is a genetic condition which is very rare in females.
The only signalling diagrams that use colours other than black and white are those involved with the commissioning of new works. If that were a new works diagram, green would mean that the lines/equipment were being removed, and red would mean new lines/equipment being built (With blue for those awaiting a decision). No yellow in any diagram as it can easily be overlooked, especially in low light. We don’t otherwise use colours on standard signalling diagrams, instead signals are represented using specific symbols and can be read by a trained member of staff regardless of any colour blindness (Though, that may prevent you passing a medical depending on its severity).
 

och aye

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I wonder if all this electrification will help the case to reinstate stations on existing lines. Newburgh and Bridge of Earn are two that immediately come to mind.

Also, I wonder if this plan means that potential rail reopening such as Borders Railway to Hawick, Peterhead and Fraserburgh, Glenfarg MK2 will go on the back burner, given the costs that will be involved with electrification.

Personally, I hope this rolling programme isn't some false dawn and successive governments (regardless of their political hue) will have this programme rolling for the next 25 years. Even if only the 2035 target is reached, that would be an achievement in itself.
 

themiller

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