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Should a pantograph coach be added to Voyagers, so they could become bi-mode units?

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Master29

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I know this may have been covered a while back but I can`t find any thread concerning it. Did I not read a while ago an idea of adding a pantograph coach to 220`s and 221`s with the intention of creating dual powered trains. What ever happened to such an idea and could it still happen, not that most on here would want it to ever come to pass.
 
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northwichcat

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The plan was 5th carriages with a pantograph for all the 4 car 220s (with options to do the same to the other 22xs). However, the costs were too high.

Also Cameron backed the project saying it would be good for British industry without realising Bombardier planned to do the work at their steel factory in Belgium, not their aluminium factory in Derby. Political backing disappeared when Westminister realised Voyagers had steel carriages Bombardier did not build steel carriages in Derby.
 

swt_passenger

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I know this may have been covered a while back but I can`t find any thread concerning it. Did I not read a while ago an idea of adding a pantograph coach to 220`s and 221`s with the intention of creating dual powered trains. What ever happened to such an idea and could it still happen, not that most on here would want it to ever come to pass.

Abandoned years ago. You need to search in the forums for 'project Thor', this is from 2013:
http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?p=1371414#post1371414
 

edwin_m

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The plan was 5th carriages with a pantograph for all the 4 car 220s (with options to do the same to the other 22xs). However, the costs were too high.

Also Cameron backed the project saying it would be good for British industry without realising Bombardier planned to do the work at their steel factory in Belgium, not their aluminium factory in Derby. Political backing disappeared when Westminister realised Voyagers had steel carriages Bombardier did not build steel carriages in Derby.

Also the original Voyagers had Alstom electrical equipment built in Preston, as Bombardier didn't have the capability to do it themselves at the time. Since then Bombardier took over Adtranz and they proposed to supply the new electrical equipment from the ex-Adtranz factory in Sweden.

Another technical complication was the need to run some fat cables right through the train to carry the high-current DC from the new transformer-rectifier coach to all the existing motor coaches. I think there was some difficulty finding space for this.
 

TheKnightWho

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So the project scuppered because the government could give a good press release? Having them made somewhere is better than not building them at all surely..?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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So the project scuppered because the government could give a good press release? Having them made somewhere is better than not building them at all surely..?

"Unaffordable". Also XC has no remit to acquire more stock, and still hasn't got a Direct Award till 2019 as expected.
The money probably went into the Northern/TPE franchise deals.
Bombardier got plenty of orders anyway.
 

northwichcat

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"Unaffordable". Also XC has no remit to acquire more stock, and still hasn't got a Direct Award till 2019 as expected.
The money probably went into the Northern/TPE franchise deals.

Even though Northern will receive less subsidy and TPE will move to paying a premium?

More likely DfT lost any money which could have been used* due to the West Coast franchise fiasco.

* I don't think anyone ever said the money was there.
 
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WatcherZero

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So the project scuppered because the government could give a good press release? Having them made somewhere is better than not building them at all surely..?

Would have been extremely expensive for the end result, that might just have been politically defendable if most of the value in the contract was done in the UK but they were proposing that only around a quarter of it would be. So they would have essentially been subsiding foreign production.
 

jamesontheroad

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I remember posing a similar question about the Meridians to an EMT manager at an event a year or two ago. It seem prescient given the electrification of the MML.

The answer was similar to the above - it's too expensive and not a particularly efficient means of powering the Meridians.
 

TH172341

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Project Thor was ultimately derailed due to the costs involved and the negative media reception involved in having Bombardier build them elsewhere. It would have been great to have an extra carriage, but it seems the sums just didn't make it a worthwhile prospect to pursue with. In theory it made good sense, and certainly would have saved a ton of fuel, and thus money. I think perhaps it was short sighted not to purusue - say the Project was finished by early 2014. We would already have had 2-3 years of significant fuel reduction, and years to come, as well as much needed extra seats. However I don't know the exact figures, and assume there was some good reasoning to prevent its happening.

The problem with the XC franchise is that it has been very stagnant - aside from the welcomed introduction of a few HST sets, and the addition of some seats, there's been no refurbishment of the Voyagers, and no other additional stock. I just hope this changes in the near future, as at the rate we're going, the TPE franchise is going to have a higher quality Intercity product than XC. However Arriva have done well with what they've got, and I just hope they'll benefit from extra stock soon.

And the worse thing is, is that I can't see it radically changing any time soon. There are no refurbishment plans as of yet for the Voyagers (yet the 170s have already been refreshed again), and no other additional stock. And the overcrowding has been an issue for up to a decade now. I can't help but think it's been slightly overlooked, and I just hope at some point it will get some of the TPE and Northern magic. However it would be nice to see it sooner rather than later; although as everything seems to be all happening at once now after a few years stagnation, you can live and hope!

Really I assume we'll have to sit pretty with what we've got until the next batch of Hitachis get ordered; or perhaps the Verve or Aventra 125mph may be given a go.
 
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jayah

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"Unaffordable". Also XC has no remit to acquire more stock, and still hasn't got a Direct Award till 2019 as expected.
The money probably went into the Northern/TPE franchise deals.
Bombardier got plenty of orders anyway.

The money went on lengthening the Pendolinos. The ones that are usually empty and have lots of First Class going for a pittance and massive kitchens for that 90min run to Birmingham.

£94m to electrify to Hull? The operator has just announced a fleet of bi-modes! Wires to Little Trumpington on the Bog, Great Thrumpton in the Bush. I do question the sanity of this industry. What would Project Thor have cost £2.5m per vehicle at most? For which you get a punchy fuel saving and 80x8 seats an hour out of Birmingham in the peak for no extra paths - seats that are needed now.

Sadly it seems it is deemed too expensive until a XC franchise tender goes out with a minimum offer of £2bn of AT300 to replace the entire Voyager fleet. Bargain! After all the Private Sector will be paying for it won't they????
 

RobShipway

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Project Thor was ultimately derailed due to the costs involved and the negative media reception involved in having Bombardier build them elsewhere. It would have been great to have an extra carriage, but it seems the sums just didn't make it a worthwhile prospect to pursue with. In theory it made good sense, and certainly would have saved a ton of fuel, and thus money. I think perhaps it was short sighted not to purusue - say the Project was finished by early 2014. We would already have had 2-3 years of significant fuel reduction, and years to come, as well as much needed extra seats. However I don't know the exact figures, and assume there was some good reasoning to prevent its happening.

The problem with the XC franchise is that it has been very stagnant - aside from the welcomed introduction of a few HST sets, and the addition of some seats, there's been no refurbishment of the Voyagers, and no other additional stock. I just hope this changes in the near future, as at the rate we're going, the TPE franchise is going to have a higher quality Intercity product than XC. However Arriva have done well with what they've got, and I just hope they'll benefit from extra stock soon.

And the worse thing is, is that I can't see it radically changing any time soon. There are no refurbishment plans as of yet for the Voyagers (yet the 170s have already been refreshed again), and no other additional stock. And the overcrowding has been an issue for up to a decade now. I can't help but think it's been slightly overlooked, and I just hope at some point it will get some of the TPE and Northern magic. However it would be nice to see it sooner rather than later; although as everything seems to be all happening at once now after a few years stagnation, you can live and hope!

Really I assume we'll have to sit pretty with what we've got until the next batch of Hitachis get ordered; or perhaps the Verve or Aventra 125mph may be given a go.

The only other real short term answer is for XC to take any of the remaining HST sets that are not going to Scotrail from GWR/VTEC once they have been replaced by IEP/AT300 trains. But like the Scotrail HST sets they will have to be refurbished in some way so that they have slide operated doors similar to the Chiltern MK3 coaches or the HST power cars be adapted to use MK4 coaches from the VTEC trains that will be replaced by IEP trains.
 

DarloRich

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So the project scuppered because the government could give a good press release? Having them made somewhere is better than not building them at all surely..?

Not when the whole point of the project was to keep people in jobs in the UK and especially in the train building industry. The conservatives, don't forget, are the friends of the workers
 

coppercapped

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Not when the whole point of the project was to keep people in jobs in the UK and especially in the train building industry. The conservatives, don't forget, are the friends of the workers

The reason the project was dropped had nothing to do with politics. Why people want to persist in believing this myth is, to me, inexplicable.

Bombardier made a presentation to the IMechE a couple of years ago - the project was killed by cost considerations. There were two choices to convert the trains to bi-mode, one was that on coach was adapted to take a transformer, rectifier and pantograph and the other was that a additional coach for the pan and transformer would be built and slotted into the existing sets. The latter would have had the advantage that seating capacity would have been increased.

In either case there would have to be significant re-engineering of the gubbins under coaches in a very constrained space - for example the Voyagers have a body mounted motor driving through a cardan shaft to the bogies. If a four or five car formation were retained the power-to-weight ratio under diesel power would be reduced as one engine would be lost, adding an extra coach, making 5 or 6 coaches, also reduces the power-to-weight ratio. In either case schedules under diesel power would have had to have been extended.

Methods would have had to have been found to cross-feed hotel supplies to the 'electric' coach as this would not have been self-powered in diesel mode - but as cross-feed had not been considered in the basic design significant re-wiring and control circuit changes would have been necessary on all the other coaches. A means of adding a traction power feed from the transformer to each traction motor inverter package would also have been required - again a significant issue as the power cables are a bit bigger than 13A domestic wiring. If an additional coach were to be built the costs would have been high as the numbers involved were comparatively small and the design had been superseded in the Belgium factories. An alternative design was briefly looked at but it would have been a maintenance nightmare as one coach would have been different (think interior trim fixtures and so on) from all the others in the fleet. Bombardier showed a number of CAD images showing that they had spent a considerable amount of time and money in studying the possibilities.

Another significant issue, which posters here have not thought about at all, was the time out of service for the rebuild. Bombardier reckoned each set would take about 4 months to re-engineer, regardless of whether a coach was re-built or one added. To achieve an efficient production flow at least three and probably four sets would have been out of service at any one time. This would mean that the affected TOC(s) would have to source the equivalent number of equivalent trains for the three or more years it would take for all the sets to to rebuilt. Even if sufficient rolling stock could have been identified the additional costs would have been high.

Bombardier's conclusion was that if Project Thor had been agreed within five to seven years of the trains' original introduction the costs could have been recovered during the trains remaining life. If a go-ahead decision was delayed past that point, the economics were against it.

Nothing whatsoever to do with politics.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Nothing whatsoever to do with politics.

It was all politics.
The project was dreamed up as a make-work for Bombardier to keep the Derby works going, after the Thameslink order went to Siemens (and IEP to Hitachi).
While the e-Voyager analysis was going on and not getting close to a business case, the DfT ensured Derby had some supplementary Electrostar orders (since extended) also for the Thameslink programme.
Derby also won the Crossrail (er, Elizabeth Line) order from TfL.

Bombardier never wanted to build the e-Voyager (no strategic value to them), and were much happier knocking out more Electrostars instead.
The DfT lost interest once Derby had work, and never gave XC any scope to acquire more capacity anyway.
So everyone is happy, except the XC passengers who have to soldier on with current stock.
 

coppercapped

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It was all politics.
The project was dreamed up as a make-work for Bombardier to keep the Derby works going, after the Thameslink order went to Siemens (and IEP to Hitachi).
While the e-Voyager analysis was going on and not getting close to a business case, the DfT ensured Derby had some supplementary Electrostar orders (since extended) also for the Thameslink programme.
Derby also won the Crossrail (er, Elizabeth Line) order from TfL.

Bombardier never wanted to build the e-Voyager (no strategic value to them), and were much happier knocking out more Electrostars instead.
The DfT lost interest once Derby had work, and never gave XC any scope to acquire more capacity anyway.
So everyone is happy, except the XC passengers who have to soldier on with current stock.

For a company that didn't want to build the e-Voyager it certainly spent a lot of money doing design work.

Have you seen the CAD drawings showing how a pantograph well could be inserted into an existing body and the way the HT cable to the transformer could be routed? Or how the underfloor equipment would have to be re-arranged? Or how the re-build could be sequenced? A lot of time and effort was expended.

The initial impulse might have been political, but it was economics that killed it.
 

Philip Phlopp

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For a company that didn't want to build the e-Voyager it certainly spent a lot of money doing design work.

Have you seen the CAD drawings showing how a pantograph well could be inserted into an existing body and the way the HT cable to the transformer could be routed? Or how the underfloor equipment would have to be re-arranged? Or how the re-build could be sequenced? A lot of time and effort was expended.

The initial impulse might have been political, but it was economics that killed it.

The economics that killed it were down to Bombardier's incompetence, and the die that had been cast a long time previously when they decided they didn't want to make any more Voyager and Meridian units.
 

gimmea50anyday

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the die that had been cast a long time previously when they decided they didn't want to make any more Voyager and Meridian units.


That's because they are rubbish!

To be fair From a traction point of view and the facilities offered to the Driver and Train manager they are actually very good trains. The downfall is the interior layout and space is woefully inadequate. Excessively heavy doors that attempt to but cannot hold themselves shut when the train banks become quite annoying as is the lack of any luggage space along with the travellers lack of will to use what's provided properly. This is a legacy of Railtrack not knowing what it's own gauge profile was when VXC ordered tilting trains
 
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rebmcr

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I don't understand why they went for a Diesel-Electric rather than a mechanical transmission when the carriages are pretty much self-contained as far as traction goes. I would have thought the extra weight of the generator would only be worth it if it led to distributed traction power? The 180s show that 125mph is just fine with a gearbox...
 

gimmea50anyday

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Smoother tractive effort profile. If you look.at the acceleration of a voyager the speed increase is a steady curve up to the maximum speed, whereas on a voith\zf transmission the acceleration peaks and troughs. Its not particularly noticeable from a comfort point of view, however notice when a 185 is accelerating and second gear kicks in there is a distinctive take up of speed.

It is ironic however bombardier used an Alstom traction package whereas the traction equipment used on Alstom's coradias is a bombardier (well, adtranz) product!
 
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Domh245

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It is ironic however bombardier used an Alstom traction package whereas the traction equipment used on Alstom's coradias is a bombardier (well, adtranz) product!

Pretty sure that the Onix traction kits fitted to 334, and 458s (and formerly 460s) is an Alstom product through and through. The Diesels have both got Voith transmissions and then Voith final drive on the 180s and ZF final drive on the 175s.
 

judethegreat

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I was always under the impression the voyagers and meridians were built with the intention (or atleast thought) of adding a panto. One reason for diesel-electric. Myth?
 
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edwin_m

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Pretty sure that the Onix traction kits fitted to 334, and 458s (and formerly 460s) is an Alstom product through and through. The Diesels have both got Voith transmissions and then Voith final drive on the 180s and ZF final drive on the 175s.

And unless I've got my brand names in a twist all Alstom's UK EMUs were Junipers, with only the 175/180 being branded as Coradias. Does the comment refer to other Coradia-branded trains on the Continent?
 

coppercapped

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I was always under the impression the voyagers and meridians were built with the intention (or atleast thought) of adding a panto. One reason for diesel-electric. Myth?
Myth. If there had been any intention of adding a pantograph the trains would have been built with the ability to cross-feed power from one coach to another for air-con, lighting and so on. As it is each coach is self contained.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The economics that killed it were down to Bombardier's incompetence, and the die that had been cast a long time previously when they decided they didn't want to make any more Voyager and Meridian units.

Bombardier might be (might have been?) incompetent, but the Voyager/Meridian family return some of the highest Miles per Technical Incident figures for Inter City-type trains in the business. So, not all bad...

Regardless of whether Bombardier wanted or not to build any more Voyager/Meridian vehicles it was emphasised that the cost of re-engineering the existing trains was so high that it would not have been recovered during their remaining book life if the trains were already 10 years old at the time of the rebuild. There would have been no significant energy saving - certainly not anything like enough to pay for the rebuild cost - and when off the wires the performance would have been worse.
 

Mikey C

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If, in 10 years time there is a surplus of 22x trains on the network (as they aren't suitable as replacements for the Sprinters) will some sort of conversion programme be initiated for them (e.g. by one of the leasing companies) to avoid them being worthless scrap?

A sort of reverse Class 230 programme?
 

edwin_m

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Myth. If there had been any intention of adding a pantograph the trains would have been built with the ability to cross-feed power from one coach to another for air-con, lighting and so on. As it is each coach is self contained.

Meridians have an eco-mode where one engine can be shut down, so they must have some cross-feed to allow the auxiliaries to keep working. And I'm pretty sure that has also been the case when I've travelled on a Voyager with one engine out.

The more critical issue would be the feeding of the traction power through the train. If there is indeed no cross-feeding for auxiliaries then a separate auxiliary converter could then be fitted on each coach, assuming there isn't one already .
 
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