The shortage of rolling stock

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by och aye, 23 Dec 2018.

  1. och aye

    och aye Member

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    I wasn't sure where to put this question, so apologies if this post is in the wrong sub-forum.

    Forgive me for sounding like a simpleton, but with the number of rail passengers at record highs, how come there is a major shortage of rolling stock on the network? I realise that each franchise has their own specific issues such as delays in manufacturing, but surely the ToC's/Gov can see the numbers and plan ahead to build sufficient stock?

    It would be interesting to read the reasons/hypothesises that folk who are more knowledgeable on the subject.

    Cheers
     
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  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Delays in manufacture are a minor factor. Delays in commissioning stock that has been built are another. Delays to infrastructure, specifically electrification, are another. Delays in ordering are more significant. They arise partly from the delay in tendering franchises (which may indicate to bidders that Government expects increased services) and then in awarding them.

    But ultimately the problem lies with a Government which has been reluctant to approve investment in additional rolling stock because it wouldn't pay for itself. The same applies to using existing redundant locos and coaches (a lot of them are expensive to maintain and less than reliable).

    This is particularly acute with the more heavily subsidised operators such as Northern, Scotrail and Transport for Wales.

    So it's complicated!
     
  4. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Using a terribly luddite approach I might suggest transferring off lease hst's to alleviate problems short term.

    Hell I would even keep Pacers going if it would help!
     
  5. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Ps don't whine on about the 2019 deadline. We all know it wont be met and a derogation will have to be granted to keep the railways running!
     
  6. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Mainly for two reasons:

    1) There has been a reluctance to invest in new diesel stock over the last decade or two - yet passenger numbers have grown.

    2) Many of the electric fleets built in the early 2000s were specified for the service levels of the time, so we’ve found a situation where many fleets are stretched.

    I don’t think this problem is going to go away imminently either. Whilst we do have some new diesels coming, we’re also losing a big fleet of Pacers (allegedly). The second problem should in theory be eased by the massive amount of EMUs now on order, but again it will depend on whether operators are prepared to take on some older units as a top up. Another factor will be how successful the electric to diesel conversions prove to be - the jury’s still out on that one. If things aren’t managed well then we could see a situation of lots of spare rolling stock, but the “wrong sort of rolling stock”.

    A few extra electrification schemes would have provided worthwhile!
     
  7. headshot119

    headshot119 Established Member

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    Where's the like button
     
  8. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    It's really a shortage of a specific type of stock than an overall stock shortage. If you divide the stock into stopping/commuter and long distance categories, and also self-powered and electric, then it's really only the self-powered stopping trains that are in shortage. The IEP and recent EMU procurements have resulted in all of the other categories having (or shortly to have) surpluses, with these types being stored and scrapped in sizeable numbers.
    The DfT haven't exactly helped matters, by cancelling a sizeable government-backed procurement when a proven DMU type was still in production, and more recently by announcing an aspiration for the railway to be diesel-free by 2040. This does not encourage investment. The PRM deadline has only impacted to a minor extent so far, with availability reductions whilst stock is refurbished. It will cause the elimination of some older stock, which is to old to economically update (irrespective of whether the PRM deadline is adhered to, this stock will be removed in the next few years.)
    To compensate for these losses, we have
    • Conversions from redundant EMU
    • Conversions from redundant long-haul diesel stock
    • Conversions of newly electrified lines from DMU to EMU operation
    • Limited procurement of new DMU and bi-mode stock
    I've ignored short-term issues where new stock is being introduced, as these will be forgotten about very quickly. I don't see any appetite for large scale DMU procurement, the investment climate is very much against diesel now.
     
  9. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    Yes. As a regular Manchester commuter much as I hate the 142s any train is better than no train...
     
  10. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    mainly down to government/DfT moving the goalposts.
    there's not really a shortage of rolling stock per se, the allocations of each type are now mismatched because of ineffective planning.

    a few years ago the the government went on a eco-bender and dictated that massive amounts of electrification infrastructure was needed and diesel trains would be ultimately banned. ROSCO's/TOC's were planning for said action to happen.
    I think it was basically the over-reaction environmentalist "if it smokes-ban it" mantra causing the problem here, rather than a slower methodical plan to retrofit engines etc to euro 3a/3b compliance at next major overhaul.


    then a couple of years ago the new administration pulled the plug on a lot of electrification projects,said bi-modes were the way forward and ultimately diesel would get a reprieve.ROSCO's had already ordered the next batch of stock on the assumption of what the DFT and government were saying- and now that allocation was mismatched.

    So now we find ourselves in a position where theres a glut of EMU multiple units, a shortage of DMU's, a potential shortage of light freight locos(20's ,31's,37's and 47's are basically end of life now..56's are slightly better but being dragged out of retirement)
    however none of the above will be euro3b compliant,and if this is adopted in full like PRM requirements, we'll find ourselves in much the same situation as the MK3 coaches are. Perfectly sevicable but unable to use due to legal diktat.

    It takes about 4-5 years from start to finish for TOC/ROSCO/Manufacturer to discuss,negotiate,build,test and put into service a new train.
    They also need to plan for the stock having a working life span of 30-40 years.

    if they have any sense they'll already be discussing a small 2-car articulated 153 replacement and a tri-mode 73/9ish type 3/4 go-anywhere light freight loco..maybe an 88 on steroids with third rail option.
     
    Last edited: 24 Dec 2018
  11. physics34

    physics34 Established Member

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    There definately wont be a shortage of rolling stock on a couple of years...least not in the south east.
     
  12. Bantamzen

    Bantamzen Established Member

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    Are you really suggesting that a railway project deadline might be missed? Oh the Jedis will feel this one coming. I look forward to the inquisition on here from 01/01/20.... ;)
     
  13. Killingworth

    Killingworth Established Member

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    Stop, start procurement of a multiplicity of designs over the last 30-40 years leaving us with numerous classes ordered for specific needs that existed decades ago. Lack of regular throughputs of orders caused closure of manufacturing capacity which has meant new stock is having to come from overseas until new plants are built. Gone are the days when we exported large amounts of railway rolling stock.

    Other factors have already been mentioned but the HST is a classic example, one that has worked very well for 40 years originally with 7, 8, or 9 carriages and now being reduced to 4 or 5. That such trains may still be running in front line service 50 years after introduction tells a lot about the way rolling stock has been managed in recent years.

    When it comes to capacity the availability of compatible units is a factor. Sheffield-Manchester is operated by TPE with 3 car Class 185s alternating with East Midlands 158s. The 185s have 1st class seats, the 158s are standard only. 158s normally operate as 4 car trains allowing walk through, and could (if stock available, but currently isn't) operate as 6 cars. When TPE send out 6 car trains one 3 car half can be full but seats may be available in the other.
     
  14. Chester1

    Chester1 Established Member

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    There is not one today on electrified lines today. Even Northern have plenty of EMUs.

    As Hooverboy has said, the mistake was not building enough DMUs in the run up to emissions deadlines. We are now in a situation of having only one compliant DMU design that can fit the British loading gauge. With the long term phase out of diesel power no rosco (or any possible future nationalised opperator) is going to order more than the absolute bare minimum DMUs. For that reason I think the 158s and 159s will have many years left, they will be need to run rural services into the 2030s. If Porterbrook can get its act together with 769s and then battery 323s and 350s the situation will be considerably improved in the short and medium term.
     
  15. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    One?

    CAF 195/196 type and Stadler FLIRT makes two for a start.
     
  16. Casper

    Casper Member

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    Hi re "The DfT haven't exactly helped matters, by cancelling a sizeable government-backed procurement when a proven DMU type was still in production". Sorry, what DMU order/stock was cancelled?

    thanks
     
  17. Chester1

    Chester1 Established Member

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    Do Stadler do a diesel only FLIRT to British loading gauge or only bi modes?
     
  18. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    None has been ordered but the FLIRT platform is standard across all modes: they would be externally identical (bar the pantograph!) so there is no reason why not.
     
  19. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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  20. Emblematic

    Emblematic Member

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    Technically it never reached the order stage, it was a tender invitation for 202 DMU carriages in 2008 which was abandoned in favour of electrification in the areas concerned. The Turbostars were pre-qualified for the tender, although there were other bidders alongside Bombardier. The electrification as we know has since been subject to descoping and deferrals.
    The ITT document is still available online here should you care to take a look.
     
  21. Casper

    Casper Member

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  22. physics34

    physics34 Established Member

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    Personally IMO the hst's shouldve all remained, where possible, after the influx of 800/801/802s... with the meridians and voyagers demoted to semi-fast routes... which in turn means the 156s/158s could be moved around to strength local routes.

    Maybe too logical!
     
  23. Chester1

    Chester1 Established Member

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    That would be a DEMU like a Voyager. Similar to the CAF 195/196 it would be too fast and expensive for the routes with a long term DMU shortage. Maybe CAF could do a 3 coach "190" variant with unit end gangways, two engines and a commuter layout.

    The ScotRail HST thread shows that would have been a disaster, it's too complicated to do PRM and tank modifications. If ToCs want to use loco hauled stock then it is cheaper to use Mark IVs + a diesel loco. HSTs cannot keep Meridian timings which would mean a complete re-write of the EMT timetable to make it even slower than the new timetable. CrossCountry and VTs timetables cannot be altered to make them work with HSTs, that's why CrossCountry have not obtained more.
     
  24. geoffk

    geoffk Member

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    I've been reading an article on Irish Rail developments in the latest "Today's Railways" (the first for some time so the magazine must have a new Irish correspondent). I was struck by the following -

    "New ICR (Inter-City Railcar) vehicles are due to arrive in 2021, but before then could extra capacity be sourced by obtaining second-hand trains from elsewhere.......? Irish Rail is in discussions with UK ROSCOs about possible available 170s or 185s". The article goes on to say that altering the bogies to fit the 5' 3" gauge would not be a major problem.

    So despite the shortage of diesel units in England and Wales, some could be finding their way across the Irish Sea (even if only for a couple of years). The ROSCOs would no doubt choose whatever option makes them most money.
     
  25. F Great Eastern

    F Great Eastern Established Member

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  26. J-Rod

    J-Rod Member

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    This is a genuine question: would not more LHCS be an answer here? From my humble vista, many of these issues seem to be caused by stock that's been totally tailored to its initial location and hampered by fixed length formations... and therefore becomes hard to reuse elsewhere?

    Or is that overly simplistic?
     
  27. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    So we're told.
     
  28. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    That depends on the number of trailers, though. A 2+6 HST would offer substantially more seats than a Voyager, whilst having a power:weight ratio of around 12.9hp/tonne, which is pretty much comparable to a 221’s 13.5hp/tonne.
     
  29. mallard

    mallard Established Member

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    While there is more to performance than power:weight ratio (gearing for example), EMT's ex-GC short-HSTs do keep very similar timings to their 222s, but then so do the full-length HSTs, especially since the timetable downgrade. There isn't really anywhere else where short-formed HSTs and 22x trains share routes to allow easy comparison currently.
     
  30. 43096

    43096 Established Member

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    Gearing wouldn’t be that much different between a 221 and an HST: both are 125mph.
     
  31. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    nope, but power distribution would.

    7 car hst has 4500BHP going through 8 axles. 4500/36= 125bhp per axle....
    voyager has 750bhp going through 4 axles per car.=187.5 bhp per axle...
     

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