Virgin Azuma unveiled & plans for faster journey times

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gavin

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Virgin trains have today unveiled Virgin Azuma coming to the ECML in 2018

https://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/news/new-announcement/

Virgin Trains has unveiled the first of its new fleet of trains in a ceremony at King’s Cross attended by Sir Richard Branson. Set to revolutionise travel on the East Coast from 2018, the Virgin Azuma will be one of the most advanced trains on the UK’s rail network, and will embody the customer-centric approach which Virgin Trains is famous for.
Literally translated as “East” in Japanese, the Virgin Azuma pays homage to the new train’s lineage and to the East Coast route. With 65 trains providing an extra 12,200 seats for a new and expanded timetable, the fleet of Virgin Azumas will increase capacity into King’s Cross by 28 per cent during peak time.
Whilst the trains will initially reach speeds of up to 125mph, Virgin Trains has today announced the creation of a cross-industry working group, including Network Rail, to investigate the potential for the East Coast route to enable their operation at 140mph....
 
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Polarbear

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It's a good job there's no orange included in the colour scheme - otherwise it would be called a satsuma...!! :D

I'll get my coat...;)
 

ScouserGirl

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What a name Virgin Azuma? wonder what all that's about?
It sounds like Mazuma the mobile selling website lol!
 

sprinterguy

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Our customers on the West Coast have already seen what Virgin can bring to train travel and how the Pendolinos have made a huge difference to speed and comfort. Our new fleet of Azumas will bring a similar transformation to the East Coast...
Oh dear, that's not much of a vote of confidence in the interior standards of the new trains. :lol:
Virgin’s unique feel: Both the interior and the exterior of the new fleet with (sic) have that distinctive Virgin atmosphere
Dark, cramped and you can't see out. ;)
Buffet cars: An onboard shop is a key part of the experience for passengers
Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but what is wrong with just calling a buffet a buffet?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What a name Virgin Azuma? wonder what all that's about?
It's in the article; it means "East" in Japanese:
Literally translated as “East” in Japanese, the Virgin Azuma pays homage to the new train’s lineage and to the East Coast route.
 
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ScouserGirl

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Oh dear, that's not much of a vote of confidence in the interior standards of the new trains. :lol:

Dark, cramped and you can't see out. ;)

Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but what is wrong with just calling a buffet a buffet?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

Read the article; it means "East" in Japanese:

thanks for that :D:D
 

Philip Phlopp

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Whilst the trains will initially reach speeds of up to 125mph, Virgin Trains has today announced the creation of a cross-industry working group, including Network Rail, to investigate the potential for the East Coast route to enable their operation at 140mph.

I don't know if Virgin (or Stagecoach, really) are outright liars, they believe their own PR nonsense, or they're just totally uninformed about a project they've been involved with since they took over the franchise.

The L2E4 project which is all about getting more services between London and Edinburgh in 4 hours, not just headline limited stop services, but many services that actually serve stations en route.

140mph running on the ECML has already been well investigated by British Rail, Railtrack and now Network Rail. We all know what we need to do - S&T need to get ETCS Level 2 working on the ground, we need to get a 140mph catenary system capable of supporting 2 pantographs working 4.7 metres above it, and there will need some track layout and geometry changes.

We have already done pantograph testing and modelling on the ECML OLE, and we did a trial headspan to portal conversion just north of Potters Bar in 2014 which was put in before Virgin Trains had even been awarded the damn franchise.

Furrer and Frey have been working on the small number of necessary modifications to Series 1 to make it work with the mast positions which will be inherited from the Mark 3b install. There's so few twin track cantilevers and the use of the Series 1 TTC won't really be an option as we don't want to have to put in new foundations or masts, so a few additional options are needed as pretty much everything will be converted to a portal structure.
 

aformeruser

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Oh dear, that's not much of a vote of confidence in the interior standards of the new trains. :lol:

I once read an article which started by saying something along the lines of when Virgin started running the West Coast franchise they promised to make Intercity train travel more like airline travel and then compared travelling on a Pendolino to travelling on an airline including comparisons like both have very small narrow windows.
 

richardio123

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Theres a picture of it here on there Twitter
https://twitter.com/Virgin_TrainsEC/status/710766526572400640
 
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sprinterguy

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Funnily enough, a West Coast style "onboard shop" is more of a buffet (which is traditionally self service) than a railway buffet traditionally was (counter service).
Good point, that. I suppose I've become conditioned to the use of the word in a railway context that isn't relevant anywhere else.
 

JohnR

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Virgin's PR also seems to be suggesting that this is something that Virgin has brought to the franchise. Didnt appreciate it when I pointed out that whoever won East Coast were getting these trains.
 

3141

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we did a trial headspan to portal conversion just north of Potters Bar in 2014 which was put in before Virgin Trains had even been awarded the damn franchise.

Furrer and Frey have been working on the small number of necessary modifications to Series 1 to make it work with the mast positions which will be inherited from the Mark 3b install. There's so few twin track cantilevers.... pretty much everything will be converted to a portal structure.

I'd find it very helpful if you could give directions to a site which explains in simple terms the meaning of all these bits of overhead equipment. Or perhaps you could explain them yourself here.

I think I understand that cantilevers are those structures with a single mast from which an arm stretches over the track. I thought headspans were the ones with a mast at each side of the track which support a horizontal beam between them. As far as I can see, that's what a portal is as well. Apparently there is a difference, but I've no idea why "pretty much everything" needs to be converted from one to the other. I don't know what Marks 1 and 3b are.
 

aformeruser

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Read the article; it means "East" in Japanese:

Apparently Virgin have made a bit of a cultural blunder as Azuma (東) was the historical name for the Kantō and Tōhoku regions in Eastern Japan but these days it's rarely used to refer to the East but a common female name in Japan.
 

fgwrich

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I don't know if Virgin (or Stagecoach, really) are outright liars, they believe their own PR nonsense, or they're just totally uninformed about a project they've been involved with since they took over the franchise.

Of course, we know that but this is the Virgin PR machine, which unfortunately will spin out its own self serving nonsense which will make it look as if Branson is doing most of the work and Network Rail and everyone else follows his every lead. Note how in their press release it almost makes it sound like these IEPs were ordered by Virgin and not actually imposed on us by er, Whitehall.

Funnily enough, a West Coast style "onboard shop" is more of a buffet (which is traditionally self service) than a railway buffet traditionally was (counter service).

The line that grabbed me in that press release was this "Buffet cars: An onboard shop is a key part of the experience for passengers". Now if only FGW would believe both what can be done by Stagecoach/Virgin and the results of its own Trolley v Mini Buffet trial a while ago!
 

TH172341

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Well it looks excellent I think. Very stylish looking and an unusual, but memorable name. CGI interiors they've done look promising - at least has a bit of colour in there.

I'm right in thinking that won't be the final livery to adorn the trains, or am I wrong?
 

40129

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I think I understand that cantilevers are those structures with a single mast from which an arm stretches over the track. I thought headspans were the ones with a mast at each side of the track which support a horizontal beam between them. As far as I can see, that's what a portal is as well. Apparently there is a difference, but I've no idea why "pretty much everything" needs to be converted from one to the other. I don't know what Marks 1 and 3b are.

In simple terms, portal is a mast at each side of the track which support a horizontal beam between them whilst a headspan uses wires to span the tracks rather than a horizontal beam. IIRC headspans were installed because they were cheaper to install and less visually intrusive than portals. Unfortunately however, they are more vulnerable to high winds and more disruptive when the knitting comes down. I also understand that portals are more suitable for higher speed running.
 
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Retorus

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Well it looks excellent I think. Very stylish looking and an unusual, but memorable name. CGI interiors they've done look promising - at least has a bit of colour in there.

I'm right in thinking that won't be the final livery to adorn the trains, or am I wrong?

I agree, it looks rather swish. I just wish they had a bit more oomph in the volume department, I'm too used to HSTs and 91s.
 

TH172341

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Standard certainly looks good - the IEP interior is akin to a more modern version of the MK4 interior I'm finding.

Certainly will be quieter on the East Coast without the 43s and the 91s around - will seem odd at York in a few years time when not only will the East Coast stock have changed considerably, but also the Transpennine and Northern stock!
 
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sprinterguy

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I agree, it looks rather swish. I just wish they had a bit more oomph in the volume department, I'm too used to HSTs and 91s.
Given the complaints that are being commonly levelled at these trains with regard to underfloor engines, before they've even turned a wheel in passenger service, I suspect that you're in the minority there! ;)

When it comes to multiple units, the quieter the better, IMO.
 

TH172341

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It would be nice if the First interiors had some more colour and 'umph' to them really as you say. According the excellent article coverage by Roger Ford and Ian Walmsley the DfT will unlikely let GWR change the interior until the replacement franchise in 2019.

And as the GWR trains are going to cost roughly twice as much as a Pendolino to lease, that isn't great when you think about it.

Glad to see Virgin have lived up to the expectation of bringing something bright and airy to them, and hopefully it'll work out well.
 

jon0844

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Virgin's PR also seems to be suggesting that this is something that Virgin has brought to the franchise. Didnt appreciate it when I pointed out that whoever won East Coast were getting these trains.

Nobody would fall for that. Nor would anyone report it as such....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-35842408
 

Philip Phlopp

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I'd find it very helpful if you could give directions to a site which explains in simple terms the meaning of all these bits of overhead equipment. Or perhaps you could explain them yourself here.

I think I understand that cantilevers are those structures with a single mast from which an arm stretches over the track. I thought headspans were the ones with a mast at each side of the track which support a horizontal beam between them. As far as I can see, that's what a portal is as well. Apparently there is a difference, but I've no idea why "pretty much everything" needs to be converted from one to the other. I don't know what Marks 1 and 3b are.

40129 has already given you a comprehensive answer, I'll just link to some photos for you. I'm sure LDECRexile won't mind to me linking to his and his contributors excellent images out of the combined volumes.

This is a headspan. It's one of the only ones installed on the North West electrification project, as a result of planning consents. Those on the ECML are just wider, still having two masts, one on each side of the trackbed.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16299233770

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These are twin track cantilevers (traditional type) and make use of a very solid foundation which can counterbalance or support the weight of the mast.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/24002507450

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/21930012299

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These are portal structures - they come in numerous configurations, and some do other tasks like holding the equipment which allows sections of overhead line to be 'turned off' by operating switches and circuit breakers.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/20957263816

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The ECML uses headspans on the four track sections (and on some two track sections where there's a diverging route, loop or third track). The current configuration isn't great, to support 140mph operating with two pantographs, the contact wire (the lower of the two wires strung above the track) needs to have a higher tension - it needs to be tighter, the current contact wire can't support that increase in tension because it's not thick enough, using a thicker wire results in an increase in weight, and the current insulators and wires used to hold up the contact wire can't reliably cope with that increase in weight.

I hope that's relatively easy to understand, if not, just ask away.
 

Bletchleyite

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It would be nice if the First interiors had some more colour and 'umph' to them really as you say. According the excellent article coverage by Roger Ford and Ian Walmsley the DfT will unlikely let GWR change the interior until the replacement franchise in 2019.

If First were willing to fit new seat covers at their cost, and keep the old ones to be put back at the end of the franchise, I don't see why DfT would care.

Some GWR green on the seat covers would be enough to cheer it up.
 
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