Why not more tilting stock?

hexagon789

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There isn't a requirement for 220s (or 222s/180s/HSTs) to run on the WCML at 125mph.
Avanti (and TPE north of Preston) are the only users for the forseeable future.
Non-pressure-sealed stock (eg 350s) will not be operating above 110mph, nor will 730s.
221s will be gone.
NR really only has to deal with 80x and 397, and the future HS2 stock when it is known.
I was more thinking in general terms to avoid unnecessary complications with introducing another differential, bit I get your point that they only need to enable such for a few specific classes which would reduce the complication anyway
 
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supervc-10

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How to you guarantee that non pressurised stock isn't on the other track in the "middle"* tunnel going in the other direction?

That is the fundamental problem! ... to which an ETCS based solution is only likely one.

*With the UF and DS in
Surely that's no different today, where a Pendo could pass a 350?
 

CBlue

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Eliminating tilt by ordering the 805s and 807s has opened a can of worms it seems. I can understand wanting to lower maintennance costs but is that cost saving worth the headache of drivers forgetting EPS speeds, many lineside signs to read, and passenger comfort falling by juggling coffees and trying not to spill them onto a family of small children?
Somewhat hyperbolic comments here, suggesting that the lack of tilting trains will cause coffee to be spilled on children, no? If I can drive my car or my employer's van and remember the different speed limits that apply to both, there's no reason a properly trained driver shouldn't be able to do the same if they're driving 80x instead of a Pendolino.
 

Bald Rick

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Somewhat hyperbolic comments here, suggesting that the lack of tilting trains will cause coffee to be spilled on children, no? If I can drive my car or my employer's van and remember the different speed limits that apply to both, there's no reason a properly trained driver shouldn't be able to do the same if they're driving 80x instead of a Pendolino.
You’d be surprised how many speeding offences in vans are caused by drivers forgetting what they are driving! Similarly double decker bus drivers and low bridges. The point is the risk control is through signage (and for Pendolinos, TASS), and the new trains will have to be at least as good a risk profile in that respect.
 

Wapps

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Eliminating tilt by ordering the 805s and 807s has opened a can of worms it seems. I can understand wanting to lower maintennance costs but is that cost saving worth the headache of drivers forgetting EPS speeds, many lineside signs to read, and passenger comfort falling by juggling coffees and trying not to spill them onto a family of small children?



I agree. It seems like a whole bunch of studies and line upgrades (and all the hassle/closures and expense etc that come with it) to make the new stock travel closer, but not the same speed as, the existing stock, and resulting in likely slower or at least just about the same journey times. And all this after billions were spent making the like tilt compatible so that none of said work would need to be done. Seems to me that the franchise agreement should have compelled Avanti to order tilting stock and then none of this effort would be needed.

Reading this thread, the whole situation seems farcical, frankly.
 

CW2

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If logical, why didn’t they just do these upgrades when the WCML was upgraded 15-20 years ago?
Ahh, that's a very big and important question. It all goes back to Beardy Branson wanting to run three-class tilting trains with exclusive rights to run on the WCML. You might recall that the late-unlamented Railtrack signed on the dotted line then discovered it couldn't deliver, and went bankrupt.
The West Coast Route Modernisation that took place under NR ownership had the shadow of the Virgin/Railtrack deal hanging over it at all times, so - with DfT holding the ring - NR produced an upgrade which still massively favoured Virgin by effectively barring any other operators from running at 125 mph on the WCML. In return for this, Virgin dropped its legal case againts NR as successor to Railtrack.
With the passage of time, the miracle of tilting trains can be viewed a bit more critically, and the possibility of running non-tilting trains advanced more quickly.
 

RailWonderer

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Ahh, that's a very big and important question. It all goes back to Beardy Branson wanting to run three-class tilting trains with exclusive rights to run on the WCML. You might recall that the late-unlamented Railtrack signed on the dotted line then discovered it couldn't deliver, and went bankrupt.
The West Coast Route Modernisation that took place under NR ownership had the shadow of the Virgin/Railtrack deal hanging over it at all times, so - with DfT holding the ring - NR produced an upgrade which still massively favoured Virgin by effectively barring any other operators from running at 125 mph on the WCML. In return for this, Virgin dropped its legal case againts NR as successor to Railtrack.
With the passage of time, the miracle of tilting trains can be viewed a bit more critically, and the possibility of running non-tilting trains advanced more quickly.
So you're saying the rule of 125mph running only permitted with tilt was a result of lobbying efforts by Branson (to avoid open access operators competing with Virgin I presume) rather than because 125 without tilt would simply be uncomfortable for passengers and would need pressure sealed rolling stock.
 

Wapps

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Ahh, that's a very big and important question. It all goes back to Beardy Branson wanting to run three-class tilting trains with exclusive rights to run on the WCML. You might recall that the late-unlamented Railtrack signed on the dotted line then discovered it couldn't deliver, and went bankrupt.
The West Coast Route Modernisation that took place under NR ownership had the shadow of the Virgin/Railtrack deal hanging over it at all times, so - with DfT holding the ring - NR produced an upgrade which still massively favoured Virgin by effectively barring any other operators from running at 125 mph on the WCML. In return for this, Virgin dropped its legal case againts NR as successor to Railtrack.
With the passage of time, the miracle of tilting trains can be viewed a bit more critically, and the possibility of running non-tilting trains advanced more quickly.
So you are saying that Virgin insisted on tilting comparable infrastructure to lock out competition, and that non tilting compatible infrastructure would have achieved the same result? If so, how? Even with the latest proposals, it seems we won’t get as good as what we enjoy now in terms of speed and comfort.

Also, the tilting infra doesn’t seem to have stopped GC from setting up an open access without tilting (albeit, covid has strangled that at birth). And what’s to stop an open access operator acquiring tilting stock?

Finally, whatever the history, we are where we are, so why are we now reinventing the wheel? The tilt compatibility was completed at huge cost. Non tilt can’t match the speed and comfort. Avanti should have (or should have been compelled to) order tilting trains.
 

rebmcr

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The tilt compatibility was completed at huge cost.
How much of the WCRM cost was replacing life-expired box-based signalling, how much of it was improving the trackbed to support higher speeds and a higher-frequency service pattern, and how much of it was enabling tilt on top of those enhancements?

Eliminating tilt by ordering the 805s and 807s has opened a can of worms it seems. I can understand wanting to lower maintennance costs but is that cost saving worth the headache of drivers forgetting EPS speeds, many lineside signs to read, and passenger comfort falling by juggling coffees and trying not to spill them onto a family of small children?
Drivers already cope with varied EPS differentials (for Voyagers vs Pendolinos) and somehow avoid maiming babies.
 

CW2

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So you are saying that Virgin insisted on tilting comparable infrastructure to lock out competition, and that non tilting compatible infrastructure would have achieved the same result? If so, how? Even with the latest proposals, it seems we won’t get as good as what we enjoy now in terms of speed and comfort.
Yes, Virgin did try to achieve exclusivity on the WCML by ensuring ONLY tilting trains were permitted to run at 125 mph, even where the route was straight, and perfectly capable of supporting higher than 110 mph without tilt. I don't claim that a non-tilting train would have achieved the same journey times - particularly to Scotland. But remember the infrstructure was tuned to suit the trains. With a different starting point, the result could have been different.
Also, the tilting infra doesn’t seem to have stopped GC from setting up an open access without tilting (albeit, covid has strangled that at birth). And what’s to stop an open access operator acquiring tilting stock?
Open Access operators usually rely on the second hand market for their rolling stock. There is no market in second hand 390s or 221s as yet.
Finally, whatever the history, we are where we are, so why are we now reinventing the wheel? The tilt compatibility was completed at huge cost. Non tilt can’t match the speed and comfort. Avanti should have (or should have been compelled to) order tilting trains.
Virgin have long since been swept into history, and their questionable legacy with them. If you can achieve (say) 90% of the benefits at (say) 75% of the costs by going for a non-tilting option, theny why wouldn't you? Compelling Avanti to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors would be mad. I'm sure they've done the numbers.
 

Bald Rick

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Yes, Virgin did try to achieve exclusivity on the WCML by ensuring ONLY tilting trains were permitted to run at 125 mph, even where the route was straight, and perfectly capable of supporting higher than 110 mph without tilt.
As someone closely involved with agreeing the linespeed profile on the WCML back then, I can confirm that this is absolutely NOT true.

More than anything, it is in contravention of the Network Code.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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As someone closely involved with agreeing the linespeed profile on the WCML back then, I can confirm that this is absolutely NOT true.
More than anything, it is in contravention of the Network Code.
My perception is that 125mph with tilt was part of the planned RT/Opraf WCML spec with PUG1, as part of the ITT, before Virgin won the franchise.
Virgin was in the driving seat for PUG2, the abortive 140mph upgrade (south of Crewe) which was agreed with RT later.
 

CW2

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As someone closely involved with agreeing the linespeed profile on the WCML back then, I can confirm that this is absolutely NOT true.

More than anything, it is in contravention of the Network Code.
As someone closely involved with both designing the route and renegotiating the contract with Virgin, I respectfully disagree with your statement.
 

Wapps

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The two "V"s - Vanity and Virgin.


Something like an IET/Azuma/Nova thingumyjig
Re first comment: I still don’t understand these very serious accusations of bad faith and anti-competitive practices being thrown around in respect of Virgin, which seem spurious and slightly tin hat to me as I haven’t seen any credible or rational explanation or evidence. In any event, we are where we are and so it still seems bonkers we are now trying to reinvent the wheel by redesigning the route to accommodate slower non-tilting stock.

Re rolling stock: I would presume the HS2 stock would be a good contender, given that it is already gong to be designed to work on the WCML.
 

Philip Phlopp

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Re first comment: I still don’t understand these very serious accusations of bad faith and anti-competitive practices being thrown around in respect of Virgin, which seem spurious and slightly tin hat to me as I haven’t seen any credible or rational explanation or evidence.
The InterCity West Coast franchisee was required, by virtue of the franchise agreement (and extensions) they signed with the Department for Transport, to engage in what you may describe as bad faith and anti-competitive practices. There was a whole section in the franchise agreement on "moderation of competition" which was designed to give the ICWC franchisee a virtual monopoly over all of the long distance high speed 'InterCity' services on the WCML and certain ancillary routes to ensure as much of the WCRM outlay was recouped by franchised operators.

The usual illustration of that was the open access WSMR Wrexham services which Virgin believed would enhance the network and drive traffic to their own operation as much as to WSMR. DfT disagreed and requested that Virgin object to the open access operation with the result several negative set down and pick up rules ended up being imposed.
 

Meerkat

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If it had been known from the start that max speed would be 125 and not 140 would Virgin have bothered with tilt and rather had Railtrack spend the money on upgrading more to non-EPS 125?
 

Bald Rick

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If it had been known from the start that max speed would be 125 and not 140 would Virgin have bothered with tilt and rather had Railtrack spend the money on upgrading more to non-EPS 125?
Yes, as the PUG1 deal, done with OPRAF pre Virgin, required tilt and was an expectation of the franchise bidders.
 

Meerkat

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Yes, as the PUG1 deal, done with OPRAF pre Virgin, required tilt and was an expectation of the franchise bidders.
Ok thanks.
So I will change the question a bit - would PUG1 have included tilt if they knew it would be 125 rather than 140? 140 presumably gave no non-tilt option other than massive straightening works.
 

hexagon789

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Re first comment: I still don’t understand these very serious accusations of bad faith and anti-competitive practices being thrown around in respect of Virgin, which seem spurious and slightly tin hat to me as I haven’t seen any credible or rational explanation or evidence. In any event, we are where we are and so it still seems bonkers we are now trying to reinvent the wheel by redesigning the route to accommodate slower non-tilting stock.

Re rolling stock: I would presume the HS2 stock would be a good contender, given that it is already gong to be designed to work on the WCML.
I'm not accusing Virgin of anything, but the whole project had a certain element of a 'vanity project' about it.

In which the timetables would have to altered again for longer timings as to travel on conventional track you would have to slow down on the Curvy west coast mainline
Two options with that - either run as fast as you safely can without tilt wherever possible (essentially the work being done to allow Avanti's Hitachi trains to run at faster than 110mph) or you rebuild the worst sections of the WCML to improve the alignment.

Given how much the downgraded WCML upgrade project cost, I'm not convinced that rebuilding sections of the WCML would've been such a bad idea, BR considered it as part of the cancelled InterCity 250 project.
 

CW2

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Ok thanks.
So I will change the question a bit - would PUG1 have included tilt if they knew it would be 125 rather than 140? 140 presumably gave no non-tilt option other than massive straightening works.
It's an interesting hypothetical question. Tilt would be necessary to get the very best journey time to Glasgow, although that is the weakest WCML market. The prevailing view at the time was that journey times were everything, and drove all the passenger demand. If the railway was specified for non-tilting stock then inevitably some of the infrastructure schemes would have been designed / delivered differently. As it is, the infrastructure was largely designed to match the (125 mph tilting) characteristics of the 221 / 390 Virgin fleet.
 

Railperf

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The extension of tilt to Glasgow was probably an additional benefit to the key markets, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.
I've often wondered what the time savings would have been - just upping the straight 110mph sections to 125mph, but leaving the remainder of the speed profile the same. But raising many of the lower limits -i.e 90mph to 110mph EPS does add incremental time savings to the overall journey and would have saved on energy costs and braking - because instead of having to slow from 125mph to say 90mph, you only brake to 110mph and then accelerate back to 125mph from that speed.

Clearly tilt - being a train based solutution - saved several millions on infrastructure improvements
 

mmh

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Re first comment: I still don’t understand these very serious accusations of bad faith and anti-competitive practices being thrown around in respect of Virgin, which seem spurious and slightly tin hat to me as I haven’t seen any credible or rational explanation or evidence.
The evidence is that they did have an exclusivity agreement. You can't get more anti-competitive than that.
 

Railperf

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The evidence is that they did have an exclusivity agreement. You can't get more anti-competitive than that.
Surprising..if true.. As Virgin's brand was partially built on being the underdog and fighting for the right to compete on a level playing field with the big boys.
 

Bald Rick

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Ok thanks.
So I will change the question a bit - would PUG1 have included tilt if they knew it would be 125 rather than 140? 140 presumably gave no non-tilt option other than massive straightening works.
PUG1 was only based on 125, with tilt; there was no suggestion of 140 at the time PUG1 was scoped in early 1996. Indeed, it was just called PUG back then.

The evidence is that they did have an exclusivity agreement.
Exclusivivityy agreement for what?
 

DavidB

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Surprising..if true.. As Virgin's brand was partially built on being the underdog and fighting for the right to compete on a level playing field with the big boys.
It is true - although as I recall it was government-imposed under the franchise terms. That's why Wrexham and Shropshire wasn't allowed to call at any vaguely useful stations in the Birmingham conurbation.
 

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