die belebende Bedenkung

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Apart from unleashing a cost explosion in the industry, the privatisation of British Rail also led to a parallel collapse in domestic rail engineering capability. By the end of this process, there was just one train-building facility in existence, a (former British Rail) plant in Derby that ended up as part of Bombardier, under the leadership of its Belgian unit, BN.

The coalition government, established in May 2010, announced a commitment to ‘rebalancing the economy’, but what this means in practice, is anyone’s guess. One way of supporting a rebalanced economy would be to support railway engineering design and manufacture within Great Britain. This could also lead to improvements in rolling stock procurement, which has gone badly wrong in recent years. To give just a few examples

  • the Hitachi Super Express trains (Intercity Express Programme) would have a fair claim to being most expensive trains ever built anywhere in the world
  • the Siemens Desiro multiple units, bought for the former Southern Region, use 50% more energy than the vehicles they replaced
  • Bombardier Voyager trainsets, with noisy underfloor diesel engines, have been employed on long distance journeys under electrified lines.

Cost-effective and scalable capacity expansion demands the procurement of a new versatile loco-hauled carriage for longer distance services, with the weaknesses of existing vehicles designed-out. In conjunction with remanufacture of the best Mark 3 carriages, a ‘Mark 6’ carriage could form the basis of the intercity rolling stock fleet for the Midland Main Line, Chiltern Main Line, East Coast Main Line (InterCity 125 replacement), and Great Western lines.

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  1. […] With the Chiltern Electric concept, using locomotive hauled carriages on a modernised Chiltern line, it would be possible to avoid this environmental waste and operational inefficiency. Train length could be adjusted to match demand, even within a single day. The key to achieving this is reliable systems, and in particular, easy uncoupling and recoupling of carriages at terminal stations. This could be a design objective of the ‘Mark 6′ carriage concept, discussed earlier. […]

  2. […] the traction energy bill, ticks the ‘carbon-possible’ box, and enables the use of truly interoperable trains. […]

  3. […] because of London Midland ineptitude in forward planning. There really needs to be a move to 21st century rolling stock designs, which could support national objectives for recyclability, low energy consumption, and […]

    Seats, not track « beleben

    February 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm

  4. […] Whatever the future demand for North – South travel is, setting 250 km/h as the rail design speed dispenses with the need to excavate thousands of tons of spoil, halves the traction energy bill, ticks the ‘carbon-possible’ box, and enables the use of truly interoperable trains. […]

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