die belebende Bedenkung

The legend of extra capacity

with 5 comments

From 2017, Intercity Express Programme trains built in Japan and fitted out in Newton Aycliffe, county Durham, are scheduled to replace most of the InterCity 125 and 225 formations operating on the Great Western and East Coast routes. Hitachi invited the British press to Japan to see the Class 800 IEP roll-out on 13 November.

Hitachi IEP roll-out

Hitachi IEP roll-out

The IEP’s thinner seats and longer carriages allow it to carry more people per unit length than current GB intercity trains. A ten-carriage train with the IEP layout could seat 715 people between London and Birmingham without any need to lengthen platforms (the tilt feature of Pendolinos is of limited value on the West Coast Main Line south of Birmingham).

West Coast Main Line, efficient use, no-resignal scenario

West Coast Main Line, efficient use, no-resignal scenario

As can be seen from the example above, a wider process of rolling stock optimisation on the West Coast Fast Lines would allow a passenger capacity increase of around 40%, with few infrastructure changes, and every fifth path unused, to allow recovery. In the example presented, ‘Ledburn’ suburban capacity would be doubled, with small trade-offs (affecting Watford, Milton Keynes and North Wales intercity). Various permutations are possible; much larger increases could be achieved by wider infrastructure upgrades.

(Legend for diagram above)

Green  – IEP type intercity train, 225 km/h, ~715 seats

Orange – New generation commuter train, capable of 225 km/h, 830 seats (Desiro replacement)

Dark red – Pendular 265-metre intercity train (Pendolino type, 11 car)

Blue – Pendular 290-metre intercity train (Pendolino type, 12 car – would potentially require platform lengthening at up to 5 stations)

Brown – Pendular 145-metre intercity train  (Pendolino type, 6 car – would potentially require platform lengthening at up to 5 stations for paired portion working)


Written by beleben

November 13, 2014 at 9:36 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Number 15?

    Joe Rukin

    November 13, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    • Currently, the West Coast Fast Lines are signalled for 20 trains per hour. In practice, not all paths can be used, because of unequal performance of the different train types in use, and the need to recover from delays.

      In the improved-efficiency example, paths 5, 10, 15, and 20 are sacrificed to provide recovery leeway. In the current timetable, the capacity waste is much higher than 20%.


      November 13, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      • 80% efficiency is almost double the current figure (for passenger trains leaving Euston) – 15tph on the fast and slow lines.

        In your scenario the speeding up of the “Ledburn orange” commuter trains is key to stop them taking up 2 paths (at 225kmh)

        Any idea why the slow lines are limited to 4min intervals ? An upgrade of the signalling to 3min intervals would provide an extra 4tph @ 80% efficiency.

        Could the Chase line be electrified north of Walsall to provide more Rugeley – Birmingham capacity ?


        November 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      • The ‘West Coast Main Line and Trans-Pennine Capacity and Performance Assessment’ (2013) discussed pathing to an extent but at present, there is little detail forthcoming about utilisation of the Slow lines. The information drought also seems to afflict the Chase line and the Electric Spine electrification schemes.


        November 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    • Look at the WCML RUS (2011), pp 24 & 39.


      November 17, 2014 at 5:52 pm

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