Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Here’s a pretty idea…

Posted in Great Britain, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 8 October 2010

Apparently, the bods at Bombardier have presented a proposal to the DfT that they’re calling “Operation Thor” (sounds exciting doesn’t it?). This £300m plan is for Bombardier to construct a total of 123 new pantograph trailers for the Class 22x family, converting a further 21 existing vehicles, in order to convert them from ordinary DMUs into EDMUs (electro-diesel multiple unit); essentially, this will be a bi-mode vehicle capable of running using the OHLE while under the wires, and on its own internal engine when not. This is the same principle as was proposed for the bi-mode IEP. Bombardier’s justification for this proposal appears a sound one:

it is a way of allowing the electrification of the country’s main rail routes while missing out the “expensive bits”

 Of course, it would be good if they explained what they meant by “the expensive bits”. Presumably these are the infill sections between the main routes. The logic there is plain – say you have a train running from Cardiff to Manchester. Assuming that the GWML had been electrified as far as Cardiff Central, then the Class 221 operating the service could run using its pantograph probably as far as Bristol Parkway, then using its engines to Birmingham New Street, and then back on the wires all the way to Manchester. Brilliant. Not only that, but it would also extend the Class 220s and 221s from the 4-5 car length that they are presently (and despised for) to at least 7 cars. Assuming that the Midland Main Line were also to be electrified, then the Class 222 could be included also, which could then potentially allow a phased withdrawal of the HST fleet. This could potentially be a good idea, if the DfT has the guts to go for it.

“Bombardier’s electrification plan presented to ministers”

A Virgin Trains Class 221 - these diesel units operate a long way under the wires. Bombardier's proposal would provide major fuel savings by allowing these units to operate with pantographs were possible


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  1. […] Here’s a pretty idea… October 2010 4 […]

  2. […] under a year ago, Bombardier presented the DfT with a proposal that it called “Operation Thor”, in which it would build new pantograph trailer cars that would be fitted to its Voyager family of […]

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