fredag 18 juli 2008

Train procurement nonsense

She,ll being coming round the. . . . .
Originally uploaded by Elsie esq.

The Japanese firm Hitachi is a possible contender for new rolling stock for the Thameslink train franchise . This illustrates one of the deficiencies of the present rolling stock procurement programme.

Over the southern section of the route between London and the South Coast, the stock will be sharing the line with the Southern franchise, which operates a fleet of Electrostar trains built by Bombardier, like the one in the picture. If the new trains are fully compatible with the present ones, then units can be coupled together and run normally. This is particularly useful in unexpected situations - for instance, if a train breaks down or needs to be lengthened due to extra traffic. It is also essential if fleets are to be transferred from one route to another in response to changing circumstances. Compatibility gives flexibility.

Most trains constructed between about 1950 and 1975 had such compatibility, but since then, there has been an increasingly varied mixture of incompatible stock, so that it is often the case that when one train breaks down. the following one often cannot easily be coupled to push it out of the way.

Unless this compatibility has been specified for the new fleet, the effect of adding yet another fleet of trains with its own unique systems will compound the problem.

Electrostars are not my favourite trains but they could be a lot better with a few alterations. The ones that on long distance routes should have the doors at the ends, and the body profile results in an unnecessary loss of width. But these could be remedied and some of the present fleet of trains transferred and transferred to Thameslink, for which they would be better suited.

Why can't the train company just be told to order more Electrostars from Bombardier and be done?

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