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Old August 13th, 2017, 02:44 PM   #2261
Aylett 67
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I don't agree with diverting Grand Central's services to the ECML, as this would deny Hartlepool a direct rail link with London. All diverting services through Newcastle would mean is more congestion on the Newcastle- Darlington section.
On a different note, apart from reopening Gateshead station, how about reopening the station at Low Fell for local trains, as this is an affluent suburb of the town with several hundred Newcastle commuters.
One place I have considered for a new heavy rail station would be where the ECML crosses the Coast Rd. This is near a large council estate, The Green area of Wallsend, the apartments at the former cigarette factory and housing along the old Coast Rd and a factory. The station could be built near the bridge and be accessed by stairways and lifts on either side.

Last edited by Aylett 67; August 13th, 2017 at 02:49 PM.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 03:22 PM   #2262
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I don't agree with diverting Grand Central's services to the ECML, as this would deny Hartlepool a direct rail link with London. All diverting services through Newcastle would mean is more congestion on the Newcastle- Darlington section.
On a different note, apart from reopening Gateshead station, how about reopening the station at Low Fell for local trains, as this is an affluent suburb of the town with several hundred Newcastle commuters.
One place I have considered for a new heavy rail station would be where the ECML crosses the Coast Rd. This is near a large council estate, The Green area of Wallsend, the apartments at the former cigarette factory and housing along the old Coast Rd and a factory. The station could be built near the bridge and be accessed by stairways and lifts on either side.
If the Leamside Line were open then there would be enough relief on the ECML for Grand Central Services to Sunderland.

Its a shame there isn't rail bridge beyond Boro station to allow for London services to terminate at Hartlepool and serve all of Teesside at once.

Its a near travesty that the NE seems to have next to no stopping commuter services, except the Coast line and rural services to Northumberland and Tyne Valley. The trouble is the ECML mainline services are so much in demand we can't timetable in a stopping service at the moment.

Re opening lines could give the following...

Ashington
Bedlington
(Blyth)
Northumberland Park
Heaton
Manors
Central
Low Fell
Birtley
Chester Le Street
Newton Hall
Durham
Ferryhill
Newton Aycliffe
Shildon
Bishop Auckland

A Tyne-Tees express along the Leamside Line could help link up the two regions, as well as further stopping services for the following

Central
Gateshead East
Heworth
Washington North
Penshaw
Fencehouses
Carrville
Ferryhill
Sedgefield
Stockton
Boro

This could also start up at Berwick and absorb the Northumberland stopping service

Combined with a stopping service through Tyne Valley- Durham coast we would adequately serve all areas of the North East with only three lines.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 04:43 PM   #2263
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We seem to be on the same wavelength, like me, you support reopening the Leamside line, reintroducing services to Ashington and rebuilding the station at Heaton. Heaton should never have been closed, even if it was falling apart by 1980, as it wasn't on a line that was being converted to the Metro, as it could have continued to provide a fast service to Newcastle Central and be used for services to Northumberland once the Coast Circle was closed to heavy rail.
I always wonder what would have been the fate of Tynerail had the government withdrawn funding for the Metro in 1976. I could foresee two scenarios, the declining and poorly served South Tyneside line being closed and Pacers taking over the Coast Circle. The other scenario could have been re electrification in the eighties, with the worst of the stations being rebuilt, and Tynerail undergoing a revival.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 05:53 PM   #2264
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I'd like to think if we ever got captive HS2 tracks this far north the line could follow the A19 into Middlesbrough and reach a station alongside existing tracks just before it curves to reach the current main station. Then cross over/under the Tees and head North East to meet up with the Leamside line somewhere around about Durham.

Re-open the Northallerton/Thirsk-Harrogate line or just build a new one from Northallerton to the East of Leeds and the North East effectively has two main routes out of the region. With high speed/cross country/ECML trains being able to go from Newcastle-Durham-Leeds-Sheffield/Manchester or Newcastle-Washington-Middlesbrough-York-Doncaster without getting in each others way. Which should leave plenty of capacity spare for local services.
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Old September 7th, 2017, 10:08 AM   #2265
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From Dave Morton in today's Chronicle Live, copyright NCJMedia Ltd @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...laced-13574153
As old Tyneside Metro Bridge is replaced, a forgotten tragedy comes to light
David Morton 5 September 2017


The old Metro bridge over Killingworth Road between South Gosforth and Longbenton (Image: Trevor Ermel)

The Chronicle reported earlier this week how the long-term Metro line closure between South Gosforth and Shiremoor is over.

Trains began running again on Sunday after five weeks of disruption and replacement buses while the old Metro bridge over Killingworth Road was replaced. The work to replace the Victorian-era bridge was done in conjunction with a multi-million pound revamp to widen the Killingworth Road section of the A189 in South Gosforth, which will remain closed until spring 2018. The Metro bridge is situated on the line between South Gosforth and Longbenton.

And while it certainly needed replacing, a small piece of Tyneside rail and Metro heritage has been consigned to history.

Rail enthusiast and photographer, Trevor Ermel, said: “The bridge, believed to date back to the opening of the original route by the Blyth & Tyne Railway in 1864, was removed in August as part of metro track modernisation work and a road widening scheme. The rather fine cast iron parapet only survived on the North side. The one on the other side had been replaced by a much plainer one after the original had been demolished in a fatal train crash one night in December 1923.

Trevor, from Whitley Bay, went on: “A steam loco pulling a coal train was in collision with an empty electric train - which had just come out of South Gosforth car sheds - and smashed through the parapet, plunging onto the road below. It is believed the driver of the steam loco, who died along with his fireman, had misread the signals and had not realised the electric train was crossing on to his track in front of the coal train.”

Read more @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...laced-13574153

From The Times, 19th December 1923:


Hosted on https://www.flickr.com/photos/steve-ellwood/

Here is a photo of the accident, found on Facebook . . .


Source - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1823...4461453605639/
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Old September 12th, 2017, 02:01 PM   #2266
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The last North East steam train runs 50 years ago to mark the end of an era

Courtesy of today's Chronicle Live, copyright NCJMedia Ltd @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...train-13606531
The last North East steam train runs 50 years ago to mark the end of an era
David Morton 12 September 2017



This year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of an era in North East England.

Exactly half a century ago the last British Rail steam locomotives in our region puffed and clanked their way through Tyneside and Wearside, doing the job they were designed for - pulling heavy coal trains from pit to port, or pit to power station, writes TREVOR ERMEL.

By 1967, diesels had already been in charge of mainline passenger trains in the area for several years, and Gateshead – one of the principal depots on the East Coast Main Line – had closed to steam in 1965. So the final examples in our part of the country were not the big, shiny, green, named locomotives which many boys of the era dreamed of driving, but humble, black (mostly filthy-black!) heavy goods engines, some of them dating back to the pre-1923 days of the North Eastern Railway.

On Tyneside, Stella North (Newburn), Stella South (near Blaydon) and Dunston power stations continued to receive trainloads of coal pulled by engines working out of sheds at Blyth, Tyne Dock and Sunderland right up until the last day of steam on September 9, 1967. Diesels took over completely from that date. Further down the coast, steam was also extinguished at West Hartlepool, bringing an end to almost 150 years of railway history.

Ironically, it was not just steam traction which ended on Tyneside that year. The last electric trains, familiar to generations of commuters and holiday-makers heading to the seaside, ran from Newcastle to the coast in June 1967.

Read more, see image gallery and video @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...train-13606531
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Last edited by Steve Ellwood; September 12th, 2017 at 02:06 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 16th, 2017, 05:17 PM   #2267
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Suppose you bought a new Ford Cortina in 1980 and ran it every day for 37 years. By now, the car, had it survived rust, would have probably needed three engines, spares would be getting difficult to obtain, reliability would be questionable and it would be way behind a modern car to drive. Same with the Metro, these are 37 year old trains that work a heavy schedule and are becoming unreliable and out of date.
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Old September 17th, 2017, 02:54 PM   #2268
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So you keep repeating. It's not in doubt the trains are reaching the end of their life but they are electric multiple unit train/tram vehicles not internal combustion engined cars.As such an electric motor suffers less wear and should last 40 years and more. The main problems recently are the doors or OHLE issues.
Eventually, though, the traction motors wear out, and you're certainly right about doors jamming, as my last encounter with a Metro proved. Electric isn't always more reliable than diesel as British Rail had some very unreliable electric locomotives and class 87 locomotives on the WCML started to become unreliable around 20 years old.
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Old September 17th, 2017, 03:54 PM   #2269
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Class 87s were built around 1973 so I'm not sure that's relevant. Electric motors are much more reliable and require less maintenance than diesel-and modern ones even more so.
But they did seem to become unreliable after 20 years and were a nightmare just before the Pendolinos came in. However, in the main, electric trains are more reliable and cheaper to run in the long term.
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Old September 27th, 2017, 11:49 AM   #2270
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Hexham railway station named among Britain's best

From the Hexham Courant @ http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news...9eb48dde5b5-ds
Hexham railway station named among Britain's best
26 September 2017



HEXHAM Railway Station has been listed as one of Britain’s best 100 railway stations in a new book.

Written by best-selling historian Simon Jenkins, Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations pays tribute to the limestone buildings and smart blue and white North Eastern Railways paint which makes Hexham stand out to passengers on the Tyne Valley line.

The former editor of the Evening Standard and The Times, and a columnist for the Guardian and Evening Standard, has travelled the length and breadth of the country to research his compilation, which celebrates the social history of the railway.

He chose Hexham because it has “the sunny appearance of a greenhouse” But as the first line to cross the Pennines, while straddling a full 50 miles, he acknowledged that singling out just one station on the original Newcastle to Carlisle Railway, completed in 1838, was no easy task. The line from Newcastle clatters along the bank of the River Tyne amid rolling hills and gentle meadows,” the book reads. It is a delight. Choosing between its stations is not easy, since the early railway’s cottage orné is everywhere in evidence, with gabled roofs and Tudor windows and chimneys.”

http://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news...9eb48dde5b5-ds


Cc Tyne Valley Area (Hexham, Corbridge, Prudhoe, etc) - Developments
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Old September 27th, 2017, 08:42 PM   #2271
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Eventually, though, the traction motors wear out, and you're certainly right about doors jamming, as my last encounter with a Metro proved. Electric isn't always more reliable than diesel as British Rail had some very unreliable electric locomotives and class 87 locomotives on the WCML started to become unreliable around 20 years old.

Eh? Class 87s were once a very reliable design. They only became unreliable in their last couple of years in service because Virgin skimped on the basic maintenance - they did the same with the coaches, which often had wheelflats, broken aircon, lighting difficulties etc. I wouldn't be surprised if they do the same to the current East Coast fleet IC225 when the new Hitachi trains are imminent. They have form.


Old DC traction motors do start having problems as they get dirty, the insulation breaks down etc. However they can always be refurbished to 'as new' condition by a number of specialist firms. Note that class 86s from 1964-1966 are still going strong for Freightliner, and equally old 1960s vintage class 73s with new diesel engines will be hauling the Caledonian sleeper well into the 2030s.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 04:09 PM   #2272
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Eh? Class 87s were once a very reliable design. They only became unreliable in their last couple of years in service because Virgin skimped on the basic maintenance - they did the same with the coaches, which often had wheelflats, broken aircon, lighting difficulties etc. I wouldn't be surprised if they do the same to the current East Coast fleet IC225 when the new Hitachi trains are imminent. They have form.


Old DC traction motors do start having problems as they get dirty, the insulation breaks down etc. However they can always be refurbished to 'as new' condition by a number of specialist firms. Note that class 86s from 1964-1966 are still going strong for Freightliner, and equally old 1960s vintage class 73s with new diesel engines will be hauling the Caledonian sleeper well into the 2030s.
I do recall the WCML in the last years of British Rail being very unreliable, and it was a miracle if a train was on time. I doubt anyone who uses the WCML would want a return of the old trains, although the seating was more comfortable and luggage space better with the Mark 3s.
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Old September 30th, 2017, 04:49 PM   #2273
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Courtesy of today's Chronicle Live, copyright NCJMedia Ltd @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...train-13606531
The last North East steam train runs 50 years ago to mark the end of an era
David Morton 12 September 2017



This year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of an era in North East England.

Exactly half a century ago the last British Rail steam locomotives in our region puffed and clanked their way through Tyneside and Wearside, doing the job they were designed for - pulling heavy coal trains from pit to port, or pit to power station, writes TREVOR ERMEL.

By 1967, diesels had already been in charge of mainline passenger trains in the area for several years, and Gateshead – one of the principal depots on the East Coast Main Line – had closed to steam in 1965. So the final examples in our part of the country were not the big, shiny, green, named locomotives which many boys of the era dreamed of driving, but humble, black (mostly filthy-black!) heavy goods engines, some of them dating back to the pre-1923 days of the North Eastern Railway.

On Tyneside, Stella North (Newburn), Stella South (near Blaydon) and Dunston power stations continued to receive trainloads of coal pulled by engines working out of sheds at Blyth, Tyne Dock and Sunderland right up until the last day of steam on September 9, 1967. Diesels took over completely from that date. Further down the coast, steam was also extinguished at West Hartlepool, bringing an end to almost 150 years of railway history.

Ironically, it was not just steam traction which ended on Tyneside that year. The last electric trains, familiar to generations of commuters and holiday-makers heading to the seaside, ran from Newcastle to the coast in June 1967.

Read more, see image gallery and video @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...train-13606531
DMUs replaced steam trains on most local services by 1960 and the Deltics replaced the ex LNER A4s( Flying Scotsman type locomotives) in 1961-62. Steam lingered on mostly on local freight services until 1967 in the North East, and 1968 in the North West, when steam was finally ended.
The end of the Tyneside Electrics was much more controversial than the demise of an outdated and dirty form of transport. A rapid and popular electric service was replaced by a slower and noisier diesel service, when British Rail could have refurbished the third rail system. Also might a modernised Tyneside Electrics service like the modernised Merseyrail system in the seventies have worked out cheaper than the Metro?
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Old October 1st, 2017, 04:56 PM   #2274
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I do recall the WCML in the last years of British Rail being very unreliable, and it was a miracle if a train was on time. I doubt anyone who uses the WCML would want a return of the old trains, although the seating was more comfortable and luggage space better with the Mark 3s.
If the old trains returned and were reliable and comfortable, I don't think anyone would mind. People don't tend to hold grudges against trains if they do their job, regardless of past problems. Although Pacers are probably the exception to this, they could turn up with luxury leather recliner seats, air conditioning and enough glade plug-ins to cover up years of railway stink and they'd still be an unwelcome sight.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 02:11 AM   #2275
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Originally Posted by Aylett 67 View Post
I do recall the WCML in the last years of British Rail being very unreliable, and it was a miracle if a train was on time. I doubt anyone who uses the WCML would want a return of the old trains, although the seating was more comfortable and luggage space better with the Mark 3s.
You might be surprised to know that some of the 'old 1970s BR rubbish' that Branson was so keen to ditch is now used by Chiltern in direct competition to his outfit on the West Midlands to London (Chiltern Railways) route - and they have won a lot of business. The tasteful refurbishment of the mk3s and the feeling of space compared to the cramped Virgin tilting stock gives Chiltern very high approval ratings from it's customers.

Often it isn't the age of the train that matters, it is how well it is maintained and updated. Hence why the same mk3 design will be the standard Scottish Inter-City train into the 2030s.

Going back to the Metro, there is a good article in the October issue of Modern Railways. Apparently there is a long lead time from Germany for spare parts for the bespoke late 1970s T&W cars, and delays (4 minutes or over) due to technical problems stands at 7,000 km per casualty. That is considerably worse than would be expected from a modern fleet and the availability of sets is getting worse.

Plan are for 84 new vehicles to replace the current 90 cars - and for them to work on both 1,500V DC and 25kV AC (the national railway standard). Also the hope that new cars would be able to conform to heavy rail collision standards, so there would be no need for double blocking signalling on the Sunderland route.

I wonder if the Stadler design recently ordered for Liverpool's electrics could be a contender, perhaps in 4-car formations? These I am sure would be at least 100 km/h (62mph) capable, maybe more?
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 02:18 AM   #2276
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If the old trains returned and were reliable and comfortable, I don't think anyone would mind. People don't tend to hold grudges against trains if they do their job, regardless of past problems. Although Pacers are probably the exception to this, they could turn up with luxury leather recliner seats, air conditioning and enough glade plug-ins to cover up years of railway stink and they'd still be an unwelcome sight.
Strange no-one ever thought to rebuild them with small wheeled bogies and better quality doors - that in essence is the main issue! On smooth modern track at low speed they are actually great for sightseeing. Back in the late 1980s however I made the mistake of taking one all the way from Carlisle to Newcastle when it was mainly still jointed track. It was a horrible experience!
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 01:22 PM   #2277
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You might be surprised to know that some of the 'old 1970s BR rubbish' that Branson was so keen to ditch is now used by Chiltern in direct competition to his outfit on the West Midlands to London (Chiltern Railways) route - and they have won a lot of business. The tasteful refurbishment of the mk3s and the feeling of space compared to the cramped Virgin tilting stock gives Chiltern very high approval ratings from it's customers.

Often it isn't the age of the train that matters, it is how well it is maintained and updated. Hence why the same mk3 design will be the standard Scottish Inter-City train into the 2030s.

Going back to the Metro, there is a good article in the October issue of Modern Railways. Apparently there is a long lead time from Germany for spare parts for the bespoke late 1970s T&W cars, and delays (4 minutes or over) due to technical problems stands at 7,000 km per casualty. That is considerably worse than would be expected from a modern fleet and the availability of sets is getting worse.

Plan are for 84 new vehicles to replace the current 90 cars - and for them to work on both 1,500V DC and 25kV AC (the national railway standard). Also the hope that new cars would be able to conform to heavy rail collision standards, so there would be no need for double blocking signalling on the Sunderland route.

I wonder if the Stadler design recently ordered for Liverpool's electrics could be a contender, perhaps in 4-car formations? These I am sure would be at least 100 km/h (62mph) capable, maybe more?
Literally almost every train built in the BR era that still runs today offers superior comfort over Voyagers and Pendolinos in my opinion. I wish we could just replace them all with a load of Eurostar units.

Regarding Stadler, is this the train you mean? http://www.stadlerrail.com/en/produc...ground-trains/

Interesting about the dual electrification. I don't think there'd be room on the Newcastle-Durham line, but I'm sure there'd be capacity to run some Metro services along the mainline to Cramlington and Morpeth.

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Strange no-one ever thought to rebuild them with small wheeled bogies and better quality doors - that in essence is the main issue! On smooth modern track at low speed they are actually great for sightseeing. Back in the late 1980s however I made the mistake of taking one all the way from Carlisle to Newcastle when it was mainly still jointed track. It was a horrible experience!
Last time I used that line a few years ago I had the relative luxury of a Sprinter. But there were speed restrictions at one point that saw a cow in a field next to the line overtake us. Then coming back the line was closed so we got the replacement bus service which could barely reach the stations the train serves because of "road loading gauge" restrictions. And by the time we got to Hexham it had taken so long the line had reopened and we were able to catch the first train the rest of the way.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 01:28 PM   #2278
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A gritty Tyneside scene in 1979 - where was it and what's there today?

From Dave Morton in today's Chronicle Live, copyright NCJMedia Ltd @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...whats-13692267
A gritty Tyneside scene in 1979 - where was it and what's there today?
David Morton 2 October 2017

Percy Main, North Tyneside, March 1979 (Image: Kevin McGahon)


Percy Main Metro Station, looking towards Howdon (Image: Doug Young)

We step back to 1979 in our gritty, atmospheric main image.

It shows Percy Main railway station in North Shields looking West. A passenger is wrapped up against the cold as a train pulls into the opposite platform. In the background a giant chimney at a waste incinerator pumps out smoke. The scene very much depicts an image of the old industrial North - but change was just around the corner.

Today, where there was an old railway station is a shiny, modern Metro station. Like many of the crumbling stations on the suburban rail lines to the coast on both the North and South of the Tyne, the old Percy Main stop was incorporated into the new Metro system in the early 1980s.

Back in time, Percy Main - which derived its name from the Duke of Northumberland’s family - was a small village housing the families of men who worked on the River Tyne and in the local pits. The railway station, which served the community, was in operation from around 1840 on the circular route that took in Newcastle, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.

The station consisted of two platforms linked by a metal lattice footbridge (which today resides in the National Railway Museum in York). There was also a signal box at the site. Goods trains ran at Percy Main until 1968 and, 140 years after it was opened by the Newcastle and North Shields Railway, the station closed in 1980.

Read more and see slideshow @ http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/...whats-13692267
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 01:56 PM   #2279
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Plan are for 84 new vehicles to replace the current 90 cars - and for them to work on both 1,500V DC and 25kV AC (the national railway standard).
84 vehicles was the plan, but last I read was that the preference was for services to operate with a single unit equivalent to approximately the length of 2 existing units. So you can probably halve that number.

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I wonder if the Stadler design recently ordered for Liverpool's electrics could be a contender, perhaps in 4-car formations? These I am sure would be at least 100 km/h (62mph) capable, maybe more?
They are only specifying 80km/h.

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Interesting about the dual electrification. I don't think there'd be room on the Newcastle-Durham line, but I'm sure there'd be capacity to run some Metro services along the mainline to Cramlington and Morpeth.
There are no plans to run Metro services along the ECML. The dual voltage is being specified to future proof the fleet for service expansion should any new or National Rail local routes be electrified and because Network Rail want to replace the Pelaw to South Hylton line with their standard voltage when the overhead line equipment becomes due for renewal. Ability for "off-wire" running is also being specified.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 03:58 PM   #2280
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If they ever wanted to wire up the Durham Coast line that section between Pelaw and Sunderland was always going to be an obstacle unless it was standardised. Would off-wire running make services onto the Blyth & Tyne and Tyne Valley lines a possibility?
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