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Home Page March/April 2020

More Pacer photographs by Keith Fox this month

The service from Scunthorpe Doncaster to Lincoln as seen in Sheffield Midland station that is no longer available.  Now you have to catch a train to Sheffield and change for Lincoln. 

A couple of views in Doncaster Railway Station and Thorne North notice the use of three car units. A scene that may not be longer with us soon as the newer trains promised continue to be delivered. 

Pacer is the operational name of the British Rail Classes 140, 141, 142, 143 and 144 diesel multiple unit railbuses, built between 1980 and 1987. The railbuses were intended as a short-term solution to a shortage of rolling stock (with a lifespan of no more than 20 years),[1] but as of 1 March 2020, many were still in use.

All Pacer trains were scheduled to be retired by the end of 2019. The Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations require that all public passenger trains must be accessible to disabled people by 2020. Only one Pacer (the modernised 144e) currently meets this requirement.

This is the preserved 141 unit preserved at Butterley Photo taken by Keith in 2015 , used in regular service

Porterbrook unveiled the refurbished Class 144e Evolution Pacer  Photographs by Rail Technology Magazine

Battery Electric Trams and Trolleybuses the Future?

Last month we looked at the trolleybuses and trams of Birmingham, but these vehicles used electricity direct from overhead wires. Both types saw a demise in the early 1950's thus that seemed the end of electric public transport in the city that is until the appearance of trams of the Midland Metro 30 May 1999. Trams reached the city centre (well almost) from Wolverhampton another city that had once operated trams and trolleybuses. But what all the original trams and trolleybuses lacked was the ability to only use electricity from overhead wires. 

However one of the trolleybus operators that could operate a trolleybus for approximately quarter of a mile was Reading A good demonstration was made at Teesside when one of their former trolleybuses with on board traction batteries travelled on sections where the trolleybus overhead wires had been removed but for an enthusiasts tour over a former sections where wires had been removed and over a former railway bridge diversion. Some other trolleybus operators did have batteries fitted for short off wire movements but never enough to operate alternatively off wire in regular passenger service.
The Midland Metro have now added batteries such as can be seen on the roof of the tram above thus enabling the tram now to operate for sections where there are no overhead lines.

Above left we see one of the Midland Metro trams operating on a new section near the New Library where there are no overhead wires with the tram operating on its batteries that were charged up from the wires.  However electric public transport shows another direction where both forms of transport the trams and the trolleybuses can operate side by side as in Zurich Switzerland or as here  New trolleybuses Škoda 30 Tr for Mariánské Lázně are going for test rides. Yellow cars in Sor bodywork will be tested gradually eight. The picture is captured by the first of them in Milady Horákové square along with the tram EVO2 no. 373. This could so easily be Blackpool or Nottingham etc.

BVG Berlin plans implementation of hybrid trolleybuses
A comeback is looming: As Berlin's public transport operator BVG is preparing to electrify its bus fleet until 2030, the partial installation of trolleybus overhead lines is planned for the trunk lines of the network in Spandau. Under the slogan "as much as necessary and as much as possible", the partial electrification with overhead wires represents the economical optimum between re-charging infrastructure and batteries. The plan is that battery-hybrid-trolleybuses will run under overhead 50 - 65 % of the respective routes in order to re-charge the traction batteries. The rest of the line will be operated in battery mode. This principle is also called "In Motion Charging" (IMC) in other cities. Apart from economical benefits, the catenary allows to charge while driving and therefore has no impact on timetable or the fleet size due to long recharging times at the terminus. The combination of catenary and batteries also allow for higher ranges and larger bus units such as bi-articulated buses.

A recent survey suggests if a battery bus can only run one shift on a single overnight charge, then two battery buses will be required to cover what a single trolleybus can do using what the call in-motion-charging, in other words these vehicles fitted with trolleybooms can charge their batteries for off line working just like the trams now operating in Birmingham.

What was and what might have been in the UK, the famous Boris Master Hybrid. . 

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