Introduction and Background:
The Intercity Express Project (IEP) is an initiative of the Department for Transport (DfT) of the United Kingdom to introduce a fleet of next-generation long-distance trains to replace the existing high speed Trains (HST) [1-4]. The existing HSTs have been the mainstay for UK rail network for over three decades due to their number of positive features, and have been recognised as the most successful train in the UK in the past five decades . IEP is aimed to replace current high speed trains as most of them are approaching thirty years of service. The future IEP trains are aimed to possess some significant design, energy, environmental, efficiency and safety benefits, and will be in use for the next thirty years [1,3]. A technical specification of the IEP trains has already been issued by DfT. The Department for Transport has aimed for 1500 IEP trains for the new fleet, and have set approximately GBP 2.5 billion as the total cost for this project . The Intercity Express Project is aimed to be fully introduced into UK railway network by 2014 [1-4].
Objective of IEP:
To develop and introduce a fleet of next-generation long-distance trains in UK railway network which will possess a numbers of improved features like speed, maintenance, reliability, efficiency, remote monitoring, multiple working, eco friendliness, and customer security and satisfaction [1,2,4].
Key features, Design and Business issues of IEP trains:
The IEP trains are to be designed to fulfil some technical improvements over existing HSTs such as energy efficiency, minimisation of emissions, improved carrying capacity and the European technical standards for interoperability. Designers of all major rolling stock industry are continuously working on different manufacturing aspects of the IEP trains. This report discusses some of the key manufacturing issues that the designers will face to develop the improved fleet of HSTs.
- Hybrid design:UK railway system is not fully electrified and, therefore, a hybrid design of IEP trains is needed for ensured operations on fully electrified routes, partially electrified and partially self powered routes, and fully self powered routes. Hybrid trains (also known as Bi mode trains) will be capable of operating in electric only mode, self power only mode, and a combination of both electric and self power mode . Hybrid trains will be capable of producing a part of required power from their self power source and draw the rest from electrification supply.
- Light weight, and higher interior space and capacity: In order to achieve fuel efficiency and higher train life, the IEP emphasis on light weight design of the trains. The weight of an electrically operating IEP train will be limited within 362 tonnes. For self powered trains and bi-mode trains the maximum weight will be 392 tonnes and 385 tonnes, respectively . The IEP trains are aimed for an optimised internal cross section to ensure maximum space and capacity. Structural instructions or other permanent features within the furnishable space will be minimised to achieve the maximum doable flexibility in terms of interior layouts
- Splitting or joining facility/multiple working: The IEP trains can split or join during operations depending upon the popularity of destinations or requirements . To ensure split en-route, the IEP trains are planned to have multiple engines. An IEP train can be coupled with another IEP train up to a maximum of four trains (maximum length for a coupled train is 624m). The maximum splitting and joining time between two IEP trains, in operation, has been set to 3 minutes.
- Train management system (TMS): The IEP trains will have an embedded train management system which will be capable of fault detection during service, acquiring-receiving and storing information from control units. TMS is aimed to reduce fault detection time, repair time and splitting or joining time of IEP trains .
- The IEP trains will be fitted with advanced onboard train location system technologies such as satellite, GNSS and GPS . These technologies will be used to detect train location, inertia measurements and track mapping during service. In future such technologies may be used for advanced signalling technology and will be more reliable technologies than the existing signalling technology.
- As a requirement to operate on the designated routes, the IEP trains will also be fitted with radio and data transmission equipments. The radio and data transmission equipments, for example GSM-R radio equipments, will have common aerial methodology to maximise the effectiveness of the wireless connectivity while minimising the number of aerials that are installed to the exterior of IEP trains.
- The IEP trains are aimed to capable of driver only operation at various operating routes. Some of the current high speed trains also have the capability of DOO .
Design issues and Business requirements:
Introduction of both electrified and self powered versions in a single engine will definitely increase complexicity, weight and cost of manufacturing of the engines of IEP trains, whereas, it will decrease the possible delay of customers for changing trains. Therefore there is a possibility of increase of popularity of the trains and the trains will be capable of serving different railway routes. The rolling stock companies should optimise between customer satisfaction and cost of manufacturing.
Light weight and compact designs of the IEP trains can be achieved by using the materials which have high strength to weight ratio such as aluminium and magnesium alloys. These materials are costly and therefore an extensive research is needed for the rolling stock companies to identify the suitable materials to achieve the maximum benefits.
Design for coupling and uncoupling of the IEP trains is crucial because trains needed to be tightly fitted or totally separated within a small time span. Therefore, complex designs needed to achieve such swiftness. The split and join facility is expected to decrease the overall cost per passenger, although this may not be a suitable alternative for busy lines due to the possible time delay.
With the availability of latest cheap electronics and satellite technologies, the features for TMS can easily be installed without incur much design and cost issues.
- Maximum speed: The IEP trains are aimed to have higher speed than the existing HSTs. The fastest speed of a current HST can achieve is 125mph, whereas, IEP trains are aiming to achieve 140 mph [1,2].
- Reliability: The IEP trains will be capable of obtaining high performance before failure. The targeted performance for electric powered train, self powered train, Bi mode – electric only trains and Bi mode – self powered only trains are 60,000 miles, 40,000 miles, 60,000 miles and 60,000 miles, respectively .
The IEP trains will work in a vast operational range. It is expected that the trains will cover all designated routes and capable of operating for 18 hours per day (equivalent to 1500 miles per day) [1,2].
The outer body of IEP trains will be capable of high corrosion resistance at any kind environments, epically in salty environments. All kind of exposed equipments and components will possess high corrosion resistance .
The IEP trains will be capable of operate inclement weather such as dense fog, flood conditions and heavy snow fall. The trains are aimed to work through 100mm of flood water and 200-300 mm of snow above train line.
Design issues and Business requirements:
Requirement of high speed leads to complex design of engines and, therefore, increases the overall cost. However, with the aid of modern technologies a maximum speed of 140 mph can be achievable. Improvement in speed of IEP trains will definitely increase customer satisfaction as it will decrease the journey times for long distance travel. Table I represents a comparison of the current and targeted journey times between different destinations and London by CfIT . It can be noticed from Table I that as high as 43% save in journey time has been targeted for IEP trains and maximum improvements can be achieved for long distance travels.
To ensure higher speed for IEP trains the signalling system of railway network is needed to be improved to in-cab signalling . The present signalling system will not allow the IEP trains to achieve speeds over 125 mph. Unfortunately, the current rail system in the UK have wide spread wheel-on-rail tracks and can not be upgraded to magnetic levitation in the near future. Currently the maximum speed a train can achieve is 125mph, except for some newly refurbished routes (140 mph). Therefore, the signalling systems and railway tracks of UK railway network are needed to be improved to comply with the high speed requirements.
To achieve higher reliability, the IEP trains should possess reliable design and suitable materials within robust frames. High reliability of future HSTs will definitely increase the reputation of railway services.
Energy Efficiency and Environmental Benefits:
- Improved energy efficiency: IEP trains are aimed to improve energy efficiency by reducing auxiliary energy consumptions under all circumstances . For the IEP trains auxiliary energy consumption will depend on passenger load, therefore IEP trains will need less energy for off-peak periods. Light weight will improve the energy efficiency of IEP trains. IEP is aimed to increase the power/weight ratio by 30%. The internal power consumptions (such as lights, radiators/air coolers) of IEP trains will automatically shut down within 5 minutes of being unused and, therefore, saving of energy is ensured when the train is not in service.
- Lesser pollution: The IEP trains are targeted to emit low emission to meet EU requirements. There will be significant reduction in CO, CO2, SO2 emissions for IEP trains over the existing HSTs .
The noise level within IEP trains will be very low and the overall noise level within trains during operations will not exceed 55 decibels. All of the harmful noises and vibrations will be limited within 3 decibels .
Design issues and Business requirements: To focus on energy efficiency, the IEP trains will be fitted with on-board energy metering to record the total power consumption for electric, self power and hybrid trains. Based on the received data for different railway operations, a study for optimizations of the power consumption for different situations can be carried out. Energy efficiency definitely lead to decrease fuel cost for every journey.
The designs of low pollutions trains will be a challenge for rolling stock industries. The requirements for lesser air and noise pollution will lead to complex designs of rail engines and train bodies. Introduction of eco friendly is, therefore, may increase initial investment but that will take care of many environmental issues.
Customer Monitoring, Security and Safety Aspects:
- Passenger counting System: The IEP trains will be fitted with a system which automatically, reliably and accurately measures the total number of passenger boarding and alighting at each stop . The system will also be capable of counting the number of passengers moving within the train body and can record the number of passenger per saloon. The accuracy of the system is expected to be 96%.
- Intelligent Monitoring System: The IEP trains will be fitted with Intelligent Monitoring System to monitor, record, analyse, store and transmit data to TMS to notify the health and condition of AWS, TPWS, ETCS and GSM-R .
- Forward Facing Closed Circuit TV (FFCCTV): All IEP trains will be fitted with Forward Facing Closed Circuit TV to recognise track, signals and any approaching features of attention on the track. The FFCCTV will be able to work without the main power source of the trains, record images at high resolution and seek attention of drivers for detection of any kind of anomaly.
- Saloon Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Monitoring System: Each vehicle shell will be fitted with sufficient tamper proof and vandal resistant saloon CCTV to reduce blind spot within each compartment . This system will be capable of recording high quality data and storing them for 30 days. The CCTV recordings can be viewed from a remote and secured crew area to ensure passenger security.
- Temper-proof design: The IEP trains are aimed to possess temper-proof designs at doors and windows to ensure secure, resistant to vandalism and misuse .
- Emergency equipments: The IEP trains are expected to carry all kind of emergency equipments such as foil blankets and hand warmers, emergency clothing, Independent light sources, mobile door barriers, emergency ladder, bio hazard kit, enhanced first aid kits, fire safety equipments, and emergency forms and lists .
Design issues and Business requirements:
With the advancements of electronics technology the components for customer monitoring, security and safety equipments can easily and cheaply be designed and manufactured. These advanced security system will surely decrease the number of unpleasant incidents by a number. Finally, that will influence the reputation of the IEP trains.
Improved Customer Care/Satisfaction:
- Passenger facilities: To ensure customer satisfaction the IEP aims to ensure comfort by improving and providing facilities at different areas within vehicles. For example, entrance areas will be improved to minimising platform dwell time, litter collection, comfortable seated areas, safe and secure luggage storage areas, standard and universal type toilet systems, catering, interior partition doors, interior information and advert system, and crew office will be introduced .
- Automatic seat reservation system: The IEP trains will be fitted with automatic seat reservation system and the system will be fully integrated with the PIS and PA systems .
- Cleanliness: The interior design and styling of IEP trains will ensure effective and efficient cleaning using usual cleaning methods and equipments . Both inner and outer faces of the IEP trains will be capable of withstanding the effect of cleaning materials and will not degrade as a result of the continual use of such maintenance work.
Design issues and Business requirements:
Accommodating a number of passenger facilities in the IEP trains will be a tough design issue. The suitable designs can be determined by advanced genetic algorithms. A regular maintenance will again incur continuous expenditure. These are essential investments to increase customer satisfaction and will increase business at the endeavour.
Based on the technical specifications of the IEP trains, laid down by the Department of Transport, it can be well understood that railway network of the United Kingdom is going to achieve rapid improvements in terms of speed, maintenance, reliability, efficiency, remote monitoring, multiple working, eco friendliness, and customer security and satisfaction. A noteworthy planning for the future improvements in various aspects of the current railway system can also be understood from various publications and press releases of the Department of Transport and the Commission for Integrated Transport. However, apart from IEP some other improvements are also necessary to achieve an absolute advancement of the UK railway system. In order to establish a commendable railway transport system for this globe the Intercity Express Project is, therefore, a real-life challenge for different rolling stock industries.