GWR withdraw some 800's due to cracks in yaw damper bolsters...

Bayum

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Do the Shinkansen in Japan seem to suffer this greatly? Why have Hitachi found it so difficult to translate design and construction practices from one place to another?
 
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Clarence Yard

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The units with sensors were fitted to measure the forces on the components in “service” (actually mostly done on special test runs), not to measure the propagation rate of the cracks. Hitachi, for obvious reasons, as well as the DfT wanted to know if the units were being subjected to infrastructure forces that exceeded the ones they were specified to cope with.

Two units have had some bolsters removed - 800013 and 800026. The former is due back in service later this month and 800026 is being held back to be the guinea-pig for the permanent repairs. I have commented on WNXX about the comment about new bodyshells, which may well be wide of the mark.

The bodyshells themselves are fine but the bolsters welded underneath them are either compromised by cracks or they will be at sometime in the future. The permanent solution is probably going to have to cope with the fact that, without alteration, these transverse bolsters, as currently configured, may all have to be replaced sometime in their life.

I await full details of what Hitachi propose to do with some interest!
 

Gag Halfrunt

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Do the Shinkansen in Japan seem to suffer this greatly? Why have Hitachi found it so difficult to translate design and construction practices from one place to another?

There have been suggestions that track quality and track-laying methods in the UK might be a factor.
 

43096

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There have been suggestions that track quality and track-laying methods in the UK might be a factor.
Has the track got that much worse since the days of the HST? Obviously individual sections will improve as they are re-laid and then deteriorate over time, but that's just the usual life cycle. It rather strikes me that if Hitachi are hoping to pin all this on track quality that they didn't understand the track quality in Britain and didn't do the required due diligence. It's hard to escape the conclusion that these trains are badly designed and built and not fit for purpose.
 

DanNCL

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Though supposedly Hitachi still don't yet know what is causing the cracks or how quickly they are propagating/occurring, so I'm guessing Hitachi are just trying to buy some more time by saying they have a solution only for it to be thrown out, they BS up some excuse that the government fall for and they get more time.
Correct they don’t. Whilst Stress corrosion is suspected, it hasn’t been confirmed and there are still other possibilities.

The idea of every civil servant on the project being so lackadaisical that they "fall for some BS excuse" is what strikes me as the BS.
The politicians will believe the “BS excuses”. The civil servants can advise ministers on the matter but ultimately it’s the secretary of state that gets the final say on whether to accept what Hitachi say.

Do the Shinkansen in Japan seem to suffer this greatly? Why have Hitachi found it so difficult to translate design and construction practices from one place to another?
Not quite the same issues but the Shinkansen fleets definitely do have their problems. Many Shinkansen trains don’t make it past 20 years in service, indeed withdrawals of N700 series Shinkansen units built in 2007 have already began, a service life of just 14 years.

Shinkansen fleets are usually built by multiple manufacturers rather than just one, this could possibly partly explain why Hitachi have had so many issues with the 80xs, as they’ve not had the same technical support from other manufacturers that they’re used to for the Shinkansen designs in Japan.


The units with sensors were fitted to measure the forces on the components in “service” (actually mostly done on special test runs), not to measure the propagation rate of the cracks. Hitachi, for obvious reasons, as well as the DfT wanted to know if the units were being subjected to infrastructure forces that exceeded the ones they were specified to cope with.
Not sure about GWR, but I know the LNER unit that was equipped with the sensors, 801228, was not used at all in passenger service whilst fitted with the sensors.

There have been suggestions that track quality and track-laying methods in the UK might be a factor.
Hitachi were supposed to have taken that into account when designing the units.
 

Bayum

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Not quite the same issues but the Shinkansen fleets definitely do have their problems. Many Shinkansen trains don’t make it past 20 years in service, indeed withdrawals of N700 series Shinkansen units built in 2007 have already began, a service life of just 14 years.
Are they not on the second generation now of the N700 design though?
 

DanNCL

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Are they not on the second generation now of the N700 design though?
Depends how you define generations. There’s the original N700, and there’s the N700A, which all of the original N700s were eventually converted to. Last year the N700S was introduced but the name is a bit misleading as it’s actually a new design that’s simply taken some features from the N700. 9 of the earlier N700s have been withdrawn and a quick look at entry and exit from service dates shows some of them only actually lasted 12 and a half years in service.

Given that the N700 Shinkansen was effectively one of Hitachi’s flagship products, if even they’re only lasting 13-14 years in service, it doesn’t bode well for the 80xs which are having more issues at a younger age.
 

Gag Halfrunt

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Not quite the same issues but the Shinkansen fleets definitely do have their problems. Many Shinkansen trains don’t make it past 20 years in service, indeed withdrawals of N700 series Shinkansen units built in 2007 have already began, a service life of just 14 years.

I've read that the short service lives of Shinkansen trains are entirely intentional. After fifteen to twenty years of intensive use, replacement is considered more cost-effective than refurbishment, especially as they might be full of obsolete electronics that are already difficult to maintain. On top of that they may not be as fast as newer trains. (This doesn't apply to N700s on the Tokaido Shinkansen, where top speed is limited by tight curves.) All this means that the manufacturers "value engineer" the trains for a short life to reduce manufacturing costs.
 

JamesT

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Given that the N700 Shinkansen was effectively one of Hitachi’s flagship products, if even they’re only lasting 13-14 years in service, it doesn’t bode well for the 80xs which are having more issues at a younger age.

Though this very much depends on _why_ they’re being withdrawn. If they’re knackered after that length of service it’s a worry. But my understanding is that the newer models of Shinkansen are an upgrade in terms of performance, so the Japanese have decided it’s worth doing a full fleet replacement to maintain consistency.
 

Irascible

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Depends how you define generations. There’s the original N700, and there’s the N700A, which all of the original N700s were eventually converted to. Last year the N700S was introduced but the name is a bit misleading as it’s actually a new design that’s simply taken some features from the N700. 9 of the earlier N700s have been withdrawn and a quick look at entry and exit from service dates shows some of them only actually lasted 12 and a half

Given that the N700 Shinkansen was effectively one of Hitachi’s flagship products, if even they’re only lasting 13-14 years in service, it doesn’t bode well for the 80xs which are having more issues at a younger age.

I think Shinkansen lifespans is just what they design them for, isn't it? regardless, if the 395s are OK - and I haven't heared any disasters there, it's been 12 years - I don't think the IET is going to suffer from being designed for a too short lifespan. Many other possible engineering issues, but not that particular one. Hitachi have built a huge number of domestic units in Japan, some of them way older than the average Shinkansen set. The fact that the 395s are the only rest-of-world units without problems isn't really doing their chances of expanding outside Japan much good though...

I think some of the seriously cool looking 500 series Shinkansen sets are still running, they're getting close to 25 years now.
 

DanNCL

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They fell for the BS of the whole IEP project, with its contract terms weighted in Agility's favour, so why would that change now? Civil servants shouldn't be involved with anything related to train engineering, let alone designing the trains.
It wasn't the civil servants that fell for it, it was the politicians. Civil servants can (and indeed are expected to) challenge ministers over poor decisions and advise against them by providing all the relevant facts, but ultimately the final say lies with the Secretary of State - Andrew Adonis when the contract was negotiated, Justine Greening when it was signed.

I've read that the short service lives of Shinkansen trains are entirely intentional. After fifteen to twenty years of intensive use, replacement is considered more cost-effective than refurbishment, especially as they might be full of obsolete electronics that are already difficult to maintain. On top of that they may not be as fast as newer trains. (This doesn't apply to N700s on the Tokaido Shinkansen, where top speed is limited by tight curves.) All this means that the manufacturers "value engineer" the trains for a short life to reduce manufacturing costs.
Though this very much depends on _why_ they’re being withdrawn. If they’re knackered after that length of service it’s a worry. But my understanding is that the newer models of Shinkansen are an upgrade in terms of performance, so the Japanese have decided it’s worth doing a full fleet replacement to maintain consistency.
I think Shinkansen lifespans is just what they design them for, isn't it? regardless, if the 395s are OK - and I haven't heared any disasters there, it's been 12 years - I don't think the IET is going to suffer from being designed for a too short lifespan. Many other possible engineering issues, but not that particular one. Hitachi have built a huge number of domestic units in Japan, some of them way older than the average Shinkansen set. The fact that the 395s are the only rest-of-world units without problems isn't really doing their chances of expanding outside Japan much good though...

I think some of the seriously cool looking 500 series Shinkansen sets are still running, they're getting close to 25 years now
The general design life of Shinkansen fleets is 20 years, and the majority of them do (just about) achieve that, but some of the newer Shinkansen fleets haven't been lasting that long. The N700s as I mentioned above have began to be withdrawn after just 12 years in some cases and have had many issues, not least an issue involving cracked bogies (caused by improper welding preparations) which required all the bogies from one of the manufacturers to be replaced. Another Shinkansen fleet that isn't going to last the 20 year design life is the E3-2000 series units on the Yamagata Shinkansen which were delivered in 2009 - they will all be withdrawn by 2024. That example is particularly poor as the Yamagata Shinkansen is the least demanding of the all the Shinkansen routes, and is the most comparable of the Shinkansen routes to any of the operations the 80xs have in the UK.

The 500 series Shinkansen is a bit of an outlier in having lasted 24 years to date and still no plans to replace them, but they have spent half of their lives on stopping Kodama services on the Sanyo Shinkansen, so haven't had as demanding a service life as most Shinkansen fleets.

Hitachi don't seem to be doing well outside of Japan at all, with the 395s being an outlier.
 

Mag_seven

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Just a reminder that the topic of this thread is the cracks in the Class 800 fleet, it is not a debate about the rights and wrings of how the Intercity Express Programme was set up. If anyone wants to discuss that or anything else then they are welcome to start a new thread in the appropriate forum section.

thanks
 

LOL The Irony

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N700S was introduced but the name is a bit misleading as it’s actually a new design
700 Series and new are 2 words that don't go together.
Hitachi don't seem to be doing well outside of Japan at all, with the 395s being an outlier.
They have also suffered from cracks, to their deflector mountings (which is arguably a worse issue).
 

LOL The Irony

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Is that discussed here anywhere? I'm not putting the right keywords in the search box if it is. If it isn't, mind a quick paragraph detailing what & when?
An earlier post of mine should help.
Page 21 of the interim report goes into detail.
 

Bayum

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I think Shinkansen lifespans is just what they design them for, isn't it? regardless, if the 395s are OK - and I haven't heared any disasters there, it's been 12 years - I don't think the IET is going to suffer from being designed for a too short lifespan. Many other possible engineering issues, but not that particular one. Hitachi have built a huge number of domestic units in Japan, some of them way older than the average Shinkansen set. The fact that the 395s are the only rest-of-world units without problems isn't really doing their chances of expanding outside Japan much good though...

I think some of the seriously cool looking 500 series Shinkansen sets are still running, they're getting close to 25 years now.
Don't forget that the 395 runs on pretty good nick track with HS1 only being young compared to the rest of the UK network.
 

Pigeon

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I've read that the short service lives of Shinkansen trains are entirely intentional. After fifteen to twenty years of intensive use, replacement is considered more cost-effective than refurbishment, especially as they might be full of obsolete electronics that are already difficult to maintain. On top of that they may not be as fast as newer trains. (This doesn't apply to N700s on the Tokaido Shinkansen, where top speed is limited by tight curves.) All this means that the manufacturers "value engineer" the trains for a short life to reduce manufacturing costs.

That is of course something the Japanese are extremely good at, but it does depend on a whole raft of embedded assumptions about the operating environment, both physical and cultural, which mostly are not written down anywhere at all, and so it is very difficult to anticipate both what the consequences will be when you transplant something half way round the world, and how people will react to them when they do show up. It's particularly awkward when the same thing may be trivial or catastrophic depending on how people think. So it can take many years for it to become clear what unwritten conditions you have to allow for on top of what's actually in the spec. See for instance numerous examples relating to Japanese cars and motorcycles, which now are very good indeed and arguably the best available, but used to be "they are very good, BUT...", and it took until about the 90s to really see the back of all the BUTs. Japanese trains being now as novel as Japanese cars and bikes once were, they are still at the stage of whacking the BUTs as they appear, only with a rather smaller sample space and longer iteration time to make it more difficult.

The comment about Hitachi being told that a bogie good enough for HS1 would not be good enough for use elsewhere seems to be a great example of unwritten assumptions leading to two different sets of engineers having very different ideas about things it doesn't occur to either set to question. I can well imagine the amount of subsequent wtf-ing between the Hitachi engineers discussing the matter among themselves afterwards and trying to figure out what other obscure questions they needed to ask to find out what odd details neither set realised the other set didn't know automatically.

Back when the Shinkansen was a star for the APT designers to look at, there were significant areas of design where it was determined not to be worthwhile trying to save design effort by copying what the Japanese were using, track interaction (of which British research was at the forefront) being one of them. But the Shinkansen engineers (obviously) didn't find that aspect unacceptable in their own conditions, and AFAIK there hasn't been much desire to copy technology in the opposite direction since. So probably what we are basically seeing is the shower of sparks when two styles of thinking on the same subject that have each been developing in their own way for several decades are suddenly forced into contact.
 

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An earlier post of mine should help.
Page 21 of the interim report goes into detail.

Thanks. And oof too. Now I want to go and see if there's been AT200/300 issues in Japan, but unfortunately I doubt I'd be able to read any reports...

Back when the Shinkansen was a star for the APT designers to look at, there were significant areas of design where it was determined not to be worthwhile trying to save design effort by copying what the Japanese were using, track interaction (of which British research was at the forefront) being one of them. But the Shinkansen engineers (obviously) didn't find that aspect unacceptable in their own conditions, and AFAIK there hasn't been much desire to copy technology in the opposite direction since. So probably what we are basically seeing is the shower of sparks when two styles of thinking on the same subject that have each been developing in their own way for several decades are suddenly forced into contact.

The report mentioned that they were passed track data - given we have the NMT I'm guessing that's quite a lot of detailed track data - and that the measured forces were higher than expected given the data we'd given. Japan's domestic rail is either high-speed standard gauge or lower speed narrow gauge - I don't think there's anything exactly like we have, so rather than clashing ideas I wonder if it's just bad simulation. That does not excuse the SCC issues showing up all over the units though.
 

Mag_seven

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I've noticed a lot more 10 car GWR sets out recently - is this a sign that their availability is improving?
 

Horizon22

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I've noticed a lot more 10 car GWR sets out recently - is this a sign that their availability is improving?

Yes and no. The current situation with the short-term welding fixes is quite good (Hitachi’s fleet position had also coincidentally been quite poor past few weeks). A long-term solution is still not yet on the horizon.
 

Peter Sarf

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Can't they weld some aluminium over the effected area? That always got my brother's car through its MOT

Hope he had an aluminium car!
Nah it'l be fine :E. On my first car I added a thin sheet of aluminium to the top of the wing on the underside with pop rivets. It was necessary because the wing mounted aerial had fallen out of the wing !. Result was brilliant radio reception. At the MOT the tester congratulated me on my resourcefulness. I thought he was going to pull me up on it being an injury hazard to any poor pedestrian that might slide over my car. He said in fact the standard aerial was in any case more likely to cause an eye injury.

My Grandfather swore by Araldite but during an A.Level Physics lab session I found that Araldite conducts electricity which really disappointed me. So would not be any use for pantograph repairs !.
 

aleggatta

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My Grandfather swore by Araldite but during an A.Level Physics lab session I found that Araldite conducts electricity which really disappointed me. So would not be any use for pantograph repairs !.
That could make it the most appropriate! As long as it’s not on the insulators or anything that should flex you’d be alright
 

Peter Sarf

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That could make it the most appropriate! As long as it’s not on the insulators or anything that should flex you’d be alright
Oh yes, of course :D. It was not a good conductor though. It was to seal around some electrodes that sat in electrolyte and affected the results without being obviously conductive !. I was the smart alec that decided to not trust the equipment and do my own measurements without any electrolyte in !.
 

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