The Anonymous Widower

Sailing Down The River

As a child, I enjoyed going for a boat trip on the Thames. I always wanted to go further than just a quick turn at Big Ben, but my mother said it was too expensive. Especially, if you took into accpunt, the cost of going up on the Piccadilly Line and tea in Lyons Corner House.

So this morning, I took the Underground to Putney Bridge station before walking across the river to Putney Pier, where I got a Thames Clipper to Blackfriars.

The reason I did it so early, as this is a trip that is only possible in the morning rush-hour.  Even so my nine o’clock boat wasn’t very full and there were just two of us on the observation deck.

It’s certainly the best time to do the journey if the weather is fine!


November 25, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Bombardier’s Battery Technology

I have just found this timely article in the Rail Engineer entitled Battery-Powered Tram Record.

It is a detailed technical article about batteries and their application to Bombardier’s new trams in Germany.

Is it a case of trams today and trains tomorrow?

November 25, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Are The Class 387 Trains Getting Excited?

I travelled from Blackfriars to St. Pancras on one of Thameslink’s Class 387 trains.

With only a couple of hours to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, are these trains getting excited about visiting places they never thought they would?

Since I wrote Rumours of Battery Powered Trains a few months ago, nothing has been heard. In that article I quoted from Modern Railways, who said this about future orders for Class 387 trains.

Delivery as IPEMUs would allow EMUs to make use of as much wiring as is available (and batteries beyond) while electrification pushes ahead under the delayed scheme, and in the longer term would allow units to run on sections not yet authorised for electrification, such as Newbury to Bedwyn. The use of IPEMUs might also hasten the cascade of Class 16x units to the west of the franchise.

Note that IPEMU is Network Rail’s term for a part-time battery train, that has the same performance as a standard train.

It is a deafening silence!

There has been nothing heard about electrification either, except the award of the contract for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to J. Murphy and Sons as reported in this article in Rail Technology.

So is it a case of no news is good news for electrification?

I still believe that a fleet of Class 387 IPEMUs could be used to extend electrification by stealth, into areas, where everybody thinks it is impossible to go.

I would use them to run these routes for a start.

  • Liverpool to Newcastle – There is one gap of 43 miles between Leeds and Manchester
  • Blackpool to Scarborough – There might need to be some electrification at Scarborough
  • Liverpool to Hull – There might need to be some electrification at Hull
  • Euston to Blackpool
  • Euston to Chester
  • St. Pancras to Corby
  • St. Pancras to Leicester – There might need to be some electrification at Leicester
  • Kings Cross to Hull
  • Kings Cross to Harrogate
  • Kings Cross to Lincoln
  • Kings Cross to Middlesbrough
  • Kings Cross to Sunderland
  • Liverpool Street to Lowestoft
  • Liverpool Street to Norwich via Ely
  • Ipswich to Cambridge
  • Ipswich to Peterborough
  • Paddington to Oxford, Newbury and Bedwyn
  • St. Pancras to Ashford, Hastings and Eastbourne
  • London Bridge to Uckfield
  • Assorted Branch Lines to Barrow, Felixstowe, Greenford, Maidenhead, Marlow, Windermere and Yarmouth

On many of these lines, IPEMUs could run as soon as they are built or modified from existing trains!

If anybody doubts the concept, it could be proven on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line in North London.

So how does electrification figure in George Osborne’s statement?

Note these points!

  • Electrification cuts carbon emmissions.
  • Electric trains are faster and more efficient.
  • Electrification needs to be done all over the country, so a lot of areas will benefit.
  • It looks like there are upwards of thirty Class 387 trains, that have nowhere to go! But fitted with batteries they do!
  • Using battery trains means that the costs and disruption of electrification are reduced.

If electrification is enabled using battery trains, it will be the biggest rabbit any Chancellor has ever pulled!


November 25, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Battery Trains In Japan

Some think I’m wrong about battery trains and believe they will never catch on! But none of the doubters are engineers or physicists, and perhaps more importantly none rode the amazing Class 379 BEMU, when it was being trialled last year in Essex.

I have just searched for battery trains and found this article on the Rail Journal web site entitled Battery-Electric Trains For Japan’s Oga Line. This is said.

EAST Japan Railway Company (JR East) has announced plans to carry out trials with ac battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) on the 26.6km Oga Line in Japan’s northern Akita prefecture from Spring 2017.

But this is not an experiment, as this is said later.

The Oga Line will be the second line on the JR east network to benefit from BEMU operation, following the introduction of EV-E301 series trains on the Karasuyama Line in Tochigi Prefecture in March 2014.

If the Japanese use BEMU (IPEMU in the UK!) technology in daily service, it can’t be their version of Mickey Mouse! The train is called an EV-E301, and looks a professional train, even if a bit spartan for use in the UK.

I just wonder when George Osborne makes his Autumn Statement today, will he be announcing new battery-electric trains or IPEMUs for all?

In my view, it’s the only way to electrify large parts of the UK and reduce the costs of electrification!



November 25, 2015 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments