The Anonymous Widower

The Cost Of Tram Batteries

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Midland Metro tram shipped to Spain for battery fit-out ahead of OLE-free operation.

One Midland Metro tram has been sent back to the factory in Zaragoza to be fitted with two roof-mounted lithium-ion cells and after testing it will be returned to the West Midlands in the Autumn, where more testing will be performed, prior to starting running on the catenary-free streets of Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

After a successful completion of testing on the first tram, the other twenty trams will be converted.

This is said in the article about costs.

The total cost to the WMCA of fitting out the fleet will be £15.5m, but the authority says that it will save £9.24m on infrastructure costs on the first four extensions to the Metro network alone, with further infrastructure savings planned as future extensions take place.

So the savings can go a long way to help pay for the trams to run on the four extensions.

The cost of the modifications to each tram is £738,000, but if the infrastructure savings are factored in, the modifications cost just £298,000 per tram.

I also wonder if the layout of the Midland Metro, with a fairly long wired central section and a catenary-free section at either end is ideal for battery operation, as the trams will have a long section to fully charge the batteries.

But it looks like trams will reach Victoria Square and Wolverhampton station in 2019, Edgbaston in 2021 and the Eastside extension to Curzon Street will be completed in 2023.

Perhaps, the most interesting section in the article is this paragraph.

The WMCA is also evaluating a proposed Wednesbury to Brierley Hill extension to identify the viability of catenary-free sections.

Could this mean that the South Staffordshire Line, which will be used for the extension will be without catenary? As the tram does small detours into Dudley and at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, then these sections could be wired to charge the batteries, leaving the South Staffordshire Line without any wires. I estimate that the distance the tram would travel would be about seven miles each way.

As Network Rail want to run both trams and freight trains on the South Staffordshire Line, this might allow both to share an unelectrified line, if they have the right wheel and track profiles.

There certainly seems to be some very innovative ideas around, when it comes to using trains and trams in City Centres.

 

 

January 23, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Globalisation Of Health Care

This article on the BBC is entitled World’s smallest MRI helps tiny babies.

It shows how healthcare is becoming an increasingly global collaboration.

The idea for the machine was developed in the University of Sheffield and the machine was built by the American company; GE Healthcare.

Medical research is like this, with often more than two companies and countries playing their parts in producing a successful breakthrough, often many years after the original idea.

I just wonder how Trump’s America First and tax policies will affect developments like this.

Will his new tax rules, mean that if an American company is involved in a development like this, that the device will have to be manufactured in the United States, when perhaps to manufacture it in the country, that owns the IPR might be better?

I can see researchers not wanting to get involved with American companies, when other countries can offer deals with no nasty strings attached.

There’s only going to be two winners with some of Trumps tax ideas; lawyers and accountants.

 

January 23, 2017 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 1 Comment

Comedy Is Universal

‘Allo ‘Allo! was shown in many countries around the world.

With the sad death of one of the show’s stars; Gordon Kaye, today, I typed his name in quotes into Google.

I found entries from all over the world. But a lot more than I would have expected.

It just shows the universal reach of comedy.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The PM Can Make Trump Begin To Face Reality

This is the title of a comment in The Times by Justin Webb.

It is a good comment and if you get a chance read it.

But it made me think!

Trump is a difficult person to read, as in several times in the last few months, he’s changed his mind. So will Theresa be able to make him change his mind again?

I don’t know!

But I just wonder, if Trump has ever been in negotiation with a determined, intelligent woman!

This will be one meeting, where the flies will learn a lot.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Look At New Station Projects

If as I wrote in Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains, the government is going to promote more stations, how are the various current station projects progressing?

This list of stations is not complete.

But I can make a few simple conclusions.

Some Regions Have More Stations In The Pipeline Than Others

There are probably several reasons for this.

  • Some regions like Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield have gone the light-rail route.
  • Some regions like East Anglia, East Midlands, Kent, Sussex and Teesside haven’t got their plans fully together.
  • Some regions like Bristol, London and Merseyside have got very detailed plans together.
  • Some regions like Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow have already got extensive heavy rail networks.

I think Merseyside is the interesting region.

  • Merseyrail is very much an independent franchise strongly controlled by the region.
  • It runs a frequent four trains per hour (tph) to most destinations.
  • It seems to be run very professionally.
  • It is proposing at least seven new stations.

In lots of areas, it appears that Merseyrail and London Overground are singing the same tune.

I have a feeling when other regions get their acts together, we’ll be seeing a lot more plans for new stations.

Several New Passenger Routes Are Being Created

In the list of stations, the same new routes arise.

  • Aberdeen Crossrail
  • Anglesey Central Railway
  • Borderlands Line
  • Bristol Metro (MetroWest)
  • Camp Hill Line
  • Canada Dock Branch
  • Coventry to Nuneaton Line
  • Devon Metro
  • East West Rail Link
  • Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway
  • Harrogate Line
  • Ivanoe Line
  • Leamside Line
  • Newcastle And Ashington Line
  • Ripley Branch Line
  • South Staffordshire Line
  • South Wales Metro

Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter and Merseyside have obviously been planning.

New Trains Stop At A Station Faster

The UK’s most frequent rail line is the Victoria Line, which is gearing up to a frequency of 36 tph or even more.

Crossrail and Thameslink will be running 24 tph through their central tunnels.

Trains like these and Bombardier’s new Aventras and Stadler’s new trains for Merseyrail will be optimised for fast stops.

  • Driver Only Operation
  • Wide doors and lobbies for easy access.
  • Optimum braking and acceleration.
  • Roll across step-free access for wheelchairs, buggies and large cases.
  • Automatic Train Operation as has been working on the Victoria Line since the 1960s

Trains like these will mean that new stations can be inserted on existing lines without degrading the service.

 

 

 

January 23, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 5 Comments