The Anonymous Widower

What Should We Do With Old Coal-Fired Power Station Sites?

As I indicated in The Beginning Of A New Era, the way we generate electricity is changing.

Wikipedia has a list of all the active coal-fired power stations in the UK. The section starts like this.

There are currently 9 active coal fired power stations operating in the United Kingdom which have a total generating capacity of 14.4GW. In 2016 three power stations closed at Rugeley, Ferrybridge and Longannet. In November 2015 it was announced by the UK Government that all coal fired power stations would be closed by 2025.

So what should we do with the sites?

This picture shows the power station site at Eugeley

This is a Google Map of the area.

The two stations shown on the map are Rugeley Trent Valley, which is on the the Trent Valley section of the West Coast Main Line and Rugeley Town, which is on the Chase Line.

Many of these large coal-fired  power station sites sites are rail connected, so that the coal could be brought in efficiently.

In the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways there is an article entitled Freight, Not All Doom And Gloom, which makes this plea.

Old coal-fired power stations and Ministry of Fefence sites with ready-made rail links, could make ideal distribution parks, if they are in the right part of the country.

The author is so right, when they say elsewhere in the article,  that these rail links must be kept.

Even, if a site was given over to housing, developers will say, that a good rail link to a development, improves their profits.

The article is an interesting read about moving goods by rail and contains a few surprises.

  • Moving coal and steel is well down, but to a certain extend, these bulk loads have been replaced by the moving of aggregates.
  • The article states forty percent of the materials used in London buildings, are now brought in by rail.
  • The supermarket groups and in particular Asda and Tesco are increasingly using rail for long-distance transport.
  • Short term Treasury policy sometimes works against long term aims of moving freight from the roads and cutting carbon emissions.
  • Quality 1980s passenger stock with wide doors might make excellent parcels carriers.

The last one is an interesting point, as HSTs have only got narrow doors, whereas pallets could be fork-lifted through the wide doors of something like a Class 319 or Class 321 train.

I discuss the small parcel train in detail in The Go-Anywhere Express Parcels And Pallet Carrier.


May 27, 2017 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,


  1. Enjoyable article. Hope you are making the most of the sunshine!

    Comment by Little Miss Traveller | May 27, 2017 | Reply

    • Thanks! Don’t underestimate this Flex train concept, The trains may be thirty years old, but they will revolutionise train travel across the North in the next few years. They will be testing on Manchester to Buxton by the end of the year. I also think, that one of the first places to get the trains will be the Leeds-Sheffield-Doncaster triangle.

      You get four-car electric trains without electrification.

      It’s classic recycling.

      Comment by AnonW | May 27, 2017 | Reply

  2. Really interesting blog post!

    Check out our new Australian campaign, ‘Powering Our Futures’ which focuses on the energy transition and how a just transition needs to be created for all!

    Did you know that transitioning an industry causes disruption to employees, their families and their communities? We want to encourage a just transition for those working in emissions intensive power stations and coal mines that are scheduled to close over the coming years.

    Let’s talk about employment certainty and what’s next, so these employees can power their own future.

    You can see our blog on a ‘just transition’ here:

    Comment by Powering Our Futures | September 3, 2017 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.