The Anonymous Widower

Tunnelling Complete On Northern Line Extension

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Rail News.

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for the Northern Line Extension To Battersea.

The main tunnelling started in April 2017.

So as it’s now November 2017, the tunnellers have performed like a Jack Russell after a rabbit.

I do think that this excellent performance might give Transport for London ideas for some new passenger or train tunnels under London.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Riding On A Battery-Electric Double-Deck Bus

This morning I rode on a battery-electric double-deck bus.

Some of these buses are russing on route 98 between Holborn and Willesden Garage, which includes a run down Oxford Street.

There’s more on the buses in this page on the Metroline web site.

I went upstairs and the experience was little different to that of a normal hybrid bus.

My Thoughts

My thoughts in various areas.

Design

It is a well-designed bus, that is easy to use for this seventy-year-old.

Passenger Experience

Travelling along Oxford Street, the passenger experience was equal to that of a New Routemaster, without the occasional low noise of the engine.

 

Performance Of The Bus

As we proceeded along Oxford Street, the performance of the bus, was very much in line with current hybrid buses.

The bus wasn’t full on the upper deck, but I suspect that the total weight of the passengers is very much lower than the weight of the battery, so this might mean that a full bus performs well compared with an empty bus.

Limited Space On The Lower Deck

There is one obvious problem and that is that the size of the battery reduces the number of seats downstairs.

As I said earlier, I doubt the weight of the passengers is a problem, but the available space, where they sit and stand could be.

Economics Of The Bus

The bus will obviously be expensive to purchase and to run, as batteries are expensive and need to be replaced every few years.

Coupled with the fact that capacity is smaller than current hybrid buses, which probably means more buses are needed to perform the required service, the economics of the buses may not be suitable for many routes.

I also wonder, if a battery-electric double-deck bus has better economics than a single-deck bus, as the extra weight of the top deck and the extra passengers is small compared to the weight of the battery.

But the economics will get better with improved battery technology.

The Marketing Advantages

BYD and Metroline could be  big winners here, as corporate videos and marketing material showing buses in Central London, can’t be a bad thing!

The Competition From Diesel Hybrid Buses

I believe that one competitor to the battery-electric bus will be the next generation of diesel hybrid buses.

Take the current modern hybrid buses like a New Routemaster or any other hybrid bus built in the last couple of years. These have a battery that can power the bus for perhaps a couple of miles.

As the battery is smaller, it can be squeezed into an unlikely space. On a New Routemaster, the diesel engine is under the back stairs and the battery is under the front stairs.

A technique called geo-fencing can be retro-fitted, which forbids the use of the buses diesel engine in sensitive areas, based on GPS technology.

So a route like London’s route 98 could work through the ULEZ on battery power and charge the battery between Edware Road station and Willesden Garage.

The Competition From Hydrogen Hybrid Buses

This will surely be similar to that from diesel hybrid buses.

  • Battery size will probably be as for a diesel hybrid bus.
  • As hydrogen doesn’t give out noxious emissions, this will be an advantage and you won’t need the geo-fencing.
  • But you will need to store the hydrogen.

As hydrogen technology improves, I feel that thehydrogen hybrid bus could become a formidable competitor.

The Competition From Converting Old Diesel Buses To Diesel Hybrid Buses

I talked about this in Arriva London Engineering Assists In Trial To Turn Older Diesel Engine Powered Buses Green.

Never underestimate good engineers with a good idea, that has a good financial payback.

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of competition between the various technologies and the passengers, bus operators, London and London’s air will be big winners.

As all of this technology can be applied anywhere, other parts of the UK will benefit.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Government Delays Silvertown Tunnel By Six Months

This article on City AM is entitled Government Delays Silvertown Tunnel Decision By Another Six Months Over Air Quality Concerns.

The decision on the Silverton Tunnel will now be made in May 2018.

But surely this is too early.

  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations in December 2018.
  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Shenfield and Paddington stations in May 2019.
  • Thameslink will open between Kent and Central London via London Bridge in May 2018.
  • The ULEZ becomes operational in April 2019.

I would have thought that the decision should be made after the effects of these changes have settled down.

This map shows the route of the tunnel.

Will any other public transport developments reduce the urgency for the tunnel?

London City Airport Crossrail Station

Under New Stations, the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail says this about a station at Silvertown close to the London City Airport.

London City Airport has proposed the re-opening of Silvertown railway station, in order to create an interchange between the rail line and the airport. The self-funded £50m station plan is supported ‘in principle’ by the London Borough of Newham. Provisions for re-opening of the station were made in 2012 by Crossrail. However, it is alleged by the airport that Transport for London is hostile to the idea of a station on the site, a claim disputed by TfL

This must surely cut down the traffic needing to cross the Thames in this area.

Gallions Reach Crossing And Thamesmead Extension Of The Docklands Light Railway

Wikipedia has a section, which says this about the extension.

The proposed Gallions Reach Crossing has been suggested by TfL as allowing a branch to leave the existing DLR network at Gallions Reach, and cross the river on the proposed tunnel/bridge and into Thamesmead. The new branch could then pass through Thamesmead and towards Abbey Wood, Woolwich, or northwards towards Barking. On 4 October 2016 the London Assembly approved the extension to Thamesmead.

Will this extension be a game-changer?

Extending The Gospel Oak To Barking Line From Barking Riverside To Thamesmead

This is definitely another rail extension that will be looked at.

The New Southeastern Franchise

The successor for the current Southeastern franchise will be announced in August 2018 and they will take over the franchise in December 2018.

If this award follows the pattern of others in recent time, there will be a lot of new services and trains promised.

Updating The Woolwich Ferry

Wikipedia has a Future section for the Woolwich Ferry, which says that two new diesel-electric hybrid vessels are on order.

Conclusion

We should wait until all related issues and projects are decided before making the decision on the Silvertown Tunnel.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Where Are The Small Cooking Spoons?

My mother had a very small wooden cooking spoon about twelve or so centimetres long. It was ideal for warming baked beans or making scrambled eggs in a non-stick milk saucepan.

Her’s had suffered an accident and I can remember that one side was slightly burned, but it was still usable. And absolutely the eight size!

I’ve been looking for over fifty years since I left home and not found one yet!

This is the best I can do!

But it’s still too big! Note I have drilled a hole through the handle and fixed a cable-clip in it, so I can hang it up above my cooker.

Is it a Health and Safety requirement that spoons must be big enough, so we don’t get our fingers burned?

I’d actually like one in a high-tech plastic, as it would be easier to clean!

Baked Beans

On the subject of baked beans, I usually buy my small tins in Waitrose.

I should say, that I have a tendency to not eat enough soluble fibre and this was raising my cholesterol. A dietitian recommended that I eat one small tin of baked beans a week and use Benecol instead of margarine. It worked and meant, I avoided going on special drugs.

Last week, I fancied some baked beans with a poached egg for lunch and I was out of stock.

So I went to the corner store close to my house and bought a couple of tins of Heinz baked beans.

Obviously, no problem with cooking, eating or taste, but I found washing up of the saucepan and the spoon much easier!

Which is surely a bonus for the thirty pence extra cost of the beans.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Food, Health | , | 6 Comments

Auckland Rows Back On battery Train Plan

The title of this post is the same as this article on the International ailway Journal.

This is said.

Following approval by Auckland Council, the proposal went to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) for final sign-off. However, in the run-up to New Zealand’s general election on September 23, a political consensus emerged in favour of bringing forward electrification of the Papakura – Pukekohe line, prompting the NZTA to reject the case for battery trains.

Can we assume the reason for the change of order is political?

Certainly, CAF, who are building the trains seem to have the required battery technology. This is also said.

CAF says the contract will include an option to equip the trains with battery packs at a later date if required.

I just wonder if battery trains are just too risky for politicians, who tend to be rather conservative and badly-informed about anything technological.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment