The Anonymous Widower

Plastic Platforms At East Croydon Station

Platforms 1 and 2 at East Croydon station now have glass reinforced plastic surfaces.

They look good and feature.

  • Shorter stepping distance into and out of trains.
  • Underfloor heating to prevent ice and snow build up.
  • Blue LED edge lighting.
  • The lights are blue, so they can’t be confused for signals by the drivers.
  • The lighting is designed to deter suicides.

The keen-eyed will notice that the lights aren’t switched on. Apparently, some have failed!

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Platform 0 At Redhill Station Is Progressing

Redhill station is being upgraded.

This picture of the new Platform 0 was taken from the existing Platform 1.

Works include.

  • The new Platform 0 will become a through platform for trains to London.
  • It is certainly long enough for a twelve car train.
  • It appears it will be fully connected to the entrsnce by the car park.
  • The current platform 1 will become a South-facing bay platform.

The January 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, also says this about the upgrade.

This is aimed to allow GWR to boost the Reading to Gatwick frequency from hourly to half-hourly from May 2018. The operator’s ultimate sim is to introduce a third hourly service on the North Downs line, although concerns from Network Rail about level crossing risk have affected progress with this plan.

Currently, the journey between Reading to Gatwick Airport takes 76 minutes without a change, but the train reverses direction at Redhill. One driver told me, that if GWR issued the drivers with better shoes, they could save a minute or so on the timetable at Rewdhill.

But 76 minutes isn’t a bad time by way of the North Downs Line. Especially, as the trains have to negotiste eleven level crossing! Is that what Network Rail mean by level crossing risk?

If you take Crossrail’s estimate of the Reading to Farringdon time of 59 minutes and the timetabled Farringdon to Gatwick Airport time of 54 minutes, you get a time 113 minutes or nearly forty minutes longer than the shorter and more direct route.

The North Downs Line is partly electrified with third rail and I wonder what time a Class 802 train could achieve!


The Platform 0 works at Redhill station are part of a fifty million pound project, whivh will do the following.

  • Increase capacity at Redhill station.
  • Remove conflicts between Brighton Line and Reading to Gatwick Airport services.
  • Enable a two trains per hour service between Reading and Gatwick Airport.

It will be interesting to see if it works in May 2018.

The works do show how money spent on smaller projects can give multiple benefits.


December 21, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Hitachi’s Thoughts On Battery Trains

On page 79 of the January 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, Nick Hughes, who is the Sales Director of Hitachi Rail Europe outlines how the manufacturer is embracing the development of battery technology.

He is remarkably open.

Hitachi’s Battery Development

Nick Hughes says this.

Hitachi has for many years seen great potential in battery technology.

We began studying on train storage energy systems in 2003. Working jointly qith operational partners in Japan and in the UK, we developed a realistic solution based on a lithium-ion battery, that could store the braking energy and reuse it for the traction.

Then came our V-train 2 (nicknamed the Hayabusa), which was tested on the Great Central Railway in 2007, using hybrid battery/diesel power and regenerative charging. This was the world’s first high-speed hybrid train.

This picture show the Hayabusa running in the UK.

If you think it looks familiar, you are right! It’s a modified Class 43 locomotive from an InterCity 125. The locomotive; 43089, is still in service with East Midlands Trains. But without the batteries!

When the remaining members of the  team, who had developed the InterCity 125 in the 1970s, saw these pictures, I suspect it was celebrated with a call for a few swift halves!

BEMU In Japan

Nick Hughes goes on to outline the status of Battery Electric Multiple Units (BEMUs) in Japan, where Hitachi launched a train called the DENCHA  in 2016, on the Chikuhi line.

  • The train has a range of up to 50 km on batteries.
  • DENCHA is popular with passengers.
  • The train won a prestigious award.

I don’t know what it is with battery trains, but the Bombardier/Network Rail BEMU Trial was also liked by those who rode the train. As was I!

Nick Hughes Prediction

Nick Hughes follows his description of the DENCHA, with this.

I can picture a future when these sorts of trains are carrying out similar types of journeys in the UK, perhaps by installing battery technology in our Class 395s to connect to Hastings via the non-electrified Marshlink Line from Ashford for example.

This would massively slice the journey time and heklp overcome the issue of electrification and infrastructure cases not stacking up. There are a large number of similar routes like this all across the country.

It is a prediction, with which I could agree.

Renewable Energy And Automotive Systems

Nick Hughes finishied by saying that he believes storing power from renewable energy and the development of automotive systems will drive battery technology and its use.


It is the most positive article about battery trains, that I have read so far!

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport/Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

My Main Electricity Supply

This may be a strange thing to post, but the company installing my smart meter needs a serties of pictures, so this way they will be easily available.

The pictures are in top to bottomn down the wall.

December 21, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment