The Anonymous Widower

More About Steamology Motion

In Grants To Support Low-Carbon Technology Demonstrators, I talked about a company called Steamology, who were given a grant by the Department for Transport to develop a method of converting hydrogen into energy.

The company is called Steamology Motion and in Issue 872 of Rail Magazine more details are given in an article, which is entitled DFT Hands Out £350,000 Each To Five Rail Green Schemes.

This is said in the article.

Steamology Motion, the final recipient, aims to create a new zero-emmissions power train for a Vivarail Class 230 train. The W2W system generates steam from compressed hydrogen and oxygen stored in tanks. The steam then drives a turbine to generate electricity.

The concept is aimed at being a ‘range extender’ able to charge onboard battery packs.

My mathematical modelling skills for this type of system have never been strong, but I’m sure that others will know how much hydrogen and oxygen are needed to charge a 200 kWh battery.

  • A quick search of the Internet reveals that small steam turbines could be available
  • I very much suspect, that as the system is a ‘range extender’, rather than a power unit to take the train hundreds of miles, that the physical size of the gas tanks will be smaller than those proposed by Alston for their hydrogen conversion of a Class 321 train.

I also don’t think that the DfT would have given £350,000 to the company, if the the physics and the mathematics weren’t credible.


If this technology is successful, I suspect it could have other applications.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DfT Urged To Make Operators Reveal If Trains Are Electric Or Diesel Due To Carbon Concerns

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on |Engineering And Technology.

This is the first paragraph.

Nearly half of rail passengers would like to know how their trains are powered according to a new poll of 1,025 regular rail users from train ticket retailer Loco2.

I think that loco2 are on the right track.

London And Birmingham

For instance take the route between London and Birmingham, where you have three different train operators.

  • Virgin Trains – 125 mph electric trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street stations – Fast, cramped and the most expensive
  • West Midland Trains – 110 mph electric trains between London Euston and Birmingham New Street stations – Slower, more space and reasonably priced
  • Chiltern Railways – 100 mph diesel trains between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street stations – Slower, most comfortable and reasonable priced

If I need to get to Birmingham in a hurry, a use Virgin, but if I want a comfortable journe at a lower pricey, where I can spread my paper on a large table, I take Chiltern.

Those that pay the money make their choice.

Knowing the carbon footprint might persuade some passengers to take a particular train operating company, but I think it would have an effect on train operating companies, if they were perceived to have a low carbon rating.

In my example, the only diesel operator of the three; Chiltern Railways, probably can’t switch to electric traction, as electrifying the route would be prohibitively expensive.

  • They can offset their carbon footprint, by perhaps planting trees.
  • There will also be technology that will cut their diesel consumption.

After that it’s down to the strength of their marketing.

London And Scotland

The competition for trains between London and Scotland is the airlines.

Publishing carbon footprints would favour the trains, as there is a lot of electrification on Scottish routes.

The Man In Seat 61 gives his view on this page of his web site.


February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Access To Multiple Units

I have been taking some pictures of the grab handles in the doorways of a selection of electric and diesel multiple units.

On most stations, the access between platform and train is a simple step across, but on lots of others, I have to grab the handle to make certain I am safe in the step-up or step-down.


  1. The British Rail-era trains have similar designs.
  2. On some trains, you can’t see the grab handle from the platform, as it is hidden by the door.
  3. The Class 172 and Class 378 Trains are both Bombardier trains of a similar date, but the handles are very different.
  4. The Class 378 train has an asymmetric layout.

I will add more examples.

My Entry And Exit With A Large Step

When I get into a train, where there is a large step, I often poke my head around the door to get a good look at the handle on the right hand side, which I grip with my right hand to balance myself as I step up.

When I get out from a train, where there is a large step, I go to the right, grab the handle and then step out sideways onto my left leg.

I should say that I have the following problems.

  • My left hand and arm isn’t the best, as my humerus was broken by the school bully.
  • I tend to avoid using my left hand.
  • My stroke a few years ago damaged my eyesight low down on the left, so when descending I like to have something to grab.
  • I have a touch of arthritis.
  • I am only one metre seventy tall.

On the other hand, my right hand and arm are strong. I also have no vision problem on the right hand side.

Could Grab Handles Be Designed Better?

They could certainly be designed better for me!

But I am one of millions, who are less than one hundred percent!

I wonder if a University or Design Consultancy has ever looked at the problem of designing a perfect grab handle for a train.

My ideas could include.

  • A grab handle that is longer and goes lower, so it is better for short people and lder children.
  • A grab handle that protrudes slightly from behind the open door, so that entering passengers can see it.
  • A grab handle with a textured surface.
  • Should the grab handle layout be symmetrical.

I would suspect, that if a better design of grab handle could be found, this would speed up entry and exit from the train. Surely train operating companies would like that?

This is not the finished post. Any suggestions and comments will be welcomed.


February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Electrification Between Lea Bridge And Meridian Water Stations Is Almost Complete

I took these pictures from a train going North from Lea Bridge station to the new Meridian Water station.

It appears that most of the electrification is almost complete, except for perhaps a hundred metres at the Southern end.


This electrification seems to have gone reasonably well so far.

On the other hand, the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line was troublesome with various components being wrongly made and the discovery of an unknown sewer.

But the electrification of the new single track was effectively working on a new track, where what was underneath the track was very well known.

I’m drawn to the conclusion, that if we want to electrify a railway, the quality of the knowledge of the tracks to be electrified has a strong influence on the outcome of the project.

If there are thought to be too many unknowns and it is felt necessary to relay the track, then so be it!

We may have the paradox that to electrify a 125 mph fast line like the Midland Main Line, which has had top class care and constant speed upgrades, may be easier and more affordable, than to electrify  a slower commuter line like Manchester to Preston, which has probably not had as much attention, due to the slower speeds.

I know it’s totally different, but decorating a new house is easier than doing the same to an old one!

Electrification of a railway track seems to have a similar relationship.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Annoying Advertising Pop-Ups In The Bottom Right Corner Of The Screen

These started a couple of months ago!

Many are from a site called Your Money, but one was selling me cannabis.

How do I stop them?

I use Chrome as a browser and don’t use Facebook or other social media of that type.

Thanks in advance!

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Computing | | 7 Comments