The Anonymous Widower

The Future Of The Emirates Air Line

I’ve always liked the Emirates Air Line, but I hadn’t used it for some time until today.

As I was in the area, I used it to cross the river, this morning.

I can make these observations.

The Weather Could Have Been Better

The cable-car needs sunny weather, although I did once go across in the snow.

The Cable-Car Wasn’t Busy

Compare today’s pictures wit this one taken in February 2014.

The Cable Car Was Busy

One of the attendants said it was becoming more of a tourist attraction rather than a means of transport.

This meant today, I had a car to myself and didn’t have to share it with several excited kids.

I think too, that the weather was against visitors and tourists now know the best times to use the cable car.

In my view, when the sun is setting is by far the best.

There Are A Lot More Skyscrapers

The last time I rode across was in March 2016, after which I wrote Riding The Cable Car.

There has been a lot of high rise building in the intervening years.

I suspect that as more and more skyscrapers are built, a ride between them all across the river will become more popular.

The Line

The Line is a sculpture trail, that runs from Greenwich to the Olympic Park. The cable-car has to be used by non-swimmers  to cross the river.

The Line is connected OR or close to London’s railways as follows.

  • Stratford – Central Line, Jubilee Line, DLR, London Overground, National Rail and in the future; Crossrail.
  • Stratford High Street – DLR
  • Pudding Mill Lane – DLR
  • Bromley-by-Bow – District and Hammersmith & City Lines
  • Star Lane – DLR
  • Canning Town – Jubilee Line and DLR
  • Royal Victoria – DLR
  • North Greenwich – Jubilee Line

All these connections mean that it can be done in sections.

The Tide

The Tide is an partly elevated five km route, that will be linked to the cable-car, that will be fully-open in two years.

Crossrail

Crossrail will affect all travel in East London and it connects at Stratford stayion to The Line.

I don’t know the route of the Tide, but it may make walking from the O2 to Woolwich sttion for Crossrail much more relaxing.

Although it doesn’t serve Greenwich directly, I believe Crossrail will draw more tourists to the cable-car.

Docklands Light Railway

The DLR is getting new trains in the next few years and an extension to Thamesmead.

As with Crossrail it will draw more tourists to the area and the cable-car.

Thames Clippers

These are expanding and they will bring more tourists to the cable-car.

Conclusion

These and other factors, such as tourists venturing out of the centre of London, will mean that more vistors will explore the East and use the cable-car.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

London To Have World-First Hydrogen-Powered Double-Decker Buses

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Guardian.

This is the first three paragraphs.

London will have the world’s first hydrogen-powered doubledecker buses on its streets next year, as the capital steps up attempts to tackle its polluted air.

Transport for London (TfL) has ordered 20 of the buses, which cost around £500,000 each and only emit water as exhaust.

As well as cutting polluting exhaust emissions, the buses will run on green hydrogen produced via North Kent offshore wind farms, according to TfL.

After the announcement of the Alexander Dennis hydrogen buses for Liverpool, that I wrote about in New Facility To Power Liverpool’s Buses With Hydrogen, I wondered how long it would take Wrightbus to respond?

It appears to be less than a month.

This is also said about the buses.

The buses will also feature amenities such as USB charging points, and promise a smoother, quieter ride. They will operate first on three routes in west London and to Wembley, which served over 10 million passenger journeys last year.

I will add these comments.

USB Charging Points

I’ve only ever used USB charging points three times on the move.

All installations were under a few years old and it is definitely the way passenger transport is going.

London Overground’s new Class 710 trains will be fitted with USB charging points and wi-fi.

Smoother, Quieter Ride

I have ridden in the following electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles

  • A battery-electric Vivarail Class 230 train
  • A battery-electric Class 379 train
  • Several battery-electric and hydrogen-powered buses in London.
  • A hydrogen-powered Alstom Coeadia iLint train.
  • An LEVCC TX electric black cab.

With the exception of the iLint train, which has a mechanical transmission, all are smooth and quiet.

So I have no reason to disbelieve this claim in The Guardian article.

Three Routes In West London

This article in Air Quality News gives more details on the routes.

The vehicles will be introduced on routes 245, 7 and N7, with people travelling to Wembley Stadium, or from west London to the West End.

  • Route 7 runs between East Acton and Oxford Circus.
  • Route 245 runs between Alperton Sainsburys and Golders Green station.

Both are operated by Metroline from Perivale East garage, where they appear to be the only routes served from the garage, which has a capacity of forty buses.

This Google Map shows a 3D picture of Perivale East garage.

The garage is squeezed into a triangle of land between the Acton-Northolt Line, the Central Line and the six-lane A40 road.

  • It’s not near any houses.
  • It’s surrounded by trees and industrual units.
  • Is the site large enough to generate hydrogen on site?
  • Could hydrogen be brought in by rail?
  • It could easily hold the twenty hydrogen buses and a few others.

I can certainly see why Transport for London have chosen to use hydrogen buses on routes 7, 245, N7, based at Periavale East garage.

Design

This is a paragraph from the Air Quality News article.

TfL says they are investing £12m in the new buses and the fuelling infrastructure with Northern Ireland firm Wrightbus as the manufacturer, which uses a fuel cell from Ballard to power a Siemens drivetrain.

Wikipedia says this about the transmission of a New Routemaster bus, that was built by Wright.

Hybrid diesel-electric in series; 18 kW] Microvast Lithium Titanate battery,Microvast LpTO, Siemens ELFA2 electric traction motor.

I should point out that it appears that originally, the New Routemaster had a larger 75 kWh battery. Has the technology improved?

Is the transmission and the chassis based on the Wright-designed New Routemaster chassis and transmission, substituting a Ballard fuel cell for the Cummins diesel engine?

The Cummins diesel engine in the New Routemaster is rated at 185 hp or 138 kW.

This page on the Ballard web site is the data sheet of Ballard’s FCveloCity family of fuel cells.

  • The fuel cells come in three sizes 60, 85 and 100 kW
  • The largest fuel cell would appear to be around 1.2 m x 1 m x 0.5 m and weigh around 400 Kg.
  • The fuel cell has an associated cooling subsystem, that can provide heat for the bus.

It strikes me that this fuel cell is smaller and weighs less than a typical diesel engine fitted to a double-decker bus.

With a larger battery, regenerative braking and a clever transmission would a 100 kW fuel-cell provide enough power for the bus?

Wright have obviously solved the problem and found space for the hydrogen tank, otherwise they wouldn’t have received the order.

Drawing on their experience with the New Routemaster and adding the proven fuel cell technology of Ballard looks at first glance to be a low-risk route to a hydrogen-powered bus.

Conclusion

Wright Group and Transport for London appear to have designed a well-thought out solution to the problem of providing zero-emission buses for London and delivering the first buses next year!

We now have two hydrogen double-decker bus projects under way.

  • London and Wright Group
  • Liverpool and Alexander Dennis

Both appear to be fully-integrated projects, which include the supply of hydrogen to the buses.

When both are proven, there could be very keen competition between the two companies to sell systems all over the UK and the wider world.

It should be noted, that double-decker buses are not that common outside of the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore.

But could these two zero-emission projects open up the rest of the world, to these most British of products?

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Where Will I Watch The Champions League Final?

My father had first gone to White Hart Lane as a child, in his father’s pony-and-trap, before the First World War. He told me how they gave a local lad a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

That would be about twelve pounds in 2019 money. I don’t drive, so would you pay twelve pounds to park your car for a match today?

Later he had been at the 1921 FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge, where Spurs had won the cup for the second time.

He took me several times to see Spurs in the 1950s and we were there in 1961, when Spurs received the First Division trophy after losing to West Bromwich Albion.

I was now going regularly on my own and I cycled down from Southgate.

I seem to remember paying half-a-crown to leave my bike in a secure space. That would be about three pounds today.

In the early 1960s, my parents moved to Felixstowe and to overcome the boredom of summers and other holidays in the place, our neighbour started taking me to Ipswich Town, where I saw a few games of Alf Ramsey’s First Division-winning side of cast-offs and misfits!

As I’ve lived in Suffolk off-and-on for over fifty years, it was the start of a long-term relationship.

I should also say, that following Ipswich Town and the companionship I;ve enjoyed, has been a great help to me, since C’s death!

For four years in the 1960s, I was at Liverpool University or living in the City.

I saw Spurs play many times all over the North West, but it was not a good period for them and I only saw one win, which was at Everton.

I also used to go to both Liverpool clubs, where you just walked up on the day and paid to get in. Those were the days! I remember, I was there to see Emlyn Hughes make his debut for Liverpool. Wikipedia says that was March 4th, 1967 against Stoke City.

Most long-term football fans have a long-term relationship to one club and I’ve met some strange relationships.

Ipswich for instance have a clutch of Liverpudlian supporters, who seem to have started supporting Ipswich in the Bobby Robson-era. That could be just the Liverpudlian attitude to be different.

So where will I watch the Champions League Final on June the First?

I am leaning towards Manchester at the moment! Although, thinking about it, Barcelona could be an interesting alternative!

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Zopa Losing Its Attraction As A Platform To Go For A Loan?

Over the last month or so, I have been getting bigger amounts of money moved to my holding amount on Zopa,.

It appears to me, that borrowers could be repaying loans early.

This could be for one of several reasons.

  • People are fed up with non-Brexit and are being prudent, by repaying loans.
  • The economy seems to be picking up and borrowers can afford to pay loans off.
  • There are some good offers out there and borrowers are consolidating their loans elsewhere.

As Zopa don’t charge anything to pay off a loan, so if you have spare money, it must be top of the list for a loan to pay off.

A Worrying Trend On Lending

Perhaps more worrying is that at the moment the money I have made available to borrowers, seems to take a long time to be allocated.

Is this due to a shortage of would-be borrowers?

Conclusion

I have decided to increase my spending and visit some of the places on my bucket list.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance | | Leave a comment