The Anonymous Widower

Battery Answer To Schleswig-Holstein’s Diesel Replacement Question

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette International.

It is a good explanation of why there is so much interest in battery-powered trains.

This paragraph from the article, describes how the trains will operate in Schleswig-Holstein.

They will have range of 150 km under optimal conditions, although the longest non-electrified route they will operate on is around 80 km. The batteries will be recharged from the existing 15 kV 16·7 Hz overhead electrification at Kiel, Neumünster, Flensburg, Lübeck and Lüneburg stations and on the Osterrönfeld – Jübek line. Charging facilities will also be provided in other locations, and there will be some extensions to the existing overhead power supply.


  • These trains can run on routes of up to eighty kilometres or around fifty miles.
  • Greater Anglia and Transport for Wales will be running the UK versions of the Stadler Flirts, that will be used in Schleswig-Holstein.
  • Transport for Wales will also be running a tri-mode Flirt with electric, diesel and battery power.
  • The Continental loading gauge, probably allows more batteries than the smaller UK loading gauge.

I think it could be reasonable to assume, that a UK-sized  battery-electric Stadler Flirt could have a range of forty miles on batteries.

These could be possible routes for Greater Anglia.

  • Norwich and Sheringham – 30 miles
  • Norwich and Lowestoft – 23.5 miles
  • Norwich and Great Yarmouth – 18 miles
  • Ipswich and Felixstowe – 16 miles
  • Colchester Town and Sudbury – 20 miles

In addition some partially-electrified routes have gaps less than forty miles. Think Cambridge and Ipswich!

I would not be surprised to see battery trains, quietly gliding around East Anglia.

Would they attract passengers and tourists?

Perhaps Germany and Stadler will give us the Schleswig-Holstein Answer, which will be much more interesting than the Schleswig-Holstein Question.

Economics Of Battery Trains

The article also has this quote from the CEO of Stadler Germany about the economics of battery trains.

It makes us very proud that with the battery-powered Flirt we have not only managed to find an ecological and innovative solution, but have also enabled a clear economic improvement. If we consider the average life of a rail vehicle of around 30 years, battery-operated vehicles are more cost-effective than diesel’.

I think it can also be said, that battery technology will improve continuously in the next thirty years and we should see a corresponding improvement in range and performance.

You don’t get that with diesel.

Hydrogen Or Battery Power?

I would think that Alstom are not happy about this order for battery-powered trains.

  • Only a hundred kilometres or so to the West, they are supplying Alstom Coradia iLint trains for a similar network.
  • These trains are working well.
  • They have teamed up with Linde to supply the hydrogen.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if Schleswig-Holstein had chosen hydrogen trains.

So why did Schleswig-Holstein, choose battery rather than hydrogen trains?

  • Provided, the driver or a computer, raises and lowers the pantograph appropriately, there is no difference between an electric train and its battery-electric sibling.
  • Systems to charge battery trains can be installed anywhere, there is an electricity supply.
  • The electricity supply could be local wind or solar.
  • Charging battery trains could be automatic and require no more action from the driver, than checking everything is as it should be and perhaps pushing a button or two. On a bleak miserable day, the driver would remain in the warm and comfortable cab.
  • Hydrogen would need to be loaded on the train at a depot or another place with the necessary safety clearance.
  • The iLint seats 160 and the Flirt Akku seats 124, so I suspect capacity isn’t much of a problem.
  • The Flirt Akku is a train designed for battery-electric operation, whereas the iLint is a modified diesel train, with a noisy and harsh mechanical transmission. It’s like comparing Class 710 trains, with their predecessors on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line; the Class 172 trains.
  • I suspect most Germans have talked to a relative or older person, who remembers the Hindenburg.

There is probably little to choose between the two trains, but I believe that the operation of the hydrogen-powered train will be more complicated.

I also don’t know the cost of each train.

As I said earlier, Stadler claim long-term ownership of battery-powered trains is more economic than diesel. Does the same apply to battery against hydrogen power.


I believe we’ll see lots more battery trains.





July 2, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia: Fire Kills 14 Sailors Aboard Navy Research Submersible

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is yet another major accident involving Russian submarines.

The Russian submarine safety record doesn’t appear to be good.


July 2, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Seven Kings Station – 2nd July 2019

Seven Kings station appears to be substantially complete, as these pictures show..

A new bridge with lifts has been added to supplement the current stairs, which have been refurbished.

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Brentwood Station – 2nd July 2019

I took these pictures of Brentwood station today.

For comparison, this second set of pictures were taken in October 2014 and I posted them in Before Crossrail – Brentwood Station.

Note the excellent toilets.

There is still work to do to finish the station.

The biggest problem appears to be squeezing the lifts into the structure.

There is this article on Essex Live, which is entitled Brentwood Station Lift Fiasco Is Penalising Buggy-Users And Disable People.

This is said in the article.

Network Rail has previously said that the decision to not install a lift on platform four was “not taken lightly.”

But, the discovery of power cables and a disused culvert underneath where the lift shaft would go led to Network Rail’s conclusion that a lift could not be installed there.

I’m afraid that station modifications are liberally sprinkled with stories like this.

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Harold Wood Station – 2nd July 2019

Harold Wood station appears to be progressing towards completion.

These pictures were taken today.

For comparison, this second set of pictures were taken in October 2014 and I posted then in Before Crossrail – Harold Wood .

In the related post, I said this.

The station has toilets but a bad bridge and no lifts.

It won’t take much to get it ready for Crossrail.

It appears that  the following work has been done.

  • A temporary (?) step-free entrance has been built.
  • A new bridge has been put in place.
  • The platforms have been extended.

But the lift installation need finishing and the old station building needs refurbishing.

The station has the air of an overrunning refurbishing project or one that has run out of money.



July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Gidea Park Station – 2nd July 2019

Gidea Park station is now almost ready to become step-free.

There is still a bit of testing and decorating to finish off and hopefully everything in the station will be fully operational in a few weeks.

Compare the pictures, with these of the bridge, that I took in October 2014.

The pictures come from Before Crossrail – Gidea Park, where I said this.

One of the station staff told me, that the bridge had obvious corrosion problems and it was being replaced with one with lifts.

It appears that the contractors have taken the old footbridge, refurbished it with all the care that the Scots use on the Forth Railway Bridge and added a pair of new lift towers to give step-free access to the platforms.

This method probably took longer than replacing the whole structure with a new bridge, but I suspect that the contractors were able to keep the station open at all times.

I have to add a tail-piece.

This picture was taken in the waiting room.

But then the station had a florist when I visited in 2014. Perhaps, it still does!


July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Ilford Station – 2nd July 2019

Work is underway at Ilford station to rebuild the main station entrance and create a modern glass-fronted station.

This page on the Crossrail web site, which is entitled Ilford Station, lists these features.

  • A new spacious, modern and bright station building on Cranbrook Road
  • A new waiting room and benches on platforms
  • Improved customer information, lighting and wayfinding signage
  • Newly painted walls and tiled floor and ceiling
  • Two new ticket machines, four new ticket gates and a wide aisle gate
  • A new waiting room and benches on platforms.

This image is also shown.

I took these pictures of the station today.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the disused Platform 5 in the pictures and at the Northern side of the station in the map, for which I can’t find any future plans.

  • Perhaps it could be made into an operationally-useful bay platform? After all, it appears to be full length.
  • Could it be filled in to create a wide platform with a waiting room and a coffee kiosk?
  • Could it be used for bicycle parking?

I would wait until Crossrail is fully-open and see what is most needed.

Note too, the last picture with the footbridge over the station to the York Road entrance on the right. This picture shows the York Road entrance.

It was a shrewd move to build this second entrance, as it can function as the station entrance, whilst the main entrance on Cranbrook Road is rebuilt.

There would also appear to be plans to put a third entrance on the Southern side of the footbridge, which connects to Ilford Hill.

In my view, a station can never have too many entrances.


Will a new station attract more passengers to use Crossrail?

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

What More Could Passengers Want?

The latest Press Release on the Stadler web site about the new trains for Greater Anglia is entitled Milestone For The UK: First Stadler FLIRT train Receives Approval.

These are the last two paragraphs.

With 20 per cent more seats, which have been designed to be as comfortable as possible, trains will feature
low flooring to make them accessible for people in wheelchairs and with pushchairs. Windows will be bigger
and ‘picture style’ to improve the passenger experience and create a more airy and spacious feel.
Mobile phone reception will be better and plug and USB sockets will be installed at every seat. Wifi will be
free and faster than previously. All trains will be fully air-conditioned and have disabled toilets and bicycle

What more could passengers want?

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment