The Anonymous Widower

Aerodynamic Research Facilities Enhanced

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The University of Birmingham’s Transient Aerodynamic Investigation facility at Derby’s Rail Technology Centre business park has reopened following a £1·5m renovation.

It is certainly the start of a must-read article.

It is interesting, that Bombardier have been a user of the facility. As I have said before, the Aventra seems to have good aerodynamics, so was this facilty used to improve them?

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demand For Green Offices Will Soar To Meet Carbon Targets

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Business section of The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

London will need much more “green” office space by 2030 to meet sustainability pledges made by businesses that are coming to the end of their leases.

The article then makes these points.

  • Looking at lease expiry dates, JLL believes that eight million square feet of green offices are needed by the end of the decade.
  • This is partly brought about by pressure from staff, shareholders and customers.
  • Microsoft and Astrazeneca want to be carbon-negative by 2030.
  • JLL’s research shows that sustainable buildings command higher rents.
  • Bloomberg’s office block is one of the best.

It was certainly an article worth buying the paper for.

Conclusion

With London office space sustainable offices are good for property companies.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

A New Slant On A Bring A Bottle Party!

I was talking to a friend last night and she gave me a new slant on a bring a bottle party!

Her son, turned up for supper and he brought his own toilet paper with him!

Times change!

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | | 1 Comment

Could I Survive Four Months Self-Isolation?

As I am over seventy, it is quite likely that if newspaper reports like this one in The Times, which is entitled Coronavirus: Millions Of Over-70s Will Be Told To Stay At Home For Four Months, prove to be true, I shall be spending at least four months, alone with my television, my books and the Internet.

These are a few thoughts.

How Does My House Get Cleaned?

When I moved into this house, I decided that I didn’t want to have anything to do with cleaning the house, so I hired a contract cleaning company, who come every Monday.

I also reduced my cleaning utensils to those that I would to clean up a spill.

  • A dustpan and brush
  • Kitchen roll
  • Washing-up liquid.
  • A portable Dyson vacuum cleaner.
  • A few sponges.

At least I don’t spill much.

How Do I Get My Clothes Washed?

My clothes washing arrangements may seem strange to some.

  • The cleaning company also looks after my bed-linen and changes it on Mondays.
  • Most of my clothes like underwear, shirts and jumpers are washed by a lady, who collects them from my door and brings them back a few days later.
  • I take trousers, jackets and suits to the dry cleaners.

Since my washing machine packed up about three months ago, I haven’t replaced it and I use a pair of new socks every three or four days. It’s cheaper than buying a new machine.

I can see problems arising, as my lady, who does the washing, is not in the first flush of youth or good health and may be told to self-isolate.

But I can afford to get more clothes delivered.

How Am I Placed For Home Deliveries?

Despite my front door virtually opening onto the street, I have problems with home deliveries.

  • Inevitably, they come when I’m out! But that won’t happen, if I’m confined to barracks!
  • But the major problem is that I share a post-code with the mews that runs down the back of my house and drivers relying on sat-navs inevitably end up in the mews. It happened last week and only because I’d given the company my home phone number, which the driver rang, did I get the parcel.

I should say, that most things that I need I collect from shops, because of the delivery problem, which inevitably means I have to collect it from a Post Office or depot a short or sometimes long distance away.

I Like A Daily Paper

I buy The Times most days and I also have an on-line subscription.

Being brought up in a print works, I like the feel of papers and as I do most of the puzzles in The Times every day, I don’t have to print them out. Not that I can print them out at the moment, as no-one can work out how to drive my printer from this terrible Microsoft Surface Pro Studio computer.

If anybody knows how to drive a HP LaserJet P1102w from one of these awful computers please get in touch. And if you are anywhere near London N1, there will be a beer waiting if the fridge or a boiling kettle, if you turn up.

I buy the paper from the shop round the corner, but I can’t find anybody to deliver one!

It sounds like there’s a business there to deliver papers to those, who the government insist are isolated in their own homes.

What About My Food?

At the present time, I shop most days and generally keep the following in the fridge.

  • Two bottles of milk; one in use and one full.
  • Some fish pate or M & S salmon parcels.
  • Several small pots of M & S Luxury Honey & Ginger yoghurt.
  • Three pots of cut fruit from M & S, which I usually eat at a rate of one a day. Sometimes with the yoghurt.
  • Benecol spread instead of butter.
  • Two or three ready meals.
  • Two packs of M & S gluten-free pasta, which has a two months life. I cook it with peas in a yoghurt sauce, with each pack giving two meals.
  • Three bottles of Adnams 0.5% beer from M & S. I’ve also got plenty of this in store.
  • Some eggs and cheese.

In various store cupboards, storage jars and bowls I also have the following.

  • Several bananas.
  • Lots of dried apricots
  • M & S gluten-free bread.
  • M & S gluten-free ginger snaps.
  • Plenty of tea bags.
  • Tins of sardines
  • Tins of baked beans,
  • M & S gluten-free granola, which I eat with yoghurt and apricots
  • M & S gluten-free porridge pots, which I eat with honey or strawberry jam.

I should say, that most days, I eat breakfast out either in Carluccio’s or Leon.

You will notice that I shop extensively in Marks and Spencer. But I have one only about five hundred metres away in Dalston and in Central London, you pass one of their food stores very regularly.

I can also go to their two larger stores at Finsbury Pavement or The Angel, if I am able to risk the bus.

  • It should be noted that I have strong connections to M & S at The Angel.
  • My paternal grandmother used to shop there before the First World War.
  • C and myself used to shop there in the early 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.

There is also a Boots next door, where I get my prescription drugs, which was also used by my grandmother over a hundred years ago.

How Will I Get To The Doctors?

It’s walkable!

Conclusion

I think, that I’ll survive.

 

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

EWR Targets Short-Term Fleet Ahead Of Possible Electrification

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Electrification could yet be on the agenda for East West Rail, after Government ministers confirmed that the decision not to wire the reopened railway could be reversed.

East West Railway (EWR) also announced last week, that it was looking for second-hand diesel multiple units to start services.

  • The lease will be for four years, with a possible extension of two years.
  • The deal is worth £40million and will include maintenance.
  • The deal will end on May the 10th 2028.
  • 12 to 14 three-car trains are required.
  • Services will start at the end of 2024.

It looks to me, that this deal has interim written all over it.

Could Class 170 Trains Be Used For East West Railway?

Class 170 trains come in two- and three-cars and by 2024 many could be being replaced by trains with a smaller carbon-footprint.

If you look at the three-car Class 170 trains, they are the following numbers of trains with various companies.

  • Class 170/1 – CrossCountry – 10
  • Class 170/2 – Transport for Wales – 8
  • Class 170/3 – Abellio ScotRail – 26
  • Class 170/3 – CrossCountry – 2
  • Class 170/4 – Abellio ScotRail – 13
  • Class 170/4 – Northern Trains – 16

There are also some Class 170/5 and Class 170/6 trains, that it appears will be consolidated into ten three-car trains for CrossCountry.

Could CrossCountry Provide The Trains For East West Railway?

I think one likely scenario would be for the trains for East West Rail to come from CrossCountry‘s mixed fleet of Class 170 trains.

Consider.

  • CrossCountry need a bit of a fleet change as they still ten High Speed Trains, that will need to be replaced with more modern rolling stock.
  • CrossCountry have been criticised for a lack of capacity.
  • Several of CrossCountry’s services are run by diesel trains on electrified tracks.

Perhaps, if they replaced the fleet with a customised variant of Hitachi’s Class 800 trains, they might offer a better service to their customers.

  • Each train would be five cars long.
  • Trains would be able to work in pairs.
  • Trains might have electric, battery and diesel capabilities.
  • Some would be dual-voltage trains and able to work on both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail electrification.

I’m sure those clever people at Rock Rail are working on an appropriate specification, just as they did for Avanti West Coast with their customised variant of Hitachi’sClass 800 trains.

Looking at the delivery schedules for various fleets of Hitachi trains, we find.

  • East Midlands Railway will be receiving 33 x five-car Class 810 bi-mode  trains in 2020-2022.
  • Avanti West Coast will be receiving 13 x five-car AT-300 bi-mode  trains in 2020-2022.
  • Avanti West Coast will be receiving 10 x seven-car AT-300 electric  trains in 2020-2022.

Could the CrossCountry fleet be delivered in 2022-2024 to allow the Class 170 trains to be released?

Could Class 185 Trains Be Used For East West Railway?

TransPennine Express have a fleet of 51 three-car Class 185 trains.

The future of these trains is uncertain, as TransPennine Express is renewing their fleet.

  • They are all fully-compliant with the latest regulations.
  • They are 100 mph trains,
  • They are the right length.
  • They can work in pairs to increase capacity.

These trains would be easy to freshen up for East West Railway.

Could Bombardier Voyagers Provide The Trains For East West Railway?

There are four fleets of Bombardier Voyagers, that by the end of 2024 could be looking for a new home.

  • Thirty-four Class 220 trains could be released by 2024 by CrossCountry, if they replace their fleet with new trains.
  • Twenty-four Class 221 trains could be released by 2024 by CrossCountry, if they replace their fleet with new trains.
  • Twenty Class 221 trains will be released by 2022 by Avanti West Coast, when they replace their fleet with new AT-300 trains.
  • Twenty-seven Class 222 trains will be released by 2022 by East Midlands Railway, when they replace their fleet with new Class 810 trains.

These fleets could be updated for the East West Railway.

  • They are all fully-compliant with the latest regulations.
  • They are 125 mph trains.
  • Bombardier have been working on various schemes to fit batteries to these trains, to reduce running on diesel.

They could also be rebuilt to any required length.

Fast Forward To May 2028

By 2028, the following will have happened.

  • High Speed Two will have been substantially completed and electrified at Calvert, where it crosses the East West Railway.
  • East West Railway will be connected to the electrified West Coast Main Line at Bletchley.
  • East West Railway will be connected to the electrified Midland Main Line at Bedford.
  • New Hitachi Class 810 trains will be running through Bedford.
  • Future connections to the electrified East Coast Main Line at Sandy and the electrified West Anglia Main Line at Cambridge South will have been designed, if not well underway or even completed.

East of Calvert, there will be plenty of electricity to power any electrification.

The article also quotes a Government minister as saying there will be passive provision for electrification. This is sensible, as the clearances required for 25 KVAC overhead electrification are not that much higher, than those needed for the largest freight containers.

So the two major requirements for 25 KVAC overhead electrification; electricity supply and gauge-clearance, appear to be met in the basic design of the East West Railway.

The East West Railway will also have one characteristic, that has been lacked, by most of the railways we have electrified in the last few years.

It will be a substantially new railway, although quite a few miles will have been rebuilt on an existing track bed.

It is my view after looking at several electrification schemes in the last ten years, that when we have electrified a substantially new railway, we have made a much better fist of it, in terms of both cost and timescale.

Could this be, that if the track-bed has just been created or relaid, it is well surveyed and the engineers and workers, who laid it, can be asked their opinion, so fewer costly mistakes are made?

It should also be said, that the route of the East West Railway goes through fairly flat country, which probably doesn’t have the sewers and mine-shafts, that have plagued the erection of electrification in recent years.

I wonder, if having looked in detail at the costs, the builders of East West Railway have found that perhaps around 2023, after a detailed survey of the route, they can build the railway at a cost, which includes electrification, that still offers benefits.

What Would Be The Benefits Of Electrification Of The East West Railway?

The benefits of electrification are generally as follows.

  • Faster passenger and freight trains because of higher cruising speed and greater acceleration.
  • Lower carbon emissions.

Faster trains would lead to more trains running over the railway.

Will The Electrification Be Full Or Partial?

I believe that Hitachi and other ,manufacturers will produce passenger trains with the following abilities.

  • To use either 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • To use onboard energy storage for running a number of miles.
  • To charge onboard energy storage, whilst dynamically connected to electrification.
  • To charge onboard energy storage, whilst stationary in a station or siding.
  • To swap between electrification and energy storage modes at operating speed.

These trains will be able to run on partially-electrified lines, by using energy storage to bridge gaps in the electrification.

In Sparking A Revolution, I gave this specification for a Hitachi battery-electric train.

  • Range – 55-65 miles
  • Performance – 90-100 mph
  • Recharge – 10 minutes when static
  • Routes – Suburban near electrified lines
  • Battery Life – 8-10 years

It looks like a route run by Hitachi battery-electric trains could have approximately sixty mile gaps in the electrification.

The trouble with gaps, is that they would mean that electric freight locomotives could not be used on the route.

One possibility could be the new tri-mode Class 93 locomotive, which has the following power sources.

  • 1.3 MW on diesel
  • 4.055 MW on electric
  • A power boost on battery

Hopefully, it can switch seamlessly between the various modes at line speed.

Until we see these locomotives in operation, we will not know if they can haul a maximum weight freight train all the way from Felixstowe to Ipswich and on to London, Cambridge or Peterborough.

Freight Trains Through Cambridge And Onto The East West Railway

In Roaming Around East Anglia – Freight Trains Through Newmarket, I said this.

The East West Rail Consortium plan to change the route of freight trains to and from Haven Ports; Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich to the West of Kennett station.

In this document on the East-West Rail Consortium web site, this is said.

Note that doubling of Warren Hill Tunnel at Newmarket and
redoubling between Coldham Lane Junction and Chippenham Junction is included
in the infrastructure requirements. It is assumed that most freight would operate
via Newmarket, with a new north chord at Coldham Lane Junction, rather than
pursuing further doubling of the route via Soham.

How would these changes affect Newmarket and the horse-racing industry in the town?

I believe that many freight trains would go straight through Cambridge and Cambridge South stations and onto the East West Railway.

One point to note, is that all of the route between Felixstowe and Cambridge South station has been gauge-cleared for the largest container trains and electrification.

This would surely make it reasonably easy to electrify all the way between Felixstowe and Cambridge South station.

Conclusion

I am coming to the conclusion, that given the importance of the rail freight route between Felixstowe and the Midlands, that something like the following will happen.

  • 2024 – Diesel passenger trains start running between Reading and Bedford via Didcot, Oxford and Bletchley
  • 2026 – Opening of Cambridge South station.
  • 2028 – Partial or full electrification is erected between Reading and Bedford
  • 2028 – Battery-electric passenger trains replace the diesel passenger trains.
  • 2030 – Opening of the full route between Reading and Cambridge.
  • 2935 – Opening of a fully-developed route though Newmarket to allow freight trains to go between Felixstowe and the East West Railway.

It appears to me, that by using diesel trains for an interim period, they can open the Reading and Bedford service early, whilst they complete the East West Railway.

 

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Red Diesel Cuts To Make Way For For Electric And Hydrogen

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

It is an article worth reading, as Conservative MPs spread the message of the phase out of red diesel to their constituents.

  • It will be painful.
  • Farmers must be protected.
  • Only one person in the audience had an electric car.
  • The government is expected to enhance electric car incentives and provisions.

It was also disclosed that Teeside will be getting hydrogen-powered trains.

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment