The Anonymous Widower

Battery-Powered Shunter Ready To Begin Testing

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 903 of Rail Magazine. The article describes how 08649, which is a Class 08 shunter is being converted to diesel-electric hybrid power.

  • It appears, that the shunter wasn’t in the best of condition.
  • A 6.8 litre John Deere diesel engine is to be fitted, which will be enhanced to Euro Stage 5.
  • Tesla battery packs with a capacity of 300 kWh will be fitted.
  • A bespoke control system is being developed.

The shunter is to be tested on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, when COVID-19 restrictions allow.

The reason for doing the work is not outlined in the article, although it does say this.

The work has been carried out by Meteor Power Ltd., which won a contract last year as part of the Department of Transport’s Innovation Carbon Reduction programme.

According to Wikipedia, 996 shunters were produced with another nearly two hundred similar shunters in other classes. Eighty two are deemed to have been preserved in Wikipedia,  with sixty or so labelled as operational. Two operational examples are on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway.

As some of the preserved examples are used by successful heritage railways and even commercial companies like Bombardier, perhaps Meteor have identified several possible commercial conversions.

Or it could be that Meteor want to show how their technology can reduce a company’s carbon emissions by re-putting a diesel engine with a hybrid transmission in a railway engine or a piece of heavy plant.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

RENFE Ticket Offices Go Cashless

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

National operator RENFE stopped accepting cash payments for tickets at booking offices with effect from March 27, citing hygiene reasons. The measure will last as long as the duration of coronavirus lockdown, now prolonged at least until mid-April.

Should we have done the same thing as Spain?

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Passing Loop Hope For Windermere

The title of this post is the same as that of a small story in Issue 903 of Rail Magazine.

This is the opening sentence.

The local priority for the Windermere branch is for a passing loop to enable two trains an hour to operate.

These are the distances from Oxenholme Lake District station of the stations on the Windermere branch line.

  • Kendal – 2.05
  • Burneside – 4.02
  • Staveley – 6.52
  • Windermere – 10.15


  1. Distances are in miles.chains.
  2. The return distance of 20.30 miles should be within the capability of a battery-electric train, that left Oxenholme Lake District station with full batteries.

Halfway would surely be a convenient place for a passing loop, which would be a mile towards Windermere from Burneside.

This Google Map shows Burneside and Staveley stations and the countryside in between.


  1. Burneside station is in the South-East corner
  2. Staveley station is in the North-West corner.
  3. The North-East side of the route is mainly agricultural land.

It looks like a passing loop could be built in the region of Bowston.

  • It would be approximately halfway.
  • It would be on the North-East side of the existing track.
  • It would need to be long enough to take the longest train likely to use the route.
  • ,It would allow a doubling in frequency.

I don’t think it would be the most expensive of projects.

Operational Considerations

A half-hourly service could be run as follows.

  • It seems likely that the trains will be four-car Class 331 trains, as I wrote about in Northern’s Battery Plans.
  • Two trains would probably be timed to leave Oxenholme Lake District and Windermere stations at the same time.
  • Trains currently take twenty minutes to travel along the branch and do the round trip in an hour.
  • ,This twenty minute timing would give ten minutes to turn back the train at Oxenholme Lake District and Windermere.
  • Ten minutes at each terminal station, should be enough time to fully charge the batteries for the next trip.

It should be noted that trains going to and from Manchester Airport would be able to charge their batteries on the electrified route between Oxenholme Lake District and Manchester Airport stations.

I think it would be likely, that there would be two services

  • An hourly service between Windermere and Manchester Airport stations, which is the current service on the branch.
  • An hourly shuttle service between Windermere and Oxenholme Lake District, which would be run by a single train.

The two services would alternate to provide the half-hourly service.

One of the advantages of a half-hourly service run by two trains, is that it may open the possibility of one train rescuing the other train if it fails.

If a train arrives at Windermere station with flat batteries, I suspect that as Windermere and Oxenholme have similar altitudes, that the second train could drag it back to Oxenholme station. Possibly without passengers.



April 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments