The Anonymous Widower

After Coronavirus, What’s Next? China: More Coal, US: More Oil, EU: More Renewables

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

The title says it all, but read the article to get the detail.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wabtec Launches BlueFilter Air Filters For Trains

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

This is the introductory paragraphs.

Wabtec Corp has launched BlueFilter, a filter designed to be retrofitted to current passenger train HVAC systems to ensure the provision of clean air on board.

The company says it can remove contaminants that are .01 to 1 000 μm size, smaller than current standard filters and including bacteria, dust and viruses.

Does viruses include COVID-19?

This Press Release on Wabtec’s web site gives more details.

BlueFilter’s design removes contaminants that are .01 to 1,000 micrometers in size. That includes allergens, bacteria, various dusts and viruses. By comparison, today’s standard filters typically only remove particles that are between 10 to 1,000 micrometers in size, which only includes contaminants such as pollen, most dusts and some bacteria.

It certainly gets down to the nitty-gritty.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Has The BCG Vaccine Saved The Balkans From The Worst Of The Coronavirus?

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

The article discusses the title and there is certainly circumstantial evidence.

  • The former Yugoslavia hasn’t been badly hid by COVID-19.
  • The country had endemic tuberculosis.
  • The UK dropped BCG vaccinations in the 2000s.

I’ll be interested to see, if this turns out to be a promising lead or just a coincidence.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , | 5 Comments

Crossrail Trains Cleared To Use The Heathrow Tunnel

This title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

These are the first four paragraphs.

Last month, a significant achievement took place on the Crossrail project, which is far more important than the headlines make it seem to be.

At a basic level, the Office of Rail Regulation approved the use of the new Class 345 trains that will be used on the Elizabeth line to carry passengers into the Heathrow tunnels.

The practical implication being that TfL Rail will in the next few weeks be able to run from Paddington to Heathrow direct, as they were supposed to start doing back in May 2018.

The delay has been caused by the bane and saviour of modern railways, the signalling system.

Ian then goes on to give a full and understandable explanation of the complex nature of modern rail signalling.

Ian finishes by giving a detailed description of the Class 345 trainsAuto-Reverse feature.

Around half of westbound trains will terminate at Paddington, but to head back eastwards, once all the passengers are off, they carry on westwards to Westbourne Park, then return back to Paddington on the eastbound line.

Normally that means the train driver would drive to Westbourne Park, stop, walk through the train to the other end, then drive back. But with “auto-reverse”, as soon as the train leaves Paddington, the driver switches to automatic and starts walking through the train to the other end. By the time the train arrives at Westbourne Park sidings, the driver will be sitting in the drivers cab at the other end of the train ready to head back into Central London.

I feel we need more automation on trains.

Possible Uses Of Automation

These are some possibilities.

Reversing In Services

Several services, require the driver to change ends and then drive the train from the other end, when calling at a station.

  • Some Nottingham and Skegness services, reverse in Grantham station.
  • Maidenhead and Marlow services, reverse in Bourne End station.
  • Norwich and Sheringham services, reverse in Cromer station.

I could envisage an automatic system, that took the train from A to B to C etc. under the control of the driver.

  • They might just touch a screen or button to move to the next station, as drivers have done on the Victoria Line.
  • Both cabs would have a remote video screen showing the view from the other end of the train.
  • The driver could drive the train from either cab.
  • Arriving at a station, the automation would stop the train in the correct position.
  • As on a Victoria Line train, the driver would monitor the system at all times and take control and drive manually, if required.
  • The driver might also have a sophisticated remote control, so that if he needed to walk through the train to change cabs, he would still be in full control.

The guard might also have a remote control, for use in the very rare case of driver incapacitation, where he would need to halt the train.

Shuttle Services

There are services in the UK, where a single train shuttles between two stations.

  • Brockenhurst and Limington Pier – 11 minutes
  • Grove Park and Bromley North stations –  5 mins
  • St. Erth and St. Ives stations – 10 mins
  • Slough and Windsor & Eton Central – 6 mins
  • Sudbury and Marks Tey – 19 mins
  • Twyford and Henley stations – 12 mins
  • Watford Junction and St. Albans Abbey – 16 minutes

Note.

  1. The time shown is the time for a single journey.
  2. All these services use a single train, where the driver changes ends before each journey.
  3. The  services use a dedicated platform at both terminals.
  4. There is a dedicated track between the terminals.
  5. Some of these services may need a more frequent service.

If the driver doesn’t change ends, would the time saved allow more trains per hour (tph)?

I think the following improvements are possible.

  • Grove Park and Bromley North – three tph to four
  • Slough and Windsor & Eton Central – three tph to four
  • Watford Junction and St. Albans Abbey – If the journey time could be reduced to fourteen minutes or less, there is a chance that the service could be doubled to two tph.

It looks that if the driver change ends, then it appears the following frequencies are possible, with these journey times.

  • Less than six-and-a-half minutes – four tph
  • Less than nine minutes – three tph
  • Less than fourteen minutes – two tph

I do wonder if an automated shuttle on the Abbey Line could run at the required two tph, with only minimal infrastructure works.

 

 

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

RMT Threatens Strikes Over ‘Guardian Angels’ Plan

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The RMT has warned of possible industrial action in protest at a government plan for unpaid volunteers to help guide railway passengers and prevent overcrowding at stations.

They don’t seem to be in favour.

This was a statement from the Department of Transport.

These volunteers will play a crucial supporting role in keeping people moving by easing crowding and providing advice to help maintain social distancing, protecting passengers and tackling the spread of the virus.

‘We are clear these volunteers will not be performing any tasks or roles that vital frontline staff are trained to carry out, and they will be deployed at key stations in the short term when the easing of lockdown restrictions could see the increased use of public transport.

It puzzles me, why the RMT didn’t strike during the Olympics, as we had all those charming volunteers, helping visitors with their needs.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Hydrogen Pilot Projects Could Eventually Boost Nuclear Plants’ Bottom Lines

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy News Network.

The article discusses in depth. how producing hydrogen can help to improve the economics of nuclear power plants in the Mid-West, with particular reference to a plant called Davis-Besse at Oak Harbor, Ohio.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment