The Anonymous Widower

Whitechapel Station Reopens On August 23rd

I have been told that Whitechapel station will reopen on Monday, the 23rd of August.

Apparently the station has put it out on Twitter.

When I visited this week and wrote Whitechapel Station – 10th August 2021, I did think that reopening wouldn’t be too far away.

As the station is closed this weekend, I shall be going on Monday to observe the progress.

If Whitechapel station gets handed over to Transport for London in the next few weeks, that will leave just Bond Street and Canary Wharf stations still to be completed.

For a few years now Crossrail have talked about opening without Bond Street station, so will TfL just lock the platform edge doors shut and go for as early opening of Crossrail as possible?

Canary Wharf station could also be treated in the same way.

It would certainly be an option to open Crossrail earlier than expected.

August 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Prototype Revolution Very Light Rail Vehicle Ready For Testing

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

It is very much a complete article, which gives full information on the current status of the Revolution VLR very light rail prototype railcar.

  • The railcar is an eighteen metre long bi-directional vehicle.
  • It has capacity for 56 seated passengers and 40 standees. This is more than a double-deck bus load.
  • It has a Cummins diesel-electric power-train.
  • Maximum speed is 65 mph.
  • There is regenerative braking to a battery, which can be used for traction in built-up areas.

I must admit that I am surprised that Revolution VLR is not fully zero-carbon, but as this is a prototype, that is probably a sensible move, as it will be able to test the concept and show the railcar to potential customers.

However, as Cummins are a member of the consortium and they are now embracing hydrogen as an alternative fuel, a zero-carbon hydrogen power-train may be under development, that would be suitable for the Revolution VLR.

When the Revolution VLR consortium was in its early stages I wrote Very Light Rail Research On Track, based on a Railway Gazette article with the same title.

That earlier article did talk about a problem.

However, the drawback of a lightweight vehicle is that its lower crashworthiness could make it unsuitable for mixed traffic lines.

But the consortium felt that the limitation could be overcome by better traffic management and digital signalling.

Mixed traffic running was also flagged up as a problem by the tram-trains running in Sheffield, but touch wood, they seem to be working well!

Hopefully extensive testing of this prototype will identify any limitations of the concept.

August 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Crossrail Tunnel Portal At Pudding Mill Lane

This 3D Google Map shows the Crossrail tunnel portal at Pudding Mill Lane.

The Crossrail tunnel portal is in the middle of the image.

  • Pudding Mill Lane station on the DLR is in the top-left corner of the image.
  • The tracks to the right of the portal lead to and from Liverpool Street station.
  • The circular building in the top right of the image is the sewage pumping station for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Note the single track on the left side of the portal, which allows Crossrail trains to go to Liverpool Street station.


August 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Innovation Funding Awarded

The title of this post, is the same as that of a short article in the August 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Developments in passenger information, cutting carbon emissions and electrification are amongst the 30 winners of the latest round of the Department for Transport/Innovate UK’s First Of A Kind (FOaK) competition.

I particularly liked the first innovation mentioned.

Furrer+Frey is proposing a movable overhead conductor rail system for freight terminals which allows electric locomotives to enter them while providing obstruction-free loading and unloading of freight. It says this will remove the current barrier of end-to-end rail freight electrification and end the reliance on diesel traction.

Some years ago, I sat next to a crane driver from the Port of Felixstowe at a football match. At half-time we talked for a few minutes about the problems of overhead wires in ports and freight terminals. As he said “Accidents do happen!”

Furrer+Frey’s idea might be just what is needed to help decarbonise ports and freight terminals.

There is a good description of the project in this article on Rail Business UK, which is entitled Movable Overhead Electrification Aims To Eliminate The Need For Diesel Shunting Locomotives.

This link shows a picture of a similar Furrer + Frey system in a workshop or  train shed.

It appears to be based on proven technology and will be tested at a Tarmac depot in Dunbar.

Furrer+Frey also got a second funding award.

It has also won funding for its innovative composite Mast for Greener Electrification, which could reduce the mass of overhead line electrification masts, as well as the size of foundations, depth of piling and lifting capability of installation machinery.

That sounds like a classic application of Buckminster Fuller’s More With Less Syndrome.

I shall add other awards later.


August 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment