The Anonymous Widower

Silicon Roundabout – 18th August 2021

It’s been some time, since I took pictures of the progress of the remodelling of Silicon Roundabout and Old Street station.

I took these pictures this morning.

It seems to have moved on since I took the last pictures in Silicon Roundabout – 10th April 2021.

This page on the Transport for London web site, is now saying this about changes to station access.

New and permanent changes to station access at Old Street will be in place from 31 August 2021.

    • The new entrance at Cowper Street will open and will provide direct access for customers to the station.
    • Subway 1 (northeast exit) will be permanently closed. Subway 3 (southwest exit) will remain open.
    • The staircase at Subway 4 (northwest exit), will re-open and the ramp at Subway 4 will permanently close. The green line leading to Moorfields Eye Hospital will be reinstated along the stairs.

That sounds like the end of Phase 1 to me!

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Metier’s First And Second Ipswich Office

My Scottish Borders correspondent has asked me about the first office Metier had in Ipswich.

Courtesy of Google Streetview, I was able to capture this image.

Note.

  1. They were in the four story building with the yellow cladding.
  2. I see it’s still called Pearl Assurance House.
  3. Shadu Hair and Beauty used to be a rather good camera shop.

For those of you, who don’t know Ipswich, if you walk straight ahead and keep right, you end up in the centre of Ipswich.

It wasn’t very large, but it was certainly in better condition, than some of the offices we had in London.

This is the second office in Fore Street.

If I remember correctly, the office was found by Wendy, who responded to my advert in the East Anglian Daily Times, saying, that we were looking for an Office Dogsbody.

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Could London’s New Routemaster Buses Be Converted To Hydrogen Power?

There are a thousand New Routemaster buses on the roads of London.

This paragraph from  Wikipedia describes the transmission.

The bus is a hybrid diesel-electric driven by a battery-powered electric motor, charged by a diesel fuelled generator and recovering energy during braking by regenerative braking.

Note.

  1. The Cummins diesel engine is under the back stairs and is mounted high up. You can sometimes hear it start and stop if you sit or stand at the back of the bus.
  2. The diesel engine is part of the Cummins B Series Engine family, which is used very widely, included in vehicles like the Dodge Ram pick-up.
  3. The battery is mounted under the front stairs.

Cummins are embracing hydrogen in a big way and bought hydrogen company; Hydrogenics in 2019.

This press release from Cummins is entitled Cummins Begins Testing Of Hydrogen Fueled Internal Combustion Engine.

This is the first paragraph.

Cummins has taken another step forward in advancing zero carbon technology as the company began testing a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine. The proof-of-concept test is building on Cummins’ existing technology leadership in gaseous-fuel applications and powertrain leadership to create new power solutions that help customers meet the energy and environmental needs of the future.

Only today in Deutz Hydrogen Engine Ready For Market, I reported on how Deutz were going down a similar route.

I have done consultancy work for Cummins in Darlington, where I suspect the New Routemaster engines were built and the company prides itself in being able to provide a specially-laid out diesel engine for a niche-market application.

If they develop a replacement for the B Series engine, I suspect that they will adopt the same sales philosophy.

For a start, it would enable all their many existing customers to convert their products from diesel to hydrogen power.

A hydrogen engine would be a direct way to enable conversion of a New Routemaster to hydrogen.

I believe that in a few years Cummins will be able to replace the diesel engine with a hydrogen engine of equivalent size and power.

I am also sure, that Wrightbus have the expertise to squeeze a hydrogen tank in somewhere.

After Ricardo announced their fuel cell approach to convert modern diesel buses to hydrogen, which I wrote about in Ricardo To Engineer Zero Emission Buses For UK’s First Hydrogen Transport Hub, I am sure we’re going to see thousands of modern buses converted to hydrogen power.

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 20 Comments

Ricardo To Engineer Zero Emission Buses For UK’s First Hydrogen Transport Hub

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article from Ricardo.

This is the first paragraph.

As part of its mission to support the decarbonisation of the global transport and energy sectors Ricardo, a world-class environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company, has announced that it has received Government funding to create a retrofit hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstrator for the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub in the north-east of England.

The market for refitting buses with hydrogen power is large, as this sentence from the press release shows.

There are 38,000 buses in service in the UK: 98% are diesel powered; and 50% are less than eight years old.

And that’s just the UK!

The last paragraph sums up Ricardo’s ambitions.

Ricardo will develop a scalable, modular solution, enabling it to be installed, with minimal adaption, to multiple single and double decker platforms. The modular concept may also be saleable as a ‘new fuel cell’ module to coach builders across the European Union enabling them to develop new fuel cell
buses by taking a rolling chassis and applying their coach build body alongside the fuel cell module solution.

Never underestimate Ricardo!

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 18 Comments

Deutz Hydrogen Engine Ready For Market

The title of this post, is the same as this article on H2 View.

These are the first two paragraphs

A brand-new hydrogen engine has been developed in Cologne, Germany to help accelerate the rollout of low and zero emission drive systems.

Developed by Deutz, the TCG 7.8 H2 engine has already passed initial tests on the test bench and is scheduled to go into full production in 2024.

This could be a very significant development.

Initially from the article, they seem to be concentrating on stationary applications, but it could be an easy route for large vehicle manufacturers to decarbonise their products.

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel, World | , | 3 Comments

Where Are All The Battery-Electric Trains?

Consider these dates and notes

February 10th, 2015

, I wrote Is The Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) A Big Innovation In Train Design?, after an excellent first ride in Bombadier’s experimental battery-electric multiple unit or BEMU based on a Class 379 train.

October 10th, 2018

I wrote Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway, after a ride on Vivarail’s Class 230 train in Scotland.

October 15th, 2018

This article on Railway Gazette, which was entitled BatteryFLEX Desiro EMU Conversion Proposed, announced Porterbrook’s plan to convert their Class 350/2 trains to battery-electric operation.

September 30th, 2019

I wrote Battery Electrostars And The Uckfield Branch.

I indicated that according to Modern Railways, battery Electrostars were on their way to replace Class 171 trains, that need to be cascaded to East Midlands Railway by September 2021.

February 28th, 2020

I wrote Northern’s Battery Plans.

This described a plan by Northern Trains and CAF to convert three-car Class 331 trains into four-car battery electric trains, by adding a battery car.

July 6th, 2020

I wrote Hyperdrive Innovation And Hitachi Rail To Develop Battery Tech For Trains, which announced Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train, which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Hitachi are now testing Class 803 trains, which have batteries, but only for hotel purposes and not traction.

Although, I do suspect that the batteries in Class 803 trains will be very similar to those in other Hitachi trains.

It’s just not good engineering to do the same job twice and all Hitachi trains are members of the same A-train family.

August 12, 2020

In Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains, I mused on some remarks made by Mark Hopwood, who then was the interim Managing Director of South Western Railway.

December 15th, 2020

Hitachi released a press release which was entitled Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%.

This is the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Details given in the press release include.

  • A five-car train will be used as the prototype.
  • The objective is fuel savings of 20 %.
  • Battery power will be used in stations.

I have read elsewhere that testing will start in 2022, with trains entering service a year later.

In addition, I have written many posts on this blog about the possible deployment of battery-electric trains.

There are certainly a lot of ideas and aspirations for the development and use of battery trains, but except for the Class 803 trains, which only use batteries for emergency hotel power and are now under test, no battery-electric trains have been seen on the UK rail network.

I have a few thoughts.

Existing Trains That Could Be Converted To Battery-Electric Trains

The following trains would appear to be candidates for conversion to battery-electric operation for passenger operations.

  • Class 350 trains – 87 trains of four cars – 110 mph – Will be replaced by Class 730 trains.
  • Class 360 trains – 21 trains of four cars – 110 mph – In service with East Midlands Railway between St. Pancras and Corby, but with batteries could extend the route to Oakham and Melton Mowbray.
  • Class 379 trains – 30 trains of four cars – 100 mph – Have been replaced by Class 745 trains and now filling in for late delivery of new Class 720 trains.
  • Class 385 trains – 24 trains of four cars – 100 mph – In service with Scotrail and could be upgraded to Regional Battery Trains.
  • Class 385 trains – 46 trains of three cars – 100 mph – In service with Scotrail and could be upgraded to Regional Battery Trains.
  • Class 387 trains – 107 trains of four cars – 110 mph – Some are being replaced with new trains and it appears that some may be available for conversion. There must also be question marks over Heathrow and Gatwick Express services.

Note.

  1. All trains have an operating speed of 100 or 110 mph.
  2. I suspect most of the 100 mph trains could be upgraded to 110 mph trains.
  3. There is a total of nearly three hundred four-car trains.

In addition, there are other trains like Class 377 trains, Class 444 trains, Class 450 trains and Class 707 trains. that could be converted to battery-electric operation should it be necessary or the trains were withdrawn from service due to being replaced with new trains.

We could have access to over five hundred battery-electric trains, if all were to be converted.

Does that mean that until fleets start to wear out, we will not need to buy any new electric multiple units for the standard gauge UK rail network?

A Comparison Between A Hitachi Regional Battery Train And An Existing Electric Multiple Unit With Added Batteries

If you compare an Hitachi Regional Battery train based on a four-car Class 385 train with a four-car Class 350 train you get the following with Hitachi figures first.

  • Cars – 4 – 4
  • Operating Speed – 100 mph – 110 mph
  • Seats – 273 – 270
  • Length – 92 metres – 82 metres
  • Dual-voltage – Probably possible – Yes

The two trains could share a route and few passengers would complain or even notice the difference.

Will Battery-Electric Trains Have Collateral Benefits?

All these trains, that are available to conversion to battery-electric trains are modern 100 mph four-car units that meet all the regulations.

They will offer a better standard of service than say a Class 156 diesel train, but most importantly, their size will mean that most services in the UK would be run by a four-car train, which would help to ease overcrowding in a lot of places.

Where Are The Battery Electric Trains?

Could it be that someone has added up the number of trains we already have and has decided that with decarbonisation to the fore, that by using a mix of battery-electric trains and discontinuous electrification, we can create a unified electric train network in England, Scotland and Wales, without ordering large fleets of new trains.

The specification for the UK’s standard battery-electric local train may need to emerge first, but I suspect that train manufacturers and upgraders like Wabtec, want to make sure they create a battery-electric train to these standards.

  • Very reliable.
  • A range as long as feasibly possible.
  • Long-lasting

So with this technology change from pure-electric, bi-mode and diesel trains to pure-electric and battery-electric, is everybody making sure, that it ends up as a success, rather than a disaster?

Over the last few years, there have been a lot of late train deliveries for various reasons and releasing battery-electric trains too early might not be prudent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 7 Comments