The Anonymous Widower

Hull Trains Is Back And Stronger Than Ever

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Hull Trains.

This is the first paragraph.

Timetables at Hull Trains will be back to pre-pandemic levels from December as public confidence in rail travel continues to grow.

These are other points from the press release.

  • The number of returning passengers is steadily increasing.
  • From December 12th, Hull Trains will be running 94 trains per week in total, which is two higher than the pre-pandemic record.
  • An additional service will be run on Sunday to match the six trains per day (tpd) on Saturday.
  • There will be seven tpd on weekdays. That’s not far off one train per teo hours (tp2h)  all day.

Passenger numbers must be coming out from the pandemic well.

This sentence from the press release gives a clue to how Hull Trains will cope with increasing passenger numbers.

Ten-car operations will commence on Fridays and Saturdays to provide additional capacity just in time for Christmas travel and the general growing demand as we prepare to enter 2022.

I suspect by rescheduling maintenance and running all five trains in services, they can run some trains on Fridays and Saturdays as pairs.

  • As Hull trains only stop at Stevenage, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden, Brough, Hull and Beverley, there aren’t many stations, that need to be able to take ten-car trains.
  • I suspect a couple of platforms might need lengthening, as a ten-car train is 260 metres long. Or they could instruct passengers to only use the front train for the stations with short platforms. Or only use five-car trains to the stations with short platforms.
  • But the longer trains won’t need any extra paths.
  • I was also told last year, that Hull station can take nine-car trains, so perhaps it can take a ten.

So to increase capacity on the route, Hull Trains just need to add another train to their fleet.

As all costs are probably well-known, with a bit of simple modelling, Hull Trains can probably predict, when they need to add a new train.

Whilst I was looking at the Lumo train yesterday, I got talking to a driver from Hull Trains, who had come over to take a professional look at Lumo’s Class 803 train.

I asked him what he liked about Hull Trains’s Class 802 trains as a driver. He said the brakes, which is probably most important to a driver, as they’re at the sharp end, if anything happens. So that’s comforting.

He also said that some of the Hitachi trains had shown they were stable at 140 mph. So that’s good too.

On talking about the batteries on the Lumo train, I got the impression that batteries will appear on other Hitachi Trains.

Conclusion

It appears to be all trains go between London and Hull.

In Could We See Between London And Much Of The North By Train In Under Two Hours?, I looked at the effect of improvements on the East Coast Main Line and concluded that timings between London Kings Cross and Hull could be around two hours and twenty minutes. This would surely be a spur to increasing traffic on the route.

Surely, when Hull Trains use battery-electric Hitachi trains between London and Hull, this will be the icing on the marketing cake, as we seem to be coming to a point, where zero-carbon sells.

As an aside, will Lumo, who are another First Group company, use a similar mix of five- and ten-car trains on the London and Edinburgh route to increase capacity?

I suspect that what is good for Hull Trains will be good for Lumo.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

RENFE Aims To Compete With Eurostar On Paris – London Route

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

There are a lot of issues in this article and there does seem to be a degree of rivalry between French and Spanish rail operators.

In From Madrid To London, I describe a journey by train from Madrid to London via Barcelona and Paris.

These three paragraphs were the end of that post.

I finally arrived in London at 18:30 or just thirteen hours forty minutes after leaving Madrid.

This journey will get quicker, as for quite a way along the south coast of France, the trains don’t run on high speed lines. I can’t find any references to the distances on the journey, although Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London are given as 621 and 495 kilometres respectively. Map Crow gives the Barcelona to Paris distance at 831 kilometres. I know this isn’t accurate and is probably a bit short, but that gives a total of 1947 kilometres, so my journey was at an average speed of 142 kmh. This compares with an average speed of 200 and 220 kmh on the first and last legs from Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London respectively.

If the centre section was capable of an end-to-end average of 200 kmh, then a time from Madrid to London of under ten hours should be possible, especially if it was one train all the way.

I suspect that the ultimate aim of RENFE is to run a direct Madrid and London service.

  • It would go via Barcelona, Perpignan, Lyon and Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy.
  • It would bypass Paris to the East.
  • It would serve Charles de Gaulle Airport and Disneyland Paris.
  • A sub-thirteen hour journey would certainly be possible with the existing infrastructure.

Note.

  1. There would be lots of opportunities to split the journey.
  2. Travellers regularly fly thirteen hours around the world. C and myself have done it with three kids in steerage.

My statement in the earlier post was ambitious and relied on building a new LGV across the South of France.

Conclusion

It could be an interesting way to travel between London and Spain.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

HS2 Downsizes Euston Station To Save Costs

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

The High Speed Two station at Euston will now have only ten platforms and it will be built in a single construction phase.

These are my thoughts.

Oversite Development

When completed, there will be a lot of development over the top of the new Euston station.

One way or another, this could be a nice little earner for High Speed Two,

  • It will be one of the most convenient addresses in London.
  • The development could be housing, offices or some innovative commercial property.
  • There might even be a large indoor sports or concert arena like the O2.

But whatever gets developed on top of the station, the developer would surely prefer to be handed as large a site as possible in 2026 all in one go.

And the earlier it is handed over, the earlier High Speed Two gets paid.

I do wonder, if a large international property and entertainment group of the highest quality has made the government an offer that is far too good to refuse to build a world class venue on top of the station.

  • It would be a very well-connected by public transport and most visitors could come by public transport.
  • Surely, if a massive attraction was on top of the station, High Speed Two and all the railways would benefit from the rail ticket revenue.
  • The Manchester Arena is over the top of Manchester Victoria station. So why not a Euston Arena?

Euston station, is a site where High Speed Two and developers must be ultra-bold to maximise the return for everyone, including those sceptics, who believe High Speed Two is a waste of money.

The View From Ian

There is an excellent post on Ian Visits which is entitled HS2 to Cut London Euston Station To Ten Platforms.

Some of the following thoughts have been suggested by reading Ian’s post.

Euston Station Must Be Able To Handle Eighteen Trains Per Hour

The main tracks of High Speed Two are being designed to handle eighteen trains per hour (tph) or a train every three minutes and twenty seconds.

The current plan is that when Phase 2 is complete, the High Speed platforms at Euston station will handle seventeen tph, which will leave one path spare for sorting out problems.

With ten High Speed platforms, that would mean that in a busy hour, each platform would handle two tph or a train every thirty minutes.

With the improvements in signalling and track and train design, I would expect that turning trains in Euston at that frequency is possible.

I suspect that High Speed Two and Network Rail have done extensive Monte-Carlo simulations to prove that ten High Speed platforms can handle the required eighteen tph.

Greater Integration Between High Speed Two And Network Rail

In Ian’s post he says this.

In the meantime, HS2 and Network Rail are working on how they can have a greater integration between HS2 and the associated upgrades of the Network Rail side of the station.

Consider.

  • The Network Rail station should  be able to handle a single 200 metre long Classic-Compatible train at the present time.
  • Under current plans four services into the High Speed platforms at Euston station will be single 200 metre long Classic-Compatible trains.
  • I wonder if it would be possible to add a crossover to allow High Speed Two  trains from the North to enter the Network Rail platforms alongside the High Speed Two platforms.
  • If the track layout were possible, this could effectively give High Speed Two ten High Speed platforms and one or even two emergency ones, if required in the Network Rail station.

This Google Map shows Euston station.

Note.

  1. The large square building is the current Euston station.
  2. The building site on the Western side of the station is the High Speed extension, where there will be ten platforms.
  3. Euston station can take 265 metre long Class 390 trains.
  4. Platform 1 on the East side of Euston station can take the 355 metre long Caledonian Sleeper.

There certainly would appear to be possibilities to link the two sides of the station to improve operational flexibility.

I wonder if something could be done in Birmingham to improve connectivity.

In Birmingham Airport Connectivity, I said this

But look at this map clipped from the High Speed Two web site.

Note.

  1. The blue dot shows the location of Curzon Street station.
    The West Coast Main Line running into New Street station, is just to the South of Curzon Street station.
    New Street station can be picked out to the West of Curzon Street station.

This Google Map shows a close-up of the current Curzon Street station site.

The same pattern of rail lines going past the Curzon Street site into New Street station can be picked out.

Surely, a connection could be made to allow trains from a couple of platforms in Curzon Street station to terminate trains from the West Coast Main Line.

Possible services could include.

  • London Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street via Watford Junction, Milton Keynes, Rugby and Coventry
  • Cardiff and Birmingham Curzon Street via Bristol Parkway, Swindon, Oxford and Milton Keynes.
  • Cambridge and Birmingham Curzon Street via Bristol Parkway, Bedford and Milton Keynes.

There are a lot of possibilities to give High Speed Two much bigger coverage.

 

 

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

How Celiac Disease May Affect Your Risk for Gallbladder Disease

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

I am posting, as I am a coeliac, who has had gallstone problems and want to be able to find the article easily in the future.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund Revenues Boosted Amid Market Volatility

Over the last few years, I have blogged about energy storage and two energy storage funds; Gore Street and Gresham House.

According to an article on Proactive Investors, with the same title as this post, Gore Street hasn’t been doing badly lately and says this about their recent performance.

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund PLC said its assets in Great Britain generated revenues two times above forecast in September and added that industry is only at the start of its growth curve.

When I saw the concept of an energy storage fund, as a Control Engineer, I liked it.

The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, so something is needed to cover the gaps in the supply.

The obvious way to cover the gaps is to put a battery in the circuit.

  • When the electricity supply is higher than the demand, the surplus electricity can be stored in a convenient battery connected to the grid.
  • When the reverse is true and there is a deficit of electricity, the energy in the battery can be used to make up the difference.

The battery works with electricity, just like a bank works with money, except that batteries don’t pay interest.

  • The battery owners do make money by buying electricity, when it’s cheap and selling it back at a higher price.
  • Tesla and others will sell you both batteries and the controlling software.
  • Some areas with perhaps high levels of wind and solar or unreliable power supplies could use batteries improve the robustness of the electricity supply.
  • More wind and solar power will inevitably lead to a need for more energy storage.
  • Battery technology will get cheaper in terms of the cost per MWh of storage.
  • Battery-grid interface hardware will get more capable.
  • Management software will get better at balancing the grid.

This all adds up to increasing opportunities at possibly lower costs for energy storage funds like Gore Street and Gresham House.

So we will inevitably see a growth of energy storage funds.

But they will change.

New Battery Technology

There are several new battery technologies, that I believe could prove to be competitive in terms of capacity, cost, efficiency and reliability when compared to lithium-ion batteries.

Some of them will also have the advantage of only using easy-to-source, environmentally-friendly materials in their manufacture.

Some battery technologies are also easier to scale up, in that your have a central unit, which is connected to several stores. So to scale up, you add another store to the central unit. Highview Power’s CRYOBattery works on this principle.

I can see energy storage funds taking off faster, when someone designs the ideal battery for their purposes.

More Energy Storage Funds

We will see more players enter the energy storage fund market, just as we saw more players enter the peer-to-peer lending market. But just as that market attracted men with silly hats, boots and horses, not all will be reputable. But there are signs that banks I might trust are entering the market.

I also think there could be a hybrid model, which is almost a cross between an energy storage fund and peer-to-peer technology.

But be prepared for financial innovation.

And always do due diligence before investing.

Local Energy Storage Funds

I can envisage sensible established players offering investment on a local basis.

So perhaps the residents of a town with a need for a battery, might like to help fund it.

Or just as Aviva with their strong connections to East Anglia helped to fund Greater Anglia’s new trains, they might fund a battery in perhaps Cromer.

Conclusion

I feel the future is very rosy for energy storage funds.

 

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Scottish Transport Minister ‘Perplexed’ By COP26 Strikes

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

I’ll leave them to continue arguing,

But I am perplexed too! Especially as the other unions have signed up to a similar deal.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Lumo – A View From Across The Pond

I have just read this guide to Lumo on a United States web site called NewsNation USA, which is entitled Lumo Trains: Cheaper London To Edinburgh Fares – What You Need To Know. The article is positive about the new train service.

It only misses out one important detail. Lumo have said, they will have a long booking window, which will surely appeal to travellers on the route from overseas, who are coming to the UK for a holiday and want to visit both cities.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments