The Anonymous Widower

New $1 billion-plus Project In Queensland To Double World’s Green Hydrogen Production Capacity

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

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , | 1 Comment

JCB Signs Green Hydrogen Deal Worth Billions

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Construction equipment maker JCB has signed a deal to buy billions of pounds of green hydrogen, defined as hydrogen produced using renewable energy.

The deal means JCB will take 10% of the green hydrogen made by the Australian firm Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

JCB are certainly going into hydrogen in a big way.

  • They have demonstrated hydrogen-powered construction equipment.
  • They have developed technology, so that internal combustion engines can run on hydrogen.
  • Lord Bamford’s son; Jo bought Wrightbus and company supplied London’s hydrogen buses.
  • Ryze, which is mentioned in the article was founded by Jo Bamford.
  • JCB have made a strategic investment in electrolyser company; ITM Power.

I can see JCB making more investments in hydrogen.

In terms of green hydrogen production from renewable energy, I can see three areas providing substantial amounts of green hydrogen.

  • Australia from solar and electrolysers. Australia has space and sun.
  • Africa from solar and electrolysers. Africa has space and sun.
  • Waters around the UK from wind and electrolysers.

As ITM Power have the world’s largest electrolyser factory in Sheffield and have recently raised money to build a second one, they could be the big winner in green hydrogen production.

But I can see JCB making hydrogen-powered equipment all over the world and supplying the hydrogen to run it.l

It should also be born in mind, that JCB know how to dominate a market.

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reopening The Askern Branch

On October 27th this Beeching Reversal Project was given £50,000 to build a case for reopening.

These are my thoughts.

The Askern Branch Line

This description of the Askern Branch Line is from Wikipedia.

The Askern branch line is a railway line which runs in North, South and West Yorkshire in England. The stretch of track runs from Shaftholme Junction north of Doncaster (on the East Coast Main Line between Doncaster and York), via Askern, Norton and Womersley to Knottingley, where it joins the Pontefract Line.

This map was also clipped from Wikipedia.

Note.

  1. Shaftholme junction is where the Askern Branch splits from the East Coast Main Line.
  2. There are three closed stations on the Askern Branch; Askern, Norton and Womersley.
  3. Between Shaftholme junction and Knottingley West junction, on the Pontefract Line is 10.7 miles.
  4. The operating speed of the line is between twenty and fifty mph.

Unbelievably, in those 10.7 miles there are nineteen level crossings.

Current Passenger Services

The only passenger services on the line are Grand Central‘s services between London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange.

  • Grand Central are an open-access operator.
  • Grand Central ran the first service in 2007.
  • There are four trains per day (tpd) in both directions.
  • They call at Doncaster, Pontefract Monkhill, Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Low Moor.

Perhaps, if they stopped at a station on the Askern Branch Line, it would give their finances a lift.

Freight Services

There are up to four freight services per hour on the line.

Askern Station

Askern station used to serve the village of Askern.

  • Askern has a population of about 6,000.
  • Askern used to be a spa town.
  • But then coal was discovered and it became a mining village.
  • Do spas and coal mining make a good mix? I doubt it.
  • Eventually the station closed in September 1948.
  • There is a level crossing at the station.

The village is now developing and there is pressure for the reopening of the station.

Railfuture has backed the reopening.

Norton Station

Norton station used to serve the village of Norton.

  • Norton has a population of about 5,000.
  • The station closed in September 1948.
  • There is a level crossing at the station.

There appears to be no pressure to reopen the station, although the site is protected.

Womersley Station

Womersley station used to serve the village of Womersley.

  • Womersley has a population of a few hundred.
  • The station closed in September 1948.
  • There is a level crossing at the station.

There appears to be no pressure to reopen the station.

Would This Project Be Better Described As Reopening Askern Station?

I can’t find any reference to reopening Norton and Womersley stations, so perhaps Reopening Askern Station would be closer to the reality.

A New Askern Station

This Google Map shows the site of the former station.

This could be a challenging station to design depending on the brief.

Services At A New Askern Station

I suspect that some or perhaps all of Grand Central’s Kings Cross and Bradford Interchange  services will call.

But these don’t go to Leeds and I suspect that a service is needed to and from Leeds.

Will The Askern Line Be Electrified?

Who knows?

 

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hull Trains Are Mounting A Big Advertising Campaign

The adverts, unlike some, are not annoying, but Hull Trains are certainly paying for a lot of adverts to be shown in web sites like The Times.

I know from my post entitled Hull Trains Is Back And Stronger Than Ever, that they are feeling bullish about the future, but I can’t remember a train company advertising on the web as much as this.

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Reopening the Stoke – Leek Line

On October 27th this Beeching Reversal Project was given £50,000 to build a case for reopening.

These are my thoughts.

The State Of The Line Today

This sentence describes the Stoke  Leek Line in Wikipedia.

The Stoke to Leek line is a mothballed railway route, which up until 1988 was used by BR freight trains to reach the quarries at both Cauldon Lowe and Oakamoor.

This map was also clipped from Wikipedia.

Note.

  1. Leek is at the top of the map.
  2. Leek is a town of 21,000 people.
  3. The distance between Stoke-on-Trent and Leek is about eleven miles by road.
  4. The Waterhouses branch Line leads to the quarries.
  5. The Churnet Valley Line is a heritage line.

I have flown by virtual helicopter along the line and you can see a single-track railway amongst the weeds.

Leek

This Google Map shows Leek.

The original station was demolished to make way for the Morrisons supermarket.

I suspect that there is sufficient space close to the supermarket to fit in a simple single-platform station for the single-track from Stoke-on-Trent.

Rolling Stock

I suspect this line would best be served by battery-electric trains.

  • It’s no more than a dozen miles.
  • There is electrification at Stoke-on-Trent station.
  • Leek has the lower altitude by 220 ft.

I suspect a charging system would be needed at Leek.

Vivarail’s Class 230 trains could be ideal for this line.

Freight

Reading about the line, it appears that there are plans that propose reopening the line for traffic from the quarries.

It would need to be decided, if freight were to be allowed on the line.

Conclusion

This could be a useful passenger line, with a freight capability, if that were needed.

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reopening The Oswestry – Gobowen Line

On October 27th this Beeching Reversal Project was given £50,000 to build a case for reopening.

These are my thoughts.

Gobowen Station

Gobowen station appears to be a fine station.

Wikipedia says this about the future of the station.

Gobowen station may become the northern terminus of the proposed Cambrian Heritage Railways line to Llynclys, Pant and Blodwel via Oswestry. Shropshire Council was to acquire the coal yard at Gobowen for railway-related uses, including car parking for the station. If the plans are fully realised, the station would have three platforms, one of which would be for the Heritage Railway.

It does look as if, Shropshire Council have got the money for a full study.

This Google Map shows Gobowen station.

Note.

  1. The two tracks of the Chester-Shrewsbury Line each have a platform.
  2. Step-free access is by the level crossing, which is at the North end of the station.
  3. It looks like it would be space to convert the Northbound platform into an island platform, where the Western platform face would be for the heritage trains.

This second Google Map shows the tracks at the South end of Gobowen station.

Note.

There is a set of points to allow trains to access a third platform at Gobowen station.

The single-track line to Oswestry branches off to the West at the bottom of the map.

It would appear that a bay platform at Gobowen station can be created to handle trains to Oswestry.

Oswestry Station

Oswestry station appears to be another fine station.

  • It is also Grade II Listed.
  • It has just a single platform.
  • It appears to be owned by the local authority.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station is the large building with the chimneys in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. The single platform is behind it.
  3. The platform is long enough to take a 1200 metre long train.

This station would make an ideal terminus.

The Track Between Oswestry And Gobowen

The track is single-track with a couple of foot crossings, so I don’t think it will need much to bring it up to a modern standard.

A Shuttle Service Between Oswestry And Gobowen

I suspect a two-car shuttle train between the two stations would suffice for most of the day.

Transport for Wales have some Class 230 trains and these would be ideal. They could even be battery-electric trains if a battery charging system were to be installed at one station.

Could Avanti West Coast Run A Service To London?

It looks like Avanti West Coast’s Class 805 trains could run along the line between Gobowen and Oswestry.

So could Avanti’s planned service to Gobowen terminate at Oswestry instead?

It would all depend on the passenger forecasts and actual numbers

Could Avanti West Coast Run A Battery-Electric Service To London?

Consider.

  • Oswestry is a town of 17,500 people, so probably has a reasonable electricity supply, especially if it were to be backed up by a battery.
  • The amount of renewable electricity produced over the border in Wales is only going to grow.
  • There is plenty of space at Oswestry to put in a charging system to replace the batteries.

Distances are as follows.

  • Crewe and Chester – 21.1 miles
  • Chester and Gobowen – 24.6 miles
  • Gobowen and Oswestry – 3.3 miles

This is a total distance of 49 miles.

Avanti West Coast have ordered thirteen bi-mode Class 805 trains, which will replace the diesel Class 221 trains currently working between London Euston and Chester. Holyhead and Shrewsbury.

  • They will run at 125 mph between Euston and Crewe using electric power.
  • If full in-cab digital signalling were to be installed on the electrified portion of the route, they may be able to run at 140 mph in places under the wires.
  • They will use diesel power on the North Wales Coast Line to reach places like Chester, Holyhead and Wrexham.
  • According to an article in Modern Railways, the Class 805 trains could be fitted with batteries.

I wouldn’t be surprised that when they are delivered, they are a version of the Hitachi’s Intercity Tri-Mode  Battery Train, the specification of which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. I suspect that the batteries will be used to handle regenerative braking on lines without electrification, which will save diesel fuel and carbon emissions.
  2. The trains accelerate faster, than those they replace.
  3. The claimed fuel and carbon saving is twenty percent.
  4. It is intended that these trains will be introduced next year.

But Hitachi have not given any predictions of the range of these trains on battery power alone.

However, they do claim a battery range of 56 miles for the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which is based on similar technology.

I believe it would be possible to run a zero-carbon London Euston and Oswestry service.

  • The trains would be Class 805 trains fitted with batteries.
  • Trains could stop at Milton Keynes Central, Lichfield Trent Valley, Stafford, Crewe, Chester, Wrexham General and Gobowen.
  • Trains would use electrification between London Euston and Crewe.
  • Trains would recharge their batteries South of Crewe and at Oswestry.

I doubt that a battery-electric zero-carbon train serving Cheshire, Shropshire and North-East Wales would have a negative effect on the area.

Just as Hull and Lincoln seem to be moving towards a frequency of one train per two hours from London, I wonder if this service could ever attain the same frequency.

Onward From Oswestry

Cambrian Heritage Railways are planning to run services past Oswestry on their heritage railway.

Will this be a good idea?

Where Now For First Group?

First Group are a shareholder in Avanti West Coast.

They also own Lumo, who last week launched their open-access service between London and Edinburgh. Their marketing is all about being green and sustainable.

I just wonder if a battery-electric service to Gobowen is successful, they will apply this model all over the group.

Hull Trains service between London and Hull is an obvious possibility for a battery-electric zero-carbon service.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that reopening of the Oswestry – Gobowen Line opens up other possibilities.

October 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments