The Anonymous Widower

Insulate Britain Roadblock Stops Lorry Carrying Insulation

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

Make of that what you will!

November 5, 2021 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

Canadian National Buys Battery Locomotive

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

This is the first paragraph.

Canadian National’s Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad has purchased a Wabtec FLXdrive battery-electric freight locomotive, with financial support from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Marine & Rail Freight Movers grant programme.

The locomotive is intended to work in multiple with diesel locomotives and this cuts fuel consumption, pollution and noise.

I described the locomotive in FLXdrive ‘Electrifies’ Pittsburgh and the more I learn about this locomotive the more I like it.

The locomotive numbered 3000, which appears in all Wabtec pictures is an example an ES44AC from the GE Evolution Series and was converted from a standard locomotive, that was in the test fleet.

Interestingly, Canadian National own several hundred of these locomotives, so they won’t be short of one to convert.

The diesel version would appear to be a 3.3 MW diesel locomotive.

In addition, this page on the Wabtec web site gives some details of the battery-electric locomotive.

  • The locomotive is powered by lithium-ion batteries.
  • There are around 20,000 battery cells
  • The batteries have their own air-conditioning
  • There is a sophisticated battery-management system.
  • The total battery size is 2.4 MWh
  • Power output is 4400 HP or 3.24 MW
  • Locomotive will run for 30-40 minutes at full power.
  • The locomotive has regenerative braking.
  • Operating speed is 75 mph

Note that running at 75 mph for 40 minutes would cover fifty miles.

It does look as if, the diesel-electric and the battery-electric conversion have similar power outputs. Could this be, as the traction system on both locomotives are identical? It’s just that one uses a diesel generator and the other uses batteries.

Although there must be differences in the traction systems, as the battery-electric locomotive has regenerative braking.

The battery-electric locomotive is designed to work in conjunction with one or two diesel locomotives, where a sophisticated computer system decides which engines power the train.

  • Wabtec are claiming a thirty percent reduction in fuel and emissions compared to an all-diesel setup.
  • Electric power will also be used in depots and sensitive areas.

I do think though, that this is a pragmatic solution to cut the carbon footprint of heavy-freight in North America.

But it could be a half-way solution, as Wabtec have hinted that they are working on hydrogen-powered locomotives.

I also feel it might be possible to convert some of the UK’s Class 66 locomotives into battery-electric locomotives for lighter freight duties or working in a pair with a Class 66 locomotive to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

I discuss this in Could Class 66 Locomotives Be Converted Into Battery-Electric Locomotives?

Have CN Bought The Prototype?

There is also this article on the Green Car Congress, which is entitled CN Purchases Wabtec’s Battery-Electric Locomotive.

The article seems fairly certain they have.

So perhaps, they want to get on with the job and see what the locomotive can do?

November 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grab-Handles In London Underground Train Entrances

I have been taking pictures of the grab-handles in the doors of London Underground trains.

Bakerloo Line


There are no grab-handles.


Central Line

The Central Line trains, which were built in 1991-4, probably set the original standard.

Hammersmith & City Line

These are probably similar to Circle, District and Metropolitan Line trains.

Jubilee Line

Note the long grab-handles tucked behind the doors.

Northern Line

Note the long grab-handles tucked behind the doors.

There is also a cheeky one behind the wheelchair space. Although you would get into a Northern Line train in a wheelchair is another matter.

Piccadilly Line

Despite their age, there is a full set of grab-handles.

Victoria Line

Note the long grab-handles tucked behind the doors.


I do find it strange that all the other Underground trains have vertical handles just inside the door, but the Bakerloo Line trains don’t have this valuable safety feature.

I think this could be dangerous.

I have a damaged left arm because the school bully broke my humerus. It can do most things, but some things are painful.

So when I get on a train, in case there is a step-up into the train, I position myself towards the right of the door. Then if there is a step-up, I reach forward and grab the handle and pull myself into the train.

Recently, I boarded a train on the Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo. On finding there was no grab-handle I slipped slightly as I pulled back.

In the end I climbed into the train by holding on to the rubber edge of the door and got a very dirty hand.

Could this lack of grab-handles have contributed to a recent death at the station, that I wrote about in Death Of A Commuter At Waterloo?

I very much feel that grab-handles should be fitted to the doors on Bakerloo Line trains.



November 5, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , | 7 Comments

Councils Back Cheaper Crossrail Extension Option To Kent

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on New Civil Engineer.

These two paragraphs describe the preferred scheme.

The council’s opted for the cheaper extension option which would see Crossrail extended from Abbey Wood east to Slade Green, Dartford, Greenhithe and Swancombe before stopping near to HS1 station at Ebbsfleet with a stop at Northfleet.

The report notes: “The preferred scheme is one that would see 8 of the 12 Elizabeth Line trains per hour that are currently planned to terminate at Abbey Wood be extended eastwards, sharing the existing North Kent line tracks with the Southeastern and Thameslink services.

Currently, the following services use the proposed route between Abbey Wood and Northfleet.

  • Southeastern – two tph – London Cannon Street and London Cannon Street via Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • Southeastern – two tph – London Cannon Street and Dartford via Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • Southeastern – two tph – London Charing Cross and Gravesend via Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe and Northfleet
  • Thameslink – two tph – Luton and Rainham via Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe and Northfleet.

Note that tph is trains per hour.

These services provide these frequencies at the stations between Abbey Wood and Northfleet.

  • Abbey Wood – eighteen tph, which assumes twelve tph from Crossrail.
  • Belvedere – four tph
  • Erith – four tph
  • Slade Green – six tph
  • Dartford – four tph
  • Stone Crossing – four tph
  • Greenhithe – four tph
  • Swanscombe – four tph
  • Northfleet – four tph

Note twelve tph from Crossrail terminate at Abbey Wood.

If Crossrail were to run eight tph to Northfleet, this would provide these frequencies at the stations.

  • Abbey Wood – eighteen tph, which assumes twelve tph from Crossrail.
  • Belvedere – twelve tph
  • Erith – twelve tph
  • Slade Green – fourteen tph
  • Dartford – twelve tph
  • Stone Crossing – twelve tph
  • Greenhithe – twelve tph
  • Swanscombe – twelve tph
  • Northfleet – twelve tph

Note four tph from Crossrail terminate at Abbey Wood and eight tph at Northfleet.

These are my thoughts.

A Turnback Facility At Northfleet Station

There will need to be a turnback facility at Northfleet station.

  • It will have to handle eight tph
  • Nine-car Class 345 trains used by Crossrail are 205 metres long.

Eight tph would suggest that two platforms would be needed.

This Google Map shows Northfleet station.


  1. The North Kent Line goes diagonally across the map from North-West to South-East.
  2. Northfleet station is a two-platform station.
  3. To the South of the station, there are sidings, which are connected to the North Kent Line.

This picture shows the sidings from Northfleet station, with Ebbsfleet station about a mile away.

It appears that there would be space to add two well-appointed turnback platforms at Northfleet station.

These pictures show some of the features of the current Northfleet station.

Rebuilding to add the turnback facility, could also include.

  • Full step-free access
  • Modern station buildings
  • A deep clean of the pedestrian tunnel.
  • An appropriately-sized bus station, with a zero-carbon shuttle bus to Ebbsfleet station.
  • Future provision for a high-tech people-mover to Ebbsfleet station.

It is not one of the better stations on the Southeastern network.

But it certainly could be!

I very much feel that Northfleet station needs to be rebuilt with at least two extra platforms.

A People-Mover Between Ebbsfleet And Northfleet Stations

I wrote So Near And Yet So Far! about the poor connection between Ebbsfleet And Northfleet stations.

It is a design crime of the highest order.

There has been a lot of pressure in the past to build a pedestrian link between the two stations, as reported by the Wikipedia entry for Northfleet station.

The station is very close to Ebbsfleet International station (the NNE entrance is only 334 yards (305 m) from Northfleet’s station), but passengers (using public transport) will find it far easier to access Ebbsfleet International from Gravesend or Greenhithe, as these stations are more accessible and offer easy access to Fastrack bus services. The walking route between the two stations is 0.6 miles (1 km) or 0.8 miles (1.3 km) and a suitable pedestrian link has not been built because of funding issues and objections from Land Securities.

Why when Ebbsfleet International station was built in the early 2000s for opening in 2007, was a pedestrian link not built between the two stations?

It sounds like it was a Treasury design for Civil Servants, who work in Westminster and wouldn’t dream of living in Gravesend.

How much did omitting the link save?

Probably in the the long term, about two-fifths of five eighths of f***-all!

The specialists in this type of people-mover are the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, who in the UK have built the Emirates Air Line and the Air-Rail Link at Birmingham Airport. Currently, they are building the Luton DART people mover.

Wikipedia says that the Emirates Air-Line cost £60 million.

Wouldn’t something similar be an ideal way to welcome people to the UK?

The London Resort

The London Resort, is described like this in its Wikipedia entry.

The London Resort is a proposed theme park and resort in Swanscombe, Kent. The project was announced on 8 October 2012 and, if given planning permission, it is estimated that construction will begin in 2022, with a first gate opening in summer 2024 and a second gate by 2029.

It certainly sounds the sort of place I avoid, but just like Disneyland Paris, I feel the developers will want a rail connection.

They could even want to have another people-mover from Ebbsfleet station.



November 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Go-Ahead Group Signs Contract For Its First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses

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

This is the first paragraph.

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus have ordered 20 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which are set to be delivered in June 2022, signalling the Go-Ahead Group’s first order of hydrogen powered buses.

The vehicles are single-decker GB Kite Hydroliner FCEV buses.

These buses can be configured to carry up to ninety passengers and they have a range of up to 640 miles.

The article says these buses are for Faraway-branded express buses, so the long range will enable buses to be garaged centrally and refuelled once a day.

It looks like this could be the first of several orders from Go-Ahead for hydrogen buses.

November 5, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

London Overground Restoring Night Services In Time For Christmas

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

This paragraph details what will be happening.

TfL has announced that from Friday 17th December, there will be Night Overground services between Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate running every 15 minutes throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays.

I’ve never use thed Night Overground, but I know several people who used to use it regularly.

November 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Long Duration Energy Storage Council — A New Global Industry Body — Launched At COP26

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

This is the first paragraph.

The CEO-led organisation aims to ensure that fossil-fuel back-up is replaced with long-lasting zero-carbon alternatives by 2040.

The membership includes major players in energy and energy storage.

Hopefully, they’ll ensure the world has enough energy storage.

Read the article.


November 5, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | 1 Comment