The Anonymous Widower

Are Alstom Going To Build All FLEXX Eco Bogies For The UK In Crewe?

The Zefiro 300 is a high speed train, that was built by a consortium of Bombardier and Hitachi Rail in Italy.

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for the Zefiro 300.

An evolution of the Italian version of the Zefiro 300 was also offered by Bombardier (joined with Hitachi Rail) for High Speed 2 commercial tender.

Note that the Zefiro 300 uses FLEXX Eco bogies.

Aventras also use these bogies, as do some other Bombardier trains in the UK, like Class 172 trains.

In The Value of Research, I said this about FLEXX Eco bogies.

Sad though, that although design is still in the UK, the bogies are now made in Germany. Here‘s the brochure.

The brochure link doesn’t work anymore.


I think it would not be a bad commercial and operational decision by Alstom to build and maintain all FLEXX Eco bogies for the UK in one factory at Crewe.

December 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Green Light For New £80m Merseyrail Station

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

The station was hailed as a key part of the town’s “bright future” tonight as councillors met to consider the proposal at a meeting of Knowsley Council ’s planning committee.

Based at Headbolt lane in the Tower Hill/ Northwood area of Kirkby, the station, which will take around 18 months to build, will become the first in the country to have trains operating by battery power instead of electrified lines on part of the track.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

And this planning document from Knowsley Council shows the station road layout.


  1. Kirkby station and Liverpool is to the West.
  2. Wigan is to the East.
  3. There is adequate car parking.

I have also enlarged the area around the station buildings to show the platform layout.


  1. There are two platforms and tracks towards Liverpool.
  2. There is a single platform towards Wigan.
  3. There appears to be adequate cycle storage and blue badge parking.

In Headbolt Lane Station Fly-Through, I described the new Headbolt Lane station.

This screen capture is from the video in that post.


  1. Two platforms going away from the camera and one platform and what looks to be a siding going towards the camera.
  2. There appears to be no direct connection between the two different sets of tracks.

From the maps the camera is looking towards Liverpool,so it would mean that Liverpool services had two platforms. But they currently make do with one at Kirkby.

There appears to be no clues about how the station will be modified to serve Skelmersdale.




December 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 10 Comments

When It Comes To Buses, Will Hydrogen Or Electric Win?

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

The WIRED article is a serious comparison between the merits of battery and hydrogen-powered buses.

The writer of the article talked to two people, who should know.

  • James Dixon, who is a Research Fellow in the Transport Studies Unit and Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University
  • Neil Collins, who is Managing Director of Wrightbus.

I think the philosophy of Wrightbus with four basic zero-carbon buses could be right.

This surely is a basis for satisfying customers, who like to buy what they feel is best for their networks and passengers.

This paragraph from the Wired article, illustrates how terrain and climate might favour one bus or the other.

Still, hydrogen may be a better option in a city with lots of hills, like Hong Kong, where it’s also very warm and humid, says Collins. “That’s going to be a problem for electric buses, because the cooling and the hills are just going to drain the batteries,” he says. “But if the city is relatively flat, and the journey times are relatively short, and it’s not either significantly warm or significantly cold, battery electric can do a very good job.”

In addition, you wouldn’t choose hydrogen buses, if supply of hydrogen was difficult.

Could this be why Jo Bamford, who is the owner of Wightbus, has established a company to help bus operators with the transition to hydrogen. I wrote about it in New Company Established To Help Transition Bus Fleets To Hydrogen.

I have also heard stories of garages in city centres, where it is not possible to get enough power to charge a garage full of battery buses. Some of these garages are in residential areas, which perhaps may not welcome tankers of hydrogen going through to supply the buses with hydrogen.

Perhaps, the solution for garages like this is to relocate the garage to a site, which fulfils one of these conditions.

  • Good connections to the motorway and trunk road network, so that hydrogen can be brought in by truck.
  • A high-capacity electricity supply to either charge battery electric buses or generate hydrogen using an electrolyser.

Buses would operate according to this daily cycle.

  • Buses would either be charged or refuelled with hydrogen overnight.
  • They would position to a convenient place to start their daily diagrams.
  • At the end of the day, they would return to the garage.


  1. Battery-electric buses may need to be topped-up during the day.
  2. Hydrogen buses with their longer range should be able to service routes further away.
  3. Routes would be arranged, so that hydrogen buses would not need to be topped up.

The big advantage of a remote bus garage is that the city centre site could be redeveloped to pay for the new buses and garage.


December 10, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 12 Comments

Volkswagen Transformation Boosts Spending On Electric Vehicles

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

This is the first paragraph.

Volkswagen plans to increase its spending for battery-powered electric vehicles by about 50 per cent to €52 billion by 2026 as part of the carmaker’s far-reaching transformation.

That is a lot of euros.

This is a statement from their Chief Executive; Herbert Diess

We are becoming a battery manufacturer, a charging infrastructure manager, software is playing a more dominant role . . . We are developing new business activities with an unbelievable dimension for us.

Vehicle manufacturers must either change or die.

December 10, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

TfL To Ban Private e-Scooters and e-Unicycles From Its Premises

The title of this post, is the same as this article on City AM.

I am no fan of these devices, especially, when they are ridden on pavements at speed, as they are very often in London.

I have also seen several instances of Darwinian behaviour, which would increase the quality of the gene pool.

The sooner the riders of these devices are made to obey the law the better.

December 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments