The Anonymous Widower

Battery Train And Fast Charger To Be Tested In London

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

This is the first paragraph.

Great Western Railway has signed an agreement to test Vivarail’s Class 230 battery multiple-unit and fast charging technology under real-world conditions on the 4 km non-electrified branch between West Ealing and Greenford in West London.

As an engineer, who started designing control systems for rolling mills in the mid-1960s and went on to get a Degree in Control and Electrical Engineering from Liverpool University, before working for ICI applying computers to a variety of problems, I can’t look at a railway line like the Greenford Branch without wanting to automate it.

I had one amateurish attempt in An Automated Shuttle Train On The Greenford Branch Line. I was trying to get four trains per hour (tph) on the branch and I don’t think that is possible, with the Class 230 trains.

Now we know the train we are dealing with, I could plan an automated system, that would drive the train.

  • Each journey on the branch takes around 11-12 minutes.
  • Two tph would take between 44 and 48 minutes shuttling between the two stations in an hour.
  • The article states that recharging takes ten minutes.
  • If the train charged the batteries once per hour, that would leave between two and six minutes for the other three stops.
  • Any freight train using the branch seems to take about six minutes, so they could sneak through, when the shuttle is having a fast charge.
  • I would also use a similar system to that originally used on the Victoria Line. After the driver has closed the doors and ascertained that there were no problems, they would press a button to move the train to the next station and then automatically open the doors.

From this rough calculation to run a two tph service, I suspect that the train needs to be able to go between West Ealing and Greenford stations in ten minutes. Assuming one ten minute Fast Charge per hour, this would give three minutes and twenty seconds to turn the train, at the three terminal station stops.

I certainly feel, that an automatic shuttle would be possible.

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Lower-Cost Pumped Hydro Storage System

Whilst writing some of the posts recently about pumped storage I came across the Loch Sloy Hydro-Electric Scheme.

This is the introductory sentence in Wikipedia.

The Sloy/Awe Hydro-Electric Scheme is a hydro-electric facility situated between Loch Sloy and Inveruglas on the west bank of Loch Lomond in Scotland.

This page on the Greenage web site gives comprehensive details of the power station and is well worth a read.

This Google Map shows the Lochs Sloy and Lomond.


  1. Loch Sloy is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The page on Greenage says that Loch Sloy can store 14 GWh of electricity
  3. Loch Lomond is the body of water towards the Eastern side of the map.
  4. Inverglas is on the West bank of Loch Lomond to the North of the Loch Lomond Holiday Park, which is indicated by the green arrow with a tent.

This second Google Map shows the power station and Inverglas.


  1. It is a classic layout for a hydro-electric power station.
  2. In the North West corner of the map is the valve house, which is connected to Loch Sloy by a three kilometre tunnel.
  3. The valve house controls the water flows to the power station by Loch Lomond.
  4. There are four two-metre pipes running down the hill, one for each of the four turbines.
  5. According to the page on Greenage, the power station has three 40 MW turbines and one 32 MW turbine, which gives a total output of 152 MW.
  6. The water discharges into Loch Lomond after doing its work in the power station.

Loch Sloy is the largest conventional hydroelectric power plant in the UK.

Extending The Loch Sloy Hydro-Electric Scheme

This page on Hydro Review, which is dated the 10th of November 2010, is entitled SSE Gets Government Consent For Sloy Pumped-Storage Hydropower Project.

These are the first paragraph.

SSE Generation Ltd., the wholly owned generation business of Scottish and Southern Energy, has received consent from the Scottish Government to develop a 60-MW pumped-storage hydro project at its existing Sloy hydropower station at Loch Lomond, SSE reported.


  1. Two 30 MW pumps will be added to the power station to pump water up the hill from Loch Lomond to Loch Sloy.
  2. According to the page on Greenage, if the two pumps worked together for six hours, they would transfer 432,000 m3 of water. Note that a cubic metre of water weighs a tonne.
  3. Water would be transferred, when there was a surplus of energy being generated over the demand.

It would appear to be a simple scheme, as it is just adding two pumps to pump the water up the hill.

  • As pumps rather than pump/turbines as at Foyers are used, there is no corresponding increase in generating capacity.
  • Water also appears to be pumped up to the valve house in the existing pipes.
  • Loch Sloy and Loch Lomond would not need major works to enable the scheme..

The page on Greenage gives the cost at just £40 million.

Originally, the project was supposed to have started in 2012, but as there are environmental problems with the fish, the work has not started.

These problems are detailed on the page on Greenage.


For £40 million, 14 GWh of pumped storage can be created at Sloy.

  • But it could be bigger than 14 GWh, as this page on the Strathclyde University web site, says 20.4 GWh is possible.
  • This would surely, be a project that could be first in the queue, once the environmental problems are solved.

20 GWh of pumped storage would be nice to have reasonably quickly.


February 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?

If Crossrail has a major problem, it is that some areas of the capital will find it difficult to access the new line.

Up to the age of sixteen, I used to live half-way between Oakwood and Cockfosters stations on the Piccadilly Line.

There are a large number of people who live along the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line, who might want to use Crossrail to perhaps go to Heathrow or places in East London.

But the journey will need a double change as there is no interchange between the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail.

I suspect that many will link to Crossrail by taking the Piccadilly Line to Wood Green, Turnpike Lane or Manor House and then get a 141 bus to Moorgate. It is a route, I use if I want to go to Southgate or Cockfosters from my house, which has a 141 stop opposite.

But then as a child to go to Harringay, where my father had an uncle, my mother would use a 641 trolley bus from Wood Green or Turnpike Lane.

Do people follow the public transport habits of their parents?

I know I do!

My father never went on a deep tube. As he several times mentioned the terrible Bank station bombing in the Blitz, which killed 56 people, I always thought that was his problem. But now living as I do along the Northern and Northern City Lines, I suspect it was more to do with air quality, as we were or are both bad breathers.

I suspect that when Crossrail opens, the 141 bus will be heavily used by travellers going between the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail at Moorgate.

The 141 bus goes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green and it has a route length of about nine miles.

Currently, buses run every fifteen minutes or so, but I doubt it will be enough in future as Transport for London are rerouting the closely-related 21 bus.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

Other Routes

According to me, the 141 bus route needs improvement!

But how many other routes could need similar improvement?

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

ILI Group Announces New 1.5GW Pumped Storage Hydro Project

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

This is the body of the article.

Intelligent Land Investments Group (ILI) has commenced the initial planning phase for its new 1.5 GigaWatt (GW) pumped storage hydro (PSH) project, Balliemeanoch, at Loch Awe in Argyll & Bute.

This is ILI’s third and largest PSH project. Its other PSH projects include ‘Red John’ at Loch Ness, which was awarded planning consent from Scottish Ministers in June Last year, and ‘Corrievarkie’ at Loch Ericht for which they aim to submit a Section 36 planning application in August.

The new project would be able to supply 1.5GW of power for up to 30 hours, enough to power 4.5 million homes.

The project will create a new head pond in the hills above Loch Awe capable of holding 58 million cubic metres of water when full and it is estimated the project will offset more than 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.

I would assume that this will be a privately-financed project and at 45 GWh it will be one of the largest pumped storage systems in the world.

But it must show that if it is privately-financed that the big boys in infrastructure finance, see pumped storage as a safe place to put insurance and pension funds to earn a worthwhile return.

  • No-one’s going to steal one of these systems.
  • They are a job-creating asset when built.
  • Hydro-electric power seems very safe, when well-built.
  • You don’t see media reports of schemes like Cruachan, Electric Mountain and Foyers breaking down.

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I talked about Aviva’s funding for wind farms. If Aviva wukk fund those, surely they’ll fund schemes like this, as it could be argued that they make wind farms a better investment and more valuable, as they won’t have to shut down so often, when there’s too much power.

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , | 2 Comments