The Anonymous Widower

How Did The Ukrainians Attack The Crimea Bridge?

No-one seems to know what happened on the Crimea Bridge, which appeared to catch fire.

  • Was it the Ukranians?
  • Was it some of Putin’s enemies in Russia?
  • Was it an accident?
  • Did a battery in an electric car explode?
  • Was it a suicide bomber?
  • Was it a drone strike?
  • Was it a drunken lorry-driver, who hit something?

We just get more and more questions.

But here’s two questions, that can be answered.

Was the train going from Russia? For my theory to be feasible, it must have been going from Russia into Crimea.

Did more than one part of the train catch fire? Someone said it did.

The Track Layout

I have been looking at the track layout over the bridge on OpenRailwayMap, which shows everything. It appears a couple of kilometres. to the South (Russian) side of the bridge there is a set of sidings and/or freight loops.

This OpenRailwayMap shows the sidings in relation to the bridge.

Note.

  1. The main line is shown in orange.
  2. The bridge is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. The sidings are shown in black alongside the main line in the South-East corner of the map.

This second map shows the loops and sidings in more detail.

Note.

  1. Trains in Russia run on the right track, whereas the UK runs on the left.
  2. There are actually two sets of loops; one has extra sidings and the other doesn’t.
  3. Both loops can be accessed from both tracks and directions.

Unfortunately, the Google Map of the area shows the construction phase.

Did the freight train stop overnight in these sidings and proceed at first light? After all it might be going a long way and drivers needed time for sleep, some food, vodka and a few ciggies.

Whilst it was stopped did Ukrainian saboteurs sneak in and fix bombs with timers to the train? After all kids sneak into our sidings at night and graffiti the trains.

The timers could even have been fitted with GPS, so they went off on the most vulnerable part of the bridge.

This could explain the timing and how the train appeared to have been hit more than once!

For a raid, it would be much easier than say what the Norwegians did in WW2 to blow up the heavy water plant at Telemark, where they didn’t lose a man.

A Picture Of The Train Fire

This picture shows the train fire.

Note.

  1. It appears that the carriageway nearest to the camera has collapsed.
  2. If we assume, the break point is now lying on the seabed, it points to the pier with the light-coloured rectangle on top being the failure point of the road bridge.
  3. According to OpenRailwayMap, who handily show carriageway directions, that is the carriageway to Crimea.
  4. The rail bridge is double-track and appears to be reasonably intact.
  5. The train also appears to be intact, except for some fire damage.
  6. If the train was going to Crimea, it would be on the track nearest to the camera.

I do think, that if it was explosions on the train that caused the bridge collapse, there would be more damage on the other carriageway and on the railway.

The Collapse Of The Crimea-Bound Carriageway

This reminds me very much of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge in Wales, during construction in 1970.

Wikipedia says this about that collapse.

Errors in the box girder design caused the collapse during construction in 1970. The bridge became operational during 1975.

If I remember correctly, during construction, the bridge was effectively overloaded. I can certainly remember lots of discussion about the failure in the office, where I worked in ICI at Runcorn.

I am not suggesting, that there were errors in the Russian calculations, but that something happened to take the bridge outside of its safety limits.

Suppose, there was a large explosion near the pier, where the break occurred, could it have caused the bolts holding the sections of the bridge to shear and allow the bridge to fall, as the pictures show.

It is certainly looking that a major truck bomb, is the cause.

CCTV pictures have been shown, that purport to see a truck exploding.

Was It A Suicide Attack?

I don’t think that the type of traditional suicide attacks, as practiced by the Islamic State and others would be carried out by either Ukraine or Russia. Although Chechens did use suicide attacks in their war against Russia.

But I do think it would be possible for a driver to stop a truck, put out warning triangles or whatever is the law in Russia and then be picked up by a friendly driver.

Alternatively, they could wait until the truck exploded and then make a getaway under cover of the fire. They could even jump into the water and be picked up by a boat.

If the Russians were behind it, they would have the ability to use a hired driver from perhaps a local agency.

Suppose, a hired driver were to be told to take a truck load of watermelons to Sebastopol and bring the truck back. A quick look would confirm the watermelons, but I doubt, the driver would find the bomb underneath.

If the driver was killed would the Russians mind.

The Ukrainians might not either, but they’d have the problem of getting the truck deep into Russian territory, without being detected.

The Truck On The Bridge According To The BBC

This article on the BBC is entitled Crimean Bridge: Who – Or What – Caused The Explosion?.

The article says this about the truck.

Security camera footage released on social media showed a truck – allegedly from the Russian city of Krasnodar, an hour’s drive from the crossing – moving west across the bridge at the time of the explosion.

Russian officials named a 25-year old Krasnodar man, Samir Yusubov, as the owner of the truck, and said an older relative, Makhir Yusubov, was the driver.

But close examination of the footage seems to show that the truck had nothing to do with the explosion.

Note.

  1. If the truck was going West it was going from Russia to Crimea, this meant it was on the carriageway furthest from the railway.
  2. The truck was on the carriageway that collapsed.

Does that rule out a truck bomb?

The View Of A British Army Explosives Expert

The BBC article also says this.

“I’ve seen plenty of large vehicle-borne IEDs [improvised explosive devices] in my time,” a former British army explosives expert told me. “This does not look like one.”

A more plausible explanation, he said, is a massive explosion below the bridge – probably delivered using some kind of clandestine maritime drone.

“Bridges are generally designed to resist downwards loads on the deck and a certain amount of side loading from the wind,” he said. “They are not generally engineered to resist upward loads. I think this fact was exploited in the Ukrainian attack.”

That sounds feasible to me, but the BBC article also has this paragraph.

If this is how Ukraine managed to attack the Kerch Bridge, hundreds of miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, then it’s one of Kyiv’s most ambitious operations so far.

If that is true, it certainly is an ambitious operation, that ranks alongside the St Nazaire Raid in World War II.

A Structural Engineer’s Thoughts

This article on New Civil Engineer is entitled How The Crimean Bridge Explosion Caused Multiple Spans To Collapse.

It is the thoughts of Andrew Barr at the University of Sheffield and it well worth a read.

Conclusion

We’re still a long way from the truth.

 

 

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Is There A Virtuous Circle In The Installation Of Wind Farms?

Because we are developing so much offshore wind turbine capacity, this will result in two things.

  • A big demand for steel for the foundations and floats for wind turbines.
  • A large amount of electricity at a good price.

In my view the UK would be the ideal country to develop an integrated steel and wind turbine foundation/float capability.

There will also be a strong demand for deep water ports and sea lochs to assemble the floating turbines.

Our geography helps in this one. We also have Milford Haven, which is just around the corner from Port Talbot. Scunthorpe is on the River Trent, so could we assemble floats and foundations and take them by barge for assembly or installation.

We probably need an integrated capability in Scotland.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that there is a virtuous circle.

  • The more offshore wind turbine capacity we install, the more affordable electricity we will have.
  • This will in turn allow us to make more steel.
  • If this steel was produced in an integrated factory producing foundations and floats for wind farms, this would complete the circle.
  • It would also be inefficient to make the foundations thousands of miles away and tow them to UK waters.

Any improvements in costs and methods, would make the system more efficient and we would have more wind turbines installed.

It looks to be a good idea.

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Monster In The Mountains That Could Save Europe’s Winter

 

Ulla-Førre is a complex of five hydroelectric power stations and a massive lake in the Norwegian mountains to the East of Stavanger.

  • The power stations have a total generating capacity of 2.1 GW.
  • Lake Blåsjø is able to hold enough water to generate 7800 GWh of electricity.
  • The complex is at the Norwegian end of the North Sea Link to Blyth in England.

This YouTube video from Statkraft, explains how Ulla-Førre was built.

I have some further explanation and thoughts.

What Is The Operating Philosophy Of The North Sea Link?

This press release from National Grid says this.

The Norwegian power generation is sourced from hydropower plants connected to large reservoirs, which can respond faster to fluctuations in demand compared to other major generation technologies. However, as the water level in reservoirs is subject to weather conditions, production varies throughout seasons and years.

When wind generation is high and electricity demand low in Britain, NSL will enable renewable power to be exported from the UK, conserving water in Norway’s reservoirs. When demand is high in Britain and there is low wind generation, hydro power can be imported from Norway, helping to ensure secure, affordable and sustainable electricity supplies for UK consumers.

It almost seems to me, that the North Sea Link is part of a massive pumped-storage system, where we can bank some of our wind-generated electricity in Norway and draw it out when we need it.

Suppose There Is No Wind In The UK And Norway’s Giant Reservoirs Need Filling?

We could always throw on a substitute, which is the 1,185 MW Hartlepool nuclear power station.

But over the next few years these wind farms will be connected to the North-East.

  • Sofia wind farm should commission the 1.4 GW Phase 1, which connects to Teesside in 2023.
  • Dogger Bank wind farm should commission 3.6 GW, which connects to Teesside and Humberside in 2025.
  • The 4.1 GW Berwick Bank wind farm will have a second connection to Blyth by 2030. Say 2 GW!

There’s more than enough wind there to fill up Norway’s reservoirs and replace Hartlepool nuclear station.

Will Ulla-Førre Be Expanded?

It does sound to me that the video does imply that Ulla-Førre will be expanded.

 

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 3 Comments