The Anonymous Widower

ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10036245

Project title: ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation
Project grant: £59,983

Public description: Electrification is the foundation of all modern railways and fundamental to decarbonisation. Through
delivering faster, smoother, quieter and more reliable train services, rail electrification reduces
industry fuel cost by 45%, rolling stock costs by 33%, and track maintenance costs by 10-20%
(compared to diesel operation). Electric railways are the most efficient, lowest carbon form of
transportation in the UK.

Network Rail operates the largest power distribution network in the UK, and is the largest consumer
of electricity in the UK, consuming 4TWh electricity per year. Power is provided from the electricity
supply industry, a mix of gas, nuclear, coal and renewables, emitting approximately 944,000 tonnes
of carbon dioxide annually. Connecting new renewable generation directly to the railway reinforces
the railway power supply, while reducing coal and gas use in the UK and is a longstanding Network
Rail industry challenge statement. To date, engineering incompatibilities between renewable,
electricity supply systems and the railway single-phase electrical and other railway systems have
prevented local renewable connection in rail.

In a world first, Siemens Mobility, working with British Solar Renewables, DB Cargo UK, Network
Rail, ECML operators, and the University of York, will directly connect large-scale renewable
generation to the East Coast Mainline. The demonstrator phase will deliver up to 1GWh green
electricity direct to trains each year, reducing UK gas imports by 151,000 cubic metres and carbon
emissions by 236 tonnes annually. It will gather vital data creating a new green industry, creating a
precedent and setting standards to enable larger scale roll-out across the UK.

My Thoughts And Conclusion

This page on the Network Rail web site is entitled Power Supply Upgrade.

Since 2014, Network Rail and its partners have been upgrading the overhead electrification and the associated substations and electricity supply on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

  • It is not a small project which includes fifty new substations and 1,600 km. of new cabling between London and Edinburgh.
  • When complete, fleets of electric trains on the route will be receiving high-quality electric power from the upgraded overhead electrification.

However, the East Coast Main Line is unique among British electrified main lines, in that it runs more or less close to a coast, that is populated by a large number of massive wind farms.

I believe the objective of this project, is to more directly connect the massive wind farms to the East Coast Main Line.

Lessons learned could then be applied to other electrified main lines.

We may even see onshore wind farms or small modular nuclear reactors built to power the railways.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

State Of The Railway Compiler Data Solution (SORClite): Open Access Real-Time Signalling Data

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038973

Project title: State Of The Railway Compiler Data Solution (SORClite): Open Access Real-Time Signalling Data
Project grant: £217,128

Public description: Our project seeks to support Network Rail in regaining understanding and ownership of key
signalling asset information so that this data can be used to adopt new performance measures,
identify bottlenecks within the rail network and target the 800,000 unexplained delay minutes that
occur annually. The project combines a number of existing technologies to deliver the hardware,
pipeline, analytics, and visualisation as a working demonstration. The data stores will also be
available for use by train operators and the wider data analytics supply chain, removing some of
the systemic blockers around access to data.

My Thoughts And Conclusion

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Portable Track Geometry Measurement System

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10037542

Project title: Portable Track Geometry Measurement System
Lead organisation: MONIRAIL LTD.
Project grant: £249,148

Public description: Rail incidents can take many forms and can results in many different types of intervention from
temporary speed restrictions to full track closures. Many incidents either result from or cause track
damage and in order to remove any speed restrictions or track closures engineers need to be
confident that the track is in a safe condition. It is therefore common practice after many incidents
where track damage is suspected or track repairs have been undertaken for Track Recording
Vehicles (TRVs) to be required to run the track before passenger or freight vehicles are allowed to
run the line again. However, the availability of these vehicles can cause significant delays to line
reopening or removal of speed restrictions.

MoniRail has developed an in-service track monitoring system that can be permanently fitted to
passenger vehicles and is currently on trial with Network Rail (NR) in Scotland and also fitted to 2
Eurostar vehicles on HS1. One potential use-case for the permanent system is for speedier
removal of speed restrictions. However, even with the fixed solution delays are likely as track
monitoring systems are only likely to be fitted to 1/3 to 1/2 of all vehicles, approx 1500 of 5100

This project aims to overcome these delays by providing track engineers with the first ever portable
dynamic track geometry measurement system by modifying the permanent solution into a portable
one that can be temporarily fixed to vehicles along with a lineside sensor array that can provide
additional safety critical track information to the engineer. This solution will therefore provide
immediate track information to track engineers such that can make informed decisions about the
safety of the track and to what extent speed restrictions can be lifted or line re-opened.

My Thoughts And Conclusion

I am surprised that this hasn’t been developed before.

It surely must have export potential.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

SBRI: FOAK 2022 Optimising Railway Possessions

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038228

Project title: SBRI: FOAK 2022 Optimising Railway Possessions
Project grant: £236,226

Public description: One of the biggest challenges facing the railway industry is the complex process of planning and
possession management. The logistics of diverting, blocking, or closing sections of track can have
implications across the network. As the rail timetable becomes more congested, with increased
services, there is more potential for disruption and less obvious times for possession. Delays on
main-lines could result in huge fines, consequently delivering works and handing back possession
on-time is vital.

In 2020/21, NR spent £1.6bn on enhancements, £1.9bn on maintenance, and £3.2bn on renewals
(Office of Rail and Road, 2021). This translates into thousands of engineering works, most of these
require possessions to allow safe, traffic-free worksites for maintenance activities (e.g. remedial
works, inspections, maintenance and planned renewals).

Possessions result in both planned and unplanned disruption. Unplanned disruption can occur for
many reasons; machine faults, access issues, staff planning, or wrong engineering train
arrangement – all demonstrating the complexity of planning possessions.

Getting staff and equipment to worksites on time and minimising travelling distances are critical
efficiency requirements. The barriers to this are mutual road and rail points, staff numbers and
equipment types. Furthermore, engineering trains typically start in sidings which may be in remote
locations due to available sidings being occupied during large possession works. Consequently,
this cause issues in both timetabling and plans that ensure that engineering trains reach worksites
at the correct time and in the correct formation.

With increasing traffic and reducing availability of possessions this problem is likely to be further
exacerbated. Network Rail have identified a requirement to develop solutions for planning
procedures such that possession efficiency is increased, resulting in the delivery of infrastructure
maintenance work with minimal disruption and cost.

Combining Frazer-Nash’s deep experience in optimisation of railway challenges and eviFile’s
possession management solution, we will innovate to develop a product that will support rapid
planning and replanning of possessions through the application of optimisation and ML algorithms
to identify potential optimal plans. Using wide-ranging railway possessions data we will research
and adapt algorithms that will consider (for example) multiple scenarios, locations and types of
work, and optimise and efficiently manage resources to ensure minimal impact to infrastructure
traffic and capacity.

This will deliver possessions more efficiently, help plan work-activities during possessions more
precisely, manage infrastructure access more efficiently, allow tasks to be planned more efficiently,
and predict the impact of possessions on overall network performance more accurately.

My Thoughts And Conclusion

One of the biggest construction sites near me was the A45 dualling of the 1970s. It was a nightmare as there was no system managing possessions and frequently there were temporary traffic lights and diversions.

Things have got better since then and roadworks on main roads don’t cause as much delay as they used to.

The same improvement that good project management has had on the roads, now needs to be applied to the railways.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | | 4 Comments

Hydrogen-Powered Turbines May Help Clean And Improve Electrical Grid Reliability

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

This is the first paragraph.

In less than three years, one or more hydrogen-powered turbines are expected to be up and running at or near New Jersey’s Bayonne Energy Center power plant, which feeds power to New York City.


  1. The Bayonne Energy Center is a peaker plant with ten gas turbines, with a total capacity of 640 MW.
  2. Peaker plants automatically cut in, when power demand is high, but power generation is low.
  3. The Bayonne Energy Centre transfers power to New York, through an underwater cable.
  4. The electrolyzers will be made by Ohmium International Inc and I suspect they will be powered by offshore wind.
  5. The hydrogen that is created will be stored. As Bayonne has a history of chemical manufacturing, there may be salt caverns that can be used or the hydrogen could be stored as a compressed gas or liquid in tanks.

I can see hydrogen being used in peaker plants elsewhere in the world, where there is lots of renewable energy and suitable hydrogen storage.

The hydrogen can also be used to decarbonise local industries and transportation.

The Potential For Wind Power In New Jersey

Wikipedia says this about the potential of wind power in the state.

New Jersey has the potential to generate 373 GWh/year from 132 MW of 80 m high wind turbines or 997 GWh/year from 349 MW of 100 m high wind turbines located onshore as well as 430,000 GWh/year from 102,000 MW of offshore wind turbines.


  1. New Jersey used 76,759 GWh in 2011
  2. It appears that most of these turbines would be located along the coast.

There is also a worry about hurricanes. But solving that is an engineering problem.

From my experience of modelling floating structures, I believe they may stand up to high winds better. But I’m not sure!

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Classic Cars Are Being Rebuilt As Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

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

This is the first paragraph.

Arrington Performance has rebuilt a 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint coupe to be powered by H2 in a trend converting classic cars into hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The company has also converted was a 1948 Chevrolet pickup, which it rebuilt with a 6.2-liter GM V8.

Not everybody would consider these to be classic cars, but surely if you can convert a 1948 pickup with a 6.2 litre engine, you can convert a wide range of vehicles.




November 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

An Expedition To Muswell Hill To Get Some Lovely Liver

After my plea in Need To Regularly Eat A Large Plate Of Calves’ Liver, I got a recommendation to try The Cilicia at Muswell Hill.

It was delicious and just what my body wanted. The liver had been cooked in sage butter with tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes.

I shall return!

The only problem is that Dalston and Muswell Hill is not the easiest journey to make by public transport.

My route was as follows.

  • I took by taking a 141 bus from close to my house to Manor House station.
  • I then got a Piccadilly Line train to Turnpike Lane station.
  • From there it was a 144 bus to Muswell Hill Broadway.

It took about 45 minutes.

But it might be quicker to take a 102 bus from Bounds Green station.

Or go to the Angel Islington and get a 43 bus from there to Muswell Hill Broadway.

But my route could all have been so different.

This map shows the Muswell Hill branch which was closed by British Rail and has since been mainly built over.

The Muswell Hill branch would have been part of the comprehensive Northern Heights Plan.

  • The Northern Line would have been extended from Edgware to Bushey Heath.
  • The Mill Hill East branch would have been extended to Edgware.
  • If you look at the maps in Wikipedia, the Northern Line would be very different through London.
  • The Muswell Hill branch would have given better access to the magnificent Alexandra Palace.

But Austerity after World War II meant the extension never happened.

I can see a case could be made for some parts of the Northern Heights plan, but it is too late now, as viaducts have been demolished and routes have been built over.

My feeling is that if there was a need for the Northern Heights plan in the 1930s, then as London has expanded, that need will need to be fulfilled in the future.

So when Austerity hits as it did after World War II and as it is happening now due to Covid-19 and Vlad’s war in Ukraine, we should make sure we don’t compromise our plans for the future.

I believe that with a small amount of safeguarding in the 1960s, the Northern Line would now have a useful branch to Alexandra Palace and Muswell Hill.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trains With Brains(R)

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10036632

Project title: Trains With Brains(R)
Lead organisation: JR DYNAMICS LIMITED
Project grant: £248,046

Public description:

Trains with Brains(r) aims to integrate data from a range of remote condition monitoring sensors
into Network Rail’s monitoring and planning systems/processes, to enable operations and
maintenance teams to address key cost efficiency and performance priorities via more informed
possession planning.

This will be delivered via a head to toe monitoring solution, enabled via bi-directional integration
between Transmission Dynamics and Network Rail.

My Thoughts And Conclusion

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038790

Project title: Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage
Lead organisation: FOCUS SENSORS LIMITED
Project grant: £215,310

Public description: When cable thefts occur the operation of the railway, often in nationally critical locations, can be
brought to a standstill with significant impact on passengers and freight supply-chains. Under
extreme industry and public pressure, Network Rail must delay scheduled activities and scramble
teams to effect repairs and get critical railway operational systems working again. Current
technology may not be able to locate the break to better than a few km accuracy, meaning long
periods of manual inspection are required to locate the exact position of the theft before the repair
can be started. This wastes valuable time, increasing the effect of the theft on the efficiency of the
network and creating cost for operators and delays for customers.
This proposal is for a technology solution, using existing trackside optical fibre cables, which can be
used to locate cable thefts instantly to within +/- 1m. After a theft is reported or detected by other
system, automatic analysis will pinpoint the location of the acoustic signatures of the theft activity.
The location of the theft will be instantly displayed, both on a map overlay with geographical
coordinates, and as a linear ELR, miles and yards track location. This will enable first-responder
policing and security to be deployed sooner and more accurately. Secondly, with an accurately
timed and positioned event signature, there is an opportunity for other parties with evidence
collecting abilities (e.g. Forward Facing CCTV on trains) to more proactively, and possibly
automatically, to retain evidence which may support prosecution. Thirdly the Network Rail
engineering team will be given advanced information to allow them to attend the site with the right
materials and resource to affect an earlier resolution.

As secondary activity we will enable location of optical cable by creating a companion
georeferencing co-reference for the trackside fibre cable, so that faults and fibre issues can be
located instantly to a more precise physical location. This provides a valuable tool for Network
Rail’s engineering teams, to reduce time for maintenance and fault finding.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

My software; Daisy was used by British Rail or was it Railtrack to analyse cable faults many years ago. Because of the discussions, we had at the time, I believe that this could be a very successful project.


November 19, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments