The Anonymous Widower

125 mph Upgrade For MML OLE South Of Bedford

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the June 2023 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the sub-heading.

Targeted Investment Benefits From Project SPEED Approach

The main objective was to upgrade the 1980s electrification between Bedford and St. Pancras, so that it could support 125 mph running by East Midlands Railway’s new Class 810 trains.

Originally, a total replacement was envisaged, but in the end a more selective approach will be carried out.

This paragraph indicates the benefits of the approach.

The proposal for wholesale replacement of the OLE South of Bedford would have cost several hundreds of millions of pounds, whereas the approved scheme comes in at just £84 million, around one-third of the previous cost – testament to the application of SPEED principles.

I have a couple of thoughts.

Network Rail’s Project Management

If I go back to the 1970s and 1980s, when we were developing and selling the project management system; Artemis to the world, we sold very few systems to the UK Government and none to British Rail or the NHS. Later Artemis was used on the Channel Tunnel and the Rail Link to London, the Jubilee Line Extension, sections of the Docklands Light Railway and railways in Australia and Hong Kong.

So it is good to see, Network Rail getting to grips with managing the electrification upgrade of the Midland Main Line with some good project management.

An Encounter With A Group Of Drivers

It might have been five years ago, when I travelled with a group of drivers from East Midlands Trains positioning to St. Pancras.

  • One of the observations they had was that the Class 700 trains coming into service were not fast enough as they were only 100 mph trains, whereas their Class 222 trains were capable of 125 mph.
  • Since then the Class 360 trains have been introduced on Corby services. These trains have been uprated from 100 to 110 mph.
  • We now have the situation, where Class 810 trains capable of running at 125 mph will replace the Class 222 train.

If you look at the traffic  at West Hampstead Thameslink station, you can see that Both Thameslink and East Midlands Railway are using the fast lines, through platforms 3 and 4.

The fast lines have a maximum speed of 125 mph North of Luton and generally 100-110 mph between Luton and West Hampstead Thameslink station.

Would it help the timetabling of services on the Midland Main Line, if the Thameslink services  were capable of running faster, when they were using the fast lines?

I feel the drivers may have a point.


May 29, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Industry Calls For 10 GW Of Offshore Hydrogen In German National H2 Strategy

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

This is the sub-heading.

Offshore wind and hydrogen developers and organisations in Germany have called on the federal government to set clear targets for offshore hydrogen in the update of the country’s National Hydrogen Strategy, with an additional 10 GW of offshore electrolysis capacity to be added by 2035.

These two paragraphs add detail the story and name those who are behind it.

On 26 May, several companies and industry organisations signed an appeal sent to the German Federal Government that highlights offshore hydrogen’s advantage of adding large-scale capacities and asks that a target of an additional 10 GW of offshore hydrogen by 2035 be added to both the country’s hydrogen strategy and the area development plan.

The parties that signed the appeal include the German offshore wind-to-hydrogen initiative AquaVentus, offshore wind and hydrogen players BP, Siemens Gamesa, Gasunie, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), EnBW, Equinor, and Lhyfe, as well as industry organisations WAB and the Federal Association of Offshore Wind Farm Operators (BWO), among others.

These two paragraphs describe an area to be developed for the first offshore hydrogen production.

As reported in January, in the country’s new area development plan for offshore wind, Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) also outlined the first offshore hydrogen area in the North Sea.

The area, SEN-1, spans over 100 square kilometres in the North Sea and will allow for an electrolysis capacity of up to 1 GW to be tested and connected with a hydrogen pipeline.


  1. 1 GW if electricity should create about 435 tonnes of hydrogen per day.
  2. That amount of hydrogen could be stored as liquid in a sphere with a radius of 11.35 metres.

May 29, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bonus For GPs If Patients Join Drug Trials In Plan To Lure Firms To NHS

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

This is the sub-heading.

£650m boost for medical research after number of participants slumps

These three paragraphs outline what is to be done.

Tens of thousands more patients will be signed up for clinical trials as ministers promise drug companies better access to the NHS to expand the economy and develop cutting-edge treatments.

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, is promising a £650 million package to boost life sciences as he attempts to lure pharmaceutical giants to Britain.

GPs will be offered financial incentives to recruit patients into trials of new treatments and hospitals will be given research targets under plans to reverse a slump in clinical testing while the NHS struggles with the backlog from Covid-19.

It all sounds good to me.

I have been involved in several trials and medical research projects.

  • As part of my coeliac disease diagnosis, one endoscopy was performed by Rebecca Fitzgerald at Cambridge, as she was taking samples of bile fluids for her research into Barrett’s esophagus.
  • After the death of my wife, I was interviewed by PhD students in the Psychology Department at Liverpool University for their research into widowhood.
  • Oxford University interviewed me on diet for their coeliac disease research.
  • After my stroke, I spent an entertaining afternoon at the University of East London doing balance tests by computer. Their aim was to develop a reliable balance test for stroke and other patients, that could be carried out by physiotherapists quickly, than by more expensive doctors.
  • I have also been on a drug trial at Queen Mary University, but that drug was useless and had no good or bad affects, so the trial was halted. However, it did lead to other enjoyable activities in the field of patient relations with treatment and research.

As a confirmed coward, I should note that with the exception of the drug trial, all of the other projects were low risk.

I should say, that I also sponsor pancreatic cancer research at Liverpool University, in memory of my son, who died from the disease. I wrote about the first Liverpool project in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!.

A Database Of Projects Open For Volunteers

I believe that this is needed, so that those like me, who like to contribute to research can volunteer.

Perhaps some of the £650 million, that has been promised by Jeremy Hunt, could be used to create the database.

I also believe the database could be used for other non-medical research.


May 29, 2023 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

East-West Rail: Through Bedford

This Google Map shows the route of East West Rail through Bedford.


  1. Bedford St. Johns station in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. Bedford station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. Tracks run between the two stations to allow Marston Vale Line trains to terminate in Platform 1A  at Bedford station.
  4. There are a lot of sidings for Thameslink trains South of Bedford station.
  5. The Great Ouse divides the town into two.

I’ll now explore further.

Bedford St. Johns Station

This Google Map shows Bedford St. Johns station.


  1. Bedford St. Johns station towards the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The single-track Marston Vale Line passing through the station.
  3. The track becomes double track to the North of the station.
  4. Although not shown on the map, the Marston Vale Line becomes double track to the South of the station.
  5. If it was all double-track, this would surely make operation of the Marston Vale Line easier for two trains per hour (tph).
  6. In the South-West of the map is Bedford hospital.

The Wikipedia entry for Bedford St. Johns station, says this about the future of the station.

In March 2021, plans were unveiled which, if taken forward, would see Bedford St Johns railway station relocated as the track through the station will be realigned. In May 2023, EWRL announced that it proposes to relocate the station further north (to Kempston Road) to better serve Bedford Hospital.

That sounds sensible, as it would allow either a full two-platform step-free station or a smaller single-sided one-platform station to be built.

Over The Great Ouse

This Google Map shows the railway crossing the Great Ouse.


  1. The Marston Vale Line runs to the South -West of the long-stay car park in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. The Western bridge takes the line over the Great Ouse.
  3. It then runs between the sidings to Bedford station.

This picture, which was taken from the Spiral Footbridge on the North bank of the Ouse, shows the double-track rail bridge.

There are two tracks all the way from where the single-track divides to the North of Bedford St. Johns station.

The Southern Approaches To Bedford Station

This Google Map shows the Southern approaches to Bedford station.

I have looked at the track layout and I’m fairly sure of the following.

  • Current Marston Vale trains can go directly into Platform 1A without crossing any other tracks.
  • Marston Vale trains can use Platform 1 if required.
  • Thameslink trains can terminate in Platforms 1, 2 or 3.
  • Southbound Corby trains can call in Platforms 1, 2 or 3.
  • If they stop in Platforms 1 or 2, they appear to cross over South of Bedford station to the Midland Main Line.

If 2 tph were running on the Marston Vale Line; one fast and one stopping, a single platform should be able to handle the trains, if it was long enough.

Bedford Station

These pictures show Bedford station.


  1. The first two pictures were taken from the footbridge.
  2. The fast line between Platforms 3 and 4, is clearly visible in the second picture.
  3. Platform 1A is electrified.

This Google Map shows Platform 1A, where Marston Valley Line trains currently terminate.


  1. Platforms from the right are 1A and 1, 2 and 3 on the islands, with 4 to the left.
  2. Judging it against the three cars of the train in Platform 2, I reckon that Platform 1A could be updated to hold a six-car train.

Would a six-car train be long enough?

Initial East West Rail Services To Bedford

According to the Wikipedia entry for the East West Railway, these services will run on the railway between Oxford and Bedford.

  • East West Railway – Oxford and Milton Keynes Central via Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village, Winslow and Bletchley – 2 tph
  • East West Railway – Oxford and Bedford via Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont – 1 tph
  • East West Railway – Aylesbury and Milton Keynes Central via Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Winslow and Bletchley – 1 tph
  • West Midlands Trains – Bletchley and Bedford via Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, Ridgmont, Lidlington, Millbrook, Stewartby, Kempston Hardwick and Bedford St Johns – 1 tph


  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. There a fast train and a stopping train between Bletchley and Bedford.
  3. It appears that both these trains could terminate in Platform 1A at Bedford station.

I believe this will be possible with the current track layout, as the Marston Vale Line is almost all double-track.

East West Rail Services To Cambridge And Beyond

In this document on the East-West Rail Consortium web site, these services are suggested, for when the East West Rail is complete.

  • An hourly train via Norwich terminating at Great Yarmouth.
  • An hourly train via Ipswich terminating at Manningtree.

Would this mean three of four passenger tph on the Marston Vale Line?

If Cambridge and Oxford services, were running under digital signalling, I suspect trains could cross between the Thameslink and Marston Vale Lines, so that they could call in the through platforms at Bedford station.

How Would Trains Connect To The East At Bedford Station?

This Google Map shows the Midland Main Line through Bedform.


  1. Bedford station in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. The Midland Main Line runs diagonally from Bedford station across the map.
  3. The A6 seems to take a curious route in the North-West corner of the map, where it connects to a roundabout with an Aldi and a Sainsbury’s

This Google Map shows the countryside to the North-East of the roundabout.

Judging by the colours of the fields to the North-East of the roundabout, I suspect, that a high proportion of the land is in one ownership.

This map clipped from the East West Rail route map, shows the route between Bedford and the East Coast Main Line between St. Neots and Sandy stations.

This Google Map shows the area of the junction, that would connect the East West Rail tracks to the slow lines through Bedford station.


  1. The four-track Midland Main Line runs diagonally across the map.
  2. The beige-coloured diamond-shaped area by the railway is an electrical substation.
  3. There doesn’t appear to be many properties that would need to be demolished.
  4. There would need to be a viaduct over the A6.
  5. Once over the A6, the land seems to be in one ownership, which should ease building the railway across.

I feel it would be feasible, possibly with the use of a dive-under or flyover to connect the East West Rail tracks to the slow lines through Bedford station.

May 28, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reading Green Park Station – 27th May 2023

Reading Green Park station opened today, so I went and took these pictures.


  1. It is a high-specification station with two platforms, toilets and full step-free access using a bridge and lifts.
  2. I was told, that the station can handle six-car trains.
  3. There is no coffee kiosk in the station, but there is a Tesco Express outside.
  4. Trains run between Reading and Basingstoke, at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).
  5. The Reading and Basingstoke Line is partially-electrified.
  6. As I’ve seen before, there was a Chinese guy taking pictures of the station.
  7. At present there are only 54 parking spaces, but Wikipedia indicates this could be increased.

This Google Map shows the station under construction.

The map shows the station has room for expansion, which in a thriving town like Reading could be important.

I have a few thoughts.

Rolling Stock

The route is not unique, but it is unelectrified, but has 1.8 miles of high quality electrification at the Northern end.

This equates to a route, where 11.7 % is electrified.

Trains normally terminate at Reading in the fully-electrified Platform 2, which is shown in this picture.

In a typical round trip, a train can spend up to 26 mins under the wires between passing Southcote junction going North and passing it going South.

This time should be more than enough to fully-charge a battery-electric train.


So was the electrification scheme at Reading designed knowing the results of the trials in Essex, which showed that battery-electric trains did more than work and were a serious proposition?

A sixty mile range would mean a battery-electric train could handle, these routes from Reading.

  • Southcote junction and Basingstoke and then back to the electrification at Southcote junction, which would be 27.2 miles.
  • Newbury and Westbury, which is 42.5 miles.
  • Didcot Parkway and Oxford and then back to the electrification at Didcot Parkway, which would be 21.0 miles.

If four-car Class 321 Renatus, Class 379 or Class 387 trains were to be converted, I doubt there would be many modifications needed to stations and track.

The Bridge

The bridge has everything anybody would want with two lifts, stairs and lots of glass for good views.

But what puzzles me about Network Rail’s bridges is that a few years ago, they held a competition with RIBA to design a bridge.

This stylish, affordable and easy-to-install footbridge was the winner.

I wonder why not one has been built!


I feel there could be a minor problem with the ticketing.

For my trip today, I used my Freedom Pass on the Elizabeth Line as far as Reading, where I bought a return to Basingstoke, as I wanted to photograph something at that station.

In common with many stations, I had to exit from Reading station to buy my ticket from a machine.

As Reading has that superb bridge with lots of space and many changes at Reading will involve crossing the bridge, would it not be possible to put a ticket machine on the bridge?

I have travelled extensively on German trains and they place lots of ticket machines on the platforms, which I have used extensively, as their English is better than my German, which I have to use in a ticket office.



May 27, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

East-West Rail: Oxford And Bedford

This map from East West Rail shows the route between Oxford and Bedford.


  1. The proposed route is shown in blue.
  2. The possible Southern extension to Aylesbury is shown dotted.
  3. The route between Bicester and Bletchley is rebuilt track along a former alignment.
  4. The route between Bletchley and Bedford will surely be rebuilt track along the Marston Vale Line.
  5. The Bicester and Bedford sections of track will be joined by the Bletchley Flyover, which is well on the way to completion.

This Google Map shows Bletchley station.


  1. Bletchley Station has six platforms.
  2. The double-track Bletchley Flyover runs North-South at the Eastern side of the station.
  3. There are the beginnings of two platforms on the flyover, which will increase the number of platforms at Bletchley station to eight.
  4. There is a junction at the Northern end of the flyover, where one pair of tracks go North to Milton Keynes Central and the other takes the Marston Vale Line to Bedford.

The track-layout at Bletchley station allows trains between Oxford and Bedford and Oxford and Milton Keynes Central to call at Bletchley station.

Proposed Passenger Trains Between Oxford and Bedford

According to the Wikipedia entry for the East West Railway, these service will run on the railway between Oxford and Bedford.

  • East West Railway – Oxford and Milton Keynes Central via Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village, Winslow and Bletchley – 2 tph
  • East West Railway – Oxford and Bedford via Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont – 1 tph
  • East West Railway – Aylesbury and Milton Keynes Central via Aylesbury Vale Parkway, Winslow and Bletchley – 1 tph
  • West Midlands Trains – Bletchley and Bedford via Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, Ridgmont, Lidlington, Millbrook, Stewartby, Kempston Hardwick and Bedford St Johns – 1 tph


  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. All larger stations get at least a half-hourly service.
  3. There are three tph  between Oxford and Bletchley via Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village and Winslow.
  4. There a fast train and a stopping train between Bletchley and Bedford.
  5. It is still undecided, whether provision will be made for the Aylesbury service.

I think that this service pattern is achievable, with or without the Aylesbury service.



May 26, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

East-West Rail: Route For £5bn Bedford To Cambridge Link Announced

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

This is the sub-heading.

The preferred route of part of £5bn railway line connecting Oxford and Cambridge has been announced.

The first two paragraphs summarise the route.

The East-West Rail (EWR) project confirmed details of the section between Bedford and Cambridge.

It will include new stations at Tempsford and Cambourne, and enter Cambridge via the south of the city.

This map from East West Rail shows the route.


  1. The proposed route is shown in blue.
  2. The possible Southern extension to Aylesbury is shown dotted.
  3. The Wikipedia entry for East West Rail has conflicting information, as to when trains can run between  Bicester and Bedford.

These related posts describe and discuss various parts and issues of the route.

East-West Rail: Along The Marston Vale Line

East-West Rail: Aylesbury Spur

East-West Rail: Electrification

East-West Rail: Oxford And Bedford

East-West Rail: Through Bedford


May 26, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Peckham Rye Station – 26th May 2023

The roof of the station now appears to be complete.

This article on Ian Visits, describes the use of real gold in the work.

May 26, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

SSEN Transmission Signs Debut £750m Sustainability-Linked Facility

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item from SSE.

This is the sub-heading.

SSEN Transmission has signed its first ever sustainability-linked Revolving Credit Facility (RCF), further reinforcing the company’s commitment to sustainability in line with its Sustainability Action Plan.

This is the first paragraph.

The facility has been upgraded to include four key performance indicators, which have been designed to align with SSEN Transmission’s commitment to sustainability, and each indicator will be assessed annually during the term of the loan, thus bringing greater alignment between SSEN Transmission’s sustainability and financing strategies.

It seems to be that SSEN Transmission are benefitting from some innovative financing.

As someone, who benefited from innovative financing from a bank manager in the past, I’m all for more of this, if it helps development of our renewables.

May 26, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Finance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hitachi Rail Names Preferred Supplier For Battery System Development For UK Trial

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Hitachi Rail UK is continuing its commitment to electrification and sustainability as it has teamed with a UK based Technology firm to design and supply its traction and battery systems for its intercity battery train trial which it hopes to run in the future.

Working with the North East England Partnership and Turntide Technologies, Hitachi UK Rail are working towards a UK trial for its battery technology which is engineered to reduce emissions and fuel costs. It is hoped, that if successful, it’ll advance the UK’s position as a global leader in battery train technology.


  1. Turntide Technologies took over Hyperdrive Innovation.
  2. Turntide Technologies have designed and built systems for JCB.

Up until now, we have been told very little about the batteries.

I have the following questions.

Is The Battery System In The Class 803 Trains For Lumo By Turntide Technologies/Hyperdrive Innovation?

The Wikipedia entry for Lumo, says this about the design of the Class 803 train.

Services are operated by a fleet of 125 mph (200 km/h) Class 803 electric multiple unit trains, ordered in March 2019 at a cost of £100 million, financed by the rail leasing company Beacon Rail.[15] While based on the same Hitachi AT300 design as the Class 801 Azuma trains operated on the East Coast Main Line by franchised operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER), they are not fitted with an auxiliary diesel engine, but instead feature batteries intended solely to power onboard facilities in case of overhead line equipment failure.

The maker of the batteries has not been disclosed.

If they have been made by Turntide, then they would certainly have had a good vibration testing.

Is The Battery System In The Class 803 Trains Similar To That Proposed For Class 800/802/805/810 Trains?

It would seem sensible, as this would mean that Hitachi would only be introducing one type of battery into the various fleets.

Supporting structures and wiring harnesses would then be identical in all trains, whether diesel engines or batteries were to be fitted.

Are The Batteries Plug Compatible With Similar Performance To The Diesel Engines?

I have never driven a train, but I have ridden in the cab of an InterCity 125, as I wrote about in Edinburgh to Inverness in the Cab of an HST.

The driver controls the two locomotives individually, just like I controlled the two engines in my Cessna 340 with two separate throttles.

So how does a driver control all the three engines in a five-car Class 800 train or the five engines in a nine-car?

Put simply, the driver just tells the computer, what speed or power is required and the train’s computer adjusts al the engines accordingly.

I believe it would be possible to design battery packs that are plug-compatible with similar performance to the diesel engines.

Hitachi could be playing an old Electrical/Electronic Engineer’s trick.

As a sixteen-year-old, I spent a Summer in a rolling mills, building replacement transistorised control units for the old electronic valve units. They had been designed, so they were plug-compatible and performed identically.

The great advantage of this approach, is that no changes were needed to the rolling mill.

So if Hitachi are using a similar approach, there should be very few or even no changes to the train.

What Range Will A Class 800 Train Have On Batteries?

This article on Focus Transport is entitled 224-kilometre Battery Range For FLIRT Akku – Stadler Sets World Record For Guinness Book Of Records.

I would be very surprised if Hitachi don’t break that record of 224 kilometres or 139 miles.


I belive we’re going to see a real revolution in rail transport.

May 25, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments