The Anonymous Widower

Battery Train Pilot Project On Challenging’ Westerwald Routes

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

It is only a small order for three Mireo Plus B battery-electric multiple-units from Siemens Mobility, but I feel, it is significant that  engineers and managers are confident that a battery-electric multiple unit can handle a challenging route.

February 8, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Riding In A Train Designed To Run On Battery Power

Today, I had my first ride in a train, that has been designed to be able to run on battery power.

  • Merseyrail’s Class 777 trains run normally using third-rail electrification.
  • But they are also designed to run on battery power.
  • I took these pictures of the train as it went from Liverpool Central station to Kirkby station and back to Moorfields station, from where I took a train back to Liverpool Lime Street station.

I took these pictures on the route.

Note.

  1. Every seat has access to a power and USB socket.
  2. Every head-rest has leather facings.
  3. The end lights change from white for front, to red for back, when the train changes direction.
  4. Door lights are green when it is safe to enter.
  5. There is a lot of attention to detail in the design.

If there is a better suburban train in Europe, I’ve yet to see or ride in it.

Noise And Vibration

Consider.

  • I have ridden in two trains converted to battery-electric operation and both were very quiet.
  • This train was also very quiet, but it has been designed for battery operation.
  • I suspect that the train is very frugal with electricity.
  • I wonder, if the small battery, that is carried on the train for depot movements, is also used for regenerative braking.
  • It might not be a traditional battery, but a supercapacitor, some of which are made from curved graphene.

This train certainly sets new standards in noise and vibration.

February 7, 2023 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nightmare On The Buses

The title of this post, is not the title of a horror remake of the popular 1970s-sitcom’ On The Buses, but a description of my journeys on a 141 bus today.

Until, last Friday, I had two buses; the 21 and 141 to take between my house and Moorgate, which is an important destination for me.

  • There is a large Marks and Spencer food store there, where I regularly buy the gluten-free food, I must have as a coeliac.
  • There is a LEON there, where I regularly have my gluten-free breakfast.
  • Moorgate station is a good transport interchange from which I regularly start journeys over London.

But now there is only one bus; the 141.

In November 2021, I wrote The Great Bus Robbery, where I said this.

What is TfL’s latest crime?

The 21 and 271 buses are going to be combined into a new route between Lewisham and Highgate, which will go nowhere near the Balls Pond Road.

So we’ll just have the one bus route to the City of London.

On past form, if TfL say they will increase the frequency, I wouldn’t believe them.

This was my conclusion.

We will need the 21 bus to provide us with a route to Crossrail, as the 141 buses will be full.

The 21 bus is needed where it is and mustn’t be stolen.

Note that Crossrail is now called the Elizabeth Line.

Today, I made three journeys between my house and Moorgate station and this is what happened.

Journey 1 – Southbound

I arrived at the bus stop and after five minutes a 141 bus arrived.

But it was full and didn’t open the door to let any of the waiting six passengers board.

After another three minutes, another 141 bus arrived and we squeezed on.

But there wasn’t any seats left and I stood all the way to Moorgate.

Journey 2 – Northbound

I only had my breakfast and as I had things to do at home, I returned fairly quickly after finishing my breakfast.

Partly, this was also because a 141 bus turned up with some seats available.

But it was a lot closer to capacity, than Northbound buses at about the same time last week.

Journey 3 – Northbound

My third journey started at about four in the afternoon, after I’d been out to take some pictures and buy a few food items in Marks and Spencer.

I had to wait seven minutes for a 141 bus and as there was a 76 bus a couple of minutes in front of it, I took that, with the intention of changing halfway.

I was able to get a seat.

In the end, the 76 bus got stuck in traffic and I walked to my intended change stop and waited there for the 141 bus, which was without a seat, so I stood for three stops to home.

It was one of the slowest journeys, I’d had between my house and Moorgate station.

Day 2 – February 7th – 2023

I arrived at the bus stop and found a lady, who had been waiting for an hour-and-a-quarter.

I had no problem coming home, as I went to Liverpool during the day and got a taxi back from Euston.

Day 3 – February 8th – 2023

Perhaps, they’d heard our pleas, but a bus turned up after a couple of minutes with plenty of spare space.

I even got a seat.

Going home, at about 10, there wasn’t a spare seat.

Revenue per bus, is certainly rising.

Conclusion

On the evidence of the first three day, it appears that there is not enough capacity without the 21 bus.

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

World’s First Offshore Wind Farm Using 16 MW Turbines Enters Construction In China

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

This is the sub-heading.

China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) has started construction of the second phase of its offshore wind farm Zhangpu Liuao. The project will be both China’s and the world’s first wind farm to comprise 16 MW wind turbines.

I hope the Chinese have done all their calculations, research and testing. The dynamics of large wings are tricky and there are a lot of square law factors involved. I’d always be worried that at a particular wind speed a dangerous vibration will be setup.

How many Chinese engineers have seen videos of Galloping Gertie?

As the video says, no one was injured or killed, when the Tacoma Narrows Bridge fell into the river, but we nearly had a very similar disaster in the UK. I used to work at ICI in Runcorn and at the time, I lived in Liverpool, so every day, I went to work I crossed the Silver Jubilee Bridge twice.

One day, after a party in Cheshire, I even got so drunk, I had to stop the car on the bridge and was sick into the Mersey. It was before C and myself were married and she always claimed she nearly called the marriage off, after the incident.

But have you ever wondered, why that bridge is a through arch bridge rather than a suspension bridge as over the Forth, Hmber and Severn, which were all built around the same time?

Wikipedia has a section, which describes the Planning of the bridge.

The new bridge had to allow the passage of shipping along the Manchester Ship Canal. Many ideas were considered, including a new transporter bridge or a swing bridge. These were considered to be impractical and it was decided that the best solution was a high-level bridge upstream from the railway bridge. This would allow the least obstruction to shipping and would also be at the narrowest crossing point. The first plan for a high-level bridge was a truss bridge with three or five spans, giving an 8 yards (7 m) dual carriageway with a cycle track and footpaths. This was abandoned because it was too expensive, and because one of the piers would be too close to the wall of the ship canal. The next idea was for a suspension bridge with a span of 343 yards (314 m) between the main towers with an 8 yards (7 m) single carriageway and a 2-yard (2 m) footpath. However aerodynamic tests on models of the bridge showed that, while the bridge itself would be stable, the presence of the adjacent railway bridge would cause severe oscillation.

The finally accepted design was for a steel through arch bridge with a 10-yard (9 m) single carriageway. The design of the bridge is similar to that of Sydney Harbour Bridge but differs from it in that the side spans are continuous with the main span rather than being separate from them. This design feature was necessary to avoid the problem of oscillation due to the railway bridge. The main span measures 361 yards (330 m) and each side span is 83 yards (76 m).

But that misses out part of the story that I learned about at ICI.

I developed a very simple piece of electronics for ICI Runcorn’s noise and vibration expert. The equipment allowed the signals from two noise meters to be subtracted. This meant that if they were pointed in different directions, the noise generated by an object or piece of equipment could be determined.

The noise and vibration expert had tremendous respect from his fellow engineers, but his involvement in the design of the Runcorn bridge had elevated him to a legend.

The designers of the suspension bridge, that is detailed in the Wikipedia extract, presented their design to the ICI (Merseyside) Scientific Society.

The noise and vibration expert was at the meeting and questioned the design and said it would collapse due to oscillations caused by the presence of the railway bridge. He advised aerodynamic tests should be done on the bridge.

His back of the fag packet calculations were shown by tests to be correct and the bridge was built as a through arch bridge.

These pictures show the bridge.

They were taken from a train on the railway bridge.

 

February 6, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Design, Energy | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting West Anglia Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel

If say it was ever needed to run a train between Cambridge or Stansted stations and the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, three things must be possible.

Trains Would Have To Be Compatible With The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line

As any train would have to be compatible with the platform-edge doors in the central tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, the trains would have to be dimensionally identical to the current Class 345 trains.

  • Nine cars
  • Possibility of lengthening to ten cars.
  • 204.73 metres long.
  • 6 sets of doors per carriage
  • Ability to run under full digital signalling.

I covered this in detail in Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line.

Trains Would Need A 100 mph Capability To Travel On The Fast Lines Of The West Anglia Main Line

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 100 mph, to enable running on the fast lines.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Effectively, the train would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Trains Must Be Able To Connect Between The West Anglia Main Line And The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Stratford.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in black and purple.
  2. The Elizabeth Line enters and leaves the Central Tunnel at the Pudding Mill Lane Portal Eye.
  3. The West Anglia Main Line to and from Stansted and Cambridge goes through Platforms 11 and 12 at Stratford station, before crossing over Stratford International station and going through Olympic Park Junction.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Stratford does not allow trains to go both ways between West Anglia Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

But I suspect with the addition of a couple of extra crossovers, that this could be arranged.

February 5, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On Extending The Northern Line To Clapham Junction

As I wrote in Northern Line Could Be Extended To Clapham Junction In Regeneration Plans, the extension of the newly-built extension to Battersea Power Station station could be further extended to Clapham Junction station.

Railways Between Battersea And Clapham

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the tracks that run between the two stations.

Note.

  1. Battersea Power Station station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The orange and yellow lines going North from that corner go to Victoria station.
  3. The orange and yellow lines going North-East from that corner go to Waterloo station.
  4. The yellow line going West is the West London Line to Shepherds Bush and Willesden Junction stations.
  5. Clapham Junction station is in the South-West corner of the map.

I estimate that the distance between Battersea Power Station and Clapham Junction stations is about three kilometres.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows an enlargement of the tracks around Battersea.

Note.

  1. The tracks going North over the River to Victoria station.
  2. The tracks going East to Waterloo station.
  3. The tracks going South West to Clapham Junction station.
  4. The tracks from Victoria pass over and then join the tracks from Waterloo to continue to Clapham Junction station.

Battersea Power Station station can be seen to the North-East of the junction.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows an enlargement of the tracks around Battersea Power Station station.

Note how the tracks go through Battersea Power Station station and terminate just before the lines into Victoria station.

It should also be noted that the platforms at Battersea Power Station station are reached using two sets of escalators, so they could be over forty metres below the surface. This would surely make the construction of tower blocks with deep foundations easier over the Northern Line.

But the depth would also enable an extended Northern Line to be below any existing or future construction.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the approaches to Clapham Junction station.

There are certainly a lot of tracks through Clapham Junction station.

Reasons For The Extension Of The Northern Line To Clapham Junction

These reasons come to mind.

To Enable Development In The Area

This is always a good reason.

In Network Rail To Outline Business Case For Clapham Junction Redevelopment, I said this.

The Rail Technology Magazine article talks of decking over the whole station and putting two million square feet of development on top. But it also cautions, it would be very expensive.

With that amount of development, there would be a need for as many transport links as possible.

To Improve Access To The Elizabeth Line For Passengers On Trains To And From Victoria

Victoria station does not have an Underground Line, that connects to easily the Elizabeth Line.

The best route to use is described in The Lizzie Line And Circle/District Line Interchange At Paddington – 1st July 2022, where you use the Circle to Paddington.

  • To go to the West on the Elizabeth Line, take the Circle/District Line to Paddington.
  • To go to the East on the Elizabeth Line, take the District Line to Whitechapel.
  • To go to Liverpool Street take the Circle Line all the way.

Getting to the stations between Paddington and Liverpool Street means a change at either of those stations.

At Waterloo, you can use the Northern Line, which has a direct connection to Tottenham Court Road on the Elizabeth Line.

Connecting to the Northern Line at Clapham Junction will give Victoria-bound passengers, the advantages of those going to Waterloo.

An Alternative Way Of Connecting Victoria To The Elizabeth Line

The lack of an easy connection between the Victoria and the Elizabeth Line is a pain and I believe that it was a major omission in the design of the Elizabeth Line.

  • Dear Old Vicky has a frequency of upwards of thirty trains per hour (tph)
  • With some improvements at stations like Oxford Circus, Highbury & Islington and Walthamstow Central, the line could handle some more passengers.
  • More step-free access would also help increase capacity.
  • Engineers are a competitive bunch and I could see the day, when Vicky is running at 40 tph.

If Vicky was running at forty full tph, it would be moving 45120 passengers per hour.

This would mean that to match the passenger capacity of the older line, the Elizabeth Line would have to be running at a frequency of thirty tph.

As passengers at the ends of the line have difficulty getting to places like Paddington and Heathrow, a connection between the two Queens would really help.

Vicky was universe-class in the 1960s and now she needs updating to the 21st Century.

This map from cartometro shows the Lines through Bond Street and Oxford Circus stations.

Note.

  1. The Bakerloo Line is shown in brown.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  4. The Victoria Line is shown in light blue.
  5. The Elizabeth Line is the deepest line.

In addition, consider.

The Eastern exit of the Elizabeth Line at Bond Street station has three escalators and lifts. It also opens onto Hanover Square, so it won’t suffer from overcrowding problems outside.

  • Hanover Square is just a garden, with no car park underneath, so pedestrian tunnels could pass under it
  • I also suspect there are no existing or planned buildings between the two stations with deep foundations that would block a pedestrian tunnel.
  • With the capability and ingenuity of three-D design software, I can see wide tunnels being created that would link Oxford Circus and the two Bond Street stations.
  • The new wide tunnels at Bank station have opened up the station’s capacity and all the tunnels were dug traditionally.
  • If it was felt to be needed, moving walkways could be added, just as they have been at Bank station.

I am absolutely sure, that by using the ideas and methods, that have worked so well in the upgrade of Bank station, that Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations could be turned into a London Superhub Station, that connects all the Underground lines together and has entrances all over the area.

The benefits of such a station would be.

  • It would provide a high-capacity link between London’s two highest-capacity Underground Lines; Elizabeth and Victoria.
  • It would provide a high-capacity link between the Elizabeth Line and Euston, St. Pancras and King’s Cross.
  • It would provide a high-capacity link between the Elizabeth Line and Victoria.
  • It would provide a high-capacity link between the Elizabeth Line and High Speed Two.
  • Areas like Brixton, Haringey and Walthamstow would gain a much needed link to the Elizabeth Line for Heathrow and Paddington.

Wikipedia says this about the building of the Bank Station Upgrade.

As part of the development of the scheme, TfL worked with potential bidders to improve the design of the station from TfL’s original design. The design proposed in the winning bid by Dragados was 9.7% cheaper than the original design (saving TfL £60m), took 10 months less time to construct than the original design (the proposed closure of the Northern line was also 5 weeks shorter), and the layout of the station was more efficient. This substantially improved the benefit–cost ratio by 45% to 3.5:1.

The Mayor should be knocking on the door of Dragados and asking them for a price for a design and build for a West End Superhub station.

A Possible Route For The Extension Of The Northern Line To Clapham Junction

I suspect that the simplest route for the extension of the Northern Line would be to bore or dig a twin-track railway underneath the numerous other railways in the area.

It could terminate in two underground platforms at Clapham Junction station.

This is the first map of this post and it shows the tracks that run between the two stations.

Note.

  1. Battersea Power Station station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Clapham Junction station is in the South-West corner of the map.

The Western of the pair of orange Lines going off the map in the North-East corner of the map is the Brighton Main Line.

It passes through Battersea Park station.

It passes over the South Western Main Line out of Waterloo.

It then loops to the West and joins the lines to Clapham Junction on the Southern side.

It serves four platforms at Clapham Junction; 12 and 14 are up platforms and 13 and 15 are down platforms.

This Google Map shows an overview of Clapham Junction station.

Note.

  1. Platforms 1 and 2 at the top of the map, handle London Overground services.
  2. Platforms 3 to 11 handle South Western Train services.
  3. Platforms 12 to 17 handle Southern services.
  4. Platforms 9 and 10 have a Delice de France cafe.
  5. Platforms 11 and 12 have a Cuppacino cafe.
  6. Platforms 13 and 14 have the logos.
  7. All platforms have full step-free access with lifts to the wide footbridge that connects all platforms.

The platforms don’t seem to be very wide and putting stairs and escalators down to underground platforms could be a difficult proposition.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows shows the platforms at Clapham Junction station and the track layout to the West of the footbridge.

Note.

  1. The tracks through the platforms are shown in orange.
  2. The blue dots are platform numbers.
  3. The bridge connecting all the platforms is shown shaded in the middle of the map.
  4. To the West of the bridge are Clapham Junction Sidings and Clapham Traincare Depot.

These pictures were taken from the bridge.

Note.

  1. The top row of pictures were taken looking West.
  2. The bottom row of pictures were taken looking East.
  3. Many of the tracks are electrified.
  4. There is a lot of space to park trains.

Will all the space be needed now, that a new depot has been built at Feltham.

Could Two New Surface Platforms Be Built For The Extension Of The Northern Line To Clapham Junction?

Consider.

  • The step-free bridge across all the platforms at Clapham Junction station works well.
  • It is connected to the streets around the station at both ends.
  • Clapham Junction station will be redeveloped and surplus depot land could be used for housing.
  • As the maps show, there is a large gap in the platforms between the South Western Railway and the Southern sides of the station.
  • As Battersea Power Station station can turn services on the Northern Line with only two platforms, there would only need to be the same number of Northern Line platforms at Clapham Junction.

So could an extra pair of platforms be built under the bridge, with stairs and a lift similar to the existing platforms?

  • The platform would have full step-free access.
  • The platforms could be long enough for any future trains.
  • There could be sidings for a few trains.
  • The tunnels from Battersea Power Station would surface just outside the station.
  • There would need to be a crossover or a turnback siding for operational reasons.

I also think, that once the depot and sidings at Clapham Junction have released the space, the new platforms and tracks could be installed without interrupting main line services through the station.

Would The Extension Of The Northern Line Be Electrified?

Consider.

  • Merseyrail were not allowed to use third-rail electrification to Headbolt Lane station and had to use batteries.
  • The Northern Line was extended to Battersea Power Station station using London’s four-rail electrified system.
  • Clapham Junction station has third-rail electrification everywhere.

I think that the authorities would be very churlish not to allow electrification to Clapham Junction.

Conclusion

I believe it is possible to extend the Northern Line to two new surface platforms at Clapham Junction station.

But I also believe that using similar methods to those used in the Bank Station Upgrade, that a full interchange between the Elizabeth and Victoria Lines can be built at Oxford Circus and Bond Street.

 

 

.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Elizabeth Line Sees 100 million Journeys Since May 2022

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

These two paragraphs outline the figures.

More than 100 million journeys have been made on the Elizabeth line in its first eight months.

Since opening in May 2022, about 600,000 trips have been made every day across the line, which links Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, Transport for London (TfL) said.

Note.

    1. There have been complaints, which I wrote about in Elizabeth Line: Commuters Say Service ‘Not What Was Promised’.
    2. I also tend to avoid trains to and from Heathrow, as I wrote about in So Many Cases On A Train!

But how do you know a train has come from Heathrow? Only because it’s full of cases.

 

 

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Surrey Quays Station On The London Overground Getting Step-Free Access

This is part of the package of upgrades that I wrote about in More Frequent Trains And A New Station For The London Overground, that was published in 2019.

It looks like the upgrade will start this year. and be finished in 2026.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Disused Railway Land In Lowestoft Gets A New Lease Of Life

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

This is the sub-heading.

The land has been cleared and 30 willow trees planted by a Network Rail team in a bid to increase biodiversity.

I can see many small pieces of land getting a similar treatment.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

UK And Welsh Governments To Explore New Rail Links Between South Wales And England

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the UK Government.

These are the three bullet points.

  • UK and Welsh governments today (2 February 2023) announce a new study to improve transport connectivity between south-east Wales and west of England
  • the study, backed by £2.7 million of UK government funding, will look at options for new railway stations and rail services on the South Wales Main Line
  • this project will focus on relieving congestion on the M4, a vital connector between south Wales and the rest of the UK

The stations are not named, but it is said that they could be between Cardiff and the Severn Tunnel.

The last paragraph changes direction a bit.

Lord Peter Hendy also proposed reviewing the route connecting north Wales to the north-west of England, better connectivity with HS2 and a package of railway improvements to increase connectivity and reduce journey times between Cardiff, Birmingham and beyond.

I find this development very interesting, but typical of the sensible approach one would expect from Lord Peter.

In Could High Speed Two Serve Holyhead?, I looked at the route and came to this conclusion.

London Euston and Holyhead could be a serious proposition.

With some development and a new fast ferry, it could also open up a practical zero-carbon route between Great Britain and Ireland.

Times of four and a half hours between London Euston and Dublin could be possible.

I suspect that time would appeal to green tourists, especially those in First with a good meal.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments