The Anonymous Widower

Are Short Lengths Of High Speed Line A Good Idea?

In New ‘HS3’ Link To Yorkshire Proposed By Thinktank After Region’s HS2 Axe, I showed that a short length of faster by-pass line could give decent ties savings.

So in this post, I will look at home much time, diversions or by-passes like the Selby Diversion could save.

The diversion runs between Temple Hirst Junction and Colton Junction.

  • It is 13.8 miles long.
  • A typical train takes 7.5 minutes, which is an average speed of 115 mph.
  • But Wikipedia claim that the route was well-designed and British Rail felt it was good for 160 mph.

So what times are possible at various speeds?

  • 115 mph – 7.5 minutes
  • 120 mph – 6.9 minutes
  • 130 mph – 6.4 minutes
  • 140 mph – 5.9 minutes
  • 150 mph – 5.5 minutes
  • 160 mph – 5.2 minutes
  • 180 mph – 4.6 minutes

They are not great savings, but if you could increase operating speed on straight sections of thirty miles and raise the average speed from 120 to 180 mph, that would save five minutes. It would all mount up.

If you look at the railway maps of the UK, there are sections of the East Coast Main Line, Great Western Main Line, Midland Main Line and West Coast Main Line, where the track is straight and sometimes as many as four-tracks.

Stevenage Station And Stoke Junction

A simple example in a few years could be between just North of Stevenage station and Stoke junction, which after current works and some others could be four tracks all the way.

  • It is 72.2 miles.
  • Trains take 39 minutes.
  • My timings give an average speed of 111 mph.
  • There are a number of level crossings.
  • Flat junctions at Hitchin and Werrington have been replaced with grade separated junctions.

Note that it is longer than the Cologne-Aachen high speed railway in Germany, which is only 43 miles long and has an operating speed of 250 kph or 155.3 mph.

Savings on the Stevenage and Stoke stretch could be as follows.

  • 140 mph – eight minutes
  • 155.3 mph – eleven minutes
  • 160 mph – twelve minutes
  • 180 mph – fifteen minutes.
  • 200 mph – seventeen minutes.

This alone could mean that London Kings Cross and Leeds could be around two hours with trains such as the proposed High Speed Two Classic-Compatible Trains.

It couldn’t be extended to the North very easily as Stoke Tunnel is between Stoke junction and Grantham.

This Google Map shows the tunnel.

If it could easily be converted into a four-track cutting, this would add nearly six miles to the four-track section with high speed lines in the middle and slow lines on the outside.

A Diversion At York

When improving speeds and times on the East Coast Main Line, a diversion at York is sometimes mentioned.

The Google Map shows the East Coast Main Line, as it goes through York station.

Note.

  1. York station is in the South East corner of the map.
  2. The River Ouse meandering North from near the station, before turning West at the top of the map.
  3. The East Coast Main Line running North from the station to the West of the river.

The railway crosses the river just to the North of Skelton junction.

This Google Map shows the tracks at York in more detail.

Note.

  1. The River Ouse in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The East Coast Main Line through York station curving round the Railway Museum, before going North.
  3. A second rail route and sidings to the West of the East Coast Main Line can be seen.

Could a diversion route be created between Holgate and Skelton junctions on railway land?

  • It would be about two miles long.
  • It could be built to also sort out the bottleneck at Skelton junction.
  • It might be possible to extend the fast line to Northallerton station.

This could create up to thirty miles of fast lines between Holgate junction and Northallerton.

A Diversion At Durham

When improving speeds and times on the East Coast Main Line, a diversion at Durham is sometimes mentioned.

The Google Map shows the East Coast Main Line, as it goes through Durham station.

Note.

  1. I have arranged the map so that the East Coast Main Line goes between the South-West and North-East corners of the map.
  2. Durham station is clearly visible.
  3. The railway line curves East towards the station around Nevilles Cross after running North from the South.

This Google Map shows the East Coast Main Line, as it goes through Chester-le-Street station.

Note.

  1. Chester-le-Street station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The East Coast Main Line runs North-South down the middle of the map.
  3. About halfway down the map, the East Coast Main Line starts to veer to the East.

If you look at the bigger picture of these maps, it appears that to serve Durham, the line took a loop to the East, so would a diversion cut off the corner between Chester-le-Street and Nevilles Cross and put Durham on a loop?

It would be a bit shorter, but it could be built to enable running at a higher speed.

Short German High Speed Lines

I have travelled a lot on German trains and they have some of our problems.

  • Infrastructure dating back to the times of Kaiser Bill.
  • A high mileage of track without electrification.
  • Less high speed railways than France or Spain.

They are creating several high speed railways.

Earlier, I indicated that the Cologne-Aachen high speed railway, which is only 43 miles long, has an operating speed of 250 kph.

Other short high speed railways include.

Note, that the Germans are still upgrading lines to 200 kph or 125 mph.

The Germans would appear to favour some shorter high speed lines, so it must be a worthwhile philosophy.

Conclusion

I very much feel there is scope to create some new high speed sections on the current UK network, with only building very little outside of the current land used by the network.

As with Germany would it be worthwhile to upgrade some lines to 125 mph running?

These could be possibilities.

There are probably others.

 

December 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 8 Comments

New ‘HS3’ Link To Yorkshire Proposed By Thinktank After Region’s HS2 Axe

The title of this post, is the same as this article in the Yorkshire Post.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new “HS3” high-speed rail line between Yorkshire and the Nottinghamshire town of Newark could help make up for the loss of the HS2 eastern leg from Yorkshire, a report by transport think-tank; Greengauge 21 has suggested.

There is also this map from Greengauge 21.

I clipped my copy of the map from this report on Greengauge 21, which is entitled East, West, North And South.

Note.

  1. As in the Integrated Plan For The North And Midlands, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield have direct connections to London via High Speed Two.
  2. The Derby leg is extended to Sheffield via the existing Midland Main Line.
  3. The Nottingham leg is extended to Newark, where it joins the East Coast Main Line.
  4. A new High Speed Line, which is shown in white and labelled HS3 links Newark to the East Coast Main Line and the line between Leeds and York at a new triangular junction South of Colton Junction.
  5. Part of the current route between Doncaster and Colton Junction is the Selby Diversion, which according to Wikipedia was built for speeds upward of 140 mph.
  6. The route splits in the region of Colton Junction with the Western leg going to Leeds and Bradford and he Northern leg going to York and Newcastle.

I feel this is a better plan than the previous one from High Speed Two.

  • It adds Bradford, Derby and Nottingham to the High Speed Two network.
  • There is a connection to Birmingham and possibly the South West and Wales.
  • The East Coast Main Line is effectively four-tracked between Newark North Gate and York.

I have a few thoughts.

Colton Junction

This junction will feature a lot in this post, so I had better explain where it is.

The Selby Diversion was built in the 1980s to create a new route, which avoided the newly-discovered Selby coalfield.

Colton Junction is about six miles South of York and is at the Northern end of the Selby Diversion.

This Google Map shows the junction.

Note.

  1. The East Coast Main Line going between South-West and North-East across the map.
  2. The railway going North-East leads to York.
  3. The village of Colton is at the top of the map.
  4. Colton Junction is South of the village, where the East Coast Main Line splits.
  5. The line going South-West is the route without electrification to Leeds, used by TransPennine Express and others.

The line going South is the Selby Diversion, used by all trains on the East Coast Main Line.

East Midlands Hub Or East Midlands Parkway

Some reports indicate that a new Birmingham and Nottingham High Speed Line will go via East Midland Parkway station.

  • East Midland Parkway is a fully-functioning four-platform station.
  • It is already operating.
  • There will soon be a large brownfield site next door, when the coal-fired Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station is demolished.
  • It has connections to Nottingham and Sheffield via Derby and Chesterfield.
  • Platforms are probably long enough to handle splitting and joining.
  • An advanced passenger shuttle could be built to East Midlands Airport.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, where it passes East Midland Parkway station and Radcliffe-on-Soar power-station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct
  3. Yellow indicates cutting.
  4. Green indicates green tunnel.
  5. There is a curious clover-leaf shape  to the East of High Speed Two.

This Google Map shows the same area.

Note

  1. The River Soar and Remembrance Way can be picked out on both maps.
  2. The Midland Main Line runs North-South in the Google Map and passes through East Midlands Parkway station.
  3. It is possible to pick out the curious clover leaf shape to the North of the railway station, where the rail line goes into the power station.
  4. Returning to the High Speed Two map it is possible to pick out the railway and power stations.

This map from High Speed Two shows the route of the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, to the South-West of East Midlands Parkway station.

Note.

  1. The coloured line is the route of High Speed Two.
  2. Red indicates viaduct.
  3. East Midlands Parkway station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. The Midland Main Line runs North-South down the Eastern side of the map.

Could the route of High Speed Two be adjusted so that it runs through East Midlands Parkway station?

This Google Map shows a similar area as the second High Speed Two map.

With the exception of the village of Radcliffe-on-Soar, there aren’t many, who would get in the way of the development of a connection between High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line to the South of East Midlands Parkway station.

  • High Speed Two crosses Remembrance Way  in the South West corner of the map, where there is a junction with the M1 and runs diagonally across the map.
  • High Speed Two could probably sneak up the North side of Remembrance Way.
  • The station might need to be moved to the North a bit to give space.
  • The map also shows the space to the East, that will be created with the demolishing of the power station.

Developing East Midlands Parkway instead of East Midlands Hub could be the more affordable option.

High Speed Two’s Eastern Leg Services

This graphic shows High Speed Two’s services before the Eastern Leg was deleted.

Note.

  1. Western Leg services are to the left of the vertical black line.
  2. Eastern Leg services are to the right of the vertical black line.
  3. Blue indicates a full-size service.
  4. Yellow indicates a Classic-Compatible service.

Destinations on the former Eastern Leg get the following services.

  • Chesterfield – 1 tph
  • Darlington – 2 tph
  • Durham – 1 tph
  • East Midlands Hub – 7 tph
  • Leeds – 5 tph
  • Newcastle – 3 tph
  • Sheffield – 2 tph
  • York – 6 tph

Note.

  1. Two trains will split and join at East Midlands Hub or East Midlands Parkway. But given what I said earlier, the split will take place at East Midlands Parkway.
  2. Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield could get two tph.
  3. If the pattern of the currently proposed High Speed Two service is followed, that would mean that 5tph to Leeds and four tph to York and further North would go through Nottingham.

I suspect that there could be a reduction in either High Speed Services on the Eastern Leg or on the East Coast Main Line.

Splitting And Joining At East Midlands Parkway

Consider.

  • All Northbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • All Southbound services on High Speed Two and the Midland Main Line pass through East Midlands Parkway station in the same direction.
  • The four platforms at East Midlands Parkway station will give a lot of flexibility.

If trains split and joined at East Midlands Parkway, there would be no need to reverse to serve Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield. I can’t see how this could be performed at East Midlands Hub without the Sheffield train reversing. This probably explains why in the original plans for High Speed Two, Sheffield and Chesterfield had their own spur and Derby was not served directly by High Speed Two.

The redesign in the Integrated Rail Plan For The North And Midlands, which abandons the Sheffield spur, probably reduces the costs significantly.

Nottingham

Nottingham will be an extremely busy station with these services running through.

  • High Speed Two – 2 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle via Nottingham, York, Darlington and Durham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Nottingham – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Leeds HS2 via Birmingham Interchange and Nottingham  – Full-Size – 400 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and York via Nottingham – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham and York – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • High Speed Two – 1 tph – London and Newcastle via Nottingham, York and Darlington – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough and Leicester  – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – London St. Pancras and Nottingham via Kettering, Market Harborough, Leicester, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway and Beeston – Class 810
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich via Chesterfield, Alfreton, Nottingham, Grantham, Peterborough and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Crewe and Newark Castle via Nottingham and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • East Midlands Railway – 1 tph – Leicester and Lincoln via East Midlands Parkway, Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham, Carlton and several other stations – Class 158/170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Cardiff Central and Nottingham via Derby, Spondon, Long Eaton, Beeston and several other stations – Class 170
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Birmingham New Street and Nottingham via Derby – Class 170
  • Midlands Connect – 1 tph – Leeds and Bedford via Nottingham and Leicester – Classic-Compatible – 200 metres

Note.

  1. With High Speed Two services London means London Euston and Old Oak Common.
  2. Two High Speed Two services do not stop in Nottingham
  3. With several of these routes I have only put in a few intermediate stations to show the routing of the train at Nottingham.

These services total up to  twelve tph going through Nottingham and four tph terminating at Nottingham from London St. Pancras and Birmingham New Street.

Nottingham station would need to be able to handle the following with respect to through trains.

  • A train every five minutes.
  • Some trains would be 400 metres long.

But there is plenty of space in Nottingham station and High Speed Two’s digital signalling will be able to handle 18 tph.

Nottingham And Newark

The Nottingham and Lincoln Line between Nottingham and Newark appears from my helicopter to be fairly straight.

  • The line is double track.
  • There are eight stations between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • The maximum speed of the line is 70 mph.
  • It is 18.1 miles between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.
  • I suspect that it could be upgraded to a 100 mph between Nottingham and the East Coast Main Line.

Typical services in tph will be the same as at Nottingham, which is 12 tph.  But there are also occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.

With digital signalling on this relatively-simple section, if it were to be fitted with High Speed Two digital signalling, that will have to be able to handle 18 tph, what would you do with the other six tph?

  • Some paths would be used to handle the occasional freight trains and Peak services to and from London St. Pancras.
  • Some of the capacity could also be used by the stopping trains.

The amount of traffic would probably be less than on the Great Eastern Main Line, which is capable of 100 mph running.

Newark

Newark has the notorious flat crossing, where the Nottingham and Lincoln Line crosses the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the track layout at Newark.

Note.

  1. Newark Castle station is on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line and is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Newark North Gate station is on the East Coast Main Line and is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The two rail lines run diagonally across the map and cross near the top of the map towards the right.
  4. Nottingham lies in a South-Westerly direction from this map.
  5. Lincoln lies in a North-Easterly direction from this map.
  6. Doncaster, Leeds and York lie in a North-Westerly direction from this map.
  7. Grantham, Peterborough and London lie in a South-Easterly direction from this map.

Under the Greengauge 21 plan, trains will need to run in the following directions.

  • In both directions on the East Coast Main Line.
  • In both directions on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming South on the East Coast Main Line, trains will need to be able to go towards Nottingham on the Notting and Lincoln Line.
  • Coming from Nottingham on the Nottingham and Lincoln Line, trains will need to be able to go Leeds and York on the East Coast Main Line.

It would be a complicated set of junctions and flyovers for a railway, but not impossible to design and build.

Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

I’ll repeat the map I showed earlier, that shows the routes between Newark North Gate and Colton Junction.

Note.

  1. The current East Coast Main Line via Doncaster is shown dotted in black.
  2. The proposed new route, which is called HS3 is shown in white.
  3. Colton Junction is at the Northern end of the new track.

I suspect that the new route would be built to the same operating standards as High Speed Two.

  • Operating speed of 205 mph.
  • High specification electrification.
  • Signalling capable of handling 18 tph.
  • All classic and Classic-Compatible high speed trains would be able to take both routes, but would be limited to 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Trains needing to call at Doncaster and freight trains, would use the East Coast Main Line.
  • Full-Size High Speed Two trains would generally use the new high speed line.

It looks to be a good way to increase capacity between Newark and Leeds and York.

Timings Between Newark North Gate And Colton Junction

Consider.

  • Newark North Gate and Colton Junction are 63 miles apart.
  • Trains take 39 minutes.
  • There is a stop at Doncaster.

This is an average speed of 97 mph.

If trains went non-stop on the new ‘HS3’ route, there would be these timings at different average speeds.

  • 100 mph – 37.8 minutes
  • 125 mph – 30.2 minutes
  • 140 mph – 27 minutes
  • 160 mph – 23.6 minutes
  • 180 mph – 22.2 minutes
  • 200 mph – 18.9 minutes

Note.

  1. I have assumed the distance is the same as via the East Coast Main Line.
  2. I have made no allowance for longer acceleration and deceleration times to and from higher line speeds.
  3. High Speed Two Classic Compatible Trains could handle up to 205 mph if the track could support it.

It does appear that savings of upwards of fifteen minutes could be possible on all services that could use the new route.

Both East Coast Main Line and High Speed Two services would get time savings.

Colton Junction And York

As I saw and wrote about in London To Edinburgh On Lumo, the route between Leeds and York is being fully electrified.

The East Coast Main Line is already fully electrified, so I doubt the connection between ‘HS3’  and York will be difficult.

Trains will just exchange a 205 mph track for the East Coast Main Line’s 125 mph or 140 mph with in-cab digital signalling.

Colton Junction And Leeds

This High Speed Two Map shows the original planned track layout for High Speed Two to the East of Leeds.

Note.

  1. The large blue dot indicates Leeds HS2 station.
  2. The orange lines indicate the new high speed tracks for High Speed Two.
  3. The track going North-East is High Speed Two’s connection to the East Coast Main Line in the area of Colton Junction.
  4. The track going South is the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two to East Midlands Hub station, which has now been deleted.

Would it be possible to modify the route of High Speed Two to create a link between the Norther end of Newark and Colton Junction High Speed Line, which Greengauge 21 called HS3 and the proposed Leeds HS2 station?

This map from High Speed Two shows the area, where the High Speed Two Lines were originally proposed to run.

Note.

  1. The village of Swillington to the East of the proposed route of the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two.
  2. Junction 45 of the M1 in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. The River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal on the route of High Speed Two to Leeds HS2 station.

This Google Map shows the same area.

I’m no expert, but I do believe that it would be possible to create a chord to allow trains to access Leeds HS2 station from the York direction.

I would suspect that High Speed Two looked seriously at this chord, as it would enable the proposed Leeds HS2 station to have services to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh using the East Coast Main Line.

But there is one problem with this route – It doesn’t allow and easy solution to serve Bradford.

This map from High Speed Two, shows the Leeds HS2 station and the last bit of the approach from the East.

This article on the Architects Journal is entitled Foster + Partners behind designs for Leeds HS2 Station. The article shows.

  • Leeds HS2 station is being designed as a terminal station.
  • It shares a common concourse with the current Leeds station.

It appears from the pictures in the Architects Journal article, that passengers would have to change trains to get to Bradford.

The alternative would be for trains into Leeds to take the route used by Northern’s service between York and Blackpool North, which goes via Church Fenton, Micklefield, East Garforth, Garforth, Leeds, Bramley, New Pudsey and Bradford Interchange.

But judging by the times of other services, Colton Junction and Leeds would take over twenty minutes and it would be a further twenty minutes to Bradford Interchange.

I can’t think that this is a viable alternative.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that to get a decent service into Leeds from the East using Greengaige 21’s ‘HS3’ between Newark and Colton junction, would necessitate the building of a new Leeds HS2 station and a new route between the new station and Colton junction.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lhyfe’s Green Hydrogen To Power Deutsche Bahn Trains

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

This is the first paragraph.

Deutsche Bahn AG has agreed to source about 30 tonnes of green hydrogen from French producer Lhyfe from 2024 onward to power its trains as the German railway operator seeks to reach climate neutrality by 2040.

The electrolyser will be built at Tuebingen.

In Can The UK Have A Capacity To Create Five GW Of Green Hydrogen?, I said the following.

Ryze Hydrogen are building the Herne Bay electrolyser.

  • It will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power.
  • It will produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.

I suspect that in my quote above from the article on Renewables Now, that the Tuebingen electrolyser will be producing thirty tonnes of hydrogen per day or just under 11,000 tonnes per year.

In that case it would be three times the size of the Herne Bay Electrolyser.

 

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Szeged Tram-Train Service Inaugurated

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

This is the first paragraph.

The country’s first public tram-train service left Hódmezővásárhely for Szeged at 03.31 on November 29, with guests onboard including János Lázár, the government’s special commissioner for the project, and László Palkovics, Minister of Innovation & Technology.

They are obviously early starters in Hungary.

The Szeged-Hódmezővásárhely Tram-Train has its own Wikipedia entry.

From the Railway Gazette article and Wikipedia, I can ascertain the following.

  • It is a 32 km route.
  • Journey time will be 51 minutes, with an Off Peak frequency of two trains per hour (tph), with three tph in the Peak.
  • The main stations in Hódmezővásárhely and Szeged are served.
  • The route between the two cities is not electrified, but has been partially-upgraded to double-track and the speed has been upgraded to 100 kph.
  • In both central districts the vehicles run as tram-trains.

The rolling stock will be electro-diesel versions of Stadler Citylink tram-trains.

This pictures show  Sheffield Supertram’s Class 399 tram-trains, which are also members of the Stadler Citylink family.

The two tram-trains would appear to be very similar in terms of cab design, passenger compartment and an operating speed of 100 kph.

The question has to be asked, if Sheffield could expand their Supertram network with some electro-diesel tram-trains.

They could be ideal for the proposed service to Stocksbridge, that I wrote about in Reopening The Don Valley Section Of The Former Woodhead Line Between Stocksbridge and Sheffield Victoria To Passenger Services.

The route could be tested using diesel engines on sections without electrification and if the route attracted enough passengers, electrification could be erected.

 

December 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rail Freight ‘Booming’ Because Of HGV Driver Shortage

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

These are a few points from the article.

  • Tesco currently send 65,000 containers per year by train and are increasing this figure to 90,000.
  • Tesco are also planning to run special wine trains.
  • Dunelm is reported to have agreed a lease for a new warehouse at the Daventry rail terminal, creating another 70 jobs.
  • CB Railfreight is running 400 trains per day.
  • GB Railfreight trained seventy drivers in the last year.
  •  The number of people employed at the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, will rise by another 4,000 in January when a new section opens.

One Freight Operations Manager is quoted as saying business is booming. He believes that the truck driver shortage and thought for the environment are driving the growth in rail freight.

 

December 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Headbolt Lane Station Tipped For Go-Ahead

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Place North West.

This is the first paragraph.

Knowsley Council’s December planning committee is expected to approve Network Rail’s plans for a new station in Kirkby.

The article also says that the station could open by Spring 2023.

I wonder, if Liverpudlians will create Headbolt Lane station in record time, as they did a few miles down the line at Maghull North station, which I wrote about in How To Build A Station In Nine Months.

If they do open in early 2023, it is likely to be the first new rail line in the UK, that has been designed to be run by battery-electric trains.

As Liverpudlians like to be first, I would expect that this station will open by Spring 2023. Judging by Network Rail’s performance on bringing the Dartmoor Line to Okehampton station back into service, I don’t suspect it is an impossible dream.

December 4, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Universal Hydrogen CEO Sees Jetmakers Backing New Fuel

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

It is mainly predictions by Paul Eremenko, who is Chief Executive of Universal Hydrogen, about the future of the single-aisle jet airliner market.

I wrote in detail about their technology in Could Universal Hydrogen’s Concept Create A Hydrogen-Powered Single-Aisle Airliner?.

I firmly believe they have a concept that will work and look forward to flying in a hydrogen-powered aircraft using Universal Hydrogen’s technology before the end of the decade.

December 3, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Universal Hydrogen’s Concept Create A Hydrogen-Powered Single-Aisle Airliner?

Universal Hydrogen are making some of what I would consider the right moves.

Hydrogen Supply

Universal Hydrogen have signed a supply contract with Fortescue Future Industries for the supply of green hydrogen.

The deal is described in this press release on the FFI web site, which is entitled FFI And Universal Hydrogen Join Forces To Decarbonise Aviation.

Collaboration With Airbus

There is an article on BusinessWire, which is entitled Universal Hydrogen Announces New Engineering Development Center Located In Toulouse, France, The Heart of European Aviation.

Toulouse is the home of Airbus.

The Capsule Concept

The capsule concept could be universal.

These are widths of various planes and trains.

  • De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 – 2.52 metres – Internal
  • Airbus ATR 72 – 2.57 metres- Internal
  • Airbus A320neo – 3.7 metres – Internal
  • Boeing 737 – 3.53 metres – Internal
  • Class 800 train – 2.7 metres – External
  • Class 66 locomotive – 2.65 metres – External

I suspect that if the design is correct, then one size of capsule can be made to fit a variety of applications.

Application To Regional Aviation

I discussed this in Flybe Appears To Be On The Way Back.

I believe that De Havilland Canada Dash 8s and Airbus ATR 72s could be converted to hydrogen.

Road Transport

Surely, the capsules would be too big for road transport in the UK and many other countries.

But they would probably be ideal to deliver hydrogen to bus and truck depots and filling stations for hydrogen vehicles. They would just be plugged in and then could start dispensing the fuel.

Decarbonation Of Diesel Locomotives

Consider.

  • The cross-section of a diesel locomotive even in the UK, is larger than that of a regional airliner.
  • Most of the space in the body of a diesel locomotive is taken up by a large diesel engine.
  • Fuel ells or a small gas turbine could be small compared to the diesel engine.
  • Most existing diesel locomotives have electric transmissions.

I believe that many diesel-electric locomotives could be converted to hydrogen power and some could use Universal Hydrogen’s capsules.

Zero-Carbon Backup Generators

Many pieces of important infrastructure, like data centres, hospitals and large railway stations have backup generators.

Universal Hydrogen’s capsules could provide hydrogen for zero-carbon backup generators.

Universal Hydrogen’s Ideas For Single-Aisle Airliners

In the Product page on the Universal Hydrogen web site, there is a section, which is entitled Single Aisle / Narrowbody, where this is the first two sentences.

The majority of aviation emissions are produced by the single aisle (also known as narrowbody) fleet, dominated by the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families of aircraft. Both Boeing and Airbus are likely to develop a replacement for these venerable models for entry into service in the mid 2030s.

Alongside the text is this graphic, which compares various airliners.

Universal Hydrogen are proposing that Airbus stretch the A321, so that hydrogen capsules can be fitted in the rear of the fuselage, so that the aircraft has similar proportions to the Boeing 757.

Read the full text on the Product page of the Universal Hydrogen web site.

I can see that if they could prove the concept with the Regional Airliner, they could develop the two concepts shown in the graphic.

Conclusion

This is a simple, but very exciting project.

 

 

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flybe Appears To Be On The Way Back

I was alerted to the relaunch of the Flybe airline being a serious proposition by this article on the Birmingham Mail, which is entitled Watch As First Of 32 New Flybe Planes Lands At Birmingham Airport.

These are the first two paragraphs.

The first of Flybe’s more eco-friendly planes has landed in Birmingham ready for the launch of the airline’s new city HQ.

Part of a planned 32-aircraft fleet, the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 turboprop touched down on the runway at Birmingham Airport on Friday.

The new Flybe will be based at Birmingham Airport and will have a fleet consisting of thirty-two De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 aircraft.

The De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400

Note these facts about the aircraft.

  1. According to Wikipedia, 645 aircraft have been ordered, with 587 having been delivered.
  2. Different variants can handle between 40 and 80 passengers.
  3. All aircraft delivered since 1996 are dubbed Q-Series and have active noise and vibration suppression, which is designed to improve the cabin ambience.
  4. A Dash 8-400 is also called a Q400.

But the most interesting development of the Dash 8 aircraft, is that developments are underway, so that the aircraft will be able to be powered by hydrogen.

Universal Hydrogen And A Hydrogen-Powered Q400

This article on Future Flight is entitled Universal Assembles Hydrogen Aircraft Conversion Team In Washington State.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Universal Hydrogen and its hydrogen fuel cell partner Plug Power are joining forces with electric motor specialists MagniX and AeroTec to set up a Hydrogen Aviation Test and Service Center at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. The partners will use the new facility to convert a Dash 8 regional airliner to hydrogen propulsion in time to start commercial operations in 2025. Flight testing is due to begin in 2022.

The new hydrogen powertrain will consist of an electric propulsion unit (EPU) developed by MagniX and fuel cells provided by Plug Power, which has extensive experience converting trucks to hydrogen. Seattle-based AeroTec will take the lead on converting the Dash 8s to hydrogen propulsion, conducting flight tests, and arranging for certification under FAA supplemental type certificates. The system installation work will be conducted at the Moses Lake facility.

This paragraph gives details of the design.

The hydrogen-powered Dash 8 aircraft, which carry between 41 and 60 passengers, will be able to operate on routes of up to around 625 miles. Universal Hydrogen’s plan calls for the fuel to be delivered directly to aircraft in capsules that are installed in a compartment at the rear of the fuselage.

These are my thoughts on the design.

Power Required

Wikipedia says this about the engines of the Dash 8-400 (Q400).

The Series 400 uses Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A engines rated at 4,850 shp (3,620 kW).

This means that the aircraft will need fuel cells capable of delivering over 7 MW.

This data sheet on the Plug Power web site, says that the company has fuel cells  up to 125 KW, which weigh 350 Kg and need a cooling module, that weighs a further 103 Kg. Scaling up shows the power unit could weigh around 25.4 tonnes.

As the maximum take-off weight of a Q400 is around 30.5 tonnes, this wouldn’t leave much weight for the airframe, the two electric motors and propellers, the hydrogen and the passengers and their luggage.

It would appear that Plug Power must be using some form of lighter-weight fuel cell.

Or could they be using an appropriately-sized gas turbine generator from Pratt & Whitney Canada?

It should be noted that a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A engine, weighs under a tonne and generates over 3.5 MW.

Obviously, they wouldn’t be developing the plane, if they hadn’t figured out how to generate enough electricity to get it off the ground.

The Hydrogen Capsules

The Product page on the Universal Hydrogen web site is revealing.

This paragraph from the Product page describes how they would convert Regional Aircraft to Hydrogen.

Our first product is a conversion kit for existing regional aircraft, starting with the ATR72 and the De Havilland Canada Dash-8, to fly on hydrogen. This consists of a fuel cell electric powertrain that replaces the existing turboprop engines. It also accommodates, in the rear of the fuselage, our proprietary, lightweight, modular hydrogen capsules that are transported from green hydrogen production sites to the airport and loaded directly into the aircraft using the existing intermodal freight network and cargo handling equipment. By providing both an aircraft conversion solution for the existing fleet and a fuel services offering directly to regional airlines, we will be in passenger service with zero emissions by 2025 and in cargo service shortly thereafter.

Note.

  1. The cutaway on the Product page of a De Havilland Canada Dash-8, which has three capsules in the rear fuselage.
  2. The cutaway shows forty seats in the aircraft.
  3. If you scroll the pictures, you’ll see the design of the capsule.
  4. The product can be used to convert two regional airliners both of which are in production.
  5. Airports will need no new infrastructure to handle the hydrogen.

Universal Hydrogen has also signed a deal with Fortescue Future Industries to supply green hydrogen to fill the capsules.

 Are A First Flight In 2022 And An in-Service Date Of 2025 Over Ambitious?

The article in Future Flight says this.

AeroTec will take the lead on converting the Dash 8s to hydrogen propulsion, conducting flight tests, and arranging for certification under FAA supplemental type certificates.

FAA Supplemental Type Certificates are outlined on this page on the FAA web site, where this introductory paragraph is given.

A supplemental type certificate (STC) is a type certificate (TC) issued when an applicant has received FAA approval to modify an aeronautical product from its original design. The STC, which incorporates by reference the related TC, approves not only the modification but also how that modification affects the original design.

They are a much-used and well-proven method to update aircraft for new purposes and new power units.

I suspect that going this route will enable Q400 and ATR 72 aircraft will be flying on hydrogen by 2025.

How Far Will A Range Of 625 Miles Take The Plane From Birmingham?

I have used the Air Miles Calculator to calculate distances in miles from Birmingham.

  • Amsterdam Schiphol – 276
  • Barcelona – 791
  • Belfast City 225
  • Berlin Schönefeld – 644
  • Biarritz – 621
  • Bilbao – 635
  • Bordeaux – 529
  • Cologne – 397
  • Copenhagen – 624
  • Cork – 290
  • Dublin – 200
  • Dusseldorf – 373
  • Edinburgh – 251
  • Frankfurt – 452
  • Geneva – 556
  • Glasgow – 260
  • Hamburg – 495
  • Inverness – 364
  • Jersey – 225
  • Kirkwall – 474
  • Lerwick – 536
  • Lyon – 558
  • Munich – 660
  • Newcastle – 179
  • Newquay – 198
  • Nice – 735
  • Oslo – 726
  • Paris-Charles de Gaulle – 303
  • Paris-Orly – 315
  • Rotterdam – 265
  • Strasbourg – 494

Note.

  1. It might be possible to serve some routes without refuelling at the other end.
  2. Some routes could be paired for efficiency and still be well below 600 miles.
  3. The large intercontinental airports of Amsterdam Schiphol, Frankfurt and Paris-Charles de Gaulle should be reached easily.
  4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has a well-connected railway station.
  5. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport has a TGV station.
  6. Frankfurt Airport has a long distance railway station on the Cologne-Frankfurt high speed line.
  7. If you’re flying to the South of France or Switzerland, it looks like flying from London City Airport is about a hundred miles shorter.

It would appear that the range of 625 miles could be very useful, especially if you use a long distance train at both ends of the flight.

I can certainly understand why Flybe has chosen Birmingham as its main base.

 

Will Flybe Convert Their Aircraft To Hydrogen?

This is obviously up to the company, but if they don’t, someone else will and Flybe will lose their regional market in the UK.

Conclusion

I think those behind the new Flybe could be looking to create the UK’s first zero-carbon airline.

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Storm Arwen: Image Shows Severe Damage To Train Following Red Weather Warning

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

It shows a dramatic picture of a Class 170 train, that was hit by a tree, that was blown onto the line.

The incident happened on the Borders Railway and luckily no-one was hurt.

December 2, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment