The Anonymous Widower

Interview: Hitachi’s Nick Hughes On Driving Innovation In Rail Propulsion

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

As with the article I discuss in Hydrogen On The Line, it is another well-written and informative article from The Engineer, where those at the sharp end of innovative rail technologies give their views.

This is the introductory paragraph.

As part of a series of articles exploring the propulsion technologies that will shape the future of key transport sectors The Engineer spoke to Hitachi Rail’s Nick Hughes about the innovations that will propel the rail sector into a low carbon future.

The Engineer asked these questions.

  1. What propulsion innovations will help power the rail sector towards net zero?
  2. Can you outline some of your organisation’s own key activities in this area?
  3. What are the key obstacles and challenges to developments in this area?
  4. What is your vision for the long-term future of propulsion in your sector?

I find the answer to the last question most interesting.

Rail is going to become increasingly digitised and integrated into other sectors involved in smart cities, mobility-as-a-service and flexible green grid. Therefore, Hitachi Rail won’t be able to stay at the forefront of innovation by its self. This is why we are focused on building partnerships with other like-minded, innovative, clean tech companies like Hyperdrive Innovation, Perpetuum and Hitachi group companies such as Hitachi ABB.

Hyperdrive Innovation is going to apply its knowledge and expertise from the automotive sector, to develop a market leading battery for Hitachi trains. Perpetuum predictive analytics improve reliability and availability of existing trains. Meanwhile, Hitachi ABB’s experience of the power sector allows our battery train solution to incorporate charging, storage and grid management. These partnerships creates an entry point into the rail market for our partners, potentially leading to future growth and jobs.

However, it is important to recognise that the established technologies of today – battery trains, discontinuous electrification and high-speed trains – are the technologies will help achieve the 2050 net zero emission target.

I would very much agree with all that is said.

 

 

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

How Covids-Unfriendly Is A Class 345 Train?

These pictures show Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

Note.

  1. This example was a nine-car train going to Heathrow.
  2. It is 205 metres long and can carry 1500 passengers.
  3. As with most London Underground trains, most of the passengers sit longitudinally.
  4. Having watched people on these trains several times in the last few weeks and feel that the design encourages social-distancing

But there are other big advantages, when it comes to suppressing the virus.

  1. Each car has three sets of sliding doors on each side, which is more than most trains. As the lobbies on the train are spacious, does this help the maintaining of social-distancing, when entering and leaving the train.
  2. The trains are walk-through, so if you end up with a car, that is full of mask deniers, it is easy to move.
  3. The trains have full air-conditioning, which should reduce the amount of virus in the air.

I hope Transport for London are watching the statistics for the covids, to see if they go up or down, as more new trains are introduced on Crossrail routes.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport | , , | 5 Comments

Hydrogen On The Line

This article on The Engineer is entitled On Track: Advances In UK Hydrogen Rail.

This sub-heading introduces the article.

An expert panel from Vivarail, Birmingham University and Alstom discuss UK developments in hydrogen powered rail transport.

The article is a very readable article, that explains, the whys, wherefores and hows of hydrogen powered rail transport in the UK.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Would Opening Crossrail Affect The Covids In London?

There seems to be very little on the Internet about this, that I can find, Partly because if you search for Crossrail and Covid-19 you get lots of articles about how the virus is delaying construction.

These are a few of my thoughts.

The Class 345 Trains

Crossrail’s Class 345 trains are 205 metres long and can hold 1500 passengers.

  • The passenger density is 7.3 passengers per metre, but the trains have three doors per car, as opposed to others like the Class 700 trains, which have a similar passenger density and only two doors.
  • Would the space and the wide doors, make social-distancing easier at all times?
  • I’ve ridden these trains several times during the pandemic and their full air-conditioning for the tunnels, would surely be ideal to help keep the trains free of the virus, by changing the air regularly.
  • The trains are walk-through, which means you can walk-away from someone who looks dodgy.

There will probably be some better trains to reduce the spreading of the virus, but I doubt there will be that many.

The Stations

I’ve only been in two Crossrail stations.

These are pictures taken in the Woolwich station box.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Many Diesel Multiple Units In The UK Have Voith Hydraulic Transmissions?

This may seem to be a funny question to ask, but all will come clear later in the week.

Doing a quick search through Wikipedia finds the following trains.

  • Class 150 – 135 – two-car – 2 x 213 kW
  • Class 150 – 2 – three-car – 3 x 213 kW
  • Class 153 – 56 – one-car – 1 x 213 kW
  • Class 155 – 7 – two-car – 2 x 213 kW
  • Class 156 – 114 – two-car – 2 x 213 kW
  • Class 158 – 149 – two-car – 2 x 260-300 kW
  • Class 158 – 23 – three-car – 3 x 260-300 kW
  • Class 159 – 30 – three-car – 3 x 260-300 kW
  • Class 165 – 48 – two-car – 2 x 261 kW
  • Class 165 – 27 – three-car – 3 x 261 kW
  • Class 166 – 21 – three-car – 3 x 261 kW
  • Class 168 – 9 – two-car – 2 x 315 kW
  • Class 168 – 8 – three-car – 3 x 315 kW
  • Class 168 – 11 – four-car – 4 x 315 kW
  • Class 170 – 41 – two-car – 2 x 315 kW
  • Class 170 – 88 – three-car – 3 x 315 kW
  • Class 171 – 12 – two-car – 2 x 315 kW
  • Class 171 – 8 – four-car – 4 x 315 kW
  • Class 175 – 27 – two-car – 2 x 340 kW

Note.

  1. The three fields after the train class are the number of trains, the number of cars in each train and the number andsize of engines per train.
  2. All trains seem to have one diesel engine per car.
  3. All trains seem to have the same or similar Voith transmission.

There are a total of 816 trains of various lengths.

October 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport | | 4 Comments

The Footbridge At Feltham Station – 13th October 2020

Next to Feltham Station, Network Rail are building an unusual footbridge.

This visualisation from Network Rail shows the design.

 

These are the pictures I took today.

Some of the features of the bridge can be picked out on the visualisation.

October 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A Posh Bus Stop In Islington With A Carpet

Do your local bus stops have carpets?

This picture shows a stop in St. Paul’s Road in Islington!

October 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport | | 1 Comment

Scotland To Trial World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Ferry In Orkney

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The world’s first hydrogen-fuelled ferry is set to undergo testing as Scotland powers forward in the green energy race.

I wonder how many of these there are in the world?

This paragraph lists those behind the project.

The HyDIME project is made up of a consortium of partners being led by Ferguson Marine. Partners include ULEMCo, Lloyd’s Register, HSSMI and Orkney Islands Council.

I suspect ULEMCo will provide the motive power, as their speciality is converting vehicles to run on hydrogen or dual-fuel of hydrogen and diesel.

There is also a HyDIME web site.

This is the project description from the web site.

  • HyDIME (Hydrogen Diesel Injection in a Marine Environment) is a 12 month, Innovate UK funded project that will use an environmentally friendly form of hydrogen as a fuel for a commercial ferry operating between Shapinsay and Kirkwall in Orkney.
  • HyDIME aims to make waves in the marine industry by proving the safe integration and use of hydrogen on vessels. One of HyDIME’s goals is the design and physical integration of a hydrogen injection system on a commercial passenger and vehicle ferry which will be the first of its kind worldwide.
  • The hydrogen used in the HyDIME project will be cleanly produced from renewable energy. Excess energy generated from Orkney’s abundance of wind and tidal power will be used to produce hydrogen via electrolysis, resulting in carbon free, ’green’ hydrogen.
  • Looking to the future beyond the project, HyDIME will conduct a scale-up analysis, addressing key questions such as, “How much hydrogen and renewable energy would be required to fuel the Shapinsay ferry PLUS a fleet of hydrogen vehicles in Orkney?” and “Can this project be replicated in other areas of Scotland and the rest of the UK?”.
  • The HyDIME project will provide a stepping stone to accelerate and de-risk future hydrogen marine projects and will contribute towards growing the hydrogen economy in the UK.

This looks to be a very professional project, as they seem to be trying to answer all the questions, anyone will ask.

 

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Hull Trains Seat Allocation System

When I went to Hull recently, I used Hull Trains.

 

These pictures show the train as I boarded at London Kings Cross.

When I got my ticket out of the machine, I was very surprised to see the phrase No Specified Seat on the ticket.

I queried it with one of the LNER staff and they said, it will be alright and anyway, it is nothing to do with them.

When I got to the gate, I asked the guy from Hull Trains and he said, you’ll see when you get inside and something like. “Sit in any seat with a green flag!”

You can see the coloured flags on the seats in the pictures. The different colours mean.

  • Green – For single travellers
  • Red – Do not sit here
  • Yellow – For two or more travelling together.

So I choose a window seat with a green flag on it.

Did it work?

  • There were no families, but several  pairs of travellers and I suspect about sixty percent of the seats were taken.
  • Everybody was socially distanced and either had a spare seat or someone they knew next to them.
  • At one table, I could see four guys all sitting together,
  • The system deals with no-shows and leaves their seat for someone else.

Until proven otherwise, I think it worked well.

  • I didn’t get allocated a seat, but I’m certain the system would work well if say some seats had been allocated by the booking computer.
  • Seats could also be indicated by coloured lights.
  • But as Hull Trains had only just restarted after the attack of the covids.

I had to have a quiet smile though.

My father was a master at designing production control systems and coloured cards were one of the tools in his box.

Often cards for his big customers like Belling, Dunlop and Enfield Rolling Mills were intricate and numbered creations, all produced with letterpress and his two faithful Original Heidelberg Plattern Presses.

 

Original Heidelberg

With the right gadgets in the chase, that held the type, they could number, score and perforate. You couldn’t do those operations with litho, in the 1950s and 1960s.

I hadn’t realised much about this side of my father’s work, until I met Ray Askew, whilst walking our basset hound. He had a basset too and on talking,  it turned out he had worked for Enfield Rolling Mills and it was part of his job to source production control documents and he used to design them with my father, whose firm, then printed them!

Could This System Be Used On East Coast Trains?

East Coast Trains are another First Group company like Hull Trains, who will be running services between London and Edinburgh from some time next year.

I can’t see why they could use a developed version of this system, with tri-colour lights on the seats.

East Coast Trains will be aiming for a four hour service and I suspect they’d like people to just turn up and go, so quick ticketing would be needed. A simple app, where you said how many tickets and what train and then you just turned up in time for your train would do.

 

 

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ealing Broadway Station – 12th October 2020

I took these pictures, as I passed through Ealing Broadway station yesterday.

Note.

  1. It looks to be a large posh shelter on the platform.
  2. Ealing Broadway seems to be joining the group of Crossrail stations, with means to cross the tracks at both ends of the trains.

I took the pictures from a train with a full nine car Class 345 train! They have a capacity of 1,500 passengers and are 200 metres long.

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments