The Anonymous Widower

No News On Hydrogen Trains For The Midland Main Line

In April 2019, I wrote Hydrogen Trains To Be Trialled On The Midland Main Line, which was based on an article on Railway Gazette that is entitled Bimode And Hydrogen Trains As Abellio Wins Next East Midlands Franchise.

I said this in my post.

Abellio will be taking over the franchise in August this year and although bi-mode trains were certain to be introduced in a couple of years, the trialling of hydrogen-powered trains is a surprise to me and possibly others.

This is all that is said in the article.

Abellio will also trial hydrogen fuel cell trains on the Midland Main Line.

It also says, that the new fleet will not be announced until the orders are finalised.

Nothing has been heard since about the hydrogen train trial for the Midland Main Line.

But there have been several related developments, that might have implications for the trial.

East Midlands Railway Has Ordered Hitachi Class 804 Trains For EMR InterCity Services

Class 804 trains are Hitachi’s latest offering, that are tailored for the Midland Main Line.

The trains will have a few differences to the current Class 800,/801/802 trains.

But will they be suitable for conversion to hydrogen power?

Consider.

  • The Hitachi trains have a comprehensivecomputer system, that looks at the train and sees what power sources are available and controls the train accordingly.
  • Trains have already been ordered in five, seven and nine-car lengths. I have read up to twelve-car trains are possible in normal operation. See Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?
  • Hydrogen train designs, with a useful range of several hundred miles between refuelling, seem to need a hydrogen tank, that takes up at least half of a twenty metre long carriage.
  • The Hitachi train design has pantographs on the driver cars and can support diesel generator units in the intermediate cars, as it does in current trains.
  • The Japanese are researching hydrogen trains.
  • The five-car Class 802 trains have 2,100 kW of installed generator power.

I think that Hitachi’s engineers can build another carriage, with the following characteristics.

  • It could be based on a Motor Standard car.
  • The passenger seats and interior would be removed or redesigned in a shorter space.
  • Powered bogies would be as required.
  • It would contain a hydrogen tank to give sufficient range.
  • Appropriately-sized batteries and fuel-cells would be inside or under the vehicle.
  • Regenerative braking would help to recharge the batteries.
  • There would probably be no diesel generator unit.

There would need to be a walkway through the car. Stadler have shown this works in the Class 755 train.

A Hydrogen Power car like this would convert a five-car bi-mode diesel-electric train into a six-car hydrogen-electric hybrid train. Or they might just replace one Motor Standard car with the Hydrogen Power Car to create a five-car hydrogen-electric hybrid train, if the longer train would cause problems in the short platforms at St. Pancras.

  • The computer system would need to recognise the Hydrogen Power Car and control it accordingly. It would probably be very Plug-and-Play.
  • The weight of the train could probably be reduced by removing all diesel generator units.
  • The passenger experience would be better without diesel power.
  • The range away from the wires would probably be several hundred miles.

The drivers and other staff would probably not need massive retraining.

What Do I Mean By Appropriately-Sized Batteries And Fuel Cells?

I can’t be sure,, but I suspect the following rules and estimates hold.

  • The batteries must be large enough to more than hold the kinetic energy of a full five-car train, running at the full speed of 140 mph.
  • I estimate that the kinetic energy of the train,will be around 200 kWh, so with a contingency, perhaps battery capacity of between 400-500 kWh would be needed.
  • Currently, a 500 kWh battery would weigh five tonnes, which is of a similar weight to one of the diesel generator units, that are no longer needed.
  • In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I estimated that the all-electric Class 801 train, needs 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 125 mph. This means that travelling at 125 mph for an hour would consume around 2,000 kWh or an output of 2,000 kW from the fuel cell for the hour.
  • Note that 1 kg of hydrogen contains 33.33 kWh of usable energy, so the hydrogen to power the train for an hour at 125 mph, will weigh around sixty kilograms.

From my past experience in doing chemical reaction calculations in pressure vessels, I think it makes the concept feasible. After all, it’s not that different to Alstom’s Breeze.

I would assume, that the train manufacturers can do a full calculation, to a much more accurate level.

Applying The Concept To Other Hitachi Trains

Once proven, the concept could be applied to a large number of Hitachi bi-mode trains. I suspect too, that it could be applied to all other Hitachi A-train designs, that are in service or on order, all over the world.

In the UK, this includes Class 385, Class 395 and Class 80x trains.

Bombardier Have Said That They’re Not Interested In Hydrogen Power

But Electrostars and Aventras have the same Plug-and-Play characteristic as the Hitachi train.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Bombardier have a Hydrogen Power Car design for an Aventra. All that it needs is an order.

They could also probably convert a five-car Class 377 train to effectively a four-car train, with a Hydrogen Power Car in the middle. This would be ideal for the Uckfield Branch and the Marshlink Lines. I suspect it could be done to meet the timescale imposed by the transfer of the Class 171 trains to East Midlands Railway.

There must be an optimal point, where converting an electric multiple unit, is more affordable to convert to hydrogen, than to add just batteries.

But then everybody has been dithering about the Uckfield and Marshlink trains, since I started this blog!

Stadler Have Shown That a Gangway Through A Power Car Is Acceptable To Passengers In The UK

Stadler’s Class 755 trains seem to be operating without any complaints about the gangway between the two halves of the train.

Stadler Have Two Orders For Hydrogen-Powered Trains

These posts describe them.

Stadler also have a substantial order for a fleet of battery Flirt Akku in Schleswig Holstein and they are heavily involved in providing the rolling stock for Merseyrail and the South Wales Metro, where battery-powered trains are part of the solution.

It looks to me, that Stadler have got the technology to satisfy the battery and hydrogen train market.

The Driver’s View Of Stadler

It’s happened to me twice now; in the Netherlands and in the UK.

  • Both drivers have talked about hydrogen and Stadler’s trains with the engine in the middle.
  • They like the concept of the engine.
  • The English driver couldn’t wait to get his hands on the train, when he finished his conversion.
  • Both brought up the subject of hydrogen first, which made me think, that Stadler are telling drivers about it.

Or does driving a hydrogen-powered vehicle as your day job, score Greta points in the pub or club after work?

Could The Hydrogen Train On The Midland Main Line Be A Stadler?

Greater Anglia and East Midlands Railway are both controlled by Abellio or Dutch Railways.

In The Dutch Plan For Hydrogen, I laid out what the Dutch are doing to create a hydrogen-based economy in the North of the country.

Stadler are going to provide hydrogen-powered for the plan.

In addition.

  • Greater Anglia have bought a lot of Class 755 trains.
  • A lot of Lincolnshire and Norfolk is similar to the North of the Netherlands; flat and windy.
  • One of these trains with a hydrogen PowerPack, could be an ideal train for demonstrating hydrogen on rural routes like Peterborough and Doncaster via Lincoln.

But the promise was on the Midland Main Line?

Conclusion

Hydrogen trains seem to be taking off!

Even if there’s been no news about the trial on the Midland Main Line.

 

January 12, 2020 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Energy Storage 2020: It’s Not Just About Lithium-Ion Batteries Any More

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

The article is a must-read, as it surveys the various techniques being developed to store energy.

This is the last paragraph of the article.

The one thing we can take away from all this experimentation is that energy storage will be more affordable in the future, and that’s a very good thing for a world suffering heat exhaustion from traditional thermal generation strategies.

I agree!

January 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Cross City Connect Proposes HS1-HS2 Link

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the January 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

The article is only sketchy giving only a few details of the proposal.

  • The link would connect HS2 at Old Oak Common to HS1 at Rainham.
  • HS2 would not connect to Euston.
  • There would be intermediate stations at South Bank Central, Canary Wharf and Barking.

This map, that was posted in the RailUK forums, shows the route.

These are my thoughts on various points of the plan.

The Tunnel Route And South Bank Central Station

The proposed tunnel route is shown in red on the map.

These are my thoughts on the main tunnel.

Western Section – Old Oak Common To South Bank Central Station

This Google Map shows the area of London between Old Oak Common Elizabeth Line Depot and the South Bank.

Note.

  1. The depot is in the North-West corner marked with the red arrow.
  2. The Thames as it curves around the South Bank is in the South East corner of the map.
  3. The Serpentine in Hyde Park can be picked out.

I think that the tunnel would go deep under the West London Line and Hyde Park before cutting away East to the Thames.

Note that when a similar tunnel was dug deep under East London for High Speed One, there wasn’t too much difficulty. But that was twenty-five years ago and tunnelling techniques have surely improved.

There is also all the knowledge, that has been accumulated by the boring of Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

South Bank Central Station

This second Google Map shows the Thames between the London Eye and Blackfriars station.

Blackfriars Bridge, Blackfriarts station, The Hayward Gallery. The National Theatre, The Royal Festival Hall, Waterloo bridge and Waterloo station can all be picked out.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the various lines in the area.

Note.

  1. There seem to be few lines by the Thames on the South Bank, with just the Bakerloo and Northern Lines crossing the area.
  2. The Waterloo & City Line crosses further to the East.
  3. I would suspect, that as most of the buildings in the area of the South Bank have been built since 1950, that detailed plans and surveys exist of the South Bank.
  4. Even Waterloo Bridge was built as recently as the Second World War, which is young for many of the bridges across the Thames.

This leads me to believe that a substantial station could be built under the South Bank.

  • It would have long platforms roughly following the line of the Thames.
  • It could be connected to Waterloo station at the South-Western end.
  • Connections could surely be made to the Bakerloo and Northern Lines and possibly to the Jubilee Line.
  • The Northern Line is being extended to Battersea Power station.
  • The Bakerloo Line could be extended to South East London.
  • There are possible plans to extend Charing Cross station over Hungerford Bridge, which could be connected as well.
  • Could the station be connected to Blackfriars station at the North-Eastern end?
  • Could tunnels be built under the Thames to connect the station to the North Bank?

It seems to me, that there are lots of possibilities to make the proposed Soiuth Bank Central station a very well-connected station.

This Google Map may offer a clue as to where the station could poke its head into the South Bank.

Going from West to East across the map, the following can be seen.

  • The approach road to Waterloo Bridge.
  • The National Theatre
  • The IBM Building.
  • The London Studios

The last is the interesting building, as it has been sold to Mitsuibishi Estates to be developed as luxury housing. It is also a large site of 2.5 acres and there used to be a tower on the site, so I suspect there could be space for a station in the basement and an entrance or two on the surface.

It would certainly be a wonderful location to arrive at in London.

  • Walk to the West and you pass The Nation Theatre, the Hayward Gallery, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Festival Hall before arriving at Hungerford Bridge and the footbridges to the North Bank, Charing Cross station and Trafalgar Square.
  • Walk further West and you pass the London Eye and come to Westminster Bridge, with The Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square on the other side of the River.
  • Walk to the East and you pass Blackfriars station, that sits above the river and the Tate Modern, before arriving at the Millenium Bridge that leads to St. Paul’s Cathedral.
  • South Bank Central station could even have a pier for the Thames Clippers.

It would certainly be a Central station, worthy of the name.

In this post entitled Walking Between Blackfriars And Hungerford Railway Bridges, there are a series of pictures I took on the walk.

These pictures show the section around the studios.

Note thaty the river walk is a tree-lined boulevarde and there is an accessible beach.

It should also be noted that the Thames Tideway worksite locations are on the North side of the river at this point of the river, so this could leave space for the Cross City Connect tunnel to be towards the South Bank.

South Bank Central Station And Canary Wharf Station

This Google Map shows the route between the South Bank and Canary Wharf.

Note.

  1. The South Bank is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. East Enders fans will be able to recognise the O2 at the Eastern side of the map.
  3. Canary Wharf is to the West of the O2 in the bend of the River.

I suspect that the tunnel could be bored roughly along the line of the River before passing under Canary Wharf, where there could be a deep-level station.

Potential Station – Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf station is only labelled as a potential station.

This Google Map shows the Canary Wharf Crossrail station.

Is the design of the station such, that extra lines could be placed alongside or under the Crossrail tracks and connected to the existing station?

There certainly must be a suitable place for a potential station at Canary Wharf, otherwise it wouldn’t have been proposed.

The station would give access to Crossrail, the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line.

I also expect that the Canary Wharf Group would be very co-operative and could make a contribution to the cost of the station.

Canary Wharf Station To Barking And Rainham

This Google Map shows the final section from Canary Wharf to Rainham.

Note.

  1. Canary Wharf and the O2 at the West of the map.
  2. The London City |Airport to the East of the O2, with the water alongside the runway.
  3. Rainham station marked by a red arrow at the East of the map.

It would appear that the route of the tunnel could be under the River or the runway at the City Airport.

But it should be born in mind, that High Speed One was dug under Barking and there wasn’t too much trouble.

Potential Station – London City Airport

As the Cross City Connect tunnel could pass under the terminal building at the Airport, could a station be built here?

I suspect not!

  • Passengers at the Airport go to many of the destinations of the rail service.
  • I don’t think there will be enough passengers to justify the station.
  • London City Airport is expanding the terminal and they probably wouldn’t want to change things now.

The Airport wants a Crossrail station and that is more likely.

Potential Station – Barking

Barking station is only labelled as a potential station.

The map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows another potential station at Barking.

It is a well-connected station.

Could a two track high speed station with two-platforms per track, be built underneath the current station and connected to it by escalators and lifts?

It would probably not be a much more difficult station to design and build, than Whitechapel station on Crossrail.

CCC-HS1 Interface

This Google Map shows the rail lines and roads around Dagenham Dock station.

Stand on the London-bound platform and whilst waiting for a c2c train, Eurostars and Javelins speed by behind you.On the map, you can just see the Jigh Speed One tunnel portal to the West of the station.

The two pairs of tracks; c2c and High Speed One run parallel through Rainham station, until they split with the c2c tracks going towards the river and Purfleet and Grays station and High Speed One threading its way through the approaches to the Dartford Crossing and its tunnel under the Thames.

This Google Map shows the area to the South-East of Rainham station, which is in the North-West corner of the map.

Note the A13 road linking East London to the junction with the M25 in the East, which is to the North of the Lakeside Shopping Centre.

This Google Map shows the North Western corner of the previous map.

Note.

  1. Rainham station at the top of the map.
  2. The two c2c tracks running South East from the station.
  3. The two High Speed One alongside the c2c tracks.
  4. The dual carriageway of the A13 road.

There is a large empty triangular area of land between the road and the four railway tracks. As I’ll mention it several times, I’ll call it the Rainham triangular site in future.

I suspect that the Cross City Connect tunnel will break off from High Speed One to the South-East of Rainham station , with a portal in the Rainham triangular site.

A train between Paris and Birmingham or Manchester would do the following.

  • Take High Speed One as now.
  • After stopping as required at Ashford and/or Ebbsfleet stations, it would cross under the Thames.
  • At Rainham it would take the Cross City Connect tunnel.

After stopping as required  at South Bank Central and Old Oak Common stations, it would take High Speed Two for the North.

Boring The Tunnel

The Rainham triangular site could be the place from where to bore the tunnel. Or at least the Eastern part!

  • There is a lot of space.
  • Linings and other heavy materials and equipment, could be brought in by rail using High Speed One.
  • Tunnel spoil could be conveyored to the river and taken away in barges.

Would tunnelling techniques have improved enough to go between Rainham and Old Oak Common in one continuous bore?

Would There Be A Station At Rainham?

All services going through the Cross City Connect tunnel would need to terminate somewhere.

Some would go all the way to the Continent and in the near future they could terminate at some of all of the following destinations.

  • Amsterdam
  • Bordeaux
  • Brussels
  • Cologne
  • Frankfurt
  • Geneva
  • Paris

High Speed Two’s trains would be compatible with the Channel Tunnel, but ridership would be variable along say a Manchester and Paris route.

So some services would need to terminate in the London area.

As the line to Euston would be abandoned in the Cross City Connect plan, a new station will be needed to terminate trains.

There are two possibilities.

  • Old Oak Common, which because of its connections to Crossrail, the Overground and the Great Western Railway will be the place of choice for many to catch High Speed Two.
  • A new station at Rainham.

Both should be built.

Rainham High Speed station would be built in the Rainham triangular site.

  • It has good road access to the UK’s motorway network.
  • c2c services would call to give South Essex access to High Speed services
  • Southeastern Highspeed services would call to give Kent access to High Speed services.
  • Continental services would call to give access to alternative routes to or through London.
  • Some High Speed Two services to and from the North would terminate at the station.

There is probably space for an extensive train depot on the site.

Consider a service between Geneva and Glasgow.

  • Most travellers would fly on this route as it would be in the order of eight hours by train.
  • I suspect though that London and Geneva at possibly six hours could attract more traffic.

A well-planned station at Rainham would probably cater for the masochists who wanted to do the long journey by High Speed Rail in a day.

But the interchange at Rainham would be invaluable for passengers travelling between the Continent and Canary Wharf or Westminster.

  • Canary Wharf is served directly.
  • Westminster is a short walk over the Thames or one stop on the Jubilee Line from South Bank Central station.
  • Try going between St. Pancras International and Canary Wharf or Westminster quickly without changing trains or using a taxi.
  • The proposed Crossrail 2 won’t make these journeys any easier.
  • The Cross City Connect Route would be faster.

As Canary Wharf is connected to Crossrail and Old Oak Common to the Overground, access to the Greater London area would be much improved with a change at Rainham High Speed station.

Cross City Connect, also gives access to these services to places, that will not be served by High Speed Two.

  • South Western Railway services from Waterloo, which will be close to South Bank Central station.
  • Great Western Railway services will be available at Old Oak Common.

Travellers wanting classic service to the North would go as now, via St. Pancras.

The only thing missing is a connection to Crossrail, which would give direct access to Liverpool Street and Paddington.

I think that Rainham High Speed station would become a very important station.

Tunnel Size And Number

High Speed Two is being built to a loading gauge of UIC GC, which is similar to the Channel Tunnel. The Channel Tunnel bores are 7.6 metres in diameter.

The biggest tunnel under London will be the one currently being dug for the Thames Tideway Scheme.

  • It will be 25 kilometres long.
  • The diameter is 7.2 metres.
  • It will be up to seventy metres below the surface.

For much of its route, it follows the Thames in a similar manner to the Cross City Connect tunnel.

Cross City Connect would need one tunnel of this size for each track.

Could two tracks share a single tunnel?

Theoretically, I think they could, but it could cause problems in station design.

Station Design

Would the Cross City Connect need four tracks and platforms at each station?

High Speed One stations at Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford stations effectively have four tracks and platforms, due to the security need of separating domestic and International passengers.

But as all trains these days, including those on Eurostar and the Javelins working suburban services have doors on both sides, surely there is an engineering solution.

  • South Bank Central and any other Central London stations would have platforms on both sides
  • All platforms would have level access between train and platform and platform doors.
  • Platform doors would be designed to work with all trains using the route. I have ideas how this could be done.
  • The domestic platforms would be the two platforms between the two tunnels. This would mean domestic passengers could board and leave the trains with the minimum of fuss. They could also reverse direction if they should need.
  • The International platforms would be on the outside and would have the extra security checks needed.
  • International and domestic services would only open doors to the appropriate platform.

If a solution to the security problem can be found, then two tunnels would be sufficient.

Four tunnels would blow the budget.

Train Operating Speed In The Tunnel

Consider.

  • High Speed Two has been designed with an operating speed of 225 mph.
  • The Chanel Tunnel has a maximum operating speed of 100 mph.
  • The Channel Tunnel track could possibly handle 120 mph.
  • Crossrail has an operating speed of 90 mph.

It should also be noted that the faster the trains go, the greater the pressure on infrastructure like platform edge doors and the passengers waiting on the platforms outside the doors.

I would suspect that the maximum operating speed of trains in the Cross City Connect tunnel would not  be hoigher than 100 mph, but with a possibility of increasing it up to 125 mph in the future.

Train Frequency

Note that the design frequency of High Speed Two is twenty-one trains per hour (tph).

If Thameslink and Crossrail have been planned for twenty-four tph, with an objective of going to thirty tph, I don’t see why, we shouldn’t see twenty-four tph or even thirty tph running through the Cross City Connect tunnel.

Summing Up The Tunnel Route And South Bank Central Station

These are my conclusions on the tunnel route.

  • It uses London’s geography and the tunnelling-friendly clay soil to advantage.
  • The designers of the scheme have found an easy place to build a well-connected station at South Bank Central.
  • It also appears that the Eastern portal at Rainham, is on a site with plenty of space.
  • Could the Eastern portal make a good site from where to build the tunnel.

Overall, it appears to be a very viable project.

Passenger Services

When Phase Two of High Speed Two, these services are currently planned to run into Euston.

  • 3 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street – via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange (2 tph)
  • 2 tph – Liverpool – via Old Oak Common, Stafford (1 tph), Crewe (1 tph) and Runcorn
  • 3 tph – Manchester – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange and Manchester Airport (2 tph)
  • 1 tph – Preston – via Old Oak Common, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western
  • 2 tph – Glasgow – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange (1 tph), Preston and Carstairs
  • 2 tph – Edinburgh – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange (1 tph), Preston, Carstairs and Edinburgh Haymarket
  • 3 tph – Leeds – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, East Midlands Hub (1 tph), Chesterfield (1 tph) and Sheffield Midland (1 tph)
  • 2 tph – Sheffield – via Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, East Midlands Hub and Chesterfield (1 tph)
  • 1 tph – York via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange
  • 2 tph – Newcastle – via Old Oak Common (1 tph) and Birmingham Interchange and York.

Adding these up gives a frquency of twenty-one tph between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange.

The Dutch believe that five trains per day (tpd) will be viable between London and Amsterdam and it looks like this frequency will be running by the end of 2021.

Obviously, passenger numbers will be determined by where passengers want to go, but I think that there should be at least this minimum service between the Continent and the North.

  • 3 tpd – Glasgow
  • 3 tpd – Liverpool
  • 3 tpd – Birmingham Curzon Street
  • 3 tpd – Manchester
  • 3 tpd – Leeds

I believe that High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail will be combined, as I described in Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North.

This could result in a service between London and Hull that  called at Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, Crewe, Manchester Airport, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.

I estimated timings from London to various cities as follows.

  • Birmingham – 49 minutes
  • Liverpool – 66 mins
  • Manchester – 66 mins
  • Leeds – 92 mins
  • Hull – 130 minutes

It looks like there could be a direct service between Paris or Brussels to the North in these times.

  • Birmingham – Under three hours
  • Liverpool – Under four hours
  • Manchester – Under four hours
  • Leeds – Around four hours
  • Hull – Under five hours

Get the design of Rainham High Speed station right and the right timetable and timings would only be a few minutes longer with a cross-platform interchange at Rainham High Speed or Birmingham Interchange station.

The merging of High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail could enable services with these frequencies.

  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Birmingham
  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Glasgow
  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and Hull.
  • 4 tpd – Paris or Brussels and Liverpool

Note.

  1. These services would be pairs of trains, eith the two trains would splitting and joining at Lille. One train would go to and from Brussels and the other to and from Paris.
  2. The services would add one tph to traffic through the busy Channel Tunnel and to High Speed Two between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange.
  3. There would be several extra services per day, with a change at Rainham High Speed station.
  4. Birmingham would get four tpd at Birmingham Curzon Street and another twelve tpd at Birmingham Interchange.
  5. The trains from Brussels could have Amsterdam, Cologne and Frankfurt as their terminus.

I could see these services giving the airlines a good kicking.

  • Manchester and Paris has seven flights per day, but the route could have four direct tpd and three tph with a change at Rainham.
  • Glasgow and Paris appears to have just two flights per day.
  • A 200 metre long train could seat over 500, whereas an Airbus A320 seats around 200.

Would you fly between Paris and Birmingham, Liverpool or Manchester, if you could go by train in under four hours?

Freight Services

Why not? Especially at night!

Design the platform edge door correctly and freight trains would be able to pass through the Cross City Connect tunnel.

Much of the container traffic between the UK and Europe should go by rail, and this tunnel makes it possible.

Issues That Must Be Considered

There are a few issues that must be considered.

St. Pancras Station

I think that long-term St. Pancras station will have capacity and access problems for trains and passengers.

  • The six Eurostar platforms are probably not enough, if more services want to use the station.
  • The lounges and passport control need more space.
  • At times, the station concourse is overcrowded.
  • Crossrail 2 and/or better access to the Underground is needed now.
  • Getting from St. Pancras to Canary Wharf, Euston and Westminster is not easy.

You also regularly hear Eurostar passengers moaning and say that they preferred Waterloo as the terminal.

Building Cross City Connect solves all the problems and effectively gives London five stations, that can be used for the Continent at Canary Wharf, Old Oak Common, Rainham, Saint Pancras and South Bank Central.

Southeastern’s HighSpeed Services

Southeastern’s HighSpeed services to and from Kent, only have two London destinations; Stratford and St. Pancras.

  • Cross City Connect seem to be suggesting that some of these services take their new tunnel and go to Birmingham.
  • They would connect the services to the new stations at Canary Wharf and South Bank Central.
  • The current Class 395 trains are only 140 mph trains and might be to slow for the 225 mph High Speed Two.
  • But their speed would be fine on an upgraded West Coast Main Line.

I’m sure that space could be found at Milton Keynes, Tring or Watford Junction for a platform to handle four tph through the Cross City Connect tunnel to Rainham and Kent.

London would get another Crossrail!

And talking of Crossrail, the services could take the Crossrail route to Reading and possibly Oxford.

There is great potential to use some of those paths through the Cross City Connect tunnel to link passengers to the major Continental interchange at Rainham High Speed station.

Stratford International Station

At present this station is really only a domestic station for Southeastern’s HighSpeed services between St. Pancras and Kent.

  • Continental services do not stop.
  • The only connections are to buses and the Docklands Light Railway.
  • It is badly-connected to Crossrail, the Greater Anglia services and the Underground, at the main Stratford station.
  • Underneath the station is the High Meads Loop, which is connected to the West Anglia Main Line and used to be used to terminate Stansted Expresses.

It is a design crime of the worst order.

But it could be so much better.

  • A better connection with a travelator could connect the two Stratford stations.
  • A Lea Valley Metro could be developed using the High Meads Loop as a terminus.
  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge services could also use the High Meads Loop.
  • Platforms could be added to the High Meads Loop, that would connect direct to the International station.

I also feel some Continental services should stop, as this would give them easy access to the important Crossrail.

Stratford could be the station, that ties London, East Anglia and South Essex together and gives them good links to the Continent.

A Future Thames Estuary Airport And Thames Barrier

I feel that in the next three decades, there is at least a fifty percent chance, that London will build an airport in the Thames Estuary.

The Airport would probably be some miles to the East, but the Cross City Connect tunnel and Rainham High Speed station could be valuable parts of the rail system serving that Airport.

Look at the section called Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Thames Barrier.

A new barrier will be needed in the next fifty years.

It could include rail and road crossings.

It could incorporate a large Airport.

There may even be tidal power generation.

As there will be extensive developments on both sides of the Thames, more transport infrastructure will be needed and the Cross City Connect tunnel and the Rainham High Speed station will play their part.

Immigration Control And Security

This could have a large effect on station design, as domestic and International passengers will need to be kept apart.

Cross City Connect are saying that four tracks might be needed; two for domestic services and two for International ones.

However, I believe that a four-platform station with just two tracks (and tunnels!), that kept domestic and International passengers apart could be built.

Earlier I said this.

  • South Bank Central and any other Central London stations would have platforms on both sides
  • All platforms would have level access between train and platform and platform doors.
  • Platform doors would be designed to work with all trains using the route. I have ideas how this could be done.
  • The domestic platforms would be the two platforms between the two tunnels. This would mean domestic passengers could board and leave the trains with the minimum of fuss. They could also reverse direction if they should need.
  • The International platforms would be on the outside and would have the extra security checks needed.
  • International and domestic services would only open doors to the appropriate platform.

I certainly think, there is a solution, that can be used with just two tracks.

Euston Station

If the Cross City Connect route is built, what happens at Euston?

Operationally, Euston may have problems with the number of platforms and their length, as many of London’s terminal stations do.

But Euston’s biggest problem is the connection to the Underground.

  • It is a cramped station.
  • It is not step-free.
  • The Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines call in the separate Euston Squiare station about two hundred metres away.

I understand that these problems were to be fixed with the rebuilding of the station.

So what happens now?

Will there be more demolition of the station and the surrounding buildings?

Conclusion

There’s more to this project, than meets the eye!

 

January 3, 2020 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Thoughts On LNER’s New Harrogate Service

I wrote about LNER’s improved service to Harrogate station in New Harrogate-London Rail Times Revealed.

If you look at each service, they have a very rel;axed stop at Leeds.

Northbound services are scheduled to take the following times.

  • 0733 – 8 minutes
  • 0933 – 7 minutes
  • 1133 – 7 minutes
  • 1333 – 7 minutes
  • 1533 – 11 minutes
  • 1733 – 13 minutes.

Sorthbound services are scheduled to take the following times.

  • 0736 – 11 minutes
  • 0936 – 10 minutes
  • 1136 – 8 minutes
  • 1336 – 9 minutes
  • 1536 – 8 minutes
  • 1736 – 9 minutes.

It seems a long time to pass through Leeds station.

But this is because the train reverses direction at Leeds station, so the driver has to change ends.

Will Azumas make any difference?

Azumas were designed around forty years after the current InterCity 125 trains that work the service. A five-car Azuma is also half the length of a two+eight InterCity 125.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the new timetable, the 7-9 minutes reverse are timed for Azumas and the longer times are to allow InterCity 125 trains to run the service.

The Azuma services to Leeds seem to be run by two five-car trains, running as a pair.

Could this be, so that the train can split and join at Leeds?

  • A pair of five-car Azumas would arrive in Leeds from London.
  • A second driver gets in the rear cab of the rear train.
  • The two trains automatically uncouple.
  • The rear train drives off to the West to Bradford, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Skipton or wherever.
  • The front train can drive off to the East to perhaps Hull, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, Scotland or Sunderland.
  • If required the driver could change ends and continue to the East.

The process would be reversed when going South.

Possible Destinations

These are possible destinations, distances and times.

  • Bradford – 13 miles – 25 minutes
  • Harrogate – 18 miles – 30 minutes
  • Huddersfield – 17 miles – 35 minutes
  • Hull – 20 miles – 60 minutes
  • Middlesbrough – – 76 miles – 84 minutes
  • Scarborough – 67 miles – 75 minutes
  • Skipton – 26 miles – 43 minutes
  • York – 25 miles – 30 minutes

It looks to me that Leeds will become a very important station for LNER.

Their timetabling team will certainly be having a large amount of mathematical fun!

I can certainly see.

  • Bradford,, Chesterfield and Skipton having similar service levels to those starting to and from Harrogste in December.
  • Battery-electric Azumas handling the last few miles on battery power.
  • Journey times of under two hours between Leeds and Kings Cross.

I also feel that LNER and TransPennine Express will create an integrated network between Leeds and Scotland along the East Coast Main Line.

Conclusion

This arrangement gives a large range of destinations from London and the South.

Passengers and train operators would like it.

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bristol Poised For Seven-Day Ban On Diesel Cars

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Bristol is set to become the first city in Britain to ban diesel cars under the toughest measures yet seen to combat air pollution.

A few points.

  • It will apply to all diesels.
  • It will apply in part the City Centre.
  • Petrol cars will be exempt.

Although, I agree with the need to improve air quality, I doubt the measure will be passed. Selfish interests will prevail!

October 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

End Of The World! All Blacks Stunned By Incredible English

The title of this post, is a caption to a picture on the NZ Herald web site.

I watched and enoyed every minute of the match!

October 26, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

The Footbridges Over The Railway At Lincoln

Both footbridges at Lincoln station over the railway are now complete.

This Google Map shows their location.

These pictures show the bridge at the High Street level crossing, which is the nearest one to the station.

It is not your average footbridge with lifts across a railway.

These pictures show the bridge at the Brayford Wharf East level Crossing, which is the one further to the West.

I like this unusually-designed bridge.

It is not step-free, but it does offer shelter whilst you wait for the level crossing to open.

Conclusion

Lincoln has now got two unusual footbridges over the railway.

 

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A Hotel That Loves To Say No!

Last night I stayed in the easyHotel in Ipswich.

It was convenient for after the match. affordable and I wanted to see what the low cost chain was like.,

I took these pictures.

Note all these Noes!

  • No Space
  • No Two-Ply Toilet Paper
  • No window.
  • No Space For Two People To Hang Clothes
  • No Glass For Water
  • No Bottles Of Water In The Vending Machine. This made worse the fact that there is no late-night shop in the centre of Ipswich.
  • No automated check-in system.
  • No free wi-fi
  • No free television. The need to enter a code each time you switched it on, was a total pain.
  • No free room cleaning
  • No space to put a large suitcase.
  • No space to put a cot for a baby.
  • No flat space to change a baby’s nappy! A real one, I hope!
  • No bottle opener.
  • No food to buy except chocolate or even a good nearby cafe.

I know it’s designed down to a price, but I’ve been in sleeper trains, caravans and boats that do it much better.

Note that I’m only one metre seventy and sixty kilos and C was a little bit smaller. We could just about have managed, as we always travelled light.

I don’t think, I’ll use it again, but if I do, I’ll use it this way.

  • No case bigger than a brief-case.
  • Bring a bottle!
  • Bring a plastic glass.
  • Make sure, I arrived as late as possible and left as early as possible.
  • Expect to leave in the same clothes I arrived in.
  • Ask how to get radio on the TV.

But at least, I slept reasonably well!

Rumours about the possible Ryanair hotels include.

  • Pay-As-You-Go use of the bathroom.
  • Corkage charges for any wine or beer taken into the room.
  • Extra charges for those not checking in online.
  • Extra charges to put your large cases in a secure separate room.
  • Shielded room, so you get no mobile signal and have to pay to use wi-fi.

I do wonder, if there is to be a race to the cheapest, whether Governments will legislate on room size and various charges.

October 24, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Shapps Wants ‘Earlier Extinction Of Diesel Trains’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the East London and West Essex Guardian.

This is the first two paragraphs of the article.

The phasing out of diesel trains from Britain’s railways could be intensified as part of the Government’s bid to cut carbon emissions.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told MPs he is “hugely concerned” that the current policy means diesel trains will continue to operate until 2040.

In some ways the positioning of the article in a newspaper serving East London and West Essex is a bit strange.

  • The only diesel trains in the area are freight trains, after the electrification of the Gospel Oak and Barking Line.
  • Grant Schapps constituency is Welwyn and Hatfield, which is twenty or so miles North of London.

It looks to me to be a syndicated story picked up by the paper.

But as it reports what he said to the Transport Select Committee, there is a strong chance that it is not fake news.

How Feasible Would It Be To Bring Forward The 2040 Diesel Extinction Date?

Government policy of an extinction date of 2040 was first mentioned by Jo Johnson, when he was Rail Minister in February 2018.

This article on Politics Home is entitled Rail Minister Announces Diesel Trains To Be Phased Out By 2040, gives more details about what Jo said.

Since then several developments have happened in the intervening nearly two years.

Scores Of Class 800 Trains Are In Service

Class 800 trains and their similar siblings can honestly be said to have arrived.

Currently, there appear to be over two hundred of these trains either delivered or on order.

Many have replaced diesel trains on Great Western Railway and LNER and stations like Kings Cross, Paddington and Reading are becoming over ninety percent diesel-free.

It should be noted that over half of these trains have diesel engines, so they can run on lines without electrification.

But the diesel engines are designed to be removed, to convert the trains into pure electric trains, when more electrification is installed.

Midland Main Line Upgrade

This line will be the next to be treated to the Hitachi effect, with thirsty-three of the second generation of Hitachi’s 125 mph trains.

  • The Hitachi trains will use electrification South of Melton Mowbray and diesel power to the North.
  • The trains will have a redesigned nose and I am sure, this is to make the trains more aerodynamically efficient.
  • The introduction of the trains will mean, that, all passenger trains on the Midland Main Line will be electric South of Melton Mowbray.
  • St. Pancras will become a diesel-free station.

Whether High Speed Two is built as planned or in a reduced form, I can see electrification creeping up the Midland Main Line to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield and eventually on to Leeds.

Other Main Line Routes

The Midland Main Line will have joined a group of routes, that are  run partly by diesel and partly by electricity.

  • London and Aberdeen
  • London and Bradford
  • London and Cheltenham
  • London and Harrogate
  • London and Hull
  • London and Inverness
  • London and Lincoln
  • London and Middlesbrough
  • London and Penzance via Exeter and Plymouth.
  • London and Sunderland
  • London and Swansea
  • London and Worcester and Hereford

Once the Midland Main Line is upgraded, these main routes will only be these routes that use pure diesel for passenger routes.

  • TransPennine Routes
  • Chiltern Route
  • London and Exeter via Basingstoke
  • London and Holyhead

Plans already exist from West Coast Rail to use bi-mode on the Holyhead route and the Basingstoke route could also be a bi-mode route.

TransPennine and Chiltern will need bespoke solutions.

Some Electrification Has Happened

Electrification has continued at a slow pace and these schemes have been completed or progressed.

  • Chase Line
  • Between Birmingham and Bromsgrove
  • North West England
  • Between Edinbugh, Glasgow, Alloa, Dunblane and Stirling.
  • Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  • Between St. Pancras and Corby.
  • Crossrail

In addition London and Cardiff will soon be electrified and a lot of electrification designed by the Treasury in the past fifty years has been updated to a modern standard.

Battery Trains Have Been Developed And Orders Have Been Received Or Promised

Stadler bi-mode Class 755 trains have been delivered to Greater Anglia and these will be delivered as electric-diesel-battery trains to South Wales.

Stadler also have orders for battery-electric trains for Germany, which are a version of the Flirt called an Akku.

In the Wikipedia entry for the Stadler Flirt, this is a paragraph.

In July 2019, Schleswig-Holstein rail authority NAH.SH awarded Stadler a €600m order for 55 battery-powered Flirt Akku multiple unit trains along with maintenance for 30 years. The trains will start entering service in 2022 and replace DMUs on non-electrified routes.

55 trains at €600 million is not a small order.

Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitacxhi and Siemens all seem to be involved in the development of battery-electric trains.

I think, if a train operator wanted to buy a fleet of battery trains for delivery in 2023, they wouldn’t have too much difficulty finding a manmufacturer.

Quite A Few Recently-Built Electric Trains Are Being Replaced And Could Be Converted To Battery-Electric Trains

In 2015 Bombardier converted a Class 379 train, into a battery-electric demonstrator.

The project showed a lot more than battery-electric trains were possible.

  • Range could be up to fifty miles.
  • The trains could be reliable.
  • Passengers liked the concept.

Judging by the elapsed time, that Bombardier spent on the demonstrator, I would be very surprised to be told that adding batteries to a reasonably modern electric train, is the most difficult of projects.

The Class 379 trains are being replaced by by brand-new Class 745 trains and at the time of writing, no-one wants the currents fleet of thirty trains, that were only built in 2010-2011.

In addition to the Class 379 trains, the following electric trains are being replaced and could be suitable for conversion to battery-electric trains.

There also may be other trains frm Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect.

All of these trains are too good for the scrapyard and the leasing companies that own them, will want to find profitable uses for them.

Porterbrook are already looking at converting some Class 350 trains to Battery-electric operation.

Vivarail And Others Are Developing Fast Charging Systems For Trains

Battery trains are not much use, unless they can be reliably charged in a short time.

Vivarail and others are developing various systems to charge trains.

Hydrogen-Powered Trains Have Entered Service In Germany

Hydrogen-powered Alstom Coradia Lint trains are now operating in Germany.

Alstom are developing a Class 321 train powered by hydrogen for the UK.

Stadler’s Bi-Mode Class 755 Train

The Class 755 train is the other successful bi-mode train in service on UK railways.

I would be very surprised if Grant Schapps hasn’t had good reports about these trains.

They may be diesel-electric trains, but Stadler have made no secret of the fact that these trains can be battery electric.

Like the Class 800 train, the Class 755 train must now be an off-the-shelf solution to use on UK railways to avoid the need for full electrification.

Class 93 Locomotives

Stadler’s new Class 93 locomotive is a tri-mode locomotive, that is capable of running on electric, diesel or battery power.

This locomotive could be the best option for hauling freight, with a lighter carbon footprint.

As an example of the usability of this locomotive, London Gateway has around fifty freights trains per day, that use the port.

  • That is an average of two tph in and two tph out all day.
  • All trains thread their way through London using either the North London or Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
  • Most trains run run substantially on electrified tracks.
  • All services seem to go to freight terminals.

With perhaps a few of miles of electrification, at some freight terminals could most, if not all services to and from London Gateway be handled by Class 93 locomotives or similar? Diesel and/or battery power would only be used to move the train into, out of and around the freight terminals.

And then there’s Felixstowe!

How much electrification would be needed on the Felixstowe Branch to enable a Class 93 locomotive to take trains into and out of Felixstowe Port?

I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing a lot of these tri-mode freight locomotives.

Heavy Freight Locomotives

One of the major uses of diesel heavy freight locomotives,, like Class 59 and Class 70 locomotives is to move cargoes like coal, biomass, stone and aggregate. Coal traffic is declining, but the others are increasing.

Other countries also use these heavy freight locomotives and like the UK, would like to see a zero-carbon replacement.

I also believe that the current diesel locomotives will become targets of politicians and environmentalists, which will increase the need for a replacement.

There could be a sizeable world-wide market, if say a company could develop a powerful low-carbon locomotive.

A Class 93 locomotive has the following power outputs.

  • 1,300 kW on hybrid power
  • 4,055 kW on electric

It also has a very useful operating speed on 110 mph on electric power.

Compare these figures with the power output of a Class 70 locomotive at 2,750 kW on diesel.

I wonder if Stadler have ideas for a locomotive design, that can give 4,000 kW on electric and 3,000 kW on diesel/battery hybrid power.

A few thoughts.

  • It might be a two-section locomotive.
  • Features and components could be borrowed from UKLight locomotives.
  • It would have a similar axle loading to the current UKLight locomotives.
  • There are 54 UKLight locomotives in service or on order for the UK.
  • Stadler will have details of all routes run by Class 59, Class 66 and Class 70 locomotives, in the UK.
  • Stadler will have the experience of certifying locomotives for the UK.

Stadler also have a reputation for innovation and being a bit different.

Conclusion

All pf the developments I have listed mean that a large selection of efficient zero carbon passenger trains are easier to procure,than they were when Jo Johnson set 2040 as the diesel extinction date.

The one area, where zero carbon operation is difficult is the heavy freight sector.

For freight to be zero-carbon, we probably need a lot more electrification and more electric locomotives.

October 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Test Video

October 15, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments