The Anonymous Widower

Oman And BP Sign Renewable Hydrogen Partnership On Mega-Gigawatt Scale

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Oman has announced that it has entered into an agreement with BP, in which the energy giant will support the country’s development of mega-gigawatts of renewable hydrogen and energy by 2030.

Wind and solar power will be developed on 8,000 square kilometres of land.

January 22, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Suppliers Sought For New Bi-Mode Locomotives For TransPennine Express And Great Western Railway

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

These three paragraphs give a summary of the proposed fleet of locomotives required by First Group for their two operations.

TransPennine Express is looking for expressions of interest from suppliers for a fleet of at least 15 bi-mode locomotives for use on with its Mk5 carriages.

The provision released by First Group is for up to 30 bi-mode locomotives, with an additional 5 for use on Great Western Railway’s Sleeper Service.

The operators say that the new locomotives must have the capability to be powered by overhead wires as well as being able to operate with an alternate traction mode, IE Diesel or Battery, where routes are not yet electrified or for use as a contingency.

I have also read the detailed proposal, which can be downloaded from this page of the First Group web site.

  • The locomotives must be capable of hauling a train at 100 mph.
  • First Group are putting a high emphasis on environmental impact of the locomotives.
  • The locomotives must be compatible with the latest emission regulations.
  • The locomotives must be low-noise.
  • The locomotives must be capable of hauling seven coaches, including a driving van trailer.

Nothing in the request for proposals would appear to be too challenging.

I have some thoughts.

The Number Of Locomotives For TransPennine Express

Currently, TransPennine Express has a fleet of fourteen Class 68 locomotives and enough coaches and driving van trailers to create thirteen rakes of Mark 5A coaches.

So why do TransPennine Express talk of up to thirty locomotives?

  • Fifteen locomotives would handle the current services, so thirty could cover new services or more services on the current locomotive-hauled routes.
  • Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes and Manchester Piccadilly and Hull are run by Class 185 diesel  trains, which will need replacing at some future time.
  • First Group probably know the costs of running Class 802 trains and locomotives with rakes of coaches better than anyone , so are they thinking about swapping some Class 802 trains for locomotives with rakes of coaches?

The last point would be one for the accountants.

But I am led to the conclusion, that TransPennine Express could be expanding and also decarbonising the long routes still operated by Class 185 trains.

The Number Of Locomotives For Great Western Railway

Currently, Great Western Railway has a fleet of four Class 57 locomotives to haul the Night Riviera.

Five replacement locomotives would probably be enough.

Could A Battery-Electric Locomotive Handle The TransPennine Express Requirement?

Currently, there are gaps in the electrification of the TransPennine network.

  • Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge – 7.7 miles – Electrification in progress
  • Stalybridge and Huddersfield – 18 miles
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury – 8 miles – Electrification in progress
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 9.1 miles
  • Leeds and York – 25.6 – Electrification in progress
  • Northallerton and Redcar – 28.8 miles
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Stalybridge – 7.5 miles
  • Leeds and Hull – 51.8 miles
  • Doncaster and Cleethorpes – 72.1 miles
  • Scarborough and York – 42 miles
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 18.7 miles
  • Sheffield and Stockport – 36.8 miles – Rumoured to be electrified

Note.

  1. Many gaps are quite small.
  2. The longest gaps are on easy routes.
  3. Sheffield will be electrified for the Midland Main Line.
  4. A length of electrification at Scunthorpe could ease Doncaster and Cleethorpes.

I feel that a battery-electric locomotive with a range of a hundred miles hauling seven coaches, would be able to handle all the TransPennine routes.

If the train could run the routes with an electricity consumption of 4 kWh per vehicle-mile, seven coaches would need 4 * 8 * 100 = 3.2 MWh of battery storage.

Note.

  1. A 3.2 MWh battery would weigh around 3.2 tonnes, which would be less than the diesel engine in a Class 68 locomotive.
  2. Regenerative braking to batteries could be used to improve range.
  3. In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 Or 100 mph?, I calculated that an InterCity 125 needs 1.81 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 100 mph.

I am fairly certain, that a well-designed efficient battery-electric locomotive would be able to handle all of the routes for TransPennine Express.

Could A Battery-Electric Locomotive Handle The Night Riviera?

I have just looked up the Southbound Night Riviera on Real Time Trains.

  • It leaves Paddington at 23:50.
  • It is typically eight coaches and a Class 57 locomotive.
  • The train is planned to run at 75 mph.
  • The first 53 miles between Paddington and Newbury are electrified.
  • There is a stop of one hour and 39 minutes at Exeter.
  • Newbury and Exeter is 120.4 miles
  • Exeter and Penzance is 130.8 miles

The Northbound Night Riviera only has a five minute stop at Exeter and two minutes stops at Totnes, Newton Abbott and Taunton.

A battery-electric locomotive would need a range of 140 miles hauling eight coaches.

  • Some stops like Plymouth may need to be lengthened by a few minutes to charge the batteries.
  • Extra stops of perhaps five minutes could be added to top-up the batteries.
  • The train would be limited to 75 mph, which would improve efficiency.
  • It might even be prudent to electrify the uphill track of some of the steeper parts of the route.

But think of the marketing advantages of a zero-carbon sleeper train!

 

Conclusion

When I saw First Group’s proposals, I thought that they were over ambitious.

But after doing a few simple calculations, I think they can decarbonise TransPennine Express services and the Night Riviera.

 

 

January 22, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Quiet Battery-Powered River Ferries To Serve Battersea Power Station Pier

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

These two paragraphs give the story and explain the operation of the new boats.

Passengers using Battersea Power Station pier will soon be boarding the UK’s first hybrid high speed passenger ferries using battery power.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers are building two new vessels which will operate solely on battery power when travelling between Tower and Battersea Power Station piers – and recharge while using biofuelled power when sailing further east and west outside their central London route.

They will join the fleet in the Autumn.

There is also this environmental statement from Thames Clipper.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is committed to achieving net zero with all new builds by 2025 and for its wider fleet, infrastructure and environmental footprint by 2040.

That sounds very good to me.

Conclusion

I suspect that this policy will lead to increasing use on London’s river transport system.

I’d also like to see Thames Clipper better integrated with the Overground, Underground and the buses. Some of the walking routes could be improved and have better signage.

I also think, that the Thames Clipper would benefit, if the Freedom Pass could be linked to a credit card, so that Freedom Pass holders would only need to use one card to use all of London’s transport systems.

January 22, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Direct Rail Services Disposes Of Heritage Locomotives

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

This is the first paragraph.

Direct Rail Services, the rail arm of Nuclear Transport Solutions (NTS), has announced details of its much-anticipated plan to sell off some of its heritage fleet of locomotives and coaching stock.

The main job of Direct Rail Services is to move nuclear fuel and other cargoes around the country in support of the UK’s nuclear industry. For this purpose, they have a substantial fleet of over fifty modern Class 66, Class 68 and Class 88 locomotives, which seem to have taken over from the heritage fleet, which are now starting to be passed on to other operators.

Direct Rail Services also tend to be the odd-job men and innovators of the traction business.

  • They have provided modern motive power for both regular, charter and replacement passenger services.
  • They haul freight trains for supermarkets and others.
  • They sub-lease Class 68 locomotives to other operators.
  • Both the Class 68 and Class 88 locomotives are 100 mph-capable, which must widen their markets.
  • They have supplied locomotives for Thunderbird duties.
  • They are happy to specify a new locomotive and bring it into service, as they did with the Class 68 and Class 88.

According to Wikipedia, they have issued a tender for a further ten new-build diesel-electric locomotives.

Will these be an existing design or another new design?

This is a section of the Wikipedia entry for the Class 88 locomotive.

Akin to the Class 68, the Class 88 can achieve a maximum speed of 100 mph (160 km/h), sufficient for regular passenger operations, while operating under OHLE, it has a power output of 4,000 kW (5,400 hp). Under diesel power, provided by its 12-cylinder Caterpillar C27, it has a maximum power output of 708 kW (949 hp); however, the maximum tractive effort is available in either mode. The locomotive’s engine, which is compliant with the current EU Stage IIIB emission restrictions, has limited available power as a result of the customer’s choice to give the Class 88 comparable power to a traditional Class 20.

It almost looks like a design for all purposes.

  • It can pull a passenger train at 100 mph.
  • With the right rolling stock, it must be able to pull a freight train at 100 mph.
  • A 100 mph freight capability must be very useful on double-track electrified main lines like the East and West Coast Main Lines, where it would increase capacity.
  • It probably has enough power to drag a freight train out of the depot on to an electrified main line.
  • The locomotive would appear to be able to do anything that one of Direct Rail Services’s Class 20 locomotives can do, which would surely enable it to pick-up a nuclear flask from a remote power station.
  • But it would also be able to transport the flask back to Cumbria using electric power, where it is available.
  • In ’88’ Makes Sizewell Debut, I describe how a Class 88 locomotive moved a flask from Sizewell to Crewe.
  • It is compliant with the latest emission regulations.
  • It can use regenerative braking, where the electrification can handle it.

I wonder, if Direct Rail Services are going to add a locomotive to their fleet, that is capable of bringing the longest and heaviest freight trains out of the Port of Felixstowe.

  • The Felixstowe Branch is a fairly flat track.
  • The only moderately severe gradients ae either side of the Spring Road Viaduct.
  • Some electrification could be added.
  • A 100 mph freight capability would help in increasing the capacity of the Great Eastern Main Line to and from London.

The right locomotive might be able to haul smaller freight trains between Felixstowe and Peterborough.

Conclusion

There has been no news about the extra ten locomotives that Direct Rail Services will order.

The company has form in designing the right locomotive for the job they will do.

I think, that when the order is placed, it could add another type of locomotive to Direct Rail Services’s fleet.

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 10 Comments

False Banana: Is Ethiopia’s Enset ‘Wondercrop’ For Climate Change?

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Scientists say the plant enset, an Ethiopian staple, could be a new superfood and a lifesaver in the face of climate change.

A new study is saying, that the plant could be used to feed 100 million people in a warming world.

It looks like the study was done in an Ethiopian University, which is surely a heartwarming thing.

This is said about how enset is used for food.

Enset or “false banana” is a close relative of the banana, but is consumed only in one part of Ethiopia.

The banana-like fruit of the plant is inedible, but the starchy stems and roots can be fermented and used to make porridge and bread.

I’m not sure, but I seem to remember that porridge is a major food in Africa.

It is certainly a fascinating good news story. in several ways from Africa.

 

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Food | , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Mineral Carbonation And How Could It Transform The Building Industry?

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Natural carbonates have been prime building materials for centuries, but synthetic carbonates are a modern, robust building material, created via mineral carbonation.

The article is a must-read introduction to this fascinating Australian technology, which could be very important in combating climate change.

There is also an explanatory video, which is worth a watch.

January 21, 2022 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Alstom And DB To Kick Off Test Operations With Battery Electric Train

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Alstom and Deutsche Bahn (DB) are set to enter into service Alstom’s Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) for trial runs. The test operations will commence on January 24 in the state of Baden-Württemberg, followed by passenger services in neighbouring Bavaria from February 5th onwards. The tests will conclude in May 2022.

It does finally appear that battery electric multiple units (BEMUs) are being seen on the railway.

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Carry On Ducking And Diving

I have a Google Alert running on “bank station northern line closure” and it is only picking up factual reports generally based on the fact that the Northern Line will be closed for seventeen weeks between Moorgate and Kennington, like this report in The Sun.

I have been to Moorgate station a couple of times, and it actually seems rather quiet.

It would appear that Londoners are doing, what they do in times of trouble with public transport and go ducking and diving.

The weather hasn’t been too bad, so that probably explains why the likes of Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells have been silent.

Conclusion

Londoners will carry on ducking and diving!

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Station Proposed For National Arboretum

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

It has been revealed that a new station is being proposed at Alrewas between Lichfield Trent Valley high level and Wichnor Junction, which is on the line linking Tamworth and Burton-on-Trent. The original station serving the village of Alrewas was closed in 1965, although the line remained open.

A new Alrewas station would serve the National Memorial Arboretum, which is visited by more than 300,000 people a year and stages 250 events, including services of remembrance. It includes a Railway Industry Memorial, which was unveiled in May 2012, and also a memorial commemorating the thousands of prisoners of war who were forced to work on the infamous Burma Railway in the Second World War.

I first wrote about this proposed station in Everybody Could Do Better For Rail In South Staffordshire.

Two totally unrelated events had happened.

  • I heard the exchange during Prime Minister’s Questions and Michael Fabricant was passionate about creating the rail service on the freight-only line to give passenger train access to the National Memorial Arboretum and Alrewas.
  • Burton were playing Manchester City in the League Cup, so the Police thought it would be a good idea to shut the M6. Nothing moved for hours and many Burton supporters missed the match.

Note.

  1. Quite frankly, it is a disgrace, that the National Memorial Arboretum, has been designed for most visitors to come by car.
  2. The M6 incident was caused by illegal immigrants stuffed into the back of a truck, but surely the Police reaction to shut the motorway for so long was over the top?
  3. I have been to Burton by train a couple of times and it is one of those places, you wouldn’t go to by train, unless it was absolutely essential.

It would appear that after a quick glance, Michael Fabricant’s proposal could be one of those ideas, that would benefit a lot of travellers.

These are a few thoughts on the new service.

Services To And From Burton-on-Trent Station

I said this about services to and from Burton-on-Trent in Everybody Could Do Better For Rail In South Staffordshire.

If you look at the train services from the town, you can go to faraway places like Glasgow and Plymouth, but services to practical local places like Lichfield, Stoke and Derby are rare. There used to be a service to London, but that was discontinued in 2008.

A regular service between Burton and Lichfield, running at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph) could connect at Lichfield to the following services.

  • Hourly services on the West Coast Main Line
  • Half-hourly services across Birmingham on the Cross-City Line.

If a decent service via Lichfield had existed, how many fans on that League Cup night, would have used the trains to get to Manchester?

Not many probably, as there would not have been a late train home, as is particularly common in The Midlands. Try getting back to London from Derby, Nottingham or Sheffield, after 21:30 for example!

I am certain, that with a station at Alrewas and a well-designed train service between Burton-on-Trent and Birmingham stations via Alrewas for the National Memorial Arboretum and Lichfield would be a positive addition to the transport system of the area.

Electrification Between Litchfield Tent Valley And Burton-on-Trent Stations

This map from Open Railway Map shows the track between Litchfield Tent Valley and Burton-on-Trent stations.

Note.

  1. Burton-on-Trent station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Lichfield Trent Valley station is in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. Burton-on-Trent and Lichfield Trent Valley stations are probably less than fifteen miles apart.
  4. The orange line is the Burton-upon-Trent and Birmingham line via Tamworth.
  5. The yellow line is the Burton-upon-Trent and Birmingham line via Lichfield.

The National Memorial Arboretum is just South of the junction between the orange and yellow lines.

This second map from Open Railway Map shows this junction to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The National Memorial Arboretum can be seen between the two tracks.
  2. The village of Alrewas and the site of the proposed Alrewas station are to the West of the arboretum.
  3. Central Rivers depot, where CrossCountry trains are serviced, is in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. I have found a twelve car formation of Class 220 trains running between Birmingham New Street station and Central Rivers depot.

There is electrification at Lichfield Trent Valley station as this picture shows.

This electrification could be extended as far as required.

I would extend the electrification all the way to Burton-on-Trent.

  • This would mean that the Class 730 trains used on the Cross-City Line could terminate at Burton-on-Trent station, rather than Lichfield Trent Valley station, after extra stops at Alrewas for the National Memorial Arboretum and possibly another new station at Barton-under-Needwood.
  • Excursion trains for the National Memorial Arboretum could be electric-hauled.
  • It would also mean that electric trains could reach Central Rivers depot under their own power.
  • It would probably require less than fifteen miles of double-track electrification.
  • I suspect that the West Coast Main Line electrification could provide enough power for the branch electrification to Burton-upon-Trent.

I doubt that this would be considered a major electrification scheme.

Electric Services Between Birmingham New Street And Leicester Stations Via Burton-on-Trent

Consider.

  • Leicester and Burton-on-Trent stations are under thirty miles apart on the Ivanhoe Line.
  • The Ivanhoe Line is an existing freight line, that could be opened to passenger trains.
  • Leicester is to be electrified in the Midland Main Line electrification.

A battery-electric service could be run between Birmingham New Street and Leicester stations via Burton-on-Trent, Alrewas and Lichfield Trent Valley stations.

It should also be noted that East Midlands Railway run a service between Lincoln and Leicester.

  • Nottingham and Leicester will probably electrified with the rest of the Midland Main Line.
  • Only thirty-four miles of the route between Leicester and Lincoln is not electrified.

If it were felt to be needed, a battery-electric service could be run between Birmingham New Street and Lincoln stations.

Heritage Rail Excursions To The National Memorial Arboretum

Type “Coach Trips To The National Memorial Arboretum” and you get a good selection of trips from all over the UK.

I believe that the National Memorial Arboretum, would make the ideal destination for steam- or diesel-hauled heritage rail excursions with all the trimmings.

  • They could even be hauled by a Class 90 electric locomotive, dating from the late 1980s, if the route between Alrewas and Lichfield were to be electrified.
  • Rakes of comfortable Mark III coaches could be used.
  • A long platform at Alrewas station would be needed, so that the maximum size of heritage train could be handled.
  • For steam locomotives, there may need to be a runround loop.

Track improvements at Lichfield Trent Valley station, may allow direct services from London.

This page on the West Midlands Rail Executive web site is entitled Steam Engine Rolls Into Moor Street Station To Launch New Vintage Trains Partnership.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Historic steam engines are set to play a greater role in the region’s rail network following the signing of a ground-breaking new partnership.

The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has teamed up with Tyseley-based Vintage Trains in a bid to establish the Shakespeare Line as Britain’s premier mainline heritage railway.

Perhaps, it would be possible to run a heritage train like a short-formation InterCity 125 between Stratford-om-Avon and the National Memorial Arboretum.

Conclusion

Opening up of the Lichfield Trent Valley and Burton route to passenger trains opens up a lot of possibilities.

 

 

 

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following The Barking Riverside Extension – 20th January 2022

I took this route at Barking Riverside.

  • Took a train from from Barking station to Dagenham Dock station.
  • Took an EL3 bus to Stern Close.
  • Walked to Barking Riverside station.
  • Took an EL1 bus to Ilford station.

These are the pictures I took.

It seems to be substantially finished and an Autumn 2022 opening should be possible.

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment