The Anonymous Widower

Design Contract Awarded To Extend Railway Arches Low Line Concept

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Plans to revamp the railway arches running through Wandsworth and Lambeth to create an extension of Southwark’s “low line” have taken a step forward after a contract was awarded to a design agency.

The extension would create a continuous walking and cycling route from Battersea to London Bridge, to connect communities with the creation of new spaces alongside the viaduct.

It looks to be an interesting concept with lots of possibilities.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vivarail And Hoppecke Announce Long-term Supply Of Batteries For Class 230s

The title of this post is the same as that of a press release from Vivarail.

Some extracts.

A 3-car Class 230 can run for 65 miles between charges which means they are more than able to operate numerous routes throughout the UK, and active conversations are taking place with interested operators. Battery trains enable emission-free rail travel in areas where electrification is either non- or only partially existent. The trains are particularly suited to urban routes where authorities wish to eliminate pollution caused by traditional DMUs as well as scenic lines where the natural environment needs protecting.

A Sixty-five mile range is very respectable and a good start.

Currently Vivarail is building a fleet of diesel/battery hybrids to operate the Wrexham-Bidston line for Transport for Wales, where the diesel gensets will be used to charge the batteries not to power the train. This power variant gives the range of a diesel train, the performance of an EMU (with acceleration of 1m p/s/s up to 40 miles per hour) and combines it with emission-free travel. As well as using the genset to charge the batteries the train also has regenerative braking – as do all the battery trains.

The acceleration is up there with a Class 345 train.

Hoppecke’s Lithium Ion batteries are ideally suited for the Class 230s by providing the rapid charging needed for battery trains. Simulations and performance data show that many non-electrified routes can be operated by the Class 230 battery trains and to make this possible in the short-term Vivarail has designed and patented an automatic charging system and battery bank. This means that costs of both infrastructure upgrades and daily operation are hugely minimised – in some cases by millions of pounds.

The batteries will probably be fairly traditional, but reading about Hoppecke on the web, they seem to be a company that believes in service. They also seem to supply back-up power supplies for critical infrastructure like telecommunications and computing.

Note too, that Vivarail have patented their charging system.

Designs for other types of hybrid trains exist including the use of existing OHL with a pantograph and transformer and 3rd rail with shoegear. Additionally, a new hydrogen variant is being developed which, similarly to the diesel hybrid, will exceed the pure battery train’s range of 65 miles.

Other power sources could be added, when they are invented.

A Serial Hybrid Train

The Class 230 trains for Wales are actually serial hybrids, just like one of London’s Routemaster buses. As the Press Release says, the generator set charges the batteries and these drive the train.

In the Press Release the following methods are mentioned for charging the batteries.

  • Diesel generators on the train.
  • Static charging systems at stations.
  • Regenerative braking.
  • 25 KVAC overhead line electrification.
  • 750 VDC third rail electrification.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Vivarail have split the control systems into two-more or-less independent systems; one keeps the batteries charged up in an optimal manner and the other links the batteries to the train’s systems and traction motors.

I also suspect that Bombardier’s proposed 125 mph Aventra With Batteries is a serial hybrid.


Is there anything recycled London Underground trains can’t do?

I have read somewhere, that Vivarail have talked about on-board self-service coffee machines!

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 8 Comments

The Great Electric Air Race Has Begun

The title of this post is the first sentence of this article in The Independent, which is entitled Electric Planes: Could You Be Flying On A Battery-Powered Aircraft By 2027?.

This is the full first paragraph in an article by respected travel writer; Simon Calder.

The great electric air race has begun. Three European industry heavyweights have teamed up against a US startup and Britain’s biggest budget airline to develop the first commercial electric aircraft.

So is such an aircraft feasible?

When you consider that the three European heavyweights are Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens, I suspect that the proposed project is serious.

It should also be said that the companies are not aiming for an all-electric aircraft, but a hybrid plane with a very efficient on-board generator and a two-tonne battery.

The key to success will probably include.

  • Batteries with a very high energy density.
  • A highly-efficient and quiet gas turbine, that generates a lot of energy.
  • Radical air-frame design to take advantage of the technology.

In my view, the batteries will be the key, but making more efficient batteries with high charge densities will also do the following.

  • Improve the range and performance of battery and hybrid road vehicles like buses, cars and trucks.
  • Improve the range and performance of trains and trams.
  • Transform energy storage, so wind and solar power can be stored and used in times of high demand.
  • Allow every house, apartment or office to have its own affordable energy storage.

In all of these applications, the weight of the battery will be less of a problem.

This leads me to the conclusion, that we may see smaller electric plasnes in a few years, but the technology that will make it possible, may well improve other modes of transport so much, that electric planes are never an economic proposition.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens!

I think most travellers and members of the oublic will benefit in some ways.


December 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lines At Battersea Power Station On the Way Into Victoria

This Google Map shows the area to the West of Battersea Power station, where the various lines go across the Thames into Victoria.

Battersea Power Station, The Lines Into Victoria And The Dogs Home

Battersea Power Station, The Lines Into Victoria And The Dogs Home


This image was taken a couple of years ago and the iconic gas-holders next to the power station and between the rail lines were still standing.

The lines to the West of the gas holders include the Brighton Main Line. They go through Battersea Park station before turning towards Clapham Junction station and all places to the South.

The lines to the East of the gas holders include the Chatham Main Line. They go via Wandsworth Road, Chatham High Street, and Brixton stations to places in Kent and the South-East.

There is also a set of lines that come from the station and go under the Chatham Main Line before turning to the West towards Clapham Junction.

It certainly is a complicated layout of tracks and points.

This map from might make things a bit clearer.

Lines Between Battersea And Victoria

Lines Between Battersea And Victoria

Note on the map, there is a Battersea Park Road station on the Chatham Main Line.  The new station wouldn’t surely be far from this position.

This set of images were taken on a train from a Clapham Junction to Victoria train show the Chatham Main Line, as it passes the power station and the Dogs Home.


  1. The new modern viaduct, where the Chatham Main Line crosses over the third set of lines.
  2. The massive area, where the gas-holders once stood.
  3. There is quite a space between the lines going through Battersea and the Chatham Main Lines,
  4. How the Dogs Home seems to be using any bit of space they can.

Although not a lover of the power station, the flats do seem to be hiding any decent view of the iconic building.

This is another set of images, which were taken coming in to Victoria on the Chatham Main Line.

Note that taken with the previous set of pictures, they certainly reinforce what I said there.

This third set of images show the other side of the Chatham Main Line going out from Victoria.


  1. There wouldn’t appear to be much space between the flats and the line, so the new Battersea station will probably be built further towards the South.
  2. If you look at these pictures carefully, you can see when the train is on the new concrete viaduct.
  3. It would appear that there are three tracks on the viaduct.
  4. The blue building is only shown as it puts a marker on the line.

If I was going to be pushed, I would suspect that a new station could be built fairly easily, that was linked by escalators and lifts to Battersea Power Station station.

I’ll leave the position and design to the architects and engineers.

But before I finish this post, look at this Google Map.


In the South-West corner, there is Battersea Park station.

Some think it an architectural gem, but I think, it’s a dump and a death-trap for anybody with any movement problems. This post entitled Battersea Park Station gives some more details.

In the North-East corner, you can just see Battersea Power Station.

The map of the lines earlier in this post, showed that the Northern Line Extension points at Battersea Park station, if the map is correct.

So could it be that now the gas-holders are cleared, that it would be possible to create a surface level walkway between all three stations.

  • Battersea Power Station tube station on the Northern Line Extension.
  • The proposed Battersea station on the Chatham Main Line into Victoria.
  • Battersea Park station on the Brighton Main Line into Victoria.

It would certainly make things a lot easier for architects, construction companies, train operators and passengers.

It would probably just be called Battersea! Or Perhaps Cats and Dogs! Would it be the first station in the world named after a charity?

One point is that the remains of Battersea Park Road station are still tucked into the bridge, that takes the Chatham Main Line over Battersea Park Road.

As you often find in this country, the railway arches under the viaduct seem to be in very good condition.

A combined station would be a station with very good connectivity.

One interesting possibility, is that a terminating platform could be provided at the station. Occasional services to Dalston Junction do already terminate at the station and perhaps if reorganised South London Line services were created. then Victoria And Battersea could share terminating duties, just as Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington stations do at the Northern End of the East London Line.

The proposed tunnel under Brixton would start somewhere to the South of Battersea Park Road.


May 28, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

A New Station For Battersea

In the June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways in an article entitled Turning South London Orange.

One of the proposals is to create a new station at Battersea.

The station is proposed to have platforms on the Southeastern lines into Victoria, close to the Dogs’ Home, that will adjoin the new Battersea Power Station station on the Northern Line extension.

This Google Map shows the Battersea area |South of the Thames.



Note the position of Battersea Power station to the East of the railway lines crossing the Thames into Victoria station.

The three stations shown are from North to South.

Battersea station will sit somewhere to the South West of the Power Station.

This Google Map shows the area in more detail.

The Location Of Battersea Station

The Location Of Battersea Station

Given that there is a redesign at Battersea, that I wrote about in Is A Big Row Developing Over The Northern Line Extension?, I have this feeling that a new Battersea station might be part of the solution. If Transport for London are having to foot the bill for a stronger station box, then connecting it to a new station on the Southeastern lines might generate traffic, that would create some income.

If the Improved South London Line proposed by Centre for London is built, then the new Battersea station will be conveniently between Victoria and Wandsworth Road stations.

  • It would link the Northern Line to the Southeastern  lines.
  • It would improve journeys between South and South East London to Central London.

According to several theories, you can’t have too many stations.

May 27, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

Battersea Park Station Revisited

I crossed the river by getting a train from Battersea Park station.


It certainly isn’t one of London’s better appointed stations!

It certainly isn’t one of London’s better appointed stations, with dangerous stairs and narrow platforms! Or one with the best signposting and information.

With all the development going on in Battersea, surely if any station needs a refurbishment it is this one,

August 2, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Farewell To Central London’s Biggest Eyesore

Years ago, I wrote a silly but quite funny love letter to C.  At least she told me it was funny.  In it I mentioned Battersea Power Station and how it was used as a last line of defence, with platforms on the chimneys. That must have been about 1966 or so, and in those days the power station was still generating electricity as it did until 1983.

It has not been a lucky building since!

Battersea Power Station

London’s Biggest Eyesore

Like many power stations of the era, it was built for a short life and a productive one. I remember going over Cliff Quay power station in Ipswich, and being told that these buildings were built in brick without the soundest of foundations. Often though, like Battersea and Cliff Quay, they were designed by good architects and often featured decorative features inside.  Strangely, the one building of this type, we have left, Bankside power station, doesn’t have an elaborate interior, although now it is the superb Tate Modern. Although according to Wikipedia, that could have gone to Battersea.

Scott’s other London power station is at Battersea and is widely considered a more iconic design, with its four towers. Battersea Power Station was proposed for the Tate Modern but, due to financial constraints and less dilapidation, the smaller Bankside building was chosen.

Scott was Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the designer of the red telephone box and the architect of Liverpool Cathedral. So perhaps it s fitting that one of his more utilitarian buildings is a home for modern art and design.

Does anybody know if there are any good examples of reusing power stations buildings around the world?

I can find two; one called The Power Plant in Toronto, Canada and another called The Power Station of Art in Shanghai.

But Battersea Power Station has not been served well by fate.  It is almost falling down these days and I do wonder if it can be rebuilt economically.  It seems to have disastrous affects on its developers.

But at least with George Osborne’s announcement of funding for the Northern Line Extension in the Autumn Statement, its days as an eyesore may well be numbered. But don’t uncross your fingers!

December 6, 2012 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , | 1 Comment