The Anonymous Widower

Wright Bus Embraces Ultracapacitors

This press release from Skeleton Technologies is entitled Graphene-Based Ultracapacitors Boost Double and Single Decker-Buses Through Low Emission Zones by Reducing Fuel Consumption.

This is said.

The integration of graphene-based ultracapacitors into test WrightBus double deck buses enables a 36% fuel saving compared to a UK based EuroVI diesel bus baseline. It also adds at least another 3 passengers to the capacity of these buses compared to a lithium battery-based hybrid equivalent.

I have a feeling that graphene-based ultracapacitors will give lithium batteries a very good kicking.

 

 

 

 

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

When Did I Last Ride A Trolleybus?

The final leg of my descent from Mount Pilatus was a trolleybus from the walk down from the cable-car station to Lucerne station.

They are certainly a bit different to the ones I rode in London in the 1950s.

Trolleybus Ascending Jolly Butchers Hill in Wood Green

Will we see more trolleybuses in the future?

Londoners of my age, all have memories of trolleybuses.

  • They had faster acceleration than diesel buses.
  • They were generally reliable.

But they were sometimes a nightmare to turn round. Near where I live now, you can still see the wide junction between Southgate Road and Ardleigh Road where 641 trolleybuses turned at Mildmay Park.

But the development of battery technology and fast charging stations will mean that battery buses will be able to do the same trip without any wires.

The 641 trolleybus in North London was replaced by the 141 bus, which still runs regularly between London Bridge and Palmers Green.

It was the first route in London to be run using hybrid buses and will probably be one of the first long routes to be run by electric buses.

 

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Dalston To Gatwick And Back For £6.15

This could be one of the best travel bargains for those like me, who have the privilege of a Freedom Pass.

I can use my pass, as far as East Croydon or West Croydon stations, but I must buy a ticket or use contactless to get to Gatwick Airport.

So I use the following route.

  1. London Overground to West Croydon station using my Freedom Pass.
  2. London Tramlink to East Croydon station using my Freedom Pass.
  3. Thameslink or Southern to Gatwick using a contactless credit card.

I paid £3.10 for the last leg.

These pictures show my journey to Gatwick.

Note that as my flight on Friday was early, I was staying the the Premier Inn, where I watched the World Cup 2018, before taking an early bath and an early bed.

The only problem was finding how to get from the shuttle to the Premier Inn at the Gatwick North Terminal.

Coming back, was just a two-legged journey.

  1. Thameslink to London Bridge station using the ticket I bought on the way out and my Freedom Pass.
  2. A 141 bus to just outside my house from the forecourt of London Bridge to just outside my house using my Freedom Pass.

I paid £3.05 for the ticket between Gatwick and East Croydon.

The Journey Could Be Improved

I do this journey a lot of times, especially as it is an easy way to the South Coast.

  • Getting to Victoria will continue to be difficult, until there is a comprehensive rebuild of Highbury and Islington station.
  • I could go to St. Pancras and get Thameslink, but there are time restrictions on using a Freedom Pass early in the morning.
  • I could get a 141 bus to London Bridge, but going South seems a lot longer than coming North due to traffic, road works and bus frequency.

So what would I do to improve things?

The Overground Should Go To East Croydon Not West Croydon Station

Often, when I do the journey to West Croydon, the train is almost empty from perhaps Penge West station.

So do passengers from the East London Line wanting to go to Croydon choose a train to East Croydon?

  • East Croydon has a cornucopia of services going all over the South.
  • West Croydon has only a few services and no long distance ones.
  • There are no intermediate stations between either station and Norwood Junction station.
  • East Croydon is the hub station of London Tramlink.
  • There is only a tram service going East at West Croydon.
  • To get a tram to Wimbledon at West Croydon, it is a long walk, which is badly signposted.

What is needed is a dedicated Overground platform at East Croydon station.

  • One platform could handle six trains per hour (tph)
  • It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to East London and especially Whitechapel station, for the Eastern branches of Crossrail.

I know space is difficult, but I suspect that there is a solution somewhere.

Refurbish The Class 700 Trains

The Class 700 trains have only been in service for about two years, but when you travel on one after using another train, you realise their inadequacies.

  • The seats are worse than most and certainly not up to the standard of those on Electrostars, like the Class 377 train, I took to Gatwick.
  • There is no wi-fi.
  • There are no power sockets to charge a mobile phone or laptop.
  • Tables don’t exist in most of Standard Class.
  • There’s nowhere to put a drink.
  • Some drivers, who worked for East Midlands Trains told me, that they are not fast enough for the Midland Main Line.

They are crap design of the highest class. They certainly don’t say “Welcome to the UK”, to arriving passengers at Gatwick.

But I do believe the trains can be sorted, as the Class 707 trains are better.

Extend The Freedom Pass Area

A Freedom Pass works to any station in Fare Zone 6, with a few extensions like Shenfield station using TfL Rail and Watford Junction station using the Overground.

I don’t think that the area, where the Freedom Pass can be used for free, should be extended, but the technology must exist to link a Freedom Pass with a credit or debit card, so that all journeys within the Oyster contactless area are charged appropriately.

I’m surprised that this or something like it hasn’t been implemented yet, as surely it could be an encouragement for Freedom Pass holders to vote for a Mayoral candidate.

Conclusion

Travelling to Gatwick will get easier and more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cockfosters Station To Be Made Step Free

These pictures show Cockfosters station.

As a child, I used to go to the barbers in Cockfosters station to get my hair cut. I suppose, I went by myself from the time I joined Minchenden Grammar School at eleven. But I could have gone earlier, as it wasn’t that far from where we lived.

The barbers is not there anymore!

The station hasn’t changed much underground, although there’s now a cafe and there are barriers to check the tickets.

As to step-free access, there will need to be a lift on both sides of Cockfosters Road, as stairs are impossible, exzcept for the fully able-bodied.

There will certainly be more difficult stations to make step-free.

Once passengers are down in the station, it is a completely level walk, push or drag to the trains.

What Are Transport for London’s Plans?

Transport for London have stated that their aim is to eventually have all Underground stations with full step-free access.

But Cockfosters station may attract a large number of visitors with bikes, buggies and wheelchairs.

  • The station is on the London Outer Orbital Path.
  • Trent Park is nearby.
  • Cockfosters is at the end of the Piccadilly Line. So is it a stations, where passengers are dropped for Central London, Kings Cross and Heathrow?

Christ Church, Cockfosters is nearby, where C and myself got married. Possibly more importantly,the UK Memorial Service for Elivis Presley was held in the church, as this page recalls.

One thing that appears to be better at Cockfosters station from my childhood are the buses.

  • There are more bus routes calling at the station.
  • All the buses now have wheelchair spaces and access ramps.
  • Bus information is better.

So will we see the bus routes from Cockfosters station further developed to serve new housing developments?

 

January 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Constipation At Liverpool Street Station

My bus got struck in traffic at Liverpool Street station yesterday. So I walked.

Crossrail construction is the problem, so hopefully time will cure it.

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Successful Trial Means Tube On Track For 4G Coverage By 2019

The title of this post is the same as this article on Rail Technology Magazine. This is said.

The Tube network will see 4G connectivity arrive in 2019, TfL has confirmed, meaning mayor Sadiq Khan’s original ambitions will be able to go ahead.

The news comes following a successful trial of the technology on the Waterloo & City line, where 4G technology was tested in tunnels and stations along the line in the summer.

I wonder how long it will be before all trains, trams and buses have 4G connectivity.

In some ways, I think providing 4G connectivity outside stations, bus stops and other important places is more important.

Suppose you are stuck in an area with no signal and perhaps you have fallen over and seriously cut your leg and need help or just a lift home.

Wouldn’t it be so much better, if you could find somewhere, where you know you could summon assistance or a lift?

I have two questions.

  1. Will 4G connectivity be added to the Overground?
  2. Will 4G connectivity be switch on station-by-station and line-by-line or in one go in 2019?

In some posts about this, it is suggested that a driving force behind the connectivity, is that the emeergency services are moving to mobile phone technology. So if that is the case, then the answers to these questions must be in the affirmative!

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Riding On A Battery-Electric Double-Deck Bus

This morning I rode on a battery-electric double-deck bus.

Some of these buses are russing on route 98 between Holborn and Willesden Garage, which includes a run down Oxford Street.

There’s more on the buses in this page on the Metroline web site.

I went upstairs and the experience was little different to that of a normal hybrid bus.

My Thoughts

My thoughts in various areas.

Design

It is a well-designed bus, that is easy to use for this seventy-year-old.

Passenger Experience

Travelling along Oxford Street, the passenger experience was equal to that of a New Routemaster, without the occasional low noise of the engine.

 

Performance Of The Bus

As we proceeded along Oxford Street, the performance of the bus, was very much in line with current hybrid buses.

The bus wasn’t full on the upper deck, but I suspect that the total weight of the passengers is very much lower than the weight of the battery, so this might mean that a full bus performs well compared with an empty bus.

Limited Space On The Lower Deck

There is one obvious problem and that is that the size of the battery reduces the number of seats downstairs.

As I said earlier, I doubt the weight of the passengers is a problem, but the available space, where they sit and stand could be.

Economics Of The Bus

The bus will obviously be expensive to purchase and to run, as batteries are expensive and need to be replaced every few years.

Coupled with the fact that capacity is smaller than current hybrid buses, which probably means more buses are needed to perform the required service, the economics of the buses may not be suitable for many routes.

I also wonder, if a battery-electric double-deck bus has better economics than a single-deck bus, as the extra weight of the top deck and the extra passengers is small compared to the weight of the battery.

But the economics will get better with improved battery technology.

The Marketing Advantages

BYD and Metroline could be  big winners here, as corporate videos and marketing material showing buses in Central London, can’t be a bad thing!

The Competition From Diesel Hybrid Buses

I believe that one competitor to the battery-electric bus will be the next generation of diesel hybrid buses.

Take the current modern hybrid buses like a New Routemaster or any other hybrid bus built in the last couple of years. These have a battery that can power the bus for perhaps a couple of miles.

As the battery is smaller, it can be squeezed into an unlikely space. On a New Routemaster, the diesel engine is under the back stairs and the battery is under the front stairs.

A technique called geo-fencing can be retro-fitted, which forbids the use of the buses diesel engine in sensitive areas, based on GPS technology.

So a route like London’s route 98 could work through the ULEZ on battery power and charge the battery between Edware Road station and Willesden Garage.

The Competition From Hydrogen Hybrid Buses

This will surely be similar to that from diesel hybrid buses.

  • Battery size will probably be as for a diesel hybrid bus.
  • As hydrogen doesn’t give out noxious emissions, this will be an advantage and you won’t need the geo-fencing.
  • But you will need to store the hydrogen.

As hydrogen technology improves, I feel that thehydrogen hybrid bus could become a formidable competitor.

The Competition From Converting Old Diesel Buses To Diesel Hybrid Buses

I talked about this in Arriva London Engineering Assists In Trial To Turn Older Diesel Engine Powered Buses Green.

Never underestimate good engineers with a good idea, that has a good financial payback.

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of competition between the various technologies and the passengers, bus operators, London and London’s air will be big winners.

As all of this technology can be applied anywhere, other parts of the UK will benefit.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Throwing The Baby Out With The Bathwater

I like the New Routemaster and I use them regularly as five of the routes running close to my house use the buses.

So when I saw that Wright SRM buses, which are based on the New Routemaster, were being trialled on Route 183, I had to take a ride.

I went between Golders Green and Kenton stations.

In my view the bus has three major design faults compared to the New Routemaster.

The Floor Is No Longer Flat

The New Routemaster has a completely flat floor, whereas this bus doesn’t.

I suspect that this is because the bus is based on a standard Volvo B5LH chassis to save money, whereas the New Routemaster used a custom design.

Front Entry Only

One of the great features of the New Routemaster is that you can get in at any door, as there are card readers on all doors.

Drivers take advantage of this and often seem to stop the bus, so passengers can board quickly.

This must mean that they keep to the timetable better!

The Bus Is Rather Gloomy Inside

I sat towards the back, as I often do on New Routemasters, but the bus is so gloomy, as there is no windows facing to the rear.

Conclusion

I very much feel that someone needs to design a better bus chassis, as the standard Volvo chassis means that a flat floor and a light and airy interior, which are so important in my view, seem to be impossible.

Wrightbus can do a lot better.

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

My Football Routine

I usually arrange my Saturday football around a schedule something like this.

  1. 09:00 Go to Islington Marks and Spencer, Boots and Chapel Market, as my grandmother would have done over a hundred years ago, to do my weekend shopping.
  2. 11:00 Listen to Fighting Talk on Radio 5.
  3. 12:45 Leave home and catch a bus to Liverpool Street.
  4. 13:30 Catch the train for Ipswich.
  5. 14:43 Arrive in Ipswich and walk to Portman Road
  6. 15:00 Watch the match.
  7. 17:09 Catch the train back from Ipswich.
  8. 18:30 Arrive back in London
  9. 19:00 Arrive back home.

Sometimes I vary the routine, by having lunch in Spitalfields before I get the train.

I should say that as I’m a coeliac, I find getting acceptable gluten-free food in Ipswich difficult, so I never eat anything in the town.

You might think what is wrong with my schedule.

It’s the dreaded Rail Replacement Buses, that seem to interrupt many weekends, when there is football at Ipswich.

The time taken by the buses means, I have to allow an extra ninety minutes over the normal rail journey.

I know there is a lot of work to do on the line, but why can’t it be done on days when there is no football. As a widower, who lives alone, I find it tiresome.

I’ve even talked to some Norwich supporters about this and they’re as angry as I am.

November 4, 2017 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Congestion Charge On Minicabs To Boost Buses

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

As a non-driver, I don’t pay the Congestion Charge, but I do get fed up with both the mass of traffic and the pollution it causes in Central London. The former mainly for slowing the buses I use.

The article is saying the following.

  • The Charge will be levied on mini-cabs.
  • The Charge may be levied to 11 pm instead of 6 pm.
  • The Charge msy be levied on Saturdays.

Why not Sundays as well?

And surely the Western Extension should be reinstated!

October 29, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment