The Anonymous Widower

China’s Biggest Worry Is Pork Not Protests

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

In the year of the Pig, apparently swine flu is rampant in China and half the pig population has gone in the last fifteen months.

It’s a thoughtful article by |Edward Lucas.

Over the years crises like this have brought governments down and with the price of pork rising fast China may see some serious unrest.

This situation is one to watch!

November 20, 2019 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Algorithm Could Cut High Speed Rail Energy Use

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

This is the first paragraph.

Researchers at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s Suzhou campus have developed an algorithm intended to optimise the storage and reuse of braking energy.

Regenerative braking energy is stored on the trainand reused, rather than returned to the grid.

Ten percent savings are claimed.

I’ve always thought this was possible.

 

March 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 6 Comments

Climate Change: The Massive CO2 Emitter You May Not Know About

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

This is the first three paragraphs..

Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet.

But, while cement – the key ingredient in concrete – has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint.

Cement is the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to think tank Chatham House.

Read the whole article.

January 2, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

China-Backed Coal Projects Prompt Climate Change Fears

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

As levels of greenhouse gases reach a new record, concerns are growing about the role of China in global warming.

For years, the increase in the number of Chinese coal-fired power stations has been criticised.

Now environmental groups say China is also backing dozens of coal projects far beyond its borders.

I have been against coal as a fuel for at least fifty years.

Initially, it was for three reasons.

  • Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, there regularly seemed to be a serious coal-mining disasters like Aberfan and Katowice.
  • My health had been seriously affected by London’s domestic coal fires.
  • I also believed that nuclear power could supply us with affordable energy.

Also at Liverpool University, I met so many students, who were from mining areas, with horror stories of the health of miners.

Over the last couple of decades, I’ve gone very much against the building of large nuclear power stations, although I do feel that small modular nuclear reactors may have a place.

But the growth of wind and solar power has convinced me that with the addition of energy storage, we can manage without coal.

Obviously, the Chinese and Donald Trump think differently.

It should be noted that we are an island and if sea levels rise we will suffer, whereas China and the United States are large land masses with plenty of places to develop.

Trump and Xi Jinping need to be reeducated.

 

November 23, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Longest Sea Crossing: Hong Kong-Zhuhai Bridge Opens

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

It certainly looks to be an impressive bridge.

But I think it shows just how far design and construction of large bridges has moved in the last couple of decades.

In A Solution To The Northern Irish Problem!, I proposed building a fixed link between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Chinese bridge has a length of 55 km, whereas a link between Northern Ireland and Scotland would be about 30 km.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised that the opening of the Chinese bridge will push politicians, engineers and financial institutions to look seriously, at a fixed link across the North Channel.

October 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Opening Date Set For Hong Kong Section Of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Rail News.

From September 23rd, passengers will be able to take 300 kph trains between Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will give access to the Chinese High Speed Rail network for onward travel to places like Beijing and Shanghai.

I can see a whole new tourism market opening up.

  • Fly to Hong Kong
  • High Speed Rail to Beijing via Guangzhou and other places.
  • Fly Home from Beijing.

Only two long distance flights and a wide-ranging itinerary, without the hassle of airports.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Scoop For Train-Spotters

Various news sources are reporting that Kim Jong-Un’s visit to China was first noticed by train spotters.

This article on the Washington Post, says this.

The detective work started Monday when train spotters and North Korea watchers noticed two suspicious developments: tight security at the China-North Korea border and train delays across the northeast.

The article also says that a popular Chinese nickname for the North Korean dictator is Fatty the Third.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Tram Runs In China

The title of this post is the same as this article on Global Rail News.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Rolling stock manufacturer CRRC has announced that the world’s first hydrogen-powered tram has been put into passenger operation in China.

The three-carriage hybrid electric tram enter service in the city of Tangshan, Hebei, on October 26.

It seems to have the following characteristics.

  • Three cars
  • 66 seats
  • 70 kph.
  • 40 km range.

It all sounds very tram-like.

It does seem there’s a lot of train and tram manufacturers thinking about hydrogen power.

 

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A New Gateway To China: Europe Prepares For The Launch Of Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Rail News. This is the first two paragraphs.

A new rail corridor linking Azerbaijan and Turkey via Georgia is set to launch in September, establishing a new freight and passenger link between Europe and China.

Every year, millions of tonnes of cargo is expected to be transported on the 825km line.

Baku, which is the Eastern terminus of the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway,  is the capital of Azerbaijan and is a port on the Caspian Sea. It is connected to Turkmenbashi on the other side of the sea, which is the Western terminus of the Trans-Caspian Railway, which leads to Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and China.

At the other end of the line Kars in Turkey is connected to the European rail network.

Freight forecasts for the route in the Global Rail News article are bullish.

According to estimates, by the third year the annual turnover of cargo on BTK will be three to five million tonnes, rising to six to eight million by its fifth year and more than 10 million tonnes in its 10th. By 2034 this figure is anticipated to reach 17 million tonnes of annual freight.

Wikipedia also says this.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is intended to complete a transport corridor linking Azerbaijan to Turkey (and therefore Central Asia and China to Europe) by rail. (In late 2015, a goods train took only 15 days to travel from South Korea to Istanbul via China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—considerably less time than a journey by sea.)

The sea journey takes between four and six weeks.

This article on the BBC is entitled All aboard the China-to-London freight train. This is an except from the article describing why Tesco use trains to get goods from China to the UK.

The UK’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, doesn’t have any goods on this particular train but does use rail to carry toys, electrical goods, homeware and clothing from China to European rail hubs such as Bratislava in Slovakia and Krasnaje in Belarus.

Alistair Lindsay, Tesco’s head of global logistics, says the supermarket prefers shipping its goods because this is the most environmentally friendly way, as well as offering the best value for money, but that “where we need to move products quicker we have that option to do it by rail”.

This decision would normally be driven by customer demand for particular products, he says.

So it’s all about value-for-money and customer demand.

Conclusion

I am drawn to the conclusion, that the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway will meet the forecasts.

It has the great advantage over some of the other routes, that it avoids Putin’s Russia, which must be a good thing.

 

September 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

China To The UK By Freight Train

This article in the Railway Gazette is entitled First China to UK rail freight service arrives in London.

The article describes in detail how 34 containers came all the way to Barking by train.

It is very much a route-proving exercise at the moment and the UK shipment was effectively part of a larger shipment that was split at Duisburg

in Germany.

The trip can be summarised as follows.

  • The trip took seventeen days, which was faster than container ship.
  • The trip is slower, but a lot cheaper than air-freight.
  • The trip is 12,000 kilometres.
  • There were two changes to gauge and transshipment of the containers on the route.

It is intended to run the trains for three or four months to assess demand.

The article finishes like this.

The project supports the Chinese government’s One Belt, One Road trade connectivity initiative to create a modern-day Silk Road. According to DB around 40 000 containers were transported by rail along the routes between China and Europe in 2016, with journey times of between 12 and 16 days. Annual traffic is expected to increase to 100 000 containers by 2020.

If these figures are achieved, it certainly looks like the route could be approaching viability.

In How To Move 100,000 Containers A Year Between Germany And China, I wrote about German plans to create a standard gauge railway from Germany to China via Georgia, that would avoid Russia and all the gauge-changing.

Without the gauge-change, this would surely be a faster route, thus increasingly viability.

There’s going to be an interestimg commercial battle in the next bfew years between the various metods of getting freight between Europe and China.

 

January 18, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments