The Anonymous Widower

A Class 66 Locomotive At Stratford

I’ve needed a generic photograph of a Class 66 locomotive for some time and one obliged at Stratford.

The sooner these are replaced with a modern more environmentally-friendly locomotive the better.

February 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK)

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Stadler and Rail Operations (UK) Ltd have signed a framework agreement for the supply of 30 Class 93 trimode locomotives, with an initial batch of 10 scheduled for delivery in early 2023.

Note that the order may have been a long time coming, but it is now for thirty locomotives. In this article on Rail Magazine from December 2018, which is entitled Rail Operations Fuels its Ambitions With Tri-Mode Class 93s, only ten locomotives were to be ordered.

A Few More Details

This article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled, Re-Engineering Rail Freight, gives a few more details about the operation of the Class 93 locomotives.

It says this about operation in electric mode.

In electric mode, the batteries are charged when braking or from the transformer. As the batteries use the space occupied by the braking resistors in the Class 88, when the batteries are fully charged, the locomotive has only its friction brake.

This about operation in diesel-hybrid mode.

In diesel/battery hybrid mode, the batteries are charged both as the train brakes and by the diesel engine when it is not operating under full load. When the train accelerates, the batteries give it the extra power needed to get up to speed. This is a significant benefit as accelerating a freight train of over 1,000 tonnes up to its operating speed can take several minutes.

This is said about the batteries and their effect on performance.

It has two Lithium Titanate Oxide liquid-cooled battery packs, which have a rapid charge and discharge rate. These each have a 40kWh capacity with a peak power of 200kW. Thus, whilst the train is accelerating, the Class 93 will have a peak power of 1,300kW for up to ten minutes, which is almost twice that of a Class 88 in diesel mode.

The batteries would appear to be quite small when you consider, that Vivarail are talking about 424 KWh in one of their Class 230 trains.

This is said about performance.

As a result, the 86-tonne Class 93 is capable of hauling 1,500 tonnes on non-electrified routes and 2,500 tonnes on electrified routes. With a route availability (RA) of seven, it can be used on most of the rail network.

It may not be the largest of locomotives, but it could have a very high performance.

I have a few thoughts.

Regenerative Braking Performance

The Rail Engineer  article says this about the Class 93 locomotive.

  • The train has a total of 80 kWh of battery storage to store braking energy.
  • The locomotive weighs 86 tonnes
  • It can haul 1,500 tonnes on non-electrified lines.

Using a train weight of 1586 tonnes and Omni’s Kinetic Energy Calculator, gives a kinetic energy of 8 kWh at 42.6 mph.

Does this mean that the locomotive is designed to trundle around the countryside at around forty mph?

These are timings from Real Time Trains.

  • Haughley Junction and Ely – 40 miles – 60 minutes – 40 mph
  • Werrington Junction and Doncaster – 86 miles – 130 minutes – 40 mph
  • Werrington Junction and Nuneaton – 67 miles – 123 minutes – 32.7 mph
  • Southampton and Oxford – 74 miles – 120 minutes – 37 mph

There will be savings compared to the current diesel timings, with a Class 93 locomotive.

  • Either side of these sections, the locomotive can use electric power to cut pollution, noise and carbon emissions.
  • Stops and starts on sections without electrification will save diesel and cut carbon emissions.
  • The train will be faster on electrified sections.

I also feel that with its smaller diesel engine, it will be able to maintain similar timings to current trains hauled by Class 66, Class 68 and Class 70 locomotives.

It can haul 2,500 tonnes on non-electrified lines.

Assuming a train weight of 2586 tonnes, the train energy at various speeds is as follows.

  • 40 mph – 114 kWh
  • 60 mph – 258 kWh
  • 80 mph – 459 kWh
  • 100 mph – 718 kWh
  • 110 mph – 868 kWh

Am I right to assume that once the batteries are full, the regenerative braking energy can be returned through the catenary to power other trains?

Operation With 750 VDC Third Rail Electrification

Will some locomotives be fitted with third-rail shoes to work into and out of Southampton?

They would not need to use diesel between and Basingstoke.

Access To Ports And Rail Freight Terminals

I recently wrote Rail Access To The Port Of Felixstowe.

Looking in detail at Felixstowe and how trains will serve the port, this was my conclusion.

I very much feel, that the specification of the Class 93 locomotive with its trimode capability is ideal for working to and from ports and freight terminals.

Looking at the specification, I am certain, that these locomotives can haul a heavy freight train out of Felixstowe on diesel, with help from the batteries.

  • The distance without electrification is around fifteen miles.
  • It takes around thirty minutes.
  • It is fairly flat Suffolk countryside with the possible exception of the climb over Spring Road Viaduct.

The batteries would need to be charged and surely in Felixstowe’s case the best way would be to electrify the two single track access routes between Trimley station and the Port.

  • On leaving, the trains would pass Trimley with full batteries.
  • They could also be at line speed after accelerating using the two miles or so of electrification.
  • They could also enter the Port with full batteries, after charging the batteries on the short length of electrification.

The batteries may be large and powerful enough, to enable diesel free operations in the Port.

Does this partially explain the increase in the order for Class 93 locomotives? There’s not really been a genuine Last-Mile locomotive in the UK before.

Enabling Carbon-Free Ports And Rail Freight Terminals

Regularly, I read reports of ports wanting to do carbon-free.

Class 93 locomotives can help the process, by not using their diesel engines in ports and rail freight terminals.

It might just need a short length of electrification between the port or terminal and the main line, to make sure batteries are fully-charged.

But not at London Gateway!

This Google Map shows the couple of kilometres of track without electrification, that connects London Gateway to the electrified route through East Tilbury station.

London Gateway would appear to be ready for low or possibly zero-carbon access, using Class 93 locomotives.

High Speed Freight Trains

Consider.

  • These Class 93 locomotives will have an operating speed of 110 mph, when running on electrified lines.
  • Currently, many multimode freight trains run at speeds of under 90 mph, as Class 66 locomotives don’t have the power to go faster and the wagons carrying the containers have a lower speed limit.

So with new or refurbished wagons capable of travelling at 110 mph, there will be speed improvements in some containerised freight.

As an example of what happens on the UK rail network, at the present time, I have found a freight train that goes between Felixstowe and Coatbridge near Glasgow,

  • The route is via Ipswich, London, The North London Line and the West Coast Main Line.
  • It can weigh 1600 tonnes.
  • The distance is 483 miles.
  • The service takes around 16 hours.
  • With the exception of between Felixstowe and Ipswich, the route is fully electrified.

I estimate that if this service could run at up to 100 mph on the Great Eastern Main Line and up to 110 mph on the West Coast Main Line, that several hours could be saved.

Electrification Gap Bridging

As I indicated earlier, I believe these Class 93 locomotives will be able to haul a freight train out of Felixstowe to the electrified Great Eastern Main Line.

In Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive, I gave a list of typical gaps in the electrification in the UK.

  • Didcot and Birmingham – Around two-and-a-half hours
  • Didcot and Coventry – Just under two hours
  • Felixstowe and Ipswich – Around an hour
  • Haughley Junction and Peterborough – Around two hours
  • Southampton and Reading – Around one-and-a-half hours
  • Werrington Junction and Doncaster via Lincoln – Around two hours
  • Werrington Junction and Nuneaton – Just under two hours

How many of these gaps could be bridged by a Class 93 locomotive working in a diesel hybrid mode?

Stadler have not confirmed the size of the battery, but have said that it can provide 400 kW of power, which gives a maximum of 1.3 MW, when the batteries are working as afterburners for the diesel engine!

If the article in Rail Engineer is correct, I feel there is a high chance, that a Class 93 locomotive can bridge these gaps, with a load of 1500 tonnes in tow.

It is worth looking at current timings between Haughley Junction and Ely, when hauled by a Class 66 locomotive.

  • The distance is around 40 mph
  • The time taken is around an hour.
  • A Class 66 locomotive would put 2.2 MW at the rail.

This locomotive could need up to 2.2 MWh to bridge the gap.

But I don’t believe that a forty mile gap will be impossible for a Class 93 locomotive.

  • Stadler will have all the performance data of the bi-mode Class 88 locomotive to draw on.
  • The Class 93 locomotive has regenerative braking to help charge the batteries at any stops.
  • Several of the large electrification gaps on the UK rail network are in the flat lands of East Anglia and Lincolnshire.
  • Modern control systems would be able to eke out the power of the batteries.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Stadler have had an objective to design a locomotive that can perform like a Class 66 locomotive for two hours.

Conclusion

If Stadler get the specification, performance and reliability of this locomotive right, they will sell a lot of locomotives for operations like these! And not just in the UK!

 

 

January 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rail Access To The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Port of Felixstowe.

Note.

  1. Trimley station is at the top edge of the map.
  2. One rail line curves down from Trimley to the Southern side of the Port.
  3. Another rail line connects Trimley to the Northern side of the Port.
  4. A few miles of the route between Trimley and Ipswich, has recently been double-tracked and improved.

I will now describe the important parts of the rail network to and from the Port.

Trimley Station

This Google Map shows Trimley station.

Note.

  1. Trimley station has two platforms. although only the Northern one, which is numbered 1 is in use.
  2. There are two tracks through the station.
  3. There is a footbridge over the tracks.
  4. Most people cross the lines on the level crossing.

The track through Trimley station has been improved and the improved is described in the Wikipedia entry for the Felixstowe Branch Line, where this is said.

In October 2017 final approval was given for a £60.4m project which includes doubling between Trimley station and Grimston Lane foot crossing. Work started on 7 April 2018 and was predicted to end in Autumn 2019.[29] However, the work was completed by May 2019 and saw changes to the infrastructure at Trimley station where trains from the Felixstowe direction could now access the disused platform road and the establishment of a double track as far as a new junction called Gun Lane Junction just over a mile west of Trimley station. Both lines can be worked bi-directionally and with the increase in freight traffic that resulted from the additional capacity a number of level crossings were either abolished or upgraded to improve safety.

This Google Map shows the section of line, that has now been dualed.

Note.

  1. Grimston Lane is the triangle of roads in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Trimley station is in the South-East corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the track layout East of Trimley station.

Note.

  1. Trimley station is at the top of the map.
  2. There is a junction to the South-East of Trimley station.
  3. The Northern track goes straight on to Felixstowe station and the Southern Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe.
  4. The Southern track curves South to the North Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe.
  5. Both branches are single track.

It would appear that all trains going to and from the South Terminal at the Port, take the Northern track through Trimley station and those going to and from the North Terminal at the Port, take the Southern track.

Southern Access To The Port

This Google Map shows how the trains go between Trimley station and the Southern entry to the Port.

Note.

  1. Felixstowe station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The single track from Trimley station splits into two in the North West corner of the map.
  3. One branch allows an hourly service between Ipswich and Felixstowe stations.
  4. The second branch goes South to the Port.
  5. The junction used to be a full triangular junction to allow trains to go between the two Felixstowe stations.

Do the residents of some houses in Felixstowe, get plagued by noise, pollution, smell and the diesel smoke of Class 66 locomotives going to and from the Southern access to the Port?

Felixstowe Beach Station

There used to be a Felixstowe Beach station on the railway to the Port.

This Google Map shows the location.

The station was to the North-East of the level crossing.

These pictures show the area as it was a year or so ago.

Is there a need for a new Felixstowe Beach station to allow workers and visitors to the Port to avoid the crowded roads?

Future Passenger Services Between Ipswich and Felixstowe

The passenger service between Ipswich and Felixstowe has for many years been a bine of contention between the Port of Felixstowe and passenger train operators.

The Port would like to see the passenger service discontinued, so that they could run more freight trains.

However, to increase both freight and passenger capacity, the East-West Rail consortium has proposed running a tram-train between Felixstowe and Ipswich.

  • It would run through the streets of Ipswich to the forecourt of Ipswich station.
  • It would serve important points in Ipswich, like the Hospital, Town Centre and Portman Road.
  • It would have a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

I wrote about the proposal in Could There Be A Tram-Train Between Ipswich And Felixstowe?

The Southern area of Felixstowe, along the beach is run down and needs improvement.

So why not run the tram-train all the way along the sea-front to Landguard Point?

This Google Map shows Landguard Point.

A tram-train going to Landguard Point would do the following.

  • Provide a direct passenger rail service between the Port and Ipswich.
  • Provide access to the Harwich ferry.
  • Improve the economic prospects of the Southern part of Felixstowe.
  • Bring visitors to the beach without using their cars.

But the main thing it would do is create decent access to the historic Landguard Fort.

Landguard Fort was the site of the last invasion of the UK, when the Dutch were repelled on the 2nd of July 1667, at the Battle of Landguard Fort.

The Southern Terminal At The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Southern terminal of the Port.

This second Google Map shows where the rail line enters the Southern terminal.

Note how the rail link enters in the North-East corner of the and curves towards the quays before it splits into two.

One branch goes straight on, past some sidings and gives a connection to the Trinity Terminal.

The second branch turns South to several sidings.

This Google Map shows these sidings.

Note that the sidings are towards the right of the image and run North-South.

Northern Access To The Port

This Google Map shows the route taken by the rail access to the Trinity Terminal.

Note.

  1. The route branches off South just to the East of Trimley station.
  2. It curves its way South to the South-West corner of the map, where it enters the Port.
  3. It is single track.

This second Google Map shows where it enters the Port.

Note.

  1. The track enters from the North-West corner of the map.
  2. It then splits into two branches.
  3. One branch goes West to the Trinity Terminal.
  4. The second branch goes South into a set of sidings.

It looks to be a well-designed access, to the Felixstowe Branch Line at Trimley station.

The Trinity Terminal At The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Trinity terminal.

Note the rail sidings and the link to the East, which links to the previous map.

This Google Map shows the rail sidings in detail.

I hope the pictures give a clear impression of the size of the port, which in the next few years will probably need more trains to the rest of the country.

There is also a yard that appears to be connected to both the North and South train entrances to the Port.

This yard is shown in this Google Map.

Note, the cranes to lift containers on and off.

Electrification In The Port

Note that there is no electrification in the Port or on the access links from Trimley station.

I once spent half-an-hour with a fellow Ipswich supporter before an away match. He turned out to be a crane driver at the Port of Felixstowe and we got to talking about why the trains weren’t electrified.

He told me that accidents to happen and that you you don’t want high voltage wires about, when you’re swinging containers on and off trains.

Especially, when the trains are close together, as they are in the previous image.

Class 73 Locomotives And The Port Of Felixstowe

The first Class 73 locomotives have now been ordered by Rail Operations Group (UK), and I wrote about the order in Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK).

What surprised me about the order was that it was for thirty locomotives, whereas only ten were talked about two years ago. I know, that Rail Operations (UK) have received a big capital injection, as was reported in this article on Rail Advent, which is entitled Rail Operations Group Acquired By STAR Capital Partnership. but they must have ambitious plans for thirty locomotives.

Could it be that the specification of these locomotives is geared to operating out of ports like Felixstowe?

Consider.

  • A locomotive probably needs a self-powdered capability to take a heavy train in or out of the Port of Felixstowe.
  • Would a Class 73 locomotive have sufficient range and power to take the average train out of the port using bi-mode diesel and battery power until it arrived at the electrification of the Great Eastern Main Line?
  • How would these locomotives handle a gap like Haughley Junction and Ely?
  • A Class 73 locomotive could probably handle these container trains at 100 mph to and from London on the Great Eastern Main Line, which would keep them out of the way of Greater Anglia’s express trains.
  • What speed would these locomotives be able to achieve under electric power on the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines?
  • The two single-track access links between Trimley station and the Port could be electrified to charge the batteries both ways and to accelerate the train fast out of the Port.

I also feel that other ports would benefit.

Conclusion

I very much feel, that the specification of the Class 93 locomotive with its trimode capability is ideal for working to and from ports and freight terminals.

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Distributed Propulsion ‘Maybe The Only Means’ For Small Electric Flight Progress

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Institute of Mechanical Engineers web site.

If you want to fly again, then this article offers pointers to how you might do it.

The E-Fan X Airliner

It gives this latest information on the E-Fa X airliner being tested by Rolls-Royce and Airbus.

Amid the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rolls-Royce and Airbus cancelled flight tests of their E-Fan X airliner, a promising project that could have provided vital data on issues such as thrust management and electric systems at altitude.

Does that mean cancelled or scrapped?

2.5 MW From A Beer Keg-Sized Generator

This paragraph could be important.

“Among the many great achievements from E-Fan X has been the generator – about the same size as a beer keg – but producing a staggering 2.5MW,” said Vittadini’s Rolls-Royce counterpart Paul Stein. “That’s enough power to supply 2,500 homes and fully represents the pioneering spirit on this project.”

This picture shows a Class 66 locomotive.

The locomotive has a 2,460 kW diesel engine and an electric transmission.

I just wonder, if Rolls Royce’s high-powered small generator could replace the large, noisy and smelly diesel engines in these locomotives.

If the technology worked there are 455 of the noisy locomotives.

Snowballing Improvements

The article has a section with this title and it talks about how electric power may lead to other advantages.

Conclusion

Electric aircraft are more promising, than many think!

 

July 17, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

’88’ Makes Sizewell Debut

The title of this post, is the same as that of a news snippet in the June 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

There is a picture of the electro-diesel Class 88 locomotive moving a nuclear flask from Sizewell on the closed Aldeburgh branch line to Crewe.

Note that is about 27-28 miles from the electrification at Ipswich East Suffolk Junction and the siding close to the power station, where flasks are loaded.

This is a classic use of an electric locomotive, that has a Last Mile-capability using an on-board diesel engine.

Many ports in the UK, like these examples are a few miles from the electrified network.

  • Felixstowe – 16 miles
  • Liverpool – 5 miles
  • London Gateway – 4 miles
  • Southampton – 2 miles

How many trains could be hauled to and from these and other ports using a Class 88 locomotive or their similar, but more powerful sibling; the Class 93 locomotive?

Conclusion

I suspect there are a number of routes that could be handled by electro-diesel locomotives.

I would like to see a serious analysis of all duties performed by diesel locomotives, like for example; Classes 66, 67, 68 and 70 locomotives, to see how many could be performed by suitably-sized electro-diesel locomotives.

If  there is a gap in the market, then a rolling stock leasing company, should fill it!

Just like Beacon Rail Leasing and Clayton Equipment appear to have done with a diesel shunter, which I wrote about in UK Diesel-Battery Hybrid Locomotive Lease Fleet Ordered.

As Beacon Rail Leasing seem to be heavily involved in the leasing of electro-diesel locomotives, perhaps, they’re working on it?

 

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Thirsty High-Rollers … Mining’s Heavy Haulers Prime Candidates For Hydrogen Conversion

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

You understand, what the author means about mining’s heavy haulers, when you open the article.

This paragraph describes their carbon emissions.

One large scale dump truck, depending on the haul road it is using, will use between 100 and 140 litres of diesel per 100km. These vehicles operate all day every day except for maintenance down time. That’s between 260kg and 360kg of CO2 per 100km per truck.
Large open pit mines have tens of these vehicles operating continuously, so the numbers build up very quickly.

The author then goes on to say why, that converting these vehicles to green hydrogen makes a lot of sense.

The dump trucks are already diesel/electric, which means that the diesel generator can be replaced with a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery.

Mining giant; Anglo-American will be introducing a prototype hydrogen-powered dump truck at a platinum mine in South Africa this year.

These paragraphs describe the transmission.

The vehicle, which is called a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) haul truck, will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell module paired with Williams Advanced Engineering’s scalable high-power modular lithium-ion battery system. Williams provides batteries for FIA’s E-Formula motorsport.

This arrangement will replace the existing vehicle’s diesel engine, delivering in excess of 1MWh of energy storage. The battery system will be capable of recovering energy through regenerative braking as the haul truck travels downhill.

Note that the truck has more energy storage than is proposed for a four-car battery-electric train, like the Class 756 train, which has only 600 kWh.

The author finishes with this concluding paragraph.

With the major mining companies focusing on making significant strides in decarbonisation by 2030 expect there to be more announcements such as this focusing this “low hanging fruit” for the mining industry’s to materially reduce its carbon foot print.

Reading this, I can’t help feeling that replacement of a Class 66 locomotive with a zero-carbon hydrogen-battery-electric hybrid unit could be possible.

 

April 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will The Railway Between Buxton And Matlock Be Reopened?

In Issue 901 of Rail Magazine in an article about reopening the Northern route between Exeter and Plymouth, this is said, about possible rail re-opening of Beeching cuts.

Although not yet confirmed, they are believed by RAIL to include bids to reinstate the former Midland Railway route from Matlock-Buxton, and the line between Lostwithiel and Fowey.

I have found this news story on the Matlock Mercury, which is entitled Quarry Firms And Heritage Operator Consider Peak District Railway Line.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Proposals to revive a disused rail line through the Peak District have moved a step forward, but not the passenger service some have called for.

The reasons for the reinstatement are given in the story.

  • There is an enormous demand for stone from projects like Crossrail 2, High Speed Two and Heathrow Expansion and Derbyshire is a major source.
  • Currently, stone trains between Derbyshire and the South-East take a roundabout route via the congested and unsuitable Hope Valley Line and Sheffield.
  • A route via Matlock would join the Midland Main Line nearly thirty miles further South.

It should be noted that the original track-bed still exists and part is used for the double-track Peak Rail, with much of the rest being used for the cycling and walking route; the Monsal Trail.

Thoughts About The Design Of The Railway

In the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an excellent article, which is entitled Connecting The Powerhouses, that was written by Colin Boocock.

I wrote a post with the same name, based on his article, from which a lot of the following thoughts are taken.

Colin Boocock’s Thoughts On The Design

I said this in my previous post.

The track bed of the Peak Main Line is still intact and the author of the article suggests that there could be two ways of rebuilding the railway.

  • As a 75 mph single-track railway sharing the track-bed with the Monsal Trail.
  • As a 90 mph double-track railway, after moving the Monsal Trail to a more picturesque route.

Four or five, reopened or new stations could be built with passing loops to enable the minimum service frequency to be achieved, which the author suggests should be the following in both directions in every hour.

  • One fast passenger train
  • One stopping passenger train.
  • One freight train; full or empty.

But there are possible problems.

  • The A6 has to be crossed.
  • One local landowner didn’t allow consultants access to the line for an inspection.
  • Severn Trent Water are digging a large pipe into the track-bed.
  • Peak Rail have plans to extend their heritage line to Bakewell. Could both groups co-exist?

It sounds to me that everybody should find a good hostelry and thrash out a comprehensive co-operation agreement on the backs of engineering envelopes, fuelled by some excellent real ale.

But various improvements to the route and railway technology in general, in the last few years have probably made the reinstatement less challenging.

Ambergate Station And Junction

Ambergate station and the associated junction is where trains for Matlock station, leave the Midland Main Line and take the Derwent Valley Line.

This article on the BBC is entitled Major Rail Works To Affect Derbyshire Train Services and it describes work done to improve Ambergate Junction.

It is to be hoped, that the updating of the junction is at least well-documented, so that it can be updated easily to accept stone trains to and from the Derwent Valley Line.

Improved Handling Of Freight Trains At Buxton

In £14m Peak District Rail Freight Extension Unveiled, I indicated that the improvements at Buxton had been completed.

  • There are now two long sidings, that can each take a 26 wagon stone train and allow them to reverse.
  • Capacity has increased by 44 %
  • No more trains will be running.

According to this document on the Network Rail web site, the sidings operate on a 24 hour basis and on average, accommodate 6-10 freight trains every 24 hour period.

I’m not sure, but it looks like the sidings also allow all stone trains to access the following.

  • All quarries in the area with a rail connection.
  • The Great Rocks Freight Line to access the Hope Valley Line and Sheffield
  • The proposed reopened rail line to Matlock, Derby and the South.

The track layout at Buxton station would appear to allow trains to go between Manchester and Derby, once the Matlock and Buxton railway is reinstated.

Ambergate Station And Junction

Ambergate station and the associated junction is where trains for Matlock station, leave the Midland Main Line and take the Derwent Valley Line.

This article on the BBC is entitled Major Rail Works To Affect Derbyshire Train Services and it describes work done to improve Ambergate Junction.

It is to be hoped, that the updating of the junction is at least well-documented, so that it can be updated easily to accept stone trains to and from the Derwent Valley Line.

Signalling Improvements

One of Colin Boocock’s options for the route, is a 75 mph single-track railway sharing the track-bed with the Monsal Trail.

Single-track railways running an intense schedule could be a challenging signalling problem in the past, but with in-cab digital signalling, as used on Thameslink and the London Underground, it is much less onerous.

It should be possible to handle Colin Boocock’s desired minimum frequency of three trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

Colin Boocock’s second option of a 90 mph double-track railway, after moving the Monsal Trail to a more picturesque route, would be very much easier to signal to a very high degree of safety.

Electrification

Electrification would surely, be the best way to get heavy freight trains in and out of the area.

But I suspect the line could not be electrified in a traditional manner, as heavy gantries in the Peak District would not go down well!

But what about a design something like this?

I talk about this design in Prototype Overhead Line Structure Revealed.

It does seem to be a good attempt to reduce the clutter of girders, gantries and wires!

Freight Locomotives

If electrification is not possible, which is probably the case, as the locomotives will need access to large amounts of freight sidings, then diesel power will be needed,

The current Class 66 locomotives are not the most environmentally-friendly locomotives, but hopefully in a sensitive area like the Peak District, some more advanced locomotives could be used.

Passenger Trains

Quiet battery-electric or hydrogen-powered trains would be ideal for the route.

How Many Stone Trains Will Use The Route?

With the current lockdown because of COVID-19, it’s a bit difficult to ascertain how many stone trains are currently going into and out of the quarries in an hour.

But from the Network Rail figures, I have found and Colin Boocock’s minimum figure,  it looks like one tph would be a frequency for which to aim.

Could this frequency be handled between Matlock And Buxton?

Even if the route was single-track with passing loops, Colin Boocock’s minimum timetable could be achieved.

Note that the Great Rocks Freight Line will still be capable of handling trains via the Hope Valley Line and Sheffield.

Conclusion

I think that this scheme could be feasible, if engineers used modern signalling and other designs to blend in with the scenery.

 

 

March 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Switching From Lorries To Freight Trains Could Cut Air Pollution By 10%

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

Making the switch from HGVs to trains for freight travel could lead to 10% less air pollution from NOx across the country, says new research from the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT).

The major problem will be to get freight operators to switch from road to rail.

However, I do feel that this may be hastened by external factors and innovative methods and technology.

Shortages Of Train And Truck Drivers

There are regular news items about shortages of train and truck drivers.

I would think, that both careers will attract the same type of person.

Both careers will have their good and bad points.

But after a search of the Internet, it does appear that the train driver will earn more than the truck driver.

So will a shortage of truck drivers, nudge more freight operators to use rail?

Track Improvements For Rail Freight

Over the last decade or so, there have been several improvements in track layouts, that have been driven by the need to increase the amount of freigt carried by rail.

  • The development of the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line through Lincolnshire as a freight by-pass for the East Coast Main Line.
  • The building of the Bacon Factory Chord to increase capacity to and from the Port of Felixstowe.
  • Electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will create a second electrified freight route across London.
  • Several passing loops have been lengthened to allow longer freight trains.
  • The Ordsall Chord will help freight through Manchester.

Obviously any general improvements will help freight trains as well as passenger trains.

Air-Pollution Activitists And Politicians

Most long-distance rail-freight is diesel-hauled and increasingly it goes through areas of large cities, where there is electrification. These electrified lines all see diesel-hauled freight trains.

  • The North London Line
  • The West London Line
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  • The Ordsall Chord
  • The Great Eastern Main Line
  • The West Coast Main Line
  • The East Coast Main Line
  • The Great Western Main Line

It will not be long before air-quality activists set their sites on removing diesel haulage from lines like these.

Will a local politician in North London say, be more likely to get elected, if they say, they will push for a ban on noisy and polluting diesel-powered locomotives running through their constituency.

The Replacement Of Diesel Locomotives With Electro-Diesel Locomotives

If you take a freight route like say Felixstowe to Trafford Park in Manchester via the Great Eastern Main Line, the North London Line and the West Coast Main Line, all of the route except for the two ends is electrified.

Normally, freight on this route would be hauled by a Class 66 diesel-locomotive, which would probably score 2/10 as a friend of the environment.

A modern electro-diesel locomotive, like a Class 88 locomotive  may be able to this and similar routes using electricity in the middle and its onboard diesel engine at both ends of the route.

The various locomotives, used on UK freight trains compare as follows.

  • Class 66 – 65/75 mph – 2.4 MW on diesel
  • Class 68 – Modern diesel to Stage II A emission standards – 100 mph – 2.8 MW on diesel
  • Class 70 – 75 mph – 2.7 MW on diesel
  • Class 86 – 75 mph – 0.7 MW on electricity
  • Class 88 – 100 mph – 4 MW on electricity – 0.7 MW on diesel
  • Class 90 – Electric locomotive – 100 mph – 0.9 MW on electricity
  • Class 92 – Electric locomotive – 87 mph – 5 MW on electricity

As the table shows the  Class 66 locomotives  are slow and less powerful than both the more modern Class 68 or Class 88 locomotives.

Cynically, I would say that the only reason that Class 66 and Class 70 locomotives are still in service is that they are good for the bottom line.

Despite this, I feel we’ll see an increasing number of electro-diesel locomotives like the Class 88 arriving in the UK.

New Electric Locomotives

Judging by some of the strange combinations, I’ve seen on some freight trains, we are short of electric locomotives.

This double-headed train has a Class 90 electric locomotive and a Class 66 diesel locomotive at the front of a long freight train.

Even electric locomotives from the 1960s are being called up for service.

These two Class 86 locomotives were hauling a freight train through Hackney Wick station.

I think we’ll see small numbers of new electric locomotives arriving in the UK.

I suspect too, that freight operators are preparing their bids for the fifteen Class 90 locomotives, that will be released in the next few years by Greater Anglia.

More Electrification

In a couple of years, there will be full electrification from London to Bristol and Cardiff.

Although the Government has put a hold on a lot of electrification,  current schemes like electrification of the Great Western Main Line will increase the use of electric or electro-diesel haulage.

Other smaller schemes might be added to increase the use of electric haulage for freight.

As an example, the lines into the important freight ports of London Gateway and Liverpool Two are not electrified. Electrifying both would probably increase the proportion of electrically-hauled freight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Unnecessary Diesel-Hauled Train

I took these picture at Blackhorse Road station this morning.

This train from Moss End to Dagenham Dock is pathed to be electric-hauled. So why was it hauled by a noisy and polluting Class 66 locomotive?

July 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Could A Modular Family Of Freight Locomotives Be Created?

In Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive, I looked at the possibility of creating a battery/electric locomotive with the performance of a Class 66 locomotive.

  • I felt that the locomotive would need to be able to provide 2,500 kW for two hours on battery, to bridge the gaps in the UK electrification.
  • This would need a 5,000 kWh battery which would weigh about fifty tonnes.
  • It would be able to use both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • It would have a power of 4,000 kW, when working on electrification.
  • Ideally, the locomotive would have a 110 mph operating speed.

It would be a tough ask to design a battery/electric locomotive with this specification.

The Stadler Class 88 Locomotive

Suppose I start with a Stadler Class 88 locomotive.

  • It is a Bo-Bo locomotive with a weight of 86.1 tonnes and an axle loading of 21.5 tonnes.
  • It has a rating on electricity of 4,000 kW.
  • It is a genuine 100 mph locomotive when working from 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • The locomotive has regenerative braking, when working using electrification.
  • It would appear the weight of the diesel engine is around seven tonnes
  • The closely-related Class 68 locomotive has a 5,600 litre fuel tank and full of diesel would weight nearly five tonnes.

In Thoughts On A Battery Electric Class 88 Locomotive On TransPennine Routes, I said this about replacing the diesel-engine with a battery.

Supposing the seven tonne diesel engine of the Class 88 locomotive were to be replaced by a battery of a similar total weight.

Traction batteries seem to have an energy/weight ratio of about 0.1kWh/Kg, which is increasing with time, as battery technology improves.

A crude estimate based on this energy/weight ratio would mean that at least a 700 kWh battery could be fitted into a Class 88 train and not make the locomotive any heavier. Given that lots of equipment like the alternator and the fuel tank would not be needed, I suspect that a 1,000 kWh battery could be fitted into a Class 88 locomotive, provided it just wasn’t too big.

This would be a 4,000 kWh electric locomotive with perhaps a twenty minute running time at a Class 66 rating on battery power.

The Stadler Class 68 Locomotive

The Stadler Class 68 locomotive shares a lot of components with the Class 88 locomotive.

  • It is a Bo-Bo locomotive with a weight of 85 tonnes and an axle loading of 21.2 tonnes.
  • It has a rating on diesel of 2,800 kW.
  • It is a genuine 100 mph locomotive.
  • The locomotive has regenerative braking to a rheostat.
  • It has a 5,600 litre fuel tank and full of diesel would weight nearly five tonnes.

They are a locomotive with a growing reputation.

A Double Bo-Bo Locomotive

My devious engineering mind, thinks about what sort of locomotive would be created if a Class 68 and a Class-88-based battery/electric locomotive were integrated together.

  • It would be a double Bo-Bo locomotive with an axle loading of 21.5 tonnes.
  • It has a rating on electricity of 4,000 kW.
  • It has a rating on diesel of 2,800 kW.
  • Battery power can be used to boost the power on diesel as in the Stadler Class 93 locomotive.
  • It would be nice to see regenerative braking to the batteries.

Effectively, it would be a diesel and a battery/electric locomotive working together.

This picture shows a Class 90 electric locomotive and a Class 66 diesel locomotive pulling a heavy freight train at Shenfield.

If this can be done with a diesel and an electric locomotive, surely a company like Stadler have the expertise to create a double locomotive, where one half is a diesel locomotive and the other is a battery/electric locomotive.

A Control Engineer’s Dream

I am a life-expired Control Engineer, but I can still see the possibilities of creating an sdvanced control system to use the optimal power strategy, that blends electric, battery and diesel power, depending on what is available.

I feel that at most times, the locomotive could have a power of up to 4,000 kW.

The Ultimate Family Of Locomotives

I have used a diesel Class 68 and a Class 88-based battery/electric locomotive,, to create this example locomotive.

In the ultimate family, each half would be able to work independently.

In time, other members of the family would be created.

A hydrogen-powered locomotive is surely a possibility.

The Control System on the master locomotive, would determine what locomotives were coupled together and allocate power accordingly.

Conclusion

I have used Stadler’s locomotives to create this example locomotive.

I suspect they are working on concepts to create more powerful environmentally-friendly locomotives.

As are probably, all the other locomotive manufacturers.

Someone will revolutionise haulage of heavy freight trains and we’ll all benefit.

 

 

June 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment