The Anonymous Widower

HS2 Trials UK’s First Electric Forklift

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

In their efforts to lessen their carbon footprint and support the country’s green economic recovery, HS2 are trailing the UK’s first electric forklift on one of its major construction sites in London.

The construction industry is certainly thinking about cutting its emissions.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

JCB Unveils World’s First Hydrogen Digger

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on International Vehicle Technology.

The signs have been there for some time.

  • JCB are one of the backers of ITM Power, who make large scale electrolysers in Rotherham.
  • Jo Bamford has a hydrogen company called Ryse.
  • Jo Bamford took over Wrightbus and is saying he’ll be building thousands of hydrogen buses a year.
  • Ryse have planning permission for a giant hydrogen electrolyser at Herne Bay.

To me, it is totally logical, that JCB build a hydrogen-powered digger.

And it appears they have got there first!

July 2, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail Parts Company With Costain Skanska At Bond Street

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Costain/Skanska joint venture’s troubled Crossrail contract at Bond Street Station has been ended early.

It appears to be a mutual decision and in my opinion such a decision is very rare, especially as Costain/Skanska’s other project at Paddington station seems to be progressing as expected.

Could it be that the architects designed a project that was unbuildable? Or one where the architects didn’t think about the project management needed to build it?

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Some Pictures Of Platform Edges On The Uckfield Branch

I took these pictures on my visit to Eridge station yesterday.

The platform edges are a very mixed bunch.

  • Some are only a couple of years old and were built, as part of new platform extensions.
  • Some were built using pre-fabricated components.
  • Some are of fairly indeterminate age.
  • The ones at Eridge station probably date from when the station was opened in 1868.

I would suspect that your patio is in better condition than some of these important interfaces between train and platform.

So why did I photograph them?

In First Of A Kind Funding Awarded For 25 Rail Innovation Projects, Project Number Number 4 from Sheffield Hallam University was entitled Illumin Heated Concrete Platform Coper Slabs and was described like this.

Illuminated and heated low-energy concrete slabs for station platforms, which automatically switch on in freezing conditions to help prevent passengers from slipping on ice.

Some more information was given in Heated Railway Platforms Tested To Avoid Ice Accidents.

Could these platforms be fitted to a set of platform edges like these?

I would hope so.

If so, new smoother platforms and not just the edges, would also hope to cut small falls.

June 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Heated Railway Platforms Tested To Avoid Ice Accidents

The title of this post is the same as the first part of the title on this article on Engineering and Technology.

The platforms have been developed by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University and have received a share of the Government funding, I wrote about in First Of A Kind Funding Awarded For 25 Rail Innovation Projects, where it is Project 4.

These paragraphs describe the project.

The concrete slabs come with a built-in heating system that activates in freezing conditions to prevent dangerous icy conditions for passengers.

Rail Safety and Standards Board figures show that 19 people were killed and more than 7,000 were injured in accidents around platform edges on Britain’s railways in a recent five-year period.

It looks like there’s scope for this simple idea to save a few lives.

COVID-19 Reconstruction Projects

If the trial installation or installations, that will be paid for by the Government grant is or are a success, I can see large numbers of the UK’s three thousand or so stations being fitted with these platforms.

This is surely the sort of project, that could be rolled out on lots of sites across the UK to get the constriction industry working again, after COVID-19!

 

June 20, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

HS2 Phase One Given The Green Light

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

This is the two introductory paragraphs.

Government confirmed today (April 15) that work can now start on building Phase 1 of HS2 from London to Birmingham.

Until now, only preparatory work had been carried out. But the Department for Transport has now given approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed (NtP) to the four main works civils contractors, to commence full detailed design and construction of the railway.

The article also gives this quote from the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd; Mark Thurston.

In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports, and an important investment in Britain’s future – levelling up the country, improving our transport network, and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation.

Perhaps, we should give the go-ahead for more big infrastructure projects, to create the employment we need.

It would only be enacting one of the principles of Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal.

There is a section called Public Works in the Wikipedia entry for the New Deal.

This is said.

To prime the pump and cut unemployment, the NIRA created the Public Works Administration (PWA), a major program of public works, which organized and provided funds for the building of useful works such as government buildings, airports, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and dams. From 1933 to 1935 PWA spent $3.3  billion with private companies to build 34,599 projects, many of them quite large.

Under Roosevelt, many unemployed persons were put to work on a wide range of government-financed public works projects, building bridges, airports, dams, post offices, hospitals and hundreds of thousands of miles of road. Through reforestation and flood control, they reclaimed millions of hectares of soil from erosion and devastation. As noted by one authority, Roosevelt’s New Deal “was literally stamped on the American landscape”

Wouldn’t this be good for the UK to offset the damage caused by COVID-19?

The current government has already flagged up several suitable projects, since they were elected.

  • High Speed Two
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • East-West Rail
  • City Light Rail Systems
  • Decarbonisation of the Rail Industry
  • Offshore Wind Farms
  • Energy Storage
  • Reversal of the Beeching Cuts
  • Improvements to and decarbonisation of bus services
  • Flood relief schemes

There are many more.

One difference to the United States in the 1930s, is that some of these projects can be funded by financial institutions like Pension Funds and Insurance Companies. In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I talk about how Aviva will have invested a billion pounds in offshore wind by the end of 2018, to fund pensions and insurance.

April 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 3 Comments

Coming Or Going?

I took the pictures of this lorry carrying concrete staircases in the Balls Pond Road.

I like a good puzzle. So where were these three staircases going on a truck, that was obviously from Cornwall?

  • They look to be very well-made, with a quality finish.
  • Had they been made in Cornwall and were being delivered to a skyscraper in the City?
  • Had they been made in East London and were being taken to Cornwall?

The truck was facing Highbury Corner, so would the second be the most likely?

On the other hand, Google found a company called Cornish Concrete Products at Bissoe, only a few miles from Redruth.

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Volvo CE Unveils Electric Compact Wheel Loader Concept

The title of this post is the same as that of this Volvo CE press release.

This is the introduction.

Volvo Construction Equipment demonstrated the LX02 electric compact wheel loader at the Volvo Group Innovation Summit in Berlin. The prototype machine delivers zero emissions, significantly lower noise levels, improved efficiency and reduced operational costs.

I suggest that you read the press release, as it says a lot for Volvo’s plans for carbon, pollution and noise-free construction.

March 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | 2 Comments

Batteries Come Of Age In Railway Construction

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

It is very much a must-read article on the subject of constructing and repairing railways in a zero-carbon manner.

These are some extra comments of mine!

Smaller And Lighter First

This is a paragraph from the article.

Smaller and lighter equipment is getting the treatment first – the batteries and motors can be smaller. Volvo Construction Equipment has already supplied its first electric compact loader, to a customer in Germany.

Volvo seems to be busy creating electric loaders.

Size Appears To Be No Limit

This extract shows how a large dump truck can go electric.

If a 25-tonne excavator is not big enough, how about a Komatsu HD605-7 off-highway truck, which weighs 51 tonnes unladen and has a payload of 63 tonnes? Kuhn Switzerland, working with Lithium Storage and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), has converted this 111-tonne gross vehicle weight monster into an electric vehicle.

Out came the 23-litre, 778hp (578kW) diesel engine and in went a synchronous electric motor rated at 789hp (588kW) electric motors. An additional 120kW motor is fitted just to power the hydraulic systems. The battery was a challenge – the four large packs have a combined rating of 700kWh and weigh 4.5 tonnes.

Do you get much bigger than 111 tonne, nearly 600 kW and a 700 kWh battery pack?

Regenerative Braking

The article also says that in some applications, vehicles go up and down a route and can charge the batteries using regenerative braking on the downhill run. In one application batteries only need charging every three days.

Rail Application Of Off-Road Equipment

The article says this.

While an eDumper may be too large to use on the railway, it does show what can now be done. Between JCB’s mini-excavator and eMining’s dump truck, there is room to battery-power almost any item used on the railway today.

I would suspect that there are a lot of companies, including giants like Caterpillar, JCB, Komatsu. Volvo and others working to produce electric versions of their successful products.

What About The Workers

The article says this.

These new machines are only the tip of the ‘electric’ iceberg. As pressure mounts to cut carbon emissions and to protect workers from harmful fumes, there will be more to come.

Health and safety will lead to a big push towards electric, as electric vehicles are pollution, carbon and fume-free, with a substantial noise reduction.

Hydrogen Will Have A Part To Play

This statement is from the Wikipedia entry for ITM Power.

In March 2015 JCB made a strategic investment of £4.9M in ITM Power.

Why would a construction equipment company invest in a company, that makes equipment that generates hydrogen to power vehicles?

  • It is known, that the Bamford heir has purchased Wrightbus and intend to make hydrogen-powered buses for the world.
  • JCB have built their own diesel engines, so are they building their own hydrogen engine?
  • JCB make tractors and I believe a hydrogen-powered tractor may be more than a niche market.
  • Is it possible to build a hydrogen-powered JCB?

Buy any of these products and you get a gas station in the price.

To deliver hydrogen, all you need to do is connect it to the water and electricity mains and switch on.

If you’re using it to power rail or site construction equipment, the gas station could be on wheels, so it can be moved from site to site.

Conclusion

This is the writer’s conclusion.

It seems that ‘battery is the new diesel’. It will be fascinating to see how this sector develops over the next few years.

I don’t disagree, but would add, that I feel that JCB are the elephant in this room!

March 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paddington Square – 7th February 2020

Paddington Square is a new development springing up to the East of Paddington station.

This Google Map shows the location between the station and St. Mary’s Hospital.

The development will include the following.

  • A Twenty-storey tower.
  • Offices
  • Four floors of upmarket shops
  • A rooftop restaurant.
  • A new public square
  • A new entry into the Bakerloo Line, which will have a step-free connection to Crossrail.

It will certainly improve, what is rather a grotty area of Central London.

There is nothing much to see at the moment.

It’s just a big hole, which is surrounded by hoardings.

February 8, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment