The Anonymous Widower

Shooter Urges Caution On Hydrogen Hubris

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the January 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Vivarail Chairman Adrian Shooter has urges caution about the widespread enthusiasm for hydrogen technology. In his keynote speech to the Golden Spanner Awards on 27 November, Mr. Shooter said the process to create ‘green hydrogen’ by electrolysis is ‘a wasteful use of electricity’ and was skeptical about using electricity to create hydrogen to then use a fuel cell to power a train, rather than charging batteries to power a train. ‘What you will discover is that a hydrogen train uses 3.5 times as much electricity because of inefficiencies in the electrolysis process and also in the fuel cells’ said Mr. Shooter. He also noted the energy density of hydrogen at 350 bar is only one-tenth of a similar quantity of diesel fuel, severely limiting the range of a hydrogen-powered train between refuelling.

Mr. Shooter then made the following points.

  • The complexity of delivering hydrogen to the railway depots.
  • The shorter range available from the amount of hydrogen that can be stored on a train compared to the range of a diesel train.
  • He points out limitations with the design of the Alstom Breeze train.

This is the last paragraph.

Whilst this may have seemed like a challenge designed purely to promote the battery alternatives that Vivarail is developing, and which he believes to be more efficient, Mr. Shooter explained: ‘I think that hydrogen fuel cell trains could work in this country, but people just need to remember that there are downsides. I’m sure we’ll see some, and in fact we should because competition improves the breed.’

i think Mr. Shooter may have made several good points.

These are my thoughts.

Creating Green Hydrogen

I haven’t done an analysis of the costs of creating green hydrogen from electrolysis, but I have a feeling, that electrolysis won’t be the only way to create large amounts of carbon-free hydrogen, in a few years.

These methods are currently available or under development or construction.

  • The hydrogen tram-buses in Pau have a personal electrolyser, that provides hydrogen at 350 bar.
  • London’s hydrogen buses will be provided with hydrogen from an electrolyser at Herne Bay by truck. Will the trucks be hydrogen-powered?

Some industrial processes like the Castner-Kellner process create hydrogen as a by-product.

In Shell Process To Make Blue Hydrogen Production Affordable, I describe the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process, which appears to be a way of making massive amounts of carbon-free hydrogen for processes like steel-making and cement production. Surely some could be piped or transported by truck to the rail depot.

In ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration, I describe how ITM Power and Ørsted plan to create the hydrogen off shore and bring it by pipeline to the shore.

Note.

  1. The last two methods could offer savings in the cost of production of carbon-free hydrogen.
  2. Surely, the delivery trucks if used, must be hydrogen-powered.
  3. The Shell Blue Hydrogen Process uses natural gas as a feedstock and converts it to hydrogen using a newly-developed catalyst. The carbon-dioxide is captured and used or stored.
  4. If the local gas network has been converted to hydrogen, the hydrogen can be delivered to the depot or filling station through that gas network.

I very much feel that affordable hydrogen can be supplied to bus, train, tram or transport depot. For remote or difficult locations. personal electrolysers, powered by renewable electricity, can be used, as at Pau.

Hydrogen Storage On Trains

Liquid hydrogen could be the answer and Airbus are developing methods of storing large quantities on aircraft.

In What Size Of Hydrogen Tank Will Be Needed On A ZEROe Turbofan?, I calculated how much liquid hydrogen would be needed for this ZEROe Turbofan.

I calculate that to carry the equivalent amount of fuel to an Airbus A320neo would need a liquid hydrogen tank with a near 100 cubic metre capacity. This sized tank would fit in the rear fuselage.

I feel that in a few years, a hydrogen train will be able to carry enough liquid hydrogen in a fuel tank, but the fuel tank will be large.

In The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I calculated how much liquid hydrogen would be needed to provide the same amount of energy as that carried in a full diesel tank on a Class 68 locomotive.

The locomotive would need 19,147 litres or 19.15 cubic metres of liquid hydrogen, which could be contained in a cylindrical tank with a diameter of 2 metres and a length of 6 metres.

Hydrogen Locomotives Or Multiple Units?

We have only seen first generation hydrogen trains so far.

This picture shows the Alstom Coradia iLint, which is a conversion of a Coradia Lint.

It is a so-so train and works reasonably well, but the design means there is a lot of transmission noise.

This is a visualisation of an Alstom Breeze or Class 600 train.

Note that the front half of the first car of the train, is taken up with a large hydrogen tank. It will be the same at the other end of the train.

As Mr. Shooter said, Alstom are converting a three-car train into a two-car train. Not all conversions live up to the hype of their proposers.

I would hope that the next generation of a hydrogen train designed from scratch, will be a better design.

I haven’t done any calculations, but I wonder if a lighter weight vehicle may be better.

Hydrogen Locomotives

I do wonder, if hydrogen locomotives are a better bet and easier to design!

  • There is a great need all over the world for zero-carbon locomotives to haul freight trains.
  • Powerful small gas-turbine engines, that can run on liquid hydrogen are becoming available.
  • Rolls-Royce have developed a 2.5 MW gas-turbine generator, that is the size of a beer-keg.

In The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I wondered if the Rolls-Royce generator could power a locomotive, the size of a Class 68 locomotive.

This was my conclusion.

I feel that there are several routes to a hydrogen-powered railway locomotive and all the components could be fitted into the body of a diesel locomotive the size of a Class 68 locomotive.

Consider.

  • Decarbonising railway locomotives and ships could be a large market.
  • It offers the opportunities of substantial carbon reductions.
  • The small size of the Rolls-Royce 2.5 MW generator must offer advantages.
  • Some current diesel-electric locomotives might be convertible to hydrogen power.

I very much feel that companies like Rolls-Royce and Cummins (and Caterpillar!), will move in and attempt to claim this lucrative worldwide market.

In the UK, it might be possible to convert some existing locomotives to zero-carbon, using either liquid hydrogen, biodiesel or aviation biofuel.

Perhaps, hydrogen locomotives could replace Chiltern Railways eight Class 68 locomotives.

  • A refuelling strategy would need to be developed.
  • Emissions and noise, would be reduced in Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street stations.
  • The rakes of carriages would not need any modifications to use existing stations.

It could be a way to decarbonise Chiltern Railways without full electrification.

It looks to me that a hydrogen-powered locomotive has several advantages over a hydrogen-powered multiple unit.

  • It can carry more fuel.
  • It can be as powerful as required.
  • Locomotives could work in pairs for more power.
  • It is probably easier to accommodate the hydrogen tank.
  • Passenger capacity can be increased, if required by adding more coaches.

It should also be noted that both hydrogen locomotives and multiple units can build heavily on technology being developed for zero-carbon aviation.

The Upward Curve Of Battery Power

Sparking A Revolution is the title an article in Issue 898 of Rail Magazine, which is mainly an interview with  Andrew Barr of Hitachi Rail.

The article contains a box, called Costs And Power, where this is said.

The costs of batteries are expected to halve in the next years, before dropping further again by 2030.

Hitachi cites research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) which expects costs to fall from £135/kWh at the pack level today to £67/kWh in 2030 and £47/kWh in 3030.

United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) are predicting that battery energy density will double in the next 15 years, from 700 Wh/l to 1400 Wh/l in 2-35, while power density (fast charging) is likely to increase four times in the same period from 3 kW/kg to 12 kW/kg in 2035.

These are impressive improvements that can only increase the performance and reduce the cost of batteries in all applications.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train

This infographic gives the specification of Hitachi Regional Battery Train, which they are creating in partnership with Hyperdrive Innovation.

Note that Hitachi are promising a battery life of 8-10 years.

Financing Batteries

This paragraph is from this page on BuyaCar, which is entitled Electric Car Battery Leasing: Should I Lease Or Buy The Batteries?

When you finance or buy a petrol or diesel car it’s pretty simple; the car will be fitted with an engine. However, with some electric cars you have the choice to finance or buy the whole car, or to pay for the car and lease the batteries separately.

I suspect that battery train manufacturers, will offer similar finance models for their products.

This paragraph is from this page on the Hyperdrive Innovation web site.

With a standardised design, our modular product range provides a flexible and scalable battery energy storage solution. Combining a high-performance lithium-ion NMC battery pack with a built in Battery Management System (BMS) our intelligent systems are designed for rapid deployment and volume manufacture, supplying you with class leading energy density and performance.

I can envisage that as a battery train ages, every few years or so, the batteries will get bigger electrically, but still be the same physical size, due to the improvements in battery technology, design and manufacture.

I have been involved in the finance industry both as a part-owner of a small finance company and as a modeller of the dynamics of their lending. It looks to me, that train batteries could be a very suitable asset for financing by a fund. But given the success of energy storage funds like Gore Street and Gresham House, this is not surprising.

I can envisage that battery electric trains will be very operator friendly, as they are likely to get better with age and they will be very finance-friendly.

Charging Battery Trains

I must say something about the charging of battery trains.

Battery trains will need to be charged and various methods are emerging.

Using Existing Electrification

This will probably be one of the most common methods used, as many battery electric services will be run on partly on electrified routes.

Take a typical route for a battery electric train like London Paddington and Oxford.

  • The route is electrified between London Paddington and Didcot Junction.
  • There is no electrification on the 10.4 miles of track between Didcot Junction and Oxford.

If a full battery on the train has sufficient charge to take the train from Didcot Junction to Oxford and back, charging on the main line between London Paddington and Didcot Junction, will be all that will be needed to run the service.

I would expect that in the UK, we’ll be seeing battery trains using both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail electrification.

Short Lengths Of New Strategic Electrification

I think that Great Western Railway would like to run either of Hitachi’s two proposed battery electric trains to Swansea.

As there is 45.7 miles pf track without .electrification, some form of charging in Swansea station, will probably be necessary.

The easiest way would probably be to electrify Swansea station and perhaps for a short distance to the North.

This Google Map shows Swansea station and the railway leading North.

Note.

  1. There is a Hitachi Rail Depot at the Northern edge of the map.
  2. Swansea station is in South-West corner of the map.
  3. Swansea station has four platforms.

Swansea station would probably make an excellent battery train hub, as trains typically spend enough time in the station to fully charge the batteries before continuing.

There are other tracks and stations of the UK, that I would electrify to enable the running of battery electric trains.

  • Leeds and York, which would enable carbon-free London and Edinburgh services via Leeds and help TransPennine services. This is partially underway.
  • Leicester and East Midlands Parkway and Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield – These two sections would enable EMR InterCity services to go battery electric.
  • Sheffield and Leeds via Meadowhall, Barnsley Dearne Valley and the Wakefield Line, which would enable four trains per hour (tph) between Sheffield and Leeds and an extension of EMR InterCity services to Leeds.
  • Hull and Brough, would enable battery electric services to Hull and Beverley.
  • Scarborough and Seamer, would enable electric services services to Scarborough and between Hull and Scarborough.
  • Middlesbrough and Redcar, would enable electric services services to Teesside.
  • Crewe and Chester and around Llandudno Junction station – These two sections would enable Avanti West Coast service to Holyhead to go battery electric.
  • Shrewsbury station – This could become a battery train hub, as I talked about for Swansea.
  • Taunton and Exeter and around Penzance, Plymouth and Westbury stations – These three sections would enable Great Western Railway to cut a substantial amount of carbon emissions.
  • Exeter, Yeovil Junction and Salisbury stations. – Electrifying these three stations would enable South Western Railway to run between London and Exeter using Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, as I wrote in Bi-Modes Offered To Solve Waterloo-Exeter Constraints.

We will also need fast chargers for intermediate stations, so that a train can charge the batteries on a long route.

I know of two fast chargers under development.

I believe it should be possible to battery-electrify a route by doing the following.

  • Add short lengths of electrification and fast charging systems as required.
  • Improve the track, so that trains can use their full performance.
  • Add ERTMS signalling.
  • Add some suitable trains.

Note.

  1. I feel ERTMS  signalling with a degree of automatic train control could be used with automatic charging systems, to make station stops more efficient.
  2. In my view, there is no point in installing better modern trains, unless the track is up to their performance.

January 4, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Italian Operator Orders Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trains

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Alstom is to supply Ferrovie Nord Milano with six hydrogen fuel cell multiple-units for use by the Lombardia regional operator’s Ferrovienord subsidiary on the non-electrified Brescia – Iseo – Edolo line from 2023.

The trains will be based on the Alstom Coradia Stream train, with technology coming from the Alstom Coradia iLint

 

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

Diesel Engine Giant Cummins Plans Hydrogen Future–With Trains Coming Before Trucks

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

It is very much a must-read article about how Cummins, who are a traditional diesel engine manufacturer is embracing hydrogen technology.

Trains Before Trucks

As the title says, they are starting with trains rather than trucks.

They have started by building a factory to make fuel cells for Alstom’s Coradia iLint, as I wrote about in Cummins To Build Railway Fuel Cell Factory.

Reading the Forbes article, it appears that the decision has been made to focus on trains and buses, is because they run fixed subsidised routes and you only need a couple of hydrogen filling stations at the ends of the route. But for trucks, you need full infrastructure.

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cummins To Build Railway Fuel Cell Factory

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Cummins’ hydrogen business Hydrogenics is to open a factory at Herten in the Ruhr region for the volume production of fuel cells for applications including Alstom’s Coradia iLint multiple-units.

Other points made include.

  • The factory will have a capacity of 19 MW of fuel cells per year.
  • It will open in 2021.
  • It will manufacture fuel cell systems for Alstom’s Coradia iLint.

There will be research and development and full support for the products.

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hydrogen Train “Coradia iLint”

The title of this post, is the same as that on this page of the Austrian Railways web site.

One of the sections is entitled Tried And Tested On Geographically Demanding Routes, where this is said.

Up to now, hydrogen trains have mainly been used on flat routes in Northern Germany and the Netherlands. By testing on geographically demanding, alpine routes in the southern parts of Lower Austria, the hydrogen train is now being put through its paces for the first time.

They also give a link to a route timetable.

September 13, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Train Hits The Rails In Austria

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

This is the first paragraph.

This week in future tech, an Alstom hydrogen-powered train will start taking passengers in Austria for the first time.

But for the covids, I’d be on my way tomorrow to do a bit of advanced-level trainspotting.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Health, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Germany Builds The World’s First Hydrogen Train Filling Station

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

Hydrogen Trains In Germany

The hydrogen filling station for trains is described under this heading.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The town of Bremervörde in Lower Saxony, Germany, has broken ground on the world’s first hydrogen filling station for passenger trains. Chemical company Linde will construct and operate the hydrogen filling station for the Lower Saxony Regional Transport Company.

It will provide approximately 1600 Kg of hydrogen per day.

The Supergroup Of ‘Green Energy’

This is a second section, which I find an interest sting concept.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

Oil giant Shell and Dutch utility Eneco have won the tender to build a super-hybrid offshore wind farm in the Netherlands. It will consist of two sites located 11.5 miles (18.5 km) off the west coast, near the town of Egmond aan Zee.

The Shell/Eneco consortium, CrossWind, will build the Hollandse Kust (noord) project. They will pair the offshore wind farms with floating solar facilities and short-duration batteries. It will also generate green hydrogen via an electrolyzer, according to GreenTech Media.

It will be operational in 2023 and have an output of 759 MW.

July 30, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hyperdrive Innovation And Hitachi Rail To Develop Battery Tech For Trains

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

This is the introductory sub-title.

Hyperdrive Innovation and Hitachi Rail are to develop battery packs to power trains and create a battery hub in the North East of England.

The article gives this information.

  • Trains can have a range of ninety kilometres, which fits well with Hitachi’s quoted battery range of 55-65 miles.
  • Hitachi has identified its fleets of 275 trains as potential early recipients.

Hitachi have also provided an  informative video.

At one point, the video shows a visualisation of swapping a diesel-engine for a battery pack.

As a world-class computer programmer in a previous life, I believe that it is possible to create a battery pack, that to the train’s extremely comprehensive computer, looks like a diesel-engine.

So by modifying the train’s software accordingly, the various power sources of electrification, diesel power-packs and battery packs can be used in an optimum manner.

This would enable one of East Midlands Railway’s Class 810 trains, to be fitted with a mix of diesel and battery packs in their four positions under the train.

Imagine going between London and Sheffield, after the High Speed Two electrification between Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield has been erected.

  • Between St. Pancras and Market Harborough power would come from the electrification.
  • The train would leave the electrified section with full batteries
  • At all stations on the route, hotel power would come from the batteries.
  • Diesel power and some battery power would be used between stations. Using them together may give better performance.
  • At Clay Cross North Junction, the electrification would be used to Sheffield.

For efficient operation, there would need to be electrification or some form of charging at the Sheffield end of the route. This is why, I am keen that when High Speed Two is built in the North, that the shsared section with the Midland Main Line between Clay Cross North Junction and Sheffield station, should be built early.

Hitachi have said that these trains will have four diesel engines. I think it will more likely be two diesel engines and two batteries.

The World’s First Battery-Electric Main Line

I suspect with electrification between Sheffield and Clay Cross North Junction, that a train fitted with four batteries, might even be able to run on electric power only on the whole route.

In addition, if electrification were to be erected between Leicester and East Midlands Parkway stations, all three Northern destinations would become electric power only.

The Midland Main Line would be the first battery electric high speed line in the world!

Hitachi On Hydrogen Trains

The press release about the partnership between Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation is on this page on the Hitachi web site.

This is a paragraph.

Regional battery trains produce zero tailpipe emission and compatible with existing rail infrastructure so they can complement future electrification. At the moment, battery trains have approximately 50% lower lifecycle costs than hydrogen trains, making battery the cheapest and cleanest alternative zero-emission traction solution for trains.

I have ridden in two battery-electric trains and one hydrogen-powered train.

I would rate them out of ten as follows.

It’s not that the iLint is a bad train, as the power system seems to work well, but the passenger experience is nowhere near the quality of the two battery trains.

In my view, battery vehicles are exceedingly quiet, so is this the reason?

On the other hand, it could just be poor engineering on the iLint.

Conclusion

This is as very big day in the development of zero- and low-carbon trains in the UK.

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Could The Crewe And Derby Line Become A Much More Important Route?

On the Midlands Connect web site, they have a page, which is entitled Derby-Stoke-Crewe.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Our plans have the potential to increase passenger demand on the corridor by 72%, with faster, more frequent services.

They then give the outline of their plans, which can be summed up as follows.

  • Currently, the service is one train per hour (tph) and it takes 79 minutes.
  • The service frequency will go to two tph.
  • Twenty minutes could be saved on the second service by adjusting calling patterns.
  • Improved links at Crewe for High Speed Two. This must have been written before Stafford and Stoke got the High Speed Two service to Macclesfield.
  • East Midlands Railway are planning to extend the current Crewe and Derby service to Nottingham.

It seems a safe, and not overly ambitious plan.

These are my thoughts.

The Route

I have flown my virtual helicopter along the route and it appears to be double track all the way, except for a three mile section to the East of Crewe, that British Rail reduced to single track

However, in recent years the A5020 was built under the railway and the new bridge appears to have space for the second track to be restored, as this Google Map shows.

Note.

  1. The single track appears to be electrified, from the shadows of the gantries at either end of the bridge.
  2. West Midlands Trains appear to run an electric service between Crewe and Stafford on this route.
  3. I suspect it’s also used as a diversion route for Avanti West Coast’s Manchester service via Stoke-on-Trent or for train positioning.

Will this route allow High Speed Two trains to run between Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Piccadilly?

From picture and comments in a rail forum, I suspect that the route could be redoubled fairly easily.

  • The electrification runs for about 15.5 miles, between Crewe station and Stoke Junction, which is about half-a-mile on the other side of Stoke-on-Trent station.
  • Trains seem to be connected to the electrification for over twenty minutes, so it could be useful for charging a battery train, running between Stoke-n-Trent and Crewe stations.

This Google Map shows Stoke Junction.

Note,

  1. Stoke-on-Trent station is to the North.
  2. The electrified railway going due South is the West Coast Main Line to Stone and Stafford stations.
  3. The line without electrification going off in a more South-Easterly direction is the line to Uttoxeter and Derby.

Following the route between Derby and Crewe, these are my observations.

  • There is a level crossing at Blythe Bridge station.
  • Most of the bridges over the route are modern, so I suspect will accept electrification.
  • The route would appear to have a speed limit of 70 mph, but I would suspect that this could be increased somewhat as it doesn’t look too challenging.
  • The route is 51 miles long, so a service that takes the current 79 minutes with nine stops, would average 38.7 mph.
  • The proposed time of 59 minutes, would average 51.8 mph

I suspect there could be more to come, as the timetable is probably written for a Class 153 train.

A Crewe And Nottingham Service

The Midlands Connect plan says the service will be the following.

  • Two tph
  • A slow train in 79 minutes.
  • A fast train in 59 minutes.
  • East Midlands Railway want to extend services to Nottingham.

It could be a fairly simple easy-to-use timetable.

Fast Trains

Consider.

  • Derby and Nottingham are 16 miles apart and fastest trains take between 19-22 minutes between the two cities.
  • When it opens, all trains would stop at East Midlands Hub station between Nottingham and Derby.
  • East Midlands Railway have a fleet that will include forty Class 170 trains.
  • I suspect that these 100 mph trains will be able to run between Crewe and Nottingham including the turnround in under 90 minutes.

This would mean that a fast hourly service would need three trains.

Slow Trains

Consider.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see the slower services continuing as now and not extending to Nottingham.
  • 79 minutes is probably a convenient time, which would give a ninety minute time for each leg between Derby and Crewe, when turnround is included.
  • Trains would be more of the Class 170 trains.

This would mean that a slow hourly service would need three trains.

Could Battery Electric Trains Be Used?

Consider.

  • I think it is likely that the route between Derby and East Midlands Parkway via East Midlands Hub station, will be electrified, in conjunction with Midland Main Line electrification.
  • Between Derby and Long Eaton stations via East Midlands Hub station is just under ten miles and takes ten minutes.
  • Nottingham and Crewe is 66 miles of which 25 miles in total could be electrified.
  • Derby and Crewe is 51 miles of which 15 miles are electrified.
  • The longest section without electrification is between Derby station and Stoke Junction, which is 35.5 miles.

Batteries would be charged in the following places.

  • Between Long Eaton and Derby stations.
  • During turnround at a fully-electrified Derby station.
  • Between Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe stations.
  • During turnround at a fully-electrified Crewe station.

That’s a lot better than with an electric car.

In Sparking A Revolution, I quoted this Hitachi-specification for a battery-electric train.

  • Range – 55-65 miles
  • Performance – 90-100 mph
  • Recharge – 10 minutes when static
  • Routes – Suburban near electrified lines
  • Battery Life – 8-10 years

I can’t see any problem with one of these trains or other battery-electric trains with a similar performance, running between Crewe and Nottingham or Derby via Stoke.

Could Hydrogen-Powered Trains Be Used?

I would suspect so, as the Alsthom Coradia iLint runs a similar route in Germany.

Connections To High Speed Two

Midlands Connect noted the route’s link to High Speed Two at Crewe.

But it also has other links to High Speed Two at Stoke-on-Trent and East Midlands Hub stations.

I suspect some stations like Uttoxeter or Alsager will have a choice of fast routes to London or Scotland.

Could Services Be Extended From Crewe?

In Connecting The Powerhouses, I talked about an article in the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which proposed reopening the Midland Railway route between Derby and Manchester.

Some passengers and commentators fell a direct fast link is needed.

When High Speed Two is completed, the main route into Manchester Piccadilly will be a high speed spur from Crewe via Manchester Airport. Current plans include the following services.

  • One tph from London Euston via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange.
  • Two tph from London Euston via Old Oak Common
  • Two tph from Birmingham Curzon Street

Note.

  1. All services will call at Manchester Airport.
  2. It is likely that Northern Powerhouse Rail will add six tph to Manchester Piccadilly from Liverpool via Warrington.
  3. Some services will extend through Manchester Piccadilly to Bradford, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and York.
  4. High Speed lines will probably have a capacity of up to eighteen tph.

The Birmingham Curzon Street, Liverpool and London Euston services would be eleven tph, so there would be more than enough capacity for an hourly train from Nottingham.

What would the service be like?

  • It would be between Nottingham and Manchester Piccadilly stations.
  • It could call at East Midlands Hub, Derby, Uttoxeter, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, Crewe and Manchester Airport stations.
  • It would probably be hourly.

Timings could be as follows.

  • Nottingham and Manchester Airport – 87 minutes
  • Nottingham and Manchester Piccadilly – 91 minutes
  • Derby and Manchester Airport – 67 minutes
  • Derby and Manchester Piccadilly – 71 minutes
  • Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Airport – 32 minutes
  • Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester Piccadilly – 36 minutes

The trains used on this and other local services that might need to use High Speed Two infrastructure would be performing a similar role as that of the Class 395 trains on High Speed One.

Possibilities must include.

  • A classic-compatible High Speed Two train.
  • A five-car AT-300 train, like East Midlands Railway’s Class 810 trains.
  • An updated Class 395 train.

All trains would need a battery capability with a range of 40 miles.

It should also be noted that in Options For High Speed To Hastings, I worked through the options needed to run high speed commuter services to Hastings.

This was the last sentence in that post.

It’s all about selling trains and a company that had a 140 mph or 225 kph high-speed electric train, that could do perhaps 25 miles or 40 kilometres on batteries, would have a valuable addition to their product range.

A train with a range of 50 miles on battery power, would be suitable for the following routes.

  • London St. Pancras and Hastings via Ashford International.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Nottingham via Manchester Airport, Crewe, Derby and East Midlands Hub.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Barrow-in-Furness via Manchester Airport, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston and Lancaster.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Chester via Manchester Airport and Crewe.
  • Manchester Piccadilly and Shrewsbury via Manchester Airport and Crewe.

Charging might be needed at some of the terminal stations.

 

June 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The World’s First Bi-Mode Hydrogen-Electric Train

This news page on the University of Birmingham web site is entitled HydroFLEX Secures Funding For Hydrogen-Powered Train Design.

The page is mainly about the new funding from Innovate UK, that I wrote about in First Of A Kind Funding Awarded For 25 Rail Innovation Projects, but it also includes this significant paragraph.

As well as being the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train, HydroFLEX is also the world’s first bi-mode electric hydrogen train. It will be undergoing mainline testing on the UK railway in the next few weeks.

One of my disappointments in the design of the Alstom Coradia iLint, is that, it is designed as a hydrogen-power only train, where it could surely have had a pantograph fitted, for more efficient working.

Consider.

  • I suspect many hydrogen-powered trains will only be doing short distances, where electrification is not available, so daily distances under hydrogen power could be quite short.
  • In the UK, a smaller hydrogen tank would certainly ease the design problems caused by a large fuel tank.
  • There have been improvements in hydrogen storage in recent years.

The funding award to the project talks about raft production, so are the engineers, aiming to design a hydrogen power-pack on rafts, that could be fitted underneath the large fleets of retired electric multiple units, that are owned by Porterbrook.

Now that would be a game changer.

  • Porterbrook have thirty-seven Class 350 trains, that will be replaced in the next few years by new trains. The electric trains are less than a dozen years old and Porterbrook have been talking about fitting batteries to these trains and creating a battery/FLEX train. Would making these trains bi-mode hydrogen-electric trains be better?
  • Birmingham wants to open up new rail routes in the city on lines without electrification. What would be better than a hydrogen powered train, designed in the city’s premier university?
  • Routes from Birmingham to Burton-on-Trent, Hereford, Leicester, Shrewsbury, Stratford-on-Avon and Worcester would be prime candidates for the deployment of a fleet of bi-mode hydrogen-electric trains.
  • Birmingham have already asked ITM Power to build a hydrogen filling station in the city for hydrogen buses.

 

June 18, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments