The Anonymous Widower

Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn Present New Hydrogen Train

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

This is the sub-title.

Deutsche Bahn and Siemens Mobility have presented the newly developed Mireo Plus H and a newly designed mobile hydrogen storage trailer.

It seems that Deutsche Bahn and Siemens Mobility have put together a well-thought out plan to use hydrogen on a lot of unelectrified lines.

The Germans have given the project, the catchy name of H2goesRail.

How does that translate into German?

 

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Deutsche Bahn Is Building Overhead Line ‘Islands’ For Battery Trains

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

This paragraph describes the concept.

This means, instead of electrifying a line in full, as is conventional for electric trains to draw traction power, these lines will feature intermittent electrification. The first of these lines to become operational will be in Schleswig-Holstein in December 2023. Deutsche Bahn says it will only electrify short stretches (a few hundred metres up to a few kilometres) or stations – enough to allow battery-powered trains to recharge on these lines. The state rail operator estimates that this move will mean that more than ten million train kilometres can be completed using electric rather than diesel traction in Schleswig-Holstein. The diesel trains currently in use will be decommissioned. DB estimates an annual diesel fuel saving of around ten million litres.

It looks like a simple concept will save a lot of diesel fuel.

I first talked about electrification islands to charge battery-electric trains in The Concept Of Electrification Islands, which I wrote in April 2020.

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Deutsche Bahn Puts Passengers On Alstom Battery-Electric Trains

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

French manufacturer Alstom and Deutsche Bahn are now taking passengers onboard Alstom’s first fully approved electric train since this weekend in Baden-Württemberg. Further testing will start in Bavaria on 5 February and run throughout early May on all routes.

This paragraph describes where the train will be running.

On weekdays the battery-powered train will run in Baden-Württemberg on the Stuttgart – Horb line and Saturdays and Sundays, on the Pleinfeld – Gunzenhausen line in the Franconian Lake District. Alstom said this arrangement would maximise the train’s mileage while testing a variety of route profiles and battery charging scenarios. For example, while in Baden-Württemberg, charging occurs during the ongoing journey via overhead lines, in Bavaria, charging can only take place at stations, as the route in between is not electrified.

The article gives the impression that Alstom have ambitious plans for battery-electric and hydrogen trains in Germany.

This is confirmed by this press release on the Alstom web site, where this is a paragraph.

While Alstom’s hydrogen trains are optimised for longer routes, Alstom’s BEMUs are suitable for shorter routes or lines with non-electrified sections previously operated with diesel vehicles. Direct connections between electrified and non-electrified network sections are now possible and can be operated emission free, without the need of additional electrification – shortening the travel time between city and country.

It appears Alstom will be developing both types of trains.

January 23, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Alstom And DB To Kick Off Test Operations With Battery Electric Train

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Alstom and Deutsche Bahn (DB) are set to enter into service Alstom’s Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) for trial runs. The test operations will commence on January 24 in the state of Baden-Württemberg, followed by passenger services in neighbouring Bavaria from February 5th onwards. The tests will conclude in May 2022.

It does finally appear that battery electric multiple units (BEMUs) are being seen on the railway.

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

More ICE Sprinters Offer Alternative To Flying

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

The first two paragraphs, give an overview of the changes being made.

Deutsche Bahn introduced more limited-stop Sprinter ICE services on long-distance inter-city routes with the timetable change on December 12.

Sprinter-branded ICE services now operate on eight domestic routes, while a daily Frankfurt am Main – Paris service calling at Mannheim and Karlsruhe also carries the branding. Intended to appeal to business travellers, many of the Sprinter services are timed to depart early in the morning with return trips in the evening. This ensures a full day at the destination and offers a viable alternative to domestic flights.

It would appears that these services now have trains that are under the acceptable four hours.

  • Cologne and Berlin
  • Cologne and Munich
  • Hamburg and Frankfurt Airport

If Deutsche Bahn are serious about competing with the airlines, they must surely increase the frequency.

In 2018, I travelled between Berlin and Munich in under four hours and wrote about it in From Berlin To Munich In Four Hours By Train.

This is how I started that post.

The length of the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is 632 kilometres.

Deutsche Bahn have recently completed an upgraded High Speed Line between Berlin and Munich, which has a length of 623 kilometres.

Both lines are not the very fastest of High Speed Lines, but lines where a consistent two hundred kilometres per hour is possible.

The East Coast Main Line was built in Victorian times and services typically take around twenty minutes over four hours, with nine -car InterCity 225 trains running twice an hour.

The Berlin-Munich route was originally built over two centuries ago, but the Germans have spent twenty-five years and many billions of euros punching a new route between Berlin and Nuremberg, through the difficult countryside of Thuringen Forest.

The route may allow the Germans to travel from Berlin to Munich in three hours fifty-five minutes, but at present you can only do it three times a day in a six-car train.

I took the lunchtime train and sat in First Class for a hundred and fourteen euros.

Deutsche Bahn have increased the trains on this route to five trains per day, but compared to London and Edinburgh on LNER, it is too infrequent, expensive with questionable customer service and not enough seats to give the airlines a run for their money.

A quick look on Rail Europe indicates that these routes have fast services at an hourly frequency or better.

  • Madrid and Barcelona
  • Milan and Rome
  • Paris and Bordeaux
  • Paris and Cologne
  • Paris and Marseilles
  • Venice and Naples

German rail services might be getting better, but not fast enough to take on the airlines.

 

December 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Lhyfe’s Green Hydrogen To Power Deutsche Bahn Trains

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

This is the first paragraph.

Deutsche Bahn AG has agreed to source about 30 tonnes of green hydrogen from French producer Lhyfe from 2024 onward to power its trains as the German railway operator seeks to reach climate neutrality by 2040.

The electrolyser will be built at Tuebingen.

In Can The UK Have A Capacity To Create Five GW Of Green Hydrogen?, I said the following.

Ryze Hydrogen are building the Herne Bay electrolyser.

  • It will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power.
  • It will produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.

The electrolyser will consume 552 MWh to produce ten tonnes of hydrogen, so creating one tonne of hydrogen needs 55.2 MWh of electricity.

I suspect that in my quote above from the article on Renewables Now, that the Tuebingen electrolyser will be producing thirty tonnes of hydrogen per day or just under 11,000 tonnes per year.

In that case it would be three times the size of the Herne Bay Electrolyser.

 

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Open Access Operators And The Lumo Model

In the UK, there are only three established Open Access operators, who run UK train services.

  • Grand Central
  • Heathrow Express
  • Hull Trains

From the 25th of October, they will be joined by Lumo.

We probably don’t think of Heathrow Express as an Open Access operator and as it is effectively a short distance special service with new trains between Heathrow and Paddington, it has its own business model, that may or may not survive.

But how will Lumo and their bold new business model affect Grand Central, Hull Trains and any future Open Access operators?

Grand Central Trains

Grand Central is a well-established Open Access operator.

  • They run services between London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange, Sunderland and several other convenient en-route stations.
  • They are owned by Deutsche Bahn.
  • They also regularly seem to apply for new routes and extra services.

But they have a big problem fast catching up on them; they have a diesel-only fleet and need to decarbonise.

I also think that all express passenger services on the East Coast Main Line will at some date need to be run by 140 mph trains capable of running with full digital signalling and a degree of Automatic Train Operation.

In Lumo: Why Won’t The New Train Service Stop At Yorkshire Stations?, I said that to continue to be successful, they probably need to embrace the Lumo model and acquire new trains.

I will repeat what I said in the related post.

This would entail.

  • The ten diesel Class 180 trains would be replaced by new electric trains.
  • The trains would need a 140 mph capability under digital signalling to fit in with the plans of Network Rail, LNER and Lumo to create a top-class high-speed high-capacity East Coast Main Line.
  • The trains would need a battery capability as Grand Central’s routes are not fully electrified.
  • They could copy Lumo’s green marketing philosophy, ticketing and catering offering.

As to the trains, I’m sure that Hitachi could offer a version of their Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, the specification of which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

The trains would need a range of fifty miles on battery-power.

I have some other thoughts.

Financing

If you look at the finances of decarbonising Grand Central, they would need a new fleet of ten trains, which as Lumo’s fleet of five trains are reported to be costing £100 million, so that figure can be at least doubled.

There would also be costs for the two charging systems at Bradford Interchange and Sunderland. But at least there are several possible solutions for charging systems, so the price will probably not be more than a few million, if that.

Will Deutsche Bahn be prepared to stump up the extra finance?

A Service To Cleethorpes

In the Wikipedia entry for Grand Central, there is a section which is entitled London Kings Cross to Cleethorpes, which outlines a proposed service.

  • It would split and join with the London King’s Cross and Bradford service at Doncaster.
  • It would call at Crowle, Scunthorpe, Barnetby, Habrough and Grimsby.
  • Doncaster and Cleethorpes is 52.1 miles and should be in range of a Battery-electric train with a charging system at Cleethorpes.

Using current times from LNER and TransPennine Express, I estimate that Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains could travel between London and Cleethorpes in around two hours and twenty minutes.

With digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line to the South of Doncaster, the overall time could be much closer to two hours.

This could be a very viable service with battery-electric trains capable of running at 140 mph on the East Coast Main Line and for sixty miles at 100 mph on battery power.

Maximising The Use Use Of Train Paths By The Use Of Splitting And Joining

The proposed service to Cleethorpes is a classic use of splitting and joining, which enables two separate services to run a large part of their routes together.

  • On the East Coast Main Line, it means that maximum use can be made of the paths available.
  • Splitting and joining is part of the specification for the Hitachi trains and they do it automatically in under two minutes.
  • LNER are already talking about using the technique to serve various destinations from Leeds.

I wouldn’t rule out Grand Central’s two services working as a pair between London King’s Cross and Doncaster, where they would split and join.

Conclusion On Grand Central Trains

Decarbonisation with high-speed battery-electric trains could ensure the future of Grand Central Trains.

Hull Trains

Hull Trains is another well-established Open Access operator.

  • They run services between London King’s Cross and Hull and Beverley.
  • They have a fleet of five bi-mode Class 802 trains.
  • The company is part of First Group.

Hull Trains don’t have the decarbonisation problem of Grand Central Trains, as I suspect Hitachi will come up with a solution to turn Class 802 trains into a battery-electric train with a range of perhaps seventy miles on battery power.

  • Beverley and Temple Hirst junction is a distance of 44.3 miles and is the only section of the route without electrification.
  • Charging of the batteries will be needed at the Eastern end and probably would be best handled by a short length of electrification in Hull station or between Hull and Brough stations.

The Class 802 trains are also ready for updating to run under the new digital signalling of the East Coast Main Line.

First Harrogate Trains

First Harrogate Trains was a subsidiary of Hull Trains, which hoped to run the following services.

  • London King’s Cross and Harrogate via York
  • London King’s Cross and Cleethorpes via Peterborough, Spalding and Lincoln

Both these services could be run in conjunction with the current service with an appropriate split and join.

Conclusion On Hull Trains

As both Hull Trains and Lumo share London King’s Cross and are both owned by First Group, I would expect that both train operators would share some services, methods and ideas.

There may be advantages if Hull Trains’s Class 802 trains and Lumo’s Class 803 trains could run each other’s services.

Grand Union

Grand Union is a prospective open access operator who are proposing to operate train services from England to Wales and Scotland.

They are proposing two services.

London Paddington and Cardiff Central via Reading, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport and Cardiff Parkway, with a possible extension later to Swansea andLlanelli or Carmarthen.

London Euston and Stirling via Milton Keynes Central, Nuneaton, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell, Whifflet, Greenfaulds and Larbert.

Note.

  1. London Paddington and Cardiff Central is fully electrified, but there is no electrification West of Cardiff Central.
  2. Cardiff Central and Swansea are 45.7 miles apart.
  3. London Euston and Stirling is fully electrified.

Currently, the rolling stock for both services is proposed to be a tri-mode Class 93 locomotive hauling a rake of Mark 4 coaches and a driving van trailer.

The locomotive should be capable of handling the routes to Stirling and Cardiff using the electrification alone.

When the Cardiff route is extended, Grand Union would intend to use Class 802 trains, which could be fitted with batteries to serve Swansea, where the batteries would be charged.

There is no sign as yet, that the Office of Rail and Road have approved any of their possible services, but both services might be improved with some Lumo-style thinking.

Alliance Rail Holdings

Alliance Rail Holdings, which is a sister company to Grand Central, is ultimately owned by Deutsche Bahn, seems to have several ideas for new services, but only seems to have got approval to one.

They were given approval some years ago to run a service between London Euston and Blackpool North.

  • Calls would be made at Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Wesham, Preston, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes Central.
  • There will be six trains per day.
  • Trains would be InterCity 225 trains.
  • The approval is for seven years from 2018.

But because of the pandemic it hasn’t run.

Conclusion

The Lumo model will affect all these services.

 

 

 

September 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Short-Notice Spaghetti Trains Organised To get Pasta Across The Alps

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

DB Schenker has organised the transport of several hundred tonnes of pasta by rail from Italy to Germany, enabling 650 Aldi supermarkets to replenish supplies which had been depleted by customers stocking up during the coronavirus pandemic.

I can’t help feeling that this story pays homage to Richard Dimbleby‘s classic April Fool story about the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rip-Off Ticketing At Bremen Hauptbahnhof

I am experienced user of Deutsche Bahn and generally buy my tickets at one of their reliable machines.

Note that queuing up at a Ticket Office sometimes takes up to thirty minutes and quite frankly I have better and more important thingfs to do with my life.

This picture shows a typical German ticket.

The two stations; Buxtehude and Cuxhaven are clearly shown.

But imagine my surprise at Bremen Hauptbahnhof, when the ticket machine dispensed this.

It is about one by four centimetres and the only readable writing on the front is EErw.

  • Does it look like a ticket to you?
  • There were no notices up about the change of ticket.
  • How do you sort out today’s ticket from yesterday’s?
  • What if you’re partially sighted?

I thought the machine had failed and curt off the ticket early.

So I tried again. With the same result!

I then tried the Ticket Office for an explanation, but the guy just played stumm, as Deutsche Bahn employees always do, when they know, there’s been a customer relations failure.

I did ascertain, that I had to put the ticket in a machine to validate it before travelling.

I did think about not doing this, so that I would get arrested on the train, but in the end, I can’t remember whether I did.

However, as tickets were not checked on the train, it didn’t matter.

It is the most arrogant system of ticketing I’ve ever found.

When I got home, I found I had been charge for two tickets.

My bank;Nationwide are trying to refuse one of the psyments.

I’ll update this post, to give you the result of their argument.

 

 

 

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

From Bremen Hauptbahnhof To Buxtehude

This should have been an easy journey with a change at Bremerhaven Hbf.

But it wasn’t and I had a nearly eighty minute wai at Bremerhaven.

If this sort of ptoblem had occured with most railway conpanies, you’d have got accurate updates and information, but even though there were some announcements, even the German passengers were confused.

I temember one incident on Greater Anglia on an extremely windy day, when a tree brought the overhead wires down at Chelmsford. Station staff at Colchester were handing out refund forms and I got refunded my trip back to Liverpool Street.

But where were the Germans?

Nowhere to be seen for a start!

I thought EU regulations laid down a tefund policy, if trains were late.

When I got to Buxtehude, a fellow passenger told me there had been signalling problems.

How do I claim my refund?

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment