The Anonymous Widower

Freight On The East West Main Line

This page on the East West Main Line Partnership web site, describes their ambitions towards freight.

This is said.

The freight and logistics sector is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions. Greater use of rail for freight and logistics provides additional resilience for the business community, while also acting on the need to achieve net zero.

Whilst not part of East West Rail, removing the bottlenecks on the Felixstowe to Midlands
corridor remains an immediate strategic priority for three sub-national transport bodies (England’s Economic Heartland, Transport East and Midlands Connect wrote to the Chancellor in this regard in July 2020).

However, the design and operation of the East West Main Line should take into account and contribute to the delivery of the requirements of the national rail freight strategy. In due course Great British Railways will have a statutory duty to consider the needs of rail freight and to take those needs into account in planning the future of the rail network.

It is therefore important that the East West Main Line is designed and delivered with the capability of supporting rail freight services without the need for additional works. In this regard due consideration must be given to ensuring that the impact on local communities of rail freight movements is minimised.

I have my thoughts.

Cutting Carbon Emissions In The Freight Sector

The obvious way to do this, would be to electrify every line in the country and purchase a new fleet of electric freight locomotives.

But the problems with this are the expense, disruption and timescale, it would take to replace all the locomotives and put up electrification on every line that might possibly be used by freight trains and  locomotives.

A solution is needed now, not in ten years.

But there are already solutions being demonstrated or developed that will cut carbon emissions from locomotives.

  • Stadler bi-mode Class 88 locomotives are already hauling freight trains and cutting emissions by using electric power where possible. But there are only ten of these locomotives.
  • The thirty Stadler tri-mode Class 93 locomotives on order for Rail Operations Group could or well be a game-changer. It is already known, that they will be able to cruise at 100 mph using electrification, so they will be able to mix it with the expresses on the Great Eastern Main Line. I suspect that these locomotives have been designed to be able to haul freight trains out of the Port of Felixstowe, by juggling the power sources.
  • In Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project, I describe how Clean Air Power are converting a Class 66 locomotive to run on both diesel and hydrogen. This could be a very fruitful route, especially, if the diesel-electric Class 66 locomotives could be fitted with a pantograph to use electrification where it exists.
  • I have been very impressed with the work Wabtec have done to convert a large American diesel-electric locomotive into a battery electric locomotive. I wrote about it in FLXdrive ‘Electrifies’ Pittsburgh. In Could Class 66 Locomotives Be Converted Into Battery-Electric Locomotives?, I concluded that it might be possible to convert Class 66 locomotives into battery-electric locomotives using Wabtec’s technology.
  • In Powered By HVO, I talk about DB Cargo’s use of HVO to cut carbon emissions.

I am also sure that there are probably other solutions to decarbonise freight locomotives under development.

I would hope that over the next few years the amount of diesel fuel used in the freight sector will decrease significantly.

Improved Freight Routes

Currently, freight trains to and from Felixstowe take one of these routes.

  1. Via London – Using the Great Eastern Main Line, North London Line or Gospel Oak and Barking Line, and the West Coast Main Line.
  2. Via Nuneaton – Going via Bury St. Edmunds, Ely, Peterborough and Leicester before joining the West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton.
  3. Via Peterborough – Going via Bury St. Edmunds, Ely and Peterborough before taking the East Coast Main Line or the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line via Lincoln.

The first two routes routes have capacity problems, whereas the third route has been improved by the use of the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line.

Problems on the first two routes include

  • The Great Eastern Main Line is only dual-track.
  • The Great Eastern Main Line and the routes through London are at full capacity.
  • The route via Nuneaton does not have much electrification.

The East West Main Line will open up a new route directly across the country for some services, that currently go via the London or Nuneaton routes.

  • Felixstowe and Birmingham
  • Felixstowe and Glasgow
  • Felixstowe and Liverpool
  • Felixstowe and Manchester

These services could use the East West Main Line to connect with the West Coast Main Line at Bletchley, if the track were to be modified.

In addition services between Felixstowe and South Wales and the West Country could use the East West Main Line to Oxford and then join the Great Western Main Line at Didcot.

The East West Main Line could reduce the number of freight trains on these routes.

  • Great Eastern Main Line
  • North London Line
  • Gospel Oak and Barking Line
  • Peterborough and Leicester Line

The first three lines are certainly at capacity.

The Newmarket Problem

In Roaming Around East Anglia – Coldhams Common, I talked about previous plans of the East West Rail Consortium, who were the predecessor of the East West Main Line Partnership for the rail line between Chippenham Junction and Cambridge through Newmarket.

In this document on their web site, this is said.

Note that doubling of Warren Hill Tunnel at Newmarket and
redoubling between Coldham Lane Junction and Chippenham Junction is included
in the infrastructure requirements. It is assumed that most freight would operate
via Newmarket, with a new north chord at Coldham Lane Junction, rather than
pursuing further doubling of the route via Soham.

I have a feeling that if this plan were to be pursued, the Racing Industry in Newmarket wouldn’t be too keen on all the freight trains passing through the town.

Knowing the town and the racing industry and horses, as I do, I suspect that there will need to be serious noise mitigation measures through the town.

One would probably be a noise limit on the trains passing through, which might be very difficult for long freight trains, even if hauled by a much quieter battery-electric or hydrogen-powered locomotive.

Were the East West Main Line Partnership thinking of Newmarket, when they wrote the last sentence of the web page for freight.

In this regard due consideration must be given to ensuring that the impact on local communities of rail freight movements is minimised.

Newmarket is a unique town with a strong character and you shouldn’t take the town on lightly.

Related Posts

Birth Of The East West Main Line

Freight On The East West Main Line

Route Map Of The East West Main Line

 

 

 

October 8, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Results For HS2’s Trial For Alternative Fuels Set To Cut Carbon Released

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

This paragraph sums up the results.

Although the results demonstrated partial air quality benefits, when compared to red diesel, the trial showed possible carbon reduction opportunities via the sustainable sourcing of alternative fuels.

It looks like, there will be benefits from swapping from red diesel.

 

October 2, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Quinbrook To Build The UKs Largest Consented Solar + Battery Storage Project

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

This is the first paragraph.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners (“Quinbrook”), a specialist global investment manager focused exclusively on renewables, storage and grid support infrastructure investment, today announced that it has acquired a consented 350MW Solar + Battery storage project, located in Kent, UK (“Project Fortress”). Quinbrook expects to commence construction of the project in the first half of 2022.

I have also read about Quinbrook on their web site.

A section on the site is entitled Our Industry Pedigree, where this is said.

Quinbrook is led and managed by a senior team of power industry professionals who have collectively invested over US$ 8.2 billion in energy infrastructure assets since the early 1990’s, representing over 19.5GW of power supply capacity. Our team brings an industrial perspective to investing in low carbon and renewables infrastructure.

Could companies like this be one of the keys to get more renewable power sources delivered?

September 29, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Cummins Accelerates Work On Hydrogen-Fueled Internal Combustion Engines

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

This is the first paragraph.

Global power leader Cummins Inc. is accelerating its work on internal combustion engines fueled by low-carbon hydrogen.

Cummins aren’t the only company going this route, as JCB have also developed a hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine.

In some ways it makes sense, as in a truck, railway locomotive or specialist machine, the conversion of the current diesel version to a hydrogen one could be easier.

From my experience of selling software to Cummins, they see themselves as specialists in providing customised diesel engines for anybody who wants them.

So could they supply customised hydrogen engines which are a direct replacement for a diesel engine?

It could be a very profitable market for Cummins, good for the environment and a quick way to decarbonise a lot of applications.

September 26, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Dramatically More Powerful’: World’s First Battery-Electric Freight Train Unveiled

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

It is a good article about Wabtec’s new FLXdrive battery train and is very positive about it coming from a typical Guardian direction.

The article is a must-read.

I am beginning to feel that what Wabtec has done is to create a practical and affordable solution, that will cut carbon emissions in a difficult area, that produces the figures and also is understandable by diverse groups, like journalists, politicians and environmentalists. And they are backing it with academic research from a good university.

I also believe that the technology can be applied to existing locomotives as I outlined in Could Class 66 Locomotives Be Converted Into Battery-Electric Locomotives?.

Could this be another example of positive environmental change brought about by when the big beasts play their cards in the jungle?

Going green is a way of company survival! And Wabtec are going in that direction.

September 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FLXdrive ‘Electrifies’ Pittsburgh

batteryThe title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Age.

The article describes Wabtec’s FLXdrive locomotive, as “the world’s first 100% battery, heavy-haul locomotive”

It is well worth a read, as it describes some of the design philosophy.

In addition, this page on the Wabtec web site gives some details of the locomotive.

It is powered by lithium-ion batteries.

  • There are around 20,000 battery cells
  • The batteries have their own air-conditioning
  • There is a sophisticated battery-management system.
  • The total battery size is 2.4 MWh
  • Power output is 4400 HP or 3.24 MW
  • Locomotive will run for 30-40 minutes at full power.
  • The locomotive has regenerative braking.
  • Operating speed is 75 mph

Note that running at 75 mph for 40 miles would cover fifty miles.

The Railway age article has this paragraph, which describes a partnership between Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU), Genesee & Wyoming and Wabtec to create the Freight Rail Innovation Institute.

CMU, Genesee & Wyoming and Wabtec also hope to create the Freight Rail Innovation Institute, described as “the first-of-its-kind effort to create zero-emission locomotives, develop technology that increases freight rail utilization and improve safety by 50%, and create 250,000 jobs by 2030.” G&W’s Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad will pilot technologies developed by the Freight Rail Innovation Institute, including a zero-emissions battery and hydrogen-powered train that is planned for revenue operation on 200 miles of track between Pittsburgh and Buffalo, N.Y. within the next three years.

Note.

  1. The paragraph is very much a mission statement.
  2. Genesee & Wyoming are the parent of Freightliner in the UK, who are developing a dual-fuel locomotive, that I wrote about in Freightliner Secures Government Funding For Dual-Fuel Project.

It strikes me CMU, Genesee & Wyoming and Wabtec are on the right track.

 

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rolls-Royce And Flanders Electric Plan To Develop Hybrid Retrofit Solution For Mining Trucks

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the first paragraph.

Rolls-Royce and Flanders Electric have agreed to develop a retrofit solution for hybridizing mining trucks with mtu engines, batteries and hybrid control systems, and Flanders drive train solutions. The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding enabling them to offer a scalable retrofit kit for hybridizing mining trucks in a wide range of mining applications.

This looks to be a promising application of a version of MTU Mybrid PowerPack technology, that is being trialled on a Class 168 train on Chiltern Railways.

They are claiming a CO2 reduction of twenty percent.

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Caterpillar, Cummins Move On Hydrogen For Trains

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

This is the first paragraph.

Caterpillar and Cummins are working separately to put hydrogen to work in locomotives.

They have a lot to lose with the extinction of their diesel businesses, so why not join the party.

September 13, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

What Happened To The Class 158/159 Bi-Mode Study?

In Class 158/159 Bi-Modes?, I discussed the possibility of turning South Western Railway‘s Class 158 and Class 159 trains into bi-modes.

I said this.

In the March 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a short news item, which is entitled Bi-Mode Study For SWR DMUs.

The Class 158 and Class 159 diesel multiple units used by South Western Railway are diesel-hydraulic units.

Under their franchise agreement, South Western Railway, agreed to perform a study, to see if the multiple units could be converted from diesel-hydraulic to diesel-electric transmission.

If this is successful, then the plan would be to fit a third-rail capability to the trains, so they could use the electrification between Basingstoke and Waterloo on services to Salisbury and Exeter.

Could the conversion also raise the operating speed of the trains from their current 90 mph to a more timetable-friendly 100 mph?

It looks like it could be a feasible , especially as the article states they might re-use redundant modern traction equipment from Class 455 trains, which are due for replacement.

It sounded a sensible plan to do a study.

But we’ve heard nothing since.

  • Has the late delivery of the Class 701 trains, pushed the availability of the Class 455 trains, that wioll donate the traction system, too far into the future?
  • Has the Covids delayed another project?
  • Would First Group prefer more Hitachi trains as five of their companies use them or have them on order?
  • Is the 90 mph speed of the diesel trains, too slow for the busy London Waterloo and Basingstoke route?

Or could it be that Alstom, CAF, Hitachi, Stadler or another manufacturer have a much better zero-carbon plan?

September 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Ryanair Backs Away From Boeing Jet Order

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Ryanair has ended talks to purchase tens of billions of dollars of Boeing jets amid a stand-off over the price.

The Irish budget airline had been in talks to buy as many as 250 planes of the 737 Max 10 model but said yesterday that the talks had collapsed.

But have Michael O’Leary and Boeing fallen out over hydrogen?

Consider.

  • Many countries in Ryanair’s largest markets are aiming to go net carbon-free by 2050 or even earlier. Scotland is aiming for 2045.
  • An airliner delivered today will still be flying twenty or even thirty years later.
  • I believe that by 2030, small airliners up to thirty passengers will be zero-carbon.

In Could An A320 neo Be Rebuilt As A ZEROe Turbofan?, I came to this conclusion.

I very much feel that there will be a route to convert some or all of the A 320 neo aircraft to hydrogen power.

If Airbus can offer an airliner, that can be rebuilt as a hydrogen-powered plane that must change the economics of purchasing a fleet of airliners, which could be made worthless by worldwide carbon emission legislation.

Because the Boeing aircraft is a 1960s design with an aluminium airframe, I would doubt it is designed to be converted to hydrogen power.

September 7, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments