The Anonymous Widower

The East Coast Main Line And The A14

I finally managed to get pictures of the new route of the A14 as it crosses over the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the crossing from above.

I do wonder, why in the 1990s, when they created the A14, they didn’t do a proper job?

But then history shows that Governments don’t seem to get East-West links in the UK right.

  • Road and rail links across the Pennines are inadequate.
  • Only recently have Edinburgh and Glasgow been properly connected by rail.
  • The electrification of the Great Western Railway between London and Swansea has been an on-off project, that should have been done after electrification of the East Coast Main Line, before the team of engineers had been disbanded.
  • Road and rail links to the port of Holyhead were ignored for years and could be improved again.
  • The Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge was recommended by Beeching to be kept, but Harold Wilson closed it and now we are recreating it.

Is it because none of these routes are of much importance for politicians and civil servants living in London?

September 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

If We Have More Electric Cars Do We Need More Parkway Stations?

We are all being encouraged by carrot-and-stick methods to change to zero-carbon vehicles.

And it’s not just from Government and environmental activists!

I was recently asked on a train, if I drove an electric car, by the guy sitting opposite me at a table. He told me, that his ten-year-old BMW needed replacing and his daughters were pestering him to get an electric car.

  • He had looked into it and said he could afford one.
  • However like many, he was worried about the battery range.
  • He also said charging at home would not be a problem, as he lived in a house with parking for three cars and could install his own grid-to-vehicle charger.
  • I asked him what he did and like my late wife; C, he was a family barrister.

C would drive thousands of miles a year to Court from our house in Suffolk in her Porsche Boxster, to places like Bedford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Southend and Yarmouth. Only when she went to London did she use a train from Whittlesford Parkway station.

There are a lot of people like family barristers, where their profession dictates that they travel long distances by car to a variable place of work.

Purchase of an electric car, for some drivers may turn out to be a worrying one, as will they always find a charger at the other end of their journey, to charge the vehicle to get home.

I can see parkway stations like Whittlesford developing into electric parkway stations, where most parking spaces have a charger.

  • Parking could be booked, as in many railway car parks.
  • Some stations could probably host one or more wind turbines.
  • The vehicle batteries with the appropriate grid-to-vehicle technology could be used as grid storage.

Get the technology and the locations right and I can see more parkway stations being developed.

It might also be the sort of infrastructure project that a financial institution like L & G might finance.

 

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stonehenge Tunnel Campaigners Win Court Battle

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

This is the first part of the BBC article.

Campaigners have won a court battle to prevent the “scandalous” construction of a road tunnel near Stonehenge.

The £1.7bn Highways England project aimed to reduce A303 congestion but campaigners said it would detrimentally affect the world heritage site.

The government approved plans in 2020 for a two-mile (3.2km) tunnel to be created near the Wiltshire monument.

Mr Justice Holgate’s ruling means the order granted by transport secretary Grant Shapps has been quashed.

I obtained my driving licence in 1964 and since then the A303 past Stonehenge has been a worsening bottleneck.

I suspect that unreleased papers from successive governments since the 1960s would show that most Ministers of Transport hoped the problem of Stonehenge would be solved by the next Government of a different colour, which would hopefully lose them the next election.

If you read the whole of the BBC article you’ll see a large map from Highways England.

Note.

  1. The proposed tunnel is shown as a dotted red line to the South of Stonehenge, more or less following the line of the current A303.
  2. The Amesbury by-pass already exists in the East.
  3. A new Winterbourne Stoke by-pass will be built in the West.

Some feel that a longer tunnel might be the solution.

But it would probably need to start to the West of Winterbourne Stoke and be at least three times longer than the proposed tunnel.

So this short stretch of road would then probably cost around £5billion.

Can We Reduce The Traffic On This Road?

There are several ways that traffic might be reduced.

Universal Road Pricing

Every vehicle would be fitted with a meter, which charged drivers depending on the following.

  • The type of vehicle.
  • The congestion on the road.
  • The speed, at which the vehicle is travelling.

It might work, but any government introducing universal road pricing would lose the next General Election by a landslide.

Tolls On Parts Of The A303

Again it might work and push drivers to find other routes.

Improve Other Routes Like The M4

As capacity is increased on other routes, drivers could be lured away from the busy section of the A303 around Stonehenge.

Improve Rail Services Between Paddington And West Of Exeter

I know because of friends, who regularly go to Devon and \Cornwall for both weekends and longer holidays, that many people go to the far-South West by car and most will use the A303 route to and from London.

These services are run by Great Western Railway and the destinations in the South West are not as comprehensive as they could be.

  • GWR’s Class 802 trains can split and join efficiently, which could mean they could serve more destinations with the same number of trains.
  • GWR seem to be in favour of developing more direct services between London and Bodmin, Okehampton and other places.
  • GWR are adding stations to their network in the South-West.

But most importantly, GWR, Hitachi and the Eversholt Rail Group are developing the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which will lower carbon-emissions on the route. This Hitachi infographic describes the train.

These trains could attract numbers of car drivers to use the train, rather than drive.

Improve The Night Riviera Between Paddington And Penzance

Most other sleeper trains in Europe have renewed their fleet.

An improvement in the rolling stock could encourage more people to travel this way.

Improve Rail Services Between Waterloo And Exeter

The rail line between Waterloo and Exeter via Basingstoke and Salisbury runs within a dozen miles of Stonehenge.

  • The rolling stock is thirty-year-old British Rail diesel trains.
  • It is not electrified to the West of Basingstoke.
  • There are portions of single-track railway.

The Waterloo and Exeter line could be improved.

  • Remove some sections of single track.
  • Upgrade the operating speed to up to 100 mph in places.
  • Use a version of the latest Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train
  • Add some new stations.

I believe the quality, frequency and journey times of the service could all be improved.

Would this second fast route from the South-West encourage more to take the train?

Stonehenge And Wilton Junction Station

Stonehenge may be the problem, but it can also be part of the solution.

In The Proposal For Stonehenge And Wilton Junction Station, I write about an innovative proposal, that uses a car park at a new station to create a Park-And-Ride for both Stonehenge and Salisbury.

This could bring more visitors to Stonehenge without their cars.

Conclusion

None of these proposals will take vast amounts of pressure from the A303. But every little helps.

Some like the decarbonisation of rail services will have to be done anyway.

 

July 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Walthamstow’s Funereal Style Road Barriers

These pictures show how Walthamstow has blocked off roads in the Borough.

They do remind me very much of the sort of designs you see in the windows of undertakers.

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Silicon Roundabout – 6th January 2021

I took these pictures from the top deck of a 21 bus going North from Moorgate to home.

Note.

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

Silicon Roundabout – 18th January 2021

I took these pictures in two sets on buses as they navigated the roundabout after the North-East corner was opened and the North-West corner was closed at the weekend.

On A 21 Bus Going South To North

Note.

  1. I was on the lower deck.
  2. It was about ten in the morning.
  3. The bus went to the East side of the station.

The bus was just a big red taxi.

On A 243 Bus Going West

 

Note.

  1. I was on the upper deck.
  2. It was about two in the afternoon.
  3. The bus went to the South side of the station.

The bus was just another big red taxi.

On Foot

Note.

  1. You can’t turn right out of Mallow Street.
  2. The contractors had already started to dig up the North-West corner.
  3. The traffic seemed to be running reasonably freely.

The whole project is supposed to be completed in Autumn 2022.

This map from Transport for London shows the future layout.

The current status of the four sides of the roundabout are.

  • North-East – In Use – Two-way
  • North-West – Closed
  • South-West – In Use – Two-way
  • South-East – In Use – Two-way

Note.

  1. At least the South-East side is substantially finished, with more space for vehicles.
  2. The South-West entrance to the station is still open for passengers.

The new road layout appears to be finished. Although, there is still a lot of pavements and road surfacing to complete.

January 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Top Reasons Many Researchers Prefer Hydrogen Fuel Vehicles Over EVs

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Despite the fact that EVs have experienced far more widespread adoption than hydrogen fuel vehicles, many researchers, engineers and environmentalists – as well as drivers – find the latter option more appealing.

These reasons are given.

  • No substantial lifestyle changes are required.
  • H2 powered cars place less strain on the electric grid.
  • They have a larger range
  • Practicality for a larger range of vehicles

If I was thinking of buying an electric vehicle, I;d look at hydrogen before I decided on the vehicle, I would buy.

I don’t drive, but if I wanted to, I suspect I could get my licence back.

  • I have a garage, that opens onto the street.
  • There is no nearby hydrogen station.
  • If I went any distance over about twenty miles, I’d probably use public transport.

I’d probably choose an electric vehicle.

December 31, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | 5 Comments

The Changing Face Of Silicon Roundabout – 6th November 2020

I took these pictures, as I walked round Silicon Roundabout this morning.

This map from Transport for London shows the future layout.

The current status of the four sides of the roundabout are.

  • North-East – Closed
  • North-West – In Use – Two-way
  • South-West – In Use – Two-way
  • South-East – In Use – Two-way

Note.

  1. At least the South-East side is substantially finished, with more space for vehicles.
  2. The North-East and North-West entrances to the station are still open for passengers.

It does look to me, that someone has done their project management.

 

November 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Another Product From Hyperdrive Innovation

My Google Alert for Hyperdrive Innovation has picked up this article on Yahoo, which is entitled RBW EV Roadster Is An Electric Take On The Classic MGB.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Managing Director Peter Swain said: “Our patented system places the electric motor at the rear of the car and Hyperdrive Innovation’s lithium-ion battery technology under the bonnet, which gives perfectly balanced weight distribution. Not only does this give the driver much better handling of the car, retaining that sports car feel, but it also affords maximum battery volume to be housed.

As Hyperdrive Innovation are a partner in Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train, does the MGB go like an electric train?

If I still drove a car, I would buy one.

Having driven a few classic roadsters in my time, what is said about the handling of the car is probably true and I could envisage a small manufacturer building a roaster to that design from scratch.

I used to work with a former Engineering Director of Lotus Cars. After his stories about the great Colin Chapman, I’m sure that fertile brain would now be designing an electric roaster to fit the niche of the classic Lotus Seven and Lotus Elan.

  • Simple, but strong, steel or aluminium chassis.
  • Fibreglass body
  • Battery in the front.
  • If the battery was well-forward, it would improve crashworthiness in a head on crash.
  • Rear wheel drive.

We are uniquely positioned in the UK, with our motor racing heritage to design and build such a car in the UK.

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Changing Face Of Silicon Roundabout – 7th October 2020

I took these pictures, as I walked round Silicon Roundabout this morning.

The area is certainly changing.

This map from Transport for London shows the future layout.

The current status of the four sides of the roundabout are.

  • North-East – In Use – Two-way
  • North-West – In Use – Two-way
  • South-West – In Use – Two-way
  • South-East – Closed

It was originally planned to be finished in 2022.

October 7, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment