The Anonymous Widower

ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10036245

Project title: ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation
Lead organisation: SIEMENS MOBILITY LIMITED
Project grant: £59,983

Public description: Electrification is the foundation of all modern railways and fundamental to decarbonisation. Through
delivering faster, smoother, quieter and more reliable train services, rail electrification reduces
industry fuel cost by 45%, rolling stock costs by 33%, and track maintenance costs by 10-20%
(compared to diesel operation). Electric railways are the most efficient, lowest carbon form of
transportation in the UK.

Network Rail operates the largest power distribution network in the UK, and is the largest consumer
of electricity in the UK, consuming 4TWh electricity per year. Power is provided from the electricity
supply industry, a mix of gas, nuclear, coal and renewables, emitting approximately 944,000 tonnes
of carbon dioxide annually. Connecting new renewable generation directly to the railway reinforces
the railway power supply, while reducing coal and gas use in the UK and is a longstanding Network
Rail industry challenge statement. To date, engineering incompatibilities between renewable,
electricity supply systems and the railway single-phase electrical and other railway systems have
prevented local renewable connection in rail.

In a world first, Siemens Mobility, working with British Solar Renewables, DB Cargo UK, Network
Rail, ECML operators, and the University of York, will directly connect large-scale renewable
generation to the East Coast Mainline. The demonstrator phase will deliver up to 1GWh green
electricity direct to trains each year, reducing UK gas imports by 151,000 cubic metres and carbon
emissions by 236 tonnes annually. It will gather vital data creating a new green industry, creating a
precedent and setting standards to enable larger scale roll-out across the UK.

My Thoughts And Conclusion

This page on the Network Rail web site is entitled Power Supply Upgrade.

Since 2014, Network Rail and its partners have been upgrading the overhead electrification and the associated substations and electricity supply on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

  • It is not a small project which includes fifty new substations and 1,600 km. of new cabling between London and Edinburgh.
  • When complete, fleets of electric trains on the route will be receiving high-quality electric power from the upgraded overhead electrification.

However, the East Coast Main Line is unique among British electrified main lines, in that it runs more or less close to a coast, that is populated by a large number of massive wind farms.

I believe the objective of this project, is to more directly connect the massive wind farms to the East Coast Main Line.

Lessons learned could then be applied to other electrified main lines.

We may even see onshore wind farms or small modular nuclear reactors built to power the railways.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Biggleswade Wind Farm

The Biggleswade Wind Farm is a small wind farm on the East side of the East Coast Main Line, to the South of Biggleswade.

I took the pictures as I went North to Doncaster yesterday.

  • The wind farm generates 20 MW.
  • There are ten turbines.

I was sitting backwards in one of LNER’s Azuma trains.

It was in some ways an experiment to get a general wind farm picture.

November 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | 2 Comments

‘Ryanair Of Rail’ Lights Up The East Coast On Fast Track To Profit

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

This is the first paragraph.

A cut-price rail service between London and Edinburgh, dubbed the Ryanair of rail, is on track to turn a profit after a year in service and has helped to reverse the airlines’ previous dominance of the travel market between the capitals.

Other points from the article.

  • Lumo will carry its millionth passenger in November.
  • The average one-way fare has been less than £40.
  • Rail is now claiming 63 % of the London and Scotland travel market.

Will this success lead to more trains attracting more rail travellers between England and Scotland?

Can Lumo Carry More Passengers?

Lumo use five-car Hitachi Class 803 trains for their services.

  • Their fleet consists of five cars.
  • Each five-car train can carry 402 passengers.
  • Lumo run five trains per day (tpd) in both directions.

There are various ways that the number of passengers could be increased.

Could Lumo Run More Services?

This may seem to be a solution, but only a fixed number of trains can be run in every hour, between England and Scotland.

  • Other train operators may also want to run more services.
  • It would also mean Lumo would need to buy more trains.

On the other hand it may be possible to squeeze in perhaps one extra service.

Could Lumo Run Longer Trains?

Lumo’s Class 803 trains are unusual among the Hitachi AT 300 trains, that handle long distance services all over the UK, in that they have no diesel engines and rely on battery power for emergencies.

As the trains’ computer work out which cars are present, I wouldn’t be surprised that these trains can be lengthened or even run as a pair, as GWR’s and LNER’s five-car Hitachi trains often do.

Platforms at King’s Cross, Stevenage, Newcastle, Morpeth and Edinburgh are probably already longer than is needed for a five-car train.

I could even see Lumo adding coaches as required to satisfy the need of the day. On a day like the Calcutta Cup, they might even run ten or twelve car trains, which is the longest formation possible with the Hitachi trains. But they’d have to have enough coaches!

Lumo use a very simple catering option, which I suspect can be modified to serve a longer train.

I am fairly certain, that LUMO’s fleet has been designed for gradual lengthening to expand capacity.

Would The Lumo Model Work On The West Coast Main Line?

As the Lumo model seems to work to Edinburgh, would it work to Glasgow?

I don’t see why not! And it might improve the service from Avanti West Coast?

Grand Union have lodged an application to run four tpd between London and Stirling via at Milton Keynes Central, Nuneaton, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell, Whifflet, Greenfaulds and Larbert with InterCity 225s.

This proposal seems to be stalled at the moment, but I do feel it is a good idea.

I would certainly use it, as the air-conditioning on the Class 390 trains, used by Avanti West Coast, makes me ill!

 

 

 

October 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

York To Church Fenton – 10th August 2022

These pictures show the new electrification between York and Church Fenton.

My train was going towards York.

Half-an-hour later, I went to Manchester via Leeds and took the newly-electrified line.

  • The Class 802 train was on diesel on this section, but it was cruising at 100 mph.
  • One the train had passed Church Fenton station, it appeared to slow noticeably.
  • Today, York and Church Fenton took eight and a half minutes.

It will be interesting to see timings, when the wires are switched on.

August 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Werrington Dive Under – 10th August 2022

I passed the Werrington Dive Under today and took these pictures.

Note, that it is now more or less buried to the East of the East Coast Main Line.

When the weather gets a bit cooler, I’ll have a look from the footbridge.

 

August 10, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line

This may seem rather fanciful, but could it be the way to maximise the use of the Elizabeth Line?

  • I feel that the Elizabeth Line will eventually serve other destinations like Basingstoke, Beaulieu, Oxford, Southend and Swindon.
  • The capacity of the Elizabeth Line will grow to over thirty trains per hour (tph) under control of digital signalling.

These are a few thoughts.

The Design Of The Trains

As any train would have to be compatible with the platform-edge doors in the central tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, the trains would have to be dimensionally identical to the current Class 345 trains.

  • Nine cars
  • Possibility of lengthening to ten cars.
  • 204.73 metres long.
  • 6 sets of doors per carriage
  • Ability to run under full digital signalling.

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 110 or 125 mph, to enable running on the fast lines of these routes.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

They would also be able to run at 100 mph on the Chiltern Main Line, the Great Eastern Main Line and the North Kent Line.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Extra facilities could include.

  • Toilets
  • Tables
  • A third-rail capability for running in Kent.

Effectively, it would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Note that in A High Speed Train With An IPEMU-Capability, I started the post with the following.

Bombardier were reported by Ian Walmsley in the April 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, to be developing Aventra, with a 125 mph capability.

Bombardier have also told me, that all Aventras will be wired so they could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

Could it be that the design of a Class 345 train could be modified to run at higher speeds? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Oxford To Southend Victoria

This could be a typical route.

  • Between Oxford and Paddington, it would follow a route similar to the GWR’s Oxford service with stops at just Reading and Slough.
  • At Paddington the train would take the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line and travel under London, at the same speed as the other trains.
  • It would emerge at Stratford and move to the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • It would probably stop at Stratford, Romford, Shenfield and all stations to Southend Victoria.

Note.

  1. Digital signalling would enforce the precise timekeeping needed.
  2. Much of the Oxford and Paddington section would be up to speeds of at least 125 mph.
  3. Times in the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line would be identical to the current Class 345 trains.
  4. Much of the Stratford and Southend section would be up to speeds of at least 100 mph.

I estimate that total time would be a few minutes under two hours.

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Royal Oak

I discuss this in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Western Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel.

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

I discuss this in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Eastern Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel.

 

 

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Abbey Wood

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Abbey Wood.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. The North Kent Line is shown in black.
  3. The North Kent Line platform to London is the Southernmost platform and is numbered 1.
  4. The North Kent Line platform from London is the other Southern platform and is numbered 2.
  5. The Elizabeth Line platforms are numbered 3 and 4.
  6. Platform 4 is the Northernmost platform.

At present the Elizabeth Line service to Abbey Wood station is twelve tph, with each platform handling six tph.

This picture shows trains in both Platform 3 and 4 looking towards the station buildings.

Note.

  1. Platform 3 is on the right.
  2. Platform 4 is on the left.

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I talk about this proposal as described in this article on Ian Visits.

One of the key features of Crossrail To Ebbsfleet (C2E) project is that instead of all trains terminating at Abbey Wood, trains will terminate as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 4 tph

This will mean that 8 tph would pass through Abbey Wood station.

  • Platform 4 could certainly handle the four that terminated on the Elizabeth Line.
  • Platform 3 would need to handle eight tph in both directions or sixteen tph to fulfil the proposed C2E service.
  • This would be one train every 225 seconds.

I believe that digital signalling could handle this easily and safely.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Abbey Wood allows eight tph to go both ways between the North Kent Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

The Maximum Capacity At Abbey Wood Station

Because of the current track layout at Abbey Wood, I believe that without track modifications, Abbey Wood station will not be able to handle more than 12 tph.

Thameslink

These proposed trains would also be compatible with Thameslink, as this route has no platform edge doors.

No platform extensions would be needed, as the Class 345 trains are shorter than the 12-car Class 700 trains.

If they were 125 mph trains, then this would ease timetabling on the East Coast Main Line, as the trains could mix it with the expresses on the fast lines.

Could These High Speed Trains For The Elizabeth Line Have A Cruising Speed Of 140 mph?

It is likely, when full authority digital ERTMS signalling is installed on main lines out of London, that 140 mph will be possible on some at least these routes.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

The extra speed would maximise capacity.

August 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trains Disrupted After Lorry Crashes Onto Tracks In East Lothian

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Train services in and out of Edinburgh have been delayed after a lorry crashed onto the tracks in East Lothian.

The lorry driver was taken to hospital following the crash onto the East Coast Main Line between Wallyford and Prestonpans at about 13:30. His condition is not known.

Note.

  1. On a day with a rail strike, this was all that was needed.
  2. The place name is appropriate.

There is no excuse for an accident like this.

June 23, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

DB Cargo UK Successfully Trials The Use Of ‘Combi-Consists’

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on DB Cargo UK.

This is the first paragraph.

DB Cargo UK is trialling the use of ‘combi-consists’ to increase capacity, improve customer service and improve its efficiency.

The next four paragraphs describe the trial.

This month the UK’s largest rail freight operator ran a unique jumbo train from Belmont Yard in Doncaster to Barking, East London, carrying a mix of wagons for two altogether different types of customers.

The train consisted of two sets of empty wagons – 21 x MBA wagons for Ward Recycling and 18 x JNA wagons for FCC Environment – with an isolated DIT (dead-in-train) locomotive – in the middle.

The MBA wagons had previously been discharged at Immingham in North Lincolnshire and the JNA wagons discharged at FCC Environment’s new waste transfer facility at Tinsley in South Yorkshire.

Both sets of wagons were then taken to DB Cargo UK’s Belmont Yard depot in Doncaster where the jumbo train was assembled. The train travelled from Belmont Yard to Barking via Lincoln Central, Spalding, The East Coast Mainline, Hertford North and Canonbury Tunnel.

There is also a video embedded in the press release, which shows the formation of the train in detail.

This train is certainly efficient, as it uses less train paths, crew and fuel.

DB Cargo UK now intend to trial the concept on a greater portion of the East Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

I have a few thoughts.

Could The Concept Work With Loaded Trains?

This trial was with empty trains, but would it be possible to use the concept with two shorter loaded trains?

Would there be advantages in terms of efficiency, if the following were done?

  • Two container trains leave Felixstowe as a pair, with one going to Plymouth and the other going to Cardiff.
  • They split at say Swindon and then proceed independently.

Obviously, all the weights would have to be in order and the locomotive would need to be able to pull the combined train.

Other possibilities might be.

  • Stone trains running from the Mendips and the Peak District to London.
  • Biomass trains running from import terminals to power stations in the Midlands.
  • Trains delivering new cars.
  • Trains delivering goods for supermarkets. Tesco are certainly increasing their use of trains.

I would suspect that DB Cargo UK have several ideas.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go In The Middle?

A Class 90 locomotive weighs 84.5 tonnes, as against the 129.6 tonnes of the Class 66 locomotive used in the trial.

So if the electric locomotive can be run dead-in-train, the weight would be slightly less.

But this might give a big advantage, if they ever wanted to run a pair of trains from Felixstowe to Plymouth and Cardiff, as per my earlier example.

  • The trains would split anywhere on the electrified section of the Great Western Main Line.
  • The lead train would go to Plymouth.
  • The second train would go to Cardiff, which is now fully electrified.

There would appear to be possibilities to save carbon emissions.

Could An Electric Locomotive Go On The Front?

Some routes out of Felixstowe are fully-electrified from the Great Eastern Main Line.

It could be possible for the following.

  • Two diesel-hauled trains to leave Felixstowe with ubiquitous Class 66 locomotives and form up as a combi-consist train in Ipswich yard.
  • The Class 66 locomotive on the front is replaced by an electric locomotive.
  • Both Class 90 and Class 92 electric locomotives have twice the power of a Class 66 locomotive, so both should be able to haul the combi-consist train.

The trains would split en-route with the electric locomotive hauling a train to an electrified destination.

This picture shows, what could be an experiment by Freightliner at Shenfield.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to ask the driver, if the Class 66 locomotive was running dead-in-train or helping the Class 90 locomotive with a very heavy load.

The picture shows, that the electric and diesel locomotives can work together, at the front of a train.

Since I took this picture, I’ve never seen a similar consist again.

Could A Bi-Mode Locomotive Go On The Front?

In GB Railfreight Plans Order For Future-Proofed Bi-Mode Locomotives, I talked about how GB Railfreight had started negotiations to purchase a fleet of powerful bi-mode locomotives from Stadler.

  • Provisionally, they have been called Class 99 locomotives.
  • The locomotives will be Co-Co bi-modes.
  • The diesel engine will be for heavy main line freight and not just last-mile operations.
  • I suspect that on diesel the power will be at least 2.5 MW to match a Class 66 locomotive.

These locomotives could be ideal for hauling combi-consist trains.

Would Combi-Consist Trains Save Energy?

This could be a big driver of the use of combi-consist trains and may push DB Cargo UK to acquire some powerful bi-mode locomotives.

Conclusion

Combi-consist trains seem to be an excellent idea.

 

March 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Upgrade East Coast Main Line Before HS2’ If Leeds And Yorkshire Want Faster Rail Links To London

The title of this post, is the same as that of this letter to the Yorkshire Post.

This is the opening paragraph.

The decision to scrap HS2 running to Leeds is controversial but those who travel to London should not despair.

The writer makes these points.

  • High Speed Two will probably charge a premium fare because of the speed.
  • The current journey time to the capital is two hours 13 minutes at a cost of £28-60, if purchased in advance.
  • Planned improvements on the East Coast Main Line will reduce the journey time to London King’s Cross to one hour 56 minutes.
  • High Speed Two will take one hour 22 minutes.
  • If the line between Doncaster and Leeds were to be improved, the journey time could be reduced to one hour 45 minutes.

The writer finishes by saying that if the government ‘four tracked’ the entire East Coast route, 140mph LNER’s Azuma trains would match the times of High Speed Two.

In What Will Be The Fastest Times Possible Between London King’s Cross And Leeds?, I came to this conclusion.

It looks like a non-stop service between London and Leeds running at 140 mph, with perhaps some sections at perhaps a bit faster, could be able to match the High Speed Two times.

Running non-stop saves a total of eighteen minutes.

In an hour, I would give Leeds one non-stop and one stopping service to London.

March 9, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Should The Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line Be Electrified?

The Great Northern And Great Eastern Joint Line was created in the Nineteenth Century by the Great Northern Railway and the Great Eastern Railway.

  • The main purpose was to move freight like coal, agricultural products and manufactured goods between Yorkshire and Eastern England.
  • It originally ran between Doncaster and Huntington via Gainsborough, Lincoln, Sleaford, Spalding and March.
  • It had a full length of almost 123 miles.
  • There was a large marshalling yard at Whitemoor near March.

Over the years the line has been pruned a bit and now effectively runs between Doncaster and Peterborough.

  • Trains between Lincoln and March are now routed via Peterborough.
  • It carries upwards of twenty freight trains per day in both directions through Lincoln Central station.
  • Many of the freight trains are going to and from the East Coast ports.
  • The distance between Doncaster and Peterborough is 93.7 miles, as opposed to the 79.6 miles on the East Coast Main Line.
  • The line is not electrified, but it connects to the electrified East Coast Main Line at both ends.

There have been some important developments in recent years.

2015 Freight Upgrade

Wikipedia says this about the major 2015 freight upgrade.

In 2015 a £280 million upgrade of the Joint Line by Network Rail was substantially complete, enabling two freight trains per hour to be diverted from the congested East Coast Main Line; gauge enhancements to enable the passage of 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) containers were included in the work.

The Sleaford avoiding line had been substantially downgraded since the 1980s and was reinstated to double track as part of the 2015 scheme. Resignalling and modernisation of level crossings was included.

This means that freight trains have an alternative route, that avoids the East Coast Main Line.

Doncaster iPort

Over the last few years the Doncaster iPort has been developed, which is an intermodal rail terminal.

  • It has a size of around 800 acres.
  • The site opened in early 2018.
  • There is a daily train to the Port of Southampton and two daily trains to both Teesport and Felixstowe.
  • The Felixstowe trains would appear to use the Joint Line.

I feel that as the site develops, the Doncaster iPort will generate more traffic on the Joint Line.

This Google Map shows the Doncaster iPort.

There would appear to be plenty of space for expansion.

The Werrington Dive Under

The Werrington Dive Under has been built at a cost of £ 200 million, to remove a bottleneck at the Southern end of the Joint Line, where it connects to the East Coast Main Line.

The Werrington Dive Under was built, so that it could be electrified in the future.

LNER To Lincolnshire

LNER appear to have made a success of a one train per two hours (tp2h) service between London King’s Cross and Lincoln station.

  • LNER have stated, that they want to serve Grimsby and Cleethorpes in the North of the county.
  • North Lincolnshire is becoming important in supporting the wind energy industry in the North Sea.
  • Lincoln is becoming an important university city.
  • Several towns in Lincolnshire probably need a service to Peterborough and London.
  • In 2019, the Port of Grimsby & Immingham was the largest port in the United Kingdom by tonnage.

I can see an expanded Lincolnshire service from LNER.

Full Digital Signalling Of The East Coast Main Line To The South Of Doncaster

This is happening now and it will have a collateral benefits for the Joint Line.

Most passenger and freight trains will also use the East Coast Main Line, if only for a few miles, which will mean they will need to be fitted for the digital signalling.

This could mean that extending full digital signalling to Lincolnshire will not be a challenging project.

Arguments For Electrification

These are possible arguments for electrification.

Electric Freight Trains To And From The North

It would be another stretch of line, that could accommodate electric freight trains.

An Electrified Diversion Route For East Coast Main Line Expresses

Currently, when there is engineering blockades between Doncaster and Peterborough on the East Coast Main Line, the Hitachi Class 800 and Class 802 trains of Hull Trains and LNER are able to divert using their diesel power.

But the electric trains of LNER and Lumo have to be cancelled.

An electrified diversion route would be welcomed by passengers and train companies.

It would also mean that any trains running from King’s Cross to electrified destinations would not to have any diesel engines.

An Electrified Spine Through Lincolnshire

If there was an electrified spine between Doncaster and Peterborough via Gainsborough, Lincoln, Sleaford and Spalding, these stations would be these distances from the spine.

  • Boston – 16.8 miles
  • Cleethorpes – 47.2 miles
  • Grimsby Town – 43.9 miles
  • Market Rasen – 14.8 miles
  • Skegness – 40.7 miles

Note.

  1. These distances are all possible with battery-electric trains.
  2. Charging would be on the electrified spine and at Skegness and Cleethorpes stations.

All of South Lincolnshire and services to Doncaster would use electric trains.

London Services

London services would be via Spalding and join the East Coast Main Line at Werrington.

  • Boston and Skegness would be served from Sleaford, where the train would reverse.
  • Market Rasen, Grimsby Town and Cleethorpes would be served from Lincoln, where the train would reverse.

This would enable Cleethorpes and Skegness to have at least four trains per day to and from London King’s Cross.

North Lincolnshire Services

There are two train services in North Lincolnshire.

Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber.

Cleethorpes and Manchester Airport via Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly.

Note.

  1. Cleethorpes would need to have a charger or a few miles of electrification, to charge a train from London.
  2. Doncaster, which is fully electrified is 52.1 miles from Cleethorpes.
  3. Barton-on-Humber is 22.8 miles from Cleethorpes.

Battery-electric trains should be able to handle both services.

Arguments Against Electrification

The only possible arguments against electrification are the disruption that the installation might cause and the unsightly nature of overhead gantries.

Conclusion

The Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line should be electrified.

 

 

 

 

February 15, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment