The Anonymous Widower

Kent Railway Viaduct Set For £3.5m Makeover

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

This 3D image from Google Maps, shows Ashurst station.

I think that the viaduct is to the left of the station.

This is a description of the work from Katie Frost, Network Rail’s route director for Sussex.

Our railway has a host of Victorian structures that underpin the millions of journeys passengers take with us every year and we have to take good care of them. Mill Stream Viaduct is made of metal, and we need to give it a thorough refurbishment to keep it strong for the future, blasting the old paint off, repainting and repairing the metal sections, replacing the decking, the track and the timbers that support the track too.

Certainly, £3.5 million would seem a lot, if it was just a simple repainting.

What About The Electrification?

Network Rail have been faffing about, deciding how they will get twelve car electric services to Uckfield.

However, in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there was a short article, which was entitled Uckfield Third Rail is NR Priority, where this was said.

Electrification of the line between Hurst Green and Uckfield in East Sussex and remodelling of East Croydon are the top Network Rail investment priorities south of the river, according to Southern Region Managing Director John Halsall. He told Modern Railways that third rail is now the preferred option for the Uckfield line, as it would allow the route to use the pool of third-rail EMUs in the area. This is in preference to the plan involving overhead electrification and use of dual-voltage units put forward by then-Network Rail Director Chris Gibb in his 2017 report.

NR has put forward options for mitigating the safety risk involved with the third-rail system, including switching off the power in station areas when no trains are present and section isolation systems to protect track workers. ‘The Office of Rail and Road hasn’t yet concerned third rail would be acceptable, but we ark working out ways in which it could be’ Mr Halsall told Modern Railways. He added that bi-mode trains with batteries were not a feasible option on this line, as the 10-car trains in use on the route would not be able to draw sufficient charge between London and Hurst Green to power the train over the 25 miles to Uckfield.

I feel that whatever method is used to get electric trains to Uckfield, there may well be some extra weight on the Millstream Viaduct at Ashurst. So giving the viaduct a makeover, is probably prudent.

I get the impression from the last few Editions of Modern Railways, that there will be a need for battery-electric multiple units in Kent and Sussex.

  • Ashford and Ore is 25.4 miles – Electrified at both ends – Maximum trip – 25.4 miles.
  • Oxted and Uckfield is 25 miles – Electrified at one end – Maximum trip – 50 miles.
  • Hoo and Hoo Juncton is less than 10 miles – Electrified at one end – Maximum trip – 20 miles.

It would appear that the Uckfield trip will need bigger batteries or some form of charging at Uckfield.

Suppose though the following were to be done.

  • Create a third-rail battery-electric multiple unit, with a range of thirty miles.
  • These would be ideal for Ashford and Ore and the Hoo Branch.
  • Install charging stations at Ashurst on both platforms and at Uckfield on the single platform. These would either work through a pantograph or third rail.

Operation of the service during a round trip between London Bridge and Uckfield would be as follows.

  • London Bridge and Hurst Green – Uses electrification and charges batteries
  • Hurst Green and Ashurst – Uses batteries for 11 miles
  • Ashurst station – Tops up the batteries
  • Ashurst and Uckfield – Uses batteries for 14 miles
  • Uckfield station – Tops up the batteries
  • Uckfield and Ashurst – Uses batteries for 14 miles
  • Ashurst station – Tops up the batteries
  • Ashurst and Hurst Green – Uses batteries for 11 miles
  • Hurst Green and London Bridge – Uses electrification and charges batteries

Network Rail may use a different combination of chargers and battery size.

 

July 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 8 Comments

Green Light For Major Transpennine Improvements

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

These paragraphs outline the project.

Improvements on the Transpennine route in West Yorkshire have been given the green light, after a Transport and Works Act order was signed by the transport secretary on 27 June, six months earlier than planned.

The cost of the upgrades was described as ‘multi-billion’ by Network Rail, which said it was the ‘biggest milestone’ so far on the Transpennine Route Upgrade programme.

The improvements will be carried out between Huddersfield and Westtown in Dewsbury, and include quadrupling the double line and remodelling track layouts as well as major renovations at Huddersfield, Deighton and Mirfield and a new station at Ravensthorpe. In addition, there will be a flyover near Ravensthorpe to separate the Wakefield and Leeds lines and reduce conflicting movements.

Effectively, Grant Shapps fired the starting gun for this project four days ago.

I have written various posts on the upgrade and they can be read from this link.

The Transpennine Route Upgrade Web Site

The project now has its own comprehensive web site, which is named the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

A Reply To Peter Robins About Electrification

Peter Robins made this very perceptive comment.

The main point of TPU isn’t electrification, though, it’s upgrading the track to remove bottlenecks, improve lines speeds, add capacity. This is mainly what the Hudd-Dew TWA order is about. If you electrify the line while you’re doing that, then you increase the number of connecting places/lines which are within range of current batteries.

I think that Lds-CF will also have to wait for the post-IRP review, meaning the full upgrade will be a long time coming.

This Hitachi infographic shows the specification of their Regional Battery Train.

Note.

  1. It is a 100 mph train.
  2. Batteries can be charged when travelling under wires or 10-15 mins static.
  3. Range on batteries is 90 km. or 56 miles.
  4. My experience of Hitachi bi-modes is that pantographs on these trains can go up and down, with all the alacrity of a whore’s drawers.

Hitachi have stated that they will be testing a Class 802 train with batteries later this year.

Could Hitachi Battery Trains Be Charged On The Electrification Between Huddersfield And Dewsbury?

Looking at the data from RealTimeTrains for this route it appears that the fastest time I can find between Huddersfield And Dewsbury is eleven minutes.

Would this be enough time to fully-charge the battery? If not the electrification could perhaps be extended for a couple of miles.

How Many Of Transpennine Express (TPE)’s Services Could Be Decarbonised, if Huddersfield And Dewsbury Were To Be Electrified?

I’ll look at each service that uses this route.

Liverpool Lime Street And Newcastle

This is an hourly service that calls at Newton-le-Willows, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington and Durham.

  • Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Colton Junction and Newcastle is electrified.
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be electrified by the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield – 25.8 miles
  • Dewsbury and Colton Junction – 29.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Leeds, which could be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 29.3 miles.

It looks to me that Liverpool Lime Street And Newcastle could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Manchester Airport And Redcar Central

This is an hourly service that calls at Gatley, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Yarm, Thornaby and Middlesbrough.

  • Manchester Airport and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Colton Junction and Northallerton is electrified.
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be electrified by the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield – 25.8 miles
  • Dewsbury and Colton Junction – 29.3 miles
  • Northallerton and Redcar Central – 28.8 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Leeds, which could be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 29.3 miles.
  3. I suspect that charging could be needed at Redcar end of the route. Middlesbrough would probably be best, as it could also charge the LNER services, if they used battery power from Northallerton.

It looks to me that Manchester Airport And Redcar Central could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Manchester Piccadilly And Hull

This is an hourly service that calls at Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, Selby and Brough.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be electrified by the Transpennine Route Upgrade.
  • Leeds and Neville Hill Depot is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Victoria and Huddersfield – 25.8 miles
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 29.3 miles
  • Neville Hill Depot and Hull – 50 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Huddersfield and Leeds, which could be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 50 miles.
  3. I am sure that charging would be needed at Hull end of the route. Hull would probably be best, as it could also charge the Hull Trains, LNER and Northern Trains services, if they used battery power from the East Coast Main Line.
  4. Alternatively, there could be electrification between Hull and Brough. or Neville Hill and Micklefield. The latter would knock eight miles off the unelectrified section and is needed to allow electric trains to access Neville Hill Depot under electric power.

It looks to me that Manchester Piccadilly and Hull could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield

This is an hourly service that calls at Stalybridge, Mossley, Greenfield, Marsden, and Slaithwaite.

  • Manchester Piccadilly is electrified.
  • Huddersfield is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield – 25.5 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 25.5 miles.
  3. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Huddersfield And Leeds

This is an hourly service that calls at Deighton, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, Batley, Morley and Cottingley

  • Huddersfield is electrified.
  • Leeds is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 29.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury and Leeds, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 29.3 miles.
  3. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that Huddersfield and Leeds could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

York And Scarborough

This is an hourly service that calls at Malton and Seamer

  • York is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • York And Scarborough – 42.1 miles

Note.

  1. The largest unelectrified section would be 42.1 miles.
  2. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that York and Scarborough could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

How Many Of Northern Trains’s Services Could Be Decarbonised, if Huddersfield And Dewsbury Were To Be Electrified?

I’ll look at each service that uses this route.

Wigan North Western And Leeds

This is an hourly service that calls at Daisy Hill, Atherton, Walkden, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Rochdale, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough, Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse, Mirfield, Dewsbury, Morley and Cottingley

  • Wigan North Western is electrified.
  • Salford Crescent and Manchester Victoria is electrified.
  • Heaton Lodge East junction and Dewsbury is electrified.
  • Leeds is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Wigan North Western and Salford Crescent – 16 miles
  • Manchester Victoria and Heaton Lodge East junction – 37.6 miles
  • Dewsbury and Leeds – 29.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Wigan North Western, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, Mirfield, Dewsbury and Leeds, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 37.6 miles.
  3. Trains would be charged at both ends of the route.

It looks to me that Wigan North Western and Leeds could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Huddersfield And Castleford

This is an occasional service that calls at Deighton, Mirfield and Wakefield Kirkgate.

As it is run by buses at the moment, I can’t get the data to work out if it could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

But I suspect it can, after looking at a map.

How Many Of Grand Central’s Services Could Be Decarbonised, if Huddersfield And Dewsbury Were To Be Electrified?

I’ll look at each service that uses this route.

London King’s Cross And Bradford Interchange

This is a four trains per day service that calls at Doncaster, Pontefract Monkhill, Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Low Moor.

  • King’s Cross and Doncaster is electrified.
  • Mirfield is electrified.

This leaves the following sections without electrification.

  • Doncaster and Mirfield – 34.8 miles
  • Mirfield and Bradford Interchange – 17.3 miles

Note.

  1. There are also stops under the wires, at Mirfield, which would be used to top up the battery.
  2. The largest unelectrified section would be 34.8 miles.
  3. Trains would need to be charged at Bradford Interchange, during the turnround of around an hour.
  4. It is likely, that some electrification will be erected in the Bradford area, to improve services to Leeds.

It looks to me that London King’s Cross and Bradford Interchange could be served using a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar.

Conclusion

It looks like electrifying between Huddersfield and Dewsbury will enable a Hitachi Regional Battery Train or similar to work all passenger routes, that run on that section of track.

 

July 1, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Rail Baltica Electrification Procurement Begins

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

These two paragraphs define the project.

Rail Baltica project promoter RB Rail has begun procurement of the electrification systems for the future standard gauge line between Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, saying it will be the largest railway electrification scheme in Europe to be implemented as a single project.

The energy subsystem contract covers 870 km of double track line from the Polish border to Tallinn including the line from Kaunas to Vilnius, and includes design and construction of substations, connections to the public high voltage grids, control systems and more than 2 000 track-km of overhead equipment.

It looks like the procurement process will be finished by 2023.

Hopefully, Vlad the Mad won’t object to this standard gauge line going too close to lines with his beloved Russian gauge.

June 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Eridge Station – 3rd May 2022

I documented the work at Eridge station in Eridge Station – 12th July 2021 and it was finished a few days ago.

Note.

  1. The platforms can take ten-car trains.
  2. The lift on the National Rail side of the station.
  3. The restored iron supports for the roof.
  4. The two waiting rooms; one by the ticket hall and the other on the platform.
  5. The well-appointed toilets, with quirky signs and the all important coat hook.
  6. There’s even an Amazon Hub.

It certainly is a quality restoration and upgrading to step-free access.

Possible Future Electrification

In Uckfield Third Rail Is NR Priority, I discussed ways that the Uckfield Branch could be electrified.

This picture shows the platforms from the Spa Heritage Railway.

Note.

  1. All National Rail services call in the far platform.
  2. The platform will take a ten-car train.
  3. There is plenty of space for a single extra third-rail between the tracks.

If the power were only switched on whilst trains were in the platform, surely it would be safe.

May 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Uckfield Third Rail Is NR Priority

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Electrification of the line between Hurst Green and Uckfield in East Sussex and the remodelling of East Croydon are the top Network Rail investment priorities south of the river, according to Southern Region Managing Director John Halsall. He told Modern Railways that third rail is now the preferred option for the Uckfield Line, as it would allow the route to use the pool of third-rail EMUs in the area. This is in preference to the plan involving overhead electrification and use of dual-voltage units put forward by then-Network Rail director Chris Gibb in his 2017 report (p66, September 2017 issue).

NR has put forward options for mitigating the safety risk involved with the third-rail system, including switching off the power in station areas when no trains are present and section isolation systems to protect track workers.

The Office of Road and Rail hasn’t given Network Rail’s scheme the OK yet, but as an Electrical Engineer, I believe that a safe system is possible.

Making Charging Safe At Greenford

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Ex-London Underground Trains To Be Tested On The Greenford Branch Line.

The article describes how despite using London Underground’s four-rail electrification, it will be possible with the right interlocks and systems to make such a system safe.

As Vivarail’s system is to be installed, it must already agree with all the Health and Safety rules.

A Safe System On The Uckfield Branch

Consider.

  • The unelectrified section of the Uckfield Branch is twenty-five miles long.
  • There are seven intermediate stations, with the longest section between any two stations under five miles.
  • Trains stop in each station on the route.
  • Trains appear to have a dwell time of about a minute in each station.
  • A ten-car pair of Class 707 trains would be 203.2 metres long.
  • All platforms have been lengthened for ten-car trains.
  • A battery-electric train running along unelectrified track, is no more dangerous than a diesel train.

This picture shows some typical third-rail electrification at Kidbrooke station in South East London.

Electrification At Kidbrooke Station

Note.

  1. The electrified rails are between the tracks.
  2. Gaps are possible to isolate sections of tracks.
  3. The third-rail is tapered, so that the third-rail shoes on the train can connect and disconnect easily.

Suppose you have a third-rail electric train with a range of say seven or eight miles on batteries.

Would it be possible to devise a safe electrified railway using this train and standard third-rail electrification with some safety modifications?

  • The track in each station would be electrified in the normal way with the third-rail away from the platform.
  • The length of electrification in each station would be  a few metres shorter than the length of the ten-car pair of Class 707 trains.
  • This would mean that the train would completely cover the electrification, when it stopped in the station.
  • The third-rail electrification would only be switched on, when a train is stopped in the station and the right interlocks are engaged.
  • Even if a passenger fell onto the tracks, they would probably be safe, unless they crawled through the wheels to the centre of the tracks.
  • There would be no electrification between the stations, which would protect track workers and trespassers.

I believe that a safe system can be devised.

A train going through a station would do the following.

  • Slowing down, the train would use regenerative braking, that helped to charge the batteries
  • The train would stop in a station, so that it connected with and covered the third-rail.
  • When the charging system recognised that a train was connected, it would start to charge the batteries.
  • When all passengers had unloaded and loaded and the train was ready, the driver would stop the charging process.
  • The train would move to the next station on battery power.
  • Safety interlocks would stop the charging under various unsafe circumstances.

I believe that Siemens could have developed a charging system like this for their Class 707 trains, as some of their other trains of a similar vintage to the Class 707 trains already offer battery options.

A Stepping Stone Approach

On the unelectrified section between Hurst Green Junction and Uckfield, there are the following stations.

  • Edenbridge Town – two platforms
  • Hever – two platforms
  • Cowden – single bi-directional platform – 7.9 miles South of Hurst Green Junction.
  • Ashurst – two platforms
  • Eridge – single bi-directional platform – 6.3 miles South of Cowden
  • Crowborough – two platforms
  • Buxted – single bi-directional platform – 4.7 miles South of Eridge
  • Uckfield – single platform – 2.3 miles South of Buxted

Suppose the following were to be done.

  • Do nothing at the two platform stations.
  • Fit an intelligent fast charging system at Cowden, Eridge, Buxted and Uckfield.
  • If it was felt to be needed to ensure reliable operation, the power supply to the Southbound platform could be boosted at Hurst Green station.
  • Procure some ten-car battery-electric trains, which have regenerative braking and a range of perhaps ten-twelve miles on battery power.

Note.

  1. A pair of five-car trains could be used instead of ten-car trains.
  2. Some five-car Class 377 trains fitted with batteries might be ideal.
  3. This would mean only four platforms would need to be electrified with fast charging systems.

I am sure that Vivarail Fast Charge systems could be used, if they were modified to work with standard third-rail systems and for bi-directional use.

What size of battery would be needed for this approach?

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which is not very challenging.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

So for a ten-car train running for twelve miles, the train would need a battery capacity of between 360 and 600 kWh.

Or if it was two five-car trains between 180 and 300 kWh in each train.

Note that Vivarail find space for 424 kWh in the two-car Class 230 train, I wrote about in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

I believe that a five-car Class 377 or 707 train could be fitted with a 300 kWh battery and this would give the train a range of 12 miles, which would enable it to provide a battery-electric service on the Uckfield Branch.

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 10 Comments

HS2 Reveals Dramatic Carbon Saving With Ambitious Modular Design For Thame Valley Viaduct

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on High Speed Two.

This is the first paragraph.

HS2 today revealed the final designs for the Thame Valley Viaduct and the pioneering pre-fabricated construction methods that will see the 880m long structure slotted together like a giant Lego set, cutting its carbon footprint by an estimated 66%.

This is one of the pictures released in this photoset.

This second picture shows a closer view of a pillar and the catenary.

It does appear in these two views that the catenary and the gantries that support it are more elegant than those that tend to be used on most electrification schemes at the present time.

These paragraphs describe how the design saved carbon emissions.

Applying lessons from recent high speed rail projects in Spain, the design team cut the amount of embedded carbon by simplifying the structure of the viaduct so that every major element can be made off site.

In a major step forward for viaduct design in the UK, the team opted for two wide ‘box girder’ beams per span instead of eight smaller beams – to simplify and speed up assembly.

The production of steel and concrete is a major contributor to carbon emissions, with the new lighter-weight structure expected to save 19,000 tonnes of embedded carbon in comparison to the previous design. That’s the same amount of carbon emitted by one person taking a flight from London to Edinburgh and back 70,000 times.

It would appear that saving weight and using less steel and concrete can save a lot of carbon emissions.

I once got a bonus at ICI because I saved ten metres on the height of a chemical plant. My boss said, I’d saved nearly a million. by using a mathematical model on an analogue computer to show that a vessel in the plant wasn’t needed and this eliminated a complete floor of the plant.

How much concrete and steel has been saved by High Speed Two on this viaduct, by making it more basset than Afghan hound?

Ever since I watched the building of Crossrail’s Custom House station, I have been in favour of off-site construction.

I wrote about it in An Express Station and am pleased to see it being used on High Speed Two.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Innovative Composite Masts Look To Reduce Cost And Increase Efficiency Of Rail Electrification

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

This is the sub-title.

Engineering consultancy Furrer+Frey will this week unveil its innovative composite masts for rail electrification, which could revolutionise the way that rail electrification is undertaken.

Other points from the article include.

  • Development has been undertaken with Cranfield, Southampton and Newcastle Universities and Prodrive and TruckTrain.
  • The project was part funded by the Department for Transport and Innovate UK through the First Of A Kind competition.
  • The first composite masts have been created and tested at St Bride’s feeder station, just outside Newport in Wales.

This Google Map shows the area, where the test will take place.

Note.

  1. The South Wales Main Line crossing the South-East corner of the map.
  2. Newport station is to the East and Cardiff station is to the West.
  3. The St. Brides feeder station alongside the railway, by the Green Lane bridge.

I would assume that the connection to the National Grid is via the St. Brides 25 kV Substation in the North-West corner of the map.

The article lists the features of the design.

  • A typical steel mast weighs 750 Kg., whereas a composite mast weight just 80 Kg.
  • I suspect that these masts can be lifted around by a couple of average workers.
  • They have lower wind resistance.
  • Piles can be less deep. The prototype piles are 1.25 m., as against many that are over four metres on recent schemes.
  • The piles have sensors to detect, when they are out of kilter and need replacing.
  • Currently, wonky masts need to be identified by hands-on measurement or observant drivers.
  • Two masts have been tested to destruction, to see if they match the theory.

But this to me as an Electrical Engineer is the clincher.

Furrer+Frey GB head of UK projects Noel Dolphin says this about the new design.

When they do take it to a mass manufacturing stage, it will be without carbon fibre inside, which presents another opportunity. The other ultimate goal is that the structure is insulating in itself. It’s another big saving if you can remove the insulators on the electrification cantilevers, as they’re expensive in themselves.

It’s all going the way of much more affordable electrification.

I have a few further thoughts.

The Involvement Of Prodrive

Prodrive are best known for their involvement in motorsport, as the home page of their web site indicates.

But as their site also indicates they get involved in other forms of high-performance disruptive engineering, where their experience is relevant.

Prodrive build the prototypes, but won’t build the production masts, although I suspect, their expertise will be used.

The TruckTrain

TruckTrain is a concept with roots in Coventry University that could be off-beam enough to be the new normal.

I have updated my thoughts on the TruckTrain and it is now in a post called The TruckTrain.

My Conclusion About TruckTrains

I like the concept and I can’t see why it would not be successful worldwide.

The Involvement Of TruckTrain With Furrer+Frey

This puzzled me for a time, as undoubtedly, the TruckTrain will be able to use standard electrification.

But in the TruckTrain leaflet, they mention that the TruckTrain has been designed to use single-track short-terminals.

So did they approach Furrer+Frey to find out about electrifying short terminals and the Swiss company felt TruckTrain was a concept they could support?

Obviously, if the TruckTrain is developed to be a battery-electric train, some mini freight terminals will need the ability to charge the TruckTrain.

Could A TruckTrain Be Used to Support Electrification?

Would a TruckTrain be the ideal support vehicle to erect or repair electrification?

If you take the problem, when the wires have been damaged, a TruckTrain could get to the site at 100 mph, much faster than a truck on the road. It could also have a platform to lift the engineers for inspection and repair.

A TruckTrain could be more than just a transport system.

Conclusion

Furrer + Frey’s lightweight composite electrification masts are a good idea.

Teamed with TruckTrains, they could prove a very powerful freight concept, where new mini freight terminals are needed.

 

 

April 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Movable Overhead Electrification To Decarbonise Freight

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

This is the first paragraph.

The use of a moveable overhead conductor rail to eliminate the need to use diesel locomotives at freight terminals where traditional fixed electrification equipment would obstruct loading and unloading is being demonstrated in the UK, and a trial in India is planned.

The Railway Gazette article also has two pictures, which show the overhead conductor rail in two positions.

Ipswich And Wentloog

In A Class 93 Locomotive Hauling A Train Between The Port Of Felixstowe And Wentloog, I wrote about running freight trains between Felixstowe and Wentloog using a Class 93 locomotive.

Currently, there appear to be three services a day each way between Felixstowe and Wentloog.

  • They are diesel hauled.
  • The Class 66 locomotive can’t travel faster than 75 mph.
  • The route between Ipswich and Wentloog is fully-electrified.
  • Other services that go from Felixstowe to the rest of the UK via London, are sometimes hauled by a Class 90 locomotive from Ipswich.
  • Class 90 electric locomotives can haul trains at up to 110 mph.

This Google Map shows the layout of Wentloog freight terminal.

Fitting a moveable overhead conductor rail at Wentloog would surely allow carbon-cutting Class 90 locomotives to haul a train, between Ipswich and Wentloog.

How many other freight terminals can be electrified by installing a moveable overhead conductor rail?

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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