The Anonymous Widower

What Will Boris Do About The Proposed Third Runway At Heathrow?

I have tackled this before in October 2016 in a post called Changing Sides.

This was how I started that post.

There is an interesting article in The Sunday Times today, entitled Boris Retreats In Fight Against Third Runway.

Boris is apparently saying he won’t oppose a third runway at Heathrow, so if anything he’s being consistent in changing horses, just as he did with Michael Gove.

But perhaps more surprisingly, Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive of IAG, who own BA, is quoted as calling Heathrow a fantasy project, which has been gold-plated and inflated by the owners to maximise their returns, at the expense of the airlines.

The paper also says that Gatwick will build a new runway anyway.

Remember, it was written before Theresa May’s government decided to allow Heathrow’s Third Runway.

Since the decision to allow Heathrow to build a Third Runway was made nearly three years ago in October 2016, there have been a lot of changes.

Notably, Boris has gone from Foreign Secretary and an MP in a Heathrow Expansion-opposing constituency to Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister he is supposed to look at the bigger picture.

Unless he’s totally stupid he must have noted the following.

Brexit Has Changed From A Simple Quick Exit Into A Slow And Very Tortuous Process

I would expect an opinion poll would show that the UK population thinks that sorting out Brexit is a much more important problem, than the decision on a new runway in the South East of England.

So will Boris put Heathrow’s Third Runway on the back burner, given the following factors

Gatwick Will Build A Second Runway Anyway

In the Wikipedia entry for Gatwick Airport, there is a section entitled Expansion Proposals, where this is the first paragraph.

Gatwick has been included in a number of reviews of airport capacity in southeastern England. Expansion options have included a third terminal and a second runway, although a 40-year agreement not to build a second runway was made in 1979 with West Sussex County Council. Expanded operations would allow Gatwick to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today, with a new terminal between two wide-spaced runways. This would complement or replace the South Terminal, depending on expected future traffic.

My project management knowledge tells me, that Gatwick could add a second runway and upgrade the terminals in a shorter time, than Heathrow can build a third runway.

But more importantly, Gatwick Airport could build the extra runway and terminal without disruption to airport passengers, aircraft and road traffic on the nearby M23.

Boris’s only problem with Gatwick expansion, is the amount of post he’ll get from Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

Disruption Must Be Avoided

Recent timetabling and construction fiascoes on Thameslink and Northern Rail should have sent a message to politicians, that large infrastructure projects must be created without disrupting train or air passengers and road traffic.

Can Heathrow Be Built Without Disrupting Traffic On The M25?

It is interesting to look back at the basic facts at the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5.

  • A public enquiry into the project lasted 525 days.
  • The terminal sits on a 260 hectare site.
  • Construction started in 2002.
  • The terminal opened in 2008.
  • Construction finisged in 2011.
  • The terminal cost £4.2billion.

The construction of Terminal 5, also needed the M25 to be widened and linked to the terminal.

This Google Map shows Heathrow Terminal 5 and its relationship to Heathrow’s current two runways and the M25.

I remember the construction of Terminal 5 well, if only because, I was stuck in or moving slowly along that section of the M25 so many times.

As this immense construction project, is probably in living memory of much of the population of West London, how will they react to the thought of all the disruption, that building the third runway will cause.

Would Uxbridge, throw Boris out, if he approved the building of a third runway at Heathrow?

Heathrow Is A Pollution Blackspot

Various factors mean, that the surroundings of Heathrow are a pollution blackspot, mainly caused by the large number of diesel vehicles on the M4 and M25 motorways and others bringing passengers and goods to the airport.

I believe that any Planning Permission for the third runway, will require Heathrow to do something about the pollution. This could be easier than anybody thinks, as more of us will be using electric vehicles by the time the runway opens.

Heathrow are already proposing their ULEZ or Ulta Low Emission Zone.

Heathrow Rail Access Will Improve

Crossrail will eventually serve Heathrow in a year or so and this will improve rail access to the Airport significantly.

Other rail links are also in prospect.

The first two would be privately financed.

This better rail access may reduce the traffic and pollution around the airport, but it will make it easier, for passengers to use the airport and traffic will grow.

High Speed Rail

Increasingly, Heathrow and the other London airports, will come under competition from High Speed Rail.

Eurostar has upwards of seventy percent of the London-Paris and London-Brussels passenger markets.

I have travelled a few times from London to Amsterdam on Eurostar and feel that four hours is my limit for comfortable train travel.

I estimate the following journeys would be possible on Eurostar.

  • London and Cologne via Brussels in four hours
  • London and Bordeaux via Paris in four and a half hours.
  • London and Frankfurt in Five hours.

Another competitor to air services out of London will be London and Edinburgh services on the East Coast Main Line, which are being updated with new faster trains and journey times under four hours.

Air Cargo And Heathrow

I looked up air cargo in Wikipedia and these points are there.

  • Fifty-percent of all air frieght is belly-cargo on airlines.
  • An industry expert estimates that 15-20 tonnes of air cargo is worth 30-40 economy passenger seats, when both are on passenger planes.
  • In 2017, the IATA observed a 9% rise in freight tonne kilometres
  •  Boeing is doubling its 767F production since 2016 to three per month in 2020.

Heathrow dominates the air cargo traffic into and out of the UK and last year it handled 1,788,815 tonnes of cargo, which was a 5.3% increase in tonnage on 2017.

However, it does appear that the second largest cargo airport in the UK; East Midlands, handled about the same amount of freight as Heathrow in April 2018.

There is also the East Midlands Gateway close to that airport, which will be a massive logistics park., with a rail connection.

Perhaps the pressures of the congested Heathrow, with some nudging from the Government could remove the cargo aircraft from the airport to more suitable airports like East Midlands and Doncaster Sheffield.

Manchester Airport Is The Most Important Airport North Of London

Manchester Airport is the busiest Airport after Heathrow and Gatwick and over the next few years it will catch up to a certain extent.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I said this about Manchester Airport’s rail connectivity if High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail are combined across the Pennines.

If High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail are developed as laid out in the Transport for the North report, the following cities will be connected to Manchester Airport.

  • Birmingham – High Speed Two
  • Blackpool – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Bradford – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Carlisle – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Edinburgh – Northern Powerhouse Rail/East Coast Main Line
  • Glasgow – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Hull – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Leeds – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • London – High Speed Two
  • Newcastle -High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Preston – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Sheffield – Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Sunderland –  Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • York – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail

Manchester Airport will probably become the most important station in the North with High Speed connections to a large part of England and Scotland.

Heathrow and Gatwick will find they have a very big and well-connected Northern competitor.

Extinction Rebellion And Other Environmental Protesters

Most of the environmental protesters like Extinction Rebellion seem to have focused their attention on Heathrow, where airports are concerned.

They will fight tooth and nail to stop Heathrow’s third runway.

Will Heathrow Get The Planning Permission They Need?

I think that this is the sort of planning decision, that will end up with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Theresa Villiers.

Her Wikipedia entry says this.

Villiers favours construction of a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and Manchester, arguing that flyers could use capacity at airports such as Birmingham International and Manchester International Airport.

She is also quoted as being against a third runway at Heathrow, when she was a member of Davisd Cameron’s cabinet.

Grant Schapps, who is the current Secretary of State for Transport, could be more supportive to Heathrow’s application.

The Mood Of The UK About The Environment

The view of the average UK voter on the environment has changed markedly in the last few years, driven by documentaries, events and politics from around the world.

Boris’s father; Stanley Johnson has written books on the environment and received the Greenpeace Award for Outstanding Services to the Environment, so this could fit with his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow, when he was Mayor of London.

Do Heathrow Airport Have A Plan B?

In Heathrow Plans Runway Over M25 In 30-Year Expansion, I outlined how I thought the runway would be built.

The Times says this about the construction program.

Only the runway would be built by the opening date of early 2026.

Other facilities such as new terminals, car parks, hotels and transit systems would open from 2030, with an expansion of Terminal 5 the priority

This means that the extra runway capacity can be used initially to better accommodate the same number of flights.

Perhaps Plan B would mean changing the order of construction, leaving a space for the third runway and getting Planning Permission to build it in perhaps starting in 2028.

Conclusion

This is a tough one to call and I know what I would do. I would just let it fester until the decision was forced by another factor.

But Boris is the Prime Minister and will have to make a decision!

 

 

 

 

D

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

From Green Gin To Sustainable Steel, Government Fires Up £140m Hydrogen Push

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

The projects are wide ranging.

Green Gin

This is said about gin production by Orkney Distilling Ltd.

The successful projects feature a number of eye-catching initiatives, including the HySpirits project which has been awarded just under £200,000 to explore how the European Marine Energy Centre could work with local gin producer Orkney Distilling Ltd to convert its distillery from using liquid petroleum gas to hydrogen produced using renewable power.

I have been told that making whisky produces carbon dioxide. Does gin?

My source, also said carbon dioxide frpm Scotch whisky production has been used in the growing of soft fruit.

I found this article on The Courier, which is entitled Time To Cut Back On Whisky’s CO2 Emissions and this article on Scottish Capture and Storage, which is entitled Carbon Capture In The Heart Of The City.

Both are worth reading.

This is a paragraph from the second article.

The carbon capture process at this site is relatively simple, because the off gas from fermentation is already very pure in CO2. The process is not about enhancing CO2 concentration, but more about removing impurities. That involves a number of washing stages to remove water and impurities from the gas given off during fermentation, before it is compressed, stored, and eventually transported by road.

The article also says that the distillery produces four tonnes of carbon dioxide per day, which compared to the emissions of Chinese, Indian and United States coal-fired power stations is small beer, but it does show how in some industrial processes capturing the carbon dioxide can be relatively easy in some industrial processes and of a high quality for perhaps using in food and medical products.

But I can’t find a article connecting carbon dioxide from whisky to food production.

The Dolphyn Project

This is said about the Dolphyn Project.

A further £427,000 has been awarded to the Dolphyn project, which plans to mount electrolysers onto floating wind turbine platforms to produce hydrogen. One wind turbine alone has the potential to produce enough low carbon hydrogen to heat around 2,500 homes, fuel over 120-240 buses, or run eight to 12 trains,” the government said

I can’t find much on the Internet about this project, except this extract from this document on the Institution of Engineering and Technology web site, which is called Transitioning To Hydrogen.

The Deepwater Offshore Local Production of Hydrogen
(Dolphyn) project will consider large-scale retrofit
hydrogen production from offshore floating wind
turbines in deep water locations (Figure 19).

This is a partnership project led by ERM with Engie,
Tractebel Engie and ODE. The project looks to
utilise the vast UK offshore wind potential to power
electrolysers to produce hydrogen from the water the
turbines float on. Large 10MW turbines consisting of
desalinisation technology and PEM electrolysers will
feed hydrogen at pressure via a single flexible riser to
a sub-sea manifold with other turbines’ lines. The gas
is then exported back to shore via a single trunkline.
A 20-by-20 array array would have a 4GW capacity,
producing sufficient hydrogen to heat more then 1.5
million homes.

This project may include the offshore wind supply
of hydrogen supported with hydrogen from steam
methane reformation with carbon capture technology.
This project is well aligned to work the ACORN75
project at St Fergus.

Note that the project is talking about gigawatts of energy and providing enough hydrogen to heat millions of homes.

I think that the Dolphyn Project is badly named, as Google thinks you’re looking for projects about aquatic animals.

Gigastack

This is said about Gigastack.

Meanwhile, a consortium featuring Ørsted, ITM Power, and Element Energy is celebrating after securing just shy of £500,000 to help move forward with its Gigastack feasibility study, a six-month project to investigate the potential for delivering bulk, low-cost, and zero-carbon hydrogen.

There’s more here on this page on the ITM Power web site, where this is the first paragraph.

Project to demonstrate delivery of bulk, low-cost and zero-carbon hydrogen through gigawatt scale PEM electrolysis, manufactured in the UK.

As you’d expect from the name, they are looking at creating gigawatts of hydrogen.

Steel

This is said about steel.

The funding awards came as the government also launched a new call for evidence seeking views on how the government should structure and manage a planned £250m Clean Steel Fund. The government said the proposed fund would help the industry embrace clean technologies and move on to “a pathway that is consistent with the UK Climate Change Act” and its new net zero emission goal.

So what has hydrogen got to do with steel?

Search for hydrogen steelmaking on Google and you get lots of articles including this article from the Stockholm Environmental Institute, which is entitled Hydrogen Steelmaking For A Low-Carbon Economy.

This is a paragraph.

In the spring of 2016, three Swedish companies – LKAB (iron ore mining), SSAB (steel manufacturer) and Vattenfall (power utility) – announced their ambition to develop and implement a novel process for fossil-free steel production in Sweden. This process would use hydrogen (instead of coal) for the direct reduction of iron oxide/ore (H-DR), combined with an electric arc furnace (EAF). It would be almost completely fossil-free when the hydrogen is produced from electrolysis of water by use of renewable electricity. The concept is called Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology, or HYBRIT for short.

My knowledge of process engineering, tells me, that even if the Swedes don’t succeed, someone will and here in the UK, we’re ideally placed to take advantage, as we have the wind power to produce the hydrogen.

Conclusion

The future’s bright, the future’s green hydrogen!

, The North Sea can provide us with more than enough hydrogen, so long as the wind blows and there’s water to electrolyse..

August 30, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nespresso

Just heard the CEO of Nrdpresso defending his product, where seventy-two percent of the product goes into landfill.

Ridiculous!

My tea-bag goes straight into the food composting bin!

So much more environmentally-friendly!

August 15, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , , | 3 Comments

Batteries Are Beautiful – Silent Sailing Is An Eco-Winner

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Riviera Maritime Media.

It is a must-read article about the way, ships will be powered in the future.

Already, the Norwegian operator; Hurtigruten, has ordered two hybrid powered cruise ships, the first first of which is the MS Raold Amundsen.

August 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Aberthaw Power Station Set To Close, Risking 170 Jobs

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

This is first two paragraphs.

Wales’ last coal-fired power station looks set to close in March due to “market conditions”, putting about 170 jobs at risk.

RWE said it was proposing closing the 1.56-megawatt Aberthaw B Power Station in Vale of Glamorgan on 31 March.

Read the section called Oerations in the Wikipedia entry for Aberthaw power station.

This is a sentence from that section.

Coal now mainly comes from the Ffos-y-fran Land Reclamation Scheme in Merthyr Tydfil.

I may be very much against, the burning of coal for the generation of electricity or heat, but surely an exception should be made, when it is part of a process to clear up the considerable mess left by coal mining. As Aberthaw power station can use the Welsh coal in conjunction with bio-mass, perhaps there could be an argument to mothball one of the later coal-fired power stations.

Carbon Capture And Storage or a sensible use for the carbon dioxide, will be developed within the next ten years and in conjunction with one of the more modern coal-fired power stations, it could be used to help clean up the detritus of coal mining.

If nothing else, we could plant a lot of trees on the sites being reclaimed.

Bare in mind, that carbon dioxide produced by a coal-fired power station or cement factory is all in one place and can probably be collected using well-established engineering processes. On the other hand try collecting the carbon dioxide produced by a large fleet of diesel trucks.

 

August 3, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Could A Battery- Or Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive Borrow A Feature Of A Steam Locomotive?

Look at these pictures of the steam locomotive; Oliver Cromwell at Kings Cross station.

Unlike a diesel or electric locomotive, most powerful steam locomotives have a tender behind, to carry all the coal and water.

The Hydrogen Tank Problem

One of the problems with hydrogen trains for the UK’s small loading gauge is that it is difficult to find a place for the hydrogen tank.

The picture is a visualisation of the proposed Alstom Breeze conversion of a Class 321 train.

  • There is a large hydrogen tank between the driving compartment and the passengers.
  • The passenger capacity has been substantially reduced.
  • The train will have a range of several hundred miles on a full load of hydrogen.

The Alstom Breeze may or may not be a success, but it does illustrate the problem of where to put the large hydrogen tank needed.

In fact the problem is worse than the location and size of the hydrogen tank, as the hydrogen fuel cells and the batteries are also sizeable components.

An Ideal Freight Locomotive

The Class 88 locomotive, which has recently been introduced into the UK, is a successful modern locomotive with these power sources.

  • 4 MW using overhead 25 KVAC overhead electrication.
  • 0.7 MW using an onboard diesel engine.

Stadler are now developing the Class 93 locomotive, which adds batteries to the power mix.

The ubiquitous Class 66 locomotive has a power of  nearly 2.5 MW.

But as everybody knows, Class 66 locomotives come with a lot of noise, pollution, smell and a substantial carbon footprint.

To my mind, an ideal locomotive must be able to handle these freight tasks.

  • An intermodal freight train between Felixstowe and Manchester.
  • An intermodal freight train between Southampton and Leeds.
  • A work train for Network Rail
  • A stone train between the Mendips and London.

The latter is probably the most challenging, as West of Newbury, there is no electrification.

I also think, that locomotives must be able to run for two hours or perhaps three,  on an independent power source.

  • Independent power sources could be battery, diesel, hydrogen, or a hybrid design
  • This would enable bridging the many significant electrification gaps on major freight routes.

I feel that an ideal locomotive would need to meet the following.

  • 4 MW when running on a line electrified with either 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third-rail.
  • 4 MW for two hours, when running on an independent power source.
  • Ability to change from electric to independent power source at speed.
  • 110 mph operating speed.

This would preferably without diesel.

Electric-Only Version

Even running without the independent power source, this locomotive should be able to haul a heavy intermodal freight train between London and Glasgow on the fully-electrified West Coast Main Line.

I regularly see freight trains pass along the North London Line, that could be electric-hauled, but there is a polluting Class 66 on the front.

Is this because there is a shortage of quality electric locomotives? Or electric locomotives with a Last Mile capability, that can handle the routes that need it?

If we have to use pairs of fifty-year-old Class 86 locomotives, then I suspect there are not enough electric freight locomotives.

Batteries For Last Mile Operation

Stadler have shown, in the design of the Class 88 locomotive, that in a 4 MW electric locomotive, there is still space to fit a heavy diesel engine.

I wonder how much  battery capacity could be installed in a UK-sized 4 MW electric locomotive, based on Stadler’s UK Light design.

Would it be enough to give the locomotive a useful Last Mile capabilty?

In Thoughts On A Battery Electric Class 88 Locomotive On TransPennine Routes, I estimated that a Class 88 locomotive could replace the diesel engine with a battery with a battery capacity of between 700 kWh and 1 MWh.

This would give about fifteen minutes at full power.

Would this be a useful range?

Probably not for heavy freight services, if you consider that a freight train leaving the Port of Felixstowe takes half-an-hour to reach the electrification at Ipswich.

But it would certainly be enough power to bring the heaviest freight train out of Felixstowe Port to Trimley.

If the Felixstowe Branch Line were to be at least partially electrified, then I’m sure a Class 88 locomotive with a battery instead of the diesel engine could bring the heaviest train to the Great Eastern Main Line.

  • Electrifying between Trimley and the Great Eastern Main Line should be reasonably easy, as much of the route has recently been rebuilt.
  • Electrifying Felixstowe Port would be very disruptive to the operation of the port.
  • Cranes and overhead wires don’t mix!

I wonder how many services to and from Felixstowe could be handled by an electric locomotive with a Last Five Miles-capability, if the Great Eastern Main Line electrification was extended a few miles along the Felixstowe Branch Line.

As an aside here, how many of the ports and freight interchanges are accessible to within perhaps five miles by electric haulage?

I believe that if we are going to decarbonise UK railways by 2040, then we should create electrified routes to within a few miles of all ports and freight interchanges.

Batteries For Traction

If batteries are to provide 4 MW power for two hours, they will need to have a capacity of 8 MWh.

In Thoughts On A Battery Electric Class 88 Locomotive On TransPennine Routes, I said this.

Traction batteries seem to have an energy/weight ratio of about 0.1kWh/Kg, which is increasing with time, as battery technology improves.

This means that a one tonne battery holds about 100 kWh.

So to hold 8 MWh or 8,000 kWh, there would be a need to be an 80 tonne battery using today6’s technology.

A Stadler Class 88 locomotive weighs 86 tonnes and has a 21.5 tonne axle load, so the battery would almost double the weight of the locomotive.

So to carry this amount of battery power, the batteries must be carried in a second vehicle, just like some steam locomotives have a tender.

But suppose Stadler developed another version of their UK Light locomotive, which was a four-axle locomotive that held the largest battery possible in the standard body.

  • It would effectively be a large battery locomotive.
  • It would have cabs on both  ends.
  • It might have a traction power of perhaps 2-2.5 MW.
  • It would have a pantograph for charging the battery if required.

It could work independently or electrically-connected to the proposed 4 MW electric locomotive.

I obviously don’t know all the practicalities and economics of designing such a pair of locomotives, but I do believe that the mathematics say  that a 4 MW electric locomotive can be paired with a locomotive that has a large  battery.

  • It would have 4 MW, when running on electrified lines.
  • It would have up to 4 MW, when running on battery power for at least an hour.
  • ,It could use battery-power to bridge the gaps in the UK’s electrification network and for Last Mile operation.

A  very formidable zero-carbon locomotive-pair could be possible.

Hydrogen Power

I don’t see why a 4 MW electric locomotive , probably with up to 1,000 kWh of batteries couldn’t be paired with a second vehicle, that contained a hydrogen tank, a hydrogen fuel-cell.and some more batteries.

It’s all a question of design and mathematics.

It should also be noted, that over time the following will happen.

  • Hydrogen tanks will be able to store hydrogen at a greater pressure.
  • Fuel cells will have a higher power to weight ratio.
  • Batteries will have a higher power storage density.

These improvements will all help to make a viable hydrogen-powered generator or locomotive possible.

I also feel that the same hydrogen technology could be used to create a hydrogen-powered locomotive with this specfication.

  • Ability to use 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • 2 MW on electrification.
  • 1.5 MW on hydrogen/battery power.
  • 100 mph capability.
  • Regenerative braking to batteries.
  • Ability to pull a rake of five or six coaches.

This could be a very useful lower-powered locomotive.

What About The Extra Length?

A Class 66 locomotive is 21.4 metres long and a Class 68 locomotive is 20.3 metres long. Network Rail is moving towards a maximum freight train length of 775 metres, so it would appear that another twenty metre long vehicle wouldn’t be large in the grand scheme of things.

Conclusion

My instinct says to be that it would be possible to design a family of locomotives or an electric locomotive with a second vehicle containing batteries or a hydrogen-powered electricity generator, that could haul freight trains on some of the partially-electrified routes in the UK.

 

 

 

July 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

£82m, 30m High Aerial Tramway Vision Would Link Eden Project North To Lancaster University And M6

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Proposals for an £82m aerial tramway project linking Lancaster, Morecambe and the university have been drawn up by the man behind the initial plans for Eden Project North.

Standing at more than 30m high, the Aerial Tramway System would link the proposed Eden Project North, the Bay Gateway, Lancaster Railway Station, the University of Cumbria’s Lancaster campus, Lancaster University and junction 33 of the M6 motorway.

Iy is an interesting suggestion.

But I do question the cost.

The Emirates Air Line in London has the following characteristics.

  • I kilometre in length
  • 2 stations
  • 34 gondolas in use at one time.
  • ten-seat gondolas
  • 90 metres maximum height.

The proposed Lancaster and Morecambe aerial tramway has the following characteristics.

  • I0 kilometres in length
  • 5 stations
  • 30 gondolas in use at one time.
  • thirty-five-seat gondolas
  • 30 metres maximum height.

As the cost of the Emirate Air Line is reported at £60million, I’m afraid that £82million for the Lancaster and Morecambe aerial tramway are slightly ambitious.

In Getting To The Proposed Morecambe Eden Project By Train, I laid out how a large zero-carbon rail system could develop around Morecambe.

I also concluded that journeys to and from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester, could be made zero-carbon.

Conclusion

There could be better ways to acgieve the same local objectives.

 

July 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Getting To The Proposed Morecambe Eden Project By Train

I originally wrote this post as part of Thoughts On The Morecambe Bay Eden Project, in August 2018, but I now feel it is better as a standalone post!

Current Train SAervices To Morecambe

Morecambe is served by the Morecambe Branch Line, This diagram from Wikipedia, shows how Morecambe is well-connected to Lancaster and the West Coast Main Line.

Note.

  1. The line has two stations in the town at Bare Lane and Morecambe and another at the nearby Heysham Port.
  2. Service between Morecambe and Lancaster seems to have a frequency of two trains per hour (tph) and a journey time of around ten minutes.
  3. There are also upwards of three services a day to and from Skipton and Leeds, which reverse at Lancaster.

I don’t think that a train every half-hour, is sufficient to serve a major attraction.

Possible Expansion Of The Train Service

As both Bare Lane and Morecambe stations have two platforms and there used to be extra tracks along the route, I think it would be possible to create a railway system to Morecambe that could include.

  • Two tph to and from Lancaster.
  • Trains to and from Leeds via Lancaster, Carnforth, Hellifield for the Settle & Carlisle Railway and Skipton
  • Trains to and from Windermere via Lancaster, Carnforth and Oxenholme Lake District.
  • Trains to and from Carlisle via Lancaster, Carnforth, Barrow and the Cumbrian Coast Line.

There is tremendous scope to expand rail services in an area of scenic beauty, that includes the Lake District and the Pennines.

Creating an iconic attraction at Morecambe could be a catalyst to develop the rail services in the wider area.

A decent rail service with good provision for bicycles and wheelchairs, might also encourage more tourism without the need for cars.

The West Coast Main Line And High Speed Two

The West Coast Main Line, which will also be used by High Speed Two trains in the future goes between Lancaster and Carlisle.

  • Trains to and from Morecambe, Windermere and Barrow will have to share with the 125 mph trains on the West Coast Main Line.

For this reason, I feel that the specification for local trains must be written with care.

Battery Trains Between Morecambe And Lancaster

In my view, the short Morecambe and Windermere Branch Lines are ideal for services that use battery trains, which would charge the batteries on the electrified West Coast Main Line.

  • All trains between Lancaster and Morecambe could use battery power.
  • Morecambe to Windermere could even be a 125 mph electric train on the West Coast Main Line, that used batteries on the short branch lines at either end.

Consider

  • Bombardier are talking about a 125 mph bi-mode Aventra with batteries. Diesel power would not be needed, so add more batteries.
  • Battery trains are talking about ranges of thirty miles, in a few years.
  • Batteries would be charged on the West Coast Main Line.
  • The trains would not be slow enough to interfere with the expresses on the West Coast Main Line.

How cool is that?

The battery-powered trains would surely fit in well with the message of the Eden Project.

Hydrogen-Powered Trains Between Morecambe And Leeds

In my view these routes would be ideal for environmentally-friendly hydrogen-powered trains.

  • Morecambe and Leeds
  • Lancaster and Carlisle via Barrow and Workington
  • Carlisle and Newcastle
  • Carlisle and Leeds via the Settle and Carlisle Line.

All passenger trains in Cumbria would be zero-carbon.

Conclusion

Morecambe and the Eden Project could be at the centre of an extensive zero-carbon rail network.

These major cities would have direct electric trains to Lancaster, which would be a short local train ride away.

  • Birmingham
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester

All journeys could be zero-carbon.

July 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nissan Refuses To Improve Qashqai’s Toxic Emissions

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Tuesday’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Nissan has refused a government request to carry out adjustments to thousands of highly polluting diesel cars to make them less toxic.

The car is called the Nissan Qashqai, which I wouldn’t recognise, unless it reversed into me on the street and I could see the name badge on the boot.

Today, there is this article on the BBC, which is entitled Nissan Workers Braced For Job Cuts.

As they say in Private Eye, could the two stories be related?

Especially, as Nissan seem to have had problems with a CEO recently, who seemed to find enhancing his lifestyle more important, than good stewardship of the company.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Super-Efficient Flats Don’t Need Heating Or Air-Con

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Page 34 of today;s copy of The Times.

These are the first two paragraphs.

In a city of skyscrapers the 26-storey building on a small island next to Manhattan looks unremarkable. Hiding in plain sight, however, is an architectural revolution.

The House, a dormitory for graduate students at Cornell University, is so energy efficient it can eliminate the need for heating and air conditioning. It is the first “passive house” in the US and is providing a stream of data for engineers.

If someone built a passive skyscraper in London, I’d ceretainly go and look.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments