The Anonymous Widower

Giant Batteries Will Provide Surge Of Electricity Storage

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Britain’s capacity to store electricity in giant batteries is set to double after dozens of new projects won contracts through a government scheme to keep the lights on.

Developers of battery storage projects with a total output capacity of at least 3.3 gigawatts won contracts to operate from winter 2025-26 through the government’s “capacity market” auction, according to Cornwall Insight, the consultancy.

Note that Hinckley Point C is only 3.26 GW.

The biggest battery in these contracts is a giant that Intergen will be building at the London Gateway.

When the battery got planning permission in November 2020, Intergen published this press release, which is entitled InterGen Gains Consent To Build One Of The World’s Largest Battery Projects In Essex.

These are three bullet points at the head of the press release.

  • Edinburgh-headquartered energy company InterGen has been granted planning consent to build the UK’s largest battery storage project at DP World London Gateway on the Thames Estuary.
  • £200m project is set to provide at least 320MW/640MWh of capacity, with the potential to expand to 1.3GWh – more than ten times the size of the largest battery currently in operation in the UK and set to be one of the world’s largest.
  • The battery will provide fast-reacting power and system balancing with an initial two-hour duration, and is a significant piece of infrastructure on the UK’s journey to net zero.

As Cilla might have said. “What a lorra lorra lot of lithium!”

But it’s not just lithium-ion batteries that are getting large.

In The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery, I talked about a Highview Power CRYOBattery with a capacity of 50MW/500MWh, that is being built in the Atacama desert in Chile.

The Essex battery is a giant battery and it’s bigger than the one in Chile, but I’m fairly sure Highview Power could build a battery bigger than the one InterGen are building. You just add more liquid air tanks and turbomachinery.

February 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK’s Tevva Uses Submarine Tech To Power Electric Trucks

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

The article is from April 2017 and starts with this paragraph.

Startup founded by Asher Bennett, brother of Israel’s education minister, aims to provide digital, emission-free vehicles.

This paragraph gives details of the man behind the company and their first sales.

Meanwhile, one UK company — Tevva Motors — has already got its first orders for repowering the trucks of delivery giants UPS, DHL and Switzerland’s Kuehne+Nagel with its components, including the batteries and motor, according to Tevva’s 48-year-old Israeli founder Asher Bennett. Bennett is the older brother of former entrepreneur turned right-wing politician Naftali Bennett, who is Israel’s education minister.

Since the article was written, Naftali Bennett has become Israel’s Prime Minister.

This paragraph explains how the trucks work.

The trucks Tevva repowers as well as those the company is planning to build from scratch next year at its new facility in Chelmsford are fully digital. “Every piece of information on our trucks is on the cloud,” Bennett said. The software and algorithms developed by the company automatically calculate the most efficient use of the battery and instruct the range extender when to kick in, without any input from the driver.

We’re already starting to see trains using similar techniques.

But as a time-expired Control Engineer, I would go a similar route.

It is a fascinating article, that deserves a full read.

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Class 321 Renatus Trains At Wickford And On The Crouch Valley Line

This article on Rail Advent indicated that the platform extension at Wickford station had been completed, so that five-car Class 720 trains can work the Crouch Valley Line.

This morning I went to look at the progress and took these pictures.


  1. Platform 1 has been extended at the London end.
  2. The two trains working the branch were Class 321 Renatus trains.
  3. The stations on the branch seemed to have been spruced up.

I suspect Greater Anglia are expecting a lot more commuters and visitors.

  • But then the area is getting a lot more housing.
  • There are fast direct trains to and from London Liverpool Street on a railway with refurbished electrification.
  • Burnham-on-Crouch is one of the foremost yachting towns.
  • Remember the area is not far from Snowgoose Country.
  • The new Wallasea wetlands that were created with the tunnel spoil from Crossrail’s tunnels is not far away.

This Google map shows Burnham-on-Crouch and Wallasea Wetlands.


  1. Burnham-on-Crouch with its station in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Wallasea Wetlands are marked by the red arrow.

I don’t think it will be long before an appropriately-powered ferry is provided across the River Crouch.

I also have some thoughts.

The Class 321 Renatus Trains

The Class 321 Renatus trains may be a 2017 conversion of a 1990-built British Rail Class 321 train, but that doesn’t mean they are a cheap and nasty conversion.

So until all the Class 720 trains are in service, they are a more than adequate stand-in.

I was told that the Class 720 trains will be in service on the branch in September.

The Snow Goose

The Snow Goose is one of the great books of the Twentieth Century, written by the American; Paul Gallico.

This summary of the plot is from Wikipedia.

The Snow Goose is a simple, short written parable on the regenerative power of friendship and love, set against a backdrop of the horror of war. It documents the growth of a friendship between Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex because of his disabilities, and a young local girl, Fritha. The snow goose, symbolic of both Rhayader (Gallico) and the world itself, wounded by gunshot and many miles from home, is found by Fritha and, as the human friendship blossoms, the bird is nursed back to flight, and revisits the lighthouse in its migration for several years. As Fritha grows up, Rhayader and his small sailboat eventually are lost in the Dunkirk evacuation, having saved several hundred men. The bird, which was with Rhayader, returns briefly to the grown Fritha on the marshes. She interprets this as Rhayader’s soul taking farewell of her (and realizes she had come to love him). Afterwards, a German pilot destroys Rhayader’s lighthouse and all of his work, except for one portrait Fritha saves after his death: a painting of her as Rhayader first saw her – a child, with the wounded snow goose in her arms.

It is not a book, you’d expect an American to write about the dark days of World War II in the UK.

But as Christopher Nolan showed in his film, Dunkirk was the battle in World War II, that stiffened up the sinews and summoned up the blood.

Wickford Station

The pictures show that Wickford station is being rebuilt.

I would think it needs a speed-free bridge.


June 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Council Launches Campaign To Extend Crossrail To Southend-on-Sea

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

I wrote about this extensively in Crossrail Tests Its Trains In Southend and feel it is a good plan.

Extra Capacity Between London And Southend

If some of the currently planned twelve trains per hour (tph) to Shenfield, ran to Southend Victoria station and terminated there, this might generate a lot of traffic between Southend and the West End, Paddington and Heathrow.

A More Intensive Service To Southend Airport

Southend Airport is growing fast and I suspect that with both Easyjet and Ryanair using the Airport, that Essex boys and girls will start using their local airport in droves.

With a more frequent rail service I suspect many more will use the trains.

If Crossrail served the Airport much of East London would probably use the service, to avoid the hassle of changing trains or parking the car.

A Twenty-Four Hour Service to Southend Airport


  • I’ve flown into Southend Airport at a late hour and just about caught the last train.
  • I also had to get there at an early hour for a flight to Amsterdam.

There has been talk of Crossrail running through the night and I suspect, Southend Airport would welcome this development in the future.

Enabling Housing

London needs more housing and Southend is probably one of those places, where more houses can be built.

But a better train service is needed and Crossrail could be one easy way to provide it.

Taking Pressure From Liverpool Street

Liverpool Street station is full and lacks capacity.

Moving some Southend services to Crossrail will free up more capacity for other services.


Extending Crossrail to Southend has a lot going for it.

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Not All Rail Improvements Are Spectacular

I found this article from The Enquirer, which is entitled Essex set for faster trains after summer speed restriction is finally lifted.

This is said.

A LONG-STANDING speed restriction in place on the railway between Shenfield and Seven Kings, London, during the summer has been lifted by Network Rail.

The decision was made after the completion of important railway improvement works over Christmas. Network Rail engineers worked around-the-clock for 10 days to replace 12.5km of overhead wires at Gidea Park, untangling the complex web of crossovers, and replacing it with more durable and heat-resistant wires.

Passengers will not see any dramatic physical difference, but if the sun ever beats down again, the trains will still stick to the timetable.


January 13, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

A Walk Between Walton-on-the-Naze And Finton-on-Sea Stations

One of the reason’s I went to Walton-on-the-Naze station today, was to see if I could have a nice walk in the sun along the sea to Frinton-on-Sea station and then take the train home.

This Google Map shows the two stations and the sea.

A Walk Between Walton And Frinton Stations

A Walk Between Walton And Frinton Stations

Walton-on-the-Naze station is in the North-East corner of the map by Walton Pier and Frinton-on-Sea station is in the South-West corner.

I walked along the promenade, which goes all the way to Clacton-on-Sea, between the beach-huts on the shore and the wide sandy beach and the sea.

I took these pictures as I walked.


  • The number of Thames Sailing Barges in the sea. I saw five, but others saw six.
  • The beach welcomes dogs.
  • The memorial to PC Brian Bishop.
  • I got lost walking from the beach to Frinton-on-Sea station. There were no signs or maps.

The walk took me about ninety minutes. Unlike at Clacton, I didn’t pass a decent cafe. I should have had lunch before I left Walton.

July 17, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A First Visit To Clacton

Despite living quite close to Clacton for perhaps about thirty years of my life, I’d never been to the town before today.

I needed some sun and felt that a visit and a walk along the front was in order.

Since the Shenfield Metro train service through East London to henfield has been run by TfL Rail, getting to places like Clacton and Sudbury, as I did, a couple of weeks ago, has become a lot cheaper.

Sudbury cost me £11.70 return, and Clacton today was £14.25! As Clacton is seventy miles from London, surely that is good value!

These are of some pictures I took of the trip from the time I joined the Sunshine Coast Line at Colchester.


  • The stations on the branch look reasonable, although Thorpe-le-Soken station could do with improvements.
  • According to a local, the front at Clacton has had a recent makeover.
  • There is a maintenance depot for the trains at Clacton.
  • The line is an electrified double-track, although the branch to Walton-on-the-Naze and Frinton-on-Sea is only a single-track.
  • I must admit to being surprised at the size of Clacton station with four platforms capable of taking twelve-car trains.

This Google Map shows the route where I walked.



I walked down from the station to the sea front, along the promenade to the Pier and then back up to the station. It was virtually flat all the way.

One of the reasons, I went to Clacton was to look at the train service and see if it is likely, than the new franchise will improve it.

  • As I said earlier, most of the stations I saw are in reasonable condition, although some may need step-free access.
  • Thorpe-le-Soken station would appear to need improvement.
  • According to Wikipedia Abellio has plans to improve stations at at AlresfordKirby Cross and Weeley
  • It is still possible to see the remains of the second track to Walton at Thorpe-le-Soken station.
  • Generally, the Off Peak service to Clacton and Walton is one train per hour.
  • Going to Clacton, I rode in an acceptable Class 360 train, but going back I was in a Class 321 train.
  • Signalling on the Sunshine Coast Line was modernised a few years ago, but what is the state of the electrification?
  • Colchester Town station is served by a spur from the Sunshine Coast Line, which has a low speed limit because of sharp curves.

There is certainly scope for improvement.

These are a few notes on what can be done.

Colchester Town Station

Wikipedia says this about the station.

As of 2013 there is only one platform, but there is space for a second which would make possible a more intensive service on the Sunshine Coast Line. To the east of the station, Colne Junction is the western extremity of a triangle which gives access towards Colchester station to the west and Hythe station to the east. The curve to the north from Colne Junction to East Gates Junction is sharp, with a continuous check rail which necessitates slow passage.

This Google Map shows Colchester Town station and Colne Junction.

Colchester Town Station And Colne Junction

Colchester Town Station And Colne Junction

Colchester Town station is at the Western side of the map and the lines lead out of the station to the triangular Colne Junction.

As the map shows, it is a much sharper curve to turn North than go to the Sunshine Coast.

The other station shown at the |Eastern side of the map is Hythe station, which is on the route to Clacton and Walton.

I suspect that there have been many sensible ideas to improve services through Colchester Town station, but that as train services in East Anglia have always had a low priority, nothing has been done.

These pictures show Colne Junction from a train between Clacton-on-Sea and Colchester.

I was surprised to see that all sides of the junction are double-track.But not surprised to see a collection of second-rate industrial and Royal Mail development in the middle of the junction.

An absolute minimum of improvements would be.

  • Improving the curve to the North at Colne Junction, so that there is a speed increase for trains going to and from Colchester and towards London, that serve Colchester Town and the Sunshine Coast Line.
  • A second platform at Colchester Town station.
  • Opening Colchester Town station on Sundays.

I will be interested to see if improvements are proposed in the new East Anglia Franchise.

New Trains

In Could Class 387 Trains Do Norwich In Ninety And Ipswich In Sixty?, I wrote that to obtain these timings, North of Chelmsford, all trains must be capable of holding a 100 mph line speed or perhaps even 110 mph.

The Class 360 trains might be fast enough, but there are rumours in the Derby Telegraph, that a new fleet of Bombardier trains will be ordered, to fulfil a requirement in the new franchise agreement.

If a version of something like a Class 710  train is ordered, it could have the following characteristics.

  • Four-car trains, able to run in four, eight and twelve car formations.
  • 100 mph or 110 mph line speed.
  • Regenerative braking.
  • Provision for on-board energy storage.

On the Sunshine Coast Line, the trains would not use the onboard energy storage for primary traction, but to save energy, as I don’t suspect the line has been updated for regenerative braking.

These trains will certainly provide a better passenger experience. They could also be faster between Liverpool Street and Colchester.


The electrification looked to be in good condition, but judging by the design, some of it, is fairly elderly.

I also have my doubts as to whether the overhead wires can handle regenerative braking. Use of regenerative braking in the UK  have shown energy saving around 15%, but it does need a more expensive infrastructure.

So will we see, a project to renew the wires, transformers and other electrical equipment, as has been seen on parts of the Great Eastern Main Line?

I think we will, but the operator could use on-board electrical storage in new trains to simplify the electrification.Instead of returning braking energy through the overhead wires, it would be stored on the train for using the train to get started again.

One idea that could happen, is that to appease the sensitive souls in Frinton, that the Walton-on-the-Naze branch could be run using onboard energy storage to eliminate any pantograph noise. After all the branch is only five miles long. But that would be five miles less of overheasd wire to maintain.

I do wonder whether some branch lines like the short one to Walton-on-the Naze could be run to tram rules using on-board energy storage. It might enable stations to be built step-free without electrification, lifts and bridges. I wrote about Thurston station, where they have a walk across with lights in Two Solutions To Make Crossing A Railway Safe.

Track Improvements

As with Colne Junction, I suspect that there are some long-standing ideas to increase the line speed from the current 40-90 mph on the Sunshine Coast Line.



July 16, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Only In Frinton

A common target of East Anglian humour is Frinton, as over the years the town has acquired a dubious reputation about being anti-fun.

In The First Off Licence In Frinton, I told the story of how C got the town its first Off Licence. Her version of the tale, always ended with Frinton were not amused.

Rumour has it, for years, the sign on Manningtree station, which said something like Harwich For The Continent had been annotated with And Frinton For The Incontinent.

Tonight I found this under Recent Developments in the Wikipedia entry for The Sunshine Coast Line, which is the branch line that serves Clacton and Frinton.

A £104 million engineering project known as the Colchester to Clacton Resignalling Project took place on the line between December 2006 and July 2009. Life-expired signalling equipment was replaced and a new control system was installed; 170 modern LED signals were installed and eight manual level crossings were upgraded to full barrier crossings with security cameras. The line was closed every weekend and on public holidays, with bus replacement services provided.

There was opposition from the town of Frinton to keep the manual gates, which were reportedly removed “under cover of darkness”. Folklore has it that townspeople used to lock the gates to keep out coach-loads of tourists.

It is a typical Frinton story. I have no idea, if it’s true!


July 10, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Only In Essex

This story is from the Brentwood Gazette and is entitled C2C train delays after car abandoned on track at Pitsea.

Enough said!

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Long Way Back From Rayleigh

For various reasons, I go to a dentist in Rayleigh near Southend.

Usually, it is a simple out and back from Stratford.

But today although it was easy getting there, coming back was a long journey, as a man was killed by a train at Harold Wood according to this report in the Romford Recorder.

I was informed that there would be a long wait at Rayleigh, so as a bus arrived, which was going to Southend, I took that as if the Liverpool Street was closed, I could at least get a c2c train to Barking or West Ham.

It is only when you are forced to take a bus in a strange town, that is information-free and nearly all your fellow travellers are wearing head-phones, you realise how most buses are terrible outside London.

I haven’t been to the centre of Southend since the 1960s, so it was only because my phone told me, that I was somewhere near the centre, that I got off at the right stop, near Southend Victoria station.

After buying my ticket and a drink, I was then informed that the trains were still not running. So I decided to walk to Southend Central station for the c2c train. This Google Earth image shows the two stations.

Central Southend

Central Southend

Victoria is at the top and Central is on the railway line that runs across the image.

The walk was easy, if rather windy and after ascertaining that c2c would happily accept my GreaterAnglia ticket, in a few minutes I was on a train to London. These pictures taken on the first part of the journey, illustrate the quality of the weather and how close the line is to the coast.

The weather was certainly worse than I encountered on the Cumbrian Coast.

In the end I changed onto the Metropolitan Line at Barking and then came home my usual way via Whitechapel and Dalston Junction.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment