The Anonymous Widower

From 2025, Nestlé Waters France Will Use The First Hydrogen-Powered Freight Train Through An Innovative Solution Developed by Alstom and ENGIE

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Alstom.

These are the main points of the press release.

  • Nestlé Waters will be the first company in Europe to benefit from the hydrogen fuel cell solution developed by Alstom and ENGIE, for rail freight.

  • The purpose is to operate the first hydrogen-powered freight train from the Vosges plant, thanks to a hydrogen generator wagon system developed by Alstom and supplied with renewable hydrogen by ENGIE, from 2025.

  • engieltimately, this project should enable Nestlé Waters to reduce emissions by 10,000 tons of COequivalent per year.

  • This new collaboration is in line with the actions Nestlé Waters has been carried out for several years to decarbonize its supply chain.

In this Alstom visualisation that accompanies the press release, an Alstom Prima locomotive can be seen pulling a tender full of hydrogen, that generates electricity.

It would appear to be a very simple concept.

  • The electric locomotive uses electrification where it is available.
  • On lines without electrification, hydrogen is used to generate electricity.
  • The locomotive and the tender are connected by a cable.
  • I suspect for longer distances, larger generators with a larger hydrogen capacity can be developed.
  • It would appear that typical SNCF Prima locomotives have at least 4 MW of power, so the generator must be at least this size.

I could see this concept being used with a 4 MW Class 90 electric locomotive.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Rapidly Deployable Rail Stress Sensor For Next Generation Freight Monitoring

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

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10039559

Project title: A Rapidly Deployable Rail Stress Sensor For Next Generation Freight Monitoring
Project grant: £263,725

Public description: As UK rail freight growth increases, a detailed live understanding of the network condition is
essential and is driving the need for industry digitalisation in the form of real-time and in-situ condition monitoring.

This is also a key enabler of automated networks and the adoption of autonomous vehicles.

In the UK many of the existing wayside rail measurement technologies (e.g. Weigh-in-Motion[WiM] and Wheel Impact Load Detector [WILD]) are expensive, time consuming to install, and permanent.

Thus, the adoption of measurement technologies for improving service offerings is becoming increasingly important. Some proposed data streams are unmeasurable using commercially available technologies; other smaller rail sensors on the market only offer very basic measurements (such as vibration and temperature). Some can be achieved through strain gauging, weighbridges or manual inspection. However, Peak to Peak Measurement Solutions (PktoPk)’s solution is more robust, has longer term stability, is rapidly deployable, offers higher measurement frequency and is significantly cheaper/faster to deploy than any of the competing technologies. It builds on similar systems PktoPk have deployed to non-competing industries such as automotive, large marine diesel, and injection moulding.

PktoPk proposes a novel technology to take key measurements using an ultrasonic array transducer mounted in a robust clamp that can be rapidly fixed under a rail of any gauge. Measurements will be taken in real-time and uploaded to a cloud platform. This solution is fast, portable and excellent value for money whilst providing tangible, reliable and cost-saving data.

The system benefits to asset owners include; reducing possession duration, reducing inspection/maintenance downtime and providing rail operators with easy access to all the data streams listed below.

  • Dynamic lateral and vertical force (L/V)
  • Wheel-rail contact position and shape
  • Wheel-rail interfacial stiffness
  • Axle load/weight (ALM)
  • Additional ‘standard’ measurements (temperature/noise/vibration)

The project will utilise PktoPk’s close relationship with University of Sheffield, where the IP and right to operate is also shared, and will work with other local partners to create a demonstration of their novel technology to key rail stakeholders in a live rail environment.

This event will also be broadcast with some international stakeholders who have already expressed their excitement about the demonstration.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Automating Freight Access Right Management And Spot Bidding Using Novel And Modern Software To Drive Modal Shift From Road To Rail

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

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10039135

Project title: Automating Freight Access Right Management And Spot Bidding Using Novel And Modern Software To Drive Modal Shift From Road To Rail
Lead organisation: HACK PARTNERS LTD.
Project grant: ££322,420

Public description: Automating today’s manual processes associated with access right management and spot bidding and wrapping these digital processes in an intuitive, integrated, modern, bespoke and scalable user system. The benefits of this innovation are not only cost efficiency but also enabling a much better experience to freight customers to drive modal shift.

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Levelling Up Freight

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

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10037240

Project title: Levelling Up Freight
Lead organisation: 3SQUARED LTD.
Project grant: £393,271

Public description:


Rail freight is vital to Britain. It contributes almost £2.5bn to the economy and plays a big part in reducing congestion and emissions. Rail is more environmentally friendly than road, with every tonne of freight transported by rail producing 76% less emissions compared to road (RDG “Levelling Up Britain” 2021). The green benefits of rail freight are being driven heavily by the DfT with incentive schemes such as Modal Shift Revenue Support (MSRS) – a £20m grant, which
freight carriers can bid for a share of to support modal shift to rail.

Despite widescale use of MSRS, finding new freight routes for additional trains is challenging because:

  • Road haulage is seen as easier and more accessible than rail freight, especially at short
    notice, for short journeys and for single containers.
  • Highways are less regulated with no significant barriers to commercial participation, and
    therefore are free to use the latest technologies to develop and evolve solutions at a faster
  • Railway planning systems and processes limit the availability and visibility of freight paths
    (slots in the timetable which can accept a freight train) resulting in under-utilisation of
    network capacity.

Our innovative freight planning solution (PathPlanner) will make the use of rail for freight as
accessible and easy to use as the road network. PathPlanner is specifically designed to overcome
the current operational challenges and blockers that make moving to rail prohibitive.

Proof-of-Concept Demonstration

In 2021, NR completed a £17m upgrade around Southampton to enable longer trains in/out of the docks. Completing April 2023, Solent Stevedores is investing c.£3m to strengthen their capability to receive and dispatch longer and more trains – from 9 to 16 per day.

However, NR’s business case did not include any understanding of capacity in/out of the port, so
Solent Stevedores is currently unsighted as to how, or if, they can find the additional paths.
There are significant gains to be made if they can; 7 extra trains equate to:

  • £12.6m additional revenue p.a.
  • A reduction of 55,000 HGVs.
  • A reduction of carbon by 1,165 tonnes.

Our project will demonstrate a Proof-of-Concept solution at Southampton Docks that will facilitate
Solent Stevedores, and Eddie Stobart Logistics (ESL) – 2 off our project partners – to find additional
freight paths and transfer containers from HGVs to trains.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

As I programmed scheduling and resource allocation systems for forty years, I am probably one of the most experienced programmers at writing this type of system.

That experience suggests that their objectives are possible.

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Decarbonising Auxiliary Load In Freight Today

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

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10039629

Project title: Decarbonising Auxiliary Load In Freight Today
Lead organisation: G-VOLUTION LTD
Project grant: £378,514

Public description: Freight locomotives have auxiliary electric power requirements which account for up to 10-15% of the total power demand, covering engine and traction motor cooling, safety and signalling systems and locomotive control systems.

These loads are currently serviced by an alternator on ubiquitous diesel ICE powertrains. This demand is persistent, requiring the diesel ICEs to remain powered up/idling during the significant periods of dwell time faced by freight services. Up to 20% of freight locomotive fuel consumption and emissions, from CO2 and particulates, therefore arise from non-traction aspects.

Whilst extreme traction requirements for freight operations restricts adoption of full decarbonised powertrains – unless compromises for traction power or range are made – no existing rail technology targets the significant auxiliary power requirements.

In response, G-volution have engaged a team cutting across the full UK supply chain to realise and integrate a first-of-a-kind system for on-board auxiliary power on freight locomotives, based on high energy-density fuel cells and a carbon neutral bio-LPG fuel system.

Whilst initially representing the lowest cost/technical barrier route to catalyse significant CO2, exhaust emission and diesel fuel savings in freight, this approach has potential to also substitute traction power in the long term, and supports the transition to green hydrogen as a rail transport fuel.

Through a live demonstration with a UK freight operator, the project will therefore prove that high efficiency fuel cells, which are able to use a range of cleaner, greener, cheaper zero net carbon renewable fuels, can work in the rail environment and also stimulate significant commercial benefits for all operators, via reduced fuel costs and future environmental levies.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

Note that another G-volution project is described in Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial.

I also suspect, this auxiliary power unit could have other applications.


November 17, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is A Freight Skate?

The Freight Skate was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

The Description In The First Of A Kind 2022 Winners Document

In this document, this is said.

Project No: 10039606

Project title: “Freight Skate” a self-powered freight bogie and platform
Lead organisation: TDI (EUROPE) LIMITED
Project grant: £400,000

Public description: Governments have recognised that the continued dependence on the motor/freight vehicles is unsustainable and that modal shift to low and zero-carbon public transport solutions, both for passengers and freight, is essential if legislative commitments to Net Zero are to be met.

The Freight Skate provides a sustainable, low cost, reliable and high-quality rail freight experience which will drive down emissions and increase profits to freight companies and assist in bringing about the much-needed modal shift from road to train. To achieve this objective, it required us to use different ways of thinking across every aspect of the programme – design, supply, build and system implementation. This approach has yielded the desired results.

The skate chassis was originally designed with steering axles for passenger trains. It is a unique and tested design which we believe lends itself to operating as an independent 4-wheel unit that can be virtually coupled to form a platform for 10′, 20′,30′ or 40′ containers. The study would also allow us to optimise loading for 9’6″ HC units; Three units could also be used to carry 2 x 40′ containers. An individual unit would carry a 10′ container.

TDI plans to commercialise the Freight Skate vehicle over the next 3 years, with the product entering freight terminal service in 2025.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

If you search the Internet for “Freight Skate” you find nothing, but I think the concept is a development of the TruckTrain, which I wrote about in The TruckTrain, as both concepts are from Coventry.

I really liked the TruckTrain concept, when I saw it earlier this year.

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

First Of A Kind 2022 Winners Announced

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item from Innovate UK.

This paragraph explains the competition.

The Department for Transport and Innovate UK are delighted to announce the first set of winners for the First of Kind (FOAK) 2022 competition. Winners will receive funding to help develop novel technology which improves rail freight services and lowers carbon emissions from trains.

I shall cover some of the winning ideas in future posts, which I will link to this post.

10039629 – Decarbonising Auxiliary Load In Freight Today

10037240 – Levelling Up Freight

10038447 – Transforming High-Speed Rail Logistics

10039135 – Automating Freight Access Right Management And Spot Bidding Using Novel And Modern Software To Drive Modal Shift From Road To Rail

10039606 – “Freight Skate” A Self-Powered Freight Bogie And Platform

10039559 – A Rapidly Deployable Rail Stress Sensor For Next Generation Freight Monitoring

10037294 – EventGo – Intelligent Rail Service Demand Forecasting for Event-Based Travel

10037862 – NextGen Data-Driven Timetable Performance Optimisation Tool

10039201- Protection and Resilience for OLE using ComputerVision Techniques (PROLECT)

10038989 – FEIDS – FOAS Enabled Intruder Detection System

10038342 – Rail Flood Defender

10039258 – Optimal Prediction of Sand For Adhesion

10038790 – Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage

10036632 – Trains With Brains(R)

10038228 – SBRI: FOAK 2022 Optimising Railway Possessions

10037542 – Portable Track Geometry Measurement System

10038973 – State Of The Railway Compiler Data Solution (SORClite): Open Access Real-Time Signalling Data

10036245 – ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation

10039100 – UBER – Ultra-High Power Battery For Low Emission Rail

10037562 –  ZERRCI – Zero Emissions Repowering Of Railway Construction Infrastructure

10038683 – Axle Mounted Motor For Retrofit To DMU’s To Enable Zero Emissions In Stations

10038972 – Zero Emission Powering of Auxiliary Loads In Stations

10038627 – ERiCS – Emissions Reductions in Closed Stations

10037158 – 25kV Battery Train Charging Station Demonstration

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

British Land Plans Underground London Logistics Hub

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

This is the sub-title to the article.

British Land is planning to create an underground low-carbon logistics hub in central London.


  1. The former Crossrail box works site beneath Kingdom Street in Paddington is being turned into the logistics hub.
  2. The site was returned to British Land’s ownership when the Elizabeth Line opened.
  3. There will be a 13-storey office above the box.
  4. The 21-storey office at the Five Kingdom Street site has been reduced to seven storeys, to meet today’s expectations for environmentally-sustainable design and occupier wellbeing.
  5. The urban logistics hub would facilitate deliveries within Westminster using electric vehicles and cargo bikes

It looks to me, that this logistics hub has similar aims and objectives, to British Land’s other planned hub, that I wrote about in Finsbury Square Car Park Becomes British Land Hub For Delivery Drivers.


British Land seem to have a plan to develop low carbon logistics hubs.

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amber Train Links The Baltic States To Western Europe

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

These paragraphs outline the freight link.

A trial Amber Train service between the Baltic States left the Estonian port of Muuga on September 13, arriving the following day at Kaunas in Lithuanian where its load of semi-trailers was transferred to 1 435 mm gauge wagons for onward transport to destinations including France and the Netherlands.

The 1 520 mm gauge wagons returned to Muuga with trailers for onward sea transport to Finland.

This Google Map shows the Estonian port of Muuga Harbour.


  1. Muuga Harbour is the largest cargo port in Estonia, located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of the capital Tallinn
  2. It is one of the few ice-free ports in northernmost Europe and one of the most modern ports in the Baltic Sea region.
  3. Enlarging the picture shows a lot of rail lines.

It looks like Muuga Harbour is an ideal Northern terminus for the Amber Train freight service.

This Google Map shows the area of the Kaunus Intermodal Terminal.


  1. The railway runs diagonally across the map.
  2. Estonia is to the North-East.
  3. Poland is to the South-West.

This map shows how the different gauges are used in the North-East of the previous map.


  1. Standard gauge tracks are shown in black.
  2. Russian gauge tracks are shown in red.
  3. The standard gauge track ends in the North-East corner of the map.

Trucks would probably moved between trains on parallel tracks in this freight terminal.

It appears to be a very simple way to run piggy-back trains of trucks between The Baltic States and Finland and Central and Western Europe.

Rail Baltica

According to Wikipedia, the location for the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal was chosen as it is compatible with the route of Rail Baltica, which will create a new standard gauge route between Kaunas and Tallinn in Estonia.

The Amber Train

The Amber Train has an impressive web site, where this is said on the home page.

Amber Train is a joint project of the national railways of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. It is an excellent example of cooperation, that offers road and railway clients convenient and efficient freight logistics.
Amber Train is an intermodal train, which runs on the route Šeštokai / Kaunas – Riga – Talinn, thus connecting the three Baltic States by railways and opening new business opportunities for freight shippers.
Exclusivity of the project is the connection of Western and North Europe, using the unique Šeštokai and Kaunas intermodal terminals, which enable the transshipment of freight from the European gauge to the 1520 mm gauge and vice versa.
The train is planned to run 2 times per week (with a future perspective to run up to 4 times per week), delivery time is 24 hours. Train length – up to 43 container wagons.
It is planned, that already in 2021 customers will be offered the opportunity to transport semi-trailers by railways via all three Baltic States. For this purpose, special “pocket” wagons are already in production.
Operations are managed by AB LTG Cargo (Part of Lithuanian Railways group), Latvia’s LDZ Loģistika and Estonia’s Operail.

It appears to be a well-thought out service.

A few years ago, I was on the roads of North-East Poland, about a hundred miles South of Kaunas.

These roads were crowded with large trucks going between The Baltic States and Finland and Central and Western Europe.

I suspect that once the Amber Train is fully established, a proportion of these trucks will go by rail.



September 26, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plan To Build £150m Green Hydrogen Plant At Felixstowe Port

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

These two paragraphs introduce the project.

A £150 million green hydrogen plant is to be built at the UK’s busiest container port according to proposals by ScottishPower, it emerged yesterday.

The energy company has devised plans for a 100MW plant at the Port of Felixstowe which will provide fuel to power trains, trucks and ships.

There’s a lot more to this project than it would appear at first.

Where Will The Electrolyser Be Sited?

The Times article says this.

The site will be around the size of a football pitch, on brownfield land within the port.

I have flown my virtual helicopter over the port and there could be a couple of suitable football pitch-sized plots.

Where Will The Electricity Come From?

The East Anglia Array is a proposed massive series of offshore wind farms, which will be about thirty miles off the Suffolk coast.

Wikipedia says this about the size.

Up to six individual projects could be set up in the area with a maximum capacity of up to 7.2 GW.

But the main thing about the East Anglian Array is that it is being developed by a partnership of ScottishPower and Vattenfall.

Negotiations shouldn’t be difficult.

This Google Map shows the town of Felixstowe.


  1. The Ports of Felixstowe and Harwich are opposite each other on the two banks of the River Orwell.
  2. The power cable to the East Anglia Array comes ashore at Bawdsey in the North-East corner of the map.
  3. The Port of Felixstowe has two rail links, which are not electrified.

I suspect that the electric power to the electrolyser might well be routed underwater to the Port of Felixstowe either from Bawdsey or possibly direct from the wind farm.

A Meeting With A Crane Driver

I used to regularly go to Ipswich Town away matches and at one match, I met a senior crane operator from the Port of Felixstowe. We got talking about electrifying the rail link to the port and decarbonisation of the port in general.

He was adamant that electrification of the rail lines in the port, wouldn’t be a good idea as containers occasionally get dropped or crane drivers aren’t as accurate as they should be.

Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotives

When, I told him about the possibilities of hydrogen rail locomotives, he felt this was the way to go, as no rail electrification would be needed in the port.

Hydrogen-electric hybrid locomotives would also be able to take containers cross-country to the main electrified routes to the North and West, where they would raise their pantographs and use electric power.

How many trucks would be removed from the A14, A1 and M6?

Will Greater Anglia Convert Their Class 755 Trains to Hydrogen?

Class 755 trains have a short PowerPack in the middle and are designed for conversion to hydrogen-electric operation.

Note the PowerPack has four slots for diesel engines, batteries or hydrogen fuel-cells.

A Better Working Environment

But my fellow supporter felt the biggest gain in the port, would come with replacement or updating of all the vehicles and handling equipment, as if all these machines were hydrogen-powered, this would greatly improve the working conditions for the dock workers.

ScottishPower’s Vision

This press release on ScottishPower’s web site is entitled ScottishPower Vision For Green Hydrogen Fuels Hub At Port Of Felixstowe.


The Port of Felixstowe is doing the planning for this in the right way, as ensuring the hydrogen supply in the port first, is the logical way to transition to hydrogen power.

But then, I’ve watched the Port of Felixstowe grow since the 1960s and they usually get their decisions right.

The press release starts with these bullet points.

  • ScottishPower explores green hydrogen at Port of Felixstowe to help decarbonise the UK’s busiest port.
  • The project could help kick-start the low carbon transformation of the UK’s heavy transport sector.
  • 100MW facility could deliver up to 40 tonnes of green hydrogen per day – enough to power 1300 hydrogen trucks.
  • International export also being explored.

And these two paragraphs.

ScottishPower, with Hutchison Ports, is exploring the opportunity to develop, build and operate a multi-hundred MW green hydrogen production facility at the Port of Felixstowe – with the potential to decarbonise industry and transportation in the region.
Both companies have set out their vision to help create a greener port, which could provide clean fuel for customers at Britain’s busiest container port.

Plans are being developed to use green hydrogen for onshore purposes, such as road, rail and industrial use, with the potential to create liquid forms, such as green ammonia or e-methanol. This could, in turn, provide clean fuels for shipping and aviation, and create opportunities for cost-effective export to international markets. The project aims to continue engineering and site development works to align with customer demand from 2025 onwards.

It is certainly a very extremely ambitious vision!

But then the county of my conception, has a tremendous determination to succeed. And often against all conventional logic!


August 9, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment