The Anonymous Widower

Germany Agrees To End Reliance On Coal Stations By 2038

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Germany has agreed to end its reliance on polluting coal power stations by 2038, in a long-awaited decision that will have major ramifications for Europe’s attempts to meet its Paris climate change targets.

The country is the last major bastion of coal-burning in north-western Europe and the dirtiest of fossil fuels still provides nearly 40% of Germany’s power, compared with 5% in the UK, which plans to phase the fuel out entirely by 2025.

Travel across Germany on a train and you see the high chimneys of coal-fired power stations everywhere.

When we can get rid of coal by 2025 and France by 2022, you do wonder why Germany is taking so long.

The Guardian article provides a partial answer in that both the power company; RWE and the trade unions are very much for the continued use of coal.

The Germans are phasing out nuclear power, in response to the Green Party. Surely, unregulated coal-burning is far worse than well-regulated nuclear power?

But then the prevailing winds mean that most of the carbon-dioxide and pollution goes to Poland, who are big coal-burners themselves.

I wonder what would have happened to coal-fired power stations in the UK, if Margaret Thatcher hadn’t taken on the miners and started the run down of the use of coal!

The can would probably have been kicked down the road and we’d probably have coal power stations at German levels.

 

 

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

Hydrogen Train Operation Planned

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

This is the first paragraph.

The Länder of Brandenburg and Berlin are planning the joint award of a contract for the development and operation of hydrogen fuel cell powered trains on the RB27 Heidekrautbahn route.

According to Wikipedia, the Heidekrautbahn looks to be an interesting rail line, which is used a lot for leisure and museum (heritage) trains.

Wikipedia also says this about the hydrogen trains.

At the end of 2017, considerations were presented for a pilot project to deploy four Coradia iLint vehicles manufactured by Alstom on the heather track, switching part of the rail service from diesel to hydrogen . This would take about 165 tons of hydrogen, reduce diesel consumption by about 552,000 liters and thus reduce the emission of CO 2 by about 2.5 million kg per year. In the case of a grant commitment, use from 2020 would be conceivable.

Note that this was translated by Google from the Wikipedia entry, which was in German.

The Railway Gazette article states that the trains will run from 2022.

So it looks like the Germans will be making haste slowly on this project.

 

 

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November 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Relaxed Pace Of German Commuter Stations

I am at Buxtehade station on the outskirts of Hamburg and the area looks like it could be a suburb typical of those around big cities all over the world. But it is so relaxed compared to others I’ve visited.

Note.

  1. The diesel-hauled commuter service running under wires.
  2. No-one and the trains don’t seem to be in a hurry despite it being around nine in the morning.
  3. Trains seem to wait several minutes at each station.
  4. Staff were not to be seen.

In addition, there was absolutely no information about the hydrogen trains, that I could find.

 

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Engine Change At Bad Bentheim

I’m on a train frim Amsterdam to Osnabruck. The train, which goes all the way to Berlin, is not very fast, but they’ve now stopped for ten minutes, whilst the Dutch engine is changed for a German one! Can’t both railway companies use the dame Euro-blighter and just have a change of drivers, as we do on Anglo-Scottish services.

Surely, these are the problems that the EU should solve. Or do German and Dutch rail unions make the RMT look like pussy-cats?

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

A Full-Barrier Level Crossing For Pedestrians And Cyclists At Bremervörde Station

I photographed this full-barrier level crossing For pedestrians and cyclists At Bremervörde station.

I watched the crossing for several minutes as my train waited for a green signal and pedestrians and cyclists crossed safely at times when the barriers were up. The barrier were also lowered, so that a train could proceed into the nearby depot.

Nobody seemed to disregard the barriers.

Perhaps, though the Germans are better than obeying orders than we are? Although, walking about Hamburg, I did feel that German pedestrians cross in more dangerous ways, than Londoners do.

Surely, if the Germans can put in this level crossing under the same European Health and Safety rules as we use, then we can do the same?

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

An Analysis Of The Route Between Buxtehude And Cuxhaven

Alstom have chosen the route between Buxtehude and Cuxhaven, as the launch route for their hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint train.

I’ll now look at the route.

Buxtehude Station

Buxtehude station is on the outskirts of Hamburg.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. There is a double-track electrified line through the station.
  2. There appears to be a West-facing bay platform, which conveniently has what looks to be a train in DB red, in the platform.

Services at Buxtehude include.

  1. Line S3 of the Hamburg S-Bahn between Pinneberg  and Stade. This line appears to be electrified with 15 KVAC overhead wires.
  2. Service RE 5 between Cuxhaven and Hamburg via Otterndorf, Stade and Buxtehude. This route is only electrified between Hamburg and Stade.
  3. Service RE 33 between Cuxhaven and Buxtehude via Bremerhaven and Bremervörde. This route is not electrified.

Service three is the one that from yesterday has been run by the Coradia iLint trains.

Between Buxtehude And Bremervörde

I followed this route in my helicopter and it is a single-track line through reasonably open country with in places trees along the line.

If this line was in the UK, it would be something like the Breckland Line or Great Eastern Main Line. through Norfolk, both of which have an operating speed of between 140-160 kph.

So I wouldn’t be surprised that the Coradia iLint could be almost at its maximum speed of 140 kph for long periods between stations.

Bremervörde Station

This Google Map shows Bremervörde station.

It would appear to be on a large site and there might even be a depot.

There’s certainly space to add a couple of large wind turbines to generate electricity, that could be used to create hydrogen through electrolysis.

Between Bremervörde And Bremerhafen HBf

As with the line to the East of Bremervörde, it is fairly straight across what appears to be fairly flat and through a mixture of open countryside and woodland.

This Google Map shows Bremerhafen Wulfdorf station.

The line from Buxtehude can be seen joining from the East.

The line is electrified to Bremerhafen HBf station.

So will the Coradia iLint trains change to overhead power at Bremerhafen Wulfdorf?

From Bremerhafen HBf To Cuxhaven

This Google Map shows Bremerhaven HBf station.

It looks to be a typical functional German station with four platforms, which are all electrified.

The electrification continues Northwards for a few kilometres, but once out of Bremerhaven, the line becomes single track without electrification.

I found this passing loop at the two-platform Dorum station, shown here on a Google Map.

Note how the tracks go either side of an island platform.

I suspect there are other places for trains to pass or they could easily be created.

The route ends at Cuxhaven station, shown in this Google Map.

In addition to the service to Buxtehude, there is also a another service on a shorter and more direct route to Hamburg along the estuary of the River Elbe.

Summing up this section of the route.

  • It is single-track with at least one passing loop.
  • There are just four stations.
  • It is electrified for a few miles at the Southern end.

I’ve also never seen a line with so many level crossings.

Services Between Cuxhaven And Buxtehude Via Bremerhaven HBf

The current service is hourly, with what looks to be these timings.

  • Buxtehude to Bremerhaven HBf  – 1:43 – Incldes 14 stops
  • Bremerhaven HBf to Buxtehude – 1:37
  • Bremerhaven HBf to Cuxhaven  0:51 – Includes 4 stops
  • Cuxhaven to Bremerhaven HBf – 0:44
  • Buxtehude to Cuxhaven – 2:34
  • Cuxhaven to Buxtehude – 2:21

Turnrounds are the following times.

Buxtehute – 28 minutes

Cuxhaven – 12 minutes

This gives a round trip of five hours and thirty-five minutes.

So it would appear that at least five Coradia Lint 41 trains are needed to provide the service.

Coradia Lint Trains

From what I can find on the Internet, the Coradia Lint trains are diesel-mechanical units, where the wheels are driven directly from the two diesel engines.

I’m not sure, but the engines may be mounted under the cabs!

Coradia iLint Trains

I suspect that the hydrogen-powered iLint trains could be driven by simply replacing the diesel engine, with a suitable traction motor.

What surprises me, is that there appears to be no plans to fit a pantograph  to the iLint, so that the intelligent brain on the train can use overhead electrification, when it exists.

This would mean that the range of the train on hydrogen would be increased, if the route was partially electrified.

Coradia iLint Trains Between Buxtehude to Cuxhaven

On the Buxtehude to Cuxhaven route, using electrification could be used to advantage to power the train and charge the batteries  through Bremerhaven, where about ten kilometres is electrified using 15 KVAC overhead wires.

Also, in Buxtehude station, which has 15 KVAC electrification on other lines, the bay platform that it appears will be used for the hydrogen-powered trains could be electrified to charge the batteries, during the  twenty-eight minutes, that the train is in the station. Perhaps, they could use a system such as I wrote about in Is This The Solution To A Charging Station For Battery Trains?

A similar system could be installed at Cuxhaven.

Surely, it is better to use the turnround times at each end of the route to charge the batteries, as this means less hydrogen will be consumed and the train’s range on a tankful will be increased!

There is an interesting comparison to be made here, with a route, I know well in the UK; Cambridge to Norwich.

  • Both routes are around 100 km.
  • Both routes are fairly flat and reasonably straight.
  • The operating speed of the UK line is 140 kph and I suspect the German line is about the same.
  • The UK line has six intermediate stops, whereas the German route has fourteen stops.
  • Both lines are run by diesel trains with similar operating speeds.

But the UK route is timed at one hour and nineteen minutes, as opposed to the two hours thirty-four minutes of the German one.

The German route does have twelve more stops, but even if two minutes is allowed for each stop, that doesn’t explain the difference.

The German route must be run at a slower speed than the UK one.

As the Germans improve the speed, journey times will surely reduce.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that Buxtehude to Cuxhaven route is an ideal route on which to test hydrogen-powered trains, but that as the trains develop, journey times will reduce substantially.

 

 

September 18, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tendering Begins For German Hydrogen Train Order

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the International Railway Journal.

This is the first paragraph.

 Rhine-Main Vehicle Management (Fahma), a subsidiary of Rhine-Main Transport Authority (RMV), published a tender notice in the Official Journal of the European Union on April 20 for a contract to supply a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell multiple units for regional services on non-electrified lines in the Taunus area of Hessen.

But then the Germans seem to be much easier to use gases of various types to solve problems, than other countries.

I’ve spoken about hydrogen trains to people in Germany and the UK and the Germans are more enthusiastic, whereas the Brits just question hydrogen’s ability to catch fire.

Perhaps, Gemans teach chemistry better?

Who knows? But the orders for hydrogen trains keep coming.

 

April 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Do We Buy More Trains Than The Germans?

I ask this question with respect to the Germans, but I could ask the question with respect to the French, Italians or Spanish.

On my recent trip to Germany, the frequiency seemed to be less than I could expect in a similar route in the UK.

A a simple example, the frequency on the S-Bahn across Berlin, appeared to be very much inferior to London Overground’s East London Line.

There are possible reasons.

  • Our signalling systems have a higher capacity.
  • Train dwell times at stations are less.
  • We have more trains on the route.
  • Politics between Deutsche Bahn and the Local Authority get in the way.

Trains certainly don’t appear to be as frequent in Germany.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | | 2 Comments

Gluten Not Optional

I spent last night in the Ibis hotel at Karlsruhe and had a very good supper in Baden-Baden.

This morning, I’m on my way to Stuttgart, so I thought I’d pick up something at the station.

Usually, on German stations, I can find something like fruit, but here there were nothing gluten-free except a bag of McDonald’s fries, coffee etc and water.

I assume all German coeliacs are stick-thib, as they aren’t allowed to collect snacks on the run!

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Germany’s Next Top Model

I found this advert in several cities I visited in Germany.

I’m nopt bothered but, would an advert like this be allowed in the UK?

February 11, 2018 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments