The Anonymous Widower

Wagons Roll For Freightliner UK

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

This is the first paragraph.

UK operator Freightliner has taken delivery of the first batch of new FFA-G wagons for UK operations. The forty wagons have arrived in the UK from Poland, adding to the intermodal fleet of the operator. The entire order, for 230 wagons will be delivered by the end of November 2021.

The wagons have been designed for efficiency and being able to take a forty foot container anywhere on the UK’s network with a loading gauge of W10.

 

 

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

The Seat Of Aurora

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the August 2021 Edition of Modern Railway.

The article has this sub-title.

East Midlands Railway has finalised the new seats for its new trains, and they’re completely useless – as ironing boards.

Note.

  1. East Midlands Railway‘s new trains are Class 810 trains, which are Hitachi AT300 express trains, as used by several operators.
  2. Some passengers and industry commentators have criticised the seats in these trains as like ironing boards.
  3. Abellio Greater Anglia, who are a sister company to East Midlands Railway, also choose the seats for their new trains with care. I wrote No ‘Ironing Board seats’ For Greater Anglia’s New Trains, about their seat choice.

Ian Walmsley, who wrote the article for Modern Railways says this about the Seat of Aurora.

My verdict is that it is a good seat, and that is in absolute terms – not just saying it is better than an 800, which it would have to be really.

For myself, the proof of the seating will be in the sitting.

September 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Whitechapel Station – 23rd August 2021

Whitechapel station reopened this morning, so I went to have a look.

Note.

  1. There are more lifts than any program on Strictly.
  2. All the main stairs are wide with lots of handrails.
  3. There is a passageway alongside the Ticket Hall to access Durward Street at the back of the station.
  4. There is still some work to do on the Overground platforms.

It certainly could be The Jewel In The East.

August 23, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Manea Station

Manea station, is one of least-used stations in the UK.

But it does have a rather nice new shelter.

Perhaps, Greater Anglia are expecting more passengers.

August 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Wrightbus Presents Their First Battery-Electric Bus

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

This is the first paragraph.

The Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus presents its first battery-electric vehicle in its portfolio: a double-decker bus called StreetDeck Electroliner. Until now, the Northern Irish manufacturer has been known primarily for its hydrogen-powered buses.

In My First Ride In A Hydrogen-Powered Double-Deck Bus, I rode in a Wrightbus StreetDeck Hydroliner FCEV, so these pictures of that bus, will at least show the external style of the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV.

These two links show the web page for each product on the Wrightbus web site.

Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliner BEV

Wrightbus StreetDeck Hydroliner FCEV

Wrightbus on their web page announce the Electroliner with a headline of The Electric Bus Perfected.

This is the first paragraph of the web page.

Meet the electric bus from the future of environmentally friendly transport. Our StreetDeck Electroliner is built with features to inspire the next wave of electric transport including best in class range to cover most duty cycles, modern passenger-focused amenities, best in class charge time, and many more. Making every kilometer a new sustainability milestone.

These are some features of the bus, gleaned from Wrightbus web page and the electrive article.

Battery Power

The Wrightbus web page says this about the batteries.

StreetDeck Electroliner’s maximum power from a 454kW zero-emission battery electric powertrain is the highest battery capacity for a UK Double Deck bus. It powers it to a leading range of up to 200 miles and a fast charge time of just 2.5 hours ensures longer journeys with fewer refueling breaks. Our commitment to greener transport is also strengthened with an optional 8-year battery warranty.

Note.

  1. On the Wrightbus web page, a cutaway drawing appears to show batteries everywhere.
  2. Reading the Wrightbus web page, the specification says that there are two battery sizes available; 340 kWh and 454 kWh.

They certainly seem to have all angles covered with batteries.

According to the electrive article, the StreetDeck Electroliner uses slim batteries from French company; Forsee Power.

On their web site, there is a paragraph, which is entitled Wrightbus Will Integrate ZEN SLIM Batteries, where this is said.

As part of its exclusive supplier partnership with Wrightbus, Forsee Power will supply Wrightbus with the new ZEN SLIM batteries, whose extra flat format allows easy integration into the chassis of vehicles (standard or double-decker buses).

Each bus will be equipped with three battery systems up to 340 kWh and an extension including a fourth system will also be possible, providing exceptional capacity of 432 kWh and a battery range of more than 350 kilometers.

The figure of 432 kWh does not fit with the Wrightbus specification and is not 340*4/3, so I suspect the Forsee web site is a couple of figures out of date.

The Forsee brochure for the ZEN SLIM batteries gives an energy density of 166 Wh per Kg. This means that the weight of the 454 kWh battery is around 3.7 tonnes.

I do like the modularity of the batteries, as it means must mean greater flexibility for bus operators, especially in a large city, where there is a varied mix of routes.

Intriguingly the batteries appear to be water cooled. Is the heat generated by the batteries, used to warm the bus in winter? Now that would be kool!

Battery Charging

In the specification on the Wrightbus web site, under a heading of EV Charging, this is said.

CCS2.0 Compliant Combo2 Socket
150kW or 300kW fast charge

And under a heading of EV Charge Time, this is said.

340kWh – 2 ½ hours @ 150kW
454kWh – 3 hours @ 150Kw
Up to 420kW Opportunity Charging / Pantograph Charging

I find the pantograph charging interesting.

I have been following a battery train charging device called a Railbaar since 2016, when I wrote How To Charge A Battery Train.

The device is now available for buses as a Busbaar and this page on the opbrid web site talks about opportunity charging for buses.

Opportunity Charging would entail charging the buses at suitable points along the route, using an overhead charging point and a speciality designed pantograph on the roof of the bus.

Wrightbus claims a charging rate of 420 kW for their system. With a claimed range of 200 miles, these buses should be able to handle at least 90 % of the bus routes in the UK.

Note that Opbrid are part of Furrer + Frey, the Swiss supplier of railway overhead electrification, who have a quality pedigree and are Network Rail’s supplier of choice for overhead electrification.

Co-location Of Bus And Railway Stations

Bus stations with charging for battery buses and electrified railway lines will both need a high grade connection to the electricity grid.

As an Electrical Engineer, I think it would be prudent to co-locate bus and railway stations so that all heavy users and the parked electric vehicles nearby could share the grid connection.

Both The Hydroliner And The Electroliner Appear To Share A Chassis

Looking at the cutaways on the two web pages for the buses, the chassis of both buses appear to be very similar.

The cutaway for the Electroliner shows some of the batteries low down between the wheels with more stacked up at the back of bus.

On the Hydroliner much of the equipment seems to be stacked up at the back of the bus.

The similar chassis and body designs must surely help production and allow a lot of components to be shared between the two buses.

Drive System

This article on electrive is entitled Voith To Deliver Electric Drives For Wrightbus and this is the first paragraph.

Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus has selected Voith as its exclusive partner to supply the electric drive system for the second generation of its battery-electric and fuel cell buses for Europe.

The second paragraph, says that Wrightbus has an order for eighty Electroliners for Translink in Northern Ireland to be delivered after August 2021.

This electrive article also described Voith’s electric drive system (VEDS).

The German supplier says it has developed the VDES specifically for the requirements of public transport. The 340 kW electric motor is said to be able to drive even double-decker buses, heavy articulated buses and trucks over long distances. The system also includes a water-cooled converter system, a drive management unit (called DMU), further converters for auxiliary units and the on-board charging management system including the cabling. Voith expects this to result in the highest possible efficiency, as all components are coordinated with each other.

Note the water-cooled converter system.

Running Gear

No vehicle is complete without a good set of wheels and suspension. The first electrive article says this.

Other features of the StreetDeck Electroliner, Wrightbus says, include a ZF rear axle system (AV133) and an independent front suspension system (RL 82 EC), also from ZF.

Few would question the choice of ZF as a supplier.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Wrightbus have designed two buses, from the best components they can find and fitted them into their own purpose-built chassis and bodywork.

It’s almost as how the great Colin Chapman of Lotus fame would have designed a bus.

 

I

July 3, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Is Caledonian Road And Barnsbury An Ideal Four-Track Station?

This Google Map shows Caledonian Road And Barnsbury station.

Note the island platform, with two tracks on either side.

These four pictures show each pair of tracks in both directions.

And these pictures show general views of the station.

I don’t know the layout of every station, but Caledonian Road And Barnsbury seems to be unusual.

  • There is a spacious island platform in the middle of the four tracks.
  • On either side of the island platform, there are the two lines for local passenger trains.
  • Outside of the two local passenger lines, there are two lines for freight trains.
  • Access to the island platform is via a simple half-bridge with only two lifts.
  • Everybody enters the station from one side.

Does this layout have advantages?

Ease Of Construction

I think that this station was designed, so that it was quick and easy to build.

Once the tracks are aligned correctly, it shouldn’t be too complicated to build.

The bridge only has to span two tracks, so that must be half the work of crossing four tracks.

Passenger Safety

I have used real time trains to check the platform of freight trains passing through Caledonian Road And Barnsbury station.

It seems that only rarely do trains use the tracks in the two platforms.

This must surely be safer, when compared with the standard arrangement.

These pictures were taken at Highbury & Islington station.

The wide platform, also allows passengers to keep well out of the way of any trains that do pass through.

Would The Layout Work With High Speed Trains?

I don’t see why not!

The space between the outside lines and the platform, almost acts like a moat in a zoo, that keeps visitors away from dangerous animals.

Costs

It was probably not an expensive station to build.

Conclusion

Why are other four-track stations not built like this?

The main reason is probably, that most four-track main lines were laid out decades or even centuries ago and their builders used their own layouts.

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Fair Recovery For Hackney Central

This image from Hackney Council shows a visualisation of the new entrance to Hackney Central station, that will be created on Graham Road.

I took these pictures of the site in October 2019.

I wrote about the new entrance in Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?.

It’s certainly a site in need of improvement.

Here’s a few more of Hackney’s images from this page on Hackney Council’s web site.

If they build it like the visualisations, it could be something special.

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

An Elegant Way To Cope With Roof Leaks

I took these pictures at St. Pancras station.

Note.

  1. The full wording is “I catch rain, not rubbish”
  2. The green grass is something like Astroturf.
  3. There were three of them!
  4. They appear to be fitted with castors.

I’m surprised, I’ve not seen this idea used before.

May 19, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Buses Should Have Flat Floors

These pictures were taken inside the lower-deck of one of London’s New Routemaster buses.

Now compare them with pictures taken on the lower deck of one of London’s other hybrid buses, similar to those you see all around the UK.

Note.

  1. The floor of the New Routemaster is continuous and flat. The only steps are the stairs and up into the sets of four seats.
  2. The floor of the hybrid bus, which was built on a standard Volvo chassis has several steps.

Recently, when carrying a full bag of shopping down the stairs on the hybrid bus, the driver accelerated away and I fell and banged my knee. Because of the flat floor, it is less likely, I’d have a similar problem on the New Routemaster.

Why Does The Routemaster Have A Flat Floor?

When Wrightbus designed the Routemaster, they had a clean sheet of paper and weren’t constrained to use a proprietary chassis.

  • The 18 kWh traction battery is under the front stairs.
  • The traction motor is under the floor, in the middle of the bus.
  • The small diesel generator is mounted halfway up the back stairs.
  • The bus has full regenerative braking to the battery.

Using a standard Volvo chassis might be cheaper, but there can’t be a flat floor.

Will The Wrightbus Hydrogen Bus Have A Flat Floor?

The Wrightbus StreetDeck FCEV is the Wrightbus hydrogen bus and it has entered service in Aberdeen.

It looks to be about half flat floor, but not as good as the Routemaster.

Hopefully, I’ll ride in one soon.

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Nine Elms Gateways By Projects Office

I first heard of this project in September last year, in this article on Ian Visits, which is entitled Nine Elms Railway Arch To Be Opened As Pedestrian Tunnel.

Ian introduces the problem like this.

A blocked off railway arch under the tracks in Nine Elms could be opened up as a new pedestrian tunnel. What is officially plain Arch 42 would create a walking link that starts just outside the back of the future Nine Elms station on the Northern line and the cluster of new blocks of flats and the US Embassy on the north side of the mainline railway.

I would appear to be a shorter walking route.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The substantial box-like structure with all the buttresses in the South-East corner of the map is the future Nine Elms station.
  2. Arch 42 is one of the arches, that pass under the railway crossing the North West corner of the map.

It would appear that the proposal to turn the arch into a tunnel could be a good idea.

This article on SWLondoner is entitled Nine Elms Viaduct To Get “Tunnel Vision” Makeover and gives a few details of the project.

This page on the Projects Office web site shows a visualisation of the tunnel.

Have a look and see what you think!

Note.

  1. In the visualisation, there is a signal gantry across the track, which is also shown in the map above.
  2. What will be the building material? Brick, steel or even recycled plastic?

I used to know a free-style bricklayer, who would have created an interesting portal.

I like the design and can’t wait to see it in reality!

You certainly won’t miss it, if you’re looking for it to get to the US Embassy or another building on the other side of the tracks.

Conclusion

Could Projects Office have come up with a distinctive way of making tunnels under railways and roads more welcoming?

February 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment