The Anonymous Widower

How Britannia With Help From Her Friends Can Rule The Waves And The Wind

The Government doesn’t seem to have published its future energy plans yet, but that hasn’t stopped the BBC speculating in this article on their web site, which is entitled Energy Strategy: UK Plans Eight New Nuclear Reactors To Boost Production.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Up to eight more nuclear reactors could be delivered on existing sites as part of the UK’s new energy strategy.

The plan, which aims to boost UK energy independence and tackle rising prices, also includes plans to increase wind, hydrogen and solar production.

Other points include.

  • Up to 95% of the UK’s electricity could come from low-carbon sources by 2030.
  • 50 gigawatts (GW) of energy through offshore wind farms, which  would be more than enough to power every home in the UK.
  • One of the big points of contention is thought to have been the construction of onshore wind turbines.
  • Targets for hydrogen production are being doubled to help provide cleaner energy for industry as well as for power, transport and potentially heating.
  • A new licensing round for North Sea oil and gas projects.
  • A heat pump accelerator program.

In this post I shall only be looking at one technology – offshore wind and in particular offshore floating wind.

Who Are Our Friends?

I will start with explaining, who I see as our friends, in the title of this post.

The Seas Around Us

If we are talking about offshore winds around the the UK, then the seas around the UK are surely our biggest and most-needed friend.

The Island Of Ireland

The seas are shared with the island of Ireland and the UK and the Republic must work together to maximise our joint opportunities.

As some of the largest offshore wind farm proposals, between Wales and Ireland involve a Welsh company called Blue Gem Wind, who are a partnership between Irish company; Simply Blue Energy, and French company; TotalEnergies, we already seem to be working with the Irish and the French.

The City Of London

Large insurance and pension companies, based in the City of London like, abrdn, Aviva, L & G and others are always looking for investments with which to provide income to back their insurance business and our pensions.

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I describe why and how, Aviva back wind farms.

Germany

Germany are certainly on our side, despite being in a mess of Mutti Merkel’s making, because she got the country too deeply dependant on Vlad the Mad’s tainted gas.

  • German utilities are providing finance to build wind farms in British waters.
  • German company; Siemens is manufacturing turbine blades in Hull.
  • Germany wouldn’t mind buying any electricity and hydrogen we have spare. Especially, as we haven’t invaded them since 1944.

I suspect a mutually-beneficial relationship can be negotiated.

Norway

I have customised software for a number of countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United States and despite selling large numbers of systems to Norway, the Norwegians never requested any modifications.

They are generally easy-going people and they are great friends of the UK. They were certainly a fertile country for the sale of Artemis systems.

Just as the UK worked together with the Norwegians to deliver North Sea Oil, we are now starting to work together to develop renewable energy in the North Sea.

In UK To Norway Sub-Sea Green Power Cable Operational, I describe how we have built the North Sea Link with the Norwegians, which will link the British and Norwegian energy networks to our mutual benefit.

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I describe an ambitious plan called Northern Horizons, proposed by Norwegian company; Aker to build a 10 GW floating wind farm, which will be 120 km to the North-East of the Shetlands.

Floating Wind Turbines

This is the introduction of the Wikipedia entry for floating wind turbines.

A floating wind turbine is an offshore wind turbine mounted on a floating structure that allows the turbine to generate electricity in water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible. Floating wind farms have the potential to significantly increase the sea area available for offshore wind farms, especially in countries with limited shallow waters, such as Japan, France and US West coast. Locating wind farms further offshore can also reduce visual pollution, provide better accommodation for fishing and shipping lanes, and reach stronger and more consistent winds.

At its simplest a floating wind farm consists of a semi-submersible platform, which is securely anchored to the sea-bed to provide a firm platform on which to erect a standard wind turbine.

There are currently two operational floating wind farms off the East Coast of Scotland and one in the Atlantic off the Portuguese coast.

  • These wind farms are fairly small and use between three and five turbines to generate between 25-50 MW.
  • The largest current floating turbines are the 9.5 MW turbines in the Kincardine Wind Farm in Scotland, but already engineers are talking of 14 MW and 20 MW floating turbines.
  • Experience of the operation of floating wind turbines, indicates that they can have capacity factors in excess of 50 %.
  • Floating wind turbines can be erected on their floats in the safety of a port using a dockside crane and then towed into position.
  • Floating wind turbines can be towed into a suitable port for servicing and upgrading.

Many serious engineers and economists, think that floating wind farms are the future.

The Energy Density of Fixed Foundation And Floating Wind Farms

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I summarised the latest round of Scotwind offshore wind leases.

  • Six new fixed foundation wind farms will give a capacity of 9.7 GW in 3042 km² or about 3.2 MW per km².
  • Ten new floating wind farms will give a capacity of 14.6 GW in 4193 km² or about 3.5 MW per km².

Note.

  1. Floating wind farms have a small advantage in terms of energy density over those with fixed foundations.
  2. Suppose these energy densities are achieved using 14 MW turbines.
  3. Engineers are talking of 20 MW turbines.
  4. Using large turbines could increase the energy density by 20/14 or 43 %

We could see in a few years with 20 MW turbines, fixed foundation turbines having an energy density of 4.6 MW per km², with floating turbines having 5 MW per km².

The Potential Of A Ten-Mile Square In The Seas Around Us

I will assume.

  • It is at least 100 km from land.
  • The water would be at least 100 metres deep.
  • There are no structures in the area.

And calculate.

  • The area will be a hundred square miles, which is smaller than the county of Rutland.
  • This will be 259 square kilometres.

If it were to be filled with floating wind turbines at a density of 5 MW per km², the capacity would be 1300 MW or 1.3 GW.

There must be hundreds of empty ten-mile squares in the seas around us.

Offshore Hydrogen Production And Storage

I believe in the near future, that a lot of offshore wind energy will be converted to hydrogen offshore.

  • Electrolysers could be combined with wind turbines.
  • Larger electrolysers could be combined with sub-stations collecting the electricity.
  • In Torvex Energy, I discuss a method to create hydrogen from seawater, without having to desalinate the water. Surely, this technology would be ideal for offshore electrolysis.

Hydrogen would be brought to shore using pipelines, some of which could be repurposed from existing gas pipelines, that are now redundant, as the gas-fields they served have no gas left.

I also suspect that hydrogen could be stored in a handy depleted gas field or perhaps some form of specialist storage infrastructure.

Combining Wind And Wave Power In A Single Device

Marine Power Systems are a Welsh company, that has developed a semi-submersible structure, that can support a large wind turbine and/or a wave-power generator.

This is the mission statement on their home page.

Marine Power Systems is revolutionising the way in which we harvest energy from the world’s oceans.

Our flexible technology is the only solution of its type that can be configured to harness wind and wave energy, either as a combined solution or on their own, in deep water. Built on common platform our devices deliver both cost efficiency and performance throughout the entire product lifecycle.

Our structurally efficient floating platform, PelaFlex, brings excellent stability and straightforward deployment and maintenance. The PelaGen wave energy converter represents market-leading technology and generates energy at an extremely competitive cost of energy.

Through optimised farm layout and the combination of wind and wave energy, project developers can best exploit the energy resource for any given area of seabed.

We are unlocking the power of oceans.

There is a link on the page to more pages, that explain the technology.

It looks to me, that it is well-designed technology, that has a high-chance of being successful.

It should also be noted that according to this news page on the Marine Power Systems web site, which is entitled MPS Lands £3.5M Of Funding From UK Government, the UK government feel the technology is worth backing.

I certainly believe that if Marine Power Systems are not successful, then someone else will build on their original work.

If wind and wave power can successfully be paired in a single float, then this must surely increase the energy production at each float/turbine in the floating wind farm.

Energy Storage In Wind Turbines

The output of wind farms can be very variable, as the wind huffs and puffs, but I believe we will see energy storage in wind turbines to moderate the electricity and deliver a steadier output.

Using lithium-ion or other batteries may be possible, but with floating offshore turbines, there might be scope to use the deep sea beneath the float and the turbine.

Hybrid Wind Farms

In the latest round of Scotwind offshore wind leases, one wind farm stands out as different. Magnora ASA’s ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm is described as a floating offshore wind farm with a concrete floater.

I can see more wind farms built using this model, where there is another fixed or floating platform acts as control centre, sub-station, energy store or hydrogen electrolyser.

How Much Electricity Could Be Produced In UK And Irish Waters?

I will use the following assumptions.

  • Much of the new capacity will be floating wind turbines in deep water.
  • The floating wind turbines are at a density of around 5 MW per km²

This Google Map shows the British Isles.

I will look at various seas.

The Celtic Sea

The Celtic Sea is to the South-West of Wales and the South of Ireland.

In Blue Gem Wind, I posted this extract from the The Our Projects page of the Blue Gem Wind web site.

Floating wind is set to become a key technology in the fight against climate change with over 80% of the worlds wind resource in water deeper than 60 metres. Independent studies have suggested there could be as much as 50GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland. This renewable energy resource could play a key role in the UK meeting the 2050 Net-Zero target required to mitigate climate change. Floating wind will provide new low carbon supply chain opportunities, support coastal communities and create long-term benefits for the region.

Consider.

  • The key figure would appear 50 GW of electricity capacity available in the Celtic Sea waters of the UK and Ireland.
  • Earlier I said that floating turbines can have a wind turbine density of 5 MW per km².
  • According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the Celtic Sea is 300,000 km².

To accommodate enough floating turbines to generate 50 GW would need 10000 km², which is a 100 km. square, or 3.33 % of the area of the Celtic Sea.

This wind generation capacity of 50 GW would appear to be feasible in the Celtic Sea and still leave plenty of space for the shipping.

The Irish Sea

According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the Irish Sea is 46,000 km².

Currently, there are ten wind farms in the Irish Sea.

  • Six are in English waters, three are in Welsh and one is in Irish.
  • None are more than sixteen kilometres from the coast.

The total power is 2.7 GW.

I feel that the maximum number of wind farms in the Irish Sea would not cover more than the 3.33 % proposed for the Celtic Sea.

3.33 % of the Irish Sea would be 1532 km², which could support 7.6 GW of wind-generated electricity.

I can’t leave the Irish Sea without talking about two wind farms Mona and Morgan, that are being developed by an enBW and BP joint venture, which I discussed in Mona, Morgan And Morven. This infographic from the joint venture describes Mona and Morgan.

That would appear to be a 3 GW development underway in the Irish Sea.

Off The Coast Of South-East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire

These wind farms are proposed in these areas.

Note.

All wind farms have comprehensive web sites or Wikipedia entries.

The total capacity of these wind farms is 22.5 GW

The North Sea

According to Wikipedia, the surface area of the North Sea is 570,000 km².

Would it is reasonable to assume, that perhaps a tenth of this area would be available for new wind farms in UK waters?

3.33 % of the available North Sea would be 1898 km², which could support 9.5 GW of wind-generated electricity.

On The East Coast Of Scotland

In Wind Farms On The East Coast Of Scotland, I summarised the wind farms off the East coast of Scotland, that are being built in a cluster in the First of Forth.

This map shows the proposed wind farms in this area.

There are five wind farms in the map.

  • The green area is the cable corridor for Seagreen 1a
  • Inch Cape is the odd-shaped wind farm to the North and West of the green area
  • Seagreen at the top of the map, to the North of Inch Cape.
  • Marr Bank with the pink NE-SW hatching
  • Berwick Bank with the green NW-SE hatching
  • Neart Na Gaoithe is edged in blue to the South of the green area.

Berwick Bank and Marr Bank are both owned by SSE and appear to have been combined.

The capacity of the wind farms can be summarised as follows.

  • Seagreen – 1075 MW
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW
  • Inch Cape – 1000 MW
  • Berwick Bank and Marr Bank – 4100 MW

This gives a total of 6625 MW or just over 6.6 GW.

Around The North Of Scotland

This map shows the latest successful ScotWind leases.

Note.

  1. Several of these proposed wind farms have detailed web sites.

These seventeen leases total up to 24.3 GW.

An Interim Total

I believe these figures are realisable.

  • Celtic Sea – 50 GW
  • Irish Sea – 7.6 GW – 3 GW already underway
  • South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire – 22.5 GW
  • North Sea – 9.5 GW
  • On The East Coast Of Scotland – 6.6 GW
  • Around The North Of Scotland – 24.3 GW

Note.

  1. I have tried to be as pessimistic as possible.
  2. Irish and North Sea estimates are based on Blue Gem Wind’s professional estimate for the Celtic Sea.
  3. I have used published figures where possible.

My estimates total up to 120.1 GW of extra wind-power capacity. As I write this, current UK electricity production is around 33 GW.

Vikings Will Invade

This Google Map shows the Faroe Islands, the North of Scotland, Norway and Denmark.

To get an idea of scale, the Shetland Isles are around 70 miles or 113 km. from North to South.

In Is This The World’s Most Ambitious Green Energy Solution?, I talked about Norwegian company; Aker Solutions’s plan for Northern Horizons.

  • It would be a 10 GW offshore floating wind farm 136 km to the North-East of the Shetlands.
  • This position would probably place it about halfway between the Faroes and the Norwegian coast.
  • The project is best described in this article on the Engineer, which is entitled Northern Horizons Plans Clean Energy Exports For Scotland.
  • In the article, there is a good graphic and a video.

This will be offshore engineering of the highest class, but then I first came across Norwegian offshore engineering like this in the 1970s, where nothing was too difficult for Norwegian engineers.

There are two major points to remember about the Norwegians.

  • They have the Sovereign Wealth Fund to pay for the massive investment in Northern Horizons.
  • They need to replace their oil and gas income, with a zero-carbon investment stream.

I feel that Northern Horizons will not be a one-off and the virgin sea in the map above will be liberally carpeted with more floating wind farms.

  • On Shetland, electricity can be fed into the UK grid.
  • On Norway, electricity can be fed into the Norwegian grid or stored in Norwegian pumped storage systems.
  • On Scotland, more pumped storage systems can be built to store energy.
  • Hydrogen can be piped to where it is needed to decarbonise heavy industry and transport.
  • Norwegian fjords, Shetland harbours, Scottish lochs and possibly Scapa Flow would be ideal places to assemble and service the giant floating turbines and build the other needed floating infrastructure.
  • I can also see Denmark getting in on the act, as they will probably want to decarbonise the Faroe Islands.

I estimate that between the Faroes, Scotland and Norway, there are 510,000 km² of virgin sea.

With a potential of 5 MW per km², that area has the potential to create an amazing amount of both electricity and hydrogen.

Exporting Power To Europe

There will need to be more interconnectors from the UK to Europe.

These are already working.

These are proposed.

There are also gas interconnectors, that could be converted to hydrogen.

This press release from National Grid, which is entitled Undersea Electricity Superhighways That Will Help Deliver Net Zero Move A Step Closer, has these bullet points.

  • Positive progress on plans for £3.4bn electricity super-highway projects – Scotland to England Green Links.
  • Ofgem opens consultation that recognises the “clear case” and “consumer benefit” of two subsea high voltage cables to transport clean between Scotland and England.
  • The cables form part of a planned 16 project £10 billion investment from National Grid to deliver on the government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030.

This paragraph expands on the work by National Grid to meet the third point.

These projects are part of National Grid’s work upgrading the electricity transmission system to deliver the UK government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030. In addition to the Eastern Links, it is developing 14 major projects across its network to facilitate the target representing a £10 billion investment. This includes two further Scotland to England high voltage links (also in partnership with the Scottish transmission network owners) and proposals in the Humber, Lincolnshire, East Midlands, North of England, Yorkshire, North Kent, as well as four in East Anglia (one of which is a proposed offshore link between Suffolk and Kent).

I think we can assume, that National Grid will do their part to allow the UK government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind generation by 2030 to be met.

Will The UK Have 40 GW Of Offshore Wind Generation By 2030?

In the Wikipedia entry for Windpower In The UK, this is the opening sentence.

The United Kingdom is one of the best locations for wind power in the world and is considered to be the best in Europe. By the beginning of March 2022, the UK had 11,091 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 24.6 gigawatts (GW): 14.1 GW of onshore capacity and 10.4 GW of offshore capacity.

It would appear an extra 30 GW of wind power is needed.

In An Interim Total earlier, I gave these figures.

  • Celtic Sea – 50 GW
  • Irish Sea – 7.6 GW – 3 GW already underway
  • South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire – 22.5 GW
  • North Sea – 9.5 GW
  • On The East Coast Of Scotland – 6.6 GW
  • ScotWind – 24.3 GW

The wind farms in South East England, East Anglia, Lincolnshire And Yorkshire and ScotWind and Mona and Morgan are either being planned or under construction, and in many cases leases to construct wind farms are being paid.

I would feel, that at least 30 GW of these 56.4 GW of wind farms will be completed by 2030.

Conclusion

Boris’s vision of the UK becoming a Saudi Arabia of wind is no fantasy of a man with massive dreams.

Standard floating wind turbines, with the possibility of also harvesting wave power could be assembled in ports along the coasts, towed into position and then connected up.

Several GW of wind-power capacity could probably be added each year to what would become the largest zero-carbon power station in the world.

By harvesting the power of the winds and waves in the seas around the British Isles it is an engineering and mathematical possibility, that could have been developed by any of those great visionary Victorian engineers like Armstrong, Bazalgette, Brunel and Reynolds, if they had had access to our modern technology.

Up Yours! Putin!

 

 

 

April 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Electricity ‘Superhighways’ Needed To Cope With Surge In Wind Power

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Energy companies are pushing for the rapid approval of new electricity “superhighways” between Scotland and England amid fears that a lack of capacity will set back the country’s wind power revolution.

Businesses including SSE and Scottish Power are calling on the industry regulator Ofgem to approve a series of major new north-south power cables in a bid to ease congestion on the existing electricity network.

These points are mentioned in the article.

  • Current capacity is 6 GW, which even now is not enough.
  • Another 17 GW of capacity will be needed by 2033.
  • Wind farms in Scotland have been switched off and replaced by gas-fired power stations because of a lack of grid capacity.
  • Another 25 GW of wind farms could be built after leases were awarded last month.

Two North-South interconnectors are being planned.

Peterhead And Drax

This is being proposed by SSE and National Grid.

  • It will be an undersea cable.
  • It will be two cables, each with a capacity of 2 GW.
  • Peterhead and Drax power station are four hundred miles apart by road and 279 miles as the seagull flies, as a lot of the route would be over the sea. So an undersea connection would appear to be sensible.
  • Peterhead is on the coast, so connecting an undersea interconnector shouldn’t be too challenging or disruptive to the locals.
  • Drax power station is a 4 GW power station and the largest in the UK, so it must have good grid connections.

This Google Map shows the location of Drax power station in relation to Hull, Scunthorpe and the rivers in the area.

Note.

  1. Drax is marked by the red arrow in the West of the map.
  2. The large body of water in the East is the Humber Estuary.
  3. Hull is on the North Bank of the Humber.
  4. Scunthorpe, which is famous for its steel industry is South of the Humber in the middle of the map.
  5. To the West of Scunthorpe the Humber splits into the Trent and the Ouse.
  6. The Ouse leads all the way to Drax power station.

I suspect an undersea cable could go up the Humber and Ouse to Drax power station.

Is it a coincidence that both Drax power station and the proposed link to Peterhead are both around 4 GW?

Consider.

  • Drax is a biomass power station, so it is not a zero carbon power station.
  • Drax produces around six percent of the UK’s electricity.
  • Most of the biomass comes by ship from North America.
  • Protest groups regularly have protests at Drax because of its carbon emissions.
  • Drax Group are experimenting with carbon capture.
  • Drax is a big site and a large energy storage system could be built there.
  • Wind is often criticised by opponents, saying wind is useless when the wind doesn’t blow.
  • The Scots would be unlikely to send power to England, if they were short.

This is also said about Drax in Wikipedia.

Despite this intent for baseload operation, it was designed with a reasonable ability for load-following, being able to ramp up or down by 5% of full power per minute within the range of 50–100% of full power.

I take this it means it can be used to top up electricity generation to meet demand. Add in energy storage and it could be a superb load-follower.

So could the similar size of the interconnector and Drax power station be deliberate to guarantee England a 4 GW feed at all states of the wind?

I don’t think it is a coincidence.

Torness And Hawthorn Pit And Torness and South Humberside

These two cables are being proposed by Scottish Power.

  • Each will be two GW.
  • Torness is the site of the 1.36 GW Torness nuclear power station, which is likely to be decommissioned before 2030.
  • Torness will have good grid connections and it is close to the sea.
  • Hawthorn Pit is a large closed coal mine to the North of Newcastle, with a large substation close to the site. I suspect it will be an ideal place to feed power into the grid for Newcastle and it is close to the sea.
  • Just South of Hawthorn Pit are the 1.32 GW Hartlepool nuclear power station, which will be decommissioned in 2024 and the landfall of the cables to the massive Dogger Bank wind farm.
  • As I showed earlier with Drax, the Humber would be an ideal estuary to bring underwater power cables into the surrounding area. So perhaps the cable will go to Scunthorpe for the steelworks.
  • As at Drax, there is backup in South Humberside, but here it is from the two Keadby gas-fired power stations.

The article in the Telegraph only gives the briefest of details of Scottish Power’s plans, but I suspect, that given the locations of the ends of the interconnectors, I suspect the cables will be underwater.

Conclusion

It strikes me that all three interconnectors have been well thought thought and they serve a variety of objectives.

  • Bring Scottish wind power, South to England.
  • Connect wind farms to the two nuclear power station sites at Hartlepool and Torness, that will close at the end of the decade.
  • Allow the big 4 GW biomass-fired station at Drax to back up wind farms and step in when needed.
  • Cut carbon emissions at Drax.
  • Use underwater cables as much as possible to transfer the power, to avoid the disruption of digging in underground cables.

It looks to be a good plan.

February 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Northern Powerhouse Rail – Significant Upgrades And Electrification Of The Rail Lines From Leeds And Sheffield To Hull

In this article on Transport for the North, which is entitled Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government, one of the recommendations proposed for Northern Powerhouse Rail is significant upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s Objective For The Leeds and Hull Route

Wikipedia, other sources and my calculations say this about the trains between Leeds and Hull.

  • The distance between the two stations is 51.7 miles
  • The current service takes around 57 minutes and has a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • This gives an average speed of 54.4 mph for the fastest journey.
  • The proposed service with Northern Powerhouse Rail will take 38 minutes and have a frequency of two tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 81.6 mph for the journey.

This last figure of nearly 82 mph, indicates to me that a 100 mph train will be able to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s Objective For The Sheffield and Hull Route

Wikipedia, other sources and my calculations say this about the trains between Sheffield and Hull.

  • The distance between the two stations is 59.4 miles
  • The current service takes around 80 minutes and has a frequency of one tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 44.6 mph for the fastest journey.
  • The proposed service with Northern Powerhouse Rail will take 50 minutes and have a frequency of two tph.
  • This gives an average speed of 71,3 mph for the journey.

This last figure of over 70 mph, indicates to me that a 90 mph train will be able to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objective.

Services From Hull Station

Hull station is a full interchange, which includes a large bus station.

  • Currently, the station has seven platforms.
  • There appears to be space for more platforms.
  • Some platforms are long enough to take nine-car Class 800 trains, which are 234 metres long.
  • There are some good architectural features.

If ever there was a station, that had basic infrastructure, that with appropriate care and refurbishment, could still be handling the needs of its passengers in a hundred years, it is Hull.

  • It would be able to handle a 200 metre long High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train, tomorrow.
  • It would probably be as no more difficult to electrify than Kings Cross, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly or Paddington.
  • It would not be difficult to install charging facilities for battery electric trains.

These are some pictures of the station.

Currently, these are the services at the station, that go between Hull and Leeds, Selby or Sheffield.

  • Hull Trains – 7 trains per day (tpd) – Hull and London via Brough, Selby and Doncaster.
  • LNER – 1 tpd – Hull and London via Brough, Selby and Doncaster.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and Halifax via Brough, Selby, Leeds and Bradford Interchange.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and Sheffield via Brough, Gilberdyke, Goole, Doncaster, Rotherham Central and Meadowhall.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Hull and York via Brough and Selby.
  • Northern Trains – 1 tph – Bridlington and Sheffield via Hull, Brough, Goole, Doncaster and Meadowhall.
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Hull and Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Airport via Brough, Selby, Leeds, Huddersfield and Stalybridge.

Note.

  1. I have included services through Selby, as the station is on the way to Leeds and is a notorious bottleneck.
  2. All services go through Brough.
  3. All trains work on diesel power to and from Hull.
  4. Hull Trains and LNER use Hitachi bi-mode trains, that work most of the route to and from London, using the 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  5. Northern use a variety of diesel trains only some of which have a 100 mph operating speed.

There would also appear to be freight trains working some of the route between Hull and Brough stations.

Upgrading The Tracks

I very much believe that to meet Northern Powerhouse Rail’s objectives as to time, that the lines to Hull from Leeds and Sheffield must have a 100 mph operating speed.

Hull And Leeds And On To London

This Google Map shows a typical section of track.

Note.

  1. Broomfleet station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Brough station is just to the East of the middle of the map.
  3. Ferriby station is in the South-East corner of the map.

The Hull and Selby Line is fairly straight for most of its route.

The Selby Swing Bridge

The main problem is the Selby swing bridge, which is shown in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. The bridge was opened in 1891.
  2. It is a Grade II Listed structure.
  3. It is a double-track bridge.
  4. It swings through ninety degrees to allow ships to pass through.
  5. It has a low speed limit of 25 mph.
  6. The bridge regularly carries the biomass trains to Drax power station.

This page on the Fairfield Control Systems web site, describes the major refurbishment of the bridge.

  • The bridge structure has been fully refurbished.
  • A modern control system has been installed.
  • The page says the bridge glides to an exact stop.

Network Rail are claiming, it will be several decades before any more work needs to be done on parts of the bridge.

It looks to me, that Network Rail have decided to live with the problems caused by the bridge and automate their way round it, if possible.

Level Crossings

One general problem with the route between Hull and Selby is that it has around a dozen level crossing, some of which are just simple farm crossings.

The main route West from Selby goes to Leeds and it is double track, fairly straight with around a dozen level crossings.

West from Selby, the route to the East Coast Main Line to and from London is also double track and reasonably straight.

But it does have level crossings at Common Lane and Burn Lane.

The Google Map show Burn Lane level crossing, which is typical of many in the area.

Hull And Sheffield

The other route West from Hull goes via Goole and Doncaster.

This Google Map shows the Hull and Doncaster Branch between Goole and Saltmarshe stations.

Note.

  1. The Hull and Doncaster Branch runs diagonally across the map.
  2. Goole and its station is in the South West corner of the map.
  3. The Hull and Doncaster Branch goes leaves the map at the North-East corner and then joins the Selby Line to the West of Gilberdyke station.

This Google Map shows that where the railway crosses the River Ouse there is another swing bridge.

This is the Goole Railway Swing Bridge.

  • The bridge was opened in 1869.
  • The maximum speed for any train is 60 mph, but some are slower.
  • It is a Grade II* Listed structure.
  • In the first decade of this century the bridge was strengthened.
  • It appears to carry a lesser number of freight trains than the Selby bridge

As with the Selby bridge, it appears to be working at a reasonable operational standard.

I’ve followed the line as far as Doncaster and it is fairly straight, mostly double-track with about a half-a-dozen level crossings.

Updating To 100 mph

It looks to my naïve eyes, that updating the lines to an operating speed of 100 mph, should be possible.

But possibly a much larger problem is the up to thirty level crossings on the triangle of lines between Hull, Leeds and Sheffield.

Full ERTMS In-Cab Digital Signalling

This is currently, being installed between London and Doncaster and will allow 140 mph running, which could save several minutes on the route.

The next phase could logically extend the digital signalling as far as York and Leeds.

Extending this signalling to Hull and Sheffield, and all the lines connecting the cities and towns of East Yorkshire could be a sensible development.

It might even help with swing bridges by controlling the speed of approaching trains, so that they arrive at the optimal times to cross.

Electrification

Eventually, all of these routes will be fully electrified.

  • Hull and Leeds via Brough, Selby and Garforth.
  • Hull and Scarborough via Beverley and Seamer.
  • Hull and Sheffield via Brough, Goole, Doncaster and Rotherham.
  • Hull and York via Brough and Selby.
  • York and Scarborough via Seamer.

But there are two problems which make the electrification of the routes to Hull challenging.

  • The Grade II Listed Selby swing bridge.
  • The Grade II* Listed Goole Railway swing bridge.

There will be diehard members of the Heritage Lobby, who will resist electrification of these bridges.

Consider.

  • Both bridges appear to work reliably.
  • Adding the complication of electrification may compromise this reliability.
  • Train manufacturers have developed alternative zero-carbon traction systems that don’t need continuous electrification.
  • Hitachi have developed battery electric versions of the Class 800 and Class 802 trains, that regularly run to and from Hull.
  • Other manufacturers are developing hydrogen-powered trains, that can use both hydrogen and overhead electrification for traction power.

My Project Management experience tells me, that electrification of these two bridges could be the major cost and the most likely cause of delay to the completion of the electrification.

It should also be noted that Network Rail are already planning to electrify these routes.

  • Huddersfield and Dewsbury on the TransPennine Route, which might be extended to between Huddersfield and Leeds.
  • York and Church Fenton

There is also electrification at Doncaster, Leeds and York on the East Coast Main Line, which would probably have enough power to feed the extra electrification.

Hitachi’s Regional Battery Trains

Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation are developing a Regional Battery Train.

This Hitachi infographic gives the specification.

Note.

  1. The train has a range of 90 kilometres or 56 miles on battery power.
  2. It has an operating speed of 100 mph on battery power.
  3. Class 800 and Class 802 trains can be converted to Hitachi Regional Battery Trains, by swapping the diesel engines for battery packs.

When running on electrification, they retain the performance of the train, that was converted.

Discontinuous Electrification

I would propose using discontinuous electrification. by electrifying these sections.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles
  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles
  • Selby and Leeds – 21 miles
  • Selby and Temple Hirst Junction – 5 miles
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles

This would leave these gaps in the electrification in East Yorkshire.

  • Brough and Doncaster – 30 miles
  • Brough and Selby – 21 miles
  • Brough and Church Fenton – 31 miles
  • Seamer and Beverley – 42 miles
  • Seamer and York – 39 miles

A battery electric train with a range of fifty miles would bridge these gaps easily.

This approach would have some advantages.

  • There would only need to be 72.5 miles of double-track electrification.
  • The swing bridges would be untouched.
  • TransPennine services terminating in Hull and Scarborough would be zero-carbon, once Huddersfield and Dewsbury is electrified.
  • LNER and Hull Trains services to London Kings Cross would be zero-carbon and a few minutes faster.
  • LNER could run a zero-carbon service between London Kings Cross and Scarborough.

But above all, it would cost less and could be delivered quicker.

Collateral Benefits Of Doncaster and Sheffield Electrication 

The extra electrification between Doncaster and Sheffield, would enable other services.

  • A zero-carbon service between London Kings Cross and Sheffield.
  • Extension of Sheffield’s tram-train to Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
  • A possible electric service along the Dearne Valley.

As plans for Sheffield’s rail and tram system develop, this electrification could have a substantial enabling effect.

Hydrogen

This map shows the Zero Carbon Humber pipeline layout.

Note.

  1. The orange line is a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline
  2. The black line alongside it, is a proposed hydrogen pipeline.
  3. Drax, Keadby and Saltend are power stations.
  4. Easington gas terminal is connected to gas fields in the North Sea and also imports natural gas from Norway using the Langeled pipeline.
  5. There are fourteen gas feels connected to Easington terminal. Some have been converted to gas storage.

I can see hydrogen being used to power trains and buses around the Humber.

Conclusion

Discontinuous electrification could be the key to fast provision of electric train services between Leeds and Sheffield and Hull.

If long journeys from Hull were run using battery electric trains, like the Hitachi Regional Battery Train, perhaps hydrogen trains could be used for the local services all over the area.

Project Management Recommendations

I have proposed six sections of electrification, to create a network to allow all services that serve Hull and Scarborough to be run by battery electric trains.

Obviously with discontinuous electrification each section or group of sections to be electrified is an independent project.

I proposed that these sections would need to be electrified.

  • Hull and Brough – 10.5 miles
  • Hull and Beverley – 13 miles
  • Doncaster and Sheffield – 20 miles
  • Selby and Leeds – 21 miles
  • Selby and Temple Hirst Junction – 5 miles
  • Seamer and Scarborough – 3 miles

They could be broken down down into four sections.

  • Hull station, Hull and Brough and Hull and Beverley
  • Doncaster and Sheffield
  • Selby station, Selby and Leeds and Selby and Temple Hirst Junction.
  • Scarborough station and Scarborough and Seamer.

I have split the electrification, so that hopefully none is challenging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Northern Powerhouse Rail Progress As Recommendations Made To Government

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Transport for the North.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Northern leaders have agreed an initial preferred way forward for a new railway network that will transform the region’s economy.

And these are the rail improvements proposed.

  • A new line to be constructed from Liverpool to Manchester via the centre of Warrington, Read more…
  • A new line to be constructed from Manchester to Leeds via the centre of Bradford. Read more…
  • Significant upgrades and journey time improvements to the Hope Valley route between Manchester and Sheffield. Read more…
  • Connecting Sheffield to HS2 and on to Leeds. Read more…
  • Significant upgrades and electrification of the rail lines from Leeds and Sheffield to Hull. Read more…
  • Significant upgrades of the East Coast Mainline from Leeds to Newcastle (via York and Darlington) and restoration of the Leamside Line. Read more…

The Read more links point to my initial thoughts.

No more detail is given, but the list is followed by this paragraph.

The move comes ahead of the much-anticipated publication of a new report that will set out long-term investment plans for rail upgrades in the North. The Government’s Integrated Rail Plan – due to be published by the end of this year – is expected to recommend how investment in rail projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2 Phase 2b, and the TransPennine Route Upgrade (a separate project) will be delivered.

I am waiting for the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan with interest.

November 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Equilibrium With The Covids

The rate of lab confirmed cases in six cities per 100,000 of the population are as follows.

  • London – 836.6
  • Leeds – 2128
  • Liverpool – 2113.6
  • Manchester – 2879.6
  • Sheffield – 2291.2
  • Hull – 1013.9

In addition, if you look at many individual London boroughs, they are around the 600-900 range.

Is There A London Equilibrium?

As London is a more-or-less coherent entity has  the virus found an equilibrium with the city?

As a Control Engineer, I think London is showing a classic example of water finding its own level.

I would suspect that the average Londoner, visits a couple of other boroughs very regularly.

Does this mean that the virus gets transferred regularly across borough boundaries and this levels things up?

Is There A Northern Equilibrium?

It also looks like the virus has found a higher equilibrium with the Northern cities.

If you look at other areas in the North, that sit between the major cities, they seem in line with rates in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds..

The city that is out of line is Hull, which has a rate half that of the others. Could this be because of its location?

Suffolk In The Sixties

I remember Suffolk in the 1960s, when it was three counties; East Suffolk, West Suffolk and Ipswich.

All counties had different pub opening hours  people would drive miles to get an extra half-hour of drinking.

I wonder if the different regulations and lock-downs across the various parts of the North have actually increased travel across regions and spread the virus.

This behaviour has created an equilibrium between the virus and the population.

Is There A East Anglian Equilibrium?

These are the figures for the three East Anglian counties.

  • Cambridgeshire – 596
  • Norfolk – 536
  • Suffolk – 531

There is not a large spread in the figures.

Other Areas

I have looked at other areas and a similar pattern seems to apply, where the figures are more or less the same in somewhere like the West Midlands, the South West (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire) or Wales.

October 21, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Energy In North-East Lincolnshire

A few weeks ago, I took a train from Doncaster to Cleethorpes and back.

These pictures show the area is all about energy.

Keadby Power Station

Keadby power station is a 734 MW gas-fired power-station, that opened in 1996.

Keadby 2 Power Station

Keadby 2 is described on this page of the sseThermal web site.

These are the three opening paragraphs.

Keadby 2 is a new 840MW gas-fired power station in North Lincolnshire currently being constructed by our EPC contractor Siemens Energy. The project is adjacent to our operational Keadby 1 Power Station.

SSE Thermal has partnered with Siemens Energy to introduce first-of-a-kind, high-efficiency gas-fired generation technology to the UK. When completed, Keadby 2 is expected to become the cleanest and most-efficient gas-fired power station in Europe.

The station will also be capable of being upgraded to further decarbonise its generation through carbon capture or hydrogen technology, as routes to market develop.

Note.

  1. It will be possible to add Carbon Capture and Storage technology to Keadby 2 to make the plant net-zero carbon.
  2. Keadby 2 will be able to run on hydrogen.
  3. Keadby 2 is the under-construction power station in my pictures.

Could this be the prototype gas-fired power station of the future?

Keadby 3 Power Station

Keadby 3 is described on this page of the sseThermal web site.

These are the two opening paragraphs.

SSE Thermal is developing the option for a low-carbon combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) at our Keadby site in North Lincolnshire, which will be known as Keadby 3.

As part of our commitment to a net zero emissions future, Keadby 3 will only be built with a clear route to decarbonisation, either using hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel, or equipping it with post-combustion carbon capture technology. The project is at the early stages of development and no final investment decision has been made.

Keadby 3 is still in the consultation and planning stage.

This newsletter on the sseThermal web site, gives some useful information about Keadby 3.

These are the first three paragraphs.

We are proposing to build a new gas fired power station at Keadby, North Lincolnshire. The project, known as Keadby 3, will have a generating capacity of up to 910 megawatts (MW) and will provide the essential back up to renewable generation and reliable and flexible energy during the country’s transition to Net Zero.

Keadby 3 will be a highly efficient gas fired power station. It will either use natural gas as the fuel and be fitted with a Carbon Capture Plant (CCP) to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the emissions to air from the plant, or it will be fired on primarily hydrogen, with no carbon dioxide emissions to air from its operation. Both options are currently being considered, and government is also currently considering the roles of carbon capture and hydrogen in the power sector nationally.

Keadby 3 will require connections for natural gas and possibly hydrogen fuel, water for use in the process
and for cooling and possibly for a pipeline to export the captured CO2 into a gathering network being provided by others and from there to a permanent geological storage site. An electricity connection to export the generated electricity to the UK transmission system will also be required. The plant would be capable of operating as a dispatchable low-carbon generating station to complement the increasing role of renewables in supplying the UK with electricity

Note.

  1. The three Keadby gas-fired power stations can generate 2484 MW of electricity in total.
  2. By comparison, the under-construction Hinckley Point C nuclear power station will be able to generate 3200 MW.
  3. The addition of a Keadby 4 power station, if it were the same size as Keadby 3, would mean the Keadby cluster of gas-fired power stations had a capacity of 3394 MW and they would be larger than the big nuclear station.

In terms of power output, it is an interesting alternative to a larger nuclear power station.

What About The Carbon?

If you’re burning natural gas, you will produce some carbon dioxide.

Power generation from natural gas creates 0.2 Kg of CO2 per kWh according to this web page.

So a 3000 MW station that produces 3000 MW, will produce 3000 MWh or 3000000 kWh in an hour.

This will create 600,000 Kg or 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide in an hour.

As there are roughly 9000 hours in a year, that is roughly 5.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

This newsletter on the sseThermal web site, gives some information about sseThermal are going to do with the carbon dioxide.

As a low-carbon CCGT, Keadby 3 comprises one high efficiency gas turbine and associated steam turbine and either the infrastructure required to allow the CCGT to fire primarily on hydrogen gas, r inclusion of a post combustion Carbon Capture Plant (CCP) in a scenario where natural gas is used as the fuel. In the latter scenario, this is required in order that CO2 emissions are captured and directed to an offshore geological store through the Humber Low Carbon cluster pipeline network being developed by National Grid Ventures and partners.

A diagram of these components, and optional components, is shown below.

Note.

  1. Click on the image to get a larger view.
  2. The CCGT Power Plant is on the left.
  3. Most of the power is generated by the gas-turbine.
  4. Heat is recovered to create steam, which drives a turbine to create more electricity
  5. The Carbon Capture Plant is on the right.
  6. Carbon dioxide is extracted from the exhaust.

There are two outputs from the plant; electricity and carbon dioxide.

As the carbon dioxide is in a pipe from the drying and compression unit, it is easy to handle.

The newsletter says this about what will happen to the carbon dioxide.

CO2 emissions are captured and directed to an offshore geological store through the Humber Low Carbon cluster pipeline network being developed by National Grid Ventures and partners.

As there are several worked out gas fields in the area, there are places to store the carbon dioxide.

Storing The Carbon Dioxide

This map shows the Zero Carbon Humber pipeline layout.

Note.

  1. The orange line is a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline
  2. The black line alongside it, is a proposed hydrogen pipeline.
  3. Drax, Keadby and Saltend are power stations.
  4. Easington gas terminal is connected to around twenty gas fields in the North Sea.
  5. The terminal imports natural gas from Norway using the Langeled pipeline.
  6. The Rough field has been converted to gas storage and can hold four days supply of natural gas for the UK.

I can see this network being extended, with some of the depleted gas fields being converted into storage for natural gas, hydrogen or carbon dioxide.

Using The Carbon Dioxide

But I would prefer , that the carbon dioxide were to be put to use. Under Carbon Capture and Utilisation on Wikipedia, a variety of uses are shown.

Surprisingly, they don’t talk about using the carbon dioxide to promote the growing of crops in green houses.

I do think, though, that some clever chemists will find ways to convert the carbon into some form of advanced engineering plastics to replace steel.

Hydrogen-Fuelled Power Stations

Note how on the map the hydrogen pipeline goes through the Keadby cluster of power stations.

  • Hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel.
  • It will be produced offshore by wind turbines connected to electrolysers.
  • The hydrogen will be brought ashore using the existing gas pipeline network.
  • Excess hydrogen could be stored in the worked out gas fields.

I suspect there will be a massive increase in the number of wind turbines in the North Sea to the East of Hull.

Hydrogen Steelmaking

In ten years time, this will surely be the way steel will be made. British Steel at Scunthorpe would surely be an ideal site.

It would also be an ideal site for the HIsarna steelmaking process, which generates much less carbon dioxide and because it is a continuous process, what carbon dioxide is generated is easily captured.

Conclusion

Installations like this will mean that large nuclear power stations built with Chinese money are not needed.

 

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Northern Cities And COVID-19

If you look at the official Government statistics for the total number of cases of COVID-19, as of May 3rd, the number of cases in the two major cities in the North West as follows.

  • Leeds – 1463 out of a city population of 789,194 (0.18%) and a metro population of 2,638,127 (0.05%)
  • Liverpool – 1454 out of a city population of 494,814 (0.29%) and a metro population of 2,241,000 (0.06%)
  • Manchester – 1154 out of a city population of 547,627 (0.21%) and a metro population of 3,748,274 (0.03%)
  • Newcastle – 939 out of a city population of 300,196 (0.31%) and a metro population of 1,650,000 (0.06%)
  • Nottingham – 537 out of a city population of 321,500 (0.17%) and a metro population of 1,610,000 (0.03%)
  • Sheffield – 2191 out of a city population of 582,506 (0.38%) and a metro population of 1,569,000 (0.14%)

Note.

  1. All populations come from Wikipedia.
  2. Why is Liverpool 40% worse than Manchester?
  3. Why is Sheffield the worst?

I will add a few smaller towns andcities.

  • Blackpool – 465 out of an urban population of 139,720 (0.33%)
  • Caldervale – 252 out of an urban population of 200,100 (0.13%)
  • Hull – 469 out of a city population of 260,645 (0.18%)
  • Middlesbrough – 566 out of an urban population of 174,700 (0.32%)
  • Stoke-on-Trent – 509 out of a city population of 255,833 (0.20%)
  • York – 315 out of a city population of 209,893 (0.15%)

I’d like to see full statistics plotted on a map or a scatter diagram.

The latter is a very powerful way to plot data and often they highlight data points that lie outside the underlying pattern of the data.

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Northern Welcome New Link Between East And West Yorkshire

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rail Operator, Northern Railway, is celebrating the improved links between East and West Yorkshire today (Dec 19) following the introduction of a new service on the network, providing a direct service between Halifax and Hull.

The tone may be a bit self-congratulatory by Northern, but it is to me a very necessary service.

  • The trains run hourly.
  • Looking at today’s early morning Saturday service, it appears to have doubled the frequency to and from Leeds.
  • Families and friends are more spread out these days..
  • Events like football matches and concerts bring in supporters and attendees from a lot further, than when the rail services were carved in stone.

I shall be very interested to see the figures for ridership on this new service..

The Suffolk Experience

Over the last few years, Suffolk’s cross-county service between Ipswich and Cambridge has gone from an hourly single-car Class 153 train through two and three-car Class 170 trains to the proposed four-car Class 755 trains.

Greater Anglia may be having trouble introducing the Class 755 train, but the proposed capacity increase is there. They are also proposing to double the frequency on the Eastern section of the route.

Nationwide

Hopefully, we’ll see more improvements in services on routes like these all over the country. Certainly, Northern and Greater Anglia have been increased threir train fleets to provide more services.

I would also like to see a nationwide capacity standard for routes like these between cities and large towns.

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

HS2 Railway To Be Delayed By Up To Five Years

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

These first few paragraphs indicate the current situation.

The first phase of the HS2 high-speed railway between London and Birmingham will be delayed by up to five years, Transport Minister Grant Shapps says.

That section of the line was due to open at the end of 2026, but it could now be between 2028 and 2031 before the first trains run on the route.

HS2’s total cost has also risen from £62bn to between £81bn and £88bn, but Mr Shapps said he was keeping an “open mind” about the project’s future.

The second phase has also been delayed.

What are the short term consequences of this delay in the building of High Speed Two?

  • No Capacity Increase Between London And Birmingham., until three or five years later.
  • Capacity increases to Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Preston will probably be five years or more later.

Are there any other things we can do to in the meantime to make the shortfall less damaging to the economy?

East Coast Main Line

Much of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) has been designed for 140 mph running. Wikipedia puts it like this..

Most of the length of the ECML is capable of 140 mph subject to certain infrastructure upgrades.

Wikipedia also says that Greengauge 21 believe that Newcastle and London timings using the shorter route could be comparable to those using HS2.

Track And Signalling Improvements

There are a number of improvements that can be applied to the ECML, with those at the Southern end summed up by this paragraph from Wikipedia.

Increasing maximum speeds on the fast lines between Woolmer Green and Dalton-on-Tees up to 140 mph (225 km/h) in conjunction with the introduction of the Intercity Express Programme, level crossing closures, ETRMS fitments, OLE rewiring and the OLE PSU – est. to cost £1.3 billion (2014). This project is referred to as “L2E4” or London to Edinburgh (in) 4 Hours. L2E4 examined the operation of the IEP at 140 mph on the ECML and the sections of track which can be upgraded to permit this, together with the engineering and operational costs.

Currently, services between London and Edinburgh take between twenty and forty minutes over four hours.

Who would complain if some or even all services took four hours?

To help the four hour target to be achieved Network Rail are also doing the following.

  • Building the Werrington Dive-under.
  • Remodelling the station throat at Kings Cross.
  • Adding extra tracks between Huntingdon and Woodwalton.
  • Devising a solution for the flat junction at Newark.

Every little helps and all these improvements will allow faster and extra services along the ECML.

Obviously, running between London and Edinburgh in four hours has implications for other services.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I said this.

Currently, the fastest non-stop trains between London and Doncaster take a few minutes over ninety minutes. With 140 mph trains, I think the following times are easily possible.

  • London and Doncaster – 80 minutes
  • London and Hull  – A few minutes over two hours, running via Selby.
  • London and Leeds – A few minutes less than two hours, running on the Classic route.

For comparison High Speed Two is quoting 81 minutes for London Euston and Leeds, via Birmingham and East Midlands Hub.

I suspect that North of Doncaster, improving timings will be more difficult, due to the slower nature of the route, but as services will go between Edinburgh and London in four hours, there must be some improvements to be made.

  • Newcastle – Current time is 170 minutes, with High Speed Two predicting 137 minutes. My best estimate shows that on an improved ECML, times of under 150 minutes should be possible.
  • York – Current time is 111 minutes, with High Speed Two predicting 84 minutes. Based on the Newcastle time, something around 100 minutes should be possible.

In Wikipedia,  Greengauge 21 are quoted as saying.

Upgrading the East Coast Main Line to 140 mph operation as a high priority alongside HS2 and to be delivered without delay. Newcastle London timings across a shorter route could closely match those achievable by HS2.

My estimate shows a gap of thirteen minutes, but they have better data than I can find on the Internet.

Filling Electrification Gaps East Of Leeds And Between Doncaster And Sheffield

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I said this.

These are the lines East of Leeds.

  • A connection to the East Coast Main Line for York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
  • An extension Eastwards to Hull.

These would not be the most expensive sub-project, but they would give the following benefits, when they are upgraded.

  • Electric trains between Hull and Leeds.
  • Electric trains between Hull and London.
  • Electric access to Neville Hill Depot from York and the North.
  • An electric diversion route for the East Coast Main Line between York and Doncaster.
  • The ability to run electric trains between London and Newcastle/Edinburgh via Leeds.

Hull and Humberside will be big beneficiaries.

In addition, the direct route between Doncaster and Sheffield should be electrified.

This would allow the following.

  • LNER expresses to run on electricity between London and Sheffield, if they were allowed to run the route.
  • Sheffield’s tram-trains could reach Doncaster and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

A collateral benefit would be that it would bring 25 KVAC power to Sheffield station.

Better Use Of Trains

LNER are working the trains harder and will be splitting and joining trains, so that only full length trains run into Kings Cross, which will improve capacity..

Capacity might also be increased, if Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough services were run with 125 mph or even 140 mph trains. GWR is already doing this, to improve efficiency between Paddington and Reading.

Faster Freight Trains

Rail Operations Group has ordered Class 93 locomotives, which are hybrid and capable of hauling some freight trains at 110 mph.

Used creatively, these might create more capacity on the ECML.

Could the East Coast Main Line be the line that keeps on giving?

Especially in the area of providing faster services to Lincoln, Hull, Leeds, Huddersfield,Bradford Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Conclusion On East Coast Main Line

There is a lot of scope to create a high capacity, 140 mph line between London and Edinburgh.

An Upgraded Midland Main Line

Plans already exist to run 125 mph bi-mode Hitachi trains on the Midland Main Line between London and Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

But could more be done in the short term on this line.

Electrification Between Clay Cross North Junction And Sheffield

This 15.5 mile section of the Midland Main Line will be shared with High Speed Two.

It should be upgraded to High Speed Two standard as soon as possible.

This would surely save a few minutes between London and Sheffield.

140 mph Running

The Hitachi bi-modes are capable of 140 mph,  if the signalling is digital and in-cab.

Digital signalling is used by the Class 700 trains running on Thameslink, so would there be time savings to be made by installing digital signalling on the Midland Main Line, especially as it would allow 140 mph running, if the track was fast enough.

Extension From Sheffield To Leeds Via New Stations At Rotherham And Barnsley

Sheffield and Transport for the North are both keen on this project and it would have the following benefits.

  • Rotherham and Barnsley get direct trains to and from London.
  • A fast service with a frequency of four trains per hour (tph) could run between Leeds and Sheffield in a time of twenty-eight minutes.

This extension will probably go ahead in all circumstances.

Use Of The Erewash Valley Line

The Erewash Valley Line is a route, that connects the Midland Main Line to Chesterfield and Sheffield, by bypassing Derby.

It has recently been upgraded and from my helicopter, it looks that it could be faster than the normal route through Derby and the World Heritage Site of the Derwent Valley Mills.

The World Heritage Site would probably make electrification of the Derby route difficult, but could some Sheffield services use the relatively straight Erewash Valley Line to save time?

Faster Services Between London And Sheffield

When East Midlands Railway receive their new Hitachi bi-mode trains, will the company do what their sister company; Greater Anglia is doing on the London and Norwich route and increase the number of hourly services from two to three?

If that is done, would the third service be a faster one going at speed, along the Erewash Valley Line?

I suspect that it could have a timing of several minutes under two hours.

Conclusion On An Upgraded Midland Main Line

There are various improvements and strategies, that can be employed to turn the Midland Main Line into a High Speed Line serving Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

West Coast Main Line

The West Coast Main Line is not such a fruitful line for improvement, as is the East Coast Main Line.

Digital signalling, 140 mph running and faster freight trains, may allow a few more trains to be squeezed into the busy main line.

Increasing Capacity Between London and Birmingham New Street

I’ve seen increased capacity between London and Birmingham quoted as one of the reasons for the building of High Speed Two.

Currently, both Virgin Trains and West Midlands Trains, have three tph between London and Birmingham New Street.

  • This is probably not enough capacity.
  • The line between Birmingham New Street and Coventry stations is probably at capacity.

These points probably mean more paths between London and Birmingham are needed.

High Speed Two is planned to provide the following services between London and Birmingham after Phase 2 opens.

  • Three tph – London and Birmingham Curzon Street stations via Old Oak Common and Birmingham Interchange (2 tph)
  • Fourteen tph – London and Birmingham Interchange via Old Oak Common.

That is a massive amount of extra capacity between London and Birmingham.

  • It might be possible to squeeze another train into each hour.
  • Trains could be lengthened.
  • Does Birmingham New Street station have the capacity?

But it doesn’t look like the West Coast Main Line can provide much extra capacity between London and Birmingham.

Increasing Capacity Between London and Liverpool Lime Street

Over the last couple of years, Liverpool Lime Street station has been remodelled and the station will now be able to handle two tph from London, when the timetable is updated in a year or so.

Digital signalling of the West Coast Main Line would help.

Increasing Capacity Between London and Manchester Piccadilly

Manchester Piccadilly station uses two platforms for three Virgin Trains services per hour to and from London.

These platforms could both handle two tph, so the station itself is no barrier to four tph between London and Manchester.

Paths South to London could be a problem, but installing digital signalling on the West Coast Main Line would help.

Conclusion On The West Coast Main Line

Other improvements may be needed, but the major update of the West Coast Main Line, that would help, would be to use digital signalling to squeeze more capacity out of the route.

The Chiltern Main Line

Could the Chiltern Main Line be used to increase capacity between London and Birmingham?

Currently, there are hourly trains between Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill stations and London.

As each train has about 420 seats, compared to the proposed 1,100 of the High Speed Two trains, the capacity is fairly small.

Increasing capacity on the route is probably fairly difficult.

Digital Signalling

This could be used to create more paths and allow more trains to run between London and Bitmingham.

Electrification

The route is not electrified, but electrifying the 112 mile route would cause massive disruption.

Capacity At Marylebone Station

Marylebone station probably doesn’t have the capacity for more rains.

Conclusion On The Chiltern Main Line

I don’t think that there is much extra capacity available on the Chiltern Main Line between London and Birmingham.

Conclusion

I have looked at the four main routes that could help make up the shortfall caused by the delay to High Speed Two.

  • Planned improvements to the East Coast Main Line could provide valuable extra capacity to Leeds and East Yorkshire.
  • The Midland Main Line will increase capacity to the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, when it gets new trains in a couple of years.
  • Planned improvements to the West Coast Main Line could provide valuable extra capacity to North West England.
  • The Chiltern Main Line probably has little place to play.

As Birmingham has been planning for High Speed Two to open in 2026, some drastic rethinking must be done to ensure that London and Birmingham have enough rail capacity from that date.

 

 

 

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LNER To Put Lincoln On The Rail Map

This article on Rail Magazine is entitled LNER To Run New Azumas To Lincoln.

The article says that from October 21st, 2019, the service between London and Lincoln would be.

Southbound

  • HST – 0730
  • Azuma – 1118
  • Azuma – 1323
  • Azuma – 1526
  • Azuma – 1714

The only current service; the HST takes four minutes under two hours.

Northbound

  • Azuma – 1006
  • Azuma – 1206
  • Azuma – 1406
  • Azuma – 1606
  • HST  – 1906

The only current service; the HST takes three minutes under two hours.

In both directions Azumas appear to be a few minutes slower in the timetable.

But these improved services are not all, as this is a paragraph, which sums up further changes after December 2019.

A sixth daily weekday service will be introduced as part of the December timetable (leaving London at 0806 and returning at 2025), along with five additional Saturday services. Azumas will start serving Lincoln on weekends from December 7.

Lincoln will get a large increase in the number of direct services to and from London.

  • The weekday service will be approximately one train every two hours.
  • The weekday service will be boosted, by extra services which will require a change at Newark, Peterborough or Retford.
  • Lincoln will be getting more weekend services.

There must be other large towns and cities served by LNER, who wish they could have a service as good as Lincoln’s.

Onwards To Grimsby And Cleethorpes

Under Proposed Services And Future Changes, in the Wikipedia entry for Cleethorpes station, this is said.

Informed sources close to LNER reported in June 2019, that LNER would like to extend a number of trains from Lincoln Central to Cleethorpes in the future, but it would take time to do this as the route will need to be checked to see whether the Azuma trains are cleared to use the route.

Consider.

  • The distance between Lincoln and Cleethorpes is forty-seven miles.
  • The trip takes five minutes over the hour, with four stops.
  • I would feel that it is feasible that Kings Cross and Cleethorpes could be a few minutes under three hours using an Azuma.

TransPennine Express also has a stabling, cleaning and refuelling facility at Cleethorpes. Would they be able to accommodate an overnight Azuma?

As an example, the current HST service could become the following Azuma-operated service.

  • Leave Cleethorpes around 0630.
  • Call at Lincoln at 0730.
  • Arrive in Kings Cross at 0926.
  • Evening return from Kings Cross at 1906.
  • Call at Lincoln at 2103.
  • Arrive at Cleethorpes around 2200.

The train could be cleaned and refuelled at Cleethorpes or it could take a trip to and from the main Azuma base at Doncaster Carr, which is just over an hour away from Cleethorpes.

I could see LNER running a couple of services in each direction every day, if the demand is there.

Splitting And Joining

LNER seem to be proposing to increase services on the East Coast Main Line.

One problem will be the number of paths available to and from London.

Could this be solved by services splitting and joining trains en route, so that one service from Kings Cross serves two destinations?

As a simple example, Lincoln and Hull services could work together.

  • Each city would get a five-car service to and from London.
  • Services would run South of Newark as ten car trains.
  • Services would split and join at Newark North Gate station.
  • Services would run North of Newark as five car trains.
  • Only the Hull service would need a path North of Newark on the East Coast Main Line.
  • The Lincoln service would be on the Newark and Lincoln Line.

The number of paths needed between London and Newark would not be increased, from the current requirement.

I noted earlier that some Lincoln services run by Azumas will be a few minutes slower than those run by HSTs. Could this be because LNER are planning to run Lincoln services in conjunction with other services, by using splitting and joining at Newark?

As some Lincoln services have a longer stop than others at Newark, perhaps timings have been arranged for possible splitting and joining.

It should also be noted, that the design of Kings Cross station, has pedestrian access in the middle of a ten-car train, courtesy of a step-free footbridge. This makes joining the front train easier.

Surely, the ultimate service could be to combine Lincoln and Hull services, so that both cities got a two-hourly or even hourly London service, courtesy of a split and join at Newark.

Conclusion

Lincoln is getting an excellent, more frequent service to and from London.

Extending some services from Lincoln to Grimsby and Cleethorpes could be the icing on the cake!

C

 

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments