The Anonymous Widower

If We Have More Electric Cars Do We Need More Parkway Stations?

We are all being encouraged by carrot-and-stick methods to change to zero-carbon vehicles.

And it’s not just from Government and environmental activists!

I was recently asked on a train, if I drove an electric car, by the guy sitting opposite me at a table. He told me, that his ten-year-old BMW needed replacing and his daughters were pestering him to get an electric car.

  • He had looked into it and said he could afford one.
  • However like many, he was worried about the battery range.
  • He also said charging at home would not be a problem, as he lived in a house with parking for three cars and could install his own grid-to-vehicle charger.
  • I asked him what he did and like my late wife; C, he was a family barrister.

C would drive thousands of miles a year to Court from our house in Suffolk in her Porsche Boxster, to places like Bedford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Southend and Yarmouth. Only when she went to London did she use a train from Whittlesford Parkway station.

There are a lot of people like family barristers, where their profession dictates that they travel long distances by car to a variable place of work.

Purchase of an electric car, for some drivers may turn out to be a worrying one, as will they always find a charger at the other end of their journey, to charge the vehicle to get home.

I can see parkway stations like Whittlesford developing into electric parkway stations, where most parking spaces have a charger.

  • Parking could be booked, as in many railway car parks.
  • Some stations could probably host one or more wind turbines.
  • The vehicle batteries with the appropriate grid-to-vehicle technology could be used as grid storage.

Get the technology and the locations right and I can see more parkway stations being developed.

It might also be the sort of infrastructure project that a financial institution like L & G might finance.

 

August 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Restoring Your Railway Fund Could Provide A Toolkit For Town Transformation

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

The article talks a lot of sense and is a must-read for improving a town, that is on its uppers.

It uses the Northumberland Line between Newcastle and Ashington in the North East as an example and describes how the fund can be used with the Towns Fund.

This paragraph gives a few examples of rail lines that could be improved using the fund!

Potential priorities for future rounds of funding could include the South Yorkshire Joint Line, a freight line serving 50 000 people between Doncaster and Worksop; the Leamside Line, a disused line which would serve 70 000 in Washington; March to Wisbech, a disused line which would connect 35 000 people in Wisbech to the network; and the line from Yate to Thornbury, another freight line which would connect 15 000 people in Thornbury to Bristol and beyond.

In the early sixties, I lived in the crap town of Felixstowe, with a sparse rail service to civilisation (London). Now the town has an hourly rail service to Ipswich in a smart new train and the town is more successful.

There’s a lot of chicken-and-egg syndrome at work here, but sorting the rail routes could be a good start.

In some cases, it’s not necessarily rebuilding infrastructure, as that is there for freight or an inadequate passenger service using a scrapyard special. But why not use refurbished trains powered by battery or hydrogen, on these routes to provide an hourly service. The curiosity value of the unusual propulsion, might even be a selling point to those reluctant to give up their PPVs, (Personal Protective Vehicles)!

June 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Revive Economy, Think Infrastructure

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

This is the sub-title.

It worked in the Great Recession and it can work now.

The author is talking about Massachusetts in 2008, but I’m sure it would work in the UK and other countries in 2020.

Projects I would bring forward in the UK.

  • Build lots of wind farms, both onshore and offshore.
  • Build energy storage. I would go for Highview Power.
  • Use wind energy to generate hydrogen for industrial processes. ITM Power in Rotherham, have the technology.
  • Build a refuelling network for hydrogen-powered cars, buses, trucks and other vehicles.
  • Add new rail stations to the network, where needed.
  • Update all possible rail, tram, light rail and Underground stations so they are step-free.
  • Build the electrified Huddersfield and Leeds upgrade to the TransPennine Route.
  • Expand the Blackpool Tram, the Edinburgh Tram, the Manchester Metrolink, Merseyrail, the Nottingham Express Transit, the Sheffield Supertram, the Tyne and Wear Metro and the West Midlands Metro.
  • Extend the Docklands Light Railway West to Charing Cross, Euston, St. Pancras and Victoria.

I would setup a construction pipeline, so all areas of the country got a share of the new infrastructure.

We must be bold.

 

 

May 1, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , | 13 Comments