The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connection To Southeastern High Speed One Services

The Two Stratford Stations

In this post, Stratford station is the station handling Greater Anglia and London Overground, Underground and Docklands Light Railway services, with Stratford International station handles High Speed services.

The Elizabeth Line And The Great Western Railway Services

One of the most important stations on the Elizabeth Line is Paddington, where it connects to the London terminus of the Great Western Railway.

I would expect that quite a few passengers going to the West and Wales on the Great Western Railway, will be transported to Paddington by the Elizabeth Line.

The Elizabeth Line And Greater Anglia Services

Another of the important stations on the Elizabeth Line is Liverpool Street, where the station is the London terminus of the Greater Anglia.

I would expect that quite a few passengers going to East Anglia on the Greater Anglia, will be transported to Liverpool Street by the Elizabeth Line.

Southeastern High Speed One Services

Southeastern runs some High Speed services  on High Speed One to provide Kent with an improved service to London.

Current services are

  • London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Faversham.
  • London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Dover Priory.
  • London St Pancras International to Margate via Canterbury West.

Note

  1. All trains are one train per hour (tph).
  2. All trains stop at Stratford International and Ebbsfleet International.
  3. All trains are run by 140 mph Class 395 trains.

There has also been talk of running a fourth service to Hastings and Eastbourne via Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.

St. Pancras Station

All of these trains terminate in three platforms; 11 to 13 at St. Pancras International station.

St. Pancras is not the ideal terminal for the Southeastern High Speed services.

  • St. Pancras is not on the Elizabeth Line.
  • St.Pancras doesn’t have good connections to Heathrow.
  • All connections to the Underground are a long walk.
  • Eurostar services are a longer walk.
  • East Midland services are also a longer route, with stairs and escalators for good measure.

St. Pancras station was designed by a committee, as a museum to Victorian architecture, rather than as a working station.

Ebbsfleet International Station Must Be The Largest Parkway Station In The UK

It holds nearly five thousand cars and it is served by Southeastern High Speed Services.

Thanet Parkway Station Will Open This Year

Thanet Parkway station is under construction.

  • It will have nearly three hundred parking spaces.
  • It will be served by Southeastern High Speed Services.
  • It should open in May 2023.

This station will need a good connection to London.

Could An Interchange Between The Elizabeth Line And Southeastern High Speed Services Be Provided At Stratford?

Such an alternative interchange would be popular with passengers.

  • The Elizabeth Line from Stratford currently serves the West End, the Northern section of the City of London, East London, Liverpool Street, Paddington and the West End directly.
  • The Elizabeth Line from Stratford currently serves Canary Wharf, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Euston, Heathrow, King’s Cross. Reading, St. Pancras and Victoria with a change at Whitechapel.
  • The Central Line, which shares platforms with the Elizabeth Line  serves Bank and the West End directly.
  • The Overground is easily accessed for travel across North London to Richmond.
  • The Jubilee Line is easily accessed for travel to London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.

It would be connected to two large parkway stations and lots of parking all over Kent.

I believe that Stratford must be promoted as an alternative terminus for Southeastern High Speed Services.

Today, I walked both ways between two Stratford stations.

These pictures show the route I took between Stratford and Stratford International stations, through the Eastfield Shopping Centre.

Note.

  1. I went through the Shopping Centre.
  2. I passed Marks & Spencer’s large food hall, excellent toilets and a Food Court.
  3. By the Food Court is an exit that leads to an entrance to Stratford International station.
  4. The walk took about 10 minutes.
  5. It was vaguely level.
  6. Lifts by-passed the escalators.
  7. One thing that makes the journey to London easier, is to travel in the Eastern end of the train, as the lifts and escalators at Stratford International station, are at that end.

It does need some better signage, but they were doing a bit of refurbishment, so that may already be underway.

It could be a very high quality interchange and it is already better than St. Pancras.

Coming back I took the longer route outside the Shopping Centre.

Note.

  1. I just turned left out of the entrance, walked along the road and turned right past the bus station.
  2. If the weather had been colder or wetter, I’d have gone back via the Shopping Centre.
  3. The walk took about 12 minutes.

I think normally, I’d go back through the Shopping Centre, as there’s a Marks and Spencer Food Hall on the route and it’s slightly quicker and often warmer.

 

Could Stratford Station Be A London Superhub Station?

When you consider the stations connected to Stratford in London, East Anglia and Kent, it has an excellent collection.

  • Airports – Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southend and Stansted
  • Cities – Cambridge, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich and Southend-on-Sea
  • London Main and Terminal Stations – Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Clapham Junction, Euston, Farringdon, King’s Cross, London Bridge, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Moorgate, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo
  • Major Areas – Canary Wharf, City of London, Hampstead, Olympic Park and West End
  • Ports – Dover, Felixstowe, Folkestone and Harwich

You can even get a train to Slough, with a change at Whitechapel.

I would think it already is a London Superhub Station.

January 30, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Serving South-East London

The Inadequacies Of Abbey Wood Station

Abbey Wood station is the Elizabeth Line’s main terminus in South-East London.

The architecture is impressive, as the pictures taken before the station was finished show.

But other things are less than impressive.

  • There is no station parking.
  • Central London rail terminals served by Elizbeth Line services are only Liverpool Street/Moorgate and Paddington.
  • Central London rail terminals served by National Rail services are Cannon Street, London Bridge, King’s Cross and St. Pancras.

In my view, Abbey Wood is a lost cause, as a commuter station, unless substantial parking is built at the station.

Parking At Stations In West Kent

This list shows the number of car parking spaces at stations in West Kent and South East London.

  • Barnehurst – 162 *
  • Belvedere – None *
  • Bexleyheath – 83 *
  • Chatham – 276 *
  • Dartford – 186 *
  • Ebbsfleet International – 4945 #
  • Erith – None *
  • Eynsford – 15
  • Farningham Road – None
  • Gillingham – 152 *
  • Gravesend – 94 *
  • Greenhithe – 8 *
  • Longfield – 88
  • Meopham – 167
  • Northfleet – None *
  • Plumstead – None *
  • Rochester – None *
  • St. Mary Cray – 31
  • Slade Green – 25
  • Sole Street – 61
  • Stone Crossing – None *
  • Strood – 112 *
  • Swanley – 106
  • Swanscombe – None *
  • Welling – 117

Note.

  1. An asterisk (*) indicates direct trains to and from Abbey Wood station for the Elizabeth Line.
  2. An hash(#) indicates direct trains to and from Stratford International for the Elizabeth Line.

These figures are according to the National Rail web site.

It looks like unless you can walk to your nearest station and that has an easy connection to Abbey Wood, you’re probably better off going to Ebbsfleet and parking there.

Travelling Between Ebbsfleet International And The Elizabeth Line At Stratford International

Consider.

  • Southeastern’s Highspeed service between Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International has a frequency of three trains per hour (tph)
  • It takes less than twelve minutes between the two stations.
  • It takes ten minutes to walk between Stratford International and Stratford Station for the Elizabeth Line and Greater Anglia services.
  • There are eight Elizabeth Line tph to Paddington, calling at all stations. For Heathrow change at Whitechapel station.

Note.

  1. From these points, it should be possible to estimate the time you should park at Ebbsfleet to get to an event in London or East Anglia, if you live in Kent and are parking at Ebbsfleet International.
  2. I think four tph between Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International would make the route more attractive.
  3. If you’re going to Norwich or Ipswich be careful, as only one of the two tph stop at Stratford.

I catch the 12:30 from Liverpool Street for matches at Ipswich on Saturdays. This is the 12:38 from Stratford, so I suspect if you parked at parked at Ebbsfleet before 12:00, you’d make it.

Who’d have thought, that when they built the massive car parks at Ebbsfleet international, that they would be a Park-and-Ride for football at Ipswich. And Norwich too!

Changing Trains At Stratford

This map from Cartometro shows the two Stratford stations.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The Jubilee Line is shown in silver.
  4. The Overground is shown in orange.
  5. Lifts and escalators take passengers to and from the surface from between platforms 2 and 3 at Stratford International station.

Two pedestrian tunnels connect all the platforms in Stratford station.

  • Elizabeth Line trains use platforms 5 and 8.
  • Central Line trains use platforms 3, 3a and 6.
  • Great Eastern Main Line trains use platforms 9, 9a and 10.
  • Overground trains use platforms 1 and 2.

All platforms have lifts.

I suspect, that when you get to know the Stratford complex well, it’s easier than it looks.

But it does need better signage.

Full Step-Free Route Between Ebbsfleet And Heathrow Central

I have just used Transport for London’s Journey Planner, as if I was in a wheelchair and need full step-free access to go from Ebbsfleet to Heathrow Central.

This was the route.

  • Southeastern to Stratford International station – 10 mins
  • Walk to Stratford station – 21 mins
  • Jubilee Line to Bond Street – 24 mins
  • Bond Street to Heathrow Central – 32 mins

Note.

  1. The times are slower than say myself.
  2. I think it is possible to pick up the Elizabeth Line at Stratford.

But the route is certainly possible in a wheel-chair.

The Penge Interchange

This map from Cartometro shows where the East London Line of the London Overground and the Chatham Main Line between Victoria and Chatham cross in Penge.

Note.

  1. The East London Line runs North-South through Sydenham and Penge West stations.
  2. The Chatham Main Line runs through Penge East station.

There is a plan by Transport for London to create a Penge Interchange station on railway land, where the two lines cross.

  • The station could replace Penge West and Penge East stations.
  • It would be fully step-free.
  • Interchange would be allowed between the East London Line and the Chatham Main Line.

This would increase connectivity for those travelling to and from South-East London and West Kent.

I brlieve that this one interchange could help level-up a large area of South-East London.

 

January 29, 2023 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

EuroLink, Nautilus And Sea Link

EuroLink, Nautilus and Sea Link are three proposed interconnectors being developed by National Grid Ventures.

EuroLink

EuroLink has a web site, where this is said.

To support the UK’s growing energy needs, National Grid Ventures (NGV) is bringing forward proposals for a Multi-Purpose Interconnector (MPI) called EuroLink, which will deliver a new electricity link between Great Britain to the Netherlands. 

EuroLink could supply up to 1.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, which will be enough to power approximately 1.8 million homes, as well as contribute to our national energy security and support the UK’s climate and energy goals. We’re holding a non-statutory public consultation to inform you about our EuroLink proposals, gather your feedback to help refine our plans and respond to your questions.​

Note, that EuroLink is a Multi-Purpose Interconnector (MPI) and they are described on this page of the National Grid website.

In EuroLink’s case, this means it is basically an interconnector between the UK and The Netherlands, that also connects wind farms on the route to the shore.

  • Coastal communities get less disruption, as the number of connecting cables coming ashore is reduced.
  • Less space is needed onshore for substations.
  • Electricity from the wind farms can be directed to where it is needed or can be stored.

As an Electrical and Control Engineer, I like the MPI approach.

The technology to implement the MPI approach is very much tried and tested.

There are many references to EuroLink terminating at Friston.

Nautilus

Nautilus has a web site, where this is said.

Nautilus could connect up to 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind to each country through subsea electricity whilst connecting to offshore wind farm/s at sea. By combining offshore wind generation with interconnector capacity between the UK and Belgium, Nautilus would significantly reduce the amount of infrastructure and disruption required both onshore and offshore.

With this new technology, we hope to reduce the impact of infrastructure on local communities and the environment, as well as support the government’s net zero and energy security targets. We are already working closely with other developers in the area to coordinate activities and minimise impact on local communities. We believe that through improved coordination, the UK government can achieve and support the co-existence of renewable energy with coastal communities.

Nautilus is another MPI.

This is said on the web site.

Last year, National Grid Ventures ran a non-statutory consultation for Nautilus, which proposed a connection at Friston.

NGV holds a connection agreement on the Isle of Grain in Kent as part of its development portfolio and we are currently investigating if this could be a potential location for Nautilus. Until this is confirmed to be technically feasible, Nautilus will be included as part of our coordination work in East Suffolk.

So it looks like, Nautilus could connect to the UK grid at Friston or the Isle of Grain.

Sea Link

Sea Link has a web site, and is a proposed interconnector across the Thames Estuary between Suffolk and Kent.

This is said on the web site about the need for and design of Sea Link.

The UK electricity industry is evolving at pace to help lead the way in meeting the climate challenge, whilst also creating a secure energy supply based on renewable and low carbon technologies.

The demands on the electricity network are set to grow as other sectors of the economy diversify their energy consumption from using fossil fuels towards cleaner forms, the move towards electric vehicles being just one example.

Where we’re getting our power from is changing and we need to change too. The new sources of renewable and low-carbon energy are located along the coastline. We need to reinforce existing transmission network and build new electricity infrastructure in these areas in order to transport the power to where it’s needed. This is the case along the whole of the East Coast including Suffolk and Kent.

To allow this increase in energy generation, we need to reinforce the electricity transmission system. Sea Link helps to reinforce the electricity network across Suffolk and Kent.

Our proposals include building an offshore high voltage direct current (HVDC) link between Suffolk and Kent with onshore converter stations and connections back to the national electricity transmission system.

On the web site, in answer to a question of What Is Sea Link?, this is said.

Sea Link is an essential upgrade to Britain’s electricity network in East Anglia and Kent using subsea and underground cable. The proposal includes approximately 130km of subsea cables between Sizewell area in East Suffolk and Richborough in Kent. At landfall, the cables would go underground for up to 5 km to a converter station (one at each end). The converter station converts direct current used for the subsea section to alternating current, which our homes and businesses use. A connection is then made to the existing transmission network. In Suffolk, via the proposed Friston substation; in Kent via a direct connection to the overhead line between Richborough and Canterbury.

Note, that from Kent electricity can also be exported to the Continent.

All Cables Lead To Friston In Suffolk

It looks like EuroLink, Nautilus and Sea Link could all be connected to a new substation at Friston.

But these will not be the only cables to pass close to the village.

This Google Map shows the village.

Running South-West to North-East across the map can be seen the dual line of electricity pylons, that connect the nuclear power stations at Sizewell to the UK electricity grid.

Has Friston been chosen for the substation, so that, the various interconnectors can be connected to the power lines, that connect the Sizewell site to the UK electricity grid.

This would enable EuroLink, Nautilus and/or Sea Link to stand in for the Sizewell nuclear stations,  if they are shut down for any reason?

It does appear from reports on the Internet that the Friston substation is not welcome.

Exploring Opportunities For Coordination

The title of this section is a heading in the EuroLink web site, where this is said.

In response to stakeholder feedback, NGV’s Eurolink and Nautilus projects and NGET’s Sea Link project are exploring potential opportunities to coordinate. Coordination could range from co-location of infrastructure from different projects on the same site, to coordinating construction activities to reduce potential impacts on local communities and the environment.

That sounds very sensible.

 

December 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

National Grid Invites Local Community To Comment On Proposals For Green Electricity Projects Needed To Boost Home-Grown Energy Supplies And Progress Towards Net Zero

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

These are the four main bullet points.

  • New interconnector with Netherlands and subsea cable between Suffolk and Kent will strengthen electricity supplies and transport low carbon power to homes and businesses.
  • 8-week public consultations will introduce the plans and ask for views of local communities.
  • The proposals include possible co-location of infrastructure (buildings and underground cables.) to reduce the impact on local communities.
  • Projects form part of the electricity network upgrades identified across the UK to help deliver the government’s energy security strategy and net zero targets.

Note.

  1. Eurolink is a subsea electricity cable between Great Britain and the Netherlands.
  2. Sea Link is a subsea electricity cable between Suffolk and Kent.
  3. The consultations will start on October the 24th.

This paragraph from the press release describes Eurolink.

Developed by National Grid Ventures, the Eurolink multi-purpose interconnector (MPI) is designed to harness the increasing volumes of offshore wind power in the North Sea and has the potential to power approximately 1.8 million homes. It will enable the connection of offshore wind farms to both the British and Dutch electricity grids via an interconnector, enabling the transport of clean electricity from where it’s produced to where it’s needed most.

And this paragraph describes Sea Link.

Developed by National Grid Electricity Transmission, Sea Link will add additional capacity to the electricity network in Suffolk and Kent, enabling low carbon and green energy to power local homes and businesses and be transported around the country. The proposals outline a preferred route of 10km of onshore and 140km of undersea cables, together with potential landfall and converter station locations at the proposed Friston substation in Suffolk and in Richborough in Kent.

These two new interconnectors would appear to open up the delivery of green electricity to the South-East of England and the Continent.

As I’ve said before, there doesn’t be any shortage of money to build wind farms and interconnectors between Great Britain, Belgium and The Netherlands.

How Much Wind Capacity Is Lined Up Around The South-East Of England?

Wind farms listed in the area include.

  • Operation – Dudgeon – 402 MW
  • Operation – East Anglia One – 714 MW
  • Operation – Greater Gabbard – 504 MW
  • Operation – Gunfleet Sands – 184 MW
  • Operation -Kentish Flats – 140 MW
  • Operation – London Array – 630 MW
  • Operation – Rampion – 400 MW
  • Operation – Scoby Sands – 60 MW
  • Operation – Sheringham Shoal – 317 MW
  • Operation – Thanet – 300 MW
  • Proposed – East Anglia Three – 1372 MW
  • Proposed – Norfolk Boreas – 1386 MW
  • Exploratory – East Anglia One North – 800 MW
  • Exploratory – East Anglia Two – 900 MW
  • Exploratory – Rampion 2 Extension – 1200 MW
  • Exploratory – Norfolk Vanguard – 1800 MW
  • Exploratory – North Falls – 504 MW
  • Exploratory – Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Extensions – 719 MW

Note.

  1. These wind farms total to 12.3 GW.
  2. As the UK needs about 23 GW, these wind farms can power about half the UK.
  3. But no matter, as the East Anglian Array is planned to go to 7.2 GW and only 4.7 GW is so far operational or planned.
  4. So there could be up to another 2.5 GW to come.

This is not bad news for Rishi Sunak’s first days in office.

There’s More To Come

The National Grid press release finishes with these two paragraphs.

Last year, National Grid Ventures also ran a non-statutory consultation on Nautilus, a proposed MPI linking Britain and Belgium, which proposed a connection at Friston. National Grid Ventures is now investigating the potential to move the Nautilus MPI project to the Isle of Grain in Kent.

Much of the UK’s electricity network was built in the 1960s when the country was more reliant on fossil fuels. Today, we need to connect huge volumes of renewable power, such as offshore wind, to the network, to help deliver the government’s energy security strategy and net zero targets and to transition to a cleaner, more affordable, and more independent energy system. New infrastructure, and network upgrades are necessary to get the new clean energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed.In addition to these proposals in Suffolk and Kent (and the East Anglia GREEN proposals which are currently being consulted on) the need for new network infrastructure has also been identified in North and South Wales, the Scottish Islands and West Coast, the East Coast of Scotland and Aberdeenshire, Lancashire, North-East England, and Yorkshire & Humber.

National Grid have numerous plans to connect up all the renewable energy being developed.

October 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Trip To Northfleet

Yesterday, I went to Northfleet station.

Partly, it was to have a drink with my old friend; Ian, but mainly it was to take some pictures to add to Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion.

Normally, when I go to see Ian I take the HighSpeed service out of St. Pancras.

But this service is expensive and as I was leaving from Moorgate, I decided to take the Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood and get a train to Northfleet station instead.

I have a few thoughts on my journey.

Cost

I used my Freedom Pass to Abbey Wood and then bought an Off Peak Day Return between Abbey Wood and Northfleet for just £4.95 with a Senior Railcard.

Convenience

As you have to use one of the bridges at Abbey Wood to change to and from the Elizabeth Line, I used the one at the station end and popped through the barrier to buy my onward ticket from a machine.

Surely, Freedom Passes should be linked to a bank account, so if you want to stray outside Zone 6, you are automatically charged.

Elizabeth Line Messages On Southeastern

At Swanscombe station today, whilst waiting for my Thameslink train to take me back to Abbey Wood, I noticed that the displays were telling passengers to change at Abbey Wood for the Elizabeth Line.

You certainly wouldn’t use the dreadful Swanscombe station with heavy cases, but stations like Abbey Wood, Dartford, Gravesend and others would enable granny or grandpa to take a sensible-size wheeled case to Heathrow Airport with reasonable ease, once the Elizabeth Line becomes a fully-connected railway between Abbey Wood and Heathrow.

Onward Trains At Abbey Wood

There are two easy onward Thameslink tph at Abbey Wood, that run at sixteen and forty-six minutes past the hour.

You can also take the first Dartford train and then take the first train from there.

If you get the Thameslink train from Abbey Wood timings are as follows.

  • Slade Green – 6 minutes
  • Dartford – 11 minutes
  • Stone Crossing – 16 minutes
  • Greenhithe – 18 minutes
  • Swanscombe – 21 minutes
  • Northfleet – 23 minutes
  • Gravesend – 27 minutes
  • Higham – 33 minutes
  • Strood – 39 minutes
  • Rochester – 42 minutes
  • Chatham – 45 minutes
  • Gillingham – 50 minutes
  • Rainham – 55 minutes

Note.

  1. There are also two Southeastern tph between Charing Cross and Gravesend, but they don’t serve Abbey Wood.
  2. The timings appeared sensible in my two trips; yesterday and today.
  3. Travellers also have a choice in that they can use the more expensive HighSpeed services to selected stations.

After just missing a Thameslink train today by a few seconds, and then had to wait thirty minutes for the next train, I am convinced that there needs to be a four tph service between Abbey Wood and Rainham.

Four tph Between Rainham And Abbey Wood

In Crossrail Ltd Outlines Plan To Complete The Elizabeth Line, I said this about Western branch services.

When Crossrail is fully open, the Western Branch frequencies are planned to be as follows.

  • Reading and Abbey Wood – 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood – 4 tph all day.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day.

This includes 6 tph between Heathrow and Abbey Wood all day.

Crossrail To Ebbsfleet is proposing that the South-Eastern branch will terminate as follows.

  • 4 tph – Abbey Wood
  • 4 tph – Northfleet
  • 4 tph – Gravesend

So will this mean that the six tph to Heathrow will be split equally between Abbey Wood, Northfleet and Gravesend, with two Heathrow tph terminating at each terminal?

The North Kent Metro

My naive mind thinks, why don’t the two Heathrow and Gravesend services terminate at Rainham?

This would give the following.

  • The minimum four tph between Abbey Wood and Rainham.
  • Rainham should be able to turnback for tph.
  • Services would call at Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.

North Kent would have its own metro running under London Overground rules.

It could even start as soon as Class 345 trains are allowed to run to Rainham.

Airport Connect

Consider

  • The Elizabeth Line service between Abbey Wood and Rainham could serve Heathrow at its Western end.
  • The Thameslink service would serve Luton Airport Parkway.
  • Both services would serve Liverpool Street for the Stansted Express and services to and from Southend Airport.
  • Both services would serve Farringdon for services to and from Gatwick Airport.
  • An extra station at Silvertown could serve London City Airport.
  • In future, there could even be a connection to High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

One service on the Elizabeth Line would connect all these together.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

NeuConnect Awards Two Major Contracts

This page on the NeuConnect web site is entitled NeuConnect Awards Over £1.5 billion Of Major Contracts As First Ever UK-German Energy Link Moves An Important Step Closer.

NeuConnect is a proposed interconnector between England and Germany.

  • It will have a capacity of 1.4 GW.
  • The interconnector will be around 450 miles long.
  • It will be HVDC, like many similar undersea power cables.
  • As the title says, it will be the first-ever UK-German energy link.

Wikipedia describes the route like this.

The cable will run between the Greystones substation on the Isle of Grain, in Kent in England to the new Fedderwarden substation in Wilhelmshaven in the Lower Saxony region of Germany. Landfall will be next to Grain Coastal Park, in Kent, and at Hooksiel, near Wilhemshaven in Germany.

Two contracts have been awarded.

  • The contract to design, manufacture, install, test and commission the 725km interconnector has been awarded to Prysmian Group.
  • The contract to design and build two converter stations in the UK and Germany has been awarded to Siemens Energy.

This sounds like a very simple plan to add an important interconnector between the UK and Germany.

I have some observations and thoughts.

The Isle Of Grain

The Isle of Grain is described in Wikipedia like this.

Isle of Grain (Old English Greon, meaning gravel) is a village and the easternmost point of the Hoo Peninsula within the district of Medway in Kent, south-east England. No longer an island and now forming part of the peninsula, the area is almost all marshland and is a major habitat for diverse wetland birds. The village constitutes a civil parish, which at the 2011 census had a population of 1,648, a net decrease of 83 people in 10 years.

Apart for the birds, over the last few decades it has been home to the following.

  • Until 1982, it was the location of a BP oil refinery.
  • In the 1990s, the isle was used to make the segments for the lining of the Channel Tunnel.
  • Following completion of the Channel Tunnel, the site is now part-occupied by Thamesport, the UK’s third largest container port.
  • Next to the former BP site is Grain Power Station, built in the 1970s, which previously burnt oil.
  • This power station was demolished in the 2015 and replaced with a 1.275 GW gas-fired power station.
  • Another major installation is a new Grain Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import facility, which takes heat from the gas-fired power station.
  • The Isle of Grain is the landing point for the BritNed undersea power cable between The Netherlands and the UK.

The Google Map shows the Isle of Grain.

Note.

  1. Thamesport is in the South-West corner
  2. To its North is the LNG import facility.
  3. To the North-East of Thamesport is the 735 MW Medway power station.
  4. There is a rail connection to Hoo Junction on the North Kent Line.

This second Google Map shows the Eastern side of the Isle.

Note.

  1. Grain Coastal Park, where NeuConnect will make landfall, is marked by the green arrow at the top of the map.
  2. Towards the South-Eastern corner of the map is the 1.275 GW Grain gas-fired power station.
  3. To the East of the power station, there is more switchgear than you see in a bad Frankenstein film.
  4. The smaller square at the bottom with the two white squares could be the converter station for the BritNed interconnector.

I am sure there is space on the island for a connection for NeuConnect.

There is also a total of 2.01 GW of gas-fired power stations on the Isle of Grain.

Wind Power In The Thames Estuary

This Google Map shows the Thames Estuary.

Note that the red arrow indicates the Isle of Grain.

This map from Wikipedia shows the wind farms in the area.

These are the ones that are operational.

  • 2 – East Anglia Array – 714 MW
  • 8 – Greater Gabbard – 504 MW
  • 9 – Gunfleet Sands – 184 MW
  • 13 – Kentish Flats – 140 MW
  • 15 – London Array – 630 MW
  • 27 – Thanet – 300 MW

Note.

  1. The Isle of Grain is just above the second o in London.
  2. I have ignored the Ramplion wind farm (21!), as it is too far from the Isle of Grain.
  3. This is a total of nearly 2.5 GW.

Planned extensions in the area include.

  • East Anglia Array – 3.1 GW – Completion date of 2026

But the Wikipedia entry for the East Anglia Array says this about the wind farm.

The target capacity for the entire East Anglia Zone is 7200 MW which could require up to 1200 turbines.

Could we see one of the following?

  • A connector from the East Anglia Array to the Isle of Grain.
  • One or more new wind farms in the Thames Estuary connected to the Isle of Grain.
  • German investment in a wind farm or farms connected to the Isle of Grain.

The Isle of Grain could become an island of energy providing power for London, the South-East of England, Germany and The Netherlands.

An Electrolyser On The Isle Of Grain

Consider.

  • There will be plenty of renewable electricity.
  • As there is a liquified natural gas terminal, there is plenty of gas storage.
  • One or both of the gas-fired power stations can be converted to run on hydrogen.
  • As more and more trucks are converted to hydrogen, there will be a large demand for hydrogen for heavy transport.

This must surely make a large electrolyser on the Isle of Grain a possibility.

The BritNed Interconnector

The BritNed interconnector is described like this in Wikipedia.

BritNed is a 1,000 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) submarine power cable between the Isle of Grain in Kent, the United Kingdom; and Maasvlakte in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The BritNed interconnector would serve as a link for the foreseeable European super grid project.

Up to now, most of the electricity flow has been to the UK.

But surely, as more wind farms are developed power will flow the other way.

Wilhelmshaven Will Be A German Hub For Green Hydrogen

In Uniper To Make Wilhelmshaven German Hub For Green Hydrogen; Green Ammonia Import Terminal, I described plans by the Germans for a hydrogen hub at Wilhelmshaven.

The original story came from an article with the same name on Green Car Congress.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Under the name “Green Wilhelmshaven,” Germany-based international energy company Uniper plans to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven and is working on a corresponding feasibility study.

Plans include an import terminal for green ammonia. The terminal will be equipped with an ammonia cracker for producing green hydrogen and will also be connected to the planned hydrogen network. A 410-megawatt electrolysis plant is also planned, which—in combination with the import terminal—would be capable of supplying around 295,000 metric tons or 10% of the demand expected for the whole of Germany in 2030.

As I said in the original post, I’m not happy about green ammonia, but the 1.4 GW NeuConnect interconnector has more than enough power to run a 410 MW electrolyser plant at full capacity.

It could even run three electrolysers of this size.

Hooksiel And Wilhelmshaven

NeuConnect will make landfall at Hooksiel.

This Google Map shows Hooksiel and Wilhelmshaven.

Note.

  1. Hooksiel is the village outlined in red.
  2. The water to the right of the map is the Jade Bight.
  3. The square block sticking out into the bight appears to be a container port.
  4. There appears to be chemical works or oil refineries North of the port.
  5. Wilhelmshaven is the town to the South of the port.

There would appear to be plenty of space for Uniper to construct Green Wilhelmshaven.

German And UK Wind Power Production

According to this page on Wikipedia, which is entitled Wind Power By Country, in 2020, these were installed wind power in various countries.

  • Germany – 62,184 MW
  • Spain – 27,089 MW
  • UK – 24,665 MW
  • France – 17,382 MW
  • Italy – 10,389 MW
  • Netherlands – 6,600 MW

In 2020 we were 37.5 GW behind Germany.

It looks like we’ll commission 3.3 GW this year and 6.1 in 2023, with Wikipedia saying that 12.9 GW is under development, which should close the gap to a certain extent.

In ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Delivers Major Boost To Scotland’s Net Zero Aspirations, I described how Scotland will add 15.1 GW of floating and 9.7 GW of fixed foundation offshore wind.

It looks like initially, we’ll be buying German wind-generated electricity, but in the future the direction could easily change around.

Boris And Olaf

There were mumblings from Boris, that energy was talked about in their meeting in Downing Street last week.

It does appear there is a lot of ways that the UK and Germany can co-operate in the future with respect to energy.

  • German finance can be used to build wind farms in UK waters.
  • German companies can build the turbines and the interconnectors we need to develop vast offshore wind farms.
  • We can supply surplus energy to Germany through the NeuConnect interconnector.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boris and Olaf had signed a very comprehensive energy co-operation agreement.

 

April 11, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Consultation Opens On Extending The Elizabeth Line Into Kent

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

This is the introduction to Ian’s post.

A consultation has opened on proposals for improving public transport services connecting Ebbsfleet, Dartford, Slade Green, Erith and Belvedere with Abbey Wood.

The consultation is being run by the C2E Partnership, which was formed in 2016 to promote extending the Elizabeth line into Kent, although the new consultation does look at alternatives to the Lizzie line as well.

The early plans for Crossrail included running the line out towards Gravesend, but this was cut back in the 1990s, and in 2008 when Crossrail got approval, it was difficult to support the extended line. However, some passive provision was included in the station design at Abbey Wood to permit an extension to be added on later.

There are five options being looked at by the C2E Partnership.

Three of them are extensions of the Elizabeth line, one is improved services from Kent to Abbey Wood, and the final is a Rapid Bus Transit service.

There are maps of the various options.

At the moment, I doubt there is much that will happen, with low levels of commuting due to the pandemic and a near-bankrupt Transport for London.

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Has Gone Wrong In Kent?

The population of the county is 1.855 million, as opposed to Greater Manchester’s 2.822. So its population is about two-thirds of that of Greater Manchester.

Over the last few days Kent has had around 500-700 new cases of the covids per day as opposed to about 150 per day in Greater Manchester. Liverpool is less than 100.

November 29, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | 5 Comments

Redhill To Ashford International Via Tonbridge

I did this trip to find out what the current service was like after writing Gatwick Rail Service Could Link Far Reaches Of The South East.

The journey can be broken into sections.

Changing At Redhill Station

I arrived at Redhill station and took these pictures as I changed to the train for Tonbridge station.

The three services are in Redhill station at approximately the same time.

  • The Southern service to and from Tonbridge used Platform 1a.
  • The GWR service from Reading to Gatwick used Platform 1.
  • The GWR service from Gatwick to Reading used Platform 0.

I think if you’re nippy on the stairs, travellers wanting to go between Reading and Ashford or vice-versa could manage the train, but a direct through service would be preferred by some travellers.

Between Redhill And Tonbridge Stations

I took these pictures as the train ran between Redhill and Tonbridge.

Note.

  1. The train was a smart three-car Class 377 train.
  2. It is a route with a quiet calm along the Downs.
  3. There are new housing and commercial developments along the route.

Some of the stations could do with improvement, which should probably include step-free access, as at Redhill and Tonbridge stations.

Changing At Tonbridge Station

These pictures show Tonbridge station.

Note.

  • The station is step-free with lifts.
  • I had to use the bridge to get from one side of the station to the other to catch my next train.
  • There seemed to be several passengers, who continued their journey from Tonbridge.

After a wait of nearly thirty minutes I was on my way to Ashford International station.

Thoughts On The Service

These are my thoughts on the service.

Battery Electric Trains

Having seen this service in operation, I feel that this must be one of the most suitable services for battery electric trains in the UK.

In Gatwick Rail Service Could Link Far Reaches Of The South East, I broke the route down into electrified and non-electrified sections.

  • Ashford and Tonbridge – Electrified – 26.5 miles – 38 minutes
  • Tonbridge and Redhill – Electrified – 20 miles – 35 minutes
  • Redhill and Gatwick – Electrified – 7 miles – 8 minutes
  • Gatwick and Redhill – Electrified – 7 miles – 8 minutes
  • Redhill and Reigate – Electrified – 2 miles – 4 minutes
  • Reigate and Shalford Junction – Not Electrified – 17 miles – 20 minutes
  • Shalford Junction and North Camp – Electrified – 9 miles – 11 minutes
  • North Camp and Wokingham – Not Electrified – 11 miles – 14 minutes
  • Wokingham and Reading – Electrified – 7 miles and 9 minutes

Note.

  1. Ashford, Tonbridge, Redhill, Gatwick, Guildford, Wokingham and Reading are all fully-electrified main line stations.
  2. Most of the route and the two ends are electrified.
  3. All electrification is 750 VDC third rail.
  4. All sections without electrification are less than twenty miles.
  5. The route is more than 75 % electrified.

There are several trains, which have been fitted with batteries, plans to fit them with batteries exist or would be suitable to be fitted with batteries.

All trains have similar specifications.

  • Four cars.
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • All are modern trains.
  • They either have third-rail shoes or can be fitted with them.

In addition, no infrastructure changes would be needed.

I also feel, that the same class of train could be used on these services in the South-East.

  • Oxted and Uckfield
  • Ashford International and Hastings

Why not use one class of battery electric trains for all these routes?

The Three Reverses

The full service between Reading and Ashford International stations will require three reverses at Gatwick and Redhill (twice).

Having seen the current system in operation at Redhill station, I feel the following operation would work, using a version of London Underground’s stepping-up.

From Reading to Ashford International the following sequence would apply.

  • The train from Reading would stop in Platform 1 at Redhill, as they do now.
  • A second driver would step-up into the rear cab and take control of the train.
  • The original or first driver, who’d driven the train from Reading would stay in the cab.
  • The second driver would drive the train to Gatwick.
  • When, the train is ready to leave, the first driver takes control from his cab.
  • The second driver, who’d driven the train from Redhill would stay in the cab.
  • The first driver would drive the train back to Platform 0 at Redhill, as they do now.
  • When, the train is ready to leave, the second driver takes control from his cab.
  • The first driver would step down and probably have a break, before he is needed to drive another train.
  • The second driver would drive the train to Ashford International.

Trains going the other way would do a similar sequence in reverse.

Other than the battery system, the trains may need a communication and safety system between the two cabs.

Hydrogen Trains

Consider these points about using a hydrogen-powered train between Reading and Ashford International.

  • The maximum distance without electrification is just 20 miles.
  • The route is over 75 % electrified.
  • Hydrogen fuelling and supply systems would need to be provided.
  • Hydrogen trains would require changes to maintenance.

In my view, using a hydrogen-powered train would be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Gatwick Connect

Could the service be considered to be a Gatwick Connect service?

The full Reading and Ashford International service would call at these major locations

  • In the West – Reading, Winnersh, Wokingham, Crowthorne, Farnborough, Guildford, Dorking and Reigate
  • In the East – Ashford International, Paddock Wood and Tonbridge.

Both the Eastern and Western legs also call at Redhill.

Could the service be extended in the West?

The obvious destination would be Heathrow.

Once the future of Heathrow is sorted, there will probably be some form of Southern or South-Western access into Heathrow.

Could this service connect Gatwick and Heathrow?

  • Perhaps there would be a reverse at Reading!
  • Or it might use one of numerous schemes put forward to access Heathrow from the West.

In any case, as Reading is one of the best-connected stations in England, passengers will use this connectivity to get to Gatwick.

Could the service be extended in the East?

Like Reading, Ashford International is a well-connected station.

It would be possible to extend the service to perhaps Canterbury or Dover?

There must also be the possibility of running a service to Maidstone West or Strood in the East!

Conclusion

There could be a lot of possibilities for this route.

I also feel, that it is one of the best routes to be run by battery trains in the UK. These trains could also be the same, as those working Oxted-Uckfield and Ashford International-Hastings.

There would be no need for any new infrastructure, as there is electrification at both ends of the route.

 

 

September 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

UK’s Largest Solar Park Cleve Hill Granted Development Consent

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Solar Power Portal.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Cleve Hill Solar Park, set to be the largest in the UK, has been granted development consent by the energy secretary.

The colossal 350MW project will include 880,000 panels along with battery storage, and sit just one mile northeast of Faversham, in Kent, situated close to the village of Graveney.

Other points from the article.

  • Cleeve Hill Solar Park is a £450million project.
  • It is the first solar project to be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.
  • It is being developed as a joint venture between Hive Energy and Wirsol.
  • It is due to be operational by 2022.
  • To complete the project 700 MWh of energy storage will be added later.

The article also contains this quote from Solar Trade Associations chief executive Chris Hewett.

Solar has a significant role to play in boosting the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. With the right policies we can expect to see an 8GW pipeline of solar projects unlocked and rapidly deployed, swiftly creating a wealth of skilled jobs and setting us on the path towards a green recovery.

8 GW of intermittent energy will need a lot of storage.

As Cleeve Hill’s developers are planning to provide 700 MWh of storage for 700 MW of solar panels, it would appear that 8 GW of solar panels could need up to 16 GWh of energy storage.

As our largest energy storage system is the pumped storage Electric Mountain in Snowdonia with a capacity of 9.1 GWh and most of the large solar developments are towards the South of England, the UK needs to develop a lot more energy storage, where the solar is generated and much of the energy is used.

I can see the following environmentally-friendly developments prospering.

  • Highview Power‘s CRYOBattery, which uses liquid air to store energy. Systems have a small footprint and up to a GWh could be possible.
  • Electrothermal energy storage like this system from Siemens.
  • Using electrolysers from companies like ITM Power to convert excess energy into hydrogen for transport, steelmaking and injecting into the gas main.
  • Zinc8‘s zinc-air battery could be the outsider, that comes from nowhere.

Developers could opt for conservative decision of lithium-ion batteries, but I don’t like the environmental profile and these batteries should be reserved for portable and mobile applications.

Floatovoltaics

One concept, I came across whilst writing was floatovoltaics.

The best article about the subject was this one on Renewable Energy World, which is entitled Running Out of Precious Land? Floating Solar PV Systems May Be a Solution.

A French company call Ciel et Terre International seem to be leading the development.

Their web site has this video.

Perhaps, some floatovoltaics, should be installed on the large reservoirs in the South of England.

  • The Renewable Energy World article says that panels over water can be more efficient due to the cooling effect of the water.
  • Would they cut evaporative losses by acting as sunshades?
  • As the French are great pecheurs, I suspect that they have the answers if anglers should object.

This Google Map shows the reservoirs to the West of Heathrow.

Note.

  1. Wraysbury Reservoir has an area of two square kilometres.
  2. King George VI Reservoir has an area of one-and-a-half square kilometres.
  3. Using the size and capacity of Owl’s Hatch Solar Farm, it appears that around 65 MW of solar panels can be assembled in a square kilometre.
  4. All these reservoirs are Sites of Special Scientific Interest because of all the bird life.
  5. Heathrow is not an airport, that is immune to bird-strikes.

Could floatovoltaics be used to guide birds away from the flightpaths?

Incidentally, I remember a report from Tomorrow’s World, probably from the 1960s, about a porous concrete that had been invented.

  • One of the uses would have been to fill reservoirs.
  • The capacity of the reservoir would only have been marginally reduced, as the water would be in the voids in the concrete like water in a sponge.
  • Soil would be placed at the surface and the land used for growing crops.

I wonder what happened to that idea from fifty years ago!

June 5, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment