The Anonymous Widower

Felixstowe And Harwich Ports Submit Bid For ‘Freeport’ Status

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

A bid for “freeport” status for two existing ports has been submitted after the project was approved by a council.

East Suffolk Council unanimously backed the bid for the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International to become one of 10 freeport facilities across the UK.

Freeport East would see owners Hutchison operate a single custom zone covering both coastal ports.

I think, some will think this a bit cheeky, but I think it is a product of the characters of the counties of Essex and Suffolk.

I was conceived in Suffolk and have probably spent half my life in the county.

It’s a county that thinks big.

  • Is there another woman, who as Boudica did, assembled an army of hundreds of thousands and attempted to throw an unwelcome invader out of her country?
  • The history of her tribe; the Iceni is closely tied, according to some historians, to the development of the thoroughbred racehorse at New Horse Market or Newmarket as it is known today!
  • Newmarket is to horse racing as St. Andrews is to golf.
  • The town is home of about 3,500 horses and is a major centre for horse and animal health.
  • Newmarket Heath is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is to be the largest area of mown grass in the world.
  • Suffolk sheep are one of the most numerous sheep breeds in the world, having been exported all over the world.
  • Suffolk is the only county in England with its own breed of sheep, cattle (Red Poll) and horse (Suffolk Horse)
  • Bury St. Edmunds Abbey was one of the largest churches in England.

When I was about seven, the Port of Felixstowe was just a small dock exporting grain and now it the busiest container port in the UK and the eighth in Europe.

It is no surprise to me, that Felixstowe and Harwich want to be a Freeport, so they can expand further.

There have already been related news and media reports.

Freeport East Web Site

The Freeport East web site is at www.freeporteast.com.

Read these sections.

It is an ambitious vision. As someone, who believes we must innovate, this paragraph from the Innovation section strikes the right tone.

Beyond the energy sector, Freeport East will also contribute to wider innovation in the technology sector. Hutchison Ports is already working with Cambridge University and Three UK to develop innovative 5G applications. Hutchison Ports is also working with the New Anglia LEP, Tech East and BT’s research centre at Adastral Park on new telecommunications infrastructure. Freeport East will embed these technological innovations at its heart and help to make the UK a world leader in technological innovation

The web site, also talks about the ports becoming major centres for the development and servicing of renewable energy in the North Sea.

A Little Help From Their Friends

I notice that in some reports, they have joined forces with the University of Cambridge. As Cambridge colleges are big local landowners, this can only be to the benefit of the concept.

A Hydrogen Freeport

This article on the Eadt Anglian Daily Times is entitled Top Ports Could Be Powered By Hydrogen In Major Project.

The project is well-described in the article with this infographic, that shows how nuclear power from Siewell and wind power from the North Sea can come together to decarbonise shipping and the port.

This paragraph sums up the hydrogen project.

At its peak, the power project, which will be delivered in partnership with Ryse-Hydrogen and EDF, developers of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station, will produce 1GW of hydrogen – 20% of the 5GW target in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Suffolk is thinking big again!

It certainly does appear, that several ports are following the hydrogen route. On this blog I have mentioned Antwerp, Holyhead and Portsmouth recently.

So what will the hydrogen be used for?

The East Anglian article says this.

The clean fuel would be used to power port equipment, ships, trucks and trains.

Port Equipment

I think the interesting one is port equipment.

  • The chairman of JCB is Anthony Bamford.
  • His son; Jo Bamford owns Ryse Hydrogen.
  • JCB have recently released a hydrogen-powered digger.
  • JCB is mentioned on the infographic.

Could we be seeing a range of hydrogen-powered port equipment, that has been developed by JCB?

Other companies like Hyster are certainly developing hydrogen-powered port equipment.

Ships

Decarbonisation of ships is difficult, as they need a lot of power and it usually comes from that most noxious of fuels; bunker oil.

The Wikipedia entry for bunker oil, has a section called Environmental Issues, where this is said.

Emissions from bunker fuel burning in ships contribute to air pollution levels in many port cities, especially where the emissions from industry and road traffic have been controlled. The switch of auxiliary engines from heavy fuel oil to diesel oil at berth can result in large emission reductions, especially for SO2 and PM. CO2 emissions from bunker fuels sold are not added to national GHG emissions. For small countries with large international ports, there is an important difference between the emissions in territorial waters and the total emissions of the fuel sold.

A lot of work is being done to power ships with hydrogen.

Provide refuelling for hydrogen-powered ships and you’ll get the business.

Trucks

Diesel trucks hauling goods to and from ports contribute to the pollution in the port, but if they are powered by hydrogen, the pollution for workers and neighbours is less.

I can see some freight terminals adopting a policy of No Hydrogen – No Load, with hauliers.

In Holyhead Hydrogen Hub Planned For Wales, I talked about a hydrogen hub at Holyhead. Will the ports of Dover, Felixstowe and Immingham need to have hydrogen refuelling facilities to handle hydrogen trucks hauling goods between the island of Ireland and Europe?

Trains

It is my belief, that hydrogen freight locomotives will be developed, so Felixstowe will need facilities to fuel the trains.

Imagine two highly-automated ports at Felixstowe and Holyhead, both with large supplies of hydrogen.

  • A hydrogen-powered freight train would link the two ports.
  • Hydrogen-powered handling equipment would load and unload the containers.

How many trucks would that take off the roads between Holyhead and Felixstowe?

Conclusion

The Port of Felixstowe is going to use hydrogen to become more efficient and zero-carbon, and make it more attractive to shippers wanting to pay more than lip-service to decarbonisation.

The EU have constantly accused Boris of turning the UK into Singapore-on-Thames!

But here we are creating Singaport-on-the-Haven.

The EU has freeports, so I guess it’s OK.

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rail Access To The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Port of Felixstowe.

Note.

  1. Trimley station is at the top edge of the map.
  2. One rail line curves down from Trimley to the Southern side of the Port.
  3. Another rail line connects Trimley to the Northern side of the Port.
  4. A few miles of the route between Trimley and Ipswich, has recently been double-tracked and improved.

I will now describe the important parts of the rail network to and from the Port.

Trimley Station

This Google Map shows Trimley station.

Note.

  1. Trimley station has two platforms. although only the Northern one, which is numbered 1 is in use.
  2. There are two tracks through the station.
  3. There is a footbridge over the tracks.
  4. Most people cross the lines on the level crossing.

The track through Trimley station has been improved and the improved is described in the Wikipedia entry for the Felixstowe Branch Line, where this is said.

In October 2017 final approval was given for a £60.4m project which includes doubling between Trimley station and Grimston Lane foot crossing. Work started on 7 April 2018 and was predicted to end in Autumn 2019.[29] However, the work was completed by May 2019 and saw changes to the infrastructure at Trimley station where trains from the Felixstowe direction could now access the disused platform road and the establishment of a double track as far as a new junction called Gun Lane Junction just over a mile west of Trimley station. Both lines can be worked bi-directionally and with the increase in freight traffic that resulted from the additional capacity a number of level crossings were either abolished or upgraded to improve safety.

This Google Map shows the section of line, that has now been dualed.

Note.

  1. Grimston Lane is the triangle of roads in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Trimley station is in the South-East corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the track layout East of Trimley station.

Note.

  1. Trimley station is at the top of the map.
  2. There is a junction to the South-East of Trimley station.
  3. The Northern track goes straight on to Felixstowe station and the Southern Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe.
  4. The Southern track curves South to the North Terminal at the Port of Felixstowe.
  5. Both branches are single track.

It would appear that all trains going to and from the South Terminal at the Port, take the Northern track through Trimley station and those going to and from the North Terminal at the Port, take the Southern track.

Southern Access To The Port

This Google Map shows how the trains go between Trimley station and the Southern entry to the Port.

Note.

  1. Felixstowe station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The single track from Trimley station splits into two in the North West corner of the map.
  3. One branch allows an hourly service between Ipswich and Felixstowe stations.
  4. The second branch goes South to the Port.
  5. The junction used to be a full triangular junction to allow trains to go between the two Felixstowe stations.

Do the residents of some houses in Felixstowe, get plagued by noise, pollution, smell and the diesel smoke of Class 66 locomotives going to and from the Southern access to the Port?

Felixstowe Beach Station

There used to be a Felixstowe Beach station on the railway to the Port.

This Google Map shows the location.

The station was to the North-East of the level crossing.

These pictures show the area as it was a year or so ago.

Is there a need for a new Felixstowe Beach station to allow workers and visitors to the Port to avoid the crowded roads?

Future Passenger Services Between Ipswich and Felixstowe

The passenger service between Ipswich and Felixstowe has for many years been a bine of contention between the Port of Felixstowe and passenger train operators.

The Port would like to see the passenger service discontinued, so that they could run more freight trains.

However, to increase both freight and passenger capacity, the East-West Rail consortium has proposed running a tram-train between Felixstowe and Ipswich.

  • It would run through the streets of Ipswich to the forecourt of Ipswich station.
  • It would serve important points in Ipswich, like the Hospital, Town Centre and Portman Road.
  • It would have a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

I wrote about the proposal in Could There Be A Tram-Train Between Ipswich And Felixstowe?

The Southern area of Felixstowe, along the beach is run down and needs improvement.

So why not run the tram-train all the way along the sea-front to Landguard Point?

This Google Map shows Landguard Point.

A tram-train going to Landguard Point would do the following.

  • Provide a direct passenger rail service between the Port and Ipswich.
  • Provide access to the Harwich ferry.
  • Improve the economic prospects of the Southern part of Felixstowe.
  • Bring visitors to the beach without using their cars.

But the main thing it would do is create decent access to the historic Landguard Fort.

Landguard Fort was the site of the last invasion of the UK, when the Dutch were repelled on the 2nd of July 1667, at the Battle of Landguard Fort.

The Southern Terminal At The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Southern terminal of the Port.

This second Google Map shows where the rail line enters the Southern terminal.

Note how the rail link enters in the North-East corner of the and curves towards the quays before it splits into two.

One branch goes straight on, past some sidings and gives a connection to the Trinity Terminal.

The second branch turns South to several sidings.

This Google Map shows these sidings.

Note that the sidings are towards the right of the image and run North-South.

Northern Access To The Port

This Google Map shows the route taken by the rail access to the Trinity Terminal.

Note.

  1. The route branches off South just to the East of Trimley station.
  2. It curves its way South to the South-West corner of the map, where it enters the Port.
  3. It is single track.

This second Google Map shows where it enters the Port.

Note.

  1. The track enters from the North-West corner of the map.
  2. It then splits into two branches.
  3. One branch goes West to the Trinity Terminal.
  4. The second branch goes South into a set of sidings.

It looks to be a well-designed access, to the Felixstowe Branch Line at Trimley station.

The Trinity Terminal At The Port Of Felixstowe

This Google Map shows the Trinity terminal.

Note the rail sidings and the link to the East, which links to the previous map.

This Google Map shows the rail sidings in detail.

I hope the pictures give a clear impression of the size of the port, which in the next few years will probably need more trains to the rest of the country.

There is also a yard that appears to be connected to both the North and South train entrances to the Port.

This yard is shown in this Google Map.

Note, the cranes to lift containers on and off.

Electrification In The Port

Note that there is no electrification in the Port or on the access links from Trimley station.

I once spent half-an-hour with a fellow Ipswich supporter before an away match. He turned out to be a crane driver at the Port of Felixstowe and we got to talking about why the trains weren’t electrified.

He told me that accidents to happen and that you you don’t want high voltage wires about, when you’re swinging containers on and off trains.

Especially, when the trains are close together, as they are in the previous image.

Class 73 Locomotives And The Port Of Felixstowe

The first Class 73 locomotives have now been ordered by Rail Operations Group (UK), and I wrote about the order in Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK).

What surprised me about the order was that it was for thirty locomotives, whereas only ten were talked about two years ago. I know, that Rail Operations (UK) have received a big capital injection, as was reported in this article on Rail Advent, which is entitled Rail Operations Group Acquired By STAR Capital Partnership. but they must have ambitious plans for thirty locomotives.

Could it be that the specification of these locomotives is geared to operating out of ports like Felixstowe?

Consider.

  • A locomotive probably needs a self-powdered capability to take a heavy train in or out of the Port of Felixstowe.
  • Would a Class 73 locomotive have sufficient range and power to take the average train out of the port using bi-mode diesel and battery power until it arrived at the electrification of the Great Eastern Main Line?
  • How would these locomotives handle a gap like Haughley Junction and Ely?
  • A Class 73 locomotive could probably handle these container trains at 100 mph to and from London on the Great Eastern Main Line, which would keep them out of the way of Greater Anglia’s express trains.
  • What speed would these locomotives be able to achieve under electric power on the West Coast and East Coast Main Lines?
  • The two single-track access links between Trimley station and the Port could be electrified to charge the batteries both ways and to accelerate the train fast out of the Port.

I also feel that other ports would benefit.

Conclusion

I very much feel, that the specification of the Class 93 locomotive with its trimode capability is ideal for working to and from ports and freight terminals.

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Landguard Fort

Felixstowe was the last place in the UK, to be invaded by foreign forces, when the Dutch tried to capture Landguard Fort in 1667.  They failed due to the efforts of Nathaniel Darrell.  That is why the 2nd of July is Darrell’s Day in Suffolk.

It is a place well worth a visit with a reasonable entry charge, lots of things to see and an excellent audio commentary.

I also found it a good place to try out my waling and climbing skills after a stroke.  In only a couple of places did I need a helping hand.

June 29, 2010 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Felixstowe Docks and Landguard Fort

On Wednesday, I went to view the docks at Felixstowe and the restored Landguard Fort at the point opposite Harwich.  Note that I say docks, as I can remember when it was just a small square dock with a flour mill and a ferry across the river.  It is now the Port of Felixstowe and is the largest container port in the UK.

The fort is well worth a visit, although it has to be said despite living in Felixstowe in the 1960s, I didn’t visit it until the early years of this century.  Perhaps, it shows how we treat history.

I did though cycle to the other Felixstowe fort at the Dooley in those far-off days, where with friends we wandered all over the ruin.  Type “Dooley Fort Felixstowe” into Google and you’re find all sorts of memories of the place.

The Dooley Fort is now under the dock.  As is the Little Ships Hotel, the old dock basin and the army barracks.

This post is on a forum about Felixstowe.

It is very disappointing that whenever I visit Felixstowe I see more country side destroyed.

The Orwell estury was an area of natural beauty with marshland, shingle, sand & mud. It abounded with wild life. The creeks were full of shrimps, crabs, and I even found a sea urchin. You could collect winkles and as a child shore crabs.

The marshes were a wonderful place for collecting mushrooms. They were everywhere. The ruined Dooley Fort was a magical place. We kids spent many happy hours playing there while the Old Man was at the Dooley Pub sinking a few and a few more pints.

I can remember those times and the writer sums it all up well.  Especially, as the whole area behind the Port is now a sea of houses and supermarkets.  In the 1960s it was all green fields, except for the pub and a few cottages.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 13 Comments