The Anonymous Widower

A Waste Of Valuable Resources Between Paddington And Heathrow

Much of my working life was spent in writing project management software.

I like to think, I was an expert at writing software to juggle resources.

I wrote my first piece of software in that field in ICI, to get my boss out of trouble, after he’d promised the department a program to allocate the department’s office space more efficiently.

Unfortunately, the student, who’d written the software, without leaving anything that worked or any decent instructions.

So I told my boss;Colin, that I’d have a go.

In my previous position at ICI in Runcorn, I’d worked out an algorithm to decode mass spectrometer traces, which started with a rough idea of what was there, which was entered by an operator and then used permutations and combinations to fit the output.

I used the algorithm in every resource scheduler, I ever wrote and it worked a treat.

So when I see a waste of resources, I get angry, as I know those who devised the system could have done a lot better.

Look at these pictures, I took of a Heathrow Express, that I took today.

It is barely ten percent full.

It has become a waste of resources; train, valuable paths in the Heathrow  tunnel, and platform space at Paddington.

These are a few thoughts.

Capacity To And From Heathrow


  • Heathrow Express uses twelve-car Class 387 trains, with a capacity of 672 seats, that run at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph), which is 2688 seats per hour.
  • The Elizabeth Line uses nine-car Class 345 trains, with a capacity of 454 seats, that run at a frequency of six tph, which is 2724 seats per hour.
  • The Class 345 trains can also carry another 1046 standing passengers on each journey, which adds up to a maximum of 6276 standees per hour.
  • The Piccadilly Line uses 73 Stock trains, with a capacity of 684 seats, that run at a frequency of twelve tph, which is 8208 seats per hour.

This gives a capacity of 19896 passengers, staff and visitors per hour, or which 13620 get seats.

Expressed as percentages, the four modes of transport are as follows.

  • Heathrow Express – 13,5 %
  • Elizabeth Line – Sitting – 13.7 %
  • Elizabeth Line – Standees – 33.8 %
  • Piccadilly Line – 41.2 %

In Effects Of The ULEZ In West London, I said this about journeys to and from the airport.

Heathrow Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports and 76,000 people work at the airport, with many more employed nearby.

The airport handled 61.6 million passengers in 2022, which is a few short of 170,000 per day.

If you consider that those that work at the airport do two trips per day and passengers generally do one, that means there are 322,000 trips per day to or from the airport.

But as it now so easy to get to the Airport using the Elizabeth Line will more people use the new line to meet and greet and say goodbye to loved ones or business associates. Since the Elizabeth Line opened, I’ve met a couple of friends at Heathrow, who were passing through.

I wonder, if that daily journey total of 322,000 could be nearer to 350,000 or even 400,000.

If the ULEZ charge makes some passengers and staff switch from their car to using a bus or train, this probably means that public transport to and from the airport, will need to be boosted by a substantial amount.

322,000 trips per day is 13, 416 per hour assuming a 24 hour day.


  • The ULEZ will drive employees and passengers to trains to Heathrow.
  • A lot of would-be travellers to Heathrow have had a tough couple of years.
  • Because of the Elizabeth Line more meeters and greeters will go to the airport.
  • The Elizabeth Line is making it easy to get to Heathrow for a large proportion of those living in the South-East.
  • There have been numerous car parking scandals at Heathrow and other airports.
  • Are there enough charging points for electric cars in Heathrow’s parking?
  • Parking at Heathrow is very expensive.
  • Taxis to the airport are expensive.
  • Passengers with large cases can use the Elizabeth Line.
  • Good reports of the Elizabeth Line will push people to use it.
  • The Elizabeth Line serves the City, Canary Wharf and the West End.
  • The Elizabeth Line has a step-free connection with Thameslink.
  • Passengers seem to travel with very large cases.
  • Passengers seem to be deserting Heathrow Express, as I wrote in Elizabeth Line Takes Fliers Away From Heathrow Express.


  1. The train, I took back from Heathrow this morning was full with all seats taken and quite a few standees.
  2. And it was a Sunday morning!
  3. We won’t know the effect of the ULEZ until August, but I believe it will be significant.

Obviously, I’m only using rough figures,  but they lead me to believe that in a few months, the Elizabeth Line will be at full capacity to and from Heathrow.

Heathrow Express’s Train Path Should Be Re-Allocated To The Elizabeth Line

This would increase hourly passenger capacity from 19896 to 23208 or by seventeen percent.

Great Western Railway would get two extra platforms at Heathrow and the Class 387 trains could be reallocated.

Where Would Great Western Railway Run Trains From Two Extra Platforms?


  • Various government levelling up funding has been allocated to Wales and the West.
  • I talk about the Mid-Cornwall Metro in Landmark Levelling Up Fund To Spark Transformational Change Across The UK.
  • The Mid-Cornwall Metro could include direct trains between London and Newquay.
  • There are also plans for a new station at Okehampton Parkway.
  • Given all the wind farm development in the Celtic Sea, I can see more trains between London and Pembrokeshire.
  • Cardiff and Bristol would probably welcome extra services.

I don’t think Great Western Railway will have problems finding destinations to serve from two extra platforms.

What Will Happen To The Class 387 Trains?

Currently, twelve Class 387 trains are used for Heathrow Express.

In The Future Of The Class 387 And Class 379 Trains, I said this.

The Battery-Electric Class 379 Train

I rode this prototype train in 2015.

An Outwardly Normal Class 379 Train

I think it is reasonable to assume, that as battery technology has improved in the seven years since I rode this train, that converting Class 379 trains to battery-electric operation would not be a challenging project.

Creating A Battery-Electric Class 387 Train

If the Class 387 train is as internally similar to the Class 379 train as it outwardly looks, I couldn’t believe that converting them to battery-electric operation would be that difficult.

I could see a lot of the Class 379 and Class 387 trains converted to 110 mph battery-electric trains.

Would Heathrow Express Completely Disappear?

If the Elizabeth Line trains are going between Heathrow Airport and Central London, at a frequency of 10 tph or one train every six minutes, I feel there may be scope for marketing and operational reasons to create a sub-fleet of the Class 345 trains.

The trains would be identical to the Elizabeth Line’s current fleet, except for livery, seating and some internal passenger features.

  • Perhaps, they could be called the Heathrow Train boldly on the outside, so even the dimmest passenger didn’t get on a Reading train instead of a Heathrow one.
  • All trains would have wi-fi and 4G connectivity. These features have been promised for the Class 345 trains.
  • Some coaches would be fitted with luggage spaces for the outsize cases people carry.

I could envisage the Heathrow Trains terminating at a wide number of places in addition to Abbey Wood and Shenfield. Possibilities must include Beaulieu Park, Ebbsfleet, Gravesend, Northfleet and Southend Victoria

May 21, 2023 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rockton To Buy Up To 40 Heart Aerospace ES-30 Electric Aircraft

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Aviation Source News.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Swedish investment and aircraft leasing company Rockton has confirmed that it will acquire up to 40 of Heart Aerospace’s regional electric aircraft, the ES-30.

The purchase confirmation converts an earlier letter of intent with the Swedish aircraft manufacturer into firm purchase orders for 20 aircraft with purchase rights for 20 more.

It’s good to see a leasing company getting involved, as it probably means that the finances are viable.

The Wikipedia entry for Heart Aerospace, describes the range of the ES-30 like this.

The ES-30 is planned to have a 108 nautical miles (200 kilometres; 124 miles) fully electric range or a 215 nmi (398 km; 247 mi) range when also using generators powered by aviation biofuel. A range of 430 nmi (800 km; 490 mi) could be possible if only 25 passengers are carried.

These are some UK airport to airport distances.

  • Aberdeen – Kirkwall – 124 miles
  • Aberdeen – Sumburgh – 188 miles
  • Anglesey – Belfast – 109 miles
  • Anglesey – Belfast City – 109 miles
  • Anglesey – Cork – 192 miles
  • Anglesey – Derry – 163 miles
  • Anglesey – Dublin – 71 miles
  • Anglesey – Ronaldsway – 58 miles
  • Anglesey – Shannon – 186 miles
  • Anglesey – Waterford – 130 miles
  • Birmingham – Belfast – 226 miles
  • Birmingham – Dublin – 200 miles
  • Birmingham – Edinburgh – 250 miles
  • Birmingham – Glasgow – 260 miles
  • Birmingham – Inverness – 363 miles
  • Birmingham – Kirkwall – 451 miles
  • Birmingham – Newcastle – 178 miles
  • Birmingham – Newquay – 198 miles
  • Birmingham – Schipol – 402 miles
  • Birmingham – Sumburgh – 513 miles
    Birmingham – Wick – 418 miles
  • Edinburgh – Schipol – 473 miles
  • Gatwick – Edinburgh – 356 miles
  • Gatwick – Schipol – 374 miles
  • Glasgow – Belfast – 106 miles
  • Glasgow – Belfast City – 103 miles
  • Glasgow – Derry – 121 miles
  • Glasgow – Kirkwall – 221 miles
  • Glasgow – Sumburgh – 300 miles
  • Glasgow – Stornoway – 177 miles
  • Haverfordwest – Waterford – 94 miles
  • Haverfordwest – Newquay – 94 miles
  • Heathrow – Newquay – 212 miles
  • Humberside – Schipol – 333 miles
  • Inverness – Kirkwall – 106 miles
  • Inverness – Sumburgh – 190 miles
  • Leeds – Schipol – 386 miles
  • Liverpool – Belfast City – 151 miles
  • Liverpool – Cardiff – 135 miles
  • Liverpool – Dublin – 140 miles
  • Liverpool – Haverfordwest – 127 miles
  • Liverpool – Norwich – 180 miles
  • Liverpool – Ronaldsway – 89 miles
  • London City – Haverfordwest – 167 miles
  • London City – Humberside – 145 miles
  • London City – Manchester – 161 miles
  • London City – Norwich – 100 miles
  • Manchester – Schipol  413 miles
  • Newcastle – Cardiff – 230 miles
  • Newcastle – Belfast City – 168 miles
  • Newcastle – Newquay – 346 miles
  • Newcastle – Schipol – 395 miles
  • Newquay – Brest – 140 miles
  • Newquay – Cardiff  98 miles
  • Newquay – Cork – 180 miles
  • Newquay – Deauville – 241 miles
  • Newquay – Dinard – 183 miles
  • Newquay – Dublin – 212 miles
  • Newquay – Guernsey – 128 miles
  • Newquay – Jersey – 152 miles
  • Newquay – Nantes – 211 miles
  • Newquay – Orly – 351 miles
  • Newquay – Rouen – 285 miles
  • Newquay – Scillies – 68 miles
  • Newquay – Waterford – 150 miles
  • Norwich – Schipol – 277 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Belfast – 75 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Belfast City – 62 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Birmingham – 165 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Dublin – 80 miles
  • Ronaldsway – East Midlands – 161 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Glasgow – 123 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Leeds – 121 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Manchester – 109 miles
  • Southend – Schipol – 180 miles
  • Stansted – Aberdeen – 379 miles
  • Stansted – Edinburgh – 316 miles
  • Stansted – Glasgow – 334 miles
  • Stansted – Inverness – 426 miles
  • Stansted – Schipol – 335 miles
  • Stansted – Wick – 472 miles
  • Sumburgh – Bergen – 226 miles
  • Sumburgh – Kirkwall –  85 miles


  1. I have included Schipol, as in certain areas of the UK, passengers sometimes fly long-haul from Schipol.
  2. I have included Haverfordwest, as it will be close to all the wind farm activity in the Celtic Sea.
  3. I have included Anglesey, as I think it has possibilities.
  4. The distances wee calculated using on of the Free Map Tools.

These are some more specific thoughts.

The Basic ES-30 And The UK

With a range of 124 miles, I don’t believe that the range is long enough for the UK.

But saying that there are some established routes, where it should be able to operate.

  • Glasgow – Belfast
  • Glasgow – Belfast City
  • Glasgow – Derry
  • Haverfordwest – Waterford
  • Haverfordwest – Newquay
  • Inverness – Kirkwall
  • Liverpool – Haverfordwest
  • Liverpool – Ronaldsway
  • London City – Norwich
  • Newquay – Cardiff
  • Newquay – Scillies
  • Ronaldsway – Belfast
  • Ronaldsway – Belfast City
  • Ronaldsway – Dublin
  • Ronaldsway – Glasgow
  • Ronaldsway – Leeds
  • Ronaldsway – Manchester

These routes have the following in common.

  • They are mostly between major airports with advanced facilities.
  • Most airports served have access to renewable electricity.
  • Some of the routes can support hundred seat airliners.
  • Fifty percent go to the Isle of Man.

I can see several routes between the UK and the island of Ireland and to and from the Isle of Man using ES 30 aircraft.

The Extended Range ES-30 And The UK

The 247 mile range of the extended range ES-30, brings lots more routes into play.

Key routes could be the following.

  • Aberdeen – Kirkwall
  • Aberdeen – Sumburgh
  • Anglesey – Cork
  • Anglesey – Shannon
  • Birmingham – Belfast
  • Birmingham – Dublin
  • Birmingham – Newcastle
  • Birmingham – Newquay
  • Glasgow – Kirkwall
  • Glasgow – Stornoway
  • Heathrow – Newquay
  • Inverness – Sumburgh
  • Liverpool – Belfast City
  • Liverpool – Dublin
  • Liverpool – Norwich
  • London City – Haverfordwest
  • London City – Humberside
  • London City – Manchester
  • Newcastle – Belfast City
  • Newcastle – Cardiff
  • Newquay – Brest
  • Newquay – Cork
  • Newquay – Deauville
  • Newquay – Dinard
  • Newquay – Dublin
  • Newquay – Guernsey
  • Newquay – Jersey
  • Newquay – Nantes
  • Newquay – Waterford
  • Ronaldsway – Birmingham
  • Ronaldsway – East Midlands

There will also be other routes.

The Extended Range With 25 Passengers ES-30 And The UK

The 490 mile range of the extended range ES-30 with only 25 passengers, brings a few more routes into play.

  • Birmingham – Edinburgh
  • Birmingham – Glasgow
  • Birmingham – Inverness
  • Birmingham – Kirkwall
  • Birmingham – Schipol
  • Birmingham – Wick
  • Edinburgh – Schipol
  • Gatwick – Edinburgh
  • Gatwick – Schipol
  • Glasgow – Sumburgh
  • Humberside – Schipol
  • Leeds – Schipol
  • Manchester – Schipol
  • Newcastle – Newquay
  • Newcastle – Schipol
  • Newquay – Orly
  • Newquay – Rouen
  • Norwich – Schipol
  • Southend – Schipol
  • Stansted – Aberdeen
  • Stansted – Edinburgh
  • Stansted – Inverness
  • Stansted – Glasgow
  • Stansted – Schipol
  • Stansted – Wick


  1. All airports East of Birmingham and Manchester seem to be close enough to Schipol for an Extended Range ES-30 with 25 passengers to serve the route.
  2. Most major Scottish Airports can be reached from Stansted.
  3. Flying from Gatwick to Scottish Airports is around forty miles longer than flying from Stansted.

Liverpool Airport

Liverpool Airport could be a major destination for the ES 30, as it could be a key airport for flying between the UK and the island of Ireland.

Liverpool would obviously need the electric infrastructure, but I also believe it needs a better connection to the major railway station at Liverpool South Parkway, which has extensive rail connections.

This Google Map shows the area between Liverpool South Parkway station and the airport.


  1. Liverpool South Parkway station is marked by the red arrow in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The airport is in the opposite corner, with the terminal to the North of the runway.
  3. The main railway between the South and Liverpool Lime Street passes to the South of the station.
  4. The A561 passes across to the South of the railway and to the North of the airport.

I suspect some form of people mover like the Luton DART can be built between the station and the airport.

It should be noted that as Hunts Cross has only one platform for Merseyrail Northern Line trains and this could be a factor in limiting the line’s capacity. So could a second platform be installed at the airport to both act as an airport station and to increase the frequency on the Northern Line?

I believe that in a couple of years, journey times between Euston and Liverpool South Parkway will be under two hours and they will only get shorter with High Speed Two. With a fast connection between the airport and the station, there could be a sub-three-hour zero-carbon route between London and the island of Ireland.

  • Avanti West Coast Class 805 train to Liverpool South Parkway.
  • People mover to the airport.
  • Electric aircraft on the 140 miles to Dublin.

Dublin air traffic are usually efficient in getting planes in quickly.

Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport could be a major destination for the ES 30, as it could be a key airport for flying between the UK and the island of Ireland.

As with Liverpool Airport it needs a better connection to the rail network.

If Glasgow Airport is successful running zero-carbon aircraft to Ireland, this could change all previous thinking on a Glasgow Airport Rail Link.

Ronaldsway Airport

Geography and electric airliners could be very kind to Ronaldsway Airport and the Isle of Man.

  • Electric airliners can easily reach much of the island of Ireland and the UK mainland between Glasgow and Birmingham, from Ronaldsway Airport with ease.
  • The Isle of Man will in a couple of years be surrounded by wind farms.
  • With other developments on the island, it could sell itself to the UK and Ireland, as a green holiday destination.

But what would the motorcycle enthusiasts say?

Anglesey Airport

I believe that Anglesey Airport could be brought to life in a big way by electric aircraft like the ES-30 or the Eviation Alice.

These are flight distances from Anglesey Airport.

  • Anglesey – Belfast – 109 miles
  • Anglesey – Belfast City – 109 miles
  • Anglesey – Cork – 192 miles
  • Anglesey – Derry – 163 miles
  • Anglesey – Dublin – 71 miles
  • Anglesey – Ronaldsway – 58 miles
  • Anglesey – Shannon – 186 miles
  • Anglesey – Waterford – 130 miles

All of these except for Cork, Derry, Shannon and Waterford would be possible in the basic ES-30.

This Google Map shows the airport, which is also labelled as RAF Valley.

Note that the North Wales Coast Line passes the site on the North-East side.

At present, Avanti West Coast trains take nearly four hours between London and Holyhead.

But later this year, new bi-mode Class 805 trains will replace, the current diesel only Class 221 trains.

  • The current diesel only trains take two hours and five minutes between Crewe and Holyhead.
  • The current diesel only trains take one hour and forty-three minutes between Crewe and London Euston.
  • The fastest electric trains take one hour and twenty-nine minutes between Crewe and London Euston.
  • High Speed Two trains will take 56 minutes between Crewe and London Euston.

When you consider that a lot of the North Wales Coast Line, is straight and flat, I can see the following times being possible, with some improvement and smart electrification between Crewe and Holyhead  and a smaller number of stops.

  • Crewe and Anglesey Airport – One hour and twenty minutes
  • London Euston and Anglesey Airport – Two hours and fifty minutes

With High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains, the London Euston and Anglesey Airport time could be below two hours and thirty minutes.

I believe that with a well-designed terminal at Anglesey Airport, this could be the fastest zero-carbon way between London and Ireland.

Haverfordwest Airport

This Google Map shows the location of Haverfordwest Airport in the East of Pembrokeshire.

This second Google Map shows a close-up of the airport.


This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the airport and the nearest railway station.


  1. Haverfordwest Airport is at the top of the map.
  2. Haverfordwest station is at the bottom of the map.
  3. There are rail connections to Cardiff, Fishguard, Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock and Swansea from the the station.
  4. Rail passengers for London would change at Swansea.

The road looks good between the airport and the station, so would an electric bus to handle transfers be ideal?


  • I have flown myself into Haverfordwest Airport and there were no navigation or operational problems that I can remember.
  • With all the wind farm development planned for the coast of Pembrokeshire and the Celtic Sea, I feel that an airport in the area with regular flights to London and perhaps Waterford in Ireland could be essential.
  • London City and Haverfordwest airports are 167 miles apart
  • Waterford and Haverfordwest airports are 94 miles apart
  • Quiet electric aircraft may ease any planning problems.
  • Will a helicopter base be needed for serving wind farms in the Celtic Sea?

I believe, Haverfordwest Airport could be converted into a high-class airport for the Eastern tip of South Wales.

Haverfordwest Airport could also attract other services, given that the Welsh Government have a policy of not building new roads.

I have a feeling that quiet electric airliners will lead to the development of airports like Haverfordwest as feeder airports for the Heathrows and Schipols of this world.

Waterford Airport

Waterford Airport has recently been expanded and it appears from the Wikipedia entry, they are expecting more tourists.

This Google Map shows the position of the airport and the railway station in Waterford.


  1. The red arrow at the top of the map indicates Waterford station on the Northern side of the city.
  2. The airport is indicated by the blue dot in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The airport is about ten kilometres from the City Centre.

In the past, Waterford has been quite a busy airport, but Covid-19 seems to have killed most of the traffic.

So could a zero-carbon service between Waterford and Haverfordwest be profitable?

  • Those working with the wind energy in the Celtic Sea might find route useful.
  • It would give a low-carbon route between Waterford and South Wales, which some might like.
  • I also believe that the novelty of flying in an electric plane would attract passengers.

Waterford and Haverfordwest might be one of those routes, where electric planes might be worth trying.

This Google Map shows the Celtic Sea.


  1. Waterford Airport is indicated in red on the South-East corner of Ireland.
  2. Haverfordwest Airport is on the South-Western tip of Wales.
  3. Newquay Airport is in the South-East corner of the map on the North coast of Cornwall.

There could be as much as 50 GW of floating wind farms installed in this area.

I feel that there could be a case for a triangular Haverfordwest, Newquay and Waterford service.

Newquay Airport

Newquay Airport has been in the news recently because of the antics of Richard Branson and Virgin Orbit.

This Google Map shows the airport in relation to the town.


  1. The airport is in the North-East corner and boasts a long runway.
  2. The airport serves well over a dozen destinations.
  3. The town of Newquay is in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. Newquay station is by the sea.

All of these places would be suitable destinations for electric aircraft.

  • Birmingham
  • Brest
  • Cardiff
  • Cork
  • Deauville
  • Dinard
  • Dublin
  • Guernsey
  • Heathrow
  • Jersey
  • Nantes
  • Orly
  • Rouen
  • Scillies
  • Waterford

Newquay Airport could get very busy with electric aircraft supporting tourism and the developing wind power industry.

This second Google Map shows the town centre and station.

Surely, having the station by Great Western Beach is good marketing.

In The Proposed Mid-Cornwall Metro, I talked about a plan to run an hourly Metro service between Newquay and Falmouth.

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is dated January 2023 and entitled Mid Cornwall Metro Secures £50m In Levelling Up Funding, where these are the first two paragraphs.

Following yesterday’s major Levelling Up funding announcement, the government has pledged an almost £50m grant to improve the railways linking Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth in Cornwall.

This financial aid to improve Cornwall Rail links represents the only successful bid out of four that were submitted to the Levelling up funding. The improvement scheme will be helmed by a partnership with Great Western Railway and Network Rail.


  1. I believe this means the Mid-Cornwall Metro will be built.
  2. Especially as looks like it will cost less than £100 million.
  3. As this Metro will serve Newquay, it shouldn’t be too difficult to link the plane with the train, with perhaps a zero-carbon bus.
  4. The Metro would then link Newquay Airport to the main population centres of Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth.
  5. If the Metro could be run using zero-carbon trains, that would surely put the icing on the cake!


The map from OpenRailwayMap shows the route.


  1. Newquay is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Trains spend around 6-7 minutes waiting at Newquay.
  3. The blue arrow in the North-East corner marks Par station, where a chord will be reinstated to allow trains to go between Newquay and St. Austell.
  4. Par is the nearest station to the Eden Centre.
  5. Newquay and Par is 20.6 miles.
  6. The route, then goes along the Cornish Main Line, through St. Austell and then on to Truro.
  7. Par and Truro is 18.9 miles.
  8. At Truro the Metro would take the Falmouth branch.
  9. Falmouth and Truro is 11.8 miles.
  10. Trains spend around 7-8 minutes waiting at Falmouth Docks
  11. The total route is just over fifty miles, which probably means that battery-electric trains could work the route with charging at each end, whilst the train is turned round.

This airport and metro combination could give a big-boost to zero-carbon tourism.

Inverness Airport

Inverness Airport has recently been expanded with a station on the Inverness and Aberdeen Line.


  • Electric aircraft like the ES-30 will be able to reach both Kirkwall on Orkney and Sumburgh on Shetland from both Inverness and Aberdeen Airports.
  • Sumburgh would need an extended range ES-30.
  • Flights would be a few miles shorter from Inverness than from Aberdeen.
  • Kirkwall and Sumburgh is only 85 miles, so there may be possibilities for serving both Orkney and Shetland with one flight.
  • Extended range ES-30s might be able to do return trips to Kirkwall without a major charge at Kirkwall.
  • I once flew in my Cessna-340 to Kirkwall to see the original turbine, that was placed on the island. There is a lot of cold forbidding sea in the area. Perhaps the slightly shorter trip from Inverness, might be better for everybody’s nerves?
  • Just as the oil and gas industry did in the last century, I can see the offshore wind power industry generating a lot of passenger traffic to the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Both Inverness and Aberdeen can be reached from Stansted by an ES-30 carrying a reduced passenger load.

Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport could become a major base for electric aircraft.

The 247 mile range of the extended range ES-30 would allow it to be able to reach the following places.

  • Belfast
  • Dublin
  • Newcastle
  • Newquay
  • Ronaldsway

Reduce the passenger load slightly to 25 passengers and the plane would be able to reach.

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Inverness
  • Kirkwall
  • Wick

But Birmingham Airport is only 65 minutes from Euston and will in the future be served by High Speed Two, in under an hour.

The airport also has a large catchment area of its own, who might be tempted to choose flying zero-carbon.

Spokes From Speke

In the 1980s, I went to a presentation from Royal Mail in Ipswich about guaranteed next day delivery of parcels. It was important to me, as I was writing software that needed to get from Ipswich, where it was created to London, where it would be tested and installed on customers machines. We also needed to get copies to our customers in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The Royal Mail’s latest concept of Spokes From Speke was described.

  • All urgent parcels and First Class mail would be collected from the local sorting office and taken to the local airport, which in our case would probably have been Stansted.
  • These consignments would then be flown to Speke Airport as Liverpool Airport was known in those days at around midnight.
  • They would then be sorted and reloaded onto other planes to complete their journey.
  • The planes would then return home and the parcels and mail would be delivered by truck to the local sorting office.

Aircraft used included Short Skyvans and piston-engined twins. Some we’re the quietest of aircraft.

I have heard or read somewhere that in some airports, there were complaints about noisy aircraft flying in and out in the middle of the night.

Now fifty years on companies are looking to speed up deliveries.

  • In the UK, companies are experimenting with 100 mph overnight parcels trains.
  • This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Varamis Rail Launches Regular Express Light Freight Service.
  • Eversholt Rail are putting money behind converting redundant electric multiple units into parcel trains.

But DHL in the USA are going another way and have ordered twelve Alice aircraft from Eviation.

It looks like the cargo Alice could have a useful load of just over a tonne and a range of around 290 miles.

I can envisage flights of near-silent silent Alices sneaking into and out of airports in the middle of the night to deliver and collect urgent parcels.

Techniques like Spokes From Speke will come again, but this time with electric aircraft.

How Would The ES-30 Compare With An Eviation Alice?

The Wikipedia entry for the Eviation Alice gives these figures.

  • Passengers – 9
  • Maximum Speed – 300 mph
  • Range – 290 miles
  • Take-off distance – 840 metres
  • Landing distance – 620 metres


  1. These are figures that most pilots would expect from an aircraft of this size.
  2. My Cessna 340 was about the same and about eight percent slower.
  3. It also had a much longer range.

If you look at my list of flights, these will not be possible.

  • Birmingham – Inverness – 363 miles
  • Birmingham – Kirkwall – 451 miles
  • Birmingham – Schipol – 402 miles
  • Bimingham – Sumburgh – 513 miles
    Birmingham – Wick – 418 miles
  • Edinburgh – Schipol – 473 miles
  • Gatwick – Edinburgh – 356 miles
  • Gatwick – Schipol – 374 miles
  • Glasgow – Sumburgh – 300 miles
  • Humberside – Schipol – 333 miles
  • Leeds – Schipol – 386 miles
  • Manchester – Schipol  413 miles
  • Newcastle – Newquay – 346 miles
  • Newcastle – Schipol – 395 miles
  • Newquay – Orly – 351 miles
  • Stansted – Wick – 472 miles
  • Sumburgh – Bergen – 226 miles
  • Sumburgh – Kirkwall –  85 miles


  1. Most routes that are too long are to Schipol or Scotland.
  2. Anglesey appears to have Ireland extremely well covered.
  3. Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool keep their Irish routes.
  4. Newquay is still a hub, that would promote tourism in Cornwall and only loses the Orly connection, although it keeps the flight to Heathrow.
  5. Ronaldsway still looks to be a possible zero-carbon airport.

I would suggest that a range of 290 miles, is an ideal one for an electric aircraft in the UK, as it can handle a large number of routes.

These are routes that I feel would attract a large number of passengers.

  • Anglesey – Belfast – 109 miles
  • Anglesey – Belfast City – 109 miles
  • Anglesey – Derry – 163 miles
  • Anglesey – Dublin – 71 miles
  • Glasgow – Belfast – 106 miles
  • Glasgow – Belfast City – 103 miles
  • Glasgow – Derry – 121 miles
  • Heathrow – Newquay – 212 miles
  • Inverness – Kirkwall – 106 miles
  • Inverness – Sumburgh – 190 miles
  • Liverpool – Belfast – 153 miles
  • Liverpool – Belfast City – 151 miles
  • Liverpool – Dublin – 140 miles
  • Liverpool – Norwich – 180 miles
  • Liverpool – Ronaldsway – 89 miles
  • London City – Humberside – 145 miles
  • London City – Manchester – 161 miles
  • Newcastle – Cardiff – 230 miles
  • Newcastle – Belfast City – 168 miles
  • Newquay – Brest – 140 miles
  • Newquay – Cardiff  98 miles
  • Newquay – Cork – 180 miles
  • Newquay – Deauville – 241 miles
  • Newquay – Scillies – 68 miles
  • Newquay – Waterford – 150 miles
  • Norwich – Schipol – 277 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Belfast City – 62 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Dublin – 80 miles
  • Ronaldsway – Glasgow – 123 miles
  • Southend – Schipol – 180 miles
  • Sumburgh – Kirkwall –  85 miles

Alice may not be big enough for some routes.

But it will be a wonderful route-proving aircraft for the larger ES-30 and other zero-carbon aircraft.


There will be a lot of uses for battery-electric aircraft in the UK.









May 12, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Landmark Levelling Up Fund To Spark Transformational Change Across The UK

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the UK Government.

These are the four bullet points.

  • More than 100 projects awarded share of £2.1 billion from Round 2 of government’s flagship Levelling Up Fund.
  • Projects will benefit millions of people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and create jobs and boost economic growth.
  • £672 million to develop better transport links, £821 million to kick-start community regeneration and £594 million to restore local heritage sites.
  • Successful bids include Eden Project North in Morecambe, a new AI campus in Blackpool, regeneration in Gateshead, and rail improvements in Cornwall

The press release expands the last bullet point.

Projects awarded Levelling Up Fund money today include:

Eden Project North

Eden Project North will receive £50 million to transform a derelict site on Morecambe’s seafront into a world class visitor attraction. It will also kick-start regeneration more widely in Morecambe, creating jobs, supporting tourism and encouraging investment in the seaside town.


  1. Because of its closeness to the West Coast Main Line, it will have excellent rail connections to all over the North of England and Central and Southern Scotland, through Lancaster, which will only be a shuttle train away.
  2. One of High Speed Two’s direct destinations will be Lancaster, which will be served by High Speed Two by hourly trains to Birmingham, Carlisle, Crewe, London, Preston, Warrington and Wigan and by two-hourly trains to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lockerbie and Motherwell.
  3. London and Lancaster will be a journey of just two hours and three minutes.

I believe that this high quality rail access will ensure the success of the Eden Project North.

Cardiff Crossrail

Cardiff Crossrail has been allocated £50 million from the fund to improve the journey to and from the city and raise the economic performance of the wider region.

The Cardiff Crossrail is obviously a good project from the little that I’ve read about it. But it does need a web site to explain the reasoning behind it.

Blackpool Multiversity

Blackpool Council and Wyre Council will receive £40 million to deliver a new Multiversity, a carbon-neutral, education campus in Blackpool’s Talbot Gateway Central Business District. This historic funding allows Blackpool and The Fylde College to replace their ageing out-of-town centre facilities with world-class state-of-the-art ones in the heart of the town centre. The Multiversity will promote higher-level skills, including automation and artificial intelligence, helping young people secure jobs of the future.

Blackpool certainly needs something.

My suggestion in Blackpool Needs A Diamond, was to build a second Diamond Light Source in the North to complement the successful facility at Harwell.

I don’t think the two proposals are incompatible.

Fair Isle Ferry

Nearly £27 million has been guaranteed for a new roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle in the Shetland Islands. The service is a lifeline for the island, supporting its residents, visitors and supply chains, and without its replacement the community will become further isolated.


  1. Will it be a British-built ferry?
  2. Will it be hydrogen-powered?  After all by the time it is built, the Northern Scottish islands will be providing enough of the gas to power a quarter of Germany.
  3. Surely, a hydrogen-powered roll-on, roll-off ferry will be a tourist attraction in its own right.

I hope the Government and the islanders have a good ship-yard lined up

Gateshead Quays And The Sage

A total of £20 million is going towards the regeneration of Gateshead Quays and the Sage, which will include a new arena, exhibition centre, hotels, and other hospitality. The development will attract nearly 800,000 visitors a year and will create more than 1,150 new jobs.

I don’t know much about the Sage, but this project seems very reasonable.

Mid-Cornwall Metro

A £50 million grant will help create a new direct train service, linking 4 of Cornwall’s largest urban areas: Newquay, St Austell, Truro, and Falmouth/Penryn. This will level up access to jobs, skills, education, and amenities in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in the UK.

I wrote about this scheme in The Proposed Mid-Cornwall Metro, where I came to this conclusion.

I believe that a small fleet of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could create an iconic Metro for Cornwall, that would appeal to both visitors and tourists alike.

Judging by the recent success of reopening the Dartmoor Railway to Okehampton in Devon, I think this scheme could be a big success. But it must be zero-carbon!

Female Changing Rooms For Northern Ireland Rugby

There is £5.1 million to build new female changing rooms in 20 rugby clubs across Northern Ireland.

Given the popularity of the female version of the sport in England, Scotland and Wales, perhaps this is a sensible way to level it up in Northern Ireland. As rugby is an all-Ireland sport, perhaps the Irish have already sorted the South?

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Proposed Mid-Cornwall Metro

In the January 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there is this description of the Mid-Cornwall Metro.

This would see an hourly service shuttling between the north and south coasts of the county and linking the main population centres at Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Falmouth. This would become the main service on the Newquay branch, and it would take over one of the twice-hourly services on the Falmouth branch, with the other service being a Truro to Falmouth shuttle as now.

Facilitating the Metro idea will be the latest phase of the modernisation of signalling in Cornwall, which will see the upgrade of a level crossing near Truro. Other infrastructure work required is a new passing loop on the Newquay branch at Tregoss Moor and restoration of a second platform face at the terminus at Newquay.

A business case was due to be submitted to the Department for Transport before Christmas 2021.

These are a few thoughts.

The Current Timings

If you look at the distances and timings of the various sections they are as follows.

  • Newquay and Par – Five stops – 20.8 miles – 49-52 minutes
  • Par and Truro – One stop – 19 miles – 22 minutes
  • Truro and Falmouth Docks – Four stops – 11.8 miles – 24 minutes


  1. It appears that the Newquay to Par service is three minutes quicker than the other way.
  2. There will be a reverse at Par, which could take three minutes.
  3. The Par and Truro times were either GWR Castles or Class 802 trains.

The total time is 98-101 minutes and the total distance is 51.6 miles

Possible Timing


  • For the ease of timetabling and operation, it is probably best that a round trip between the two Newquay and Falmouth Docks takes an exact number of hours.
  • The operating speed between Par and Truro is 75 mph and it is only 50 mph elsewhere.
  • Turnround time at Newquay is five minutes.
  • Turnround time at Falmouth Docks is 4-6 minutes

For these reasons, I doubt that much improvement could be made on the fastest time of 98 minutes. Certainly, a round trip of three hours would appear impossible.

But a round trip time of four hours would be very sensible.

However, there would be a turnround time of between 19-22 minutes at each end of the route.

This time might seem overly long, but it would be ideal for charging a battery-electric train.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed?

As the round trip will be four hours and an hourly service is needed, there will be a need for four trains to run the service, with the addition of probably two extra trains to allow for one in maintenance and one covering for any breakdowns.

Could The Mid-Cornwall Metro Use Battery-Electric Trains?

This Hitachi infographic shows the specification of the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.


  1. The range of ninety kilometres is fifty-six miles and a longer distance than Newquay and Falmouth Docks.
  2. The operating speed of 90-100 mph is ideal.
  3. The time needed for a full charge at either end is within the timetable, I calculated earlier.

Hitachi Regional Battery Trains would be ideal for working the Mid-Cornwall Metro with a full charge at both ends of the route.

I have used my virtual helicopter to explore the Cornish Main Line between Par and Truro.

If it was decided to electrify the Cornish Main Line between Truro and Par, this could be an alternative way to charge the trains.

  • The Mid-Cornish Metro trains should be able to do a return trip to Newquay and Falmouth Docks from the main line without charging at the two terminal stations.
  • The electrification would be able to charge battery-electric Class 802 trains between Plymouth and Penzance.

But the extra infrastructure works to raise nine road bridges and several footbridges might blow the budget.

Where Would The Trains Be Serviced?

Great Western Railway has depots at both Penzance and Plymouth and with perhaps a charger at Truro and/or Par stations, the trains should be able to get to either depot at the end of the day.

Trains To Newquay

Wikipedia says this about the services to Newquay station.

The service is irregular with typically one train around every two hours.

As well as the local service, the station handles a number of long-distance trains in the summer. These services include Great Western Railway trains from London Paddington and CrossCountry trains from the North of England and the Scottish Lowlands, which do not stop at intermediate stations between Par and Newquay. On Sundays, there are some local trains and a small number of intercity services. As well as the weekend through trains, in peak summer months there is also a Monday-Friday through Great Western Railway intercity service to and from London, but local trains continue on these days too. Traditionally, there was no Sunday service in the winter, even in the ‘golden age’ between both of the 20th century’s world wars, but the line has a service of three trains each way on Sundays from 11 December 2011.

The Mid-Cornwall Metro will at least come with an hourly service.

But this will mean, that to run other services to the station with the hourly Metro will mean that a second platform will be needed.

I discuss the improvements needed in Beeching Reversal – Transforming The Newquay Line.

This is a quirky video, which describes an architect’s plans for the station.

It is the sort of simple solution, that I like.


I believe that a small fleet of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could create an iconic Metro for Cornwall, that would appeal to both visitors and tourists alike.


January 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Mid-Cornwall Metro

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This is a strange project, as I can’t find a detailed description of what it entails.

All I can think, is that it is a general project to run all the local lines in Cornwall as a unified whole.

Great Western Railway runs these services in Cornwall.

  • Cornish Main Line – London Paddington and Penzance – One train per two hours (tp2h) – Calling at Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne and St Erth
  • Cornish Main Line – Exeter St. Davids and Penzance – One train per hour (tph) – Calling at Newton Abbot, Totnes, Ivybridge, Plymouth, Devonport, Dockyard, Keyham, St Budeaux Ferry Road, Saltash, St Germans, Menheniot, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne, Hayle and St Erth
  • Looe Valley Line – Liskeard and Looe – One tph – Calling at Coombe Junction Halt, St Keyne Wishing, Well Halt, Causeland and Sandplace.
  • Atlantic Coast Line – Par and Newquay – One tp2h – Calling at Luxulyan, Bugle, Roche, St Columb Road and Quintrell Downs
  • Maritime Line – Truro and Falmouth Docks – Two tph – Calling at Perranwell (1tph), Penryn, Penmere and Falmouth Town
  • St. Ives Bay Line – St. Erth and St. Ives – Two tph – Calling at Lelant Saltings, Lelant and Carbis Bay

Could frequencies and connectivities be improved?

Other Beeching Reversal projects are also aiming to improve the railways in Cornwall.

Transforming the Newquay Line
Reinstatement of Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway and associated works
Increased service provision Bodmin General-Bodmin Parkway

I think the first might increase frequencies on the Newquay to one tph or even two tph and the Bodmin General station improvements should create a useful new platform.

Wikipedia mentions this project.

Reopening The Lostwithiel And Fowey Railway To Passengers

Are there any other lines, stations or platforms, that could be reopened, given a passenger service or or an increase in frequency?


Someone must have a plan somewhere! So can they please disclose it?


August 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment