The Anonymous Widower

Penmaenmawr Quarry Rail Terminal Opens

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Hanson has reopened its Penmaenmawr railhead in north Wales, as part of its strategy to reduce vehicle movements and associated CO2 emissions.

The quarrying company has spent £300 000 refurbishing the facility, including upgrades to the railhead conveyor which was last used in 2012. The first trial service was operated by GB Railfreight and transported stone to the Tuebrook depot near Liverpool to test the equipment and uncover any operational issues within the quarry and at the railhead.

The aim is to one one train per week between North Wales and North West England.

This Google Map shows the Penmaenmawr railhead.

Note.

  1. Penmaenmawr station is in the top right corner of the map.
  2. The railhead is in the bottom-left corner of the map.
  3. The North Wales Expressway is between the railway and the beach.

There is a conveyor leading to the South and this second Google Map shows the vast quarry complex.

Penmaenmawr station is in the top right corner of the map.

It does appear to me, that this is a good move by Hanson.

  • If the quarry can be worked economically, it is surely worthwhile exploiting.
  • Opening new quarries, is generally not an easy process.
  • Even using diesel locomotives on the aggregate trains, probably saves carbon compared to trucks.
  • Closing the quarry would probably not be good for the area.
  • They only want to run one train per week.
  • I wonder, if the train goes through the Halton Curve that opened a couple of years ago.
  • Penmaenmawr and Tuebrook Sidings are a route of about eighty miles.

But I think in the future it could be a very good move, as at least one of three things will happen.

  • The North Wales Coast Line will be electrified.
  • Someone will develop a hydrogen-electric freight locomotive.
  • Wabtec will develop their battery-electric locomotive for the UK with a UK-sized FLXdrive battery.

All possibilities will help Hanson lower the carbon footprint of the route.

Given too, that Hanson will probably decarbonise their quarrying operations by using hydrogen-powered equipment, it should be possible to arrange a hydrogen supply at Penmaenmawr.

 

January 18, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anglesey Hydrogen Can Bridge UK’s Energy Gap Says Economics Expert

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the University of Bangor web site.

This is the sub title.

Anglesey can become a UK leader in hydrogen energy technology, cleaning up the transport sector and creating high quality jobs across North Wales, according to a leading Welsh economic expert.

The University of Bangor is a respected university, that goes back to the nineteenth century.

But for Liverpool giving me an unconditional offer, as Bangor was one of the universities on my UCCA form, I could have studied in the North-West corner of Wales.

After a resume of where we are with hydrogen in the world, Dr. Edward Jones of Bangor University outlines how North West Wales can be turned into a hydrogen hub, to join similar hubs at Deeside in Flintshire and at Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire.

This is a paragraph of the article.

Dr Jones believes hydrogen could also hold the key to powering transport in future through a Welsh invention from the 19th century (the hydrogen fuel cell was developed in Swansea by William Grove in 1842).

William Grove was an interesting lawyer and scientist.

Dr. Jones would appear to be very much in favour of using hydrogen to take Wales forward to being zero-carbon in 2050.

I have written a few posts about the transformation of Anglesey and North West Wales, as Wales moves towards this goal. I also have some other thoughts of my own.

Holyhead Hydrogen Hub

This is happening and I wrote about it in Holyhead Hydrogen Hub Planned For Wales.

High Speed Two To Holyhead

I believe this could be a way to create a zero-carbon route between London and Dublin in under five hours and I wrote about it in Could High Speed Two Serve Holyhead?.

  • London and Holyhead in a battery-equipped High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train should be under three hours.
  • A single High Speed Two Classic-Compatible train would run between London and Holyhead, with a passenger capacity of around five hundred. It would probably split and join with another service at Crewe.
  • Discontinuous electrification would be provided along the North Wales Coast Line.
  • The trains could call at Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange, Chester, Crewe, Llandudno Junction and Bangor.

A High Speed catamaran would speed passengers between Holyhead and Dublin in under two hours.

Hydrogen-Powered Catamarans From Holyhead

The dynamics of a diesel-powered high speed catamaran are well-proven, with some large craft transporting passengers and vehicles on sea crossings all over the world.

Type “hydrogen-powered high speed catamaran” into Google and you get several hits to research and development projects, but no-one appears to have taken a large high speed craft and converted it to hydrogen.

But I do believe that someone somewhere is developing a hydrogen-powered catamaran with something like the following specification.

  • 200 passengers
  • 100-mile range
  • 60 knot operating speed.

The HSC Francisco is a high speed craft that plies between Buenos Aires and Montevideo carrying over a thousand passengers and a hundred cars at 58 knots. It is powered by gas-turbine engines running on liquified natural gas.

I believe I’m not asking for the impossible.

Anglesey Airport As A Zero-Carbon Airport

Anglesey Airport uses part of RAF Valley and has hosted services to Cardiff.

This Google Map shows the runways of RAF Valley.

Note.

  1. The longest runway 14/32 is over two thousand metres long.
  2. Rhosneigr station in the South East corner of the map.
  3. The facilities of Anglesey Airport to the North-East of the runways.

The railway forms the border of the airport, as this second Google map shows.

The railway is straight as it passes the Airport and there would be space for a two-hundred metre bi-directional step-free platform for passengers for the Airport.

Airbus are proposing a hydrogen-powered ZEROe Turbofan.

If you think it looks familiar, I believe that Airbus are proposing to develop the aircraft out of the current Airbus A320neo.

  • The capacity will be up to 200 passengers.
  • The range will be up to 2000 miles.
  • Dublin and Anglesey Airports are just 71.5 miles apart.
  • The cruising speed of Mach 0.78 would be irrelevant on this route, as it would probably fly a route to minimise noise.

The plane would probably be able to do several trips between Anglesey and Dublin without refuelling.

As the Port of Holyhead is developing a hydrogen infrastructure, I suspect that to provide hydrogen refuelling at Anglesey Airport would be possible.

I believe that by combining hydrogen-powered aircraft with battery-electric trains, some difficult sea crossings can be made carbon-free.

I believe that Anglesey Airport could be key to a zero-carbon London and Ireland service.

  • Airbus are also proposing a 100-seat ZEROe Turboprop.
  • Belfast, Cork, Derry and Shannon would also be in range.

Flights could also continue to and from Cardiff.

Reopening The Anglesey Central Railway

This has been proposed as a Beeching Reversal project.

I wrote about it in Reopening The Anglesey Central Railway.

It could be reopened as a zero-carbon railway.

Conclusion

There is a lot of scope to use hydrogen in North West Wales and Anglesey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 7, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Day Out From Liverpool

I was staying at the Premier Inn close to Moorfields station in Liverpool and decided to go to Blaenau Ffestiniog for the day, with hopefully, a ride from there on the Ffestiniog Railway to Porthmadog on the coast.

The following sections describe the route I took.

Moorfields To Chester

After buying a Day Return from Liverpool Stations to Blaunau Ffestiniog with my Senior Railcard for £20.40, I took one of Merseyrail‘s four trains per hour (tph) from Moorfields station, that goes direct to Chester station.

The train was one of Merseyrail’s Class 508 trains, which are nearly forty years old. Although, they were refurbished a few years ago and get much better TLC. I’ve yet to see a Merseyrail train, that has suffered from spray painters!

It always surprises me, how many people I’ve met, who’ve been for a weekend to Liverpool and haven’t used the Merseyrail system, that has four stations in the City Centre and connects to attractions in the North, South and on the Wirral.

Over the next few years, it will be getting larger and better.

  • New Class 777 trains will replace the current ones.
  • The new trains will have a battery capability to extend routes.
  • The network will be expanded to Skelmerdale and possibly Preston and Wrexham.
  • A connection to Liverpool Airport is a possibility.
  • New stations will be added.

It should also be noted, that after the extensive works at the main Liverpool Lime Street station, that extra direct main line services will be introduced.

  • Chester, Lladudno and Shrewsbury via the Halton Curve.
  • Edinburgh and Glasgow via the West Coast Main Line.

If I was going between Liverpool and Llandudno from next year, I will have two routes.

Chester Station

I think it is truthful to say that Chester station needs improvement.

According to Transport for Wales, improvement is coming by 2028.

It certainly needs it!

  • Chester is one of England’s historic cities.
  • Many residents of Chester commute to Liverpool and Manchester.
  • Chester station is a main railway interchange between North Wales and Birmingham, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
  • The station doesn’t have enough staff or a decent passenger information system.

As the station is managed from Cardiff, does it suffer from being out of sight and out of mind?

Chester To Llandudno Junction

From Chester to Llandudno Junction station took about an hour in a Class 175 train, along the North Wales Coast Line.

The scenery is mixed as these pictures show.

The line has an operating speed of ninety mph, but the train didn’t seem to travel at much over seventy.

The signalling is being improved and it strikes me, that the section of the line to the East of Llandudno could become a route, where Virgin’s Class 221 trains and the new Welsh diesel multiple units to be built in Newport, could really crack on and improve timings.

Up The Conwy Valley Line

Blaenau Ffestiniog has an altitude of 215 metres, and Llandudno Junction has an altitude of perhaps less than ten metres.

The Class 150 train was fairly well loaded, but it managed the climb on the Conwy Valley Line easily.

.As you can see the single-track route starts alongside the estuary of the River Conwy, then continues up to the summit in the 3.5 km long Ffestiniog Tunnel. The summit is 240 metres, so the line descends into Blaenau Ffestiniog station.

Transport for Wales intend to run Class 230 trains on this line.

I wrote about this in Class 230 Trains On The Conwy Valley Line.

Conclusion

The trip with its three changes took around three hours, but this time will get a bit shorter, once direct trains between Liverpool and Llandudno Junction stations via the Halton Curve will be faster and there will be no need to change trains at Chester station.

I looked at the effects of the Halton Curve in Between Liverpool Lime Street And Chester Stations.

I came to this conclusion on timings.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see timings of direct trains between Llandudno and Liverpool Lime Street stations in the order of an hour-and-a half.

I suspect the direct train and the improved journey time will attract more passengers to the route.

 

 

 

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July 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment