The Anonymous Widower

Containerised Coal Overcomes The Break-Of-Gauge

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

Innofreight containers are being transferred from broad to standard gauge trains as part of a through journey for the first time.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has forced Poland to seek alternatives to Russian coal, but Polish ports have limited capacity to handle the required volumes.

As a result, coal is being imported via the Lithuanian port of Klaipėda. LTG Cargo’s 1 520 mm gauge trains are loaded with 60 Innofreight MonTainer XXL bulk goods containers of coal for transport to Kaunas or Šeštokai, where the containers are transferred to 15 standard gauge InnoWagons for onward transport to Braniewo in Poland.

It sounds like a simple solution, with advantages.

Innofreight says that this is faster than discharging the coal from one train and reloading it onto another, and also avoids creating dust.

On their home page, Innofreight describe themselves like this.

The focus of our corporate activity is the development of innovative wagons, containers and unloading systems for and in cooperation with our customers.

Certainly after the war in Ukraine is finished, there should be a large market for dual-gauge systems like that being used to get coal to Poland.

 

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

Lithuanian Gas Pipeline Hit By Large Explosion

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

This is the sub heading.

A large blast has hit a gas pipeline in the Pasvalys region of northern Lithuania, near the Latvian border.

This Google Map shows the location of the explosion.

Note.

  1. Country borders are marked as white lines.
  2. The site of the explosion at Pasvalis Vienkiemii, is marked with a red arrow.
  3. Pasvalis Vienkiemii is about a hundred miles from Vilnius.
  4. About a hundred miles to the East of Pasvalis Vienkiemii, is the point, where Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania meet.
  5. Russian territory is about a hundred miles further to the East.

I have experience of the quality of borders in that area.

South-West of Lithuania and lying between that country and Poland, there is the small Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

These pictures show the border between Poland and the Kaliningrad enclave of Russia.

If the borders between Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania are as secure as this, they are almost an open invitation to saboteurs to enter and do damage.

 

January 14, 2023 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Next Generation Of Fixed Foundation Wind Farms

This article on offshoreWIND.biz, is entitled Offshore Wind Turbines In 2022: 15 MW Prototypes Starting To Spin In Europe, Chinese Rolling Out 16 MW Models, Windcatcher And VAWTs Secure Demo Projects.

The title itself, shows 15-16 MW wind turbines and the text lists three European 15 MW and two Chinese 16 MW wind turbines, that are being developed.

This paragraph also indicates that Siemens Gamesa are in the running for orders.

So far, the SG 14-236 DD wind turbine has been selected as a preferred option for the Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas wind farms offshore the UK, as well as for the MFW Bałtyk II and MFW Bałtyk III wind farms in the Polish Baltic Sea.

Large turbines with a capacity of 15 MW and upwards appear to be becoming the new normal.

Water depths for these large turbines are forecast to be deeper than the two Norfolk wind-farms, which are between 22 and 40 metres.

This means that foundations will get much larger and heavier.

This article on offshoreWIND.biz, is entitled New Monopile Installation Method Attracts Major Backer, describes a new generation of monopiles as 100-130 metres in length, 12-15 metres in outer diameter, and a weight of up to 5,000 tonnes.

Installing these long and heavy objects safely in deep waters, is not a job for the faint-hearted.

The article describes a new method of installation, which I feel is very elegant.

  • The XXXL monopiles are built horizontally.
  • They are moved on to the jack-up ship by self-propelled modular transporters (SPMT).
  • It appears at least two or possibly up to four monopiles can be carried on the ship.
  • They are lifted into the vertical position by a lifting beam.

Note.

  1. No cranes are involved in the process.
  2. The lifting beam method of erecting the 5,000 tonne XXXL monopile is simple and very efficient.
  3. Self-propelled modular transporters were used to install the 2000 tonne subway at Hackney Wick station.
  4. Rollers are fitted on the ship to ease handling of the monopiles.

I can certainly see this specialised jack-up ship speeding up the installation of these giant monopiles.

Consequences For Floating Wind

I do wonder, if this method of installing fixed foundation wind farms, will allow larger foundations and these may mean that there is less need for the more complex floating wind farms.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany Has Potential For 82 GW Of Offshore Wind

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renewables Now.

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Germany has the potential to raise its offshore wind energy capacity to 81.6 GW which is above the federal government’s target of 70 GW by 2045, a study by research institute Fraunhofer IWES shows.

To exploit all the potential for wind energy in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, Germany needs to devise a strategy for more efficient use of the available space and use new offshore wind power technologies in additional areas in a way that will not raise concerns and affect nature conservation.

This map shows the German parts of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Note.

  1. White lines show the borders with The Netherlands, Denmark and Poland.
  2. Heligoland in the South-East corner of the North Sea. Could this island be used as a giant offshore substation?
  3. There are plenty of ports to service offshore developments.
  4. It looks like compared to the UK, a fair proportion of German offshore wind farms will be closer to the land.

Currently, Germany has 7.8 GW of offshore wind in operation, with around seventy percent of the turbines in the North Sea.

According to the Wikipedia entry called Wind Power In The UK, in 2019, the UK had installed 8.4 GW of offshore wind turbines, and there could be a potential to have a total of 120 GW in British waters.

With the Belgians, Danes, Dutch, Irish, Norwegians, Poles and Swedes joining this party, I can see the world’s largest wind power station being developed in the North and Baltic Seas.

August 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rail Baltica Electrification Procurement Begins

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

These two paragraphs define the project.

Rail Baltica project promoter RB Rail has begun procurement of the electrification systems for the future standard gauge line between Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, saying it will be the largest railway electrification scheme in Europe to be implemented as a single project.

The energy subsystem contract covers 870 km of double track line from the Polish border to Tallinn including the line from Kaunas to Vilnius, and includes design and construction of substations, connections to the public high voltage grids, control systems and more than 2 000 track-km of overhead equipment.

It looks like the procurement process will be finished by 2023.

Hopefully, Vlad the Mad won’t object to this standard gauge line going too close to lines with his beloved Russian gauge.

June 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Poland May Become A Green Hydrogen Tycoon

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Central.

This is the first two paragraphs.

In 2050, Poland may become one of the most competitive producers of green hydrogen in the European Union. In addition, we could export it to other countries, using the already existing infrastructure – e.g. the Yamal gas pipeline.

According to analysts of the Polish Economic Institute (PIE), in the next three decades Poland could become a very competitive producer of green hydrogen. Particularly economically beneficial in Polish conditions would be the production of hydrogen based on energy from onshore wind energy.

Note.

  1. The Yamal pipeline comes all the way from Siberia.
  2. The Baltic pipeline will connect Norway and Poland.
  3. Poland currently has over 7 GW of wind power.
  4. Wikipedia says this “In 2019, wind was the second most important source of electricity produced in Poland, after coal, and accounted for about 10% of the electricity production.”
  5. I have been to quite a few parts of Poland and it seems that it can be flat and windy.
  6. 1.2 GW of offshore wind is under development near Slupsk.

I very much feel that the conclusion of the article could be right.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , | 3 Comments

Lithuania To Germany Intermodal Service To Launch In April

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Lithuanian national railway’s freight business LTG Cargo is to launch a service carrying containers and semi-trailers from the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal to Duisburg in Germany on April 4.

Trains with a capacity of up to 36 semi-trailers and containers will run thrice-weekly on the 1 500 km route. This will be LTG Cargo’s first westward service operating in three countries, with operations in Poland and Germany handled by its LTG Cargo Polska subsidiary.tail

These are more information and my thoughts.

The Route

The route appears to follow a route from Kaunas to Warsaw via

Note.

  1. The links on the names are to the town’s Wikipedia entry.
  2. The border between Lithuania and Poland is between Mockava ans Suwalki.
  3. There are freight yards and change of gauge facilities at Šeštokai and Mockava.

Some of these towns are probably worth a visit, especially if like me, you have Jewish ancestors from the area.

My father’s great-great-grandfather possibly came from Konigsberg in East Prussia and arrived in the UK around 1800.

The Russian And Standard Gauge Solution

Consider.

  • Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have Russian gauge railways which is 1520 mm.
  • Poland, Germany, France, Italy and the UK have standard gauge railways, which is 1435 mm.

The solution has been to build between Kaunus and Šeštokai, to build Russian gauge and standard gauge tracks side by side.

Kaunas Intermodal Terminal

This Google Map may show the Kaunas Intermodal Terminal.

Note the rail yards in the middle of the map, have both Russian and standard gauge tracks.

Rail Baltica

The route taken is the standard gauge route of Rail Baltica, which is an EU project.

  • It will run between Helsinki and Warsaw.
  • Intermediate stops will be Pärnu, Riga, Riga International Airport, Panevėžys, Kaunas and Bialystok
  • Vilnius will be served by a branch from Kaunus.
  • The line will be double track.
  • The line will be electrified with 25 KVAC overhead.
  • Passenger trains will operate at up to 249 kph.
  • Freight trains will operate at up to 120 kph.
  • A tunnel will be built later between Helsinki and Tallinn.

Completion of the route between Warsaw and Tallinn is planned for 2026.

Rail Baltica I

Rail Baltica I is the first section of the route to be opened and is described like this in Wikipedia.

The name Rail Baltica is also sometimes used to mean the first phase of European gauge railway construction from the Poland-Lithuania border to Kaunas in Lithuania.

It opened in October 2016.

The new freight service will use this route to connect to Bialystok and Warsaw.

Conclusion

I have been on the roads in this area of Poland and rail freight services are needed to take the pressure off the roads.

March 31, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Time We Used Cyber Dark Arts To Foil Putin

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times, which was written by Edward Lucas.

This is the first paragraph.

Breaking the Kremlin’s grip on the Russian people is the greatest national security priority of our lives. We cannot (or rather, will not) fight the Russian invaders in Ukraine. But we can fight inside Russia, using disruption and subversion to disable the war machine, ideally to the point that the country becomes ungovernable.

He suggests the following.

  • Russian speakers could sow doubt about the regime’s lies and brutalities.
  • Use the Russian diaspora to contact friends and relatives back home.
  • Build and unleash a psychological warfare arsenal against Putin’s cocktail of crimes, lies and secrecy.
  • Send condolences to family members for their losses in the war.
  • Prepare Nuremberg for war crimes trials.
  • Highlight the friendly treatment that Ukrainians give Russian deserters.
  • Use wit as a weapon.

Edward Lucas then talks about the antics of Sefton Delmer in World War II. Wikipeda says this about him.

During the war, he led a black propaganda campaign against Hitler by radio from England. It was so successful that Delmer was named in the Nazis’ Black Book for immediate arrest after their planned invasion of Britain.

I suspect he was very good at his job. Two of his weapons were.

Aspidistra, which was a 500 kW radio station.

A daily “grey” German-language newspaper titled Nachrichten für die Truppe (“News for the Troops”). These leaflets were delivered by the USAF.

Edward Lucas says that we should all read Delmer’s autobiography, which is called Black Boomerang, which is now out of print and difficult to find.

Wikipedia gives this explanation of Black Boomerang.

When fighting entered Germany itself, black propaganda was used to create an impression of an anti-Nazi resistance movement.

At the end of the war in Europe, Delmer advised his colleagues not to publicise the work they had been involved in, lest unrepentant Nazis claim (as had been the case after the First World War), that they had been defeated by unconscionable methods, rather than on the battlefield. Consequently, former Nazis were able to claim, without contradiction, that they had assisted the fictitious resistance movement; Delmer described this unintended consequence as a “black boomerang”

Edward Lucas suggests reprinting Black Boomerang.

If someone has a good clear copy, I could possibly arrange it.

Demoralising The Russians

Edward Lucas believes, we can use similar techniques to Delmer to attack the Russians.

But instead of using a massive radio, he proposes using the Internet and its various messaging apps.

I suspect with a bit of arm-twisting Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft et al, could produce a very good list of Russian Internet users.

It might be against the law, but who cares? It’s a war out there, we’re not using the information to physically hurt anybody or steal anything of value.

News For The Troops

I believe we can go one better than Sefton Delmer.

We are dealing with Russians invading and occupying Ukrainian territory, where many of the inhabitants can certainly read Russian.

So could we develop a truthful leaflet, that is delivered across Ukraine to both Russian Troops and the Ukrainian population?

Delivery would be primarily by the Internet, but why not deliver it by drone?

Delivery from say 5000 feet would distribute the leaflets over a wide area.

Could We Go Candy Bombing?

Gail Halvorsen, who died recently was known as the Candy Bomber.

This is the introduction to his Wikipedia entry.

Gail Seymour Halvorsen (October 10, 1920 – February 16, 2022) was a senior officer and command pilot in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the “Berlin Candy Bomber” or “Uncle Wiggly Wings” and gained fame for dropping candy to German children during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949.

I think, his actions could be copied in Ukraine.

Consider.

  • The Ukrainian people are starving in the occupied territories.
  • The Russian soldiers aren’t doing much better.
  • These days, we can supply nutrition bars instead of sweets.
  • Automated drones could deliver them safely from 5000 feet.
  • They could be flown on behalf of the Red Cross from over the border in Hungary, Moldova, Poland and Slovakia.

Organised properly, the Russians would have a problem.

  • If they let the drones through, the siege will be broken in a small way.
  • If they shoot them down, their soldiers won’t get the smallest snack and the Russians will be attacking the Red Cross.

We might lose a lot of drones, but eventually we’ll get the nutrition through, each wrapped in a large dollop of propaganda.

 

 

March 14, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Rail Baltica Annoy Putin?

Rail Baltica is described like this in Wikipedia.

Rail Baltica (also known as Rail Baltic in Estonia) is an ongoing greenfield railway infrastructure project to link Finland (via ferry or an undersea tunnel), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania with Poland and through this with the European standard gauge rail line network. Its purpose is to provide passenger and freight service between participating countries and improve rail connections between Central and Northern Europe, specifically the area in the Southeast of the Baltic sea. Furthermore, it is intended to be a catalyst for building the economic corridor in Northeastern Europe. The project envisages a continuous rail link from Tallinn (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland). It consists of links via Riga (Latvia), Kaunas and Vilnius (Lithuania). Rail Baltica is one of the priority projects of the European Union.

These are a few more details.

  • It will be a double-track railway or four tracks if it handles freight.
  • Passenger trains will run at up to 250 kph (155 mph)
  • Electrification will be either 25 KVAC or 3 KVDC overhead.
  • It will be a standard gauge line.
  • There will be no level crossings.
  • It is planned to open around 2026.

The biggest problem could be that some of the route is shared with the Russian gauge line, that connect Kaliningrad to Vilnius and then from there to the main part of Russia.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the railways between Kaliningrad and Vilnius.

Note.

  1. The orange lines are main lines.
  2. The yellow lines are secondary lines.
  3. The orange line going West goes to Kaliningrad.
  4. The dark grey line crossing the railway is the border of the Kaliningrad enclave, which was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1945.
  5. The orange line going South  goes to Bialystok, Warsaw and all places to the West.
  6. The loop in the line is at Kaunus, where there will be an interchange between the two lines.
  7. The orange lines going East go to Vilnius.
  8. The dotted red line in the North-East corner of the map, will be new track for Rail Baltica.

The new railway will effectively squeeze itself between Kaliningrad and Kaunus.

Railway Gauges In Poland and the Baltic States

Consider.

  • Most, if not all of the railways in the Baltic States are Russian gauge.
  • The line between Kaliningrad and Kaunus is Russian gauge.
  • Most of the railway lines in Poland are standard gauge.
  • The EU likes all new high speed lines like Rail Baltica to be built to standard gauge and have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Kaunus is in Lithuania, so NATO control access to Kaliningrad in sensitive times.

I can’t believe that Vlad likes the current situation and would probably prefer Rail Baltica to be built to Russian gauge, as it would enable the Russian Army to easily move tanks into the Baltic States.

Conclusion

There’s a chance that Vlad will make trouble.

March 6, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Polish Industry Calls For ’Full And Complete’ Sanctions On Russian And Belarusian Railways

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Representatives of the Polish railway industry have issued a joint call for the European Commission to impose ‘full and complete’ sanctions on the Russian and Belarusian railways because of their logistical role in the invasion of Ukraine.

Sounds fine by me!

March 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments