The Anonymous Widower

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

Russian Grand Prix Cancelled Following Invasion Of Ukraine

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

Formula One has done the right thing!

How will Putin get his own back on Formula One?

He could ban Formula One for ever from Russia, but then somewhere else like Ukraine, Poland or one of the Baltic States would happily stage a Grand Prix.

February 25, 2022 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gravitricity Celebrates Success Of 250kW Energy Storage Demonstrator

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

I have already posted about this success in Gravitricity Battery Generates First Power At Edinburgh Site.

But the news story has now been mentioned in several respected publications and web sites.

So this idea, based on traditional Scottish products of heavy weights and girders seems to be getting valuable publicity.

The demonstrator is only small and uses two 25 tonne weights and a fifteen metre tower.

This is only a storage capacity of only 2.04 kWh, but the company is talking of weights totalling up to a massive 12,000 tonnes.

With a fifteen metre tower, that would be 490 kWh.

Note.

  1. The shafts at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire are 800 metres deep.
  2. The TauTona mine in South Africa is 3.9 kilometres deep
  3. In this article in The Engineer, Gravitricity talk about weights of up to 12,000 tonnes.

These are typical storage capacities.

  • Kellingley – 50 tonnes – 109 kWh
  • Kellingley – 12,000 tonnes – 26.15 MWh
  • TauTona – 50 tonnes – 531 kWh
  • TuaqTona = 12,000 – 127.5 MWh

Accountants before they invest in a company look at the financial figures. As an engineer, I look at the numbers in the science behind their claims.

If the engineering can be made to work, these figures are to say the least; very promising.

They are also beautifully scalable.

If say your application needed a 2 MWh battery and you had a 400 metre shaft available, you can calculate the weight needed. It’s around 1836 tonnes.

The Solar Power Portal article finishes with these two paragraphs.

The company will now look to rollout the technology in a series of full-scale 4-8MW projects, with conversations already underway with mine owners in the UK, Scandinavia, Poland and the Czech Republic, it said. Additionally, in South Africa Gravitricity is working closely with mine operator United Mining Services as part of a programme funded by an Innovate UK Energy Catalyst programme to identify potential schemes.

“A key feature of our full-scale projects will be their long life” added Blair. “Once built, our system can last for over 25 years, with no loss in output or degradation over time. This makes gravity storage cost-effective. And unlike batteries, we have no reliance on rare metals such as cobalt and nickel which are becoming increasingly scarce in the global drive to electrification.”

Note.

  1. I assume that they are 4-8 MWh projects.
  2. Charlie Blair is the Managing Director of Gravitricity.
  3. A weight of 1836 tonnes would give 4 MWh in the 800 metre shaft at Kellingley.

I wouldn’t be surprised that those owning a deep empty hole in the ground will be starting conversations with Gravitricity!

Conclusion

I am not worried, that I bought a few shares in Gravitricity in the crowd-funding last year!

All this good publicity from the BBC, Good News Network, Science, The Engineer, The Times and other media sites won’t harm my investment.

 

April 24, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Finance | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Warszawa – Vilnius Passenger Service To Launch Next Year

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

This paragraph describes the proposed service.

The service is expected to start in late 2021, offering a journey time between the two capitals of 8 h including a change of trains at the break-of-gauge in Kaunas. Initial ridership is estimated at 35 000 passengers/year. The need to change trains would be removed once the 1 435 mm gauge tracks are extended to Vilnius as part of the Rail Baltica project.

I intend to ride this train, as soon as it starts.

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Pesa And PKN Orlen To Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Trains

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rolling stock manufacturer Pesa and energy company PKN Orlen signed a letter of intent to develop hydrogen fuel cell trains on December 12.

I am pleased that Poland appears to be turning to trains that emit less carbon, but I do worry about how the hydrogen is produced.

It appears the Dutch are moving towards green hydrogen, which is produced by the electrolysis of water using electricity produced by offshore wind farms.

But how are the Poles producing their hydrogen?

I did find this article on biznewsalert.com, which is entitled Poland Wants To Be A Hydrogen Kuwait. P2G Can Help.

This is the introductory sentence.

Hydrogen could drive low-carbon transport and also help reduce CO2 emissions. Although it is a distant perspective for now, the production of the element could support onshore wind farms.

It does appear that the Poles are thinking along lines, that will reduce carbon emissions.

What is P2G?

P2G or Power-to-Gas has an informative Wikipedia entry.

This is the first paragraph, which outlines the process.

Power-to-gas (often abbreviated P2G) is a technology that converts electrical power to a gas fuel. When using surplus power from wind generation, the concept is sometimes called windgas. There are currently three methods in use; all use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electrolysis.

There certainly a lot of activity in the sector.

My Experience Of Polish Transport

Poland is a large country with an extensive rail system. I have travelled long distances across the country and many of the passenger trains are electric.

I can’t remember seeing a freight train, but I do remember large numbers of diesel trucks moving freight across the country.

Conclusion

Hydrogen could be a very important fuel for transport in Poland.

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment