The Anonymous Widower

Batteries Are Beautiful – Silent Sailing Is An Eco-Winner

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Riviera Maritime Media.

It is a must-read article about the way, ships will be powered in the future.

Already, the Norwegian operator; Hurtigruten, has ordered two hybrid powered cruise ships, the first first of which is the MS Raold Amundsen.

August 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Liverpool2 On The One Show

Liverpool2 is the Port of Liverpool’s new extension to handle the largest container ships.

They were reporting from it today on BBC’s One Show, as it will official open tomorrow.

  • It can handle two of the largest container ships at the same time.
  • It can handle 95% of the global container fleet.
  • The Canada Dock branch is being upgraded, so it can handle 48 trains per day.

Depending what you read, Peel Ports are investing up to £750million in upgrading their port of  Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal.

This article in the Liverpool Echo is entitled Liverpool port’s Panama deal could boost transatlantic trade from city.

This is said.

Bosses at the Port of Liverpool have signed a deal with the Panama Canal’s owners they say could create jobs and help boost trade across the Atlantic.

Peel Ports has signed an agreement with the Panama Canal Authority, which runs the vital waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The Memorandum of Understanding aims to grow trade links between Liverpool and the west coast of America via the Panama Canal.

So will that bottle of Chilean wine have arrived in the UK, via the Panama Canal and Liverpool?

I remember reading somewhere or I might have been told by someone in the University, that if you send goods by container ship from the Americas to Europe, that going via Liverpool and then using a train, takes a day off the journey, than going via Rotterdam.

So Liverpool can exploit its position at one end of the Blue Banana. I wrote more about this in Have You Heard about…the New European Transport Strategy?, which I wrote when the Gotthard Base Tunnel was completed.

It’ll be interesting to see how much of the container traffic through Liverpool in a few years time is coming from or going to mainland Europe.

With many goods, speed is paramount and Liverpool’s position may give it an advantage.

Incidentally, one of the main reasons for HS2, is to create freight paths between the Liverpool, Birmingham, London and the Channel Tunnel, on the West Coast Main Line, by reducing the passenger trains on the line,

Where the trouble is going to come is in London, as freight trains between Liverpool and Europe will have to come through Camden, Islington and Hackney. At least, they’re electrifying the missing link between Gospel Oak and Barking.

November 3, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

On My Way To Split

Dubrovnik does not have a railway station, so it was a ferry to Split.

It certainly wasn’t the typical Mediterranean rust-bucket, that I’ve encountered in Greece and Italy, but a modern high-speed catamaran, that had been built in Australia.

The only problem was that the boat wasn’t big enough, for the large number of passengers going to Split from the islands. But this is to be expected, as it was the only boat on the day I travelled.

May 10, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Everybody Razzle Dazzle

I took these pictures of the Mersey Ferry; Snowdrop, which has been given a razzle-dazzle colour scheme by Sir Peter Blake.

I like it.

April 29, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Sunderland Port Gets A Rail Connection

I’m all for freight traffic to be on the railways, even if it sometimes means that noisy and smelly freight trains pass through residential areas. But on the plus side, I’ve seen how rail improvements connecting the Port of Ferlixstowe to the wider rail network, has taken so much traffic off the busy A14. It is my belief, that one of the best ways to increase motorway capacity, is to remove as much long distance freight as possible.

DB Schenker obviously want to promote rail freight for commercial reasons and they seem to be backing a lot of new rail developments like the Northern Hub.

So I was not surprised to see the company very much behind the re-opening of a rail link into the Port of Sunderland, as reported in this piece in Modern Railways. DB Schenker’s spokesman says this.

Ports play a crucial part in DB Schenker Rail’s growth strategy and we are delighted to bring rail back to Port of Sunderland.

It will be interesting to see how busy this rail link becomes in the next few years.

Increasingly, these last mile rail links are being created or renewed. The only losers are probably the drivers of heavy good vehicles.

This small rail link has been renewed in an area that could see a lot of development in the next few years. This Google Earth map shows the rough route of the rail link along the coast.

The Durham Coast South Of Sunderland

The Durham Coast South Of Sunderland

Sunderland Port is marked by the two curved breakwaters at the top and the link joins the Durham Coast Line that runs from Newcastle via Sunderland and Hartlepool to Middlesbrough, at Ryhope Grange junction, which is near to the marked McDonalds.

The Durham Coast Line has an hourly service between Newcastle and Middlesbrough and also connects various ports and sites to the rail freight network. It is also used by Grand Central services between Sunderland and London and as a diversionary route for the East Coast Main Line. Local groups are also keen that the line be upgraded with a better passenger service between the Tyne, Wear and Tees areas.

In a sane world, this line would be a prime candidate for electrification linked to the East Coast Main Line at Newcastle and Darlington. A few points.

1. It would be an important electrified diversion for the increasingly crowded East Coast Main Line.

2. I suspect Grand Central and other East Coast Main Line operators are pushing for this electrification, as it would enable direct high speed services between Newcastle and London via Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

3. After the completed electrification of the Trans-Pennine routes, it would also improve services from towns and cities not on the East Coast Main Line to the western side of the Pennines.

However full electrification is probably not possible as the northern part of the line has been electrified for the Newcastle Metro to a different standard. But the new passenger trains like the Class 800 and new freight locomotives like the Class 88, would just switch to their on-board diesel power,

As an aside here, Tees Valley Metro, is being developed around Middlesbrough, in rather a stop-go fashion. Surely if the Durham Coast Line is electrified and that electrification is extended to Darlington and then perhaps on  the Tees Valley Line to Bishops Auckland to serve both the National Railway Museum at Shildon and the Hitachi train factory at Newton Aycliffe. It would seem a bit mad to build a large factory to make electric trains and then have to haul them in-and-out with a diesel locomotive.

If nothing else, all of these options prove to me, that the North East should have a similar sort of autonomy as Greater Manchester is getting. That would enable the area to bring together all of the ideas about extending the transport system.

Looking at Wikipedia’s list of proposed rail infrastructure projects, these are in the North East.

Ashington, Blyth And Tyne

Leamside Line Reopening

Newcastle Station Redevelopment

Tees Valley Metro

Tyne And Wear Metro Developments

It’s not a  long list. Other areas south of Hadrian’s Wall, like Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Merseyside and Manchester have much better developed plans on the drawing board, even if they know some will be a long time coming.

I wonder if Department of Transport officials when talking to representatives from the North East, say to them, you’ve got an electrified railway to London, the Tyne and Wear Metro, rebuilding of Newcastle station and a brand new train factory, so what more do you want?

Surely, local elected representatives should decide what is best value to the communities they serve. No-one based outside an area, can ever know all of the subtle local reasons, why things should or should not be done. As an example, Greater Anglia’s stations in East London are managed from Norwich. I don’t think they manage them very well and not for good reason are most being put under the care of Transport for London.

Most transport in the North East should be under the control of a single body, so that the limited finances available will be better allocated.

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tall Ships Race 2014

I went with a friend to see the tall ships moored in London for the Tall Ships Race 2014.

We started at Canary Wharf, then moved on to Woolwich, before going to Greenwich.

To avoid the crush, we escaped under the river, using the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, before finally taking a look at the ships from the North Bank.

September 5, 2014 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Gdansk Shipyard

You can’t avoid the shipyard in Gdansk, as the cranes are a massive presence over the city, which I had seen as I took the train in from Sodot. After walking the city centre, I took a tram to see the memorial at the shipyard to 42 or more workers killed in 1970.

Everybody should visit the birthplace of Solidarity and one of those iconic places that mark the start of the downfall of the First Soviet Empire. It might make us more wary about what is happening on Russia’s borders today.

April 27, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

An Idea For Which Time Has Come

This article on the BBC’s web site talks about robot cargo ships.

A a control engineer, I can’t see any reason, why this will not be the norm in a few years time.

March 6, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The Vasa Museum

One of the reasons, I went to Stockholm was to see the Vasa.

I first heard about the ship in my teens, when it was raised from the floor of Stockholm Harbour. The techniques of raising the ship were also detailed in the Meccano Magazine.

It will be interesting to see how the Vasa compares with the Mary Rose.

I must have spent about three hours wandering around the museum and afterwards I felt a lot better, as the humidity in the museum was about 60% to keep the ship [preserved.

June 17, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | 6 Comments

It’s Mary Rose Next Week

Now that the Mary Rose museum has opened in Portsmouth, it has given me a suggestion about where to go next week.

As I’m also going to see the Vasa in Stockholm later next month, it will be an interesting comparison.

May 30, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment