The Anonymous Widower

Exeter City Council Builds Its First Solar And Battery Storage Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Live News.

This paragraph describes the scheme.

The plant, which had its preparatory work finished recently, will be built on an inactive landfill site and will comprise of a 1.2MW array of 3,702 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, two battery storage containers and an electrical switch room.

I do think, this is a superb use for a old landfill site.

As I believe that some landfill sites still give off methane for many years, if this is the case, this can surely continue.

The scheme will also include a 1 MW/2 MWh battery and will be geared to providing power to a council operation’s facility and in the future to supporting an electric fleet.

This is a superb example of how to turn an unwanted toxic liability into a green asset, with several benefits.

I have not heard of something like this before, but by searching the list of solar and energy-from-waste power sites in the UK, I found a cluster around the M5 to the North of the village of Puriton.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The village of Puriton to the East of the Junction 23 of the M5, which is a forest of blue dots.
  2. The various solar farms showing as a blue-violet field. I can count fourteen separate fields.

In total, there are about half-a-dozen renewable energy producers in the area generating up to 25 MW of electricity.

The area to the North-East of the village with all the white dots, just above the green one, is the former Royal Ordinance Factory Bridgewater, which I’m sure solar farmers would like to get their hands on.

Would this become a modern version of swords into ploughshares?

July 9, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Reopening Of Wellington and Cullompton Stations

This is one of the successful bids in the First Round of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

Wellington and Collumpton stations were two stations on the Bristol-Exeter Line.

  • Both stations were rebuilt in the 1930s with passing loops. Was this to increase the capacity of the route?
  • Both were closed under Beeching in 1964.
  • Little remains of either station.

Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, this does seem to have been a rather pointless closure of two stations serving towns of around ten thousand people, who might need to commute for work.

The South Devon Metro

Some years ago, Devon County Council put forward a plan to create a South Devon Metro based on the various lines centred on Exeter St. David’s station.

Services were also planned to connect Newton Abbot, Okehampton, Plymouth, Taunton and intermediate stations into the system.

  • Some new stations were also added.
  • The trains were to be upgraded, which appears to be happening.

But the development seems to have somewhat stalled.

Collumpton Station

The Wikipedia entry for Collumpton station says this about reopening.

As part of the “Devon Metro” plans by Devon County Council there would be a station near the location of the old station and could form part of the route. The station is a ‘possible’ long term proposal.

I should declare an interest in Collumpton, in that my maternal grandmother was an Upcott, who was born in Dalston. Her father was not the first son of the Devon family from Collumpton, that are mentioned in the Wikipedia entry for the town, so he left for London to find fame and fortune. He set up as a wheelwright opposite Dalston Junction station. She was considered posh by my parents.

I would look forward to taking my Upcott genes back to their ancestral home, when the new station opens.

This Google Map shows Collumpton and its transport network.

Note.

  1. The M5 going down the East side of the map.
  2. The Exeter-Bristol Line follows the M5 on the Western side.
  3. Collumpton Services were built on the site of the former station.

This Google Map shows the area to the South of Collumpton services at an enlarged scale.

There certainly seems to be space to the West of the roundabout.

  • As Tiverton Parkway station is only a few miles to the North, it may be possible to avoid providing hundreds of parking spaces.
  • It’s not a long walk to the Town Centre, which could be along the River Culm.
  • Plenty of bicycle parking would probably be a good idea.
  • Could the road bridge over the railway, be made step-free for travellers, who need to cross the tracks?

I certainly think there are possibilities to integrate the station into the town.

Wellington Station

The site for a new Wellington station is less obvious to locate.

This Google Map shows how the Exeter-Bristol skirts round the Northern side of the town.

Note.

  1. The road that runs up the Western side of the block containing the three large buildings, is the B3187.
  2. It’s also called Station Road. So that must be a clue!

This Google Map shows where the B3187 crosses the railway.

It matches the photo of the goods shed at Wellington station in Wikipedia.

The old station site, must be high on the list of possible sites for the new station.

The Trains

These are a few thoughts on the trains serving Collumpton and Wellington.

Could There Be A Taunton Route In The South Devon Metro?

Consider.

  • When Collumpton and Wellington stations are completed, there will be three stations between Exeter and Taunton.
  • The third station will be Tiverton Parkway station.
  • So if the South Devon Metro were to be created on this route, surely it would be better to go all the way to Taunton station, which has six platforms.
  • This extension would also give easy access to the heritage West Somerset Railway, which runs to the coast at Minehead station.

It would certainly seem likely that a local service from Exeter on this route would terminate at Taunton station.

Could Exeter And Taunton Be Run By Battery-Electric Trains?

As it’s only just over thirty miles, the answer must be in the affirmative!

But they would probably need to be charged at both ends of the route.

On the other hand, all routes on the South Devon Metro could probably be run using battery-electric trains.

Could Paddington And Exeter Be Run By Battery-Electric Trains?

It looks a tough ask, but I feel it is possible with discontinuous electrification.

  • Paddington and Newbury is already electrified.
  • Exeter and Taunton could be electrified.

With a short length of electrification or what I call an electrification island  at Westbury, I am fairly sure, that a Hitachi AT-300 train fitted with batteries could handle the 170 miles.

Would A Fast-Slow Strategy Help?

Greater Anglia do their Norwich-in-Ninety services with two trains.

  • On the hour, a fast train heads off to Norwich or London, only stopping at Ipswich.
  • Ten minutes later, a slow train follows it calling at all stations.

Greater Anglia intends to aim for three trains per hour (tph) between London and Norwich in both directions; two fast and one slow.

Would a philosophy like this work between Paddington and Exeter?

Conclusion

Reopening Collumpton and Wellington stations is a simple and easy-to-implement scheme, that will improve public transport in this area of Devon and Somerset.

 

May 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments