The Anonymous Widower

Hydrogen Trains Planned For Apennine Route

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

The trains appear to be part of a project to bring a sustainable economic recovery to an area that has been affected by three earthquakes in recent years and suffered badly from depopulation.

There would appear to be four projects.

Refurbishment Of The Sansepolcro And Sulmona Railway

This 300 km railway will also switch from diesel to hydrogen trains.

This railway looks like it could be an interesting route for a railway tourist. In my past experience, Todi and Perugia were certainly worth a visit.

Two Seas Railway

The Railway Gazette article says this about the Two Seas Railway.

This would cross Italy from west to east, connecting Roma’s Fiumicino airport with San Benedetto del Tronto via Rieti, Amatrice and Ascoli Picen.

It has been proposed for a long time and could use hydrogen traction.

Building Back Sustainably

The Railway Gazette article says this about the third and fourth projects.

A third project will assess the potential for diffused green hydrogen manufacturing activity in the region, and a fourth will look at ways to apply new energy and environmental technologies in post-earthquake reconstruction.

It looks to me, that hydrogen will play a large part in restoring this region of Italy.

Conclusion

It sounds a bit like, the Italians are rebuilding their railways like the UK and several other countries are doing.

September 23, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Northern line Extension’s Opening Date Announced

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

Services will start on Monday, September 20th.

This sentence from Ian describes the service levels.

There will be an initial peak time service of six trains per hour on the extension, increasing to 12 trains per hour by mid-2022. There will be five trains per hour during off-peak times, doubling to 10 trains per hour next year.

I shall certainly try it when it opens, but I doubt I’ll be a regular user, as the Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line can be difficult to access from Dalston. My best way is probably to use a 73 bus to Goodge Street station.

How Do I Use The Northern Line to Go Between The new Battersea Power Station Station and Bank or Moorgate Stations?

This map from cartometro.com shows, the track layout of the extension.

Note.

  1. The extension to Battersea links to the loop that turns trains that have come South through London on the Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line, which runs North-Westerly from Kennington station.
  2. The Bank Branch of the Northern Line is the pair of tracks that runs North-Easterly from Kennington station.
  3. The Victorian builders of the Northern Line didn’t dig the tunnels and add the track, so that the loop could turn trains coming South through London on the Bank Branch of the Northern Line.

So passengers will have to change, with these possible routes.

  • For London Bridge, Bank, Moorgate and Old Street change at Kennington for the Bank Branch of the Northern Line.
  • For Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus and Paddington change at Waterloo for the Bakerloo Line.
  • For Canary Wharf, London Bridge, Westminster, Green Park, Bond Street, Baker Street and Paddington change at Waterloo for the Jubilee Line.
  • For Tower Hill, Monument, Westminster, Victoria and South Kensington change at Embankment for the Circle or District Lines.
  • For Holborn and Kings Cross St. Pancras and Harrods change at Leicester Square for the Piccadilly Line.
  • For Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Paul’s, Holborn, Bond Street and Marble Arch change at Tottenham Court Road for the Central Line.
  • For Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, , Bond Street, Paddington and Heathrow change at Tottenham Court Road for Crossrail.

Note.

  1. These are a selection of the possible routes available.
  2. I have included some of the possible routes to London’s important transport, tourism and business hubs.
  3. I suspect many will change at Tottenham Court Road station for the City, as the station has been completely rebuilt for Crossrail with full step-free access.

Residents and visitors to the large amounts of new residential properties around Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms stations, will probably find their best routes fairly quickly, but there are a large number of routes to try to most important hubs.

Will Battersea Become An Area, Where Visitors To London Stay?

Consider.

  • The Northern Line Extension has connections to to Central London’s important transport, tourism and business hubs.
  • The Thames Clippers give access to the Thames.
  • There appears to be several good hotels open in the area.
  • For Gatwick Airport, it’s Gatwick Express and a taxi from Victoria station, at around a tenner.
  • For Heathrow Airport, it’s an easy journey from Heathrow on Crossrail with a change at Tottenham Court Road.
  • For City Airport, it’s a direct journey on a Thames Clipper from Royal Wharf to Battersea Power Station pier.
  • For Eurostar, it’s probably a £25 taxi from St. Pancras, but if you know the Underground there are several one-change routes via Euston, Kennington, Leicester Square and Warren Street.

I feel that if they get the hotels and the hospitality right, that the area could become an important one for visitors to London.

September 4, 2021 Posted by | Business, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Heading North For Summer: Report Reveals £21bn Annual Visitor Spend Across The Region

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Transport for the North.

This is the opening paragraph.

Pan-regional figures reveal the full importance of the North of England visitor economy for the first time, with 25% of all England’s tourism spend taking place in the region.

The figures quoted are much larger than I would have expected.

September 2, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Transport, World | , | Leave a comment

Epping Station – 30th August 2021

In Essex Councillors Call For Underground Link, I discussed the pros and cons of extending the Central Line from Epping station to Harlow.

As I didn’t have any pictures of Epping station. I went to the station and took these.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Epping station.

Note.

  1. There are two platforms both of which are used to terminate trains.
  2. Platform 2 is step-free, but Platform 1 is only step-free for exit only.
  3. There is a large car park with 541 spaces including twelve for disabled drivers.

I suspect this means, that someone who has difficulty with the bridge and has parked their car in the car park has a problem.

To my mind there are two obvious solutions.

  • Put in a second step-free bridge at the station.
  • If no trains go past the ends of the platform, it might be possible to build a level walkway across the two tracks.

It would all depend on the budget and any plans to extend the Central Line to Harlow or on to the tracks of the Epping Ongar Railway.

It would certainly be possible to extend Platform 1 to serve as a platform for the Epping Ongar Railway and have a walkway across the tracks  to give step-free access between all three platforms.

  • It would make the heritage Epping Ongar Railway into a unique London tourist attraction with direct access from the Underground.
  • It might even be possible for the heritage railway to run connection services between Epping and Ongar at times, when they would be financially worthwhile and operationally possible.

There are certainly possibilities.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Increase In Hate Crime Against Disabled Rail Users

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

New figures published by the Department for Transport have shown that hate crimes toward disabled people traveling on the rail network have risen by 24% in the last three years.

I don’t think the abuse has just been on trains either.

I rarely see any friction over the use of the wheelchair bay on buses in London, but my feeling is that I see it more often than I used too!

  • Perhaps six months ago,  a mother was not very pleased at having to get off the bus so that a disabled guy in a wheelchair could use the space.
  • Some people think possession of the space is all important.
  • I’ve also heard arguments over who takes precedent.

I wonder, if it is worse in other parts of the UK, where wheelchair access to buses is not as easy,as in London and there are fewer buses.

Are Some Passengers Annoyed At Being Delayed?

I’ve certainly seen moderate annoyance on buses and trains, when there is a delay caused by a disabled passenger getting on or off a bus or train, with sometimes some very offensive words being said.

So What Should Be Done About It?

Obviously, we need to do all the usual personal things to make sure that things run smoothly and serious abusers should be prosecuted.

But I also think, that we should aim for the following.

Every train must have a level platform and train interface.

The picture was taken from literature about the South Wales Metro and shows a visualisation of one of the Flirts, that will run on the routes in South Wales.

We should ban the ordering of trains, that don’t meet this criteria.

All routes between street and platform should be step-free.

It would be an expensive program, but there would be a lot who’d benefit.

  • People in wheelchairs
  • Babies and toddlers in buggies and their pushers.
  • People dragging large cases.
  • Cyclists with bicycles
  • Older people with mobility issues.

There will be collateral benefits.

  • Trains would be speeded up, as they would not have to wait so long in stations.
  • More people will use the trains and not just the disabled.
  • If the program were properly managed, it could create work for local construction firms all over the UK.

It might even encourage inward and stay-at-home  tourism from those with mobility issues.

 

April 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 11 Comments

Battersea Power Station’s Glass Elevator To Open Next Year

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

It sounds like it will give a reason for some tourists to visit the area and it will be a balance to the cable-car in the London Docks.

Ian gives more details about what could be a new experience for Londoners and tourists.

April 2, 2021 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | 2 Comments

Is The UK Ready For A Tourist Boom This Summer?

Imagine one scenario, where we continue to vaccinate against Covid-19 and and large parts of the EU doesn’t, or at least goes slower and slower because of reluctance to use the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A simple mathematical model could mean that our number of cases drops like a stone and the anti-AZ countries suffer successive waves of the covids.

Where will vaccinated well-off North American, Antipodean and Far Eastern tourists want to go for their dose of European culture?

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 5 Comments

The Proposal For Stonehenge And Wilton Junction Station

This article on the Salisbury Journal is entitled Wilton Railway Project On Track As Bid Submitted.

It starts with this paragraph.

An application to reopen the railway station in Wilton has reached the third round of the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund.

There are also more details in the February 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

The following sections give more information and some of my thoughts.

Station Name

The station appears to be called Stonehenge and Wilton Junction in all the articles and reports.

Station Location

This page on the TransWilts web site, says this about the station.

Wilton is at the junction between the Salisbury to Bristol line and the Salisbury to Exeter line.
It is 7 miles to Stonehenge Visitor Centre. A consultants report by Atkins shows an economic case and a developer for housing at the site has been identified. Station cost is in the order of £15m.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The Wilton Park-and-Ride site at the top of the Map.
  2. The railway going South-East and North-West across the map is the Wessex Main Line, that links Salisbury and Bristol.
  3. The railway going South-East and West across the map is the West of England Main Line, that links Salisbury and Exeter.
  4. Both routes are double track.

It would appear that the new station would have platforms on both rail lines through the station.

Station Design

If Atkins reckon the station can be built for £15 million as I quoted earlier, it can’t be a very grand station.

The Modern Railways article says this about the station.

A park-and-ride facility at the station would reduce congestion in the centre of Salisbury. Improving London services in the proposal improves the cost-benefit ratio, so what is now envisaged is a four-platform station, with platforms on both the TransWilts and the Yeovil to London lines. The thinking is that the new station could work in tandem with the lengthening of the Tisbury loop and other proposals for possible expansion on the South Western route to Exeter that was floated in the latest Network Rail Continuous Modular Strategy.

My feelings are that a radical approach could yield an efficient station with a smaller number of platforms.

Train services through the station could include.

  • GWR – Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour – Hourly – Transwilts Lines – Also calls at Salisbury
  • GWR – Great Malvern and Brighton or Southampton – Hourly – Transwilts Lines – Also calls at Salisbury
  • SWR – London Wareloo and Exeter – Hourly – Yeovil and London Lines – Also calls at Salisbury

There is also talk of extending the Transwilts hourly service between Swindon and Westbury to Salisbury and then on to Southampton via Romsey.

This would do the following.

  • Create a link to Southampton Airport.
  • Give the new station a Turn-Up-And-Go service to Salisbury.
  • The fourth service would mean that three services called on the Transwilts platforms and one service called on the Yeovil and London platforms.

So why not have one large platform between the two pairs of lines?

  • It would have a tunnel connecting it to the buses and the car parking.
  • One large lift would take passengers with limited mobility to the platform.
  • The Southern face of the platform, would handle all trains running on the Yeovil and London line. A single platform can easily handle an hourly fast service in both directions.
  • The Northern face of the platform, would handle all trains running on the Transwilts.
  • Three trains per hour (tph) in both directions, could probably be handled with some innovation and a long platform.

Why complicate everything with four platforms?

Link To Stonehenge

I haven’t been to Stonehenge since the 1950s, although I have observed it from traffic jams on nearby roads many times.

Surely, there is a chance here to connect the new station and the World Heritage Site with a zero-carbon battery or hydrogen bus.

As the distance between the station and Stonehenge is only about seven miles, it would probably be the easiest way to get large number of visitors to the unique site.

We probably need more well-planned zero-carbon bus links to historic, tourist and other important sites.

 

 

 

March 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Could We Set Up Covid-19 Vaccine Tourism?

Consider.

  • We are a country, which lots of people want to visit for business and/or tourism.
  • We have got lots of Covid-19 vaccine.
  • It appears that the one-shot Janssen vaccine will come on stream soon from the factory on Teesside.
  • We have accurate methods of detecting, if people have the virus.

I also think that in a few weeks time, it might be possible to check, that an incoming tourist from many countries, is totally free of the virus.

So could we operate a system, where incoming passengers from safe countries, go through a procedure similar to this?

  • They are tested for Covid-19 before departure and aren’t allowed to fly after a positive test. This is the current procedure.
  • On arrival in the UK, they go to a hotel for a night.
  • On arrival at the hotel, they are tested for Covid-19.
  • If the test is positive, they go straight back in the morning.
  • They are then vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine.

After appropriate checks, they are allowed to leave in the morning.

  • Those just coming for the vaccination could go straight back from where they came from.
  • Those coming for business or tourism, would follow the normal procedure.

I’m certain, that a procedure could be developed, that would be approved by the UK Government.

It would be ideal for a low-cost airline, who could set it up with a local hotel.

Travelling From Countries On The Banned List

Those entering from countries On The banned list would out of courtesy be offered a free vaccine.

 

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Business, Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Railfuture North East – New Station At Gilsland

When I wrote Beeching Reversal – Ferryhill Station Reopening, I used this document from Railfuture, for information.

The document lists a series of campaigns and a New Station At Gilsland was one.

This is their summary of this campaign.

New Station at Gilsland aimed at both improving links to local towns for the residents of the area
and opening up the area to a new and greener form of tourism.

These are my thoughts.

The Location Of Gilsland

Gilsland station was on what is now called the Tyne Valley Line.

The station closed in 1967.

The station towards Carlisle was Low Row, which closed in 1965.

The station towards Newcastle was Greenhead, which closed in 1967.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The A69 road goes across the map.
  2. Low Row is close to the A69, in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. Greenhead is on the Northern side of the A69 at the Eastern edge of the map.
  4. The blue dot at the top of the map indicates a Hadrian’s Wall site.
  5. Gilsland is to the East of the blue dot.
  6. The railway curves between Low Row, Gilsland and Greenhead.

This second Google Map enlarges the area around the village of Gilsland.

Note.

  1. The blue dots are sites, that are all related to the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall.
  2. The red dots are places to spend a night!
  3. The orange dots are places to eat.

This third map shows an enlargement of the village of Gilsland.

Note.

  1. The railway running across the map from the North-East corner.
  2. Two Hadrian’s Wall sites within walking distance of the railway.
  3. Gilsland station must have had some of the best access to one of the UK’s foremost historical sites.

This must rank as one of the most philistine of the station closures of the Beeching era.

But the Prime Minister of the time; Harold Wilson once said that we won’t need railways in the future, as everybody will have their own car.

A New And Greener Form Of Tourism

The heading for this section is taken directly from Railfuture’s reasons for reopening the station.

They are so right!

Perhaps, I’m being selfish, as I’ve never visited Hadrian’s Wall and as I no longer drive a car, it’s unlikely, I’ll ever do it under my own steam.

But a new station at Gilsland, would make it easy, if I was in the area.

Battery Electric Trains On The Tyne Valley Line

The current train service between Carlisle and Newcastle is two passenger trains per hour (tph) and several freight trains per day (tpd).

It is not a large number of trains, but they will need to be decarbonised, as all are diesel-powered at present.

In The Mathematics Of A Hydrogen-Powered Freight Locomotive, I laid out my view, that as decarbonisation proceeds, we’ll see large numbers of diesel locomotives either replaced with or converted to hydrogen power.

So in this post, I will only deal with the passenger trains.

Consider.

  • All the battery electric trains, that I’ve ridden, have been as quiet as church-mice.
  • They are very electrically efficient and zero-carbon.
  • Hitachi and other manufacturers are claiming ranges for battery electric trains of up to sixty miles and charging of batteries in less than ten minutes.
  • Newcastle and Carlisle stations are 61.5 miles apart.
  • There is electrification at both ends of the Tyne Valley Line.
  • Hexham, which is forty miles from Carlisle and twenty from Newcastle could be used to charge the trains en route.

Diesel trains are so last Century!

This would be one of the easier lines to run with battery-electric trains.

December 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments