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Thirdrail7

UK to scrap diesel trains by 2040 in favour of H2

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I found this tidbit to be optimistic. Then again, if they actually invest the time and money into this, it probably could occur.

 

UK to scrap diesel trains by 2040 in favour of H2

 

 

The next generation of trains is just around the corner” said the UK’s Rail Minister as he revealed ambitious plans to scrap diesel-only trains by 2040 in favour of hydrogen (H2).

 

In a speech delivered on Monday titled a ‘Cleaner, Greener Railway’, Jo Johnson (left) urged the rail industry to clean up its act and provide a vision for how it will decarbonise in a bid to reduce pollutants and improve air quality.

“I would like to see us take all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040. If that seems like an ambitious goal, it should be and I make no apology for that,” he stated. “After all, we’re committed to ending sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. If we can achieve that, then why can’t the railway aspire to a similar objective?”

Johnson said the future could see battery and diesel engines replaced with H2 units. “Alternative fuel trains powered entirely by H2 are a prize on the horizon. I’d like to see H2 train trails on the UK railway as soon as possible. H2 offers an affordable – and potentially much cleaner – alternative to diesel. And, the technology has developed fast in recent years. To the extent that Alstom is now testing a train which only emits steam and condensed water – yet is capable of 140km per hour and a range of up to 800km, which matches the performance of regular regional trains,” he explained.

 

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Hydrogen is primarily an intermediate energy store, not unlikely how steam was an intermediary process for everything from wood to coal to oil. On it's own hydrogen doesn't do anything to help the environment and if this hydrogen is generated by the burning of fossil fuels it could actually make things even worse for the environment. In much the same way that our sloppy and illogical use of ethanol subsidies has actually made things worse for US emissions. Without a corresponding ramp up in renewable energy generation this hydrogen initiative is unlikely to benefit the environment in any meaningful manner.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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Wouldn't it be easier long term to electrify the remaining lines, giving the advantage of one set of rolling stock and alternative electricity generation modes?

UK seems to be incapable of electrifying its railroads within budget or within allotted time. They spend too much energy being innovative for each little segment instead of using standardized stuff like most of the rest of the world uses. Admittedly they have quite a national museum of every possible catenary suspension gear available in the world and then some for all to review as a result, and incomplete electrification projects abound. :D

Edited by jis

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Wouldn't it be easier long term to electrify the remaining lines, giving the advantage of one set of rolling stock and alternative electricity generation modes?

UK seems to be incapable of electrifying its railroads within budget or within allotted time. They spend too much energy being innovative for each little segmen instead of using standardized stuff like most of the rest of the world. Uses. Admittedly they have quite a national museum of every possible catenary suspension gear available in the world and then some for all to review as a result, and incomplete electrification projects abound. :D

 

 

Don't they also have every possible third rail and third rail shoe as well?

 

That is a good point though - they do tend to be creative, don't they? It's the inventor/tinkerer mindset, isn't it? *grin*

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Wouldn't it be easier long term to electrify the remaining lines, giving the advantage of one set of rolling stock and alternative electricity generation modes?

UK seems to be incapable of electrifying its railroads within budget or within allotted time. They spend too much energy being innovative for each little segmen instead of using standardized stuff like most of the rest of the world. Uses. Admittedly they have quite a national museum of every possible catenary suspension gear available in the world and then some for all to review as a result, and incomplete electrification projects abound. :D

 

Don't they also have every possible third rail and third rail shoe as well?

 

That is a good point though - they do tend to be creative, don't they? It's the inventor/tinkerer mindset, isn't it? *grin*

 

When you see several incompatible solutions tackling roughly the same problem it pays to look for influence from connected middlemen and political cronyism. It's normal and healthy to explore many incompatible solutions in labs and on test tracks, but not as commercial scale implementations.

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Actually, the Scots appear to have gone with a relatively standard design, and lo and behold, they are managing to complete their Edinburgh - Glasgow electrification, though still behind schedule due to civil engineering work delays raising overpasses and lowering track beds.

 

The exact opposite of it is the utter mismanagement of the Great Western electrification which is resulting in the use of bi-mode articulated sets which are actually going to be incapable of meeting the schedules that were met for decades by the HST125s! The mismanagement of the government owned Railtrack is a case study of how not to do things.

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The exact opposite of it is the utter mismanagement of the Great Western electrification which is resulting in the use of bi-mode articulated sets which are actually going to be incapable of meeting the schedules that were met for decades by the HST125s! The mismanagement of the government owned Railtrack is a case study of how not to do things.

 

Actually the HST schedules have been much relaxed since HSTs were first introduced in the 1970s. Partially in a well intended but unsucesful attempt to add padding and thus improve punctuality, and partially because of all the temporary slow orders caused by skimping on track maintenance..

 

So the bar the new trains are failing to meet is already a much lowered bar compared to what the HSTs were designed to meet.

 

That's progress.

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