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Author Topic: Climate Change Emergency - Implications for UK Transport Strategy  (Read 7900 times)
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #45 on: July 01, 2019, 08:48:11 am »

Snipe at the road building by all means but at least offer a practical alternative.

There is a very practical alternative to building roads: don't build roads. No-one is any worse off - the existing routes remain - and the money and resources saved can be redirected towards projects that work towards achieving carbon reduction goals, rather than working against them.

The argument about using less fuel cruising at 60 mi/hr only works if it doesn't occur to anyone else that there is now a quicker and easier way to get from Winterhay Green to the M5; there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

If it helps, I can tell you that my school run would be an awful lot easier if they'd built the 6-lane motorway that was planned from Montpelier to Clifton; they didn't, and we have to get by on the train or bicycle, on foot or by car on 'unimproved' roads. Funny thing is, when you tell people now about the Bristol Outer Circuit Road plans of the 1970s, their jaws drop in disbelief.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 08:54:12 am by Red Squirrel » Logged
Sixty3Closure
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« Reply #46 on: July 01, 2019, 09:08:06 am »

I don't think the mixed messages from the government are helped by things like increasing VAT from 5% to 20% on Solar panels.

This coming after the removal of feed in tariffs further reducing the attractiveness of Solar.

Last I checked they'd also reduced grants and support for Electric cars (although as I think someone mentioned earlier they'd not exactly environmentally friendly in their manufacture)


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eightonedee
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« Reply #47 on: July 01, 2019, 10:21:31 pm »

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don't build roads. No-one is any worse off

That's a fine standpoint to take if you live in a conurbation with thousands of jobs/costumers/lots of alternatives to private car and goods vehicle use available, and plenty of other destinations/users and customers to share the cost of a diverse transport offering. And it's wrong!

If however you are in (say) a small Somerset market town that lost its (slow and underused) rail links to the Bristol area in the 1960s, and is not close to a junction on the M5, you are always going to lose if the road network is unimproved. Fare stage buses will take ages to get to the main towns and cities where the best choice of jobs can be found. If you run a business, your products will take longer to get to your customers, and you will have to pay your drivers or haulier for that extra time. Your suppliers will have to spend longer delivering to you, so the choice of supplier will be less and you will be less likely to get a good deal from them. If you are a strategic director of a national retail chain, you are more likely to close a branch in a small town with poor road links where the cost of a delivery vehicle being on the road for longer mitigates against its viability. 

I am all in favour of measures to reduce the impact of transport on the environment (Electrification Now!). But it has to be recognised that there's more to this than simply stopping building roads. It's replacing the fossil fueled vehicles of today with electric vehicles charged by an electric grid run off renewables and nuclear generation that looks likely to be the answer. Condemning communities with poor transport links to ever increasing economic disadvantage is not.

I'll put my soapbox away now.....
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #48 on: July 01, 2019, 11:27:31 pm »

And here is a specific proposal to reduce carbon emissions on the Waterloo to Exeter route, AND improve capacity.
This line is worked by class 158s and 159s, these have many years of useful life left and cant be readily converted to bi-mode operation.

Therefore consider building a small fleet of high powered DC EMUs, with every axle motored and about twice the power per ton of standard designs.
These designed to work in multiple with existing DMUs. On the electrified part of the route, the DMUs are to be hauled "dead" with the new electric unit hauling and powering on board services.
At the limit of the electrified area, the diesel engines are to be started and the electric unit detached.
The ample electricity supply from the conductor rail could pre-heat the diesel engines and fully charge the starter batteries so as to ensure quick and reliable starting.
The total train length should be maximum that Waterloo can handle.
This would give more capacity on the inner part of the route, and would eliminate diesel consumption on the electrified part of the route.
Interesting idea, but I believe the 158s/159s already run out of Waterloo in 9/10-car formations, meaning there's little or no capacity benefit. At best, you could reduce the number of units (and therefore cabs) in a 10-car formation by making the EMUs 4-car or 5-car sets. Also, I've not used the route in question myself so I'm quite possibly wrong, but I believe the services currently split at Salisbury, not Basingstoke. Thus, if you dropped the EMU at Basingstoke the trains would actually be shorter between Basingstoke and Salisbury than at present. Assuming the services are currently 9/10-car Waterloo to Salisbury and 3/4-car Salisbury to Exeter I'd suggest a better plan would be to build a fleet of 5-car bi-modes that look similar to the 5-WES units (class 442). That way you get 10-car to Salisbury and 5-car beyond. Cascade the 158s and 159s elsewhere, perhaps to GWR to get the inappropriate Turbos off Cardiff-Portsmouth.

All good stuff to allow for increased rail travel. But in the context of "climate emergency," increasing rail travel in itself is a bad thing; it's only a good thing if the travel is journeys that would be made anyway and have been transferred from road or air. So incentives to travel by rail would need to be accompanied by disincentives to other forms of travel and those disincentives would have to be stronger than the incentives; both because of people's habit inertia and because of the extra traffic generated by the cheaper, faster, more convenient train journeys. Even then, it's obviously not as much of a good thing as if those pre-existing journeys were somehow cancelled altogether.
I totally agree with the bit I've put in bold. Behavioural change can involve both 'carrots' and 'sticks' and I imagine it's quite difficult to acheive modal shift while handing out 'carrots' to motorists (I consider projects like the proposed (and hopefully now scrapped for good) second M4 around Newport to be 'carrots').

The way to make rail more carbon efficient is to cram more seats in, do away with buffets and restaurant cars which are not space efficient, and have shorter sets so that trains aren't carting round lots of empty seats at the extremities of their journeys, and have capacity more tailored to the demand.
But that would not be an attractive alternative to the car. Shorter sets have merit if you have unit-end gangways and enough units coupled together at the busy end; in this respect something based on a 153 with lots of splitting and joining to match demand would have been ideal a few decades ago. Now though, society is waking up to the need to cater for the disabled and the shorter each unit is the more extra-large toilets you need. Cabs on new stock are also larger than on a 153. The balance therefore shifts towards slightly longer sets.

The biggest growth in road use in London is for delivery vans (all those Amazon orders etc.).
I wonder, what is the carbon footprint of a large number of vans, compared to a smaller number of HGVs carrying the same amount of stuff? And if those vans were put onto a motorail train for the common part of the journey? The vans probably weigh more than the HGVs, but unlike HGVs (which might be out of loading gauge) you can put them on a train...

The big things for me though in UK transport policy terms are probably:
  • Cap aviation emissions of any greenhouse gas (weighted appropriately for each gas) at their current level or, prefrably, a lower level that decreases every year. Airlines/airports free to re-distribute that budget (eg. cutting 10 short-haul flights to get 1 extra long-haul one) if they wish, but airport expansion would unecessary unless drastic fuel efficientcy improvements come about
  • Stop road capacity schemes
  • Rolling programme of electrification
    • No more trains / rail vehicles capable of over 110mph to be ordered with diesel engines; plan cascades of existing bi-mode units as electrification progresses (eg. finish wires to Oxford and Bristol, buy EMUs for those routes and cascade 800s to XC)
    • Identify routes which will be last to be electrified, if ever (eg. Heart Of Wales) and ensure that any trains built with diesel capability are suitable for such routes
  • Serious effort in making buses an attractive alternative to the car; improve interior quality (eg. legroom), frequencies, journey times (goes hand in hand with the last one, since by running more buses some of them can take shorter routes without leaving villages off the main route without services) and strategies for dealing with disruption (eg. run some routes under contract to a TOC, rather than a local authority, so that passengers are covered by the national rail conditions of travel, particularly the requirement for provision of a hotel/taxi if a missed connection leaves the passenger stranded after the last service of the day). Also, decide on whether hydrogen or batteries is a better approach for buses and role it out (of course, the answer might differ between long-distance routes between key towns (eg. Carmarthen-Aberystwyth) and town service buses)
  • More tram schemes
There's probably more that I've forgotten.
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Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2019, 10:21:44 am »

Quote
don't build roads. No-one is any worse off

That's a fine standpoint to take if you live in a conurbation with thousands of jobs/costumers/lots of alternatives to private car and goods vehicle use available, and plenty of other destinations/users and customers to share the cost of a diverse transport offering. And it's wrong!

If however you are in (say) a small Somerset market town that lost its (slow and underused) rail links to the Bristol area in the 1960s, and is not close to a junction on the M5, you are always going to lose if the road network is unimproved. Fare stage buses will take ages to get to the main towns and cities where the best choice of jobs can be found. If you run a business, your products will take longer to get to your customers, and you will have to pay your drivers or haulier for that extra time. Your suppliers will have to spend longer delivering to you, so the choice of supplier will be less and you will be less likely to get a good deal from them. If you are a strategic director of a national retail chain, you are more likely to close a branch in a small town with poor road links where the cost of a delivery vehicle being on the road for longer mitigates against its viability. 

I am all in favour of measures to reduce the impact of transport on the environment (Electrification Now!). But it has to be recognised that there's more to this than simply stopping building roads. It's replacing the fossil fueled vehicles of today with electric vehicles charged by an electric grid run off renewables and nuclear generation that looks likely to be the answer. Condemning communities with poor transport links to ever increasing economic disadvantage is not.

I'll put my soapbox away now.....

This is all about priorities, and we're rapidly running out of time.
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #50 on: July 05, 2019, 08:41:38 am »

From a BBC article quoted by grahame (here: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21101.msg268553#msg268553):

Quote
The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) report calls on the government to devise a strategy allowing people to have a good standard of living without needing a car.

Nice idea, but who's gonna pay for it?

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The government... plans to spend 50bn on improving [(sic) - Ed] roads.

50bn is enough money to put the whole country back on the rail network.



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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #51 on: July 05, 2019, 01:51:35 pm »

From a BBC article quoted by grahame (here: http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=21101.msg268553#msg268553):

Quote
The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) report calls on the government to devise a strategy allowing people to have a good standard of living without needing a car.

Nice idea, but who's gonna pay for it?

Quote
The government... plans to spend 50bn on improving [(sic) - Ed] roads.

50bn is enough money to put the whole country back on the rail network.





Roughly half of the projected cost of HS2.
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« Reply #52 on: July 05, 2019, 02:28:34 pm »

As the key routes on the existing network definitely wouldn't be able to cope with the additional passengers generated from the whole country coming back on the rail network, let's have both that 50bn and whatever HS2 ends up costing.  And while we're at it a few more billion on improving trunk routes that won't be alleviated by HS2 would be very useful, such as our own GWML.

Mind you, in reality, I don't think 50bn would be anywhere near enough to get everywhere sensible back on the network, though there are many deserving cases that could be relatively quick wins if the will (and Government policy) was there.
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To view my GWML Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/
TonyK
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« Reply #53 on: July 05, 2019, 05:37:45 pm »

I don't think the mixed messages from the government are helped by things like increasing VAT from 5% to 20% on Solar panels.

This coming after the removal of feed in tariffs further reducing the attractiveness of Solar.

Last I checked they'd also reduced grants and support for Electric cars (although as I think someone mentioned earlier they'd not exactly environmentally friendly in their manufacture)




Government?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 06:04:17 pm by TonyK » Logged

Now, please!
Sixty3Closure
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« Reply #54 on: July 07, 2019, 01:12:02 am »

I was reading about a trial in the US by Amazon where you have a nominated delivery day where all your parcels are delivered on that day. As I work from home on a set day I do try to arrange my deliveries for that day but I still get multiple vans turning up. I haven't been able to find much about it (googling Amazon probably didn't help) but if everything is consolidated into one van then that might help a lot with all the white vans moving around.

And as I think Tony is alluding to not a lot is going to happen at the moment with the government being pretty much focused on a single issue. Lot of lost time and wasted opportunities (assuming the political will was there which I doubt).
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #55 on: July 07, 2019, 09:26:52 pm »

Thorium...

I finally got up to speed with this one. Hmm, interesting! LFTR fits in rather well with James Lovelock's idea that the right way to do nuclear power is to put little reactors in the middle of cities; you minimise transmission losses and you can use the waste heat for district heating. Only trouble is, you need to be able to trust everyone in the garrison you station around it to prevent ne'er-do-wells pinching the fuel for whatever reason...
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 09:23:36 am by Red Squirrel » Logged
Trowres
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« Reply #56 on: July 09, 2019, 10:48:50 pm »

Thorium-fuelled reactors are an interesting topic.

The problem is that the naturally-occurring Thorium 232 isn't fissionable with slow ("thermal") neutrons and, while fissionable by fast neutrons, can't sustain a chain reaction in this way (as far as I can make out).

What this means is that the Thorium 232 has to be converted to fissionable U-233 by "breeding" (in the same way that U-238 can be converted to Plutonium).

This is do-able, but estimates I have seen are that it would take 50+ years for a Thorium-fuelled reactor to breed sufficient fissionable material to start a second reactor. Therefore reactors need uranium to get going.

Usually there's someone on this forum who can check the facts...is there some way around these issues?
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TonyK
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« Reply #57 on: July 10, 2019, 12:42:26 pm »

Wind turbines, particularly onshore ones, polarise opinion - to the extent that it is very hard to find clear, unbiased information about their merits and disadvantages.

Aye, and there's the rub! At best, our energy policy has been decided by uninformed opinion. At worst, it has been formed by pure emotion. Midway between the two, it could have been formed by greed and corruption as people grow rich at the expense of an uninformed public.

As an example, some years ago, an animal activist group complained that chicken cages (I never agreed with caging chickens and am glad the practice ceased) lobbied for the floors of the cages to be made of something thicker than the mesh currently used. The farmers objected because they took less cleaning, but lost, and thick rods were used. Some years later, a university did an experiment where over time, random groups of chickens were given the free choice of either. All chose the mesh.

In similar vein, despite the emotion, advertising, literature and the like, it is just possible that the life cycle of an onshore wind turbine, from the Olympic pool sized bed of concrete and displacement of peat or grassland, the mining and transport of the metals used - neodymium mining is particularly polluting, but mainly in China, so not of any concern to us - to the disposal in landfill of 30 tonnes of non-recyclable slow degrading blades per turbine costs more in environmental terms than it saves. I am not saying it does, nor that other forms of energy production are without similar costs. What I am saying is that in a land full of universities, there has yet to be any unbiased scientific study into the whole overall picture, and there should be. There have no doubt been many peer-reviewed studies into each individual process, or we would still be making town gas from coal.

Onshore wind does polarise opinion. Those who live near them hate them. Those who live out of sight and sound think they are a good idea. I have met many people who, like myself, once thought they are a good idea, but now don't. I have yet to meet anyone who has changed opinion in the opposite direction.

Quote
Mark Watson is, as I understand it, a comedian; I expect his book is funny (that's his specialism) but is it good science?

No, and that's the point he makes. None of it has been so far, and it is a subject full of paradox and anomaly. Everyone thinks they have the right answer, but nobody has. He makes no attempt to impose any view, just points out the absurdities of things like having thousands of people flying to conferences to address aviation emissions.

On that last matter, another aside. In my previous career, which I am now sufficiently distanced from to mention occasionally, I once came across what I can only describe as a professional conference attender. He was not a scientist, nor particular articulate in our two meetings, but had become a member of different environmental groups around the country and got himself sent by some of them to different conferences around the world. As a member of the industry, he had spent more than 26 weeks of the previous year abroad. which he described as important work to save the planet. I pointed out that when he had told the Jobcentre he was on a charity holiday in Cornwall, he was in Rio de Janeiro, he was in Kuala Lumpur rather than at a job interview in Manchester, Oslo rather than attending one of the two funerals his father had etc, and would not have got benefit had he told the truth, which he admitted he had known, but given the importance of the work, and so on. The judge didn't take kindly to it either, and arranged for him to be excused looking for work for a period to be able to attend another residential event somewhere less salubrious.

Disclosure: Mark was at school with my son many years ago, and was often at our house, or my son at his, as a youngster. He was, and still is, very bright but showed no sign of being a budding stand-up comic, author (8 books so far), broadcaster and producer. I thought he would make a reasonable accountant or English teacher at that stage.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 01:14:36 pm by TonyK » Logged

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ellendune
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« Reply #58 on: July 10, 2019, 01:24:11 pm »

Wind turbines, particularly onshore ones, polarise opinion - to the extent that it is very hard to find clear, unbiased information about their merits and disadvantages.

In similar vein, despite the emotion, advertising, literature and the like, it is just possible that the life cycle of an onshore wind turbine, from the Olympic pool sized bed of concrete and displacement of peat or grassland, the mining and transport of the metals used - neodymium mining is particularly polluting, but mainly in China, so not of any concern to us - to the disposal in landfill of 30 tonnes of non-recyclable slow degrading blades per turbine costs more in environmental terms than it saves. I am not saying it does, nor that other forms of energy production are without similar costs. What I am saying is that in a land full of universities, there has yet to be any unbiased scientific study into the whole overall picture, and there should be. There have no doubt been many peer-reviewed studies into each individual process, or we would still be making town gas from coal.

Onshore wind does polarise opinion. Those who live near them hate them. Those who live out of sight and sound think they are a good idea. I have met many people who, like myself, once thought they are a good idea, but now don't. I have yet to meet anyone who has changed opinion in the opposite direction.

I think it might be fairer to say "Some of those who live near them hate them".  I do not consider to live near one but I certainly live in sight of one.  I like them. 

Those who oppose them put the argument that the wind does not blow all the time. You could say the same about solar.  However that is what the electricity grid is for - and balancing both solar and wind in different locations makes this much easier.  To assist this there are plenty of schemes for new international grid inter-connectors being put forward.

Those from Europe to the UK are currently on hold as the regulation of them is uncertain due to the UK pulling out of some treaties.  Inter-connectors directly to Ireland are however still being progressed. 
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« Reply #59 on: July 25, 2019, 09:13:22 am »

In view of the considerable concerns WRT carbon emissions from air travel, it has been suggested that taking holidays in the UK should be encouraged as an alternative to flying overseas.

Perhaps a start could be made by offering a reliable service of full length trains to West country holiday destinations, EVEN DURING HOT WEATHER when trips to the seaside are particular popular.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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