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Author Topic: Could you give up flying? Meet the no-plane pioneers  (Read 15870 times)
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #90 on: December 01, 2020, 06:53:12 am »

I'm all for being 'Green' and helping the planet but this constant airline bashing stuff is starting to get on my nerves now. This is a train forum is it not? I didn't sign up for greenpeace or extinction rebellion.

You can not be "green" and still support air travel.
If we are serious about the climate emergency, we need to fly and drive a lot less. Rail is the obvious alternative.

It's equally possible to argue that you cannot be "green" and support eating meat.

As with most things in life, it's wisest to avoid arguing absolutes and accept that reality is somewhere in the middle - most people realise the need to take action on climate change, both personally and collectively, and similarly most people will fly now and again.

One of the few positive things to come out of the current Covid crisis is a re-evaluation and reduction in travel by all methods due to new ways of doing business, and that can only be good for the climate in the long run.

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Jamsdad
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« Reply #91 on: December 01, 2020, 02:43:39 pm »

This is a matter where different people are going to have different acceptable  travel norms.
For my perspective a good deal of travel choices are influenced by available time, and what you personally set as an acceptable norm.
To give some personal examples. ..
1.Liskeard to St Austell. Easy to jump in the car and if that is your default thats what you tend t do. But set yourself a default of train unless impossible and driving is no longer the default.
2. Cornwall to London. Could fly by it can take longer than the train and then there is all the check in hassle. Default- train.Personally I am a fan of the sleeper. I get a good sleep provided you use earplugs.
3. Cornwall to South of France. Knee jerk -look for a cheap flight. But if you have the time train in a much less stressful and enjoyable option - did it back in October and it was great. If your default is train then thats what you will consider first. Seat 61 gives you all the options. Future trips to France will be by train.
4. Cornwall to Fez ( Morocco). Did this by train, including the incomparable Paris-Madrid sleeper and it was one of the family's great holiday adventures. The travel was part of the holiday .
5. Overland to Japan. Not so easy but Seat 61 tells you how to do it!
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4064ReadingAbbey
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« Reply #92 on: December 02, 2020, 06:20:58 pm »

All movement involves a cost - even if one walks the grass gets trampled which will upset or even squash some small creature.

The issue is the degree of injury which one is prepared to accept in moving from A to B. This is all compounded and complicated by value judgements of others as to whether one?s journey from A to B is essential, useful or just frivolous.

It is neither possible, nor desirable, to discourage or prohibit people from moving around. The archetypical ?village idiot? was the result of inbreeding and he/she effectively vanished when it became easier for people to visit the next village or town. Mixing the gene pool tends to be advantageous to humanity. People move around because they are inquisitive. Or at least some are, as DNA studies also show that after their arrival in an area populations often stay in the same place for millenia. But Phoenician DNA shows up in native English populations so somebody travelled a long way 2,000 years ago. Without movement we would still be living in the Rift Valley getting sunburnt.

It is simply not the case that air travel is only ever ?bad?, and that rail is always ?good?. In my earlier post I refered to my journeys by rail between Ulm or Munich in southern Germany to Reading. I present three approximate calculations to show orders of magnitude:

? A 12 coach sleeper train has a mass of some 500 tonnes or more - the electricity needed to heat it and move it at 100mph or so for 12 hours is considerable. Assume that the locomotive has a power output of 6.5MW (Siemens Vectron) this would be a total of 78MWh for the journey. However full power would not be needed all the time so probably about 40% of this total energy would be used allowing for coasting, regenerative braking, slow running and station stops making a total energy consumption of just over 30MWh. In addition some 50kW per coach is used continuously for heating, lighting, ventilation and other stuff for 7.2MWh making a journey total of 37MWh, to make the maths easy lets say 40MWh or 1.44x10^7 joules. In terms of energy this is the equivalent of just over 3 tonnes of kerosine.

? There is also the matter of the track. Reading to Munich by rail is something over 1,000km, in other words for a twin track railway there are some 4,000km of rail. Rail has a life of some 30 years, possibly slightly less for high speed lines, which means that 1/30th has to be replaced every year and at 60kg/m this comes to 8,000 tonnes of steel. Every year.

? Figures for aircraft and airline fuel consumption are publicly available. Ryanair is a low-cost airline serving mainly European destinations; it seats 189 people in its Boeing 737-800s. Using typical values for sector lengths, fuel consumption and seat occupancy it can be seen that the fuel consumption is marginally greater than 3 litres/100 km/seat - based on typical sector consumption of something over 5 tonnes and a typical sector being something over an hour which covers London to Munich. This figure will obviously vary depending on sector lengths, routing, cruising altitude, load, winds and air temperature but will remain close to 3 litres/100 km/seat - it will be neither 1.5 litres/100 km/seat nor 6 litres/100 km/seat. As a comparison my 12 year old 2.0l Golf diesel does nearly 50mpg on a long run which converts to 5.7l/100km, or 1.4 litres/100 km/seat. Not so different to the 737.

More significantly for this discussion the hypothetical sleeper to Munich uses the energy equivalent of 3 tonnes of kerosine which is not million miles from Ryanair?s average consumption of 5 tonnes for an equivalent sector. Obviously I have ignored the different efficiencies but the effects of any changes will be less than an order of magnitude.

One can argue that renewable energy can supply the electricity needed for surface transport. But it can?t - at least not in the foreseeable future. The UK has the bounty of wind energy in the North Sea, but on the continent this rather fades out away from the coast. Belgium is closing its two old nuclear plants and those in Germany are also on their way out with no replacement. Although Germany is dotted with countless thousands of wind turbines they are not sufficient to supply the baseload with the result that the country is burning huge quantities of lignite quarried in the K?ln, Eschweiler, J?chen triangle and over the last few years has increased its CO2 output for this reason. Look at a satellite view of this area and tell me that that is ?green? even though it drives an electric railway - villages have vanished.

Do not misunderstand my argument. I am as fond of trains and train travel as anyone on this forum - I enjoy the sights, sounds, history and drama of them. But they are not, and cannot be, the answer to every type of journey and to proclaim their perceived environmental advantages - and the perceived environmental disadvantages of air travel - without any analysis to support the argument is not helpful.
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broadgage
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« Reply #93 on: December 02, 2020, 07:37:10 pm »

When comparing rail travel to air, I suspect that rail may perform batter than suggested above.
I would not expect the locomotive to run at full rated power for long, 6.5 Mw when accelerating or ascending inclines, certainly, but much less as an average. Within living memory, a single large stem locomotive with a power output of about 1 Mw was used on sleepers, two such locos at the most.
I am not convinced that the energy used to heat a sleeper train should be counted, If the passenger had flown instead then they would have spent an extra night in their heated home, or in a heated hotel.

As regards the source of the electricity for the electric train, we are indeed some way from 100% renewably generated electricity, but 50% or more is well within sight. Jet fuel is 100% fossil fuel, and likely to remain so.
I have high hopes for an increased percentage of renewably generated electricity.
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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.
4064ReadingAbbey
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« Reply #94 on: December 02, 2020, 08:19:26 pm »

When comparing rail travel to air, I suspect that rail may perform batter than suggested above.
I would not expect the locomotive to run at full rated power for long, 6.5 Mw when accelerating or ascending inclines, certainly, but much less as an average. Within living memory, a single large stem locomotive with a power output of about 1 Mw was used on sleepers, two such locos at the most.

Exactly for this reason my calculation was based on the use of only 40% of the installed power.

And we are talking about continental, not Anglo-Scottish, sleepers which have been hauled by powerful electric locomotives since I started using them in 1974. The E10 of the Bundesbahn introduced in 1952 had a continuous rating of 3.7MW and was commonly used from Aachen onwards.

I am not convinced that the energy used to heat a sleeper train should be counted, If the passenger had flown instead then they would have spent an extra night in their heated home, or in a heated hotel.

OK, I'll deduct a bit from Ryanair's fuel consumption and let the passengers sit at -40deg C.

As regards the source of the electricity for the electric train, we are indeed some way from 100% renewably generated electricity, but 50% or more is well within sight. Jet fuel is 100% fossil fuel, and likely to remain so.
I have high hopes for an increased percentage of renewably generated electricity.
You might have high hopes in the UK because of the ocean winds. Less likely in central Europe as the winds aren't so strong or regular and the German government has set its face against nuclear power and there is only so much area one can set aside for photo-voltaic cells. In addition you will need some pretty mahousive batteries so the sleepers can run at night.
Maybe fossil fuels will be reserved for transport because of its high energy density.
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southwest
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« Reply #95 on: December 04, 2020, 12:18:33 am »

I'm all for being 'Green' and helping the planet but this constant airline bashing stuff is starting to get on my nerves now. This is a train forum is it not? I didn't sign up for greenpeace or extinction rebellion.

You can not be "green" and still support air travel.
If we are serious about the climate emergency, we need to fly and drive a lot less. Rail is the obvious alternative.

Very little flying for almost 12 months, absolutely no change to the climate. Says it all really.
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southwest
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« Reply #96 on: December 04, 2020, 12:31:16 am »

I'm all for being 'Green' and helping the planet but this constant airline bashing stuff is starting to get on my nerves now. This is a train forum is it not? I didn't sign up for greenpeace or extinction rebellion.

You can not be "green" and still support air travel.
If we are serious about the climate emergency, we need to fly and drive a lot less. Rail is the obvious alternative.

This is a forum, with the strength that we welcome just about (1) all views. Sometimes that means we have to read (and may choose to answer) ideas that we find difficult.   There is a complex set of choices, balances and tradeoffs - not only in how each choose to travel, but also around the governance of travel and whether we choose to travel at all; such choices, including the strengths and weaknesses of all the options are very much on our radar.

1 - line drawn at legal, decent and  honest.


My personal choice - as will be evident from reading my personal posts - is to rarely fly, but I doubt I'ld go as far as "never again" which is where the headline of this thread starts.  That choice suggests a future fossil fuel flight industry far less in the medium future than it has been in the near past if my position has common acceptance, which the survey in my earlier post suggests may be the case.


This is why I have an issue.  To state a general fact most people on here are train spotters, they don't fly much, they don't get how airlines work, they don't know much about the industry as a whole but 'claim' to know a lot.

The way I see it, if you don't know much about something either go a learn about it(Not just read stuff off wikipedia or BBC News) but properly learn and investigate it. Alternatively don't say anything at all. Quite frankly it's as simple as that!

Trying to make out that it's for the good of the planet or because people have the right to say stuff is nonsense. It's like me going into the Savoy and telling Gordon Ramsay how to cook Scallops, he's got 25 years+ experience, I've never cooked them before in my life.  Grin
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grahame
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« Reply #97 on: December 04, 2020, 03:48:14 am »

This is why I have an issue.  To state a general fact most people on here are train spotters, they don't fly much, they don't get how airlines work, they don't know much about the industry as a whole but 'claim' to know a lot.

I think you do a grave dis-service to many of our members who are a remarkable bunch.  I can't count the number of times I have said "my goodness" to myself when someone or other has let slip, often unintended within a full post, just what experts they are and what they have achieved, in utter modesty.

Quote
The way I see it, if you don't know much about something either go a learn about it (Not just read stuff off wikipedia or BBC News) but properly learn and investigate it. Alternatively don't say anything at all. Quite frankly it's as simple as that!

On average, a Coffee Shop thread provokes 10 follow up posts, of which I would guess an average of three might be from the original poster.  So that's just seven members who have said something. Most members are indeed 'just' reading and learning.  In the last 24 hours, a hundred and one different members have been logged in to the forum; I cannot tell you how many have read each thread, but I can tell you that on average a member visiting reads well over 7 threads or equivalents at each visit, and that there are many who visit multiple times per day. So commenting is rare.

People typically post because they can make a contribution, because they have read something and want to ask / check to see what others make of it, or because they've got a question.  And that's very much encouraged as it builds up their knowledge, and the knowledge of other members, and sometimes debunks fake news / incorrect rumours.

You write "but properly learn and investigate it. Alternatively don't say anything at all.".  No - I cannot agree with you. Asking questions and sharing views with others is part of the process of learning and investigating.  If everyone followed your alternative, we would learn nothing ...

Quote
Trying to make out that it's for the good of the planet or because people have the right to say stuff is nonsense. It's like me going into the Savoy and telling Gordon Ramsay how to cook Scallops, he's got 25 years+ experience, I've never cooked them before in my life.  Grin

We are learning - and the stakes are high - what is good for our planet and the discussion is a valuable one. Gordon Ramsay is a good analogy; for sure, few will tell him how to cook scallops, but we may tell him how much we enjoy them (or not), we may ask him how he gets a particular effect, and we may make suggestions or requests ("could I try that with some cinnamon please").  Watch his TV show visiting restaurant disasters and you'll see Gordon listening to the people dining - learning from those people, and moving the restaurant forward for what his customers want; it may be taste, it may be nutrition value, it may be for a pleasant environment, it will certainly be for their health. 

Customer feedback and questions are gold dust! Feedback and questions are real drivers and one of the most frustrating thing for a supplier or expert is to have people be critical but keep it to themselves - simply not return ... and if that means answering the same ole question many times, so be it - perhaps time to write an FAQ or to give the answer wider publicity.  Silent customers who fail to return, or tell their friends how they didn't get what / the answers to questions they asked, are the dread of a business. 

But - sometimes - the FAQ or answer by some other means will not provide the answer you would have liked:

If we are serious about the climate emergency, we need to fly and drive a lot less. Rail is the obvious alternative.
Very little flying for almost 12 months, absolutely no change to the climate. Says it all really.

As I understand it, "no change to the climate" (what authority are you quoting?) in 12 months may not be a surprise.   With the noise of climate variance year to year, I don't see how anyone can reach a conclusion as to whether or not there's a change in such a short period.  Within the inertia of the planet and its resource changes, I would be surprised to see anything that could be identified that quickly.  And with so many other factors and element making up the pressures on our climate, I don't see how the single element of flying (when many other elements have changed this year too) can be directly correlated to climate to the exclusion of other elements.

You, southwest, are our Gordon Ramsay.  Please explain to me, as a customer in your restaurant, how you as the expert who has stated the conclusion that flying hasn't been changing the climate in the past and suggesting (it seems) that we can carry on / resume flying again in due course without climate penalty.

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TonyK
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« Reply #98 on: December 04, 2020, 10:22:02 am »


This is why I have an issue.  To state a general fact most people on here are train spotters, they don't fly much, they don't get how airlines work, they don't know much about the industry as a whole but 'claim' to know a lot.

The way I see it, if you don't know much about something either go a learn about it(Not just read stuff off wikipedia or BBC News) but properly learn and investigate it. Alternatively don't say anything at all. Quite frankly it's as simple as that!

Trying to make out that it's for the good of the planet or because people have the right to say stuff is nonsense. It's like me going into the Savoy and telling Gordon Ramsay how to cook Scallops, he's got 25 years+ experience, I've never cooked them before in my life.  Grin

Ooh-er. I have never stood at the end of a platform with a flask, anorak, and notebook, or read railway magazines under the covers by torchlight. I have had conversations with air traffic controllers along the lines of "Copy, two to the 747, downwind left hand for 27 with traffic in sight, report turning base, Golf Xray Whiskey" and the like.
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Now, please!
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #99 on: December 04, 2020, 11:36:02 am »


This is why I have an issue.  To state a general fact most people on here are train spotters, they don't fly much, they don't get how airlines work, they don't know much about the industry as a whole but 'claim' to know a lot.

The way I see it, if you don't know much about something either go a learn about it(Not just read stuff off wikipedia or BBC News) but properly learn and investigate it. Alternatively don't say anything at all. Quite frankly it's as simple as that!

Trying to make out that it's for the good of the planet or because people have the right to say stuff is nonsense. It's like me going into the Savoy and telling Gordon Ramsay how to cook Scallops, he's got 25 years+ experience, I've never cooked them before in my life.  Grin

Ooh-er. I have never stood at the end of a platform with a flask, anorak, and notebook, or read railway magazines under the covers by torchlight. I have had conversations with air traffic controllers along the lines of "Copy, two to the 747, downwind left hand for 27 with traffic in sight, report turning base, Golf Xray Whiskey" and the like.

How do you like your scallops?
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TonyK
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« Reply #100 on: December 04, 2020, 01:36:38 pm »


How do you like your scallops?

Hot and fast, like my women. I find 90 seconds per side is best (the scallops, that is).
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« Reply #101 on: December 04, 2020, 05:18:27 pm »

Straight up with a twist!..
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stuving
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« Reply #102 on: December 04, 2020, 06:38:25 pm »

This is a case of "how green is my all?e (and r?tour)". SNCF and Air France have added Bordeaux to the places you can get a combined ticket from. The effect is that you can fly from France while meeting the official objective of using rail instead within France if it's less than three hours - which Bordeaux-Paris now is. But not until 15th December - confinement oblige.

This only works for Orly, not CDG (where most of the relevant planes are, of course) because that's the way the trains run. And fingers have been pointed at the use of a taxi transfer, despite RER C and Orlyval running all the way. But that's two awkward changes potentially with luggage, and Orlyval is oddly ticketed too. But le Grand Paris Express line 18 will solve that problem. Maybe?

More words from Aviation24.be, and Air France have a cute picture as well.

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« Reply #103 on: December 09, 2020, 02:14:20 pm »

From EuroWeekly News:
Quote
European rail companies to extend night network of sleeper trains
By Matthew Roscoe - 9 December 2020 @ 09:57

FOUR European national rail companies plan to extend the night network of sleeper trains after an announcement on Tuesday, December 8, promising to link 13 major cities.

The announcement of a ?500 million investment promises to be the largest extension of Europe?s night network in many years as state railways of Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland join together in a plan to cut carbon emissions from travel by air.

The decline in night trains in Western Europe has been caused by the popularity of budget-airlines, although they are popular in Eastern Europe, where routes such as St. Petersburg to Moscow are served by fleets of sleepers.

20 new trains operated by Austria?s OeBB will operate the new routes and should bring to 1.4 million the number of night passengers the four operators carry each year.

From next December, sleepers will run from Vienna to Paris via Munich and from Zurich to Amsterdam via Cologne with routes from Berlin to Brussels and Paris and Zurich to Barcelona set to added two years later.

?Board the train in Munich or Berlin in the evening and arrive refreshed in Brussels or Paris the next morning,? said German transport minister Andreas Scheuer. ?We?ll be travelling in a more climate- and environment-friendly way.?

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broadgage
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« Reply #104 on: December 09, 2020, 04:08:19 pm »

Splendid news.
I am opposed to air travel and strongly in favour of greener alternatives, which in practice means rail in most circumstances.
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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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