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Author Topic: Electric buses: Why were trolleybuses ever scrapped?  (Read 10553 times)
Reading General
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« Reply #60 on: March 02, 2020, 02:28:22 pm »

There are many possible solutions to the transport side of things, the trolleybus one of them. Her Majesty's adoring government has to take more of a lead than it does at present, though, because the current way of doing things is wasteful. Bristol, Leeds and others spent years of time and shed loads of money bidding for a share of a finite pot of cash against others, and knowing that someone wasn't going to get what they wanted, and ended up with ponced-up buses that have hardly been run in before the government announced that it wants to have all electric buses. Buses are further complicated by being privately owned, so not easily replaceable without big private investment as well as infrastructure paid for by public funds that is sufficiently attractive to the private sector to get the money back from access charges. MetroBust in Bristol has shown that that isn't easy with ordinary buses, as the operators can choose to use different routes.

Throwing £500 million or £1 billion in a pot and inviting every transport authority in the land to bid for a share is slow and wasteful. Better for the government to start the process properly by saying "We like what we see in Manchester / Nottingham / Mulhouse / Shanghai. We think trams would work for medium to large citieswith potential routes, while trolleybus may fit large towns better. We have a preferred specification to take advantage of economies of scale - who wants to be first?" Finance could be on the HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) model (or Manchester Metrolink for that matter) - government brokers the loan at preferred rates, agrees how much the local authority has to pay back over how long, then the system gets built and any profit can be used to expand. Every system is future proofed - bus-only and trolleybus routes built so they can be converted to rail, all tram lines ready for tram-train etc - Simples. Probably not as simples as I make it out to be.

  Small changes in transport legislation can put quite a lot right, cross route subsidising for example could mean the survival of lesser used rural routes without direct council subsidy. If any infrastructure is built, trolley overhead, tramlines, etc. then it could be public from the beginning, the local council controlling it, meanwhile private companies can operate the routes. It would be good having a solid network of something that is public controlled much like any metro system but on a level that fits the urban area, all of which can be safeguarded and stop operators, transport bodies etc. selecting the short term option. After all, London's tube network never made money for a long time but there was never  thought of closing it I don't think, and now it's full. 
  Many trolleybus systems in the U.K could have been mothballed, left ready for use/updating for the future (and we would all be quite pleased with ourselves now if we did), this occurred an a couple of Italian cities. I believe Bradford left their traction poles up for some time after abandonment just in case, and also had a trolleybus driver on staff to teach people should it have arisen. There was a plan to resurrect them for an interurban system with Leeds in 1987 as well as system revivals in Rotherham and Doncaster.
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TonyK
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« Reply #61 on: March 02, 2020, 02:49:40 pm »

  Small changes in transport legislation can put quite a lot right, cross route subsidising for example could mean the survival of lesser used rural routes without direct council subsidy. If any infrastructure is built, trolley overhead, tramlines, etc. then it could be public from the beginning, the local council controlling it, meanwhile private companies can operate the routes. It would be good having a solid network of something that is public controlled much like any metro system but on a level that fits the urban area, all of which can be safeguarded and stop operators, transport bodies etc. selecting the short term option. After all, London's tube network never made money for a long time but there was never  thought of closing it I don't think, and now it's full. 
  Many trolleybus systems in the U.K could have been mothballed, left ready for use/updating for the future (and we would all be quite pleased with ourselves now if we did), this occurred an a couple of Italian cities. I believe Bradford left their traction poles up for some time after abandonment just in case, and also had a trolleybus driver on staff to teach people should it have arisen. There was a plan to resurrect them for an interurban system with Leeds in 1987 as well as system revivals in Rotherham and Doncaster.

I was working on the situation as it is, rather than as it could be. Widespread launching of systems to compete with private operators wouldn't go down well with our current government, and especially not with the current transport operators. That would cause issues far beyond fixing with a few tweaks to the legislation, and I think it better to work with the operators. Another government can nationalise it all if it so chooses.

Blackpool transport are about to reuse the OHLE posts in Talbot Square that fell from service in 1932, when what was then thought to have been the last tram along Talbot Road left the stop. They were never taken down.
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Reading General
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« Reply #62 on: March 02, 2020, 03:00:10 pm »


Blackpool transport are about to reuse the OHLE posts in Talbot Square that fell from service in 1932, when what was then thought to have been the last tram along Talbot Road left the stop. They were never taken down.

Interesting. Reading still has two locations where the traction poles remain, Kentwood Hill and Northumberland Avenue. The Northumberland Avenue ones were only traction poles for 5 years, they have been lampposts for just over 52 years.
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TonyK
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« Reply #63 on: March 02, 2020, 04:14:13 pm »


The idea is only worthwhile if there is a significant demand for heat, that can be supplied almost for free from the engine cooling system.
Hospitals, hotels, and industrial laundries use a vast amount of hot water, and some DO generate electricity from natural gas, or from oil. The process is known as CHP or combined heat and power, and is only worthwhile if there is a large and paying demand for the heat.

Bristol is embarking on a local heat grid, with any new developments expected to connect to it to satisfy local planning requirements. The aspiration is to use waste heat from elsewhere, but there is bound to be a thumping great big gas boiler in there to begin with.

Iceland has a surfeit of hot water, free at source. Even the pavements are heated to keep them free of ice. Bristol doesn't have a volcano.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #64 on: March 02, 2020, 05:39:19 pm »

Iceland has a surfeit of hot water, free at source. Even the pavements are heated to keep them free of ice. Bristol doesn't have a volcano.

And it has - or at least had in 1980 - the distinctive disadvantage of making the whole place, especially the house and bathroom, stink of rotten eggs. It was primary hydrothermal water with a fair amount of volcanically derived H2S. After my first shower, I was not convinced I was clean! Smiley
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johnneyw
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« Reply #65 on: March 02, 2020, 06:52:17 pm »


Blackpool transport are about to reuse the OHLE posts in Talbot Square that fell from service in 1932, when what was then thought to have been the last tram along Talbot Road left the stop. They were never taken down.

Was this more down to foresight or oversight?
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TonyK
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« Reply #66 on: March 02, 2020, 09:09:16 pm »


Blackpool transport are about to reuse the OHLE posts in Talbot Square that fell from service in 1932, when what was then thought to have been the last tram along Talbot Road left the stop. They were never taken down.

Was this more down to foresight or oversight?

I think they were useful for a lot of things, such as stringing up the lights around Talbot Square in the days when the illuminations were switched on by somebody famous, on the town hall balcony, rather than by a "celebrity" in front of thousands of drunks in the Pleasure Beach. So they were painted regularly to ward off the effects of passing dogs (got that right) and anyone caught short after leaving Yates's Wine Lodge before it burnt down.
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« Reply #67 on: March 16, 2020, 03:40:31 pm »

How big a factor this is for Li-ion I'm not sure. In all the talk recently about fast chargers for cars for use en route, I've never heard anyone say how much they shorten your battery's life - but they do, don't they? There are a lot of alternatives to Li-ion being worked on, none of which has come good yet ... but I guess one should sooner or later.

This question may be more relevant to cars, though it arose for buses. I've found a report about what fast charging does to electric car batteries (Li-ion, obviously) - from E&T:
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Electric vehicle fast chargers shown to damage internal batteries
By E&T editorial staff                                Published Friday, March 13, 2020

Electric car batteries could be damaged from commercial fast-charging stations which subject them to high temperatures and high resistance, potentially causing them to crack, leak and lose storage capacity.

Engineers at the University of California, Riverside are developing a method to remedy the problem by charging at lower temperatures, which has shown to lower the risk of catastrophic damage and loss of storage capacity.

The researchers charged one set of discharged Panasonic NCR 18650B cylindrical lithium-ion batteries, such as those found in Tesla cars, using the same industry fast-charging method as the fast chargers typically found along US freeways.

They also charged a set of batteries using a new fast-charging algorithm based on the battery’s internal resistance, which interferes with the flow of electrons.The internal resistance of a battery fluctuates according to temperature, charge state, battery age, and other factors. High internal resistance can cause problems during charging.

The new charging method uses an adaptive system that learns from the battery by checking its internal resistance during charging. It rests when internal resistance kicks in to eliminate loss of charge capacity.

For the first 13 charging cycles, the battery storage capacities for both charging techniques remained similar. After that, however, the industry fast-charging technique caused capacity to fade much faster: after 40 charging cycles, the batteries retained only 60 per cent of their storage capacity.

Batteries charged using the internal resistance charging method retained more than 80 per cent capacity after the 40th cycle.

At 80 per cent capacity, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have reached the end of their useful life for most purposes. Batteries charged using the industry fast-charging method reached this point after 25 charging cycles, while internal resistance method batteries were good for 36 cycles.

That looks expensive. But is it? What a battery costs is a fast-changing number; I gather it's down close to $5000 now for small ones. How much it's worth for reuse at the end point, and even what that end point is, are subject to widely varying opinions, but I doubt it's worth more than half its cost.

So if 40 fast charges removes a minimum of 50% of £6,000, that's £75 each time. Comparable with the cost of a full tank of petrol, of course, but it's an extra. Plus if fast charging is seen as the answer to decarbonising the archetypal rep, needing to recharge en route more than once a week, or for buses during the day every day, that's s huge number of batteries to replace. The market for reusing that many might not be there. And even their new improved charging protocol does seem to shorten life substantially, although less.

PS did you spot " internal resistance, which interferes with the flow of electrons"? Wow, fancy that! But it must be true, if that's the IET (Intercity Express Train) house mag.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 04:50:55 pm by stuving » Logged
TonyK
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« Reply #68 on: March 16, 2020, 03:52:40 pm »


PS did you spot " internal resistance, which interferes with the flow of electrons"? Wow, fancy that! But it must be true, if that's the IET (Intercity Express Train) house mag.

I did, but I also noticed the ambiguity. Is it the internal resistance that is said to interfere with the flow, or the new all-singing fast-charging algorithm?
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