Caledonian Sleeper

trebor79

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Just the leg from Edinburgh to Fort William will easily use 1000 litres of diesel, which will produce 2,600kg of CO2e. Add in some more for the shunting either end and the locos idling, and 3000kg CO2 is in the ‘probable’ range. It could be twice that. Not such a good CO2e per passenger number when there’s not many passengers on the sleeper.

Being really provocative, it would be better for the CO2 emissions for all Fort William sleeper passengers to be turfed off at Glasgow* and driven individually by car to their destination, one per car.

*Yes I know the Fort William portion splits at Edinburgh.
It's still only about 50kg per passenger, so still better than the flight + drive option.
 
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Bill57p9

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Also one of the things about CS is because it's interesting to people on here, every single piece of out of course running is reported, however minor. Not downplaying some of the recent issues which are bad, but the Forum would never get the same reports of the 0700 (time made up) Thameslink off Bedford or whatever.
Given that CS only run 10 trains per day, with them combining into 4, any single piece of disruption affects a great proportion of their operation.
Plus the complexity of the operation means that if something goes wrong it tends to go very wrong.
IIRC, last week CS only delivered all 10 trains on 1 or 2 night's, which doesn't seem particularly impressive.

Back in 2010 I was a regular commuter on the mk3s and have used the mk5s. The old stock was definitely tired and needed replacing or serious refurbishment, the latter would only be a stopgap.

There are some great strides forward with the mk5s, such as the ensuites and doubles. They certainly look a world better too and the beds themselves are slightly bigger and more comfortable, however I can't help thinking that some features are form over function or longevity: the ride on a 40 year old MK3 was better, the flimsy table, the ladders falling apart, the noisy water pump (Vs the BREL solution of a header tank).
 

Bald Rick

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It's still only about 50kg per passenger, so still better than the flight + drive option.

I realise that, and I now realise I got my sums wrong by using the wrong source for aircraft fuel burn :oops:. I’m sending myself straight to detention, for extra homework.

To correct myself:

A typical Luton to Glasgow flight using an A320neo will burn around 2,500 litres of Jet A1. This will create 6157kg CO2e. Typical loading on easyJet flights is well above 90% of the 186 seats, using 90% we arrive at 37kg CO2e per passenger.

The sleeper from Edinburgh to Ft William could burn anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 litres of diesel, depending on how efficient the MTU engine is (which I don’t know*) how many coaches it is pulling (4 or 6) and how much ‘hotel’ power is drawn (quite a lot, I suspect). This will create between 2665 and 5330 kg of CO2e.

A four coach sleeper formation has beds for 30 people in 15 ‘rooms’, plus 30 in the seats.
A six coach sleeper formation has beds for 66 people in 33 rooms, plus 30 in the seats.
It must be a rare event for all the rooms to have double occupancy, and for all the seats to be occupied given that there is the Edinburgh shuffle with the shared seated car.

On the very best case - all possible beds / seats taken on a 6 car formation, lowest fuel consumption, the figure is 28kg CO2e per passenger. But lowest fuel consumption on a 6 car formation is unlikely.

A more likely ‘best’ scenario is 75% occupancy of 6 car (ie all rooms taken, but half with just one person, 75% seats taken), and fuel consumption of around 1,500 litres (CO2e 4,000kg), CO2e is 55kg per passenger.

Clearly, with lower occupancy, the sleeper CO2e value will be higher still per passenger.

I agree with @Bletchelyite that the most ‘carbon friendly’ way to get to Fort William is electric train to Glasgow (or even Dumbarton / Balloch) and hire an EV from there. The second best would be an EV the whole way. Next up would be to take an electric train to Glasgow (or Dumbarton / Ballcoh) and day train or hire an ICE car (won’t be much in it between these) Then, I’m afraid, it’s likely to be plane and EV, then plane and ICE car before the sleeper.

Whilst the sleeper is many things, for travellers to Fort William it is not the most carbon friendly way, far from it.

* I freely admit that I don’t know the fuel efficiency of the 73. However from what I do know about fuel efficiency of diesel trains it is unlikely that a 73 hauling 300 tonnes+ of train and itself, making frequent stops and three big climbs, and a big hotel load, would manage anything better than half a mile per gallon. And sometimes there’s another loco on the front (like this morning).
 

najaB

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Whilst the sleeper is many things, for travellers to Fort William it is not the most carbon friendly way, far from it.
In theory, yes. However as it stands currently you would struggle to rent that EV from Glasgow. Plus the Sleeper combines travel with a night's sleep. What's the carbon emission of a night in a semi-decent hotel?
 

Bletchleyite

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In theory, yes. However as it stands currently you would struggle to rent that EV from Glasgow. Plus the Sleeper combines travel with a night's sleep. What's the carbon emission of a night in a semi-decent hotel?

I think the difficulty there is that you don't know how the electricity for the hotel is generated, nor if there's other heating e.g. gas. It could be anywhere between near-zero to quite a lot.

This does highlight how the railway needs to pack in burning diesel pretty sharpish, though. Are there any hydrogen locomotives (as opposed to MUs) on the European market yet?
 

najaB

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This does highlight how the railway needs to pack in burning diesel pretty sharpish, though. Are there any hydrogen locomotives (as opposed to MUs) on the European market yet?
None that I'm aware of, no. I suspect that the loco market will probably look to alternative diesel rather than hydrogen.
 

Falcon1200

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A couple of weeks ago Guy Martin appeared on a TV programme about electric cars and as an experiment, drove one from IIRC Grimsby to John O'Groats. He found the journey took him a lot longer and with considerably more stops to recharge than expected, and certainly than a petrol or diesel car would have needed.
 

Bald Rick

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A couple of weeks ago Guy Martin appeared on a TV programme about electric cars and as an experiment, drove one from IIRC Grimsby to John O'Groats. He found the journey took him a lot longer and with considerably more stops to recharge than expected, and certainly than a petrol or diesel car would have needed.

Grimsby to John O’Groats is somewhat further than Glasgow to Fort Bill...
 

Bald Rick

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True, but his findings about the lack of actual range of his vehicle compared to what was promised, the lack of charging points, and the poor performance of some of those charging points, can surely apply to any journey ?

Or they may not. Samples of one are rarely reflective of reality as a whole.
 

InOban

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There's a charging point in Crianlarich opposite the hotel. And no shortage in FW - There's
at least one EV taxi
 

Bletchleyite

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A couple of weeks ago Guy Martin appeared on a TV programme about electric cars and as an experiment, drove one from IIRC Grimsby to John O'Groats. He found the journey took him a lot longer and with considerably more stops to recharge than expected, and certainly than a petrol or diesel car would have needed.

My diesel car has a range of about 500-600 miles on a full tank. Thing is, it's not safe to drive 600 miles without a decent break - at 70mph, that's over 8 hours. I'd probably take four or more, some shorter (for the loo and a hot drink) and a long one for a meal. Plug in on all of them and you're sorted.

If EV range (when it's hovering around 200 miles) is too short for you you are not taking enough breaks.
 

philthetube

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Does anybody know if you can make a booking over the phone using priv cards? I've been calling all day with no answer. Also how far in advance can you book? Many thanks.

AFAIK remote priv bookings (ie by phone or on line) were withdrawn due to abuse, and they can only be made at a station.
It used to be possible to check availability over the phone before making journey to station to book.
 

35B

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You are going to get a nasty shock in the coming years. Flying when other viable modes exist has to stop, unless there is a more sustainable Jet-A1 replacement.
I'm not supporting flying - just saying that there are various ways to achieve results, and carrots generally do a lot better than sticks.
 

zwk500

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I'm not supporting flying - just saying that there are various ways to achieve results, and carrots generally do a lot better than sticks.
Interestingly, in other areas of environmental economics people have changed their behaviour much quicker when faced with what appears to be an additional charge, rather than being offered discounts for environmentally-conscious behaviour. The most obvious example is the 5p Plastic Bag charge, but there's several other examples such as coffee shops switching from a 50p discount for using a reusable cup to cutting the prices by 50p and charging 50p for needing a disposable one.

For CS, of course, this isn't good news if their per-person carbon tax will be higher than an Airlines. Especially as there's no real way to dramatically reduce the Diesel usage in the short term without drastically reducing the service.
 

Mordac

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Interestingly, in other areas of environmental economics people have changed their behaviour much quicker when faced with what appears to be an additional charge, rather than being offered discounts for environmentally-conscious behaviour. The most obvious example is the 5p Plastic Bag charge, but there's several other examples such as coffee shops switching from a 50p discount for using a reusable cup to cutting the prices by 50p and charging 50p for needing a disposable one.

For CS, of course, this isn't good news if their per-person carbon tax will be higher than an Airlines. Especially as there's no real way to dramatically reduce the Diesel usage in the short term without drastically reducing the service.
Indeed, but whenever I've suggested taxing carbon and letting the market adjust to that, I've been told that putting a price on carbon is impossible, or that it's somehow giving the message that it's okay to use more carbon producing options (Pharisaic self-righteousness is never very far from the surface of the left in general, and green fanatics in particular).
 

najaB

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Indeed, but whenever I've suggested taxing carbon and letting the market adjust to that, I've been told that putting a price on carbon is impossible, or that it's somehow giving the message that it's okay to use more carbon producing options
It's not impossible, but it's very difficult.
 

Altnabreac

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I frequently drive Glasgow to Fort William in an EV and it's dead easy, even in my small batteried old Leaf. 20 minute rapid charge at either Crianlarich, Tyndrum (2 options) or Glencoe Mountain and I'm there.

Hire options for EVs are trickier but not impossible.

Longer distance journeys in a small battery EV are trickier and require pre planning but I have travelled to Sutherland and back (600 mile round trip to most rural part of UK) in a 100 mile range EV and its doable with planning. I've been to Switzerland and back in a 300 mile range EV and it was a pleasure.

Like it or not, that is what the railway has to compete with over the next 30 years and the carbon footprint of diesel trains will be under scrutiny compared to rail options.
 

Deafdoggie

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I think the days of the train automatically being greener are over. The rest of the green world has moved on the railways have been a little left behind.
 

gallafent

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One. That's the problem. There aren't that many of them and, unless things have changed, the hire companies are reluctant to provide them for multi-day, long distance hires.
This is a real problem. I remembered reading a while ago that Enterprise had expanded its EV fleet (for fleet, and car club, and rental) … so yesterday I took a look on their website to see if I could rent an EV at my local branch. Nothing available at all. Doesn't seem that they're trying very hard. I find this a bit surprising, given the lower maintenance requirements, and excellent mechanical longevity, of EVs (when compared to ICE cars).
 

paul1609

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Doesn't the reduction in our carbon footprint require us to cut down or eliminate internal flights?
If you include the maintenance carbon footprint of the railway especially on sparsely populated rural routes like the West Highland Line. Im not convinced that the sleeper is significantly better carbon wise than the Easyjet I'll be on next month. The Easyjet & connections is certainly easier on the pocket than any of the rail options from Kent even with hold baggage.
 

Peter Sarf

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Also one of the things about CS is because it's interesting to people on here, every single piece of out of course running is reported, however minor. Not downplaying some of the recent issues which are bad, but the Forum would never get the same reports of the 0700 (time made up) Thameslink off Bedford or whatever.
Sadly it is always true that people get driven to complain but seldom bother to praise. All that can be done is to bear this in mind when digesting complaints.
True, but his findings about the lack of actual range of his vehicle compared to what was promised, the lack of charging points, and the poor performance of some of those charging points, can surely apply to any journey ?
The range and charging time is what makes me hiesitate - however I am generally a slow up-taker of new tecnology - averse to being the tester !.
My diesel car has a range of about 500-600 miles on a full tank. Thing is, it's not safe to drive 600 miles without a decent break - at 70mph, that's over 8 hours. I'd probably take four or more, some shorter (for the loo and a hot drink) and a long one for a meal. Plug in on all of them and you're sorted.

If EV range (when it's hovering around 200 miles) is too short for you you are not taking enough breaks.
But perhaps it would be safer if ICE cars had a smaller fuel tank ?.
Interestingly, in other areas of environmental economics people have changed their behaviour much quicker when faced with what appears to be an additional charge, rather than being offered discounts for environmentally-conscious behaviour. The most obvious example is the 5p Plastic Bag charge, but there's several other examples such as coffee shops switching from a 50p discount for using a reusable cup to cutting the prices by 50p and charging 50p for needing a disposable one.

For CS, of course, this isn't good news if their per-person carbon tax will be higher than an Airlines. Especially as there's no real way to dramatically reduce the Diesel usage in the short term without drastically reducing the service.
You have made me think. How about comparing the Carbon footprint of London to Glasgow by day-train, sleeper-train, coach, car and plane. After all the bit Northwards to Fort Wiliam is a different set of choices.
 

najaB

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If you include the maintenance carbon footprint of the railway especially on sparsely populated rural routes like the West Highland Line.
If we're going to include the railway's maintenance carbon footprint, then airports aren't exactly carbon neutral operations...
 

Peter Sarf

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If we're going to include the railway's maintenance carbon footprint, then airports aren't exactly carbon neutral operations...
Indeed - and I wonder what the Carbon footprint for the maintenance and building of roads is.
 

Bletchleyite

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Indeed - and I wonder what the Carbon footprint for the maintenance and building of roads is.

True, though roads will never go away and so can be assumed to be a base requirement. They would still be needed even if cars stopped being a thing, e.g. for delivery horse and cart or bicycles.

To be honest, unless you are proposing getting rid of a mode entirely, it's not worth including the infrastructure in it. It makes about as much sense as costing all aspects of car ownership into a per-mile figure when almost nobody sees it that way. Withdrawing the Sleeper wouldn't get rid of much more than the siding it sits in at Fort Bill.
 

becky_rtw

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The embedded carbon footprint of EVs is also big once you take into account the battery mining and assembly. If you have an existing car that works you should not replace it with an EV in terms of total carbon.

Like for like new EVs are about two years to payback the sunk carbon costs (i.e. versus a new petrol or diesel car), but if you are replacing an existing car where the manufacturing carbon cost is already in existence then this becomes much less clear and depends on where they are made, and also how the lithium has been mined.

And that's before you get into what happens to dead batteries in future.

I dont think it will ever be totally clear on the train being a green option in this case, but it does free up one space on the road for someone else and show that holidays and work trips by train are possible. Challenging a bit of our car orthodoxy is a good thing, even if the service is overpriced for what it is.
 

Bletchleyite

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The embedded carbon footprint of EVs is also big once you take into account the battery mining and assembly. If you have an existing car that works you should not replace it with an EV in terms of total carbon.

That's a flawed argument. It would apply if you were going to scrap the car. However, if you have an "existing car that works" you aren't going to scrap it, you are going to sell it. And someone will buy it and sell their older one, and so on down the chain until a very old, no doubt highly polluting and barely functional old car is scrapped.

Also don't forget that carbon is actually slightly secondary. Pollution at the point of use (e.g. particulates) are far more important as they cause and exascerbate illnesses such as asthma. So it would be good if every city driver got an EV tomorrow even if that did cause a waste of ICE cars.
 
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In theory, yes. However as it stands currently you would struggle to rent that EV from Glasgow. Plus the Sleeper combines travel with a night's sleep. What's the carbon emission of a night in a semi-decent hotel?

I hired a Nissan Leaf on Sunday in Glasgow to get to Glencoe Mountain for a 2 day hire - this ended up being required partly because of lack of Sunday trains. And for anyone whom may be driving an EV up the A82 the rapid charger is not available at Glencoe Mountain because of the building work for a replacement cafe. There are 4 22kw chargers now at the Kingshouse Hotel though.

Mod's apologies for being slightly off topic. :lol:
 

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