Much Mention Made By Metrobus

Roger French has written a whole blog about Metrobus’ Hydrogen powered vehicles. This Metrobus, by the way, is the bus company (part of the GoAhead empire), that operates in the hinterland between Brighton and London.
It is not the First Bus operation in Bristol!
Here is Wikipedia expounding Fastway.
Fastway aims to improve bus services in the Crawley, Gatwick and Horley area. The project included construction of new bus lanes, including guided bus lanes, construction of new bus waiting shelters and provision of electronic real-time passenger information and a fleet of new low-floor buses for Metrobus (part of the Go Ahead Group)

Bus priority includes:- 

A bus lane over the middle of Tushmore Roundabout in Crawley, allowing buses to by-pass other traffic.

A stretch of guided Busway on the A23 London Road in Crawley. This leads up to the bus lane over the roundabout.

Construction work began in May 2002, and was scheduled to be completed by June 2005. In October 2006, major work stopped, having completed around 60% of the planned work – 1.5 km guided and 5.8 km unguided bus lanes were constructed, of the planned 2.5 km guided and 8.8 km unguided lanes. The planned 24 traffic lights and 11 roundabouts were changed to 40 traffic lights and 2 roundabouts.
The latest development is the deployment of a fleet of Hydrogen powered buses.

Metrobus had a flyer leaflet telling us how good they are and explaining how they work. Many folk think that the hydrogen is burnt in an internal combustion engine, effectively replacing diesel; thus fears of Hindenburg are aroused.

In the buses, the hydrogen is stored in a very strong box on the roof and it is not burned in a conventional sense. The bus is powered by a fuel cell and GoAhead provides us with a diagram illustrating the various bits.

The key is the bit that looks like your living room radiator. That is the fuel cell.

But we need to step back a bit and do a bit of GCSE chemistry.
A hydro carbon is a substance consisting of hydrogen and carbon and nothing else. There, that’s your GCSE exam sorted. Because these two can combine in various different ways, there are lots of hydrocarbons. Pretty much everything we burn as fuel is a hydrocarbon ranging from petrol, coal and vaseline to a wax candle!
OK, not many people fill their cars up with crushed candle wax or jars of vaseline! But you get the idea.
But there is a problem. When you burn a hydrocarbon, most of what burns is the hydrogen bit. That means the carbon, usually combined with oxygen, is what is left over. Mostly this is in the form of Carbon Dioxide, the main constituent of the dreaded greenhouse gases.
Surprisingly, water vapour is also a greenhouse gas, but it should eventually fall as rain.
So, if we could use just the hydrogen without any carbon, all should be hunky and dory and everyone will live happily ever after.

All we have to do, then, is to fill up with hydrogen.

But there is a snag.

Someone has to make the Hydrogen. There are buckets of hydrogen out in Space but it’s tricky to collect. And rather costly to collect, too.
Tomorrow, we will explore further how to make hydrogen, because technology has moved on since fbb last blogged about the problem.
Before we delve deeper into how to cook up a vat of hydrogen, let us quickly review the Fastway network.
Fastway 10

… runs from Bewbush via Crawley to Gatwick Airport.

During the day, it runs every 10 minutes (every 12 on Sunday) and operates all night. Christmas Day is the only non Fastway day.

Fastway 20

… operates via Crawley and Gatwick to Langshott.

It hass a messy timetable with two buses an hour but at different times past the hour.


It does not run all night but does start commendably early in he morning.
Fastway 100

… starts at Maidenbower, then via Crawley and Gatwick as before …

… continuing all the way to Redhill. After a hesitant start to the day, it does (eventually!) settle down to a tidy twenty minute frequency …

… and it runs all night.

The Maidenbower section of route is a big loop with rather sparse locations on the printed timetable.
At Redhill, buses travel beyond the bus station …

… to Park 25. At first fbb thought that it was an industrial estate. But the bus terminates at some new housing, presumably turning at the roundabout (upper left).

There is much more housing beyond said roundabout, apparently unserved by bus. The terminus stop is hardly a stunning Fastway selling point!

But that is how fbb found Fastway when he gave it a go a few years ago, Where it was running the fast way on its reserved and/or guided track, it was swish and impressive. But once away from its sections of special infrastructure it was just a very ordinary bus route.

As the new buses are delivered, it will become just a very ordinary bus route with low emissions.
Will there be low emissions where the hydrogen is made?
Hence the colours in tomorrow’s blog.
Terraforming In Progress

Trees and fencing to come, also some weathering of the quarry face. The chalk is a bit too close to the pointwork, so some OO scale dynamite may we’ll be needed.

Something A Little Different

Only the picture was twitterated with no detailed explanation.

fbb would like one in traditional Sheffield Transport livery.
 Next Hydrogen blog : Saturday 22nd  July 
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