Pollution on UK newest trains

ABB125

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I'm addicted to the sound of but not smell of certain diesels. Also addicted to the smell of a steam loco :)
I do like the smell of a steam train! (Though that's probably even worse for the environment!) Diesel noise is, however, far superior to steam. For some diesel locomotives, the smell is on a par with steam, but not all.

(Slightly related: I was at Warrington Bank Quay earlier today, and there was a distinct, recognisable smell of diesel fumes. However, I couldn't see or hear the source. I then crossed over the the other platform island to catch my next train. What should hove into view, but a West Coast Railways class 37 chugging away gently in the loop, awaiting its path to Southall!)
 
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al78

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One other issue with the report is that it seems to be comparing the level of NOx/particulates inside a train with the level outside on a main road. If you want to compare safety to the passenger of different modes of transport, then I would have thought the correct comparison would be inside a train vs. inside a car (or bus, etc.)
The outside air is what a pedestrian or cyclist would be breathing, and there are plenty of those in London, so not an unreasonable comparison. The air from outside will find its way into the inside of motor vehicles as well, given they are not air tight, and might be worse if the air that moves from the outside to the inside of a car does so near ground level at the front of the car, meaning it takes air in from close to the exhaust of the vehicle in front.

A few years ago a consumer programme ran a (fairly unscientific) test to compare exposure to pollution over a fixed commuting route. If I remember it correctly, four participants wore air quality monitoring devices of some sort and covered the same route; one on foot, one cycling, one on the bus and one in a car. Place your bets now against which participant you think was exposed to the greatest level of diesel pollution.
The one in the car?
 

Tony2

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Do you know why it was there? I saw it too, but couldn't work out any reason for its presence.



As for emissions on trains, is it really a big problem?
It was there for Scotland’s Climate Week:


Yes, but as far as I could see it was just dumped at the end of the platform. I'd have thought they'd want to have a bit more information available to the public than simply the text on the livery (unless I missed it?).
There were NR staff and a DB driver next to the loco answering questions. An accompanying brochure set out the climate gains and benefits of using HVO. I had some interesting chats and a guided tour of the cab and engine room.

Yes sounds like you managed to miss it! Were you on platform 11? Gate staff were allowing anyone interested through the barriers for a closer look.
 

ABB125

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It was there for Scotland’s Climate Week:



There were NR staff and a DB driver next to the loco answering questions. An accompanying brochure set out the climate gains and benefits of using HVO. I had some interesting chats and a guided tour of the cab and engine room.

Yes sounds like you managed to miss it! Were you on platform 11? Gate staff were allowing anyone interested through the barriers for a closer look.
I walked past on the platform several times over about two hours, and didn't see anyone! What are the chances of that?!
 

GLC

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Do (modern) diesel powered trains use Ad Blue or any other additive to reduce emissions?
 

Domh245

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Do (modern) diesel powered trains use Ad Blue or any other additive to reduce emissions?

Most if not all modern units (195/80x and newer) do use Ad blue, and I think a few older units have been fitted with additional catalytic reduction systems (eg EMR have an adblue/SCR retrofitted 170)
 

tomuk

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Most if not all modern units (195/80x and newer) do use Ad blue, and I think a few older units have been fitted with additional catalytic reduction systems (eg EMR have an adblue/SCR retrofitted 170)
Which then does ask the question why has the 80x got the highest NO2 readings as compared to a Voyager. AdBlue should reduce NO2 dramatically compared to a non AdBlue diesel.
 

gallafent

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Which then does ask the question why has the 80x got the highest NO2 readings as compared to a Voyager. AdBlue should reduce NO2 dramatically compared to a non AdBlue diesel.
Perhaps the “randomly scattered cardboard boxes” roofline design of the 80xs has something to do with it, causing a lot more turbulence than the old-fashioned smooth roof of the Voyagers … and so mixing and pulling down a lot more exhaust down to near the air-con intakes. Or perhaps those intakes were moved to be further from any toilet tank venting than on the Voyagers, without realising this would put them too near the engine exhausts. Who knows. Seems a very poor piece of design though, that should be spotted in simulation / wind-tunnel testing.

Are there any other bi-mode AT300s in the world, I was wondering … a quick skim of wikipedia suggests that all of those in Japan and elsewhere in the world are standard EMUs.
 

mmh

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Hmm, if only we had some way of powering trains that didn’t involve diesel…
And a way of generating the electricity without burning oil. Green initiatives for rail are completely meaningless. Right now, more energy will be expended than will be saved. It is utter "greenwash."
 

Pigeon

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I don't disagree that electrification is the solution, but the article reads like scaremongering to me, and misinterpretation. What's the real risk from NO2 when on a train like this? Is it comparable to the regular scares about eating bacon, for example, which are constantly misinterpreting the facts?

It's all scaremongering. Levels of engine exhaust pollutants other than CO2 peaked in the 90s and then steadily declined to levels not seen for decades, not indeed in most people's lifetimes. The amount of screaming about them went more or less in inverse proportion, until we reached a point where we should have been rejoicing if anything, but instead we were carrying on like a reenactment of II Ypres. It's an extremely convenient way of raising a political bogeyman to keep people's attention on something which is way down at the bottom of the scale of importance of current political concerns and distract them from bad things which actually matter, and it has the great advantage that it will keep going indefinitely because you can be sure that however much people scream about it, they will scream much louder at any proposal that might actually have a significant effect in reducing current levels even further, so you can keep up an endless supply of citations of trivial instances of highly circumscribed applicability to maintain the distraction. Basically, they are pointing out the enemy to keep you deaf and blind.

The pseudo-scientific media statistics of the form "x thousand people died of air pollution" are a gross misrepresentation of the situation. It does not mean that you can point to any random individual of those x thousand people and say "Joe here died of air pollution". In fact there are not any of those "x thousand people" that you could put an actual name to (except Alf who ran diesel engines in his living room for a hobby). Where those numbers come from is making calculations like multiplying the y million people who died of galloping goberitis by the z tiny percentage increase in the chance of developing galloping goberitis as a result of air pollution, and getting x thousand as the answer. That number doesn't actually correspond to any countable quantity in the real world. It's the same for passive smoking or nuclear radiation or any other of the enormous number of trivial exposures with no measurable (let alone noticeable) effect on any individual person that they like to scaremonger about.

Bringing climate change into the discussion as if it somehow supported the concern is not even a bad joke. The two aims of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from engines and reducing the emissions of the products of non-ideal combustion are antithetical. An engine operating at the point of minimum non-ideal combustion product emissions is not operating at its point of maximum efficiency, so it produces more CO2 for the same output than necessary. Catalytic converters increase pumping losses, play hob with exhaust tuning, and require the engine to run at deliberately rotten efficiency on startup to avoid a long warmup time before they start working. Exhaust scrubbers and filters also increase pumping losses, and add to the dead weight the engine has to haul around. Etc.

Of all the people alive today far more will die of the effects of climate change than will be fractionally iller than they might have been due to other kinds of exhaust emissions, and in a great many of those cases you will be able to point to them as individuals and definitely state that Joe here died as a result of climate change. Getting all airigated about the minor components of engine exhaust is a waste of effort and attention.

Electrification addresses both problems at once, by shifting the responsibility for emissions from the railways to the power generators, who could at least in theory be using nuclear or renewable sources, although in this country most of the power comes from gas or other combustion. It may not be ideal, but it is effective. Electrification is worth doing. Making a deliberate effort to create fuss over levels of some minor pollutant that otherwise not one single person would notice is not.
 

Nova1

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And a way of generating the electricity without burning oil. Green initiatives for rail are completely meaningless. Right now, more energy will be expended than will be saved. It is utter "greenwash."
I mean in this scenario even if we had a fully electric train that was being powered with electricity from coal, you'd still be solving the issue of exposing passengers to pollution.
 

Grumpy Git

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Making a deliberate effort to create fuss over levels of some minor pollutant that otherwise not one single person would notice is not.
To repeat myself, spend more than 30 seconds at P11 or 12 at New St with a Voyager ticking over next to you. It's unbearable.
 

tomuk

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To repeat myself, spend more than 30 seconds at P11 or 12 at New St with a Voyager ticking over next to you. It's unbearable.
That's not the point. Lots of things are unpleasant but standing on P11 or P12 while Voyager is ticking over isn't going to kill you or have any meaningful effect on your health.
 

irish_rail

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That's not the point. Lots of things are unpleasant but standing on P11 or P12 while Voyager is ticking over isn't going to kill you or have any meaningful effect on your health.
Try telling that to a station dispatcher.
 

reddragon

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It's all scaremongering. Levels of engine exhaust pollutants other than CO2 peaked in the 90s and then steadily declined to levels not seen for decades, not indeed in most people's lifetimes. The amount of screaming about them went more or less in inverse proportion, until we reached a point where we should have been rejoicing if anything, but instead we were carrying on like a reenactment of II Ypres. It's an extremely convenient way of raising a political bogeyman to keep people's attention on something which is way down at the bottom of the scale of importance of current political concerns and distract them from bad things which actually matter, and it has the great advantage that it will keep going indefinitely because you can be sure that however much people scream about it, they will scream much louder at any proposal that might actually have a significant effect in reducing current levels even further, so you can keep up an endless supply of citations of trivial instances of highly circumscribed applicability to maintain the distraction. Basically, they are pointing out the enemy to keep you deaf and blind.

The pseudo-scientific media statistics of the form "x thousand people died of air pollution" are a gross misrepresentation of the situation. It does not mean that you can point to any random individual of those x thousand people and say "Joe here died of air pollution". In fact there are not any of those "x thousand people" that you could put an actual name to (except Alf who ran diesel engines in his living room for a hobby). Where those numbers come from is making calculations like multiplying the y million people who died of galloping goberitis by the z tiny percentage increase in the chance of developing galloping goberitis as a result of air pollution, and getting x thousand as the answer. That number doesn't actually correspond to any countable quantity in the real world. It's the same for passive smoking or nuclear radiation or any other of the enormous number of trivial exposures with no measurable (let alone noticeable) effect on any individual person that they like to scaremonger about.

Bringing climate change into the discussion as if it somehow supported the concern is not even a bad joke. The two aims of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from engines and reducing the emissions of the products of non-ideal combustion are antithetical. An engine operating at the point of minimum non-ideal combustion product emissions is not operating at its point of maximum efficiency, so it produces more CO2 for the same output than necessary. Catalytic converters increase pumping losses, play hob with exhaust tuning, and require the engine to run at deliberately rotten efficiency on startup to avoid a long warmup time before they start working. Exhaust scrubbers and filters also increase pumping losses, and add to the dead weight the engine has to haul around. Etc.

Of all the people alive today far more will die of the effects of climate change than will be fractionally iller than they might have been due to other kinds of exhaust emissions, and in a great many of those cases you will be able to point to them as individuals and definitely state that Joe here died as a result of climate change. Getting all airigated about the minor components of engine exhaust is a waste of effort and attention.

Electrification addresses both problems at once, by shifting the responsibility for emissions from the railways to the power generators, who could at least in theory be using nuclear or renewable sources, although in this country most of the power comes from gas or other combustion. It may not be ideal, but it is effective. Electrification is worth doing. Making a deliberate effort to create fuss over levels of some minor pollutant that otherwise not one single person would notice is not.

Whilst many of the visible emissions have been deal with, small particulates have not been and these are estimated to be killing 50,000 people a year in the UK, somewhat more deadly than covid, noting that a high proportion of covid deaths were those living in polluted air. This is what Scientists using thorough research and trials have discovered. The Daily Mail is NOT a source of scientific information in any form

A diesel engine, fully warmed up and operating optimally is now a lot cleaner than it used to be. When cold and warming up or operating outside it's tested optimal design parameters it's filthy, dirty and worse than before. 90% of road vehicles operation in this dirty zone, increased by growing vehicles sizes and traffic and cheat devices. We should no longer be using diesel engines in any form.

There is no theory on the ability to electrify power, heat and transport et al on 100% renewable energy. We just need to do it without distraction from the lies funded by fossil giants and printed in the gutter press or by conspiracy theorists.
 

yorksrob

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Whilst many of the visible emissions have been deal with, small particulates have not been and these are estimated to be killing 50,000 people a year in the UK, somewhat more deadly than covid, noting that a high proportion of covid deaths were those living in polluted air. This is what Scientists using thorough research and trials have discovered. The Daily Mail is NOT a source of scientific information in any form

A diesel engine, fully warmed up and operating optimally is now a lot cleaner than it used to be. When cold and warming up or operating outside it's tested optimal design parameters it's filthy, dirty and worse than before. 90% of road vehicles operation in this dirty zone, increased by growing vehicles sizes and traffic and cheat devices. We should no longer be using diesel engines in any form.

There is no theory on the ability to electrify power, heat and transport et al on 100% renewable energy. We just need to do it without distraction from the lies funded by fossil giants and printed in the gutter press or by conspiracy theorists.

Except for heritage vehicles of course.
 

reddragon

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Except for heritage vehicles of course.
We should never loose sight of our heritage.

Whilst I think that all fossil powered vehicles should be phased out very quickly from day to day use, there is no reason to do the same for vintage vehicles used occasionally causing minimal damage and then only by those who want to smell the fumes. I still want to experience a V8 car or an old diesel / steam loco, just not every day.

Standing at Reading Station, a class 220 stinks and is disgusting. A class 800 starting up doesn't seem to create much stink but maybe the harmful fumes are more hidden.

I think that many remember the clag and smoke but now somehow that's gone it's all Ok. It's not, it's worse overall we just cannot see it & avoid it.

I used to live in London and moved out west years ago. Now when I visit I feel the pollution, the smell and the dirt. In the countryside you smell the pollution of a passing car or exhaust of oil heating. In cities you no longer notice this as the smoke has gone and has become a hidden killer.
 

Grumpy Git

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That's not the point. Lots of things are unpleasant but standing on P11 or P12 while Voyager is ticking over isn't going to kill you or have any meaningful effect on your health.
I 100% disagree, particularly with the last eight words.
 

reddragon

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That's not the point. Lots of things are unpleasant but standing on P11 or P12 while Voyager is ticking over isn't going to kill you or have any meaningful effect on your health.
Personally, I have a coughing fit and then a few hours of breathing issues.

You are talking out of your derrière
 

tomuk

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small particulates have not been and these are estimated to be killing 50,000 people a year in the UK, somewhat more deadly than covid, noting that a high proportion of covid deaths were those living in polluted air. This is what Scientists using thorough research and trials have discovered
You are completely wrong. The 50,000 people per year figure was a news paper headline from an article about a scientific report on health issues caused by NOX not particulates. The 50,000 figure is complete nonsense anyway as it is calculated by misinterpreting the death probabilities calculated in the report. In reality what the report suggested was that you life expectancy maybe reduced by a few weeks/months if exposed to high levels of Nox for a long period. eg You lived next to the North Circular.
 

reddragon

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You are completely wrong. The 50,000 people per year figure was a news paper headline from an article about a scientific report on health issues caused by NOX not particulates. The 50,000 figure is complete nonsense anyway as it is calculated by misinterpreting the death probabilities calculated in the report. In reality what the report suggested was that you life expectancy maybe reduced by a few weeks/months if exposed to high levels of Nox for a long period. eg You lived next to the North Circular.
So you agree that it does have a health effect.

I don't want my life reduced by anything!
 

Trainbike46

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I think I found the RSSB report:

CLEAR: Analysis of Air Quality On Board Trains (T1188)​


Some key sections from the report (my emphasis):
"How does train passenger exposure compare to previous assessments of other
transport mode exposure?
There were no direct comparisons available previous work has focused on travelling
around cities while train studies have looked at intercity journeys. By comparing the
available data, air quality on diesel trains was found to be close to that found when
travelling by bus, bicycle or car but electric and bi-mode trains were cleaner.
"
 

MarlowDonkey

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I think I found the RSSB report:

By comparing the

available data, air quality on diesel trains was found to be close to that found when
travelling by bus, bicycle or car but electric and bi-mode trains were cleaner.
"
So where did that story about new trains, meaning the GWR 80x trains, being more polluting than the Marylebone Road come from?

If there's a problem with diesel exhaust fumes entering passenger accommodation, it's been with us over sixty years, ninety if you include the AEC railcars.
 

coppercapped

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You are completely wrong. The 50,000 people per year figure was a news paper headline from an article about a scientific report on health issues caused by NOX not particulates. The 50,000 figure is complete nonsense anyway as it is calculated by misinterpreting the death probabilities calculated in the report. In reality what the report suggested was that you life expectancy maybe reduced by a few weeks/months if exposed to high levels of Nox for a long period. eg You lived next to the North Circular.
Ah, heaven be praised - someone who understands the statistics...
 

Trainbike46

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So where did that story about new trains, meaning the GWR 80x trains, being more polluting than the Marylebone Road come from?

If there's a problem with diesel exhaust fumes entering passenger accommodation, it's been with us over sixty years, ninety if you include the AEC railcars.
The report does also state that pollution levels measured in some trains were higher than those typically measured at roadside stations for urban air pollution, so I guess that's what the newspapers copied. But pollutant concentrations in vehicles are typically much higher than those measured at roadside monitoring station, because, as other users have stated, monitoring stations are off to the side, and car air inlets are typically low by the ground near the exhaust of the previous vehicle
 

yorksrob

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It's interesting that this study doesn't include homes.

I read somewhere that there are a lot of very deadly particulates at loose in the home.
 

Bluejays

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It's all scaremongering. Levels of engine exhaust pollutants other than CO2 peaked in the 90s and then steadily declined to levels not seen for decades, not indeed in most people's lifetimes. The amount of screaming about them went more or less in inverse proportion, until we reached a point where we should have been rejoicing if anything, but instead we were carrying on like a reenactment of II Ypres. It's an extremely convenient way of raising a political bogeyman to keep people's attention on something which is way down at the bottom of the scale of importance of current political concerns and distract them from bad things which actually matter, and it has the great advantage that it will keep going indefinitely because you can be sure that however much people scream about it, they will scream much louder at any proposal that might actually have a significant effect in reducing current levels even further, so you can keep up an endless supply of citations of trivial instances of highly circumscribed applicability to maintain the distraction. Basically, they are pointing out the enemy to keep you deaf and blind.

The pseudo-scientific media statistics of the form "x thousand people died of air pollution" are a gross misrepresentation of the situation. It does not mean that you can point to any random individual of those x thousand people and say "Joe here died of air pollution". In fact there are not any of those "x thousand people" that you could put an actual name to (except Alf who ran diesel engines in his living room for a hobby). Where those numbers come from is making calculations like multiplying the y million people who died of galloping goberitis by the z tiny percentage increase in the chance of developing galloping goberitis as a result of air pollution, and getting x thousand as the answer. That number doesn't actually correspond to any countable quantity in the real world. It's the same for passive smoking or nuclear radiation or any other of the enormous number of trivial exposures with no measurable (let alone noticeable) effect on any individual person that they like to scaremonger about.

Bringing climate change into the discussion as if it somehow supported the concern is not even a bad joke. The two aims of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions from engines and reducing the emissions of the products of non-ideal combustion are antithetical. An engine operating at the point of minimum non-ideal combustion product emissions is not operating at its point of maximum efficiency, so it produces more CO2 for the same output than necessary. Catalytic converters increase pumping losses, play hob with exhaust tuning, and require the engine to run at deliberately rotten efficiency on startup to avoid a long warmup time before they start working. Exhaust scrubbers and filters also increase pumping losses, and add to the dead weight the engine has to haul around. Etc.

Of all the people alive today far more will die of the effects of climate change than will be fractionally iller than they might have been due to other kinds of exhaust emissions, and in a great many of those cases you will be able to point to them as individuals and definitely state that Joe here died as a result of climate change. Getting all airigated about the minor components of engine exhaust is a waste of effort and attention.

Electrification addresses both problems at once, by shifting the responsibility for emissions from the railways to the power generators, who could at least in theory be using nuclear or renewable sources, although in this country most of the power comes from gas or other combustion. It may not be ideal, but it is effective. Electrification is worth doing. Making a deliberate effort to create fuss over levels of some minor pollutant that otherwise not one single person would notice is not.
Poor air quality contributes to many thousands of years of lost life, and many many more thousands of years of lost quality of life. It may be better than it was, but it still needs to be improved in many areas.
 

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