The Anonymous Widower

Is CrossRail 2 Going To Follow The Palace Gates Line?

The latest plan for CrossRail 2 shows the line going to Alexandra Palace.  I assume they mean the main line station although the route is a bit vague. This article seems to think the line will come from Seven Sisters station up the Palace Gates line.

I used to watch the old steam trains on this line in the 1950s, sitting on the ledgers at my father’s print works in Wood Green.

I don’t know whether they could get the trains through, although the main obstacle is probably the shopping centre on the High Road.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

Following Crossrail

There are a series of articles on the Crossrail web site.

If Crossrail builds the tunnel as well as it distributes information about the project, we’ll have no worries about the project looking like it says on the tin.

I find it unsurprising that the most viewed article is this one, which shows aerial views of various locations.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Where’s The Plaque Gone?

Although, I can’t ever remember seeing it, it may have cropped up in conversations at home.

But I’ve finally found proof on this page of the British Listed Buildings web site, that there was a plaque at Oakwood station, indicating that the first land you’d hit if you travelled east was the Urals. This is the paragraph from the web site.

The booking hall originally had a plaque claiming that the station occupied ‘the highest point in Europe in a direct line west of the Ural Mountains of Russia’, a reference to the site being 300 feet above sea level.

I would like to see the plaque restored.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Latest Proposal For Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 has been around since the early days of the twentieth century, but it is only now that Crossrail is well underway, that a serious proposal for a north-east to south-west cross London railway has been brought forward. It’s here on the BBC.

Crossrail 2 will be a lot easier than Crossrail.

When we were planning North Sea Oil platforms in the 1970s, every few years the cranes, barges and drills would be a lot bigger.  So for a start, the tunnelling machines available to Crossrail 2, will be an order of magnitude bigger than those for Crossrail. I suspect if you look at the map for Crossrail 2, the two machines will start at Hackney and come out at Wimbledon or vice-versa, as there is no major junction in the middle like Farringdon, where the machines will have to be extracted or turned.

The project engineers for Crossrail 2, will probably take advantage of all the tricks they have learned on the previous project.

But if they follow the design published yesterday, there is tremendous simplification in the design, with much simpler-to-build stations in Central London.  One is the very large double-ended station at Euston-Kings Cross. Why we don’t have more of these, I do not know!

I think, an early start is needed.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | News, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lonely In The Cold

I think that living alone in the cold weather, we have had the last few weeks, has been much worse, than living it with someone. The weather is after all a classic mutual moan and a problem to share. And where do you get cuddles from?

At least if the sun is out, the sun gives you a lovely rub and bathe!

This weather can’t go on much longer.  After all Noah only had to put up with just over a year and he had some nice pets to play with! And some awful ones too!

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , , | Leave a comment

Building A Station Like A Caisson

I was at the new CrossRail station at Canary Wharf today and took these pictures.

They show the enormous concrete block of a station and the walkway, that will connect it to the area of Canada Square and its offices.

Note how the main building looks almost like one of the giant caissons used for Mulberry Harbours, that were used in the Second World War to invade Normandy.

These giant Phoenix caissons, were actually built in these docks, after they had been drained and filled with sand. They were then floated out for the invasion. I’ve actually been in several of these amazing concrete structures in The Netherlands, where they were used to fill the last gap in the dykes after the North Sea Flood of 1953. They are now a museum, dedicated to the floods and those who perished.

It’s rather strange how history is repeating itself in a similar manner.  I suppose though, that the engineers know that the ground is strong enough to take the weight of the station.

It does look from this web page on the Crossrail web site, that Canary Wharf Crossrail station is going to be worth the wait until 2018, although it will be substantially complete by the end of this summer.

The highlight of spring and summer will be the tunnelling machines passing through on their way to Farringdon station.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future Of The NHS

This is very much in focus, after the Francis report into Stafford Hospital.  Here’s my four-pennyworth, which I wrote to BBC Radio 5.

In the last five years, my wife and son have died of serious unrelated cancers. I’ve also had a bad stroke and also hospitalised because of heart failure.

 The large modern hospitals, like Addenbrookes, University College and the Royal London have been superb. But the small hospital in Manchester, where my son was, was completely Dark Ages. But NHS and local politics wouldn’t allow the wrecking ball in.

 All these small hospitals should be demolished and everything centralised.

After all if you were any form of medical staff, would you like to work in a small crap local hospital or a big prestigious one? So crap hospitals, like Stafford and I suspect a few others, get the staff they deserve.

So when you want your local hospital to do everything, just think again about what you want!

But then wasn’t in any different.  As a child, you avoided all of the local hospitals in Enfield and Barnet, and went to London if you could. Recently, at Newmarket, everybody avoided Bury St. Edmunds Hospital if they could and went to Addenbrookes. At that hospital, I’ve met so many staff, who live nearer to Huntingdon, but prefer to avoid the hospital at Hinchinbrooke, whose reputation isn’t the best.

So can a lot of the problems in hospitals like Stafford, be put down to the good staff leaving a sinking ship?

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

Zopa Do Shorter Term Loans

Zopa’s minimum loan term has generally been three years, since I have used their web site to save and invest money.

They’ve just announced that they are now going to give shorter term loans of twelve months.

I’m not sure how this will work out for lenders, but it might attract those borrowers with good credit limits, who need tiding over. It might also attract a borrower, who has never used the system and only needs a small sum for a short time and is just trying it to see if borrowing from Zopa is for them.

I wonder if Zopa are going to allow shorter term loans to be effectively rolled on.  I suppose the simplest thing to do, would be to pay off the first loan and then start another.  But that would be two administration fees.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance | , | Leave a comment

The Star That Is ARM

I am linking to this article, which has the full speech of ARM’s CEO’s statement giving the Q4 2012 Financial Results. It is a full nine pages long, so it won’t be an easy read. This statement from the first page is very telling.

So let’s start off with the highlights for Q4. Well, Q4 was a fantastic finish to 2012. We saw our continued momentum in licensing and sold 36 licenses in the last quarter. That’s another year of over 100 licenses in the full year.

As someone, who used to put his own intellectual property on someone else’s hardware designs, this number of licences is a significant number, as obviously, the more licences the company signs, the more money it will earn.

I don’t know anything about the technicalities of what ARM does, but judging by the company’s success, it must be pretty damn good. But to me, just as it was for Metier Management Systems with Artemis, when we owned the company, the managers have got the marketing and revenue model right.

In fact, I might argue, that getting that right is more important than getting the product to a hundred percent of your design aims.  As obviously, if you are generating lots of money, it is easier to close that last gap in your designs.

So often, I’ve seen wonderful ideas fail, because their revenue model wasn’t designed well enough and doesn’t feed itself back strong enough into product development.

There is another thing that ARM and Metier had in common.  ARM is and Metier was considered a almost a crusade or political movement by those that started the companies and those that worked there. The companies that I’ve dealt with or know of, that have had that zeal are hard to come by. My short list would include Apple,  Dyson, Rolls-Royce and Zopa.  Although, there are one or two architectural or construction companies, that in a few years time, might join them. And don’t underestimate other companies in all sorts of high-tech fields, using an ARM-style of cash-flow model, based on a group of individuals having a unique idea and the determination to see it through.

I can also think of several companies that had everything and then blew it! You could say we did that with Metier by selling out and a lot of other high-tech companies have done the same. And then there’s some that have just lost their way like IBM and Automony.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Business, Computing, Finance, News | , , , , , | Leave a comment