The Anonymous Widower

Roll On 2016

I saw this article in Global Rail News, about Eurostar starting services between London and Amsterdam in 2016.

About time too!

September 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Pilots Will Fall Asleep

There has been a lot of publicity about pilots failing asleep in the media in the last few days, including this report from the BBC.

In my twenty or so years of flying, in which I amassed about 1,200 hours in command, I only dropped off once.

i was flying my Cessna 340a to the South of France, with C and a couple of others in the back. I must have dropped off, because I remember awaking as we hit a bit of turbulence.

My plane had a very good avionics system and was flying happily on the auto-pilot.

Nothing untoward happened and after that I always made sure that someone was sitting alongside me to hand me the occasional drink. But not too many, as the plane didn’t have a toilet.

i do wonder if I fell asleep because my Cessna was too comfortable for the pilot. The seat was very comfortable and could be adjusted in virtually every direction. I was also wearing headphones, which cut all the noise out, so I was very much isolated from what was happening around me, using just my eyes to scan the skies and read the instruments.

The sky can be very hypnotic as it speeds pas you and I do wonder if the whole experience was far too relaxing and on that trip it induced me to sleep.

But we’ve all dropped asleep haven’t we! But usually it’s in front of something somnolent on the television or on the back seat of a car.

Incidentally, my basset hound, Lucy, used to love the aircraft and would just spread herself on the floor of the plane and go to sleep, as we flew around.

So should we make the pilot’s seat and job in an aircraft, a little less comfortable?

Many years ago, before terrorism raised its ugly head, I managed to get into the cockpit of several airliners. On a British Caledonian DC-10, I actually made up the fourth in a hand of cards.  The engineer on that flight actually introduced me to the guy, who sold me my first aircraft; a Piper Arrow. I also was invited onto the flight deck of a British Airways Concorde, as we flew across the Atlantic.

But perhaps the most unusual was when C and I flew to Australia, where we hired a Piper Arrow and flew round Australia. We were in First and everybody in that class who wanted to, was invited in turn, to visit the flight deck of a new British Airways 747-400. This was the first Jumbo, with a glass cockpit of computer screens rather than mechanical instruments. We were given the grand tour for about half an hour and the Captain was very pleased to show us, how his avionics worked. Then he asked C what she thought of it all, she answered honestly, by saying it was just like bigger versions of what was in my Cessna. He was not amused! My avionics then were probably about two years old and in those days, they were much similar in style to those on airliners, than they probably are now!

Long haul flying is probably pretty boring for the crew, as it is certainly is for the passengers. So did the trips to the flight deck, that many of us used to enjoy, help to relieve that boredom and keep the pilots on top form?

September 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

New Buses For London Arrive At Liverpool Street

New Buses for London are now operating out of Liverpool Street station.

What better way is there now to show children Central London, if Liverpool Street is your London terminus? You just take the escalator up to the bus station and go to stop C, where you board one on route 11. Wikipedia says this about route 11.

The bus route passes many tourist attractions such as Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Methodist Central Hall Westminster, St Margaret’s, Westminster, Churchill War Rooms, The Cenotaph, Downing Street entrance, Banqueting House, Horse Guards Parade, Admiralty House, Trafalgar Square, Royal Courts of Justice, Prince Henry’s Room, St Dunstan-in-the-West, St Bride’s Church, St Martin, Ludgate, St Paul’s Cathedral, St Mary Aldermary, Mansion House, and Bank of England.

it will get even better when the route gets its full compliment of new buses and they finish the works at the station for Crossrail.

Will this updating of route 11, help to solve one of London’s worst cross-London transfers between Liverpool Street and Victoria, as this route goes very close to that station for journeys to the south of London? At a quieter time, I would certainly take the bus, but that is always the best way to get round Liverpool Street station’s lack of Underground lines going south!

September 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

How Does Liverpool Street Shape Up?

I needed to get my ticket for Ipswich for later in the day, so I travelled S Class to one of London’s busiest stations; Liverpool Street.

It was fairly quiet, but the litter levels outside were worst than at Kings Cross.

Note the clock on the front of the station, which is placed so you can see it, as you walk from the City.

When they talk about good stations, they always seem to forget Liverpool Street, as it was created in its present state in the 1990s when few were interested and it is very much a commuter station. It’s also effectively my local terminus and I often use it for shopping and collecting tickets.

you might do a few things differently today, but in many ways it was a very good updating of a Victorian station. You notice how good it is, when you arrive in the station at a far from busy time.  Like at the New Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations, you walk in natural daylight to the barriers and onward to your destination or bus or Underground to get there. Compare liverpool Street to the dreaded Eusless.

September 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Let The Fun Begin

Kings Cross Square is hosting a party over the weekend.

It looks like it could be a good party.

I was pleased to see the area clean, so early in the morning.  there has been a report saying on the day it opened it was rather litter strewn.

September 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The Hospital Test

As I travel around the country, I like to apply the hospital test to all of the places I visit.

Imagine, that a friend or relative has been taken ill or had an accident and is in the local hospital!

By going to the local main station or airport, can you get to that hospital easily using information available there?

Some hospitals are easy to do the last link, but for others, the information is sadly lacking.

I’ve just looked up Barnet Hospital, where both my in-laws died. I did find the nearest station and bus information on the web site, but it wasn’t on a front page link, as it seemed to assume most will drive. On the Transport for London web site, I did find a spider map for the buses to and from the hospital. But not in every case, will I have such good local knowledge!

Incidentally, it seems that most London hospitals have their own spider maps showing all buses around the hospital.  The only one I can’t find is one for University College Hospital.

How does your local hospital stack up?

Remember a high proportion of visitors will not be in the first flush of youth and many will have mobility and eyesight problems.

September 28, 2013 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments