The Anonymous Widower

Before Overground – Class 317 Trains

The Class 317 trains are the workhorse of the suburban services out of Liverpool Street. Wikipedia says this about them.

The British Rail Class 317 electric multiple units (EMUs) were built by BREL York in two batches, from 1981–82 and 1985-87. They were the first of several classes of British Rail EMU to be based on the all-steel Mark 3 body-shell.

So they’re no spring chickens, but like actresses of a certain age, they scrub up well, as this picture of the interior shows.

Class 317 Interior

Class 317 Interior

Being based on Mark 3 coaches, they also have a good body underneath, that rides better than many of the much more modern trains.

Plans are possibly afoot to refurbish and fit new traction equipment to some of these trains, but London Overground have said they will be replacing them in 2017.

But whatever happens on the Overground, these Class 317 trains may well be refurbished and find gainful employment somewhere else.

Having seen the superb way that South West Trains’ sister fleet of Class 455 trains have scrubbed up, I would be happy, if the Overground got a refurbished fleet of 317 trains. One of the Class 455 was involved in this incident at Oxshott. I wonder how some of the modern aluminium trains would survive the dropping of a 24 tonne cement truck on top from a height of several metres.



September 21, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Why Bother With Traditional Savings Accounts?

The Sunday Times today, has an article entitled Savers Face Clampdown On Access To Top-Rating Accounts. Here’s the first two paragraphs.

Savers are struggling to access the best-paying accounts as banks and building societies impose restrictions, such as limiting customers to certain postcodes, and slash the deposits that can be held.

A report for The Sunday Times by the consumer group Savings Champion shows the amount that can be saved in the best buy accounts has shrunk significantly in two years. In 2012, you could save up to £1m in the top two best-paying easy access accounts and up to £9m in the third-ranked. Today, the top three easy access deals allow up to £3,000 or £6,000.

And there’s a lot more in the same vein.

For nearly eight years now, I’ve not used a traditional savings account. I have over a hundred thousand of my hard-earned money in an account with Zopa and in that time, I’ve earned over five percent.

The banks can only get savers to invest in their rip-off products, as they know there are several hundred mugs born every minute.

And to me the great thing about Zopa is that it is not just a high-interest account, but one with fast planned access, where you can start saving with as little as a tenner. I talked about how to use an account to your advantage here.

You don’t have to live in a specific postcode, or have millions to play with and so long as you’re over eighteen and fund your Zopa account from a UK bank account, you’re in the club.

I should also say that with Zopa, I will also include other reputable peer-to-peer lenders. But I’m entitled to have my preference.

September 21, 2014 Posted by | Finance | , | Leave a comment

Before Overground – St. James Street

A Station With Potential – Rating 5/10

St. James Street station, is one of those that with a deep clean and a good paint job could become an acceptable station.

But of course, in the long term, it would need lifts to make the access step-free.

I know the station has a florist, but someone is maintaining a good floral display at the entrance to the station.

September 21, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

An Unusual Office Property

I went to see this property at Highams Park, as it was featured in Open House.

The refurbishment is not complete yet, but it would make a lovely small office for a professional, who needed a lot of light. In fact the developers will be using it themselves as part of a favourable deal with Network Rail, that would appear to ensure that the signal box gets sympathetically restored.

Obviously, you’d have to like trains.

There’s more on the signal box and its history on the Highams Park Forum.

One point to note in the pictures is the subway under the tracks, shown in the picture with the train approaching. Was this subway dug under the tracks to stop idiots crossing when it wasn’t safe? And was it dug without disrupting the train service?

September 21, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Before Overground – Highams Park

A Station With A Garden – Rating 7/10

Highams Park station, is one of those that doesn’t need a great deal of work to make it one of the best stations on the Overground.

It is one of the few stations, where because there are three ways to cross the tracks, step free access isn’t the greatest of problems. Although, when the new trains come, it might not be a bad idea to make sure that the platform edge is matched to the train.

September 21, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Run Miliband Run

This little snippet is on the BBC web page that follows the Scottish Referendum.

Ed Miliband will be speaking on The Andrew Marr Show from the Labour party conference in Manchester. However, the BBC’s political editor in the South of England, Peter Henley, is reporting that the Labour leader has cancelled other BBC interviews.

Peter Henley: Ed Miliband has pulled out of planned BBC interviews tomorrow. They’ve cancelled BBC English Regions, Scotland, NI & Wales.

It looks like he’s running scared. Perhaps, a detailed analysis of who voted Yes and No in the Referendum, has revealed that after next year’s General Election, Labour’s core vote in Scotland, that so annoys the English (I can’t comment about the Welsh and Northern Irish!), will be very much reduced!

September 21, 2014 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Is Step-Free Access Good For Tradesmen?

Occasionally, on the buses or the trains in London, you’ll come across a plasterer, decorator or carpenter going to his job of the day on public transport. The plasterer just had a yellow bucket with his tools in it and his mobile phone number on the side and the decorator had a fold-up pasting table with his details on the outside.

London now has a severe parking problem, so as we see more step-free stations will we be seeing more tradesmen, with innovative ways of transporting their tools?

But we’re certainly seeing larger and larger packages and cases being carried on public transport.

September 21, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments