The Anonymous Widower

Manchester Trams To Get Wi-Fi

Modern Railways is reporting that all trams in Manchester are to get wi-fi.

Now that wi-fi is becoming more universal on trains in the UK, with some operators like Chiltern and Virgin offering it free to all passengers, it would seem logical to apply the technology to trams and light rail systems. I believe Edinburgh is going along the wi-fi route with its new trams.

Naively, as trams go slower and tend to operate on the surface in cities, the technical problems of wi-fi on Manchester trams must be less than those on say a Scottish rail line.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Government Calls For More Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges

Modern Railways is reporting that a government report is calling for the development of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFIs). It says this.

A new government report calls for development of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges (SRFIs) to deal with growth in the rail freight sector and encourage a modal shift from road to rail haulage.

So how many large rail freight interchanges exist in the UK?

An article in Wikipedia called Rail Freight in Great Britain, lists a number of inland freight terminals. Most seem to be small with the exception of Daventry.

Living in London, I have seen the saga of the development of a rail freight terminal at Radlett. But nothing seems to be happening at present and despite the site being granted planning permission in July 2014, this is the sort of project that might not survive the next General Election. Another large freight interchange; the East Midlands Gateway at a site North of East Midlands Airport, appears to be very much opposed by the local residents.

We have a choice in this country. We can either take the freight containers to and from the ports, a trainload at a time or we can move them singly or hundreds of trucks. As at some point for the local distribution and collection, a tuck must be involved, there will be a need for SRFIs, where goods are sold or manufactured. Obviously, in a few cases, as with the Mini plant at Cowley, trains will go into the manufacturing sites.

Bear in  mind that schemes like the Felixstowe-Nuneaton Freight Capacity Improvement which will take 225,000 lorries off the road, will increase the need for inland freight terminals and hopefully free up the roads.

But if we are going to have long freight trains winding their way across the country and through London like these vans, we must do a few things to improve life for the neighbours of rail lines. After all, the standard freight motive power of a Class 66 diesel locomotive is a smelly and noisy beast.

  1. As many freight lines as possible must be electrified and some powerful electric locomotives must be sourced. The Great Western Modernisation and Electric Spine will help, but important freight routes like Felixstowe-Nuneaton must also be electrified.
  2. In London, the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is being electrified and hopefully, the days of diesel locomotives in the capital are numbered.
  3. There are also places on cross-country routes like Lincoln, where level crossings and long freight trains, are a big source of annoyance. These points of irritations must be replaced by bypasses or bridges.

There is one important benefit of electric freight services, that has nothing to do with the moving of goods. It is the ability to run more and better passenger services using electric trains. In the next few years, due to the upgrading of existing electric services, there are also quite a few good quality electric trains that can be cascaded and/or refurbished.

As an example, if Felixstowe to Nuneaton were to be electrified, then services from Cambridge, Ely, Ipswich and Stansted to Birmingham could be run by a train like a Class 319. In fact, as that electrification would link to both the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines, other services into East Anglia would be possible.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

On Your Marks For A Gluten Free Christmas

In my bread bin, in addition to some gluten-free bread, there’s also the remains of a packet of ginger snaps and some mince pies. All are gluten-free from Marks and Spencer. Some of the breads are the sort that sell well in Islington, Sandbanks, Morningside and Alderley Edge.

Today, I went to their store in the back of St.Pancras station and saw this display.

On Your Marks For A Gluten Free Christmas

On Your Marks For A Gluten Free Christmas

All of these packets of sausage and bacon based nibbles have the gluten-free sign.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | Food | , , | 3 Comments

VolkerFitzpatrick Are Having A Christmas Party At South Tottenham

The bridge at South Tottenham station, that carries the Gospel Oak to Barking Line over Tottenham High Road.

The road will be closed over Christmas and it looks it’ll be quite a party.

Note the large blue bridge in the pictures. If there is going to be a decent webcam, then this could be better Christmas television than most.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

I’d Like A Muse

As Christmas arrives and it will be my seventh since the death of my wife; C.

It’s obviously impossible to want her back in the same way that some divorcees want a sanitised version of their previous partner, without perhaps the violence, gambling, drinking or leaving the toilet seat up.

But I got to thinking about what I actually want and in some ways I think I’d like a muse in the way that many artists, writers and thinkers did in the past and probably do now.

C and I both had our own areas of work, but there was also a grey area, where I suggested things she might do to make perhaps a difficult case less stressful and she would criticise some of my wilder ideas, designs or flights of fantasy.

It was fun and we enjoyed life to the full. I look at the things I used to do with her that I rarely do now, as I don’t like doing them alone.A list includes going horse racing, to the theatre and I don’t go to the films as often as I used to. As to trying out good restaurants, I don’t really bother unless I’m travelling. A good meal always needs good company to make it worthwhile.

I also love going shopping with a woman, where we choose clothes for each other. I haven’t done that for some years.

What I don’t need is a cook or skivvy!

If C was my muse, then I like to think I was her consort!

December 18, 2014 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Custom House Station – 18th December 2014

I took these pictures today.

Note that the bridge that will link the station to the Excel Exhibition Centre has now been positioned.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Peer-To-Peer Energy

This report from the UK Solar Power Portal makes some good points.

I can envisage a time, when the solar panels on my roof, feed into a system, that gets me the best price and this is delivered at a best price to those that need it.

As a control engineer, I know it’ll probably be totally automatic and the price will be a balance that is the best for micro-generators and consumers. Just as with peer-to-peer lending, the only losers will be the big companies. Except for banks, you will read energy companies.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s Response To The Terrorism

According to this report on the BBC, the Pakistan government is ending its  suspension of the death penalty.

He also announced an end to the moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism cases, which correspondents say is a move aimed at countering a view held by many Pakistanis that many terror suspects end up evading justice.

No wonder the Taliban just gets worse and worse.

I have got so fed up with all the problems in the Middle East and Pakistan, I now rarely use any shop or business that is owned by people from the area, who are obviously Muslims.

As the Qataris seem to be one of the funders of Islamic State, I also steer clear of anything they own if I can.

I’m beginning to feel very sorry for the average hard-working Muslims, who will feel the backlash of the nihilists in the Middle East.

I must say, I’m glad to see the old price going South, as it’s hurting some of the most odious people in the World. But sadly they’ll just have to not buy the sixth Bentley or Lamborghini.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment