The Anonymous Widower

Match Twenty-Eight – Ipswich 0 – Wigan 0

This match was always going to be a disappointment, as the travel was so chancy.

It did show though, how important Daryl Murphy is to the team, as we rarely do well if he’s not in the team.

I think that as he’s a very good talker, his effect on the team may be more than just what he does with his feet and head.

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

You Can Do Better Than This; Greater Anglia

There has been a lot of anger from Ipswich Town about the lack of communication from Abellio Greater Anglia over weekend closures of the Great Eastern Main Line. This report on the BBC gives full details.

I took the 12:03 train out of Liverpool Street for Billericay. I had checked on the Internet and knew that this train gave me an arrival in Ipswich around two. But there had been a decided lack of information at Liverpool Street.

1. The staff seemed to have not been well-briefed.

2. Where were the informational posters, saying something like This way for all Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich passengers?

The consequences was that there was a lot of confusion and an elderly couple travelling to Colchester with me didn’t know whether they should get out at Shenfield or Billericay. I wonder how many passengers missed the stop at Billericay and ended up at Southend!

One thing to which I’m right to object, is that I was paying the same £25.60 for a Senior Standard Class single, that I would pay on Monday for a similar ticket on a faster train all the way to Ipswich in just over an hour. Compare this with the price of  £35.45, that I typically pay for a Senior First Class Return.

Abellio Greater Anglia also provided a Class 321 train without a toilet. Or at least I couldn’t find one. Many passengers would have expected a proper train with facilities and a rather tired Class 321 wasn’t good enough.

At Billericay, the system was much better organised and I even found a toilet. But then the town is in Essex and the county knows how to live on scraps and hand-me-downs.

I can’t complain about the coach that was provided either, except that it took what seemed to be an age to get to Ipswich.

There wasn’t much chaos at Ipswich, and I was able to enter the station to get a much-needed cup of hot chocolate.

The journey had taken two hours as against a normal direct journey of just over an hour. And of course for no reduction in price.

Coming home, I decided that it was better to go the long way round via Cambridge, where I could get a snack and then a train to Tottenham Hale. At least I got a First Class seat all the way, as I had the unused return half of a ticket for the last time I went to Ipswich, when I got a lift back home.

But the train was a rather overcrowded Class 170 train, although I did have a comfortable seat in First. But judging by the number of passengers on the 17:20 train after a match with Ipswich riding high in the Championship, a three car train is not big enough.

I just missed the connecting Tottenham Hale train, so I had to wait in the cold. But I did have time for a pit-stop and to purchase a snack in the Marks and Spencer in the station.

Normally, I get home about seven, but I didn’t get home until nine.


January 31, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

London To Edinburgh In Four Hours

In the February edition of Modern Railways, details of the new Virgin Trains East Coast franchise are beginning to emerge.

One of the details is that there will be a half-hourly four-hour service between the two capitals.

Anybody with any marketing nous will reckon that this alone will give the service a tremendous boost.

As there are a considerable number of improvements that could be implemented in the next few years, I think that by the end of the decade several minutes under four hours will become the norm.

The new Hitachi Class 800 and 801 trains arriving from around the end of the decade, won’t be any faster than the twenty-five years old InterCity 225, that currently work the route.

In fact, Modern Railways says that these trains may live on as a Golden Stud on the flagship services between London and Edinburgh.

But by 2020, if all goes well with ERTMS, both the InterCity 225s and the new Hitachi trains will be cleared to run at their top speed of 225 kph.

Could we see times reduced between the capitals to around three and a half hours?

I certainly think that the train company will be looking to see how fast they can run a capital-to-capital service!.

The line is 632 kilometres long, so three hours would need an average speed of 210 kph, which the current and proposed trains could probably attain over a straight railway line with no other traffic for perhaps an hour or so.

This illustrates that although trains get all the headlines, the real improvements in timings over the next few years will come with improvements to track and signalling.

The engineers of the East Coast Main Line have plenty of work to do, but they may bring a bigger service improvement than those building the new Hitachi trains.

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

No Wi-Fi On New Thameslink Class 700 Trains

Modern Railways in February is stating that the new Class 700 trains for Thameslink won’t have wi-fi.

I was told by a Furst Great Western employee that wi-fi will be important in the future to attract passengers onto the railway.

Some companies like Chiltern now offer free wi-fi to all passengers and this will become a norm in the next few years over much of the network.

The omission of wi-fi on the Class 700 trains will have to be rectified.

I did find this link, where someone is trying to get the notes from the Department for Transport on why the trains were specified this way.

Perhaps the reason is that free wi-fi would attract too many commuters onto the trains and they’d have to buy more trains to reduce the overcrowding.


January 31, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Energy Saving In Thameslink Stations

Thameslink have made a lot of fuss about the solar panels on the roof of Blackfriars station, which is on a bridge across the Thames. Read this article in The Guardian.

It’s certainly impressive and good PR, but I changed trains on the bridge platforms a couple of weeks ago and it was rather cold and draughty. A station guy felt it was an awful place to work.

At the new London Bridge station, they are not using solar panels, as the dreaded Shard puts the station in the shade for a lot of the day. But they are going to use a ground source heat pump and possibly footfall tiles that generate electricity.

I think we should think very hard about how we design stations and other large buildings, so that they don’t need the energy in the first place.

I suspect we all have our least-favourite cold and draughty station.

I think is is probably true to say that designing the perfect station is an impossible task. In some ways one of the best in London is Liverpool Street, which was the second major terminus (after Euston) to be rebuilt in the modern era. Of the stations serving the South, Waterloo is an order of magnitude better than the others, since the latest updating. But generally, it is still a 1920s station. But both Liverpool Street and Waterloo aren’t high up in the cold and draughty league.

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Where Did That Go?

Jerry had put up this awful piece of granite as a splash back in the living room.

Jerry's Bad Plastering

Jerry’s Bad Plastering

Perhaps he put it up, as he had a spare one and it would cover up his dreadful plasterwork. I sometimes wonder if Jerry’s surname was Boughton.

Before I went away, two guys took it off and down the stairs, leaving it on my patio by the street.

I then put a stick note on it, saying that anybody who wanted it could take it.

And take it they did!

I wonder how many hernia they got lifting it into the back of their car?

It really was a case of good riddance to bad rubbish!

January 31, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment