The Anonymous Widower


On my trip to Scotland, I spent two nights in the Premier Inn in Stirling, which unlike many budget hotels is close to the station. Access between Stirling station and the hotel was over the impressive Forthside bridge.

As Stirling has frequent trains to both Edinburgh and Glasgow and myriad places in between, the city could be an convenient place to stay depending on where you want to visit.

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 5 Comments

Up Close And Personal With Kings Cross Station Roof

I was walking on the balcony at Kings Cross station to board my train to Stirling, when I took these pictures of the roof.

Did the architect design the building, so that passengers could look at the intricacies of the roof?

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

What Has The EU Done For UK’s Railways?

I am not a Eurosceptic although like may, I am a bit sceptical about some of the things that the EU does with our money.

An article on the Rail Engineer entitled The Freight Train Of The Future caught my eye.

Susrail is an EU project which aims to create more environmentally freight trains. This is an overview from the article.

SUSTRAIL aims to increase rail freight performance through a whole system approach which involves a number of work packages. The current system was benchmarked (WP1) and duty requirements established (WP2).

Then two parallel but linked packages considered the freight train of the future (WP3) and sustainable track (WP4), after which a business case (WP5) was developed and the new vehicle and track systems were tested (WP6). Thirty-one organisations in twelve countries shared the work for which the project coordinator was Consorzio Train, an Italian consortium of rail research institutions. UK participants were Network Rail (technical coordinator), Tata Steel and the Universities of Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and Huddersfield.

Initial benchmarking involved Network Rail and the Universities of Leeds and Newcastle. This analysed three selected freight routes in Bulgaria, Spain and Britain (Southampton and Felixstowe to Warrington).

It is a fascinating article and well worth a read.

But at least the EU is doing something to make freight trains more efficient and less noisy.

It did raise a chuckle, as I read how they were looking at the dynamics of freight wagons. As I remember from the 1960s, the superb dynamics of the InterCity 125 benefited from research done by British Rail, to solve the problem of the large number of freight train derailments of the time.


September 5, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Hull Trains Take The Pragmatic Decision

The September edition of Modern Railways has an article entitled Hull Trains Plans Bi-Mode Fleet.

Like First Great Western, First Hull Trains seem to have lost patience with Network Rail and the article said they were thinking about ordering bi-mode or electro-diesel trains.

They have now ordered five Class 800 trains from Hitachi, as is reported here on the BBC. This is the start of the article.

A rail company is investing £68m in a fleet of faster trains to ensure shorter journey times to London.

Hull Trains said it was buying five trains capable of running on either electricity-powered routes or with diesel fuel.

The firm said the trains had been bought because of delays in country-wide electrification of the rail network.


So it looks like the non-electrification of Selby to Hull has caused the company to take this pragmatic decision. In the last few months, they’ve even looked at electrifying that line themselves.

At least they will not be left with a fleet of incompatible trains, as when the electrification finally happens on all their routes to Hull and Beverly, the trains can be converted to all-electric Class 801 trains.

I do wonder if the delayed electrification across the UK, will cause a few more companies to take pragmatic decisions!

I think we might see.

  1. First TransPennine ordering Class 800 Trains for Liverpool to Hull and Newcastle.
  2. Virgin ordering Class 800 Trains for London to Chester, North Wales and Holyhead.

To get around the problems of non-electrified lines.

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Lady In The Wrong Job

I know she was elected, but this report on the BBC, surely says that she shouldn’t have stood for the post if things she would have to do were against her religious beliefs.

There must be other jobs, where religious or other beliefs mean you should not be appointed.

Suppose a doctor believed that homoeopathy had the cure for everything, they would not make the World’s best GP, unless all the patients, they saw were fellow believers.

September 5, 2015 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Terrible Credit Card Reporting

Because I had a couple of my cards cloned, if I’m at home, I usually check them every morning.

As someone, who made millions by writing good reports for computer users, only one of my cards and banks has a proper reporting system, that you can use however you want.

And that is American Express!

For a start, when you look at recent transactions, they are shown by default on AMEX with the last transaction first. However all my other cards and statements are shown with the most recent last. So as one card is used a lot for small transactions, I have to scroll down to the bottom to check the transactions.

Also on AMEX, you can change the order to what you want, so perhaps if you want to locate a transaction at say Virgin Trains, you can put the descriptions in order and then scroll to V.

Why do Banks and Credit Csrd companies treat us with such contempt?

Some are a total disgrace!

If AMEX can do it, why can’t the others?

Because they don’t care about customers!

So if you’re thinking about changing your bank, make sure you have a run through the reporting of the new bank first.

In my experience most are total crap!


September 5, 2015 Posted by | Computing, Finance | , , | Leave a comment