The Anonymous Widower

The Comments On Jeremy Corbyn’s Cabinet

I have found that one of the most enjoyable things at the moment is to read the comments by readers on the quality press on Jeremey Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

This is from the Guardian.

If someone had told me 20 years ago that one day I’d be looking at a Labour front bench team including Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott I’d have laughed in their face and suggested they needed to consult a health professional.

Well I’m not laughing now

As is this.

while the briefs occupied by Luciana Berger (mental health) and Gloria De Piero (young people and voter registration) have no equivalent in David Cameron’s lineup.

How can you shadow a non existent minister?

And this from The Times.

Why has Corbyn not announced the appointment of a Shadow Minister of Magic Money Trees? Probably a lot more use than most of the other jobs allocated in the past forty eight hours.

I didn’t feel; that looking at other papers would give an unbiased view.

But he is certainly bringing out humour from the public.

September 14, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A French View Of Croydon

There is an article in the Standard entitled French newspaper brands Croydon ‘dull and monotonous’ as French rugby team arrives for Rugby World Cup.

What are the French rugby team doing staying South of the River anyway?

Any North Londoner will tell you, as my mother warned me, that you can get lost down there!

September 14, 2015 Posted by | News, Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn Courts The Rural Vote!

There is an article in The Spectator entitled Meet the new anti-meat, anti-shooting, pro-badger shadow Defra secretary.

September 14, 2015 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Would You Hire Someone You’ve Never Met?

I don’t think I would!

But Jeremy Corbyn did according to this article on the BBC. This is the start of the article.

Jeremy Corbyn has chosen Lucy Powell as his new Shadow Education Secretary despite never meeting her.

Last month Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central, tweeted that she’d never met Mr Corbyn. And BBC Trending have confirmed they still haven’t met – the pair spoke on the phone last night and are expected to meet later today.

The most senior roles on the Labour front bench are all taken by men, leading to criticism from some MPs.

It is an interesting way to build a team.

September 14, 2015 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

New Life For Old Trains

We have a shortage of self-powered multiple units in this country, which means that dreadful Pacers like these are still soldiering on!

In the long term, more lines will be electrified, which will release some modern diesel multiple units, like these Class 172 trains on the London Overground.

There is also the new Aventra IPEMUs that might be used to run branch lines off major electrified lines.would be nice to fill the gap.

But some new diesel multiple units would be very nice to fill the gap.

One possibility to fill the gap is the Vivarail D-Train, which is being developed from second-hand London Underground D78-Stock.

This article on the RailStaff web site entitled New Life For Old Trains, gives more details.

It is an interesting concept and I look forward to my first ride in a new Vivarail D-train.

The D-Train doesn’t have the high quality el-cheapo market to itself, as  Porterbrook, which is a ROSCO, has converted a Class 144 train from a dreadful Pacer to a modern Class 144 Evolution.

Ian Walmsley in Modern Railways has said this, with respect to the new Class 144e.

Would I lease this in preference to a new DMU? No.

Would I lease this in preference to D78 stock? Probably, but I’ll let you know.

Would the Pacer Death Warrant have been signed if Pacers looked like this a year ago? No.

At present Vivarail say they can produce seventy-six D-trains and there are twenty-three Class 144 trains that could be upgraded.

May the best train win!

September 14, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

A Mother Of All Traffic Jams

I took this picture from the front on a 19 bus, as I tried to get from Piccadilly to Islington.


The bus was turned round, as it was going nowhere, so I got on a 38, which then promptly overheated, but at least as it was a 38, there was another behind.

Traffic everywhere and nothing moving.

Traffic everywhere and nothing moving.

Traffic everywhere and nothing moving. My bus journey took over an hour.

So what was causing the slow progress? I think it was a mixture of works for services and the Cycle Superhighway.

It was obviously going on all day, as a visitor later in the afternoon complained of similar problems. A friend visiting London also had problems.

You might ask, why I didn’t take the Underground! I needed to get to Angel and as the Victorian designed the Northern and Central Lines so that they didn’t go near Piccadilly. Buses are the only way unless you want to do some tortuous walking in an Underground interchange.

September 14, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Tottenham Court Road Station – 14th September 2015

At least the jams gave me time to take a few pictures.

The Central Line platforms at the station can’t open too soon.

According to this page on the TfL web site, the platforms will open around December 2015.

It will be a big day for me personally, as they’ll help my getting around Central London.

September 14, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Rail’s Forgotten City In The West Midlands

Whilst I was looking at the problems at Coventry Arena station, I came across this document entitled Coventry Rail Story – A Rail Investment Strategy for Coventry.

The report starts like this.

Coventry is the 13th largest City in the UK, with a population of 317,000. Following the loss of its primary manufacturing role in the 1970s, the City has significantly developed its service, health, technology and knowledge economy and 2 universities. However, Coventry has higher unemployment and lower economic output than the UK average.

By 2021 Coventry’s population will grow by 15%, nearly 50,000 people, faster than any other part of the West Midlands, with 33,000 new jobs required by 2028. Its key strategy is growth via employment rather than housing, avoiding becoming an unsustainable dormitory city.

It then goes on to describes the problems and opportunities in various areas.

  • How will HS2 affect the City
  • It’s lack of connectivity on Cross-Country rail routes, especially to the North East
  • Getting To And From Birmingham
  • Better Local and Regional Connectivity
  • The Tired Coventry Station

It is well researched document and should be read.

Welcome To Coventry

It is interesting to compare the developments that have happened in Nottingham to what should happen in Coventry.

Arriving by train in the two cities couldn’t be more different.

Nottingham welcomes you with a rebuilt station with style and character and in minutes you can be on a tram to the city centre or other parts of the city. You can also get several local trains to suburbs and the surrounding area.

Coventry welcomes you with a tired (the report’s word!) 1960s box station, where the onward connections to the city centre are either walking or a taxi. A sadist built the bus station on the opposite side of the city centre to the rail station. Hadn’t they heard of designing a proper Interchange? This Google Map shows the location of Coventry station with respect to the city centre and its surrounding ring-road.

Coventry Station And City Centre

Coventry Station And City Centre

When you consider the new station at Birmingham, Coventry station doesn’t match up to the opposition and probably contributes negatively to visitors view of the city.

How many jobs does the station cost Coventry?


NUCKLE is a project to improve the rail services between Coventry and Nuneaton and Leamington.

Phase 1 is described on this page of the Warwickshire County Council website. This is said.

The Coventry to Nuneaton rail upgrade, known locally as NUCKLE Phase 1, will improve the existing rail line between Coventry and Nuneaton. It will deliver two new stations – one at Coventry (Ricoh) Arena and one at Bermuda Park in Warwickshire. It will also see the extensions of the existing platforms at Bedworth station and a new bay platform at Coventry station.

The related phase 2 includes the new station at Kenilworth.

As part of the Electric Spine, the Coventry to Leamington Line is going to be electrified and doubled. The Coventry Rail Story says that Coventry to Nuneaton Line will also be electrified.

I suspect this will happen, as NUCKLE is in the West Midlands and they seem to get electrification done. So there will be approximately twenty miles of electrified line passing North-South through Coventry.

So would this open up the possibility of an electric service from Oxford to Leicester via Kenilworth, using Aventra IPEMUs, which could bridge the gaps in the electrification between Leamington Spa and Oxford and Nuneaton to Leicester.

This would fit the aspiration in the Coventry Rail Story of an improved train service between Coventry and Leicester via Nuneaton.

The Coventry to Nuneaton Line used to have other stations. So the question has to be asked if other stations can be built between Leamington Spa and Nuneaton to improve commuting into Coventry,

Extending The Midland Metro To Coventry

Extending the Midland Metro to Coventry is being considered in the Line Two Eastside Extension.

This may happen, but I have a feeling that new technology might offer better solutions to improving connections between Birmingham, the Airport, HS2 and Coventry



September 14, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

An Imam’s View On The Mecca Crane Collapse Tragedy

I didn’t go looking for this story in the Independent entitled Mecca crane collapse: Deadly accident at Grand Mosque ‘a blessing in disguise for those killed’

This is said.

Dr Hojjat Ramzy, an imam and director of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre, said he was “very saddened” to hear about the deaths and offered condolences to the families of those killed.

“But in the same breath, I would like to congratulate those people who lost their lives for going straight to heaven without any question,” he said.

“This is great honour from God that every one wishes for but not many will be granted.”

I’m sure that if a crane in the UK fell and killed seven people let alone a hundred and seven, it would be seven appalling tragedies.

September 14, 2015 Posted by | News | | 1 Comment