The Anonymous Widower

Losing The Plot?

David Aaronovitch in The Times today has a piece about the Labour Party and its leadership election.

He says this.

On the very day that Theresa May was, in effect, transfigured into prime minister, Corbyn was at a meeting of the Cuba Solidarity Committee, recommitting to the dynastic dictatorship of the Castros, just as he has been doing these 40 years.

Was Corbyn getting advice?

I am virtually Corbyn’s age and I can remember the ardent, often heavy smoking, left-wingers we had when I was at Liverpool University, in the 1960s. Prominent amongst them was that pillar of the left; Robert Kilroy Silk, who incidentally was C’s tutor and persisted in smoking Capstan |Full Strength all through tutorials, despite C being pregnant at the time.

I have checked the Internet for all the left-wingers, that I remember from that time and all seem to have vanished without trace. I wonder how many are living in semis in Pinner, Mossley Hill and Edgbaston, with a Mondeo outside and 2.4 children?


July 14, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

A Space Too Good To Leave Empty

I took these pictures in the space between the Southbound Thameslink and Westbound Metropolitan platforms at Farringdon station.

It’s just too good to leave empty!

But at least it’s a convenient almost step-free way to interchange between the two lines. Say from.

  • Liverpool Street to Gatwick.
  • Bedford to Paddington.

It’s just a pity that all the other connections at Farringdon, seem to be lots of steps.



July 14, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 5 Comments

The New Bromsgrove Station

This is the new Bromsgrove station, which opened this week.

It is not what you’d call a spectacular station, but it certainly fulfils the objectives of the design.

  • Act as a second Southern terminus for three trains per hour on Birmingham’s Cross-City Line.
  • Be able to accept trains up to nine cars on the Cross-Country route from Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford through Birmingham and onto the East Midlands and Yorkshire.
  • Provide a step-free interchange, between trains, buses, cars and cycles.
  • Provide a Park-and-Ride station for Birmingham.

But as it has four platforms, will soon be electrified and have connections across the City, will it after the timetable has settled, become an important interchange that takes the pressure from Birmingham New Street? I think it will, as Reading does for Paddington, Stratford does for Liverpool Street and Clapham Junction, does for ictoria and Waterloo, in London.

It is also not finished and needs a shop and coffee stalls. In some ways it has a similar aura to the new Lea Bridge station in East London. Both stations shout that they are open for business, so please send us some trains and we’ll make the passengers happy.

It could turn out to be a masterstroke.

The electric trains on the line that will work the electrified service are Class 323 trains. There are forty-three, three-car units of which London Midland have twenty-six units, or just thirteen six-car trains, which is the train-length, the line obviously needs.

Will they get the other seventeen units from Northern, as that company gets new rolling stock, to create a fleet that could serve the line adequately?

They could also be looking at new trains. Something like four-car Class 710 trains, which are being built for similar urban routes on the London Overground, would be ideal. And in these Brexit times, they are built in Derby.

If Class 710 trains were to be used, they open up the intriguing possibility of fitting some or all of them with on-board energy storage.

This would enable the following routes.

  • Bromsgrove to Worcester is only a dozen miles, and doesn’t include the notorious Lickey Incline, which will soon be electrified. So it would be possible to run a frequent Birmingham to Worcester service using onboard energy, which would also serve Droitwich Spa and the new Worcestershire Parkway station.
  • The Camp Hill Line provides an alternative route across Birmingham City Centre. It is not electrified, but as it is short, it would be well within onboard energy storage range.
  • On the other side of Birmingham, it is only about twenty-five miles or so from the electrified Cross-City Line to the electrified West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton.

So could we see a second Cross-City Line in Birmingham from Worcester to Nuneaton via Bromsgrove, Camp Hill, Water Orton and Coleshill Parkway?

It would need no new electrification and just appropriate track and station improvements.


July 14, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Is This The Most Significant Public Transport Development Of This Century So Far?

This article on Rail News is entitled Contactless export deal will help London fares freeze.

Whether the deal does keep fares down is irrelevant to me in London, as I get London’s extensive transport network for nothing! The only benefit, I’ll see is new services paid for by licencing revenue.

But how long will it be, before, when I go to say Birmingham, Berlin or Bucharest, that the only thing I will need to use public transport will be a contactless bank card?

Everything is now in place for all cities to use a similar system to London!

The only reason, it won’t get used in a city or public transport area, is that mistakenly because of NIH syndrome, politicians have gone their own route, which are incompatible with contactless bank cards and mobile devices impersonating them.

Say for instance Paris, Venice or New York didn’t allow the use of cards and devices, how would their visitor revenue drop?

I trawl the Internet extensively for reports of contactless cards used on public transport in London.

  • I have not found one adverse report on the media, although I have found a couple of travel sites recommending using a bank card as a ticket in London.
  • Remember that you get the same price as Oyster, which is less than cash, without having to use a special card.
  • Oyster use is dropping in London.
  • Carrying umpteen cards is so twentieth century.
  • How much money do people have lying dead on Oyster cards, they’ve mislasid in old jackets etc.?
  • There was a big worry from the left, that cashless and contactless ticketing would hurt the less well off. This Luddite-view has been shown to be totally wrong, with some of the highest non-Oyster use in London’s poorest boroughs.
  • There has been a reduction of attacks on staff, as the only money they carry is now their own.
  • I have been unable to find a report of someone using a stolen contactless card as a ticket.

The world will embrace London’s model and now, that Cubic has the licence, there is nothing to stop the march of contactless bank card ticketing.

Except of course stupid politicians!

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments