The Anonymous Widower

It’s All Over Now, Waterloo!

As was planned, the former International platforms 21 to 24 are now closed and will remain so until the end of next year.

Note that Platform 20 is still open and can be accessed from a hole in the wall on Platform 19.

The platform closure is to allow the following to be done..

  • Access to the Underground to be finished.
  • Lifts to be added to the platforms.
  • The platforms to be completed.
  • Retail units to be added to the area.

Operationally, Waterloo station now seems to have at least the same amount of capacity as before the modifications started, but with the following changes.

  • Platforms 1 to 6 can now all take ten-car trains.
  • Access to the Underground has been improved on Platforms 1 to 4.
  • A more efficient track layout has been created tp Platforms 1 to 6.
  • The frequency of trains between Waterloo and Wimbledon has been increased.

There is still Platforms 21 to 24 to be added to the station to increase capacity.

South Western Railway’s Plans

In the September 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a short article entitled Uplift In Windsor Line Capacity.

South Western Railway are proposing to make two major timetable changes in December 2018 and December 2020.

The first will see the following changes.

  • Waterloo to Reading services updated from two trains per hour (tph) to four tph.
  • Waterloo to Windsor services doubled to 4 tph.

They will be run by the new Class 707 trains.

This will be the first benefit of the Waterloo Upgrade.

As Waterloo handles about forty tph at present, this represents a ten percent capacity upgrade for trains.

The LaMiLo Project

I don’t know whether the new platforms or any others at Waterloo have been designed so that they can handle freight movements as in the LaMiLo Project, but you’d think it would be a good idea to make sure new platforms in major cities could handle parcel and pallet trains, where the goods will be collected and distributed by electric vehicles in the City Centre.

Conclusion

It appears that platforms 1 to 6 are now fully operational, although, I think that the lifts still need to be fitted.

So it seems that the doom mongers didn’t get this one right!

But the engineers and project managers seem to have done!

 

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Is Peer-To-Peer Lending Having A Spot Of Bother?

There have been one or two news reports questioning asking tis question.

I invest in Zopa and I have made the prudent decision to put my spare money in a Safeguarded product.

I have had a good run and certainly get more on my savings than I would in a bank. Obviously, I am including any bad debts in this statement.

I shall watch the situation, but I still believe what I said in Stability in Financial Systems.

If there are rumours of a spot of bother, then the following will happen.

  • Investors will put their money elsewhere.
  • Rates to lenders will rise.
  • This will tempt nvestors back in.

It’s a merry-go-round for money!

Note that because Zopa matches investors and borrowers by means of a computer, no human bias can drive the system in a wrong direction. Except a bent programmer and hoipefully systems are in place to check the honesty of their employees.

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Finance | , | Leave a comment

My Japanese Wallet

These pictures show my Japanese wallet.

Note.

  • The pocket on the outside to hold one credit card. Unfortunately, you can’t do contactless in the pocket.
  • The inside purse to hold a few coins, my door key and a few Warfarin tablets.
  • Plenty of space for cards.
  • The usual folder for notes.
  • The zip that closes it shut.

I haven’t shown the miniature Samurai sword, that pokes out if someone, who doesn’t look like me tries to open the wallet.

September 2, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Cavalry Are Arriving!

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled First HST for ScotRail Arrives In Scotland.

I seem to remember reading accusations that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and their governments weren’t too keen on the ageing InterCity 125 trains, that plied up to Scotland and across to Wales and the West of England. So they did a deal with Hitachi, which included a new train factory close to Blair’s constituency in the North-East of England.

But removing InterCity 125s or High Speed Trtains (HSTs) as they are commonly known, from the UK rail network, appears to be as difficult as removing Japanese knot-weed from a garden.

When delays hit the Great Western electrification, Great Western Railway started experimenting with short formation HSTs, consisted of two Class 43 power cars and four or five Mark 3 coaches. The experiments were obviously a success, as they have decided to do this according to Wikipedia.

Great Western Railway are to retain 24 powercars and 48 carriages to form 11 four-carriage sets for use on local services between Cardiff and Penzance. The carriages will be fitted with automatic doors and controlled emission tanks at Wabtec, Doncaster.

Scotrail have gone down a similar route of shortened HSTs.

This article in Rail |Engineer is entitled ScotRail’s ‘new’ HSTs, gives full details. This is the first three paragraphs of the article.

In 2012, Transport Scotland published the results of its rail passenger service consultation. This considered how the railway should develop and the types of passenger services required. Its results were incorporated into the specification for the ScotRail franchise which was renewed in 2014.

One conclusion from this consultation exercise was that passengers traveling from central Scotland to Aberdeen and Inverness much preferred to travel in Virgin Trains East Coast High Speed Trains (HSTs) from London than ScotRail’s Class 170 diesel multiple units (DMUs).

For this reason, the invitation to tender (ITT) document for the ScotRail franchise included a specification for improved rolling stock for Scotland’s internal inter-city services that could have been based on the HST’s mark 3 coach. In its franchise bid, Abellio’s response to this requirement was that it would provide refurbished HSTs on the routes that serve Scotland’s seven cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness).

Abellio received the franchise and ScotRail will be getting seventeen 2+5 and nine 2+4 HSTs. This paragraph from the Rail Engineer article gives more details on the trains.

The HSTs will be phased into service from summer 2018, with the full fleet operational for the May 2019 timetable change. This aligns with the completion of Network Rail’s Highland main line journey time improvements project. 54 power cars and 121 coaches will be leased from Angel Trains. These will make up 17 five-coach trains and 9 four- coach trains with two power cars spare. The 2019 timetable will require 23 trains in service each day with five coach sets operating Central Belt to Aberdeen services and the four coach trains generally running to Inverness. The number of through services from Inverness to the Central Belt via Aberdeen will also be increased.

As the first HST has now arrived in Scotland as is reported in the Rail Magazine article, it looks like everything is going to plan.

Politicians and others might say, why are the lines not being electrified or services provided by Class 802 trains.

  • Network Rail’s record on electrification isn’t good.
  • There would probably be opposition to overhead electrification marching all over the Highlands.
  • The lines in the North of Scotland probably have a maximum speed of 100 mph at best.
  • Drivers have forty years of experience of running HSTs to Aberdeen and Inverness.
  • To many of the British, the InterCity 125s are the definitive High Speed Train.

Could there even be a popular feeling behind using the trains, in much the same way people cling to the past in their politics?

I think it is a sensible plan for the following reasons.

  • A 2+5 shortened set running at less than the 125 mph design speed could be a very sound economic proposition.
  • The trains have large windows for a good view.
  • I’m sure Scotrail will add appropriate catering, on the upwards of two to three hour journeys.
  • These trains could be passenger magnets for business, leisure and tourists, especially from countries like Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Canada and the USA.

But above all these Scottish InterCity services must be the Marketing Department’s dream!

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Carlisle Joins The Fight For The Extended Borders Railway

This article in the Southern Reporter is entitled Carlisle the ‘logical step forward’.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Carlisle City Council has joined the army of organisations fighting for the Borders Railway to be extended south.

The council’s leader, Cllr Colin Glover, has held joint talks with the Campaign for Borders Rail, agreeing to stimulate economic growth through reinstatement of the railway between Carlisle, Longtown, and the Central Borders.

The article has a lot of comments about why the extended Borders Railway would be good for both Carlisle and the Scottish Borders.

This is a comment from the leader of Carlisle Council.

There are clear benefits for Carlisle, Building a new line supports plans for growth all over the city and region.

Ever since, the Borders Railway opened to Tweedbank station, it has been my view that Carlisle is key to completion of the reinstated route between Edinburgh and the North West of England.

Consider.

  • Carlisle is a city of just over 100,000 people.
  • The whole of the Scottish Borders only has a population of 114,000.
  • Carlisle is a major railway junction with services to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle and the South of England.
  • Some of the most scenic rail routes in the UK, link Carlisle with Glasgow and South West Scotland, the Lake District, Leeds and Newcastle.
  • The important scenic route to Edinburgh through the Borders is missing.
  • The West Coast Main Line (WCML) needs to increase capacity through Carlisle.
  • HS2 services will be arriving at Carlisle, via Crewe and the WCML, around 2033.

The Borders Railway to Carlisle is undoubtedly an Anglo-Scottish project.

Conclusion

I suspect that when the definitive report on the extension of the Borders Railway to Carlisle is published, Carlisle will be one of the biggest beneficiaries.

 

 

September 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment