The Anonymous Widower

What Do You Do With An Unwanted Eurostar Train?

In Edition 865 of Rail Magazine, there is a short article which is entitled Eurostar ‘373s’ Leased To Thalys.

This is the first paragraph.

Class 373s that were due to be scrapped have instead been leased to Thalys for a year.

Class 373 trains and Thalys rolling stock are very similar, as both were built by GEC-Alsthom around the same time.

So just as ScotRail borrowed a few Class 365 trains to make up for a shortage, Thalys are borrowing a pair of Class 373 trains.

I wonder if passengers between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, that they are getting a train, that was destined for the scrapyard?

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On a Red And Processed Meat Tax

This article on the BBC is entitled Should There Be A Tax On Red Meat?.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A “meat tax” could prevent almost 6,000 deaths per year in the UK, according to researchers, but should politicians be telling people what they can and can’t eat?

Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – to reduce consumption.

They also go on to suggest these levels of tax, with examples.

In the UK, the study suggests a tax of 14% on red meat and 79% of processed meat.

This would mean the price of a 227g Tesco Sirloin Steak would increase from £3.80 to £4.33.

And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsbury’s the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69.

It is probably peer-reviewed research, but I doubt it would ever be introduced.

I have few questions.

Would I As A Coeliac Get Extra Tax Relief, As I Need To Eat Red Meat?

I don’t eat much red meat, but to keep my B12 at a good level, I need to eat a quality steak or burger.

Regular levels of B12 help to keep your immune system strong, which is the body’s first line of defence against cancer.

Why Do Coeliacs On A Gluten Free Diet Have A 25% Less Chance Of Getting Cancer?

Research at Nottingham University has shown this.

Being coeliac is unlikely to be beneficial, as whoever heard of a disease that let you live longer?

,So could it be the non-eating too of gluten?

Also, as many who eat a lot of red and processed meat, eat it with a bun or lots of bread,

Could this be significant?

Research needs to be done that considers consumption of red and processed meat, taking eating gluten into account.

How Would I Reduce Cancer?

There are other substances and circumstances that are proven to cause cancer.

  • Smoking tobacco and other drugs.
  • Eating too much and being obese
  • Drinking too much.
  • Too much sunbathing.
  • Diesel and petrol vehicles
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.

Some of these also cause other health problems.

I’d start with absolute bans on these.

  • Diesel and petrol vehicles.
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Possession of illegal drugs.
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.
  • Sales of high strength alcohol.
  • Jobs with a proven record of causing cancer like coal mining.

And these things would be compulsory or introduced.

  • Everybody should keep a record in a smart-phone app of what they ate and their weight.
  • Owning a diesel or petrol vehicle would need a special permit.
  • Alcohol could only be bought in special licensed shops.

Obviously, other draconian measures could be introduced.

I doubt it will ever be acted upon, by any Government that wants to win an election.

So What Can We Do That Is Practical?

My view is that we have to nudge people into doing the right thing.

Diesel And Petrol Taxes To Subsidise Zero-Emission Vehicles

Note that I use the term zero-emission vehicle, which is a category that includes battery and hydrogen power at present. But it is a class, that could include other vehicles in future, that have yet to be invented.

If diesel and petrol taxes were to rise and the revenue were used to subsidise the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, then this might persuade more people to switch to zero-emission vehicles.

Money could also be allocated to research into zero-emission vehicles.

Zero-Emission Zones In All Towns And Cities

London is getting an Ultra Low Emission Zone, but this is only the start.

They should be Zero Emission Zones.

They should probably be paired with parking areas outside the zone and connected to it, by a zero-emission high quality rail or bus link.The link could be a segregated walking or cycling route.

The first town or city that uses this model to create healthy air quality will probably reap an enormous dividend.

From recent developments, I suspect it will be the City of London.

Smoking Would Only Be Allowed By Consenting Adults In Private

As smoking had a lot to do with the death of my son I feel strongly about this.

My wife also may have died from secondary lung cancer. But she had never smoked, although she got enough cigarette smoke from her tutor at University, who chain-smoked Capstan Full Strength.

Is There A Radical Approach?

Liverpool University Pancreatic Cancer Research Unit have one of the most impressive databases I have ever seen! It contains every pancreatic cancer case, that has been notified to the University.

They use it to look for links between factors, that might be a clue to what causes this terrible disease and for possible cures.

But imagine an enormous database of all UK cancer cases, that was processed to show how the cancers related to post codes, occupation, age, weight, smoking and drinking habits etc.

Access to an anonymised version of the database would be allowed through the Internet or a phone app.

Would access to the data, nudge people to change their bad habits?

I also know of ten-year-olds, who pester their parents to stop smoking, so imagine what a tech-savvy child would do, if given access to the app. Schools could teach them to use it responsibly.

Could it bring the whole country together to reduce levels of cancer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SWR Applies To Build New London Maintenance Depot

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Edition 865 of Rail Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

Hounslow Borough Council is considering an application by South Western Railway to build a new depot on the site of Feltham’s former marshalling yard in South West London.

This Google Map shows the site.

It appears to be remarkably clear and the only clue to its former use must be Feltham Railway Club.

  • The depot will lie between Feltham and Whitton stations on the Southern side of the Waterloo-Reading Line.
  • The depot will have ten roads and will be able to accommodate ten car trains.
  • Construction will start in February 2019 and the depot will open in 2020.

There houldn’t appear to be too many construction problems.

I do have a few questions.

Would The Opportunity Be Taken To Upgrade The Waterloo-Reading Line?

Waterloo to Reading and Windsor services might be increased in frequency.

Could an extra track be added alongside the depot or other works be performed to add capacity to services Reading and Windsor?

What Will Be The Affects Of The Proposed Heathrow Southern Railway?

The Heathrow Southern Railway is a proposal for a new route between Waterloo and Heathrow Airport via Clapham Junction and Staines.

Should Level Crossings In The Area Be Closed?

There are level crossings at Barnes, Feltham, Isleworth, Mortlake and North Sheen.

Would The Land Be Better Used For Housing?

This could be the major objection from the Council.

They could always build a depot with housing on top.

Could A Bigger Feltham Station Be built At The Same Time?

This could be a possibility, with perhaps a turnback platform for the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

Conclusion

Building the depot seems a good and fairly simple plan, but willit cover all possibilities?

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Putin’s Only Aircraft Carrier Out Of Action

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Russia could lose its only aircraft carrier after an accident left a five-metre hole in the flight deck.

Admiral Kuznetsov was in the Arctic for repairs when the floating dock underneath it sank, causing a 70-tonne crane to crash on to the carrier killing one person and injuring two.

Enough said!

November 7, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Could There Be A Tram-Train Connection At Reeve’s Corner?

A few day’s ago I took the tram from Croydon to IKEA. Coming back, I got off the tram at the Reeve’s Corner stop and took these pictures.

Note how close the trams are to the rail lines just to the West of West Croydon station.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The road bridge appears in several of the pictures.
  2. The rail lines appear to have plenty of space to accomodate an updated layout.
  3. The Reeve’s Corner tram stop is only used by trams going to Croydon.
  4. The trams share a single-track section between Reeve’s Corner and Wandle Park tram stop.

The single-track layout must be a restriction on the number of trams that can run between Croydon and Wimbledon.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the layout of the tracks in the area.

This map shows why there is plenty of space, as there are the dotted-lines of the West Croydon to Wimbledon Line, which was closed in 1997 to be converted into the London Tramlink.

This Google Map shows the route between Wandle Park and Revve’s Corner and how it crosses the rail lines.

Note that Reeve’s Corner is just beyond the North-East corner of this map.

Third-Rail Tram-Trains And The London Tramlink

The London Tramlink was designed twenty years ago, well before we had modern tram-trains, like those that are running all over Karlsruhe and have just started services between Sheffield and Rotherham.

I believe that third-rail tram-trains, as I proposed in The Third-Rail Tram-Train, are a viable concept, if they only use third-rail electrification, when running as a train.

Why Create A Tram-Train Connection At Reeve’s Corner?

The obvious reason, is that it would allow tram-trains to run between Wimbledon and West Croydon stations.

To the East of West Croydon, they could go to places like the proposed Steatham Interchange or the existing Crystal Palace, Beckenham Junction or Bromley stations.

Conclusion

Creating a tram-train connection at Reeve’s Corner is one of a number of places, where the trams and South London’s third-rail network can be connected.

I believe that developing these connections could enable several useful routes.

  • Extra train and tram services to Beckenham Junction station.
  • Tram-trains to Bromley South station.
  • Extending the Bromley North Branch using tram-trains to Bromley South station, by street running through Bromley Town Centre.

Tram-trains could even serve Gatwick Airport and provide services around the wider Airport site.

 

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment