The Anonymous Widower

Steam Engine Hits Car At Sheringham Level Crossing

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

As it appears that no-one was hurt, I think that I can quote the article, which includes a less than serious quote from Norfolk Police.

General manager Andrew Munden said the Sweet Briar Lane crossing’s lights and sirens were sounding at the time.

“We are all so relieved that this was a low speed collision and that no-one was injured,” he said.

Services resumed by the afternoon after the Rail Accident Investigation Branch had given permission to clear the site, Mr Munden said.

PC Jon Parker, of Norfolk Police tweeted: “Currently on scene at a train vs car incident. Unsurprisingly, the train emerged the victor.”

I wonder when a steam engine was last involved in a level crossing accident in the UK.

Looking at this section on Wikipedia, there has only been one accident between a road vehicle and a steam engine and that was a horse and cart in 1832.

There must be others! But we all know that Wikipedia always gets its facts right!

That accident is described in detail in the Wikipedia entry for the Leicester and Swannington Railway.

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | Leave a comment

Up For Grabs: Rene’s Fallen Madonna With The Big…

The title of this post, is the same as that of a short humorous article in today’s Times.

It’s the prop for that running gag in ‘Allo ‘Allo!

The picture, has turned up for auction in Bristol.

Who was it who said, he who laughs last, laughs loudest?

Will we be expecting a repeat on BBC2?

November 17, 2018 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Huge Solar Farm Plan

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

This is said.

Plans for Britain’s largest solar farm have been submitted to the government. Cleeve Hill Solar Park between Whitstable and Faversham in Kent would be five times bigger than the present largest solar farm, in Wiltshire, and provide enough clean energy to power more than 91,000 homes. A ruling is expected by the end of 202.

According to this page on the OVO Energy web site, the average household in the UK used 3,940 kWh in 2014.

This is 0.45 kWh per hour.

On this figure, the 91,000 houses would use 358.4 GWH

Compare this output with the 240 MW of the world’s first nuclear power station at Calder Hall, which opened in 1956, which in a year would generate 2104 GWH

Cleeve Hill Solar Park has a web site, which together with other sites gives more details of the project.

  • The project has an area of 360 hectares.
  • The project will be connected to the grid using an existing sub-station, that is used to connect the London Array wind farm in the Thames Estuary to the grid.
  • The solar panels are laid close together to create the maximum amount of electricity.

On this information it looks like a solar farm in the UK, which is the size of 360 football pitches, can generate a sixth of the power of the world’s first and admitted small nuclear power station.

The web site also includes this informative schematic of a typical solar farm.

Note that battery storage is included, which I find significant.

  • Battery or some other form of energy storage would be used to smooth the peaks and troughs of generation and use.
  • Is it significant that it shares a sub-station that is used to connect wind turbines to the grid?
  • So will the solar panels charge the batteries and then this energy will be sent to the grid, when the wind isn’t blowing?

The battery would be sized accordingly and calculating the size required is a the sort of problem that needs some comprehensive mathematical modelling.

  • Using past sun and wind data, it would be possible to predict likely weather on a day-to-day basis.
  • This data would be fed into a mathematical model of the wind and solar farms, with different sizes of batteries.
  • A battery size would be chosen, that didn’t allow 91,000 houses in Kent to be without power.

But don’t worry, if you live in Kent, as there are other power stations nearby that could step in.

Having run mathematical models for complicated systems since the late 1960s, I know that this problem is within the capabilities of today’s mathematicians and computers.

The Potential Power Of The Cleeve Hill Solar Farm

The Internet entry for Solar Power In The UK has a section called Solar Potential, where this is said.

London receives 0.52 and 4.74 kWh/m² per day in December and July, respectively. While the sunniest parts of the UK receive much less solar radiation than the sunniest parts of Europe, the country’s insolation in the south is comparable with that of central European countries, including Germany, which generates about 7% of its electricity from solar power. Additionally, the UK’s higher wind speeds cool PV modules, leading to higher efficiencies than could be expected at these levels of insolation.

I’ll start by looking at December.

The solar array at Cleeve Hill will be 360 hectares, which need to be converted to square metres. A hectare is roughly the size of a football pitch like Wembley or 100 metres x 100 metres.

So I can say the following.

  • The area of the Cleeve Hill solar farm is 3,600,000 square metres.
  • If I assume that Cleeve Hill gets the same amount of sunlight as London, I can say that on each day in December the solar farm will receive an average of 0.52 * 3,600,000 kWh or 1872 MWh of solar energy.
  • I have found web sites that say that the best solar panels are twenty percent efficient, which means that on an average December day 374.4 MWh will be generated.
  • This is 4.11 kWh for each of the 91,000 households.

Looking at July, I can say the following.

  • If I assume that Cleeve Hill gets the same amount of sunlight as London, I can say that on each day in July the solar farm will receive an average of 4.74 * 3,600,000 kWh or 17064 MWh of solar energy.
  • Using the same twenty percent efficiency, which means that on an average July day 3412.8 MWh will be generated.
  • This is 37.5 kWh for each of the 91,000 households.

I have created an Excel Workbook, that shows the energy generation for a 360 hectare solar farm, through a year.

  • I obtained the insolation rates from this page on the Contemporary Energy web site.
  • Other data came from Cleeve Hill Solar Farm.
  • All parameters can be changed are and at the first part of the workbook.
  • It is in Word 97 format

Click this link to download.





November 17, 2018 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

A Detailed Look At The Space Between Farringdon Station And The New Museum Of London Site

I took these pictures as I walked up Charterhouse Street beside the new site of the Museum of London.


  1. The buildings to be used for the museum need a lot of work.
  2. The two  buildings which could both be cold stores on the railway side of Charterhouse Street wouldn’t appear to have much architectural merit.
  3. Once Crossrail works are finished, there will be two big gaps leading to the railway lines and Farringdon station.

This picture from Crossrail says it is the Chaterhouse Street ticket hall.

So it looks like that box in the third picture is an entrance to the station and it’s bang opposite the museum.

This Google Map shows the space on the railway side of Charterhouse Street.


  1. Farringdon station at the top of the map towards the left.
  2. To the left of the station is the site I talked about in TfL Gives Go Ahead To Build Above Farringdon Station.
  3. Below that site, is another site on the corner of Charterhouse Street and Farringdon Road, that could either be developed in conjunction with the site above it or on its own.
  4. The Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines curving between Farringdon and Barbican stations.
  5. What appear to be a couple of sidings are the remains of the Widened Lines, which used to lead to Moorgate.
  6. There is also a large curved space, which used to be which was used by services between Bedford and Moorgate, before Thameslink was created.

There’s a lot of space in the area to create a building or series of buildings that provide.

  • A worthwhile amount of office space.
  • A landmark hotel on one of the best-connected sites in London.
  • The right amount of retail space, bars, cafes and restaurants.

But above all a short and pleasant walking route between Farringdon station and the new Museum of London could be designed.






November 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

An Encounter In A Lift

I don’t use lifts on the trains very often, except when I am lumbered with heavy shopping, or to use a lift is substantially quicker.

This morning my Northern Line train arrived at Kings Cross, so that I alighted right by the lift, in time to see two ladies with babies in buggies, leave the lift and get on the platform.

Now this was a time-saving that was too good to be true, as this lift drops you just by the ticket gates.

I waited to press the button, in case someone else needed the lift.

My only companion turned out to be an attractive tall lady about thirty, who was strikingly dressed, with a very short leather skirt and shoes with the some of the highest heels, I’ve ever seen on the street.

If I do travel in a lift, I like to not be youngest person in the lift, as one has to keep up standards and fight hard against anno domini.

So I said to the lady. “Thanks for coming in the lift, as I make it a rule not to use a lift, unless there’s someone younger than myself on-board!”

She smiled and replied. “I can’t climb the stairs in these f**king shoes!”

Trying to be sympathetic, I said. “Couldn’t you have worn something more comfortable?”

“No!” She replied! “I’m a backing singer going to an audition. One has to impress!”

I hope all her efforts were rewarded!


November 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments