The Anonymous Widower

Minicab Drivers Claim Discrimination Over New London Charge

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

This is the first paragraph.

Minicab drivers are launching a legal action against the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, accusing him of discrimination against a largely ethnic minority workforce by making them pay the congestion charge while black cab drivers, who are overwhelmingly white, will be exempt.

Black cab drivers may or may not be overwhelmingly white, but I have certainly never seen a South Asian black cab driver.

But Central London is getting increasingly polluted and congested and this slows the buses, that I regularly use through the centre.

I am no legal expert, but I have a feeling, that the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will extend to the North and South Circular Roads will be a very big factor in the next Mayoral Election.

The lawyers, who will be big winners in this debate, have surely been sharpening their pencils.

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 6 Comments

Ovo Partners With Glen Dimplex To Deliver Smart Heating

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

If you read the article, you will find out how the humble electric storage heater could be joining the smart electricity grid.

This is a paragraph.

It says the facility to store excess energy can lower the cost of electrification by reducing the need for backup generation and investment in the power grid to increase its peak capacity. Analysis by Imperial College London has indicated that deploying smart flexible heating could cut decarbonisation costs by £3.9 billion per year.

This is going to be technology to watch.

Especially, if your heating needs are best met by some form of electric storage heaters.

March 1, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t Rule Out Rail Link Says Glasgow Airport Boss

The title of this post, as the same as that of this article on the Evening Times.

Surely, the Airport must know best what passengers want!

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The GOBlin Users Think Things Are Looking Up

This was one of their tweets tonight.

Two Class 710s out on the WCML tonight and they’ve allowed onto the fast lines as well with no shadowing ROG diesel! Things are looking up!

So are they right?

TfL and Bombardier are being increasingly brave with where they are taking the trains.

Pictures have been taken of Class 710 trains in these places.

  • During the day at Gospel Oak, Walthamstow Queens Road and Upney.
  • At night on the West Coast Main Line

As a software man of at least forty years experience, I wouldn’t be surprised to be told, that the important train control software is now working as it should in most situations.

  • And in those situations where it doesn’t work, Bombardier have probably got a work-round. Even if it is stop and reboot! We’re all familiar with that on our desk- or lap-tops.
  • It would mean a trained technician on each train, but as there are twenty trains al;ready built, testing and driver training can continue on as many trains, as can be accommodated on the various test tracks and routes.

As I have said many times, there has been a major failure on the part of all European train manufacturers and governments, to make sure there is enough testing facilities for all the trains ordered from European manufacturers in the last few years for both Europe and export.

Software needs a lot of testing and with desktop software, you need to have tens of testers, each with their own installation.

Why should trains, which these days are just computers on wheels be any different?

I suspect that the cabs and control systems in the various classes of Aventra, with the exception of the Class 345 train, are identical.

  • Bombardier have said the the 345s have an older computer architecture based on the Electrostar.
  • Having the same software on every Aventra must make testing and acceptance into service so much easier.
  • The software would be configured for the each train size and application.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if Bombardier retrofitted the 345s with the computer system of all other Aventras.

Identical computer systems across all Aventras would have benefits for Bombardier.

  • A mixed fleet of Aventras of different sizes and performance could be driven by all drivers, with the appropriate route knowledge.
  • New versions of the software could be distributed automatically over the Internet.
  • It would be easier to add new hardware and software features to the trains.

Aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus have been using similar philosophies for years.

If I’m right about this, I would expect to see the following after the 710s are working reliably on the GOBlin and the Watford DC Line.

  • A rapid introduction of the 710s on the Lea Valley Lines limited only by train testing and mileage accumulation, and driver training.
  • The next fleet of Aventras start to be tested for another operator.

Bombardier are gearing up for high production rates of Aventras, so there will not necessarily be serial production of fleets.

  • London Overground might take the initial twenty and run them for a year to ascertain any small design changes they need, which will be incorporated into the rest of the trains.
  • Greater Anglia may get some of their fleet, so they can train drivers and see what changes are needed on their platforms etc.

I actually think, that train companies would like to call off trains from Bombardier at a rate that they can bring into service. As Bombardier are producing a large number of very similar trains, they can then build them in the order that suits their customers and Bombardier’s cash flow.

But to do this successfully, you need orders for a large number of similar trains!

 

 

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments