The Anonymous Widower

The Chilling Power Of Drones And Software

This article on the BBC is entitled Saudi Oil Attacks: Images Show Detail Of Damage.

Read this article and then say, that drones can’t be used to create death ad destruction or merely havoc, like flight disruption at a major airport.

Consider.

  • Automation is such, that drones can now be launched on a fire-and-forget basis.
  • You can’t jam an autonomous drone!
  • There is nothing to stop a top quality programmer creating evil software.
  • Much of the software, used for evil purposes, is probably also used to write business, research, engineering, scientific, educational and other types of software.
  • The genie is well and truly out of the bottle!

14/09/2019 will become a notorious date in history.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Isle of Wight Line’s Future Secured With £26m Investment

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

Investment of £26m to secure the future of the 13·7 km line between Ryde and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight was announced on September 16. This includes infrastructure modernisation and replacement of the life-expired fleet of small profile ex-London Underground trains which date back to 1938.

A few more details.

Infrastructure

Improvements will include.

  • The track will be renewed and the electrical systems will be modernised to improve reliability and ride.
  • A passing loop will be installed at Brading.
  • South Western Railway will improve the important stations.

The track improvements will allow a half-hourly service to link up with the ferries to the mainland.

Rolling Stock

These Class 483 trains will be replaced.

They will be replayed by trains similar to these.

The pictures show Class 230 trains, which are diesel-electric versions of the electric Class 484 trains that will be used on the Island Line.

  • Both trains are two car sets, which will work in pairs.
  • The new trains will have a capacity of 172 seats, as opposed to the 84 seats of the current stock.
  • The speed of the new trains is 60 mph, as opposed to the 45 mph of the current stock.
  • It would appear that the new fleet includes a spare train, which should improve reliability.

The extra speed and the passing loop at Brading will enable the half-hourly timetable.

In Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway, I describe a ride in a battery/electric version of the Class 230 train.

The noise levels were very low and I suspect the Class 484 train will be a quiet ride.

Conclusion

There may be better and much more expensive solutions, but this is a practical one, that is affordable, with little risk.

I also think that £26million to secure the island Line for upwards of a dozen years, is not a bad investment.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments

New Railway Station Between Hinckley And Nuneaton Receives Backing

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first paragraph of the article.

Plans for a new railway station between Hinckley and Nuneaton looks set to go ahead following backing from councillors.

The station will be called Nuneaton Parkway.

This page on Coventry Live gives some more information.

There is also a proposed station, to be called Nuneaton Parkway, situated off the A5 between Hinckley and Nuneaton.

This Google Map shows the area where the A5 crosses the Birmingham-Peterborough Line, that runs between Hinckley and Nuneaton..

This must surely be one of the best sites to build a new Parkway station in the UK.

  • The triangular site is a waste transfer station operated by Veolia Environmental Services UK.
  • It has a direct connection to the A5, which could be easily improved, with perhaps a roundabout.
  • Doing a crude estimate from the Google Map, I calculate that the site is about sixteen hactares, which is surely a good size for a Parkway station.
  • There’s even quite a lot of new housing within walking and cycling distance.

It would also appear that the station could be built on this site without major disruption to either road or rail traffic.

Train Services

Currently the train service passing the proposed site of Nuneaton Parkway, which stops at both Hinckley and Nuneaton stations is as follows.

  • An hourly CrossCountry service between Birmingham New Street and Leicester.
  • In addition there are four trains per day between Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport and/or Cambridge.
  • All trains take seven minutes between Nuneaton and Hinckley.

But just under forty trains per day is not enough.

In my view, there should be a train at least every half-hour and preferably four trains per hour (tph) between Birmingham New Street and Leicester.

What About Coventry and Birmingham International?

Services between Nuneaton and Birmingham go via Coleshill Parkway and don’t call at Coventry and Birmingham International for the Airport, High Speed Two and the National Exhibition Centre.

So could there be a Birmingham New Street and Leicester service via Birmingham International, Coventry, Coventry Arena, Nuneaton, Nuneaton Parkway and Hinckley?

London, Liverpool and Manchester Via Nuneaton

Currently, the Nuneaton and London service is hourly and timed badly for connections at Nuneaton.

If it is intended that passengers will park at Nuneaton Parkway station and go to and from London, Liverpool or Manchester, the following must be arranged.

  • At least four tph calling at Nuneaton, Nuneaton Parkway and Hinckley.
  • At least two tph from West Midland Trains going between London Euston and Crewe calling at Nuneaton.
  • Perhaps one tph from Virgin Trains calling at Nuneaton.
  • A big improvement in cafes and waiting rooms at Nuneaton.

Note that times between Nuneaton and London Euston are as follows.

  • West Midlands Trains – 78 minutes
  • Virgin Trains – 69 minutes

Perhaps West Midlands Trains should be running trains with the same performance as Virgin?

Could Battery-Electric Trains Be Used Between Birmingham New Street And Leicester?

The route between Birmingham New Street and Leicester is not electrified, but two important stations; Birmingham New Street and Nuneaton are both wired, as is the route between Coventry and Birmingham New Street via Birmingham International.

Distances between Nuneaton and other stations, where independent power would be needed are.

  • Birmingham New Street via Coleshill Parkway – 21 miles.
  • Leicester – 19 miles or 38 miles return.
  • Coventry – 10 miles

These distances are all feasible for battery operation.

In Porterbrook Makes Case For Battery/Electric Bi-Mode Conversion, I talked about Porterbrook’s plan to convert redundant Class 350 trains into battery-electric trains.

  • They are four-car electric trains.
  • They were built within the last ten years.
  • They are currently used by West Midlands Trains.

In the related post, I estimated that these converted trains would have the following battery ranges for the power usages shown, if they were to be fitted with 400 kWh of batteries. I chose 400 kWh as this is the battery capacity of a Three-car Class 230 train.

  • 5 kWh per vehicle mile – 20 miles
  • 4 kWh per vehicle mile – 25 miles
  • 3 kWh per vehicle mile – 33.3 miles
  • 2 kWh per vehicle mile – 50 miles

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I calculated that.

  • A Class 801 train needs 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 125 mph.
  • An IOnterCity125 train needs 2.83 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 125 mph.
  • A Class 222 train needs 4.83 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 125 mph.
  • A Class 170 train needs 3.15 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 100 mph.

Looking at the last figure for the Class 170 train, I feel that a modern electric train must surely be as or more efficient and I’m justified to assume that a well-designed battery-electric train based on a Class 350 train, should be capable of a power usage of 3 k|Wh per vehicle mile, which would give a 33.3 mile range.

If more range was needed to handle Nuneaton and Leicester, the following could be done.

  • Install a bigger battery in the trains.
  • Install a charging station at Leicester.
  • Extend the electrificationfrom Nuneaton for a few miles.

I very much believe that within a few years, the technology exists to have 100 mph battery electric trains running between Birmingham and Leicester, getting a quick charge en route at Nuneaton.

Conclusion

My logical thinking leads me to the conclusion, that a high-frequency service between Birmingham New Street and Leicester could grow into a Crossrail-style service.

  • Six tph between Birmingham New Street and :Leicester.
  • Services split between Birmingham New Street and Nuneaton, with some trains going via Coleshill and others via Coventry and Birmingham International.
  • There could be extensions from Coventry to Leamington and Birmingham to Wolverhampton and Bromsgrove.
  • Centred on Nuneaton Parkway.
  • Possibly run by battery-electric trains.

Although the Crossrail branding is possibly overused these days.

 

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Had A Decompensation Stroke On Saturday

On Saturday, I went to the first half of the Spurs Crystal Palace match at White Hart Lane, so at least I saw all the goals.

But at half-time, I wasn’t feeling well, with stroke like symptoms, I suffered before, like bad eyesight on the left side and bad control of my left hand.

So I contacted a steward and he walked me to the medical room, where I was checked out.

They thought, I could be having a stroke, although, they seemed surprised I was so lucid and could remember details like my son’s phone number.

An ambulance was called and I was taken to University College Hospital.

They did a CT scan and cleared me to go home and then return on the Sunday to have an MRI scan.

They also said that I could stay overnight, which is what I did.

The MRI scan on Sunday ,morning, showed that I hadn’t had another stroke and they told me that it was a decompensation stroke.

The hospital fully checked me out, including doing the same mental check the doctors gave to Donald Trump, which I passed.

I was home by two.

But what is a decompensation stroke? There’s precious little on the Internet.

If nothing else, my small incident proves that the systems at Tottenham Hotspur, the London Ambulance Service and University College Hospital worked as everyone expects.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Health, Sport | , , | 2 Comments