The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal Fund Bids

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the May 2020 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Bids have been submitted to Government for a share of the £500 million ‘Restoring your railway’ fund launched by the Department for Transport in January. The fund is to be used to support proposals to reinstate axed local services, to accelerate schemes already being considered for restoration and also to promote new and restored stations.

Some of the bids are detailed.

Okehampton And Tavistock

If you were deciding what lines shouldn’t have been closed by British Rail in the 1960s, by hindsight, the Exeter to Plymouth railway of the LSWR, would be a railway that you wouldn’t close.

  • The Northern route  would be a valuable diversion, when the sea and the weather decide to attack Dawlish again. as they did in 2014.
  • When COVID-19 is over, there will be more people going to Devon and Cornwall. A second rail route would be invaluable to get traffic off the roads.
  • Attitudes are changing about zero-carbon travel and this will also nudge passengers towards rail.
  • Four tracks between Exeter and Plymouth would allow more freight services to take trucks off the road.
  • There may be new developments along the Northern route.
  • It may be even be possible to electrify the Northern route.

At least, British Rail left the viaducts and bridges intact.

The Modern Railways article says this.

In the West Country, a new Northern Route Working Group has submitted a bid to the fund to develop a Strategic Outline Business Case for reopeing the former London and South Western Railway Main Line between Exeter and Plymouth via Okehampton and Tavistock. The proposal is backed by four local MPs and the working group of industry personnel.

These points are also made.

  • The reopening is crucial to the resilience of the network.
  • Reopening is complimentary to the ongoing work at Dawlish.
  • Devon County Council is leading plans to reopen the 5.5 miles between Bere Alston and Tavistock.
  • Devon County Council is pushing for a daily service between Exeter and Okehampton.
  • The previous two developments, would leave the 16 miles between Tavistock and Okehampton to be restored.
  • Much of the route is intact and structures survive, but some track has been sold off.
  • The route will be useful during closure of the coastal route through Dawlish.
  • Journey times might be only six minutes longer.
  • It might be an easier route for freight trains.

As I said earlier, the proposers of the scheme think electrification could be possible.

Stratford And Honeybourne

The Modern Railways article says this.

A bid has been submitted for £75,000 to carry out an Economic Impact Assessment regarding reopening of the Stratford-upon-Avon to Honeybourne route.

These points are also made.

Nothing is said about whether the route will be single or double track or what services will be run on the line.

There’s more on the Shakespeare Line web site.

This is said about train services.

  • A reopened railway could provide the ability to operate orbital train services in both directions between Birmingham-Stratford-Evesham-Worcester-Birmingham providing connections for South Wales and South West at the new Worcestershire Parkway station.
  • The reopened line would provide the ability to operate direct train services with a 12 mile shorter route between Stratford upon Avon, the Cotswolds, Oxford, Reading, Heathrow Airport and London Paddington.

I also think, I’ve read that the line could be used by freight services and heritage services on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, which could link Birmingham and Cheltenham.

It does appear to be a rail link with potential.

Rawtenstall Line

The Modern Railways article says this.

Meanwhile, Rossendale Council has submitted an application to the fund seeking to propose reinstatement of passenger services on the Rawstenstall Line, now part of the East Lancashire Railway.

A study published in 2018 determined that reinstating services along the ELR and then joining the Manchester to Rochdale Line would be feasible.

These points are also made.

  • Rossendale is the only council in Lancashire without a rail link.
  • 60 % of residents leave the borough each day for work.

Tram-trains have also been proposed for this route, as I wrote about in Could A Class 399 Tram-Train With Batteries Go Between Manchester Victoria And Rochdale/Bury Bolton Street/Rawtenstall Stations?

Conclusion

This is the closing paragraph of the article.

In addition to those mentioned, it is likely that other bids will have been submitted to the fund.

It certainly looks like the money in the fund, will be bid for, by worthwhile projects.

 

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trmup’s Fake News

This article on the BBC is entitled Coronavirus: Trump’s Disinfectant And Sunlight Claims Fact-Checked.

This is the introductory paragraph.

President Donald Trump has questioned whether injecting people with disinfectants and exposing patients’ bodies to UV light could help treat the coronavirus.

The article then goes on to demolish Trump’s claims with the full force of scientifically-correct evidence.

Do they have whelk stalls in the United States? Trumkopf certainly doesn’t have the intelligence to run one!

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , | 13 Comments

DHL Targets 10-day China – Europe Transit Time

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

A few points from the article.

  • The route is 9,400 km long.
  • The train goes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.
  • Entry to the EU is at Braniewo in Poland.
  • The current terminals are Xi’an in China and Hamburg and Neuss in Germany.
  • Other proposed terminals include Budapest and Milan.
  • Estimated transit time is 10-12 days, as opposed to the current 15-plus days.

I’ve actually been to the area around Braniewo, which before the Second World War was partly in Germany. I wrote Railways In North East Poland about my trip, which was mainly to see wildlife.

We also got to see the Russian border.

The tag Poland In Winter shows all the posts from that trip.

 

 

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease A Possible Explanation For High Deaths From Covid-19 Amongst Those Of Caribbean And Jewish Heritage?

In The Times today, they publish a list today of deaths per 100,000 people, who died in hospital from Covoid-19.

  • Caribbean – 70
  • Any other black – 48
  • Total black – 43
  • Indian – 30
  • Any other Asian – 27
  • All Asian – 27
  • African – 27
  • Overall – 26
  • Pakistani – 26
  • White British – 23
  • Bangladeshi – 20

Some things jump out from the data,

  1. Those of Asian, African and Pakistani heritage have death rates similar to the general population.
  2. Bangladeshis do rather well, which is contrary to the expectations of some people.
  3. Those from the Caribbean, fare much worse than other black groups and Africans.

In the statistics, one group of immigrants were ignored. I live in Hackney and there have been a large number of Orthodox Jewish immigrants to the borough in recent years. From statements, by the Chief Rabbi, in The Times and on BBC Radio, he is worried and has closed all the synagogues under his control. Separating this group might give an insight into the data.

Recently my GP, asked if I had been vaccinated against measles, as Hackney is a measles hotspot. I haven’t been vaccinated, but I have had the disease. Apparently, the Orthodox Jewish groups have low vaccination rates.

I am also coeliac, which means I have a gluten allergy. Mine comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish line from the Baltic, but coeliac disease is also present in the Irish and some West Africans. In these three groups, historic famine seems to be the cause. Over the years, I have met several coeliacs from Jamaica and other islands in the West Indies, but never have I met any from Asia or East Africa.

Various research into coeliac disease has shown, that as many as one in a hundred of the UK population could be undiagnosed coeliacs. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was fifty, twenty years ago, so sufferers do slip through the net.

But research from Nottingham University has also shown, that coeliacs on a gluten-free diet are less likely to suffer from cancer, than the general population. Could this be because this group has a strong immune system, which gets an immune response  in early on the cancer?

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Pollution

I can speak of this with authority, as that was me as a child.

I grew up in Southgate in North London and the air was polluted with the smoke from domestic coal fires. I suffered badly and was a very unhealthy child, who regularly had three months off school.

My health improved about ten and it could have been one of three factors.

  • I was exercising more, having learned to ride a bike.
  • My parents had bought a house in Felixstowe, where we tended to spend lots of boring weekends and holidays.
  • The Clean Air Act of 1956 had cleaned up London’s air.

My breathing certainly improved and I was a good enough athlete to make a school team at fifteen.

Recent research has shown, that there can be a link between air pollution and COVID-19. I wrote about this in Air Pollution May Be ‘Key Contributor’ To Covid-19 Deaths – Study.

These days, even in a polluted street, I don’t suffer much at all, but then I’m on a strict gluten-free diet!

Although, I do find that my breathing improves in the Spring, when we start to get longer days with lots of sunshine.

Undiagnosed Coeliacs And Strokes

I had my serious stroke because of atrial fibrillation. My father died after two serious strokes. He must have been coeliac, so were his strokes caused by the same reason as mine?

I have talked with cardiac specialists and they have felt, that my fifty years as an undiagnosed coeliac could have damaged my heart muscle to cause the atrial fibrillation.

Slavery

It would not be right to ignore slavery.

Millions of Africans were taken from West Africa to America and the Caribbean and they were probably fed nothing more than bread and water most of the time.

Did this increase the predominance of coeliac genes in those that survived the horrific treatment?

What Are The Bangladeshis Doing Right?

As a coeliac, if I’m stuck in a town, that is unknown to me and I need a meal, I’ll often go to the smartest Indian (Bangladeshi?) restaurant, as I’ve never found one with cloth tablecloths and napkins, that doesn’t do good gluten-free food. The only wheat they use is in the nans!

So has this diet given Bangladeshis a good immune system?

What Is The Figure For Jewish People?

In this article in The Times, Melanie Phillips says this.

As of last Friday, 335 British Jews had died of the virus, more than five times their proportion in the population.

Wikipedia gives the number of British Jews as 263,346 in the 2011 Census.

A rough estimate using these figures gives a figure of 127 per 100,000 of the population.

Conclusion

Could undiagnosed coeliac disease be the unexplained link as to why people with Caribbean heritage have higher deaths than those with African?

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 2 Comments