The Anonymous Widower

Track Monitoring System To Be Tested On Chiltern Line

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

This is the first paragraph.

Network Rail is to undertake in-service trials with DB Systemtechnik’s CTM2·0 continuous track monitoring system on a Chiltern Railways MkIII driving van trailer operating in passenger service between London Marylebone and Birmingham.

This seems to me to be a good idea.

  • The German system appears to be comprehensive and has been in service for seven years.
  • There is a lot of space in the back of a driving van trailer.
  • It probably can do much of the work of the New Measurement Train, but more often.

It could surely be applied to other routes.

 

The picture shows the driving van trailers on the London-ends of a pair of InterCity 225s at King’s Cross.

Some Open Access Operators are also looking at the possibility of running short InterCity 225 sets.

It would also be possible to create extra Measurement Trains, by coupling an instrumented driving van trailer to an appropriate locomotive and a couple of coaches.

As a Control Engineer, who has analysed a lot of data in his working life, it could improve rail safety by testing rail lines more often.

October 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Diamond Light Source And PETase

When I was writing Diamond Synchrotron Sparkles And Shows Its Value To UK Economy, I came across a reference to PETase, in an article in Chemistry World, where this was said about the Diamond Light Source.

‘It is the facilities in the UK that really make the difference and make us a world leader,’ comments John McGeehan, professor of structural biology at the University of Portsmouth.

His team has used Diamond to study the bacterial enzyme PETase, which digests plastic. ‘Diamond’s I23 [long-wave macromolecular crystallography] beamline is unique in the world. It allowed us to solve the 3D structure of the PET-degrading enzyme, first found in plastic dumps in Japan in 2016. Three years ago it was the highest resolution image of the enzyme measured and remains so today. Having this information allows us to understand how the enzyme works, and how to make it work faster and better.’

As a result, the team has been able to visualise the active site of the enzyme and how it consumes plastic. The researchers discovered that the active site was slightly wider than cutinase, a similar enzyme that bacteria use to break down natural plant polyesters. ‘The technology leading from this research means plastic waste can be broken down and put back together into bottles (infinite recycling), or can be made into higher value products such as resins for wind turbine blades,’ says McGeehan. Patents are pending.

Note, that PET is polyethylene terephthalate, which is a very common plastic used to make fabric (Terylene/Dacron) and packaging.

Now that is what I call recycling!

October 24, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Diamond Synchrotron Sparkles And Shows Its Value To UK Economy

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Chemistry World, which is a monthly chemistry news magazine published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

This is the first paragraph.

Diamond Light Source, the UK’s synchrotron, has generated a ‘fantastic return on investment’ since it became operational in 2007. That’s according to a new study that values its socio-economic impacts at around £1.8 billion with each taxpayer contributing £2.45 a year towards it.

If you read the article about the Diamond Light Source, you will find example applications where the synchroton has been used.

  • Non-destructive testing of materials and structures. Some have been over a metre in size and a tonne in weight.
  • Drug discovery and development.
  • A team from the University of Portsmouth has used Diamond to study the bacterial enzyme PETase, which digests plastic.
  • Rolls-Royce has used Diamond to examine the stresses in fan-blades.

The article also states that it has hosted 14,000 users.

With an energy of only 3 GeV, Diamond is not the most powerful synchrotron, but it is certainly one of the most sophisticated.

Related Posts

I have written about the Diamond Light Source in these posts.

The Diamond Light Source is a serious scientific tool, that ranks with the best in the world.

 

October 24, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Satisfied Lumo Customer In Marks & Spencer

I got talking to an assistant in Marks today and noticed she had a Scottish accent, which isn’t that common in my part of London amongst the young. So I remarked on it.

It turned out she was a student from Fife at University in London, so out of curiosity, I asked her, if she’d heard about Lumo?

She said yes and indicated she was going home on Friday and very much liked the price.

Is Lumo’s message getting through? I think it is!

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

An American Take On Lumo

One of my Google Alerts picked up this article on an American site called Travel + Leisure, which is entitled A Brand-New Train Launched In The UK Today — Linking Cities Like Edinburgh And London For As Little As $20.

As I have sat next to American and Canadian couples and families on Anglo-Scottish trains, I hope that Lumo’s website is friendly to those living outside the UK.

Will The Lumo Concept Take Off In The United States?

I’m no expert, but on the right route, I don’t see why not!

After all, easyJet, Go and Ryanair took on the concept of the low-cost airline, which was pioneered by Pacific Southwest Airlines in California.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Street Burger – Islington

Regularly in pre-pandemic times, I would go to Carluccio’s at The Angel in Islington for a quick lunch after doing my shopping on a Saturday.

But unfortunately, Carluccio’s is no more!

Now there is a Street Burger by Gordon Ramsay between Marks and Spencer and one of the bus stops, from where I can get a bus home.

Before I continue, I should say I have form with Gordon Ramsay, as I once talked to him on Radio 5 about gluten-free food in a restaurant.

He said that if you book at least 24 hours before and say you want a gluten-free meal, the restaurant has no excuse for not giving you what you need.

He also said that if they think they’re a good restaurant and can’t offer gluten-free food, then they’re not a good restaurant.

Since then, I’ve eaten a couple of times in his upmarket restaurants and he’s not broken his own rules.

Today, I broke his rule, by just turning up. But I did know, they did gluten-free options.

Note.

  1. I forgot to take a picture of the burger before I started to eat it.
  2. The decor is simple and practical.
  3. What car did the seats come from?
  4. You can have as much soft drink as you like.

The pictures don’t do the meal justice, which was upmarket for a burger.

I shall use the restaurant more often, as it’s so conveniently placed, close to Angel tube station, which is one of my routes  home.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Food | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moonshot Is The Spanner In The Covid-19 Works The Country Needs

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

This is the sub-title of the article.

Antivirals like molnupiravir are the third line in our long-term fight against coronavirus.

The article describes how scientists in Oxfordshire looked for an antiviral that could be Covid-19’s nemesis, which Tom Whipple called molecular kryptonite.

The American pharmaceutical[ molnupiravir has been the first antiviral to be licenced for Covid-19, but it is pricey.

But helped by the Diamond Light Source, it appears that, progress has been made in Oxfordshire.

Tom Whipple says this.

After 18 months of study they last week gained funding from the Wellcome Trust to narrow the options to one, in a project called Covid Moonshot.

And this.

The goal of Moonshot is a generic drug that is cheap, plentiful and, a stipulation of the project, off-patent from the beginning.

Has the Diamond Light Source has struck again?

The Diamond Light Source might have cost £ 400 million and needs a budget of £ 40 million a year to run, but it is certainly starting to pay back the investment.

 

 

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chancellor To Fund £710m Merseyrail Expansion

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Liverpool Business News.

This is the first sentence.

In his Budget on October 27 Chancellor Rishi Sunak will hand Liverpool city region £710m to extend the Merseyrail network using battery-operated trains.

I wrote about Merseyrail’s plans in Liverpool’s Vision For Rail.

This is a map of how the network might look.

Battery trains might serve Preston, Skelmersdale, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan and Wrexham.

There is also this tailpiece to the Liverpool Business News article.

In August LBN also revealed Mr Rotheram was in talks with senior Government officials about taking full control of the Merseyrail network, including the physical infrastructure, Full devolution of the network would give the CA direct control over significant areas of land, opening up the opportunity for new development.

That seems very sensible.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Planning Permission Granted For The First New Railway Station On The Northumberland Line

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

This map from ITV shows the Northumberland Line.

Ashington station has been given planning permission.

Facilities include.

  • A hundred metre platform and all the gubbins. The platform length would accommodate a five-car train.
  • A 270 space car park with facilities for the disabled and electric cars.

It is due to open by 2024.

It looks like it’s just five new stations to go.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Is Lumo The Ryanair Of Rail?

Someone had to draw the comparison between Lumo and Ryanair and it was The Times, that used a headline of Lumo, The Ryanair Of Rail, Gets The Green Light On East Coast, for their article about the new London and Edinburgh rail service in their article today.

But how alike are the two business models?

Standard Planes And Trains

The Boeing 737 and the Airbus A 320, as used by Ryanair and easyJet  are the two workhorses of short haul airlines.

It can also be said, that Hitachi’s AT-300 train is becoming the workhorse of long-distance rail services in the UK.

Customised Interiors

Ryanair and easyJet do customise the interiors of their aircraft to a certain extent and from pictures on the Internet Lumo appear to have done the same.

If you look at the widths of the planes and trains on Wikipedia, you find these values.

  • Airbus A 320 – 3.95 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 3.8 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 2.7 metres

Dividing by the number of seats across, which is six for the planes and four for the train gives these figures.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.66 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.63 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.67 metres

I know there is an aisle down the middle, so let’s say that it is 0.60 metres. This gives these spaces for each seat.

  • Airbus A 320 – 0.56 metres
  • Boeing 737 – 0.53 metres
  • Class AT-300 train – 0.53 metres

I think that is adequate space for a designer to do a good job.

This picture shows the interior of a Great Western Railway Class 802 train, which use a similar body shell to the trains used by Lumo.

Note.

  1. The aisle looks to be similar in width to a seat.
  2. There is a bag shelf above the windows and lots of coat hooks.

As both Lumo and Great Western Railway are both First Group companies, is it likely that the interior dimensions are similar, so that standard trolleys could be used and training could be eased and shared between companies in the group.

This picture shows a trolley fitting in between the tables on a Great Western Railway service.

I suspect, if they design everything together, Lumo could make best use of a narrow aisle to give the seats a bit more width.

This last picture shows TransPennine Express Class 802 train at Willesden Junction station.

Note how the lower part of the side of the train is curved. Is this to get a bit more room for the seat squab?

Passengers Per Metre

This is only a rough calculation and shows typical passengers, fuselage or car length and passengers per metre.

  • Airbus A 320 – 164 passengers – 37.57 metres – 4.4 px/metre
  • Boeing 737 – 160 passengers – 37.0 metres – 4.3 px/metre
  • Class AT-300 train – 96 passengers – 26 metres – 3.7 px/metre

Passenger density in the train is about fourteen percent less.

Toilets

In The Definitive Seating Layout Of Lumo’s Class 803 Trains, I said this.

This article on Economy Class and Beyond is entitled Enter Lumo – The New East Coast Railway Competitor.

It contains a drawing from Lumo,  which shows the layouts of the seats on the train.

    • Coach A – 44 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Wheelchair spaces – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 56 Total seats
    • Coach B – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach C – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – 96 Total seats
    • Coach D – 84 Standard seats – 12 Priority seats – Bike store – Toilet – 96 Total seats
    • Coach E – 52 Standard seats – 8 Priority seats – 2 Tip up seats – Accessible toilet – 62 Total seats

Note.

    1. This is a total of 406 seats.
    2. Judging by the position of the tip-up seats they are for staff and perhaps emergency use, if say a coffee gets spilled on a seat.
    3. Each car has a pair of tables, where four can sit. As Lumo’s business model allows early booking, if you and your partner want to take the kids to see granny on her birthday, you should be able to get a table, by booking early.
    4. There are two bike stores in Coaches B and D.

These are some further thoughts.

Toilet Provision

I was on an LNER Class 800 train earlier this week and needed to go to the toilet.

    • I wasn’t sure which way I needed to go, as I couldn’t see a sign pointing me to the toilet, but in the end I struck lucky.
    • You don’t have that problem with Lumo’s trains, as there appears to be a toilet at both ends of the three middle coaches, either in your car or the next.
    • If you’re in one of the driver cars, there is an accessible toilet at the blunt end.

I don’t think anybody will argue with the toilet provision on Lumo’s trains.

Typically a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A320 will have two toilets for about 160 passengers.

Lumo’s trains have two accessible toilets and two ordinary ones for 406 passengers.

Ease Of Boarding

If you want to catch a train at virtually any station in the UK, in most cases, you just turn up something like fifteen minutes before the departure time, present your ticket and get on the train.

Planes used to be like that in the UK, but they aren’t any more.

Catering

In the article in The Times, Matt Lee, who is Lumo’s customer experience director, said they have been free to develop their own systems. He says this about the catering.

Catering will be a Deliveroo-style service: passengers can order M&S or Pret sandwiches in advance and have them delivered to their seat. “We are a testbed for other FirstGroup train operators.

Will they do gluten-free?

Luggage

Lumo have a luggage courier service called LumoLuggage.

Service Expansion

Suppose an airline or a train operating company wants to run additional services to add capacity to a route.

With an airline, they will need to obtain additional take-off and landing slots to fly the route.

But Lumo are running five-car trains on a route, where all the stations can handle nine-car trains and possibly a pair of five-car trains.

So Lumo just add extra cars to the fleet, so that they match the number of cars running on the route to the demand.

The only costs to increase the capacity are those of the extra cars and a proportionate number of extra staff.

Conclusion

I can see this service model being copied by other train operators in other countries.

I’m looking forward to going North on Wednesday.

October 22, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments