The Anonymous Widower

Parallel Trains At Finsbury Park

I was travelling from Finsbury Park to Kings Cross, so I got on a Grand Northern service.

Like I’ve seen several times, there was a good cross-platform connection, between services going to Kings Cross and Moorgate, which leave from opposite sides of the same platform.

Note.

  1. The wide platform at Finsbury Park station between the two services.
  2. At the current time, the Kings Cross trains are every thirty minutes and the Moorgate trains every five minutes.
  3. Going say from Stevenage to the City would mean a wait of no more than five minutes.
  4. But going North, you might wait at Finsbury Park for up to half-an-hour.

Finsbury Park could be a very handy interchange as it has Thameslink, Victoria and Piccadilly Line services, in addition to the Kings Cross and Cambridge and Moorgate services.

January 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Approaching Kings Cross – 6th January 2020

I took these pictures approaching Kings Cross.

Note.

  1. There is still track to be laid.
  2. The electrification is still to be erected.

But everything seems to be getting there.

This Google Map shows the section between the two tunnels.

Both tunnels have three double-track bores, where in this massive project, the Eastern bores are being brought back into use to add capacity to Kings Cross station.

Note.

  1. The East Coast Main Line runs North-South across the map.
  2. The quadruple track crossing East-West at the top of the map is the North London Line.
  3. Below it, is the Channel Tunnel Rail Link into |St. Pancras.
  4. The link to the Canal Tunnels take Thameslink trains to the deep level platforms in St. Pancras.
  5. The two new tracks will be on the Eastern side of the East Coast Main Line.

This second Google Map shows the track and platform layout at Kings Cross station.

Note.

  1. There are twelve platforms, which are numbered from 0 to 11, with Platform 0 in the East.
  2. The various islands are numbered as follows from East to West; 0/1, 2/3, 4/5, 6/7, 8/9 and 10/11.
  3. The six tracks through the tunnels may be bi-directional, so will each track be linked to a pair of platforms?
  4. Platforms 0 to 4 are in the Eastern half of the station
  5. Platforms 5 to 0 are in the Western half of the station
  6. Platforms 9, 10 and 11 are short platforms  in the old suburban station, which is mainly used by suburban services to Cambridge and Kings Lynn.

When I arrived there was a five-car Azuma in Platform 9, as these pictures show.

I’ve seen Grand Central’s Class 180 trains in these short platforms before, so is this going to be a regular occurrence.

Services Into Kings Cross

When the remodelling at Kings Cross is complete, current plans say the following trains will be running into Kings Cross station.

  • LNER – Two tph – Edinburgh – Long train
  • LNER – Two tph – Leeds – Long train
  • LNER – One tph – Lincoln or York – Long or short train
  • Great Northern – Two tph – Cambridge (stopping) – Short train
  • Great Northern – Two tph – Cambridge (fast) – Short train
  • Hull trains – Seven tpd – Hull and Beverley – Short train
  • East Coast Trains – Five tpd – Edinburgh – Short train
  • Grand Central – Four tpd – Bradford Interchange – Long or short train
  • Grand Central – Five tpd – Sunderland – Long or short train

Note,

  1. tph is trains per hour and tpd is trains per day.
  2. There is a mixture of short and long trains.
  3. Short trains can fit all platforms, but long trains can only use platforms 0-8.
  4. There are nine tph and a total of 21 tpd in various less-frequent services.

My scheduling experience in other fields, says that ten platforms will be needed for a full service, with each of the ten platforms handling just one tph.

Conclusion

Wjen all the work is completed, Kings Cross station will have room for a few extra trains.

 

 

January 12, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Battery Storage Startup Connected Energy Secures £1.2M

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

UK-based battery storage startup Connected Energy makes use of electric vehicle batteries that are at the end of their in-car first life to create energy storage systems. The company combines as many batteries as needed for customised solutions with capacities from less than 100 kilowatt hours to up to 15 megawatt hours or higher.

Connected Energy has just received £1.2M funding from ENGIE New Ventures.

This sounds like a good idea.

January 12, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | | Leave a comment

Meet The British Inventor Who Came Up With A Green Way Of Generating Electricity From Air – In His Shed

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on inews, which is written by the respected BBC journalist; Tom Heap.

This is the first  two paragraphs.

In 25 years of reporting on the environment, I’ve become unshakably convinced in the seriousness and urgency of tackling climate change, but also rather dismayed that our successes in reducing greenhouse gases and promising scientific breakthroughs go largely unreported.

I’ve seen super plants that improve photo-synthesis, cows that belch less methane and next-gen solar panels. But there is one individual who deserves to be as famous in green-tech as Elon Musk for how his invention could help stop global warming.

The man is Peter Dearman from Bishops Stortford and his invention is the technology behind Highview Power, that is building a 250 MWh liquid air battery at Carrington, near Manchester.

 

January 12, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage | , | 1 Comment

Trump And The Open

This BBC story today, which was entitled Trump National Stripped Of 2022 US PGA Championship.

The Times also has an article today, saying that Trump has been lobbying hard to get The Open allocated to his course at Turnberry.

I have a feeling that the access and the fact that in 2024, the Open will go to Troon will scupper Trump’s ambitions.

Good crowds will need good transport access and preferably by rail to a large population centre with lots of hotels.

  • 2021 – Royal St. Georges – The nearby Sandwich station is being lengthened to take high speed trains from London, especially for the tournament.
  • 2022 – St. Andrews – Perhaps too short a time to put in the long-promised rail link to Leuchars, but the train service to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow from Leuchars is good.
  • 2023 – Royal Liverpool – The course has a nearby station at Hoylake and Merseyrail are getting new fleets of classy Swiss trains. Enthusiasts could always take the ferries part of the way from Liverpool.
  • 2024 – Troon – The rail line to Glasgow goes past the course and there’s time to build a temporary station if needed.

The other courses on the active rota for the Open are.

  • Carnoustie – The nearby Golf Street station is used during major golf tournaments.
  • Muirfield – This course has had other problems. But the rail links are not good.
  • Royal Birkdale – Like Royal Liverpool, it has a nearby Merseyrail station.
  • Royal Lytham and St. Annes – This course has a station and it looks like the rail link will be upgraded soon.
  • Royal Portrush – The nearby railway station was rebuilt for the 2019 Open

There is no rail line anywhere near Turnberry.

I feel that the R & A have enough excuses to avoid giving the Open to Turnberry.

It looks to me that Trump bought the wrong golf course.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail’s Big Push

The title of this press release on the Network Rail web site is 11,000 Tonne Tunnel To Be Installed On The Railway In First For UK Engineering.

They have also released this aerial photograph of the tunnel, before it is pushed into place.

Note.

  1. The tunnel, which is just a curved concrete box is in the middle of the picture.
  2. To its left is the double-track Peterborough-Lincoln Line.
  3. Running across the far end of the tunnel are the multiple tracks of the East Coast Main Line.
  4. Peterborough is a few miles to the left, with the North to the right.

This Google Map shows the same area from directly above.

Note.

  1. The double-tracks of the Stamford Lines closest to the South-West corner of the map.  These link the Peterborough-Birmingham Line to Peterborough.
  2. Next to them are the triple tracks of the East Coast Main Line.
  3. The third rail line is the double-track of the Peterborough and Lincoln Line.
  4. The new tunnel can be seen at the top of the map.

This map from Network Rail, shows the new track layout.

The map shows that the Stamford Line will divide with two tracks (1 and 4) going North to Stamford as now. Two new tracks (2 and 3) will dive-under the East Coast Main Line to join the  existing Peterborough and Lincoln Line.

The tracks will run through the tunnel in the pictures, after it has been pushed under the East Coast Main Line.

  • This will mean that the many freight trains between Peterborough and Lincoln will not have to cross the East Coast Main Line on the flat.
  • This in turn could allow faster running of trains on the East Coast Main Line, that are not stopping at Peterborough.

This second Google Map shows the area to the North of the first map.

Note.

  1. The East Coast Main Line in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The Peterborough and Lincoln Line curving from North-South across the map.
  3. A bridge would appear to be being constructed to take the A15 road over the new tracks, that will go through the tunnel.
  4. Another bridge will be constructed to take Lincoln Road over the new tracks.

It is certainly not a small project.

That is emphasised by this third Google Map, which is to the North of the previous map.

This map would appear to show space for more than a pair of tracks.

It looks to me, that space is being left for future rail-related development.

  • Could it be for a small freight yard, where trains could wait before proceeding?
  • If it were electrified, it could be where freight trains to and from London, switched between electric and diesel power.
  • Could it be passing loops, so that freight trains can keep out of the way of faster passenger trains?
  • Would it be a place for a possible new station?

If it is to be a full rail freight interchange, I can’t find any mention of it on the Internet.

The Big Push

Summarising, what is said in the press release, I can say.

  • Major works to occur over nine days between 16 and 24 January
  • It will be pushed at 150cm per hour.
  • A reduced level of service will operate.
  • It will take several weekends.

I hope it’s being filmed for later broadcasting.

Thoughts On Services

I have a few thoughts on passenger services.

London And Lincoln Via Spalding And Sleaford

Consider.

  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 57 miles.
  • The route has lots of level crossings.
  • Much of the route between Peterborough and Lincoln has an operating speed of 75 mph
  • There is a 50 mph limit through Spalding. Is this to cut down noise?
  • Trains between Peterborough and Lincoln take a shortest time of one hour and twenty-three minutes, with four stops.
  • Peterborough and Lincoln is 57 miles.
  • This is an average speed of 41 mph.

I wonder what time a five-car Class 800 train would take to do the journey.

  • At an average speed of 50 mph, the train would take 68 minutes and save 15 minutes.
  • At an average speed of 60 mph, the train would take 57 minutes and save 26 minutes.
  • At an average speed of 70 mph, the train would take 49 minutes and save 18 minutes.

As the fastest London Kings Cross and Peterborough time is 46 minutes, this would mean that with an average speed of 60 mph, a time between London Kings Cross of one hour and forty-three minutes could be possible.

  • There could be additional time savings by only stopping at Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford.
  • The Werrington Dive Under looks to be built for speed and could save time.
  • If the 50 mph limit through Spalding is down to noise, battery electric trains like a Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train might be able to go through Spalding faster.
  • Could some track improvements save time between Peterborough and Lincoln?

As the fastest journeys via Newark to Lincoln take one hour and fifty-six minutes, it looks to me, that LNER might be able to save time by going via Spalding and Sleaford after the Werrington Dive Under opens.

London And Skegness

If there were a fast London train from Sleaford, it will take under an hour and thirty minutes between London Kings Cross and Sleaford.

  • Currently, the connecting train between Skegness and Sleaford takes an hour for the forty miles.
  • The service is currently run by Class 158 trains.
  • With some 100 mph trains on the Skegness and Sleaford service, it might be possible to travel between London and Skegness in two hours and fifteen minutes with a change at Sleaford.

There would appear to be possibilities to improve the service between London and Skegness.

Lincoln And Cambridge

I used to play real tennis at Cambridge with a guy, who was a Cambridge expansionist.

He believed that Cambridge needed more space and that it should strongly rcpand high-tech research, development and manufacturing all the way across the fens to Peterborough and beyond.

I listened to his vision with interest and one thing it needed is a four trains per hour express metro between Cambridge and Peterborough.

  • Ely and Peterborough should be electrified for both passenger and freight trains.
  • March and Spalding should be reopened.
  • Cambridge has the space for new services from the North.

Extending the Lincoln and Peterborough service to Cambridge could be a good start.

Conclusion

The Werrington Dive Under will certainly improve services on the East Coast Main Line.

I also feel, that it could considerably improve rail services between London and South Lincolnshire.

It certainly looks, like Network Rail have designed the Werrington Dive Under to handle more traffic than currently uses the route.

Towns like Boston, Skegness, Sleaford and Spalding aren’t going to complain.

 

 

 

 

 

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inner Eye AI Identifies Tumours To Speed Up Treatment Of Cancer

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A hospital in Cambridge is the first to use artificial intelligence technology developed by Microsoft to treat cancer patients faster, helping to cut the treatment backlog and save lives.

There is only one NHS hospital in Cambridge and that is Addenbrooke’s, who probably saved my life, by diagnosing me as coeliac in 1997.

This paragraph explains the development of the software and how it will be deployed across the NHS.

Inner Eye is the result of an eight-year project with Microsoft and Addenbrooke’s and is being introduced in other NHS trusts. It is easy to access and free to use. When the AI tool is in place, hospitals will be able to use their own data to improve accuracy.

This paragraph sums up the usefulness of the system.

Pat Price, a professor at Imperial College London and chairwoman of Action Radiotherapy, a charity, said: “This is just one brilliant example of the quiet but amazing technological revolution that has unfolded in radiotherapy in recent years and could dramatically improve cancer survival rates.”

It really is amazing how since my wife died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, treatment of cancer has improved.

I can envisage a time, when a rare cancer like that, which killed her in three months, will be survivable!

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Dakota Coal Country Backlash Against Wind Energy Is Misguided, Wind Advocates Say

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Two counties in North Dakota coal country have passed policies aimed at banning wind power development — but federal studies show that abundant natural gas is chiefly to blame for the closure of coal-fired power plants.

It appears that the closure of 1151 MW Coal Creek power station in 2022, will cost almost a thousand jobs.

This is the downside of decarbonisation.

These two paragraphs give a flavour of the argument.

Coal country officials have said they’re not against wind power, but said the economic benefits of wind can’t begin to compare to the contributions, in jobs and tax revenues, to coal-fired power plants and the mines that supply them. Most jobs involving a wind farm come during construction.

“There will be a limited number of permanent jobs after the tower is up, if and when that happens,” said Buster Langowski, the Mercer County economic development director. Wind farms need only four or five employees to operate. “That’s not a lot of folks.”

It appears that the changeover needs to be better managed.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Natural’ Nasal Spray Could Stop Virus Before It Enters The Body

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

This is the two introductory paragraphs.

A Canadian nasal spray that has been shown to stop the coronavirus from spreading through the body will begin its first UK clinical trial tomorrow.

The SaNOtize nitric oxide spray is designed to prevent the virus from passing through the nose to the respiratory system. The trial will be run by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey.

I shall be watching SaNOtize‘s development with interest, as something that could be similar got my life on track!

I am 73 and I was a very sickly child, despite the persistence of the GP, who delivered me, who was the superbly-named Dr. Egerton White, to try and sort out my problems.

I was always, having terms off school with respiratory problems, probably caused by the London smogs of the 1950s. We lived in Southgate and they had as bad smogs as anyone.

In the end, with the connivance of a pharmacist called Halliday, they formulated a nasal spray, that worked. I can still smell it!

My health improved with the Clean Air Act and during University in the seaside city of Liverpool.

Later, I worked for ICI on chemical plants and there was an unfounded story, that the pensions were good, as working on ammonia plants and the like kept you clear of all the viruses going around. But on retirement in all that clear air, you got everything that was going and died soon after leaving work. Hence the pension scheme had more money than it needed.

My health also improved, when at fifty I was diagnosed as a coeliac and went gluten-free.

Now after returning to London after the death of my wife and son to cancer, and suffering a serious stroke, my head is all choked up by the pollution. The Covid-19 lockdown makes it difficult to take the cure, which is a couple of days by the sea. Biarritz, Gdansk and Liverpool work a treat.

Trump Got It Wrong!

Trump was advocating injecting bleach to cure the Covids.

  • Note that bleach is a strong alkali
  • This spray is based on nitric oxide, which when mixed with water forms nitrous acid.
  • Wikipedia says not to mix-up the weak nitrous acid with nitric acid.

So Trumkopf couldn’t tell his alkali from his acid, which surely is a recipe for disaster.

Nitric Oxide

This is part of the introduction in the Wikipedia entry for nitric oxide.

An important intermediate in industrial chemistry, nitric oxide forms in combustion systems and can be generated by lightning in thunderstorms. In mammals, including humans, nitric oxide is a signaling molecule in many physiological and pathological processes. It was proclaimed the “Molecule of the Year” in 1992. The 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for discovering nitric oxide’s role as a cardiovascular signalling molecule.

I remember a fascinating BBC Horizon program about nitric oxide’s role as a signalling molecule.

  • It started with research done by a veterinary professor at Glasgow University, who believed that after experimenting with penises from dead bulls, concluded that nitrous oxide had something to do with it.
  • But his ideas were so out-of-kilter with established thought, that his research was sidelined at conferences in journals.
  • Reasons like it was a poison and such a simple molecule were given.
  • Then in London, someone who knew of his research, had a patient dying of toxic shock syndrome.
  • He suggested injecting the lady, with large amounts of nitrous oxide, in the hope they could save her life.
  • Her partner agreed.

And as it worked, there was a very happy ending.

 

I

January 10, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All Platforms Should Be Wide Like This

It is my view, that all platforms, like this one at Angel station should be wide.

Consider,

  • It must be less likely, that passengers get knocked onto the tracks.
  • Wide platforms must be easier for all passengers to navigate.
  • Blind people with of without guide dogs must find it easier.

Let’s see a few more. And with step-free access between platform and train!

January 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 8 Comments