The Anonymous Widower

Crystal Balls For Brexit

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

This is the first paragraph.

Have you noticed how it is almost impossible to have a sensible debate on the impacts of Brexit? The rules seem to be: take a firm, preferably dogmatic, position; talk about how history supports that position; refuse to entertain dissent; retreat to meet likeminded people; remain strangely bemused by the question, ‘what will happen next?

The article then goes on to give the author’s view on what Brexit will mean for the rail industry.

He comes to the following conclusion.

Brexit will bring costs, uncertainty, and a one-off opportunity to refresh our industry, reaching further into the communities that rail serves. Let’s grab it.

The article is well worth a detailed read.

 

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Business, Transport | | Leave a comment

Would You Want To Buy Part Of A Used Insurance Company From This Man?

There is an article in today’s Times, which is entitled Arron Banks Wants To Sell £4million Stake In Firm.

My answer would be a big no!

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Business, Finance | , , | Leave a comment

The City Of London Reaches For The Sky And Keeps More Feet On The Ground

This article on Construction News is entitled City of London To ‘Encourage’ New Skyscrapers.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The City of London Corporation has opened the door to a new wave of towers and an overhaul of one of its main routes as part of draft new local and transport plans.

The local authority wants to encourage the development of new towers able to provide an “iconic image of the City” that will enhance its global standing in the finance, professional services and commerce sectors.

The main route to be upgraded will be Bishopsgate between Liverpool Street station and London Bridge.

  • Pedestrians will have more priority.
  • Cycling and walking will be improved.
  • The public realm will be upgraded.

It the Peak hours, it could become one the busiest walking and cycling routes in the world.

  • At the Northern End, there is Liverpool Street station and Crossrail.
  • At the Southern End, there is London Bridge, London Bridge station, Southwark Cathedral and the River Thames.
  • Just to the West, is the massive Bank station complex.
  • Just to the East, is the soon-to-be-redeveloped Fenchurch Street station.

In addition, the road is fringed on either side with alleys, side streets and the impressive Leadenhall Market, many of which are full of restaurants, cafes, pubs and retail outlets.

Conclusion

In the article, Brexit wasn’t mentioned once, but a large increase in employment wasn’t.

Has the City of London, just put several handfuls of fingers up to the selfish plans of others?

 

 

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Business, Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Is This The Most Unusual Idea For A New Railway Service in The UK?

In Issue 864 of Rail Magazine there is an article about the Class 230 train demonstration in Scotland, that I wrote about in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

This is a paragraph.

HITRANS Partnership Manager Frank Roach told RAIL that he was keen to interest Transport Scotland in using battery Class 230s to run shuttle services between Wick and Thurso.

I don’t live in the Far North of Scotland and I’ve never been further North on the mainland that Inverness, so I have no right to criticise the need for a new rail shuttle service between Thurso and Wick.

Consider.

  • Wick and Thurso are both towns with populations in the region of 7-8,000 people.
  • I suspect that if you live in Wick and want a new widget for your boiler, that it will be in Thurso. And of course, vice-versa!
  • Wick and Thurso get four trains per day to and from Inverness and the same number of trains each way between the two towns.
  • So it’s not very convenient if an elderly person, who can’t drive wants to go and visit their sibling or friend in the other town for the afternoon.

The two towns would appear to be twenty-nine minutes or twenty-one miles apart by rail.

The article also states that a battery-powered Class 230 train can run at up to sixty mph with acceleration similar to that of an EMU up to forty mph.

Each round trip would probably take an hour, so one train could provide an hourly service.

I would think, that using the fast charging system described in Charging A Battery-Powered Class 230 Train at Thurso and Wick stations, that a single train could shuttle all day between the two stations with an intermediate stop at Georgemas Junction station.

I suspect the Inverness and the shuttle services could interface seamlessly in something like the following way.

  • The shuttle train would arrive in Wick and connect to the charging system.
  • The Class 158 train from Inverness would arrive behind the shuttle.
  • The Class 158 train would go to Thurso and back.
  • The Class 158 train would leave for Inverness.
  • The shuttle train would resume its shuttling between Wick and Thurso.

The Class 158 would have taken over one cycle of the shuttle.

The only works needed other than the installation of the charging system, could be to lengthen the platform to accommodate the two trains.

To try to predict the number of passengers that would use this shuttle will be very difficult.

  • The train would have a high novelty value for the locals.
  • The train could run seven days a week.
  • The train could become a quirky tourist attraction.
  • Train operators might like to see it for ideas for their problem lines.
  • It might encourage a whole number of new ideas.

If say it happened at times, that the train was full, then it could probably be lengthened to by adding a trailer car.

A big beneficiary could be Vivarail.

They would have a service that was providing an hourly shuttle in a remote area, which could show off the features and benefits of the train.

  • Remote servicing.
  • No diesel fuel required.
  • Hourly running
  • Fast charging.
  • Operation in cold and inclement weather.
  • An unusual demonstration location.

There’s even the local Wick Airport to bring in interested parties.

This idea reminds me of a story I heard many years ago. GEC were attempting to sell an Air Traffic Control Radar to a Middle Eastern country.

  • The most convenient installation of this radar in the UK was at Prestwick Airport, so the GEC salesman arranged for GEC’s corporate HS 125 business jet to take the prospective purchasers.
  • It turned out to be a glorious autumn day.
  • As the Salesman returned with his guests to the plane, he was pulled aside by the pilot.
  • The pilot told him, that there was no greater sight in the world, than the Scottish Highlands on a day like this, so would he like the Arabs to be shown the views.
  • They then flew around the Highlands for thirty minutes or so before returning to London.

Was that the most unusual favour, that secured an order?

 

 

October 24, 2018 Posted by | Business, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I Went To Redhill

My trip to Redhill this morning had two purposes.

Although, I was interested to see the recent Platform 0 works, the main purpose was to get a feel of the town for a US Corporate Lawyer, who helps companies set up bases in the UK. Redhill was the subject of my visit, as one of his clients wants to set up a base near to an Airport with myriad links to Europe.

The town appears to fit the bill in this case.

 

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Business, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Fruit And Veg Farmers Facing Migrant Labour Shortages

This the tutle of an article on the BBC.

It makes some ontrtesting points blaming the weak pound and Brexit.

Perhaps twenty years aho, I read an article in a msgazine about a team of engineers and scientists working on developing an automatic apple-picking machine.

The article finishes by saying in a couple of decades, we’d only be eating fruit that could be harvested by machine.

We don’t seem to be there yet!

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Business, Food | Leave a comment

Forget Trump: The Private Sector Is Still Going Green

This is title of a piece by Irwin Stelzer in this week’s Sunday Times.

Read the article if you can. It talks about how large companies like Exxon and Shell and individuals like Bill Gates are putting prices on carbon and backing reliable clean energy.

The last paragraph sums it up nicely.

Presidents come and go. The private sector will be engaging in long-run research and long-lived investments, perhaps more efficiently than the government has been doing. The profit motive might just turn out to be more productive than the vote-getting or ideological motives of politicians.

I think he could be right!

Think of all those successful projects, that were were done without any Government support or blessing and think of all those government projects that sunk without trace taking millions of pounds with them.

And also think about all that legal money slushing around the world looking for a home in an innovation that will be a wothwhile investment.

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Business, Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment

Artemis Lives

I was listening to Wake Up To Money on BBC Radio 5 this morning and they interviewed someone from a company called Artemis Optical.

On their home page, their mission statement is.

Improve Vision: to be the Photonics industry’s most advanced manufacturer.

Their about page, says this.

Owned equally by the executive directors, Artemis, a world renowned company

employs 30+ talented staff, with an enviable history of 60 years in the design and

application of high precision, technically differentiated optical thin film coatings.

It sounds so very familiar.

In the interview, their spokesman disclosed that they banked with Lloyds, as did Metier!

And where did our bank manager come from? Plymouth, where Artemis; the company is based.

Very different industries, but same philosophy, same ambition, same bank and same name!

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Business | , , , | Leave a comment

Did The Mind Of Buyers Cause The UK’s Surprise Manufacturing Rebound?

This article on the BBC is entitled Pound jumps as UK manufacturing activity rebounds.

This is the opening paragraphs.

The value of the pound has jumped after a survey indicated the UK’s manufacturing sector rebounded sharply in August.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector rose to 53.3 in August from July’s figure of 48.3. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

The weakening of the pound following the Brexit vote boosted exports, the survey found.

I also think another factor comes into it – The buyers who are purchasing the goods.

My father’s business was ruined by a bent buyer, who was taking bribes all over the place. When this was discovered, all the suppliers were changed and three-quarters of my father’s orders for his specialist printing disappeared to the only other company locally, who could do it.

My father was not amused and he told me so, in no uncertain terms.

There is also the story of the UK department store chain, that cut the foreign travel budget for their buyers, who were sourcing goods to sell. One unexpected consequence was that they increased the proportion of UK-made goods.

I’ve heard so many tales of bent buyers, and suitcases filled of high-value notes, that I can afford to keep some back for later.

Now though, the UK could have a rather strange advantage because of Brexit.

Say you’re a German buyer of components for your company, that are made in the UK.

Could Brexit on the horizon mean that you’re worried that in a couple of years, doing business with the UK will be a lot harder?

So perhaps now is time to have a last business trip to the UK before it gets too difficult.

If the price is right, it’s also a lot easier to go to Birmingham than Shanghai!

Never underestimate buyers, who are always looking out for themselves.

You are probably a straight buyer, but your family will probably enjoy the UK more than China.

 

September 1, 2016 Posted by | Business, World | , , | Leave a comment

The Bank That Keeps On Losing

This article on the BBC is entitled RBS blames legacy issues for £2bn loss.

This is the first paragraph.

Royal Bank of Scotland has reported a £2bn loss for the first six months of the year, which the chief executive blamed on “legacy issues”.

The only legacy issue that matters, is that Gordon Brown was stupid enough to rescue it with £45.5billion of the UK’s money, instead of let it go bust.

But then it was all about Scottish votes, as was the two aircraft carriers, that may not be what the navy needs in this increasingly dangerous world of terrorists and rogue states.

Thank you, Gordon!

How can I claim my share back, like I did with PPI?

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Business, Finance | , | 2 Comments