The Anonymous Widower

Down The Pub For The Football

There is a typical man’s pub that does beer and pizza near me, where I go occasionally to watch football, if I don’t fancy watching alone.

So for tonight’s England-Argentina game in the Women’s World Cup, I walked along my road and had a butchers!

There wasn’t a seat to be had, so I may have got my gluten-free beer, but there wouldn’t have been anywhere to eat a pizza.

But it was gratifying to see the support for the women’s version of the National game!

 

June 14, 2019 Posted by | Food, Sport | , , , | 2 Comments

Hillside Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Hillside station in Liverpool, is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current station building, which is on a bridge.

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station appears to have a large forecourt.
  2. The stairs to the platforms have thirty-two steps.
  3. There could be enough space for lifts outside the platforms.

But will a simple solution, be able to cope with major events like the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale?

Perhaps something more radical, but very possible will be done.

One idea, could be to extend the station building at both ends.

  • A set of wide safe stairs and a lift could provide direct access from the street to the platform in the extensions.
  • Once installed, the original stairs could be removed.

There are certainly possibilities for an architect to develop a solution to cope with the biggest events.

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New GWR IETs Under Fire Over Lack Of Buffets

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

This is the first paragraph.

The RMT has been holding demonstrations today at London, Swansea and Plymouth about the lack of buffets on GWR’s new Intercity Express Trains. Surfers have also been protesting about the simultaneous withdrawal of space to carry their boards.

As I don’t even swim, the latter doesn’t bother me and I can’t remember going to the buffet on a GWR train since, I regularly used to go to Reading to see Foster Wheeler in the 1980s. I must admit, that I’ve availed myself of the trolley service.

I have flagged up for some time, that the Class 800, 801 and 802 trains are a bit lacking in the bulky luggage department.

The picture shows an InterCity 125 about to make luggage disappear.

Also in Bicycles And Class 800 Trains, I said this.

I also noticed from the information displays, that all bicycles needed to be booked. That is a bit different from the days of the InterCity 125s, which had lots of space in the back of the locomotive.

On one trip to Plymouth, I saw several surfboards swallowed by the locomotive.

I got in a conversation with a station guy about bicycles and surfboards and from the knowing look on his face, I suspect it is a bit of a pain.

With the growing popularity of cycling, surely a turn up and go regime is needed.

Given that cyclists and surfers may look at the weather and decide, it’s a good time to go cycling or surfing, I suspect that GWR need to come up with a solution to this problem.

In the 1960s, I remember working with a manic surfer; John Baxendale, at ICI in Runcorn. Regularly, at the weekend in the winter, he’d strap his surfboard to the roof of his trusty Morris Minor and drive to the very North of Scotland to go surfing.

Rather him than me!

But if all surfers are like John in the 1960s, they are devoted to their sport and grab all opportunities.

The simplest solution is probably to provide a hire service in Cornwall for bicycles and surfboards.

But the design of the Class 800 trains allows up to twelve cars in a single train.

Could this lead to GWR and/or other operators, adding a tenth car to the trains to handle large luggage and perhaps bring specialist cargo like flowers and seafood up to London? GWR have done this in the past.

 

 

 

 

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Where Will I Watch The Champions League Final?

My father had first gone to White Hart Lane as a child, in his father’s pony-and-trap, before the First World War. He told me how they gave a local lad a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

That would be about twelve pounds in 2019 money. I don’t drive, so would you pay twelve pounds to park your car for a match today?

Later he had been at the 1921 FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge, where Spurs had won the cup for the second time.

He took me several times to see Spurs in the 1950s and we were there in 1961, when Spurs received the First Division trophy after losing to West Bromwich Albion.

I was now going regularly on my own and I cycled down from Southgate.

I seem to remember paying half-a-crown to leave my bike in a secure space. That would be about three pounds today.

In the early 1960s, my parents moved to Felixstowe and to overcome the boredom of summers and other holidays in the place, our neighbour started taking me to Ipswich Town, where I saw a few games of Alf Ramsey’s First Division-winning side of cast-offs and misfits!

As I’ve lived in Suffolk off-and-on for over fifty years, it was the start of a long-term relationship.

I should also say, that following Ipswich Town and the companionship I;ve enjoyed, has been a great help to me, since C’s death!

For four years in the 1960s, I was at Liverpool University or living in the City.

I saw Spurs play many times all over the North West, but it was not a good period for them and I only saw one win, which was at Everton.

I also used to go to both Liverpool clubs, where you just walked up on the day and paid to get in. Those were the days! I remember, I was there to see Emlyn Hughes make his debut for Liverpool. Wikipedia says that was March 4th, 1967 against Stoke City.

Most long-term football fans have a long-term relationship to one club and I’ve met some strange relationships.

Ipswich for instance have a clutch of Liverpudlian supporters, who seem to have started supporting Ipswich in the Bobby Robson-era. That could be just the Liverpudlian attitude to be different.

So where will I watch the Champions League Final on June the First?

I am leaning towards Manchester at the moment! Although, thinking about it, Barcelona could be an interesting alternative!

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Residential Development Convenient For Rugby And Train Travel

I went through Twickenham station yesterday and took these pictures.

Surely many more stations could sustain a substantial development of much-needed housing on the top.

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport, World | , , , | 3 Comments

Development North Of Kew Bridge Station

This Google Map shows the large site to the North of Kew Bridge station.

Note.

  1. Kew Bridge station in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. The M4 passing around the North of the site.
  3. The triangle of railway lines going to Hounslow in the West, South Acton in the North and Barnes and Waterloo in the East.

Some of the plans for the site have been disclosed.

Brentford’s New Stadium

I took these pictures from a train, as I passed through yesterday.

Brentford Community Stadium is planned to open in Summer 2020.

Step-Free Access At Kew Bridge Station

Currently, Kew Bridge station is not step-free.

Searching the Internet, I found this document on the Hounslow Borough Council web site, which is dated April the 15th 2019 and entitled Step-Free Access To Many Of Hounslow’s Stations Proceeding At Pace!

This is an extract.

Kew Bridge is also set to benefit from accessibility improvements when the new Brentford stadium opens. The London-bound platform is to be made step free and the council is working with SWR and NR to explore how step-free access from the country-bound platform to the street can also be delivered.  A feasibility study is due to progress later this year.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Kew Bridge station.

The two lines, through the disused platforms at Kew Bridge station could be used as a terminus, by the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

I’m sure Brentford FC wouldn’t object to more trains serving their new ground.

Preparations For The West London Orbital

This picture was taken as I looked through the short tunnel, that connects the current Platform 1 to the disused platform shown on the map of the lines.

It appears that the rubbish and shrubbery of many decades is being cleared.

Could it be in connection with making the London-bound platform step-free?

It would also allow surveyors to assess how much work is needed to get the platform back into use for the West London Orbital Railway.

Development To The South Of The Station

This picture shows a large site behind the station building and the country-bound platform

The location of the site can be seen behind the Express Tavern on this Google Map.

The map also shows how the flats developed on the South side of the tracks have limited the ability to put a second footbridge over the tracks to whisk passengers from London to the stadium.

I wonder, if a route could be built, through the developments, to deliver step-free access to the country-bound platform.

But it would be the wrong side for the stadium!

A step-free bridge is needed at Kew Bridge station.

The Cafe At Kew Bridge Station

Whilst at the station, I had a welcoming coffee.

It’s certainly better than your average chain coffee shop.

I could also wait watching a Departures display.

 

 

May 1, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Rugby Goal-Light Technology Trial At Principality Stadium

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

This is the first paragraph.

New technology to light up rugby posts in different colours to show whether a kick is successful was trialled at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

Although, I’m not registered blind, I do have problems with spotting movement in certain light conditions and at certain angles.

If I regularly went to rugby, these lights could improve my experience.

They are a good idea.

What puzzles me, is that the post says they could be used in American Football.

You’d have thought that the Americans would have already done it, but obviously they haven’t!

 

 

April 27, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Be The Best Result In The Manchester Derby?

Despite supporting Ipswich since our next door neighbour in Felixstowe took me at the end of the Ramsey era, I have affections for two other clubs.

As a child and teenager living in London, I did what my father had done in his youth and regularly went to see Spurs at White Hart Lane.

My father would tell stories about how he was at the Cup Final in 1921 and how before the Great War, his father would take them to the game in a pony and trap. My grandfather would give a kid a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

Then in the 1960s at Liverpool University, I regular went to see both of the Liverpool clubs, although I identified more with Liverpool.

Perhaps because inh those years they played the better football and were more successful!

So who do I want to win the Manchester Derby?

Certainly not United, as in the 1950s, I lived next door to the most obnoxious United supporter, who rammed them down mine and my father’s throats at every opportunity.

I actually think, that both Spurs and Liverpool, would be happy with an extremely hard-fought goal-less draw at Old Trafford tonight!

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | 2 Comments

The New White Hart Lane Stadium Is Open For Business

I took these pictures today of the new White Hart Lane Stadium.

Does it look so impressive inside?

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Roaming Around East Anglia – Freight Trains Through Newmarket

The East West Rail Consortium plan to change the route of freight trains to and from Haven Ports; Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich to the West of Kennett station.

In this document on the East West Rail Consortium web site, this is said.

Note that doubling of Warren Hill Tunnel at Newmarket and
redoubling between Coldham Lane Junction and Chippenham Junction is included
in the infrastructure requirements. It is assumed that most freight would operate
via Newmarket, with a new north chord at Coldham Lane Junction, rather than
pursuing further doubling of the route via Soham.

How would these changes affect Newmarket and the horse-racing industry in the town?

How Many Freight Trains Are We Talking About?

This table shows the number of freight trains going through Kennett station on the 1st of March 2019.

  • 00  1  1
  • 01  1  0
  • 02  0  1
  • 03  2  1
  • 04  1  1
  • 05  1  1
  • 06  1  2
  • 07  1  1
  • 08  1  0
  • 09  1  0
  • 10  1  0
  • 11  0  0
  • 12  0  0
  • 13  2  2
  • 14  0  2
  • 15  1  1
  • 16  0  1
  • 17  1  1
  • 18  0  1
  • 19  1  1
  • 20  1  0
  • 21  1  2
  • 22  0  2
  • 23  0  0

In the table the first figure is the hour, the second figure is the number of freight trains going West and the third figure is the number of freight trains going East.

This gives a daily total of eighteen trains going West and twenty-one trains going twenty-one trains going East.

But these figures will increase!

At present, Network Rail are adding a passing loop on the Felixstowe Branch Line. This article on Rail Magazine is entitled £60.4m Felixstowe Branch Upgrade Under Way and says this about the upgrade.

Installing the new line will create capacity for up to ten additional freight trains, each the equivalent of 76 lorries.

Not all will come via Kennett, as some will go via London.

The Port of Felixstowe will get larger and other improvements on the route across Suffolk will increase the number of freight trains passing through Kennett station.

I estimate that it is very likely that in a few years there will be two trains per hour (tph) in both directions for every hour of the day.

Rerouting The Trains Through Newmarket

Currently, these freight trains go via Ely, but the plan of the East West Rail Consortium would be to reroute all these freight trains through the Warren Hill tunnel and Newmarket station.

I suspect the reasons for the change of route could include the following.

Accessing The East West Rail Link From Newmarket Is Easy And Quick

If as expected the East West Rail Link joins the London-Cambridge Line just South of Cambridge South station, then the trains would run through Dullingham, Cambridge and Cambridge South stations, when running between the East West Rail Link and Newmarket station.

The East West Rail Link Will Be An Efficient Railway

Drive on a new motorway and the curves are smooth with relaxed gradients.

A new railway will be like that too and less energy will be used to power trains along its length.

Increasing the Capacity Through Ely Is Difficult

There is a very complicated track layout at Ely and increasing the number of trains might be difficult or very expensive.

Freight Trains Will Use The East West Rail Link To Avoid London

Take going between the Haven Ports and Bristol or South Wales.

Currently, these trains tend to go via London and in a couple of years will have to share tracks with London’s intensive Crossrail network between Acton Main Line and Reading stations.

Using the East West Rail Link, the trains would join the Great Western Main Line at Didcot, a few miles West of Reading.

How many services will use the East West Rail Link to by-pass London?

Freight Trains Will Use The East West Rail Link To Get To The West Coast Main Line

Currently, these trains either go via London or take the slow cross-country route via Peterborough to Nuneaton for the West Coast Main Line.

If they use the East-West Rail Link, they can join the West Coast Main Line at Bletchley.

The East-West Rail Link Will Be An Important Freight Link

I think that as the years pass and more freight terminals are created, we will see more freight trains using the East-West-Rail-Link and many of these trains will go through Newmarket.

What Problems Would The Rerouting Create In Newmarket?

I can see these problems.

Noise And Vibration

Four freight trains per hour will create a lot of noise and vibration as they pass through.

Frightening The Horses

This Google Map shows a corner of the gallops at Newmarket.

Note how the railway from the East splits into two, to the West of the band of trees running down the map.

  • The top branch curves away to the North and goes through Soham to Ely.
  • The bottom branch curves away to the South and goes through Warren Hill Tunnel to Newmarket station and then on to Cambridge.

Alongside, the Southern route is the Al Bahatri all-weather gallop, which is an important facility for training racehorses. It can just be picked out as a sand-coloured line.

Currently, nearly all the freight trains take the Northern route to Ely, keeping them away from the Al Bahatri.

But, if the main freight route was through the town, as planned by the East West Rail Consortium, then at least four freight trains per hour would run alongside the gallop. There could also be four passenger trains per hour.

Railway Electrification

It is unlikely, that the railway through Newmarket will be electrified, but under a different government, this could happen.

It might add another dimension to disturbance through the town, as you get pantograph noise and occasional sparks and flashes. I don’t know how horses will react, but from my own experience years ago, they do react to electrical fields.

The Rail Freight Industry

Look at most freight trains on the UK’s railways and the locomotive on the front, is a noisy, smelly and polluting Class 66 or Class 70 locomotive.

You’ll see these American imports, which don’t meet the latest emission regulations, hauling freight trains, even when there are overhead wires for electric haulage.

Why?

Because rail freight companies are so driven by accountants, that they can’t be bothered to obtain more modern diesel locomotives, that are quieter, more powerful and less polluting.

The picture shows a modern Class 68 locomotive at Stratford. These are quieter and meet most of the noise and emission regulations.

Mitigating The Problems

I’ll deal with various methods, that could be used, starting with the easiest.

A Level Railway Through The Town

It looks like the Victorian engineers, who built the railway through the town, built it as level as possible, so that steam locomotives didn’t have to work so hard in the Warren Hill Tunnel, which I don’t think has a chimney for smoke.

Modern engineers will ensure that the railway is as level as possible, with gentle gradients and curves all the way between Kennett and Dullingham stations.

Passenger Trains With Batteries

Greater Anglia’s new Class 755 trains are powered by both overhead electrification and onboard diesel engines. The latter sit in a power pack in the middle of the train.

Not having seen or heard one of these Swiss-built trains in the metal, I can make no comment as to the noise and vibration of these trains, but they should be quieter than the current three-car Class 170 trains.

It does appear that passenger trains built in the last years are much quieter, as they are much more aerodynamically correct and slippery, so they generate less noise.

The new trains have also been ordered for the South Wales Metro. But the Welsh trains will additionally be fitted with batteries to avoid some difficult electrification in the Valleys.

So if the passenger trains prove to be noisy through the town, which I doubt they will be, there will be the option of adding batteries to avoid the use of diesel power.

It is my belief, that technology will ensure that passenger trains will not be a problem.

More Environmentally-Friendly Freight Locomotives

As I said earlier, smelly, noisy and polluting freight locomotives are a big problem.

This is not just a problem for places like Newmarket with special circumstances, but on railways like the London Overground and those in Central Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester,, where suburban electric railways have to accommodate heavy rail freight.

The railway locomotive manufacturers have designed solutions for the problem in recent years.

Stadler, who are an innovative Swiss company have started to manufacture a Class 93 locomotive, which can run on diesel, electric and/or battery power. I’m fairly sure, that one of the design goals of this locomotive is to be able to haul a heavy freight train between Felixstowe and Peterborough, using electric power where it is available and a mix of diesel and battery at other times.

At Newmarket if the new double-track was well-designed and almost level, I suspect that a Class 93 locomotive could haul a train between Kennett and Dullingham stations on battery power.

Locomotives of this type should be compulsory on all freight routes through sensitive areas.

The government must legislate, as left to themselves the rail freight companies will sit on their hands and wallets.

One of the conditions of a double-track railway through Newmarket, should be that only locomotives that meet the latest noise, vibration and pollution standards, like the Class 93 locomotive should be allowed.

Quieter 100 mph Freight Trains

Karl Watts, who is a disruptive innovator and CEO of the Rail Operations Group, has bought the first ten Class 93 locomotives and intends to use them to haul 100 mph freight trains, where the routes allow.

On the electrified Great Eastern Main Line between Ipswich and London, the operating speed is 100 mph. But freight trains trundle up and down at 75 mph, thus slowing all of the passenger services.

Watts plans to use the Class 93 locomotives with new 100 mph container wagons to run freight trains at 100 mph on this and other routes, which would increase the freight and passenger capacity of the line.

New 100 mph freight wagons will be smoother, quieter and used through Newmarket at an appropriate speed would remove a large proportion of the noise and vibration.

Again, it would need investment from the freight companies.

However, modern freight trains hauled by modern hybrid locomotives like the Class 93 could significantly remove noise and vibration.

Lengthen Warren Hill Tunnel

A second bore will be dug to double-track the kilometre long Warren Hill Tunnel.

Some rail tunnels have been extended with covers and this technique might be possible at the Newmarket station end of the tunnel. The techniques exist, so that housing or other developments can be built on top of the railway.

Techniques like this not only suppress noise and vibration, but create much needed housing.

Acoustic Barriers

You see these a lot in Germany to reduce noise and vibration from railway lines in sensitive area, but rarely in the UK.

Conclusion

It will be difficult to put a double-track railway through Newmarket, but I believe that using modern rolling stock and some advanced construction, that a solution can be found.

Newmarket should dig in its heels and only accept the best to force rail freight companies to get their act together.

Government too, should enforce the current regulations on diesel locomotives, which most of the current locomotives do not meet.

March 4, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment