The Anonymous Widower

Has Tess Daly Only Got The One Dress?

Pictures of Tess Daly have been all over the London Underground for over a year now.

But it’s all getting a bit boring and perhaps she needs a new dress?

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Air Passengers Can Beat Queues With Uber-Style Private Jet Service

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

Hyer Aviation are starting a service that uses similar technology to Uber to share seats on private jets around Europe.

Their modus operandi is laid out in this press release on their web site.

This paragraph is from the press release.

The concept works like an extra-comfortable UberPool with wings. Passengers can initiate their own flight or join flights proposed by others. This allows them to fly on private aircraft for a fraction of the cost while offsetting the carbon emission of their flights. From London, routes are available to some of Britain’s favourite holiday destinations such as Ibiza, Cannes, Malaga, Amalfi Coast and Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, it is also possible to find flights proposed by other passengers to Nice and Ibiza.

think this business model could fly.

Years ago, I owned a twin piston-engined six seater aircraft and I flew it all over Europe. I don’t fly now, as my medical history would probably stop that, but the experience showed there are many quiet airports all over the UK and Europe, that could be destinations for a 6-9 seater aircraft.

To me the interesting thing about this business model, is that there are several zero-carbon 6-9 seater aircraft under development.

Two are electric developments of the widely-used Cessna Caravan and the Britten-Norman Islander and others are clean-sheet developments like the Eviation Alice or the Faradair BEHA.

ZeroAvia are also experimenting with a hydrogen-powered Piper Malibu.

An electric or zero-carbon future for aviation is closer than many think.

But it will start at the smaller end with ranges of up to 500 miles.

 

 

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hyundai’s Hydrogen Future

I found this video from Hyundai informative.

The video quotes the following about the hydrogen truck, that is shown in the video.

  • It has a range of up to 248 miles
  • Charging takes between 8 and 20 minutes
  • If one of these trucks replaces a diesel truck, it cuts seventy tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, based on 50,000 miles per year.

I know a lot is corporate speak, but I certainly think hyundai are right about hydrogen.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | | Leave a comment

UK Air Taxi Start-Up Finds Early Buyers For 1,000 Vehicles

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

The article is well worth a read and describes the progress of Vertical Aerospace, which was started by Ovo Energy founder; Stephen Fitzpatrick.

The Vertical Aerospace web site is worth a visit.

Details given of their VA-X4 plane include.

  • Range – 100+ miles
  • Speed – 202 miles
  • Capacity – 5
  • Carbon Emissions – Zero
  • Certification – EASA/CAA
  • Noise – 100 times quieter than a helicopter.

There is a lot to like!

What is certain in my mind, is that there is a market for a short range zero-carbon aircraft of some sort.

Judging by the number of aircraft being proposed for this market, I come to two conclusions.

  • The market isn’t mythical.
  • Someone will make a success of it.

I also wouldn’t be surprised, if the most successful design has rather a weird look about it.

But despite saying that, two of the frontrunners; the Cessna Electric Caravan and the electric version of the Britten-Norman Islander are both conversions of existing successful aircraft.

I believe, that I’m young enough to fly in an electric aircraft.

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

800009 – John Charles

On my way to Wales on Tuesday, I travelled in the Class 800 train, that is numbered 800009 and named after the great Welsh footballer; John Charles at one end.

I actually saw him play for Leeds in a match against Spurs at White Hart Lane. Leeds played in a blue kit in those days and I am fairly sure John Charles played up front.

I suspect, it likely, that it must have been the  1956-57 season as it would be the only season where Leeds were in the First Division, before John Charles left in 1957 to go to Juventus.

I wonder how many people, who saw John Charles play, have actually ridden in the train named after him?

It was good to see that Great Western Railway have also put his Italian nickname; Il Gigante Buono on the train.

 

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hitachi Class 800 Train Or Pendelino?

I have had several day trips on hot days on Hitachi Class 800 trains or similar since the pandemic started to places like Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster, Grantham, Hull and Westbury.

I’ve done a couple of trips in Pendelinos or Class 390 trains to Birmingham and Liverpool.

In addition, I’ve taken a couple of trips on other trains to Corby, Ipswich, Sheffield and Southampton.

It must have been sometime in 2018, when I took one of the first Pendelinos to Blackpool after that station was first electrified.

It was a journey on which I first noticed being unwell on a Pendelino. I travelled in First and remember complaining to the steward and said that some taff didn’t like the trains after their recent air-conditioning upgrade.

Perhaps, Virgin Trains chose a system that would be cheaper to run and it is not on a par with the quality systems used by Bombardier and Hitachi?

I have been testing the atmosphere in trains like a Class 345, 378 or 800 and the temperature is usually 25-26 °C and a humidity around 40-60 %. I haven’t tested a Pendolino yet!

I must say, I’ve never ended up in hospital after a trip out of London, except after a recent trip on a Pendelino to Birmingham, that I wrote about in A Mysterious Attack On My Body.

In that post, I also said this about the Pendelinos.

I had travelled between Euston  and Wolverhampton on my least favourite trains – Alstom’s Class 390 trains.

    • The seats don’t align well with the windows.
    • The trains are cramped because of all the tilting mechanism.

These trains must a nightmare for anybody taller than my 1.70 metres or heavier than my sixty-two kilos.

But the biggest problem of these Pendolino trains is that Alstom updated the air-conditioning a few years ago for Virgin a few years ago and I find the air inside too dry.

So in future, I won’t be travelling on a Pendelino, unless I travel in First!

I also can’t wait until Avanti West Coast get new Hitachi Class 807 trains on the Euston and Liverpool route!

June 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Is Turnpike Lane Tube Station Going Step-Free?

I took these pictures as I passed through Turnpike Lane station today.

Note.

  1. The blue hoardings are at the London end of the Northbound platform.
  2. There are no other blue hoardings at platform level.
  3. The yellow gates are on the bus station side of the station.
  4. A lift on the surface behind the yellow gates would be convenient for the buses and just round the corner from a light-controlled crossing of the busy Green Lanes.
  5. I couldn’t find any other evidence of work.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station block in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Green Lanes runs North-South to the West of the station.
  3. There is a bus on Green Lanes by the station.
  4. The spine of the bus station to the East of the station.
  5. The pedestrian crossing between the Underground station and the bus station at the Northern end of the spine.
  6. The wide pavements to give access to the light-controlled crossing over Green Lanes and the bus stops on the road.

This second map from carto metro, shows the track layout through the station.

Note that the escalators to the platforms are to the North of the platforms and connect to a lobby between middle of the two platforms,

Could this mean that using traditional tunneling on the London-end of Platform 2 allows access to what appears to be a generous space between the two platforms and their associated tracks?

It looks to my untrained eye, that a lift shaft could be dug in this area.

But there is no reference to step-free access at Turnpike Lane station anywhere on the internet.

Conclusion

This could be a simple scheme to add step-free access to another of the stations on the Northern section of the Piccadilly Line.

  • At present, Cockfosters, Oakwood, Finsbury Park and Caledonian Road stations are already step-free.
  • Southgate station could be difficult, but it does have bus connections to some of the stations with step-free access.
  • Arnos Grove station is a surface station, where there will be a major housing development on the car park. So I would expect, that this could be one of the next to be planned for step-free access.
  • The track and escalator layout might make Wood Green station difficult to make step-free. But it does have lots of buses to Turnpike Lane station.
  • I’ve never used Bounds Green station, but it does appear that a Turnpike Lane solution might be possible.
  • Manor House station has so many exits, that full step-free access could be expensive. But if it were to be decided that it should be step-free, I feel there could be an innovative solution.

It should be noted that all these stations, with the exception of Manor House are Grade II or Grade II* Listed.

As all road crossings at Manor House are controlled by lights, perhaps the solution at the station, is to replace one or more of the many exits with a lift.

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Thoughts On Train Times Between London Paddington And Cardiff Central

I went to Cardiff from Paddington on Tuesday.

These were the journey details.

  • Distance – Paddington and Cardiff – 145.1 miles
  • Time – Paddington and Cardiff – 110 minutes – 79.1 mph
  • Time – Cardiff and Paddington- 114 minutes – 76.4 mph

There were four stops. Each seemed to take between two and three minutes.

I do feel though, that the trains are still running to a timetable, that could be run by an InterCity 125.

I watched the Speedview app on my phone for a lot of both journeys.

  • There was quite an amount of 125 mph running on the route.
  • Some stretches of the route seemed to be run at a line speed of around 90 mph.
  • The Severn Tunnel appears to have a 90 mph speed.
  • Coming back to London the train ran at 125 mph until the Wharncliffe Viaduct.

These are my thoughts.

Under Two Hour Service

The current service is under two hours, which is probably a good start.

Improving The Current Service

It does strike me that the current timetable doesn’t take full advantage of the performance of the new Hitachi Class 80x trains.

  • Could a minute be saved at each of the four stops?
  • Could more 125 mph running be introduced?
  • Could the trains go faster through the Severn Tunnel?
  • If two trains per hour (tph) were to be restored, would that allow a more efficient stopping pattern?
  • The route has at least four tracks between Paddington and Didcot Parkway and the Severn Tunnel and Cardiff.

I would reckon that times of between one hour and forty minutes and one hour and forty-five minutes are possible.

These times correspond to average speeds of between 87 and 83 mph.

Application of In-Cab Digital Signalling

Currently, a typical train leaving Paddington completes the 45.7 miles between Hanwell and Didcot Parkway with a stop at Reading in 28 minutes, which is an average speed of 97.9 mph.

This busy section of the route is surely an obvious one for In-cab digital signalling., which would allow speeds of up to 140 mph.

  • Services join and leave the route on branches to Bedwyn, Heathrow, Oxford and Taunton.
  • The Heathrow services are run by 110 mph Class 387 trains.
  • There are slow lines for local services and freight trains.

If an average speed of 125 mph could be attained between Hanwell and Didcot Parkway, this would save six minutes on the time.

Would any extra savings be possible on other sections of the route, by using in-cab digital signalling?

I suspect on the busy section between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff Central stations several minutes could be saved.

Would A Ninety Minute Time Between Paddington And Cardiff Be Possible?

To handle the 145.1 miles between Paddington and Cardiff Central would require an average speed including four stops of 96.7 mph.

This average speed is in line with the current time between Hanwell and Didcot Parkway with a stop at Reading, so I suspect that with improvements to the timetable, that a ninety minute service between Paddington and Cardiff Central is possible.

It may or may not need in-cab digital signalling.

My Control Engineer’s nose says that this signalling upgrade will be needed.

Would A Sixty Minute Time Between Paddington And Cardiff Be Possible?

A journey time of an hour between Paddington and Cardiff Central would surely be the dream of all politicians the Great Western Railway and many of those involved with trains.

To handle the 145.1 miles between Paddington and Cardiff Central would require an average speed including four stops of 145.1 mph.

It would probably be difficult to maintain a speed a few mph above the trains current maximum speed for an hour.

  • How many minutes would be saved with perhaps a single intermediate stop at Bristol Parkway station?
  • Perhaps the Cardiff service could be two tph in ninety minutes and one tph in sixty minutes.
  • Full in-cab digital signalling would certainly be needed.
  • Faster trains with a maximum speed of up to 155-160 mph would certainly be needed.
  • There may be a need for some extra tracks in some places on the route.

A journey time of an hour will be a few years coming, but I feel it is an achievable objective.

The Extended Route To Swansea

Cardiff Central and Swansea is a distance of 45.7 miles

A typical service takes 55 minutes with three stops, at an average speed of 49.8 mph.

This would be an ideal route for a Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

It would probably be needed to be charged at Swansea station, to both enable return to Cardiff Central or extend the service to the West of Swansea.

Conclusion

Big improvements in journey times between Paddington and Cardiff Central are possible.

 

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

One Freight Train Overtaking Another In Cardiff Central Station

I took these pictures as one freight train overtook another, as they passed to the West, through Cardiff Central station.

You don’t see it often in the UK.

Especially in a station.

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

The New Platform 8 At Cardiff Central Station

It’s been a long time, since I’ve been to Cardiff station and it now has a new platform on the South sisw, which is numbers 8.

It now looks like Cardiff Central has three platforms 6, 7 and 8 for most of the local services.

This Google Map shows the new South entrance.

Note.

  1. The actual entrance is the five-sided building at the bottom of the map.
  2. Platform 8 is in front of this building.
  3. Platforms 6 and 7 are either side of the island platform..
  4. The three platforms are connected by a subway.

It doesn’t appear that the platforms are electrified at this time.

June 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment