The Anonymous Widower

Will A Double Track Fit Through Kirkby Station?

These pictures show Kirkby station.

It would be a very tight fit, without rebuilding the bridge.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Does Anybody Know Of A Shuttle Train Without A Timetable?

In Very Light Rail – A Revolution, I suggested that automated shuttle trains could be run between West Ealing and Greenford on the Greenford Branch.

Trains would not run to a timetable, but when they were ready and the line was clear, they would move to the next station.

I suspect the safest way would be for when the driver had a green signal and the doors were closed, they just pressed a button which told the train to proceed to the next station.

I believe this was the system, that was used when the Victoria Line was opened in 1968.

It has its advantages.

  • On average passengers don’t have to wait so long.
  • If the driver sees a group of passengers coming, he can delay the train for a minute or so until they have got on.
  • If perhaps a passenger in a wheelchair is having a bit of difficulty, he can wait.
  • If, as on the Greenford Branch, another train needs to come through, the shuttle train can park up in a platform and continue operating after the second train has cleared. Separation between the lightweight passenger train and any other train is maintained at all times.

But the biggest advantage is that you get more trains per hour (tph).

I know that cable cars, cliff railways, funiculars and of course lifts often work without a timetable, but does anybody know of a rail line, that works without one?

January 12, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Mine Water Heat

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the Coal Authority.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Coal Authority is working with partners to unlock the heat within our historical coal mine network, to transform the homes and workplaces of the future.

The Coal Authority doesn’t have much of a historic product, so selling the heat from the mines could be an environmentally-friendly revenue scheme.

These four paragraphs are the heart of the press release.

As part of our work to make a better future for people and the environment in mining areas, we’re exploring opportunities to use mine water to heat and cool homes and businesses.

Water within the mines is warmed by natural processes and can, if sustainably managed, provide a continuous supply of heat. Mine water temperatures are not affected by seasonal variations and, subject to the right support, mine water can provide renewable, secure, low carbon heating for buildings in coalfield areas.

With heating accounting for 40% of energy use in the UK, mine water heat could improve the sustainability of the places where we live and work. Mine water heat could also play a part in the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change and support its net zero future.

The Coal Authority are working with academics, local authorities, central government and others to help realise the potential of mine water heat. We’re supporting the delivery of mine water heat projects and working with others to make them happen.

The press release then adds more details and describes specific projects.

Mines For Storing Electricity

We also mustn’t forget other uses for abandoned coal mines.

I particularly like Gravitricity’s idea of used abandoned deep mines to store energy, that I wrote about in Gravitricity Explores Czech Coal Mine For MW-Scale Storage.

I hope the Coal Authority has its eyes on this ball.

Conclusion

I first became aware of the ability to extract heat from abandoned coal mines at a lecture at the Geological Society of London, after which I wrote Can Abandoned Mines Heat Our Future?.

I believe that for some parts of the country, this could become the preferred technology for heating homes and businesses.

The technology was even featured on the BBC tonight.

 

January 6, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

More ICE Sprinters Offer Alternative To Flying

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

The first two paragraphs, give an overview of the changes being made.

Deutsche Bahn introduced more limited-stop Sprinter ICE services on long-distance inter-city routes with the timetable change on December 12.

Sprinter-branded ICE services now operate on eight domestic routes, while a daily Frankfurt am Main – Paris service calling at Mannheim and Karlsruhe also carries the branding. Intended to appeal to business travellers, many of the Sprinter services are timed to depart early in the morning with return trips in the evening. This ensures a full day at the destination and offers a viable alternative to domestic flights.

It would appears that these services now have trains that are under the acceptable four hours.

  • Cologne and Berlin
  • Cologne and Munich
  • Hamburg and Frankfurt Airport

If Deutsche Bahn are serious about competing with the airlines, they must surely increase the frequency.

In 2018, I travelled between Berlin and Munich in under four hours and wrote about it in From Berlin To Munich In Four Hours By Train.

This is how I started that post.

The length of the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is 632 kilometres.

Deutsche Bahn have recently completed an upgraded High Speed Line between Berlin and Munich, which has a length of 623 kilometres.

Both lines are not the very fastest of High Speed Lines, but lines where a consistent two hundred kilometres per hour is possible.

The East Coast Main Line was built in Victorian times and services typically take around twenty minutes over four hours, with nine -car InterCity 225 trains running twice an hour.

The Berlin-Munich route was originally built over two centuries ago, but the Germans have spent twenty-five years and many billions of euros punching a new route between Berlin and Nuremberg, through the difficult countryside of Thuringen Forest.

The route may allow the Germans to travel from Berlin to Munich in three hours fifty-five minutes, but at present you can only do it three times a day in a six-car train.

I took the lunchtime train and sat in First Class for a hundred and fourteen euros.

Deutsche Bahn have increased the trains on this route to five trains per day, but compared to London and Edinburgh on LNER, it is too infrequent, expensive with questionable customer service and not enough seats to give the airlines a run for their money.

A quick look on Rail Europe indicates that these routes have fast services at an hourly frequency or better.

  • Madrid and Barcelona
  • Milan and Rome
  • Paris and Bordeaux
  • Paris and Cologne
  • Paris and Marseilles
  • Venice and Naples

German rail services might be getting better, but not fast enough to take on the airlines.

 

December 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Ryse Hydrogen Is Now Ryze Hydrogen

Jo Bamford’s company Ryse Hydrogen is now called Ryze Hydrogen.

I have changed this blog to use the new spelling as I suspect Ryse clashed with the name of a computer game.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Ineos In Runcorn Is Key To UK Move To Hydrogen Energy

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Runcorn and Widnes World.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Thousands of buses and HGVs in the UK could soon be running on hydrogen – made in Runcorn.

The town, which already produces enough clean hydrogen to fuel 1,000 buses or 2,000 HGVs every day, is ramping up production to help reduce the amount of harmful CO₂ emissions on Britain’s roads.

The INOVYN site used to be owned by ICI in the 1960s and I used to work on the Castner-Kellner plant that electrolysed brine to produce sodium hydroxide, chlorine and hydrogen.

October 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized, Transport/Travel, Energy | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Historic Go-Ahead For Malaria Vaccine To Protect African Children

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

This is the first paragraph.

Children across much of Africa are to be vaccinated against malaria in a historic moment in the fight against the deadly disease.

The vaccine has been developed by GSK, who have their headquarters on the Golden Mile in Brentford.

The vaccine is called RTS,S and is described like this in the first paragraph of its Wikipedia entry.

RTS,S/AS01 (trade name Mosquirix) is a recombinant protein-based malaria vaccine.

Approved for use by European regulators in July 2015, it is the world’s first licensed malaria vaccine and also the first vaccine licensed for use against a human parasitic disease of any kind. The RTS,S vaccine was conceived of and created in the late 1980s by scientists working at SmithKline Beecham Biologicals (now GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines) laboratories in Belgium. The vaccine was further developed through a collaboration between GSK and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and has been funded in part by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its efficacy ranges from 26 to 50% in infants and young children. On 23 October 2015, the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) and the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC) jointly recommended a pilot implementation of the vaccine in Africa.

When you consider how fast the Covid-19 vaccines were developed, this might appear to have taken a long time to be developed. But then as Wikipedia states, “this is the first vaccine licensed for use against a human parasitic disease of any kind.”

I can’t describe this as anything other than good news.

 

 

October 6, 2021 Posted by | Health, Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

A Basset Hound On Pointless

This basset hound appeared on Pointless.

How did Alison hold it thee for the whole game?

The basset hound got eliminated in the head-to-head.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Metier’s First And Second Ipswich Office

My Scottish Borders correspondent has asked me about the first office Metier had in Ipswich.

Courtesy of Google Streetview, I was able to capture this image.

Note.

  1. They were in the four story building with the yellow cladding.
  2. I see it’s still called Pearl Assurance House.
  3. Shadu Hair and Beauty used to be a rather good camera shop.

For those of you, who don’t know Ipswich, if you walk straight ahead and keep right, you end up in the centre of Ipswich.

It wasn’t very large, but it was certainly in better condition, than some of the offices we had in London.

This is the second office in Fore Street.

If I remember correctly, the office was found by Wendy, who responded to my advert in the East Anglian Daily Times, saying, that we were looking for an Office Dogsbody.

 

August 18, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Work Begins On Okehampton Parkway Station

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Following confirmation of government funding from the ‘Restoring Your Railway ideas’ fund, work has started on the Okehampton Parkway railway station that will serve the east of the town when the Dartmoor Line reopens.

Services are expected to restart later this year on the 14-mile stretch of railway for the first time in almost 50 years, providing a regular, daily passenger rail service between Okehampton and Exeter.

Okehampton Parkway station will be a completely new station for the Dartmoor Line.

This Google Map shows the probable location of the station.

The Wikipedia entry for the station, says this about its location.

The station is to be sited at the A30 junction at Stockley Hamlet and would be sited at the Business Park at Okehampton as well as serving a further 900 homes close to the site.

Stockey Hamlet is in the North-East corner of the map with the Dartmoor Line running along its Western side. Wikipedia also says this about the station design.

In April 2018, two preferred options for a new station which included an option for a double-sided platform which included a through platform and a bay platform. Another is for a platform single-sided platform on the south side of the railway with staggered faces. Exeter-bound trains would use the north through platform and the Dartmoor Railway would use the bay platform.

But as the track is only single-track and Devon has several single-platform stations, I will be surprised if the station has more than a single platform initially.

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments