The Anonymous Widower

Hopefully, The First Of The Many!

Transport for London have placed this ticket machine on the island platform 7 and 8 at Stratford station.

A Ticket Machine On Platform 7 And 8 At Stratford Station

A Ticket Machine On Platform 7 And 8 At Stratford Station

Hopefully, it is the First of the Many!

The Germans do it all the time, as this picture, taken at a station in Leipzig shows.

A Ticket Machine On The Platform At Leipzig Markt Station

It is just so convenient.

When I took the picture of the Stratford machine, I was going to Braintree, by using my |Freedom Pass to Shenfield and then buying a ticket to Braintree from Shenfield in the machine there.

But as I had my Shenfield to Braintree ticket before I left Stratford, it was just so much more quicker, not having to go through the barriers at Shenfield station to buy a ticket.

Knowing the way the self loading cargo ducks and dives its way around East London, I think it won’t be long before this machine at Stratford gets used in all sorts of legal ways.

  • Buying a ticket for a train later in the day, or even later in the week, month or year.
  • Buying an extension ticket to a Freedom Pass, Travel Card or even an ordinary ticket.
  • Topping up your  Oyster whilst waiting for a train.
  • Avoiding queues at machines in Booking Halls and busy stations.

I do wonder how many people on seeing the mchine, are reminded to buy a ticket for a future trip.

I don’t know whether the machine at Stratford is an experiment or permanent, but this user would like to see more machines on platforms.

Stratford, is one of the few stations, where you can catch both Underground and National Rail trains. So I suppose, there could be times where passengers get to the station on the Central or JubileeLines with Oyster and want to use main line services to perhaps Colchester, Chelmsford or Southend,  that stop at Stratford.

A ticket machine inside the barriers, avoids the need to go out to buy another.

 

 

August 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Lincoln’s Tower Bridge

I took these pictures of the new bridge over the railway by one of Lincoln’s notorious level crossings.

Note.

  • The bridge may mean that pedestrians can get across easily when the level crossing is closed, but it doesn’t do anything for the vehicles.
  • One of the reasons for the height, is to clear the wires, if the line should be electrified.
  • This article in Rail Engineer describes how it was built.
  • Reportedly, the bridge is the first part of a £12million scheme, which includes a second bridge over another nearby level crossing.

It’s certainly a striking footbridge.

 

August 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Deutsche Bahn’s Idea Of Customer Service

To get back from Leipzig, I had two choices.

  • I could go to Munich and spend the night in a hotel I know by the station and come home in the morning.
  • Or I could go back in one day.

As I had bought a flexible Eurostar ticket for Friday in the early evening, I was thinking about the direct option.

But on Thursday night, I decided to buy my tickets for Brussels with a change at Frankfurt Airport, as I was offered a good value ticket in First Class with reserved seats, for less than it would have cost in Second.

It was probably just as well I bougth the ticket, given what happened in Munich on Friday night.

I ended up with a bundle of tickets on three A4 sheets of paper.

Germany's Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

Germany’s Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

Compare that with my tickets to Liverpool tomorrow.

The UK's Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

The UK’s Idea Of A Ticket To Ride

Just two cards for my wallet with one up and one back.

I should also say, that to buy the German ticket, I had to queue up in a Ticket Office, as the ticket machine wasn’t allowed to sell me the ticket I wanted. Queuing included having to get a compulsory number from a machine, despite the fact there was only a few people waiting.

In the morning, the train left at 06:31, so as I was in First Class, I thought I’d go to the DB Lounge.

DSCN9406

But as you can see it wasn’t open. Surely, if trains are running, the lounges should be open.

On the first train, I saw the steward once and didn’t get so much as a complimentary glass of water.

But judging by the emptiness of First Class, it doesn’t appeal to most passengers.

From Frankfurt Airport to Brussels, the second train had more passengers, but I did have to buy myself a Coke.

You get much better service on Chiltern Trains in Standard Class.

And who owns Chiltern?

 

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

My objections to nuclear power plants like Hinckley Point C, is very much like my objections to giant aircraft carriers like HMS Queen Elizabeth,enormous 4×4 Chelsea tractors and massive houses, where one billionaire lives with just his trophy wife.

It’s just that they satisfy the ego of a class of men (and it’s usually men!), who like to show off, that they have more money or power than others.

There are generally much more efficient and affordable ways of achieving the same aims.

As a small example, I remember having a chat with a General in the British Army, who had very low opinions of heavy tanks and felt that there were better ways of spending the money to achieve the same objectives.

I also remember some of the arguments about the aluminium frigates after the Falklands War. A lot of these were amplified, by a friend, who’d gone to the islands as an officer on a British Rail ferry.

This is said about Hinckley Point C in Wikipedia.

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a much-delayed proposal to construct a 3,200 MWe nuclear power station with two EPR reactors in Somerset, England. The proposed site is one of eight announced by the British government in 2010,[5] and on 26 November 2012 a nuclear site licence was granted. In October 2014, the European Commission adjusted the “gain-share mechanism” so that the project does not break state-aid rules.[7] Financing for the project will be provided “by the mainly [French] state-owned EDF [and Chinese] state-owned CGN will pay £6bn for one third of it”.[8] EDF may sell up to 15% of their stake. Financing of the project is still to be finalised.

I have a feeling that any sane woman, who’s lived with a man with bad shopping habits, would cancel it tomorrow.

After all, it’s supposed to cost £18billion and there is still no date yet for when it will produce a watt of electricity.

As a reaction to these enormous costs, the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor is being proposed. Wikipedia says this.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors, and manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be fully constructed.

Small reactors are defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as those with an electricity output of less than 300 MWe, although general opinion is that anything with an output of less than 500 MWe counts as a small reactor.

Modular reactors allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and heightened nuclear materials security.

I recommend reading the full Wikipedia article.

I feel that SMRs have a lot of advantages.

  • Much more of the building can be in a factory, not on a bleak remote site.
  • They are particularly suited to remote locations, where there is a shortage of construction workers.
  • An SMR may be a much less risky project cost-wise than a conventional large plant.
  • Containment is more efficient.
  • Proliferation concerns are lessened.
  • Say you are building a plant that needs a lot of electricity, like say an aluminium smelter. The SMR could be built alongside, so there would be no need for massive transmission lines, between the smelter and its power source.
  • They could be built underground, lessening the visual impact.
  • High energy use industries like steel-making could be paired with an SMR.
  • Large office complexes like Canary Wharf could be linked to an SMR deep underneath for their massive energy use.
  • Build time is much less.

I like the concept and think that this type of reactor, perhaps arranged in groups around a country or region, will kill off the traditional large nuclear reactor.

This section on safety features illustrates the innovative thinking behind the reactors.

Since there are several different ideas for SMRs, there are many different safety features that can be involved. Coolant systems can use natural circulation – convection – so there are no pumps, no moving parts that could break down, and they keep removing decay heat after the reactor shuts down, so that the core doesn’t overheat and melt. Negative temperature coefficients in the moderators and the fuels keep the fission reactions under control, causing the fission reactions to slow down as temperature increases.

I suspect we can now design a reliable reactor, that say it received a direct hit from a tsunami or three simultaneous crashes from Jumbo jets, would fail-safe.

There are certainly a lot of groups and companies trying to design the ultimate SMR.

There is even a concept being developed at the Universities of Manchester and Delft in the Netherlands called a u-Battery. That concept may not work, but something like it will produce electricity for a lot of people and industry around the world.

The dinosaurs like Hinckley Point C are hopefully a mistake of the past.

 

 

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | Leave a comment

One Side Of A Man’s Kitchen

I’ve now virtually completed one side of my kitchen.

Note.

  • The television is on a 270° swivel so it can be watched from outside, when I’m eating or working.
  • The worktop will be extended through to continue over storage cupboards and a small deep-freeze on the other side of the hole in the wall.
  • The cooker could be replaced by a small AGA-60 City.
  • The shelf above the cooker will be moved up a bit and fitted with lights underneath.
  • I think a fold-away stool would be better.
  • It is currently planned that there will be a low wooden wall between the two sides, that will be topped by a steel beam, so that hot serving dishes can be placed there.
  • The flange of the beam could also be used to store condiments, sauces, oils and other things that might be needed both inside and outside the kitchen.
  • I haven’t decided where to put the touch-screen pad computer, so I can display my Serial Cooking pages.
  • You’ll notice that there isn’t much electrical equipment. The only equipment, that I use is a Delia’s Little Chopper, which I acquired long before she publicised them, a kettle and a microwave .
  • You’ll notice the only gas in the kitchen is in the fire extinguisher.
  • Gas incidentally, should be banned from inside the inhabited parts of dwellings on health and safety grounds.

Many of the pictures were taken with me sitting on one of my all purpose stools, that I designed over forty years ago and had made by a furniture maker. Incidentally, four were used as saw horses to support the work-top, whilst it was cut to size.

July 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Who Will Join Corbyn’s Shadow Saddle-Bag?

The pool is getting smaller by the hour!

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

The New Norton Bridge Junction In Action

I was travelling between Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly stations on a Cross-Country train.

After leaving Stafford station, the train took the new route through Norton Bridge Junction on the flyover over the West Coast Main Line to j0in the line to Manchester. The Norton Bridge page on the Network Rail web site, links to this map.

The New Norton Bridge Junction

The New Norton Bridge Junction

Trains continuing up the West Coast Main Line take the black route, whereas trains to and from Manchester use the orange line and the branch to the North-East.

This pictures show my progression threough the junction.

I was sitting on the right side of the train.

It looks like the new route is being electrified.

Would this mean that an electrified service could be run on the following route?

  • Euston
  • Birmingham International
  • Birmingham New Street
  • Wolverhampton
  • Stafford
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Manchester Piccadilly
  • Preston
  • Carlisle
  • Glasgow/Edinburgh

There is also a current electrified route, using the Crewe to Manchester Line and the Styal Line.

  • Wolverhampton
  • Crewe
  • Manchester Airport
  • Manchester Piccadilly

Throw in the Ordsall Chord and I suspect that Virgin Trains, TransPennine and Northern Rail have been looking at their traffic, to see if the reconfigured and electrified Norton Bridge Junction could be to their and Manchester Airport’s advantage.

It should also be pointed out, that much of the line from Preston to Crewe, Stoke and Stafford will have line speeds of on or about 100 mph and the new generation of trains like Aventras, Class 700s and Class 800s will be able to take advantage.

It seems to me, that the Norton Bridge Junction and Orsall Chord projects at £250 million according to this document and £85 million according to Wikipedia, respectively, will help to improve services all along the corridor from Preston to Rugby via Manchester, Manchester Airport, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry.

Only when you take a train from Birmingham to Manchester and look seriously at Norton Bridge Junction, do you realise its significance.

 

 

 

June 20, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A Clever Idea From IKEA

When I was in the kitchen showrooms in IKEA at Tottenham, I noticed that their corner cupboards didn’t have any lights. And we all know that things get lost in corner cupboards.

I have a feeling that our last two designer kitchens didn’t have corner cupboards because lighting them was difficult.

I thought that I’d be able to use IKEA’S OMLOPP LED spotlights, but wiring them can be tricky.

Then I found some IKEA STRIBERG LED strips, so I took one home.

Reading the instructions, when I got home, it appeared they were for wardrobes. But after a bit of experimenting, I found they worked in my corner cupboard. These pictures show it working.

Note that there are two things left to do.

  • The door hinges need to be adjusted to get it straight.
  • A hole needs to be drilled in the back of the cupboard to pass the wire through.

But it certainly works well!

Note.

  • There is no wiring to do, as it just plugs together and into a 13 amp socket.
  • Multiple units can be daisy-chained.
  • It comes in various lengths with the 67 cm. version being ideal here.

In my view, it is much easier to install than OMLOPP.

June 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , | 1 Comment

We All Go Round In Circles

I am a Control Engineer by training and I have extensively modelled dynamic systems and constantly changing projects, which are updated regularly, if not daily.

My experience tells me that because we are a rich and innovative nation, that we will attract migrants because they know if they work hard here, they will earn enough to look after their families. Which patently many can’t do in the war-ravaged countries they’ve come from.

Most migrants will bring skills and muscle to fuel our growth, whether we like it or not.

So we get richer as a nation and more and more migrants are attracted to come.

One way to stop the migrants is to say, that we will not let them in and stop them coming.

But then the NHS and other industries wouldn’t have the labour they need, as many migrants settled here would move on to places that valued their skills.

An alternative would be to close down our economy, so that migrants are no longer attracted. Control Engineering says you must balance your production to the need and the resources you have available.

I believe that because of the maths, we either accept migrants or reduce our standard of living dramatically. Our Victorian forefathers brought in the migrants and the rest as they say is history!

This evening, the bookies have it that it’s six to one on, that we stay.

I once had a horse start a race at odds of twenty-two-to-one on. The horse came home by almost the length of the straight at Ayr.

The bookies were right as they generally are!

 

May 26, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | Leave a comment

Victorian Construction Methods

Brunel would have recognised the philosophy behind all the construction going on to complete the platforms and trackwork at Hayes and Harlington station, possibly in time for the timetable change on May 16th.

As you can see the contractor is using as many bodies as they can!

I remarked on this to a guy with a clipboard and he smiled widely. He certainly looked like he was enjoying his day in the sun!

If the Great Western Railway cn beg, borrow or steal some electric trains for the sixteen of May, I don’t give up hope of seeing an electric shuttle between Paddingdon and Hayes and ~Harlington stations.

After all the Great Western Electrification needs a victory and the industrious orange army seemed to be doing their best! Let’s hope it’s not all in vain!

The Oracle is still giving the current timetable and hasn’t been changed yet!

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

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