The Anonymous Widower

New Piazzas And Public Space Next To Historic Stephenson’s Bridge And Beneath Ordsall Chord Could Open ‘This Winter’

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Manchester Evening News.

This is the first paragraph.

It had been feared the space would remain closed for years – but Salford Council say they will make sure it opens as soon as they take ownership.

It is good news for those like me, who like interesting city walks.

It is also time for Network Rail and Lewisham and Southwark Councils to sort out what is to happen around London’s new rail structure; the Bermondsey Dive-Under.

This article on the Landscape Institute web site from 2017, is entitled New Railway Junction Gets Top Marks For Biodiversity., describes how the work at Bermondsey has won an award. This is said.

The project involved removal of 21,900 tonnes of contaminated material and eradicated the Japanese knotweed. To increase biodiversity, wildflower planting and green walls were installed to offset vegetation lost in the process of removing the contaminated soils. The project includes 765m2 of green walls under arches and access ramps, and the planting of wildflowers on the railway embankments to create green corridors and stepping stones to the wider area. The team also carried out extensive community engagement, including upgrading the garden in the Lewisham Community Centre.

I think there should be a public walking route through this area.

 

November 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Must-Watch Video About Skeleton Technologies And Ultracapacitors

This video is embedded in this page on the Skeleton Technologies web site.

Watch it!

A few points,

  • Batteries have typically a life of between 3,000 to 5,000 cycles.
  • Capacitors can achieve up to a million cycles.
  • Used together batteries and capacitors complement each other.
  • Used together can double battery life.

Taavi Madiberk of Skeleton Technologies likens a capacitor/battery energy store with Usain Bolt paired with a marathon runner. Usain would handle the fast energy transfer of braking and acceleration, with the marathon runner doing the cruising.

Ultracapacitors For The Rail Industry

The title of this sub-section is the same as this page on the Skeleton Technologies web site.

Noted applications include.

  • Engine starting for diesel trains.
  • Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for diesel trains.
  • Onboard application for electric trains
  • Stationary application for rail industry
  • Independent power for level crossings.

I suspect these applications are just the start.

Conclusion

It appears to me, that the development of these large supercapacitors, is going to open up opportunities to develop energy storage systems for transport applications, that will give longer range and aincreased energy efficiency.

 

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Werrington Dive-Under – 8th November 2018

In Issue 865 of Rail Magazine, there is an article, which is entitled NR Primed To Start Work On £200m ECML Dive-Under.

This is said about construction of the dive-under.

Devegetation has already commenced in the area, while work compounds and access roads are due to be constructed before the end of the year (when the main construction sequence is expected to begin).

The dive-under is expected to enter service in 2021.

The article also says that the Cock Lane footbridge will be replaced with a longer truss bridge to span the widened alignment.

These pictures show the current Cock Lane footbridge.

Whilst I took the pictures there was a lot of noise from chain saws and other machinery, as the vegetation was cleared.

The Track Layout

Note how the tracks are divided into a set of two on the Western side and three on the Eastern.

The Western pair are the so-called Stamford lines, which go off to the West through Stamford station.

A diagram in Rail Magazine shows how they will be moved apart and twenty-five metres to the West. This will enable the two new tracks to be laid between them, which will then dive under the East Coast Main Line and connect to the Great Northern Great Eastern Joint Line towards Spalding, Sleaford and Doncaster.

This Google Map shows the Cock Lane Bridge as it crosses the tracks.

The Cock Lane Bridge is at the bottom of the map.

Doing The Work

It looks a simple plan, that NR believes could be executed with a nine-day closure of the East Coast Main Line. This would be needed to tunnel under the three tracks of the main line.

But I suspect that Network Rail could have a series of cunning plans to keep a limited service going.

  • There will probably be a number of bi-mode Class 800 trains available.
  • Some of the sixteen InterCity 125 trains could be retained.

The diesels and bi-modes could be able to use the Great Northern Great Eastern Joint Line and other routes without electrification to sneak through.

They might also use an interim layout of lines at Werrington to keep the service going.

Extra Electrification

It appears to me that not all tracks are electrified.

The Northbound Stamford Line certainly has electrification, but it appears that the Southbound doesn’t.

Given that in the next decade, it is likely that battery/electric or electro-diesel trains or locomotives will use the route throughStamford station to Leicester and Nuneaton, would it be worthwhile to fully electrify the Stamford Lines.

This image captured from a Network Rail video, clearly shows the new Cock Lane footbridge and that the following lines are electrified.

  • The Northbound Stamford Line on the left.
  • The three tracks of the East Coast Main Line on the right.

The actual dive-under and the Southbound Stamford Line appear not to have electrification.

Retention Of Diesel Trains

But surely, if there are a few extra diesel trains around for a couple of years or at least until the end of 2019, would it help to sort out some of the other problems on the East Coast Main Line.

 

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Google Grabs The Best Site In London For Its Massive Groundscraper

This Google Map the site where the massive groundscraper is being built.

Note.

  1. Kings Cross station, which is on the right of the map, has extensive connections to the North-East of England and Scotland.
  2. St. Pancras station, which is on the left of the map, has extensive connections to the Midlands and Belgium, France and the Netherlands, with more services to come including Germany, Switzerland and Western France.
  3. Thameslink runs North-South beneath St. Pancras station, has extensive connections to Bedfordshire, Herfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
  4. There are also six Underground Lines.
  5. Gatwick and Luton Airports have direct connections and City, Heathrow and Southend Airports  only need a step-free change.
  6. Improvements in the next few years could mean that HS2 and all of London’s five airports will have a fast direct connection to the area.

In the middle of all these railway lines, sits Google’s groundscraper, which shows as a white structure towards the top of the map.

These pictures show the area between the two stations, the under-construction groundscraper and the new blocks.

And these pictures show the progress on the site.

There is not much that is visible yet!

More Pictures!

But the building will be more visible soon! For those who can’t wait, this article from the Daily Mail has a lot of visualisations.

 

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Computing, World | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wright Bus Embraces Ultracapacitors

This press release from Skeleton Technologies is entitled Graphene-Based Ultracapacitors Boost Double and Single Decker-Buses Through Low Emission Zones by Reducing Fuel Consumption.

This is said.

The integration of graphene-based ultracapacitors into test WrightBus double deck buses enables a 36% fuel saving compared to a UK based EuroVI diesel bus baseline. It also adds at least another 3 passengers to the capacity of these buses compared to a lithium battery-based hybrid equivalent.

I have a feeling that graphene-based ultracapacitors will give lithium batteries a very good kicking.

 

 

 

 

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

You Are A Rude Terrible President!

Yesterday, Trump showed his bullying side as he dealt with a CNN reporter.

This report on CNN gives their side of the story.

I always remember at a meeting in Cambridge with John Major, where he dealt with press criticism in a polished, barbed and very funny way, such that everybody laughed.

But then Trump is the sort of person, who ignores the general courtesies of life, the freedom of the press and scientific correctness!

But then there are too many Trumps in this world!

November 8, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

Worried Council Prepares Official Response To ‘Crackpot’ HS2 Plans

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

This is the first paragraph.

HS2 has been slammed as a “crackpot idea” which won’t benefit local residents by councillors in Northwich as they prepare to submit an official response to the project’s consultation.

This map from HS2 shows how the route will go past Northwich.

On the map purple is the route of HS2 and the dotted line is the West Coast Main Line, which will take HS2 trains to Liverpool and further North. If the quality of the map is anything like the quality of their route planning, then heaven help Northwich.

The Stop HS2 campaign has a page about Northwich,

The area with all the salt lying below the surface is probably a difficult one for building railways, roads or even a brick outhouse.

Improving Services At Northwich

Could the disquiet at Northwich be partly due to the fact that for the good burghers of the town to get any benefit from HS2 to perhaps go to London or Birmingham, they will have to go to Crewe or Manchester first, as they do now.

  • Take the one train per hour service (tph) to Manchester and then the three tph service to London is fine, but coming North, you might hang around in Piccadilly for an hour.
  • Drive to Crewe and get one of three tph to London.

After 2027, when HS2 reaches Crewe, the railway junction will be just fifty-eight minutes from London.

What is needed is a quick and reliable way to travel the fourteen miles between the two towns.

Under Proposed Future Developments in the Wikipedia entry for Northwich station, there are several suggestions for an improved service at the station.

  • The Northern Hub proposes an additional hourly service to run between Greenbank and Stockport.
  • Re-instating the passenger service between Northwich and Sandbach has been proposed. This would allow direct trains to Crewe from Knutsford,
  • Proposals for a direct link to Manchester Airport from Northwich were first put forward in the 1990s, not much had seemed to materialise from this.
  • The running of tram-trains directly in to Manchester.

If Northwich were on the outskirts of Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool or London, it would be likely to have at least two tph and possibly four tph to the major city.

One tph is a disgrace!

 

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

What Do You Do With An Unwanted Eurostar Train?

In Edition 865 of Rail Magazine, there is a short article which is entitled Eurostar ‘373s’ Leased To Thalys.

This is the first paragraph.

Class 373s that were due to be scrapped have instead been leased to Thalys for a year.

Class 373 trains and Thalys rolling stock are very similar, as both were built by GEC-Alsthom around the same time.

So just as ScotRail borrowed a few Class 365 trains to make up for a shortage, Thalys are borrowing a pair of Class 373 trains.

I wonder if passengers between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, that they are getting a train, that was destined for the scrapyard?

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On a Red And Processed Meat Tax

This article on the BBC is entitled Should There Be A Tax On Red Meat?.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A “meat tax” could prevent almost 6,000 deaths per year in the UK, according to researchers, but should politicians be telling people what they can and can’t eat?

Scientists at the University of Oxford say governments should consider imposing price hikes on red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – to reduce consumption.

They also go on to suggest these levels of tax, with examples.

In the UK, the study suggests a tax of 14% on red meat and 79% of processed meat.

This would mean the price of a 227g Tesco Sirloin Steak would increase from £3.80 to £4.33.

And for a pack of eight pork sausages from Sainsbury’s the price would increase from £1.50 to £2.69.

It is probably peer-reviewed research, but I doubt it would ever be introduced.

I have few questions.

Would I As A Coeliac Get Extra Tax Relief, As I Need To Eat Red Meat?

I don’t eat much red meat, but to keep my B12 at a good level, I need to eat a quality steak or burger.

Regular levels of B12 help to keep your immune system strong, which is the body’s first line of defence against cancer.

Why Do Coeliacs On A Gluten Free Diet Have A 25% Less Chance Of Getting Cancer?

Research at Nottingham University has shown this.

Being coeliac is unlikely to be beneficial, as whoever heard of a disease that let you live longer?

,So could it be the non-eating too of gluten?

Also, as many who eat a lot of red and processed meat, eat it with a bun or lots of bread,

Could this be significant?

Research needs to be done that considers consumption of red and processed meat, taking eating gluten into account.

How Would I Reduce Cancer?

There are other substances and circumstances that are proven to cause cancer.

  • Smoking tobacco and other drugs.
  • Eating too much and being obese
  • Drinking too much.
  • Too much sunbathing.
  • Diesel and petrol vehicles
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.

Some of these also cause other health problems.

I’d start with absolute bans on these.

  • Diesel and petrol vehicles.
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Possession of illegal drugs.
  • Gas appliances in the home, not venting outside.
  • Sales of high strength alcohol.
  • Jobs with a proven record of causing cancer like coal mining.

And these things would be compulsory or introduced.

  • Everybody should keep a record in a smart-phone app of what they ate and their weight.
  • Owning a diesel or petrol vehicle would need a special permit.
  • Alcohol could only be bought in special licensed shops.

Obviously, other draconian measures could be introduced.

I doubt it will ever be acted upon, by any Government that wants to win an election.

So What Can We Do That Is Practical?

My view is that we have to nudge people into doing the right thing.

Diesel And Petrol Taxes To Subsidise Zero-Emission Vehicles

Note that I use the term zero-emission vehicle, which is a category that includes battery and hydrogen power at present. But it is a class, that could include other vehicles in future, that have yet to be invented.

If diesel and petrol taxes were to rise and the revenue were used to subsidise the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, then this might persuade more people to switch to zero-emission vehicles.

Money could also be allocated to research into zero-emission vehicles.

Zero-Emission Zones In All Towns And Cities

London is getting an Ultra Low Emission Zone, but this is only the start.

They should be Zero Emission Zones.

They should probably be paired with parking areas outside the zone and connected to it, by a zero-emission high quality rail or bus link.The link could be a segregated walking or cycling route.

The first town or city that uses this model to create healthy air quality will probably reap an enormous dividend.

From recent developments, I suspect it will be the City of London.

Smoking Would Only Be Allowed By Consenting Adults In Private

As smoking had a lot to do with the death of my son I feel strongly about this.

My wife also may have died from secondary lung cancer. But she had never smoked, although she got enough cigarette smoke from her tutor at University, who chain-smoked Capstan Full Strength.

Is There A Radical Approach?

Liverpool University Pancreatic Cancer Research Unit have one of the most impressive databases I have ever seen! It contains every pancreatic cancer case, that has been notified to the University.

They use it to look for links between factors, that might be a clue to what causes this terrible disease and for possible cures.

But imagine an enormous database of all UK cancer cases, that was processed to show how the cancers related to post codes, occupation, age, weight, smoking and drinking habits etc.

Access to an anonymised version of the database would be allowed through the Internet or a phone app.

Would access to the data, nudge people to change their bad habits?

I also know of ten-year-olds, who pester their parents to stop smoking, so imagine what a tech-savvy child would do, if given access to the app. Schools could teach them to use it responsibly.

Could it bring the whole country together to reduce levels of cancer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SWR Applies To Build New London Maintenance Depot

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Edition 865 of Rail Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

Hounslow Borough Council is considering an application by South Western Railway to build a new depot on the site of Feltham’s former marshalling yard in South West London.

This Google Map shows the site.

It appears to be remarkably clear and the only clue to its former use must be Feltham Railway Club.

  • The depot will lie between Feltham and Whitton stations on the Southern side of the Waterloo-Reading Line.
  • The depot will have ten roads and will be able to accommodate ten car trains.
  • Construction will start in February 2019 and the depot will open in 2020.

There houldn’t appear to be too many construction problems.

I do have a few questions.

Would The Opportunity Be Taken To Upgrade The Waterloo-Reading Line?

Waterloo to Reading and Windsor services might be increased in frequency.

Could an extra track be added alongside the depot or other works be performed to add capacity to services Reading and Windsor?

What Will Be The Affects Of The Proposed Heathrow Southern Railway?

The Heathrow Southern Railway is a proposal for a new route between Waterloo and Heathrow Airport via Clapham Junction and Staines.

Should Level Crossings In The Area Be Closed?

There are level crossings at Barnes, Feltham, Isleworth, Mortlake and North Sheen.

Would The Land Be Better Used For Housing?

This could be the major objection from the Council.

They could always build a depot with housing on top.

Could A Bigger Feltham Station Be built At The Same Time?

This could be a possibility, with perhaps a turnback platform for the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

Conclusion

Building the depot seems a good and fairly simple plan, but willit cover all possibilities?

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment