The Anonymous Widower

Amazon Backs Reopening Rail Line To Passengers

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A campaign to reopen a railway line to passengers between Burton and Leicester has been backed by businesses such as Amazon in a major step forward.

This sounds positive.

October 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Amazon Will Order 100,000 Electric Vans To Hit Carbon-Neutral Pledge

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

A few points from the article.

  • The vans will be from a start-up company called Rivian, in which Ford has invested half a billion dollars.
  • Delivery will be within five years.
  • Amazon aims to be carbon-neutral by 20140.
  • Some of the vans will be used in the UK.

Apparently, Jeff Bezos made the announcement close to the White House.

Hopefully, this excellent policy will cause a few ripples.

  • Will it encourage other van users to look at using electric vans?
  • Will it push other vehicle manufacturers to develop zero-carbon vans?
  • Will it help to reduce pollution in cities?

Because major companies are a bit like sheep, the announcement of Amazon and Rivian could start a major change.

Did We Lose The Plot On Electric Delivery Vehicles?

When I was growing up, milk was delivered daily in an electric milk float.

I am also old enough to remember the Harrods electric delivery vehicles, which were actually built by the store in the basement.

This article on LOCity gives a picture and a few details.

Amazon seem to be going back to the future!

Who will be next?

September 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Exclusive Footie Shocker

The title of this post, is the same as that at the top of the front page of today’s Sun.

It is not about the latest Premier League star being found in bed with a bevy of young beautiful ladies or losing his money in casinos, but this.

Kante Pays More Tax Than Amazon & Starbucks

As ever The Sun has got straight to the point.

The BBC shows the front page with this comment.

The Sun leads with a story on Chelsea FC footballer N’Golo Kante, who it says has signed a million pound deal which will see him pay more tax than Amazon and Starbucks combined. The 27-year-old chose not to use a scheme to be paid via offshore firms, meaning he will pay £6.7m in tax.

Luckily, I have no need to use companies like Amazon, Facebook and Starbucks.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Finance, Sport | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Go-Anywhere Express Parcel And Pallet Carrier (HSPT)

In the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways there is an article entitled Freight, Not All Doom And Gloom, which talks about high-value parcel carriers. The article says this.

Think about all those 1980s units that are soon to be made redundant, especially the ones with wide doorways. You could forklift in pallets and move them by hand trolley inside the vehicle (forklift tines would not fit an HST’s doors).

A Class 150 parcels unit, anyone?

There are other reasons for not using a High Speed Train.

  • ScotRail and Great Western Railway have better uses for the trains moving passengers around in style.
  • Their 125 mph capability and large windows might come in handy for heritage tourism.
  • They are diesel trains and some might not like to hear them thundering through the countryside in the middle of the night.

As to the Class 150 train, it has a few disadvantages.

  • It is only two-cars.
  • It has a 75 mph operating speed.
  • It is diesel-powered, which probably means regular refuelling.

But also like all Mark 3-based stock it scrubs up well as I wrote in What Train Is This?

I would refurbish the whole fleet and use them on short branch lines to provide a quality service, where a two or four-car train was all that was needed.

So what would be the specification of an ideal Go-Anywhere Express Parcel and Pallet Carrier?

I was going to call it a GAEPPC in this post, but that’s rather a mouthful, so I’ll call it a High Speed Parcel Train or High Speed Pallet Train, which in recognition of its more famous big brother will be called a HSPT.

For the specification, it might be a good idea to start with the Class 325 train. This is the first paragraph of the train’s Wikipedia entry.

The British Rail Class 325 is a 4-car dual-voltage 25 kV alternating current (AC) or 750 V direct current (DC) electric multiple unit (EMU) train used for postal train services. While the Class 325 bears a resemblance to the Networker series of DMUs and EMUs, they are based on the Class 319 EMU. The Class 325 was British Rail’s newest unit to take over parcels workings on electrified lines.

The requirement might have changed since the 1990s, but the basic specification would be similar.

  • Four-cars
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third rail operation.
  • The ability to run as four-, eight- and twelve-car trains.
  • It would be available in a range of colours and not just red!

In addition, it would need wide doors for pallets.

It would also be nice, if the HSPT could run on lines without electrification.

Look at this picture of a Class 321 train.

Would a standard size 1200 x 1000 pallet go through this door?

This morning, I measured the door on a Class 378 train and it was about 1700 mm. wide. So yes!

Once inside the systems used in cargo aircraft could be used to arrange the pallets.

Consider, these facts about Class 321 trains.

  • They are four-car electric multiple units, that can also run as eight and twelve car units.
  • They can operate at 100 mph.
  • They are dual voltage units, if required.
  • There are 117 of the trains, of which over a hundred will be released by Greater Anglia and will need a new caring owner.
  • The interior may be wide enough to put two standard pallets side-by-side.
  • They are based on Mark 3 steel carriages, so are built to take punishment.

In Could There Be A Class 321 Flex Train?, I speculated as to whether these trains could be fitted with underfloor diesel engines as in the Class 319 Flex train. After the news reports in the June 2017 Edition of Modern railways, which I reported on in The Class 319 Flex Units To Be Class 769, I’m now convinced that converting other types of train like Class 455 and Class 321 trains is feasible and that the train refurbishing companies are going to be extremely busy.

I have a feeling that Class 319 trains will not be converted to HSPTs, as they seem to be very much in demand to carry more valuable cargo – Namely fare-paying passengers!

But fit diesel engines under a Class 321 train and I think it would make a HSPT, that could travel on nearly every mile of the UK rail network and quite a few miles on heritage railways too!

A Freight Terminal For An HSPT

As the Class 321 train has been designed for passengers, it lines up reasonably well with most of the station platforms in the UK.

So at its simplest a freight terminal for a HSPT could just be a station platform, where a fork lift truck could lift pallets in and out.The freight handling facilities would be designed appropriately.

Supermarket Deliveries

I also think, that if a HSPT were available, it could attract the attention of the big supermarket groups.

In The LaMiLo Project, I described how goods were brought into Euston station in the middle of the night for onward delivery.

If it cuts costs, the supermarket groups will use this method to get goods from their central warehouses to perhaps the centres of our largest cities.

Get the design right and I suspect the supermarkets’ large delivery trolley will just roll between the train and the last-mile truck, which ideally would be a zero-emission vehicle.

In some of the larger out-of-town superstores, the train could even stop alongside the store and goods and trolleys could be wheeled in and out.

This Google Map shows Morrisons at Ipswich.

The store lies alongside the Great Eastern Main Line.

Surely, the ultimate would be if the goods were to be transported on the trains in driverless electric trolleys, which when the doors were opened, automatically came out of the trains and into the store.

Supermarket groups like to emphasise their green credentials.

Surely, doing daily deliveries to major stores by train, wouldn’t annoy anybody. |Except perhaps Donald Trump, but he’s an aberration on the upward march of scientifically-correct living.

Just-In-Time Deliveries

To take Toyota as an example, in the UK, cars are built near Derby, and the engines are built near Shotton in North Wales.

Reasons for the two separate sites are probably down to availability of the right workforce and Government subsidy.

I’m not sure, but I suspect currently in Toyota’s case, engines are moved across the country by truck, but if there was a HSPT, with a capacity of around a hundred and fifty standard pallets would manufacturing companies use them to move goods from one factory to another?

It should be said in Toyota’s case the rail lines at both Derby and Shotton are not electrified, but if the train could run on its own diesel power, it wouldn’t matter.

Refrigerated Deliveries

There probably wouldn’t be much demand now, but in the future bringing Scottish meat and seafood to London might make a refrigerated HSPT viable.

Deliveries To And From Remote Parts Of The UK

It is very difficult to get freight between certain parts of the UK and say Birmingham, London and the South-Eastern half of England.

Perishable products from Cornwall are now sent to London in the large space in the locomotives of the High Speed Trains. Plymouth, which is in Devon, to London takes nearly four hours and I suspect that a HSPT could do it in perhaps an hour longer.

But it would go between specialist terminals at both ends of the journey, so it would be a much easier service to use for both sender and receiver.

Another article in the same June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways is entitled Caithness Sleeper Plan Set Out.

This is said in the article.

Another possibility would be to convey freight on the sleeper trains with HiTrans suggesting the ability to carry four 40-foot and two 20-foot boxes on twin wagons could provide welcome products and parcels northwards and locally-produced food southwards.

A disadvantage of this idea would be that passengers would be required to vacate sleeping berths immediately on arrival at Edinburgh, so that containers could continue to a freight terminal.

The HSPT would go direct to a suitable terminal. In remote  places like Caithness, this would probably be the local station, which had been suitably modified, so that fork lift trucks could move pallets into and out of the train.

One-Off Deliveries

Provided a load can be put on a pallet, the train can move it, if there is a fork lift available at both ends of the route.

It would be wrong to speculate what sort of one-off deliveries are performed, as some will be truly unusual.

Disaster Relief

On the worldwide scale we don’t get serious natural disasters in the UK, but every year there are storms, floods, bridge collapses and other emergencies, where it is necessary to get supplies quickly to places that are difficult to reach by road, but easy by rail. If the supplies were to be put on pallets and loaded onto a HSPT, it might be easier to get them to where they are needed for unloading using a fork lift or even by hand.

International Deliveries

I am sure that Class 319 and Class 321 trains can be made compatible with Continental railway networks. In fact two Class 319 trains, were the first to pass through the Channel Tunnel.

Post-Brexit will we see high value cargoes transported by the trainload, as this would surely simplify the paperwork?

What value of Scotch whisky could you get in a four-car train?

Expect Amazon to be first in the queue for International Deliveries!

Imagine a corgo aircraft coming into the UK, at either Doncaster Sheffield or Manston Airports, with cargo containers or pallets for all over the UK, that were designed for quick loading onto an HSPT.

Conclusion

There is definitely a market for a HSPT.

If it does come about, it will be yet another tribute to the magnificent Mark 3 design!

 

 

 

 

May 27, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Google, Amazon, Starbucks Etc. And Tax

Google’s Eric Schmidt says he is perplexed in this article about the debate on his company’s tax status.

I’m not, as what these companies do is fraud.

Not necessarily on Corporation Tax, but with respect to VAT.

If say I go into John Lewis and buy say a television, I will pay VAT on the purchase. If I buy it from Amazon, I’ll probably pay some fiddled VAT rate, which will make it cheaper.

My belief is that by doing transfers like this, companies like Amazon are hurting genuine UK businesses. Andy Street of John Lewis is saying just that here.

So it should be that if you buy a television and it’s delivered in the UK, then the VAT rate should be 20%.

But Eric Schmidt is against this and is quoted in the BBC article.

The Google chairman has previously argued that corporate taxes should be paid on a company’s profits, not revenues, and should be levied in the country where it conducts economic activity and takes risks, rather than where products are consumed.

The trouble with Google, is there is no alternative, to some of the things they do.

On the other hand, I don’t use Amazon, Apple, Starbucks and quite a few other companies.

May 27, 2013 Posted by | Business, World | , , | 2 Comments

That Was Quick!

Yesterday at 16:26 I ordered a new laptop battery from Amazon. Just before 12:00 this morning, the door-bell rang and on checking through the window, I saw a courier with a box marked Amazon. The check was because I’d seen some Jehovah’s Wasters walking up and down the road and thought it was my turn to be annoyed. I get them usually once a week.  We need a preference service where you can register to stop calls from these people.

The box contained the new battery and it’s now up and running and being used for this post.

Would anybody complain about that very speedy service?

September 17, 2011 Posted by | Computing | , | Leave a comment

Fraud from Russia Concerning Amazon

I have had a lot of e-mails purporting to say that I have ordered something on Amazon.  I know they are not genuine orders, as they come to an e-mail I never use for orders, but watch for e-mails.

They are baed on a fake AMazon web site, with a Russian domain name.

Be careful, as if you are a regular Amazon purchaser, your account has a valid credit card.

So login to the real Amazon, change your password and if you can, change your e-mail to something that you reserve for purchases over the web.

July 17, 2010 Posted by | Business, Computing, World | , , | 1 Comment

How Did They Do That?

On Saturday evening, I ordered a copy of the Dorling Kindersley guide to Brussels from Amazon.  The time on the confirming e-mail is 20:15 and I had another one on Sunday at 14:45 to say the book had been dispatched.

It arrived with the post this morning.  At least Newmarket is not on strike.

I thought too, that the Royal Mail didn’t accept letters and parcels on Sunday.  They obviously do for Amazon.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment