The Anonymous Widower

MOB To Launch Gauge-Changing Montreux – Interlaken GoldenPass Express

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

This is the explanatory paragraph.

December 11 will mark the start of a long-awaited through service by luxury train between Interlaken and Montreux. Operated by Montreux-Oberland Bahn and BLS Lötschbergbahn, the gauge-changing GoldenPass Express service is expected to become a major attraction between the two lakeside resorts that will help revive tourist travel in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

These are some details of the service.

  • Journey time for the 115∙3 km trip through three cantons, including 11 intermediate stops and the change between 1 000 mm and 1 435 mm gauge at Zweisimmen, will be 3 h 15 min.
  • The trains have been built by Stadler.
  • There are three classes of accommodation; Prestige, First and Second.
  • Catering will be appropriate to the class.
  • Initially, there will be one train per day in each direction, but after June 2023, there will be four trains per day.
  • Fares range between £64 and £129 one-way depending on the class.
  • Tickets can be bought here.

It sounds like a trip worth doing.

I suspect that if this service is a success, then other countries will imitate it.

In the UK, we haven’t anything as grand as Montreux – Interlaken, but we do have the Settle and Carlisle Line.

  • Trains run between Leeds and Carlisle.
  • There are charter services, some hauled by steam locomotives.
  • The distance is a kilometre longer than Montreux – Interlaken.

In Through Settle And Carlisle Service Under Consideration, I look at a Department for Transport study for a Glasgow and Leeds service via the Settle and Carlisle Line.

If the Borders Railway is ever extended to Carlisle, an Edinburgh and Leeds service would be a possibility.

December 8, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

China Covid: Chinese TV Censors Shots Of Maskless World Cup Fans

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

These two paragraphs outline China’s censorship of the World Cup.

The phrase “football is nothing without fans” has become so accepted as to be cliché among some commentators. But Chinese state TV has been testing that assumption to its limit throughout the World Cup.

On Monday, as Ghana beat South Korea in a classic World Cup clash, subtle changes to China’s coverage of the match ensured viewers were not exposed to images of maskless supporters – and to a world moving on from Covid restrictions.

Autocratic regimes who act like China and Russia are doing now, have always come to a sticky and violent end.

When will these idiots ever learn?

 

 

November 28, 2022 Posted by | Health, Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Expedition To Muswell Hill To Get Some Lovely Liver

After my plea in Need To Regularly Eat A Large Plate Of Calves’ Liver, I got a recommendation to try The Cilicia at Muswell Hill.

It was delicious and just what my body wanted. The liver had been cooked in sage butter with tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes.

I shall return!

The only problem is that Dalston and Muswell Hill is not the easiest journey to make by public transport.

My route was as follows.

  • I took by taking a 141 bus from close to my house to Manor House station.
  • I then got a Piccadilly Line train to Turnpike Lane station.
  • From there it was a 144 bus to Muswell Hill Broadway.

It took about 45 minutes.

But it might be quicker to take a 102 bus from Bounds Green station.

Or go to the Angel Islington and get a 43 bus from there to Muswell Hill Broadway.

But my route could all have been so different.

This map shows the Muswell Hill branch which was closed by British Rail and has since been mainly built over.

The Muswell Hill branch would have been part of the comprehensive Northern Heights Plan.

  • The Northern Line would have been extended from Edgware to Bushey Heath.
  • The Mill Hill East branch would have been extended to Edgware.
  • If you look at the maps in Wikipedia, the Northern Line would be very different through London.
  • The Muswell Hill branch would have given better access to the magnificent Alexandra Palace.

But Austerity after World War II meant the extension never happened.

I can see a case could be made for some parts of the Northern Heights plan, but it is too late now, as viaducts have been demolished and routes have been built over.

My feeling is that if there was a need for the Northern Heights plan in the 1930s, then as London has expanded, that need will need to be fulfilled in the future.

So when Austerity hits as it did after World War II and as it is happening now due to Covid-19 and Vlad’s war in Ukraine, we should make sure we don’t compromise our plans for the future.

I believe that with a small amount of safeguarding in the 1960s, the Northern Line would now have a useful branch to Alexandra Palace and Muswell Hill.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blackpool Needs A Diamond

Every year there are more and more depressing reports about Blackpool and there was another today.

Something dramatic needs to be done.

One of the successful scientific weapons that has been deployed on any number of problems, including the Covid-19 and malaria, has been the impressive Diamond Light Source at Harwell.

When I talk to researchers at universities in the North, they would love to able to use it more, but it is fully booked and getting access is difficult. There is also the travel problem.

I believe that the solution is to build Diamond 2 in the North. And what better place to build it than Blackpool. The city has good rail and tram links and plenty of accommodation.

Now, that’s what I call levelling-up.

November 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Two Oases In The City

I came across these oases in Temple Avenue in the City of London.

What a good idea! The notice says it’s part of a Covid-19 Street Recovery Scheme

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Design, World | , , , | 1 Comment

Coeliac Disease And Atrial Fibrillation

I am 75 and coeliac and I had or have atrial fibrillation. Cardiologists tell me that, the atrial fibrillation led to my stroke in 2011.

I should also say, that my father was an undiagnosed coeliac and he died from a stroke younger than I am now.

I typed the title of this post into Doctor Google.

I found this paper on Cureus, which is entitled Celiac Disease and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review.

I will show two paragraphs from the Abstract,

This is the Introduction.

Several studies have found celiac disease may be associated with a variety of cardiac manifestations. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common arrhythmias that can cause significant morbidity. However, the risk of atrial fibrillation in patients with celiac disease according to epidemiological studies remains unclear. The aim of this meta-analysis study is to assess the risk of atrial fibrillation in patients diagnosed with celiac disease compared to controls.

And this is the Conclusion.

A significant association between celiac disease and risk of atrial fibrillation was reported in this study. There is a 38% increased risk of atrial fibrillation. Additional studies are needed to clarify the mechanistic link between atrial fibrillation and celiac disease. Some of the limitations of this study are that all were observational studies, some were medical registry-based and there was high heterogeneity between studies.

One of the paper’s conclusions is more research needs to be done.

I know that I have a supercharged immune system, in that it seems to protect me from flu and the dreaded covids and it gave the AstraZeneca vaccine a good kicking. Research from Nottingham University has also shown, that coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a 25 % lower risk of cancer compared to the general population.

So I asked Doctor Google if there was any link between the immune system and atrial fibrillation.

I found this paper on PubMed, which is entitled The Role Of Immune Cells In Atrial Fibrillation.

This was the Abstract.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia, but its mechanisms are poorly understood. Recently, accumulating evidence indicates a link between immune response and AF, but the precise mechanism remains unclear. It should be noticed that the relationship between immune response and AF is complex. Whether immune response is a cause or a result of AF is unclear. As the functional unit of the immune system, immune cells may play a vital role in the immunological pathogenesis of AF. In this review, we briefly highlight the evidence on relationships between immune cells and AF, and discuss their potential roles in AF pathogenesis. We hope this review could provide new orientation and enlightenment for further research on AF mechanism.

One of the paper’s conclusions is more research needs to be done.

Conclusion

I feel a lot of research concerning coeliacs, their immune systems and atrial fibrillation should be done and this could lead to a better understanding of atrial fibrillation.

 

September 28, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Trains Could Be Operating Through Flintshire From May But No Green Light For Two An Hour Service

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Transport for Wales (TfW) is aiming to bring a number of its new Class 230 trains into service on the Wrexham – Shotton – Bidston line next month, three years later than first planned.

However a two train per hour service promised by TfW from December 2021 is yet to be approved by the rail regulator due to an ongoing conflict with a freight operator.

The lateness of the new trains is down to the Covids.

This Google Map illustrates the ongoing conflict with the freight operator.

Note.

  1. The Borderlands Line running up the Eastern side of the map.
  2. Buckley station is at the North of the map.
  3. Pennyffordd station is at the South of the map.
  4. The Padeswood cement works is on a siding to the West of the line.

The problem is that when a cement train leaves the works, it blocks the railway line for an hour.

Improvements are obviously needed, if the two operators are to share this line.

The article suggests various ideas including Park-and-Ride facilities.

April 26, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 20 Comments

One Broadgate – 9th April 2022

I haven’t walked down Eldon Street for some time from Moorgate to Liverpool Street station and last time, there was an office block on the North side of the street.

Note.

  1. Yesterday, there was just a large hole there, which will be filled by the new development of One Broadgate.
  2. The silver building in the background of many of these pictures is 5 Broadgate, which is the London offices of UBS.
  3. One Broadgate will be a ten story development.
  4. The development will be a mixed development with retail and leisure on the lower floors and offices above.
  5. The last three pictures show the developing plaza in front of Broadgate, with another new development in the South-West corner.

Despite Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and now the Russian attack on Ukraine, there seems to be no letup in the building of new offices in London.

April 10, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Do More Elderly Men Die Of The Covids Than Women?

I asked this question of the Internet and found this article from The Times, which is entitled Why Are Men more Likely To Die From Covid Than Women?.

These are the first two paragraphs.

On Valentine’s Day last year, researchers at China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention submitted one of the first studies into who was dying of the new coronavirus that was spreading through Wuhan.

Two clear findings jumped out. Firstly, the virus appeared to hit the elderly hardest. Secondly, if you were a man, you were much more likely to die.

The article goes on to say, that men are 24 percent more likely to die.

I am coeliac and here are some facts about coeliac disease.

This page on the NHS web site is an overview of coeliac disease.

There is a sub-section called Who’s Affected?, where this is said.

Coeliac disease is a condition that affects at least 1 in every 100 people in the UK.

But some experts think this may be underestimated because milder cases may go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed as other digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Reported cases of coeliac disease are around 3 times higher in women than men.

It can develop at any age, although symptoms are most likely to develop:

during early childhood – between 8 and 12 months old, although it may take several years before a correct diagnosis is made
in later adulthood – between 40 and 60 years of age
People with certain conditions, including type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, Down’s syndrome and Turner syndrome, have an increased risk of getting coeliac disease.

First-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters and children) of people with coeliac disease are also at increased risk of developing the condition.

The three most important facts in this are.

  • The condition affects 1 in every 100 people in the UK.
  • Reported cases are three times higher in women than men.
  • First degree relatives of coeliacs are at increased risk of developing the condition.

I am sure my father was an undiagnosed coeliac.

When I was born in 1947, there was no test for coeliac disease in children, as one wasn’t developed until 1960.

Testing for many years was by the Gold Standard of endoscopy, which for a child is not an easy procedure.

I’m certain, that in 1997, I was one of the first to be diagnosed in a General Hospital by genetic testing.

At fifty, a locum had given me a blood test and I had been found to be very low on B12. Despite a course of injections, it refused to rise so I was sent to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where I saw a consultant, who gave me a short chat and then got a nurse to take some blood samples.

Two days later, I received a letter, saying I was probably coeliac and it would be confirmed by endoscopy.

I can’t think how else it was done so quickly, unless they were using a genetic test.

I went gluten-free and the rest as they say is history.

In some ways there’s been two of me.

  • BC – Before Coeliac – Frequently unwell, lots of aches and pains and weak mentally.
  • AD – After Diagnosis – Healthier, few aches and pains and much stronger mentally.

My immune system appears to be much stronger now!

I believe my son was also coeliac.

Undiagnosed coeliacs tend to have poor immune systems and he died of pancreatic cancer at just 37, because he refused to get himself tested.

As there was no test for coeliac disease in children until 1960, anybody over sixty has a higher chance of being coeliac with a poor immune system and be at higher risks from both the covids and cancer.

It should be noted that according to the NHS, there are three times more female coeliacs than male.

Could this be explained by the fact that undiagnosed coeliac disease can be a cause of female infertility? So when a lady has difficulty conceiving, doctors test for it. So perhaps, by the time they get to 70 a higher proportion of female coeliacs have been diagnosed, compared to male ones, which may explain why more elderly men than women die of the covids.

More research needs to be done.

March 12, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Embraer, Widerøe And Rolls-Royce Announce Partnership To Research Innovative Technologies For Sustainable Regional Aircraft

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the body of the press release.

Embraer, Widerøe and Rolls-Royce have today announced plans to study a conceptual zero-emission regional aircraft.

The 12-month cooperation study – in the context of pre-competitive research and development – will address passenger requirements to stay connected in a post Covid-19 world, but do so sustainably, and seeks to accelerate the knowledge of the technologies necessary for this transition. Such technologies will allow national governments to continue to support passenger mobility while reusing most of the existing infrastructure in a more sustainable way.

Advances in scientific research can make clean and renewable energy a major enabler of a new era of regional aviation and the three companies will share their combined in-depth knowledge of aircraft design, market demand, operations and propulsion solutions to further develop their understanding of zero-emission technologies and how they can be matured and applied to future regional aircraft.

Among other topics, the study will cover a wide range of applications for new propulsion technologies to examine a range of potential solutions – including all-electric, hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen fueled gas turbine powered aircraft.

These are my thoughts.

An Aircraft For Existing Infrastructure

This is an extract from the press release.

Such technologies will allow national governments to continue to support passenger mobility while reusing most of the existing infrastructure in a more sustainable way.

If I was the CEO of an airline, I’d want an aircraft that fitted the airports and their facilities, where I wanted to fly.

No Propulsion System Is Ruled Out

This is an extract from the press release.

Among other topics, the study will cover a wide range of applications for new propulsion technologies to examine a range of potential solutions – including all-electric, hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen fueled gas turbine powered aircraft.

It would appear no propulsion system is ruled out.

In LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, where I talked about LNER ordering ten new trains, they also said they would accept any type of power, that was suitable.

Embraer

Embraer are a successful Brazilian aerospace company, who according to Wikipedia, are the third largest producer of civil aircraft, after Boeing and Airbus.

I first flew in one of their EMB 110 Bandeirantes in the 1970s from Norwich to Stavanger and I’ve flown on several of their aircraft since.

Embraer’s current jet aircraft line-up includes.

  • Embraer E-Jet – Twin-jet regional airliner – 66-124 passengers – 1596 produced
  • Embraer E-Jet E2 – Twin-jet regional airliner – 88-146 passengers – 50 produced

Note.

  1. The E-Jet E2 is the successor to the E-Jet with new engines, new avionic, fly-by-wire controls and other improvements.
  2. Production numbers are as of 31st March 2021.
  3. Embraer don’t seem to produce turboprop aircraft any more, although a lot of their former products are still flying.

I certainly wouldn’t avoid flying in Embraer products, as I would in other aircraft and on some airlines.

Have Embraer identified a market for a smaller sustainable or even zero-carbon aircraft that could extend their product range below the jets?

Widerøe

Widerøe are a long-established and well-respected Norwegian airline.

Their fleet consists of forty De Havilland Canada Dash 8 turboprop aircraft of various variants and three Embraer E-Jet E2 jet airliners.

Wikipedia says this about their fleet.

Widerøe plans to replace most of its Dash-8 by 2030.

Given that the Dash 8 seats between 40 and 80 passengers, I wonder if a sustainable or even zero-carbon aircraft with an appropriate number of seats and the STOL performance of the Dash 8, would suit Widerøe’s route network, which includes many small airfields.

Rolls-Royce

In What Does 2.5 MW Look Like?, I talked about Rolls-Royce’s development of a 2.5 MW Generator.

I am inserting the start of the linked post.

This press release on the Rolls-Royce web site is entitled Rolls-Royce Generator Delivered For Most Powerful Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System In Aerospace.

This Rolls-Royce picture shows the generator installed on a test bed.

These are the first three paragraphs of the press release.

The generator that will be at the heart of the most powerful hybrid-electric aero power and propulsion system in aerospace has arrived for installation at our specialist testbed.

The generator, and related power electronics, was delivered to the newly-renovated Testbed 108 in Bristol, UK, from the Rolls-Royce facility in Trondheim, Norway, having completed an extensive development test programme. It will form part of the 2.5 megawatt (MW) Power Generation System 1 (PGS1) demonstrator programme, for future regional aircraft. In addition to hybrid-electric propulsion, the generator could also be used as part of a “more-electric” system for larger aircraft or within future ground or marine applications.

PGS1 forms an important element of our sustainability strategy, which includes developing innovative electrical power and propulsion systems.

I must say that as an engineer this 2.5 MW generator really excites me, as I see so many possibilities.

Could this engine become the power unit of a hydrogen-powered regional airliner?

Rolls-Royce, Tecnam And Widerøe

In Rolls-Royce And Tecnam Join Forces With Widerøe To Deliver An All-Electric Passenger Aircraft Ready For Service In 2026, a similar deal to the Embraer, Widerøe and Rolls-Royce deal is discussed.

I am inserting the start of the linked post.

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the first paragraph.

Rolls-Royce and airframer Tecnam are joining forces with Widerøe – the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, ready for revenue service in 2026. The project expands on the successful research programme between Rolls-Royce and Widerøe on sustainable aviation and the existing partnership between Rolls-Royce and Tecnam on powering the all-electric P-Volt aircraft.

This picture from Rolls-Royce shows the proposed aircraft.

The P-Volt aircraft is based on the Tecnam P2012 Traveller.

Conclusion

Perhaps, the first deal is progressing so well, Rolls-Royce and Widerøe decided to repeat the exercise.

 

 

February 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment