The Anonymous Widower

I Can Now See Why A Big Pharma Company Liked My Software Daisy

Yesterday, I went to a seminar about medical research.

There was a presentation, where data in several dimensions was shown and the data was crying out for a Daisy Chart.

A Daisy Chart

A Daisy Chart

This chart is a very simple presentation of telephone data, but I can imagine arcs showing factors like Dose, Blood Pressure, Sex, Patient Satisfaction etc.

Note.

  1. This chart is what I call a Day of the Week/Hour of the Day chart, which is a powerful way of looking at any time-based data, like faults or A & E arrivals.
  2. You can click on the nodes and links of the chart to access the data underneath. So if you wanted all female patients with high blood pressure in a separate Excel spreadsheet, this is possible with a couple of clicks.
  3. The charts can also be clipped from the screen and inserted into reports.

Daisy was used by one Big Pharma company twenty years ago and after yesterday’s presentation, I can understand, why they used it.

The seminar changed my mind about my attitude to Daisy and I got rather fired up about its possibilities.

December 6, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , | 1 Comment

A Long Journey Home

A friend had booked between London and Edinburgh today on the 13:00 LNER train from King’s Cross. She was also travelling with her miniature Schnauzer.

.We had arranged to meet at Marylebone, so I could help them across London to King’s Cross and have a much-needed hot chocolate in King’s Cross before they caught the train North and I went to a meeting organised by my cardiologist.

I had checked out King’s Cross earlier and there was trouble with srveral delayed and cancelled trains.

It wasn’t strikes or bad management from LNER and the problem is explained in this article from the Yorkshire Evening Post, which is entitled Trains From Leeds To London Cancelled Or Delayed After Thieves Steal Signalling Cables From Railway Tracks.

In the end we made the train in time and also had time to have a hot chocolate in LEON, whilst we sat out the back with the dog.

We were texting each other most of the afternoon and with assistance from Real Time Trains, the journey went as follows.

  • The train left King’s Cross at 13:08, which was eight minutes late.
  • By Peterborough, the train was running seventeen minutes late. 
  • The driver kept this delay until Retford, where he lost another eighty minutes.
  • The train was now running 97 minutes late and this grew by four more minutes by Newcastle.
  • My friend reported that they stopped at Newcastle, as they had no driver.
  • In the end, LNER found a driver or a way for the current driver to continue to Edinburgh and the train left Newcastle after a thirty minute stop.
  • The train was now two hours and ten minutes late.
  • Eventually, it pulled into Edinburgh, two hours and five minutes late, after the driver had picked up a few minutes on the approach to Edinburgh.

Note.

  1. The incoming train that formed this service arrived in King’s Cross from Edinburgh seventy two minutes late, mainly because of the cable theft. It should have arrived and returned to Edinburgh an hour earlier. But it arrived conveniently to form the 13:00 to Scotland.
  2. As the train presentation team turned the train in nineteen minutes instead of twenty-one, they saved a couple of minutes.
  3. I suspect the delay at Retford was getting through the area without any signalling.
  4. Had the driver run out of hours by Newcastle, as he had been in the cab for four-and-a-half hours?
  5. Normally, four-and-a-half hours would have enabled the driver to have driven to Edinburgh.

These are my thoughts.

Cable Theft

In the days of British Rail, I did some work for British Rail using my software called Daisy, which led to a report entitled Failure Reporting And Analysis On British Rail, which was written by J. S. Firth CEng, MIEE, MIRSE, who worked for SigTech, which was a Business Unit of the British Railways Board.

If anybody who has a legitimate reason to read the report, I still have the complimentary copy sent to me by Mr. Firth and would be happy to provide a copy.

I did flag up a project called Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage, as one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition organised by the Dept of BEIS.

If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

Problems In France

A friend in France told me that there is a problem with stealing overhead electrification cables in France.

This article on RFI is entitled Copper Wire Thieves Force France’s High-Speed TGV To Go Slow.

There are several similar stories on French and other European web sites.

Signalling Using Radio

The East Coast Main Line is being signalled using modern ERTMS digital signalling, where drivers read the signals on an in-cab display, which is connected by radio to the signalling system.

This extract from Wikipedia describes the first project.

In June 2020 it was reported that the UK government would provide £350 million to fund the UK’s first digital signalling system on a long-distance rail route. The signalling is to be fitted on a 100-mile (161 km) section of the East Coast Main Line between Kings Cross, London, and Lincolnshire, which will allow trains to run closer together and increase service frequency, speed and reliability. No date for when the new technology, already in use on the Thameslink lines at London Bridge and some London Underground lines, has been given.

If the cables are removed will this reduce crime?

LNER Delay Repay

My friend will be entitled for a full refund of her single ticket.

This page on the LNER web site gives full details.

Note.

  1. You have 28 days to claim.
  2. If you have a return ticket, you may be entitled to something for that leg of the journey.

I would add, that you should always keep all your tickets, in case the return journey goes belly-up.

December 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038790

Project title: Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage
Lead organisation: FOCUS SENSORS LIMITED
Project grant: £215,310

Public description: When cable thefts occur the operation of the railway, often in nationally critical locations, can be
brought to a standstill with significant impact on passengers and freight supply-chains. Under
extreme industry and public pressure, Network Rail must delay scheduled activities and scramble
teams to effect repairs and get critical railway operational systems working again. Current
technology may not be able to locate the break to better than a few km accuracy, meaning long
periods of manual inspection are required to locate the exact position of the theft before the repair
can be started. This wastes valuable time, increasing the effect of the theft on the efficiency of the
network and creating cost for operators and delays for customers.
This proposal is for a technology solution, using existing trackside optical fibre cables, which can be
used to locate cable thefts instantly to within +/- 1m. After a theft is reported or detected by other
system, automatic analysis will pinpoint the location of the acoustic signatures of the theft activity.
The location of the theft will be instantly displayed, both on a map overlay with geographical
coordinates, and as a linear ELR, miles and yards track location. This will enable first-responder
policing and security to be deployed sooner and more accurately. Secondly, with an accurately
timed and positioned event signature, there is an opportunity for other parties with evidence
collecting abilities (e.g. Forward Facing CCTV on trains) to more proactively, and possibly
automatically, to retain evidence which may support prosecution. Thirdly the Network Rail
engineering team will be given advanced information to allow them to attend the site with the right
materials and resource to affect an earlier resolution.

As secondary activity we will enable location of optical cable by creating a companion
georeferencing co-reference for the trackside fibre cable, so that faults and fibre issues can be
located instantly to a more precise physical location. This provides a valuable tool for Network
Rail’s engineering teams, to reduce time for maintenance and fault finding.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

My software; Daisy was used by British Rail or was it Railtrack to analyse cable faults many years ago. Because of the discussions, we had at the time, I believe that this could be a very successful project.

 

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

East Kent Maternity Deaths: Babies Might Have Survived With Better Care

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

This is the first paragraph.

Up to 45 babies might have survived if they had received better care at East Kent NHS Hospitals Trust, a damning independent review has found.

As a father of three, who has experienced the death of both his wife and youngest son, I know that this is a tragedy for too many families.

But episodes like these seem to come along regularly in the NHS. We have had two cases, where nurses were murdering babies, the notorious Harold Shipman and several abuse cases in mental health.

Is the monitoring of the outcome of patient treatment up to scratch?

In the 1970s, I was asked to do some programming for Bob, who was the Chief Management Accountant of Lloyds Bank and before that he had been Chief Accountant of Vickers. Bob had very definite ideas about how to ascertain the performance of various divisions and departments in a company or organisation.

He taught me a lot as we applied his ideas to check out the performance of various branches in the Bank. A lot of his experience was incorporated into Artemis and other programs I have written.

One of the things we did with bank branches was to plot groups of branches in simple scatter diagrams, so that those with problems stood out.

Does the government do similar things with hospitals and GP surgeries?

I even went as far as to suggest that my software Daisy could be used to find rogue practitioners like Harold Shipman. I was thanked for my submission to the report, but was not told my ideas were mentioned in the report.

Conclusion

I believe that more babies might have survived in Kent, if a statistician had been comparing results between hospital trusts and actively looking for problems.

I suspect the reason, there is no serious analysis, is that there is a belief in the NHS, that no-one ever makes mistakes or is evil.

 

October 19, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Does Anybody Have Good Contacts At Network Rail?

In the 1980s, I did some business with British Rail, as it then was.

I provided my Daisy software and they used it to analyse signal failures.

It led to a guy called J S Firth, writing a paper called Failure Recording And Analysis On British Rail.

He had the courtesy to send me a copy of the paper, which mentions SigTech, which appears to have been a business unit of the British Railways Board.

All my dealings with Firth and his colleagues were in person at an office block in front of Marylebone station, which is now a posh hotel.

And then, a few months ago, someone contacted me from Network Rail.

Apparently, his father had worked on the signal failure project with me and he was now working in Milton Keynes for Network Rail on a similar project.

He asked if I had a copy of the paper.

At the time, I didn’t, but today I had a small sort out and found a copy.

Unfortunately, I have now lost the piece of paper on which I wrote the guy’s details.

Does anybody have any ideas, how I can find the guy, who contacted me?

June 12, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arcola Energy Introduces A-Drive Fuel Cell Powertrain Platform

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Arcola Energy, a company that specializes in hydrogen and fuel cell systems, has developed a proprietary hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) powertrain platform – designed for vehicle applications requiring high-duty cycle capabilities and fast refueling.

\we will see more hydrogen powertrains produced by big companies; like Cummins and Daimler and small companies like Arcola.

Many of the smaller ones, will perish. just like many smaller car companies did in the first seventy years of the twentieth century. Who remembers names like Allard, Borgward, Humber, Panhard and Riley?

I suspect, that in the near future, wherever you live and you come up with an idea, that needs zero-carbon motive power, there will be a convenient company to provide you with that power, using hydrogen.

One of my clients with Daisy used to be Cummins Engines. They told me most firmly, that if I ever needed a diesel engine to provide power for an application, they would customise one of their engines to fit my application.

Now that Cummins have gone into hydrogen in a big way with the purchase of Hydrogenics, will we see a similar philosophy?

December 4, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

£100m Station Revamp Could Double Local Train Services

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

This is the opening paragraph.

Officials behind plans for a £100m-plus transformation of Darlington’s Bank Top Station have confirmed it will remain the only one on the East Coast Mainline without a platform specifically for the London to Scotland service.

Darlington station has made various appearances in my life, all of which have been pleasurable ones.

I went several times to ICI’s Wilton site on Teesside in the 1970s, when the route to London was worked by the iconic Class 55 locomotives or Deltics.

I wrote about one memorable trip home from Darlington in The Thunder of Three-Thousand Three-Hundred Horses.

Over the years, I also seem to have had several clients for my computing skills in the area, including the use of my data analysis software; Daisy at Cummins Engines in the town.

And lately, it’s been for football at Middlesbrough to see Ipswich play, where I’ve changed trains. Sometimes, Town even won.

The improvements planned for the station are two-fold.

Improvement Of Local Services

This paragraph from Wikipedia, sums up the local train services on the Tees Valley Line between Saltburn and Bishop Auckland via Darlington, Middlesbrough and Redcar.

Northern run their Tees Valley line trains twice hourly to Middlesbrough, Redcar and Saltburn (hourly on Sundays), whilst the Bishop Auckland branch has a service every hour (including Sundays). The company also operates two Sundays-only direct trains to/from Stockton and Hartlepool.

If ever a route needed improvement it is this one.

This paragraph from the Northern Echo article, outlines the plans for Darlington station.

The meeting was also told the overhaul, which will see new platforms, a new station building, parking and an interchange for passengers, alongside other improvements, would also double capacity on Tees Valley and Bishop Auckland lines, meaning four trains an hour on the former and two trains an hour on the latter.

I also believe that the route is a shoe-in for zero-carbon services; hydrogen or battery electric.

Hydrogen Trains On Teesside

In Fuelling The Change On Teesside Rails, I discuss using hydrogen powered trains for the lines in the area and they could certainly provide services on more than just the Tees Valley Line.

The hydrogen powered trains would probably be this Alstom Breeze.

They would appear to be in pole position to change the image of Teesside’s trains.

Battery Electric Trains On Teesside

But I suspect. that an Anglo-Japanese partnership, based in the North-East could have other ideas.

  • Hitachi have a train factory at Newton Aycliffe on the Tees Valley Line.
  • Hyperdrive Innovation design and produce battery packs for transport and mobile applications in Sunderland.

The two companies have launched the Regional Battery Train, which is described in this Hitachi infographic.

Note than 90 kilometres is 56 miles, so the train has a very useful range.

Hitachi have talked about fitting batteries to their express trains to serve places like Middlesbrough, Redcar and Sunderland with zero-carbon electric services.

But their technology can also be fitted to their Class 385 trains and I’m sure that Scotland will order some battery-equipped Class 385 trains to expand their vigorous electric train network.

Both Scotland and Teesside will need to charge their battery trains.

Example distances on Teesside include.

  • Darlington and Saltburn – 28 miles
  • Darlington and Whitby – 47 miles
  • Darlington and Bishop Auckland – 12 miles

The last route would be possible on a full battery, but the first two would need a quick battery top-up before return.

So there will need to be strategically-placed battery chargers around the North-East of England. These could include.

  • Hexham
  • Nunthorpe
  • Redcar or Saltburn – This would also be used by TransPennine Express’s Class 802 trains, if they were to be fitted with batteries.
  • Whitby

If Grand Central did the right thing and ran battery electric between London and Sunderland, there would probably be a need for a battery charger at Sunderland.

It appears that Adrian Shooter of Vivarail has just announced a One-Size-Fits-All Fast Charge system, that has been given interim approval by Network Rail.

I discuss this charger in Vivarail’s Plans For Zero-Emission Trains, which is based on a video on the Modern Railways web site.

There is more about Vivarail’s plans in the November 2020 Print Edition of the magazine, where this is said on page 69.

‘Network Rail has granted interim approval for the fast charge system and wants it to be the UK’s standard battery charging system’ says Mr. Shooter. ‘We believe it could have worldwide implications.’

I believe that Hitachi and Hyperdrive Innovation, with a little bit of help from friends in Seaham, can build a battery-electric train network in the North-East.

The Choice Between Hydrogen And Battery Electric

Consider.

  • The hydrogen trains would need a refuelling system.
  • The battery electric trains would need a charging structure, which could also be used by other battery electric services to and from the North-East.
  • No new electrification or other infrastructure would be needed.
  • If a depot is needed for the battery electric trains, they could probably use the site at Lackenby, that has been identified as a base for the hydrogen trains.

Which train would I choose?

I think the decision will come down to politics, money and to a certain extent design, capacity and fuel.

  • The Japanese have just signed a post-Brexit trade deal and France or rather the EU hasn’t.
  • The best leasing deal might count for a lot.
  • Vivarail have stated that batteries for a battery electric train, could be leased on a per mile basis.
  • The Hitachi train will be a new one and the Alstom train will be a conversion of a thirty year old British Rail train.
  • The Hitachi train may well have a higher passenger capacity, as there is no need for the large hydrogen tank.
  • Some people will worry about sharing the train with a large hydrogen tank.
  • The green credentials of both trains is not a deal-breaker, but will provoke discussion.

I feel that as this is a passenger train, that I’m leaning towards a battery electric train built on the route.

An Avoiding Line Through Darlington

The Northern Echo also says this about track changes at the station.

A meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s communities and local services scrutiny committee was told a bus lane-style route off the mainline at the station would enable operators to run more high-speed services.

Councillors heard that the proposed track changes would enable very fast approaches to Darlington and allow other trains to pass as East Coast Mainline passengers boarded.

Some councillors seem to be unhappy about some trains passing through the station without stopping.

Are their fears justified?

This Google Map shows Darlington station.

Note.

  1. The station has two long platforms and two South-facing bay platforms.
  2. There is plenty of space.
  3. There already appear to be a pair of electrified avoiding lines on the Eastern side of the station.

Wikipedia also says this about how Darlington station will be changed by High Speed Two.

The new high speed rail project in the UK, High Speed 2, is planned to run through Darlington once Phase 2b is complete and will run on the existing East Coast Main Line from York and Newcastle. Darlington Station will have two new platforms built for the HS2 trains on the Main Line, as the station is built just off the ECML to allow for freight services to pass through.

This would appear to suggest that the two current avoiding lines will be turned into high speed platforms.

Current High Speed Services At Darlington

The current high speed services at Darlington are as follows.

  • LNER – two trains per hour (tph) – London Kings Cross and Edinburgh
  • Cross Country – one tph – Plymouth and Edinburgh or Glasgow
  • Cross Country – one tph – Southampton and Newcastle
  • TransPennine Express – one tph – Liverpool and Edinburgh
  • TransPennine Express – one tph – Manchester Airport and Newcastle

Northbound, this gives eight tph to Newcastle and four tph to Edinburgh

East Coast Trains

East Coast Trains‘s services are not planned to stop at Darlington.

High Speed Two Trains

Darlington is planned to be served by these High Speed Two trains.

  • 1 tph – Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle via East Midlands Hub, York and Durham
  • 1 tph – London Euston and Newcastle via Old Oak Common and York.

Both will be 200 metre High Speed Two Classic-Compatible trains

Northbound, this gives ten tph to Newcastle and four tph to Edinburgh.

As the Eastern Leg of High Speed Two has some spare capacity, I suspect there could be other services through Darlington.

Improvements To The East Coast Main Line

If you look at the East Coast Main Line between Doncaster and Newcastle, the route is a mixture of two and four-track railway.

  • Between Doncaster and York, there are two tracks
  • Between York and Northallerton, there are four tracks
  • Between Northallerton and Darlington, there are two tracks
  • North of Darlington, the route is mainly two tracks.

I have flown my virtual helicopter along much of the route and I can say this about it.

  • Much of the route is through agricultural land, and where absolutely necessary extra tracks could possibly be added.
  • The track is more-or-less straight for large sections of the route.
  • Routes through some towns and cities, are tightly hemmed in by houses.

I also believe that the following developments will happen to the whole of the East Coast Main Line before High Speed Two opens.

  • Full ERTMS in-cab digital signalling will be used on all trains on the route.
  • The trains will be driven automatically, with the driver watching everything. Just like a pilot in an airliner!
  • All the Hitachi Class 80x trains used by operators on the route, will be able to operate at up to 140 mph, once this signalling and some other improvements have been completed.
  • All level crossings will have been removed.
  • High Speed Two is being built using slab track, as I stated in HS2 Slab Track Contract Awarded. I suspect some sections of the East Coast Main Line, that are used by High Speed Two services, will be upgraded with slab track to increase performance and reduce lifetime costs.

Much of the East Coast Main Line could become a 140 mph high speed line, as against High Speed Two, which will be a 225 mph high speed line.

This will mean that all high speed trains will approach Darlington and most other stations on the route, at 140 mph.

Trains will take around a minute to decelerate from or accelerate to 140 mph and if the station stop took a minute, the trains will be up to speed again in just three minutes. In this time, the train would have travelled two-and-a-half miles.

Conclusion

I think that this will happen.

  • The Tees Valley Line trains will be greatly improved by this project.
  • Trains will generally run at up to 140 mph on the East Coast Main Line, under full digital control, like a slower High Speed Two.
  • There will be two high speed platforms to the East of the current station, where most if not all of the High Speed Two, LNER and other fast services will stop.
  • There could be up to 15 tph on the high speed lines.

With full step-free access between the high speed and the local platforms in the current station, this will be a great improvement.

October 25, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Hydrogen, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Now It’s Thieves On The Line As Crooks Target Railway Cables

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

I was involved in a similar project with British Rail, where they were looking at patterns in signalling cable faults on the East Coast Main Line. My software Daisy was used to display the patterns.

I know in this case British Rail got a solution.

I even have their internal report somewhere!

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

A Daisy Chart

I think it’s about time, that I put a proper Daisy Chart in this blog.

A Daisy Chart

A Daisy Chart

If you’d like to play there is a free shareware version of Daisy available from this page.

The chart  shown is a typical Daisy Chart, showing a Date and Time Analysis, where a Date field is mapped by Day of the Week to a set of boxes or nodes in an arc of a circle. A Time field is also mapped by Hour of the Day. (These are two of up to a hundred different mappings or filters in Daisy.)

The data relates to the testing of a new communication program for the Internet. The other groups of nodes relate to Success/Failure, the various Faults and for how long the user was Connected.

Note the histograms on each node, which show how many attempts were made and how many pieces of electronic mail were received.

Each arc of nodes is linked to records, that have the same values. Thus, if you click on the first node of the group Date, you will select all of the records, that take place on a Sunday.

As you examine this chart, look at the values on the histograms and the detail in the nodes and links.

 

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Computing | | 4 Comments

Do Historians Ignore Facts?

Terry Deary, the author of Horrible Histories, thinks so and said as much on BBC Breakfast this morning.

I agree!

I once dealt with an archaeologist, who analysed a database of fragments found in peublas all over the South Western United States with Daisy.  When we analysed the whole database we got totally different answers to those of an eminent professor, who’d discarded all of those entries that didn’t fit his personal theory.

A lot of people have been saying that the riots were caused by X and doing Y will stop it.  Have they even got any facts, and if they have have used all the facts to get the answer.

August 17, 2011 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment