The Anonymous Widower

Building Railways In The UK Is Easy

I have just read this article on Global Rail News, which is entitled French Senate approves Lyon-Turin rail link.

That sounds easy until you read this from the Wikipedia entry.

Test drilling found some internally stressed coal-bearing schists that are poorly suited for a tunnel boring machine, and old-fashion Drilling and blasting will be used for the short corresponding sections.

It is not going to be a simple tunnelling job. It is more akin to some of the eighteenth and nineteenth century tunnels through the Pennines. Except that the tunnel will be 57 kilometres long and modern explosives are better.

It will carry a lot of freight, in addition to passengers from Paris and Lyon to Northern Italy.

But I doubt, I’ll ever be able to take a High Speed Train from London to Milan, as I’ll be long gone before everything is completed.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Gare du Nord Now Has A Good Testaurant

Apparently, it’s called the L’Etoile Du Nord.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Food, Travel | , | 1 Comment

Meet Linda From Coventry: She’s In The Driving Seat At Citroen

The title of this post is from an article in the Business section of The Sunday Times.

How many ladies run car companies? And how many are English and run iconic quirky French ones?

According to the article she is the first British woman to run a big car company and only the third woman in ever.

She’s probably one of the first widows of either sex too!

I think it must be well done to Linda from Coventry!

August 28, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Is This French Punishment For Brexiters?

This article on the BBC web site is entitled Dover ferry port passengers hit by traffic chaos. This is said.

Holidaymakers have been hit by delays of up to 12 hours through Kent to get to the Port of Dover, with many being stuck in traffic overnight.
Port authorities said delays built up due to French border checkpoints being understaffed overnight during heightened security levels.

There’s always some problem with the French and the Channel every summer.

But this summer it appears to be worse!

Could it be that the French are showing Brexiters, that they control the border?

After all, we never seem to get a problem with the Belgians!

The strange thing last night, as I came in from Brussels on Eurostar, was that there was some form of overcrowding in the terminal at St. Pancras.


July 23, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

A French View Of Croydon

There is an article in the Standard entitled French newspaper brands Croydon ‘dull and monotonous’ as French rugby team arrives for Rugby World Cup.

What are the French rugby team doing staying South of the River anyway?

Any North Londoner will tell you, as my mother warned me, that you can get lost down there!

September 14, 2015 Posted by | News, Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Eurostar To Marseilles

On the first of May Eurostar launched its service from London to Lyon, Avignon and Marseilles. Full details are given in this article on the France 24 web site.

Out of curiosity, I tried to see how many seats are available in the coming weeks.

There weren’t many left, so I suspect Eurostar might have a success on their hands.

On the other hand, when I travel up from the South of France or Switzerland, I often break my journey in Paris. So I still might do this, as the food is better than the train.

May 7, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

From Mulhouse To Strasbourg

After exploring Mulhouse, I took an early evening train onto Strasbourg. Theation journey was done without any trouble, but as there was no information system on the train and station names were not too visible, I was worried about being taken to Nancy.

But a fellow passenger put me right.

Surely, in these days, it should be a European law that all trains have good information systems and that station names are clearly illuminated.

At Strasbourg the station wasn’t a problem, although in common with most European stations, the lighting levels, weren’t at the levels you get in the UK.

After a little bit of searching, I found that the tram to my hotel was in a tunnel under the station and with assistance from a helpful local, I was able to purchase a ticket and go the two stops needed.

Often the pasengers’ experience of a train, tram or metro journey can be improved significantly with clear signs and good lighting.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Uncertainty In Basel

The train arrived in Basel on time, but due to a misunderstanding with the public address, I got out at the German station rather than the Swiss one.

So I lost about half-an-hour on my way to Mulhouse. I then had to go to virtually a separate station to get my French train.

Surely for reasons of efficiency, the three stations should be more integrated.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunrise On A Eurostar to Paris

I took these pictures as the Eurostar sped to Paris through the countryside.

So try to book a ticket in a window seat on the left hand side of the train.

In fact always book on that side if you want the sun as coming home you’ll get the sunset.

January 13, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Would Reorganising Cross-Channel Freight Cut Illegal Migration?

People can argue about the advantages and disadvantages of migration into the UK.

But in my view one of the reasons for the high level of illegal immigration into the UK, is that it is a rich source of income for criminal gangs and probably money lenders in countries like Syria, Ethiopia and Somalia, which transport these migrants to the French ports. Never underestimate the role of money-lenders in these sort of enterprises!

Once in the ports, they probably only have reliable way to get into the UK and that is to sneak or be welcomed aboard a truck. I have only heard very occasionally of an illegal immigrant trying to get into the UK in someone’s car.

So could we reorganise cross-channel freight to cut illegal migration?

It would be a good exercise to analyse truck movements through the Channel Tunnel and see how many could be replaced by a direct rail container transfer. It could be argued that jumping on to a train going at over a hundred kilometres per hour is not easy and this alone would cut the number who try to enter the UK illegally.

Could we also run the truck-shuttles from a dedicated truck terminal at a remote location perhaps fifty kilometres from the tunnel itself? I’ve heard drivers complain of bad facilities and not being able to stop before the tunnel, so this could be a lot better for the drivers. I’m sure the French have a really isolated spot close to the autoroutes. If someone thought about this sort of terminal, it could be made into a very secure and comfortable facility.

Obviously, we’d need a similar facility on the UK side! Manston?

December 21, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment