One of my Google alerts found this article on Rail Journal, which is entitled DB to convert DMUs to bi-mode hybrid trains.
This is said.
GERMAN Rail (DB) has announced it is working with technical universities in Chemnitz and Dresden to develop bi-mode (diesel and electric) trains with lithium-ion battery storage. Between 2017 and 2021 DB intends to convert 13 existing Siemens class 642 Desiro Classic DMUs to hybrid bi-mode configuration.
It seems the Germans share my belief that trains with batteries are the future.
There is no other title for a post about this article on the BBC, which is entitled Antibiotic resistance: ‘Snot wars’ study yields new class of drugs.
The research has been done at the University of Tübingen, which is one of Germany’s classical universities. Wikipedia says this.
Tübingen is one of five classical “university towns” in Germany; the other four being Marburg, Göttingen, Freiburg and Heidelberg.
It certainly sounds to me that ideas for this research, possibly started after a good academic dinner with lots of food and alcohol, if classical German universities are anything like our’s.
After all the idea has been literally up researchers noses for years.
These last two paragraphs of the BBC report describes how the antibiotic-like action was possibly created in the human body.
Prof Kim Lewis and Dr Philip Strandwitz, from the antimicrobial discovery centre at Northeastern University in the US, commented: “It may seem surprising that a member of the human microbiota – the community of bacteria that inhabits the body – produces an antibiotic.
“However, the microbiota is composed of more than a thousand species, many of which compete for space and nutrients, and the selective pressure to eliminate bacterial neighbours is high.”
So why hasn’t this new class of antibiotics been found before?
Could it be that medical research is too much about Loadsamoney and Big Pharma, rather than about ideas, seriously out-of-the-box thinking and dilligent research?
Brains are a lot easier to throw at a problem, than money. Except that good brains are much more difficult to find than good money.
Saxony is a German State with a lot of railways. This page is a list from Wikipedia.
In the UK, after the Second World War, we needed to modernise our railways and what we did was rather patchy and haphazard.
It finally, led to a lot of costs to no great benefit.
- I can remember taking over five hours on a journey to Liverpool in the 1960s.
- I always in the 1960s and 1970s, used to look at a heavy rail train and say how inferior they were to what the London Underground offered.
- Electrification was very slow to come in. I can remember Trains Illustrated saying Felixstowe will be electrified soon in the 1960s.
- Schemes like the Picc-Vic Tunnel in Manchester never saw the light of day.
Finally, the Beeching Report put a can on it.
But in the former East Germany, there were no such cost pressures in a centralised communist economy, where maintaining employment was a priority.
One thing you notice in the are is lots of signal boxes, often with an associated level crossing. Do they need them?
Whereas we would shut railways enthusiastically to cut costs, the East Germans didn’t, as it was against their politics.
So a lot of railways got preserved, where other countries would have closed them!
Now you can see a lot of railway development, as like the UK, Germany is coming round to the view that railways are what people want and they’re good for the economy.
This article on Global Rail News is entitled DB and Georgian Railways to cooperate on new Silk Road rail corridor.
It described how Deutsche Bahn and Georgian Railways have signed an agreement to develop a new rail freight route between the Far East and Europe.
This map from the article, shows the various rail routes across Eurasia and how the new Silk Road will fit in.
I think the most interesting thing about the new route, is that it doesn’t go through Russia.
Vladimir Putin will not be amused!
If you read the Wikipedia entry for Georgian Railways, it does list a few problems, but it would appear that the route across Georgia is being upgraded to Standard Gauge all the way from the Turkish border to Almaty in Kazakhstan.
With Germany, Turkey and Europe at the Western end and China at the Eastern end both predominately Standard Gauge, I think that this route will be all the same gauge.
When this happens, trains will be able to go straight through, with perhaps just a change of locomotive.
How long will it be before, an enthusiastic entrepreneur starts to run a passenger service between Europe and China. Trans-Siberian Express eat your heart out!
Vladimir Putin will be even less amused!
If DB can build the Standard Gauge railway through to China via Georgia, it will give the following benefits.
- Services will be faster than the Russian routes.
- There will no change of gauge, which means unloading one train and loading another.
- If the line is electrified, this will make the route more efficient.
- Freight will move smoothly across Asia avoiding the pariah that is Russia.
- The route avoids the more volatile parts of the Middle East.
- Countries on the route like Serbia, Turkey, Georgia and Kazahkstan will surely benefit.
- The route will surely be more accessible to Southern European countries, than the current Russian routes.
It is undoubtedly a good plan.
If you were on the Clapham Omnibus or in my case the Dalston Omnibus and you did a straw poll of what TTIP was about, you probably wouldn’t find anybody who knew.
But obviously they do in Germany.
Or at least they want to stoppen it!
This section of route had the major stop at Salzburg.
It was still raining, but at least I was clean and dry in First Class.
It would have been a much better trip in the sun, as for a lot of the route, the train runs on the Tauern Railway
Even my wet pictures show how spectacular it could be.
Some of the most impressive structures on the UK’s railways are the Victorian brick viaducts.
- Digswell Viaduct on the East Coast Main Line at Welwyn.
- Dollis Brook Viaduct is the highest point on the London Underground.
- Dutton Viaduct on the West Coast Main Line.
- Imberhome Viaduct is on the Bluebell Railway.
- Kingsland Viaduct is my local viaduct on the East London Line.
- London Bridge – Greenwich Railway Viaduct in South East London is one of the oldest.
- London Road Viaduct on the East Coastway Line in Brighton
- Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle Line is regularly featured in newspapers, often with steam trains on the top.
- Royal Border Bridge on the East Coast Main Line at Berwick-on-Tweed is Grade 1 Listed.
- Sankey Viaduct was built in the 1820s, is Grade 1 Listed and is considered the earliest major railway viaduct in the world.
- Stockport Viaduct is the largest brick structure in the UK.
- Welland Viaduct is on the Oakham to Kettering Line.
All of this small selection are still in use on the railways and are Grade II Listed or better.
Many have been renovated at great expense in the last few years and I was prompted to write this post after reading this article on the Network Rail web site, which is entitled Bridges improvement plan for Cheshire will revitalise landmarks. This is said.
Network Rail will refurbish four bridges and two viaducts during an 11-day closure of the Crewe to Manchester and Sandbach to Northwich railway lines, from 13 to 24 February 2016.
The vital work will make the railway safer and more reliable for passengers, motorists, pedestrians and canal users across the county.
Two of Cheshire’s most well-known architectural landmarks, the Grade-II listed viaducts at Holmes Chapel and Peover, will have a full makeover as part of the programme. Water stains on the walls of both viaducts will be removed, damaged brickwork repaired and both structures waterproofed.
At the same time, Network Rail engineers will undertake strengthening work to the Hungerford Road bridge in Crewe, Shipbrook Road bridge in Rudheath, and to the Whatcroft underbridge and the Trent and Mersey Canal bridge in Davenham.
In some ways all this work is a tribute to those Victorian engineers and bricklayers, who designed and built them in the first place.
But it’s an awful lot of work to do!
So I asked myself, if these structures are a uniquely British heritage.
It is the largest brick-built bridge in the world, and for a time it was the tallest railway bridge in the world.
As you can get a direct train from Liepzip to Hof, I think, it is still one very much in use.
I think next tme, that I’m in the area, I shall visit.
If we take these two groups of three countries, they all have different railway companies, but do they illustrate a problem in the relations between various EU countries.
I know my experience of travelling between these six countries is mainly on the trains, but to travel between England, Scotland and Wales by train, is a lot easier than travelling between Belgium and The Netherlands and the Netherlands and Germany is full of little difficulties.
Strangely if you add France into the mix, that is generally as easy as the three home nations.
Judging by my experience in Europe, there are many ways that the Scots and Welsh could make the English unwelcome. But they don’t, except for the Seniors Bus Pass, although the same Senior Railcard is valid everywhere in the UK.
I know we’re all part of the same country, but I think where something has to be agreed across a border, we generally find a solution that is acceptable enough!
In the important area of rail ticketing, there seems little agreement on common standards between Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.
Imagine how difficult it would be if ScotRail had different ticketing rules to say Virgin.
Surely, if Europe can’t get its act together in something like rail ticketing, how can it get something important like dealing with migrants working?
There has been a YouTube video entitled Für Laura, which shows a German getting his own back on his wife, by cutting everything they own in half.
It now turns out that it was all a hoax by the German Bar Association in their on-line magazine .
Who said lawyers don’t have a sense of humour?
And who said Germans don’t have a sense of hunour?