The Anonymous Widower

A Friend Has Just Been Diagnosed With Motor Neurone Disease

For all those suffering from the disease, O offer this uplifting tale.

My late wife; C was a barrister and one of her colleagues and our friends was a judge.

Towards the end of his life, he suffered from motor neurone disease and carried on sitting as a senior judge in Norwich.

After my wife and the judge had both passed away, I was invited to a party in my wife’s former Chambers.

At one point, I started talking with some of former colleagues about the judge. All of them agreed, that the quality of his judgements had not changed.

This link is the Donate Link at the Motor Neuron Disease Association.

June 1, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Are The Office Of Rail And Road (Or Their Lawyers) Too Risk Averse?

An article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways is entitled Uckfield Third Rail Is NR Priority.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Electrification of the line between Hurst Green and Uckfield in East Sussex and the remodelling of East Croydon are the top Network Rail investment priorities south of the river, according to Southern Region Managing Director John Halsall. He told Modern Railways that third rail is now the preferred option for the Uckfield Line, as it would allow the route to use the pool of third-rail EMUs in the area. This is in preference to the plan involving overhead electrification and use of dual-voltage units put forward by then-Network Rail director Chris Gibb in his 2017 report (p66, September 2017 issue).

NR has put forward options for mitigating the safety risk involved with the third-rail system, including switching off the power in station areas when no trains are present and section isolation systems to protect track workers. ‘The Office of Rail and Road hasn’t yet confirmed third rail would be acceptable, but we are working out ways in which it could be’ Mr Halsall told Modern Railways. He added that bi-mode trains with batteries were not a feasible option on this line, as the 10-car trains in use on the route would not be able to draw sufficient charge between London and Hurst Green to power the train over the 25 miles on to Uckfield.

As an Electrical Engineer, who’s first real job in industry at fifteen was installing safety guards on guillotines nearly sixty years ago, I don’t believe that an acceptable solution can’t be devised.

But as at Kirkby on Merseyside, the Office Of Rail And Road, do seem to be stubbornly against any further third-rail installations in the UK.

I wonder what, the Office Of Rail And Road would say, if Transport for London wanted to extend an Underground Line for a few miles to serve a new housing development? On previous experience, I suspect Nanny would say no!

But is it more than just third-rail, where the Office Of Rail And Road is refusing to allow some technologies on the railway?

Battery-Electric Trains

I first rode in a viable battery-electric train in February 2015, but we still haven’t seen any other battery-electric trains in service on UK railways running under battery power.

Does the Office Of Rail And Road, believe that battery-electric trains are unsafe, with the lithium-ion batteries likely to catch fire at any time?

Hydrogen-Powered Trains

The hydrogen-powered Alstom Coradia iLint has been in service in Germany since September 2018.

But progress towards a viable hydrogen train has been very slow in the UK, with the only exception being demonstrations at COP26.

Are The Office Of Rail And Road still frightened of the Hindenburg?

Although hydrogen-powered buses have been allowed.

A Tale From Lockheed

When Metier Management Systems were sold to Lockheed, I worked for the American company for a couple of years.

I met some of their directors and they told some good American lawyer jokes, such was their disgust for the more money-grabbing of the American legal profession.

At the time, Flight International published details of an innovative landing aid for aircraft, that had been developed by Lockheed. It was a suitcase-sized landing light, that could be quickly setup up on a rough landing strip, so that aircraft, like a Hercules, with an outstanding rough field performance could land safely.

I read somewhere that a Flying Doctor service or similar had acquired some of these landing aids, so they could provide a better service to their clients.

But Lockheed’s lawyers were horrified, that they would get sued, if someone was seriously injured or even died, whilst the aid was being used.

Apparently, in the end, the aids were marked Not For Use In The USA.

Conclusion

I do wonder, if third-rail electrification, battery-electric trains and hydrogen-powered trains have come up against a wall created by over-cautious lawyers.

 

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm Re-approved By Government

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

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

An offshore wind farm capable of generating electricity for nearly two million homes has been re-approved by government after consent was previously overturned by a High Court judge.

Vattenfall’s 1.8-gigawatt Norfolk Vanguard project had been granted consent by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Note.

  1. Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard are a pair of 1.8 GW offshore wind farms to be developed 72 and 47 kilometres off the Norfolk coast by Swedish company; Vattenfall.
  2. Hinckley Point C will have a capacity of 3.25 GW.

This map shows the two fields in relation to the coast.

Note.

  1. The purple line appears to be the UK’s ten mile limit.
  2. Norfolk Boreas is outlined in blue.
  3. Norfolk Vsnguard is outlined in orange.
  4. Cables will be run in the grey areas.

This second map shows the onshore cable.

Note.

  1. The cables are planned to come ashore between Happisburgh and Eccles-on-Sea.
  2. Bacton is only a short distance up the coast.
  3. The onshore cable is planned to go from here across Norfolk to the Necton substation.

But the planning permission was overturned by a legal ruling.

This article on the BBC is entitled Norfolk Vanguard: Ministers Wrong Over Wind Farm Go-Ahead, Says Judge.

These are the first four paragraphs.

A High Court judge has quashed permission for one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms to be built off the east coast of England.

The Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm was granted development consent in July by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

But Mr Justice Holgate overturned the decision following legal action from a man living near a planned cable route.

A Department for BEIS spokeswoman said it was “disappointed by the outcome”.

This is a paragraph in today’s BBC article.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, granted development consent for the wind farm, having re-determined the application.

So will we be back to the Law Courts?

In Is There A Need For A Norfolk-Suffolk Interconnector?, I said this.

But seriously, is it a good idea to dig an underground cable all the way across Norfolk or in these times build a massive overhead cable either?

Perhaps the solution is to connect the Norfolk Boreas And Norfolk Vanguard wind farms to a giant electrolyser at Bacton, which creates hydrogen.

  • The underground electricity cable across Norfolk would not be needed.
  • Bacton gas terminal is only a few miles up the coast from the cable’s landfall.
  • The UK gets another supply of gas.
  • The hydrogen is blended with natural gas for consumption in the UK or Europe.
  • A pure hydrogen feed can be used to supply hydrogen buses, trucks and other vehicles, either by tanker or pipeline.
  • Excess hydrogen could be stored in depleted gas fields.

Thye main benefit though, would be that it would transform Bacton gas terminal from a declining asset into Norfolk’s Hydrogen Powerhouse.

For more information on blending hydrogen into our natural gas supply see HyDeploy.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TfL To Ban Private e-Scooters and e-Unicycles From Its Premises

The title of this post, is the same as this article on City AM.

I am no fan of these devices, especially, when they are ridden on pavements at speed, as they are very often in London.

I have also seen several instances of Darwinian behaviour, which would increase the quality of the gene pool.

The sooner the riders of these devices are made to obey the law the better.

December 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

ORR’s Policy On Third Rail DC Electrification Systems

The title of this post is the same as that of a document I downloaded from this page on the Office of Rail and Road web site.

It is one of the most boring legal documents, that I have ever read and I have read a few in my time.

As I read it, effectively it says that new third-rail electrification is banned because of Health and Safety issues, which take precedence.

But only once in the document is new technology mentioned, that might make third-rail safer and that is a reference to the Docklands Light Railway, where the third rail is shielded.

I am an Electrical Engineer and I was designing safety systems for heavy industrial guillotines at fifteen as a vacation job in a non-ferrous metals factory.

One design of an ideal electric railway would have battery-electric trains, that were charged in stations by third-rail. The third-rail would only be energised, when a train was over the top and needed to be charged. In effect the train would act as an all-enclosing guard to the conductor rail.

Electrification Of The West Of England Main Line

The West of England Main Line runs between Basingstoke and Exeter via Salisbury. It is one of the longest, if not the longest main lines in England, that is not electrified.

It would probably need to be electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification, as that standard is used between London Waterloo and Basingstoke.

In Solving The Electrification Conundrum, I described a system being developed by Hitachi, that would use battery-electric trains that were charged by short sections of electrified line every fifty miles or so. For reasons of ease of installation and overall costs, these short sections of electrification could be third-rail, that was electrically dead unless a train was connected and needed charging. These electrified sections could also be in stations, where entry on to the railway is a bit more restricted.

Conclusion

The Office of Rail and Road needs to employ a few more engineers with good technical brains, rather than ultra-conservative risk-averse lawyers.

As a sad footnote, I live in East London, where trespassers are regularly electrocuted on the railway. But usually, it is when idiots are travelling on top of container trains  and inadvertently come into contact with the overhead electrification.

July 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Piers Corbyn Arrested Over Vaccine ‘Auschwitz Leaflet’

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

Piers Corbyn has been arrested over leaflets comparing the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout to Auschwitz.

The 73-year-old brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he voluntarily attended a police station on Wednesday.

He was then arrested on suspicion of malicious communications and public nuisance.

I am a confirmed atheist, but I do have Jewish ancestors. My great-great-great-grandfather was a Jewish tailor and came from Konigsberg in East Prussia.

As people related to my ancestor and therefore myself, were probably sent to Auschwitz and other similar camps and never came out, I feel very annoyed at what Corbyn has been involved in.

Corbyn and his collaborators should undoubtedly feel the full force of the law.

This

February 4, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stonehenge A303 Tunnel Plan Approved By Transport Secretary

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A controversial plan to dig a £2.4bn road tunnel near Stonehenge has been approved by the Transport Secretary.

As a non-driver, who would prefer to travel to the South West by train, I have no definite opinion on the proposed scheme.

However, I do hope that the design has taken full account of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Will more decide to holiday at home?
  • Will more buy holiday homes in Cornwall and Devon?
  • Will the road attract more traffic, as most do?

I do feel though, that it will be some years before construction starts, as if ever there was a project, that will be a pot of gold lawyers, then this is it!

 

November 12, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

Bristol Illegal Rave Attended By 700 People

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

This is the sub-title.

Police say they were attacked as they tried to break up an illegal rave at a warehouse near Bristol.

Let’s hope it gives lots of work for criminal defence solicitors.

November 1, 2020 Posted by | Health, News | , , , , | 3 Comments

US Man Faces Jail In Thailand Over Hotel Review

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

I suggest that before you visit Thailand, you read the article.

After reading, the article, I moved Thailand onto my never visit list, alongside Iran and North Korea.

How can a country have such a stupid legal system?

It’s all rather strange really, as I’ve had nothing but kindness and courtesy from all the Thais I have met.

September 29, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Greater Manchester Police Warning After 660 Parties Shut Down

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Greater Manchester Police has warned people not to breach lockdown rules over Easter after it had to break up 660 parties last weekend.

This was also reported.

  • There were 1,132 coronavirus-related breaches reported between Saturday and Tuesday.
  • Some of the 494 house parties had DJs, fireworks and bouncy castles.
  • There were also 166 street parties.
  • One woman in Bury was arrested.

The force also had to deal with 122 different groups gathering to play sports, 173 more gatherings in parks and 112 incidents of anti-social behaviour and public disorder.

There have been some similar reports in London, but not on this scale.

So why is it, that Manchester disobeyed the rules so much?

Is it because the BBC is in Manchester and it’s easy to report?

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | 5 Comments