The Anonymous Widower

Merseyrail Saw Over 90,000 Extra Journeys Made As Eurovision Revellers Travelled Across The Region

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

These two paragraphs outline the story.

Merseyrail has reported an approximate increase of 24% in journeys made when compared to the same period in 2022 with an extra 90,000 trips made with the rail operator whilst Liverpool hosted Eurovision.

Special strategies were put in place to facilitate the increase in passengers, including late-night services to support the two busiest nights with trains running into the early hours following the Grand Final.

Sounds like Liverpool had a result, even if the UK didn’t.

May 21, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , | 1 Comment

Hydrogen Buses Start Running Across Region

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

These are the main points.

  • A fleet of 20 hydrogen powered buses start running in Merseyside

  • The zero emission buses will improve air quality, Mayor Steve Rotheram said

  • He wants the Liverpool City Region to be net zero carbon by 2040

The buses will operate on the 10A route between St Helens, Knowsley and Liverpool city centre.

I wonder, if they’ll go past my old digs on Huyton Lane.


May 16, 2023 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

The Much-Loved Railway Food Carrier Bag

Coming back from Liverpool yesterday on Avanti West Coast, I treated myself to a coffee and a Nakd bar.

I took this picture after I’d cleared away and put all the rubbish in the bag.

These bags seem to be unique to British trains and I’ve never seen one in use on the many foreign trains, I’ve used all over the world.

Yesterday, the train was a Pendolino and I had no trouble carrying my coffee back to my seat, whilst the train tilted.

Were these bags invented by British Rail?

I can never understand, why they are not used by takeaways, as they are ideal for carrying food and drinks without spilling anything and they are much easier to carry and are ideal for collecting up the rubbish to put in a litter bin.

May 5, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Merseyrail Grand National Journeys Exceed 105,000

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Liverpool Business News.

This is the first paragraph.

Train operator Merseyrail records more 105,000 passenger journeys made by racegoers during the three-day Grand National festival – and it gave away 4,000 pairs of flip-flops.

These are some points from the rest of the article.

  • Many were carried on the new 777 Class trains.
  • Merseyrail increased the number of trains during the three days and, at times, was running a seven-and-a-half-minute frequency.
  • There was live music and entertainment for passengers at Aintree station.
  • £4,200 was raised by charitable collections at the station.

It looks like a lot of people had a good time.

It was probably all good practice for Eurovision.

April 20, 2023 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Liverpool Lime Street Station And St. George’s Hall

When you arrive in a town or city by train, I believe that you should be welcomed by a wide spacious area, where you can get your bearings and meet friends.

I took these pictures outside Liverpool Lime Street station.


  1. The three main buildings on the pictures, are one Grade I and two Grade II Listed buildings.
  2. St. George’s Hall is a Grade I neoclassical building.
  3. A liver bird told me, that the magnificent floor with its 30,000 Minton tiles, will be open this summer.
  4. Lime Street station is now one of the best terminal stations in the world, both in terms of architecture and operation.
  5. The hotel on the left of the station, is now a Radisson Red hotel, after a very chequered history during the last ninety years.
  6. Not many stations welcome you to a city like Liverpool does.

In London, King’s Cross and Liverpool Street make an effort, but some stations like Paddington just deliver you to crowded, anonymous, dingy streets.

February 24, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , | Leave a comment

World’s First Offshore Wind Farm Using 16 MW Turbines Enters Construction In China

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

This is the sub-heading.

China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) has started construction of the second phase of its offshore wind farm Zhangpu Liuao. The project will be both China’s and the world’s first wind farm to comprise 16 MW wind turbines.

I hope the Chinese have done all their calculations, research and testing. The dynamics of large wings are tricky and there are a lot of square law factors involved. I’d always be worried that at a particular wind speed a dangerous vibration will be setup.

How many Chinese engineers have seen videos of Galloping Gertie?

As the video says, no one was injured or killed, when the Tacoma Narrows Bridge fell into the river, but we nearly had a very similar disaster in the UK. I used to work at ICI in Runcorn and at the time, I lived in Liverpool, so every day, I went to work I crossed the Silver Jubilee Bridge twice.

One day, after a party in Cheshire, I even got so drunk, I had to stop the car on the bridge and was sick into the Mersey. It was before C and myself were married and she always claimed she nearly called the marriage off, after the incident.

But have you ever wondered, why that bridge is a through arch bridge rather than a suspension bridge as over the Forth, Hmber and Severn, which were all built around the same time?

Wikipedia has a section, which describes the Planning of the bridge.

The new bridge had to allow the passage of shipping along the Manchester Ship Canal. Many ideas were considered, including a new transporter bridge or a swing bridge. These were considered to be impractical and it was decided that the best solution was a high-level bridge upstream from the railway bridge. This would allow the least obstruction to shipping and would also be at the narrowest crossing point. The first plan for a high-level bridge was a truss bridge with three or five spans, giving an 8 yards (7 m) dual carriageway with a cycle track and footpaths. This was abandoned because it was too expensive, and because one of the piers would be too close to the wall of the ship canal. The next idea was for a suspension bridge with a span of 343 yards (314 m) between the main towers with an 8 yards (7 m) single carriageway and a 2-yard (2 m) footpath. However aerodynamic tests on models of the bridge showed that, while the bridge itself would be stable, the presence of the adjacent railway bridge would cause severe oscillation.

The finally accepted design was for a steel through arch bridge with a 10-yard (9 m) single carriageway. The design of the bridge is similar to that of Sydney Harbour Bridge but differs from it in that the side spans are continuous with the main span rather than being separate from them. This design feature was necessary to avoid the problem of oscillation due to the railway bridge. The main span measures 361 yards (330 m) and each side span is 83 yards (76 m).

But that misses out part of the story that I learned about at ICI.

I developed a very simple piece of electronics for ICI Runcorn’s noise and vibration expert. The equipment allowed the signals from two noise meters to be subtracted. This meant that if they were pointed in different directions, the noise generated by an object or piece of equipment could be determined.

The noise and vibration expert had tremendous respect from his fellow engineers, but his involvement in the design of the Runcorn bridge had elevated him to a legend.

The designers of the suspension bridge, that is detailed in the Wikipedia extract, presented their design to the ICI (Merseyside) Scientific Society.

The noise and vibration expert was at the meeting and questioned the design and said it would collapse due to oscillations caused by the presence of the railway bridge. He advised aerodynamic tests should be done on the bridge.

His back of the fag packet calculations were shown by tests to be correct and the bridge was built as a through arch bridge.

These pictures show the bridge.

They were taken from a train on the railway bridge.


February 6, 2023 Posted by | Design, Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Express Bus Improves Links Between Skelmersdale And Liverpool

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item from Lancashire County Council.

This is the sub-heading.

A new bus service launched this week makes it quicker and easier to travel between Skelmersdale and Liverpool using public transport.

And these are the first two paragraphs.

The 319 Trainlink service, operated by Stagecoach on behalf of Lancashire County Council, runs between Skelmersdale Concourse, Kirkby railway station and Kirkby bus station for onward transport links into Liverpool reducing the travel time between Skelmersdale and Liverpool Central Station to under 50 minutes.

The express service, which launched on Sunday 22 January, operates every 30 minutes throughout the day Monday to Saturday, and every hour in the evening. There is also an hourly service on Sundays. Buses are timed to connect with Merseyrail train services from early ’til late.


  1. Once the new Headbolt station opens, it will serve that station.
  2. The express bus service has started two days before Merseyrail introduce their new Class 777 trains.
  3. I hope the quality of the buses are up to that of the new trains.
  4. The service is probably the best that can be done, until a train service is built.
  5. There will be integrated fare options between Skelmersdale and Liverpool.

Transport planners need to do more to use buses to extend train services.

January 24, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A French Banker’s View Of The French Police

After the violence at the weekend in Paris, I am reminded of a meeting with a French banker.


Many years ago, I used to do business with a French banker; Andre, who lived and worked in Geneva.

Whether, there had been an excess of violence by French police at the time, I can’t remember, but in a restaurant in Geneva we got talking about the different between French police and other forces in Europe. Andre stated that if you join the French police, you immediately lose all your friends, as no-one wants a policeman as a friend, such is the distrust of the police.

Andre had worked all over Europe, and felt that only in France, is there this attitude to the police.

Does this closed society of the French police lead to them going over the top, as they regularly seem to do?

I’d love to know what the French police think of refugees! I wonder, if they see them as a supreme nuisance and feel the sooner, they have left French soil the better.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Sport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

Man Dies After Being Hit By Train As Services Out Of Lime Street Cancelled

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

These paragraphs describe the incident.

Cheshire Police were called to Hartford station in Northwich at around 4pm on Monday, May 23, following reports of a man being hit by a train. Once officers and paramedics arrived at the scene the station was closed to all trains and British Transport Police were called.

British Transport Police have confirmed when emergency services arrived at the scene the man was already dead. Officers are currently working to identify the man and inform their next of kin.

At 15:47, I left Liverpool Lime Street station for London and this was my journey.

  • We stopped at Runcorn and waited there about 15 minutes.
  • We then reversed back to Liverpool and got off the train.
  • We were then told to get back on the train.
  • I actually sat opposite my original seat in coach U, but there was a bit of chaos as Avanti West Coast were combining passengers for the 15:47 and 16:47.
  • We left Liverpool at 17:23.
  • The route was through Manchester and then South from Manchester Piccadilly.
  • We finally arrived in London at 20:18

The journey had taken five hours and thirty-four minutes.

In addition the 17:47, 18:47 and the 19:47 were cancelled, with some passengers taken by bus to Crewe.

May 24, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Liverpool Shows The World How To Plan A New Station

Liverpool and Liverpudlians tend to do things differently.

This article on Liverpool Business News is entitled First Look At New Baltic Triangle Station.

This is the first paragraph.

St James station closed in 1917 but images and a video fly-through of a proposed new Merseyrail station to serve the fast-growing Baltic Triangle in Liverpool have been released – and you can help choose a name.

These are my thoughts about the new Liverpool St. James station.

The Video Fly-Through

Merseyrail produced a high-class video fly-through for Headbolt Lane station and it is my belief that these types of presentation are the best way to show everybody what the Transport Authority, Local and National Government are planning to deliver.


  • The station is very cycling-friendly.
  • The proposal includes a cafe and toilets.
  • There are escalators from the surface to the platforms.

My only fault with the video, is that it uses the old Class 508 trains, rather than the new Class 777 trains. But that is being picky!

The Station Name

Liverpool already has a station called Liverpool James Street station.

The UK also has seven railway stations with James in the name and the whole world has a total of twelve, which are listed in Wikipedia.

So to avoid any possible confusion, the three chosen names seem to be a good idea.

  • Liverpool Baltic
  • Liverpool Parliament Street
  • Liverpool Riverside

Cast your vote before February 18th  by clicking here.

I can’t remember a station name being chosen by an Internet vote.

At least a write-in name is not allowed, which should avoid a silly name like Station McStationFace.


Liverpool are to be congratulated on their planning exercise for the new station.

January 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments