The Anonymous Widower

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 offshoreWIND.biz.

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.

Note.

  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.

Note.

  • 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.

Conclusion

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

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

Penmaenmawr Quarry Rail Terminal Opens

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Hanson has reopened its Penmaenmawr railhead in north Wales, as part of its strategy to reduce vehicle movements and associated CO2 emissions.

The quarrying company has spent £300 000 refurbishing the facility, including upgrades to the railhead conveyor which was last used in 2012. The first trial service was operated by GB Railfreight and transported stone to the Tuebrook depot near Liverpool to test the equipment and uncover any operational issues within the quarry and at the railhead.

The aim is to one one train per week between North Wales and North West England.

This Google Map shows the Penmaenmawr railhead.

Note.

  1. Penmaenmawr station is in the top right corner of the map.
  2. The railhead is in the bottom-left corner of the map.
  3. The North Wales Expressway is between the railway and the beach.

There is a conveyor leading to the South and this second Google Map shows the vast quarry complex.

Penmaenmawr station is in the top right corner of the map.

It does appear to me, that this is a good move by Hanson.

  • If the quarry can be worked economically, it is surely worthwhile exploiting.
  • Opening new quarries, is generally not an easy process.
  • Even using diesel locomotives on the aggregate trains, probably saves carbon compared to trucks.
  • Closing the quarry would probably not be good for the area.
  • They only want to run one train per week.
  • I wonder, if the train goes through the Halton Curve that opened a couple of years ago.
  • Penmaenmawr and Tuebrook Sidings are a route of about eighty miles.

But I think in the future it could be a very good move, as at least one of three things will happen.

  • The North Wales Coast Line will be electrified.
  • Someone will develop a hydrogen-electric freight locomotive.
  • Wabtec will develop their battery-electric locomotive for the UK with a UK-sized FLXdrive battery.

All possibilities will help Hanson lower the carbon footprint of the route.

Given too, that Hanson will probably decarbonise their quarrying operations by using hydrogen-powered equipment, it should be possible to arrange a hydrogen supply at Penmaenmawr.

 

January 18, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

East Midlands Commuter Programme

The East Midlands Commuter Programme has been launched.

It has its own web site, with this mission statement.

Working Towards A Srosperous East Midlands By Investing In Rail

And this more expansive statement.

East Midlands Commuter Programme is a scheme to introduce a high-frequency and high-quality rail service across the East Midlands with as little new infrastructure as possible, as well as lobbying for the extension of NET trams into Derby, East Midlands Airport and more.

So what is the flesh on the bones?

Four Stages

These are.

It looks to me, that there is the start of good things there, but full information is not on the web site yet.

Every plan put forward must be capable of being built.

I shall not comment further until the plan has been completed, published and handed to the Government.

Liverpool’s Vision For Rail was published by the region in July 2021 and it is a complete and well-thought out plan.

In October 2021, I was able to write Chancellor To Fund £710m Merseyrail Expansion.

Work has already started on the first extension to Headbolt Lane station.

At a very much smaller level, look what happened in Devon with the Dartmoor Line, where a small scheme was delivered quickly.

We now also have two further smaller well-planned schemes underway; the Northumberland Line and the Levenmouth Rail Link in Scotland.

Conclusion

I would suspect, that if the East Midlands can write a plan that is complete, fully-costed and deliverable, then they will get the same result as the Liverpool City Region.

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Chancellor To Fund £710m Merseyrail Expansion

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

This is the first sentence.

In his Budget on October 27 Chancellor Rishi Sunak will hand Liverpool city region £710m to extend the Merseyrail network using battery-operated trains.

I wrote about Merseyrail’s plans in Liverpool’s Vision For Rail.

This is a map of how the network might look.

Battery trains might serve Preston, Skelmersdale, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan and Wrexham.

There is also this tailpiece to the Liverpool Business News article.

In August LBN also revealed Mr Rotheram was in talks with senior Government officials about taking full control of the Merseyrail network, including the physical infrastructure, Full devolution of the network would give the CA direct control over significant areas of land, opening up the opportunity for new development.

That seems very sensible.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 7 Comments

Life After Pancreatic Cancer

The London Marathon always throws up human stories.

This one from the Argus, which is entitled Youngest London Marathon Runner Raising Funds For Medics Who Saved Her Life, is one of the best I can remember.

These are the first two paragraphs.

The youngest runner in the London Marathon is undertaking the challenge to raise money for the medics who saved her life by carrying out surgery to remove a tumour from her gut the size of a large grapefruit.

Lucy Harvey, from Poole, Dorset, was admitted to Poole Hospital in January 2019 with appendicitis, but the pre-op scans identified a mass on her pancreas.

This story has really touched me.

  • My son died at 37 from pancreatic cancer.
  • His daughter, who is now eighteen, was born with a congenital hernia of the diaphragm and was saved by heroic surgery in the Royal London Hospital by Vanessa Wright.
  • I support pancreatic cancer research at Liverpool University, where I met my late wife in the 1960s.
  • I raised a little bit of money, for the pancreatic cancer study I talk about in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!.

My granddaughter now lives a reasonably normal life!

October 3, 2021 Posted by | Health, Sport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Property Buyers Want Train To Take The Strain, Says Rightmove

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in today’s Times.

Aooarently people are buying houses within an hour’s commute to London, with Chelmsford, Crewe and Sittingbourne being especially popular.

Note.

  1. Chelmsford will soon be served by a new train fleet.
  2. Sittingbourne is served by Southeastern’s HighSpeed trains.
  3. Crewe is served by fast services and will be on High Speed Two, earlier than many places.

Liverpool and Birmingham City Centres are also popular according to the article.

September 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , | 1 Comment