The Anonymous Widower

Finland And Norway To Explore Building Arctic Rail Link

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Reuters web site.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Finland and Norway agreed on Friday to explore constructing an Arctic rail link from northern Finland to the Barents Sea coast to develop trade routes and business opportunities in the region.

The proposed link would run from Finland’s northern city of Rovaniemi to Norway’s ice-free deep-water port of Kirkenes, located some 15 km from the border with Russia.

I didn’t know that ports, that far North could still be ice-free.

It is an interesting concept.

My only worry, is what will Vlad think of it all!

But then the Finns have stood up to the Russians before!

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

We Just Get Leaves On The Line

But the Norwegians have just suffered a bigger problem!

See this article on Global Riail News, which is entitled Tank Removed From Railway Line In Norway.

It reportedly fell of the back of a train.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 4 Comments

British And French Engineers Can Work Together

In the Sunday Times today, they are talking about a £4billion project to import electricity into the UK from Iceland,  It is called Icelink and it would appear to have the backing of both the UK and Iceland governments. There’s more about it in this article in Utility Week.

So it got me thinking about undersea electricity connections around the world. There is a list of them here. And there is forty-four of them

Perhaps the best known is the connection between Kent and France, which is called the HVDC Cross Channel.  It is actually the second one and it has been running for nearly thirty years. A section in Wikipedia describes its significance.

Since the commissioning of the 2,000 MW DC link in the 1980s, the bulk of power flow through the link has been from France to Britain. However, France imports energy as needed during the summer to meet demand, or when there is low availability of nuclear or hydroelectric power.

As of 2005 imports of electricity from France have historically accounted for about 5% of electricity available in the UK. Imports through the interconnector have generally been around the highest possible level, given the capacity of the link. In 2006, 97.5% of the energy transfers have been made from France to UK, supplying the equivalent of 3 million English homes. The link availability is around 98%, which is among the best rates in the world. The continued size and duration of this flow is open to some doubt, given the growth in demand in continental Europe for clean electricity, and increasing electricity demand within France.

So it would appear it’s been successful and proves that we can work with the French on an engineering project.

It strikes me that we need to connect all of our power systems together in Western Europe. The UK is being connected to Ireland, Iceland and Norway and the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are getting in on the act.

What you won’t find from reading about the cables, but you will in some newspaper articles, is that Norway will have the ability to store electricity in a pumped storage system in the future.

So when the wind is blowing and we have too much electricity, the Norwegians will pump water from a low to a high lake and when we want it back, the water will be released through a turbine. It’s like putting your KWh in a bank!

February 16, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Sweden’s Mammals – Would I Go Again?

It is now a few days since I returned from my trip to see Sweden’s mammals, and it is time to pause for reflection.

Although, I ask the question of whether I would go again in this post, I actually don’t think, I would do the exact same trip again, as I’ve done it once and the only disappointment was that the bears and the wolves were on holiday too.

So I might go just to see bears or wolves and Sweden would be one of the places I would look at. After all, it’s a country, where things are done correctly, the food and accommodation, I had on the trip was very good and overall, it was all well organised.

Overall, I enjoyed it immensely and don’t regret going one bit in any way.

I said on the first night on the boat looking for beavers, that we would get some surprises and things wouldn’t turn out as expected.

Obviously, the problems with the bears and the wolves was one surprise, but as someone who lived in the countryside for forty years, I know how unpredictable animals and birds can be.

But we also had two very positive surprises; the ants and the magnificent skies.

If I was organising the tours, I would make sure that these were explained better.

But then as in all things, it is attention to detail that counts.

I have a feeling that this tour and others like it will get more popular, as surely Norway and Sweden, are the one place close to the UK, where you can see large  wild animals.  It’s also an ideal short break.

I think coupled with visits to Stockholm and Oslo at either end, it could be part of a fuller exploration of Scandinavia for everybody.

THe tour I took was organised by Marcus Eldh of Wild Sweden and I booked it through Naturetrek in the UK.

All of the posts can be accessed by clicking this link.

September 14, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Need A Duty-Free By-Pass At Airports

Oslo Airport had one of the largest duty free areas I’ve seen in a long time. It was very crowded too, with passengers trailing cases and carrying overflowing baskets.

I found it difficult to walk through  and it was a completely wasted few minutes, that I could have spent much better.

It’s all totally pointless, as if duty-free was banned on flights and passengers bought their duty free as they arrived in a country, airlines wouldn’t waste fuel flying all that useless junk around the skies.

I wonder how much duty free contributes to global warming?

The EU should make it the law, that every airport has a by-pass for those, who don’t want to buy any duty-free.

And was there anything to eat that was gluten-free in the airport? I didn’t see anything that was!

September 11, 2013 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Endless Bits Of Paper

Queue in Norway and Sweden and you always seem to have to get a ticket with a number on it.

but I suppose, they have plenty enough trees to make the paper for the tickets.

September 11, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Munch Museum

After the National Gallery, I took the metro to get to the Munch Museum to see the other half of the Munch 150 exhibition. It runs to October the 13th, so you’ve about four weeks.

I was also able to get some excellent Swedish meatballs at the museum.

Munchies At The Munch Museum

Munchies At The Munch Museum

Were they Munchies?

September 10, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Anybody Fancy A Drink?

I saw this outside the National Theatre in Oslo.

Anybody Fancy A Drink?

Anybody Fancy A Drink?

You don’t see many these days.  Especially, in such a prominent location.

September 10, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Oslo

The hotel I was in, wasn’t bad, but it was in the wrong position, as the web site said it was ten minutes from the centre.  I assumed that was walking, but it was by car or taxi and there wasn’t any Metro station nearby. However I took a bus to the centre and friendly young lady, told me to get off at the National Theatre.

Norwegian National Theatre

Norwegian National Theatre

It was a good place to start, as a lot of the museums and other places to see are around that area.  There was also a customer service centre, where I was able to buy a 24-hour ticket for the trains, trams, buses and ferries. It is also a station from which you get the train to the airport.

One thing about Norwegian and Swedish for that matter, is that a lot of the words can be guessed.  For instance the stop for the Nation Theatre is Nationaltheatret. At least the Norwegian National Theatre is more centrally placed than ours in London.

From the theatre, I walked around for an hour or so, until I got to the National Gallery, as I wanted to see the Munch paintings.

Norwegian National Gallery

Norwegian National Gallery

At the moment there is a celebration of Edvard Munch, so I bought a ticket for the two venues at both the National Gallery and the Munch Museum.

September 10, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Crazy Train Ride

it should have been very easy.

I was dropped back at Vasteras station and then all I had to do was take a train to Hallsberg, where I would get a fast train to Oslo, where I would arrive around nine o’clock. The aim was to then spent a day in Oslo, coming home on the Wednesday to London by British Airways.

The first part of the journey was uneventful, except that to me it seemed that no-one had adjusted the heating system on the train I got to Hallsberg.  But it was in time to get my connection to Oslo at 17:06.

Hallsberg was a station that was the mix of old and new and had a wide bridge over the tracks like Reading and other rebuilt stations in the UK.

Hallsberg Station

Hallsberg Station

But the train that arrived to take me to Oslo had seen better days. But if I thought that was a bad train, we were then informed that we’d be changing to another train to continue our journey.

Changing Trains

Changing Trains

The new train was one of the worst I’d travelled on in the last couple of years and I’ve even been on a Pacer that was in better condition. None of the toilets were working.

No Toilets Were Working

No Toilets Were Working

All of this game of musical trains was because there works on the lines and they had to get the passengers through on only one line.

Eventually, we got to Kongsvinger, where Swedish Railways had assured us the fast train to Oslo would have been held.

But it hadn’t been held, so about fifty of us gathered in the waiting room at about eleven. Luckily, I had details of my hotel  in Oslo and was able to get them on the telephone to assure them I was on my way. But I know others weren’t so lucky, as they hadn’t any rooms to go to in Oslo.  They’d just hoped they’d get there early enough to find one.

Customer service was non-existent and even the toilets needed a credit card.  Luckily a forceful Swede knew how to fix them, so everybody could have a much-needed pee.

Eventually, a train arrived and although it was fairly new and very clean, it wasn’t the fastest, as it crawled its way to Oslo.

A Train Arrives

A Train Arrives

It was an enjoyable journey though, as the Swede was handing out beer to fellow passengers, who included a teacher from Devon and his German girlfriend. Just as we did on that memorable night in Venice, we enjoyed ourselves and put the world to rights.

I got into Oslo about midnight and wandered around for perhaps half-an-hour until I found a taxi to take me to my hotel.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment