The Anonymous Widower

How Removing Level Crossings Can Get Complicated And Expensive

This article in the East Anglian Daily Times is entitled Multi-Million Pound Lift Could Boost Rail Link From Sudbury To Colchester.

Greater Anglia intend to improve the service on the Gainsborough Line by running direct services between Sudbury and Colchester Town stations.

One of the reasons for doing this, is that the increasing number of passengers travelling between Sudbury and Colchester will avoid changing trains at Marks Tey station.

This Google Map shows Marks Tey station.

Note.

  • The two platforms on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • The single platform for the Gainsborough Line.
  • The footbridge over the main line.

As can be seen, the only step-free interchange with the Gainsborough Line is to and from trains going North to Colchester and Ipswich.

These pictures show the frootbridge and the Gainsborough Line platform.

It is not an ideal interchange for passengers other than the unencumbered, fit and healthy.

I suspect some passengers from Sudbury to London might even take a train to Colchester first and then use the lifts to change to a London train.

And then there’s the Car Parking!

Note in the Google Map, that the station has two car parks, one on each side of the line. So most using the car parks will have to cross the line on the footbridge.

Also note, that the car park on the Northern side of the station, is connected to the station using a pedestrian crossing over the single track rail line, that connects the Gainsborough Line to the Great Eastern Main Line.

According to the East Anglian article, this rail line is used twice a day. But when the Sudbury to Colchester Town service starts, it will be used twice an hour. Anf if this service is successful, I can see Greater Anglia wanting to run the service with a frequency of two trains per hour (tph), which would mean four tph going over the pedestrian crossing.

Understandably, Network Rail want to remove the pedestrian crossing.

This is a paragraph from the East Anglian article.

The national fund has £300m available – and Mr Burles said he estimated that the cost of the work at Marks Tey would be between £4m and £5m. It is at the top of Greater Anglia’s “wish list,” but political support would be necessary if the money was to be released.

As to the political support, the Gainsborough Line and Marks Tey are in a total of five constituencies; all of which are Conservative.

I suspect, Chris Grayling could be under severe pressure from this one.

Although you have to remember that to many civil servants in the Department of Transport, Suffolk is just an area, you pass through on the way to your weekend cottage in Norfolk.

 

 

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Class 365 Trains To The Rescue

I had intended to get a ride on a new Class 385 train, but I only caught a glimpse of one going the other way, from a Class 365 train, that I used both ways between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Passengers seemed to be quite happy with the Class 365 trains cascaded from the Cambridge Cruiser.

I really think that Hitachi have got their production of the Class 385 trains, seriously wrong here.

The body shells are made in Japan and then sent to Newton Aycliffe by sea. This must be an easy way to ensure a slow production of trains.

Bombardier make the body shells in the same factory as they design and assemble the trains.

Even if CAF make their body shells in Spain, that is a much shorter and probably more reliable journey.

I must admit if I was the CEO of a train operating company, I wouldn’t buy a Hitachi train.

But then Tony Blair only wanted a new factory, close to his constituency!

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

President Maduro Of Venezuela

Seeing President Maduro of Venezuela standing there in his extravagant suit with a multi-coloured sash, he looked so like one of the comic creations of Sacha Baron Cohen.

Now, I’m afraid every time I hear his name mentioned I laugh!

 

August 5, 2018 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Is It Back To The Future In Manchester?

In the 1970s British Rail, proposed three tunnel projects in the North

  • A Loop and Link  in Liverpool that linked railways from North, South and the Wirral underneath the City Centre.
  • A tunnel under Newcastle.
  • The Picc-Vic Tunnel,  under Manchester.

All three tunnels were designed to connect the railways on both sides of the cities.

  • Liverpool got the much-loved and successful Northern and Wirral Lines of Merseyrail in 1977.
  • Newcastle got the much-loved and successful Tyne and Wear Metro in 1980.
  • Manchester got nothing, as Harold Wilson cancelled it, like Maplin Airport and the Channel Tunnel.

Am I right in thinking that the Channel Tunnel was resurrected later and opened in 1994? It is now much-loved and successful!

Finally, the Government and a lot of opposition MPs and unions have decided that Maplin be replaced by a third runway at Heathrow.

Will that be cancelled by Boris, David, Jeremy, Ruth or Vince?

Today, this article has been published on Rail Magazine, which is entitled Option For Underground Station At Manchester Piccadilly.

Apparently, to integrate Northern Powerhouse Rail into the HS2 station at Manchester Piccadiily station, one option is to go underground.

So are those ideas and surveys of the 1970s being looked at for a solution?

 

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Labour Abandons Support For New Heathrow Runway

This title of this post is the same as an article on Page 2 of today’s Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Labour will drop its formal support for a third runway at Heathrow today in a significant U-turn that leaves the plan on a knife edge.

Other points in the article.

  • Labour MPs will have a free vote.
  • 75% of all MPs support a third runway, including the SNP and the DUP.
  • A Labour free vote probably means it would pass a vote.
  • Labour has formally backed a third runway for fifteen years.
  • The unions back the third runway.

It would all be so irrelevant, if we’d built Maplin in the last century. But Harold Wilson cancelled it!

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Minister Claims Hydrogen Train On Trial In UK

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

This is the first paragraph.

Rail Minister Jo Johnson told the Transport Select Committee on April 30 that a hydrogen train was on trial in the Lake District.

After the end of Amber Rudd’s political career yesterday, for not telling the truth to another Select Committee, I would be very surprised if Jo Johnson’s statement is not substantially correct.

Something strange is happening on the Windermere Branch Line.

  • Most of the day, there is an hourly shuttle train between Windermere and Oxenholme Lake District stations.
  • But the 10:56, 18:03 and 22:45 services from Windermerre, continue to Preston.
  • The 06:23 from Oxenholm Lake District to Windermere starts from Lancaster.
  • The 11:20 from Oxen Lake District to Windermere starts from Preston.
  • The 18:30 from Oxen Lake District to Windermere starts from Barrow-in-Furness.

It doesn’t seem to be the sort of diagram for a regular scheduled service.

Could it be that Class 769 trains are being tested?

  • Running on the West Coast Main Line between Preston and Oxenholme stations would be at up to 100 mph using the 25 KVAC overhead wires.
  • Running  to Windermere and Barrow-in-Furness stations would be under diesel power.
  • Note that the service goes to Preston in the middle of the day. Could this mean , that they are thoroughly testing more than one train?
  • From Preston the trains can go to turnback platforms at Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn, Blackpool North, Blackpool South, Colne, Ormskirk and Windermere stations. So, Preston would be an ideal base from where to test the trains.

Could one of the trains under test be hydrogen  powered?

If what Jo Johnson said is to believed, at least one of the test trains must be!

Who’d have thought, that an old British Rail-designed Class 319 train, that entered service thirty-years ago, could be the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train.

A Hydrogen-Powered Class 769 Train

Of course, the engineering must be possible .

  • The train would need a hydrogen tank, a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery.
  • They would probably be fitted under the train, where there wuld appear to be plenty of space.

But companies like Ballard have a lot of experience with building hydrogen-powered buses.

Don’t Rule Out Bombardier!

I believe that most train manufacturers are looking seriously at hydrogen power, as a greener alternative to diesel.

Two years ago, Bombardier showed their expertise with batteries, by developing the Class 379 BEMU demonstrator in just a few months.

Could Bombardier have taken an Electrostar or Aventra and fitted it with batteries and a hydrogen tank and a hydrogen fuel cell?

Conclusion

I think that Jo Johnson was telling the truth or at least enough of the truth, not to be caught misleading a Select Committee of the House of Commons.

 

 

May 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Resignation Of Amber Rudd

In the almost forty-six years from 18th October 1964  to the 11th May 2010, there have been several Governments of both sides and twenty Home Secretaries.

Which means the average tenure is under two and a half years.

Incidentally, how many of the twenty can you name?

So Amber Rudd‘s tenure is just under the average.

The remarkable thing about the list of Home Secretaries is how few last more than four years, so Theresa May‘s tenure of six years, must show a certain something.

In the same period, there have only been twelve Chancellors of the Exchequer.

I have seen it said by respectable commentators, that if a company has a large turnover of CEOs, then there is something fundamentally wrong with the company.

So is there something fundamentally wrong with the Home Office?

It is a large department with a budget of nearly £9billion and around 30,000 employees.

The Home Office web site, these are the department’s responsibilities.

  • working on the problems caused by illegal drug use
  • shaping the alcohol strategy, policy and licensing conditions
  • keeping the United Kingdom safe from the threat of terrorism
  • reducing and preventing crime, and ensuring people feel safe in their homes and communities
  • securing the UK border and controlling immigration
  • considering applications to enter and stay in the UK
  • issuing passports and visas
  • supporting visible, responsible and accountable policing by empowering the public and freeing up the police to fight crime
  • fire prevention and rescue

Would Sainsburys put such diverse responsibilities together?

I’m certain, that some of these responsibilities need to be reorganised.

Perhaps, then Home Secretaries will find it easier to stay in the job.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

FOBT Stakes Should Be Limited To £2

This is the title on The Thunderer column in The Times today.

If you don’t know, FOBTs are Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which have been described as the crack-cocaine of gambling.

I have never seen, let alone used one, as when I have a bet, it’s usually on a horse or an event like I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! using the Internet.

The odd thing about this Thunderer comment is not the comment itself, with which I agree totally.

It’s just that it is joint comment, written by.

  • Carolyn Harris, who is the Labour MP for Swansea East.
  • Iain Douglas smith, who is the Conservative MP for Chingford Green

East and West, Left and Right have met in a good cause.

Surely, we should have more cooperation like this!

April 25, 2018 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Does President Putin Speak English?

I’ve wondered this for a few months and this article on Newsweek, which is entitled Does Putin Speak English? After Trump Meeting, The Kremlin Weighs in.

This is the first paragraph.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been praising Donald Trump’s listening skills last week but on Monday, his own abilities as a good speaker were receiving plaudits. Putin’s English, seldom heard by western audiences, is good enough to correct his translators, according to the man hired to speak on Putin’s behalf.

I think we can take the answer as yes!

April 15, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Lipman Says Corbyn Must Leave The Stage

This title of this post, is the same, as that of a small article in The Times.

Ms Lipman used the words, malign, scary and antisemitic.

Enough said!

I sent a text to a friend, who knows Maureen Lipman.

Strangely, she received the text, as she was talking to Ms Lipman on the phone.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments