The Anonymous Widower

The New London Pollution Charge — May Be Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘Poll Tax Moment’

The title of this post is the same as that of a news story in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The ‘ultra-low emission zone’ will force 1m motorists to pay the £12.50 daily charge — or get off the road,

The Sunday Times has done a detailed analysis and makes the following points about the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

  • About a million vehicles will be liable to the new levy.
  • The ULEZ charge of £12.50 will be a nice little earner for Transport for London (TfL).
  • The ULEZ charge will raise three times as much as the Congestion Charge.
  • It could collect up to £1.5billion per year.
  • Some people will be paying £4,000 a year to drive their own car.
  • Initially, the charge will only be levied in Central London, but after 2021, it will apply inside the North and South Circular Roads.
  • The Sunday Times has read some TfL impact assessments.

Reading the full article convinces me, that I made the right decision to give up driving.

I am in favour of the ULEZ, as I suffer from pollution and I don’t have a driving licence because my eyesight was damaged by a stroke.

But Sadiq Khan seems to have forgotten a lesson of recent history, where the City of Westminster voted down his laudable aim of pedestrianising part of Oxford Street.

On that issue, he should have pedestrianised all of it. Just as the City of London seems to be doing!

But the motoring lobby gave Westminster a good kicking and do you think, they will be less active at the ballot box in the next Mayoral Election?

Few would vote for someone, who would tax them an extra £4,000 a year.

Sadiq Khan is a well-meaning politically-correct lightweight, who doesn’t think through the effects of his promises.

 

 

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

London Taxi Protest Against Safety Rules Brings Gridlock to City

The title of this post is the same as this article on Bloomberg.

I had heard there was a protest about something last night and this explains what it was.

I should declare an interest, in that I use black cabs about five or six times a month, when I am in a hurry or am coming home late at night from say a station.

I have used Uber once, when my son paid for a cab from Walthamstow. The driver had come all the way from Ealing and got lost twice getting to my house.

Never again!

London Needs Clean Air

I am affected by London’s dirty air and feel strongly that as many vehicles in Central London should be zero emission.

So I very much agree with the Mayor’s strategy of making all London’s new black cabs electric.

But surely, this policy should also apply to Uber, mini-cabs and local delivery vehicles inside the Central area.

It will in the future and it can’t happen soon enough.

Black Cab Drivers Think Sadiq Khan Doesn’t Like Them!

Black cab drivers never have a good word for Sadiq Khan, but then they didn’t Boris either. I didn’t live in London, when Ken was Mayor, so I can’t comment on that!

But then I always say, that because we have a South London Mayor, we are getting a higher proportion of bus cuts.

I don’t think, I’ve ever been driven by a South Asian black can driver, although, I’ve been driven by many Africans and Caribbeans. Go to Birmingham, and you’ll find lots of South Asian black cab drivers.

On the other hand, I’ve been driven by several South Asian mini-cab drivers, from the firm round the corner.

So is the Mayor playing to his constituency and ignoring the views of black cab drivers?

Hence the protests!

 

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Tailpiece To An Obituary

Yesterday, The Times finished their obituary of Baroness Trumpington, with this sentence.

On another occasion she was invited by a magazine editor to a lunch where Nicholas Soames praised Viginia Bottomley as “one of the chaps”. The editor found this offensive and said that a woman cannot be a chap. Trumpington took the cigarette out of her mouth, put down her gin and simply said “Balls”

As her son said in announcing her death on Twitter – “She had a bloody good innings!”

November 29, 2018 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Is Spain Looking Both Ways On Brexit?

This article on the BBC is entitled Spain Brexit: PM Sánchez Threatens To Vote No Over Gibraltar.

The title says it all.

On the other hand, Spanish rail companies seem to be very keen to invest in the UK and also create new and innovative trains for the British market.

  • Amey, which is a subsidiary of the Spanish public company Ferrovial is heavily involved in big projects all over the UK, including the South Wales Metro.
  • The train builder; CAF, is supplying lots of trains and coaches for UK operators and building a factory at Newport in South Wales.
  • Another train builder; Talgo, is on the short list to build the trains for High Speed Two and is proposing to open a factory at Longannet in Scotland and a research centre at Chesterfield

It does appear, that big Spanish companies see the UK as a place to do business.

In connection with the Longannet factory, there is a feature article about the factory in Issue 866 of Rail Magazine.

This is the last paragraph.

As for Brexit, which is known to be a concern for other firms, Talgo said in a statement that its plans were “Brexit-free”, claiming there is a huge potential UK market as well as export opportunities.

The article also says that Talgo need more manufacturing capacity and the brownfield Longannet site, with its space and excellent access by rail and sea, fits their needs.

I also suspect that manufacturing in Scotland will help them secure sales in important English-speaking markets for their innovative high speed trains.

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Brexit Result In A Secure Irish Border?

I have been to Ireland many times and also have had several good friends from Southern Ireland.

One tale I heard was from a respectable farmer, was about how during the Second World War he helped his father smuggle food into the North. As he said, “We couldn’t let fellow Irishmen starve!”

It is tales like this, that have always made me believe that Ireland may not politically be one country, but economically and personally, it is a closer relationship.

I also remember tales from a couple of decades ago, where because of different prices across the border, people would shop or trade, where there was a financial advantage.

I’ve actually never driven across the Irish border, as I’ve only been to both countries in the same trip once and I crossed the border by train.

But as with the borders between Wales and England or Scotland and England, I suspect only the locals know on which side they are standing.

One of the main reasons many voted for Brexit was to keep out immigrants.

What is to stop would-be immigrants to the UK, after Brexit going to Ireland and then being smuggled across the porous border, just as food was in the Second World War?

Surely, the only way to stop the smuggling of immigrants is a secure border!

 

October 5, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Nice Work If You Can Get It!

There are pictures of Boris’s screwee all over the papers.

Screwee is a legal term, as used by my late wife for the other party in a divorce.

She used it for every sex and sexual orientation.

On a serious note, is 24 years an acceptable age difference in a relationship.

If it is then, perhaps this 71-year-old should be looking for available 47-yeae-old ladies.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | News | , | 3 Comments

The Right Attitude

Also in the diary in today’s copy of The Times, was this paragraph.

Gina Miller has just published a memoir and tell’s Spear’s magazine that opponents told her publisher that they were organising a mass burning of it.

This does not worry her. “It’s OK, they’ve got to buy the book first.” she says.

Never get angry with someone, who is paying you money, for which you are doing no extra physical or mental work!

August 31, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

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 | Transport | , , , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , , | 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