The Anonymous Widower

Did The Queen Ever Ride In This Train?

These pictures show the British Rail BEMU, which was an experimental two-car battery electric multiple unit, that ran on the Deeside Railway between Aberdeen and Ballater stations, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

It is now parked at the Royal Deeside Railway awaiting restoration.

As the bodywork is aluminium, it struck me that it wouldn’t be an impossible restoration project.

Someone, I spoke to, said the biggest problem and probably expense were the batteries.

Perhaps, they could use some recycled batteries from electric buses or other vehicles, which some companies are going to use as house storage batteries.

A Memory From A Lady

I travelled to the Royal Deeside Railway on a bus and sat up front on the top deck. Next to me was a lady, who was perhaps in her seventies like me, who remembered using the train several times.

From what she said, it appeared to work reliably for a number of years.

Did Her Majesty Ever Use The Train?

No-one at the Royal Deeside Railway has any proof, that the Queen ever rode in the train.

But they are pretty sure, that the Queen Mother used the train. Apparently, she liked the steady speed as it proceeded through the countryside.

Conclusion

With the current developments in battery transport, I feel that this prototype might well be worth restoring to operation condition.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Has The Queen Ever Ridden In a Battery-Powered Train?

Countryfile this evening had a special program about the Queen’s Scottish house and estate at Balmoral.

One archive film, showed her arriving at Ballater station in a train hauled by a locomotive with a number that looked slightly familiar. Looking it up, it was a B1 Class locomotive, which I must have seen regularly, when I went train-spotting on the West Anglia Main Line in the 1950s.

So I looked up Ballater station in Wikipedia.

The station, which was on the 43 mile long Deeside Railway from Aberdeen, is now closed but there was this paragraph on Wikipedia under Services.

When the battery multiple unit was introduced, services were doubled to six trains a day from 21 April 1958, and Sunday service reinstated. The line was chosen for testing the unit because the stations were well spaced and the 1 in 70 ruling gradients would require substantial discharge rates.

As someone very interested in railways at the time, I’d never heard of British Rail’s use of battery trains.

Remarkably, the battery electric multiple train, is still in existence and is being preserved at the Royal Deeside Railway, not far from Balmoral.

It looks to me. that a lot of engineers at Derby, made sure that this train survived.

So what was it like?

  • It was based on the Derby Lightweight diesel  multiple unit.
  • The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board initiated the design and was a joint sponsor.
  • The train had an operating speed of 60 mph.
  • The train was powered by two 100 kW traction motors.
  • Power was provided by 416 lead-acid cells, giving a total of 440 V and 1070 A hour capacity.
  • The batteries weighed nine tonnes.
  • There were seats for twelve First Class passengers and a hundred and five in Second Class.

It couldn’t been that bad a train, as it ran between Aberdeen and Ballater station from 1958 to 1962.

There’s more about the train here.

Conclusion

But I  can’t help wondering, if the Queen ever used the train!

June 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where The Queen Gets Her Energy

Yesterday’s edition of Countryfile on BBC1, was entitled Royal Special: Windsor.

In the program, they shows how Windsor Castle and the surrounding estate, use an Archimedes screw in the River Thames to generate electricity.

I found this video on the Internet.

There is also this document on the Internet.

It may look crazy, but after reading the document, it would appear to be cost effective.

This Google Map gives aerial view of the weir and the installed screws.

The two screws are installed in two sections of the weir at the right end.

It may look crazy, but after reading the document, it would appear to be cost effective.

  • At peak flow the two units generate a total of 320kW/hour.
  • There is a six year return on investment.
  • The design life is fifteen years..
  • The owner of the generators has a forty year lease on the site.

I suspect, we could see more units like this!

 

May 28, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m Now Following The Queen’s Example

By Legend, the Queen never carries any cash.

I’m now deliberately following a similar policy, but I only use a contactless bank card for most of my daily purchases, like my paper and food.

I’ve even still got a couple of John Lewis vouchers gathering dust in my wallet, as sincve the new M & S Food opened in Dalston, I rarely go need a Waitrose.

One thing I find with M & S Food, is that on a typical purchase the average price is two pounds per item. So to keep under the thirty pound contactless limit, I rarely buy more than fourteen items. These unusually fit easily into usable bag.

Buying my paper in M & S or a station also means I can use contactless for the purchase.

A couple of days ago, I was approached by an aggressive tin rattler for a charity I would never suppose because of some of their practices. So I waved my card and asked. “Do you do conactless?” I got a smiling “Sorry! No!”

I still use cash for three purposes.

  • Restaurants with waiter/waitress service, so the tips go to the staff. It also means at busy times, in cafes I use a lot, I always get a table.
  • Black cabs, when I occasionally use one.
  • Personal services from local tradesmen, where the value is small. Otherwise it’s a bank transfer.

But it’s amazing, how little cash you now need.

 

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Finance | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will This Become One Of The Iconic Photographs Of the Queen?

Last week, the Queen opened the new Reading station. It’s reported here on the BBC.

The picture of her sitting amongst Network Rail’s orange army, will surely become one of the most iconic photographs of the Queen.

The Queen With The Orange Army

The Queen With The Orange Army

I wonder how many mantelpieces, it’s already sitting on.

July 20, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Market Named After The Queen

I find it somewhat unusual that the French have named a market after the Queen, as is reported here on the BBC. The French have also brought the Wikipedia entry for the market in line.

We rarely name places after famous people these days, although it did happen in the past. And if we do, it is unlikely to be after a foreign monarch or politician. Prince Charles for example has a cinema in London and a hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, but where is General de Gaulle Square?

In France though there are lots of places named after Kennedy, Churchill and Roosevelt.

There is a list here of everything named after the Queen. On a quick look Canada seems to honoured her more than we have.

I suspect that the Queen wasn’t that bothered one way or the other about the renaming of the market, but she probably accepted the honour with grace.

June 8, 2014 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The Queen Starts An Inter Union Row

Her Majesty doesn’t often get involved in trade union disputes, but according to this report in the Standard, she’s very much involved in this one on the London Ungerground.

What puzzles me about this dispute is why we still have so many unions involved in the rail industry.

Over the many years, I’ve been watching industrial relations, it strikes me, that companies with a single union, seem to have better industrial relations, than those with more.

May 20, 2014 Posted by | News, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The East End Dogsbody Who Got To Shoot The Queen

David Bailey is a real East Ender, who started as a studio dogsbody at £3.50 a week.

This morning, the papers are all showing the photograph he has taken of the Queen.

The picture is shown here in the Telegraph. Here’s a small extract about fom the accompanying text.

The pair are said to have got on famously during the photoshoot, which took place at the palace in March.

Bailey, 76, said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen. She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women and she is a very strong woman.”

I have a feeling that this image will be one of the lasting ones of the only British Queen most of us will ever know.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Is It The Right Maple Leaf?

There’s a bit of a row going on in Canada over whether their new plastic banknotes have the right maple leaf.  It’s reported here on the BBC.

I have no opinion about the maple leaf as I’m no biologist, but is that lady on the note supposed to be the Queen?

I’ve never seen a plastic banknote, although I’ve always thought they should work. Checking with Wikipedia, they are more common than you think according to this article.

January 19, 2013 Posted by | Finance | , | Leave a comment

A Gentle Joke About The Queen

You don’t hear many repeatable jokes about the Royal Family and especially the Queen.  But this video contains a good one from Daniel Day Lewis at the Golden Globes. He is probably one of the last you’d think would make such a joke, given some of the things he’s said in the past.

January 14, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , | Leave a comment