The Anonymous Widower

Appliance Of Science To Boost Stevenage

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

These two paragraphs introduce the article.

Planning permission has been granted for a former TK Maxx outlet and two other stores in the middle of Stevenage to be knocked down and replaced with laboratories.

The £500 million development, funded by UBS Asset Management and designed by Reef Group, is the latest example of how Britain’s town centres can be adapted and brought up to date.


  1. We have a laboratory shortage in the UK, which is especially serious in Oxford and Cambridge.
  2. Canary Wharf is also turning offices into laboratory space.
  3. There was even an article in The Times yesterday about converting offices to laboratories in Harley Street.

It’s probably a sign of success!

If Stevenage is to become a worldwide centre for life sciences and medical research, it probably needs the town’s excellent rail links to London and Cambridge to be further improved.

  • LNER runs two fast trains per hour (tph) to and from London King’s Cross.
  • Other fast services call during the day.
  • Local services include two tph to Cambridge, London and Peterborough.

Services need to be improved, especially to and from Cambridge.

ERTMS Is Being Installed Through Stevenage

Installation of full digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line could have various effects.

  • LNER and other fast services could be faster to places like Doncaster, Leeds and York.
  • Fast Cambridge, Ely and King’s Lynn services would have to be run by 125 mph trains to keep out of the way of the expresses.
  • 125 mph services to Cambridge would reduce journey times by a few minutes and might allow the Cambridge Cruisers to sneak in a stop at Stevenage, whilst maintaining the current times.
  • Will the Thameslink Class 700 trains have to stick to the slow lines?
  • As the Hertford Loop Line will also be digitally signalled, it might be possible to divert some trains via Hertford North.

There will be a lot of hard thinking going on to find out the best way to run services on the Southern section of the East Coast Main Line.

High Speed Norfolk

I like the concept of running high speed trains to Ely, Norwich and Kings Lynn.

  • It would open up a lot of West Norfolk for laboratory space and commuter towns for Cambridge.
  • The Breckland line between Ely and Norwich would be improved for higher speeds. It could even become a 125 mph line.
  • High Speed Norfolk trains would have a frequency of two tph and call at Stevenage, Cambridge South, Cambridge, Cambridge North and Ely before alternatively going on to Norwich and King’s Lynn.
  • Cambridge and Norwich services would alternate with the Norwich and Stansted Airport service.

Norwich could be the overspill city that Cambridge needs.


February 27, 2023 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Funding Available For Rail Construction Innovation Projects

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

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Innovators from across the UK are being invited to submit proposals for the Innovation in Railway Construction Competition, which is making £7·44m available for ideas which could be tested at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in South Wales.

The competition is being run by Innovate UK with GCRE and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

£7.44m doesn’t seem much, but it is only for feasibility studies, as the article explains.

Entries for the first phase close at 12.00 on December 14, with funding available for feasibility studies of up to £25 000. This would be followed by an invite-only phase two, with successful first phase projects able to develop and demonstrate their innovations.

As Innovate UK keeps coming up with these competitions, they must be judged to be worthwhile.

Do they use the same technique in areas like Health and the NHS? If not, why not!

December 8, 2022 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Hydrogen The Fuel Of The Future?

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on Engineering and Technology Magazine.

The article is a must read about hydrogen.

November 10, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great British Journeys┃Beautiful Railway Journeys┃24/7 Live Stream

The title of this post is the same as this National Rail video on YouTube.

This is their description.

Sit back and relax as you enjoy a driver’s eye view of Britain’s most picturesque railway journeys, streamed in our exclusive footage.

Experience what it’s like to travel across the Scottish Highlands; watch the waves crash against the Devon coast; get lost in the pleasant green land of Wales and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Suffolk.

The sounds and the motion of travelling by train have been scientifically proven to help people relax, which is why we’ve developed Great British Journeys; a series of the country’s most scenic train journeys – all shot from the train driver’s cab.

It looks like this could be an idea that grows and could turn out to be good marketing.

March 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Flying Scotswoman

I didn’t know there was a Flying Scotswoman, until I saw this InterCity 225 train, at King’s Cross station, this morning.

She was actually leaving for Leeds.



March 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments

LNER Launches International Website Making Travel Simpler For Overseas Tourists

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on LNER.

These four paragraphs describe the new website.

The new website coincides with the removal of pre-departure testing and quarantine rules for vaccinated people arriving in England or Scotland from 11 February 2022.

In a move that expands LNER’s global market, customers in 10 countries, including China, Japan, Spain, South Korea and Italy, are among the first to benefit when booking directly online.

LNER’s new search and booking engine offers international customers in those countries an option to purchase train tickets using their language and currency. The website will automatically detect those customers who are searching outside of the UK and will redirect them to the customised site to improve their online booking experience. The website launch comes as LNER reintroduces its full timetable, excluding pre-planned engineering works, meaning customers can discover destinations across the full 956-miles of East Coast route.

LNER has been working with travel tech company and rail retailer, Omio, to develop the site, which has the capability to operate in up to 20 languages and 26 currencies, including Euros, Korean Won and Japanese Yen or by using a payment method recognised in the home country.

Surely, if you run a travel company, your web site must be accessible to buy tickets from everywhere.

February 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

Does Anybody Know Of A Covid Travel Consultancy?

There are a few places in Europe, that I’d like to go for a couple of days.

I can book all the train tickets and hotels myself, but what I would like is someone to review my route for a fee and send me a pack of all the things I need to do and take.

Countries, I would like to visit include France, Germany, Hungary and The Netherlands.

January 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

More Train Companies Are Advertising Now

At the end of October, I posted Hull Trains Are Mounting A Big Advertising Campaign.

Today LNER are also advertising in The Times and these follow other companies like Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, Grand Central and Great Western Railway.

It looks like the Hull Trains campaign must have been successful.

January 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More ICE Sprinters Offer Alternative To Flying

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

The first two paragraphs, give an overview of the changes being made.

Deutsche Bahn introduced more limited-stop Sprinter ICE services on long-distance inter-city routes with the timetable change on December 12.

Sprinter-branded ICE services now operate on eight domestic routes, while a daily Frankfurt am Main – Paris service calling at Mannheim and Karlsruhe also carries the branding. Intended to appeal to business travellers, many of the Sprinter services are timed to depart early in the morning with return trips in the evening. This ensures a full day at the destination and offers a viable alternative to domestic flights.

It would appears that these services now have trains that are under the acceptable four hours.

  • Cologne and Berlin
  • Cologne and Munich
  • Hamburg and Frankfurt Airport

If Deutsche Bahn are serious about competing with the airlines, they must surely increase the frequency.

In 2018, I travelled between Berlin and Munich in under four hours and wrote about it in From Berlin To Munich In Four Hours By Train.

This is how I started that post.

The length of the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh is 632 kilometres.

Deutsche Bahn have recently completed an upgraded High Speed Line between Berlin and Munich, which has a length of 623 kilometres.

Both lines are not the very fastest of High Speed Lines, but lines where a consistent two hundred kilometres per hour is possible.

The East Coast Main Line was built in Victorian times and services typically take around twenty minutes over four hours, with nine -car InterCity 225 trains running twice an hour.

The Berlin-Munich route was originally built over two centuries ago, but the Germans have spent twenty-five years and many billions of euros punching a new route between Berlin and Nuremberg, through the difficult countryside of Thuringen Forest.

The route may allow the Germans to travel from Berlin to Munich in three hours fifty-five minutes, but at present you can only do it three times a day in a six-car train.

I took the lunchtime train and sat in First Class for a hundred and fourteen euros.

Deutsche Bahn have increased the trains on this route to five trains per day, but compared to London and Edinburgh on LNER, it is too infrequent, expensive with questionable customer service and not enough seats to give the airlines a run for their money.

A quick look on Rail Europe indicates that these routes have fast services at an hourly frequency or better.

  • Madrid and Barcelona
  • Milan and Rome
  • Paris and Bordeaux
  • Paris and Cologne
  • Paris and Marseilles
  • Venice and Naples

German rail services might be getting better, but not fast enough to take on the airlines.


December 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Calcutta Cup By Lumo

According to Scottish Rugby, the Culcutta Cup between Scotland and England next year is at Murrayfield on the 5th of February 2022.

I have just looked up services that day on Lumo’s web site.

  • It would be possible to travel North on the 05:45 train, which arrives in Edinburgh at 10:06.
  • After the match, there is a train South at 17:56, which arrives back in London at 22:29.
  • Tickets are available at £45.50 both ways.

As Lumo could probably run both services with ten-car trains, that hold eight hundred passengers, this could earn ticket revenue for Lumo of £72,800.

October 28, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment