The Anonymous Widower

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

Venezuela’s New Sports Minister

The Times carries a centre page spread of Venezuela’s new Sports Minister, who is an Olympic fencer, with her sports equipment placed strategically.

The photo is here, but I suspect it’ll be everywhere. This other page in Spanish doesn’t need translation.

Just imagine the fuss if one of our high-level female politicians did the same.  But then the only top sports people, who have made government in recent years have been Christopher Chataway and Sebastian Coe.

April 26, 2013 Posted by | Sport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Where Next For The Emirates Air-Line?

I like predicting the future and in many cases, I have the knowledge to do my predictions based on fact rather than fantasy.

So now we have got the Emirates Air-Line up and running, where else could we use a similar system within the UK.

The Emirates Air-Line has been designed using the simple single cable, Monocable Detachable Gondola (MDG) technology, which uses a single cable for both support and propulsion. The simple concept probably explains, why the system went from project start to finish in undera year. It is not untried technology, as a similar system in Caracas,  is twice the length and has twice the number of cabins. So if you are of a nervous disposition and find the Emirates Air-Line a bit scary, stay away from Caracas. Although looking at my pictures and some of the Caracas system, the gondolas appear to be very similar.  Both might have been built by the Austrian company, Dopplemayr. The Emirates Air-Line certainly was.

But it does show the flexibility of the technology, as Caracas system is much larger than the London one. But the Emirates Air-Line is not small in terms of capacity, as its 34 cars can move 2,500 people in an hour, which is the equivalent of thirty buses. Cynics have complained about the cost of £60 million, but then crossing a river, either needs a tunnel, a ferry or a bridge.

Asa an aside here, London’s millennium footbridge cost around £20 million, but of course couldn’t have been used here, as it is not high enough for large ships to pass underneath.

I know England well and I think there are several places, where cable-cars could be a cost-effective alternative to other means of moving people.

Obviously, because I know Liverpool well, a cable-car could be an alternative way to cross the Mersey.  Liverpool has a problem in that it has three ageing ferries, that will need replacing at some time. They also do other jobs, like run pleasure trips up the Mersey. As there is a proper railway under te river, Liverpool’s need for passenger movement is not so pressing. But a cable-car system, running all the way from Lime Street station to Birkenhead could be a spectacular attraction taking visitors over one of the best cityscapes in Europe.

Crossing the Tyne at Newcastle, would probably be one of the easiest from an engineering point of view.

Obviously, schemes will come together, when the economics of the Emirates Air-Line are fully understood in a couple of years.

But I think before the end of this decade we will be seeing other cable-car systems in the UK.

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments