6.3.2018 How is everybody's world out there? It is a beautiful day overlooking the Tame and the sewage farm. The birds are singing and the fish scream in terror as the cormorants abandon the sea shore and move inland. The garden largely disappeared as workmen attempt to shore up the river bank after the recent monsoon (The river rose 7-8ft in a very short period, as the run-off from the Birmingham area hit us. A skip replaces my car on the drive, which has been assaulted by a mad Polish lorry driver (the car that is). My insurers have placed my car in the loving hands of TrustFord, who have various stock quotes which are like something from a Goon Show, remember “It’s the wood, you can’t get the wood”, well substitute “parts” and you get the right idea. If anybody says to you “It’ll be ready early next week”, hit them between the eyes, hard. My “accident” (that’s the euphemism they used when a mad Pole backs a tractor/trailer across the road into those following him) occurred on the 10.4.2018. The insurers told me I would get an immediate courtesy car and the damaged car would collected straight away for repair.
After much phoning and foaming at the mouth, the car was collected on the 24.4.2018. More chasing, TrustFord stated they had parts on order and I would get the car “early next week”. No car appeared.
On the 3.5.2018, more chasing; “you can’t get the bumpers, you know”, or words to that effect, “but don’t worry it will arrive tomorrow with the parts delivery”. 11.5.2018 “The bumper has arrived this morning”, great joy, “work will start immediately and you will have it early next week!”
17.5.2018 No car. 24.5.2018 I have to attend a wedding in Cornwall, no car. At this point I should perhaps say that courtesy cars seem to be as elusive as bumpers.
31.5.2018 After having reorganised transport to Cornwall, I contacted the insurers agents re the repairs, who didn’t seem to be aware of much (including me) and referred me to the insurers who were “dealing with the matter directly”. I chased the insurers and was advised that the repair was due to be completed on the 12.6.2018!!!
After a moment to collect myself and biting a large chunk out of the desk, I reminded them that they and the repairers had confirmed that the bumper was in the repairers hands on the 11.5.2018 and that work was starting immediately………”you can’t get the wood” etc. etc.
HS2 Project “still on track” says the government.
You may have seen this quote many times in relation to questions to either the government or the DfT, regarding this horror of a “white elephant”. It doesn’t answer any of the questions raised and isn’t even accurate so I was pleased to note that some publications are at least “getting the idea” and have my sense of humour.
I quote:- The Government has insisted it’s still committed to the £156b HS2 rail project despite announcing a 12-month delay, pointing out it had only recently begun the compulsory purchase of land with long grass.
“Once we have acquired sufficient quantities of long grass” said a spokesman for the Department of Transport, “then we can commence phase two, which will involve kicking HS2 into it. We’re still confident HS2 will cut the journey time between London and the North, provided you own a car and have a wee before you leave home, so you don’t have to stop at the motorway services”.
I have been quite surprised to recently see articles and letters from people who should know better that Swindon’s hydraulics were Co-Co and Bo-Bo. I have delved into one of my piles of ancient books and quote from one less a person than Ian Allen, “Diesel and electric locomotive wheel arrangements are described by a development of the continental system. This calculates by axles and uses letters to denote driving axles and numerals to denote non-powered carrying axles. A locomotive with two powered axles is a B-B (three axles— a C-C, etc.). If the axles on a bogie or frame are individually powered, such as in a diesel-electric by one traction motor per axle, the suffix “o” is added. Thus the class 50 is a Co-Co, and a class 52 a C-C. Shunting locomotives with a rigid frame and coupled wheels follow the steam locomotives pattern and are known by the “Whyte” system as 0-4-0, 0-6-0 etc.”
Having said this and to clear up potential questions it occurs to me that the “continental system” may have been misunderstood and note that it may not have been letters and numerals but just letters, hence the B (large letter) and an the letter o (small letter), which would comply with the way it is written, for if not and it is letters and numbers it should surely be C0-C0 and B0-B0???
REPORT: The High-Speed HS2 Might Not Be As High-Speed As You Were Told!
Running slower and fewer trains on the new HS2 line are among the options available to keep the rail project within budget, its chief executive has said.
Phase 1 of the £56 billion high speed rail link will open between London and Birmingham in December 2026 before the railway is extended to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds.
HS2 trains are designed to operate at up to 225mph and also serve locations on the existing mainline network, such as Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
But at a meeting with MPs, HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston said train speeds and frequency could be changed in an effort to reduce cost.
Details of the meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group in November were revealed in a letter from Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom to Thurston in which she raised concerns about the “viability” of the project. She wrote: “My parliamentary assistant, who attended on my behalf, tells me that you informed the APPG that, ahead of the review of the business case for HS2 next year, a number of changes to the project may have to be considered in order to keep it within budget and on time – something my colleague the Secretary of State for Transport has made clear is imperative.” Leadsom said options discussed included possibly lowering train speeds by around 50kmph (30mph), reducing train numbers from 18 to 14 per hour, and changing from a slab to a ballast track.
The MP for South Northamptonshire, an area through which the proposed HS2 route will run, wrote: “My constituents are naturally concerned that changes to the project could undermine the business case, negatively affect the benefit-cost ratio, and reduce the value for taxpayers’ money”.
She asked for an assurance that the project could be delivered “on time and on budget without impacting the business case or affecting the basis upon which it was agreed by Parliament”.
I don’t think a comment is applicable this report speaks for itself. However, even the report itself is inaccurate.
· It has long been suggested that a 225mph railway is not feasible in the UK, due to potential signalling, operational and infrastructure problems. HS2 has never answered the questions properly, but general consensus ie that expected could be about 180mph (about in line with the rest of the world) or slightly slower.
· Phase 2 of the project was to link phase 1 to the cities of the north. This not now to take place HS2 will now terminate at Crewe and use the existing heavily used and largely overcapacity tracks of the old WCML into Manchester and then Northward. We should remember that the raison-d'être for HS2 was to remove large amounts of traffic from this line in order that more freight traffic could replace it!!! While recent surveys have show that the proposed route may traverse an area where decades of salt mining has occurred and subsidence is now rife. Sinkholes seem to be a regular feature.
· The line to Sheffield is under close scrutiny because it will cause considerable environmental damage and it also will terminate short of Sheffield and take to the ECML heavily used tracks to complete it’s journey. Which is a copy of the WCML proposal.
· It now seems that running at the proposed speeds will be too expensive because of power consumption. A matter I raised many moons ago and promoted with a leaflet, a copy of which is overleaf.
· The note thrown in as an after thought “changing from a slab to a ballast track” seems innocuous, but it isn’t. It will take more time to construct and may restrict the speed of trains Another “stop-gap” solution, which will affect the tracks longevity and maintenance costs.
· It is also proposed to drop the line speed by 50kph this will reduce the proposed High Speed Line to something more akin to that eventually planned for the WCML and ECML once the proposed signalling upgrades have taken place.
At first and second and even 3rd glance we appear to be getting less and less railway for more and more and more money as the industry moguls and “persons of influence” laugh all the way to bank and transfer of their funds to off-shore havens.