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1  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Trams for Bath on: Today at 12:22:31 PM
Holding my breath? I'm panting like a sprinter.

Some of the other ideas might be interesting though.
Trams, removing cars and pedestrianising city centre included in new B&NES Council plan
"At the heart of this vision is an ambition to make Bath a city where it is quicker, cleaner and easier to get from A to B"

14:54, 13 SEP 2017
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Mark Shelford has announced plans for the city
A tram or light rail system could be on the cards for Bath as the local authority reveals its latest transport vision for the city.

Bath and North East Somerset Council cabinet member for transport, Mark Shelford, has said at the heart of his plan is the need to reduce the impact cars have on the city.

He's also pledged to promote sustainable transport options to ease congestion and tackle pollution levels.

Mr Shelford (Cons, Lyncombe) said the city needs to have a debate about ideas that can reduce the number of cars on the road.

MP Ben Howlett believes the proposed link road will help reduce congestion
The council plans to improve Bath's air quality
He said: “At the heart of this vision is an ambition to make Bath a city where it is quicker, cleaner and easier to get from A to B, with a transport system that supports our local economy, enhances Bath’s status as a World Heritage Site and reduces levels of air pollution."

Is the end of the road for the £900k Odd Down bus lane in sight?
The new plans include:

Improving Bath’s air quality
Greater pedestrian-priority in the city centre
Minimising traffic passing through the city
A popular Mass Public Transport system
Increasing cycle and pedestrian commuter and recreational traffic
Encouraging maximum use of Clean/Ultra Clean Vehicles
Encouraging tourists to use public transport when visiting the city

Councillor Lin Patterson, Mark Shelford and Pat Mason in front of the number 6 bus (Image: David Kernek)
“To achieve this, some major policy decisions will need to be taken about how to reduce the impact of cars on the city and improve our air quality.

Twerton residents "angry and frustrated" after First bus collides with his van
"This includes working at a regional level to deliver the infrastructure needed to reduce the number of vehicles driving into and through our city.

"But it will also require measures that promote sustainable transport, provide attractive public transport options, and encourage the use of low and zero-emission vehicles," he added.

Nitrogen dioxide is emitted from vehicles causing air pollution
Mr Shelford's vision builds on the council's existing Transport Strategy.

This includes:

Securing investment in more attractive public transport alternatives - such as a tram/light rail system, for which the council recently commissioned a feasibility study, as well as regional projects such as the MetroWest rail network.
Establishing an updated Air Quality Action Plan for Bath that seeks to reduce levels of air pollution in the city, particularly on key traffic corridors identified as Air Quality Management Areas.
Mobile speed camera locations for Bath and North East Somerset from September 11
Increasing use of the city’s Park & Rides by improving road access, such as the junction of Freezing Hill Lane and Togg Hill and the approach to Odd Down Park & Ride.
Providing the infrastructure needed to reduce the number of vehicles passing through the city and a new location for coaches to park outside the city.
Creating more dedicated cycle ways and improving safety for walkers and cyclists through measures such as improved lighting.
Looking at ways to reduce school-run traffic, such as investment in safe walking and cycling routes.
“The council is already working on a new parking strategy, air quality action plan, and looking at innovate ideas such as a light-rail system, but we need to bring these different strands together into an overarching transport vision for our city.

"That why I wanted to start a debate about the type of measures that could be introduced, and I am keen to hear what residents think and listen to any ideas people have which could help us address the transport challenges facing our city," said the cabinet member.
2  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail, public and other transport issues / Re: Siemens powers trucks like trams with overhead wires on: Today at 11:56:45 AM
Interesting idea.

Clearly it's more similar to a trolleybus than a tram but it has a railway-like pantograph. Presumably this is to allow overtaking, as the article says, and I'd imagine it also makes the connectors less likely to lose contact going over bumps and potholes.

I think it could be a useful step on the way to electric HGVs, which are going to be much more difficult than electric (or fuel cell!) cars due to the longer distances and greater unpredictability of refuelling spots. Though of course a regular port run involves one known recharging spot every time; but still there would be the downtime cost of recharging, unless it can be included in driver's rest. OTOH it could turn out to be a great white elephant due to cost of OHLE.
3  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: Today at 10:25:44 AM
Probably not the ugliest either. I think that title still goes to Birmingham New St, complete with Eye of Sauron.

A little harsh these days! Away from the platforms, I quite like New Street, even if I do spend more time walking around it trying to find what I'm looking for than actually doing it. And during a long stopover, I went for a ride on the trams outside - very swish, if not rolling through beautiful scenery.
Sure, it's nowhere near as horrid as it used to be but it's still rather a dark cave. The shopping centre above is much nicer. But still, that Eye of Sauron is a warning...
4  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: Yesterday at 07:09:44 PM
Probably not the ugliest either. I think that title still goes to Birmingham New St, complete with Eye of Sauron.
5  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Tin miners, their patron saint and an old bottle of beer - spot the connection! on: Yesterday at 06:06:56 PM
A crucifix in a Hindu temple would, I think, be even odder!

A very good - and Hindu - friend of mine had his new car blessed by the priest.  Imagine my surprise the next day when he picked me up on our shared lift club to work, when I found his car covered in hand-drawn swastikas. A very common and ancient Hindu symbol.
From what I remember, the blessing of cars involves coconuts, guavas and garlands of flowers. I don't recall ever seeing a swastika on a car, as opposed to on a building, when I lived in Bangalore, but I think it's a more common symbol in north India. Ganesh on the dashboard of course.
6  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Tin miners, their patron saint and an old bottle of beer - spot the connection! on: Yesterday at 02:59:20 PM
Interesting! I didn't know tin miners had their own patron saint – is there one for each mineral or do others share St Barbara? Or maybe she's specific to coal miners? And that a swastika was used as a sign of brewers; I presume this means not as a brewer's logo but as a seal of quality. I do remember seeing swastikas in the tiled floor of Truro cathedral. Perhaps the Cornish, for some reason, were particularly keen on this symbol? Odd to see it in a specifically Christian setting though. A crucifix in a Hindu temple would, I think, be even odder!
7  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Home delivery services and the PDA characteristics on: Yesterday at 11:21:27 AM
Apparently it can be expanded as Pathological Demand Avoidance, which I'm sure could have a railway application too.
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Terror incident on London Underground train at Parsons Green station, 15 September 2017 on: September 19, 2017, 11:25:43 AM
People have acted like that since forever, social media and the ubiquity of cameraphones just give everyone the means to do it. For instance, rubberneckers at motorway pile ups. The ghoul is big in the human.
9  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Home delivery services and the PDA characteristics on: September 19, 2017, 11:00:41 AM
Newspaper? That's an outdated concept!
10  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: William Huskisson on: September 18, 2017, 02:56:58 PM
I couldn't remember who it was but I knew there was someone!  Grin
11  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: September 18, 2017, 12:46:43 PM
He might sing for Phil?
12  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / William Huskisson on: September 18, 2017, 11:20:41 AM
Last Friday was the 187th anniversary of the first railway death. Someone here has a sig line referring to the event. That probably doesn't sound "lighter" but this article is definitely written in a "lighter" vein.

On this day in 1830, a former Cabinet minister became the first bloody idiot to get mown down by a train
By Jonn Elledge

The Duke of Wellington's train and other locomotives being readied for departure from Liverpool, 15 September 1830. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Today marks the 187th anniversary of two different momentous landmarks in the history of transportation.

One was the opening, on 15 September 1830, of the world’s first intercity railway line, the Liverpool & Manchester. Other trains had run before, drawn by horses, or by steam over short distances – but this was the first proper railway line of the industrial age, powered entirely by cutting edge steam engines, and with the first regularly scheduled passenger services.

The other momentous thing that happened on 15 September 1830 was that the 60 year old William Huskisson, an MP and former member of the Cabinet, attempted to ingratiate himself with the prime minister, and screwed it up so spectacularly that he instead ended up becoming the first person ever killed by a train. It was the equivalent of, say, Iain Duncan Smith managing to get himself mown down by a hyperloop. It was a hell of an end to a political career.

The Liverpool & Manchester was the HS2 of its age, running for 35 miles, through the southern Lancashire countryside, linking the industrial colossus of Manchester with the port of Liverpool. Its creation inaugurated three decades of “railway mania”: in just a few years, steam railways would spread to almost every town in Britain, effectively shrinking the country and completely transforming the economy.

Those first trains ran at around 17mph, covering the distance in a minimum of two hours plus breaks. That may not sound like much today – it’s less than the speed limit on the roads around schools (“20’s plenty!”). But stopping trains between the two cities can take over an hour even today, and until 1830, getting goods out of the textile factories of Manchester required loading them onto horse-drawn canal boats. A horse walks at around 4mph: 17mph was practically light speed.

And so, on Wednesday 15 September, the new line opened with such a fanfare that crowds turned out to watch the first trains leaving Liverpool. It was such a big day that literally dozens of dignitaries came along for the ride; they included the prime minister, and hero of the Napoleonic wars, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington.

In all, eight trains left Liverpool that day. Seven of them formed a convoy on the northern of the two tracks; Wellington’s, being special, had the southern to itself. Inevitably, there were teething problems: at one point, a train derailed, and the one behind banged into it. But there were no serious injuries, yet, so the train was lifted back onto the track and continued on its way.

Then the convoy reached Parkside, a long closed station between Wigan to the north and Warrington to the south, pretty much the halfway point of the line. Everything was scheduled to stop here, to enable the trains to take on water. The railway staff warned the passengers to remain on their trains.

The passengers didn’t listen.

In all, around 50 people got off to stretch their legs. One of them was William Huskisson, then MP for Liverpool, who had resigned from Wellington’s Cabinet in a huff after a row about parliamentary reform back in 1828. Reports after the event said that he was hoping to be reconciled to Wellington, though one wonders how anyone knew this: this might just be an attempt to romanticise what happened later.

Look at this twat: Richard Rothwell’s portrait of William Huskisson. Image: public domain.

Whatever the truth of things, he was hanging around outside Wellington’s carriage, chatting to the prime minister, when a train approached on the other track. It was Robert Stephenons’s Rocket, so we can probably assume it was going at a fair old whack, and Huskisson was now in its path. “An engine is approaching!” someone is reported to have shouted – before, this being 1830, adding, “Take care gentlemen!”

Most of the gentlemen did indeed take care. At this point there were a number of things Huskisson could have done. Some of the passengers rushed back to their own seats; others got moved away from the railway lines altogether. Still others noticed that there was enough clearance between the two lines to stand very still and allow the engine to pass.

Huskisson, though, didn’t choose any of these. Huskisson was a klutz. He started to cross the line, changed his mind, went to cross it again, changed his mind again, and went for the stand-very-still option. By this point Joseph Locke, the guy driving the Rocket, could see the danger and was trying to stop the train, but it was too late; it couldn’t brake fast enough.

The still panicking Huskisson tried at last to clamber onto the Prime Minister’s train (flopping onto Wellington’s lap no doubt would have repaired their relationship perfectly). But in his haste he seems to have placed all his weight on the carriage door.

It swung open, leaving him dangling directly in the path of a train. The train hit the door. Huskisson hit the tracks.

His leg was horribly mangled by the accident. He was taken, on a station door repurposed as a stretcher, to a vicarage in nearby Eccles. He survived long enough to see his wife and make a will, but died, later that evening.

Railways, it turned out, could be dangerous.

The gory fate of William Huskisson did at least mean that the opening of the railway was widely reported – more widely, perhaps, that it would have been if everything had gone well. The world now knew that railways had arrived, and that you should probably not stand around in the middle of them when a train might be coming.

William Huskisson had been in the Cabinet. He’d spent four years as President of the Board of Trade. He’d been Secretary of State for War & the Colonies, and Leader of the House of Commons. He was a founder of the era of free trade and imperial expansion that would last for nearly a century after his death. He was an important figure.

But – lots of parliamentarians were involved in creating Victorian Britain, and we don’t remember any of them for it either. We do remember William Huskisson, though: not for his achievements in life, but for the humiliatingly clumsy manner of his death. He may or may not have succeeded in patching things up with the prime minister. But he ensured his place in the history books all the same.

Edit note: Links to images inserted. CfN.  Smiley
13  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Filton Abbey Wood - a great success? Emulate it just to the north?? on: September 17, 2017, 10:13:31 AM
The nearest you could put a new station to Aztec West would be actually underneath the BMX track, in the tunnel. Just like a tube station but the cut and cover is already done! All you need to do is sink a couple of lift shafts (which the BMXers could jump over)!
14  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Filton Abbey Wood - a great success? Emulate it just to the north?? on: September 15, 2017, 04:10:13 PM
But but but... AZW is not a recognized station code!!!  Grin

Yet  Grin   

... in all seriousness, just because something's worth talking about doesn't mean the case would stack up. And if the case did stack up, doesn't mean it would be the best case way to provide. And even if it was the best way to provide, doesn't mean that the political or financial environment to provide it would happen.
Yeah. Given the likely engineering and other difficulties in that site, I reckon improved connections with Patchway, Parkway and the future Filton North site are probably a better option.
15  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Filton Abbey Wood - a great success? Emulate it just to the north?? on: September 15, 2017, 04:08:18 PM
Friend says "Given the office is almost next door to the BMX track, that would make bike + train a much more realistic option than at present."
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