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November 24, 2017, 01:10:52 PM *
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1  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: New Train on: Today at 10:54:00 AM
As an aside, "the number of passengers which alight" sounds a little awkward to me as opposed to "the number of passengers who alight". If they used it with a singular verb, "the number of passengers which alights" it sound very awkward but at least be defensible grammatically.
2  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Bristol Temple Meads Station redevelopment on: Today at 09:38:40 AM
It's a nothing special of a building. But look at Senate House, the library buildings next to it and some of the halls of residence up in Stoke Bishop; I don't know if the university has an architecture department, but if they do, it's not a good sign!
3  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: New Train on: Today at 09:33:21 AM
Time for a musical interlude:
4  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: New Train on: November 22, 2017, 10:13:28 AM
The focus is on line capacity improvements, not top speed increases.

Signalling changes - ERTMS? - which remove what I call "absolute block" but probably has a more technical name - should allow a closer headway between trains.   Big question as to what happens at each end of such close headway sections; Reading "sprays" them out better than they use to.  Flat crossings in and out of Paddington platforms may become the limiter - very tight at times already; coming in last night, good run all the way up from Wiltshire until a signal halt outside the terminal.

Another capacity increase can be gained by longer trains, but there gets to be a point at which the benefits drop away; already reports of 5+5 IETs with imbalanced loads.  I heard reports where 10 to 12 car increases have been made on London other lines that the two extra carriages have been added at the outer (country) end and not at the London end where the trains overcrowd and it's really needed, and of course longer trains take longer to pass over junctions and through speed restriction sections. Again at Paddington , there are issues as to how you could lengthen all but a few platforms.
Imbalanced loads? As in one 5-car section is crowded, the other empty? Or imbalanced in some other way?
5  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: New Ticket Machines on: November 19, 2017, 06:58:49 PM
Card only? TBH I'm kind of surprised any ticket machines take cash. (But wouldn't it be a laugh to find one that accepted cheques; or postal orders!)
6  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Electric and autonomous vehicles on: November 18, 2017, 05:15:17 PM
I was talking to a lorry driver and an electric car owner (two separate people, one conversation) a while ago and the lorry driver reckoned that at least in his industry – delivering roof trusses to building sites – the problem with electric lorries is that these destinations don't have electricity. Possibly a range of "805km" (smells like spurious precision to me!) would overcome this. Still, I expect the purchase price would be an obstacle.
7  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Is rail electrification the future, or the past on: November 17, 2017, 09:35:48 PM
Further to hydrogen power...

Couldn't be much further from hydrogen, could it? I mean, it's a gas, but so is Jumpin' Jack Flash...

I love the circular economy though. The older I get, the more I come to think that economics is just a system to add delays and accelerations to the routing of clean and dirty washing.
They mention feeding it into the gas mains, so in terms of combustion products, it's a long way from hydrogen (but still much better than diesel). But unlike CNG or LPG it hasn't been dug out of the ground, it's been made from stuff so surely that makes it in your terms "an energy store" rather than "a fuel". I've no idea how efficient that process is or how it compares to other uses, like fertiliser maybe, but seeing as we produce metric brown bin-fulls of waste food, it's got to be better than putting it in landfill. Of course it might be even better if we didn't throw it away but ate it...
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: If only GWR had this issue..... on: November 17, 2017, 09:36:37 AM
A train that leaves early is potentially more of a problem for passengers than one which leaves late. I don't think 20 or even 30 seconds will make a difference though.
9  All across the Great Western territory / Introductions and chat / Re: Is rail electrification the future, or the past on: November 16, 2017, 04:19:45 PM
Further to hydrogen power, or rather at a tangent from that, some of Bristol's food waste is now collected by a lorry itself powered by (methane produced from) food waste.
Meet the Bio-Bee

Our distinctive new truck is collecting food waste and creating a buzz on the streets of Bristol.

The Bio-Bee is the UK’s first vehicle to both collect and run on commercial food waste and is operated from our base in Avonmouth.

With Bristol among 40 places in the UK that consistently exceeds air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide, the Bio-Bee demonstrates a real alternative to diesel RCVs and HGVs by running on clean biomethane.

It also offers a cost-effective and more sustainable way for food waste to be collected and recycled, and it follows in the footsteps of the Bio-Bus – or ‘poo bus’ – which ran on human waste and was trialled in Bristol in 2015.

Boston Tea Party and St Monica Trust care homes are among the first companies to use the service, and it is hoped the Bio-Bee will increase food waste recycling levels in the city.

Charlotte Stamper, project manager at GENeco, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer customers a UK first – collecting their food waste using a vehicle running from their food waste.

“This clean fuel helps to improve Bristol’s air quality and creates a sustainable circular economy for the client’s operations.

“Bees are renowned for the good work they do for the environment, and their daily routine involves collecting valuable natural resources and then bringing them back to a hive to make renewable and nutritious products.

“The Bio-Bee operates the same way. It runs on biomethane that has been produced by the anaerobic digestion of food waste and sewage from houses in Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area.

“In turn, its total carbon footprint is around 90% lower than a diesel equivalent and it is quieter than standard diesel models.

“The Bio-Bee is also intended to be fun and engage youngsters in the topics of food waste, recycling and air quality.”


Every year each person in the UK throws away enough food to power the Bio-Bee for 25 miles.

If Bristol recycled all the food waste generated by the city’s residents in a year the Bio-Bee could run every day until the year 3,000.

Food waste is collected in the Bio-Bee and brought back to GENeco’s anaerobic digestion plant in Bristol. The waste is depackaged – and plastic is removed – and is then used to produce sustainable electricity for homes and communities.

The remaining food waste undergoes a pasteurisation process before being fed into the anaerobic digesters, where micro-organisms break down the waste in the absence of oxygen and produce methane-rich biogas.

This biogas is either used to produce renewable electricity or it is converted in our gas-to-grid plant to enriched biomethane, which is injected into the gas grid. At this stage it can be used as fuel in the Bio-Bee and other vehicles or to supply local homes.

The solid by-product of the anaerobic digestion process is used as a nutrient-rich and sustainable biofertiliser for farms.

Jesse Scharf, Green Gas Certification Scheme manager at Renewable Energy Assurance, said: “GENeco is playing an important role in the growing UK biomethane industry by continuing to innovate and show that, with creative thinking, we can find solutions to the challenges we face around waste, energy, carbon and air quality.”

Shelley Wadey, finance director at Boston Tea Party, has been working with us on the Bio-Bee project from the start.

She said: “Although we have been recycling our food waste from our six Bristol cafes for three years through GENeco, this is another step forward to make things better by generating a sustainable circular economy.

“Through this partnership we hope to inspire other food operators to follow our lead, demonstrating it is possible to be greener and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.”
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: New Train on: November 16, 2017, 11:47:17 AM
The bike spaces, mentioned by Graham above, can also contribute to the delay.  With the storage spaces now being in the train itself a cyclist getting off usually has to wait until the other passengers have passed them before getting their machine out of the space.  By that time the gap in people disembarking has led to people starting to board, only to meet the cyclist who has now freed their bike.  It is even worse if one of those alighting has a cycle too!
Whenever I'm travelling with my bike on a train (which I don't do much), I always get my bike off the dangly-thing about five minutes before the train gets into the station. This avoids the boarding problem. There is still a problem though if you have luggage (panniers) which are too wide to go through the doorway attached to the bike, as most are. You get the bike off, run over to lean it against a pillar or whatever, then run back to fetch your panniers, which are still in the gangway, but of course now the other passengers are alighting. Usually, though, you can ask someone to hand them out to you.
11  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Oyster Cards for Bristol - an ongoing issue, with no real progress so far? on: November 15, 2017, 05:37:36 PM
Thread revival prompted by me reading this (Polish news link)[url] today. It's about a promotion run from 5th October for tickets on buses and trams in various Polish towns. The price was reduced to 1 zloty (about 20p) if you bought them via mPay, a mobile payment app, using a card registered on Masterpass. Masterpass is a digital wallet app run by Mastercard but you can also use Visa and Maestro cards with it.

The tickets covered in the promotion were of various types normally costing from 1.10 zl up to 5.00 zl, so some of the discounts were rather huge. The first tranche of 100,000 promotional tickets sold out by the end of the month and the second finished last Wednesday. The promotion has now finished and the article makes no attempt to predict whether ticket sales will stay at the higher level – nor does it actually give a figure for the increase in sales over normal. It does say that in the third quarter of this year, 4 million urban transport tickets were sold using mobile apps in the 10 largest cities in Poland for a total value of 11.5 million zlotys. mPay is the third most popular of these apps.
12  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Bus Stops in The Centre, Bristol on: November 14, 2017, 06:26:51 PM
The music hadn't really stopped on Saturday. Still areas fenced off, including one pedestrian crossing, though I think – probably – all the roads were finished, at least to the extent of being open with maybe a couple of signs still needing to be put up.
13  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Bus Stops in The Centre, Bristol on: November 14, 2017, 11:42:41 AM
The official First map doesn't show any detail in a blob roughly from Temple Meads to Millennium Square and Stokes Croft to Bedminster Bridge, so I don't hold out much hope of a detailed bus stop map for the new! enhanced! we hope we're going to like it this time! centre.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - 2018 to 2045 / Re: Planning your town for your children, their children and their children on: November 14, 2017, 11:32:05 AM
A useful source for "colour-blind" friendly colours is:
not just for maps!

I sometimes use a web site that renders your page as a colour blind person would see it.  Not on may normal computer (and on a train) as I write, so don't have a link to hand.
Someone I know who is colour blind (red-green I think, but I can't remember for sure) says "Ideally it should all make sense when printed in grey-scale". Cos sometimes it will be, anyway. But your point that "bus" is more important than which bus, is a good one.
15  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: No seat reservations - What's the ettiquette, please? on: November 14, 2017, 10:05:04 AM
Which is worth taking into consideration - the walk-up standard class fare for that route is between £40.60 and £48.60, so I at least wouldn't feel confident in trying to turf someone out if I'd only paid £8 for my ticket and they might have paid full price.

I've done it. During one of my split ticket sojourns to Blackpool, I found a rather objectionable young man of seemingly Russian extraction sitting in the seat that had been ordained to be mine. That was on the Cheltenham to New Street leg, where Cross Country had practically paid for the privilege of carrying me. He didn't want to move at first, but did so eventually when I threatened to get the train manager (I may have inadvertently mis-translated that as "Spetsnaz") albeit without so much as a "Spasiba".

On an earlier trip, I turfed a young lady out of my seat. She produced a ticket to prove it was hers - she had the right seat number, but the wrong carriage. She was mortified because she had kicked an elderly gentlemen out at Gloucester, but she went, presumably to kick him out again. Unfortunately, her gorgeous young friend, who occupied the seat opposite mine, went with her.
I've done that.  Embarrassed Misread the A that rather uselessly indicates "airline style seating" as carriage A. Luckily I hadn't turfed anyone out, so it was only me who had to traipse up to carriage Z.
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