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1  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014 on: November 25, 2018, 12:24:39 am
Really, it was from the 7th, as the 12th was a train failure...
2  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: October 19, 2018, 07:06:23 pm
I do hate how exaggerated this thing about the "massive" steelwork is. Yes the ones for the tensioning equipment where wire runs start or finish are quite big, but they need to be able to withstand a lot of force. Unfortunately you can end up with several of them near stations where there are many crossovers. But for plain line the normal Series1 twin-track cantilevers look much better than the old Mk3 system (both normal length and extra length ones).

Mk3
Southall: https://flic.kr/p/22t5QDW
Southall again: https://flic.kr/p/MVUWhx

Series1
Pangbourne: https://flic.kr/p/HKLVrK
Pangbourne again: https://flic.kr/p/21BYR51
Maidenhead: https://flic.kr/p/21KWQqy
Iver: https://flic.kr/p/DGs7ff (although one of the massive tensioning ones were just out of shot)

Putting aside the cantilevers and portals - what about the bits that actually hold the wires (small part steel? Can't remember the exact terminology)? The Series 1 bits are so much tidier than their Mk 3 counterparts.
3  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Paddington platform 9 closed 08/08/2018 on: August 09, 2018, 07:28:12 pm
Begs the question whether the inspection regime is still failing.

Should it not be proactive, finding and fixing faults during quiet hours, rather than reactive and shutting a platform through a weekday rush hour?

Well, it looks as though the amount of work required in order to fix the fault would have exceeded any available "quiet hours", so disruption was on the cards. If that's the case, then you just have to bite the bullet and get on with it.
4  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: News from TfL re: Hayes & Harlington Redevelopment on: June 28, 2018, 09:28:53 pm
We all trooped off. The gates were open. No touch outs.

Most of us trooped round to platform 12 where we had to touch in again. Nice little earner for TfL - double touch ins and no touch outs = unresolved journeys or maximum penalty fares. What a bunch of crooks TfL are with Oyster.


Umm... Not claiming to be an expert on Oyster, but I have a feeling that the gates being open doesn't necessarily mean that they won't validate a touch out...
5  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Amazing what a month can bring ... on: April 20, 2018, 11:04:52 am
It reached 29.1C in St James Park, just shy of the April record of 29.4C. Yes this has been a year so far of exceptional extremes in our weather, and there is every likelihood we will see similar disparities in future years, if not greater. The rail service is obviously going to be susceptible to this, and this needs to be planned for. I don't see any evidence of this happening.

What would you expect to see as evidence of plans were being made?
6  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Stranded passengers detrain onto tracks - incident at Lewisham, 2 Mar 2018 on: March 04, 2018, 03:59:44 pm
Once the traction current was off there was really no excuse to then keep everybody else on board for several further hours.

Except that live traction current running through conductor rails is only one of the hazards that could be encountered. Ok, they might not get electrocuted, but they could still trip over the conductor rail, get their foot caught between the conductor rail and running rail and break an ankle, or trip over balises, TPWS grids, point machines, catch pits, or just uneven ballast - not forgetting that some of these things could have been hidden by snow.

7  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014 on: February 28, 2018, 05:43:46 pm
Only really an infrastructure problem in as much as the infrastructure wasn't available to be used as there was a broken-down train sitting on it.
8  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Infrastructure problems in Thames Valley causing disruption elsewhere - ongoing, since Oct 2014 on: February 08, 2018, 06:23:51 pm
Arrived 140 minutes late.  One of the old trains which suffered a complete loss of air.

So... not an infrastructure problem, then.
9  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Runaway maintenance train - Markinch, Fife - 17 Oct 2017 on: January 14, 2018, 05:34:43 pm

My suggestion for something that is simple enough that it might happen is this:
  • Add a hydraulic pump operated by a handwheel or lever, either in the cab or just behind it (and not requiring anything to be found and attached to make it work)
  • Connect this to the hydraulic brake system, either in place of or as well as the existing pump,
  • Check the routing of the pipes and hoses for vulnerability, and move or protect as need be.


Quote
41 The train is also fitted with a hand brake2
, which is hydraulically operated via a
button on the control desk. However, this is fitted with an interlock to prevent its
use while the train is moving; the hand brake is designed to prevent a stationary
train from moving, not to stop a moving train. Therefore, the driver was unable
to use this desk control after the train had started rolling backwards. There is
a manual pump on the exterior of the cab that the driver can operate to apply
the hand brake, using a handle that is kept in the cab. However, this is slow to
operate and may not be fully able to stop a moving train, and the driver had to
consider the possibility that this was also inoperative. Use of the hand brake
while moving is not a documented or approved procedure, but this was the only
brake that would still have been operable, albeit it was not designed to stop a
moving train.


10  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Runaway maintenance train - Markinch, Fife - 17 Oct 2017 on: January 14, 2018, 01:45:02 pm
It seems to me that the design of the vehicles was defective in not being equipped with a manually operated parking brake.
One that is applied by turning a wheel and that does not require compressed air or electricity.

Such brakes often operate on only one axle and therefore have limited stopping power, but would have sufficed in this case.

If I remember the report correctly, there is parking brake on the MPV, but it can only be activated when the vehicle is stationary - if the vehicle is moving, then that brake won't operate. Bearing in mind that this brake is a parking brake, then that's not a design flaw.

What is a design flaw is that the mechanism to disable the brakes (a feature that is required) was vulnerable to being operated (and jammed in the operated position) through collision with debris on the track.

One of the positive outcomes of this incident is that it highlights a possible failure mode that wasn't considered before.
11  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: TOCs, Unions, Passengers, Government on: January 05, 2018, 06:51:17 pm

So, if rules are not to be adhered to, then what's the point of having them?


Good question.  And there is a plenty of evidence from decades of subsequent use that the BR electrical clearance rules of the 1980s were perfectly safe and that the newer more stringent rules were a mistake. 

When the pigeon exploded at Hayes & Harlington, damaging the bridge, was it on the OLE that was put up for Heathrow Express/Heathrow Connect? If it was, then it would have been on the BR clearance rules... Mind you, I doubt that the ballistic qualities of sky rats was considered for the EN regulations.
12  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: TOCs, Unions, Passengers, Government on: January 03, 2018, 09:20:10 pm

There is an article in this weeks Rail Magazine on the proposed Kings Cross remodelling that sheds some light on these costs.  They put it down to slavish adherence to rules (e.g. electrification clearances). An example quoted is the 5 year old footbridge at Kings Cross which would according to the rules need to be replaced again for 10 million because of the clearances. However they did a risk assessment (details in article) which showed that it was not necessary in that location. 

So, if rules are not to be adhered to, then what's the point of having them?


13  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Rail firm bans gardening gran from platform over health and safety concerns on: November 04, 2017, 05:11:06 pm
The 24 comments on the article all skip over the fact that there is a sign present in two of the photographs stating that passengers should not pass the sign, and all of the garden is past the sign - so any work on it would be trespassing...

That aside - the piece of the garden at the bottom of the ramp has its outer edge aligned with the platform edge. So, working on it would require either standing on the edge of the built-up sides, or standing on the ballast.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion on: October 09, 2017, 06:44:32 pm
I like the way that the Series 1 arm (the left one of Grahame's pictures) holds both the support and contact wires - much simpler than the other example.



15  Journey by Journey / London to Reading / Re: Class 387 coming to Thames Valley - ongoing discussion on: May 06, 2017, 01:08:02 pm
However, I suspect it is more complex than that.  All other things being equal, a mix of 2 and 3 car trains on a route enables a close tailoring of demand in that you can have any length of train from 2 onwards.  For diesels, other than the additional cost of the cabs, there isn't much difference in the cost, as every coach is powered.  However, for emus, the traction equipment is one per train, so (as an example), 2 x 2 car sets costs a lot more than 1 x 4 car set, and would be overpowered. Therefore the balance swings more to having longer trains with fewer sets. 

Modern 2-car EMU sets are such a rarity that the electrification of the Marlow Branch is pretty much dead in the water.
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