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16  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: October 14, 2021, 08:47:04 am
Why are they never tidied up just a little bit?

They are Stuving, but normally in a haphazard way, generally when there's an urban area spreading into an adjoining (different) county - for example Caversham became part of Reading Borough in (I think) the 1920s, and further bits have transferred since, such as Caversham Park Village, all transferred out of Oxfordshire. This is why you encounter a "Mapledurham" sign on the Woodcote Road before you leave Reading Borough.
1974 was the last time the boundary was moved up in Caversham Heights I think, from where that sign is to the current one on Upper Woodcote Road. You may also notice that street lamps are not on the upper stretch either.
17  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail and other transport issues / Re: Birmingham to become a super-sized low-traffic neighbourhood on: October 07, 2021, 07:44:28 pm
Clearly some of the public think there is no alternative but for private cars to continue but what percentage of the population would you think that was? Are the media and government making it seem like it’s the overwhelming majority? A report on climate change this morning on the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) covered multiple areas of change but on the transport segment simply mentioned the targets for car charging points (which I think was a quarter of a million before 2030?!?). Why does nobody want add in the addition of congestion caused by cars whether ICE or electric? Can we really swap every vehicle to batteries and keep putting money into charging points rather than improve the other means of mobility? A lot of questions but I’m interested on whether the penny is ever going to drop anytime soon for our country as a whole.
18  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail and other transport issues / Re: Birmingham to become a super-sized low-traffic neighbourhood on: October 07, 2021, 01:13:07 pm
This is indeed true but I imagine many people currently not cycling as a means of getting from one place to another are rather intimidated by the speed and volume of traffic even on the smaller roads. A long long time ago I would ride a bike in the summer holidays round the villages of the Berkshire downs on roads which many barely knew about. Almost 40 years later these very same roads are markedly busier and faster nowadays. Satellite navigation has made some quiet country roads an unpleasant experience to cycle. Anywhere I go on a bike now is planned by map to avoid the busiest roads but sometimes you simply have no choice. The basic provision of a wide pavement between somewhere like the Reading boundary and Burghfield would give many more the option of comfortably cycling or walking to other places. There is of course no perceived profit available in this.
19  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail and other transport issues / Re: Birmingham to become a super-sized low-traffic neighbourhood on: October 06, 2021, 01:27:55 pm
Wasn’t a small part of demolition done for this plan in Bath? 

The area around The Podium - where Waitrose is - formed part of Buchanan's scheme, as did the road system south of the Avon by the station. Other areas such as New King St, Chapel Row and many more were blighted for years.

The tide looks to have turned though. At Bath Quays North, for example, the original street plan is being restored and the brutalist Avon St multi-story car park is being removed. Other schemes such as the Security Zone and, of course, the Clean Air Zone are all helping to tilt the balance. Wandering round Bath in the summer, I was struck by the number of people out on the streets - eating, drinking, chatting, wandering round, browsing shops, and spending money.

That’s great, and we could have this everywhere. If you get stuff beyond politics and built everyone always agrees it’s a good thing (metrobus aside. Poorly planned token transport). Regardless of how much people love the convenience of a car, they also like space for people. Most I imagine walk further than they realise when the environment is right and it’s not alongside a dual carriageway or arterial road. Our town centres aren’t dying off, we’re killing them off through our inability to adapt. They will all thrive if we create access in the right method and that isn’t a multi storey.
20  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail and other transport issues / Re: Birmingham to become a super-sized low-traffic neighbourhood on: October 06, 2021, 12:26:02 pm
Wasn’t a small part of demolition done for this plan in Bath?

Scandalous that plans like this did get built in some places. I find it incredible that for such a small island with many villages, towns and cities based on medieval streets that we chose the American model. I’m aware other European countries did this too but many places have realised that it was a mistake long ago and are well ahead (including cities in America) while we still press on with the dream. Don’t get me wrong I was as guilty as everyone else when I passed the test back in the early 90’s, when Ford’s were 100 quid with one years tax and MOT, but the realisation happened to me before that decade was up, and at that point I still didn’t take the car to the town centre as it was a burden finding somewhere to put it. I can thank my parents for instilling that in me. Now I have the attitude of simply make room for public transport regardless of space taken away from cars, be that parking or lanes. Make it hard work to move about in a car, however the argument that is becoming popular for closing streets to traffic is the emergency services access one. Which is odd as traffic by its very nature can hold up emergency services as well as continuing road repairs and motor vehicles colliding with each other. Then there is the argument that you couldn’t possibly have trams or the like on anything but reserved track, but you have to start somewhere and the idea of the transport like a tram is to largely replace that very traffic. No politician wants to face the truth with any of this as it’s bad for business. It’s a stand off where nothing changes. Keep dithering and hoping that technology will save the situation. This must be the first time in history where we are simply waiting for technology to get better to apply it, assuming it does that is.
21  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail and other transport issues / Re: Birmingham to become a super-sized low-traffic neighbourhood on: October 06, 2021, 10:38:29 am
is scared of upsetting motorists...

Which covers a lot of local authorities, including those in Berkshire. I don't expect much in Reading before May, when they are all up for election for the first time since the creation of the unitary authority. Together with ward boundary changes might be a change from Labour control. Not much money in the kitty to sweeten the voters either. Local rumour that Tony Paige might not be standing this time.

I cannot see a conservative council in Reading providing any new measures that might be perceived as anti-car. In fact I cannot see anything changing if the council changes sides save for the addition of the box ticking electric car charging points. I find the refusal to believe that cars are a poor way of moving around a town or city in the U.K. frustrating. Space for people rather than cars is beneficial for all, perhaps it’s that equality that people are upset by and frightened of. Our towns and cities have been held to ransom by cars for years with the remove cars and business will suffer rhetoric, when this has been proved wrong everywhere. Think about the serious amount of space we put aside for them in Bristol for example, more than twice the space available for people.

The capital appears to be the only place that people seem happy to be equalled with everyone else for movement, most car owners wouldn’t dream of taking a car there nor complaining about how far they might have to walk. It is what I believe has led to our overly London centric railway system in the south, where service to london is more important than a service to a local town, another rail junction or even the next station down the line (Bedwyn to Pewsey). Anyway I’m ranting off the topic.

I’m guessing that the current government a hoping that the U.K. will just swap to electric cars/lorries/buses and we will not have to change anything about how we move around at all, or at least that’s the vote winner hoped for in our nation of competition among neighbours. That’s an awful lot of batteries, charging, and the mining and waste products associated with batteries not to mention the simple logistics of how on Earth cars will be charged when they are littered over every piece of pavement and grass verge around somewhere like Calcot estate for example. The car is freedom and status thinking really has to change and that needs to come from above, but above need to provide the alternatives first, the climate crisis really is going to be a build it and they will come type venture. Individuals can’t be blamed, for many it’s just the world they have been brought into, the reliance on the internal combustion engine has been our short long term solution for decades. Electric cars are part of the solution for people with disabilities in certain circumstances and rural areas don’t have much chance of changing how mobility is around those areas but in towns and cities the options need to be there for us to choose the right way to move around and reduce our future over reliance on batteries. Save the batteries for the most necessary application (ranting off topic again). We need streets for people in urban centres and singe corridors for public transport. Bristol, Reading, Oxford, Bath even bits of Swindon (I’m thinking the old town as the centre is pretty car free although still dominated by infrastructure for it) could be transformed into real liveable places with the removal of cars and these tarmac, people hostile collars around the centres.

22  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Extinction Rebellion UK - May 2020 on: August 25, 2021, 10:30:08 am
This is pointing fingers at individuals similar to further up the thread and avoiding discussing changes in policy. We all contribute in some way to damaging the climate, it cannot be avoided because of circumstances. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s a world we have been brought into. By suggesting somebody is not practicing what they preach is completely missing the point. It’s simply media diversion and point scoring to highlight the ‘you’re not changing so why should I’ debate that has rattled on for decades delaying what we know is happening, because people are under the impression it will take away privilege. This is something we are all in together, not a select few who can afford to be green if they choose to. The subject of climate change by now should not be political. We should be debating how to change, not deciding who’s doing the right or wrong thing. This is attempting to divide and pit the public against each other, which is what the media do best in this country.
23  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Extinction Rebellion UK - May 2020 on: August 24, 2021, 06:25:45 pm
Not just government action on a national scale, it won't really be effective unless it's on a global scale.

Of course. That’s why Extinction Rebellion is an international organisation, but here we can only lobby our own government to change their policies. If they change, this will of course will have a knock on effect to other countries as like it or not we are still an influence on the world, although I’m not sure why. Much like it’s time to stop pointing the finger at individuals and their carbon footprint (an idea created by an oil company), it’s also time to stop blaming the rest of the world for the reason not to adapt your own country.

Traffic is just as disruptive to me if we are down to an individual level, it p***es me off  in it and passing it on foot or bicycle, but I realise there is a bigger picture that others are a factor of, including myself. Additionally, disruption comes in many positive and negative forms. The Reading festival is disruption for a few days and I avoid the town, it doesn’t mean I want to see an end to it being put on (although I personally feel this year isn’t necessary for obvious reasons). Football every other Saturday could be disruptive for those not at the game but would they want to see the end of it (possibly if they’re a Headington United, Aldersh*t or Swinedon fan). The point is not to change an individuals mind on climate change as it’s already a factor involved in our lives, the point is continued pressure on the government to change for the better. If some don’t like the disruption of Extinction Rebellion lobby your MP (Member of Parliament) to change the government’s outlook on climate change.
24  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Extinction Rebellion UK - May 2020 on: August 24, 2021, 03:55:11 pm
I think the point is that government action is required, the time for pointing fingers at individuals is over. Take domestic plastic use for example, if companies and retailers didn’t have the option of that packaging then we wouldn’t have to sort through it at home. Or travel, if we had money spent on other options of transport then we wouldn’t drive cars. Because of the policies of the past 40 years many of the other ways of doing things aren’t available anymore. This country as a whole just isn’t willing to admit it was a mistake….. yet!

This government’s current thinking is that the decision should be by the individual rather than changes in policies. It’s still treated like the debate of climate change happening or not is ongoing. By disruption, Extinction Rebellion keep this point in the government, industry’s and the public’s eye. If they didn’t then we would get complacent again and sit around waiting for electric cars to become affordable believing that’s all we have to do. People will not change if the option isn’t available. The disruption is negligible in comparison to the disruptive world that our children and grandchildren may experience when they grow old, and the disruption is well advertised so you can either join in or avoid it. I would personally encourage joining in, even if this is simply accepting what a group of people want to do to campaign make our lives better. You may not like their tactics but nobody joining extinction rebellion is obliged to join in with civil disobedience.
25  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Priority Boarding Trial at Paddington - August 2021 on: August 10, 2021, 09:21:37 am
Can barriers at London Paddington not be set to only let particular tickets through? I guess shared platforms is a problem but with some planning for particular trains surely this would be possible.
26  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: Siemens powers trucks like trams with overhead wires on: August 09, 2021, 09:16:51 pm
Modern trolleybuses only tend to de-wire through driver error rather than equipment fault, not setting direction properly or moving too quickly through a junction. Upon dewirement, on some vehicles the poles on top of the vehicle can immediately drop to the roof to avoid damaging overhead. Indeed many dewirement photos I’ve seen on the Reading system appeared to be wrong route set at a junction, meaning the driver was on or off power at wrong moment when passing through the switch.
27  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: As we head back to BR ... a new look for the logo on: August 09, 2021, 10:50:39 am
I would vote to stick with the arrows of indecision as it is a universally accepted British symbol however, this particular government probably can’t help themselves to do a massive marketing and rebranding exercise with something probably covered in union flags, bulldogs, lions, a red phone box, a black taxi, the Palace of Westminster, tower bridge and other London based things that the world thinks is British to get across their build better British back better tag line. They would want their own mark on it even if it doesn’t make sense. In an ideal world it needs to be uncomplicated, which the arrows already are.
28  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Priority Boarding Trial at Paddington - August 2021 on: August 06, 2021, 09:22:37 am
Competition in every level of our lives. Pit passengers against each other with special treatment. Might work on the buses, it seems to come from the US business school of thinking, and modern management love that sort of thing.
29  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many? on: August 02, 2021, 04:46:43 pm
Any change in service was/is probably still a problem for the real time information screens on Reading’s bus stops. Short turned late buses would show a midway terminal point yet the info would show full service. As far as I’m aware the control room had no control of this. Only buses timetabled to turn short would show that location, pre programmed I guess.
30  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Platform Announcements - are there too many? on: July 31, 2021, 03:10:36 pm
If I recall correctly, the station announcer office at General was in the original GWR (Great Western Railway) station building above the Three Guineas. I had an interview for the job in the mid 90’s and announced a couple of trains, one of which was definitely a Swansea one. I seem to remember I couldn’t hear my own voice across the station in that room.
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