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1  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: FlyBMI - Gone into administration. on: Yesterday at 07:33:23 pm
I think red diesel is only for non-road vehicles: construction equipment, agricultural machinery and similar. Legally at least. And boats of course. Buses are not supposed to use it but to can reclaim VAT (red diesel being duty free in addition to VAT-free). I think.

Correct. With very few exceptions, road vehicles cannot use it. Tractors cannot use it on a road unless travelling between different parts of a farm not otherwise accessible, cutting hedges or verges by a public road, or gritting. On pleasure boats, it can only be used for heating or generating electricity, not propulsion. Recovery of duty is a full-time job for big bus companies.
2  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Planned Industrial Action on: Yesterday at 05:51:58 pm
.the way you go on about Chris Grayling, people are going to start thinking that maybe you don't like him?  Wink

I wouldn't say that - he may be good company over dinner or a beer or six, I don't know.  He doesn't seem the most competent man to have ever filled the job, though.
3  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: FlyBMI - Gone into administration. on: Yesterday at 05:45:05 pm
How much would your flight cost if there was fuel duty at the same rate as ground-used fuels, I wonder? 

It used to be said that one jumbo jet crossing the Atlantic used as much fuel as all the competitors and spectators in the, then 5 day, RAC Rally.

As may be. Jumbos are on the way out, with Airbus announcing the end of production of the A380. Although Boeing 747s are still being made, albeit in much smaller numbers, airlines are beginning to replace them with twin engined wide-bodies aircraft with much better fuel consumption, such as the 787 Dreamliner and A350 XWB. The last Delta Airlines 747, then 47 years old, retired in 2017. BA still has 30 or so, but won't be buying new ones.

Aircraft engine technology has come in in leaps and bounds, often through what look like simple changes to a fairly simple design. High bypass engines cut fuel consumption, which was much less of an issue in the 1970s, dramatically, and the search goes on. The A320 NEO (my chariot twice recently) uses 20% less fuel than its immediate predecessor, and a third less than early models. It follows that less fuel means less pollution.

A rule of thumb seems to be double pollution for plane vs train. What isn't easy to find is whether this is comparing a brand new IET against a 30 year old 737, or a 787 against a HST, or what. It makes the comparisons less meaningful. As for upping duty on aviation fuel, airlines spend a great deal of effort on fuel strategies. Were the UK to up the ante, and if the numbers added up, aircraft would simply uplift more wherever its cheaper, or start routing long-haul from elsewhere. To a degree, they do this already.
4  Sideshoots - associated subjects / News, Help and Assistance / Re: Server struggling over last hour on: Yesterday at 05:17:32 pm
And again ... 6,000 requests in around 8 minutes (14:21 to 14:29) from an IP address that's pointed to New Jersey. Server load normal "1" or "2" (I can explain units at some time) shot up to 84.46 and the server emailed me in panic.  Back down in normal range now.

Sorry if anyone had any problems ... this is a test post.

Hadn't noticed anything. It seems you are a lot better prepared than the NHS or Travelwest, grahame!
5  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Planned Industrial Action on: Yesterday at 05:15:02 pm
From what I can see a clear win for the RMT and a loss for SWR/Dft.

Ask SWR / DfT, see what they say. RMT will help them with a face-saver, but will not hide their feelings at their own success. It comes as a bit of  a surprise, given that this was something of a proxy war between unions and government, but government blinked first. I expect the government will do the decent thing, and blame Chris Grayling.
6  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: 18th Feb 2019 - 90 years of passengers services at Oldfield Park on: Yesterday at 03:42:18 pm
A great shame! Would have iced the cake nicely.
7  All across the Great Western territory / Fare's Fair / Re: Prices at station shops on: Yesterday at 10:22:47 am
Some companies, (fast food for example) charge exactly the same whether in the station or out. But I get the impression that shops with offers outside (241s etc) often do not in stations/motorway services etc. I avoid trying to buy snacks at stations, preferring to get something much cheaper just outside. But to be fair, I imagine they pay very rents for space in a station which has be covered somehow.

My own strategy for long journeys. For shorter ones, it's "Don't eat".
8  Journey by Journey / South Western services / Re: Planned Industrial Action on: Yesterday at 09:53:32 am
Certainly is good news, and probably the obvious conclusion after the resolution of the Northern Rail dispute. A clear victory for everybody involved on all sides, except the passengers.
9  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Transport Minister says Bristol's public transport system 'absolutely fantastic' on: February 18, 2019, 11:46:45 am
These sort of statements can really rile those who actually live in Bristol and have to deal with the daily realities of our "transport system" rather than just go on a prearranged/staged publicity tour bearing no comparison to the travails of the usual commuter.

If our transport system is as good Ms Ghani claims, how does she resolve this with Bristol's long recognized congestion problems?
Britain's relatively high bus usage figures are easily explained by the paucity of rail based alternatives and where they do exist the take up and growth has been far more than Metrobust.
Which brings me to Me Ghani's claims for Metrobust. Most services I've seen have been far from full. No actual figures where given and no definition was offered of what "high" passenger numbers actually meant. Anyone can claim high passenger uptake if you set your expectations low enough.

A sort look at other social media shows that it has riled the locals. Anger was initially directed towards the Minister, but it has now dawned on many that she was conned by the Western Super Mayor.

What she saw would have looked good, especially as it was done on a Saturday morning. The ride along the shortest guided busway in the know universe with its premium view of the suspension bridge is impressive. It becomes less so if you are one of the unfortunate people whose journey has been lengthened considerably by the withdrawal of the previous service, or who has to drag luggage in the rain to Temple Meads from the "nearby" stop in the rain, or who is pelted with rocks on the isolated section. Similarly, the ride on the Platinum route to UWE looks good when the last of the students got home from town on the 4am bus, and are now sleeping off the effects in preparation for another night out, but less so when you are trying to get to work from the Begbrook stop, watching full buses sweep past you without stopping. Or, for that matter, when you are First West of England supremo James Freeman and tell the inconvenient truth that the trip from Emersons Green to town is supposed to take 34 minutes, but actually takes an hour and a half.

I might drop her a line.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: February 18, 2019, 11:09:32 am
So, none on Saturday and two on Sunday brings the total for the week to 15.  Roughly 1.5% of trains.

None so far today.

Is this a sign of things finally settling down?
11  Journey by Journey / London to South Wales / Re: GWR boss out of touch with its problems, says Labour MP on: February 18, 2019, 10:14:02 am
A Labour MP complaining about a leadership being out of touch with the organisation's problems is just asking for trouble. Glass houses and stones spring to mind.

As for GWR, yes, there have been many variations from the plan sprung upon them at short notice. The "pause" in the electrification programme with the consequent requirement for extra diesel engines in the 9-car trains,  turned the introduction of the IETs from a carefully planned roll-out to chaos. Then the introduction of the new timetable last year didn't go well, although GWR's troubles there were much less than other TOCs. We know that a railway is subject to the butterfly / hurricane effect as well as political interference, and maybe one day someone impartial will sit down and write an account of what went wrong, why, and because of whom. On past experience, though, I doubt that lessons would be learned fully.

In the meantime, there is one small change that I would like to see - the removal of the words "Thank you for your patience" in announcements and posters when things go bosoms skywards. I have some virtues, but patience isn't one of them.
12  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Severn Beach Line Passenger Count, call for volunteers. on: February 17, 2019, 12:21:43 pm
What we know is:

Quote
...either late March or May (in school term). To spread the workload one possibility is to do different trains on 3 consecutive days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).

I'm away at the end of March (just in case) but will be back by May. Might drop a line.
13  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Bristol Resignalling - from Bristol PSB to Thames Valley Signal Centre on: February 16, 2019, 05:51:40 pm
There must be a billion pound project in the offing at Temple Meads...

Presumably opening up Platforms 0 and 1 has implications for the Bristol East Junction project, but the old signal box has to go first. It's hard to imagine the new platforms being reopened in isolation from a general redevelopment of the station, which should include opening up the east end of the subway to the new University campus. Then there's Plot 6 - the area to the north-west of the Old Station, which is to form a new main entrance for people coming from central Bristol, the redevelopment of the station incline and, last but not least, the restoration of the spire. You can see why it takes a while to pull these packages together! Let's just hope they manage to sort it all out before the roof collapses.

Very much chicken and egg. I don't think platforms 0 and 1 will really depend on East Bristol being remodelled. The trains from there will primarily be London bound, via Parkway, so under diesel power, I can't see how they couldn't cope with the present layout. But the junction certainly needs to be altered to get the best from the four-tracking, and surely Filton Bank must be electrified at the same time. All of the preparation has been done.
14  Journey by Journey / Wales local journeys / Re: Class 175 fire Pontrilas 15 February 2019 on: February 16, 2019, 04:11:34 pm
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-47258589

Passenger Mike Robinson said: "The train stopped first and then it started to smoke and then the smoke just kind of got worse and worse...

"Then the staff kind of advised us to all move to carriage number one and then the fire brigade came and then the smoke just kind of continued for the next 30 minutes."

[continues]

That was kind of them.

Just as well that this was not their experimental hydrogen powered train.

The project could have imploded there and then. I'm sure there are adequate safety measures, and the good old fashioned diesel technology could prove to be the heart of the problem here.
15  Journey by Journey / Bristol Commuters / Re: Severn Beach Line Passenger Count, call for volunteers. on: February 16, 2019, 02:29:37 pm
Do we know the dates? I'd love to help, but don't have as much free time as I did when I was working.
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