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January 18, 2018, 03:22:03 PM *
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1  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Hydrogen Trains on: Yesterday at 03:57:38 PM
The wind power figures are an underestimate.
All large wind farms are metered in real time and this data is continually reported to the national grid, and quoted on the gridwatch website.
Smaller wind turbines are not metered in real time, the power produced shows only as a reduction in demand.
So the reported figures are an under estimate.
Solar is estimated, by Sheffield University, this is done by metering a small number of installations and extrapolating.
All other large scale generation is metered in real time and reported to a good degree of accuracy.

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
2  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Hydrogen Trains on: Yesterday at 01:25:44 PM
There is no surplus wind power at night.
Last night, indicated wind power into the national grid reached a new record of over 10GW, this represented about one third of indicated demand.
A lot of natural gas  and some coal was still being burnt despite the new all time record for wind power, we were also importing electricity from France, so no question of a surplus.

And that remember was on a night of record wind power production, not a more typical night.

EDIT TO ADD the position may be different on offshore islands, with no grid connection to the mainland, or a connection of limited capacity, see previous post for details.
However nationally, there is no surplus of wind power, under present or reasonably foreseeable conditions.

3  Journey by Journey / London to the West / Re: Hydrogen Trains on: January 16, 2018, 10:39:55 PM
Very silly idea IMO, not actually impossible of course but pointless.
Anything that hydrogen can do should be doable cheaper and better by overhead electrification for fast, busy, long distance routes, or by batteries for lower speeds over shorter distances.

There are only two viable technologies for the bulk manufacture of hydrogen, reformation of natural gas which involves considerable losses and expense, and is pointless if compared to natural gas powered trains.
Or by electrolysis of water which requires a great deal of electricity, that could be more effectively applied via batteries or by OHLE.

A cynic might suspect that they* are trying divert attention away from the failed electrification projects my talk of futuristic nonsense.

*they= department for transport, or network rail, or GWR, take your pick.
4  Journey by Journey / London to South Wales / Re: pullman on IET on: January 15, 2018, 08:47:00 AM
Yes, first class can book a seat in the Pullman. On HSTs, standard class can also dine if space is available on the day, but can not book. I presume this also applies on the new trains.

No Pullmans operate on weekends or public holidays.

The time taken to enjoy a meal without rushing, is a bit subjective but I would say at least two hours. I regularly dine on the 18-03 from Paddington, alighting at Taunton. That is just under two hours and can be a little rushed.

The price of the meal is in addition to the fare, expect to pay from about 50 a head up to about 100 a head, depending on what if any drink is taken. Menus with prices are on the GWR website.
5  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, 04:22:51 PM
Indeed, I was stating that in my view that the vehicle should have had a basic manually applied brake, operated by turning a wheel or in some similarly direct way, not reliant on anything else nor interlocked with anything that could prevent its use.

Whilst the stopping power would be limited, it would have prevented this accident. Note that after striking the tree, that the train continued forwards by momentum, stopped and then ran backwards under gravity.
Just before stopping, or just after starting to run back the speed would have been very low  and will within the stopping power of a brake primarily intended for parking.

To avoid damage in normal use from someone omitting to release the parking brake before setting of, an interlock could be fitted to prevent power being taken until the hand brake was released.
But no interlock or control of any kind should ever stop the handbrake from being applied.
6  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, 11:57:22 AM
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.
7  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Carillion - railway contractor / public services provider - financial concerns, 2017/18, now in liquidation on: January 12, 2018, 08:32:11 PM
The end appears near
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42656879
8  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Preserved railway lines, Railtours and other rail based attractions / Re: West Somerset Railway - heritage line, Bishops Lydeard to Minehead - possible link to main line on: January 12, 2018, 10:49:14 AM
BBC news report that the level crossing near Minehead station is to be upgraded later this year.
At present the crossing has half barriers that are lowered across the relevant part of the road, the upgrade will replace these with barriers that close the entire width of the road to traffic.

There have been numerous instances of crossing misuse by driving around the barriers, and also by queueing on the crossing. I recall one case where the accused motorist said in court that "it was only a steam train" !

This link shows a webcam view of the crossing.http://www.wsr.org.uk/r-cam-md2.htm

In this view, the present barriers LOOK long enough to cross the entire width of the road, but this is an illusion caused by the camera angle. The road is much wider than it looks in that view.
9  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Virgin Trains to stop selling Daily Mail on: January 11, 2018, 11:24:29 AM
For the record, I don't read the Mail, or the Sun, Morning Star, Railway Magazine, The Beano etc etc but I'd defend to the death the right of anyone who wished to, wherever they choose to, whether or not I agree with the content or the readers.

And I'd defend to the death the right of any retailer to chose what they stock. And their right to say why they've chosen not to.

Not certain that I would agree with the second part.
Whilst I would defend the right of Virgin trains to sell or to not sell whatever newspapers they choose, I feel differently about large retailers.
If a major chain of news agents refuse to sell a popular newspaper, then that IMO is getting a bit too like censorship.

If a TOC do not wish to sell a particular newspaper, that is fine, anyone desiring a copy can purchase it elsewhere. If however the nearest newsagents were all owned or controlled by one company who refused to sell the paper, then I would be rather uneasy.
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent performance issues on: January 11, 2018, 01:12:45 AM
Perhaps the springwatch team could set a camera trap in the buffet car of an IET in order to photograph the elusive creature.
11  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Virgin Trains to stop selling Daily Mail on: January 10, 2018, 01:58:18 PM
Newspapers often supply free or heavily subsidised copies to large organisations who wish to give them to customers. The theory is of course that some of those customers will like the free newspaper and purchase copies in future.
12  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Looking at the main root cause of "person hit by train" on: January 10, 2018, 12:12:48 PM
The actions of the staff in the previous post are most commendable and have almost certainly genuinely saved a life, since the man sounds a bit more optimistic and is unlikely to try again.

In a regrettable number of other cases, the victim unfortunately is still determined to end it all and tries again until they succeed.

BTW, when I was young, a neighbour tried to kill themselves with town gas but failed because the coin operated gas meter ran out. That however was not truly saving a life, they took their life with sleeping tablets in the end.

Returning to the present day, there seem to a lot of "accidents" with shotguns among farmers suffering financial troubles. I cant help feeling that some of these are in fact suicide and that the coroner is being kind to the families. (In case of an accident, with a gun or otherwise, the family may benefit from any life insurance that may exist. Insurance wont pay out in case of suicide)

13  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Looking at the main root cause of "person hit by train" on: January 09, 2018, 01:50:45 PM
There will always be those who wish to take their own lives, sometimes for apparently trivial reasons which is an awful waste of a life. Sometimes the decision to end it all is in fact a rational and reasoned decision, if the only alternative is a slow and painful death from an incurable illness.

Suicide on the railway is arguably forming a greater proportion of total suicides because other traditional methods are no longer available or reliable.

The replacement of highly toxic town gas by non poisonous natural gas has eliminated suicide by putting ones head into a turned on but not lit gas oven.
The fitting of catalytic converters to cars has largely eliminated suicide by petrol engine exhaust fumes. It is still possible by use of a vintage vehicle without catalytic converter or by running a petrol driven generator in a confined space, but this is less common.
Dangerous poisons are now much harder to obtain than decades ago. Within living memory, all sorts of very dangerous materials could be purchased from a local chemist, usually for the destruction of vermin.
Dangerous medicines are sold in smaller pack sizes than in the past, and some that could be purchased over the counter now need a prescription. Sleeping tablets in particular are much less available. Such medicines can of course be hoarded until a lethal dose is available, but that takes some time and least deters foolish impulsive suicide.
Firearms are more tightly controlled than ever.
The general use of RCDs has rendered suicide by electrocution unreliable.

Trains meanwhile are often faster and more numerous, and preventing access virtually impossible.
14  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Cable / copper / metal theft - ongoing problems on the railways and elsewhere on: January 09, 2018, 12:31:10 AM
As pointed out, the incident to which I linked was some years ago. Many other fires and blow ups have resulted from copper theft, but that episode is one of the few of which decent quality video exists.

And yes the copper price has increased a great deal recently, so I expect more thefts from the railway and elsewhere.
15  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: Cable / copper / metal theft - ongoing problems on the railways and elsewhere on: January 08, 2018, 02:28:47 PM
Too much emphasis on the danger faced by the thieves, IMO.
I do not much care about the welfare of such thieves, they certainly wont do it again if killed.

I am of course very sorry for railway employees and the emergency services who have to deal with the gruesome aftermath of blown up or run over thieves, but for the thieves themselves, tough.

This not just a railway problem, a growing cause of power cuts is theft of cables. Sometimes the thieves break into substations and steal the neutral or earthing conductors, with disastrous results.

This video shows one such incidenthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgWAenS9kzc
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