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1  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Cucumbers on: Yesterday at 06:14:08 pm
So - 9 car IET - cucumber. Short-formed 5 vice 9 - gherkin. Green TGV - cornichon?

If you find a green TGV, the bigger gauge means (especially if it's two-storey) it should be a courge - i.e. what a courgette is a baby one of.
2  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Cucumbers on: Yesterday at 10:37:50 am
Where does a cucumber stop and a gherkin start?

Depends - how big's your jar?
3  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Cucumbers on: February 20, 2019, 02:43:24 pm
I'm warming even more to BNM's idea-

GWR green IETs?

The five car units could become "half cucumbers"

And if GWR would take the idea on, perhaps they could replace the rather dull and worthy names they are using with names like - "The Cornish Cucumber", "The Cardiff Cucumber" and the "Cotswold Cucumber" Grin

Would that make short-formed but busy services "cucumber sandwiches"?
4  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Cucumbers on: February 20, 2019, 11:57:00 am
I've referred to X73500s as bananas, but they have other names (in French, obviously) that include cucumbers, sausages, shells/bullets, blue whales (liveries vary), and (very Frenchly) suppositories...

(Image from
5  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: "How fast can we build a railway station?" - Network Rail on: February 20, 2019, 09:30:07 am
..soft like "church"!

But named after an island (ey, eye, eyot, řy, ĺ) belonging to Old King Cole (Ceol), who was - as we all know - a merry old soul ...
... but not, I think, a Greek one (soul or island).

Are there any names, or words, of English origin that have a hard ch? Apart from a few from other languages, pronounced as found on arrival, they do all seem to be from Greek. Even chemistry, which arrived from Arabic, was Greek before it had "al-" agglutinated to it.
6  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: February 19, 2019, 12:15:28 am
Poking about in that new West Berks application's documents, there's an extension of the time limit for determination to 15/2/19. That was caused by arguments between all of them and the EA about flood risk, and whether the station is "essential transport infrastructure" and so can't just be put somewhere else.
7  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: February 18, 2019, 11:53:56 pm
Sorry - there's another answer I can give - the access is development that does not require permission - it is noted on one of the plans lodged with Wokingham to this effect (see-

There is a lot more in the Planning Statement (bottom of page 2 of the document list), which also refers to a full application to West Berks (that didn't some up in my search, nor as a related application, but is 18/01451/COMIND). It refers to the haul road:
3.3.5 The access road would be constructed to provide access to the compound to facilitate construction and therefore falls under Part 2 Class B of the GPDO 2015 which permits:
“The formation, laying out and construction of a means of access to a highway which is not a trunk road or a classified road, where that access is required in connection with development permitted by any Class in this Schedule (other than by Class A of this Part).”
3.3.6 The development of the access road for use during construction can therefore proceed under permitted development rights. This was confirmed in writing by West Berkshire Council during pre-application discussions in November 2017.

I'm not familiar with GPDO 2015, but while that might apply to planning per se (i.e. to what is permanently built), surely controls still apply to construction phase aspects and all the environmental issues? There is also a construction management plan, from Balfour Beatty, which doesn't inspire confidence (even if it is only "outline"). It says its preferred traffic route is solely from the A33 at Mereoak and via Kirtons Farm Road over the railway bridge:
It is assumed there is no constraint on Heavy Commercial Vehicles using the rail bridge carriageway as they will be accessing premises along that stretch of road.
There is a 7.5t weight limit on the bridge. Now, that isn't the bridge's fault - it was rebuilt by Network rail in 2015 to "full strength", whatever that is, and the old limit of 3t was raised only to 7.5t after the local residents (all six of them) said they didn't want their peace and quiet disturbed. Now that might be negotiable for this project - but you'd think they would have found out about it first.
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: If it's an August weekend, there must be a TGV on fire ... on: February 18, 2019, 08:25:43 pm
Today's not quite a peak travel holiday - that was last Saturday and next too (for winter sports) - but there was a demonstration from SNCF of what happens when an overhead wire goes ping on your busiest high-speed line (Paris-Lyon). The answer, of course, is that having cancelled as many trains as possible, the rest (enough for the number of passengers) have to squeeze onto the surrounding "classic" network. This is 1500V DC territory, but being on half power isn't likely to matter given the lower line speeds anyway. Typical delays on these trains, between Paris and all points south of Lyon, have been 3-4 hours.

Repair work started at 13:00, but rather than keep both tracks closed for a full repair they chose to reopen the intact one for alternating one-way use and will rewire the other one tonight. Obviously the longer-distance services thin out from late afternoon, helping with recovery, but arrivals in Paris are still very delayed. SNCF are warning of further disruption tomorrow, presumably due to out-of-place stock and out-of-hours staff.

I guess much the same would happen anywhere.

9  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: February 18, 2019, 06:34:02 pm
Did you spot this bit? "...for the platforms to be extended to 165m to accommodate 6 carriage trains"? Is that just "while we're at it let's cater for future growth"? That's hardly the usual style, not for NR nor any other funders. So is there a cunning plan hiding out of sight somewhere - or maybe it's "let's put 165 m in the planning application, but only build 3-car for now"!

To be able to operate match day specials for Reading F.C.?  Either 6-car Turbos, or 8-car 769s?

I thought not, as that would not have changed since 2015. However, the stock will change - now that the station design is for diesel rather than for electric. The earlier design was for 5-car (presumably 140 m), and it may be that one of the implications non-electrification is having to cope with only 3-car units.

I thought I'd just have a quick look at the new application - in whichever LPD it belongs to - and failed. It seems all three sets of planners think it's primarily someone else's, and haven't posted most of the documents. But I did find that it probably isn't Wokingham that's being difficult, but the other WBC (West Berks).

From various short summaries, it's clear the redesign has moved the platforms some 35 m southwards so as not to span Foudry Brook, and a bit less again to reach 6-car length. The old design stopped just short of Wokingham, so the move alone pushes into their patch and the extension is all theirs. So Wokingham got a full application, never having had one before, and so did Reading though with no visible documents; and both are just waiting.

West Berks only got a quickie non-material change application, presumably on the grounds (you don't get to explain why) that the only significant change is removing things to somewhere else. They have refused this, on the grounds that moving a planned building is material. I guess they should now get a full application, basically to explain why a full application wasn't needed. This of course is familiar territory for planning, where you can get a planning pseudo-consent (for permitted development) that says you don't need planning consent...

What is really odd though, is that Wokingham's site outline map shows an access route via West Berks,  while theirs doesn't and it wasn't in the first (approved) application to them. Isn't that a material change?

For completeness, and in case you want to look at the pretty pictures, the numbers are (the postcode is RG2 6GP, but so is a lot of Green Park, and no help if it was not entered):

Reading: 141944 full, 171011, 171064, 171258 conditions, 150254, 171205 minor, 181123 new one but no details

West Berks: 14/03289/COMIND full, 18/00034/NONMAT new one - refused

Wokingham: 181514 only one, full
10  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Intercity Express Trains on the Cotswold line - merged topic on: February 18, 2019, 02:44:40 pm
So why leave HSTs in RealTimeTrains then?
Because those are the timings the timetable was worked out from, so they will not change until the new timetable starts in ... whenever. Though parts of the timetable can be tweaked at any half-year, this would make more sense as part of the major retiming (which after all has been prepared).
11  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: February 17, 2019, 07:42:39 pm
Did you spot this bit? "...for the platforms to be extended to 165m to accommodate 6 carriage trains"? Is that just "while we're at it let's cater for future growth"? That's hardly the usual style, not for NR nor any other funders. So is there a cunning plan hiding out of sight somewhere - or maybe it's "let's put 165 m in the planning application, but only build 3-car for now"!

When electrification was still on, Mortimer and Bramley were going to get stretched from 3-car to 4-car platform lengths. That bit of the plan is now just sitting there sulking and dreaming optimistically of CP6, unless anyone has heard any newer news.
12  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: February 17, 2019, 06:50:59 pm
That very odd boundary, in case you were wondering, dates way back to when it divided the parishes of Shinfield and Burghfield. At that stage both parishes extended well to the north, with a somewhat wiggly boundary (probably following a tiny stream) but nothing unusual. It was also a Workhouse Union boundary, and that became the basis for sanitary districts and then (following 1894) rural districts (Wokingham and Bradfield). But in 1887, when the RDCs were created, Reading Borough was extended (and promoted to County Borough) and took over part of Shinfield and Wokingham Union to the east of the railway. That cut off this little snippet of Wokingham.

Now historically parishes didn't bother to follow even county boundaries, nor to join detached parts by narrow contiguating strips. This time they chose to do both of those things, hence the north half of Kirtons Farm Road from the bridge eastwards is in Wokingham. The bridge is one-way with traffic lights, which at 300 m are quite far apart, and four of the signal posts are in West Berkshire, one in Reading, and the cable between them can't avoid going through Wokingham.

I'm sure it all made sense at the time ... to someone ...
13  Journey by Journey / Thames Valley Branches / Re: Reading Green Park on: February 17, 2019, 04:32:21 pm
After the last new date (summer 2019 in place of 2020), things have got delayed again, by guess who? Wokingham Borough Planning, that's who. As the applicants' agents (Peter Brett Associates) explain:
An application for the construction of a railway station, multi-modal interchange and multi-storey car park was granted full planning permission by Reading Borough Council (Ref: 141944) and West Berkshire Council (Ref: 14/03289/COMIND) in Spring 2015. As a result of subsequent detailed design work and engineering constraints (such as the existing Foudry Brook culvert and high voltage cables), it is necessary for the approved platforms to be relocated further south and for the platforms to be extended to 165m to accommodate 6 carriage trains. This, in turn, requires relocation of the approved footbridge and a change to the location of the approved ditch diversion. These proposed amendments fall outside of the previously approved application boundary and therefore a new full application is hereby submitted.

There is a tiny wedge of wayward Wokingham in the immediate foreground of eightonedee's picture (from Kirtons Farm Road bridge). It only goes as far as the equipment cabinet and half as far again, but the platforms in their new positions come right up to the bridge. The rest of the station is in West Berkshire, except for just the front wall and road access (including a 4-storey car park) that are in Reading. So a new planning application was made to WBC last May ... and there it still rests, listed officially as recommendation made and awaiting the start of a consultation phase.

Having refused Reading's application to build their bus bridge (East Reading MRT), on the grounds that it would ruin the riverside environment (which looks suspiciously like a scruffy bit of ex-industrial canal bank), I wonder what objections WBC will come up with this time?

14  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: 11th July 2019 - Great Western Rail Forum on: February 16, 2019, 12:02:18 am

Flashed up on my news feed.  New one to me
* At Swindon
* During the week
* Starting at 6 p.m.
* 5 speakers (wonder how long each will get)
* No clear idea of cost on front page ...
Needs further research or is anyone "In the know".

This event is not associated with the Great Western Coffee Shop Forum in any way!

The web site says it's a networking event, and it has a dinner as part of the deal. Peloton themselves explain their business model as:
Peloton was launched in 2016 to facilitate senior management led conferences and networking dinners, bringing together key stakeholders and the supply chain to discuss key projects and priorities and disseminate the latest information on government policy.

Our conferences attract the leading experts within their field, whilst offering organisations a great platform to showcase products and services through delivery of technical seminars, engaging one-to-one meetings and exhibiting via our networking zone.

Currently working across the transport and built environment sectors, we work hard to ensure we deliver real value for all participants.

What sets us apart from the rest?

Integrity – Upholding moral principles is at the core of everything we do. All our events are carefully researched to meet the needs of our stakeholders and ensure that the best possible outcomes can be delivered.

Collaboration – Our stakeholders and attendee requirements are the sole reason we facilitate our events. We work collaboratively to ensure only the most relevant topics are up for discussion and provide a platform for like-minded individuals to get together.

Quality – We pride ourselves on producing events of the highest quality, offering an excellent route for informative debate and guiding government policy, either on a national or devolved level.

I can believe the first half of that - but somehow the last three points don't seem to quite fit, nor indeed to make a lot of sense. But then I don't inhabit the supply chain ...
15  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: 11th July 2019 - Great Western Rail Forum on: February 15, 2019, 11:20:04 pm
The link mentions Swindon Station Redevelopment - anyone know what this might be be about?
It's not new (from Network Rail)-
Tuesday 14 Dec 2004

A partner is being sought to develop the land adjacent to Swindon Station.  The site, owned by Network Rail and currently occupied by an industrial estate and a car park, is to be developed for residential purposes in line with the Swindon Regeneration Framework.  Deborah Richards, Network Rail’s Director of Railway Estates, said: “The first phase involves nine acres of land next to the station.  We have contacted a number of developers to gauge interest and, following a selection process, we plan to have a partner in place by March 2005.” The move has the full support of the New Swindon Company, the urban regeneration organisation for the town, which is backed by members of the local business community, as well as the National Trust and Swindon Borough Council. Further possible proposals include major refurbishment of the station, greatly improving the car parking and travel facilities, mixed use redevelopment involving both residential and commercial uses and improvements to links across the railway.  Network Rail continues to review its landholdings in the town and to will work closely with both New Swindon Company and Swindon Borough Council throughout the process.  Once listed planning consent is obtained, work will take approximately two years to complete the first phase of development. Peter Leppard, Network Rail’s Acting Western Route Director, adds: “The scheme will put much needed life into what is currently a dead frontage.  It will also improve links across the railway, in particular to the Designer Outlet Village, Steam Railway Museum and the National Monuments Record Office.”

- but central government has more recently* given the idea a boost -
Regeneration of stations set to deliver thousands of new properties and jobs

A massive programme of development of railway stations and surrounding land will deliver thousands of new homes and jobs and significantly boost local growth.

A new agreement between Network Rail and the Homes and Communities Agency will see them working with local councils to trailblaze development opportunities across England’s railway stations for housing and businesses.

The ambitious initiative could deliver up to 10,000 new properties on sites around stations in the coming years. Government wants to hear from at least 20 local authorities to take the scheme forward.
York, Taunton and Swindon councils have come forward with proposals to spearhead the new initiative and have identified railway sites that could be pooled to deliver housing and other locally-led regeneration.

*I should have included the date of that: August 2016
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