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1  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: World First Solar Train Arrives in Byron Bay [Australia] on: Yesterday at 11:42:18 am
Actually I was being rather vague when I asked whether similar tech could be used here! What I meant was that I was wondering if any first-generation (sic) DMUs, as used on some heritage lines, would be particularly suited to conversion to battery-electric. Doubtless the carbon emissions of steam engines don't make that much difference in the round, but it can only be a matter of time before people start to point fingers and ask questions...

Well, there is one at the Royal Deeside Railway that needs no conversion - though it is currently listed as "Electrically out of service".
2  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - 2019 to 2045 / Re: Williams Rail Review on: Yesterday at 09:58:41 am
Oh dear, Lee, was I a bit provocative there? And yes, I did judge "consensus" just by the volume of screaming and shouting.

But to pick up on one of my gratuitous sarcasms, what do the unBritish do? My universal counterexample is of course France, where the split between long distance (TGV) and local trains (RER, or Transilien in Paris) is quite clear. That is, apart for the odd collection of services that don't fit (Intercités), answering inexactly to CrossCountry. Not only that, but TGV ticketing is airline-like with reservations included, and there is some element of competing SNCF brands (and preparations are being made for open access).

Local services are of course run by regions, some of which have been muttering rebelliously about private contractors for a while now. And yesterday Hauts-de-France announced they intend to start the process, following PACA* who were first to make the threat and made their decision last month.

I don't think Virgin's suggestions for local service make much sense, and they almost say that themselves. I don't think they are really interested; their main motivation was to rescue the elements of a market-based structure that are still relevant (or at least have respectable economic credentials) and junk the bits that don't work in a capacity-limited railway. But the gaps in the proposal are as interesting as the contents.

*Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azure
3  All across the Great Western territory / Looking forward - 2019 to 2045 / Re: Williams Rail Review on: Yesterday at 12:27:50 am
In case anyone might want to read Virgin's proposal before commenting - and lack of it doesn't seem to have held anyone back so far - the (quite substantial)_ text is here. I've been bemused (and amused) to see everyone jump in to comment on one small part of the proposal, when there are far more problematic elements to it.

My bemusement is partly at the consensus view that for long-distance trains to only carry passengers seated is a dangerously alien, unBriish, and unworkable idea. It looks to me more long one of the defining factors of the "proper long-distance trains" that Broadgage has been banging on about for ages.
4  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture in the United Kingdom / Re: TurboStar (class 170 to 172) - hybrid conversion on: April 23, 2019, 08:30:55 pm
I found a more recent news item about this, and had some problems finding this thread. So, would the search function's little helpers please note:

The last post was about Hydroflex, using hydrogen fuel cells - and has nothing to do with the thread's subject (other than Porterbrook and their trains).

Porterbrook's hybrid trains project with Rolls-Royce (MTU) is now called Hybridflex. Ricardo are involved as engineers on this one, but not on hydroflex. Presumably they will be looking for new takers for the ex-West Midlands Railway 170s, rather than (as the original Reuters item said) for users of 170s to ask for their trains to be hybridified.

I still can't find anything on an MTU engine or power pack to NRMM stage V, but the current one to stage IIIB (type 6H 1800 R85L) is used by CAF in the class 195 trains for Arriva Northern.

The class 195's generators are not hybrid, though a hybrid version is offered as a standard product, so the hybridflex project is "just" a systems integration exercise.
5  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Easter Quiz on: April 22, 2019, 10:09:56 am
Interesting that the first class fare is 1.5 * 3rd (standard) class fare consistently across the table.  Compare that today from Reading to Paddington where the respective fares are £44.90 and £25.10 nearly a ratio of 1.8, and three years ago - before the first class price freeze* - it was in excess of 2!

*very quietly introduced such that even the ticket staff didn't know.

If you look at other timetables on Timetable World, you will see that in 1949 on WR the mark-up for first was above 50% in most cases, and even at that date subject the kind of mysterious variations that we see now. For example, Penzance 102/11 and 61/10 (66% mark-up, and I've not tried hard to find the biggest).

You will also observe that peculiarly British notion - that a return ticket ought not to cost much more than a single - was already current, so a monthly return to Penzance was 123/9 and 82/6. Here the mark-up for 1st is regularly 50%, so the cost of the return trip in 1st almost the same as in 3rd! (20/10 vs 20/8).

This scheme is explained in words in the 1950 SR timetable, below the list of 1st and 3rd single fares:

"Monthly return tickets...
  THIRD CLASS - at approximately single fare and one third for return journey.
  FIRST CLASS - 50 percent over third class
Ordinary return tickets at double the ordinary single fares are available ... outward and return halves are valid for three months."

And in 1965 the WR fares list, now solely of 2nd class, has at its head:

"Ordinary returns are issued generally at double the single fare.
FIRST CLASS tickets are approximately 50 percent above second class."

I have read somewhere that, after the war, fares were put up by 40%; mainly to reduce demand to what the railways could cope with in their run-down state. I could believe that 1st fares went up a bit more then, and the 50% mark-up had been normal before that (at least for some companies) and was reintroduced later on. You might also guess that the sharp drop (reversing much more than 40%) of 1949-52 was the removal of that "austerity" surcharge, though how that relates to  the change of government in 1951 is unclear.


6  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Easter Quiz on: April 21, 2019, 01:14:53 pm
That is rather odd. It ended up as a more informed guess than I expected, using Ordinary Single fares from Paddington in Timetable World's two Western Region timetables of around that date:

May 1949 Melksham 1st: 32/7 3rd 19/6 (Trowbridge is the same)

May 1965 Trowbridge 2nd: 24/-  (for some reason Melksham isn't listed...)

I was surprised to find those fares so close to each other that interpolation could be done with some confidence ... but even more surprised to find that confidence vitiated by fares being so much lower in 1952!
7  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Easter Quiz on: April 21, 2019, 12:38:41 pm
Since I don't have your source for no. 9, I shall have to guess. One guinea sounds about right - third class, naturally.

That would have been a perfect answer for first class!

Are you sure that's 1st class?  I mean, it wasn't just a wild guess!
8  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Easter Quiz on: April 21, 2019, 10:51:07 am
Since I don't have your source for no. 9, I shall have to guess. One guinea sounds about right - third class, naturally.
9  All across the Great Western territory / Your rights and redress / Re: A single site for helping resolve your travel issues - Resolver on: April 21, 2019, 09:46:22 am
There is a downpage link to "Why we are free":
Quote
Quote
How we generate revenue

We work with organisations that are focused on delivering a better experience for their customers. These organisations promote Resolver to their customers – giving them a simple, guided route to raise their complaint. This standardised process helps companies deal with complaints faster and more effectively. We also use the insight that we learn to help organisations improve their services. We never use any personal data, but use trends to help work out how organisations can improve. By doing this we can ensure we all receive better services.

But looking through their list of companies they can help you to complain to, even the ones with logos on Resolver's home page, they all seem to say: "Resolver is not affiliated to, linked with or otherwise endorsed by [e.g.] Great Western Railway. " Does that disclaimer allow "but is paid for"?
10  All across the Great Western territory / Across the West / Re: Train Horns causing disturbance on: April 20, 2019, 04:00:05 pm
Just as I thought this thread had run its course ... I spotted a post somewhere completely different but in the UK and on a main line ... where the crossing is fitted with horns and as the train passes over a track circuit on the approach, that horn sounds.   The article was not dated 1st April either!

It struck me that an audible warning at the crossing could be much tighter in where it's heard than one on a train 800m (or so) away - the noise does not need to carry ...

Anyone else heard of this?   How feasible is it for more general application?

E2S warning signs evidently believe in it (well they would, of course):
Quote
Improving Safety with Network Rail

The tragic accidents and casualties related to pedestrians and vehicles ignoring train level crossing warnings have been well documented in the UK press. Responding to this Network Rail identified that a significant percentage of all safety incidents at level crossings occur when a second train is approaching. In the past, there was no particular method to advise or alert anyone nearby that another train was coming and why the barriers were not opening immediately after the first train had passed.

E2S Warning Signals, working with engineers at Network Rail, designed and developed a solution using an alarm horn sounder from the Appello range for use on automatic level crossing sites.

Customised Voice Recording Technology from E2S

E2S were pioneers in the use of digitally stored voice recording technology. The Appello range offers unparalleled reproduction clarity and output, combining user recordable content with a choice of alarm tones and automatic synchronisation on multiple unit installations. 
Existing level crossing audible signalling devices only provided an alarm tone warning as the first train approached the crossing.  The system provided by E2S added a voice message to the alarm tone to alert anyone present at the crossing of the imminent arrival of a train.

    Alarm tone followed by “Warning, more than one train may be approaching. Warning, more than one train may be approaching”

    Listen to the warning here.


Crucially, the multi stage capability of the Appello unit allowed a second voice message and alarm tone to be activated should it be necessary to wait for a second train to pass through before it becomes safe for members of the public to use the crossing.

    Alarm tone followed by “Warning, another train is approaching. Warning, another train is approaching.”

    Listen to the warning here.

Different alarm tones and message content was trialled before arriving at the most concise and effective wording. E2S were also happy to create the voice recordings for Network Rail.

A challenging aspect of the project related to the potential impact the new audible warnings would have on residents of property near to level crossings. The distance at which the Appello unit could be heard increased dramatically at night so custom electronics were designed by E2S to enable the Appello unit to have a remotely selectable day and night time function that reduced the sound level output automatically. During installation the Network Rail engineers are able to set the day and night time volume levels that are appropriate for that site.

To provide the control interface, E2S also designed and manufacture custom voltage regulator modules that are mounted in the track side cabinet.

Network Rail believes that the notification of additional trains approaching the crossing will significantly improve overall crossing safety.

The Network Rail acceptance certificate number is PA05/04380.
11  Journey by Journey / Shorter journeys in Devon / Re: Decision on Dawlish wall to be made Tuesday 16 April on: April 19, 2019, 10:53:47 pm
I was wondering of those rails had been pre-painted to ward off the suns rays - but I've found a better explanation for that silver-grey colour. British Steel do a zinc alloy coating called Zinoco, marketed as protecting rails against corrosion in harsh environments like coasts (and using pictures of you-know-where).
12  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: "I would recommend passengers to sit as far as possible from the engine ..." on: April 15, 2019, 03:21:41 pm
Air conditioning in most vehicles actually conditions fresh air by cooling  after it has been drawn into the said vehicle through a particulates filtration unit usually referred to as a Cabin or Poles filter. This filters all the air drawn into the car regardless of whether the AC is in operation.


You're right about cars - it seems the heater/chiller box is usually fed via a flap valve that selects all external air, unless you select recirculate in which case it all comes from the cabin. And as to the inlet, that used (on old cars like mine) to be a grille under the windscreen - that's gone, but I guess the inlet is still thereabouts.

But the point I was trying to make about all vehicles is that the freshness or contamination of the air does not depend on where the chiller is.
13  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Timetable and other upcoming changes - overview (from GWR) last Monday on: April 15, 2019, 01:20:29 pm
RTT and GWR are now showing that from May we have a new 1P97, 0806 from Didcot Parkway, 0820 from Pangbourne, then semifast to Paddington.  In best tabloid tradition I’ll say “it’s GTBE wot did it” (but I think we all now know that it was a data glitch at NR!).

Currently 1P97 starts up at Maidenhead at 0844 formed by ECS from London: timings from Maidenhead from May are unchanged.

So this is a gain for Cholsey – Tilehurst passengers heading beyond Reading. 

I did wonder if GWR were still working on the choreography, but it now looks like single dance routine so probably one of the dancers got lost - in NR or maybe in GWR. There always was a train at Didcot able to run into London at 8:06, and since it fits timing-wise with an existing train from Maidenhead you wonder if that's just lucky or if that was always the idea. The ECS from PAD to RDG to form 1P17 is the one now running to MAI and forming 1P97 - so no loose ends, nor extra paths on the busy bits.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Smoke and Mirrors / Re: "I would recommend passengers to sit as far as possible from the engine ..." on: April 15, 2019, 11:15:47 am
I think air-con is a red herring. It cools internal air, in most vehicles entirely by recirculating it. The external part of a train roof is of course just a heat exchanger rejecting heat to outside air. (More or less) fresh air for make-up, or for ventilation without the chillers in use, is what matters and that's what tends in cars to come from low down in front of the engine - good to avoid your own chariot's effluvia, less so in respect of the one in front's exhaust.

As to where the ventilation intakes are on trains, in general or specifically, I can't say I've looked. I vaguely recall seeing grilles on the sides of carriages, but they could for inlet or outlet. 
15  Journey by Journey / Chiltern Railways services / Re: Drivers fighting Banbury train station car park operator over "unfair fines" on: April 15, 2019, 10:13:49 am
It all sounds rather odd to me.

How do these people physically pay the parking charges? If into a Pay & Display ticket machine then the money will go to whoever empties the machine which would presumably be a representative of the parking company. If by phone, ditto. If they are paying a real person such as a booking clerk then they ought to know if they should or should not be able/ permitted to accept the money.

Has anyone got any background to this?

The quote from Britannia refers to "what used to be Chiltern’s West Car Park B ", and there are also a West Car Park A and an East Car Park that presumably remain operated by Chiltern. That sounds very like the situation with one of Wokingham's town center car parks (Cockpit Path/Denmark Street) where the site is split between council and private ownership. The private owners once leased their part to the council who ran it as one car park, then switched to a private operator, though access is still common to both parts. There has always been an issue with people who pay the council machine and park in the private part, iniatally by people who used it often and didn't see any new signs. Over the years signage has been improved, but it remains possible to pay the council machine (near the entrance) park further in (in the private part) and simply not look at the signs.

I would expect that users of station car park will pay remotely from the car park in some way, not at a machine (there often are none these days), but it may still be possible to pay Chiltern (who think you will park in their parts) and use a Britannia parking space. I am surprised not to see a complaint about Chiltern in that piece, who after all have taken payment and may have not done enough to explain that what has been paid for has changed.
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