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[136] Peers call for end of free bus passes for over 65s
[97] May 1969 timetable
[78] Climate change protests to target overground?
[56] Marston Vale Line receives first of new Class 230 stock
[50] In Devon it's cream first, Cornwall is cream second, London is...
[46] Bristol's Temple Gate layout change planned in £21m revamp
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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: Today at 01:18:13 pm
I'm guessing that as Byron Bay is a similar latitude to the Canaries that both the strength of the sun and amount of it is slightly more than we might get in the UK.  I certainly wouldn't suggest to TfW that they rely on it for the Valley Lines electrification.

Maybe solar wouldn't work in the Valleys, but I'm told it can be quite windy atop the surrounding hills...
2  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: World First Solar Train Arrives in Byron Bay [Australia] on: Today at 11:49:54 am
Well, there is one at the Royal Deeside Railway...

Oh yes... handsome brute it is too!
3  All across the Great Western territory / Buses and other ways to travel / Re: Peers call for end of free bus passes for over 65s on: Today at 11:21:33 am
65? That'd be nice! I have to wait until I'm 66, and Mrs Squirrel will be 67...
4  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: World First Solar Train Arrives in Byron Bay [Australia] on: Today at 11:15:26 am
Yes, similar technology could be used in the UK.
I am a little doubtful about fitting solar panels to an existing train as cost, weight, and complication is thereby added and the output limited by shading and often not facing the sun.

A battery train charged from the mains might be better. Offseting the electricity used for charging by a large grid tied solar array on the roofs of depots or stations is better still.
A wind turbine is a worthwhile addition in a suitably windy location.
Ideally enough renewable electricity should be produced to offset ALL the electricity used by the transport undertaking, not just that used for traction, but also the electricity used for stations, depots, signalling and other purposes.

Similar arguments apply to ferries or other ships that make frequent short voyages.

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...
5  Journey by Journey / Transport for London / Re: Climate change protests to target overground? on: Today at 10:38:52 am
From Christian Wolmar

There has been much debate about the rights and wrongs of the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations but Londoners seem united on one aspect: life without cars has made central London a far more pleasant place. As anyone who has been in Oxford Street or Whitehall over Easter has seen, the takeover of the streets has created a joyful atmosphere. Suggestions that this has meant lost business for local stores are not borne out by anecdotal evidence.

"Borne out by anecdotal evidence" 😂😂😂😂😂

Perhaps XR missed a trick by failing to commission a properly-conducted scientific study into the commercial impact of their protest?

Although this doesn't quite apply to Oxford Street, where diesel buses and taxis manage to make it a grim place without the benefit of other motor vehicles, real evidence suggests that owners of retail businesses over-estimate, by up to 100%, the number of customers coming to them by car: See

I'm old enough to remember the uproar when Broadmead, Bristol was pedestianised... it'll be the end for all of us! howled the shopkeepers.
6  Journey by Journey / Bristol (WECA) Commuters / Re: Bristol's Temple Gate layout change planned in £21m revamp on: Yesterday at 04:47:47 pm
The new Temple Gate road layout is now in operation, according to Bristol City Council (see here: The junctions are fully signalised, and should look like this:

7  Sideshoots - associated subjects / Campaigns for new and improved services / Re: Portishead Line reopening for passengers - ongoing discussion on: Yesterday at 04:34:10 pm
Portishead Railway Group had written a piece containing their best guess at a likely timeframe for reopening, along with an explanation of why it will take some time.

...a possible overall programme from a July 2019 DCO application could look like this:

o DCO process, to signature   18 months (end Jan 2021)
o Contracts start-up time       6 months (end Jul  2021) See Note *
o Railway and road works      21 months (end Apr 2023)
o Testing period                   4 months (end Aug 2023)


* A note regarding the contract start-up period

No contracts should be signed until after the DCO has been signed. 

Contractors will then require reasonable contract start-up times – the period during which they will marshal materials, machinery and labour, perhaps also placing subcontracts on other organisations. This all takes time. 

Even then, very little ‘rail’ work can be carried until the various compounds and temporary roadways have been built, and these cannot be built until the DCO is signed off.

In the programme estimate above, PRG Committee has assumed a start-up period of six months. This is generous; the start-up period could be shorter if there is a will to make it so.

You can read their full article here:
8  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: World First Solar Train Arrives in Byron Bay [Australia] on: Yesterday at 12:56:39 pm
That's the beauty of electric traction - once you've adopted it, the next question is not 'whether' you decarbonise it, but 'how'...
9  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture Overseas / Re: World First Solar Train Arrives in Byron Bay [Australia] on: Yesterday at 10:38:27 am
The Byron Bay Railroad Company has now carried over 100,000 passengers between North Beach and Byron Beach. Trains run hourly from 10.00 to 17.00, taking about 10 minutes for the 3km trip; speeds are similar to those achieved on a British heritage railway. The route is mostly very straight and very flat.

The company describes its operations as 'carbon positive'. Solar panels on their operational buildings produce up to 30kW, and those on the roof of the train can provide an additional 6.5kW; there is a significant energy surplus. The train also recovers about 25% of its energy through regenerative braking. The 77kWh traction battery holds sufficient energy for 12-15 runs without recharging.

The service is provided by a single two-car NSW class 600/700 unit, consisting of railmotor 661 and trailer 726.  One of the Cummins NT855-R2 diesel engines has been removed from 661 to make space for the battery; the other is retained as a backup.

These units may be particularly suitable for this mode of operation: they were built at Chullora Workshops (which had expertise in aircraft fabrication having built Bristol Beaufort bombers during the war) and consist of an aluminium body bolted to a lightweight steel frame.

Could this technology, or a version of it, be used in Britain?
10  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail, public and other transport issues / Re: "Nationalise to end chaos" - Diane Abbot MP (Sunday Express 22/08/2010) on: April 21, 2019, 01:28:00 pm
Ignorantia juris non excusat

...or, as Jack Mogg might put it:

Caesar adsum jam forte
Brutus aderat
Caesar sic in omnibus
Brutus sic in at
11  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Easter Quiz on: April 21, 2019, 12:13:06 pm

I am ... tempted ... to raise the question of "preserved" v "heritage" v "tourist"; I chose in the question to use "heritage" for the Llangollen railway and "tourist" for the Bala Lake. To my mind, a "preserved railway" is one with the tracks in situ from the days prior to it becoming a heritage or tourist attraction, though I suppose there are preserved elements in place on the Llangollen railway at some stations and in the rolling stock, and even on the Bala Lake at Llanuwchllyn's station buildings.

It's a nice point. There's no original track on the Llangollen Railway, but even on railways where the track stayed in situ after closure they are now needing to replace it - generally with non-prototypical FB rail on concrete sleepers. The GWSR was initially relaid in part using 'correct' GWR throughbolt sleepers, but the railway's policy is now to replace these with top-screwed Southern-style ones (where they still use wood) as these are easier to maintain, and for similar reasons the Toddington to Broadway section is CWR, again for ease of maintenance. The upshot this is that there is no such thing as a 'preserved' railway; heritage railways, are at, best conserved.
12  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Easter Quiz on: April 21, 2019, 11:15:08 am
1. Ruabon-Barmouth: (Llangollen Railway (preserved standard gauge), Bala Lake Railway (preserved narrow gauge), Barmouth Jct (Morfa Mawddach)-Barmouth (NR)
13  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Where was Red Squirrel? on: April 20, 2019, 02:36:44 pm
Yup, that's it! The site of Lawrence Hill Jct, where the branch from St Philip's Station met the Midland main line from Temple Meads and Barrow Road sheds. It's seen better days...
14  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Re: Where was Red Squirrel? on: April 20, 2019, 12:09:11 pm
Close, but not quite good enough for a cigar.

For the avoidance of doubt, it was not taken from a train or from railway-owned land, and I wasn't trespassing!
15  Sideshoots - associated subjects / The Lighter Side / Where was Red Squirrel? on: April 19, 2019, 12:03:53 am
Red Squirrel was hitting the high spots yesterday - but where was he?

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