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March 22, 2017, 10:12:04 PM *
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 on: Today at 09:51:25 PM 
Started by grahame - Last post by ellendune
I do wonder if this indirect solar is better than PV panels.  It solves the storage problem.

Yes but how does it compare in efficiency at producing energy per acre of land? 

Also I assume the land can no longer support sheep, so it takes even more land out of food production.

 on: Today at 09:22:39 PM 
Started by richwarwicker - Last post by signalandtelegraph
Some great pics of the recovery operation taking place are being posted on the Network Rail Greater Western Twitter Feed:

Its a shame the captions for the cranes are wrong.  The one they claim to be theirs is actually Balfour Beattie's Kirow, and the one they claim is the Kirow is actually their own breakdown crane.   Roll Eyes

 on: Today at 08:44:38 PM 
Started by broadgage - Last post by Noggin
I can't give you the figures for what the cost to build, run and maintain. But let's keep things simple, leave diesel engines out of the equation and compare a 304 to a 319 to a 387. 

The 387 is much more comfortable than either of its predecessors, faster, quieter, more reliable, better performance, higher crashworthiness (especially for drivers), better spec interiors. You've got features like on-board CCTV, the toilets are much higher quality, they are far more accessible for the disabled and visually impaired and so forth. Whilst the aircon and performance probably mean higher energy consumption, they have regenerative braking, which I don't believe the 304 or 319 had.

Mechanically they are far more advanced and far more reliable, with things like on-board diagnostics which mean that problems can be caught and fixed far faster, with maintenance planned before the unit even comes back to the depot. I don't have figures, but I'd suspect that the amount of labour needed to maintain each unit is significantly lower with each generation, and the mean-time-between-failure is much lower to boot.

So even between the 319s and 387s you have a big difference in quality and technology, so you're simply not comparing like with like.

Probably to do with having kids and getting old, but every time I get in coaching stock or cars built before about 1980, I'm conscious that in the event of a crash I'd probably be dead, or seriously injured, whereas with modern stock or cars I think I'd be far likelier to get away with it.   

 on: Today at 08:13:47 PM 
Started by Timmer - Last post by FremlinsMan
Slightly tongue in cheek - but for those who enjoy such things - as a result of this there are through trains between Swindon and Oxford via the West Curve at Didcot on Sunday.
Now, i like curves, but West curve doesn't really cut it.

 on: Today at 05:51:35 PM 
Started by stuving - Last post by stuving
From the BBC:
Train derails in Switzerland trapping passengers
    36 minutes ago    From the section Europe

Image copyright EPA
The train at Lucerne, Switzerland, had been carrying 160 passengers

At least three people were injured when a train derailed while pulling out of a station in Switzerland, officials said.

Passengers were initially trapped when a carriage tipped on to its side at the station in Lucerne.

The incident occurred at about 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Wednesday, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) said.

There were 160 passengers on board the train, owned by Italian operator Trenitalia, which was travelling to Basel from Milan, Italy.

The fourth carriage of the train struck a power cable when it derailed, delaying rescue efforts, a spokesman for Lucerne police, Urs Wigger, said.

Lucerne police said the passengers were evacuated and at least three people required treatment and were taken to hospital. Their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Services in and out of the station were suspended for the rest of the day, SBB said.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear.

Fortunately this happened at low speed, so injuries were quite minor. As you can see from the picture, it wasn't a cable that the train struck but an OHLE portal. That took out the whole station's traction power, so the disruption has been enormous.

It's being reported as both "Eurocity" and  "Cisalpino", but it doesn't look to me like one of the old tilting trains. Here's another picture, showing what a great place it's in for lifting by crane:

 on: Today at 05:39:13 PM 
Started by grahame - Last post by Tim
Worth following up Ecotricity's promotion of Greengas, ie methane from grass...several sites awaiting planning approval, mainly in areas close to fracking an eco alternative, with low impact and many 'green' advantages...local ecology benefits etc...all explained on their green gas site...not directly solar, but part of the low-impact mix!

I do wonder if this indirect solar is better than PV panels.  It solves the storage problem.

 on: Today at 02:52:44 PM 
Started by Trowres - Last post by stuving
Guess what: Mick isn't keen on some of this technology, even at its current nebulous stage. From the RMT:
21 March 2017

RMT Press Office:

RMT warns of co-ordinated Government plans to axe rail staff, compromise safety and run trains on the cheap.

Rail union RMT warned today of a co-ordinated Government plan to axe thousands of rail jobs including all drivers from Britain's trains.

The Rail Capability Plan, just issued with Government and RSSB support, sets out proposals to further compromise and dilute the current safety regime and run ‘Autonomous’ trains on the cheap.

The plan states:
“Given the pace of development in Information and Communications Technology a completely new operational concept and train control and regulation capability can be developed over the short to medium term”.

The Department for Transport have launched a new innovation competition with up to £9 million to support UK businesses in developing technological solutions for the railway.

Inviting applications that “create high-value, low-cost railway innovations, which increase the value of rail services to passengers while driving down operational expense”  it goes on to say “Innovations in this theme need not be constrained by existing railway standards” but will “help deliver optimal staffing for a high-value, low-cost railway”.
One of the themes (No_8) is called Intelligent Trains and says “Intelligent trains will reduce the reliance on complex and expensive rail infrastructure and control systems and through automation transition the role of railway staff from direct control and operation to supervision”
It goes on to say “Intelligent trains will be aware of themselves and their surroundings, knowing where they need to be and when, and able to automatically adjust journeys to meet demand”
Four milestone’s including Driverless trains predict a bold future of Autonomous Trains capable of regulating their own passage through the network and is laid out clearly for everyone who works in the industry on page 27 of the plan:
Milestone A
Semi-automatic operation
Milestone B
Driverless operation
Milestone C
Unattended operations
Milestone D
Autonomous trains
Mick Cash RMT General Secretary said:
“The cat is well and truly out of the bag now. The Government are working hand in glove with the private train operators and the RSSB on a long-term plan for rail in this country that would axe thousands of jobs across the industry, hammer down on safety and run services on the cheap in the name of fatter profits – the majority of which will be shipped abroad by overseas state rail companies to subsidise their own domestic transport operations.
“The rail capability plan sounds innocuous enough but is, in fact, a blueprint for automation with the long-term objective of a faceless railway where passengers are left to fend for themselves without any human contact whatsoever. It is scandalous that this whole drive towards the faceless railway is being smuggled through without any serious scrutiny whatsoever.
“RMT is blowing the whistle on this disaster in the making and will continue to fight for a properly staffed and resourced railway where public safety comes before private profit.”

 on: Today at 02:20:06 PM 
Started by richwarwicker - Last post by Thatcham Crossing
Thanks all for the info and suggestions....

slower services will generally operate via Pewsey and then divert via Trowbridge and Bristol.  Some services will call additionally at Trowbridge.

I think the service my family members will be using (I'm not travelling myself) will fall into the above category, based on today's evidence of a Paddington-Exeter semi-fast that did operate down the B&H to Pewsey and then via Trowbridge etc.

 on: Today at 02:19:12 PM 
Started by richwarwicker - Last post by Timmer
Some great pics of the recovery operation taking place are being posted on the Network Rail Greater Western Twitter Feed:

 on: Today at 01:21:54 PM 
Started by richwarwicker - Last post by PhilWakely
Tickets booked online last night (National Rail) for 2 family members Newbury-Exeter and return on Sat (25th). Down on the 0859 ex-Newbury, back on 1802 ex-Exeter. I didn't know the booking was being done until I found the confirmation print-out.

Imagine your tickets will be valid via Reading and Bristol. I would start out earlier from Newbury.

If not they ought to be!

This is what currently says....
Disruption between Taunton, Westbury and Weymouth

Disruption between Taunton, Westbury and Weymouth

Due to a derailed freight train, services between Taunton and Westbury, and Weymouth and Westbury are being delayed or cancelled, and replacement buses are running on some routes.

Disruption is expected until at least until Saturday 25th March.

Several de-railed wagons are still full of stone and sand, and engineers advise that a great deal of preparatory work has to be carried out prior to them being moved or scrapped on-site.

What is the impact on customers?

No GWR services are currently able to operate between Frome and Castle Cary.

Customers travelling on GWR High Speed services between London/Reading – Pewsey – Westbury – Castle Cary – Taunton – Devon/Cornwall will find that services are diverted away from the direct route via Castle Cary, normally resulting in extended journey times.  Fast services will generally divert via Swindon and Bristol, slower services will generally operate via Pewsey and then divert via Trowbridge and Bristol.  Some services will call additionally at Trowbridge.

Customers travelling on GWR local services between Bristol – Westbury – Frome – Castle Cary – Yeovil – Weymouth will find that Westbound services from the Bristol/Westbury direction will generally terminate at Frome. Customers at Frome for stations to Weymouth are to travel to Castle Cary by coach.

Customers travelling on local trains beyond Castle Cary will be able to use a special GWR shuttle train service operating between Castle Cary and Weymouth.

Customers at Westbury please travel via Bath and Bristol Temple Meads for Devon/Cornwall AND stations to London.

Customers at Castle Cary are to travel to Taunton by coach for Devon/Cornwall and Westbury by coach for onward train services to stations to London – please note that this is a much longer journey time.

If you are delayed or decide not to travel you may be entitled to some money back.

Please - Check your journey before travelling.

What are the changes to GWR Ticket Restrictions?

Customers due to travel on GWR services affected by this service disruption will be allowed greater ticket restriction flexibility for travel until the line is opened again.
- Customers holding Advance tickets may travel on any GWR departure on the date on the ticket to make their intended journey
- Customer holding Super Off-Peak or Off-Peak tickets may travel on any affected GWR departure, within the date validity of their ticket, to make their intended journey.

So, at a guess your tickets will be valid on any train, but probably not via Reading - but always best to check beforehand.

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