Friday, 5 July 2013

Pointless signs - Lichfield Trent Valley

Railway Garden Competition - York

Reading offers railway's most pointless seat?

This from the late Professor Sir Misha Black...

Emboldened by your contributor’s picture of a pointless clock (or clocks) at Kidsgrove, I attach for your consideration a pointless seat at Reading platform 4.

Now, it’s not that I’m ungrateful for the opportunity of more exercise as I yomp between the ‘south western’ platforms and the rest of the station and I appreciate that after such a slog, some may wish to rest their weary bones on the recently installed benches, but I can’t imagine many who would like to lean back against the comfort of a clear plastic sack filled with the detritus of modern life.

To be fair, the litter bin/hoop was there first.  And the aesthetic of the bench seat would have been completed ruined by, say, moving it a foot to the right.

East Coast tops greyhounds league

This from the late Sir Nigel Gresley...

In the week that we celebrate the setting of the world speed record for steam by my locomotive Mallard, how cheering to read that locomotive hauled trains on the East Coast Main Line still reign supreme on the UK rails.

According to the latest Railway Gazette International world speed survey in that eximious journal's July issue:

"Perhaps surprisingly, Britain’s two fastest runs are found on the conventional network, with East Coast’s 18.55 York to Stevenage pipping Virgin Trains’ 19.42 Stafford to Watford Junction to the top spot with an average of 109.7 mph (176.6 km/h) for 161 miles. 

"Southeastern’s fast commuter services on High Speed 1 take third place with a best timetabled booking of 107.6 mph (173.1 km/h)."

It is clear that Italian tilting EMUs and even Japanese EMUs running at 140 mile/h on high speed track are no match for British heavy metal on the incomparable racing ground that is the ECML.  

And, of course that is running at only 125 mile/h when the IC225 has a top speed of 140 mile/hour and achieved 162 mile/h down Stoke Bank - scene of Mallard's triumph - during a test run,

This should give the Department for Transport even more cause to reconsider its ludicrous proposal to force bidders for the East Coast franchise to replace IC225 with the Incredibly Expensive Procurement.

Pointless signs - Kidsgrove

This from the Manxman...

In this instance more a case of pointless clocks!

Two time zones on display at Kidsgrove station, depending on your direction of travel! 

Not of course that accurate time is in way essential to the smooth operation of the railway.

UPDATE: This from a Mr Steve Kilometer...

The station clocks around the network depend on the time signal from the MSF radio signal transmitted from Anthorn.

As do many of the watches issued to railway employees with time-critical jobs, like Train managers/Guards or whatever they are now called.

The MSF radio signal is a dedicated time broadcast that provides an accurate and reliable source of UK civil time, based on the NPL time scale UTC(NPL). It is available 24 hours a day across the whole of the UK and beyond. The signal operates on a frequency of 60 kHz and carries a time and date code that can be received and decoded by a wide range of readily available radio-controlled clocks. The MSF signal is transmitted from Anthorn Radio Station in Cumbria by Babcock (formerly VT Communications), under contract to NPL.

Sadly they don’t have a backup clock thingy (“we can put a man on the moon, but TWO clocks?”) so when it is maintained the signal is turned off and clocks just drift. Sometimes wildly.

Here are the current outages:

Essential maintenance work - signal off-air

Please note that the MSF 60 kHz time and frequency signal broadcast from Anthorn Radio Station will be continuously off-air for maintenance work from:

Monday 1 July, 08:00 BST to Friday 5 July, 18:00 BST
- service off-air continuously

Then it will be off during the day from:

Saturday 6 July to Thursday 18 July, between 08:00 BST and 18:00 BST
- service off-air each day (but will be back on air overnight)

So, sadly the inability of this system to have a back-up means many clocks and watches could go wrong in the next few weeks.

It'll be interesting to see whether this has a noticeable affect on PPM.

Siemens out of Crossrail running

This from Siemens...

Crossrail rolling stock procurement

Siemens confirms that it will not be proceeding further in the Crossrail rolling stock procurement process.

This is a strategic decision that has been taken based on current business activity levels. Crossrail is a very large project and, since first undertaking our initial assessment of capacity and deliverability, Siemens has won multiple additional orders. To pursue another project of this scale could impact our ability to deliver our current customer commitments - something we believe would not be a responsible course of action.

Siemens has an excellent working relationship with the Crossrail bid team and believe that they have conducted a fair and diligent process.   We remain fully committed to ensuring the success of the Crossrail project through the continued delivery of the signalling and communications / control systems through Siemens rail automation business.

Wow! That is all.