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Eggseptionally bad value

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HS2 and NCHSR, empty hype and mini eggs

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Written by beleben

October 5, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Brushed with oil, dusted with powder

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Stephen Sutcliffe, Head of Northern Powerhouse Rail Development at Transport for the North (TfN) has, apparently, been ‘outlining the benefits’ of NPR at a rail conference today.

twitter, @ProjectAdam1, 'Listening to Steve Sutcliffe from @Transport4North outlining the benefits of #NPR 1.3m people within 60 mins of 4 economic centres, an increase in £100bn GVA... a must for the north of England'

This “NPR brings 1.3 million people in the north within 60 minutes of 4 economic centres” malarkey. What does it mean? How would it be possible?

When asked to provide details, TfN go all evasive. Because what they are offering, is snake oil, and monkey dust.

Written by beleben

October 4, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Useless nonsense perspective

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Apparently, ‘Rail’ magazine is going to start a sort of ‘fact checking’ service for claims on social media.

Perhaps they should begin with some of the factoids put about by their ‘technical expert’, Gareth Dennis.

Gareth Dennis onabout

Thameslink ‘current’ peak system capacity is 24 trains per hour in each direction? Not on their nelly. Whether that will be reliably achievable with the proposed service pattern, is open to question.

Which bits of the Metropolitan line see 36 trains per hour?

And how does Crossrail ‘currently’ do 24? It hasn’t even opened yet.

twitter, @GarethDennis, useful technical perspective?

In any case, throughput on a metro-type railway is not going to be any kind of guide to capacity on a 360 km/h intercity railway like HS2.

Written by beleben

August 9, 2018 at 10:50 am

Birmingham Clean Air Zone proposals fall short

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Drivers of the heaviest polluting cars face a charge of up to £10 per day to travel into Birmingham City Centre from 2020 under pollution-busting plans unveiled by council transport bosses, Birmingham Live reported.

[Details of clean air zone charge for Birmingham revealed and it’s not all bad for drivers, Neil Elkes, Birmingham Live, 19 Jun 2018]

Details emerged as the council announced a summer of consultation into its plans for a Clean Air Zone.

But, after much speculation, drivers whose cars meet the Euro 4 petrol standard – mostly vehicles made since 2006 – and Euro 6 diesel, mostly manufactured since 2015, will NOT have to pay.

However, the available documents published by Birmingham city council suggest that its preferred option for a so-called Clean Air Zone would not actually ‘bust’ pollution. The Zone would only apply to the area within the Middle Ring Road, and even within that zone, modelling suggests that ‘additional measures’ would be necessary to bring pollution within legal limits.

The notion that the CAZ-as-proposed is about ‘charging drivers of the heaviest polluting cars’ is fanciful. Because many recently manufactured Euro 6 diesels are themselves among the heaviest polluting cars.

Greenpeace Unearthed, 2018-03-02, 'Carmakers’ own tests show many of the newest diesels are still ‘dangerously’ polluting'

All in all, the currently ‘preferred’ CAZ looks like a rushed and amateurish response to the pollution challenge. Much more imagination is needed, but that seems to be in desperately short supply.

Written by beleben

June 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

Working at breakneck speed

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Another Barry White facepalm momentTransport for the North is aiming to take ‘a fresh approach to transport’ in its forthcoming plan for transport in northern England, chief executive Barry White told the All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group on May 15.

[Railway Gazette, 18 May 2018]

A particular focus is on developing a transport network which would support ‘employment liquidity’, defined as making it easier for people to change jobs and lowering the risk of trying out new opportunities. White said London very successfully provides this liquidity, but in the north of England poor connectivity means people often feel they would need to move house to accept a job in another town, which creates a barrier that is holding back both employees and employers.

Mr White said TfN was ‘working at breakneck speed’ to prepare a high level plan for the cost, scope and business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail which will be submitted to the Secretary of State at the end of this year.

When one is not enough

[RG]

He stressed these would be ‘high level concepts rather than detailed route options’. Speed is not an end in itself, White emphasised, and is often used in public discussion as a proxy for frequency and capacity. If you are going to build extra capacity, it makes sense to build for speed too, he believes.

The Beleben blog was under the impression that (absurd) ‘high level concepts’ have been in existence for years. In fact, they predate Transport for the North itself. So what this ‘breakneck speed’ cobblers is all about, is anyone’s guess.

Equally perplexing is the ’employment liquidity’ shizzle, which, apparently, was dreamt up after the TfN Strategic Transport Plan was closed to public consultation.

‘Employment liquidity’, for whom?

Written by beleben

May 20, 2018 at 11:09 am

Sometime in April

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The delay to the opening of Kenilworth’s new rail station is down to Warwickshire County Council not sending paperwork to the rail regulator, the Kenilworth Weekly News claimed on 20 March.

Kenilworth station car park (©) BBC 2018

On the BBC Midlands Today evening news, council managing director Monica Fogarty claimed that ‘we are learning that even when you get the spec right in the first instance, there will still be adaptions and changes… that mean it’s delayed’ (?).

Council managing director Monica Fogarty

Reporter Peter Plisner stated that the station is now expected to open sometime in April (with one train per hour in each direction).

Kenilworth station exterior, (©) BBC 2018

Apparently, the station cost £13.6 million, yet has only one platform.

Kenilworth station trainside, BBC Midlands Today, 2018-03-20

Presumably the architecture was supposed to recall that of the old Kenilworth station closed in the 1960s.

Kenilworth old station,  exterior (copyright unknown)

But unlike the old station, the new one has all the distinctiveness and proportion of an out-of-town hypermarket.

Local resident Fraser Pithie said the delay to opening had turned a 'wonderful facility into a subject of ridicule for the town'

Was there actually a need to construct a station building, with a ticket office?

Even with its front canopy removed, Kenilworth's 1883 railway station looked vastly better than its '2017' replacement

Even with its front canopy removed, Kenilworth’s 1883 station looked vastly better than its ‘2017’ replacement

The arch shape platformside does not even match the shape entranceside

The arch shape platform-side does not even match the arch shape on the entrance side

Written by beleben

March 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Chris goes hyperloopy

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Chris Grayling, hyperloop could run from Leeds to Leeds Bradford airport

'The Yorkshire post says', 05 Mar 2018

Written by beleben

March 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Bizarre, HS2, Marketing