Peter Hain has resigned from the Shadow Cabinet to back the Severn Barrage according to this report on the BBC.
I have always been in favour of the barrage ever since I worked for Frederick Snow and Partners in the early 1970. In fact, I had a letter published in The Times in 2008 on the subject, under the headline, The Severn Barrage Needs Bolder Plans. It is reproduced here with some comments.
Time has moved on and we now have electrification of the train to Wales on the political and engineering agendas. We also have an airport capacity crisis in London.
Electrification to Wales has one major problem; the Severn Tunnel. Building the barrage would solve that, albeit at quite a cost. In the meantime, I’m sure that some solution could be found like using the dreaded bi-mode version of the IEP trains that everybody in the Rail Industry seems to hate. The barage would provide an effective bypass to allow electric trains all the way from London to West Wales.
Fredrick Snow’s original plans always envisaged a high and low lake, split by a central spine. This could work in either two modes.
- Energy generation, where water ran from the high to low lakes through reversible turbines, which can both gnerate power or pump water.
- Energy storage, where the turbines are reversed to pump water from the low to the high lake.
Th energy strorage technique is known as pumped storage and the biggest such station in the United Kingdom is Dinorwig.
Some reputable authorities reckon that pumped storage is an effective way to store excess electricity generated by wind power or large nuclear stations.
One lady, who had the faulty PIP breast implants, has just said on Radio 5, that the surgeon who did the operation, can’t replace them with new ones, as he has gone to work in Greece.
Obviously, more than the obvious is going bust in that country.
The Greek Euro crisis now has its own name; the Grexit.
I was chatting with the conductor on a New Bus for London and he said that he’d seen officials from bus companies in Hong Kong on the bus.
This is not unexpected as Hong Kong has quite a few Wright buses, as this article indicates.
So is the New Bus for London going to be the New Bus for Hong Kong? I would suspect that the new London design, has the ability to be stretched to a double rear axle design, like that used in Hong Kong.
Update on May 25th, 2012 – In his talk last night, David Barnett indicated that the current New Bus for London is a stretch of the original design, so a stretched bus with an extra axle, is probably not the most difficult pieces of engineering, especially given the computing employed to transfer designs to a real bus. The power-train layout would still allow a totally flat floor, which the New Buses for London have and is one of the best passenger features.
About a year ago, I was travelling on the District line and the driver was very chatty with information. He was obviously enjoying himself and so were his passengers.
Let’s hope it all works for Chiltern Railways!