The Anonymous Widower

We Have Ways Of Making You Learn

I’ve just read a report in The Times, which says that Munich Technical University, one of German’s best, is going to teach Masters courses in English.

It reminded me of a story told by a Frenchman, who had immaculate English and worked for I think IBM.  He went on a company course in Germany, which as participants were from all over Europe, was being conducted in English by a German.

On reaching a concept that some on the course found difficult, he addressed everybody with “We have ways of making you understand these things!”

Somebody had to explain to him, the laughter that followed.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

East Suffolk Gets A Community Rail Partnership

The two East Suffolk Lines out of Ipswich to Felixstowe and Lowestoft are being proposed for a Community Rail Partnership. It’s reported in Modern Railways, but strangely not in the East Anglian Daily Times.

I have travelled these lines occasionally over the last few years and still go to my long-suffering dentist in Felixstowe. I have only been to Felixstowe once since the opening of the Bacon Factory Curve, but it does appear that this development has made trains on the East Suffolk Lines more reliable and better to time.

The Ipswich to Felixstowe branch, must have one of the simplest schedules anywhere on the UK rail network. A single Class 153, just trundles up and down the line every hour over a dozen times a day.

A Community Rail Partnership can only benefit the line.

So what enhancements would I like to see on the Felixstowe branch.

A two coach train should probably be used, as at times the line gets busy and increasingly there are passengers with bicycles.

But the line doesn’t necessarily need a train with a toilet, as Ipswich and Felixstowe stations both have excellent facilities.

One thing I’d like to see is better interfaces with the buses at Felixstowe, but as ever the information is as visitor-unfriendly as you will find. It should at least have a town circular that goes to all the important places in the small town, arriving and leaving at the station convenient for the trains.

It should also have bike hire.

So let’s hope the Community Rail Partnership improves the line.

One possibility that might happen is electrification to Felixstowe Port, which would completely transform this line, Then an old electric multiple unit with perhaps three coaches, could be saved from the scrapyard and given a well-deserved sprucing up and retirement on the Suffolk coast.

I don’t know the Lowestoft line as well, but properly looked after by a Community Rail Partnership, it could be a serious asset to the towns on the route.

One thing is missing from the services back to London from Lowestoft and Felixstowe is the lack of a late train to get back to Ipswich and on to London.

The last train from Lowestoft leaves after nine on most days and at 20:05 on Sundays, whereas the last train from Felixstowe leaves just before half past nine all the week.

It’ll be good to see how the rail services develop in this proud part of Suffolk.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Ticketing In London Takes Another Big Step

Over the last month,since London’s buses went cashless, the silence has been deafening about this issue and I haven’t found any news reports about problems or complaints.

So it was no surprise to see that from September 16th the Underground, Overground and DLR will accept contactless bank cards.

There are still a few small steps to take, like bringing all of other rail companies into the system.  Once this is done, you could say turn up at Gatwick Airport touch your contactless bank card on the reader and then again, when you get to Victoria, to get into Central London. Obviously, you can do that from September 16th at Heathrow or City Airports, as they are in the Transport for London area.

One of the things salso to be introduced is a weekly cap. So will this mean that if you put a weekly ticket on Oyster, you won’t need to any more.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Boring Television

It’s fascinating to read the heavyweight reviews on the BBC2 program, The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway, in the Independent and the Telegraph.

When did serious engineering programs get such coverage?

The Times has a report, if you’re a subscriber, but there’s nothing in the Guardian.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Would The Scottish Diaspora Vote On Independence?

I ask this question as the BBC has a story about five famous Scots, who live outside Scotland would vote.

I can’t find a poll of Scots outside Scotland asking how they would vote, but I can add an anecdote.

I used to play real tennis with an American, who was an academic at Cambridge. His research area was  the relationship of the diaspora, with their original country. He had found that a lot of the troubles in the Indian sub-continent had been funded by donations from abroad. As a Bostonian, he did add that he didn’t think that the Irish in his home city, had helped find a solution in Northern Ireland.

I also think, that we all like places where we grew up or to which we have a strong connection, to do well and have control of their destiny.

For this reason, it could be that if Scots living outside Scotland had the vote, then the referendum would more likely be a vote for independence.

So could Alex Salmond have got it wrong, on not allowing Scots abroad to vote, if he wants the vote to go his way?

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

A Cool Place For Lunch

It was hot yesterday and I met an old friend for lunch.

As I’m a Friend of the British Museum, for myself and a guest, we went to the Members Room at the British Museum.

My old friend had a wrap and I had a salmon salad.  We washed them down with cold lemonade.

The Members Room is air-conditioned and it was a very pleasant way to spend lunchtime on such a hot day.

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Food, World | | Leave a comment

The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway

I’ve just watched the latest episode of the BBC documentary on Crossrail call the Fifteen Billion Pound Railway.

Part of this episode told a history of tunneling through the last fifty years, through old film and the eyes of one of the tunnellers, who’s been digging for fifty years, starting with manual methods on the Victoria line.

It is fascinating to see how techniques have improved even over the last couple of decades.

Just as with North Sea Oil exploration, where projects got easier, as cranes got bigger, it looks like tunnelling will get easier, as tunnel boring machines get bigger, more powerful and better designed.

So when they build Crossrail 2 will it be a quick and more financially efficient project? Having spoken to some of the planners of the project on Friday at Dalston Library, I suspect it will be. Especially, as they are cutting out one of the Hackney stations to save a billion and moving one terminus from Alexandra Park to New Southgate stations.

The lessons learned on Crossrail will also effect HS2, where I suspect we’l see even more tunnels, in the final design.


July 24, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

I was in St. Pancras recently and someone has put pointless stained glass in front of the clock.

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

Which Idiot Obscured The Clock?

I suppose it’s art, but for those of us who don’t wear watches it’s a big annoyance.

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

The Back Passage At Kings Cross St. Pancras

A new passage has opened up on Kings Boulevard, which lets you by-pass the crowds going to and from Granary Square, by linking you directly to the subway that goes under Pancras Road

it is certainly magnitudes better than some subways on the Underground.

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Glasgow KISS Games

The Scots are known for their thrift and they certainly seemed to have used the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) to produce an affordable opening ceremony last night.

The only extravagance would have been the amazing video screen, but that was probably hired through Sports Technology in Sussex, so we’ll see that and others like it, at events in the future.

The costumes and props for the show weren’t on the level of extravagance we’ve seen lately at some Games.

And it would appear that the only problem with the dogs was finding enough of them!

But the KISS principle has also been applied to the venues.

In a way holding the opening ceremony in Celtic Park by the athlete’s village was following what was done in London, where the athlete’s village was with all the main venues. This meant that athletes could enjoy the ceremony and then go to bed at a reasonable hour for competing today. We shouldn’t have games, where the athletes are some way from the venues. Both Glasgow and London have sufficient transport to cope for athletes and spectators.

But surely the masterstroke is building a combined sports hall and velodrome, with the facilities between the two arenas. You must get a hell of a lot more useable space for your money.

This one will be copied ad nauseum, all over the world.

July 24, 2014 Posted by | Sport | , | Leave a comment


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