Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Carpo il diem

When a truck or lorry strikes a railway bridge the infrastructure owner (Network Rail or London Underground) is obliged to suspend rail traffic until a visual inspection of the damage can be made.

Last year such incidents led to 5,000 delay minutes to rail services on Network Rail alone.

In an attempt to address this NR is undertaking a trial in Ashton-under-Lyne using interactive signs (pictured below) that measure the height of approaching vehicles and alert the driver when their vehicle's height is too great.

Bugger this! thunders The Fact Compiler.

What's wrong with a dirty great girder across the road at the maximum safe height, either side of the bridge.

And if NR wants to pussyfoot around with new technology then why not add a laser cannon targeted at trucker head height?

That'll stop the bridge bashing, delay making, yorkee bar chomping toe-rags in their tracks.

Problem solved!

Back to the future?

Telegrammed by our man at 222 Marylebone Road
It's good to see the owlish Robert Wright maintaining the long tradition of Financial Times transport correspondents passing on technical press releases uncritically.

In today's paper he writes, of Freightliners' new General Electric locomotive that it will include 'several innovations for the European market. The electric motors that drive the vehicle will use alternating rather than direct current as is becoming increasingly common on both GE and EMD's North American locomotives'

We presume that by 'European Market' Robert is referring to the market for imported American antiques, since AC traction has been near universal on locos built by Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens et al for approaching two decades to the extent that no one in Europe makes DC traction motors for new locomotives or trains any more. .

Making the best of obsolete technology, as ever, EMD's European sales manager told the FT that lighter European trains did not require the power of AC traction.

To crib from Hitachi 'Inspire the last'.

Our tune

Today's FT has come out firmly in favour of 'The Frankenstein' train as a means of accurately describing the IEP.

'The IEP has been nicknamed the “Frankenstein train” because the specification brings together so many irreconcilable parts' asserts the Pink'un confidently.

But what's this?

The quote emerges from the mouth of soi disant 'veteran observer' Rupert Brennan Brown, who fails to give Railway Eye due credit for originating the term.

Fortuitously The Fact Compiler was recently sent a clipping from a July 1991 Railnews which pictures carpet Bagger-Brown in a less than flattering light.

The so called "veteran" (on the right) is pictured alongside a "dinosaur".

Simon Bates, for it is he, was once mainstay of Radio 1, alas he is now serving out his twilight years on Classic FM.

All together now: Ner ner ner nerrr...