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Arpster last won the day on December 30 2010

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  1. Correction - that seems to be the Project ORION Class 319/769! https://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/passenger-trains-converted-to-deliver-parcels-to-city-centre-stations
  2. Getting back on topic slightly, it seems the Class 321 was at Euston yesterday demonstrating their use at terminus stations, and offloading (it seems to suggest into a cargo bike!) of freight onto the platform. It really shows the problem of platform height differences! https://twitter.com/NetworkRailEUS/status/1412793616746024963
  3. Ah, but @Compound2632 - what about the amazing interrobang‽
  4. Eversholt Rail have finished the conversion of a Class 321 for use on 100mph freight services. The first of many, or doomed to failure? I can't see any proposed customers or routes. https://eversholtrail.co.uk/news/class-321-swift-express-freight-train-ready-for-service/
  5. The death of David Edwards of Datblygu today prompted me to watch this clip from The Tube in 1986ish. I've no idea where this is filmed, but there's a Class 08 shunting some rusty 21 ton hopper wagons in the background!
  6. I agree that in current circumstances the sleeper option seems to play second fiddle to the cheap flight. I guess for leisure travel it will always be thus, except for those of us who enjoy the longer train option. But for business travel, there might be a market for the sleeper - getting to your destination at a reasonable time without having to get up at 4am to go to the airport, or travel the night before and pay for a hotel, may be attractive. I think we also need to recognise that decarbonisation will play a part too. For a long time aviation has been left out of national emissions targets but that will soon change. This might finally start to put a fair price on aviation and make rail more competitive. There are also a lot of companies (like my employer) who are taking their own emissions seriously. Our business travel policy now mandates rail for domestic journeys (no more internal flights for us!) and has targets to reduce the number of short-haul flights we take. Such a sleeper would help reduce business carbon emissions even if it cost more than the equivalent flight, and businesses are increasingly thinking about their carbon budget as well as their financial budget.
  7. Yes, I guess a trip down the WCML and NLL would make more sense than my hope of an ECML journey I could jump onto. I get the impression that they've drawn some aspirational lines on a flashy website but not really thought about the rolling stock implications of sourcing sleeping cars that are Channel Tunnel-compliant and UK loading gauge-compliant! It does seem like there is quite the rennaissance in sleeping trains at the moment, with OBB's new Brussels and Amsterdam to Vienna service, rumours of a restarted Amsterdam to Copenhagen train, and now this proposal. I've done Paris - Munich and Vienna - Cologne, both of which depart and arrive at civilised times. Paris - Milan and Zurich - Bonn both dumped me out at 6am and left me wandering around an empty city looking for a café that was open. Ideally the trains would be timed to arrive at their destination at sensible time. I've also done UK to Spain by train, Eric. Getting to Bilbao from Newcastle was just about doable in 24 hours, with the last train down to King's Cross, a night in a grotty hotel opposite St Pancras, the first Eurostar of the day to Paris, a schlep across to Gare de Montparnasse, a TGV to Irun, and then the Euskotren along to San Sebastian and a coach to Bilbao (arriving at 9:30pm). A sleeper would have made that easier, but the Trenhotel from Paris to Madrid and Barcelona was recently removed because the new high speed line made the journey so short that the sleeper was uneconomical. Why would this new service be considered competitive if RENFE didn't want to continue their sleeper? Arp
  8. I would have posted this in the Eurostar thread but that now seems to be locked, so here's a new thread instead. A new 'start-up' called Midnight Trains is proposing to start new overnight services radiating from Paris beginning in 2024. One of the proposed services appears to be from Edinburgh. https://www.midnight-trains.com/ It'd be interesting to see how this will work - customs checks at Waverley station? Any intermediate stops en route (it'd be frustrating for me to have to go up to Edinburgh from Newcastle to catch a train back down to Paris!). Will this come to fruition, or is it pie-in-the-sky? Arp
  9. Some excellent posts on this thread. Thanks to all contributors for an enlightening and broad discussion. My thoughts, for what they're worth, are as follows: The UK Government may yet have its hand forced on this issue by one of the best things that the last Labour government did: the Climate Change Act (2008). That took decarbonisation out of the hands of politicians of whatever colour (and for transparency's sake, I should own-up to standing for the Green Party in last week's local elections) and put it in the hands of the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC sets the UK's 'carbon budget' every four years to determine how much CO2 can be emitted to keep the UK in line with its climate change commitments. Personally, I think it is these carbon budgets that will finally force the hand of whichever government is in power to take rail freight seriously. The latest Sixth Carbon Budget (for 2033-2037) included aviation for the first time and these budgets are becoming increasingly stringent to achieve Net Zero by 2050. As well as that target date, what is more important is the total amount of CO2 emitted by the UK between now and eternity, so the slower we start really cutting emissions the sooner we run out of carbon and fail. Given the urgency for rapid decarbonisation of transport (responsible for around 25% of the UK's emissions), I don't think the government can just sit and wait for electric or hydrogen lorries to come along. And even if they did, there won't be enough renewable capacity to power tens of thousands of electric lorries as well as homes, workplaces, private cars, and public transport. This really puts an emphasis on the energy efficiency of rail transport. The ideal solution in carbon terms would be a spine network of rail freight services serving urban or industrial consolidation centres, with 'last mile' deliveries done by smaller electric vehicles. You know, like we used to have until the 1960s... Yes, this would increase labour requirements, but a carbon tax may still render this cheaper than using a high-emitting HGV alternative. And in a time of dwindling employment and increasing automation of jobs, this increased demand for labour may actually be welcome! All of this actually requires, as others have pointed out more eloquently that me, strong government intervention in the market to tax and regulate us towards a lower carbon freight system. This clearly goes against Conservative Party (and even recent Labour Party) ideology, which is why it's going to be very interesting to see how whoever is in power responds to the CCC's challenge. Perhaps we'll see moves to scrap the Climate Change Act soon...
  10. The Blue Bell is indeed still there, further up in Sandyford. I'm guess its beer garden is going to be in high demand now! https://goo.gl/maps/QAzXNg3XNzuPfdQf9 Arp
  11. Too right, Porce - I turned 40 last year. It looks like I might be able to at least have a pint to celebrate my 41st...
  12. Hello strangers! I haven't seen much of my dad in the last year, for obvious reasons, but it appears that he's been putting the lockdown to good use in building new motive power for Blackgill! He's supplied me with some photos of the new locos that he's been knocking-up. Maybe one day I'll be allowed to set foot over the threshold to photograph them on the layout itself... First up Worsdell A7 tank, number 69782, which was allocated to Tyne Dock shed in 1955. Next, BR Standard 3MT 77014, which was a Tyne Dock engine in 1960. A slightly out-of-focus portrait of Worsdell N9, number 69429, based at Tyne Dock from 1949 until withdrawal in 1955. I know the EM South Pelaw chaps have also got this loco on their roster! And finally, a couple of photos of NCB 41, a Kitson long-boilered pannier tank of 1893. Formerly based at Consett Iron Works, she moved to the NCB at Derwenthaugh later in life. She'll work the colliery branch on Blackgill. Here she is in real life: https://www.flickr.com/photos/trains-travel/36997381741 That's all for now! Arp
  13. What about one of the lovely houses on 'Blast Row' or Pattinson Town in the midst of Washington Chemical Works (Tyne Dock to Consett line visible in the background)? https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW016386 Arp
  14. Here's a still from the local news with me demonstrating the control panel on Blackgill. This is why us poor operators sometimes make mistakes...
  15. Thanks for your kind comments, chaps. The signals are operated by fishing line attached to relays beneath the baseboard. The little pulleys on the gantries actually serve a purpose! Arp
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