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Mike Storey

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  • Location
    Charente Maritime, France
  • Interests
    BR Southern Region, 1975 - 1986. Building a model in 00 based on Queenborough, Sheppey, Kent. I also model live steam in the garden, scale 16mm/ft, 32mm gauge.

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  1. Indeed, good luck with your move, and very best wishes. Looking forward to hearing from you again in the not too distant!
  2. St Jean is the Donglies, in correct Franglais......!! There are some large grain silos just south of St Jean d'Angely, towards Saintes, which at the right time of year, expels at least one train a day. There is quite a large complex there, but it is only used for a few months of each year. You can just see it from the autoroute, southbound. I would suspect the train routing you have spotted, includes a pick-up at these silos, but, from observation, there are usually more than enough wagons being loaded, to form a single trip on its own, at the peak of harvesting. But with the strange and extended timings for harvest this year, who knows? The Vidange is early, but the oddly altered, sunflower crop was much later than usual, and the corn and wheat choppings have been all over the place. But there is no climate change, of course......
  3. Thanks Bob - watering and feeding is not the issue, despite regular 30 degree plus temps here!! I do it regularly. It is the ravenous weeds that sprout almost everywhere, that seem not to need any water, feed or any other form of sustenance, especially a small leaved, ravenous bind weed, that is almost impossible to get rid of. I have adopted the need to concrete/cement over almost every part of the existing layout so far, except where I want plants to grow, but the weeds find any tiny crevice in which to blossom, and take over. They are known for their aggressiveness here! But I need to keep some holes to allow drainage, for when it does rain, it rains hard. I shall just have to pursue the daily pruning regime that you have.
  4. 100mph would be nice. The trains east of Ashford towards Canterbury/Ramsgate rarely make it above 75mph now!
  5. Thanks Bob - that's useful to know. I thought I had missed something by having to trim all foliage, so often, but obviously not!!
  6. All works done to date have been "enabling", as described by the the contracts under which they have been let. The contracts for actual construction are largely separate (even if with the same contractors), and have been enacted now. In reality, the division between the two is hard to divine.
  7. Yet again, Gareth has explained, in a nutshell, what so many politicos and HS2 professionals have, so far, been unable.
  8. Sorry for the delay in replying, but our internet has been spasmodic lately. Housing - I agree, but the stats don't lie. Most sales are for terraced housing, not the "Exec" homes often headlined. I had to sell my mother-in-law's, two bedroomed, linked-detached, 1980's house, with a huge garden and garage, in a reasonably posh part of Ramsgate a few years ago. It did not make anywhere near what the agents thought it would. I do not think price-inflation is a major issue in Thanet for a while yet. Faversham has always had a different market, for various reasons, but mainly due to its perception (along with unaffordable Canterbury) as an outlier receptacle of civilisation between the Medway and Thanet. Roads - the Lower Thames Crossing has been authorised, in principle, so we shall see if that reflects further into Kent. My belief is that the only big spend we shall see in my lifetime, will be on further post-brexit works around Dover. Commuting - all the evidence points to people wanting to move further out of London, post-Covid, as they can work from home, but still need to travel to London a few times a week. But all the other evidence points to all the people who cannot work from home, and do need to commute into London, once they feel it is safe enough to do so. They are the majority in terms of job numbers - hospitality, medical, social care, emergency services, utilities, transport workers, construction, maintenance, and so on. I would guess those that can afford to remain where they are, will stay, but the average office worker stay at home worker, may well move to a cheaper location, if their travelling expenses are just as affordable, due to travelling less. But as you say, if private rentals increase in South London and North Kent, due to the more prosperous moving out of town to those locations, then where do these people go? Essex is already getting expensive, and the rest around London already are costing too much. Mid and East Kent seem to be the obvious solutions. Whether or not 25Kv is needed, there needs to be a major upgrade of Kent's railway services planned for the near future. Opening Thanet Parkway will be the first indication (East of Ashford anyway) of that suppressed demand.
  9. I think those comparative costs will have changed somewhat since the advent of the widespread OuiGo system? Of the 10 daily TGV journeys to Paris from my local station, 6 are now OuiGo only. (There used to be only 7 daily, direct trains before OuiGo started - there was, before Covid, likely to be an 11th).
  10. Outstanding CME!! Many thanks. I never thought of looking on Cambrian's website!!
  11. I watched it in full, and he did have a dig, using the planted question. Along the lines of occasional "high handedness" and suchlike. But in virtually every case so far investigated properly, the necessary notices were distributed and consultations held. I do not, for one moment, suggest that is true in absolutely every case, but the climbing on any bandwagon that might give him a few more backbenchers support, comes to mind. As this is now classed as the single largest infrastructure project taking place anywhere in Europe, and possibly much of the rest of the world, outside China, it is highly probable that some issues will transpire. But such is the need for political gammon from this PM, given current poll ratings, so is the inevitability of this sort of showbiz.
  12. Indeed. In the German case, for battery units, almost all the case studies provided re-charging capability only at one end of the line.
  13. One Two things, apart from the superb modelling, I keep meaning to ask you is are: a) the lineside veg is brilliant, but how did you keep it at bay? I have attempted all sorts, including Mind Your Own Business, and various hebes and whatnots, but so many grow rampant and I have to decimate them to trim them back. I know you specialised in landscape gardening, so feel you could answer this. b) with your homemade signals, the ladders are all important, but where did you find them (or did you make them)?? In awe again Mike
  14. Well maybe we will, but just to point out a few things: House prices - Thanet still has the lowest average house price in the whole of Kent (c.£270k in mid-2019, outside the Medway, so probably a bit lower now). The majority of houses sold were mid-terrace. So whilst there are some developments, and individual properties, demanding some inflated prices, the average person will not be paying these. Road links - if you take St Nicholas at Wade as the "border", even the M2 is just two lane until it gets past the Medway, and is a slow crawl (pre-Covid) from around Sittingbourne. Beyond St Nick, you have the joint morning exodus heading for Canterbury, Ashford, Maidstone and the Medway as well as for London. Whilst the link to Ramsgate was improved over the last 8 or 10 years, it still gets bogged down, being only two lane, from the roundabout near Manston, in the morning peak. Having had to drive to London (Stratford) from Ramsgate on a few occasions in the past several years, in the peak, I have not done it in under three hours (I needed the car on these occasions for onward journeys). From Peteborough, a similar car journey would take around two hours. There is ample demand for a better rail link. Peterborough comparison - I deliberately used this as I am familiar with the territory. The catchment for Peterborough is roughly 220,000 people (depending on where you draw the line, there being Cambridge, Kings Lynn, Melton Mowbray, Grantham and Huntingdon as alternatives). The catchment for Thanet and Dover is 260,000. It is the most densely populated, fastest growing, non-metropolitan council region in England. The commuter services for Peterborough were built around the acceleration of East Coast services, it is true, but the combined catchment of Peterborough to Leeds did not exceed that of Kent, and probably still does not. Give also that the London - Thanet HS services are largely built upon a circular route operation - Ashford/Dover/Thanet/Medway - there is no argument about the "end of the line" applicable here. The attached link, albeit a few years out of date now, may help explain the thinking. https://moderngov.dover.gov.uk/documents/s23366/East%20Kent%20Growth%20Framework%20-%20Appendix%201.pdf Essentially, East Kent has suffered for over 150 years, from the paucity of investment originally and lack of amelioration since, from poor rail links to the capital. Despite some fairly recent lows, it has continued to grow, It deserves better and any piece of the jigsaw that can help that is welcome by me.
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