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  1. Although that isn't a running rail but appears to be a guard rail. But, as the later picture shows, it is practice in the UK to relieve the foot of the switch rail in order to improve its flexure where flatbottom rail is used. Jim
  2. I believe it is (original at least was) part of the training for those police drivers permitted to use blue lights etc., although obviously without the pointing. Its purpose was to encourage thinking and spotting potential hazards well ahead of their becoming real. A sensible precaution against what became termed "ding, ding and away" incidents, where drivers started away on the guard's signal without checking the signal ahead. Jim
  3. More likely is that it never even occurred to the civil servants responsible for drafting the specification, and if it isn't in the spec. you don't get it in the contract (unless you pay extra). Jim
  4. It's been a while since I had the chance to ride a 16x, let alone sample the first class bits. Jim
  5. I had my first opportunity to sample an 8xx yesterday on the return leg of a trip from Kings Cross to Peterborough, having travelled out on a Mk4 set. The ride was decent, certainly no worse than that of the Mk4, and I was relatively close to the bogie. The seat wasn't at all uncomfortable, although it is a seat designed to be sat in, not slouched on, and again not really any different to the Mk4. If I had any gripes, they would only be that my elbow kept slipping of the window ledge and a wish that the designers of tables would fit lift up (or retractable) edges to them to make getting in and out of window seats easier. The latter was common practice on continental stock decades ago, yet in the UK only ever seems to have made it onto the Pendolinos and Voyagers. Jim
  6. Some time after 2002 is all that can really be said. Unlike the franchises, there was no real forewarning of the change, so no debranding, and after Railtrack was turned into Network Rail, no particular urgency to re-brand the rolling stock. The change would simply have occurred as and when wagon came up for overhaul and repainting. Jim
  7. There are no legal requirements for any of the above, but each would need to be risk assessed on its own merits. The outcomes of those assessments are what determine the solutions at each site. Jim
  8. You're right, it isn't and even 1000 miles of empty running is something of a delusion, but it is a delusion beloved on the finance and contracts men. Knowledge of how to run a railway isn't a prerequisite for them. Jim
  9. The 28s are noted as having blue route restriction, which puts them into the average when it comes to route availability. If pictures of them in Cornwall are thin on the ground, it may be for no more reason than that they weren't needed. Jim
  10. I wouldn't defend TfL, but as far as Bombardier's engineers are concerned, the ride qualities of the 345s do not appear to be particularly deficient, or much different from those of the 387s. That, at least,has been my experience between West Drayton and Paddington, both seated and standing (an occupational certainty on peak time Up journeys). The ride qualities of 8xx units I shall get to discover next week. Jim
  11. It is worth remembering that there are very few railway safety regulations outside of the few contained in the various Regulation of Railways Acts, particularly as the Interoperability Regulations will not apply. By the same token, the Health & Safety at Work Act does not prescribe safety regulations, but does impose the duty of care and undertaking of risk assessments to demonstrate how risk is minimised within the limits of reasonable practicability. ROGS places an obligation on railways to have both safety management systems and safety cases, which the ORR review and accept as being adequate (or not). Jim
  12. Although the photograph you produced of the cab of Knight of the Thistle clearly shows them to have been hinged at the bottom and thus opening inwards. Jim
  13. It will be the vacuum pump. Jim
  14. I can't see there being a great deal of difference in terms of train control software that would make the Aventras much different to the Electrostars, other than, possibly, the processing of defect reporting from the various equipment groups. The software used to control the traction drives and other "intelligent" equipments is particular to them and should not vary significantly in relation to the train formation. We will just have to wait and see (and carry on standing for our 20-25 minute journeys). Jim
  15. As an ex-traction equipment engineer, that a 9-car train requires different software to its (9-2) car version is a bit mind-boggling. Even more so when it is considered that they have been in service for nominally 2.5 years now. Jim
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