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Ron Ron Ron

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  1. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/02/coronavirus-seems-unstoppable-what-should-world-do-now .
  2. Unless immediate action is taken to restrict travel (road, rail and air), there's no hope of containment. It's probably too late to stop its spread to most parts of the "western world". European governments, including our own, will act when the horse has bolted. We have a personal dilemma. My wife and I, plus our adult kids and my elderly mother, are all due to fly to Lombardy next week, to join my sister and her Italian family, for a significant family celebration. My sister lives about 30 miles north of the hot spot, where small towns have been sealed off. I'm in daily contact with her and we're both monitoring the situation. A decision to cancel will be quite costly and very disappointing, but may be the wisest decision. However, my sister reminds me that the population of Lombardy is something like 10 million and only a few hundred people have tested positive for the virus, so far. .
  3. Testing at Farringdon...... A train arrives and the doors open..... .
  4. Paddington low level (Elizabeth Line) station is almost complete...... Down to the ticket hall / intermediate level concourse.... Then down to the platform level..... .
  5. I’ve no idea how those 5 ECoS’s. (What’s the correct plural ?) we’re working together. AFAIK, the “sniffer” port will only accept loco commands. They may have been connected using ECoSlink, ESU’s data, or comms bus for connecting compatible devices. The user manual mentions connecting Marklin Central Stations via ECoSlink, therefore it may be possible to connect multiple ECoS using this interface. .
  6. As with any DCC system, there can only be one Command Station. Not only because more than one system would cause a confliction and nothing would work, but also because both (all) of them would be terminally damaged. The ECoS unit itself, contains the Command Station and system Booster, as well as the control console interface with its throttles (cabs). Therefore only one ECoS can be used. However, ECoS has the “sniffer” facility. This is where the track output from any DCC system, can be connected to the ECoS’s “sniffer port” and the ECoS will read, or extract, the DCC signals being transmitted from that other system. ECoS will then replicate and rebroadcast those signals over its own track output, along with its own DCC output. ( note: I need to check, but I think it only works for loco commands on the ECoS and not accessory commands). This effectively makes the guest, or slave DCC system, just another throttle (cab) on the ECoS system. This would be a “dumb” throttle, as no ECoS system information can be fed back to the “slave” system. Note that this only works one way, from the “slave” DCC system to the ECoS and not the other way round. Using a second ECoS this way would be a serious waste of money, as most of its functionality (the electronic gubbins under the skin), would not be utilised. EDIT: It may be possible to connect multiple ECoS via ECoSlink, where the additional ECoS units, simply act as throttles. . .
  7. The full system has only recently dropped off the Piko web site and the number of Digital Train Sets including the ESU produced SmartControl , rather than the Uhlenbrock sourced SmartControl Light, has dropped from 5 down to 1. From my observations Keith, since it was launched the CabControl has always been sold at a similar discount on the US msrp. Retailer prices usually give a 20% discount on list Typically prices being around $389 to $399, so £380 is a good price. The discount on an ECoS can be up to 25% off. .
  8. I just twigged, that brings a whole new meaning to "Branch Line". .
  9. Meanwhile, on the environmental protest front, Extinction Rebellion are planning to hold mass protests against HS2, involving blockades and protests at work sites and even more radical acts of disruption and sabotage. Other similar, or linked groups have similar plans to stop any new line being built across the Pennines. .
  10. A lot of fanciful nonsense in that report, that will cause the complete collapse of the economy, leading to mass unemployment and shortages of food and vital commodities. There will be very few trains running under their desired outcome. .
  11. Can we change the subject onto why the American Apollo space mission should have taken men to Mars and not to the Moon ? All talk of alternatives to HS2 and what should have been done instead, are purely academic, backward looking and a complete and utter waste of time. The bl**dy thing is being built ! . .
  12. I'd argue that there was adequate space at both St. Pancras and KGX to add significant extra platform capacity, by using the ex-railway land made available between the 2 stations. Radical thinking? It would have required a lot of expensive work to bring lines into this area (tunnels, flyovers etc,), but there was plenty of space. Unfortunately, the whole area was earmarked for regeneration and commercial development and has all been built on. .
  13. Some photos on this web site, showing developments in the Euston area. Taken this month, Feb. 2020....... https://alondoninheritance.com/london-streets/euston-station-hs2-2020-update/ .
  14. There's evidence of activity at various points all along the phase 1 part of the route. Most of it consists of individual small projects, such as preparing work sites, compounds and bases; projects to divert services (water, gas, electricity etc,); diverting or protecting water courses; and environmental mitigation projects, such as creating nature habitats, planting trees etc. There are some larger jobs underway, such as building the rail bridge across the M42, near the NEC. Hopefully the amateur "snappers" will be out there recording developments as the project ramps up. Great Missenden, Bucks. Colne Valley, Chilterns. Balsall Common Birmingham
  15. The other end, showing the main entrance.....
  16. This rendering shows how the preserved, old Curzon St. station building is located at the far end of the new HS2 station. The main entrance being at the opposite end on Moor St. Queensway, right next door to Moor St. Station. The tram and bus stations are located half way down by the other entrances.
  17. GC still just saying from Spring 2020. The timetable and seating plan are shown on the GC booking page for this new service..... https://www.grandcentralrail.com/popular-routes/london-blackpool/ .
  18. It's a waste of time and a pointless exercise speculating what the fares will be. Apart from being far off in the future, as said a few times already, there's a prospect that the whole issue of rail fares will eventually be tackled between now and HS2 opening for business. Who knows what will come out of any major shake up of the system? Meanwhile, the notion that fares will be astronomically high, falls into the same bracket as the silly claims that.... HS2 will only be used by rich businessmen and elites, that ordinary people won't be able to afford the fares, that nobody will want to use it, and that it'll be a White Elephant. All hysterical clap trap. Note a popular definition of a White Elephant: Something that has cost a lot of money but has no useful purpose. Only half of that will be true as far as HS2 goes, the other half is total tosh. .
  19. The franchise has already been awarded, ............but it's a bit more complicated than that. As it stands at the present time, the TOC due to operate trains at the commencement of services, will be First and Trenitalia's "Avanti West Coast". The current ICWC franchise, which commenced in December 2019, consists of two parts; an initial 6 year franchise period and then from March 2026 to March 2031, a management contract type arrangement to operated both HS2 passenger services and a recast ICWC service pattern. The ever so slight issue here, is that the initial HS2 passenger services are almost certainly not going to be starting in 2026 ! .
  20. YMMV and all that. The relatively new T2 and T5 are a delight to use, if somewhat very busy at peak times. A marked contrast from the labyrinth like and confusing old T3 (it's had more extensions and facelifts than Joan Collins), or the past its sell-by-date T4. The railway and LU station serving T5 (and the next new terminal if R3 goes ahead) is located right underneath T5. It couldn't be any easier. There's a lot to be said for smaller airports though. I like using our local airport, Southampton. Easily accessible by road and rail, small and compact. No shopping mall retail experience () and limited but adequate food and drink facilities compared with the big airports, but only a bare minimum of 20 to 30 minutes needed before flying out and it takes only 10 or 15 minutes to get out after landing. .
  21. The Western Rail link to Heathrow should improve the options from your neck of the woods, providing a quick change at Reading onto a direct train to Heathrow. The link is running 4 years behind plan (constantly being pushed back for more rounds of consultation and public briefings) and unless the full planning application is refused, or funding is denied for whatever reason, it should be up and running within 5 years from now. Note: Heathrow R3 has no bearing on the requirement or business case. Another option: You can currently get a £64 return flight ticket between Exeter Airport and Manchester and connect to a much wider range of long haul flights from there. .
  22. What parallel journeys or competing routes? The Birmingham to London market is probably the only one where any, or any significant alternative to HS2 will exist. Almost all the IC services from north of Brum to London will be moving onto HS2, apart from the semi-fast residual services that will call at places like MK, Rugby and Coventry. .
  23. Suggestions (you read them elsewhere) that BHX and MAN can take any significant load of LHR and other SE airports are at best fanciful and at worst deluded. For example, 83% of LHR's passenger traffic originates or is destined for Greater London, the SE (including Essex, Herts and Suffolk) and is very well served by 6 airports. A further 8% are travelling to/from the airport from the SW of England (Dorset and Wiltshire and westwards) and Gloucestershire and S. Wales. However BHX and MAN are already mopping up a large proportion of passengers travelling to/from places north of Oxfordshire an Milton Keynes. There are a lot of air passengers flying to/from the Midlands and north of England. You may not be aware, but Manchester is part way through a £1 billion transformation plan, that will provide a near doubling of terminal capacity. Further airport developments and expansion will follow on. MAN airport is currently handling a smidgeon under 30 million passengers per annum. The airport already has 2 full length runways, that can handle the largest aircraft operating at full weight. So yes, it already has the capacity and is already expanding. BHX has also seen steady growth and is now handling 12.6 million pax per annum. There are development plans, but the airport is on a constrained site and any significant expansion, particularly if a new runway was to be built, would probably have to take place outside of the current airport footprint. Open land to the E and SE of the M42 has been proposed, which puts the new HS2 Birmingham Interchange station right in the middle of an expanded airport complex.. One problem though, is that BHX is sandwiched between the catchment areas of two much larger airports in LHR and MAN, which will continue to abstract air passengers to a much wider range of services. The Manchester Airport HS2 station will only be 40 mins from Curzon Street and 37 mins from Birmingham Interchange. Curzon St. and Interchange to OOC is predicted to be 38 and 31 minutes respectively, so less than an hour to Heathrow. This does raise the issue of how useful the HS2 to LHR link via OOC will be. LHR will continue to offer a very much wider choice of long haul destinations than other UK airports; so where direct flights from the regional airports are not available, the choice for passengers will be a HS rail journey down to London, connecting onto Crossrail or HEX for the final leg into LHR; .....or catching a flight from the nearest, or most convenient regional airport to a connecting hub, either in Europe, or further afield (Gulf, Asia, N. America). . .
  24. There’s a much reduced market in the north, for connecting through Heathrow these days. As such, there’s a much smaller number of domestic shuttle flights between Heathrow and Manchester, than there were 10 or 15 years ago. A very high percentage of air passengers flying from Manchester, the NW and much of the north of England are not travelling via Heathrow. Rather they are flying from Manchester either direct to their destinations, or via one of the many large overseas airport hubs. For example, via the Gulf there are 3 A380 flights a day to Dubai, 3 flights a day to Doha and 2 a day to Abu Dhabi. All by big wide body aircraft mostly carrying people travelling to and from the Far East, SE Asia, the Indian sub-continent, the Indian Ocean islands, Australia & NZ etc. Not to mention similar daily services to Singapore and Hong Kong, which also provide a wide array of onward connections. Lots of direct flights to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean as well, plus direct flights to China (currently suspended for obvious reasons). Similarly, Birmingham has a smaller number of direct flights to European and overseas hubs, e.g. Dubai, Amsterdam & Frankfurt., in addition to a growing range of European destinations. With HS2 stations being built to serve both Manchester and Birmingham airports, there may be less dependency on Heathrow for parts of the country that are outside of the SE. .
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