Monday, 21 July 2014


This morning at 4:30 GMT NIMBY special forces, supported by NIMBY Land, Sea and air forces, all across the land, began a combined building offensive in the backyards of those who had threatened their backyards. They toiled in haste, as they knew at any time those that threatened the sanctity of their own back yards would rouse and seek to prevent them from building the much needed, schools, hospitals, railways and airports.
They toiled on through the day, keeping a wary eye on the Horizon, for the sight of the selfish masses, who had opposed this obviously sensible and well thought out plan, to build on this spot and had instead proposed a totally unsuitable spot in the backyard of this NIMBY brigade.
As dusk fell, the forces of NIMBY had finished their mighty toil and they had erected builds of such beauty and elegance that they could only add to the beauty and amenity of this dark blighted area. So as the darkness fell they returned back to their homes knowing that their backyard was safe.
The next morning, as the Sun rose and the curtains were pulled back a great wailing was heard all across the land of the NIMBYs as, in the previous day, while they had been away building things of beauty afar, people had snuck into their beautiful back yard and erected horrendous eyesores that were in the wrong place for the catchment area.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

East of Lymm

The earlier articles can be found here HS2 Phase 2 Liverpool & From Ditton to Lime Street.

From HS2 to Warrington

In planning to use the remaining track of Warrington & Stockport line to provide access to for Liverpool. It is important to understand that this part of the line would not be capable of the high speeds on the mainline nor could it have the same wide cross section. It is not intended that it should be a captive line spur of HS2 but that it should provide passage for HS2s GC gauge trains at reasonable speeds and with an unobstructed run.
This does not mean that other services could not use the line, but that they would have to totally subordinate to the HS2/HS3 trains. The route could provide an opportunity to provide a link between Warrington and Altrincham and Manchester Metro Link. The line could also carry Train/Trams from Widnes to the Warrington BQ providing a feeder service from both sides, potentially with some intermediate tram stops.
There are several obstacles other than the lack of GC gauge to overcome if parts of the Warrington & Stockport line is to be used as part of the spur from HS2 to Liverpool.
In several places there are level crossings which would need to be replaced with bridges, there are several existent bridges where the clearance may need to be increased. The state of the passage under the M6 is unknown, all that can be said it that up until 1988 trains used a tunnel to pass under the Motorway, what has happened since then is unclear.
South of Lymm
One thing that has happened however is that a number of the settlements have grown along the track and may even have encroached on it in places, and while these may not present a physical obstacle to the route, they will most certainly need to be addressed if any of the residents are to be in any way happy. It is unlikely that the residents will just accept that after 30 years trains are to be reintroduced and that those trains will be travelling faster than before and therefore making more noise.
There is also the matter of the Trans Pennine way which uses the track bed as part of its route.

Existing route

Of the 2 miles between HS2 and the M6, the 0.8 miles north of Rushgreen.
And the 0.9 miles between Lymm & Statham need to have the maximum mitigation. The 4.2 miles to Warrington has a greater uninhabited area around it and with the trains either slowing for Warrington station or accelerating from the reduced speed should significantly reduce noise. However, some mitigation may be needed and be possible.

Trains & Pantographs

The Japanese have done considerable research into lowering the sound produced by high speed trains two of these can be founhere & here.
For the pantograph one modification suggested is piecing the collector to allow air through the collector, the complex airflow that this produces introduces destructive interference reducing the over sound levels.
One of the more significant sources of noise is the wheels. The metal wheels against the metal track induces vibration in both. The Japanese are starting to use full enclosed bogies to reduce the noise level at track side.
A further possibility might be to use an active suppression system in which electromagnets, controlled by the computer are used to induce destructive interference.. I can find no reference to experiments being done in this area, but it would seem to be a technique with possibilities. The system would need to contain a sensor capable of quickly determining the vibration pattern in the wheel, allowing the computer to control the magnets to cancel this out.


Various mass damping system have been suggested for reducing the noise from train lines 2 of these are described here or here. It may be possible to further enhance this using an active system similar to the one suggested for damping wheels.

Track bed

Various reports have been produced by using various system for reducing the transmission of sound via the track bed. The Benefits and Limitations of Floating Slab Track for Controlling Groundborne Noise and Vibration/
One system if made by Tiflex, see

Walls, Tunnel and earth banks

One the primary methods of reducing noise pollution from trains is via the use of sound absorbing walls. Where shielding is needed on only 1 side this would be ideal. However, in other areas where shielding is needed, it may make more sense to enclose the entire track in a prefabricated box tunnel. This would also be useful in isolating the track from external interference, providing protection for both the track and the general public.
Where a tunnel is used, the entire structure can be covered by earthwork providing further sound insulation as well as removing the concrete from view. It may also allow the height of the structure to be lower, as no addition fencing will be needed.
Using Ballast free track it would be possible to integrate the base of the track into the floor of the box. Provided the lengths of the tunnels.

Replacing Level Crossings

There are 7 level crossings on the proposed route, none of them are major roads at a rough estimate it may be possible to replace them at between £10-£15 million. This is based upon several articles citing network rail quotes.

Route description

Proposed HS2 route.
  1. Bridge over River Bolin. See map here.
    • The track bed here is bounded on either side by fields.
  2. Level Crossing at the site of Heatley & Warburton station. See map here.
    • The old station buildings appear to intact and in use as residential housing, there is a small business unit to the south of the line. Land is available to the west to allow a temporary relief road while a bridge is constructed over the track bed. The road is the B5169
    • After a short distance the track is bounded to the south by Farcroft Close, on the south side of the road are houses. This situation or similar continues for about 1300 meters, a distance which includes several level crossings. There is a 200 meter stretch where the line is also bounded to the north.
  3. Level Crossing at Birch Brook road & Chaise Meadow, Lymm Cheshire. See map here.
    • These two crossing are close together and is seems that there is enough space to divert traffic between the 2 using the track bed and some adjoining roads. This is particularly important in the case of Chaise Meadow is it provided the only access to a housing estate south of the line. Birch Brook road is the A6144 and while the diversion via Chaise Meadow could be used, there a several other alternative routes. Installing 1 bridge and then the other would create the minimum inconvenience.
  4. Level Crossing at Reddish Crescent. Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This level crossing is over a minor road and both land for a re-routing and alternate routes are available. This crossing is also at the western end of the buildings in RushGreen.
  5. Underpass at Reddish Lane, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This seems to be a farm underpass that may provide access to a series of allotments. It may be usable to provide relief for when the following level crossing is bridged.
  6. Level Crossing Lymmhay Lane, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This seems to be a farm level crossing pass that may provide access to a series of allotments. If it were to be bridged the precede underpass might provide sufficient alternative. It may be possible that improvements in the underpass could render this crossing redundant or perhaps reduce it to a pedestrian bridge. From this point there is housing to the south of the route for the next 1400m.
  7. Level Crossing at the site of Lymm Station. Whitbarrow Road, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • From this point on the route has housing on both sides. Whilst bridging at this point an alternative route exists via the following Barsbank Lane crossing. Here the old station building still exists and seem to be used as private residences.
  8. Level Crossing Barsbank Lane, Lymm, Cheshire. See map here.
    • This level crossing has close to it buildings that were in existence when the line was in use. There appears to be no encroachment and an alternative route via the preceding level crossing exists for use during construction.
  9. Foot Bridge intact. See map here.
    • Clearances would need to be checked. This marks, the end of the buildings on both sides of the route.
  10. Bridge at Camsley Ln(A56), Lymm, Cheshire, See map here.
    • This a modern bridge which is in good condition. The clearances may need to be increased.
  11. M6 See map here.
    • The M6 was built before the closure of the line and a tunnel was provided, the state and height of that tunnel are unknown, though presumably is still there, though it may have been in-filled, in which case it will need to be emptied and the clearance increased.
  12. Bridge over. See map here.
    • This appears to be a farm track bridge which is still in use at this point the line is in a slight cutting.
  13. Underpass. See map here.
    • This appears to be an underpass associated with a farm.
  14. Bridge over lines at Deans Lane. See map here.
    • The bridge carries a small possibly B class road.
    • Around this area are several buildings to the north of the line. This continues for 200 meters, though at point there is a road between the line and the houses. There may be a need for pedestrian bridge here to provide access to the Bridgewater canal.
  15. Bridge over. See map here.
    • Seems to be a small farm track.
  16. Bridge over Stockport Road(A56). See map here.
    • This is a fairly major modern bridge. From this point on towards the west the amount of land on either side of the track increases.
  17. Underpass at Bradshaw Lane See map here.
  18. Viaduct over MSC. See Map here.
    •  There are tracks across the bridge, but are in unusable. Apparently it was the repairs needed to this viaduct which forced the final closure of the line, in 1986. It conditional is not likely to have improved in 30 years.
  19. Underpass taking Knustford Road(A50). See map here.
  20. Underpass taking Grammar School Road. See map here.
  21. Site of Latchford station, now Cantilever Gardens See map here.
  22. Underpass taking Wash Lane. See map here.
  23. Pedestrian underpass. See map here.
  24. Pedestrian underpass. See map here.
    • Start of usable track head end shunt. Housing to the north of the line.
  25. A bridge carries Wilderspool Causeway over. See map here.
  26. Viaduct over Mersey. See Map here.
  27. Site of Warrington Arpley station.
  28. A bridge carries Slutchers Lane over. See map here.
  29. Passes under Warrington Bank Quay station and WCML. See map here.

South of Lymm Route

Most of these problems occur to the east of the M6(Item 11) in Lymm, one solution would be to build a new alignment of 4 to 5 miles stretching from HS2 and heading Northwest intercepting the Warrington and Altrincham line alignment near where it pass under the M6.
It is unlikely that the interception can happen too the east of the M6 due to the tight curves this would require, this would necessitate building an M6 crossing. It may also be needed to start the spur south of the M56 necessitating another motorway crossing. In addition the Bridgewater canal would have to be crossed. This would remove the need to build 7 crossings of level crossings and the additional sound proofing but it would be far more expensive.

Trans Pennine trail

If a boxed and covered tunnel is used, then it would be possible to use the top of the tunnel as a route for the Trans Pennine trail. However, at the site of Thelwall station the Trans Pennine trail is very close to the Bridgewater canal, the canal follows a more winding route but eventually approaches very close to the rail line at Altrincham. The track from Bradshaw Lane east may be wide enough to fit both the line and the path. However, after passing under the A56 Stockport road some land may need to be acquired to provide an alternate track.

Friday, 4 July 2014

From Ditton to Lime Street

The plan

In my submission for an HS2 spur for Liverpool and what could also act as the part of the Liverpool to Manchester start of HS3, I have always intended that one option was to convert the line to GC standard and allow full High Speed trains to run through to a new station under Lime Street via the Victoria Tunnel. The cheaper option is to use classic compatibles on the route and terminate in the existing Lime Street, while this would both bring the journey time down by a considerable about, as the trains could run unimpeded and at high speed for longer and free up capacity on the WCML for freight for the Port of Liverpool. It does not take advantage of the longer trains for that additional work is needed and new longer platform.
HS3 Junction
The point at which the line east of Warrington crosses the proposed HS2 route is approximately 1 mile north of the junction from HS2 to the Manchester spur. It would be possible to provide an additional link between the Liverpool and Manchester Spurs rather than taking up space on HS2.

HS2 to Ditton

The run from HS2 to Ditton is not electrified and if it was expanded to GC Gauge and electrified this would have no effect on the existing use of the line. However, there are several bridges, the height under which may need to be increased to allow for electrification and GC gauge. This can be done in two way raising the bridge or lowering the track or by a combination of both. As the track can be worked from either end this should not present a major disruption to services.
It would be useful if the tracks could still be used by standard WCML trains to accomplish this the OHLE would have to be at a height that could be used by both.
The minimum separation between OHLE and the body of the vehicle is 0.15m, if we add this to the 4.65m height of a GC Gauge vehicle we get a minimum height of 4.8m. Current electrical regulations require that at a level crossing there is a 5.6 m clearance, as there are level crossing on WCML this means that there is at least an 80cm overlap between acceptable OHLE heights for GC and WCML. So a section of track within that window would be usable by both.
The minimum clearance from OHLE to static infrastructure is 20cm giving a minimum bridge height of 5m above the rail top.

Ditton to Victoria Tunnel

However, beyond that we are on the 4 line approach to Lime Street. In order to fit GC Gauge trains on these lines. We would need to increase the available height and would have to use the same methods, as outlined earlier, though this would be complicated by the need to continue using the tracks, however, clearance has been increased on other lines without shutting the track there is no reason to believe it cannot be done here.
The additional requirement to allow GC passage would be alterations to the platforms to allow GC trains to pass, this need only be done to platforms on the express lines, any non GC gauge train that needed to use these platforms would need to have some mechanism for bridging the gap, the mechanism to do this are an essential part of the Classic Compatible train design.

Victoria Tunnel

Victoria tunnel
The Victoria tunnel would be used to provide access to a new station under the current Lime Street, however, at 7.9 m wide and 5.5 m in height, the tunnel is not large enough to take 2 GC gauge lines. It is not known whether that height includes or excludes the current ballast depth.
The simplest way to do this would be to lower the floor, while considerable engineering work needs to be done, this is considerably easier and faster to do than digging a new tunnel.
Calculations show that the top of rail height needs to be at least 1.62m below the current tunnel floor. With the use of Ballast free track another 50cm, maybe need so making the total of increased depth 2.12m. At HS2 maximum incline of 1:40 this would mean an include of great the 84.8 meters in length, to drop from current line height to tunnel height.
Floor lowering is by no means uncommon and such work has been suggested for the Victoria Tunnel, in Queensland, Australia.

More information on the HS2 to Warrington section here at East of Lymm 


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Gerry Conlon

To younger readers the Guildford Four will mean nothing, but they have had a slightly undue significance in my life. The Guildford Four where four people from Northern Ireland wrongly convicted of the Guildford pub bombings in 1974. The miscarriage of justice was caused simply by the Metropolitan Police, whose only interest was to convict someone, regardless of whether they were guilty or not.
It wasn't until 1989 that the convictions were overturned. The full story is here Guildford Four and Maguire Seven on Wikipedia.
At the time of the bombs I wasn't yet in my teens and didn't understand what was going on, but by the time of release I was fully aware of both the background to the bombings and how inclined certain police where to just make things up. So wasn't really surprised, what horrified me was the reaction of one of the salesmen at the company I was working at, an ex squaddie by the name of Steve Powell. His angry comment was "they should bring back hanging that would stop this kind of thing". He objected to the release simply because it showed the fallibility of the courts, he reasoned that if killed when convicted they wouldn't be in a position to appeal. He would rather have them killed than the state brought into question. So if you work for Avanquest in St Ives you know what a complete cunt you MD is.
All I could imagine was what it must have been like to have been convicted in such a corrupt way, how it would have eaten at my soul in prison, the anger and the frustration.
Today, having had more experience of the police arrogant disregard for the law and politicians conniving with them to win the support of shits like Steve Powell. If you doubt that politicians do this, ask why this government removed peoples right appeal complaints about Police to the IPCC. Though that was only ever the slightest fig leaf as the IPCC just checked all the boxes were ticked or why the likes of Jane Kennedy will ignore police violence if you think the Police aren't getting away with criminality, explain why we haven't been told the names of the people who assaulted this John Spencer and why they haven't been tried.
It seems Gerry Conlon bore no grudges which probably allowed him to cope with what happened but does that sort out the fundamental problem.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The evolutionary base for littering.

I kneel to no man when it comes to my hatred of littering. From my window I can see a well littered area and watch as cars draw up at traffic lights and throw things out of the window. The problem is that littering seems to be universal barely contained, from our first step onward we seem likely to discard things at the first possible opportunity.
The obvious motivation is simply to get rid of something which we no longer need and which can be of no further use and which carrying around will use energy and prevent us from picking up something else. However, it isn't to our advantage to discard things in the immediate vicinity of our home, discarded food may attract predators or act as a reserve for bacteria or other pathogens.
There may be some positive benefits for certain elements of untidiness. It is often noted that other creatures distribute the seed of plants in their faeces, humans would do the same and additionally when discarding part eat fruit, off the foraging tracks, we sow the seeds of future food sources within easy reach of existing tracks, possibly the beginnings of gardening.
If littering is a deeply ingrained, evolutionary tested strategy, the fact that it has become inconvenient is going to be difficult to deal with. It does make the problem of dealing with littering considerably more difficult to deal with than just some lately acquired habit.
The strategy has become dangerous and counterproductive for several reasons, the density at which we live, the removal of wild animals at first caused problems as the removal of the rest of the ecosystem made their life impossible, then as our levels of waste became higher, the animals that came back in great numbers as they were able to live on our waste.
The only way to truly counter litter is to trigger the instincts that prevented us from littering around our owns homes and expand that area, your guess how to do that is as good as mine.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Here be Dragons

In the not too recent past, large blanks where a feature of any globe. There are still places no one has been on the ground, but we have photographs of them from space, the same isn't true under the sea. Despite Google Earth's course depiction of the seabed, we know very little of the detail.
The common conception of the sea, is limited to the surface, only the most ingrained oceanographer will consider the volume of the sea as a matter of course. For some of us stories of people swimming from liners, in the deep ocean, may suddenly induce a queasy feeling and the sensations associated with being in some inappropriate situation. Suddenly likening ourselves to hovering 4 miles up in the sky, without a parachute or perhaps trapped half way through a trap door with our feet dangling into the darker parts of Mordor.
The search for the unfortunate remains of MH370 have brought a lack of thought and lack of comprehension by the public to the fore. Frequent slightly unhinged call claiming it is madness that we know more about the Moon or Mars, than the depths of the sea. We do have some good photos of the surface of Mars, but that is about it, considerably more is known about the composition of the surface of the bottom of the sea, multiple samples have been returned from the deep, the first man-made object to reach the bottom of the Challenger deep and return to the surface, may only have been a lead weight, but it was in 1875. So far, nothing has been returned from further away than the moon.
Travelling in space involves going from a pressure of 1 atmosphere, on the surface to zero in space. That means that the spacecraft has to resist the gas inside from pushing out the walls, the gas is pushing out at 1.033 kgf per square centimetre. As a submarine dives, for every 10 meters it goes down, it has to resist the water pushing in at an extra 1.033 kgf per square centimetre. That is a submarine at 10 meters is resisting a pressure the same as a spacecraft in orbit at 20 meters it is resisting twice as much. The Challenger Deep is 10,916m deep, so down there, to maintain 1 atmosphere for the crew, the submarine has to resist some 1,091 times the pressure of a space ship. It has to do this while being able to float, if you want to get back to the surface.
There have only been 2 manned visits to the Challenger deep, one by the Bathyscaphe’s Trieste in 1960 and one by James Cameron in his Deepsea Challenger. The bit which the pilot was in was a 1.1 m sphere with 64 mm thick walls of steel. To make a sphere of larger diameter takes thick walls. Several other visits have been made by remotely operated vehicles.
Unlike in space radio doesn't work and any communications with the surface have to be done via acoustic methods, which do not have very great bandwidths or by the use of a tether, which has to be very long, Even when you get down to the bottom you cannot see very far even with very bright lights, plus the only energy you have is what you brought with you as there as no solar panel will work. The Americans did have a nuclear DSV but that could only reach about 1000m, which is not deep enough for large parts of the ocean and any way NR1 has been scrapped.
The not seeing very far goes for on the way down as well, and a lot of life is suspended in the water. So you may miss the interesting bits.
If you do find something interesting and want to bring it back to the surface, you face a whole host of problems trying to keep anything alive or even faintly recognisable. Like humans diving to hundreds of feet the captives will either have to be kept at deep pressure or slowly depressurised otherwise they will quite likely explode on the way up.
While you won't have the wide variation in temperatures that occur in space you'll have a nice constant 3 Celsius to contend with, plus currents. While you will be well protected from radiation surrounded by all that water, the water is quiet corrosive and will be eating away at all your exposed systems.
In the deepest oceans, even the most complex of current survey ships like HMS Echo, with state of the art Multibeam echo sounders, would take an enormous amount of time to cover a significant area, and the resolution would be limited by the great depth. It seems unlikely anyone is likely to fund such an extensive survey of the worlds depths even then they would not tell us very much as it would miss out the content of the water column.
It may be a job that is more suited to autonomous underwater vehicles which could be sent out to record the depths, but would people be happy about any number of nuclear powered subs making their way around the world, without on board supervisions.
The one thing I am sure of is that we have the capability to analyse the data right now, it is not so super computer in the US Defense department or GCHQ but the crowd sourced power of humanity. Never before in human history has it been possible to apply such a large number of people to a single search problem and that capability grows with every day.
The analysis of the data would, by a big margin be, the most expensive part of the operation, but not if it is being done for free by citizen scientists, either by direct analysis or via distributed processor farming via BOINC. Even the funding to collect the data, while not incredibly cheap could be gained from crowd sourcing, we all rely on the sea in some way, whether it be for weather, food, recreation or transportation.
MH370 has pointed to a large blank in our knowledge, perhaps a crowd sourced solution can point us to a new way to do big science and fill in the blanks the public wants to fill in.
A figurehead needs to come forward to kick of the project perhaps James Cameron

Monday, 7 April 2014

Nae Loop then Nae programmer.

I write software, you develop applications, she is a programmer, he is a software engineer, that is a script kiddie and this is a coder. You are none of them, in fact, fuck knows what you are.
Way back at the dawn of time when the master computer clock was still 0, a very bright man developed the idea of the Universal Computing Engine, this machine could emulate any other machine and in order to do this it had to have some very basic functions, if it has those then it is said to be Turing Complete.
Computer instruction sets and programming languages can be Turing complete, things like HTML cannot be, never, ever, ever. You cannot be a coder/programmer/developer/software engineer if all you can use is HTML.
We do need to develop a name for these HTML writers. Well, actually two, one which they will use amongst themselves and one which us coder/programmer/developer/software engineers will use amongst ourselves. I suggest scrivener is the word we allow them to use, and that we use in their presence. It would be used as follows

(S)He is a scrivener.
They are scrivening.
Can you scriven this for me.

The rest of the time when only the grown ups are present I suggest scrawler in either sense.

(S)He is a scrawler.
They are scrawling.
Can you scrawl this for me.

The happy coincidence of the first syllable being them same means that it will easily be possible to change from saying one to saying the other, in the event of their being a scrawler in the room trying to work out how the kettle works.