Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Transport And Politics (1) Scotland

A Manchester P.S in the interests of even handed reporting.

What Andy says is plausible and in an ideal world deliverable but the so-called "success" of London is at a huge cost to the council tax payers. He also talks about "levelling up" (he means "down") Manchester's £2.50 fare to London's £1.55.  A more likely scenario would be for London's £1.55 to level UP £2.50. Beware of what you ask for, Andy, me lad!

And his Mayorship has no finance for his bus take-over plan. He will demand that HMG funds it. A Conservative Government bank-rolling a very very expensive plan by a Labour Mayor (and a stroppy one at that!) seems somewhat unlikely.

And So To Scotland
We now know that the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 50 seats in last Thursday's election, just one seat short of an absolute majority. But, to all intents and purposes, the Sturgeon and her chums are back in charge for the next five years.

In the run-up to polling day, the SNP put out a whole range of policy "intentions" many of which would seem to be very costly to implement.
The list of goodies is extensive and expensive.
Freebies are on offer for education ...
... and on to Transport.
The top item is the only reference to buses and little has been said about rail, soon to be back under Government (i.e. nationalised) control. But there are implications from other parts of the transport policy.
Cutting car use by 20% has massive implications on the provision of increased bus and train services. It is far from clear how this target can be achieved - and at what cost to the public purse. Then we have this ...
Currently available technology for brewing hydrogen is very expensive and is as damaging to the environment as diesel engines or a traditional power station. New technologies are "in hand" but need much fine gold for practicable development.

Mrs S has said she will concentrate on the recovery from Covid, then comes the battle for the referendum ...
... with both contenders certain of victory. A least that is what fbb thinks the cartoon shows.

It is worth remembering that Transport for Scotland is forging ahead with electrification; the next in line being the East Kilbride branch.
... which is to decarbonise Scotland's railways by 2035.
It is all part of a VERY grand plan.

East Kilbride is already a work in progress, but others are planned; Glasgow to Anniesland via Maryhill, the Borders line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, the Levenmouth branch (which is proposed for reopening) and discrete sections in Fife as a precursor to a fully electrified route. Design and development work will also be progressed this year for the route from Dunblane to Perth.

The aim by 2035 is to have fully electrified routes from the central belt to both Aberdeen and Inverness. The Aberdeen to Inverness route is slated for full electrification but it is suggested this may be unachievable by 2035, with an initial focus on providing local cross-Aberdeen electric services and use of bi-mode traction across to Inverness. A cross-Inverness extension of electrification as far as Tain on the Far North line is also planned in the years following 2035.

In south west Scotland the route between Glasgow and Carlisle via Gretna is proposed for full electrification by 2035, providing strategic capacity for rail freight and a diversionary route when the West Coast main line is closed.

Only the lines to Kyler of Lochalsh and the far north run to Thurso would remain without wires possibly run by battery trains or, indeed, hydrogen powered.

It is also worth remembering that, in Scotland, your old crocks free bus pass is valid throughout the Citylink long distance network.

But as for Andy Burnham in Manchester, the crunch question is how can all of this generosity be funded. Aunty Nicola says that it has all been "costed", but declines to reveal the details.

Mrs fbb is a fully committed Scot despite marrying an Englishman (!!!) but she is most definitely NOT a fan of The Sturgeon and NOT a fan of independence which, she opines, with throw Alba into poverty and bankruptcy.

The goodies of the life north of Mr Hadrian's barrier are palpable and "guid", but not sustainable without the existing substantial input from the UK coffers.

fbb respects and agrees with his dear wife's views.

With respect to the Daily Mail cartoonist, Mac ...
... a Sassenach is the Highlander's name for a Scotsman from the Lowlands!

Lights In The Loo
Readers may remember that fbb discovered (on line and fortuitously) little sets of 20 battery powered LEDs intended for scrunching into glass jars as decoration for cosy cocktail parties etc. The strings of lights cannot really be adjusted in length, so buildings have to be fitted to lights rather than vice versa. Accordingly, the plan was for lights in the booking office, lights under the platform canopy and lights in the toilet block at the far end of the ensemble.
So a gurt big hole was needed which would be partially disguised by a roof over the gents entrance ...
... and a hole, equally gurt, at the far end of the building.
The end four LEDs (pre allocated in fbb's mind for this building) were glued with suoerglue to a strip of plastic channel, to fbbs fingers and to Mrs fbb's plastic tablecloth.
A thread was tied and glued round the end LED and equally firmly fixed to a length of plastic rod. Rod is then poked through the holes, rod pulls the thread and thread pulls the light bar. In theory!
Slide everything together and, with much wiggling and the occasional spit of venom it all fits together.

The ex Tri-ang building will be able to be removed for further work on its interior, which in turn will require fbb to find a better way of cutting out the underside.
There is now a light over the gents entrance, two lights inside which will allow dividing walls to be fitted (eventually?) and a bulkhead light on the far wall to offer some illumination at the far end of the platform.

One string of lights to go! But where should they go?

 Next Cambridge and Politics blog : ??? Thursday 13th May ??? 

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