Author Topic: Grumpy Old Rant Room  (Read 312592 times)

Offline chivhu

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4500 on: August 09, 2016, 08:49:09 am »
There's nothing 'quaint' about public ownership of trains - it works in France and Germany.  And it has the crucial advantage of the economy of scale- one management structure, not many, varying greatly in quality but ultimately paid for by train users.  I agree with you on HS2 etc though, which will help a few cities only at the expense of others.  At a time of increasing fuel costs and a rundown of renewables, more business needs to be transacted via video conferencing etc

Offline ahinton

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4501 on: August 09, 2016, 10:18:37 am »
There's nothing 'quaint' about public ownership of trains - it works in France and Germany
It's not the question of who owns and manages trains and the rail network but the term "public ownership" itself that's "quaint", which was the point that I was seeking to make. RBS and Lloyds TSB were/are part state owned when the bailouts occurred, but they were never state managed, which is a different matter. The point about the ownership is that government owns fully nationalised industries and government employees run them; to my mind, it matters not a jot who owns and runs them as long as the management is at its best. I have doubts as to whether government's purpose is to manage the rail network and train operations; it has to try to recruit people from the private sector with the requisite skills to do such things in order that they get done.

And it has the crucial advantage of the economy of scale- one management structure, not many, varying greatly in quality but ultimately paid for by train users.
Attractive a prospect as this seems on the surface to be, all depends upon whether and to what extent people will use trains and how affordable their use might be. You mention France and Germany of which the latter is far larger than UK and the former far larger again than the latter; however, one has only to examine the almost 4,000 page long UK National Rail Timetable to appreciate that scheduled passenger services there are vastly greater in number and complexity, all of which has to be funded somehow. There's no way that the UK rail networks and passenger/freight train operations can be self-funding, i.e. funded wholly by the users, so there has to be some state funding otherwise it would all risk falling apart.

There are also current issues about who does what in train operation and yet another example of opposition to increased automation and computerisation giving rise to major disruption to passenger services (on Southern Rail in particular). Just as in the otherwise very different farming industry, computers will run the show and we will have driverless and conductorless trains in the same way as we'll eventually have more computerised farm machinery that will do away with the need for large numbers of farm workers; the driverless car and the drone are similar examples that will slash the requirement respectively for taxi drivers / other forms of public transport and couriers. I do think that once the rail network is fully up to speed with all of this kind of thing and everything's run by handfuls of office workers at computers rather than thousands of drivers, conductors and the rest, management of the rail network and train operations will become a great deal less complex than it is today.

I agree with you on HS2 etc though, which will help a few cities only at the expense of others.  At a time of increasing fuel costs and a rundown of renewables, more business needs to be transacted via video conferencing etc
It certainly looks as though it will benefit certain urban areas at the expense of others, although there should in any case be the very opposite of a rundown of renewables, not only in the field of transportation but wherever energy is used; current government attitudes on this are woefully short-sighted and devoid of vision for the future.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 10:49:42 am by ahinton »

Offline Don Basilio

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4502 on: August 10, 2016, 09:04:15 pm »
For what it's worth, I got to East Croydon this morning about 10am and got a seat on a train to Victoria within ten minutes (admittedly it was late, but if it had been on time, I would have missed it.)

At Victoria about 2pm I got on a south bound Southern train which left on time and wafted me to East Croydon in the usual time.

And there was meant to be a strike.

Agree that the services are up the spout at the moment though.
We can exercise compassion, compassion born of empathy.  Both words are synonyms for love, by which I don’t mean a romantic feeling but the readiness to give proper attention to whoever or whatever is before our eyes.  Michael Mayne

Offline Don Basilio

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4503 on: August 11, 2016, 09:44:30 pm »
I was lucky yesterday.

I've just heard of a friend in full time employment in the City of London living a bit South of us who used to have regular connections from his nearest station.

Now Southern have reduced the service, he has to get up bright and early to walk to Purley for the 6.30 am.
We can exercise compassion, compassion born of empathy.  Both words are synonyms for love, by which I don’t mean a romantic feeling but the readiness to give proper attention to whoever or whatever is before our eyes.  Michael Mayne

Offline Thompson1780

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4504 on: August 16, 2016, 10:05:58 pm »
The Olympic version of the UK National Anthem is not right.

Just sayin'

Tommo

Offline ahinton

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4505 on: August 17, 2016, 10:18:46 am »
The Olympic version of the UK National Anthem is not right.

Just sayin'
Perhaps it ought to be reorchestrated by Colin Matthews...

Offline Jim Penn

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4506 on: December 13, 2016, 10:42:41 am »
Not sure "grumpy old rants" is necessarily the right place for this, but, if you'll indulge me...

Some of you may remember that in March 2015, I posted about my grandmother's 100th birthday in "the happy thread" (I notice the thread hasn't been used since the various comments on that - was that REALLY the last time anyone round here was happy?!).

Well, at about 9:05 yesterday morning, after 101 years, 9 months and 5 days, my nan passed away. It's okay, though, she'd had a horrible battle for the last few weeks, nothing quick, easy, or pain-free, so while we'll all miss her, the family is mostly just relieved that her suffering is over.

Here she is in her early twenties (no later than 1937) and on her hundredth birthday in March last year... Ta-ra, Nan.


Offline Stanley Stewart

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4507 on: December 13, 2016, 11:57:51 am »
Thanks for sharing a touching tribute with us, Jim.   Your nan had such attractive serene features and, apart from her stamina to reach her centenary, her departure almost coincides with ' the season in which our Saviours birth is celebrated', adding a bittersweet tone to the occasion. RIP, dear lady.

Offline Jim Penn

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4508 on: December 13, 2016, 12:17:09 pm »
Thanks Stanley. Funnily enough, though she wasn't really much inclined to make anything out of "our Saviour's birth", and though she'd had a fairly steep decline through dementia in the last 12 months, she had very recently started recalling (or, at least, trying to) Leigh Hunt's "Abou Ben Adhem". I don't think I'd ever heard her mention it, but according to my mother, she'd taught it to my mother and my aunt in their childhood, and my mother thinks it's got to be more than half a century since she last heard my nan make any reference to it. Amazing what sticks, I guess, and clearly it was offering her some inner peace when her body and mind were otherwise failing.


Offline Stanley Stewart

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4509 on: December 13, 2016, 04:10:21 pm »
Snap, Jim - from memory, too!

"Abou Ben Adhem, may your tribe increase,
awoke one night from a deep dream of peace
and saw within the moonlight in his room,
making it rich and like a lily in bloom...
an angel...writing in a book of gold..."

In my thesp years, if I sensed that an audition was going flat,
I'd switch to Leigh Hunt's poem as it was rich in colour, always effective in its changing inflection.  Got me several jobs.

Offline ambootia

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4510 on: December 16, 2016, 11:45:18 am »
Sorry to read about your gran Jim, but as you say a quick exit is a blessing.

I fear my father won't be blessed with such. He's receiving excellent care, bodily needs wise, but for the rest......
18 months and still asking when he can go home   :'(.  So no, not much happiness about.

Offline HtoHe

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4511 on: March 29, 2017, 09:06:13 pm »
I don’t know where to begin on this one.  Because of long-running engineering works the Wirral line is disrupted this year.  I only have to use it if I’m travelling before the Mersey tunnel buses start so it hasn’t been a big issue for me, but when I had to get the 0700 from Lime St a couple of weeks ago I checked the Merseyrail journey planner to see how much disruption I would encounter.  What I saw astonished me so much that I have, so far, phoned Merseyrail twice to point out the sheer idiocy of the itinerary they propose.  Although the people to whom I spoke agreed with me and promised to report it, the website still tells enquirers that the journey will take 61 minutes (when, in fact, it would take little more than half that time if the journey planner gave sensible advice).

The first leg is fine – a 15 minute rail journey to James St.  Most locals would know that the walk from James St to Lime St is a mere 10-15 minutes but I suppose the planner has to cater for people who are unable or unwilling to walk.  What is suggested is a 14 minute wait at James St for a Rail Replacement bus to Central station.  In fact, for the duration of the works, ticket holders are allowed to get the ordinary 10a bus from James St to Queen Sq – actually closer to Lime St - which almost certainly wouldn’t entail a 14 minute wait and a 10 minute journey;  but the journey planner makes no mention of this option.  On arrival at Central Station, though, the planner goes from unhelpful to positively surreal.  Consideration for people who are unable or unwilling to walk seems to have been abandoned here.  Those who didn’t want to walk from James St are given no option other than to walk from Central.  Admittedly, this is a rather shorter walk but it’s not exactly negligible.  Furthermore, it makes a mockery of the designation Rail Replacement bus because the Merseyrail route to Central actually stops at Moorfields and Lime St, so why (or even if)  the bus doesn’t stop at those stations is a bit of a mystery.  The surreal element, though, lies in the 'Arriving' and 'Leaving' times.  Apparently the RR bus arrives at Central at 0638 – in good time for passengers to leave at 0648 on the last leg of their epic journey – on foot!  Why on earth would anyone wait at Central station for 10 minutes before setting out on foot?

I suspect that what we have here is an itinerary generated by an algorithm and published without  adequate checks by people with actual practical knowledge.  As I write, the National Rail Journey planner repeats the same ridiculous itinerary – though the Merseytravel  utility recommends a 38 minute journey including a 17 minute walk from James St, which is eminently practical.  What irritates me is that I’ve reported this twice to Merseyrail and nothing has been done to correct this embarrassingly stupid error.

I tried to copy a screen shot here but it wouldn't take it.  If you want to see what I'm talking about go here:

http://www.merseyrail.org/plan-your-journey.aspx

and enter a journey from WLV to LIV at 0545 on a weekday this week.
 

Offline Jim Penn

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4512 on: September 07, 2017, 09:22:23 am »
For various reasons, I've had to spend quite some time on the phone to the DWP this week to sort out some medical cover for a friend currently in a French hospital (oh, that's another rant in itself!!!) - and obviously I've had to spend quite a bit of time on hold. Their on-hold music is the ubiquitous Vivaldi, the opening of "Spring", naturally. Now, there is very little music I despise as much as that, so while I'm sure it's there to keep people calm, it tends to have the very opposite effect on me. But if that in itself is not enough to provoke rage in me, the fact that every time an announcement comes on (thank you for you patience, please hold the line), which happens after about 12 bars, it goes back to the sodding beginning. And if an operator puts you on hold while they do something, it plays out uninterrupted, until it gets to the "dramatic" bit, which is clearly too invigorating, so again it just loops back to the beginning...

And as if that weren't enough, it's only bloody synthesised!!!

Annnnnnd relax......

(but in spite of my rant about the music, the people I've dealt with at the DWP have been above and beyond fantastic, and I have nothing but praise for them)

Offline HtoHe

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4513 on: September 07, 2017, 09:30:26 am »
Vivaldi, the opening of "Spring", naturally. Now, there is very little music I despise as much as that,

I'm sure I'd like The Four Seasons a lot more if I could avoid hearing snippets of it so frequently.

the people I've dealt with at the DWP have been above and beyond fantastic, and I have nothing but praise for them

Vivaldi bad, DWP good.  Not an opinion you read every day!

Offline Jim Penn

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Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« Reply #4514 on: September 07, 2017, 10:20:53 am »
the people I've dealt with at the DWP have been above and beyond fantastic, and I have nothing but praise for them

Vivaldi bad, DWP good.  Not an opinion you read every day!

:)

Ah, now, don't get me wrong - from the top down I really loathe the DWP. I know quite a few people who need benefits through them, and the inhumane hoop-jumping policies and their policing thereof is really quite ghastly. But thankfully the 'overseas healthcare" team on the ground aren't responsible for the benefits policies, of course, and clearly want to help (indeed, one of the people I've spoken to this week has made a "common sense" judgement call that had she been following the letter of her guidelines would have made for several needless additional hoops to jump through and made the process far more difficult).