Steam engines in Shrewsbury during the 1960s

“In this video we take a look at movements around Shrewsbury Station in the mid 1960s as steam was coming to an end. All credits for this video must go to Michael Clemens of B&R Videos who once again kindly gave me permission to use these clips that were filmed by his late father Jim Clemens, who did such a superb job recording these scenes which were taken from the DVD Steaming Through Shropshire Pt 1. Enjoy.”

Video can be found in youtube under “1960’s trains at Shrewsbury”.
Now given my Dad drove these engines, you can bet I spent the whole 12 minutes 42 seconds looking for him, but the focus here is the engines and the only thing you can make out about the drivers are the pale blue denim jackets.
Other surprises is that the black engines and the maroon carriages don’t always sparkle and it was a bit dirtier than I’d been led to believe. (And check out the recent visit of a steam engine to Salop.)
They also seemed very comfortable reversing – in this video seemingly more than going forward.
You sense that diesels were smoother as well as cleaner (look out for the cab videos), although I sometimes wondered if they’d kept steam for Wales, whether it might have sustained an interest for tourists. Sometimes.

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BR steam engine 34052 at Shrewsbury railway station

Arriving at Salop, as I was waiting for a train to Brum, this BR steam engine arrived, pulling a Pullman collection of carriages.  
A tad emotional cos my Dad was a locomotive engineer, though starting with the LMS part of BR, and serving from Salop, I think it is unlikely he would have driven this engine. (Advice welcome.). 

From wikipedia – 
“Steam locomotives that comprised the Bulleid light pacifics, the West Country and Battle of Britain classes of locomotives that ran on the British Southern Railway network …”

Fuller res photos available.

Climate Emergency

When Extinction Rebellion took off recently, I was a tad sceptical. Blocking traffic can be used for good and bad, and potential victims can include the very innocent. But the Nottingham version was for 6 minute versions only, so the risk was low. Also a sense of the protestors being from outside of the Nottingham municipality.
Then the debate it was triggering seemed so banal – that the protests increased greenhouse emissions.
Meanwhile, the Greta Thunberg campaign – that a 16 year old can tell the truth and others can’t – I wasn’t keen on either.

Yet, look what happened. A government unable to vote against declaring a climate emergency.
An opportunity to get gov’t to re-appraise what it’s doing.

Nottingham does have reason to be proud on climate change action.
Bus lanes, then zone and collar.
Energy from waste instead of burying it.
Free bus passes for the older and less mobile.
A Green Charter.
The Nottingham declaration on Climate Change.
Embracing agglomeration.
Clear Zone, the tram, and increasing bus patronage.
Workplace Parking Levy – finding a way to ask the commuter to pay rather than the resident.
Notable examples of solar panels and external home insulation.

But perhaps not so brave in recent decisions.
So a lot to be proud of, but a lot more to do.

Meanwhile, how limited is the discussion of climate change.
In America, you have to have rehearsed what you’d do about a gunman in the classroom, rather than reducing the chances of a gunman being in the classroom.
Here, people are clear that road humps cause you to waste energy and thus increase emissions, and that protests do the same, but people are much less clear on what to do to remove the need for protests.

Extinction Rebellion have given us a new opportunity, that we last saw when “An Inconvenient Truth” was first shown.
[Text written on 12 May.]

21st century Urban Farming

Whilst Hydroponics is probably 1,400 years old, the latest versions using LED strip lights and the latest mixes of colour in the lighting so as to allow crops to be grown on racks in caves or in shipping containers, or up the sides of buildings are perhaps 4 years or so old.
Part of the latest new wave of green technology – urban farming, ground-source heat pumping and cross laminated timber construction.
New projects are underway such as in the mines of South Wales or a cave beneath the Galleries of Justice where mushrooms are set to be grown using coffee grounds as the soil.
Are we on the verge of a new kind of urban farming, were lettuces are grown within 25 days at low cost, using workers who tour the small locations in caves or containers? Can this kind of farming be delivered commercially outside of there testing grounds of state controlled experiments in China?
Perhaps time to find out.

Nottingham carbon neutral commitment and debate

Motion moved by Cllr Sally Longford, debated in the council chamber by the Labour Group and adopted by the whole council.

Climate Emergency attend the debate and at least 3 of them recorded it;
(see above).
So instead of just offering speed notes, I’ll have to transcribe what I said at some stage.
– TO BE WRITTEN UP —
Thank goodness for geographers and Al Gore.
Thank goodness for John Prescott too. At one stage, we were leading the world.
the UK will have to cut it’s carbon emissions in half within the coming decade. (That’s what the physicists are telling John McD). 
Think of the good we need (jobs, schools, hospitals), and note how we struggled (labour market, private landlords, overheating the south-east, back to predict and provide for cars).
Even if we’d only done good, would still have had to meet the challenges and opportunities – globalisation, living longer, fundamentalism, resource shortages (peak oil) and climate change.
Whilst the earth has been hotter in the past – not whilst it had the human race and 8-9 billion people.
An example of the chaos climate change can bring – Syria.
We are nowhere near leadership now – Germany decided to drop nuclear.
Our power supply still based on big power plants, although 2 nuclear proposals dropped in recent months.
Instead, in Germany, local power, city controlled and innovating, and more from the home.
Nottingham is on the edges of this with Environenergy (heat from waste trumps burial), once did food recycling, (we designed 3rd generation turbine blades) and has battery projects alongside Portugal and Germany. We valued exterior home heat insulation (e.g. Clifton and Bulwell Hall), although the skilled labour had to come from the EU (Austria?)).
And food
8. Following the model of the European ‘Slow Towns’ and ‘Slow Cities’ movement – radically reducing the (carbon) ‘food miles’ involved in feeding ourselves. Nottingham had an example of this in the City Hospital catering service which threw out cook-chill food suppliers, linked the in-house catering service to a network of 350 local farms (Notts, Derbys, Lincs and Leics), doubling nutritional standards, saving the NHS over £1m AND CUTTING FOOD-MILES BY 90%. It worked brilliantly, until the Tories gave the contract to Carillion (on ideological grounds).
Ground source heat pumping is a key option for where next.
Heating and cooling from feeds at 21 degrees C; and Basford Hall and Grimsby used to be only colleges that trained explicitly in heat pumping. We can draw on the mine water below us.
Time and again, green engineers bring solutions that can dazzle us (although struggling on re-use – e.g. gasification and automated sorting).
Green architects can dazzle us – take the old tax offices. Contrast them with the new CO2 towers. Not even 2020 standard and 340 (check) tonnes of CO2 per year below that standard.
The key to minimising CO2 emissions is building design, oh and agglomeration. Reducing the need too heat, and to ventilate and to travel.

– local authorities will be in the forefront of this … but they will need new powers ie.
1. Denmark’s planning laws that debar buildings using fossil fuel heating from even being considered for planning permission.2. France’s laws that require all new buildings to have solar or nature roofs.3. California’s law that makes solar roofs mandatory4. Germany’s restrictions on access to soft loans (only for refurbishment to passive-haus or energy-plus standards.5. German regulations that limit the ‘right to rent’ to buildings that meet our equivalent of Band B standards – or make heating costs a landlords responsibility, not the tenant’s) 

People say we need a national framework back again, for fear of the less scrupulous taking jobs. Maybe so.
But the environment does need to be shown as part of our thinking much more explicitly and from the start.
We celebrate now the bravery of zone and collar and its 2000 descendant version that we delivered, and the bravery of WPL cos we made the polluter pay for the alleviations.
It took knowledge, and values and resolve.
Let’s learn, let’s care and let’s act.

Cycle route enhanced

China opened the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge and tunnel, linking the financial centre of Hong Kong, the gambling hub of Macau and western reaches of the Pearl River Delta at the heart of southern China’s economic boom, at a cost of GBP11,790,000,000.

20181023 River Leen cycle route improvements phases 4 and 5 aa0613h
Meanwhile, works on stage 5 of River Leen Cycle Route project, improving the connection of the former Toll Bridge to Birdcage Walk, has been completed; a couple of snagging works on stage 4 using Birdcage Walk are outstanding (2 lampposts on Rennie Hogg Road).

More positive feedback has been received about the use of the road facility for kiddies learning to cycle on Victoria Embankment.