Robert Hampton

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16th June 2012

Posted by at 5.23pm | Out and About | 1 response

Berlin FernsehturmIt’s hard to miss the Berlin Fernsehturm.

This striking piece of Communist architecture dominates the landscape in Berlin. It is 368 metres tall, making it the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe, just behind the Riga TV Tower and just ahead of Greg Davies.

It’s a long-standing joke that in films set in Paris, the Eiffel Tower moves around to be in the background of every scene. A similar comment could be made about the Fernsehturm and Berlin, but this time I think the effect is real.

When looking through my holiday snaps, it was amazing how many times the tower appeared in the background, even if I hadn’t noticed it at the time.

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1st March 2011

This is the age of the train: 40 years by the time they’re withdrawn
Posted by at 8.00pm | Trains | 1 response

Following on from the announcement of North West Electrification and the development of High Speed 2, the Government has confirmed that The Great Western Main Line is getting wired up as well.

This is great news – electric trains are more efficient, more reliable and better for the environment. But in the same announcement it is also confirmed that we will be saying goodbye to the InterCity 125.

The Government announced today it has decided to resume the IEP procurement and proceed with the Agility Trains (Hitachi and John Laing) consortium’s plans for replacement for the nation’s fleet of ageing intercity high speed trains. … The Programme seeks to replace the distinctive “Intercity 125” High Speed Train (HST) diesel fleet procured by British Rail during the 1970s and 1980s with a new, higher capacity, more environmentally friendly train.

The new trains will be introduced from 2016, so one of the best trains ever produced will be consigned to the scrapyard in favour of a glorified Voyager. It’s “progress”, of course, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. A railway without the HST will be a quieter, blander place.