Category Archives: business

Thames Gateway Institute of Sustainability

I have a feeling this will be something that will make an impact, specifically beacuse it is led by engineers and business, not politicians and NGOs…

The institute is to be led by Peter Head of Arup whom I have previously mentioned in this blog.

Guardian article here.

TGIS website here.


Corruption in Africa: China is not helping

Following my recent post on corruption, here’s more depression from the Times:

While the rest of the world recoiled in horror at recent events in Guinea, where at least 150 pro-democracy supporters were killed and dozens of women publicly raped by government soldiers, China has sensed an opportunity to steal another march on Western competitors in Africa.

Nice. So will Africa ever learn? Or will they just replace the shackles of one set of colonisers with another?

Kaaimans River Bridge

Kaaimans River Bridge

Kaaimans River Bridge

This is ususally photographed with a steam train crossing the bridge but significantly there is none in this photo. The track has been damaged and there are no funds and less political will from Transnet to invest in reopening this section of the line. My hope is that the private sector and enlightened municipalities can take it over and restore this regoinal icon.

Promising new changes in the way China works in Africa

There is perception (quite correct in my opinion) that China gives very little attention to environmental and social issues when it works in Africa.

This article suggest that there is a new way of thinking and a sense of responsibility is emerging. I think there is still a long way to go but it is a promising start.

I am waiting for them to distance themeselves from the Mugabes and Ghadaffis and the ordinary Africans a better hope.

More on electric car charging infrastructure

Some links following some browsing:chargingcarssf1

An article on Coulomb Technologies, a US based electric car charging infrastrucutre company.

The website for Coulomb Technologies.

An article in The Register about Project Better Place. Also a related article about addressing the need for a renewable electricity supply.

My previous posts on the issue:

Shai Agassi and Better Place

Electric car charging infrastructure

A significant step for sustainable transport in South Africa

Will the recession rip out the soul of UK’s railways?

Following on from my last post, here is an article in the Guardian about the risks faced by some of the UK’s quainter branch lines as a result of the financial pressures. Will these qunitissential UK gems be lost in another swing of the Beeching Axe?

They mention the current Minister of Transpont, Andrew Adonis and he seems both passionate and realistic, let hope he can find a way forward.

The Wrexham & Shropshire: the future is the past

ws-mapA story of a tiny rail operator taking on Branson’s Virgin Trains in the UK is featured in the FT and elsewhere.

Almost everyone, from MPs to Welsh grannies are rooting for the small ‘quirky’ firm Wrexham and Shropshire and not the modern but faceless Virgin Trains.

The FT describes the experience:

Wrexham & Shropshire’s style of operation harks back to the days before Dr Beeching took an axe to branch lines in the 1960s. Its little trains meander along at speeds that, at times, a well-maintained milk float could better. Passengers can stretch their legs in comfort in the 40-year-old carriages – something that only an Oompa-Loompa could manage on a Virgin Pendolino.

Reservations are not displayed via failure-prone LED screens above the seats; instead, they are printed on cards attached to the headrests.

No onboard computer announces the stations as on some other cross-country train services – that job is handled by a nice lady called Jane in a smart black and claret uniform. Nostalgic poet Sir John Betjeman would have revelled in halts with names such as Chirk and Ruabon, complete with pretty sandstone station buildings.

I for one would most definitely chose this over Virgins modern fleet and it seems like of a lot of other people would as well. So what does this say about modern travel?