Impuls 97 – Bahn 2000’s first wave

first_imgINTRO: SBB will celebrate 150 years of railways in Switzerland with the biggest jump in train-km since 1982. This first manifestation of Bahn 2000 marks the start of real improvements in what SBB can offer the passengerBYLINE: Nicolas PerrinDeputy Delegate, Bahn 2000Swiss Federal RailwaysIT IS 15 YEARS since Swiss Federal Railways set a world standard for passenger convenience by introducing an integrated regular-interval timetable. Development and implementation of Bahn 2000 has now reached the stage where the benefits of new trains and infrastructure are becoming tangible.In the early 1980s, the aim of the Taktfahrplan was to attract more passengers by providing connecting trains at hourly intervals across most of the country. Its success is demonstrated by the fact that Swiss people make more rail journeys than any other Europeans.Taktfahrplan spawned the Bahn 2000 concept, presented to the nation in 1985. The idea was simple – ’more often, faster, more direct and more comfortable’ – a national hub-and-spoke service, with journey times between hubs cut to just under an hour.New construction would only be needed to ease bottlenecks, or where inter-hub times were in excess of 60min. Shorter overall journey times would come largely from reduced waiting time between connections. Benefits would be spread over the whole network, rather than just core routes.Approval by referendum on December 6 1987 began a period of development and construction; many of the original concepts were modified as a result of higher demand forecasts, tighter restrictions on new civil works, and cost underestimates.A revision of the project, applying new technology to rolling stock design, allowed some costly infrastructure work to be dropped, keeping the modified Bahn 2000 within the original budget. Parliamentary approval for revision of the phasing of the programme was granted in 1994. Since then SBB has been working on the first phase, keeping to cost and schedule.Trains before trackPressure to keep costs down saw iterative optimisation of the overall passenger offer against the cost of rolling stock and infrastructure. Priority was given to improving service through better organisation, then through better rolling stock. Lastly, new infrastructure would be considered.The advantage of new trains against new infrastructure is that benefits to the passenger are more immediate and tangible. Rolling stock can be adapted to suit market conditions, and the changed priorities should also help reduce operating costs and environmental impact.A vital aspect of the deal for the passenger is high punctuality – essential for reliable, but short connecting times. SBB aims to run 95% of trains within 3min of booked timing, and 75% within 1min.Rolling stock measuresImpuls 97 will be implemented with three rolling stock innovations.IC2000 double-deck trains will raise passenger capacity without using additional paths. The first two rakes will go into service this summer between St Gallen and Interlaken; three more sets will be deployed later this year. They offer 40% more seats per coach than a standard Mk IV, and raise the maximum number of passengers that already busy routes can handle. Per seat purchase price and maintenance costs are lower, though comfort is higher.Push-pull operation has spread from S-Bahn and regional trains to InterCity and fast services. A fleet of 60 MkIV driving trailer cars from Schindler has allowed fixed-formation operation, cutting light locomotive movements at busy stations like Zürich and Luzern. This has freed capacity for additional trains.Key to reducing the need for new lines is the use of tilting trains, able to cut inter-hub journey times to under an hour over existing alignments. SBB ordered 24 sets last July from a consortium of Adtranz, Schindler and Fiat-SIG, the latter supplying tilt technology. The prototype set is due to be delivered by mid-1998, with fleet service on the Lausanne – Biel – Zürich route due in 2001 (p325).Infrastructure impactEven with innovative rolling stock and careful planning, Bahn 2000 still requires around 100 infrastructure projects, ranging from optimising the layout of points and crossings to reduce conflicting movements, through extra platforms and multi-tracking, to completely new main lines.Biggest of all is the 46 km Mattstetten – Rothrist route between Bern and Olten (RG 6.96 p319). Work is already under way at both ends, where short cutoffs have already been completed (the Grauholz and Born tunnels). Boring of the 4·7 km Murgenthal tunnel is in hand. Concerns remain over the environmental impact of the rest of the line, and so the government has established a procedure for objections to be raised through the national court. When complete, the line will allow InterCity trains to run at up to 200 km/h, cutting the Bern – Zürich journey time to 57min.Although upgrading and multi-tracking will ease congestion on main routes, the node stations will become increasingly busy. The problem is especially acute at Zürich, where surface platforms must accommodate 26 arrivals and departures in a 22min period of each half-hour. SBB timetable compilers are already working on the timetable for 2005 to ensure its smooth operation. But as traffic grows, an increasing problem will be the number of passengers changing trains, placing considerable strain on the station’s circulating areas. A SFr475m expansion and rebuilding of Zürich HB will see construction of further walkways connecting the platforms.Other stations to be expanded include Aarau, being rebuilt as part of the main line quadrupling project, and Olten, where SFr255m is being spent on squeezing four new platforms onto railway land on the west side of the station and rebuilding existing platforms.Signalling is also being upgraded, with remaining mechanical signalling being replaced by 1999 under a SFr174m programme. Electronic interlocking has allowed capacity increases, with 2min headways lifting the number of trains through a double track line to over 350 per day.Total infrastructure spend on works completed, under construction or committed is around SFr3bn.ImplementationImpuls 97 goes live with the timetable change in June, an appropriate way to celebrate our jubilee. It puts into service a number of individual Bahn 2000 projects as early as possible, so that passengers begin to benefit.SBB will increase its train-km run by about 4%, with frequency stepped up to half-hourly on the Zürich – Bern, Zürich – St Gallen, and Bern – Fribourg routes, with consequential timetable restructuring.Capacity will be augmented between St Gallen and Interlaken when the first two rakes of IC2000 double-deck coaches are put into service. Structure gauge enlargement, including a week-long closure of the Spiez – Interlaken line, has been undertaken over the last year to give sufficient clearance for the new trains. A spin-off benefit is that these routes are now available for 4m-high piggyback traffic. The rest of the fleet of 58 vehicles will be phased in during this year.New infrastructure coming on line with Impuls 97 includes the four-tracking between Aarau and Rupperswil, sections of double-tracking, such as Luzern – Zug, and station rebuilds at Aarau and Lausanne.After ImpulsStage two of the Bahn 2000 project comes in 2001, to coincide with the national EXPO. This will include the completion of the Lausanne – Biel – Zürich corridor upgrade. The fleet of tilting trains on this route will cut 20min from the Lausanne – Zürich journey time, and, when combined with the main line via Fribourg, will give a high quality, half-hourly interval service between eastern and western Switzerland.Double-deck trains cannot run beyond Bern on SBB’s east-west main line because of insufficient gauge clearance throughout much of the Kreis I western region. Work to improve this will be carried out over the next two or three years. This includes an intense two nights and a day blockade of Perraudettaz tunnel between Fribourg and Lausanne, with profile enlargement work due to be shown on national television.Further double-deck coaches are due to be ordered in 1997-98 to increase capacity on services from Bern to Lausanne and Genève.Original goals achievedFull implementation of Bahn 2000 will see significant service improvements. Long distance train frequency on a further seven routes linking pairs of ’hub’ stations will be doubled to half-hourly, with connecting travel times cut by an average of 8%, and new through routes launched.Centrepiece of this last phase will be inauguration of the Mattstetten – Rothrist new line, and expansion of the Zürich hub to give more, shorter connections each half-hour. Reducing the time between Switzerland’s political and economic centres of Bern and Zürich to just 57min embodies the original aims of the Taktfahrplan: more often, faster, more direct, and more comfortable. oCAPTION: Vital infrastructure for Impuls 97 was the completion of quadrupling from west of Aarau, through the rebuilt station (top) and east (above) to RupperswilCAPTION: Murgenthal tunnel forms one end of the Mattstetten – Rothrist new line between Bern and OltenCAPTION: Work on the Adler tunnel between Mutttenz and Liestal near Basel is well under way. It will divert traffic from Bern and the Llast_img read more

Top news agency bans use of term “homophobia”

first_imgChristianConcern 3 December 2012 Associated Press (AP) has prohibited its journalists from using the word “homophobia”, saying it is inaccurate to use the term to describe someone who does not agree with homosexuality.The position is stated in AP’s Style Book, which offers guidance on the use of language by its reporters. It states that “-phobia” should not be used for “political or social contexts” as it means “an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness”.“A phobia is a psychiatric or medical term for a severe mental disorder. Those terms have been used quite a bit in the past, and we don’t feel that’s quite accurate,” said AP deputy standards editor Dave Minthorn.“Homophobia especially – it’s just off the mark. It’s ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don’t have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case”. read more

Stag on board WDFA / Derrick Josiah KO football

first_imgDouble-header starts action today at Den Amstel groundTHE annual Derrick Josiah Memorial knock-out football competition involving the top eight (8) clubs from the West Demerara Football Association(WDFA)and sponsored by Stag,will kick off today at the Den Amstel Community Centre ground with three matches.The games will be preceded by the ceremonial march-past of teams.Eagles United and Young Achievers will square-off in the feature quarter final match from 21:00hrs after the first quarter final of the competition is played between home team Den Amstel and Stewartville from 19:00hrs.Police FC will play an exhibition match against Jetty to kick-off on-field action. Teams in this Stag sponsored event are battling for a top prize of $200,000; 2nd place $100,000; 3rd place $75,000; 4th place $50,000.The sponsorship was handed over to ASP Forbes Brown of the Guyana Police Force where the late Josiah served as Assistant Commissoner at the time of his passing.Stag Brand Manager,Lindon Henry made the presentation to Brown in the presence of WDFA president and vice president Orin Ferrier and Christine Schmidt,among others.Meanwhile, action will continue on Friday with the remaining quarter final matches. Pouderoyen will open against Golden Warriors at 18:00hrs,to be followed by Uitvlugt Warriors against Wales United. The respective winners will advance to the semi finals set for May 14 at the same venue.last_img read more

Clippers, Kings, Lakers, Staples Center to pay event staff during coronavirus hiatus

first_imgThrough the end of the NBA and NHL seasons, more than 2,800 hourly event staff who work Kings, Lakers and Clippers games at Staples Center will receive compensation for wages lost due to the suspension of events in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.As the Southern California News Group reported Friday, the three teams and Staples Center joined forces to establish a fund to provide payments to ushers, security officers, ticket sellers, ticket takers, parking attendants, merchandise staff, food and beverage employees, housekeeping and operations staff and stage hands, among others.They’ll be paid for all shifts lost for all sporting events they were scheduled to work if they don’t take place.“Recognizing that the coronavirus is not just a health crisis but also an economic one, the organizations have come together in this unprecedented way to help the valued employees who work tirelessly to deliver outstanding guest experiences and teamwork that is the heart of STAPLES Center,” the three organizations wrote in a joint news release. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersA letter to employees from the teams and AEG, which owns the arena, said that “we understand that these extraordinary events have impacted all of our lives and, as a valuable member of the Staples Center team, your health and wellbeing is important to us.”The Lakers and Clippers have also told their teams’ game-night employees that they will continue to compensate them through the NBA hiatus. This includes employees such as team statisticians, announcers and dance teams. Both franchises also asked employees to work from home if possible.On Friday afternoon, Staples Center donated 7,000 pounds of food that would have been wasted because of the lack of events. Donations went to The Midnight Mission and the L.A. Mission Men’s Center, both located in downtown Los Angeles. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Objections to House-to-House Registration

first_imgDear Editor,The apparent unending cycle of judicial encounters, vehement dialogue among the masses concerning the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) and its consequences are having a new manifestation. Some have chosen to ignore the obvious and have mastered the art of sprouting alternative facts.However, the truth will always win and the person of integrity will always stand out and be distinguished among pretenders.So, we have had seven months and eleven days since the December 21 successful passage of the NCM. It has been 1 month and 14 days since the definitive ruling of the CCJ. Further, it has been 20 days since the consequential orders of the CCJ were given and the same old rhetoric of a desperate, undemocratic and insincere Government continues. This time, it is not “34 is the majority”, it is “House-to-House Registration”; a transparent ploy to buy themselves more time. The judicial system is being burdened because of the unwillingness of this Granger-led Administration to abide by the provisions of Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) of the Constitution. Emphasis here, a caretaker Government must hold elections in three months. There is no evidence that suggests the President and his team will obey the Constitution, actions speak louder than words.Now, let’s examine GECOM and its work programme towards elections. Documentation emanating from the Secretariat indicates that the pathway using Claims and Objections to get to a certified Official List of Electors (OLE) will take 119 days ie 29 days beyond the three-month timeframe as constitutionally mandated. We believe this can be shortened by way of using the list which validity expired on April 30, 2019, have a Claims and Objections exercise lasting no more than three to four weeks, nominations day is usually 32 days before election day. In good faith, this is the pathway for “sanitising and removal” promulgating the facilitation of timely credible elections, giving an opportunity for all eligible voters to be on the list.The same document further outlines that House-to-House Registration requires 290 days to get to a National Register of Registrants database (NRRDB). After this, you still have to facilitate Claims and Objections, which as stated above requires 119 days to get to an Official List of Electors (OLE); a total of 409 days – almost a period of 14 months. This is totally unacceptable. We in the PPP/C believe this cry of “no House-to-House Registration, no elections” by the APNU/AFC Government and GECOM in the absence of a constitutionally appointed Chairperson commencing this ongoing House-to-House exercise is a recipe for delay, disaster and damage to our constitutional democracy.Having spent 25 billion dollars and counting on a House-to-House exercise in 2008 followed by 11 cycles of Continuous Registration, the last being October 2018, GECOM’s current move to create a new database which will essentially serve as a de-registration exercise as against a registration exercise is toxic, senseless and pandering to political forces, this must be stopped.The database that currently exists was used for the 4 recent elections – (i) 2011 where the APNU and AFC lost but garnered a one-seat majority in the National Assembly, (ii) 2015 General and Regional Elections where the APNU/AFC coalition came to Government with a one-seat majority, (iii) 2016 Local Government Elections and (iv) 2018 Local Government Elections where the PPP/C achieved more than 63 per cent of the popular vote.At no time before the successful passage of the no-confidence vote did this Granger-led Administration or anyone have a problem with the credibility of the list or the database. Every cry should now be seen as crocodile tears, a farce, lacking in justification.The courts and GECOM itself must assert its independence and reject the connivance and threats emanating from operatives within and closely connected to the Government. It is expected that the current House-to-House Registration should be stopped by the courts and GECOM itself.To continue would mean, using GECOM’s timelines as previously outlined – elections would be held sometime in June 2020, giving this Government a full five-year term, totally ignoring the consequences of the successful passage of a no-confidence vote. The Caribbean Court of Justice clearly stated when it ruled on June 18, 2019, that the provisions of the Constitution contained in Articles 106 (6) and 106 (7) were immediately engaged.As such, elections are due by September 18, 2019. A House-to-House Registration to get an OLE is unconstitutional, a delay tactic and meant to satisfy the narrow-minded political agenda of Granger and his Administration.Justice and righteousness are required on this matter.Yours sincerely,Bishop Juan A EdghillPPP/C MPlast_img read more