RAILTRACK has warned the government that it expects total passenger-km on Britain’s national rail network to double within 13 years, leading to a serious shortage of track capacity in key areas.Giving evidence before the House of Commons Transport Sub-Committee on November 26, Chief Executive Gerald Corbett said the forecast had been included in Railtrack’s response to the government’s consultation document on integrated transport. This was published in August, with responses forming input to a transport strategy white paper expected in May.A drastic reduction in road construction partially compensated by much greater use of rail for passengers and freight were declared objectives of the Labour government elected in May 1997. There have been dire warnings of traffic jams from road interests, but only now are transport professionals beginning to grapple seriously with the implications for rail. Unlike continental Europe – and excepting the 108 km Channel Tunnel Rail Link to London which faces daunting financing hurdles later this year – there are no plans to build new high speed lines that might free up capacity for freight and regional passengers on existing trunk routes.Corbett told the MPs there were ‘around 15 big capacity issues across the country’ and fixing them all would cost ‘hundreds of millions’ of pounds. Railtrack Chairman Sir Bob Horton promised to set out in his third Network Management Statement next March a programme for dealing with ’15 to 20 pinch points in the system’, but while his company was ‘extremely keen’ to keep passenger and freight moving upwards, ‘that is highly dependent upon capacity being available.’Passenger-km on Railtrack’s network during 1996-97 were 32.2 million; more recent statistics show rail travel running 5% ahead of the previous year. Doubling passenger-km to around 65 million has staggering implications. It is well in excess of the volume ever moved by Britain’s railways, and the total has never reached 40 million since nationalisation in 1948 when there were five times as many coaches and 2.5 times as much track as there are 50 years later.There is undoubtedly a lot of spare capacity in the network, but unlocking it will require co-ordination and planning in a situation where immense effort is required to negotiate even the simplest investment project. For example, we reported in good faith eight months ago (RG 5.97 p273) that ‘National Express Group has ordered eight 8-car EMUs from GEC Alsthom Metro-Cammell to operate its Gatwick Express franchise.’ Yet no contract had been signed by mid-December although franchise terms require the whole fleet to be in service within 15 months!Railtrack’s forecast simply aggregates and projects forward the business plans of 13 companies holding 25 passenger franchises lasting 7 to 15 years. They may well prove optimistic, but then a virtual freeze on road building is a new situation and rail’s overall market share of around 5% is tiny compared to the car’s 90%.Freight forecasts are even more bullish. English Welsh & Scottish Railway, which dominates rail freight, has forecast a tripling of tonne-km by 2007 with a 30% rise in train-km already achieved. EWS Chairman & CEO Ed Burkhardt sounded the alarm at a Chartered Institute of Transport conference on November 24 when he said that the full West Coast main line upgrade for 225 km/h tilting trains and the Thameslink 2000 projects ‘would leave very little room for any freight whatsoever.’Sceptics may point to the steep decline in coal being burnt in power stations, but unlike coal the growth in freight is mainly on trunk passenger routes. Railtrack’s freight strategy studies, which include loading gauge enhancement for piggyback, are currently piling even more pressure on the south end of the WCML as the higher capital and operating costs of using longer secondary routes emerge.Privatisation has sharpened the focus on winning more business and that is good news. But the fragmented structure within which major projects such as CTRL now have to be formulated is creaking ominously under the strain. A Strategic Rail Authority, as promised in the white paper, is urgently needed to pull the whole thing together.
LifestyleLocalNews Emergency Shelter Management and Radio Communication Trainings Commence by: – July 1, 2020 Tweet 72 Views no discussions Share Share Sharing is caring! Share The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) commenced training in Emergency Shelter Management on Monday June 29, 2020.Radio Communication training will begin on Thursday July 2nd.These trainings will continue over the two-month period of July and August and are designed to accommodate shelter teams from across Dominica comprising the seven Districts of Portsmouth/North; Castle Bruce/East; Grand Bay/South; St Joseph/West; Marigot/North East; La Plaine/South East; Roseau/South West; and the Kalinago Territory.The first week of training will take place in the Eastern District of Castle Bruce to include the communities of Castle Bruce, Tronto, San Sauveur, Good Hope and Petite Soufriere.The shelter management training will cover key areas such as the composition of the shelter team; responsibilities of shelter managers and support team; activation and closure protocol for emergency shelters; supplies and equipment required in shelters; catering for persons and groups with specific protection needs and gender differences and sheltering needs, among others. Importantly, the guidelines for use and management of shelters during COVID-19 Pandemic will be outlined.If you are planning to use a public emergency shelter during the hurricane season, here are a few guidelines specific to COVID-19 to keep in mind:Everyone should wear masks in public shelterFrequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizers/rubbing alcohol (70%) will be encouragedShelter managers are expected to enforce adherence to hygiene guidelines as stipulated by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health InvestmentShelterees should avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illnessAnyone who begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 will be separated from the main area and be placed in the designated isolation section; In some shelters, where isolation is not possible, temporary barriers will be used for separationFor sleeping purposes, cots should be at least 6 feet apart. Cots will be arranged in alternating ‘head-to-toe’ arrangements to reduce transmission of any communicable diseases Persons will be separated in the shelters by household, as much as possible.The ODM is reminding the public to have a plan and put measures in place to reduce the impact of tropical cyclone activity on their lives and property in the event that the island is affected this year.Preparedness is key. Therefore, as we go through the hurricane season remember to:Check emergency supplies and store valuables and important documents in waterproof containersPack non-perishable food items and water (1 gallon per day per person) and include necessary medicationHave an evacuation plan (keep in mind family members who have special needs) and important contact informationNow is the time to know where your emergency shelter is locatedHave material and tools on hand to protect windows and doorsKeep waterways clear, including drains near your homes, to reduce floodingEvacuate early if orders are given by the authoritiesInspect your property and ensure that trees that hang over your home or could pose a danger are cut downCheck on the condition of the roof of your homes and businessesFor more information on safety tips for all natural hazards and the hurricane emergency shelters list visit the ODM’s website at odm.gov.dm or Facebook page: @ODMDominica1 or call 611-4412 / 448-7777.Be prepared. Be safe.