No, you can't find me in that address now as I move out from the hall. Though I hang around there so...
- ▼ 2007 (5)
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Yes, their engine is one of the noisiest I've ever seen, though hopefully the life extension programme will see the original engine (called Paxman) changed to something just "less" noisy. Some actually lamented the loss of such roar, I, for one rail enthusiast, would definitely not!
I studied in Bath for two years between 2002 and 2004, and travelled a lot between London and Bath. The noise that the train pulls in is unbearable even after two years. I certainly would hate standing in between the vestibules, unless I want a full blast sensory experience of what you just described (or I rather stayed there than listening to all the gossips inside the carriage, which at times, gossips are more annoying than those rather predictable noises!).
Talking about full blast sensory experience, one of the things I love and hate about Mk3 carriages (the technical name of train carriages used for most loco-led train, including the HST in the UK) is the window on the doors. The fact that you have to put your hand (and sometimes half your body) over the door to push down the door handle outside the carriage to open the door means such window is necessary, and at times one would open the window to feel the breeze, or rather, the gale. Though that opened window itself is another source of noise intrusion from the exterior of the train, especially the bogie and the engine, the draught that is drawn in is sometimes so pleasing! That's why I both hate it and love it -- when I ever walk across the train from carriage to carriage (sometimes towards the kiosk, other times just walking around), I end up opening and closing the windows along. Now, that is a bit of sensory incoherence to you.
The compressed air controlled screen doors between the vestibule and the seating compartment are very interesting -- not just they have annoying hisses whenever they open and close, they are also hypersensitive. That means if you stand like 3 ft from the door it would open, which is good if you are moving along, but really bad if you wanted to just stand in the vestibule. Whenever I travelled on HST, I know my clumsiness in opening that coach door so I often move towards the door one stop before I alight. I certainly don't want to hear the opening and closing of doors while waiting to alight, it's not just the hissing of the piston, it is also the sudden plugging and unplugging of the door...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The conclusions today of the review by the Noble Lord West on the protection of strategic infrastructure, stations, ports and airports - and of other crowded places - identifies a need to step up physical protection against possible vehicle bomb attacks.
This will include, where judged necessary, improved security at railway stations - focusing first on those of our 250 busiest stations most at risk - and at airport terminals, ports and at over one hundred sensitive installations.
The report proposes the installation of robust physical barriers as protection against vehicle bomb attacks, the nomination of vehicle exclusion zones to keep all but authorised vehicles at a safe distance, and making buildings blast resistant.
While no major failures in our protective security have been identified, companies that are responsible for crowded places will now be given detailed and updated advice on how they can improve their resilience against attack, both by better physical protection and greater vigilance in identifying suspicious behaviour.
So, he wanted more security across the board in public buildings, such as erecting blast-proof walls and restricted road access to annoy everyone who wants to drop off as close to the place as possible (especially for people with mobility difficulties).
Not only that, he also wants to add stop searches at very busy railway stations, which in its very nature is open to the public at most of the times, I don't know how to react on that, as a result that will be subjected to another post.
In lieu of combating the climate change, where air travel is the one of the biggest emitter per capita, I'm sure that's why he's stepping up yet more security measures for visible deterrence, both the "terrorist" and "traveller".
Mr Speaker, just as we are constantly vigilant to the ways in which we can tighten our security, so too we must ensure that the travelling public are able to go about their business in the normal way.
In the most sensitive locations, for example some large rail stations - and whilst doing everything to avoid inconvenience to passengers - we are planning additional screening of baggage and passenger searches.
But in the last few months at key airports there has already been additional investment in new screening capacity. We have been able to review the one-bag per passenger rule and the Transport Secretary is announcing today that as soon as we are confident that airports are able to handle additional baggage safely, these restrictions on hand baggage will be progressively lifted.
Now I don't know whether it seems to be all smoke and screen. I would definitely propose the following security measures to protect public safety (the use of italics makes the statement half-ironic):
Where the hell you can find such security? Narita International Airport, the International Gateway of Tokyo. Why? Because of the use of land to build the airport. That's why most new airports in Japan are built by the sea: it is easier to buy off fishermen apparently.
- Guard towers surrounding the perimeter as well as fences
- Setting up checkpoints for all entrances of the airport
- All entering and exiting vehicles subject to ID check and boot search by airport security
- All entering passengers would have their passport checked, no matter how they come in: by bus, by car, by coach and even by train. Train passengers would have to pass through a security booth not unlike Eurostar
Check-in baggages screened with X-ray machine prior to approaching check-in counters for all destinations, not just the US, not just a number of airlines. That would of course include budget airlines. Normal security procedures like any other airport at the security gate. However, Japanese have already concerned with explosive liquids (read molotov cocktails) before 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot.
I'm sure some people would like to travel like that, right?
Of course, Japanese being Japanese, they make you feel that despite the inconvenience, they will be very considerate and provide as much assistance as possible to make you feel that you are respected as a human being rather than a scum. Here are a story I heard from my friends of parents:
They travelled in January 2002 around the world for business, especially attending some trade fairs. One stop was Orlando: as a result, they have been singled out to the most stringent security procedures all over the journey whenever and wherever they boarded the plane during the journey. That meant full baggage search while checking in and full body search and shoe search at the security. Now, it went off badly as security attendants badly treated one of them at the start of the journey in Hong Kong, she was so incensed by the insensitivity of their command that she threatened to lodge complaint against them. However things changed in Japan...
When they arrived and departed in Japan, they also got their shoes searched. However, the security attendants provided them sleepers when their shoe got searched, they even offered a cup of tea. Now this is the way to treat your suffering passengers while scanning.
Now, not only they want to provide extra security for us, they wanted to extend the period of detention without charge from 28 days to 58 days. This is subject to another long post, from the history of habeas corpus to the controlling nature of the New Labour government and the Bush government...