Mexico wants to run a tourist train through its Mayan heartland — should it? : The Conversation


President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has a dream for the Yucatan Peninsula. He wants to build a train that will leverage the tourism economy of Cancun by bringing more visitors inland to the colonial cities, Mayan villages and archaeological sites that dot the region.

The Yucatan is a unique Mexican cultural crossroads. Many Maya here continue to farm, live and dress according to indigenous traditions developed millennia before the Spanish colonized the Americas. Travelers also come from across the globe to sunbathe along the modern, highly developed Riviera Maya. Over 16 million foreigners visited the area in 2017; three-quarters of them were American.

The Mexican government thinks that a tourist train could turn Maya villages into destinations, too, bringing an infusion of cash and jobs into one of its poorest and most marginalized regions. Commuters would also benefit from rail travel.

But there are social and environmental consequences to laying 932 miles of railway tracks across a region of dense jungle, pristine beaches and Maya villages. And in his haste to start construction this year, López Obrador – whose energy policy is focused on increasing fossil fuel production in Mexico and rebuilding the coal industry – has demonstrated little concern for conservation.

 

Source: Mexico wants to run a tourist train through its Mayan heartland — should it?  : The Conversation

‘I’ Newspaper: Rail Franchise System Not Working and Needs to be Changed


I agree the rail network could be much better and maybe the franchise contracts are to blame.

But when accounting blame which are purely down the train operators and which are down to rework Rail which is not a private company.

Before privatisation the Rail network, rolling stock, train stations and the line and signal infrastructure were need great need of investment.

The food was the butt of a joke, as the British Rail Sandwich was infamous as it curled up at the edges.

My own line was ‘The Midland, which was the poor relation in the industry as the rolling stock was secondhand, passed on from other regions.

In my 20 odd years of using British Railways and then British Rail I hardly ever got on and off a train that was to time.

The various Governments over that period showed a distinct lack of interest and investment into the industry. Hence all the new rolling stock was came about during Privatisation. This led to very outdated systems, not fit for the 19th century, let alone the 20th and then the 21st.

Who would have thought that Great Britain invented the Railways, through early train inventors who were Matthew Murray who created first steam powered locomotive, Richard Trevithick who popularized trains series of showcasing in London, George Stephenson who become famous for ‘The Rocket’ and for the coal transporting trains.

But were some of these private companies up to the job and this goes down to the Tender process and in many ways still does, the NHS, other parts of the health service, Local Government and other such services. As it appears any contract is given to the lowest bidder without any apparent investigation into the bids to ascertain if they are, in fact, viable.

This a fault of the tender process and the Governments administering the process.

Then what about the Contracts themselves are they effective and efficiently written?, do they meets the needs of the industry and the customers?, are the companies themselves sufficiently solvent? and many more investigative questions.

Here again the Governments are at fault.

There are indeed many problems, but to re-nationalise them, would this go back to British Railways and British Rail.

If it does, then the required investment needs to be guaranteed for way into the future and not be allowed to run on the whims of any Government as it was previously.

Much like the NHS and Social Care, especially Social Care today.

Governments need to realise that these industries and organisations are not there to be used for political purposes, but for the benefit of the population of the UK.

For until that realisation comes into any Government, these areas will continue to faulter to the whims of each and every Government, who only care for themselves, irrespective of its Party colour.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I found this report in the I newspaper on our country’s failing rail network. The article states that a recent report has found that the current system of rail franchising doesn’t work and cannot continue as it is. The article, ‘Rail franchising ‘no longer delivers clear benefits’, on page 4 of today’s paper, 27th February 2019, by Neil Lancefield runs

Britain’s rail franchise system no longer delivers clear benefits and cannot continue in its current form, according to the man leading an official review of the network.

Keith Williams told industry leaders that operators were not adapting to changing consumer demands.

The contracting out of passenger services has drawn heavy criticism, with some contracts failing and customer complaints rising. The rail industry has said it accepts that the status quo cannot continue.

Mr Williams was appointed by the Government last year to lead its “root-and-branch” Rail Review. Speaking in London…

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What the Victorians did for Sheffield – left us lovely gardens – The Star


As Reg said in The Life Of Brian: “All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”

The same could be said of the Victorians, with canals, transport, railways, buildings and gardens, writes Vin Malone.

The Victorian age, of industrial revolution and squalid city slums, was also the age of a popular explosion of interest in that most British of pastimes, gardening.

Prior to the Victorians’ insatiable search for new plants and trees, the gardens that the working class cultivated was more or less non-existent.
In the countryside you could see the original cottage gardens where agricultural workers had a small garden to grow flowers and vegetables but the town dwellers didn’t even have a window box.

The Victorians did change all that with botanists travelling to the far-flung reaches of the world to bring back rare plants, of which some turned out to be invasive and now are a big problem.

The well-to-do Victorians in the towns and cities jumped at the chance to have the exotic plants and trees in their gardens.

From this surge in the interest in gardening, a concerted effort was made by authorities to provide extensive public gardens.

There was a reason for this benevolent behaviour by the well-to-do.

writes Vin Malone.

 

Source: What the Victorians did for Sheffield – left us lovely gardens – The Star

Britain’s railways were nationalised 70 years ago – let’s not do it again : The Conversation


It is 70 years since the era of public rail ownership began in Great Britain. The British Transport Commission formally took control of the operation and planning of the whole network, having been brought into existence by Clement Attlee’s Labour government under the Transport Act 1947 (the name British Rail didn’t appear until 1965).

At the time, the network was in dire need of investment. The Railways Act 1921 had consolidated over 100 operators into “the big four” – Great Western; London, Midland & Scottish; London & North Eastern; and Southern Railways. They had been financially squeezed by rules that forced them to carry freight at rates that were often unprofitable, and competition from an emerging road sector that had been prioritised for public investment.

The rail network had then been worn to the bone in supporting the war effort and considerably damaged by German Luftwaffe bombing. Rail safety had become a serious concern: two major accidents in the southand north of England within two days in October 1947, resulted in 60 fatalities, and contributed to that year being the second deadliest in British railway history.

 

Source: Britain’s railways were nationalised 70 years ago – let’s not do it again : The Conversation

Counterpunch on the Dangers of the Driverless Car


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Ralph Nader in an article posted on Tuesday’s Counterpunch took to task the current hype about driverless cars following a day long conference on them at Washington University’s law school.

Driverless cars are being promoted because sales are cars are expected to flatten out due to car-sharing, or even fall as the younger generation are less inclined to buy them. Rather than actually investing in public transport, the car industry is promoting driverless automobiles as a way of stimulating sales again.

Nader is rightly sceptical about how well such vehicles will perform in the real world. There are 250 million motor vehicles in the US. This means that real driving conditions are way more complicated than the simple routes on which these vehicles are developed and tested. And while the car industry claims that they will be safer than human-driven vehicles, the reality is most people won’t want a car…

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Abdesalam and Terrorist Ringleaders – Butchers, Manipulators and Cowards


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

The major news story today has been the horrific suicide bombings in Brussels. Apart from the deaths and injuries this has caused, it’s also closed down plane, train, tram and bus communications, leaving thousands of people stranded in the Belgian capital. This has come after the capture at the week of Abdesalam, the ringleader of the Paris bombings last year.

The Young Turks’ anchor, Cenk Uygur, made a particularly acute observation about Abdesalam’s character. When the Paris police raided the terrorist’s headquarters, they found an unused suicide belt. It seems that Abdesalam was also due to blow himself to kingdom come along with the rest of the maniacs. But when it came to the crunch, he decided that he wasn’t quite ready to meet Allah in paradise just yet. No doubt he felt he still had too much good work to do still on Earth killing infidels down here before…

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