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Captain Pegg

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Captain Pegg last won the day on December 15 2016

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About Captain Pegg

  • Birthday 14/02/1970

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  1. The future of coal

    Happy to be corrected; since I posted I have confirmed the above with one of my colleagues who knows his way around Scunthorpe works. The heat produced by coking is used to heat the sheds. He wasn't certain that it is 100% all done on site though. I had thought coke was imported but it must be the coking coal. I also recalled Tata spent a long time looking at the possibly of mining locally to Port Talbot but nothing came of it. JP
  2. Middlewich Branch breach - Shropshire Union

    Sounds like an argument for limiting everyone by one person's inability to understand complex issues. The reality is that in civil engineering nothing is chaotic and modern materials are homogenous, it's not the most complicated subject. I am only talking about using state of the art methods of measurement and analysis to understand how things actually behave in a real environment. Today's demands of performance and safety couldn't be met by being qualitative. Society wouldn't tolerate the impact of the 'learning'. JP
  3. Middlewich Branch breach - Shropshire Union

    Was certainly better with cucumbers than Brunel.
  4. Middlewich Branch breach - Shropshire Union

    He was probably the most educated, numerate and socially mobile of his generation. Sounds like the things that Nick suggests are wrong with today's engineers. JP
  5. Middlewich Branch breach - Shropshire Union

    The Victorians did some good things with bricks. A material notable for its ability to be patch repaired. 200 year old Trigger's brooms. Do you genuinely believe the engineering that put man on the moon, achieved supersonic flight, tunnelled under the Channel and bridged between Denmark and Sweden couldn't do what the Victorians did? JP
  6. Middlewich Branch breach - Shropshire Union

    Brunel built many timber viaducts that were replaced over a century ago. He did it for much the same reason that things are sometimes today specified for short service lives; his client wasn't willing to pay for a higher specification. Linking all the marvellous feats of civil engineering on the Great Western Railway he built all the embankments in over-consolidated clays that have spent the 180 years since trying to recover their shape necessitating many many millions of pounds of corrective work along the route. He did that because he didn't understand the material. For the opposite reason he was able to design the Clifton suspension bridge and build the Royal Albert bridge. JP
  7. Middlewich Branch breach - Shropshire Union

    Hopefully CRT will improve the design and when it's finished it will be the Heavyweight branch.
  8. Middlewich Branch breach - Shropshire Union

    Earthworks constructed in the Georgian and Victorian periods pre-date the establishment of the discipline of geotechnical engineering and are effectively non-engineered structures. They were built with non-homogenous materials with little understanding of the properties of the material or the mechanisms by which they could fail. Standard practice was to construct slopes with sides battered at 1:1.5; an engineered solution would have given something in the order of 1:3 for the materials concerned. This can be seen in the difference in angle of modern motorway earthwork slopes compared to older canals and railways. In theory these assets have a negative safety factor; in practice you know they don't because they remain standing. The reality is that you are intrinsically operating around the limits of capability and to make matters worse the properties of soils change over time and not just seasonal either, it can be over decades or centuries. As a result they are flexible assets and they all exhibit some form of movement over a greater or lesser timespan. Inspection isn't easy and a general visual inspection may identify immediate exceptional issues but it isn't sufficient for overall management. That requires a qualified inspector. It is certainly possible to calculate the risk associated with individual assets and prioritise work accordingly. In my job a few years ago I was accountable for 14,000 earthwork assets and conducted an exercise to risk rank them, a process which identified 72 highest risk assets. Programmes of work were put in place for those assets and mitigation measures imposed for periods of extreme wet weather (with a budget the folks at CRT could probably only dream about). However the collective risk associated with the 13,928 assets that weren't highest risk by far outweighed the collective risk of the 72 highest risk assets. That meant I could in no way guarantee that if there was a failure it would be of a highest risk asset. The nature of these events is that they are highly subjective to localised conditions. CRT have the problem that their threshold for catastrophic failure is pretty low. Initial failure is likely to be a rotational slip where a segment of soil rotates and causes a shearing effect at the slope surface at the top of the rotation. If that causes a loss in the integrity of the puddled lining of the canal the leakage of water will liquefy the soil and cause it to flow, in turn this will make a bigger breach and then washout will follow. It looks a lot more spectacular than I suspect it is in reality. i am sure they could do more and will seek to do so as that's pretty much the life of an asset manager who has to work within resource and funding constraints to minimise risk. JP
  9. HS2 & Effects

    It was unnecessary. The Great Central should probably never have been built. The Midland Railway had already built the railway that served Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester decades before hand. Neither served Manchester particularly directly and even the Midland's rather more direct route to Manchester than the GC didn't itself survive. The GC's big problem was that it never secured it's own independent access to it's London terminus and had capacity issues in the early 20th century. It has no place in a mid-21st century strategy. The Midland route does still exist but is rather busy with commuters on its southern end and has already given up most of it's London terminus to high speed rail. It is also not designed to a significantly high enough standard for either modern passenger or freight demands. The answer doesn't lie in squeezing the extremes of historic transport infrastructure; it is about building new whether that be railways, roads or airports. The issue is the choice of which. JP
  10. Tunnel light

    Coincidentally I also suffer from a failed tunnel lamp. Let's hope we never meet coming in opposite directions in a tunnel. JP
  11. The future of coal

    Onllwyn washery is the processing plant and railhead for Celtic Energy's three opencast sites. It blends high quality anthracite from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen with lesser quality from two other sites primarily for the purpose of fuelling the burners at Aberthaw power station which are specifically configured to burn such coal. Must admit I thought that train went to Immingham for export purposes. Nonetheless, it may be that the Port Talbot and Scunthorpe plants retain coking ovens but Port Talbot certainly had daily trainloads of coke from the north east until at least a couple of years ago and receives direct shipping imports. A 2,000 tonnes train would have about 1,400 tonnes of net coal product on board which would make about 900 tonnes of coke which in turn would make about 2,000 tonnes of steel. About one days worth of production. JP
  12. The future of coal

    I don't know the detail but I have lived in relatively close proximity to a couple of plants that made the stuff, Keresley (Coventry) and Avenue (Chesterfield). I thought the volatiles were removed by a similar process to coking. I don't think the coal that served both those plants - which came from the Nottinghamshire coalfield - was anthracite. Things may have moved on though. That was the 1980s/90s. JP
  13. The future of coal

    The UKs two remaining integrated iron and steel works - at Port Talbot and Scunthorpe - require something in the order of 5 million tonnes of coke to achieve their full annual output. It's purpose is to act as the reducing agent to remove the oxygen from the iron ore, a process which of course creates enormous quantities of carbon dioxide. Naturally a certain amount of the chemicals from the coke end up in the iron hence the need for a 'clean' product but nonetheless the resulting iron has something like 5% carbon content which gives it a brittle nature and results in it being termed pig iron. Making steel is mostly about reducing that carbon content. I believe that since the closure of the Redcar coke ovens just over a couple of years ago all coke used in UK steel making is imported. Making smokeless fuel is I believe a similar process to making coke. JP
  14. Might that have something to do with your boat being based on a narrow canal? How much cruising have you done recently in places where you might encounter a wide beam hire craft? They do exist albeit not in large numbers. I know someone that hired a wheelchair accessible wide beam to accommodate their son. JP
  15. Is it necessary to black the bottom?

    The vast majority of boats aren't blacked on the bottom. There is truth in what the man says but if blacking the bottom was as easy as doing the sides then I suspect it would be routinely done. It's better if you can do it but not a major issue if you can't. JP