Archive for October, 2008

Response to Manchester Congestion Charge Consultation

October 10th, 2008 1 comment

The following is my response to the TIF proposal consultation document.

The concept of the TIF bid is fundamentally flawed, as the proposals do not provide a viable alternative to car transport, particularly to residents of Bolton and Wigan.

The Alternatives

GM transport comparison tableRather than just rejecting the idea, I have actually taken time to research and consider alternatives to using the car. Let’s take a look at those alternatives. I will be referring to the table on the right which compares relative journey times and other factors.

Click the table for a large readable version.


I live in Horwich, only ten minutes walk from Blackrod railway station, and work one mile inside the M60 (the proposed outer charging zone), right next door to Clifton railway station on the same Preston-Manchester line as Blackrod. It would seem an obvious choice of transport, yet it is not actually possible for me to get the train to work, as there is no service at Clifton*. I have taken this up previously with the GMPTE and have written replies from them stating that they have no intention in rectifying this situation and nothing in the TIF proposals will either.

I believe I am in a very small minority of commuters who live and work adjacent to railway stations on the same line; if GMPTE can’t handle that very simple public transport journey, what hope is there for the rest of Greater Manchester?
* One train a day that is too early to actually connect with does not constitute a service.

Blackrod to Clifton direct (not possible)

If there was a service, it still loses out to the car on anything but a bad day time wise, and on all other factors (see table) every time. Even the best option, a direct (non-existent) service would take 48 minutes compared with an average car journey of 37 minutes, or 24 minutes on a good day.

Blackrod to Clifton, changing at Bolton (also not possible)

In reality, if the train did stop at Clifton, it would not be the Preston-Manchester service, but the Blackburn-Manchester service. This would therefore involve changing trains at Bolton increasing both the journey time to 59 minutes and the risk of being affected by cancellations and delays.

Blackrod to Swinton changing at Salford Crescent

The one alternative that is actually possible, a situation that will remain so under TIF proposals, is to travel to Swinton Railway station, changing at Salford Crescent (after farcically passing through Clifton station). As is clear, this would take over twice the journey time by car; clearly not a viable alternative. Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , ,

Moses Gate Air-Show (or maybe not)

October 6th, 2008 No comments

While browsing my RSS feeds, this one caught my eye on the Bolton News site:

A giant 200th anniversary
A MAGICAL open air-show will celebrate 200 years of Moses Gate Country Park on Saturday.

but when I checked the full story on their site, instead of talking about the Red Arrows or a Lancaster fly-past, it talked about ‘giant puppets, music and lanterns‘.

Then I spotted it – The lead should have read open-air show, instead of open air-show – two very different things.

Ah well, it did seem a little odd that Bolton Council would be staging anything so spectacular.

1769-SDN False Error 95

October 2nd, 2008 No comments

If you are getting a code 95 error on a 1769-SDN scanner card after extending the network, check your end-of-line resistors.

I recently had a false error code on an Allen Bradley 1769-SDN DeviceNet Scanner card. The card had been operating OK on a very simple network talking to a single device. The network had been extended to add another identical device. Once power had been reapplied, the scanner was showing error code 95. According to the manual, this was:

Flash Update In Progress DO NOT disconnect the module from the network while a flash update is in progress.

Since I hadn’t initiated any flash update, I feared that the module had suffered a spike from some welding that had been taking place nearby. Cycling the power did not help. Removing the connector from the front of the scanner correctly showed code 92 – No DeviceNet power. I could not even connect to the network using a PC and the 1770-KFD adapter. I checked and double checked the wiring, looking for loose connections and even belled out the network.

Everything looked OK, however I had noticed that the network LED on the front of the scanner went red as soon as I plugged the connector back in, suggesting that the scanner was detecting some electrical fault. I removed the new section of wiring, returning the system to its original state and everything was OK again, suggesting a fault with the new wiring. Returning to check the new wiring, I noticed that the end-of-line resistor didn’t look like the one on the other end of the network. The contractor who had wired the network extension had used a different resistor to the correct 120 Ohm one.

Rectifying this cleared the error and the network now functions correctly.

However, the red-herring of the ‘Flash Update In Progress’ error had wasted two hours of my time. So the question is, why does the scanner show this false error under this condition?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,