Inter-City gets the six-degree bends…

June 10, 2010

Inter-City gets the six-degree bends
BRITISH Rail are to develop an electric version of the 200 km/h high-speed train (HST), which runs its Inter-City 125 services.
Officially the electric HST is still intended as a stopgap for the much-delayed advanced passenger train.
But in practice this is not so much another nail in the coffin of the advanced passenger train, more shovelling the earth on top.
In a reversal of policy, British Rail has also accepted that conventional trains can take bends faster.
British Rail’s standards for the maximum speed that trains could round bends were based on tests done on a branch line in North Wales with a tank engine in 1949.
After these tests the railway engineers laid down a maximum sideways acceleration equivalent to tilting the track by 4 degrees.
Following recent tests with a 176 km/h train, however and the engineers have agree that the speed through bends can be increased to 6 degrees of track tilt ” or “cant deficiency”, in the railways’ jargon.
Trains with a maximum speed of 176 km/h (compared with the present maximum of 160 km/h will take bends faster and will run from London to Liverpool and Manchester next year.
The following year British Rail’s London Midland region hopes to run electric HSTs, but these are now the subject of a row between the region and engineers at BR’s headquarters.
The headquarters’ engineers want to develop an electric version of the HST, which will involve considerable redesign and could take several years to complete.
The London Midland region, however which has to run the trains, wants them in service as quickly as possible.
It would dearly like (as one railway manufacturer has proposed) to rip the diesel engines out of an existing HST and replace them with electric engines, and then use this train for tests.
Meanwhile, back in the sidings at Derby the APT is still being modified, after its last run before Christmas when some bolts worked loose on its bogies. BR says it hopes to start test runs from London to Glasgow again “soon”. Mick Hamer
Tell-tale antibody that marks diabetics
A BREAKTHROUGH may be at hand in combating one of the most perplexing diseases of adolescence, juvenile diabetes.
American doctors may soon be able to spot potential victims before the symptoms develop.
Juvenile diabetes is an ailment that strikes its victims before or during adolescence, destroying their bodies’ abilities to produce insulin and the hormone that enables the body to use and store sugar.
About one in every 350 American children suffer the disease, which appears to run in families.
Doctors put the life expectancy of sufferers at about 40 years ” even if they have daily injections of insulin.
Until recently and researchers have thought that juvenile diabetes developed suddenly. Now it seems that the disease builds over a period of years.
Last week, a group from Boston’s Joslin diabetes centre announced that it had devised a blood test that can identify children most at risk.
If the test proves successful, it may enable physicians to start therapy for the condition before the diabetes causes irreparable damage.
The test, which at present can only be carried out in half a dozen laboratories around the world and seeks to identify an abnormal antibody in the blood of likely sufferers.
The antibody was first identified through studies of one pair of identical twins and another of identical triplets.
One of the triplets developed diabetes at the age of 13 while another was diagnosed as a juvenile diabetic at 21.

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