£380,000 motorhome is fast route to luxury

The Times October 11 2016

A motorhome company has unveiled a palace on wheels that costs almost twice as much as the average English house.

The Morelo Empire Liner has underfloor heating, a rainwater shower, double bedroom and even a garage.

It is powered by a 7.7-litre engine that develops 300bhp — twice as much torque as a Lamborghini Aventador.

The 35-ft motorhome, described as a “super-liner”, has a £378,200 price tag.

The Morelo Empire Liner is powered by a 7.7-litre engine which develops 300bhp
The Morelo Empire Liner is powered by a 7.7-litre engine which develops 300bhpSWNS

It comes with a large panoramic roof, a well-equipped kitchen and luxury bathroom with ceramic lavatory. Sky TV can also be shown on board.

It has been in production for a year, it will be on display at the Motorhome & Caravan Show, which starts today at the Birmingham NEC.

Andreas Wolfer-Heimann, international sales manager for Morelo, said: “We believe motorhome enthusiasts, and the public alike, will be impressed by the craftsmanship and attention to detail.”

Rotherham to Rainham with no emissions: it’s a gas

The Times October 11 2016,

HG Wells may not have chosen the road from Rotherham to Rainham for his time machine. However, the zero-emission hydrogen car of the future completed its first long-distance public outing yesterday from a wind-powered electricity-to-gas refuelling station in South Yorkshire, arriving 180 miles and three and a half hours later just east of Dagenham, to be recharged on solar power. It was a good job the day was breezy and sunny.

Today is the official opening of Britain’s 15th hydrogen fuelling station, at Rainham, on the site of the old Ford car factory.

Toyota, Hyundai and Honda have bet that hydrogen, piped into fuel cells where it reacts with oxygen in the air to drive electric motors and emit waste steam, is the long-term replacement for the internal combustion engine.

Graham Cooley says that cars running on electricity have a two-speed future: short-range inner city cars that run on electricity stored in batteries; and long-range electric cars powered by fuel cells that already can run 350 miles on a 5kg fill-up of high-pressure hydrogen gas.

Dr Cooley is chief executive of ITM Power, an AIM-quoted company that owns and operates fuel-cell refuelling forecourts. It opened the most northerly station in Rotherham off the M1 last year, another public station in Teddington, west London, this year, and now Rainham. They use electricity off the grid to make hydrogen, replacing the power they use with renewable energy, in Rainham’s case from solar panels.

ITM will install its first hydrogen pump at a conventional filling station at the Shell’s Cobham services on the M25 in Surrey. “It is important that we have a major retailer involved and this will make it feel more real,” Dr Cooley said.

Hydrogen is going through the same pains as battery electric vehicles: not enough recharging infrastructure to persuade manufacturers to build the cars or to persuade the consumers to buy them; and the cost, which for hydrogen includes the fuel.

Toyota’s Mirai costs more than £60,000 and gas costs £10 a kilo, which means £50 to fill up, equating to about 60 miles per gallon in conventional terms. You may think you are saving the planet, but they are not much cheaper to run than a fuel-efficient petrol or diesel.

Simon Bourne, co-founder of ITM and its chief technology officer, says the price per unit comes down when refuelling stations are dealing with dozens of visits a day rather than the present handful per week.

Digital Past 2018

Celebrating ten years of new
technologies in heritage, interpretation and outreach

7 – 8 February 2018

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Digital Past is a two-day conference which showcases innovative digital technologies for data capture, interpretation and dissemination of heritage sites and artefacts.

As this year marks Digital Past’s 10th anniversary, we will reflect on the exciting developments over ten years of digital heritage, the lessons learnt, and the opportunities and challenges for the sector in the decade ahead.

Digital Past 2018 will be held in the award-winning Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales’s largest arts centre with stunning views over the historic market town and resort – also a lively university town – and Cardigan Bay. Aberystwyth, the ‘Biarritz of Wales’, sits at the heart of the beautiful west Wales coastline, conveniently located on the mainline Cambrian Line railway.

The conference will offer a combination of papers, hands-on workshops and demonstrations to investigate the latest technical survey and interpretation techniques and their practical application in heritage interpretation, education and conservation.

Call for contributions

We are seeking submissions from those working on innovative projects on the themes outlined below in a research or operational capacity, who can contribute to this both retrospective and forward-looking conference. Contributions can be made through formal presentations or workshops, or more informally through the ‘unconference’ session or a show stand. We welcome contributions through the medium of Welsh, English, or bilingually. Please find details of the various formats below.

Themes and topics

The two main strands of the conference will be Digital Technologies and Digital Heritage, which may encompass digital survey (Terrestrial Scanning, Geo-physics, LiDAR, Photogrammetry, UAV’s, etc.), data processing, manipulation and analysis (including GIS & BIM), data storage and archiving, 3D modelling and reconstruction, visualisation and animation, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, gaming, immersive environments, 3D printing, e-publication, crowd sourcing, communities, education, engagement, interpretation and tourism.

As this is the 10th Digital Past conference, we are also seeking papers that take both a celebratory and critical look at the developments over ten years of digital heritage, the lessons learnt, and the opportunities and challenges for the sector in the decade ahead.

Other topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Effects of digital technologies on equality, diversity and accessibility of the heritage sector;
  • Implications of digital/innovative requirements by funding bodies;
  • Implications of Brexit on funding of, and cooperation in, digital technologies;
  • Implications of austerity on technological innovation and development
  • Implications of bilingualism on digital platforms.


20 minute papers presented in a conventional arrangement of presentation and PowerPoint format. Each session will consist of 4 such papers, with a 10 minute question and discussion period at the end of each session. Due to the tightly packed schedule, a strict adherence to time will be followed.


To be held on the morning of the 8 February. Workshops can offer practical, hands-on demonstrations or training in a particular aspect of digital technology with heritage applications. Workshops may be either a single session of 90 minutes or two of 40 minutes.

To make a submission for any of the above, please send a short outline (100-150 words) of your proposed presentation/seminar discussion/workshop to digitalpast@rcahmw.gov.uk together with details of your name and organisation.

‘Unconference’ session

A series of 15 minute sessions which can be booked by any delegate attending on a first-come, first-served basis. Booking will be available from 9.30am on the first day of the conference only. These sessions will allow for presentation on any project, research or issue relating to the use of digital technology in heritage. Presentations may be pre-prepared using PowerPoint, or purely in response to other discussions/issues raised during the event.


A limited number of exhibition stands will be available for a two-day booking. Larger stands are available at a cost of £215 or a Poster stand at a cost of £165 and include the cost of one conference registration (prices are not subject to VAT). Booking will be available when conference registration is opened.

Deadline for submissions

The deadline for the submission of papers, seminars and workshops is Friday 29 September 2017. Decisions will be made after consideration of the merits of the individual submissions and their fit into the overall programme, and applicants notified by Friday 13 October 2017.

Free registration for the event will be extended to those presenting a paper or workshop. Please note that while we are happy to have submissions which include more than one speaker, we can only offer one free registration per submission. We regret that no further expenses can be offered.

We welcome contributions through the medium of Welsh or English, or bilingually.

For overseas applicants, presentation of papers via live-web streaming may be considered.

For further information or any questions please contact Susan Fielding at digitalpast@rcahmw.gov.uk or on 01970 621219.

The Digital Past Team


1957 E-Type Jaguar Brecon to Carmarthen trip recreated


A fleet of about 24 classic Jaguars will drive from Brecon to Carmarthen and Pendine on Saturday to recreate a trip first made in 1957.

It marks 60 years since the prototype of the Jaguar E-Type was test driven in Wales before going into production.

The car was described by motor racing driver Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful car ever made”.

It has been credited with “defining the spirit of the 1960s” and was driven by Frank Sinatra and Princess Grace.

The fleet will be flagged off from the Castle Hotel in Brecon by the mayor, Ieuan Williams, and school children.

It will stop in Carmarthen and the Pendine Museum of Speed before travelling back to Brecon.

It is estimated about 72,000 E-Types were built between 1961 and 1975.

In January 2017, a rare example sold for almost £6m.

Free weekend bus travel pilot launched across Wales


A pilot bus service offering free weekend travel to passengers across Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.

It covers buses using the TrawsCymru network across Wales. Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates called it a “ground-breaking” project designed to boost visitors.

It begins on Saturday and will run every weekend until May 2018.

A budget of up to £1m has been set aside for the initiative.

“From Bangor to Cardiff, Fishguard to Wrexham, I hope to see this scheme provide the perfect excuse for people from across Wales and beyond to jump on the bus and spend their weekends enjoying the diverse beauty of Wales,” Mr Skates said.

“The free service is subject to availability, but we have also provided additional funding to local authorities to ensure operators are able to deploy more buses to meet increased demand if necessary,” Mr Skates added.

Which services are included?

The pilot applies to all buses on the TrawsCymru network:

  • TrawsCymru T1 Aberystwyth – Lampeter – Carmarthen (operates seven days per week)
  • TrawsCymru T1C Aberystwyth – Lampeter – Carmarthen – Swansea – Cardiff (daily except Sundays)
  • TrawsCymru T2 Bangor – Porthmadog – Dolgellau – Abersytwyth (operates daily)
  • TrawsCymru T3 Wrexham – Llangollen – Dolgellau – Barmouth (operates daily
  • TrawsCymru T4 Newtown – Brecon – Merthyr Tydfil – Pontypridd – Cardiff (operates daily)
  • TrawsCymru T5 Aberystwyth – New Quay – Cardigan – Fishguard – Haverfordwest (operates daily – Sundays during summer only)
  • TrawsCymru T6 Brecon – Ystradgynlais – Neath – Swansea (operates daily)
  • Cardiff Airport Express T9 services (operates throughout the day – seven days a week)

Arrangements are also in place to reimburse operators of other bus services if they experience any reduction of passengers as a result of the pilot, although the Welsh Government is “optimistic” it will have the opposite effect.

It is hoped the scheme will act as a “catalyst for bus travel in Wales”, boosting passenger numbers and the wider use of TrawsCymru routes.

The Welsh Government said it would use the pilot to get a better understanding of how such reductions affect wider demand for public transport before deciding on its future beyond May 2018.


Vintage 1950s Bedford coach to return to Shetland


A vintage coach used in the Shetland Isles from 1950 until 1979 is about to begin its 1,000-mile journey home.

The 1950s Bedford coach was bought by Nick Taylor in 2011, and he completed its restoration at his home at Weybread in Suffolk.

A visit from its Shetland-based former driver in 2013 persuaded Mr Taylor the coach belonged back on the island.

It will leave from outside Norwich Cathedral on Monday, after a blessing from the bishop.

The coach was used by islanders to get to the shops and to go to school.

Mr Taylor said he realised it was a “lifeline to the islanders” after a visit to Suffolk from its former driver, James Watt, in 2013.

He said: “It was his life – he’d drive it every day across the island. He took children to school and relatives to weddings and funerals. He even did impromptu deliveries across the island.”

Mr Watt, from Reawick, Shetland, drove the Duple Vista coach from 1968

Mr Taylor has donated it to the Shetland Commercial Vehicle Preservation Trust.

He and a support team of 10, including Mr Watt, a vicar and a chef will depart from outside Norwich Cathedral.

The Bedford, which has a top speed of 40mph (64kph), will be driven to the Shetland Isles via Lincolnshire, across to the Lake District and up the west coast of Scotland.

Mr Taylor hopes they will reach Shetland on 22 June.

1938/9 Cape Record Wolseley – help needed

I’m researching the London to Cape Town trans Africa record that was set up in 1938/9 by Humphrey Symons and Bertie Browning, in a Wolseley 18/85. I am trying to find newspaper articles and photos from the journey. I have noticed while researching that Bill Burnell photographed the Wolseley – I am wanting to use some of the photos in my blog about the journey and the car on it’s return to England. Would you be able to help me in attaining the photos?

I have Bertie Browning’s 600 page hand written diary which I have typed and currently posting chapters on my blog https://thecaperecord.com/

You may want to follow the blog as I post the chapters.

Many thanks

Claire Wilkinson
South Africa 

Traveling Back in Time With Colorful Isochrone Maps

Journey-based charts from the past can help us track the progression of transportation technology.

In the early 1880s, the mapmaker Francis Galton began to imagine a series of ideal trips. Each started in his home city, London, but from there they ranged far afield—to Greenland, or Morocco, or the distant reaches of the Pacific. By figuring out how long each of these trips would take, and drawing lines grouping those destinations that could be reached in an equal amount of time, he figured he could provide a service to travelers, sailors, and those who simply wanted to know how long it would take their mail to get someplace … atlasobscura.com isochrone maps

Resurrecting the Forgotten Bike Highways of 1930s Britain

– full article and many illustrations. Note that the Kickstarter target is over-subscribed three times!

Resurrecting the Forgotten Bike Highways of 1930s Britain
The United Kingdom built hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes—and promptly forgot about them. BY SARAH LASKOW MAY 11, 2017

In the 1930s, Britain’s Ministry of Transport built an extensive network of bike highways around the country—at least 280 miles of paved, protected infrastructure dedicated to cyclists alone. For decades, it was entirely forgotten—overgrown and overlooked—so much so that no one seems to remember that these lanes had existed at all.

“There’s all this infrastructure, it’s been there for 80 years, and nobody knows what it was,” says Carlton Reid, author of the forthcoming book Bike Boom. Reid, who’s been a cycling journalist and historian for 30 years, rediscovered the network while researching his book. Now he’s teaming up with an urban planner to reveal the full extent of Britain’s historic cycleways.

Before starting research on the book, Reid knew of the existence of a handful of ‘30s-era bike lanes. But when he started studying the decade’s road-building policies, he found archival maps showing that as new arterial roads were built, they all had cycleways installed beside them. “Every one I looked at showed that there were cycleways built,” he said. “It was clear that there were far more than anyone had understood.”

These bike highways were nine feet wide and surfaced in concrete, and they ran along major roads for miles. According to Reid’s research, the Ministry of Transport was inspired by newspaper reports of similar lanes in the Netherlands and contacted the Rijkswaterstaat, its Dutch counterpart. The head engineer of the Rijkswaterstaat sent the Brits “these incredible exploded diagrams of how they built cycleways next to the road and the railways and how they separated the traffic,” says Reid. “The Brits, in effect, were ‘going Dutch,’” decades before that phrase became a mantra among cycling enthusiasts who long for infrastructure as good as Amsterdam’s.

In the 1930s, cycling in Britain was at its peak, and cyclists far outnumbered motorists. As in America, it was British cyclists who first pushed the government to build smoothly paved roads between cities. Those roads, though, were catnip to motorists, too, and “motorists, if they wanted to use their cars and go fast … clearly had to get cyclists off the road.” These bike highways were intended in part to separate cyclists from the main rush of traffic and clear the way for drivers.

As more people bought cars, politicians grew increasingly concerned about cyclist and pedestrian safety. “The government was saying, ‘Yes, we want to get cyclists off the road so we can drive’—because the politicians were motorists—but also we have to save our citizens,” says Reid. “There was a definite idea of keeping people safe. It was both.” But plenty of cyclists at the time didn’t want to be siphoned off onto these bike-specific lanes. “There were all sorts of major campaigns against this infrastructure from hardcore club cyclists,” Reid says. But those who just wanted to commute to work or ride out of the city on weekends on two wheels were happy to use them.

In the years that followed the construction of the cycleways, though, cars became the predominant form of transportation, and the bike lanes fell out of use. Even the Ministry of Transport forgot that it had built them. “Within 40 years, it had been lost in their own department that they were doing this,” says Reid. He read the ministry’s minutes going through the 1960s and found records of ministers saying that they’d never built anything like a bike highway before.

“You did do it! I’m just willing them—look, look in your own minutes!” says Reid. “You’ll see that you did do it.”

After Reid discovered the extent of the network, he went looking for the paths themselves. It happened that there were two examples within cycling distance of his home in Newcastle. When he first saw them, he couldn’t believe his eyes. They were unused but pristine. “You look at archive photos from the 1930s, and they just haven’t changed,” he says. “It’s the original surface, even.”

The knowledge that these paths were meant for bicycles, though, had been thoroughly lost. When he was exploring, Reid says, he saw cyclists come riding by on the skinny sidewalk, when the 1930s cycleway was right there. “They didn’t think it was theirs,” he says.

Not all of the original 1930s network remains. Some lanes have been resurfaced, and most of what was built in London has fallen to development. Reid estimates that about 10 to 15 percent of the original cycleways have been buried. And there are places where the original work is at least partially concealed. Reid heard about a major route from London to the coast, for instance, that was very popular for weekend getaways in the 1930s. On Google Street View, he saw slivers of concrete, a couple of feet wide, that run by the road for a while, then disappear, only to reappear farther up the road. “I know what that is,” he says. “I know what’s under there. You’ve got this five-to-ten -mile stretch that people had forgotten was there.”

Reid and his collaborator, urban planner John Dales, are raising money on Kickstarter to continue their research, with the goal of restoring some of the network to use. (With two weeks to go, they’ve doubled their original fundraising goal.) They’ve already heard from cities on the network with money to spend. “Some of these cities look as though they’d be excited to work with us,” Reid says. “We’re going to work with the willing first.” Soon, it’s possible that these decades-old cycling highways could once again be part of Britain’s transportation network.

BBC research – historic bus routes

I am writing to you from IWC Media where we are developing a series for the BBC on historic UK bus routes. We are interested in routes that may or may not still exist and are looking for people to talk to who may have an interest in this area (both historical and contemporary). The idea is that we will travel along the routes, discovering stories and meeting people along the way.

If you know of any historians or enthusiasts who might be able to help us in our research – in particular identifying some of the most important routes – I’d be really delighted to hear from you.

Thanks so much in advance for your time

All the very best

Charlie Sever | Development Producer (Production)
IWC Media | Gloucester Building | Kensington Village | Avonmore Road | London | W14 8RF
t. +44 (0) 7507 684 888

Charlie.sever@iwcmedia.co.uk | www.iwcmedia.co.uk | www.zodiakmedia.com