[Jokes] London Underground to Go Green

Chris McKenna cmckenna at sucs.org
Fri Sep 16 22:35:19 BST 2005

London Underground To Go Green

AFP, London, United Kingdom 2005-09-16

As part of the government's long term strategy to increase the use of 
renewable energy sources and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, the 
transport minister and Mayor of London Ken Livingstone today announced a 
five-year large scale trial of alternate energy sources to provide power 
to the London Underground network.

Currently the Tube uses a lot of electricity each day - the powered rails 
are using 630 volts of electricity the entire time the network is open, 
regardless of whether there is a train running over them or not. All this 
electricity has got to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is 
inefficient power stations. The idea, explained Mayor Ken, is that if one 
of the largest single electricity users in the capital can reduce the 
amount it needs then there will be less pressure on the power stations and 
therefore less pollution.

Some of the ideas that will be tested are quite innovative in public 
transport initiatives, for example the Victoria Line has been chosen to 
become the test bed for the feasibility of a fleet of solar powered 
trains. Richard Head, from the Bakerloo-Central-Victoria line maintenance 
operation commented further, "Utilising the untapped, pollution-free, 
power source that is the sun will be of great benefit to the operation of 
the Victoria Line. By fitting solar panels to the roof of the trains, we 
will be able to do away with two of the existing four rails - saving money 
on maintenance and increasing passenger safety by removing an 
electrocution hazard".

The Waterloo and City Line will switch to water power. Iain T Aclue, W&C 
Line Controller, explained that because of the unique topology of the line 
- a constant downhill gradient from Bank to Waterloo - offered a unique 
solution. "We will be extracting an amount of running water from the 
Thames, and feeding it into the system at Bank at high speed. Much like a 
slide at a swimming pool, the train will be propelled along by the current 
towards Waterloo. The energy released by the train traveling downhill will 
be captured and used to power high pressure pumps at Waterloo station 
which will combine with the principal of 'Every action has an equal and 
opposite reaction' to propel the train back up the hill towards bank." 
When asked what will happen to the water once it has reached Waterloo, 
Aclue explained that it would be flushed into the sewer system which was 
already designed to cope with taking large amounts of water from drains.

Perhaps the most revolutionary idea will be that installed on the Circle 
line, drawing on technology originally developed for particle accelerators 
used in high-energy physics research at places like CERN. A ring of 
magnets will be installed around the walls of the tunnels, with another 
set of magnets on the trains. Using the well-known principal of how 
like-poles of magnets repel each other, the trains will be propelled round 
the track in whichever direction is dictated by the magnets on the trains, 
with the pole being reversed to travel in the opposite direction. Although 
travel will be quicker than at present, Professor M. A. D'ness, who is one 
of the key developers, expressed skepticism at the suggestion that 
relativistic speeds would be obtainable, at least in the short term.

Other proposals under discussion include compressed air power, like that 
used to transfer items in large buildings, for the Jubilee Line; mini 
nuclear reactors powering trains on the East London Line; and a complex 
hybrid-organic wound spring technology developed by the Heath Robinson 
corporation and known colloquially as "Knicker elastic", offering several 
hours travel on just one winding for the District Line.

(c) copyright 2005 Arcane and Farcical Proposals GmbH (God My Belly 

Chris 'Awkward' McKenna

cmckenna at sucs.org

The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes,
but with the heart

Antoine de Saint Exupery

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