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London Crossrail gets the go-ahead

first_imgPRIME Minister Gordon Brown gave the go-ahead for London’s long-awaited Crossrail project on October 5, with details of the funding package announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling four days later. The total cost was put at up to £16bn, allowing for inflation during construction and inclusive of land, compulsory purchase and contingencies. The government will provide more than £5bn, with London businesses contributing ‘broadly’ a third through a variety of mechanisms including a supplementary business rate to fund £3·5bn of debt. The projected operating surplus will meet the remaining third of the costs. Direct contributions have been agreed with some of the key beneficiaries along the route, with property company Canary Wharf Group making a ‘significant contribution’. It will be responsible for building the Isle of Dogs station in Docklands. The City of London Corporation will make a contribution from its own funds, and will ‘assist in delivering additional voluntary contributions’ from the largest London businesses. Operator of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports BAA plc has also agreed in principle to make a financial contribution. The parliamentary bill to secure powers for construction is expected to receive Royal Assent in summer 2008, with enabling works to begin the following year and construction in full swing by 2010. When Royal Assent is received, Transport for London will become the sole owner of Cross London Rail Links Ltd, the project promoter which is currently a joint venture between TfL and the national Department for Transport. TfL will let the operating concession, and will be responsible for setting the timetable and service standards. TfL sees Crossrail’s key role as relieving London Underground, particularly the small-profile Central Line, while Mayor Ken Livingstone’s statements have focused on the Heathrow Airport — City of London — Docklands axis. With TfL aiming to provide a common high-frequency service standard across all modes in London, integration with existing commuter flows into Paddington and Liverpool Street stations is likely to prove a significant issue. Freight operators have already expressed concern over the potential loss of capacity.Crossrail in detail Crossrail will provide an east-west heavy rail link across central London, bringing commuters into central London without the need to change onto crowded Underground services at mainline termini, and providing faster access between the financial districts and Heathrow Airport. At the heart of Crossrail are twin 6 m diameter tunnels which will be bored from Paddington station in the west across central London with six underground stations. Services will link Maidenhead to the west of London with Shenfield in the east, with a western branch to Heathrow Airport and an eastern branch to Abbey Wood. From Maidenhead to Paddington the trains will follow the existing Great Western Main Line, while east of Stratford the trains will use the Great Eastern Main Line. The branch from Whitechapel will serve the business area of Canary Wharf before tunnelling under the Thames to connect with the Southeastern network at Abbey Wood. In the longer term services are likely to be extended west to Reading, and an extension at the eastern end to connect with High Speed 1 at Ebbsfleet has featured in previous plans. The total route length is 118·5 km, which will be electrified at 25 kV AC 50 Hz. While Crossrail will be built to a UK mainline loading gauge, Cross London Rail Links has confirmed it will not be suitable for double-deck stock because the increased cost of tunnelling and rebuilding existing lines would be disproportionate to the extra capacity gained. A dedicated fleet of trains will be acquired, with the first services expected to run in 2017 and ramping up incrementally over 12 months. DfT says the line will bring an additional 15 million people within 60 min of London’s key business areas and ‘be commercially self-sustaining once operational’, carrying a predicted 200 million passengers a year.last_img read more

New Voltage Variable Attenuators from 400 MHz to 6 GHz

first_imgFairview Microwave has introduced a new line of Voltage Variable Attenuators (VVAs) that operate from 400 MHz to 6 GHz with a 60 dB attenuation range. RF components used in most communications systems today, require power levels to be precise in order to achieve peak performance. To achieve  this the attenuation needs to be fine-tuned in order to make-up for fluctuations in received signal levels or to best match the input power into a sensitive circuit. These new PIN diode-based VVAs deliver accurate control and broadband flatness, allowing the output level to be continuously adjusted by changing analog voltage on the input control line.  They are ideal for use with variable gain amplifiers, power level control, feed-forward amplifiers and automatic level control (ALC) circuits.The product line comprises of six models that support frequencies from 400 MHz to 18 GHz while providing a low insertion loss and a wide dynamic range. The modules display exceptional VSWR over all attenuation levels and CW input power is rated up to +23 dBm. Rugged coaxial packaged assemblies are designed to meet MIL-STD-202 environmental test conditions that include Humidity, Shock, and Vibration.The new voltage variable attenuators are in-stock and ready to ship from Fairview. Click here for more information.last_img read more

Blood, sweat and swabs: UFC seeks safe shows in pandemic

first_img SUBSCRIBE TO US Last Updated: 8th May, 2020 11:09 IST Blood, Sweat And Swabs: UFC Seeks Safe Shows In Pandemic Even before they check in to the hotel, every fighter, coach, cameraman, journalist and UFC employee arriving in Jacksonville, Florida, is immediately directed to a screening station. Their temperatures are taken, and their fingers are pricked for a coronavirus antibody test. Written By Even before they check in to the hotel, every fighter, coach, cameraman, journalist and UFC employee arriving in Jacksonville, Florida, is immediately directed to a screening station. Their temperatures are taken, and their fingers are pricked for a coronavirus antibody test.And then comes the part that reduces even the world’s most fearsome cage fighters to squirming schoolchildren: a long swab is pushed deep into the back of their nasal cavities.“That thing in the nose, that was the second time I did it, and it wasn’t good at all,” laughed 6-foot-4, 255-pound Francis Ngannou, who will fight fellow heavyweight title contender Jair Rozenstruik on the main card at UFC 249 on Saturday night.“It’s too weird. I think I’d rather take a punch than take that.”These unique conditions required the UFC to come up with unprecedented health and safety precautions. They’re collected in a 25-page document written over the past six weeks by the UFC’s executives and physicians.With no blueprint for keeping athletes safe while they compete amid a pandemic, the UFC consulted regulatory officials and outside experts to develop its protocols. They were also helped by Jeffrey Davidson, the UFC’s chief physician, who had already dealt with COVID-19 cases in his other job as head of the emergency department at Valley Hospital in Las Vegas.The work was done remotely, since the people in charge of figuring out a way for fighters to compete safely couldn’t work in the same room safely.“We know we’ve got a great plan in place,” UFC chief operating office Lawrence Epstein said. “I’m sure we’ll learn something about how we can do things better or differently or more efficiently, but the key is making sure everything is proceeding as scheduled and trying to figure out whether or not there are ways we can enhance things, or become more efficient. We’ll be keeping a close eye on everything that happens, and we’ll see how things go. But so far, so good.”The UFC stages shows around the globe each year, and the promotion has plenty of experience in dealing with each location’s unique rules, or creating new testing protocols for everything from HIV to doping.That experience provided a framework, but the UFC still had to fill it in with details. Their guiding principles were minimization of the size of their endeavor, along with constant social distancing — except inside the cage, of course.The UFC has trimmed the number of people involved in running an MMA show to an absolute minimum — less than half of the usual 300-plus people, according to Epstein. The promotion also required everyone involved to adhere to isolation and strict social distancing standards whenever possible for the entire week, both in the hotel and in VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.Everybody working the event, even perhaps some referees, will be wearing masks and gloves. The cage floor, inevitably sprinkled with sweat and blood, is supposed to be disinfected constantly.The broadcast crew will sit apart from each other at three different tables. Joe Rogan won’t conduct his traditional post-fight interviews in the octagon, with the fighters instead putting on a sanitized headset backstage after leaving the cage. Even people working in the broadcast trucks at the pay-per-view event will be separated by plastic barriers and social distancing practices.After the initial testing this week, everyone was asked to isolate in their hotel rooms until the results of the nasal swab test were received. Everyone receives a temperature check each morning for their entire time in Jacksonville, and they’re required to wear masks at all times in public. The fighters practice, train and cut weight in individual workout areas within the hotel.Even with all this diligence, the UFC realizes it’s attempting an enormously difficult task. A positive test for an asymptomatic person is quite possible, given the number of people involved in even this scaled-down show.“We’re doing the best we can,” Epstein said. “We think we’ve put together a plan that’s really strong on the health and safety standpoints, that’s really the most important thing that we think about every day. We’re really hopeful that we’re going to be able to limit those opportunities (for infection), and if they happen, we’re going to isolate people and get them out of the overall operation so we don’t compromise anything.”After these three shows in Jacksonville, White wants the UFC to resume competition in Las Vegas starting on May 23 at the company’s performance institute, which includes an octagon where it films various television shows. Epstein said the UFC has already opened a dialogue with Nevada’s athletic commission and the governor’s office to be ready if the state decides to allow fighting to go on.“One of the things that’s exciting about Nevada is expanded testing and local processing of tests, which should be coming online relatively soon,” Epstein said. “So when that is in place, we’re going to be able to easily do same-day testing, and that’s going to be a great opportunity to make sure that not just the athletes, but everybody involved has not been exposed to COVID-19.” WATCH US LIVE Associated Press Television News center_img COMMENT LIVE TV First Published: 8th May, 2020 11:09 IST FOLLOW USlast_img read more