Watching robots build motor cars

Last week members of the Camberley & District Probus Club were guests of a Jaguar Experience manufacturing tour of the Jaguar production facility in Castle Bromwich.

It’s riveting to watch robots build a motor car, in this case a Jaguar F-Type sports car. I say riveting because that’s what some of the robots were engaged in doing, using rivets to join aluminium panels together. The process was quiet as was, suprisingly, the whole factory. The most noise that was heard came from the horns of the electric fork lift trucks warning us to get out otf their way while they were delivering parts to the production line.

My first two employers were Midlands-based ‘metal bashers’, hence my dodgy hearing. No such thing as ear defenders then while having a conversation on a factory floor next to 400 ton Press Brakes.

The Castle Bromwich factory was built in the late 1930’s and became the shadow manufacturing site for Spitfire aircraft, producing 12,000 of them during the war. Parts of the original factory remain, including the piers at the site entrance.

Five of the top 10 highest revenue flight routes are from Heathrow

Travel data firm OAG has released its list of airline routes that make the most money around the world.  Forbes, the American business magazine Forbes,has reported on OAG’s data in their article, These Are The Airline Routes That Make The Most Money,

It makes interesting reading, reporting that London Heathrow features in five of the top 10 routes that last year generated the most revenue.

Top of the list is the billion dollar route between New York and London.

  1. British Airways New York JFK to London Heathrow: $1.16 billion
  2. Qantas Airways Melbourne to Sydney, $861 million
  3. Emirates London Heathrow to Dubai, $796 million
  4. Singapore Airlines London Heathrow to Singapore, $736 million
  5. United Airlines San Francisco to Newark, $689 million
  6. American Airlines Los Angeles LAX to New York JFK, $662 million
  7. Qatar Airways London Heathrow to Doha, $639 million
  8. Cathay Pacific Airways Hong Kong to London Heathrow, $605 million
  9. Singapore Airlines Sydney to Singapore, $550 million
  10. Air Canada Vancouver to Toronto Pearson, $541 million

Throngs of happy tourists in central London

Yesterday I journed to central London, primarily to attend the AGM of Prudential plc, and afterwards to become a tourist.

The Board of Prudential plc presented an excellent report of trading for the last financial year, after which attendees enjoyed a small stand-up lunch, and had the opportunity to talk to the board members, both of which yours truly took advantage of.

I wandered round Parliament Square, up Whitehall, past the Treasury, past Horse Guards Parade, into the Mall, then into Trafalgar Square, finally ending with a short visit to the National Gallery.

Parliament Square was populated with tourists, as was St James’s Park, and Trafalgar Square. With warm sunshine to accompany their tourisical adventures, happy faces abounded, including mine too. There’s so much to see in these parts of central London.

I did get to sit in front of Seurat’s painting of The Bathers in the National Gallery, though not for long. It was like meeting an old friend. Here are a few of photos of my tourist adventure.

Lightwater Business Association business networking evening tomorrow

As a past Lightwater Business Association member I continue to receive invitations from them. Here’s one such,

For business owners in Lightwater and neighbouring areas

The Lightwater Business Association [LBA] is holding a Business Networking evening on Tuesday 19th March 2019, 6.00pm – 8.00pm, at Red Lion Pub, Guildford Road, Lightwater.

To attend please RSVP: networking@lightwaterbusiness.co.uk

For the 19th March 2019 networking evening we have new LBA member Thomas Prout from Workflow Document Solutions to give us a brief presentation about ‘Managed Print Services for Small Business’

At the January 2019 meeting we got so pre-occupied with eating Pizza and drinking fine wine  hosted by Tony at Adriatico that we did not have time to do the quick fire 3 minute learning session.

The Tax Year end is approaching so we will have a  quick fire Tax Tips session delivered by Mike Loughton of Sir Tax Accountants Limited. I am sure all agree that 3 minutes is more than enough time to hear about Tax issues so hopefully it’s kept within the designated time.

If you’ve not attended one of our business networking evenings before, here’s what you can now expect:

  • Over complimentary drinks and snacks we will start the evening with friendly and relaxed open networking.
  • Everyone will do a 20-30 second introduction of themselves and their business to the group
  • 10 Minute Guest speaker presentation and Q&A.
  • 3 Minute Quick-Fire Learning & News Item.
  • Finally, we’ll round-up the evening with more informal networking.

Quick Reminder to Members
The LBA Networking Evenings are a benefit of your membership, and members can bring a non-member guest free to introduce the LBA to them. So, don’t forget to bring a business friend if you’d like to!

For Non-Members
We love to meet new business people from Lightwater and the surrounding areas and we welcome you to come and try a couple of our networking evenings free of charge. It’s a great way to meet LBA members – local business people just like you – and to find out more about the LBA, who we are and what we do. If you’re then interested, we’d love you to join as a member to benefit from what’s available to members.

For all attendees
Please make the most of the event and feel free to bring business cards and promotional literature / offers you might like to share with the group.

Can’t make 19th March 2019 meeting but want to attend another LBA networking evening event?
All dates will be published on our Facebook page and our Website, so please check them regularly.
2019 dates for your diary follow:
Tuesday 19th March 2019
Monday 13th May 2019
Tuesday 2rd July 2019
Tuesday 10th September 2019
Tuesday 12th November 2019

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 19th March 2019 at The Red Lion Pub in Lightwater.

P.P.S. If membership is not for you please do remember to still add your FREE listing on the Website. So, don’t miss out, be seen and found by the community in our FREE Directory.

Additional film studios needed in the UK

Apropos my previous article on filming in Surrey Heath, maybe, just maybe, there’s an opportunity to attract a film studio complex into Surrey Heath and adjacent boroughs.

I write this as in my googling about the film set in Deepcut Bridge Road, I came across articles, such as this one in the Guardian – Netflix hunts long-term UK production base amid race for studios – about the need for additional film studio capacity in the UK.

So, why not us in this part of Surrey.

Perhaps we’re too late, as City A.M. report Netflix in advanced talks to make Pinewood Studios its UK production hub.

Surrey Heath Council attend Revo Manchester, plus Be Inspired video

Surrey Heath Borough Council [SHBC] announce their attendance at Revo Manchester on 18-20th September that offers opportunities to connect and do business with experts from the diverse retail property and placemaking community. See SHBC’s Be Inspired video at end of press release.

The regeneration of Camberley is bringing a revitalised place to one of the most affluent catchments in the South East of England.

Led by a forward-thinking management team and elected members, Surrey Heath Borough Council (SHBC) has invested £140 million into Camberley to drive regeneration and economic growth.

SHBC will be attending Revo Manchester, 18 – 20 September 2018, Manchester Central.  Visit us on stand number 84.

Karen Whelan, Chief Executive, Surrey Heath Borough Council said:  “SHBC’s significant regeneration projects in Camberley are driving prosperity in the town and creating a vibrant place for our local communities to enjoy.   The regeneration work is also creating exceptional new commercial opportunities. Come and see us at Revo to find out more.”

Cllr Richard Brooks, Deputy Leader, Surrey Heath Borough Council said: “We are looking forward to attending the Revo exhibition next week to provide an update on the substantial progress that has been made on Camberley’s regeneration projects.  These projects are transforming the town and creating a great place for our local communities and businesses.”

SHBC’s investments have already seen the unique acquisition of The Square shopping centre, commencing its refurbishment programme within the first year of ownership.  Followed by an ambitious set of projects to improve the roads, pavements and street scene.  A redundant office building has also been purchased to create 116 high quality town centre apartments with proposals to re-deliver new business space.

SHBC is also currently in the process of sourcing an innovative developer partner for the London Road site.  Situated fronting the London Road, opposite the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the 5.5-acre site has the potential to create a mixed-use development.

The regeneration work is supported by a comprehensive events programme, grant schemes for independent businesses and cultural and enrichment projects to ensure Camberley is a key destination and experience.

Be involved

  • 19 September 11:30am – 12:30pm, Cinema: Karen Whelan, CEO, SHBC will be participating in the panel discussion ‘Are shops killing the High Street?’
  • 19 September 4pm – 5pm, Stand 84.  Camberley drinks reception. Join us for a glass of Stovells’ Wild-crafted Gin, an artisan gin produced within Surrey Heath in Chobham.  Talk to Officers and Members from SHBC about Camberley and the opportunities available.

Find out more www.camberleybeinspired.com

Watch our ‘Camberley Be Inspired’ short film

Rail investment means half of all rolling stock to be new within two years

Here’s a good news story about UK rail that’s contrary to the currently widely held view that the UK rail industry is a disaster.

Notwithstanding the debacle of new time table introduction by some train operators, more than 50% of the rolling stock – engines and carriages – will be new by March 2021.

In the report on the Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry sixth edition March 2018 by the Rail Delivery Group, is this, which I’ve taken from the excellent blog post The new trains dilemma (what to do with the old ones) by Paul Bigland.

” The number of new vehicles committed for delivery in the five-year period that commenced in April 2014 (CP5) and in the early years of CP6 is now 7,187 – more than 50% of the current in-service fleet of 14,025. These new vehicles have a capital cost of more than £13 billion, and around 50% will be built in Britain. The average age of the national fleet is estimated to fall from 21 years to 15 years by March 2021, while the numbers of vehicles in service will grow by 6% next year and by a further 5% to 13% by 2024″

For you edification, The Rail Delivery Group ‘is formed of representatives from rolling stock owners, train operators, Rail Delivery Group and infrastructure owner Network Rail, and endeavours to provide an up-to-date, balanced and well-informed perspective on the long term outlook for passenger rolling stock in the UK.’

The Rolling Stock Strategy report is over 50 pages, densely packed with a situation analysis, tables, and conclusions. In the report there are a few of things of interest,

  • In paragraph 90 of the report states – Beyond the commercial risks and issues arising from the displacement, there are also a number of operational issues the industry must address and manage, including: Storage: To place c.4000 displaced vehicles in storage would require over 52 miles of storage sidings – a resource no longer available on the UK network. Owners will manage the handling of their vehicles once they come off lease, but this figure gives scope to just one facet of that task. It is clear that owners will need to balance options including disposal, sale or storage in accordance with their business plans, but there are significant logistical as well as commercial challenges.
  • Electrifying the whole rail network is not now considered an aim in England and Wales, see para 51.
  • In paras 67 and 68 the report discusses alternative power options coming from hydrogen cells, batteries, and bi-mode operation [electric and diesel engines].
  • All British Rail rolling stock will be superceded within two years.
  • There’s a move to having self powered rolling stock rather than having engines.

So, all in all, the scene for the UK rail industry is positive, as long as the train operators can sort out timetabling issues.