IK Brunel

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lincolnshire

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Wonder what he would have made of the delays to the electrification of his railway system then? and what he would have made of Network Rail?
 

HowardGWR

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Wonder what he would have made of the delays to the electrification of his railway system then? and what he would have made of Network Rail?
He'd be too busy gazing from one end of Box tunnel to the other (from west to east) at dawn.
 

Trog

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Wonder what he would have made of the delays to the electrification of his railway system then? and what he would have made of Network Rail?

On the delays I would guess his thoughts would be on the lines of nothing changes. As for Network Rail as a individualist he would probably hate it, the big question is after one meeting too many would he use his pistol on the chairman of the meeting or himself.
 

ainsworth74

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Wonder what he would have made of the delays to the electrification of his railway system then?

He would wonder why it took until July 2009 for the scheme to be authorised when the technology and its benefits have been well known for decades. He would then wonder why on earth time is being wasted listening to the concerns of people in places like Bath and Goring.
 

HowardGWR

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He would wonder why it took until July 2009 for the scheme to be authorised when the technology and its benefits have been well known for decades. He would then wonder why on earth time is being wasted listening to the concerns of people in places like Bath and Goring.

Ooh, that's a bit unfair to IKB. His structures were mostly very sympathetic to the local scene, including use of materials, such as at St Annes Park tunnel western face 'degradation' and also the round stone feature apple and pear 'follies'.
 

route:oxford

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Wonder what he would have made of the delays to the electrification of his railway system then? and what he would have made of Network Rail?

He would no doubt vigorously attack the lefties who feel that the state can do a better job at running the railway than he could and would have electrified the core route to Bristol and Birmingham in the 50s...

Right now, as an engineer he would be replacing the upright element of the gantry (poles?), where they would be effective, with a taller member that could support a wind turbine and across the horizontal gantries would be solar panels pumping Mw back into the National grid.

Protestors wearing anti-capitalism masks would be outside the GWR offices in Reading on daily basis campaigning against his plans for a massive underground pump-storage hydro-electric facility in the Chilterns, in Wales and the Severn Tidal Barage...
 

Busaholic

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Protestors wearing anti-capitalism masks would be outside the GWR offices in Reading on daily basis campaigning against his plans for a massive underground pump-storage hydro-electric facility in the Chilterns

As opposed to the Chiltern residents complaining that their £4 million estates would be undermined by HS2?<(
 

LeeLivery

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He would no doubt vigorously attack the lefties who feel that the state can do a better job at running the railway than he could and would have electrified the core route to Bristol and Birmingham in the 50s...

I don't think any "leftie" is saying that. People only want nationalisation because the way it was privitisated has been a disgrace. If it was privitisated in 1996 back to the way it was in the era of Brunel (with some state regulation of course), the railways, possibly, would have been better off and hardly anyone would want nationalisation because the system would already work well.
 

gimmea50anyday

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Agreed, going back to the regions being north eastern, midland, north western, western all centred on the respective trunk mainlines, southern, scottish and a combined and re-expanded crosscountry TPE and LIV-Norwich. Local stuff around the major cities managed and integrated as (and better than) now for birmingham, manchester, leeds, glasgow and Newcastle

Well, we all have our ideas how it should be done.....
 

HowardGWR

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Brunel would not be mucking about with railways. It would be the global hyperloop or the space-time warp to that exo-planet we haven't discovered yet.
 

Master29

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One thing he would note is how the GWR has hardly changed (barring Dr Beeching) since his time
 

DarloRich

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how can we tell what a man from a different age would make of our world today. That is before we even talk about the railway system which functions in a very different environment.

Would a man like him who was clearly ahead of his time ( even if he picked the wrong gauge ;) ) be messing about with an old technology like railways? Would he not be on the very cutting edge of technology?
 

3141

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how can we tell what a man from a different age would make of our world today. That is before we even talk about the railway system which functions in a very different environment.

Would a man like him who was clearly ahead of his time ( even if he picked the wrong gauge ;) ) be messing about with an old technology like railways? Would he not be on the very cutting edge of technology?

Dead right - we've almost no idea how someone from the past would think about today. We might make guesses about what a person with the ability and character of Brunel, with a 21st-century knowledge, would try to do. NASA; Silicon Valley mixed with advanced biochemistry....?

But if he was "ahead of his time". what time do you think he belonged to?
 

BestWestern

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Dead right - we've almost no idea how someone from the past would think about today. We might make guesses about what a person with the ability and character of Brunel, with a 21st-century knowledge, would try to do. NASA; Silicon Valley mixed with advanced biochemistry....?

But if he was "ahead of his time". what time do you think he belonged to?

Or, none of the above.

Brunel was an engineer, in an age where the future was simply pushing the physical boundaries of what could be constructed, and where. A truly brilliant mind, but a very different one to the scientists and computer whizzes of today. Technology now is so very different; we don't have engineers who think in terms of steel and brick, we have computers which give them measurements from which to order their precision made components. I think it very unlikely that Brunel would find a niche for any of today's specialist fields, not here in the UK at least.

Having said all of that, I can't help but think of that Brunelian mix of bonkers and genius when I look at a hovercraft :D
 

DerekC

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Or, none of the above.

Brunel was an engineer, in an age where the future was simply pushing the physical boundaries of what could be constructed, and where. A truly brilliant mind, but a very different one to the scientists and computer whizzes of today. Technology now is so very different; we don't have engineers who think in terms of steel and brick, we have computers which give them measurements from which to order their precision made components. I think it very unlikely that Brunel would find a niche for any of today's specialist fields, not here in the UK at least.

Having said all of that, I can't help but think of that Brunelian mix of bonkers and genius when I look at a hovercraft :D

I am not at all sure that the "construction centred" view is right. Railways happened because of advances in metallurgy and mechanical engineering, primarily. The construction capability had existed since the days of canals (discounting the Romans). So Brunel's genius (actually I think George and Robert S between them were better at it technically) was to see how this scientific advance could be used and having the vision and drive to create the means of delivery - generating markets and user needs where none had existed before. Sound familiar? I agree that he wouldn't be worrying about railways, but he would fit in really well as a kind of technical entrepreneur. Might even be running a rival to Apple.
 

TheKnightWho

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Or, none of the above.

Brunel was an engineer, in an age where the future was simply pushing the physical boundaries of what could be constructed, and where. A truly brilliant mind, but a very different one to the scientists and computer whizzes of today. Technology now is so very different; we don't have engineers who think in terms of steel and brick, we have computers which give them measurements from which to order their precision made components. I think it very unlikely that Brunel would find a niche for any of today's specialist fields, not here in the UK at least.

Having said all of that, I can't help but think of that Brunelian mix of bonkers and genius when I look at a hovercraft :D

Materials science is a field today that develops many new and interesting things...
 

Taunton

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One thing he would note is how the GWR has hardly changed (barring Dr Beeching) since his time
Actually Beeching's period was just when Gerry Fiennes was General Manager of the WR at Paddington, and if you read his book you find that not only does he make several references to following in noble footsteps, but launched all sorts of higher speed service initiatives which was the start of moving the service from occasional expresses to a regular interval, higher speed operation, which Brunel would doubtless have supported.

Regarding Box Tunnel, has nobody yet stood at the west end at sunrise on April 9 and seen whether the sun really does shine through. It must be about 60 years since someone first wrote in a train magazine's letters page that they thought it was possible.
 
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Master29

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Actually Beeching's period was just when Gerry Fiennes was General Manager of the WR at Paddington, and if you read his book you find that not only does he make several references to following in noble footsteps, but launched all sorts of higher speed service initiatives which was the start of moving the service from occasional expresses to a regular interval, higher speed operation, which Brunel would doubtless have supported.

Regarding Box Tunnel, has nobody yet stood at the west end at sunrise on April 9 and seen whether the sun really does shine through. It must be about 60 years since someone first wrote in a train magazine's letters page that they thought it was possible.

Very true but the line structure hasn`t really changed much.
 

DarloRich

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Brunel was an engineer, in an age where the future was simply pushing the physical boundaries of what could be constructed, and where.

but is that not still the case? surely cutting edge engineering at the boundaries of knowledge still goes on. Today railways are a mature technology but during the time of Brunel they were new and exciting and very much on the cutting edge of knowledge.


A truly brilliant mind, but a very different one to the scientists and computer whizzes of today. Technology now is so very different; we don't have engineers who think in terms of steel and brick, we have computers which give them measurements from which to order their precision made components. I think it very unlikely that Brunel would find a niche for any of today's specialist fields, not here in the UK at least.


But his education and background would be very different. You would hope a man of his skill, talent and vision would be attracted to one of the current fields of engineering. While they might not be deployed in quite the same as in his day many of the same skills are still needed but are enhanced by modern technology

But if he was "ahead of his time". what time do you think he belonged to?

no idea but his achievements in civil engineering, railways and shipping are incredible when judged against his period of life.

I am not sure what he would have thought about the Brunel Centre in Bletchley mind. Perhaps he had connections to the area <(
 
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