Flying Scotsman on London King’s Cross to York run

“Flying Scotsman on London King’s Cross to York run”, BBC News, 26 February 2016


Flying Scotsman on London King’s Cross to York run

Flying Scotsman in York
Image caption Flying Scotsman arrives in York later than planned

One of the world’s most famous locomotives has completed its inaugural run after a decade-long, £4.2m refit.

The Flying Scotsman made the journey from London King’s Cross to York, where it will go on display at the National Railway Museum (NRM).

It arrived in York about 13.20 GMT, almost an hour later than expected, after it was twice held up by reports of trespassers.

The engine, which retired from service in 1963, has been restored for the NRM.

Follow the Flying Scotsman’s progress on our live page

Former MP turned TV presenter Michael Portillo, said: “This is certainly the most famous journey and most famous locomotive in Britain.”

Media captionAerial footage shows the locomotive racing north on its return to the tracks
Flying ScotsmanImage copyright PA
Image caption The Flying Scotsman passed over the Digswell Viaduct near Welwyn Garden City on its inaugural run from London to York
Flying ScotsmanImage copyright PA
Flying ScotsmanImage copyright PA
Flying Scotsman passes through Potters BarImage copyright PA
Image caption Flying Scotsman passing through Potters Bar

The first disruption happened at about 09:00 near St Neots when the train was brought to a standstill while British Transport Police cleared the lines after reports of around 60 people on the track. No arrests were made.

Network Rail said the number of people on the trackside had caused “safety concerns” and resulted in a number of services, including Flying Scotsman, having to slow down.”

The train was halted a second time north of Doncaster following reports of trespassers on the track which were later found to be false.

Media captionFlying Scotsman: Guard shouts at trespassers as train halted near St Neots
People on train track
Image caption The locomotive’s journey was halted for about five minutes by people trying to see the Flying Scotsman
Spectators taking photos of Flying ScotsmanImage copyright Graham Eva

Crowds gathered at King’s Cross for its scheduled departure at 07:40 and thousands lined the route, while some of the 297 passengers paid up to £450 for a ticket to travel on the train.

Among the passengers was 83-year-old Ron Kennedy, from Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex, who drove Flying Scotsman from 1956 until it was retired in 1963.

He said “It’s unbelievable. I never dreamt about being on it again. To be out with it is just fantastic.”

Crowds gather at York stationImage copyright National Railway Museum
Image caption Huge crowds gathered at York station to see the locomotive arrive
Flying Scotsman leaving King's CrossImage copyright PA
Image caption The Flying Scotsman left King’s Cross at 07:40 GMT to begin its journey to York

NRM director, Paul Kirkman, said the restoration project was a “long old journey” but added that it was “incredibly satisfying” to see the locomotive returned to service.

The locomotive undertook a series of test runs through Cumbria and Lancashire earlier this year.

Flying Scotsman

Flying Scotsman info graphic
  • Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, Flying Scotsman emerged from Doncaster Works on 24 February 1923
  • The British Empire Exhibition in 1924 made Flying Scotsman famous
  • In 1934, Scotsman was clocked at 100mph – officially the first locomotive to have reached that speed. But some claim City of Truro was the first steam engine to break the 100mph record, in 1904, when it apparently reached a speed of 102mph running down a slope
  • It is 70ft (21m) long, weighs about 96 tonnes and had a top speed of 100mph
  • It has travelled approximately 2,500,000 miles
  • During World War Two it was repainted wartime black
  • By 1995 it was part-owned by record producer Pete Waterman
  • The engine was bought for the nation in 2004 by the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York using £415,000 in public donations, a £365,000 gift from Sir Richard Branson and a £1.8m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund

A workman paints the number 60103 on the cab of the Flying Scotsman while being watched by his daughter and colleagueImage copyright PA
Image caption The famous locomotive was painted in its traditional green livery last week, marking the end of a decade-long restoration project

National Cat Day – Japan


These are the amazing things you can do in Japan on Cat Day

  • 5 hours ago
  • From the section Asia
Cats crowd the harbour on Aoshima Island in the Ehime prefecture in southern Japan February 25, 2015Image copyright Reuters

Are you a cat person? If so, Japan is the place to be on 22 February because this is when Cat Day is celebrated.

Now in its 30th year, Cat Day has lit up Japanese social media with endless portraits of …cats as well as cat-themed doughnuts, cat-shaped biscuits, cat manga, cats staring soulfully out of windows, kittens mewing expectantly and so on. On this day it is Japan’s hugest trend on social media.

What happens on Cat Day?

Known as “Neko no Hi”, it was chosen because the date’s numerals, 2/22 (ni ni ni), are pronounced fairly closely to the sound a cat makes in Japan (nyan nyan nyan).

You can play tricks on your cat

Picture of Twitter user RitzChan's catImage copyright Twitter / @RitzChan_
Image caption This Twitter user pranked a sleeping pet cat which woke up to find itself buried under an avalanche of toy mice
Tweet by @HirokiAsai_0201 of his catImage copyright Twitter / @HirokiAsai_0201
Image caption Another user felt the need to get close to his pet on Cat Day

You can dress up as a cat

Tweet by @yancoromarch on Cat DayImage copyright Twitter / @yancoromarch
Image caption One famous cosplayer who donned cat ears was Yancoromarch

Enthusiasts of cosplay, the art of dressing up like animated characters, posted pictures of themselves dressed as cats, or wearing “nekomimi” (cat’s ears).

You can make food look like cats

Tweet by @_HO_TA_TE_ on cat-shaped onigiri ballsImage copyright Twitter / @_HO_TA_TE_
Image caption Some have celebrated by making cat-shaped food, like rice balls

You can monetise cats

Over the years the day has become a commercial success, with shops and businesses releasing cat-themed items.

Tweet by @ikumi_mama on special donuts for Cat DayImage copyright Twitter / @ikumi_mama
Image caption Ikumi Mama, a bakery known for producing animal-shaped pastries, released a special set of cat doughnuts
Tweet by @nekokeizai on Kaldi Coffee FarmImage copyright Twitter / @nekokeizai
Image caption Kaldi Coffee Farm, which sells coffee and imported foods, released a special cat-themed bag for the day, including tea, biscuits and a calendar

Disney in Japan declared the day to be “Marie Day,” after the young female character from the Aristocats, while newspaper Asahi Shimbun marked the occasion with a special report from one of Japan’s cat cafes, where you can sit for an hour or two in the company of numerous pampered and purring moggies.

Tweet by @bonjour_licca on Cat DayImage copyright Twitter/ @bonjour_licca
Image caption Japan’s answer to Barbie, Licca-chan, added her take on the day with a catty outfit

How did it start?

The event began in 1987 after an Executive Cat Day Committee polled cat-lovers across Japan and decided that February 22 should be Cat Day.

Other countries also have days to celebrate cats, but few marked with as much enthusiasm as Japan’s.

Some of Japan’s celebrity cats

A cat called Tama made headlines after becoming honorary stationmaster of a train station in Wakayama prefecture. Wearing a special cat-sized stationmaster’s hat, she was a popular tourist attraction until her death in June 2015.

Tama was duly inducted into a hall of fame for the station’s train line in February 2016.

A woman tries to take a photo of 'Tama', a nine-year-old female tortoiseshell cat wearing a formal stationmaster's cap of the Wakayama Electric Railway, as the feline sits on a ticket gate at Kishi station on the Kishigawa line in the city of Kinokawa, in Wakayama prefecture on 22 May 2008.Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Tama pulled in fans and tourists till her death last year

Meanwhile, a cat called Maru became an internet sensation with a series of YouTube videos. The videos have had huge viewing figures since 2008, with one early film gaining 21.7 million views.

And then there’s Nyancat – the internet meme which features a flying cartoon cat, creating an infinite rainbow through space, set to the sound of Hatsune Miku, a “vocaloid” human-sounding synthesiser.

The original video has been viewed 131 million times.

This is probably the day to clear up a common misconception about the global phenomenon that is Hello Kitty – the white cat without a mouth first unveiled by Japanese company Sanrio in the 1970s. Not a cat, but a girl and actually British to boot.

In this 24 July 2014 file photo, a model dressing as Japanese character Hello Kitty, right, along with Hong Kong actresses Priscilla Wong, left, and Celine Yeung, second from left, pose with a new figure of Hello Kitty unveiled at the Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong, to mark the 40th anniversary of the birth of the popular Sanrio character.Image copyright AP
Image caption Hello Kitty now has her own Madame Tussauds wax figurine in Hong Kong

But what if you’re not a cat person?

Fret not. This day, 22 February, is also Ninja Day in Japan (another play on ‘two’ being pronounced as ‘ni’).

Koka city in Shiga prefecture is one of the better known places to celebrate this occasion, with town hall staff dressing as elusive assassins for the day.

Governors and mayors from Mie, Shiga, Kanagawa prefecture and former tourism agency chief Hiroshi Mizohata (first row, R) pose in ninja costumes for photos as they hold a press conference in Tokyo on 8 March 2015.Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Officials in Shiga dressed up in ninja costumes last year to promote ninja tourism

Reporting by Jordan Allen, a freelance journalist in Tokyo.

Source:  “These are the amazing things that you can do in Japan on Cat Day”, BBC News, 22 February 2016

Annual child abduction conference in London – 2016

Towards the end of last month I attended the 1 King’s Bench Walk Annual Conference on Child Abduction in London, as I did last year. It lasted most of the day so I am not going to attempt to cover everything.

The conference covered the following areas:

  • Habitual residence;
  • The 1996 Hague Convention;
  • Consent, acquiescence and settlement;
  • Article 13b, undertakings and protective measures;
  • The voice of the child;
  • Talk on behalf of Reunite by Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE;
  • Abduction and same-sex parents;
  • Finding children and getting them on the plane;
  • Tipstaff;
  • Mediation.

The talk given on behalf of the charity Reunite was by Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE, the UK’s leading child abduction solicitor. Encouragingly she said that, in relation to cases that Reunite had been involved in, they had seen increases in returns to non-Hague countries such as India, Pakistan and Thailand. Far less encouragingly, she reported that the UK’s Legal Aid Agency had denied legal aid to those wishing to effect a return of a child or children from non-Hague jurisdictions due to a lack of merit: the Agency is of the view that such cases are lacking in merit, and therefore not worthy of public funding, because even if a removal or retention can be said to be wrongful, if the country concerned is not going to enforce a return then there is no point in litigating. As Ms Hutchinson was quick to point out, that cannot be right because a parent wronged in this way must be entitled to legal recognition of that fact; the parent may return alone and the absence of a previously-made return order might mean that there is insufficient time to act on that parent’s return to press for a return of the child; and a further reason why the approach raises concern is because Commonwealth countries are more likely to recognize UK court orders. The Legal Aid Agency was also said to be of the view that the correct approach in such cases is to issue proceedings in the country concerned: Japan did not get a mention at this year’s conference but anyone knowing anything about Japan’s family law “system” will recognize that this is bordering on the pointless. Another concern that was aired at the conference and again in relation to the provision of legal aid was that legal aid is not available in “leave to remove” cases: i.e. situations where a parent applies for a court’s permission to take a child abroad – invariably to a non-Hague state – and the other parent objects meaning that a judge must decide. The absence of legal aid means that the potential left behind parent will either have to represent him or herself or pay for representation to counter the proposals being made by the other parent. Ms Hutchinson also reported that Reunite has been “busier than ever” in terms of the role that it plays in mediation, including in relation to disputes not even concerning UK children.

During the lunch break, I spoke to the QC who gave the talk on mediation. In his talk, he drew attention to an article written by the former Designated Family Judge for London, John Altman.   Judge Altman was present at the conference. The article concerns the innovation of “early neutral evaluation” as a means of resolving disputes involving children; it is distinct from arbitration although the QC noted that arbitration is now becoming available in children cases as well; he therefore pre-empted the piece on arbitration that featured as the immediately previous post on this blog.

By far the most interesting part of the day was the talk given by the High Court’s “Tipstaff”, Richard Cheesley, the “Bruce Willis” of the family law system. The Tipstaff is the High Court’s enforcement officer. Most of the Tipstaff’s work arises out of Family Division cases. His role includes executing warrants for arrest and committal to prison in relation to defaulting parents and executing location orders, collection orders and passport seizure orders in relation to children. The role of Tipstaff goes back, as the title suggests, a long way. He is the only person who can effect at arrest within the precincts of the High Court, is the Lord Chancellor’s constable and has the power to commandeer the front car of any train in England and Wales; he said that he has been in his position since the early 1990s and has not had to utilise that power. On a more serious note he spoke of the fact that the UK’s border alert system to prevent abductions taking place is nowhere near as stringent as the checks made on people coming in; that is clearly something that cannot stand.

This is an annual conference and the profits from it go to  the Reunite International charity. Please see here for a conference that is to focus more on the impact – parental and child – of international parental child abduction; it is to take place in New York later this month.  I was hoping to be able to attend it but that is not going to happen unfortunately.

Arbitration scheme to resolve private children disputes

Arbitration scheme to resolve private children disputes

11 February 2016

By Chloe Smith

Private family law disputes involving children will soon be eligible for resolution through arbitration under a scheme set up by the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators (IFLA).

The scheme, which will run from July, will allow couples to resolve disputes concerning the exercise of parental responsibility and other private law issues about child welfare.

Previously, divorcing couples were able to resolve disputes relating only to finance or property through arbitration. The scheme will be run by the IFLA, a joint venture by the Family Law Bar Association, family lawyers’ group Resolution and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Suzanne Kingston […], a partner at Withers who has been helping develop the scheme, told the Gazette that its launch follows strong judicial support and encouragement for the use of arbitration in family cases.

In a judgment handed down in 2014, the president of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, approved an award made through arbitration. In his judgment he said: ‘There is no conceptual difference between the parties making an agreement and agreeing to give an arbitrator the power to make the decision for them.’

Kingston said: ‘We felt it was appropriate to launch the scheme now we have the critical mass in relation to the number of financial arbitrators.’

She said that the scheme would cover anything in relation to child arrangements, including internal relocations, with the potential of extending this to external relocations in Hague Convention countries.

She explained that the advantage of arbitration in this area is that it is speedier than the court system, and is completely confidential.

Tony Roe, a solicitor and family law arbitrator from Tony Roe Solicitors, said the confidential nature of arbitration means it is likely to appeal to high-profile individuals and those in the public eye with family law issues.

He added: ‘The existing scheme has already gained great momentum and positive comment among the judiciary. […] The new children scheme has been long awaited and is the logical next step for family arbitration.’

Rules for the scheme are now being finalised and a series of training events is in place for both existing financial arbitrators and practitioners who have substantial experience in children work.

Source:  The Law Society Gazette, 11 February 2016