Preparing for the Social Media Train

In preparation for the Social Media Train, I conducted a signal test on the Barnsley-Huddersfield stretch of the Penistone Railway line on 14th December 2009.

This was in no way a scientific test. I simply took the three different devices I normally carry around with me and watched their signal meters. The devices were:

• Apple iPhone 3G on the O2 Network
• Blackberry Bold 900 on Vodafone
• Nokia N95 on Three

I recorded every time the signal changed on at least one device, plus I recorded the state of the signal at each station. It could well be that the Network performance was affected by the properties of the different devices.

Nevertheless, this test suggests that the idea of getting some sponsored mifis connected to the Three network for the Social Media Train could offer us the best prospect of connectivity.

All three devices had different methods of recording the signal, and not all were able to distinguish between HDSPA and 3G, or Edge and GPRS, so I have used the broad categories of 3G, GPRS, GSM, and no signal, although there may have been gradations between these.

Time

Station

Three

Vodafone

02

17:03

Barnsley

3G

3G

3G

17:05

 

3G

No signal

3G

17:06

 

3G

3G

3G

17:09

 

3G

GPRS

3G

17:10

Dodworth

3G

GPRS

3G

17:12

 

3G (weak)

No signal

GPRS

17:13

Silkstone Common

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:17

 

3G

GPRS (weak)

GPRS

17:19

 

3G (weak)

No signal

GSM

17:20

 

No signal

No signal

No signal

17:22

 

GPRS

No signal

No signal

17:23

 

GPRS

GPRS (weak)

No signal

17:25

 

GPRS

GPRS

GPRS

17:26

Penistone

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:28

 

3G

GSM

No signal

17:29

 

3G

GPRS

No signal

17:30

 

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:32

Denby Dale

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:33

(Tunnel)

No signal

No signal

No signal

17:34

 

3G

No signal

No signal

17:35

 

3G

No signal

GPRS

17:36

Shepley

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:40

Stocksmoor

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:41

(Tunnel)

No signal

No signal

No signal

17:43

 

3G

No signal

3G

17:44

Brockholes

3G

GPRS (weak)

3G (weak)

17:45

 

3G

GPRS (weak)

GPRS

17:46

 

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:47

Honley

3G

GPRS

GPRS

17:49

 

3G

3G

GPRS

17:50

Berry Brow

3G

3G

3G

17:51

 

3G

GPRS

3G

17:52

Lockwood

3G

3G

3G

17:55

(Tunnel)

3G

No signal

GSM

17:56

Huddersfield

3G

3G

3G

The Social Media Train?

Sheff01

This is a fanciful idea at the moment, but it may come to fruition.

The idea is this. To coincide (roughly) with the opening of the new station bar at Sheffield station (after a 40-year break without one) in December, we run a Social Media Train on the Penistone Line between Sheffield and Huddersfield.

The Penistone line is a beautiful scenic railway, which wends through Pennine countryside. But, I hate it, for three reasons:

1. It takes an hour and 20 minutes for a journey which, by road, is 26 miles and can be driven, at off-peak times in 40 minutes

2. It is populated by some of the oldest, dirtiest, most uncomfortable, rolling stock on the UK rail system; and

3. Although it runs through beautiful countryside – after dark, this benefit is lost completely, and, as much of the journey is through areas with no lighting, you can sit there for ages not being able to see anything outside the train. The experience of sitting on a dirty, rattling train, hurtling through total darkness, is what has led me to call it the Ghost Train.

HPIM0671

The Penistone Line Partnership does a great job of making life a little better for the people who use the line, running music and beer trains on a regular basis. My idea (which is not really my idea, but taken from an original concept of @timdifford ) is that we run either a Social Media Surgery, or, perhaps a Social Media Cafe on the train one evening in December.

My concept was that we do this on the 18:36 from Sheffield; returning on the 20:13 from Huddersfield, and finishing up in the new Sheffield station bar.

Brockholes Station

What do YOU think?