Boost technicians’ knowledge with Autoelectro

first_imgRotating electrics manufacturer Autoelectro is urging employers and technicians to improve their knowledge of fitting starter motors and alternators via its free online technical hub.It also offers a variety of useful tools and services that are designed to help the correct diagnosis of problems, as well as refining technicians’ product knowledge and providing them with useful tips.Information can be accessed by signing up free of charge, and once this is complete, users can search for the manufacturer and model, as well as engine size, year, fuel type and part type.www.autoelectro.co.uklast_img read more

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Sell coach seats globally with TripCenter

first_imgA new ‘software as a service’ offering is here, which allows coach operators to sell seats on vehicles to a global audience, and makes it easier for group travel organisers worldwide to find them. It’s called TripCenter.net, and Jessamy Chapman went to find out more If you’re a coach operator, there’s a new way for you to make contact with potential clients – not just in the UK, but globally.Complex calculations in the back-end make for a very simple and user-friendly front-endTripCenter.net is a new online platform that allows group travel organisers (GTOs) access to coach operators anywhere on Earth.It’s the brainchild of Chirag Golwala, travel tech entrepreneur and innovator, who has spent the last two-and-a-half years building it. The software as a service has been designed to address the problems GTOs face when looking for guides, driver guides or transport in other countries, and has several major benefits for coach operators.Lesley Marshall, Head of Contracting, says: “There are so many hotel websites out there and online travel agents (OTAs). But there have never been any for transport or for touring guides or driver guides.”You can google coach companies in San Diego, but you might find two if you’re lucky – others might be on page 90.” Google, she points out, doesn’t know exactly what a GTO is looking for.TripCenter.net is a hub for all tourism transport services. Clean, modern and very simple to use, it puts coach operators directly in touch with GTOs, and it’s free: There’s no charge for operators signing up, but a small commission is taken on confirmed bookings only. “The concept is partly inspired by Amazon,” says Lesley. “It’s not a broker; it puts buyers and sellers on the same platform.”You won’t be met with time-wasters, either. GTOs have to sign up too before they can use the service – and everyone using it is verified as a legitimate business by TripCenter.net. That means operators can be sure that all enquiries will be genuine and valuable, and GTOs will know that they’re booking with a real operator, not a broker.Complex back-endTripCenter.net was launched in spring, and in its first phase has already attracted guides for every country in the world, and coach operators on almost every continent. Some of the largest coach operators in Europe have signed up.Years of work have gone into making the site as easy to use as possible; while the back-end is highly complex, the interface for users is as simple as it can be. On logging into the system, operators see a ‘dashboard’ where they can check their messages, tasks and new enquiries.GTOs can search for transport by destination and create an itinerary as they go.Complex back-end calculations automatically work out how many miles a coach can realistically cover in a day, taking into account EU driving regulations and drivers’ hoursThis is where Lesley’s expertise comes in. With 30 years’ history of working in tourism and travel, including previous experience at Travelsphere and Back Roads Touring, she realises that many GTOs won’t think about the need to comply with drivers’ hours or the Working Time Directive.She says: “The algorithm of the application takes into account many complex back-end calculations, which automatically work out how many miles a coach can realistically cover in a day, taking into account EU driving regulations and drivers’ hours.”It prevents GTO users from booking trips requiring coach drivers to drive 600 miles in one day, for example. It also breaks down trips into different categories – half-day and full-day sightseeing; transfers; and long-distance journeys. For example a group being picked up at Heathrow and going for dinner before being taken to their hotel would be classed as a half-day, while Heathrow to the hotel would be a straight transfer.“It means that operators using the site are not inundated with work that’s not possible, but are receiving legitimate bookings for work they can do,” says Lesley.The other clever calculation is for VAT rates, for different countries across Europe. It’s still in development, but it will add an average tax calculation to the price of booking the coach.Security guaranteedSoon to be launched in phase three is a function to plot the finished itinerary on a map, with sightseeing stops and overnight stays marked, which can be given to drivers to help them plan their route and also be given to the client, for their information or simply as a memento.Lesley Marshall: ‘It’s a revenue-generating system that should improve utilisation’Coach operators are required to enter details of all their vehicles, so that a buyer can book that vehicle specifically; it acts, in effect, as a coach management system. Photos of the vehicle are required. For coach companies with several vehicles of the same make/model and year, it’s flexible in that not every vehicle needs to be put on the system.However, Lesley is firm that if a vehicle is booked, and then that vehicle for whatever reason can’t be used for that booking, the operator must provide one that is as good or better, in terms of seating capacity, age and specification. This in effect is a commitment by the supplier to honour the booking for which the booking agent has already paid upfront (while the money remains in an escrow account until the service is complete).The operator also inputs the range of ‘dead’ miles each vehicle can do, and there is also opportunity to extend your range to different locations; an operator in Liverpool, for example, might make themselves available for Manchester-based bookings.Dynamic systemThe system allows ‘dynamic’ pricing for coach operators; prices can be changed every day if the operator wishes (though the price is held once a booking is made), allowing for seasonal adjustments and early-bird or late-booking rates. It means late cancellations can potentially be re-sold very quickly, with dynamic pricing helping suppliers cater to demand.There is scope to use it for private hire bookings as well; already Lesley sees potential interest in the wedding market, so if you’ve got vintage buses, it’s worth putting those on the system too.Once a booking is made, a 10% deposit is taken and the remaining balance has to be paid prior to departure. The full amount due to suppliers is released on completion of the service. “This maintains high service levels, efficiency, integrity and above all, very high customer satisfaction for all service providers,” says Lesley.If users have any queries, the contact centre in London is open daily.Free global advertisingThis month an ‘on request’ facility will be made available to coach operators on the site, so they can take enquiries without committing to immediate live bookings for vehicles, giving more flexibility.That’s part of phase two, which will also enable GTOs and suppliers to contact each other through a direct message function. The emphasis is on TripCenter.net as a platform for buyers and suppliers to do business with each other – not as a middleman.“It’s a revenue-generating system that should improve utilisation for coach operators,” says Lesley. “It’s free advertising, globally, for your services.”As time goes by, TripCenter.net is only likely to grow as more coach operators see the benefit of free global advertising, and the site becomes available in many more languages. With big plans planned for phase three, and a mobile app in the pipeline, it’s definitely one to watch – and worth being involved with.last_img read more

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Stagecoach drivers raise over £26,000

first_imgDrivers from Stagecoach North East have raised £26,500 for charity, by dressing as Santa Claus while on driving duties.From Sunderland: (l-r) Andrew Ballentine and Oz McCormack (Stagecoach), Lucy King (Alzheimer’s Society), Adelle Steinberg and Jessica Remmer, Catrina Flynn (St Benedict’s Hospice) and Carl Steinberg (Stagecoach)Based at depots in South Shields, Newcastle, Sunderland, Hartlepool and Teesside, the drivers raised money for ten different charities across the region.Sunderland driver Oz McCormack, says: “The charities were chosen by the employees and offer much needed support in our local community, we are very proud to have helped them in this way.”last_img read more

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Members urged to ‘get voices heard’

first_imgCoach operator Richard Bamber is urging Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) members to join the next North Western regional meeting, on Monday 10 July at Manchester Airport.Richard Bamber: ‘We are working tirelessly to bring about effective change’Mr Bamber, who is Managing Partner of Anthony’s Travel and Chair of the CPT’s North Western region, says: “While CPT North Western is not promising to invent supersonic coach and bus travel, we are working tirelessly to bring about effective change within the industry, while continuing to represent and protect members’ best interests.”Those joining the evening event (start time: 1730hrs) will hear from former Senior Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell CBE, the Greater Manchester Police Terrorism Unit, and the CPT’s Head of Public Affairs, Pauline Gaunt OBE.Operators will also have an opportunity to view the latest Neoplan Tourliner coach including interior upholstery from the event’s sponsor, Ultrafabrics.Mr Bamber adds: “I urge all CPT members in the north west to get involved with regional meetings in order to share views and discuss best practice in order to help make a positive difference to our industry. It really is the best way to get your voices heard.”Contact Sue Mullen, CPT Regional Manager – North Western on [email protected]last_img read more

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Ravenglass railway to host Oktoberfest

first_imgRavenglass and Eskdale Railway has launched a brand new Oktoberfest event, and is encouraging coach and group tour planners to take a look.From 21-29 October, the event will celebrate German locos, food and musical entertainment, with two German Krauss-built steam engines in attendance.“The Oktoberfest event is sure to be a huge draw not only for narrow gauge enthusiasts, but for others who want to enjoy a packed day out at the railway,” says R&ER Marketing Manager, Lisa Braithwaite.“We shall be announcing other parts of the programme over the coming months, but already have some amazing German locos visiting us for our German extravaganza. This gives group tour operators and coach companies something exciting and new to include within an itinerary, or run as a day trip.“Added to this, enthusiasts will be able to see the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Preservation Society-owned ‘Train From Spain’, now called Whillan Beck, which we know has been the source of much interest within the steam world fraternity for the last few years, as the loco has undergone restoration.”Groups can be booked for travel only, or for travel plus morning coffee, snacks, hot food or afternoon tea. Contact [email protected] or visit ravenglass-railway.co.uklast_img read more

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Yutong’s UK-bound GT12 tourer breaks cover

first_imgThe GT12 is set to take Yutong into a new area of the UK market, with touring work being what the high-specification will be targeted at as; two axle, 12.2m comes first followed by 12.8m and tri-axleFirst Yutong GT12 coach for the UK market was shown in China last weekYutong’s long-promised GT12 coach broke cover in right-hand drive form last week in China. The first example for the UK will be shipped soon and it is set to generate major interest when it makes its formal debut at Euro Bus Expo (EBE) on 30 October-1 November.Importer Pelican Bus and Coach has high hopes for the GT12. The first is 12.2m and has 53 seats and a centre sunken toilet to demonstrate the maximum capacity at that length. In the longer term, the 12.2m variant will be marketed as a 51-seater.To complement that, Pelican and Yutong have already discussed adding further models to the line-up. The Chinese manufacturer is working to make a 12.8m version viable within UK weight limits. A tri-axle will follow.Also on the drawing board is a slightly lower-height example. Currently the GT12 is 3.81m tall, but a 3.60m option is planned.Pelican is aiming the GT12 at the touring market. It is of a higher specification than the existing TC12, which will continue to form part of the UK landscape.However, to ensure a demarcation between the two full-size Yutongs, Sales Manager Bob Elliott adds that the TC12 will be optimised strictly as a budget coach. Changes such as a reduction in power output are among those already mooted that will allow cost to be removed.Other than length, the GT12 has little in common with the TC12. It is a completely different model that, when it arrives here, will put the Chinese offering in front of a new tranche of potential buyers. It comes with a latest-generation DAF engine coupled to ZF’s recently-unveiled EcoLife Coach automatic gearbox and – for the first time in a Yutong for the UK – axles from the same German supplier.The GT12’s retail price has already been set by Pelican: £225,000. Yutong, buoyed greatly by the smaller TC9’s runaway success in the UK, is already talking of significant sales volumes. Has the newcomer got what it takes to justify that aspiration?The detailsThe GT12 as presented last week weighs in at 13,600kg unladen. GVW in UK form is 18,500kg, but design weight is 19,500kg; the absolute maximum possible weight tolerance of both axles combined is 20,300kg. A 520-litre fuel tank is between the front wheels.The GT12 is already available in Europe; this is a 12.2m model for FranceAssembly work will take place on the dedicated line for Europe-bound coaches and buses at the larger and newer of Yutong’s two factories in Zhengzhou, where the GT12 will rub shoulders with the TC9 and TC12.Like those other two models, the GT12’s structure is subject to an extensive anti-corrosion dipping process. That has paid dividends for TC9 and TC12 owners, says Mr Elliott; Pelican is not aware of any rusting having been reported on any of those in the UK.Seats as standard are Yutong’s own. They come with three-point belts, drop-down tables, slide-apart functionality and magazine nets.USB charging points are provided for every passenger, while 240v sockets are at alternate rows. Kiel seats are an option, but they add a considerable amount to the price.A high-specification entertainment system is fitted that incorporates two monitors, while the passenger service units are of a very distinctive design. They have a large reading light and an air-conditioning vent.Positive for driversThe driver benefits from a keyless ignition, and the dashboard is made up of a large LCD screen. As a result, there are no fixed dials or gauges. Instead, the speedometer, tachometer and other readings are created virtually as required. The cab is comparable with any European coach model’s, and it is a particular strongpoint of the GT12.Externally, the first UK GT12 has manually-operated luggage locker doors and it includes an area behind the offside rear wheel for the driver’s cleaning equipment. A nearside radiator is fitted, with a tray below it to prevent accumulation of road dirt.Pelican has specified the MX-11 engine rated at 450bhp and 2,300Nm of torque. Both are high figures for a two-axle coach. routeone was unable to drive the GT12 last week, but when combined with a torque converter gearbox the likely performance is not difficult to imagine.More still to come?For obvious reasons, Pelican initially hoped to launch the GT12 in its 12.8m format. The manner in which the UK adopted revised weights for two-axle coaches has temporarily precluded that. Nevertheless, Yutong is working to take mass out of the structure to permit such a development.The cab is completely different to TC9 and TC12 and is European standard“We understand that a 12.8m, two-axle model would be popular in the UK. It is being worked on. The weight of the GT12 will be reduced,” says Europe and North America Sales Director Roger Zhou.A 12.8m GT12 is already available in other European markets; it seats up to 57 with a toilet and 59 without.“Development of the GT12 will be step-by-step and will focus on constant improvement. While we know there will be challenges in addressing weight, it is something that we must do,” adds Mr Zhou.“We have adopted the same strategy with the TC9 and many improvements have been introduced over its lifetime in the UK.”Not currently on the agenda as part of the reduction of the GT12’s mass is introduction of an automated manual gearbox.So far all of Yutong’s coaches that have been delivered to UK buyers have used the EcoLife, although if there is a shift in demand from customers towards ZF’s new Traxon product, Pelican does not rule out examining its inclusion later.There is also potential for a wheelchair lift to be fitted to the GT12, although there is currently no option for a floor-mounted rear toilet; the MX-11’s positioning would make routing plumbing to such a cubicle tricky, says Yutong.The dealer’s viewThe GT12 is a cost-effective purchase in the market segment that Pelican is targeting, but Mr Elliott explains that price is not the only reason to buy one. Support will, he says, be a further positive.“Backup is one of the things that has made the TC9 the runaway market leader in its sector, and our commitment to supporting customers will continue with the GT12.“It will be delivered from China largely to a stock specification. Operator feedback has told us that customisation is best done in the UK, but there is also scope to alter the standard layout before shipping,” he says.An order for the first production right-hand drive GT12s is currently being finalised by Pelican. Much will depend on the response generated by the demonstrator at EBE; the first of this initial batch will leave China in Q1 2019.www.pelicanyutong.co.ukrouteone commentPelican’s aspiration to bring the GT12 to the UK has long been no secret. It took a number of customers to Busworld Kortrijk in 2015, where the model was launched in left-hand drive form, and their reaction was positive.The first right-hand drive example shows considerable potential. Important to note is that it is not a replacement for the TC12.While it can do what the TC12 does, the GT12 is aimed at a different segment. Its high specification targets the touring market and that attractiveness will increase markedly as and when a 12.8m model follows. A tri-axle at around 14m wil add further options.Pelican does not expect to corner the full-size sector with the GT12 in the same manner that it has demand for purpose-built midis with the TC9. But the newcomer will make its mark in time. There can be no doubt about that.last_img read more

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CPT launches driver licence checking with TruTac

first_imgThe Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has launched ‘CPT Licence Check’, a driving licence verification service at a discounted rate for CPT members.Launched at the Commercial Vehicle (CV) Show last week, the new service is in partnership with TruTac. It gives members a discount of up to 25%.It allows operators to quickly and easily check driving licences are valid, reducing admin and streamlining in-house audit processes.It includes:Driver licence checking and validationOnline management reportsSecure driver mandate completion and trackingAuto-notification system for ‘at-risk’ drivers.The system is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act and GDPR.It is also compliant with the DVSA’s Earned Recognition Scheme.CPT’s Interim CEO, Peter Gomersall, says: ‘’CPT is committed to working with industry leaders and partners such as TruTac to further develop products and services designed to help our operating members comply with the many complex rules and regulations surrounding the operation of buses and coaches.“This latest compliance service is yet another example of how we are securing high-level support and benefits for CPT members at extremely competitive rates.”CPT also partners with TruTac for its CPT Tacho Analysis service, which CPT Licence Check integrates with, and the CPT Daily Checks app.TruTac’s Commercial Director, Jemma James, says: “CPT Licence Check is another valuable tool to help bus and coach operators remain compliant and keep on top of daily operations.“We are delighted to be working alongside CPT and look forward to rolling out this service to members over the coming weeks and months.“This new easy-to-use service complements existing TruTac products and is supported by full training and access to online assistance via our technical team.”last_img read more

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FlixBus begins project to deliver hydrogen coach fleet

first_imgThe potential for hydrogen fuel cell power in a coach fleet has been formalised by scheduled operator FlixBus – which recently applied for an O-Licence in the UK – and fellow German business Freudenberg Sealing Technologies.Collaboration has begun between the two companies. They claim the resulting hydrogen-fuelled coach will be a world first. A vehicle OEM that will be part of the project will be announced as discussions progress.No indication of which manufacturer that will be has been revealed. Daimler is among FlixBus investors, although FlixBus thus far runs no coaches of its own. It relies on vehicles provided by partner operators.FlixBus wants 500km range from hydrogen coachFlixBus has laid down what it wants from a fuel cell coach.  A range of 500km is required and refuelling must take place in 20 minutes or less. Performance, including acceleration, should be the equivalent of that of a Euro 6 diesel coach.Spearheading the adoption of hydrogen in the coach market is part of FlixBus’ desire to help shape the future of mobility, says Managing Director DACH Fabian Stenger.“Our modern fleet is already extremely environmentally friendly. Nevertheless, we are constantly asking ourselves how we can make travel even more sustainable and further reduce CO2 emissions.“Following the successful launch of electric long-distance coaches [with FlixBus], we want to develop the first long-distance coach with fuel cell drive. Working with Freudenberg, that will set another milestone in the history of mobility.”Staged programme to develop hydrogen coach for FlixbusFreudenberg owns a fuel cell manufacturer and it holds a majority stake in a battery producer. It has been involved with fuel cells since the 1990s. That vertical integration means it will be a single source supplier of the coach driveline, which will be to a hybrid configuration.Doing so will combine the fuel cell and batteries, maximising range. To validate the hybrid package’s performance, a “representative fleet” of 30 hydrogen-powered coaches will be equipped with it.FlixBus and Freudenberg are seeking state funding to expedite the project within the framework of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. That, they say, will help to ensure that it rapidly reaches market maturity.“The electrification of drive technology is making huge strides,” says Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “We are therefore pleased that with FlixBus, we have another well-known customer that relies on our innovative strength and quality.”Scheduled coaching requires long-term reliability and performance, which will be factored into the hydrogen fuel cell developmemt workMr Möhlenkamp adds that the requirements for performance and long-term reliability in heavy-duty applications such as scheduled coaching are particularly high. Freudenberg will factor those needs into its development work. It says the fuel cell is scalable to suit operating circumstances.As part of that work, Freudenberg is already pursuing integrated battery-fuel cell systems that will address power, base load and unique operating cycles in areas that include road passenger transport.“We see the fuel cell in combination with batteries as an integral part of the mobility of the future. We’re looking forward to working with FlixBus on this ground-breaking project,” adds Mr Möhlenkamp.FlixBus, which is part of FlixMobility, believes that when the coach fuel cell driveline is fully developed it could be exported to other continents and be used in rail applications.Zero-emission is nothing new for FlixbusZero-emission coach driveline technology is not something that is new to FlixBus. Last year, it placed into service its first BYD C9 battery-electric coach on a route between Frankfurt and Mannheim as part of a trial, during which it was expected to cover 125,000km per year.At that time, Mr Stenger noted that while an electric coach costs more to purchase than a diesel-powered equivalent, savings would be realised over the vehicle’s lifetime.BYD has not hidden its desire to extend its reach into the European coach market. The Chinese manufacturer will introduce a new C9 shortly, BYD Europe MD Isbrand Ho recently confirmed.It remains to be seen whether FlixBus will operate hydrogen-powered coaches on its routes between continental Europe and the UK.It is understood that the company recently established an office here. In April it registered a subsidiary, FlixBus UK Ltd. The sole Director is Max Zeumer, FlixMobility Vice-President of International Business.Earlier this year the company stated its intention to expand within Europe and elsewhere. It already has a growing operation in the United States, and India, Latin America and Russia are among its target markets, according to the Financial Times.routeone commentAlternative fuels in coaches have, with odd exceptions, thus far been filed in the too difficult pile.Arguments both for and against them can be made easily enough. But with no sign of government support for any transition of the coach sector away from diesel, the economic and operational cases stack up with difficulty in most applications.It was inevitable that hydrogen would be raised as an alternative to diesel in coaches. It does not come with the range limitations that battery-electric power does.What is less clear is how much one of these coaches will cost, although when a nationwide or continent-wide refuelling infrastructure can be provided – whenever that may be – the concept may gain traction. Certainly, zero-emission zones will have an influence.For now, UK operators should keep a watching eye on goings-on at FlixBus. And not just relating to its fuel cell project.last_img read more

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Marshall County sewers will be reviewed for improvements

first_img (“Same flooded manhole, different channel” by WhosThisValGirl, CC BY-ND 2.0) The Marshall County Council is expected to take steps soon to repair the county’s failing sewer system.The issues came to light after a report in April that showed inadequate systems.ABC 57 reports the council is expected to vote soon to take the first steps in addressing the problem. Many older homes have failing septic systems with no room to install a new one when they fail.The council hopes to conduct a study about the area to preemptively attack the problem. The Marshall County Health Department will fund the $45,000 study from their budget, and the process is expected to take 4 to 6 months. Pinterest Twitter WhatsApp By Tommie Lee – June 12, 2019 0 385 Google+ Google+ Twitter WhatsApp Marshall County sewers will be reviewed for improvements Facebook IndianaLocal Facebook Pinterest Previous articleAssessment grant will benefit several area countiesNext articleSinger-Songwriter Howard Jones talks to MNC about his new album Tommie Leelast_img read more

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CDC: 11 Hoosiers with history of vaping have lung illnesses

first_img Google+ Twitter WhatsApp Facebook By Associated Press – August 20, 2019 0 213 Twitter CDC: 11 Hoosiers with history of vaping have lung illnesses Indiana Previous articleFBI: Truck driver arrested in Indiana after threatening mass shootingNext article2 Indiana online schools in enrollment dispute shutting down Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications. Google+ WhatsApp Pinterest Facebook A man displays his Juul electronic cigarette while shopping at a convenience store in Hoboken, N.J., Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. Altria, one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, is spending nearly $13 billion to buy a huge stake in the vape company Juul as cigarette use continues to decline. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Federal health officials say 11 Indiana residents with a history of vaping have been stricken with severe respiratory illnesses.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked 94 cases of the illnesses in 14 states since June. The agency says some patients grew so ill they needed a ventilator to help them breathe, but improved when treated with steroids.All of the patients reported having used e-cigarettes in the weeks or months before falling ill.Indiana State Department of Health spokeswoman Greta Sanderson tells The Indianapolis Star the agency has confirmed that six of the 11 cases it’s investigating are linked to vaping .Many of those affected nationally have been youths and young adults , but Sanderson says the majority of those stricken in Indiana have been adults. Pinterestlast_img read more

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