This week's UK news: 30 May 2013
31 May 2013

Problems for old trains

In the UK we have around 200 historic railways. These are little sections of track, usually in the countryside, with old-fashioned stations. The trains running on the historic railways are usually old steam trains, which are powered by coal.
The heritage railways are very popular with train enthusiasts and families on days out. But there is a potential problem with the trains this year. This is because half of the UK's remaining suppliers of coal have closed in the past few months. Paul Lewin, who works in the industry, says the situation is so bad that some railways may have to close altogether and others are considering running old diesel trains instead. Part of the problem is that the coal shortage means prices are rising.

Race has to use fake cheese

A historic cheese race in Gloucestershire went ahead this week with contestants chasing a plastic cheese.
The race, in which contestants chase a round cheese down a very steep hill, has been held for more than 200 years. There were many injuries, though, and 2009 was the last year in which the race was held officially. Now it happens without insurance or medical cover.
For the last 25 years an 86-year-old cheesemaker has supplied the race with five eight-pound round cheeses. This year she says police warned her not to give any cheeses to the race. The men's race was won by Kenny Rackers from the US.

Cambridge University exam problem

Second year natural sciences students at Cambridge University had a real problem with their end of year exams. Two physics problems had vital information missing. This meant it was impossible to calculate the answers.
At least 300 students sat the exam, and a large number attempted at least one of the faulty questions. After an hour, one student realised the mistake and explained it to examiners, who gave extra time to complete the paper. Another student said: "All I can say is thank you to the genius who had enough brains and courage to realise the mistake and point it out to the examiner."
The university says it will make sure that no-one taking the paper loses out because of the mistake.

400-year-old sailors star in new museum

The Mary Rose was the English King Henry VIII's favourite ship. The ship sank in front of the King near Portsmouth 468 years ago. In 1982 the remains of the wooden warship, and its contents, were raised from the seabed. Since then the wooden ship has been sprayed constantly with a special liquid to preserve it.
Now the sprays have been switched off and the ship, and everything which was on it, are in a specially built new museum in Portsmouth. Several of the skeletons found on board have also been analysed so that visitors can see what some of the crew were like. Most were strong and short with bad teeth. They include the cook, who was called Ny Cop, and the huge 350 litre pot in which he cooked for everyone on the ship.


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