The Anonymous Widower

Tribute To A Hero

At the War Memorial on Islington Green today, there was a tribute to the bravery of Frederick Parslowe, who saved his ship in the Great War, but was killed in the action. He was postumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

According to this article in the Islington Tribune, a commemorative  paving stone is being unvieled as part of the hundredth anniversary commemorations for the Great War.

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | 1 Comment

There Is No Product That Can’t Be Improved With LEDs

In this month’s Modern Railways, there is an article by Iam Walmsley, about the re-engineering of a Class 73 locomotive for Network Rail. This is a the extract which contains the title of this post.

The cab desk is best described as ‘functional’, a flat plate of stainless steel with everything on it, enlivened by cool teal-coloured LED backlighting, further evidence that there is no product that can’t be improved with LEDs.

This is so right.

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

How’s The Overground To Enfield Town Doing?

In Transport for London Do The Sensible Thing, I said this.

Various news items on the Overground like this story in the Enfield Independent, have been reporting that the Class 315 and Class 317 Trains on the Lea Valley Lines are not very reliable.  I’ve read somewhere that they are spending up to two million pounds to get them running better.

So I thought I had better go and check to see how the lines to Enfield were doing, by taking the train to Enfield Town from Hackney Downs and then walking to Enfield Chase to get a Class 313 train back home.

The pictures show the following.

1. An eight-car Class 315 train was working one of the last of the rush-hour services into Liverpool Street. So hopefully, London Overground have now got all services back up to their correct length.

2. Most trains I saw seemed to have a London Overground roundel on the side, even if they weren’t repainted.

3. I travelled out to Enfield Town in a very clean eight-car Class 317 train, that had been upgraded for the Stansted Express with tables, luggage racks and First Class. When was Enfield Town last served by a train so luxurious? In some ways it’s a waste, as surely there are other places, where as soon as the replacement Class 378 trains arrive, these old Stansted Expresses could be more gainfully employed.

Perhaps, they could serve Glasgow Airport? But then the Scots would complain, that they were getting London’s clapped-out second-hand trains. I noticed as I left that the train had had a full service in September last year. Old they may be, but they are far from scrapyard-ready! I suppose an old Mark 3-based train, is still a Mark 3-based train, with all the strength and ride quality that means.

4. In the meantime, this Class 317 train, is probably doing a good job in pacifying the natives of Enfield.

5. After my walk through Enfield Town centre, I got on a Class 313 train to get back to London. Now that is a clapped-out train and I wonder how many passengers for London from Enfield are thinking about changing their point of departure for London. If you commute and have a Freedom Pass, this is now unrestricted from Enfield Town, so this must have an effect on commuting pstterns.

6. I took the picture of the pantograph on the Class 313 train, as this is a special job, so that the trains can run in the restricted tunnels to Moorgate. It only needs to fold away very snuggly, as that section of line uses third rail for its electricity.

I will ask this question, about what I saw.

London Overground have put an option for 249 extra vehicles in the order for the Class 378 trains, as I reported in Have Transport for London Other Plans For The Overground?

So will some of these optional vehicles in the Class 378 order end up working the Great Northern lines into Moorgate and Kings Cross?

They have a lot going for them.

1. They are certified for working in tunnels, as on the East London Line, they run sixteen times each hour both ways through the Thames Tunnel.

2. There is a dual-voltage variant of the Class 378 train.

3. There would be the problem of designing a new pantograph well and certifying them for the Great Northern tunnel, but that is not as great a task as designing a whole new class of train.

It would probably be a special variant of the Class 378 train, but it hopefully, it would not be a difficult design to create.

We can do a little calculation on where the 249 extra vehicles might go.

Various documents show that by 2030, London Overground wants to be running six-car trains on the North and East London Lines. So if the existing fleet was all made six car, that would probably need 63 vehicles, as there are 57 trains on the system currently and another six are on order.

If we assume that Transport for London’s other target, the Dartford Lines, comes with some fairly new trains, this may or may not use up some of those options.

Taking the 63 off the 249 gives us 186 vehicles, which leaves 186, which can be 62 three-car trains or 46 four-car ones, with a few vehicles left over. Intriguingly, they could also be configured as 31 six-car trains.

So how many trains would be needed? At present the line is worked by 44 3-car trains. So if it was deemed that under London Overground, the service would be as now, there would be plenty of vehicles.

But as I pointed out, 186 vehicles gives us 31 six-car trains. Wikipedia states that the tunnels to Moorgate will accept trains of this length, so would it be a simple decision to make all the Great Northern trains six-car to turn the service into a higher-capacity, seven days a week, Metro service? As this would be a distinct variant, they might even be given a bit more performance to ease them along the East Coast Main Line to Hitchin. After all other members of the family to which a Class 378 belongs are 100 mph as opposed to 75 mph trains.

Running six-car walk-through trains into Morgate, rather than two three-car ones coupled together, gets rid of one of the restrictions of running in tunnels, which insists that passengers can walk through the train to get out in case of trouble.

So the more I look at this, the more I think, that Transport for London has an option on trains to work the Great Northern services.

As Transport for London have said, they might like to take over some of the inner Thameslink services, I suspect that the flies on the wall in meetings between Govia Thameslink Railway and Transport for London will have interesting tales to tell.


June 22, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Prague Castle

After getting up to Prague Castle, I bought a ticket that gave me universal access and spent an house or so exploring.

This Google Map shows the extend of the site. which the Guinness Book of Records lists as the largest ancient castle in the world.

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

These are some of the pictures I took.

As the pictures show it was extremely hot and very busy, with queues to get into many of the buildings.

June 13, 2015 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Cydr Lubelski In Krakow

Just sat down to supper with a bottle of Polish cider. Excellent and only 4.5% alcohol. I didn’t know they brewed it.

June 11, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Along The River Vistula

I took a tram and went down to the river Vistula, where I walked along the bank and took another tram to Krakow Castle.

As the Vistula also flows through Warsaw, I wonder if it is possible to take a ferry between the two cities.

June 11, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Off To Krakow

I’m leaving for Krakow in a few minutes on easyJet from Gatwick

My overnight schedule is as follows ;-

Wednesday, June 10th – Krakow

Thursday, June 10th – Krakow

Friday, June 12th – Prague

Saturday, June 13th – Dresden

Sunday, June 14th – Dresden

Monday, June 15th – Osnabruck

I’ll be on the last Eurostar out of Brussels on the 16th

Obviously, all of the trips in the middle will be by train.

If you want to get in touch, text me on 07860-243707 starting the message with Krakow.

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

My Poor Bath

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

After Overground – Edmonton Green – 31st May 2015

When I visited Edmonton Green Station some time ago, it was in the process of being updated with lifts.

As the pictures show it is one of the first stations on the Lea Valley Lines other than the totally flat Enfield Town, to be updated to full step-free access.

This page on the Enfield Council web site, says how the station rebuilding was financed and the problems encountered in the design and building.

The Council are working in partnership with Network Rail to deliver two lifts at Edmonton Green Station to enable step free access to both Platforms 1 and 2.

The Council has been awarded £850k for the project following a successful bid for funding from the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme. However, the total cost of the project is estimated to be £2m and the balance of funding is being provided by the Council, utilising a mixture of contributions from nearby development schemes and grant funding from Transport for London .

The construction of the lifts provides many challenges because of the constrained nature of the site, the need to cater for passengers throughout the works and the fixed budget.

In addition, the station is at the heart of Edmonton Green and within a Conservation area, so it needs to be of good design. The focus at present is therefore trying to find the optimum design solution for the lift shafts, given all of the above constraints.

It looks like it was challenging.

I think it illustrates that the cost of putting two lifts into a conservation area and making sure that the station is acceptable to all parties is a couple of million. Good building isn’t cheap.

But at least Edmonton Green is now a station with platforms that look like they’ll take eight car trains and possibly twelve-car ones if needed.

Obviously details like handrails and information displays need to be updated and the station needs a good clean and a paint, but it shouldn’t need much expensive work for the next decade or two.

It can certainly be used as a standard to which all stations on the Lea Valley Lines can aspire.

May 31, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

West Hampstead Station: A Tangle Of Property Development And People To Solve

West Hampstead station is one of those North London Line stations, that has narrow platforms, which need lengthening and a cramped station building with no step-free access.  The station also sits in the middle of a large property development. This Google Earth image shows the station.

West Hampstead Station

West Hampstead Station

This was obviously taken before the development started. There were plans for a grand West Hampstead Interchange, drawing the four rail line in the area; Underground, Overground, Thameslink and Chiltern together in modern stations linked by a boulevard.

This page on the London Borough of Camden web site, is a pointer to some documents. This Google Earth image shows the various rail lines.

West Hampstead Lines

West Hampstead Lines

There is actually more lines than is obvious here. Starting from the top (north), the lines and stations are.

1. Thameslink passing through West Hampstead Thameslink station – From 2018 this will be a very much increased service.

2. Midland Main Line passing through West Hampstead Thameslink station – The number of services stopping here to places like Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby and Corby may well increase as the line to Sheffield is electrified.

3. North London Line passing through West Hampstead station – This is being upgraded to take five-car trains.

4. Jubilee Line passing through West Hampstead Tube station – A station not to the standard of the Jubilee Line Extension.

5. Metropolitan Line passing alongside West Hampstead Tube station, but without platforms.

6.Chiltern Main Line passing alongside West Hampstead Tube station, but without platforms.

This is Wikipedia’s schematic of the lines.

West Hampstead Lines

West Hampstead Lines

I would say that the best way to sum up the area is using that old estate agent’s phrase of development potential.

So how is West Hampstead station getting on?

There certainly seems to be lots of flats growing up by the side of the railway and these seemed to have replaced the trees. There was a bit of fuss about the thirty-five trees being removed, which I can sympathise with, but surely a better plan would be to take away as much traffic as possible from West End Lane and make it a proper tree-lined boulevard. But any council that suggested that would be voted out by the 4×4 owners.

There’s a preview of the new West Hampstead station on West Hampstead Life.

I’m not impressed and it is rather a poor design compared to Hackney Wick.

Only time will tell, but rail developments will have a big effect on the number of people using the stations at West Hampstead.

1. The opening of the full Thameslink service in 2018.

2. More trains from West Hampstead Thameslink station to the North on full electrification to Sheffield.

3. The possible opening of Metropolitan and Chiltern Main Line platforms in a rebuilt Underground station.

4. Network Rail and Transport for London have stated that they will increase the capacity on the London Overground, by increasing the number of trains and running six-car trains. Certainly they will do this on the East London Line, which will get twenty-four trains an hour.

It is my view that all of this extra rail traffic, will necessitate the turning of West End Lane into a proper pedestrian boulevard with very much reduced traffic levels. The only alternative would be to create a pedestrian tunnel.


May 30, 2015 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment



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