The Anonymous Widower

A Walk Along Shaftesbury Avenue

These are some pictures I took as I walked up Shaftesbury Avenue at around lunchtime.

This is a summary of what I saw and my views.

  • I only saw one electric vehicle; a black taxi.
  • It was a horrendous collection of diesel trucks and vans. And an ambulance!
  • As someone, who suffers in polluted air, I say two words – Stop It!
  • All deliveries should be done at night!
  • No vehicle should be allowed through unless it is zero carbon.

Note the lack of private cars and I only saw a couple of buses, both of which were New Routemasters.

Conclusion

Shaftesbury Avenue is the heart of London’s Theatreland. And a downright disgrace!

I am lucky, in that if I want to go, I walk round the corner from my house and get a 38 bus direct to the Avenue.

But look at any map and you’ll see there is no Underground station in the area and you have to walk from Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus or Tottenham Court Road stations.

Crossrail 2 has a plan to build a station in the area, but as it would involve demolishing the Curzon Cinema, all the usual suspects are against that plan. They were also against the demolition of a theatre at the site of the expanded Tottenham Court Road station. Crossrail are doing the obvious and building a new bigger one!

Surely, the same thing would work for Crossrail 2!

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail And Ealing Broadway Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Ealing Broadway station.

These are lines from North to South through the station.

  • The lines shown in green are the District Line, which terminates in platforms 9, 8 and 7.
  • The lines shown in red are the Central Line, which terminates in platforms 6 and 5.
  • The lines shown in dark blue are the slow lines through platforms 4 and 3, which carry Crossrail and other slow services. Platform 4 is the London-bound platform.
  • The lines shown in black are the fast lines through platforms 2 and 1, which carry all fast services. Platform 2 is the London-bound platform.

These are my thoughts on the layout.

Eastbound Crossrail Trains

Passengers travelling East on Crossrail, will be able to walk across from Platform 4 to any of the terminal platforms numbered 5 to 9, for the Central and District Lines.

This picture taken from a London-bound train in Platform 4 shows a Central Line train in Platform 5.

They are only a short walk apart and passengers who are changing trains will probably position themselves in the rear of the Crossrail train.

Passengers entering the station will just walk across to Platform 4 to use Crossrail to Central London and beyond.

I doubt there will be many passengers arriving on the Central and District Lines, who will want to go back on themselves to Central London. If say they lived near a station between West Acton and Marble Arch, and wanted to go East on Crossrail, they’d probably change between the Central Line and Crossrail at Bond Street station.

Westbound Crossrail Trains

Passengers needing to access the Westbound Crossrail trains in Platform 3, will have to use the bridge over the slow lines carrying Crossrail.

Because of the multiple interchanges between the Central Line and Crossrail, depending on where you join the Central Line, you will probably change to Westbound Crossrail trains at different points.

  • Start a journey between West Acton and Marble Arch and you’ll probably change to the Westbound Crossrail at Ealing Broadway.
  • Start a journey at Oxford Circus and you’ll probably change to the Westbound Crossrail at Bond Street.
  • Start a journey between Bank and Holborn and you’ll probably change to the Westbound Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road.
  • East of Bank, there are two interchanges at Liverpool Street and Stratford.

It is very much a ducker and diver’s paradise.

Escalators And Lifts Could Be Needed At Ealing Broadway Station

There could be quite a number of passengers needing to cross to and from Platform 3, who will mainly be in two categories.

  • Westbound passengers leaving the station.
  • Westbound passengers arriving on the Central and District Lines wanting to continue West on Crossrail.

In addition, there will be a large number of passengers entering the station, wanting to catch trains to Central London.

To cater for these passenger flows, there must be a full set of up-and-down escalators and lifts for the following.

  • Platforms 4 to 9 in the main station.
  • Platform 3 on the Westbound slow line for Crossrail and other slow services.

Wikipedia says four lifts will be added.

It should be noted, that Dlston Junction station handles similar numbers of passengers to Ealing Broadway with one lift and one wide double staircase.

Escalators would future proof the station for more services.

Will District Line Services Be Replaced By Piccadilly Line Services?

There are rumours, that the District Line services at Ealing Broadway station will be replaced by Piccadilly Line services.

Reportedly, this will do the following.

  • Allow frequency increases on the District Line to Richmond and Wimbledon.
  • Allow a frequency increase on the core section of the Piccadilly Line.

Consider

  • Whatever service uses Ealing Broadway will have little effect on the operation of the station.
  • Acton Town, Hammersmith, Barons Court, Earl’s Court, Gloucester Road and South Kensington stations are all served by both the District and Piccadilly Lines.
  • The Piccadilly Line could be an alternative to Crossrail 2 between Green Park and Kings Cross.
  • The Piccadilly Line will have new high-capacity trains in a few years.

Will the change, which means the Piccadilly Line has a capacity increase, allow Crossrail 2 to be delayed by a couple of years?

  • This would ease, Transport for London’s cash flow.
  • It might also allow a better plan for building Crossrail 2

It will be interesting to see the full details of the swapping of lines.

December 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cuckoo In The Nest

Look at these pictures of the passenger doors on Hitachi Class 802 trains, InterCity 125 trains and Mark 3 coaches.

All are single end doors at the two ends of the car.

But look at this pair of doors on one of Greater Anglia’s new Class 745 trains.

The doors are in the middle of the car.

  • Each car is only twenty metres long, as opposed to the twenty-six metres of a Class 802 train.
  • The pictures don’t show if the trains are fully walk-through.
  • They are also step-free between train and platform, which can’t be said for many trains.

I can’t wait to have a ride, which will hopefully be in a few weeks.

This is the comparison between a twelve-car Class 745 train and a nine-car Class 802 trains.

  • The Class 745 train is 237 metres long, and the Class 802 train is 225 metres long.
  • The Class 745 train has 757 seats and the Class 802 train has 647 seats.
  • The Class 745 train has 3.2 seats per metre and the Class 803 train has 2.9 seats per metre.
  • The pair of double doors on a Class 745 train will have to unload 64 passengers, when a full train arrives in Liverpool Street
  • The Class 745 train is step-free between train and platform, so buggies, baggage and wheel-chairs can be wheeled out.
  • The pair of single doors at each end of the car on a Class 802 train will have to handle 75 passengers, when a full train arrives at the destination.
  • The Class 902 train is not step-free between train and platform, so buggies, baggage and wheel-chairs will have to be lifted out!
  • The Class 745 trains running between Liverpool Street and Norwich via Ipswich will have a buffet.

Will the Stadler trains load and unload quicker than the various Hitachi trains?

 

December 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Hampstead Homes Left To Rot On Billionaires’ Row

The title of this post is the same as this article in today’s copy of The Times.

The article talks how multi-million pound houses in The Bishops Avenue ae being left to go to rack and ruin by their owners, who tend to be rich foreign nationals.

I hate waste and if a house is allowed to decay like this it should be a criminal offence, except in certain limited circumstances.

The Bishops Avenue is in the London Borough of Barnet and like most London Boroughs, Barnet needs more housing.

I hope the next Government brings in legislation to make sure our housing stock is kept up to standard.

December 7, 2019 Posted by | World | | 3 Comments

North And South

I went to see Spurs this afternoon to see them play Burnley.

Coming home, I got the train between White Hart Lane and Hackney Downs stations. As we walked to the bus for Dalston, there was a mixed group of fans.

Most of the Burnley fans were smoking, as opposed to few of the Spurs fans.

Is this the difference between North and South?

December 7, 2019 Posted by | Health | , , | 3 Comments

New Trains For West Coast Will Be Built By Hitachi

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railnews.

With the new Franchise; Avanti West Coast, starting services in a few days, more detail is starting to be added to their plans.

New Trains

This is said about the new trains to be added to the fleet.

Hitachi is to build 23 new trains for the West Coast Partnership, with the aim of having them in service by 2022.

The fleet will consist of 10 seven-car electric units and 13 five-car bi-mode units, and will be based on Hitachi’s existing Intercity Express models.

These are my thoughts about the trains.

Routes

According to Wikipedia, the bi-mode trains will be used from Euston to Chester, Gobowen, Holyhead, Llandudno and Shrewsbury and the electric trains will be used from Euston to Birmingham New Street, Blackpool North and Liverpool.

In Service Date

The Railnews article and a very similar one in Rail Magazine say that the trains will enter service by or around 2022.

This probably means that they will be built after the Class 804 trains for East Midlands Railway.

Comparison With Class 804 Trains

It has been stated that the Class 804 trains will have the following. characteristics.

  • Twenty-four metre long cars, as opposed to twenty-six metres of a Class 802 train.
  • Four diesel engines in a five-car train, instead of three in a Class 802 train.
  • They will have a reprofiled nose.

They can be considered to be the Mark 2 version of Hitachi’s Intercity Express.

The car length for the Avanti West Coast trains has been specified at twenty-six metres, which is two metres longer than that of the current Class 390 trains on the West Coast Main Line,

So will Avanti West Coast’s trains be based on the Mark 2 version?. It’s logical, that they will.

Performance

The trains for Avanti West Coast will need to keep up with the Class 390 trains, which have the advantage of tilt.

The Railnews article says this about performance.

Although the new trains will not have tilt equipment, their superior acceleration should compensate for slightly slower speeds on some sections of line.

I think that the removal of tilt equipment could be a good thing.

  • Removal could reduce the weight of the train, which would result in increased acceleration.
  • Does tilting reduce the ride quality?
  • Of all the express trains on the UK network, the Class 390 trains, are the ones I avoid because the trains are cramped and so many seats have a bad view.. Is this caused by incorporating tilting or by crap design?

I also wonder if the reprofiled nose will improve the aerodynamics of the new trains for both the East Midlands Railway and Avanti West Coast.

Better aerodynamics would help during a high-speed cruise.

Train Length

Class 390 trains have two car lengths.

  • An intermediate car is 23.9 metres
  • A driving car is 25.1 metres

This means the following.

  • A nine-car Class 390/0 train is 217.5 metres long.
  • An eleven-car Class 390/1 train is 265.3 metres long.

If the Hitachi trains have seven twenty-six metre cars, then they are 182 metres long or 35.5 metres shorter.

I find that surprising, but it does mean they fit shorter platforms. Is this needed for new destinations like Walsall?

Seating Capacity

The Railnews says this about seating.

There will more seats, because a seven-car train will have 453 and five-car sets will have 301. First said the seven-car version will have about the same number of seats as a nine-car Pendolino, because each IET vehicle is longer, at 26m

Seating on current trains is as follows.

  • A nine-car Class 390 train seats 463 passengers.
  • A five-car Class 221 train seats 250 passengers.

It would appear that the bi-mode trains seat another fifty-one passengers, than the trains they are replacing, which must be good for the routes to Chester, Shrewsbury and North Wales.

As the seven car trains are not replacing any other trains, Aventi West Coast will have n increase in capacity.

Adding up the numbers, it appears that the Avanti West Coast fleet will have three more trains and 3443 more seats.

If they should need more cars or trains, Avanti West Coast should be able to buy them easily.

Out of curiosity, how many passengers could be seated in an Hitachi train, that is the same length as an eleven-car Class 390/1 train.

As this train is 265 metres, a ten-car Hitachi train would be almost the same length.

Assuming the same passenger density as the seven-car trains, a ten-car train would have 647 seats. The current Class 390/1 train has 589 seats, so there would be an increase of sixty seats.

Train Finance

The trains are financed by Rock Rail West Coast; a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments.

If your pension is with Aberdeen Standard, you may ultimately own a seat or a door handle on these trains, as pension funds find trains a good way of turning pension contributions into the long-term pension, we’ll hopefully all need.

Nationalisation of the trains themselves would probably blow a hole in a lot of pension pots.

Food Offering

The Railnews article says this about food.

The details of catering on board have yet to be finalised, but Railnews has learned that there will be a buffet counter as well as trolley services, and that one of the main food suppliers will be Marks and Spencer.

Over the last couple of years, a food war seems to have developed between Virgin and LNER and as a coeliac, I’ve noticed an improvement in gluten-free food.

Marks and Spencer have done a deal with British Airways, so surely a deal with a train company must fit that model.

  • M & S already deliver to shops in most of Avanti West Coast’s destinations.
  • M & S are one of the best on getting allergies correct.
  • M & S are one of the UK’s most trusted brands.

FirstGroup, who are a seventy percent sharewholder in Avanti West Coast, might like to roll this food model out in their other rail franchises; Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and the future East Coast Trains.

Hull

Hull station is an interesting case, although it has nothing to do with Avanti West Coast.

  • It is a major terminus for Hull Trains and TransPennine Express.
  • Hull Trains market themselves as a quality local train service to and from London.
  • Hull station does not have a M & S Simply Food.
  • M & S are closing their main store in Hull.
  • There are reportedly spare units in the large Hull station.

A well-designed M & S food hub in Hull station could be of great benefit to both FirstGroup and M & S.

Conclusion

Hitachi seem to be able to manipulate the train length to give customers the capacity they want.

But that is good design.

 

 

 

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

A Gluten-Free Lunch From Pret a Manger

This picture shows my lunch today.

The gluten-free open sandwich came from Pret a Manger and the bottle of Adnams came from Marks and Spencer, a few doors away.

  • The outlet opened today and a manager confirmed that they have done gluten-free for some months.
  • They also have a tablet-based menu checker.
  • It will be very useful for me, if it does well in Dalston.
  • The beer may not be gluten-free, but my body says it is for me.
  • It was a good delicious lunch for me!

It brought back memories for me of many lunches in the Bull at Burrough Green, where I would regularly have a similar lunch in pre-coeliac days.

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , , | 1 Comment

A Massive Increase In Train Capacity In Ten Years

The Class 378 trains, were introduced as three-car trains on the North London Line in July 2009.

The original service was three trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and both Clapham Junction and Richmond stations.

This meant there were six tph between Stratford and Willesden Junction stations.

Or a capacity of eighteen carriages per hour!

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled UK Railway News Round-Up.

This is an extract.

From December 15 services between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction, and between Willesden Junction and Richmond, will increase from four to five trains/h, giving a 10 trains/h service between Willesden Junction and Stratford.

As the trains are now five-cars, that is a capacity of fifty carriages per hour.

That is an increase of a hundred and eighty percent over ten years.

I suspect, they’ll still be full in the Peak!

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

President Putin To Set Up Russian Web Encyclopaedia To Rival ‘Unreliable’ Wikipedia

An article with this title, was published in yesterday’s Times.

The title is a very good summary.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Tottenham Court Road Western Entrance – 2nd December 2019

These pictures show the new Western entrance to Tottenham Court Road station.

This Google Map shows the location of the massive double-ended station.

Note.

  1. Soho Square is the green space in the middle of the map.
  2. The Eastern entrance to the station is by Centre Point in the North East corner of the map.
  3. The new Western entrance is to the West of the red arrow.

The size of the station is such, that passengers will have to make sure they get out at the right end of the train.

  • For Marks and Spencer at the Pantheon, get out at the Western entrance to the station.
  • For Primark and the other shops clustered around the current station entrance, get out at the Eastern entrance to the station.
  • For Tottenham Court Road, Charing Cross Road, the Dominion Theatre and Centre Point, get out at the Eastern entrance to the station.

A few years ago, a young Crossrail engineer told me, that the stations are very long underground.

Perhaps they should have a directory of all shops, theatres, hotels, attractions and other sites on the platforms, to ensure that passengers use the best entrabce for their destination.

This image shows a visualisation of the station.

Note.

  1. The Westerm entrance is the one on the left.
  2. Centre Point at the Eastern end of the complex, by the Eastern entrance.

The visualisation also shows lots of detail.

The Connecting Tunnel Between The Two Entrances

There appears to be a connecting tunnel between the two entrances.

This pictures show the inside of the Eastern end of the tunnel which has already been built.

Note.

  1. The relatively cramped Central Line platform.
  2. The tunnel has good connections to the Central Line.
  3. It looks like the Western end of the connecting tunnel will be extended towards the Western Entrance.
  4. Obviously, breaking through between the connecting tunnel and its extension, will be one of the last jobs to do.

The completed tunnel will allow the following.

  • Passengers entering the station at either entrance to be able to access the Central Line.
  • Passengers needing to access the Northern Line to be able to enter at the Western Entrance and use the connecting tunnel.

Will this tunnel be a good walking route, when it’s raining cats, dogs and hippopotami on the surface?

Access To Crossrail

Both entrances will have their own step-free access to the Crossrail platforms.

Because Crossrail is at a different level to the Central and Northern Lines, it appears that passengers needing to change to and from Crossrail will probably come to the surface by lift or escalator and then go back down again using a second set.

This may seem to make walking distances longer, but I suspect the following.

  • It makes the station easier to construct.
  • Access to existing lines can be maintained during construction.
  • It allows for the installation of multiple escalators for high capacity.

There are also older stations in London, where there are up and down changes of lines. So perhaps it’s an affordable way of building the connection.

Changes Between Crossrail and The Central Line

Crossrail and the Central Line have several interchanges.

  • Stratford, where the interchange is cross-platform.
  • Liverpool Street
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Bond Street
  • Ealing Broadway, where the interchange is on the surface. See Crossrail And Ealing Broadway Station for my thoughts on the interchange.

I suspect that there will be a certain amount of ducking and diving by passengers, as they go on their easiest way. Many will probably change at Stratford, as it is a walk across the platform.

Will Tottenham Court Road station see a lot of passengers changing between Crossrail and the Central Line?

I have no idea. But I suspect that Transport for London will be able to make an accurate prediction, based on information from London’s contactless ticketing.

It does look though from the visualisation, that the following can be ascertained.

  • There will be an escalator and a walk to change between Crossrail and the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road station.
  • The change may be easier at the Western end of the Crossrail station.
  • The design of the Central Line with two tunnels close together and not much space for stairs and lifts between them, makes a high-capacity link to the large connecting tunnel difficult to built.
  • There appears to be no provision to extend the connecting tunnel to the West. The original plan was to pedestrianise Oxford Street, but that has been abandoned, due to pressure from residents and Westminster Council.

It is an illustration of the difficulty of connecting to London’s older Underground lines.

Changes Between Crossrail and The Northern Line

Crossrail and the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line only have the single interchange at Tottenham Court Road station.

  • Does this mean it is expected to be busy, as the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line serves Euston, Waterloo and will serve the new Battersea extension?
  • From the visualisation, there appear to be lots of connections between Crossrail and the Northern Line at the Eastern entrance.

These pictures show some of the tunnels leading to both Crossrail and the Northern Line at the Eastern entrance.

It looks like Transport for London are expecting a party. But you’ll probably need to be in the Eastern end of the Crossrail trains, to do a fast interchange.

If you get out at the Western end of the train, you’ll have to walk back along the connecting tunnel.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 will complicate and improve things further at Tottenham Court Road station, as it sits between the proposed Crossrail 2 stations of Victoria and the mega-station Euston-St. Pancras-Kings Cross.

Will Cinderella Come To The Rescue?

The Docklands Light Railway (aka Cinderella) was the star of the 2012 Olympics transport system and she now has ambitions to expand to the West, as I wrote about in A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway.

This map from Transport for London, shows the possible Western extension of the DLR.

With all the problems of the funding of Crossrail 2, this extension could create a lot of important connections across the City.

It already connects or will soon connect.

  • Canary Wharf and Bank
  • City Airport and Bank
  • Crossrail’s South Eastern Branch and Bank, with a change at Custom House station.

The upgrade at Bank, which should complete in a couple of years will help, with better connections to the Central, Circle, District and Northern Lines.

If the extension to the DLR is built, it would connect Canary Wharf, City Airport and Crossrail’s South Eastern Branch in the East, with Charing Cross, Euston, Kings Cross, St. Pancras, Thameslink and Victoria in the West.

It would also take the pressure off of some of Central London’s most crowded lines.

So get your coal shovel out Cindy and start digging!

 

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments