The Anonymous Widower

What Will The Elizabeth Line Do For Oxford Street?

I have decided to use Elizabeth Line for Crossrail from now on, as most articles seem to be dropping Crossrail in favour of the operational name.

I had an e-mail from Crossrail today and they’re still using Crossrail.

I have written before about Crossrail being a line for shopping in Is Crossrail Going To Be The Shopping Line?, but today I found this article in Retail Week, which is entitled London’s Oxford Street anticipates £1bn boost from Crossrail. This is said.

The iconic London high street already generates £5 billion per year in sales and New West End Company hopes to hit an annual target of £6 billion by 2020 – two years after Crossrail’s Queen Elizabeth line is expected to completed.

With the Crossrail providing direct commutes for counties such as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex, New West End Company hopes the three-mile shopping precinct experience a 30 per cent increase in visits.

In addition, 2000 new retail jobs are expected to be created, and the nearby Bird Street will transform into a new shopping precinct thanks to private donations and £200,000 from Transport for London’s Future Street’s Incubator Scheme.

Is Brexit figured in to these calculations?

I think that we may say more changes on Oxford Street, as surely Crossrail will enable other changes.

Oxford Street will have the following stations and entrances as you proceed from East to West.

  • Holborn – Central and Piccadilly
  • Tottenham Court Road (Current Entrance) – Central, Elizabeth and Northern
  • Tottenham Court Road (Dean Street Entrance) – Central and Elizabeth
  • Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria
  • Bond Street – Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee
  • Marble Arch – Central

So could we see much of Oxford Street being pedestrianised?

The Mayor has said he would be in favour. According to this article on the BBC, it will happen by 2020.

I think that because of the number of the number of stations just North and South of Oxford Street, I do wonder if the pedestrian area could include Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Soho.

The main pedestrian routes would link up.

  • Green Park, Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue in the South.
  • The British Museum, Bloomsbury and Holborn in the East.
  • Euston Road and Regents Park in the North.
  • Hyde Park in the West

Where would all the buses, taxis and cars go?

I think that there will have to be a serious rethink, which could see drastic reductions in numbers of all three!

But there will be other knock-ons as Crossrail will for a few years give spare capacity, that could be used to advantage.

The Central Line Should Be Less Busy

The Central Line will have excellent connections to Crossrail at Stratford, Liverpool Street and Ealing Broadway.

It is expected that as some cross-London passengers, who now use this line, will switch to Crossrail, thus releasing capacity on the Central Line.

It would certainly create a high-speed shuttle between three of London’s main shopping centres; Westfield at Shephered’s Bush, Oxford Street and Eastfield at Stratford.

Updating The Central Stretch Of The Central Line

The central stretch of the Central Line will have two rebuilt stations with full step-free access after Crossrail opens; Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.

Closure of the Central Line in Central London would be possible if needed fr engineering works, as the line has several turn-backs, so it could be run as an Eastern and Western section, whilst say major works were done in the centre.

This partial closure would enable the following.

  • A step-free station to be created on the Central Line at Marble Arch.
  • Step-free access to be created to at least the Central Line at Oxford Circus.
  • Step-free access to be created to at least the Central Line at Holborn.

It is interesting to note, that during the building of Crossrail, access to the Central and Northern Lines has sometimes been restricted at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road and Londoners didn’t moan too much.

So selective closure to get higher-capacity and step-free stations in the centre will not be the disaster it could have been, especially, if the improvements were done in a phased manner.

But all three are prime sites and there must be significant potential for over-site development.

Additionally, if you look at the railway lines on carto.metro.free.fr, this is a map of the lines between Holborn and Tottenham Court Road stations.

British Museum Station

British Museum Station

Note the old British Museum station on the Central Line.

I wouldn’t know whether it is practical to reopen the station, but I suspect Transport for London’s route planners have looked at the possibility to give better access to one of the busiest museums in the world.

As the Central Line through Central London is effectively a loop of Crossrail, it gives the great advantage of creating a double line across Central London, that offers redundancy, if either line needs to be closed for serious engineering work.

The Central Line never had that luxury before, so expect serious improvements on any Central Line station between Stratford and Ealing Broadway.

The Outer Reaches Of The Central Line

I suspect that Crossrail will generate more traffic on the outer reches of the Central Line to Epping, Hainault and West Ruislip.

These sometimes forgotten parts of the line will undoubtedly improve and change.

Wikipedia lists some of the line’s Cancelled and Future Plans.

I think what happens could surprise everybody.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 has just one interchange in the Oxford Street area at Tottenham Court Road station.

I would be very surprised in that in the massive rebuilding of the current station for Crossrail, that provision hasn’t been made to connect to Crossrail 2.

There have been surface issues around the station concerned with Crossrail 2, but given good planning of the project, I feel that the building of Crossrail 2 would only effect the area in a similar way to the replacement of a major block on Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 will have two major effects.

  • It will bring large numbers of visitors to the Oxford Street area.
  • Just as Crossrail and the Central Line will work as a high-capacity pair, it will work closely with the Victoria Line to relieve that line.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the wider Oxford Street area needs to be and will be pedestrianised.

 

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

What Do You Call This?

I bought this rack for hot dishes just out of the oven from IKEA.

What do you call it?

IKEA call it a trivet, which is defined thus.

A metal stand with short feet, used under a hot dish on a table.

IKEA either can’t count as it has four legs, or they have done a great job in a redesign.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

What Can We Expect From Theresa May?

I remember Margaret Thatcher well and from things I heard at the time, a lot of people felt they’d get the country they wanted, where criminals were hung and flogged and big business could run roughshod over the small man.

What we got from Mrs. Thatcher was not what everybody expected, because mainly she was an intelligent woman, who analysed what was needed in a crisis and then did it.

I always remember my Labour-supporting accountant at the time, saying that Thatcher and her Chancellors may have reduced the tax paid by high-earners, but they had certainly closed a large number of massive tax loopholes. My accountant certainly would have known.

Mrs. Thatcher certainly stood up to the problems, but then other Prime Ministers would. But I think, she did it in a unique way, which probably meant she could carry the country with her more easily.

I’m certain, that all important female leaders because they think differently to men and generally don’t have the massive ego, that many men do, tend to do different things or the same things in different ways.

For a start Angela Merkel always gives me the impression, she’s the wise aunt, that all families need and many have and Golda Meir made out she was tougher than any man.

Mrs. T always came across as the power-dressed professional and I’ve met a few competent female judges, lawyers and accountants, who put forward the same aura.

Theresa May will develop her own style and aura, as all politicians and especially prime ministers do. She’ll need to as, she has been left with a very bad set of cards.

What do I think she’ll do?

  • As I pointed out in Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. I think Hinckley Point C will be cancelled.
  • HS2 will be cut back in terms of cost, but increased in scope to create a One Nation Railway. As the changes at Sheffield, that I wrote about in HS2 Does The Right Thing At Sheffield, showed, good design of the railway can save a lot of money ande add more stations to the network.

 

I will add to this list.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

My objections to nuclear power plants like Hinckley Point C, is very much like my objections to giant aircraft carriers like HMS Queen Elizabeth,enormous 4×4 Chelsea tractors and massive houses, where one billionaire lives with just his trophy wife.

It’s just that they satisfy the ego of a class of men (and it’s usually men!), who like to show off, that they have more money or power than others.

There are generally much more efficient and affordable ways of achieving the same aims.

As a small example, I remember having a chat with a General in the British Army, who had very low opinions of heavy tanks and felt that there were better ways of spending the money to achieve the same objectives.

I also remember some of the arguments about the aluminium frigates after the Falklands War. A lot of these were amplified, by a friend, who’d gone to the islands as an officer on a British Rail ferry.

This is said about Hinckley Point C in Wikipedia.

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a much-delayed proposal to construct a 3,200 MWe nuclear power station with two EPR reactors in Somerset, England. The proposed site is one of eight announced by the British government in 2010,[5] and on 26 November 2012 a nuclear site licence was granted. In October 2014, the European Commission adjusted the “gain-share mechanism” so that the project does not break state-aid rules.[7] Financing for the project will be provided “by the mainly [French] state-owned EDF [and Chinese] state-owned CGN will pay £6bn for one third of it”.[8] EDF may sell up to 15% of their stake. Financing of the project is still to be finalised.

I have a feeling that any sane woman, who’s lived with a man with bad shopping habits, would cancel it tomorrow.

After all, it’s supposed to cost £18billion and there is still no date yet for when it will produce a watt of electricity.

As a reaction to these enormous costs, the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor is being proposed. Wikipedia says this.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of nuclear fission reactor which are smaller than conventional reactors, and manufactured at a plant and brought to a site to be fully constructed.

Small reactors are defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency as those with an electricity output of less than 300 MWe, although general opinion is that anything with an output of less than 500 MWe counts as a small reactor.

Modular reactors allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and heightened nuclear materials security.

I recommend reading the full Wikipedia article.

I feel that SMRs have a lot of advantages.

  • Much more of the building can be in a factory, not on a bleak remote site.
  • They are particularly suited to remote locations, where there is a shortage of construction workers.
  • An SMR may be a much less risky project cost-wise than a conventional large plant.
  • Containment is more efficient.
  • Proliferation concerns are lessened.
  • Say you are building a plant that needs a lot of electricity, like say an aluminium smelter. The SMR could be built alongside, so there would be no need for massive transmission lines, between the smelter and its power source.
  • They could be built underground, lessening the visual impact.
  • High energy use industries like steel-making could be paired with an SMR.
  • Large office complexes like Canary Wharf could be linked to an SMR deep underneath for their massive energy use.
  • Build time is much less.

I like the concept and think that this type of reactor, perhaps arranged in groups around a country or region, will kill off the traditional large nuclear reactor.

This section on safety features illustrates the innovative thinking behind the reactors.

Since there are several different ideas for SMRs, there are many different safety features that can be involved. Coolant systems can use natural circulation – convection – so there are no pumps, no moving parts that could break down, and they keep removing decay heat after the reactor shuts down, so that the core doesn’t overheat and melt. Negative temperature coefficients in the moderators and the fuels keep the fission reactions under control, causing the fission reactions to slow down as temperature increases.

I suspect we can now design a reliable reactor, that say it received a direct hit from a tsunami or three simultaneous crashes from Jumbo jets, would fail-safe.

There are certainly a lot of groups and companies trying to design the ultimate SMR.

There is even a concept being developed at the Universities of Manchester and Delft in the Netherlands called a u-Battery. That concept may not work, but something like it will produce electricity for a lot of people and industry around the world.

The dinosaurs like Hinckley Point C are hopefully a mistake of the past.

 

 

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , | 1 Comment