The Anonymous Widower

Has Scotrail Got The Wrong Sort Of Heat?

This article on Rail Magazine is entitled Train failures and crew shortages hit Borders operation.

This is said.

ScotRail Operations Director Perry Ramsey says the company has identified a fleet-wide issue with the Class 158s that affects them particularly badly during hot weather.

Under heavy load, such as accelerating on steep gradients, the engines can overheat and shut down, leading to disruption.

So has ScotRail  got the wrong sort of heat?


August 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Siemens And South West Trains Unviel The Class 707 Train

In The Aventra Car Length Puzzle, I talked about the flexibility of Bombardier’s new Aventra trains.  The first of these; Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, will hit the tracks in May 2017, when according to the September 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, they will enter service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

A month or so earlier,if all goes to plan, South West Trains will start running their new Class 707 trains, which are being built by Siemens in Germany.

This train is described in the following article in the same edition of Modern Railways.

The original in-service date of the Class 707 trains was July 2017, so having lost a bit of credibility with the late entry into service of the closely-related  Class 700 trains, are Siemens trying to beat Bombardier’s Aventra into service?

Obviously, there a lot of new trains that will be ordered in the next few years and all tricks will be employed.

Reading, the article about the Class 707 trains, three things stand out thoughtful design, flexibility and future proofing.

  • Although, the trains will be third-rail only, the first two trains will be fitted with pantographs during testing, to prove that the concept works. This means the trains could be passed to another operator in the future.
  • No toilets are fitted, but all the wiring and plumbing is there, so they can be fitted later.
  • Siemens have gone for 2+1 seating rather than longitudinal bench seating as on the Class 378 trains, because of the feet-sticking-out problem.
  • The trains fature wide open gangways.
  • The trains have air-conditioning.
  • Unlike the Class 700 trains, the trains have wi-fi.
  • The trains are full of electronics and are information-rich for passengers and drivers.

A lot of what I have said here, also applies to Bombardier’s Aventra.

This is said about the operation of Class 707 trains in Wikipedia.

The Class 707 units are intended primarily for services between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside, allowing the Class 458 trains used on those services to be cascaded back to operations to Reading, which will then allow the Class 450s to move elsewhere. The intention is to run these services, as well as others via Staines, and some mainline services to Basingstoke, as ten-car trains with pairs of Class 707s.

So the lack of an end gangway will mean that the trains can’t run as a true ten-car train.

Of the other variants of these trains; Class 700 trains are fixed formations of eight and ten cars, that won’t be working as pairs and the Class 717 trains for Great Northern will have end gangways because of the tunnels they run through.

So I wonder why, South West Trains didn’t go for five-cars with end-gangways or ten-car trains.

Interestingly, Abellio’s order of new Aventra trains for East Anglia includes a mix of five and ten car trains. Will the five-car trains be able to work as pairs and will they be gangwayed? Nothing has been announced yet!

I think the theme running through both train designs, is the customer gets the trains that best fit their method of working.

August 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

London Bridge Station Will Be A Game-Changer For Many Passengers

After my first glimpse of the new London Bridge station, which I posted in London Bridge Station Wakes Up, I have a feeling that the station could be a gam-changer for many passengers.

These are a few of the ways the new station will help. Some are very specific for me, as I live in Dalston, without direct access to the Underground.

London Bridge Station Is Bus-Friendly

Ever since the new bus station at London Bridge has opened, it has been easier for those like me in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets to get to the station, as there are several buses between our area and London Bridge.

But now the top entrance under the Shard is now complete, you can take one escalator to the concourse under all the tracks.

You can also still walk through direct to platforms 10-15, which I often do, as these platforms are the terminals for trains to and from Freedom Pass territory. There’s also a convenient M&S Simply Food, which I regularly use.

I also think that, as the concourse,has better access to and from Tooley Street, this will help those wanted to use buses on Tooley Street.

This visualisation from this page on the Thameslink Programme shows what Tooley Street will look like.

London Bridge Ststion And Tooley Street

London Bridge Ststion And Tooley Street

There seems to be a wide pavement between the traffic and the station.

London Bridge Station Is Reasonably Tube-Friendly

The main London termini serving the South, are not as far as I’m concerned the easiest to get to by Underground, especially from East London.

Victoria and Waterloo are a long way to the West and Cannon Street and Charing Cross are downright difficult to get to.

However, the Northern and Jubilee Lines probably make London Bridge,  the easiest terminal for the South for many to use.

Will Thameslink Be Considered Part Of The Tube?

Since it opened in the 1980s, I’ve always considered that Thameslink should have been considered to be another Underground line.

Although, I really haven’t used Thameslink seriously, until I moved back to London in 2010.

I believe that the following things should be done to make Thameslink better for passengers and increase ridership on the line.

  • Show all Thameslink routes and stations on the Tube map.
  • Allow Oyster and contactless bank card ticketing at all Thameslink stations.
  • Have the same Freedom Pass rules as Crossrail.
  • Run Thameslink stations under TfL design, information and operational rules.
  • Thameslink stations should be manned from first to last train.
  • Disabled passengers should be able to just turn up and ask for assistance.
  • Thameslink should be part of the Night Tube.

As I suspect that as these conditions will apply to Crossrail, surely both lines running under the same rules would be very passenger friendly.

I look forward to the day, when I touch in with my bank card at Finsbury Park and touch out at Cambridge or Brighton.


London Bridge Station Will Be An Easier Walk To The City

I’ve walked across London Bridge in late afternoon on a sunny day and the pedestrian traffic to London Bridge station from the City is large.

It would appear that all the work being done on the Tooley Street side of the station, will open up routes to the concourse under the tracks and create better walking routes to and from the City.

Unfortunately, it’s probably not possible to totally pedestrianise Tooley Street, as there is nowhere for the traffic to go.

London Bridge Station For Cannon Street And Charing Cross Avoidance

Before work on the station started, you could always avoid going to Cannon Street or Charing Cross stations to get a train, by catching it as it passed through London Bridge

But it wasn’t the easiest of connections.

Now though with the new platforms 8 and 9 open, you can see how Cannon Street and Charing Cross services will be handled at London Bridge station.

London Bridge Station And Thameslink

If I needed to use the old London Bridge station to access Thameslink services, it wasn’t the easiest.

But now that I can see how I will access the Thameslink platforms at London Bridge, I will probably use a 141 or 21 bus through the City.

I have a feeling that London Bridge will see a bigger increase in passenger use of the Thameslink platforms, when they reopen, as the interchange at London Bridge will be so much easier than say St. Pancras.

In fact, London Bridge station, just amplifies how bad  the passenger-friendliness is at St. Pancras station.

Island Platforms And Thameslink

On Crossrail all Central London stations between Woolwich and Paddington, would appear to be island platforms or ones where you can walk across between the Eastbound and Westbound platforms without any steps.

If you look at some of the classic Underground stations, built over the last hundred years,  like Angel, Bermondsey, Gants Hill, Pimlico, Regents Park and Southgate, then they are all built to this simple design.

  •  Escalators and/or lifts are probably easier to provide, as these can descend to the central space to serve both lines.
  • A large circulation space can be built between the tracks.
  • When staff are provided on the platforms, it probably means they can be more efficiently provided.
  • Passengers can easily reverse direction, either deliberately or because they’ve got on a  train going in the  wrong direction.
  • The layout might be better for health and safety reasons, if say power fails on one track and passengers need to be evacuated.

It is for these and other reasons, that I think island platforms, should be built wherever possible.

But on the central section of Thameslink, only London Bridge has an island platform.

To make matters worse the idiots, who designed St. Pancras Thameslink station, inexplicably chose to build it with two separate platforms.

Thus, they made say New Barnet to Luton Airport with heavy bags, much more difficult than it should be.

You actually wonder, if that journey will be more convenient, when London Bridge is fully connected to Thameslink, by doing the extra stops to London Bridge and changing trains there.

Probably not, as the extra stops would take twenty minutes or so!

But if they had a good coffee stall and kiosk on the platform at London Bridge, you might think about it.


August 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

It Certainly Caught My Eye!

I am expecting a delivery this morning and when I heard a small truck pull up opposite, I had a look.

Junk And Disorderly

Junk And Disorderly

Well it gave me a laugh!

Twenty minutes later, I’d also done a deal worthy of Arthur Daley to remove some junk from my hall.

It all shows the value of having a good name for your company and using humour for advertising.

Although some might think some of the wording on the truck was a bit sexist, as they are saying they can clear your life of wives, girlfriends, mother in laws and taxmen.

August 30, 2016 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment