The Anonymous Widower

How Can We Deal With Air Pollution In The UK?

This article on the BBC is entitled Green group wins air pollution court battle.

This is the start of the article.

Campaigners have won the latest battle in legal action against the UK Government over levels of air pollution.

A judge at the High Court in London ruled in favour of environmental lawyers ClientEarth.

The group called air pollution a “public health crisis” and said the government has failed to tackle it.

The ruling in the judicial review called the government’s plan “woefully inadequate”.

As my mate Brian would have said, the \government has been screwed, glued and tattooed, by the Judge.

Does Pollution Affect Me?

I feel very strongly about this, as in the 1940s and 1950s, I suffered badly from the pollution of the time.

Now pollution levels are cutting out the vitamin D producing UVB rays of the sun. Could this be the rason for my low vitamin D levels?

No Magic Bullet

So what can the Government do to meet the European Emission Standards?

There is no magic bullet, but I believe that a raft of measures can gradually bring the levels of pollution down.

Reduction Of All Road Transport

One of London’s problems is that the amount of traffic in the city, means that a lot of the vehicles are stationery and just causing pollution.

I suspect this is a problem in many other cities.

So measures must be taken to reduce the level of all traffic.

  • London needs more Park-and-Ride sites. Do other cities?
  • Differential congestion charging and residents parking, so the polluter pays.
  • More cycling superhighways to encourage cycling.
  • City centre parking must be taxed, with the money funding public transport.
  • Aggressive illegal parking control.
  • Automatic box junction enforcement.
  • 20 mph speed limit to make walking easier.
  • Area average speed control.
  • Reduction of the number of taxis and mini-cabs.

I particularly like the concept of having a grid of linked speed cameras in a city and then issuing a ticket automatically, if the limit is exceeded between two cameras.

Reduction Of Diesel-Powered Transport

As nitrogen dioxide from diesels is the main source of the pollution, we should aim to eliminate as many diesel-powered vehicles, as is practical.

  • Reduction of diesel vehicles will need legislation, probably backed up with government money.
  • Buses, taxis and local delivery vehicles will need to be hybrid or electric.
  • There must be progressive bans for diesel vehicles not meeting the latest standards.
  • Diesel scrapping schemes have been introduced in certain places.

I particularly like the idea, where in an experiment involving Sainsburys, supplies for the supermarkets were delivered by train into Euston at three in the morning and then delivered around Central London by low-emission vehicles.

Increase In Electrically-Powered Transport

This is the key to reducing a lot of pollution in cities.

  • Electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • Trams to replace buses.
  • Development of electric rail lines.
  • More cross-city rail lines like Crossrail 2 and the Camp Hill Line.

I also think we’ll see some innovative solutions, like the PRT system, I wrote about in A Visit To Heathrow Terminal 5.

The problem of improving transport systems is well-illustrated in Chelsea, where some selfish locals don’t want Crossrail 2, as it might hinder them driving their tractors.

More Details

I shall now expand a few of those topics and add a few more ideas.

They are in alphabetical order.

Battery Trains

Battery trains are an alternative to full electrification, where one or both ends of the line to be electrified, already have electrification.

The Greenford Branch is an obvious possibility.

  • The line is only 4.3 km. long.
  • The bay platform at West Ealing station could be easily electrified to charge the trains.
  • Either a new train or a refurbished one with batteries could work the line.
  • Two trains would be needed to run the promised four trains per hour service.
  • Little new infrastructure would be needed.

I believe that battery trains are an affordable alternative to full electrification.

Battery Trams

Battery trams are being introduced into Birmingham to extend the Midland Metro. This article in the Railway Gazette, which is entitled Midland Metro trams to be converted for catenary-free operation, gives full details.

  • The only construction required is to lay the rails, build the stops and install the signalling.
  • Putting up overhead wires in a historic or sensitive city centre can be a legal and logistical nightmare and very expensive.
  • Battery trams work in Seville and Nanjing.
  • Trams charge the battery at either a charging station or when running under wires outside of the centre.

I can see a time, when in city centres, most trams will be battery-powered.

It will be interesting to see how Brummies take to their battery trams.

Connectivity Improvements

Compare arriving in Birmingham New Street and Euston stations, needing to go a few miles to say Centenary or Trafalgar Squares respectively.

At Euston, you go to the nearest bus stop, look up the spider map with all the destinations from Euston and it tells you how to get to about a hundred locations. Job done!

But in Birmingham, the brand new station doesn’t have that information on display in an easy-to-understand form.

Birmingham isn’t too bad and is certainly better than Manchester, but why can’t cities copy the London system.

You may get to these places easily, but the connecting and ticketing arrangements, tell you to bring your car next time.

Contactless Bank Card Ticketing

London now allows anybody to use their contactless bank card, as a ticket on all modes of public transport.

I don’t have the figures, but I believe that every time a new feature is added, like the new Bus Hopper, there is an increase in public transport usage.

After London’s experiences, I have no doubt, that contactless bank card ticketing increases the use of public transport and removes traffic from the roads.

Introducing contactless bank card ticketing, should be a condition of Central Government finance for public transport projects.

But every city in the world will introduce this form of ticketing!

Not doing it, will make sure visitors don’t come back and tell their friends what a crap place they’ve visited.

Cross-City Railways And Trams

A lot of cities and conurbations have a lot more traffic and the resulting pollution, as getting from one side of the city to the other is not easy, without driving through the city centre.

As an example, Crossrail will improve access to Heathrow from East and South-East London, where the alternative is a drive round the M25 or through the city centre, on congested roads. But Crossrail is only one of many successful cross-city routes in the UK.

  • The Central, District, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines of the London Underground.
  • The East, North and West London Lines and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line of the London Overground.
  • Thameslink in London
  • The Northern Line in Liverpool.
  • The Cross-City Line and Snow Hill Lines in Birmingham
  • The East and West Coastway Lines in Brighton.
  • The Metro in Newcastle.
  • The Nottingham Express Transit in Nottingham.
  • The Valley Lines in Cardiff

All of these lines are well-used and there are plans to upgrade those, not to the standard of the London Overground.

Efficient Deliveries

If I have my window open, I can sometimes hear several delivery trucks call at my various neighbours in a short period of time.

This is not efficient and surely something better can be done.

I was once offered delivery of a small parcel to my Local Sainsburys, which is about a hundred metres away.

Organised properly with enough drop points, that must be more efficient and convenient.

This is one we don’t need to worry about, as the big shopping groups will make it happen as they go for greater sales and more profits.


Park-and-Ride is a good way of keeping, passenger cars away from City Centres.

Nottingham may be a lot smaller than London, but it is a city that has designed the Nottingham Express Transit with several Park-and-Ride sites, at the edges of the city.

Compare that with the non-existent Park-and-Ride provision on Crossrail, which I wrote about in Crossrail’s Park-And-Ride Facilities.

Railway Electrification

Electrification of rail routes across cities and replacing diesel trains with electric ones, is always an option to cut pollution.


  • London is currently electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and this will also allow noisy and polluting Class 66 diesel locomotives to replaced with electric ones on freight trains on this route.
  • Lines in Liverpool and Birmingham are also being electrified.
  • Electric trains also seem to be passenger magnets as the Class 378 trains of the London Overground have shown.

But remember, that every passenger on an electric train, can’t be using their car and is rteducing their pollution footprint.

Rewards For Going Car-Free

I have met several people recently, who have given up owning a car in Central London.

So could those, who don’t bring their car into the congested area, receive some form of reward.








November 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A Walk Between The Two New Crossrail Entrances At Bond Street Station

After a wrote A Look At Bond Street Station, I decided to go and have a look on the surface.

This Google Map shows the area.

Bond Street Crossrail Station

Bond Street Crossrail Station


  1. The new Western entrance is in Davies Street just to the South of the current Bond Street station.
  2. The new Eastern entrance just to the West of the green oasis of Hanover Square.
  3. South Moulton Street is the road running diagonally from the tube station.

Shopping in Oxford and Bond Streets will be much easier.

Road Layout At Bond Street East Station

I found this map on the this page of the Crossrail web site.


This is Crossrail’s description of the area at the present time.

The urban realm design provides a new setting for the Crossrail station and a framework for restoration of the historic layout of the square by creating generous pedestrian areas around the gardens and on all sides of the square.

The new Crossrail station entrance on Hanover Square is located in the Mayfair conservation area, between Oxford Street and Regent Street. In the past the environment in Hanover Square has been dominated by traffic, with very wide carriageways, low quality pedestrian space and the general lack of a coherent public realm.

Crossrail’s proposals and those of Great bPortland Estates sound a lot better, with shared space and all the features pedestrians and cyclists need.

November 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Victorian Roof At Farringdon Station

Farringdon Station is Grade II Listed and has a Victorian roof dating from 1865. The roof is not a grand but a very practical affair.

As the pictures show, it won a Railway Heritage Board Award in 2015.

I wonder if Barbican station had a similar roof, as you can still see the remains of crudely cut off trusses, not unlike the those remaining at Farringdon station.

If the Barbican station roof should ever be recreated, perhaps something like the one, I wrote about in The New Roof At Crystal Palace Station could be used.

The two stations could be a tribute to Ancient and Modern

November 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment