The Anonymous Widower

Is There A Worse Station Than This In London?

I took the last train for some time to North Sheen station, which I had been told was bad, but I couldn’t believe what I found.

This Google Map shows the station layout.

  • It must have one of the longest lists of fundamental faults of any station.
  • To get into and out of the station, you need to climb up and down a step footbridge.
  • It has the worst step-free access I’ve ever seen.
  • There were no staff.
  • It has an inconvenient level crossing.
  • There was no car parking or even anywhere to drop and pick up a passenger.

In some ways, what makes matters worse is that the station has ten-car platforms which at times must bring large numbers of passengers.

The only good thing about the station, was that a ticket machine was on the platform.

It is a truly dreadful station.





January 1, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Mortlake Station With A Level Crossing

I walked West from Barnes station and came to Mortlake station.

It also had the inevitable level crossing.

The only positive thing to be said for the level crossing, is that it is at a station.

This means that train schedules can be arranged, so that trains can go through the station a few minutes apart and utilise the same level crossing closure.

January 1, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A Level Crossing In White Hart Lane, Barnes

perhaps five hundred metres to the West of the level crossings I wrote about in A Pair Of Level Crossings At Vine Road, Barnes, there another one in White Hart Lane, Barnes.

When this line was built in the 1840s, they certainly left a big problem for Network Rail.

This Google Map shows the area around the crossing.

A Level Crossing In White Hart Lane, Barnes

A Level Crossing In White Hart Lane, Barnes

You can find a lot of news items about this crossing on the Internet.

This article in the Local Guardian is entitled Campaigners claim ‘dangerous’ level crossing in Barnes is putting children’s lives at risk.

This is an extract.

Concerned residents have launched a campaign calling for Network Rail to install a footbridge to cope with the “very high footfall of schoolchildren” using the crossing.

They were also expecting help from the local MP; Zak Goldsmith.

Whatever happening to him?

A footbridge could work, but it wouldn’t be easy.

  • Kids being walked to school, as I witness every day outside my house, are often accompanied by scooters, bikes, siblings ion buggies etc.
  • How many of the local residents would object to a footbridge outside their house?
  • Would the footbridge have lifts for those in wheelchairs?
  • There is no station, which makes a solution easier.
  • How difficult is an alternative driving route?

An affordable solution will be very difficult.


January 1, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

A Pair Of Level Crossings At Vine Road, Barnes

Regular readers of this blog, will know that I don’t like level crossings.

But then, if you’ve lived in East Anglia as much as I have and been inconvenienced, so many times by idiots having accidents or worse at level crossings, you will understand how I feel.

This pair just to the West of Barnes station are two of the most inconvenient for both road and rail, that I’ve seen.

This Google Map shows the area.

A Pair Of Level Crossings At Vine Road, Barnes

A Pair Of Level Crossings At Vine Road, Barnes

Note the two crossings are on Vine Road at the left of the map, with Barnes station at the right.

It took me perhaps ten minutes fifteen minutes to walk from one side of the two railway lines to the other. In that time, the following happened.

  • The gates on the Northern tracks through Barnes Bridge station closed once.
  • The gates on the Southern tracks through Mortlate station closed three times.
  • At least one closure was a long one for a train in each direction.
  • A group of teenagers ran across as the gates closed.

On return, I searched the Internet and found this article on the BBC, which is entitled Video captures pedestrians’ ‘extremely dangerous’ dash across level crossing.

This is a typical extract from the article.

Martin, who did not give his surname, said: “It’s ridiculous. I’ve personally sat there for 45 minutes once and it gets worse in rush hours obviously.
“It might be true that they have engineering works, but that’s not the only factor.”

I am surprised that the Health and Safety Executive haven’t ordered Network Rail to close these crossings, which is the only sensible action.

Tunnels or footbridges could be provided for pedestrians and cyclists and vehicle traffic could use other routes.

But of course that would be politically unacceptable to the residents. And probably reduce house prices!

It’s a difficult one, but the alternative of closing the railway would be equally unacceptable to the pver two million passengers every year, who use Barnes station.


January 1, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

How Will Crossrail 2 Affect Kingston?

This post was suggested to me, by this page on the Kingston Council web site, which is entitled Crossrail 2 to bring major benefits to the Royal Borough of Kingston.

After a couple of trips to the area in the last week or so, I thought I’d better have a look.

So what have I found already.

Waterloo Station Suburban Services Going To Crossrail 2

In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I looked at services into Waterloo , that could be going to Crossrail 2.

These suburban termini and their routes are due to be connected to Crossrail 2.


Wikipedia says this about Crossrail 2 services to the South West, after surfacing from the tunnel South of Wimbledon station.

  • 20 tph at Raynes Park National Rail
  • 8-10 tph at Motspur Park National Rail
  • Exclusive use of the Chessington Branch Line to Chessington South (4 tph)
  • Mixed use of the Raynes Park – Epsom line to Epsom National Rail (Sutton and Mole Valley Lines) (4-6 tph)
  • 10-12 trains per hour at New Malden National Rail
  • Exclusive use of the Hampton Court Branch Line to Hampton Court (4 tph) with interchange at Surbiton National Rail
  • Shared use of the Shepperton Branch Line with 6-8 tph to Teddington National Rail and 4 trains per hour to Shepperton National Rail

My analysis shows that this pattern of service can be handled in two ways.

  • Using a Crossrail 2 tunnel from Wimbledon.
  • Using a dedicated high-capacity two-track line with Crossrail/Thameslink-style Automatic Train Operation (ATO), into an updated Waterloo.

So as far as Kingston is concerned, the Royal Borough will get the same improved levels of service, whether Crossrail 2 is built or not, as the only difference will be North of Wimbledon.

Station And Track Improvements On The Branch Lines

This will be the one major set of works that will effect Kingston.

  • Installation of lifts and platform improvements to make the proposed Crossrail 2 stations step-free.
  • Removal of level crossings on the Crossrail 2 branches.

I don’t know anything specific, but all stations and level crossings on Crossrail 2 routes will certainly be assessed.

New Trains

A big change will be the trains running on all the South-Western suburban lines out of Waterloo.

  • All platforms in Waterloo station are being lengthened to take ten-car trains.
  • The Hounslow Loop Line was recently updated with ten-car platforms.
  • All the latest trains bought by South West Trains are in sets of five-cars, which can run as pairs to create a ten-car train.

I’ve read somewhere that South West Trains are going for a ten-car railway.

\As the new trains for the Essex suburban services of Greater Anglia, are also a mixture of  five- and ten-car trains, there must be some magic in the train length.

What will be the capabilities of these trains?

  • 100-mph or more cruising speed.
  • Impressive acceleration and braking.
  • Wide lobbies for fast loading and unloading of passengers.
  • Level access between train and platform.
  • Wheelchairs, buggies and heavy cases will just roll across.
  • The ability to run under limited ATO.
  • Lots of driver assistance systems.
  • Driver Only Operation (DOO)

The trains will be truly-revolutionary and because their design coud result in upwards of a minute being saved at every stop.

At present trains are conservatively timetabled, as no-one wants late trains, but if a route is served exclusively by these new breeds of high-performance easy-entry trains, designed for a particular route, jouirney times will shorten.

The first trains of this standard to be introduced will be the Class 345 trains for Crossrail, which will start running between Liverpool Street and Shenfield stations in May 2017. The published timetables show a saving of about five minutes on the journey.

I believe this is just a taster of what can be achieved.

If trains of this type were to be run on the suburban branches from Waterloo, this would do the following.

  • Introduce four tph on all routes.
  • Introduce ten-car trains on all routes.
  • Reduce journey times on all routes.
  • I believe total out-and-back times from Waterloo will be reduced to under an hour, as this drammatically reduces the number of trains needed to provide 4 tph.

These trains will be introduced if Crossrail 2 is built or not. The recently-purchased Class 707 trains, will probably offer the same performance improvements as Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

So what will these trains do for Kingston?

  • The fastest journeys between Kingston and London Waterloo stations currently take 28 minutes with seven stops.
  • So Kingstonians will probably see times of around twenty minutes on this route, using ten-car trains, that stop at the same stations.
  • It won’t be just one train an hour, but every train via Wimbledon, will achieve these timings.

Wikipedia says current hourly Off Peak services is as follows.

  • 6 to Waterloo, of which:
    • 4 run via Wimbledon
    • 2 run via Richmond and Twickenham
  • 2 to Shepperton

But with new trains, there could be the following increases in services.

  • 4 tph instead of 2 tph to Shepperton
  • 4 tph instead of 2 tph on the Kingston Loop

This well mean the services at Kingston could be.

  • 10 to Waterloo, of which:
    • 8 run via Wimbledon
    • 4 run via Richmond and Twickenham
  • 4 to Shepperton

This will mean  Kingston to Waterloo will see a 67% increase in frequency and every train will be new ten-car trains.




January 1, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

I’ve Listened To The Tape

I went to Liverpool University in the Autumn of 1964.

The University in those days had a Rag \Week, which in Liverpool was called Panto Week.

This link to the University of Liverpool web site, gives a flavour.

There used to be a debate in the Mountford Hall of the Guild of Undergraduates and usually someone locally famous was invited. In 1965, it was The Scaffold.

I don’t know how I got there, but a few days after seeing the Scaffold, I ended up in a Hall of Residence listening to a tape of the debate of the previous year.

It was a virtuoso performance by Ken Dodd and it went on for hours.

I wonder, if that tape still exists!

January 1, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment