It goes without saying that, one of the ways to get a passenger contribution to the cost of a station, is for the station to attract passengers to use the trains calling at the station.
Look at this picture of Ilkeston station.
It was taken from the footbridge over the railway and shows that Ilkeston station is effectively two single platform stations on either side of the double-track railway.
Each platform has a ticket machine and a shelter, so all passengers arriving without tickets have no trouble getting one. I know of lots of stations, where the ticket machine is tucked away, almost as if to discourage travel.
But the real marketing trick at Ilkeston is the station footbridge replaces a footpath alongside of Station Road.
This Google Map shows, the station during construction and the old footbridge is clearly visible to the North side of Station Road.
Now the station is open with its new footbridge, how many people will walk past the station, as they go about their business and get curious and perhaps use the trains next time they go into Nottingham.
Hackney Wick station is going to be a much grander affair, than Ilkeston, as this visualisation shows.
But London Overground can be accused of very direct marketing in the design.
Note the double subway under the railway. One section leads into the actual station and the railway and the other is a pedestrian route under the railway.
They will be separated by an artistic glass wall.
How many people will be encouraged to use the railway by this design?
Lea Bridge station has been designed as a simple station, although it does have lifts.
But it was designed before Ilkeston with the entrance at one side, rather than on the bridge, where it used to be sixty years ago.
It will be interesting to see how passenger numbers stack up at Lea Bridge.
Kirkstall Forge station is a new station near Leeds.
It is a fully-equipped station, that relies on position, new developments and a large car-park to bring in the passenger traffic.
Ebbw Vale Town
Ebbw Vale Town station is a station of a different type, but because of a prominent location, It looks to have been a success.
When you consider that it only has an hourly service to Cardiff to pull in 168,000 passengers in its first year of operation is very creditable.
Various factors come into this anaysis and I’ll detail them first.
Merseyrail’s New Trains
- The trains will have regenerative braking.
- The trains will weight in at 99 tonnes.
- The trains will have a capacity of 486 passengers.
- The trains are four cars and 64 metres long.
It should also be noted that the current trains have a maximum speed of 121 kph, although the Northern Line has a maximum speed of 97 kph and the Wirral Line one of 110 kph.
I also suspect that the trains will be pretty good aerodynamically, as most modern trains are. My linked article quotes an energy saving of twenty per cent.
Merseyrail’s tunnels date from the Loop and Link Project of the 1970s, where the three electrified lines coming into Liverpool, were connected together.
- The Loop Line allows trains from the other side of the Mersey to access four stations in Central Liverpool and gave a substantial capacity increase.
- The Link Line joined the Northern suburban lines to Kirkby, Ormskirk and Southport to the Southern suburban line to Hunts Cross.
Currently, the Loop Line is having a major upgrade with slab track and other goodies and if it is not to the same standard, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Link Line improved as well.
I suspect that when the work is finished, Merseyrail’s tunnels will not offer much resistance to the trains passing through.
If the new trains use regenerative braking with batteries, there is one big advantage in the tunnels.
Some braking energy is stored on the train and used to accelerate the train when needed. So hopefully, the flow of electricity between track and train is reduced, which means less heat generation in the tunnel as the currents flow through to and from the train.
Let’s assume that a train running at line speed in a tunnel has X KwH of kinetic energy. For a stop, this energy must be absorbed by the regenerative brakes and turned into electrical energy. It won’t be 100 % of the energy but I suspect that with modern systems it could be as high as 80%. Batteries are an efficient way to store this energy and I suspect, with the best systems, virtually every KwH you put in the battery can be retrieved later, if the battery is large enough.
Unlike Manchester, Liverpool is not surrounded by hills, so I would expect that most of the lines have fairly gentle gradients.
These are a few altitudes.
- Aintree – 13 m.
- Chester – 32 m.
- Garston – 23 m.
- Hunts Cross – 40 m.
- John Lennon Airport – 24 m.
- Kirkby – 26 m.
- New Brighton – 43 m.
- Ormskirk – 52 m.
- Southport – 6 m.
- West Kirby – 9 m.
These examples, show that the network is not an arduous one. I suspect that the lowest part of the network is in the tunnels under Liverpool. Judging by the escalator lengths, I suspect it could be around thirty metres below ground.
Kinetic Energy Of A Full Train
The mass of a train is 99 tonnes plus say 70 kg for each of 486 passengers.
This gives a mass of 133 tonnes for the fully-loaded train.
Suppose it is travelling at 100 kph.
This gives a kinetic energy of 51.3 MJ.
Or converting that to everyday units we get 14.25 KwH.
As a typical transport battery for somethig like a hybrid bus is around 75 KwH, I would think that such a battery could handle regenerative braking on the trains with ease.
How Far Could A Train Run On Batteries Away From Electrification?
This is a bit like asking the old question about how long is a piece of string.
Merseyrail’s lines are generally fairly flat and if the trains have regenerative braking with batteries, I suspect the range could be longer than expected.
Other factors will also affect the range.
- Driving aids.
- Wheel-slip protection.
- Good driving.
- The weather.
- Accurately-positin slab track.
I also think the range on batteries will be deliberately restricted to a conservative distance, as running out of energy, would not be tolerated.
I would also expect the achievable range to get longer, as the operator and its drivers, learn how to conserve energy.
The title of this post is from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, but could the 2017 General Election be a rerun of the 1983 General Election, where Margaret Thatcher gave Michael Foot, the order of the boot?
Jeremy Corbyn is actually two years younger than Michael Foot was at the 1983 General Election, which was incidentally when he was elected for the first time.
At the 1983 General Election Margaret Thatcher was in her late-fifties and now Theresa May is in her early-sixties.
I think that humorists and cartoonists will be having a good election, drawing comparisons.
Thatcher won her biggest victory in the Falklands, so will May win her victory in the Brexit negotiations?
I certainly feel that far outposts like the Falklands and Gibraltar could figure in this election.
Some of the stations on the London Overground, are architectural gems.
The picture shows some the internal detail of the refurbished Grade II Listed Crystal Palace station. The cafe was created in an area of the station, that few realised existed.
There is also work going on at Peckham Rye station, where an enormous Victorian waiting room has been discovered. An architect called Benedict O’Looney seems to be on a mission to restore the station to its former glory.
Peckham Rye station could be step-free as early as 2019, so I suspect that the station could become more important in the grand scheme of things.
What would Del Boy have thought?
There is also Camden Road station, which is in pretty-good nick.
If Camden Road station has a problem, it is that the station possibly needs more passenger capacity and perhaps one of the closed platforms to be reopened.
I’d love to know what is behind those windows on the top floor.
Hackney Central station has a similar building to Camden Road station.
It looks like Hackney Central will get a modern station building to go with the step-free footbridge. But I suspect everything is on hold until the plan for Crossrail 2 is finally decided.
Yesterday, I was in Hackney Downs station and I was told that the bland station building abandoned by British Rail, might be worth restoring.
Who knows what lies behind the brick walls and lurks in the dark spaces under the tracks in the old station building?
Knowing the way, many of these railway stations were built, I wonder if London Overground could come up with an imaginative scheme to create a Victorian counterbalance to the more modern Hackney Central, in what will inevitably be Hackney Interchange.
If you look at my pictures over the weekend of the Hackney Wick Station Subway Installation, there’s two common factors – The sun and no rain.
Imagine having to do all that heavy work in an intense storm named Jeremy or Nigel.
Obviously, the Queen too, hasn’t been near Hackney Wick.