The Anonymous Widower

A Design Crime – Platform-To-Train Access On The Northern Line At Bank Station

These four pictures show the platform-to-train access on the Northern Line at Bank station.

Note.

  1. The first two pictures are the new Southbound platform.
  2. The last two pictures are the Northbound platform.
  3. The other pictures show the wide and level walkways between the two platforms.

The Southbound platform has level platform-to-train access, but the old Northbound platform does not!

That constitutes a design crime in my book.

September 9, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Wide Platforms On The Piccadilly Line Extension

As a child, I used to live on the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line.

  • My family lived near Oakwood station.
  • I used to have my hair cut in the barbers at Cockfosters station.
  • My school was at Southgate station.
  • My father’s print works was close to Wood Green station.
  • I regularly brought shopping home from Marks & Spencer in Wood Green, by using Turnpike Lane station.
  • I saw Eric Clapton, John Mayall and others at the Manor House pub by Manor House station.

Incidentally, I’ve never had much to do with Arnos Grove or Bounds Green stations.

Perhaps because in those days of the 1950s, I rarely used other lines, I didn’t notice the wider platforms of the extension, which opened in 1933.

The Wikipedia entry for the Piccadilly Line, says this.

Platforms 400 ft (120 m) long were originally planned for each station to fit 8-car trains, but were cut short to 385 ft (117 m) when built. Some stations were also built with wider platform tunnels to cater to expected high patronage.

Perhaps, that explains the wider platforms at Turnpike Lane and Manor House stations.

I suspect that Transport for London wish that the Victoria Line had been built to the same standards of the Piccadilly Line Extension of the 1930s.

 

 

August 12, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

LED Lights Illuminate London’s Elizabeth Line

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on E & T Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Using LEDs to light up the stations, escalator shafts and concourses of the Elizabeth line was a bold move from Transport for London; especially as when they decided on its use back in the late 2000s, LED technology was yet to break into the lighting world.

These points are also made in the article.

  • The Elizabeth line is one of the first sub-surface infrastructure projects to be lit entirely by LEDs.
  • The decision to use the technology was based on industry evidence that its use will help reduce energy consumption and maintenance requirements.
  • The Crossrail team used the light-grey, matt-textured, glass-reinforced concrete lining of the station and escalator tunnels to reflect light onto the passenger areas.
  • The main lighting and the emergency lighting are incorporated in the wayfinding totems.

The article certainly explains how the excellent lighting was designed.

These pictures show some of the LED lighting on the Elizabeth Line.

Note that uplighters on the Underground are not new, as these pictures from Turnpike Lane station show.

They were installed in the 1930s and were also used on the Moscow Metro, where London Transport installed the escalators.

Lighting Can Calm Passengers

This is a paragraph from the article.

Both Kerrigan and Clements agree that the lighting infrastructure makes the Elizabeth line unique to all its predecessors seen across the London Underground and that they have met their goal to create a soothing environment to enhance the passenger experience. “We wanted to create a relaxed commuting environment that is the opposite to the poorly lit and cramped environment of the Central line, for example,” Clements admits. “And we believe that the lighting has a massive amount to do with this.”

Does this explain why passengers seem generally calm?

August 11, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Case Of The Disappearing Litter Bins

Coming back from Cardiff today, I had some Marks & Spencer sandwiches and some of their still lemonade, which ended up in a carrier bag.

There were no litter bins on the exit of the train I used, so I had to carry my rubbish to the Lizzie Line, where I knew there were bins.

I took this picture in May at Tottenham Court Road station.

But they were missing so I had to bring it home.

I asked one of the station guys and they said, that they kept falling off the wall.

So let’s hope that a solution can be found.

August 3, 2022 Posted by | Design, Food, Transport/Travel | , , | 5 Comments

The Grade II Listed Next-Train Indicators At Earl’s Court Station Are Back

This page on Rail News has a section, which is entitled Heritage Train Indicators Return To Service, where this is said.

Vintage train describers have returned to the platforms of Earl’s Court District Line station, which is Grade II listed. First installed in 1905 when London’s District Railway was electrified, they have been renovated and given replica destination name plates, which are highlighted as required by an illuminated arrow. The indicators had been switched off while they were connected to a new signalling system. Modern information panels showing the destination and the number of minutes before the next train is due from each of the four platforms have also been installed.

I went Earl’s Court station to have a look this morning and took these pictures.

They all seemed to working as they should.

Earl’s Court station is a Grade II listed London Underground station and Wikipedia says this about these indicators.

On each platform is an old-fashioned “next train” indicator board which had various routes shown, of which one is usually highlighted by an arrow to indicate that this is the route of the next train. As of March 2022, these have been temporarily disabled while signalling is upgraded to CBTC signalling, as part of the 4LM improvement works to the subsurface lines, although are expected to return in June the same year. These have not been replaced by modern electronic equivalents as they are Grade II listed.

There can’t be many next train indicators in the world, that are listed or given the local equivalent.

This does take me all back to the 1960s, when for two summers, I worked in the Electronics Laboratory at a company called Enfield Rolling Mills. The Electronics Laboratory developed control systems for the many machines in the factory. At that time, a lot of the work involved replacing relays and electronic valves with then-modern transistors. I learned a lot about industry in those two summers and it wasn’t all about automation and electronics.

Would a fifteen-year-old be allowed to do a job like that, these days?

I suspect that on that Earl’s Court indicator board, there is some interesting electronics connecting it to the CBTC signalling.

 

 

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

High Speed Two Publish Rural Footbridge Design

High Speed Two have published their rural footbridge design on this page of their web site.

This image from High Speed Two shows an artist’s impression of the bridge.

 

This is High Speed Two’s own thoughts on the design.

Made of weathering steel, the sides of the lightweight bridges will lean outwards to maximise views of the sky and improve the experience of people crossing the railway.

Weathering steel – which ages naturally to a russet brown colour – was chosen to help match the tone of the surrounding countryside, while the plates that form the structure of the bridges will be angled to appear narrower and lighter.

To emphasise the sense of lightness, each span will be slightly higher in the middle so that they appear to leap over the railway. Most of the bridges will consist of just one 42m span, with extra spans added where necessary to create bridges of up to 102m long.

The design of the bridge would appear to be a good compromise between accessibility, cost, ease of construction and installation and practicality.

The article also covers other topics.

Step-Free

This paragraph explains how the bridges will be step-free.

In order to improve efficiency of manufacturing and assembly, all the bridges will have the same basic form, with the approach paths built into the earthworks on either side of the bridge. This also means that all the footbridges will effectively be step-free.

I can see bridges of this type being built at other rural locations.

A Single-Platform Station

These images show James Cook station in Middlesbrough.

High Speed Two’s rural bridge design could be used as part of a design for a step-free station on a rural line.

Bridleways

The footbridge can be used for a bridge on a bridleway.

Designed with guidance from the British Horse Society, the bridges which carry bridleways will follow the same basic pattern, with a recycled, non-slip rubber deck and the structure acting like a baffle to stop horses being distracted by passing trains.

Footbridges will be 2.5m wide, while bridleways will be 3.5m wide to allow two horses to pass comfortably and safely.

It should be remembered, that horses are flight animals and if they are startled they run, so if say a train went under the bridge, when they were on top, they would most likely go forward and cross the bridge quickly.

I would happily have ridden  my stallion; Vague Shot over a bridge like this.

I also think, the design of the bridge in the landscape should allow riders to approach to a safe distance from the bridge and perhaps watch a train or two go through.

Other Animals

I can see other animals like badgers, foxes and hares using a bridge like this.

I also think, that on classic railways, bridges like these could be used to allow farmers to move sheep or possibly cattle over a railway, with some simple design changes.

Conclusion

This bridge has more applications, than the initial one, for which it was designed.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Essex Firm’s Hydrogen Lorry On Show In Stoneleigh

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These paragraphs describe the truck.

Tevva, the maker in Tilbury, Essex, says it is the first hydrogen fuel cell-supported truck to be designed, built and mass produced in the UK.

The company adds the vehicle has a range of up to 310 miles (500 km) via the tech, with hydrogen tanks able to be refilled in 10 minutes.

It says it wants to help the transport industry adapt to a “post-fossil fuel future”.

To that end, it developed a fuel cell to top up electric battery-powered trucks, giving them a longer range while reducing the size of the electric battery needed.

I think that this truck is a superb example of disruptive innovation.

  • Tevva have looked at the 7.5 tonne truck market and have developed a truck that fits it.
  • Using hydrogen as a range extender up to to 500 km. is probably a good fit for the use of these vehicles.
  • So many local delivery companies will look at these trucks, so they can tell their customers, that they now offer zero-carbon deliveries.
  • They will also be useful to go into cities, that charge diesel vehicles.

I also suspect, that a lot of parts follow the route pioneered by the great Colin Chapman – Borrow from other manufacturers.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see other companies following Tevva’s route all over the world.

July 1, 2022 Posted by | Design, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Wheelchair Provision On Elizabeth Line Trains And Platforms

These pictures show the provision for wheelchairs on trains and platforms of the Elizabeth Line.

Note.

  1. The generous spaces for a wheelchair. There are four spaces in the middle carriage of the nine-car trains.
  2. There is a blue wheelchair symbol, that marks where wheelchair entry to the trains is easiest.
  3. There are blue wheelchair symbols on the floor at doors closest to the wheelchair spaces.
  4. There are a lot of wheelchair signposts on all platforms.
  5. There are no steps to negotiate taking a wheelchair in or out of the train.
  6. At Canary Wharf there was a small screen showing the next five trains in each direction, which appeared to be positioned at the right height for a self-propelled wheelchair user.

Whilst I was coming back from Canary Wharf, the wheelchair space opposite was occupied by a very elderly lady in a wheelchair, who was accompanied, by a couple I took to be her daughter and son-in-law.

Judging by the smiles and compliments all round, they all seemed well satisfied with the provision.

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , | 3 Comments

The Barbican Entrance To The Elizabeth Line – 10th June 2022

This series of pictures shows the route between the Westbound platform at Barbican station to the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon station.

Note.

  1. There is only a single lift between the Western end of the Westbound Platform 2/3 at Barbican station and the lobby between the two banks of escalators and inclined lifts, that give access to the Barbican end of Elizabeth Line platforms.
  2. Currently, there is no access between the Elizabeth Line and the Eastbound Platform 1 at Barbican station.
  3. If you lived in one of the towers of the Barbican estate, if might be a marginally shorter walk to walk along Platform 2/3 and up the stairs to the street.

When C and myself, lived in Cromwell Tower in the Barbican, in the 1970s, we must have walked that route with our three children hundreds of times. It really isn’t very different.

I have a few thoughts.

Is The Route Really For Passengers?

Consider.

  • A journey, where you might need to use the route could be one like Barking and Heathrow.
  • But you have a wide choice, as you could alight at Whitechapel, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Farringdon and Ealing Broadway on the sub-surface lines and have step-free access to the Elizabeth Line.
  • I suspect most customers will choose Whitechapel or Liverpool Street.

This picture shows the comprehensive control panel in the lift.

Could it be, that the main purpose of the lift is for staff access to hard to reach plant rooms?

Or perhaps it is designed to get a stretcher or wheelchair to the island platform at Barbican station?

Is The Connection Incomplete?

It could be that there is more work to do and the connection is incomplete.

There is a section, which is entitled Elizabeth Line, in the Wikipedia entry for Barbican station, where this is said.

Farringdon’s Barbican ticket hall for the Elizabeth line is just to the west of Barbican station along Long Lane. This construction involved significant changes at the western end of the station, including the demolition of the former signal box to construct a lift shaft from the Elizabeth line station to the westbound Underground platform only. The original plan of a new footbridge spanning the tracks to the eastbound platform was not proceeded with on the grounds of engineering difficulties. Work was anticipated to be completed in 2018, but was completed in May 2022.

It does look like, that the best that was possible was built.

 

 

June 10, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Order In For Revolutionary Modular Railway Footbridge

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on New Civil Engineer.

Greater Anglia seem to have ordered the footbridge for Stowmarket station, without seeing a real one.

A prototype is also being installed at the former Widmerspool station on the Old Dalby Test Track.

I wrote about the proposed footbridge at Stowmarket in Stowmarket Station To Go Step-Free.

June 1, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments