The Anonymous Widower

Cardiff Central Station’s New Entrance

As I passed through Cardiff Central station, I took these pictures of their new Southern entrance.

Although, it’s mainly for the car park, it may have its uses for me, as there is a ticket office to buy the Day Ranger ticket, I generally use to explore the valleys.

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line

This may seem rather fanciful, but could it be the way to maximise the use of the Elizabeth Line?

  • I feel that the Elizabeth Line will eventually serve other destinations like Basingstoke, Beaulieu, Oxford, Southend and Swindon.
  • The capacity of the Elizabeth Line will grow to over thirty trains per hour (tph) under control of digital signalling.

These are a few thoughts.

The Design Of The Trains

As any train would have to be compatible with the platform-edge doors in the central tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, the trains would have to be dimensionally identical to the current Class 345 trains.

  • Nine cars
  • Possibility of lengthening to ten cars.
  • 204.73 metres long.
  • 6 sets of doors per carriage
  • Ability to run under full digital signalling.

But they would have a long distance interior and a higher speed.

  • A maximum speed of at least 125 mph.
  • Toilets
  • Tables
  • A third-rail capability for running in Kent.

Effectively, it would be a Class 345 train with more features and a lot more grunt.

Note that in A High Speed Train With An IPEMU-Capability, I started the post with the following.

Bombardier were reported by Ian Walmsley in the April 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, to be developing Aventra, with a 125 mph capability.

Bombardier have also told me, that all Aventras will be wired so they could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

Could it be that the design of a Class 345 train could be modified to run at 125 mph? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Oxford To Southend Victoria

This could be a typical route.

  • Between Oxford and Paddington, it would follow a route similar to the GWR’s Oxford service with stops at just Reading and Slough.
  • At Paddington the train would take the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line and travel under London, at the same speed as the other trains.
  • It would emerge at Stratford and move to the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • It would probably stop at Stratford, Romford, Shenfield and all stations to Southend Victoria.

Note.

  1. Digital signalling would enforce the precise timekeeping needed.
  2. Much of the Oxford and Paddington section would be at speeds of at least 125 mph.
  3. Times in the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line would be identical to the current Class 345 trains.
  4. Much of the Stratford and Southend section would be at speeds of at least 100 mph.

I estimate that total time would be a few minutes under two hours.

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Royal Oak

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Royal Oak.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. Great Western Railway (GWR)  tracks are shown in black.
  3. Where the Elizabeth Line shares the tracks with GWR services the tracks are shown in black and purple.

This map shows an enlargement of Kensal Green East Junction in the North-West corner of the previous map.

Note.

  1. The top pair of lines lead to the Elizabeth Line Depot at Old Oak Common.
  2. the pair of lines that are shown in black and purple handle Elizabeth Line and GWR local services.
  3. The pair of black lines are the Great Western Main Line.
  4. North Pole Depot is used by GWR for their Hitachi trains.

This map shows an enlargement between Ladbroke Grove Junction and Royal Oak.

Note.

  1. In the South-East corner of the map is Subway junction, which appears to have two crossovers for maximum flexibility.
  2. To the East of Subway junction the curved line indicates the Royal Oak Portal of the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.
  3. To the West of Subway junction, there is Paddington New Yard, where there is five tracks labelled CRL Eastbound, Turnback C, Turnback B, Turnback A and CRL Westbound from North to South.
  4. Turnback C, Turnback B and Turnback A are the three turnback sidings, where trains are turned back East through the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.
  5. CRL Eastbound and CRL Westbound can be followed across the map to the black and purple lines of the Elizabeth Line to the West of Ladbroke Grove junction.
  6. At present the Western section of the Elizabeth Line terminates in Paddington station. Crossovers at Portobello junction appear to connect the Western section of the Elizabeth Line into Paddington station.
  7. More crossovers also appear to connect the Great Western Main Line to the CRL Eastbound and CRL Westbound through Paddington New Yard.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Stratford allows trains to go both ways between Great Western Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Stratford.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in black and purple.
  2. The Elizabeth Line to Shenfield goes through Platform 8 at Stratford station and Platform 2 at Maryland station.
  3. The Great Eastern Main Line to Shenfield goes through Platform 10 at Stratford station and Platform 4 at Maryland station.
  4. The Stratford country end crossovers allow a train using the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel to go through Platform 8 at Stratford station and Platform 4 at Maryland station before continuing on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  5. The Elizabeth Line to Central London goes through Platform 1 at Maryland station and Platform 5 at Stratford station.
  6. The Great Eastern Main Line to Central London goes through Platform 3 at Maryland station and Platform 9 at Stratford station.
  7. The Stratford country end crossovers allow a train using the Great Eastern Main Line to go through Platform 3 at Maryland station and Platform 3 at Stratford station before continuing through the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Stratford allows trains to go both ways between Great Eastern Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel

Thameslink

These trains would also be compatible with Thameslink, as this route has no platform edge doors.

No platform extensions would be needed, as they are shorter than the 12-car Class 700 trains.

If they were 125 mph trains, then this would ease timetabling on the East Coast Main Line, as the trains could mix it with the expresses on the fast lines.

August 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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 Quality Of The Ride On The Lizzie Line

This morning I went from Moorgate station to Paddington station on the Lizzie Line.

I was in a virtually empty car and I could gauge a good estimate of ride quality.

In my opinion, the gold standard in the UK for some time has been the British Rail Mark 3 coach.

  • But Mark 3 coaches don’t always run on modern slab track, which must give a smoother ride.
  • Each track under London also has its own tunnel, so there is no buffeting, when you pass a train going in the opposite direction.
  • Acceleration is also very smooth, due to the high proportion of powered axles.

I am getting very close to naming the Class 345 train, as the new gold standard.

August 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The 38 Bus And The Lizzie Line

London’s 38 bus is very convenient for me.

  • It is a frequent route, running most times every few minutes.
  • The stops are about a hundred metres from my house just round the corner.
  • To the East it goes through Hackney to the romantic Clapton Pond.
  • To the West it goes to Angel and across Central London to Victoria station.
  • The route connects to the new entrance at Hackney Central station, which makes it easy coming home from the East with heavy shopping.

Yesterday, I used the 38 bus to go to and from the Lizzie Line for a trip to Paddington station.

The Outrun

These pictures show the change to the Lizzie Line at Tottenham Court Road station.

Note.

  1. It was a walk of about a hundred metres.
  2. I took pictures of the entrance to the new @sohoplace theatre, which is still behind barriers.
  3. The walk could improve, once the works around Centre Point are finished.

It’s certainly a viable route from where I live and the Angel to the Lizzie Line, if you’re going West.

The Return

I took these pictures on my return.

Note.

  1. It was a walk of about a hundred metres.
  2. The two stops for the 38 bus are opposite each other.
  3. The walk could improve, once the works around Centre Point are finished.

It would certainly be a viable route to get from the Lizzie Line to the Angel, if you’re coming from the West.

It would also be a viable route for me to get to my house.

Although taking a 21 or 141 bus from Moorgate is a better route, as I suspect it is quicker.

Unfortunately, that route won’t be viable if Transport for London have their way and execute The Great Bus Robbery.

Which Route Does Transport for London’s Journey Planner Recommend?

Whoever wrote the current version of this is not a Londoner, as it recommends a route with three changes and doesn’t use the Lizzie Line.

If I type in my home address, it does recommend going via Dalston Junction and Whitechapel, which is better, but the walk is too much for me on some days.

I Wouldn’t Be Surprised To See Improvements To The Positions Of Bus Stops

They are not best placed at the moment, but the construction in the area is still going on.

So after construction finishes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some stops moved to better places.

 

August 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Walk Around Barnes Bridge – 28th July 2022

After writing A New Garden Bridge Proposed For London, I had to go and visit.

So I went this afternoon and took these pictures.

After arrival at Barnes Bridge station, I walked along the river had a drink in a pub before retracing my steps and taking a train back to Waterloo.

These are my observations and thoughts.

Access To The Country-Bound Platform

The access is not good at present, as it is up and down a steep set of steps.

But it does appear that there is space to improve things.

In A New Garden Bridge Proposed For London, I indicated that it might be possible to connect the platform directly to the new garden bridge. That certainly looks possible and I suspect that a lift could be incorporated.

The Walkway On The Downstream Side Of The Bridge

This walkway was being used by walkers and cyclists.

It is connected to the London-bound platform, by means of two sets of stairs.

I Walked Along The Bank Of The River To A Pub

All I needed was a drink and I got one.

If you walk the other way, there is an excellent Rick Stein restaurant.

Access To The London-Bound Platform

The access is better than to the other platform, but it needs improvement.

Conclusion

I believe that a good architect could squeeze in step-free access to both platforms and have good connections to the proposed garden bridge and the existing walkway.

 

July 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A New Garden Bridge Proposed For London

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Plans Open A Disused Railway Bridge To Pedestrians.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A section of the Thames with few bridges could become a lot easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross if plans to convert a disused railway bridge for pedestrian use go ahead.

The disused railway bridge to be used is the original 1849 Barnes Railway Bridge, which was closed to trains, when a new stronger bridge was built alongside in 1890.

This Google Map shows the two bridges.

Note.

  1. The railway tracks in the centre on the 1890 three-arch bridge.
  2. The Thames flows from South-West to North-East under the bridge.
  3. A walkway on the North-Eastern side of the is still in use.
  4. The original 1849 bridge is on the South-Western side of the bridge.

The pedestrian garden bridge will be built on the 1849 bridge, which will be refurbished.

This second Google Map shows the bridge and Barnes Bridge station.

Note.

  1. Barnes Bridge in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Barnes Bridge station in the South-East corner of the map.

Part of the plan envisages connecting the South-Western platform to the pedestrian garden bridge.

It looks a plan with a lot of good possibilities.

The Project

It appears that Network Rail, the London Boroughs of Richmond and Hounslow are all supportive and Moxon Architects have been appointed to the project.

The project now appears to be called The View at Barnes Bridge and it has an impressive web site, with lots of information and pictures.

I have a few thoughts.

I Am Not Surprised That Network Rail Are Supportive

Network Rail must be pleased to be getting a Grade II Listed structure off their hands.

Could Barnes Bridge Station Be Made Step-Free?

I suspect that Moxon will produce designs for this and it will probably be a question of money, if they are implemented.

But as the garden bridge will attract more visitors, this will surely increase the need for full step-free access at Barnes Bridge station.

Could A Refurbished Bridge Carry Utilities?

I suspect that this will be looked at, as it could be a nice little earner.

Could This Project Be An Example Of a Levelling-Up Project?

In my travels around the UK and Europe, I’ve seen several disused railway bridges that could be reused as footbridges to provide walking and cycling.

Many are being converted, but this high-profile bridge could inspire architects to create other worthwhile bridges.

 

 

 

July 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My First Ride On The Midland Metro To Edgaston Village

I went to Birmingham today and took the Midland Metro to its new terminus at Edgbaston Village.

I have a few thoughts.

The Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

The Edgbaston Village tram stop is the new terminus of Line 1 of the West Midlands Metro, which is shown in the first eight pictures.

  • The station has two tracks and two platforms, which would obviously allow extension to a new terminus.
  • Plans exist for a terminus at Quinton, according to Wikipedia.
  • As each platform could probably handle between four and six trams per hour (tph), the current layout could probably handle up to 12 tph.
  • The Edgbaston Village tram stop is fully wired.
  • I watched three or four trams come and go and both platforms are used.

As the pictures show there is still work to do and it looks like this will create a bus stop on the main road by the side of the main road.

Edgbaston Village Tram Stop To Edgbaston Stadium

This Google Map shows the area between the tram stop and the stadium.

Note.

  1. The Edgbaston Village tram stop is on the A456 to the North of the of the red arrow marking Edgbaston Village in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Edgbaston stadium is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. I estimate that the distance between the tram stop and the stadium is a little over two kilometres.

I have a feeling there are more direct routes by bus, but I feel that for many people, who take the tram to Edgbaston Village. the walk wouldn’t be too much, especially with a refreshment stop.

Brindleyplace

The tram now gives access to Brindleyplace, where I had lunch.

Note in the the pictures of this stop, there are overhead wires.

Library Tram Stop

Library tram stop is now a through stop, as the pictures show.

Charging Trams At The Edgbaston Village Tram Stop

Not all trams seem to put their pantograph up, so I would assume a double trip between Grand Central and Edgbaston Village is possible on a full battery, that has been charged on the trip from Wolverhampton, with a bit of assistance on the wires through Brindleyplace tram stop.

The Dreaded Advertising Wrap

One of the trams I rode, had one of those dreaded advertising wraps, that ruin the view from the tram.

When will the dunderheads, who decide these things, that to many travellers on trams, they are a complete no-no.

Whenever, I arrive in a new city, I will often take a city-centre tram to get a feel of the city.

When I see advertising wraps on trams, I don’t.

Ticketing

If you go to Liverpool, which has no trams, the term Liverpool Stations on your train ticket includes the stations on the Wirral Loop, so you can get to any of the stations in the City Centre.

Manchester Stations, on a ticket also allows you to get around the city, when you first arrive.

London allows you add a Travelcard to your ticket, but because of contactless ticketing, you don’t need to.

A common scenario for visitors to Birmingham, is probably to use the tram to get somewhere in Zone 1.

So I had to buy an all-day Zone 1 ticket on the tram, which cost me £2.80

This is not good enough.

My preference would be to create a destination called Zone 1 Birmingham, which would allow unlimited trips in Zone 1 on the trams.

Sort it out Birmingham!

 

July 26, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Rolls-Royce Chief Warren East Spies Rebound For Air Travel

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

It is a must-read article.

This is the first paragraph.

Warren East, the outgoing chief executive of Rolls-Royce, has sounded a bullish note on aviation’s recovery from Covid-19, reporting increased demand from the jet-engine maker’s airline customers and expressing his belief that China will gradually open up to international travel.

Certainly, with all the chaos at the Channel this weekend, people are starting to travel again.

Support For The Military

This is a paragraph in the article.

Tom Bell, head of Rolls-Royce Defence, said the company was in talks with the US and UK militaries about supplying “deployable” reactors for military bases.

I’m sure that a reactor would have advantages to a large diesel or gas-turbine generator to power a military base.

  • Military bases need a lot of power.
  • It would not need refuelling every day.
  • It could be connected to an electrolyser, to generate hydrogen for vehicles.
  • It would be a lot quieter.
  • I wonder, if it could be transported in a large transport aircraft.

But I feel, it might have other applications.

  • It could provide power support after a large earthquake or natural disaster.
  • It could provide power in remote or difficult locations.
  • If the only power station for a remote community had a catastrophic failure, a deployable reactor could be brought in.
  • It could provide power for a large construction site, which would help to decarbonise the construction.
  • Power would be zero-carbon at point of generation.

The reactors might even be rail-transportable, so they could be moved to where they are needed safely and quickly.

But I don’t think they would necessarily be the same size as the Rolls-Royce SMRs, which are 470 MW.

A Scalable Reactor

This is a paragraph in the article.

Rolls also has a contract with the UK Space Agency to develop a “micro reactor” for space vehicles and satellites, Bell added. “These are really exciting opportunities for us to not only perpetuate our business undersea, at sea, on land, in the air, but also to go to space,” he said. East noted the advantage of nuclear reactors in space: “You can’t have air-breathing engines on the moon.”

Note.

  1. East is Warren East, who is the outgoing Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce.
  2. Nuclear power sources have been used in space before, usually by using an isotope, that gives out heat, as it decays.
  3. How small is micro?
  4. The US deployed a 1.75 MW nuclear power plant in Antarctica under the Army Nuclear Power Program. That reactor also provided heating and hot water. It is worth reading the Wikipedia entry, especially the section about the MM-1 reactor.

It does seem that Rolls-Royce are designing a reactor that can be scaled in size, to cover a whole spectrum of applications.

 

 

July 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Repowering Zero-Emission Buses As An Alternative

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

The article makes the argument for swapping out the diesel engine for a zero-emission powertrain.

I very much feel that this is a worthwhile idea, as do Ricardo.

I wrote about converting London’s New Routemasters to hydrogen in Could London’s New Routemaster Buses Be Converted To Hydrogen Power?.

July 24, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment