The Anonymous Widower

Middlesbrough Station – 20th October 2020

I took These pictures at Middlesbrough station on my trip to Teesside.

These are my thoughts on the station.

Station Track Layout

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

Note.

  1. The pair of freight lines passing around the North side of the station.
  2. Platform 1 is the Westbound platform on the South side of the tracks.
  3. Platform 2 is the Eastbound platform on the North side of the tracks.

Both platforms would appear to be about 150 metres long, which is long enough for a five-car Class 80x train, but not for a 234 metre long nine-car train.

Period Features

The station has a lot of period features, like cast-iron columns and brackets, and good Victorian stonework.

Much seems to have received good TLC.

Northern Entrance

I have seen comments about improving the Northern entrance on various web sites.

It certainly, isn’t in bad condition.

Improving The Station

In £35m Station Transformation Launched By Tees Valley Mayor, I wrote about the current plans to transform the station. I started with these paragraphs.

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has announced (June 9th) a £35m transformation of Middlesbrough Station to transport more train services to the town, including the first direct rail link to London in decades.

The Rail Technology Magazine article indicates that Platform 2 at Middlesbrough station will be extended to handle Azuma trains. As the current platform looks to be around 150 metres long and this would be long enough for a five-car train, does this mean that in the future nine-car and ten-car Azumas will be able to run services to Middlesbrough?

Having seen since I wrote the related post, that Hull station has handled some nine-car Azumas, I feel that although five-car Azumas could probably use Middlesbrough station, it would seem prudent to make it possible for the longer trains to call.

Let’s suppose Middlesbrough, were playing a big London club in an important post-pandemic FA Cup match. LNER might want to run a nine-car Azuma to Middlesbrough to accommodate extra passengers.

Charging Battery Trains

LNER and TransPennine Express could be running battery electric Class 800 and Class 802 trains to Middlesbrough and/or Redcar Central stations.

This Hitachi infographic describes their Regional Battery Train, which can be created by adding batteries to the current trains.

With a range of 90 km. or 56 miles, these trains could be able to reach Middlesbrough from the electrification on the East Coast Main Line at Northallerton.

With most journeys, they should have sufficient energy in the battery to return without trouble.

But it would probably be prudent to have charging at Middlesbrough and/or Redcar Central to ensure a safe return.

These pictures were taken from the Eastern end of Platform 2, which is down to be lengthened.

Note.

  1. The freight lines behind Platform 2.
  2. There is plenty of space beyond the end of Platform 2.
  3. There appears to be space for a reversing siding with a charger.

I am sure that a suitable form of charging can be provided on Platform 2 at Middlesbrough station.

Conclusion

Middlesbrough station could be turned into a big asset for the town.

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Change At The Broadgate Entrance To Liverpool Street Station

Everything seems to have changed at the Broadgate Entrance To Liverpool Street Station, as these pictures show.

Note.

  1. You now enter at street level, rather than through a subway.
  2. You ascend a gentle ramp to walk through some upmarket shops and then descend into the station using an escalator.
  3. You can also walk through the shops to the bus station between the rail station and Broadgate.

The only thing, that hasn’t changed is the rusty smoking shelter.

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Would Opening Crossrail Affect The Covids In London?

There seems to be very little on the Internet about this, that I can find, Partly because if you search for Crossrail and Covid-19 you get lots of articles about how the virus is delaying construction.

These are a few of my thoughts.

The Class 345 Trains

Crossrail’s Class 345 trains are 205 metres long and can hold 1500 passengers.

  • The passenger density is 7.3 passengers per metre, but the trains have three doors per car, as opposed to others like the Class 700 trains, which have a similar passenger density and only two doors.
  • Would the space and the wide doors, make social-distancing easier at all times?
  • I’ve ridden these trains several times during the pandemic and their full air-conditioning for the tunnels, would surely be ideal to help keep the trains free of the virus, by changing the air regularly.
  • The trains are walk-through, which means you can walk-away from someone who looks dodgy.

There will probably be some better trains to reduce the spreading of the virus, but I doubt there will be that many.

The Stations

I’ve only been in two Crossrail stations.

These are pictures taken in the Woolwich station box.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Liverpool’s Forgotten Station

Edge Hill station is Liverpool’s forgotten station.

For instance, it could be the only train station in the UK, with a better than two trains per hour (tph) service in both directions, that doesn’t have any displays telling passengers, when the next train is arriving.

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  1. The station is Grade II* Listed.
  2. It does have a good clock.
  3. There are four platforms on two islands.
  4. The only way to get to Platforms 3 and 4, is by one of the worst subways, I’ve seen in many years.

If ever a station needed a good makeover, it is Edge Hill.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The Northern island platform is 1 & 2. All trains using these platforms seem to use platforms 1 to 5 at Liverpool Lime Street station.
  2. The Southern island platform is 3 & 4. All trains using these platforms seem to use platforms 6 to 10 at Liverpool Lime Street station.
  3. The deep four-track cutting, that leads to Lime Street station can be clearly seen to the West of the station.
  4. The lines to the South of the station, that run to the West, lead to the disused Wapping Tunnel. Surprisingly, the tracks still seem to be in place.
  5. The lines to the North of the station, that run to the West, lead to the disused Victoria Tunnel, that used to take freight to and from Liverpool Docks.

There is certainly a lot of space around the station to put in extra platforms and a flyover or two.

Connecting The Wapping Tunnel To The Lines Going To The East

In Liverpool’s Forgotten Tunnel, I talked about a resurrected plan to use the Wapping Tunnel for passenger trains.

This was my opening sentences of the post.

The Wapping Tunnel in Liverpool was designed by George Stephenson and was the first tunnel in the world to be bored under a city.

It used to take goods trains between Liverpool Docks and the Liverpool and Manchester Line.

During the 1970s preparations were made to connect the Wapping Tunnel to Merseyrail’s Northern Line, so that trains could run between the Northern Line and the City Line, which would have connected the North and East of the City.

But the project was never completed.

I also included this recent map of the scheme.

The proposed line through the Wapping Tunnel, is shown as a dotted blue line.

Components of the scheme include.

  • Four to eight tph instead of turning back at Liverpool Central station would use the Wapping Tunnel to access Edge Hill and then continue to Liverpool South Parkway, Manchester Airport, Manchester Oxford Road, St. Helens, Warrington and Wigan.
  • A new station will be built at Liverpool University.
  • A new station could be built at St. James. at a future date.

It looks to be a sensible scheme, providing the engineering isn’t too difficult.

New Platforms On The Wapping Tunnel Lines

This Google Map shows the lines leading to the Wapping Tunnel.

Note.

  1. Platform 4 is just off the Northern side of the map.
  2. There is a double track leading to the Wapping Tunnel.
  3. It looks like the other tracks are the entry to a marshalling yard, that used to serve the Docks, through the Wapping Tunnel.

I can see two platforms on either side or a single island platform between the two tracks being built, that is connected to the current station using a stylish step-free bridge, as at Leeds or Reading stations.

Connecting To The Liverpool South Parkway Route

This Google Map shows the Wapping Tunnel lines, as they pass to the South of the station.

Note.

  1. The Eastern ends of the two island platforms are clearly visible.
  2. Platforms 1 and 2, which connect to Wavertree Technology Park, St. Helens and Wigan are the Northern platform.
  3. Platforms 3 and 4, which connect to Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn and London are the Southern platform.
  4. The lines through the Wapping Tunnel, are the two closest lines to the station.

It does appear that connecting the Wapping Lines to those to Liverpool South Parkway would probably need a series of well-designed crossovers.

In fact they might already be in place and just need refurbishment or replacement.

Connecting To The Wavertree Technology Park Route

Trains needing to go between the Wapping Tunnel lines and the lines towards Wavertree Technology Park, St. Helens and Wigan would need to cross right over the busy lines into Liverpool Lime Street station.

So I suspect for efficient operation, a flyover or dive-under will need to be built.

Conclusion

I don’t think that the engineering to connect the Wapping Tunnel lines to the Eastern routes from Edge Hill station, will be too challenging, as there is certainly plenty of space.

I also feel, that an innovative architect can create an efficient station with character.

 

August 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 14 Comments

Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan

The title of this post, is the same as that of this page on the Network Rail web site.

This is the sub-title.

Creating A Vision For The Future Of Waverley Station.

Edinburgh Waverley station has improved it, in the near forty years, I’ve used it, but future growth in traffic will mean more capacity and further improvements will be needed.

The page on the Network Rail web site links to a pdf file, which lays out current thinking, which will go forward for consultation and creation of the final design.

If this results in stations as good as London Bridge and Kings Cross in London, Edinburgh will have the gateway station, that it needs.

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Bookham Station – 25th July 2020

Bookham station is going to get a makeover.

Although it is Grade II Listed, it certainly needs some TLC.

July 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Liverpool Street Station – New Entrance

These pictures show the new entrance taking shape in front of Broadgate and the original Liverpool Street station.

It looks like the entrance is going to be a large fosterito.

They seem to be cropping up all over London.

Judging by the fact, that bikes seem to be parked in front of the entrance, I would suspect that this entrance could be finished soon.

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Paddington Station – New Western Entrance

I was alerted to the fact that this new entrance to the Paddington station, by one of Ian’s pieces on Ian Visits, so I had to go along and take a look.

It is a simple design, which looks more like an entrance to a museum, school or church, than to an important station.

Unusually, for a station entrance, it takes you right into the retail and food area of the station, but there are several ways to get to the platforms.

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail Parts Company With Costain Skanska At Bond Street

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Costain/Skanska joint venture’s troubled Crossrail contract at Bond Street Station has been ended early.

It appears to be a mutual decision and in my opinion such a decision is very rare, especially as Costain/Skanska’s other project at Paddington station seems to be progressing as expected.

Could it be that the architects designed a project that was unbuildable? Or one where the architects didn’t think about the project management needed to build it?

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street And Some Other Stations Compared

I am doing this exercise to get a handle on the scale of the problem at Platforms 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly station.

In 2018/19, these were some passenger statistics for the two stations and some others.

  • Birmingham New Street station handled 47.928 million passengers on its thirteen platforms or 3.62 million per platform per year.
  • Brighton station handled 17.385 million passengers on its eight platforms or 2.17 million per platform per year.
  • Bristol Temple Meads station handled 11.368 million passengers on its thirteen platforms or 0.87 million per platform per year.
  • Cardiff station handled 14.205 million passengers on its eight platforms or 1.78 million per platform per year.
  • Chelmsford station handled 8.927 million passengers on two platforms of 4.46 million per platform per year.
  • Crewe station handled 3.318 million passengers on its twelve platforms or 0.28 million per platform per year.
  • Deansgate station handled 0.458 million passengers on its two platforms or 0.23 million per platform per year.
  • Doncaster station handled 3,918 million passengers on its nine platforms or 0.44 million per platform per year.
  • East Croydon station handled 24.770 million passengers on its six platforms or 4.12 million per platform per year.
  • Exeter St. Davids station handled 2.620 million passengers on its six platforms or 0.44 million per platform per year.
  • Gatwick Airport station handled 21.225 million passengers on its seven platforms or 3.03 million per platform per year.
  • Leeds station handled 30.839 million passengers on its seventeen train platforms or 1.81 million per platform per year.
  • Leicester station handled 5.582 million passengers on its four platforms or 1.40 million per platform per year.
  • Liverpool Lime Street station handled 14.221 million passengers on its eleven platforms or 1.29 million per platform per year.
  • London Bridge station handled 61.308 million passengers on its fifteen platforms or 4.08 million per platform per year.
  • London Fenchurch Street station handled 18.508 million passengers on its four platforms or 4.63 million per platform per year.
  • London Paddington station handled 38.18 million passengers on its thirteen platforms or 2,94 million per platform per year.
  • Manchester Oxford Road station handled 9.338 million passengers on its five platforms or 1.87 million per platform per year.
  • Manchester Piccadilly station handled 30.252 million passengers on its fourteen platforms and two tram platforms or 1.89 million per platform per year.
  • Manchester Victoria station handled 8.950 million passengers on its eight platforms or 1.12 million per platform per year.
  • Newcastle station handled 8,914 million passengers on its twelve platforms or 0.74 million per platform per year.
  • Nottingham station handled 8.005 million passengers on its nine platforms or 0.89 million per platform per year.
  • Peterborough station handled 5.060 million passengers on its seven platforms or 0.72 million per platform per year.
  • Preston station handled 4.646 million passengers on its nine platforms or 0.52 million per platform per year.
  • Reading station handled 17.081 million passengers on its fifteen platforms or 1.14 million per platform per year.
  • York station handled 9.991 million passengers on its eleven platforms or 0.90 million per platform per year.

These figures have given rise to a few thoughts.

Brighton

Brighton station is an eight platform terminal station, that handles a lot of passengers, considering that the City doesn’t have any mass transit system and passengers rely on walking, bicycles, buses and private cars for onward travel.

  • There are upwards of eight trains per hour (tph) at the station to and from London, all of which can be up to twelve cars.
  • The West Coastway and East Coastway Lines have at least six tph in the Off Peak.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate line and out to walking routes and the buses, with leaving passengers walking the other way.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Brighton station is at capacity.

Chelmsford

It is truly remarkable that Chelmsford station is the second busiest station in terms of passengers per platform per year on my list.

  • The station has two separate platforms on either side of the tracks.
  • Access is via wide stairs and lifts.
  • The station appears to handle five tph in both directions in the Off Peak, with up to twice that number in the Peak.
  • Most trains calling at the station are between eight and twelve cars.
  • Chelmsford station could get even busier in terms of passengers when the new longer Class 720 trains and Class 745 trains are brought into service in the next twelve months, as these trains have higher capacities, than the current trains.
  • It is aimed, that the new trains though will have level access between train and platform, at some point in the future.

I very much feel, that Chelmsford shows what can be done at an ordinary two platform station with the application of good simple design.

London Fenchurch Street

London Fenchurch Street is the busiest station on my list.

  • The limited number of platforms will increase the number of passengers per platform per year.
  • The station has two entrances to each platform.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate line at the main entrance and down escalators to walking routes at street level, with leaving passengers walking the other way.
  • Many trains in the Peak are twelve cars.
  • Adding extra platforms would be difficult.

It does appear, that work has been done to maximise the station’s capacity.

Crewe, Doncaster, Exeter St. Davids, Newcastle, Peterborough, Preston and York

All these stations are interchange stations on the main lines, that may have been improved, but have not been substantially rebuilt.

They all manage to handle between 0.5 million and 1 million passengers per platform per year.

Leeds

Leeds station has been improved over the last few years.

  • There are six through platforms and eleven where trains can terminate.
  • After passing through the gate line, passengers are in a concourse from where long distance services to London and the North and local services to Bradford, Harrogate, Ilkley and Skipton can be boarded.
  • A new wide bridge with escalators, a lift and steps leads from this concourse across the through lines and platforms to the other side of the station.
  • There are lifts and escalators from the bridge to some of the through platforms and the terminating platforms beyond them.
  • At the far side of the bridge, a new Southern entrance has been added.

<The bridge works well and shows how a wide bridge over or a wide concourse under the tracks, can improve circulation in a station.

If you compare the bridge at Leeds, with the bridge at Reading, which was designed at around the same time, the Reading one is better in that it is wider and has more escalators, with one up and one down escalator to each pair of platforms.

Was a certain amount of design at Leeds station performed by accountants?

London Bridge

London Bridge station shows what can be done by applying good design in a new or rebuilt station.

  • There are nine through and six terminal platforms.
  • All platforms can take full-length twelve-car trains.
  • There is a massive concourse underneath all fifteen platforms.
  • There are lots of escalators and lifts between the concourse and the platforms.
  • Steps provide additional and reserve capacity.
  • Passengers changing between routes can take an escalator or lift to the concourse and another one to their new route.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate lines and out to walking routes, the Underground and the buses, with leaving passengers walking the other way.
  • London Bridge station was designed by Grimshaw Architects

It is a design with a wow factor that works very well.

Reading

Reading station is another good design applied to a rebuilt station.

  • There are nine through platforms,  three East-facing bay platforms and three West-facing bay platforms.
  • All through platforms can take full-length trains.
  • All bay platforms are a level walk from the Southernmost through platform and the main entrance gate line to the station.
  • There is a massive bridge over all nine through platforms.
  • There are lots of escalators and lifts between the bridge and the through platforms.
  • Steps provide additional and reserve capacity.
  • Passengers changing between routes can take an escalator or lift to the bridge and another one to their new route.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate lines and out to walking routes, the car-parks and the buses, with leaving passengers walking the other way.
  • Reading station was designed by Grimshaw architects.

It is a design with a wow factor that works very well.

Redesigning Manchester Piccadilly

Could some of the principles of these stations be applied to rebuilding Manchester Piccadilly station?

There are currently twelve terminal platforms numbered 1-12 in the main part of the station.

  • Platforms 1 to 4 are used for services to Marple, New Mills, Rose Hill and Sheffield via the Hope Valley Line, and services on the Glossop Line.
  • Platforms 5 to 9 are the longest and used by Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry services.
  • Platforms 10 to 12 are shorter than the others and are usually used to accommodate local trains to Crewe and Manchester Airport, plus Mid-Cheshire line, Buxton Line and South Wales services.

The two through platforms 13 and 14 are on the Southern side of the station.

These ideas might be possible.

A Wide Bridge Or Concourse Connecting The Platforms At The London End

Currently, there is a bridge over the platforms 1 to 12 at the London end, but compared to the bridges at Leeds or Reading stations, it is a rather feeble affair.

  • It is narrow.
  • It doesn’t have any kiosks or shops.
  • It is only connected to the platforms by steps.

Could this be replaced by a wide bridge, like say the one at Reading?

It would certainly give advantages if it could!

  • Passengers arriving in Manchester Piccadilly needing to change to another service, might find it more convenient to use the bridge, rather than exit on to the main concourse.
  • The bridge could be designed as a waiting area, with kiosks, shops, cafes and other facilities.
  • The bridge would be connected to all platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Steps would provide additional and reserve capacity.

Note that if you buy a ticket to Manchester stations, that allows you to go to either Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Deansgate or Manchester Victoria stations, So a quick route up and down an escalator at the London end of Piccadilly station to Platform 14 would be very convenient.

Access To Platforms 13 And 14

Compared to the wide island platforms at Leeds and Reading, platform 13 and 14 are a bit narrow, but I’m fairly sure, that a good layout for escalators and lifts could be designed, so that access to these two platforms can be improved.

Trains Through Platforms 13 and 14

These must be arranged, so that they are all similar with wide double doors and step-free access between platform and train.

Improvement Along The Castlefield Corridor

Various improvements need to be done on the Castlefield Corridor.

  • Deansgate can be improved to provide better access to the Metrolink at Castlefield.
  • Manchester Oxford Road station needs a complete rebuilt and a better track layout.
  • The Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport service via Warrington and Manchester Oxford Road needs a strong rethink.

It appears that it has already been decided to reduce the number of trains, as I wrote about in Castlefield Corridor Trade-Off Plan For Fewer Trains.

Wide Gate Lines

Passengers arriving at Manchester Piccadilly station in the main part of the station should be able to walk forward to a gate line stretching right across all the platforms.

  • The present gate line isn’t continuous.
  • There is still a lot of manual checking of tickets.

The current layout can certainly be improved.

Access To Metrolink

I also wonder if better access to the Metrolink could be provided, so that passengers access the Metrolink station from inside the gate line. Now that the Metrolink allows contactless ticketing, this might be easier.

Conclusion

I believe there’s a solution in there somewhere!

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments