The Anonymous Widower

Grimshaw Working On New Eden Project In Morecambe

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Architect’s Journal.

The Eden Project in Morecambe does seem to have the look of a serious project.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

Dundee Station

Dundee station has recently been rebuilt and it is now a mixture of old and new.

The old part are the platforms, which are below street level, and are now connected to the surface by lifts and escalators.

The surface buildings are new and bring back an old Victorian idea; the station hotel. But this is not a massive five star edifice, but an affordable Sleeperz hotel.

There’s a lot to like about the station.

  • The platform layout of two long platforms with two bay platforms in between, must be ideal for operators.
  • The lift and escalators to the surface.
  • The snack bar between the platforms.
  • The convenient hotel.
  • The short walks to the attractions, which will soon be joined by a branch of the V & A.
  • It was designed by local architects; Nicoll Russell Studios.

And all for a total cost of £23million.

I hope we see more stations like this one.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Liverpool Lime Street Station Has Been Remodelled

I went to Liverpool Lime Street station today and it has been extensively remodelled, as these pictures show.

There are several changes.

Virgins Were Using Platform 9

The most obvious difference on arrival was that the Virgin services from London were using Platform 9, which is on the Southern side of the station, close to the taxi rank.

Taxi Access

So elderly Aunt Esmeralda coming from London to see her Liverpudlian family doesn’t have to go far for a cab.

I also noticed that Norwich services were using Platform 10 and there was a Birmingham New Street service in Platform 7.

So it would appear that longer distance services use the higher numbered platforms.

Not that it matters, as there’s a cab rank on the other side of the station.

Two Stations In One

I have read somewhere, that Liverpool Lime Street station with its pair of Victorian roofs, has been arranged so that the two sides can work independently.

The main reason, is that if engineering work is needed on one side, the other can remain open.

Each half-station utilises.

  • A Victorian roof.
  • A set of approach tracks.
  • Five platforms
  • A large clock
  • A taxi rank.

They also have easy access to the shops and the Underground platform of Merseyrail’s Wirral Line.

Long Platforms

Virgin’s Pendelinos or Class 390 trains come in two lengths; nine and eleven cars.

It looks like some platforms can accommodate, the eleven-car trains, which are over two hundred and sixty metres long.

Note in the pictures how long platforms have been threaded through the bridge at the station throat.

Wide Platforms

The platforms would appear to be wider to allow better circulation of passengers.

Platform 1

The pictures show a wide space to the North of the new Platform 2.

It looks like Platform 2 will share an island with a still to be completed Platform 1.

Platform 0

Is there a space on the far side of Platform 1 for a new Platform 0?

Extra Capacity

Although there is at least one extra platform, the better track layout and signalling will allow more trains to use the station.

Already planned extra services include.

  • TransPennine Express services to Scotland.
  • Transport for Wales services to Cardiff, Chester, Llandudno and Shrewsbury.
  • London Northwestern Railway services to Crewe and London Euston

In addition High Speed Two will add services and some reports say CrossCountry will add more.

Typically, one of Virgin’s Class 390 trains takes about thirty minutes to turn back, whereas East Midlands Trains turn a smaller train in ten minutes less.

Both these trains would need to take on supplies of food and drink, but others probably don’t.

I would expect each platform could handle two long-distance trains per hour (tph).

So could we be looking at ten tph in the five long distance platforms?

I suspect in a few years time, this will be possible, as everybody works out how to use the new station layout.

Long distance trains in a few years time could be.

  • 1 tph – East Midlands Trains to Nottingham/Norwich via Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • 1 tph -London NorthWestern Railway  to London via Runcorn and Crewe
  • 2 tph -London NorthWestern Railway  to Birmingham via Liverpool South Parkway, Runcorn and Crewe
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express to Newcastle and Edinburgh via Newton-le-Willows and Manchester Victoria
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express to Scarborough via Newton-le-Willows and Manchester Victoria
  • 1 tph – TransPennine Express to Scotland via Wigan and Preston.
  • 1 tph – Transport for Wales to Chester and Llandudno via Liverpool South Parkway andRuncorn
  • 1 tph – Transport for Wales to Chester and Shrewsbury via Liverpool South Parkway and Runcorn, which could be extended to Cardiff
  • 1 tph – West Coast (currently Virgin) to London via Runcorn

Note.

  1. This totals up to seven tph via Runcorn or Liverpool South Parkway, which will probably have to terminate in platforms 6-10.
  2. East Midlands Trains, London NorthWestern Railway and Virgin appear to use Platforms 6-10.
  3. TransPennine Express appears to be using Platform 3 or 4 at the present time.
  4. At present, Northern services via Liverpool South Parkway and Warrington, seem to be using Platform 6.

It would appear that there could be enough space for High Speed Two services in a dedicated platform in the Platform 6-10 section.

Signalling Issues

The only problem seemed to be a few small signalling issues as platform allocation and information seemed to be suffering a few bugs.

There’s Still Work To Do

Obviously, there is still more work to do to finish off the station.

  • Platform 1 hasn’t been finished.
  • Retail units need to be updated.
  • Bessie Braddock needs to be positioned close to Ken Dodd.

I also think that the station needs a quality hotel and restaurant complex.

Liverpool Lime Street Station Is High Speed Two-Ready

Wikipedia has a section on High Speed Two Rolling Stock, where this is said.

Trains would have a maximum speed of at least 350 km/h (220 mph) and length of 200 metres (660 ft). Two units could be joined together for a 400-metre (1,300 ft) train.

Trains will be of two types.

  • Standard European-sized trains, that will run between new High Speed Two stations like Euston, Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street.
  • Classic-Compatible trains, built to a British loading gauge, that can use existing tracks and platforms.

It should be noted that an individual High Speed Two train will be shorter than the eleven-car Class 390 trains.

This means that Liverpool Lime Street and Birmingham New Street, Carlisle, Crewe, Glasgow Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Preston and others will be able to accommodate the new Classic-Compatible trains.

According to the section called Proposed Service Pattern in the Wikipedia entry for High Speed Two, Liverpool Lime Street station will get two tph, when Phase One of High Speed Two opens

  • I would expect that High Speed Two will have the luxury of a dedicated platform.
  • On the other hand, Manchester Piccadilly station is getting four high speed platforms and three tph
  • When Phase Two opens most services will probably call at Birmingham Interchange.

So is Liverpool getting a worse deal compared to its arch-rival?

  • For a start a single platform could probably handle three tph, which is one train every twenty minutes.
  • An eleven-car Class 390 train has 589 seats.
  • Wikipedia says that a full-length High Speed Two train has 1,100 seats, so each Classic-Compatible train will have 550 seats.
  • Manchester Piccadilly has space to expand the station, whereas Liverpool Lime Street is hemmed in.
  • Liverpool Lime Street is solely a terminal station, whereas Manchester Piccadilly has both through and terminal platforms.
  • A large number of Liverpool’s local services are handled on a platform, that is deep below the station.

I would say that Liverpool Lime Street station’s handling of High Speed Two, will be a classic case of Liverpool doing what the City does best – making the most of limited resources.

After all Liverpool’s national dish is scouse, which is a stew often made from leftovers.

To summarise platform use after High Speed Two arrives in Liverpool, it could be something like this.

Platforms 1 to 5 – Northern with one or two platforms for TransPennine Express.

Platforms 6 to 10 – One each for High Speed Two and West Coast, with the others shared by the other operators.

Liverpool is lucky in that it has three routes out of the City to the East and now Lime Street station has been remodelled, they can be used efficiently.

More Use Of Merseyrail

Merseyrail could be key to getting even more capacity out of Lime Street station.

Some Northern services via Warrington have to leave from Platform 6 at present to go via Liverpool South Parkway.

But Merseyrail have ambitions to use their new Class 777 trains to extend from Hunts Cross station to Warrington Central station.

The one problem with accessing Merseyrail at Liverpool Lime Street, is that there is no direct connection to the Northern Line, which goes between Hunts Cross and Liverpool South Parkway in the South and Kirkby, Omskirk and Southport in the North. I usually walk two hundred metres to Liverpool Central, but a better connection needs to be provided. Perhaps a subway with a travelator is needed.

Alternatively, as all High Speed Two and West Coast services will stop at Runcorn, would it be sensible to add another stop at Liverpool South Parkway to change for the Northern Line and Warrington?

Conclusion

I have come to some conclusions.

Architecture And Design

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for Liverpool Lime Street station.

Opened in August 1836, it is the oldest grand terminus mainline station still in use in the world.

Manchester Piccadilly opened in 1842 and Euston opened in 1837, but both have been extensively rebuilt, whereas the architect of Lime Street would probably recognise his creation.

The design of Liverpool Lime Street station seems to have enabled this sympathetic remodelling, that will allow more services to the City.

Didn’t the Victorian architect do well!

Liverpool Connectivity

Liverpool is getting a station with increased capacity, that will enable new routes to the city from Wales and the Welsh Borders, Scotland and more places in England.

The only minor problem is the poor connection between Liverpool Lime Street station and Merseyrail’s Northern Line, which I think could be improved by stopping more trains at Liverpool South Parkway station.

Liverpool And Manchester To Scotland

In the 1960s, these services were organised in the following way.

  • Separate trains ran from Liverpool and Manchester to Preston.
  • At Preston, the two trains joined and ran to Carstairs.
  • At Carstairs, the trains split and one went to Edinburgh and the other to Glasgow.

It wasw an efficient way to provide the service.

With modern trains, that can couple and uncouple automatically and where passengers can walk through the train, there may be scope for doing similar in the future.

Liverpool As A Major Tourist Hub

The new services will improve Liverpool’s profile as a major tourist hub.

The new services will put Liverpool in the middle of an area with lots of attractions, that can be reached by train.

  • North Wales
  • The Lakes
  • The Pennines
  • The Golf Coast, with three Open Championship courses.
  • Blackpool

And then there’s Liverpool itself!

I was talking to a station guy in Liverpool yesterday and we both felt with connections to Scotland, more tourists would use Liverpool for a stopover on the trip between London and Scotland.

The new services will certainly increase the number of visitors to Liverpool

Merseyside’s Prosperity

I believe that the improved services will increase the prosperity of the whole region and in a few years time, the pain of this summer’s closure of the station will be well and truly forgotten.

Tailpiece

Ever since, I first came to Liverpool in 1965, the train services and Lime Street station in particular has needed improvement.

The creation of the Wirral Line loop and the Northern Line were a good start, but only now after my visit, is it apparent that there was more improvement to come.

Why wasn’t the track and platform layout at Liverpool Lime Street station sorted out decades ago?

 

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Now That’s What I Call A Footbridge!

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Network Rail Launches Footbridge Design Competition.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A competition for new footbridge design ideas has been launched by Network Rail and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Entrants are asked to design fully accessible footbridges that can be used across Britain’s rail network and that further improve the legacy of rail pioneers.

Hopefully, something better than some of those on Britain’s rail network will be designed.

I was in Wales last week on the Ffestiniog Railway and saw this bridge.

Surely, someone can come up with something like this, that meets all the regulations and looks a lot better, than Network Rail’s standard offering in green-painted steel.

My father used to build structures like this with timber and bolts to create extra floors and storage in his print works in Wood Green. From about the age of seven, I was his little helper.

Perhaps, thirty years later, I had a barn built at a house I owned. The architect had the building designed in a similar manner.

Someone, ought to enter Network Rail’s competition with a similar design.

July 22, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Northumberland Park Station – June 12th 2018

The new Northumberland Park station is coming on and has allowed the temporary footbridge to go somewhere else!

The level crossing will not be reinstated and I was wondering how pedestrians and others will cross the railway. There is still an old bridge on the other side to the station, but it doesn’t look to be in the best condition.

I then saw the two staircases in the new station.

So will there be two separate routes across the railway in one bridge?

This image from Network Rail, shows the station from the Eastern side.

There appears to be the following.

  • Two bridge sections, with the one on the far side connected to the low station buildings.
  • Two sets of stairs and a lift giving access from the bridge to the current Platform 1 and new platform behind it, that will become an island platform.
  • Two tracks this side of the island platform.
  • With the two tracks on the other side of the island platform, this means the station will be ready for four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • A set of steps leading down from the near rend of the footbridge, this side of the extra tracks.

I have wondered for some time, when the West Anglia main Line is four-tracked and/or Crossrail 2 is built, which pair of tracks will be the fast lines.

In the interim it is obvious, that the third rack, which will run between  Meridian Water and Lea #bridge stations, will run on the near side of the island platform.

My only question is will it only handle trains towards Stratford or will the line be bi-directional?

But when the line is fully four-tracked, I think that the lines from West to East will be as follows.

  • Northbound Slow (Current Platform 2) – Local trains and Crossrail 2
  • Southbound Slow (Current Platform 1) – Local trains and Crossrail 2
  • Northbound Fast – Stansted and Cambridge services
  • Southbound Fast – Stansted and Cambridge services

I have put the slow lines on the West, as these are the platforms with the best access and few if any, fast services will stop in the station.

Crossrail 2 could of course change everything.

But I suspect that Northumberland Park station is being rebuilt, so that it will work with the most likely arrangement of tracks.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hackney Wick Station Opens

Hackney Wick station is now almost fully rebuilt and the new facilities are open to passengers

It is a design, that draws heavily on brutalist architecture, but the general feeling is that people seem to like the station.

The station is simple in layout, with a double subway through the embankment, which was built alongside and inserted at Easter 2017, as I wrote about in A Tough Way To Spend Easter.

  • One side of the subway is reserved for ticketed passengers and the other when it opens will be a new route under the railway.
  • Access to the platforms on top of the embankment is by well-designed high capacity staircases and two lifts.
  • The staircases have similar hand-rails with built-in LED lighting, as I saw yesterday at Abbey Wood station.
  • The station does not have ticket gates and relies on passengers to just touch in, as at several stations on the London Overground.
  • But then the station will be used for large sporting events at the Olympic Stadium.
  • It also has wider platforms than it used, to accommodate large numbers of passengers.

There is still some work to do, like adding the signage and opening the subway for those not using the railway.

I only met one person, who didn’t like the station. He struck me as an artistic type and said the money should have been spent on other things.

But Hackney Wick needed a new high-capacity station and a high-capacity walking route under the railway.

  • It is the nearest station to the Olympic stadium.
  • There is a large amount of housing development in the area.

Currently, the station handles two million passengers a year and this will surely rise.

A Comparison With The New White Hart Lane Station

Various sources say that the rebuilding of Hackney Wick station will cost £25million.

White Hart Lane station is also being rebuilt in conjunction with Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground and redevelopment of the area.

This also needs to give access to a high railway line, which is on a brick viaduct, that can be incorporated into the structure, rather than replaced, as at Hackney Wick.

According to this article in Construction Enquirer, the budget is £18million.

Modern step-free stations to handle two million passengers per year, don’t come cheap!

On the other hand, once built most stations last for at least a hundred years.

White Hart Lane opened in 1872, whereas Hackney Wick opened in 1980.

So it looks like the Victorians did a longer lasting job, than British Rail!

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Around Antwerp Station

I took these pictures of the magnificent Antwerp station in the evening light.

I certainly haven’t seen a better station in Belgium.

May 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

West Hampstead Station – 12th May 2018

West Hampstead station is being rebuilt with a new entrance and a step-free footbridge.

The new station would appear to be able to handle more passengers.

This image on the BPR Architect’s web site, shows how it will look, when it opens.

The new station would appear to be able to handle more passengers.

It’s strikes me, that the design is almost a modern application of the rules, that created London Underground’s distinctive stations of the 1930s.

One of the routes I took to and from Minchenden School, involved two of the Piccadilly Line‘s iconic stations; Oakwood and Southgate. Both were designed by Charles Holden and are Grade II* listed buildings.

Those stations were and still are all about space, brickwork, glass, imaginative use of metal and clean lines, often with integrated retail units.

West Hampstead station appears similar, but the retail is more surrounding, than integrated.

Modern fabrication techniques with metal and plastics, also give the architects and designers more freedom.

I like the pierced steel cladding on the footbridge at West Hampstead station and it is probably a lot more affordable, than all the bronze used in Southgate station.

If my mother, who died a few years ago, came back and arrived at the new West Hampstead station on the London Overground, she’d only confuse it with a London Underground station.

May 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Coventry Station – 1st May 2018

As I passed through Coventry station, I took these pictures.

It is not the best of stations.

  1. It needs a London-facing bay platform to handle trains from Kenilworth and Leamingtonj stations. But where would you put it?
  2. Where would you also put a bay platform to handle services to Nuneaton?
  3. But the biggest problem, is the stairs in the station.

To emphasise the last point, a lady of perhaps thirty had fallen down the stairs and the only  way, the paramedics could get her out was using an old-fasioned stretcher on the stairs. Where she had fallen didn’t have lift access.

The station may have lots of glass and be a noteworthy 1960s Grade II Listed building, but it needs to be rebuilt to a standard, that is fit for the twenty-first century.

May 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

King’s Lynn Station

These pictures show King’s Lynn Station, which is Grade II Listed.

Note.

  1. It is not the normal design for a station in the UK.
  2. The station has two platforms, but could have add another.
  3. The facilities are at a high level for a station of this size, with a booking office, toilets and a cafe.
  4. The station was reopened by Michael Portillo. Who else?

Perhaps we should see more station designs, not in a standard corporate mould. Others include Birmingham Moor Street, Hanwell and Hebden Bridge.

The only problems with the station are that there aren’t enough trains and the information and signage for visitors could be better.

In an ideal world this would be the train service

  • At least two trains per hour in both directions.
  • Running between King’s Lynn and Cambridge, stopping at Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Waterbeach and Cambridge North.
  • Good interchange with services to Bury St. Edmunds, Ipswich, Peterborough and Stansted Airport at either Ely or Cambridge.

King’s Lynn station certainly has the capacity for more frequent trains.

 

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments