The Anonymous Widower

Nothing Seems To Be Happening At Syon Lane Station

I passed through Syon Lane station today and thought I’d have a look at the progress on the step-free access to the station.

This page on the South Western Railway web site describes in detail, the works that will be done.

This is the first paragraph.

From the beginning of April, we’ll be building a new accessible footbridge with a lift at Syon Lane. The project is expected to be completed later this year and is mainly funded by Hounslow Council. Making the station step free will be a real positive for people with limited mobility traveling round the Hounslow Loop, however the delivery of the new bridge will affect the station and the platforms. The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Consider  the bit about being finished later this year, then look at these pictures.

It looks like they’ve all packed up and gone home.

Surely, if the bridge is going to be finished this year, workmen should be hard at work building foundations and putting up towers for lifts.

But even the tea-hut has gone.

It appears that the following has been done at the station.

  • Create a level step-free route from Syon Lane to the London-bound platform.
  • Move the ticket machines and the card readers.
  • Run temporary cable ducts, along the back of the platforms.
  • Clear some ground behind the fence, where the lift towers might be placed.
  • The long platforms have been narrowed, which Network Rail say is to give space for the work.

The 3D Google Map shows the station.

I don’t know when the picture was taken, but it does look that there could have been some ground clearing about halfway along the platform.

What Do I Think Is Happening?

I think, there could be these reasons for the lack of action.

  • The project has been delayed for some reason.
  • Something very different is happening at Syon Lane station!

Speaking to a couple of travellers  at the station today, they had heard nothing and one was looking forward to the bridge.

I have no evidence, but I do have a devious and sometimes theatrical mind.

Are Network Rail conducting an experiment on the good people, who use Syon Lane station?

They have only said this about disruption to passengers.

The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Could Network Rail be bringing in the bridge in a few sections and just lifting them in with a crane?

Look at the 3D Google Map above and note that the station in surrounded by houses and lots of leafy trees, which would make getting bridge sections and the crane into place difficult.

But look at the cross-section of the average footbridge tower or bridge and it is about the same as that of a train.

For this reason, I believe that the bridge components will be brought in on a special train with a large crane.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

It is composed of the following major components.

  • Two towers with lifts.
  • Two sets of stairs
  • A bridge deck.

All components would be built in a factory.

  • They would be fully tested before delivery.
  • The components would be delivered by train.
  • The bridge would then be assembled using a rail mounted crane.

After testing, the Mayor could declare the bridge open

I suspect too, that the only preparation prior to the assembly of the bridge, is to have firm concrete bases for the bridge and a power supply for the lifts.

  • The construction of the bases could be done from the railway, so there would be no problems of bringing in the concrete.
  • The power supply might not even be needed, if the bridge had solar panels on the roof and a clear battery system.
  • It’s all a bit like giant Lego construction, but then the architect of the bridge was Danish!

Could  commuters on a Friday night return to a station little different to the one they’ve known for years and then on Monday morning  find a working step-free bridge has been erected?

Engineering is the sconce of the possible, whereas politics is dreams of the impossible!

Is This The Future Of Step-Free Bridges?

Obviously not all, but I believe that up to a third of all stations that need a step-free bridge can use a bridge of this type.

But the station upgrade to step-free application is just one of several.

  • New stations.
  • Step-free bridges over busy roads, rivers or canals.
  • Replacement of dangerous light-controlled road crossings.

The design could also be incorporated into other buildings.

Conclusion

Something different could be happening at Syon Lane station.

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is This One Of The Best Platform Access Routes In Europe?

I have been to some large and grand stations in Europe like Amsterdam Centraal, Berlin Hbf, Leizig Hbf and Milan Centrale.

But I have yet to visit a station, where a subsidiary group of platforms have such a spectacular two-level approach.

I took these pictures as I walked from the main concourse to the underground gates, leading to the escalators, that take passengers to and from the middle of the platforms.

It should be noted, that the concourse ends of the platforms can also be accessed using a bridge from the concourse. This bridge can be seen over the orchestra pit.

This wide tunnel has been designed to handle just five platforms 20-24.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled New Platforms At London Waterloo.

The articles states these facts and objectives.

  • The platforms will be shortened by a hundred metres.
  • Each platform will be able to handle a twelve-car train.

South Western Railway‘s new ten-car Class 701 trains have a capacity of 600 passengers.

As the platforms will handle twenty tph,, this means that a total of 12,000 passengers could arrive in every peak hour, but with two gate-lines on separate levels and various routes to either the Underground or walking out of the station, it appears to be designed to cope.

The access would even cope if because of some important event there was a substantial amount of travellers going the opposite way to the commuters.

In the future, the arrangement would mean that each platform could be divided into two; 20A and 20B etc.

  • Passengers for the far train could use both routes, but would probably use the tunnel.
  • Passengers for the near train, would probably use the bridge.

Busby Berkeley has been hired to get the choreography right.

Conclusion

Very large traveller flows have met their Waterloo.

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Hanwell Station – 19th April 2019

These pictures show Hanwell station.

Hanwell station will be unlike any other station on Crossrail.

  • It is Grade II Listed.
  • It doesn’t have a high passenger usage.
  • Platforms will be too short for the Class 345 trains and selected door opening will be used.
  • The stairs up to the platforms must be some of the most Victorian in any station.
  • To complete the station, two lifts are to be installed on the Crossrail platforms.

I do wonder if it could become a tourist attraction for those interests in modern metros and Victorian architecture.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

As current rumours are that Crossrail will open in December to Reading, it looks like the station will be ready in all its Victorian splendour..

It is planned that Hanwell station will have a train every ten minutes.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Luton Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Luton station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

Without doubt, this is the worst station, I’ve found so far in an important town, that is to be made step-free.

There is nothing of any architectural merit at all in this station.

Will Abellio East Midlands Railway Improve Their Service To Luton?

Currently, Luton station has the following.

  • Full electrification, which is being upgraded to a high standard for 125 mph running.
  • Platforms long enough to accommodate Thameslink’s 242 metre long twelve-car Class 700 trains.
  • The Class 700 trains are already fitted for working with digital signalling and this will be added to all trains.

It certainly treats trains better than it does passengers.

From December 2020, the following trains will run through Luton station.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) to/from Corby, which will be 240 metre long twelve-car electric trains in the Peak. Why not in the Off Peak?
  • Two tph to/from Leicester and Nottingham
  • Two tph to/from Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield

At the present time, only the single Corby service stops at Luton.

From 2022, East Midlands Railway will be running new bi-mode trains through the station.

  • For compatibility with the electric trains to Corby and to make full use of long platforms, I suspect that these trains could be up to 240 metres long.
  • They will have a larger capacity, than the current Class 222 trains.
  • They will effectively be electric trains between London and Market Harborough, where the electrification ends.
  • They will have fast acceleration and smooth regenerative braking, because of the electric power.
  • They could have step-across access between train and platform.

As Luton station is electrified and has long platforms, these trains will be able to stop at Luton (and Luton Airport Parkway) in minutes.

Network Rail intend to make Luton station step-free by 2024.

The improved access will give easier connections between the expresses and Thameslink, and entry/exit to the station.

I can see several trains per hour stopping at Luton.

Conclusion

If money was no object, this station should be totally rebuilt.

But money is an object, so the architects will be struggling.

But by 2024 at the latest and possibly a couple of years earlier Luton station could be sorted for passengers and handling well upwards of a dozen 240 metre long high capacity trains in every hour.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Battersea Park Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Battersea Park station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

It’s a bit different to the average commuter station.

Installing Step-Free Access

This will be a challenging station to install step-free access.

  • The station is Grade II Listed.
  • There are four platforms
  • Platform 2/3 is reasonably wide, but Platform 4/5 is narrow.
  • The station handles ten trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • In 2017-18, the station handled nearly two million passengers.
  • The station will have an out-of-station interchange with the new Battersea Power Station station, when that station opens.

As the pictures show, the entrance hall has been tastefully restored in the last few years.

Surely, only a masochist would work on installing lifts in this station.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Hackney Downs Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Hackney Downs station, which I use regularly is on the list.

In Is Hackney Downs Station A Suitable Case For Treatment?, I mused at the possibilities for the station, after a chance meeting with an architect, surveyor or planner from Transport for London at the station, who had just had a look behind the locked doors at the station.

Let’s hope that if there is something worth preserving behind those forbidding brick walls!

Other than the obvious step-free access, my ideas for the station would include.

  • Better use of the rooms on the platforms.
  • A couple of enclosed waiting rooms.
  • Improved bus stop locations.
  • A light-controlled crossing outside the station.

But the biggest opportunities would surely be opened up, if London Overground’s services were reorganised.

At present, the station has the following services in trains per hour (tph)

  • Liverpool Street and Chesthunt – two tph
  • Liverpool Street and Chingford – four tph
  • Liverpool Street and Enfield Town – two tph

Plans also exist to increase the Enfield Town services to four tph.

These are not overly high frequency services compared to some services in London.

In Could London Overground Extend To Hertford East Station?, I speculated on  a rumour that Hertford East services would be given to the London Overground.

If this does happen, I believe that some local services would have to terminate in the High Meads Loop under the Eastfield shopping centre at Stratford.

In the other post I say this.

If as I proposed the following trains run through Seven Sisters station.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.
  • Two tph between Stratford and Enfield Town.

This means that Hackney Downs would have the following services.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Broxbourne or Hertford East.
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.
  • Four tph between Liverpool Street and Chingford.

Would it not be more efficient, if all of these services used the slow tracks into Liverpool Street?

This would give the expresses exclusive use of the fast lines into Liverpool Street.

It’s probably a naive analysis, but I believe services at Hackney Downs station could well include regular services between Liverpool Street and Broxbourne/Hertford East.

Conclusion

Step-free access at Hackney Downs station could be part of a package, that sees extra services and destinations added to the station.

 

April 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Changing Trains At Zwolle Station

Zwolle is a place that has stuck in my mind since I was about ten and had my first decent atlas. The gazetteer at the end of the atlas had Zwolle was the last entry. In my current larger atlas, it is still in the last ten entries.

I don’t think, I ever looked it up on a map and I certainly had never visited or even driven past. The nearest I ever got, was refuelling an aircraft at Groningen Airport, about twenty miles to the North.

I didn’t have time to explore the town, as the thirty minutes I had to wait was really only long enough for a hot chocolate. But, if my train had been on time, I wouldn’t have even had time for that.

It is just a functional station, mainly built out of concrete and without any soul.

  • The wooden seating was less cold, than the usual steel seats you get in Europe.
  • The staff were not visible, but there was someone in a tunnel underneath.
  • There was no enclosed shelter.
  • There was only a little displayed information.
  • I should think it could be a bleak station in the wrong sort of weather.

We need to think how we make stations more friendly to passing travellers.

March 27, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Comments Off on Changing Trains At Zwolle Station

The New White Hart Lane Stadium Is Open For Business

I took these pictures today of the new White Hart Lane Stadium.

Does it look so impressive inside?

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

The Orchestra Pit At Waterloo Station – 14th March 2019

These pictures show the area nicknamed the orchestra pit at Waterloo station.

It looks like it could be open soon!

Although Network Rail and their pandering to the terrible tastes of the average rail traveller, this are will probably filled with gluten-rich junk food.

I’d like to see a Leon added to Waterloo, as they already have two Marks and Spencers and a Carluccio’s.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Design Of Barking Riverside Station

The information is coming together about the new Barking Riverside station.

Wikipedia

The Wikipedia entry at the moment is not very information, but it does say that the station has two platforms.

Location

This map from Transport for London, shows the location of the station.

The location of Barking Riverside station is at the end of the branch line that comes South from the Barking to Tilbury Line.

As it is a long term ambition of Transport for London to extend the railway under the River to Abbey Wood station, the North-South orientation of the station is probably important.

carto.metro.free.fr

This map from carto.metro.free.fr gives the layout of Barking Riverside station and the tracks leading to it.

It shows two tracks leading to a two-platform station, with a crossover to allow both platforms to be used.

The Architect’s Visualisations

These are available on this page on the Moxon Architect’s web site.

This is the first visualisation on the site.

It shows the end view of the station and as no railway lines are visible, I assume that it is looking North, so the River Thames is behind the viewer and Renwick Road is on the left.

This is the second visualisation.

It shows the station looking from the East towards Renwick Road. Note the bus in both images.

As at Hackney Wick station, there is an underpass, so the station is not a barrier to pedestrians.

The seventh visualisation shows the station from above.

It only shows one platform in the image, as do other visualisations.

Is It A Single Platform Station?

Is this the way the station will be built or is it just to make the visualisation simpler?

A single platform station should be able to handle six trains per hour (tph).

  • This year, this frequency will be implemented between single platforms at Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations on the Overground.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line will have a maximum frequency of five tph in the Peak.
  • The infrastructure and the trains will all be brand new and use the best technology.

So it looks like a single platform station should be able to handle the planned number of trains for the simple  extension to Barking Riverside station.

Will There Be Electrification?

This is the fifth visualisation.

It clearly shows gantries for overhead wires.

But it appears that only one platform is there.

I have thought for some time, that the Barking Riverside Extension could be built without electrification and battery/electric trains could be used.

I laid out my views in Don’t Mention Electrification!.

  • All Aventras are wired for on-board electrical storage.
  • The Barking Riverside Extension is only 1.5 km long.
  • The area of the extension has some very large electricity pylons, that the extension has to dodge through.
  • If the line is extended under the Thames, it would be cheaper to build a tunnel for third rail, as it will connect to third-rail lines on the South Bank.
  • There must be substantial savings by not putting up overhead wires.
  • A safer and more reliable railway in extreme weather.

I also repeated my views in an article in Rail Magazine, which I described in I’ve Been Published In Rail Magazine.

No-one has told me that they disagree with my views.

So why are electrification gantries shown?

  • Transport for London or Network Rail don’t believe that battery/electric trains are possible. This is unlikely, as battery/electric trains have been successfully demonstrated in the UK and elsewhere, and ordered for Wales and Liverpool.
  • Obviously, there has to be a backstop if conventional electric trains have to be used. So, provision is being made to electrify the extension.
  • The single platform is electrified, so that a battery/electric train can be fully-charged before it returns towards Barking and Gospel Oak.

If before the station is built, it is decided that electrification is not needed, the overhead wires can be omitted from the construction phase.

I do feel though, we will know more about the performance and reliability of battery/electric trains in a few years, and we will alter the designs of overhead electrification accordingly.

Extending Across The River

The station has been built to enable extension to Abbey Wood station on the other side of the Thames.

There are probably several designs that would fit with the current station.

The simplest is probably to install a second platform and connect both to a tunnel under the river or a bridge over the river.

This would have several disadvantages.

  • A lot of the station would need to be demolished.
  • The train service to Barking Riverside station might have to be stopped for several months, during construction.
  • All services would have to cross the river.

A better option is probably to install the second platform on a track, that goes under the river in a tunnel.

  • The single tunnel portal would require less land take, as it could be very close to Barking Riverside station.
  • The tunnel under the river could be a mix of single or double track, to create the most affordable tunnel.
  • The current single platform would become a bay platform.
  • During construction, the service to Barking Riverside station would be able to continue as normal.
  • The bay platform could be used for service recovery in times of disruption.

I particular like the idea of a loop railway on the South Bank of the Thames with perhaps four or five stations. Alternatively, it could be a tram-train on the surface.

Conclusion

It looks like the design of Barking Riverside station, is one that will cater for all eventualities.

I am looking forward to taking the first train to the station.

 

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment