The Anonymous Widower

Election 2019: DUP Manifesto At A Glance

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

This is said under Infrastructure.

The infamous bridge from Northern Ireland to Scotland makes an appearance in the manifesto. It has been mooted on a number of occasions, despite a number of potential barriers to its construction.

Not everyone believes those barriers are insurmountable, though.

I don’t and feel strongly, that the bridge should be built and linked to High Speed Two

  • London and Belfast in four hours
  • London and Dublin in five hours.
  • Belfast and Glasgow in under two hours.

Not forgetting, it would become an important freight route..

 

 

December 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bridges At Mirfield

The tracks through Mirfield station are due to be upgraded as part of Network Rail’s £2.9billion project to upgrade the Huddersfield Linebetween Huddersfield and Dewsbury stations, that I wrote about in Network Rail Reveals Detailed £2.9bn Upgrade Plans For TransPennine Route.

This Google Map shows the railway bridges, a road bridge and the surrounding land.

These pictures show the bridges.

The bridge is in two parts and the original stone bridge is Grade II Listed. The entry on Historic England contains this description of the bridge.

Railway bridge. Circa 1840. Engineer George Stephenson, supervisor T. L. Gooch, for the Manchester and Leeds Railway. Rock-faced stone with rusticated dressings. Four segmental arches over river and a further five arches to west and two to east, all on bull-nosed abutments. String course at base of stone parapet. Later steel bridge on south side, not included in the item.

I suspect that it will be needed to be treated very sensitively, because of the age, the Listed status and the builder.

I also feel, that any work won’t be easy, due to the restricted site and the River Calder underneath.

I feel that the most likely track layout through Mirfield station will be the reduced four-track layout, that I found in this document on the Digital Railway web site is entitled Transpennine Route Upgrade SDO1 ETCS – Analysis.

Note.

  1. There are four tracks between Mirfield station and Heaton Junction, where trains go South-West towards Deighton and Huddersfield.
  2. The older stone bridge would appear to be carrying the slow trains and those going between Brighouse and Wakefielld.
  3. The steel bridge on the South side would appear to be carrying the fast trains.

It looks to me, that the track layout has been designed, so that the steel bridge can be replaced if required, without too much disruption.

The Weight Limit Of The Existing Bridges

TransPennine Express have bought a series of trains, that will be running over the existing bridges.

So they can’t be that weak!

Electrification

Electrification could be a problem on the older stone bridge, as it is the sort of project like the Steventon Bridge, that the Heritage Lobby like to attack!

August 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail Teams Up With Local Council To Bring Happy Street To Battersea

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

This is the first paragraph.

Network Rail has announced it has worked in partnership with Wandsworth Council to spread some joy in the Nine Elms area of Battersea with a stunning makeover of the Thessaly Road railway bridge.

These are some pictures I took last Sunday.

It’s certainly not dull!

Conclusion

We need more happy streets! And bridges!

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Example Cost And Timescale For A Step-Free Footbridge

This article on Network Rail’s web site is entitled Investment In West Calder Gives Station Accessibility A Lift.

The project replaced an existing bridge.

  • It cost £2.7 million.
  • It took ten months to build and commission.
  • Station access was maintained at all times.

It looks to have been a well-managed project.

This picture shows the bridge.

How would it compare with the recent winner of Network Rail’s competition to find a new footbridge design?

Having not seen either bridge in the metal, I’ll give my judgement when I have.

May 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition

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

This image from the page shows the winning design.

Obviously, it has several passenger friendly features.

  • Safe steps with double-handrails on both sides and a take-a-break step at halfway.
  • Lifts.
  • A covered bridge with good views of the station.

But what I like about it are these design and manufacturing features.

  • The width and height could be easily adjusted for different locations.
  • It could accommodate escalators.
  • Three- and four-platform bridges could follow the same theme.
  • It could be built in a factory and just lifted in a few pieces onto a prepared site.
  • Cost of an installation could be calculated on the back of an engineering envelop or fag-packet.

I also think it is one of those good designs, that will inspire its users and perhaps prompt younger people to take up design or engineering as a career.

A Network Rail Standard Footbridge

If this standard off-the-shelf design or something like it or better was available, how many stations could be given step-free access in the next few years?

As Network Rail sponsored this competition with RIBA, let’s hope they follow through their original initiative.

The footbridge could even have applications outside of the railway industry!

73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding

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

This is the first paragraph.

Selected stations will, subject to a feasible design being possible, receive an accessible route into the station, as well as to and between every platform.

It appears that £300million of additional funding will be used to create full step-free access at seventy-three stations.

Stations That Could Benefit From This Standard Bridge

I have visited several of the stations and I feel that a standard bridge approach could benefit these stations.

I shall add to this list, as I discover more stations, that are suitable.

 

 

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 31 Comments

Catford 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.

Catford station is on the list.

This pictures show the current state of Catford station.

Note.

  1. The railway line is on an embankment, with a bridge over the road.
  2. There are steep stairs to both platforms.
  3. There are small shelters on both platforms.
  4. There is a small station building by the subway under the tracks.

I suspect that a lift on either side of the tracks will need to be installed.

This Google Map shows the station.

It looks like it will be rather a tight squeeze to fit the lifts around the stairs and the current station building.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rebuild of the current station building and the stairs, to create space for the lifts.

The route between Catford and Catford Bridge stations used to involve a walk along the A205, but now there is a level walk through a new housing development, which also has a small supermarket.

You enter Catford Bridge station, directly onto Platform 1.

This Google Map shows the two stations and the walking route between them.

I estimate that it is less than a hundred metres.

Adding step-free access at Catford station will not complete the project.

Look at these pictures of Catford Bridge station.

To cross the tracks at the station, there are two bridges; the road bridge and a footbridge at the station.

Neither of the bridges are step-free.

It would be difficult to add lifts at the A205 end of the station, as there is little space. It would also mean passengers would be walking along the A205, with all its traffic and associated pollution.

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

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed at Catford Bridge station?

It could replace the existing metal bridge!

 

April 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Groningen To Leer By Train

On my recent trip to the Netherlands and Germany, I didn’t get to do this trip by train and had to make do with a slow bus ride.

However I’ve just found this video on YouTube.

The Freisenbrücke is about an hour from the start of the video.

I should fast forward, as there is only so much travelling on a single-track rail line, that you can watch before falling asleep.

I got this impression of the route in the video, which was made in October 2014.

  • The route is mainly single-track, with some passing loops at stations.
  • the track is not electrified, except for short sections at either end.
  • The track was almost straight.
  • The track, stations and signalling appear to be in good condition.
  • There were a large number of level crossings.
  • The train took around one hour and twenty minutes between Groningen and Leer stations.

I can imagine that Deutsche Bahn and Arriva Netherlands were a good bit more and just annoyed, when the MV Emsmoon destroyed the bridge.

Wikipedia says this about the accident.

On 3 December 2015, Emsmoon collided with the Friesenbrücke [de], which carries the Ihrhove–Nieuweschans railway over the Ems. The cause of the accident was reported to be miscommunication between the bridge operator and pilot on board the ship. The bridge could not be raised as a train was due, but the ship failed to stop and collided with the bridge, blocking both railway and river.[4] The bridge was so severely damaged that it will have to be demolished. Replacement is expected to take five years

I suspect, it’s not just an massive inconvenience for the railway, as a couple of miles South on the River Ems, is the Meyer Werft shipyard, where cruise ships up to 180,000 tonnes are built.

I found this document on the NDR.de web site and gleaned the following information.

  • The cost of rebuilding could be up to eight million euros.
  • The new bridge will be finished in 2024, if all goes well.
  • Environmentalists are bringing lawsuits against the construction of the bridge.

It will be a challenge to rebuild this bridge.

This video shows the new bridge

Let’s hope that one of those large cruise ships dopesn’t hit the bridge.

Conclusion

This surely has been a very costly acciodent.

 

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trying To Get Near The Footbridge Underneath The Ordsall Chord

The Ordsall Chord scheme incorporates a foiotbridge across the Irwell, which should give good a good view of the massive bridge.

I tried to get near it yesterday.

But as you can see, I failed.

There’s just too much construction in the way!

February 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Longest Sea Crossing: Hong Kong-Zhuhai Bridge Opens

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

It certainly looks to be an impressive bridge.

But I think it shows just how far design and construction of large bridges has moved in the last couple of decades.

In A Solution To The Northern Irish Problem!, I proposed building a fixed link between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Chinese bridge has a length of 55 km, whereas a link between Northern Ireland and Scotland would be about 30 km.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised that the opening of the Chinese bridge will push politicians, engineers and financial institutions to look seriously, at a fixed link across the North Channel.

October 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 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 | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment