The Anonymous Widower

Can We Innovate Our Way Out Of Our Troubles?

One Of London’s biggest problems at the moment is the bridges across the Thames.

This article on the BBC is entitled London’s Bridges ‘Are The Capital’s Embarrassment’  and is typical of many.

Hammersmith Bridge is causing particular trouble and has been closed to all traffic for some time.

But then I saw this innovative solution to the Hammersmith Bridge problem.

Note.

  1. Hammersmith Bridge is still closed.
  2. A floating bridge has been added alongside for pedestrians and cyclists.
  3. The floating bridge uses parts of the old Blackfriars pier.
  4. There is an innovative floating pontoon, which is activated by the current, that is used in the middle of the river to transfer passengers across.
  5. New Civil Engineer thinks, the temporary bridge could become a tourist attraction.

The design made me smile.

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

The Footbridge At Feltham Station – 13th October 2020

Next to Feltham Station, Network Rail are building an unusual footbridge.

This visualisation from Network Rail shows the design.

 

These are the pictures I took today.

Some of the features of the bridge can be picked out on the visualisation.

October 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Dutch Province To Introduce Regular Hydrogen Services

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The regional transport authority in the Dutch province of Groningen has announced plans to introduce hydrogen trains for its regional concession following a successful test earlier this year.

In March 2019, I went to Groningen and explored the railways in the area, where Stadler GTW trains are used for the train services.

These trains are a smaller version of Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains.

In The Train Station At The Northern End Of The Netherlands, I describe a visit to Eemshaven station to the North of Groningen.

I said this.

At the turnround at Eemshaven with the driver, he indicated that there had been speculation about battery and hydrogen trains in the North of The Netherlands.

It appears the driver was right.

The Bridge Over The Ems

The article also indicates that the bridge over the River Ems, that I wrote about in From Groningen To Leer By Train, could be opening soon.

This video shows what the new bridge will look like.

And this Google Map shows the current state of the bridge.

I’m not sure of the date of the picture, but there still appears a lot of work to do.

 

 

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Fixed Link To Northern Ireland

The title of this post is the same as an article in Issue 898 of Rail Magazine, that has been written by Jim Steer, who is a well-known rail engineer.

It is very much a must-read and he is in favour of the link.

  • It’s all about reducing carbon footprint of travel between the UK and Ireland.
  • The bridge would be rail-only.
  • Goods currently sent by truck, would go by rail.
  • There would be a 125 mph rail link across Galloway between the bridge and HS2/West Coast Main Line.
  • A London and Belfast time of three-and-a-half hours would be possible.
  • A frequent Edinburgh and Belfast via Glasgow service would be provided.
  • He believes the Northern Ireland rail network should be converted to standard gauge and expanded, so that large areas of Northern Ireland will benefit.

Increasingly, serious people are coming behind this project.

February 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 8 Comments

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 | , , , , | 33 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