The Anonymous Widower

Even Vauxhall Corsas Have 4G Wi-Fi

This is the case according to adverts at the side of the pitch in the England Slovakia game at Wembley tonight.

I don’t drive, so I don’t care, but it appears that this increasingly features on cars.

Bombardier have fitted this feature to Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, so will we see it increasingly fitted to all trains, taxis and buses?

It’ll certainly be something that passengers on public transport will expect.

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Courtesy On London Buses

Today, a 30 bus was at the stop that takes me on my way in the morning. Especially, if like today, I was tryibg to get to the Angel  I say trying, as Thanes Water are having a big construction party as they try to sort out the water mains on Upper Street. Normally, I have three routes that I can take. But due to the works, only the 30 is a sensible option, as the others go  via Silicon Roundabout.

Courtesy 1 – The driver was about to leave as I approached, but he saw me coming and waited.

Courtesy 2 – The bus was pretty full with the only one empty seat for persons of restricted mobility. So I had one of those non-arguments with a pregnant lady about who would not have the seat. On seeing a vacant seat towards the back of the bus, I walked past and she eventually sat down. You see these after you situations a lot. The funniest, I saw was when an elderly Orthodox Jew and a black lady about twenty, delayed a bus whilst they decided who got on first. So charming!

Courtesy 3 – The seat I went for had a lady’s bag on it, but she quickly removed it, when she saw I was coming for the seat.

Courtesy 4 – At Highbury Grove a guy pushing a lady in a wheelchair needed to get on! As the ramp descended a guy who’d parked his baby in a buggy in the space made a quick exit, to allow the wheelchair to be parked.

Courtesy 5 – At the next stop, a lady with a buggy and two other children,  needed to get on, but after other passengers told her the wheelchair space was occupied, she moved on.

London buses are generally friendly places and people often talk to each other.

I’ve actually never seen an argument over the wheelchair space in London.

I do wonder if this courtesy is helped, by London’s bus design, which always has a separate entrance and exit. The exit doubles as the wheelchair entrance.

August 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Beginning Of The End For The Thameslink Works

They seem to have been going on for ever, but this article in Rail Engineer entitled Thameslink – The Final Countdown, describes the work in the last few months before the new Thameslink service opens next year.

This is the first paragraph.

With just a few months to go, including two major commissionings, the rebuilt, remodelled and resignalled London Bridge becomes fully operational on 2 January 2018. The Thameslink service resumes through the high level station via the new segregated alignment between Blackfriars and Bricklayers Arms Junction, engineered into the remodelled layout as a key objective of the project together with the introduction of Automatic Train Operation (ATO) overlay to ETCS.

So it looks like from January 2nd, 2018, instead of a jolly round South London, Thameslink trains will be calling at their own pair of platforms in London Bridge.

Other points and milestones flagged up in the article include.

  • British Rail’s Network South East proposed thought up this plan in 1990.
  • The complete concourse at London Bridge opens in January 2018.
  • Other fit out work in London Bridge station will continue until May 2018.
  • Most of the track works at London Bridge will be sorted during the August Bank Holiday blockade.
  • The Christmas 2017 Blockade will finish things off for the January 2nd opening.
  • ATO (Automatic Train Control) will go live on 2nd January 2018 and allow twenty trains per hour (tph), through the Central Core of Thameslink.
  • 24 tph will start with the May 2018 timetable change.

Let’s hope it’s all been worth the trouble and strife.

Certainly, the flag-ship of the scheme; London Bridge station looks capable of becoming one of the world’s great railway stations.

  • Interchange between the various routes at the station is easy.
  • Signage and information set new standards.
  • It has a proper bus station and taxi rank.
  • Although not completed yet the connection to the Underground looks like it will be much better than most .

But to me, the biggest advantage is that London Bridge will become an easy-to-access rail hub, which will be my starting point for many journeys, as I have a regular bus service to the station from virtually outside my house.

The high-frequency rail link between London Bridge and Waterloo East station, also gives me a  relaxed route home from Waterloo station using the 141 bus from London Bridge station to a stop perhaps fifty metres from my house.

Going to London Bridge station, the walk is a perhaps a hundred metres to the bus stop, but there is no roads to cross. The buses run from five in the morning to midnight and during the day, there is a bus every few minutes, which takes just under half-an-hour to London Bridge. According to Transport for London’s Journey Planner, the fastest journey is thirty-three minutes with a lot more walking, the Overground and the Jubilee Line.

St. Pancras takes the same time with a long underground walk to Thameslink, so it looks like my fastest way to Gatwick and Brighton will start with a bus to London Bridge station.

Conclusion

I don’t know what it’s like in other cities, but in London, it’s often as quick, but easier and more pleasant to use the buses rather than the Underground or equivalent, if the journey is short.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Bank Junction Goes Buses And Cyclists Only

On Monday, the 22nd of June 2017, the City of London brought in an order making the busy Bank Junction buses and cyclists only between seven in the morning and seven in the evening from Monday to Friday.

I took these pictures soon after ten in the morning.

The first few pictures were taken from the top of a Routemaster bus on Route 21, as it travelled from where I live across the city to London Bridge station.

Note.

  • Most drivers seemed to be avoiding the area.
  • The City of London Police were telling drivers, but didn’t appear to be ticketing anybody.
  • Much of the congestion seemed to be caused by half-empty polluting Tour Buses.
  • One pedestrian was moaning that he couldn’t use his car to get around the City.

Overall, it appeared to be a calm start.

The Upgrade Of Bank Station

I have only shown the area on the surface, but under the ground around Bank Junction, a massive construction project is starting in the City of London’s twin goals of more and better office accomodation and transport links.

Bank station is getting a major upgrade, which will include.

  • In The New Tunnel Under Bank Station, I wrote about an upgraded pedestrian tunnel that crosses the area.
  • In Between Bank And Cannon Street Station, I wrote about how Bloomberg are helping develop a new step-free entrance to the Waterloo and City Line and Bank station, which will open by early 2018.
  • A new Northern Line tunnel to create more space on the platforms and increase frequency on the line.
  • The station weill receive a forty percent increase in capacity.
  • Full step-free access with thirteen new escalators and three new lifts.
  • A new entrance to Bank station opposite Cannon Street station.
  • Two North-South moving walkways.
  • Some of the £600million project cost will be funded by oversite office development.
  • Hopefully, much of the work will be finished by 2021.

There’s more in this article in the Guardian, which is entitled Bank station upgrades point to London’s bigger, busier future.

Bank Station And Crossrail

You may wonder, why if Bank station is so important, that Crossrail doesn’t call and Crossrail 2 won’t either.

It may not, but the Central Line will have good connections to Crossrail at Stratford, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations.

So passengers for Bethnal Green, Bank, St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane and Holborn will change from Crossrail to the Cwntral Line at a convenient station.

In addition, Crossrail will feed passengers into loops in the District, Hammersmith and City and Jubilee Lines.

Travellers will pay their money and take their choice.

Other Developments At Bank

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more pedestrian routes linking the City stations of Bank, Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street and Moorgate; both on the surface and possibly underground.

I would also make sure that all buses in the centre of London are low-emission vehicles. That certainly doesn’t apply to those polluting and jam-creating Tour Buses and tourist coaches.

 

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Integrated Bus And Train Information Point

I saw this information point in the middle of Exeter.

Buses at the top, Exeter Central station in the middle and Exeter St. Davids station underneath.

Why aren’t there more in other cities?

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Adverse Effects Of Electric Vehicles

This article in theMail OnLine has one of those titles which are all you need to read.

UK could need 20 more nuclear power stations if electric cars take over our roads and cause ‘massive strain’ on power network

There is also a similar article in The Times.

The articles are based on research by Transport for London.

The article has a point and TfL have done the sums.

Consider the future.

At present London doesn’t apply the full Congestion Charge for electric vehicles and they get other discounts. So as electric vehicles get more affordable and with a longer range, it will be sensible to purchase an electric vehicle and take advantage of using it at a discount in London.

So will London be grid-locked by electric vehicles?

We may get cleaner air, but how will all those, who depend on buses and taxis get through all this congestion?

Many of these new electric cars will be driverless, which will increase their attraction and just add to the congestion.

All of these vehicles will also need to be charged, so will we see every parking space fitted with a charging point.

Who is going to pay for these points?

And then as Transport for London say, just providing enough electricity for London’s transport, will require two nuclear power stations.

So how about using hydrogen fuel cells to power these vehicles?

But to create the hydrogen you need electricity to electrolyse water. So more nuclear power stations?

So what will we do?

London is lucky, in that compared to other cities in the UK, it has an extensive public transport network that works, that people like to use.

So Crossrail 2 and possibly 3 and 4, if properly designed can take the pressure off London, to allow space for driverless electric buses and taxis, and a severely restricted number of other vehicles.

Just as people are now complaining that they were told by the Government to buy a diesel car and now they are being abused as polluters, in a decade or so, those buying electric cars will be abused as congesters.

Owning a car in the future will become an increasingly expensive and annoying business.

 

February 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Now That’s What I Call A Mega Bendy Bus!

Bendy buses weren’t liked in London and although some places in Europe have them, they are nothing like the mega-bendies from Brazil discussed in this article on Global Rail News, which is entitled New mega-buses to replace trams?.

This is the opening paragraph.

Could advances in bus design threaten the role of trams on busy routes? New, longer designs which carry more passengers and combine flexibility with vast capacity.

On the other hand, I don’t see why a bendy bus with driving cabs at each end, running in a dedicated traffic lane or perhaps in a concrete guided busway couldn’t be used on a fixed link between say a railway station and the centre of a city. A double-ended design would eliminate the need to turn the bus, which is a big space-hungry  problem

I think that once, one city, airport or attraction develops this idea successfully, then the idea could spread!

The chassis developed by Volvo in Brazil mentioned in the article, would certainly be a good starting point.

February 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

The New Cardinal Place Entrance At Victoria Tube Station

In The Start Of Change At Victoria Tube Station, I talked about the new Cardinal Place entrance to Victoria tube station.

It opened this morning and I took these pictures as I used it to get to an Eastbound District Line train.

It’s obviously not fully finished and it had only just been opened.

But passengers were able to flow straight through the gates and down the escalators to the Victoria Line platforms. So there won’t many of them, but it was lunchtime.

The Victoria Line platforms now have three sets of escalators.

  • The original set of three at the Southern end linking to the original ticket hall and Victoria station.
  • The new set of three at the Northern end linking to the new ticket hall and the new Cardinal Place entrance.
  • In the middle another bank of three link to cross passages under the District and Circle Line platforms.

Passengers only wanting to change lines at Victoria would appear to be separated from those needing to enter or exit the Underground station.

It’ll be interesting to see, how passengers distribute themselves between the two station entrances.

  • If you are coming from or going to Victoria station, you’ll probably still use the existing route.
  • If you are coming from or going to Victoria Street, Westminster City Hall, Westminster Cathedral or Cardinal Place, you’ll probably use the new Cardinal Place entrance.
  • Travellers to and from the Victoria Palace and Apollo Victoria rheatres, who want to use the Underground, will probably have better access.

A guy who worked in the station, felt that passengers wanting to get to or from the District and Circle Lines could be the major beneficiaries and he should know his passenger flows better than most.

As this is only an interim solution until the rest of the Underground station opens in 2018, it is certainly a quality improvement.

Wikipedia also says this about improvements at the main line station end of the Underground station.

The work will also enlarge the existing Victoria line ticket hall serving the railway station and add a new relief bank of escalators there. This aspect of the scheme has been criticised as access to platforms from the new escalators will be very long and indirect compared to the direct access using the existing escalators.

On the other hand, with all the new routes and escalators in Victoria tube station coupled with substantial capacity improvements on the Underground Lines through the station, I suspect that it’ll all even out, as passengers find their own best routes.

Incidentally, I arrived at Victoria station on a 38 bus from Piccadilly Circus and although it was the middle of the day, the access couldn’t be faulted.

Once all the building work is complete, I suspect the buses will have a bugger part to play.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Confused 38 Bus

This bus is confused!

Is it a bus or a coach?

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Using Southern Crossrail Lite

On my trip to Shepperton today, I went from and to Waterloo station for  the Shepperton Branch Line.

For both journeys, I used the route between London Bridge and Waterloo East stations, that some want to use as part of Southern Crossrail.

Going to Waterloo, I started at Farringdon, and this waan’t a good place to start, as I didn’t have a clue to the best way and neither did the London Underground staff.

So I took the Metropolitan to Moorgate and hopped South on the Northern Line to London Bridge, from where I had three routes.

  • Jubilee Line
  • Train from London to Waterloo East.
  • Bus

At a pinch, I could walk along the Embankment

I suspect that when Crossrail and Thameslink are fully open, there will be a better route, between Farringdon and Waterloo.

  • Crossrail to Paddington, then Bakerloo Line to Waterloo.
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road, then Northern Line to Waterloo.
  • Thameslink to London Bridge, then train to Waterloo East.

As a special Crossrail-Bakerloo pedestrian tunnel is being built at Paddington, that may be the best way. I wrote about this in Paddington Is Operational Again.

My route to Waterloo worked today, as did the route home after a raid on the excellent Marks and Spencer at Waterloo. The only problem was that a 141 bus to my house, had broken down and I had to wait at London Bridge.

I tend to use a 141 bus to and fropm London Bridge, as one stop is in the forecourt of the station and the other is less than a hundred metres from my house.

So how could this abbreviated Southern Crossrail Lite route be improved?

  • The London Bridge end works well, as generally all trains for Waterloo East station turn up on Platforms 8 or 9, which are the two sides of the same island.
  • Only one up escalator at London Bridge was available and I have a feeling, there could be a bit of a reliability issue.
  • I used a lift to go down coming back, to avoid walking to the escalator, and the lift was the sort of size the Victorians used because escalators weren’t in common use until later.
  • The lift was certainly big enough for a cricket team and all their kit.
  • There needs to be better connection between main line and Underground at London Bridge. I suspect this will get better, as more of the station opens.
  • For this route four trains per hour, as you get on a Sunday, aren’t enough.
  • At Waterloo East, the walking route could be improved.
  • Waterloo East needs a Next Train To London Bridge Indicator.
  • Waterloo has twin up and down escalators between the main concourse and the walking route, which is more than enough. Especially, as they were all working!

But I did notice several passengers used the route from London Bridge to Waterloo East stations, including at least two couples with children in pushchairs.

This new Southern Crossrail Lite is going to prove an invaluable alternative to the Jubilee Line.

 

 

 

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment