The Anonymous Widower

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

Will Crossrail And Its Class 345 Trains Set Mobile Connection Standards For The UK?

Search for “Class 345 trains 4G” or “Class 345 trains wi-fi” and you find reports like this on London Reconnections about the Class 345 train.

This or something like it, is said in several of these reports.

According to the accompanying press notes both free wifi and 4G services will be delivered on board, as will multiple wheelchair and luggage spaces.

It would be very embarrassing for London’s flagship multi-billion pound project, if it wasn’t correct.

So it would appear that I could board a Class 345 train at Shenfield and watch a video all the way to Heathrow or Reading.

But where does this leave Thameslink?

Their Class 700 trains have been designed without wi-fi, 4G and power-sockets as I said in By Class 700 Train To Brighton And Back.

But at least Siemens felt that the Department for Transport, who ordered the trains, were out of step with reality and  appear to have made provision to at least fit wi-fi.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled Class 707 Breaks Cover and it describes the Class 707 train, which is a sister train to the Class 700. This is said about the two trains and wi-fi and toilets.

Thameslink (or the Department for Transport which ordered the trains) decided not to include Wi-Fi in the Class 700s, a questionable decision that has now apparently been reversed. Fortunately, Siemens had included the technology framework in the design so, hopefully, the upgrade will not require too much effort. Suffice it to say that South West Trains has included Wi-Fi in its specification for Class 707s.

Reversing the story, Thameslink Class 700s are all fitted with toilets. However, South West Trains has decided not to include toilets in its Class 707 specification given that the longest journey time is less than one hour and their inclusion would reduce the overall capacity of the trains.

So it appears that Siemens may have future-proofed the trains.

This article on the Railway Gazette describes the third fleet of the Siemens trains; the Class 717 trains for Moorgate services. This is said.

Plans for the installation of wi-fi are being discussed with the Department for Transport as part of a wider programme for the GTR fleet.

So at least something is happening.

But how close will mobile data services get to the ideal that customers want.

  • 4G everywhere from the moment you enter a station until you leave the railway at your destination station.
  • Seamless wi-fi, so you log in once and your login is valid until you leave the railway.

It will be tough ask to achieve, as it must be valid on the following services.

  • Crossrail
  • Thameslink
  • London Overground
  • London Underground
  • All train services terminating in London.

And why not all buses, trams and taxis?

On a related topic, I believe that for safety and information reasons, all bus and tram stops and railway stations must have a quality mobile signal and if it is possible wi-fi.

One life saved would make it all worthwhile.

 

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Hamilton’s 55-Place Penalty Be Good For The World?

If you want a good explanation of how Lewis Hamilton ended up with a 55-place penalty in a 22-car race, then this article on the BBC, which is entitled Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalties explained.

It does what it says in the title.

This extract, which describes the new technology in Formula One, is significant.

Governing body the FIA realised that the turbo-hybrid engines were highly complex pieces of kit, as well as introducing revolutionary new technology.

How revolutionary? A road-car petrol engine has a thermal efficiency – its ability to convert fuel-energy into usable power – of about 29%, a figure they have been stuck at for decades. A road-going turbo-diesel can be as efficient as about 35-40%.

Modern F1 engines, the best of which produce more than 950bhp, are approaching 50% thermal efficiency – and exceed it when the hybrid system is on full energy deployment.

It is a truly amazing step forward in technology in such a short amount of time, and these advances will soon filter down to road cars, which was the whole point of introducing them into F1.

So that means that if your vehicle does say 29 mpg, then in perhaps a decade, its equivalent will be doing over 50 mpg, as increased thermal efficiency translates into less fuel usage.

There is a lot of innovative technology generally getting itself involved with the humble internal combustion engine and where they are used.

  • Engines, whether petrol or diesel will get more efficient, in terms of energy efficiency.
  • Engines will get lighter and smaller.
  • Transmission and braking will increasingly be electric, with onboard energy storage.
  • Energy storage for larger applications like buses, trucks and trains, will use alternatives to batteries.
  • Engines will become more complex and will be controlled by sophisticated control systems.

It is definitely a case of |Formula One leading the way.

But I suppose Formula One is one of the few places where there is an incentive to be more efficient.

With passenger cars, more efficient vehicles have generally sold better. But an incentive is probably needed to get people to scrap worthless and inefficient vehicles.

Perhaps a properly thought out carbon tax, would accelerate more efficient buses, trucks and trains.

It is interesting to note, that hybrid buses are commonplace, but when did you see a hybrid truck?

Could it be, that local politicians have more control over the bus fleets in their area and many of the worst trucks are run by cowboys, who don’t care so long as they earn their money?

It is also easier to complain about your buses, than say trucks moving builders rubbish around, if they are noisy, smelly or emitting black smoke.

But I do think the key to more efficient buses, trucks and large off-road construction equipment, is probably a mixture of better engines and some better method of energy storage, that means say an eight-wheel thirty-tonne truck, could sit silently at traffic lights and then move quietly away, when the lights go green. A lot of buses can do that! Why not trucks?

I also think that the next generation of trains will use onboard energy storage.

  • It enables regenerative braking everywhere, saving as much as a quarter of the electricity.
  • Depots, sensitive heritage areas and downright difficult lines can be without electrification.
  • It enables a get to the next station ability , if the power should fail.

As modern trains from many manufacturers, are increasingly becoming two end units with driving cabs, where you plug appropriate units in between to create a train with the correct mix for the route, energy storage and hybrid power cars will start to appear.

Intriguingly, Bombardier have said that all their new Aventra trains will be wired for onboard energy storage.

So a four-car electric multiple unit, might be changed into a five-car one with on-board energy storage to run a service on a short branch line or over a viaduct in an historic city centre.

 

August 28, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving London’s Buses

I travel on buses in London a lot and I believe that a few things can be done to make them easier to use and hopefully faster.

1. Allow Central Entry On Buses

New Routemasters allow this and it is a success.

I don’t konw if Routemasters have more fare evasion, than other buses, where you have to pass the driver, but I suspect evasion is not much higher.

Allowing central entry, by placing a reader in the lobby, would undoubtedly speed up buses, as loading would be quicker.

So it would be like providing extra buses on a route.

It would also be easy to test and see what the effects are. A route would just be fitted with extra readers and the before and after revenue would be compared.

2. All New Buses Should Have Flat Floors

New Routemasters have flat floors, which should be standard for all new buses.

3. Put The Bus Stop Number In The Shelter

This would help use the Countdown system to find out when the next bus is coming, especially in wet weather.

4. Put The Bus Stop Number In The Stop Display On The Bus

In common with many bus users, I often take two buses to my ultimate destination, changing at a stop en route, that is common to both routes.

As an example from Kings Cross to my house, I regularly take a 73 or 476 to the Angel, where I pick up a 38 or 56.

If I knew a 38 wasn’t on the way before I got to the stop at the Angel, I might decide to do some shopping or have a coffee before continuing.

5. Better Bus Information On Train And Tube Platforms

When you arrive at an unfamiliar station and know that you’ve got to take a bus to your ultimate destination, it would help if there was bus information on the train or tube platform.

For a start the standard bus and walking map, should be placed on all placed on all platforms, but I suspect there is better information that could be provided.

6. Bus Information At Non-TfL Stations

Stations run by companies other than TfL, work on the principle that if you don’t know the buses around the station, you’re an idiot.

All stations, on the London Bus and Tube map must provide London-standard information for bus users.

7. Legible London Liths And Signs Should Be Outside All Stations

At present this is not universal It should be!

8. The Bus Stop Text System Should Recognise Post Codes

Suppose you’re in an unfamiliar part of London and want to get home.

You would just text the bus stop number and your post code to 87287. and a route would be returned.

Note enough use, is made of this system.

Perhaps the stop number plus “tube” would direct you to the easiest tub station.

9. All Bus Stops Should Have A Decent Mobile Phone Signal

I was always told as a child, that if I was lost in Central London to find a tube station, where there would be help.

Now as most people carry mobile phones, why not make sure that all bus stops have a decent signal, so that they can make contact with someone, who could help.

Perhaps useful numbers should be displayed. Samaritans? Local Social Services?

10. No Smoking At Bus Stops

Why not?

June 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment