The Anonymous Widower

Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?

Hackney Central station is a station that has been designed by that well-known architectural practice; Topsy and Partners.

When I moved back to London, the station was very simple with a crude concrete footbridge.

And now there is talk of a second entrance at Hackney Central station in Graham Road.

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Hackney Central Overground Station Could Get A Second Entrance

This is the first paragraph.

A second entrance for Hackney Central station to deal with overcrowding is being explored as part of a joint project between the council and Transport for London.

And this Google Map shows the plot of land, where the entrance would be built.

Graham Road runs across the bottom of the map and there is a gap in the houses on the North side, that leads up to the railway.

I took these pictures as I walked from West to East along Graham Road.

Notice the sign on the site, which says Development Site Sold.

The Ian Visits article says this about development of the second entrance.

Hackney council and TfL have agreed in principle to contribute to the scheme and work together with Network Rail on the project. Initial feasibility work has started and ground investigations are expected to begin in October. Depending on feasibility work and funding arrangements, construction of the second entrance may start next year.

Doubtless the new entrance will be funded by the usual over site development, but it is on the end of a row of residential houses, so a block of flats would not be overly out of place here.

Ian also states that the land is owned by Hackney Council.

Could it be that we’re looking at a plan being put together, by a property developer bearing in mind, the wishes of Hackney Council?

  • The Council have sold the land with conditions on development.
  • There would be an appropriately-sized block of apartments.
  • Some would be affordable.
  • The block would contain an entrance to the station.

It would certainly be a well-located housing development.

  • It would have a convenience entrance to the station, with trains every few minutes  to the North, South, East and West.
  • There are three frequent bus services on Graham Road.
  • Walk to the North and you are in Hackney’s main shopping area.
  • Walk to the South and you come to the Hackney Cultural Quarter that comprises the Town Hall, Library, the Hackney Empire theatre and the cinema.

I doubt there would be much if any car parking in the block and it will be difficult locally.

What Would The Station Entrance Do For Rail Passengers?

Obviously, it would help those who lived by the entrance, but it would also help other groups.

Passengers From The Cultural Quarter Going West

Currently, if you’re going from say the Town Hall to perhaps Highbury & Islington for the Victoria Line of Hampstead Heath for a constitutional, you have to walk under the railway, enter the station on the Stratford-bound platform and then use the footbridge to cross the tracks.

Wjen the second entrance opens, you would use it to go direct to the Westbound platform.

Passengers Arriving From Stratford Wanting To Catch A Bus To The West

I regularly come home from Stratford, after shopping in the big Marks & Spencer in Eastfield.

It is a tricky journey, as whatever way you take, there seems to be steps at some point.

When the second entrance opens, I will use it to catch one of the frequent 38 buses stopping outside the station to get home.

I don’t think, I will be the only person using this route..

Passengers Of Reduced Mobility And Those With Baggage, Bikes And Buggies

A Second Entrance on Graham Road would certainly make it easier for any of these groups of passengers.

Increased Services On The North London Line

Services on the North London Line are currently si-eight trains per hour (tph) and this frequency wil surely increase to reduce overcrowding.

There will be more passengers wanting to use train services at Hackney Central, making an additional entrance more necessary.

Conclusion

A Second Entrance to Hackney Central station on Graham Road would be a valuable additio to the increasingly busy Hackney Central/Hackney Downs station complex.

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Barry 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.

Barry station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

Note.

  1. The trains were very crowded.
  2. The bridge is approaching its rust-by date.
  3. I think it is true to say, that the station buildings need a thorough refurbishment.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows the lines around Barry station.

Note.

  1. The lines are not planned to be electrified.
  2. Barry station will get a new PRM-compliant bridge with step-free access between street and train.
  3. There will be an airport connection at the station.

I would assume that the station buildings will get the much-needed refurbishment.

Services To Barry, Barry Island, Bridgend and Penarth

The South Wales Metro services through Barry will be as follows.

  • Services will terminate in the South and West at Barry Island, Bridgend and Penarth
  • Services will terminate in the North at Coryton and Rhymney.
  • There will be increased train frequencies.

Trains will be tri-mode Stadler Flirts  with three or four cars, which will be similar to Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains.

Judging by yesterday this capacity increase will be welcome.

Installing The Step-Free Access

It would appear there is plenty of space for a step-free footbridge with lifts.

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

A bridge like this could be built at the other end of the station.

It would also be able to built it, without disrupting the train services or the passengers.

Once complete, the old bridge could be demolished or left as required.

 

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Treforest 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.

Treforest station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

The bridge is not the easiest to cross and I tripped.

I wouldn’t like to cross it in the worst weather the Valleys could through at it!

Installing The Step-Free Access

This Google Map shows the station.

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

I believe that one of these bridges could be built at the Northern end of the station.

  • The Southbound platform could be widened if necessary.
  • The Western end of the bridge might mean a few car-parking spaces would be lost.
  • Disabled car-parking spaces could be close to the bridge.
  • The bridge could be used to support the electrification in the station.

But most importantly, the bridge could be installed without any disruption to trains and passengers.

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows Treforest station.

Note.

  1. Treforest station is shown with a PRM-compliant bridge and step-free access from street to train. The new bridge would deliver this.
  2. The station is shown electrified.
  3. A short section of line North of the station is without electrification.

This Google Map shows the area to the North of the station.

It would appear, that instead of rebuilding the bridge to squeeze the wires underneath, a short earthed section of overhead conductor rail would be used.

Conclusion

Using one of Network Rail’s new bridges at Treforest station, solves all the problems of the station and could even make the electrification easier.

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

Cathays 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.

Cathays station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This Google Map shows the station and its surroundings.

Note.

  1. As I went through I noticed a lot of development North of the station.
  2. The map shows developments to the South.
  3. There appears to be a lot of student accommodation in the area.

All this must add up to a large increase in passenger numbers at the station.

But the biggest driver of passenger numbers, will be the trains through the station, as shown on this map.

Twelve trains per hour (tph) will go through the station, when the South Wales Metro is fully developed.

  • South to Barry Island, Bridgend, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Central, Pearth and Rhoose Airport.
  • North to Aberdate, Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd and Treherbert.

Cathays station will be busy, with a very busy bridge, handling twice as many trains, as it does now!

I have been sent a map of the proposed works and facilities for the South Wales Metro. This snippet shows Cathays station.

Note.

  1. Cathays station is shown with a PRM-compliant bridge with step-free access from street to train.
  2. There is a long and a short break in the electrification to the West of the station.

Cathays station is more complicated than it first appears.

Installing The Step-Free Access

I think that space for a footbridge could be tricky.

The platforms are narrow.

Is there enough space to add lifts to the existing bridge?

It could be difficult to keep the current bridge open, whilst a new one is installed.

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

It might be possible to squeeze in an asymmetric version of this bridge. Or one, where the steps went out to the side!

Electrification And Property Development To The West Of Cathays Station

To the West of Cathays station, Corbett Road crosses the railway., as this Google Map shows.

This is probably the shorter break in the electrification.

The second one could be more innovative.

This Google Map shows the railway, as it runs through Cardiff University between Cathays and Llandaf stations.

Note, what looks to be a large development site on the North side of the tracks.

Could it be that the University plans to build over the railway?

It would certainly maximise land use and perhaps make it easier for the University to construct the buildings it needs.

A New Station At Gabalfa

A new Gabalfa station is also proposed between Cathays and Llandaf stations.

Conclusion

It looks like there is a lot happening around Cathays station.

T

 

 

and there a

July 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Irlam 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.

Irlam station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current subway.

The station was a total surprise, with a large pub-cafe and a lot of visitors and/or travellers sitting in the sun.

I had an excellent coffee and a very welcoming gluten-free blueberry muffin!

This Google Map shows the station.

It is one of those stations where commuters have to cross the railway either on the way to work or coming home.

So a step-free method of crossing the railway is absolutely necessary.

The Current And Future Rail Service

As the station lies conveniently between Liverpool and Warrington to the West and Manchester and Manchester Airport to the East, it must be a station with tremendous potential for increasing the number of passengers.

At the moment the service is two trains per hour (tph) between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road stations.

  • Oxford Road is probably not the best terminus, as it is not on the Metrolink network.
  • When I returned to Manchester, many passengers alighted at Deansgate for the Metrolink.
  • On the other hand, Liverpool Lime Street is a much better-connected station and it is backed up by Liverpool South Parkway station, which has a connection to Merseyrail’s Northern Line.
  • The current service doesn’t serve Manchester Piccadilly or Airport stations.

A guy in the cafe also told me that two tph are not enough and the trains are often too short.

Merseyrail work to the same principle as the London Overground and other cities of four tph at all times and the frequency certainly draws in passengers.

Whilst I was drinking my coffee, other trains past the station.

  • One tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport
  • One tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich

Modern trains like Northern’s new Class 195 trains, should be able to execute stops at stations faster than the elderly diesel trains currently working the route.

So perhaps, after Irlam station becomes step-free, the Manchester Airport service should call as well.

As Liverpool Lime Street station has been remodelled, I can see a time in the not too distant future, when that station can support four tph, that all stop at Irlam station.

The Manchester end of the route could be a problem, as services terminating at Oxford Road have to cross the busy lines of the Castlefield Corridor.

So perhaps all services through Irlam, should go through Deansgate, Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly stations to terminate either at the Airport or perhaps Stockport or Hazel Grove stations.

But would this overload the Castlefield Corridor?

Battery/Electric Trains

If you look at the route between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Oxford Road stations, the following can be seen.

  • Only about thirty miles between Deansgate and Liverpool South Parkway stations is not electrified.
  • The section without electrification doesn’t appear to be particularly challenging, as it is along the River Mersey.

It is my view, that the route between Liverpool and Manchester via Irlam, would be an ideal route for a battery/electric train.

A train between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport stations would do the following.

  • Run from Liverpool Lime Street station to Liverpool South Parkway station using the installed 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Drop the pantograph during the stop at Liverpool South Parkway station.
  • Run from Liverpool South Parkway station to Deansgate station using battery power.
  • Raise the pantograph during the stop at Deansgate station.
  • Run from Deansgate station to Manchester Airport station, using the installed 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

The exact distance between Deansgate and Liverpool South Parkway stations is 28.2 miles or 45.3 kilometres.

In 2015, I was told by the engineer riding shotgun on the battery/electric Class 379 train, that that experimental train was capable of doing fifty kilometres on battery power.

There are at least four possible trains, that could handle this route efficiently.

  • Porterbrook’s proposed batteryFLEX train based on a Class 350 train.
  • A battery/electric train based on the seemingly unwanted Class 379 train.
  • A battery/electric version of Stadler’s Class 755 train.
  • I believe that Bombardier’s Aventra has been designed so that a battery/electric version can be created.

There are probably others and I haven’t talked about hydrogen-powered trains.

Battery power between Liverpool and Manchester via Irlam, appears to be very feasible.

Tram-Trains

As my train ran between Manchster and Irlam it ran alongside the Metrolink between Cornbrook and Pomona tram stops.

Manchester is very serious about tram-trains, which I wrote about in Could A Class 399 Tram-Train With Batteries Go Between Manchester Victoria And Rochdale/Bury Bolton Street/Rawtenstall Stations?.

Tram-trains are often best employed to go right across a city, so could the Bury tram-trains go to Irlam after joining the route in the Cornbrook area?

  • Only about thirty miles between Deansgate and Liverpool South Parkway stations is not electrified.
  • The route between Liverpool and Manchester via Irlam doesn’t look to be a very challenging line to electrify.
  • The total distance bettween Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria station is only about forty miles, which is a short distance for a tram-train compared to some in Karlsruhe.
  • Merseyrail’s Northern Line terminates at Hunts Cross station, which is going to be made step-free.
  • There is an existing step-free interchange between the Liverpool and Manchester route via Irlam and Merseyrail’s Northern Line at Liverpool South Parkway station.
  • Class 399 tram-trains will have a battery capability in South Wales.
  • Class 399 tram-trains have an operating speed of 62 mph, which might be possible to increase.
  • Stadler make Class 399 tram-trains and are building the new Class 777 trains for Merseyrail.

I think that Stadler’s engineers will find a totally feasible and affordable way to link Manchester’s Metrolink with Liverpool Lime Street station and Merseyrail’s Northern and Wirral Lines.

I can envisage the following train service running between Liverpool and Manchester via Irlam.

  • An hourly service between Liverpool Lime Street and Nottingham, as has been proposed for the new East Midlands Franchise.
  • A four tph service between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport via Manchester Piccadilly.
  • A tram-train every ten minutes, linking Liverpool Central and Manchester’s St Peter’s Square.
  • Tram-trains would extend to the North and East of Manchester as required.
  • All services would stop much more comprehensively, than the current services.
  • Several new stations would be built.
  • In the future, the tram-trains could have an interchange with High Speed Two at Warrington.

Obviously, this is just my speculation, based on what I’ve seen of tram-train networks in Germany.

The possibilities for the use of tram trains are wide-ranging.

Installing Step-Free Access At Irlam Station

There would appear to be two ways of installing step-free access at Irlam station.

  • Add lifts to the existing subway.
  • Add a separate bridge with lifts.

These are my thoughts on each method.

Adding Lifts To The Existing Subway

Consider.

  • The engineering would not be difficult.
  • Installaton would probably take a number of weeks.
  • There is good contractor access on both sides of the railway.

There are similar successful step-free installations around the UK

The problem is all about, how you deal with passengers, whilst the subway is closed for the installation of the lifts.

Adding A Separate Bridge With Lifts

Consider.

  • There is a lot of space at both the Eastern and Western ends of the platform to install a new bridge.
  • Adding a separate bridge has the big advantage, that during the installation of the bridge, passengers can use the existing subway.
  • Once the bridge is installed, the subway can be refurbished to an appropriate standard.

Passengers will probably prefer the construction of a new bridge.

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 Irlam station?

There is certainly space at both ends of the platform to install such a bridge and the daily business of the station and its passengers would be able to continue unhindered, during the installation.

I’m also sure, that the cafe would be happy to provide the daily needs of the workforce.

Conclusion

From a station and project management point-of-view, adding a new factory-built bridge to Irlam station is the easiest and quickest way to make the station step-free.

It also appears, that Network Rail have made a wise choice in deciding to put Irlam station on their list of stations to be made step-free, as the station could be a major part in creating a new high-capacity route between Liverpool and Manchester.

This could also be one of the first stations to use an example of the new bridge.

  • Installation would be quick and easy.
  • There is no site access problems.
  • There station can remain fully open during the installation.
  • All stakeholders would probably be in favour.

But above all, it would be a superb demonstration site to bring those from stations, where Network Rail are proposing to erect similar bridges.

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

Selby 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.

Selby station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

The existing pedestrian bridge has the following.

  • Steep stairs at both ends.
  • No provision for step-free access.

he bridge does appear to be in good condition.

Possible Electrification Through Selby Station

Perhaps most importantly, the current bridge could be too low for 25 KVAC overhead electrification to be erected underneath the bridge.

Although, it might be possible to lower the track or use one of Network Rail’s proven solutions to squeeze the electrification underneath.

At present though, it seems unlikely that the route through Selby will be electrified, due to the problem of the Selby Swing Bridge and Government policy.

Installing Step-Free Access

It could be feasible to add lifts to the existing footbridge, but it doesn’t solve the problem of the steep stairs.

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 be installed at Selby station?

This 3D Google Map shows Selby station.

The platforms to the South of he footbridge are wide and there is lots of space.

Could the new bridge be installed there?

June 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Garforth 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.

Garforth station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This Google Map shows the station.

Leeds is to the West and York is to the East.

The Commuter Parking Problem

Like other stations in my exploration of some of the stations going step-free in the list, Garforth station is not ideal for commuters, who need step-free access.

The car park is ideally-placed for those travelling to work in Leeds.

  • The car park is currently free to rail users and after parking, you are ready to get a ticket and catch a train.
  • Passengers can if they need buy a ticket in the Ticket Office or a machine, if they need one.
  • Then without much ado, you just walk onto the platform and await the train for Leeds.

Coming back from Leeds is the problem.

  • The train arrives in the opposite platform.
  • To get to your car, you need to walk to the back of the train and cross over the iron footbridge to the other platform.

It is not an efficient procedure and it will be difficult, if you’re in a wheel-chair, are pushing a child or children in a buggy or you are trailing a heavy case.

To complicate the problem at Garforth station, the bridge must also be used to get to and from buses from the Leeds-bound platform.

A step-free route across the railway, with a higher capacity than the present bridge, is needed.

Replacing The Existing Bridge

The existing bridge could be replaced with a new brick-and-concrete structure with steps and lifts.

  • But this would effectively close the station for as long as it takes to rebuild the new bridge.
  • It would also need a temporary bridge or some other means of crossing the railway to be erected, during the construction period.

Sometimes, minimising the disruption a project creates, is a major part of the project costs.

Building A Second Bridge

Suppose though a second bridge was built at another position in the station.

It would have steps and lifts.

Once the new bridge is complete, the original bridge could either restored to create extra capacity or demolished.

This simple sequence means the following.

At all time, until the new bridge opens, there is as much capacity as there is now!

After the new bridge opens, there is extra capacity and step-free access.

The building of the second bridge, doesn’t disrupt trainms or passengers to any great extent.

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, towards the York end of at Garforth station?

If it could, it would have the following advantages.

  • Quality should be good for a factory-built bridge.
  • Work on site would be minimised.
  • The bridge could be delivered and assembled from the railway.

Costs might be more affordable.

June 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Todmorden 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.

Todmorden station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current subway,

This is a Google Map of the station.

Note how the railway clings to the hillside and is hemmed in by roads and other buildings.

As the pictures show, access to the platforms is by means of a subway under the railway and steep steps to the platforms.

An Increasingly Busy Station

For the last few years, there has been a continuous increase in the number of trains through the station.

I wonder, if on some journeys across the Pennines, there is a change at Todmorden, where the Blackburn and Leeds services to Manchester Victoria connect.

As this could require a platform change at Todmorden, you only want someone in a wheelchair to try to use Todmorden as an interchange and you get delayed trains at best and God knows what, at worst.

Manchester Airport Services

Under Future Services in the Wikipedia entry for Todmorden station, this is said.

New through services to Chester, Manchester Airport and Liverpool Lime Street (marketed under the “Northern Connect” brand)

Passengers to Manchester Airport, will be more likely to have heavy luggage, which could be difficult at the station.

Installing Lifts

More trains and passengers will inevitably lead to more calls for step-free access.

The solution to step-free access is probably to put a lift to each platform from the subway.

There also appears to be plenty of space on the pltforms for the lifts.

It might not be the easiest installations, as it looks like the station is built from solid Pennine stone.

Conclusion

Todmorden station needs step-free access and with good design can probably be added without too much difficulty.

June 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Daisy Hill 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.

Daisy Hill station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

This Google Map shows the station.

Whilst I was at Daisy Hill, I spoke to a couple who used the station regularly, who told me the following.

  • The station needed step-free access.
  • The station had been recently decorated and that the platforms were being extended.
  • The local kids would get in and muck about in the lift.
  • There is a lot of new housing to be built locally.

My own observations are.

  • The steps are long, but swell-hand-railed.
  • The station is in generally good condition.
  • The Google Map shows that platforms have been longer in the past.

Surprisingly, the couple hadn’t heard that the station is to be made step-free.

Installing Step-Free Access

From the pictures, that I took, it looks like a single lift could be placed between the street and platform levels.

It would probably be tucked into the angle of the building.

This arrangement is not the most difficult of designs and lifts have been incorporated into stations like this, many times.

Conclusion

This station will be greatly improved by a single lift.

As to the fact, that the couple I spoke to, hadn’t heard of the step-free access, I’ve heard this at other stations on the list.

Network Rail need to sort their publicity.

 

June 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hillside 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.

Hillside station in Liverpool, is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current station building, which is on a bridge.

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station appears to have a large forecourt.
  2. The stairs to the platforms have thirty-two steps.
  3. There could be enough space for lifts outside the platforms.

But will a simple solution, be able to cope with major events like the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale?

Perhaps something more radical, but very possible will be done.

One idea, could be to extend the station building at both ends.

  • A set of wide safe stairs and a lift could provide direct access from the street to the platform in the extensions.
  • Once installed, the original stairs could be removed.

There are certainly possibilities for an architect to develop a solution to cope with the biggest events.

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment