The Anonymous Widower

Nothing Seems To Be Happening At Syon Lane Station

I passed through Syon Lane station today and thought I’d have a look at the progress on the step-free access to the station.

This page on the South Western Railway web site describes in detail, the works that will be done.

This is the first paragraph.

From the beginning of April, we’ll be building a new accessible footbridge with a lift at Syon Lane. The project is expected to be completed later this year and is mainly funded by Hounslow Council. Making the station step free will be a real positive for people with limited mobility traveling round the Hounslow Loop, however the delivery of the new bridge will affect the station and the platforms. The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Consider  the bit about being finished later this year, then look at these pictures.

It looks like they’ve all packed up and gone home.

Surely, if the bridge is going to be finished this year, workmen should be hard at work building foundations and putting up towers for lifts.

But even the tea-hut has gone.

It appears that the following has been done at the station.

  • Create a level step-free route from Syon Lane to the London-bound platform.
  • Move the ticket machines and the card readers.
  • Run temporary cable ducts, along the back of the platforms.
  • Clear some ground behind the fence, where the lift towers might be placed.
  • The long platforms have been narrowed, which Network Rail say is to give space for the work.

The 3D Google Map shows the station.

I don’t know when the picture was taken, but it does look that there could have been some ground clearing about halfway along the platform.

What Do I Think Is Happening?

I think, there could be these reasons for the lack of action.

  • The project has been delayed for some reason.
  • Something very different is happening at Syon Lane station!

Speaking to a couple of travellers  at the station today, they had heard nothing and one was looking forward to the bridge.

I have no evidence, but I do have a devious and sometimes theatrical mind.

Are Network Rail conducting an experiment on the good people, who use Syon Lane station?

They have only said this about disruption to passengers.

The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Could Network Rail be bringing in the bridge in a few sections and just lifting them in with a crane?

Look at the 3D Google Map above and note that the station in surrounded by houses and lots of leafy trees, which would make getting bridge sections and the crane into place difficult.

But look at the cross-section of the average footbridge tower or bridge and it is about the same as that of a train.

For this reason, I believe that the bridge components will be brought in on a special train with a large crane.

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

It is composed of the following major components.

  • Two towers with lifts.
  • Two sets of stairs
  • A bridge deck.

All components would be built in a factory.

  • They would be fully tested before delivery.
  • The components would be delivered by train.
  • The bridge would then be assembled using a rail mounted crane.

After testing, the Mayor could declare the bridge open

I suspect too, that the only preparation prior to the assembly of the bridge, is to have firm concrete bases for the bridge and a power supply for the lifts.

  • The construction of the bases could be done from the railway, so there would be no problems of bringing in the concrete.
  • The power supply might not even be needed, if the bridge had solar panels on the roof and a clear battery system.
  • It’s all a bit like giant Lego construction, but then the architect of the bridge was Danish!

Could  commuters on a Friday night return to a station little different to the one they’ve known for years and then on Monday morning  find a working step-free bridge has been erected?

Engineering is the sconce of the possible, whereas politics is dreams of the impossible!

Is This The Future Of Step-Free Bridges?

Obviously not all, but I believe that up to a third of all stations that need a step-free bridge can use a bridge of this type.

But the station upgrade to step-free application is just one of several.

  • New stations.
  • Step-free bridges over busy roads, rivers or canals.
  • Replacement of dangerous light-controlled road crossings.

The design could also be incorporated into other buildings.

Conclusion

Something different could be happening at Syon Lane station.

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

France, Denmark Eye Hydrogen Future

The title of thid post is the same as that of this article on Energy Reporters.

A few points from the article.

  • EDF has launched a hydrogen production and distribution company called Hynamics.
  • EDF is now the largest shareholder in McPhy, a electrolyses, hydrogen storage and charging station provider.
  • European gas-fired power stations will run on twenty percent hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen will be used to decarbonise the gas network by 2050.
  • Hynamics said it was planning 40 projects in France, Belgium, Germany and Britain.
  • In Denmark, Ørsted, is working on plans to convert electricity from its wind turbines into hydrogen.

The article is a must-read.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Trouble With AnsaldoBreda Trains

In an article eighteen months ago entitled; A Train Builder With Form, I talked about the poor performance of Denmark’s IC4 Trains.

It would seem that according to this article in Global RailNews, that the situation might be improving, although it is still not sorted.

The only relief for the UK, is that none of the trains on order are from  AnsaldoBreda.

Incidentally, as the performance of the IC4 trains are pretty similar to InterCity125s, if Denmark still needs some high speed diesel units in a few years, perhaps we could lease them a few nearly fifty-year-old InterCity125s to get them through until the date, that the lines are electrified.

On the other hand, we could use them on longer cross-country trips all over the UK network.

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Train Builder With Form

I have been following the farce of the Fyra trains between Brussels and Amsterdam with interest. Modern Railways this month, gives a very full account of the problems and the big row between the Dutch and the Belgians and the Italian company; AnsaldoBreda who built the V250 trains. These trains were incidentally called Albatross by the makers.

I’ve just been reading about AnsaldoBreda on Wikipedia. It says this about the problems the company has had with an order for IC4 trains for Denmark.

Delivery of 83 IC4 trainsets for the Danish State Railways DSB was originally planned for 2003-2006. As of March 2013, 22 trainsets have still not been delivered,[52] On 2 July 2012, the DSB announced that the Transportation Authority had approved Denmark’s railway operator to put back into operation the fleet of 37 IC4s which had been withdrawn from service in November 2011. In December 2011, it was reported that one of the missing IC4 trainsets planned for delivery in Denmark was found in Libya. Reportedly, AnsaldoBreda and then Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi gave Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi the trainset as a present on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Gaddafi’s revolution in 2009.

I suppose now, it doesn’t work, as there is sand in the bogies!

No wonder the Dutch and the Belgians bought a load of dud trains, that go bunga bunga!

Incidentally, I  was led to look up AnsaldoBreda by looking at the progress of the Midland Metro extension to Birmingham New Street station.  I found that the same Italian company had sold a load of dodgy trams to the Brummies. The details are here.

June 28, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coast is in Denmark

Coast is one of my favourite telvision programs.  Today was all about Denmark.  I’ve been to the country a couple of times, although one was just to get a connection to Oslo.

My next-door neighbour at the football is also a man who has a Danish father, who had been trapped in the UK  at the start of the Second World War.

The program was about the Danish coast and agriculture, but with a fair amount of Second World War and other history thrown in. They also visited Heliogoland, which seems a fascinating place. A large part of the program was about how the Danes got most of their Jews to safety in Sweden.  They didn’t mention King Christian X, who surely became one of the unlikely heroes of the war.

I doubt many monarchs would have did what he did to give support to his people.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments