The Anonymous Widower

Amusing Seats At Victoria

The seats at London Bridge station, that I wrote about in Matched Seats And Roof At London Bridge Station, have now been installed at Victoria station.

Would they have amused Queen Victoria?

This press release from Network Rail is entitled Network Rail Puts Passengers First With Installation Of New Modern Seating At London Stations, gives more details on the new seating.

  • Seating capacity at each station will be increased from 150 to 400.
  • The seats were made by Green Furniture Concepts from Malmo in Sweden.

Generally, passengers I’ve asked, seem pleased with the new seats.

 

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition Display At Waterloo Station

As I passed through Waterloo station, yesterday, I happened upon, this display of the designs for the Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition.

If you are interested in design or have movement difficulties at times on the UK rail network, and regularly pass through the station, it is worth taking a look.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Hamburg S-Bahn Trains

These trains of the Hamburg S-Bahn are fairly typical of Germany.

Note.

  1. They have step-free access from platform to train, which is rare on the German rail network.
  2. There are no phone charging points or wi-fi, but on the surface there is a good 4G signal.
  3. The seats are not as comfortable as those on a Class 378 train.

They seem to cope reasonably well with heavy traffic in the Peak.

March 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Oldenburg Station

Oldenburg station caught my eye as I passed through.

It’s good to see a new well-designed timber roof.

Having read the Wikipedia entry for the station, it appears that Oldenburg could have been an ideal place for a pit-stop.

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

An Uncomfortable Seat

The Germans don’t encourage you to sit down in stations and this seat at Bremerhaven Hauptbahnhof is typical. That’s if there are any seats!

I think I’ll take a blow-up cushion on my next trip to Germany! Or on Thameslink!

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Bridge Station Over Still Waters

Overamstel station is as the name suggests built on a bridge over the River Amstel.

I didn’t have time to exit the station and explore.

Stations On Bridges

What puzzles me, is that there are so few stations built on a bridge or viaduct over water or perhaps a park, with entrances on both sides.

Only Blackfriars station in London comes to mind.

Although, there are rumours, that Charing Cross will be extended over the Thames to fit in longer platforms.

Surely, if you need a station nearby and a footbridge over a river, isn’t a combined station and footbridge a dual-purpose solution. Especially, if you want a station on both sides of the river.

March 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Many Stations Could Use This Step-Free Layout?

Greenford station has London Underground’s only inclined lift.

The inclined lift is installed with an escalator on the other side and double-width stairs with a central rail in between.

Searching the Internet, there doesn’t seem to have been any problems, since it was switched on in 2015.

The number of passengers using the station’s two Central Line and one National Rail platforms is around five million per year, which would appear fairly typical for many outer London tube stations.

So how many stations could use a layout like this?

These issues will need to be considered.

Height

Greenford station is not a great height difference and you wouldn’t want to have too much of a difference, as the stairs will get a heavy use.

Platform Layout

Greenford station has an island platform, which means that one set of inclinced/lift/escalator can serve all platforms.

Installation Width

The picture shows that the combined installation is quite wide, so this type of step-free access could be difficult to install.

Application To A Two-Escalator/Stairs System

There are lots of stations in the outer reaches of the Underground, which need step-free-access, where there are two escalators and a set of stairs.

Some might think, that an inclined lift could be put in the space and it would certainly the engineering wouldn’t be difficult.

But the problem would be long-term maintenance, where escalators are given a full strip-down every ten years or so and closed for several months.

The station would be left with just one working escalator and the inclined lift.

I would therefore feel that installing an inclined lift instead of the stairs is not a feasible proposition, unless the station has two entrances.

Application To A Three-Escalator System

Most deep-level stations on the London Underground have banks of three escalators, so that if one breaks down or is being maintained, there is a full service.

Application To A Station Footbridge

There are lots of stations, that need step-free footbridges.

I can envisage a prefabricated system, where an inclined lift is one of the components.

The lift and its frame would be assembled in a factory and just lifted into place on prepared foundations. Stairs and if needed, an escalator could also be handled in the same way, before the bridge deck was lifted on top.

Too many step-free footbridges, seem to require a lot of bespoke construction on site.

The system could also be used where the entrance to a station was a single set of stairs to an island platform from an existing overbridge.

Bowes Park, Rose Grove and Mill Hill come to mind. This picture shows Mill Hill station in Lancashire.

There must be others, where the existing stairs could be replaced with a wide staircase and an inclined lift.

Conclusion

I think it is likely, that given the success of the Greenford installation, we will see  other inclined lifts on the UK’s railway network.

But places where they are used will have to be chosen with care and well-designed!

 

 

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Design Of Barking Riverside Station

The information is coming together about the new Barking Riverside station.

Wikipedia

The Wikipedia entry at the moment is not very information, but it does say that the station has two platforms.

Location

This map from Transport for London, shows the location of the station.

The location of Barking Riverside station is at the end of the branch line that comes South from the Barking to Tilbury Line.

As it is a long term ambition of Transport for London to extend the railway under the River to Abbey Wood station, the North-South orientation of the station is probably important.

carto.metro.free.fr

This map from carto.metro.free.fr gives the layout of Barking Riverside station and the tracks leading to it.

It shows two tracks leading to a two-platform station, with a crossover to allow both platforms to be used.

The Architect’s Visualisations

These are available on this page on the Moxon Architect’s web site.

This is the first visualisation on the site.

It shows the end view of the station and as no railway lines are visible, I assume that it is looking North, so the River Thames is behind the viewer and Renwick Road is on the left.

This is the second visualisation.

It shows the station looking from the East towards Renwick Road. Note the bus in both images.

As at Hackney Wick station, there is an underpass, so the station is not a barrier to pedestrians.

The seventh visualisation shows the station from above.

It only shows one platform in the image, as do other visualisations.

Is It A Single Platform Station?

Is this the way the station will be built or is it just to make the visualisation simpler?

A single platform station should be able to handle six trains per hour (tph).

  • This year, this frequency will be implemented between single platforms at Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations on the Overground.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line will have a maximum frequency of five tph in the Peak.
  • The infrastructure and the trains will all be brand new and use the best technology.

So it looks like a single platform station should be able to handle the planned number of trains for the simple  extension to Barking Riverside station.

Will There Be Electrification?

This is the fifth visualisation.

It clearly shows gantries for overhead wires.

But it appears that only one platform is there.

I have thought for some time, that the Barking Riverside Extension could be built without electrification and battery/electric trains could be used.

I laid out my views in Don’t Mention Electrification!.

  • All Aventras are wired for on-board electrical storage.
  • The Barking Riverside Extension is only 1.5 km long.
  • The area of the extension has some very large electricity pylons, that the extension has to dodge through.
  • If the line is extended under the Thames, it would be cheaper to build a tunnel for third rail, as it will connect to third-rail lines on the South Bank.
  • There must be substantial savings by not putting up overhead wires.
  • A safer and more reliable railway in extreme weather.

I also repeated my views in an article in Rail Magazine, which I described in I’ve Been Published In Rail Magazine.

No-one has told me that they disagree with my views.

So why are electrification gantries shown?

  • Transport for London or Network Rail don’t believe that battery/electric trains are possible. This is unlikely, as battery/electric trains have been successfully demonstrated in the UK and elsewhere, and ordered for Wales and Liverpool.
  • Obviously, there has to be a backstop if conventional electric trains have to be used. So, provision is being made to electrify the extension.
  • The single platform is electrified, so that a battery/electric train can be fully-charged before it returns towards Barking and Gospel Oak.

If before the station is built, it is decided that electrification is not needed, the overhead wires can be omitted from the construction phase.

I do feel though, we will know more about the performance and reliability of battery/electric trains in a few years, and we will alter the designs of overhead electrification accordingly.

Extending Across The River

The station has been built to enable extension to Abbey Wood station on the other side of the Thames.

There are probably several designs that would fit with the current station.

The simplest is probably to install a second platform and connect both to a tunnel under the river or a bridge over the river.

This would have several disadvantages.

  • A lot of the station would need to be demolished.
  • The train service to Barking Riverside station might have to be stopped for several months, during construction.
  • All services would have to cross the river.

A better option is probably to install the second platform on a track, that goes under the river in a tunnel.

  • The single tunnel portal would require less land take, as it could be very close to Barking Riverside station.
  • The tunnel under the river could be a mix of single or double track, to create the most affordable tunnel.
  • The current single platform would become a bay platform.
  • During construction, the service to Barking Riverside station would be able to continue as normal.
  • The bay platform could be used for service recovery in times of disruption.

I particular like the idea of a loop railway on the South Bank of the Thames with perhaps four or five stations. Alternatively, it could be a tram-train on the surface.

Conclusion

It looks like the design of Barking Riverside station, is one that will cater for all eventualities.

I am looking forward to taking the first train to the station.

 

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

Wi-Fi And Power Sockets On A Class 717 Train

In A First Ride In A Class 717 Train, I didn’t take any pictures of the power sockets, as I didn’t see them.

This picture from a second trip, rectified the error.

There is one 13 amp socket  under a pair of seats and you will need a plug.

It is my belief that a USB socket is better, as this armrest installation on a Class 230 train shows.

It is certainly a better place, as the wires can be short and can be kept out of the way.

The wi-fi performed well, but Great Northern seemed to want me to register. I never do, as it just gives them an excuse to send you junk mail.

Conclusion

The wi-fi installation can be improved.

It has to, as according to this article on Rail Magazine, Class 710 trains have USB sockets.

My ideal train would have.

  • Free wi-fi with no registration.
  • USB sockets in the armrests.
  • 4G booster, so if the train has a signal, you do.

The current systems can be greatly improved.

 

January 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Original Walk-Through Train In The UK

It’s not often, you are more or less alone in one of London Underground’s S8 Stock trains, that is stationary.

But this train was stuck as a red signal outside Farringtdon station on a quiet day over the Christmas period, so I took advantage.

You can understand, why these eight car and 134 metre long trains can handle a couple over a thousand passengers for big matches at Wembley and also make journeys acceptable for long-distance commuters from Amersham, Chesham, Uxbridge and Watford.

Note the following features.

  • Walk-through design.
  • Better seats than Thameslink’s Call 700 trains.
  • Wide all-double doors and lobbies.
  • Wheelchair spaces with tip-up seats.
  • Big, wide windows.
  • Space under the seats.

Air-conditioning, step free access to platform and selective door opening are not shown.

The trains started to enter service in 2010 and they will probably have an interior refresh in around five years time, with the probably addition of wi-fi and USB power sockets.

Transport for London have used similar designs for three trains since.

The refurbishment of Docklands Light Railway trains has also been following similar principles.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment