The Anonymous Widower

St Michaels 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.

St. Michaels station is on the list.

These pictures show the current station.

St Michaels station, like Hunts Cross station, has rather unusual long shallow angle ramps, with steps.

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. It is a well-appointed and well-maintained station with a Ticket Office, a toilet and cycle storage and hire.
  2. Car parking is very limited.
  3. But the station is designed for pedestrians, cyclists and visitors
  4. The station has a rather chequered history, being closed in 1972, only to be reopened six years later.
  5. I think the design of the ramps is a good example of independent Liverpudlian thinking, which often ignores conventional practice.

The ramps were built for International Garden Festival in 1984, the site of which is shown on this second Google Map.

St. Michaels station is in the top-right corner of the map.

The International Garden Festival site has since been updated and 1300 new houses are being built on the site.

Adding step-free access to the station, will surely be a big asset to the area.

Preparation For Class 777 Trains

Note that St. Michaels station has been updated to allow step-free access  between the new Class 777 trains and platform.

According to a fellow traveller, it had been done at night with little inconvenience to passengers.

Installing The Lifts

I would suspect, that the two new lifts could be installed in the space currently occupied by the two disused stairways.

Conclusion

This is the type of station that needs step-free access.

  • It will make nearby developments more desireable.
  • It will facilitate walking with children and for those in wheelchairs.
  • It will increase traffic at the station.

I would also suspect the lifts can be added without too much disruption to the travelling public.

I also think there a lesson in the chequered history of St. Michaels station.

Next time a station or even a whole line has to be closed, make sure that it can be reopened, if necessary in the future. To many useful stations like Horden and Maiden Lane have been reduced to rubble. The former is being rebuilt and many believe the latter is needed.

 

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aviva Investors Acquires 101 Moorgate Development Site

The title of this post is the same as that of the title of this article on Property Funds World.

This introductory paragraph says it all.

Aviva Investors, a global asset management unit of Aviva, has completed the acquisition of the long leasehold interest in 101 Moorgate, EC2, from Transport for London (TfL). Aviva Investors will develop a mixed-use retail and office site above Crossrail infrastructure and opposite the new Crossrail Liverpool Street Station western entrance.

This Google Map shows a 3D visualisation of the site.

Note the site is indicated by the red arrow.

To it’s left is Moor House, which as well as being a large office block, incorporates a Crossrail ventiltion shaft.

Hopefully, Transport for London raised a few pennies for that deal.

 

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

A Residential Development Convenient For Rugby And Train Travel

I went through Twickenham station yesterday and took these pictures.

Surely many more stations could sustain a substantial development of much-needed housing on the top.

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport, World | , , , | 3 Comments

Development North Of Kew Bridge Station

This Google Map shows the large site to the North of Kew Bridge station.

Note.

  1. Kew Bridge station in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. The M4 passing around the North of the site.
  3. The triangle of railway lines going to Hounslow in the West, South Acton in the North and Barnes and Waterloo in the East.

Some of the plans for the site have been disclosed.

Brentford’s New Stadium

I took these pictures from a train, as I passed through yesterday.

Brentford Community Stadium is planned to open in Summer 2020.

Step-Free Access At Kew Bridge Station

Currently, Kew Bridge station is not step-free.

Searching the Internet, I found this document on the Hounslow Borough Council web site, which is dated April the 15th 2019 and entitled Step-Free Access To Many Of Hounslow’s Stations Proceeding At Pace!

This is an extract.

Kew Bridge is also set to benefit from accessibility improvements when the new Brentford stadium opens. The London-bound platform is to be made step free and the council is working with SWR and NR to explore how step-free access from the country-bound platform to the street can also be delivered.  A feasibility study is due to progress later this year.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Kew Bridge station.

The two lines, through the disused platforms at Kew Bridge station could be used as a terminus, by the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

I’m sure Brentford FC wouldn’t object to more trains serving their new ground.

Preparations For The West London Orbital

This picture was taken as I looked through the short tunnel, that connects the current Platform 1 to the disused platform shown on the map of the lines.

It appears that the rubbish and shrubbery of many decades is being cleared.

Could it be in connection with making the London-bound platform step-free?

It would also allow surveyors to assess how much work is needed to get the platform back into use for the West London Orbital Railway.

Development To The South Of The Station

This picture shows a large site behind the station building and the country-bound platform

The location of the site can be seen behind the Express Tavern on this Google Map.

The map also shows how the flats developed on the South side of the tracks have limited the ability to put a second footbridge over the tracks to whisk passengers from London to the stadium.

I wonder, if a route could be built, through the developments, to deliver step-free access to the country-bound platform.

But it would be the wrong side for the stadium!

A step-free bridge is needed at Kew Bridge station.

The Cafe At Kew Bridge Station

Whilst at the station, I had a welcoming coffee.

It’s certainly better than your average chain coffee shop.

I could also wait watching a Departures display.

 

 

May 1, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Development Of The Southall Gas Works Site

I took these pictures as my train went past the former Southall Gas Works to the West of Ealing station.

This was where there used to be a gasholder with a helpful sign, showing the way to Heathrow..

You can just see the L of LHR and the arrow.

This Google Map shows the site.

It is going to be a big development.

There are some older pictures from 2016 in What A Waste Of Valuable Land.

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 1 Comment

Streatham 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.

Streatham station is on the list.

These are some pictures of Streatham station.

This station ineeds a massive makeover.

  • The stairs are difficult with three sections.
  • The booking office is in a structure  balanced over the tracks.
  • The platforms are very dark and as welcoming as a prison cell.
  • There are various rooms that could be repurposed to improve the customer experience.

There is in fact very little of architectural merit, that would be missed if a rogue Class 66 locomotive and twenty large wagons full of stone demolished the station in the middle of the night.

This Google Map shows how the station is surrounded by new developments.

Note the bus station. Surely, when this development was built, the opportunity could have been taken to sort out the station.

Conclusion

As the site is surrounded by development, this must be an ideal location for a developer to build an appropriate residential block, with a new step-free station in the basement, based on the current platforms.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Where Has Lillie Bridge Depot Gone?

This is the first paragraph of the Wiikipedia entry for Lillie Bridge Depot,

Lillie Bridge Depot is a historic English traction maintenance depot on the London Underground Piccadilly and District lines, situated in between West Brompton and West Kensington stations in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It is accessed from the District line tracks between Earl’s Court and West Kensington or between Earl’s Court and Kensington (Olympia).

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the rail lines in the area.

 

Note that the triangle in the middle of the junction used to be occupied by the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, which is now being redeveloped as upmarket housing.

This Google Map shows the area now.

Where is the Lillie Bridge Depot and the other railway lines?

West Brompton station and the West London Line going North-South are just about visible.

But much of the rest of the lines are or will be under the massive development.

Wikipedia says this about the future of Lillie Bridge Depot.

The Depot is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2019 by Transport for London, as part of an Earl’s Court regeneration scheme. Engineering facilities will be moved to Acton Works, and it will be replaced by stabling for twelve S7 Stock trains at a lower level, with redevelopment taking place above it. The scheme has not been universally popular, attracting criticism from the Mayor of London, the current Hammersmith and Fulham Council, local housing associations and residents.

We will be seeing more and more developments like this over railway lines and especially depots, which offer a nice-shaped plot of several acres.

As to who gets to buy or rent the flats and houses, that is up to local and national politicians.

My one worry, is that some politicians insist on so many conditions as to the residents, that development of the site becomes impossible to fund.

 

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

Funding For Homes And A New Railway Station In North London

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

The government has said, that two major housing developments will be built in London beside new railway stations.

Brent Cross Thameslink

The development and the funding for Brent Cross Thameslink station is introduced by this paragraph.

The larger investment will see £320 million being spent on a new Brent Cross West Thameslink station which will lead to a new community of 7,500 properties being built. This is in addition to the £97m grant awarded in the 2016 budget bringing total government investment £416.5 million.

Other points about the development include.

  • The development is on the site of the Crickjewood depot.
  • The station could be asn interchange with the West London Orbital Railway.
  • A contractor should be appointed this year, with opeing in 2022.
  • Services could be eight trains per hour (tph) in the Peak and four tph in the Off Peak.
  • A public bridge over the railway will be included.
  • There will be new offices.
  • The Brent Cross Shopping Centre will be extended.
  • The £320 million investment will be repaid from business rates from the commercial development.

It all seems to me, that there could be a lot of winners here.

Old Oak Common

The development and the funding for Old Oak Common station is described by this paragraph.

The government will also be providing £250 million so up to 13,000 new homes can be built close to the new HS2 railway station at Old Oak Common.

This scheme provides more properties, but it doesn’t as yet include the commercial development.

Conclusion

London seems to be building more housing, that at any time in my life.

 

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

Could There Be A Tram-Train Between Ipswich And Felixstowe?

I should declare an interest here of my teenage self, who spent some very boring summers in, what was then, the small coastal resort and dormitory town of Felixstowe.

There was only so many places you could cycle and as my school friends were all in London, I used to avoid going to Felixstowe if possible.

I can remember going from London to Felixstowe several times on the train.

I would cycle from our London house in Cockfosters to Liverpool Street station and put my bike in the guard’s van for the trip to Ipswich.

From Ipswich, I would ride the dozen or so miles along the A45 (now the A14) to Felixstowe.

I suspect, that I could have used, the two-car diesel shuttle from Ipswich to Felixstowe, but I never did.

Perhaps, it was because it was not the most frequent of services.

The frequency was certainly a lot less than the current hourly service.

A Tram-Train To Felixstowe

This report on the East West Rail web site is entitled Eastern Section Prospectus and gives full details of their proposals for the Eastern section of the East-West Rail Link.

This is said in the report.

Introduction of a tram-train service on the Felixstowe branch, with doubling between Derby Road and Felixstowe and street running through
Ipswich.

It is also said, that there will be a frequency of four trains per hour (tph)  between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

So how feasible is this proposal?

The Proposed Frequency

People travel between Ipswich and Felixstowe for several reasons.

  • It is an important dormitory town for Ipswich and increasingly for London,
  • The Port of Felixstowe is an important employer.
  • There is a large amount of leisure traffic between the two towns.

Currently, much of the travelling between Ipswich and Felixstowe is by car on an increasingly crowded A14.

Four tph seems an eminently sensible frequency.

Why Propose A Tram-Train?

If a train, like a Class 170 train or one of the new Class 755 trains were used for the route,  it would mean the following.

  • Four tph in the single platform at Felixstowe.
  • Four tph in a dedicated platform at Ipwich.
  • Four trains would be needed for the service.
  • An extra six tph using the route between Westerfield and Ipswich stations.

The stations should be able to cope, but I doubt that the extra trains could be fitted into a busy route with the following services.

  • Ipswich and Norwich
  • Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge and Peterborough
  • Ipswich and Lowestoft

If you add in the up to forty freight trains per day, that will use the route, something will have to give.

The Route Od The Tram-Train

It would appear that the plan is to replace the train, with a tram-train running on the streets of Ipswich.

This could be a possible route for street running.

  • Ipswich Station
  • Portman Road
  • Ipswich Town Centre
  • Ipswich Hospital

It would then join the Ipswich-Felixstowe rail line in the area of Derby Road station or the retail parks on the East of Ipswich.

This Google Map shows Derby Road station and Ipswich Hospital.

Note.

  1. Ipswich Hospital is in the top-right of the map.
  2. Derby Road station is at the left side of the map in the middle.
  3. The Ipswich-Felkixstowe Line can be seen going South-Easterly across the map to the well-known St. Augustine’s roundabout.

A tram-train would have the following benefits.

  • It would link the town centres of Ipswich and Felixstowe.
  • It would create a step-free link across Ipswich Town Centre to the all-important hospital.
  • Extra stations can be added where they are needed in Ipswich without decreasing capacity on the rail line.
  • It would surely encourage more people to use the trains from Ipswich station.

I suspect too, that Class 399 tram-trains could be used as they are in Sheffield and will be on the South Wales Metro.

Between Ipswich And Derby Road Stations

This extract is from the Wikipedia entry for the Felixstowe Branch Line.

The train now enters a section of double track through Derby Road station (6.10 miles (9.82 km) from Ipswich station by train, but only 1.5 miles on the map) where trains can pass.

It is very significant, that going through the houses between the two stations is a route that is shorter by eight-and-a-half miles.

Could it be that the time that would be saved by the shorter route is balanced by the slower progress of on-street running, which means that the current twenty-six minute journey time can be maintained?

Doubling Between Derby Road And Felixstowe

I’ll repeat what is said in the report.

Introduction of a tram-train service on the Felixstowe branch, with doubling between Derby Road and Felixstowe.

Doubling of about a mile of the Felixstowe Branch to the West of Trimley is ongoing and doubling further to the West looks to be fairly easy from my helicopter.

But there is one major problem.

This Google Map shows, where the rail line goes over the Ipswich by-pass.

Note that provision has been made for a second track.

So hopefully, it won’t be much more expensive to add a second bridge and track, than to add points either side of the existing bridge.

There would be some extra bridge works between the A14 and Derby Road station, but doubling all the way from Derby Road station to Felixstowe doesn’t look to be the world’s most difficult railway engineering.

Extra Tram-Train Stops Between Ipswich And Felixstowe

There used to be an extra stop at Orwell station. It was little-used and closed in 1959.

Looking at the station, it is now a large private residence and I suspect there is no point in reopening, as there isn’t much housing in the area.

But there could be a case for a station at Futura Park, which is shown in this Google Map.

Lots of the usual out-of-town stops are there including a Waitrose and a John Lewis.

The railway runs to the South of the A1156 Felixstowe Road and there is surely the possibility of a station in this area.

There is also the possibility, that the tram-train could join and leave the Felixstowe Branch Line at this point, after and before street running to Ipswich station.

Would The Tram-Trains Go Walkabout In Felixstowe?

Felixstowe used to have two other stations; Felixstowe Pier and Felixstowe Beach. Both are now closed.

  • I can remember Felxstowe Beach station, as occasionally in the 1950s, we stayed nearby at the Cavendish Hotel.
  • Felixstowe Pier station was towards Landguard Fort and even served steam vessels going to Germany.

Both stations were served by trains reversing at the main station, which is impossible now as the chord has been removed.

This Google Map shows the current rail lines in Felixstowe.

The line to/from Ipswich splits into two in the top-left corner of the map.

  • The branch going East goes to Felixstowe station.
  • The branch going South used to serve the two other Felixstowe stations and now serves the Port of Felixstowe.

The missing chord is visible to the West of the playing fields of Felixstowe International College.

I would rate reinstatement of the chord as highly unlikely.

  • The only reason, the chord would be reinstated, would be if the Port of Felixstowe wanted to have a four tph passenger service.
  • The Port wouldn’t want to have all those extra movements on what is a busy and exclusive freight line.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t rule out extension into Felixstowe Town Centre.

This Google Map shows the Town Centre.

Note.

  1. The one-platform station is at the top of the map, behind a small Co-op supermarket and the Listed station buildings, which are now a small shopping centre.
  2. The High Street, which is part -pedestrianised leads down from the station to the top of the cliffs, where Bent Hill leads down to the sea-front.
  3. Halfway along is a triangular garden, where a local road splits off toward the Southern part of the sea-front and the Port.
  4. The pattern of retail shopping is changing and Marks and Spencer in the town will be closing soon.

My plan would be as follows.

  • Rebuild the Co-op supermarket to allow a single-track tram line to squeeze through to the High Street.
  • Trams would then continue down the High Street to the triangular garden.
  • A second platform face could be added at Felixstowe station to allow trams to pass and give flexibility.

Done properly, it could improve Felixstowe’s appeal as a leisure destination.

I also think, that as the extension is only short, the current Ipswich to Felixstowe timing could be maintained.

Future Services At Ipswich Station

Listing all the services proposed at Ipswich station gives the following.

  • 3 tph – London Liverpool Street and Norwich – Greater Anglia
  • 1 tph – Colchester and Peterborough – Greater Anglia – Replaces current Ipswich and Peterborough service.
  • 1 tph – Manningtree and Oxford via Cambridge – East West Rail – Replaces current Ipswich and Cambridge service
  • 1 tph – Ipswich and Lowestoft – Greater Anglia – Some services extend to London
  • 4 tph – ipswich and Felixstowe – Greater Anglia – Proposed tram-train service.

If the Felixstowe tram-train service were to terminate outside the station, as trams tend to do, there would only be a need for one bay platform at Ipswich, that would handle hourly Lowestoft services, that didn’t go to/from London.

Ipswich station would become more of a through station with the following through trains.

  • Five tph going between Manningtree and Stowmarket
  • Two tph between Manningtree and the proposed A14 Parkway station via Bury St. Edmunds.

This would all save the expense of rebuilding large parts of Ipswich station.

Although, there would be a certain amount of remodelling of the station forecourt to accommodate the tram-trains.

Conclusion

It is a classic application of tram-train technology and I’m sure that a good route can be devised between the two towns.

 

 

February 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Walking Down Renwick Road To Barking Riverside

This morning, I walked down Renwick Road to Barking Riverside.

This Google Map shows the area.

I started walking from Thames Road, turned South into Renwick Road and then walked to the bottom of the map.

  • On the West side of the road is a Nature Reserve and the massive Barking sub station, which is a major distribution point for East London’s electricity.
  • On the East side of the road  is Barking Riverside Campus, which is a large school catering for a wide age range.

It appears that the Barking Riverside Extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, will run between the campus and Renwick Road, according to this map.

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

I took these pictures as I walked.

There are certainly a lot of large electricity pylons over the area.

I will be taking this walk, several times in the next few years to see how it changes, as the station is built.

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