The Anonymous Widower

All Change At South Kensington Station

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in Rail Engineer, which describes the plan for developing South Kensington station.

The article gives a lot of insight into the expanding of the station and how it will be funded.

It is a busy station that in 2016 handled nearly thirty-four million passengers.

It was certainly busy today with visitors today, when I passed through as I went to and from the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has now been expanded.

Expanding the station will certainly test the skills of those managing the project. Especially, now that the V & A will be drawing more people to the area.

Funding Station Expansion

I said earlier that South Kensington station has a yearly traffic of just under 34 miilion.

These are figures for 2015/2016 for some important provincial stations in England.

  • Bank – 94 million
  • Birmingham New Street – 39 million
  • Blackpool North – 2 million
  • Brighton – 17 million
  • Bristol Temple Meads – 11 million
  • Camden Town – 23 million
  • Dalston Junction – 5 million
  • Dalston Kingsland – 6 million
  • Euston – 42 million
  • Liverpool Lime Street – 15 million
  • Manchester Piccadilly – 26 million
  • Newcastle – 8 million
  • Nottingham – 7 million
  • Peterbirough – 5 million
  • Sheffield – 9 million
  • Waterloo – 39 million

These stations were chosen pretty much at random, but I do think they show that London Underground stations seem to attract a lot of traffic near tourist attractions.

So perhaps we should built more stations near to major tourist attractions.

Are these the sort of projects that can be funded privately by property development?

It is proposed to use this model at South Kensington station.

I deliberately put in my two local stations of Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland.

Dalston Junction, is the bigger station, with twice as many platforms as Dalston ingsland.

It is also step-free with blocks of flats on top.

So is it surprising that it is not the busier station of the two?

I think it just goes to show, that predicting passenger numbers, is not an easy task.

 

 

June 30, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

What Should We Do With Old Coal-Fired Power Station Sites?

As I indicated in The Beginning Of A New Era, the way we generate electricity is changing.

Wikipedia has a list of all the active coal-fired power stations in the UK. The section starts like this.

There are currently 9 active coal fired power stations operating in the United Kingdom which have a total generating capacity of 14.4GW. In 2016 three power stations closed at Rugeley, Ferrybridge and Longannet. In November 2015 it was announced by the UK Government that all coal fired power stations would be closed by 2025.

So what should we do with the sites?

This picture shows the power station site at Eugeley

This is a Google Map of the area.

The two stations shown on the map are Rugeley Trent Valley, which is on the the Trent Valley section of the West Coast Main Line and Rugeley Town, which is on the Chase Line.

Many of these large coal-fired  power station sites sites are rail connected, so that the coal could be brought in efficiently.

In the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways there is an article entitled Freight, Not All Doom And Gloom, which makes this plea.

Old coal-fired power stations and Ministry of Fefence sites with ready-made rail links, could make ideal distribution parks, if they are in the right part of the country.

The author is so right, when they say elsewhere in the article,  that these rail links must be kept.

Even, if a site was given over to housing, developers will say, that a good rail link to a development, improves their profits.

The article is an interesting read about moving goods by rail and contains a few surprises.

  • Moving coal and steel is well down, but to a certain extend, these bulk loads have been replaced by the moving of aggregates.
  • The article states forty percent of the materials used in London buildings, are now brought in by rail.
  • The supermarket groups and in particular Asda and Tesco are increasingly using rail for long-distance transport.
  • Short term Treasury policy sometimes works against long term aims of moving freight from the roads and cutting carbon emissions.
  • Quality 1980s passenger stock with wide doors might make excellent parcels carriers.

The last one is an interesting point, as HSTs have only got narrow doors, whereas pallets could be fork-lifted through the wide doors of something like a Class 319 or Class 321 train.

I discuss the small parcel train in detail in The Go-Anywhere Express Parcels And Pallet Carrier.

 

May 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Changing Face Of Cambridge

I took these pictures, as my train to Cambridge North station, made a stop at Cambridge station.

There’s certainly been a lot of new building.

Over the years, I’ve seen Cambridge station change from a simple station, where staff had to work hard to juggle terminating and through trains to maintain a decent service into a major rail interchange with the following platforms.

  • Two very long through platforms; 1 and 7, capable of taking the longest trains on the UK rail network.
  • Platform 1 is actually bi-directional and can be used as two shorter platforms; 1 and 4.
  • Two London-facing bay platforms; 2 and 3 capable of taking eight-car trains.
  • Two North-facing bay platforms; 5 and 6, capable of taking six-car trains from Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and the North.
  • A twelve-car platform; 8, that can be used as either a through or a bay platform.

Is there another regional station in the UK with such a comprehensive layout?

Cambridge station and its new sibling a few miles to the North are certainly ready for all the rail developments planned to happen in the next few years.

  • Thameslink arrives in 2018
  • Greater Anglia’s new trains arrive in 2019.
  • The East-West Rail Link could arrive in the mid-2020s.

I would not be surprised if Cambridge created the Trinity by starting the proposed new Cambridge South station at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the next couple of years.

After all, a third station, will give Cambridge one more station than Oxford.

 

 

 

May 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Metropolitan Reversible Line

When you read some of Network Rail’s published documents, you sometimes get snippets of information that point to their thinking.

This page on the Network Rail web site, allows you to download the Kent Route Study.

The study talks about the Metropolitan Reversible Line, which allows trains to access Cnnon Street station from the West.

Network Rail want to replace the line with a 12-car siding, to support operations at Peak times. This is what they say.

Replace the Metropolitan Reversible line with a single 12-car siding to serve
London Cannon Street.

The line currently allows empty coaching stock movements between
London Cannon Street and London Blackfriars, but will become redundant
following implementation of the revised Thameslink service in 2018. It is
therefore proposed that the Metropolitan Reversible line be modified into
a single 12-car siding to facilitate peak services into London Cannon Street station.

 

They even supply a nice map in the document.

Hopefully, they aim to get this work completed by 2024 at a cost of up to £10million.

This is a Google Map of the area.

I don’t know what the land around the Metropolitan Reversible Line is used for, but it does strike me that the location of the line could be a lucrative development site.

So perhaps a sympathetic developer could build a new housing or office complex and put the required siding in the basment as a sweetener for Network Rail.

Development of this simple siding, could be a win for a lot of stakeholders.

I took these pictures as I walked from the Market Porter public house to Southwark Street.

I don’t know what development is happening in this particular area, but it can certainly be improved.

If money was no object, which of course it never is, I would do the following.

  • Replace the rather plain bridge over Park Street with something better.
  • The arches must be filled in so they can have a valid commercial purpose or opened up, so they can be used for cafes or just walking through to Borough Market.
  • The massive girder bridge over Southwark Street is not a beautiful object and it was built to carry a lot more weight than it will, when the Metropolitan Reversible Line is converted into a siding. So perhaps the bridge can be remodelled to improve its dreadful looks.

It is worth looking at this Google Map of the Southern part of the Metrolitan Reversible Line.

The Metrolitan Reversible Line starts at the top of the map, curves to the West and goes out the South-West corner.

Note, how only a small space on the viaduct and the bridges is used for track. The siding will use no more space than now!

The rest has the distinctive greenish tinge of grass.

I believe that this piece of free land in the sky, should be used for a positive purpose.

I said about putting the siding in the basement. But really, I meant putting the siding in a garage on the ground floor under the building, which if it was designed correctly, it wouldn’t interfere with the views of London’s disgrace; the Shard. You usually only get buildings as bad as that built with friends in the right places!

But seriously, if the design of the siding development was right and it was only a few storeys high, it would be hidden from view by the railway lines crossing all over the place.

The space could even become a spectacular cycling superhighway or walkway stretching along the side of the railway from Waterloo to the South Bank or even across Cannon Street railway bridge to the City.

Network Rail are converting the Metropolitan Reversible Line into a siding to increase the capacity of services into Cannon Street station.

I believe that if this creation of a siding is done with imagination, then other developments can be enabled, that would be to the benefit of all those living, working anf enjoying themselves in the area.

 

March 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Could Charing Cross Station Be Rebuilt With South Bank Entrance?

This question was asked in an article in SE1.

It points to this page on the Network Rail web site, where you can download the Kent Route Study.

This is said in the study.

5.11.2. Charing Cross has just six 12-car platforms and Platforms 4, 5 and 6 are very narrow, leading to operational restrictions. Class 465 units cannot operate in 12-car into these platforms and selective door operation is used on Class 375 units. A major rebuild of the station could allow it to be extended south over the river, like Blackfriars, providing compliant platforms and greater passenger circulation. At concept level, a new link to Waterloo from a southern entrance to Charing Cross may supersede Waterloo East allowing the station area to be used for additional track capacity, but there are likely to be many issues with a project on this scale.

5.11.3. The relieving of terminal capacity constraints at Cannon Street and Charing Cross will then move the bottleneck to other locations on the route, including North Kent East Junction, Lewisham, Parks Bridge Junction and the two track section between Orpington and Sevenoaks.

It could be an interesting idea.

My big issue, is that increasingly, I am using London’s latest high capacity link, from London Bridge to Charing Cross via Waterloo East as a cross-London link.

It is now my preferred way to get to where I live from Waterloo station or Trafalgar Square, as I just get a convenient 141 bus from the forecourt of London Bridge station. Often after buying my supper or a few supplies in the convenient M & S in the entrance of the station under the Shard.

March 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

London’s Housing Market Is Changing

This article in Construction Enquirer is entitled Quintain launches London’s largest build to rent site.

Quintain are to build thousands of rental homes at Wembley Park around Wembley Stadium.

Reading the article, they seem to be making a professional job of it.

  • 3,000 houses will start construction this year.
  • 5,000 houses will be built  over seven years.
  • There will be a primary School, a seven acre park and a landscaped square.
  • Four companies will share the building.
  • Quintain have even set up their own company to manage the properties and their rental.
  • Brent Council seem to have given the development their blessing.

Looking back to the 1970s, when C, myself and our three boys were looking for somewhere to live, and were unable to get a mortgage because my income wasn’t in any way guaranteed, we had no option but to rent.

We had one choice of a quality development in London, where we could rent and that was the Barbican.

I don’t think we’d have gone to Wembley, but we would have loved to have had a choice.

I suspect we could see other developments like this all over the country.

Everyone will benefit.

February 7, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Worcester Parkway Station Given The Green Light

According to this article in the Worcester News, Worcester Parkway station has been given the green light by the Government.

Clearing of the site will start this winter.

This is another station project to be given the go-ahead, since I wrote Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains. So it could  be that Chris Grayling has changed direction at the Department of Transport.

The Worcester News article gives more details of the station.

  • New Class 800 trains will go direct on the Cotswold Line to Oxford and Paddington.
  • Services between Gloucester and Birmingham will also stop.
  • The station is close to Junction 7 of the M5.
  • The station will have 500 parking spaces.

It should be noted that Worcester Foregate Street station is on a restricted site and has no parking and Worcester Shrub Hill station has only 121 spaces. I suspect that the two current stations don’t probably encourage mode shift from car to train by travellers.

The article says this about funding.

The majority of the budget for the scheme will be self-funded through station car park fees and access charges levied on the Train Operating Companies, along with £8.3 million from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s Growth Deal.

Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership is very hopeful that the new station will be good for the local economy and employment.

It certainly looks like it will improve the journey of commuters and travellers from the Worcester area to Birmingham and London.

I also wonder, if once the station is built, there will be opportunities for the train companies to use trains more efficiently and add extra services to and from Worcester. Could some of these inefficiencies release valuable development land in the centre of Worcester?

Worcester Parkway is not a normal station project reliant on a lot of local and central government funding, but one with several different ways of raising the finance.

January 30, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Happening At Old Oak Common?

I ask this question as I have just read this article on the New Civil Engineer web site which is entitled Old Oak Common Megadeck Momentum Slows.

This is said.

Momentum for the 7ha deck to be built over the Crossrail depot in the new Old Oak and Park Royal development in west London has slowed according to the chief executive of the regeneration body in charge of the work.

Sadiq Khan is blaming Boris, as any politician would.

It is truly a massive site, as this Google Map shows.

oldoakcommon

The two stations at the top of the map is Willesden Junction station.

Running across the map is the Great Western Main Line, with the various depots and Cargiant to the North.

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

oldoakcommondepoys

This aerial view of the area is from Crossrail.

oldoakcommondepot

The megadeck is needed to go over much of this area, so that housing and other developments can be built.

 

January 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel, World | , , | Leave a comment

An Upbeat View Of Hackney Wick

Hackney Wick is the sort of area of London, where traditionally it has dumped things that most people don’t want to know about. Although, the area does have a thriving artistic and indistrial community, much of the latter has moved out.

But this article in Building Design and Construction, which is entitled 25 Million Pounds Devoted to Hackney Wick For Upgrades, paints a very different upbeat view of the area.

So where has the money for the work come from?

  • A million from Tower Hamlets Council.
  • A million from Hackney Council.

There is also a sizeable donation from the London Legacy Development Corporation.

But then an updated Hackney Wick station, will provide much better access to the Olympic Stadium and all the housing being built around the Olympic Park.

The article finished like this.

Through this, the infrastructure of this particular area of North London will be greatly improved, allowing for better property conditions, better employment opportunities and of course better transport conditions for its locals. Mister Jon Fox of Transport for London also put in a word in for the advancement of Hackney Wick Overground, which will improve the conditions of millions of people from all over the capital.

We need a lot more well-designed and much better stations to generate growth.

January 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Start Of Change At Victoria Tube Station

On the early-evening BBC London News last night, the BBC showed preview pictures of the new entrance to Victoria tube station, which they indicated is on Brettenham Place.

The station certainly needs more capacity, as this extract from Wikipedia indicates.

Victoria is currently the fourth busiest station on the London Underground, after Waterloo, Oxford Circus and King’s Cross St. Pancras, with nearly 85 million using the station (not including interchanging passengers) in 2013, of which around 60 million (including interchanges) use the Victoria line platforms. The station was not built for this number of passengers, which results in severe overcrowding. To prevent any dangerous situations like crowds pushing people off the platforms onto the track, crowd control measures are in place at the busiest times. This effectively means closing all the entrances to the Underground platforms and operating as an exit-only station until the overcrowding is relieved. These measures can last anywhere between a couple of minutes (when minor delays are occurring) up to several hours (during major incidents).

As to the layout of lines through the station, Victoria tube station is fairly simple, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

victorialines

Note.

  • The Circle and District Lines have a typical Victorian layout, with two platforms on the outside of the tracks.
  • The 1960s designers of the Victoria Line at least left a lot of space between the two tracks.
  • The Victoria Line also incorporates two full sidings, numbered 22 and 23 between the tracks.

As nearly all trains throughout the day run run between Walthamstow Central and Brixton, the use of these sidings must only be for purposes like overnight stabling and parking failied trains.

According to Wikipedia, currently each set of lines have their own ticket offices on different levels and built over a hundred years apart.

Walking between the Circle/District Lines and the main line station is not for the faint-hearted or those with need for step-free access. The 1960s designers at least made walking between the Victoria Line and the main line station a bit easier, but there is still a flight of steps to be overcome.

If I go to Victoria station with a wheeled bag, which is not often, I take the easy route of a 38 or N38 bus from around the corner, direct from around the corner from my house.

So what is happening over this weekend?

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

victoriastation

Note.

  • North of Victoria Street is a massive building site.
  • The rows of white-roofed red buses on the station forecourt..

Wikipedia says this about the current upgrade.

To provide a lasting solution to this problem preparatory building work has begun on major upgrade of the station. This will include a new northern exit/entrance on the north-west corner of Victoria Street which will be accessible via a new additional ticket office under Bressenden Place that will lead to both the Victoria line and the Circle and District line platforms.

I will go and do some more digging.

The Victoria Line Platforms

Currently, the Victoria Line platforms have two sets of escalators.

  • The original set of three, that so up into the Victoria Line ticket hall under the bus station.
  • A second set of three, that go from the platforms into a series of passages underneath the Circle and District Line platforms, to which they connect with short sets of stairs.

These pictures show the Victoria Line platforms, various passages and works.

It looks like there are two new sets of works.

One set could just be an extension of the current lobby at the bottom of the original escalators. This would increase the capacity between the Victoria Line and the main line station.

Judging by the sign saying Cardinal Place on the other works at the Northern End of the platforms, it would appear that these works are a new entrance from Cardinal Place.

The Cardinal Place Entrance

On the surface, the Cardinal Place Entrance is clearly visible, outside the Cardinal Place development.

According to a personable member of the station staff, The new entrance will open sometime after ten on Monday morning.

At Cardinal Place, the overall design would appear to be simple, where an escalator shaft has been dug between the Northern end of the Victoria Line platforms and a new entrance hall beneath Bressenden Place, which then has the simple pop-up entrance shown in my pictures

The constructure, appears to have been carried out, without massive closures of the Victoria Line platforms.

The surface building also looks very similar in concept to the new standalone glass and steel entrances at Kings Cross St. Pancras and Tottenham Court Road stations.

So I wonder how many new entrances can be created at existing stations, by using a similar design and building method.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station suffers very bad overcrowding , with only two escalators and no lifts having to cope with the passengers from over 40 trains per hour.

This map from carto.metro.free,fr shows the layout of platforms at the station.

wcp

Note how there is a wide lobby at the Eastern end of the platforms underneath the Overground lines, which is used to accommodate the escalators and the waiting queues of passengers.

The crossover to the West of the station was installed in August 2015 and I suspect that this work didn’t compromise any of Transport for London’s thoughts  of improving capacity at Walthamstow Central.

It could be tight to dig a shaft for three escalators into this area, but at least the area on top is mainly grass, market stalls and not the best of buildings, with the exception of the Library.

If you look at the length of the current escalators at the station, they indicate that the Victoria Line is not deep. So that would help.

I suspect we could see a very innovative and simple solution to create a new Western entrance at Walthamstow Central station.

I would also be possible to build the entrance without any disruption to either existing train services or passengers in the existing station.

 

 

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment