The Anonymous Widower

Chalkwell And Southend East Stations To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Currently, four c2c stations are not step-free.

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. The large number is the number of passengers in 2017-18

As Chalkwell And Southend East stations are the two busiest stations without step-free access, they on the list of stations to be improved.

Chalkwell Station

The Current Station

These pictures show Chalkwell station and a selection of views from the path that runs on the seaward side of the station.

This Google Map shows the Eastern End of the station.

I hope it explains some of the pictures.

  • The Booking Office and gate-line are in the building identified by the red rail sign.
  • There are two bridges over the railway.
  • The Western bridge is for pedestrian access between the gate-line and the two platforms.
  • There are steep staircases down to the two platforms.
  • There is also a separate |Eastern bridge, which is to allow pedestrians, cyclists and dogs to cross the railway and access the coastal path, which runs South of the station.

Note too, that the station is very close to the sea.

Adding Step-Free Access At The Booking Office

I think that my pictures also flag up several problems of making the current pedestrian bridge step-free, either by complete replacement or the addition of lifts.

The Pedestrian Bridge At Station Has A Severe Case Of The Moths

Engineers and those that repair vehicle bodies, often refer to rust in steel structures as moth damage. The pedestrian bridge at Chalkwell station was built in 1933 and it appears to have suffered badly in the salty atmosphere close to the sea.

I do wonder, if a structural engineer has said that the bridge will need replacing within a few years.

It should be noted that the second bridge contains a lot more concrete, so this may be in less risk of collapse.

Would An Electric Lift Work Reliably In a Heavy Gale Blowing In From The Sea?

A knowledgeable station guy told me, that he believed the weather would stop a lift being installed on the seaward platform.

The Current Stairs Are Long And Very Steep

I managed them, but then I have a great advantage in that I’m only 61 Kg and can generally climb most stairs, even if I take it slower than some.

Is There Space To Add Lift Towers To The Current Pedestrian Bridge?

It might be possible by the Booking Office, but I suspect that there is not enough space on the seaward side.

The Pedestrian Bridge Would Be Difficult To Replace Whilst Keeping The Station Open

I think it would be nearly impossible to rebuild the bridge or replace it with a new one, whilst keeping the station open.

Why Not Replace Both Bridges?

It might be possible to replace the two bridges with a new single bridge in the position occdupied by the Eastern bridge, that is separate from the station.

But this would be very disruptive to both train passengers and to pedestrians wishing to cross the railway.

A Conclusion About Step-Free Access At The Booking Office

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to add step-free access to the station, whilst keeping it open to passengers, if step-free access is provided at the Booking Office.

Could A Separate Step-Free Bridge Be Built At The Western End Of Chalkwell Station?

This Google Map shows the Western end of the station.

Note that there is a steep slope up from the platform to the road that passes the station on the Northern side.

This picture was taken of the bridge at Maghull North station.

Note how there is a short bridge to the top of the cutting on the left hand side of the bridge.

  • Could a similar arrangement be used at Chalkwell station?
  • It should be possible to build a level path along the top of the slope.
  • The path could connect into the Booking Office behind the gate-line.

I feel this approach would have several advantages.

During Installation Of The New Step-Free Bridge, Platform Access Would Be As Now

Passengers would not be inconvenienced, whilst the new bridge was being installed.

After Installation Of The New Step-Free Bridge, Passengers Would Enter The Station Through The Same Doors And Gate-line

How convenient, especially for occasional travellers, who might be confused by the new layout.

The New Bridge Could Be Placed In The Most Convenient Place

The new bridge could be placed in the best place for the passengers and the optimum place for train loading.

The New Bridge Could Be Built With Minimum Disruption To Services

There would be a big advantage in that the bridge could be built over a working railway, as was the one at Maghull North station.

After Installation Of The Bridge, There Would Be Two Routes To Each Platform

If it were to be decided that  the old pedestrian bridge with its steep stairs were to be demolished, this could be done, at a safe and leisurely pace after the new bridge was deemed to be a good design.

But it may be decided to refurbish the old bridge to keep the two seperate routes.

The Winner Of The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition Could Be Used

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 Chalkwell station?

An extension from the bridge on one side, would give access to the path to the Booking Office.

Could this bridge be slightly lower, than the current bridge? I suspect, this bridge has been designed so that 25 KVAC overhead electrification can be fixed to the underside of the bridge deck using insulated fittings. The reduced height would make climbing up slightly easier.

Southend East Station

The Current Station

These pictures show Southend East station.

This Google Map shows the station.

There would appear to be plenty of space, but where will the bridge be placed?

If they decided to use a bridge based on the competition winner could probably be placed on the Eastern end of the platforms.

 

 

 

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Herne Bay 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.

Herne Bay station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current subway.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms, with a closed third platform.
  2. The Eastbound platform is Platform 2, with the Westbound platform numbered 1.
  3. The two platforms are connected by a very bad subway, with steep stairs at either end.
  4. There are three trains per hour (tph) in both directions through the station.

Whilst I was at the station, there were three guys with bikes using the trains.

Consider.

  • In my experience, coastal stations attract visitors with buggies and bikes.
  • There are a higher proportion of older passengers.
  • Good weather can increase passenger numbers.

It is without doubt the sort of smaller station on the coast, that needs step-free access.

Installing Step-Free Access

When I first saw the subway, I thought it could be possible to just add a lift at each end.

But looking at the station and the pictures on this page, I wonder if a bridge would be better.

  • The subway is rather cramped and might not be wide enough for a large wheelchair or buggy to pass another.
  • Digging the lift shafts would probably close the subway for at least a few weeks.
  • There appears to be space at the Eastern end of the station for a bridge.
  • Adding a bridge wouldn’t interfere with the siubway operation.
  • If the station had both a bridge and a subway, the extra capacity would be welcome and might help reliability.

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

Could a factory-built bridge like this be used at Herne Bay station?

  • The bridge would be designed to fit.
  • Platform 2 would probably need to be widened, so passengers could pass the steps to get to the lift.

I think it could be made to work very well!

 

 

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Croy 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.

Croy station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This Google Map shows the station.

Note how the car parking is on the Glasgow-bound side of the tracks.

So after a hard day’s work, shopping, watching football or just at leisure in Glasgow, to get back to your car at Croy station, you will need to climb up and down steep steps.

The station desperately needs a well designed bridge to give passengers and especially the less able to get back to the car parking.

Installing Step-Free Access

This Google Map shows an enlarged view of the platforms in the Glasgow direction.

Note how the disabled parking spaces are close to the station building and the Glasgow-bound platform.

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

Could a factory-built bridge like this be used at Croy station?

Looking at the Google Map, it might even be possible to fit the bridge between the two overhead gantries for the electrification, which are visible!

It appears to me, that Network Rail’s competition has come up with an adaptable and very practical design.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Uddingston 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.

Uddingston station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This Google Map shows the station.

Note that Uddingston station has a fair amount of car parking, that is arranged on both sides of the tracks.

So if a traveller commutes or goes shopping in Glasgow, they have to cross the bridge at least once on their two journeys.

Installing Step-Free Access

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

Could a factory-built bridge like this be used at Uddingston station?

I think, due to space limitations, it might need to replace the current footbridge.

The advantage of placing it in the same position, is that the lift on the Northern side is close to the disabled parking spaces.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Beaconsfield 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.

Beaconsfield station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This is a Google Map of the station.

Note these points about Beaconsfield station.

  • There is a large multi-story car park alongside the London-bound platform
  • There are entrances on both sides of the railway.
  • The station is in a deep cutting and the paths down to the station could be easier. But this seventy-one-year-old managed them!
  • Currently, three trains per hour (tph) call at the station in both direction in the Off Peak, wwith more in the Peak.
  • There is space between the current two tracks for an avoiding line.
  • The platforms are very long, although I would prefer them to be wider.

The station also has the problem of many stations used by shoppers going to a nearby large city. Many travellers come home in the evening carrying a lot more, than they left with.

So do travellers want to cross a bridge without lifts carrying heavy, bulky or just plain awkward parcels, to get back to their car?

I’m fairly certain that a bridge at this station might encourage more travellers to use the train rather than their car for a trip to London.

So I can certainly understand, why it is on Network Rail’s list.

Installing The Step-Free Access

I think that this could be one of those stations, where a solution similar to that at Slough station can be used, where the old bridge was given a good refurbishment and a new step-free bridge was installed on the other side of the station entrances.

This picture, which was taken from the original bridge,  shows the new step-free bridge at Slough station.

It is a good design philosophy, which has advantages.

  • During the installation of the new bridge, the station can be fully operational.
  • Able-bodied travellers can choose their best route.
  • Two bridges have a higher capacity than one.
  • It is unlikely both bridges will be out of action at the same time.
  • The only extra cost will be refurbishing the existing 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 on the Eastern side of the station buildings?

This enlarged Google Map shows the Eastern end of the station.

Consider.

  • If the bridge were to be placed with the lifts on the Eastern side, the lift on the London-bound platform would be conveniently close to the disabled parking bays.
  • It would also mean, that travellers with walking difficulties or encumbered by heavy cases or young children, could get in the rear coach at Marylebone and be ideally placed for the bridge to get to the car-park.
  • Note that the main taxi office is placed for trains from London.
  • More able travellers could use either route, depending on where they were going.

Beaconsfield could be a station, with step-free access of the highest quality.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Northallerton 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.

Northalleron station is on the list.

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

Currently to cross the tracks, there is a subway with a steep ramp.

Installing Step-Free Access

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 on the wide platforms?

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition

The title of this post is the same as that of this page on the Network Rail web site.

This image from the page shows the winning design.

Obviously, it has several passenger friendly features.

  • Safe steps with double-handrails on both sides and a take-a-break step at halfway.
  • Lifts.
  • A covered bridge with good views of the station.

But what I like about it are these design and manufacturing features.

  • The width and height could be easily adjusted for different locations.
  • It could accommodate escalators.
  • Three- and four-platform bridges could follow the same theme.
  • It could be built in a factory and just lifted in a few pieces onto a prepared site.
  • Cost of an installation could be calculated on the back of an engineering envelop or fag-packet.

I also think it is one of those good designs, that will inspire its users and perhaps prompt younger people to take up design or engineering as a career.

A Network Rail Standard Footbridge

If this standard off-the-shelf design or something like it or better was available, how many stations could be given step-free access in the next few years?

As Network Rail sponsored this competition with RIBA, let’s hope they follow through their original initiative.

The footbridge could even have applications outside of the railway industry!

73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

This is the first paragraph.

Selected stations will, subject to a feasible design being possible, receive an accessible route into the station, as well as to and between every platform.

It appears that £300million of additional funding will be used to create full step-free access at seventy-three stations.

Stations That Could Benefit From This Standard Bridge

I have visited several of the stations and I feel that a standard bridge approach could benefit these stations.

I shall add to this list, as I discover more stations, that are suitable.

 

 

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 13 Comments

Crowborough 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.

Crowborough station is on the list.

This Google Map shows the 3D image of the station.

Note.

  • The current bridge is in the North East corner of the map.
  • The platforms were lengthened and refurbished in 2016 to accept ten-car trains.

Crowborough would appear to be a typical well-build ant managed coutry station.

Installing Step-Free Access

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

I think there are three options for using a factory-built bridge like this at Crowborough station.

  1. The new bridge replaces the existing bridge.
  2. A new bridge is placed in a different position and the old one is demolished.
  3. A new bridge is built in addition to the current bridge.

In my view, if the condition of the old bridge is good enough, the third option is preferable.

 

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Grays 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.

Grays station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  1. The stopping trains from London arrive in a long bay platform 3.
  2. There are exits on both sides of the tracks.
  3. There is a subway under the tracks.
  4. There is a bridge over the tracks outside the station.
  5. The station only handles four trains per hour in both directions.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

Note that the main platforms can take twelve-car trains.

Installing Step-Free Access

According to a station guy, it will not be easy to add lifts to the subway and a step-free bridge will be installed.

  • The subway is narrow and two wheelchairs probably couldn’t pass.
  • There also appears to be enough space for a bridge.
  • The bridge could probably be placed either side of the main station building.

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 Grays station?

Installing such a bridge, would not need the subway to be closed, so overall the station could handle more passengers needing to cross the tracks.

This would not appear to be the most difficult of installations.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

St. Erth 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. Erth station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

Note that the bridge is only used to access trains going West to Penzance.

This Google Map shows the station.

 

The three tracks from the station are as follows.

  • To Penzance in a South-Westerly direction.
  • To Plymouth in a North-Easterly direction.
  • To St. Ives in a Northerly direction.

The bridge over the main line stands out in white in the bottom-left corner of the map.

Installing The Step-Free Access

As the station is Grade II Listed care must be taken in installing the step-free access.

  • The current elderly steel bridge could be replaced with a modern one with lifts. This could be too drastic for the Heritage Lobby.
  • But It does look that a modern bridge could be installed towards the Eastern End of the station.

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 St. Erth station?

This bridge has the great advantage, that it can be installed without closing the existing bridge.

 

 

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment