The Anonymous Widower

The New Entrance At Hackney Central Station – 2nd July 2022

The new entrance at Hackney Central station opened yesterday.

Note.

  1. The cafe must be fairly good, as it has two flavours of gluten-free brownies.
  2. I may have a touch of arthritis these days, but stairs like these are fine for me, as there are two right-handed paths.
  3. There is a second set of stairs down from the footbridge to speed passengers on their way to Hackney Downs station.
  4. There is a light-controlled crossing over Graham Road.
  5. Bus stops in both directions are only about twenty metres from the crossing.
  6. The station buildings appear to have green roofs.
  7. The is plenty of bike storage, but no car parking.
  8. There is no lift, although the design should allow one to be added later, if it is thought one is needed.

I’ve seen bigger budgets produce worse designed station entrances than this one.

My Use Of The Graham Road Entrance At Hackney Central Station

I suspect, I will use the new entrance mainly in one of two ways.

Going West On The North London Line

If I want to go west on the North London Line, the obvious one is to get a bus to Highbury & Islington station from the closest stop to my house and get the train from there.

But that route has got more difficult in recent years.

  • Our South London Mayor in his wisdom cut the 277 bus back to Dalston Junction station.
  • So there is only the 30 bus left and the route uses badly-designed Egyptian-built buses. I’ve nothing against Egyptians, but these buses don’t have the flat floor, that people expect from a bus these days.
  • Since the roundabout was rebuilt, it seems to be a longer and more difficult walk for pedestrians.

So I’d prefer to take another route.

  • Canonbury station is probably the closest station, but it is an uphill walk from my house.
  • Dalston Kingsland station is a possibility, but the steps to the platform aren’t the safest.
  • Dalston Junction station is another possibility, as it is step-free, but it means more changes of mode and train.

Going via the new Graham Road entrance has advantages.

  • From my house, there are frequent 38 buses to the new entrance.
  • The 38 bus stop at Hackney Central is only a few metres from the station entrance.
  • There is a coffee stall in the station entrance.
  • The steps in the entrance are easy for me.

I will try out this route the next time, that I go to the West on the North London Line.

Coming Home From Stratford With Shopping

If I need a big Marks & Spencer or a John Lewis, it is convenient to go to Eastfield at Stratford and come home on the North London Line.

I will usually use the The Canonbury Cross-Over to double-back and get a bus home from Dalston Junction station.

It is an easy route, but sometimes the trains mean a wait of nearly ten minutes at Canonbury station.

The new entrance at Hackney Central gives an alternative route.

  • You would get in the back of the train at Stratford.
  • Alight at Hackney Central.
  • Exit the station through the new entrance.
  • Cross Graham Road on the light-controlled crossing.
  • Walk about twenty metres to the 38 bus stop.
  • Wait for a frequent 38 bus.

Today, I waited just a minute.

Conclusion

The entrance was first mentioned in an article on Ian Visits in October 2019 and I wrote about it in Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?.

In May 2021, I wrote £3m Hackney Overground Station Upgrade To Begin In June.

The entrance seems to have gone from a concept to reality in under three years and once the starting pistol was fired, it was built in under a year.

How many parts of the UK rail network could be improved, by small projects like this?

 

July 2, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Can’t More Bags Be Like This?

I recently had my shoes fixed in Timpsons.

This was the bag that the company gave me with the shoes

Surely, paper bags score highly in many ways; practicality, affordability, recyclability and as advertising.

Why don’t we see bags like these more often?

June 20, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

Wheelchair Provision On Elizabeth Line Trains And Platforms

These pictures show the provision for wheelchairs on trains and platforms of the Elizabeth Line.

Note.

  1. The generous spaces for a wheelchair. There are four spaces in the middle carriage of the nine-car trains.
  2. There is a blue wheelchair symbol, that marks where wheelchair entry to the trains is easiest.
  3. There are blue wheelchair symbols on the floor at doors closest to the wheelchair spaces.
  4. There are a lot of wheelchair signposts on all platforms.
  5. There are no steps to negotiate taking a wheelchair in or out of the train.
  6. At Canary Wharf there was a small screen showing the next five trains in each direction, which appeared to be positioned at the right height for a self-propelled wheelchair user.

Whilst I was coming back from Canary Wharf, the wheelchair space opposite was occupied by a very elderly lady in a wheelchair, who was accompanied, by a couple I took to be her daughter and son-in-law.

Judging by the smiles and compliments all round, they all seemed well satisfied with the provision.

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , | 3 Comments

Levelling Up – The Marks & Spencer Way

When I first moved to Dalston, there were three convenient Marks and Spencer stores within a few bus stops.

 

  • Angel, which is a basically a food store with a floor of clothes above, where my grandmother used to shop before the First World and C and I used to shop in the 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.
  • Moorgate, which is a small department store, with a medium-sized food department in the basement, which I use regularly.
  • Hackney, which was a very small department store with a poor food department, was convenient as on some of my journeys, I would get a bus home  from outside the store.

Over the last ten years, more Marks and Spencer stores have sprung up, Archway, Camden Town, Dalston, Eastfield, Hampstead, Liverpool Street, Old Street and West Hampstead, which I use occasionally, as they are on routes home.

This morning I went to the eye hospital in Colindale and coming home, I got a 32 bus to Brondesbury for the Overground.

As I needed some food, I had various choices of journey home.

  • Get off at West Hampstead and do my shopping there, and then get back on the train.
  • Get off at Hampstead Heath and do my shopping there, with a light lunch in le Pain Quotidien.
  • Get off at Dalston Kingsland and do my shopping there, with a bus home.
  • Get off at Hackney Central and do my shopping there, with a bus home.

Unusually, I chose the last option and got a big surprise.

I had been worried that Marks and Spencer in Hackney would close, but now it has been turned into the most upmarket Marks and Spencer food store, I’ve ever seen.

  • It’s more Knightsbridge. than Hackney
  • It’s large and spacious.
  • There are large ranges of tea and coffee, that you normally don’t see in the store.
  • The decor is localised to the store.
  • It is only about a hundred metres from Hackney Central station and fifty metres on the flat from my bus home.
  • It’s even just called Marks & Spencer Food

Now that’s what I call levelling up!

 

December 13, 2021 Posted by | Design, Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wagons Roll For Freightliner UK

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on railfreight.com.

This is the first paragraph.

UK operator Freightliner has taken delivery of the first batch of new FFA-G wagons for UK operations. The forty wagons have arrived in the UK from Poland, adding to the intermodal fleet of the operator. The entire order, for 230 wagons will be delivered by the end of November 2021.

The wagons have been designed for efficiency and being able to take a forty foot container anywhere on the UK’s network with a loading gauge of W10.

 

 

October 20, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

The Seat Of Aurora

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the August 2021 Edition of Modern Railway.

The article has this sub-title.

East Midlands Railway has finalised the new seats for its new trains, and they’re completely useless – as ironing boards.

Note.

  1. East Midlands Railway‘s new trains are Class 810 trains, which are Hitachi AT300 express trains, as used by several operators.
  2. Some passengers and industry commentators have criticised the seats in these trains as like ironing boards.
  3. Abellio Greater Anglia, who are a sister company to East Midlands Railway, also choose the seats for their new trains with care. I wrote No ‘Ironing Board seats’ For Greater Anglia’s New Trains, about their seat choice.

Ian Walmsley, who wrote the article for Modern Railways says this about the Seat of Aurora.

My verdict is that it is a good seat, and that is in absolute terms – not just saying it is better than an 800, which it would have to be really.

For myself, the proof of the seating will be in the sitting.

September 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Whitechapel Station – 23rd August 2021

Whitechapel station reopened this morning, so I went to have a look.

Note.

  1. There are more lifts than any program on Strictly.
  2. All the main stairs are wide with lots of handrails.
  3. There is a passageway alongside the Ticket Hall to access Durward Street at the back of the station.
  4. There is still some work to do on the Overground platforms.

It certainly could be The Jewel In The East.

August 23, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Manea Station

Manea station, is one of least-used stations in the UK.

But it does have a rather nice new shelter.

Perhaps, Greater Anglia are expecting more passengers.

August 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Wrightbus Presents Their First Battery-Electric Bus

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Electrive.

This is the first paragraph.

The Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus presents its first battery-electric vehicle in its portfolio: a double-decker bus called StreetDeck Electroliner. Until now, the Northern Irish manufacturer has been known primarily for its hydrogen-powered buses.

In My First Ride In A Hydrogen-Powered Double-Deck Bus, I rode in a Wrightbus StreetDeck Hydroliner FCEV, so these pictures of that bus, will at least show the external style of the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV.

These two links show the web page for each product on the Wrightbus web site.

Electric – Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliner BEV

Hydrogen – Wrightbus StreetDeck Hydroliner FCEV

Wrightbus on their web page announce the Electroliner with a headline of The Electric Bus Perfected.

This is the first paragraph of the web page.

Meet the electric bus from the future of environmentally friendly transport. Our StreetDeck Electroliner is built with features to inspire the next wave of electric transport including best in class range to cover most duty cycles, modern passenger-focused amenities, best in class charge time, and many more. Making every kilometer a new sustainability milestone.

These are some features of the bus, gleaned from Wrightbus web page and the electrive article.

Battery Power

The Wrightbus web page says this about the batteries.

StreetDeck Electroliner’s maximum power from a 454kW zero-emission battery electric powertrain is the highest battery capacity for a UK Double Deck bus. It powers it to a leading range of up to 200 miles and a fast charge time of just 2.5 hours ensures longer journeys with fewer refueling breaks. Our commitment to greener transport is also strengthened with an optional 8-year battery warranty.

Note.

  1. On the Wrightbus web page, a cutaway drawing appears to show batteries everywhere.
  2. Reading the Wrightbus web page, the specification says that there are two battery sizes available; 340 kWh and 454 kWh.

They certainly seem to have all angles covered with batteries.

According to the electrive article, the StreetDeck Electroliner uses slim batteries from French company; Forsee Power.

On their web site, there is a paragraph, which is entitled Wrightbus Will Integrate ZEN SLIM Batteries, where this is said.

As part of its exclusive supplier partnership with Wrightbus, Forsee Power will supply Wrightbus with the new ZEN SLIM batteries, whose extra flat format allows easy integration into the chassis of vehicles (standard or double-decker buses).

Each bus will be equipped with three battery systems up to 340 kWh and an extension including a fourth system will also be possible, providing exceptional capacity of 432 kWh and a battery range of more than 350 kilometers.

The figure of 432 kWh does not fit with the Wrightbus specification and is not 340*4/3, so I suspect the Forsee web site is a couple of figures out of date.

The Forsee brochure for the ZEN SLIM batteries gives an energy density of 166 Wh per Kg. This means that the weight of the 454 kWh battery is around 3.7 tonnes.

I do like the modularity of the batteries, as it means must mean greater flexibility for bus operators, especially in a large city, where there is a varied mix of routes.

Intriguingly the batteries appear to be water cooled. Is the heat generated by the batteries, used to warm the bus in winter? Now that would be kool!

Battery Charging

In the specification on the Wrightbus web site, under a heading of EV Charging, this is said.

CCS2.0 Compliant Combo2 Socket
150kW or 300kW fast charge

And under a heading of EV Charge Time, this is said.

340kWh – 2 ½ hours @ 150kW
454kWh – 3 hours @ 150Kw
Up to 420kW Opportunity Charging / Pantograph Charging

I find the pantograph charging interesting.

I have been following a battery train charging device called a Railbaar since 2016, when I wrote How To Charge A Battery Train.

The device is now available for buses as a Busbaar and this page on the opbrid web site talks about opportunity charging for buses.

Opportunity Charging would entail charging the buses at suitable points along the route, using an overhead charging point and a speciality designed pantograph on the roof of the bus.

Wrightbus claims a charging rate of 420 kW for their system. With a claimed range of 200 miles, these buses should be able to handle at least 90 % of the bus routes in the UK.

Note that Opbrid are part of Furrer + Frey, the Swiss supplier of railway overhead electrification, who have a quality pedigree and are Network Rail’s supplier of choice for overhead electrification.

Co-location Of Bus And Railway Stations

Bus stations with charging for battery buses and electrified railway lines will both need a high grade connection to the electricity grid.

As an Electrical Engineer, I think it would be prudent to co-locate bus and railway stations so that all heavy users and the parked electric vehicles nearby could share the grid connection.

Both The Hydroliner And The Electroliner Appear To Share A Chassis

Looking at the cutaways on the two web pages for the buses, the chassis of both buses appear to be very similar.

The cutaway for the Electroliner shows some of the batteries low down between the wheels with more stacked up at the back of bus.

On the Hydroliner much of the equipment seems to be stacked up at the back of the bus.

The similar chassis and body designs must surely help production and allow a lot of components to be shared between the two buses.

Drive System

This article on electrive is entitled Voith To Deliver Electric Drives For Wrightbus and this is the first paragraph.

Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus has selected Voith as its exclusive partner to supply the electric drive system for the second generation of its battery-electric and fuel cell buses for Europe.

The second paragraph, says that Wrightbus has an order for eighty Electroliners for Translink in Northern Ireland to be delivered after August 2021.

This electrive article also described Voith’s electric drive system (VEDS).

The German supplier says it has developed the VDES specifically for the requirements of public transport. The 340 kW electric motor is said to be able to drive even double-decker buses, heavy articulated buses and trucks over long distances. The system also includes a water-cooled converter system, a drive management unit (called DMU), further converters for auxiliary units and the on-board charging management system including the cabling. Voith expects this to result in the highest possible efficiency, as all components are coordinated with each other.

Note the water-cooled converter system.

Running Gear

No vehicle is complete without a good set of wheels and suspension. The first electrive article says this.

Other features of the StreetDeck Electroliner, Wrightbus says, include a ZF rear axle system (AV133) and an independent front suspension system (RL 82 EC), also from ZF.

Few would question the choice of ZF as a supplier.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Wrightbus have designed two buses, from the best components they can find and fitted them into their own purpose-built chassis and bodywork.

It’s almost as how the great Colin Chapman of Lotus fame would have designed a bus.

 

I

July 3, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Is Caledonian Road And Barnsbury An Ideal Four-Track Station?

This Google Map shows Caledonian Road And Barnsbury station.

Note the island platform, with two tracks on either side.

These four pictures show each pair of tracks in both directions.

And these pictures show general views of the station.

I don’t know the layout of every station, but Caledonian Road And Barnsbury seems to be unusual.

  • There is a spacious island platform in the middle of the four tracks.
  • On either side of the island platform, there are the two lines for local passenger trains.
  • Outside of the two local passenger lines, there are two lines for freight trains.
  • Access to the island platform is via a simple half-bridge with only two lifts.
  • Everybody enters the station from one side.

Does this layout have advantages?

Ease Of Construction

I think that this station was designed, so that it was quick and easy to build.

Once the tracks are aligned correctly, it shouldn’t be too complicated to build.

The bridge only has to span two tracks, so that must be half the work of crossing four tracks.

Passenger Safety

I have used real time trains to check the platform of freight trains passing through Caledonian Road And Barnsbury station.

It seems that only rarely do trains use the tracks in the two platforms.

This must surely be safer, when compared with the standard arrangement.

These pictures were taken at Highbury & Islington station.

The wide platform, also allows passengers to keep well out of the way of any trains that do pass through.

Would The Layout Work With High Speed Trains?

I don’t see why not!

The space between the outside lines and the platform, almost acts like a moat in a zoo, that keeps visitors away from dangerous animals.

Costs

It was probably not an expensive station to build.

Conclusion

Why are other four-track stations not built like this?

The main reason is probably, that most four-track main lines were laid out decades or even centuries ago and their builders used their own layouts.

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 6 Comments