The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Belmont Station

This press release from Sutton Council is entitled Trains Running To Belmont Set To Double As Sutton Wins £14 million Levelling Up Funding.

These four paragraphs outline the scheme.

The number of trains running to Belmont is set to double after Sutton Council secured a £14.1 million cash injection from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The investment has been awarded to unlock the full potential of the London Cancer Hub, the world-leading life sciences campus that is being developed in Belmont and is poised to create 13,000 jobs and £1.2 billion each year for the UK economy.

The money will be used to improve rail services at Belmont, an area which has been poorly served by public transport until now. This will enable train services to double from two to four trains an hour, with additional direct services between Belmont and London Victoria. Belmont station will also be improved with step-free access, better wayfinding signage and new walking and cycling routes to the London Cancer Hub.

Better public transport is key to delivering the huge health and employment benefits of the London Cancer Hub. The major regeneration project is set to bring unprecedented investment to Sutton and tackle health inequalities nationwide by accelerating life-saving cancer research and innovation.

I have some thoughts.

Comparison To The Cambridge Biomedical Campus

The Cambridge Biomedical Campus is a similar medical research site in Cambridge.

  • The Cambridge site does more general research, than the Sutton site.
  • Both sites have world class hospitals.
  • Both hospitals attract lots of patients from some distance away.
  • The Cambridge site already has 20,000 employees, as opposed to Sutton’s target of 12,000.
  • In a few years, the Cambridge site will have a railway station; Cambridge South, connecting it to London and the wider environs of Cambridge.
  • The Cambridge site has good cycle and bus connections to the  Greater Cambridge area.
  • The Sutton site, needs good cycle and bus connections to the local area and especially local stations, including Belmont.

In addition, I believe that if Belmont had four trains per hour (tph) connecting it to Greater London, this would be an alternative to using private cars to reach the Sutton site.

Handling Patients At Belmont Station

Going into hospital even for just a short out-patient visit can be stressful, so I feel it is important that everything is done to make the time in the station and getting between the train and bus, as stress-free as possible.

  • Access between train and platform should be step-free and wheelchair-friendly.
  • There should be a comfortable waiting area.
  • Access between the train and bus should be step-free and wheelchair-friendly.
  • Buses should be timed to meet the trains.
  • There should be lots of information.
  • I suspect blind people get cancer, just like most people, so there probably needs to be staff or volunteers at the station.

I see a couple of problems.

  • Getting the bus next to the platform is difficult, as they’ve built flats on the space in front of the station.
  • The light controlled crossing, is in the wrong place for slow travellers to get across the road to the bus station.

Some hard and possibly expensive thinking will be needed to get good access between the trains and the bus to the hospital.

How Well Would Four tph Connecting London Victoria And Belmont Serve The Hospital?

The current trains between London Victoria and Belmont call at the following stations, where there are interchange possibilities.

  • Clapham Junction, which has lots of connections.
  • Balham, which connects to the Northern Line.
  • West Croydon, which connects to the Overground.
  • Sutton, which connects to Thameslink.

There may be sensible reasons for the extra two tph from Belmont to serve another set of destinations.

The train services should be designed in partnership with the NHS cancer treatment.

 

January 22, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Leyton Station Set For £14m Upgrade

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Waltham Forest Echo.

These paragraphs outline the joint plan for Leyton and Colindale stations.

Leyton Station will receive step-free access and a new ticket hall and concourse thanks to £14 million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund.

The Greater London Authority was awarded more than £43million yesterday for work to make Leyton Station and Colindale Station in Barnet more accessible.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities hopes that the work will improve “two pockets of socio-economic deprivation in the capital”.

Waltham Forest Council has insisted for some time that an upgrade to the station is “desperately needed” to expand capacity before thousands of new homes are built nearby.

This project doesn’t seem to be listed on the this page in The Times, which is entitled Levelling Up: Full List Of Winners From Eden Project North To Mini Golf.

This news item from Barnet Council is entitled Barnet Council Leader Welcomes £29.5m Levelling Up Funding For Redeveloping At-Capacity Colindale Tube Station and gives a description of the works proposed at Colindale station.

January 22, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Hackney Central Before Levelling Up

This press release from Hackney Council is entitled £19m Funding Boost For Town Centre At Hackney’s ‘Beating Heart’.

This summary is in the first two paragraphs.

A greener, safer and more welcoming Hackney Central is one step closer after Hackney Council’s successful application for £19m in Levelling Up funding.

The award will see five acres of public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road, investment in Hackney Central Library, a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction, new creative workspace and a rejuvenated Hackney Town Hall Square.

This is the summary from the Government’s levelling-up document.

£19 million for renovating public spaces in Hackney Central, such as the iconic Town Hall Square, as well as new creative workspace and upgrades to the Hackney Central Library.

So. this afternoon I went for a walk around Hackney Central and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The roundel is missing outside the Graham Road entrance to Hackney Central station.
  2. Hackney Town Hall is a Grade II Listed Building, dating from the 1930s.
  3. I wrote abut the Hackney Picturehouse in The Film That Changed My Life!.
  4. The Hackney Empire is a Grade II* Listed Building.
  5. The Pizza Express is new, swanky and spacious, and not what I’d expected. I had a late lunch there.
  6. The bridge carrying the Overground over Mare Street needs improvement.
  7. I wrote about the Hackney Marks and Spencer in Levelling Up – The Marks & Spencer Way.
  8. St. Augustine’s Tower is the oldest building in Hackney.
  9. The main building of Hackney Central station is now a bar and music venue.

In words that could be attributed to legendary estate agent; Roy Brooks, it is an area with potential.

These are some thoughts.

The Town Hall Square

What puzzles me about the garden in front of the Town Hall, is the two trees, which I would associate with warmer climes.

Even today, when it was rather cold, there were still flowers in front of the Town Hall.

The Overground

I argue that the coming of the London Overground raised the standard of Dalston, Hackney, Whitechapel and other parts of East and South London to that of their more desired and affluent neighbours.

We can’t really attribute the the creation of the London Overground to any one politician, as it has been an aspiration of several politicians and rail professionals since the 1990s. This History section in the Wikipedia entry for the Overground lists all the false starts and hopes.

But one man; Peter Hendy has been there most of the time and has worked with all three of London’s Mayors and several Transport Ministers.

I do wonder how much the Overground benefited from a sane, quiet hand from someone like Lord Hendy.

The Overground has certainly done its best for Hackney and we need more of its common sense approach to levelling-up all over the country.

Marks And Spencer

When I moved back to London, Hackney had a terrible Marks and Spencer.

As one of their biggest London stores, is just three stops away on the Overground, it might have been financially prudent to close the store at Hackney Central.

But Marks did the opposite and converted it into an upmarket food store, which is much more Knightsbridge than East End.

It’s certainly convenient for me, as I can get a bus there and a bus back, with only a hundred metre level walk at both ends.

The Graham Road Entrance To Hackney Central Station

This makes it easier to travel around Hackney and to get to the Town Hall, Theatre, Cinema and Library area.

How many extra entrances to railway stations will improve journeys and attract more passengers?

The Continuous Development Of The Hackney Central And Hackney Downs Complex

Since I moved to Hackney three projects have been completed on the station complex.

  • A walkway has been built between the two stations to ease interchange.
  • Lifts have been added to the footbridge at Hackney Central.
  • The Graham Road entrance has been opened.

Two other projects have been proposed, but nothing has been actioned.

  • A replacement entrance to Hackney Central station on the North side of the station.
  • Step-free access to Hackney Downs station.

Will either of these projects be covered by the levelling up funding?

Pizza Express

This opened in December and I hadn’t seen it before, but you won’t notice it, unless you walk or ride on a bus up Mare Street, which I rarely do these days, since Hackney Wick station has been rebuilt.

So I was surprised to see it and like the Marks and Spencer it is more upmarket than other pizzadromes in East London.

  • There is a lot of space.
  • It has a proper wheel-chair entrance, that no-one could fault.
  • Seating is upmarket, with several tables having a good view of the street outside. Ideal for someone eating alone, as I do regularly.

The restaurant still has a few rough edges, but it has the potential to be a pizzadrome to visit.

I do wonder, if the upmarket Marks and Spencer and Pizza Express are in a way an endorsement of Hackney’s plans for the future, by two market leaders of the High Street.

Buses

There are a lot of bus routes going through the area, which is a good thing.

But the information could also be improved.

Clapton Bus Garage

This map shows the location of Clapton bus garage.

Clapton bus garage is the large building in the North-East corner of the map, red buses with white roofs outside.

This document on the Hackney Council web site is entitled Draft Hackney Central And Surrounds Masterplan, where this is said.

Relocate Clapton Bus Garage to an alternative site, to develop the site for mixed use, commercial/
residential development, and create a new route from St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens to
Bohemia Place and beyond.

This sounds like a good idea, as part of the congestion in the area is caused by buses having to fight their way into the garage, when the roads are busy.

If they built, the right flats there I might be interested, as the site has good transport connections and an excellent Marks and Spencer.

Ashurst Road And Pembury Circus

This paragraph is in Hackney’s press release.

The award will see five acres of public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road, investment in Hackney Central Library, a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction, new creative workspace and a rejuvenated Hackney Town Hall Square.

Cut out what I have already covered and you get.

The award will see public space transformed, bringing new green space, trees and seating along Amhurst Road and a much-needed redesign of Pembury Circus junction.

This map shows Amhurst Road and Pembury Circus.

Note.

  1. Amhurst Road runs NW-SE across map.
  2. Hackney Central station is at the bottom of the map on the North London Line, which runs East-West.
  3. Hackney Downs station is the other station in the middle of the map.
  4. Pembury Circus is to the East of where Amhurst Road runs under the railway, at the top of the map.
  5. Dalston Lane runs between Pembury Circus Hackney Downs station.

I know the area around Hackney Downs station well.

  • I regularly take a train to Hackney Downs station and get a 30 or 56 bus to my home from a bus stop on Dalston Lane.
  • It can be a very unfriendly and cold place to catch a bus late at night.

But saying that, I’ve never had any trouble.

Improvements in that area, would certainly make my journey easier.

I would like to see the bus stops at Hackney Downs station moved to under the railway bridge to both improve shelter and cut the walking distance.

Conclusion

This could be £19 million very well spent and all residents of Hackney, myself included, could benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

January 21, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Levelling Up Funding Will Double Train Services To Belmont In Surrey

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

This project is outlined in these three paragraphs in the article.

An award of £14.1 million to Sutton Council from the government’s Levelling Up Fund will unlock the full potential of the London Cancer Hub and allow the number of trains running to the village of Belmont in South London to be doubled.

The London Cancer Hub is a world-leading life sciences campus that is being developed at Belmont in Surrey, and which will create 13,000 jobs and £1.2 billion each year for the UK economy.

Until now, Belmont has been poorly served by public transport and the money will enable its train services to be doubled to four trains an hour, and extra direct services from Belmont to London Victoria.

This document from Sutton Council gives more details in this paragraph.

This bid will double train frequency between Belmont and London Victoria from 2 to 4 trains per hour by building a siding turnback south of Belmont Station. It will improve accessibility at the station and provide better routes for people walking and cycling to the station from the nearby area and The London Cancer Hub. As a result, public transport accessibility will improve and active travel will increase.

This map from CartoMetro shows the current track layout at Belmont station.

Note.

  1. The Epsom Downs branch used to be double track, with a second platform at Belmont station.
  2. There used to be a cross-over South of the station.

I suspect a length of the other track will be reinstated, with a cross-over the other way round to create the turnback siding.

This will allow two extra trains per hour to run between London and Belmont, that will turn back at Belmont.

In Could Third-Rail Tram-Trains Work The Epsom Downs Branch?, I walked up the hill to the Royal Marsden Hospital and it wasn’t an easy walk, as these pictures show.

Perhaps all trains should be met by a zero-carbon shuttle bus.

Going to a cancer hospital is not a pleasurable experience, especially for a child, so why not liven it up a bit with a ride in the best zero-carbon bus, that can be found?

 

 

 

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 14 Comments

Landmark Levelling Up Fund To Spark Transformational Change Across The UK

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the UK Government.

These are the four bullet points.

  • More than 100 projects awarded share of £2.1 billion from Round 2 of government’s flagship Levelling Up Fund.
  • Projects will benefit millions of people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and create jobs and boost economic growth.
  • £672 million to develop better transport links, £821 million to kick-start community regeneration and £594 million to restore local heritage sites.
  • Successful bids include Eden Project North in Morecambe, a new AI campus in Blackpool, regeneration in Gateshead, and rail improvements in Cornwall

The press release expands the last bullet point.

Projects awarded Levelling Up Fund money today include:

Eden Project North

Eden Project North will receive £50 million to transform a derelict site on Morecambe’s seafront into a world class visitor attraction. It will also kick-start regeneration more widely in Morecambe, creating jobs, supporting tourism and encouraging investment in the seaside town.

Note.

  1. Because of its closeness to the West Coast Main Line, it will have excellent rail connections to all over the North of England and Central and Southern Scotland, through Lancaster, which will only be a shuttle train away.
  2. One of High Speed Two’s direct destinations will be Lancaster, which will be served by High Speed Two by hourly trains to Birmingham, Carlisle, Crewe, London, Preston, Warrington and Wigan and by two-hourly trains to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lockerbie and Motherwell.
  3. London and Lancaster will be a journey of just two hours and three minutes.

I believe that this high quality rail access will ensure the success of the Eden Project North.

Cardiff Crossrail

Cardiff Crossrail has been allocated £50 million from the fund to improve the journey to and from the city and raise the economic performance of the wider region.

The Cardiff Crossrail is obviously a good project from the little that I’ve read about it. But it does need a web site to explain the reasoning behind it.

Blackpool Multiversity

Blackpool Council and Wyre Council will receive £40 million to deliver a new Multiversity, a carbon-neutral, education campus in Blackpool’s Talbot Gateway Central Business District. This historic funding allows Blackpool and The Fylde College to replace their ageing out-of-town centre facilities with world-class state-of-the-art ones in the heart of the town centre. The Multiversity will promote higher-level skills, including automation and artificial intelligence, helping young people secure jobs of the future.

Blackpool certainly needs something.

My suggestion in Blackpool Needs A Diamond, was to build a second Diamond Light Source in the North to complement the successful facility at Harwell.

I don’t think the two proposals are incompatible.

Fair Isle Ferry

Nearly £27 million has been guaranteed for a new roll-on, roll-off ferry for Fair Isle in the Shetland Islands. The service is a lifeline for the island, supporting its residents, visitors and supply chains, and without its replacement the community will become further isolated.

Note.

  1. Will it be a British-built ferry?
  2. Will it be hydrogen-powered?  After all by the time it is built, the Northern Scottish islands will be providing enough of the gas to power a quarter of Germany.
  3. Surely, a hydrogen-powered roll-on, roll-off ferry will be a tourist attraction in its own right.

I hope the Government and the islanders have a good ship-yard lined up

Gateshead Quays And The Sage

A total of £20 million is going towards the regeneration of Gateshead Quays and the Sage, which will include a new arena, exhibition centre, hotels, and other hospitality. The development will attract nearly 800,000 visitors a year and will create more than 1,150 new jobs.

I don’t know much about the Sage, but this project seems very reasonable.

Mid-Cornwall Metro

A £50 million grant will help create a new direct train service, linking 4 of Cornwall’s largest urban areas: Newquay, St Austell, Truro, and Falmouth/Penryn. This will level up access to jobs, skills, education, and amenities in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in the UK.

I wrote about this scheme in The Proposed Mid-Cornwall Metro, where I came to this conclusion.

I believe that a small fleet of Hitachi Regional Battery Trains could create an iconic Metro for Cornwall, that would appeal to both visitors and tourists alike.

Judging by the recent success of reopening the Dartmoor Railway to Okehampton in Devon, I think this scheme could be a big success. But it must be zero-carbon!

Female Changing Rooms For Northern Ireland Rugby

There is £5.1 million to build new female changing rooms in 20 rugby clubs across Northern Ireland.

Given the popularity of the female version of the sport in England, Scotland and Wales, perhaps this is a sensible way to level it up in Northern Ireland. As rugby is an all-Ireland sport, perhaps the Irish have already sorted the South?

January 19, 2023 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment