The Anonymous Widower

Market Harborough Station – 11th July 2019

Compare these pictures taken today, with those in Market Harborough Station – 10th May 2019.

In the intervening two months, there have been major changes at Market Harborough station.

Two Shorter Curved Platforms Have Been Replaced

The two shorter curved platforms have been replaced by two long straight platforms.

  • They can handle the longest trains likely to stop in the station.
  • As they are straight, it is likely that there will be a smaller gap to mind, between platform and train.
  • The platforms and the tracks have been moved to the West by several metres.
  • The platforms are now furnished to a high standard, with shelters and information screens.

The new platforms and tracks are a great improvement for passengers, staff and train operators.

But they also mean.

  • Trains that stop at the station, can perform faster stops, as the better train-platform interface speeds passengers entering or leaving the train.
  • Passing trains can benefit from a higher speed limit through the station.

This should mean a faster journey time along the Midland Main Line.

The Land Released Will Be Used To Extend The Car Park

Several hundred new car parking spaces will be provided on the Eastern side of the line, in the land released by moving the platforms and tracks.

There Is A Fully Working Step-Free Bridge

The new step-free bridge is now fully working.

  • The steps are wide enough for bi-directional traffic.
  • There are lifts on both sides.

It is asymmetric, with the steps probably leading in the direction most passengers will be walking to and from.

  • On the Eastern London-bound platform, passengers will be walking to and from the car park.
  • On the Western Leicester-bound platform, passengers will be walking to and from the main station building with the exit to the town, the ticket office and the cafe.

The bridge will certainly handle commuters to London or Leicester, who drive to the station and have to cross the tracks before or after one journey.

It will also handle commuters, who walk or cycle from the town centre.

This bridge has been placed by someone, who knows what they’re doing!

There Are A Pair Of Crossovers To The North Of the Station

I don’t know whether these are new, but they certainly will give operational advantages, if for instance, a train should fail in Market Harbprough station.

As it is likely, that the Midland Main Line will be electrified as far North as Market Harborough station, could they be used for other purposes?

125 mph electric services could be run between London and Market Harborough.

  • The two crossovers would easy turnback of the trains or the building of a stabling siding, North of the station.
  • Trains would probably take under an hour.
  • They could stop at intermediate stations like Luton Airport Parkway Luton, Bedford and Wellingborough.
  • Market Harborough station has a lot of parking.
  • It could be a second electric service into St. Pancras.

It could be a useful complimentary service or an alternative one whilst planned major regeneration work is ongoing at Leicester station.

Market Harborough Station Has A Bigger Capacity

Consider.

  • The longer platforms will allow longer trains with more seats to call at the station.
  • The shorter dwell times at the station of stopping trains will allow more trains to stop in the station every hour.
  • The step-free bridge is additional capacity for crossing the tracks.
  • There will be a massive increase in car parking.

It looks to me that the station has been upgraded to fulfil a need for more trains.

These figures show the population and passenger numbers at stations around Market Harborough.

  • Corby – 70,800 – 300,000 – 4.24
  • Kettering – 56,200 – 1,070,000 – 19
  • Market Harborough – 22,900 – 900,000 – 39.3
  • Wellingborough -49,100 – 1,015,000 – 20.7

The last figure was obtained by dividing the number of journeys by the population.

Does Market Harborough’s high figure mean that there is a high demand for travellers living around Market Hsrborough and the large amount of extra car parking will be well-used.

Note.

  1. I travelled to Market Harborough with a lady and her two young children, who wee actually going to Leicester and were being picked up by family at the earlier station due to all the traffic problems around Leicester station.
  2. There used to be four stations between Market Harborough and Leicester, but all closed in 1968.
  3. There used to be two stations between Market Harborough and Kettering, but all closed in the 1960s.
  4. Market Harborough is well-connected by roads.

So is Market Harborough station used by locals as a Leicester South station?

As an aside, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new parkway station developed in conjunction with a large housing development, built between Kettering and Leicester, at some point in the future..

Future Electrification

There is a section entitle Electrification in the Wikipedia entry for the Midland Main Line.

This is the last paragraph.

On 26 February 2019 Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, announced that electrification would be extended northwards from Kettering to Market Harborough, enabling the connection of the railway to a new power supply point at Braybrooke.

I will assume that this means, that electric trains will be able to run to Market Harborough station.

As I said earlier, there are a pair of crossovers to the North of the station, which could be useful for turning trains or giving easy access to a couple of stabling sidings.

Hopefully, electrifying the station will not be difficult, as it has only recently been built and foundations for the electrification gantries have either been built or surveyed thoroughly.

Battery Trains Through Market Harborough Station

One thing that won’t be needed at Market Harborough station is a charging station for battery-electric trains, as this will be handled by the electrification.

Bi-mode and battery-electric trains would either raise or lower the pantograph at speed or at a stop in the station.

The operation of a battery-electric train going North could be interesting.

If it wasn’t scheduled to stop in the station, the train would go through Market Harborough station, with maximum charge in the onboard storage, after being charged by the overhead electrification, on the way up from London. The train would also run through the station, at the highest possible speed, as allowed by the track, so that the train had the highest possible kinetic energy.

Electrification to Market Harborough will act like a catapult to send trains North at their maximum kinetic energy and they could probably glide all the way to Leicester station using little of their energy stored in the onboard battery.

The electrification would probably go a short way North of Market Harborough station, so that sropping trains could be accelerated to full speed using the electrification.

There Is Still Work To Be Done

Work to be done appears to include.

  • Refurbishing the original subway to give access between the London-bound platform and the station building.
  • Finishing the shelters and other platform furnishings.
  • Landscape the car-park and create ramped access to the London-bound platform.

A notice said the subway would reopen in December 2019.

Conclusion

Market Harborough now has a much higher capacity modern station.

 

July 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Brentwood Station – 2nd July 2019

I took these pictures of Brentwood station today.

For comparison, this second set of pictures were taken in October 2014 and I posted them in Before Crossrail – Brentwood Station.

Note the excellent toilets.

There is still work to do to finish the station.

The biggest problem appears to be squeezing the lifts into the structure.

There is this article on Essex Live, which is entitled Brentwood Station Lift Fiasco Is Penalising Buggy-Users And Disable People.

This is said in the article.

Network Rail has previously said that the decision to not install a lift on platform four was “not taken lightly.”

But, the discovery of power cables and a disused culvert underneath where the lift shaft would go led to Network Rail’s conclusion that a lift could not be installed there.

I’m afraid that station modifications are liberally sprinkled with stories like this.

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

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

Hunts Cross 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.

Hunts Cross station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge.

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

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

It may be unusual, but I suspect a conventional lift tower on each platform would make the station fully step-free.

Note.

  1. The station is Grade II Listed and is described as”A good example of the stations built for the Cheshire Lines Committee.”
  2. The ramps and bridge look to be in excellent condition and could be reasonably recent. Some repainting was actually in progress.
  3. For those that are in need of a drink, after climbing the ramps, there is a handy pub called the Waiting Room. It was busy, when I went to the station.
  4. As well as providing step-free entrance and exit to the station, the lifts would provide step-free interchange for passengers from Manchester needing to transfer to Merseyrail.
  5. Passengers arriving at the station, who need to go to Manchester, would do as they do now and walk across the platform.
  6. Do the last two pictures in the gallery show that the bridge was built or has been modified for lifts to be added? The bridge seems to have a lower wall, which could be removed.
  7. There may be some adjustments needed to the path that Links the station entrance to the bridge.

I’m also pretty certain, that the layout of the station, would allow works to be done, whilst the station is in full operation.

Preparation For Class 777 Trains

Unlike most other stations, that I saw on on the Merseyrail network, work appears to be outstanding to create level access between the new Class 777 trains and platform.

Future Electrification

The bridge would appear to be high enough to clear any future 25 KVAC electrification.

Conclusion

This shouldn’t be the most difficult of projects, unless the Heritage Lobby get upset.

The only problem, I can see would be, it might attract more passengers and create a need for a larger car park.

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

The Steps At Dalston Junction Station

Dalston Junction is a four-platform station and these are the only stairs at the station.

I think the design is excellent.

  • They serve all four platforms, so you can’t go the wrong way!
  • They are very wide, so have a high capacity.
  • There are effectively four handrails for those like me, who want or need to hold on.
  • Fit travellers who can lift their case, can use the stairs.
  • There is a landing half-way up.
  • The stairs are well-lit.
  • in 2017-2018, the stairs handled nearly six million passengers.
  • The small number of interchange passengers don’t need to use the stairs and walk between platforms on the level.
  • The steps are Transport for London’s typical low-slip design.
  • At the bottom of the staircase, there is a wide landing area with two train information displays and a 20-30 metre walks to the four platforms.
  • At the top of the staircase there is a wide lobby, with the wide gate-line in front of passengers coming up the stairs.
  • There is usually, a member of the station staff watching the passenger flows and answering any questions.

But above all there is a single lift about ten-twenty metres from the stairs, so avoiding the stairs is easy and obvious.

I have seen few stairs in stations as well-designed as these.

A few more general observations.

Wide Stairs With A Double Rail In the Middle

This design of stairs is being increasingly seen in London and around Europe.

In Stairs And A Lift At Cannon Street Station, I show a similar installation.

But there are loads like this monstrosity at Bethnal Green station in Before Overground – Stairs Not Fit For Purpose.

How many stations could be improved by widening the staircase?

Probably quite a few, but many staircases are constrained within solid walls.

Handrails

Transport for London generally use round and easy-to-grip handrails.

These are the best I’ve seen, which are on the Amsterdam Metro.

Some on British Rail-era stations are big and square and must be difficult for those with small or frail hands.

An Obvious Lift

At Dalston Junction, the lift is obvious as you approach the stairs.

But in some stations, the lifts are at the other end of the platform.

The Greenford Solution

These pictures show the solution at Greenford station.

Note.

  1. There is an up-escalator.
  2. A staircase,which is as wide as possible.
  3. There are three handrails with a low rail for those who prefer it.
  4. There is an inclined lift, which saves space.

I think we’ll see more step-free installations of this style.

Safety

I won’t comment on safety, as I don’t want to bring bad luck to the installations.

Conclusion

All those designing staircases and lift systems for stations, should be made to visit Dalston Junction and Greenford stations in the Peak.

April 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Lifts At Finsbury Park Station

As I passed through Finsbury Park station, I took these pictures of the new lifts to the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.

These lifts are particularly needed as there are no escalators between the Underground and the surface and you have to use spiral staircases.

This access is probably one of the worst design crimes on the Victoria Line, which was built on the cheap in the 1960s.

Notice that some of the signage is not complete and finding the lifts isn’t as easy, as it should be.

But then the installation is not fully finished.

February 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

An Encounter In A Lift

I don’t use lifts on the trains very often, except when I am lumbered with heavy shopping, or to use a lift is substantially quicker.

This morning my Northern Line train arrived at Kings Cross, so that I alighted right by the lift, in time to see two ladies with babies in buggies, leave the lift and get on the platform.

Now this was a time-saving that was too good to be true, as this lift drops you just by the ticket gates.

I waited to press the button, in case someone else needed the lift.

My only companion turned out to be an attractive tall lady about thirty, who was strikingly dressed, with a very short leather skirt and shoes with the some of the highest heels, I’ve ever seen on the street.

If I do travel in a lift, I like to not be youngest person in the lift, as one has to keep up standards and fight hard against anno domini.

So I said to the lady. “Thanks for coming in the lift, as I make it a rule not to use a lift, unless there’s someone younger than myself on-board!”

She smiled and replied. “I can’t climb the stairs in these f**king shoes!”

Trying to be sympathetic, I said. “Couldn’t you have worn something more comfortable?”

“No!” She replied! “I’m a backing singer going to an audition. One has to impress!”

I hope all her efforts were rewarded!

 

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

An Unusual Set Of Steps

These steps currently exist at Moorgate station.

The steps have been closed and it looks like they will be replaced by a lift to the subway.

At least they’re roped off securely!

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The Inclined Lift In An Improved Greenford Station

I visited Greenford station in January 2012, just after Transport for London announced that the last wooden escalator would be replaced with an inclined lift.

The lift has now been installed.

I rode down and then used the escalator up.

It is impressive and you do wonder how many other stations could have this type of lift installed.

This article on the Crossrail web site, entitled Crossrail and TfL to Install First Incline Lifts in UK Public Transport, says this.

Crossrail and Transport for London (TfL) today awarded a major contract to Kone for around 50 lifts for the new Crossrail stations as well as five lifts for Bank, Greenford and Hammersmith Tube stations.

Crossrail will pioneer the use of incline lifts to deliver step-free access at two of the major central London stations. Four innovative incline lifts will run alongside escalators at Farringdon and Liverpool Street Crossrail stations where it is not possible to install vertical lifts. London Underground will also install an incline lift at Greenford station by 2014.

My gateway to the Victoria Line; Highbury and Islington could be a possibility, but one of the station staff told me, that the space at the bottom of the current set of two escalators and a fixed staircase is very small and fitting a third escalator is impossible.

But it might be possible to squeeze in a much needed inclined lift. Note that the lift doesn’t intrude into the circulation space at the top and bottom of the stairs.

I suspect that Transport for London will be watching the Greenford installation with more than a usual interest.

They’ve certainly got several stations with both an up and down escalator and a stairway between that could be possibilities for conversion to fully step-free by the use of an inclined lift.

The station I could have used more times than any other; Southgate has the required space between the escalators, but as it is a Grade 2* Listed building, I can’t see the heritage lobby allowing even a well-designed and tasteful inclined lift into the Jewel of the Piccadilly Line.

But Bounds Green, Manor House, Turnpike Lane, Walthamstow Central and Wood Green could be ones to upgrade.

October 22, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Around The Barbican

After my visit to the Cheapside Hoard, I walked across the Barbican to do some shopping at the Waitrose there.

I can’t resist taking pictures of the iconic buildings, where C and myself brought up our young family.

Note the elegant public lift to the podium, which enables a corner to be cut off.

October 15, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment