The Anonymous Widower

Are Transport for London Going To Install Bus Maps On Underground Platforms?

On both of the platforms at Angel station, Transport for London have now placed, their excellent bus spider maps, with a local street map.

More of this please.

February 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

The Surprising Reason For London Underground’s New Heritage Signs

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

This post will be finished, when I get a few pictures.

But in the meantime read Ian’s article.

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A Central Londoner’s View Of Thameslink

The Thameslink route, which runs North-South across London is used by different purposes, by different passengers.

  • To many, who live close to its outer reaches it is a commuter railway into London.
  • It serves two airports at Gatwick and Luton.
  • Londoners use it to explore the delights of the South Coast of England.

But to those who live in Central London like me, it is a useful rail line.

Kings Cross And London Bridge

I regularly use Thameslink for this route, as compared to the Northern Line.

  • The trains are more spacious and are generally less crowded.
  • It is less walking at Kings Cross.
  • The trains are air-conditioned.
  • The trains have toilets.
  • I have a convenient bus or taxi home from both end stations.

I suspect, I use this route a couple of times a week.

Access To Tate Modern

I like the Tate Modern and the gluten-free egg sandwiches are good.

There is also restaurants in the area; Leon and Carluccio’s for a start, that are good places for lunch or dinner.

So sometimes, I’ll use Thameslink to Blackfriars to visit the Tate Modern and then after my visit, I’ll walk over the Wobbly Bridge and take a bus home.

Thameslink is also an easy way to visit St. Paul’s and in a few years, the new Museum of London will be accessed from Farringdon station.

Access to Gatwick And Luton Airports

I haven’t used Luton Airport in years, as getting there by train is a bit tedious.

But I regularly use Gatwick Airport, usually by getting a bus to and from London Bridge station and then using Thameslink.

West Hampstead Thameslink

West Hampstead station on the Overground has recently been rebuilt and regularly I come home by changing between Thameslink and the Overground.

There is also a Marks & Spencer by the station, which helps too.

The area is becoming a major interchange and if the West London Orbital Railway is created, the Overground will be taking over or adding a platform at West Hampstead Thameslink station.

Does Thameslink Cater For All Passengers?

I say this deliberately, as I think that Thameslink concentrates more on the longer distance and airport passengers, rather than those, who use it as another North-South line across London.

Thameslink Will Run At Rapid Transit Frequencies

In the central core section between Blackfriars and St. Pancras International stations, the trains will run at a frequency of 24 trains per hour (tph) or a train every two and a half minutes.

Trains will run automatically at a frequency, that is higher than many rapid transit systems in the world.

Thameslink Is Part Of London’s Oyster/Contactless Ticketing Zone

From Gatwick Airport in the South to Elstree & Borehamwood and Hadley Wood in the North, Thameslink is part of London’s Oyster/Contactless Ticketing Zone.

In Oyster Card Scheme Extension Agreed, I wrote about how the zone is being extended to Luton Airport Parkway and Welwyn Garden City.

So increasingly, Thameslink will be covered by London’s ticketing, that is increasingly used by residents, commuters and visitors.

Thameslink Has Interchanges With The Underground And Overground

Thameslink has several interchange stations with the Overground and Underground.

These include.

  • Blackfriars
  • Denmark Hill
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Farringdon
  • Finsbury Park
  • Kentish Town
  • London Bridge
  • Peckham Rye
  • St. Pancras Thameslink
  • West Hampstead Thameslink
  • Wimbledon

In addition East Croydon, Mitcham Junction and Wimbledon are interchanges with Tramlink and Blackfriars and London Bridge are interchanges with the river buses.

Thameslink Is Not On The Tube Map

This is a bone of contention with many! Including myself!

According to the Wikipedia entry for the Tube Map, Thameslink was shown on the map between 1977 and 1998.

So why was it removed?

Some Thameslink Stations Don’t Have Tube Maps On The Platforms

I was on the platform at City Thameslink station and needed a Tube Map.

There wasn’t one!

Why not?

Conclusion

Thameslink is very much part of London’s rail network.

It should be treated as such, by doing the following.

  • Extending Oyster/Contactless ticketing to all Thameslink stations.
  • Adding all or part of Thameslink to the Tube Map.
  • Putting a Tube Map on all station platforms in the London area.

But this mess has existed for twenty years, since Thameslink was removed from the Tube Map.

 

 

January 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Original Walk-Through Train In The UK

It’s not often, you are more or less alone in one of London Underground’s S8 Stock trains, that is stationary.

But this train was stuck as a red signal outside Farringtdon station on a quiet day over the Christmas period, so I took advantage.

You can understand, why these eight car and 134 metre long trains can handle a couple over a thousand passengers for big matches at Wembley and also make journeys acceptable for long-distance commuters from Amersham, Chesham, Uxbridge and Watford.

Note the following features.

  • Walk-through design.
  • Better seats than Thameslink’s Call 700 trains.
  • Wide all-double doors and lobbies.
  • Wheelchair spaces with tip-up seats.
  • Big, wide windows.
  • Space under the seats.

Air-conditioning, step free access to platform and selective door opening are not shown.

The trains started to enter service in 2010 and they will probably have an interior refresh in around five years time, with the probably addition of wi-fi and USB power sockets.

Transport for London have used similar designs for three trains since.

The refurbishment of Docklands Light Railway trains has also been following similar principles.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Stairs And A Lift At Cannon Street Station

These pictures show stairs and a lift at Cannon Street station, that provide access between the National Rail and Underground stations.

In my view this is one of the best installations, that I’ve seen.

  • There is a lift for those who need one.
  • The stairs are wide with an additional central hand-rail.
  • The hand-rails are double and covered in comfy blue plastic.

This may be impressive, but as yet, there is only a full step-free connection to the Eastbound platform.Underground.

Obviously, all railway stations should be step-free, but to do all stations in the UK in a short time would be expensive and probably disruptive too!

But one thing that can be done at many stations, is to improve the hand-rails.

One of the worst stations near me, is Dalston Kingsland station, which was rebuilt a few years ago with a narrow staircase to each platform.

There has already been an incident at the busy station, where four people were hurt, as reported in this article on City AM.

Were the narrow stairs partly to blame?

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

New Lifts At Newbury Park Station

Newbury Park station now has lifts.

It also looks like the station has had a bit of upsprucing, as well!

The two clocks looked superb, alongside what is a top quality lift installation.

Two mothers with babies in prams were especially pleased, as neither knew that the station now had lifts, as they didn’t live in the area.

Transport for London are putting in several step-free installations at the outer reaches of the Central Line and like a thousand American lawyers at the bottom of the sea, it’s a good start!

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Can Abandoned Mines Heat Our Future?

The title of this post, is same as that of the title of a public lecture I attended at The Geological Society this afternoon.

This page on the Geological Society web site, gives a summary of the lecture and details of the speaker; Charlotte Adams of Durham University.

The Concept

The basic concept is simple.

  • Abandoned coal mines had their pumps turned off when they are closed and the worked areas have flooded with water, that is now at temperatures of around 12 to 20°C.
  • As fifteen billion tonnes of coal have been extracted from UK coalfields, that is a lot of space to flood. An estimate of around two billion cubic metres is given.
  • This means that the water holds somewhere between 27.9 and 46.5 GWH of energy in the form of heat.
  • Heat pumps would be used to upgrade the temperature of this water, to provide hot water at useful temperatures for space heating.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a heat pump, Wikipedia gives a good explanation, of which this is the first paragraph.

A heat pump is a device that transfers heat energy from a source of heat to what is called a heat sink. Heat pumps move thermal energy in the opposite direction of spontaneous heat transfer, by absorbing heat from a cold space and releasing it to a warmer one. A heat pump uses a small amount of external power to accomplish the work of transferring energy from the heat source to the heat sink.

In connection with this project, the heat source is the warm water in the mines and the heat sink is the water that is circulated to heat the buildings.

Wikipedia goes on to say this.

In heating mode, heat pumps are three to four times more effective at heating than simple electrical resistance heaters using the same amount of electricity. However, the typical cost of installing a heat pump is also higher than that of a resistance heater.

Wikipedia also has a section, which descries the use of heat pumps in district heating.

It should also be noted, that as with lots of technology, heat pumps are much improved, from the one I installed in a swimming pool in the 1980s.

Gas Is Replaced By Renewable Energy

The electricity to drive the heat pumps could be derived from renewable sources such as hydroelectric, solar, wave or wind.

Effectively, the system is using intermittent sources of electricity to create a constant source of heat suitable for space heating.

Would The Mines Run Out Of Heat Or Water?

As I understand it, the water in the mine will continue to be heated by the heat in the mines. The father of a friend, who came with me to the lecture was a coal miner and my friend confirmed it was hot in a coal mine.

The water will of course continue to flood the mine and the water pumped to the surface will probably be returned.

So the system will continue to supply heat for space heating.

How Long Will The System Supply Heat?

The system has the following characteristics.

  • It is electro-mechanical.
  • It is powered by electricity.
  • Water is the heat transfer medium.
  • Additives like anti-freeze will probably be applied to the water used for heat transfer.

There is no reason the system can’t be designed, so that it supplies heat for many years with regular maintenance and updating.

How Does The System Compare To Bunhill 2 Energy Centre?

In Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, I described Islington’s Bunhill 2 Energy Centre which uses heat generated in the Northern Line of the London Underground to provide district heating.

I am fairly sure that a lot of similar technology will be used in both applications.

This page on Wikipedia is entitled London Underground Cooling.

There is a section, which is entitled Source Of The Heat, where this is said.

The heat in the tunnels is largely generated by the trains, with a small amount coming from station equipment and passengers. Around 79% is absorbed by the tunnels walls, 10% is removed by ventilation and the other 11% remains in the tunnels.

Temperatures on the Underground have slowly increased as the clay around the tunnels has warmed up; in the early days of the Underground it was advertised as a place to keep cool on hot days. However, over time the temperature has slowly risen as the heat sink formed by the clay has filled up. When the tunnels were built the clay temperature was around 14ºC; this has now risen to 19–26ºC and air temperatures in the tunnels now reach as high as 30ºC.

So one big difference is that the Underground is warmer than the mine and this should make it a better heat source.

I feel that engineers on both projects will benefit from the ideas and experience of the others.

Would Infrastructure Funds Back This Technology?

In the UK, there are several infrastructure funds set up by companies like Aberdeen Standard, Aviva, Gresham House and L & G.

In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I explained why Aviva had invested nearly a billion pounds in wind farms to support pensioners and holders of their insurance policies.

Comparing the risk of using abandoned mines to heat buildings and that of offshore wind turbines generating electricity, my engineering knowledge would assign a greater risk to the turbines, providing both were built to the highest possible standards.

It’s just the onshore and offshore locations and the vagaries of the weather!

I think it is true to say, that infrastructure funds will back anything, where there is an acceptable long-term income to be made, commensurate with the costs and risk involved.

But then Government or any public or private company or organisation should not pay over the odds for the energy delivered.

Conclusion

Charlotte Adams in her lecture, asked if abandoned mines can heat our future.

The answer could well be yes, but there are other sources of heat like the London Underground, that can also be used.

 

 

 

 

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bunhill 2 Energy Centre

I took these pictures as I walked up City Road.

This used to be the site of the short-lived City Road station on the Northern Line. It can’t have been very significant in the 1970s, as C and myself would probably have passed it several times a week and I can’t remember it.

There are more details on this page of the Borough of Islington web site, which is entitled Bunhill Heat Network.

This is said about Phase 2 of the project.

Phase 2 of the Bunhill Heat and Power network involves building a new energy centre at the top of Central Street, connecting the King’s Square Estate to the network and adding capacity to supply a further 1,000 homes.

The core of the new energy centre is a 1MW heat pump that will recycle the otherwise wasted heat from a ventilation shaft on the Northern Line of the London Underground network, and will transfer that heat into the hot water network. During the summer months, the system will be reversed to inject cool air into the tube tunnels.

Note.

  1. A 1MW heat pump can supply enough hot water heat upwards of a thousand homes.
  2. Could you heat your house for an average of 1kW?
  3. The King’s Square Estate is being refurbished and is hundreds of homes.
  4. The heat pump can also be used to cool the Northern Line in the summer.

I shall look forward to seeing over Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, when and if, it is opened to the public, as the first centre  was during Open House 2013. I described that visit in The Bunhill Energy Centre.

December 6, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

Should The Drain Get The First New Tubes For London?

Introducing new trains onto a rail route can be a difficult process, where all sorts of problems occur.

Testing And Introducing Class 710 Trains

Currently, London Overground are introducing Class 710 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

As the trains are about eighteen months late, I think that there must have been problems.

I’ve never tested a train, but the modern train must require lots of systems to be tested and Aventras and other recent trains could best be described as computers-on-wheels.

So I must admit, I was a bit surprised, when I heard that first route to receive the new Class 710 trains was the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

  • The line had only been recently electrified.
  • Both diesel and electric freight trains use the route.
  • Eight trains are needed to run a complete service.

As this will be the first time the trains are used, there would appear to be a lot of things that could go wrong.

The simplest route, where the new Class 710 trains are to be used is the Romford-Upminster Line.

  • It is 5.4 km long.
  • It is single-track
  • It has a 30 mph speed limit.
  • There is only three stations, each of which are a single platform.
  • The journey takes nine minutes.
  • The service operates every thirty minutes.
  • There is only one signal.
  • Only one train is needed for the service.

It must be one of the simplest electrified railways in the world.

My instincts would have been to put a single train on this line and constantly shuttle it backwards and forwards.

This was exactly how Bombardier tested the Class 379 BEMU train on the Mayflower Line.

  • Only the train is being tested.
  • Passenger systems can be tested.
  • Drivers can be trained.
  • Passengers can be asked their opinions.

If the train fails, there is a regular bus service between the two stations and service engineers are not far away at Ilford Depot.

There must be good reasons, why this approach hasn’t been used.

Perhaps, it’s just that London Overground are not going to use a Class 710 train on this route. There have been rumours of this, that I talked about in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line.

The New Tubes For London

London Underground are buying New Tubes For London from Siemens for four lines.

  • Piccadilly – 100 trains
  • Bakerloo – 40 trains
  • Central – 100 trains
  • Waterloo & City – 10 trains

First trains are to run on the Piccadilly Line in 2023.

I think that it will not be a simple case of replacing one fleet of old trains, with another fleet of new trains, as has been done in the past.

It was managed successfully in recent times on the Victoria Line, when 2009 Stock trains replaced 1967 Stock trains.

But Siemens design is more radical and may need track and platform work to be performed before the trains can be run.

My research in The Train-Platform Interface In London, showed that the interface seemed fairly consistent on the Piccadilly Line, so it may be easy to design trains to run the line efficiently with step-free access between train and platform.

But what about the section of the line, where the trains share track with the S8 Stock trains of the Metropolitan Line.

If the Piccadilly Line has to be closed to make it fit for the New Tubes for London, then it will be a major undertaking, even if it is done in sections.

It would be a high-risk undertaking.

A Test Line For New Tubes for London

I believe there would be advantages in creating a test line for the following purposes.

  • Test the engineering for track and platforms.
  • Test the train performance and reliability.
  • Test the Automated Train Control
  • Test the passenger systems.

One of the suburban sections could be used, but there could be problems.

The Waterloo & City Line As A Test Track

On the other hand the Waterloo & City Line could be an ideal test track.

  • It has only two stations.
  • It is step-free
  • It is only 2.4 km. long.
  • Journeys take four minutes.
  • It is integrated with a depot.

The only problem is that trains have to be moved in and out by the use of a crane.

Using the Waterloo & City Line as a test track does have other advantages.

Alternative Routes During Closure

If the line had to be closed for any period of time for track or platform work, then in 2023, there will be some excellent alternative routes.

  • Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road and then the Central Line to Bank.
  • Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road and then Crossrail to Moorgate.
  • Bakerloo Line to Embankment and then the Circle/District Lines to Monument.
  • Jubilee Line to London Bridge and then the Northern Line to Bank.
  • Southeastern From Waterloo East to London Bridge and then bus or walk.

There is also the direct 76 bus and possibly others.

It should be noted that from late 2021, the Northern Line platforms at Bank station will be much improved.

So, if the Waterloo & City Line was used to test the trains, this in itself would not present any problems during closure or unreliable service.

Improved Capacity For The Line

According to an article in the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Deep Tube Upgrade, new trains for the Waterloo & City Line will give a capacity increase of twenty-five percent.

This is much-needed.

Automatic Train Control Testing

Testing of any automatic control system must be very rigorous and the short double-track route of the Waterloo & City Line would be ideal for testing automatic control of the new trains.

Trains could test twenty-four hours per day and every day of the year and not annoy anybody.

Driver Training

It could a valuable resource in training new drivers and converting others to the new trains.

Ongoing Train Development

It is London Underground’s and Seimen’s objective to have the same trains on as many lines of the London Underground as possible.

Siemens might get it right first time, but each line has its own quirks and design features and having a short line in London, where the next version of the trains could be tested by the public could be an advantage.

Conclusion

I believe that introducing the New Tubes for London on the Waterloo & City Line before the other lines could give advantages in the testing and designing of the trains and for the passengers of this short route.

 

 

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Train-Platform Interface In London

I feel very strongly, that the floor of a train should be level with the platform, when you board a train.

This is mainly, because after my stroke, some said, that I could spent a lot of my life in a wheelchair. Luckily, the doomsters were wrong, but I do feel for those who have to use one or regularly push a buiggy on London’s extensive transport system.

So in this post, I shall be collecting examples of the good, the bad and the ugly.

I have put a note by some of the pictures, which are as follows.

  1. Only one type of train calls at this platform and as the platform is straight, it could be better.
  2. This platform was built or rebuilt, when new trains started on a new line.
  3. Taken on a Harrington Hump

These are just the start.

 

 

November 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment