The Anonymous Widower

A Short Cruise At Greenwich

I had taken the Emirate air-line to North Greenwich with friends and we decided we needed to go to the Cutty Sark.

So we took one of the Thames Clippers, from where I took these pictures.

About the pictures.

  • The first pictures show Greenwich Power Station, which generates electricity for Transport for London on a standby basis. It must be one of oldest power stations still producing electricity, although nowadays it doesn’t use coal, but six massive gas turbines.
  • The rest of the pictures show the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.

The trip between the two piers took only a few minutes.

A Tourist Route Between Bank/London Bridge/Tower of London And Maritime Greenwich

I do this route on a sunny day, when I perhaps want to show a guest around London.

  • Take the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Bank or Tower Gateway stations to Royal Victoria station.
  • Take the Emirate Air-Line across the Thames to Greenwich. Peninsular
  • North Greenwich isn’t overloaded with attractions, unless you’re seeing a show or event at the O2. But it’s getting better!
  • Take the Thames Clipper one stop to Greenwich. They run every twenty minutes.

If you want to be boring you can always catch the DLR to Cutty Sark station.

A few points.

Docklands Light Railway

The Docklands Light Railway is often thought by Londoners, commuters and visitors as a bit of a Cinderella.

However, like Cinderella she works hard all day and provides reliable and efficient transport, where the only alternatives are buses, bicycles,  taxis and Shank’s pony.

Just after the 2012 Olympics, I met a big cheese in Transport for London on a DLR train. He felt that the DLR had been the star in getting everybody to the games.

It must be one of the most successful light railways in the world!

And yet, no-one has ever thought to build another running on the same principles.

  • Mainly elevated track.
  • Mainly step-free stations
  • Universal step-free train-to-platform access.
  • High-visibility trains for passengers.
  • Trains every three or four minutes.
  • Friendly, interested, visible staff.
  • Driverless operation with a train captain looking after passengers and driving in emergency.
  • Contactless ticketing

Perhaps the lack of a full-time driver on every train, means that many other places would have massive union problems.

Emirates Air-Line

I’ve taken many people on the Emirates Air-Line and few haven’t been impressed.

The best time in my view is just as the sun sets, as these pictures show.

Note that unless you want a souvenir ticket, just use your bank card to touch-in and touch-out! My last one-way trip cost me £3.50 and appeared on my credit card statement labelled TFL TRAVEL CH Conractactless.

Thames Clippers

Since I moved back to London in 2010, the Thames Clippers have been continuously expanding and improving.

  • .Five new boats have been delivered since the Olympics.
  • Several piers have been improved, rebuilt or added in recent years.
  • Cpmtactless ticketing can be used for all services. Payments are labelled THAMES CLIPPERS.

It should be noted that if you are a holder of a London Freedom Pass, you can get a discount on tickets at a machine.

Plans exist for the following.

  • Extending the route to new housing developments at Barking and Thamesmead in the East.
  • A new pier at Silvertown in October 2019, which could have a walking or bus link to the City Airport.

I can also see the following.

  • Extensions to the West past Putney Pier to places like new housing at Brentford and Kew Gardens.
  • Further extensions to the East to support the massive housing developments.
  • Better connections to the London Underground, London Overground and National Rail stations.
  • More use being made of the Thames Barrier as a tourist attraction.
  • Thames Clippers becoming a river tube line.
  • Thames Clippers appearing on the Tube map, just as the Emirate Air-Line does!
  • A quick and easy connection between the City Airport, Canary Wharf and the Cities of London and Westminster being developed.

The last would surely appeal to City businessmen and those wanting to celebrate a special event.

If Venice can run a boat between the Airport, and St. Mark’s Square why can’t London do the equivalet?

Crossrail

Crossrail is the Elephant-in-the-Room, that will surely make its presence felt along the South Bank of the Thames, when it is extended to Ebbsfleet, as it surely will be.

  • There will be a short walking interchange at Woolwich between Crossrail and the Tghames Clippers.
  • If Crossrail build a station at Silvertown for London City Airport, this could be another interchange.
  • If Crossrail eventually terminates at Gravesend, there could even be possibilities that far East.

The possibilities of designing the Crossrail Extension in conjunction with the Thames could open up the river has as both a leisure attraction and a transport artery.

Conclusion

London will reach towards the sea, to further enhance and add space to the undoubted Capital of the World!

 

 

A

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travelling From Edinburgh To London Next Wednesday

I am going to Scotland for a couple of days and will be returning on Wednesday.

I have just booked a First Class Advance Ticket for £69.30

  • I used my Senior Railcard.
  • The train leaves at 19:36 and s the last direct train South.
  • The train arrives in London at 01:05, which isn’t too late for me, as I can get a taxi home, for a reasonable fare.
  • I can even get an all-night bus to the stop round the corner.
  • I will be served complimentary snacks on the train.

Out of curiosity, I looked up easyJet

These were possible flights and prices, between Edinburgh and Gatwick Airports.

  • 06:05 – 07:35 – 65.55
  • 13:40 – 15:20 – £82.72
  • 15:35 – 17:15 – £88.78
  • 21:15 – 22:45 – £125.14

In addition, I would have to add about a tenner for getting to the Airports and perhaps ninety minutes before and after the flight.

So it looks to me, that my train ticket is better value, quicker and may get me home only an hour or so, later than the last flight, which will be twice the price.

 

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Battersea Power Station To Outshine Typical Tourist Attraction Sites In The UK

The title of this post is the same as this article in the New Straits Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Malaysia-owned Battersea Power Station project is expected to outshine many prime property developments in London after seeing a 36 per cent capital appreciation for units offered under its first phase.

The article goes on to give an interesting view on how Malaysian investors and tourists see London.

On Tourism

This is a paragraph.

It is expected that when it opens, 40 million people will visit Battersea Power Station annually.

That is around 109,000 visitors for every day of the year.

Will the Northern Line Extension and the roads cope?

On Investment

This is two paragraphs.

“London is never going to be cheap. Those who wanted to invest, better do it now. A lot of people from overseas have already started investing in London,” he added.

Mason said London would still remain attractive place for investors globally due to its higher capital returns for the property sector.

Londoners like me, don’t look on their City as an investment, but as an exciting and fulfilling place to live.

 

 

 

 

July 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

‘Empty’ Uber Cabs Driving Pollution And Congestion

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s Sunday Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Uber cab drivers carry a paying passenger for less than half their shift, according to new data that raises serious concerns that the ride-hailing giant is adding to congestion and pollution.

The article also says that Uber cabs are carrying a paying passenger only 42% of the time.

This fits with my observation around busy points in London like Kings Cross station, where you see lots of Toyota Prius card with just a driver in them.

Only an hour ago, one such car, did a U-turn at Highbury Corner causing delay to everybody else. I can’t be sure it was an Uber cab, but it very much looked like one.

On a related point, a couple of months ago, my son paid for me to have an Uber cab from Walthamstow to Dalston. The cab had come all the way from Ealing around the North Circular Road, to pick me up.

How environmentally-friendly is that?

Conclusion

We need to cut pollution and non-electric cars crawling around waiting for business or driving half-way across London for a fare, is not a good idea.

  • Perhaps, Uber and other non-electric cabs should only be licensed to pick up in one London Borough.
  • All cabs should also be clearly marked with their company.

The sooner though, all vehicles inside the North Circular Road are zero-carbon the better..

 

June 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Research Shows UK Capital Is Europe’s Most Connected Business Hub

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Conference And Meetings World.

Crossrail and Brexit aren’t even mentioned. So we must be doing something right!

But then I always believe that London is the Capital of the World!

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Business, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Minicab Drivers Claim Discrimination Over New London Charge

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

This is the first paragraph.

Minicab drivers are launching a legal action against the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, accusing him of discrimination against a largely ethnic minority workforce by making them pay the congestion charge while black cab drivers, who are overwhelmingly white, will be exempt.

Black cab drivers may or may not be overwhelmingly white, but I have certainly never seen a South Asian black cab driver.

But Central London is getting increasingly polluted and congested and this slows the buses, that I regularly use through the centre.

I am no legal expert, but I have a feeling, that the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will extend to the North and South Circular Roads will be a very big factor in the next Mayoral Election.

The lawyers, who will be big winners in this debate, have surely been sharpening their pencils.

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 6 Comments

The Hundred Mile City

I heard about The Hundred Mile City on the BBC London News

It will never happen!

  • Can you imagine all London Boroughs agreeing to it?
  • Negotiation would be like Brexit squared.
  • Armies of Nimbys and the Council For The Fossilisation Of England would have a field day.
  • Linear cities were proposed for Londonn to Southampton and Ipswich to Felixstowe in the 1960s.

On the other hand, as a child, I had dreams of a circular railway through where I lived in Cockfosters, as getting to Central London was fast, but getting to my friends and relatives in Edgware and Enfield was slow.

Note that the plans involve a circular monorail. Monorails are not very common, except at theme parks. That is an idea from well into the last century.

Today, we would use tram-trains, as they are so much more functional and easily extended.

 

February 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s Not Just Drones We Should Worry About!

In The Private Thoughts of Engineers and Scientists, I talked about a discussion, I had with a chemist about the production of sarin gas.

His view was that if amateurs tried to make the deadly gas, there was a high chance, they’d kill themselves, but he had a better idea to cause havoc in a city, which I will not disclose.

I too, have a couple of non-lethal methods, that would bring an airport or a city to a standstill.

One idea is so simple, that I suspect many terrorists could think it up.

Again, I will not disclose my ideas, but they are probably just two of many.

In some ways, the success of the drones in closing Gatwick Airport will only encourage others to think of new ways to disrupt our lives.

We still don’t now, who were behind the Gatwick Airport drones, but there must be a long list of suspects.

  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Anti-Airport Protesters
  • Russia – It worked better than Novichok!
  • North Korea – Unlikely, as they don’t seem to have any spats with the UK.

One thing that may rule out a lot of groups, is that sophisticated high-performance drones are not cheap.

Other groups will be ruled out, because they want to kill hundreds of innocent people and a couple of drones are unlikely to do this.

December 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Oyster Card Scheme Extension Agreed

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

This paragraph describes the extensions.

Its extension, due in early 2019, will include Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City, Luton Airport Parkway and Epsom.

As the Oyster Card extension will also include intermediate stations, the following stations will be included on the four routes.

  • Hertford North – Crews Hill, Cuffley and Bayford.
  • Luton Airport Parkway – Radlett, St. Albans City and Harpenden
  • Welwyn Garden City – Potters Bar, Brookmans Park,Welham Green and Hatfield

All intermediate stations to Epsom are already in the Oyster Card Scheme.

Fourteen new stations will be added.

These are a few random thoughts.

Contactless And Oyster

Oyster card and most contactless payment methods with a card or mobile device can be used on Oyster Card reader, so in this post, I will use contactless to cover all methods.

I believe that in a few years, Oyster could be phased out, as cards and mobile devices will take over the ticketing.

Luton Airport Parkway

Adding Luton Airport Parkway station to the network, brings Luton Airport in line with Gatwick and Heathrow Airports.

This is very much a logical extension.

Airport Services

This is a list of the current times for airport services from London.

  • Gatwick – Express – 29 minutes – Thameslink – 39-60 minutes
  • Heathrow – Express – 15 minutes – Crossrail – 28 minutes
  • Luton – East Midlands Trains – 21 minutes – Thameslink 30-47 minutes
  • Southend – 52-53 minutes
  • Stansted – 49-52 minutes

If you look at the passenger statistics for Gatwick Airport station, they have been rising at around a million passengers a year for the past few years. How much of the recent rises have been due to the station going contactless in January 2016?

Certainly, if you’re late for a plane, contactless ticketing might save a couple of minutes.

I always remember an incident at Southend Airport station.

My plane was late and arrived very close to the departure time of the last train to London. There had recently been a lot of arrivals and the queues for tickets were long.

So a Greater Anglia employee took the decision to tell everybody to get on the train and we all went to London without tickets.

If ticketing had been contactless, Greater Anglia might have collected some fares.

But contactless at an airport is not solely about making money, but getting the passengers away from the airport quickly.

Hertford East And Hertford North Stations

Hertford East station accepts contactless cards.

Adding the facility to Hertford North station may open up some journey possibilities and ease ticketing.

The National Rail web site recommends that to go between Ware and Bayford stations on either side of Hertford, that you walk between the East and North stations.

An anytime ticket will cost you £19.50.

But buy two separate tickets between Ware and Hertford East stations and Hertford North and Bayford stations and it’ll cost £6!

Using contactless ticketing and touching in at all stations will save £13.50! Will this cost difference encourage more journeys with a walk in the middle?

When I visited the Hertford East Branch recently in mid-morning, I thought that it was surprisingly busy. Does lower-hassle contactless ticketing encourage more passengers?

Analysis of contactless touches will provide the answers to my two questions.

St. Albans City And St. Albans Abbey Stations

The Abbey Line between Watford Junction and St. Albans Abbey stations is not contactless, although Watford Junction station is so enabled and St. Albans City station will be.

There is surely a case for adding contactless ticketing to this short line of five intermediate stations.

Welwyn Garden City Station

Enabling Oyster on the route to Welwyn Garden City station, will mean that all stations on the Great Northern Route from Moorgate station will be enabled except for Watton-at-Stone  and Stevenage.

This would surely be less confusing for passengers, than the current arrangement, where Oyster tickeing is stopped at Hadley Wood and Gordon Hill stations.

Hopefully a suitable announcement would wake-up accidental fare avoiders at Hertford North station.

Epsom Station

The two routes to London from Epsom station are both fully Oyster-enabled, so surely adding one station to the routes shouldn’t be a difficult problem technically.

Further Routes For Oyster

Distances of the new Oyster-enabled stations, with a few existing ones, by rail from Central London are as follows.

  • Epsom – 16 miles from Victoria.
  • Gatwick Airport – 26 miles from Victoria
  • Hertford North – 20 miles from Moorgate
  • Luton Airport Parkway – 29 miles from St. Pancras
  • Shenfield – 20 miles from Liverpool Street
  • Welwyn Garden City – 20 miles from Kings Cross

So what other stations could be added?

Southend And Stansted Airports

Airports seem to like Oyster and as I said earlier, it can help to sort out ticketing problems at certain times.

  • Southend Airport station is 39 miles from Liverpool Street and there are five other stations between Southend Airport and Shenfield stations.
  • Stansted Airport station is 36 miles from Liverpool Street and there are six other stations between Southend Airport and Broxbourne stations.

This story on ITV is entitled Rail Minister Urged To Roll Out Oyster Card Payments To Stansted, Luton And Southend Airports.

Luton Airport will soon be Oyster-enabled, so hopefully Stansted and Southend Airports will be enabled soon.

Thirty Miles From London

There are a lot of places within thirty miles of London on commuter routes, that I’m sure eventually will be Oyster-enabled.

  • High Wycombe and Aylesbury – Chiltern have ambitions for this.
  • Rochester – 30 miles from London and on Thameslink.
  • Windsor

There will be other suggestions.

Extending Freedom Pass

I’d like to be able to just touch-in and touch-out to go to any station in the Oyster card area.

My Freedom Pass would be connected to a bank or credit card and I would be charged beyond the Freedom Pass area.

If Oyster cards can be linked to a bank or credit card, surely London’s control computer can be programmed to do something very powerful for Freedom Passes.

It could be a nice little earner for cash-strapped Transport for London.

Conclusion

Oyster is extending its reach and after this flurry of extensions in the next few months, lot of places will be wanting to be Oyster-enabled.

I suspect the only objector to this roll-out, will be the RMT, who have made the Luddites look like pussycats!

 

 

 

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

London Taxi Protest Against Safety Rules Brings Gridlock to City

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

I had heard there was a protest about something last night and this explains what it was.

I should declare an interest, in that I use black cabs about five or six times a month, when I am in a hurry or am coming home late at night from say a station.

I have used Uber once, when my son paid for a cab from Walthamstow. The driver had come all the way from Ealing and got lost twice getting to my house.

Never again!

London Needs Clean Air

I am affected by London’s dirty air and feel strongly that as many vehicles in Central London should be zero emission.

So I very much agree with the Mayor’s strategy of making all London’s new black cabs electric.

But surely, this policy should also apply to Uber, mini-cabs and local delivery vehicles inside the Central area.

It will in the future and it can’t happen soon enough.

Black Cab Drivers Think Sadiq Khan Doesn’t Like Them!

Black cab drivers never have a good word for Sadiq Khan, but then they didn’t Boris either. I didn’t live in London, when Ken was Mayor, so I can’t comment on that!

But then I always say, that because we have a South London Mayor, we are getting a higher proportion of bus cuts.

I don’t think, I’ve ever been driven by a South Asian black can driver, although, I’ve been driven by many Africans and Caribbeans. Go to Birmingham, and you’ll find lots of South Asian black cab drivers.

On the other hand, I’ve been driven by several South Asian mini-cab drivers, from the firm round the corner.

So is the Mayor playing to his constituency and ignoring the views of black cab drivers?

Hence the protests!

 

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment