Hong Kongers nickname their tramway the Pollution Solution. ut to be fair to one of my favourite cities, the city also has an extensive public transport network of metro lines and buses. Although, I’ve ever used any of the latter.
London and other cities in the UK have a serous air pollution problem and we should solve it for the health of us all, as pollution probably causes more premature deaths than terrorism. Or for that matter street crime like muggings and robberies!
Suppose in London we did the following to cut pollution.
- Ban polluting vehicles from a wide area of the centre.
- Impose a high Congestion Charge over a wide area.
- All shop deliveries must be at night!
- Cut the number of private hire vehicles.
- All buses, including tourist buses and coaches, private hire vehicles and black cabs must be electric.
- Rigorously impose a twenty mile per hour city-wide speed limit.
- When Crossrail is finished, build the Bakerloo Line Extension and Crossrail 2.
- Pedestrianise large parts of the City Centre.
- Improve the cycle network and make sure cyclists use it and not the pavement.
Other cities could also do similar things to suit their circumstances.
A few of our cities like Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool have pedestrianised substantial parts of their city centres. They haven’t done enough, but it’s a start.
I don’t think trams will be a pollution solution in Central London except perhaps on a specific route to overcome congestion on the Underground.
We are going to have to act very strongly to deal with pollution, but will it have collateral effects?
Some years ago, I did some work with the Police on analysing crime and I remember an analyst, who was also a Police Officer, explaining how he saw links between traffic and crime.
I remember him saying that no self-respecting criminal would go burgling on a bus.
One thing that came out of this work, was that if Police checked a car and found that one of car tax, insurance or MOT was not in order, there was a high chance of a non-motoring offence being committed. As he said, if a criminal is dealing in thousands of pounds-worth of drugs, will he bother to renew his tax and insurance?
I’ve wondered for some time, if this car checking in Central London, which must be done by the Congestion Charge cameras has led to the increase in crime in London committed by criminals on motor-bikes, scooters and bikes. London’s congestion could also drive crime this way.
So if we solved the pollution, would this cut the congestion? And how would this effect crime?
I don’t know, but I suspect, we’ll find out in a few years, as the draconian measures we will introduce to cut pollution, will have fundamental effects on the way we live in London.
In the next two or three years, some cross-city and city centre rail lines will will improve drammatically.
- Crossrail will open fully in December 2019 on an East-West axis in London
- The Thameslink Programme will deliver a massive increase in capacity by December 2018 on a North South axis in London
- Waterloo International station will be reopened for suburban services and will give a 30% capacity upgrade by 2019.
- The Northern Line Extension to Battersea could be open by 2020.
- The Ordsall Chord will open in Manchester this year.
- The Manchester Metrolink Line to Trafford Park should be running by 2020.
- The Midland Metro will have been extended in Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
- The Central Belt of Scotland will be receiving a lot of new electric trains.
However, some cities with bad pollution problems will not being seeing any public transport improvements.
It will be interesting to see the effects on pollution, congestion and crime. And terrorism!
I ask this question because of this article in Global Rail News, which is entutled Manchester Seeks Station Devolution.
I don’t think there is a simple answer to this question.
As an example take the case of Haggerston station, near to me in London.
But the actual operator is Arriva Rail London, who are paid a fee to run everything by London Overground.
It sounds complicated, but if Transport for London want to add a station, which they haven’t yet, they would decide this with the various London politicians.
Transport for London may not have added a station, but they have promoted the extension of the Northern Line to Battersea Power Station and they are putting the funding together to extend the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham.
So why shouldn’t Manchester and a few other cities have control of their stations?
This is a quote in the article from Jon Lamonte, TfGM’s chief executive.
The recent redevelopment of Irlam rail station has already showcased how our vision can become a reality, demonstrating just what can be achieved when local stations realise their full social and economic potential.
In some ways the local knowledge and control is what is important. If everything is under an elected figurehead like a Mayor or Transport Commissioner, then if it all goes wrong, they will feel the wrath of the electorate.
The problem with ,local control comes, when a decision involves other Local Authorities of perhaps a different political hue.
Suppose in Manchester that for their own perfectly valid reasons, Manchester wanted to move some Liverpool services between Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly stations.
Liverpool might not like this and the problem could rumble on and on.
So who has control of the regional stations has to be chosen with care.
In some ways, it would be a great advantage to both Liverpool and Manchester, if they both ran their stations using the Merseyrail model.
Despite the fact, that it was not raining and is very sunny, it is Manchester! Although probably, some parts are Salford!
It is certainly, an impressive bridge over the Irwell and a reconstructed viaduct to Deansgate.
I have created a post of this video, to make it easy to find.
I was pointed to the video from this page from Place North West.
On my trip to Wigan, I travelled around Liverpool and Manchester extensively on both days.
Whether the cities like it or not, transport-wise, the whole of Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester is one ticketing area.
I bought a Lancashire Day Ranger at £15 on both days. But!
- That is not expensive for me, but it probably is for others.
- It doesn’t include Manchester’s or Blackpool’s trams.
- It doesn’t include the Wirral Line in Liverpool.
Why can’t I just touch in with my contactless bank card, like I can in London?
This article on Global Rail News is entitled Sydney to trial contactless payments on public transport network.
Sydney will be using London’s system, so why can’t Liverpool and Manchester?
The viaduct is certainly substantial.
I find walking difficult in Manchester, as there are virtually no maps. In London there are walking maps everywhere; on bus stops, at tube and rail stations and free standing.
One of the strange things, is that in all the pictures I took on this walk, there is no evidence of Oxford Road station, which is between Piccadilly and Deansgate. There were so signs either.
Perhaps, it’s been knocked down, since I visited a few weeks ago?
Others would say that I should use the map on my phone, but that is not easy, as my left hand is dodgy and to use a phone, I prefer to lay it flat somewhere and use it with my right hand.
I still think that the reason London is so well-mapped, is that because it is so large, the average Londoner find themselves in a strange area quite often and need immediate help. But in smaller cities, the city is small enough for all the locals to memorise the city, so they object if sums of money are spent on maps.
The only other city in the UK with good maps is Glasgow, which in terms of area is the second largest.
With this walk from Piccadilly to Deansgate, I just followed the viaduct. But it wasn’t easy at times, as there were various dead-ends, too much unnecessary traffic and parked vehicles and difficult road crossings.
Perhaps Manchester needs some combined Cycling and Walking Superhighways! And perhaps a Congestion Charge, to discourage people from bringing cars into the centre, as it did in London.
I wonder if anybody, has done an analysis of the number of visitors and tourists a city gets against the usability of its public transport and walking routes. My personal scores out of five for various UK cities would be.
- Birmingham – 3
- Brighton – 4
- Bristol – 2
- Cardiff – 4
- Edinburgh – 3
- Glasgow – 4
- Leeds – 3
- Liverpool – 4
- Manchester – 2
- Newcastle – 3
- Nottingham – 4
- Sheffield – 3
This is all very personal, as obviously I know Liverpool well. But in fairness you can give brief instructions on how to spend a day or two in Liverpool, as the centre is extensively pedestrianised and this gives the visitor a linear focus on which to explore the City.
Brighton has the seafront and once you know how to get back to the station, on foot or by bus, it has this focus on which to base your visit.
Does Manchester City Centre have a linear focus?
Manchester doesn’t draw you in with a welcoming station, as do Liverpool, Sheffield or Newcastle, and I suspect, it doesn’t make the most of casual visitors passing through.
This picture sums up Northern Rail’s ticketing machines; lonely, unreliable and crap.
This machine at Manchester Victoria station did work though and after scratching around for a few coins, I was able to get to Blackburn.
A few other comments on my trip to Blackburn on Saturday.
- On my arrival at Liverpool Lime Street station, the queue for the ticket machine was at least fifteen people. So by the time, I’d bought a ticket, my train had left.
- At Manchester Victoria station, there were only two machines for a very busy station.
- At Blackburn station, the machine was hidden in the subway.
- I never saw a machine at the two small stations; Clitheroe and Whalley.
- The last two stations have independent platforms, so if you’re travelling from one without a ticket machine, you’ll have to have a long walk first.
- When I passed through Manchester Piccasdilly on Saturday evening, neither of the Northern Rail ticket machines were fully operational.
The company needs a lot more machines, hopefully with better functionality and reliability. They should also make sure they’re better placed.
Whilst, I’m giving Northern Rail a good kicking, here’s some more annoyances
A couple of stations I visited had a truly dreadful mobile phone signal. I think the law should be that all stations and bus stops should have a top class signal, so that those, who need to text or call their partner, friend or parents can do so.
The two-coach Class 156 train, I rode from Blackburn to Preston was the most overcrowded train I’ve ever ridden. The staff must have known it was so bad as Blackpool had just been beaten at Accrington. So why weren’t we told by the station staff?
Probably because they were keeping well away!
At least we had a nun on board and she probably prayed for our safe deliverance to Preston.
Surely, Northern could have rustled up another or bigger train from somewhere. A four-car Pacer would have been manna from heaven!
What’s missing from this picture?
Although, it was the Peak, there was no prominent staff on the platform to help unload and load this four-car Pacer.
I had to look it up on the Internet, whether our train stopped at Rochdale for a fellow traveller.
Incidentally, Manchester Victoria is starting to look tired and dirty. Is it all the diesel exhaust?
Northern also seem to specialise in bad information on stations. The bus information at Blackburn was abysmal and pointed you to a non-existent bus stop to get to Ewood Park.
I do wonder that Northern are worried if they improve things, then too many passengers might want to use the service and they’d have to buy more trains.
I took this walk around the Ordsall Curve.
I’d taken one of Manchestewr’s free city centre buses and a walk to the Spinningfields area.
This Google Map shows the layout of lines in the area.
Walking North-East to South-West along Water Street, the bridges in order are as follows.
- The Prince’s Bridge is a disused road bridge, noticeable because of its zig-zag construction, which will be demolished. There’s more on the bridge on this page on Manchester History.
- Then there is the single-track line, that the Museum of Science and Industry used to run their replica locomotive.
- The Windsor Link Railway which connect Salford Crescent and Deansgate stations, appears to share a wide bridge with the line to the museum.
- The last bridge is the direct historic line between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly.
This Google Map shows the lines as they cross the Irwell in detail.
The Ordsall Chord will run in a North-South direction between this line and the line to Manchester Piccadilly.
Under Proposal in the Wikipedia entry for the chord, this is said.
The Ordsall Chord would preserve connectivity between the relocated East-West services and the city’s existing main rail interchange at Manchester Piccadilly. It would also improve rail access to Manchester Airport, which at present cannot be reached easily from Victoria. Without the chord, such operations would require for trains to be run on and then reversed back at Salford Crescent.
The would enable services such as.
- Huddersfield, Leeds and York to Manchester Airport.
- Leeds to Crewe without a change or a reverse in Manchester.
- Huddersfield to London without a change.
It will also enable services on the Northern branches out of Manchester to be connected to those going South, with stops at both Victoria and Piccadilly in Manchester. This will mean that passengers needing to cross Manchester will probably be able to change trains once, rather than use the tram. it should also mean that both major Manchester stations will be able to use their capacity better, as trains will go through Manchester rather than terminate in the city.
No-one could argue that building the chord is simple, although released images show it to be dramatic.
- In the image, you can see the historic Liverpool to Manchester Line behind the bridge.
- Deansgate and Manchester Piccadilly stations are to the left with Salford Central and Manchester Victoria to the right.
After walking past the bridges, I crossed the river and followed Trinity Way virtually all the way to Salford Central station.
As I walked, I took these pictures.
The one thing that surprised me about this visit, was that propgress in the short time, they’ve had since all the legals were settled, seems to have been purposeful.
From Salford Central station, I was able to get a train to Preston, where I stayed the night.
In yesterday’s post; There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles, I talked about how researchers at Liverpool University had developed a better prostate cancer treatment. I posted this from an An article in The Guardian.
The ESPAC trials, which began publishing findings in 2004, showed that chemotherapy with gemcitabine brings five-year survival up to 15-17%, doubling the rate of survival with surgery alone. The latest research, presented at theAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, showed the two-drug combination nearly doubles the survival rate again to 29%.
It showed, said Neoptolemos, that chemotherapy does work in pancreatic cancer, even though most attention in cancer research is now focused onimmunotherapy, and precision or targeted medicine.
But the trial would not have happened without funding from the charity CancerResearch UK (CRUK), because both drugs are old and off-patent, meaning they can be made by any generic drug manufacturer and are consequently cheap. Drug companies would not foot the bill for such a trial because the profits to be made are small.
“This is an academic-led presentation,” said Neoptolemos. “This shows the enormous value of CRUK. Without them, none of this would have happened. There is a lot of pressure [on doctors] to do drug company trials because you get £2,000 to £3,000 a patient. For something like this, you don’t get anything. It has been quite tough to do.”
That is a very strong endorsement of Cancer Research UK.
Today, there is this story on the BBC web site, which is entitled Bowel cancer: Stents ‘may prevent need for colostomy bags’. This is said.
Bowel cancer patients may avoid the need for colostomy bags if they are first treated by having an expandable tube inserted at the site of their blockage, cancer doctors have said.
The new approach, presented at the world’s biggest cancer conference, showed that the tube, or stent, cut the risk of complications from surgery.
The trial took place at Central Manchester University Hospitals! And who funded the trial? Cancer Research UK!
So I shall keep supporting the work of Cancer Research UK!
My Google Alert for Crossrail found this story in Planning Resource, which is entitled Crossrail levy model proposed for Greater Manchester mayoral CIL. This first paragraph sums it up.
A proposed city-regional mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for Greater Manchester would operate in the same way as the existing pan-London charge to raise funds for the Crossrail project, with councils able to implement their own levies alongside the mayor’s charge, it has emerged.
Will Manchester’s council leaders and voters go for it?
From here in London, where if the Mayor wants to fund something sensible like Crossrail 2, all the Mayoral candidates and the Boroughs seem to back it, I can’t see all ten Manchester boroughs agreeing, as they seem to have a long record of doing things their own way!