The Anonymous Widower

The New London Rail Maps Are Out, And They Are Horrible

The title of this post, is the same as that on this article from CityMetric.

I haven’t seen the maps yet, so I won’t comment in detail.

But read the article!

Could it be that London’s rail maps are now getting so complicated, there needs to be some very deep thought?

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Riding The Berlin U-Bahn And S-Bahn

Berlin has a population of approximately 3.7 million. Only London is a more populous city in the European Union.

So it has an extensive U-Bahn and S-Bahn network as this map shows.

Thjs picture shows the system map.

Superficially, it does not look unlike the London tube map will look. with the addition of Crossrail and Thameslink!

Berlin’s basic layout consist of a North-South and East-West route, whih are mote like Thameslink than Crossrail, with a circular route going round the city centre, in much the same way the London Overground does.

A network of other lines, which are both U-bahn and S-bahn cross in a random manner all over the place.

I didn’t find it as easy to navigate as some cities, like say Paris. But then it may be that I know Paris better than Berlin.

Ticketing

Ticketing is based on trust and I bought a forty-eight hour pass for my stay in the city.

There are no gates and you just walk on, unlike in London, Birmingham, Paris or Glasgow.

My ticket was checked just once in the forty-eight hours.

When I bought the ticket, I had a brief discussion with the guy in the Tourist Office, who spoke excellent English.

I asked if I got a discount for my Bahncard. He said various cities have different systems and many Germans carry some form of Bahncard.

But as every city is different, there seems to be little cross-benefits. Certainly, the guy in the Tourist Office wished the system was simpler.

Despite the fact, that a Bahncard is a National discount and the S-Bahn is run by Deutsche Bahn, there is no discount.

Riding the S-Bahn

This paragraph describes some of the unique features of the Berlin S-bahn.

While in the first decades of this tariff zone the trains were steam-drawn, and even after the electrification of large parts of the network, a number of lines remained under steam, today the term S-Bahn is used in Berlin only for those lines and trains with third-rail electrical power transmission and the special Berlin S-Bahn loading gauge. The third unique technical feature of the Berlin S-Bahn, the automated mechanical train control, is being phased out and replaced by a communications-based train control system, but which again is specific to the Berlin S-Bahn.

So the London Overground with its mix of 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail electrification is more of a standard railway than the Berlin S-bahn.

These are a few pictures.

Note how several stations on the main East-West route have impressive train sheds.

Riding The U-Bahn

These are a few pictures.

Note how most stations seem to have an island platform between the two lines.

A Sensible Place For A Full S-Bahn/U-Bahn Map

Travel on the London Underground/Overground and most Mational Rail stations and versions of Harry Beck’s iconic map are everywhere.

Not so in Berlin, where maps tend to be small and fairly unreadable.

However, they dp put maps on the articulated section between cars on the S-bahn.

It certainly allowed this visitor to stand by the map and read it.

Step-Free Access On The U-Bahn and S-Bahn

Lifts are provided at some stations, but German railways in particular don’t score highly on step-free access. A lot of their trains also have a couple of steps up into the train.

Using a wheel-chair on most German trains would be a nightmare.

Interchange Between U-Bahn And S-Bahn

The U-Bahn is run by the city of Berlin, whereas the S-Bahn is run by Deutsche Bahn.

And in some stations it shows, with a walk of perhaps a hundred metres between separate S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations.

London would definitely call them Out-of-Station-Interchanges (OSI).

My local OSI between Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction stations is about a hundred metres with step-free access at the Junction end.

It’s not good, but it’s certainly better than most interchanges between U-Bahn and S-Bahn in Berlin.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about a holiday in Berlin, choose your hotel carefully, near to a station with good step-free access.

You may also be better off if you have special mobility needs to use the trams, which mostly appeared to be step-free.

 

 

 

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Do A Lot Of Other Cities Need An Overground?

This article on the MayprWatch web site is entitled London Overground Celebrates Ten Years Of Transforming Rail Travel In The Capital.

The principles behind the Overground are simple.

  • Bring run-down suburban railways under local control.
  • Clean everything like crazy.
  • Run four trains per hour on all routes.
  • Introduce contactless ticketing with Oyster and bank cards.
  • Have lots of visible well-trained staff.
  • Upgrade stations and step-free access, when money allows.
  • Increase train length to match passenger numbers.
  • Allow disabled passengers to just turn up and get the assistance they need.
  • Add lots of passenger information.

The principles certainly appear to have worked. This is from the MayorWatch article.

This investment, which started under Mr Livingstone and was continued by his successor Boris Johnson, has helped the London Overground become one of the UK’s most successful rail services, with independently measured passenger satisfaction scores routinely above 80%.

Since launch, more than a billion passenger journeys have been made on the network which now serves 23 of the Capital’s boroughs as well as southern Hertfordshire.

The investment is continuing.

  • In 2018, new Class 710 trains will replace the thirty-year-old Class 315 trains on West Anglia routes to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town.
  • In 2018, the newly-electrified Gospel Oak to Barking Line will change over to four-car Class 710 trains to double capacity.
  • In 2018, Friday and Saturday night services will start on the East London Line.
  • By 2020, service frequencies on the circular North, East, South and West London Lines will have increased to decrease the overcrowding.
  • In 2021, the Gospel Oak to Barking Line Extension to Barking Riverside will open to serve ten thousand new homes.
  • In 2026, the North London Line will join the big party at Old Oak Common station, when HS2 opens.
  • Could the West London Orbital be the next project?
  • Transport for London would love to get their hands on the Northern City Line. This proposal is supported by many Londoners, polticians and rail professionals like Chris Gibb.

So long as passengers turn up, we will see increasing amounts of orange on London’s Rail and Tube Map.

Celebrating Ten Years

To celebrate ten years, London Overground have released a map showing attractions that are accessible from the Overground.

The Overground could become a tourist attraction in its own right.

  • No special ticket required – Just touch in and out!
  • Many of the attractions served by the Overground are affordable or free.
  • Trains have a frequency of at least four trains per hour.
  • Stations generally have good directions to local attractions.

In addition, Overground trains have better views from the windows than Underground trains.

The Overground Has Certainly Been A Success

When I moved to Dalston in 2010, the Overground had just opened to four station within walking distance; Canonbury, Dalston Junction, Dalston Kingsland and Haggerston.

New three-car Class 378 trains ran to Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace, New Cross, Richmond, Stratford and West Croydon, every fifteen or so minutes.

Now the trains have grown to five-cars and there is an extra route across South London to Clapham Junction to complete the circlke around Central London.

Passenger numbers have grown with the capacity and the railways have transformed Hackney and Dalston in particular.

Other Overgrounds In The UK

Several cities in the UK have their own local rail networks that are heavily used for commuting, leisure, shopping and tourism.

I’ve rode on systems in Birm,ingham, Glasgow and Liverpool, but none of these railways is as easy to use and as travel information-rich as the London Overground.

Not one of the UK’s local networks for instance, allow ticketing by using a contactless bank or credit card.

But then, with only a couple of exceptions, European networks are no better than the abysmal norm!

Contactless Ticketing

I believe that every local rail or Metro network, should support ticketing using contactless bank or credit cards.

  • There is no need to buy a ticket or a special electronic travel card.
  • A maximum daily, weekly or monthly cap can be applied.
  • \Entry and exit at stations is quick and easy.

I also feel that cities that don’t go this route will lose out, as tourists will go elsewhere.

Network Maps

New Metros in Europe and the rest of the world, shameslessly copy the features of London’s iconic Tube map for one of their networks. But often for various reasons, they position them high-up and make it that you need to be over six foot tall to read them.

Every network, should have a large map, that is at least the size of London’s with the stations laid out in an easy-to-read format, that can be read by anybody from an eleven-year-old child to an eighty-yrear-old with failing eyesight, sitting in a wheelchair.

London’s maps aren’t perfect, but they are a good start!

Merseyrail

I know the Merseyrail network well and it probably comes closest to the London Overground in terms of operation.

But, in terms of Marketing, I don’t think it does is best to sell itself to visitors.

Birmingham

Is a big change about to happen in Birmingham?

This article in the Railway Gazette is entitled West Midlands Trains Announces London Northwestern Brand.

This is also said about services in Birmingham.

Services operating around Birmingham are to use the West Midlands Combined Authority’s West Midlands Railway branding, with a view to facilitating the possible future devolution of responsibility for these services from the national Department for Transport to the authority.

So will Birmingham improve its local rail offering?

It’s certainly going to have new trains and an expanded service, so will they add the following.

  • Contasctless bank card ticketing.
  • A route pattern and map, that is understandable to non-Brummies.
  • Dedicated local platforms at New Street station.
  • More visible staff on the platforms.
  • More information.

The bare bones are there, but they need a lot more flesh!

Conclusion

The world needs to develop more Overground networks as London has done!

 

 

November 11, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Sensible Large Map

This map was at Southport station and shows the two lines that meet there.

Like several Merseyrail stations, Southport has a combined ticket office and shop.

Several other train operators could do worse than copy some of Merseyrail’s ideas.

I sdhould say that Southport station is particularly well appointed, as it has an entrance into the nearby large Marks and Spencer.

 

 

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sensible Large-Scale Local Train Map

I like this map from Merseyrail’s Northern Line.

The London Underground has something similar, with a schematic with times to get there, but London’s are much smaller than this large-scale version.

But that doesn’t put the minutes in a station circle and this is the only map I’ve seen that does!

Incidentally a Scouse version of Irene’s Law would not be far out, if you allowed three minutes for each stop.

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Ban Lorries From Using Car Sat-Navs, Say Councils

This is the title of an article on the BBC web site.

After a number of high-profile incidents where lorries have got stuck and caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage, something needs to be done.

Perhaps driving a truck, through an area it is banned, should be considered dangerous driving!

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

A Walk Between Colchester’s Two Stations

I’ve not been to Colchester many times.

Once I remember, I had to go to Celia’s Chambers on North Hill and for some reason I took the train and walked. I think, it could have been that we were going out with friends from the Chambers and she must have driven me home. But it was probably around twenty years ago.

So as I’d certainly never been to Colchester Town station and wanted to get some photos for Making Sense Of The New East Anglia Franchise, I thought it might be a please to go and have a walk to Colchester station to get the train home.

This Google Map shows the two stations and the town.

Colchester Stations

Colchester Stations

Colchester station is at the top, with the Great Eastern Main Line going through in a West-East direction, from Chelmsford to Ipswich.

The Sunshine Coast Line breaks off the main line, turns South and goes out of the South-East corner of the map.

There is a branch from this line, that goes from a triangular junction to Colchester Town station, which is in the midde at the bottom of the map.

These are pictures, I took on my walk.

Note.

  • It is not a very well-signposted route.
  • There is plenty of space at Colchester Town station and it would be possible to walk across between the two platforms.
  • It is quite a steep walk up from both stations.
  • What didn’t help, was that the Town Centre was being landscaped and there was builders rubbish everywhere.

If you look at the Google Map, I’m certain there must be a better walking route, than the one I used. But then if Councils put up decent walking maps and routes, the natives complain, as they say they know their town and city well.

 

August 20, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A Tram Map In Munich

When it comes to local transport and walking maps, it’s a case of the bigger the better.

A Large Munich Tram Map

A Large Munich Tram Map

This was in the tram information centre in Munich Hauptbahnhof.

Every main station should have a local transport information centre and the largest map possible.

At the station, I also took this picture.

Tram Sign In Munich

Tram Sign In Munich

I was going for supper and I needed to get a tram 16 to St. Emmeram, which would drop me in the area of one of the best gluten-free pizzadromes in Europe; Pizzesco.

So what could go wrong?

There was a demonstration in the area and the trams stopped running, leaving me in a part of MunichI didn’t know!

Although, Pizzesco was very crowded and I had to wait, I eventually got my delicious pizza and a bottle of gluten-free beer.

Coming back to my hotel, I eventually found a tram outside the Deutsche Museum.

May 13, 2016 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Design Crime – Manchester’s Totally Crap MiGuide

When I see things like this, it really gets my anger up.

All I want in a City Centre, is a map that will show me where to go, not some indecipherable device, that I probably can’t work, as I have the sort of fingers that don’t work well with touch screens. I don’t want to be bombarded with advertising.

If I need information, like the nearest gluten-free restaurant, I’ll search Google.

Give me maps on liths like Ipswich, Glasgow, Preston, Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton and Sheffield! Or big ones with seats like Krakow!

Manchester used to have some nice maps, but they seem to have been removed.

Perhaps they’;re kept with the Ed Stone?

These devices are total crap, that should be consigned to the dustbin of the future.

They’re certainly a Design Crime.

January 4, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , , | 5 Comments

HS2’s Interactive Map

For those who are worried, need to know or just plain curious, HS2 have put a very good quality interactive map on their web site on this page.

These are some images, I have captured.

Stations are shown by red dots

Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross Stations With HS2

Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross Stations With HS2

Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross Stations With HS2

The map clearly shows the three stations and the route of HS2 into Euston.

Note the following.

  • HS2 clearly arrives at Euston on the western side of the station.
  • The pedestrian route to St. Pancras could be more difficult than planners think.
  • The station would appear to be extended towards Euston Road.
  • Whilst the station is built, I suspect, that a good connection to the Metroipolitan/Circle can be created.

I think we’ll see some plans in the next few years, that make the connection between the three stations a lot better.

Old Oak Common Station

Old Oak Common Station

Old Oak Common Station

The map shows the myriad of lines in the area.

I believe that for many people using HS2 to and from London, will use this station, as its connectivity is so much more comprehensive than Euston.

Birmingham Interchange Station

Birmingham Interchange Station

Birmingham Interchange Station

 

Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Curzon Street Station

Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham New Street stations are to the south of the new station.

HS2 East Of Birmingham

HS2 East Of Birmingham

HS2 East Of Birmingham

This map clearly shows how trains for the North via Birmingham will go into Birmingham and then reverse direction in Birmingham Curzon Street station.

Handsacre And HS2

Handsacre And HS2

Handsacre And HS2

This map shows where HS2 joins the West Coast Main Line at Handsacre.

Conclusion

The interactive map is a real credit to modern computing.

Every project that could benefit should have one.

Will we be seeing one for Crossrail 2?

December 4, 2015 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment