The Anonymous Widower

Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?

If Crossrail has a major problem, it is that some areas of the capital will find it difficult to access the new line.

Up to the age of sixteen, I used to live half-way between Oakwood and Cockfosters stations on the Piccadilly Line.

There are a large number of people who live along the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line, who might want to use Crossrail to perhaps go to Heathrow or places in East London.

But the journey will need a double change as there is no interchange between the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail.

I suspect that many will link to Crossrail by taking the Piccadilly Line to Wood Green, Turnpike Lane or Manor House and then get a 141 bus to Moorgate. It is a route, I use if I want to go to Southgate or Cockfosters from my house, which has a 141 stop opposite.

But then as a child to go to Harringay, where my father had an uncle, my mother would use a 641 trolley bus from Wood Green or Turnpike Lane.

Do people follow the public transport habits of their parents?

I know I do!

My father never went on a deep tube. As he several times mentioned the terrible Bank station bombing in the Blitz, which killed 56 people, I always thought that was his problem. But now living as I do along the Northern and Northern City Lines, I suspect it was more to do with air quality, as we were or are both bad breathers.

I suspect that when Crossrail opens, the 141 bus will be heavily used by travellers going between the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail at Moorgate.

The 141 bus goes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green and it has a route length of about nine miles.

Currently, buses run every fifteen minutes or so, but I doubt it will be enough in future as Transport for London are rerouting the closely-related 21 bus.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

Other Routes

According to me, the 141 bus route needs improvement!

But how many other routes could need similar improvement?

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Oakwood Tube Station’s Seat Is In Need Of Repair

I took these pictures at the Grade II* Listed Oakwood tube station.

How did it get into this state?

Could it be that Enfield is not a Borough, where voters need any urging to vote Labour?

So it has been allowed to deteriorate by London’s South London Mayor?

It certainly needs a bit of TLC!

June 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Step-Free Access At Manor House Station

I use Manor House station regularly, as I have a bus-stop by my house, that is perhaps fifty metres from my front door, that connects to the station.

  • There is also a zebra crossing to get to the other side of the road.
  • The 141 bus actually connects me to Manor House, Turnpike Lane and Wood Green stations on the Piccadilly Line.
  • This is because it was a replacement for the 641 trolley-bus route that used to run between Winchmore Hill and Moorgate via. Milmay Park.
  • I also use the station as a convenient station to go West on the Piccadilly Line.
  • As it connects step-free at Finsbury Park station to the Victoria Line, it certainly has its uses.

Click this link to see an excellent photo of a 641 trolley-bus at Manor House station.

The pub in the photo was the Manor House, where I saw such performers as John Mayall and Eric Clapton amongst others.

I took these pictures today

The station has an unusual layout.

      • Two major roads; the Seven Sisters Road (A503) and Green Lanes (A 105) cross at the station.
      • The four major roads are all controlled by traffic lights, which also allow pedestrians to cross the major roads safely on the surface.
      • There are a couple of staircases at each corner of the junction and these lead down to a maze of passages that connect these entrances to the escalators that lead up and down to the platforms.
      • The former Manor House pub and a new Travel Lodge sit opposite each other on the junction.
      • The Travel Lodge sits on the South-West corner.
      • The North-West corner leads directly into Finsbury Park., which is not a bad place to go for a walk or a jog.

The below ground subways in the station are all level.

The staircases between subway and street level are very reminiscent of those at Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square stations.

The staircases also have some excellent period details.

But then they tend to do things as they should in my part of North London.

This picture was taken after a World Cup Third!

What will happen, if England win the Euros?

Manor House station’s design can best be summed up as two level areas connected by a series of staircases.

  • Central London stations with this layout include Bank, Cockfosters, Kings Cross St. Pancras,Leicester Square, Manor House, Piccadilly Circus. Tottenham Court Road and Victoria.
  • At least Cockfosters, Kings Cross St. Pancras, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria have lifts between the two levels.
  • Bank station will have more lifts than Oti Mabusi in a dance routine, after the rebuild.
  • Old Street was similar, but Transport for London (TfL) are rebuilding the station.

Cockfosters has level access at both the surface and the platform level and they have sneaked in a lift in a corner of the station.

Grandparents in a wheel-chair or Louis or Lilibet in a pushchair can easily be taken easily between train and the car-park.I am certain, that if there are a number of lifts at the four corners of the road junction at Manor House, then access both to the station and across the junction will be substantially eased.

That just leaves us with the problem of getting between subway and platform levels.

This map from cartometro.com shows the platform layout.

Note that as at Turnpike Lane station in this platform layout, there is also a generous space between the platforms.

The two escalators and a set of stairs face North.

Wood Green station is a bit different, as it has a turnback siding

The two escalators and a set of stairs also face South.

When I used to use the Piccadilly Line in the 1960s, it tended to be pain, if a Wood Green train turned up, when you wanted  to go to Oakwood or Cockfosters.

Bounds Green station is shown in this map.

Again the tracks appear to have been curved to allow generous space.

The two escalators and a set of stairs face North.

Arnos Grove station is a station with sidings and four platforms on the surface.

The car parks are likely to be developed for housing, so there will be major changes at the station.

Southgate station is the last station, that doesn’t have step-free access.

But again there is some space between the tracks.

The two escalators and a set of stairs face North.

So did the designers of the Northern Extension of the Piccadilly Line leave space to put in more equipment or even lifts?

After all they didn’t stint themselves on the design of the stations.

Designing Step-Free Access

This is not easy and various considerations must be taken into account.

Revenue Protection

At Cockfosters station, the new lift goes between two areas that are outside the ticket barriers.

If as I have proposed at Manor House station, where there would be lifts between the surface and the subway level, both areas are outside the ticket barriers.

At Tottenham Hale station, there several lifts all of which are inside the ticket barrier.

Staff At The Barrier

Nearly all ticket barriers in London are watched by staff to sort out problems like passengers, who don’t know how to use the system.

Costs

It is unlikely, that large sums of money will be available to add step-free access to all stations on the Underground.

I also think, that step-free access at stations will be funded by developments close to stations.

A London-Wide Solution

It is for these and other reasons, that I think London needs to look in detail at all stations and see if a series of solutions can be developed for all stations.

In this section of the Piccadilly Line, there are five stations with three escalators or two escalators and a staircase.

But there are others on the other deep tube lines.

So should a standard solution be developed for all stations like this? And for all groups of similar stations.

Could An Inclined Lift Be Used At This Group Of Stations?

This picture shows the first inclined lift, I ever saw, which was on the Stockholm Metro.

Looking at the picture shows it was installed on a very long set of escalators.

At present, there is only one inclined lift on the London Underground and that one is at Greenford station.

It is a very neat and compact installation, that incorporates a double-staircase, an up escalator and an inclined lift in a confined space.

I think we’ll see similar solutions to Greenford employed in some stations on the Underground. In Is This A Simple And Affordable Solution To Providing Step-Free Access At Essex Road Station?, I outline how an inclined lift could be used at Essex Road station.

These pictures show the three escalators at Manor House station.

Note.

  1. The middle escalator was switched off.
  2. There is a spacious lobby at the bottom of the escalators.

The other four below-ground stations North of Finsbury Park; Turnpike Lane, Wood Green, Bounds Green and Southgate all have two escalators and a central staircase

These pictures show Bounds Green station.

Note that the stairs are in the middle.

It looks to me, that all five escalator systems to the North of Finsbury Park are more or less identical.

  • Only Manor House has a third escalator.
  • There is a large lobby at the bottom.
  • All stairs are in the middle escalator slot.
  • Are the stairs designed to be replaced with a third escalator?

So would it be possible to design an inclined escalator solution for all stations, that fitted all of the stations?

I think it might be very much a possibility.

  • The central staircase would be replaced by a third escalator.
  • One of the outside escalators would be replaced with an inclined lift.

Note

  1. Many of these escalators were probably  installed in the early 1990s, a few years after the Kings Cross Fire.
  2. Escalators are replaced regularly every ten or twenty years.

So could the installation of the inclined lifts, be worked into the schedule of escalator maintenance and replacement?

I believe with good project management it could be arranged.

  • At no time during the works would any station have less than two escalators.
  • If there were to be an escalator failure, all of the stations are connected by frequent buses and some are even within walking distance.

The works could also be arranged to fit in with available cash-flow.

I believe that eventually all these stations will need to be provided with full step-free access.

Conclusion

I believe that a sensible program of works can be developed to make all deep-level stations North of Finsbury Park step-free on the Piccadilly Line.

  • The deep-level platforms would be served by two escalators and an inclined lift.
  • The works would be performed alongside the regular maintenance and replacement of the current escalators.
  • There would be no substantial tunneling.
  • The works could also be arranged to fit in with available cash-flow.

The technique would be applicable to other stations on the Underground network.

Turnpike Lane Station

In Is Turnpike Lane Tube Station Going Step-Free?, I tried to explain the puzzling works going on at Turnpike Lane station.

Could those works be digging a lift-shaft or something in a more engineering line, like installing more ventilation or new power cables?

There’s certainly no clues on the Internet.

This table shows step-free status and 2019 passenger numbers at the Piccadilly Line stations to the North of Kings Cross St. Pancras station.

  • Cockfosters – Step-Free – 1.86 million
  • Oakwood – Step-free – 2.78 million
  • Southgate – 5.43 million
  • Arnos Grove – 4.44 million
  • Bounds Green – 5.99 million
  • Wood Green – 12.13 million
  • Turnpike Lane – 10.6 million
  • Manor House – 8.55 million
  • Finsbury Park – Step-free – 33.40 million
  • Arsenal – 2.77 million
  • Holloway Road – 6.69 million
  • Caledonian Road – Step-free – 5.60 million
  • Kings Cross St. Pancras – Step-free – 88.27 million

Note.

  1. The high passenger numbers at Finsbury Park and Kings Cross St. Pancras, where there is interchange with lots of other services.
  2. The long gap of step-free access between Oakwood and Finsbury Park.
  3. Arnos Grove could be an easier station to make step-free.

I just wonder, if a lift at Turnpike Lane station could be the interim solution, until inclined lifts are installed in the distant future.

 

 

June 16, 2021 Posted by | Design, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Cross Barnet And Enfield Express

I grew up in Cockfosters on the boundary between the two London Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield.

I was in walking distance of Oakwood tube station and I used to use it regularly to go to school in Southgate, my father’s printing works at Wood Green or on very occasional trips to London. We weren’t a poor family, but until the 1960s, my parents had to count every penny, so often if I went to Central London, then we’d go on the 29 bus.

But it seemed a lot of the time, if we went anywhere on public transport, we used the 107 bus to go East to Enfield or West to Barnet, Elstree and Queensbury, if my father didn’t drive the family.

These days the route numbers have changed but when I went to Enfield last Monday, I went to Oakwood and used a bus to Enfield Town station to see the new Overground line.

The bus was moderately full and quite a few people were collected between Oakwood and Enfield, many of whom were on shopping trips to the town centre and others like me were going to the station.

In the 1960s, I used a 107 bus to get to my vacation job at Enfield Rolling mills at Brimsdown and the bus was used by many commuting to work along the route.

Now there are several high-frequency rail lines to Central London, that serve the historic 107 bus route in Barnet and Enfield. From West to East they are.

1. Elstree & Borehamwood on Thameslink – This is just to the West of the London Borough of Barnet.

2. High Barnet on the Northern Line of the Underground

3. New Barnet on the Northern City Line

4. Oakwood on the Piccadilly Line of the Underground

5. Enfield Chase on the Hertford Loop Line

6. Enfield Town on the Enfield Town branch of the Lea Valley Lines

7. Southbury on the Southbury Loop of the Lea Valley Lines

8. Ponders End and Brimsdown on the Lea Valley Lines

These nine stations have very limited car parking and if you bear in mind that the population of the Boroughs of Barnet and Enfield are both over 300,000, there will be a large number of people going regularly to Central London by public transport.

The only way to deal with those who want to drive to the stations, is to build a Park and Ride site in the area, as I proposed in The M25 South Of Waltham Cross or perhaps at Hadley Wood station, which would be difficult and probably resisted heavily.

As the services are improved on all the rail and Underground lines to Central London, it would seem not too outrageous to expect that more and more people will be using buses and probably bicycles and walking to get to the stations, as cars will not be  very easy.

Since, I moved away in the 1960s, there are now more circular bus routes linking the stations, so buses will definitely serve more residents and give them more options.

One thing that has changed dramatically since the 1960s has been the ticketing system. Travellers are also flexible with their plans and are very likely to go to and from London using different routes, which modern countless ticketing doesn’t discourage one iota or impose any penalties.

I can see a time, when the historic 107 route gets upgraded to handle increased traffic. In some countries like probably The Netherlands, Sweden or Germany, some form of light rail or tram would probably be built connecting all of the stations, but I don’t think this will be acceptable or feasible for a couple of decades.

However, buses like new Routemasters running frequently could act as traffic magnets and actually reduce the numbers of car commuters and help to increase the traffic on the rail lines.

It is going to be very interesting to see how the transport network in Barnet and Enfield develops in the next few years.

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Whenever I go to Oakwood station, just seeing the parking in front of the station reminds me of a very funny story.

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

The Place Where The Bottom Fell Out Of A Drawer

Our next door neighbour, a rather pompous Mancunian, who thought the world revolved around him, just after the Second World War, had a Rover, very much like the one you see in the James Herriott programs on television.  My doctor, the wonderfully named Egerton White had one too, as doctors in those days always did. just like they had three-piece suits, a good size corporation and a pocket watch on a gold chain.

Our neighbour, had a garage that was basically a store for his junk.  in the middle of the back wall, was an old chest of drawers with large round knobs. He also had the habit of going in a bit close, so that he could shut the garage doors. My father, who was a bit of a comedian, once joked that. his junk wasn’t worth nicking.

One evening, he wanted to get an evening paper.  The easiest place to get one, for our neighbour was Oakwood station, where he just parked outside, left the engine running and walked inside the station to get one of the Star, News or Standard.

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The Entrance To Oakwood Station

The picture shows where the papers were sold, from the bench just inside the entrance.

Anyway, he duly backed the Rover out of the garage and proceeded to drive to the station.  He always sat high in the car, to emphasise his own importance and was surprised to see people waving and pointing to the front of his car.  He just waved back, as my father used to say, when he related the tail, in the style of the King.

When he returned to the car after buying the paper, he realised the reason for all the attention on the trip to the station. He had gone into the garage just a little bit too far, the night before and the bumpers of the Rover had hooked themselves under the knobs on one of the drawers. They were so firmly locked, that when he backed out to get the paper, the car extracted the drawer from the chest and it had stayed balanced there, all the way to the station.

He then took a fateful decision.  He decided that as the drawer had stayed there on the journey to the station, it would stay there on the way back.

It did stay there, but as he moved off, the bottom decided to part company from the rest of the drawer and thirty years of accumulated odds and ends, were deposited all over the forecourt of the station.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , | 1 Comment

Arnos Grove, Southgate and Oakwood

Arnos Grove, Southgate and Oakwood are three London Underground stations at the top end of the Piccadilly line.

I’ve put these in as a gallery, so that I can properly caption all the pictures

I used to live near Oakwood and probably used the station around a thousand times, mainly to get to Southgate for school.

They have all been recently restored.

There seems to be no sign of the plaque at Oakwood saying that the station is the highest point until you meet the Urals.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments