The Anonymous Widower

More Closures On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

This article on the Islington Gazette details the further closures on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. This is said.

The Barking to Gospel Oak Overground line will be closed for eight weekends as electrification work continues.

It had originally closed for eight months, reopening in February, but work was not finished on time due to design problems and the late delivery of some materials.

The line will be shut every Sunday from June 4 until July 23, with additional Saturday closures on July 9, 16 and 23.

Further temporary closures will be needed in the future to complete the work.

I know the electrification needs to be completed, but the engineers and planners of this job, have not exactly covered themselves in glory.

Compare this project with the one a few miles away, where Volker Fitzpatrick are rebuilding Hackney Wick station, which seems to have gone a lot smoother, despite I would suspect being a much more challenging project.

Several mistakes would appear to have been made on the electrification and I hope the companies and individuals involved will be properly names and shamed.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Protecting Your Company, Organisation Or Workgroup From Viruses, Ransomware And Other Malware

I am not a computer malware expert and since 1970, I have generally worked alone, with one or more computers , not connected by a network.

But after all the problems of the last few weeks with ransomware, I feel that one of my experiences of a few years ago, should be put into this blog.

A Daisy Demonstration

The Research Department of a major corporation were interested in using my software; Daisy to analyse data being collected in their local offices.

So I was summoned to their offices to the South West of London, so that they could have a proper demonstration.

I found something extremely sensible that I’d not seen before.

The Department had the usual corporate network, as you would expect, with logins, malware protection, but for my demonstration I used another computer.

The Lonely PC

We moved to a lonely PC sitting on a desk in the corner. It had the following characteristics.

  • Adequate power.
  • A recent version of Windows.
  • Direct connection to the Internet through a landline.
  • No connection to the main network.
  • A directly connected printer.
  • A selection of browsers.
  • Microsoft Office, but no e-mail program.

The only thing, that the computer lacked was a large screen.

Uses Of The Isolated Computer

The isolated computer was used for the following.

  • Demonstrations
  • Checking out ideas and web sites in suspect locations.
  • Testing software.

I think that after the recent ransomware attacks, emergency Internet access could probably be added to the list of uses.

Rules For Using The Computer

The Department had setup a series of rules for the use of the computer.

  • The computer could be booked by anybody in the Department.
  • Comprehensive data transfer rules using physical devices had been setup.
  • No software could be installed on computers on the main network, without full testing on the isolated computer.
  • The computer was regularly checked for any viruses or malware.
  • If any nasties were found on this computer, it was immediately restored to a pristine state.

Incidentally, whether it was for my benefit or not, it was one of the cleanest corporate computers, I’ve used for a demonstration.

Benefits

I was told that since the computer had been installed, malware problems on the network had decreased.

But how much was this down to a constantly improving and rigorously updated malware-protection system for the Department’s main network?

An Ideal System

A lot would depend on the type of company and their needs.

The system I used needed a big screen, as often a demonstration needs to be seen by several people.

I also think, that with a large screen, it could be a valuable tool in Corporate Communications.

Some might think, that this type of computer, which bypasses the corporate network, could be used by those with access for nefarious purposes.

Years ago, my software; Artemis was used to do the Project Management on Chevaline. The Ministry of Defence was worried that the Russians might use some unknown technology to read the electromagnetic radiation from the cathode-ray tube of the VDU. So I suggested they put the desk-sized computer in a shielded internal room. But what about the door, they said! I suggested that they get Chubb to put one of their best locks on the door.

A few weeks later, when a software problem struck, I went home with a complete copy of the project on a disc.

I had encoded the data using a personally-designed method that I still believe is unbreakable. But that is another story! Especially, as I’ve never signed the Official Secrets Act!

As this tale illustrates, there are ways to enforce security and holes will always appear.

 

 

 

May 18, 2017 Posted by | Computing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Electrification At Rotherham

These pictures show some of the electrification gantries around Rotherham Central station.

The overhead gantries would appear to be Network Rail’s standard for 25 KVAC, rather than the lighter-weight structures used on the Sheffield Supertram for their 1500 VDC.

So are Network Rail future-proofing the gantries for later conversion to 25 KVAC or are they being wired to that voltage, so that the tram-trains can be tested on the 25 KVAC as well?

The latter would be prudent, so that the problems and strengths of dual-voltage  25 KVAC/1500 VDC tram-trains can be assessed.

However, as I returned to Sheffield later, it appeared that the line connecting Rotherham and Sheffield had both heavy-weight and light-weight gantries in place.

Could there be a last minute change of project scope to include 25 KVAC  running in the Sheffield tram-train trial, which also explains the timing of the rebuilding of the College Road Bridge?

This is said under Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Sheffield Supertram.

A tram-train extension to Rotherham is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2018, with a fleet of seven Vossloh Citylink Class 399 tram-trains in a UK first. This will involve trams operating on Network Rail’s Dearne Valley Line from Meadowhall Interchange to Rotherham station with a short extension to Rotherham Parkgate Shopping Centre. The proposed station will be a combined tram stop and railway station.[10] It is also planned that Rotherham Parkgate will be the hub for longer distance inter regional services,[11] while Central station will be the hub for local, Yorkshire based services. To cater for the tram train services, Rotherham Central will have a third platform built. It is thought that constructing the station will cost around £14 million (£53 million including the railway service to Leeds) and deliver economic benefits worth over £100 million. A study has concluded that it is not worth expanding Rotherham Central railway station because it would cost £161 million to expand the station but only deliver benefits worth £76 million. This is why constructing a new station is considered more viable.

That explains a lot, especially as it is a big change from what was being said perhaps a year ago.

There is an article in the Yorkshire Post, which is entitled Rotherham could get new rail station, which gives a lot more detail.

  • Parkgate station could cost up to £53.2 million
  • Parkgate would be the inter-regional station.
  • Central would be more local
  • Rotherham should have one train per hour (tph)  to Leeds and Manchester, three tph  to Doncaster and six tph to Sheffield.

As I came through the Rotherham Parkgate area on my train between Leeds and Rotherham earlier,  I didn’t see any evidence of station construction.

I think that Network Rail by putting up gsntries that can accept 25 KVAC electrification have made sure that they can fit any future plans.

So long as they can get some sort of wiring along the route and a reversing facility somewhere in the Rotherham area, I can see tram-trains running next year.

If Parkgate station is built, then provided any tracks are in the right place, this shouldn’t be a problem.

But the interesting idea could be to use Class 319 Flex trains on the route to Leeds via the Wakefield Line. The gaps in the electrification would be initially covered by the trains onboard diesel power.

As electrification is installed, they would eventually be able to do Rotherham Central to Leeds under electric power.

Whilst, Network Rail were electrifying the tram-train route, would it not be prudent to put up the wires to Meadowhall Interchange station or even Sheffield station?

The other way they could also electrify the short Swinton to Doncaster Line, which would allow electric trains from London to reach Rotherham Parkgate, Meadowhall and Sheffield stations.

I can certainly see something like the following services through Rotherham when Parkgate station is open.

  • 1 tph Sheffield to Leeds calling at Parkgate and Central
  • 1 tph Doncaster to Manchester and Manchester Airport calling at Parkgate and Sheffield
  • 2 tph Doncaster to Sheffield calling at Parkgate and Central

Add in three tram-trains per hour between Sheffield Cathedral and Parkway via Central and the required frequencies are achieved.

It will be interesting to see what finally happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Hackney Wick Station Opened On Time

This morning and I was up early to catch the first train train from Dalston Kingsland station to the new Hackney Wick station.

The train was precisely on time at 06:23.

Note that the herd of mammoths, that I photographed on Thursday are still underneath the new embankment.

 

This is a previous picture from Thursday.

From the pictures it would appear that they have picked up the station subway and given it a twirl.

It has certainly been an impressive project to demolish a railway on an embankment, insert a new subway and then rebuild and reopen the embankment, all in four working days.

I feel that they got the project nmanagement spot-on for this project, witn not a minute of wasted time.

But the biggest factor was surely, that the only work they did with the electrification was switch it off at the start and switch it on and test it, at the finish. They also probably used the most careful digger and crane operators they could find!

I wonder, if we’ll be seeing similar robust construction techniques to create and rebuild stations in double-quick time!

April 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Relief For Ely

Ely station is not only a bottleneck for trains, but because the A142 only has a headroom of nine foot under the railway, a serious bottleneck for road traffic and an accident blackspot that stops both road and rail traffic.

But this article from the Cambridge News is entitled Work to start on new Ely bypass as final designs get the go-ahead.

This is the article’s simple description of the by-pass.

The new route will bypass the railway level crossing, as well as the accident prone low-bridge underpass, by providing a new link between Stuntney Causeway and Angel Drove to the south of the city.

Preparatory works are set to start on January 9 to mark out the site area to build the 1.7km of road, which will include two new bridges to cross the River Ouse and its flood plain, as well as additional railway lines.

I have been at Ely station a couple of times in the past week and these pictures show that work has now actually started.

The first four pictures were taken from an Ely to Ipswich train and the last one was taken from Plstform 3 at Ely station.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. Stuntley Causeway is the A142, which leads South-East from the station.
  2. The Great Ouse.
  3. The two railway lines meeting at Ely Dock Junction.
  4. Angel Drove is the road labelled A142, that curves from the city to the roundabout at the West of the map.
  5. The work site is in the angle between the Great Ouse and the railway line to Bury St. Edmunds, just to the West of the Hawk Bridge, where railway crosses the river.

As the new road crosses the river, the junction with Stuntley Causeway must be somewhere to the South-East of where the A142 currently crosses the river, which must make the road take a widish loop.

The project would appear to be a well-designed solution.

  • Is the wide loop of the road, to keep noise of heavy traffic away from the river and the city?
  • It should give relief for road traffic at Ely station.
  • Hopefully it will cut bridge strikes.
  • The viaduct over the railway and the river, incorporates a footbridge.

The question must be asked, if the building of the by-pass and the double-tracking of the railway line to Bury St. Edmunds are two projects that will co-operate.

The Hawk Bridge has already got space for a second track, so could this be laid first, so that it could be used as a siding to bring in the heavy components for the viaduct that will be built over the river? Or will they be floated in, using a barge on the river?

The order of construction on this project could be tricky, but the quality of project management has increased greatly in recent times.

 

March 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Reopening Of The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Is Slipping

In October 2016, I wrote The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Is Planned To Reopen On February 6th 2017.

But a couple of weeks ago, this date had slipped to the fourteenth.

I have just checked the reopening date this morning on the National Rail train timetable and it appears to be the 27th of February.

I don’t give it much credence.

 

January 30, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 4 Comments

Up And Down The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been taking photographs of various parts of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin).

There would still seem to be a lot to do to restore the railway to operation as a non-electrified railway.

However, the National Rail on-line timetable is showing that from Monday, the 13th of February, 2013, a four trains per hour (tph) service will be working.

It is also worthwhile looking at Transport for London’s Track Closures Six Months Look Ahead. This is usually reliable and states the following.

There is no London Overground service between Gospel Oak and Barking until late February 2017. Replacement buses are running.

It also lists no substantial closures on the GOBlin in the next six months.

There is also this article on Global Rail News, which is entitled Electrification of London Overground’s Gospel Oak-Barking line 80% complete.

These various statements and my pictures could point to a coherent interim set of objectives.

An Interim Set Of Objectives

Both Transport for London and Network Rail will want to get the line open for the following trains as soon as possible.

  • Engineering trains to support the finish of the electrification and station works.
  • Diesel-hauled freight trains.
  • Restoration of the four tph passenger service using the two-car Class 172 trains.

It could be that from the point of view of the electrification, the engineering trains are the most important.

So what will need to be done to meet these interim objectives.

Hopefully, the line will reopen to passenger traffic before the end of February 2017. But no-one would complain, if it happened earlier.

Finishing The Project

Once the limited objectives are met and trains are running, the following will need to be done to complete the modernisation.

  • The completion of platform lengthening, as at Harringay Green Lanes station.
  • Erection of the missing gantries.
  • Installation and testing of the overhead wires.

All of these tasks , can probably be done alongside of the working railway, as similar work has been done on the North and East London Lines and Crossrail.

The contractors will have the following advantages.

  • The track and signalling will be complete.
  • It can probably be arranged that overnight very few trains will use the line.
  • They will have a working double-track railway to bring in supplies and specialist rail-mounted equipment.
  • No electric trains will need to run on the line.
  • They will soon have light evenings in which to work.

If they can fit construction around the passenger service, everybody will benefit.

Handling Regenerative Braking

 

Little has been said about regenerative braking on the GOBlin.

I think, it will be likely, that the Class 710 trains will be able to use regenerative braking on the line, as it typically saves around 20% of the energy required to drive a train.

In Class 710 Trains And Regenerative Braking, I discussed the issues.

I came to the conclusion, that it is highly likely, that onboard energy storage will be used to handle regenerative braking on the Class 710 trains and thus the method would be used on the GOBlin.

As the prototype Aventra is now being tested, any design issues of handling braking energy will probably be resolved soon.

But prudence probably dictates that regenerative braking with batteries must be shown to work before the electrification design is finalised.

So could this explain, the delay in putting up the overhead wires?

Handling Regenerative Braking For Freight Trains

This is more complicated, as the freight locomotives on the UK network are not the most modern units.

I’m not sure, but the Class 92 could probably work the route using rheostatic braking.

Conclusion

I think that this project has been planned to open up a non-electrified railway before the end of February 2017.

This probably gives least disruption to all of the stakeholders.

  • Passengers get a four tph service.
  • Freight operators can run trains through under diesel haulage.
  • A route for engineering trains is maintained to assist in the finishing of the line.

But also by delaying the electrification, they can make sure they incorporate all of the lessons learned by the test running of the Class 345 trains.

Some might think it’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast, but in truth, it could be some very clever project management, which has minimised the closure of the line.

 

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

Network Rail Get The Project Management Wrong Again!

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Kenilworth station opening delayed until December 2017.

This is said.

Warwickshire County Council has announced that the new station in Kenilworth will now not be opened until this December due to track and signalling issues, one year after services were meant to begin running.

The station will now open on 10 December 2017 after a revised deadline of August this year was pushed back further, with the opening already postponed from the initial date of December 2016.

Surely, if Network Rail agreed to the Aufgust 2017 date, they  felt they could meet it.

There is some very bad Project Managment going on, if you agree a date of August 2017, which in a short time slips to December.

If say it was a serious problem, like old mine workings, that had not been foreseen, then the cause of the delay would be disclosed.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

HS2 Euston Hub May Not Be Viable, LBC Discovers

This is title of this article on the LBC web site. This is the first paragraph.

The time saved by travelling on HS2 could be wasted waiting for a tube at Euston, a the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport has told LBC.

I don’t know whether the statement will prove correct, but I’ve always thought that Crossrail 2, should be built before HS2..

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this.

HS2 is currently planned to terminate at Euston station, although I think that could be changed by a more innovative solution. But whatever happens to the London end of HS2, it needs to be simply connected into the knitting of the Underground, so terminating somewhere in the area between Kings Crossand Euston, is probably a certainty.

Every recent design for Crossrail 2 shows it serving the three important London stations of Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston. It also links these stations to Victoria and Clapham Junction.

Have you ever tried to use the Victoria Line between Euston and Victoria with a heavy case or a baby in a buggy? It’s bad enough at normal times and impossible in the rush hour.

So when HS2 starts squeezing more passengers through the congested Euston Underground station, it will be a disaster.

I believe that the only way to connect HS2 into London is to build Crossrail 2 first.

But what do politicians know about building things, except messes and debts?

 

 

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

How Will They Build The Bakerloo Line Extension?

I ask this question, as my trip yesterday to Redbridge station, got me thinking.

Wanstead, Redbridge and Gants Hill stations share several characteristics.

  • They are built under a main road.
  • They are architecturally significant, with two being designed by Charles Holden.

During the Second World War, they were part of an underground factory for Plessey.

It strikes me that as the route of the Bakerloo Line Extension, will for some way, lie under the Old Kent Road, with two stations currently called; Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2, that the section of line could be similar in nature to the Redbridge stretch of the Central Line.

This map shows a route.

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

I’m sure, that they’ll come up with better names, on their initial route to Lewisham, via New Cross Gate.

This Google Map, shows the route of the Old Kent Road from Bricklayers Arms to New Cross Gate station.

Bricklayers Arms To New Cross Gate

Bricklayers Arms To New Cross Gate

Bricklayers Arms is at the North-West corner of the map and New Cross Gate station is the South-East.

To my naive mind, the route would be one that an experienced Tunnelling Engineer would find attractive.

  • Elephant and Castle station is not far to the West of Bricklayers Arms.
  • The current Bakerloo Line station at Elephant and Castle points vaguely East, so could probably be connected to under Bricklayers Arms.
  • The tunnels could go under the Old Kent Road between Bricklayers Arms and New Cross Gate.
  • The tunnels could go under the railway between New Cross Gate and Lewisham stations.
  • The Extension could terminate in two deep-level platforms under the current Lewisham station.
  • The Old Kent Road is lined with supermarkets and large out-of-town stores like Asda, B & Q, Sainsburys and Toys R  Us.

But possibly above all, the extension could probably be built without causing too much disruption to existing infrastructure.

I’ll look at a few issues in a bit more detail.

Cut And Cover Or Bored Construction

Some European nations would build the extension using cut and cover methods, but then we’re the tunnel kings!

As there has also been improvement in the tunnel boring machines over the last twenty years, I would expect that a big hole will be dug somewhere and then the main tunnels will be bored out, as is being done on the Northern Line Extension.

The choice of the main tunneling site will depend on several factors.

  • Sufficient space.
  • Good road or rail access to get heavy equipment to the site.
  • Away from sensitive areas for noise.

Probably the most difficult problem, is getting the tunnel spoil out.

Although there are plenty of large sites along the Old Kent Road, look at this Google Map of New Cross Gate station.

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate Station

Note that next to the station is a large Sainsburys. The supermarket group has form in co-operating with large rail infrastructure projects, in that their Whitechapel superstore was virtually rebuilt to make space and access for Crossrail.

So could we see the same co-operation here?

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate station is the middle interchange on the Bakerloo Line Extension.

If as I speculated above, Sainsburys co-operate, I think we could see a rebuilt superstore growing into a more important shopping centre with good rail and tube access.

Consider.

  • Trains between London Bridge and Surrey call.
  • East London Line trains call.
  • Thameslink trains will soon be passing through at speed.
  • Around a dozen bus routes pass the station.
  • There would probably be space for housing above the development.

So could we see New Cross Gate station growing into a major transport interchange?

Yes! Especially, if Thameslink called at the station!

Lewisham Station

Lewisham station has been proposed as the terminus of the Extension.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in through the station.

Lines Through Lewisham

Lines Through Lewisham

Lewisham station has one of those layouts designed by Topsy.

Perhaps for now, the best solution would be to just add a couple of deep-level platforms to create a new terminus for the Bakerloo Line.

Consider.

  • Transport for London are planning at least 36 trains per hour (tph) between two underground two platform terminals on the Victoria Line.
  • Battersea Power Station station is being built like this.
  • I doubt the extension will need a depot South of Elephant and Castle station.

Lewisham station would be rebuilt to provide a high capacity interchange between all services at the station.

The Bakerloo Line Train Frequency

Wikipedia says this in the Current And Future Infrastructure section of the Bakerloo Line.

Transport for London proposes to upgrade the line eventually, but not until other deep-level lines have been dealt with. This will include new signalling and new trains, enabling a maximum frequency of 27 trains per hour. TfL currently expects these to be in place by 2033.

So when the Extension is built, it would seem logical that the line could be rebuilt for 27 tph.

The Northern Section Of The Bakerloo Line

If the Bakerloo Line is extended to the South, then it would seem logical that the Northern end should be improved to take the increased number of trains, which share a lot of the line to Watford Junction with London Overground.

Platform Height Issues

At some station on the Northern section to get in to and out of the Bakerloo  Line 1972 Stock trains, is quite a step and it would be difficult in a wheel-chair.

I have covered this in Platform Height Issues On The Watford DC Line and feel that dual-height platforms could be used.

Onward From Lewisham

Most proposals for the extension of the Bakerloo Line, envisage the line taking over one or both of the terminals on the Hayes Line.

Wikipedia has a section on the current proposal.

This is said.

In December 2015, Transport for London announced that the Old Kent Road option was indeed its preferred route, and proposed taking the line as far as Lewisham, which it said could be running by 2030. Proposals for a further extension beyond Lewisham, such as to Hayes and Beckenham or Bromley, would now be considered in a separate phase in the more distant future.

But I do wonder, if extensions to Hayes and Beckenham Junction could be less necessary than they were a few years ago.

  • The construction of a Camberwell station on Thameslink is being considered.
  • Good design at New Cross Gate and Lewisham could improve connections for passengers on the Hayes Line.
  • The extra capacity across the South Bank and through London Bridge, must benefit passengers from the Hayes Line.
  • Elmers End station is getting an improved Tramlink service.

Bear in mind too, that Transport for London now have much better statistics from which to plan new connections and lines.

How would the following smaller projects on various wish-lists affect services South from Lewisham?

  • Better links connecting to Abbey Wood station in addition to Crossrail.
  • A decent connection between Catford and Catford Bridge stations.
  • Interchanges at Brockley and Penge on the East London Line.

Could they even kick extension of the Bakerloo Line in the Hayes direction into at least the 2040s?

The Issue Of Bakerloo And National Rail Trains Sharing Tracks

If the Bakerloo Line is to be extended past Lewisham on the Hayes Line to Hayes and Beckenham Junction, you have the problem of two types of train with different characteristics.

  • First Class is not available on the Underground.
  • Platform height can be matched to the train, to give level access.

Restricting the Bakerloo Line Extension to deep-level platforms at New Cross Gate and Lewisham, avoids the sharing issues, by keeping the two sizes of train separate.

  • Bakerloo Line trains terminate at Lewisham.
  • Good interchange must be provided between the Bakerloo Line and National Rail trains.

Obviously, by the correct design of the deep-level platforms at Lewisham, extension of the Bakerloo Line to somewhere suitable in the future is not ruled out.

 

The Northern And Bakerloo Line Extensions Are Similar

The similarity between the two extensions is very strong.

  • The Northern Extension adds two stations and the Bakerloo adds only four.
  • Both extensions are reasonably short.
  • Both extensions start at an existing station.
  • Both extensions could end in similar underground two-platform terminals.
  • Both extensions might be extended further.

So could the Bakerloo Line Extension be an ideal follow on project for the Northern Line Extension?

And after that, there are other follow-on projects, where provision for extension has been left.

  • Extending the Northern Line Extension from Battersea Power Station to Clapham Junction.
  • Extending the Bakerloo Line Extension to wherever is needed.
  • Extending the Jubilee Line from North Greenwich and Charing Cross.
  • Extending the DLR from Bank
  • Extending the Victoria Line to Herne Hill.

Could the relative success in getting such a good start on the Northern Line Extension, with hardly any controversy or disruption have influenced Transport for London to bring forward the Bakerloo Line Extension.

Perhaps with even the same team!

Conclusion

I feel that the Bakerloo Line extension will be built in a very similar way to the Northern Line Extension.

The more I dig, the more I like the plan for the extension and think it is right for project management reasons to bring it forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 11, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment