The Anonymous Widower

A Good Summary Of What’s Happening In Creating New And Updating Old Stations

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled Stations: what happened in CP5 and what’s happening in CP6?

It is an article to read. Especially, if you’re thinking of moving house to a new area!

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Western Arcade At London Bridge Station

These pictures show the Western Arcade at London Bridge station, which opened after Christmas.

The Arcade connects the spacious double concourse under the tracks of the National Rail station with the Underground station.

All it needs now, is for the shops to be occupied.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Chilled Marks and Spencer’s 0.5% Southwold Pale Ale

I took this picture of Marks and Spencer’s 0.5% Southwold Pale Ale in the fridge of their store on Finsbury Pavement in the City of London.

Not that it needed to be cooled today, as it was real bass monkey weather.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | Food | , , , | Leave a comment

The Electric Taxis Are Coming

London’s new electric black taxis will soon be seen on the streets.

From the pictures, I’ve seen, they could be an interesting ride.

  • There is a panoramic glass roof.
  • They are roomier, than the current black cabs and can seat six instead of five.
  • Wi-fi and charging points are standard.
  • Air-conditioning.
  • A small petrol engine is used to boost range up to nearly 400 miles.

I shall search one out for a ride.

The Times though points out an interesting point about the design. This is said.

The bigger story is LEVC will now use the technology behind the TX to build far greater volumes of hybrid electric vans, the sort that deliver all our online shopping.

That certainly is a bigger story.

A few points of my own.

Geo-Fencing

Will geo-fencing be used to ensure that in central and sensitive areas and those with high air pollution, the taxi will run on batteries only.

This would also be particularly useful with the delivery van, where delivery depots tend to be outside the centre of a city.

Wireless Charging

London’s black cabs use rabjs and only yesterday, I picked up one from the rank at the Angel.

Milton Keynes has buses that can be charged using an inductive system.

So why not install inductive charging on taxi ranks?

Online Shopping Delivery

Parcel delivery companies don’t have the best of images. Electric last-mile delivery would certainly help.

For too long, vans have just been a crude metal box, with a couple of seats and an engine at the front.

So why not design a complete system around the taxi chassis?

  • If the depot was outside the city centre, charging could be done at both the depot and on the journeys to and from the centre
  • The van could also be designed so that containers packed at the depots could be loaded for each delivery.
  • The containers could also be brought into the centre of the city at night into the main station by a purpose-designed train.
  • A sophisticated onboard computer could control the driver and the deliveries.

There is a wonderful opportunity here to develop parcel delivery systems that are truly efficient and as pollution-free as possible.

Service Vans

If I walk down my road of about 150 houses and a couple of tower blocks on any weekday during working hours, I will probably count around half-a-dozen service vans of various types for small builders, plumbers. Most have not come further than a dozen miles.

If the economics of the electric van are pitched right, I think a large proportion of these vehicles will go electric, as they often sit around for large periods during the working day.

Conclusion

I can’t wait to get a ride in one of these taxis.

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Development Of Knightsbridge Station

Knightsbridge station is an important station on the Piccadilly Line.

It is unusual in that it is one of the few double-ended tube station, with one entrance at Sloane Street by Harvey Nicholls and the other along the Brompton Road at Harrods.

I took these pictures on a Sunday morning as I walked around the station.

The existing building over the Sloane Street entrance is being redeveloped. Wikipedia gives these details.

The residential development of One Hyde Park opposite the station features an entrance to the station which is the diverted closed off exit. It re-opened in December 2010.

In 2017, a developer will refurbish the block above the station and close exits 3 and 4 that lead to Brompton Road and Sloane Street. When this work is complete, there will be a new entrance in Brompton Road, the two exits having been blocked permanently. The station will also feature Step Free Access available from a new entrance in Hooper’s Court, where the original station first opened, with lifts in the original lift shaft that will led to the Piccadilly platforms.

This page on the TfL web site gives more details. This is said.

Knightsbridge Tube station will have step-free access in 2020, reached by a new entrance at Hooper’s Court.

Two new lifts will serve the Piccadilly line platforms, making the station step-free from street level to the trains.

A second new entrance will open at 15 Brompton Road in 2019, replacing the former entrance on the corner of Sloane Street and Brompton Road. The pavement on Brompton Road and Sloane Street will be widened, making more room for pedestrians.

Note that the new entrance at 15 Brompton Road will be about halfway between the corner and the LK Bennett store, which is at 39-41.

Conclusion

It looks as if Knightsbridge tube station will be very much improved.

But!

  • Cutting the traffic through the area would help.
  • I can’t say that I’m impressed with the new entrance to the station on the North side of Knightsbridge.

At least the entrance by Harrods, is much more in keeping with the area.

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oxford Street Could Be Pedestrianised By Next Christmas

The title of this post is the same as the sub-title of this article in the Independent.

The aim is to pedestrianise Oxford Street from Oxford Street to Orchard Street by December 2018, which is the date when the Elizabeth Line will open.

It is an ambitious plan and despite substantial backing from the Mayor, Westminster City Council, the West End Company and groups like the British Heart Foundation, I don’t think it will be plain sailing.

Walking Along Oxford Street

In Walking Along Oxford Street, I show various pictures I took this morning whilst walking between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road stations.

Oxford Street looked to have improved, since I last did this. But then it’s a long time since I’ve walked the streets without crowds.

My views are as follows.

Measuring Success Or Failure

The success or failure of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street is very easy to gauge.

The rate of change of turnover is a direct measure.

The Buses

I regularly go shopping in Oxford Street and often used a bus to travel there and back.

I used to be able to get a 73 bus from either 200 metres from my house or by changing at the Angel. But since the 73 has been cut back to Oxford Circus, I’ve tended to use the Underground, often by taking a bus to Bank for the Central Line.

Under Sadiq Khan’s plan all buses will be removed from Oxford Street and only the 139 and the 390  will remain, being rerouted along Wigmore Street.

A lot of people who go to Oxford Street regularly by bus, will lose their direct bus route. How will they react?

Will they use the Underground or the Elizabeth Line or will they go shopping elsewhere?

Since the 73 has been cut back, I think I’ve also gone to Oxford Street a lot less.

Why? I’ve no idea.

But it could be, that regularly, I’d buy something in John Lewis,Selfridges or perhaps in Bond Street and get straight on a 73 bus to the Angel, where I just got off the bus and waited until a bus home arrived at the same stop. As the 73 buses are New Routemasters, they’re a real shoppers’ bus and a lot easier than the Underground.

The Underground And Crossrail

Oxford Street will have the following stations and entrances as you proceed from East to West.

  • Holborn – Central and Piccadilly
  • Tottenham Court Road (Current Entrance) – Central, Elizabeth and Northern
  • Tottenham Court Road (Dean Street Entrance) – Central and Elizabeth
  • Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria
  • Bond Street – Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee
  • Marble Arch – Central

Between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street, which will be the first section to be pedestrianised, you’ll never be more than two hundred metres from a fully step-free Elizabeth Line station.

Will this be enough to do away with the buses on Oxford Street?

Holborn station is being expanded with a new entrance, so will Oxford Circus and Marble Arch be upgraded?

Cycling

This will be banned. Although the plan envisages alternative cycle routes to the North and South.

Taxis

These will be banned from Oxford Street. Taxi ranks will be provided.

Will this be acceptable to the taxi drivers?

Uber And Mini-Cabs

These will be banned from Oxford Street.

How will these effect the surrounding streets?

Deliveries

How will these be arranged? You can’t get behind all the shops!

The Stalls

There are lots of stalls selling various goods along Oxford Street.

Will the stallholders give up their pitches quietly, if necessary?

Security

I’m no security expert, but after the latest attacks in the UK and Europe, surely keeping out vehicles must remove the weapon of choice from a large group of terrorists.

Local Residents

There are quite a few residents in the area perhaps two hundred metres on either side of Oxford Street.

They could be the biggest losers with traffic cramming  the side streets.

Timing

Crossrail opens in December 2018. Does this mean the 1st, 31st or some day in between?

How do you time the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street to fit in with Crossrail?

Especially, as December 2018 will probably contain Christmas!

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of discussion about this scheme.

As to my view, I like pedestrianised streets and Oxford Street should have gone this way years ago.

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , , | 13 Comments

Progress On The Sheffield-Rotherham Tram-Train – October 13th 2017

It is only a couple of weeks since I wrote Progress On The Sheffield-Rotherham Tram-Train and progress seems to have accelerated in that time.

The Class 399 tram-trains are now running between Cathedral and Herdings Park, as I reported in Class 399 Tram-Trains In Service.

Progress On The Tinsley Chord

I took these pictures at Tinsley Chord, where the track connects theMeadowhall branch of the Supertram to the freight line to Rotherham.

There isn’t really much to see, as trees obscure any good view from the road.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  • The Tinsley Viaduct carrying the M1 cutting across the bottom-left corner of the map.
  • Blackburn Meadows, with the Water Treatment Plant and Biomass Power Station, at the North of the map.
  • The Blackburn Meadows Way linking into Meadowhall.
  • The freight line to Rotherham runs to the outh of this road.
  • The Supertram running along the West side of the motorway.

The Tinsley Chord, that links the tram and freight lines is hidden under the viaduct.

I did get some more pictures later.

The Tinsley Chord appears to be double-track, where it will join the existing tram line.

The Wires Are Going Up

These pictures show that the wires are going up between the freight line and Rotherham Central station.

The gantries seem much more main line than tram.

But the Class 399 tram-trains, won’t care if they contain 750 VDC or 25 KVAC. Changing the volts is a lot easier than changing the catenary.

Rotherham Station

These pictures show the current state of Rptherham Central station.

Note.

  • The wires are going up.
  • The low-level platform extensions need to be completed.
  • Trains will use the high end of the platforms and tram-trains the low end.

Karlsruhe have much worse platform height problems, as they have two generations of tram-trains and German trains that need low platforms to cope with.

Walking To The Parkgate Shopping

I thought about using a taxi, but in the end, I walked to the Parkgate Shopping, as the weather was sunny.

I did manage to get an idea of the distance in a thirty minute walk.

Parkgate Shopping

Parkgate Shopping is the sort of shopping centre I rarely visit.

I am a guerrilla shopper, who decides what he needs and then chooses where to go and buy it. Being a coeliac, food shopping usually requires a couple of shops. One of these must be a Marks and Spencer, as their gluten-free staples like bread, biscuits, beer and muesli are better than most.

These days, I don’t drive, but a couple of doctors have told me, they reckon I could get my licence back.It’s just that not having a car, removes a whole chunk of hassle from your life. I don’t want it back!

I also often create shopping with a visit to either a friend, a restaurant, a museum or perhaps even a dentist.

I’ll often plan my day, so I come home via somewhere like the Angel, Moorgate, Eastfield or King Cross, where I pick up my supper.

Parkgate might be a place to go if it fitted my target requirements and I lived locally.

But it would need decent public transport like Meadowhall down the riad.

The Tram Stop At Parkgate Shopping

These pictures show the railway that passes Parkgate Shopping and the tram-train stop being built.

The stop needs finishing and a route to the stops would need to be created.

But it looks like the designers have developed a simple one platform stop capable of handling the required three trains an hour.

Conclusion

The project appears to be coming towards the end.

There are several things that need to be completed.

  • The catenary.
  • The connection of the tracks at the Tinsley Chord.
  • Rotherham Central station pltforms
  • Parkgate Shopping tram stop.

Then it would need to be tested.

If I have a question about the project, I wonder how they managed to be so late and over budget, as IS reported in this article in the Guardian, which is entitled Sheffield to Rotherham Tram-Train Is Five Times Over Budget, Says NAO.

My gut instinct tells me, that there are a few problems with this project, that would have been avoided by a little bit more thought before it started.

But I think it’ll come out alright on the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 13, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Crossrail Era Cometh

This title of this post comes from a comment on the Drapers Online web site.

It discusses the effect Crossrail is going to have on the shops in Oxford Street. This paragraph is typical of the bullish tone of the comment.

The Elizabeth Line is central to ushering in a new chapter for Oxford Street and the wider West End. The line is expected to bring an extra 60 million visits to the area each year, in addition to the current 200 million annual visits. Retailers in the West End will receive a huge boost from two new stations opening at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.

I wonder when a railway got such a large comment in a magazine or web site, devoted to the fashion business.

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Do We Spend An Average Price On Food Items?

This may seem a silly question to ask, but I tend to do most of my food shopping in Marks and Spencer and like the convenience of using contactless payment.

But I have found on average, that my average payment is just a few pence over a couple of pounds.

So when I get to fourteen items, unless there is something I have to get, like supper, I stop shopping.

I was surprised how similar the average item cost was each time.

But then I don’t buy much, as I live alone and I’m coeliac. And I do shop elsewhere as well!

One thing I do wonder, is that since I’ve been counting, I seem to be throwing away less food, so perhaps it’s stopped me buying too much!

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Chiltern Railways Must Be Chuffed

This article in the Oxford Mail is entitled One Million Passengers Use New Rail Link Between Bicester And Oxford In First Six Months.

Chiltern Railways spokesman, says they are delighted.

The article also discloses that the proportion of visitors to Bicester Village, travelling by train has gone up from three to ten per cent.

I haven’t been to Bicester Village since C died, but it was always a difficult place to park, so if nothing else the economics of Bicester Village, must be improved, if visitors come by train. That must mean the ratio of shops to parking can go up.

There must be a lot of data about rail-connected shopping centres, as the UK has several.

  • Eastfield at Stratford.
  • Grand Central in Birmingham
  • Meadowhall
  • Metro Centre at Gateshead
  • Oxford Street
  • Westfield at Shepherds Bush

It will be interesting to see what happens after the following.

  • Oxford Street gets two double-ended Crossrail stations at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.
  • The Trafford Centre is connected to the Manchester Metrolink.
  • Merry Hill is connected to the Midland Metro.

I don’t think that the rail and tram companies would be making these investments, if they felt they would be losing money.

There must be a very strong link to the bottom line of Shopping Centres.

Consider.

  • Provision of car parking spaces must be expensive.
  • Provision of car parking uses up space that could be used for retail outlets or leisure facilities.
  • Lots of car parking produces traffic jams.
  • Car parking regularly gets full.
  • Cars get broken into and damaged.
  • Increasing capacity on a rail or tram link is not the Shopping Centre’s capital investment.

But most importantly, does a rail/tram link attract people like me, who can’t or don’t drive.

I also think, that Shopping Centres benefit from passing trade from the rail or tram link.

If I’m passing Eastfield or Westfield in London or Meadowhall in Sheffield and need lunch or a gluten-free sandwich from Marks and Spencer, I will often break my journey and have a quick shop.

In many cases, this is easier on a train or tram, than in a car, as the driver parks the former for you and you’re often immediately in the Shopping Centre.

I’m particularly looking forward to the opening of the Western entrance to Tottenham Court Road station when Crossrail opens next year. This entrance will be next door to the flagship Marks and Spencer store at the Pantheon.

 

 

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment