The Anonymous Widower

Good Design On The Amsterdam Metro

Sometimes, it’s good design that catches my eye as I roam around.

These pictures are from the Amsterdam Metro.

Most of the escalators I saw in The Netherlands had traffic lights and I like that. Stations in the UK don’t seem to have a policy about which side is up or down. Some shops also deliberately make their escalatoprs complicated, so you take a detour round the shop.

I would like to see a law, that all escalators (and ticket gates) had much better lights to show their direction of operation.

The wooden handrail must be the only one I’ve seen in a new station or building. Transport for London repairs old ones, but doesn’t seem to install new ones.

March 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’ As Gatwick Express Trains Trial Due To Start

The title of this post, is the same as that fn this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

There has been pressure for Gatwick Express trains to stop at Preston Park station.

The trial will now start this month, with two stops in the Peak hours at 0714 and 1744.

I think that the trial sets an interesting precedent.

  • Modern trains like the Class 387 trains used on the Gatwick Express can execute a station stop much faster than earlier trains.
  • This could mean,  that there is a high chance that operationally, the trial will be a success.
  • I can’t imagine a train company agreeing to the trial, if the trains didn’t have the performance to do the extra station stop.

So could ia successful trial at Preston Park station, mean that other groups, start pressing for a stop at their local station?

  • The trains would need to be modern ones.
  • The trains would need to able to stop at the station.
  • The signalling must allow it.

I can also see train companies adding extra station stops to take advantage of changing passenger numbers.

February 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Completing The Bank Station Upgrade

I’m writing this post for two reasons.

The first is to inform people that in the Summer of 2021, there is going to be a closure of the Bank Branch of the Northern Line for several months.

The second, is to illustrate, how in a large transport system like London, good project management can carry out major works, without too much inconvenience to passengers.

This article on IanVisits is entitled Behind The Scenes At London Underground’s Bank Tube Station upgrade.

I suggest you read the article, to get the scale of the project.

In the Summer of 2021, a section of the Bank branch of the Northern line will close for roughly 3 months.

The main reason is so that the New Southbound tunnel can be joined to the existing Southbound tunnel, North and South of Bank station. Think of it as installing a by-pass round a village. Except it’s a railway and it’s around forty metres below ground.

Ian says this about what else will happen, whilst the Northern Line is closed.

While that’s going on, at Bank station, the old southbound tunnel will have it’s tracks filled in and turned into a new large concourse, while the currently hidden new side passages are cut through into the old northbound platform and finished off.

Come roughly September 2021, after a few months of closure, people will arrive at Bank station and see these huge new tunnels, the new escalators down to the DLR, the travolator to the Central line.

This approach is very common on the railways.

If a line has to be closed completely for a few months, say because a tunnel is being repaired, then during the closure, you do all the other tasks you can.

At Bank, where a new track is being connected, there will be no trains through the station for a few months. So all the other jobs will be done in this window.

There may also be other advantages. At Bank station, the Northbound track itself is not being radically changed, so it might be possible to use battery locomotives to bring in supplies and take out rubbish.

Summer 2021 Is Two And A Half Years Away

Project Planners have calculated and it will probably take until the end of 2020, for everything to be ready before the closure can take place, so that the joining of the tracks can begin.

But there could  other reasons, for the 2021 date.

Bank station is an important station on the Northern Line and closing it will cause a lot of inconvenience for passengers, many of whom will still be commuting to the City of London.

Some Big Projects Will Be Complete Before The Closure

Before Summer 2021, these big projects should have been completed.

  • One completed on Friday, when the new Bank Station entrance on Walbrook opened.
  • Crossrail will have opened.. On current forecasts nearly two years earlier.
  • The Northern City Line will be running new Class 717 trains into Moorgate station.
  • Travellers will have learned to use Thameslink as part of the Underground.

All of these projects will help passengers to cope with the Northern Line Closure at Bank station.

Bank Station Will Still Be Partially Open For Business

Bank station will not be fully-closed.

  • The Central Line will be working at Bank station, to something like full capacity.
  • The Waterloo & City Line will be working normally using the new Wallbrook entrance.
  • The Docklands Light Railway will be working, as is possible around all the work.
  • Some new and refurbished routes will connect the Central Line and Docklands Light Railway to the myriad station entrances around Bank Junction.
  • The Circle and District Lines will be working normally, through Monument station.

In addition, the City of London will have improved walking and cycling in the Square Mile.

Where Will Northern Line Trains Run During The Closure?

For a start, all Northern Line trains through Charing Cross station will be running normally.

The Northern Line Extension to Battersea might even have opened, which would give an extra Southern terminal to the Northern Line, which would help operation of the Charing Cross Branch.

Looking at the detailed tracks on carto.metro.free.fr, it appears that trains from the North can turn back at Euston and Moorgate.

Consider.

  • Euston will be in the throws of rebuilding for High Speed Two.
  • The Northern Line is the preferred route between Euston and the City.
  • Moorgate will be a fully step-free rebuilt station with connections to Crossrail and the Central Line.
  • Many people can walk to most parts of the Square Mile from Moorgate.

It looks to me, that it is most likely that Northern Line services will terminate at Moorgate during the closure of the Northern Line through Bank.

Northern Line trains approaching the City from the South have no such convenient turn back between Kennington and Bank stations.

I think the best direct service passengers from the Morden Branch to the City can expect will be a not-very-frequent shuttle service to London Bridge.

Most who need to go to Bank station from the South will find alternative routes and there are several.

  • Travel to London Bridge and walk across the river.
  • Change to the Waterloo and City Line at Waterloo.
  • Change to the Circle and District Lines at Embankment.
  • Change to the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road
  • Change to Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road and walk from Moorgate.

It should also be remembered, that as the closure is taking place in the Summer holidays, travellers should cope.

Conclusion

As Project Managers always seem to say.

You must get your ducks in a row!

So in this example, I would have felt that to have rebuilt Bank station without completion of the following projects.

  • Crossrail
  • Bank Station Walbrook Entrance

Would have been a lot harder.

This example also means that you must get your large projects in the right order, so they help each other to be delivered on time.

London has several large station interchange projects in the pipeline.

  • Camden Town station
  • East Croydon station
  • Holborn station.
  • Oxford Circus station
  • Victoria station

Which I believe should be done in the optimal order, so that travellers suffer the least disruption.

Smaller projects like a second entrance At Walthamstow Central station should probably be done at a time, when money and resources are available.

 

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cross-Platform Interchange Between Crossrail And Central Line At Stratford

Crossrail and the Central Line have a cross-platform interchange at Stratford.

 

I turned up today, with trains in both platforms.

There needs to be more interchanges like this between different lines, around the UK.

I can’t think of many.

  • Acton Town – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Barons Court – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Euston – Northern and Victoria
  • Finchley Road – Metropolitan and Jubilee Lines
  • Finsbury Park – Victoria and Piccadilly Lines
  • Hammersmith – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Highbury & Islington – Northern City and Victoria Lines.
  • Mile End – Central and Hammersmith & City Lines
  • Oxford Circus – Victoria and Bakerloo Lines
  • Ravenscourt Park – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Stockwell – Victoria and Northern Lines
  • Turnham Green – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Wembley Park – Metropolitan and Jubilee Lines.

I don’t know of one outside the London area.

 

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

The Train-Platform Interface In London

I feel very strongly, that the floor of a train should be level with the platform, when you board a train.

This is mainly, because after my stroke, some said, that I could spent a lot of my life in a wheelchair. Luckily, the doomsters were wrong, but I do feel for those who have to use one or regularly push a buiggy on London’s extensive transport system.

So in this post, I shall be collecting examples of the good, the bad and the ugly.

I have put a note by some of the pictures, which are as follows.

  1. Only one type of train calls at this platform and as the platform is straight, it could be better.
  2. This platform was built or rebuilt, when new trains started on a new line.
  3. Taken on a Harrington Hump

These are just the start.

 

 

November 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

The Relaxed Pace Of German Commuter Stations

I am at Buxtehade station on the outskirts of Hamburg and the area looks like it could be a suburb typical of those around big cities all over the world. But it is so relaxed compared to others I’ve visited.

Note.

  1. The diesel-hauled commuter service running under wires.
  2. No-one and the trains don’t seem to be in a hurry despite it being around nine in the morning.
  3. Trains seem to wait several minutes at each station.
  4. Staff were not to be seen.

In addition, there was absolutely no information about the hydrogen trains, that I could find.

 

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A New Country End Concourse At Paddington

Paddington is an annoying station. I’d come in to Paddington, on the Parliamentary service from South Ruislip station, that I wrote about in A Train Of My Own and I had to walk from platform 14 at the far end of the station to the front concourse and then go back again to get the Circle/Metropolitan Line trains to Moorgate for coming home.

There is a back stairs, but it is difficult to find and it would not be idea for passengers with heavy cases wanting the Circle/Metropolitan or a taxi.

When Crossrail opens, it will be easier, as I’ll just change at Reading and come straight through to Moorgate.

Or will it?

Reading will only have four trains per hour (tph) in the Peak and half that in the Off Peak.

It surely needs at least six tph all day and preferably all night as well!

This document on the Network Rail web site is entitled Open For Business and subtitled with this.

Opportunities for third parties to fund, finance or deliver improvements on Britain’s railways September 2018

One of the projects mentioned is entitled Paddington Station Country End Concourse. This is all that is said.

Provision of country-end concourse and platform extensions to reduce station congestion.

It should have these features.

  • Escalators and lifts to each pair of platforms at the station, including Crossrail and the Circle and Metropolitan Lines.
  • A short level walk to the taxis.
  • It should be wider than the bridge across all platforms at Reading station.
  • A massive Premier Inn or similar on top

And I want it now!

Not 2030, if I’m lucky.

The hotel will never happen, as high development will block the view of the Brunel’s station and the Nimbys will stop it.

But it should!

October 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Freedoming – Hertford East Station

Getting to Hertford East station cost me £5.80.

Wikipedia says this about the station.

The station was listed in 1974 as a Grade II* listed building; in 1996 the buffer stop lights on platform one were separately listed in their own right.

Sadly, I didn’t photograph the buffer stops.

Capacity Of The Station

One of my reasons for going to Hertford East station was to look at the capacity of the station.

I always feel that a single platform can handle four trains per hour (tph), as this regularly happens on the Overground.

So Hertford East station should be able to handle at least four tph.

But unfortunately, there is a single platform station at Ware on the way to the West Anglia Main Line.

So this probably explains why Hertford East doesn’t have a four tph service to London.

August 26, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Two Platform Stations With 125 mph Trains

Increasingly, we are seeing stations in the UK, where there is only two platforms and trains pass through the station without stopping at 125 mph.

If HS4Air is built, there will be several stations between Gatwick Airport and Ashford, where this will happen.

I must admit, that I don’t like being on a platform, where trains past through, so perhaps it is a personal thing.

With me it’s not just 125 mph trains, but freight trains as well.

But for reasons of safety, I think we could come up with a better design of station.

I shall use Penshurst station on the Redhill to Tonbridge Line as an example.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note that it is very simple with a platform on each line.

Currently, it gets a single train per hour (tph) in both directions.

HS4Air would probably mean that at least another four tph, passed through the station at 125 mph.

Platform-edge doors would be a difficult and expensive solution, but why not make access to the platform only possible, when a train is stopping?

Looking at Penshurst station, this station also needs some more facilities, like a fully accessible footbridge.

The footbridge would be outside the secure area.

For slower passing trains and heavy freight trains, the use of wide platforms and rear access will suffice as these pictures from Hackney Wick station show.

If more stations were built to the rules used at Hackney Wick, the UK’s railways would probably be safer.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Liverpool South Parkway Station Stands In For Lime Street

I went to Liverpool to see the new Maghull North station and a few other things in the Second City.

Liverpool Lime Street station is closed at the moment due to major works, so all London trains are going only as far as Liverpool South Parkway station.

These pictures show the station.

The station was coping well, as passengers from outside Liverpool ytansferred to Merseyrail to continue their journeys to the City Centre.

On my visit to Liverpool, I went first to Maghull North station, so I got a Southport train on Merseyrail’s Northern Line to Sandhills station, where I changed trains.

There are not many cities in the UK, which have the luxury of an alternative terminus of the quality of Liverpool South Parkway station to stand in, when the main station has to be closed.

When we left for London, the train initially went towards Liverpool and then crossed over to the line to London, before coming back through the Liverpool South Parkway station.

This was because the station wasn’t designed for use as a terminus and there is no other way to get the train on the right line for Crewe and the South.

It would also appear from the pictures, that to cope with the length of the eleven-car Virgin Pendelinos, that a temporary platform extension has been built.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment