The Anonymous Widower

Access Issues At Crofton Park Station

I was alerted to the problems of access to trains at Crofton Park station, by a reader to this blog who commented here.

So as I was passing through, I decided to stop and take a few pictures.

The pictures are in order, as I walked around the station.

  • I walked to the Southern end of Platform 2.
  • I used the step-free access to exit the station.
  • I walked across the railway on the nearby road bridge on Ley Grove.
  • I entered the station using the step-free access at the Southern end of Platform 1

There wasn’t one step on the route.

These are my comments on various issues at the station.

The Simple Step-Free Access

The simple step-free access on the Southbound Platform 2 is shown in full.

Both platform access paths are similar and easy, although there is a slope up to Ley Grove and the bridge across the railway.

This Google Map shows the Platform 2 access.

The wide platform, the two contactless card readers and the seat by the entrance can clearly be seen.

It is a simple design that seems to be well-used by passengers. And not just those who need step-free access.

This type of entrance may work well in London, because contactless ticketing is commonplace. But would it work all stations, where ticket checking is non-existent or a ticket needs to be purchased before getting n the train?

Bad Signage

The locals will know about the entrances, but surely better signage is needed from the road across the bridge to these two entrances.

Steps To The Main Entrance

These are pretty typical of Victorian stations and are fairly long and steep.

I suspect passengers with access problems take care in planning their journeys

Platform To Train Access

The Southbound access is not too bad and is a typical step common all over London, but Northbound access is high with a chasm between the platform and the train.

The Google Map shows the reason.

 

Partly the reason is the curve of the railway line and the platforms, which rules out the standard solution of a Harrington Hump in the middle of platform, which is usually placed correctly by Thameslink to be by the wheelchair bays on the Class 700 train.

I think the map also shows that to straighten the line through the station would be a major undertaking and probably mean closing the station and the railway line for a couple of weeks.

But as a lady said to me, a friend of hers fell into the chasm.

Perhaps the only solution is to have a powered wheel-chair lift like a fork-lift truck, as the Germans do at some stations.

One on each platform and staff to man it would probably be more affordable than rebuilding the station.

There may also be an alternative solution for walk-through trains like the Class 700 train or London Overground’s Class 378 train.

This picture shows the Southern end of Platform 2,, with a train alongside.

Note that the end of the platform is straighter.

Why not put the Harrington Hump, in this position?

  • It would be alongside the step-free access to the station.
  • It would not be a major construction.
  • It could perhaps be twenty metres long.
  • It helps that all trains stopping at Croftton Park station are eight-car trains.
  • Phone apps to instruct passengers what to do at particular stations are getting better and more comprehensive.

As the trains are walk-through, passengers can move forwards the front before arrival,  if they are getting out at Crofton Park station.

Conclusion

Crofton Park station’s simple method of step-free access icould be used at many stations.

But we also need a method to deal with the curved platform problem and the chasms, it creates.

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Southall Station – 19th April 2019

These pictures show Southall station.

The station still needs the new footbridge to be installed and lifts from the station buildings to the platforms.

It appears that there will be a Crossrail train every six minutes  all day in both directions.

The Missing Footbridge

This picture was taken on July 4th, 2016.

Note the footbridge across the station, that doesn’t appear in the pictures I took today.

This picture, that I took today, clearly shows blue barriers around places where the footbridge might be installed on the two island platforms.

Is it a replacement bridge over the station  being installed, or is it just a footbridge connecting the platforms?

Or could it be for both purposes?

Preparing For The Brentford Branch

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of lines at Southall station.

Note.

  1. The pair of lines at the top  in blue are Crossrail
  2. The pair of lines in the middle are the fast lines.
  3. The single line going off to the East is the Brentford Branch Line, which has been proposed for reopening.

It would appear that the layout of the footbridge and the lifts would give good access to the Southernmost platform, which is connected to the Brentford Branch line.

So it looks like, that after the station has been refurbished and made step-free, connecting the Brentford Branch line would not be difficult.

As the Brentford Branch is only four miles long, a modern train like a Class 230, Class 710 or a Class 321 Hydrogen train,  could do two round trips per hour between Southall and Brentford stations.

Crossrail To Reading In December 2019

As current rumours are that Crossrail will open in December to Reading, it looks like the station will be usable.

It is planned that Southall station will have a train every six minutes.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition Display At Waterloo Station

As I passed through Waterloo station, yesterday, I happened upon, this display of the designs for the Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition.

If you are interested in design or have movement difficulties at times on the UK rail network, and regularly pass through the station, it is worth taking a look.

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Chatham Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Chatham station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station building is above the tracks.
  2. There are two staircases from the building to each platform.
  3. The platforms are reasonably wide.

It might not be an easy station to provide full step-free access.

Installing Step-Free Access

This Google Map shows the Eastern side of the station building.

You can just see the stairs at the back of the building.

In stations with similar layouts, Network Rail have built new stairs and lift structures, like these at New Cross Gate station.

Could something similar be squeezed in at Chatham station?

It would be difficult but podssible, in a station that handles nearly three million passengers per year.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Herne Bay Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Herne Bay station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current subway.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms, with a closed third platform.
  2. The Eastbound platform is Platform 2, with the Westbound platform numbered 1.
  3. The two platforms are connected by a very bad subway, with steep stairs at either end.
  4. There are three trains per hour (tph) in both directions through the station.

Whilst I was at the station, there were three guys with bikes using the trains.

Consider.

  • In my experience, coastal stations attract visitors with buggies and bikes.
  • There are a higher proportion of older passengers.
  • Good weather can increase passenger numbers.

It is without doubt the sort of smaller station on the coast, that needs step-free access.

Installing Step-Free Access

When I first saw the subway, I thought it could be possible to just add a lift at each end.

But looking at the station and the pictures on this page, I wonder if a bridge would be better.

  • The subway is rather cramped and might not be wide enough for a large wheelchair or buggy to pass another.
  • Digging the lift shafts would probably close the subway for at least a few weeks.
  • There appears to be space at the Eastern end of the station for a bridge.
  • Adding a bridge wouldn’t interfere with the siubway operation.
  • If the station had both a bridge and a subway, the extra capacity would be welcome and might help reliability.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

Could a factory-built bridge like this be used at Herne Bay station?

  • The bridge would be designed to fit.
  • Platform 2 would probably need to be widened, so passengers could pass the steps to get to the lift.

I think it could be made to work very well!

 

 

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Uddingston Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Uddingston station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This Google Map shows the station.

Note that Uddingston station has a fair amount of car parking, that is arranged on both sides of the tracks.

So if a traveller commutes or goes shopping in Glasgow, they have to cross the bridge at least once on their two journeys.

Installing Step-Free Access

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

Could a factory-built bridge like this be used at Uddingston station?

I think, due to space limitations, it might need to replace the current footbridge.

The advantage of placing it in the same position, is that the lift on the Northern side is close to the disabled parking spaces.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Beaconsfield Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Beaconsfield station is on the list.

These pictures show the station and the current bridge,

This is a Google Map of the station.

Note these points about Beaconsfield station.

  • There is a large multi-story car park alongside the London-bound platform
  • There are entrances on both sides of the railway.
  • The station is in a deep cutting and the paths down to the station could be easier. But this seventy-one-year-old managed them!
  • Currently, three trains per hour (tph) call at the station in both direction in the Off Peak, wwith more in the Peak.
  • There is space between the current two tracks for an avoiding line.
  • The platforms are very long, although I would prefer them to be wider.

The station also has the problem of many stations used by shoppers going to a nearby large city. Many travellers come home in the evening carrying a lot more, than they left with.

So do travellers want to cross a bridge without lifts carrying heavy, bulky or just plain awkward parcels, to get back to their car?

I’m fairly certain that a bridge at this station might encourage more travellers to use the train rather than their car for a trip to London.

So I can certainly understand, why it is on Network Rail’s list.

Installing The Step-Free Access

I think that this could be one of those stations, where a solution similar to that at Slough station can be used, where the old bridge was given a good refurbishment and a new step-free bridge was installed on the other side of the station entrances.

This picture, which was taken from the original bridge,  shows the new step-free bridge at Slough station.

It is a good design philosophy, which has advantages.

  • During the installation of the new bridge, the station can be fully operational.
  • Able-bodied travellers can choose their best route.
  • Two bridges have a higher capacity than one.
  • It is unlikely both bridges will be out of action at the same time.
  • The only extra cost will be refurbishing the existing bridge.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could a factory-built bridge like this be installed on the Eastern side of the station buildings?

This enlarged Google Map shows the Eastern end of the station.

Consider.

  • If the bridge were to be placed with the lifts on the Eastern side, the lift on the London-bound platform would be conveniently close to the disabled parking bays.
  • It would also mean, that travellers with walking difficulties or encumbered by heavy cases or young children, could get in the rear coach at Marylebone and be ideally placed for the bridge to get to the car-park.
  • Note that the main taxi office is placed for trains from London.
  • More able travellers could use either route, depending on where they were going.

Beaconsfield could be a station, with step-free access of the highest quality.

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Interchange Between Chiltern Railways And The Central Line At South Ruislip Station

After my trip to Beaconsfield station, which I wrote about in Beaconsfield Station To Go Step-Free, I needed to get to West Ealing station.

So I took a direct train to South Ruislip station, where I changed to the Central Line for Greenford station and the Greenford Branch to West Ealing.

These pictures show the subway at South Ruislip station.

It is a subway with inadequate steep steps.

According to the Wikipedia entry for Chiltern Railways, one of their active plans is for a Chiltern Metro. This is said.

New Chiltern Metro Service that would operate 4+tph for Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park, South Ruislip and West Ruislip. This would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip, passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and a passing loop at Wembley Stadium (part of the old down fast line is in use as a central reversing siding, for stock movements and additionally for 8-car football shuttles to convey passengers to the stadium for events).

So there could be four trains per hour (tph) through South Ruislip station, in addition to the current hourly service to High Wycombe.

Also.

  • When Chiltern Railways have a second London terminal at Old Oak Common station, there could be more stopping trains.
  • There is also pressure to run services along the Greenford Branch to West Ruislip and High Wycombe.
  • The Central Lione will be getting new larger trains in the next few years.

There is certainly, a lot of potential to improve services and South Ruislip station could need to go step-free.

This Google Map shows the station.

Putting lifts into the subway to access platforms has been done many times and wouldn’t be the most major of projects.

Whether it is worth doing, would be solely down to passenger numbers.

  • Currently, the station handles about two million passengers per year, most of whom are using the Central Line.
  • There will probably be a lot of new housing built in the next few years.
  • With the disruption of building High Speed Two, through the area, this might mean new passengers start using the station.

I predict that South Ruislip station will go step-free.

 

April 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Luton Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Luton station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

Without doubt, this is the worst station, I’ve found so far in an important town, that is to be made step-free.

There is nothing of any architectural merit at all in this station.

Will Abellio East Midlands Railway Improve Their Service To Luton?

Currently, Luton station has the following.

  • Full electrification, which is being upgraded to a high standard for 125 mph running.
  • Platforms long enough to accommodate Thameslink’s 242 metre long twelve-car Class 700 trains.
  • The Class 700 trains are already fitted for working with digital signalling and this will be added to all trains.

It certainly treats trains better than it does passengers.

From December 2020, the following trains will run through Luton station.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) to/from Corby, which will be 240 metre long twelve-car electric trains in the Peak. Why not in the Off Peak?
  • Two tph to/from Leicester and Nottingham
  • Two tph to/from Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield

At the present time, only the single Corby service stops at Luton.

From 2022, East Midlands Railway will be running new bi-mode trains through the station.

  • For compatibility with the electric trains to Corby and to make full use of long platforms, I suspect that these trains could be up to 240 metres long.
  • They will have a larger capacity, than the current Class 222 trains.
  • They will effectively be electric trains between London and Market Harborough, where the electrification ends.
  • They will have fast acceleration and smooth regenerative braking, because of the electric power.
  • They could have step-across access between train and platform.

As Luton station is electrified and has long platforms, these trains will be able to stop at Luton (and Luton Airport Parkway) in minutes.

Network Rail intend to make Luton station step-free by 2024.

The improved access will give easier connections between the expresses and Thameslink, and entry/exit to the station.

I can see several trains per hour stopping at Luton.

Conclusion

If money was no object, this station should be totally rebuilt.

But money is an object, so the architects will be struggling.

But by 2024 at the latest and possibly a couple of years earlier Luton station could be sorted for passengers and handling well upwards of a dozen 240 metre long high capacity trains in every hour.

April 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Petts Wood Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

Petts Wood station is on the list.

These pictures show the station.

It was built in 1928 and it is of rather an eccentric design. Not only are there steep steps from the two island platforms, but there are steps up to the bridge.

This is a 3D Google Map of the station.

After visiting and looking at the station for the best part of an hour and seeing these images, there appears to be no obvious solution to making this a step-free station.

At many stations needing step-free access, the solution is to build a new modern bridge with step-free access further down the platform. If at Petts Wood station, this were to be done, there is then the problem of  connecting the new bridge to the station square and the ticket office.

Morrisons supermarket and the gardens of the houses are in the way.

The only solution is probably to replace the current steel bridge with a new one with lifts at each end and to each platform. But in a station that handles over two million passengers a year that would cause tremendous disruption.

I will watch out for the solution that is applied at this station. It will need to be very innovative.

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment