The Anonymous Widower

Perry Barr Station – 7th May 2021

Birmingham will be hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Perry Barr station is to be rebuilt for the games.

This page on the West Midlands Railway web site explains what will happen.

This is the first two paragraphs.

From Monday 10 May 2021, Perry Barr Railway Station will be closed for a large refurbishment project. This means trains will not call at the station during this time, and passengers will not be able to get on or off trains from this station.

The closure is part of a large regeneration plan for the area, being built on the existing site. The current station will be demolished to make way for a new, modern and more accessible station for Perry Barr, scheduled to reopen in May 2022.

I took these pictures on a visit.

Note.

  1. The station certainly needs a lot of improvement.
  2. The stairs are steep.
  3. The information displays are total crap.
  4. There are ramps.
  5. Crossing the main road outside the station is difficult.

This article on the Construction Enquirer indicates the following.

  • There will be a bus and train interchange for the Athletes Village.
  • Pictures in the article clearly show lift towers.

It will be a great improvement.

 

May 8, 2021 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Tasteful Lift Installation In A Listed Tube Station

These pictures show Cockfosters station a couple of years ago.

Note.

  1. There are two similar entrances on either side of the busy Cockfosters Road.
  2. Both have wide staircases down to the platform level.
  3. There is a subway between the two entrances.
  4. There is also a level light-controlled crossing across Cockfosters Road for those who need to cross the road.
  5. The station was designed by Charles Holden.
  6. The station opened in 1933.

The station is a Grade II Listed Building, which could have made designing a lift system tricky.

This Google Map shows the station layout.

Note.

  1. Cockfosters Road at the West of the map.
  2. The white roofs of the buses, indicate, that there is a small bus station at the Western entrance to the station.
  3. The London Transport roundel indicates the Eastern entrance to the station.
  4. There are two trains in the four platforms of the station.
  5. There is a large level car park.
  6. Transport for London have a small office block in the car park.
  7. The London Orbital Path and a hidden path to Trent Park can be accessed from the entrance to the station car park.

It is a well-equipped terminal station.

Transport for London could have opted for a double lift installation with one lift on either side of the road.

But they have opted for a single lift  at the Eastern side of the station.

I took these pictures of the new lift.

Note.

  1. The first picture shows the lift in the corner of the station ticket hall and lobby.
  2. From the lift to the trains is a level walk or push.
  3. The second picture shows the surface installation in the car park.
  4. The lift is positioned by the two walking routes and conveniently for anybody being dropped off or picked up by car.
  5. The light-controlled crossing is perhaps fifty metres away to give access to both sides of Cockfosters Road.
  6. The third picture shows a close-up of the lift.
  7. The fourth picture shows a seat, for those who need to wait.

It is a very simple and well-thought out installation.

 

 

 

 

April 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 4 Comments

Increase In Hate Crime Against Disabled Rail Users

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

New figures published by the Department for Transport have shown that hate crimes toward disabled people traveling on the rail network have risen by 24% in the last three years.

I don’t think the abuse has just been on trains either.

I rarely see any friction over the use of the wheelchair bay on buses in London, but my feeling is that I see it more often than I used too!

  • Perhaps six months ago,  a mother was not very pleased at having to get off the bus so that a disabled guy in a wheelchair could use the space.
  • Some people think possession of the space is all important.
  • I’ve also heard arguments over who takes precedent.

I wonder, if it is worse in other parts of the UK, where wheelchair access to buses is not as easy,as in London and there are fewer buses.

Are Some Passengers Annoyed At Being Delayed?

I’ve certainly seen moderate annoyance on buses and trains, when there is a delay caused by a disabled passenger getting on or off a bus or train, with sometimes some very offensive words being said.

So What Should Be Done About It?

Obviously, we need to do all the usual personal things to make sure that things run smoothly and serious abusers should be prosecuted.

But I also think, that we should aim for the following.

Every train must have a level platform and train interface.

The picture was taken from literature about the South Wales Metro and shows a visualisation of one of the Flirts, that will run on the routes in South Wales.

We should ban the ordering of trains, that don’t meet this criteria.

All routes between street and platform should be step-free.

It would be an expensive program, but there would be a lot who’d benefit.

  • People in wheelchairs
  • Babies and toddlers in buggies and their pushers.
  • People dragging large cases.
  • Cyclists with bicycles
  • Older people with mobility issues.

There will be collateral benefits.

  • Trains would be speeded up, as they would not have to wait so long in stations.
  • More people will use the trains and not just the disabled.
  • If the program were properly managed, it could create work for local construction firms all over the UK.

It might even encourage inward and stay-at-home  tourism from those with mobility issues.

 

April 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 11 Comments

The New Lift To The Northern Line At Moorgate Station

Look at this image, I’ve clipped from this large visualisation of the massive Liverpool Street-Moorgate Crossrail Station.

The image shows the Northern City Line coming into Moorgate station.

Note.

  1. The Northern City Line is shown in purple.
  2. The double escalator going down to between the two terminal platforms of the Northern City Line.
  3. The Northern Line is shown in black and the two platforms are underneath the Northern City Line.
  4. The Northern Line tunnels cross over the top of the Crossrail running tunnels.
  5. Note the other escalator going down to the left of the Northern City Line escalators, that is connected to the Northern Line by two passages and stairs.
  6. There are also two single escalators connecting the Northern Line to the Northern City Line above. I regularly use the up escalator, when I arrive in Moorgate station on the Northern Line, as it is quicker and there are no steps. I described this exit in Up From The Depths At Moorgate Station.
  7. There is also a new passage shown in the visualisation, which appears to link the main Crossrail station with the Northern Line platforms or the area underneath them.

Whilst going through the station today, I found this lift.

It appears to be squeezed in between the two escalators linking the Northern and Northern City Lines.

Note

  1. Does it serve the Northern City and Northern Lines and the passage to Crossrail?
  2. The sign says Moorgate. Does this mean that the lift goes to the surface? But it would come probably up to the surface in Boots. So I suspect it leads to the passage, which means you go to Moorgate that way.
  3. The lift looks finished.
  4. The lights are on.

It certainly looks Crossrail-ready.

If you look at the visualisation in detail by clicking on it, it looks like,there could be two new short escalators and a lift going down from the Northern Line platforms to the passage underneath.

It looks to me, that if you arrive in the passage underneath the Northern Line from the main Crossrail part of the station, that you can do one of the following.

  • Take one escalator to the Northern Line.
  • Take two escalators to the Northern and City Line.
  • Take three escalators to the surface.

In addition you can do the following.

  • If you’re on the Northern and City Line platforms, you can take two escalators down to take the passage to access Crossrail.
  • If you’re on the Northern Line platforms, you can take pne escalator down to take the passage to access Crossrail.
  • Use the lift to go up or down as required.

If I’m not right what is shown in green?

I can see this technique used to squeeze escalators and a lift between the platforms on some stations with less space than a 1960s Mini.

March 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 6 Comments

Belgrove House – A New Entrance For King’s Cross Tube Station

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on Ian Visits, with the addition of Belgrove House,

This is the introductory paragraph.

An isolated box entrance to King’s Cross tube station is to be demolished and replaced with a new step-free entrance as part of a building development.

I went and took these pictures today, as I needed a few bits of shopping, which I bought in the area.

Note.

  1. The busy Euston Road which is a major route into and out of London in front of the two stations.
  2. The two station boxes on the South side of Euston Road, making the pavements difficult places to walk at times.
  3. The subway is step-free to all the Underground lines at Kings Cross and to both National Rail stations on the North side of Euston Road.

The block with the access self-store and the entrance to the station in front, will be replaced by a substantial new building, with step-free entrance to the existing subway.

This web page is entitled Welcome to the Consultation Website for Belgrove House and Acorn House.

It more of less does what it says and has this statement on the page.

This site presents our aspirations for an exciting new project for Camden; a life science Discovery Hub and UK HQ as a centre of excellence for MSD UK at Belgrove House along with affordable housing at Acorn House. It involves two interlinked sites within the King’s Cross ward of the London Borough of Camden – Belgrove House is located on Euston Road and fronts onto the King’s Cross Square and Acorn House is located a four minute walk away on Gray’s Inn Road.

We have now updated our website to include virtual exhibition boards where you can view the proposals for both sites in detail, see the consultation that has been undertaken to date and review the feedback that we have received so far. This is also an opportunity for you to give us your feedback on the plans ahead of a planning application being submitted to Camden Council at the end of August 2020.

The virtual exhibition boards can be viewed here.

The web page also features this visualisation of the building.

I have read most of the virtual exhibition boards and I wish that more consultation websites would be only half as good as this one.

These are a few points from the exhibition boards.

Cafe

There will be a publicly available cafe on the ground floor.

Many times in my life, I’ve arrived early and there is nowhere suitable to wait.

Carbon-Efficient Building

This is obvious from the proposal and raises its green head everywhere in the proposal.

Heating

It will be an all-electric building, with no combustion on site.

There will be air-source heat pumps and heat recovery.

Innovative Biophilic Façade

Wikipedia says this about biophilic design.

Biophilic design is a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. Used at both the building and city-scale, it is argued that this idea has health, environmental, and economic benefits for building occupants and urban environments, with few drawbacks. Although its name was coined in recent history, indicators of biophilic design have been seen in architecture from as far back as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

This sounds to me, like the sort of post-Covid working environment we need to tempt people back into offices.

Parking

This is said about cycle and car parking.

We are proposing over 350 cycling parking spaces as part of our proposals for Belgrove House. These will be accessed via its own entrance located on Belgrove Street. We are also not proposing any car parking spaces as the area benefits from excellent transport connections.

I can’t see many disagreeing with that.

Recycled Building

I particularly liked this paragraph.

In line with the low-carbon strategy, the team intends to recycle and reuse existing building materials on the site where possible, such as bricks where these are salvageable. The re-use of these materials will reduce the embodied carbon of the new building.

Some of the buildings, I’ve commissioned have made extensive use of recycled bricks. And very fine, they’ve looked too!

Service Vehicles

This is said about servicing the offices and the retail units.

All servicing and deliveries for the Belgrove House offices/lab space will take place via the ground floor loading bay, with any vehicles entering the site from Crestfield Street and exiting onto Crestfield Street. The retail element of the development will be serviced from Crestfield Street in the same way as the existing McDonalds unit.

Sounds fair to me.

The more I read about this building the more I like it.

MSD

The main tennant will be MSD.

This is said about the company and its involvement in Belgrove House.

The proposals for Belgrove House have been designed to meet the needs of Knowledge Quarter occupiers such as MSD, a multinational life sciences company that discovers, develops and provides innovative medicines and vaccines to make a difference to people’s lives.

MSD has been looking for a suitable site for some time and identified King’s Cross as the ideal location for their Discovery Hub and UK HQ as a centre of excellence for the life science community.

They have form with this type of development and have a similar Discovery Hub in San Francisco.

Connection To Kings Cross Station

The current station boxes on the South side of Euston Road will be replaced by a step-free entrance inside Belgrove House, that will connect to the existing subway under Euston Road.

It is a difficult area to walk through and the pavements will be widened.

This Google Map shows the location of Belgrove House and the two stations of Kings Cross and St. Pancras.

Note.

  1. Kings Cross station is at the top of the map.
  2. St. Pancras station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. Argyle Square Gardens is the green space in the South East corner of the map.

Belgrove House will replace the Access self-storage with the squares on the roof, that lies between Argyle Square and Euston Road.

Conclusion

If the development is as good as the proposal and lives up to the aims of the developers and MSD, it will be a building of which London will be proud.

How long will it take for some wag in a tabloid to call it The Hanging Gardens Of Kings Cross?

 

 

March 14, 2021 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Digging The Central Entrance To Old Street Station – 27th February 2021

This map from Transport for London shows the future layout of Old Street Roundabout.

Note the new entrance to the station in the middle of the roundabout.

The contractors are now digging a big hole for the central entrance, with a digger in an unusual turquoise colour.

Note.

  1. The central and the two other entrances will be steps.
  2. There will also be a lift, close to the Shoreditch Grind, in the North-West area.
  3. There will also be a service lift for the shops in the station.
  4. Particular attention has been given to the use of natural light.
  5. The central entrance features a green roof.

Some won’t like the design, but I think, its simplicity like some of London’s 1930s Underground stations will endear it to the majority of passengers.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Cowper Street Entrance To Old Street Station – 21st February 2021

These pictures show the start of the works to create the new Cowper Street entrance to Old Street station.

Note the large frame, which had been delivered the previous day.

This map from Transport for London shows the future layout.

The Cowper Street entrance will be in the South-East corner of the roundabout. The map says it will have stepped-access only.

This TfL image is a visualisation of the entrance.

I wonder if it should be step-free with a lift, as walking across to the lift in the centre, could be some way in bad weather.

 

February 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Up From The Depths At Moorgate Station

Moorgate station must have been built for rabbits, as it is a bit of a warren.

On arriving on the Northern Line platforms at the station a few days ago, I took the rat-up-the-drainpipe route to the surface.

This is the route I took.

  • Up the escalator to the Northern City Line platforms.
  • Straight up the Northern City Line escalators to the surface.
  • Through the barrier and then up to street level on one of two flights of steps, which are on opposite sides of Moorgate.

It is quicker and has less steps.

Crossrail

How will axxess change, when Crossrail opens.

Look at this image, I’ve clipped from this large visualisation of the massive Liverpool Street-Moorgate Crossrail Station.

The image shows the Northern City Line coming into Moorgate station.

Colours are as follows.

  • Blue – Northern City Line
  • Yellow – Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines
  • Black – Northern
  • Turquoise – Crossrail

Details to note.

Existing Northern City Escalators

The escalator shaft to the existing ticket hall is shown in white by the letter M of Moorgate.

Existing Northern Line Escalators

The double tunnels from the stairs leading to the platforms to the escalators are shown in white underneath the Northern City Line.

The escalators to the existing ticket hall are clearly shown. Both are in white.

Circle And Hammersmith & City Lines

When Crossrail opens, passengers would seem to still do, as they do now to interchange between Northern/Northern City and the Sub-Surface Lines.

But there is also a turquoise tunnel with a right-angle bend in the middle, that appears to do the following.

  • Link to the Northern and Northern City Lines at its Northern end.
  • Run under the sub-surface Lines.

Finally the tunnel connects to the big turquoise block, which I take to be the new Crossrail ticket hall.

There appear to be lifts on both sides of the Sub-Surface Lines.

Note.

  1. The lift on the North side of the Sub-Surface Lines, appears to be in a room with a window. Perhaps, the wall will be removed?
  2. The lift on the South side of the Sub-Surface Lines, appears to be in a lobby, set back from the tracks, but accessible from all three platforms on that side.
  3. I suspect they connect to the connecting tunnel below the platforms.

There does appear to be quite a bit of work to do.

The New Crossrail Station

The big turquoise block is the new Crossrail station and Ticket Hall.

Crossrail would appear to connect to the Northern and Northern City Lines, using the new subway, but it doesn’t seem that obvious how passengers will walk between the Sub-Surface Lines and the Crossrail Ticket Hall.

It

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

Buses Should Have Flat Floors

These pictures were taken inside the lower-deck of one of London’s New Routemaster buses.

Now compare them with pictures taken on the lower deck of one of London’s other hybrid buses, similar to those you see all around the UK.

Note.

  1. The floor of the New Routemaster is continuous and flat. The only steps are the stairs and up into the sets of four seats.
  2. The floor of the hybrid bus, which was built on a standard Volvo chassis has several steps.

Recently, when carrying a full bag of shopping down the stairs on the hybrid bus, the driver accelerated away and I fell and banged my knee. Because of the flat floor, it is less likely, I’d have a similar problem on the New Routemaster.

Why Does The Routemaster Have A Flat Floor?

When Wrightbus designed the Routemaster, they had a clean sheet of paper and weren’t constrained to use a proprietary chassis.

  • The 18 kWh traction battery is under the front stairs.
  • The traction motor is under the floor, in the middle of the bus.
  • The small diesel generator is mounted halfway up the back stairs.
  • The bus has full regenerative braking to the battery.

Using a standard Volvo chassis might be cheaper, but there can’t be a flat floor.

Will The Wrightbus Hydrogen Bus Have A Flat Floor?

The Wrightbus StreetDeck FCEV is the Wrightbus hydrogen bus and it has entered service in Aberdeen.

It looks to be about half flat floor, but not as good as the Routemaster.

Hopefully, I’ll ride in one soon.

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Huge Step Taken As Greater Manchester Takes Over First Rail Station

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Today (1 Feb) marks a significant moment for Manchester’s long-term vision for rail as Transport for Greater Manchester takes over operation of Horwich Parkway Station.

These are some pictures of the station.

Horwich Parkway station is a fairly typical parkway station, that is also a destination in its own right, as Bolton Wanderers stadium, a shopping centre, a very much bog-standard Premier Inn and a University campus are nearby.

Services At Horwich Parkway Station

Currently, these services call at the station.

  • Hazel Grove and Blackpool North
  • Manchester Airport and Blackpool North
  • Manchester Victoria and Preston

Note.

  1. All services are electric and run by Northern.
  2. All services are one train per hour (tph)

Some TransPennine Services also pass through on their way between Manchester Airport and Scotland.

My Thoughts

These are a few thoughts.

Local Authority Or Remote Management?

I like the concept of stations being managed by local authorities.

When I moved back to London from Suffolk nearly a dozen years ago, the stations in North East and East London were managed by Greater Anglia from Norwich.

  • Many of these stations were very shabby.
  • Many of these stations have now been taken over by Transport for London.
  • Stations are now managed by either the London Overground or Tfl Rail.
  • Stations seem to have improved and they are in many cases, a lot cleaner.

Perhaps, the shorter communication links to Senior Management mean, that problems get solved. Or does the local councillor know the right person to kick?

Hopefully, we’ll see a more efficient station at Horwich Parkway.

Facilities

Consider.

  • There are ramps to the footbridge.
  • There is a booking office.
  • Previously, this station was managed by Northern

It is one of those stations that on a cold winter’s day can be a bit bleak.

Hopefully, Transport for Greater Manchester will be improving the station.

Four Trains Per Hour?

Birmingham, Liverpool and London seem to like the concept of Turn-Up-And-Go stations with a frequency of four tph.

Would Horwich Parkway station  benefit from this frequency?

Two Trains Per Hour To And From Manchester Airport?

This may be beneficial,

Perhaps some of the TransPennine Express service between the Airport and Scotland could call?

Certainly, a sort out of train services at Horwich Parkway, led by Transport for Greater Manchester could be beneficial for passengers and train operating companies.

Conclusion

I shall be interested to see, if the station is improved.

 

February 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments