The Anonymous Widower

Step-Free Access At Kentish Town Station

On a web page recently, I saw a suggestion about how to add step-free access to Kentish Town station.

The suggestion was that it was too difficult to add it to the Underground station, but why not add it to the Thameslink station?

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the pedestrian bridge across the tracks with steps going down to the platforms.

Adding a lift to each platform would give full step-free access to Thameslink and would give an alternative step-free route to these step-free stations in Central and South London.

  • Kings Cross St. Pancras
  • Farringdon
  • Blackfriars for the South Bank
  • London Bridge
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Denmark Hill
  • Herne Hill
  • Mitcham Eastfield
  • Wimbledon
  • Sutton

The step-free access would be much easier to install, than on the Northern Line platforms.

 

 

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Four Western TfL Rail Stations Now Have Step Free Access!

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Advent.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Transport for London has announced that passengers using Hanwell, Iver, Langley and Taplow can now benefit from step-free access from street to platform for the first time.

I shall be adding pictures to this post, when I find out how to add them using this terrible new Microsoft Surface computer.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Developments At Mill Hill East Station

This Google Map shows the area around the least-used station on the Northern Line; Mill Hill East station.

I’d never knowlingly been to the station, but I went yesterday and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The short line with Dollis Brook Viaduct between Finchley Central and Mill Hill East stations.
  2. The Council Depot shown on the Google Map appears to be being developed as housing called MillBrook Park.
  3. Mill Hill station now has a lift, to the single platform.

It looks that there are major ongoing improvements.

Will The Station Be Able To Handle The Extra Passengers?

Wikipedia says this about train frequency at Hill Hill East station.

Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but are generally every 11–15 minutes between 05:44 and 00:56 to Finchley Central, Kennington or East Finchley. During peak times train services are extended to Morden.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the track layout of the track between Mill Hill East and Finchley Central stations.

Note.

  1. Although according to Wikipedia, the branch was built with space for a double-track, much of the route is only single-track.
  2. The track layout at Finchley Central station appears comprehensive.
  3. With the right track-layout, signalling and well-drilled drivers, there are places in the UK rail network, where six trains per hour (tph) can work from a single platform.

I am fairly sure, that with the right systems, if it were to be required, that six tph can be run all day on the branch.

 

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Syon Lane Station – 24th February 2020

These pictures show the current state of the new footbridge at Syon Lane station.

In my last post on the 4th of January, I said this.

I  would have thought, it could have been more integrated with the road bridge. Perhaps that is to be replaced?

It does look like the footbridge is being integrated with the road bridge.

  • The entrance will lead to a walkway to the lifts and across the tracks.
  • The tower, lift and stairs on the Hounslow-bound platform have been installed.
  • Note the brackets on the steel-work, where the walkway across the tracks will connect.
  • Stairs will lead down from the walkway on the London-bound platform.
  • I would assume that a tower and lift will be built for the London-bound platform on the opposite side to the tracks. It looks like foundations could be being dug!

I think it is one of those designs that could be filed under Not Very Pretty, But It Works!

I also feel that the design of the footbridge has been influenced by the need to build it easily, as in constructing most bridges of this type, the towers are often built first.

But with this bridge, the second tower might get in the way of installing the walkway across the tracks.

February 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Use Of A Bi-Mode Class 755 Train On The Sudbury Branch Line

I took these pictures today on a visit to the Sudbury Branch Line in Suffolk.

The two stations shown are Marks Tey, where the branch joins the Great Eastern Main Line and Sudbury, which is the Western terminus of the branch.

Both stations have short platforms.

To simplify this description, I will identify the four cars of the Class 755 train as follows.

  • Driver East Car – Driver car with passengers on the Marks Tey end of the train.
  • Passenger Car – The passenger car, which also has the bike space and the Universal Access Toilet.
  • PowerPack – The smaller car that powers the train.
  • Driver West Car – Driver car with passengers on the Sudbury end of the train.

This Google Map shows Marks Tey station.

The short and gently curving, Sudbury Branch Line platform is on the North side of the station.

To make it easy for passengers to get in and out of the train, Greater Anglia seem to have devised a cunning plan.

  • The Class 755 trains run with the end with the Driver East and Passenger Cars are towards Marks Tey and Colchester stations.
  • The driver stops the train in the station, so that the two passenger cars, are in the same place as a two-car diesel multiple unit, like a Class 156 train, would be.
  • The two pairs of wide double doors and the level step-free access, encourage passengers to enter the train.
  • Interestingly, the PowerPack Car of the train is at the narrowest part of the platform and is this deliberate to encourage passengers to enter through the doors facing them on the platform.
  • The Driver West Car doesn’t come into the platform.
  • At busy times, when the Driver West Car will need to be used, passengers will walk through the PowerPack Car.
  • Bicycles can be wheeled between the platform and the space in the Passenger Car.

The method of operation has avoided any expensive lengthening of the short and curvy platform.

This second Google Map shows Sudbury station.

At least the single platform is straight.

A similar procedure is used at Sudbury station to that at Marks Tey.

  • The driver stops the train in the station, so that the Driver West and Passenger Cars either side of the PowerPack Car are in the station.
  • Passengers have two sets of doors and level access to get into and out of the train.
  • Bicycles can be wheeled between the platform and the space in the Passenger Car.
  • There is no direct access to the Driver West Car at the Marks Tey end of the train, but passengers can walk through the train.

Lengthening of the platform is not necessary.

Important Routes With Few Passengers

Suppose you have a route that at certain times of the day needs a three-car train, but at other times two-cars or even only one car.

I can think of the case of a large industrial site like a nuclear facility or power station, that has lots of passengers, when people are going to and from work and students are going to and from school and college, but at other times of the day, passenger numbers are low.

The conductor indicated to me, that the design of the train allows the doors on the PowerPack to be locked, thus restricting movement.

This could save operating costs if thought out properly.

Wheelchair Passengers To And From Sudbury

The conductor indicated that this was a problem for some directions.

  • London to Sudbury  is just a walk or push between platforms.
  • Sudbury to Ipswich and Norwich is just a walk or push between platforms.
  • Sudbury to London is take a train to Colchester from Marks Tey and use the lifts to change direction for London.
  • Ipswich and Norwich to Sudbury is take a train to Witham and use the lifts to change direction for Marks Tey.

The local MP is Pritti Patel and she has been pushing hard for a step-free bridge with lifts, which would solve the problem.

Sudbury And Colchester Town

Greater Anglia have proposed that the Sudbury service be extended to Colchester Town station.

There may be problems running on the busy Great Eastern Main Line between Marks Tey and Colchester, but at least there appears to be a freight loop just to the North of Marks Tey, on the London-bound track.

Some things would help.

  • Redesign of the junction to allow a faster turnout.
  • The extra power of the Class 755 trains.
  • Electrification of Platform 3 at Marks Tey station.
  • Full digital in-cab signalling on the Great Eastern Main Line.

It might even be worthwhile putting in a simple flyover for Sudbury-bound trains.

Could Battery Power Be Used On The Sudbury Branch Line?

Class 755 trains have been designed, so that diesel engines in the ~PowerPack Car can be replaced with batteries, which can be charged from electrification.

If and when a suitable battery module is developed, then it could just be slotted in.

Some form of charging would be needed and the proposal to change the service into s Sudbury and Colchester Town service, would allow the trains to be charged on the main line.

The German Solution

I can’t help feeling that the Germans or the Welsh would use a different solution.

In Could There Be A Tram-Train Between Ipswich And Felixstowe?, I discuss the East-West Rail Link’s idea of running tram-trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

  • It would have a frequency of four trains per hour.
  • It would probably start in the forecourt of Ipswich station.
  • It could either go to Felixstowe station or perhaps through the High Street and down to the Sea Front.
  • It would go via Portman Road, Ipswich Town Centre, Ipswich Hospital, before joining the Felixstowe Branch Line to the East of the town.

The reason for this proposal, is to get more freight trains into the Port of Felixstowe.

Now look at this Google Map of North Colchester.

Note.

  • Colchester station in the middle of the map on the Great Eastern Main Line, which runs East-West.
  • A junction to the East of the station, where the lines from Colchester Town, Clacton and Walton join the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Colchester Hospital at the top of the map.

Without doubt,, the Germans would create a tram-train network based on Colchester station.

  • Sudbury and Marks Tey could be served in the West, by perhaps building a third track alongside the Great Eastern Main Line
  • Marks Tey and Sudbury would be on battery power.
  • Colchester Hospital and perhaps the football ground and a Park-and-Ride could be served in the North, by adding tracks to the junction East of Colchester.
  • Colchester Town could be served in the South, using the existing tracks.

The network would certainly connect a lot of important places to the main station.

  • It would improve access to Colchester Hospital.
  • It would solve the step-free problem at Marks Tey.
  • It could open up much needed new housing developments.

With 100 mph tram-trains or trains able to work as trams, it could reach places using the various routes in the area, like Clacton, Harwich and Walton.

Stadler have already designed 100 mph diesel trains, that work in Zwickau in Germany, alongside and share tracks with the city’s trams.

It seems that if you have a specification, Stadler will make it.

Conclusion

Greater Anglia are going to have fun with these trains.

Their level access is liked by passengers.

The short car length, allows the trains to call in curvy platforms.

January 23, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Finsbury Park Station – 6th January 2020

Finsbury Park station now has a new entrance on the other side of the tracks.

London’s duck of a station is being turned into a swan.

  • At least one new platform has been added.
  • Buildings and passenger tunnels have been spruced up.
  • Several lifts have been added to the maze of tunnels.
  • Thameslink now runs four trains per hour (tph) through the station.
  • Moorgate services are now eight tph and there is also a weekend service.
  • Nearly all services stopping at the station are run by trains delivered in the last three years.

The new flats will be alongside a comprehensive station.

January 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Syon Lane Station – 4th January 2020

These pictures show the current state of the new footbridge at Syon Lane station.

I must admit that ~I’m rather disappointed with the design of this footbridge.

The design is rather utilitarian.

I would have thought, it could have been more integrated with the road bridge. Perhaps that is to be replaced?

Perhjaps it will be better, when it is finished.

I remember, when they started to build it, that land was cleared further up the platforms. Has there been a rethink, in the middle of the project?

January 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Feltham Station – 4th January 2020

The platforms appear to have been extended over the level crossing and it looks like the major work left to do, is to finish the bridge and do the landscaping.

This certainly has been a comprehensive project.

January 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Proposed Development Under Cavendish Square

These pictures show Cavendish Square.

Note

  1. Underneath the square is a very expensive car park
  2. Harley Street, with its medical connections, lies at one cornet.
  3. John Lewis sits on another corner.

It is a very pleasant place to sit and have lunch on a sunny day.

This article on IanVisits is entitled A Shopping Centre Under Cavendish Square?.

Ian details how, plans are emerging to turn the Cavendish Square car park into a shopping centre and medical complex, spread over four floors under a re landscaped Cavendish Square.

Ian also discloses how the square was used as an access point to build the Victoria Line in the 1960s.

This development could change the area in several ways.

  • Cavendish Square could become an even better landscaped garden.
  • The medical complex would be a much-needed modern extension to Harley Street.
  • Could the development be used to create the much-needed step-free access to Oxford Circus station?
  • Would upmarket shoppers be drawn to the development?
  • Could the square become electric vehicles only?

I very much think this development could be a valuable addition to the area.

 

December 30, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Walking From Cavendish Square To The Marylebone Lane Entrance Of Bond Street Station

I walked from Cavendish Square to the Maylebone Lane entrance Of Bond Street station, taking these pictures as I proceeded.

Note.

  1. It was an easy walk
  2. It took me about seven minutes.
  3. I passed the rear entrances of John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams.

It could be made a bit flatter, by eliminating kerbs

Would this route be a good enough connection between Crossrail and ehe Proposed Development Under Cavendish Square?

Could a pedestrian tunnel be built from Cavendish Square to Marylebone Lane with a travelator?

Or why not just pedestrianise Herietta Street and put a travelator, where the roads used to be?

It’s a big expensive investment under Cavendish Square and they can afford to make it the best.

 

 

December 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments