The Anonymous Widower

Syon Lane Station – 28th October 2019

Work seems to be progressing slowing on the footbridge at Syon Lane station.

The foundations seem substantial, which perhaps indicates that the bridge won’t be a simple prefabricated one, but more one with brick towers and a heavy steel bridge.

Could this bridge be being built in the same style as the new bridge at Ewell West station, which I described in Ewell West Station Has A New Step-Free Footbridge?

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Progress At Syon Lane Station – 18th September 2019

The builders are now digging on both platforms at Syon Lane station.

The posters at the station give the impression that brick towers might be built.

But it looks to my untrained eye, that the foundations being dug don’t appear to be deep enough.

Waiting at the station for my train, I wondered, if they are going to put a set of stairs and a life on both platforms to give step-free access to the existing road bridge.

  • The towers would be shorter and height costs money.
  • There would be no need to build and lift in an additional bridge, as pedestrians would use the existing pavement.
  • It might be possible to do all the work without closing the railway.
  • This would meet all the step-free regulations.

There certainly seems to be no work going on further down the platform, where it appeared some trees were cleared.

It’ll all come clear in a few weeks and I suspect it will meet the generally high standards of Network Rail.

 

September 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Progress At Syon Lane Station – 8th September 2019

It looks like the builders have started to dig the foundations for the step-free footbridge at Syon Lane station.

I wonder, if the digging further down the platform indicates that there has been a change of design.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Progress At Syon Lane Station – 27th August 2019

At last, something seems to be happening about erecting the new step-free footbridge at Syon Lane station.

Easily spotted are the following.

  • An access road seems to have been fenced off.
  • The tea huts and the toilets have arrived.
  • Some scraping and digging has commenced by the down platform
  • There is a poster saying finish, will be by the end of the year.

Nothing seems to have happened on the up platform.

It also seems strange that no building materials appear to have been delivered.

Could it just be that a concrete slab will be created on the down platform and on the up platform, the two advertising hoarding will be removed to create space for the bridge tower and stairs?

A prefabricated bridge, built off-site, will then be lifted in.

It’s the only way, that the bridge could be built by the promised completion date of the end of the year.

 

 

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

No Progress At Syon Lane Station

I visited Syon Lane station this morning and there has been no progress on the footbridge, that Network Rail say will be installed by late summer.

Over the weekend various works were done along the line, including some conductor rail replacement.

There’s another blockade next weekend, so I’ll see what happens then!

Conclusion

The longer it goes without any visible progress, does it make it more likely, that some form of prefabricated bridge will be assembled like giant Lego?

I can’t see how, if a traditional footbridge is used, it can be built to their timescale.

July 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Engineering Work Closures Between Barnes And Feltham In June And July

There is more up-to-date information on this page on South Western Railway’s web site, which is entitled Engineering Works.

These are what I found.

Saturday 20 July and Sunday 21 July

Buses replace trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July

Saturday 27 July and Sunday 28 July

Buses replace trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July

Sunday 11 August

Buses replace trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow Sunday 11 August

Sunday 18 August

Altered train services and replacement buses in the Feltham area Sunday 18 August

Sunday 25 August

Altered train services and replacement buses in the Feltham area Sunday 25 August

Thoughts On Works In The Area

My thoughts on the two projects follow.

Syon Lane Footbridge

When I wrote Why Are Replacement Buses Being Used To Syon Lane Station On July 20-21?, I didn’t find the two later closures through Syon Lane station.

I was checking the on-line timetable and it appears that the closure is not total on the days mentioned, in the current timetable.

It looks to me that Network Rail and South Western Railway are playing this in a safety first manner, as few people are going to complain, if a closure doesn’t happen and a shiny new step-free bridge has appeared and is almost ready for use.

Bedfont Lane Level Crossing Removal At Feltham Station

In The Removal Of Bedfont Lane Level Crossing, I gave a schedule of the works and it appears nothing much is slated to be done until later in the year.

I need more information about why there are closures in the Feltham area.

I did find this image of the proposed pedestrian and cycling bridge.

It certainly looks very traditional with long ramps.

This picture shows the progress on the 25th June 2019

Note the platform extensions and the pillar on the far side to support the bridge.

I’m not sure, if the ramps in the picture are part of an older bridge or new!

Conclusion

It’s all happening in Hounslow.

 

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Are Replacement Buses Being Used To Syon Lane Station On July 20-21?

If you look at the on-line rail time timetable from Waterloo to Syon Lane station for Saturday, the 20th and Sunday, the 21st of July, there are no trains and a bus replacement service operates.

I have checked as far as I can in the future and there are no other weekend closures on the route.

In Nothing Seems To Be Happening At Syon Lane Station, I speculated that either the project to erect a step-free bridge at the station, was to be delayed or something very different will be happening.

The two day weekend closure leads me to think that Network Rail are going to install a bridge in two days.

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

I believe that if the components were brought in by train, that this sort of bridge could be erected in two days.

This is real engineering, which is not normally seen except in war or times of great emergency like earthquake, fire or floods.

Conclusion

My speculation must be all wrong!

What sane company would attempt to build a footbridge in two days, without the assistance of Anneka Rice or that guy from DIY SOS?

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

Nothing Seems To Be Happening At Syon Lane Station

I passed through Syon Lane station today and thought I’d have a look at the progress on the step-free access to the station.

This page on the South Western Railway web site describes in detail, the works that will be done.

This is the first paragraph.

From the beginning of April, we’ll be building a new accessible footbridge with a lift at Syon Lane. The project is expected to be completed later this year and is mainly funded by Hounslow Council. Making the station step free will be a real positive for people with limited mobility traveling round the Hounslow Loop, however the delivery of the new bridge will affect the station and the platforms. The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Consider  the bit about being finished later this year, then look at these pictures.

It looks like they’ve all packed up and gone home.

Surely, if the bridge is going to be finished this year, workmen should be hard at work building foundations and putting up towers for lifts.

But even the tea-hut has gone.

It appears that the following has been done at the station.

  • Create a level step-free route from Syon Lane to the London-bound platform.
  • Move the ticket machines and the card readers.
  • Run temporary cable ducts, along the back of the platforms.
  • Clear some ground behind the fence, where the lift towers might be placed.
  • The long platforms have been narrowed, which Network Rail say is to give space for the work.

The 3D Google Map shows the station.

I don’t know when the picture was taken, but it does look that there could have been some ground clearing about halfway along the platform.

What Do I Think Is Happening?

I think, there could be these reasons for the lack of action.

  • The project has been delayed for some reason.
  • Something very different is happening at Syon Lane station!

Speaking to a couple of travellers  at the station today, they had heard nothing and one was looking forward to the bridge.

I have no evidence, but I do have a devious and sometimes theatrical mind.

Are Network Rail conducting an experiment on the good people, who use Syon Lane station?

They have only said this about disruption to passengers.

The station will remain operational throughout the works, but there will be some access changes during the project delivery:

Could Network Rail be bringing in the bridge in a few sections and just lifting them in with a crane?

Look at the 3D Google Map above and note that the station in surrounded by houses and lots of leafy trees, which would make getting bridge sections and the crane into place difficult.

But look at the cross-section of the average footbridge tower or bridge and it is about the same as that of a train.

For this reason, I believe that the bridge components will be brought in on a special train with a large crane.

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

It is composed of the following major components.

  • Two towers with lifts.
  • Two sets of stairs
  • A bridge deck.

All components would be built in a factory.

  • They would be fully tested before delivery.
  • The components would be delivered by train.
  • The bridge would then be assembled using a rail mounted crane.

After testing, the Mayor could declare the bridge open

I suspect too, that the only preparation prior to the assembly of the bridge, is to have firm concrete bases for the bridge and a power supply for the lifts.

  • The construction of the bases could be done from the railway, so there would be no problems of bringing in the concrete.
  • The power supply might not even be needed, if the bridge had solar panels on the roof and a clear battery system.
  • It’s all a bit like giant Lego construction, but then the architect of the bridge was Danish!

Could  commuters on a Friday night return to a station little different to the one they’ve known for years and then on Monday morning  find a working step-free bridge has been erected?

Engineering is the sconce of the possible, whereas politics is dreams of the impossible!

Is This The Future Of Step-Free Bridges?

Obviously not all, but I believe that up to a third of all stations that need a step-free bridge can use a bridge of this type.

But the station upgrade to step-free application is just one of several.

  • New stations.
  • Step-free bridges over busy roads, rivers or canals.
  • Replacement of dangerous light-controlled road crossings.

The design could also be incorporated into other buildings.

Conclusion

Something different could be happening at Syon Lane station.

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syon Lane Station To Go Step-Free

I came back from Brentford using Syon Lane station.

These pictures show the station.

What surprised me, is the number of posters up saying that the station is to be made step-free.

Searching the Internet, I found this document on the Hounslow Borough Council web site, which is dated April the 15th 2019 and entitled Step-Free Access To Many Of Hounslow’s Stations Proceeding At Pace!

This is an extract.

Plans to improve accessibility at Syon Lane Station were given the green light this week as Hounslow Council confirmed securing the necessary funding for the £2.4m programme to proceed.  Improvements to the station, which sits on the South West Rail (SWR) network, will include a new footbridge, providing an additional exit point and lift from the west bound platform, delivering step-free access to the street from this platform, as well as easing congestion.  A new (wider) staircase and bridge deck is proposed for the London-bound platform which should also reduce congestion at peak times. Step-free access from this platform to the street will be enabled by improvements to the footpath leading to Rothbury Gardens. Works will commence at the end of April and are due to complete by the end of the summer.

The scheme is being financed by a cocktail of funding streams including; Sky, Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), Transport for London (TfL) and a contribution from SWR themselves. The total cost is c£2.4m including contingency.

It looks to be a comprehensive well-thought out scheme.

Judging by the presence of a Portacabin and what appeared to be vegetation clearance, where a bridge might go, it appears that everybody is at least starting at pace. Finish by the end of the summer could be a possibility, although I think it is a tough ask!

Reading some of the posters at the station, more than usual details were given about the way the footbridge and step-free access will be added.

These are the phases.

Footpath Improvement Works

Footpath via Rothbury Gardens is closed. Access to Platform 1 is through the Syon Lane entrance (stairs)

Lift And Bridge Sub-Structure And Foundation Works

Installation of lift shaft and footbridge steelwork structure.

Installation of lift equipment.

Removal of existing Platform 1 staircase.

Installation of linkspan to new footbridge.

Staircase from Syon Lane is closed. Access to Platform 1 is via Rothbury Gardens (step-free footpath)

Platform Finishes And Footbridge Commissioning

Following commissioning new footbridge linkspan will be opened.

Oyster readers will be moved to new final locations.

The West London Orbital Railway

The West London Orbital Railway may or may not be built in the next few years.

This would double the number of trains through Syon Lane station from four trains per hour (tph) to eight tph.

As this would be a train every 7-8 minutes, for safe operation, step-free access would be essential.

Stations on the Hounslow Loop Line, that will be used by the proposed West London Orbital Railway are.

  • Hounslow – As this will be a terminus, step-free access will be essential.
  • Isleworth – Planned to be step-free. See Isleworth Station To Go Step-Free for more details.
  • Syon Lane – Going step-free
  • Brentford – Already step-free
  • Kew Bridge – As this will be a terminus, step-free access will be essential.

Except for the two terminals, all stations needed for the West London Orbital Railway are planned to be step-free.

Good project planning would probably mean, that the joint stations were prepared for eight tph as early as possible to stop these works delaying the project.

 

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment