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10 Mar 17:13

Route 54

by diamond geezer
Route 54: Woolwich to Elmers End
Location: London southeast, outer
Length of journey: 10 miles, 75 minutes

It's traditional around every birthday that I take a numerically significant bus journey, so here I go again. Twelve years ago I took the 42 to Dulwich, eleven years ago the 43 to Barnet, ten years ago the 44 to Tooting, nine years ago the 45 to Clapham, eight years ago the 46 to Farringdon, seven years ago the 47 to Bellingham, six years ago the 48 to Walthamstow, five years ago the 49 to Battersea, four years ago the 50 to Croydon, three years ago the 51 to Orpington, two years ago the 52 to Willesden and last year the 53 to Whitehall. This year, less climactically, it's the 54 to Elmers End.

Route 54 is a southeast London stalwart, conveying residents between Woolwich, Lewisham, Bromley and Croydon since time immemorial. But when the trams arrived in 2000, TfL decided people should use those instead, so chopped off the Croydon end of the route and cut it back to Elmers End. Here's a fuller history, if you like that kind of thing. But for birthday bus route purposes, what's more important is that the 54 exactly matches last year's route 53 for the first three miles and precisely parallels the 47 for another two miles later on. Rather than being annoyed by the overlap I've decided to cut and paste several sentences from those reports into this one, as a useful precedent for repeated reports of the Lea Bridge Road over the next couple of years.

The 54 cranks up opposite the boxy towers surrounding Woolwich's Crossrail station. This ought to have opened between my 53rd and 54th birthdays, but remains embarrassingly underfinished, much to the distress of certain local businesses. One of these is the food court in the former Public Market, whose streetfeast has proven unsustainable and this year the front doors are firmly locked. A young man with a clipboard is busy accosting passers-by with a survey about vocational courses. He looks at me but rushes straight by, twice, which I deduce is because I'm too old for what he's flogging, thereby instilling a downbeat demeanour even before I've boarded my birthday bus.

A 53 arrives first, taking the majority of the passengers, so when my 54 turns up the prized top deck front left seat is easily mine. Other passengers include ladies with copious groceries and a family concealing a big pink helium balloon inside a carrier bag, the recipient of which turns out to be half a century younger than I am. The first couple of stops are busy, one outside the DLR station and the other in the main square. Newcomers to the top deck include a woman who insists on reading out loud to her partner, loudly, a personal email about a recent job application. Much of central Woolwich is in flux, as peculiar glassy carbuncles erupt and bland flats erupt amid older brick-faced stock.

We soon reach the Royal Artillery Barracks, essentially a housing estate for the military, edged with barbed wire that's seen better days. On the opposite side of Wellington Street the railings are bedecked with floral tributes, union flags and (new since last year) plastic poppies, in commemoration of Lee Rigby. Our next destination is Charlton, passing first a closed pub, then a closed corner shop, then a pub closed but reopened as a corner shop. The 53 in front continues to pick up most of the passengers, but always manages to be indicating to pull out every time we catch up, so I'm repeatedly forced to stare at a reminder than I'm a year older than the last time I was here.

Just before Charlton Village we pick up a father and son in matching knitted woolly hats, who take the seat immediately behind mine and engage in awkward conversation. Son is about six, and obsessed with going to "the superstores" to buy some Mighty Beanz, repeatedly reassuring Dad that they only cost £3. Then he slips seamlessly into "Dad I just kicked somebody up the head and I splattered him." Dad stays silent. "I throwed him all the way up on the climbing frame, do you like it when I hit people and I smack them in the face?" Dad tells him to stop biting his nails, and goes back to his phone. The top deck smells of chips.

Just before we cross the deep gash of the A2 dual carriageway our 54 finally overtakes the 53 it's been trailing, and the underlying metaphor is not lost on me. At the Royal Standard the six year-old behind me spots a police car, and tells Dad he hopes they shoot his friend Joshua because he's a 'bad boy'. Dad continues to stay silent. "I'm only joking! I'm only joking!" he adds, then confounds things with "I'm not joking, it's for real." Dad gives him a video game to play, so I get to endure its plinky plonky music all the way across Blackheath. Lines of traffic mark out criss-crossing roads, dividing up the common into recreational segments.

Blackheath village is looking lovely, but is also a bottleneck so we get to spend a long time passing through. I spot a microbrewery, several boutiques, an acupuncture clinic and a cafe serving "toast with hand-shaped heritage whey butter". The Greggs in Tranquil Vale looks somewhat out of place. We follow a single decker 108 along Lee Terrace, where the Georgian villas are splendid and the spring blossom weeks ahead of time, as if my birthday has suddenly shifted into April. All hint of gentility is lost at the foot of Belmont Hill where we pass Bucketmouth - a kebab shop - then plough on towards what's left of Lewisham Market. Six year-old announces proudly that he's now hit 7000 points, but Dad tells him to shush because it's time to alight, and off they head in search of Magic Beanz.

The bus is considerably emptier now, its chief objective reached. Considerably fewer people are trying to travel away from the Lewisham Centre, but this may because tons of buses head south towards Catford so we're now one of many. A queue of double deckers feeds through a gap between Primark and an ambulance, initially aiming for Ladywell. One block of pastel-framed flats stands out, knocked up during the brief period when lemon, lime and Olympic pink were in vogue. Even at the weekend, the bus lane helps speed us on our way. Adverts on bus shelters advise all good citizens to check out to help ensure that the end of the month goes more smoothly. Downstairs a baby relentlessly screams. The top deck smells of pancakes.

Rushey Green is wide enough to support a thin strip of lawn, holding back the tide of grocery shops, beauty salons and eateries. I spot a fine J Sainsbury ghostsign painted on the side wall of what's now a pawnbroker. Catford Shopping Centre's giant fibreglass feline waits to pounce as we head the wrong way round the gyratory, delivered via a bus lane located in the centre of the road. The Post Office apologises for being closed for two days due to a power upgrade. Catford's final retail outlet is a meze bar, beyond which we're back into desirable detached country on the long run down to Bellingham bus garage. This bus will wait here while the drivers change over. Of course it will.

On Bromley Road a birthday celebration is underway, with Dad tying balloons to the tree in the front garden while Mum pays the Uber Eats rider who's delivered their daughter's favourite meal in umpteen plastic tubs. All the neighbouring streets appear to boast smart semis, whereas we're running amid a stream of undistinguished flats. This part of town is called Southend (the swallowed Kent village, not the Essex resort), its tiny chapel and the adjacent millpond the only trace of a rural past. And at Peter Pan's Park (don't rush, it's no Neverneverland), we turn right and finally achieve singularity... the 54 is the only bus route along Beckenham Hill Road.

We've hit proper suburbia; whitewashed semis, Tudorbethan piles, a minor railway station to ferry commuters, a circular Catholic church resembling a crown, several sports pitches, shrubbery, a country park. Beckenham Place Park occupies a lengthy stretch on the left hand side of the road, its wall intermittently broken by welcoming notices. At the top of the climb the heights of Crystal Palace are visible in the gaps between some flats. A white magnolia tree fills one particular front garden with spring. A young woman is transferring her worldly middle class goods into the back of a Pickfords van. All this place is lacking is a golf course - they closed the local one in 2016.

A sudden Waitrose confirms we've reached Beckenham, a proper little town with surplus spending money. Anyone scanning its main streets would assume all its residents do is eat or drink. be that at the cafe bistro, brasserie or takeaway. Its former police station now serves cocktails, the ex fire station does hot towel shaves and the half-timbered Three Tuns pub has become a Zizzi. Six Nations, beer and pasta, anyone? I spot the famous milestone which declares London Bridge to be X miles away, a set of new raised beds sponsored by a shutter company, and blimey look, the churchyard at St George's has actual primroses actually in bloom.

We're nearly there. Our spin down the Croydon Road is enlivened by gas main repairs, temporary traffic lights and full-on cherry blossom sidestreets. The latest young child on the top deck is using her imagination to spot mice, lions and tigers on the pavement and point them out to Mummy. That shiny tin helmet displayed outside the This 'N' That bric-a-brac shop could prove useful. One final 1930s shopping parade draws us into Elmers End, where the pub looks like a Swiss chalet, and then we pull off into the so-called Interchange beside the tram stop. It's all a bit bleak, dwarfed by the unforgiving maelstrom of a doubledecker Tesco car park alongside. Only two of us remain to disembark, the tram connection having proved unpopular, and that's another year done and dusted.

• Route 54: route map
• Route 54: live route map
• Route 54: route history
• Route 54: route history
• Route 54: timetable
• Route 54: The Ladies Who Bus
19 Dec 06:29

A Catastrophic Train Derailment in Washington State

by Laura Bliss

Updated: 2017-12-18

Editor’s note: This is a breaking news story. This post will be updated as more details emerge.

An Amtrak train on its inaugural run from Seattle to Portland on Monday morning derailed on an overpass near Lacey, Washington, striking multiple vehicles traveling below on Interstate 5.

Three people on the train were killed,* reports the Tacoma News Tribune. No drivers or passengers on I-5 were killed, although injuries were reported. At least 77 people have been hospitalized. The train was carrying 78 passengers and 5 crew members, according to Amtrak. Traffic on I-5 will be impacted for days.

It is not yet clear what caused the derailment. “We were coming around the corner to take the bridge over I-5… and we went onto the ground,” a train operator told local responders, according to a dramatic audio recording of radio traffic. “We got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.”

Chris Karnes, the chair of the advisory board for Pierce County Public Transportation Benefit Area Corporation, was onboard the train, and had tweeted that the train seemed to have struck a truck. Pictures from the scene show a domino chain of smashed and crumpled train cars.

“We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve,” Karnes told CBS News. “All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we’re being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there’s water gushing out of the train. People were screaming.”

Monday was the first day of long-planned additional passenger service along the Cascades line, which Amtrak operates under contract from WSDOT. It was the culmination of years of upgrades to the tracks and signal systems—and, notably, a major reroute that had drawn considerable opposition from communities along the way over safety fears.

The Cascades line formerly operated on shared freight rail tracks of the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor. The new route directed trains along an inland corridor parallel to Interstate 5 through Tacoma, Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and DuPont, Washington. The bypass allowed WSDOT to increase trains speeds to 79 mph, shaving six minutes off Portland-to-Seattle trips. “It eliminates a major chokepoint for passenger trains near Point Defiance in Tacoma and separates them from freight trains that will continue to use the old waterfront route,” states a WSDOT press release from October announcing the line’s opening day.


But the new route faced stiff resistance from communities along the rerouted corridor. Some local leaders had specifically expressed concern about the speed of the train, reports The News Tribune, and had called for grade separations to keep trains at a distance from cars and pedestrians. Chillingly, Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson predicted earlier this month that a deadly accident on the new route was only a matter of time. He also criticized the state for not using federal funds to pay for safety improvements. “Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens,” Anderson told KOMO News.

It’s not yet clear how fast the train was operating when it left the tracks, but the Monday derailment did not appear to involve a grade-crossing collision.

Prior the opening of the service, Amtrak’s Cascades website underscored the speed issue: The site features a prominent safety warning alerting pedestrians and drivers to stay away from the tracks and the newly sped-up locomotives. An FAQ-styled section reads:

Why do trains have to run so fast? Why can't we just slow them down?

Railroad companies and their customers like to operate trains as fast as good engineering and safety practices allow. Ultimately, time is money in the competitive world of transportation and freight mobility. Requiring slower train speeds would likely have a number of negative impacts.

The new Siemens Charger locomotives running on the new Cascades route were equipped for positive train control, the much-touted modern safety system that automatically brakes trains when dangerous situations are detected. But it appears that the sysyem was not yet activated, according to a WSDOT press release. The system was planned to go live corridor-wide in 2018.

This is the second derailment on along the Cascades line this year: Another train left the tracks south of Seattle in July 2017, with minor injuries reported. That incident, which was on a different portion of the route, was blamed on driver error and excessive speed.

Karnes, the Pierce County transit advisor, had been live-tweeting the ride just before the crash. “Wow this train is fast,” he said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that six people were killed.

04 Sep 16:32

Исследование городского шума

by Urbica

В начале лета в Урбике стартовала программа летней стажировки, для которой мы собрали команду ребят: картографа, аналитика, инженера-схемотехника и эколога.

Команда проекта поставила перед собой довольно серьёзную цель: создать карту шума для Москвы, а главное — разработать методологию, используя которую можно будет создать карту шума в любом городе при наличии тех же исходных данных. Мы не осознавали, насколько это будет масштабной задачей и с какими проблемами придётся столкнуться.

Результат нашего проекта — карта шумового загрязнения в Москве

Начали мы с гипотез и развития идей некоторых коллег-экспериментаторов. Например, швейцарский программист Лукас Мартинелли несколько лет назад предложил идею, используя которую можно создать карту шума для любого города. Используя предположения об угасании шума по мере отдаления, Лукас использовал объекты из OpenStreetMap и создал вокруг них буферные зоны с тремя уровнями шума. Идея эта хороша своей простотой и быстротой претворения в жизнь. Однако, она не слишком точна в применении к городам с разным характером застройки и различным факторам формирования шумового загрязнения. Поэтому мы придумали, как сделать карту более реалистичной. Первым нашим шагом было включение в расчеты радиусов буферов распространения шума коэффициент плотности городской застройки.

Вторым шагом к улучшению карты шума было создание технологии, которая бы позволила уточнить моделируемые данные. Для этого нам понадобился шумомер, но профессиональные шумомеры высокого класса точности стоят дорого. Устройство, подходящей для нашей задачи функциональности, стоит чуть менее 40 000 рублей, поэтому решено было попробовать создать свой датчик с удовлетворяющими нас характеристикам по меньшей стоимости. Зная уровень шума в приемнике и расстояние до источника, мы можем восстанавливать изначальный уровень шума в точке источника.

Поскольку источниками шума могут быть различные факторы (машины, скопление людей, стройки, транспорт) нам стало интересно научиться замерять не только уровень, но ещё и определить тип источника городского шума. Мы вдохновились идеей проекта SONYC (Sounds of NYC), который проводил похожее исследование в Нью-Йорке.

Было решено, что для восстановления типа объекта-источника шума в городской среде достаточно уметь распознавать 4 класса, четко различающихся между собой категорий производителей городского шума: дороги, поезда, стройки и скопления людей. Для обучения нашего классификатора мы использовали Google AudioSet, а также часть записей, которые использовались в проекте SONYC. Обучающая выборка, собранная с Google AudioSet, потребовала больших усилий в обработке, так как даже записи в размеченных датасетах включали большие части с тишиной, разговорами и даже не целевыми источниками шума. А качество записей из проекта SONYC, наоборот, было даже слишком хорошим, что приводило к трудностям распознавания даже чуть-чуть зашумлённых записей.

Изначально, мы делали датчик на простой и дешевой платформе Arduino. Датчик работал, показывал данные по уровню шума и давал периодически неплохую звуковую дорожку — если очень постараться, можно было что-то расслышать кроме шипения. Поэтому мы решили перейти к более производительной платформе Orange Pi. У более производительной платформы оказалось и большее потребление энергии, однако производительности Arduino не хватило, чтобы записывать звуки, поэтому мы остановились на Orange Pi Zero, которую ласково называли «апельсинкой».

Прототип датчика для измерения уровня шума.

Использование «апельсинки» обладало ещё рядом преимуществ — наличие слота для SD-карты и встроенный WiFi модуль. В случае с Arduino, это тоже возможно, но нужно приобретать подключать соответствующие модули отдельно. К тому же, Orange Pi настоящий компьютер, на который можно установить и использовать различные операционные системы, например Android или Ubuntu. Мы использовали Ambrian — специально адаптированная для подобных штучек система на базе Linux.

Схема прототипа датчика

Для правильного процесса измерений, опираясь на соответствующий документ — ГОСТ 53187–2008, нам потребовалось определить основные характеристики прибора и решить, где разместить датчик. Из нормативов следует, что измерения должны проводиться на определенной высоте и удалении от близлежащих объектов. Мы обратились в компанию, обслуживающую сеть проката велосипедов «Велобайк», и попросили на время пилотных испытаний разместить прототипы устройств на нескольких станциях велопроката.

Артём размещает прототип датчика на станции Велобайка

После проведения пилотных измерений мы начали уточнять имеющуюся модель и вносить в неё коррективы. Спустя несколько итераций удалось найти удовлетворяющую нас конфигурацию устройства и подобрать нужные компоненты.

На момент завершения проекта летней стажировки мы выполнили основные задачи: подготовили методологию сбора и обработки данных, разработали схему сборки прототипа доступного датчика и выложили их в открытом доступе. Это позволит таким же энтузиастам, как мы, создать карту шума для своего города, избегая допущенных нами ошибок.

И вот результат нашей работы — карта шума Москвы по разработанной нами методике:

Карта шума —

Созданная нами карта и методология будет использоваться для построения наиболее «тихих» маршрутов в приложении Walkstreets — мобильном приложении, котoрое строит комфортные маршруты по городу.

Наш итоговый проект мы презентовали в августе на площадке Высшей школы урбанистики при НИИУ ВШЭ «ШуховЛаб» в формате открытой лекции, а также приняли участие в первом Климатическом форуме городов России. В ходе обоих мероприятий мы получили отзывы и рекомендации по улучшению от специалистов и неравнодушных к теме горожан.

Соответствующие инструкции и детали реализации мы опубликовали на GitHub. Хотелось бы уточнить, что это не финальная версия и планируем дорабатывать методологию и карту. Будем рады вашим комментариям, советам и отзывам.

Участники проекта:

  • Григорий Беляев, эколог,
  • Артём Саакян, инженер,
  • Андрей Асланов, аналитик,
  • Татьяна Иванникова, картограф

Кураторы проекта:

  • Анастасия Коновалова, менеджер проектов
  • Сергей Горбатюк, ведущий аналитик данных

Карта шума —
GitHub проекта —

23 Oct 21:44

The Understudy

by diamond geezer
Nobody is here to see the Understudy. The audience has paid to see the stars.

Two great shining stars, two leading lights of screen and stage - they sold out all the seats. One's a much loved knight of the realm, a character in that series of films everyone likes, and that other series of films everyone likes, and a national treasure to boot. The other's a much loved knight of the realm, another character in that series of films everyone likes, and world renowned from that TV show even more people like. The opportunity to see the pair together on the West End stage proved unmissable, as sales swiftly proved, and tickets waved at the ushers tonight were snapped up back in March.

An usher stands out front as the bearer of bad news. One of the lead actors will not be appearing in today's performance, doctor's orders, he needs to rest his voice. This is ghastly news. The entire point of the evening was to see the two gentleman friends engaged in verbal sparring, to enjoy the frisson as they stared at one another on the boards, to say you'd been there when they did. How annoying to realise that you'll be missing out, whereas the audience who came last night got the real deal. One of the main voices might have been raspy, but what does that matter when both were there, whereas tonight's cast list has a gaping hole.

But the name was indistinct - which one did they say? Which one would it be better to lose, assuming it were necessary to make the choice? Better to lose the slightly older knight, with his twinkly eyes and decades of experience, or better to lose the slightly younger knight, with his wicked grin and decades of experience? It matters not, the question is moot. Everybody paid up front to see the pair, and that coupling is broken, and oh bugger did you see how much the tickets cost?

The arriving audience can already guess what the terms and conditions will say. They'll say "Ha! Like it or lump it, we've got your money. You paid to see the play, and the play will be performed. Ha!" In fact they say "We reserve the right to make alterations to the advertised time, programme and cast as a result of circumstances beyond our control." Tonight only the cast has been altered, and it matters not that the cast is the only reason everyone's here.

A hastily-printed sign beside the box office window reveals the name missing of the missing knight, and less importantly who's been substituted instead. "Tonight the part of..." it says, confirming one of your two worst fears and crushing your soul. Then underneath it continues "...will be played by Somebody You've Never Heard Of". Googling him might prove informative, perhaps even reassuring, but his name is very common, and the theatre appears to have done a damned fine job of shutting down 4G within its walls.

Fork out extra and there he is in the programme... the Understudy. Normally nobody reads his biography, they don't care, scanning straight past from the lead actors to the production notes, and umpteen colour adverts for other productions with famous names to tempt you later. But tonight the Understudy's brief column is suddenly important; ten years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, stood in as Gandalf at the Theatre Royal, won a Manchester Evening News Best Actor Award, last theatrical work White Christmas at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. All admirable stuff, but with a gaping hole where 'Famous Person' ought to be.

The audience gather in their seats, perhaps more subdued than usual. They are an especially Home Counties crowd, not office workers at the end of their day, and older rather than younger, not the fantasy-loving demographic you might have expected to flock in given the cast. Meanwhile somewhere out back, in a star dressing room to which he is unaccustomed, the Understudy waits for curtain up. He knows the audience hasn't come to see him, he knows they wish he wasn't there, but his job is to step up and do the play full justice because that's the insurance policy he represents.

First out onto the stage is the non-absent knight, inhabiting his somewhat creepy character with award-winning fervour. Only after a good five minutes of monologue does the Understudy fling open the door and join him. How much the audience's hearts might have leapt to see the spark between the actors at this point, and to revel in their partnership on stage. How marvellous it would have been, from this point on, to feel the buzz of being in the actual same room as two actual big names. But not tonight. It soon becomes evident that the Understudy is indeed a fine performer, delivering his part flawlessly and with aplomb, but he is not The Missing One.

The play is not especially engaging, unless you like this kind of thing. It boasts little in the way of plot, and is more a stitching together of circular conversations and verbal power play. One man may not be who he says he is, another drinks to forget, and two additional background characters occasionally muddy the waters. Described by some as a comedy of menace, the narrative earns only a handful of laughs. It's everything you expect from the playwright, everything and more, but his work wouldn't be your top choice for a dramatic night out were it not for the actors inhabiting his roles.

The cliffhanger ending to the first half comes as some relief. Most of the audience shuffle off to stretch their legs or for refreshment, returning with tiny ice creams and plastic goblets of champagne. Many open up their phones in case they've got a signal, or open up their programmes to read about the man they hadn't come to see. A few dare to ask one another what might have been going on. Another famous Shakespearean actor is spotted in the stalls, tall and beaming, and moving around the auditorium to chat to family and acquaintances.

The second half begins with twenty minutes of actual plot. A dash of drunken misunderstanding allows the two lead characters to enter a lengthy verbal joust, riffing off one another in an ever-increasing sequence of fabulous tales and unlikely anecdotes. Had Knight One and Knight Two been here this would have been the highpoint of the evening, with wicked grins and knowing looks, but the couple on stage have no such shared backstory. They're both excellent, firing out the lines with emotion and not a word out of place, but our Night To Remember has not materialised.

The narrative darkens as the play nears its conclusion, perhaps a commentary on withdrawal, perhaps a paean to reclusivity. The curtain call comes swiftly, and a round of much deserved applause is proffered. Secondary Character One slaps the Understudy on the back as recognition of a job well done, and then The Knight Who Is Not Sick signals for hush. He emphasises how heartbroken his old friend is not to be here, and offers a heartwarming tribute to the Understudy for stepping in and smashing the part. The audience applaud all the louder, but not as loudly as if he had not been here.

They have been watching The Play With Only One Famous Person, whereas they'd paid for two. They had anticipated an unforgettable experience, whereas what they ended up with was simply drama. They have become victims of a West End beholden to the Star Name, where fame sells tickets, and the supporting cast are merely filler. The Understudy did everything expected of him, and more, with long hours spent memorising every line bearing forth great fruit. But in doing so he revealed the audience as celebrity-obsessed philistines, come to watch a play they had no interest in, and mistakenly focusing their disappointment on the man who filled the gap.

Nobody ever comes to see the Understudy. The modern West End audience pays to see the stars.
24 Aug 21:06

The 'Tortured Transit' of Bus Routes

by Linda Poon

Weary commuters will tell you: As convenient as city buses are, rides can feel torturously long as they zig-zag their way across town. A trip that should take 20 minutes via a direct route can easily double in travel time by bus, as they often follow a more roundabout path, taking detours off of main roads and making loops around faraway neighborhoods. Add in traffic, and you’ve got a possible hourlong ride.

Buses follow such routes so they can serve more people in more areas within a single trip. But some advocates are calling for simpler routes, arguing that it will not only improve efficiency, but also ridership. The Transit Center, a research organization focusing on improving urban mobility, is one of those advocates. The organization’s recent survey of 3,000 transit riders from 17 metropolitan regions found that the improvement commuters value most is cutting travel time.

Using the hashtag #StraighterIsGreater, the Transit Center has embarked on a social media campaign to gather some of the most convoluted bus routes in cities. Rider responses have poured in, and some are quite headache-inducing.

Take, for example, the W2 and W3 buses that run through the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., which take a C-shaped detour and make several loops before reaching their final destinations. (As one user points out, there are other, more direct routes serving this area.)

Then there’s the route in Richmond, Virginia, that keeps overlapping itself.

And in Tacoma, Washington, a route that starts at Tacoma Community College’s transit center drifts off onto several back roads before arriving at its final destination—on the other end of nearby road.

This is certainly not a U.S.-specific problem. The Transit Center has gotten tweets from dissatisfied riders as far as Moscow and Bangalore.

A 2013 report by the Transportation Research Board at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine looked at how 59 transit agencies responded to scheduling problems and complaints of slow speed, and found that three-quarters tried adjusting their bus routes. The most popular approach was to streamline them—straightening routes and reducing deviations and turns. Of the six agencies that measured their results, three saw a minor increase in speed, while one saw a “moderate increase.”

Of course, it’s not always easy for a transit agencies to simplify bus routes. One of the six agencies reported that “streamlining was too complex to report an overall trend, because route segments were transferred among routes.” Indeed, agencies that didn’t try this approach said they were concerned that doing so would require riders to make more transfers, and therefore would cause them to lose ridership.

“It has historically been very difficult from a public-relations standpoint to remove bus stops or streamline a route with numerous turns,” the researchers wrote. “There can be a lack of understanding in other departments of the importance of maintaining or increasing bus speeds and the extent to which fare collection, stop spacing, inefficient routing, and other seemingly minor actions add up to a notable impact on speed of service.”

But there are success stories out there. People also tweeted maps of their neighborhoods’ busiest—and most direct—bus routes, like this one in St. Louis, Missouri, and another in In Tacoma, Washington.

04 Aug 14:11

​Из чего на самом деле сделаны конструктивистские здания?

by Архнадзор
Александр Тугунов

Никакого камышита!

Анке Заливако
Наталья Душкина и Анке Заливако — о неоправданных претензиях к стройматериалам раннесоветской архитектуры.

Анке Заливако — немецкий архитектор, исследователь русского конструктивизма и авангарда. Окончила Технический университет Ахена. В 1995–1998 годах работала в Архитектурном бюро Уильяма Олсопа William Alsop Architects в Москве. В 2003 году защитила докторскую диссертацию на тему «Сохранение наследия архитектурного авангарда 1920-х годов в ФРГ и Российской Федерации на примере Москвы с учётом конструктивных решений» в Техническом университете Берлина на кафедре истории строительства, теории архитектуры и охраны памятников. С этого времени активно принимает участие в защите архитектурного наследия Современного движения, член ДОКОМОМО и ИКОМОС.

В Москве Анке Заливако жила в конструктивистском посёлке «Погодинская», снесённом в 2016 году. Последние десять лет живёт и работает в Германии, но не теряет интереса к советскому архитектурному наследию. По просьбе Центра авангарда библиотеки «Просвещение трудящихся» Анке Заливако написала небольшую колонку о последних московских событиях, а Наталья Душкина сделала к ней предисловие.  Текст опубликован Strelka Magazine.

«Камышитовый» синдром (Наталья Душкина)

У всех ещё в памяти громкий весенний погром построек московского конструктивизма — здания АТС на Покровском бульваре (1929) и жилых домов комплекса «Погодинская» (1928–1929), входивших в единый ансамбль со знаменитым клубом «Каучук» Константина Мельникова (1927). Оба сноса объединены: во-первых, общественным и профессиональным протестом против вандальных акций, во-вторых, публичным отказом Департамента культурного наследия города Москвы в признании этих зданий объектами культурного наследия и, в-третьих, существующими проектами новой коммерческой застройки в центре города на местах сносов от АФК «Система» и «Донстроя», дающими ключ к пониманию ситуации.
Архивное фото
Последовали и поразительные комментарии по оценке конструктивизма от первых лиц, входящих в Правительство Москвы. Вице-мэр по градостроительной политике Марат Хуснуллин, не таясь и не стесняясь, заявил: «Мы за конструктивизм, хотя я лично считаю, что эти дома надо оставить как памятники того, что нельзя строить. Оставить обязательно два-три комплекса». Главный архитектор Москвы Сергей Кузнецов поддержал коллегу излюбленным аргументом о нежизнеспособности русского авангарда, построенного из «камышита». По его словам, «и камышит, и десятки лет эксплуатации сделали своё дело. По оценкам технических специалистов, износ этих зданий может составлять 60–100 %, и в результате реставрации мы всё равно получим новодел. Заставлять людей дальше жить в полуразрушенных домах не имеет смысла».

Всё это говорится не только о разрушенных, но и о пока ещё существующих в Москве двух десятках жилых конструктивистских комплексов и большом числе других зданий этого периода, не обладающих охранным статусом. Это даже не надо комментировать: взгляд на пласт «недолговечных» сооружений 1920–1930-х годов под «камышитовым» углом зрения даёт колоссальный простор для коммерческих аппетитов.

Сложно найти более подходящего человека, чем Анке Заливако, для разъяснения этого казуса. Анке — автор и научный редактор двух увесистых томов, изданных в Берлине в 2012–2013 годах. Первая, поистине уникальная книга-каталог — «Постройки русского конструктивизма. Москва 1919–1932» — включает в себя детальный перечень и анализ строительных материалов, конструкций и технологий, которые использовались при возведении «новой архитектуры» в России, заложившей основы образного и стилистического языка модернизма. Книга направлена на поиск путей сохранения этого выдающегося пласта наследия ХХ века, а 24 раздела каталога нацелены, по умолчанию, на практическую реставрацию памятников.

Так, раздел «Строительные материалы» содержит главы о естественных камнях и горных породах, искусственных материалах, щебенистых и сыпучих материалах, бетонах, растворах и вяжущих веществах, искусственных камнях, термо- и звукоизоляционных материалах, остеклении, металлических балках, красках. Например, только среди «искусственных камней» автором рассматривается 11 видов различного вида кирпича и блоков, использовавшихся для возведения конструктивистских построек, что опровергает домыслы об их «ветхости».

Камышитовые и соломитовые плиты употреблялись для термо- и звукоизоляции, а не в качестве несущих конструкций. В разделе «Конструктивные решения» даётся устройство наружных стен, и это — фундаментальные материалы (различные виды кирпичной кладки, булыжник и бутовый камень, сплошные набивные бетонные и шлакобетонные стены). Среди несущих конструкций — железобетонные каркасы и рамные конструкции, сборный железобетон. В других разделах — детальная информация о конструкции кровель, перекрытий, перегородок, лестниц, окон, эркеров и балконов, дверей и ворот. Одним словом, фундаментальный труд Анке Заливако — это в прямом смысле энциклопедия конструирования «конструктивизма» как целостной инженерной системы, исследованной с немецкой пунктуальностью и дотошностью.
Книги Анке Заливако
Вторая книга «Дом-коммуна Наркомфина в Москве. 1928–2012» (совместно с профессором Йоханнесом Крамером) посвящена выдающемуся памятнику мирового значения, истории его создания и выживания в ХХ веке, а также его детальному исследованию. По существу, это также целостное пособие для осуществления практической реставрации здания, входящего во все мировые архитектурные антологии. Культовая руина, место архитектурного паломничества со всего мира в самом центре современной Москвы, продолжает погибать.

Реплика Анке, на мой взгляд, получилась весьма эмоциональной, но очень точно описывающей ситуацию, сложившуюся в последнее время в Москве.

Миф о плохих стройматериалах советского конструктивизма (Анке Заливако)

Они ещё стоят на месте, им почти сто лет. Их активно используют, в этих всемирно известных зданиях русского авангарда продолжают жить. Поэтому утверждаю раз и навсегда: не может быть, чтобы они были сделаны из плохих стройматериалов! Наоборот, этот факт свидетельствует не только о хорошем качестве использованных при строительстве материалов, но и о качестве внутренней планировки квартир, ориентированных на разные стороны света, пропускающих солнце и свежий воздух насквозь! Именно так было задумано архитекторами всех рабочих посёлков 1920–1930-х годов. Большинство из них построено из очень прочного материала — кирпича. Вся северная Германия сделана из кирпича. И в России в 1920–1930-е годы, опираясь на европейские примеры, в качестве основного стройматериала активно использовался кирпич.

Однако все здания требуют по крайней мере минимального ухода. Более того, после стольких лет активной эксплуатации они достойны тщательной реставрации, соответствующей своим физическим характеристикам, то есть с учётом их строительной физики. Ведь каждый дом — это определённый организм! Но в Москве в такой реставрации им вплоть до сегодняшнего дня отказывают. И именно поэтому мне пришлось уехать из России: мне здесь нечего делать.

Подход к реставрации зданий конструктивизма, в первую очередь, — это вопрос строительной культуры. Очевидно, что на родине русского авангарда, там, где в 1920–1930-е годы архитектура единственный раз достигла всемирного уровня, сегодня наблюдается большая нехватка необходимой реставрационной стройкультуры.

После объединения Германии в 1989 году немецкие специалисты начали интенсивно изучать проблему реставрации зданий 1920–1930-х годов. Здания Баухауза в Дессау — самые знаменитые постройки этого периода. Они тогда были в ужасном состоянии и так же подвергались гонениям из-за якобы «плохих» стройматериалов, то есть шлакобетона, камышита, торфа. Однако в Европе быстро осознали их историческое значение как основание современной технологии строительства из разных композитных материалов, начали изучать проблему сохранения и накапливать опыт. Были найдены способы реставрации жилых кварталов 1920–1930-х годов. Дома сделаны из биологически чистых материалов, которые дышат (в отличие от современных зданий из бетона со стеклопакетами). Именно поэтому сегодня эти квартиры в качестве современного жилья очень популярны. И во многом именно поэтому их включили в список Всемирного культурного наследия ЮНЕСКО!
Здания Баухауза в Дессау до реставрации
Я посвятила пятнадцать лет своей жизни доказательству того, что стройматериалы зданий советского конструктивизма не менее качественные, чем материалы, которые использовались при строительстве шедевров международного Современного движения.

Здания Баухауза в Дессау после реставрации

Тему качества стройматериалов периода конструктивизма, видимо, признали очень важной, иначе Немецкий научный фонд (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) не финансировал бы исследование этой темы, а Московский музей архитектуры имени Щусева не поддерживал бы активно такой проект в те годы.

Экспериментальный дом Наркомфина на Новинском бульваре, 25, в Москве — главный объект, представляющий стройматериалы современного международного движения конструктивизма. В 2009 году, когда мы его исследовали с точки зрения использования материалов и проводили аналогию с немецкими сооружениями Баухауза, стало ясно: они ничем не отличаются от наших!

Результаты исследования стройматериалов конструктивизма Техническим университетом Берлина опубликованы в двух томах и доступны всем заинтересованным лицам. Один из томов посвящён исключительно дому Наркомфина. К сожалению, из-за недостатка интереса и денег книги пока изданы только на немецком языке. Но это даже не важно. Главный вывод исследования: проблема не в материалах! Проблема в другом: хотят ли эти здания сохранить? есть ли воля? Вопрос в недостатке строительной культуры. Или, если выражаться другими словами, эти здания интереснее снести по коммерческим причинам. Так почти всем удобнее. А по-немецки говорят: «Где есть воля, там и дорога найдётся!»

18 Jul 16:20

Copenhagen's Inderhavnsbro - Inner Harbour Bridge

by Mikael Colville-Andersen
Александр Тугунов

Про излишне сложно спроектированный велопешеходный мост в Копенгагене

Inderhavnsbro - Inner Harbour Bridge - Copenhagen

By Mark Werner / Copenhagenize Design Company

Copenhagen’s Inderhavnsbroen (Inner Harbor Bridge) has been a seemingly never ending story of mishaps and constant delays. This bridge has endured problems ranging from incorrect designs to contractor bankruptcies, all of which have led to pushbacks of the process day-by-day, month-by-month. From an effort by the city to connect all parts of the harbor for tourists and allowing eager citizens to shave minutes off their commutes, has led to a massive headache and a chorus of groans and eye-rolls by citizens and traveler alike. Locally known as the “kissing bridge” through these constant delays it has subsequently earned its name as the “missing bridge”.

Inderhavnsbroen is an entirely new design for a bridge or, in other words, overcomplicated beyond belief. It was intended to be a radical distinguished design unique to Copenhagen, beyond the average drawbridges that have worked for more than a thousand years across water everywhere.
Inderhavnsbro - Inner Harbour Bridge - Copenhagen Inderhavnsbro - Inner Harbour Bridge - Copenhagen

Inderhavnsbroen consists of two moving platforms that meet in the center, and like a puzzle piece metal points one side of the bridge slides and locks into the other side. These two platforms slide outward into the immobile segments of the bridge, leaving a gap in the center letting boats through. It's a bit too much like Magpie Architecture to us.

Inderhavnsbroen is part of Copenhagen’s much larger plan, known as the Harbor Circle project, to ease commuting and increase connectivity of many notable points around the harbor for visitors and locals.

This bridge would link the highly visited Nyhavn, and the business heavy area of Kongens Nytorv, to the highly populated Christianshavn onto the island Amager. With roughly 3-7,000 cyclists expected daily, significant congestion would be relieved from the closest and traffic-heavy Knippelsbro (bridge) with over 40,000 cyclists a day.

Construction for Inderhavnsbroen began in 2011 and was set for completion in early 2013...not the case, as it stands incomplete today and no formal opening in sight. It has become one of Copenhagen’s most notable points, but for all the wrong reasons.

[1] The sequence of problems began as early as 2012 when two of the main support beams arrived 60cm too tall! This was due to poor drawings in the plan. It’s bad enough for engineers to make a mistake of a few millimeters, not 60 cm! An extra 4 months were added to the project as time was taken to pat down the beams until they were at the appropriate height.

[2] Problems continue into May of 2013, when the two steel moving platforms arrive from a Spanish company show serious flaws. Despite these defects, contractual agreements require the project to continue, still using the same 250-ton beams.

[3] By April of that year the tragedies continue when cracks are found on the surface and need to be reinforced.

[4] As the summer continues weaknesses are found in the infrastructure and parts of the concrete bow down underneath the bridge; time is taken to apply necessary reinforcements. By August Pihl and Søn, the main contractors of the project declare their bankruptcy and all work stops on the bridge for 9 months, until the city of Copenhagen takes over the project. This is the point where it begins to sound like a cruel joke, Pihl and Søn is an international contracting group in business for over 100 years, and it is during this already endless project that they go out of business.

[5] By December a storm hits Copenhagen, and due to improper storage a machine room below the bridge floods and two motors become damaged beyond repair. All the while, as delays are added the costs only rise on this project.

[6] As spring begins in 2014 fears grow that even more reinforcements are needed! Many tests are done, and it turns out the be a false alarm, however, the delays still pile up. Work continues, and a new polish contracting group takes over the project. No drastic delays occur on the bridge until August of 2015

[7], when one of the draw-wire systems that pulls the movable platform back has snapped...delays carry on. The most recent problem encountered was discovered in November of 2015

[8], when one boogie-system, the set of wheels that roll the moving platforms back and forth, was discovered to be too weak. A whole new system needed to be designed, created, and installed, which was finished in April 2016. A whole set of new problems however is exacerbated by the initial plans

[9], in May of 2016 it was discovered that the change of warm air combined with the still-cold harbor water was causing the bridge to bend and skew. The fact that the bridge may squirm was taken into the design, however, not when the temperature change is so drastic between warm air to cold water... which is strange because that is basically every spring in Copenhagen for countless millenia.

All these delays have come at a huge cost, which sets in place the next set of problems, who is going to pay? It’s now highly debated between Copenhagen and Pihl and Søn contractors, as the bridge was supposed to cost 200 million kr. but after constant delays and mishaps has now risen to 300 million kr., and the cost of Copenhagen’s share has already tripled.

With all that said, the light at the tunnel has been reached. The bridge finally opened to the public on 07 July 2016 and the official opening is scheduled for 19 August 2016.

The new boogie system has been installed and the final tests and fine tuning of the bridge are done.

Many say that Inderhavnsbroen was hit by Murphy’s Law, where anything that could go wrong has. This whole process just goes to show that sometimes you need to stick with what you know works, like the two bridges that have been in place for nearly 100 years across the harbor already. Or just ask the thousands of daily commuters in Copenhagen that longed for the day the bridge would open.

Inderhavnsbro - Inner Harbour Bridge - Copenhagen Inderhavnsbro - Inner Harbour Bridge - Copenhagen
Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.
18 Jul 15:41

Внимание! Изменения в движении поездов на Филёвской линии

Александр Тугунов

Люблю, когда грамотно работают со зрителем (хотя и не от "Багратионовской", а от "Парка Победы" нужно ехать на автобусе!)

Дорогие зрители, пожалуйста, обратите внимание, что 16 июля в течение всего дня будет закрыт участок филёвской линии метро от «Киевской» до «Багратионовской». Будут вестись работы на МКЖД — придётся немножко потерпеть неудобства, чтобы было комфортно в будущем.

Для того, чтобы добраться к нам на «Кутузовскую», вы можете воспользоваться автобусами бесплатного маршрута «М» от «Киевской» или «Багратиновоской». Подробнее об этом можно прочитать здесь.
Пожалуйста, заранее планируйте маршрут, надеемся, что вы сможете быть вовремя.

18 Jul 14:12

В Лос-Анджелесе появился велопрокат

by Анастасия Ромашкевич

На прошлой неделе в Лос-Анджелесе заработал велопрокат Metro, задуманный как  полноценный элемент общественного транспорта.

Площадь покрытия у велопроката пока небольшая — всего 65 станций, в основном в даунтауне. Часть из них располагаются поблизости от остановок общественного транспорта, и это не случайность. Прокат — совместный проект городских властей и агентства Metro, которое управляет общественным транспортом Лос-Анджелеса и пытается вписать велосипеды в эту систему.


Тарифное меню разрабатывалось с таким расчётом, чтобы велопрокат мог конкурироваться поездками на общественном транспорте. Есть два вида абонементов: месячный за 20 долларов, позволяющий неограниченно ездить в пределах 30 минут, и годовой за 40 долларов, по которому за каждую поездку (даже самую короткую) придётся доплатить ещё 1,75. Абонементы надо записать на общегородскую транспортную карту или на специальную карту велопроката. Разовые поездки запустят только с 1 августа. Для них никакая карта не нужна, но стоить они будут минимум 3,5 доллара.

Выглядит недёшево, но в Лос-Анджелесе такие расценки считают вполне конкурентоспособными, чтобы привлечь даже малообеспеченных пользователей. Не исключено, что в будущем для социально незащищенных горожан введут скидки вроде тех, что действуют на общественном транспорте.

03 Jun 10:26

The Last Stand of the Old Guard?

by Pedantic of Purley
Александр Тугунов

Как появился и исчез "тормозной кондуктор" (он же помощник машиниста, хотя я могу ошибаться в терминологии)

The role of the railway guard has been in the news recently due to various industrial disputes in London and beyond. With debate set to continue over the role in the coming months, this seems an appropriate time to look at the role of the railway guard and its relevance today.

As is often the case in industrial disputes and public concerns, various issues get muddled together. In the case of dispensing with the guard there are two issues at stake. One is the seemingly trivial issue of whether the driver or the guard (also known as the conductor) should be responsible for closing the doors and the other is to what extent is it acceptable for the driver to be the only member of staff aboard a train during public operation.

The original need for a guard

During the early years of railway operations, regulations required trains to have a guard. This was primarily in case the train became separated, which was a very real possibility. The consequence of having a portion of the train “running away” without anyone to apply the emergency brake could be very serious indeed.

A secondary reason for having a guard was that, in the event of accident or derailment which blocked the line in both directions, it would be possible for the driver to protect the train from collision at the front whilst the guard protected the train from the rear. This would be done by placing detonator caps on the track to warn other trains of danger. In the days before bright colour light signals and track circuits the application of detonators was really the only way that a train could be fully protected. It was all too easy for the driver to miss a paraffin-lit semaphore signal in the dark, especially if the train was pulled by a steam engine.

Nowadays axle counters are sometimes used instead of track circuits but in these days of instant communication with the signal box or control centre the need to get out on the track to protect the train has all but disappeared.

Driver Only Operation is nothing new

It follows from the above that so long a train consists of more than one vehicle (of which the engine counts as one, as does each carriage or wagon) it must have a guard. In the distant past, realistically the only possible train that could have run without one would have been composed of a single carriage (almost certainly electrically powered). Semantic purists of the day could have argued that this would not be a train as the term originally meant a train of carriages, but we will let that pass.

The issue of train protection also meant that it would be unlikely that Driver Only Operation (DOO) would be permitted then on anything other than continuous track circuited routes or single track lines with “one train working” or “one engine in steam” as it used to be called – even if the propulsive power was provided by something other than steam.

tearunThe South Acton shuttle or “the tea run”

As a result of all the above in the past examples of Driver Only Operation were few and far between. In fact, the only known example was the famous “Tea Run” on the District Line. This was a shuttle between Acton Town and South Acton, something we covered in an article on Driverless Trains and the Underground. The driver could put the kettle on the stove and do a round trip in the time it took the water to boil for his tea.

A snail in a ginger beer bottle

Whilst railways in the past saw it as their duty to transport their passengers safely (in part thanks to a trip that a certain Mrs Donoghue took to Paisley in 1928), a lot of onus was still on the passenger. Passengers were not supposed to open train doors whilst the train was in motion and if they did, and they were injured, then it was basically their fault. It was less clear, however, who was liable if an innocent passenger, possibly on the platform, was also injured as a result. Similarly, it was up to the passenger not to get off the train if there was no platform for him to step onto, and at the time the nearest one would get to an announcement of a short platform would be a possible mention at the station at which the passenger boarded the train (if it had a public address system), or by the guard if he happened to check the ticket and thought to mention it.

Despite the onus on passenger safety still largely being the responsibility of the passenger, up until the 1960s it was still largely unthinkable that trains would operate without a guard. Railway regulations required a guard, the technology needed to even consider removing the guard just did not exist and the notion of a duty of care made the idea of getting rid of the guard a legal nightmare if something went wrong. In addition, if you are going to have a guard who can alight onto the platform to check that it is safe to depart, you might as well have him giving the “right away” and opening and closing the doors if powered doors are used.

Little emphasis on passenger safety

The start of the video below excellently illustrates the rather lackadaisical approach to safety on the Underground when it came to what is now rather grandly termed “the platform train interface”.

Guard operating Underground doors in 1990

There is no line for passengers to stand behind. The platform has a severe curvature. The guard does not make use of the complete width of the platform to establish that passengers are clear of the doors at the front of the train. Worse, and most unforgivable of all, there are monitors provided so that he can do his job properly but he can’t even be bothered to look at them. Note also the rather half-hearted glance to the rear after the doors have closed.

As further food for thought, this is at the platform which, for historical reasons, has the worst curvature on the entire line. If there was a platform that required diligent operation then this was it. Also note, in possible contrast to today, that there were no platform staff present to confirm that it was safe to depart and, even if there had have been, their appearance would not have been distinctive. A rather nebulous wave of the hand would also have been considered sufficient as an indication that the train could now proceed.

The Victoria line

The introduction of a single “Train Operator” on the Victoria line when it opened signalled that start of a revolution. Note that the term “Driver Only Operation” was not used because the train operator of the automatic train was not really considered to be a driver. Although he sat in the conventional driver’s position, his primary role was to open and shut the passenger doors. In a way this pioneering line did not so much get rid of the guard as get rid of the driver and put the guard in his seat.

At the time, the Victoria line was very much a one off with unique attributes. It was entirely underground except for the depot and so, supposedly without the disadvantage of rain, the trains could stop fairly accurately in the stations. In fact they made the platforms extra long to cater for the limitations of the day but, even then, “driver” intervention was sometime required.

The Victoria line also had a new form of cab-to-control communication which no other line – above or below ground – had. This supposedly enabled communication on the move at all times (although this was found not to entirely live up to this specified requirement).

More crucially, the platforms were entirely straight (or exceptionally very nearly so), which was pretty vital given the poor resolution and clarity provided by the black and white cathode ray platform monitors that the operator had to assist him with platform dispatch duties.

Other lines follow slowly

With British Rail still largely operating slam-door stock and the large capital investment required to change that, it was clear that it was only really London Underground who were likely to follow the pioneering Victoria line and have a single member of staff aboard their trains. The term “Driver Only Operation” (DOO) soon became seen as something that could be more accurately applied to other lines, where the one member of staff on board would be responsible for both driving the train and operating the doors. Eventually the term was used regardless of whether the train was manually or automatically driven.

It took quite a few years for the other lines to follow the Victoria line though. Availability of continuous on-the-move communication was eventually provided using the “leaky feeder” cable method and indeed the Victoria line was eventually retro-fitted with this as well. Trains were modified or new stock, fitted out for DOO, was introduced. Colour monitors started making an appearance and indeed the number of monitors provided increased – especially when curved platforms were involved.

Whilst the introduction of DOO on the Underground certainly led to disputes, it was not as traumatic for staff as it might have been. With depots fairly close to each other there was a lot of opportunity to avoid redundancies by transferring staff to another line if staff wished to, or even to retrain as a driver. This allowed natural wastage to account for the reduction in numbers required. Of course, this does not work for the final line to move over to DOO, which was the Northern line, but at least it was clear for many years what was slowly and inevitably happening as as new rolling stock was procured.

A superior method of monitoring the doors

With London Underground appreciating how critical it was to ensure doors closed safely, they looked around for something rather better than platform monitors or, its cruder companion, mirrors. The fairly obvious answer was to position the monitors in the cab. With modern electronics quite capable of transmitting multiple colour video streams to the driver’s cab this proved quite feasible. The later development of LCD displays improved the situation further in terms of clarity of image, ease of maintenance and finding space to locate them in the drivers cab.

A bonus for London Underground was that once in-cab monitors were universally installed the platform monitors could be removed. At some platforms this meant it was possible to eliminate Selective Door Operation (SDO). Expect to see some District line stations have SDO removed once the last of the D78 stock disappears.

For London Underground, putting the door monitoring panels in the cab was an ideal solution. It placed the monitors in the best position possible for the driver whilst the cameras could be located in the most appropriate positions for the platform. It also meant that the driver was in an enclosed environment, undisturbed by passengers.

As well as improvements on the train, at certain platforms on the Underground, the driver is given a “right away” signal by clearly identifiable platform staff, either by a fixed white light on the platform or by the station assistant’s “wand” being illuminated with a circle of white LED lights. Accident reports show that the arrangement is not foolproof, but it is pretty much as good as it can get (short of installing platform edge doors). A very similar practice is in operation at various Network Rail stations, with the platform staff communicating with the guard instead – if one is present.

Very significantly, for Crossrail, for which second best is never acceptable, operating with in-cab monitors combined with platform-mounted cameras has been adopted for overground stations. This has been done even though it required negotiating with Network Rail to adopt something that was, for them, completely new.

British Rail joins in

For various reasons, it was going to be less easy to introduce DOO on British Rail. A chance presented itself with the Bedford – St Pancras (BedPan) electrification scheme. A dispute over introduction of the scheme, which was eventually resolved, meant that by the time DOO was fully introduced it was proposed that this route would become part of the present day Thameslink scheme.

Operation on Thameslink was to be similar to that at the time on London Underground. One small difference was the use of multiple directional aerials in the running tunnels rather than a leaky feeder cable. Given the reluctance to invest in the railways at the time, it may well be the case that DOO helped convince the government of the day that the investment was worthwhile.

Unlike London Underground, the opportunities for guards to conveniently transfer to another depot when the new Thameslink trains were introduced were sometimes limited. Redundancies were eventually avoided by agreeing to have former guards carry out on-board revenue collection duty until natural wastage resolved the problem. To the surprise of nobody except, it seems, the railway managers, it was said that the increase in revenue brought about by ticket checks meant that the continued employment of the displaced guards could be justified on financial grounds for a considerable period of time.

For many years after this DOO was brought into use in the London area and beyond with relatively little difficulty. Notable have been Chiltern Railways and c2c which are both almost exclusively DOO. An exception has been on the former South Western division of British Rail (now South West Trains) where the unions have absolutely refused to accept DOO and to this day every single South West Trains service has a guard present. Notoriously, platform monitors for the drivers were installed (and eventually removed) all over the South West Trains suburban area and not a single one of them had seen beneficial use.

In a rather amusing postscript, some of the original Thameslink trains, the class 319, now nearly 30 years old, have gone up north to run on the Northern Electric routes and one of the modifications needed was to fit guard controls for the doors. This was a sensible and pragmatic arrangement given the lack of platform monitor screens in that part of the world and with many stations unstaffed for part or all of the day.

DOO gets better

By 2003 Southern were running DOO with train mounted cameras rather than relying on mirrors or platform monitors. What is surprising is that this did not appear to be a game changer. New trains from then on were fitted with the technology, but there appeared to be no great rush to get rid of either the platform mounted equipment or the practice of the guard closing the doors on existing services operated with the new trains.

In 2009 SouthEastern introduced the new class 395 (“Javelin”) on HS1. From the outset they had train managers not guards – a subtle but important difference.

Whilst the use of train mounted cameras was an evolutionary development, it was London Overground that seemed to fully embrace the idea when it replaced the rolling stock on all its existing electrified routes and relied on the train mounted cameras and driver’s in-cab monitors.

Train mounted cameraOne of many train mounted cameras for monitoring doors.

The train mounted cameras, combined with the on-board monitors, have very obvious advantages when it comes to setting up appropriate infrastructure and maintenance. Less obvious is the surprisingly good image generally obtained. On Network Rail it is often not easy to position platform cameras in a good position. This is due to various factors, such as overhead lines and canopies and the lack of a roof or bored tunnel to mount the camera on.

A further advantage of the monitors being in the cab is that they are largely, but not entirely, unaffected by sunlight, which can strike the platform based monitors at the wrong angle and make them temporarily unusable.

Surrey Quays SouthboundSouthbound at Surrey Quays with not a mirror or platform monitor in sight

London Overground does it controversially

With the enormous cost of providing guards on frequent rail services, it is not surprising that TfL pushed for the elimination of guards on all trains they operate – either directly or indirectly via the Train Operating Company running their services. It is an easy way, indeed possibly the easiest, to save money with very little adverse effect on the travelling public. Indeed, it can even have a positive effect as trains are no longer cancelled for lack of a guard.

As with the Underground, this can be relatively painless until you get to the last line to be converted to DOO. For London Overground, this was the Gospel Oak – Barking line. With no alternative depot to post them to, various guards were given redundancy notices. Those affected are, of course, free to apply to another company but with only South West Trains (main suburban depot Wimbledon) having a substantial number of guards posts it effectively means that those made redundant have to take retirement, get a different job or move to another part of London or elsewhere in the country.

What makes the elimination of guards on the busy two car diesel trains that operate on the Gospel Oak – Barking line (Goblin) interesting and relevant to today is that the RMT under its then leader Bob Crow, claimed that this was detrimental to public safety. TfL countered by saying, on the contrary:

On the East London Line, which uses driver only operation, the rate of door incidents is one for every 7 million passengers. This compares to the section of the network which currently uses conductors, where the rate of door incidents is one for every 4 million passengers.

Then and, as we shall see now, RMT spokesmen often repeat this general principle of safety but always with rather nebulous statements rather than specific examples, facts or figures. The linked press report quotes another RMT spokesman as stating:

RMT are going to resist this because we are determined to keep the railway safe. Fundamentally we believe all trains should be guarded by a human being. Opening and closing doors is part of what they do but not the main part – you can’t run a railway safely without people.

There are no doubt some people who would respond to the last statement with “actually you can” and others who would even go as far to suggest it is the human intervention that causes safety incidents. More plausibly, one could argue that if one was genuinely concerned about safety then employing guards is one of the least effective ways of achieving it and the money would be much better spent on ensuring platforms are level, at the correct height with appropriate lighting and sloping away from the track. Or, to really improve safety, the money could be spent on platform edge doors or automatic train operation.

The ticking time bomb

What seems to have taken a lot of people, including various union leaders, completely by surprise is that stock ordered by the DfT (such as Thameslink stock and the Hitachi InterCity Express) has been ordered without the provision for the guard to close the doors. Furthermore various tenders for franchise clearly specified DOO in them.

Biggest of all is the Thameslink franchise incorporating Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern and, of course, Thameslink. With Thameslink services due to take over various routes currently operated with a guard it is clear that fewer will soon be required. Furthermore you potentially have routes where some trains are Thameslink trains operated by just a driver and other trains (possibly shorter) are operated by a driver and a guard, but the trains themselves are suitable for DOO without modification.

An extraordinary outburst

In February 2016 there was an extraordinary outburst against the rail unions by Peter Wilkinson, a senior DfT official, at a meeting in Croydon. Very inflammatory and largely inaccurate, it was not what one would expect from an MP let alone a civil servant. It is hard to see how anything positive was achieved by it.

To add insult to injury one could ask why the one bit that was true (“drivers not required to work on Sundays”) was not rectified by the DfT when it wrote the tender for the franchise. A Train Operating Company guaranteed only a relatively short franchise is unlikely to try and change conditions of service without an incentive to do so, bearing in mind the grief it can cause. Indeed, one could argue that the person who should have sorted this out and got it specified in the franchise was one… Peter Wilkinson, director of Rail Passenger Services at the DfT.

Not surprisingly, Peter Wilkinson has seemingly been banned from talking in public. This is a pity because it means that the DfT now has a policy that cannot be explained by the person making it. It should be noted that, this outburst apart, Peter Wilkinson is well-respected by some in the industry for his determination to modernise the railways for the benefit of all. Indeed in an excellent article in the June 2016 edition of Modern Railways there is the suggestion that, in the light of subsequent events, Mr Wilkinson’s speech was

… far from the ill-considered outburst that we assumed at the time. Mr Wilkinson was merely articulating official government policy.

The Gatwick Express Saga

In the wake of the outburst it was clear that rail union ASLEF were left with the moral high-ground. A ridiculous speech, much circulated and known about within the industry, showed the DfT having a ridiculous paranoia. One would have expected ASLEF to milk this but hat happened On April 9th was extraordinary.

At 0530 at morning a driver refused to drive a 12-car class 387 Gatwick Express train from Victoria to Gatwick Airport with passengers on board if it did not have a guard. The 30 passengers could not travel on the service and the train departed to Gatwick empty.

The driver’s argument was that there was no agreement for DOO on the 12-car Gatwick Express. However the train consisted of 12 carriages that were nominally 20 metres long whereas the train it replaced had 10 carriages of 23m nominal length and ASLEF had agreed to drive them under DOO conditions. There was some suggestion that the extension of DOO to 10 carriages was only a concession to allow lengthening of suburban trains, but this really doesn’t fit in with the facts. To add to the absurdity, ASLEF drivers were driving near identical 12-car 387 stock (but Thameslink liveried) on the Thameslink route and have driven Southern 12-car trains to places like Horsham and Brighton under DOO before when no guard has been available. It was almost as if the ASLEF member wouldn’t drive the train because it was the wrong colour (red not green).

In a move that was to set the tone for a future dispute with conductors, the railway company, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) went to court and obtained an injunction to prevent ASLEF inducing drivers not to drive Gatwick Express trains. Specifically the courts could not accept that there were safety grounds for this and any claim it was for safety reasons had to be seen as a ruse.

The absurdity of this dispute suggests that maybe Peter Wilkinson’s outburst was not so unreasonable, even if still tactically rather inept, and that the above comment in Modern Railways was not so tongue-in-cheek as one would imagine.

The conductors join in

Clearly, with the DfT specifying DOO for all future Thameslink services, GTR was going to have to do something now that the rolling stock in question, fixed formation class 700 stock, was due to enter service. It was clear fewer guards would be needed.

What followed was something very similar to “Fit for the Future” which was London Underground’s plan to get rid of ticket offices. Both sides made statements that were true but misleading. It was clear that one of the objectives was to reduce head count but it was emphasised by Southern that everyone who wanted a job would have one (but by implication not the same job). Slightly more difficult to reconcile was Southern’s statement that it wasn’t their aim to remove staff from trains, with their argument that not having the guard operate the doors means that they no longer needed to cancel a train if a guard is not available. It is clear they expect most guards to redeploy to a revenue based role (and get a smaller percentage of the ticket sale in the process) which, arguably, changes the nature of the role. However, it is long established in employment law that one can be reasonably be expected to “move with the times” particularly as technology improves and one can imagine many people thinking “we have to adapt, why should they be so different?”

For their part, the unions seem to only talk about safety but seem only able, at best, to provide not very convincing anecdotal evidence for retention of guards on this ground. This has meant that Southern have spotted an opportunity to make their case.

Video showing clarity of image on monitors in driving cab

Southern’s belated efforts at explaining the issues from their perspective include the above video which shows just how good a view the driver has when closing the doors.

Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, Modern Railways covered the issue with an article on the subject which looked at the implications for the whole country not just for London. It too sees the sticky hands of the DfT all over this and makes the point that the GTR franchise is not a normal franchise where the train operating company has to pay for any loss of revenue out of its own pocket.

The Modern Railway’s article is probably the only conciliatory viewpoint that has been expressed. They have managed to put a far more rational case for looking into various issues of concern than the unions have and on the safety issue they suggest that the Rail Accident Investigation Board, the Railway Standards and Safety Board and the Office of Road and Rail should take a lead in declaring the safety benefits of having, or not having, the guards close the door and a second person being present. Whether these organisations wish to get involved in this is another matter.

Hurst Green guards monitorsGuards monitors at Hurst Green northbound platform. The trains on this route that start from East Grinstead all have cameras fitted and a full set of monitors for door operation situated in the drivers cab.

Who is behind all this?

To bluntly rephrase what Modern Railways asserts, by collecting the revenue and paying the TOC to provide the service, the DfT is effectively bankrolling the effects of this dispute and so enabling GTR to resist any financial pressure from the unions to settle. One can understand this. They feel there is no excuse for the railway not being efficient. There is also an ideological aspect to this. Some parts of the railway are within a hair’s breadth of being profitable even if not to the extent of being a worthwhile investment. This is taking into account all costs, including Network Rail’s real costs – not the notional track access charges which may not relate to costs and are probably too low.

A Conservative government would really like to see at least part of the railway being a genuine going concern. Of course, Eurostar would argue that they are already such an example, but that is an exceptional situation. It may well be that reducing the need for guards is enough to tip various franchises into sufficient profit for them to be considered a worthwhile investment without a subsidy.

There is another reason why there is probably a strong determination from the DfT to fight this out. A lot of the cost of running a train is the cost of crewing it. Fairly obviously, if one can reduce the crew size from two to one then a big saving can be made. This totally changes the economics of running a frequent off-peak service and, with many routes really being glorified London outer-suburban services (for example London to Oxford, Cambridge and various places in Kent and along the South Coast), it would be very helpful if the service wasn’t tied down by having to have a second crew member on all trains for the entire length of the journey. Which is better? A half hourly off-peak service with a guard at all times or a quarter hourly service with an on-board member of staff present some of the time?

And now…

At the time of writing there are currently no more strikes on the issue of removing guards from trains, but feelings are clearly running high. Visits to the High Court certainly seem to be happening with more frequency than one would expect. Clearly the passenger is unwittingly stuck in the middle of this. When the European referendum has been settled, those who like impassioned arguments devoid of established facts from either side will be able repeat the experience by attempting to follow the guards dispute on the railways.

Thanks to Graham Feakins and ngh for background information and to LT museum for use of the South Acton shuttle photo.

The post The Last Stand of the Old Guard? appeared first on London Reconnections.

28 Mar 08:38

Damp Shard

by diamond geezer
Александр Тугунов

У даймонд гизера годовой входной билет на ЗЭ ШАРД!

One of the great things about having an annual ticket for the Shard is that you can choose to go up at entirely inopportune times. This is simultaneously one of the worst things about pre-booking an ordinary ticket for the Shard, because on your chosen date the weather might be really miserable, but you've already paid so you have to go up anyway. What's it like up top when it's grey and raining, I wondered. And the answer... it's grey and wet.

On a bright day the view is amazing and spreads beyond the outskirts of London. But on an overcast rainy day you see rather less, the outer boroughs swallowed up by a damp grey veil. The view isn't so abysmal that it causes the Shard's 'weather guarantee' to kick in - it's easily possible to see "at least three of the following landmarks - London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge and One Canada Square". But on my visit the Thames beyond Vauxhall faded to grey, and the Olympic Park was a blur, and the experience was significantly diminished. [6 photos]

Then there's the rain. On the side of the building facing the oncoming storm the glass is splattered with raindrops, which makes looking at the sights beyond rather harder than usual, and completely wrecks any hopes you might have had of taking a decent photo. No more than two sides are badly affected, leaving those on the leeward side noticeably clearer. But it only takes a few droplets on the window to mess up the optics - a natural hazard of any lofty observation deck. Throw in all the reflections that the Shard's white girders make in the glass, and it's likely every photograph you attempt to take out of the window will be flawed.

The top observation deck is open to the elements, which is both a masterstroke and a weakness. I much prefer it up here to being downstairs, with the sense of being a true part of the city, as clouds scud overhead and the atmosphere leaches in. But this also means that when it rains the inside of some of the panels can become a small waterfall, and large patches of the decking are covered in water. And that's fine by me, I don't mind zipping up my coat and stepping carefully across the wet floor as appropriate. But the majority of visitors to the Shard clearly think differently, keeping well out of the way, indeed on my visit there were more Shard staff on duty on the upper deck than there were patrons to supervise.

Things were rather different down on floor 69, the less challenging vantage point, its windows sealed to create a completely dry environment. Here were all the dozens of visitors who'd paid before the weather forecast was known, either staring out of the splattered windows or sat on a chair a bit further back attempting to get their money's worth. Those up here to celebrate a special event were obvious, all dressed up with a glass of £10 champagne in hand, staring out wistfully across the grey. And sure, everyone was still getting a unique lofty panorama of central London, but I knew from coming up in better weather how much more they were missing out on.

At £25.95 a pop, pre-booking a ticket to go up the Shard is a genuine risk. You might hit the jackpot with blue sky clarity or the magic of a twinkly dusk, but you might also get a substandard monochrome view with speckled windows and limited visibility. Only in the case of very low cloud or fog are you likely to get your money back, while rain simply diminishes your one-off visit to a not-quite special day out. Only my £20 annual pass (seemingly still available) made the trip up top worthwhile... so if you're ever tempted to go just the once, pre-book with care.
16 Mar 15:37

LR Magazine Issue 3: Peace On Our Line?

by John Bull
Александр Тугунов

Классный журнал

With print copies now inbound to LR Towers (we’ll send them straight out to subscribers as soon as they appear), London Reconnections Magazine Issue 3: Peace On Our Line? is now available to purchase in our online store.


Firstly, our apologies for the gap between this issue and the last one. This was, to a large part, due to a decision to do something that we have never done before – cover the London mayoral elections.

As with all our content, we decided if we were going to do this then we needed to do so in a way that added genuine value. The outcome was a decision to speak to all of the key candidates, at length, about transport. Our goal, we told them, was not to get a list of policies or conduct a simple interview, but to simply hold a candid, hour-long face-to-face conversation and see where it went – whether that meant talking one topic or ten.

Navigating the constraints of time, topic and political embargo this produced has been interesting – and indeed is not quite over – but we’re happy with the results so far. The first two of those interviews, with Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry make up this issue’s timed exclusives. We hope you like them.


In addition to these exclusives, our cover feature this issue is our recent coverage of the TfL devolution announcement, whilst Pedantic’s excellent look at the politics and practicality of Bakerloo line expansion also appears.


Rounding out the issue are two of our most requested pieces to appear in print. Firstly, Pedantic’s detailed look at the history of St Johns station (the second part of which will feature next issue).


And finally, our look at Marc Brunel’s overlooked eighth wonder of the world – the Thames Tunnel.


As before, you can purchase your copy of the latest issue in the LR Shop as either a digital download or physical issue. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. Rest assured that Issue 4 will be with you sooner than you think, as we’ll be running it closer to this issue than previously planned to keep us on our six-issues-a-year schedule.

A last note – as a result of a custom order, we now have some Issue Ones back in stock. We also have a (decreasing) number of Issue Twos left. So if you are a completionist who has yet to purchase a subscription, then now is likely a good time to do so – simply select the option that allows you to start from Issue One and we’ll send you the full set.

John Bull
March, 2016

The post LR Magazine Issue 3: Peace On Our Line? appeared first on London Reconnections.

03 Mar 13:23

РЖД запустила собственное приложение для продажи билетов без посредников

by Андрей Фролов
Александр Тугунов

Вместо "ЖД билетов" - "Билеты на поезд"

ОАО «РЖД» запустило собственное приложение для покупки билетов на поезда дальнего следования и экспрессы на пригородных направлениях. C помощью нового сервиса компания продаёт билеты самостоятельно, без комиссий и участия посредников — в отличие от другого, уже существующего приложения «ЖД Билеты».
03 Mar 12:55


by diamond geezer
Here is a photo of a number 425 bus.

Last time I posted a photo of a 425 bus was back in 2013.
Last time it was because the blinds on the front of the bus used to be yellow, but suddenly they were white.
Last time, with your help, we eventually uncovered why ("white lettering on a black background is the maximum contrast available which is why Transport for London is using this format on bus destination blinds for all new buses entering service").
Now all new buses get white blinds, not yellow - the 425 was merely part of the vanguard.

This time I'm posting a photo of a 425 bus for a different reason.
This time it's because the destination on the front of the bus includes capital letters, but it always used to be lower case.
This time it's Clapton NIGHTINGALE ROAD, whereas it used to be Clapton Nightingale Road.
And it's not just the 425... the 168 now says TESCO on the front instead of Tesco.
Presumably this is also being done for accessibility reasons, but can anyone confirm why?
And will capital letters be rolling out across all other London buses with two-part destinations?
29 Dec 15:02

Audis in houses

by aseasyasriding

Note This piece really isn’t intended to make the case that drivers of Audis are worse than drivers of any other vehicle. That may or may not be the case; I wouldn’t like to jump to that kind of assumption without any evidence. Instead, it’s really intended to demonstrate that just one make of motor vehicle is involved in tremendous damage to our urban environment, and indeed to human beings; damage that people travelling around on bicycles are simply not capable of causing, despite the steady stream of articles by journalists about an apparent ‘cyclist menace’.

I did look – briefly – for any kind of opinion piece by journalists on the amount of destruction and death and serious injury caused by motor vehicles in urban areas, but they are apparently very scarce, even in a week when such destruction has featured prominently in the news.

I could, of course, have included motor vehicles of all manufacturers embedded in houses, destroying property, and so on, but that would have been a lengthy picture post, much much longer than the one here. Audis were chosen arbitrarily, mainly because a sequence of crashes involving Audis appeared nearly simultaneously in my timeline a while back. And also because ‘Audis in houses’ has phonetic appeal. But nothing more than that.



24 Dec 07:55

Экс-сотрудник «Яндекса» попытался продать исходный код поисковика за $25 тысяч и 250 тысяч рублей

by Андрей Фролов
Экс-сотрудник «Яндекса» Дмитрий Коробов в середине декабря 2015 года осуждён Тушинским судом Москвы на два года условно, сообщает «Коммерсант». Он похитил исходный код поисковой системы компании, который оценивается в «миллиарды рублей», и попытался продать его за $25 тысяч и 250 тысяч рублей, чтобы на вырученные деньги открыть свой стартап.
22 Dec 14:35

Питеравто выходит на московский рынок

Крупнейший пассажирский перевозчик Санкт-Петербурга и Ленинградской области «Питеравто» первым из региональных транспортных компаний выходит на столичный рынок пассажирских перевозок. С мая 2016 года автобусы холдинга будут обслуживать 34 маршрута на Севере и Юго-Востоке Москвы. Контракты с властями уже подписаны. Общая сумма инвестиций петербургской компании на закупку техники составит 1,7 миллиарда рублей.

Работать предстоит на новых, не привычных ещё для рынка, принципах. Кроме высоких технических требований к подвижному составу, большое внимание уделяется качеству работы сотрудников на линии. Выход на московские маршруты — логичное продолжение развития «Питеравто», расширения географии работы. Это стало возможным благодаря целому ряду факторов. В их числе и технические возможности компании, и высокий профессиональный уровень управленцев, и многолетний опыт работы в российских регионах.

— Мы понимаем, как выстроить эффективную экономику работы, минимизируя затраты и оптимизируя производственные процессы. Эти знания отличают нас от коллег, позволяют нам развиваться несколько активнее других перевозчиков, — отмечает управляющий директор «Питеравто» Андрей Марков.

«Битву за Москву» холдинг выиграл в ходе электронных аукционов, состоявшихся нынешней осенью. Контракты на обслуживание 34 маршрутов заключаются сроком на пять лет. Отличительной особенностью проводимых конкурсов стали предельно жесткие требования к подвижному составу: не старше 2 лет, оснащен валидаторами для проездных билетов, кондиционерами, электронными маршрутными указателями и автоинформаторами. Машины большой вместимости должны иметь 100% низкий пол. Техника средней вместимости должна иметь низкопольную площадку и место для инвалидной коляски как минимум напротив одной из дверей.

На линию машины должны выйти не позднее 6 месяцев после заключения контракта. Для работы на 34 столичных маршрутов «Питеравто» потребуется дополнительно 140 автобусов малой, 116 средней и 70 большой вместимости. Для их обслуживания перевозчик планирует оборудовать два новых автопарка на Севере и Юге Москвы. В общей сложности в первом квартале холдинг планирует закупить 326 новых машин для столицы. Причём принцип их приобретения — ещё одна инновация не только для петербургской компании, но и для отрасли в целом. Перевозчик намеревается реализовать механизм обратного выкупа техники заводом-производителем через пять лет за треть стоимости, а также передать изготовителю обслуживание автобусов. Это позволит «Питеравто» сосредоточиться только на работе с пассажирами и создаст гарантию полного обновления парка через пять лет, то есть, по сути, к следующему конкурсу. В перспективе такая новация позволит регулярно обновлять весь парк российских автобусов.

«Питеравто» активно внедряет новые технологии. В 2007 компания одной из первых опробовала газовые автобусы. К концу текущего года в парке перевозчика будет уже около сотни таких машин для обслуживания маршрутов в Тосно и Ломоносове. В 2009 — первой в Петербурге отказалась от эксплуатации «Газелей» на коммерческих маршрутах. В числе первых «Питеравто» оборудовало свои машины диспетчерскими комплексами на основе ГЛОНАСС. «Питеравто» лидирует не только по количеству машин, но и числу филиалов: автобусы компании курсируют по улицам Великого Новгорода, Петрозаводска, Новокузнецка и Вологды. В Санкт-Петербурге и Ленинградской области действует 8 собственных площадок компании. Информация о работе техники стекается в собственный диспетчерский центр, позволяющий в круглосуточном режиме контролировать движение всей техники.
22 Dec 14:01

Ticket Office RIP

by diamond geezer
Александр Тугунов

Очень хороший репортаж о последних закрытиях классических билетных касс в лондонском метро

London Underground's last three ticket offices closed for good last night. You'd be excused for not noticing.

This time last week 24 London Underground ticket offices were still open. But TfL had set themselves a target of the end of 2015 to have every single ticket office closed, and targets must be met, so an accelerated closure programme was put in place. Instead of closing for good on a Sunday evening, as had previously always been the case, a small number of stations have been shuttered every day this week, until yesterday only three remained.

One of these was St James's Park, which is ironic, because this is the station that serves London Underground's head office. Everyone else had their ticket window closed early, but the windows beneath Tube HQ have been allowed to linger longer than all the others. I didn't have time to go and take a look at the St James's Park ticket office window yesterday evening because I was kept late at work. But I did turn up in person at the other two, both of which are on the eastern end of the District line and rather nearer home.

By the time I reached Aldgate East, the ticket office was already shut. Its weekday evening opening hours were 5pm-6.15pm, and I arrived after that, so the death knell had already been sounded. Instead the blinds in the windows in the western ticket hall had been pulled down, and tickets were available only from the machine. You could tell staff weren't entirely happy because behind the glass was the small wipeclean board which normally shows "Ticket office closed", underneath which someone had written PERMANENTLY FOREVER in big bold capital letters in green marker pen.

To add insult to injury, someone had pushed an information board in front of the ticket window promoting contactless travel. "In a hurry?" asked the headline on the poster, a further salvo in TfL's ongoing battle to get us all to use a bank card instead of Oyster. It's this relentless switch to microchipped plastic that's enabled buses to go cash-free and ticket offices to be closed, as the transfer of fare money is outsourced to external suppliers. This cuts costs but also requires fewer staff, which cuts costs further, which is brilliant unless you happen to be one of the members of staff losing their job.

One of the members of staff at Aldgate East who hadn't lost their job was standing watching proceedings from across the concourse, now in customer-friendly interactive mode, so I decided against taking a photo and moved on.

And so to Upton Park, the unlikely third part of the Last Day Closure Trinity. Upton Park is a quintessentially ordinary station, neither too busy nor too quiet, serving its local Newham neighbourhood in an efficient and understated way. I arrived at the end of the evening rush hour and an incredibly rare site met my eyes - the ticket office was open! Two unobscured windows were visible to the side of the gateline, both with light streaming through if not with anybody obvious standing behind. Several years ago this sort of sight would have been commonplace, indeed there'd likely have been a queue of people waiting to be served, but outside central London those queues died away some time back, and all those windows are now mostly boarded up.

I debated going over to the window and asking for something, but it was hard to decide exactly what. My annual travelcard doesn't generally need topping up, and I've already had my Gold Card discount added. I went for a short walk outside and took in the seasonal sights of Green Street, as the traders at Queen's Market packed away their stalls and punters at the nearby pub spilled out onto the streets for a smoke. Eventually I decided a tube map would be a good thing to ask for, maybe one of those large print versions they always keep behind the counter, as a souvenir of The Day The Ticket Office Ended. But when I returned, damn... too late, the shutters were down.

The stream of passengers pulsing in and out of the station hadn't noticed, because closed ticket offices are a regular sight these days around the capital, and to most an irrelevance anyway. But I can confirm that Upton Park joined the Post-Ticket-Office Era just after seven o'clock on the evening of Friday 18th December 2015. It's hard to be certain whether it beat St James's Park to the title of Last Ticket Office Standing, because SJP had a normal closing time of 7.15pm, and I can't be in two places at once. But one of these was the last to go, and both are now no more, and the ticket office is very much a thing of the past.

Apart from the ticket offices that remain open, that is. Not every London Underground station is run by London Underground, and where TfL have no jurisdiction the ticket office won't be closing. Stations like Barking, Wimbledon and Upminster are run by National Rail, or the appropriate franchisee, and they still have ticket offices selling actual paper tickets. But they're not especially Oyster friendly, nor do they serve a range of TfL products, so they don't really count in the grand scheme of things.

And then there are the eleven ticket offices that are very much still open.

They're the nine stations at the top end of the Bakerloo line from Queens Park to Harrow and Wealdstone, plus Gunnersbury and Kew Gardens on the Richmond branch of the District line. What both these stretches of line have in common is that tube trains share the tracks with Overground trains, a fact which means the stations themselves are under slightly different ownership. Once upon a time these eleven stations were run by Silverlink, the franchise eliminated to create the Overground. When stations and staff were transferred to TfL they came with different terms and conditions, which means London Underground can't simply do whatever it likes and bring down the shutters.

Under the ticketing and settlement agreement these eleven ticket offices legally require a proper consultation before closure, an additional administrative step that's prolonged these ticket windows into 2016. No consultation has yet begun, so far as I know, nor have any final dates been set. Plus these are ticket offices with a restricted set of services - for example they're unable to replace a failed Oyster card if yours goes wrong - so they can't do everything you might want them to. But eleven not-quite Underground ticket offices remain open on the Underground, probably for several more months, if you still have a genuine need to interact with a human being behind glass.

The dawn of the Ticket-Office-Free Tube has gone generally unreported by the media, who prefer to reprint the press releases TfL send them rather than engage in any kind of investigative journalism. Indeed a cynic might suggest that TfL deliberately released news yesterday of a major station upgrade at Bank and the proposed extension of the Bakerloo line to Lewisham as a massive diversion from this final cull. Two years ago London was up in arms at the thought of losing its ticket offices, and rounds of disruptive strike action were on the cards. Yesterday TfL successfully snuffed out its last remaining ticket offices to a chorus of no disapproval whatsoever, as well-trained passengers embraced a digital future, almost without even noticing.
22 Dec 13:55

Dangleway rush hour

by diamond geezer
Александр Тугунов

Прекрасное мини-исследование пассажиропотоков канатной дороги Эмирэйтс в Лондоне

How can you avoid the rush hour on the cablecar?

No, it's a serious question. If you've ever turned up at the weekend you'll likely have found every pod occupied and been forced to share your ride across the Thames with tourists taking selfies and families with small kids. At other times, however, you can pretty much guarantee a solo ride and enjoy the view in peace. How do you time it right?

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request by Darryl of website 853, the data is available. He asked all sorts of questions about Dangleway travel in the second week of October, as he does every year, and TfL duly obliged with a detailed spreadsheet. For Darryl's in-depth analysis scoot over and read his graph-friendly article at Londonist, it's mighty good stuff. Meanwhile I'm going to concentrate on just one table of data, which is this one, the number of passengers per hour.

Dangleway (passengers per hour)   [11-17 October 2015]
Hour Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
7-8am - 18 26 22 22 21 -
8-9am - 19 27 46 123 33 42
9-10am 115 44 61 74 148 40 167
10-11am 291 230 98 249 175 149 393
11am-12 550 191 193 294 291 225 563
12-1pm 681 206 262 231 195 217 670
1-2pm 771 210 226 307 298 230 809
2-3pm 807 218 225 244 219 232 793
3-4pm 903 200 245 213 282 241 854
4-5pm 968 238 174 263 300 213 894
5-6pm 791 189 189 197 157 211 727
6-7pm 543 214 158 183 200 250 591
7-8pm 397 122 129 111 161 181 463
8-9pm 154 72 95 115 105 137 348
9-10pm - - - - - 96 180
10-11pm - - - - - 85 134

There are some quite high numbers there, but also some very low ones. Look in particular at the number of passengers using the cablecar before 9am, which barely registers. A typical morning peak hour sees fewer than 30 passengers board the Dangleway, the equivalent of one full single decker bus, which is miserably low. TfL could easily close the cablecar before nine in the morning and inconvenience almost nobody, but they never will because to do so would be to admit that the cablecar is not a useful commuting option, which was the main reason given for building it in the first place. Weekdays after 8pm also look like a bit of a waste of time, and the Friday evening Night Flight option isn't doing much better.

Weekends, by contrast, are a very different affair. Numbers start picking up mid-morning and stay high throughout the day, only starting to tail off around sunset (which in the second week of October is just after 6pm). People are treating the cablecar as part of a day out, perhaps coupling in a trip to the O2, hence the reason there are often queues at the terminals. On a typical weekday afternoon the Dangleway has only two hundred and something passengers an hour, rather than eight hundred, because the mainstay of traffic during the working week are tourists rather than families. And schoolchildren, it turns out - Darryl's FoI request reveals that 300 of Wednesday's passengers were on school trips, and 200 of Thursday's.

To better answer my original question, I've taken the table above and divided all the numbers by 120. This gives the number of passengers per minute in each direction, which is a much more relevant figure when trying to work out whether the cabins are full. Pods depart each terminal roughly twice a minute, so if the number of passengers per minute is one or two you can expect most of the cabins to be empty. However if the number of passengers per minute is five or more, it's a pretty good bet that if you turn up you're going to have to share.

Dangleway (passengers per minute)   [in each direction]
Hour Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
7-8am - <1 <1 <1 <1 <1 -
8-9am - <1 <1 <1 1 <1 <1
9-10am <1 <1 <1 <1 1 <1 1
10-11am 2 2 <1 2 1 1 3
11am-12 5 2 2 2 2 2 3
12-1pm 6 2 2 2 2 2 5
1-2pm 6 2 2 3 2 2 6
2-3pm 7 2 2 2 2 2 7
3-4pm 8 2 2 2 2 2 7
4-5pm 8 2 1 2 3 2 7
5-6pm 7 2 2 2 1 2 6
6-7pm 5 2 1 2 2 2 5
7-8pm 3 1 1 1 1 2 4
8-9pm 1 <1 <1 <1 <1 1 3
9-10pm - - - - - <1 2
10-11pm - - - - - <1 1

So, if you want to avoid the rush hour on the cablecar, aim for the reds and oranges. Arrive before 10am and you'll almost certainly get your own cabin. The same goes for any weekday evening after 7pm or the last hour of service at weekends, remembering that in October this was an after-dark ride. You get a different length of ride at these different times of the day, however. Before 9am on weekdays each cablecar journey is a five minute dash, after 7pm a 12 minute dawdle, and at all other times a crossing takes about nine minutes.

The cablecar almost never gets busy on a weekday, no worse than yellow, so any time Monday to Friday is a good time to travel. But the majority of the day at the weekend, from 11am on Saturdays and 10am on Sundays, is Dangleway peak time and you'll probably have to share. In particular avoid weekend afternoons, especially between two and six, because this maximises your chance of being confined above the Thames with unwelcome passengers.

Here's one more tip to avoid the crowds. The Dangleway is noticeably more popular in one direction than the other. During Darryl's survey week 15000 rides were from south to north but only 12000 rides were from north to south. That's about 25% more passengers departing North Greenwich than travel in the opposite direction - a percentage that remains approximately true every day of the week. Tourists are far more likely to hop aboard on the O2 side than the ExCel side, it seems, and a significant number of these passengers never make the return trip.

So, putting all that information together, I'd say the best way to avoid the rush hour on the cablecar is to turn up at Royal Docks between nine and ten o'clock in the morning. You'll get a nine minute ride in daylight, and I can pretty much guarantee you'll get a cabin to yourself. Or just turn up in late November/early December. Have you seen how awful the Dangleway ridership figures have been over the last four weeks...?
25 Oct 04:37

Сравнение площади территории закрытия автомобильного движения в Осло с городами РФ

by trolleway

Прочитал в блоге Варламова заметку, о том что в центре города Осло планируется закрыть большую территорию для проезда автомобилей. В ней были приведены картинки, где территория центра Осло была наложена на центры Москвы и других городов РФ.

Они были сделаны без учёта проекции исходной карты, и показывали неправильную площадь. Если вы нарисуете на гуглокарте ровный квадрат в центре Осло, и передвинете его в Москву, то его надо сплюснуть по вертикали.

Я повторил эту же операцию в NextGIS QGIS.

16 Sep 23:05

2015 Open ZIL territory / Территория ЗИЛа, открытая для посещения

by trolleway

ZIL plant have big territory in Moscow. In 2010-s truck production highly decrease, and 2/3 of plant area are in redevepopment now.

In spring of 2015 a hockey stadium VTB-Arena was opened on former plant territory. An some area was opened for public access. Some production workshops buildings are now visible.

Автомобильный завод им. Лихачёва – ЗИЛ, занимает большую территорию Москвы, со всех сторон окружённую жилыми районами. Внутри практически никогда не было людей интересующихся архитектурой, поэтому внешние виды цехов остаются неизвестными. Завод работал долго, и сильно сдох только в 2010-х годах. Около 2/3 его площадей сейчас редевелопится.
Весной 2015 года был сдан в эксплуатацию ледовый дворец ВТБ-Арена, выстроенный на месте заводских цехов. Вместе с ним для свободного прохода была открыта территория около 450 на 300 метров. С неё стали видны некоторые старые здания цехов и другие старости.

На месте привычной стены цехов на Автозаводской улице, которую обещали не сносить – теперь другая стена. Глухая но в глубине квартала. Справа за стройкой – автомобильный проезд вглубь территории, на стоянку ледового дворца.
Карта землепользования на бывшей территории ЗИЛа. Сентябрь 2015, CC-BY-SA Openstreetmap

Карта территории ЗИЛа, открытой для доступа. Сентябрь 2015, CC-BY-SA Openstreetmap

Со сносом цехов ЗИЛа становятся видны авангардные цеха. Этот виден через забор с МКЖД, если зайти за платформу ЗИЛ. Там находится перелаз через забор, но других видов с той точки к сожалению нет.
Часть одного из двух главных заводских бульваров – открыта для проезда. Остановка бывшего внутризаводского автобуса. До 2005 точно ходил Лиаз-677М

1-я проходная ЗИЛа, вид с внутренней стороны территории.

На открывшейся территории ЗИЛа видно большое модернистское здание – бывший комбинат питания.

Самое объёмное сооружение на открытой территории – это кузовной цех. Сейчас идёт его перестройка в апартаменты (это обозначает – жилые помещения без возможности официальной прописки). В 2014 году все думали что его будут сносить, но оказалось, что с него демонтировали верхний этаж, а оставшийся металлический каркас оставили, и сейчас перестраивают.

Former ZIL plant in Moscow, this area open for public in 2015
Снято с бывшей территории ЗИЛа, открытой для доступа в 2015 году

Сейчас архитектурной доминантой этого бульвара является фасад моторного цеха. Большую часть здания снесли, а часть выходящую на бульвар – оставили. Вместе с памятником Ленину оно образует очень индустриальный вид.

Фасад готов к набегам фотоблоггеров со всего мира.

Разбитое остекление позволяет любому прохожему сделать массу фотографий на тему “Стране больше не нужны грузовики и холодильники”, но торопитесь – пока здания не снесли, или не затянули сеткой.

Цеха ЗИЛа имели свои шрифтовые эмблемы (и все в разном стиле)

Заброшенная проходная на территории

Турникеты в заброшенной проходной на территории

Первое здание заводоуправление, построено ещё до революции в 1916 году

Оставшаяся за автозаводом территория сейчас имеет такую форму

31 Aug 21:40

Выход есть

by admin


Александр Можаев
Опубликовано Вести.ру

Провожая как всегда противоречивое и как всегда прекрасное столичное лето, необходимо отметить одно важнейшее, но прошедшее незамеченным событие: спустя 50 лет вновь открыты ворота Спасской башни. Теперь не только для спецтранспорта, но и для простого трудящегося населения. Заголовки с этой новостью обошли газеты 4 ноября 2014 года, но то открытие оказалось лукавством – речь шла не о самих воротах, а о пробитой в советские годы служебной калитке рядом с ними. Этим летом – без шума, пафоса и разрезания ленточек — открылись сами Главные ворота страны. Никто словно и не заметил, даже в Интернете тишина – просто удивительно.

По официальной версии, все началось с совершенно практичного предложения мэра Собянина упорядочить туристическую логистику Кремля: «Поток туристов заходит со стороны Кутафьей башни. Приходя сюда, они упираются в Спасскую башню и разворачиваются. Если сделать выход непосредственно на Красную площадь, то будет больше комфорта для горожан и туристов». И действительно, открывшаяся год назад калитка кардинально изменила впечатления от похода в Кремль – раньше публика делала круг по Соборной площади и устало возвращалась назад той же дорогой. А теперь прогулка оканчивается единственно верной кульминацией – выходом на Красную площадь, внезапным и потрясающим явлением храма Василия Блаженного.

Но выйти на Главную площадь не как-нибудь, а Главными воротами – это не только комфорт, но совсем отдельная честь и отдельное удовольствие. Пока что только выйти: поперек прохода стоят вертушки, делающие движение строго односторонним (по счастью, у Спасских ворот нет пластмассового КПП с рентгеном и металлоискателем, как у Троицких, а без него в Кремль ныне никак). Но лиха беда начало, главное, что ворота наконец открыты.


Они были наглухо заперты в 1927 году, а вскоре начались сносы кремлёвских храмов и прочие новации сталинской эпохи. Летом 1955-го (ровно полвека назад) ворота (или только калитка – свидетели путаются в показаниях) были вновь открыты для свободного прохода в обе стороны. Старожилы с ностальгией вспоминают, как удобно было перемещаться из Библиотеки иностранной литературы, располагавшейся тогда на улице Разина, то есть Варварке, в Ленинку. Либо кататься на санках в нижнем Тайницком саду Кремля — вот это сейчас даже представить себе трудно.

Простые радости закончились одновременно с оттепелью — ворота красноречиво захлопнулись и остались закрытыми даже в перестройку. Упразднить ворота башни, исстари бывшей главным государственным символом, запиравшиеся лишь для супостатов и бунтарей, но не для своего честного народа. Нелепая богоборческая дикость, такая же, как кромсающие Москву генпланы, как безумные проекты поворотов рек. Пока непонятно, что будет символизировать нынешнее открытие, однако хочется надеяться, что это не только туристическая логистика, но и понимание необходимости возвращения к естественному положению вещей.

4-1 (3)

Турникеты в проезде ворот такие нарядные и блестящие, что отвлекают внимание от самой арки – большинство посетителей проходят, не поднимая глаз. А там интересно: сначала свод, а потом, ближе к выходу, современный плоский потолок, закрывающий некогда сквозную шахту стрельницы. Снаружи к башне, если помните, примыкает обнесенная зубцами пристройка, которая изначально предназначалась, для того чтобы лупить с двух боевых ярусов врага, ежели он сумеет пробить первые башенные ворота. Впрочем, такого никогда не происходило – выстроенная итальянцами крепость была столь надёжна, что никто не пытался брать её приступом.

Изначально (в конце XV века) эти ворота были задуманы как дверь в Европу, на что намекает начертанная латынью закладная доска над входом. Позже основным назначением ворот были торжественные входы иноземных посольств и ещё более торжественные праздничные выходы государя и патриарха к Лобному месту и «церкви, которую называют Иерусалим», то есть к храму Василия Блаженного. Сейчас стены и своды проезда Спасских ворот безупречно белые, но в XVII столетии (и вновь в 1867 году) они были расписаны травными узорами – такими же, какие сохраняются доныне на сводах папертей Василия Блаженного. Эти сказочные орнаменты связывали башню и храм воедино, и если считать открытие ворот первым шагом навстречу здравому смыслу, то теперь у нас есть робкая надежда увидеть росписи восстановленными.

17 (1)

Вдвойне приятно, что открытие Главных ворот произошло вот так тихо и просто, словно само собою. Теперь у каждого москвича и гостя столицы есть возможность отпраздновать событие самостоятельно. Я, например, в июне месяце шел по Кремлю вместе со своими кубинскими братьями-сестрами, среди которых были известные на Острове свободы маги и целители, включая, как сказывают, очень знаменитую волшебницу Йеннисельту. Раз – а ворота открыты. Я говорю: «Амиго, вы не поверите, но я, здесь родившийся, вместе с вами впервые прохожу этой дорогой». А волшебница отвечает: «Ну, так это потому что ты со мной – я открываю любые двери». Что ж, в моём случае так и вышло, поди поспорь. Волшебное к волшебному тянется. А теперь попробуйте вы, и ворота откроются только вам, как-нибудь удивительно, как-нибудь неспроста и к чему-нибудь такому специально-важнейшему.

И ещё одно небольшое пожелание на будущее. Обустроили красивый выход – надо и вход обустроить так, чтоб не было стыдно перед державами. Получасовые очереди в несказанно душном, некондиционируемом загоне кремлевских касс – одно из самых противных впечатлений московского лета. Билеты для иностранцев стали в одну цену с гражданскими, дети всех народов до 18 лет проходят бесплатно – это очень хорошо. Но я вообще не понимаю, почему я должен платить 500 рублей за то, чтобы войти на территорию Кремля, не посетить его музеи, а пойти прогуляться. Кремль, наша слава и гордость, вновь должен стать частью общего городского пространства, каким он был даже в Средневековье. Был изолированный Государев двор, были запирающиеся на ночь ворота, но улицы оставались улицами, без пошлинного сбора на право любоваться их красотами

24 Aug 20:17

Light (Rail) Reading: Why the DLR Timetable is Changing

by Pedantic of Purley
Александр Тугунов

Хороший и понятный обзор проблем DLR

In many ways the DLR’s story so far is one of five stages – expansion, stagnation, Olympic revival, further stagnation and consolidation. We are now in the transient stage between the last of those two. With timetable and other changes coming, it seems a good idea to turn our eye to London’s premier piece of light rail once again. In a later piece we will look at expected developments for the future.

Whilst some familiarity with the DLR is presumed, we do not expect that readers will necessarily be familiar with its exact workings. Conveniently for this narrative the imminent changes will have more of an impact on one route in particular, whilst longer term changes will affect other routes. So here we focus on the route between Stratford and Canary Wharf. In part two we will look at the routes via Canning Town, and talk of consolidation and intensification.

The Time of expansion

Single track section by Bow Church

A rare example of a current photo that could have been taken at the time of the DLR opening. Approaching Bow Church station from the north

The expansionist phase of the DLR’s operational life lasted a remarkably long time. From its opening day it seemed as if endless expansion was in the offing, with one extension opening after another. All things, however, must end. In 2011 the extension from Canning Town to Stratford International opened and in the aftermath, for the first time ever in the DLR’s history, no further extension was being actively pursued. This hadn’t originally been the plan – there had been an extension to Dagenham Dock in the works but this had been cancelled by the Mayor in November 2008.

It wasn’t just the length of the network that had expanded. Considerable upgrade works had taken place to allow three-car trains with each of the cars articulated and 28 metres long (excluding coupler). At the time much was made of the fact that a 3-car DLR train was almost as long as a Circle line train, with about the same amount of passenger area. The message seemed to be that the DLR was not a lightweight railway and its potential was just as great as the Underground.

One thing the DLR particularly had going for it in its later expansion phase was a modern reliable signalling system and and advanced form of Automatic Train Operation (ATO). This at a time when the nearest equivalent on the London Underground was on the Victoria line, which then had a very crude form of ATO dating from the 1960s. In other words, unlike the London Underground at the time (and to a large extent now), the expansion of the DLR was not hampered by signalling capability.


The change in approach to the DLR probably happened early on in the financial crisis of 2007-2008 with the Mayor’s cancellation of the proposed extension to Dagenham Dock. The extension relied on a large new housing development, which was clearly not going to happen on the scale (physical or temporal) previously anticipated. The momentum had gone out of that expansion project.

This wasn’t to say that all expansion work ended. The extension to Stratford International, planned long before London was selected to host the Olympic Games, was opened much later than intended but still in plenty of time for the Olympics itself. Other extension plans were much more ambitious though and required capital spending that simply was not going to happen in the newly austere financial climate.

Alongside this a new constraint began to play an increasingly problematic part. Lengthening trains beyond 3-cars was going to be very difficult and very expensive to do. Expansion wasn’t a such a good idea if the existing network would have problems in future just handling the extra traffic that would build up on existing routes. In many ways the DLR was hitting the apparent limit of its scalability.

Olympic Revival

The Olympic Delivery Authority was probably the first in a series of fairy godmothers that turned up to assist the DLR once operational. Of course one could argue that the first fairy godmother was the London Docklands Development Corporation that led to the creation of the DLR in the first place.

With its incredible connections to many of the Olympic sites – most notably Stratford, Excel and Greenwich – the DLR was clearly going to need investment in new trains. It would also be necessary to replace and supplement a lot of equipment to ensure a very high degree of reliability. At a time when new additional rolling stock was badly needed but TfL was already committed to other large expenditure capital projects the intervention of the Olympic Delivery Authority was a very welcome one indeed for the DLR.

Further stagnation

The downside of the Olympic fillip was that once the Olympics were over it was back to business as usual. There was little money available for any expansion and little appetite for it anyway. Even finding money to maintain the existing quality of service seemed to be a low priority compared to other TfL schemes – most notable the development of London Overground. The London Overground, like the Underground, was lengthening its trains. Yet again this helped reinforce a feeling that, as far as development potential goes, the DLR had seen its day.

The only problem was that the one thing that was definitely not stagnating was passenger numbers. In the past year alone passenger journey numbers on the DLR have gone up a staggering 8.5% – compare that with a rise on London Underground of “only” 3.2%. There is no reason to believe that this was freak year and until Crossrail gives a small temporary respite, passenger journey numbers are expected to climb even more.

The need for Short Term Measures

DLR improved service announcement

Recent DLR announcement. Shame about the grammar.

Although a progressive series of measures to improve the DLR had been promised with the awarding of the most recent franchise, it came as a bit of a surprise to discover that that a recent announcement informs us of “Improved frequency and capacity on many DLR services”. Given that there is no more rolling stock, this would appear to be quite difficult to achieve.

A look at the finer details of the new timetable seems to suggest this is the start of a shuffling of services towards a final settled service pattern. Of particular importance in this timetable is the elimination of an operational restriction that has held back the DLR for many years.

A simple, stable but flexible network

The DLR network is very flexible and has some quite complex junctions in order to be able to run a frequent service on many lines without too much conflict between trains. The permutation of services that can be run must be quite considerable but over the years the network has settled down to offer six basic services – although not all of them run all day or every day of the week. During times of disruption or engineering work other routes, such as Woolwich Arsenal to Lewisham, have been run.

In a similar manner to London Underground the service is moving towards a simple peak or off-peak service. However, the morning peak service isn’t quite the same as the evening peak and there is also a revised service when a significant event takes place at Excel.

The City routes

City Routes

DLR routes to the City

To try and make sense of the DLR service structure it is probably easiest to first look at the routes that serve the City. The City is approached from the Canary Wharf/Poplar area by a double track line on an old previously-disused railway viaduct running in approximately an East – West direction. Situated on this viaduct are three stations – Shadwell, Limehouse and Westferry.

The line between Westferry and Shadwell is the most intensively used on the DLR with 30tph – a train every two minutes in peak hours. There are three services that use this section

  • Bank – Lewisham (every 4 minutes)
  • Bank – Woolwich Arsenal (every 8 minutes)
  • Tower Gateway – Beckton (every 8 minutes)

On the diagram above (and in future diagrams) each line represents 7.5tph or a train every eight minutes during the peak period. Because of the way that the DLR now works that line also represents 6tph or a train every ten minutes during the off-peak period. So between Bank and Lewisham there are 15tph in the peaks and 12tph off-peak. Like the Underground, the DLR now tends to run at least 80% of the peak level service in the off-peak period.

It is fairly important that these trains are 3-car trains during the peak rather than 2-car. This is due to heavy passenger demand at Bank. This, of course, does not apply to the Tower Gateway service but as these trains are currently the only ones that serve the Beckton branch in peak hours they really need to be 3-cars long as well. The busiest route, between Bank and Lewisham, has 3-car trains seven days a week whereas currently the other two routes do revert to 2-cars at less busy times.

Shadwell station

Attention tends to focus on the termini in the city but doing so is a mistake. For it is easy to overlook the importance of Shadwell station, not only for origin and destination traffic but also as interchange with the East London Line, and for its position as the final station before the line diverges to serve either Bank or Tower Gateway. Although the island platform is fairly wide it is only really just about adequate to cater for the current level of use. According to the Transport Supporting Paper of the Mayor’s 2050 vision, 25% of the trains go to Tower Gateway but only 10% of the passengers and presumably a lot of people change at Shadwell to minimise the length of time they are in an extremely crowded train. So, as well as the steady trickle of people entering the station, it has to cater for a large number of people alighting at the same time to change trains there.

Both Limehouse and Westferry stations were substantially rebuilt when they were extended as part of the 3-car scheme. Shadwell has been steadily enhanced rather than rebuilt despite being much busier than the other two stations. There was vague talk of rebuilding Shadwell station slightly to the west of its current location. This would make it closer to the other Shadwell (East London Line) station as well as allowing it to be rebuilt to a size and standard more appropriate to current usage.

This currently seems unlikely, however, as Shadwell is not one of the DLR stations proposed to be upgraded in the Mayor’s 2050 Vision Transport Supporting Paper. A large Network Rail 33kV substation has also now been built on the site of the former station building of Shadwell Underground station. More than anything else, this substation has probably killed off any chance of a future combined Shadwell station.

Shadwell New Entrance Street Level

New entrance to Shadwell

With little prospect of a new Shadwell station, the existing one has not been forgotten and has recently had its emergency exit at its eastern end upgraded to a second entrance and exit. This will be more convenient for some locals and should reduce overcrowding at the original entrance. It is also a very pragmatic decision because the former emergency exit did sometimes get used by some people as a short cut to exit the station anyway. Completion of this new entrance means that Shadwell, Limehouse and Westferry stations are all double-ended. This is something one would initially hardly think necessary with the DLR and is something one tends to associate more with Crossrail.

The oddball route: Stratford – Canary Wharf – Lewisham

We now look at the fourth route on the DLR. This is a relatively short but busy one from Stratford (regional) to Canary Wharf. It is the only route that varies between morning and evening peak hours with half the trains extended to Lewisham in the morning peak but none in the evening peak. It is also the only route on the DLR with single track sections which obviously make it more difficult to run a frequent service. The single track sections are between Bow Church and Pudding Mill Lane and between Pudding Mill Lane and Stratford.

Stratford - Lewisham

Stratford – Canary Wharf extended to Lewisham in the morning peak only

The route between Stratford and Canary Wharf is self-contained and does not share track with trains on any other route. In many ways therefore it is a pity that trains are extended to Lewisham in the morning peak as this means it is dependent on what happens elsewhere on the network.

While all of the DLR has seen remarkable growth the Stratford – Canary Wharf route is exceptional, even by DLR standards. It started off as a ten-minute service of single car trains between a single short bay platform at Stratford and the Island Gardens terminus. Originally it was entirely single track between Bow Church and the single platform at Stratford. As traffic grew that single platform at Stratford became quite a problem because of the number of people boarding and alighting.

In the intervening period since opening the narrow single platform terminus at Stratford had been replaced by a wide double sided platform capable of holding three car trains. A short passing loop was also added at Pudding Mill Lane and a fairly cramped station with an island platform was subsequently built at that location.

Whilst the combination of the short passing loop and the two platform terminus allowed a more frequent service it was still very restrictive. A 5 minute interval was the best that could be realistically managed in the most favourable conditions and, for various reasons, a 6 minute interval was considered a more realistic minimum headway. Despite the millions already spent on the DLR east of Bow Church it seemed that yet more money needed to be spent to provide an adequate service.

Pudding Mill Lane station

Whilst Pudding Mill Lane was (and is) generally an exceptionally quiet station, it became clear before the Olympic Games that it would have to be closed during the games as it would be unable to handle the large crowds who would then want to use it. It was also clear that, if the planned sporting legacy use for the Olympic site were to come to fruition and Pudding Mill Lane station was to be a part of that plan, the station would have to be rebuilt to handle large crowds.

Approach to Pudding Mill Lane platforms

Approach to Pudding Mill Lane from the east

The second fairy-godmother to come along and help the DLR was Crossrail. The original site of Pudding Mill Lane was exactly where Crossrail wanted to build a tunnel portal. So Crossrail built a bigger and better Pudding Mill Lane station just to the south of the previous one. This opened in April 2014. The diverted route was required to have double tracking through the station (as before) and provision for double track throughout the diverted route. By paying Crossrail for the additional cost of installing more double track than originally intended on the eastern side, the DLR got not only a new station large enough to handle sports events in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park but also a reduction in the length of single track between Pudding Mill Lane and Stratford.

At the time of opening TfL issued a press release promising improvements in the future but offering nothing at the time. In particular the press release stated that:

Completion of the double tracking work at both ends of the site has enabled a capacity of 6,600 passengers per hour in each direction. The current frequency of ten DLR trains per hour delivers a capacity of 5,500 passengers per hour in each direction.

A crucial 4 minute frequency

We have already seen that the busy route to Lewisham has a train every 4 minutes to and from Bank and some morning peak period trains from Stratford are extended from Canary Wharf to Lewisham. It follows that if trains are to run from Stratford to Lewisham then these trains have to be spaced apart by 4 minutes or a multiple of 4 minutes to fit in the gap between the Lewisham – Bank trains. This then also determines the frequency on the Stratford – Canary Wharf section. With a train from Stratford to Lewisham every 12 minutes, as was the case, the maximum realistic frequency between Stratford and Canary Wharf was every 6 minutes with half the trains continuing to Lewisham.

Double track to single track west of Pudding Mill Lane

Double track goes to single track west of Pudding Mill Lane with obvious opportunities for further doubling of the track

The frequency on the the Bank – Lewisham route pretty much determines what frequencies can be run on the Stratford – Canary Wharf route. It would be almost impossible, for example, to have a train from Stratford to Canary Wharf every 5 minutes if some of those trains were to continue to Lewisham. One could do it if only every one train in four went to Lewisham because that would mean a train every 20 minutes and 20 is divisible by 4. However that would mean just three trains an hour. One could of course abandon a fixed interval time timetable between Stratford and Canary Wharf and have an erratic one but this is not just unpopular with the public, it leads to some trains being overcrowded and consequently the timetable being less reliable with knock-on effects elsewhere.

Approach to Pudding Mill Lane and Crossrail Portal

Approaching Pudding Mill Lane and the site of the Crossrail Portal from the east

The big surprise of the new timetable is that instead of running every 6 minutes in the morning peak between Stratford and Canary Wharf and every 12 minutes between Stratford and Lewisham, the trains now run every 4 minutes between Stratford and Canary Wharf and every 8 minutes between Stratford and Lewisham. Given that some trains on this route were previously 3-car it follows that even if every train is now 2-car there will be some capacity increase as well as an obvious frequency improvement. Indeed the trains will all be 2-car but the DLR nevertheless proclaims a 20% improvement in capacity. By an extraordinary coincidence, or possibly not, the press release of around 16 months previous promised an increased capacity from 5,500 to 6,600 persons per hour – an increase of 20%.

Between Lewisham and Canary Wharf there will now be 22.5tph instead of 20tph. The 15tph to Bank remains the same but the Lewisham – Stratford service will now be 7.5tph instead of 5tph. The service will be on an 8 minute cycle with a Bank-Stratford-Bank-(gap) pattern. In principle, if you had the rolling stock, there would appear to be no reason why you couldn’t extend all trains from Stratford to Lewisham to give a 2 minute service (30tph) between Canary Wharf and Lewisham. Fairly obviously, if you had the rolling stock, all trains could be extended to 3-car.

Unlike on the Underground, a 4 minute turnround per platform on the DLR at Lewisham is achievable without the added complexity of “stepping back” drivers and there should be no reason why it cannot be sustained. The DLR has the twin advantages that the trains are relatively short so clear the crossover outside the station quite quickly and, with a train captain opening and closing the doors from any doorway in the train, a train can depart from a terminus within seconds of arrival provided the passengers have all alighted or boarded.

Necessity or desirability?

The timetable improvement of services between Stratford and Canary Wharf has the feeling of an improvement being brought in before the planners really wanted to in order to cater for demand. The line is due to be double-tracked all the way from Pudding Mill Lane to Stratford in 2018-19.

Single track section shortly after leaving Stratford

Single track section shortly after leaving Stratford

In some doubt is just how much will be double-tracked between Pudding Mill Lane and Bow Church. Some TfL sources say that all of this will be done but others suggest that the tight curve just north of Bow Church station (in the very first photograph) will not be doubled. A look at Google Earth suggests double-tracking west of the River Lea (to the west of Pudding Mill Lane station) to Bow Church station may be problematic.

Magnify the map to explore between Bow Church and Pudding Mill Lane stations to appreciate the difficulties of double-tracking between these locations

A further increase in service capacity is promised as a result of completing the double-tracking. Whether this translates to a further increase in frequency as a result of the additional length of double track or whether the capacity increase is achieved solely by replacing the 2-car trains with 3-car trains – or their similar trains of an equivalent length – remains to be seen.

Looking further Ahead

Having finally slain the operational restriction that for many years was holding the DLR back on one of its more overcrowded routes, the way is now clear to develop so that it has a consistent regular frequent service on all branches. To do that more rolling stock will be required. In a future follow-up article we will look at longer term plans, future rolling stock provision and also look at the routes through Canning Town in more detail.

The post Light (Rail) Reading: Why the DLR Timetable is Changing appeared first on London Reconnections.

03 Jul 23:57

Вернуть городу вечер: поздние трамваи и тактическая логистика в Ростове-на-Дону

by Andrey Vozyanov
Александр Тугунов

Вот это очень круто, я это делал лет пять назад

В апреле 2015 года в Ростове-на-Дону продлили работу трамваев до 22 часов. Это может звучать комично, но с конца девяностых трамваи в городе ходили до семи вечера. Кажется, продление часов работы – это лучшее, что случалось с ростовским трамваем за последние пятнадцать лет, наряду с продлением маршрута 7 к Центральному рынку и сохранением линии на ул. Станиславского при участии Михаила Векленко, устроившего акцию «Похороны трамвая».

Общественный транспорт в вечерние часы означает для города несколько важных вещей:

  1. снижение социального неравенства: те, кто не могут и/или не хотят использовать такси/маршрутку, получают увеличенную свободу передвижений;
  2. повышение чувства безопасности (освещенный, с людьми трамвай, пусть даже раз в 15 минут, делает место, которое он проезжает, менее безлюдным и невидимым);
  3. более пристальный взгляд на город и горожан; транспорт вечером продолжает улицу, делая это позитивнее, чем в напряженный от рабочих мыслей час-пик. Комфортнее, нежели битком набитая усталыми пассажирами маршрутка (с таким же усталым водителем). И уж точно в большей степени, чем такси, изымающее горожанина из публичного пространства. Это хорошо знают питерцы и москвичи, которые в вечернее время в вагонах метро слышат музыкантов и знакомятся компаниями.

В случае Ростова вечерний трамвай – это ещё и отсутствие пробок, прохлада летом, просторный салон со свободными местами и объявляемыми остановками. Заодно, это дружелюбно к туристам и другим временным обитателям города. А ещё трамваи не собирают пассажиров по 10-15 минут на остановках пр. Будённовский и пр. Ворошиловский.

Ростовские транспортники не остановились на вводе одного вагона на маршрут 1 и одного на маршрут 7. С мая по маршруту 1 стало ходить уже три вагона, а ещё добавили вагон на маршрут 4.

Но в реализации доброго дела произошёл недочёт: после первого этапа ввода вечерних трамваев расписание не обновили. На остановках (и то не на всех) висели расписания, показывающие всего три отправления трамваев по вечерам. Как следствие, горожане пока не привыкли к тому, что вечерний транспорт в Ростове – теперь и трамвай. Автомобилисты – тоже, и иногда паркуются на путях.



То есть получилась странная ситуация – пассажирам существенно улучшили сервис, но почти не сказали об этом, если не считать короткую новость на портале (он тоже, насколько мне известно, ведётся на волонтерской основе). Предсказуемое желание сторонника экологически чистого и удобного транспорта помочь нововведению стать более известным в городе. Напрашивается простой способ это сделать – расклеить расписания на самых людных остановках трамвая и на конкурирующих остановках маршруток.

Решение составить расписания эмпирически, путём наблюдения на остановке, было принято по совокупности факторов.

Поначалу аффилированный с транспортной компанией человек пообещал, но не прислал расписание. Кроме того, все мы знаем, что расписания могут не выполняться, и в нашем случае качество их выполнения честно требовало проверки. А ещё мы хотели показать, что информация о том, как работает городская инфраструктура, принадлежит её пользователям.

Наблюдение проходило с ручкой, тетрадкой и друзьями на центральном рынке – главном трамвайном хабе города.

Трехчасовые вечерние дежурства в центре Ростова открыли очень многое и про город, и про вечер, и про транспорт. За четыре вечера мы выяснили, что:

  • на трамвайной остановке вечером обитают собаки, бездомные и алкоголики;
  • желающие воспользоваться трамваем спрашивали у нас и друг у друга, до скольки он ходит; они не всегда уходили из-за времени ожидания, но иногда из-за среды – компания на остановке шумела, ругалась, подходила стрелять деньги и сигареты; парни назойливо подкатывали к девушкам;
  • некоторые слышали про нововведение, но не уверены в этой новости – такие подходили к остановке, и если она была пуста – уходили с неё;
  • видя нас на остановке, люди оставались подождать трамвай, поскольку одни ожидающие добавляют уверенности другим;
  • у нас раз десять хотели купить нацвай;
  • однажды подошли туристы, которые хотели посмотреть вечерний город из трамвая – к сожалению, это было ровно в десять, то есть поздно; автобус как альтернатива их не устроил...


При этом:

  • у вечерних трамваев уже появились клиенты;
  • пользуются ими люди самых разных возрастов – и работающие в центре города, и мамы с детьми, и пожилые пенсионерки, и молодые пары; то есть вечером с трамвая снимается клеймо «непрестижности», и стираются искусственные социальные барьеры;
  • трамваи отправляются с остановки приблизительно в одно и тоже время каждый день, и некоторые пассажиры уже пользуются этим, считая это движением по расписанию;
  • единица, ходящая с интервалов в 15 минут, на порядок успешнее четвёрки, ходящей раз в час;
  • взгляд людей на остановке обращён не туда, где повешены расписания; они ждут возле деревьев и поэтому стоит прикрепить расписания туда.

Также мы что-то узнали о городских поверхностях – на некоторых остановках нет никаких горизнтальных поверхностей (либо они заняты рекламой), а есть только столбы; кое-где даже столбы пропосту овиты металлической сеткой. Случился у нас и пользовательский инсайт в традиционную технологию представления расписаний. Они всегда указывают не диапазон отправления, а точное время, что не отражает действительности. Если человек приходит  в 21:16, а время указано в 21:14, то он может уйти не дождавшись. Но диапазон на практике может быть 21:13 – 21:18, и пассажир имеет шанс сесть в трамвай, подождав ещё три минуты. Наше «самодельное» расписание составлено так, как составляют его для себя обыкновенные пассажиры – путем ежедневного накапливания опыта. Разница лишь в том, что мы попытались распространить это знание современными средствами. Наш коллега  Константин Лысенков (который кстати сам не бывал в Ростове-на-Дону) помог оформить расписания, а Сергей Максимов разрешил использовать его схему маршрутов.

Последние штрихи: для лучшей видимости в полутьме мы покрыли края листов серебрянкой, а вот последние исправления вносили черной ручкой.

Несколько остановок мы обклеили расписаниями сами в воскресенье днём, на остановках, полных людей. По ходу выяснилось, что скотч надо было брать пошире, а столбы удобно обматывать им по кругу – так расписание, по крайней мере, не отклеит ветер.




Реакция окружающих на расклеивание была в основном позитивной. Мы слышали комментарий про то, что расписание нужно и на дневное время, что поздневечерние трамваи нужны больше, чем раннеутренние, что теперь будет спокойнее добираться домой с электрички. Один раз мы неожиданно услышали критику – на остановке «Главный Ж/Д Вокзал» продавщица из соединенного с остановочным павильоном ларька поинтересовалась, откуда у нас право клеить объявления, и пригрозила их сорвать. Я очень вежливо попросил не срывать хотя бы несколько дней – так, чтобы увидело побольше людей. Кстати, она сказала, что в ларёк всё равно заходят с вопросом о расписании – может быть, нужно было и ей оставить экземпляр? Зато после оснащения расписанием «защищенного» сеткой столба, ожидая претензий от подошедшего человека в униформе – мы напротив услышали за спиной одобрительное «Правильно сделали».



По нашей задумке большую часть должны распределить между собой другие заинтересованные ростовчане. Решение не расклеивать все расписания самим, а разделить это дело с другими – осознанное. Нам хочется привлечь внимание как можно большего числа людей к недооценённой городской новости, к подзабытому виду транспорта, к давно не посещаемым городским местам – ведь всем волонтерам требуется заглянуть в карту.  Была сделана гугл-таблица со списком остановок,  где каждый желающий может:

  1. записать «беру» напротив понравившейся остановки;
  2. скачать расписание, распечатать, поместить в файл, наклеить на столб и/или стенку остановки, и/или доску объявлений, в зависимости от того, что есть на остановке и что попадает в поле зрения людей во время ожидания;
  3. записать в google-таблицу «сделано».

Волонтерам предлагается определенная тактика поклейки:

  • расклеивать расписания в часы пик буднего дня, когда на остановке больше людей, чтобы на расписания обратило внимание больше пассажиров;
  • заниматься расклеиванием вдвоём, так чтобы второй человек фотографировал (тоже для привлечения внимания);
  • отвечать на заинтересованные реакции окружающих информацией о нововведении;
  • через неделю проверить, на месте ли расписание.

Гугл-таблица и расписания – это лишь зачаток инфаструктуры для коллективного пассажирского действия в городе. Можно снабдить подобными расписаниями другие маршруты транспорта, можно обновлять их по результатам следующих наблюдений; можно выходить на контакт с транспортными предприятиями и просить это расписание улучшить.


За тем как будет жить эта история дальше,  я смогу следить лишь по интернету, ведь оказался  в городе детства всего на неделю. Но расписания уже живут здесь (маршруты 1 и 4), и здесь (маршрут 7), а схема здесь.


«Мы» авторы этого текста – проект Ростовский трамвай.
Наши страницы в Facebook и ВКонтакте.


У истории случилось продолжение – нам в соцсетях написали из транспортной компании. Было высказано пару дельных замечаний – про распечатанные на струйном принтере расписания, которые «потекут» при первом дожде, и про то, что было бы хорошо заламинировать листы бумажные расписания.  Мы знаем, что это, безусловно, не входит в обязанности волонтеров-энтузиастов. Но за сделанное нас вежливо поблагодарили. А вот расклейку расписаний силами краудсорсинга попросили остановить. Потому что никаких расписаний вечернего трамвая официально нет. Они есть на улицах, остановках и в головах горожан, но по документам их нет. Есть только средние интервалы между отправлениями вагонов. Нам бы хотелось отстоять точное расписание хотя бы для последних рейсов – тех, что после 21 часа. Против воли транспортной компании мы делать ничего не можем и не хотим – учитывая, что её представители с нами заговорили. В конце концов, спровоцировать коммуникацию между рядовыми пользователями инфраструктуры и экспертами было одним из наших главных желаний.  Пока же хорошо, что расписания хотя бы не будут срывать специально, но тревожно, что за фактическим постепенным упорядочиванием работы трамвая нет официального признания. Конечно, мы надеемся с представителями транспортной компании не спорить, а вместе возвращать вечерний Ростов, каким мы его любим – уютным, человечным и мобильным.

11 May 19:53

Глава Google Ларри Пейдж «пожаловался» на «бездомного» Элона Маска

Глава Tesla Элон Маск регулярно остается переночевать у генерального директора Google Ларри Пейджа из-за того, что у него нет своей жилплощади в Кремниевой долине. Об этом сам Пейдж рассказал автору книги «Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future» Эшли Вэнс, сообщает Business Insider.
15 Apr 18:41

Основатель стартапа Gravity Payments отказался от годовой зарплаты в миллион долларов в пользу сотрудников

Основатель финансового сервиса Gravity Payments Дэн Прайс отказался от своей годовой зарплаты в миллион долларов, чтобы повысить зарплаты всем своим сотрудникам. В течение трех лет их оклады вырастут как минимум до 70 тысяч долларов в год. Об этом пишет New York Times.
07 Apr 17:18

В Москве задержали сотрудника провайдера, подозреваемого в краже Wi-Fi-роутеров из вагонов метро

by Никита Лихачёв
В Москве задержали 29-летнего мужчину, подозреваемого в краже нескольких десятков комплектов Wi-Fi-оборудования из вагонов столичной подземки. Об этом 7 апреля сообщил сайт главного управления МВД России по Москве.
24 Mar 18:19

London: If you make buses wonderful ...

by Jarrett at

If you make buses wonderful, people will love buses, even to the point of writing and buying books about them ...



(London Transport Museum, 14 March 2015)

01 Mar 17:44

Closing time

by diamond geezer
Александр Тугунов

Как "Лондонский транспорт" планирует закрыть все кассы в метро.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: very slowly
TfL announced their intention to close every ticket office on the network back in 2013, but only this month has the actual closure programme begun. Remember all the noise and fuss there was when the news first broke, carefully coupled with the big Night Tube reveal to act as cover? Now listen to the deafening silence as the axe finally falls. A few news outlets mentioned the first closures in passing, notably the Wimbledon Guardian because South Wimbledon was top of the hitlist. But the public seem to have got all the anger out of their system fifteen months ago, long since replaced with a sense of resigned capitulation.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: defiantly
Whatever everybody else said, TfL were resolutely consistent in their intention to close every single ticket office on the network. No ifs, no buts, no rolling over in the face of repeated strike action, just the firm restatement that no really, every single one would be closing. And as with so many seemingly immovable decisions, eventually the unions grew weary of shouting at a brick wall and the public lost interest and looked elsewhere.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: prematurely
Because management have long been absolutely certain that Transforming The Tube was the future, they started extinguishing ticket offices years back. For example, when Wood Lane station was opened to serve Westfield London in 2008, no ticket office was included, only a wall of machines. When Cannon Street reopened after a major makeover last year, tickets were available only from TfL's new improved prototype machines, rolling out at a station near you soon. And when Tottenham Court Road opened its flash new Crossrail-friendly entrance last month, the lack of a ticket office earned barely a mention. Design them out early, that's been the plan.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: by starting small
Only two* ticket offices are on the closure list this month, and they're not big ones. One is Queensway, in a part of the West End popular with suitcase-lugging tourists, and the other is South Wimbledon. Neither is a big-hitter with public opinion on its side, indeed both were probably selected to ensure that closure processes were workable on a small scale before being rolled out elsewhere. Next month another ten or so join the list, and then in the period April-June this number ramps up sharply to seventy-something. It'll be the end of the year, we're told, before the last ticket office finally succumbs. But by picking off a tiny number first, the masses closing later are merely part of an ongoing program and no longer news.
* This week Covent Garden's ticket office closed permanently too, by default, as the station switched back to exit only while some lifts are upgraded.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: peripherally
Several outer London stations with minimal passenger flows lost their ticket offices some years back. Chigwell, Roding Valley, Theydon Bois and Upminster Bridge are in the Underground's top ten least used stations, hence almost nobody minded when the staff there were kicked out of their little cubbyholes and the shutters brought down. The same set-up's coming to Oxford Circus and every other station soon enough.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: with misdirection
TfL's publicity machine is keen not to mention ticket office closures. They're focusing instead on "modernisation", and the benefits that bringing staff out from behind the window will bring. Hundreds of jobs are being lost, and not every station will see extra staff, but TfL aren't particularly keen to mention this either. "In the future, all stations will be staffed from the first to last Tube" they say, cunningly misdirecting passengers away from the fact that this is already the case. "We are moving our staff into ticket halls where they are more visible and can assist you more effectively" they say, and this may indeed turn out to be true. Why not pop down to Queensway or South Wimbledon today and see how the redeployed staff are adding value?

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: improvingly
TfL's official list of ticket office closures isn't headed "Ticket office closures", it's titled "Ticket hall scheduled improvement work". The marketing team of any organisation always looks on the positive side during a corporate restructure, because this helps to make enormous changes sound more palatable. TfL's "improvement" list chooses to focus on when stations are having their ticket offices functionally tweaked, and approximately how many months this will take. Most offices'll only take a month to become whatever they're going to be next, which might be a closed-off room or a knocked-through space with additional machines. Some stations like Gloucester Road and Mile End are pencilled in for 3 months, presumably because something seriously major is going to happen, while others are down for "1-3 months", which presumably means nobody's thought this through yet. Meanwhile Green Park, Baker Street and Russell Square have hit the jackpot with the maximum transformation period of 4 months, so expect something pretty wow afterwards, or maybe just a new Starbucks.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: imprecisely
Although TfL announced each station's transformation date in a list late last year, they've only ever published the month of closure, not the day. The first that regular station users know of the precise moment is the appearance of a board by the ticket window a couple of weeks before Doomsday - that's Stockwell's in the photo at the top of this post. By carefully controlling the information like this it's harder for the general public to focus any kind of campaign against specific closures, or indeed to even care.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: rebranding
Six particularly busy stations may be losing a ticket office, but they're gaining a Visitor Information Centre. This isn't just the same old ticket office tweaked a bit with a different name, this is recognition that visitors to London will still need personal attention, and that an office with a counter is the best way to deliver this. King's Cross is first up, with a remodelled VIC up the St Pancras end complete with colourful curves and Post Office style queueing, and scheduled to open this month. Following by the summer will be Liverpool Street, Victoria, Heathrow 123, Euston and Paddington. But that's your lot if you want counter service in the new world - either join the hideously long tourist queue or give in and use the machine.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: incompletely
Actually, not every station is losing its ticket office. Some are more Overground than Underground, so won't be culled immediately as part of this customer-facing transformation. Hence Gunnersbury, Harlesden, Harrow & Wealdstone, Kensal Green, Kenton, Kew Gardens, North Wembley, Queen's Park, South Kenton, Stonebridge Park and Wembley Central, along with Finsbury Park, are all on the closure list as "Timing to be confirmed". More long-termly, Barking, Ealing Broadway, Richmond, Upminster and Wimbledon aren't TfL-operated, so will be carrying on as normal unless their operating rail company chooses to pull the plug. If you still want to talk to a member of staff through glass, you know where to go.

How do you close all 300 Underground ticket offices and get away with it? The answer: realistically
Most Londoners haven't used a ticket office in ages. Only a small proportion of journeys start at a ticket window, and your Oyster card or contactless card probably functions perfectly well without the need to queue. And OK, so there'll be times when a machine can't cut it and human interaction will be required, in which case a member of staff "equipped with handheld mobile device" will be around to provide "up to the minute information". But if you've ever used the DLR, which has been pretty much ticket-office-free for decades, you already know deep down that we'll all cope.

2 Feb Queensway, South Wimbledon; 23 Feb Covent Garden; 2 Mar Bethnal Green; 9 Mar Brixton, Seven Sisters, Stockwell; 12 Mar Highbury & Islington; 22 Mar North Greenwich (any more?)
25 Jan 17:18

Letter by letter

by diamond geezer
Underground stations
  4) Oval
  5) Upney
  6) Pinner
  7) Mile End
  8) Burnt Oak
  9) Green Park
10) Bond Street
11) Canary Wharf
12) Covent Garden
13) Russell Square
14) North Greenwich
15) Leicester Square
16) Piccadilly Circus
17) Willesden Junction
18) Tottenham Court Road
19) Great Portland Street
20) High Street Kensington

  One-word Underground stations
  4) Bank
  5) Angel
  6) Temple
  7) Pimlico
  8) Monument
  9) Bayswater
10) Embankment
11) Westminster
12) (Cassiobridge)
13) Knightsbridge
DLR stations
  4) Bank
  6) Poplar
  7) Beckton
  8) Mudchute
  9) Blackwall
10) Heron Quays
11) Pontoon Dock
12) Crossharbour
13) Island Gardens
14) Deptford Bridge
15) Pudding Mill Lane
17) London City Airport
19) Custom House for ExCel
22) Stratford International
29) Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich

  Overground stations
  6) Hoxton
  7) Wapping
  8) Homerton
  9) Gospel Oak
10) Kensal Rise
11) Rotherhithe
12) Wanstead Park
13) Imperial Wharf
14) Hampstead Heath
15) Kilburn High Road
16) Dalston Kingsland
17) Clapham High Street
18) Highbury & Islington
19) Leytonstone High Road
20) Finchley Road & Frognal
21) Walthamstow Queens Road
24) Caledonian Road & Barnsbury
Tramlink stops
  5) Arena
  7) Mitcham
  8) Centrale
  9) Ampere Way
10) Sandilands
11) Lebanon Road
12) New Addington
13) Dundonald Road
14) Beddington Lane
15) Mitcham Junction
16) King Henry's Drive
17) Beckenham Junction
  Crossrail stations
  4) Iver
  6) Slough
  7) Romford
  8) Southall
  9) Abbey Wood
10) Maidenhead
11) Whitechapel
13) Chadwell Heath
14) Ealing Broadway
15) Liverpool Street
16) Hayes & Harlington
17) Heathrow Terminal 4
18) Tottenham Court Road

London National Rail stations
  3) Lee
  5) Cheam
  6) Hendon
  7) Tooting
  8) Deptford
  9) Brimsdown
10) Twickenham
11) Cricklewood
12) Ravensbourne
13) Woodmansterne
14) City Thameslink
15) Alexandra Palace
16) Woolwich Dockyard
17) Carshalton Beeches
18) Northumberland Park
20) Loughborough Junction
22) Stratford International
23) West Hampstead Thameslink
  National Rail stations
  3) Rye
  4) York
  5) Crewe
  6) Oxford
  7) Torquay
  8) Holyhead
  9) Doncaster
10) Kilmarnock
11) Leatherhead
12) Peterborough
13) Middlesbrough
14) Llanfairfechan
15) Stallingborough
16) Berwick-Upon-Tweed
17) Stratford-Upon-Avon
18) Burley-In-Wharfedale
19) Ascott-Under-Wychwood
20) Stansted Mountfitchet
21) Bradford Forster Square
22) Ebbsfleet International
23) Birmingham International
24) Birkenhead Hamilton Square
25) Southampton Airport (Parkway)
27) James Cook University Hospital
33) Rhoose Cardiff International Airport
(unless of course you know better)