Super smart sensors
Ticket barriers could be removed with new technology being developed and trialled by Hitachi Rail. Prototype technology currently being tested could use sensors on trains to detect an app on passengers’ smartphones as they board. There would be no need to remove the phone from pockets or bags and no need for station barriers, signalling an end to queues at the barrier or ticket machine.
Passengers will be automatically charged the correct fare, and Hitachi already has proven smart ticketing technology to ensure the passenger will not be overcharged. The technology will now undergo a rigorous testing programme for Trenito Transporti in Trento, Italy, with Hitachi hoping to bring it to the UK for use on buses, trams and trains.
As Karen Boswell, Managing Director, Hitachi Rail, pointed out, this technology has the ability to transform public transport in every corner of the country, from rural buses to city centre train stations. “The common travelling woes of queues at ticket machines or trying to find the cheapest fare could be solved without even needing to reach for your pocket.
“We are now beginning to test this technology and looking at the possibility of one app working across large stretches of a country.”
Station for Spurs
Customers were welcomed to a bigger, brighter and more accessible White Hart Lane station when Transport for London (TfL) opened the new station entrances and unveiled the major transformation, which include step-free access from street to platform for the first time.
The design of the new London Overground station has been carefully planned to provide quicker and easier access for local commuters and also visitors attending matches or events at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, when usage increases by around 100 per cent.
A new bright and airy ticket hall sits at the heart of the station, providing central and direct access to the platforms, meaning customers can move between the street and trains more quickly. Two new station entrances provide better access to the ticket hall, one on Love Lane creating a better connection with Tottenham High Road and the second providing access via Penhurst Road for the first time. New cycle parking, improved CCTV and on-street signage at the station will help people continue their journey on foot or by bike.
TfL has also introduced a number of other measures to improve the experience for customers using the station. This includes more visible signage within the ticket hall and increasing the number of ticket vending machines from three to four, to make buying tickets and topping up Oyster quicker and easier.
The redevelopment of White Hart Lane station directly supports the regeneration in the area, which includes the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium and museum, as well as future plans for a hotel and new homes, including the High Road West regeneration scheme.
Ambitious plans for Wales
Transport for Wales (TfW) has announced details of its £194 million investment to improve all 247 railway stations in Wales and the Borders. The Station Improvement Vision, developed in partnership with Wales and Borders railway operator KeolisAmey, details the improvements customers and communities can expect to see at their local stations over the coming years. The ambitious programme will deliver free WiFi, improved shelters, CCTV, enhanced cycle storage provision and more extensive passenger information at every station. It also highlights plans for new retail facilities, creating opportunities for local businesses, as well as initiatives to develop community spaces within stations.
As part of TfW and KeolisAmey’s commitment to support the Welsh Government in creating a more sustainable Wales, reducing carbon emissions generated through transport is central to the plans. A minimum of 1500 additional car parking spaces will be created across the network, helping to increase the accessibility of the country’s public transport network.
The planned improvements also include expanding the Secure Station Accreditation programme, a UK accreditation in conjunction with the British Transport Police, which will make stations safer and more welcoming for passengers, and the installation of new footbridges, lifts and ramps, part-funded by the Department for Transport.
Art on the Underground has announced details of the permanent artworks which will be incorporated into the ticket halls of the two new Underground stations on the Northern Line Extension.
The two new artworks are planned to be unveiled when the Northern Line Extension opens in autumn 2021. The extension will enable the regeneration of the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas, spurring economic growth by supporting around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes.
Alexandre da Cunha’s commission, a monumental kinetic sculpture reflecting on daily cycles titled Sunset, Sunrise, Sunset, will be installed at the new Tube station at Battersea.
For Nine Elms station, Samara Scott has conceived an ambitious nine-metre-high artwork set into the concrete panels of the ticket hall. Scott’s artwork will take the form of coloured liquid ‘spillages’ in excavated sections of the concrete panels, containing objects and materials collected from the local area. Scott will scavenge objects from local sites including food shops, flower markets, items washed up on the banks of the Thames, construction site debris, and soil and matter from the newly excavated tunnels of the Northern Line Extension.
Essential works to make way for the installation of three new escalators in the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) concourse started in late September at Bank station. The milestone marks a crucial phase of the planned upgrade as the modernisation of Bank station continues to gather pace, with capacity set to increase by 40 per cent by 2022.
The DLR concourse will be reduced to make way for the three new escalators to the Northern line, which will help to improve journeys through the station by boosting capacity.
Improving the station is critical to keep London working and growing. Other benefits of the major Bank station upgrade work include:
• A new railway tunnel and platform for the Northern line that will reduce interchange times and create more space for passengers
• Step-free access to the Northern line and improved step-free access to the DLR platforms
• More direct routes within the station, with two new moving walkways
• Two new lifts and 12 new escalators
• A new station entrance on Cannon Street
The full Bank station modernisation project is now over half way to completion with over 1000m of new tunnels having been built.
September saw Brighton and Hove Mayor Alexandra Phillips joining Southern staff, Catherine Simmons from the Sussex Community Rail Partnership (SCRP) and Luke Dixon from The Bee Friendly Trust to officially unveil a bold new mural spanning both sides of the Brighton Amex football stadium footbridge at Falmer station in East Sussex.
Emma Pritchard, of The Bee Friendly Trust, commissioned local street artist Rhys (@HarpoArt on Twitter) to create the mural, plus volunteers from The Bee Friendly Trust also completed their bee-friendly planting at the station.
Station Manager Andy Gardner said: “I’m thrilled to have this colourful artwork on display at Falmer. It’s brightened up a previously austere area and I’m sure it will bring pleasure to everyone who uses the footbridge. This project has come to fruition thanks to the wonderful work done by The Bee Friendly Trust working closely with the Sussex Community Rail Partnership. As a Station Manager, it’s a pleasure to see relationships being built with the communities that surround our railway.”