Dangerous Levels of Air Pollution at Birmingham New Street.

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Envoy

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CH4 programme 'Despatches' on 22 February, 2016 stated that Birmingham New Street station had dangerous levels of air pollution. Given the confined space and lack of clear sky combined with all the diesel trains, this is hardly surprising.

Surely, a top priority should be getting those services currently operated by Virgin Voyagers - under wires for entire journeys, switched to electric traction? Wonder how long it will take until the Cross Country routes that pass through Birmingham will be electric?

If you wish to see the programme - click link. The bit about New Street is about 20 minutes in.
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/
 
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8J

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Another terrible station for air pollution is Manchester Victoria platforms 3-6!
 

furnessvale

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CH4 programme 'Despatches' on 22 February, 2016 stated that Birmingham New Street station had dangerous levels of air pollution. Given the confined space and lack of clear sky combined with all the diesel trains, this is hardly surprising.

Surely, a top priority should be getting those services currently operated by Virgin Voyagers - under wires for entire journeys, switched to electric traction? Wonder how long it will take until the Cross Country routes that pass through Birmingham will be electric?

If you wish to see the programme - click link. The bit about New Street is about 20 minutes in.
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/

Just another example of the missed opportunity in not inserting a pantograph vehicle in the various DEMUs like Voyagers.
 

sprinterguy

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I can't say that I'm surprised, after all the station is set out to accommodate traditional loco-hauled trains, with open areas at the ends of the platforms where a diesel locomotive would stand.

The move to short diesel multiple units with engines under each carriage that stop essentially mid-platform completely negates this layout, and a 5-car Voyager revving the nuts off all five engines to raise air in the morning creates a deeply unpleasant environment. At all times you are greeted by the distinctive tang of diesel fumes when descending to platform level from the concourse, a familiar part of the atmosphere of many major stations but somewhat excessive at New Street.
 

185

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Another terrible station for air pollution is Manchester Victoria platforms 3-6!

Disagree. It's the whole station.

J'accuse.... Northern Rail, who were asked by Network Rail if they would make it mandatory for trains to/from the east using the two bay platforms if they would shut down units whilst on the 20-minute+ layover time. They said they always did where practical and the trains shut themselves down over time.

Two issues.
1. In practise when checked, during an eight hour shift, not one of the units (158s,155s, 153s, 150s, 142s) using P1/2 was shut down.
2. Their comment regarding the time-out engine shutdown is pointless and demonstrates their own lack of understanding of their own trains. It is normal practice for drivers staying on to leave their key in; or when changing/relief over to leave their key in and take the relief driver's key - effectively swapping keys.

So in reality they don't shut down, and Vic still stinks of fumes. :(
 

sprinterguy

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Even without that, in more environmentally friendly countries the unit, if laying over, would be shut down on arrival and started up only just before departure.
I tend to find that the diesel units which do layover at New Street (primarily Crosscountry and London Midland 170s) do get shut down between services. Although a fair few of the terminating Crosscountry 170s seem to be straight in and out within a matter of a few minutes anyway.
 

ValleyLines142

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The aforementioned events at Manchester Victoria are disappointing, if not to say the least. Surely we should be aiming towards a greener planet?
 

Blamethrower

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With the new figures out about diesel fumes containing far more pollutants than we were previously told, what is the impact on the rail industry?

Anyone who uses a covered diesel station regularly may well be reducing their life-span but the media is always full of issues with cars and what the man on the street needs to do.

What about railways and the tons of pollution they generate and force on the population?
 

furnessvale

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What about railways and the tons of pollution they generate and force on the population?

It's a good job that, on average, rails emits one third of the pollution of the equivalent road movement or they could have a case to answer!
 

DarloRich

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Surely, a top priority should be getting those services currently operated by Virgin Voyagers - under wires for entire journeys, switched to electric traction? Wonder how long it will take until the Cross Country routes that pass through Birmingham will be electric?

Or some fans to blow out the fumes? Perhaps achievable quicker than electrification............
 

route:oxford

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Two issues.
1. In practise when checked, during an eight hour shift, not one of the units (158s,155s, 153s, 150s, 142s) using P1/2 was shut down.
2. Their comment regarding the time-out engine shutdown is pointless and demonstrates their own lack of understanding of their own trains. It is normal practice for drivers staying on to leave their key in; or when changing/relief over to leave their key in and take the relief driver's key - effectively swapping keys.

So in reality they don't shut down, and Vic still stinks of fumes. :(

You missed the main issue.

If they are shut down, they might not get going again.
 

Haydn1971

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You missed the main issue. If they are shut down, they might not get going again.


Are these the same trains that are supposedly still fit for purpose into their fourth decade ? Get shut, replace with new DMU's that can shut power packs down just the same as a modern car does at idle.
 

westv

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Pollution is something that I've somtimes wondered about whilst waiting for a train at Hull or Kings Cross as diesel fumes spew out.
 

furnessvale

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Pollution is something that I've somtimes wondered about whilst waiting for a train at Hull or Kings Cross as diesel fumes spew out.

Genuine question. Is it possible on HSTs, or other multi engined units, to shut down all units except one, leaving that one to provide power to the batteries if necessary to restart the others.

If so, all except the country end unit could be shut down.
 

yorksrob

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At least with Victoria there's an opening over platforms 3 and 4. Unfortunately New Street is still very subterranean, even after the re-build.
 

Bletchleyite

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Genuine question. Is it possible on HSTs, or other multi engined units, to shut down all units except one, leaving that one to provide power to the batteries if necessary to restart the others.



If so, all except the country end unit could be shut down.


On an HST yes, and it is precisely what they do do at Paddington.
 

Starmill

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Sometimes Leeds has 3 or even 4 HSTs under the canopy at the same time - now that is quite bad for air pollution too.
 

D1009

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I can't say that I'm surprised, after all the station is set out to accommodate traditional loco-hauled trains, with open areas at the ends of the platforms where a diesel locomotive would stand. .
I'm sure I remember DMUs using the place from day 1 (of the 1967 rebuild).
 

coppercapped

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I can't say that I'm surprised, after all the station is set out to accommodate traditional loco-hauled trains, with open areas at the ends of the platforms where a diesel locomotive would stand.

The move to short diesel multiple units with engines under each carriage that stop essentially mid-platform completely negates this layout, and a 5-car Voyager revving the nuts off all five engines to raise air in the morning creates a deeply unpleasant environment. At all times you are greeted by the distinctive tang of diesel fumes when descending to platform level from the concourse, a familiar part of the atmosphere of many major stations but somewhat excessive at New Street.
Originally there was an extractor fan system built into the station to reduce the smoke nuisance. It switched on when a locomotive or dmu was in the platform concerned.

Unfortunately BR never cleaned it and some years later the accumulated oil and dirt ignited in part of the ducting...:cry:

As far as I know it was never re-instated.
 

edwin_m

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On an HST yes, and it is precisely what they do do at Paddington.

They can leave one power car running to power the on-board equipment, but I don't think it can charge the batteries on the other power car. However the batteries aren't being drained much either, so unless they are very sick they should still be able to start the engine after a layover.

One problem though is that a cold engine just started puts out a lot more fumes than a warm one. Exhibit 1: the Deltic...
 

the sniper

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I don't think anybody has pointed out that there was a new ventilation system of sorts fitted a year or two ago. I don't think it's used now, well not regularly at least, or not so much that I've noticed it running! When it was first installed and they got it running it seemed to be reasonably effective but with all the fans running at full power it was really quite loud! What with the fans, DMU engines, PA system and (at the time) demolition work still taking place upstairs, it made for one hell of a racket! As such I don't know if the fans were slowed down or restricted to reduce noise levels?

Anyway, you can see at least four of the fans clearly in this image of the ceiling between platform 9 and 10:

 
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Blamethrower

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It's a good job that, on average, rails emits one third of the pollution of the equivalent road movement or they could have a case to answer!

So 1 third of pollution from cars, concentrated into a much smaller area, ie stations is a massive health issue for those using the station.

Cars go everywhere, trains do not. Those using the diesel stations regularly must've lost about 1 third of their life already.

* if pollution stats are to be believed

Why no questions being asked of the rail industry?
 

furnessvale

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So 1 third of pollution from cars, concentrated into a much smaller area, ie stations is a massive health issue for those using the station.

Cars go everywhere, trains do not. Those using the diesel stations regularly must've lost about 1 third of their life already.

* if pollution stats are to be believed

Why no questions being asked of the rail industry?

All new diesel trains have to meet stringent new pollution regulations. In fact they are so stringent that locomotives may have trouble fitting the necessary scrubbers within loading gauge.

Just like roads, the legislation is not retrospective.
 

sprinterguy

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I'm sure I remember DMUs using the place from day 1 (of the 1967 rebuild).
Aye, there certainly will have been, but presumably at lower frequencies than there are now? And they won't have been the norm on long distance services: There's eight Crosscountry Voyagers an hour through the station now, just for starters.
 

The Ham

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Move the 22x's elsewhere and XC get bimodal units, they would then be using wires at Birmingham. Problem solved?
 

sprinterguy

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Move the 22x's elsewhere and XC get bimodal units, they would then be using wires at Birmingham. Problem solved?
Not solved, but certainly reduced, I would have thought, based on current service patterns.

Most of the remaining diesel services would be 170s which have smaller, and generally fewer, engines per train and are usually either in and out or have their engines shut down between workings.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I don't think anybody has pointed out that there was a new ventilation system of sorts fitted a year or two ago. I don't think it's used now, well not regularly at least, or not so much that I've noticed it running!
I've noticed the extractor fans, but had no idea whether they saw much use: I've never been able to hear any noise from them above the white noise of New Street station.
 

Bletchleyite

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I'd agree it is the 22x that cause the problem - they absolutely stink. New St wasn't quite so smelly when it was just Sprinters and HSTs.

At least I suppose most stock used there has retention bogs so it doesn't also stink of, erm, toilet deposits, like Manchester Piccadilly and Paddington do.
 

Mikey C

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It's always amazed me that the issue of pollution at New Street isn't a bigger public issue. It's virtually an underground station, with minimal natural blowthrough, they spend a fortune on rebuilding the surface buildings, but it's still horrible down there!
 
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