Escalators at St Pancras

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Hadders, 8 Nov 2018.

  1. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    One of the two escalators from to Platform A is out of use for engineering works, leaving one escalator and a double width fixed stairway.

    The one working escalator is in the down direction, leaving everyone to walk up the stairs. Woukdn’t it make more sense to have it working in the up direction?

    Spoke to someone about it at the gate line and was told that lots of people have queried it. Am I missing something? They’ve even had to place staff at the bottom of the stairs directing people with suitcases to the lifts (even small ones, not talking kitchen sink sized ones).

    Then again, this is GTR...
     
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  3. jamesst

    jamesst Member

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    I don't know whether this has any bearing but there used to be escalators on the Liverpool underground that weren't capable of changing direction for motor and gear reasons. Not sure whether this may be a similar reason?
     
  4. thebigcheese

    thebigcheese Member

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    I recall hearing that they will always run a single escalator in a direction that would most aid evacuation. Whether that's the reason for this I don't know.
     
  5. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    On LU it's not uncommon to have escalators which have restrictions placed on whether they can be reversed. From what I gather escalators wear in a particular way over time, which can lead to issues if they are reversed. In theory staff are supposed to reverse them at quiet times like Sundays or overnight, although in reality this doesn't always happen for various reasons.

    The access at St. Pancras Low Level is pretty shoddy - the amount of escalators isn't really sufficient for its increased usage, nor is the space in the subways and on the stairs. More Thameslink Programme incompetence. I'm surprised they didn't put a separate entrance/exit direct on the other side of Midland Road - at one point there was plenty of space to do this.
     
  6. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    Agreed. Lift access is a big issue there too: Not only is the single lift at concourse level inadequate for demand, but you have to take two separate lifts to get to/from the Northbound platform. And exiting the Northbound platform is particularly bad: You have to take a lift from the platform to the intermediate level half-way up. Then you walk to to the Southbound platform lift. But because you're joining the Southbound lift at a point half-way up, it often arrives already full of people coming up directly from the Southbound platform, which means sometimes you can't physically get on it :(
     
  7. a_c_skinner

    a_c_skinner Member

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    Think yourself lucky it isn't Kings Cross Thamelink still, for a long time fitting out the St P. box was very much in the balance.
     
  8. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    I agree about the lift access being poor as well.

    I’d be surprised if they couldn’t reverse the escalators there, bearing in mind they’re not that old. The number of staff employed on marshalling duty is quite incredible and shows how fragile that station really is.
     
  9. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Obviously not in this case, as evacuation downwards into the enclosed St Pancras Low Level station is illogical...
     
  10. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I guess the question is how often have they been reversed since installed... Maybe the same "it will work" attitude that pervades the rest of the Thameslink Programme!
     
  11. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

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    Good point. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if/when the work moves to the adjacent escalator.
     
  12. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    Err.... why? What was wrong with Kings Cross Thameslink? (And was anything wrong with it that couldn't have been addressed with suitable infrastructure works on the station instead of - in effect building a whole new underground station?)

    I can't recall much of Kings Cross Thameslink, but one thing I do remember is that it was a lot closer to the underground, and so arguably better for underground interchange (although needed a better way of getting across the main road)
     
  13. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    Platforms at Kings Cross Thameslink were far too narrow at the south end because of the Met/Circle and mainline tracks being very close together, and therefore impossible to extend to 12 car length at modern standards. Was ruled out at a very early stage of the Thameslink planning process.
     
  14. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    They were far too narrow throughout, full stop! Passenger circulation was apparently abysmal on them, especially near the entrances with people reluctant/unincentivised to move down the platform. Not even remotely safe for 24tph, I'm sure, and the handy LUL passageways would've been hopelessly low capacity.
     
  15. a_c_skinner

    a_c_skinner Member

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    I simply meant we were lucky to have St P Thameslink at all. At one point it seemed very much in the balance. KGX-Thamelink was pretty basic, basically it wouldn't be fit for purpose nowadays, it wasn't really.
     
  16. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    How else could it be done? The railway line was already there, so it surely made sense to build the station around it. If you had a single lift up from platform B, you'd end up in the middle of Midland Road!
     
  17. Wolfie

    Wolfie Established Member

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    The platforms were wholly inadequate to the extent that at peak times they were so crowded as to feel positively dangerous. There was no lift access whatsoever so they were not disabled friendly. In fact pretty much the only access was very narrow staircases... They were also too short...
     
  18. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I’d have preferred a modest surface building on the west side of Midland Road, to allow quick access from and to the street - in addition to the current arrangements. There was ample land until the new development happened there in the last couple of years. Now I suspect the only remote opportunity for such access would have to be under the side-road which leads west off Midland Road with just stairwell access.

    Being cynical, perhaps the objective was to channel everyone through the retail parts of the station...

    Perhaps this will become less of an issue if a proportion of passengers start using other core stations, especially when Crossrail starts. To me the place feels inadequate - the platform space isn’t too bad, but the access routes are awful. A separate northbound platform for GN services wouldn’t have gone amiss either, although it seems this may not have been technically feasible.
     
  19. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Back on topic.

    I guess it is because up escalator traffic is ‘peaky’ per train arrival, whereas down escalator traffic is relatively smooth per passenger arrival through the gate line.

    As a result, and as those of us who use the station daily in the morning peak will testify, the one up escalator does not have sufficient capacity, resulting in a majority of passengers alighting trains using the stairs (as it is quicker), and using the full width of them for approx 90 seconds after every arrival. But the down escalator does have sufficient capacity throughout the day.

    Therefore, by keeping the escalator as down only, it manages all the ‘down’ passengers, and the stairs are effectively used only by ‘up’ passengers. Whereas if it was the other way round, in the morning peak, down passengers would be blocked from descending by the sheer weight of ‘up’ passengers using the stairs as well as the escalator, which could quickly block back onto the intermediate concourse, causing a serious overcrowding issue.
     
  20. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Correct, it wasn’t feasible.

    And the land the other side of the road wasn’t available either.
     
  21. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Out of interest, any specific reason why not? (apart from that someone else owned it!)
     
  22. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Already reserved for something like the FCI (albeit not specifically for that at the time)
     
  23. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    (About the Northbound platform lift)

    Presumably, at the time that the station was being planned, the Francis Crick Institute wasn't there, so it would have been possible in principle to divert Midland Road slightly so that the Thameslink concourse could be built over both lines, allowing for independent lifts. Even today, I'm guessing it wouldn't be completely impossible, since there is quite a large pedestrian area as well as the road between the FC Institute and the station. Also, do you really need such a long taxi rank there when we really ought to be discouraging people from travelling by taxi if they don't have to anyway? Couldn't you shorten the taxi rank, giving space for the Thameslink concourse to expand a bit over the tracks?

    Other than that... Clearly to provide capacity, you do need a second lift, and arguably an additional escalator, which probably requires a little bit of land take. If it's really not possible to put any of the concourse above the Northbound platform... is today's lift technology sufficient to reliably build a lift that could travel sideways a small distance? Either by means of a separate horizontal section, or by angling the shaft so it descends diagonally? Failing that, the 'simpler' solution of doubling both lifts ought to provide sufficient capacity, albeit without solving the problem of Northbound platform passengers having to change lifts en route. (Yes I know, all these solutions would require lots of tunnelling and be very expensive).
     
  24. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    As above, the FCI wasn’t there, however the site was reserved for something of that nature a long long time ago.
     
  25. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

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    To be fair i had to read the OP twice to understand that as i thought they were on about the ones to EMT platforms at first
     
  26. stut

    stut Established Member

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    Incline lift?
     
  27. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

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    It surely would have happened at some point though? There's no way they'd have done the Blackfriars and incredibly expensive and complicated London Bridge rebuilds without the STP station as well.
     
  28. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    Exactly. At the time of the Thameslink box opening, that site was occupied by a works compound, and the offices of London & Continental Railways, then almost immediately after they left and Midland Road reopened, building started on the Crick.
     
  29. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    The area immediately south of the FCI has also long been safeguarded for Crossrail 2.
     
  30. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    I have to admit I'm struggling to see the relevance of this. We're talking about hypothetical improved lift/escalator access to the Thameslink platforms. Pretty much the only place such access could go is directly above or slightly to the side of the Thameslink platforms. I can see that building there might require doing something to the taxi rank / road above the Northbound platform, but it seems rather implausible that an area immediately above the Thameslink platforms could be reserved for Crossrail2. ;)
     
  31. JaJaWa

    JaJaWa Established Member

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    It was possible to extend King’s Cross Thameslink to 12 cars but this would have cost as much as St Pancras Thameslink whilst retaining the narrow platforms so they decided no to go ahead. At one point they apparently considered having both open.

    At Euston, there were requests from people with mobility issues (see attached) for a singular escalator to be run downwards so may be that is now Network Rail policy?
     

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    Last edited: 9 Nov 2018

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