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RAIL CHAMPIONS


ment flows in a station are designed care- fully, both during normal operation and during emergencies like security alerts and evacuation. Signage and sightlines form an important part of maintaining efficient flows for passengers, while effective railway control allows trains to arrive in and depart from stations with minimum delay.


Intermodal changes also need careful evaluation, so that passengers arriving by road can access the station facilities easily and without obstructing waiting areas, or exits. Equally, ticket offices and machines need to be positioned and provided in suf- ficient numbers so that users can queue and access the facility without obstruction and without resulting in shuffling lines of stressed travellers blocking the station’s pedestrian and vehicle routes.


Mixing types of passengers can cause con- gestion and frustration. At St Pancras In- ternational station in London, arriving in- ternational train passengers merge into the local commuter crowds flowing towards the Underground station interchange. At peak times, this creates a mix of slow and fast moving pedestrians in a narrow space obstructed with pillars, lifts and greeters.


trains. The station must be designed to al- low easy modal changes and to provide a simple approach from within the cityscape.


Circulation Interchange role


One of the most important requirements of any station is that of accommodating circu- lation. This relates to movements of trains as well as those of passengers with their luggage and other people such as ‘weepers and greeters’. The station must also create a safe interface between the two types of traffic. It is essential that the people move-


Passengers arrive and leave by train but almost universally, they change their mode of transportation at the station. (Saglians in the Grisons area of Switzerland is a rare example of a station where only intramodal connectivity is provided, since there is no road access.)


Private car access is often an issue at sta- tions. Drivers meeting trains can cause congestion if a suitable short-term parking area is not provided. People do not want to pay exorbitant parking charges just to meet relatives and friends who have chosen to come by train. Such charges can discourage train travel.


It may be from train to train, or from train to any other movement mode, from foot to bus, taxi, car, bicycle or metro. The Kings Cross and St Pancras stations complex gives a good example of the variety of mod- al changes possible and the good and bad features of all of them.


First, we should realise that the area cov- ered by the combination of the stations of St Pancras and Kings Cross is vast. It takes ten minutes to walk directly from one side to the other. Clearly thought-out routes are essential for arriving and departing pas- sengers. Secondly, the whole complex is in the process of being rebuilt and updated, as far as is possible within the considerable restrictions imposed by English Heritage, a body that has been described as a wilful inhibitor of the modernisation of Briain’s infrastructure.


The rebuilding isn’t complete yet and the Kings Cross side of the project suffers from poor interchange facilities because passen- gers gravitate towards the completed and improved St Pancras International station. What is wrong with the facilities provided?


Looking at facilities for cyclists first, these are provided but they are a long way from the station, sharing space with a car park north of the St Pancras station complex. The premises are secure but a casual user would be pushed to find the cycle storage area unless they had done their research first. Car and taxi pick-up and drop-off points are provided, of course, but it is not always clear where taxis are supposed to stop and there are different locations around the complex. There’s nowhere for cars to wait to ease picking-up duties. Con- fusingly, the Network Rail description of the available facilities does not align with what is on the ground.


Buses have a total of nine different loca- tions for access around Kings Cross and Saint Pancras, scattered across the roads


rail technology magazine Jun/Jul 11 | 79


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