Thursday 29 April 2021

Hardship At Hammersmith (4 - Who Pays?)

But First, A Birthday

Today Hulleys of Baslow reach the ripe old age of 100. The first route was started in 1921 by Henry Hulley, after a few years of taxi operation, and ran from Bakewell to Chesterfield. In essence the route still operates as today's service 170.

In 1978 the Hulley family sold out to the Wooliscroft family who owned Silver Service of Darley Dale. Strangely, in the eyes of some enthusiasts, the Silver Service name was gradually removed and the new operation became totally Hulleys. The "new" Hulleys did, however, adopt the later Silver Service blue livery.

Only last year, ownership changed again, passing to Alf Crofts and former Hulleys driver. In just one short year, there has been a notable improvement in the presentation of vehicles and an expansion of service, notably the X57 between Sheffield and Manchester.

A more detailed history can be found on Hulleys web site.

The Bridge's Big Bill!
Two figures have been bandied about. It will, say Hammersmith and Fulham Council, cost £46 million to make the bridge fit for cyclists and pedestrians and £141 million to make it fit for motor vehicles. It is not at all clear from the press extracts whether this is an extra £141 million or merely an additional £95 million. And it would cost £163 million if the Council want the job doing more quickly.

But clearly these numbers are guesses, depending upon a detailed investigation of the problems. Of course, by the time you have stripped a bridge down to do a detailed investigation, you have only two options; either demolish it or rebuild it.

All parties seem determined that the bridge should be repaired and made fit for use.

The Council is pleading poverty..
The government is not happy.
What Michael Ellis does not say is the the Council is strapped for cash because governments of all colours have cut their grants to the councils and refused permission for them to put up Council tax by more than an arbitrary limit.

And, of course, Mr Khan the London Mayor is already agin Transport for London for exceeding their budget.

So it would appear that there is no money. HMG has a few financial problems at the moment so a stalemate is reached.

Meanwhile the reports still roll in ...
... and, every so often, the press spread doom and gloom, as it their wont.
But the good news is the HMG has written a report. So that's all right then!

Engineers working for LBHF (London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham) established that the roller bearings on top of the pedestals, which support the bridge’s suspension chains at either end of the bridge, had seized.
This prevents some necessary movement in the structure and resulted in loading of the cast iron pedestals ...
... which isn’t what they are designed for. This has caused tensile stresses in the pedestals and resulted in some additional micro-fractures appearing in some of the pedestals.

In laymen's terms, the rollers don't roll so the towers sort of wiggle which is causing them to crack - a bit. Too much cracking and the bridge will, eventually, fall over.
The present situation is way, way short of that, but ...

The bridge is monitored using an acoustic monitoring system. There was an acoustic event recorded on the north-east pedestal in August 2020 and one of the 13 cracks already in the pedestal was found to have grown. As a result, LBHF, after consulting its engineers, decided to close the bridge to cyclists, pedestrians and river traffic.

With the enhanced monitoring regime and better knowledge of the structure’s behaviour, we believe that – following blast cleaning and visual inspection, and if no further fractures are found on the western pedestals – evidence supports the potential reopening of the bridge to pedestrians and cyclists, in limited and controlled circumstances.

So no bill for £46 million?

As well as a report, HMG has set up a Task Force.


The taskforce brings together key stakeholders: LBHF, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Transport for London (TfL), the Greater London Authority and the Port of London Authority.

BUT ...

The government is not responsible for maintaining the bridge or its reopening, nor has the powers to make decisions on its repair.

Nuffink to do wiv us, Guv (actually Gov)

Emergency mitigation includes removing the ornate cast iron casings from, and blast cleaning, the 2 western pedestals, enabling an assessment of the full extent of the cracks in those 2 pedestals.

This work has already been undertaken on the eastern pedestals. These works have been procured by TfL, with agreement from LBHF.

The funding of £2.3 million for the works was provided by the government as part of its Extraordinary Funding and Financing package agreed with TfL on 31 October 2020. The work will be completed by April 2021. (Has been??)

The first and quickest option is to put a temporary ferry in place for pedestrians and cyclists, although it is recognised that this does not assist river traffic.

It is expected that boats will start taking passengers across the river by the end of summer 2021.

BUT ...

The precise timeline for the service being operational is dependent on the necessary approvals being given by the consenting authorities such as, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Port of London Authority, and Marine Management Organisation.

Everyone has got to agree.

Which, it appears, they have; with the contract gong to Uber Boats (formerly Thames Clipper).
Sounds hopeful?
BUT ...
The core of the objections is that, with a ferry in place, there will be every excuse to delay the refurbishment of the bridge. It is also proposed that there will be fares of £1.50 to pay, which has not gone down well with likely bridge crossing folk who could previously totter over free of charge.

You can see their point.

Harrods Wharf is in front of the former Harrod's Depository, an icon of years and years of boat race commentaries.
It is on the Borough of Richmond side of the river some distance from the bridge. (Below, bottom right : the busted bridge is upper left)
There is a rudimentary landing stage on the Hammersmith side (above, right, next to the two oval towers.) But rudimentary is the word.
At first glance, the proposed ferry is a very poor alternative to the bridge.

Then there is the big question : how do you return traffic to the crossing while the lengthy repairs are being made? All parties do imply that their aim would be just that - to get traffic moving again and then repair the real Hammersmith Bridge.

Back to the key question : where's the money coming from?

Another Tank Wagon for fbb?
This is the third Rails of Sheffield "silly" wagon livery, following on from 'Endisons Relish and Yorkshire Puddings. fbb is told that Uncle Joes Mint Balls are a Lancashire delicacy, but t'old fellah had never heard of the them - until now.

The wagon is a standard six wheel milk tanker ...
... and it comes, for a modest (?) £24,95 and the pack includes a very small bag of the mints. Bigger bags are available on line without a tank wagon!
fbb does not collect livery variants, so Uncle Joes tank wagon (full of mint syrup, one supposes) will not grace the collection at fbb mansions.

A big bag of mints would be nice, however.

 Next Hammersmith blog : Friday 30th April 

1 comment:

  1. Uncle Joe's Mint Balls
    Keep you all-aglow
    Give one to your granny
    And watch the bugger go!

    Away with coughs and sneezes
    Keep a few in hand
    Suck 'em and see
    You'll agree
    There the best in all the land