CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, December 7, 2015

Crossrail: Tunneling Beneath London

 

         

In hopes to design the most efficient transportation methods for large amounts of people, inventors throughout history have repeatedly produced bizarre ideas.

While many such proposals have led to great innovations, others were abandoned soon after development for being unsafe or impractical.

From ideas of tying a passenger car to a whale, to a bicycle railroad that became known for collisions with farm animals, the history of mass transit reveals that trial-and-error is not a smooth process.

 

At the turn of the 20th century, a group of French artists were asked to imagine the world 100 years later. This image predicts that whale-buses will come about, with bus strapped to a whale that pulls travelers through the deep sea. Whale handlers control the reins and rudder, steering passengers clear of a disgruntled dolphin.

+9

At the turn of the 20th century, a group of French artists were asked to imagine the world 100 years later. This image predicts that whale-buses will come about, with bus strapped to a whale that pulls travelers through the deep sea. Whale handlers control the reins and rudder, steering passengers clear of a disgruntled dolphin.

HOW THE WHALE BOAT WORKS

At the turn of the 20th century, a group of French artists were asked to imagine the world 100 years later.

One image predicts that whale-buses will come about in the future of transportation.

A bus strapped to a whale pulls travelers through the deep sea.

Whale handlers control the reins and rudder, steering passengers clear of a disgruntled dolphin.

At the turn of the 20th century, a group of French artists were asked to imagine the world 100 years later.

Jean-Marc Côté and other artists were not entirely off the mark in their assumptions; their paintings show a future world that is dominated by machines for cleaning, traveling, and entertainment.

Strangely, the artists also imagined the 2000's to be the golden era for humans riding marine animals.

One image predicts that whale-buses will come about in the future of transportation.

A bus strapped to a whale pulls travelers through the deep sea.

Whale handlers control the reins and rudder, steering passengers clear of a disgruntled dolphin.

Over inventions are stragenly close to today's vision of the future.

The Beach Pneumatic Transit system of the 1870s operated similarly to a potato cannon and channeled the techniques of pneumatic tube transportation, according to Inverse.

This design, created by Alfred Ely Beach, aimed to use a combination of vacuum tubes and pressurized air to propel luxury subway cars under New York City.

The tunnel was built and ran on a single track, a distance totalling about 300 feet.

Establishing a reliable braking system for the Beach Pneumatic Transit system, and generating enough power to sling the subway car was not feasible at the time, according to Inverse. After three years, the idea was abandoned.

+9

Establishing a reliable braking system for the Beach Pneumatic Transit system, and generating enough power to sling the subway car was not feasible at the time, according to Inverse. After three years, the idea was abandoned.

Establishing a reliable braking system, and generating enough power to sling the subway car was not feasible at the time, according to Inverse. After three years, the idea was abandoned.

A modern version, Elon Musk's proposed Hyperloop, would solve the braking problem with the use of electromagnetic technology, but has been met with skepticism, Wired says.

Shortly after, Arthur Hotchkiss devised a bicycle monorail system for transporting blue-collar workers across farmland.

The Smithville Bicycle Railroad Company sprung up in New Jersey after 1892, when Hotchkiss teamed up with an investor, Hezekiah Smith.

This design, created by Alfred Ely Beach, aimed to use a combination of vacuum tubes and pressurized air to propel luxury subway cars under New York City. The tunnel was built and ran on a single track, a distance totaling about 300 feet

+9

This design, created by Alfred Ely Beach, aimed to use a combination of vacuum tubes and pressurized air to propel luxury subway cars under New York City. The tunnel was built and ran on a single track, a distance totaling about 300 feet

The track spanned two miles and stood four feet high, according to CityLab, but bicycles of the time featured mismatched wheels and the rider had to repeatedly pump a ratchet mechanism to create propulsion.

This design even included mud flaps and tandem bikes to please its passengers, but riders would often run into problems during the commute.

Riding through farmland put passengers and farm animals at risk of collision, which happened often.

And, the railroad ran on a single track, meaning travelers approaching from opposite directions would have to get off and let one another pass, or collide head on.

In 1898, the company went bankrupt.

RUSSIA'S EKRANOPLAN: THE GROND EFFECT VEHICLE THAT 'HOVERS' ABOVE THE GROUND

A prototype of the Russian ekranoplan, a ground effect vehicle (GEV) is one that attains level flight near the surface of the Earth. While prototypes were built, it proved too difficult to control.

+9

A prototype of the Russian ekranoplan, a ground effect vehicle (GEV) is one that attains level flight near the surface of the Earth. While prototypes were built, it proved too difficult to control.

An ekranoplan is a ground effect vehicle, which uses aerodynamic interaction to hover just above the surface of Earth.

Russian prototypes were tested in the late 1900s.

A funnel system created between the wings and the ground presses upon air molecules, generating lift for the craft, says Wired.

This design allows the craft to generate more lift, and less drag.

Since the ekranoplan maintains a height of about 15 feet above a surface, it must be free of any obstacles, making the ocean its primary zone of operation.

Two massive prototypes of this design were created in Russia, but steering proved to be a major issue.

Sitting so low in the air, little movement could cause the wing of the plane would strike the surface.

The prototype has been dormant since the 1990s. 

 

Two massive prototypes of this design were created in Russia (left), but steering proved to be a major issue. Attempts have been made to create a modern version (rights), but these have also stalled.

The Brennan Gyro-Monorail sought to optimize the monorail design in the early 1900s.

The open rail-car was was 40 feet long and weighed 22 tons, and could reach a speed of 22 miles per hour.

The vehicle teetered atop two vertical 'gyroscopes,' which spun in opposite directions.

The Brennan Gyro-Monorail was developed by the Irish-born Australian inventor Louis Brennan. The vehicle was balanced by two vertical gyroscopes mounted side by side, and spinning in opposite directions at 3000 rpm. Each gyroscope was 3.5 feet in diameter and weighed 3/4 of a ton each

+9

The Brennan Gyro-Monorail was developed by the Irish-born Australian inventor Louis Brennan. The vehicle was balanced by two vertical gyroscopes mounted side by side, and spinning in opposite directions at 3000 rpm. Each gyroscope was 3.5 feet in diameter and weighed 3/4 of a ton each

This train led to later monorail carts of a similar design, which improved upon the original by adding a counter-weight system to balance the carrying load.

The monorail carts, however, never gained popularity. 

Moving sidewalks sought to turn the streets of Paris into a conveyor-belt for the people of the city in 1900.

The moving sidewalk in Paris was not the first of its kind, being preceded by the sidewalks at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

It hit a top speed of six miles per hour, and spanned a two and a quarter stretch of Paris, according to Gizmodo. The moving sidewalk stood about 30 feet above street level and became known as the 'wooden serpent.'

The moving sidewalk never stops, so passengers had to step aboard as it went. 

Suspended from a rail a dozen feet above the ground, the Railplane was powered by two propellers and stabilized by wheels that rested on another rail below. The design never caught on, and its inventor, George Bennie, was left bankrupt.

+9

Suspended from a rail a dozen feet above the ground, the Railplane was powered by two propellers and stabilized by wheels that rested on another rail below. The design never caught on, and its inventor, George Bennie, was left bankrupt.

 

The transit device merged the features of a monorail and an airplane. Passengers could travel in the masses at 120 mph in a smoke-free, bump-free ride. Suspended from a rail a dozen feet above the ground, the Railplane was powered by two propellers and stabilized by wheels that rested on another rail below

In another monorail design, British inventors had high hopes for the Railplane, which came to life on a test track in Glasgow in 1930.

The transit device merged the features of a monorail and an airplane.

Passengers could travel in the masses at 120 mph in a smoke-free, bump-free ride.

Suspended from a rail a dozen feet above the ground, the Railplane was powered by two propellers and stabilized by wheels that rested on another rail below.

The design proved to be no competition for traditional railroads despite raving reviews from the media and special guests, who were taken for rides.

Its inventor, George Bennie, was left bankrupt.

British inventors had high hopes for the Railplane, which came to life on a test track in Glasgow in 1930. The transit device merged the features of a monorail and an airplane. Passengers could travel in the masses at 120 mph in a smoke-free, bump-free ride

+9

British inventors had high hopes for the Railplane, which came to life on a test track in Glasgow in 1930. The transit device merged the features of a monorail and an airplane. Passengers could travel in the masses at 120 mph in a smoke-free, bump-free ride

 

 

Dawn of the underground age: Fascinating archive pictures reveal backbreaking work that finally gave London the Tube

 
  • Photographer Henry Flather documented construction work that 'transformed the face of London' in 1860s
  • Historic pictures reveal building work underway on stations and lines across the capital

The race for a seat may be foremost in the minds of the millions of commuters who swarm London's transport network each weekday morning.

But these fascinating archive photographs reveal the sheer scale of the work that went into building the stations and lines that continue to keep the capital moving more than a century on.

Some of the photographs date back as far as 1868, and offer the city's workforce 'something to think about next time you top up your Oyster Card', the
Museum of London said.

Making tracks: The roofing over the underground Metropolitan District Railway is visible in this photograph taken near South Kensington Station by Henry Flather

Making tracks: The roofing over the underground Metropolitan District Railway is visible in this photograph taken near South Kensington Station by Henry Flather

Gloucester Road: This photograph of construction underway on the station looking towards South Kensington shows workers erecting metal arched ribs

Gloucester Road: This photograph of construction underway on the station looking towards South Kensington shows workers erecting metal arched ribs

Many of the historic pictures are the work of Henry Flather, who took a series of 64 photographs in the late 1860s to document the construction of the railway from Paddington to Blackfriars, via Kensington, Westminster, and the new Victoria Embankment.

Railway workers, or 'navvies', used the 'cut-and-cover' method to build the first underground railways before the development of the tunneling shield by James Henry Greathead. The first tunneled, or 'tube', railway in London was the City & South London Line, which opened its doors in 1890. Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London said: 'Millions of Londoners hop on the tube or take a train each day, but it’s easy to forget what magnificent feats of engineering these building projects were under Queen Victoria’s reign.

'The railway age transformed the face of London and the layout of the city that we know today, without the modern technology that projects like Crossrail benefit from. Something to think about next time your top up your oyster card.'

Keeping the city moving: The view of bustling commuters from Victoria station forecourt captured in 1920

Keeping the city moving: The view of bustling commuters from Victoria station forecourt captured in 1920

Passage of the years: Millions of passengers still use the capital city's transport network every day more than a century on

Passage of the years: Millions of passengers still use the capital city's transport network every day more than a century on

'Transforming the face of London': Building work underway on the District Line outside the city's Somerset House in 1869

'Transforming the face of London': Building work underway on the District Line outside the city's Somerset House in 1869

Now and then: The efforts are now concealed beneath the road - and trees that have matured over the decades - overlooked by Somerset House

Now and then: The efforts are now concealed beneath the road - and trees that have matured over the decades - overlooked by Somerset House

London's 'railway age': Londoners walk past a sign for 'electric trains every few minutes' at King's Cross and St Pancras Station in the 19th Century

London's 'railway age': Londoners walk past a sign for 'electric trains every few minutes' at King's Cross in the 19th Century

Time pushes on: London is a very different place decades on, with the trappings of modern city life - including the ubiquitous McDonald's - visible at the spot today

Time pushes on: London is a very different place decades on, with the trappings of modern city life - including the ubiquitous McDonald's - visible at the spot today

Beginnings: A photo of construction workers at the site of Blackfriars Station, looking north-east towards St Paul's Cathedral, taken by Henry Flather

Beginnings: A photo of construction workers at the site of Blackfriars Station, looking north-east towards St Paul's Cathedral, taken by Henry Flather

Roads: The expansive exterior of Blackfriars Station in London as it appears today

Roads: The expansive exterior of Blackfriars Station in London as it appears today

'At the Museum of London we tell the story of the world’s greatest city and its people. Our photography collection is particularly unique, and provides a glimpse into all aspects of London life during the second half of the 19th and 20th centuries,' she added.

From King's Cross to Waterloo, the photographs reveal how London looked at the dawn of the city's 'railway age'.

In one of Mr Flather's pictures, the skeleton of what is now High Street Kensington Station's arched roof as construction on the building was underway in the 19th Century, while another shows rings of brick arching being laid over two steel frames as builders worked to create the Metropolitan District Railway.

The London Underground celebrated its 150th anniversary this year.

The first section of the Metropolitan Line opened from Paddington to Farringdon in January 1863.

Days gone by: A team of railway staff pose in front of the completed Bayswater Station in a photograph taken around 1866

Days gone by: A team of railway staff pose in front of the completed Bayswater Station in a photograph taken around 1866

2013: Today there are cashpoints, telephone boxes and buskers outside Bayswater Tube Station in London

2013: Today there are cashpoints, telephone boxes and buskers outside Bayswater Tube Station in London

Finishing touches: The exterior of Gloucester Road station on the Metropolitan and District Railway line, which was opened on October 3 1868

Finishing touches: The exterior of Gloucester Road station on the Metropolitan and District Railway line, which was opened on October 3 1868

Standing the test of time: The signage still reads Metropolitan & District Railways at Gloucester Road Station

Standing the test of time: The signage still reads Metropolitan & District Railways at Gloucester Road Station

Break in proceedings: A group of railway construction workers, or 'navvies', pose for the camera beside a steam crane in Praed Street, Paddington

Break in proceedings: A group of railway construction workers, or 'navvies', pose for the camera beside a steam crane in Praed Street, Paddington

Fast food restaurants: Today Praed Street in London's Paddington is home to McDonald's, Burger King, and various other restaurants and shops

Fast food restaurants: Today Praed Street in London's Paddington is home to McDonald's, Burger King, and various other restaurants and shops

Glimpse of the past: A view of the forecourt of the Southern Railway terminus at London Bridge, originally built in 1836

Glimpse of the past: A view of the forecourt of the Southern Railway terminus at London Bridge, originally built in 1836

How it looks now: The forecourt at London Bridge station, which is flooded with commuters during rush hour from Monday to Friday

How it looks now: The forecourt at London Bridge station, which is flooded with commuters during rush hour from Monday to Friday

Backbone of the city: This photograph shows the roof of Kensington Station - later renamed High Street Kensington - under construction

Backbone of the city: This photograph shows the roof of Kensington Station - later renamed High Street Kensington - under construction

Impressive: The vast interior of the completed High Street Kensington Station - then known simply as Kensington Station - captured by Henry Flather around 1868

Impressive: The vast interior of the completed High Street Kensington Station - then known simply as Kensington Station - captured by Henry Flather around 1868

Recorded for posterity: Photographer Henry Flather's portable darkroom can be seen on the tracks inside the completed Bayswater Statio

Recorded for posterity: Photographer Henry Flather's portable darkroom can be seen on the tracks inside the completed Bayswater Station

Tunnels: Workers are seen roofing over a cutting to form twin tunnels, with five rings of brick arching being laid over two steel frames, during construction of the Metropolitan Line

Tunnels: Workers are seen roofing over a cutting to form twin tunnels, with five rings of brick arching being laid over two steel frames, during construction of the Metropolitan Line

Before the rush hour: A construction site to the west of Waterloo Bridge and the foot of Savoy Street, as building work was underway on the Victoria Embankment and the Metropolitan District Line

Before the rush hour: A construction site to the west of Waterloo Bridge and the foot of Savoy Street, as building work was underway on the Victoria Embankment and the Metropolitan District Line

Our work is done: The completed interior at  Notting Hill Gate Station captured by Henry Flather

Our work is done: The completed interior at Notting Hill Gate Station captured by Henry Flather

Modern methods: More recent construction work underway on the Crossrail link at New Oxford Street in the heart of the city

Modern methods: More recent construction work underway on the Crossrail link at New Oxford Street in the heart of the city

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crossrail: Tunneling Beneath London

 

When one digs beneath London, England, one digs through history. Crossrail, the largest construction project in Europe, is tunneling under the British capital to provide a new underground rail link across the city, and has encountered not only a maze of existing modern infrastructure, but historic finds including mammoth bone fragments, Roman roads (with ancient horseshoes embedded in the ruts), Black Plague burial grounds, and 16th century jewelry. The $25 billion (15 billion pound) project is due to open in 2018, connecting London's Heathrow airport to the county of Essex -- five tunnel boring machines are creating a kilometer of new tunnel under London every two weeks. The millions of tons of soil from the Crossrail construction are being shipped to Wallasea Island in the Thames Estuary, allowing the island to be transformed from levee-protected farmland into a thriving wetland. [28 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate Choose: 1024px 1280px

A worker emerges after a tunneling machine made the breakthrough into the station structure at Canary Wharf, in east London, on June 11, 2013. Crossrail is the largest infrastructure project in Europe, built to provide a new link across London. (Reuters/Andrew Winning)

2

Tottenham Court Road Crossrail work, September 15, 2011. Original here. (CC BY EG Focus) #

3

A technician sprays concrete to support caverns built to house the converging railway tunnels at Crossrail's Stepney site beneath east London, on December 14, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

4

An access point to the Crossrail site at Farringdon Station, in London, on January 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson) #

5

Crossrail workers operate a 150 meter long tunnel boring machine, creating an 8.3 km tunnel from the Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon, on April 24, 2013 in London. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

6

A worker walks inside a section of a tunnel boring machine in one of the tunnels at Crossrail's Limmo Peninsula site beneath east London, on December 14, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

7

Workers renovate the Crossrail Connaught tunnel between the Royal Albert and Royal Victoria docks in east London, on May 29, 2013. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor) #

8

Archaeologists working on the Crossrail project uncover a historical burial ground at Charterhouse Square, Farringdon in central London. Scientists were called in to investigate bones found during the digging of a new railway in central London, after 13 skeletons were found. The skeletons were be tested to see if they died from the Black Death plague which killed between 30 and 60 percent of the European population in the 14th century, and scientist hope to map the DNA signature of the plague bacteria.(AP Photo/Crossrail Project) #

9

An archaeologist with Crossrail works in a recently-uncovered historical burial ground in central London.(AP Photo/Crossrail Project) #

10

An archaeologist digs out a skull from the site of the graveyard of the Bethlehem, or Bedlam, hospital next to Liverpool Street Station in the City of London, on August 7, 2013. The dig is on the site of the future ticket hall for the Crossrail station at Liverpool Street. Archaeologists have a window of time to dig through parts of London's first municipal graveyard from the 16 and 17th century; and through to the Roman ruins beneath; before the site is handed back to contractors building the ticket hall for the Crossrail station. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

11

Crossrail workers in a 40 meter deep shaft at Limmo, from where they are constructing an 8.3 km tunnel from the Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon, on April 24, 2013. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

12

Workers line up rails for the tunneling machine at Crossrail's Stepney site in east London, on September 25, 2013.(Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

13

A worker inspects the Tunnel Boring Machine at the Pudding Mill Lane Crossrail construction site, on May 16, 2013.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #

14

A service train carries Crossrail workers to a 150 meter long tunnel boring machine, on April 24, 2013. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

15

Crossrail workers strengthen, deepen and widen the Connaught tunnel to accommodate new trains on April 24, 2013 beneath London. This 550 meter Connaught tunnel was built in 1878 and has not been in passenger use since December 2006.(Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

16

Under-construction escalators in the Ticket Hall level of the Canary Wharf Crossrail station in the North Dock of the Isle of Dogs in London, on November 26, 2013. The construction of the station, which began in May 2009 and is costing 500 million GBP, features four stories of retail space above the ticket hall and platform levels. The station has been created by constructing a concrete box in the North Dock 250 meters long and 30 meters wide. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

17

Concrete shatters as a tunneling machine makes the breakthrough into the station structure at Canary Wharf, in east London, on June 11, 2013. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

18

Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson visit a Crossrail construction site underneath Tottenham Court Road, on January 16, 2014. (Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images) #

19

Workers stand in an access excavation at the entrance of the tunnels at Crossrail's Limmo Peninsula site in east London, on December 14, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

20

Crossrail workers in a 40 meter deep shaft at Limmo, on April 24, 2013. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images) #

21

A worker operates a mechanical digger 40 meters underground in the access excavation at the mouth of the tunnel at Crossrail's Limmo Peninsula site, on December 14, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

22

An archaeologist displays a 16th century Venetian gold coin, perforated to be worn as jewelery, which was dug out from the Crossrail site next to Liverpool Street Station in the City of London, on August 7, 2013. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

23

A worker stands on the tunnel boring machine creating the Crossrail tunnel being built from Paddington towards Farringdon under central London, on March 13, 2013. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

24

Excavators feed tons of earth generated by the construction of Crossrail into screeners before it is put on a bulk freighter in east London, on December 17, 2013. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

25

A ship delivers soil to Wallasea Island on September 17, 2012 near Rochford, England. The Crossrail railway tunnel project in London has started to deliver 4.5 million tons of soil from it's construction to Wallasea Island in the Thames Estuary. This will allow Wallasea Island to be transformed from levee-protected farmland into a thriving wetland twice the size of the City of London.(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) #

26

A member of the crew of a bulk freighter prepares his ship to receive tons of earth generated by the construction of Crossrail, at a jetty on the Thames in east London, on December 17, 2013. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #

27

A digger makes adjustments to a levee at the eastern end of Wallasea Island on September 17, 2012 near Rochford, England. The Crossrail railway tunnel project has started to deliver 4.5 million tons of soil from it's construction to Wallasea Island in the Thames Estuary. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) #

28

A Crossrail employee looks at Wallasea Island on September 17, 2012 near Rochford, England.(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

   

No comments: