Christmas 2019: The Underground

Christmas 2019 The Underground

London can get very busy during the festive period and if you’re planning your Christmas travel, it pays to have an idea of what to expect. In a city as vibrant as London, there may be special events (or maintenance works) planned that could impact your travel schedule.

The Underground will be busy with shoppers and party-goers in the run-up to Christmas. It operates 364 days a year and is closed only on Christmas Day. Bear in mind that seasonal events such as Christmas markets, shows and late-night shopping could make the Underground particularly busy. Whether you’re off to bag a bargain at the shops, or planning to visit family and friends, take advantage of off-peak fares. They give the best value for money, so passengers can make the most of the holidays and have more money in their wallet.

Busiest times

Although the whole Underground is going to be busy as Christmas approaches, some platforms will be more packed than others. The busiest Tube station is officially Waterloo, which is used by around 95 million passengers each year. The second busiest is Oxford Circus and the third Victoria.

According to research, London’s busiest shopping day is traditionally the final Saturday before Christmas, which falls on 21st December this year. The earlier Saturday (14th December) is the second busiest shopping day before Christmas.

Avoid delays by shopping and travelling on different days outside the busiest periods. Perhaps you can take time out to do your Christmas shopping on a weekday, or travel on the Tube outside peak times.

Planning your route

If you’re taking a whole day out to do as much of your Christmas shopping as possible, planning your route ahead is the key. Take advantage of the numerous apps available where you can see live updates on London’s transport system in real-time.

Particularly useful is the Transport for London status updates site, detailing the current service and disruptions on every Underground station and line. Another popular site for real-time travel information is the Tube Map for London Underground app.

Try to plan your trip avoiding the busiest times and days, avoiding any stations or lines where disruptions may occur due to maintenance works, or other factors. This should keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Strike action

Keep track of whether there are any Tube strikes looming that may disrupt your festive travel plans. Staff on the Victoria Line have been involved in a dispute with London Underground. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union earlier announced a 24-hour strike from 10pm on 27th November.

If the issues aren’t resolved, there have been threats of possible further strikes in December, although nothing has been confirmed yet. The RMT union called the strike after accusing London Underground bosses of “breaking promises” in relation to agreements they had reached during earlier talks on staff pay and amenities.

Christmas period

The Underground will be up and running on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. On Christmas Eve, the services will finish early and there will be no night Tube. There are no services at all on Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day, the Underground will be running a reduced service. Between Monday 23rd December 2019 and Thursday 2nd January 2020, most of the Tube services will be running, but there will be some service changes.

For a stress-free journey, it’s probably best to check online, or via one of the London transport apps, to find out in advance which services are operating.

LH-PLC helps keep travellers comfortable on British rail systems, thanks to our expertise in railway air conditioning services.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

HS2: The Future

The Underground Map

Plans are in the pipeline for a new high-speed railway in the UK – where trains can travel at up to 225 mph. The High Speed 2 project, known as HS2, is seen as the future of rail travel, with a service that is set to serve London, Manchester, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Crewe, Leeds, Manchester airport and Birmingham airport.

More of us than ever are using Britain’s railways, with demand for rail travel doubling in the past 20 years – passenger numbers continue to grow. The national rail network consists of a mixture of fast, slow, non-stop and stopping trains, so we’re not getting the most out of the infrastructure.

Today’s rail problems

Many different trains are competing for a limited amount of space, leading to trains running late, overcrowded carriages and unreliability. The current network has been continually upgraded over the past ten years, but as demand increases, the problems are persisting. Even upgraded sections of the network are beginning to struggle again, with some already reaching capacity.

The new HS2 infrastructure is aimed at being a game-changer for Britain’s overstretched rail network. It will free up a large amount of space on the existing rail system. High-speed trains will have their own specific tracks. HS2 will enable the rail operators to provide more rush-hour trains and will also offer the flexibility to meet even greater passenger demands in the future. It will relieve the pressure on existing bottlenecks at larger stations and where branch lines meet on long-distance routes.

HS2 benefits

Creating more space for more trains is expected to take thousands of lorries off Britain’s overcrowded roads, as more freight can move to rail transportation instead. This will make our crowded motorways safer, help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

In 2017, Parliament approved plans for the first section and clearance work has begun for the tracks and stations. In total, the new tracks will link 21 stations. The current high-speed trains have a top speed of 200 mph. New, dedicated high-speed trains will feature wider cars, and they will travel faster.

A second fleet of trains (known as “classic compatible”) will be designed to run on both the new high-speed tracks and the classic tracks. The HS2 line is scheduled to open in phases, starting in 2026. It should be completed by 2033.

Funding sources

The project is being developed by private company, High-Speed Two Ltd., at an estimated cost of £56 billion. Sources of funding have included central government, the European Union’s Connecting Europe initiative and other sources. It was reported that the city of Liverpool had offered £6 billion to build a link to the nearest HS2 line 20 miles away.

A new high-speed link will also be added to the existing West Coast Main Line, north of Lichfield, in Staffordshire. This will provide a link to north-west England and Scotland, ahead of the later phases.

Job creation

Work on the new rail system is supporting 9,000 jobs around Britain, with work well underway on 250 sites across the country already. At peak construction, more than 30,000 jobs will be supported by HS2, including 2,000 new apprenticeships.

More than 320 apprentices are currently on board with the project, and over 2,000 firms have contracts with HS2 – 98% of them are British.

New woodland

Lincolnshire-based business Crowder’s Nurseries has a contract with HS2 to supply seven million trees and shrubs, which will be planted on more than 650 hectares of new woodland being created between London and Birmingham on HS2’s phase one route.

LH-PLC helps to keep travellers at a comfortable temperature on trains across Britain, thanks to our professional railway air conditioning services. Our engineers have more than 30 years’ experience in the sector, providing a service that’s second to none. Please contact us on 0208 947 0886 for further information on our products and services.

How Humidity can Affect Travel

How humidity Can Affect Travel

As much as we all enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, it can play havoc with our health when travelling in heat and humidity. Even though it’s officially autumn, the mild weather is still affecting passengers – especially when travelling by train, or on the underground.

Humidity can have some unpleasant effects on your body. Relatively minor heat disorders can include prickly heat, swelling of the feet, hands or legs, fainting and muscle cramps. More serious health issues include heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

These conditions can occur as a result of exposure to high temperatures over a period of time, causing a loss of fluids. Both heat exhaustion and heatstroke can become serious if they are not spotted and treated quickly.

Why does humidity affect us?

When the body becomes overheated, it cools down by dilating the blood vessels. This directs blood from the centre of the body towards the skin, causing sweating. Dehydration is likely to occur more rapidly in hot, dry conditions.

Humidity reduces the rate of sweat evaporation, which makes it hard to regulate the body’s temperature. Certain groups of people are more vulnerable to the effects of heat than others, such as elderly people, babies and children. People with pre-existing medical conditions may also be more affected by the heat.

Keep hydrated

If you’re travelling in hot weather, there are certain precautions you can take to prevent dehydration. The most obvious thing to do is to drink plenty of water on your journey to remain hydrated. Water becomes your best friend in extreme humidity. Keep drinking plenty of fluids until you arrive at your destination.

Wear light, loose, airy clothes to help keep cool. There’s nothing worse than feeling constricted by tight, uncomfortable clothing on a long journey in humid conditions.

Carry a battery-operated, hand-held fan and keep it concentrated on your face if you feel particularly hot and uncomfortable. These are great gadgets and are available in most supermarkets or chemist shops.

Air conditioning

If you’re lucky, you might be travelling on a service that includes air conditioning – such as by train, or on the underground. The temperature inside the train is a key factor in the overall passenger experience. On a hot, humid day, the feeling of sitting down in a cool, airy train carriage is blissful.

The heating and AC system ensures comfort for the passengers, no matter what the weather outside. It enhances the air quality on the train and stops passengers from suffering from the nauseous type of headache that extreme humidity can cause.

The ideal carriage temperature should be kept between 21ºC and 25ºC, with the aim of maintaining an average humidity of between 60% and 70%. As well as regulating the temperature, properly installed and maintained air conditioning will renew and improve the air quality.

LH-PLC helps to keep travellers cool and comfortable on Britain’s rail systems by providing professional railway air conditioning services.

Our state-of-the-art facilities, staffed by engineers with more than 30 years’ experience in the sector, combine to provide a service that’s second to none. Please contact us on 0208 947 0886 for further details of our products and services.

London’s Abandoned Tube Stations: Why did they Close?

Abandoned Tube Stations

London’s Tube stations serve one of the busiest transport systems in the United Kingdom. Navigating more than 400km of tracks, 270 stations and 11 lines, more than five million passengers travel by Tube every day, including commuters and tourists.

The 19th century Underground transport system was first suggested by London solicitor Charles Pearson in 1845. Developed throughout the Victorian era, expansions and upgrades were carried out continually during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Over the decades, many new stations have been added to help the system flow well, but at the same time, some Tube stations have been abandoned, for various reasons.

 

Aldwych

Aldwych Tube Station is located in the City of Westminster, in central London. It once marked the start of a branch of the Piccadilly line, after first opening in 1907. Initially, it was known as Strand, but its name was changed to Aldwych in 1915.

In the early years, various expansion plans were mooted for the station, but most were unrealistic, such as tunnelling southwards towards Waterloo. During World War II, it was used as an air-raid shelter during the Blitz bombing raids over the capital.

After the war, it was served mainly by a shuttle train and suffered low passenger numbers. It had been earmarked for closure several times and the service was reduced to peak hours on weekdays in 1962, before it was closed down altogether in 1994. Lifts needed replacing and the operators felt it was too costly in comparison with the low income generated by declining passenger numbers.

It has been used as a film set for many popular films. Even before it closed down, filming took place during times when no service was operated. The movies filmed there included Battle of Britain in 1969, Superman IV in 1986, The Krays in 1990 and the horror film, 28 Weeks Later, in 2007. It was also a location for filming the ITV drama series, Mr Selfridge, in 2013.

 

Aylesbury

Aylesbury was on the London Underground network until September 1961. Wycombe Railway opened it in 1894, in an era when the Metropolitan Line had big expansion plans. Aylesbury had lines to Quainton Road and Waddesdon Manor, with trains also going into the Buckinghamshire countryside.

Stretching almost as far as Oxford, other lines branched off to Winslow, Granborough Road and Verney Junction, while a section known as the Brill Tramway operated to Westcott, Wootton, Brill, Church Siding and Wood Siding. Over the years, the expansion plans were shelved.

None of these stations are in use today, although there’s an over ground rail station at Aylebury.

 

Ongar

Ongar Tube Station used to be the final stop on the Central line. However, it closed on 30th September 1994. Today, it serves as a heritage rail line, run by the Epping Ongar Railway, which opened in 2004. Closed in 2007, it reopened again in 2012 and remains operational today.

The Ongar site runs family-friendly events, such as Easter egg hunts, but can also be hired out by private organisations to raise funds for the line’s upkeep. In 2015, according to a BBC report, the station was embroiled in controversy, when bosses hired it out to the producer of adult movies.

The resulting 28-minute adult film, produced by the company, Brazzers, caused outrage among critics, who felt it defiled the heritage site’s family-friendly image! Later, rail bosses described their decision to allow the filming as an “error of judgment”.

 

Great Missenden

Great Missenden Tube Station was once on the seemingly endless Metropolitan Line. It was the first station after Amersham. Opened on 1st September 1892, it was run by the Metropolitan Railway.

Great Central Railway served Great Missenden from 1899 and the station was linked with Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield.

When the Metropolitan Line’s successor, London Underground’s Metropolitan line, became fully electrified in the early 1960s, rail chiefs decided to stop the Underground line at Amersham. Great Missenden has been served only by main line services from 1961 to the present day.

 

South Kentish Town

The former South Kentish Town Tube Station has been labelled the “ghost station” by the media. It was closed only 17 years after first opening in NW5! Planned in the 1890s, it opened in 1907 on the Northern Line.

Sadly, the station was hardly used, despite its modern facilities, including lifts and glazed tiling. It was a favourite of the late poet laureate John Betjeman, who loved railways. He famously wrote of “passing South Kentish Town”, although trains seldom stopped there, because there were so few passengers.

It was run by the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway, who closed the station down in 1924 due to low passenger numbers. The site became a tobacconist’s in the 1930s, with some of the area also occupied by a coal merchants.

Today, it is a Cash Converters pawn shop and is barely recognisable as a former Underground station, although the famous terracotta arches, designed by Leslie Green, are still visible – of the same kind as those found along the Bakerloo, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

LH-PLC helps to keep travellers cool and comfortable on rail systems across the UK by providing professional railway air conditioning services. Please contact us on 0208 947 0886 for further information on our products and services.

Did The British Museum Really Have Its Own Tube Station?

The British Museum is home to an amazing seven million exhibits, including some very important finds, such as the world’s oldest mummy and a royal edict engraved in stone more than 2,000 years ago.

As one of the United Kingdom’s most important museums, it is located on Great Russell Street in London. It attracts around six million people every year, with artefacts that were widely sourced during the era of the British Empire, when they were gathered from all over the world. They have created a fascinating exhibition!

The museum was established in 1753 to display the personal treasures of the late doctor and scientist, Sir Hans Sloane. He bequeathed his collection to King George II, on condition £20,000 was spent to display them to the public.

His treasures included antiquities from Sudan, Egypt, Rome, Greece, the Americas and the Far East. He had amassed 40,000 books, 337 volumes devoted to natural history – including prints, drawings and dried plants – 7,000 manuscripts and various antiques.

Museum’s treasures

The museum first opened to the public in 1759 and, in the years since, it has collected some of the most significant artefacts in the world. These have included “Lindow Man”, the preserved body of a man found in a peat bog by commercial peat-cutters working at Lindow Moss, Cheshire, on 1st August 1984.

Scientists dated the body from between 2 BC and 119 AD. He was believed to have been in his mid-20s and there were suggestions his death may have been part of an ancient ritual, although no-one knows for sure.

Dating from 196 BC, the Rosetta Stone is also kept at the British Museum. It was found in 1799, near the Egyptian port of Rosetta. It is engraved with a decree issued by King Ptolemy V, written in three different languages. It was presented to the British Museum in 1802 by the British Army and has been displayed there ever since.

Tube station

By the end of the 19th century, the museum was so popular that it was given its own tube station to cope with the growing visitor demand! Construction began in 1898 and took two years, before the station officially opened in 1900.

The London Underground had played a big part in the capital’s transport system since it opened in 1863 and it seemed a natural progression that one of the UK’s biggest attractions would have its own station.

The British Museum Tube Station, on the Central Line, was built near New Oxford Street by Central London Railway. It opened to passengers in July 1900 and for six years it was the only such station in the area. However, in 1906, the Piccadilly Line opened a new station on the corner of Kingsway and Holborn.

The new tube station was built by a rival company, which was common in those days. Normally, the different tube companies would share interchanges and stations, but the Piccadilly Line wouldn’t curve round the tight bends to reach the British Museum station. Also, the new Holborn Tube Station was said to be superior, so the Piccadilly Line used that instead.

This meant there were two stations only 250 yards apart, with an interchange section that was oddly curved and very inconvenient. The Central Line already had an extension to Liverpool Street. In 1908, the owners also sought permission to dig a tunnel that would link the British Museum Station to Holborn Station.

Closure proposals

In 1913, however, it was proposed the British Museum Station should be closed, to enable the Central Line tunnels to be enlarged east of Kingsway to link them to Holborn Station, but when the first world war broke out in 1914, the work was never started. After the war ended in 1918, the status quo was retained in terms of the British Museum Tube Station and it continued to operate unchanged until the 1930s.

In 1932, an agreement was reached to enlarge the Central Line tunnels at Holborn, where two new platforms were to be built. Designed by architect Leslie Green, the old station had used a lift to take passengers down to the Piccadilly Line.

Modern facilities

To coincide with the works, a modern new station was designed by Charles Holden, a Bolton-born architect who designed many Tube stations in the 1920s and 1930s. It featured modern escalators instead of the old lifts.

The old Holborn station was replaced and seven new escalators were installed. At the time, four of them, each of which measured 147ft 7ins long, were the longest escalators in the world. A new booking office was also constructed.

The modern new station, called Holborn Kingsway Station, opened in May 1933. New platforms became fully operational for the public on 25th September 1933. In the 1960s, the station dropped the “Kingsway” bit from its title.

Featuring modern signal cabins with power-controlled levers, in addition, the new platforms included emergency tunnel telephones, battery and relay rooms and automatic train stops.

End of the line

Coinciding with the official grand opening of the new station and platforms, the British Museum Tube Station closed for the final time at midnight on 25th September 1933. There seemed little point in having the stations in operation less than 100 yards away from each other.

Before the new Holborn Kingsway Station opened, passengers wishing to switch between Central Line and Piccadilly Line must leave one station to walk down the main road and go into another station. The new development reduced the journey time by almost six minutes.

This wasn’t the end of the British Museum station, as it was used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War.

Demolished

The station was subsequently used until to the 1960s as an administrative office and emergency command post for the military. The surface building was still in existence until 1989, when it was finally demolished. A building society was constructed in its place.

Passengers on Central Line trains can still see the old British Museum station, despite the platforms having been removed, by looking through the left-hand windows as the Tube leaves either Holborn or TCR stations.

Today, the British Museum is open seven days a week and offers free admission.

LH-PLC provides railway air conditioning services to enhance passenger comfort.

Our Wimbledon-based railway air conditioning refurbishment and servicing centre boasts state-of-the-art facilities and our engineers have more than 30 years’ experience in the sector. Please contact us for further information.

London’s Top Attractions by Train/Underground

London is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting an estimated 30 million visitors from all over the world each year. People travel to the capital to soak up the rich cultural heritage and to see some of the most iconic landmarks on the planet.

The great thing about visiting London is that its excellent public transport network, particularly the train and Underground system, enables you to travel with ease around the city. The majority of the capital’s top attractions are accessible via the rail network.

Read on to find out more about the best places to visit and why…

They released six studio albums – their final album before disbanding, The Gift, took the number one spot in the UK albums chart. After the band split, their record label re-released their first 15 singles, all of which entered the UK’s top 100 chart.

Buckingham Palace

Attracting some 15 million tourists to Westminster every year, the top visitor attraction in the UK is the residence of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace. Built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, John Sheffield, it was originally known as Buckingham House.

It was enlarged extensively during the 19th century by architects Edward Blore and John Nash and became the residence of the British monarch in 1837 on the accession of Queen Victoria. The nearest rail station is Victoria Underground and Railway Station on the Circle, District and Victoria Lines – around five to ten minutes’ walk away.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Founded in 1852, the Victoria and Albert Museum, in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is popular all year round. In 2018, it attracted 4.3 million visitors. The museum covers 12.5 acres and features 145 galleries, with a collection of art spanning 5,000 years, from across Europe, North Africa, Asia and North America.

It is home to the world’s largest collections of glass, ceramics, textiles, silver, costumes, ironwork, furniture, jewellery, medieval objects, sculpture, prints, drawings and photographs. The nearest rail station is the South Kensington Underground Station.

British Museum

The British Museum is one of London’s most famous landmarks, attracting an estimated six million visitors every year. Admission is free and the museum is open seven days a week.

Located near Tottenham Court Road and Holborn tube stations, it contains around seven million exhibits. Among the most popular are the world’s oldest mummy the Lindow Man and the Rosetta Stone, dating from Egypt in 196BC and inscribed with a decree issued by King Ptolemy V.

Established in 1753, the museum was built initially to house the collections of the Irish scientist and physician Sir Hans Sloane. It opened to the public in 1759 and expanded during the next 250 years to become the imposing building that sits on London’s skyline today.

Tower of London

The Tower of London is a legendary historic castle, standing on the north bank of the River Thames. It dates back to 1078 and 900 years later, it attracts around 2.8 million tourists annually.

Originally, the tower was a stone fortress built by England’s first Norman king, William the Conqueror, after his victory in the Norman Conquests. Fearing a rebellion, he set about building the biggest stone fortress in history in the 1070s.

Over the years, the building has been continually improved and developed. Today, it houses the Crown Jewels, totalling 23,578 pieces! Visitors can also enjoy a variety of historical re-enactments and tours.

The nearest tube station is Tower Hill, which is about a five-minute walk from The Tower of London.

Tate Modern

Established in 2000, the Tate Modern art gallery is one of London’s newest attractions. Located in Bankside, in the SE1 district of the capital, it attracts 5.9 million visitors a year to view its collection of international modern art. It has fast become one of the world’s largest museums of modern and contemporary art, dating from 1900 to the present day.

It is housed in the former Bankside Power Station, which was built between 1947 and 1963.

The nearest rail stations to the Tate Modern are Blackfriars Train Station and Blackfriars Underground Station.

London Eye

Towering 135 metres above the city, in the Lambeth area, on the south bank of the River Thames, the London Eye is another modern attraction. It attracts more than 3.75 million visitors each year and has won more than 85 tourism awards and further accolades for its engineering achievements and architectural qualities.

The giant Ferris wheel, the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel, was designed by Marks Barfield Architects. It was launched by former Prime Minister Tony Blair on 31st December 1999 and opened to the public on 9th March 2000.

It is within easy walking distance of several London Underground stations, including Embankment, Waterloo, Westminster and Charing Cross.

Travel in comfort

By providing professional railway air conditioning services, LH-PLC assists the UK’s rail systems to ensure travellers have a pleasant trip. We’re helping to keep Britain moving comfortably!

Please contact us on 0208 947 0886 for further information on our products and services.

The Influence of Air Conditioning on Architectural Design

Modern City

Most modern buildings are built with air conditioning systems as standard. The challenge of keeping people cool, with good ventilation and airflow in their home and workplace, has shaped the construction industry over the years.

Builders and architects continually strive to develop innovative new building designs and cooling techniques for our comfort as temperatures rise. The hottest day of 2018 in the UK was recorded on 8th July in Gosport, Hampshire – the temperature rocketed to 32.4°C during the heatwave.

Scientists are predicting record-breaking temperatures all over the world this summer. The Met Office believes 2019 will be one of the hottest years since records began. The average worldwide temperature this summer is expected to be around 1.1°C higher than the pre-industrial level.

This will bring it close to the heatwave of 2016, when 34.4°C was recorded in Gravesend, making it the hottest September day in 105 years. The summer of 2016 had previously set a record for the hottest day on 24th August, when people in Cavendish, Suffolk, baked in temperatures of 33.8°C.

Air conditioning evolution

Rising temperatures have led to an air conditioning evolution in recent years. Prior to the invention of AC, buildings commonly had high ceilings and large windows that would open wide to encourage good ventilation. They were often designed with central open courts to ensure good aeration everywhere.

Ventilation systems were invented to help structures to “breathe”. These systems focused more on sanitation than ventilation – removing dirty air from packed workplaces. In many busy cities, a lack of fresh air in the workplace was a major problem, because employees couldn’t open the windows due to dust.

In the summer, air cooled by ice was often pumped into the buildings, although this technique didn’t work very well. A refrigeration system was invented using underground pipelines, which supplied ice-cooled air for the interior.

When this didn’t make much difference, a new technique was invented, whereby hot air was sent into a “misting unit”, which was meant to cool it. Then, it was sprayed out as cold air. However, none of these complicated technologies worked well.

Willis Carrier

New York engineer Willis Carrier had invented air conditioning in 1902 and patented his creation in 1906. However, it wasn’t widely used in workplaces or people’s homes until the 1950s.

When artificial refrigeration was launched, air was passed through water to cool it down. The method was first used in industry and was later customised for people’s homes.

Buildings were also modified and a system called “thermo ventilation” became popular. Although technically advanced, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, but it did offer comfort and convenience.

Architects designed homes with a cooler layout incorporating a flat roof, overhanging eaves and even glass walls, where wind ventilation helped keep them cool. It was thanks to modern engineering that these steel and glass structures were possible.

Commercial buildings adapted the “glass box” design and used opening windows and sun breakers to make them cooler. To a degree, this was a success, although it wasn’t 100% effective. The design was popular because it cut down on cooling and cleaning costs, with less heat and dirt entering the building.

Cinema air conditioning

Today, air conditioning is commonplace in just about every commercial building and also in many homes. It changed the face of going to the cinema, boosting customer numbers, as no-one enjoyed sitting in a hot, stuffy auditorium.

The first air-conditioned cinema was the Rivoli Theatre, in Times Square, New York. In 1925, Carrier installed his innovative “refrigerating plant” at a cost of $100,000, creating a comfortable, controlled temperature. Summertime box office receipts improved and the Rivoli took advantage of its investment by inviting people in to experience its “refrigeration plant” and escape the “sweltering” heat outside.

By 1930, more than 300 cinemas had followed the Rivoli’s lead and installed air conditioning. It was a selling point that they were “cooled by refrigeration” and they did much better at the box office than their competitors who didn’t have air conditioning.

It was said that air conditioning helped establish the tradition of the “summer blockbuster”, as studios released big movies during the summer, safe in the knowledge that plenty of people would flock to the cool cinema to have some respite from the heat outside.

Skyscrapers

Another type of building which has benefited greatly from air conditioning is the skyscraper. The first skyscraper was the Home Insurance Building, which opened in Chicago in 1884. It was a challenge keeping the workforce cool and it was reported that the windows were frequently left open for ventilation.

Techniques used for ventilation in skyscrapers were the same as those used in regular buildings, such as high ceilings, central open courts and light wells – the open area or vertical shaft in the centre of the building. In the modern era, it’s virtually unheard of to have the windows of a skyscraper open.

Built in 1932, the first high-rise building to have modern air conditioning was considered to be the PSFS Building in Philadelphia, which was designed by George Howe and William Lescaze.

Two decades later, with further advances in technology, Lever Brothers’ futuristic headquarters in New York had an updated “glass box” design, thanks to architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s talents.

The 24-storey building was the first skyscraper to have a truly modern design, with a ground-level plaza, underground parking, a cafeteria and a fully air conditioned office, creating a pleasant working environment. As well as creating a new, iconic design for skyscrapers, Lever House became so famous that it made the company a mainstream brand.

Air conditioning meant employees didn’t have to sit near the windows to keep cool, so more staff could fit on the floor space, encouraging collaboration.

Renovating older homes

Air conditioning is commonplace in most new buildings in the 21st century. People owning older homes or commercial buildings will frequently refurbish them to include air conditioning. There can be challenges, as sometimes, the old properties don’t have sufficient space to install the necessary duct-work.

In addition, the old electrical systems may not be up to handling the load of modern air conditioning equipment. Some common solutions include lowering ceilings or giving up cupboard space to make room for AC equipment, but it’s well worth it to benefit from the results.

LH-PLC is one of the UK’s leading air conditioning specialists, with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. Please contact us for more information about our market-leading products and services.

Glenn Frey: The Heat Is On

Glenn Frey

Glenn Frey was an American singer, songwriter and actor, who enjoyed success as a solo artist and as frontman in the rock band, The Eagles.

Early life

Born in 1948 in Detroit, Glenn showed an interest in music from an early – he was particularly inspired by the Beatles. Although he began learning to play the piano at just five years old, it was soon apparent that the guitar was his true passion. After brief stints in bands such as The Mushrooms and Subterraneans, Glenn moved to Los Angeles to further his music career.

The Eagles

In 1971, Glenn met drummer Don Henley, and along with guitarist Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner, the foursome were asked to play as a backing group for Linda Ronstadt. Following this gig, they decided to form their own group, The Eagles.

The hits came quickly for The Eagles, with the likes of Take it Easy, Lyin’ Eyes and Peaceful Easy Feeling. Their album Hotel California, released in 1976, earned them a Grammy for Record of the Year, while their Greatest Hits compilation became the first album to ever achieve platinum certification.

Despite the popularity of The Eagles, the band split in 1980. However, they reformed in 1994, spawning a new album, Hell Freezes Over, and a tour. As one of the most successful rock bands of all time, earning six Grammy Awards and five American Music Awards, The Eagles were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Solo career

While Glenn enjoyed success as The Eagles’ frontman, when the band took a hiatus, it was his solo career that started to blossom. He released his first solo album in 1982, No Fun Aloud, and achieved a string of popular hits, including The One You Love, Smuggler’s Blues, True Love and You Belong to the City. However, Glenn’s most famous solo hit came in 1985, with The Heat is On.

The Heat is On

Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey are credited for writing the song The Heat is On, a track included in the 1984 Beverly Hills Cop movie and soundtrack album. Glenn auditioned for the singing role, unsure if it was the kind of track rock stars did and was duly surprised to get the gig. He recorded vocals for the track in one day, returning the next day to record backing vocals and guitar, earning himself $15,000 for his efforts.

The track was a massive hit and became Glenn’s most successful solo effort. In 1985, it reached number two in the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at number 12 in the UK singles chart.

The accompanying music video was also a smash on MTV, where it was the first of its kind to show clips from a movie mixed with footage of the music performers. Interestingly, the saxophone player seen in the video was not the same as the one who originally recorded the part.  The song was also included in Glenn’s albums, Glenn Frey Live and Solo Collection.

Although The Heat is On was one of the biggest hits of the 1980s, it is still a popular choice of tune at sporting events today, helping to pile pressure onto visiting teams.

Following this chart success, Glenn went on to record another soundtrack, You Belong to the City, for the hit TV series, Miami Vice. He also contributed to vocals on soundtracks for the films Ghostbusters II and Thelma & Louise.

He also enjoyed a brief acting career, making guest appearances in Miami Vice and Nash Bridges, as well as pivotal roles in Let’s Get Harry and Jerry Maguire.

If the heat is on where you are, there’s no need to get hot and bothered. With the high-quality range of air-cooling products available from LH-PLC, you can be as cool as a cucumber!

London’s Underground: The Elizabeth Line

Queen Elizabeth

Work on London’s new Crossrail project, named the Elizabeth Line, commenced in 2009. Although construction is running behind its scheduled completion date of 2018, once fully operational, the line will serve around 200 million passengers every year.

Facts and figures

The new Elizabeth Line will consist of 73 miles of track, 13 of which will travel underground. Stretching from Reading in Berkshire to Shenfield in Essex, it will pass through several major London stations such as Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street. The line will branch off in two directions, to Heathrow Airport to the west, and Abbey Wood towards the east.

41 stops feature on the new line, 10 of which are new. Another 30 existing lines have been given a makeover.

Although the line is named in honour of the Queen, it was originally going to be called the Churchill Line. Adopting the style of other DLR visuals, it will display a purple and white colour for the underground section, and orange and white for the over ground part.

Features

Measuring 200 metres in length and with nine carriages, the trains are expected to be twice as long as standard underground trains. They’ll come with free WiFi, air-con and ample space for buggies and wheelchairs. Energy efficiency has been given a priority, as trains will use almost a third less energy.

Purpose

The idea behind the new line is to ease congestion on other well-used lines. In particular, the Elizabeth Line serves five stops also used by the Central Line, so it should make this line less crowded, especially during peak times. Pressure will also be taken off the busy District Line.

Passengers travelling from central London to Heathrow Airport using the Elizabeth Line will also see 20 minutes slashed off the journey time, while also easing pressure on the Jubilee link to the airport.

Capacity on London’s transport rail systems will be boosted by 10% when the line is fully functional, with half a million passengers likely to use the line each day. 24 trains will run hourly in each direction, carrying up to 1,500 passengers per train.

Transport for London (TfL) claims the new line could generate over £200m annually, boosting the economy by £42 billion.

Costs and timescales

The new Crossrail project is likely to cost around £17.6 billion, with much of the government’s £2 billion bailout cash already being eaten into. Delays are costing £30 million per week, with TfL claiming it’s missing out on earning £170 million from passenger fares.

Although the Elizabeth Line has missed its scheduled completion date of December 2018, experts hope it should be ready by the end of this year. However, this date could get pushed back if further delays persist.

Work still needs to be carried out on the infrastructure of stations and tunnel interiors, as well as reliability and safety testing on the signalling systems. During the construction of the line, there has also been significant disruption in central London.

Building a new railway has always been a time-consuming and challenging project, even when the first line in England was built in 1830, between Liverpool and Manchester. Work was done by hand back then to build the 35 miles of track, using shovels, picks and wheelbarrows.

Thankfully, advances in technology now means that much of today’s railway construction work is done by sophisticated computers and machinery.

Despite the setbacks, part of the Elizabeth Line running from Liverpool Street to Shenfield has been operational since June 2017. Once fully completed, passengers can expect to pay the same price for zones 1-6 as other Tube prices, although it will cost more to travel to Heathrow.

Further development is expected on London’s transport system in the future, with Crossrail 2 on target for 2030, as well as extensions to the Northern and Bakerloo Lines. New trains fitted with air-con systems should also be up and running in the next few years.

London’s transport system relies heavily on state-of-the-art, railway air-con services. For the best in air-con and its installation and maintenance, give LH-PLC a call.

The Hollies: The Air That I Breathe

The Hollies

British pop group The Hollies have been in the music industry for an amazing 57 years. They shot to stardom in 1963 with their first single and went on to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, after a hugely successful career.

The band formed as a duo initially, after school friends Allan Clarke and Graham Nash decided to launch a skiffle group in the late 1950s. They then changed their musical style into a vocal and guitar duo in the mould of the Everly Brothers and called themselves Ricky and Dane Young.

Eventually, Clarke and Nash joined a Manchester band called The Deltas in 1962, consisting of lead guitarist Vic Steele, bass player Eric Haydock and drummer Don Rathbone. They changed their name to The Hollies for a Christmas gig at Manchester’s Oasis Club.

Various band members have come up with different reasons for the name change. Legend has it that they wanted a name that was fitting for Christmas, although it has also been suggested that they admired Buddy Holly and chose their name as a tribute to the late star, who died in 1959.

Debut record

In January 1963, playing at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club, The Hollies were spotted by Parlophone’s assistant producer, Ron Richards, who invited them for an audition with the record label. He went on to sign the band and was their producer until 1976.

Their first single, a cover version of the 1961 single (Ain’t That) Just Like Me, by the Coasters, reached number 25 in the UK singles chart. Their second single, another cover of a Coasters’ song (Searching) peaked at number 12.

They became known as a covers band and enjoyed more chart success by recording the likes of Doris Troy’s Just One Look in February 1964.

Although they were writing their own material, Richards was initially reluctant for them to release it, as they had a successful formula with cover versions. Finally, in September 1964, they released their first original song, We’re Through, which peaked at number seven in the UK.

Biggest hit

A succession of hit records followed throughout the 1960s and ’70s, including their most famous song, The Air That I Breathe. Released in 1974, it peaked at number two in the UK and number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. To establish their reputation as a global success, the single also charted in Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Canada.

The song was a return to recording cover versions, as it had been written as a ballad in 1972 by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood. Hammond released it on his 1972 album, It Never Rains in Southern California. The version by The Hollies, two years later, was by far the most well-known.

It sparked a host of other cover versions, including recordings by Olivia Newton-John in 1975, Julio Iglesias in 1984, Barry Manilow in 1996, K D Lang in 1997 and Simply Red in 1998, to name but a few.

Lyrics

The lyrics were penned by Hazlewood and Hammond in California and were narrated by a man singing to the woman he loved. He was saying he could do without sleep, light, sound, cigarettes and even food, as long as he had her love.

English composer Hammond explained that his short-lived affair with a woman whom he loved inspired the lyrics. He had moved to California to be near her, but after their romance ended, he felt lonely and longed to be back with his family.

It was at this point that he wrote the song, containing the classic lyrics, “Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.”

He told Hazlewood how he felt and they came up with the emotional, heartfelt lyrics. The specific words, “The air that I breathe,” were written for a less romantic reason, however. Hammond said the first time he experienced smog was when he moved to Los Angeles.

Every time he woke up, he would look up at the Hollywood Hills and see a yellow cloak of smog, describing it as a “yellow monster”. So the line also related to wanting clean air! Hammond described it as a “love story” and one of “ecology” too.

Recent years

This was the Hollies’ biggest hit single, although they continued performing, touring and recording, enjoying chart success up to 2010, when their album, The Midas Touch, reached number 23 in the UK chart.

There have been various personnel changes over the years and the current line-up comprises Tony Hicks, Ray Stiles, Bobby Elliott, Peter Howarth, Ian Parker and Steve Lauri.

Their most recent tour, A Highway of Hits, began in Southport in March 2018 and ended in Sweden in October 2018. The band has announced a live gig in Amsterdam in March at the AFAS Live arena.

For the air that you breathe

LH-PLC helps to regulate the “air that you breathe” on the London Underground, keeping travellers comfortable on the UK’s busiest rail system with our professional railway air conditioning services.

Engineers at our railway air conditioning refurbishment and servicing centre have more than 30 years’ experience in this specialist sector. Please contact us on 0208 947 0886 for further information.