Evaluation of air quality at the Birmingham New Street Railway Station

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Abstract

Air pollution from diesel emissions is becoming an increased international concern, and whilst attention has been primarily focused on the automotive industry, concerns have also been raised about emissions from diesel rail vehicles. This paper reports an extensive series of measurements made at the Birmingham New Street station, a major rail interchange in the Midlands of England, with a mix of diesel and electric train movements, which is of particular concern because of the enclosed nature of the platforms. This study was undertaken in collaboration with Network Rail to better understand the environment in and around the station over a longer period to provide a more detailed analysis of the complex environment at the station. The station environment has been considered in terms of the European Union (EU) and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) limits as part of the monitoring methodology, but it should be noted that these limits do not apply in this environment as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulation 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 are applicable. The monitoring campaign consisted of diffusion tube measurements to measure nitrogen dioxide at a large number of different locations throughout and around the station. These were followed by detailed measurements of oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, carbon dioxide and black carbon (a diesel tracer) at a smaller number of sites at the platform level. The results are analysed to give concentrations over a wide variety of time scales, and long- and short-term averages. The effects of ambient wind conditions and individual train movements are also considered. Recommendations are made for possible remedial measures and for future work to more fully understand the physical mechanisms involved.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit
Early online date16 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jan 2018