The Anonymous Widower

Changing Trains At Brixton

These pictures are a record of changing from Brixton tube station on the Victoria Line to Brixton station for a train to Herne Hill.

Note the following.

  • The Underground station is step-free, but the rail station definitely isn’t!
  • Platform 1 at Brixton station for Victoria is only accessible with difficulty.
  • Platform 2 is by internal staircase with artwork.
  • The platforms have two bronze figures on the platforms. I’d like to see more of the bronzes in store in our galleries exhibitied on stations. You certainly couldn’t nick them from Brixton station.

The Underground station is one of the best, but the rail station is best described as unusual.

This Google Map shows the two stations.

Brixton Station

Brixton Station

Simple it isn’t!

How complicated and expensive a new station would be depends on how many connections, you want passengers to have.

Building an Overground station in the sky would be expensive, as height always costs money.

But putting decent stairs and lifts into the existing Brixton station would be routine compared to linking to the Overground.

The only way to connect all three lines would be to rebuild the Argos building as a triple dcker station with lifts and escalators.

But it would be horrendously expensive, even if there were some shops and a lot of flats on the top of everything.

But the bulding would be well connected!

I think that the best that can be hoped for is lifts and decent stairs in the main line station.


November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will The Victoria Line Go To Herne Hill?

The Wikipedia entry for the Victoria Line has a section entitled Possible Future Projects. This is said.

For many years there have been proposals to extend the line one stop southwards from Brixton to Herne Hill. Herne Hill station would be on a large reversing loop with one platform. This would remove a critical capacity restriction by eliminating the need for trains to reverse at Brixton. The Mayor of London’s 2020 Vision, published in 2013, proposed extending the Victoria line “out beyond Brixton” by 2030.

Now that the dodgy crossover on the approach to Walthamstow Central station has been replaced, this extension to Herne Hill station must be higher up Transport for London’s list of priorities, as they try to squeeze more capacity out of London’s railways.

This metro map from, shows the lines around Herne Hill.

Victoria Line And Herne Hill

Victoria Line And Herne Hill

Note the blue lines of the Victoria Line going a short distance past the terminal platforms at Brixton tube station.

The plan calls for these stubs to be extended in a wide loop under Herne Hill station, where there would be a single platform beneath the current platforms.

I think that this was a project that should have some years ago, as it would surely have taken some of the pressure off Victoria tube station, during the current rebuilding.

In the London Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050,  under New Links and/or stations for Strategic Interchange, there is a mention of Brixton High Level, which I wrote about in Could The Various Lines At Brixton Be Connected?. I finished with.

So it would appear that substantial improvement at Brixton could be achieved by creating a High Level station linking the various lines together and perhaps using an iconic lift tower to the ground.

Brixton needs an iconic creation to go with the vibrancy of the area, that doesn’t destroy everything. This could be the High Level station. Having seen the way that the walkway was threaded through at Hackney, I think there are at least one set of engineers and architects up to the challenge.

But building an iconic station at Brixton would cause a lot of disruption.

However, it could be argued and the passenger figures might show it, that another station at Herne Hill might help in giving passengers another way to get on the Victoria Line.

This section is taken from the Transport Infrastructure Plan.

Some examples of the types of schemes to address these issues are an upgrade of the London Overground network to provide 6 car trains and new stationson existing lines, eg at Camberwell, that can plug connectivity gaps and act as development nodes.

Look at the map of the Victoria Line and Herne Hill and you’ll see the orange line of the London Overground passing across and going over the top of Loughborough Junction station. Surely a four-poster station could be built to improve the connectivity. For a start, it would give Dalstonistas like me, good access to Thameslink.

South London often gets overlooked in the development of London’s railways, but done in the right sequence, I think these projects would be a welcome addition to London transport network.

  • Victoria Line Extension to Herne Hill
  • Brixton High Level Station, which would connect the Overground to lines out of Victoria.
  • Loughborough Junction High Level Station, which would connect the Overground to Thameslink.

I would start with the Victoria Line extension to Herne Hill. After all it would be a nice follow-on job to the Northern Line Extension to Battersea.

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Two Bits Of Progress For Sheffield’s Tram-Train

There were two positive articles on the web about Sheffield’s delayed tram-trains.

This article in the Construction Index is entitled Green Light For Sheffield’s Tinsley Chord.

It describes how the papers have been signed and work can start on creating the Tinsley Chord to connect Sheffield’s Supertram to Rotherham. The article says that the track will be ready by the end of 2016.

There is also this article in Railway Gazete International entitled First tram-train heads for Sheffield.

The Class 399 tram-train is expected to arrive in Sheffield at the beginning of December.

So at last something seems to be happening, which in my view is one of the most important rail projects in the country.

Wikipedia has this of places in the UK, who are looking at tram-trains.

Eighteen places are mentioned.

November 22, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

London Overground’s New Class 710 Trains

The Aventra trains on order for the London Overground have now been given a number and are now Class 710 trains.

Wikipedia says this about the trains.

The units will be delivered in two sub-classes; an AC only version with longitudinal and transverse seating (very similar to the S8 units on the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground) for use on the West Anglia and Romford-Upminster services, and a dual-voltage version with longitudinal seating for the Watford DC and GOBLIN services. The AC only version will be maintained at Ilford TMD and the dual-voltage units at Willesden TMD.

So it appears that the trains used on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will be dual voltage, despite there being no existing or planned third-rail electrification on that line.

It did at first strike me as surprising, but then I suspect that it is nothing more sinister than prudent future-proofing, with perhaps some manufacturing and maintenance convenience.

It has to be noted that North London Line services between Stratford and Richmond, use dual-voltage trains.

There has been talk over the years about the extension of the GOBlin at both ends. Only the short extension to Barking Riverside is being taken forward.

For instance, in Transport for London’s London Infrastructure Plan for 2050, this map of lines around Old Oak Common station is shown.

Lines Radiating From Old Oak Common Station

Lines Radiating From Old Oak Common Station

Note the various extensions all centred on the development area of Old Oak Common, that will be even more important if it has an HS2 station.

Could the future-proofing of specifying dual voltage trains, be in case they want to extend services through Gospel Oak onto the North London Line, to Balham, Hounslow and Richmond? All three destinations are deep in third-rail territory.

Dual voltage trains would also be needed, if GOBlin services went to Watford, but not for the extension to Brent Cross – Cricklewood.

In some ways, the interesting extension to the Overground is to Balham, which is a proposed Crossrail 2 station.

At the moment the service on the West London Line is crowded and probably doesn’t have enough capacity. The service is at present.

  • Two London Overground serices per hour between Stratford and Clapham Junction
  • Two London Overground services per hour between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction
  • One Southern service per hour between Milton Keynes and South Croydon.

Perhaps by running some of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line trains past Gospel Oak through to Clapham Junction or Balham stations, may help to sort out a few problems.

Richmond would probably be an unlikely destination, as the Class 710 trains have a car less than the Class 378 trains and getting there from any station on the GOBlin would anyway be a single change at Gospel Oak.

As Hounslow lacks the connectivity of Balham, if there is any extension of the GOBlin, Balham could be the most likely destination.

I think the only thing we can say with certainty, is that having dual-voltage trains on the GOBlin avoids the need to add the capability later, if it is decided to extend the line past Gospel Oak station.




November 22, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail 2 Question Time

I was rather disappointed with the first two Crossrail 2 consultations, that I visited. The people from the project I had met, tended to be managers or in public relations people. I was starting to feel that I would need to take anther route to find out about Crossrail 2, so I could answer questions of those worroed that the project might change their lives, in a way they would not welcome.

Recently, I have been to two presentations by Transport for London.

Camden Town Station – This presentation was very professional and I was able to speak to the Project Manager, who explained what they were proposing, which I detailed in The Camden Town Upgrade Exhibition.

Hackney Central Station – This smaller presentation was also very professional, despite just being a series of architect’s visualisations on easels in a library. But they did have people there who understood the whys and wherefores of the project. My visit is detailed in A First Glimpse Of The Planned Hackney Central Station.

Late last week, I came across another presentation and as it had just opened for the day, I went in and asked if any of the engineers were present.

This time there were at least two.

The following sections describe the chat I had with one of the engineers. Some of the things I say here, have been suggested by the words we had on a subject.

My Blog

It turned out they had seen this blog and asked if they could use some of the pictures in their documentation, as up-to-date pictures are difficult to find.

The answer is of course yes, anyone can use my pictures, provided they tell me!

I take pictures for my own enjoyment, and if they help someone in their business, profession or personal life, then I’m pleased to help.

Four-Tracking Along The Lea Valley

The main West Anglia Main Line from Liverpool Street to Cambridge and Stansted Airport, via Tottenham Hale, Broxbourne and Bishops Stortford is generally a twin-track railway, but Network Rail have plans to add two extra tracks, which would be conventionally a pair of slow and a pair of fast lines.

I asked if the two new lines would be on the East of the current tracks.

The answer was yes, with a qualifier of tricky! I think you can say that again if you look at some of the stations like Brimsdown, which I talked about in Before Crossrail 2 – Brimsdown.

I think that something radical will end up being done up the Lea Valley.

My plan would of course be impossible as I’m not knowledgeable enough.

It would be something like this.

  • Create separate fast and slow railways, each of which would have two tracks.
  • Trains on the fast railway would only call at Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne, when they are in Crossrail 2 territory. It would mean that a passenger from say Cambridge to Ponders End, would have to change at Broxbourne. But they do that now!
  • The slow lines would be the Western pair of lines, not the East.

If the slow lines, which would be used by Crossrail 2, were on the west, this might simplify the junction, where the Crossrail 2 trains  enter the tunnel under London, as they don’t have to cross the fast lines.

If Crossrail 2 also incorporates the Hertford East branch, then having the slow lines on the West means that trains for the branch don’t have to cross the fast lines. It might be arranged, that past Broxbourne, the slow lanes go to Hertford East.

Broxbourne Station

Broxbourne station may end up being complicated, but then if the Hertford East branch is incorporated into Crossrail and four trains per hour (tph) go to Hertford East and eight tph terminate at Broxbourne, it can’t be anything else.

  • I would have a series of terminating bay platforms for Crossrail 2 and other services, with the two fast lines on either side.
  • The Hertford East trains would be on the Western side of the station, possibly with a single island platform.
  • Passengers would walk across on the level between the fast platforms and the terminating ones in between.
  • Passengers would only use lifts and escalators to exit the station and access the Hertford East lines.
  • There would probably have to be some way for the Down Fast line to cross the lines going into the bay platforms. Would a dive-under be possible?

Broxbourne has plenty of space as this Google Map of the station shows.

Broxbourne Station

Broxbourne Station

It sounds complicated, but many stations are a mix of terminating and through platforms. As the Google Map shows Broxbourne is a greenfield site with space, not a cramped inner-city one.

Terminating London Overground Services At Broxbourne

I would also provide enough space at Broxbourne for more bay platforms, so that London Overground services could be extended to the station to link up with the long distance services, that would not call at Cheshunt station.

This would not degrade any services, you’d just change at a different station, if say you were going from Stamford Hill to Cambridge.

Stratford And Lea Bridge Services

Services from Stratford station and the new Lea Bridge station are an added complication.

Transport for London needs to answer these questions.

  • Do they want to run Stansted Expresses from Stratford to the Airport from Stratford?
  • Do they want to lumber Crossrail 2 with a service of 4 tph from Stratford to Northumberland Park, which is supposed to be starting soon?
  • How do they get better services on the Chingford Branch Line?
  • How do they get more trains through Lea Bridge station?
  • How do they get extra Overground platforms at Stratford?

I believe a lot of problems can be solved by reopening the Hall Farm Curve and running four trains or more per hour from Stratford to Walthamstow and Chingford via Lea Bridge.

The problem still remains of how you get a decent service between Stratford and the stations from Tottenham Hale northward. At present they have a totally inadequate two trains an hour.

But as Stratford is such an important hub and after Crossrail opens will be even more so, there surely is a strong need for a service up the Lea Valley to Bishops Stortford and Stansted.

So could a 4 tph Stansted train go from Stratford stopping at all stations to Broxbourne, where it continued calling at all stations to Bishops Stortford and Stansted?

Probably yes! But I suspect there are better plans!

There’s even been suggestions of extending the Chingford branch to the airport, through Epping Forest.

Any Crossrail 2 plans must deal with the problems of Stratford services.

Four-Tracking Along The Lea Valley Should Be Done Soonest

With my Project Management hat on, I’ve felt for a long time, that the surface sections of Crossrail 2, should be upgraded to full step-free access before the central works on Crossrail 2 begin.

Four-tracking along the Lea Valley should also be done as early as possible, whether Crossrail 2 is built soon or in a hundred years.


My informant had some interesting things to say about tunnelling.

This will be simpler than Crossrail and hopefully, there will just be a single drive betweenTottenham Hale and Wimbledon.

They would also aim to take as much of the spoil as possible out through the tunnels. This obviously removes the contentious issue of large numbers of trucks in Central London.

When asked specifically about uphill excavation, my informant said they were looking at using something better and would like to do the tunnels first and take out all the spoil through the tunnels.

I was told that they preferred to run tunnels under existing rail corridors, as they did with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link under the North London Line. I think we both agreed that if the Palace Gates line were to be still in place, that the New Southgate branch of Crossrail 2 would be easier.

I was also told that some of the ground conditions in South London are very poor, but that there is a band of London clay to the West of the route. This partly explains the substitution of Balham for Tooting Broadway. But it would appear Balham may be challenging, although it is a station, where a passenger-friendly connection between Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line can be built.

Crossrail 2 At Dalston

My informant had some specific things to say about Crossrail 2 at Dalston.

Crossrail 2 will have to avoid the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at Dalston and at the moment, they could go over the line.

This would make the two station shafts at Dalston shallower, which would have all sorts of implications, both positive and negative. There would be less spoil to remove when building the shafts and as height is always expensive in building, it could lower the cost.

Politics And Economics

We were agreed that these would be the big drivers of the development of Crossrail 2.

Crossrail, Archaeology And Public Relations

Crossrail has used archaeology to good effect to publicise what they are doing.

Archaeology will not be an issue with Crossrail 2, but they must find something to fire the public’s imagination.

The first thing that should be done is sort out the surface sections that will be used for Crossrail 2. This would include.

  • Four-tracking the West Anglia Main Line
  • Making all stations on the surface sections step-free and Crossrail 2-ready.
  • Rebuilding stations like Broxbourne, Tottenham Hale and Wimbledon.
  • Sort out the relationship between trains up the Lea Valley, the London Overground and the stations at Stratford and Stansted Airport.
  • Sort out the various branches served from Wimbledon.
  • Increase services as best we can on the existing lines, that will be part of Crossrail 2.

If this could be done in the next few years, it would demonstrate that Crossrail 2 are serious about London.

I feel strongly that we can use Crossrail 2 as also an education project, perhaps specifically in the areas of engineering, architecture and how infrastructure projects benefit communities.

Crossrail was designed before the explosion in social media and Crossrail 2 should be taking advantage of it to enthuse children of all ages.

Crossrail 2 is London’s railway and there is a lot more it can do for the City, other than just people around.


I had a good and very fruitful discussion.

Crossrail 2 should make sure that informed people are available at all consultations.



November 22, 2015 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

The Development Of White Hart Lane Stadium And Station

This report in Construction News is entitled Mace selected as construction partner on £400m Spurs stadium job.

The report talks about the next major milestone, being the decision of Haringey Council’s Planning Committee on December the 8th.

Let’s hope that this drawn-out saga is at last getting near to the next phase.

This picture taken from the report, shows an architect’s impression of the area after the stadium has been built.

New White Hart Lane Stadium

New White Hart Lane Stadium

The image is from the South and you can see the railway line through White Hart Lane and Bruce Grove stations to the left of the stadium and Tottenham High Road.

It also shows a direct approach from the stadium to the railway line, where it will connect to a new southern entrance to White Hart Lane station.

This Google Map shows the area now.

White Hart Lane Stadium And The Rail Lines

White Hart Lane Stadium And The Rail Lines


  • The site acquired by Tottenham Hotspur around the current stadium is substantial and there is plenty of space to create one of the best stadia in London.
  • White Hart Lane station  is to the West of the stadium site on the Lea Valley Lines on the West side of Tottenham High Road. It is a walk of about two hundred metres from the stadium.
  • Northumberland Park station is to the East of the stadium on another of the Lea Valley Lines. It is a walk of about five to six hundred metres from the stadium.
  • Note the Sainsbury Superstore on the North Side of the already cleared site for the new stadium.

The relationship of the new stadium to White Hart Lane station, is illustrated by this enlarged Google Map of the proposed route between the two.

White Hart Lane Station To Stadium

White Hart Lane Station To Stadium

Note how the platforms of the current station extend to Whitehall Street, so the proposed new Southern entrance to the station, would be on a walking route to the front of the stadium. Plans on the web hint, that a wide high-capacity walking route will be provided between the station and stadium.

As  to the design of the station itself, I found this image on the web.

Proposed Southern Entrance To White Hart Lane Station

Proposed Southern Entrance To White Hart Lane Station

Bruce Castle, which is a magnificent Grade 1 Listed sixteenth century manor house is on the other side of the line , in the extensive Bruce Castle Park.

Bruce Castle Park

Bruce Castle Park

So the design of open arches would link the whole area together.

As I’ve said many times on this blog, all stations should provide a proper entrance into their destination!

It should also be noted, that the current White Hart Lane station has platforms capable of taking the new Class 710 trains of eight or more carriages.  So there should be enough capacity to get passengers to the new stadium by public transport, especially as the other side of the stadium can be walked from the slightly further away, Northumberland Park station, which if plans are carried through could be on Crossrail 2 by 2030.

If Tottenham Hotspur, with the help of Haringey Council and Transport for London, don’t bring all this together to create one of the best stadiums in Europe, then they don’t deserve to be successful.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Sport, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Whitechapel Station – Steelwork Against The Sky

I took these pictures of the structures above the East London Line at Whitechapel station, as it is being rebuilt for Crossrail.

I do hope that when the station is completed, that a lot of the roof is clear to let in the natural light.

This image from the Crossrail page for Witechapel station gives hope.


I once wrote Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be The Jewel In The East?

We’ll see in a couple of years!

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

From Monument To Westminster Along The East-West Cycle Superhighway

I walked the East-West Cycle Superhighway in two sections, as I crossed the bridges to have lunch on the South Bank by the Tate Modern.

It certainly is getting a move on, with some sections almost ready to open.

A few notes follow.

The Arthur Street Site

A new block is being created on this site, but before that happens, the site is being used to access the underground parts of Bank station.

This map from a TfL document show the site.

The Arthur Street Site

The Arthur Street Site


This fact sheet explains how the Arthur Street Site is to be used. This is said.

To deliver the proposed station improvements there is a need for a worksite in Arthur Street. This site is above the new tunnel alignment, and enables access via a shaft directly down to the new tunnel. This separates the underground tunnelling works from the extensive demolition and basement construction works on the Cannon Street site, facilitating an earlier completion of the tunnelling works and a reduction of the overall impact of the project on the City.

As with everything in the City of London, it all seems very crowded.

Along Upper Thames Street

As the pictures show the Cycle Superhighway is going on the North side of this road.

This road has always been jammed solid with cars, taxis and a lot of trucks.

The construction phase of the Cycle Superhighway isn’t exactly helping traffic flows.

The Millennium Inclinator

The Millennium Inclinator is by the Millennium Bridge and I used it to get up the steps to the bridge, before crossing to get some lunch on the South Bank.

Westward From Blackfriars

After lunch, I crossed back to the North over Blackfriars Bridge and followed the Cycle Superhighway to Westminster station.


As with Cycle Superhighway CS5 from Oval to Pimlico, from what I could see, it seems to be well-designed and built.

I’ll look forward to hiring a bike at one end and riding it to the other.

November 20, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Islamic Scumbags

I watched Andrew Neil’s carefully-crafted monologue on the BBC last night, in which he referred to Islamic State as Islamic Scumbags.

It was a brave and very right thing to do and I hope there are no repercussions.

But his monologue was in the great tradition of the BBC, that started in the 1960s, with That Was The Week That Was or TW3.

It was on late and as I needed to get up early to deliver newspapers, I usually went to bed and my father would wake me and call me down to watch the program.

Perhaps the most moving program was the one they did after the assassination of President Kennedy, which contained none of the usual copious amounts of satire.

We should treat the so-called Islamic State with the contempt they deserve and strong words and biting humour are the weapons we should use!

November 20, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Midland Metro Is Set For Expansion

This article in Rail News is entitled .Major Midland Metro expansion plans unveiled. It lays out how after a devolution deal for the West Midlands there is going to be new lines on the Midland Metro. The article says this.

A new ‘HS2 connectivity package’ will include new tram lines from the HS2 station at Birmingham Curzon Street to Birmingham Airport via Bordesley Green and Chelmsley Wood, and between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill — a destination which was an aspiration of local Metro planners even before the first section opened in 1999 between Snow Hill and Wolverhampton St George’s.

It is certainly a substantial expansion.

Birmingham Curzon Street to Birmingham Airport

The history of the proposed Line Two linking to Birmingham Curzon Street station for HS2 and Birmingham Airport, is given in Line Two East Side Extension of the Wikipedia entry for the Midland Metro.

There would appear to be no mention of Bordesley Green and Chelmsley Wood, so I would assume that the route has been changed.

Wikipedia also mentions serving Coventry station, but the Rail News article doesn’t. I suspect that as Coventry is part of the devolution plans, that Line Two will go to the city!

Wednesbury To Brierley Hill

This proposal for this line, which links both Birmingham and Wolverhampton to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre, is better developed and some details are given in this section of the Wikipedia entry for the Midland Metro.

The proposal utilises the disused South Staffordshire Line, which to complicate matters Network Rail want to open for freight.

In January I published Will Dudley Get A National Very Light Rail Innovation Centre?, which also throws some extra factors into the knitting.

In the Midland Metro entry for this line, this is said.

Centro has stated that the WBHE would provide 10 trams per hour, alternately serving Wolverhampton and Birmingham. Journey time from Brierley Hill to West Bromwich was stated as 31 minutes.

So if it is intended that this line runs trams to both Birmingham and Wolverhampton and it will also carry freight, then it seems to me, that by using something like Class 399 tram-trains, you can be all things to all stakeholders.

If you look at the South Staffordshire Line north of the proposed junction with the Midland Metro, it is a mass of working and disused railway lines, that ultimately terminate on the West Coast Main Line at Lichfield Trent Valley station.

Given that the article in Rail News talks of improvements to the West Coast Main Line, I can’t believe that in the future the South Staffordshire Line is not developed as a cross city line from Lichfield to Stourbridge.


The West Midlands is going to see a lot of rail and tram development in the next few years.

Councillor David Lawrence, who chair of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority,  is quoted as saying this about the schemes.

The agreement will see Whitehall make an annual contribution of £40 million for 30 years to support investment worth £8 billion, which it claimed will support the creation of more than half a million jobs.

Will the Brummies go for it?


November 20, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment


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