The Anonymous Widower

A Walk Around Abbey Wood Station

I took these pictures as I walked in a circle around Abbey Wood station.

I walked along Harrow Manorway, crossed to the Sainsburys before walking along Felixstowe Road, where I walked for a couple of hundred yards towards Plumstead.

I used the new footbridge to cross the railway and then walked back through the side-streets to the station.

Not a country walk, but it does give some good views of the station and the Crossrail lines in the area.

Incidentally, the new footbridge has some clear panels to allow photographs.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

A couple of days ago I went to Abbey Wood station to see how the new Crossrail station was progressing. My pictures are here in Abbey Wood Station – 29th August 2016.

Those pictures made me wonder how Crossrail continued past the station and what the track was like to Belvedere station.

So I took a train to Belvedere and back and took these pictures.



It looks like two more tracks or sidings are being created on the North side of the Southeastern tracks.

There would appear to be a concrete track-bed being built.

Belvedere station is extremely tight for space and putting another two tracks through would look to be very difficult.


I still haven’t got any definite view as to whether Abbey Wood station, will have either of these layouts.

  • Platforms 1/2 is Southeastern and Platforms 3/4 are Crossrail.
  • Platforms 1/2 are towards London and Platform 3/4 are away from London, with cross-platform interchange between Southerneastern and Crossrail in both directions.

One thing that surprised me, as I waited to come home, was that a Southeastern train ran through on Platform 1 without stopping.

So perhaps we may see Crossrail in the middle and Southeastern on the two outside platforms.


It would certainly allow the valuable cross-platform interchange between services.

A reversing siding or sidings  for Crossrail would be to the East of Abbey Wood station, between the two Southeastern tracks.

Would the two Crossrail lines be bi-directional to platforms 2 and 3?


The only problem would be that the down Southeastern track would have to cross over the Crossrail tracks. Would it do this just to the West of the tunnel portal, so that the lines are lined up in this order from South to North?

  • Up Southeastern calling at Platform 1 at Abbey Wood
  • Up Crossrail calling at Platform 2 at Abbey Wood
  • Down Crossrail calling at Platform 3 at Abbey Wood
  • Down Southeastern calling at Platform 4 at Abbey Wood


This Google Map shows Plumstead station and the various sidings in the area.

Plumstead Station And Crossrail

Plumstead Station And Crossrail

Plumstead station is in the South-West corner with the line to Abbey Wood station going to the East.

The Crossrail portal lies to the North of the line with the under construction Plumstead Stabling further to the North and pointing North-Easterly.

Having been through the area many times on a train, I feel that there is plenty of space around the tunnel portal and I suspect that my proposed line arrangement could be made to work.

  • There is cross-platform interchange between Crossrail and Southeastern services at Abbey Wood station.
  • Crossrail trains can reverse easily at Abbey Wood station.
  • There are no flat junctions, where tracks cross.
  • The only crossing is the down Southeastern line, which crosses over the Crossrail tracks whilst they are in the tunnel.
  • Southeastern trains not stopping at Abbey Wood stations can pass straight through.
  • If Crossrail is extended from Abbey Wood station, the down and up pair of lines can join and split to the East of Abbey Wood station.

If this layout is correct, it is much simpler for passengers than the interchange at Shenfield.

I will watch what happens with interest in the next few months.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Has Scotrail Got The Wrong Sort Of Heat?

This article on Rail Magazine is entitled Train failures and crew shortages hit Borders operation.

This is said.

ScotRail Operations Director Perry Ramsey says the company has identified a fleet-wide issue with the Class 158s that affects them particularly badly during hot weather.

Under heavy load, such as accelerating on steep gradients, the engines can overheat and shut down, leading to disruption.

So has ScotRail  got the wrong sort of heat?


August 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Siemens And South West Trains Unviel The Class 707 Train

In The Aventra Car Length Puzzle, I talked about the flexibility of Bombardier’s new Aventra trains.  The first of these; Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, will hit the tracks in May 2017, when according to the September 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, they will enter service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

A month or so earlier,if all goes to plan, South West Trains will start running their new Class 707 trains, which are being built by Siemens in Germany.

This train is described in the following article in the same edition of Modern Railways.

The original in-service date of the Class 707 trains was July 2017, so having lost a bit of credibility with the late entry into service of the closely-related  Class 700 trains, are Siemens trying to beat Bombardier’s Aventra into service?

Obviously, there a lot of new trains that will be ordered in the next few years and all tricks will be employed.

Reading, the article about the Class 707 trains, three things stand out thoughtful design, flexibility and future proofing.

  • Although, the trains will be third-rail only, the first two trains will be fitted with pantographs during testing, to prove that the concept works. This means the trains could be passed to another operator in the future.
  • No toilets are fitted, but all the wiring and plumbing is there, so they can be fitted later.
  • Siemens have gone for 2+1 seating rather than longitudinal bench seating as on the Class 378 trains, because of the feet-sticking-out problem.
  • The trains fature wide open gangways.
  • The trains have air-conditioning.
  • Unlike the Class 700 trains, the trains have wi-fi.
  • The trains are full of electronics and are information-rich for passengers and drivers.

A lot of what I have said here, also applies to Bombardier’s Aventra.

This is said about the operation of Class 707 trains in Wikipedia.

The Class 707 units are intended primarily for services between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside, allowing the Class 458 trains used on those services to be cascaded back to operations to Reading, which will then allow the Class 450s to move elsewhere. The intention is to run these services, as well as others via Staines, and some mainline services to Basingstoke, as ten-car trains with pairs of Class 707s.

So the lack of an end gangway will mean that the trains can’t run as a true ten-car train.

Of the other variants of these trains; Class 700 trains are fixed formations of eight and ten cars, that won’t be working as pairs and the Class 717 trains for Great Northern will have end gangways because of the tunnels they run through.

So I wonder why, South West Trains didn’t go for five-cars with end-gangways or ten-car trains.

Interestingly, Abellio’s order of new Aventra trains for East Anglia includes a mix of five and ten car trains. Will the five-car trains be able to work as pairs and will they be gangwayed? Nothing has been announced yet!

I think the theme running through both train designs, is the customer gets the trains that best fit their method of working.

August 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

London Bridge Station Will Be A Game-Changer For Many Passengers

After my first glimpse of the new London Bridge station, which I posted in London Bridge Station Wakes Up, I have a feeling that the station could be a gam-changer for many passengers.

These are a few of the ways the new station will help. Some are very specific for me, as I live in Dalston, without direct access to the Underground.

London Bridge Station Is Bus-Friendly

Ever since the new bus station at London Bridge has opened, it has been easier for those like me in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets to get to the station, as there are several buses between our area and London Bridge.

But now the top entrance under the Shard is now complete, you can take one escalator to the concourse under all the tracks.

You can also still walk through direct to platforms 10-15, which I often do, as these platforms are the terminals for trains to and from Freedom Pass territory. There’s also a convenient M&S Simply Food, which I regularly use.

I also think that, as the concourse,has better access to and from Tooley Street, this will help those wanted to use buses on Tooley Street.

This visualisation from this page on the Thameslink Programme shows what Tooley Street will look like.

London Bridge Ststion And Tooley Street

London Bridge Ststion And Tooley Street

There seems to be a wide pavement between the traffic and the station.

London Bridge Station Is Reasonably Tube-Friendly

The main London termini serving the South, are not as far as I’m concerned the easiest to get to by Underground, especially from East London.

Victoria and Waterloo are a long way to the West and Cannon Street and Charing Cross are downright difficult to get to.

However, the Northern and Jubilee Lines probably make London Bridge,  the easiest terminal for the South for many to use.

Will Thameslink Be Considered Part Of The Tube?

Since it opened in the 1980s, I’ve always considered that Thameslink should have been considered to be another Underground line.

Although, I really haven’t used Thameslink seriously, until I moved back to London in 2010.

I believe that the following things should be done to make Thameslink better for passengers and increase ridership on the line.

  • Show all Thameslink routes and stations on the Tube map.
  • Allow Oyster and contactless bank card ticketing at all Thameslink stations.
  • Have the same Freedom Pass rules as Crossrail.
  • Run Thameslink stations under TfL design, information and operational rules.
  • Thameslink stations should be manned from first to last train.
  • Disabled passengers should be able to just turn up and ask for assistance.
  • Thameslink should be part of the Night Tube.

As I suspect that as these conditions will apply to Crossrail, surely both lines running under the same rules would be very passenger friendly.

I look forward to the day, when I touch in with my bank card at Finsbury Park and touch out at Cambridge or Brighton.


London Bridge Station Will Be An Easier Walk To The City

I’ve walked across London Bridge in late afternoon on a sunny day and the pedestrian traffic to London Bridge station from the City is large.

It would appear that all the work being done on the Tooley Street side of the station, will open up routes to the concourse under the tracks and create better walking routes to and from the City.

Unfortunately, it’s probably not possible to totally pedestrianise Tooley Street, as there is nowhere for the traffic to go.

London Bridge Station For Cannon Street And Charing Cross Avoidance

Before work on the station started, you could always avoid going to Cannon Street or Charing Cross stations to get a train, by catching it as it passed through London Bridge

But it wasn’t the easiest of connections.

Now though with the new platforms 8 and 9 open, you can see how Cannon Street and Charing Cross services will be handled at London Bridge station.

London Bridge Station And Thameslink

If I needed to use the old London Bridge station to access Thameslink services, it wasn’t the easiest.

But now that I can see how I will access the Thameslink platforms at London Bridge, I will probably use a 141 or 21 bus through the City.

I have a feeling that London Bridge will see a bigger increase in passenger use of the Thameslink platforms, when they reopen, as the interchange at London Bridge will be so much easier than say St. Pancras.

In fact, London Bridge station, just amplifies how bad  the passenger-friendliness is at St. Pancras station.

Island Platforms And Thameslink

On Crossrail all Central London stations between Woolwich and Paddington, would appear to be island platforms or ones where you can walk across between the Eastbound and Westbound platforms without any steps.

If you look at some of the classic Underground stations, built over the last hundred years,  like Angel, Bermondsey, Gants Hill, Pimlico, Regents Park and Southgate, then they are all built to this simple design.

  •  Escalators and/or lifts are probably easier to provide, as these can descend to the central space to serve both lines.
  • A large circulation space can be built between the tracks.
  • When staff are provided on the platforms, it probably means they can be more efficiently provided.
  • Passengers can easily reverse direction, either deliberately or because they’ve got on a  train going in the  wrong direction.
  • The layout might be better for health and safety reasons, if say power fails on one track and passengers need to be evacuated.

It is for these and other reasons, that I think island platforms, should be built wherever possible.

But on the central section of Thameslink, only London Bridge has an island platform.

To make matters worse the idiots, who designed St. Pancras Thameslink station, inexplicably chose to build it with two separate platforms.

Thus, they made say New Barnet to Luton Airport with heavy bags, much more difficult than it should be.

You actually wonder, if that journey will be more convenient, when London Bridge is fully connected to Thameslink, by doing the extra stops to London Bridge and changing trains there.

Probably not, as the extra stops would take twenty minutes or so!

But if they had a good coffee stall and kiosk on the platform at London Bridge, you might think about it.


August 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

It Certainly Caught My Eye!

I am expecting a delivery this morning and when I heard a small truck pull up opposite, I had a look.

Junk And Disorderly

Junk And Disorderly

Well it gave me a laugh!

Twenty minutes later, I’d also done a deal worthy of Arthur Daley to remove some junk from my hall.

It all shows the value of having a good name for your company and using humour for advertising.

Although some might think some of the wording on the truck was a bit sexist, as they are saying they can clear your life of wives, girlfriends, mother in laws and taxmen.

August 30, 2016 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Abbey Wood Station – 29th August 2016

Abbey Wood Station, now appears to have two completed Southeastern platforms.


  • The two Southeastern platforms form a wide island platform, which is numbered 1 and 2
  • It would appear that there will be a second island platform for Crossrail. Could they be numbered 3 and 4?
  • I also think, that both island platforms will be connected to the station building on the overbridge, by escalators and lifts
  • It does seem to me that the space is a bit limited for the two Crossrail platforms and their overhead wires.

All pictures seem to show that the Southeastern lines are on the Southern pair of tracks and the Crossrail ones are on the Northern pair.

But under Future in the Wikipedia entry for Abbey Wood station, this is said.

Abbey Wood is being rebuilt in preparation for Crossrail, due to commence operation in 2018. Abbey Wood is the terminus of one of two eastern branches of Crossrail and will offer cross-platform interchange between terminating Crossrail services (at 12 trains per hour on new line) and existing Southeastern services (along existing tracks). This is instead of continuing services to Ebbsfleet International along existing tracks as those lines are congested and may delay Crossrail services.

Does cross-platform interchange mean that one Crossrail and one Southeastern track will share each platform?

This visualisation of the station doesn’t give any definite clues.

Abbey Wood Station

Abbey Wood Station

If we look at the morning peak and Southeastern trains turn up in Platform 1, with lots of passengers for Crossrail, surely if they’ve all got to go up one escalator and down another to get to Crossrail on the other island platform, it is a inefficient passenger flow, compared to a simple cross-platform interchange.

The reverse would happen in the evening.

So it must just be possible, that each island platform will have one Southeastern line and one Crossrail line.

Those Frenchmen at have this view of the lines between Plumstead and Abbey Wood stations.

Crossrail Between Plumstead And Abbey Wood Stations

Crossrail Between Plumstead And Abbey Wood Stations

The map would appear to show the following.

  • Platform 4 is a bay platform used by Crossrail and it is directly connected to the down (from London) Crossrail line.
  • Platform 3 is directly connected to the up (towards London) Crossrail Line.
  • There is no Crossrail lines shown to the East of Abbey Wood station.
  • There is only one crossover between the two Crossrail lines, to allow trains from London to call at Platform 3 at Abbey Wood.
  • The next crossovers on Crossrail, are at Custom House station.
  • How do trains arriving in Platform 4 at Abbey Wood, get onto the up line through the tunnels?
  • There would appear to have to be changes to the tracks, if Crossrail services are to be extended beyond Abbey Wood station.

I wonder if service levels give us any clues.

  • At present there are eight Southeastern services per hour (tph) running through the station in the Off Peak.
  • Six services go to and from Cannon Street and two terminate at Charing Cross.
  • Wikipedia says Crossrail will run 12 tph in the Peak and 8 tph in the Off Peak.

Surely in an ideal world, if both services have an 8 tph frequency, it should be arranged that they the two services have a cross-platform interchange.

It should all be as clear as mud, in a few months.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

Details Of The New London Bridge Station

These are a selection of pictures showing design details of the new London Bridge station.

One thing that is noticeable, is that the station is very information rich. Are Network Rail trying to get passengers through the station with the minimum of questions asked to staff?

I will probably add some more pictures.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

London Bridge Station Wakes Up

Part of the new concourse of London Bridge station opened at five o’clock this morning.

I got there around 05:30, so at least there would be some light.

Points to note.

  • The concourse is underneath the platforms.
  • Often when this is done, as at Brussels Midi, the concourse is dark and claustrophobic. London Bridge certainly isn’t, as natural light is allowed in and there are masses of LED lights.
  • The concourse is split into an open side and one where you must have a valid ticket.
  • Escalators join the platforms in the centre.
  • The island platforms have three escalators, two sets of stairs and a lift.
  • The first through platform; 8 and 9 for Charing Cross, form a wide island platform.
  • If platforms 4 and 5 for Thameslink, are as wide as 8 and 9, they will be a game-changer for those with limited mobility on Thameslink.
  • Currently, the only dreary public area, is the old cross-passage between Tooley Street and Guy’s Hospital, but that dates from a few years ago and is probably going to be updated.

It is certainly a very good start.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

The Aventra Car Length Puzzle

I think that Bombardier have a very flexible nature to how long a car can be in the new Aventra.

They now have three orders for the train and they can be summarised as follows.

The information has been gleaned from  Wikipedia, Modern Railways and other sources.

Crossrail Class 345 Trains

The Class 345 trains for Crossrail have the following characteristics.

  • 9 cars – Wiki
  • articulated trains
  • 200 metres long – Wiki
  • Around 23 metres long cars – MR
  • 3 pairs of doors per car – MR

Seating will be a mixture of Metro-style and some groups of four.

This article in Rail Technology Magazine says a lot about the design of the trains. This is said about seating.

“The layout of the seats is also different per different carriage, so where people will crowd there’s more space, and at the end of the trains, where people might not be crowding on, there’s more seats. So a lot of thought has gone into the ergonomics of this train.

“But generally, the average journey on this train will be 15 minutes – so what people want is to be safe, comfortable, and air conditioned, but they really want to get on. Capacity is one of the big drivers – but 450 seats if a really good ratio.”

So perhaps the old Tube rule will apply – If you want a seat go to the front or back of a train.

Dividing nine-cars into a 200 m. long train, gives a car-length of 22.22 m, which is probably good enough for around 23 metres.

But if you assume that the two driving cars are identical and the trailer-cars between them are 23 metres long, you get two 19.5 metre driving cars at either end. Given that the train is articulated and there is a need for a Crash-worthiness crumple zone at both ends of the train, it could be that so that the middle cars are identical, that the end cars are shorter, which could be structurally stronger.

Could it be too that all different facilities like wheelchair spaces and transverse seating are in the driving car?

Only a detailed look inside a finished train will find out what they are really like.

London Overground Class 710 Trains

The Class 710 trains for London Overground have the following characteristics.

  • 4 cars – Wiki
  • articulated trains (?)
  • Around 20 metres long cars – MR – Similar to Class 378 trains
  • 2 pairs of doors per car – MR

Seating will depend on where the trains are deployed and will be Metro or traditional, although the September 2016 edition of Modern Railways says its all longitudinal. Passengers won’t like that between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt.

Abellio East Anglia Trains

These trains haven’t been allocated a class yet and this is the best description from this article in Rail Magazine describes the trains.

The Bombardier units will be based on the Class 345 Aventras being delivered for Crossrail, but with the focus on seating capacity rather than standing space. The trains will come in two versions: ten-car and 240 metres long; and five-car and 110 metres long. All will be electric.

Note, if these train and car lengths are correct, the cars are longer than for the Class 360 trains and a ten-car Aventra is as long as a twelve-car Class 360 train.

Two different ways of calculating the car lengths can be used, if it is assumed that the two driving cars are identical for all trains.

Method 1 – If d is the length of the driving car and t is the length of the trailer car, you get two simultaneous equations.

2d+8d = 240

2d+3t = 110

These give a trailer car length of 26 metres and a driving car length of 16 metres.

Method 2 – Car sizes are the same as Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, which are 19.5 m for the driving cards and 23 metres for the trailer cars.

This gives the following train lengths.

  • 10-car – 223 metres
  • 5-car – 108 metres


  • Both train layouts, allow two five-car trains to fit a ten-car platform and if they can, work as a pair.
  • As with the Crossrail trains, I wonder if the driving cars will have all the specials like disabled toilets, wheelchair and bicycle spaces and First Class seating.
  • You could even have different versions of the driving cars.
  • Perhaps only one First Class seating area is needed per train.
  • Would all routes need bicycle spaces?
  • If the trailer cars were longer, then this would mean there could be a more relaxed interior with more space for tables.

Again as with the Crossrail trains, only a detailed look inside a real train, will show the car lengths and the interiors.


It all leads me to the conclusion that Bombardier have a very flexible design.

  • Pictures show the driver’s cab to be generously-sized.
  • Pictures show that the driver’s cab might be cantilevered outwards from the train, which would increase crash-worthiness.
  • I’m tending to believe that driving-cars will all be the same for the driver, but the space behind the cab will be used for special parts of the train like disabled toilets, bicycle spaces and First Class seating. The latter is traditionally placed at one end of many EMUs, anyway.
  • Trailer cars might be of a flexible length between 20 and 26 metres long.
  • Saying you could only have one length of trailer and dtiving cars would be so Henry Ford
  • The number of doors in each car can be two or three pairs.

Bombardier have attempted to allow the customer to procure a train to their precise needs.




August 28, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment


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