The Anonymous Widower

The Dalston Kingsland Station Problem

One of my local stations on the North London Line is Dalston Kingsland station.

Unlike Hampstead Heath station and the three neighbouring stations of Canonbury, Dalston Junction and Hackney Central, there are no lifts at Dalston Kingsland station and the stairs are narrower without a central rail.

Looking at the passenger traffic at the stations  I have mentioned, gives the following numbers for 2017-18 in millions.

  • Canonbury – 3.0
  • Dalston Junction – 5.7
  • Dalston Kingsland – 5.5
  • Hackney Central – 4.3
  • Hampstead Heath – 3.3

Dalston Kingsland serves almost as many passengers as does the nearby Dalston Junction, but it is a very inferior station.

  • Recently,  a high capacity wide gate-line has been installed.
  • When trains call at the station, it is difficult to get to the platforms, unless you wait until arriving passengers have come up the stairs.
  • There are no lifts.
  • More housing is being built around Dalston Kingsland station.
  • In December 2018, the train frequency through Dalston Kingsland was raised to eight from six trains per hour (tph).

Is Dalston Kingsland station an accident waiting to happen?

Various plans and other improvements will effect the passenger traffic through Dalston Kingsland station.

More Trains Through Dalston Kingsland Station

In Gospel Oak-Barking Fleet Plan Remains Unclear, I calculated that running the current combined eight tph service between Stratford and Clapham Junction/Richmond needs twenty trains.

  • Increasing this service from four tph to five trains per hour to both Western termini, would increase the frequency between Stratford and Willesden Junction to ten tph.
  • It would also require twenty-five trains to run the service.
  • London Overground has six five-car Class 710 trains on order, that will be used to improve the service on the North and West London Lines.

This would leave a spare train to cover failures and maintenance.

So it would appear that Dalston Kingsland station could get a train every six minutes in both directions.

Passengers would appreciate this, but what about the freight operators, that use the line?

Will a twenty-five percent increase in train capacity result in a similar increase in passengers using the stairs at the station?

The Effect Of London Overground Syndrome

In London Overground Syndrome, I described the syndrome like this.

This benign disease, which is probably a modern version of the Victorian railway mania, was first identified in East London in 2011, when it was found that the newly-refurbished East London Line and North London Line were inadequate due to high passenger satisfaction and much increased usage. It has now spread across other parts of the capital, despite various eradication programs.

The North London Line through Dalston Kingsland station seems to have a particularly strong form.of the syndrome.

In December 2018, the frequency through the station was increased by thirty-three percent, but overcrowding in the Peak seems not to have reduced.

Could it be that because the line offers a more pleasant and easier connection between Stratford, Highbury & Islington, Camden, Hampstead, Willesden, Clapham Junction, Acton and Richmond, that any increase in capacity is welcomed and passengers transfer from a more crowded Underground?

There will be more Ducking and Diving!

Crossrail Effects

I suspect only educated guesses can be made, as to what effects Crossrail will have on Dalston Kingsland station.

Judging by the number of passengers, who get on and off Overground trains at Highbury & Islington station, a lot of passengers use the North London and Victoria Lines for commuting and other journeys.

Crossrail, with its connection to the North London Line at Stratford and eventually at Old Oak Common will take passengers from the North London Line and the various connections between the two lines, will further even out passenger traffic.

If it does, it will be Londoners Ducking-and Diving again!

Avoiding Dalston Kingsland Station

I think that some groups of passengers will avoid Dalston Kingsland station.

  • Like me, some travellers have a choice of station.
  • Passengers walking between the two Dalston stations, may choose to use the shorter step-free interchange at Canonbury.
  • As the frequencies on the Overground increases, passengers may find that a less obvious route is better for them.
  • I suspect some savvy passengers take a train from West Croydon at Dalston Junction station and then cross the platform at Highbury & Islington station.

It’s classic animal behaviour to avoid problems and go by a better way.

Northern City Line Effects

The Northerrn City Line between Highbury & Islington and Moorgate stations could have an effect on passenger numbers at Dalston Kingsland station.

In a couple of years, the line will be much improved.

  • Services will be running seven days a week.
  • Elderly Class 313 traiins will have been replaced by new Class 717 trains.
  • There will be a step-free connection to Crossrail at Moorgate station.
  • Frequencies will be significantly increased.

Overall, there will be a new high-capacity line running North-South within walking distance or a couple of bus stops of the two Dalston stations.

I have already started to use the line more, by catching a bus to Essex Road station for a train to Moorgate station. It’s quicker in the morning Peak.

HS2 Effects

I remember using the North London Line in the 1970s, between Broad Street and Willesden stations. It was terrible. But now, when High Speed Two opens in 2026, London’s Mucky Duck which has grown into a swan, will speed you to Old Oak Common station for your journey to the North.

Because many of these travellers will have heavy bags with them, all stations on the North London Line must be made step-free.

Highbury & Islington Station Improvements

Highbury & Islington station was rebuilt for the Victoria Line in the 1960s, when costs were much more important than passenger convenience.

The area outside the station is being sorted, but the plans are starting to be developed to create better and step-free access to the deep level platforms.

A much improved Highbury & Islington station would create a lot of easier routes from both Dalston stations.

Essex Road Station Improvements

Essex Road station has lifts, but is not step-free as the lifts go to well below the platforms, to which the final connection is a long set of steps.

The station sits on what must be a valuable site in Islington, which would be ripe for redevelopment.

Redevelopment of this station will happen and it will make things a lot better for me, as it is within my walking range or a short bus ride.

Bus Improvements

When I moved to Dalston in 2010, there was a good bus service to Highbury & Islington station along the Balls Pond Road.

But now, a South London Mayor has cut this, because I suspect we can use the Overground.

But this assumes that Dalston Kingsland station is has quality access. Which of course it doesn’t!

The buses must be improved along the Balls Pond Road.

Six-Car Trains Through Dalston Kingsland Station

I’ve deliberately left this to last, as it is the biggest and most difficult.

There are two routes through Dalston Kingland station.

  • Four tph on that use the West London Line to go to Clapham Junction station.
  • Four tph on that use the North London Line to go to Richmond station.

One or both of these routes might be possible to be run by six-car trains using selective door opening on the short platforms.

Lengthening the new Class 710 trains will not be a problem, as a few extra coaches would be ordered.

On the other hand lengthening the existing Class 378 trains may be more problematical, as they are out of production. I suppose that two five-car trains could be converted into a six-car and a four-car.

Six-car operation would surely add twenty percent to the passengers going through the station.

The Future Of Dalston Kingsland Station

The extra trains and capacity through Dalston Kingsland station will increase the pressure on the inadequate access at the station.

But some of the other improvements will divert passengers from the station and take the pressure off.

I suspect that Transport for London are hoping this will be sufficient action to keep the station functioning at a comfortable level, until it is rebuilt for Crossrail 2.

But that is a tough ask and could contain a lot of wishful thinking.

Conclusion

Dalston Kingsland station needs lift and wider and safer stairs in the near future.

March 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving Bus Information

The latest bus shelters seem to have video screen for advertising.

The shelter shown is outside South Tottenham station.

The shelter has no bus information.

Would it not be a good idea to incorporate bus information in a window in this screen?

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Improving Safety On Stations

Some of London’s stations have stairs down to the platforms as this picture taken at Hampstead Heath station on the North London Line shows.

Hampstead Heath is a fully-rebuilt station.

  • Each platform has a set of stairs and a lift.
  • The stairs are also divided into two by a central double handrail.

Transport for London have posters everywhere, that say that passengers shouldn’t rush and to hold the handrail.

But accidents do happen, as I witnessed a few days ago at Manor House station.

So would it be safer, if at the top of the stairs, there was a display showing how long it was to the next couple of trains?

It might just encourage people to slow down, if they knew they had eight minutes before the next train, or it wasn’t for their destination.

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

The Mayflower At South Tottenham Station

The steam engine called Mayflower came through South Tottenham station this morning.

It was the first steam special along the Gospel Oak to Barking Line since the recent electrification.

Intriguingly, the locomotive is younger than I am and it has probably had better TLC than I have had in the last seventy years.

The crowd at the station wasn’t that large, but I don’t think there was that much publicity, outside of enthusiasts and the Barking – Gospel Oak Rail Users Group.

As an engineer, I think that the enlightened policy of allowing heritage steam and diesel locomotives to use the main line, is a good one. If it encourages bright students to become engineers, all the investment will be repaid in the long term.

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Funding For Homes And A New Railway Station In North London

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

The government has said, that two major housing developments will be built in London beside new railway stations.

Brent Cross Thameslink

The development and the funding for Brent Cross Thameslink station is introduced by this paragraph.

The larger investment will see £320 million being spent on a new Brent Cross West Thameslink station which will lead to a new community of 7,500 properties being built. This is in addition to the £97m grant awarded in the 2016 budget bringing total government investment £416.5 million.

Other points about the development include.

  • The development is on the site of the Crickjewood depot.
  • The station could be asn interchange with the West London Orbital Railway.
  • A contractor should be appointed this year, with opeing in 2022.
  • Services could be eight trains per hour (tph) in the Peak and four tph in the Off Peak.
  • A public bridge over the railway will be included.
  • There will be new offices.
  • The Brent Cross Shopping Centre will be extended.
  • The £320 million investment will be repaid from business rates from the commercial development.

It all seems to me, that there could be a lot of winners here.

Old Oak Common

The development and the funding for Old Oak Common station is described by this paragraph.

The government will also be providing £250 million so up to 13,000 new homes can be built close to the new HS2 railway station at Old Oak Common.

This scheme provides more properties, but it doesn’t as yet include the commercial development.

Conclusion

London seems to be building more housing, that at any time in my life.

 

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Washington Feels Like An Island’ – Minister Agrees To Consider Case For Bringing Metro To Town After MP Raises Issue In Parliament

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Sunderland Echo.

These are the first two paragraphs.

She asked: “What assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington?”

She added: “Residents of Washington often feel like the town is an island compared with neighbouring cities and towns. It contains 70,000 of my constituents, 70% of whom use their car to get to work.

The Minister thanked the  MP for her comments and said they would be taken into consideration.

Washington station was on the Leamside Line. There have been plans for over ten years to reopen this line to passenger trains linked to the Tyne and Wear Metro.

Under Proposed Extensions And Suggested Improvements in the Wikipedia entry for the Tyne and Wear Metro this is said.

Washington, either via the disused Leamside line or a new route. Present planning may lead to the Leamside line being opened at least as far as Washington as a conventional rail line for passengers as well as freight, although this could be shared with Metro trains in the same way as the line from Pelaw Junction to Sunderland. In 2009 ATOC suggested reopening the Leamside line as far south as Washington.[70] On 12 July 2010 local MP Sharon Hodgson started an online petition on the website of local radio station Sun FM to get the Metro extended to Washington.

It is also intriguing to look at the specification for the new trains, where this is said.

During supplier engagement events in 2018, Nexus have now removed the provision for dual voltage operation from the specification, with preference for passive provision for future battery storage technology.

These are my thoughts.

  • Battery technology is an interesting possibility for an extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro to Washington, as it’s only a few miles.
  • The junction between the Leamside Line and the Tyne and Wear Metro would be easier to build, if trains only went North to Newcastle.
  • Heavy rail could be used to Washington, but on balance it would probably be easier to use the Metro, as where would heavy rail trains turn?
  • There is also a good suggestion to develop a South Shields to Sunderland service. This would balance services to Sunderland, if some Sunderland services were switched to Washington.

There certainly seems to be a lot of support for reopening railways in the North East!

 

 

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

ProRail And Arriva Launch Automation Trials

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

I have posted this article, because it lays out in a simple way, the benefits of digital signalling and Automatic Train Operation.

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hastings Bus Stop Note Lands Homeless Man Job

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first paragraph.

A man who has been living on the streets for nine years has been found a home and job after a teenager spotted his note posted next to a bus stop.

This is a must-read heartwarming story.

My father always reckoned if you wanted something from an individual, company or organisation, that a polite, well-written note often got results.

It’s a technique, I’ve used all my life and it has been successful on the whole.

This guy has just used a modern version, helped by a school-girl and social media.

 

March 22, 2019 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Trains Ordered For 2021 Launch Of ‘High-Quality, Low Fare’ London – Edinburgh Service

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

FirstGroup has finalised an order for five Hitachi AT300 electric trainsets which it will use to launch a London – Edinburgh open access service in autumn 2021.

The trains are Class 802 trains, similar to those used by FirstGroup companies; Hull Trains and Great Western Railway.

These are some points from the article.

  • FirstGroup is targeting the two-thirds of passengers, who fly between London and Edinburgh.
  • They are also targeting business passengers, as the first train arrives in Edinburgh at 10:00.
  • The trains are five-cars.
  • The trains are one class with onboard catering, air-conditioning, power sockets and free wi-fi.
  • Stops will be five trains per day with stops at Stevenage, Newcastle and Morpeth.
  • The trains will take around four hours.
  • The service will start in Autumn 2021.

These are my observations.

Earlier Start

I suspect that the service can’t start earlier, due to one of the following.

  • The lead time in building the trains.
  • Completion of the new Werrington Junction.
  • Completion of the sorting of Kings Cross.
  • Completion of the works at Stevenage station.

The track works will probably be needed to create the extra paths needed on the East Coast Main Line.

Electric-Only Trains

Most other Class 802 trains are bi-mode trains, but will these be electric-only?

Capacity Issues

If the trains prove too small, they can just add extra carriages or two trains can run as a pair.

Timetables

Trains will probably take nine hours for a round-trip, allowing 30 minutes for turnround.

This would mean that two trains leaving London and Edinburgh at six, would arrive back at home after two round trips around midnight.

Conclusion

I think it will be a successful service.

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Government Promises To Look ‘Very Carefully’ At £218m Bid For Second Chelmsford Station

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

The government will look “very carefully” at a £218m funding bid for a new railway station in Chelmsford, Theresa May has said.

It was said in response to a question in Prime Minister’s Questions.

Beaulieu station has been a long time coming.

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment