The Anonymous Widower

A Radical Idea For The Bakerloo Line Extension

I have spent forty years involved in project management, writing software for project managers and generally listening to some of the thoughts and experiences of some of the best engineers from all over the world.

One common thread, which is best illustrated by how the size of lift possible increased in the North Sea in the 1970s, is that as time has progressed machines have got bigger and more capable, and the techniques of using them has improved immeasurably.

The Crossrail tunnel boring machines (TBM) make those used on the Jubilee Line extension or the Channel Tunnel look like toys. But not only are the TBMs bigger and faster, they have all the precision and control to go through the eye of the smallest needle.

If we look at the proposals for the Bakerloo Line Extension, there have been several differing ideas. Some envisage going under Camberwell and in others the trains end up on the Hayes line.

Transport for London (TfL), obviously know the traffic patterns, but do we really want to take the chance of say connecting the Hayes line to the Bakerloo and then finding that it’s not the best solution?

What we should do is augment the services in the area, by providing a good alternative transport mode, that links to some of the traditional rail lines to give even more flexibility. We certainly shouldn’t repeat the grave mistake that was made at Brixton in the 1960s by not connecting the Victoria line to the surface rail lines.

This is Transport for London’s indicative map of the extension.

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

I have reason to believe that the Northern Line Extension may be being built as an extension to the Kennington Loop.

So could we design the Bakerloo Line Extension as a loop starting and finishing at Elephant and Castle calling at important stations?

A possible route could be

The advantages of this simple design are.

1. The tunnel would be excavated in one pass by a single TBM.

2. Most stations would be simple one-platform affairs, with perhaps only large lifts and emergency stairs, to give unrivalled step-free access for all from the street to the train. Surely lifts exist, that are large and fast enough to dispense with escalators.

3. For safety, passenger convenience and flows, and other reasons, the stations could have two entrances, at opposite ends of the platform.

4. The simple station entrances would be much easier to position on the surface, as they wouldn’t need to be much bigger than the area demanded by the lifts.

5. A single loop would only need half the number of platform edge doors.

6. At stations like New Cross Gate, Lewisham and Peckham Rye the lifts would surface within the confines of the existing surface stations.

7. The route has interchanges with the Brighton Main Line, East London Line, Thameslink and other services, so this would give lots of travel possibilities.

8. Trains do not need a terminal platform, as they just keep going on back to Elephant and Castle.

9. The loop would be operationally very simple, with no points to go wrong. TfL have aspirations to run twenty-seven trains per hour on the Bakerloo and a simple reversing loop , which would mean the driver didn’t have to change ends, must certainly help this. It would probably be a lot more difficult to get this capacity at the northern end of the line,where Harrow and Wealdstone doesn’t have the required capacity and the only possibility for a reversing loop would be north of Stonebridge Park.

10. Elephant and Castle would need little or no modification. Although it would be nice to have lifts to the Bakerloo Line.

11. Somewhere over two billion pounds has been quoted for the extension. A single loop with simple stations must be more affordable.

The main disadvantage is that the loop is only one-way.

But making even part of the loop two-way would create all the operational difficulties of scheduling the trains. It would probably be better, less costly and easier to make the trains go round the loop faster and more frequently.

But if a passenger went round the loop the wrong way and changed direction at Elephant and Castle that would probably only take a dozen minutes or so.

Alternatively, I’m sure some New Routemasters would step up to the plate and provide service in the other direction between the stations.



November 16, 2014 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] This links to my proposal. […]

    Pingback by Are There Any Other Places Where A Loop Extension With Stations Can Be Built? « The Anonymous Widower | November 16, 2014 | Reply

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