The Anonymous Widower

Could The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Be Extended To Ealing Broadway?

In their article on the future of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, Railfuture has a section entitled Benefits for passengers and train operations. It says this.

Electric trains have better acceleration and an Overground fleet of 4-car electric trains would be able to carry many more passengers, relieving overcrowding. All-electric extensions of the service at each end of the route, which TfL wants to run, become possible, such as to Barking Riverside in the east and/or to Willesden Junction/Clapham Junction (even Ealing?) to the west. Some other works would be needed, such as new platforms and subways at Gospel Oak on the through lines.

I agree with the point about extensions at either end of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin), but where in the West should the line go?

Railfuture suggests three choices and there are other plans in the pipeline that could decide where the GOBlin could go!

All options except four have a possible problem, in that trains would have to merge at Gospel Oak and share the North London Line to Willesden Junction.

1. Willesden Junction

This is the easy choice, as there is already a bay platform at Willesden Junction station and space for another.

2. Clapham Junction

Extension to Clapham Junction station would mean the trains going down the West London Line.

I think there are two major questions over extending to Clapham Junction.

Clapham Junction is a crowded station, which probably couldn’t cope with more than the four London Overground services each hour without building a new platform.

But it has to be asked, if the longer trains and better interchange at Willesden Junction would make it easier for passengers along the West London Line to get to the North of the City and thus obviate the need to increase services on the West London Line.

Another important question that has to be asked about the West London Line, is would it benefit from more stations, especially one to serve the new housing developments at Earls Court.

3. Ealing Broadway

The theory goes that because of Crossrail, the Central Line will see a decrease in passenger numbers from Ealing Broadway and that one of the Central Line platforms could be taken over by the GOBlin. This diagram from shows the layout of lines in the area from Ealing Broadway  to the West London Line.

Ealing Broadway Station To West London Line

Ealing Broadway Station To West London Line

It is certainly possible to drive a train along the route and I suspect freight and Network Rail maintenance trains do it all the time.

But is it worth doing?

There is a discussion on District Dave’s web site, which kicks the extension to Ealing Broadway around, that probably comes to the conclusion it might cause all sort of operational problems for the Great Western Main Line and Crossrail.

4. Transport for London’s 2050 Plan

Transport for London’s 2050 Plan envisages some trains from the GOBlin linking via the Carlton Road junction to reach the Midland Main Line and Thameslink. I talked about this in Electrification of the GOBlin.

Doing this has two main advantages; GOBlin trains would not have to travel on the North London Line and there are plenty of places, that could be destinations.

As Gospel Oak’s sole terminal platform would now not be so important, as trains went around the station on existing lines to the South, Gospel Oak station could probably be redesigned and converted into a comprehensive high-capacity step-free interchange between the two Overground lines. This map from our French friends shows the layout of lines in the area.

Gospel Oak Lines

Gospel Oak Lines

Note that in the top right of this map stations at Junction Road and Tufnell Park are shown, which could be joined together in the future.

5. Old Oak Common

The development of an interchange at Old Oak Common will be a big game changer, as it will line so many lines in the area.

So it is a possibility for a destination of GOBlin trains, but if there was a good interchange at Gospel Oak would it just be putting another service into the mix at Old Oak Common for the convenience of a few passengers.

So what would I do?

It is obvious, that electrification of the GOBlin, Crossrail and the developments at Old Oak Common would prompt a sort out of the various lines and services in the West of London.

I would possibly do some station improvements to improve connectivity for a start.

  1. Willesden Junction is not an easy interchange and could be rebuilt to be much better.
  2. Gospel Oak is not a proper interchange and if the GOBlin starts to use the Carlton Road junction, then it will need to be rebuilt.
  3. There have been plans to connect the North London Line to the Central Line at North Acton.
  4. Central Line platforms could be built at Park Royal station.

There are also questions to be answered.

  1. Where does the Dudding Hill Line fit in all this?
  2. Will Crossrail make the western end of the Ealing Broadway branch of the Central Line less important.
  3. Could the Piccadily Line and the Central Line be simplified?

There are so many possibilities.


I doubt that the GOBlin will ever go to Ealing Broadway, although going along the Dudding Hill Line is a serious possibility.




August 20, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Zopa Lobbies For Peer-to-Peer Loans To Go In Pension Pots

My Google Alert for Zopa picked up this article from Yahoo, who got it from the Telegraph.

The title of this post and the Yahoo article says it all.

If pension pots end up in Zopa and the other sound peer-to-peer lenders, just what is this going to do for banks, as it will probably mean that all the decent personal loan business in their hands will go to the peer-to-peer lenders.

I wouldn’t think bank shares look to be a good long term investment.

The growth of Zopa might have an interesting side effect. Imagine a group of friends having a quiet drink in a pub and one of their number turns up in a shiny new car. On discussing the purchase, the buyer reveals they bought it with a Zopa loan, that they got at a good rate, because they have a good credit rating.  So will their jealous friends, decide to do something about their dodgy finance, so they too, can have a decent set of wheels.

Peer pressure can work in mysterious ways.

If it does encourage people to clean up their finances, Zopa will have achieved something, that financial commentators and politicians have been trying to do for years!

I think too, that Zopa, which has just lent its billionth pound, is now getting too big for politicians to stop or even nationalise. Which probably means that money in Zopa is even more secure.

August 20, 2015 Posted by | Finance | , | Leave a comment