The Anonymous Widower

Could Beckenham Junction To Birkbeck Be Run On The Zwickau Model?

Look at this map from, which shows the lines to the west of Beckenham Junction station.

Lines To The West Of Beckhenham Junction Station

Lines To The West Of Beckhenham Junction Station

At Beckenham Junction station, there are the following platforms.

  • Two through platforms.
  • Two Westward-facing bay platforms for trains.
  • Two Westward-facing bay platforms for the Tramlink.

But the real problem of operation of the section of line through Beckenham Junction station is that, both the main line and tram line to Birkbeck station are bi-directional, which must limit capacity.

Running Under The Zwickau Model

After what I saw at Zwickau and wrote about in Riding The Vogtlandbahn, I feel that a similar solution could be applied to this section of line.

The following would be done.

  • The current Tramlink line would be for all Westbound trams and trains.
  • The current heavy rail line would be for all Eastbound trams and trains.
  • Both lines would have no third rail electrification and would be electrified for trams only.
  • All trams using the line would be identical to now.
  • All trains using the line would need to have onboard energy storage. I suspect some Class 377 trains could be modified to work the required services.
  • All platforms would need to be adjusted to give step-free access to the two type of vehicles.
  • There would need to be adjustment to the crossings and tram electrification at Beckenham Junction.

The whole plan is very similar to that carried out and working successfully between Zwickau Hbf and Zwickau Zentrum, except that the Germans have the problems of different tram and train gauges and use diesel multiple units.

The Current Services

The typical off-peak service frequency is:

  • 4tph (trains per hour) to London Victoria (Southeastern)
  • 2tph to London Bridge via Crystal Palace (Southern)
  • 4tph to Orpington (Southeastern)

The Orpington to Victoria trains would be unaffected, as they don’t use the changed section of line.

The London Bridge to Beckenham Junction stations would need to be operated by an IPEMU or a train with onboard energy storage, as they’d need the power between Beckenham Junction and Birkbeck stations.

The tram services would be generally unaffected, although they would need to cross over from the Eastbound line into Beckenham Junction, as trains do now.


I can’t believe that creating a double-track railway, that can be used by both the current trams and say Class 377 trains with an IPEMU capability, doesn’t have advantages.

The passing loops on the tram line would not be needed, as Eastbound and Westbound trams would be on different lines.

The double-tracking should reduce train delays.

It would allow the tram frequency to Beckenham Junction to be increased., which might enable a whole lot of possibilities.

I do feel though that the biggest advantages might be enabled, if Birkbeck, Avenue Road and Beckenham Road became single island platforms between the tracks. This would enable.

  • Same platform interchange.
  • Train passengers going East could change to a tram going West and vice-versa.
  • A single lift could be installed at Birkbeck, Avenue Road and Beckenham Road stations for step-free access.






July 23, 2016 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,

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