The Anonymous Widower

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

The Chingford Branch Line has a four trains per hour (tph) service between Liverpool Street and Chingford via Hackney Downs and Walthamstow Central stations.

Those that I know who live in the area, have a few simple wishes.

  • New trains with wi-fi and other passenger-friendly features.
  • More trains to improve services and take the pressure off the Victoria Line.
  • A service from Chingford and Walthamstow to Stratford and Crossrail.
  • Perhaps some new stations.
  • Step-free access at St. James Street and Wood Street stations.

The following sections tackle these wishes in more detail.

New Class 710 Trains

The biggest change to the line will come with the new Class 710 trains in a couple of years time.

Thirty new four-car Class 710 trains will replace the same number of Class 315 and Class 317 trains, that currently work the  Cheshunt and Chingford services.

  • As the number of trains and their length is the same, the service frequency and capacity will be no worse than at present.
  • The trains will be modern and have air-conditioning and all the features that passengers now expect.
  • The trains will be fitted with various driver aids to ensure accurate timekeepers.
  • Nothing has been said about wi-fi, but most other new Aventras will have free wi-fi fitted, so I suspect it will be fitted or there will be a big argument.
  • I am of the belief that all Class 710 trains will be fitted with enough onboard energy storage to handle regenerative braking and short movements not connected to the overhead wires.
  • Onboard energy storage would also mean the trains could be fitted with remote wake-up, so that trains stabled overnight at Chingford, can be driver and passenger ready before the driver arrives to start the service in the morning.

It should be noted that London Overground has taken an option for another twenty-four trains. So could some of these trains be added to the fleet on the Chingford Branch to increase capacity and service on the Branch?

The Highams Park Level Crossing

In an ideal world, more services would be provided on the Chingford Branch to Liverpool Street for the following reasons.

  • The Victoria Line from Walthamstow Central now has the trains to handle passengers to Central London, but the station doesn’t have the capacity to handle them, due to its cheapskate 1960s design.
  • The Chingford Branch has direct access to Crossrail at Liverpool Street whereas the Victoria Line doesn’t connect to London’s new train line.
  • The Chingford Branch has direct access to the North London Line at Hackney Downs and the new Class 710 trains, will mean that North London Line services will be increased.
  • Crossrail could release extra platform space at Liverpool Street for  more London Overground services.

But there is one major problem to increased services on the current Chingford Branch. They must all go through the level crossing at Highams Park Station.

  • There is only long detours, if the crossing is closed.
  • Extra trains would cause significant traffic congestion.
  • Extra trains would mean the crossing would be closed for a large proportion of every hour.

As it is unlikely that the money could be found for a bridge or tunnel at Highams Park, the only thing that can be done, is make sure that all train services be at maximum length, which is probably eight cars.

Obviously, longer trains would help, but in the long term, I’m certain that London Overground would want to run more frequent services between Liverpool Street and Chingford.

I think it is true to say that the train frequency of the Chingford Branch through Highams Park is probably limited by a maximum of eight closures per hour of the Highams Park level crossing, unless the level crossing could be closed or by-passed.

But is maximum use being made of the level crossing closures now?

At present in the Off Peak.

  • Trains arrive at Highams Park from Chingford at 14, 29, 44 and 59 minutes past the hour.
  • Trains leave Highams Park for Chingford at 08, 23, 38 and 53 minutes past the hour.

I don’t think that this means that a Northbound and a Southbound train can share a single closure of the level crossing. This page on the National Rail web site, shows live departures at Highams Park.

If they could, then that would cut the number of times the crossing closed in the Off Peak by half.

Things that will help, is that the Class 710 trains will have extensive driver aids and probably onboard signalling, so the precise timekeeping that would be required, so two trains shared a level crossing closure, could be a lot easier.

Eight trains per hour in the Off Peak in both direction through Highams Park station is a distinct possibility.

This 8 tph frequency could be continued through the Peak, as it’s probably better than the current timetable.

Eight Trains Per Hour From St. James Street To Chingford

So it looks like that modern Class 710 trains running to a precise timetable could mitigate the problems of the Highams Park Level Crossing and allow eight trains per hour between St. James Street and Chingford.

|As there is no other trains using the branch, except moving empty and some engineering trains to and from the sidings at Chingford, there is probably little to interfere with an 8 tph schedule.

South From St. James Street

South from St. James Street station, the trains go through the Coppermill Junction area and cross the West Anglia Main Line.

The Chingford Branch then joins the line from Tottenham Hale to Hackney Downs, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

 

Coppermill Junction

Coppermill Junction

Te map shows Coppermill Junction, where the Chingford Branch Line crosses the West Anglia Main Line, that runs North from Liverpool Street to Tottenham Hale, Bishops Stortford, Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

I suspect that there would be a problem fitting another four tph through Hackney Downs station and on to Liverpool Street.

In Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow, I talked about how two curves would be rebuilt, based on information from an informant with detailed knowledge.

  • The Hall Farm Curve would be rebuilt as a bi-directional single-track connection between St. James and Lea Bridge stations.
  • The Coppermill Curve would be rebuilt to give a connection between St. James and Tottenham Hale stations.

The Hall Farm Curve is the significant one for passenger services on the Chingford Branch Line, as it would mean that the current service of 4 tph between Chingford and Liverpool Street would be augmented by a second 4 tph between Chingford and Stratford.

  • Waltham Forest would get an 8 tph metro service between St. James and Chingford stations.
  • There are extensive bus connections at Chingford, Walthamstow Central and Stratford.
  • The line has good connections to the Victoria Line, the Jubilee Line, the Central Line and Crossrail.

The only infrastructure needed would be the single-track Hall Farm Curve. If the Class 710 trains were to be fitted with onboard energy storage, this curve would not even need to be electrified.

Conclusion

By using the  features of the new Class 710 trains, Chingford can be given 4 trains per hour to Liverpool Street and 4 trains per hour to Stratford, if a new single-track Hall Farm Curve without electrification is built between St. James and Lea Bridge stations.

Related Posts

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

 

 

September 7, 2016 - Posted by | Travel | , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. […] In Improving The Chingford Branch Line, I showed how the new Class 710 trains and some adjustment to timetables could run eight trains per hour (tph) to Chingford, with 4 tph each going to Liverpool Street and Stratford, by getting the trains to cross at the level crossing at ighams Park station. […]

    Pingback by Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line? « The Anonymous Widower | September 7, 2016 | Reply

  2. […] Improving The Chingford Branch Line […]

    Pingback by Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow « The Anonymous Widower | September 7, 2016 | Reply

  3. […] Improving The Chingford Branch Line […]

    Pingback by New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line « The Anonymous Widower | September 7, 2016 | Reply

  4. […] Improving The Chingford Branch Line […]

    Pingback by Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line « The Anonymous Widower | September 7, 2016 | Reply

  5. […] Improving The Chingford Branch Line […]

    Pingback by Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification? « The Anonymous Widower | September 8, 2016 | Reply

  6. […] Improving The Chingford Branch Line […]

    Pingback by Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line? « The Anonymous Widower | September 8, 2016 | Reply

  7. […] Improving The Chingford Branch Line […]

    Pingback by Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded? « The Anonymous Widower | September 8, 2016 | Reply


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