The Anonymous Widower

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

The only connection between Crossrail or Thameslink and Continental services is at St. Pancras, where Thameslink has a better connection to these services, than it does to any other of the several lines at that station.

  • Ebbsfleet International station almost looks to me, that it was designed so that everybody catching a train there would have to drive to the station.
  • The only stations connected to Ebbsfleet International by domestic services are those stations served by the Highspeed services into St. Pancras.
  • So you might as well go into St. Pancras first! But then you’re faced with a very bad connection to Continental services.
  • I have to assume, that the architect of St. Psncras station was not a serious user of trains with a heavy bag.
  • At present all stations between Gravesend and Faversham have a two trains per hour (tph) service into Ebbsfleet International.
  • I feel that in the future Ebbsfleet International may become more important for Continental services, as there must be a time when St. Pancras runs out of platform space.

This may be adequate if you live in the Medway Towns within walking distance of a station, but as a design for a passenger-friendly railway, it’s total crap.

As an example, I met someone a few weeks ago, whose daughter lives in Swanley and as she doesn’t drive, she has to take a mini-cab to Ebbsfleet.

I suspect that some of Network Rail’s finest have a solution using existing infrastructure that improves the link.

This is a Google Map that shows both Northfleet station and platforms 5 an 6 at Ebbsfleet International station.

Lines Between Ebbsfleet International And Northfleet Stations

Lines Between Ebbsfleet International And Northfleet Stations

Consider these points about the map.

  • Northfleet station is at the top, with the North Kent Line running through it.
  • Gravesend station is the next station in a South-East direction on the North Kent Line.
  • There are a couple of freight lines or sidings running parallel and to the West of the North Kent Line.
  • Freight lines curve away to the East and the river.
  • Crossrail tunnel spoil was taken away from Northfleet.
  • Platforms 5 and 6 at Ebbsfleet International station, are on the diagonal rail line going across to the North of the lake and the main station..

Consider these general points.

  • Gravesend to Ebbsfleet International is scheduled to take four minutes.
  • The East Kent Resignalling Project has recently been completed.
  • Crossrail’s spoil trains probably don’t go to Northfleet any more.

Consider these about Gravesend station.

  • There is a twelve-car bay platform facing towards London and Ebbsfleet International.
  • The London-bound platform 1 at Gravesend has bi-directional signalling. Why?
  • The station has a new step-free bridge.
  • Crossrail may be extended to the station with a sophisticated, spacious reversing facility/depot at Hoo Junction, perhaps five minutes to the East.

And consider these about platforms 5 and 6 at Ebbsfleet Internal station, which are the platforms that serve Gravesend.

  • There are very comprehensive crossovers at the Eastern end of the platforms, which can be seen on the map.
  • The platforms appear to have both overhead and third-rail electrification.
  • The platforms would probably be long enough to reverse a six-car train.

So are all the pieces of a jigsaw in place for an innovative solution?

There could possibly be shuttle train between Ebbsfleet International and Gravsend or the Medway Towns.

  • The shuttle train would run in the thirty minute gaps between the current services between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet international.
  • A shuttle train would probably take about 12-15 to do the round trip.
  • Instead of Gravesend, it could run from Hoo Junction if Crossrail is extended or any station to the East, if it’s not.
  • Any four-car Electrostar with the correct signalling could probably run the shuttle.
  • No new infrastructure would be required.

The 2 tph Charing Cross to Gravesend service could also be extended to Ebbsfleet International.

  • It would need a reverse at Gravesend.
  • Platform 0 could obviously be used for the reverse, but as platform 1 has bi-directional signalling, I suspect this platform could be used as well.
  • As there would be two reverses in about a dozen minutes, this might explain why platform 1 was made bi-directional.
  • No new infrastructure would be required.

Both solutions would give at least four tph service between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

If the shuttle were to run between Rainham and Ebbsfleet International it would add two extra trains to the service through the Medway Towns, raising that level to more than six tph.

Conclusion

I don’t know if either solution is possible, but I suspect there’s a man or woman who does know and they have their mind on a better solution!

I’ll admit, that I do like the shuttle or a 4 tph link between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

When all the services like Thameslink and Crossrail are serving North Kent from all over London and the South East, it would mean that if there was a four tph service between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International, getting to the isolated station would be a lot easier.

But the great thing about going up Ebbsfleet’s backside from Gravesend, is that no new infrastructure would be required.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

 

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 7 Comments

Through The Medway Towns

If you look at the services through the Medway Towns, you will have the following services in 2018.

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) Highspeed services between St. Pancras and Faversham.
  • 2 tph Thameslink services between Luton and Rainham.
  • 3 tph services between Victoria and the Kent Coast.
  • 2 tph services between Charing Cross and Gillingham

Note.

  • It is a service with frequencies of between five and seven tph in both directions.
  • The smallest trains serving the route are six-car Class 395 trains, with most at least eight-cars.
  • The service reaches from Abbey Wood, Dartford, Greenhithe and Swanley  in the West. to Sittingbourne, Faversham and the Kent Coast in the East.
  • The fare supplement for Highspeed services is only paid West of Gravesend, so from that station to the East, normal fares are paid and the trains just contribute seats to the service.

Conclusion

It is a turn-up-and-go metro par excellence  run with quality trains.

The possibilities for improvement  are good too!

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

 

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 8 Comments

Thameslink To Rainham

Modern Railways in August 2016, said that Thameslink would be running a two trains per hour (tph) service between Luton and Rainham via Greenwich and Dartford.

GTR’s Proposals

This document on their web site gives these outline proposals for Kent Thameslink services.

This is the opening paragraph.

Proposed new all-day Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday Thameslink service on the North Kent line via Greenwich, Dartford and Medway Towns.

They describe it in more detail later.

New cross-London journey opportunities providing multiple connectivity opportunities will be created between Luton – St Albans City – West Hampstead Thameslink – Central London (via London Bridge) – Greenwich – Abbey Wood – Dartford – Rochester – Rainham. This new route will provide multiple new connections with the new east to west Elizabeth Line (formally Crossrail) at Abbey Wood. The route can also be operated by 8 or 12 car trains.

I will now add a few comments.

The Eastern Terminal

In Rainham (Kent) Station, I took a look at the proposed terminal.

  • Rainham station is Thameslink-ready with a bay platform 0 of sufficient length for a twelve-car Class 700 train.
  • Rainham station can probably handle the two trains per hour (tph) from Luton without undue fuss.
  • Rainham as a terminal means the string of important stations in the Medway towns, which includes Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham, could all be served by Thameslink.
  • The only other station beyond Gravesend with a bay platform is Rochester.
  • Terminating at Rainham doesn’t increase the train frequency over the busy level crossing.
  • Terminating at Rainham gives 5 tph from Gravesend to Rainham and 7 tph between Rochester and Rainham, which creates a high-capacity frequent route through the Medway Towns.

It would appear to be the sort of choice, that is difficult to fault.

Should The Thameslink Service Stop At More Stations?

Coming back from Rainham today, I took a Highspeed service to Gravesend, from where I caught a Gillingham to Charing Cross service that was following a few minutes behind.

As there are several stopping services on the line, perhaps stopping at a few important stations will be sufficient.

  • Greenhithe for the shopping at Bluewater.
  • Dartford for all the connectivity.
  • Abbey Wood for Crossrail.
  • Greenwich for the culture and the Docklands Light Railway.

Stopping patterns could be altered to fit traffic patterns, passengers requirements and new property developments

Eight-Or Twelve-Car Trains

It would all depend on the traffic, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason why either train size can’t be used between Luton and Rainham.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

 

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 12 Comments

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

On my trip to Rainham station in Kent, I went through numerous stations.

I took this picture.

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Note the blue 10-12 sign, which indicates the stopping point for trains between ten and twelve cars.

I’m pretty certain that all stations between London Bridge and Rainham can accommodate trains of this length, as there were blue twelves everywhere.

To the East of Rainham, a good proportion of the services are run by six-car Class 395 trains. As these can run in 12-car formations, I suspect that most platforms have been made long enough.

This railway is probably future-proofed with regards to train length.

It will certainly accept.

Sadly, not all rail lines in the UK have been built with long enough platforms and extending some will be difficult.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 7 Comments

Rainham (Kent) Station

There are two stations with the same name and this Rainham station is the one in Kent, which is to the East of Gillingham on the Chatham Main Line.

It is a busy station, which has these typical off-peak services.

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) to London St Pancras via Chatham and Ebbsfleet International
  • 3 tph to London Victoria via Chatham and Bromley South (1ph calling at Denmark Hill)
  • 1 tph to Sittingbourne and Faversham only
  • 2 tph to Dover Priory via Canterbury East
  • 2 tph to Ramsgate via Margate

Adding them up gives 5 tph in both directions, with a choice of Highspeed or traditional services to and from two London termini.

The station has benefited from the East Kent Resignalling Project. This is said in Wikipedia.

Rainham has a new bay platform off the up-line, which can accommodate a 12-car train, labelled Platform 0. It is now being used as a Terminus for a couple of evening rush hour trains.

It would appear to be an extra platform, that has been fitted well into the layout of the station.

If Thameslink does run a service from Rainham to Luton from 2018, the platform would have no difficulty turning the two trains per hour.

This will give a 2 tph service to three London termini; London Bridge, Blackfriars and St. Pancras on its way to Luton.

The level crossing at the station, probably limits the number of trains through Rainham station, despite the fact that some may be timed to pass in the station, which reduces the number of times it closes to road traffic.

So using the bay platform 0 for Thameslink, increases the frequency to the West of the station to 7 tph, but leaves that through the crossing at 5 tph.

It seems to be a sensible way to increase train frequencies without choking road traffic too much.

I very much like the thinking behind the design.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

 

 

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 9 Comments