The Anonymous Widower

Southern Crossrail

I noticed that Southern Crossrail has appeared in the list of proposed UK rail projects on Wikipedia.

There is a Southern Crossrail web site.

An Outline From History

Basically through tracks at Waterloo station would go straight on and take over the lines from Charing Cross station, through Waterloo East station.

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for Waterloo East station.

Formerly a rail connection ran across the concourse of the main station. This saw little service, although H.G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds describes its use to convey troop trains to the Martian landing site. The bridge which carried the line over Waterloo Road subsequently accommodated the pedestrian walkway between the two stations until replaced by the current high level covered walkway. The old bridge remains and is now used for storage.

So it’s not science fiction courtesy of Mr. Wells.

Shutting Stations And Joining Up Services

Charing Cross station could be shut or reduced in size, Waterloo East could be moved over Southwark tube station and the services into Charing Cross would run back-to-back with some into Waterloo.

This Google Map shows the stations and the lines.

Southern Crossrail

Southern Crossrail

Destinations Served

Destinations in the West could include.

With the following destinations in the East.

At least it does something useful with the Hayes Line.

Building Southern Crossrail

Southern Crossrail say this about the engineering required.

The minimum engineering requirement would be for the centre part of the concourse at Waterloo to rise up over four through tracks. There would need to be lifts and escalators.

A new bridge, alongside the old one, would be required to carry three new tracks over Waterloo Road.

The old bridge referred to is the one that is referred to in Wikipedia, as being used for storage.

The engineering involved is probably no more difficult than that used to update Thameslink at London Bridge, with the new viaducts over Borough Market.

But I can remember , that when that project was mooted, there was a lot of local opposition.

Given the farce of at times, when London Bridge station was being rebuilt, I think passenger groups will be against the changes.

Southern Crossrail give these additional changes on their web site.

  • Signalling changes to increase the throughput
  • Flyovers between Battersea and Waterloo thus allowing the local, suburban and express lines to be segregated on the approach to Waterloo, would increase throughput further
  • Waterloo East Station would close releasing some land and a new station above the new Southwark station on the Jubilee line could be opened for interchange with Thameslink
  • Closing the line up to Charing Cross would allow for greater throughput. Commuters travelling to the west end can change at London Bridge using the Jubilee line. This will have the added advantage of opening up the front of Waterloo through to the South Bank.


My views on these changes and other points follow.

Signalling And Flyovers

The signalling and flyovers probably need to be done anyway, whether Southern Crossrail is built or not.

Certainly, both Thameslink and Crossrail provoked a bit of a track sort-out on the approaches to London.

A sort-out of the lines into Waterloo would probably need to be done for Crossrail 2 anyway.

Rebuilding Waterloo East Station

I rarely use Waterloo East station, but it has a terrible connection to Southwark tube station and a tortuous walk to Waterloo station, unless you’re going to the balcony for lunch or to meet someone.

The map from shows the Undserground lines beneathe Waterloo East station.

Lines Underneath Waterloo East Station

Lines Underneath Waterloo East Station


A new Waterloo East station could be built that had better connections to all of the Underground Lines in the area.

  • Bakerloo Line – Very useful for the West End and Crossrail.
  • Jubilee Line – Double-ended with connections to both Waterloo and Southwark stations.
  • Northern Line (Charing Cross Branch)
  • Waterloo and City Line

If rebuilding Waterloo East station would allow building on released land and above the station, together, then surely it is a project a quality developer would relish.

Decent pedestrian links could also be provided into Waterloo, as they should be anyway.

I think that there could be a strong case for the redevelopment of Waterloo East station, whether Southern Crossrail is built or not.

Improving The Waterloo And City Line

One of the side effects of rebuilding Waterloo East station would be improved access to the Waterloo and City Line.

A new entrance is being built at the Northern end and if the Southern end were sorted, London would have got a useful short new Unerground line, with a lot of the money provided by property development.

Serving Charing Cross Station

I believe that a rebuilt Waterloo East station would give better connections to the Underground, than does Charing Cross.

What Waterloo East lacks is connection to the District and Circle Lines and good walking routes to Whitehall. And you mustn’t annoy the Sir Humphries in their commute from Sevenoaks or Petts Wood!

Providing you didn’t close Charing Cross completely, there would be a same platform interchange at London Bridge.

But I suspect that an innovative solution could be found to get passengers from Waterloo East station to the North Bank of the Thames.

Properly done, it would enable passengers using the trains at Waterloo to get easily across the river .

Why are we wasting millions on the Garden Bridge, when a proper cross river connection further West would give benefit to millions of travellers?

At present these are the services that serve Charing Cross in the Off Peak.

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) Dartford via Bexleyheath
  • 2 tph Gravesend via Sidcup
  • 2 tph Gillingham via Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal
  • 2 tph Hayes avoiding Lewisham
  • 2 tph Sevenoaks via Orpington
  • 2 tph Hastings via Tunbridge Wells
  • 1 tph Dover via Ashford International
  • 1 tph Ramsgate via Ashford International and Canterbury West

Obviously, there is a lot more in the Peak.

As it looks like the limit of trains through London Bridge to Waterloo East and Charing |Cross is somewhere around or above 20 tph, it could be that if Southern Crossrail is built, then there is a logical split.

  • Suburban services go through to Waterloo and into the South West suburban network.
  • Long distance services go to Charing Cross.

Platform arrangements at London Bridge and Waterloo East could be designed, so that if you’re on a train going to the wrong destination, you step off and step on the next one.

The Jubilee Line By-Pass

Now that we can see the new London Bridge station emerging and Charing Cross services are calling at the station again, I think we’ll see some interesting ducking-and-diving alomg the South Bank of the Thames.

Suppose you arrive at London Bridge on perhaps a train from Uckfield and need to go to Waterloo to get to Southampton. Until about a month ago, you would have to struggle across London on the Underground. Now you could take a frequent Charing Cross service to Waterloo East and just walk into Waterloo.

We mustn’t underestimate the effects that a fully rebuilt Thameslink and London Bridge station will have  on passengers getting across South London.

If Southern Crossrail was built, it would be an alternative for the Jubilee Line between London Bridge and Waterloo.

Southern Crossrail might even lead to a rethink about how the Jubilee Line operates.

Positive Points

  • Terminal platforms are released in Waterloo station, as services are joined up.
  • No infrastructure changes would be required at London Bridge station.
  • No tunnelling
  • Southern Crossrail can be built before Crossrail 2.
  • Southern Crossrail can be built to be compatible with Crossrail 2.
  • The Tramlink connects Wimbledon in the West to Elmers End in the East.

But it will exceedingly difficult to convince the powers-that-be that it is a viable project.


I think it could be one of those projects that is so bizarre and wacky it might just be feasible.

But if it is built or not, London could benefit tremendously, by a quality rebuild of Waterloo East station.

In a phased building of Southern Crossrail, the order of construction could be.

  • Rebuild Waterloo East station.
  • Upgrade the lines into Waterloo with flyovers and signalling.
  • Rebuild the concourse at Waterloo, so that the connecting tracks could go through to Waterloo East.
  • Put in the bridges between Waterloo and Waterloo East.
  • Connect up the services one-by-one.

It is the sort of project, that a good project management team, could push through with little disruption to services and passengers.


September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Will Chiltern Connect Oxford To London On December The 12th 2016?

This article on the Eailway Gazette web site is entitled Tracklaying completed for Chiltern to Oxford.

|So that’s another hurdle jumped and there are probably others like a platform at Oxford station.

But everybody seems hopeful!

I shall be there on the twelfth.

If it all works out fine, I think that Chiltern opening to Oxford on time and on budget, it could set a very worthwhile precedent.

So where will be the next smaller project to be set in motion?

Who knows? But if the Chiltern extension gets loaded with passengers, there could be a lot of bandwagon jumping.




September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

When I started to write Along The North Kent Line, I didn’t think that my conclusions would involve Crossrail.

I was wrong, so I’ve decided to write about extending Crossrail to Gravesend as a separate post.

Crossrail to Gravesend

Under Future in the Wikipedia entry for Gravesend station, this is said.

In December 2008, the local authority for Gravesend (Gravesham Council), was formally requested by Crossrail and the Department for Transport, to sanction the revised Crossrail Safeguarding. This safeguarding provides for a potential service extension, from the current south of Thames terminus at Abbey Wood, to continue via the North Kent Line to Gravesend station. The Crossrail route extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction, remains on statute. With current services from Gravesend to London Bridge, Waterloo East and London Charing Cross being supplemented by highspeed trains from the end of 2009 to St Pancras, the potential in having Crossrail services from central London, London Heathrow, Maidenhead and/or Reading, terminating at Gravesend, would not only raise the station to hub status but greatly contribute towards the town’s regeneration.

So it would appear that the route is safeguarded to Gravesend and Hoo Junction and it remains on statute.

Current Services At Gravesend

At present, Gravesend station has the following typical Off Peak service.

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) Highspeed services in each direction between London St. Pancras, Ebbsfleet International and Faversham and the East.
  • 2 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gillingham.
  • 4 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gravesend.

From 2019, Thameslink are saying that they will be running two tph between Rainham and Luton via Dartford and Greenwich.

This will mean that eight tph in each direction will go between Gravesend and Dartford, with another two tph going between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

Because of the  new Thameslink service, the train frequency between Gravesend and Gillingham will increase from the current four tph to six tph.

Gravesend As A Crossrail Terminal

I think that although Gravesend will be the nominated terninal for Crossrail, the trains will actually reverse direction at Hoo Junction, so there will be no need to use any platform space at Gravesend to prepare the train for its return journey.

Gravesend and Hoo Junction, will work very much like London Bridge and Cannon Street, where trains call at the first station and are reversed at the latter. Hoo Junction would just be a depot and a set of sidings.

I also think that the facilities at Hoo Junction could be built with minimal electrification, as the Crossrail Class 345 trains may have enough onboard energy storage to handle movement in depots and remote wake-up, which I discussed in Do Bombardier Aventras Have Remote Wake-Up?.

Class 345 trains have an auto-reverse ability which I talked about in Crossrail Trains Will Have Auto-Reverse. Will this be used to turn the trains at Hoo?

Crossrail’s Service To Abbey Wood

At present, Wikipedia is saying this will be the Morning Peak Crossrail service from Abbey Wood station.

  • 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 6 tph to Paddington
  • 2 tph to West Drayton

With this Off Peak service.

  • 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 4 tph to Paddington

This gives totals of 12 tph in the Peak and 8 tph in the Off Peak.

Crossrail Frequency To Gravesend

What the current North Kent Line can handle would probably determine how many Crossrail trains travel to Gravesend and Hoo Junction.

But Crossrail won’t be short of seats to really provide a superb service to and from the Gravesend.

I think that 4 tph could probsbly be fitted into the timetables between Abbey Wood and Gravesend. This would give.

  • 10 tph between Abbey Wood and Dartford
  • 12 tph between Dartford and Gravesend.

Six of the trains between Abbey Wood and Gravesend would be the two hundred metro long trains of Crossrail and Thameslink.

As the signalling is all new, I suspect that the line could cope.

The service level does generate some questions.

  • Would Thameslink need to run a twelve-car train on the Rainham to Luton service?
  • Dartford is a big winner, so will the other services from Dartford be re-routed?
  • How many services would stop at Greenhithe for Bluewater?
  • How would Crossrail’s Western destinations be allocated between Abbey Wood and Gravesend?

Connecting To Ebbsfleet International

I think it is essential that Crossrail connects to Continental train services and as the cross-London line goes nowhere near to St. Pancras, the connection must be made at either the draughty Stratford International or the truly dreadful Ebbsfleet International.

Talk about choosing the lesser of two evils, one of which; Stratford, should but doesn’t have Continental services!

So the connection between the Crossrail, Thameslink and the North Kent Line and Ebbsfleet International must be improved.

Possible connections could be.

  • A shuttle bus from Northfleet station.
  • A decent people mover or travelator from Northfleet station
  • A shuttle bus from Gravesend.
  • More train services from Gravesend.

There is of course the option of creating a proper rail link. But that would be expensive.

I think that as the number of trains stopping at Northfleet station will be somewhere around ten tph in each direction, a frequent shuttle bus might be a good option to start with.

The problem with the trains, is that there is only two tph between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

Building The Crossrail Extension

I have a feeling that once Crossrail is running successfully, the traffic will define, if, when and how any extension to Gravesend is built.

But the creation of the extension to Gravesend and Hoo Junction will not be a massive undertaking.

  • The depot and other facilities at Hoo Junction will have to be built.
  • Could the depot at Hoo Junction be without electrification? If the Class 345 trains have sufficient onboard energy storage, which I believe could be the case and I wrote about in Bombardier’s Plug-and-Play Train, then this is a serious possibility, which would save money and time in building the depot.
  • All platforms are probably long enough for the Class 345 trains.
  • The Crossrail train specification says that trains must have the potential to be converted for third rail operation. The similar Class 710 trains will have this capability.
  • Judging by my observations in Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations, I feel that Abbey Wood station is probably capable of handling the same number of trains as it is planned on opening, even if some go further down the line.
  • The signalling would have to be adjusted for the new service pattern. But thre signalling has been upgraded!

But there would be no tunnelling and no major electrification on the North Kent Line.

Perhaps, the only major expenses would be.

  • Building the depot/reversing sidings and facilities at Hoo Junction.
  • Any extra trains needed.
  • The cost of any rail link into Ebbsfleet International station.

So I doubt, we’ll be talking large numbers of billions.

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

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 8 Comments

GTR’s 2018 Timetable Consultation

These are the various documents detailed on this page of their web site.


By the way, don’t try and fill in the survey, it’s a total waste of time.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

My Links To Thameslink

Thameslink is a railway, I don’t use much these days, as getting to stations is not that easy, since London Bridge was taken off the route, by the rebuilding.

St. Pancras is an absolute pain of a station to use, as the station was designed by a sadist with long tunnels from the deep-level Underground lines.

Farringdon is a better interchange going South, as it is step-free from the Westbound Metropolitan Line, which I take from Whitechapel after using the East London Line from Dalston Junction. But going North coming home from Farringdon is not easy.

City Thameslink is a bit of a walk from the 56 bus, which stops by my house.

Blackfriars is not the easiest station to get to from my area.

These are my thoughts about using Thameslink after about 2018, when the Great Northern Metro is open with its new Class 717 trains.

My Link To Thameslink Going North

Living where I do approximately midway between Highbury and Islington, Dalston Junction and Essex Road stations, getting to some major rail termini can be difficult and if I was taking a case with me, I would have to use a bus or taxi.

I tend to avoid Highbury and Islington station going out, as the station and its environs is in desperate need of a rebuild and to get say to the Victoria Line for Kings Cross is a long and difficult walk from the bus stop and through the maze of roads and tunnels to the platform.

But with Essex Road station having a frequent bus service from the stop nearest my house and a 10 tph connection to Finsbury Park, that will be my route to get to Thameslink going North to Cambridge or Peterborough.

I don’t think I’ll be alone, in using the Great Northern Metro to get access to Thameslink to go North.

My Link To Thameslink Going South

I have a choice of routes to go South on Thameslink.

  • I could take the same route as for going North, but the interchange at Finsbury Park is a dreaded down and upper.
  • I can take a 141 or 21 bus to London Bridge station. I regularly use this route coming home, but going South is dreadfully slow through Bank.
  • I can take a 38/56 bus to the Angel and get the Northern Line to London Bridge.
  • I can take a 56 bus to St. Bartholomews Hospital and walk downhill to Farringdon station.
  • I can take a train from Dalston Junction to Canada Water and then use the Jubilee Line.
  • Don’t suggest the Victoria Line to St. Pancras as the walk in the depressing tunnel at Kings Cross is to be avoided at all costs.
  • Don’t suggest a 30 bus to St. Pancras, as it requires a long walk through the busy Shopping Centre at St. Pancras because Thameslink doesn’t have a much needed Southern entrance.
  • I could always go via Essex Road and Finsbury Park.

I actually would like to take a train from Dalston Junction to say New Cross Gate for East Croydon and get Thameslink or the myriad Southbound services from there.

But the new proposed timetable for 2018, would seem to make that an more difficult dream, unless I wanted to wait for a long time on say Norwood Junction station.


Going North is easy, but as they don’t serve the \greater East London, GTR treat us with contempt and make it difficult for us to use Thameslink easily, if we’re going South.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Trip To Sheppey

Yesterday, I went to Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey.

These are pictures from the trip.

It was a change to go to the island for a walk by the sea, as normally in the past, I’d gone for a funeral of some of my late wife’s relatives.


Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

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

The Sheppey Crossing

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 11 Comments

Sittingbourne Station

Sittingbourne station is the next major station after Rainham station, as you go East on the Chatham Main line.

It doesn’t want for much more, as it has three long platforms, a step-free footbridge and most of the things a good station needs.

It is the station that connects the Sheerness Line to the Chatham Main Line.

So would it be a better idea to run the Thameslink service to Sittingbourne instead of Rainham?

The trains could even co-ordinate with the shuttle train to Sheerness.

It is a possibility, but Sittingbourne has five trains per hour (tph) going into London and they all pass over the bottleneck of the the level crossing at Rainham station.

I discuss this more in What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

I enjoyed my trip yesterday to Sheerness, that I wrote about in A Trip To Sheppey.

It was a change to go to the island for a walk by the sea, as normally in the past, I’d gone for a funeral of some of my late wife’s relatives.

As someone, who partly grew up in Felixstowe, a lot of what I saw was all too familiar.

Sheerness station has some good points.

  • It is a short walk from the sea front.
  • It has two platforms, that can take eight-car trains.
  • The service of two trains per hour (tph) to Sittingbourne station is adequate in terms of frequency, but possibly not capacity.
  • The junction with the Chatham Main Line allows trains to go to Sittingbourne or the Medway Towns and London.
  • There are a few direct trains to and from London in the Peak.
  • The staff I met, were welcoming and competent.

But the station is pitifully short of facilities and if ever there was a station that needed an imaginative makeover it is Sheerness station.

Felixstowe station was a similar basket case and they converted it into a mini-shopping centre. At least Sheerness has a decent train service, which is twice the frequency and four times the capacity of the rail service between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Sheerness itself has the air of a town that has seen better days, which I’ve seen in places like Blackpool, Felixstowe, Hastings, Redcar and Yasrmouth in the past and also in the last few years.

As a coeliac, I didn’t find anywhere that could sell me a gluten-free meal, so lunch was just a banana and the worst cup of tea, I’ve ever been served in the UK.

But is help at hand?

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled Maynard cites importance of rail links to coastal towns talks about how the new Rail Minister thinks good rail links to coastal towns are important.

When I was staying with my parents in Felixstowe in the early 1960s, because there were only a few trains a day, I felt trapped and usually stayed at our other house in London.

So I know how it feels to have poor rail links to coastal towns, which often lack the facilities people need.

Good rail links also attract visitors and visitors these days, often come with those two space-eaters on trains; buggies and bicycles.

But it’s not just coastal towns that have this problem, it’s also branch lines that go into scenic countryside too.

Improving The Train Service To The Coast And The Hills

Coastal and hill towns like Sheerness and others like Blackpool, Clitheroe, Colne, Cromer, Felixstowe, Harwich, Walton-on-the-Naze and Yarmouth, often have rail services with a variety of needs.

  • Leisure traffic with lots of buggies and bicycles.
  • Commuter traffic in the peaks.
  • Daytime shoppers.
  • Evening travellers going to and from the cinema, theatre and nightlife of the bigger towns.

As many coastal towns are in flat country, many travellers might be easily tempted to ride to the station.

I’ve not seen any figures, but I suspect that passenger numbers are strongly driven by the weather and events.

This leads me to the belief that coastal towns need a turn-up-and-go service to the local major town or city, using a train designed for the job.

The Leisure/Commuter Train

We need a properly-designed train, that caters for the needs of leisure and commuter traffic.

  • Probably four-cars with the usual facilities.
  • Lots of space for bicycles and buggies.
  • Preferably with the capacity to travel perhaps fifty kilometres without electrification.

Something like most later Electrostars and the new Aventras could be suitably configured.

The current configuration of say a Class 375/377/379/397 Electrostar does not satisfy the need of the difficult mixed market, as it is geared to taking lots of commuters to and from work.

In the case of the Sheerness Line, which is electrified, a couple of Class 377 trains would be ideal for modification for the market. I suspect, that they may even be in Southeastern’s plans to run these trains on the line, when they receive a few more from GTR.

Designed properly, it would also be good for commuting to the nearer major towns.

Improving The Service To Sheerness

Although current figures probably show that two-car trains running with a frequency of 2 tph is sufficient and that if they were four-car trains, they certainly would be, I would think that if there were four tph serving Sheerness, that this would be a traffic magnet par excellence.

One of the problems is that I suspect many of the travellers from the Sheerness Line want to go to to Sittingbourne for work, leisure or family reasons.

As trains going direct to London or the Medway Towns from Sheerness can’t easily call at Sittingbourne, a train going from Sheerness to Rochester would have to reverse at Sittingbourne. This would not be ideal.

So perhaps the solution would be to keep the shuttle at 2 tph and add a second service from Sheerness that goes west on the Chatham Main Line.

The problem of going West is where do you turn the train.

The line from Sittingbourne to Gravesend carries about 8 tph and as none of the stations have an Eastward facing bay platform,, no-one is going to want a shuttle from Sheerness interrupting the long distance traffic.

In my view, there are two possibilities.

  • Dartford serves as a terminus for trains from London and could probably accommodate some from the other direction.
  • Ebbsfleet International could probably turn the required number of trains, in its current platforms 5 and 6.

Both have their advantages.

I would plump for Ebbsfleet International, as this would give 4 tph between the Medway Towns and Continental services.

I do wonder if direct services to London Victoria would continue if Sheerness had a connection to the Medway Towns.

Rochester will have the following connections to London.

  • 3 tph to London Victoria.
  • 2 tph to London Charing Cross and London Bridge, which will be 3 tph from 2018.
  • 2 tph to London St. Pancras.

I think that someone with all the data and knowledge could create a very passenger-friendly service to Sheerness from all over London.

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

Through The Medway Towns



September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 9 Comments

The Sheppey Crossing

The Sheppey Crossing is the bridge onto the island for road traffic.

Note the towers of the older Kingsferry Bridge, which carries the railway across. It is a rare vertical-lift bridge that carries both road and railway.

One of the others of this type in the UK is the Newport Bridge on Teesside.

The Newport Lifting Bridge

The Newport Lifting Bridge

I wrote about it in The Tees Bridges and Barrage in 2010.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment