The Anonymous Widower

Exploring The Shepperton Branch Line

The Shepperton Branch Line could be incorporated into Crosssrail 2, so when I went to Fulwell station to look at the drainage works, I looked at the rest of the branch.

I’ve separated my thoughts into sections.

Fulwell Station

The pictures I took at Fulwell station, are shown separately in Fulwell Station And The Drainage Works.

It is very much a simple suburban station, but because it is next to Fulwell bus garage, it appears to be well served by buses.

Shepperton Station

Shepperton station wasn’t intended to be the terminus of the branch. Wikipedia talks of original plans crossing the Thames, to the East of Chertsey Bridge, but this plan was abandoned in 1862.

Looking at maps, there wouldn’t be any space between the houses to extend the line, over a 150 years later.

Around Shepperton Station

Around Shepperton Station

The station is South of the well-marked Sunbury Golf Course.

It is in some ways, a curious mix.

  • A long single platform.
  • No toilets, coupled with none on the trains.
  • Not a great deal of car parking.
  • Services for the passengers are only minimal.
  • Although only one train per hour runs on Sundays, the single line branch can handle more.

But it has a large modern station building.

I needed the toilet, so I went round the corner to a Costa and had a coffee and did my business.

Kempton Park Station

Kempton Park station is not one of the best on the line.

I would suspect that the racecourse would welcome this station being on Crossrail 2.

Crossrail 2

If Crossrail 2 comes to the Shepperton Branch Line, it will have effects on the line its stations and the surrounding area.

This document on the TfL web site is entitled Crossrail 2 factsheet: Services between Norbiton, Kingston and Shepperton, gives details.

This is said.

On the Shepperton branch up to 8 trains per hour, in each direction, would serve Norbiton, Kingston and Hampton Wick stations. 4 trains per hour, in each direction, would run west of Hampton Wick to Shepperton, calling at all stations.

The delivery of Crossrail 2 will be accompanied by station improvement work at a number of locations, including platform work and the installation of new lifts or ramps where there is currently no step-free access.

It is also proposed that a second platform at Shepperton station is provided.

Obviously, with up to eight trains an hour (8 tph) in each direction, there will need to be a second platform at Shepperton station.

This Google Map shows the station area in detail.

Shepperton Station

Shepperton Station


  1. The White-roofed building to the North-East of the station symbol, is the new station building.
  2. The station will get four tph of  1500-capacity Crossrail, with perhap 2 tph going to Waterloo in the Peak.
  3. A second platform could be a tight fit, but it is probably possible.

Some will argue, that Shepperton, doesn’t need this massive increase in capacity.

,There would appear to be few places on the Shepperton Branch to reverse the trains.

This Google Map shows.Teddington station.

Teddington Station

Teddington Station

A rebuilt or remodelled Teddington station would be a serious possibility.

  • The station has some space.
  • A reversing siding or a bay platform could be squeezed in.
  • The trains could also use a siding at Strawberry Hill Depot to reverse.
  • Reversing 4 tph could probably be easily handled at Teddington.

The Wikipedia entry for Crossrail 2, says this.

Shared use of the Shepperton Branch Line with 6-8 train per hour to Teddington and 4 trains per hour to Shepperton.

So perhaps to Crossrail 2, using Teddington station is more than a possibility.

Crossrail 2’s biggest problem on this line is not the trains or stations, but the level crossing at New Malden, that I wrote about in A Very Bad Level Crossing Problem.


October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Old Ford Water Recycling Plant

This plant just off the Greenway takes raw sewage from the Northern Outfall Sewer and converts it into clear water for non-potable purposes on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

I visited it during Open House 2016.

We need more plants like this, to make better use of the water we use.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , | 1 Comment

Fulwell Station And The Drainage Works

On my way back to Waterloo on the Shepperton Branch Line, I just had to visit Fulwell station and the drainage work, I wrote about in If Your Train Is Late Should You Blame Henry The Eighth?.

I took these pictures.

It is a substantial piece of engineering.

  • The water is collected from the area of the tunnel into a large tank on the station side of the tunnel.
  • The water is then pumped to the lagoons at Fulwell Junction.
  • When there is available capacity, the water is drained away, using the drains under the Kingston Loop Line through Teddington.
  • The electricity requirement was high and required a separate supply and sub-station.
  • The pipework isn’t small.

According to this press release from Network Rail, the works are costing £6 million. This picture of flooding at Fulwell station is from the document.

Flooding At Fulwell

Flooding At Fulwell

This map from, shows the lines in the area.

Lines At Fulwell Station

Lines At Fulwell Station

I heard comments like these, from several of the locals.

  • The flooding has been terrible at times in recent years.
  • If the works cure the flooding they’ll be very pleased.
  • They’ll be glad to get the footpath reopened.
  • But I didn’t hear any complaints of too much noise.

It does seem to me, that a November 2016 completion date could be possible.

If you were an engineer working on this project, would you want a dry winter or a very bad one, to give the system the sternest test, the Devil can devise?

Final Thoughts

I suppose the only other thing that could be to clean the water and use it for watering one of the golf courses in the area. But probably the cost of the treatment plant, which would be something like the Old Ford Water Recycling Plant, would be too much.

As to hiding or burying the pipe, I suspect that there is a plan for this, possibly using nature’s camouflage and/or lots of soil.

The station is also a good example of traditional cable ducting, but the design probably predates the system I wrote about in Keeping Your Wiring Tidy.

I’ll go back in a couple of years and have a take a butcher’s.

Hopefully, it will still look like a job that has been well done!

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Using Southern Crossrail Lite

On my trip to Shepperton today, I went from and to Waterloo station for  the Shepperton Branch Line.

For both journeys, I used the route between London Bridge and Waterloo East stations, that some want to use as part of Southern Crossrail.

Going to Waterloo, I started at Farringdon, and this waan’t a good place to start, as I didn’t have a clue to the best way and neither did the London Underground staff.

So I took the Metropolitan to Moorgate and hopped South on the Northern Line to London Bridge, from where I had three routes.

  • Jubilee Line
  • Train from London to Waterloo East.
  • Bus

At a pinch, I could walk along the Embankment

I suspect that when Crossrail and Thameslink are fully open, there will be a better route, between Farringdon and Waterloo.

  • Crossrail to Paddington, then Bakerloo Line to Waterloo.
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road, then Northern Line to Waterloo.
  • Thameslink to London Bridge, then train to Waterloo East.

As a special Crossrail-Bakerloo pedestrian tunnel is being built at Paddington, that may be the best way. I wrote about this in Paddington Is Operational Again.

My route to Waterloo worked today, as did the route home after a raid on the excellent Marks and Spencer at Waterloo. The only problem was that a 141 bus to my house, had broken down and I had to wait at London Bridge.

I tend to use a 141 bus to and fropm London Bridge, as one stop is in the forecourt of the station and the other is less than a hundred metres from my house.

So how could this abbreviated Southern Crossrail Lite route be improved?

  • The London Bridge end works well, as generally all trains for Waterloo East station turn up on Platforms 8 or 9, which are the two sides of the same island.
  • Only one up escalator at London Bridge was available and I have a feeling, there could be a bit of a reliability issue.
  • I used a lift to go down coming back, to avoid walking to the escalator, and the lift was the sort of size the Victorians used because escalators weren’t in common use until later.
  • The lift was certainly big enough for a cricket team and all their kit.
  • There needs to be better connection between main line and Underground at London Bridge. I suspect this will get better, as more of the station opens.
  • For this route four trains per hour, as you get on a Sunday, aren’t enough.
  • At Waterloo East, the walking route could be improved.
  • Waterloo East needs a Next Train To London Bridge Indicator.
  • Waterloo has twin up and down escalators between the main concourse and the walking route, which is more than enough. Especially, as they were all working!

But I did notice several passengers used the route from London Bridge to Waterloo East stations, including at least two couples with children in pushchairs.

This new Southern Crossrail Lite is going to prove an invaluable alternative to the Jubilee Line.




October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marks And Spencer Have Changed My Life

Coming back today, I went to Marks and Spencer in Waterloo station, which although it is not a full stop, must be one of their bigger Simply Food shops in stations.

These pictures sum up the visit.

Some of the products have only been available in the last year or so.

  • Chicken Pakoras
  • Crisps With Exotic Flavours
  • Gluten-Free Gastropub meals.
  • Humous
  • Kent IPA
  • Pasta Salad
  • Scotch Eggs
  • Snacks Wth Taste

When I was diagnosed nearly twenty years ago, you were lucky to find anything quick to cook in any shop, except eggs and fish.

What would I like to see now?

  • Most ready-meals  made gluten-free and labelled as such on the top.
  • Ravioli, that is gluten-free.
  • Sausages and burgers gluten-free, as in Marks and Sainsburys.
  • More gluten-free real beers.

I think it is true to say, that it’s going my way.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Food | , , , | 7 Comments

Smithfield’s Iceberg

One Central London Crossrail station, that doesn’t seem to make the headlines is Farringdon station.

This article on is entitled Crossrail prompts Farringdon makeover plans, brought the station into my mind.

Like some other Crossrail stations, Farringdon is a long double-ended station, stretching almost from Barbican station to the current Farringdon station, where Thameslink and the Sub-Surface Lines cross.

Wikipedia says this about Crossrail development at the station.

The Farringdon Crossrail station is being built between Farringdon and Barbican Underground stations and it will have interchanges with both of them.[19] Access at the Farringdon end will be via the new Thameslink ticket hall. Work is anticipated to be completed in 2018. Crossrail will link Farringdon to London City Airport and London Heathrow Airport, the Olympic Park in Stratford, Canary Wharf, Bond Street and Oxford Street, and Maidenhead in the west and Shenfield in the east. The station will also be a hub for cross-London travel, being the only station to be on both the north-south Thameslink service and the east-west Crossrail service.

This Google Map shows the area.

farringdon And Barbican Stations

farringdon And Barbican Stations

Station Entrances

There would appear to be station entrances in Long Lane at the Barbican end and Cowcross Street at the Farringdon end, according to this page on the City of London web site, which contains these details of Farringdon station.

The station will include two ticket halls. The eastern hall will be located within the City at Lindsey Street and the western hall (shared with Thameslink, and which opened in December 2011) is be located at Cowcross Street in the London Borough of Islington. The eastern ticket hall will also provide a second entrance to London Underground’s Barbican station.

The entrance to the eastern ticket hall will be via a double height space, occupying most of the frontage on Long Lane and part of the frontage on Lindsey Street. The remaining frontage will be formed by future over-site development. Part of the frontage is also required for the discharge of Smithfield Market car park ventilation and escape stair.

Access to the platforms will be by means of escalators and there will be a number of lifts to provide step-free access to the Crossrail platforms and the London Underground platforms at Barbican station.

Preliminary discussions have commenced with Crossrail about the need for complementary measures such as improved crossing facilities and streetscape improvements to handle the projected increase in pedestrians in this area when the station opens. Crossrail have been advised that the over-site development will have to complement the settings of the listed market buildings and the Smithfield Conservation Area.

Rail Lines

It is interesting to look at this map of the rail lines through Farringdon from

Lines Through Farringdon Station

Lines Through Farringdon Station

Note how the two Crossrail tracks appear to move apart through the area. It will certainly allow lots of escalators at each end of the Crossrail platforms.

Platform Length

Crossrail platforms are long, to accept the Class 345 trains, which are two hundred metres long.

But this article on the Crossrail web site, which is entitled Current Works At Farringdon Station, contains this paragraph.

A new ticket hall is being constructed at the eastern end adjacent to the London Underground Barbican Station.  It is linked to the Cowcross Street Ticket Hall by two platform tunnels which are among the longest on the route at 350 metres, more than double the length of the Hammersmith and City line platforms.

As the crow-flies distance between the two Sub-Surface Line stations is around 500-600 metres, these are seriously long platforms.

Obviously, this length of 350 metres is deliberate, but why?

I can think of the following reasons.

  • Longer platforms might be needed to connect to the two ticket halls.
  • Because the platforms appear to curve apart, they would need to be longer.
  • Passenger access to the various walkways, escalators and lifts, might be better.
  • There could be some safety reason.
  • Two trains could both be partly in the Farringdon platforms at one time, to perhaps transfer passengers from a stalled train.

But whatever the reason, it could be a long walk,, if you get in the wrong end of a train for the exit at your destination.

A Gallery

Early on a Sunday morning, I walked between Barbican and Farringdon staions.

I’ll split comments into sections..

Barbican Station

Note the following about Barbican station.

  • It has some excellent brick walls enclosing the station.
  • The station was unsympathetically remodelled by the Nazis.
  • You can still see the remains of a steel and glass roof , that was removed in the 1950s.
  • There will be an entrance to the Barbican end of the Crossrail station at Farringdon from the Western End of the central platform.

My thoughts on Barbican station.

  • When as a family we lived in the Barbican, we used this station extensively and I suspect that the humble entrance to and from the station will be heavily used by Crossrail passengers.
  • If the central island platform proves to be too narrow for a walking route, it could always be widened, by using some of the space, where the trains used to run to Moorgate.
  • Will an entrance be built on the other platform to Crossrail, so that passengers going East on the Sub-Surface Lines will have an easy step-free interchange with Crossrail?

On a personal travel point, Barbican might be my entrance to Crossrail/Thameslink, as I’d just take a 56 bus from round the corner from where I live.

The Long Lane Entrance To Farringdon Crossrail Station

This Google Map shows Barbican station and the building that will contain the Long Lane entrance to Farringdon Crossrail station.

Barbican Station

Barbican Station

This map is a very informative one.

  • You can actually see behind the hoardings on the platform at Barbican station.
  • There are two trains in the station.
  • There is a gap in the buildings on the South Side of the station along Long Lane, that I labelled a development opportunity in the gallery.
  • You can see the two domes on the Eastern end of Smithfield Market.

This image shows how the Long Lane entrance to Farringdon Crossrail station and Barbican station, will end up being treated as one station by travellers.

This is an image from the Farringdon station page on the Crossrail web site.


And this is my picture taken on my walk.

I think that the angles are similar, but I probably needed to stand further out.

This second image from the Crossrail web site, shows the view from just round the corner.


This is the nearest picture I have.

Note the zebra crossing, which appears on both images.

The Cowcross Street Entrance To Farringdon Crossrail Station

This Google Map shows the Cowcross Street site in relation to the current station.

Farringdon Station

Farringdon Station

The site with the obvious hole and what looks to be a large grating is where the Cowcross Street entrance is being built. If you go into the Thameslink Ticket Hall and look to your right, you’ll see that the wall is not of the highest quality. It could be just temporary, until the Crossrail station is built.

Between Comptoir Gascon and Smiths of Smithfield, is a small Crossrail site, which is shown in the gallery. Is it just a delivery and work site, or is it for something more substantial?

I think it could be the former, as from a Metropolitan Line train, little is visible, as this picture shows.

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street

This Google Map shows quite good detail.

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street From Above

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street From Above

The hole shown in the top-left corner of the second image is shown on some drawings,labelled as Network Rail Lift Shift.

But, I can’t help thinking that with the development of Smithfield and especially the new Museum of London, that an entrance to Farringdon station at this location, would be beneficial,

The New Museum Of London

This is being built in West Smithfield. This Google Map shows the area.

The New Museum Of London Site

The New Museum Of London Site

This article in the Guardian is entitled Off to market: Museum of London shows off its new Smithfield site.

Read the article and this third paragraph is an ambitious vision.

“Our job is to make this the best museum in the world,” Ament said, carefully stepping around pigeon droppings and pools of water in the old market, which has been empty for the last 30 years while developers and conservationists fought over its fate. “I’m desperate to keep the train line running through it – nobody else has one of those. Just imagine the people on the trains looking out and seeing a museum around them, and the people in the museum seeing the trains go by.”

Surely, one of the best cities in the world, needs one of the best museums in the world to explain itself.

This map from shows the railway lines in the area.


Snow Hill station would have been just South of the Museum site, but it is known that under the market there are numerous railway lines and sidings, where animals were brought to the market.

These must create ideas for the architects.

There are more notes on Snow Hill station on this page of the Disused Stations web site.

The train line refereed to in the Guardian article previously, is of course Thameslink, running in the Snow Hill Tunnel.

Certainly, the future development of the area must provide a decent connection between the Museum and Farringdon station.

I don’t think that Snow Hill station will be reopened, but there must be ways to connect the museum to the Thameslink platforms at Farringdon.

A Walk from City Thameslink Station Through The New Museum Site To Farringdon Station

I started the walk at City Thameslink station, as I wanted to see if the new Class 700 trains, changed voltage smoother than the Class 319 trains. I felt that three decades of progress had improved matters.

The Museum site needs work and some good architects. This is one proposal.


There is more in this article on the Dezeen web site.

The Future Of The Widened Lines To Moorgate

Trains from North of London used to go to Moorgate station along the Widened Lines until 2009, when platform lengthening for Thameslink at Farringdon station meant they couldn’t be used.

Two platforms at Moorgate are still used in busy times, but two platforms at Moorgate and Barbican stations are unused.

The only thing, I can find about the future of these lines is they could be used for storing Metropolitan Line trains.

If this is done, then let’s hope there is worthwhile oversite development!

Some spaces are quite large as this picture from East of Farringdon station shows.

Space East Of Farringdon

Space East Of Farringdon

You could store a lot of trains there.

London’s Future Air Terminal

This article on the Network Rail web site is entitled Farringdon Station: London’Newest Transport Hub.

This is said.

From 2018 Farringdon will be the only station where Thameslink, Crossrail and tube services meet. Passengers will have the choice to travel north-south, east-west or around London.

With up to 24 trains an hour running in each direction on Thameslink and Crossrail, including tube trains Farringdon will be served by over 140 trains an hour.This will relieve pressure from the Tube and deliver more seats for commuters.

Farringdon will provide direct links to three of London’s major airports, Heathrow, Gatwick, and Luton, and to St Pancras International for Eurostar services.

I have a feeling some of the spaces and oversite development in the area of Farringdon station, could become visitor-friendly ones, like hotels, cafes and restaurants.

Get it right and long-haul passengers into Heathrow and Gatwick, might prefer a night to refresh and enjoy themselves around Farringdon, before travelling out a day or so later.

The area will have a lot going for it in a few years.

  • The Barbican Centre
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Hatton Garden
  • The best church in London; St. Batholomew-The-Great
  • The new Museum of London
  • A short walk to the Thames.
  • Direct links to Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports.
  • Direct links to Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Old Oak Common, Paddington and St. Pancras stations.
  • One-change links to City and Stansted airports and Euston, Marylebone, Victoria and Waterloo stations.
  • Good restaurants
  • Superb urban walks.

If it all goes wrong, you can always visit the Wife Market.

As some places like Iceland and Dubai market themselves as a journey break, why can’t London? Or do passengers prefer ice, geysers, sand and anonymous concrete and glass buildings?

Not that London doesn’t have a few of the latter!


The area round Farringdon station will be a new centre for London.

I wonder what my Huguenot grandfather, who was born in 1870, a couple of hundred metres to the North, would have thought?








October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

If Your Train Is Late Should You Blame Henry The Eighth?

I have just read this fascinating article in the Rail Engineer, entitled Fulwell’s Blue Lagoons.

This is the first paragraph.

What do we have to thank – or blame – King Henry the Eighth for? The Church of England? Some very ruined abbeys? The fashion for padded shoulders? Flooding and subsequent train delays on the Shepperton branch?

Yes, they’re all down to him.

Henry’s need for water at Hampton Court Palace, meant that a whole series of problems were left for Victorian railway engineers, when they built the Shepperton Branch, that have persisted to the present day.

Read the article to find out how Network Rail have hopefully solved the problems.

This Google Map Shows the area around Fulwell and Strawberry Hill stations.

Between Fulwell and Strawberry Hill Stations

Between Fulwell and Strawberry Hill Stations

The tunnel talked about in the article is to the West of Fulwell station.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 1 Comment