There is a by-election in the Copeland constituency, if you haven’t noticed and this is the BBC’s guide to the election.
When I was at Liverpool University in the 1960s, one of C’s friends used to live near Barrow-in-Furness. I remember we had a drink with her once and she told us how she used to have to take five trains and umpteen hours to get between Barrow and Liverpool.
Liverpool to Barrow-in-Furness now takes just over two and a half hours with a single change at Preston.
So when I heard someone from UKIP say that HS2 wouldn’t benefit Copeland on the BBC, I thought I’d check the times.
HS2 opens to Crewe in 2027 and I suspect that trains going to the North of Crewe will use HS2 to Crewe and then run on the classic lines to go North.
Euston to Crewe currently takes 90 minutes, but after HS2 opens this time will reduce to 58 minutes. Times are from this page in The Guardian.
The fastest trains to Barrow-in-Furness currently take three hours fifty-three minutes with a change at either Preston or Lancaster.
So just reducing this time by the thirty two minutes saved South of Crewe, brings the time down to three hours twenty-one minutes.
But I think we’ll see innovation in HS2’s trains.
It seems to be the policy now for a company to have short and long trains, as both the Class 800 trains and Greater Anglia’s Aventras come in both short and long versions, where two short trains can join together for flexibility of operation.
Could Hs2 take this further and say have five-car short trains, three of which could join together for the fast run to and from London?
So will we see five-car trains that can serve places like Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley, joining at Preston for a fast run on HS2 to London?
I also think that by the mid-2020s, all electric trains will have the capability to fit onboard energy storage to give them access to places like Barrow-in-Furness, which may not be electrified.
So could we see a high speed train serving Barrow-in-Furness in 2027? After all Barrow-in-Furness to the West Coast Main Line is just twenty-nine miles, which by that date, will be totally in range of a train with onboard energy storage.
If you look at the provisional timetable for Phase 1 of HS2 on Wikipedia, you will see that there is one train per hour (tph) to Preston. Could this be a train created by bringing together portions from Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley? I don’t know, but the French do similar things with TGVs.
I wouldn’t be surprised and with selective improvements to the route North of Preston and on the Furness Line, the time from London to Barrow could be under three hours, when HS2 opens to Crewe.
Effectively, by building HS2 to Crewe and using specially-designed trains, towns like Barrow-in-Furness get a high speed connection to Birmingham and London.
Cancel HS2 and Copeland will still be deep in the past, as far as rail travel is concerned.
This article in Rail echnology Magazine is entitled Midland Metro tram shipped to Spain for battery fit-out ahead of OLE-free operation.
It describe how Tram 18 is on its way to Zaragoza to be fitted with lithium-ion batteries, so that the UK’s first battery tram can start running in 2019, after the track is laid to Victoria Square in Birmingham and the railway station in Wolverhampton.
As Poplar is the station on the DLR, where the North-South and the East-West routes cross, this is one of the better connectivity features of Crossrail.
Poplar serves a junction in four directions:
- Eastbound towards Beckton and Woolwich Arsenal.
- Northbound towards Stratford and Stratford International.
- Southbound towards the Isle of Dogs, Greenwich and Lewisham.
- Westbound towards Bank and Tower Gateway.
At present to get to Greenwich and Lewisham, you need to change at Canary Wharf DLR station, but as there is a reasonable walking route between Canary Wharf station and Canary Wharf DLR station, passengers for Lewisham could use that route.
As Crossrail will also have a reasonable link to the DLR at both Stratford and Woolwich, I wonder if we’ll see some reorganisation of services on the North-South DLR route between Lewishan and Stratford International.
Will some services go all the way between Lewisham and Stratford International?
Obviously, this will be determined by the routes travellers take after Crossrail opens.
There will also be affects due to the Law of Unexpected Consequences.
I am fairly sure, that Crossrail trains on the two Eastern branches will interface well at Whitechapel station, so passengers going between a station on the Abbey Wood branch to one on the Shenfield branch may prefer to go via Whitechapel, as it will be a simple cross-platform interchange.
How will this affect passenger numbers on the Jubilee Line and the DLR?
I suspect that passengers will use the route that is best for them and this can only mean spare capacity on the two historic routes.
As Crossrail will also be a bypass for the Central Line with connections between the two lines at Stratford, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Ealing Broadway, the Greater East London area will be a big beneficiary from Crossrail.
We’ll have to wait and see how passenger numbers work out, but I think that the North-South route of the DLR could be blessed with spare capacity because of Crossrail, so there may be scope to extend the route past Stratford International and Lewisham.
Two possible extensions from Lewisham are detailed on Wikipedia.
But there is nothing past Stratford International. The DLR Horizon 2020 Study, does propose an extension up the Lea Valley to Tottenham Hale. This is the report’s summary of this route.
A DLR extension to Tottenham Hale via the Lea Valley was tested extending all services (15tph) onwards from Stratford International. The route would run alongside the Lea Valley rail route. The DLR extension is seen as serving intermediate markets (heavy rail would only stop at Tottenham Hale and Stratford) and would serve the Olympic site(s) and the Olympic legacy with additional stops at Lea Bridge and Walthamstow Marshes. Potential drawbacks are largely environmental, covering concerns over Hackney Marshes and the Lea Valley reservoirs.
I talked about it in a sub-section of The High Meads Loop At Stratford. This is a summary of what I said.
Extension of the DLR to Tottenham Hale was mooted a few years ago and a document called DLR Horizon 2020 talked about extending the system from Stratford International up alongside the Lea Valley Lines to Tottenham Hale station
It may be a worthy idea, but does it really make economic sense, when according to what you believe a lot of things may be happening in the area.
- A new Lea Bridge station has been created.
- A new Hall Farm Curve will happen.
- A rebuilt Hackney Wick station is being constructed.
- Crossrail 2 is being promoted and will serve Tottenham Hale and to the North.
- Transport for London have taken over the Lea Valley Lines.
- There will be a a major upgrade in the Tottenham Hale area, which is described in this document on the Haringey Council web site.
- Four-tracking will happen through Tottenham Hale station.
When the heavy rail expansion is sorted and the area between Tottenham and Walthamstow is developed as housing and a very large wetland and leisure area, the case for a Lea Valley Light Railway may be stronger and in need of reassessment.
What happens to the North-South route will be driven by the consequences of Crossrail and the massive need for housing in London and the transport links to serve it.
The Mayor’s Plan For A Galion’s Reach Extension
The latest plan is to extend the DLR from Galion’s Reach across the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.
I wrote about this plan in The Mayor’s Plans For East London River Crossings.
I shall repeat what I said, as I think this is a plan with legs.
A BBC article says this about this proposal.
A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich
It is different to the original proposal of a Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock, which stayed on the North bank of the Thames.
This map shows the area of London from Gallions Reach to Abbey Wood.
- Gallions Reach DLR station is marked with the red arrow.
- Just to the North of Gallions Reach station is the main DLR depot, which would probably be an excellent site to start a tunnel.
- The tunnel would probably emerge on the South bank of the Thames to the West of Thamesmead.
- It could then weave its way along the side of the main road.
- The North Kent Line with Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations runs along the bottom of the map.
- Crossrail could be extended to Gravesend.
- Crossrail should also be extended Ebbsfleet International for European rail services.
If the DLR extension went from Gallions Reach DLR station to Abbey Wood station it will be a loop on Crossrail serving a lot of areas ripe for quality housing and commercial development.
It certainly looks a feasible area to think about taking the DLR.
I also think if more destinations are created in the East, then this will need other developments.
- More capacity in the new trains, that are being ordered.
- Extra destinations in the West
- Expansion of the North-South route t balance the network.
The North and South extensions were covered earlier.
Extension To The West
I have written about this in Extending The Docklands Light Railway West From Bank Station.
The Docklands Light Railway must be one of the best stop-gap transport projects ever created.
Crossrail’s affects on the DLR will be more about providing opportunities, than creating problems.
We also shouldn’t underestimate the role of the DLR in bringing passengers to Crossrail.