The Anonymous Widower

Could Beckenham Junction To Birkbeck Be Run Using Third-Rail Tram-Trains?

Look at this map from  carto.metro.free.fr, which shows the lines to the west of Beckenham Junction station.

Lines To The West Of Beckhenham Junction Station

Lines To The West Of Beckhenham Junction Station

At Beckenham Junction station, there are the following platforms.

  • Two through platforms.
  • Two Westward-facing bay platforms for trains.
  • Two Westward-facing bay platforms for the Tramlink.

But the real problem of operation of the section of line through Beckenham Junction station is that, both the main line and tram line to Birkbeck station are bi-directional, which must limit capacity.

Running Using Third-Rail Tram-Trains

Suppose that the trams going to Beckenham Junction were tram-trains capable of running on both 750 VDC  overhead and third-rail electrification, with a limited range of perhaps 2 km. on batteries.

The following would be done.

  • The current Tramlink line would be for all Westbound tram-trains and trains.
  • The current heavy rail line would be for all Eastbound tram-trains and trains.
  • Both tracks betweeen Birkbeck and Beckenham Junction would have third rail electrification.
  • There would be no electrification of any sort between Harrington Road tram stop and Birkbeck station.
  • All trams using the line would have a tram-train capability, dual 750 VDC pick-up and batteries.
  • All trains using the line would be as now.
  • Birkbeck, Avenue Road and Beckenham Road stations would revert to traditional stations.
  • All platforms would need to be adjusted to give step-free access to the two types of vehicles.

I suspect that Beckenham Junction station could also be remodelled to have bay platforms, that could accept trains and tram-trains.

The Current Services

The typical off-peak service frequency is:

  • 4tph (trains per hour) to London Victoria (Southeastern)
  • 2tph to London Bridge via Crystal Palace (Southern)
  • 4tph to Orpington (Southeastern)

These train services would be unaffected, except that they could stop in Birkbeck, Avenue Road and Beckenham Road stations, if required.

The tram services would be generally unaffected, although they would need to cross over from the Eastbound line into Beckenham Junction, as trains do now.

Tram-Train Operation

Consider how a third-rail tram-train would operate between Croydon and Beckenham Junction.

  • It would run as a normal tram using the overhead electrification to Harrington Road tram stop.
  • At Harrington Road tram stop, the pantograph would be lowered and the tram-train would run to Birkbeck station on battery power.
  • The tram-train would then lower the third-rail shoe and run to Beckenham Junction on the third rail electrification.

This Google Map shows Harrington Road tram stop and Birkbeck station.

The distance between the two is probably under a kilometre.

Advantages

I can’t believe that creating a double-track railway, that can be used by both tram-trains and say Class 377 trains, doesn’t have advantages.

  • The passing loops on the tram line would not be needed, as Eastbound and Westbound trams would be on different lines.
  • The double-tracking should reduce train delays.
  • It would allow the tram frequency to Beckenham Junction to be increased., which might enable a whole lot of possibilities.
  • Tram-train services could be extended to Bromley South station.

I do feel though that the biggest advantages might be enabled, if Birkbeck, Avenue Road and Beckenham Road became single island platforms between the tracks. This would enable.

  • Same platform interchange.
  • Train passengers going East could change to a tram-train going West and vice-versa.
  • A single lift could be installed at Birkbeck, Avenue Road and Beckenham Road stations for step-free access.

There are certainly possibilities to improve the line.

Conclusion

By replacing the trams to Beckenham Junction station with tram-trains, capable of running on both 750 VDC types of electrification and with a limited battery capabilty, would simplify operation at Beckhenham Junction and enable Tramlink services to be extended to Bromley South station.

 

 

 

 

 

April 15, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. […] In Could Beckenham Junction To Birkbeck Be Run Using Third-Rail Tram-Trains?, I detailed how third-rail tram-trains could be used between Harrington Lane tram stop and Beckenham Junction station to create more capacity. […]

    Pingback by Could Third-Rail Tram-Trains Be Used To Increase Services In South London? « The Anonymous Widower | April 16, 2017 | Reply

  2. […] In Could Beckenham Junction To Birkbeck Be Run Using Third-Rail Tram-Trains?, I show how third-rail tram train-technology , could be used to create more capacity at Beckenham Junction station. […]

    Pingback by The Third-Rail Tram-Train « The Anonymous Widower | April 16, 2017 | Reply


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