The Anonymous Widower

All Change At South Kensington Station

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in Rail Engineer, which describes the plan for developing South Kensington station.

The article gives a lot of insight into the expanding of the station and how it will be funded.

It is a busy station that in 2016 handled nearly thirty-four million passengers.

It was certainly busy today with visitors today, when I passed through as I went to and from the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has now been expanded.

Expanding the station will certainly test the skills of those managing the project. Especially, now that the V & A will be drawing more people to the area.

Funding Station Expansion

I said earlier that South Kensington station has a yearly traffic of just under 34 miilion.

These are figures for 2015/2016 for some important provincial stations in England.

  • Bank – 94 million
  • Birmingham New Street – 39 million
  • Blackpool North – 2 million
  • Brighton – 17 million
  • Bristol Temple Meads – 11 million
  • Camden Town – 23 million
  • Dalston Junction – 5 million
  • Dalston Kingsland – 6 million
  • Euston – 42 million
  • Liverpool Lime Street – 15 million
  • Manchester Piccadilly – 26 million
  • Newcastle – 8 million
  • Nottingham – 7 million
  • Peterbirough – 5 million
  • Sheffield – 9 million
  • Waterloo – 39 million

These stations were chosen pretty much at random, but I do think they show that London Underground stations seem to attract a lot of traffic near tourist attractions.

So perhaps we should built more stations near to major tourist attractions.

Are these the sort of projects that can be funded privately by property development?

It is proposed to use this model at South Kensington station.

I deliberately put in my two local stations of Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland.

Dalston Junction, is the bigger station, with twice as many platforms as Dalston ingsland.

It is also step-free with blocks of flats on top.

So is it surprising that it is not the busier station of the two?

I think it just goes to show, that predicting passenger numbers, is not an easy task.



June 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Fawkham Junction Link

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways discusses the Fawkham Junction Link, which was originally used to allow Eurostar trains to get to Waterloo station. It is now used as a siding for old Eurostar trains, that are waiting for the scrapyard.

I wrote about this link in Connecting Ebbsfleet International To South London, which connects the Chatham Main Line to Ebbsfleet International station and High Speed One.

A quick look on Google Maps appears to show, that the third-rail electrification is still in place, which must make the link easier to reinstate.

Obviously, Network Rail and the TOCs (train operating companies) have a cunning plan to create extra services using the reinstated link and High Speed One.


Ebbsfleet International Station

Bear in mind, that Ebbsfleet Internation station is an important transport hub.

  • Services to and from the Continent call.
  • Highspeed services between St. Pancras and Thanet call.
  • There is masses of car parking.

If Ebbsfleet Interbational has a problem, it is badly connected to the local area and only serves St. Pancras in London.

London Victoria To Thanet Services

At present, services between Victoria and Thanet services that go through Bromley South and Swanley stations are as follows.

  • 1 tph – Victoria to Ramsgate via Longfield and Chatham.
  • 2 tph – Victoria to Dover Priory via Longfield and Chatham
  • 1 tph – Victoria to Canterbury West via Swanley and Maidstone East
  • 1 tph – Victoria to Ashford International via Swanley and Maidstone East

Note that in all these services the first stop is Bromley South station.

Could the plan be as simple as this?

  • Some services between Victoria and Broadstairs, Canterbury, Dover Priory, Ramsgate and Thanet Parkway stations would be run by Class 395 trains or similar trains with a 140 mph capability on High Speed One.
  • Trains would go to from Victoria to Swanley, with just the single stop at Bromley South station, as they do now, and then join High Speed One via the Fawkham Junction Link.
  • Once at Ashford, they take the routes to Thanet as used by the current Highspeed services.

I suspect this would give times from Victoria as follows.

  • Broadstairs in ninety-seven minutes as against 111 minutes now.
  • Canterbury West in seventy-two minutes as against 125 minutes now.
  • Dover Priory in seventy-six minutes as against to 122 minutes now.
  • Ramsgate in ninety minutes minutes as against to 124 minutes now.

Times could probably be improved further with a bit of work in Thanet and between Swnley and Victoria.

This could mean.

  • Nearly all trains in Thanet are Class 395 trains., so tracks and stations could be designed accordingly.
  • The Class 395 trains use the Thanet paths into Victoria from Swanley.
  • Provision would have to be made for stations losing their services to High Speed One.

It could all be very efficient and a simple way to improve timings to Thanet.

Thameslink Services

Thameslink services serve Swanley station and could easily be extended to Ebbsfleet International, if that was desired via the Fawkham Junction link.

Bromley South Metro Services

The Southeastern Metro service on the Bromley South Line could use Ebbsfleet as an alternative terminal to Petts Wood station, by using the Fawkham Junction link.


There are lots of possibilities, with perhaps the most important being to create a second Highspeed terminus in London, to relieve the inadequate capacity at St. Pancras.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

June 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 16 Comments

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Elimination Of Slow Trains

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways discusses the improvements that may be made by the new franchisee of the Southeastern franchise.

Southeastern‘s current fleet includes.

The slower 75 mph trains are generally older and lack customer-friendly features like wi-fi and good information screens.

The article says that Class 465 trains are still used on the Maidstone East Line and possibly on Tunbridge Wells stoppers.

I can confirm in my trip to Longfield Station, that they are still used on that route.

Running these slow trains in with the faster 100 mph units like the Class 375/377 trains, is like allowing milk-floats on motorways.

It could be that the reason, stations on the Maidstone East Line only get two trains per hour (tph), is because some services are or could be run by the slow Class 465 trains.

Implications For The Maidstone East Line

Currently, Maidstone East to Ashford International station takes about thirty minutes.

Given that modern trains like Southeastern’s  Class 375 and Class 377 trains and Thameslink’s Class 700 trains are also very much better and faster at carrying out a station stop, could it be that even if the train stopped everywhere on the Maidstone East Line, that substantial savings in time could be made?

Could this mean, that Thameslink’s future Cambridge to Maidstone East service could be extended to the much better connected Ashford International?

I think it could be mathematically possible and it would mean that all the intermediate stations on the Maidstone East Line would have a doubling of service frequency to 4 tph.

This is a simple example in the Southeastern area, but in how many other places on their network, do the 75 mph trains cause timetabling problems.

It is my belief, that all trains incapable of operating at 100 mph, should either be modified so they can operate at 100 mph or be scrapped.

The Minimum Train Specification

A minimum electric train specification should probably be something like this, to satisfy passengers and train operating companies.

  • 100 mph capability
  • Designed for a fast station stop with minimum dwell-time
  • Regenerative braking
  • Efficient traction motors
  • Wi-fi in all classes
  • The capability to fit boosters for 4G signals.

Southeastern’s Class 465 trains fail on all points.

Metro Operations

But surely, they are OK when running a Metro service like Victoria to Dartford?

Currently, this service takes 49 minutes with eleven stops.

This means that a train takes two hours to go from Victoria and Dartford and back, so to achieve the required service frequency of 2 tph, four trains will be needed.

But supposing a modern train is used on this route. Train manufacturers will claim that a modern train saves about two to three minutes a stop.

So if two minutes a stop is saved, modern signalling is used to advantage and the driver uses the extra speed and acceleration with alacrity, I feel that the forty-nine minute journey could be brought down sufficiently, so that the round trip would be under an hour.

Not only would passengers see a faster service of under thirty minutes in a much better equipped train, but the operator could run the 2 tph service with just two trains instead of four and a big saving in electricity.

The operator may have to alter staff practices because of the faster journey, but I doubt it would be anything controversial.

Could Class 707 Trains Be Used On The Southeastern Franchise?

The Class 707 trains, which are unwanted by South Western Railway are 100 mph units and are probably up-to-scratch for the train operator.

But they may need to be retrofitted with wi-fi.

I suspect, that one of the conditions of the new Southeastern franchise, is that free wi-fi is offered. Now that Crossrail is throwing in 4G access, I suspect all bidders will offer this too!


All trains incapable of running a service at 100 mph should be eliminated, just as the two operators;Greater Anglia and South Western Railway, are planning to do.

There’s going to a lot of slow trains going cheap!

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.




June 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 19 Comments