The Anonymous Widower

Musical Trains On The Overground

The November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways (MR) has a news item entitled Nine More Class 710s Planned.

This is the first paragraph.

Transport for London is proposing the acquisition of nine additional Class 710 EMUs from Bombardier to support the London Overground rxtension to Barking Riverside and an enhanced service on the East London Line.

Transport for London (TfL)  are ordering six five-car and three four-car Class 710 trains.

This article on London Reconnections (LR) is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated.

The title gives a clue as to the first part of the article and it talks about how it may be necessary for TfL to get their order in now to get the best terms and price for the trains.

Putting the two articles together, some interesting train use could be happening on the various lines of the Overground.

The East London Line

Certain improvements have been planned for the East London Line.

The Class 378 Trains

The current fleet of 57 Class 378 trains are now five cars in length, after starting at just three cars.

Many of the stations on the East London Line could accept six-car trains and the other could be worked using selective door opening.

So TfL probably have an option to increase capacity on the East London Line by twenty percent, by adding an extra car to the Class 378 trains on the line.

The Class 378 trains are also certified for working the Thames Tunnel, whereas the Class 710 trains don’t appear they will be.

The Night Overground

A 24-hour service on Friday and Saturday nights, between New Cross and Dalston Junction/Highbury and Islington stations.

Crossrail And The East London Line

This will happen in December 2018, when Stage 3 of Crossrail opens between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations, with a connection to the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

When you consider that Whitechapel will be served by 12 x nine-car Crossrail trains per hour (tph) from December 2018 and 24 x nine-car tph from May 2019, you do wonder if the East London Line’s sixteen x five-car tph will cope with the extra passengwe.

Increased Frequencies

TfL have said they will increase the core frequency of the East London Line from sixteen tph to twenty in 2021.

I wrote about this two years ago in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, so the plan is an old one, even if it has slipped a bit.

The original plan envisaged the following extra trains on the East London Line.

  • Two tph – Dalston Junction to Crystal Palace in 2018
  • Two tph – Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction in 2019

It would need the following.

  • More Class 378 trains, as the Class 710 trains are not certified for the Thames Tunnel.
  • Improved digital signalling in the core, which would eventually enable twenty-four tph.

The LR article suggests that there may be capacity problems at Clapham Junction station and two tph to Battersea Park station is suggested as an alternative.

Battersea Park Station

Battersea Park station is already served by the Overground, with this service, which is detailed in Wikipedia.

1 train per day to Highbury & Islington / 1 train per day from Dalston Junction.

Wikipedia adds this comment.

Until December 2012, Southern operated a twice-hourly service from London Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill. This ceased when London Overground’s Clapham Junction to Dalston Junction service commenced at that time. However, since December 2012, a skeleton London Overground service has run to/from Battersea Park (instead of Clapham Junction) at the extreme ends of the day to retain a “parliamentary service” between Battersea Park and Clapham High Street.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Battersea Park station.

Note.

  1. The single track going in to Platform 2.
  2. Platform 1 at Battersea Park station is disused.
  3. The close proximity of the station to the new Battersea Power Station station, that opens in a few years.

These are some selected pictures of Battersea Park station.

I think it is true to say, that it is a Victorian station, that wasn’t designed for the modern age.

  • The station is Grade II Listed.
  • The booking hall is a tidy Victorian example.
  • There is a lot of excellent Victorian detailing.
  • Platform 2 and 3 is wide with sensible stairs.
  • Platform 2 is a well laid out terminal platform.
  • Platform 4 and 5 is narrow with terrible stairs.
  • Plstforms 3 and 4 seem to be long enough for ten-car trains.

It could be turned into what Roy Brooks would have called something better than a ruin. For those of you born since 1960, check the link to a memory of one of the world’s late great honest estate agents.

I’m sure Londoners used to buy the Sunday Times, just to read his adverts.

I can remember my late wife sitting on the sofa, laughing loudly, as she read aloud an advert about a flat, that wouldn’t suit an owner with a cat,.

Battersea Park station and a two tph service from Dalston Junction across South London have a lot going for them.

  • I’m sure a budding Lord Foster or Zaha Hadid could come up with a scheme to fix the platform access and make the station passenger friendly and their name.
  • The station is a short walk from Battersea Power Station station and must open up routes across London.
  • Battersea Park station could easily handle two tph on a single platform.
  • In A New Station For Battersea, I talked about a proposal to create a station at Battersea that linked the new tube station to the Southeastern lines into Victoria.
  • In Four Trains Per Hour Between Dalston Junction And Battersea Park Stations, I write about how on the 6th November 2017, because of a track fault, London Overground ran a four tph shuttle between the two terminals.

Will all of this be tied together?

Train Requirements On The East London Line

Doing a quick calculation, I think that each of the four branches need the following number of trains for four tph.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 8 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 8 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 2 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 8 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 26 trains.

Up the frequency to six tph on each branch or one train every 2½ minutes, which would be 24 tph through the Thames Tunnel and you get the following.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 12 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 3 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 12 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 39 trains.

If you just have an increase to six tph on just the Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace routes as London Overground are proposing for 2020, you get the following.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 12 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 2 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 8 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 34 trains, providing a service of one train every 3 minutes, which would be 20 tph through the Thames Tunnel.

This is eight more trains than at the present time.

It’s all rather impressive for the Thames Tunnel, which was built between 1825 and 1843, by the Brunels.

The Ultimate Capacity Of The East London Line

If we look perhaps ten years into the future, the following will have happened.

  • Signalling will have improved.
  • Crossrail will be running more than 24 tph through Whitechapel.
  • Automatic Train Operation (ATO) will be driving the trains, with the driver keeping a vigilant watch, just as happens on the Victoria Line now!
  • Passenger information and management will have improved and passengers will be able to handle the increased frequency of trains easily.

So if Dear Old Vicky can manage thirty-six tph in a 1960’s tunnel, will the East London Line be able to manage the same frequency in an 1840’s tunnel?

The Brunels would have made sure it happened and if it is needed, so will their engineering successors!

Let’s cut it back a bit and aim for 32 tph through the Thames Tunnel, as that was the sort of target engineers were looking at, for the Victoria Line in the 2000s, when the East London Line was being proposed.

How many trains will be needed to run the eight tph on the four routes, that would comprise thirty-two tph through the Thames Tunnel?

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 16 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 16 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 4 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 16 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 52 trains.

The London Overground has fifty-seven Class 378 trains. I can’t believe that the original fleet was sized on eight tph in operation through the tunnel and a few as hot spares and in maintenance!

But surely eight tph is impossible, as turning the trains at the terminal platforms would be too much!

Think again!

  • The Victoria Line at Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations handles 36 tph using two platforms or 18 tph per platform.
  • The Northern Line is targeting 36 tph on both lines, when it has been split into two.

With ATO, I’m sure each terminal platform can handle more than eight tph.

More Trains On The East London Line

According to the LR article, the planned new services on the East London Line will require another eight trains. This fits with my calculation.

  • These trains have to be Class 378 trains, due to evacuation issues in the Thames Tunnel.
  • These trains have to be able to work on lines with third-rail electrification.

London Overground has ordered six five-car Class 710 trains and they will be run on the North London Line and West London Line, where they will displace some five-car Class 378 trains for running on the East London Line.

Some five-car Class 378 trains on the Watford DC Line will also be replaced by four-car Class 710 trains.

So it would look like the East London Line will get some of the eight Class 378 trains that it needs.

Improvements To The North London Line/West London Line

The LR article says this.

London Overground have a long-held desire to increase the frequency on the WLL from 4tph to 6tph. They also aspire to another 2tph (at least) from Clapham Junction continuing to Stratford, to further increase the frequency on the North London Line (NLL). This would enable 10tph on eastern end of the North London line. This is due to be implemented with with main order of the new Class 710 stock.

The article also suspects that London Overground want to run the following services.

  • 6 tph – Stratford to Richmond
  • 6 tph – Stratford to Clapham Junction

This would deliver a twelve tph service between Stratford and Willesden Junction.

Living about halfway between those two stations, I’m not complaining.

But the article concludes, that London Overground’s objective can’t be achieved until some freight is moved to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line after the electrification of that line is completed.

As I said earlier, the pair of lines will get six extra five-car Class 710 trains and displace some Class 378 trains to the East London Line.

So will London Overground stick with a mixed fleet on these lines? Or will they perhaps run one class on each route?

I have no idea, but there are quite a few Class 378 trains, that could be displaced by new Class 710 trains to allow the East London Line frequency to be increased.

The Watford DC Line

Currently the Watford DC Line has a three tph service and I suspect that this needs six five-car Class 378 trains to run it.

The LR article says that London Overground want to run four tph on this line and I calculate this will need eight four-car Class 710 trains.

The new trains will probably be a few minutes faster and they will offer an hourly capacity increase of six percent.

But they will release six five-car Class 378 trains to strengthen services on the North, East and West London Lines.

Step-Free Access

Step-free access from platform to train is not good on the Watford DC Line.

You step up into a Class 378 train and step down into a Bakerloo Line 1972 Stock train.

These pictures show the problem with the Class 1972 trains. When I got off one of these trains at Willesden today it was a jump.

It is some of the worst step-free access on the Underground.

On my short trip on the Bakerloo Line today, I deliberately sat in the last carriage. On most stations the the last carriage was aligned with the end of the platform, which leads me to the conclusion, that most stations are about as long as the trains, which are over 110 metres long.

Can a step-free platform be designed, that will work with the following trains?

  • The current Class 378 trains
  • The future Class 710 trains
  • The current Underground 1972 Stock.
  • Any future deep-level Underground trains

The latter could make design more difficult, if the train is built for Unattended Train Operation (UTO) and if platform edge doors are needed at all stations with UTO.

The only solution I can think of, is one that is used in Karlsruhe in Germany and is now being used at Rotherham Central station to accommodate main line trains and Class 399 tram-trains.

The platform is long enough to have two sections, with different platform heights.

  • A high section is used with the main line trains.
  • A low section is used with the Underground trains.
  • Platform edge doors could be fitted to the low section.
  • A gentle slope would connect the two sections.
  • Entry to the combined platform could be near where the two sections join.

Also, consider the following.

  • Given that the length of a Class 710 train is around 80 metres and that of a 1972 stock is in excess of 110 metres, it will be a long platform.
  • Selective door opening will be installed on all trains.
  • I do wonder, if the new trains for the Watford DC Line are only four cars to ease the problem of step-free access. The reduced length could knock twenty metres off every platform.
  • Could we even see the new Underground trains built to a shorter length?

I’m sure that a workable platform design is possible.

The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line

The Bakerloo Line is being extended to the South, but nothing has been said about how it will be changed in the North.

Possibilities for Northern terminals for the line could include.

  • Queen’s Park
  • Stonebridge Park
  • Harrow and Wealdstone
  • Watford Junction

It’s also complicated because the depot is at Stonebridge Patk.

I wouldn’t rule out extending the of the Bakerloo Line to Watford Junction, as is talked about in Wikipedia under Re-extension to Watford Junction.

What would be the consequences, if the following were to be done?

  • An extended Bakerloo Line has an increased frequency of at least twenty tph between Watford Junction and Lewisham.
  • The new trains for the Bakerloo Line are faster.
  • The new Bakerloo Line trains had a capacity increase from the current 700, so they carried about the same as the five-car Class 378 trains.

The increased frequency of Bakerloo Line service, would probably result in London Overground’s Euston to Watford service to be discontinued.

The benefits would be as follows.

  • Stations from Queen’s Park to Watford Junction would get a more frequent service, of possibly a train every three minutes.
  • The problems of step-free access and platform-edge doors would be solved, as all trains would be on the Bakerloo Line.
  • London Overground would not need any platforms at Euston, which could help in the rebuilding of Euston for HS2.

It would also mean that London Underground got another high-frequency Underground Line without any junctions, that could be run very efficiently.

But it would mean Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead stations would lose their connection to Euston.

A Willesden Junction To Stratford Via Kilburn High Road, South Hampstead and Primrose Hill Service

Reopening Primrose Hill station has been mooted in the past. This is said in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

It has been proposed to re-open Primrose Hill station by bringing the short stretch of line between South Hampstead and Camden Road stations back into the regular passenger service by incorporating it into the London Overground network.

A reopened Primrose Hill station, would only be a short walk to Chalk Farm station.

At Willesden junction station, there is even a convenient South-facing bay platform, that is numbered 2 and could handle four tph.

The picture shows a Class 378 train in Platform 2 at Willesden Junction station, was taken on Sunday, the 2nd of October 2016, during engineering works, when a Rail Replacement Train was run between Willesden Junction and Stratford stations.

But there are problems.

  • Where would you terminate the service at its Eastern end? Highbury and Islington, Stratford or somewhere else, like perhaps a reopened Maiden Lane station?
  • Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead stations sill lose their srtvoce to Euston and they would have to change at Highbury and Islington.
  • Organising the time-table might be difficult.
  • I also think, it would mean that Kensal Green station would be very difficult to make step-free, if it had to be served by both Overground and Bakerloo Line trains.

On the other hand, Queen’s Park station is an excellent example of a step-free cross-platform interchange between the two types of trains and Willesden Junction station could be equally good.

Crossrail, The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line

All these three lines either serve Watford Junction or it has been suggested that they do.

  • Plans to extend Crossrail up the West Coast Main Line would probably include a stop at Watford Junction, if they materialise.
  • Extending the Bakerloo to Watford Junction is suggested from time-to-time.
  • The Watford DC Line already serves Watford Junction station.

Given that a high-frequency efficient extended Bakerloo Line running between Watford Junction and Lewisham would serve the smaller stations on the way to Watford very capably, I suspect that whatever happens to Crossrail and the Watford DC services, the Bakerloo Line will be extended to Watford Junction.

The extended Bakerloo Line would have the following characteristics.

  • Probably all trains running between Watford Junction and Lewisham.
  • A frequency of upwards of 20 tph
  • No junctions and end-to-end running like the Victoria and Jubilee Lines.
  • Full step-free access at all stations.
  • New faster, walk-through trains with wi-fi and 4G.
  • An efficient connection to Crossrail at Paddington will be opened in December 2018.
  • National Rail connections at Charing Cross, Elephant and Castle, Lreisham, Marylebone, Paddington, Waterloo and Watford Junction

It may be London’s forgotten line, but once extended, it could be a new star. Especially, if it gets to be linked directly into Old Oak Common station for all the services including HS2, that will be available there.

The Watford DC Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail, which makes me feel, that when everything gets decided about the extended Bakerloo Line and the new station at Old Oak Common, then the Watford DC Line could miss out.

Through Running Between North And East London Lines

I seem to remember reading in Modern Railways about ten years ago, that there was an ambition in TfL to extend some East London Line trains to Willesden Junction.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr, which shows the lines at Highbury and Islington station.

Note the single line labelled Transfer, that connects Platform 2 at Highbury and Islington station to the Westbound North London Line, that runs through Platform 7.

I think it would be possible to make Platform 2 into a bi-directional through platform.

  • All Westbound trains on the Westbound North London Line would leave from the island platform between platforms 2 and 7.
  • Voltage changeover between 750 VDC and 25 KVAC would take place in Platform 2.
  • A four tph service in both directions would mean a train every 7-8 minutes.
  • The four-track section of the North London Line between Highbury and Islington and Camden Road stations, includes two reversible lines.

Was this all future-proofing to allow services to run between the North London and East London Lines?

It is interesting to note, that Platform 2 is used for services to and from West Croydon station.

These services take around 51-55 minutes and currently need eight trains for a four tph service.

This screen capture shows the train timetable, when I rode between Highbury and Islington and Willesden Junction stations.

Note that the journey takes 22 minutes.

I am led to the conclusion, that it would be possible to run a  service between West Croydon and Willesden Junction stations.

The service would run via Kilburn High Road, South Hampstead and and a reopened Primrose Hill stations.

It would have a frequency of four tph.

Trains would change voltage at Highbury and Islington station.

I would certainly like the service for these reasons.

  • I regularly travel along the North London Line from the West to Dalston Junction station. The change between the North and East London Lines at Highbury and Islington can be very busy.
  • Going West along the North London Line from Dalston Junction can involve a lot of walking up and down at Highbury and Islington station.
  • Using Dalston Kingsland station to go East can be difficult, as there are masses of passengers changing between rge two Dalston stations.
  • I like to go to Primrose Hill and London Zoo.
  • Could the service also ease the pressure on Camden Town station, until the upgrade is complete?

I have no idea if London Overground would do this, but if there was a vote, I’d say yes!

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

I have never seen a detailed analysis of running trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBLin).

Currently, eight Class 172 trains provide the four tph service. Consider this round trip.

  • Leave Gospel Oak station at 09:05
  • Arrive Barking station at 09:42
  • Leave Barking station at 10.03
  • Arrive Gospel Oak station at 10.45

Note.

  1. It is a very generous timetable.
  2. There is a twenty minute turn-round time at both ends of the route, which is good for recovering the timetable after a delay.
  3. The Class 710 trains could save time at every one of the ten stops, as they accelerate faster, have smooth regenerative braking and should have a better platform-train interface.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the Class 710 trains could run a faster service on the line.

Extending Services To Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside station will only be a short distance from Barking station and I suspect, it would only add ten minutes at most to the end-to-end journey time.

As there is a twenty minute turn-round time, I suspect that a train will be able to go from Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside and back again in under two hours.

This would mean that the current service of four tph could be possible on the extended route, with the same fleet of eight trains.

This is said in the MR article about the Class 710 trains.

The remaining two additional four-car units would support the extension of Gospel Oak to Barking services to Barking Riverside.

This leads me to one of these conclusions.

  • The service is going to be extended somewhere else.
  • The frequency on the route is going to be increased to five tph.

The next few sections deal with the various options.

Extending To The West Along The North London Line From Gospel Oak

I sometimes change between the GOBLin and the North London Line, as I can get a convenient bus from my house to Harringay Green Lanes station.

Allowing GOBLin services to continue along the North London Line would need extensive and expensive remodelling of Gospel Oak station to create an Eastbound plstform for the GOBLin.

The tracks to the West of the station, would probably need to remodelled to allow efficient operation.

The GOBLin trains would also be four-car trains, as opposed to the five-car trains on the North London Line.

Extending To The North Along The Midland Main Line

By using the Carlton Road Junction after Upper Holloway station, GOBLin trains could access the Thameslink tracks and go North to a convenient station.

Unfortunately, the track layout is such, that crossing to the Dudding Hill Line is difficult.

But continuing to the proposed Brent Cross Thameslink station is surely a possibility.

Although, I can’t see anything happening until plans for the West Orbital Railway are agreed and Brent Cross Thameslink station is opened.

So it can probably be discounted for a few years yet!

Extending Across The Thames From Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside station is being built so that an extension under the Thames is possible.

But as a tunnel would be involved, I can’t see this extension being started or even planned fully for several years.

Five tph On The GOBLin

If two extra trains are added to the GOBLin fleet, this would mean that there are ten trains, which would be enough to run a five tph service between Gospel Oak and Barking Riverside stations.

I think this will be the most likely use of the two extra trains on the GOBlin.

Romford To Upminster

The Romford To Upminster Line is slated to get a brand-new Class 710 train to work the two tph shuttle.

The DR article says that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

This would mean a new Class 710 train could be deployed elsewhere, where its performance and comfort levels would be more needed.

Surely, this would be enough capacity for the line and a lot cheaper than a new Class 710 train! Provided of course, that it was reliable, comfortable and could maintain the current two tph service.

I discuss this in detail in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line.

Conclusion

It looks like Transport for London are planning for a large increase in services on the East London Line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , , ,

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