The Anonymous Widower

TfL Drives Forward With ‘Hugely Exciting’ Tube Station Development

The title of this post, is the same as the title of this article in Rail Technology Magazine.

The station involved is South Kensington station,

Work to be done includes.

  • New housing will be added.
  • Upgrading of the Grade II listed shopping arcade.
  • A second entrance developed via the pedestrian subway will be developed.
  • Facilities will be improved for  current and new residents.
  • Step-free access will be provided to the District and Circle Lines.

This article in the Architects Journal gives more details.

The article also hopes everything can be completed by 2022.

Is this development the shape of things to come?

You have the following.

  • A tube station which is not in the best condition.
  • There is space to add much-needed housing.
  • It is an important transport location.
  • Annual passenger entry and exit in 2016 was 33.6 million.
  • It is a building with a partial Grade II Listing.
  • TfL have appointed a world-class firm of architects.

A successful property developer, with access to finance, could turn this into something that benefits all stakeholders; local residents;TfL, London taxpayers, staff and passengers.

Within walking distance or a short bus ride of my house, there are seven stations.

  • Dalston Junction is a new station with step-free access and high-rise housing on top.
  • Haggerston station is a new step-free station, that is probably fully developed.
  • Canonbury station is an older station, that has been made step-free. It is fully-developed.

But, the other four need development.

Dalston Kingsland

Dalston Kingsland station was rebuilt in the last couple of years with a new gate line and booking office.

  • The station has narrow platforms, not much shelter and no step-free access.
  • Passenger entry and exit for 2016-17 were over six million.
  • Next door, Taylor Wimpey are building a residential tower called 57 East.

Full development of this station is probably waiting for a decision about Crossrail 2.

Essex Road

Essex Road station is a station out of another era, but what era is hard to say.

  • It is a solid red brick building, built around the start of the Twentieth Century.
  • The building has little architectural merit.
  • Underground, the history of the station is echoed by faded Underground and Network Southeast liveries.
  • It could do with a good clean.
  • Access to the trains is by lifts and could probably stand-in for access to one of London’s Second World War bunkers.
  • It may have lifts, but it is not step-free.
  • Passenger entry and exit in 2016-17 was under a million.

It is a seriously neglected station.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

It is on a junction of two major roads, with some gardens, a few local stops and several important bus routes.

If the train-related parts of the building were updated with modern decor and lighting, full step-free access, this station could see a serious increase in passenger traffic.

The following, should also be born in mind.

  • The rather rudimentary forty-year old Class 313 trains will be replaced by brand-new Class 717 trains designed for the unique operation of the Northern City Line.
  • The new trains should bring an increase in frequency in trains through Essex Road station.
  • At the end of 2018, the Northern City Line will have a step-free connection to Crossrail and a dry underground waking route to Liverpool Street station at Moorgate station.

There is also the possibility, that was raised by Chris Gibb, of transferring the Northern City Line to the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – Moorgate Services Could Be Transferred To The London Overground.

So it would appear that whatever happens, the train service and station will be improved and Essex Road station will become a lot more important.

Surely, the obvious way to pay for the improvements at Essex Road station, is to develop the building into some housing in keeping with the area.

Highbury and Islington

Highbury and Islington station is the fifteenth busiest station in the UK and is busier than Manchester Piccadilly and Edinburgh Waverley.

It is a major interchange between the following lines.

  • East London Line
  • North London Line
  • Victoria Line
  • Northern City Line

Currently, it handles nearly thirty million passengers a year.

But that number is surely going to increase.

  • The East London Line is adding another four trains per hour (tph)
  • Extra trains will be running on the North London Line.
  • Dear Old Vicky will cram more passengers in.
  • The improved Northern City line will have more and better trains.
  • The Northern City Line will provide a step-free connection for Victoria Line passengers to Crossrail.

Highbury and Islington station is a station where the below-ground platforms are in desperate need of improvement and step-free access.

At least there should be no problems demolishing the station buildings at Highbury and Islington, as a flying bomb did that in 1944.

It was an impressive building.

However, there are factors that will help an architect,  after the Nazi damage and some unsympathetic 1960s development, when the Victoria Line was built.

  • The flying bomb destroyed all parts of the station with architectural merit.
  • The Victorian bridge over the Overground lines is being replaced.
  • The traffic is being sorted.
  • Pedestrian areas are being created to link the station entrance to the green space in the middle of Highbury Corner.
  • There is already an unused and intact second entrance to the station on the other side of Holloway Road.

This could be one of the best stations in London, with perhaps some of the best places to live in London on top.

Old Street

Old Street station is another bad station.

  • It sits in the middle of a roundabout called Silicon Roundabout.
  • The roundabout is surrounded by tower blocks, which are both residential and commercial.
  • It is owned by Transport for London.
  • It is served by the Northern and Northern City Lines.
  • Passenger entrances and exits are amos thirty million a year.
  • The station has escalators, but is not step-free.

This is surely, a site, where a tall residential block should be built above an improved station.

But getting the right building and mix will be difficult.


These four could all be redeveloped by imaginative architects and property developers to create better transport hubs and a sensible amount of useful housing development.

I hope TfL, architects and developers are scouring London for suitable sites.


March 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Minister Confirms There Are ‘No Plans’ To Extend Crossrail To Basingstoke

The title of this post is the same as the title of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Jo Johnson has confirmed that there are no plans to lengthen Crossrail to Basingstoke despite speculation from other MPs.

Following questioning from North East Hampshire Conservative MP Ranil Jayawardena, the rail minister said the government’s priority was to see the current project delivered on time before considering any additional work

It is my view that Basingstoke, is one of several places, which have been mentioned as possible terminals for Crossrail.

A list could include.

  • Basingstoke
  • Beaulieu
  • Chelmsford
  • Ebbsfleet
  • Gravesend
  • High Wycombe
  • Milton Keynes
  • Oxford
  • Southend Airport
  • Southend Victoria
  • Tring


  1. Some are safeguarded.
  2. Some have been promoted stronger than others and it is reasonable to assume that MPs will want Crossrail to turn up in their constituency.

These facts about Crossrail, say to me that extra destinations will be added.

  • The current provisional schedule is twenty-four train per hour (tph), through the central tunnel.
  • The capacity of the central tunnel is sometimes stated as thirty tph.
  • Twelve tph are scheduled to be terminated at Paddington.

The initial infrastructure doesn’t seem to be pushed too hard.

This probably gives speculation to where the spare trains will go.


March 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

Is Hydrogen The Answer?

This excellent article on Rail Engineer, is a very good analysis of using hydrogen to power trains.

It is also crammed full of facts!

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Class 700 Train In Platform 5 At London Bridge Station

I took these pictures of a Class 700 train in Platform 5 at London Bridge station.

I assume it was there for driver training and was waiting to pass through the central section of Thameslink.

According to the March 2018 Edition of Modern Railways services through the Central London core will be.

May 2018: 18 Thameslink trains per hour (tph) through central London core (12 tph via London Bridge and six via Elephant & Castle)

At least drivers and other staff seem to be getting trained.

Distilling the report in Modern Railways, gives the following service from May 2018.

Via London Bridge

  • 2 tph – Bedford – Brighton – semi-fast/fast – 12-car – All Day
  • 2 tph – Bedford – Gatwick Airport- semi-fast/semi-fast – 12-car – All Day
  • 2 tph – Peterborough – Horsham – semi-fast/semi-fast – 12-car – All Day
  • 1 tph – Cambridge – Brighton – semi-fast-fast – 12-car – All Day
  • 2 tph – Bedford – East Grinstead – fast/stopping – 12-car – Peak Only
  • 1 tph – Bedford – Littlehampton – fast/fast – 12-car Peak Only
  • 2 tph – Luton – Rainham – all stations/all stations – 12-car – All Day


  1. This means seven tph all day between central London and Gatwick.
  2. semi-fast/fast means semi-fast North of the Thames and fast South of the Thames etc.

Via Elephant & Castle

  • 4 tph – St. Albans – Sutton – all stations/all stations – 8-car – All Day
  • 2 tph – Luton/Kentish Town – Orpington – 8 car – All Day


  1. The four tph St. Albans – Sutton go round the Sutton Loop, with two tph in each direction.




March 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Commitment To West London Orbital Rail Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in Global Rail News.

This is the first three paragraphs of the article.

A new West London Orbital rail line has been included in a revised 25-year Transport Strategy for the city.

Its addition follows a public consultation. The document describes an extension of the Overground network connecting Hounslow with Cricklewood and Hendon via Old Oak, Neasden and Brent Cross.

The line would reinstate a regular passenger service on the Dudding Hill line, which links Acton and Cricklewood.

I like this proposal and I wrote about the railway in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

In the related post, I said this about building the line.

This is no Crossrail or HS2, where billions need to be spent.

The three largest sub-projects would be.

Electrification of the Dudding Hill Line, if it is to be done.
Resignalling of the Dudding Hill Line.
Necessary track replacement and updating.
In addition, there are around ten station projects.

There will also be a need for up to perhaps sixteen Class 710 trains. This could be around £90-100 million.

Since, I wrote that, things have moved on.


The first order for Class 230 trains has been placed, giving them credibility.

They could do the short routes on batteries.

But if these trains can do it on batteries, why can’t Class 710 trains?

So that means no new electrification!


Some of the stations, that will need to be built or modified, like Harlesden or Neasden, sit on sizeable brownfield sites.

Surely, property developers can be persuaded to build a station underneath much-needed housing.

It’s all about good design and very much in the Mayor’s thinking and the property developers’ interests!

Project Management

Get this right and, the line could be built simply and reasonably quickly.

The West London Orbital could be built to the following specification.

  • No full electrification.
  • Battery trains.
  • Platforms long enough for four-car Class 710 trains.
  • Bay platforms with possible charging at West Hampstead, Hendon, Hounslow and Kew Bridge stations.
  • Four tph on both routes.

It lends itself to a very efficient way of building the railway.

  1. Update the tracks and signalling as required on the route.
  2. Build a platform on the freight line through West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  3. Build a bay platform that will accept a four-car train at Hounslow station.
  4. Establish a four tph shuttle service between West Hampstead  Thameslink and Hounslow stations calling at Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  5. Stations could be built at Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common, where there is a generous amount of brownfield land, with lots of space for housing above the tracks and platforms.
  6. Add a bay platform at Hendon and Kew Bridge stations.
  7. Establish a second four tph shuttle service between Hendon and Kew Bridge stations calling at Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton Central and South Acton.


  1. Batteries would be charged South of Acton Central using the existing third-rail electrification.
  2. About five miles of the route would not be electrified.
  3. Housing developments on top of a station are a property developers dream.

The service could be started using Class 230 trains, with the option to switch to four-car Class 710 trains, powered by batteries, when more capacity is needed and Bombardier have fully developed the battery Aventra.

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment