The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On The Camden High Line

Last night, I was made aware of the Camden High Line proposal.

On their web site, they say this is their mission.

Our mission is to transform the disused railway into a sustainable green space and transport link that is open for and used by everyone.

Here are my thoughts.

The Railway Line In Question

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the disused railway tracks.

Note.

  1. The line shown in orange is the North London Line of the London Overground.
  2. Camden Road is a two-platform station, with full step-free access.
  3. Maiden Lane is a disused station, that closed a hundred years ago.

I would assume that the two dotted lines between the two stations, will be converted into the Camden High Line.

This Google Map shows the North London Line between Camden Road and Maiden Lane stations.

One of the most striking features visible from this map, is the large amount of development going on to the South of the North London Line.

The new residents and workers could probably do with a good walking and cycling route between Camden Town and Kings Cross.

Plans For The North London Line

The North London Line is a heavily-used passenger and freight route and it is unlikely, that traffic levels will drop.

Freight Traffic

There are now two electrified rail routes across North London; the North London Line and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

As two of the UK’s main container ports; Felixstowe and London Gateway, are not served by electrified railways, this still means that large numbers of diesel-hauled freight trains have to pass through North London to get to the Midlands, North and Scotland, despite the routes from Ipswich and Tilbury being fully-electrified.

These diesel-freight trains are boosted because the alternative  route via Ipswich, Ely and Peterborough is not electrified.

The following needs to be done to seriously cut the number of diesel-hauled freight trains through North London.

  • Electrify Ipswich to Felixstowe.
  • Electrify to London Gateway.
  • Electrify Ipswich to Peterborough.
  • Replace a large fleet of polluting diesel Class 66 locomotives with modern electric units.

In some ways, the replacement of the locomotives by private freight companies is the largest stumbling block.

However, I think that the two shorter lengths of electrification will happen, which will mean that less diesel-hauled freight trains will pass through London, as they will go via Peterborough.

On the other hand, the need for freight trains will increase.

  • More traffic to and from the ports.
  • Freight to and from the Channel Tunnel, which must go through London.
  • Trains carrying vehicles seem to be becoming more numerous.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see calls from the rail freight industry for improvements to the two freight routes through London.

One thing that will help freight trains, would be extra passing loops, where freight trains can wait for the passenger trains to overtake.

The double track of the Camden High Line is one of the few places, where another freight loop could possibly be installed.

Passenger Traffic

Sometime this year, two extra passenger trains per hour (tph) will run on the North London Line between Stratford and Clapham Junction stations.

This will bring the frequency to six tph.

On the past history of the London Underground, this will mean more full trains and pressure for longer trains and more services.

Old Oak Common Station

But the biggest changes will come in the next few years with a new Old Oak Common station, which will connect the North London Line to HS2, Crossrail, Chiltern, Great Western Railway and the West Coast Main Line.

Remember too, that the North London Line will be connected to Crossrail at Stratford.

Will these developments create a demand for extra trains on the North London Line?

Camden Town Station

Camden Town station on the Northern Line is being extended, with a new Northern entrance closer to the North London Line.

Will better routes be provided between Camden Road and Camden Town stations?

Interchange Between Camden Town And Camden Road Stations

Camden Town station’s new entrance will be to the North of the current entrance just off Kentish Town Road.

This Google Map, shows the Western end of Camden Road station.

Note.

  1. There is a train in the Westbound platform.
  2. Kentish Town Road meets the station by Camden Gardens.
  3. The overgrown unused tracks to the North of the current station.
  4. The green space of Camden Gardens, with the 88 bus stand.

Could a second entrance to Camden Road station be built within the viaduct, perhaps with a ground-level entrance in Camden Gardens?

  • It would be a short walk to the new entrance to Camden Town station.
  • It would be convenient for walking to Camden Lock and the other attractions along the Regents Canal.

If the Camden High Line is created, access to the Eastbound platform could be directly to and from the High Line, which would be a garden to the North of the station.

 

Maiden Lane Station

Wikipedia says this about the re-opening of Maiden Lane station.

Camden Council has suggested this station could be rebuilt and reopened, in conjunction with the King’s Cross Central redevelopment project.

In June 2017, the Council were talking with Tfl on the possible reopening of Maiden Lane & York Road stations which it wished to reopen with Maiden Lane more likely to reopen then York Road.

I suspect, if the station is reopened, it will be on the Southern pair of lines, currently used by the London Overgr4ound.

One of the problems of reopening Maiden Lane station, is that a stop at the station would decrease capacity on the North London Line, through the area.

Plans For The East London Line

The East London Line is one of the UK’s rail successes of the last few years.

An outpost of the London Underground, through a tunnel, built by the Brunels, was turned into a modern railway with new trains and sixteen tph all day.

But this is only a start!

Plans exist for more new trains, an extra fout tph through the tunnel and a possible uprating of the signalling to handle a frequency to 24 tph.

If the latter should happen, I feel that another Northern terminal will be needed for the East London Line.

The obvious terminal is Willesden Junction station.

  • Willesden Junction was certainly mentioned, when the London Overground was opened.
  • There is a bay platform at the station.
  • ,The station can be reached via Camden Road, Primrose Hill, South Hampstead, Kilburn High Road, Queen’s Park and Kensal Green stations.
  • It will have good connections to an extended Bakerloo Line.

It would create another route across North London.

Would it mean extra platforms at Camden Road station?

 

Conclusion

I think that there will be a very large demand for using the two old tracks for rail purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

March 14, 2018 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Totally agreed it would be incredibly shortsighted to let anyone take this space away from the railway. Four-tracking the NLL all the way would require only a couple of extra bridges and would create a lot of additional capacity that may be needed in the next 10 years.

    One option I’d seen proposed would see the ELL run to Queens Park via Primrose Hill, and the Bakerloo (with new trains and signalling) take over the route to Watford. You’d need a flyover to stop terminating trains crossing over the tube lines, but I suspect this could be solved with the right amount of money. It would have fully segregated tracks between H&I and Camden Road, with the NLL taking the northern pair of tracks to run an enhanced service to Richmond & Clapham Junction.

    Comment by ijmad | March 18, 2018 | Reply

    • Nothing has been published about the plans for the Northern part of the Bakerloo Line, but we do know that the Watford DC service is going to be four tph with four-car Aventras.

      The current arrangements are complicated with depots and sidings at Queen’s Park, Stonebridge Park and Lambeth.

      TfL also have the problem of the Metropolitan Line Extension to Watford Junction.

      I think the solution bring everything together.

      Comment by AnonW | March 18, 2018 | Reply


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