The Anonymous Widower

First Sighting Of A Battery Taxi

London is getting battery taxis. They are officially called LEVC TX.

I took these pictures from the back platform of a New Routemaster bus.

It certainly looks good from the front. And I’ll try one when I can!

I have a feeling that, because it looks right, the early adopters will do well, as punters will want to give it a try.

If it is reliable and the costs stack up for the drivers, I think it could sell well.

 

This is a review of the LEVC TX.

If it ends up in large numbers on the streets of London and other British cities, it may actually start a substantial move to electric vehicles.

Imagine coming into St. Pancras on Eurostar and then you and your family take an electric taxi home to Hampstead, Kensington or like me, to Dalston! Will your kids, badger you to get an electric car, because it is good for the environment and so cool?

I don’t know! But electric taxis could be the advertising for all electric vehicles!

 

 

 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

What Is The Operating Speed Of Class 710 Trains?

So far, five classes of Aventra trains have been allocated TOPS numbers and their own Wikipedia pages.

The other orders for West Midlands Trains are given as 145 kph for the Cross-City Line and 180 kph for longer distance trains, in Wikipedia.

Looking at these speeds, I think that the operating speed of the Class 710 trains, must either be the 145 kph of the Crossrail trains or the 160 kph of the suburban trains.

But it has not been disclosed.

As probably most Aventras use similar running gear and electrical and control systems, I wouldn’t be surprised that maximum operating speed, is just a setting in the train’s control computer.

London Overground’s Aventra Routes

Timings on London Overground’s routes, that will be run by Class 710 trains are as follows.

  • Euston – Watford Junction – 47 minutes – 15 stops
  • Liverpool Street – Cheshunt – 39 minutes – 15 stops
  • Liverpool Street – Chingford – 27 minutes – 6 stops
  • Liverpool Street – Enfield Town – 33 minutes – 13 stops

Comparing the new Class 710 trains to the current Class 315 and Class 317 and Class 378 trains, there are or may be performance differences.

  • Class 315 and Class 378 are slower trains with a 121 kph operating speed.
  • Class 317 trains have an operating speed of 161 kph.
  • Dwell times mat be less on the new trains compared to some or all of the existing types.

So how will these differences effect the various routes?

Euston – Watford Junction

There seems to be long turnrounds on this service and I’m fairly certain faster trains could run this service more efficiently, which may mean that the same number of trains could run at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

Liverpool Street – Cheshunt

This service is based on a six minute turnround and I suspect could be run more efficiently, if a faster train could get each way in under thirty minutes.

Liverpool Street – Chingford

It looks like this four tph service is run pretty efficiently, but there is a ten minute turnround at Chingford.

Liverpool Street – Enfield Town

The Liverpool Street to Enfield Town service  waits nineteen minutes before returning, so small savings in dwell times and a faster train, might allow a two tph service to be setup, where trains depart on the half-hour, using just two trains.

Four tph, which is planned to start on this route in 2019, would need just four trains.

Summery Of London Overground Routes

Faster trains with shorter dwell times will certainly improve the timings and frequency of London Overground’s services, that they intend to run with Class 710 trains.

I’m pretty certain, that they will enable the following.

  • Four tph – Euston to Watford Junction
  • Four tph – Liverpool Street to Enfield Town

They will also improve timings on Liverpool Street to Cheshunt.

Conclusion

But what will be the operating speed of the Class 710 trains?

I said it will be somewhere between 145 kph (90 mph) and 160 kph (100 mph)

Consider.

  • I think that 145 kph, will be able to handle the two planned increased frequencies of four tph.
  • 145 kph is identical to the Crossrail trains.
  • 160 kph is identical to the Greater Anglia trains.
  • 160 kph seems to be the speed of siburban Aventras.

It’s a difficult one to call!

 

 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Thoughts On The Bakerloo Line Extension

It is being proposed that the Bakerloo Line be extended to South East London.

  • There will be two new stations on the Old Kent Road.
  • There will be a connection to the existing New Cross Gate station.
  • The extension will terminate at Lewisham station.
  • The extension will be totally underground.
  • Provision will be made to extend the line further.

Almost nothing has been said about the frequency of trains on the line, stabling arrangements for the trains or what happens in the North.

The Train Frequency

Wikipedia gives the current off-peak services on Bakerloo line as.

  • 6 tph (trains per hour) from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle
  • 3 tph from Stonebridge Park to Elephant & Castle
  • 11 tph from Queen’s Park to Elephant & Castle

This forms a 20 tph service (or a train every 3 minutes) between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle.

New Trains And Signalling On The Bakerloo Line

As there will be new modern signalling and new trains on the Bakerloo Line in the future, are Transport for London relying on these to increase the frequency of trains.

Currently, there are thirty-three trains in service and according to the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, these will be replaced with forty new trains, which will give a twenty-five percent capacity increase.

As the Northern and Jubilee Lines run at 27 tph, with modern signalling and newer rolling stock, I suspect that at least this train frequency could be achievable.

Depots And Sidings

The Bakerloo Line has three depots.

London Road

London Road depot is located between Lambeth North and Elephant and Castle stations.

This Google Map shows the location of the depot.

It is the V-shaped site, just below the roundabout, at the top of the map, where London Road, Westminster Bridge Road and Borough Road meet.

However good this depot is for servicing trains, it strikes me that it is in a location, where land is very expensive.

I think one of two things will happen.

  1. The depot will be closed and the land given over to development.
  2. The depot will be rebuilt and there will be housing or commercial development on top.

If the latter happens, it is probably an affordable way to get a modern depot. White City depot on the Central Line is already under property development.

Stonebridge Park

Stonebridge Park Depot is relatively modern and is located to the North of Stonebridge Park station.

This Google Map shows the location of the depot.

Because of its young age and size, the only thing likely to happen at Stonebridge Park would be some modernisation for the new trains and a possible appropriate increase in capacity.

Queen’s Park

Queens Park Depot is not large and is effectively two sheds either side of Queens Park station.

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

Note.

  1. The North and South Sheds.
  2. The cross-platform interchange between the Watford DC Line and the Bakerloo Line.
  3. The platforms on the main lines are not operational at present, but may be so in the future.

Compared to the other two depots, Queens Park would appear to be less important.

I suspect though, that Transport for London have plans to improve operations at Queens Park.

Conclusion

The following should be noted.

  • The new trains will probably, be the same length as current trains.
  • But as there are going to be 40 instead of 33, more space will be needed.
  • A rebuilt London Road depot with housing and/or commercial development on top, could raise a substantial sum.
  • There is space for extra sidings at Stonebridge Park depot.
  • There will be turnround sidings on the extension to Lewisham in the overrun tunnels, which is standard London Underground practice.
  • The new trains should need less maintenance than the current nearly fifty-year-old 1972 Stock trains.

I think by some clever design, that the extra seven extra new trains will be incorporated in the two major depots of Stonebridge Park and London Road, with some help from Lewisham and Queens Park.

North Of Queens Park

These are various points and issues.

Queens Park Station

Queens Park station is a six platform station.

  • Two platforms for the Watford DC Line
  • Two platforms for the Bakerloo Line
  • Two unused platforms for the slow lines into Euston station.

There is an excellent cross-platform interchange between the Wstford DC and Bakerloo Lines, which is level between train and platform.

Wikipedia also says this about the station.

Queen’s Park is planned to become a step-free station and the project will be completed in 2019.

I visited the station this morning and saw no work in progress.

This picture shows the station’s rudimentary nature.

Opposite the station is a typical new block of housing, with a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store underneath.

So perhaps a developer will build some much needed housing.

  • Underneath would be a much-improved station, with full step-free access.
  • There could be some retail units.
  • They might even rebuild the sheds of the depot, that I mentioned earlier to improve the operation of the trains.
  • The two disused platforms could be refurbished.

These pictures show the platforms.

This project could be carried out independently of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

The Bakerloo And Watford DC Lines Share Tracks

Between Queens Park and Harrow and Wealdstone stations, the two lines share tracks, with trains calling at eight intermediate stations.

Current Bakerloo Line frequencies are.

  • 9 tph between Stonebridge Park and Harrow and Wealdstone
  • 12 tph between Queens Park and Stonebridge Park.

In addition, there are three tph on the London Overground between Queens Park and Watford Junction.

This arrangement means that passengers between Queens Park and Watford Junction stations have a flexible route to and from London, with a choice of Euston or Central London termini.

The Watford DC Line Fleet Is Being Changed

London Overground are replacing the current five-car Class 378 trains on the Watford DC Line with four-car  Class 710 trains.

This might seem to be a reduction in capacity, but it is part of a cunning plan.

  • The Class 378 trains will go to the East London Line, to enhance services.
  • It means that London Overground can maintain all the dual-voltage Class 710 trains at Willesden TMD.
  • Class 710 trains can’t work the East London Line, as they have no end doors for tunnels.

To compensate for the shorter trains, the frequency on the Watford DC Line will be raised from three to four tph.

The Watford DC Line will actually get a small capacity increase from fifteen carriages per hour to sixteen, with a much more passenger-friendly frequency of a new train, which may be slightly faster, every fifteen minutes.

But there is also a nugget in the tail.

The Watford DC Line currently handles five-car Class 387 trains. So if in a few years there is a need for more capacity, the Class 710 trains could be lengthened by adding a fifth carriage.

Given too, that there could be a lot of resignalling on this line, in conjunction with the Bakerloo Line extension and the new Bakerloo Line trains, I would not be surprised if train frequency and/or length on the Watford DC Line were to be increased again.

The Platform Height Problem On The Shared Platforms

These pictures show some of the platform height problems  on the platforms shared by Bakerloo and Watford DC Line trains.

The interchange at Queens Park station is level between both trains and the platform.

Both the Class 710 trains and the new Bakerloo Line trains will be walk-through, which will ease the design of an acceptable dual-height platform, when both new trains are in service. Passengers will be able to walk up and down to find a seat or a convenient place to exit.

One solution to the height proble, would be to lower the platform, so that it is level with the height of the new Bakerloo Line trains.

A hump similar to a Harrington Hump could be added at a convenient point.

This picture shows two well-designed humps at Canonbury station.

The humps on the Watford DC Line, would be sized as follows.

  • Height would allow level access to a Class 710 train.
  • Width would be determined by safety.
  • Length would probably be sized to fit two cars, which would be 40 metres.

The humps would be placed at an appropriate point on the platforms, which are long enough to take the current 113 metre long 72 Stock trains.

  • Drivers of Class 710 trains, would stop, so that, cars 2 and 3 were aligned with the hump.
  • Drivers of Bakerloo Line trains would stop, so they had the hump in the middle of the train.

Doors would then only open, where the access from train to platform was level.

All this would probably be handled automatically, with the driver monitoring everything.

It’s almost as if the trains had their own built-in platform-edge doors, which would ensure that safety was at least as good as it is now.

Will The New Class 710 Trains Reduce Timings On The Watford DC Line?

Conclusion

Everything published about the proposed Bakerloo Line Extension, does not mention the following.

  • Trains and their frequency
  • Depots
  • What happens North of Queens Park station.

Until proven otherwise, there seems to be few difficult problems, that effect the building of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

Modernising the line and building the extension would appear to be a series of separate projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments