The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Southeastern’s Metro Services

It is regularly proposed that Southeastern‘s Metro services should be taken over by Transport for London (TfL)

What Are The Metro Services?

According to Wikipedia, these are Metro services. I have added a quick thought of my own.

London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Bexleyheath

  • This service runs along the North Kent and Bexleyheath Lines at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).
  • Stations served are London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Barnehurst, Bexleyheath, Welling, Falconwood, Eltham, Kidbrooke, Blackheath, Lewisham, St. Johns, New Cross and London Bridge.
  • The round trip takes around 100 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Sidcup

  • This service runs along the North Kent and Sidcup Lines at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Crayford, Bexley, Albany Park, Sidcup, New Eltham, Mottingham, Lee, Hither Green, Lewsisham, St. Johns, New Cross and London Bridge.
  • The round trip takes around 100 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Charing Cross And Dartford via Blackheath And Abbey Wood

  • This service runs along the North Kent Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Woolwich Arsenal, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Gillingham

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Charing Cross And Dartford via Bexleyheath

  • This service runs on the Bexleyheath Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge,Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnehurst
  • London Charing Cross and Dartford takes around 60 minutes with a round trip of around 120 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London except for Dartford.

London Victoria And Gravesend via Bexleyheath

  • This service runs along the Bexleyheath Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst, Dartford, Greenhithe

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Charing Cross And Dartford via Sidcup

  • This service runs along the Sidcup Line at a frequency of two tph
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley and Crayford
  • London Charing Cross and Dartford takes around 45 minutes with a round trip of around 100 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London except for Dartford.

London Charing Cross And Gravesend via Sidcup

  • This service runs along the Sidcup Line at a frequency of two tph
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, New Eltham, Sidcup, Bexley, Crayford, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe and Northfleet

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Cannon Street And Orpington via Grove Park

  • This service runs along the South Eastern Main Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst, Petts Wood
  • London Cannon Street and Orpington takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of around 120 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Charing Cross And Sevenoaks via Grove Park

  • This service runs along the South Eastern Main Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst, Petts Wood, Orpington, Chelsfield, Knockholt, Dunton Green

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Cannon Street And Hayes

  • This service runs along the Hayes Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Ladywell, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, Elmers End, Eden Park, West Wickham
  • The Hayes Line could be on the Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • London Cannon Street and Hayes takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of just under 90 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Charing Cross And Hayes

  • This service runs along the Hayes Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Ladywell, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, Elmers End, Eden Park, West Wickham
  • The Hayes  Line could be on the Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • London Charing Cross and Hayes takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of just over 90 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Victoria And Orpington via Beckenham Junction

  • This service runs along the Chatham Main Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction, Shortlands, Bromley South, Bickley and Petts Wood.
  • London Victoria and Orpington takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of around 95 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Victoria And Bromley South via Beckenham Junction

  • This service runs along the Chatham Main Line at a frequency of teo tph
  • Stations served are Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction, Shortlands
  • London Victoria and Bromley South takes around 30 minutes with a round trip of around 67 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

Some General Observations

These are some general observations on all the routes.

  • Lewisham will be on the Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • There are interchanges with TfL services at Abbey Wood, Elmers End, Greenwich, Lewisham, London Bridge, New Cross, Peckham Rye, Waterloo East, Woolwich Arsenal
  • All of the routes appear to be capable of handling 90 mph trains.
  • It is possible that an interchange would be built at Penge between the Chathan Main Line and the East London Line of the London Overground.

A Trip Between London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Sidcup

I took this trip on a Class 465 formation.

  • The service is more of a suburban trundler, than a brisk commuter train.
  • I timed the train around 60-65 mph in places, but at times in was running at around 30 mph.
  • Stops always weren’t always performed in the most urgent manner.

I got the impression, that the service could be run faster.

The Current Metro Trains

Currently, the Metro fleet appears to be formed these trains.

  • Class 376 trains – Five cars – Built in 2004-5 – 75 mph maximum – 228 seats
  • Class 465 trains – Four cars – Built in 1994 – 75 mph maximum – 334 seats
  • Class 466 trains – Two cars – Built in 1994 – 75 mph maximum – 168 seats.

Note.

  1. All can run as ten car trains, either as five+five or four+four+two.
  2. All have First Class seating.
  3. None of the trains don’t gangways.
  4. A ten-car Class 376 formation has 456 seats and is just over 200 metres long.
  5. A ten-car Class 465/466 formation has 836 seats and is 205 metres long.
  6. I think there are enough trains to form 99 ten-car trains and 15 twelve-car trains.

But what is the affect on timetables in that all are 75 mph trains?

Possible Replacement Trains

The trains could be replaced by other two hundred metre long trains, as anything longer would probably need platform lengthening.

Various examples of Bombardier Aventras with different interiors must be in the frame, if they can sort their software problems, but other manufacturers could also produce trains.

Performance

Trains must be able to make full use of the track, which appears to be good for 90 mph.

As the new trains will share tracks with Thameslink’s 100 mph Class 700 trains and Southeastern’s 100 mph Class 377 trains, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new fleet of trains have a 100 mph operating speed and the appropriate acceleration, that this brings.

Length

The current trains are just over 200 metres long, as are the nine-car Class 345 trains.

The new trains will be the same length to avoid large amounts of expensive platform lengthening.

Interior Layout And Capacity

These styles could be used.

  • Class 710-style with longitudinal seating, no toilets – Capacity estimate -482 seated and 1282 standing passengers.
  • Class 345-style with longitudinal/transverse seating, no toilets – Capacity – 450 seated, 4 wheelchair, 1,500 people total[passengers.
  • Class 701-style with transverse seating toilets – Capacity –  556 seats, 740 standing.

This will be a big increase in capacity.

Other Features

Trains will probably have these other features.

  • Full digital signalling, either fitted or future-proofed.
  • Ability to walk through the train.
  • Step-free access between platform and train.
  • Wi-fi, power sockets and 5G boosting.

First Class and toilets would be at the discretion of the operator, but TfL Rail and the London Overground see no point in fitting them.

Transfer To The London Overground

As I said earlier there is more than a chance, than some or all of the Metro routes will be transferred to the London Overground.

As Kent County Council doesn’t like the idea of London having control of their train services, I would suspect that a compromise would be reached, whereby any service wholly within Greater London or terminating at Dartford would be transferred to the London Overground.

This would mean that these services would be transferred.

  • London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Bexleyheath
  • London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Sidcup
  • London Charing Cross And Dartford via Bexleyheath
  • London Charing Cross And Dartford via Sidcup
  • London Cannon Street And Orpington via Grove Park
  • London Cannon Street And Hayes
  • London Charing Cross And Hayes
  • London Victoria And Orpington via Beckenham Junction
  • London Victoria And Bromley South via Beckenham Junction

All services would be run by high capacity 200 metre long trains.

  • The frequency would be two tph, with many doubling up to give four tph.
  • There would be no First Class seating.
  • Seating could be longitudinal, with no on-train toilets.
  • Step-free access between platform and train.

As the train will have better performance, services could be faster with shorter journey times.

Will Passengers Accept The Spartan Trains?

Some passengers might not like the lack of First Class, the longitudinal seating and no toilets.

But consider.

  • In the next few months, London Overground will be replacing conventional Class 315 trains between Liverpool Street and Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town. Currently, these trains don’t have First Class or toilets and it will be interesting to see how the new Class 710 trains on these routes are received.
  • When Crossrail extends to Ebbsfleet and/or Gravesend, they’ll get more of this type of train.
  • Trains with longitudinal seating have a much increased capacity at all times and especially in the Peak, where it is needed.
  • If you look at passenger numbers on the London Overground there is a very steady climb. So London Overground must be doing something right.
  • Toilets are being removed on several Metro services from London to Heathrow, Hertford North, Reading, Shenfield and Stevenage.
  • It may be better and more affordable to build more toilets in stations.

I think there is more than a chance, that if TfL take over these Southeastern Metro routes, that a less austere train could be used.

Perhaps for compatibility with Crossrail, Class 345 trains with their mixture of longitudinal and conventional seating would be used.

Penge Interchange

I wrote about TfL’s plans for Penge Interchange in this post called Penge Interchange.

This new station, should be one of the conditions of TfL taking over Southeastern’s Metro services.

The new station could be fully step-free and would seriously improve connections to and from South East London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. First of all, may I say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I discovered it by accident several months ago when trying to find about the progress of Syon Lane station’s step free access works. You clearly put much effort into your writing and it is appreciated (especially the rail themed topics).

    Re your thoughts on Southeastern and a potential transfer of services to TFL, I am a regular user of the Sidcup and other Southeastern lines, and broadly agree with most of your analysis.

    A few points : None of Southeastern’s metro services reach anything near 90 mph ! Stations are relatively closely spaced, there are many flat junctions, and the frequency of services all mean that most services probably average around 40 to 50 mph, possibly less.

    The Class 465/466 Networkers are certainly overdue for replacement. Half have no air conditioning (they were built by in two batches, and for obscure reasons, one batch was designated as non air conditioned). Their 3 + 2 seating is unsuitable for peak operation, they are cramped and not well maintained. Note that none of the existing Metro trains have first class seating, indeed it is not possible to buy first class tickets on Metro services.

    Finally, I am dubious about fixed length trains. Although they have some advantages, running say fixed ten car trains on all Southeastern metro lines would be quite unnecessary for most off peak services, some of which are not particularly busy.

    The big advantage of TFL taking over the Dartford metro services would be the gating and manning of stations. Southeastern has a big ticketless travel problem, many stations have no ticket gates, and those which are gated are poorly staffed so that the gates are usually open and unmanned after the morning peak. TFL is likely to take a more robust approach!

    Keep up the good work.

    David

    Comment by David | February 14, 2020 | Reply

    • Thanks for all that!

      Comment by AnonW | February 15, 2020 | Reply

    • The Metro trains are down on performance and can only do 75 mph with limited acceleration. The new trains which ever they choose will have s 90 mph capability and better acceleration. This will surely improve timekeeping and could bring timetable improvements. On the Lea Valley Lines, London Overground have said that they will run two four-car units together all the time. I can’t understand why they don’t run eight-car units, as Bombardier are having trouble getting the software to work with two trains coupled together. Full-length trains would surely get round that problem.

      Comment by AnonW | February 15, 2020 | Reply

  2. The Mayor is keen to increase his power over London’s ‘heavy rail’ transport and while I can see many advantages to having Tube, tram, bus and suburban rail under a single body, ie TfL, we need to treat with caution the seductive promises made by our politicians.

    What benefits do we expect to gain from transferring services to TfL? Why is TfL necessarily better than South Eastern, or indeed any other TOC? And if these services are transferred, can TfL guarantee the promised improvements – and at what cost? Unless tracks are taken over from Network Rail and vast sums of money are transferred from central government, the infrastructure will remain the same and so will the restrictions that limit service improvements. Promises of increasing train frequencies (eg 2tph to 4tph) are meaningless unless funds are released to permit further huge investment in grade-separated junctions, new loops, crossovers and upgraded signalling etc.

    I’m not impressed by talk of 90mph or 100mph trains. High speeds on frequent-stop metro services are utterly unnecessary. Realistically, there’s no need for a top speed above 75mph. The LSWR recognised this practical limitation, hence its 1201 and 1285 classes’ 60mph top speed was sufficient to allow those units to maintain schedules FASTER than we see on the SW suburban network today. The same applies for the Central and SE sections as well, of course.

    What’s needed is fast acceleration, fast door opening, three doors per carriage side not two, snappy station work and a ruthless attack on dwell times. The SR standard was 20 seconds at intermediate stations and 30s at junctions – rarely exceeded in the 1970s, as my timing logs, mostly on the SW Division, attest. At those same stations today, and with similar numbers of passengers leaving and boarding trains, the equivalent dwell times today are 35-40s and up to 2.5 minutes respectively. No wonder there’s a timetabling/capacity/reliability crisis! Returning to these unglamorous, old-school station stop disciplines will boost capacity more effectively than any number of multi-billion-pound infrastructure upgrades and service transfers.

    You ask, pertinently, “Will Passengers Accept The Spartan Trains?” Why should they accept them? Falling passenger numbers on many lines suggests there’s a pushback against unappealing, uncomfortable trains. How can we expect people to swap a warm, comfortable car, with its properly padded seats and surround-sound music centre, for a nasty, cheap-looking carriage with harsh lighting, rock-hard ironing-board seats, lack of legroom and a brutalist ambience. Even if the train is quicker (when not delayed by signal failure, trespassers, falling trees….etc), many travellers would opt for a more comfortable, if slower, journey by road. Even the average double-decker bus offers better comfort than the dreadful Thamselink ‘backbreaker’ units. TfL’s longitudinal bench seating is fine for a 10-minute Tube journey but it’s wholly inappropriate for 30+ minutes – and, I’d suggest, unsafe if the train does run at high speed.

    I have seen no evidence to indicate that TfL is the magic bullet that will solve London’s rail transport problems. It’s very surprising that many people accept so uncritically the Mayor’s optimistic claims about the London railway network’s future in TfL’s hands. TfL built its reputation on its transformation of the dreadful old North London Line, but this was real low-hanging fruit, an easy win, because anything was better than what had gone before. With each successive takeover the job will get progressively harder, and there’s a real risk that TfL’s rail management resources will be stretched to breaking point if its empire expands too far and too fast.

    This may be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’…

    Comment by Stephen Spark | February 16, 2020 | Reply


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