The Anonymous Widower

Could London Overground Services To Stratford Be Extended To Meridian Water?

My arrival In Platform 11 at Stratford station has got me thinking!

And others too! Judging by the comments I’ve received.

Yesterday, I took a train from Dalston Kingsland station to Stratford station.

  • The train was the 0934 from Clapham Junction, which was timed to arrive in Stratford at 1038.
  • It arrived in Platform 11 at 1036.

In A London Overground Class 378 Train In Platform 11 At Stratford Station, I show pictures of the train in Platform 11 at Stratford station.

I suspected this was just a one-off occurrence, caused by a malfunction in a train or the signalling, which prevented my train from using the normal Platforms 1 or 2, that services to Stratford would use.

Although, looking at Real Time Trains, the 0938 train this morning, terminated in Platform 11. As it did on Monday and Tuesday this week.

  • This train was the only train from Clapham Junction station not to use Platform 2.
  • Checking days last week, it appears that this train always terminated in Platform 2.

So why did the service terminate in Platform 11?

Driver training is one possibility, so they can use the Platform 11, if there is a malfunction that stops them using Platform 2.

But is there a clue in the first picture, I took, when I arrived in Stratford?

The train in Platform 12 is the 1046 to Meridian Water, which arrived from Bishops Stortford at 1040.

Could it mean that there is to be a reorganisation of platforms at Stratford?

  • Platform 12 will be exclusively used by Greater Anglia for their West Anglia Main Line services.
  • Platform 11 will be used by London Overground.

In Using Platform 12 At Stratford Station, I described ending up on Platform 12, so I know it is possible, but when it happened information was bad for passengers, who didn’t know here they needed to go to continue on their way.

But why would London Overground need the extra platform?

These are my thoughts.

Do London Overground Need An Extra Platform At Stratford?

Currently London Overground services to Stratford are as follows.

  • Four tph – Stratford and Richmond
  • Four tph – Stratford and Clapham Junction

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. Both Class 378 and Class 710 trains can work the routes to Stratford.
  3. Eight tph can easily be handled by two platforms.

To handle more trains may need a third platform at Stratford for the London Overground.

Extra Trains Between Stratford And Canonbury

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

It says this about creating a third platform at Camden Road station.

This proposal would reinstate a third track and platform on the northern side of Camden Road station, utilising part of the former 4-track formation through the station.

The additional capacity provided would facilitate much greater flexibility in pathing options for trains on this busy central section of the NLL, opening up new options for future service provision and bolstering performance resilience.

Reinstatement of a third platform would enable platform 2 to be used as a central turnback, with platform 3 becoming the eastbound line for through London Overground services and the majority of freight.

Transport for London modelling suggests that the eastern end of the NLL, from Canonbury to Stratford, will see some of the strongest long-term demand growth on the Overground network.

A turnback platform will allow this to be addressed with peak capacity boosting services between Stratford and Camden Road and there would also be the option to operate these through the off-peak, which could offer a means of providing additional passenger capacity where it is most needed.

The availability of an additional platform would also aid performance recovery during perturbation on
the orbital routes.

Note.

  1. The strongest passenger growth on the North London Line (NLL), will be between Canonbury and Stratford.
  2. Extra services are proposed between Stratford and Camden Road stations.
  3. If you travelled between Highbury & Islington and Stratford before the pandemic, the trains only had space for a few extra very small people in the Peak.

I use this section of the North London Line regularly and suspect the route needs at least twelve tph.

Twelve tph into Stratford would probably mean that the London Overground would need a third platform at Stratford.

More Trains Serving Meridian Water

In the Wikipedia entry for Meridian Water station, this is said.

In August 2019, it was announced that funding had been approved for construction of a fourth platform and a new section of track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water to enable up to 8 trains per hour to serve the station at peak times.

This must be the earliest upgrade in history, after a new station has opened.

I got the impression, when the station was announced that it would have four tph to Stratford. Currently, there are just two tph.

Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford also pass through without stopping.

If these called at Meridian Water in the Peak, then there would still be four tph to find.

An easy way to create four tph between Stratford and Meridian Water would be to extend four London Overground services from Stratford.

  • Services would call at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.
  • Trains would pass through Platform 11 at Stratford.
  • Platform 11 at Stratford would be bi-directional.
  • The service could be run all day, at a frequency of four tph.
  • As these trains have their own track, they won’t delay the Cambridge and Stansted trains on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • A cross-London service between Meridian Water and Clapham Junction or Richmond, would be possible.

Note.

  1. London Overground would be responsible for the bulk of the Meridian Water service.
  2. London Overground’s four- or five-car trains would probably have sufficient capacity for the service.
  3. The main new infrastructure needed would be the fourth platform and a new section of track at Meridian Water station.
  4. Some improvements as specified in the London Rail Freight Strategy will be useful, as they will increase capacity on the North and West London Lines.
  5. My only worry would be, that can modern signalling handle four tph in both directions through Platform 11 at Stratford station.

What Will Be The Track Layout And Method of Operation?

The current track layout is simple.

A bi-directional third track has been laid between Lea Bridge junction, just to the North of Lea Bridge station and Meridian Water station.

  • It is to the East of the double-track West Anglia Main Line.
  • There are bi-directional platforms at Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.
  • There is a single terminating Platform 2 at Meridian Water station.

A train going between Stratford and Meridian Water stations does the following.

  • Leaves from Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Switches at Lea Bridge junction to the bi-directional third-track.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Terminates in Platform 2 at Meridian Water station.

A train going between Meridian Water and Stratford stations does the following.

  • Leaves from Platform 2 at Meridian Water station
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Switches at Lea Bridge junction to the Up line of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Calls in Platform 1 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Terminates in Platform  11 or 12 at Stratford station.

The track layout can probably handle a maximum of two tph.

I suspect the upgrade will build on this layout to allow a frequency of at least four tph.

The following works will be done.

  • A fourth track to the East of the bi-directional third track will be built.
  • The fourth track will run between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water stations.
  • I suspect the fourth track will split from the third track at a junction to the North of Tottenham Hale station. Could this be called Tottenham Hale North Junction? I will use that name, to make things simple!
  • A new Platform 1 will be built in Meridian Water station.
  • Trains going North between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water will use the current bi-directional third track and will be able to terminate in either Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.
  • Trains going South between Meridian Water and Tottenham Hale will use the new fourth track and will be able to start from either Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.
  • I suspect, Northumberland Park station will need a new Platform 1 for Southbound trains. But the station was designed with that in mind.

A train going between Stratford and Meridian Water stations will do the following.

  • Leave from Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Switch at Lea Bridge junction to the bi-directional third-track.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Terminate in Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.

A train going between Meridian Water and Stratford stations will do the following.

  • Leave from Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.
  • Use the new fourth track to come South.
  • Call in Platform 1 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Continue on the bi-directional third-track at Tottenham Hale North Junction.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Switch at Lea Bridge junction to the Up line of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Call in Platform 1 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Terminate in Platform  11 or 12 at Stratford station.

The track layout is effectively two double-track sections linked by a bi-directional single track between Lea Bridge Junction and Tottenham Hale North Junction.

  • On the double-track sections of the route trains can pass each other, as they are on different tracks.
  • Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale stations are 1.9 miles apart.
  • Trains take three or four minutes between Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale stations. Including the stop at Tottenham Hale on the single track section.

If trains could alternate through the single-track section, this would give a capacity  of well over four tph in both directions.

  • A train going North would wait in Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station until the previous Southbound train had cleared Lea Bridge junction, before proceeding North.
  • A train going South would wait at Tottenham Hale North Junction until the previous Northbound  had safely passed, before proceeded South.

I suspect that the trains need full digital signalling with a degree of Automatic Train Control.

But I suspect we could see six tph in both directions.

  • This would fit nicely, with London Overground’s ambition of six tph on all routes.
  • It could be increased to eight tph in the Peak, by arranging for an appropriate number of Greater Anglia services to and from Liverpool Street at Meridian Water.

I feel that a service that meets all objectives will be possible.

Proposals From The London Rail Freight Strategy That Might Help

These proposals from the London Rail Freight Strategy might help.

It does look to me, that the London Rail Freight Strategy was designed with one eye on improving the passenger train service between North-East and South-West London.

Taking The Pressure Off The Victoria Line

Consider.

  • If you’re going between Walthamstow and the West End or the major stations of Euston, Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Victoria, you will use the Victoria Line.
  • If you live in the new housing, being built at Meridian Water, currently you will be likely to hop to Tottenham Hale station and take the Victoria Line.

Consequently, Northern end of the line can get busy! And not just in the Peak!

But a four tph service between Meridian Water and Stratford, will encourage passengers to go to Stratford to take advantage of the Central and Jubilee Lines and Crossrail.

Hence there will be less passengers, who need to use the Victoria Line.

A Better Interchange Between Camden Road And Camden Town Stations

The essential upgrade of Camden Town station has been put on indefinite hold due to TfL’s financial position.

This is a big mistake.

  • Camden Town station gets dangerously full!
  • It would allow the splitting of the Northern Line into two independent lines, which would increase capacity of the current system.
  • Camden Town station is not step-free but Camden Road station has lifts.

Hopefully, it would result, in a better route between the two stations, rather than the polluted route on a narrow pavement.

I very much believe that the rebuilding of Camden Town station is the most important project to improve London’s Underground and Overground network.

But it won’t get built with the current Mayor, as he’s a South Londoner.

Could A Meridian Water and Clapham Junction Service Be An  Affordable Crossrail 2?

Consider.

  • Crossrail 2 will link Clapham Junction and Meridian Water via Central London and Dalston.
  • A Meridian Water and Clapham Junction service would link the two stations via Shepherd’s Bush, Old Oak Common, West Hampstead, Camden Road, Dalston and Stratford.

Each route has their connectivity advantages.

  • Both have good connections to Crossrail, Thameslink and the Bakerloo, Central and Jubilee Lines.
  • The London Overground route has good connections to the Victoria Line and High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.
  • Crossrail 2 serves important stations in Central London.

A Meridian Water and Clapham Junction service could be a valuable addition to London’s rail infrastructure without too much new expensive infrastructure.

Conclusion

An extension of some London Overground services from Stratford to Meridian Water would be worthwhile.

Implementation of this is made easier by the recommendations of the London Rail Freight Strategy.

 

 

 

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June 25, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Even if Crossrail 2 got tge green light today it would take up to 5 years to get tge legislation in place and work to start and then up to a decade to get it operational!

    So extension of Overground to Meridian Water or even Broxbourne Station could provide a service in just a few years or sooner if you start by extension of existing overground services from Stratford to Meridian Water.

    While with Crossrail 2 off the table whether there is a case for extension of Overground service beyond Clapham Junction into SWT territory to provide link/s Crossrail 2 was planned to do and maybe take some pressure off Waterloo services and provide links to OOC for HS2 and Elizabeth Line service.

    I believe tge Camden Town upgrade should be given greater priority especially as the split in services at Kennington with the opening of the NLE is now due next year .

    Comment by Melvyn | June 25, 2021 | Reply

  2. The trouble with extending the Overground past Clapham Junction, is illustrated by the cutback of the Milton Keynes service to Clapham Junction. There is a shortage of paths past Clapham Junction and it is a reasonably easy interchange.

    The station is also to be redeveloped at some time with housing all over the site. So I suspect to have a nice three-platform sub-station by Grant Road will be convenient for everyone.

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that splitting the Northern Line into two would add quite a few extra percent capacity, but to do the split it needs a rebuilt Camden Town station.
    The NLE should open this year.

    Comment by AnonW | June 25, 2021 | Reply

    • I do seem to remember that the original Overground plans would have used both platforms but it was said the platform above what is known as “ the banana arches” was to weak in addition to problems re infrastructure on the track. So I take it the overbridge will need strengthening.

      My suggestion re extension of Overground beyond Clapham Junction would be based on LO taking over paths currently used by SWR to destinations suggested for Crossrail 2 thus reducing services into Waterloo by diversion onto Overground.
      This would give new parts of London direct services to HS2 at OOC saving the need to travel into Waterloo then transfer to underground for Euston Station. A sort of Thameslink for Wst London?

      Comment by Melvyn | June 25, 2021 | Reply

  3. What Clapham Junction needs is footbridge access at the London End as well to improve interchange capacity. Thats cheaper than any rail infrastructure work. Too much efforts across the network is going in to provide through journey opportunities but that jus fills up the network with under utilised trains. What we need to get back to is decent rail hubs with sensible onwards connections along with policy of holding connections so passengers have confidence to book journeys involving a change.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | June 25, 2021 | Reply

  4. I seem to remember that plans for Clapham Junction include a new bridge or lifts to the tunnel at the London end.

    If frequency of services is high (> 10 tph), then connections become less important!

    Comment by AnonW | June 25, 2021 | Reply


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