The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Splitting The Northern Line

In Battersea Power Station Station Opens, I talked about the scale of the new Battersea Power Station station.

  • It looks like it could have three entrances.
  • It’s got four escalators and two lifts to go to down to platform level.
  • It has two terminal platforms.

I feel it has been designed to handle as many passengers and trains as Morden station.

  • Morden station has five platforms.
  • The station is step-free.
  • The station handles ten million passengers per year.

The signalling can handle up to thirty trains per hour (tph) to Morden.

It looks to me that Battersea Power Station station has been designed to be big enough to take half the trains from North London with ease.

The Proposed Split

There has been talk of splitting the Northern Line into two separate lines for some years.

  • The Western Line (Charing Cross Line) would run between Edgware and Battersea Power Station via Camden Town, Euston, Charing Cross and Kennington.
  • The Eastern Line (Bank Line) would run between High Barnet and Morden via Camden Town, Euston, Bank and Kennington.

Note.

  1. I will call the two lines the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.
  2. Both lines could have Victoria Line frequencies of over thirty tph.
  3. It is generally felt that the split would need a rebuild at Camden Town station to handle the extra passengers.
  4. Camden Town station needs better access between the trains and the street.
  5. There would need to be better connections at Kennington and Euston stations.

Surely, the main advantages of the split would be as follows.

  • Trains on both lines would go end-to-end without crossing a junction, where signals and points were constantly switching trains. This is why the Victoria Line can handle more than thirty-three tph.
  • Trains will run at Victoria Line frequencies on both lines.
  • All trains at Camden Town and Kennington stations would use a route without points to go as fast as possible through the station.
  • Eliminating the points, would make both lines more reliable.
  • Euston station will have upwards of sixty tph connecting it to Crossrail.

Effectively, the new Bank and Charing Cross Lines would be able to perform just like Dear Old Vicky.

I will now look at where work needs to or could be done to successfully split the two lines.

Kennington Station

In Could Access Between Platform And Train Be Improved At Kennington Station?, I outlined how passengers might use Kennington station to change between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

I developed this rule.

The rule would appear to be if you’re on one line and are going to a station on the other, you change at Kennington station.

Staff would need to be on the platform to help those, who were changing direction.

But I do think changing can be made to work well with step-free access between train and platform on all four platforms at Kennington station.

It will be interesting to see, what proportion of train changes at Kennington are simple cross-platform changes, where there is no use of the steep stairs. I think it could be quite high.

I believe Kennington station will grow into a very smooth interchange between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

Although, there’ll be a problem for some time, if you’re in a wheelchair and want to go between Morden and Battersea Power station.

This could be solved by lifts between each pair of platforms and the intermediate level passage, which connects to the lifts to the surface.

The Camden Town Problem

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines around and through Camden Town station.

Note.

  1. Camden Town station has four platforms.
  2. The Eastern pair are under Kentish Town Road and connect to High Barnet in the North.
  3. The Western pair are under Camden High Street and connect to Edgware in the North.
  4. In each pair of tracks the Northbound track is above the Southbound track.
  5. There is a level passage between the two Northbound tracks, so it is an easy interchange, if you’re on the wrong train going North.
  6. The passage between the two Southbound tracks has stairs at either end, if you want to change Southbound trains at the station.

But the real problem lies South of the station; the horrendously complicated Camden Town Junction.

The junction must be able to handle trains going between the following stations.

  • Bank and Edgware
  • Bank and High Barnet
  • Charing Cross and Edgware
  • Charing Cross and High Barnet

Note in the map, that the High Barnet tracks dive under the Edgware tracks so they can form two separate pairs of tracks to Euston, only one of which goes via Mornington Crescent.

If there was a similar junction on the motorways of the UK or the Interstate Highways of the US, it would have years ago been simplified.

The split will mean the following.

  • The Eastern pair of platforms will still be connected to High Barnet as now, but will also be directly connected to the tracks that go directly to Euston and on to Bank.
  • The Western pair of platforms will still be connected to Edgware as now, but will also be directly connected to the tracks that go to Euston via Mornington Crescent and on to Charing Cross.
  • Camden Town Junction could be seriously simplified, with perhaps the ability to swap between routes only available for depot and engineering movements.

I do suspect, it would also mean all trains from High Barnet will go via Bank and all trains via Edgware will go via Charing Cross.

  • A proportion of passengers would have to change at Camden Town.
  • Both routes would connect to High Speed Two at Euston.
  • Both routes connect to the Central, Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Improvements promised for Euston will give better access to the Sub-Surface Lines.

I think it will be a case of winning some good routes and losing others. Disgusted from Finchley might complain.

But then there will be Crossrail, which as it connects to both lines at Tottenham Court Road and Moorgate could give serious advantages.

The split isn’t without passengers who will object to losing their preferred route.

Camden Town Station

This document on TfL’s web site gives more details of the proposed capacity upgrade at Camden Town station. This schematic of the tunnels, platforms and walkways shows how the station could look in a few years time.

Note.

  1. New tunnels are shown in light grey.
  2. Existing tunnels are shown in dark grey.
  3. The Northbound platforms are above the Southbound ones.
  4. The tunnels in the foreground are those of the Charing Cross Line.
  5. The far tunnels are those of the Bank Line.
  6. The new Buck Street entrance is labelled 8.
  7. There is a new pedestrian tunnel between the two Northbound Lines.
  8. Below it is a new tunnel between the two Southbound Lines.
  9. There is an existing passage linking the four lines.

The full upgrade is very much on the back burner, but could Camden Town station be upgraded with the proposed extra cross passages.

  • These would enable passengers to change lines easily on the level.
  • Passengers changing between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines would be kept away from the existing escalators and the space at their bottom.
  • The tunnels would increase the circulation area.
  • The tunnels would be part of the new Buck Street entrance if it were to be built.

I feel with improved cross-platform interchange, Camden Town could function as an interchange station between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

A similar rule as I used for Kennington station would apply for passengers.

The rule would appear to be if you’re on one line and are going to a station on the other, you change at Camden Town station.

Staff would need to be on the platform to help those, who were changing direction.

But it would be a more comprehensive and easier interchange than Kennington, as all changes would be without steep stairs.

Once Camden Town station is working well with the new cross passages, I would then get a developer to put a large development on the proposed site of the Buck Street entrance, with a new entrance with lifts and escalators underneath, that reached down to the new cross tunnels.

After what the contractors did at Whitechapel, I suspect this could be achieved, whilst keeping the trains running and leaving the existing Camden Town station intact.

This Google Map shows the area between Camden Road and Camden Town stations.

Note.

  1. Camden Road station on the North London Line is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Camden Town station is at the bottom of the map towards the West.
  3. The Charing Cross Line to Edgware is under Camden High Street.
  4. The Bank Line to High Barnet is under Kentish Town Road.
  5. Buck Street is to the North of Camden Town station connecting Camden High Street and Kentish Town Road.
  6. The red-roofed building in Buck Street is the former Hawley School, which is now owned by Transport for London and is earmarked for the new station entrance.
  7. The Regent’s Canal, which has a convenient towpath, runs East-West across the map.
  8. A lot of development is happening on the North bank of the canal.

The map doesn’t show how difficult it is to walk between the two stations along the busy Camden Road.

In Between Camden Road And Camden Town Stations Along The Canal, I walked between the two stations along the canal and then up Kentish Town Road. It took me fourteen minutes in total with seven minutes between the canal and Camden Town station.

I believe the following will happen.

  • People living and working in the new developments will need access to Camden Town station.
  • The Regent’s Canal towpath will be updated into a safer walking route between Camden Lock and Camden Road station, that serves a lot of the developments.
  • More tourists will need to get to Camden Lock and the markets.

These will increase the need for extra capacity at Camden Town station.

The only way it will get built is by a private developer, who puts a lot of housing on the Buck Street site and sells it as quality housing in an iconic location.

A lot of politicians won’t like it, but solving the problems at Camden Town station, which is an overcrowding accident waiting to happen, is more important than their egos.

These pictures show some of the features of Camden Town station.

I believe Camden Town station could grow quickly into a very smooth interchange between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

In a few years time, when the Buck Street entrance is built, the capacity problems will be on their way to solution.

Finally, once the Buck Street entrance is complete, the original station can be refurbished.

 

Euston Station, Crossrail, Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line

Consider.

  • Euston station is a very busy station and it will be even busier, when High Speed Two opens.
  • Crossrail 2 will not be built before High Speed 2 opens.
  • The Victoria Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail.
  • The only connection between Euston station and Crossrail are the two branches of the Northern Line.

Splitting the Northern Line into the Bank and Charing Cross Lines will increase the number of Northern Line trains through Euston to at least sixty tph, if both lines can handle Victoria Line frequencies.

It looks to me, that making the Northern Line step-free at Euston is the best short-term alternative to building Crossrail 2.

Euston Station

Euston station is the third station, where the Bank and Charing Cross Lines connect.

This map from cartmetro.com shows the Northern Line through Euston station.

Note.

  1. The Northern Line is shown in black.
  2. The Victoria Line is shown in blue
  3. The Sub-Surface Lines are shown in purple and yellow.

In the map, the platforms are as follows going from top to bottom.

  • Platform 1 – Northbound – Northern – Charing Cross to Camden Town
  • Platform 2 – Southbound – Northern – Camden Town to Charing Cross
  • Platform 6 – Southbound – Northern – Camden Town to Bank
  • Platform 5 – Northbound – Victoria – Victoria to Walthamstow
  • Platform 4 – Southbound – Victoria -Walthamstow to Victoria
  • Platform 3 – Northbound – Northern – Bank to Camden Town

It  is a bit unusual as the cross-platform interchange between Bank and Victoria Lines involves a change of direction.

With the development of Euston station for High Speed Two, I am sure interchange between the two branches of the Northern Line and the other lines at Euston will be made step-free.

Plans have already been published that will connect Euston Square station and Euston station. I wrote about it in The New Step-Free Entrance At Euston Square Station.

These pictures are of Euston station.

I feel the wide Platform 6 could give scope for innovation.

Level Access Between Train And Platform

I believe that many platforms on the Northern Line can be modified to give level access between train and platform.

In Could Access Between Platform And Train Be Improved At Kennington Station?. I outlined how it could be achieved at Kennington station.

At Kennington station, all platforms are straight and this is a prerequisite to making the access level.

I also feel that any straight platform with a Harrington Hump could effectively be given a full length hump.

I suspect that a lot of stations could be converted to level access between train and platform

Conclusion

I believe that splitting the Northern Line would be very worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 27, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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