The Anonymous Widower

A Station For Marlborough

Marlborough once had a pair of stations, as this map of the railways in the town shows.

marlboroughlines

Note the various stations in an area, where Marlborough the largest town has a population of 8,395.

This railway map shows the important Reading to Taunton Line that passes to the South of Marlborough. This Google Map shows that line as it crosses the A346 road.

The Reading to Raunton Line South Of Marlborough

The Reading to Raunton Line South Of Marlborough

Note.

There would also appear to be tracks of disused railways leading North-Westerly from Bedwyn towards Marlborough.

If Marlborough and the surrounding area were to be given a better rail connection, I would think that a possible solution would be a parkway station, perhaps where the A346 crosses the railway and the canal.

It should be born in mind, that modern trains are designed to perform fast stops at stations, so the extra station at Marlborough would not be the time penalty, it was a few years ago.

Transition Marlborough’s Proposal

But a local action group called Transition Marlborough have their own plans for a Marlborough Rail Link, which as this graphic shows are more ambitious.

marlboroughraillink

Their plans would involve restoring and electrifying the line to Marlborough, where a well-positioned station will be built.

These are my initial thoughts.

  • The route of the line appears feasible.
  • Electrification may be a problem given Network Rail’s expertise in this area.
  • Bedwyn would not appear to be the best terminus for a line to London.
  • I’ve not been to Bedwyn station, but I suspect it could be a bleak place in some kinds of weather.

After I wrote this list, a kind soul in the area sent me this message.

You’ll find that Bedwyn station is a pretty bleak place, especially in Winter. To reach it by road from Marlborough involves a 7.5 mile road trip, at least 3 miles of which is on an unmarked road through a forest. Bedwyn station is almost inaccessible for people without cars, as the connecting bus service is poor and unreliable.

My Version Of The Proposal

I think the best solution could be to create a single-track railway without electrification to a simple station with adequate parking at the proposed Salisbury Road Business Park location.

The distance between Reading and Marlborough by train would be about 37 miles. Network Rail’s plans to electrify the line between Reading and Bedwyn are probably best described as fluid, but I suspect that electrification to Newbury could be possible, which would mean that only twenty miles between Paddington and Marlborough would be unwired.

So this would mean that when inevitably an electric train with onboard energy storage has a range of forty miles, Marlborough could get a modern electric service to and from Paddington.

The advantages of this strategy are as follows.

  • No ugly overhead catenary marching across the country.
  • Work would only include restoring a single track railway and building a simple no-frills station at Marlborough.
  • Marlborough station would not have any electrification and could be designed like a tram stop.
  • Fast Environmentally-friendly electric trains to and from Reading and Paddington.
  • The route would be designed for six-car trains in case Marlborough College put on a free concert featuring the Rolling Stones.
  • The route could be designed to allow two trains per hour (tph), as opposed to the current one tph service to and from Bedwyn.
  • Marlborough to Paddington would have a maximum time of around 80 minutes.

But the biggest advantage is that the scheme is that it could be affordable.

This article on the BBC is entitled Marlborough £30m railway line restoration plan.

If this branch line is developed as I believe Network Rail are now thinking, there could be money left over for a good launch party!

Conclusion

With the next generation of electric train with onboard energy storage or IPEMUs, a Marlborough station on a new Marlborough Branch Line can be used to create a two tph service to and from Paddington to replace the current one tph service from Bedwyn.

So a new Marlborough station would be a win for all those using stations on the Reading to Taunton Line to the East of Pewsey.

I also wonder how many other similar services can be developed by extending a service past a main line terminal to a new or reopened branch line, which is built without electrification and run using trains with onboard energy storage.

 

 

 

 

February 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Network Rail Announces Electrification Of The Schotts Line

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Network Rail awards Carillion £49m Shotts electrification contract.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail has agreed a contract with Carillion Powerlines Ltd to deliver the electrification of the Shotts Line between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction.
The £49m contract will see the delivery of 74km of electrified railway as part of the Scottish government’s wider £169m investment in the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Electrification of The Schotts Line will provide a fourth electrified line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

From hundreds of miles to the South, it looks a good choice.

  • The route is effectively in three sections, with only the central section between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction, needing to be wired.
  • The bridges that need to be raised are already being worked on.
  • The route goes to Glasgow Central rather than Glasgow Queen Street.
  • The Class 385 trains needed are already being built in Newtown Aycliffe.

It certainly seems that the planning of electrification in the Scottish Lowlands is being better managed that that on the Great Western Railway.

 

 

January 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Drayton Green Station

Drayton Green station is the first station on the Greenford Branch Line.

I took these pictures of the station and the nearby bridge, this morning.

Note.

  • The station is a tidy station, with shelters and information.
  • There are gentle steps up and down from the nearby road bridge to access the two platforms.
  • The station fits the current two-car Class 156 train, that works the branch.

I’ve seen far worse stations on my travels around the UK.

The Current Service

The current two trains per hour (tph) service is provided by  a single two-car Class 156 train, that shuttles between bay platforms at West Ealing  and Greenford stations.

Two trains could provide a four tph service.

Electrification

In an ideal world, the branch would be electrified.

  • There is occasional freight traffic.
  • It might serve as a diversion route.
  • It might be a way of serving Old Oak Common station and the nearby depots.
  • Crossrail will increase the number of passengers on the branch.

But to electrify the area around Drayton Green station could be expensive.

I’m no expert, but it does strike me, that not only is the bridge rather low, but also the parapets of the bridge certainly are.

So I suspect that electrification of the branch meeting all the regulations, would need an expensive new bridge, which would need several months of closure, with the resulting inconvenience to passengers.

But there is an alternative for passengers and that is to use electric trains with onboard energy storage to work the line.

Consider.

  • Greenford station is electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • West Ealing station is electrified with 25 KVAC electrification.
  • Out and back is only 5.4 miles.

Or the current Class 156 train could continue until it fell to pieces.

As the branch is not busy, two two-car trains delivering a 4 tph service could be sufficient for some years.

But I very much feel that the operator and the passengers would prefer an modern electric train.

 

 

 

January 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Are The New Class 345 Trains Too Big For The Depot?

I took this picture from a passing train, of the prototype Class 345 train at Ilford today.

The Prototype Class 345 Train At Ilford

The Prototype Class 345 Train At Ilford

I have a feeling it was only sticking out, as the train is too long to get inside the existing depot!

December 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Bidston Station And The Borderlands Line

Whilst in Liverpool, I took the Wirral Line to Bidston station, where the Borderlands Line to Wrexham Central station connects to the Merseyrail third-rail network.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

Bidston Station

Bidston Station

Some things surprised me at Bidston station.

  • The station had the feeling of a rural junction in deepest Lincolnshire or Devon, rather than one a few miles from the centre of one of the UK’s biggest cities.
  • When the train arrived from Wrexham it was much busier than I expected.
  • The junction between the two lines was laid out in lots of space.
  • The state of the station, which considering its location was very good with a large waiting room.

I could also understand, why various bodies say that the Borderlans Line could be run by trains with an IPEMU capability or to put it simply – on-board energy storage or batteries. Wikipedia says this under Proposed Battery Trains for the line.

A trial of a converted Electrostar train using energy from overhead wires and batteries when on non-electrified sections of track was undertaken in January and February 2015 on the Mayflower line. The train can travel up to 60 miles on energy stored in the batteries also recharging the batteries via the overhead-wires when on electrified track, at stations and via brake regeneration. A month later in March 2015, the introduction of battery powered trains was proposed for the Borderlands line by Network Rail.

The document suggested that consideration had been given to electrification and to running services further into Birkenhead ceasing termination at Bidston for greater connectivity. However these options were expressed as offering low value for money. They proposed that using battery powered rolling stock precluding full electrification of the line, providing a cheaper method of increasing connectivity into the electrified Birkenhead and Liverpool sections of the Wirral line. From the document:

“In the longer term, potential deployment of rolling stock with the ability to operate on battery power for part of their journey may provide the ability in an affordable manner to improve the service offering between the Wrexham – Bidston route and Liverpool.
Trains could operate on batteries on unelectrified sections of the track and take power from an electric pick-up on the electrified sections. Adoption of these types of trains would preclude full line electrification.

My thoughts on this are as follows.

New Infrastructure

Obviously, I only looked at Bidston station, but it would appear that except for perhaps signalling and electrificastion changes, that the station could accept trains with an IPEMU-capability tomorrow.

For instance, there would need to be electrification for some distance down the Borderlands Line, so that a train arriving from that direction with low batteries, wou;dn’t get stalled, if another train had failed in the station.

I don’t know the answer, but as Merseyrail is an island of third-rail electrification, Merseyrail are probably capable of calling on competent third-rail experts, either in-house or from a regional contractor.

New Stations

Plans exist for new stations on the line.

Whether the line is fully-electrified or served by trains with an IPEMU-capability is irrelevant, with stations probably being designed to be suitable for either.

One suggestion is for a new station at Woodchurch close to Junction 3 of the M53.

This Google Map shows the motorway junction.

Junction 3 Of The M53

Junction 3 Of The M53

Note how, the Motorway and the Borderlands Line go either side of the North Cheshire Trading Estate.

There is also plans for a station at Deeside Industrial Park, which looks like it could have a railway line already.

Another possibility would be to improve Shotton station, so that it was a genuine interchange between the Borderlands Line and the North Wales Coast Line.

This Google Map shows the area.

Shotton Stations

Shotton Stations

Note Hawarden Bridge station on the other side of the River Dee, which is also on the Borderlands Line.

Capacity In Liverpool On The Wirral Line

The single-track loop of the Wirral Line under Liverpool, that serves James Street, Moorfields, Lime Street, Central and James Street agin, is soon to be relaid with new track to go along with its recently-refurbished station, that can handle two three-car Class 508 trains, running as a six-car unit.

With modern signalling, it would probably have a limit of upwards of twenty trains per hour (tph), giving a train under the Mersey in both directions at least every three minutes.

Currently, the service on the Wirral Line includes.

  • 4 tph to Chester
  • 2 tph to Ellesmere Port
  • 4 tph to New Brighton
  • 4 tph to West Kirby

Capacity seems to be adjusted to that needed by running a mixture of three and six-car trains.

But there is undoubtedly spare capacity in Liverpool’s loop of stations.

And if more capacity is needed between Birkenhead and Liverpool, then running extra trains to new destinations on the West side of the Mersey is a simple way to increase it.

Wrexham would be an ideal destination, especially if at least two tph were provided on the route.

Freight Issues

There would appear to be a few freight trains, but none of a high frequency.

Wrexham to Liverpool Timings

Currently Wrexham Central to Bidston takes a couple of minutes over the hour. West Kirby trains, also take 34 minutes to go from Bidston round the loop under Liverpool

So this would probably mean that if you got the timings right, you could get from Wrexham Central to Liverpool Lime Street in about eighty minutes.

As Chester to Liverpool Central takes forty-one minutes, eighty minutes is rather slow between Wrexham and Liverpool.

So could electric trains do the route in under the hour?

If the line was fully electrified, judging on the Chester timings, that this is certainly the case.

Trains Needed Between Liverpool And Wrexham

As the round trip to and from Liverpool would probably take two hours, it would appear that two trains would be needed to provide an hourly service, with four trains nbeeded for 2 tph.

As there is a short platform at Wrexham Central station, trains would probably have a maximum length of three-cars.

IPEMU Range

Wrexham Central to Bidston stations, is about thirty miles, so based on Bombardier’s rumoured figures of sixty kilometres a charge, going out and back to Wrexham might be a bit on the long side.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see the single-track line between Wrexham General and Wrexham Central stations given third-rail electrification, to make sure that trains with an IPEMU-capability can work the line.

If extra stations are added to the Borderlands Line and Shotton station is rebuilt as an interchange with North Wales, I could see that the extra cost of third-rail electrification to Shotton would have a high value.

As Shotton is only about twenty miles from Wrexham, it might be possible to bridge the gap between Shotton and Wrexham using onboard power.

Costs

This is said about electrification costs of the Borderlands Line in Wikipedia.

Network Rail’s conclusion was that full line electrification is only feasible if it could be delivered for less than £100,000 for each km per single track. The twin track line would be £200,000 per line km, giving a total figure of £8.7 million, which is far below the estimate of full line electrification of £66 million. Another consideration is whether a new pattern of service delivers significant net benefits.

The new Stadler trains being purchased for MerseyRail are costing £460 million for 52 trains, according to this article in the Railway Gazette, which works out at about nine million pounds a train.

So if two trains are needed to provide an hourly service to Wrexham, the cost of the extra trains will be significant.

The Railway Gazette article also says this about the trains.

At 99 tonnes, the EMUs will be lighter than the current 105 tonne trains, and energy consumption is expected to be 20% lower, including regenerative braking; options for energy storage are to be studied.

The 750 V DC third-rail EMUs will be capable of conversion to dual-voltage operation for use on 25 kV 50 Hz lines with a view to serving Skelmersdale, Warrington and Wrexham in the longer term.

So I suspect, it’s put up the money and take your choice.

Conclusion

It would certainly be possible to electrify the Borderlands Line either using third-rail or overhead and I’m certain that any prudent transport authority would go for an optimal solution, especially as extending to Wrexhan will need extra trains.

I could see an holistic solution being applied to the Boasderlands Line.

  • At least two tph to Wrexham Central station.
  • New stations at Beechwood, Deeside Industrial Park and Woodchurch.
  • A rebuilt Shotton station.
  • Partial third-rail electrification.
  • Use of onboard energy storage to power trains on lines without electrification.

As it would be a project, where benefits were to both Merseyside and North Wales, funding would probably have several options.

 

 

 

 

 

December 17, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Smoking In Claridges

Apparently if you’re a billionaire and want to stay in one of the expensive suites at Claridges, they change the furniture for a set for smokers and back again afterwards.

Thst has a certain style, but as the story came in an article about an autocratic Chinese businessman in the Business section of The Sunday Times, I doubt I’ll be using, the stores talked about in the article. Smokers should not be indulged.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Health, Uncategorized, World | | Leave a comment

The Future Of The Watford DC Line

Primrose Hill Station

I was looking at the tracks through Camden on carto.metro.free.fr, as I wanted to see how the  former Primrose Hill station fitted into the knitting.

Lines Through Camden

Lines Through Camden

Note the two orange tracks of the Watford DC Line from Euston curving to the West around the carriage sidings.

The line through Primrose Hill station from Camden Road is a connection that allows freight trains to  go between the North London Line and the West Coast Main Line.

One of the plans for the area, is to reopen the station. This is said in the station’s Wikipedia entry under Plans.

It has been proposed to re-open Primrose Hill station by bringing the short stretch of line between South Hampstead and Camden Road stations back into the regular passenger service by incorporating it into the London Overground network.

South Hampstead station is just off the map to the West on the Watford DC Line.

No Infrastructure Required To Open Primrose Hill Station

Obviously, the station will have to be rebuilt, but look at this page from the Journey Planner for Sunday, the 2nd of October, when I enquired how you would get between Willesden Junction and Highbury and Islington stations.

Willesden To Highbury and Islington

Willesden To Highbury and Islington

As the Class 378 trains can’t fly, the route via South Hampstead station must be open and available to the trains.

This sequence of pictures shows a train entering Camden Road station after coming through the site of the former Primrose Hill station.

Benefits And Disadvantages Of The Route

The current setup seems to be rather a waste of resources, with two tracks into Euston for the Watford DC Line and the need for platforms with third-rail electrification to handle the short four- and five-car trains.

Euston station is a very busy station and it would probably be glad to lose the Overground services.

So it might be a good idea to divert the three trains per hour (tph) between Watford Junction and Euston, through Primrose Hill and onto perhaps Highbury and Islington or even Stratford stations.

Others might not think so, as all those passengers along the Watford DC Line, would lose their direct connection to Euston.

But in a few years time, the following projects should have been completed or will be in progress.

These projects will mean that the Watford DC Line could and will have to be reorganised. If only to make sure there was enough capacity for commuters in the Peak and electric freight trains.

In my view the service on the Watford DC Line to London,  should be as close to a high-capacity link running perhaps six to eight tph as is possible.

It is not as easy to achieve as many might think.

  • London Midland services stop at stations on the Watford DC Line.
  • The Bakerloo Line runs 6 tph on the line.
  • The train size limit on the Watford DC Line is probably about six cars and might be possible to raise to say eight or ten.
  • The train size limit along the North London Line is currently five-cars and all the Class 378 trains are this length.
  • Six-car trains on the North London Line is probably an upper limit, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see longer platforms in my lifetime.
  • There will be pressure to increase the number of freight trains on the North London Line.
  • A Northern terminal for the Bakerloo Line must be provided.
  • Third-rail electrification must be provided on all track shared with the Bakerloo Line.
  • If possible, the route should avoid Euston, so that the HS2 rebuilding can proceed at a faster pace.

But I suspect an innovative solution will be found to provide a high capacity link between the stations on the Watford DC Line and Central London.

Crossrail

Crossrail will have a massive influence on how passengers use London’s rail network.

Plans have been talked about for extending Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line. Wikipedia says this.

Network Rail’s July 2011 London & South East Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) recommended diverting West Coast Main Line (WCML) services from stations between London and Milton Keynes Central away from Euston, to Crossrail via Old Oak Common, to free up capacity at Euston for High Speed 2.

The previous Government rejected it as having a bad economic case

But Crossrail with its massive trains carrying fifteen hundred people a time, will strongly influence stations and routes it connects to Central London.

  • At Abbey Wood, it is forcing an update to services on the Noirth Kent Line, which could bring 6-10 tph through the Medway Towns.
  • At Moorgate, it will bring passengers to an updated Great Northern Metro sending 8-10 tph to North London and South Herfordshire.
  • At Reading, it will bring passengers to updated Thames Valley and West Country services.
  • At Shenfield, improvements are in progress to link Crossrail to Essex and East Anglia.

Where Crossrail will lead is an unanswerable question.

North-West from Old Oak Common, there are several stations that could be possible Crossrail termini.

  • High Wycombe for Chiltern.
  • Milton Keynes with its link to the East West Rail Link
  • Tring, which was the original idea
  • Watford Junction has been suggested before.

In the end, passenger numbers will decide where the trains go.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Watford Junction station.

Rail Lines Around Watford

Rail Lines Around Watford

The North-South orange line is the Watford DC Line, which goes starts from Watford Junction station and goes through Watford High Street, Bushey and Carpenters Park stations.

Note the Croxley Rail Link going between Croxley and Watford Junction stations.

This short length of new line would also make possible direct services between Amersham and Watford Junction stations.

I’m not going to speculate on where trains on Crossrail and the Watford DC Line will go, but there are lots of possibilities.

I suspect that new housing developments will also be a driver of the routes of services.

The New Class 710 Trains

The Watford DC Line is going to see some some extra trains from the new fleet of Class 710 trains. If we see eight trains of the new dual-voltage fleet going to the GOBlin on a one-for-one replacement basis, that would mean a doubling of capacity on the line, that means that only six trains are left for the Watford DC Line.

But as the Watford DC line runs three tph currently in the Off Peak and the trip takes about fifty-five minutes, then perhaps those six four-car trains might be enough.

When I first read the specification for the Class 710 trains for the GOBlin, I was surprised to see that they were dual voltage. After all between Gospel Oak and Barking stations, there is precisely no third-rail lines.

But if you think about extending GOBlin services, the ability to run on third-rail lines would be needed on the following routes.

  • Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction
  • Willesden Junction to Richmond
  • Willesden Junction to Watford Junction
  • The Barking Riverside Extension to Abbey Wood.

Abbey Wood, Clapham Junction, Richmond and Watford Junction stations all have third-rail platforms.

I doubt all of these routes will be delivered, but at least by making the GOBlin trains with a dual-voltage capability, they are future-proofed for any possible services.

The Future Of The Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line is a line, with spare capacity across Central London, according to many reports I’ve read.

Wikipedia has a section on the Future of the Bakerloo Line in its entry for the Watford DC Line.

This is said.

Various proposals have been made to alter services involving both extending or truncating Bakerloo Line services but there has been no basic change until 2015 other than to rolling stock and service patterns. As of 2015, plans and suggestions (from official bodies and others) connected to development of Crossrail and the Old Oak Common area have current potential consequences.

If the Bakerloo Line is extended into South London, this must have an effect.

Rumours are circulating as I write this, that this is being brought forward to 2029.

This article in New Civil Engineer is entitled £775M Paddington Cube gets green light. It says that the development by Paddington station, will be designed to enhance the area and will upgrade the Bakerloo Line station.

What will upgrades and extensions to the Bakerloo Line do to the Watford DC Line?

I suspect there’s both scope for rationalisation, increased capacity and faster services, along both lines, with the correct design.

There are other factors, that might create something special from an integrated Watford DC/Bakerloo Line.

  • The Milton Keynes to East Croydon service might be increased in frequency and it might share the route.
  • London Midland trains to Birmingham, Northampton and the Midlands could join the party.
  • Train control and signalling is improving fast and might allow all these dissimilar services to share safely and give passengers better routes.
  • Better train and station design could improve the terrible step-down and step-up access to Bakerloo Line trains at some stations.

The Watford DC/Bakerloo Line could end up as another important North South route.

  • 27 tph on the Bakerloo Line.
  • Same platform interchange with trains for Birmingham, Euston, Milton Keynes, Northampton and many other places.
  • Quality step-free interchange to Crossrail and main line services at Paddington.
  • Improved step-free access to main line services at Charing Cross, Marylebone and Waterloo stations.
  • An improved interchange with the Victoria and Central Lines at Oxford Circus station.
  • Interchange with Thameslink at Elephant and Castle station.
  • Interchange with the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.

If all this happens by 2029, it won’t be soon enough!

The Bay Platform 2 At Willesden Junction Station

In posts like this one, entitled More Platform Action At Willesden Junction, I showed work to create a new bay platform 2 at Willesden Junction station.

On Sunday, the 2nd Of October 2016, I took these pictures of the station in use.

What are Transport for London’s plans for this platform, other than stock transfers and Rail Replacement Trains?

As they were doing on that Sunday, they could run a Willesden Junction to Stratford service via a rebuilt Primrose Hill station.

Platform Height Issues

At some station to get in to and out of the Bakerloo  Line 1972 Stock trains, is quite a step and it would be difficult in a wheel-chair.

I have covered this in Platform Height Issues On The Watford DC Line and feel that dual-height platforms could be used.

 

Highbury And Islington Station

In some ways, Highbury and Islington station is the worst station in North London, as after war damage and then the addition of the Victoria, North London and East London Lines, it shows major evidence of Topsy at work.

With better connections between the deep-level Victoria Line and Great Northern Metro and the London Overground, it could be a very useful interchange. At the moment, there’s just too much walking in long underground passageways.

But as the Great Northern Metro will have new Class 717 trains giving a  10-12 tph link to Crossrail and the City at Moorgate, surely improvements at Highbury and Islington station would be worthwhile.

These services will be going through the station in a few years.

  • 6 tph between Highbury and Islington and Crystal Palace – East London Line
  • 4 tph between Highbury and Islington and West Croydon – East London Line
  • 3+ tph between Stratford and Richmond – North London Line
  • 3+ tph between Stratford and Clapham Junction – North London Line
  • 10+ tph between Moorgate and Hertfordshire – Great Northern Metro
  • 36 tph between Brixton and Walthamstow Central – Victoria Line

Admittedly, Crossrail will take some pressure off the station, by providing alternative routes via Moorgate and Stratford, but I can’t believe that Transport for London, aren’t looking to improve the interchange between the various lines.  Especially, as with a few tweaks, Dear Old Vicky could possibly deliver forty tph or a train every ninety seconds, as opposed to the current hundred. These could include.

  • A second entrance at Walthamstow Central station to provide step-free access and cope with the sheer numbers of passengers.
  • A loop at Brixton, with a possible new station at Herne Hill to turn the trains at the Southern end.
  • New trains with a higher performance.
  • Improvements at certain busy stations like Oxford Circus, Euston and Kings Cross St. Pancras.

Other improvements like air-conditioned trains would attract passengers to the line and make greater capacity necessary.

This article on the authorative London Reconnections, which is entitled A Look At The World Class Capacity Upgrades, concludes its thoughts on the Victoria Line with this.

With the Victoria line pushing towards what must be the theoretical limit for a line with that amount of rolling stock and – more importantly – two-platform termini, there are no plans to further improve the service. Indeed the challenge of procuring more trains and finding the depot space for them would probably discourage any such plans on its own. This does not mean that the line will be forgotten, as both Oxford Circus and Walthamstow Central are on TfL’s top ten hit list of stations in need of a major capacity upgrade. Simply that the days of pushing more trains through the same stations more quickly have passed. In the case of Walthamstow Central it is highly likely that the next step will be making the station double-ended, with an entrance near or in the shopping centre.

I have a feeling that forty trains per hour will come sooner rather than later.

Oxford Circus Station

In two sections of my ramblings, Oxford Circus station has had a small mention.

An improved Oxford Circus station could benefit both the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines.

As the station is high on TfL’s list of stations for improvement, I would expect to see something planned to start here before the mid 2020s.

  • Step-free access.
  • Better interchange between Victoria and Bakerloo Lines in different directions.
  • More space around the Central Line.
  • An underground pedestrian link to Crossrail at Bond Street station.
  • Extra entrance and exits to serve pedestrianised Oxford and Regent Streets.

I believe, that adding new passages, entrances, exits, lifts and escalators into the current complex can be organised in a similar way to how Bond Street station has been successfully upgraded over the last few years. Hopefully, Bank and Camden Town stations, will also be upgraded in the same way.

But Oxford Circus is the big one!

 

Conclusion

As I write this, the BBC is announcing that plans will be announced by Sadiq Khan today to bring the Bakerloo Line Upgrade forward to 2029.

I think that this will bring forward a lot of related work to improve the Watford DC Line and the related lines across North London.

The future is brown, with large splashes of orange!

October 26, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Did The Project Management Go Wrong On The Holloway Road Bridge?

It was originally planned that the bridge decking where Holloway Road crosses the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) at Upper Holloway station would be replaced over Christmas this year.

But plans were obviously changed.

This article in the Islington Gazette is entitled Holloway Road closures: Islington Council threatens to sue TfL over ‘last-minute’ plans.

This is said.

TfL says work to transfer underground pipes and cables from the old bridge to another specially-made bridge has proved problematic because of their “complex layout, poor condition and a leaking water main”.

But Cllr Webbe was having none of it. She said: “This section of Holloway Road will be closed in at least one direction for nearly three months, including over half term, Christmas and New Year.

It looks like the water main is the problem and perhaps this didn’t show up until they started to move everything.

But whatever the problem was, it looks to me like there has been a cock-up by someone.

Was it the surveyor, who looked at the moving of the cables and the water main and didn’t quantify the task properly?

Surely though, the big problem now is that if this bridge problem delays the rebuilding of the trac for the GOBlink, which is needed for the electrification.

It’s a mess!

 

I took these pictures of the area today.

I walked down from Archway station and then caught a free bus to Holloway Road. At least TfL had got the buses right.

But except for Junction Road from Archway to Kentish Town, which was blocked solid, the traffic levels were very low.

 

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Will The Chelmsford Avoiding Line Be Rebuilt?

I took this picture at Chelmsford station yesterday.

Chelmsford Station

Note the wide space between the two tracks. This was for an avoiding line as detailed in Wikipedia.

There were originally three lines through the station: two platform lines and an avoiding line between them. An unusual signal box (being some five storeys high at the rear) on the London-bound platform controlled the station including, at the eastern end, a set of sidings that served the goods yard and Hoffman ball bearing factory. The signal box ceased to be used in 1994 but the structure has remained in situ since. The avoiding line has been removed and the sidings were reduced to serve only a mail sorting office and building materials yard.

Given that more and faster trains will be running through the station, could the avoiding line be reinstated?

  • Faster trains could overtake trains, that were stopped in the station.
  • It would probably make it easier for trains to terminate at Chelmsford, as they would block a platform.
  • Modern slab track means that lines can be more precisely positioned.
  • It might be possible for freight trains to use the avoiding line.
  • Does Norwich-in-Ninety need the avoiding line?

I also suspect that it is probably about time, that the track was fully relaid.

Factors against reinstatement include.

  • The modern trains arriving in a few years all have a higher cruising speed, so the need to overtake may be needed less.
  • The modern trains will be able to perform a stop, reload and start at a station much quicker than the current stock.
  • It is probably reasonable to assume that both fleets of trains; Flirts and Aventras, will have a similar performance and stop profile.
  • A new station could be built at Beaulieu, which is a few miles North of Chelmsford and might be a better terminus in the area.
  • Trains could also overtake at Beaulieu.

In addition, does Chelmsford need all the disruption?

I think that for the near future, the modern trains and Beaulieu station may be sufficient to allow Norwich-in-Ninety and Ipswich-in-Sixty to be fully implimented.

But long term, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new Chelmsford station built at the site.

 

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

A Walk Around White Hart Lane Station

I took these pictures as I walked around the area between White Hart Lane station and Tottenham Hotspur‘s White Hart Lane stadium.

Looking at the station, I come to a few conclusions.

  • It certainly isn’t fit for serving a 61,000-seater football stadium.
  • The access to the platforms with staircases and no lifts or escalators is terrible and not much better than it was when I used it regularly in the early 1960s.
  • The platforms look like, they might be able to handle a twelve-car train.
  • The platforms are on top of what looks to be a solid well-built viaduct.
  • Walking away from White Hart Lane towards the South, there would appear to be few important buildings alongside the viaduct.

I think this all leads to a unique situation you don’t often find in the rebuilding of a station. It would appear that if you clear the land on both sides of the railway along Penshurst Road and Love Lane, you can create a station that encloses the railway and gives access underneath. A similar situation was exploited at Haggerston and Hoxton stations to create very passenger-friendly stations.

This visualisation from the Architects Journal shows the station from the East.

whl1

I’ll repeat my nearest picture.

White Hart Lane Station From Love Lane

I think that it looks good.

Note that the rightmost arch, which is partially hidden in the second picture, is the rightmost arch in the visualisation.

If you look at the other pictures in the Architects Journal, it would appear that the two staircases go up in two sections to the platforms, in a similar way to they do in several of the Overeground’s rebuilt stations.

At least in common with London’s two other big club grounds at Arsenal and West Ham, White Hart Lane is served by several Underground and rail stations.

This station certainly, looks like it will handle its share.

I think there could be controversy, as there have been reports that Tottenham Hotspur would like to sell naming rights to the stadium and possibly the station, as other clubs have.

Renaming the stadium would probably not be controversial, but renaming the station could well be. It will certainly be expensive, as Transport for London would have to change a large quantity of maps.

As someone, who supports Ipswich, I don’t care.

 

 

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment