The best city stations in the UK, are probably, ones like.
- Liverpool Lime Street
- London Kings Cross
- Manchester Victoria
Where you exit the station on arrival and find yourself in a spacious square or area, where you can get your bearings, meet friends or catch a bus, tram or taxi.
Others are going the spacious route include.
- Birmingham New Street
- Glasgow Queen Street
London Bridge appears to be trying another route and has put the space under the station.
But some are cramped and crowded and need to be sorted.
In London, Charing Cross is hidden away just a short walk from the UK’s most famous Square.
But there are others around the country that need improvement to give more space.
- Edinburgh Waverley
I also include Leeds in this group.
Despite spending a lot of money, it is a very crowded station.
The entrance to the station is small and tends to attract smokers and other undesirables despite notices.
But it is so cluttered with narrow pavements, with buses going through the station forecourt to their stops.
If ever there was a City Centre station in the UK, that needs a sort-out, it is Leeds.
- There must be a plan somewhere, but there is now a grand Southern entrance, that is tucked away without signage and can’t be used as a walk through the station, unlike the paths through Liverpool Street, Nottingham and St. Pancras.
- The station needs a proper Drop-Off entrance.
- Couldn’t the taxis go somewhere underneath the station, as this would help to free-up the front of the station.
- There are also few places to sit, where you can watch the departure boards.
- The retail outlets are poor as well, when compared to somewhere like Manchester Piccadilly.
I know Leeds is a busy station, but it is only going to get busier and it really does need a severe de-cluttering.
I saw a Franke tap, that I liked in a plumbing shop, but the price of £240 or so plus VAT was too much.
So I looked in IKEA, where I got this very similar one for £80.
I shall add some more pictures when it is installed.
I had time to waste, so I took a walk in a wide circle around Leeds station.
I went under the railways through the station and then walked along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towards the West. I turned North and followed the Kirkstall Viaduct, that used to take the trains into Leeds Central station.
One of the problems of this walk in Leeds, is that you might like to go through the station. But it doesn’t seem to be encouraged.
Kirkstall Forge station has recently reopened, after being closed in 1905.
It is certainly an impressive new station and one of the best new stations I’ve seen.
There are certainly some nice touches.
- A covered bridge with glass sides to give good views.
- Nice finishes.
- I liked the crash barriers and seats made out of steel, to emphasise the station’s history.
- The Braille signs on the handrails. Something I first saw in Italy and wrote about in A Nice Touch On The Milan Underground.
At present, it doesn’t seem that busy and trains are not very numerous, but as the development gets underway in the area and the car parks fill up, this station could get very busy.
Some of the trains are going to and from Skipton, on the Airedale Line. If you read the Future section for that station’s Wikipedia entry, you get the impression that lots of things will happen at Skipton.
- Direct London trains to Skipton are on the cards and a stop at Kirkstall Forge would be ideal for West Leeds and those that live on the Wharfedale Line to Ilkley, which also call at Kirkstall Forge.
- But surely, Skipton is one of those places that is a jumping off point for the Pennines and also the Settle-Carlisle Line.
- In addition, if plans to connect Skipton to Colne to connect Lancashire and Yorkshire through the Pennines come to fruition, Kirkstall Force could be the station, where passengers drive to get their train to the other side.
I don’t think you can accuse Network Rail and Metro of building a station at Kirkstall Forge, that doesn’t have future proofing.
It will be interesting to go in perhaps five years and see how this station has developed.
These are pictures I took on a short visit to Halifax.
There is certainly work to do, to make the place somewhere that will attract visitors.
I had hoped to find something hot to drink. All I found was a very bad hot chocolate in the station.
Surely, something better could be done in the green space by the station.
Bradford Low Moor station was scheduled to open in Sprint 2016.
At the moment it is just a building site sitting by the railway.
The opening date is now set at May 2017.
The station is already on this Google Map.
I hope people don’t travel there expecting to find a train, because they see the symbol on the map.
Bombardier’s New Talent 3 Electrical Multiuple Unit
This is the data sheet on Bombardier’s web site announcing the new Talent 3 EMU, which has recently been announced at Innotrans 2016. It is the successor to the Talent 2.
These are some phrases picked from the sheet.
- Flexible and efficient when operating as commuter, regional, or intercity train.
- The use of proven and optimized components, recognized in operation in several European countries,
- For the first time a TALENT EMU train is compatible with the BOMBARDIER PRIMOVE Li-ion battery system.
Reading the data sheet the train seems very similar to the Aventra, except that in the case of the Talent 3, they mention batteries.
This Bombardier press release is entitled New PRIMOVE battery for rail presented at InnoTrans exhibition.
This is said.
The TALENT 3 EMU with PRIMOVE battery system will provide an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel trains operating on non-electrified lines. The results will significantly reduce noise pollution and emissions while making rail passenger transport cleaner and more attractive. Operators and passengers will also benefit from a battery technology that eliminates the need to change trains when bridging non-electrified track sections.
Other documents and web pafes emphasise how Primove is for all tranport applications. Thjs is the Primove web site.
In their data sheet, Bombardier said this.
For the first time TALENT EMU train is compatible with the BOMBARDIER PRIMOVE Li-ion battery system.
Reading about Primove, it would appear to be various standard modules.
Supposing you fit a train with the a standard Primove battery. This will give a defined range and performance to a p[articular train or tram with a specfic size battery.
As an electrical engineer and a control engineer in particular, I would suspect that the connections and the control system are the same for all batteries and that provided the battery can fit within the space allocated, all sizes will fit all trains.
So a suburban trundler would probably have less battery capacity, than a fast regional express, that stopped and started quickly all the time.
If you want more range and performance, you just fit a bigger or more efficient battery.
I suspect too, that if an innovative company came up with another battery design, perhaps based on something like several miles of strong knicker elastic, so long as the plugs fit and it goes in the standard space, Bombardier would at least look at it.
So it looks like the fitting of batteries could be totally scale-able and future-proofed to accept new innovative battery technologies.
Aventras And Batteries
There has been no direct mention of batteries on Aventras
This is the best information so far!
This article in Global Rail News from 2011, which is entitled Bombardier’s AVENTRA – A new era in train performance, gives some details of the Aventra’s electrical systems. This is said.
AVENTRA can run on both 25kV AC and 750V DC power – the high-efficiency transformers being another area where a heavier component was chosen because, in the long term, it’s cheaper to run. Pairs of cars will run off a common power bus with a converter on one car powering both. The other car can be fitted with power storage devices such as super-capacitors or Lithium-Iron batteries if required.
Bombardier have confirmed the wiring for onboard power storage to me.
But you have to remember that the Talent 3 is for the more generous European loading gauge.
So could it be that Bombardier’s standard Primove system fits the Talent 3 and it’s too big for an Electrostar and an Aventra designed on standard lines?
But possibly, splitting the various heavy electrical components between two cars, as indicated in the Global Rail News article, gives more space for fitting a standard Primove battery and distributes the weight better.
Perhaps they can even fit a standard Primove battery into an Aventra, if it has the underfloor space to itself!
Obviously, using the same batteries in a Talent 3 and an Aventra must have cost and development advantages. Especially, if you can size the battery for the application.
Electrostars And Batteries
It has always puzzled me, why some Electrostars with an IPEMU-capability have not appeared. Could it be, that the amount of electrical equipment required is too much for a standard design of train running on a UK loading gauge?
Bombardier must have a target range for a train running on batteries. Perhaps, the Electrostar can’t get that range, but the Aventra with its twin power-car design can!
I wonder if the Electrostar with batteries and an IPEMU-capability will borrow from the Aventra design and have twin power-cars. That could be a much more major modification than that performed on a Class 379 train to create the BEMU denonstrator early last year.
But it could enable the use of a standard Primove battery and obtain the range needed for a viable Electrostar with an IPEMU-capability.
Crossrail And Energy
Crossrail is unlike any other railway, I’ve ever seen, with the exception of the RER under Paris.
- Crossrail will be deep and all stations will have platform edge doors.
- Crossrail will have twenty-four trains per hour.
- A fully loaded Crossrail train going at the design speed of 145 kph has an energy of 105.9 kWh.
All of these and other factors will lead to lots of energy and heat being introduced into the stations, trains and tunnels.
One way of minimising problems is to design the the tunnels, trains, stations and electrical systems together.
As an example of how systems interact consider this. A train pulling away from the station needs a lot of energy to get to line-speed. In a traditional design, there could be a lot of energy wasted as heat in the overhead wires getting the electricity to the train. This heat would then need more air-conditioning to cool the platforms and the train.
So in this and many ways, saving energy, not only saves costs, but leads to further energy saving elsewhere.
Because of enegy problems, railways like Crossrail have to be designed very carefully with respect to energy usage.
Class 345 Trains
- They have been specifically designed for Crossrail.
- Regenerative braking is standard.
- High energy efficiency.
- Acceleration is up to 1 m/s² which is more than an |Electrostar.
- Maintenance will be by the manufacturer in purpose-built depots.
From this I conclude that it is in Bombardier’s interest to make the train efficient and easy to service.
I also founds this snippet on the Internet which gives the formation of the new Class 345 trains.
When operating as nine-car trains, the Class 345 trains will have two Driving Motor Standard Opens (DMSO), two Pantograph Motor Standard Opens (PMSO), four Motor Standard Opens (MSO) and one Trailer Standard Open (TSO). They will be formed as DMSO+PMSO+MSO+MSO+TSO+MSO+MSO+PMSO+DMSO.
As the article from Global Rail News said earlier, the power system of an Aventra is based on two cars, with the heavy equipment split. So as each half-train seems to have be DMSO+PMSO+MSO+MSO in a Class 345 train, could the trains be using a three-car power system, with one car having the converter and batteries in the other two, all connected by a common bus.
It should also be noted that most Electrostar pantograph cars, don’t have motors, but the Class 345 trains do. Thus these trains must have prodigious acceleration with thirty-two diving axles in a nine-car formation.
There are also sound engineering and operational reasons for a battery to be fitted to the Class 345 trains.
- Handling regenerative braking in the tunnels. As a train stops in a tunnel station, the regenerative brakes will generate a lot of energy. It would be much more efficient if that energy was kept in batteries on the train, as the tunnel electrical systems would be much simpler. There could also be less heat generated in the tunnels, as the overehead cables would be carrying less power to and from the trains.
- Remote wake-up capability. Trains warm themselves up in the sidings to await the driver.
- The depots could be unwired. I’ve read that the main Old Oak Common depot is energy efficient. Batteries on the trains would move the trains in the depots.
But the biggest advantage is that if power fails in the tunnel, the train can get to the next station using the batteries. In a worst case scenario, where the train has to be evacuated, the batteries could keep the train systems like air-conditioning, doors and communication working, to help in an orderly evacuation via the walkway at the side of the track.
How do you open the doors on a boiling train with fifteen hundred panicking passengers and no power? An appropriately-sized battery solves the problem.
Incidentally, I have calculated that a Class 345 train, loaded with 1,500 80 Kg people travelling at 145 kph has an energy of 105.9 kWh. As s Nissan Leaf electric car can come with a 50 kWh battery, I don’t believe that capturing all that braking energy on the train is in the realm of fantasy.
One big problem with regenerative braking on a big train with these large amounts of energy, must be that as the train stops 105.9 kWh must be fed back through the pantograph to the overhead line. And then on starting-up again 105.9 kWh of energy must be fed to the train through the pantograph, to get the train back up to speed.
As this is happening at a crowded station like Bond Street, twenty-four times an hour in both directions, that could mean massive amounts of energy flows generating heat in the station tunnels.
Remember that London’s tube train are smaller, have similar frequencies and have regenerative braking working through a third-rail system.
Surely, if the train is fitted with a battery or batteries capable of handling these amounts of energy, it must be more efficient to store and recover the energy from the batteries.
Batteries also get rid of a vicious circle.
- Feeding the braking energy back to the overhead wire must generate heat.
- Feeding the start-up energy to the train from the overhead wire must generate heat.
- All this heat would need bigger air-conditioning, which requires more energy to be drawn by the train.
Batteries which eliminate a lot of the high heat-producing electricity currents in the tunnels at stations, are one way of breaking the circle and creating trains that use less energy.
After writing this, I think it is obvious now, why the trains will be tested in short formations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
The trains could be without any batteries during initial service testing, as all the reasons, I have given above for batteries don’t apply on this section of Crossrail.
- Regenerative braking can either work using two-way currents on the upgraded overhead wiring or not be used during testing.
- Remote wake-up is not needed, as the trains will be stored overnight at Ilford depot initially.
- Ilford depot is still wired, although the jury may be out on that, given the depot is being rebuilt.
- There will be no need to do rescues in tunnels.
Once the trains have proven they can cope with herds of Essex girls and boys, batteries could be fitted, to test their design and operation.
You have to admire Bombardier’s careful planning, if this is the way the company is going.
Could the following be the operating regime for Crossrail going from Shenfield to Reading?
- The train runs normally between Shenfield and Stratford, using regenerative braking through the overhead wires or batteries.
- The train arrives at Stratford with enough power in the batteries to come back out or get to a station, if there was a total power failure.
- The train uses regenerative braking with the batteries between Whitechapel and Paddington.
- In the tunnels, the power levels in the batteries, are kept high enough to allow train recovery.
- Once in the open, regenerative braking could use overhead wires or batteries as appropriate.
- The train even handles complete power failure and perhaps a problem with one pair of power cars, as the train is in effect two half-trains coupled together, with at least two of everything.
Has there ever been a train design like it?
It looks to me, that the Aventra and Talent 3 trains are just different-sized packages for the same sets of components like Flex-Eco bogies and Primove batteries.
One train is for the UK and the other for Europe and the rest of the world.
But have the two design teams been borrowing ideas and components from both sides of the Channel?
You bet they have!
Brexit? What Brexit?
The engineers of Crossrail, have not only dug one of the biggest holes in Europe for a long time, but with Bombardier’s engineers, they could also have designed a very efficient and different way of getting passengers through it.
I am very strongly of the opinion, that putting batteries on the trains to handle regenerative braking in tunnels, is almost essential, as it is simpler, possibly more affordable and cuts the amount of heat generated in the tunnels.
I noticed that Southern Crossrail has appeared in the list of proposed UK rail projects on Wikipedia.
There is a Southern Crossrail web site.
An Outline From History
This is said in the Wikipedia entry for Waterloo East station.
Formerly a rail connection ran across the concourse of the main station. This saw little service, although H.G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds describes its use to convey troop trains to the Martian landing site. The bridge which carried the line over Waterloo Road subsequently accommodated the pedestrian walkway between the two stations until replaced by the current high level covered walkway. The old bridge remains and is now used for storage.
So it’s not science fiction courtesy of Mr. Wells.
Shutting Stations And Joining Up Services
Charing Cross station could be shut or reduced in size, Waterloo East could be moved over Southwark tube station and the services into Charing Cross would run back-to-back with some into Waterloo.
This Google Map shows the stations and the lines.
Destinations in the West could include.
With the following destinations in the East.
At least it does something useful with the Hayes Line.
Building Southern Crossrail
Southern Crossrail say this about the engineering required.
The minimum engineering requirement would be for the centre part of the concourse at Waterloo to rise up over four through tracks. There would need to be lifts and escalators.
A new bridge, alongside the old one, would be required to carry three new tracks over Waterloo Road.
The old bridge referred to is the one that is referred to in Wikipedia, as being used for storage.
The engineering involved is probably no more difficult than that used to update Thameslink at London Bridge, with the new viaducts over Borough Market.
But I can remember , that when that project was mooted, there was a lot of local opposition.
Given the farce of at times, when London Bridge station was being rebuilt, I think passenger groups will be against the changes.
Southern Crossrail give these additional changes on their web site.
- Signalling changes to increase the throughput
- Flyovers between Battersea and Waterloo thus allowing the local, suburban and express lines to be segregated on the approach to Waterloo, would increase throughput further
- Waterloo East Station would close releasing some land and a new station above the new Southwark station on the Jubilee line could be opened for interchange with Thameslink
- Closing the line up to Charing Cross would allow for greater throughput. Commuters travelling to the west end can change at London Bridge using the Jubilee line. This will have the added advantage of opening up the front of Waterloo through to the South Bank.
My views on these changes and other points follow.
Signalling And Flyovers
The signalling and flyovers probably need to be done anyway, whether Southern Crossrail is built or not.
Certainly, both Thameslink and Crossrail provoked a bit of a track sort-out on the approaches to London.
A sort-out of the lines into Waterloo would probably need to be done for Crossrail 2 anyway.
Rebuilding Waterloo East Station
I rarely use Waterloo East station, but it has a terrible connection to Southwark tube station and a tortuous walk to Waterloo station, unless you’re going to the balcony for lunch or to meet someone.
The map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the Undserground lines beneathe Waterloo East station.
A new Waterloo East station could be built that had better connections to all of the Underground Lines in the area.
- Bakerloo Line – Very useful for the West End and Crossrail.
- Jubilee Line – Double-ended with connections to both Waterloo and Southwark stations.
- Northern Line (Charing Cross Branch)
- Waterloo and City Line
If rebuilding Waterloo East station would allow building on released land and above the station, together, then surely it is a project a quality developer would relish.
Decent pedestrian links could also be provided into Waterloo, as they should be anyway.
I think that there could be a strong case for the redevelopment of Waterloo East station, whether Southern Crossrail is built or not.
Improving The Waterloo And City Line
One of the side effects of rebuilding Waterloo East station would be improved access to the Waterloo and City Line.
A new entrance is being built at the Northern end and if the Southern end were sorted, London would have got a useful short new Unerground line, with a lot of the money provided by property development.
Serving Charing Cross Station
I believe that a rebuilt Waterloo East station would give better connections to the Underground, than does Charing Cross.
What Waterloo East lacks is connection to the District and Circle Lines and good walking routes to Whitehall. And you mustn’t annoy the Sir Humphries in their commute from Sevenoaks or Petts Wood!
Providing you didn’t close Charing Cross completely, there would be a same platform interchange at London Bridge.
But I suspect that an innovative solution could be found to get passengers from Waterloo East station to the North Bank of the Thames.
Properly done, it would enable passengers using the trains at Waterloo to get easily across the river .
Why are we wasting millions on the Garden Bridge, when a proper cross river connection further West would give benefit to millions of travellers?
At present these are the services that serve Charing Cross in the Off Peak.
- 2 trains per hour (tph) Dartford via Bexleyheath
- 2 tph Gravesend via Sidcup
- 2 tph Gillingham via Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal
- 2 tph Hayes avoiding Lewisham
- 2 tph Sevenoaks via Orpington
- 2 tph Hastings via Tunbridge Wells
- 1 tph Dover via Ashford International
- 1 tph Ramsgate via Ashford International and Canterbury West
Obviously, there is a lot more in the Peak.
As it looks like the limit of trains through London Bridge to Waterloo East and Charing |Cross is somewhere around or above 20 tph, it could be that if Southern Crossrail is built, then there is a logical split.
- Suburban services go through to Waterloo and into the South West suburban network.
- Long distance services go to Charing Cross.
Platform arrangements at London Bridge and Waterloo East could be designed, so that if you’re on a train going to the wrong destination, you step off and step on the next one.
The Jubilee Line By-Pass
Now that we can see the new London Bridge station emerging and Charing Cross services are calling at the station again, I think we’ll see some interesting ducking-and-diving alomg the South Bank of the Thames.
Suppose you arrive at London Bridge on perhaps a train from Uckfield and need to go to Waterloo to get to Southampton. Until about a month ago, you would have to struggle across London on the Underground. Now you could take a frequent Charing Cross service to Waterloo East and just walk into Waterloo.
We mustn’t underestimate the effects that a fully rebuilt Thameslink and London Bridge station will have on passengers getting across South London.
If Southern Crossrail was built, it would be an alternative for the Jubilee Line between London Bridge and Waterloo.
Southern Crossrail might even lead to a rethink about how the Jubilee Line operates.
- Terminal platforms are released in Waterloo station, as services are joined up.
- No infrastructure changes would be required at London Bridge station.
- No tunnelling
- Southern Crossrail can be built before Crossrail 2.
- Southern Crossrail can be built to be compatible with Crossrail 2.
- The Tramlink connects Wimbledon in the West to Elmers End in the East.
But it will exceedingly difficult to convince the powers-that-be that it is a viable project.
I think it could be one of those projects that is so bizarre and wacky it might just be feasible.
But if it is built or not, London could benefit tremendously, by a quality rebuild of Waterloo East station.
In a phased building of Southern Crossrail, the order of construction could be.
- Rebuild Waterloo East station.
- Upgrade the lines into Waterloo with flyovers and signalling.
- Rebuild the concourse at Waterloo, so that the connecting tracks could go through to Waterloo East.
- Put in the bridges between Waterloo and Waterloo East.
- Connect up the services one-by-one.
It is the sort of project, that a good project management team, could push through with little disruption to services and passengers.
This article on the Eailway Gazette web site is entitled Tracklaying completed for Chiltern to Oxford.
|So that’s another hurdle jumped and there are probably others like a platform at Oxford station.
But everybody seems hopeful!
I shall be there on the twelfth.
If it all works out fine, I think that Chiltern opening to Oxford on time and on budget, it could set a very worthwhile precedent.
So where will be the next smaller project to be set in motion?
Who knows? But if the Chiltern extension gets loaded with passengers, there could be a lot of bandwagon jumping.
When I started to write Along The North Kent Line, I didn’t think that my conclusions would involve Crossrail.
I was wrong, so I’ve decided to write about extending Crossrail to Gravesend as a separate post.
Crossrail to Gravesend
In December 2008, the local authority for Gravesend (Gravesham Council), was formally requested by Crossrail and the Department for Transport, to sanction the revised Crossrail Safeguarding. This safeguarding provides for a potential service extension, from the current south of Thames terminus at Abbey Wood, to continue via the North Kent Line to Gravesend station. The Crossrail route extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction, remains on statute. With current services from Gravesend to London Bridge, Waterloo East and London Charing Cross being supplemented by highspeed trains from the end of 2009 to St Pancras, the potential in having Crossrail services from central London, London Heathrow, Maidenhead and/or Reading, terminating at Gravesend, would not only raise the station to hub status but greatly contribute towards the town’s regeneration.
So it would appear that the route is safeguarded to Gravesend and Hoo Junction and it remains on statute.
Current Services At Gravesend
At present, Gravesend station has the following typical Off Peak service.
- 2 trains per hour (tph) Highspeed services in each direction between London St. Pancras, Ebbsfleet International and Faversham and the East.
- 2 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gillingham.
- 4 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gravesend.
From 2019, Thameslink are saying that they will be running two tph between Rainham and Luton via Dartford and Greenwich.
This will mean that eight tph in each direction will go between Gravesend and Dartford, with another two tph going between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.
Because of the new Thameslink service, the train frequency between Gravesend and Gillingham will increase from the current four tph to six tph.
Gravesend As A Crossrail Terminal
I think that although Gravesend will be the nominated terninal for Crossrail, the trains will actually reverse direction at Hoo Junction, so there will be no need to use any platform space at Gravesend to prepare the train for its return journey.
Gravesend and Hoo Junction, will work very much like London Bridge and Cannon Street, where trains call at the first station and are reversed at the latter. Hoo Junction would just be a depot and a set of sidings.
I also think that the facilities at Hoo Junction could be built with minimal electrification, as the Crossrail Class 345 trains may have enough onboard energy storage to handle movement in depots and remote wake-up.
Remote wake-up is detailed in this snippet from an article in the Derby Telegraph
Unlike today’s commuter trains, Aventra can shut down fully at night and can be “woken up” by remote control before the driver arrives for the first shift.
So could we see a train parked up at night in the sidings at the end of the line, after forming the last train from London? The train would then call home and report any problems, which would be sorted if needed, by perhaps a local or mobile servicing team. In the morning, the driver would turn up and find that the train was warm and ready to form the first train of the day up to London.
Class 345 trains have an auto-reverse ability which I talked about in Crossrail Trains Will Have Auto-Reverse. Will this be used to turn the trains at Hoo?
Crossrail’s Service To Abbey Wood
At present, Wikipedia is saying this will be the Morning Peak Crossrail service from Abbey Wood station.
- 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
- 6 tph to Paddington
- 2 tph to West Drayton
With this Off Peak service.
- 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
- 4 tph to Paddington
This gives totals of 12 tph in the Peak and 8 tph in the Off Peak.
Crossrail Frequency To Gravesend
What the current North Kent Line can handle would probably determine how many Crossrail trains travel to Gravesend and Hoo Junction.
But Crossrail won’t be short of seats to really provide a superb service to and from the Medway Towns.
I think that 4 tph could probsbly be fitted into the timetables between Abbey Wood and Gravesend. This would give.
- 10 tph between Abbey Wood and Dartford
- 12 tph between Dartford and Gravesend.
Six of the trains between Abbey Wood and Gravesend would be the two hundred metro long trains of Crossrail and Thameslink.
As the signalling is all new, I suspect that the line could cope.
The service level does generate some questions.
- Would Thameslink need to run a twelve-car train on the Rainham to Luton service?
- Dartford is a big winner, so will the other services from Dartford be re-routed?
- How many services would stop at Greenhithe for Bluewater?
- How would Western destinations be allocated between Abbey Wood and Gravesend?
Connecting To Ebbsfleet International
I think it is essential that Crossrail connects to Continental train services and as the cross-London line goes nowhere near to St. Pancras, the connection must be made at either the draughty Stratford International or the truly dreadful Ebbsfleet International.
Talk about choosing the lesser of two evils, one of which; Stratford, should but doesn’t have Continental services!
So the connection between the Crossrail, Thameslink and the North Kent Line and Ebbsfleet International must be improved.
Possible connections could be.
- A shuttle bus from Northfleet station.
- A decent people mover or travelator from Northfleet station
- A shuttle bus from Gravesend.
- More train services from Gravesend.
There is of course the option of creating a proper rail link. But that would be expensive.
I think that as the number of trains stopping at Northfleet station will be somewhere around ten tph in each direction, a frequent shuttle bus might be a good option to start with.
The problem with the trains, is that there is only two tph between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.
Building The Crossrail Extension
I have a feeling that once Crossrail is running successfully, the traffic will define, if, when and how any extension to Gravesend is built.
But the creation of the extension to Gravesend and Hoo Junction will not be a massive undertaking.
- The depot and other facilities at Hoo Junction will have to be built.
- Could the depot at Hoo Junction be without electrification? If the Class 345 trains have sufficient onboard energy storage, which I believe could be the case and I wrote about in Bombardier’s Plug-and-Play Train, then this is a serious possibility, which would save money and time in building the depot.
- All platforms are probably long enough for the Class 345 trains.
- The Crossrail train specification says that trains must have the potential to be converted for third rail operation. The similar Class 710 trains will have this capability.
- Judging by my observations in Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations, I feel that Abbey Wood station is probably capable of handling the same number of trains as it is planned on opening, even if some go further down the line.
- The signalling would have to be adjusted for the new service pattern. But thre signalling has been upgraded!
But there would be no tunnelling and no major electrification on the North Kent Line.
Perhaps, the only major expenses would be.
- Building the depot/reversing sidings and facilities at Hoo Junction.
- Any extra trains needed.
- The cost of any rail link into Ebbsfleet International station.
So I doubt, we’ll be talking large numbers of billions.