The Anonymous Widower

Grab-Handles In London Underground Train Entrances

I have been taking pictures of the grab-handles in the doors of London Underground trains.

Bakerloo Line

 

There are no grab-handles.

 

Central Line

The Central Line trains, which were built in 1991-4, probably set the original standard.

Hammersmith & City Line

These are probably similar to Circle, District and Metropolitan Line trains.

Jubilee Line

Note the long grab-handles tucked behind the doors.

Northern Line

Note the long grab-handles tucked behind the doors.

There is also a cheeky one behind the wheelchair space. Although you would get into a Northern Line train in a wheelchair is another matter.

Piccadilly Line

Despite their age, there is a full set of grab-handles.

Victoria Line

Note the long grab-handles tucked behind the doors.

Conclusion

I do find it strange that all the other Underground trains have vertical handles just inside the door, but the Bakerloo Line trains don’t have this valuable safety feature.

I think this could be dangerous.

I have a damaged left arm because the school bully broke my humerus. It can do most things, but some things are painful.

So when I get on a train, in case there is a step-up into the train, I position myself towards the right of the door. Then if there is a step-up, I reach forward and grab the handle and pull myself into the train.

Recently, I boarded a train on the Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo. On finding there was no grab-handle I slipped slightly as I pulled back.

In the end I climbed into the train by holding on to the rubber edge of the door and got a very dirty hand.

Could this lack of grab-handles have contributed to a recent death at the station, that I wrote about in Death Of A Commuter At Waterloo?

I very much feel that grab-handles should be fitted to the doors on Bakerloo Line trains.

 

 

November 5, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , | 7 Comments

Would It Be Possible For The Bakerloo And Watford DC Lines To Use The Same Trains?

These two lines are very different.

Ten stations are shared between the lines, of which only one; Queen’s Park offers level boarding.

The Shared Stations

The nine shared stations often have considerable steps up and down, as at Willesden Junction station, which is shown in Train-Platform Interface On Platform 1 At Willesden Junction.

I am rather pleased and pleasantly surprised, that there are not more accidents at the shared stations, but using the line must be a nightmare for wheelchair users, buggy pushes and large case draggers.

If Transport for London proposed building a line like this, they would have to launch it at the Apollo, where comedians perform.

The One Train Type Solution

To my mind, there is only one solution. The two services must use the same type of trains.

These are a few thoughts on the trains.

Trains Would Be Underground-Sized

As the trains will have to work through the existing tunnels to Elephant & Castle station, the trains would have to be compatible with the tunnels and therefore sized for the Underground.

I suspect they would be a version of the New Tube for London, that are currently being built by Siemens for the Piccadilly Line.

New Tube For London And Class 710 Train Compared

These figures are from Wikipedia.

  • Cars – NTFL – 9 – 710 – 4
  • Car Length – NTFL –  12.6 metres – 710 – 20 metres
  • Seated Passengers – NTFL – 268 – 710 – 189
  • Total Passengers – NTFL – 1076 – 710 – 678
  • Passenger Density – NTFL – 9.5 per metre – 710 – 8.2 per metre
  • Speed – NTFL – 62 mph – 710 – 75 mph

Note.

The passenger density and speed are closer than I thought they’d be.

I’m sure Siemens can design a longer and faster train if required for the Euston service.

I feel that the New Tube for London could be designed, so that it could work the Watford DC service.

Platform Modifications

I suspect that the New Tube for London will be lower than the Class 710 train and all platforms would need to be lowered to fit the new trains.

I would also suspect that it would be easier to lower platforms, than modify them, so that they had dual-height sections to satisfy two classes of train.

It should be noted that the New Tube for London has shorter cars than the sixteen metre 1972 Stock trains currently used on the line, so there will be smaller gaps at stations with curved platforms like Waterloo.

I believe that with one class of train, all of the stations on the Bakerloo and Watford DC Lines could be made step-free between train and platform.

Queen’s Park And Euston

This map from cartometro.com, shows the route between Queen’s Park and Euston stations.

Note.

  1. The Watford DC Line is shown in orange.
  2. Queen’s Park station is to the West of Kilburn High Road station.
  3. It appears that Watford DC Line trains always use Platform 9 at Euston station.

The route seems to be a self-contained third-rail electrified line into Euston station.

On the subject of electrification between Queen’s Park and Euston stations, there would appear to be a choice between the third-rail system and London Underground’s four-rail system.

But it is rumoured that the New Tube for London will have a battery capability.

As Euston and Queen’s Park stations are only 3.7 miles apart, perhaps the choice would be to use battery power into Euston station, which would remove electrified rails from Euston?

How Many Trains Could Run Into Euston?

Currently, four trains per hour run into Euston.

It is generally accepted that six tph can use a single platform. But would this be enough?

I suppose there is the possibility of tunnelling under Euston station to a pair of terminal platforms.

In that case the current platform could be used by other services.

Southern’s Milton Keynes And Clapham Junction Service

This service wouldn’t be affected as it uses the fast lines between Willesden and Watford.

Conclusion

A common fleet used by the Bakerloo and Watford DC Line would appear to give advantages.

 

 

 

 

November 4, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Train-Platform Interface On Platform 1 At Willesden Junction

Access to trains at Willesden Junction station can be difficult for some people.

I took these pictures of the access between train and platform for a Bakerloo Line train at Platform 1.

It is a step down from the platform of at least twenty centimetres.

These for a Watford DC Line train are not much better.

Once at this station, an elderly Indian lady in a sari was getting off one of these trains. She shouted something like “Catch me!” and jumped. Luckily, I caught her and it was smiles all round.

Of the ten stations that are shared by both services, it appears that only Queen’s Park has level access for both services.

These stations are an accident waiting to happen.

November 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Death Of A Commuter At Waterloo

This tragic accident is reported in this article on ITV, which is entitled Commuter Crushed To Death After Falling Unseen Into Tube Gap At Waterloo.

These are the first two paragraphs.

A commuter was trapped and crushed to death by a Tube train after he fell down the gap on the northbound Bakerloo line train at Waterloo, an investigation has found.

Tube staff did not spot the man after he slipped and fell on to the track where he lay for more than a minute before being hit by a second train, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said.

The accident is partly blamed on the curve of the track in the station.

I took these pictures at Waterloo station.

Note.

  1. Pictures were taken on both platforms, which are similar, as they are above each other.
  2. The gap is wide, but not the widest on the Underground.
  3. When I boarded a train, I realised there was no grab handle.
  4. I got my hand rather dirty using the door to pull myself across the gap.

Could this have been a factor in the death of the commuter, in that he looked for the grab handle, noticed there wasn’t one and then overbalanced?

This picture shows the detail on the inside of the door.

I’m sure a design could be created, that would give those who needed a pull-up something to grab.

November 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

Would A Mutant Many-Parent Child Help To Solve London’s Transport Problems?

London needs to increase the capacity of its public transport system, as the City continues to get larger and larger.

Current Major Projects

There are only three major rail projects ongoing in London at the present time.

The Bank Station Upgrade

The Bank Station Upgrade appears to be progressing well, albeit perhaps it’s a bit late due to the pandemic.

It is a complex project and from what I have heard and observed, it has been well designed and planned.

The Barking Riverside Extension

As with the Bank Station Upgrade the Overground extension to the new Barking Riverside station, appears to be going reasonably well.

But compared to that project, it is a relatively simple project, built mainly in the open air, with no tunneling.

Crossrail

Crossrail is in trouble, after what many believe was a very good tunnelling phase of the project.

But then tunnels under London usually seem to go well. I can remember the Victoria Line tunnelling and many other under London since the 1960s and all of these tunnels seem to have been dug without trouble. As I write, there don’t seem to be any tunneling problems with the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Crossrail now has been reduced to a series of station builds and rebuilds, some of which are as large as the Bank Station Upgrade, with other ongoing projects like the testing of trains and systems.

So why are some of these stations running late in their delivery?

If you walk along the route of Crossrail in the City of London and through Clerkenwell and the West End, it is one massive building side as developers raise massive clusters of new developments around and above the Crossrail stations.

The picture shows Farrington station’s Eastern entrance, with a new development on top.

This one wasn’t a big one, but it went up in record time.

These buildings are often funded by Sovereign Wealth Funds, who want their buildings finished ASAP and as they have bottomless pockets, they are prepared to pay more to get the builders and tradesmen they need.

And where did they get the workers from? Other projects, including Crossrail.

This problem happened in Aberdeen at the height of the oil boom in the last century.

I also think that Brexit worsened the problem, as workers from mainland EU moved to large projects closer to home, like Stuttgart 21 and the new Berlin Brandenburg airport, that were both very much in trouble and could have been offering premium salaries as well!

The solution would have been to phase developments so that the limited pool of workers was not exhausted.

But that probably wouldn’t have suited the developers and politicians for all sorts of reasons.

  • An uncompleted building doesn’t bring in money and jobs.
  • Early completion must improve chances of letting the building.
  • Delaying the building would probably have meant fewer holidays for politicians in exotic locations.

Hopefully, a comprehensive enquiry into the lateness of Crossrail will provide answers.

High Speed Two

High Speed Two is to my mind a London local project. But only in a secondary way!

  • Rebuilding Euston station will improve Underground connections and interchange at Euston and Euston Square stations.
  • It is claimed by High Speed Two, that the rebuilt Euston station will create 16000 jobs and 2200 homes.
  • High Speed Two will enable massive development at Old Oak Common, with tens of thousands of homes and jobs.
  • Old Oak Common station will be a very important rail hub in North-West London.

With seventeen trains per hour (tph) between Euston and Old Oak Common will High Speed Two attract local traffic?

  • I suspect High Speed Two between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly and between Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street will also attract local traffic.
  • I’ve used TGVs between Nice and Antibes.
  • Tourists might visit, just like they did and still do at the Olympic Park.
  • Many Londoners will join High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Some wag will suggest putting it on the Tube Map. But is it such a stupid idea?

Where Does London Need More Rail Services?

Having lived in London on and off for over seventy years, I feel the worst areas for rail links are probably.

  • North West London
  • South East London
  • South Central London between Wimbledon and Croydon.
  • South West London

Note.

  1. Over the years, there is no doubt that East and North London have improved considerably, with the development of the East London, North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
  2. Thameslink has been improved in North London and now it is being supported with improvements to the Northern City Line. Both routes now have new Siemens trains, which give a whole new dimension to using ironing-boards as seats.
  3. Crossrail will produce major improvements in West, East and South East London.
  4. Building of a new Penge Interchange station, which I wrote about in Penge Interchange could improve routes to and from South East London.
  5. Hopefully the work in recent years at Waterloo will improve suburban services out of Waterloo. In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed that four tph could be run to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations.

It looks like North West and South Central London are missing out.

How Can Services Be Improved In North West London?

There are radial routes from the centre of London to the suburbs.

Starting from the North and going to the West, there are the following lines.

When I used to live at Cockfosters as a child,  to visit my many cousins in North West London, there was no alternative but to use a bus and take well over an hour each way.

There are now some circular rail routes in London but nothing in the North West of the capital.

The Dudding Hill Line And The West London Orbital Railway

But there is the little-used freight route called Dudding Hill Line.

  • It runs between Cricklewood on the Midland Main Line and Acton Central on the North London Line.
  • It is four miles of double-track railway.

This YouTube video shows a cab ride from Acton to Cricklewood.

Plans exist to turn it into the West London Orbital Railway, which will run two services.

  • West Hampstead and Hounslow via Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton, Lionel Road, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth
  • Hendon and Kew Bridge via Brent Cross West, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton

Note.

  1. The proposed frequency of both services is four tph.
  2. There would be some stations to be built, but the track exists.
  3. There would be no new tunnels.
  4. The route is technically feasible.
  5. The route would connect West London to High Speed Two.
  6. There would be little disruption whilst it was built.
  7. The services could be run by dual-voltage battery-electric trains charged on the electrification at both ends of the route.
  8. The scheme represents a high value for money, with a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 2.2.

On the other hand, the scheme has two serious problems, as far as the current London Mayor is concerned.

  • Transport for London has no money, partly because of London’s Fare Freeze.
  • The project is not in South London.

This important and value-for-money project will not be built, whilst Sadiq Khan is still Mayor of London.

Harlesden Interchange

I believe that if we get the interchanges right on the West London Orbital Railway correct we can do things like.

  • Increase the benefit cost ratio.
  • Link the route to South London to make the Mayor a bit happier about the North London Scheme.

This Google Map shows Harlesden station.

Note.

  1. The Bakerloo Line/Watford DC Line running North-West/South-East through Harlesden station.
  2. The West Coast Main Line in the Southern section of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line running North-South across the map.

Platforms will be built on the Dudding Hill Line to connect that would probably be new or extended platforms in the current Harlesden station to enable interchange between the West London Orbital and the Watford DC Lines.

I also think there is a possibility that platforms could be added to the slow tracks of the West Coast Main Line, so that suburban services into London Euston can also connect to the West London Orbital Line.

It would also enable a connection between Southern’s Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes service and the West London Orbital Railway.

Looking at this from various angles, I think that an architect good at designing three-dimensional structures could develop a quality Harlesden Interchange station.

Neasden Interchange

Like Harlesden, Neasden is another possibility for a comprehensive interchange.

This Google Map shows Neasden station.

Note.

  1. There are a lot of lines going through Neasden station.
  2. The Dudding Hill Line goes across the South-East corner of the map.
  3. There is plenty of space in the area.

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The Dudding Hill Line is indicated by the former Dudding Hill station.
  2. The red tracks are Metropolitan Line tracks.
  3. The silver tracks are Jubilee Line tracks.
  4. The Southerly pair of lines through Neasden and Dollis Hill stations are Chiltern’s lines into Marylebone.
  5. The Chiltern tracks divide to the West of Neasden station, with the Aylesbury line following the other tracks and the Chiltern Main Line diverging to the West.
  6. London’s largest Underground Depot at Neasden, lies to the North-West in an area of London noted for few merits with the North Circular Road passing through.

I wonder, if the station and the depot offers a unique opportunity to offer large scale additions to London’s housing stock over the top of a rebuilt station and depot.

This Google Map shows the wider area.

Note.

  1. Much of the depot appears to be open-air stabling for trains.
  2. The North Circular Road passes North-South between the depot and Neasden station.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line cuts across the South-East corner of the map.
  4. This corner of the map is labelled as Dudden Hill.
  5. According to Wikipedia, Dudding Hill is considered a more genteel spelling of Dudden Hill and could be as old as 1544.

It looks as if it would be relatively easy to develop over the top of the depot to create housing, industrial or commercial properties.

But why stop there and cover both the North Circular Road and the six tracks through Neasden station?

Neasden station could be rebuilt into a station with platforms on the following lines.

  • Metropolitan Line
  • Jubilee Line
  • Chiltern Lines
  • Dudding Hill Lines

Note.

  1. I estimate that Chiltern has a train about every six minutes, so some could stop.
  2. There might be space for a bay platform for Chiltern.

Neasden could be a major housing and transport hub.

  • There could be large amounts of parking.
  • Road access would be good.
  • It would have good rail connections.
  • It could have a bus interchange.
  • London needs housing.

It might even be an alternative to Chiltern’s plan for a West Hampstead Interchange.

The Mayor of London, Transport for London and the Borough of Brent need to be bold!

Improvements To Chiltern’s Routes

Chiltern Railways have some plans that could improve services in North West London.

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

Wikipedia says this about using the Acton-Northolt Line to access new platforms at Old Oak Common station.

Upgrading the Acton–Northolt line (formerly the “New North Main Line”) to new platforms at Old Oak Common. This upgrade will also extend to London Paddington to increase capacity on the Chiltern Main Line as there is no room to expand the station at Marylebone.

This scheme has merit.

  • The platforms would be connected to the Chiltern Main Line along the route of a partly-disused railway.
  • The route could be double-tracked.
  • There must be space for at least two new platforms.
  • The new platforms could easily handle four tph.
  • There may be a case for some new stations.

The scheme could add valuable extra capacity for Chiltern.

A Chiltern Metro

Wikipedia says this about a  proposed metro service between Marylebone and West Ruislip stations.

  • The Metro would have a frequency of four tph.
  • It would call at Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park and South Ruislip.
  • The service would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip.
  • There would need to be passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and  Wembley Stadium.

Given that the Chiltern Metro was first proposed over a decade ago, perhaps the concept could be increased in scope.

  • Housing and other developments along the route may suggest that a station further out like High Wycombe might be a better terminal.
  • ERTMS in-cab digital signalling is likely to be installed at some time, which would decrease headways between trains and allow more services.
  • Electrification is likely in some form before 2040 and this will improve train performance.
  • If Neasden station were to be rebuilt, as a comprehensive transport and residential development, I believe that this Metro service should also call at Neasden, as it would complement the West London Orbital Railway.

I believe that a review of the Chiltern Metro may mean, that an improved version is worth building.

Improvements To The Milton Keynes And Clapham Junction Service

I feel that this service could be key in improving services between North London and South London via the West London Line and High Speed Two’s station at Old Oak Common.

Currently, this service is as follows.

  • It runs between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations.
  • It has a frequency of one tph.
  • It calls at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton and Imperial Wharf stations.
  • The service used to extend to South Croydon via Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst and East Croydon.
  • It uses Class 377 trains.
  • It shares parts of the route with the London Overground.

I also think it has various issues and questions with respect to the future.

  • The Class 377 trains are only 100 mph units, whereas the outer suburban trains on the West Coast Main Line are 110 mph Class 350 trains, which will soon be replaced by 110 mph Class 730 trains. Do the slower trains cause timetabling problems?
  • Is one tph enough?
  • The route doesn’t serve High Speed Two at Old Oak Common station.
  • Is the service run by the right operator?
  • What is the ideal Southern terminal?

These are my thoughts on the various issues.

The Service As A North-South Link

A friend, who lives in South London has told me, that if you go to an event at Wembley stadium the route is busy.

On the other hand, I’ve used it at midday on a Tuesday and found the trains empty.

But developed properly it could connect the following.

  • Milton Keynes Central
  • Bletchley for the East West Rail Link
  • Watford for the West Coast Main Line to the North
  • Wembley Central for Wembley Stadium and other entertainments
  • Willesden Junction for the North London Line
  • Hythe Road for High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • Shepherd’s Bush for the shopping.
  • Clapham Junction for most of South London and the South of England

It would be a very useful cross-London route to complement Thameslink and the East London Line.

The Frequency

The current Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction has a frequency of one tph.

This may be enough for some parts of the route, as other services also provide services.

But many would argue, that perhaps South of Watford Junction, the service needs to be increased to connect the area to Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.

I feel that High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway give so much connectivity, that between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction needs a frequency of at least eight tph.

As the North London Line and the Watford DC Line are working at a frequency of four tph, this could indicate that a four tph direct service Watford Junction and Clapham Junction be ideal. Perhaps, it could continue North to Milton Keynes with a frequency of two tph.

The Trains

I am absolutely certain, that the full service needs to be operated by dual voltage trains, that are capable of running at 110 mph.

The Class 350/1 trains of West Midlands Trains would probably be ideal for the full service.

  • They are dual voltage trains.
  • They are 110 mph trains.
  • They have a long distance interior.

They are being replaced with new Class 730 trains, so would be available.

If some services were running only as far North as Watford Junction, these could be either Class 378 or Class 710 trains of the London Overground.

The Connection To The West London Line And High Speed Two

This map from Wikipedia by Cnbrb shows the latest iteration of the lines at Old Oak Common station.

Note.

  1. The green route is taken by the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction trains.
  2. The bright blue is High Speed Two.
  3. The purple is Crossrail.
  4. The orange is the Overground
  5. Hythe Road station is proposed for the West London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.
  6. Hythe Road station will have a bay platform to turn trains from the South.
  7. Old Oak Common Lane station is proposed for the North London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.

But where is the connection between the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service and Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two?

  • Access from the South is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • Extra services from the South can be run to and from the bay platform at Hythe Road station.
  • Access from the East is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • How do passengers go between say Wembley Central and Heathrow?

In addition for access from the West is the Overground can be used to Old Oak Common Lane station.

But as things stand at the moment the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service bypasses Hythe Road station and the only ways to go from Milton Keynes to Old Oak Common station for either High Speed Two, Crossrail or the Great Western is to do one of the following.

  • Change to the Watford DC Line at Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone or Wembley Central and then change to the Overground at Willesden Junction for either Old Oak Common Lane or Hythe Road station.
  • Continue South to Shepherd’s Bush station, cross over to the other platform and then come back to Hythe Road station.
  • Go via Euston station. OK for High Speed Two, but not for Crossrail or the Great Western.

They cannot be serious!

I hope that there is a cunning plan to enable the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service to connect.

Whilst on the subject of connections at Old Oak Common, where is the promised connection of Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line?

Were all these connections just kicked into the long grass and quietly forgotten, as they were deemed too difficult and/or expensive?

I think serious questions need to be asked about the design of Crossrail and High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Why weren’t Crossrail and High Speed Two designed to connect directly to the London Overground at Willesden Junction station perhaps by the use of a North South people mover serving the following lines?

  • Bakerloo, Watford DC, West Coast Main and West London Orbital Lines at a rebuilt Harlesden station.
  • London Overground at the high-level Willesden Junction station.
  • High Speed Two
  • Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • The new Chiltern platforms.
  • Central Line at East Acton station.

Note.

  1. Hythe Road and Old Oak Common stations would not be needed.
  2. The Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service would call additionally at the rebuilt Harlesden station.

The current design of Old Oak Common stinks like a horse designed by a committee!

The Northern Terminal

I suggested earlier that some trains use Watford Junction and others use Milton Keynes Central.

Both stations have the capacity and the connectivity.

The Southern Terminal

In the last ten years, South Croydon, East Croydon and Clapham Junction have been used as the Southern terminal.

Thameslink seems to have chosen its various terminals to satisfaction of the travelling public, so perhaps the same method or personnel should be used.

The Operator

The Gibb Report said that this service should be transferred to the London Overground and I wrote about this proposal in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

This is one suggestion, but I do wonder, if it should be transferred to West Midlands Trains and run in conjunction with their West Coast Main Line services.

  • The service needs 110 mph trains.
  • Timetabling and operation should be easier.
  • London Overground trains don’t have a long-distance interior.

On the other hand, trains running between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction would probably be better if they were London Overground trains.

Conclusion

I believe that by using the current network and some modern trains and signalling, the passenger services to the West of the capital can be substantially improved.

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Could The Northern Section Of The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line Be Combined?

The Bakerloo and Watford DC Lines to the North of Queen’s Park station annoy me.

There are two very different classes of trains.

Which are different sizes and ideally need different platform heights for step-free access between train and platform.

Often, you need to step up and down into the trains.

The pictures show a typical steps on Bakerloo Line and Class 710 trains.

They give a new meaning to Mind The Gap.

It would be so much easier, for passengers in wheelchairs or those pushing buggies or trailing heavy cases for there to be no step between train and platform.

I once remarked to a station guy, not in the first flush of youth, as he manhandled a ramp into place, that what he was doing must be the worst part of his job. He smiled and agreed.

Surely in this day and age, we can create a railway, where everything is as efficient as possible.

These are a few of my thoughts.

Could The Two Lines Be Run By A Unified Fleet Of Trains?

If the two lines were to be run using the same trains, this would give advantages.

  • All trains could be maintained together.
  • Platform-to-train access would be much easier to make step-free.
  • Staff would only deal with one type of train.
  • A certain amount of automatic train control could be used to increase frequencies.

Obviously, a National Rail-size train couldn’t use the Bakerloo Line tunnels, but a train built for the Underground could use the current Watford DC Line into Euston.

Siemens are designing a New Tube For London and this will be used on the Bakerloo Line.

I suspect, that they could design a train that would easily run into Euston.

Would An Underground Train Provide Enough Capacity Into Euston?

The current trains on both lines have the following capacity and length.

  • The 1972 Stock on the Bakerloo Line are 113 metres long and have a capacity of 851 passengers
  • The Class 710 trains on the Watford DC Line are 82 metres long and have a capacity of 678 passengers.

Now there’s a surprise! The smaller Underground trains hold more passengers.

This picture shows the spare platform length at Euston, after a Class 710 train has just arrived.

I don’t think capacity or platform length will be a problem!

What Would Be The Frequency Into Euston?

Consider.

  • The current Watford DC Line service into Euston uses a double-track line terminating in Platform 9 at Euston station.
  • The service frequency on this route, has recently been increased from three trains per hour (tph) to four tph.
  • The Overground is soon to start to run six tph on routes with a similar track layout.

I believe that a six tph service could be run between Euston and Watford Junction stations.

What Would Be The Frequency In The Bakerloo Line Tunnel To Elephant & Castle And Lewisham?

Note that I’m assuming an extended Bakerloo Line runs to Lewisham, although, it could run to Hayes station.

Dear Old Vicky (aka the Victoria Line) handles a train every hundred seconds or thirty-six tph.

I can’t see any reason, why all parts of the Watford Junction to Lewisham route can’t be designed to handle this frequency.

If six tph went to Euston, then this would mean the service South of Queen’s Park station would be as follows.

  • Up to thirty tph or a train every two minutes between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations.
  • It would connect the National Rail stations of Paddington, Marylebone, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, New Cross Gate and Lewisham.
  • A high capacity pedestrian link to Crossrail at Paddington, will be ready to open with Crossrail.
  • Connections to the Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines of the Underground.
  • Oxford Circus would have a high-capacity cross-platform interchange between the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines, both running in excess of thirty tph.

It would be a much needed capacity upgrade to the Underground.

Would Stations On The Combined Line Be Made Step-Free?

The combined route will have a total of 34 existing stations and four new stations.

I suspect the new stations will be step-free.

Of the existing stations, the following are fully or partially step-free.

  • Watford Junction
  • Bushey
  • Carpenders Park
  • Harrow & Wealdstone
  • Wembley Central
  • Willesden Junction
  • Queen’s Park – Scheduled to be made step-free.
  • Paddington – Will be step-free, when Crossrail opens.

The Bakerloo Line must be one of the worst lines for step-free access on the London Underground.

But then it has some of the oldest and least-capable trains and has been neglected for decades.

The station most in need of step-free access is probably Oxford Circus, where the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines have a cross-platform step-free interchange.

I lay out ideas for this station in Thoughts On Step-Free Access At Oxford Circus Station.

Upgrading The Lines

I think that Transport for London have a unique opportunity with the upgrading of the Bakerloo Line to Extension From upgrade the line as a series of separate projects, phased to be delivered in a continuous stream, rather than as one big launch, which was tried and failed with Crossrail.

Extension From Elephant & Castle To Lewisham Or Hayes

This project can be built independently, just like the Battersea Power Station Extension of The Northern Line. I detailed the latest thinking on this extension in TfL Moots Bakerloo Line To Hayes.

  • It is the only project that needs substantial tunnelling.
  • It probably needs a depot to be relocated.
  • Lewisham station would need some rebuilding.
  • It would need more trains to be delivered before it opens.

It could even be the last project to be delivered, which would allow time for the trains.

January 23, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Around London Road Depot Of The Bakerloo Line

These pictures show the area around the London Road Depot of the Bakerloo Line.

This Google Map shows the depot.

I walked along the road alongside the blue-roofed building from South-West to North-East.

As you can see from the pictures, some of the area has been developed and some is well past its rebuild date.

In TfL Moots Bakerloo Line To Hayes, I asked, whether this site would be worth developing.

After my quick walk around, I suspect that the answer could be in the affirmative.

In

October 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

TfL Moots Bakerloo Line To Hayes

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the November 2019 Edition of Modern Railways.

There are various points in the article.

A More Direct Tunnel Between Lambeth North and Elephant & Castle Stations.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the current routes between these two stations.

It appears that Transport for London (TfL) are proposing the following.

  • A more direct route, between the two stations.
  • A rebuilt  Elephant & Castle station, handling both Underground lines.
  • Step-free access between Bakerloo and Northern Lines.
  • The station would be integrated with the new shopping centre.

Part of the plan appears to be to keep the current Bakerloo Line station open during construction.

Could the plan mean that the London Road depot will be closed?

This Google Map shows the London Road Depot and Lambeth North and Elephant & Castle stations.

Note.

  1. Lsmbeth North station is in the North West corner.
  2. Elephant & Castle station is in the South East corner.
  3. The London Road Depot is North of a point about half-way between the stations.

This second Google Map shows a close-up of the London Road Depot.

It appears to be quite a large site about a hundred metres along a long side.

Consider.

  • It must be a development valuable site.
  • It could be used as the site from which to dig the tunnels.
  • The current Bakerloo Line skirts the site to the North.

So could the London Road Depot be closed and developed as the first part of the scheme, leaving a nice and handy tunnel in the basement?

  • There already is a connection from the depot to Lambeth Noth station.
  • It might even be possible to excavate much of the new tunnel by digging down, rather than by using a tunnel boring machine.
  • Note that recently, the new Southbound tunnel of the Northern Line at Bank station has been dug using traditional methods.
  • Moor House at Moorgate contains a ventilation and access shaft for Crossrail and was built some years rest of Crossrail.

Could this mean that the London Road Depot gets developed early in the project and London gets a lot of much-needed housing in a prime location?

But where do they stable the trains?

A Changed Tunnel Alignment Between Elephant & Castle and Lewisham Stations

The article also says this.

It (TfL) has also updated plans for the alignment of tunnels between Elephant & Castle and Lewisham, with the new direct tunnel alignment removing the need for one of the proposed tunnel shafts. A shaft would be builtbetween New Cross Gate and Lewisham, while plans for a shaft beyond Lewisham at the Wearside Road council depot site have been developed into proposals for train stabling.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr show the railway lines around Lewisham station.

 

Note.

  1. Current plans are for the Bakerloo Line to terminate under the current Lewisham station.
  2. There will be overrun tunnels under the Hayes Line, which runs through Ladywell station.
  3. These tunnels could at a future date be joined to the Hayes Line.

The Wearside Road depot is tucked into the South side of the junction, as this Google Map shows.

 

It looks to me, that TfL could be selling the site at London Road for development and using the Wearside Road depot, to replace the lost stabling.

It surely has advantages.

  • It is further South.
  • It could be easily connected to the overrun tunnel;s under the Hayes Line.
  • It could be connected to the Hayes Line.

Could it be possible to build the new rail depot and put the council’s trucks on a second floor?

The picture shows Westbourne Park bus garage over stabling for Crossrail trains.

Hayes Line Takeover

TfL are now saying that extension to Hayes and Beckenham Junction stations offers the greatest benefit

Consider the following.

Development Of The Wearside Road Depot

Suppose the Wearside Road Depot were to be developed early.

  • It could be developed as a double-deck depot, with trains underneath and the Council depot on top.
  • Lewsisham is developing lots of tower blocks, so these would be an alternative topping.
  • The rail depot could be built initially as a shell connected to the Hayes Line, with space for connections to the overrun tunnels at Lewisham station.
  • It could be used as a transfer point for tunnelling spoil, if some digging towards Lewisham, were to be done from the site. Trains could access the site from Beckenham Junction.

It appears to me, that closing the London Road Depot is important in terms of financing, minimising disruption to passengers and construction, but the only way it can be done, is by providing an alternative depot. And the best way to do that is to connect the line in the first phase to the Hayes Line and use Wearside Road as a replacement depot.

Service Frequency

The current service frequency on the line is according to Wikipedia as follows.

The standard off-peak service is two trains per hour (tph) each way between London Charing Cross and Hayes, non-stop between London Bridge and Ladywell, and two tph between London Cannon Street and Hayes, calling at all stations via Lewisham.

So that is four trains per hour (tph), but only two tph call at Lewisham.

Currently, the Bakerloo Line frequency at Elephant & Castle station is 20-21 tph. As it appears there is no terminal platforms on the extension except for Hayes and Beckenham Junction stations, I would assume that their three platforms will be able to handle the full service.

The single platform at Beckenham Junction can probably handle six tph, which would leave the rest to be handled in the two platforms at Hayes station.

As the Victoria Line handles thirty-six tph with modern signally, I see no reason, why the Bakerloo Line wouldn’t be able to handle 30 tph with ultra-modern signalling.

Development Of An Interchange At Catford

In An Opportunity At Catford, I talked about the possibilities of developing an improved interchange between Catford and Catford Bridge stations, which are no more than a hundred metres apart. |Although, it is rather up and down.

The map from carto.metre.free.fr shows the layout of lines at the two stations.

Note that Catford Bridge station is on the Hayes Line and Catford station is on the Catford Loop Line.

It strikes me that there is scope for some advanced thinking, if an interchange is to be created between the two stations.

Could it be arranged that as part of the conversion of the Hayes Line to the Bakerloo Line, that the tracks be reorganised with the Bakerloo Lines on the outside of a single four-platform station, that would enable cross-platform interchange between the two lines?

Unfortunately, No! But it could have been safeguarded some years ago, but now there’s new housing in the way!

However, I do think there are other ways of making this interchange step-free and reasonably quick.

The Hayes And City Problem

Wikipedia says this about the takeover of the Hayes Line by the Bakerloo Line.

The driving force for this change is that Network Rail would like the train paths freed up for services mainly from the South Eastern Main Line. Transport for London prefer this route due to its being largely self-contained after Lewisham.

Currently, Off Peak services from Hayes station are as follows.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) to Cannon Street
  • Two tph to Charring Cross

These two services mean that there are also.

  • Two tph to Lewisham
  • Four tph to London Bridge
  • Two tph to Waterloo East.;

There are also extra services in the Peak.

Will there be a problem for commuters to get between the Hayes Line and the City of London and Canary Wharf?

There will also be no First Class on the trains.

In practice Canary Wharf could be the easier, as it will just mean using the Docklands Light Railway from Lewisham.

This could also be quickest way to the City!

I think we we shall be hearing from some restless natives!

 

 

 

 

 

The Use Of

October 27, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

More Frequent Trains And A New Station For The London Overground

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on IanVisits.

This is said.

In a statement, the government agreed to requests for £80.8 million from the GLA to support transport upgrades so that 14,000 homes can be built along the East London Line.

Upgrades include.

  • New Bermondsey station, which was originally to be called Surrey Canal Road, will be built.
  • A second entrance will be built at Surrey Quays station.
  • Frequency between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations will be increased from four trains per hour (tph) to six tph.
  • Frequency between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations will be increased from four tph to six tph.

The frequency upgrades will mean twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations, or a train every three minutes as opposed to the  current three minutes and forty-five seconds.

A few thoughts follow.

Surrey Quays Station Upgrade

Ian’s article says this about the new entrance at Surrey Quays station.

The very cramped Surrey Quays station gets a second entrance, which will run under the main road and be based on the north side, where the shopping centre car park is today. That avoids crossing two busy roads, which can take some time if you’re waiting for the lights to change.

This Google Map shows the station and the car park of the Shopping Centre.

These are my pictures, taken at and around the station.

Traffic is bad and the subway suggested by Ian’s wording will be very welcome.

Collateral Benefits At New Cross Gate

New Cross Gate station will be one of several stations along the East London Line to see benefits in service frequency and quality.

The train frequency on East London Line services will rise from eight tph to ten tph.

But this is not all that should or could happen.

  • The service between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations could rise from four tph to six tph.
  • This would mean that New Cross Gate would have a twelve tph service to and from Whitechapel, which in a year or so, will have Crossrail connections to Canary Wharf, Bond Street, Paddington and Heathrow.
  • Southeastern should be getting new higher-capacity, higher-performance and possibly longer trains to replace their elderly trains into London Bridge.
  • Charing Cross station is redeveloped into a higher-capacity, cross-river station, to allow more trains.
  • Digital signalling, as used on Thameslink will be extended to cover all trains through New Cross and New Cross Gate.
  • The Docklands Light Railway to Lewisham will get new and higher-capacity trains.
  • Southeastern Metro services could go to the London Overground.

Could this all mean that the East London Line, Southeastern and Crossrail will more than hold the fort until it is decided to build the Bakerloo Line Extension?

The Bakerloo Line Extension

This map from TfL shows the route of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

If and when the Bakerloo Line Extension is built, New Cross Gate will surely become a major transport hub.

If you look at the current and proposed stations on the Southern section of an extended Bakerloo Line, you can say the following.

  • Paddington will get a step-free pedestrian link between Crossrail and the Bakerloo Line.
  • Charing Cross will benefit from more Southeastern Metro services into the main line station.
  • Waterloo will benefit from more Southeastern Metro services through the attached Waterloo East station.
  • Elephant & Castle station will benefit from more Thameslink services through the attached main line station.
  • New Cross Gate will benefit from more Southeastern Metro and East London Line services through the station.
  • Lewisham will benefit from more Southeastern Metro services through the station.

But there are no interim benefits for the blue-mauve area, that will be served by the proposed Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2 stations.

In addition, is there a need to add capacity between  the New Cross area and Lewishan? Southeastern improvements will help, but the Bakerloo Line Extension will do a lot more!

Except for these two stations, is there a reason to build an extension to the Bakerloo Line, as train services between Charing Cross, Waterloo East and New Cross and Lewisham will be significantly increased in frequency, reach and quality?

A Bakerloo Line Extension Redesign

Whatever happens to the Bakerloo Line, the following should be done.

  • New walk-through trains running at a higher-frequency on the current route.
  • Major access improvements and better connection to main line services at Elephant & Castle, Waterloo East, Charing Cross and Willesden Junction stations.
  • A radical reorganisation North of Queen’s Park station, in conjunction with the Watford DC Line and the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

This would improve the current line, but it would do nothing for those living where the extension will go!

So why not do what is happening to the Northern Line at Battersea and create a short extension to the Bakerloo Line that serves the areas that need it and one that can be extended in the future?

  • You could argue, that the extension to Lewisham is short and it could be extended to Hayes and other places.
  • I also think, that the route goes via New Cross Gate, as that is one of the few sites in the area, from where a large tunnel could be built.

Ideally, what could be needed is a high-capacity public transport link from Elephant & Castle and Greenwich and/or Lewisham via the Old Kent Road, New Cross Gate and New Cross.

The Germans, the Dutch and others wouldn’t mess about and would run trams along the road, but that would go down with the locals like a lead West London Tram.

So it looks like some form of extension of the Bakerloo Line is the only way to go.

Consider.

  • Two-platform terminal stations at Brixton and Walthamstow Central handle up to thirty-six tph on the Victoria Line.
  • New Cross Gate and New Cross stations are about five hundred metres apart.
  • Double-ended stations like Knightsbridge on the Piccadilly Line and Kings Cross on the Victoria Line work very well.

I would look at building a double-ended Bakerloo Line station deep underneath New Cross Road.

  • It would be connected by escalators and lifts to the existing stations at New Cross Gate in the West and New Cross in the East.
  • Provision would be made to extend the line further to either Greenwich or Lewisham.
  • New Cross and Lewisham already have a high-frequency connection of six tph.
  • The whole extension could be built from the single tunnelling location on the Sainsbury’s site at New Cross Gate.
  • There would be no necessity for any works at Lewisham station.

It would probably need more services to be run between New Cross and Lewisham.

Current Services Between New Cross And Lewisham

Southeastern currently runs these services  between New Cross and Lewisham.

  • London Cannon Street and Slade Green via Sidcup
  • London Cannon Street and Orpington via Grove Park
  • London Cannon Street and Hayes

All services are two tph.

Extending The East London Line Service South From New Cross

New Cross is served by the only short service on the London Overground; the four tph between Dalston Junction and New Cross stations.

So could this East London Line service be extended South to serve Lewisham to increase services between New Cross and Lewisham?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at New Cross station.

Note how the double-track East London Line, shown in orange, arrives from Surrey Quays station arrives in the North-Western corner of the map, becomes a single-track and then goes under the main lines before going into the bay platform D.

This Google Map shows the same area.

The London Overground track is clearly visible.

Could extra track be added, to enable the following?

  • Southbound trains could join the main line and stop in Platform C
  • Northbound trains could leave the main line after stopping in Platform A and go towards Surrey Quays station.

If this is possible, then  it would give a four tph service between Dalston Junction and Lewisham, with an important stop at Whitechapel to connect to Crossrail.

Lewisham doesn’t have the space for a terminal platform, but there would appear two possible terminals South of Lewisham.

  • Hayes – Journey time to and from Dalston Junction would take around 53 minutes.
  • Orpington – Journey time to and from Dalston Junction would take around 50 minutes.

Both stations would make ideal terminals.

  • They have bay platforms for terminating the trains.
  • Round trips would be a convenient two hours.
  • Eight trains would be needed for the service.
  • New Cross will have the same four tph to and from Dalston Junction as it does now!
  • Lewisham and Dalston Junction would have a four tph service that would take 27 minutes.

The service could even be split with two tph to each terminal.

Will the Extended Services Need To Replace Other Services?

Currently Hayes has these current Off Peak services.

  • Two tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge
  • Two tph to Charing Cross via London Bridge

I would expect that if digital signalling is applied through the area, that the extra services could be added to Hayes and Orpington as decided.

An Improved Hayes Line

Transport for London and various commentators always assume that the Bakerloo Line will eventually take over the Hayes Line.

This will or could mean the following.

  • Passengers used to a full-size train looking out on the countryside and back gardens through big windows, will have to get used to a more restricted view.
  • Platforms on the Hayes Line will need to be rebuilt, so that two different size of train will be step-free between train and platform.
  • The service could be slower.
  • The ability to walk through an increasingly pedestrianised Central London to and from Cannon Street, Charing Cross and London Bridge will be lost.
  • Loss of First Class seats. which will happen anyway!

I think that passengers could want to stick with the current service.

The only reason to allow the Bakerloo Line Extension to take over the Hayes Line, is that it would allow another four tph to run between Lewisham and London Bridge. But digital signalling could give the same benefit!

But what if the Overground muscled in?

The Hayes Line could take up to four tph between Dalston Junction and Hayes, via Lewisham and New Cross, which would give these benefits.

  • Increased capacity on the Hayes Line.
  • An excellent connection to Crossrail, which would give a better connection to the West End, Liverpool Street and Heathrow.
  • Better connection to the Eastern side of the City of London and Canary Wharf.
  • It could free up four tph between New Cross and London Bridge.
  • Same-platform interchange between Southeastern and East London Line services at Lewisham and New Cross.

There would need to be these changes to the infrastructure.

  • A new track layout at New Cross.
  • Installation of digital signalling.

The latter will happen anyway.

Times To And From Crossrail

Times to and from Whitechapel, with its Crossrail connection are.

  • Lewisham – 17 minutes
  • Hayes – 44 minutes
  • Orpington – 41 minutes

The current service between Orpington and Farrington, which also will connect to Crossrail, takes 52 minutes.

Penge Interchange

Although, this has not been funded, I think that this new interchange could be very much in Transport for London’s plans.

I discuss the possible Penge Interchange station in Penge Interchange.

It’s certainly something to watch out for, as it could improve connectivity by a large amount.

The View From The Dalston Omnibus

For decades, Dalston had a terrible reputation and then came the Overground, which changed everything.

There are now these combined devices from the two Dalston stations.

  • Eight tph to Stratford
  • Four tph to Richmond via Willesden Junction
  • Four tph to Clapham Junction via Willesden Junction
  • Four tph to Clapham Junction via Surrey Quays
  • Four tph to Crystal Palace via Surrey Quays
  • Four tph to New Cross via Surrey Quays
  • Four tph to West Croydon via Surrey Quays

There is also a useful eight tph connecting service between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington.

In the next couple of years, these developments should happen.

  • Services on the East London Line will be increased with an extra two tph to Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace.
  • Services on the North London Line will be increased to cope with overcrowding. As the Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington connecting service will be going to ten tph, it would seem logical that the North London Line service should match this frequency.
  • Crossrail will open and Dalston will have a twenty tph connection to its services at Whitechapel.

Dalston needs better connections to either main line terminal stations or their interchanges a  few miles out.

Currently, Dalston has very useful connections to the following main interchanges.

  • Stratford for the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Clapham Junction for the South Western Railway and Southern services.
  • Richmond for Windsor and Reading services.
  • Whitechapel will provide a link to Crossrail.
  • In addition the planned update at Norwood Junction will give better connection to services to Gatwick, Brighton and other services to the South of Croydon.

Better interchanges are needed with services to the North and the South East of London.

Extending the Dalston Junction and New Cross service to Hayes or Orpington via Lewisham could greater improve the train service from Dalston, by providing interchange to services fanning out into and beyond South East London.

Conclusion

I am drawn to these two conclusions.

  • The Bakerloo Line should be extended via two new Old Kent Road stations to a double-ended terminal station in New Cross with interchange to both New Cross Gate and New Cross stations.
  • The New Cross branch of the London Overground should be extended through Lewisham to Orpington and/or Hayes.

My preferred destination for the London Overground service could be Hayes.as this would surely help to free up paths through Lewisham and London Bridge.

September 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bakerloo Line Connection At Paddington Station

I use the Bakerloo Line to get to and from Paddington station for various reasons, and find myself in the narrow two-way passage  between the Underground station entrance in the middle of the Paddington station and the top of the escalators to the Bakerloo Line.

These pictures show the route towards the Bakerloo Line.

 

It strikes me that a certain amount of reorganisation is needed.

  • In the narrow two-way passage signs tell people to keep left.
  • On the escalators, the escalators are run on a keep right basis.

So everybody has to cross over in the area at the top of the escalators.

I’m sure, it could be better organised.

It should be noted that another pedestrian tunnel is being built to connect the Bakerloo Line to Crossrail.

I wrote about the Paddington Bakerloo Line Link in Paddington Is Operational Again!

August 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment