The Anonymous Widower

Calls For London Overground Extension To Lewisham

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

This is the first paragraph.

Lewisham council has issued a call for the Overground to be extended to Lewisham town centre as part of a wider series of improvements to the local rail and DLR networks.

To extend the Overground from New Cross station, Overground trains would need to be able to cross over to the tracks through the station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tracks at the station.

There are four Overground trains from Dalston Junction station and they terminate in the bay Platform D.

Note how the Overground skirts round New Cross Depot to get to the platform.

This Google Map shows the curve of the Overground Line and what lies between the lines out of London Bridge station and the Overground.

It looks to be the old New Cross depot and a green space surrounded by rail tracks, that is all inaccessible to the public.

I took these pictures as I passed.

Note.

  1. The Lines out of London Bridge are much higher.
  2. It’s quite a big space.
  3. It might be possible to connect the Overground to the down slow line, that goes through Placform C at New Cross station.
  4. It would need a tunnel under the lines out of London Bridge to connect to the up slow line, which is goes through Platform A at New Cross station.
  5. I suspect this connection would be difficult and the lines would have to be slewed to the West, so that trains could dive under the down slow line.
  6. Do Network Rail want to cause all the grief at London Bridge, whilst they built the junction.

It could be a challenging and very expensive project.

It might even be impossible!

On the other hand, it might be possible using flat junctions, but this line is busy and building and operating  them could be the stff of  nightmares.

Trains Services At New Cross Station

Wikipedia says these are the service frequencies at New Cross station in trains per hour (tph)

  • 10 northbound to Cannon Street
  • 4 northbound to Dalston Junction or sometimes Highbury & Islington
  • 2 southbound to Hayes
  • 4 southbound to Cannon Street via Sidcup, or via Bexleyheath and then returning via Greenwich
  • 2 southbound to Orpington, calling at all stations
  • 2 southbound to Tunbridge Wells, non-stop to Orpington then all stations

Merging ten trains to and from Cannon Street with four trains to and from Dalston Junction could be extremely difficult.

It should be said that the interchange between Overground services arriving at New Cross and Southbound services on Southeastern is just a walk across between Platform D and C, which is shown in the picture below.

Note the Overground train in Platform D.

It appears that most Overground trains from Dalston Junction, connect to a Lewisham train after between five and ten minutes.

As there is a coffee stall on the station, on a cold day, you can buy a hot drink.

The problem is coming North, as you have to use the step-free foot bridge from Platform A.

Too many times, I’ve negotiated the bridge only to arrive on Platform D, to watch the Overground train disappearing.

Increasing Frequency On The Overground

Currently, the frequency of trains on the East London Line is as follows.

  • 4 tph – Dalston Junction to New Cross
  • 4 tph – Highbury and Islington West Croydon via New Cross Gate
  • 4 tph – Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace via New Cross Gate
  • 4 tph – Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction

In the next couple of years, Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction services will be raised to six tph. I wrote about this in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line.

This will mean that New Cross Gate will have ten tph on the East London Line, as against four at New Cross.

I don’t know whether it’s possible to increase the Dalston Junction to New Cross service to six tph, but this would reduce the wait, when changing at New Cross to go North.

The Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line is being extended to New Cross Gate and Lewisham, so perhaps in the future, East London Line passengers will go via New Cross Gate.

New Cross Interchange

I have read, that Transport for London would like to make it easier to change between New Cross and New Cross Gate stations.

Conclusion

Extension of the Overground to Lewisham will be extremely difficult and other developments will improve rail transport in South-East
London

 

 

 

April 3, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts On The Bakerloo Line Extension

It is being proposed that the Bakerloo Line be extended to South East London.

  • There will be two new stations on the Old Kent Road.
  • There will be a connection to the existing New Cross Gate station.
  • The extension will terminate at Lewisham station.
  • The extension will be totally underground.
  • Provision will be made to extend the line further.

Almost nothing has been said about the frequency of trains on the line, stabling arrangements for the trains or what happens in the North.

The Train Frequency

Wikipedia gives the current off-peak services on Bakerloo line as.

  • 6 tph (trains per hour) from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle
  • 3 tph from Stonebridge Park to Elephant & Castle
  • 11 tph from Queen’s Park to Elephant & Castle

This forms a 20 tph service (or a train every 3 minutes) between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle.

New Trains And Signalling On The Bakerloo Line

As there will be new modern signalling and new trains on the Bakerloo Line in the future, are Transport for London relying on these to increase the frequency of trains.

Currently, there are thirty-three trains in service and according to the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, these will be replaced with forty new trains, which will give a twenty-five percent capacity increase.

As the Northern and Jubilee Lines run at 27 tph, with modern signalling and newer rolling stock, I suspect that at least this train frequency could be achievable.

Depots And Sidings

The Bakerloo Line has three depots.

London Road

London Road depot is located between Lambeth North and Elephant and Castle stations.

This Google Map shows the location of the depot.

It is the V-shaped site, just below the roundabout, at the top of the map, where London Road, Westminster Bridge Road and Borough Road meet.

However good this depot is for servicing trains, it strikes me that it is in a location, where land is very expensive.

I think one of two things will happen.

  1. The depot will be closed and the land given over to development.
  2. The depot will be rebuilt and there will be housing or commercial development on top.

If the latter happens, it is probably an affordable way to get a modern depot. White City depot on the Central Line is already under property development.

Stonebridge Park

Stonebridge Park Depot is relatively modern and is located to the North of Stonebridge Park station.

This Google Map shows the location of the depot.

Because of its young age and size, the only thing likely to happen at Stonebridge Park would be some modernisation for the new trains and a possible appropriate increase in capacity.

Queen’s Park

Queens Park Depot is not large and is effectively two sheds either side of Queens Park station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Queens Park station.

Note.

  1. The North and South Sheds.
  2. The cross-platform interchange between the Watford DC Line and the Bakerloo Line.
  3. The platforms on the main lines are not operational at present, but may be so in the future.

Compared to the other two depots, Queens Park would appear to be less important.

I suspect though, that Transport for London have plans to improve operations at Queens Park.

Conclusion

The following should be noted.

  • The new trains will probably, be the same length as current trains.
  • But as there are going to be 40 instead of 33, more space will be needed.
  • A rebuilt London Road depot with housing and/or commercial development on top, could raise a substantial sum.
  • There is space for extra sidings at Stonebridge Park depot.
  • There will be turnround sidings on the extension to Lewisham in the overrun tunnels, which is standard London Underground practice.
  • The new trains should need less maintenance than the current nearly fifty-year-old 1972 Stock trains.

I think by some clever design, that the extra seven extra new trains will be incorporated in the two major depots of Stonebridge Park and London Road, with some help from Lewisham and Queens Park.

North Of Queens Park

These are various points and issues.

Queens Park Station

Queens Park station is a six platform station.

  • Two platforms for the Watford DC Line
  • Two platforms for the Bakerloo Line
  • Two unused platforms for the slow lines into Euston station.

There is an excellent cross-platform interchange between the Wstford DC and Bakerloo Lines, which is level between train and platform.

Wikipedia also says this about the station.

Queen’s Park is planned to become a step-free station and the project will be completed in 2019.

I visited the station this morning and saw no work in progress.

This picture shows the station’s rudimentary nature.

Opposite the station is a typical new block of housing, with a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store underneath.

So perhaps a developer will build some much needed housing.

  • Underneath would be a much-improved station, with full step-free access.
  • There could be some retail units.
  • They might even rebuild the sheds of the depot, that I mentioned earlier to improve the operation of the trains.
  • The two disused platforms could be refurbished.

These pictures show the platforms.

This project could be carried out independently of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

The Bakerloo And Watford DC Lines Share Tracks

Between Queens Park and Harrow and Wealdstone stations, the two lines share tracks, with trains calling at eight intermediate stations.

Current Bakerloo Line frequencies are.

  • 9 tph between Stonebridge Park and Harrow and Wealdstone
  • 12 tph between Queens Park and Stonebridge Park.

In addition, there are three tph on the London Overground between Queens Park and Watford Junction.

This arrangement means that passengers between Queens Park and Watford Junction stations have a flexible route to and from London, with a choice of Euston or Central London termini.

The Watford DC Line Fleet Is Being Changed

London Overground are replacing the current five-car Class 378 trains on the Watford DC Line with four-car  Class 710 trains.

This might seem to be a reduction in capacity, but it is part of a cunning plan.

  • The Class 378 trains will go to the East London Line, to enhance services.
  • It means that London Overground can maintain all the dual-voltage Class 710 trains at Willesden TMD.
  • Class 710 trains can’t work the East London Line, as they have no end doors for tunnels.

To compensate for the shorter trains, the frequency on the Watford DC Line will be raised from three to four tph.

The Watford DC Line will actually get a small capacity increase from fifteen carriages per hour to sixteen, with a much more passenger-friendly frequency of a new train, which may be slightly faster, every fifteen minutes.

But there is also a nugget in the tail.

The Watford DC Line currently handles five-car Class 387 trains. So if in a few years there is a need for more capacity, the Class 710 trains could be lengthened by adding a fifth carriage.

Given too, that there could be a lot of resignalling on this line, in conjunction with the Bakerloo Line extension and the new Bakerloo Line trains, I would not be surprised if train frequency and/or length on the Watford DC Line were to be increased again.

The Platform Height Problem On The Shared Platforms

These pictures show some of the platform height problems  on the platforms shared by Bakerloo and Watford DC Line trains.

The interchange at Queens Park station is level between both trains and the platform.

Both the Class 710 trains and the new Bakerloo Line trains will be walk-through, which will ease the design of an acceptable dual-height platform, when both new trains are in service. Passengers will be able to walk up and down to find a seat or a convenient place to exit.

One solution to the height proble, would be to lower the platform, so that it is level with the height of the new Bakerloo Line trains.

A hump similar to a Harrington Hump could be added at a convenient point.

This picture shows two well-designed humps at Canonbury station.

The humps on the Watford DC Line, would be sized as follows.

  • Height would allow level access to a Class 710 train.
  • Width would be determined by safety.
  • Length would probably be sized to fit two cars, which would be 40 metres.

The humps would be placed at an appropriate point on the platforms, which are long enough to take the current 113 metre long 72 Stock trains.

  • Drivers of Class 710 trains, would stop, so that, cars 2 and 3 were aligned with the hump.
  • Drivers of Bakerloo Line trains would stop, so they had the hump in the middle of the train.

Doors would then only open, where the access from train to platform was level.

All this would probably be handled automatically, with the driver monitoring everything.

It’s almost as if the trains had their own built-in platform-edge doors, which would ensure that safety was at least as good as it is now.

Will The New Class 710 Trains Reduce Timings On The Watford DC Line?

Conclusion

Everything published about the proposed Bakerloo Line Extension, does not mention the following.

  • Trains and their frequency
  • Depots
  • What happens North of Queens Park station.

Until proven otherwise, there seems to be few difficult problems, that effect the building of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

Modernising the line and building the extension would appear to be a series of separate projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground

The Gibb Report, says that the East Croydon – Milton Keynes route should be transferred to the London Overground.

By 2020 London will have two high-capacity and two medium-capacity cross-London heavy rail routes, backed up by several cross-London Underground Lines.

One line is missing from this list; the West London Line, which has a rather pathetic four tph between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction stations.

Until Southern got embroiled in their Driver Only Operation dispute, there used to be a very useful one tph service between East Croydon and Milton Keynes Central stations.

The Gibb Report says this about the service.

I believe there is an option to transfer the East Croydon – Milton Keynes operation to TfL and it’s London Overground concession in 2018.

TfL may decide to change the service, for example by not running it north of Watford Junction, or running it to an alternative southern destination other than East Croydon. They could also develop the combined West London line service to better match available capacity to demand.

They would have a number of crewing and rolling stock options, but should be able to operate the service more efficiently than GTR in the longer term, without the involvement of Selhurst.

Selhurst TMD is the depot in South London, where the current Class 377 trains are based.

I think that this is a good proposal for the following reasons.

  • As was seen on the Chingford Branch Line, London Overground have a reputation for making a good fist of taking over services that need improvement.
  • As the Gibbs Report says, the combined West London Line service could be developed.
  • I have net quite a few people, who use this West London Line route to get to and from events at Wembley stadium.
  • The service could call at Old Oak Common station to connect to Crossrail and HS2.
  • A variant of London Overground’s new Class 710 trains,  could probably work the shortened route, as either four or eight-car trains.
  • The Class 710 trains could be based at the convenient  Willesden TMD, along with the rest of the fleet.

Being practical, a service of just two tph would give a train every ten minutes on the West London Line.

The Current Service

The current service is supposed to stop at the following stations.

Note.

  1. Stations between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction, already have a substantial Overground presence.
  2. London Overground already run three tph on the Watford DC Line between Euston and Watford Junction stations.

But would this be the ideal route?

The Northern Terminal

The West Coast Main Line is very busy and stations between Watford Junction and Milton Keynes are well-served by London Midland and Virgin Trains.

So would it be sensible to continue a slower local service North of Watford Junction?

It should also be remembered, that Southern introduced the original service to give better access to Gatwick Airport. Surely, this need is now satisfied by services from Clapham Junction and East Croydon.

As Watford Junction station probably has platform capacity, surely Watford Junction should be the Northern terminal

Could The Service Use The Watford DC Line?

If this were possible, this must surely give advantages, especially if Watford Junctio is the Northern terminal.

  • Dual-voltage Class 710 trains could work the route.
  • The service level on the Watford DC Line would be increased.
  • There would be no problem accessing the bay platforms at Watford Junction station.
  • There would be no requirement for any paths on the West Coast Main Line.

I think the answer to whether the Watford DC Line could be used at the present time is that trains going from the West London Line to Watford Junction must use the West Coast Main Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Willesden Junction..

 

As it is all railway land, I suspect that the connection can be created.

The one problem, is that some of the Watford DC Line is shared with the Bakerloo Line.

But as the Bakerloo Line is being extended to the South and the Northern end will probably be improved, then surely creating an optimal solution to the Watford DC line, the Bakerloo Line and Overground services to Watford, makes a lot of sense.

The Southern Terminal

Various stations have merits and problems to be used as the Southern terminal for the service.

Clapham Junction

Clapham Junction would appear to have a strong case, but London Overground had enough problems squeezing in their current services.

As the station is now substantially step-free and has typically three tph to Gatwick Airport, Clapham Junction offers a good route to the airport.

Balham

Balham has been used as a terminal in the past and connects to the Northern Line. If redeveloped for Crossrail 2, it could be a possibility.

Steatham Common

Streatham Common could be developed as a major interchange and if this happens, then surely is is a possibility.

East Croydon

East Croydon would have a strong case, as it is a busy and well connected station, but there probably isn’t a suitable platform.

I think that any station South of East Croydon is probably too far.

My money would be on the new interchange station at Streatham Common, with Balham as an alternative.

Schedules And Trains

I estimate that a train doing a return journey between Watford Junction and Streatham Common would take under three hours, using the Watford DC Line. This would mean that three trains would be needed for an hourly service and six trains for a half-hourly service.

Conclusion

Transferring the East Croydon – Milton Keynes route to the  London Overground looks feasible.

 

 

July 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Facelift For Lambeth North Station

Lambeth North station has been given new lifts, a good clean and some repainting.

The only thing that hasn’t been updated are the adverts, which relate very much to films and concerts from when the station closed for the refurbishment.

I think that this facelift shows that unlike many buildings dating from the early twentieth century, it was well-designed and well-built. It’s certainly much better than the dreadful Essex Road station, which is near to where I live.

February 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

The Worksites Of The Bakerloo Site Extension

Building the Bakerloo Line Extension will hopefully finish around 2028/29.

So I’m publishing these maps of the areas, that could be affected by works, so if perhaps you’re thinking of moving house, you can take an appropriate decision.

The Route

This is TfL’s latest route map between Elephant and Castle  and Lewisham stations.

ble

Note the two completely new stations with the imaginative names of Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2.

The full document is here on the Transport for London web site.

The Worksites

The sites are given in route order from the North.

Elephant And Castle

The map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through the station.

bleeclines

The North-South lines across the map are from West to East.

 

  • The Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line – Dated 13/09/1926
  • The Bakerloo Line – Dated 05/08/1906
  • The Bank Branch of the Northern Line.
  • Thameslink to Blackfriars and Orpington, Rainham, Sevenoaks, Sutton and Wimbledon.

Just below this map is Kennington station, where the two branches of the Northern Line meet and will divide to Morden and Battersea Power Station stations.

Elephant and Castle is effectively two separate stations at present, with one for the Bakerloo Line and one for the Northern Line. Both stations have lifts and narrow, dingy platforms and passageways. Connections between the two stations underground is not good.

These pictures of Elephant and Castle station were taken on February 12th, 2017

Works envisaged at Elephant and Castle station include.

  • A new larger ticket hall for the Bakerloo Line
  • Wider platforms for the Bakerloo Line
  • Escalators aren’t mentioned, but would probably be included for the Bakerloo Line
  • New ticket hall for the Northern Line
  • Three escalators and more lifts for the Northern Line to provide step-free access.
  • Better connections between the two lines.

I would hope that a comprehensive design would include a step-free link to the Thameslink station.

I suspect, that the two stations could be rebuilt as two separate projects, with the Northern Line station being updated before the Bakerloo Line station.

If the two projects were properly planned, I believe that trains could continue to run on the Northern Line throughout the works, with trains running to the Bakerloo Line platforms until they needed to be closed for updating and connection to the new tunnels.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see an updated pedestrian connection between the Bakerloo and Northern Line platforms created first, so that at least one entrance to the platforms is available throughout the works.

This Google Map shows the area around Elephant and Castle.

Eephant And Castle

Eephant And Castle

Transport for London have said they need a worksite in the area.

Bricklayers Arms

Bricklayers Arms is known to many as a roundabout and flyover on the A2 into London.

This Google Map shows the roundabout.

Bricklayers Arms

Bricklayers Arms

It is one of two possible locations for a shaft that will be needed between Elephant and Castle and Old Kent Road 1 stations.

These pictures of Bricklayers Arms were taken on February 12th, 2017.

The worksite could be in the middle of the roundabout.

Faraday Gardens

This Google Map shows the South-East corner of Faraday Gardens.

Faraday Gardens

Faraday Gardens

It is one of two possible locations for a shaft that will be needed between Elephant and Castle and Old Kent Road 1 stations.

These pictures of Faraday Gardens were taken on February 13th, 2017

The worksite could be in the a hard playground.

My personal view is that the Bricklayers Arms site is the better from a working point of view, but is it in the best position?

Old Kent Road 1 Station

This Google Map shows the area, where Old Kent Road 1 station will be located.

Old Kent Road 1 Station

Old Kent Road 1 Station

There are two options given for the location of the station.

Note the Tesco Southwark Superstore in the middle of the map, with its car park alongside.

  • Option A for the station is on the other side of Dunton Road and slightly to the North West of the car park.
  • The other Option B is on the Old Kent Road on the site of the store itself.

These pictures of the area around the Tesco store were taken on February 12th, 2017.

The group of people most affected by the construction of the station will be those who shop at this Tesco.

I suspect that given the company’s current position, Tesco would be happy to co-operate with TfL. After all there must be advasntages in having a superstore on top of an Underground station.

If the Tesco Superstore had to be knocked doiwn, there are lots more anonymous architectural gems like this one.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Option B implemented, with a brand new station alongside the Old Kent Road.

Old Kent Road 2 Station

There are two options for this station.

This Google Map shows the location of Option A opposite B & Q.

Option A For Old Kent Road 2 Station

Option A For Old Kent Road 2 Station

The station will be on the the Currys PCWorld site along the road.

These pictures of the area around the Currys PCWorld store were taken on February 12th, 2017.

This Google Map shows the location of Option B on the Toys R Us site on the other side of the Old Kent Road.

Option B For Old Kent Road 2 Station

Option B For Old Kent Road 2 Station

These pictures of the area around the Toys R Us store were taken on February 12th, 2017.

Both chosen sites would appear to have plenty of space and wouldn’t require the demolishing of any housing.

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate station is an existing Overground and National Rail station.

This Google Map shows the station and the Retail Park, that is alongside the station to the West.

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate Station

These pictures of the area around the Sainsburys store were taken on February 12th, 2017.

The worksite would take over the car park, with the station being built underneath.

This worksite is very much the most important site of the extension. The consultation says this.

The size of the proposed site provides several opportunities for the project. It could allow soil to be taken away by train rather than using local roads. We could also start the tunnel machinery from this site.

When the station is completed, I can envisage New Cross Gate becoming an important transport hub, with quality shopping experience.

Alexandra Cottages

Alexandra Cottages, a short road off Lewisham Way has been proposed as the location of a shaft between New Cross Gate and Lewisham stations.

This Google Map shows the location.

Alexandra Cottages

Alexandra Cottages

I suppose the site has been chosen, as the site contains a Big Yellow Self Storage facility and a Ladbrokes betting shop.

These pictures of the area around the storage facility were taken on February 13th, 2017.

Will the shaft be buried in the basement of a development suitable for the area?

Lewisham Station

This Google Map shows the current Lewisham station.

blelewisham

These pictures of the area around the Lewisham station were taken on February 13th, 2017.

The new Bakerloo Line station will be underground between the station and Matalan. The area is currently bus parking.

Because of the different levels and tunnels and some railway arches in good condition, the addition of the Bakerloo Line station could be a challenging one, but also one that could be architecturally worthwhile.

Consider.

  • Is the current station built on arches, that could allow passengers to circulate underneath?
  • Could escalators and lifts connect the main line and ?Underground stations?
  • Could there be significant oversite development on top of the station?
  • Could the Bakerloo Line station be built without a blockade of the current station?
  • Will Lewisham station be reorganised to be less of a bootleneck?

It will be interesting to see the final design.

Wearside Road

This Google Map shows the worksite in Wearside Road, which will be used to create a shaft to the overrun tunnels.

blewearside

The multi-track line going North-West to South-East is the South Eastern Main Line, whilst the line going South-West to North-East is the Hayes Line.

The worksite will go at the Northern end of the light-coloured area South of where the two lines cross.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in the area.

lewishamlines

I think it is quite likely that the overrun tunnels will be under the Hayes Line.

Extension To Hayes

This document on the Lewisham Borough Council web site is a must-read document, as it gives the view of the Council and their consultants; Parsons Brinckerhoff about the Bakerloo Line Extension.

The report is very much in favour of the Extension being built and it hopes that it can be extended using the Hayes Line, where they would termiate at  either at Hayes or Beckenham Junction.

Currently, Elephant and Castle station handles 14 tph, so as there would appear to be no terminal platform at that station, at least this number of trains will connect between the Bakerloo Line at Lewisham station and the Hayes Line..

But as other deep-level tube lines handle more trains, with the Victoria Line handling 36 tph by the end of this year, I don’t think it unreasonable to expect a service frequency in excess of 20 tph. So could this give at least 10 tph to both Southern terminals?

To handle 10 tph, I think it reasonable to assume that two terminal plstforms are needed.

Hayes has two plstforms, but Beckenham Junction has only one spare platform, as this Google Map shows.

beckenhamjunction

But I suspect if Waitrose are reasonable, a deal can be done.

If the overrun tunnels at Lewisham station,are more-or-less under the Hayes Line, these tunnels would be easily connected to the Hayes Line, with all other services using the Courthill Loop to go on their way.

Hayes station would swap its two tph services to both Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations for at least a 10 tph service on the Bakerloo Line.

Beckenham Junction would have a similar service and I’m sure this would please Lewisham Borough Council.

Network Rail would gain four paths per hour through Lewisham station to use for other services.

Lewisham Borough Council also suggests the following for the Hayes Line.

  • More Lower sydenham station further to the North.
  • Create an interchange between Catford and Catford Bridge stations.
  • Look seriously at the zones of stations on the Hayes Line.

They are certainly forcible in what they want.

Conclusion

This looks like it is a railway designed to be built without too much fuss and objections.

Most of the worksites seem to have good access and it would appear that few residential properties will be affected.

 

 

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

TfL Seeks New Procurement Plan For Metropolitan Line Extension

This is the title of an article in Construction News.

With money tight because of several factors, including Brexit and the Mayor’s fare freeze, the article states that Transport for London is looking for ways to save money on the Metropolitan Line Extension or as it was formerly known, the Croxley Rail Link.

I looked at this project  recently in Is The Croxley Rail Link To Be Given Lower Priority?, and came to the following conclusion.

I believe that Watford will get a better train service, whether the Croxley Rail Link is built or not.

Politics will decide the priority of the Croxley Rail Link, with the left-leaning South Londoner Sadiq Khan on one side and right-leaning Bucks-raised Chris Grayling on the other. In some ways, Watford is a piggy-in-the-middle.

My feeling is that on a Londonwide  basis, that the Bakerloo Line Extension to Watford, solves or enables the solution of a lot of wider problems and the Croxley Rail Link is much more a local solution.

This leads me to the further conclusion, that the Croxley Rail Link should return to its roots and become a more Hertfordshire-centric project.

Objectives Of The Project

The objectives of the project could be something like.

  • Provide better links between Watford Junction across Watford to Rickmansworth and/or Amersham, serving the High Street, Watford Hospital and Vicarage Road Stadium.
  • Keep the project as simple as possible.
  • Build the link very much on existing infrastructure.

A subsidiary objective is that it should enable better links to London, for areas in Watford, where they need improvement.

There are various projects in the pipeline, that could substantially increase capacity to Watford.

Transport for London’s passenger figures will show which is the capacity increase most needed.

Issues And Questions

I will ask a few questions first.

What Are The Current Passenger Numbers At Metropolitan Line Stations?

These are 2015 figures.

For comparison, I’ll add these nearby Metropolitan Line stations.

And then there’s Watford High Street station on the Watford DC Line, which managed 1.15 million in 23014/15.

How will Passenger Numbers Change, If The Croxley Rail Link Is Built?

I’ve seen no projections!

Why Shut Watford Station?

There has been considerable protests about the shutting of Watford station. This is an extract from the station’s Wikipedia entry under Future.

The plan to close the station has been the subject of some local opposition, and campaigners have argued for the station to remain open with a reduced shuttle service operating on the branch. In 2012 the transport watchdog London TravelWatch compiled a report on the closure plans which concluded that inconvenience to passengers would be alleviated by the new stations being opened in the area, and that a small number of existing passengers would experience an increase in journey times of more than 15 minutes. It recommended that a shuttle train service should be trialled, and that in the event of closure a bus service should be provided from Cassiobury to one of the new stations to mitigate any inconvenience.

Consider.

  • Currently Watford station has a four trains per hour (tph) service to Baker Street station in the Off Peak.
  • It handles more trains in the Peak.
  • It is also a two-platform terminal station, so it could probably handle at least 5-6 tph, if they were needed.
  • Watford services use the four-track London to Aylesbury Line to get to and from London.
  • Watford station seems to attract similar levels of traffic to other stations in the area.

On the other hand, closing the station could release a valuable site for development.

At a rough look, there would have to be some very pressing reasons to close Watford station.

Will The Bakerloo Line Be Extended To Watford?

I’m asking this question first, as it does have an affect on both the Watford DC Line and the Croxley Rail Link.

There are some handy platforms at Watford Junction, but is it the best way to increase capacity between Queen’s Park station and Watford?

I think that the platform height issue of mixing deep-level Underground and Overground trains will become increasingly important.

  • The rebuilt centre section and the Southern extension of the Bakerloo Line will be substantially step free to modern standards.
  • Passengers in wheelchairs and buggy pushers will rightly expect easy roll-across access to the trains.
  • The Northern platforms could possibly be rebuilt, but they would probably be operationally complicated and would still need ramps to be used.

The most Northerly station on the Bakerloo Line, where full step-free access is possible is Queen’s Park station.

  • The station is a major terminus for Bakerloo Line trains, where 11 tph out of 20 tph in the Off Peak change direction.
  • There is step-across access between Bakerloo and Watford DC Line services at the station.
  • If Bakerloo Line frequencies were increased to say 25-30 tph, it would probably be easier if extra services were terminated at Queen’s Park.

So could we see the Bakerloo Line cut back to Queen’s Park and services North of the station handled to a greater extent by the London Overground?

  • The Watford DC Line service could go to at least the preferred 4 tph all day.
  • If more capacity is needed in the Peak , would it be better to run some of the new Class 710 trains as eight-car trains.
  • Bakerloo Line trains could still run on the line to access the depot at Stonebridge Park and to provide services for grumpy old die-hards, who won’t change at Queen’s Park.
  • Passengers needing step-free access would change to the Overground at Queen’s Park.

North of Stonebridge Park station, the line would be served exclusively by the new Class 710 trains.

  • One train type on a line must be more efficient.
  • Is a mix of four- and eight-car Class 710 trains better than the current five-car Class 378 trains?
  • As there are nine stops between Stonebridge Park and as the Class 710 trains are optimised for fast stops, would a reduction in journey time be possible?
  • Staff would only be dealing with one type of train.
  • Passengers would have a Turn-Up-And-Go 4 tph service.

It might also make it a lot easier to introduce other services like Barking, New Cross or Stratford to Watford, if such services were needed.

A Personal Note – I regularly change at Willesden Junction stations to go to places on the Watford DC Line. A direct train from Canonbury or one of the Dalston stations would be welcomed by myself and the many others who seem to change at Willesden Junction.

Because of these and other issues, I would be very surprised to see the Bakerloo Line extended to Watford.

A Simpler Proposal

I think it would be possible to design a simpler link with the following characteristics.

  • Watford station would remain open.
  • A four tph link would run all day between Watford Junction and Amersham stations.
  • Stops would be at Watford High Street, Vicarage Road, Cassiobridge, Croxley, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Chalfont & Latimer.

No-one would get a worse service than currently and the new stations of Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road, would make rail an alternative for many travellers.

The cross-Watford service would give access to these London services.

  • Chiltern at all stations between Croxley and Amersham.
  • London Midland at Watford Junction,
  • Metropolitan Line at Croxley, Rickmansworth and Amersham.
  • Virgin Trains at Watford Junction,
  • Watford DC Line at Watford High Street and Watford Junction

The Bakerloo Line at Watford Junction and Watford High Street, could possibly be added, if the line is extended. Which I doubt, it will be!

I will cover issues in the next few sections.

How Long Will A Journey Take From Amersham To Watford Junction?

Consider.

  • Amersham to Croxley takes about 30 minutes, but it does involve a change to a bus.
  • The Overground takes three minutes between Watford Junction and Watford High Street stations.
  • Chiltern Railways achieve a twelve minute time between Amersham and Rickmansworth.

I suspect that a modern train like one of London Overground’s Class 378 trains could do the journey in a few minutes under half-an-hour.

Why Four Trains Per Hour?

Four tph is becoming a standard, as it encourages Turn-Up-And-Go behaviour from travellers.

It also fits well with keeping the four tph service to Watford station, as this could give a same platform interchange at Croxley stastion.

What Class Of Train Could Be Used?

Four-car Class 378 trains or the new Class 710 trains would be ideal.

They could even use the redundant two-car Class 172 trains from the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

I would suspect that the length of the Metropolitan Line’s S Stock trains, might cause problems at Watford Junction station. The manufacture of these trains has also finished. So could a few more be ordered?

How Many Trains Would Be Needed?

If the trains could do an Out-and-Back journey in an hour, then four trains would be needed to provide a four tph service.

Will The Link Have Any Other Services?

I have seen to plans to use the line for any other passenger or freight services.

Will There Be Infrastructure Issues At Existing Stations?

As all of the trains, I’ve mentioned and the London Underground S Stock trains, share platforms all over North West London, the answer is probably no, with the exception of a few minor adjustments to signs and platforms.

Would The New Track Be Electrified?

The only part of the route that is not electrified is the about three miles of new track between  the Watford Branch and the Watford DC Line.

All current electrification is either third-rail or to the London Underground standard. and any future electrification would probably be to the London Underground standard, so that S Stock can work the route.

But if the route were to be worked using Class 172 trains, the new track could be built without electrification.

In addition, I believe that the Class 710 trains will have a limited onboard energy storage capability, which could enable the trains to bridge the cap in the  electrification between Watford High Street and Croxley stations.

How much would not electrifying the new track save?

Will The New Stations Have Two Platforms?

I believe that money can be saved by creating simple stations at Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road.

  • Only one platform, but probably an island platform with two faces like Watford High Street station.
  • No expensive footbridge if possible.
  • Only one lift.

Cassiobridge would be more complicated because of the viaduct connecting the line towards Croxley station.

This visualisation shows the viaduct and the location of Cassiobridge station.

croxley-rail-link-proposed-viaduct-connecting-the-existing-metropolitan-line-with-disused-croxley-green-branch-line

Cassiobridge station will be behind the trees towards the top-right of the image.

Would The New Track Be Single Or Double-Track?

There is space for double-track and the two ends of the route are already electrified double-track.

But surely the viaduct shown above would be much more affordable, if it were to be built for only one track!

Trains would need to pass at places East of Croxley station, but then if the line was double-track through and to the East of Cassiobridge station, trains could pass with impunity.

On the other hand, too much single-track is often regretted.

Croxley Station

Croxley station would be unchanged.

But in addition to the 4 tph between Baker Street and Watford, there would be 4 tph between Watford Junction and Amersham.

Platform 1 would handle.

  • Baker Street to Watford
  • Amersham to Watford Junction

Platform 2 would handle.

  • Watford to Baker Street
  • Watford Junction to Amersham

This would mean that if the trains alternated, the maximum wait for a connection would be about 7.5 minutes.

What I feel would be the two most common connections, would just involve a wait on the same platform.

I suspect that those, who timetable trains, would come up with a very passenger-friendly solution.

Watford Station

A property developer once told me, that the most profitable developments, are those where a railway station is involved.

The Platforms At Watford Station

The Platforms At Watford Station

So would the development of the extension involve a rebuild of Watford station to provide the following?

  • A modern future-proofed station, with all the capacity that might be needed in the next forty years or so.
  • Appropriate housing or commercial development on top of the new station.
  • Sensible amounts of parking for travellers.

With four tph to and from London in the basement, it would surely be a profitable development.

Watford Junction Station

Watford Junction station has four bay platforms 1-4, that handle the three tph service on the Watford DC Line.

At stations like Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace, Dalston Junction, Highbury and Islington and New Cross, single platforms handle four tph with ease for London Overground services.

This means that handling four tph to Amersham in addition to current services would not be difficult.

The only work, that I think should be done, is make sure that these platforms are long enough to take two of the future Class 710 trains working as an eight-car train.

There could even be two platforms left for Bakerloo Line services, if it were to be decided, that these services would go to Watford Junction.

Elton John Plays Vicarage Road Stadium

This or some football matches at Vicarage Road Stadium, would be the biggest test of the Link.

Note the following.

  • Some stations  like Watford High Street can already handle longer trains than the hundred metre long, five-car Class 378 trains they currently do.
  • Some stations like Croxley can handle the 133 metre long S Stock trains used on the Metropolitan Line.

So to future-proof the Link for massive one-off events would it be sensible to make the platforms long enough for eight-car trains or two Class 710 trains working as a pair?

Benefits

The benefits of this approach are as follows.

  • Watford station keeps its current service to London.
  • Watford gets a four tph link across the South of the town, serving the Shopping Centre, the Hospital and the Stadium.
  • Amersham to Croxley stations get a link to the West Coast Main Line.
  • It could be built as a single track line without electrification.
  • Trains to run the services could be more easily available.
  • Simple island platform-based stations could be built at Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road.

In addition, Chiltern Railways, London Midland, London Overground and Underground, all gain a feeder railway bringing travellers to their services to and from London.

Cost Savings

Note.

  1. Transport for London needs cost savings on this project.
  2. Redevelopment of Watford station as a station with oversite development could raise a lot of money.
  3. The Croxley Link could be built as a single-track link without electrification and run initially run using Class 172 trains.

I also feel, that building the line this way would deliver it earlier, thus improving cash-flow.

The simple link would need at the minimum.

  • A single- or double-track railway without electrification between Croxley and Watford High Street stations.
  • Two stations with island platforms at Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road
  • A viaduct to connect Cassiobridge station to the Watford Branch.

Four Class 172 trains would work the service, after being released by the arrival of Class 710 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

If skates were worn, the link could probably open in 2020.

Conclusion

A simpler and more affordable design for the Metropolitan Line Extension is surely possibly.

 

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Is The Croxley Rail Link To Be Given Lower Priority?

Although, I have covered the Croxley Rail Link or Metropolitan Line Extension, on this blog, including in Looking For The Croxley Rail Link, which I wrote after walking the route in November 2014, it is not a project that will have a great deal of affect on my life.

In the last few days, after the publication of the London Mayor’s transport strategy, two newspaper reports have been published.

  • This article in the Watford Observer entitled Have plans to extend the Metropolitan Line derailed?
  • This article in Rail Technology Magazine entitled DfT refuses to provide extra funding for over-budget Croxley rail link

So is everybody getting more lukewarm about the project?

The Watford Observer article also contains these paragraphs.

Save Watford Met campaign group opposes the plans, which would see Watford underground close.

Speaking on their behalf, Lester Wagman said: “While it would be a shame if the [unconfirmed] inference that the Metropolitan Line Extension to Watford Junction may have been dropped as a business plan priority for TfL, we would not really be surprised if this is not such a priority for London and that its Mayor, Sadiq Khan, may have concluded this from reviewing the somewhat contrived and shaky business case.

So perhaps, there is a problem with finances and the people of Watford are not all in favour.

I think that it is time to take a short time of reflection to look at this project and see, if other developments in the future, can improve rail links to Watford sufficiently.

Maps Of The Croxley Rail Link

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the link.

The Croxley Rail Link

The Croxley Rail Link

I don’t think that they are able to show anything more definitive.

This first Google Map shows the Western End of the Croxley Rail Link.

The Western End Of The Croxley Rail Link

The Western End Of The Croxley Rail Link

Note.

  • Croxley station in the bottom left corner and Watford station in the top right, with the Metropolitan Line between them.
  • In the middle is the A412 with its two roundabouts.
  • The scar of the old railway can be seen above the green space in the bottom right corner.

This second Google Map shows the Eastern End of the Croxley Rail Link.

The Eastern End Of The Croxley Rail Link

The Eastern End Of The Croxley Rail Link

Note.

  • Watford High Street station, where the Croxley Rail Link joins the Watford DC Line is in the top right corner of the map.
  • The line goes in a wide curve South of Vicarage Road Stadium and the large Watford Hospital site.

This Google Map shows the area, where the Croxley Rail Link joins the Watford DC Line.

Croxley Rail Link And The Watford DC Line

Croxley Rail Link And The Watford DC Line

Note.

  • Watford High Street station is at the top right.
  • It looks like the original junction was a full triangular one.
  • The road being built is Thomas Sawyer Way, which is a link to open up the area. It opened on the 16th November 2016, as this article on the Watford Council web site announces.

This map shows the site of the proposed Watford Vicarage Road station.

The Site Of Watford Vicarage Road Station

The Site Of Watford Vicarage Road Station

This description of the station is from Wikipedia.

Watford Vicarage Road is to be a newly constructed station on a re-opened section of the former LNWR Watford and Rickmansworth Railway line which was closed by British Rail in 1996. The station is to be located to the west of Vicarage Road, adjacent to Holywell allotments, with the platforms in the railway cutting below the road

The hospital and stadium are to the North on Vicarage Road.

This Google Map shows the site of the proposed Cassiobridge station.

The Site Of Cassiobridge Station

The Site Of Cassiobridge Station

Note.

  • The Grand Union Canal running down the left hand side of the map, with the route of the old railway across it clearly visible.
  • The station is on the single-carriageway branch of Ascot Road.

Wikipedia says it will be a fairly simple station.

Reasons For The Croxley Rail Link.

The Croxley Rail Link or the Metropolitan line Extension has a page on the Transport for London web site.

This is their summary.

The Metropolitan Line extension will re-route and extend the Metropolitan line to Watford Junction. The aim is for the project (formerly the Croxley Rail Link) to be completed in 2020.
The extension will divert Metropolitan line trains to serve the existing Watford Junction and Watford High Street stations.

Two new stations will be created at Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road. The existing Watford station will close after the new stations open.

TfL list the benefits as follows.

  • Improve access to public transport for local residents
  • Create new links to Watford General Hospital, Croxley Business Park and Cardiff Road Industrial Estate, increasing employment opportunities
  • Provide access for Metropolitan line passengers to West Coast mainline National Rail links from Watford Junction station

The case for the line was obviously good enough to raise the finance for the line, but now it appears that the Department for Transport are having second thoughts.

Perhaps some of the other projects are influencing their decision.

The Bakerloo Line Extension

The Bakerloo Line Extension is mainly about South of the Thames, but if the line is running the proposed 27 trains per hour (tph) , these trains will have to terminate somewhere in the North.

There have been various proposals for the Bakerloo Line to take over the Watford DC Line and trains to terminate at Watford Junction station.

Some trains would probably terminate at Queen’s Park, Stonebridge Park and Harrow and Wealdstone stations, but perhaps eight to ten tph might go all the way, calling at both Watford High Street and Watford Junction stations.

The London Overground

Currently, the London Overground runs three tph to Watford Junction from Euston via the Watford DC Line.

The trains are currently five-car Class 378 trains and in a couple of years, they will be replaced by four-car Class 710 trains.

It is rare that the capacity of a route is ever decreased.

So do Transport for London have a cunning plan?

In Platform Height Issues On The Watford DC Line I suggested that the shorter Class 710 trains, might fit better with the 1972 Stock of the Bakerloo Line, thus allowing the current stations on the line to be converted to very customer-friendly step-free stations.

So working an extended Bakerloo Line to Watford Junction station with an appropriate number of Euston to Watford Junction services on the Watford DC Line could be an easier way of increasing capacity to Watford’s main station, without degrading the service of any other passengers.

Crossrail

It has been suggested that Crossrail with its herds of jumbo Class 345 trains should be extended to the West Coast Main Line. Wikipedia says this.

In August 2014, a statement by the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin indicated that the government was actively evaluating the extension of Crossrail as far as Tring, with potential Crossrail stops at Wembley Central, Harrow & Wealdstone, Bushey, Watford Junction, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted.

Plans change, but if Crossrail goes up the West Coast Main Line, it would surely stop at Watford Junction station.

If it stopped at the stations listed above, it would have good connections to the Bakerloo Line and London Overground, in addition to all the connections at Old Oak Common.

Southern

With all Southern‘s current troubles, I don’t think that their Milton Keynes to East Croydon service is a priority.

It is also a route that in a few years time will be a route, where there could be better alternatives.

Once Old Oak Common station is a reality, passengers from Milton Keynes to South London, would possibly use this type of route.

  • London Midland to Old Oak Common
  • Crossrail to Farringdon
  • Thameslink to East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Wimbledon.

As an alternative, they could also take the West London Line from Old Oak Common to Clapham Junction for all the connections there.

If Crossrail extends up the West Coast Main Line from a fully-developed Old Oak Common station, the reasons for Southern’s service will diminish.

It might be a good idea to replace this service with more London Overground services between Stratford and Clapham Junction via the North and West London Lines!

After all, London Overground will have several five-car Class 378 trains from the Watford DC Line.

London Midland

London Midland‘s franchise comes to an end soon and what goodies will companies propose to keep it?

I think the only new service we will see from London Midland or its successor, is trains calling at the new hub at Old Oak Common.

Metropolitan Line Upgrade

Transport for London are implementing, what they call the Four Lines Modernisation, on the Circle, District, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines.

TfL give these benefits.

  • A new fleet of air-conditioned trains, with brighter more spacious interiors, low floors and dedicated spaces for wheelchair users, CCTV and other improved features
  • Space for more customers
  • Faster journeys and reduced waiting times
  • Fewer delays as safe but obsolete equipment – dating back to the 1920s in some places – is replaced with modern, computerised signalling and control systems
  • Better live customer information on platforms and to smart devices

It will all be finished by 2023, when 32 tph could be running in the Peak.

The Croxley Rail Link is not mentioned in connection with this modernisation.

This upgrade must benefit services to and from existing Metropolitan Line stations to the West of Watford, but it does nothing to meet the benefits stated for the Croxley Rail Link.

  • Improve access to public transport for local residents
  • Create new links to Watford General Hospital, Croxley Business Park and Cardiff Road Industrial Estate, increasing employment opportunities
  • Provide access for Metropolitan line passengers to West Coast mainline National Rail links from Watford Junction station.

Two additional benefits could be added.

  • Access to the upgraded Vicarage Road Stadium
  • The possibility of services between Amersham and Watford Junction.

Others could also surface, if say a substantial housing or commercial development is proposed.

Chiltern Railways

Never underestimate Chiltern Railways!

The Croxley Rail Link would connect to their Aylesbury Line, which is going to be extended to Milton Keynes.

Once the link is a reality, I’m sure Chiltern will find a way to make use of the line.

Even a well-thought out two tph shuttle to Amersham could probably provide valuable connectivity.

Chiltern will also have an effect on thinking, in that they have opened a similar railway to the Croxley Rail Link, in their extension to Bicester and Oxford.

The Opening Of HS2

HS2 will have one major effect on Watford, in that it will free up paths on the West Coast Main Line.

These could be used to improve services between Watford Junction and Euston.

Could A Lower-Cost Link Be Built?

I ask this question, specifically because of the report that TfL had said no, because the project is over-budget.

Ideally, the link would be built as a double track line from Watford High Street station, to where it joins the double-track branch to the current Watford station.

I have flown my helicopter over the route and there would appear to be a fair bit of space for a double -track line.

But there might be a couple of problems.

This picture, which I took going South, shows the bridge, where the Croxley Rail Link will join the Watford DC Line.

The A4178 Goes Over The Croxley Rail Link

The A4178 Goes Over The Croxley Rail Link

 

It looks fairly sound, but is it large enough for two tracks? I could see the next bridge and that was a modern structure with a lot more space.

Note too, the evidence of clearing up decades of tree growth.

But look at this Google Map of where the Croxley Rail Link will connect to the branch to Watford station.

Over The A412 At Croxley Green

Over The A412 At Croxley Green

Note the branch to Watford station at the top left of the map and the remains of the old railway in the bottom-right, which can also be seen in the map of Cassiobridge station.

It could be difficult to thread a double-track viaduct through the area.

This visualisation from the Watford Observer shows current thinking.

Croxley Link Viaduct

Croxley Link Viaduct

So would money be saved and perhaps a better design be possible?

  • Could the viaduct be built with only a single-track between its junction with the branch to Watford station and the proposed Cassiobridge station? The route could revert to double track just to the East of Cassiobridge station.
  • A single-track design of Cassiobridge station could also save money, but it would probably rule out too many future options.

As most of the route will be double-track, I doubt that a few hundred metres of single-track would have much impact on the operation of the link. It’s not as if, the Croxley Rail Link will be handling 24 tph.

I suspect that engineers and architects are working hard both to cut costs and make the link better.

A Watford Junction To Amersham Service

I think that if there is a good service between Watford Junction and Amersham, this might  offer an alternative solution.

It would connect to London trains as follows.

  • Watford Junction – Bakerloo, London Midland, Southewrn, Watford DC and possible West Coast Main Line services.
  • Watford High Street – Cross-platform connection to Watford DC services.
  • Croxley – Same platform connection to Metropolitan services to the existing Watford station.
  • Rickmanswoth – Chiltern for both London and all stations to Milton Keynes.

I believe that a train like London Overground’s new Class 710 train, which will be running on the Watford DC Line might be able to run the service without any new electrification, it it were to use onboard energy storage between say Watford High Street and Croxley stations.

Conclusion

I believe that Watford will get a better train service, whether the Croxley Rail Link is built or not.

Politics will decide the priority of the Croxley Rail Link, with the left-leaning South Londoner Sadiq Khan on one side and right-leaning Bucks-raised Chris Grayling on the other. In some ways, Watford is a piggy-in-the-middle.

My feeling is that on a Londonwide  basis, that the Bakerloo Line Extension to Watford, solves or enables the solution of a lot of wider problems and the Croxley Rail Link is much more a local solution.

I think it could turn out to be.

  • A mainly double-track route from Watford Junction to Amersham, but with portions of single track.
  • No new electrification.
  • Stations at Watford High Street, Watford Vicarage Road, Cassiobridge, Croxley and then all stations to Amersham.
  • Four Class 710 trains per hour (tph), running on existing electrification and batteries between Watford Junction and Amersham.
  • A redeveloped Watford station keeps its four tph to London.

It might even be simpler.

 

 

December 15, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 6 Comments

Up And Down The Bakerloo Line

These pictures were taken of access on the Northern reaches of the Bakerloo Line.

Note.

  • I suspect that the Class 172 train, was getting ready to restart the service on the Gospel Oak to Goblin Line.
  • The step-down into a 1972 Stock train.
  • How a ramp is used with a Class 387 train.
  • Queen’s Park station has good step-across access.

Good design can surely make the access better.

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Platform Height Issues On The Watford DC Line

At Queen’s Park station, the Bakerloo and Watford DC Lines join as they go towards Watford Junction station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Queen’s Park station.

Lines Through Queen's Park Station

Lines Through Queen’s Park Station

Note how there is a cross-platform interchange between the two pairs of lines.

Northwards from Queen’s Park station, the platform height is a compromise, with a step down into an Underground 1972 Stock train and a step up into Class 378 train.

  • It is not level access by any means and very difficult for wheel-chair users or those pushing buggies or heavy wheeled cases.
  • I suspect that at some point it could even be illegal under disability regulations.
  • With a more intense service, loading and unloading trains may become a seriouscause of delay.

It is not just a would-like, but a must-have.

Queens Park station though, is totally level.

The current five-car Class 378 trains are 100 metres long, which compares with the 113 metre length of the 1972 Stock train.

One way to solve the platform height issue, would be to have a dual height platform with one end of the platform level access for the 1972 Stock and the other for the Class 378 train.

This would probably need a platform of the order of 215 metres.

But London Overground have ordered a set of four-car Class 710 trains for the Watford DC Line. These trains will be perhaps 80 metres long, as the type will be shared with the shorter platforms of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

This shorter length train should make the design of a dual-height platform acceptable to all users a lot easier.

Currently Off Peak services through Willesden Junction are as follows.

  • 3 trains per hour (tph) from Euston to Watford Junction – London Overground
  • 9 tph on the Bakerloo Line.

Some sources mention that there are ambitions to run 27 tph on the Bakerloo Line. So even if all the trains went through to Watford Junction, that would only mean 30 tph stopping at stations on the line.

Currently, 2 tph on the Bakerloo Line turnback at Queen’s Park station, so it looks like with good deual-height platform design, the current schedule of three tph on the Overground, stopping at South Hampstead and Kilburn High Road can be continued and supplemented with perhaps 18-20 tph on the Bakerloo Line North of Queen’s Park station.

Platforms could be about 180-200 metres long, with a height to fit the Bakerloo Line trains. At one end they would have an 80 metre section of platform to suit the Class 710 trains.

The Class 710 trains would obviously be wheelchair friendly, like the current Class 378 trains, but they would be designed to fit a typical station on the Watford DC and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.

If Class 378 trains were also providing services on the line, they would use their selective door opening to use the four-car raised section of the platform.

So, if the stations were to be given lifts to fit the new dual-height platforms, the service would have the following characteristics.

  • Totally step-free and level access at all stations for all trains.
  • South Hampstead and Kilburn High Road stations would keep their current service.
  • Most stations would have an increased service.
  • 27 tph through the central section of the Bakerloo Line would be enabled.

The biggest problem would be walking or pushing to the right end of the platform for your train, at stations served by both size of train.

 

 

 

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Will They Build The Bakerloo Line Extension?

I ask this question, as my trip yesterday to Redbridge station, got me thinking.

Wanstead, Redbridge and Gants Hill stations share several characteristics.

  • They are built under a main road.
  • They are architecturally significant, with two being designed by Charles Holden.

During the Second World War, they were part of an underground factory for Plessey.

It strikes me that as the route of the Bakerloo Line Extension, will for some way, lie under the Old Kent Road, with two stations currently called; Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2, that the section of line could be similar in nature to the Redbridge stretch of the Central Line.

This map shows a route.

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

I’m sure, that they’ll come up with better names, on their initial route to Lewisham, via New Cross Gate.

This Google Map, shows the route of the Old Kent Road from Bricklayers Arms to New Cross Gate station.

Bricklayers Arms To New Cross Gate

Bricklayers Arms To New Cross Gate

Bricklayers Arms is at the North-West corner of the map and New Cross Gate station is the South-East.

To my naive mind, the route would be one that an experienced Tunnelling Engineer would find attractive.

  • Elephant and Castle station is not far to the West of Bricklayers Arms.
  • The current Bakerloo Line station at Elephant and Castle points vaguely East, so could probably be connected to under Bricklayers Arms.
  • The tunnels could go under the Old Kent Road between Bricklayers Arms and New Cross Gate.
  • The tunnels could go under the railway between New Cross Gate and Lewisham stations.
  • The Extension could terminate in two deep-level platforms under the current Lewisham station.
  • The Old Kent Road is lined with supermarkets and large out-of-town stores like Asda, B & Q, Sainsburys and Toys R  Us.

But possibly above all, the extension could probably be built without causing too much disruption to existing infrastructure.

I’ll look at a few issues in a bit more detail.

Cut And Cover Or Bored Construction

Some European nations would build the extension using cut and cover methods, but then we’re the tunnel kings!

As there has also been improvement in the tunnel boring machines over the last twenty years, I would expect that a big hole will be dug somewhere and then the main tunnels will be bored out, as is being done on the Northern Line Extension.

The choice of the main tunneling site will depend on several factors.

  • Sufficient space.
  • Good road or rail access to get heavy equipment to the site.
  • Away from sensitive areas for noise.

Probably the most difficult problem, is getting the tunnel spoil out.

Although there are plenty of large sites along the Old Kent Road, look at this Google Map of New Cross Gate station.

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate Station

Note that next to the station is a large Sainsburys. The supermarket group has form in co-operating with large rail infrastructure projects, in that their Whitechapel superstore was virtually rebuilt to make space and access for Crossrail.

So could we see the same co-operation here?

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate station is the middle interchange on the Bakerloo Line Extension.

If as I speculated above, Sainsburys co-operate, I think we could see a rebuilt superstore growing into a more important shopping centre with good rail and tube access.

Consider.

  • Trains between London Bridge and Surrey call.
  • East London Line trains call.
  • Thameslink trains will soon be passing through at speed.
  • Around a dozen bus routes pass the station.
  • There would probably be space for housing above the development.

So could we see New Cross Gate station growing into a major transport interchange?

Yes! Especially, if Thameslink called at the station!

Lewisham Station

Lewisham station has been proposed as the terminus of the Extension.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in through the station.

Lines Through Lewisham

Lines Through Lewisham

Lewisham station has one of those layouts designed by Topsy.

Perhaps for now, the best solution would be to just add a couple of deep-level platforms to create a new terminus for the Bakerloo Line.

Consider.

  • Transport for London are planning at least 36 trains per hour (tph) between two underground two platform terminals on the Victoria Line.
  • Battersea Power Station station is being built like this.
  • I doubt the extension will need a depot South of Elephant and Castle station.

Lewisham station would be rebuilt to provide a high capacity interchange between all services at the station.

The Bakerloo Line Train Frequency

Wikipedia says this in the Current And Future Infrastructure section of the Bakerloo Line.

Transport for London proposes to upgrade the line eventually, but not until other deep-level lines have been dealt with. This will include new signalling and new trains, enabling a maximum frequency of 27 trains per hour. TfL currently expects these to be in place by 2033.

So when the Extension is built, it would seem logical that the line could be rebuilt for 27 tph.

The Northern Section Of The Bakerloo Line

If the Bakerloo Line is extended to the South, then it would seem logical that the Northern end should be improved to take the increased number of trains, which share a lot of the line to Watford Junction with London Overground.

Platform Height Issues

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

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

Onward From Lewisham

Most proposals for the extension of the Bakerloo Line, envisage the line taking over one or both of the terminals on the Hayes Line.

Wikipedia has a section on the current proposal.

This is said.

In December 2015, Transport for London announced that the Old Kent Road option was indeed its preferred route, and proposed taking the line as far as Lewisham, which it said could be running by 2030. Proposals for a further extension beyond Lewisham, such as to Hayes and Beckenham or Bromley, would now be considered in a separate phase in the more distant future.

But I do wonder, if extensions to Hayes and Beckenham Junction could be less necessary than they were a few years ago.

  • The construction of a Camberwell station on Thameslink is being considered.
  • Good design at New Cross Gate and Lewisham could improve connections for passengers on the Hayes Line.
  • The extra capacity across the South Bank and through London Bridge, must benefit passengers from the Hayes Line.
  • Elmers End station is getting an improved Tramlink service.

Bear in mind too, that Transport for London now have much better statistics from which to plan new connections and lines.

How would the following smaller projects on various wish-lists affect services South from Lewisham?

  • Better links connecting to Abbey Wood station in addition to Crossrail.
  • A decent connection between Catford and Catford Bridge stations.
  • Interchanges at Brockley and Penge on the East London Line.

Could they even kick extension of the Bakerloo Line in the Hayes direction into at least the 2040s?

The Issue Of Bakerloo And National Rail Trains Sharing Tracks

If the Bakerloo Line is to be extended past Lewisham on the Hayes Line to Hayes and Beckenham Junction, you have the problem of two types of train with different characteristics.

  • First Class is not available on the Underground.
  • Platform height can be matched to the train, to give level access.

Restricting the Bakerloo Line Extension to deep-level platforms at New Cross Gate and Lewisham, avoids the sharing issues, by keeping the two sizes of train separate.

  • Bakerloo Line trains terminate at Lewisham.
  • Good interchange must be provided between the Bakerloo Line and National Rail trains.

Obviously, by the correct design of the deep-level platforms at Lewisham, extension of the Bakerloo Line to somewhere suitable in the future is not ruled out.

 

The Northern And Bakerloo Line Extensions Are Similar

The similarity between the two extensions is very strong.

  • The Northern Extension adds two stations and the Bakerloo adds only four.
  • Both extensions are reasonably short.
  • Both extensions start at an existing station.
  • Both extensions could end in similar underground two-platform terminals.
  • Both extensions might be extended further.

So could the Bakerloo Line Extension be an ideal follow on project for the Northern Line Extension?

And after that, there are other follow-on projects, where provision for extension has been left.

  • Extending the Northern Line Extension from Battersea Power Station to Clapham Junction.
  • Extending the Bakerloo Line Extension to wherever is needed.
  • Extending the Jubilee Line from North Greenwich and Charing Cross.
  • Extending the DLR from Bank
  • Extending the Victoria Line to Herne Hill.

Could the relative success in getting such a good start on the Northern Line Extension, with hardly any controversy or disruption have influenced Transport for London to bring forward the Bakerloo Line Extension.

Perhaps with even the same team!

Conclusion

I feel that the Bakerloo Line extension will be built in a very similar way to the Northern Line Extension.

The more I dig, the more I like the plan for the extension and think it is right for project management reasons to bring it forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 11, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment