The Anonymous Widower

London Overground’s Barking Riverside Station To Open This Summer

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

This is the first paragraph.

Transport for London (TfL) says that it is bringing forward the launch of London Overground services on the extension to Barking Riverside, following good progress being made in the completion of the station commissioning and testing stages.

Are railway lines like buses? You wait years for one to come along and then several turn up in a rush.

This railway line has been built mainly to serve the new housing at Barking Riverside, but as I showed in A Cruise To Barking – 13th May 2022, the route will have leisure possibilities as well.

I also feel, that if this 4.5 km extension of the Gospel Oak and Barking Line is a success, I can see other extensions of Metros and local trams and railways being created or restored, as this extension will show the economics.

I have some further thoughts.

Rethinking Of c2c Services In South Essex

It could even result in a rethinking of c2c services in South Essex.

Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking station will host the following services.

  • 2 tph (trains per hour)  – Fenchurch Street and Grays
  • 4 tph – Barking Riverside and Gospel Oak

There will certainly be scope for ducking and diving at this station.

A same-platform interchange will give an easy route between Fenchurch Street and Barking Riverside.

The next station on the Gospel Oak and Barking Line is Woodgrange Park, which has an out-of-station interchange with the Elizabeth Line at Manor Park station.

The Gospel Oak and Barking Line offers connections all across North London.

Grays station can probably turn four tph.

There could be a new Beam Park station to serve more housing.

I can certainly see the Fenchurch Street and Grays service increased to four tph, if lots of housing is built in South Essex. Provided that the trains can be squeezed in to the timetable.

A Ferry Across The Thames At Barking

There have been proposals to extend the line from Barking Riverside station across the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood station.

But a tunnel or a bridge, as I prefer, would be massively expensive and take years to plan, finance and build.

This Google Map shows the Thames at Barking.

Note.

  1. Barking Riverside station under construction in the North-West corner of the map, with the Thames Clipper terminal on the North bank of the river.
  2. The sprawling Thamesmead Estate on the South bank of the river.
  3.  In the South-East corner of the map there is the Grade 1 Listed Crossness pumping station, which I wrote about in Open House – Crossness.

An hourly ferry across the river between Barking and Crossness with an intermediate stop at Thamesmead might be the most affordable solution to crossing the river.

 

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Cruise To Barking – 13th May 2022

I noticed earlier in the week, that the Thames Clippers now go all the way to Barking Riverside. So I went today.

Note.

  1. I boarded the boat at the London Bridge City Pier.
  2. The easiest way to get to this pier is to get a 21, 43 or 141 bus from Moorgate or Bank station. to London Bridge and walk along the South Bank of the river for perhaps a hundred metres. Waking from London Bridge station is a bit tricky.
  3. I alighted at Barking Riverside Pier, which will be a short walk to the new Barking Riverside station.

The route is a mixture of historic and modern London and places passed include.

  • HMS Belfast
  • The Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge
  • Canary Wharf
  • Cutty Sark
  • The Royal Naval College, Greenwich
  • The O2
  • The Thames Barrier
  • Wooolwich Arsenal

Many have piers for the Thames Clipper.

The Royal Iris

These pictures show what is left of the former Mersey Ferry, the MV Royal Iris, which is rusting in the River at Woolwich.

I remember the ferry, when it was resplendent in green and yellow in the 1960s. I also remember going on one evening party cruise up and down the Mersey.

It’s rather a sad end for ship that has many happy memories for many.

According to Wikipedia, there is a campaign to return the iconic ferry to Liverpool.

London’s CrossFerry

The Thames Clippers keep on going and now at many times, you can go all the way between Barking Riverside and Putney.

It’s not that slow either and in the open waters East of Tower Bridge, my phone was saying that the ferry was cruising at 40 mph.

If it has one problem, it is that the Thames Clippers don’t have an all-day timetable, that is simple.

If it is going to be a pseudo-train line across London, then there needs to be a two boat per hour service across the city. This will be needed more as more housing is built at Barking Riverside.

I know Barking Riverside will be getting the Overground in the Autumn, but unlike the Thames Clippers, that serve Canary Wharf, the City and Westminster, the Overground will serve a swathe of housing, rather than employment, across North London.

May 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Following The Barking Riverside Extension – 20th January 2022

I took this route at Barking Riverside.

  • Took a train from from Barking station to Dagenham Dock station.
  • Took an EL3 bus to Stern Close.
  • Walked to Barking Riverside station.
  • Took an EL1 bus to Ilford station.

These are the pictures I took.

It seems to be substantially finished and an Autumn 2022 opening should be possible.

January 21, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Barking Riverside Extension On Track For Autumn 2022 Opening

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Magazine.

The project is about nine months late mainly due to the Covids.

The on-line version of the doesn’t mention anything about the extra trains that will need to be delivered, so let’s hope they are on time.

November 15, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

The New And Unusual Way Commuters Will Be Able To Get To Canary Wharf And Central London

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

The image shows a Thames Clipper at Greenwich Pier.

A new pier for Thames Clippers is to be built at Barking Riverside, close to the new Barking Riverside station.

This will create a whole series of new routes to the East of Canary Wharf, Greenwich and the Thames Barrier.

Conclusion

I think the new pier will also be good for tourists, just as much as commuters.

I shall certainly use it to show visitors, the historic sites of the Thames.

It’s also good to see the Thames Clippers getting integrated with London’s more traditional public transport.

 

July 31, 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

3,000 Homes To Be Built Next To Dagenham Dock Railway Station

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

A sleepy railway station in East London is due to get a lot busier as a large housing development is to be built next to it.

The former Dagenham Stamping Plant car works site has been cleared, and has now been bought by Peabody housing association for development. The initial phase will see 1,550 affordable homes built, supported by an £80 million grant from the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Programme.

There is a lot of housing under construction the area and the c2c lines and the London Overground are being expanded to cope.

But there is still only two trains per hour (tph) through Dagenham Dock and Beam Park, as opposed to the four tph, that will run to Barking Riverside.

The simple solution would be to improve the Fenchurch Street and Grays service.

  • Currently it is two tph.
  • The service calls at Limehouse, West Ham, Barking, Dagenham Dock, Rainham and Purfleet.
  • Renwick Road and Beam Park will be added to this service, when and if, they are built.

It needs to have the same frequency as Gospel Oak to Barking which is four tph.

So how could this frequency increase be provided?

For a start, the bay platform at Grays could probably handle four tph with improvement and the route possibly with some signalling improvements could probably cope.

The bay platform at Grays station would probably need lengthening.

It’s just where do you terminate the trains at the Western end?

Fenchurch Street is probably at capacity, as it handles 8 tph in the Off Peak.

  • 4 tph – Shoeburyness
  • 2 tph – Southend Central
  • 2 tph – Grays

But the station handles up to 20 tph in the Peak.

Could it be that with the installation of full digital ERTMS signalling on this route, that four tph between Fenchurch Street and Grays could run all day?

A Possible Crossrail Branch

Crossrail is a herd of testosterone-loaded elephants in the room, that have been locked up by some very poor decision making from the Mayor and Transport for London.

  • If ERTMS signalling is one of the keys to unlocking capacity on the tunnels for Crossrail and Thameslink, could its application to c2c services open up possibilities for serious new services in East London.
  • As I said, ERTMS signaling could open up the capacity into Fenchurch Street, but would it also allow Grays to be a terminal for Crossrail?

This map from cartometro.com shows Forest Gate Junction, where the Gospel Oak to Barking Line connects to the lines into Stratford and Liverpool Street.

Note.

  1. The orange tracks are the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBLin).
  2. Gospel Oak is to the North West and Barking is to the South East.
  3. The mauve-blue tracks are Crossrail, through Manor Park and Forest Gate stations.
  4. The black track are the fast lines into Liverpool Street station.
  5. Forest Gate Junction in the middle is regularly used by c2c trains accessing Liverpool Street, when there are engineering works.

I believe that with ERTMS signalling four or possibly six Crossrail tph could travel between Stratford and Barking stations via Maryland, Forest Gate and Woodgrange Park stations.

This second map from cartometro.com shows the lines through Barking station.

Note.

  1. Barking station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The orange platform on the North side of Barking station is Platform 1, which is the current terminal of the GOBLin.
  3. After the Goblin is extended to Barking Riverside, the GOBLin services will share Platforms 7 and 8 with the Fenchurch Street to Grays services.
  4. Platforms 7 and 8 are on the South side of the station and they are connect to the GOBLin lines by a flyover.
  5. To the East of the station, the GOBLin route is shown in orange.
  6. The GOBLin turns South to Barking Riverside station, which is by the Thames.

I suspect that there is capacity for more trains.

  • There will only be six tph through Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking station.
  • There will be four tph over the flyover and through Woodgrange Park station.

I believe that terminating four Crossrail tph at Grays could be an interesting possibility.

 

March 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Tram-Trains Connect Barking, Barking Riverside, Thamesmead And Abbey Wood?

This is an old idea, I wrote about in An Open Letter To London Mayor Candidates About East London River Crossings.

This is what I said.

TfL has talked about a tunnel extending the GOBLin from Barking Riverside to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

After a visit to Karlsruhe specifically to see their tram-trains, I now believe that these could be the way to create a universe-class connection across the Thames. Tram-trains like those in Karlsruhe, which are soon to be trialled between Sheffield and Rotherham, could run on the GOBLin and then perhaps do a little loop at Barking Riverside before returning to Gospel Oak.

Note that we’re not talking untried technology here as you can see the tram-trains running on the streets and railway tracks of several German cities. Undoubtedly, if the Germans were extending the GOBlin, they would use tram-trains, as they could serve build several stops with the money needed to build Barking Riverside station. And all the stops, like those on the London Tramlink would be fully step-free.

The loop in Barking Riverside, could extend across the river.

I think that a tunnel under the Thames would be a case of hiding your biggest light under an enormous bushel.

So why not create a high bridge to allow the biggest ships underneath, with a tram track or two, a cycle path and a walking route?

It would have some of the best views in London. Forget the Garden Bridge! This would create a transport link, that those living on both sides of the river could use and enjoy every day to get to work or for leisure reasons. Tourists would come to view London, as they do on large entry bridges in cities like New York and Lisbon.

Effectively, you have a conventional tram connecting Barking, Barking Riverside, Thamesmead and Abbey Wood. At Barking and Abbey Wood, the tram-trains become trains and could go to Gospel Oak and perhaps Merindian Water, Romford, Upminster or Tilbury in the North and perhaps Woolwich, Lewisham, Dartford or Bluewater in the South.

Everything you would need to create such a link is tried and tested technology or designs that have been implemented in either the UK or Germany over the last few years.

Tram-trains have one big advantage over trains and that is that they can take much tighter curves.

This would enable intricate routes to serve large areas of Thamesmead.

A simple route between Barking and Abbey Wood stations could serve a lot of people and might even call at the iconic Crossness

November 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Barking To Grays And Barking To Barking Riverside Train Services

c2c’s Fenchurch Street And Grays Service

This service runs at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

  • Each journey takes about 34-36 minutes each way.
  • If ten minutes is allowed at each end, that gives a ninety minute round trip.
  • The service will need three trains.

A four tph service would need.

  • Six trains.
  • The ability to handle  extra two tph at Fenchurch Street station and in the bay platform at Grays station.

Grays station can probably handle the extra trains, but Fenchurch Street station may need extra capacity.

London Overground’s Gospel Oak And Barking Riverside Service

This service runs at a frequency of four tph.

Changing At Barking Station

Both service will use.

  • Platform 7 At Barking Station When Running Eastbound
  • Platform 8 At Barking Station When Running Westbound

Both platforms will have to handle six tph.

Would It Be Better For Changing If Both Services Were Four tph?

This would mean.

  • Passengers would never wait more than fifteen minutes to their desired destination.
  • The combined frequency would be eight tph or a train every seven-and-a half minute.
  • There would be a lot of scope for optimising the timetable for the convenience of passengers.

As an example, consider a passenger going from Barking Riverside to Fenchurch Street.

If trains were equally-spaced at Barking station, passengers would wait a maximum of seven-and-a-half minutes, if trains were on time.

On balance, if both services were four tph would be better.

Conclusion

If c2c and London Overground co-operate, customers will benefit.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Design Of Barking Riverside Station

The information is coming together about the new Barking Riverside station.

Wikipedia

The Wikipedia entry at the moment is not very information, but it does say that the station has two platforms.

Location

This map from Transport for London, shows the location of the station.

The location of Barking Riverside station is at the end of the branch line that comes South from the Barking to Tilbury Line.

As it is a long term ambition of Transport for London to extend the railway under the River to Abbey Wood station, the North-South orientation of the station is probably important.

carto.metro.free.fr

This map from carto.metro.free.fr gives the layout of Barking Riverside station and the tracks leading to it.

It shows two tracks leading to a two-platform station, with a crossover to allow both platforms to be used.

The Architect’s Visualisations

These are available on this page on the Moxon Architect’s web site.

This is the first visualisation on the site.

It shows the end view of the station and as no railway lines are visible, I assume that it is looking North, so the River Thames is behind the viewer and Renwick Road is on the left.

This is the second visualisation.

It shows the station looking from the East towards Renwick Road. Note the bus in both images.

As at Hackney Wick station, there is an underpass, so the station is not a barrier to pedestrians.

The seventh visualisation shows the station from above.

It only shows one platform in the image, as do other visualisations.

Is It A Single Platform Station?

Is this the way the station will be built or is it just to make the visualisation simpler?

A single platform station should be able to handle six trains per hour (tph).

  • This year, this frequency will be implemented between single platforms at Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations on the Overground.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line will have a maximum frequency of five tph in the Peak.
  • The infrastructure and the trains will all be brand new and use the best technology.

So it looks like a single platform station should be able to handle the planned number of trains for the simple  extension to Barking Riverside station.

Will There Be Electrification?

This is the fifth visualisation.

It clearly shows gantries for overhead wires.

But it appears that only one platform is there.

I have thought for some time, that the Barking Riverside Extension could be built without electrification and battery/electric trains could be used.

I laid out my views in Don’t Mention Electrification!.

  • All Aventras are wired for on-board electrical storage.
  • The Barking Riverside Extension is only 1.5 km long.
  • The area of the extension has some very large electricity pylons, that the extension has to dodge through.
  • If the line is extended under the Thames, it would be cheaper to build a tunnel for third rail, as it will connect to third-rail lines on the South Bank.
  • There must be substantial savings by not putting up overhead wires.
  • A safer and more reliable railway in extreme weather.

I also repeated my views in an article in Rail Magazine, which I described in I’ve Been Published In Rail Magazine.

No-one has told me that they disagree with my views.

So why are electrification gantries shown?

  • Transport for London or Network Rail don’t believe that battery/electric trains are possible. This is unlikely, as battery/electric trains have been successfully demonstrated in the UK and elsewhere, and ordered for Wales and Liverpool.
  • Obviously, there has to be a backstop if conventional electric trains have to be used. So, provision is being made to electrify the extension.
  • The single platform is electrified, so that a battery/electric train can be fully-charged before it returns towards Barking and Gospel Oak.

If before the station is built, it is decided that electrification is not needed, the overhead wires can be omitted from the construction phase.

I do feel though, we will know more about the performance and reliability of battery/electric trains in a few years, and we will alter the designs of overhead electrification accordingly.

Extending Across The River

The station has been built to enable extension to Abbey Wood station on the other side of the Thames.

There are probably several designs that would fit with the current station.

The simplest is probably to install a second platform and connect both to a tunnel under the river or a bridge over the river.

This would have several disadvantages.

  • A lot of the station would need to be demolished.
  • The train service to Barking Riverside station might have to be stopped for several months, during construction.
  • All services would have to cross the river.

A better option is probably to install the second platform on a track, that goes under the river in a tunnel.

  • The single tunnel portal would require less land take, as it could be very close to Barking Riverside station.
  • The tunnel under the river could be a mix of single or double track, to create the most affordable tunnel.
  • The current single platform would become a bay platform.
  • During construction, the service to Barking Riverside station would be able to continue as normal.
  • The bay platform could be used for service recovery in times of disruption.

I particular like the idea of a loop railway on the South Bank of the Thames with perhaps four or five stations. Alternatively, it could be a tram-train on the surface.

Conclusion

It looks like the design of Barking Riverside station, is one that will cater for all eventualities.

I am looking forward to taking the first train to the station.

 

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment