The Anonymous Widower

A First Trip To Barking Riverside Station

I took a first trip to Barking Riverside station this morning and took these pictures.

I have a few thoughts and observations.

A Map Of The Barking Riverside Branch

This Google Map shows the Barking Riverside Branch.

Note.

  1. In South-West corner of the map, in the river marked by a blue dot is the Barking Riverside pier for the Thames Clippers.
  2. In A Cruise To Barking – 13th May 2022, I wrote about a trip to Barking Riverside pier from London Bridge pier.
  3. The blue dot above the pier marks Barking Riverside station.

The question mark-shaped Barking Riverside Branch connects Barking Riverside and Barking stations.

The Concrete Viaduct

Much of the branch is a concrete viaduct, which is shown from the ground in these pictures taken on January 20th 2022.

These pictures were originally published in Following The Barking Riverside Extension – 20th January 2022, where I said this.

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

I don’t think anybody is bothering about a few months early.

It does seem that engineers are getting better at designing and building these massive structures.

In the last few years I have followed the construction of these structures.

They are impressive engineering projects and I expect that High Speed Two will add a few more to this list.

Why Is There A Need For Two Platforms?

It is generally accepted, that a single-platform at the end of a double-track railway can handle a frequency of six trains per hour (tph).

But plans to extend the railway under or over the Thames to Abbey Wood and Thamesmead, would need two platforms at Barking Riverside station.

Passenger Access At Barking Riverside Station

This picture shows the train-to-platform access at Barking Riverside station.

It is certainly is up there with some of the best on the Overground.

Street-to-platform access is unusual, in that there are two sets of stairs to navigate between platform and street, which is similar to other stations on the Overground.

But to compensate for the climb and give a reliable and easier alternative, two lifts have been installed.

Long Platforms

The platforms seem overly long for the four-car Class 710 trains, which are only eighty-three metres long.

As extending platforms is often a difficult and disruptive exercise, have the platforms been designed to the longest length that Transport for London feel may be needed?

On a second visit to the station, I took these pictures of the ends of the platforms.

Note.

  1. Platform 2 is the Western platform.
  2. Platform 1 is the Eastern platform.
  3. Trains can reverse in either.

I estimate that each platform could easily handle a four-and-a-half car train.

That seems a strange length of train.

I spent some time looking at the Southern end of the station and I came to the conclusion that the station has been designed so it can be extended towards the river.

I feel the station has been designed so that it can handle nine-car trains, with passenger access to the platforms in the middle.

If the station extension were to be built as a mirror image of the existing station, would this mean the following?

  • The extension has its own set of stairs.
  • But as the lifts, would be in the dividing wall between the two halves of the station would the current lifts be fitted with doors on both sides? Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture inside the lifts.

Barking Riverside station appears to be a well-designed station of two halves.

A High-Capacity Station

Consider.

  • The station has two platforms, which could be used as one platform in each direction.
  • Each platform could handle a train every ten minutes giving a capacity of six tph in each direction.
  • Nine-car trains could possibly be run on the route.
  • The station has good passenger access, with wide stairs and two lifts.

I appears, that Barking Riverside has been designed as a high-capacity station.

London’s Only Nine-Car Trains

The only nine-car trains in London are the Class 345 trains used by the Elizabeth Line.

This map from Cartometro shows where the Gospel Oak and Barking Line crosses over the Great Eastern Main and Elizabeth Lines.

Note.

  1. Wanstead Park and Woodgrange Park stations are on the Gospel Oak and Barking Line, which is shown in orange.
  2. Woodgrange Park station could be adapted to take the Class 345 trains.
  3. Forest Gate and Manor Park stations are on the Elizabeth Line, which is shown in purple.

Forest Gate and Woodgrange Park junctions allow trains to run between Liverpool Street and Barking using the route that c2c trains sometimes take at weekends.

I took this picture today, which shows one of c2c’s new Class 720 trains in Platform 8 at Barking station.

Note.

  1. These trains are five-car trains.
  2. Was it running as a five- or ten-car formation? I will have to check.
  3. But I do know that Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking stations can take eight-car trains with ease.
  4. Were c2c testing that the Fenchurch Street and Grays service could be run by Class 720 trains, which are siblings of the Elizabeth Line’s Class 345 trains?

It does look to me that the design of the tracks between Woodgrange Park and Barking Riverside will allow the following.

  • Nine-car Class 345 trains to run between the Elizabeth Line at Forest Gate junction and Grays station.
  • Nine-car Class 345 trains to run between the Elizabeth Line at Forest Gate junction and Barking Riverside station, if the terminal station had extended platforms.

I am certain that the Barking Riverside Branch has been designed, with future extension in mind.

Adding a Grays service to the Elizabeth Line could give advantages.

  • Woodgrange Park, Barking, Dagenham Dock, Rainham, Purfleet and Grays would get a direct connection to the Elizabeth Line.
  • The proposed Renwick Road and Beam Park stations would be served by the Elizabeth Line.
  • Barking Riverside would be connected to the Elizabeth Line with a change at Barking.
  • Grays could get four tph service to London, with two tph on c2c to Fenchurch Street and two tph on the Elizabeth Line.

As Grays has other services to London via Ockenden, it might be better to run four Elizabeth Line tph to Grays.

I suspect that to run nine-car trains to Barking Riverside would need the route to be extended under the Thames.

I can see two possible tunnelled solutions and one based on a bridge.

  1. A double track tunnel to Abbey Wood to link up with the Elizabeth and North Kent Lines.
  2. A single track tunnel running in a loop to perhaps serve Crossness, East Thamesmead, Abbey Wood and West Thamesmead.
  3. A high bridge over the Thames, that gave spectacular views of London.

I can see option two being the easiest to build and the most affordable.

 

 

Interchange At Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking Station

I have been taking pictures of the Barking Riverside Branch since 2014, when I wrote Is The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Going To Be Extended?.

My usual route has been as follows.

  • 141 bus to Harringay Green Lanes station.
  • Gospel Oak to Barking Line to Barking.
  • Change to c2c for Dagenham Dock.
  • Bus to Barking Riverside.
  • Bus from Barking Riverside to Barking station to go home.

But from today, services have been rearranged in Barking station, so that Platforms 7 and 8 handle the following services.

  • London Overground – 4 tph to Barking Riverside
  • London Overground – 4 tph to Gospel Oak
  • c2c – 2 tph to Fenchurch Street
  • c2c – 2 tph to Grays

So for my trip between Harringay Green Lanes and Dagenham Dock, I would go to Platform 7/8 at Barking station and wait for the first train to Dagenham Dock station.

  • It would be a totally step-free interchange.
  • There is a coffee stall on the platform.

The only improvement that could be made would be to increase the frequency of the c2c service to 4 tph to match the Overground service. I suspect that could be arranged with digital signalling in the area.

There could even be the possibility of running two tph into Liverpool Street, as c2c trains do on Sundays.

Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking Station could be developed into an extremely-useful mini hub.

Is Barking Station Going Step-Free?

Barking station is being refurbished and Wikipedia says this about the works.

Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council has developed a Barking Station Masterplan for the redevelopment of the station, including the removal of retail units from the station concourse, expansion of ticket barriers, additional Oyster card machines, and new building work to provide replacement retail and to increase natural light within the station. In 2009, the station was identified as one of the ten worst category B interchange stations for mystery shopper assessment of fabric and environment, and it was planned to receive a share of £50m funding for improvements.

I would hope step-free access would be included. The Barking Station Masterplan does say this.

Reinvigorate Barking Station so it can cope with the increasing demands which will be
placed on it, by restoring the station’s open feel and celebrating its architecture. Provide
step free access to all platforms and improve the quality of interchange between
different modes of transport. Significantly increase the ease with which pedestrians and
cyclists can use and navigate the area.

That would certainly be an improvement.

Barking Riverside And The District And Hammersmith & City Lines

The improvements at Barking station are probably the key to this. These will surely enable a quick er interchange, with lifts for those that need them.

Barking Riverside And The Lizzie Line

At present the easiest way is take either the District or Hammersmith & City Lines between Barking  and Whitechapel stations.

An alternative is to take the Gospel Oak and Barking Line to Wanstead Park station and then walk to Forest Gate station, which is a valid out-of-station interchange.

These pictures show the out-of-station interchange between Wanstead Park and Forest Gate stations.

When the Lizzie Line is fully connected, this will probably be the best way, if you’re not carrying a heavy bag, in a wheelchair or pushing a buggy.

Expect to see full step-free access at Wanstead Park station in the next few years.

Underneath The Power Lines At Barking Riverside

When the train is going to Barking Riverside station, if you look out to the right (West), you will see massive power lines leading to the Barking substation.

I have lived a mile or so from powerlines in the past and I don’t think, they are an asset to the area, when it comes to selling houses.

July 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bletchley Viaduct – 15th March 2022

The Bletchley Viaduct is now complete and the extra platforms of Bletchley station are under construction.

This visualisation from East West Rail shows an idea for the new station.

It would appear the visualisation was taken from somewhere near the roundabout on the East side of the viaduct.

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

‘Box Structure’ Flyover Saves £70m And Six Months For East West Rail

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on Network Rail.

This is the first paragraph.

Engineers have saved £70m of taxpayers’ money by using creative new methods to build a railway flyover as part of the East West Rail project.

This Network Rail picture shows how the new flyover rests on a concrete box, that spans the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

Note that the press release contains a video that explains how the flyover was replaced and why the method of construction saved all the money and time.

The main cost savings came about because of the following.

  • Construction could go on above the WCML without having to stop the trains.
  • Components for the flyover were made in a factory, with subsequent cost reductions and quality increases.

Anybody, who’s ever poured a concrete slab in typical British weather will understand the second point.

According to the press release, the method of construction gives a hundred and twenty year life span for the structure.

For comparison, this 3D Google Map visualisation shows the Hitchin flyover, which was opened in 2013.

Note the columns supporting the single-track railway.

If this was being built today, would a box be used as at Bletchley?

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

VolkerFitzpatrick To Construct Bletchley High Level Station

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

Three visualisations and the words confirm a lot of the features of the station.

  • Six low-level platforms on the West Coast Main Line and two high-level platforms on the East-West Railway.
  • Full step-free access.
  • The two new high-level platforms will be numbered 7 and 8 and be connected by an underpass.
  • A new entrance on the Eastern side of the station.

From the visualisations, it doesn’t look to be a cheap and nasty design.

July 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 8 Comments

Bletchley Viaduct – 5th July 2021

I took these pictures of the new Bletchley viaduct today,

Note that there is now a bridge over the four tracks of the West Coast Main Line.

July 5, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

UK’s Largest Mobile Crane Swings Into Action In Barking

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Barking And Dagenham Post.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The largest mobile crane in the country has swung into action to help extend a railway line.

The Gottwald AK680 – which has the capacity to lift 1,200 tonnes – installed steel beams for the remaining viaduct spans as part of the Barking Riverside extension (BRE) project.

This crane certainly seems to get about.

I think this picture shows the same crane in action at Bletchley in August. It was certainly claimed as the UK’s largest mobile crane.

Perhaps we need a rail-mounted version!

I always remember, a North Sea Oil project manager telling me, that as cranes got large it eased and speeded up construction.

This article on Vertikal gives more details of the crane in action.

March 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Bletchley Viaduct – 1st September 2020

Interestingly-shaped stumps are starting to appear.

I think this will be my last visit, until they start to erect the new viaduct.

September 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Bletchley Viaduct – 24th August 2020

The Bletchley Viaduct is falling down, as these pictures show.

Considering, that Lord Beeching said that the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge shouldn’t be closed, I wonder how much money has been wasted over the years, by questionable engineering and Government decisions on this viaduct.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

A Walk Around Bletchley Viaduct – 16th June 2020

Today, I donned my mask and took a train to Bletchley station, where I took a walk around the Bletchley Viaduct.

Note.

  1. How the section of the viaduct over the West Coast Main Line has been removed.
  2. The viaduct seems to be mainly flat sections, with three arches, where it crossed the road.

Judging by the noise of concrete being attacked by pneumatic drills, it would appear to be a tough piece of concrete to partially demolish. This could be a good thing, as a station guy told me. that the latest plan was to build the new viaduct and the two platforms on the foundations of the old viaduct.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. Bletchley station with its six platforms.
  2. The viaduct running diagonally across the West Coast Main Line and then past the East side of the station.

This visualisation from East West Rail shows an idea for the new station.

It would appear the visualisation was taken from somewhere near the roundabout on the East side of the viaduct.

I took this picture from the zebra crossing outside the pub, by the roundabout.

It looks to me, that the retaining wall on the other side of the crossing will be removed and the station entrance will go somewhere along the straight part of the viaduct.

  • It could be about the place where a heavy digger or crane is working.
  • An entrance here, would give access to the bus station and the Brunel Shopping Centre on the other side of the roundabout.
  • If you look at the wider maps of the area, it can be seen that the stadium, where Milton Keynes Dons play their home matches is not that far away. So the new entrance, will ease getting to one of the least accessible football grounds in the country.

This Google Map shows an enlargement of the roundabout and the surrounding area.

Note.

  1. The Bus Station in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The Brunel Shopping Centre in the South East corner of the map.
  3. The roundabout, where I took the picture on the zebra crossing, of the retaining wall.
  4. The step-free footbridge in Bletchley station can be clearly seen

It would appear, that there is space behind the retaining wall to build the station entrance alongside the viaduct and link it to the existing footbridge to give access to the rest of the station.

It appears that Network Rail are using the reinstatement of the East West Railway, as an opportunity to sort out important transport needs in Bletchley.

 

June 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments