The Anonymous Widower

Will London Overground Procure Some Class 230 Trains?

Transport for London has a cash flow problem caused by various factors.

  • The reduction in grant from Central Government.
  • A fall in bus revenue caused by traffic congestion.
  • The freeze of fares by the Mayor.
  • The need to add services to stimulate much-needed housing.

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled Vivarail’s D-Trains Confirmed For Bedford-Bletchley.

As West Midlands Trains have now confirmed the order for the Class 230 trains, does this mean that buying Vivarail’s innovative refurbished London Underground D78 Stock, is now a less-risky train purchase?

Battery Or Diesel Class 230 Trains?

Would Transport for London buy a diesel or battery version of the Class 230 train?

Transport for London will have an exclusively electric fleet in a few months, when they have passed the Class 172 trains to West Midlands Trains.

I can’t believe they’d want to buy a small number of diesel trains, so I suspect they’ll go for battery versions.

Advantages Of Class 230 Trains For Transport for London

The trains must have advantages for Transport for London.

  • They are simple trains, built for remote servicing.
  • In some applications, their short length of just two cars must help, in that expensive platform extensions will not be needed.
  • I would suspect that one two-car train is designed to rescue another.
  • Capacity can be increased by adding a third-car.
  • Transport for London must also have a lot of expertise on how to get the most out of these trains.

Possible Routes

There are a handful of possible routes.

Greenford Branch Line

The Greenford Branch Line must be a prime candidate for running with two-car battery version of a Class 230 train.

Consider.

  • Using a four-car train, like a Class 710 train would require the platform at Greenford to be lengthened.
  • A Class 230 train would only need some form of simple electrification at Greenford and/or West Ealing stations.
  • Class 230 trains, would probably fit all platforms easily and give level access for wheelchairs and buggies.
  • Could London Overground’s third-rail engineers add suitable electrification to charge the batteries at Greenford station?
  • The branch is only four kilometres long.
  • The branch only has the two tph passenger service and the occasional freight train.
  • All trains use the new bay platform at West Ealing station.

One train could obviously work the current two trains per hour (tph) timetable, but could two trains and a possible spare run a four tph service on the branch?

The advantages of using Class 230 trains over a more conventional approach using perhaps Class 710 trains would include.

  • No electrification of the branch.
  • No platform lengthening and possibly little platform modification.
  • Only a short length of third-rail electrification would be needed to charge the batteries.
  • A four tph service might be possible.

The big advantage would be that it would be a low-cost project.

Romford To Upminster Line

The Romford To Upminster Line is currently run by a single four-car Class 315 train, which was to be replaced by a new Class 710 train.

In the March 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, whilst discussing nine more Class 71 trains for the London Overground, it is said, that a Class 315 train will be retained for the Romford To Upminster Line.

Why not procure another Class 230 train and use that to shuttle along the branch?

Consider.

  • The electrification can be removed from the line, to save maintenance costs.
  • A short length of third-rail electrification can be used to charge the batteries at Upminster station.
  • The trains could be stabled at Upminster Depot.

The line used to have a short passing loop between Romford and Emerson Park station, that could be long enough for a two-car Class 230 train. If this loop were to be reinstated without electrification, if might allow a four tph service.

It would be another low-cost project.

Bromley North Line

The Bromley North Line is currently served by Southeastern.

Reading Wikipedia for the line, I get the impression, that the line isn’t a major problem, but there are little annoyances.

  • Services are not frequent enough at some times of the day and week.
  • Connection to services to and from London aren’t always convenient.
  • It is not the easiest branch to provide with trains and drivers.

In addition, Southeastern would appear to be amenable to pass the line to Transport for London.

The track layout for the line has the following characteristics.

  • Double-track throughout.
  • There is a single platform at Grove Park station.
  • There are two platforms at Bromley North station.
  • The intermediate station; Sundridge Park has two platforms.

It looks like the line was designed so that two trains can operate simultaneously.

  • Two Class 230 trains could run a four tph service.
  • Stabling and servicing could be in Bromley North station.
  • Trains could be third-rail or battery.
  • A spare train could be held ready if it was felt needed.

It would be a self-contained low-cost solution.

Epping To Ongar

The Epping to Ongar service on the Central Line is no more, but would it be viable now with a Class 230 train?

Brentford Branch Line

The Brentford Branch Line has been proposed for reopening.

Class 230 trains powered by batteries would be ideal rolling stock.

The trains would be charged in Southall station.

West London Orbital

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Commitment To West London Orbital rail line.

This is said.

A press release distributed by the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This new line, delivered through TfL, the West London Alliance, boroughs and Network Rail, could potentially support the delivery of an additional 20,000 homes, as well as employment growth in west London.”

In this article on Ian Visits, this is said about the service on the proposed West London Orbital line.

Phase 1: 4 trains per hour from West Hampstead to Hounslow, calling at West Hampstead, Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth, Hounslow.

Phase 2: additional 4 trains per hour from Hendon to Kew Bridge, calling at Hendon, Brent Cross/Staples Corner, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Kew Bridge.

The track is all in place and with a new bay platform at Hounslow, Class 230 trains could work Phase 1 on batteries with ease.

The key to the intermediate stations is property development. At Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common, there is a lot of spare land around the Dudding Hill Line, where the trains will run. Developers will be told to build an appropriate amount of housing with a new station underneath.

The West London Orbital could be built to the following specification.

  • No full electrification.
  • Battery trains.
  • Platforms long enough for four-car Class 710 trains.
  • Bay platforms with possible charging at West Hampstead, Hendon, Hounslow and Key Bridge stations.
  • Four tph on both routes.

It lends itself to a very efficient way of building the railway.

  1. Build a platform on the freight line through West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  2. Build a bay platform that will accept a four-car train at Hounslow station.
  3. Establish a four tph shuttle service between West Hampstead  Thameslink and Hounslow stations calling at Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  4. Stations could be built at Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common, where there is a generous amount of brownfield land, with lots of space for housing above the tracks and platforms.

Note.

  1. Batteries would be charged between Acton Central and Hounslow using the existing third-rail electrification.
  2. About five miles of the route would not be electrified.
  3. Housing developments on top of a station are a property developers dream.

The service could be started using Class 230 trains, with the option to switch to four-car Class 710 trains, powered by batteries, when more capacity is needed and Bombardier have fully developed the battery Aventra.

Phase two of the project would need development of platforms at Hendon and Kew Bridge stations.

The beauty of the West London Orbital, is that the only costs for Transport for London are four new platforms, some track-work and a fleet of new trains.

Hopefully, the development of the intermediate stations would be down to property developers, as they will make a fortune out of the housing!

Conclusion

I think the answer to my original question posed in the title of this post is Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Along The Golden Mile

London used to have a Golden Mile in Brentford, which used to be a string of Art Deco buildings.

As the pictures show, a lot of them have gone and been replaced with modern buildings.

The Brentford Branch Line

You can clearly see where the Brentford Branch Line terminated to the right of Currys and the footbridge.

Hounslow Council is proposing to reopen the branch line and Wikipedia says this.

n April 2017, it was proposed that the line could reopen to allow a new link between Southall to Hounslow and possibly down to the planned Old Oak Common station with a new station in Brentford called Brentford Golden Mile. [5][6] The proposals suggest the service could be operated by Great Western Railway and could be open by 2020 with a new service from Southall to Hounslow and possible later to Old Oak Common.

 

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

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The old track of the railway by Currys PC World and the footbridge over the Great West Road.
  2. The Hounslow Loop Line going across the South-East corner of the map.
  3. I’m not sure that a connection between the two lines would be a practical proposition.

Surely though, there is a better way to connect the Golden Mile to Old Oak Common!

The Brentford Branch Line connects to Crossrail at Southall station.

If the connection was fully step-free, then the Brentford Branch Line would have an easy connection to all of Crossrail’s stations, including Old Oak Common and Heathrow.

 

 

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Travel, World | , , | Leave a comment

Could The Golden Mile In Houslow Get A Station?

A couple of words in Modern Railways led me to this article on the Hounslow Council web site, which is entitled Restoring Great West Rd to former golden glory. This is said.

He said: “We need a big improvement to the public transport links to realise our vision. We want to see a brand new station near Sky’s HQ by using an under-used freight line and create a new station – the Golden Mile’s very own station – and link it to Southall which will be on Crossrail.”

This Goggle Map shows the area.

Sky HQ And Possible Golden Mile Station

Sky HQ And Possible Golden Mile Station

Note the following.

  • Sky’s HQ is indicated by a red arrow.
  • The rail line behind the Sky HQ is the Brentford Branch Line.
  • The main road is the A4.
  • The other rail line running parallel to and south of the A4 is the Hounslow Loop Line.

There are certainly possibilities to create a station here.

At the other end the Brentford Branch Line used to terminate at Southall station.

Around Southall Station

Around Southall Station

Note.

  • The Brentford Branch Line curves into the Great Western Main Line to the East of Southall station.
  • Trains on the branch could terminate in a bay platform in Southall station.

I have deliberately taken the Google Map over a wide area, so that I bring in the Southall Gas Works site, which is currently used for long term valet parking at Heathrow.

The site is to be developed and I just wonder, if the businesses and houses could be served by an extension of services on the Brentford Branch.

Perhaps a tram could run from the Gas Works site, through Southall station and then down to the Golden Mile.

  • I have suggested a tram, as this would mean that extra stops would be more affordable.
  • If it needed to cross the Great Western Main Line, a single-track bridge for trams would be more affordable.
  • Trams could also go walkabout at either end of the core section.
  • If the line was just used as a shuttle between Southall and the Golden Mile, to get sufficient capacity with trains might be an expensive solution.
  • Perhaps a tram could sneak down to Syon Park and the River Thames.

I think that there are possibilities for a well-designed solution in the area to connect the Golden Mile to Southall station for Crossrail.

 

January 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | 3 Comments