The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Faster Trains On Thameslink

The Class 700 trains used by Thameslink only have an operating speed of 100 mph.

I do wonder, if that is a fast enough operating speed for all Thameslink routes.

Sharing The Midland Main Line With 125 mph Trains

A couple of years ago, I travelled back into St. Pancras with a group of East Midlands drivers in a Class 222 train.

They told me several things about the route including that the bridge at the South of Leicester station would be difficult to electrify, as it was low and the track couldn’t be lowered as one of Leicester’s main sewers was under the tracks at the bridge. Perhaps, this is one place, where discontinuous electrification could be used on the Midland Main Line.

They also told me, that sometimes the Thameslink trains were a nuisance, as because of their 100 mph operating speed, the 125 mph Class 222 trains had to slow to 100 mph.

Upgrading Of The Midland Main Line South Of Bedford

The electrification of the Midland Main Line South of Bedford is being updated, so that it is suitable for 125 mph running.

An Analysis Of Services On The Midland Main Line South Of Bedford

The current Class 222 trains are capable of 125 mph and will be replaced by Class 810 trains capable of the same speed on both diesel and electricity.

Currently, a Class 222 train is capable of doing the following on a typical non-stop run between St. Pancras and Leicester.

  • Covering the 30 miles between St. Albans and Bedford in 17 minutes at an average speed of 106 mph.
  • Covering the 50.3 miles between Bedford and Leicester in 30 minutes at an average speed of 100.6 mph.
  • Maintaining 125 mph for long stretches of the route, once the trains is North of London commuter traffic at St. Albans

I can estimate the timings on the 79.2 miles between Leicester and St. Albans, by assuming the train runs at a constant speed.

  • 100 mph – 47.5 minutes
  • 110 mph – 43.2 minutes
  • 125 mph – 38 minutes
  • 140 mph – 34 minutes

Note.

  1. I have done the calculation for 140 mph, as that is the maximum operating speed of the Class 810 train with full in-cab digital signalling.
  2. Trains have been running at 125 mph for a couple of decades on the Midland Main Line.
  3. To get a St. Pancras and Leicester time add another 14 minutes, which is the current time between St. Pancras and St. Albans of a Class 222 train.
  4. Some Off Peak trains are timed at 62-63 minutes between St. Pancras and Leicester.
  5. A time of under an hour between St. Pancras and Leicester might be possible and the Marketing Department would like it.
  6. As Thameslink trains between Bedford and St. Albans stop regularly, they are on the slow lines of the four-track railway, to the North of St. Albans.
  7. South of St. Albans, Thameslink trains often run on the fast lines.

I can expect that East Midlands Railway will want to be running their new Class 810 trains as far as far South as they can at 125 mph, to speed up their services. When the signalling allows it, they’ll want to run at 140 mph.

So they won’t want to see Thameslink’s slow trains on the fast lines.

  • But if you look at the Thameslink trains that do run on the fast lines between St. Albans and St. Pancras, they appear to be the four trains per hour (tph) that run to and from Bedford.
  • Of these trains, two tph terminate at Brighton and two tph terminate at Gatwick Airport.
  • The average speed of a Class 222 train between St. Albans and St. Pancras assuming 14 minutes for the 19.7 miles is 84.4 mph.

So it looks to me that a 100 mph Thameslink train could be able to get away without slowing the East Midland Railway expresses.

But then that is not surprising, as for many years, the Class 222 trains worked happily with 100 mph Class 319 trains.

Is There Scope For Extra And Faster Services Into St. Pancras?

I have only done a simple calculation, but I do wonder if there is scope for the following.

  • Increasing the frequency of trains for both Thameslink and East Midlands Railway.
  • Saving a few minutes on East Midlands Railway services.

Consider.

  • The new Class 810 electric trains will probably have better acceleration and deceleration than the current Class 222 diesel trains, when working using electric power.
  • East Midlands Railway is introducing Class 360 trains that were built as 100 mph trains by Siemens, who are now upgrading them to 110 mph trains.
  • Can Siemens do the same for the Class 700 trains and create a sub-fleet capable of 110 mph running?
  • All trains will be running under full in-cab digital signalling with a large degree of automatic train control.

I feel that if the Class 700 trains had the extra speed, they would make the planning of services South of St. Albans easier and allow the Class 810 trains to both run faster and provide more services.

Sharing The East Coast Main Line With 125 mph Trains

The following Thameslink services run up the East Coast Main Line past Stevenage.

  • Cambridge And Brighton – Two tph – Stops at Royston, Ashwell and Morden (1 tph), Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Stevenage, Finsbury Park, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Balcombe, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill
  • Cambridge and Kings Cross – Two tph – Stops at Foxton, Shepreth, Meldreth, Royston, Ashwell and Morden, Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Stevenage, Knebworth, Welwyn North, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Potters Bar and Finsbury Park
  • Peterborough and Horsham – Two tph – Stops at Huntingdon, St Neots, Sandy, Biggleswade, Arlesey, Hitchin, Stevenage, Finsbury Park, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Horley, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Crawley, Ifield, Faygate (limited) and Littlehaven

Note.

  1. Services are generally run by Class 700 trains, although lately the Kings Cross service seems to use Class 387 trains, which have a maximum speed of 110 mph and a more comfortable interior with tables.
  2. It is intended that the Cambridge and Kings Cross service will be extended to Maidstone East by 2021.

In addition there are two Cambridge Express and Fen Line services.

  • Kings Cross and Ely – One tph – Stops at Cambridge and Cambridge North.
  • Kings Cross and King’s Lynn – One tph – Stops at Cambridge, Cambridge North, Waterbeach, Ely, Littleport, Downham Market and Watlington

Note.

  1. These services are generally run by Class 387 trains.
  2. Cambridge and King’s Cross is timetabled at around fifty minutes.

Adding all of this together means that slower services on the East Coast Main Line are comprised of the following in both directions.

  • Three tph – 110 mph – Class 387 trains
  • Four tph – 100 mph – Class 700 trains

These seven trains will have to be fitted in with the 125 mph trains running services on the East Coast Main Line, for LNER, Grand Central, Hull Trains and East Coast Trains.

There are also the following problems.

  • All trains must navigate the double-track section of the East Coast Main Line over the Digswell Viaduct and through Welwyn North station.
  • The King’s Cross and Cambridge service stops in Welwyn North station.
  • Full in-cab digital signalling is being installed on the East Coast Main Line, which could increase the speed of the expresses through the double-track section.

Could the introduction of the Class 387 trains on the Cambridge and King’s Cross service have been made, as it easier to fit in all the services if this one is run by a 110 mph train?

However, the full in-cab digital signalling with a degree of automatic train control could be the solution to this bottleneck on the East Coast Main Line.

  • Trains could be controlled automatically and with great precision between perhaps Hatfield and Stevenage.
  • Some expresses might be slowed to create gaps for the Cambridge and Peterborough services.
  • The Hertford Loop Line is also getting full in-cab digital signalling, so will some services be sent that way?

In Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route, I talked about a proposal to improve services on the Fen Line. This was my first three paragraphs.

The title of this post, is the same as that on an article in Edition 849 of Rail Magazine.

The article is based on this document on the Fen Line Users Aoociation web site, which is entitled Joint Response To Draft East Coast Main Line Route Study.

In addition to ETCS, which could improve capacity on the East Coast Main Line, they would also like to see journey time reductions using trains capable of running at 125 mph or faster on the King’s Lynn to Kings Cross route.

My scheduling experience tells me that a better solution will be found, if all resources are similar.

Hence the proposal to run 125 mph trains between King’s Cross and King’s Lynn and probably Ely as well, could be a very good and logical idea.

If the Class 700 trains were increased in speed to 110 mph, the trains through the double-track section of the East Coast Main Line would be.

  • One tph – 110 mph – Class 387 trains
  • Four tph – 110 mph – Class 700 trains
  • Two tph – 125 mph – New trains

Note.

  1. This would probably be an easier mix of trains to digest with the high speed services, through the double-track section.
  2. I like the idea of extending the Ely service to Norwich to give Thetford, Attleborough and Wymondham an improved service to London, Cambridge and Norwich.

The new trains would probably be a version of Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train.

  • It would need to be capable of 125 mph on the East Coast Main Line.
  • If the Ely service were to be extended to Norwich, this section would be on battery power.

There are certainly a lot of possibilities.

But as with on the Midland Main Line, it looks like for efficient operation, the operating speed of the Class 700 trains on the route needs to be increased to at least 110 mph.

Could Faster Class 700 trains Improve Services To Brighton?

These are the Thameslink services that serve Bedford, Cambridge and Peterborough, that I believe could be run more efficiently with trains capable of at running at speeds of at least 110 mph.

  • Bedford and Brighton – Two tph
  • Bedford and Gatwick Airport – Two tph
  • Cambridge and Brighton – Two tph
  • Cambridge and Maidstone East – Two tph
  • Peterborough and Horsham – Two tph

Note.

  1. I have assumed that the Cambridge and King’s Cross service has been extended to Maidstone East as planned.
  2. Eight tph serve Gatwick Airport.
  3. Four tph serve Brighton.

The Gatwick Express services have a frequency of two tph between London Victoria and Brighton calling at Gatwick Airport is already run by 110 mph Class 387 trains.

It would appear that if the Bedford, Cambridge and Peterborough were run by uprated 110 mph Class 700 trains, then this would mean that more 110 mph trains would be running to Gatwick and Brighton and this must surely improve the service to the South Coast.

But it’s not quite as simple as that, as the Cambridge and Maidstone East services will be run by eight-car trains and all the other services by twelve-car trains.

Conclusion

There would appear to be advantages in uprating some or possibly all of the Class 700 trains, so that they can run at 110 mph, as it will increase capacity on the Brighton Main Line, East Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line.

 

 

April 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beeching Reversal – Arundel Chord

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This Google Map shows where the chord will be built.

Note.

  1. The railway line going North is the Arun Valley Line that goes North to Arundel and Horsham stations.
  2. The line going East is the West Coastway Line that goes East to Angmering, Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton stations.
  3. The two lines join at Arundel Junction and trains go South and West to Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Portsmouth and Southampton.

The new chord will join the Arun Valley Line to the North with the West Coastway Line going to the East.

This will give an alternative route between London and Brighton, when the Brighton Main Line is blocked.

  • I would assume it will be a simple flat junction at both ends of the chord, as under normal circumstances it won’t get a lot of use.
  • It would also needed to be able to accommodate the largest 12-car trains wanting to use the route.
  • Also, in the last couple of years, Network Rail have done a lot of work to stop flooding and increase the resilience of the Brighton Main Line.

So is there another plan?

After all, it’s a lot of work to do for a route that only gets used occasionally.

So here’s a few ideas and reasons.

The Rebuilding Of Gatwick Airport And East Croydon Stations

Gatwick Airport and East Croydon stations are due to be rebuilt in the near future and if the Arundel Chord has been built, it offers an alternative route to London for trains from Brighton.

COVID-19

COVID-19 won’t have any direct effects on running the trains, but it could play havoc with the scheduling of any building work on the Brighton Main Line and at the stations, that passengers and trains use to get to London.

Again an alternative route might be useful.

A Service Between London and Hove Via The Arun Valley Line

This route may have advantages in that it might use a less crowded route to London.

A West Sussex Loop

I like loops.

  • They can be used to cut the number of platforms needed.
  • The driver doesn’t have to change ends.
  • Trains can be turned quicker at the destination.

If you’re still sceptical, go to Liverpool and investigate the operation of the Wirral Line, which has five stations in an underground loop under Liverpool city centre. It also handles upwards of twelve trains per hour.

Once the Arundel Chord is built trains could do the following.

  • Come South down the Brighton Main Line calling at stations like East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridge and Haywards Heath. as required.
  • After Preston Park station, the trains would take the West Coastway Line.
  • Continue West, calling at stations like Hove, Shoreham, Worthing and Angmering as required.
  • On reaching the Arundel Chord, the trains would turn North for Arundel and Horsham.
  • Trains would continue back to Three Bridges, stopping as required.

Note.

  1. As it is a double-track loop, trains could use it both ways.
  2. Most of the route is in West Sussex, with a few miles in the City of Brighton and Hove.
  3. Trains don’t have to start in London, but could perhaps turn back at Redhill or Gatwick Airport. This might remove some trains through East Croydon.

Would this service encourage the locals to use the train to travel to Gatwick Airport?

Operating Issues

Network Rail, Southern or Thameslink may have operational reasons, like getting the trains back to depot, if they fail.

More Affordable Than Reopening Uckfield And Lewes

I think it could have similar capacity improvements and advantages to re-opening Uckfield and Lewes, but it is a lot more affordable.

Conclusion

This project seems to have dropped down the list in previous years.

Perhaps something that needs it has come up!

July 2, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Seamless Interchangeability

At several places on the UK rail network, two trains running as a pair will split, with one train going to one destination and another going to another.

I wrote about trains splitting and joining in Trains Uncoupling and Coupling at Cambridge.

In the past, UK railways used to use the concept of slip coaches, so that coaches could be dropped from an express without stopping. But the last time it was used in the UK was in September 1960 at Bicester North station.

I have just read this article on the Rail Engineer web site, which is entitled Seamless Interchangeability.

The article talks about a concept of dynamic coupling, where trains are automatically coupled and uncoupled at line speed.

It also talks about the issues this would raise.

As a Control Engineer, I’m fairly certain, that it would be very easy to create a system, where say an eight-car Kings Lynn train could split just before Cambridge station, with the front four-car train going to Kings Lynn and the other four-car train stopping in Cambridge station.

It could either be done using two drivers or by driver-less trains. Although the unions would have a lot to say about the latter.

I also believe that if the trains could uncouple, then coupling at line speed would also be possible.

So what is the point?

An Example From The Brighton Main Line

To make full use of the capacity available, Southern serve Littlehampton and Ore, with a train that divides at Haywards Heath. It is a well-proven technique that has been used for decades.

Automatically splitting the two trains at line-speed, can give journey time advantages.

Take the 19:47 from Victoria, which arrives at Haywards Heath at 20:30 as an example.

The following is taken from the timetable.

  • The front portion to Ore leaves at 20:34.
  • The rear portion to Littlehampton leaves at 20:36.
  • Stops at East Croydon and Gatwick Airport take about a minute.

This leads to the following, if the two trains split immediately after stopping at Haywards Heath and before the trains take different directions after Keymer Junction where the East Coastway Line divides from the Brighton Main Line, a few miles South.

  • The Ore train performs a one-minute stop instead of one of four minutes, thus saving three minutes.
  • The Littlehampton train performs a one-minute stop instead of one of six minutes, thus saving five minutes.
  • The platform at Haywards Heath is only occupied for a minute, as opposed to six.
  • The Littlehampton and Ore portions must be capable of providing enough capacity for their route.

For those worried about driver-less trains, the driver of the second train for Littlehampton, would probably step up at the previous stop at Gatwick Airport or at Haywards Heath.

But the outcome would be a small increase in capacity on the line, due to the platform at Haywards Heath being occupied for five minutes less.

Coming North, take the 09:47 from Littlehampton as an example.

The following is taken from the timetable.

  • The first train arrives at Haywards Heath at 10:35 and leaves at 10:45.
  • The second train arrives at Haywards Heath at 10:41.

The pattern of the trains would be different.

  • Whatever was the front portion of the train would go through Keymer Junction first
  • The train forming the rear portion would be the next train through the junction.
  • The rear portion could catch the front portion and the two trains would be automatically coupled together before Haywards Heath.
  • The joined train would stop at Haywards Heath for a minute.
  • The driver of the second train could step-down at Gatwick Airport or Haywards Heath.

In some ways the mathematics involved in the coupling, are not unlike those for a fighter jet connecting with a tanker aircraft. Except that speeds are a lot lower and there is no need to control direction only closing speed.

Haywards Heath station would be occupied for up to nine minutes less, thus creating capacity.

This simplistic analysis, shows how automatically coupling and uncoupling trains at line speed can create capacity and decrease journey times.

  • Journey time from Victoria to Ore would be reduced by three minutes.
  • Journey time from Victoria to Littlehampton would be reduced by five minutes.
  • In the Down direction the platform at Haywards Heath station would be occupied for just one minute instead of six.
  • Journey time from Littlehampton to Victoria would be reduced by nine minutes.
  • Journey time from Ore to Victoria would be reduced by three minutes.
  • In the Up  direction the platform at Haywards Heath station would be occupied for just one minute instead of ten.

Obviously strategies would have to be developed for various eventualities including.

  •  Unsuccessful coupling or uncoupling.
  • Late trains.
  • Signalling and train failures.
  • Leaves on the line.
  • Extreme weather.

But as during all coupling and uncoupling operations, both trains would have a driver in the cab, keeping an expert eye over the procedure and each train could be driven independently, I think all safety issues could be overcome, to the satisfaction of all parties.

If you read the full article, you’ll see that there are some much more exciting possibilities, than the simple ones I have outlined here.

But I do believe that line speed uncoupling and coupling of trains with a driver in the cab of both trains involved, can be a very powerful tool in creating capacity on the UK’s railways.

The Great Eastern Main Line

I know the Great Eastern Main Line well and several trains are coupled and uncoupled regularly on this line.

As Greater Anglia has ordered new five-car Aventra trains and nearly all platforms can take 12 -car trains, running these trains in pairs and coupling and uncoupling appropriately, is probably in their plans for the line.

As on the Brighton Main Line, could coupling and uncoupling at line speed, unlock capacity on the line?

A few weeks ago, I caught a train from Chelmsford to Manningtree, that divided at Colchester, with the front four-car train going to Clacton and the rear four-car train going to Harwich.

The 16:44 from Liverpool street is a train that divides at Colchester, when it arrives at 17:40. These timinings are from the timetable.

  • The Clacton portion of the train leaves at 16:44.
  • The Harwich portion of the train leaves at 16:47.

As the Sunshine Coast Line for Clacton leaves the Great Eastern Main Line immediately after Colchester station, it would appear that the two trains must uncouple during the stop at Colchester.

Surely, an improved and well-designed automatic uncoupling  system could separate the trains faster, saving minutes on both services.

Towards London, two trains leave Harwich and Clacton at 07:16. The timetable shows.

  • The Harwich train arrives at Colchester at 07:47 and leaves at 07:54.
  • The Clacton train arrives at Colchester at 07:50 and leaves at 07:54.

Surely, an improved coupling system, could join the trains faster, saving minutes on both services.

The time savings will not be as great as those at Haywards Heath, but automatic coupling and uncoupling must be a worthwhile feature of the new trains.

|As Bombardier are adding automation to the Aventra, could they be adding the ability to automatically couple and uncouple trains, both in the station and at line speed?

The West Coast Main Line

I have seen Class 221 Trains, join at Crewe, but I don’t think this is done any more.

However, with the need for direct services from London to places like Blackpool, Burnley and Huddersfield, the ability to be  to couple and uncouple trains quickly must be something that would be useful to make optimal use of the valuable train paths on the line.

The East Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line, Great Western Main Line And South West Main Line

If the West Coast Main Line could benefit, then surely these lines could as well.

Class 800/801 Trains

The Class 395 train is very much related to the Class 800 and Class 801 trains, that are being built by Hitachi for the East Coast Main Line, Great Western Railway and other routes.

In The Impressive Coupling And Uncoupling Of Class 395 Trains, I talked about the design of the coupling system for the Class 395 trains.

I would be very surprised if this feature was not incorporated in the Class 800 and Class 801 trains.

So will we be seeing two five-car Class 800/801 trains dividing and joining at a convenient station and then running as a ten-car train to and from London?

Class 385 Trains

What about the Class 385 trains for Scotland?

  • These are another version of Hitachi’s A-Train, like 395s, 800s and 801s.
  • These will come in two lengths; three-car and four-car.
  • Edinburgh-Glasgow services will need at least two units to be coupled together.
  • The trains are being introduced from Autumn next year.

It seems to me, that Scotrail are acquiring a very flexible fleet that can run in various lengths.

Will they have the ability of the 395s to couple and uncouple in under a minute?

And if they do, will Scotrail use this ability to adjust train formation to the traffic?

Aventras

There are three definite orders for Bombardier’s new Aventra train at the present time.

All trains are fixed formations in a mixture of lengths.

Will Aventras have similar coupling and uncoupling performance to Hitachi’s Class 395 trains?

I suspect normally, the Crossrail trains will never be coupled together, as where are platforms for a four-hundred metre long train?

But suppose a train fails in the central tunnel, will the quickest way to remove it, be to attach it to another train and drag it out?

The routes where the London Overground trains will run, are currently served by a mixture of four-car and eight-car trains. So will London Overground, adjust train length to the known traffic patterns?

Greater Anglia do couple and uncouple trains at present to serve Harwich. So I suspect, we’ll see use of an automatic and fast coupling and uncoupling feature to create a more efficient timetable.

Cross City Lines

There are several cross-city lines in the UK.

One of the characteristics of cross-city lines, is they are busiest in the centre of the city, where passengers tend to use the trains for short hops , as well as longer distances. Then in the suburbs, outside of Peak hours the trains could run almost empty.

Crossrail’s trains are designed so that hopefully they could cope with the variable traffic, but would it be possible to have half trains, which join and split at outer stations.

Thameslink

I think that Thameslink could be the line that might benefit most, as it would probably want to serve more places.

In All Change On Thameslink, I detailed the current proposed schedule of trains.

  • 4 trains per hour (tph) – Sutton to St. Albans (2 tph via Wimbledon, 2tph via Mitcham)
  • 2tph – Brighton to Bedford
  • 2 tph – Three Bridges/Gatwick Airport to Bedford
  • 2 tph – Brighton to Cambridge North
  • 2 tph – Horsham to Peterborough
  • 2 tph – Maidstone East to Cambridge
  • 2 tph – Sevenoaks to Blackfriars
  • 2 tph -Orpington to Kentish Town/West Hampstead
  • 2 tph – Rainham to Luton (via Dartford and Greenwich)
  • 2 tph – East Grinstead to Bedford
  • 2 tph – Littlehampton to Bedford

This makes a total of twenty-four tph, which is the design limit for the central tunnel.

In this schedule 4 tph go to Cambridge and 2 tph go to Peterborough. Suppose, it was decided that Peterborough needed 4 tph.

The path limit of 24 tph through the central tunnel makes this impossible, but if Peterborough and Cambridge services joined and split at perhaps Stevenage, then both Cambridge and Peterborough would get 6 tph through the core tunnel.

It would need new six-car trains, that could couple and uncouple quickly.

Conclusion

I believe that improving the coupling and uncoupling of all modern trains to the standard of that of the Class 395 trains could be very beneficial, to train operators, staff and customers.

If coupling and uncoupling  could be done at line speed, this might bring extra benefits.

 

 

November 14, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Untangling The Brighton Main Line

I like difficult problems and getting more capacity out of the Brighton Main Line between London and Brighton is one of the most difficult problems on the UK rail network.

I have just read this document on the Government web site, which is entitled Brighton Main Line – Emerging Capacity Strategy for CP6.

Most of the problems are at the London end of the line and can probably be blamed on the fact that the Brighton Main Line was built by two companoes; the London Brighton and South Coast Railway and the South Eastern Railway.

There is this little history lesson in the document.

The London and South Western Railway, which operated today’s Wessex Route area for example, was able to grade separate almost all of its major junctions between London and Basingstoke in the Victorian era. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway which operated the Brighton Main Line was unable to fund grade separation at key junctions. Even when further opportunities presented themselves for remodelling with stimulus funds in the 1930s, the by then amalgamated Southern Railway, despite developing plans for several grade separations, chose to prioritise the South West Main Line (delivering the grade separation of slow and fast lines north of Wimbledon).

The only sorting of the line done in recent years, was the creation of the Thameslink opening in the 1980s.

But as with many British Rail projects of the era, it was not done rigorously, with all major junctions, stations and other issues fully sorted.

A section in the document lists some of the bad points on the line and some possible solutions. Going South they are as follows.

Victoria Main Line Platforms

The document talks of a major reorganisation of the operation of the station. This is said.

The terminus of the BML, Victoria has seven terminating platforms available to Fast Line services although two of these are dedicated to the 4tph Gatwick Express service to simplify access for airport passengers. This leaves the remaining platforms to handle a higher volume of traffic. Development either side and above the station means the options for building additional platforms at the terminus are extremely limited.

Could it be that there has been a bit too much development around the station?

Clapham Junction Main Line Platforms

The document says this about Clapham Junction’s affect on services.

Clapham Junction is the key platform-based constraint on the route into Victoria. The station has single Up BML Fast and Down BML Fast platforms, and the majority of Fast Line services call here. The platforms have a booked dwell time of one minute and a platform re-occupation time of two minutes3 . This effectively pegs the maximum theoretical capacity of the BML Fast Lines into Victoria at 20tph – although when combined with constraints elsewhere on the route it is effectively less.

The solutions proposed at Clapham Junction station are complex and would probably be difficult to impl;ement given space and political considerations.

Windmill Bridge Junction

This is a major junction just North of East Croydon station, where one set of lines goes North-West through Selhurst and Clapham junction stations to Victoria and another set of lines goes North-East through Norwood Junction and New Cross Gate stations to London Bridge.

To complicate matters, Selhurst Depot lies in the junction, as this Google Map shows.

Windmill Bridge Junction

Windmill Bridge Junction

Selhurst station is at the top by the depot and East Croydon station is to the South.

The document says this should be done.

Grade separation of remaining flat junction conflicts (Down Victoria Fast with Up London Bridge Fast) and Up London Bridge slow with Down Victoria slow) under development.

Effectively, this means putting a flyover to separate trains going to London Bridge from those coming from Victoria.

At least the map shows that there is some green space between the two sets of lines.

East Croydon Station

This station is another station with not enough capacity. This is said in the document.

East Croydon has three Fast Line platforms but their use is complicated by the track layout at the London end of the station that involves conflicting moves between Up London Bridge fast and Down Victoria fast services at Windmill Bridge (listed above), as well as requiring reversible use of Platform 2.

The solution is mapped out in the document.

Scheme providing an additional 1 Line platforms and or 2 platforms under development. associated track layouts Scheme would also provide additional track East Croydon to Windmill Bridge Junction and track layout and signalling changes in the immediate East Croydon area including to relieve platform 4 and 5.

I think with all the development going on around East Croydon station, that this might help the addition of extra platforms. Wikipedia gives more details about the future development of East Croydon station.

South Croydon Junction

This junction just south of South Croydon station causes conflicts, where Oxted Line services conflict with down slow services.

This Google Map shows South Croydon station and the junction.

South Croydon Station And Junction

South Croydon Station And Junction

The document says this about a solution.

No viable solution currently available. Relief of other constraints may allow current layout to remain, as the flat junction constraint predominantly affects Slow Line services (although potentially constrains the pathing of services that use the Fast Lines north of Croydon).

But it is now probably more complicated as longer trains are proposed for the Uckfield Branch.

Stoat’s Nest Junction

The wonderfully-named Stoat’s Nest Junction is south of Purley station and causes the odd delay. The document talks about a solution.

A grade separation option for Up Slow to Up Fast moves under development.

It is probably a smaller but important project.

Gatwick Airport

There will be twenty trains an hour through the station at Gatwick Airport.

Given the investment being put into the station by Gatwick and the importance of the station as a hub, I feel that a way could be found to use the station to squeeze some more capacity out of the line.

Keymer Junction

Keymer Junction is south of Wivelfield station and causes delays =. The document says this about a solution.

Several options under consideration from grade separation to a third track option – case yet to be proven and would not be required if reliability and capacity uplift was focused on Gatwick inwards only.

This is one solution, that I think will be a bit different, as it could unlock capacity in Brighton and on the two Coastway Lines.

Crossrail 2

You may wonder how Crossrail 2 will affect the Brighton Main Line?

There are three stations in common between the two lines.

  • Victoria
  • Clapham Junction
  • Balham

Will passengers switch between the two lines at stations before Victoria?

If they do, the major effect will be to perhaps free-up Victoria station by a small amnlunt.

Conclusions

There would appear to be several places where capacity improvements can be made.

But don’t be surprised if something radical happens at Gatwick!

If a second runway were to be built at the airport, then this would need more capacity to London, which would have effects on the trains south of the airport.

February 10, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 3 Comments