The Anonymous Widower

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 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Royal Mint Gardens

Royal Mint Gardens is a housing development to the East of Fenchurch Street and Tower Gateway stations.

These are a few pictures of the development.

But this doesn’t tell the full story.

This Google Map shows the position of the development.

Note.

  1. Fenchurch Street station is towards the top-left corner of the map.
  2. The c2c tracks running to the East from Fencurch Street station.
  3. Tower Gateway DLR station is just to the right of the centre, just above the green space.
  4. The tracks of the Docklands Light Railway running to the East from Tower Gateway DLR station.

The three concrete towers at the right of the map, lying to the South of the railway tracks, are the three structural towers of Royal Mint Gardens.

This Google Map shows a close up of Royal Mint Gardens.

Note how the Docklands Light Railway splits into two to the East of the development.

  • The Northern pair of tracks skirt the development to the North to go to Tower Gatewat DLR station.
  • The Southern pair of tracks go underneath the development to go to Bank DLR station.

The new development has put the Bank branch in a concrete tunnel.

So in an area of the world, where land is a very expensive commodity, this area is being used twice at the same time.

Royal Mint Gardens On The BBC

BBC London television has been covering various aspects of the building of Royal Mint Gadens in local news for most of the day.

The developer, the architect, Network Rail and the reporter, all seemed very positive about what is being created.

The architect felt up to 250,000 houses could be created on similar sites across London.

How many houses could be built over rail lines in the rest of the UK?

Conclusion

Building over rail lines like this, will increasingly be seen as a way of adding new housing in densely populated cities.

 

 

 

 

 

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Escalators At Limehouse Station

Limehouse station now has a smart pair of escalators on the Westbound platform.

Are escalators going to be added to the Eastbound platform and the c2c platforms?

February 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Junction Between The Barking Riverside Extension And The Tilbury Line

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the route of the Barking Riverside Extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and how it connects to the c2c lines between Barking and Tilbury.

 

 

One big advantage is that the two c2c lines between Barking and Tilbury, go either side of the Barking Freightliner Terminal.

  • The Down Tilbury Line between Platform 7 at Barking station and Dagenham Dock station goes around the Northern side.
  • The Up Tilbury Line to Platform 8 at Barking station goes around the Southern side.

This is extremely convenient, as there is plenty of space between c2c’s busy tracks to build the flyover.

If you want to get a better look, click on the map and this will give you a larger image on which you can follow the two tracks from Dagenham Dock station.

This second map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the complicated tracks to the West of the Freightliner Terminal.

The Renwick Road bridge goes North-South over the tracks. I appears to cross, at the point, where the Stora sidings join the East-West track.

Note how the two new tracks connect the flyover to tracks that connect to Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking station.

This is a Google Map which shows where the Renwick Road bridge crosses the tracks.

The two new tracks will need to be squeezed under Renwick Road.

I took these pictures on a walk down Renwick Road, just to the South of the bridge, that takes the road over the railway lines.

Unfortunately, most of Renwick Road is surrounded by high concrete walls.

But as these pictures show, there is quite a large amount of land crossed by a few sparse railway lines.

I then took a train between Barking and Rainham stations and was able to take a few pictures of work in the area of the proposed viaduct, which will go over the freight terminal.

The red train was parked on theStora  sidings at the top of the second map.

The top four pictures were taken going to Rainham station and the bottom four were taken coming back.

Tilbury Down Line Train-By

These pictures were taken from a train going to Grays station on the Tilbury Down Line.

The last two picture show the Renwick Road bridge and the vehicle ramp leading to the freight terminal.

The Design Of The Viaduct

It looks to me, that two new tracks will do the following.

  • Start to the West of Renwick Road bridge, with connections that take them to Platforms 7 (Down) and 8 (Up) at Barking station..
  • Go through the safeguarded site of the future Renwick Road station and under Renwick Road.
  • Climb on a viaduct, that will lift them over the freight terminal and the lines to Tilbury and continue to Barking Riverside.

It could be a spectacular ride.

Renwick Road Station

I walked to the Renwick Road bridge from the Renwick Road bus stop on the 173 bus from Dagenham Heathway station.

It was about four hundred metres along broken pavements and in freezing cold, but dry weather.

So a Renwick Road station will be appreciated by those, who live and/or work in the area.

Wikipedia says this about Renwick Road station.

The station would lie east of the proposed merge / diverge points with the Essex Thameside (Tilbury Loop Line) line along which c2c services operate, so whilst the station would not provide an interchange with the aforementioned c2c services, nor would the station’s construction disrupt those services. The new station could generate 5,000 homes.

This Google Map shows the land to the West of Renwick Road bridge.

Note.

  1. The Stora siding at the top, where the red train was parked.
  2. The Down Tilbury Line going West-East towards the top of the map and connected to the sidings.
  3. The three lines towards the bottom of the map are currently the Down Goods, Up Goods and Up Tilbury

It could be that Network Rail could have decided  to put the new Renwick Road station in the ample space between the lines.

The station could be very simple.

  • A single island platform between the two tracks.
  • The tracks could be generously spaced to allow a wide platform.
  • The platform would have shelters and perhaps a coffee stall.
  • The platform would be linked by stairs and a lift to Renwick Road.

It could certainly be built without disrupting c2c services.

Travelling Between Fenchurch Street And Renwick Road Stations

According to the Wikipedia extract, I included earlier, Renwick Road station, will not have a direct service to Fenchurch Street station.

Renwick Road station will be served by at least four London Overground trains per hour (tph) all day between Gospel Oak and Barking Riverside stations.

Currently, c2c provide the following services between Fenchurch Street and Grays station.

  • Four tph in the Peak
  • Two tph in the Off Peak

It is also planned that both services will share Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking station.

So passengers from Renwick Road and Barking Riverside stations wanting to go to London will get off a train on Platform 8 at Barking station and wait for the first c2c service to Fenchurch Street station.

I would also suspect that c2c will increase the Off Peak service to match the frequency of the Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside service.

Beam Park Station

Beam Park station is another new station planned for the area.

  • It will be between Dagenham Dock and Rainham stations.
  • It will be built to serve three thousand new houses.

This station will make it more likely that c2c will run four tph between Fenchurch Street and Grays stations.

Travelling Between Grays And Barking Riverside Stations

This will require a change at Barking station.

This change would be a walk across the island platform 7/8, which would be step-free.

Conclusion

Train services along the Thames from Barking to Grays are going to get a lot better.

 

February 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?

I was reading this article in The Guardian, which is entitled Full speed ahead for train builders as minister pulls plug on electrification, when I found this useful nugget of information, from the General Manager of Bombardier’s Derby plant.

Building trains in an “ergonomically correct” fashion, he says, means completing and testing the carriage’s constituent parts, then assembling them, rather than wiring them up afterwards – and also takes the risk away from a production line which boasts a rate of 25 carriages per week.

It sounds like Bombardier’s engineers have been drinking and swapping ideas, with Toyota’s production engineers a few miles down the road at Burnaston.

But even so 25 carriages a week is an impressive  figure, as that is almost three Class 345 trains for Crossrail in a week.

Bombardier have not been producing at that rate until now, as if they had, there would be Aventras in sidings all over the place. In The Class 345 Trains Are More Numerous, I described how I saw four yesterday and Transport for London have said they will have they will have eleven in service by September.

But this is all consistent with not going into full production, until you are sure, that you’ve got everything right, as any prudent company would do!

The Trains On Order

Bombardier have the following orders for Aventras.

  1. Crossrail – Class 345 – 70 x nine-car – 630 cars – To be delivered in 2015-2018
  2. London Overground – Class 710 – 45 x four-car – 180 cars – To be delivered in 2017-2018
  3. Greater Anglia – Class 720 – 89 x five-car – 445 cars – To be delivered in 2018-2020
  4. Greater Anglia – Class 720 – 22 x ten-car – 220 cars – To be delivered in 2018-2020
  5. South Western Railways – Class xxx – 30 x five-car – 150 cars – To be delivered in 2019-2020
  6. South Western Railways – Class xxx – 60 x ten-car – 600 cars – – To be delivered in 2019-2020
  7. West Midlands Trains – Class xxx – 36 x three-car – 108 cars – To be delivered from 2020
  8. West Midlands Trains – Class xxx – 45 x five-car – 225 cars – To be delivered from 2021
  9. c2c – Class xxx – 10 x six-car – 60 cars – To be delivered from 2021

This gives a total of 2,618 cars to be built.

The Building Schedule

Orders 1 and 2 are both directly or indirectly for Transport for London, with Wikipedia stating that the Class 710 trains for the Lea Valley  Lines are being stabled at Ilford TMD, where the current Class 345 trains are also stabled, whilst they are being tested between Liverpool Street and |Shenfield stations.

I suspect that this close relationship between the orders means that Bombardier and Transport for London have agreed a delivery schedule, that brings in trains as they are needed. There’s not much point in building Class 345 trains for Crossrail, when some won’t be needed until 2019, if there is a more urgent need for Class 710 trains for the Overground.

To improve matters for Bombardier, Orders 3 and 4 for Greater Anglia, will probably be stabled in part at Ilford TMD.

Bombardier have not only got four substantial initial orders, but because they can all be introduced into service from Ilford TMD, they must have a tremendous advantage in terms of testing, introduction into service, manpower and costs.

So it looks to me that the two London orders will be built first, followed by the Greater Anglia and then the South Western Railways.

The London orders total 810 cars, which would take 32 weeks using Bombardier’s figure of 25 cars per week in The Guardian.

But assuming they started full production on the 1st of August, that gives them seventy-two weeks until the end of 2018, which gives a equired production rate of under twelve cars a week.

Surely, given their past history of building around a couple of thousand Electrostar cars, that must be achievable. Especially, as the modular structure of the Aventra, which has been developed with suppliers, must make building quicker.

The Greater Anglia and South Western Railways orders, which total 1,415 cars, would need to be built in 2019-2020 or lets say a hundred weeks.

So the build rate would be 14 cars a week, which is well below Bombardier’s figure.

The Body Shells

It should also be stated that Bombardier make their body shells at Derby, whereas Hitachi make their’s in Japan and ship them to Newton Aycliffe. This must ease having a high production rate for Bombardier, as for this you must have timely and reliable deliveries.

The Class 345 and 710 trains seem to have different car lengths, so it would appear that their production of body shells is flexible.

Little can be discerned about the production process from the Internet, as articles like this one on Global Rail News, which is entitled Bombardier completes first Crossrail body shell, are short on production details.

If they have a capacity to produce twenty-five body shells a week, I don’t believe that this can be done without the use of sophisticated designs assisted by large amounts of automation, as used in most car and van body production.

I have found this picture of a number of Aventra car body sides on the Internet.

Note the double-skinned nature of the body sides, with reinforcing ribs inside, which must have great strength, light weight and a minimum number of components. I have read somewhere, that Bombardier are extruding aluminium for body components.

All of the holes could then be automatically cut by robots.

The joys of modern manufacturing!

Final Assembley

Modern manufacturing methods, as employed by car companies for years doesn’t mean you have to produce a sequence of identical vehicles on the line. Computer systems make sure all the components to build each car arrive at the right time.

A Class 345 train might have four or five different types of car, so similar methods would be used to speed production of the individual cars.

West Midlands Trains

Abellio, who own Greater Anglia, have decided they want to use Aventras on their new West Midlands Trains franchise.

According to Wikipedia, the new franchise is proposing to introduce the following trains

  • 333 new Aventra carriages in three and five-car trains.
  • 80 new CAF Civity carriages in two and four-car trains.

Some of the trains are direct replacements for other trains.

  • The 36 x three-car Aventras will replace the 26 x three-car Class 323 trains.
  • The CAF Civity trains will replace various diesel multiple units around Birmingham.

In some ways the puzzle is that there are 29 x five-car Aventras on order for electrified suburban lines.

Adding up the current and future number of electrified carriages on Birmingham suburban routes, shows that the number of carriages to be used will increase by three times.

New electrification is on the way.

  • Chase Line to Rugeley Trent Valley.
  • Cross-City Line to Bromsgrove.

But these short schemes won’t need all those trains, unless West Midlands Trains are going to run ten-car trains across Birmingham.

But possibilities exist.

  • Electrification further towards places like Nuneaton and Worcester.
  • Electrification of the Camp Hill Line across the City Centre.
  • Aventras will be using batteries to reach places without electrification.
  • Some Aventras could be bi-mode. I discuss the concept of a bi-mode Aventra in Is A Bi-Mode Aventra A Silly Idea?.

All will become clear in the next couple of years.

The West Midlands Trains orders for Aventras  total 333 new carriages, which will all be pretty similar to previous orders, except in details like car length, number of cars, top speed and the interiors.

At Bombardier’s quoted production rate of 25 cars per week,l that means they would take jus fourteen weeks to build them, after the design was finalised.

That sounds unbelievable!

c2c

This order is for just sixty carriages, which will be delivered as six x ten-car trains.

This is an extract from c2c’s Press Release.

The Aventra is one of the fastest-selling trains in the UK rail industry, and these new trains will be manufactured at Bombardier’s factory in Derby. Each new train, which will operate in a fixed set of 10-carriages, will include over 900 seats, plus air-conditioning, wifi, plug sockets and three toilets onboard. Each new carriage is larger and contains more seats than on c2c’s current trains, so each 10-carriage new train provides capacity for 15% more passengers onboard compared to a current 12-carriage c2c train.

So three x four-car trains working as a twelve-car train are replaced by one ten-car train, which results in.

  • A modern instead of a twenty-year-old train.
  • 15% more capacity.
  • Wi-fi and plug sockets.
  • Better passenger experience.
  • Two cabs instead of six.
  • Fixed-formation trains don’t have end gangways.
  • Twenty bogies instead of twenty-four.

Revenue per train will surely increase, but electricity and maintenance costs will also decrease.

So the accountants get a double dose of pleasure!

c2c also hint that more new trains are on thew way.

But as they are also reported to have extended the lease on their Class 387 trains, they have excellent cover whilst waiting for delivery of new Aventras.

Currently, they have the equivalent of 25 x twelve-car trains with a few spares.

So a complete train replacement if they like the Aventras, will probably be something like another twenty to thirty trains.

This would seem to be a very low-risk plan!

The New South Eastern Franchise

The needs of the current South Eastern and West Midlands franchises are surprisingly similar.

  • High speed running on HS1 and the West Coast Main Line.
  • Suburban services in city networks; London and Birmingham.
  • A few short branch lines.
  • Some lines without electrification.
  • An ageing fleet without wi-fi.

So could we be seeing a mass fleet replacement with Aventras, as in West Midlands Trains.

Note that one of the bidders for this franchise is the same consortium of Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui, who successfully bid for West Midlands Trains.

Abellio bought a large number of Aventras for Greater Anglia and helped develop battery power for the trains.

So could we be seeing a large number of Aventras added to the fleet for the South Eastern franchise?

Currently, the franchise runs 824 Electrostar and 674 Networker carriages.

To replace the Networkers would be 27 weeks of production at Bombardier’s rate of 25 carriages a day.

The South Eastern franchise also needs more high speed trains for HS1. I can’t believe that Bombardier couldn’t achieve a top speed of 140 mph with an Aventra. They probably will have a solution for covering the line between Ashford and Hastings. My money’s is on some form of energy storage.

Conclusion

Bombardier would not quote the capability of being able to make 25 trains per week to a newspaper like the Guardian, if they didn’t know it was possible.

But to meet the deliveries needed by the four initial customers, probably needs about half the quoted production rate, which is the sort of conservative thinking I like.

This gives Bombardier the float to sort out production problems or non-delivery of sub-assemblies outside of their control.

But it would also give them the capacity to fit in other orders. Suppose Crossrail decided to extend to Gravesend or Southend and needed another five Class 345 trains, then in theory, that is only two days production, provided the suppliers can deliver.

The UK’s railways are going to be full of Aventras.

 

 

 

August 20, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trenitalia To Buy c2c

There are several several articles like this one in Railway Gazette, which is entitled Trenitalia buys c2c to enter UK rail market.

So what will it mean?

Ultimate Ownership

The ultimate ownership of a train operating company seems to have very little difference to the  quality of trains and customer service.

I will look at  a recent journey I made from Leipzig to Brussels on Deutche Bahn, that I wrote about in Deutsche Bahn’s Idea Of Customer Service.

It was not a good journey and in the post, I say that eutche Bahn is nowhere as good as Chiltern.

And who owns Chiltern? – Deutsche Bahn.

So I suspect we’ll see very few changes on c2c because of the change of ownership, with perhaps the following provisos.

When successful companies are taken over, the Senior Management Team often depart to pastures or in this case railways, new.

The article also says this.

Mick Cash, General Secretary of pro-nationalisation trade union RMT, was less enthusiastic about the announcement. ‘This is yet another part of Britain’s rail operations being sold off to a European state-owned outfit’, he said. ‘This time it is Trenitalia, an Italian operator, that is being given an open door to plunder passengers and the public purse to subsidise rail services in their own country.’

Looking at the mess, that the RMT and its fellow travellers have got Southern into, this could be omnious.

The Future For c2c’s Services

Look at the route map of most rail franchises and a twelve-year-old with a pencil could suggest obvious places where the network could be expanded.

But there are few places , where c2c could expand.

  • Reinstate the Tilbury Riverside Branch.
  • Direct access to Crossrail at Stratford.
  • A Canvey Island Branch

So much of the growth will come from more frequent and faster services to existing destinations, more and better trains and improvements to stations.

There must be scope for Automatic Train Operation (ATO) at the London end of the route to improve capacity and reduce journey times.

Conclusion

I had to scrape together a scenario for the future and it leads me to the conclusion that c2c is virtually fully developed. So have National Express decided to sell c2c, as it is a mature asset, that is worth more to xomebody else. Especially, a new entrant to the UK rail market, who wants to know how to run a UK train franchise.

In some ways it’s a bit like a bank selling on a long-term loan to a blue-chip company, to another back.

 

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Anybody Want To Buy A Fleet Of Electric Trains Going Purr?

When I wrote Southend In The Sun, I went to the Essex town in one of c2c‘s Class 357 trains.

These trains were the first of Derby’s Electrostars to hit the tracks in 1999.

Consider.

 

The last Electrostars are currently being built at Derby.

The 357s don’t seem much different to the latest Class 387 trains.

The 357s have air-conditioning, regenerative braking and lots of modern features.

There are 74 of the trains and to a passenger they look and feel pretty good.

 

c2c has a few problems.

  • It needs more capacity.
  • Competition on the Southend Route will be fierce, when Greater Anglia start running faster Aventra trains into Liverpool Street.
  • c2c has no direct link to Crossrail.
  • The Class 357 trains lack certain features that passengers demand like wi-fi.

To ease the capacity problem, they are adding six Class 387 trains to the fleet.

Wikipedia also says this about new trains.

As part of its new franchise, c2c has committed to leasing new trains to cope with rising passenger numbers, which were boosted especially by the opening of the DLR station at West Ham in 2011 and the rise of Canary Wharf as a financial centre. 9 new four-car trains will be introduced by 2019, followed by 4 more by 2022 and 4 more by 2024.

But could c2c do something more radical, to combat the lure of the new Aventras running between Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria stations?

Gradually, over the next few years, there one class fleet of Class 357 trains will become mixed with the new trains.

So could c2c, start a roiling replacement program, so they migrate to a brand new and much better homogeneous fleet?

If it happens, a large fleet of 74 Class 357 trains will be released at a rate of perhaps one or two a month.

They will be very desirable trains to provide services in Birmingham, Lancashire, Leeds or Scotland to replace older fleets.

But they would be even more desirable if Bombardier’s parts bin could be raided to create a bi-mode Electrostar on the lines of the Class 319 Flex!

The specification could be as follows.

  • Modern interior with everything passengers demand.
  • 100 mph capability.
  • Regenerative braking handled by onboard energy storage.
  • Diesel or even hydrogen power-pack.
  • Independent operation on lines without electrification.

The size of the onboard energy storage would be determined by the nature of the routes to be operated and the extra costs of the required storage.

 

 

December 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will c2c Push For Access To Stratford And Liverpool Street?

On Sunday in An Excursion To Shoeburyness, I indicated how instead of coming back the way I came via West Ham, I got off at Stratford and did some shopping at Eastfield.

But would c2c like to serve Stratford and Liverpool Street more?

The Current Weekend Service From Shoeburyness To Stratford And Liverpool Street

Currently two trains per hour (tph) run from Shoeburyness to Stratford and Liverpool Street at weekends, when there is no conflicting engineering work.

Incidentally, with my excursion, I think that I had to come back by c2c as the Great Eastern Main Line was closed for Crossrail work.

If nothing this engineering disruption shows the value of Southend being served by two independent rail lines.

The Stratford Effect

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Shopping Centre at Stratford will have a porofound effect on the operation of c2c’s trains.

This page on the c2c web site is entitled Christmas shoppers get direct c2c trains to Stratford.

This is said.

c2c will run two trains an hour on both Saturdays and Sundays that divert to Liverpool Street instead of Fenchurch Street. These will provide direct access to the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre plus easy access to London’s West End. This is in addition to the two trains an hour that run to Chafford Hundred, for the Lakeside shopping centre, as part of c2c’s existing service.

I think the news item dates from 2014, but it does show a level of intent.

There is also this article in the Southend Echo, which is entitled Extra trains planned as West Ham’s stadium move puts added pressure on c2c network.

This is said.

TRAIN operator c2c are running extra and longer trains for fans travelling to West Ham matches at the club’s new stadium in Stratford.

This won’t be a problem for weekend matches, but what about matches on weekday evenings?

c2c’s spokesman went into more detail.

When asked about direct trains running from Southend to Stratford to make the journey as quick and simple as possible for fans, c2c said they already run direct trains to Stratford from Southend and Basildon,but not Grays, and there will be two trains per hour direct to Stratford most weekends – and two more trains per hour to West Ham.

From Grays, all four trains an hour go to West Ham.

For weeknight games and during weekend engineering work, all trains run to West Ham.

At present, the weekend trains between Shoeburyness and Stratford, satisfy the weekend sopping and football, but what about other events at the Olympic Park? The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is only going to get busier.

So are the current services really what c2c and its customers want and need?

Car parking is fairly comprehensive at the outer stations according to this page on the c2c web site.

West Horndon Station

It wasn’t very busy on the Sunday I took this picture at West Horndon station, but for encouraging weekend leisure trips, the availability of car parking must be an asset.

I would imagine that c2c are pushing the authorities for permission to run evening services into Liverpool Street via Stratford.

The Crossrail Effect

When you talk about any of London’s railways, this herd of elephants, with its 1,500 passenger capacity Class 345 trains, always bursts into the room.

For c2c trains to get to Stratford, they need to take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) between Barking and Woodgrange Park, where they join the slow lines into London.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Woodgrange Park station.

woodgrangepark

As the GOBlin is currently being electrified and improved, I suspect that there will be no operational problems on  the short stretch of shared line.

Will there be problems though, after Crossrail opens and there are increased frequencies of trains to and from London?

In the Peak, Crossrail will be running 16 tph to and from Shenfield, so as they are only running 8 tph in the Off Peak, I suspect that at weekends, there will be capacity for c2c’s 2 tph to Stratford.

It is interesting to look at Crossrail’s proposed Peak service on the Shenfield branch.

  • 8 tph between Shenfield and Paddington
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Reading
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Maidenhead
  • 4 tph between Gidea Park and Liverpool Street

This says to me, that there are probably paths in the timetable to squeeze 4 tph in the Off Peak into Liverpool Street, as the Gidea Park service is Peak-only.

Access To Liverpool Street

Liverppool Street station has two problems.

  • There are not enough platforms – This is a difficult one to solve, although Crossrail might only need a single platform to handle the limited number of services not going through the core tunnel. London Overground regularly turns 4 tph in a single platform.
  • The platforms are too short – This will be remedied once Crossrail trains are using the core tunnel.

I’m certain, that in a few years Liverpool Street in the Off Peak, will be able to handle 2 tph with a length of 12-cars for c2c.

It is interesting to note, that my train on Sunday was only eight-cars. Was this because of limitations at Liverpool Street?

Should c2c Stop At Woodgrange Park?

Currently, they don’t, but after the GOBlin is reopened would it be a good idea to create a step-free change to get to and from a lot of stations across North London.

The change at Barking between the two lines is not easy and the alternative is to improve it.

c2c Needs Access To Crossrail

c2c’s current route structure has no connection to Crossrail.

As an example to go from West Horndon to Heathrow Airport, you’d need to change twice.

  • At West Ham onto the Jubilee Line.
  • At Stratford onto Crossrail.

Neither change is a short walk, but both are step-free in busy stations.

If however, it’s a Saturday or Sunday, you could take a train to Stratford and I suspect when Crossrail opens, just wait on the same platform until a Heathrow train arrives.

It should be remembered, that c2c runs an all-Electrostar fleet and I suspect that these are Crossrail compatible with respect to platform height, so the change at Stratford would be easy with heavy cases, buggy or even a week-chair.

What Will The Future Hold?

From what I have written, it would certainly be possible for there to be two 12-car trains every hour in the Off Peak between Shoeburyness and Liverpool Street calling at Basildon, Upminster and Stratford.

But this would have limitations and possible problems.

  • Passengers from stations like Grays would want the Crossrail connection too!
  • If it is needed in the Off Peak, is it needed in the Peak?
  • Would passengers changing at Stratford cause congestion?

There would also be the mother of all battles between the train companies involved, to make sure they kept market share.

My ideal world scenario would be something like.

  • 4 tph all day go into Liverpool Street.
  • 2 tph on both c2c routes through Basildon and Grays go into Liverpool Street.
  • Chafford Hundred is served from Liverpool Street
  • Ticketing is such, that Stratford to Southend can use either route and either Southend station.
  • c2c trains to and from Liverpool Street, call at Woodgrange Park for the GOBlin.

My wish list may not be possible, but there is certainly tremendous scope for improvement.

We could even see, a station like Grays, Pitsea or Southend becoming a Crossrail terminus.

Who knows? I don’t!

 

 

 

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The New Beam Park Station

Beam Park station is a new station that is to support a large housing development of the same name, which will be built on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway, between Dagenham Dock and Rainham stations.

This map shows the development, with the station numbered at six.

Beam Park

Beam Park

The station is the Westernmost number on the Southern boundary of Beam Park.

  • It is possibly located where Kent Avenue crosses over the railway.
  • Note that some sources call it Beam Reach station.
  • With up to 5,000 new homes in the area, I would think that the station is needed.

I think it is interesting that London is getting two new stations; Barking Riverside and Beam Park, in the same area of London.

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

An Excursion To Shoeburyness

After I saw the Class 387/3 trains for c2c at Crewe, I thought that if the weather was nice, I’d take a trip to Shoeburyness. So as the weather was good on Sunday, I bought an extension ticket for under a tenner and went.

It is very much a trip into deepest Essex.

A few points.

  • As I changed trains at Whitechapel station, it looked like they’re starting to fit out the passageways.
  • I was surprised to see lots of disused space on the District Line platforms between Barking and Upminster. I guess that was so they could run long trains all the way to Shoeburyness.
  • There are quite a few level crossings on the line.
  • The Shoeburyness Depot isn’t small.
  • The track to Tilbury Riverside station is still visible.
  • There appears to be electrification gantries on the single-track leading to Platform 1 at Barking station, which Gospel Oak to Barking trains have used as a terminus for years.
  • I came back via Stratford to do some shopping at Eastfield.

Unlike many other rail companies and possibly because they are a smaller franchise, c2c doesn’t seem to have too many published plans and ambitions, other than to keep satisfying their customers.

But then there is very little of an expansionist nature that they could do!

  • In future years, there may be a need for a station at London Gateway.
  • Would housing and leisure developments around Tilbury Riverside, make it worthwhile reopening the station.
  • Much of the infrastructure work will be minor improvements for safety or to gain a few seconds here and there.
  • There could be a program of level crossing removal.
  • A new station will probably be built at Beam Park, to support housing development.

But there is no major project, like some proposed by companies like Chiltern Railways.

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment