The Anonymous Widower

What Goes Up Must Come Down

This morning, I went for a walk in the City, with the aim of looking at progress on the new Southern entrance to Bank station.

I took these pictures, where they were dismantling the main crane on the Bank station site.

Does this dismantling mean that the main work is coming to an end?

One of the guys, I spoke to said that the station would be finished by the end of the year.

I also took this picture from the Northernmost cross tunnel between the two Northern Line platforms.

Note the Way Out sign behind the hoarding, which also shows Central Line straight on. This looks like it could be the start of the travelator to the Central Line.

 

August 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

From Moorgate To Imperial Wharf – 30th June 2022

I wanted to see the new entrance at Imperial Wharf station today, so after a full English breakfast on Moorgate, I took the Lizzie Line, Central and West London Lines across London.

I took this route.

  • Lizzie Line – Moorgate to Tottenham Court Road
  • Central Line – Tottenham Court Road To Shepherds Bush
  • West London Line – Shepherds Bush To Imperial Wharf

I took these pictures along the route.

Note.

  1. The change at Tottenham Court Road station involves going up to the ticket hall and down again.
  2. The change at Shepherds Bush involves crossing the road between the Central Line and Overground station.
  3. The last few pictures show the new entrance at Imperial Wharf, which is for Northbound trains only.

When Bond Street station opens on the Lizzie Line, it should be easier to change there for the Central Line.

The Plans For A Connection Between The Lizzie And West London Lines?

This map from cartometro.com shows, where the Lizzie and West London Lines cross in the area of Old Oak Common.

Note.

  1. The Overground is shown in orange and splits into the North and West London Lines South of Willesden Junction station.
  2. The Lizzie Line is shown in purple and black, as it goes across the map, as at this point it shares tracks with the Great Western Main Line.

This map shows how High Speed Two will change the lines.


Note.

  1. Hythe Road station on the West London Line, which will have a walking route to High Speed Two and the Lizzie Line.
  2. Old Oak Common Lane station on the North London Line, which will have a walking route to High Speed Two and the Lizzie Line.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line, which is shown as an orange double-line and could be part of the West London Orbital passing North-South to the West of Old Oak Common Lane station.
  4. The Acton-Northolt Line, which is shown in blue and could give Chiltern Railways extra platforms at Old Oak Common with a walking route to High Speed Two and the Lizzie Line.

Wikipedia says that the status of the two Overground stations according to Transport for London is as follows.

Subject to funding being secured and further public consultation, we would seek permission to build and operate the proposals via a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO). Funding remains a significant constraint in delivering these proposals. We are currently seeking to establish a package of funding that could enable the stations to be delivered by 2026 alongside the new HS2 and Elizabeth line station.

I suspect that with our current South London Mayor, we will see little progress on these connectivity schemes at Old Oak Common station, as with the possible exception of Hythe Road station, there’s little in it for South London.

Conclusion

Hythe Road station would certainly have made my journey easier yesterday.

Hopefully, though, if I do the journey again in the next year or so, Bond Street station will be open on the Lizzie Line and I’ll change to the Central Line there.

 

 

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Elizabeth/Central Line Interchange At Stratford – 23rd June 2022

During the rail strike yesterday, it was a good time to show how the interchange between the Elizabeth and Central Lines at Stratford station.

Note.

  1. I took these photographs from the London-bound platform.
  2. Platform 3 is the Central Line platform on the Southern side.
  3. Platform 3A is a second platform face to allow boarding of Central Line trains from both sides.
  4. Platform 5 is the Elizabeth Line platform on the Northern side.
  5. To the North of this pair of platforms, there is a second pair for Essex bound trains.
  6. Platform 6 is the Central Line platform on the Southern side.
  7. Platform 8 is the Elizabeth Line platform on the Northern side.

Due to the strike I only saw one Elizabeth Line train in the time I was there and I took that to Liverpool Street station.

Step-Free Access Between Train And Platform

These four pictures show the step between trains and platforms at the stations.

The step is bigger on the Elizabeth Line, but both sides could be improved.

This Is An Important Interchange

These two cross-platform changes at Stratford station form an important interchange on the Elizabeth Line and when the Elizabeth Line is fully operational, they will have the following trains.

  • Elizabeth Line – Peak – 16 tph
  • Elizabeth Line – Off-Peak – 12 tph
  • Central Line – Peak – 35 tph
  • Central Line – Off-Peak – 24 tph

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. These two double-sided platforms will be very busy.
  3. In the Peak, a train will arrive every seventy seconds.

I believe that this interchange will effectively make the Central Line stations, that are North-West of Stratford, a virtual extension of the Elizabeth Line.

A side-effect could be a rise in house prices near any of those Central Line stations.

Conclusion

This very important interchange, between the Underground and National Rail services was actually opened in October 1946.

It is surprising to me, that we don’t have more interchanges like this in the UK, between local and long-distance rail services.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Bank Station – 16th May 2022

The new Northern Line platforms at Bank station are now open and I went this morning to have a quick look.

These are my thoughts.

The New Southbound Platform Is Wide

The new Southbound platform is wide and compares well with the wide platform at Angel station, that I wrote about in All Platforms Should Be Wide Like This.

This picture shows the Southbound platform at Angel., which dates from 1992.

And this the new Southbound platform at Bank.

Two similar designs, but thirty years apart.

Simple Decor

The two pictures also illustrate the simple decor used in the rebuilt station.

The New Southbound Platform Is A Sprayed Concrete Tunnel

These pictures show the far wall of the new Southbound platform.

It looks from my untrained eye to be lined with sprayed concrete. I learned more about the use of sprayed concrete in tunnels, when I visited TUCA in Ilford, during Open House in 2012, which I wrote about in Open House – TUCA.

The Existing Northbound Platform Is Narrow

The Northbound platform is effectively as before, but with large and small holes in the wall to access a wide parallel pedestrian tunnel behind the wall.

There is a lot of circulation space.

The Parallel Pedestrian Tunnel

The old Southbound platform has been turned into a parallel pedestrian tunnel separated from the Northbound platform, by a wall that has four small and eight larger pedestrian-sized holes through it.

These pictures show a selections of the holes in the wall.

In addition.

  • The tunnel has escalators at the Southern end connecting to Monument station.
  • The tunnel has stairs at the Northern end to the Central Line.
  • Further connections will be added.
  • It also has seats along its length. These will be mainly for Northbound passengers, waiting for trains, who can see the trains through the large holes.

It is an unusual layout and I’ve never seen anything like it before anywhere in London, the UK, Europe or the world.

Wot No More Marble?

The Northbound Northern Line used to have a platform with marble facings.

Some of marble is still there as these pictures show.

Note that the old rat-run to the DLR is still there between the platforms.

The Wide Cross Tunnels

The wide cross tunnels link the two sides of the station together and to the escalators and moving walkways in the middle of the station.

This visualisation shows the station.


Note.

  1. The only more-or-less completed bits are the two Northern Line tunnels and platforms and parallel pedestrian tunnel.
  2. The four cross tunnels can be picked out towards the far end of the station.
  3. Three of the cross tunnels can now be used by passengers.
  4. The moving walkway can be accessed from the two cross tunnels nearest to the Central Line.
  5. The escalators from the yet-to-open Cannon Street entrance appear to lead directly into a cross tunnel and a parallel tunnel to the moving walkway.

This station has definitely been designed for rabbits.

Level Access To The Trains

This picture shows the level access on the new Southbound platform.

And this shows the step-up into the train on the old Northbound platform.

I wonder, if the platform can be raised to make the Northbound as good as the Southbound.

There Is Still A Lot To Do

At present the only sections of the project that are completed and visible to passengers are the following.

  • The new wide Southbound platform.
  • The refurbished Northbound platform, which is a similar width to before.
  • The wide passenger tunnel behind the Northbound platform, that was converted from the old Southbound tunnel.
  • The four new cross tunnels between the two platforms. Some still need finishing and there are spaces, where escalators will slot in.

It would appear that at least the following need to be done.

  • Open up the new Cannon Street entrance
  • Add the escalators and lifts.
  • Put in the moving walkways between the Northern and Central Lines.

But it looks that everything left to do is small compared to the tunnel work that needed the closure from January.

This page on the TfL web site gives these dates.

  • 16 May 2022: New southbound platform and concourse open
  • Autumn 2022: DLR escalator and Central line link open
  • Late 2022: Bank station capacity upgrade works due to be completed. New station with step-free access opens on Cannon Street.

It looks to me, that the project management has been done well and after hitting the first milestone, they appear to be on track.

 

 

 

May 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elizabeth Line To Open On 24 May 2022

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

This is the sub-title.

Trains to run every five minutes 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

And these are the first two paragraphs describe what will open.

Transport for London (TfL) has today confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday 24 May 2022. The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility with spacious new stations and walk-through trains. The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.

In the coming weeks, Elizabeth line signage will continue to be uncovered across the network in preparation for the start of customer service. The updated Tube and Rail map will also be released later showing the new central section stations connected with the rest of the TfL network for the first time.

These are some points from the rest of the press release.

  • Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
  • All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line.
  • Passengers wanting to do longer journeys may need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street stations.
  • Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.
  • Paddington and Canary Wharf will have a journey time of only 17 minutes. It takes thirty minutes by the Underground.
  • All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance.
  • Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.
  • Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on 24 May. It will open later in the year.
  • Changes will be made to 14 bus routes to improve links to Elizabeth line stations in east and south-east London, where many customers will use buses to get to and from stations.
  • Full services across the entire route introduced by May 2023.

I have some thoughts.

My Routes To Crossrail

Like many in London, I will have multiple routes to and from Crossrail.

  • I could take a 21 or a 141 bus from the bus stop round the corner to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 38 bus from another bus stop round the corner to Tottenham Court Road station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Angel station and get a Northern Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Essex Road station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 30 bus from this stop to Highbury & Islington station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 30, 38 or 56 from yet another stop round the corner to Dalston Junction station and get an Overground train to Whitechapel on Crossrail.
  • I could even walk a few hundred metres to take a 76 bus from the stop in the centre of de Beauvoir Town to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.

One of the reasons, I bought my house, was that it would have good connections to Crossrail.

But there is a cloud on the horizon.

My easiest route will probably be to use a 21 or 141 bus direct to Moorgate.

But our South London Mayor in his wisdom is hoping to retire the 21 bus leaving us with just the 141 direct to Moorgate.

I am by training a mathematical modeller and I have lived much of my life at various points on the transport corridor from Cockfosters to Moorgate formed by the Piccadilly Line and the 141 bus. I can even remember using the predecessor of the 141 bus, which was the 641 trolley-bus to come up to London with my grandmother in the 1950s.

I’m certain that when Crossrail opens, that if you live in say Wood Green, Southgate and Oakwood, if you want to use Crossrail to get to Heathrow or Canary Wharf, you will be highly likely to take the Piccadilly Line to Manor House and then take a 141 bus to Moorgate to pick up Crossrail.

The only alternative will be to change at Finsbury Park for the Moorgate Line, which even after the improvements at Finsbury Park, would not be an easy change with a heavy bag or a baby in a buggy.

I talked about this problem before in Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?, where I said this.

I suspect that when Crossrail opens, the 141 bus will be heavily used by travellers going between the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail at Moorgate.

The 141 bus goes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green and it has a route length of about nine miles.

Currently, buses run every fifteen minutes or so, but I doubt it will be enough in future as Transport for London are rerouting the closely-related 21 bus.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

It should be noted that the 43 bus, that passes Moorgate, is already carbon-free.

I will be interested to see what action is taken by Transport for London.

I believe their current plan is lacking and will make it difficult for those where I live to get to Crossrail at Moorgate.

Feeder Bus Routes To Crossrail

I believe that there could be considerable scope for more high-capacity high-quality feeder routes to and from Crossrail.

Currently, there are four bus routes that pass Moorgate station, that come into this category.

  • 21 – Lewisham Shopping Centre and Newington Green
  • 43 – London Bridge Station and Friern Barnet
  • 76 – Waterloo Station and Stoke Newington
  • 141 – London Bridge Station and Palmers Green

How many other routes are there, that stop outside a Crossrail station?

I suspect that for many Londoners and visitors, a bus to Crossrail will be their fastest way to their ultimate destination.

For instance, my fastest way to Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Ealing, Heathrow, Paddington and Reading will start with a bus to the Crossrail entrance at Moorgate station.

And it looks like Transport for London will be reducing my bus frequency to Moorgate, when it probably needs a slight increase.

Crossrail’s North-West Essex Extension

One of the elegant parts of Crossrail’s design is its interchange with the Central Line at Stratford station.

  • The Eastbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.
  • The Westbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.

This arrangement allows step-free cross-platform interchange between the two lines.

This map, which was clipped from Wikipedia, shows the North-Eastern end of the Central Line.

I am sure, that those who live to the North-East of Stratford station will be some of the residents of London, who benefit the most from Crossrail.

The following stations are step-free.

  • Buckhurst Hill
  • Debden
  • Epping
  • Hainault
  • Newbury Park
  • Roding Valley
  • South Woodford
  • Stratford
  • Woodford

I suspect more stations will be made step-free.

Cross-Platform Interchanges

It was originally planned, that a similar cross-platform interchange would have been built at Walthamstow Central station, that would have allowed the Victoria Line to continue to Woodford.

As the Stratford interchange works so well, I’m surprised the track layout hasn’t been used at more places on London’s rail network.

The Whitechapel Reverse

In Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be A Jewel In The East?, I discussed the importance of Whitechapel station.

Whitechapel station solves the round-the-corner problem for passengers, who want to go between say Romford and Woolwich stations.

Passengers just walk the few metres between the two platforms at Whitechapel station and take the first train to their destination.

I will be interested to see if Crossrail has an effect on traffic over the Dartfood Crossing and through the tunnels. How many will use Crossrail instead, when they are visiting their team, clients or family on the other side of the river?

I call stations like Whitechapel reversal stations, as they allow passengers to easily reverse direction. There is more about reversal stations in Reversal Stations.

The New Tube Map

These pictures show the new tube map.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown as a double purple line.
  2. Thameslink is also shown as a double pink line.
  3. There are certainly some drawing gymnastics to fit it all in.

But Harry Beck’s design survives.

Abbey Wood Station

The more I look at the design of Abbey Wood station and compare it to the Crossrail/Central interchange at Stratford, the more I think it is a substandard station.

Would it have been better, if one island platform had been designed for Westbound services and the other had been designed for Eastbound services? Crossrail services might be on the outside with North Kent services between the two island platforms.

This would have enabled a journey between say Rochester and Bond Street to have been done with a simple cross-platform change at Abbey Wood station.

No Victoria Line Interchange

I was surprised by these omissions.

This article on London Reconnections is entitled Horrible Holborn: When Postponement Is Not An Option.

It is well worth a read.

One section is entitled The interchange that isn’t, where this is said.

Whilst modelling showed that Bond St and Tottenham Court Road would be capable of managing the expected passengers once the Elizabeth line opens, it was clear that a combined Oxford Circus/Bond St (Crossrail) east entrance could not. If you have ever wondered why the Elizabeth line has no sub-surface interchange with the Victoria line at Oxford Circus despite the eastern ends of the Bond Street platforms being tantalisingly close, this is your answer. As the Victoria line at Oxford Circus is never likely to be able to handle the expected numbers of people that would board if there were direct access from the Bond St Crossrail platforms, it appears the two stations will never be linked with publicly accessible passages below ground.

In other words, you would solve the problem of the interchange between the Elizabeth and Victoria Lines and create severe overcrowding on the Victoria Line.

When I have supper with my son at the Angel, he comes from his home in Walthamstow, via a cross-platform change at Euston.

Routes like this allow those that live on the Victoria Line to access the Elizabeth Line.

No Piccadilly Line Interchange

The article says this about an Elizabeth Line station at Holborn.

It is pertinent to note that an early plan to have a Crossrail station at Holborn was abandoned. In reality, it would have been too close to Tottenham Court Road station to be really worthwhile. It would have restricted the alignment (bearing in mind that sub-surface Crossrail stations have to be straight and level). It would also have added considerable expense and may have put the entire project at risk. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t a good business case. Whilst a station on the scale of the Elizabeth line could not be justified, however, an improvement of the existing Holborn station could.

The article also says that upgrading Holborn station would not be easy, even without the connection to the Elizabeth Line.

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

London’s Other New Underground Line

In the middle of next month, Phase One of London’s other new Underground line will open.

The Bank station upgrade may only be a short section of new Southbound tunnel and track for the Northern Line and a much expanded station, but it promises to do proportionally for the City of London, what Crossrail will do for the whole of London.

The lucky Ian of IanVisits has been allowed to descend into the depths of the new section of the station with his camera and has posted this report on his web site, which is entitled Behind The Scenes At Bank Tube Station’s Huge Upgrade Project. The report contains twenty-four revealing photographs.

If ever there was a must-read, then Ian’s article must be it.

 

March 30, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Last Look At Bank Station Before Shutdown

On Sunday, I took a last look at the Northern Line before its closure on January 15th until mid-May 2022.

Note.

  1. The tunnel without cladding on the wall is the Southbound tunnel.
  2. The Southern tunnel will be opened up and will become a platform for the Northern tunnel.
  3. The doors in the Southern tunnel will lead to the new Southern tunnel, which is a number of metres to the West.
  4. The last two pictures are on the Central Line.

I had a brief chat with staff and they are not sure yet, if the Waterloo and City Line will be open during the closure.

January 12, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Epping Station – 30th August 2021

In Essex Councillors Call For Underground Link, I discussed the pros and cons of extending the Central Line from Epping station to Harlow.

As I didn’t have any pictures of Epping station. I went to the station and took these.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Epping station.

Note.

  1. There are two platforms both of which are used to terminate trains.
  2. Platform 2 is step-free, but Platform 1 is only step-free for exit only.
  3. There is a large car park with 541 spaces including twelve for disabled drivers.

I suspect this means, that someone who has difficulty with the bridge and has parked their car in the car park has a problem.

To my mind there are two obvious solutions.

  • Put in a second step-free bridge at the station.
  • If no trains go past the ends of the platform, it might be possible to build a level walkway across the two tracks.

It would all depend on the budget and any plans to extend the Central Line to Harlow or on to the tracks of the Epping Ongar Railway.

It would certainly be possible to extend Platform 1 to serve as a platform for the Epping Ongar Railway and have a walkway across the tracks  to give step-free access between all three platforms.

  • It would make the heritage Epping Ongar Railway into a unique London tourist attraction with direct access from the Underground.
  • It might even be possible for the heritage railway to run connection services between Epping and Ongar at times, when they would be financially worthwhile and operationally possible.

There are certainly possibilities.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Essex Councillors Call For Underground Link

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

This is the first paragraph.

Councillors in Harlow are calling for a new Underground link, saying that they are examining ‘all possibilities for improving and modernising transport connections’.

I’ve tackled this subject before in Does Harlow Need An Improved Train Service?, but this time I’m starting with what is possible and working backwards.

Harlow’s Current Train Service

Currently, these trains serve Harlow Town station.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 2 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Bishop’s Stortford, Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale and Stansted Mountfitchet

In addition these services run through Harlow Town station without stopping.

  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 2 tph – via Tottenham Hale

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. The Stansted services are fast services and take 29 minutes between London Liverpool Street and Harlow Town.
  3. The other services seem to take a few minutes longer.

Summarising the services gives the following.

  • Eight tph pass through the station of which six tph stop.
  • Cambridge and Cambridge North has a 2 tph service.
  • London Liverpool Street has a 4 tph service.
  • Stansted Airport has a 2 tph service.
  • Stratford has a 2 tph service.
  • Tottenham Hale has a 6 tph service.

Each of Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains, when working as a ten-car formation can carry well over a thousand passengers.

Harlow Town station has a fairly good service, but it could probably be improved.

What Are Harlow’s Councillors Suggesting

This paragraph in the Railnews article gives the councillors wish list.

Harlow Councillor Michael Hardware is portfolio holder for strategic growth. He said: ‘With Harlow’s close proximity to London our plans include investigating the potential for the extension of the central line to Harlow, lobbying to extend London Transport Zones to Harlow, examining connectivity to Crossrail 2 and promoting four tracking of the main line to Stansted Airport as well as improving existing public transport links in and out of the town.

I’ll look at each proposal in turn.

Extending The Central Line To Harlow

Epping and Harlow are about nine miles apart.

This Google Map shows the two towns and the M11 that runs to the East of both towns.

Note.

  1. Epping is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Harlow, which is a large town of nearly 90,000 residents is at the top of the map.
  3. The M11 runs North-South across the map to the East of both towns.
  4. North Weald Airfield lies to the East of the motorway.

Would it be possible to run an extension of the Central Line from Epping to Harlow?

It could run up the West side of the motorway.

  • The terminus could be in South-East Harlow close to Junction 7 of the M11.
  • Any plans for the development of North Weald Airfield could have a big effect on any plans.

This Google Map shows the location of Epping station with respect to the motorway.

Note Epping station is in the South-West corner of the map.

Running North-East from the station, the dark green scar of the single-track Epping Ongar Railway can be picked out, as it runs between St. Margaret’s Hospital and the village of Coopersale.

This third Google Map shows the railway as it passes under the M11.

Would it be possible to use the route of this line to connect to a new line alongside the motorway?

This fourth Google Map shows Epping tube station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms, but is not step-free.
  2. It has a large car-park.
  3. Trains take thirty-seven minutes between Epping and Liverpool Street stations.
  4. Trains have a frequency of nine tph.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Epping station and the interface with the Epping Ongar Railway.

Note.

  1. The Epping Ongar Railway has always been single track.
  2. The crossovers to the South of Epping station allow either platform to be used for Central Line services.
  3. When the Central Line ran to Ongar, it looks like all services used Platform 1 at Epping.

I feel that it might be possible to create an extension to Harlow, by doing something like the following.

  • Add a second bi-directional  track alongside the Epping Ongar Railway between Epping station and the M11.
  • Extend Platform 1 to the North, so that the heritage trains can load and unload passengers at Epping station.
  • The Central Line platforms would be unaltered, so could still handle the nine tph they currently handle.
  • Trains to and from Harlow would always use Platform 2.

At the M11, the new bi-directional track would turn North and become double-track to Harlow.

  • The double-track would allow trains to pass.
  • If the rolling stock for the Central Line has been renewed, it might be possible to run the extension on battery power.
  • If Harlow had a single platform, it would be possible to run four tph to Harlow.
  • The current 2012 Stock trains have a capacity of around a thousand passengers.
  • I estimate that trains would take about ten minutes between Epping station and the new Harlow station.

I feel something is possible, but building the line might be easier if new battery-electric trains were available, as this would probably allow the extension to be built without electrification.

On the other hand, it might not have the greatest financial case.

  • It could be difficult to add large numbers of passengers to the Central Line.
  • At around forty-seven minutes, the Central Line service will be slower than the main line trains, which currently take around a dozen minutes less.

I’ll be interested to see what the professionals say.

Extending London Transport Zones To Harlow

Harlow Town station has ticket barriers, but I don’t think it is part of London’s contactless card zone.

Adding Harlow Town and all stations between Harlow Town and the zone could be very beneficial to passengers and train companies.

Examining Connectivity To Crossrail 2

I think that in the current economic situation this should be discounted.

  • It is a very expensive project.
  • Building it will cause tremendous disruption on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • It is only planned to go as far as Broxbourne station.

But I don’t think politicians from outside London and the South-East would sanction another massive project for London.

I don’t think Crossrail 2 will ever be build in its currently proposed form.

Four Tracking Of The Main Line To Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Currently, the numbers of trains on the West Anglia Main Line is under twelve tph.
  • Modern double-track railways with the latest digital in-cab signalling like Thameslink and Crossrail can handle twice this number of trains.
  • The West Anglia Main Line will be getting new trains with better acceleration.

Four-tracking is mainly needed to cut times to Cambridge and Stansted Airport, but I suspect that with some clever design and improved signalling, the current double-track can be improved significantly.

Improving Existing Public Transport Links In And Out Of The Town

I think that this could be a fruitful area.

  • As I said earlier, Harlow has only 6 tph trains stopping in the station.
  • I believe this could be increased to at least 10 tph, if the West Anglia Main Line were to be modernised.
  • Extending London Transport Zones To Harlow, which I discussed earlier would surely help.
  • Is there enough car parking?
  • Are there enough buses to the stations?
  • Would a fleet of zero-carbon buses tempt people to use them?
  • Would it be possible to run a hydrogen commuter bus service up and down the M11 between say Harlow and Ilford for Crossrail?, as is being done in Dublin, that I wrote about in Three Hydrogen Double Decker Buses Set For Dublin.

Hopefully, Harlow’s councillors would have a few good ideas.

A Few Thoughts On What Is Possible

These are a few of my thoughts on what is possible.

Digital Signalling Could Increase The Number of Trains Per Hour Significantly

Consider.

  • Currently, the West Anglia Main Line handles ten tph between Liverpool Street and Bishops Stortford.
  • Thameslink handles 24 tph with digital signalling.
  • Crossrail will handle 24 tph with digital signalling.
  • High Speed Two will handle eighteen tph.

I certainly believe that another four tph could be easily handled through the two Harlow stations, with full digital signalling.

Perhaps a frequency of eight tph, that would match TfL Rail between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield would be ideal.

If it works for Shenfield it should work for Harlow!

Rebuild Cheshunt Station

Cheshunt station with its level crossing is a bottleneck and any increase in the number of trains through the station will need the level crossing to be replaced by a bridge.

But developers are talking of high class housing in the area and removal of the level crossing appears to be in their plans.

New High-Capacity Class 720 Trains

Pairs of five-car Class 720 trains are coming to the West Anglia Main Line and each pair will carry over a thousand passengers.

These will be used on four tph, that call at Harlow Town station.

Turn Trains In The High Meads Loop at Stratford Station

The single-track Wirral Line Loop under Liverpool handles up to sixteen tph.

Network Rail built a double-track loop under the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which calls at Platforms 11 and 12 in Stratford.

If this loop was used to turn trains it could probably handle at least twelve tph on one platform.

Liverpool Street currently handles these trains that go up the West Anglia Main Line or the Lea Valley Lines.

  • 6 tph – Greater Anglia
  • 6 tph – London Overground

It looks to me that the terminal capacity in London could be as high as 20 tph.

Run More Trains On A Digitally-Signalled Route Through Seven Sisters

Just four tph run on the London Overground route through Seven Sisters station.

Compare that with the East London Line of the London Overground, where sixteen tph run between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

The London Overground has ambitions to run four tph to Cheshunt and Enfield Town, as they do to Chingford, but that would only up the frequency through Seven Sisters to eight tph.

The tracks in the area also allow trains from Stratford to use the lines through Seven Sisters stations to go North.

Run West Anglia And Lea Valley Services Together

Currently, Greater Anglia and London Overground seem to do their own things, but surely properly integrated and with the moving of more services to the London Overground, I suspect that everything could be more efficient.

I believe that by using Liverpool Street and Stratford as twin London terminals for Lea Valley services, that upwards of twenty tph can on digitally-signalled West Anglia Main Line and the Lea Valley Lines.

These are the current trains.

  • Bishops Stortford – 2 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 2 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 2 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

  1. This is a total of eighteen tph
  2. The pinch point is surely the stretch between Bethnal Green and Clapton stations, which handles 14 tph including a mix of fast expresses and London Overground services.
  3. On the other hand the route through Seven Sisters is handling just four tph.
  4. Ten tph run between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations on the West Anglia Main Line.
  5. Only two tph terminate in Stratford.

If the Cheshunt and Enfield Town services are increased to 4 tph, as is London Overground’s aspirations we get the following.

  • Bishops Stortford – 2 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 4 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 4 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

This is a total of twenty-two tph.

But there is still plenty of spare capacity at Stratford and through Seven Sisters.

If our objective is more trains through Harlow, why not double up the Stratford and Bishops Stortford service.

  • Bishops Stortford – 4 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 4 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 4 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

  1. This is a total of twenty-four tph.
  2. Harlow will have eight tph to and from London.
  3. There will be 8 tph through Seven Sisters.
  4. There will be twelve tph between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations on the West Anglia Main Line.
  5. Four tph will terminate at Stratford.

Perhaps to reduce the trains on the West Anglia Main Line, the Hertford East trains could go via Seven Sisters.

But that would mean that stations like Brimsdown and Ponders End would lose a lot of their service.

So why not add extra stops to the Bishops Stortford services?

Conclusion

I believe that by doing the following.

  • Adding digital signalling to all lines.
  • Turning more trains at Stratford.
  • Using the route through Seven Sisters at a much higher frequency.
  • Rebuilding Cheshunt station and level crossing.
  • Reorganising stops on the West Anglia Main Line.

That it would be possible to create a high-frequency Metro up the Lea Valley.

Except for the digital signalling and Cheshunt station, there is not much work to do on the infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Moorgate Station’s Old Entrance Has Now Reopened

I went to Moorgate station today, as the old entrance has now reopened with lifts and stairs to the sub-surface lines.

Note.

  1. The stairs down to the tunnel connecting the Northern Line and Crossrail look a bit steep.
  2. The ceiling design in the entrance lobby.
  3. The escalators down to Crossrail at the Southern side of the entrance lobby.
  4. The gate line is very wide.

The oversite development, which is still being built, will surely tidy up the entrance.

In The New Lift To The Northern Line At Moorgate Station, I showed and described this visualisation.

Note.

  1. The Northern City Line is shown in purple.
  2. The double escalator going down to between the two terminal platforms of the Northern City Line.
  3. The Northern Line is shown in black and the two platforms are underneath the Northern City Line.
  4. The Northern Line tunnels cross over the top of the Crossrail running tunnels.

The dark green tunnel with the right angle bend at the top of the map, is the pedestrian tunnel that connects the Northern Line and Crossrail.

The tunnel will be accessed from the Northern line platforms by the lift or the stairs, shown in the first two pictures.

Alternatively, you will be able to take he rat-up-the-drainpipe route to the surface from the Northern Line, that I described in Up From The Depths At Moorgate Station. That route is escalators all the way and then the lift in the pictures to the main entrance lobby.

On August 1st 2021, I finally took the lift from the Westbound Hammersmith & City, Circle and Metropolitan platform to the new ticket hall and took these pictures.

This is a general view of the lift.

This is the information plate on the outside of the lift at the sub-surface platform level.

It shows two lifts from the Sub-service platforms to the new ticket hall.

This picture shows the lift buttons on the outside of the lift at the sub-surface platform level.

It appears you can go up and down.

The down must mean that there is a level below the sub-surface platform level.

These are the buttons inside the lift.

It appears that there is a level below the platforms, which passengers can use.

Although it is not named on the plate, the lift must connect to the right-angled tunnel to the Northern and Northern City Lines.

  • It does appear that of the two lifts between the new ticket hall and the sub-surface platform level, only one accesses the connecting tunnel.
  • It might also mean that passengers in wheelchairs will need to use two lifts between the Northern Line and the Eastbound sub-surface platform.

I did see another tunnel from the lift on the Westbound sub-surface platform, stretching to the East.

Let’s hope I’m wrong or it will be sorted before opening.

Moorgate station appears to be getting extremely complicated.

 

July 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment