The Anonymous Widower

Updating The Central Line

The Central Line will breathe two huge sighs of relief in the next eighteen months.

  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations in December 2018.
  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Shenfield and Paddington stations in May 2019.

Travellers, from London, other parts of the UK and abroad will then have the following.

  • Five  East-West interconnected routes across Central London; Metropolitan, Central, Elizabeth, District and Jubilee Lines.
  • Massive transport interchanges at Canary Wharf, Stratford, Whitechapel, Liverpool Street, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Paddington will tie it all together.
  • Liverpool Street. Whitechapel and Stratford will allocate passengers in the East of Central London.
  • Paddington will allocate passengers in the West of Central London.

And this is before the Elizabeth Line opens between Paddington and all stations to Heathrow and Reading in December 2019.

The Central Line After the Elizabeth Line Opens

So will the Central Line become a little-used backwater?

  • Holborn is a major interchange with the Piccadilly Line, which is that line’s only access to the Central or Elizabeth Lines.
  • Oxford Circus is a major interchange with the Victoria  Line, which is that line’s only access to the Central or Elizabeth Lines.
  • Holborn, Oxford Circus, Marble Arch and other stations are destinations in their own right.
  • The overcrowding of the Central Line probably kept passengers away and after freeing up will they come back?

I suspect that in a few years time it will be as busy as it ever was!

Improving the Central Line

It is my view, and probably that of Transport for London, that improvements need to be made to the Central Line.

Three projects are underway.

The Central Line Train Upgrade

This article on Railway-news.com is untitled London Underground’s Central Line Trains Set For Upgrade.

Currently, the Central Line‘s 1992 Stock have DC motors, which will be replaced by more efficient AC motors  and a sophisticated control system.

The cost of the upgrade will be £112.1 million or about £1.3 million per train.

Transport for London are only making a reliability claim for the upgrade. Hopefully, if the trains are more reliable, then more can be in service. so can a higher frequency be run?

I also think in addition, the trains could possibly accelerate faster from stops, thus reducing the dwell times at stations and ultimately the journey times.

  • Epping to West Ruislip currently takes ninety minutes with 38 stops.
  • Ealing Broadway to Newbury Park takes sixty minutes with 24 stops.
  • Northolt to Loughton takes sixty-seven minutes with 28 stops.

Saving just ten seconds on each stop will reduce journey times by several minutes.

I suspect that Transport for London will rearrange the timetable to increase the service frequency from the current twenty-four trains per hour (tph).

It will be interesting to see what frequency of trains and journey times are achieved, when all the Central Line trains have been updated.

Bank Station Capacity Upgrade

This page on the Transport for London web site gives details of this important upgrade at Bank station, which is already underway. It starts with this paragraph.

Bank and Monument stations form the third busiest interchange on the London Underground network. Work we’re doing to substantially improve the capacity of Bank station should finish in 2022.

It lists these improvements.

  • A new railway tunnel and platform for the Northern line that will reduce interchange times and create more space for passengers
  • Step-free access to the Northern line and DLR platforms
  • More direct routes within the station, with two new moving walkways
  • Two new lifts and 12 new escalators
  • A new station entrance in Cannon Street

There will also be a new entrance in Wallbrook Square under the Bloomberg Building, which is planned to open this year.

Comprehensive is a good word to describe the upgrade.

I avoid the Northern Line platforms at Bank because they are so narrow. After the upgrade, I will have no need.

Holborn Station Capacity Upgrade

This page on the Transport for London web site, gives details of this important upgrade at Holborn station. It starts with this paragraph.

We’re proposing changes at Holborn station that would make it substantially easier for customers to enter, exit and move around the station. Subject to funding and permissions, work on the station would start in the early 2020s.

I don’t think this upgrade can come too soon.

As with some parts of Bank station, I avoid Holborn station.

What Still Needs To Be Planned?

The major projects left must surely be upgrading the capacity and providing step-free access at the following Central London stations.

St. Paul’s And Chancery Lane

St. Paul’s and Chancery Lane stations both need step-free access, but the problems of installing lifts at the two stations would be surprisingly similar, as both stations have a similar layout.

  • Both stations will need lift access to the ticket halls, which are below street level.
  • At both stations, the two Central Line tracks are unusually arranged one on top of the other.
  • Even more unusually, the Westbound tunnel is on top at St. Paul’s and the Eastbound tunnel at Chancery Lane.
  • At both stations, escalators lead down to a spacious lobby, which has direct access to the top platform.
  • St. Paul’s has two escalators and a staircase, whereas Chancery Lane has three escalators.
  • From the low-level lobby, two short escalators and a staircase lead down to the bottom platform.

It may be possible to provide lifts that go from the ticket hall to both platforms as before rebuilding in the 1930s, this arrangement was used.

Both stations might also be suitable for the application of inclined lifts.

For instance, would two escalators and an inclined lift handle the lower transfer at both stations?

Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus is a busy interchange, where the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Lines cross each other.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Oxford Circus station.

Note.

  1. The Cemtral Line, shown in red, was built under Oxford Street to avoid disturbing the buildings.
  2. The Bakerloo Line, shown in brown, was built under Regent Street.
  3. The Victoria Line, shown in light blue was cleverly threaded through in the 1960s to give cross-platform interchange with the Bakerloo Line.
  4. The dotted purple lines are the Elizabeth Line.
  5. Between the two dotted lines, the Eastern End of the platforms at Bond Street station can be seen.

These pictures show the buildings at the four corners of Oxford Circus.

Wikipedia says this about these buildings.

Oxford Circus was designed as part of the development of Regent Street by the architect John Nash in 1810. The four quadrants of the circus were designed by Sir Henry Tanner and constructed between 1913 and 1928.

Note.

  1. The building on the North-East corner used to be Peter Robinson and is Grade II Listed.
  2. The other three corner buildings are also Listed.
  3. The shops in the two Southern corners are being refurbished.

I believe that the following is needed at Oxford Circus station.

  • Measures to alleviate the overcrowding.
  • Full step-free access to all platforms.
  • Improved access to the Central Line platforms.
  • Better interchange between the Bakerloo/Victoria platforms and the Central Line.

In some ways, the biggest problem in the next few years will be passengers changing between the Victoria and Elizabeth Lines. Passengers between say Walthamstow and Heathrow will probably want to change between Oxford Circus station and the new Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station.

  • The planned pedestrianisation of Oxford Street will obviously help, especially if the roads around Hanover Square, like Harewood Place and Princes Street are similarly treated.
  • Joining the Victoria Line at Oxford Circus is not a problem, as there are four entrances to the ticket hall under Oxford Circus, a large number of entrance gates and four escalators down to the trains.
  • But on arrival at the station, you are forced to exit from the station about fifty metres East of the station, which means you’re going the wrong way for the Elizabeth Line.

It strikes me what is needed is a new entrance to the station on the South Western corner of Oxford Circus.

But would this alone satisfy the needs of this station?

More Station Entrances On Oxford Street

For Crossrail, Bond Street station is being given two new entrances in Davies Street and Hanover Square.

But it is also being given another entrance on the North side of Oxford Street, to give better access to the Central and Jubilee Lines.

The picture shows the new entrance tucked away in what will probably become a new development.

So could this technique be used on Oxford Street to improve station access?

Look at the map of the lines at Oxford Circus station earlier in the post and you will notice that the Central Line platforms extend to the East. I took these pictures around where the platforms could end.

Could there be space to squeeze in another entrance to the Eastern end of the Central Line platforms?

It probably won’t be possible whilst traffic is running up and down Oxford Street. But after the road is pedestrianised, it would surely be much easier to dig down to the Central Line , which is not very deep below the surface of Oxford Street.

Marble Arch

Marble Arch station is at the Western end of Oxford Street. Wikipedia says this about the station.

The station was modernised (2010) resulting in new finishes in all areas of the station, apart from the retention of various of the decorative enamel panels at platform level.

But has it got the capacity needed?

It is also not step-free and needs lifts.

New Trains In The Mid 2020s

Under Future and Cancelled Plans in the Wikipedia entry for the Central Line, this is said.

The Central line was the first Underground line to receive a complete refurbishment in the early 1990s, including the introduction of new rolling stock. A new generation of deep-level tube trains, as well as signaling upgrades, is planned for the mid-2020s, starting with the Piccadilly line, followed by the Bakerloo Line and the Central Line.

The new trains would fit well to replace the current trains and give an increase of capacity to the line.

Possible Developments

These are possible developments.

Shoreditch High Street Station

There is a possibility of connecting Shoreditch High Street station to the Central Line.

This is said under Plans in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak hours.

Given that in a few years time, the following will have happened.

  • There will have been a lot of development in Shoreditch.
  • The East London Line will  have a frequency of twenty-four trains per hour.

The connection may be worth creating.

On the other hand, the Elizabeth Line may make the connection unnecessary, as travellers can use the two connections at Stratford and Whitechapel stations.

Mile End Station

If ever there was a station, where step-free access would surely be worthwhile it must be Mile End station.

Consider.

  • It is a busy station.
  • It has cross-platform access between District/Metropolitan and the Central Lines.
  • It has a cab rank.

Knowing the station fairly well, I suspect fitting the probably three lifts required would not be the most challenging of tasks.

Eastern Improvements

Crossrail has a step-free cross-platform interchange with the Central Line at Stratford, which will have the following effects.

Changing at Stratford will give better access to and from  Oxford Street, Paddington and Heathrow.

Crossrail trains will be larger, more comfortable, better equipped and probably less crowded.

Journey time savings will be six minutes to Bond Street and nineteen minutes to Ealing Broadway stations.

Taken with the improved Central Line trains, it all must result in increased patronage in the East.

But there are twenty stations East of Stratford, of which only four are step-free.

So I suspect that Transport for London will make strenuous efforts to improve the Eastern end of the Central Line.

  • More step-free access.
  • Better bus services.
  • More small retail outlets at stations.

I believe that in ten years time, the Eastern station will be very different.

Western Improvements

West of Marble Arch, there are seventeen stations, of which by 2020 only two will be step-free.; Ealing Broadway and Greenford.

Improvements will probably a similar pattern to the East, although there are rumours of rebuilding some stations.

Conclusion

There’s a lot of scope for improvement in the Central Line.

 

 

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oxford Street Could Be Pedestrianised By Next Christmas

The title of this post is the same as the sub-title of this article in the Independent.

The aim is to pedestrianise Oxford Street from Oxford Street to Orchard Street by December 2018, which is the date when the Elizabeth Line will open.

It is an ambitious plan and despite substantial backing from the Mayor, Westminster City Council, the West End Company and groups like the British Heart Foundation, I don’t think it will be plain sailing.

Walking Along Oxford Street

In Walking Along Oxford Street, I show various pictures I took this morning whilst walking between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road stations.

Oxford Street looked to have improved, since I last did this. But then it’s a long time since I’ve walked the streets without crowds.

My views are as follows.

Measuring Success Or Failure

The success or failure of the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street is very easy to gauge.

The rate of change of turnover is a direct measure.

The Buses

I regularly go shopping in Oxford Street and often used a bus to travel there and back.

I used to be able to get a 73 bus from either 200 metres from my house or by changing at the Angel. But since the 73 has been cut back to Oxford Circus, I’ve tended to use the Underground, often by taking a bus to Bank for the Central Line.

Under Sadiq Khan’s plan all buses will be removed from Oxford Street and only the 139 and the 390  will remain, being rerouted along Wigmore Street.

A lot of people who go to Oxford Street regularly by bus, will lose their direct bus route. How will they react?

Will they use the Underground or the Elizabeth Line or will they go shopping elsewhere?

Since the 73 has been cut back, I think I’ve also gone to Oxford Street a lot less.

Why? I’ve no idea.

But it could be, that regularly, I’d buy something in John Lewis,Selfridges or perhaps in Bond Street and get straight on a 73 bus to the Angel, where I just got off the bus and waited until a bus home arrived at the same stop. As the 73 buses are New Routemasters, they’re a real shoppers’ bus and a lot easier than the Underground.

The Underground And Crossrail

Oxford Street will have the following stations and entrances as you proceed from East to West.

  • Holborn – Central and Piccadilly
  • Tottenham Court Road (Current Entrance) – Central, Elizabeth and Northern
  • Tottenham Court Road (Dean Street Entrance) – Central and Elizabeth
  • Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria
  • Bond Street – Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee
  • Marble Arch – Central

Between Oxford Circus and Orchard Street, which will be the first section to be pedestrianised, you’ll never be more than two hundred metres from a fully step-free Elizabeth Line station.

Will this be enough to do away with the buses on Oxford Street?

Holborn station is being expanded with a new entrance, so will Oxford Circus and Marble Arch be upgraded?

Cycling

This will be banned. Although the plan envisages alternative cycle routes to the North and South.

Taxis

These will be banned from Oxford Street. Taxi ranks will be provided.

Will this be acceptable to the taxi drivers?

Uber And Mini-Cabs

These will be banned from Oxford Street.

How will these effect the surrounding streets?

Deliveries

How will these be arranged? You can’t get behind all the shops!

The Stalls

There are lots of stalls selling various goods along Oxford Street.

Will the stallholders give up their pitches quietly, if necessary?

Security

I’m no security expert, but after the latest attacks in the UK and Europe, surely keeping out vehicles must remove the weapon of choice from a large group of terrorists.

Local Residents

There are quite a few residents in the area perhaps two hundred metres on either side of Oxford Street.

They could be the biggest losers with traffic cramming  the side streets.

Timing

Crossrail opens in December 2018. Does this mean the 1st, 31st or some day in between?

How do you time the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street to fit in with Crossrail?

Especially, as December 2018 will probably contain Christmas!

Conclusion

There is going to be a lot of discussion about this scheme.

As to my view, I like pedestrianised streets and Oxford Street should have gone this way years ago.

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , , | 13 Comments

Can Between Rayners Lane And Uxbridge Stations Be Step-Free?

I took a Metropolitan Line train to Ucbridge station today and took these pictures, taken at stations between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations, where the line is shared between Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines.

Note.

  1. Between platforms and Metropolitan Line trains access is generally good.
  2. Only Uxbridge and Hillingdon stations are fully step-free.
  3. There is no special provision for Piccadilly Line trains.

Making this section of line fully step-free is going to be difficult.

It may be very much step-free now for Metropolitan Line trains, but look at this picture of a Piccadilly Line train at Rayners  Lane station.

This certainly won’t meet the spirit if not the law of the the Persons of Reduced Mobility regulations.

The Platform Edge Door Issue

This article in London Reconnections is entitled Upgrading the Piccadilly: Calling Time on Mind the Gap?. It is an article that is well worth reading.

This is said about the platform train interface.

On modern transport networks once a system is designed to be UTO-capable then a mandatory requirement almost always now follows – the network or line in question should have platform-edge doors at all stations, including the above ground ones. Furthermore platform levels must be aligned with the floor level of the trains.

UTO means Unattended Train Operation.

I put London Reconnections on my list of trusted sites like The BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times and several railway web sites, so I would rate this interpretation correct.

The new Piccadilly Line trains will certainly be built to be UTO-capable, as on past form, they will be built to last at least forty years. Could we guarantee that UTO won’t come in during their lifetime?

Note that  one of the regulations associated with trains being UTO-capable, is that platform and train floors must be aligned.

This is not only good for passengers, including those in wheelchairs and buggies, and those overloaded with shopping, but it’s also good for train companies, as dwell times at stations can generally be reduced and staff don’t have to deal with cumbersome wheelchair ramps.

But, I think that these regulations mean that it is very difficult for two types of train to share the same platform.

This principle was probably obvious to the engineer, who designed the platforms at Stratford station in the 1930s, where main line services are on one side and the Central Line is on the other.

The principle certainly seems to be involved in the design of the tram-train interchange platforms at Rotherham Central station.

Lower level extensions are being built at the Sheffield (far) ends of the platforms, so passengers changing, will just walk along the platform.

  • The longer high-level section will be able to handle the longest train likely to call, which will probably be about eight-cars.
  • The shorter low-level section will be able to handle the longest tram likely to call, which will probably be a forty metre Class 399 tram-train.

It’s a simple layout, but it would mean a very long platform, if it were to be used with sub-service and deep-level Underground trains sharing a platform.

Applying The Regulations Between Rayners Lane And Uxbridge Stations

I believe these regulations will mean that only three ways to meet the regulations are possible.

  • Separate tracks and platforms between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations.
  • Extremely long bi-level platforms.
  • Only one type of train serves the branch.

The first two options would probably be too expensive, but I believe that by good design and some clever reworking of the tracks at Rayners Lane station.

A Redesigned Rayners Lane Station

So could Rayners Lane station be redesigned to meet all the regulations and provide a much-improved passenger experience.

Step-Free Access

This picture shows the 1930s stairs at Rayners Lane station.

The station may be Grade II Listed, but this is not acceptable any more.

As is the platform-train interface shown in the first picture!

|Adding lifts and improving the stairs will be a major undertaking.

The Metropolitan Line Service

The Peak service is ten trains per hour (tph) in both directions, with a reduction to eight tph in the Off Peak.

Once the Four Lines Modernisation (4LM) is completed in 2023, these frequencies will be increased.

The journey between Aldgate and Uxbridge stations currently takes an hour.

This journey  time is awkward from the point of scheduling the trains. The new signalling will probably reduce this to such a time, that the train could do the journey, turnround and be ready to return within an hour.

This would mean a higher frequency of trains without adding to the fleet. Although, it will probably mean that more drivers will need to be trained, which is a lot more affordable and easier, than buying new trains.

I feel that 10 tph might even be possible with the existing fleet and the new signalling.

But the new signalling will probably allow more semi-fast trains to operate, which might mean an extremely customer-friendly 12 rph were possible all day.

The Piccadilly Line Service

The Peak service is twelve trains per hour (tph) in both directions, with a reduction to six tph in the Off Peak.

Half the trains reverse at Rayners Lane station.

The journey between Kings Cross St. Pncras and Uxbridge stations currently takes an nine minutes over the hour.

The Rayners Lane To Uxbridge Service

Adding the two services together gives a  Peak service of twenty-two trains per hour (tph) in both directions, with a reduction to eleven tph in the Off Peak.

Terminating The Piccadilly Line At Rayners Lane Station

There would be advantages to terminating all Piccadilly Line services at Rayners Lane station.

  • All Piccadilly Line trains would go through the same procedure at Rayners Lane station
  • The journey time would be reduced by fourteen minutes, which would ease train scheduling.
  • There would be no knock on effects, if either line had delays.
  • Signalling and train control at Rayners Lane would be simpler.

But it would need a major rebuilding of the tracks and platforms.

On the Victoria Line, thirty-six tph are handled on two platforms at Walthamstow Central and Brixton stations or eighteen tph on each platform.

So could a single platform at Rayners Lane station handle the Piccadilly Line service?

If it could, it could even be positioned between the two Metropolitan Lines, with an island platform on either side, giving cross-platform operation in both directions.

But because problems do occur, there would probably be two terminal platforms for the Piccadilly Line, as there are at the end of most Underground lines.

I think terminating Piccadilly Line services at Rayners Lane station could be made to work well and provide step-free access at all stations West of Rayners Lane station.

Terminating The Metropolitan Line At Rayners Lane Station

I don’t believe the problems of terminating the Metropolitan Line service at Rayners Lane would be any more difficult, than terminating the Piccadilly Line, but it might offer advantages, after  all the stations on the line had been rebuilt to accept the new UTO-capable Piccadilly Line trains.

  • This would open the possibility of running trains under UTO between Acton Town and Uxbridge stations.
  • Hillingdon Borough Council have been pushing for the Central Line to be diverted from West Ruislip to Uxbridge. This would become possible.
  • The frequency all the way from Acton Town to Uxbridge could easily be raised.

As with terminating Piccadilly Line services at Rayners Lane station, I think that terminating Metropolitan Line services could be used to provide step-free access at all stations West of Rayners Lane station.

Could A Piccadilly Line Service Be Run Between Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway Stations?

In Is There Going To Be More Change At Ealing Broadway Station?, I wrote about rumours of a possible plan to create a new terminus for the Piccadilly Line at Ealing Broadway station, using the route currently used by District Line trains from Ealing Common station.

I came to the following conclusion.

But overall, because it sorts out step-free access in the area, I think it is a good proposal.

I just wonder, if it would be possible for trains to run between Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway station.

This Google Map shows where the Piccadilly Line to Rayners Lane and Ucbridge and the District Line to Ealing Broadway divide , a short distance North of Ealing Common station.

I think that creating the missing side of the triangular junction would be possible, thus allowing a service to be created between Ealing Broadway and Uxbridge stations.

  • All stations would be made step-free and UTO-capable.
  • Twelve tph could be run between Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway in both directions.
  • Ten or welve tph would still be run between Uxbridge and Cockfosters.
  • Twelve tph on both routes would mean a train every two and a half minutes between North Ealing and Uxbridge stations.
  • The route would surely be ideal for running under UTO.
  • A large area of Ealing, Hillington and Harrow would get a frequent link to Crossrail at Ealing Broadway.
  • Extra stations could be added to the route to support development.

If the interchange at Rayners Lane were to be well designed, I doubt there would be any losers.

Could The Central Line Be Extended To Uxbridge?

In the Wikipedia entry for Uxbridge station, in the last sentence of a section called History, this is said.

The London Borough of Hillingdon announced in June 2011 that it would be lobbying Transport for London to have the Central line diverted from West Ruislip station to Uxbridge. Such a project would require a business case approved by TfL and the completion of signal upgrade work on the Metropolitan Line.

So would that be feasible?

Access To Uxbridge Station?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines to Uxbridge and West Ruislip stations.

 

The lines in the map are as follows.

  • black – Chiltern Main Line
  • blue- Piccsdilly Line
  • mauve – Metropolitan Line
  • red – Central Line

The big red blob is the Central Line’s Ruislip Depot.

Uxbridge station is in the South-West corner.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows where all the lines cross at the North-West end of Ruislip Depot.

I suspect that an efficient connection can be made to allow the Central Line to go to Uxbridge instead of or as an alternative to West Ruislip station.

Note that at some point in the future, it is expected that both the Central and the Piccadilly Lines will use the same type of train. Will Ruislip depot be used for  some Piccadilly Line trains, given its location close to Uxbridge station and the good connection?

Uxbridge Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows Uxbridge station.

Note that Uxbridge station has three lines and four platforms.

  • It would surely be much easier to handle the service, if all the trains terminating at Uxbridge were the same type.
  • This would happen, if all Metropolitan Line trains terminated at Rayners Lane station.
  • Two platforms could easily handle twenty-four tph for the Piccadilly Line.
  • Two platforms could easily handle nine tph for the Central Line.

Uxbridge would become a very busy station.

Conclusion

There are a lot of possible improvements that can be done to the train service to Uxbridge.

 

 

October 31, 2017 Posted by | News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A RAT Sighted At Acton Town Station

I was surprised to see an old train running through North Action station.

As it said on the side it was a Rail Adhesion Train, that I wrote about in Specialist Trains Lead The Charge Against Leaf Fall on The Piccadilly Line.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled Leaf Fall On The London Underground and it gives more details on Rail Adhesion Trains and their use.

October 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Could Three-Car Aventras Run Services On The Greenford Branch?

Services on the Greenford Branch Line between West Ealing and Greenford stations, are currently provided by a two-car Class 165 train.

Consider.

  • There are no plans to electrify the line.
  • West Ealing station has a recently-constructed bay platform to serve the branch.
  • The branch line is a 2.7 mile double-track line with three stations.
  • The intermediate stations at Drayton GreenCastle Bar Park and South Greenford have short platforms, that can only accept two-car trains.
  • The service frequency is two trains per hour (tph).
  • Each trip takes eleven minutes.

In an ideal world, the service would be electric and four tph.

Proposals For New Trains

Most proposals seem to suggest moving the branch line to the London Overground and using one of their Class 172 trains. But these trains are now being moved to West Midlands Trains, so that proposal would seem to be a non-starter.

Three-Car Aventras

Could three-car Aventras run services on the line using battery power?

I discussed such a train in A Detailed Look At A Three-Car Aventra, after West Midlands Trains ordered thirty-six of the trains.

These are my thoughts.

Capacity Increase

A three-car train would give a fifty percent increase in capacity on the line.

Is this capacity increase needed?

The Link With Crossrail

Under Services in the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, it is indicated that twelve tph will pass through West Ealing station, although it is not yet known how many will stop.

Surely, when Crossrail opens fully, an integrated service with good connections will be created at West Ealing.

I believe Crossrail will work in one of two ways at West Ealing.

  1. In a London Underground-like manner, all trains will stop.
  2. Perhaps four or six tph will stop.

I suspect that Londoners won’t accept the second pattern, as they are used to the Underground and the Overground, where there are not many limited-stop services and a train comes along every few minutes.

So this would mean that there will be trains every five minutes in both directions at West Ealing station, creating a steady stream of passengers for the Greenford Branch Line.

Passengers will get fed up waiting thirty minutes for the branch line train.

As West Ealing will be a well-equipped station, waiting fifteen minutes for a train will probably be acceptable to passengers.

Anything less and there will be masses of complaints.

The Link With The Central Line

What applies at West Ealing with Crossrail, surely applies at Greenford with the Central Line.

Short Platforms

I feel that selective door opening on the Aventra could handle the short platforms on the branch.

Four Trains Per Hour

I think it be possible to work a four tph West Ealing to Greenford shuttle, as the branch line is double-track.

But it may need another cross-over to be installed.

Four tph would need two operational trains.

Charging The Trains

The trains could be charged at either end of the branch line, although for practical reasons, charging might use 25 KVAC overhead at West Ealing and 750 VDC at Greenford, as these are used on other tracks in the respective stations.

But as Aventras can be dual voltage, this could be handled by the trains.

As the line is only 2.7 miles long, charging could probably be done at one end only.

Other Alternatives

It would not be balanced to ignore other possibilities.

Refurbished Two-Car Diesel Trains

Two refurbished two-car diesel trains, like say Class 150 trains could also work four tph. on the branch.

But these would probably present services and refuelling problems.

Class 230 Trains

Two Class 230 trains could also work four tph. on the branch.

Consider.

  • They could work the branch on diesel or battery, or a combination of both.
  • Trains would be refurbished to a modern standard, with wi-fi and power sockets.
  • Two-car trains would fit the stations on the branch.
  • They are designed for remote servicing.

I think that a dedicated fleet of three two-car Class 230 trains would be a viable alternative.

Conclusion

Three-car Aventras could provide a good service on the Greenford Branch Line, but there are issues and it may be more complicated than anyone thinks to run a service, that is acceptable to passengers.

But three two-car Class 230 trains would be a viable alternative.

October 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eduardo Paolozzi At Tottenham Court Road Tube Station

Eduardo Paolozzi‘s mosaics are now back in Tottenham Court Road tube station.

This article on Global Rail News describes how they were installed.

It’s a pity, that there are not more to cover the new white walls, which are there because the station has been expanded for Crossrail.

February 2, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Refurbishment Of Holland Park Tube Station

I stopped off at Holland Park tube station this morning, to take a look at the refurbishment.

The clocks would also seem to have had a makeover.

But there still seems some work to do!

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Refurbished Tottenham Court Road Tube Station

I took these pictures of the Central Line platforms at Tottenham Court Road tube station.

It does seem to me that it’s wider than it used to be.

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Crowded Roads In West London

Today, I tried to get to West Drayton station to have a lunchtime drink with an old mate from Cambridge, who had called me up yesterday, as he might have needed a second person to help him with one of his robotic machines.

But it all went pear-shaped at Paddington, where trains to West Drayton were very much delayed and I was advised to take the Underground to Greenford station and then use a bus.

But at Greenford, there wasn’t a bus map or anybody to ask, so in the end I took a bus to Ealing Hospital, where I thought I knew I could get a bus to West Drayton. But there wasn’t! So I thought about giving up and instead, I got a bus to Ealing Broadway station, to get back to Paddington. But I arrived at Ealing Broadway station, just before a train to West Drayton arrived. I caught that, had a drink with my friend and then caught a train back to Paddington. He didn’t need me to help, as all he needed was a pair of eyes to tell him what was happening at the sharp end of his machine and the client had turned up with his glasses.

So I achieved my objective and also had a wander round the Boroughs of Ealing and Hillingdon on buses and trains.

I trundle round North and East London most of the time and sometimes I even cross the River and go to the Deep South.

But I do find West London the most crowded, with buses slowed by all the traffic on the roads and infrequent very busy trains.

The West of London needs improvement in public transport.

I sometimes think, the traffic has got worse over the forty-six years, I had a driving licence.

Rail And Underground Lines

There are several lines going West from Central London, which include.

  • The Chiltern Line from Marylebone to West Ruislip
  • The Central Line to West Ruislip
  • The Metroplitan Line to Uxbridge
  • The Piccadilly Line to Uxbridge
  • The Great Western Main Line tfrom Paddington to Reading and Heathrow
  • The Piccadilly Line to Heathrow

Going further round, there are several lines from Waterloo going to the South West.

Only one line; the West London Line goes North South, although there used to be others.

The network is probably more sparse than some other directions from London.

Reliance on Cars And Buses

I think this rather thin coverage, puts a heavy radiance on cars and buses, which might explain the crowded roads.

Crossrail

Crossrail will bring improvement with the following Off Peak services in trains per hour (tph), along the slow lines of the Great Western Main Line.

  • 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 2 tph to Reading
  • 2 tph to Maidenhead

Note.

  1. The central core tunnel probably has a limit of 24 tph.
  2. The service has a good balance between the various destinations.
  3. There will also be Great Western Railway services.
  4. Looking at the Crossrail schedule, there is scope to adjust the schedule on each branch.

I think that as Crossrail develops and the line and its passengers learn more about each other, the service  pattern of Crossrail will change.

If I have a worry about Crossrail, it is that few of the stations towards Central London have many parking spaces, so will walking, cycling and the buses be adequate for Crossrail to tap its full potential?

The West London Tram

The West London Tram was proposed by Ken Livingstone in 2002.

These paragraphs from Wikipedia describes the tram and its route.

The West London Tram  was a proposed on-street light rail line that was to run along the Uxbridge Road (A4020) corridor in West London, England. The scheme is promoted by Transport for London (TfL) but opposed by the councils of all three London Boroughs through which it would run. It was postponed indefinitely on 2 August 2007

The tram route was planned to run between Uxbridge and Shepherd’s Bush, serving Hillingdon, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing and Acton en route and would have completely replaced a number of equivalent London Bus routes.

If it had been built it would have had good connectivity to Crossrail and the Central Line. But the view of those against the project prevailed.

In my trip today, you could see why probably every car driver in the area, would be against a scheme like the tram. Only at places on the route, where there was a wide island of grass dividing the carriageways, would the tram not have increased congestion.

It looks like the thirty million pounds spent was wasted.

Crossrail And/Or West London Tram?

This Google Map shows the area around the three stations of Hanwell, West Ealing And Ealing Broadway.

Great Western Main Line And The A4020 Through Ealing

Great Western Main Line And The A4020 Through Ealing

Note.

  • The Great Western Main Line across the middle.
  • The A 4020 runs South of and parallel to the railway.
  • Ealing Hospital is marked by the red arrow in the bottom left of the map.

I asked in the Header to this section if it should be And/Or between the projects.

Undoubtedly, it should be Or! Taxpayers can’t afford both!

In comparing the two, I believe the following points are valid.

  • Trams stop about three or four more times than trains.
  • The train is faster.
  • The tram doesn’t serve Old Oak Common station or Heathrow.
  • Trams annoy drivers in the same way that bendy buses do.
  • Crossrail has a rich connection pattern compared to the tram.
  • Pedestrians probably prefer trams, whilst drivers prefer trains.

The politicians decided and chose the trains.

Making More Of The Railways

If the streets are crowded can we use the existing railways to inject greater capacity into the existing railways in West London?

The key to this, as it sits in the middle of so many lines is the creation of a new station at Old Oak Common.

I will now summarise the possible rail projects that can be developed in West London

Chiltern Railways To Old Oak Common

Chiltern Railways  have a capacity problem at Marylebone and one way to alleviate it would be for Chiltern to create a second terminal at Old Oak Common station, which could be accessed using an improved New North Main Line.

There is a real possibility of this project going forward and it could have many worthwhile features.

It would add another East-West route across West London, but with the comprehensive connectivity of Old Oak Common.

Chiltern Metro Creation

Wikipedia says this about a Chiltern Metro.

New Chiltern Metro Service that would operate 4+tph for Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park, South Ruislip and West Ruislip. This would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip, passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and a passing loop at Wembley Stadium (part of the old down fast line is in use as a central reversing siding, for stock movements and additionally for 8-car football shuttles to convey passengers to the stadium for events).[73] This ‘Chiltern Metro’ service was not programmed into the last round of franchising agreements.

When I wrote Could A Chiltern Metro Be Created? and came to the conclusion, that it might be possible, I got several positive responses.

Greenford Branch Improvements

The Greenford Branch Line connects the Great Western Main Line and the New North Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the Northern end of the branch, where it joins the New North Line.

Northern End Of The Greenford Branch

Northern End Of The Greenford Branch

Whilst this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the Southern end of the branch, where it joins the Great Western Main Line.

Southern End Of The Greenford Branch

Southern End Of The Greenford Branch

What service the line will get after Crossrail opens has still to be decided,

  • 4 tph between West Ealing and Greenford stations is certainly possible.
  • There are those, including Ealing Council, who don’t like Greenford losing its direct connection to Paddington.
  • A rebuilt Greenford station could incorporate Chiltern services.

As the connections at both ends of the branch allow trains to go in either an East or West direction, could this be useful in creating services between the two main lines?

Brentford Branch Reopening

I wrote about this in Could The Golden Mile In Houslow Get A Station?

The Brentford Branch could be a useful branch, worked by a shuttle train!

Hounslow Loop Line Improvements

The Hounslow Loop Line, which has a strong presence on both sides of the river and takes passengers to and from Waterloo, is being improved to increase capacity.

Could we see the Overground opening new services along the North London Line  to perhaps Brentford, Hounslow and Feltham stations?

The route is used by freight trains, and Transport have suggested using the route to create an orbital Overground route.

Conclusions

The railways will take the strain in West London, after the abandonment of the West London Tram.

 

 

 

 

 

December 31, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redbridge Station

Whilst visiting Newbury Park station, I took the opportunity to visit the below-grounmd parts of Redbridge station.

The station is unusual for the Underground in that there is effectively a very wide island platform between the two tracks.

Many stations, like those on the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line, that I know so well, do have this layout, but this must be a station with some of the widest platforms.

Wikipedia says this about the station.

Redbridge is often described as the shallowest deep level (as opposed to cut and cover) station on the network, as it is only 5.2 metres (17 ft) beneath the surface. However, this is misleading as the station tunnel was constructed by the cut and cover method, with the running lines descending into genuine tube tunnels at either end of the platforms – similar to the Central line platforms at Mile End.

I also get the impression, that the station could be designed, so that as at Stratford, trains rise up into the station, thus turning kinetic energy into potential energy to slow the train. This energy is released to accelerate the train out of the station.

 

 

December 10, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment