The Anonymous Widower

Completing The Bank Station Upgrade

I’m writing this post for two reasons.

The first is to inform people that in the Summer of 2021, there is going to be a closure of the Bank Branch of the Northern Line for several months.

The second, is to illustrate, how in a large transport system like London, good project management can carry out major works, without too much inconvenience to passengers.

This article on IanVisits is entitled Behind The Scenes At London Underground’s Bank Tube Station upgrade.

I suggest you read the article, to get the scale of the project.

In the Summer of 2021, a section of the Bank branch of the Northern line will close for roughly 3 months.

The main reason is so that the New Southbound tunnel can be joined to the existing Southbound tunnel, North and South of Bank station. Think of it as installing a by-pass round a village. Except it’s a railway and it’s around forty metres below ground.

Ian says this about what else will happen, whilst the Northern Line is closed.

While that’s going on, at Bank station, the old southbound tunnel will have it’s tracks filled in and turned into a new large concourse, while the currently hidden new side passages are cut through into the old northbound platform and finished off.

Come roughly September 2021, after a few months of closure, people will arrive at Bank station and see these huge new tunnels, the new escalators down to the DLR, the travolator to the Central line.

This approach is very common on the railways.

If a line has to be closed completely for a few months, say because a tunnel is being repaired, then during the closure, you do all the other tasks you can.

At Bank, where a new track is being connected, there will be no trains through the station for a few months. So all the other jobs will be done in this window.

There may also be other advantages. At Bank station, the Northbound track itself is not being radically changed, so it might be possible to use battery locomotives to bring in supplies and take out rubbish.

Summer 2021 Is Two And A Half Years Away

Project Planners have calculated and it will probably take until the end of 2020, for everything to be ready before the closure can take place, so that the joining of the tracks can begin.

But there could  other reasons, for the 2021 date.

Bank station is an important station on the Northern Line and closing it will cause a lot of inconvenience for passengers, many of whom will still be commuting to the City of London.

Some Big Projects Will Be Complete Before The Closure

Before Summer 2021, these big projects should have been completed.

  • One completed on Friday, when the new Bank Station entrance on Walbrook opened.
  • Crossrail will have opened.. On current forecasts nearly two years earlier.
  • The Northern City Line will be running new Class 717 trains into Moorgate station.
  • Travellers will have learned to use Thameslink as part of the Underground.

All of these projects will help passengers to cope with the Northern Line Closure at Bank station.

Bank Station Will Still Be Partially Open For Business

Bank station will not be fully-closed.

  • The Central Line will be working at Bank station, to something like full capacity.
  • The Waterloo & City Line will be working normally using the new Wallbrook entrance.
  • The Docklands Light Railway will be working, as is possible around all the work.
  • Some new and refurbished routes will connect the Central Line and Docklands Light Railway to the myriad station entrances around Bank Junction.
  • The Circle and District Lines will be working normally, through Monument station.

In addition, the City of London will have improved walking and cycling in the Square Mile.

Where Will Northern Line Trains Run During The Closure?

For a start, all Northern Line trains through Charing Cross station will be running normally.

The Northern Line Extension to Battersea might even have opened, which would give an extra Southern terminal to the Northern Line, which would help operation of the Charing Cross Branch.

Looking at the detailed tracks on carto.metro.free.fr, it appears that trains from the North can turn back at Euston and Moorgate.

Consider.

  • Euston will be in the throws of rebuilding for High Speed Two.
  • The Northern Line is the preferred route between Euston and the City.
  • Moorgate will be a fully step-free rebuilt station with connections to Crossrail and the Central Line.
  • Many people can walk to most parts of the Square Mile from Moorgate.

It looks to me, that it is most likely that Northern Line services will terminate at Moorgate during the closure of the Northern Line through Bank.

Northern Line trains approaching the City from the South have no such convenient turn back between Kennington and Bank stations.

I think the best direct service passengers from the Morden Branch to the City can expect will be a not-very-frequent shuttle service to London Bridge.

Most who need to go to Bank station from the South will find alternative routes and there are several.

  • Travel to London Bridge and walk across the river.
  • Change to the Waterloo and City Line at Waterloo.
  • Change to the Circle and District Lines at Embankment.
  • Change to the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road
  • Change to Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road and walk from Moorgate.

It should also be remembered, that as the closure is taking place in the Summer holidays, travellers should cope.

Conclusion

As Project Managers always seem to say.

You must get your ducks in a row!

So in this example, I would have felt that to have rebuilt Bank station without completion of the following projects.

  • Crossrail
  • Bank Station Walbrook Entrance

Would have been a lot harder.

This example also means that you must get your large projects in the right order, so they help each other to be delivered on time.

London has several large station interchange projects in the pipeline.

  • Camden Town station
  • East Croydon station
  • Holborn station.
  • Oxford Circus station
  • Victoria station

Which I believe should be done in the optimal order, so that travellers suffer the least disruption.

Smaller projects like a second entrance At Walthamstow Central station should probably be done at a time, when money and resources are available.

 

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bank Station Upgrade And The Western Extension Of The DLR

This map from Transport for London (TfL), shows the possible Western extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

With all the problems of the funding of Crossrail 2, that I wrote about in Crossrail 2 Review Prompts Fresh Delays, could this extension of the DLR, be a good idea?

If you look at the Bank Station Upgrade in detail, the DLR gets a much needed boost in the upgrade.

The two DLR platforms underneath the Northern Line get a triple-escalator connection to the Northern Line level, from where they have the following.

  • Level access to the Northern Line.
  • Escalator access to the Cannon Street entrance.
  • Travelator/escalator access to the Central Line.
  • Access to the current escalators and lifts to the various entrances around Bank Junction.

There will also be lifts everywhere.

According to Services in the Wikipedia entry for the DLR, the following services turn at Bank station.

  • 22.5 trains per hour (tph) in the Peak.
  • 18 tph in the Off Peak.

So the turnback is handling a train around every three minutes.

I have no idea, what is the maximum frequency of the DLR, but as it is an automated system, with new trains to be delivered in the next few years, I suspect the frequency will be pushed higher in the future.

The Bank Station Upgrade has been designed to handle more passengers using the DLR, so there should be no problem about handling more passengers in the two platforms deep in Bank station.

The limiting factor would more likely be in the turnback.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the DLR lines at Bank station.

Note the turnback for the DLR, under the Central Line platforms 5/6, running alongside the Northern Line.

  • Trains stop in the arrivals platform 10 at Bank station and unload all passengers.
  • They then move to the turnback and the automation then switches to the other end.
  • They then move to the departures platform 9 to pick up passengers.

It is an inefficient way to turn trains. A through station at Bank would have a much greater capacity.

If you look at the map of the proposed Western extension, it has two branches which join and split at City Thameslink station.

  • Charing Cross, Green Park and Victoria.
  • Holborn, Euston and St. Pancras

It should be noted that the two-platform terminal station at Lewisham currently handles upwards of 20 tph in the Peak.

This would mean that if both Western branches had a two-platform terminus, then there could be a theoretical total of forty tph through Bank station.

If Dear Old Vicky can manage thirty-six tph with ten year-old-trains and less automation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the DLR manage the magic forty tph, with twenty tph on each branch.

Obviously, though there would be other considerations and capacity limits, but I can see a big increase in the numbers of passengers using the DLR.

I would expect that the improvement to the DLR access being added in the Bank Station Upgrade must have been designed to handle the highest number of DLR trains and passengers that anybody can practically envisage.

It should also be noted that the DLR station is below the Northern Line and the turnback siding, which is shown in the map of the lines, will be well out of the way of the new Northern Line and travelator tunnels.

The map of the Western DLR Western Extension,  also shows the extension going West away from the Northern Line tunnels. This would mean it would comfortably  pass underneath the new Southbound Northern Line tunnel.

It therefor looks to me, that the Bank Station Upgrade is very much preparing Bank station for the DLR Western Extension to be built.

So will the DLR Western Extension be constructed?

Why Is It Needed?

Various reasons Have been given.

Better Connection To The Docklands Light Railway for Commuters From The South

The DLR Western Extension will connect to commuter routes at the following stations.

  • Charing Cross
  • City Thameslink
  • Victoria

This should help commuters get to the City and the business areas of East London.

Another Direct Connection Between East London And West Central London

It will also help travellers get betweenEast London and West Cerntral London without changing or using the overcrowded Victoria Line.

A few points.

  1. c2c commuters would also be able to change at Limehouse station to trains going further than Bank station.
  2. It would help me get to places South of Crossrail and Victoria becomes much easier.
  3. Access to Thameslink from the East will be improved, if you’re not near a Crossrail station.
  4. New housing in the East will get the transport links it needs.

East London has a great need for the DLR Western Extension.

Increase The Number Of Trains Serving Bank Station

The Mayor wants to extend the DLR to Abbey Wood and Thamesmead in the South East.

This will mean that extra capacity is needed in the West to turn the trains.

The DLR Western Extension and the Bank Station Upgrade seems a pretty good way to obtain this much-needed capacity.

The People Mover Between High Speed One, High Speed Two, West Coast Main Line And The East Coast Main Line

Proposals exist for a high capacity people mover between High Speed One at St. Pancras and High Speed Two at Euston.

The DLR Western Extension will accept this challenge and do it superbly and could even have connections to the East Coast Main Line.

Take The Pressure Off The Northern Line

Consider.

  • The Northern Line connects Euston and Bank stations via Kings Cross St. Pancras.
  • The Northern Line is supposed to take ten minutes.
  • The route is overcrowded and it is impossible to get a seat, for most of the day.
  • When High Speed Two opens in 2026, more travellers will want to travel to and from the City.

The DLR Western Extension could give as many as twenty tph on the following route.

  • St. Pancras
  • Euston
  • Holborn
  • City Thameslink
  • Bank

With the new DLR trains and the full automation of the DLR, the route will certainly outperform the Northern Line and possibly a black cab, driven  by Lewis Hamilton.

Improve Capacity Between Victoria And The City

Just as the DLR Western Extension will improve the route between Euston and the City of London, the other branch will improve the route between Victoria and the City

I’ve taken a District Line train from .Whitechapel to Victoria station and there are better ways to enjoy yourself.

It’s The Poor People’s Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 with its mega station at Euston/Kings Cross/St. Pancras will give North-East London much better access to National Rail services going North.

To get to any of these stations now, I have to take a bus to either Angel or Moorgate stations and then get a tube.

I used to be able to get a bus to Highbury & Islington station, but the Mayor from South London has halved the service, so I don’t bother to wait fifteen minutes for a bus and go via Angel.

If the DLR Western Extension were to be opened, I’d get an Overground train to Shadwell station and change to the required route.

Agility – The DLR Advantage

I must say something about the big advantage of the DLR.

The trains have the ability to twist, turn and climb gradients, that a conventional train would find impossible.

This means that the tracks can be threaded through places, where heavy rail just can’t go!

Tunnels

The DLR tunnels and platforms at Bank station are the deepest in London. This article in the Telegraph says this about the deepest station in Central London.

It is the DLR concourse at Bank, which is 41.4 metres below.

Crossrail’s depth by comparison is described in this page on the Crossrail web site like this.

A network of new rail tunnels have been built by eight giant tunnel boring machines, to carry Crossrail’s trains eastbound and westbound. Each tunnel is 21 kilometres/13 miles long, 6.2 metres in diameter and up to 40 metres below ground.

The DLR Western Extension tunnels would cross Crossrail close to Holborn station, so they would probably need to go below Crossrail at this point.

Designing the route of the tunnels is probably the easy part, as construction will be much harder and will take a lot of planning.

Consider, the places for construction sites, where a tunnel boring machine (TBM) could be inserted or the spoil could be taken out.

  • Bank, St. Pancras and Victoria stations are very crowded places, with most of the land already built on.
  • There are the Royal Parks and London’s leafy squares, on the route.
  • This article on IanVisits describes the railway sidings under Smithfield Meat Market, which could be somewhere to start digging. Could spoil be taken out at night by train on Thameslink?
  • As Holborn station is getting a second entrance, this could also be a key site in the construction of the tunnels.

The tunnellers might use the techniques employed in the Bank Station Upgrade, where the tunnel was dug without a TBM and spoil was taken out by truck. But the tunnels for the DLR Western Extension will be much larger.

Stations

It is worth looking at the stations on the route.

Charing Cross

Charing Cross station has been rebuilt in recent decades and still has the two former Jubilee Line platforms in working order, that might be able to be reused.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Charing Cross station.

Note.

  1. The old Jubilee Line tunnels go through the platforms.
  2. They are long enough to hold two trains.
  3. The tunnels would have to be enlarged to fit the larger DLR trains.

As these platforms and tunnels were built to be extended on a route not unlike that of the DLR extension, I suspect TfL have ideas about how this station could be rebuilt to be part of the Western DLR extension.

City Thameslink

– City Thameslink station is a reasonably-modern, one-line double-ended step-free station.

The DLR Extension would cross the station at right-angles, deep below Thameslink.

Euston

Euston station is being rebuilt for HS2 and the Underground station will be extensively improved.

I would be very surprised, if the new station, has been designed without a feasible place for DLR platforms to be added.

Green Park

Green Park station has been updated several times and I suspect that TfL have ideas about how the station could be served by the extension.

Holborn

Holborn station is being extended with a new entrance. As with Euston, I suspect it has been designed with a feasible place for DLR platforms to be added.

This document on the TfL web site, gives more details of what is proposed at Holborn station.

I extracted this visualisation of the proposed station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in the through and around the station.

.Note, Crossrail, which is shown by dotted lines passes to the North of the station.

This diagram from Crossrail shows a depth profile of the tunnels between Farringdon and Bond Street stations.

Note.

  1. The blue dot indicating the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The red dot indicating the Central Line

These two lines are close to Holborn station.

I would feel that the DLR Western Extension could be accommodated in the lower level of the updated station. If required, it could use the DLR’s agility to use a route, no normal railway could.

St. Pancras

St. Pancras station is virtually a new station, so at least, the surveys and drawings are up-to-date. This might make designing two platforms below the current complex a bit easier.

Although, actually building them might be more difficult.

Victoria

The Underground station has been substantially remodelled and rebuilding of the National Rail station is in the pipeline.

Plans are also being drawn up, as to how this station will connect to Crossrail 2.

Hopefully, they’ve taken the DLR Extension into account.

Should There Be Any Other Stations?

The DLR Western Extension must be built, so that if required, the two new branches can be extended.

Extending From St. Pancras

One article, I’ve read, says that this branch should be extended to Camden Town.

In Maiden Lane And York Road Stations, I suggested that it should be extended to these two former stations. I said this.

But why stop at S. Pancras? The DLR could be extended under Kings Cross station, stopping where required to finish at York Road station.

  • Only the building would be used.
  • There would be no connection to the Piccadilly Line.
  • The Docklands Light Railway tunnels would be several metres down to travel under buildings and the stations.
  • An underground passage could be built to a reopened Maiden Lane station.

A worthwhile use would have been found for an iconic building and Kings Cross Central would have much better public transport connections.

Given that over the next few years, there will be a large increase in capacity on the North London Line through Maiden Lane station, this could be a very important extension.

Extending further in the future from York Road would be enabled. Next stop Finsbury Park?

Or would it be better to create a connection to the Piccadilly Line at the combined York Road/Maiden Lane station complex?

Extending From Victoria

Obviously, if the Victoria Branch could be extended to Waterloo, this would be an ideal solution.

I would look at the possibility of having a very easy interchange between the Victoria Line and the DLR at Victoria.

Cross-platform interchange would probably be difficult, but if the DLR platforms were under those of the Victoria Line, I would feel a fast step-free interchange could be designed.

This would effectively mean that the Victoria Line would be a virtual extension to the Victoria Branch of the DLR Western Extension.

A Connection To Crossrail

Surely, the DLR Western Extension should connect to Crossrail. Especially, as it connects to Thameslink!

Conclusion

Build the DLR Western Extension!

Why?

  • It will add capacity between Euston and the City.
  • It will add capacity between Victoria and the City
  • It will unlock capacity at Bank and allow more services to the East.

It is the poor people’s Crossrail 2

It won’t be built though!

  • East London isn’t a priority and it’s where the scum and great unwashed live.
  • It doesn’t do much for South and West London, where important people live.
  • The North of England will object, as it’s another London project!

But I’m hoping that it will be built, as it will transform the lives of many who live in the East and/or rely on the DLR.

In 2010, I wrote Cinderella Will Take You to the Ball!, where I was looking forward to the Olympics.

After the Olympics, I was told by a Senior Manager of the DLR, whilst riding on a DLR train, that the system had performed magnificently at the Games and carried more passengers than everybody expected it would!

There certainly weren’t any complaints.

But I did find this article on Rail Magazine, which is entitled The Secret Of Serco’s Success.

This is the first two paragraphs.

In January 2013 Serco was awarded an 18-month contract extension to operate the Docklands Light Railway, one of the most reliable train services in the UK.

This extension (to September 2014) to the original seven-year franchise rewarded a remarkable performance in 2012, a performance that was also a principal reason for National Rail Awards judges awarding Serco Docklands the City & Metro Operator of the Year accolade.

So they got a Gold Medal too!

This is said about their performance during the year.

Almost 12 million passengers were carried during the entire Games period, and during the busiest times, passenger numbers reached more than double the normal level. Numbers peaked at around 500,000 passengers in a single day, over 125,000 more than DLR’s previous record. And yet, despite all that extra pressure, 2012 was DLR’s most reliable year ever.

Sexy the DLR is not, but like the character I name her after, this light railway, works incredibly hard and to a high standard!

It is a true heavyweight amongst urban transport systems.

Perhaps we should abandon Crossrail 2 and just extend the Docklands Light Railway?

 

 

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Has The Possibility Been Created For A Pedestrian Tunnel Between Bank And Moorgate Stations?

This visualisation shows the Bank Station Upgrade at Bank station, which is now underway to sort out the station’s problems of capacity and poor step-free access.

This is the bottom-left corner of the visualisation.

Notice that there are two fat tunnels running top to Bottom across the visualisation, which are the Central Line tunnels, with the Eastbound on the left and the Westbound on the right.

There are also four tunnels running left to right across the visualisation.

The top two, which are sticking out to the left of the Eastbound Central Line tunnel, are the current Northern Line running tunnels

  • The top one is the Northbound tunnel going to Moorgate station.
  • The other one is the current Southbound tunnel, which under the plans for Bank station will be closed to trains and used to improve passenger access to the Northbound platform. If you go to the Northern Line platforms, there are tell-tale blue hoardings, indicating where better access will be created.

These pictures show the current state of the current Southbound tunnel.

It looks like at least three sections of the wall between the two platforms will be removed.

The third tunnel, which is shown pink in the visualisations is the connecting tunnel between the Central Line and the new entrance to the station on Cannon Street.

Note the following.

  1. It has a travelator.
  2. it connects to a lobby, where there are triple escalators to the Central Line.
  3. It appears to come to a stop under the Eastbound Central Line platform.

What lies at the Northern end of this tunnel?

The fourth tunnel, which is the new Southbound running tunnel for the Northern Line, has been helpfully drawn with a rail track inside.

This is the top-right corner of the visualisation.

Note.

  1. There are three cross passages between the two running tunnels, just as there appears to be three blue hoardings in the existing Southbound running tunnel.
  2. The Northbound running tunnel now has a wide platform, which has been built inside the existing Southbound tunnel.
  3. The new Southbound running tunnel will be built with a wide platform.
  4. There are three escalators leading to the new Cannon Street entrance.
  5. There are three escalators leading down to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) platforms

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the layout of lines at Bank station and between Bank and Moorgate stations.

Note.

  1. The Central Line is shown in red.
  2. The Northern Line is shown in black.
  3. The DLR is shown in turquoise.
  4. The two Northern Line tracks cross to the North of Bank station.
  5. The lines at Moorgate station are shown at the top of the map.
  6. Crossrail is shown in violet.

The new Southbound tunnel will be created to the West of the DLR platforms.

This article on IanVisits is entitled Behind The Scenes At London Underground’s Bank Tube Station upgrade.

I suggest you read the article and I feel, you will get the impression the Bank Station Upgrade is a very difficult project, that is being achieved in an innovative manner by the contractors.

In one section, the article describes how they are actually building the new Southbound tunnel, through the piled foundations of existing buildings.

A Travelator Between Bank and Moorgate  Stations

I now feel I can answer the question in the title of this post.

The Route

If the route started at the Northern end of the long connection tunnel with the travelator at Bank station, a route could probably be found on the West side of the Northern Line to break-in to the basement of the Crossrail station at Moorgate station.

This image shows a cross-section through the Moorgate Crossrail station.

Note that under the escalators leading down from the Moorgate Ticket Hall to Crossrail, are a pair of circles.

  • These are the Northern Line running tunnels.
  • A travelator tunnel would be at this level but perhaps twenty or more metres to the West (left in the cross-section).

With modern design and construction techniques, I would expect that a connection could be made.

The Length

I estimate that the travelator would be between three and four hundred metres long.

As there are longer travelators either built or in planning in the world, I suspect, the length wouldn’t be a problem.

By comparison, these are example travelators in London.

  • Jubilee to Northern/Bakerloo Lines at Waterloo – 140 metres.
  • Sloping travelators to Waterloo and City Line at Bank – 76 metres
  • Proposed Central to Northern Lines at Bank – 94 metres

A travelator between Bank and Moorgate stations would probably be, the longest in London.

Building The Tunnel

If you read the IanVisits article, it details how the new Northern Line and travelator tunnels at Bank station were excavated.

I suspect similar techniques could be used to build the new tunnel.

The biggest problem would be removing the tunnel spoil and I suspect that if the tunnel were to be built, when a building on the route needed to be replaced, this would make construction a lot easier.

Why The Tunnel Should Be Built

The main argument for building the tunnel is that it would connect Bank station directly to Crossrail.

Why The Tunnel May Not Be Needed

There are various reasons, why the travelator may not be needed.

Pedestrianisation

The City of London is in favour of pedestrianisation and has already disclosed plans to make Bishopsgate, which is one of the most important North-South arteries through the Square Mile, much more pedestrian friendly.

I would expect more initiatives like this to follow.

So many travellers will use their feet on the surface, between Crossrail and Bank, when the two stations are completed.

Improved Northern Line Connections

The connections to the Northern Line will be improved at both Moorgate and Bank stations, when Crossrail and the Bank Station Upgrade are completed.

So those travellers needing or wishing to do a one-stop transfer, will find it easy.

Connectivity between Crossrail And The Central Line

Crossrail and the Central Line have good connectivity.

  • Stratford – A cross-platform interchange.
  • Liverpool Street – A step-free connection
  • Tottenham Court Road – A step-free connection
  • Bond Street – A step-free connection
  • Ealing Broadway – A step-free connection.

If travellers need Bank and they are coming from either direction on Crossrail, they can change at a convenient station.

Given that Bank station will have a large number of step-free entrances after the Bank Station Upgrade is completed, I suspect many Crossrail passengers will transfer to the Central Line to avoid the walk from Moorgate or Liverpool Street stations.

Conclusion

It may be feasible to build a trevelator between Bank and Moorgate stations, but developments already in hand, may give the project a very bad financial case.

 

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cross-Platform Interchange Between Crossrail And Central Line At Stratford

Crossrail and the Central Line have a cross-platform interchange at Stratford.

 

I turned up today, with trains in both platforms.

There needs to be more interchanges like this between different lines, around the UK.

I can’t think of many.

  • Acton Town – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Barons Court – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Euston – Northern and Victoria
  • Finchley Road – Metropolitan and Jubilee Lines
  • Finsbury Park – Victoria and Piccadilly Lines
  • Hammersmith – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Highbury & Islington – Northern City and Victoria Lines.
  • Mile End – Central and Hammersmith & City Lines
  • Oxford Circus – Victoria and Bakerloo Lines
  • Ravenscourt Park – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Stockwell – Victoria and Northern Lines
  • Turnham Green – District and Piccadilly Lines
  • Wembley Park – Metropolitan and Jubilee Lines.

I don’t know of one outside the London area.

 

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

What Will Be The Operating Speed Of The New Tube for London?

Transport for London have said that the New Tube for London will definitely be deployed on the Piccadilly, Central and Bakerloo Lines.

These three lines have sections at one or both ends, where the lines run through the countryside and the stations are farther apart.

Only the 1992 Stock of the Central Line have their operating speed given in Wikipedia.. It is 62 mph, which is the same as the S Stock for the sub-surface lines.

The 2009 Stock of the Victoria Line, despite being similar to the S Stock have an operating speed of only 50 mph.

Because of the nature of the ends of the Piccadilly, Central and Bakerloo Lines, will 62 mph be the optimum operating speed for these trains.

I’ll look at the factors on these lines separately.

Piccadilly Line

The Piccadilly Line will be self-contained, after the sorting of the shared sections West Rayners Lane and between Ealing Broadway and Acton Town, that I discussed in Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London.

I suspect the operating speed of the New Tubes for London on the Piccadilly Line, will be decided on what is best for that line.

Central Line

The Central Line is also self-contained and the best operating speed for the line will be chosen.

Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line could be a problem, as currently Class 378 trains run on the same trcks. These have an operating speed of 75 mph.

These Class 378 trains will be replaced by Class 710 trains, which could have a faster performance.

Surely for optimum running, the trains should need similar performance.

The Benefit Of Automatic Train Control

On all the lines on which New Tubes for London will operate, there will be Automatic Train Control.

The operating speed will be set by the control system, whereas the maximum operating speed will be set by the trains design.

So I think we could see a maximum operating speed of 75 mph or even higher for the New Tube for London, so that it could run on faster lines and not slow the other faster trains.

More Speed Means More Powerful Trains And Improved Acceleration And braking

To go faster, you probably need more powerful trains, but the motors required would give better acceleration and braking, that would speed up services, by executing station stops in a shorter time.

Conclusion

I would expect from y Control Engineering training, that the New Tube for London could have a maximum operating speed in-line with the Class 710 train. So around 75-90 mph.

Could we even see an Underground train, that is capable of 100 mph?

It would only rarely, if ever, run at that speed on current plans, but it might enable Underground and National Rail services to share tracks in surprising places.

October 7, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Thoughts On The Lateness Of Crossrail

This article on the BBC is entitled Crossrail Delay: New London Line Will Open In Autumn 2019.

This is the first paragraph.

London’s £15bn Crossrail project is to open nine months after its scheduled launch to allow more time for testing.

I spent most of my working life, writing software for the planning and costing of large projects and despite never having done any serious project management in anger, I have talked to many who have, both in the UK and around the world.

So what are my thoughts?

Crossrail Is A Highly-Complex Project

The project involves the following.

  • A 21 km double-track tunnel under London.
  • New Class 345 trains
  • Four different signalling systems.
  • Rebuilt stations at West Drayton, Hayes & Harlington, Southall, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway. Acton Main Line, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford
  • Refurbished stations at Hanwell, Maryland, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentford and Shenfield.
  • Major interchanges with existing stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farrington, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Stratford.
  • New stations at Custom House, Canary Whar, Woolwich and Abbey Wood.

Some parts are easy, but a lot are very difficult.

A Shortage Of Specialist Workers

I believe that certain factors could be reducing the pool of workers available to Crossrail.

Less workers than needed would obviously slow the project.

Having to pay more than budgeted to attract or keep workers will also raise costs.

My thoughts on what is causing a possible shortage of specialist workers follow.

Crossrail-Related Development

If you own a site or a building, near to one of Crossrail’s stations, then your property will substantially increase in value, when the line opens.

Walk past any of the Crossrail stations in Central London and some further out and you will see towers sprouting around the station entrance like crows around a road-kill.

Developers know how to cash-in on the best thing that has happened to them since the Nazis flattened acres of Central London.

New sites are also being created over several Crossrail stations including Moorgate, Farringdon (2 sites), Tottenham Court Road (2 sites), Bond Street (2 sites) and Paddington.

But do all these extensive developments, mean that there are not enough sub-contractors, specialist suppliers, electricians, chippies, air-conditioning engineers, plumbers and other trades to do all the work available in London?

I also suspect a developer, building an office block to the world’s highest standard could pay better and faster, than a Crossrail supplier under pressure.

Underground Working

Working underground or in mining is dangerous.

In the 1960s, women were totally banned from working below the surface.

It must have been around 1970, when I met one of ICI’s archivists; Janet Gornall, who a few years previously had organised storage of their masses of historical documents, in the company salt mine at Winsford. The mine is still used for document storage, by a company called Deepstore.

Health & Safety found out that Janet would be supervising and indexing the storage underground, so that if any document was required, they could be easily retrieved. This caused them to give the scheme a big thumbs down.

Questions were even asked in the House of Commons, but nothing would change Health & Safety’s view

In the end a simple solution was found..

As the boxes came up from London they were piled up in a large building on the surface, in the position Janet wanted them underground.

The pile of boxes was then moved underground and stacked in exactly the same way.

Nowadays, anybody can work underground, but they must have training and be certified for such work.

Crossrail thought the number of certified underground workers might not be enough, so they set up the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) at Ilford. This article on the Crossrail web site is entitled  A Legacy To The Construction Industry.

Some points about TUCA.

  • It is now part of Transport for London.
  • It was funded by Crossrail and the Skills Funding Agency.
  • TUCA is Europe’s only specialist soft-ground tunnelling training facility.

I wrote about TUCA in Open House – TUCA, after a visit in 2012.

I was told on my visit, that the Swiss have a similar facility for rock tunnelling and that there were plans for both academies to work together.

Trainees from all over the world would get training in an exotic Swiss mountain and then go on to enjoy the wonders of Ilford.

But at least they’ll be safe workers for all types of tunnelling.

I do wonder if some of the Crossrail delays has been caused by a lack of properly trained underground workers, as now the tunnelling is completed, many have moved on to the next project.

Thames Tideway Scheme

The Thames Tideway Scheme is a £4billion scheme to build a massive sewer under the Thames to clean up the river.

Many Crossrail engineers, tunnellers and workers are now working on the new scheme.

Brexit

Stuttgart 21 is one of numerous mega-projects in Europe.

Many of the workers on Crossrail were originally from Europe and now with the uncertainties of Brexit, some must be moving nearer home,to work on these large European projects.

Well-Paid Jobs In Sunnier Climes

Don’t underestimate, the effect of the Beast From The East last winter.

Skilled personnel have always gone to places like the Middle East to earn a good crust.

With Crossrail under pressure, how many of these key workers have gone to these places for the money?

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that a shortage of specialist workers is blamed for the delays.

In the BBC article, there is this quote

We are working around the clock with our supply chain and Transport for London to complete and commission the Elizabeth line.

Fairly bland, but does the supply chain include specialist suppliers and workers, which are under severe pressure from other projects to perform various works?

It’s probably true that there is only a finite pool of these companies, tradesmen and workers and at least some of the best will have been lured away.

Station Problems

In this article in the Architects Journal, which is entitled Crossrail Delayed Until Autumn 2019, this is said.

Crossrail then revealed in February that it had overspent its budget for the year to 30 March 2018 by £190 million.

At the time TfL said works at Whitechapel station, designed by BDP, and Farringdon station, designed by AHR, were completed later than expected, and there were delays to work at Weston Williamson’s Woolwich station and John McAslan + Partners’ Bond Street station.

I’ll look at Whitechapel station as an example.

You don’t need to be an expert to figure out that Whitechapel station is running late.

Look at all the blue hoardings.

  • I know this only shows what is visible to the public.
  • The Crossrail platforms deep underground could be ready.
  • The main entrance to the station is still shrouded in plastic.
  • The escalators to get down to Crossrail, will be between the two District/Metropolitan Line platforms.

This Google Map shows the area of Whitechapel station.

Note how the site is hemmed in, by important buildings including a Sainsburys supermarket and Swanlea School.

See An Innovative Use Of The School Holidays, for an insight about how the builders of the station coped with the lack of space.

I also feel that Whitechapel is an incredibly complex station to build.

  • It is crossed by two important railways; the District/Metropolitan Line and the East London Line.
  • Innovative techniques from the coal mining industry had to be used to dig the escalator tunnel.
  • Whitechapel will be the station, where passengers change between the two Eastern branches.

I do wonder, whether a different design would have been easier to build.

For instance, could Sainsburys have been paid to shut their superstore and that site used to build the station?

But Crossrail has chosen a design and now they must build it.

The New Class 345 Trains

The new Class 345 trains for Crossrail are an almost totally new design called Aventra by Bombardier, that I believe has been specifically created to make the operation of Crossrail as efficient as possible.

The trains must have something about them, as since launch they have attracted five more substantial orders, from five different operators.

The introduction into service of the Class 345 trains,has been reasonably straightforward, but not without some issues.

But I do question, the launching of Aventra trains solely on a line as complex as Crossrail.

Would it have been easier to have built the Class 710 trains first and thoroughly debugged them on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

But then that electrification was late.

Four Types Of Signalling

Crossrail needs trains to have four different types of signalling.

I know that as Crossrail runs on other lines with these signalling and going to a single system like ETCS would need to the changing of signalling systems on much of the railways in the South-East and the trains that use them.

It appears that there are problems for the trains running into Heathrow and one of the reasons for the Crossrail delayed opening, is to allow more time to test the trains and the signalling.

From my experience of writing complex software systems, where my software needed to interface with two operating systems, I know that you can never put too much time into testing complex systems.

So where is the dedicated test track, where trains can simulate the signalling of Crossrail routes, day in and day out?

I believe that not enough time and money was allocated to test this complex system.

Crossrail has found out the hard way.

Europe Has A Lack Of Train Test Tracks

A lot of European nations are ordering new trains and the UK is probably ordering more than most.

Reading the railway stories on the Internet, there are lots of stories about trains being brought into service late. And not just in the UK, but in Germany and Italy for example.

Crossrail identified that there was a need for a training academy for underground workers.

Did anybody do the calculations to make sure, there was enough test tracks for all the trains being built in Europe?

However, it does look as though Wales is coming to rescue Europe’s train makers, as I describe in £100m Rail Test Complex Plans For Neath Valley.

I suspect Crossrail wish this test complex had been completed a couple of years ago.

A Shortage Of Resources

For successful completion of projects on time and on budget, there must be enough resources.

I believe that, when the lateness and overspend on Crossrail is analysed, shortage of resources will be blamed.

  • Shortage of people and suppliers, that has not been helped by other projects taking advantage of new opportunities offered by Crossrail.
  • Shortage of space for work-sites at stations.
  • Shortage of places to fully test trains and signalling.

I suspect that the last will be the most serious.

Hugo Rifkind On A Late Crossrail

In an excellent article in today’s copy of The Times entitled Leavers Have A Cheek Trying To Block HS2, Hugo Rifkind says this about Crossrail.

You think we’ll remember, 50 years from now. that Crossrail took six months longer than expected?

Rubbish. London will rest on it like a spine and boggle that we ever managed without.

I think Rifkind is right.

Will Hutton

Will Hutton has written this article in the Guardian, which is entitled Don’t Moan About Crossrail. Once Complete, It Will Be A Rare Triumph In Our Public Realm.

He says this.

Let’s sing a different tune. The railway line, more than 60 miles long, linking Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east – adding 10% to London’s commuter rail capacity – and set to carry around 200 million passengers a year, will be a fantastic achievement. Its 13-mile-long tunnels run more than 100ft under the capital’s streets, navigating everything from underground sewers to the deep foundations of skyscrapers with superb engineering aplomb. The longstanding reproach is that Britain can’t do grand projects. Crossrail, now christened the Elizabeth line, is proof that we can.

He then goes on to criticise the structure of the construction project, the salaries paid and the current Government.

But I suspect that in a few yeas time, Hutton, Rifkind and myself could have a quiet pint and say Crossrail got it right.

Current Developments That Will Help Bridge The Delay

It’s not as if, no new transport developments won’t happen in the time before Crossrail eventually opens in Autumn 2019.

Trains Providing More Capacity

These trains will be providing extra capacity.

  • New Class 717 trains will be running on the services to and from Moorgate station.
  • New Class 710 trains will be running on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • New Class 710 trains will be running on the Lea Valley Lines to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town stations.
  • New Class 710 trains will be running on the Watford DC Line.
  • Cascaded Class 378 trains and new Class 710 trains will be running extra services on the original circular service of the London Overground.
  • More Class 345 trains will be providing all of Crossrail’s services to Heathrow and Shenfield.
  • New Class 720 trains or something similar or older, will be providing four trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and Meridian Water stations.

Note that before the end of 2019, nearly a hundred new trains will be delivered.

New And Rebuilt Stations

There will be some new or rebuilt stations.

  • Acton Main Line
  • Forest Gate
  • Gidea Park
  • Hayes & Harlington
  • Manor Park
  • Maryland
  • Meridian Water
  • Northumberland Park
  • Tottenham Hale
  • West Drayton
  • West Ealing
  • West Hampstead

This list may contain other stations.

Underground Improvements

There will also be Underground improvements.

  • The Central Line Improvements Programme will increase capacity and reliability on the Central Line.
  • The Metropolitan Line is being upgraded with new signalling.
  • Up to ten Underground stations may be made step-free before the end of 2019.

The improvements to the Central and Metropolitan Lines, through Central London will compensate for the delaying of Crossrail’s core tunnel.

A Few Questions

I have to ask questions.

Will The High Meads Loop Be Used?

This would provide an excellent interchange between the following services.

  • Local services to Hertford East and Bishops Stortford stations,  including the new STAR service, along the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Stansted Express and Cambridge services to and from Stratford.
  • Fast Greater Anglia services to Chelmsford, Colchester, Southend and further, along the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Crossrail services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
  • Central Line services.

There is also only a short, but tortuous walk to the Jubilee Line for London Bridge and Waterloo stations and Central London.

Based on the experience of the Wirral Loop under Liverpool, which handles sixteen tph, I believe that the High Meads Loop could handle a substantial number of trains, that instead of using the crowded lines to Liverpool Street station, would use the new uncrowded route from Tottenham Hale to Stratford via Lea Bridge station.

Moving services to Stratford from Liverpool Street would also free up platforms at the major terminus, which could be used to provide extra services on the Great Eastern Main Line.

The extra capacity might also enable the lengthening of the Crossrail platforms at Liverpool Street to be extended, so they could take full-length Class 345 trains.

No new extra infrastructure would be required at Stratford, although in future, a platform to connect the loop to Stratford International station would be nice.

I will be very surprised if the High Meads Loop is not used creatively in the future.

Will Some New Pedestrian Tunnels At Stations Like Liverpool Street And Paddington Be Opened?

I use Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations regularly.

There are blue walls everywhere, behind which the Crossrail infrastructure is hiding.

I do hope Crossrail and Transport for London are looking at the possibilities of using completed infrastructure to create new walking routes in stations to ease congestion.

Conclusion

Crossrail was designed to be opened in four phases over two years.

I am drawn to the position, that because of various resource shortages and the testing of trains, perhaps the project could have been arranged as perhaps a series of smaller projects delivered over a longer period of time.

 

 

 

 

 

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Pedestrian Connection Between City Thameslink Station And St. Paul’s Tube Station

In the Wikipedia entry for City Thameslink station, there is a section called Future Proposals.

This is said.

An underground passageway linking City Thameslink to St Pauls tube station to provide an interchange between the London Underground Central line and National Rail services on the Thameslink (route) has been suggested by London TravelWatch in a report in 2014 which suggested it would benefit passengers travelling from the Central Line catchment to Gatwick and Luton Airports.

St. Paul’s tube station does not have the best access, with two sets of escalators to get to the Easttbound platform, which is underneath the Westbound one.

This picture shows the lobby at the bottom of the second set of escalators.

The Eastbound platform is through the opening on the left.

Could a tunnel to the West be built from this lobby?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of lines at City Thameslink and St. Paul’s.

It would appear that a pedestrian tunnel could be bored from the Western end of the platforms at St. Paul’s to connect to the Northern end of City Thameslink.

  • A travelator could be included.
  • It would create an accessible route into St. Paul’s station.
  • Intermediate entrances could be provided to give access to important sites like the Western end of St. Paul’s cathedral.

Property development between the two stations will probably be the catalyst to get this link built.

These pictures show Paternoster Square, which lies to the North of St. Paul’s cathedral.

I wonder if provision was made for an entrance, when the area was redeveloped around twenty years ago.

It would surely be an ideal place for an intermediate step-free entrance to any pedestrian tunnel linking St. Paul’s and City Thameslink stations.

Conclusion

Done properly, it would do the following.

  • Add step-free access at one of London’s most important stations for tourists.
  • Create a link between Thameslink and the Central Line.
  • Create a shared entrance to both stations in the Paternoster Square area.

Obviously, the figures would have to add up.

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Here Are 31 Better Names For City Thameslink, The Worst Name For A Railway Station Ever Devised

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

I tend to agree, as the name doesn’t give too much information about the location, unless you’re a Londoner or someone, who knows about Thameslink.

Look at the passenger statistics for 2013-14 for the station and its neighbours.

They are in line with their neighbours, but nothing special.

So would a renaming help.

Of the thirty-one names proposed by CityMetric, one name stands out to me. This is St. Paul’s West.

These pictures show City Thameslink station.

Note.

  • It is a double-ended station.
  • The Northern entrance is on Holborn Viaduct.
  • The Southern entrance is on Ludgate Hill.
  • There are escalators and lifts at both ends.
  • The station name is given on the platform as City Thameslink for St. Paul’s Cathedral.

This is a Google Map of the area.

Note St. Paul’s cathedral and Southern entrance to City Thameslink station are connected by Ludgate Hill. As Ludgate Hill suggests, it is uphill to the cathedral.

So perhaps a name like Ludgate and St. Paul’s West, might be better.

There could always be a referendum or an on-line vote. But some wag would come up with an unsuitable name that would win.

City Thameslink station is a modern high-capacity station.

  • The station is fully accessible.
  • The platforms accept twelve-car Class 700 trains.
  • Thameslink will soon be running twenty-four trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • Northern destinations include Bedford, Cambridge, Luton Airport, Peterborough, Saint Pancras International and Stevenage.
  • Southern destinations include Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Littlehampton, London Bridge, Maidstone, Rainham and Sevenoaks.
  • There is commercial development over much of the station, some of which is better than others.

I have also read that the signalling of Thasmeslink could accept thirty tph through the Snow Hill Tunnel. So the station could see a twenty-five percent increase in train capacity.

What the station needs is better East-West connections to make better use of the station.

Crossrail

Crossrail connects to Thameslink, one station to the North at Farringdon station, which is not a long walk.

A Pedestrian Connection To St. Paul’s Tube Station

I believe this is possible and I wrote about it in A Pedestrian Connection Between City Thameslink Station And St. Paul’s Tube Station.

A Connection To The Docklands Light Railway

This map from Transport for London, shows the possible Western extension of the DLR.

I wrote about this extension in detail in A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway.

Conclusion

City Thameslink station could grow significantly in importance.

As to the name, if it grows in importance, perhaps it deserves a more important name?

The French would name it after an important politician, artist, philosopher or soldier!

We don’t do that!

If City Thameslink station ends up with a good pedestrian connection to St. Paul’s station and the cathedral, perhaps the whole station complex should just be called St. Paul’s.

 

 

 

 

February 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

Are Transport for London Planning For The Future In The West?

Over a dozen Underground stations in West London have been earmarked for upgrading to step-free access.

I listed them in West London Stations To Be Made Step-Free.

There are various common properties.

  • Boston Manor and Osterley stations are on the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly Line, which when updated would make the branch  seventy percent step-free.
  • Hanger Lane and Northolt stations are on the West Ruislip branch of the Central Line, which when updated would make the branch seventy-one percent step-free.
  • Ickenham, Ruislip, Sudbury Hill and Park Royal are on the Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly Line, which when updated would make the branch  sixty percent step-free.
  • Hanger Lane and Park Royal stations are a valid out-of-station interchange.
  • Sudbury Hill and Sudbury Hill Harrow are a valid out-of-station interchange.
  • Ickenham and West Ruislip are a valid out-of-station interchange.
  • Ealing Broadway and Old Oak Common are developing into major interchanges.

With Crossrail going through West London and due to be fully-open in a couple of years, transport in West London is certainly going to get better for all.

But other things will or possibly could happen.

New Trains On The Piccadilly Line

The Piccadilly Line is in some ways an odd one out of London Underground lines.

  • Only 28 % of the line’s stations have an interchange with other lines or National Rail compared with 94 % for the Victoria Line.
  • Only two of the major London terminals; Kings Cross and St. Pancras International, are served by the Piccadilly Line and very badly in truth!
  • The line has no interchange with Crossrail.
  • The line has a terminus at Heathrow.
  • The line runs extensively in West London on old District Line tracks, so there are a lot of stations in the area, where platform-to-train access is bad.

The trains are also some of the oldest on the London Underground.

Under Future Upgrades in the Wikipedia entry for the line, this is said.

The intention is for the new trains to eventually operate on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines. On current plans, resignalling work on the Piccadilly line will begin in 2019 and new trains should be in service by 2022.

Wikipedia also says this about the trains.

  • The trains will be lightweight, low-energy and semi-articulated.
  • The trains will have a battery capability to take them to the next station in case of power failure.
  • The trains will have a low-floor. Will this be lower than current trains? Probably yes, as it would increase headroom.
  • The trains will have an 11 % higher capacity than the existing trains.
  • The trains could have air-conditioning.

I would add the following comments and pedictions.

  1. The trains will be designed for quicker exit and entry to the trains.
  2. The trains will shorten journey times.
  3. The trains will be wheelchair and buggy friendly.
  4. The batteries on the train will be used to handle regenerative braking.
  5. The trains will have air-conditioning, as passengers will demand it.
  6. A solution will be found, so that there is level platform-to-train access at all stations.

Point six will be difficult, but in my view this must be done to enable trains to spend as little time as possible, whilst calling at a station.

Perhaps trains will adjust their ride height as they approach a station, by adding and releasing air from the suspension.

If this level access can be achieved by a clever train design, the expense and disruption of rebuilding station platforms substantially, could be reduced.

Unfortunately, some Piccadilly Line platforms are also used by the larger S Stock trains, so any technological advantages must be made on the new Piccadilly Line trains.

Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway

Ealing Broadway station is being upgraded for Crossrail.

In the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a Capital Connection supplement, which discusses London’s railways.

On Page 7 in a section about the sub-surface lines, this is said.

One possibility being discussed is that the Piccadilly should take over the District’s Ealing Broadway service. This would free up space on the South side of the inner-London circle for more City trains off the Wimbledon branch, one of the sub-surface network’s most-crowded routes.

On Page 15 in a section about the Mayor’s plans, this is said.

It is suggested Piccadilly Line services run to Ealing Broadway instead of the District Line, enabling increased frequencies on the latter’s Richmond and Wimbledon branches.

As the plan is mentioned twice, certainly the proposal is being thought about.

I discussed this in some detail in Is There Going To Be More Change At Ealing Broadway Station?

Distilling my thoughts from last year and what I’ve seen recently, I have the following thoughts, if the Piccadilly Line had a branch to Ealing Nroadway station.

  • The Piccadilly Line would have a two-platform step-free terminus, capable of handling twelve trains per hour (tph)
  • Increasing Piccadilly Line frequencies through the core, probably needs another high capacity terminal in the West.
  • The Piccadilly Line would have an interchange with Crossrail and Great Western Railway for Heathrow, Oxford and Reading.
  • In the later 2020s, when the Piccadilly and Central Lines are running the same new deep-level trains, Ealing Broadway would only handle one type of Underground train.
  • As Ealing Broadway, Ealing Common and Acton Town stations would only handle the new deep-level Underground trains, platform-to-train access problems could be solved by lowering the platforms.

The current Piccadilly Line service in the West is as follows.

  • Twelve tph to Heathrow
  • Six tph to Rayner Lane station, with three tph continuing to Uxbridge.
  • Three tph to Northfields

The new trains and signalling, must surely increase the core frequency from the current 21 tph to something approaching the 36 tph of the Victoria Line.

I suspect that twelve tph to Ealing Broadway would fit well, with both the needs of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail’s frequency of twelve tph.

There are other problems to sort out, but Piccadilly Line trains to Ealing Broadway station could be an excellent plan.

Piccadilly Line To Heathrow

The Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly Line will be seventy percent step-free, after Boston Manor and Osterley stations are upgraded.

I think the time will come in the next few years to bite the bullet and do the following on the branch.

  • Make all street-to-platform fully step-free.
  • Lower the platforms to give level platform-to-train access to the new deep-level trains.

As this branch is Piccadilly Line-only, there should be few related problems.

Piccadilly Line To Rayners Lane and Uxbridge

The Uvbridge branch of the Piccadilly Line will be sixty percent step-free, after Ickenham, Ruislip, Sudbury Hill and Park Royal stations are upgraded.

As with the Heathrow branch, I think that the following should be done.

  • Make all street-to-platform fully step-free.
  • Lower the platforms to give level platform-to-train access tothe new deep-level trains.

The problem is between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations, where the branch is shared with the Metropolitan Line.

The following could be done.

  1. Put in extra tracks and platforms.
  2. Live with the  current platforms and step down into a Piccadilly Line train.
  3. All Piccadilly Line trains could terminate at Rayners Lane and from Rayners Lane to Uxbridge is served by Metropolitan Line only
  4. As the platforms are long and all trains are walk-through, clever platform design with Harrington Humps could be a solution.

Only option 4 would be an affordable solution, that might be acceptable to all stakeholders.

Central Line To Uxbridge

In the Wikipedia entry for the Central Line, this is said.

The Central crosses over the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines’ shared Uxbridge branch near West Ruislip depot, and a single track linking the two routes was laid in 1973. The London Borough of Hillingdon has lobbied TfL to divert some or all Central trains along this to Uxbridge, as West Ruislip station is located in a quiet suburb and Uxbridge is a much more densely populated regional centre. TfL has stated that the link will be impossible until the Metropolitan line’s signalling is upgraded in 2017.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Ruislip Depot.

Note.

  1. The Central Line is shown in red.
  2. The track used by the Piccadilly and Metropolitan Lines is the bluey colour.
  3. The Chiltern Main Line is shown in black.
  4. Ickenham and Ruislip stations will soon have some measure of step-free access.
  5. Ickenham and West Ruislip stations are a  valid out-of-station interchange, with a walk of 1.1 miles.

Would running Central Line trains to Uxbridge be feasible?

Uxbridge station has four platforms and currently has the following Off Peak services.

  • Metropolitan  – 8 tph to Aldgate
  • Piccadilly – 3 tph to Cockfosters

With these frequencies in the morning Peak.

  • Metropolitan  – 6 tph to Aldgate
  • Metropolitan  – 4 tph to Baker Street
  • Piccadilly – 6 tph to Cockfosters

West Ruislip has a 3 tph Off Peak service.

Uxbridge with four platforms can probably handle up to twenty-four tph with modern signalling, so there should be scope once the the new signalling is installed on the Metropolitan Line for changes to be made.

It may need new trains on both the Central and the Piccadilly Line, that can use the new signalling, before full advantage could be taken of running Central Line trains to Uxbridge.

But at some time in the future, it looks like the following would be possible on the West Ruislip branch of the Central Line.

  • 4 tph to West Ruislip
  • 4 tph to Uxbridge

That would be a very worthwhile service.

The Greenford Branch

The Greenford Branch is one of those lines in London and the South East, that have a low priority for the train operating companies.

Others include.

Twenty years ago, you would have included the North London and the Gospel Oak to Barking Lines. But look at those two now!

The Greenford Branch is typical of this sort of line.

  • Single platform at each end.
  • Two tph run by a single train.
  • Elderly trains.
  • No electrification
  • No Sunday service
  • More information.
  • Virtually no marketing.
  • Poor interchange at West Ealing station, although interchange at Greenford is excellent.

All of these lines could benefit from a common philosophy.

  • Four tph where possible, to encourage Turn-Up-And-Go.
  • A viable train use philosophy.
  • Modern electric trains that attract passengers.
  • Good interchange at the principal station or stations.

A plan for the Greenford Branch has yet to emerge.

However Crossrail will change everything.

  • Up to twelve tph could stop at West Ealing station.
  • West Ealing station will have full step-free access between the Greenford Branch, Crossrail and GWR services.
  • Passengers might use the line with heavy bags to get to and from Heathrow.
  • Management of West Ealing station may pass to Transport for London.

On a cold, wet day, passengers changing to the Greenford Branch will not want to wait half an hour for the next train to Greenford and the intermediate stations.

Increased passenger numbers and pressure for good service will require a four tph frequency on the Greenford branch.

  • This will require two trains.
  • Better customer service will be needed.

|As the two end stations could both be under Transport for London control, would it be sensible to pass management of the line to that organisation and run the line under the Overground banner?

But what trains could be used?

  • As the line is not electrified and platforms can only handle two- or possibly three-car trains, London Overground’s standard four-car Class 710 trains would not be suitable.
  • Class 172 trains could be used, but these are going to West Midlands Trains.
  • Passengers might accept a modernised British Rail era diesel like a Class 150 train.
  • There is also the Class 230 train, which West Midlands Trains will be using on the Marston Vale Line.
  • Could Bombardier create a three-car Aventra with on board energy storage, that would be charged at either or both ends?

My money would be on one of the last two options.

  • A standard electric train would require electrification of the branch.
  • There would be servicing problems with a small diesel fleet.
  • Class 230 trains have been designed for remote servicing, so three trains would work.
  • The diesel trains and the Class 230 train would require little if no infrastructure changes.
  • The branch is under three miles long, so a return trip is probably well within range of a battery train.
  • A three-car Aventra with on board energy storage would have many applications in the UK.
  • The Aventra with on board energy storage  would require little if no infrastructure changes, except for some extra overhead wires to create a charging point at West Ealing.

London Overground will probably go for a surprising, but cost-effective solution.

Onward From Greenford

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

There must surely be possibilities to extend the current passenger service to the West.

  • It would create a West Ealing to West Ruislip feeder service for Crossrail.
  • Greenford station would need extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line.
  • Train length would be less of a problem and four-car trains could probably be used.

It would fit well with restoring passenger services on the Acton-Northolt Line.

Old Oak Common To West Ruislip On The Acton-Northolt Line

Network Rail have plans to reinstate passenger services on the Acton-Northolt Line, so that Chiltern Railways can have an extra London terminal with a connection to Crossrail, High Speed 2 and the London Overground. Under Chiltern Main Line Connection, in the Wikipedia entry for Old Oak Common station, this is said.

Network Rail has proposed that the Chiltern Main Line should have a second terminal at Old Oak Common to increase capacity on the route as there is no room to expand the station at Marylebone. To do so, services would use the Acton–Northolt line (formerly the “New North Main Line”) and perhaps see Chiltern trains terminating here rather than Marylebone.

A summary report by Network Rail, which was released in 2017, forecast that a new London terminal will be needed by 2043 and proposed Old Oak Common for this role, with upgrading of the Acton-Northolt Line.

I doubt that I’ll see it, as I’ll be 96!

But it does seem a credible idea with questions to ask!

  • Will the route be double- or single-track?
  • Will there be express and/or Metro services?
  • How many interchanges will there be with the Central Line?
  • Will the route be used by Crossrail?
  • Will the route be electrified?

I do think that there will be some very serious thinking going on.

A few thoughts on what could define what might ensue.

High Wycombe Station

High Wycombe station is a three platform station, with a lot of space between the tracks, as this Google Map shows.

It would appear there is space for the station to be developed, as a terminus for more services from London.

The Chiltern Metro

According to Wikipedia, Chiltern Railways have ambition to create a Chiltern Metro. Wikipedia says this.

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). This ‘Chiltern Metro’ service was not programmed into the last round of franchising agreements.

This sounds to be a good idea but it would need a dedicated platform at Marylebone and is there sufficient capacity on the Chiltern Main Line to accommodate the number of extra trains required to West Ruislip.

Crossrail

How Crossrail will affect London is totally unpredictable.

  • Currently, the system is planned to run 24 tph between Heathrow, Paddington and Reading in the West and Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the East.
  • Various sources show that Crossrail has been built for 30 tph.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see the route move to a Thameslink or East London Line model, where two or four tph run to other destinations outside the core.

Ebbsfleet, Gravesend and Milton Keynes have been mentioned for expansion, but what about Basingstoke, Beaulieu, High Wycombe, Oxford and Southend?

Electrification

Three factors will be the main drivers if the Acton-Northolt Line is electrified for Network Rail’s proposed passenger services to Old Oak Common.

  • Extension of Crossrail to High Wycombe would surely need the Acton-Northolt Line to be electrified and possibly double-tracked.
  • The next generation of multi-mode trains will operate on a mixture of electric, diesel, hydrogen and battery power.
  • The ambition of Chiltern Railways.

I think on balance, if the Acton-Northolt Line is reopened to passenger services, it will be electrified.

Space could be limited as this picture from Hangar Lane station shows.

But most problems should be possible to solve, by lowering track  and rebuilding some bridges.

North Acton Station

North Action station could be updated in the following ways.

  • Extra platforms for the Acton-Northolt Line.
  • A connection to the North London Line.
  • Over-site development.
  • More spacious station buildings.

Note also that North Acton station could be a calling point on the West London Orbital Railway.

On the other hand, Old Oak Common station might handle a lot of these connections, so I suspect that if North Acton station has a connection, it will be led by the needs of property developers.

Park Royal Station

Park Royal station could be rebuilt with Hanger Lane station as an interchange between the Central and Piccadilly Lines, with extra platforms for the Acton-Northolt Line.

Again, property development will decide what happens.

Hanger Lane Station

This Google Map shows the location of Hanger Lane station in the middle of the Hanger Lane Gyratory.

Note the following.

  • The Central Line train in the Westbound platform.
  • The double-track of the Acton-Northolt Line to the North of the Central Line station.
  • Inside the ring of roads, there would appear to be a large site, that could be suitable for redevelopment, as perhaps offices or housing.

These pictures show the site in the middle of the roads.

Note.

  1. To call the site a junk-yard would be a compliment.
  2. Hanger Lane station is going to be made step-free.
  3. A  tunnel for HS2 will pass underneath., following the route of the Acton-Northolt Line.
  4. There are HS2 notices about. Are HS2 going to use the dump for a ventilation shaft for a tunnel underneath?

It would not be the most difficult design project in the world to make provision for platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line, to future-proof the station for Crossrail or any Chiltern service to Old Oak Common.

This is the sort of development that I like!

Imagine the following.

  • A cluster of perhaps four very high residential and office towers, reaching above the pollution and noise of the traffic.
  • A ring of trees could also shield the development from the traffic.
  • The tracks of the Acton-Northolt Line could be slewed to take advantage of an island platform.
  • Trains running at least four tph to Old Oak Common.
  • Crossrail could continue across Central London.
  • Trains could run to West Ruislip or High Wycombe in the West.
  • London Underground running up to ten tph on the Central Line.
  • Developers will integrate the station, the development and the required local services.

The possibilities are dramatic.

In the next decade or so, as vehicles get less polluting, developments like this will become more common.

Perivale Station

Perivale station is Grade II Listed with some of the worst steps I’ve seen on the London Underground.

Extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line and a step-free station would be very difficult.

 

I doubt, there are many stations worse for step-free access in London!

Greenford Station

Greenford station is already step-free, but extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line, could be very difficult, due to the different track levels.

But Action-Northolt Line platforms with a step-free connection would give easy access to the Greenford Branch.

Northolt Station

Northolt station is being made step-free and could be extended with extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line.

The picture was taken from the Central Line platform and shows  the station building, which almost looks as if it was built to be extended to a platform on the Acton-Northolt Line, which is to the left of the electrified Central Line track.

South Ruislip Station

South Ruislip station already has platforms on both lines.

Ruislip Gardens Station

Ruislip Gardens station probably wouldn’t need a connection to the Chiltern Line.

West Ruislip Station

West Ruislip station already has platforms on both lines.

A Possible Heavy Rail Service Between Old Oak Common and West Ruislip

Consider.

  • Central Line trains take seventeen minutes between North Acton and West Ruislip with six intermediate stops.
  • So I think it likely that a modern train could travel from Old Oak Common to West Ruislip in about fifteen minutes, with perhaps stops at three or four stations like North Acton, Hanger Lane, Greenford, Northolt and South Ruislip.
  • The Acton-Northolt Line is a mixture of single and double track. with some space for a second track.
  • All stations except Old Oak Common could have step-free interchanges with the bCentral Line.

It could either be a service linked to Chiltern or Crossrail.

I can’t help feeling that eventually, this service will be part of Crossrail.

Conclusion

The railway changes that are happening will certainly allow a lot more development in West London.

 

 

 

 

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Stations On The West Ruislip Branch Of The Central Line To Be Made Step-Free

Hanger Lane and Northolt stations are going to be made step-free.

I took these pictures on the 25th January 2018

Hanger Lane

Northolt

Summary

No work has started!

These two stations are similar in design, as are most stations from between Perivale and Ruislip Gardens.

  • Each has a single island platform.
  • Steep stairs come down in the middle of the platform.
  • A single lift would make the stations step-free from ticket hall to platforms.
  • Hanger Lane would need an extra lift from street to ticket hall.

Only Greenford, which has a junction with the Greenford Branch and is elevated, is built to different design.

Greenford Station’s Inclined Lift

At Greenford, an inclined lift has been used, as I wrote in The Inclined Lift In An Improved Greenford Station.

This picture was taken at Greenford station.

Could this be fitted alongside a rebuilt staircase on these Central Line stations?

  • The lift and stairs would be sized to fit across the platform.
  • A bigger hole in the ticket hall would be needed.
  • Access under the stairs would not be needed for passengers.
  • An inclined lift installation might be more popular with the Heritage Lobby.

It could even be possible to keep the station open during the rebuilding work.

This article on Transport For All is entitled London’s First Incline Lift. This is a paragraph.

Research by Ealing Council shows that installing incline lifts are a cost effective solution for making inaccessible stations step-free. TfL initially estimated a cost of £10m to install a traditional vertical lift at Greenford station. The incline lift makes a huge saving as it only costs £2.2m with a proposed £200,000 contribution from Ealing Council.

That is a 78% cost saving.

I can’t find any complaints on the Internet about the installation at Greenford.

What Are Transport for London’s Plans?

Transport for London have stated that their aim is to eventually have all Underground stations with full step-free access.

I have this feeling that Hanger Lane and Northolt were added to the list for these reasons.

  • The success of the inclined lift at Greenford station.
  • Studies have shown that inclined lifts could be used at these stations.
  • The affordability of inclined lifts.
  • Local residents have used Greenford’s lift and want one!
  • Ruislip Gardens, South Ruislip and Perivale stations could be made step-free in the same way.

Transport for London could be going for a traditional solution! But I doubt it!

 

January 25, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment