The Anonymous Widower

Chatham Station

Chatham station is one of the stations, that could be important to a proposed South London Outer Orbital .

The proposal says that two trains per hour (tph) could go to the Medway Towns.

These are pictures I took of the station, as I passed through.

As I said in Gillingham Station, up to nine trains per hour (tph), could call at all three Medway towns of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham, so all Chatham station needs to be is a quality two-platform station able to handle twelve-car trains every six or so minutes.

I’m certain Chatham station is up to that!

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Gillingham Station

Gillingham station is one of the stations, that could be important to a proposed South London Outer Orbital .

The proposal says that two trains per hour (tph) could go to the Medway Towns. As Gillingham has a new station building and a bay platform 1, which is capable of taking twelve-car trains, it must be a possible terminus.

These are pictures I took of the station, as I passed through.

This Google Map shows Gillingham station.

Gillingham Station

Gillingham Station

Gillingham would certainly do as a terminal of the South London Orbital Route.

In fact there is tremendous scope for an efficient turning of trains for both the South London Orbital Route and Crossrail in the Medway Towns.

Currently London-bound trains from Gillingham go to the following stations.

I’m not sure, but most trains seem to stop at all three of Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester.The 2 tph from Charing Cross also return to London after terminating in the Bay Platform 1.

If the South London Orbital Route adds two tph to Gillingham from Swanley and Bromley South, then I suspect that the Bay Platform 1 could easily accommodate the current service and the South London Orbital Route.

That would give Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester, their own local 9 tph shuttle. Other places will get jealous.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Rochester Station

Rochester station is one of the stations, that could be important to a proposed South London Outer Orbital .

The proposal says that two trains per hour (tph) could go to the Medway Towns. As Rochester has a new station with a bay platform 3, which is capable of taking twelve-car trains, it must be a possible terminus.

These are pictures I took of the station, as I passed through.

The Huguenot Museum above the Tourist Office opposite the station is worth a visit. There is a proper cafe downstairs, where you can eat in the garden.

It does need a light-controlled crossing to aid people in crossing the road.

Crossrail has a safeguarded route to Gravesend. Wikipedia says this.

The route to Gravesend has been safeguarded by the Department for Transport, although it was made clear that as at February 2008 there was no plan to extend Crossrail beyond the then-current scheme. The following stations are on the protected route extension to Gravesend: Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe, Northfleet, and Gravesend.

There two major major problems with this.

  • The Crossrail proposal doesn’t call at Ebbsfleet International station.
  • Gravesend station is very cramped and it would need major rebuilding to accommodate Crossrail.

As I showed in Crossrail Extension To Gravesend, connecting services on the North Kent Line to Ebbsfleet International station wouldn’t be the most difficult of jobs and could involve a some new track or a rebuilt Northfleet station and perhaps a travelator connection.

This Google Map shows the lines in the Ebbsfleet International area.

Lines Around Ebbsfleet

Lines Around Ebbsfleet

The North Kent Line starts in the top left at Swanscombe station, crosses over the lines into Ebbsfleet International. It then goes through Northfleet station, before going off in a South-Easterly direction to Gravesend.

These pictures were taken from a train going towards London on the North Kent Line.

I’m certain, that an acceptable and affordable solution can be made to connect Crossrail to Continental services.

If  Crossrail were to terminate in Platform 3 at Rochester station, it would only need the intermediate stations to be capable of taking twelve-car Class 345 trains. These have already been designed for running on third-rail lines.

When it comes to linking to the South London Orbital, which will probably mean that there are 4 tph between Rochester and Swanley stations, it would probably mean that Crossrail would need to run with a similar frequency to Abbey Wood.

At present Rochester has services to and from Charing Cross, which go via Abbey Wood and Woolwich Arsenal. The question has to be asked if as Crossrail serves the same stations and then goes across Central London, if this service should be configured differently. As the service goes between Gillingham and Charing Cross stopping at all stations, it might even be possible to cut out the service completely, if Crossrail stopped at all stations to Abbey Wood and fast services stopped at all stations in the Medway Towns, as they seem to do now!

But then the commuters would object and try to keep the existing unnecessary service. Gillingham for example would have.

  • 2 tph to St. Pancras
  • 3 tph to Victoria
  • 2 tph to Swanley and Woking

Crossrail could even be extended to Gillingham.

There are an awful lot of ways to organise the train services.

By the way, can anybody tell me what is the point of Charing Cross station?

 

June 9, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

From Victoria To Bromley South

I took this sequence of pictures to show the route of trains from Victoria down the Chatham Main Line to the first important station of Bromley South.

The route goes past or through these stations.

The Brixton Tunnel proposed by the Centre for London report called Turning South London Orange, would start in the Battersea area and emerge before West Dulwich station.

This journey illustrates one of the benefits of the Brixton Tunnel.

Fast trains from Victoria to Bromley South and on to Kent down the Chatham Main Line, would have their own private express tunnel to keep them clear of all the lines through Battersea, Wandsworth, Clapham, Brixton and Herne Hill.

Note.

  • Kent services will probably be a few minutes faster.
  • There will be capacity for more trains between Victoria and Kent.
  • Thameslink and other services that cross the Chatham Main Line will not have to wait for the fast trains to go through.
  • There would appear to be plenty of space for a tunnel portal at Battersea on railway land.
  • After West Dulwich station, the trains will run as now.

It will also have major positive affects on the lines across South London.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Swanley Station

Swanley station is where the two Eastern branches of the proposed South London Outer Orbital, join together.

This Google Map shows the station.

Swanley Station

Swanley Station

Note how the lines divide at the East of the station.

Under the South London Orbital proposals, both branches would get two trains per hour (tph)

This would make services from Swanley towards London at least.

  • 3 tph to Victoria via Bromley South
  • 4 tph to Working across South London via Bromley South, West Croydon and Sutton.
  • 2 tph to Thameslink via Catford.

These are pictures I took of the station as I passed through.

Note that the pictures were taken on two days.

If Swanley station has one problem, it is that it doesn’t have a direct rail connection to Ebbsfleet International station. You have to change at Rochester.

This Google Map shows the area.

Swanley Station To Ebbsfleet International Station

Swanley Station To Ebbsfleet International Station

Swanley station is in the South-West cornet of the map and Ebbsfleet is in the North-East.

I think a direct connection will be more important than most people think.

In ten or twenty years or so.

  • Crossrail will have been extended to Gravesend and will call at Ebbsfleet International.
  • More and more people will be travelling to Europe by train.
  • Saint Pancras International will be full to capacity.
  • Some Continental trains will terminate at Ebbsfleet International and/or Stratford International.

A direct link along the M25 would tie everything together.

 

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Maidstone East Station

Maidstone East station is one of the two Eastern terminal stations on a proposed South London Outer Orbital 

These are pictures I took of the station as I passed through.

This Google Map shows the station layout.

Maidstone East Station

Maidstone East Station

It’s certainly a station, with a lot of land wasted for car parking.

Unlike the new Rochester station, which I wrote about in Rochester’s New Station, it is still very much as it has been for years. However development is promised.

At least the station is well connected according to Services in Wikipedia.

Under the South London Orbital plans, it would get two trains per hour (tph) to Swanley, Bromley South and across to Woking to go with the current 2 tph services to Victoria and Thameslink in the Peak.

So the South London Orbital would give at least 4 tph or a turn-up-and-go service to Swanley and Bromley South.

I think that whatever happens at Maidstone East station, in ten years time, the station will have been transformed in terms of buildings, facilities and train services.

I have just run Google Maps over the route between Maidstone East and the next major station towards London; Swanley. Although only two tracks with eight stations in between, it looks the sort of line, where some speed improvement would be possible.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Bromley South Station

Bromley South station is one of the stations on a proposed South London Outer Orbital 

These are pictures I took of the station, as I passed through.

It is a typical South London station, that is step-free with reasonable facilities.

It is well-placed for Bromley town centre and offers a fair range of train services.

June 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Beckenham Junction Station

Beckenham Junction station is one of the stations on a proposed South London Outer Orbital 

These are pictures I took of the station, as I passed through.

 

Beckenham Junction offers the following connections.

  • A link to Tramlink.
  • A link to Thameslink in the peak hours.
  • A link to Victoria via Herne Hill
  • A link to London Bridge via Crystal Palace.

I also think that as I said in Do We Make The Assets Sweat At Crystal Palace  Station?, that there will be a good one-change link to Beckenham Junction from the East London Line.

There are worst stations to get stuck!

June 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Bromley Junction

In the June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways in an article is entitled Turning South London Orange.

One of the proposals is to create A New South London Orbital Rail Route.

The writer of the proposal suggests that there would be a three kilometre tunnel between Norwood Junction and Kent House to connect the East and West halves of the route.

I believe that if the tunnel were to be built that the Southern portal would be located in the region of Bromley Junction, which is North of Norwood Junction station.

This Google Map shows the area.

Bromley Junction

Bromley Junction

The lines are as follows.

The line going North West goes to Crystal Palace.

The line going North East is the Brighton Main Line to New Cross Gate and London Bridge.

The East London Line to Whitechapel and Dalston Junction shares the tracks of the Brighton Main Line.

The continuation of the Crystal Palace line turns east to Beckenham Junction and Bromley South and Orpington.

The Brighton Main Line continues South to Norwood Junction, East Croydon and Brighton.

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

Lines Around Bromley Junction

Lines Around Bromley Junction

Note how to accommodate the tram from Harrington Road to Beckenham Junction via Birkbeck, the route from Crystal Palace to Beckenham Junction has been single-tracked.

It would also appear that this line was once connected to Norwood Junction station by the Norwood Spur.

These pictures show the Bromley Junction.

I wouldn’t believe it would be impossible to build a new connection between Birkbeck and Norwood Junction stations.

The traffic through Birkbeck station is as follows.

  • 2 tph to Beckenham Junction (Southern)
  • 2 tph to London Bridge via Crystal Palace and Peckham Rye (Southern)

As the line is single-tracked that works out as a total of 4 tph.

I believe that with modern signalling and better track layout, that this figure could be increased.

So would it be possible to run trains on a new South London Orbital Route through the area?

Four tph on both routes would mean that there would be up to sixteen trains through the single-track in every hour. Difficult and it would need to be well-signalled and well-driven and possibly under full automatic control, but as a Control Engineer, I don’t believe it would be impossible, given that the trains on the orbital route would not be stopping between Norwood Junction and Beckenham Junction stations.

June 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

A New South London Orbital Rail Route

In the June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways in an article is entitled Turning South London Orange.

One of the proposals is to create new orbital route across South London.

The route is proposed to go through these stations, after starting at Woking.

After Swanley, two of the proposed four trains per hour (tph) would go to the Medway stations, with the other two going to Maidstone East.

What Does The Route Do For Me?

From, where I live at the Northern end of the East London Line, this might seem a proposal with not much benefit to North Londoners.

But the link to the proposed route at Norwood Junction and West Croydon stations could prove very valuable.

  • Getting to London terminals for the South like Victoria, Waterloo and Charing Cross, is not an easy journey, especially in busy times.
  • Thameslink is promising to remove the one-change-route via New Cross Gate to get to East Croydon and Gatwick.
  • Getting to Kent is particularly difficult, unless you use High Speed 1 from Stratford.

Crossrail 2 will help matters in a few years, but more needs to be done.

As an example of the difficulties we face in Hackney, today, I want to go to New Malden to take some pictures for A Very Bad Level Crossing Problem.

  • Angel station is on the wrong branch of the Northern Line to get to Waterloo.
  • I could take a 76 bus to Waterloo.
  • I could take an East London Line train to Clapham Junction.
  • I could take a Victoria Line train to Vauxhall.
  • I could take a bus to Bank and get the Drain to Waterloo.

In the end i took the bus to Bank for the Drain.

You can see why Crossrail 2 is important for Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

The new route may not help me today, but for many other journeys that need to be done from North East London, it creates an important by-pass of the inaccessible South London termini.

Two planned improvements will help this appalling connectivity in the next couple of years.

But there will be no major improvement until Crossrail 2 opens.

So Is The New South Orbital Route Feasible?

The Modern Railways article says this.

The major infrastructure addition would be a 3.2 km tunnel running northwards from Norwood Junction to Kent House, west of Beckenham Junction.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the stations on and around the proposed route of the tunnel.

Norwood Junction To Kent House

Norwood Junction To Kent House

I would assume that the tunnel would be double-track to accommodate the four tph, that are proposed for the route and its turn-up-and-go service.

This Google Map shows the same area.

Norwood Junction To Beckenham Junction

Norwood Junction To Beckenham Junction

Norwood Junction station is in the South-West corner of the map, with Beckenham Junction station in the North-East.

A friend of mine lives in the area and I wonder what he and his wife think of a tunnel under their house!

It may be possible to dig the tunnel in an affordable way, but I suspect another route could be used to bridge the gap between Norwood Junction and Beckenham Junction stations.

I don’t think that four trains per hour in both directions could be squeezed through the single-track section through Birkbeck station, but if they could it would avoid building the expensive tunnel.

There is always the option of splitting the service, as has been proposed for services across Suffolk, that I wrote about in Better East-West Train Services Across Suffolk. In that concept you have an island platform, where the trains meet and passengers just walk across to continue their journey. If say, Norwood Junction were to be used as the station for the split, then the Western service would go between Woking and Norwood Junction and the Eastern service between Norwood Junction and Swanley.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Newmarket scheme is ever built and if it is, how passengers react to it. If it comes over as a success, I think we’ll be seeing more innovative layouts to create new services from existing infrastructure with nothing more than minimal changes.

The Aim Of The Service

The Modern Railways article also says this.

The aim would be to provide a limited stop ‘turn up and go’ service that is competitive with the car, with train interiors designed to a comparable standard of comfort with more seats and Wi-Fi, rather than being of the metro-style used closer to the centre of the capital.

That I like! Sounds like the author is talking Class 387 trains with Wi-fi!

Thoughts On Stations Served

I’m giving each station their own separate posts.

 

 

Leatherhead

Cheam

Sutton

West Croydon

Norwood Junction

Beckenham Junction

Bromley South

Swanley

Maidstone East

Rochester

Chatham

Gillingham

 

Note that I’ve also included some lesser stations for completeness.

Conclusions

The conclusions are best put together for the various sections and features of the line.

Conclusions In The East

Swanley station with its four long platforms arranged in two islands is the key to the East.

Two tph to and from each of the Medway Towns and Maidstone East would give a turn-up-and-go service across the South of London through Bromley, Croydon, Sutton and Epsom.

But given that the station currently has the following services.

  • 2 tph West Hampstead Thameslink to Sevenoaks
  • 1 tph Victoria to Dover Priory
  • 1 tph Victoria to Canterbury West
  • 1 tph Victoria to Ashford International

It wouldn’t take a lot of imagination to see Swanley as a major interchange, providing 4 tph services to a whole range of destinations across London and in East Kent.

Sadly, at the moment Ebbsfleet International for Continental trains isn’t possible, but Ashford International is.

I feel that.

  •  Continental services will increase in importance, over the next few years.
  • St. Pancras International will run out of capacity,
  • Some Continental services will terminate at Ebbsfleet International.

Which leads me to feel that getting from Victoria and across South London quickly to Ebbsfleet International will be increasingly important.

A direct Swanley to Ebbsfleet link would be ideal.

But as I showed in Rochester Station, that problem could be solved by an enlarged Crossrail.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment