The Anonymous Widower

The East London Line In 2030

The East London Line was opened in May 2010 using pieces of redundant infrastructure in the East of London.

Modern additions were added.

A new fleet of Class 378 trains were purchased and services began between two Northern and four Southern destinations, at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

Looking back just over eight years later, the line has been an overwhelming success.

East London Line Capacity

The proof of this success surely is shown in the increasing capacity of the line since 2010.

The Class 378 trains have got longer.

  • In 2010, they started at just three cars.
  • They were soon extended to four cars.
  • In 2016, all trains became five cars.

The trains could go to six cars, but there are platform length issues, that make five cars the current limit.

On the other hand, selective door opening could be used, which works so well with walk-through trains.

Now, Transport for London are going to increase frequencies on the line.

  • In 2018, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace stations.
  • In 2019, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

This would give twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink will handle twenty-four tph in their central tunnels, I suspect that to have the same frequency on the East London Line would not be impossible.

Developments That Will Happen

These developments will happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Crossrail

The Whitechapel station interchange with Crossrail will become the Jewel in the East, as it will give access to Canary Wharf, the West End, Stratford, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Heathrow to all those (like me!), who live along the East London Line.

As both lines will have train frequencies of at least twenty tph, you should never wait more than a few minutes for your train.

I can see, the number of passengers changing between Crossrail and the East London Line being very high.

  • For many travellers it will be their quickest way to Crossrail.
  • The Class 378 trains are more passenger-friendly than Thameslink’s Class 700 trains, which are best avoided, by those with sensitive posteriors.
  • Whitechapel station gives access to both the Eastern branches of Crossrail.
  • All East London Line services call at Whitechapel.

My scheduling experience says that the frequency of trains on Crossrail and the East London Line should be the same, to smooth travellers passage through the station.

So expect Crossrail to eventually push the East London Line to twenty-four tph.

Increased Frequencies On The Underground

The Sub-Surface Lines of the London Underground are being re-signalled, which will mean more capacity, where the District and Metropolitan Lines interchange with the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

There could also be improvements on the Jubilee Line, where it meets the East London Line at Canada Water station.

I doubt we’ll see more improvement to the Victoria Line, as you can only extract blood from a stone for a limited period.

It is also probably true, that Dear Old Vicky needs some relief.

New South Eastern Franchise

The new South Eastern Franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with the new incumbent taking over in December 2018.

The current Southeastern services have little interaction with East London Line services, except at New Cross station, where the following services call.

  • Southeastern – Northbound – Eight tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge.
  • Southeastern – Southbound – Eight tph to Lewisham via St. John’s.
  • Overground – Four tph to and from Dalston Junction.

New Cross is a good interchange for travelling to and from South East London and I suspect the new franchise will only make it more useful.

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line has been ignored for decades and in my view it is a disgrace with elderly Class 313 trains, dirty, dark and dingy stations and unmotivated staff, who seem abandoned by their employers.

If ever there is a line that should join the Overground, it is this one!

At least, the line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will bring the following.

  • Modern trains with wi-fi and hopefully comfortable seats.
  • Increased capacity.
  • Up to twelve tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations via Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations.
  • More passengers to the East London Line at Highbury & Islington station.
  • A direct cross-platform and step-free link for the Victoria Line to Crossrail.

Planners do not seem to have realised the effects these new trains will cause in North London and at Highbury & Islington station in particular.

North London Line Improvements

In the next few years, there will be improvements on the North London Line.

All these improvements will bring more passengers to the East London Line and put more pressure on Highbury & Islington station.

Property Development Along The East London Line

Only two stations on the East London Line; Dalston Junction and Shoreditch High Street, were designed to have development on top.

Dalston Junction station has now been virtually fully developed and only now are tower blocks starting to grow around and on top of Shoreditch High Street station.

The City of London will also expand to the East, which will mean more offices and housing clustered around stations like Whitechapel, Shadwell and Canada Water.

Property developent will greatly increase the ridership of the East London Line.

Rebuilding Of Highbury & Islington Station

Many travellers in East London, use the Overground to get to Highbury & Islington station for access to the Underground.

The below ground section of this station needs substantial improvement with a second entrance, more escalators and lifts.

Plans get talked about, but nothing happens.

I believe that the new Class 717 trains on the Northern City Line could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as they will bring more travellers to the station.

But on the other hand the existing cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line, might mean that less travellers need to go to and from the surface.

I have this feeling, that a rebuilt Highbury & Islington station will happen before 2030 and would attract more travellers to the East London Line.

Developments That Could Happen

These developments could happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

I believe extending the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham station is more likely to happen than Crossrail 2 and if it was built it would connect to the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.

This map shows the extension.

I believe that the East London Line and the extended Bakerloo Line will complement each other.

  • The Bakerloo Line will probably have at least twenty tph between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations via Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Baker Street stations.
  • The East London Line will have at least six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations and four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • New Cross Gate is currently a step-free station, so I suspect it will be a very smooth interchange.

Connections between South East and the whole of North London will be substantially improved.

Brockley Interchange

It has been suggested that Brockley station be connected to the line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, which crosses over the station.

Wikipedia says this about the connection.

At the London end the line is crossed by the Nunhead to Lewisham line. At this location adjacent to Brockley station was sited Brockley Lane station which closed in 1917 with the original London, Chatham and Dover Railway branch to Greenwich Park. The connection of that line to Lewisham is a later development. The possibility of opening platforms on this line with direct access to Victoria Station and the Bexleyheath Line to Dartford has often been suggested but is currently low on TfL’s priorities.

In some ways the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham does a similar job in connecting the East London Line to Lewisham, but at a much higher frequency.

Another problem with the Brockley Interchange is that there are only two tph between Victoria and Lewisham, that pass over Brockley station and does the capacity at Lewisham station exist to allow this to be increased to a viable frequency, that would make building Brockley Interchange an interchange worth building?

Crossrail 2

Will Crossrail 2 be built or even started before 2030?

I personally doubt it, unless Brexit is an unqualified success and the project is privately-funded.

There are also other projects that might lower the need for Crossrail 2 and allow it to be delayed to beyond 2030.

Extension Of East London Line Services Along The North London Line

I can remember reports, when the London Overground was created, that suggested that some East London Line services, might be extended to the West, possibly to Willesden Junction station.

I think there are two major problems.

  • Trains going West from Highbury & Islington station from the East London Line could stop in Platform 1 or 2 and go straight through on their way to Clendonian Road & Barnsbury station. But those going the other way would probably need to cross tracks on flat junctions!
  • Where is the suitable bay platform to turn the trains?

On the other hand, many passengers would find it useful, as it would avoid a change at Highbury & Islington station.

Penge Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through Penge West and Penge East stations.

The two stations are a valid out-of-station interchange, but neither is step-free.

Penge East station could be difficult to make step-free, as the footbridge is listed.

I think that it is one of those structures that Network Rail wouldn’t miss, if it was decided to install it at the National Railway Museum.

Could this be one of the reasons, why it has been suggested that a new station be built, where the lines through the two Penge stations cross.

  • It could be fully step-free.
  • The station would be built on railway land.
  • It would have four tph between Victoria and Bromley South stations.
  • It would have four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • It would have two tph between London Bridge and Caterham stations
  • It might also be possible to have platforms on the Crystal Palace branch, thus adding six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace. stations.
  • The station could have Thameslink platforms.

Note that the Penge Interchange offers four tph to and from Victoria, whereas the Brockley Interchange only offers a measly two tph.

Penge Interchange might allow the two older Penge stations to be closed.

Shoreditch High Street Connection To The Central Line

The Central Line passes directly underneath Shoreditch High Street station, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

Note the reversing sidings at Liverpool Street station in the South-West corner of the map.

Wikipedia says this about the possibility of creating an interchange.

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

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street to Bethnal Green is one of the longest stretches on the Underground without a station.
  • There is a lot of  residential and housing developments, being proposed for around Shoreditch High Street station.
  • Large numbers of passengers use the East London Line to get to Highbury & Islington station for the Underground. Would a Shoreditch High Street connection take the pressure off?
  • It could give East London Line travellers, a single-change connection to Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane and Holborn stations.

For construction and operational reasons, the decision to create this connection will not be taken until Crossrail is fully open.

I suspect passenger statistics will play a large part in the decision.

Southeastern Connections

Southeastern has three main terminals in London.

  • Cannon Street – Jubilee and Northern Lines
  • Charing Cross – Circle and |District Lines
  • Victoria – Circle, District and Victoria Lines.

But they also serve other stations in South London with good connections.

  • Abbey Wood – Crossrail
  • Greenwich -DLR
  • Lewisham – DLR and possibly Bakerloo Line
  • London Bridge – Jubilee and Northern Lines and Thameslink
  • New Cross – East London Line
  • Woolwich Arsenal – DLR

The rebuilding of London Bridge station has probably improved connectivity, but are further improvements needed?

Two of the possible improvements to the East London Line; the Brockley and Penge Interchanges will connect current Southeastern services to and from Victoria to the East London Line.

Would the new South Eastern franchise like a connection to the East London Line?

  • ,Passengers to and from East London surely have have an easier route, than going to Victoria and then using the Underground!
  • Passenger numbers at Victoria might be marginally reduced
  • Both new interchanges would give a route to Crossrail at Whitechapel, which is not an easy connection to and from Victoria.
  • I have looked at timings and it appears that the Whitechapel route is perhaps five minutes slower to the West End or Paddington, but perhaps a dozen minutes faster to the Northern part of the City of London.

It is my view, that if Penge Interchange is built, then Brockley Interchange could be forgotten.

Thameslink Improvements

With all the money spent on Thameslink, it is likely that Network will want to maximise their investment by running as many trains as possible on the route.

Currently, the plan is for twenty-four trains an hour through the central tunnel, which then split as follows.

  • Eight tph via Elephant & Castle
  • Sixteen tph via London Bridge of which twelve tph continue to East Croydon.

It would also appear that there are another five tph between London Bridge and East Croydon, but only one tph runs on the fast lines.

So there would appear to be plenty of capacity between London Bridge and East Croydon stations, even if the central tunnel frequency on Thameslink were to be upgraded to thirty tph.

I think we might see a bit of sorting out of Thameslink to minimise some of the problems, that became evident after the May 2018 timetable change.

A problem I have, which I share with the millions in East London, is that it is difficult to get to Gatwick Airport, as there is no common station between the East London Line and Thameslink.

  • If the Penge Interchange is built, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • When the Bakerloo Line is extended to New Cross Gate station, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • Should all slow trains on the line be run by the London Overground?
  • Should all fast trains on the line be run by Thameslink?

Thameslink could be so much more useful.

West Croydon Or East Croydon

From a personal point of view, when I go to Croydon, I want to get to East Croydon station, as I’m usually taking a train to the South Coast or Gatwick Airport.

  • Inevitably, I end up taking a tram from West Croydon to East Croydon station.
  • Ging the other way is more difficult, as I inevitably get lost trying to find West Croydon station.
  • Although, there are now some trams at East Croydon only going to West Croydon.
  • Trains to the North of Penge West station, never seem to be very full.
  • East Croydon station is more important than West Croydon station.

So would it be better if the East London Line trains went to East Croydon?

The problem is that there is no space in East Croydon station.

Perhaps two new platforms could handle both East London and West London Line services.

West London Line services should also be run by the London Overground, as was proposed by Chris Gibb, as I wrote about in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

I would do the following.

  • Sort out Victoria and Thameslink services at East Croydon station, so that all Northbound and Southbound services used a separate pair of platforms, with one platform face for Thameslink and the other for Victoria services.
  • If possible, move services like London Bridge to Uckfield to Thameslink.
  • Put a pair of terminal platforms under the Thameslink and Victoria services platforms, connected to these platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Most of the tunneling would be under railway property North of East Croydon station.
  • These platforms could probably handle up to six trains per hour (tph) each.
  • It would be possible to run six tph between Highbury and Islington and East Croydon stations.
  • The West London Line could have a highly desirable four tph to the mega-station at Old Oak Common.
  • It might even be possible to use the platforms for service recovery on Thameslink.
  • It could release the pressure on the difficult Windmill Bridge Junction, which is a bit of a bottleneck.

It would be costly, but planned properly, I believe it could be created without any major disruption to the existing East Croydon station.

It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to the following.

  • Through services to London Bridge, St. Pancras and Victoria.
  • East London Line services to East London and Whitechapel for Crossrail for the City, Central London and Shenfield.
  • West London Line services to West London and Old Oak Common for High Speed 2, West Coast Main Line and Crossrail for Heathrow and Reading.

Capacity at East Croydon would probably be increased.

Conclusion

The East London Line will get better and better.

 

 

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Expanding Charing Cross Station

Network Rail have published the Kent Route Study, which says the following about Charing Cross station.

Charing Cross and Cannon Street stations are effectively full.

Only Platform 1-3 can take the longest trains at Charing Cross station.

The study suggests this as a solution at Charing Cross.

Charing Cross has just six 12-car platforms and Platforms 4, 5
and 6 are very narrow, leading to operational restrictions. Class 465
units cannot operate in 12-car into these platforms and selective
door operation is used on Class 375 units. A major rebuild of the
station could allow it to be extended south over the river, like
Blackfriars, providing compliant platforms and greater passenger
circulation. At concept level, a new link to Waterloo from a southern
entrance to Charing Cross may supersede Waterloo East allowing
the station area to be used for additional track capacity, but there
are likely to be many issues with a project on this scale.

This Google Map shows the station and the Northern |end of the Hungerford Railway Bridge.

Note.

  1. Platforms are numbered 1 to 6 from top to bottom.
  2. The two Golden Jubilee footbridges on either side of the Hungerford bridge.
  3. There appear to be four or five tracks on the bridge.
  4. The bridge appears to tracks on either side of a central truss.

I went to Charing Cross station on the train and then walked across the downstream Golden Jubilee Bridge, which is the top one in the Google Map.

The Hungerford Bridge is certainly a good example of Victorian engineering, which appears to be two separate sections separated by a big truss, with trains running o either side.

A Cross River Charing Cross Station

Network Rail obviously feel that it will be possible to create a cross-River station, as they have published the idea in the Kent Route Study.

I shall outline some thoughts.

Will The Hungerford Bridge Have To Be Replaced?

Consider.

  • Replacing the bridge and all the associated steel-work, would be an extensive and expendive project.
  • The state of the bridge, which was refurbished about three decades ago, will be very important.
  • Modern structural engineering can probably give the bridge sufficient integrity and possibly more space.
  • The Golden Jubilee Footbridges, which are some of the busiest pedestrian crossings of the Thjames would obviously stay.

I feel that unless the bridge was in a really poor condition, that the current bridge won’t be replaced, but it will probably be substantially rebuilt.

Will Waterloo East Station Be Closed?

The Kent Route Study said this about Waterloo East station.

At concept level, a new link to Waterloo from a southern
entrance to Charing Cross may supersede Waterloo East allowing
the station area to be used for additional track capacity, but there
are likely to be many issues with a project on this scale.

The issues could include.

  • A double-ended Charing Cross station would give benefits similar to those at Blackfriars.
  • A Southern entrance to Charing Cross station would possibly be better than Waterloo East station for entertainment on the South Bank.
  • Passengers transferring between Charing Cross and Waterloo services might have further to walk.
  • Underground connections.
  • Cutting out the stop at Waterloo East would save time. It would probably make it easier to stick to the timetabe.
  • Some of the Waterloo East site could be released for development.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Waterloo East station closed.

How Many Trains Could Use Charing Cross Station?

Currently, the six platforms at Charing Cross handle sixteen trains per hour (tph) in the Off Peak.

A well-run platform can turnback four tph, so it could be that the capacity of a well-laid out Charing Cross station could be 24 tph.

Other factors could increase the capacity of the station.

  • The platforms could be long enough to handle two full length trains.
  • Entrances on both sides of the river would ease passenger flows.
  • The next generation of trains will hold more people in a train of a given length.
  • Automatic Train Operation could be employed on trains out of Charing Cross.

Obviously, the engineers and architects will have to get the design right, but I believe this frequency could be possible.

Conclusion

I think expanding Charing Cross station across the river is a good plan and not impossible.

But the design could be tricky!

It also looks like the passenger capacity at Charing Cross could be substantially increased.

 

 

 

 

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Conditions And Thoughts On The New Southeastern Franchise

The January 2018 Edition of Modern Railways gives a review of the conditions, that the Department for Transport are imposing on bidders.

The First Sentence

This is the first sentence of the article.

The Department for Transport says bidders for the next Southeastern franchise will be required to provide space for at least 40,000 additional passengers in the morning rush hour with 12-car services on the busiest routes.

This raises an interesting question.

Does the DfT mean actual twelve-car trains or ones as long as current twelve-car trains?

In Big On The Inside And The Same Size On The Outside, I discussed how by using  good design, Bombardier were getting more passengers in a train of the same length.

This is an extract from c2c’s Press Release.

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

So three x four-car trains working as a twelve-car train are replaced by one ten-car train, just as with Greater Anglia. Note the claimed fifteen percent capacity increase!

Metro Services

The article says this about Metro services,

Metro-style trains will be introduced on suburban routes, similar to those on other high-capacity routes into London.

Is the DfT thinking of trains like Crossrail’s Class 345 trains?

Changes Of London Terminals

The DfT was thinking of all inner suburban services going to a single London terminal, but this has been dropped following opposition.

Changes are still proposed, to stop conflicts at Lewisham.

  • Bexleyheath Line services will switch from Victoria to Cannon Street or Charing Cross.
  • Hayes Line services will not serve Victoria and Charing Cross, but not Cannon Street.
  • North Kent Line services will run to Cannon Street.
  • Sidcup Line services will run to Charing Cross and Cannon Street in the Peak.
  • Extra services will serve Abbey Wood for Crossrail.
  • More twelve-car trains.

The objective is a turn-up-and-go Metro-style service on suburban routes.

To London Overground, Merseyrail and other commuters around the K, that means four trains per hour.

As there was with the proposal Network Rail made to curtail Sutton Loop Line services at Blackfriars, there will be complaints. Especially, from those who were at Eton with certain MPs!

Hopefully the design of London Bridge station will help smooth things over.

Twelve-Car Trains At Charing Cross And Waterloo East

If most trains are twelve-car trains, then surely all platforms at Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria and Waterloo East stations, must surely be able to handle trains of this length.

As it is specifically mentioned, Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations must be the most problem.

There have been suggestions of rebuilding the two stations, with the platforms at Charing Cross extending over the Thames.

Consider.

  • Modern signalling could handle twenty-four trains per hour between Charing Cross and London Bridge.
  • Connections to the Jubilee Line could be better.
  • The Bakerloo Line is planned to be extended to Lewisham.
  • Waterloo East station could surely have over-site development.
  • Techniques borrowed from London Underground could be used to turn trains faster at Charing Cross.

I have a feeling that we will see something fairly radical happen in the next few years to increase capacity across the South Bank.

Faster Services To Hastings

This is said about services to and from Hastings.

DfT has specified a new two trains per hour service between London, Tonbridge and Ashford, allowing services to Hastings to be speeded up by removing calls at Orpington, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough.

Bidders are incentivised to develop further proposals for reducing journey times, including for deliveringn high speed services between London St. Pancras, Hastings and Bexhill via Ashford.

That all sounds good for Hastings.

More Trains Between Strood And Tonbridge

This route along the Medway Valley Line will have two trains per hour all day.

Trains For The Franchise

The DfT has specified the trains in a fairly detailed way.

Cars No Longer Than Twenty Metres

This is probably because of curved platforms and other restrictions on the various routes.

It is also a similar car length to the current Class 465 trains and Class 377 trains.

No Extra Selective Door Opening, Except At Waterloo East

I suspect this could be that selective door opening, confuses passengers and perhaps slow the stops.

First Class To Be Removed By September 2020

Will this be popular with all passengers?

There doesn’t seem to have been too many protests about the future removal of First Class on Greater Anglia’s services in Essex.

But it will allow the capacity of the train to be increased, to provide space for some of those 40,000 additional passengers.

ETCS Will Have To Be Deployed

European Train Control System (ETCS)  can enable higher frequencies of trains in a safe manner and mandating that it be deployed is a sensible move.

At Least One Accessible Toilet On Main Line And High Speed Trains

I think most train operating companies would do this!

Adequate Wi-Fi

Not providing wi-fi and in addition 4G signals, is probably an easy way to reduce ridership.

Walk Through Trains

The fleets that have been bought recently, are all of this type, so I think it would be unlikely, that any new trains for the Southeastern franchise would be different.

My Thoughts

Train Length

 

Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast have set a pattern, by ordering trains and half-trains, that can probably be used in a flexible manner.

Half-train/Full-train ratios for the various companies are.

  • Great Western Railway – 1.6
  • Greater Anglia – 4.0
  • South Western Railway 0.5
  • Virgin Trains East Coast – 0.5

Each company has chosen an appropriate number of trains for their routes, but each can adjust numbers by running two half-trains as a full train.

So will we see the same strategy on a future Southeastern franchise?

Perhaps most trains will be twelve-car trains with a small number of six-car trains, that can work together as required.

Train Speed

In Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Elimination Of Slow Trains, I came to this conclusion.

All trains incapable of running a service at 100 mph should be eliminated, just as the two operators;Greater Anglia and South Western Railway, are planning to do.

All of the new Southeastern franchise’s trains should be 100 mph trains.

 

 

 

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

Could Charing Cross Station Be Rebuilt With South Bank Entrance?

This question was asked in an article in SE1.

It points to this page on the Network Rail web site, where you can download the Kent Route Study.

This is said in the study.

5.11.2. Charing Cross has just six 12-car platforms and Platforms 4, 5 and 6 are very narrow, leading to operational restrictions. Class 465 units cannot operate in 12-car into these platforms and selective door operation is used on Class 375 units. A major rebuild of the station could allow it to be extended south over the river, like Blackfriars, providing compliant platforms and greater passenger circulation. At concept level, a new link to Waterloo from a southern entrance to Charing Cross may supersede Waterloo East allowing the station area to be used for additional track capacity, but there are likely to be many issues with a project on this scale.

5.11.3. The relieving of terminal capacity constraints at Cannon Street and Charing Cross will then move the bottleneck to other locations on the route, including North Kent East Junction, Lewisham, Parks Bridge Junction and the two track section between Orpington and Sevenoaks.

It could be an interesting idea.

My big issue, is that increasingly, I am using London’s latest high capacity link, from London Bridge to Charing Cross via Waterloo East as a cross-London link.

It is now my preferred way to get to where I live from Waterloo station or Trafalgar Square, as I just get a convenient 141 bus from the forecourt of London Bridge station. Often after buying my supper or a few supplies in the convenient M & S in the entrance of the station under the Shard.

March 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Improving Services To Cannon Street And Charing Cross Stations

Platform Changes At London Bridge Station

The Thameslink Programme will change the platform layout at London Bridge station considerably.

In 2012, the platform layout at London Bridge was as follows.

  • Platform 1 – From Cannon Street
  • Platform 2 – To/From Cannon Street
  • Platform 3 – To Cannon Street
  • Platform 4 – From Charing Cross
  • Platform 5 – From Charing Cross and Bedford
  • Platform 6 -To Charing Cross and Bedford
  • There was also a through line to Charing Cross without a platform.

I can’t remember much about those days, except that the platforms were very crowded.

When London Bridge station and the Thameslink Programme is completed, the new platform layout will give opportunities to create new services through London Bridge to both; Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations.

The platform layout at London Bridge station will be as follows.

  • Platform 1 – From Cannon Street
  • Platform 2 – To/From Cannon Street
  • Platform 3 – To Cannon Street
  • Platform 4 – From Thameslink
  • Platform 5 – To Thameslink
  • Platform 6 – From Charing Cross
  • Platform 7 – From Charing Cross
  • Platform 8 – To Charing Cross
  • Platform 9 – To Charing Cross

So, six through platforms and seven lines have been replaced by nine through platforms. This is a 50% increase in platforms and a 28% increase in tracks. The Borough Market Viaduct was the major engineering in creating the extra two tracks across the South Bank.

Other factors help capacity in the area include.

  • The Bermondsey dive-under sorts out all the lines South of London Bridge station and will present trains to the right platforms at London Bridge. |Spaghetti Junction is so 1960s!
  • Effectively, there are now three parallel and probably separate railway systems virtually from Bermondsey through London Bridge station, that split after the station; a pair of lines for Cannon Street, another pair for Thameslink and two pairs for Charing Cross.
  • There has been a lot of work on track and signalling.
  • The Tanners Hill Fly-Down has been built to improve capacity between London Bridge and Lewisham, which must help Cannon Street and Charing Cross services.
  • The design of London Bridge station with its wide through platforms and more escalators than a science-fiction fantasy, could mean that passengers are there in time for their trains.
  • The electrification changeover for Thameslink has been streamlined.
  • The Class 700 trains must be better at changing voltages in the Thameslink tunnel.

All of these factoras must have positive affects on the capacity of the system.

I also think that one of the major benefits  of the new layout, is what happens if something goes wrong.

If say a train breaks down on Thameslink at Blackfriars, because it is a separate railway, this doesn’t affect Cannon Street and Charing Cross services in the way it did before the new layout. There would still be the problems of fixing the train and what to do with those following behind, but the new design of London Bridge station means that passengers can be handled safely in all the space.

I’d love to see Network Rail’s thinking for handling all problems, but the design of London Bridge and its tracks could be one of those designs, that in a hundred years, engineers will look at and copy.

I can’t believe that the new layout won’t allow more trains to go to and from Cannon Street and Charing Cross, just as it allows more trains to go through the core Thameslink tunnels.

Thameslink is going from  something like fifteen trains per hour (tph) to 24 tph or an increase of 60%. So what sort of increase will we see into Charing Cross and Cannon Street?

Services To Charing Cross

In 2012, Charing Cross to London Bridge was handled on three tracks between the two stations and three platforms at London Bridge. Two of the platforms were shared with Thameslink running 15 tph through them.

These three tracks and platforms have been replaced with four tracks, each with its own platform at London Bridge and possibly Waterloo East stations.

The tracks must have been fitted with a higher-capacity signalling system and an efficient track layout.

I am surprised that the four lines to and from Charing Cross share a platform at London Bridge with the other line going the same way.

Surely, it could be better if the Thameslink and Charing Cross services shared an island platform, when they were going in the same direction.

This would give a same-platform interchange between Thameslink and Charing Cross services, which the 2012 layout had.

I suspect that sharing is not possible, as it would mean that services would have to cross other lines to get there and the track doesn’t and can’t allow it.

But if the current service level of fourteen tph to and from Charing Cross station, can be achieved with just two platforms at London Bridge station as they are in the half-completed station, then there must be potential to increase the number of services to and from Waterloo East and Charing Cross, by a worthwhile margin.

Compared to some places in the UK, Charing Cross station already has an intense level of services to stations in South East London and beyond.

These are some example of trains out of Charing Cross between eleven and twelve in the morning.

  • Abbey Wood – 2 trains
  • Ashford International – 2 trains
  • Dartford – 6 trains
  • Gravesend – 4 trains
  • Greenhithe – 4 trains
  • Hayes – 4 trains
  • Lewisham – 7 trains
  • Orpington – 6 trains
  • Rochester – 2 trains
  • Sevenoaks – 8 trains
  • Tonbridge – 6 trains
  • Woolwich Arsenal – 2 trains

If this is increased, I can’t see any complaints from passengers, especially as most trains appear to have ten-cars or more.

I do think though that there will be a need to improve capacity, onward connections and walking routes at Waterloo East and Charing Cross stations.

I say more about these two stations in A Look At Charing Cross Station and Around Waterloo East Station.

It’s just that all these passengers will need somewhere to go.

Services To Cannon Street

Cannon Street station will be getting the same number of lines in 2018, as it did in 2012.

So I doubt, that the service will be any less intense, than it was in 2012.

Currently, in the Off Peak, there is a sixteen tph service, to and from Cannon Street station, which compares well with the current fourteen to and from Charing Cross station.

There is also going to be improvement at Cannon Street station with respect to onward connections and walking routes.

  • Bank tube station is getting two new entrances, which are closer to Cannon Street.
  • The connection between Cannon Street station and the Central Line will be improved with a travelator running North-South between the two Northern Line tracks at Bank station.
  • The connection between Cannon Street station and the Northern Line will be improved with triple escalators directly down from Cannon Street, perhaps a hundred metres from Cannon Street station.
  • The link to the District and Circle Lines is already excellent and those lines will be improved and get higher frequencies in the next few years.
  • The City of London has ambitions to pedestrianise a lot of the area around Bank station.

Cannon Street station will certainly become one of London’s better-connected terminal stations.

There are more observations in Improvements At Bank Station.

Interchange At London Bridge Station

Effectively, London Bridge station has four sets of services.

  • Those that terminate in the station.
  • Through services on Thameslink
  • Through service to and from Charing Cross station.
  • Through service to and from Cannon Street station.

I’ll leave out the Underground, as the entrance to that hasn’t been fully opened yet!

All the current sets of services have their own set of platforms.

Interchange between the various services is a matter of taking an escalator down from the platform on which you arrive and then take another escalator up to your departure platform.

At present, they seem to be using the rebuilt through platforms flexibly as follows.

  • Platform 7 – From Charing Cross
  • Platform 8 – To/From Charing Cross
  • Platform 9 – To Charing Cross

As trains out from Charing Cross seem to pass through London Bridge on either platform 7 and 8, there does seem to be a degree of flexibility in the track. But then there are no Thameslink services needing to be accommodated.

I do wonder if at some time in the future, they will arrange the lines at London Bridge, so that there is some cross platform interchanges. But I suspect that given the complex layout of the tracks, changes will only be limited.

So passengers will continue to go down and up the escalators. But they don’t seem to be complaining!

The Southeastern Metro

This map shows Southeastern Metro services, which are close to the London termini and fall within the Oystercard area.

Southeastern Metro

Southeastern Metro

If nothing else the map shows why Transport for London want to get control of Southeastern Metro  services  and paint them orange, as it is a ready made network that compliments the current Underground and Overground services.

The network has five Central London termini and stations; Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria and Waterloo East.

It also connects to the following other lines.

  • Several Underground Lines including the Bakerloo, both branches of the Northern Line, the District Line and and the Circle Line.
  • The Overground at Denmark Hill, New Cross and Peckham Rye
  • The  Docklands Light Railway at Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal.
  • Tramlink at Elmers End.
  • Crossrail at Abbey Wood.
  • Thameslink at Dartford, Greenwich, London Bridge and Orpington.

In addition, many of the stations have step-free access..

These are the services from a selection of stations close to London.

  • Dartford has six tph to Charing Cross and two tph to Cannon Street and Victoria.
  • Greenwich has six tph to Cannon Street.
  • Hayes has two tph to Charing Cross and Cannon Street.
  • Lewisham has eight tph to Cannon Street, 4 tph to Charing Cross and 2 tph to \Victoria.
  • Orpington has four tph to each of Cannon Street, Charing Cross and Victoria
  • Woolwich Arsenal has six tph to Cannon Street and 2 tph to Charing Cross.

So in some ways it’s an all-places-to-all-terminals Metro.

Transport for London must look at the Southeastern Metro and have all sorts of ideas about how they could use the network to the benefit of London.

These are some Off Peak service levels.

  • Sixteen tph between London Bridge and Cannon Street.
  • Fourteen tph between London Bridge and Charing Cross.
  • Ten tph between New Cross and Cannon Street.
  • Eight tph between Orpington and London Bridge.
  • Eight tph between Dartford and London Bridge
  • Twelve tph between Lewisham and London Bridge.

Also consider.

  • Would more services be possible after Thameslink is completed between London Bridge and Charing Cross.
  • Could more use be made of an interchange at New Cross to get passengers to Canada Water for Canary Wharf and Witechapel for Crossrail?
  • Could better use be made of Orpington station?
  • Could Lewisham be improved?
  • Will Brockley Lane station be rebuilt and a connection to the East London Line created?
  • How would the area be affected by an extended Crossrail to Gravesend?
  • How would New Cross cope with more than four tph on the East London Line?

I think that TfL could have lots of fun!

For instance, with a bit of reorganisation of services, it might be possible to create a ten tph or upwards set of lines  across South London.

As an example Lewisham to Charing Cross via New Cross, London Bridge, Waterloo East could easily be ten tph.

No new trains, track or signalling would be needed, but the bottleneck of London Bridge must probably be removed before it is possible. And the Thameslink Programme is doing that!

Effects On The Jubilee Line

I don’t have any figures on passengers, but the section of Jubilee Line from London Bridge, will get a high-capacity by-pass on the surface.

But if we assume the current 14 tph on the rail line and 2019 frequency of 36 tph on the Jubilee Line, these are the numbers of carriages going between London Bridge and Charing Cross/Waterloo.

Heavy rail – 14 tph x 12 cars = 168

Jubilee Line – 36 tph x 7 cars = 252

Incidentally, the seats per hour figures are 10206 for Class 377 trains and 8424 for the S Stock on the Jubilee Line.

So will passengers choose to travel on the surface, thus freeing up capacity on the Jubilee Line?

Consider.

  • Changing from say Thameslink after travelling up from Brighton to a Charing Cross service at London Bridge will be down and up two escalators and fully step-free.
  • How many passengers will walk or take a bus to and from London Bridge to complete their journey?
  • Some connections to the Underground at London Bridge require lots of walking.
  • Going between London Bridge and Waterloo by a train rather than the Jubilee Line may well be a more pleasing experience.
  • There are people like me, who prefer not to use a deep-level Underground Line, if there is an alternative.

Remember though that the the Charing Cross platforms at London Bridge are paired with 6/7 handling trains from Charing Cross and 8/9 trains the other way. Both pairs will share an island platform, escalators and a lift. So it may be quicker if you’re going to say Waterloo station, Trafalgar Square  or Covent Garden to take a train.

Every so often, various plans are put forward as to what to do with the closed Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross. This is said about the platforms in Wikipedia.

As the Jubilee line platforms and track are still maintained by TfL for operation reasons, they can can also be used by film and television makers requiring a modern Underground station location. While still open they were used in the 1987 film The Fourth Protocol, and after closure in numerous productions, including different episodes of the television series Spooks.

I can envisage someone coming up with a plan, whereby these platforms are used as a second Southern terminus for the Jubilee Line. By 2019, it is intended that 36 tph will be running from North Greenwich to West Hampstead.

But there could be a problem, in that depending on what you read, there may not be enough trains for this increase in service.

But if, the uprated service between London Bridge and Charing Cross takes passengers from the Jubilee Line between London Bridge and Waterloo could the service be split into two?

  • Most Jubilee Line trains would run as now and provide sufficient service between North Greenwich to West Hampstead.
  • A small proportion of trains, perhaps 10 tph, would divert into the closed platforms at Charing Cross station.

It would give some advantages.

  • There would be improved Underground connections at Charing Cross station.
  • Trafalgar Square would gain another Underground Line.
  • Charing Cross would have a two-stop link to Crossrail and the Central Line at Bond Street station.

Unlike most new station and interchange projects, the infrastructure is already there and maintained.

Consequences For Southern Crossrail

If everything works out with the Thameslink Programme and the rebuilding of London Bridge station, I can see no point to Southern Crossrail.

However, there idea of rebuilding Waterloo East station, is probably a good idea, to improve connectivity to the Underground and Waterloo station.

Waterloo East station could be handled a lot more passengers in the near future.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Thameslink has been well-thought out and if the trains, track and signalling performs from London Bridge along the South Bank, as everybody hopes it should, we will see a world class Metro service across South-East London.

But I do feel that if the service along the South Bank is a quality one, then it will take passengers from the Jubilee Line and this line could be open for development.

 

 

 

September 27, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Look At Charing Cross Station

Charing Cross station, is one I don’t use very often for the following reasons.

 

It is very difficult to get to from where I live near Dalston.

All of the services to and from Charing Cross station, call at London Bridge station, which is a simple bus ride away.

I took these pictures on a visit today.

I think it is one of that group of stations, that can be made more welcoming by improving the public realm outside the station.

Perhaps, the forecourt of Charing Cross station, needs a similar treatment to that given to Kings Cross station.

Surely the station’s Eleanor Cross needs to be better displayed.

I also think, that the whole area would benefit, if a pedestrianised space outside Charing Cross station, were to be linked to the nearby Trafalgar Square.

September 26, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

Around Waterloo East Station

In Southern Crossrail, Idiscussed the possibility of creating a direct link from Waterloo across London to London Bridge. The proponents of Southern Crossrail also take about rebuilding Waterloo East station.

So I went to look at the station and took these pictures.

Note.

  • The complex arrangement of high bridges.
  • The highest white bridge is the pedestriain link between the two stations.
  • The red bridge is what remains of the former rail link.
  • It’s about a hundred metres between the two stations, with a slope down to the platforms at Waterloo East station.

This Google Map gives a view from above.

The Link Between Waterloo And Waterloo East Stations

The Link Between Waterloo And Waterloo East Stations

The link is the white-coloured link that goes between the two stations. Don’t confuse it with the two trains in the map.

In the previous post, I said that rebuilding this station could be a project that a quality developer would relish.

But I do think that Southern Crossrail’s dream of connecting Waterloo East and Waterloo stations with a rail link is an impossible dream.

  • There is now a retail balcony at Waterloo station, which was built in 2012 at a cost of £25million. It would need to be demolished.
  • The lift and a couple of escalators  to Waterloo East station are in the middle of where the new track would go at Waterloo station.
  • The residents of the area probably wouldn’t like to have trains trundling through at height.

In the previous post, I said that rebuilding this station could be a project that a quality developer would relish.

Consider.

  • Waterloo East station could be replaced with a better station.
  • There is probably space around and above the station to add some sympathetic development.
  • Escalator and lift connections could link Waterloo East station to the Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee Lines.
  • A full step-free connection could be built between the two Waterloo stations.
  • The current connection to the Jubilee Line at Southwark is poor.
  • The Waterloo and City Line will soon be getting a very good connection at Bank, so why not build a good one one to both Waterloo and Waterloo East.

This is one of those pedestrian links, that can benefit the around seven million or so passengers, who go through Waterloo East station every year.

Given the right financial figures, I think that there could be a developer, who would create the sort of development that residents, passengers and visitors to the area would like.

My ideal station would have the following.

  • Four platforms to match the four platforms 6-9 at London Bridge station.
  • Sympathetic over-site and surrounding development, preferably with affordable housing.
  • Escalator and lift connections to the Underground and Waterloo and City Line.
  • Full step-free access to Waterloo station, which would probably use the current entrance on the balcony.
  • Better passenger facilities at Waterloo East station.
  • A proper passenger entrance on Waterloo Road for Waterloo East station.
  • The ability to handle an increased number of trains from the current fourteen trains per hour between London Bridge and Charing Cross stations.

All of this would probably be more affordable, than rebuilding Waterloo station.

 

 

 

September 26, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment