The Anonymous Widower

Latest On The New London Overground Class 710 Trains

The August 2018 Edition of Modern Railways has a two-page article on the latest on the new Class 710 trains for the London Overground.

Seating Arrangement

Wikipedia says this about the seating.under Background And Specifications.

The units will be delivered in two sub-classes; an AC-only version with longitudinal and transverse seating (very similar to the S8 units on the Metropolitan line of the London Underground) for use on the West Anglia and Romford-Upminster services, and a dual-voltage version with longitudinal seating for the Watford DC and GOBLIN services.

But it now appears that all the seats on the trains will be longitudinal ones.

I use the current trains a lot to go to Walthamstow and I also use the Class 378 trains, which have longitudinal seats, frequently on the North and East London Lines of the Overground.

I probably aren’t bothered too much about longitudinal seats, but I suspect there will be others who will complain.

This discussion of RailForums is entitled Annoying Things About The Class 378. Search for “seat” and you don’t find many complaints about the longitudinal seating, which is also used on much of the Underground.

On the other hand, if all the trains have identical interiors, this must save on construction and maintenance costs.

If the interiors are basically similar to the Class 378 trains, it must also save on staff training costs.

I actually think, that the biggest complaint will not be about the new trains, but why don’t the older Class 378 trains have wi-fi and USB charging points!

Eight-Car Trains On West Anglia Routes

The article also states that services on West Anglia routes to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town stations will work as eight-car trains or a pair of four-car trains.

If they are always working in pairs, why not build them as eight-car trains in the first place?

In A Detailed Layout Drawing For A Class 345 Train, I said that the formation of a Class 345 train for Crossrail is as follows.

DMS+PMS+MS1+MS3+TS(W)+MS3+MS2+PMS+DMS

Note.that the train is composed of two identical half-trains, which are separated by the TS(W) car.

As the Modern Railways article says that these trains are to be the last to be delivered, would it not be sensible to fully understand the four-car units and then decide if instead of pairs of four-car units, they were built as eight-cars.

Consider.

  • Trains would be formed of identical four-car half-trains.
  • An eight-car Class 710 train would be nearly fifty metres shorter than a nine-car Class 345 train.
  • Passengers would be able to walk through the whole train.
  • Passengers can position themselves for their best exit at their destination station.
  • Would passenger security be better on a train, where passengers could walk all the way through?
  • I have seen drivers on Class 345 trains change ends inside the train
  • Aventras and other modern trains are fitted with intelligent control systems, that determine the number and type of the intermediate cars in the train.
  •  Two Driving Motor Standard Cars (DMS) would be replaced with simpler Trailer Standard (TS) or Motor Standard (MS) cars.
  • The choice of a TS or MS car would depend partly on performance issues, which could be tested with the earlier four-car trains.
  • Building and maintenance cost savings by reducing the number of driving cars, must be possible.
  • Capacity could be increased by adding cars in the middle, if platforms were long enough!
  • Would providing overnight stabling for fifteen eight-car trains be easier than for thirty four-car trains?

It should also be noted, Cheshunt station has a very long platform without a roof. Passengers could walk to the front of the train inside a warm dry train. This already happens with the Class 378 trains at Highbury & Islington station.

Romford-Upminster Shuttle

The Modern Railways article says this about the service on the Romford-Upminster Line.

TfL is still considering whether to utilise a ‘710’ on the Romford to Upminster shuttle or to retain an older unit for the line.

I wrote about this in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line, after this article in London Reconnections, which is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated,   said that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

I came to this conclusion.

If it is decided that a Class 315 train is to be used on the Romford to Upminster Line, I believe that the service could be marketed as a quirky heritage unit, that in conjunction with its main purpose of providing a public service, could also be used for other education, training, marketing, innovation and research purposes.

Eversholt Rail Group might even shift a few redundant Class 315 trains!

Why not?

Chingford Upgrades

The Modern Railways article says this.

A £7million investment has seen the stabling facility at Chingford upgraded, including the addition of an AVIS-scanner here as well.

These pictures show the investment.

With the Automatic Vehicle Inspection System (AVIS), Chingford is becoming more than a stabling facility.

Note the large maintenance structure, so that trains can be worked on in the dry.

A Few Questions Of My Own

I have a few of my own questions.

If The Thirty Four-Car Trains For West Anglia Routes Are Converted To Eight-Cars, What Happens To The Spare Driving Motor Cars?

If the thirty four-car trains are converted to fifteen eight-car trains, it appears to me that Bombardier could  have at best many of the long-lead components for thirty Driving Motor Standard (DMS) cars. At worst, they would have thirty DMS cars for Class 710 trains.

But London Overground will have need for a few more trains in a few years.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I showed this London Overground table of improvements.

LO Improvements

Note that two extra tph are proposed on the Liverpool Street to Enfield Town service. I calculate, that this would need another two Class 710 Trains.

Similarly, to add two tph to the Liverpool Street to Cheshunt service, would appear to need another three trains.

The Mayor is also looking favourably at creating the West London Orbital Railway.

I estimate that the two proposed routes would need around four trains each to provide a four tph service, if they could be run using dual-voltage Class 710 trains with a range of perhaps ten miles on battery power.

What Is Happening About The Hall Farm Curve?

I heard from someone, who should know, that the Hall Farm Curve and the Coppermill Curve will be reinstated.

These curves would allow the following.

  •  A direct service between Chingford/Walthamstow and Stratford.
  • Better access to the upgraded stabling at Chingford.

But I think these curves would be invaluable in maintaining services, during the construction of Crossrail 2.

Will A Bay Platform Be Developed At Lea Bridge Station?

I also wonder if a bay platform will be developed at Lea Bridge station, which would enable a four tph service to be run between Lea Bridge and Chingford stations, if Chingford Branch trains couldn’t get into Liverpool Street station, because of construction works.

I certainly feel that the curves connecting the lines at Coppermill Junction will have a major part to play in the development of East London’s railways.

 

 

 

July 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walthamstow Central Tube Station To Receive £15m Improvement

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Waltham Forest Guardian.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Walthamstow Central tube station has been allocated £15 million for improvements, but only if the controversial Walthamstow Mall redevelopment goes ahead.

New plans for the station include installing step-free access and a creating a new entrance.

That would surely get rid of the servere overcrowding that is experienced in Walthamstow Central station.

Overcrowding At Walthamstow Central Station

I often go to Walthamstow, at the tail end of the Evening Peak.

I have two routes.

  1. Take a bus to Highbury and Islington station and then use the Victoria Line.
  2. Take a bus to Hackney Downs station and then use the Chingford Line of the London Overground.

I always use the second route, as the two escalators at Walthamstow Central station can’t cope with the Victoria Line’s increased frequency of thirty-six trains per hour.

What makes matters worse is that all trains, except those going to and from the depot at Northumberland Park, run the whole length of the line between Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations.

Running this service on Dear Old Vicky, is one of the great engineering achievements on Metros around the world, but it means that passengers are finding some of the Victoria Line stations are inadequate. Walthamstow Central is one of them!

Another factor, that doesn’t help, is the excellent Walthamstow bus station. It is the third busiest in London and I’m sure it attracts more travellers to the rail and tube stations.

It is my belief, that the increase in train frequency and the building of the new bus station are the major cause of increasing overcrowding in the station.

It is worth noting that in 2016, the tube station handled nearly twenty-three million passengers with just two platforms and an up and a down escalator. By comparison, Cannon Street station, handled the same number of passengers with seven platforms and level access.

To be fair to Transport for London, they have sorted the gate lines at the station, but that still leaves the escalators severely overcrowded at times.

I actually can’t understand, why they haven’t replaced the middle staircase with a third escalator, as they have at Brixton, where there are also lifts.

Overcrowding Could Be Getting Worse!

Some transport improvements, that will happen in the next year or two,, will affect passenger numbers at Walthamstow Central station.

New Trains On The Chingford Line

The current Class 315 and Class 317 trains will be replaced by new Class 710 trains.

  • These will have the same number of carriages, but they will have a higher capacity, due to better design and being walk-through trains.
  • They will also have wi-fi and 4G available, if they follow the lead of the closely-related Class 345 trains.
  • Their operating speed has not been disclosed, but that of the Class 345 train is 90 mph, which is fifteen mph faster than a Class 315 train.
  • Their modern design will also allow them to save a minute or two at each of the seven stops.

The performance improvement may allow a more intense service.

The trains will certainly attract more passengers, as quality new trains always do!

  • Will the new trains generate more new passengers, than any forecaster dreamt was possible?
  • Will more passengers be attracted to stations North of Walthamstow Central and change to the Victoria Line?
  • Will some passengers change from using the Victoria Line to the Chingford Line?

Bear in mind, that new trains on the North London Line, started in 2010 with three-car trains running at six trains per hour (tph). They are now up to five-car trains running at eight tph. This is an capacity increase of over 120%.

On balance, I suspect that some of these factors will cancel each other out. But who knows?

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The geriatric Class 313 trains working the Northern City Line are being replaced by new Class 717 trains.

  • These new trains will offer higher frequencies and more capacity.
  • They will use 2+2 seating.
  • They will have wi-fi and power sockets.

Services on the Northern City Line have a cross-platform step-free interchange with the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington station, so I believe the route will be increasingly used by passengers between the Walthamstow/Chingford area and the City of London.

Undoubtedly, it will increase passengers using the escalators at Walthamstow Central station.

New Trains On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

The current two-car Class 172 trains on the Gospel Oak To Barking Line, are being replaced by four-car electric Class 710 trains.

  • The new trains will double capacity.
  • They will have better passenger facilities.
  • They will be more environmentally-friendly.

These trains could encourage travellers to use the quieter Walthamstow Queen’s Road station, instead of the very busy Walthamstow Central station.

Stratford To Meridian Water

This project will add a third track to the West Anglia Main Line and allow a four tph service between Stratford station and the new station at Meridian Water with stops at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.

I have no view on how successful, this new line will be and how it will affect traffic on the Victoria line.

Crossrail

When you discuss transport provision in London, there is always a herd of elephants in the room!

Crossrail will change everybody’s journeys!

Crossrail will create a high-capacity fast route between Heathrow and Canary Wharf via Paddington, the West End and the City of London.

So how will those in Walthamstow and Chingford tie into this new high-capacity line?

In my view a direct link to Stratford is needed, which could be created by reinstating the Hall Farm Curve.

The World Ducking And Diving Championships

East Londoners would undoubtedly win the World Ducking-And-Diving Championships, if one were to be held.

Network Rail and Transport for London, are creating the ultimate training ground in North-East London.

Most people do a number of common journeys over time.

They get to know the best routes for these journeys dependent on various factors, like the time of day, weather and whether they are carrying heavy shopping.

For most people though, choosing the route for a particular day’s journey will not be process that can be written down, that might be more determined by random factors.

I for instance, will often choose my route, based on the first bus that comes along, even if it is not usually the quickest route.

To make journeys easier, through a network like North-East London, you need the following.

  • As many links as possible.
  • As few bottlenecks as possible.

These rules will allow the passengers to flow freely.

Passengers like water automatically find the quickest way from A to B.

Improvements In North-East London

There are various improvements in alphabetical order, that are proposed, planned or under construction for North-East London

Bicycle Routes Across The Lea Valley

The Lea Valley has a lot of green space and I have seen plans mentioned to create quiet cycling routes across the area.

It should also include lots of bikes for hire.

Hall Farm Curve

I mentioned this earlier and by building it to link Walthamstow and Stratford, it would enable direct access from Walthamstow and Chingford to the the following.

  • Olympic Park and Stadium.
  • The shops at Eastfield.
  • Crossrail
  • Docklands Light Railway
  • Jubilee and Central Lines
  • Highspeed serevices to Kent.
  • Continental services, if in the future, they stopped at Stratford.

It is a massive super-connector.

More Bus Routes

It may be that more bus routes or even stops are needed.

As an illustration of the latter, when the Walthamstow Wetlands opened, bus stops were provided.

New Stations

The new station at Meridian Water will add a new link to the transport network.

Two new stations on the Chingford Branch Line have also been proposed, which I wrote about them in New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line.

New stations are a good way to add more links in a transport network.

I shall be interested to see how many passengers the rebuilt Hackney Wick station attracts, when West Ham United are at home.

Northumberland Park Station

Northumberland Park station is being rebuilt with full step-free access, to provide better rail access to the new White Hart Lane Stadium.

Step-Free Access At Stations

Progress is being made, but there are still some truly dreadful access problems at some stations in East London.

Clapton, St. James Street, Seven Sisters, Stamford Hill and Wood Street certainly need improvement.

Tottenham Hale Station

Tottenham Hale Station is being rebuilt to give it full step-free access and a new entrance.

As this station handles well over ten million passengers a year, it is a good place to start.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station is almost last in this alphabetical list.

It is probably, the second most important transport hub in North-East London and it does handle nearly thirty million passengers a year if the National Rail and Underground figures are combined.

But, is it treated last by the planners?

Walthamstow Wetlands

This massive urban nature reserve opened last year and its importance will only grow in the years to come.

Will transport links need to be added to the Wetlands?

West Anglia Main Line Four-Tracking

Stansted Airport will grow and to get proper rail access to the airport, the long promised four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line will happen.

  • There will be two fast tracks for Cambridge, Stansted and possibly Norwich services.
  • There will be two slow tracks for local services up the Lea Valley to Broxbourne, Hertford East and Bishops Stortford.

Broxbourne station and the rebuilt Tottenham Hale station, will be the interchanges between fast and slow services.

Four-tracking will open up the possibility of lots more services up the Lea Valley.

There has been rumours, that Greater Anglia would like to open up a service between Stratford and Stansted. But that would be just for starters.

Liverpool Street station is full, but there is space at Stratford if the High Meads Loop under the shops and housing at Stratford is used, just like it was a few years ago.

The West Anglia Main Line could be turned into a high-capacity main line into London with two London terminal station; Liverpool Street and Stratford.

  • Both termini would be connected to Crossrail.
  • Liverpool Street connects to Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines.
  • The massive Liverpool Street-Moorgate Crossrail station will connect to the Northern and Northern City Lines.
  • Stratford connects to fast Kent services and Central and Jubilee Lines.

Will passengers for places like the West End get a fast train to Crossrail, rather than change for the Victoria Line at Tottenham Hale.

Conclusion

North-East London’s transport network is going to get better and better!

Note that I haven’t mentioned Crossrail 2! I doubt, this will be built before 2040!

 

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

This article in Rail Engineer also quotes Jon Shaw of Bombardier on onboard energy storage in the new Aventra trains, like the Class 710 trains that will work the Chingford Branch Line.

As part of these discussions, another need was identified. Aventra will be an electric train, but how would it serve stations set off the electrified network? Would a diesel version be needed as well?

So plans were made for an Aventra that could run away from the wires, using batteries or other forms of energy storage. “We call it an independently powered EMU, but it’s effectively an EMU that you could put the pantograph down and it will run on the energy storage to a point say 50 miles away. There it can recharge by putting the pantograph back up briefly in a terminus before it comes back.

I believe that once the concept of onboard energy storage is accepted, that Network Rail and operators, will question whether there is a need for so much electrification.

In a few years time, all trains, except perhaps a few engineering ones, on the Chingford Branch Line North of St. James station will be new Class 710 trains with the following characteristics.

  • Enough onboard energy storage to handle regenerative braking and handle the twenty mile out-and-back trip on the branch.
  • By using onboard energy storage, the trains have a remote wake-up facility, as discussed in Do Bombardier Aventras Have Remote Wake-Up?.
  • The ability to raise and lower a pantograph quickly.

So would it be possible to remove electrification, North of Clapton Junction.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the area of Coppermill junction, with the Chingford Branch Line shown conveniently in orange.

Coppermill Junction

Coppermill Junction

I will now list the advantages of removing the electrification between Clapton Junction and Chingford.

Maintaining The Overhead Wires

Overhead wires get damaged, vandalised and stolen at a surprisingly high frequency.

Network Rail would love to see the wires come down.

The only objectors would be the thieves, who nick the wires to sell.

The Sidings At Chingford Could Be Without Electrification

As all the trains stored there would have their own onboard energy storage, they would move in and out under their own power.

The Chingford sidings could thus be without electrification.

This would.

  • Reduce maintenance costs for the sidings.
  • Enable track layouts to be changed without changing the electrification.
  • Increase safety levels for everybody working in the sidings.

The only electrification needed at Chingford might be a short stretch of overhead wire to top up trains low on electricity.

All Height Restrictions Could Be Removed At The Highams Park Level Crossing

After the recent accident on the M20, reported in this story on the BBC,, which is entitled M20 motorway shut after lorry crash causes bridge collapse, I don’t think it is wise to underestimate the stupidity of some drivers.

So if there were no overhead wires at the Highams Park level crossing, it might avoid a serious incident.

Easing Station Rebuilding and Building

Wood Street station needs to be rebuilt to make the station step-free and it would be much easier and less disruptive to train services, if there were no overhead wires to get in the way.

If any new stations are added to the line, then the cost of building must be more affordable, if there are no overhead wires to get in the way.

Less Visual and Noise Intrusion

Obviously, removal of overhead wires will reduce the visual intrusion.

But, it will also reduce the noise, as overhead wires are a source of noise from electric trains.

Note too, that as the new trains will use regenerative braking at most times, there will be much less noise from wheel-brakes.

A Safer Railway

There is no doubt, that a railway without electrification is a safer railway, as there is no electricity, except for points and signals.

Conclusion

It would be advantageous for several reasons if electrification could be removed from the Chingford Branch Line.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

September 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 6 Comments

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

The Chingford Branch Line will be effected both during construction and after opening by Crossrail 2..

In Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow, I said this.

But with the design stage of Crossrail 2 well underway, I do wonder, if connecting Chingford station and the related sidings to the West Anglia Main Line, might give Crossrail 2 better options to build the line or provide alternative services, whilst the West Anglia Main Line is rebuilt through the area.

I still think that the Chingford Branch Line will be an invaluable resource to help get the Northern end of Crossrail 2 built.

If the Coppermill Curve is built in the near future, I feel the main reason will be to help build Crossrail 2 and rebuild the West Anglia Main Line to four-tracks.

Once Crossrail 2 is open, I think that the two lines will be connected together at Seven Sisters/South Tottenham. There is a lot of scope for a major passenger-friendly interchange and as it will be a few years after Crossrail, the design will draw on the experience of theearlier line.

Conclusion

The Chingford Branch Line will end up being tightly linked to Crossrail 2.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 6 Comments

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

In Improving The Chingford Branch Line, I showed how the new Class 710 trains and some adjustment to timetables could run eight trains per hour (tph) to Chingford, with 4 tph each going to Liverpool Street and Stratford, by getting the trains to cross at the level crossing at ighams Park station.

Several stations in London, including some on the Underground, have what is known as reversing sidings. In How Trains Reverse At West Croydon, I described the working of the reversing siding there, which London Overground trains use to swap tracks to get back to Dalston Junction station.

So could a strategically placed reversing siding be placed to turn back some services, before the Highams Park level crossing?

I don’t think a reversing siding would be needed until the Coppermill Curve was reinstated to allow trains to go to and from Tottenham Hale to Walthamstow, And even then, it would only be needed if more than eight tph were running to Walthamstow.

A reversing siding would allow the following.

  • More than eight tph to go to Walthamstow.
  • The creation of a triangular service from Tottenham Hale to Lea Bridge via Walthamstow.
  • Services between Chingford/Walthamstow and Seven Sisters/South Tottenham for a future Crossrail 2.
  • Services between Chingford/Walthamstow and Gospel Oak along the Gospel Oak to Barkjing Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the railway lines around Seven Sisters station.

sevensistersstations

There are certainly a lot of possibilities.

  • The Seven Sisters Chord gives access to Seven Sisters, Enfield Town and Cheshunt.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line gives access to Cricklewood, Gospel Oak, Richmond and West Hampstead.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line gives access via Cricklewood to the Dudding Hill Line for Acton..
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line gives access via |Willesden Junction to the West London Line for Clapham Junction.

If another four tph service is created to Walthamstow, I suuspect it will be a third long East-West service, which will give eight tph on the busy part of the Gospel Oak to Barkling Line west of South Tottenham.

There are only three stations or four if you add in Forest Road, which I talked about in New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line.

  • St. James Street
  • Walthamstow Central
  • Wood Street
  • Forest Road.

I’ll look at each in detail.

St. James Street Station

This is probably too difficult and it’s the first station.

Walthamstow Central Station

This Google Map shows the station.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central Station

I think it could be a possibility.

I think that the platforms are certainly able to accept eight car trains and might even take twelve, so there should be space for a reversing siding between the two lines to the East of the station.

Wood Street Station

This Google Map shows the station.

Wood Street Station

Wood Street Station

Again, I think this is a possibility.

Wood Street station will need a lot of rebuilding to make it step-free and there is space beyond the platforms towards Chingford to put in a reversing siding for a train.

These pictures show the station.

It is a station with potential.

Forest Road Station

This Google Map shows where Forest Road station will probably go.

Forest Road Station

Forest Road Station

It could be just too restricted a site.

How Would The Trains Be Organised?

I think that Walthamstow Central or Wood Street will be the station with a reversing siding.

Say there are going to be three 4 tph services. They could be.

  • Gospel Oak to Walthamstow Central or Wood Street
  • Liverpool Street to Chingford
  • Stratford to Chingford

The sequence at the reversing station would be.

  1. The train from Gospel Oak arrives in the down platform, discharges passengers and goes into the reversing siding.
  2. The two Chingford services arrive in the down platform, one after the other, pick up any passengers and go to Chingford.
  3. The two Chingford services arrive in the up platform, one after the other, pick up any passengers and go to Stratford and Liverpool Street.
  4. The train for Gospel Oak comes out of the reversing siding into the up platform, picks up passengers and goes on to Gospel Oak.

No passengers would have to change platforms to change trains.

Would It Be Sensible To Have A Reversing Siding Anyway?

I’m no expert, but I think the answer is Yes!

Crossrail have a reversing siding at Chadwell Heath station, that they say is for service recovery, in this page on their web site.

So perhaps, if say there was a problem on the highams Park level crossing, a train or two could be diverted to the reversing platform to await their slot on the return from Chingford.

Conclusion

A reversing siding at either Walthamstow Central or Wood Street would allow extra services to be developed around the Coppermill Curve and also be useful for service recovery.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

 

 

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 7 Comments

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

I have pulled this post out of What Might Have Been At Walthamstow And Woodford, as I want to have a series of linked posts that described the various ways that the Chingford Branch Line could be improved.

In the Future Developments section of the Wikipedia entry for the Chingford Branch, it is said that there may be a station at both Forest Road and Chingford Hatch, either side of Highams Park station.

This map shows the area.

Around Highams Park

Around Highams Park

The red arrow indicates Chingford Hatch, with the two stations shown being Highams Park in the middle and Wood Street at the bottom.

Chingford Hatch Station

This Google Map shows the location of Chingford Hatch between Highams Park and Chingford stations.

Chingford Hatch

Chingford Hatch

Chingford station is at the top and Highams Park station is st the bottom.

I suspect if the station is built, it will be somewhere near the roundabout. The railway is a short distance to the East.

As the railway appears to be on a bridge, it won’t be a simple station to build.

Forest Road Station

This Google Map shows the probable location of a new station on Forest Road in Walthamstow.

Forest Road Station

Forest Road Station

The station would probably be built where Forest Road crosses the railway line.

I suspect that if the station was built, it would be a simple affair with platforms on either side of the current line.

At present there is no more information on either station.

Walthamstow Village Station

This Google Map shows the up-and-coming area of Walthamstow Village.

Walthamstow Village

Walthamstow Village

The railway is in a deep cutting and I suspect despite what the locals might think a station wouldn’t be practical.

But I suspect, there would be space for a reversing siding, that could be used by trains reversing at Walthamstow Central station.

Conclusion

Both proposals look sound, but passenger statistics will define if new stations are built.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

 

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 8 Comments

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

The Chingford Branch Line has a four trains per hour (tph) service between Liverpool Street and Chingford via Hackney Downs and Walthamstow Central stations.

Those that I know who live in the area, have a few simple wishes.

  • New trains with wi-fi and other passenger-friendly features.
  • More trains to improve services and take the pressure off the Victoria Line.
  • A service from Chingford and Walthamstow to Stratford and Crossrail.
  • Perhaps some new stations.
  • Step-free access at St. James Street and Wood Street stations.

The following sections tackle these wishes in more detail.

New Class 710 Trains

The biggest change to the line will come with the new Class 710 trains in a couple of years time.

Thirty new four-car Class 710 trains will replace the same number of Class 315 and Class 317 trains, that currently work the  Cheshunt and Chingford services.

  • As the number of trains and their length is the same, the service frequency and capacity will be no worse than at present.
  • The trains will be modern and have air-conditioning and all the features that passengers now expect.
  • The trains will be fitted with various driver aids to ensure accurate timekeepers.
  • Nothing has been said about wi-fi, but most other new Aventras will have free wi-fi fitted, so I suspect it will be fitted or there will be a big argument.
  • I am of the belief that all Class 710 trains will be fitted with enough onboard energy storage to handle regenerative braking and short movements not connected to the overhead wires.
  • Onboard energy storage would also mean the trains could be fitted with remote wake-up, so that trains stabled overnight at Chingford, can be driver and passenger ready before the driver arrives to start the service in the morning.

It should be noted that London Overground has taken an option for another twenty-four trains. So could some of these trains be added to the fleet on the Chingford Branch to increase capacity and service on the Branch?

The Highams Park Level Crossing

In an ideal world, more services would be provided on the Chingford Branch to Liverpool Street for the following reasons.

  • The Victoria Line from Walthamstow Central now has the trains to handle passengers to Central London, but the station doesn’t have the capacity to handle them, due to its cheapskate 1960s design.
  • The Chingford Branch has direct access to Crossrail at Liverpool Street whereas the Victoria Line doesn’t connect to London’s new train line.
  • The Chingford Branch has direct access to the North London Line at Hackney Downs and the new Class 710 trains, will mean that North London Line services will be increased.
  • Crossrail could release extra platform space at Liverpool Street for  more London Overground services.

But there is one major problem to increased services on the current Chingford Branch. They must all go through the level crossing at Highams Park Station.

  • There is only long detours, if the crossing is closed.
  • Extra trains would cause significant traffic congestion.
  • Extra trains would mean the crossing would be closed for a large proportion of every hour.

As it is unlikely that the money could be found for a bridge or tunnel at Highams Park, the only thing that can be done, is make sure that all train services be at maximum length, which is probably eight cars.

Obviously, longer trains would help, but in the long term, I’m certain that London Overground would want to run more frequent services between Liverpool Street and Chingford.

I think it is true to say that the train frequency of the Chingford Branch through Highams Park is probably limited by a maximum of eight closures per hour of the Highams Park level crossing, unless the level crossing could be closed or by-passed.

But is maximum use being made of the level crossing closures now?

At present in the Off Peak.

  • Trains arrive at Highams Park from Chingford at 14, 29, 44 and 59 minutes past the hour.
  • Trains leave Highams Park for Chingford at 08, 23, 38 and 53 minutes past the hour.

I don’t think that this means that a Northbound and a Southbound train can share a single closure of the level crossing. This page on the National Rail web site, shows live departures at Highams Park.

If they could, then that would cut the number of times the crossing closed in the Off Peak by half.

Things that will help, is that the Class 710 trains will have extensive driver aids and probably onboard signalling, so the precise timekeeping that would be required, so two trains shared a level crossing closure, could be a lot easier.

Eight trains per hour in the Off Peak in both direction through Highams Park station is a distinct possibility.

This 8 tph frequency could be continued through the Peak, as it’s probably better than the current timetable.

Eight Trains Per Hour From St. James Street To Chingford

So it looks like that modern Class 710 trains running to a precise timetable could mitigate the problems of the Highams Park Level Crossing and allow eight trains per hour between St. James Street and Chingford.

|As there is no other trains using the branch, except moving empty and some engineering trains to and from the sidings at Chingford, there is probably little to interfere with an 8 tph schedule.

South From St. James Street

South from St. James Street station, the trains go through the Coppermill Junction area and cross the West Anglia Main Line.

The Chingford Branch then joins the line from Tottenham Hale to Hackney Downs, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

 

Coppermill Junction

Coppermill Junction

The map shows Coppermill Junction, where the Chingford Branch Line crosses the West Anglia Main Line, that runs North from Liverpool Street to Tottenham Hale, Bishops Stortford, Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

I suspect that there would be a problem fitting another four tph through Hackney Downs station and on to Liverpool Street.

In Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow, I talked about how two curves would be rebuilt, based on information from an informant with detailed knowledge.

  • The Hall Farm Curve would be rebuilt as a bi-directional single-track connection between St. James and Lea Bridge stations.
  • The Coppermill Curve would be rebuilt to give a connection between St. James and Tottenham Hale stations.

The Hall Farm Curve is the significant one for passenger services on the Chingford Branch Line, as it would mean that the current service of 4 tph between Chingford and Liverpool Street would be augmented by a second 4 tph between Chingford and Stratford.

  • Waltham Forest would get an 8 tph metro service between St. James and Chingford stations.
  • There are extensive bus connections at Chingford, Walthamstow Central and Stratford.
  • The line has good connections to the Victoria Line, the Jubilee Line, the Central Line and Crossrail.

The only infrastructure needed would be the single-track Hall Farm Curve. If the Class 710 trains were to be fitted with onboard energy storage, this curve would not even need to be electrified.

Conclusion

By using the  features of the new Class 710 trains, Chingford can be given four trains per hour to Liverpool Street and 4 trains per hour to Stratford, if a new single-track Hall Farm Curve without electrification is built between St. James and Lea Bridge stations.

Related Posts

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

 

 

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 10 Comments

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

The Hall Farm Curve was a five-hundred metre curve that used to connect the Chingford Branch Line to the Lea Valley Line, thus enabling direct services between Stratford to Chingford via the new Lea Bridge, James Street and Walthamstow Central stations.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in the area around Coppermill Junction.

Coppermill Junction

Coppermill Junction

 

It is a much-needed route, as anybody who has taken the bus between Walthamstow and Stratford can testify.

I have heard rumours that it will be rebuilt, but nothing has been published yet.

The last rumour said it would be a single-track bi-directional line, as I wrote in Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

If this were to be built, there would need to be appropriate cross-overs, so that the trains could go on the right lines to and from Chingford and Stratford.

As in a few years time, the Stratford-Chingford service would be likely to be run by Aventras and no other electric train would be likely to use the curve, would it not be possible to not electrify the curve.

In Bombardier’s Plug-and-Play Train, I showed that all Aventras will have a certain amount of onboard energy storage to handle regenerative braking and enable short movements using stored energy.

So could the Aventras use their onboard energy storage to navigate the curve? The pantograph could be raised and lowered appropriately in Lea Bridge and St. James Street stations.

Conclusion

Building the Hall Farm Curve without electrification is possible, if Aventras use the line exclusively for passenger services.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

September 4, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 7 Comments

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Last night, Lea Bridge station opened without ceremony, as I wrote in The People Of London Welcome Lea Bridge Station.

I got talking to someone, who knows a lot more about what will be happening to the railways in East London, than I do and when I asked about the Hall Farm Curve, they indicated it could be reinstated soon.

This map from carto.metro.Free.fr shows the lines North from Lea Bridge station.

Lines North Of Lea Bridge Station

Lines North Of Lea Bridge Station

The Hall Farm Curve  connects Lea Bridge and St. James Street stations.

My informant said the curve would probably be only single-track and signalled to allow trains to go both ways.

With my scheduling hat on, I do wonder if the curve would effectively connect spare capacity on the Northern end of the Chingford Branch to some spare capacity between Lea Bridge and Stratford stations. I think it is probably true to say, that North of Coppermill Junction, the West Anglia Main Line needs more capacity, so this sneaky way to Chingford doesn’t impact.

The limiting factor on the number of trains per hour between Chingford and Stratford would probably be platform capacity at the two ends of the route.

My informant also indicated that the Coppermill Curve could be rebuilt to allow trains to go between the West Anglia Main Line and the Chingford Branch Line.

This Google Map shows the area around Chingford station.

Chingford Station

Chingford Station

Note the extensive sidings by the station.

My informant said the main purpose of reinstating a double-track Coppermill Curve, would be to move empty trains to and from Chingford, rather than new passenger services.

But with the design stage of Crossrail 2 well underway, I do wonder, if connecting Chingford station and the related sidings to the West Anglia Main Line, might give Crossrail 2 better options to build the line or provide alternative services, whilst the West Anglia Main Line is rebuilt through the area.

It strikes me that the cost of doing both curves together would be less than only building the Hall Farm Curve and then finding that construction of Crossrail 2 needs the Coppermill Curve.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 13 Comments

What Might Have Been At Walthamstow And Woodford

The World Class Engineering And Penny-Pinching Architecture Of The Victoria Line

The Victoria Line is to reverse one of my favourite phrases, an all knickers and no fur coat Underground line.

Underground and remember, it is a totally below the surface except for the depot at Tottenham Hale, it is superb, with some world class engineering.

1. The original 1967 Stock lasted until 2011 and was a real tribute to its designers and builders.

2. The trains run automatically and the line was the world’s first to do this. I remember reading a document about how it worked in 1969 or so and because of the date the automation was largely controlled by thermionic valves and relays.

3. There was quite a bit of innovative design in the layout of the lines, which included the hump-backed stations, summed up here from Wikipedia.

The line has hump-backed stations to allow trains to store gravitational potential energy as they slow down and release it when they leave a station, providing an energy saving of 5% and making the trains run 9% faster

4. The overall concept has proved to be sound, as the line has a very good safety record.

But they certainly didn’t spend a large amount of time, effort and money on the stations. Again from Wikipedia.

When the Victoria line was built, budget restrictions meant that station infrastructure standards were lower than on older lines and on later extension projects. Examples include narrower than usual platforms and undecorated ceilings at Walthamstow Central, Blackhorse Road and Tottenham Hale, adversely affecting lighting levels. At most stations there is still a concrete staircase between the up and down escalators, where an additional escalator could be installed.

Walthamstow Central, Seven Sisters and Highbury and Islington are still truly dreadful stations.

The Bad Stations Can Only Get Better

Hopefully :-

1. The takeover of the Chingford Line by London Overground and the developments in Walthamstow town centre, will result in substantial improvements to Walthamstow Central.

2. Crossrail 2 and the Overground takeover coupled with development could also improve Seven Sisters.

3. Much needed better disabled access, enhancements to the Northern City line and increased passenger numbers will drive a need for the rebuilding of Highbury and Islington.

4. Other stations like Brixton, Euston and Blackhorse Road will have improvements driven by other new and upgraded lines.

Finally fifty years on, the sins of the 1960s are being eradicated.

The Victoria Line Extension To South Woodford or Woodford

But there are no plans to extend the line to Woodford or South Woodford stations on the Central Line which was part of the original proposals. Again from History on Wikipedia.

It had been intended to build the line beyond Walthamstow Central to Wood Street (Walthamstow), where it would have surfaced to terminate next to the British Rail station. Proposals were also made to extend the line as far north as South Woodford or Woodford, to provide interchange with the Central line. However, in a late decision in 1961 the line was cut back to Walthamstow (Hoe Street) station, renamed Walthamstow Central in 1968.

Let’s take a look at the Underground lines in the area. This map from Walthamstow Central to Woodford station is from Google Earth.

 

Walthamstow Lines

Walthamstow Lines

The red line at the right is the Central Line with South Woodford and Snaresbrook stations shown, in addition to Woodford station to the north of the A406.

The orange and light blue at the left being the Gospel Oak to Barking and Victoria Lines, with the two Walthamstow stations; Central and Queens Road.

The Victoria Line was originally planned to surface at Wood Street station, which can be seen to the north of Whipps Cross Hospital and then presumably cut across the southern part of Epping Forest to the Central Line.

I can’t find an article specifically stating why the extension to Woodford was dropped, but I did find this general article on London Reconnections, entitled Why We Do (And Don’t) Extend Tube Lines. This is two paragraphs.

One lesson quickly learnt by the early entrepreneurs who built early tube lines (and by this, as for the duration of the article, we mean the deep level lines) was that the longer the line and the bigger the network, the more profitable it was. To some extent this may seem obvious – a tube line between only two stations is of limited use (although exceptionally the Waterloo and City line manages to perform this role).

As usage tends to tail off at the extremities, it made sense to have the ends only being a small portion of the line. It also made sense to maximise use of resources. Trains sitting in terminal platforms were not in revenue earning service and a lot of the infrastructure – such as power supply – had large initial costs but the add-on cost for these items when extending the line was not that great.

So it’s generally all about economics and probably in the case of the Victoria Line; government money.

Walthamstow is a large catchment are and it has two routes into Central London and one to the west, two of which will be upgraded in the next few years, so I doubt the Victoria Line will be extended in the near future. This Google Earth image from Wood Street to South Woodford stations, shows the mass of development in between the two lines.

Wood Street To South Woodford

Wood Street To South Woodford

Wood Street station is just visible at the bottom left and South Woodford is at the far right towards the top.

There is also the small matter of putting the line through the green lung that is Epping Forest.

So any extension from Walthamstow Central to the Central Line would probably be in an expensive tunnel.

But there are some other reasons why any extension will not be built as planned in the 1950s.

1. There now appears from this Google Earth image to be little space around Wood Street station.

Around Wood Street Station

Around Wood Street Station

Although it does look like that some of the buildings around the station were built in recent decades.

This would appear to further rule out a surface route.

2. Walthamstow now has an impressive new bus station, that was built 2005 and is the third busiest in London with twenty-four hour operation.

Buses go all over north east London from the bus station, to places like Wood Green, East Ham, Barnet and Ilford, but there is also a comprehensive local network that covers the area to Chingford and Woodford. This spider map shows all the routes from Walthamstow Central.

3. Crossrail will also have an effect when it opens. How will passengers between Walthamstow and Woodford, get on Crossrail? They have several choices.

What Should Be Done

In my view it would be better to spend money on the following.

1. Adding new routes and extra capacity to the buses in the area, so the in-between passengers will have a choice to go east or west.

2. After May 2015, improving the stations on the Chingford Branch from Hackney Downs to Chingford, with step-free access and better information systems and interchange with the buses in the area.

3. Increasing the frequency of Overground trains to Chingford and possibly running some through to Stratford via the reinstated Hall Farm Curve and the new Lea Bridge station.

4. New trains have been promised and I suspect they’ll arrive in the next few years. However, giving the Class 317 trains a good scrub, some new seat covers and a bit of TLC and they will hold the line in the meantime. On the Chingford branch more services are more important than flash new trains.

5. In the Future Developments section of the Wikipedia entry for the Chingford Branch, it is said that there may be a station at both Forest Road and Chingford Hatch, either side of Highams Park station. This map shows the area.

Around Highams Park

Around Highams Park

The red arrow indicates Chingford Hatch, with the two stations shown being Highams Park in the middle and Wood Street at the bottom.

The Effect Of An Expanded Stansted Airport

However, there is one factor that has been ignored, which would change everything.

And that is if Stansted Airport is expanded.

Plans for this sometimes show another rail link direct to London, which is an extension of the Chingford Branch line from Chingford.

Can Any Conclusions Be Drawn?

I can’t see any reason why the Victoria Line would be extended to join the Central Line, unless a second line is built to Stansted Airport or a similar large project was developed in the area, that required a major sort out of lines.

But the major conclusion is that because of developments that are already in place and others that could easily be implemented there are masses of ways to improve public transport in the Walthamstow area, which are proven and a lot more affordable.

I think that in perhaps ten years time, the following will have been done.

1. The Chingford Branch Line will have upgraded stations and a proper interchange to buses and the Victoria Line at Walthamstow Central.

2. The Chingford Branch Line will be running possibly as many as six trains an hour and a proportion will go to Stratford, rather than Liverpool Street.

3. There will be at least two new stations on the Chingford Branch Line.

4. The bus services based on Walthamstow Central bus station will be expanded.

5. New or refurbished trains will be running the service on the Chingford Branch.

I’m not speculating, just applying logic to see what is possible and history from the East and North London Lines after they were taken over by London Overground.

I shall be very surprised if the Victoria Line is extended to Woodford.

I will not be surprised to see house prices in the area rise astronomically, as they have done here in Dalston.

Good railway connections really seem to bring the best or worst out of house prices.

 

 

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments