The Anonymous Widower

New Bank Tube Station Entrance In Final Stages Ahead Of Opening

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

Ian suggests that the new entrance under the Bloomberg Building, which will give better access to the Waterloo and City Line, will open in August 2018.

This picture shows the covered Underground roundel on the side of the Bloomberg Building.

Note the workers putting scaffolding on the truck behind.

Underground, these fire doors, which lead to the new escalators and lifts, look ready to be opened for passengers in the area between the travelator, the connecting tunnel and the Waterloo and City Line platforms.

IWill the area be tiled or just painted?

described the tunnel to the left with the blue entrance rail in The New Tunnel Under Bank Station.

This picture was taken from the tunnel on the left, looking at this area.

The tunnel takes passengers right into the heart of the station.

Other Developments

The new entrance at Bank station is the first of several major transport developments, that will happen in the next few years.

New Trains On The Northern City Line In Autumn 2018

The Northern City Line is London’s forgotten train line, with a history coloured by the tragic accident at Moorgate in 1975.

The first development, a year or so ago, saw the Northern City Line introduce seven days a week working.

Now, the Class 313 trains, which are some of the oldest in the UK, are being replaced with new Class 717 trains, that will offer increased capacity, frequency and passenger comfort.

The Northern City Line terminus at Moorgate station will also be linked directly to Crossrail, when that line opens.

For many travellers in the Northern part of London and Hertfordshire, their route to the City will be much improved.

The final frequency has not been published, but it looks like there will be at least twelve tph on the Northern City Line to and from Moorgate station.

With a step-free cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station, effectively Moorgate station will become a second Southern terminus of the Victoria Line.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In December 2018

This will be the first phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially provide a twelve trains per hour (tph) service between Paddington and Abbey Wood stations from December 2018.

This will mean that the double-ended Jumbo Crossrail station, which will serve Moorgate station at its Western end and Liverpool Street station at its Eastern end, will open a short walking distance to the North of Bank station.

For those not wanting to walk, the link will also be one stop on the Central or Northern Lines.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In May 2019

This will be the second phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially be provided a twelve tph service between Paddington and Shenfield stations from May 2019.

Crossrail To Heathrow And Reading In December 2019

The full Crossrail service will open in December 2019 and will provide the following services from Moorgate-Liverpool Street.

  • Six tph to Heathrow
  • Two tph to Reading
  • Two tph to Maindenhead
  • Twelve tph to Abbey Wood
  • Twelve tph to Shenfield

In the Central section, there will be twenty-four tph between Padsdington and Whitechapel stations.

Bank Station Upgrade In 2022

Bank station is being upgraded and this is said in Wikipedia.

TfL is also retunnelling and widening the Northern line platforms, and adding lifts and new entrances on King William Street and Cannon Street. The work, agreed in 2015, will be carried out from 2016 to 2022 and will boost capacity by 40%, with 12 new escalators, 3 new lifts and a new travelator (or moving walkway) to connect the Northern Line and DLR to the Central Line.

It is a massive upgrade, as this visualisation shows.

Note that the two larger diameter tunnels at the left of this visualisation are the tunnels and platforms for the Central Line. The third tunnel is the pedestrian tunnel that links the Waterloo and City Line to the main station.

The capacity upgrade at Bank station, will surely mean more people will be drawn to the area.

Bank Junction Improvements

The City of London has a project called All Change At Bank, which aims to improve the roads and pedestrian routes at Bank Junction.

Their web site gives these objectives.

  • Reduce casualties by simplifying the junction
  • Reduce pedestrian crowding levels
  • Improve air quality
  • Improve the perception of place, as a place to spend time in rather than pass through.

At present Bank Junction is restricted to buses and cyclists on Monday to Friday, between 0700 and 1900.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this restriction increased, especially as more pedestrians are drawn to the City at weekends and in the evening.

The Future Of The City As A Leisure And Tourist Destination

When I lived in the City in the early seventies, nothing happened in the City in the evenings or at the weekends.

Over the years, the City has started to use these freer times for other activities.

  • The Barbican Arts Centre and Tate Modern have opened.
  • Quality shopping has greatly increased and improved.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants have often increased their hours.
  • Better walking routs along and over the Thames have opened.

With its superb transport links, I can see the City of London becomes a much more important leisure and tourist destination.

Conclusion

The City of London is becoming a 24/7 area of London and the Waterloo and City Line must go with the flow.

It should run seven days a week, as do all other Underground lines.

Eventually, there will be a need for a Night Drain!

 

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

London Has A New Underground Line

On Friday, I went between Brighton and Cambridge stations on one of the first Thameslink services on the route.

I wrote about it in Observations On Thameslink Between Brighton And Cambridge.

That journey took me on London’s new Underground Line between London Bridge and Finsbury Park stations.

The following trains are going North from London Bridge to Finsbury Park.

  • 11:29 – Horsham to Peterborough – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 11:52
  • 12:49 – Brighton to Cambridge – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 13:13
  • 15:04 – Horsham to Peterborough – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 15:27
  • 15:34 – Brighton to Cambridge – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 15:57

And the following trains are going South from Finsbury Park to London Bridge.

  • 10:59 – Peterborough to Horsham – Arrives at London Bridge at 11:24
  • 12:09 -Cambridge to Brighton – Arrives at London Bridge at 12:37
  • 14:29 – Peterborough to Horsham – Arrives at London Bridge at 14:55
  • 15:11 – Cambridge to Brighton – Arrives at London Bridge at 15:37

All journeys take around 23-25 minutes, with stops at Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St. Pancras International stations.

It may officially be part of Thameslink, but it will function like a convewntional Underground Line, but with bigger trains.

The Underground Alternative

If you look at Transport for London’s Journey Planner, this give a time of twenty minutes for a journey between London Bridge and Finsbury Park, using the Northern and Victoria lines with a change at Euston.

That is also not a step-free or wheel-chair friendly route.

Obviously, at the moment, most passengers have no choice, as there is only four trains per day in each direction on the new Thameslink route.

But when a Full Service is running, with a train every ten minutes, things will be very different.

My Access To Thameslink

Timings to Thameslink stations from my house are as follows.

  • Finsbury Park – 15 mins by 141 Bus and Piccadilly Line
  • London Bridge – 25 mins by 21 or 141 Bus
  • London Bridge – 31 mins  using Transport for London’s Journey Planner’s recommended route via Dalston Junction and Canada Water.

The latter probably explains why Londoners are generally Grade 1 Duckers-And-Divers!

I suspect, when I go to Gatwick Airport, I’ll go via Finsbury Park, using the mini-cab from around the corner or a black cab, as both will be quicker.

I suspected right. Returning from Finsbury Park station to home this evening, took ten minutes and cost a tenner.

A Preview Service

Thameslink are only running a preview service between London Bridge and Finsbury Park at the current time.

On my Friday trip, it was particularly noticeable, that passengers were thin on the ground between the two stations.

  • But then passengers probably didn’t know about the service and may have been confused seeing a train going to Cambridge.
  • It’s also not shown on the Tube Map.
  • I didn’t notice any advertising for the new route.

So how do you use something that you don’t know about?

The Full Service

This route will have the following characteristics, when Thameslink open it fully.

The Route Will Serve The City of London Well

These factors will help this section of Thameslink serve the City of London.

  • Step-free stations at Farringdon, City Thameslink and London Bridge ring the South and West of the City of London.
  • Crossrail with an interchange with Thameslink at Farringdon also gives a quick route to the East of the City of London and Canary Wharf.
  • The City of London is also planning a lot of pedestrianisation.

Other developments like Crossrail and the expansion of Bank station and the Docklands Light Railway, will make London’s financial district, one of the best connected by public transport in the World.

The Route Will Have Tourist Attractions

The route could have been designed for tourists.

  • London Bridge station has London and Tower Bridges, Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market, HMS Belfast and the Shard.
  • But the most spectacular modern architecture at London Bridge, is the station itself, with its lifts, escalators, fifteen platforms and a shopping centre.
  • Blackfriars is a unique station, as it spans the Thames with entrances on both banks, and it is the world’s largest solar-powered bridge.
  • Blackfriars station is a short walk along the river from the Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.
  • Many good walks along the river start from Blackfriars.
  • City Thameslink station dates from 1990 and it shows, but it is close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Old Bailey, so it attracts visitors at both ends of the moral spectrum.
  • Farringdon station will be a major interchange, where Crossrail and Thameslink connect, so don’t let unsuitable organisations build all the hotels this area will attract.
  • Farringdon is close to two of London’s iconic markets; Smithfield meat market and the attached wife market.
  • Saint Pancras International station is a fur coat and no knickers station, as although it looks good, it’s practicality is suspect.
  • If they’d given the job to the architect, who updated Kings Cross station next door, they would have got a a more practical station.
  • Finsbury Park station is a place, where you go and explore the local area, which is vibrant and full of history.
  • You may even get as far as Alexandra Palace or Manor House, where I saw John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with a very drunk Eric Clapton in the 1960s.

It is a line to explore London.

Six Trains Per Hour

There will be six trains per hour (tph), which will run All Day.

  • Two tph – Peterborough to Horsham – twelve-car
  • Two tph – Cambridge to Brighton – twelve-car
  • Two tph – Cambridge to Maidstone East – eight-car

This gives a six tph service between Finsbury Park and London Bridge and also a four tph service to East Croydon and Gatwick Airport.

Two Additional Trains Per Hour In The Peak

In the Peak, there will be two tph, that run from Welwyn Garden City to Sevenoaks.

But they will go via Elephant and Castle rather than London Bridge.

Thameslink must have their reasoning behind this service, but I have some questions.

  • Would commuters in the Peak prefer to go to London Bridge?
  • Would passengers from Sevenoaks and Welwyn Garden City like an All Day service?

These questions and others will be answered in the next few years, as hameslink develops.

Full Step-Free Access At London Bridge Station

London Bridge station has full step-free access for all the following services.

  • Thameslink
  • Services to and from Cannon Street station
  • Services to and from Waterloo East and Charing Cross stations.
  • Jubilee and Northern Lines of the Underground
  • Terminating services at London Bridge
  • Several bus routes, including my bus home!

Note.

  1. Passengers will use the escalators to get to the right destination.
  2. Thameslink passengers will use the island platform to reverse direction.
  3. It took me just two minutes to change from Platforms 2/3 to Platforms 8/9.
  4. Going from Platform 6/7 to the bus station was under three minutes and a 141 Bus was just getting ready to leave.
  5. Passengers can walk across London Bridge to the City of London.

There are few stations better than London Bridge anywhere in the world!

Full Step-Free Access at Finsbury Park Station

Finsbury Park station is being updated to have full step-free access for the following services.

  • Thameslink
  • Great Northern Services to Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough
  • Northern City Line services to and from Moorgate station
  • Piccadilly and Victoria Lines. of the Underground.

There will also be same-platform interchange between Thameslink and Northern City Line services.

The Improved Northern City Line At Finsbury Park Station

The Northern City Line will be substantially improved.

  • New Class 717 trains have been ordered.
  • This could mean an increased All Day service of perhaps 10-12 tph.
  • Moorgate station will be on Crossrail.
  • There will be a same-platform interchange with Thameslink at Finsbury Park station.
  • Hopefully, the terrible stations on the route will be improved.

This line will change from being a crowded, outdated backwater of the UK rail system to an important modern link to the City of London and Crossrail from large parts of North and North-East London.

The Link To Crossrail

The link between Thameslink and Crossrail at Farringdon station will probably be heavily used, if it is well-designed and fully-step free. Which I suspect it will be, until proven otherwise!

Don’t forget too, the link to the Metropolitan and Circle Lines at this key station, which is much better than the link at St. Pancras

Step-Free Access At All The Intermediate Stations Between London Bridge and Finsbury Park

Access at Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St. Pancras stations are all fully step-free.

The Fastest Way To Gatwick Airport And Brighton From North London

My friend lives in Walthamstow and always goes to Gatwick Airport by using the Victoria Line and Gatwick Express.

  • This takes twenty-three minutes for the Victoria Line and thirty minutes for the train.
  • The Thameslink route via Finsbury Park, takes nine minutes for the Victoria Line and an hour for the train.

Note.

  1. Both trains will run every fifteen minutes, when the full Thameslink service is running.
  2. The Thameslink timing is only the time of the Preview Service. Will the Full Service be faster?
  3. Finsbury Park and Victoria will both be fully step-free within a year or so.
  4. The trains on Gatwick Express will be more comfortable.
  5. The walk at Finsbury Park is shorter than at Victoria.
  6. The Thameslink route will be more affordable.

Everybody will have their own preference.

The biggest winners will be.

  • Those living on the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line, who will have a full step-free interchange to Thameslink at Finsbury Park
  • Those living on the Northern City Line, who will have a same-platform interchange to Thameslink at Finsbury Park.
  • Those who walk, cycle or take a bus or cab to Finsbury Park.

Gatwick Airport could be a big winner, as a whole area of North London and Hertfordshire now has a new excellent direct connection to the Airport.

What Still Needs To Be Done?

It is a well-thought out route, but some things still need to be done.

Is Six Tph Enough Trains Between London Bridge And Finsbury Park?

I ask this question, with my scheduling hat on!

At the moment of the 24 tph through the Snow Hill Tunnel, two-thirds of the trains go up the Midland Main Line, with just a third on the East Coast Main Line.

I think that, when Thameslink increase the frequency through the central core, that they will increase the frequency through Finsbury Park.

Could Two Tph From The Sutton Loop Go To Welwyn Garden City?

Curremtly, four tph start at St. Albans City station, go through London, then round the Sutton Loop, before returning to St. Albans City.

Would it be desirable to start two of these services from Welwyn Garden City station?

It will all depend on operational issues and the routes passengers take.

City Thameslink And St. Paul’s Stations Need A Connection

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

 

Should The Docklands Light Railway Be Extended To City Thameslink, Euston And St. Pancras?

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

Could Thameslink Connect To The Waterloo And City Line?

I wrote about this connection in Could The Waterloo And City Line Have An Intermediate Station At Blackfriars?

Development of new trains for the Underground, will make this link possible.

 

Should Thameslink Be On The Tube Map

I wrote about this in Thameslink Should Be On The Tube Map.

All Of Thameslink Should Be In The Oystercard Area

Gatwick Airport is already in the Oystercard area, but it is silly that Oyster cards and contsctless cards can’t be used on all Thameslink services.

Conclusion

The possibilities for Thameslink and the effects it will have will be enormous.

 

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sheep In The City

I took this picture outside the South Place Hotel, just off Moorgate in the City of London.

I can’t remember ever seeing fleeces on outside seats.

But it was bitterly cold.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

The Massive Bank Station Upgrade Is Running Behind Schedule And Over Budget

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in City AM.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The hefty upgrade work on Bank station is set to be completed later than planned, and over budget, according to new papers from Transport for London (TfL).

TfL said in its recent investment programme report that final costs for the revamp at Bank are set to be £642m, £19m higher than the £623m originally forecast. That covers a capacity boost and systems integration upgrade at the station.

Other facts can be gleaned from the article.

  • Overall works will now finish in 2022 instead of the original date of late 2021.
  • £322m has been spent so far.
  • Opening of the new entrance to the Waterloo and City Line has been put back from January to March next year because of problems of obtaining fire doors with the correct specifications.
  • Problems have been found with digging the 00 metres of new tunnels.;

At least though, the contractors seem to be keeping all the lines open, as they carry out this most complex of projects in the heart of the City of London.

Once the station is completed, it will be interesting to see how many billions of pounds worth of office space are built on top of the new Underground complex.

 

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bloomberg Building Revealed

The hoardings are now down on the Bloomberg Building.

I have read in today’s Sunday Times, that the free exhibition on the site of the Temple of Mithras and the antiquities found on the site will open on the 14th of November.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Banksy At The Barbican

These pictures show Banksy’s new art at the Barbican.

As it’s in a tunnel, that is probably owned by the City of London Corporation, I doubt it will be removed or stolen.

Is Banksy going upmarket choosing underneath the Barbican?

September 18, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Between Bank And Cannon Street Station

The City of London is creating a new walking route between Bank and Cannon Street stations, along Walbrook.

It doesn’t reach to the Thames yet, as there is some 1980s development and the dual-carriageway of Upper Thames Street in the way, but I suspect it will, at some point in the future.

On the Western side of the walk is Walbrook Square being developed by Bloomberg, which underneath which are both the London Mithraeum and the new step-free entrance to the Waterloo and City Line and Bank station.

On the Eastern side is the historic church of |St. Stephen Walbrook, where I once met Chad Varah; the founder of The Samaritans, who for personal and wider reasons, I nominated at Man of the Noughties.

This Google Map shows the area.

walbrook

It looks like this walking and cycling route will come with a prestigious office development, an important Roman site and a transport interchange.

I have a feeling there’s a deep agenda in pedestrianising Walbrook in this way.

Commuters arriving in the City at Cannon Street station or the Waterloo and City Line will be able to come out of the stations onto the spacious thoroughfare of Walbrook , from where they could walk to their place of work. A pedestrianised Bank Junction would give a traffic free route for commuters to the East side of the junction.

Could we see other routes around Bank Junction also given over to pedestrians and cyclists? Roads like.

  • Cannon |Street
  • Cornhill
  • Dowgate Hill
  • King William Street
  • Lombard Street
  • Lothbury
  • Old Jewry
  • Prince’s Street
  • St. Swithin’s Lane

and a few others, must all be being considered for full or partial pedestrianisation.

In addition, there will be beloe-ground routes through Bank station.

January 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bank Junction

These pictures show Bank Junction, at around mid-day.

Would banning of all vehicles except buses and cycles work?

The taxi-drivers think not! Thyey’ve been protesting all wek!

 

January 19, 2017 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Bollards To Illegal Parkers

The City of London has its own distinctive way with street furniture.

But it’s not just bollards.

A walk through the City of London is always rewarding.

 

 

January 18, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Taxis And Bank Junction

The City pf London is proposing to make Bank Junction accessible to only buses and cyclists.

On a personal note, I’m in favour, as my normal route to and from the area of Bank station is to take a 21 or 141 bus. I also use the 141 bus to get to and from London Bridge station, as the terminal stop is on the staion forecourt. They are extremely convenient buses for me as the Northbound stop is perhaps fifty metres from my house over a zebra crossing. Going South, the walk is a little further, but it is no more than a hundred and fifty metres.

However, not everyone is in favour of restricting traffic at Bank Junction.

This article in the Standard is entitled Cycling campaign groups slam black cab protest over traffic ban at Bank station.

This is said.

Cycling campaign groups have slammed a taxi protest over plans to close Bank junction off to most traffic, saying drivers are supporting “the right to poison Londoners”.

Black Cab drivers brought traffic to a standstill on Monday evening as they protested plans to close off the notorious junction to all traffic apart from bikes and buses.

Union members have argued that the proposals to only allow cyclists and buses at the junction are an example of TfL dodging the problem of congestion.

So it would be cyclists on one side and black cabs on the other.

The RMT union blames Uber on their web site.

This is said in the article.

The union claims the congestion is caused by Uber cars which, in turn, leave people turning to cycling out of “desperation”.

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, said: “The decision to close Bank Junction to traffic is a comically inept one, made exceptionally bitter as the Mayor promised greater access to road space for black cabs.”

As I said earlier, all I want is this vital junction to run smoothly for buses.

I don’t use a taxi very often, except on say a busy, wet day to bring my shopping home, as the rank is outside Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsburys. How convenient is that?

The taxi drivers are not happy, but then London’s black cab drivers have rarely been happy in the years I’ve used them, since the 1960s.

  • Getting to my house has  caused a new moan, which is caused by the work that I wrote about in Why I’m In Favour Of Cycling Superhighways.
  • Cyclists are always good for a moan.
  • But their biggest ire is usually reserved for Uber and their lack of regulation.

Surprisingly, I’ve had no moans about moving to low-emission or electric vehicles.

So how do I think the situation will improve in the next few years?

Crossrail

Crossrail doesn’t serve Bank Junction directly, but I will be surprised if the massive double-ended Crossrail station at Liverpool Street and Moorgate, doesn’t attract a lot of passengers travelling to and from the City of London.

Bank Station Upgrade

Under Future Developments, Wikipedia says this.

  • A new entrance on Walbrook, near Cannon Street station, will provide new escalators and lifts to the Waterloo and City line platforms.
  • TfL is also consulting on retunnelling and widening the Northern line platforms.
  • Adding lifts and new entrances on King William Street and Cannon Street.
  • A new tunnel could be built to relocate the southbound Northern line platform.

The work could be completed by 2021 and will boost capacity by 40%, with 12 new escalators and 3 new lifts.

A well-designed Bank Underground station must relieve surface traffic of all types in the area.

Waterloo And City Line

When the new entry at Wallbrook to the Waterloo and City Line,  opens hopefully in late 2017, it will dramatically improve the usefulness of the Waterloo and City Line.

But improvements are also needed at the Waterloo end of the line.

  • Better connections to the new platforms 20-24 at Waterloo will be needed. Are they being provided in the current works.
  • Better connection to Waterloo East station, so passengers can get access to Charing Cross services.
  • Direct access to the street.
  • Step-free access.

The line should at least run seven days a week, if not all the time under automatic control.

It could be a much more important line in London’s transport system.

It could even be renamed the City and South Bank Line.

The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line is London’s forgotten suburban line, as it terminates in a two-platform station under Moorgate station.

One of Crossrail’s collateral improvements will be to give the Northern City Line excellent connections to the following.

  • Crossrail
  • Liverpool Street station
  • Central Line

The deep and dingy station will also have much better connection to the various walking routes in the area.

But connectivity would be nothing without trains and the Northern City Line is getting new Class 717 trains, which could run at up to twelve trains per hour all day.

The original plans for the Northern City Line envisaged the line running to Lothbury station, which would be just to the North of the Bank of England.

If this extension had been built, it would have surely proved to have been a valuable part of London’s railways. But it wasn’t and probably to build it now would be too expensive and impossible.

Walking Routes

The actual City of London is compact and this Google Map shows the Northern part of the City between Bank, Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations.

lothbury

Note.

  • How one of the three main stations is within reach of much of the area.
  • I would reckon that the three stations are about eight hundred metres apart.

If you don’t fancy walking, there are bus routes between the stations and the Central and Northern Lines also provide connections.

Uber

Uber is the fox in the hen coup.

It is disruptive technology and I don’t like it for various reasons.

  • I like to pick up my cab from a rank or by hailing it on the street.
  • I feel that apps with credit card details in them will be the next big fraud opportunity.
  • I like a properly trained and regulated driver, who understands the intricacies of London’s streets.

I took an Uber cab once from Walthamstow to home and the driver came from West London and managed to get lost twice. As I wasn’t paying, I didn’t bother.

I can’t help feeling that Uber is very inefficient for the driver and only works if they have a monopoly of taxis on the streets.

Conclusion

I have given alternatives to the use of taxis around Bank Junction.

Taxi drivers will protest, but that area is one, where for most people, public transport will increasingly be the best way to travel.

 

 

January 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment