The Anonymous Widower

Barriers And Planters On The London Overground Platforms At Clapham Junction Station

To get home from Feltham station, after my visit this morning to see the new bridge, which I wrote about in The Completed Bridge At Feltham Station, I changed trains at Clapham Junction station.

I noticed that a barrier has been put up between the current two Overground platforms; 1 and 2.

.I suspect it is for safety reasons, as it will certainly stop passengers falling off the platform.

I also noticed that planters had been placed where I suspect that the new Platform 0 will be built.

Note.

  1. If the track is to placed between the planters and the platform, the space could be a bit small.
  2. Or is the platform going to be rebuilt a bit narrower?
  3. It also looks like the platform won’t be long enough for the planned eight-car train.

I also took these pictures of what looks to be a Fire Exit.

Could it be a temporary entrance, that will be used if there is a lot of work going on about the Grant Road entrance to create the new platform?

I also took these pictures of the Eastern end of the platform.

Considering, that the Class 378 train is five cars and an eight-car train would be sixty percent longer, it looks to me, that they will have to extend the platform, behind the temporary entrance or perhaps further towards the East.

Or could Network Rail have called up Baldrick, and asked him for one of his cunning plans?

Consider.

Currently, there is a one train per hour (tph) between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations, run by Southern.

The service used to run between Milton Keynes and South Croydon stations.

There surely is a need for a high-frequency service between the High Speed Two station at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction station.

Currently, there is no planned link between Crossrail and the West London Line.

Hythe Road station is planned to be on the West London Line and will serve the High Speed Two station at Old Oak Common.

This Transport for London map, shows the position of the proposed Hythe Road station with respect to High Speed Two and Crossrail.

Note.

  1. The West London Line to and from Clapham Junction goes down the East of the map.
  2. The North London Line to and from Richmond goes down the West of the map.
  3. The current Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service doesn’t go through the site of Hythe Road station, but somehow sneaks round on the freight line in the map.

Wikipedia describes the proposal for Hythe Road station like this.

Hythe Road railway station would be situated about 700 metres (770 yards) from the mainline Old Oak Common station. Construction work would involve re-aligning the track along a new railway embankment (built slightly to the north of the existing line) and demolishing industrial units along Salter Street, on land currently owned by a vehicle sales company (‘Car Giant’). The station structure will sit on a viaduct, with a bus interchange underneath. The station will incorporate 3 platforms, allowing through services between Stratford and Clapham Junction with an additional bay platform to accommodate terminating services from Clapham Junction.

I can envisage an eight tph service between Clapham Junction and Hythe Road stations, made up something like this.

  • Four tph between Stratford and Clapham Junction stations
  • One tph between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations
  • Three tph between Hythe Road and Clapham Junction stations

Note.

  1. Services would stop at Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton and Imperial Wharf.
  2. Two platforms at Clapham Junction station could easily handle eight tph.
  3. The London Overground’s five car Class 378 trains would probably be long enough for the shuttle.
  4. There is even the possibility of running the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service with five car trains, to void the expense of creating an eight-car platform at Clapham Junction station.

It would be better if the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service could go through Hythe Road station. But this might be difficult to arrange.

Conclusion

An eight tph service through Old Oak Common could be a nice little add-on for both High Speed Two and Crossrail.

 

 

January 12, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to increase speed through Longhedge junction.

The report explains it like this.

There is an opportunity to enhance Longhedge Junction, a key location for freight passing through the Battersea area, to enable higher speeds and provide faster transit between the South London Line and West London Line or Clapham Junction (for the Brighton Main Line or Windsor lines).

This would benefit the numerous freight flows through this important part of the network, where two orbital routes connect to each other and to radial routes in and out of London to the south and south-west.

London Overground SLL services running to and from Clapham Junction would also benefit from an increase to the existing 25mph line speed through Longhedge Junction.

This map from cartometro shows the location of Longhedge junction.

Note.

  1. The orange and black tracks are London Overground routes.
  2. The Overground route going East is the Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction service that goes via the South London Line (SLL).
  3. The Overground route going West is the Stratford and Clapham Junction service that goes via the West London Line (WLL).
  4. The two Overground routes combine to run into the Overground platforms at Clapham Junction.
  5. There is a double-track route, that links Latchmere 1 junction on the West London Line with Longhedge junction on the South London Line.
  6. Longhedge junction is in the East of the map.

It is an area congested with train tracks and junctions.

Traffic Through Longhedge Junction

Longhedge junction is busy, with the following trains in a typical hour.

  • Four tph between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.
  • Up to six assorted  freight tph.

Note that services run in both directions.

But this Google Map of the are gives hope.

Longhedge junction is to the West of the West of the tracks running North South and it looks like there could be plenty of space to realign the tracks and improve the junction.

As with Nunhead Junction, which I wrote about in Nunhead Junction Improvement, it could be that the use of electric haulage on freight trains through the junction with their more nimble acceleration might help.

Conclusion

This appears to be a serious problem.

What it needs now is a well-designed scheme to speed freight and passenger trains through the junction.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

 

June 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 16 Comments

Could London Overground Services To Stratford Be Extended To Meridian Water?

My arrival In Platform 11 at Stratford station has got me thinking!

And others too! Judging by the comments I’ve received.

Yesterday, I took a train from Dalston Kingsland station to Stratford station.

  • The train was the 0934 from Clapham Junction, which was timed to arrive in Stratford at 1038.
  • It arrived in Platform 11 at 1036.

In A London Overground Class 378 Train In Platform 11 At Stratford Station, I show pictures of the train in Platform 11 at Stratford station.

I suspected this was just a one-off occurrence, caused by a malfunction in a train or the signalling, which prevented my train from using the normal Platforms 1 or 2, that services to Stratford would use.

Although, looking at Real Time Trains, the 0938 train this morning, terminated in Platform 11. As it did on Monday and Tuesday this week.

  • This train was the only train from Clapham Junction station not to use Platform 2.
  • Checking days last week, it appears that this train always terminated in Platform 2.

So why did the service terminate in Platform 11?

Driver training is one possibility, so they can use the Platform 11, if there is a malfunction that stops them using Platform 2.

But is there a clue in the first picture, I took, when I arrived in Stratford?

The train in Platform 12 is the 1046 to Meridian Water, which arrived from Bishops Stortford at 1040.

Could it mean that there is to be a reorganisation of platforms at Stratford?

  • Platform 12 will be exclusively used by Greater Anglia for their West Anglia Main Line services.
  • Platform 11 will be used by London Overground.

In Using Platform 12 At Stratford Station, I described ending up on Platform 12, so I know it is possible, but when it happened information was bad for passengers, who didn’t know here they needed to go to continue on their way.

But why would London Overground need the extra platform?

These are my thoughts.

Do London Overground Need An Extra Platform At Stratford?

Currently London Overground services to Stratford are as follows.

  • Four tph – Stratford and Richmond
  • Four tph – Stratford and Clapham Junction

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. Both Class 378 and Class 710 trains can work the routes to Stratford.
  3. Eight tph can easily be handled by two platforms.

To handle more trains may need a third platform at Stratford for the London Overground.

Extra Trains Between Stratford And Canonbury

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

It says this about creating a third platform at Camden Road station.

This proposal would reinstate a third track and platform on the northern side of Camden Road station, utilising part of the former 4-track formation through the station.

The additional capacity provided would facilitate much greater flexibility in pathing options for trains on this busy central section of the NLL, opening up new options for future service provision and bolstering performance resilience.

Reinstatement of a third platform would enable platform 2 to be used as a central turnback, with platform 3 becoming the eastbound line for through London Overground services and the majority of freight.

Transport for London modelling suggests that the eastern end of the NLL, from Canonbury to Stratford, will see some of the strongest long-term demand growth on the Overground network.

A turnback platform will allow this to be addressed with peak capacity boosting services between Stratford and Camden Road and there would also be the option to operate these through the off-peak, which could offer a means of providing additional passenger capacity where it is most needed.

The availability of an additional platform would also aid performance recovery during perturbation on
the orbital routes.

Note.

  1. The strongest passenger growth on the North London Line (NLL), will be between Canonbury and Stratford.
  2. Extra services are proposed between Stratford and Camden Road stations.
  3. If you travelled between Highbury & Islington and Stratford before the pandemic, the trains only had space for a few extra very small people in the Peak.

I use this section of the North London Line regularly and suspect the route needs at least twelve tph.

Twelve tph into Stratford would probably mean that the London Overground would need a third platform at Stratford.

More Trains Serving Meridian Water

In the Wikipedia entry for Meridian Water station, this is said.

In August 2019, it was announced that funding had been approved for construction of a fourth platform and a new section of track between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water to enable up to 8 trains per hour to serve the station at peak times.

This must be the earliest upgrade in history, after a new station has opened.

I got the impression, when the station was announced that it would have four tph to Stratford. Currently, there are just two tph.

Two tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford also pass through without stopping.

If these called at Meridian Water in the Peak, then there would still be four tph to find.

An easy way to create four tph between Stratford and Meridian Water would be to extend four London Overground services from Stratford.

  • Services would call at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.
  • Trains would pass through Platform 11 at Stratford.
  • Platform 11 at Stratford would be bi-directional.
  • The service could be run all day, at a frequency of four tph.
  • As these trains have their own track, they won’t delay the Cambridge and Stansted trains on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • A cross-London service between Meridian Water and Clapham Junction or Richmond, would be possible.

Note.

  1. London Overground would be responsible for the bulk of the Meridian Water service.
  2. London Overground’s four- or five-car trains would probably have sufficient capacity for the service.
  3. The main new infrastructure needed would be the fourth platform and a new section of track at Meridian Water station.
  4. Some improvements as specified in the London Rail Freight Strategy will be useful, as they will increase capacity on the North and West London Lines.
  5. My only worry would be, that can modern signalling handle four tph in both directions through Platform 11 at Stratford station.

What Will Be The Track Layout And Method of Operation?

The current track layout is simple.

A bi-directional third track has been laid between Lea Bridge junction, just to the North of Lea Bridge station and Meridian Water station.

  • It is to the East of the double-track West Anglia Main Line.
  • There are bi-directional platforms at Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.
  • There is a single terminating Platform 2 at Meridian Water station.

A train going between Stratford and Meridian Water stations does the following.

  • Leaves from Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Switches at Lea Bridge junction to the bi-directional third-track.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Terminates in Platform 2 at Meridian Water station.

A train going between Meridian Water and Stratford stations does the following.

  • Leaves from Platform 2 at Meridian Water station
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Calls in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Switches at Lea Bridge junction to the Up line of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Calls in Platform 1 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Terminates in Platform  11 or 12 at Stratford station.

The track layout can probably handle a maximum of two tph.

I suspect the upgrade will build on this layout to allow a frequency of at least four tph.

The following works will be done.

  • A fourth track to the East of the bi-directional third track will be built.
  • The fourth track will run between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water stations.
  • I suspect the fourth track will split from the third track at a junction to the North of Tottenham Hale station. Could this be called Tottenham Hale North Junction? I will use that name, to make things simple!
  • A new Platform 1 will be built in Meridian Water station.
  • Trains going North between Tottenham Hale and Meridian Water will use the current bi-directional third track and will be able to terminate in either Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.
  • Trains going South between Meridian Water and Tottenham Hale will use the new fourth track and will be able to start from either Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.
  • I suspect, Northumberland Park station will need a new Platform 1 for Southbound trains. But the station was designed with that in mind.

A train going between Stratford and Meridian Water stations will do the following.

  • Leave from Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Switch at Lea Bridge junction to the bi-directional third-track.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Terminate in Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.

A train going between Meridian Water and Stratford stations will do the following.

  • Leave from Platform 1 or 2 at Meridian Water station.
  • Use the new fourth track to come South.
  • Call in Platform 1 at Northumberland Park station.
  • Continue on the bi-directional third-track at Tottenham Hale North Junction.
  • Call in Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale station.
  • Switch at Lea Bridge junction to the Up line of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Call in Platform 1 at Lea Bridge station.
  • Terminate in Platform  11 or 12 at Stratford station.

The track layout is effectively two double-track sections linked by a bi-directional single track between Lea Bridge Junction and Tottenham Hale North Junction.

  • On the double-track sections of the route trains can pass each other, as they are on different tracks.
  • Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale stations are 1.9 miles apart.
  • Trains take three or four minutes between Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale stations. Including the stop at Tottenham Hale on the single track section.

If trains could alternate through the single-track section, this would give a capacity  of well over four tph in both directions.

  • A train going North would wait in Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station until the previous Southbound train had cleared Lea Bridge junction, before proceeding North.
  • A train going South would wait at Tottenham Hale North Junction until the previous Northbound  had safely passed, before proceeded South.

I suspect that the trains need full digital signalling with a degree of Automatic Train Control.

But I suspect we could see six tph in both directions.

  • This would fit nicely, with London Overground’s ambition of six tph on all routes.
  • It could be increased to eight tph in the Peak, by arranging for an appropriate number of Greater Anglia services to and from Liverpool Street at Meridian Water.

I feel that a service that meets all objectives will be possible.

Proposals From The London Rail Freight Strategy That Might Help

These proposals from the London Rail Freight Strategy might help.

It does look to me, that the London Rail Freight Strategy was designed with one eye on improving the passenger train service between North-East and South-West London.

Taking The Pressure Off The Victoria Line

Consider.

  • If you’re going between Walthamstow and the West End or the major stations of Euston, Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Victoria, you will use the Victoria Line.
  • If you live in the new housing, being built at Meridian Water, currently you will be likely to hop to Tottenham Hale station and take the Victoria Line.

Consequently, Northern end of the line can get busy! And not just in the Peak!

But a four tph service between Meridian Water and Stratford, will encourage passengers to go to Stratford to take advantage of the Central and Jubilee Lines and Crossrail.

Hence there will be less passengers, who need to use the Victoria Line.

A Better Interchange Between Camden Road And Camden Town Stations

The essential upgrade of Camden Town station has been put on indefinite hold due to TfL’s financial position.

This is a big mistake.

  • Camden Town station gets dangerously full!
  • It would allow the splitting of the Northern Line into two independent lines, which would increase capacity of the current system.
  • Camden Town station is not step-free but Camden Road station has lifts.

Hopefully, it would result, in a better route between the two stations, rather than the polluted route on a narrow pavement.

I very much believe that the rebuilding of Camden Town station is the most important project to improve London’s Underground and Overground network.

But it won’t get built with the current Mayor, as he’s a South Londoner.

Could A Meridian Water and Clapham Junction Service Be An  Affordable Crossrail 2?

Consider.

  • Crossrail 2 will link Clapham Junction and Meridian Water via Central London and Dalston.
  • A Meridian Water and Clapham Junction service would link the two stations via Shepherd’s Bush, Old Oak Common, West Hampstead, Camden Road, Dalston and Stratford.

Each route has their connectivity advantages.

  • Both have good connections to Crossrail, Thameslink and the Bakerloo, Central and Jubilee Lines.
  • The London Overground route has good connections to the Victoria Line and High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.
  • Crossrail 2 serves important stations in Central London.

A Meridian Water and Clapham Junction service could be a valuable addition to London’s rail infrastructure without too much new expensive infrastructure.

Conclusion

An extension of some London Overground services from Stratford to Meridian Water would be worthwhile.

Implementation of this is made easier by the recommendations of the London Rail Freight Strategy.

 

 

 

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June 25, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the recommendations of the report is to build a Platform 0 at Clapham Junction station. It says this about that that platform.

Creation of additional bay platform capacity at the northern end of Clapham Junction station, for the use
of London Overground WLL services.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout as the orange tentacles of the London Overground approach Clapham Junction station.

Note.

  1. The West London Line approaches Clapham Junction station through Imperial Wharf station.
  2. The South London Line approaches Clapham Junction station through Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road stations.

This second map from cartometro.com shows the track layout of the current two Overground platforms at Clapham Junction station and how the third one will fit in.

Note.

  1. It appears that there are crossovers to allow trains from either South or West London Lines to enter any of Platforms 0, 1 or 2.
  2. A typical bay platform can turn four trains per hour (tph) or possibly six tph, if the signalling is tip-top.

These pictures show the current state of Platform 0 at Clapham Junction station.

And these show Platforms 1 and 2 at Clapham Junction station.

The current two-platform system seems to work well.

Clapham Junction Station Is A Super-Interchange

Clapham Junction is already a super-interchange on the London Overground with lots of services to Central and Outer London and the wider South of England.

The London Overground probably needs more super-interchanges on its circular route around London.

  • Whitechapel and Stratford, which are one stop apart on Crossrail, could develop into one in East London.
  • As it grows, Old Oak Common, will develop into one in West London.

Other super-interchanges could develop at Croydon, Hackney (Central/Downs) and West Hampstead.

Network Rail’s Reasons For The New Platform

I’ll start with some information.

Current Overground Services

Current Overground services are as follows.

  • 4 tph – Stratford via Willesden Junction
  • 4 tph – Dalston Junction via Surrey Quays

The total of 8 tph, is generally easily handled by two platforms, unless something goes wrong.

Future Overground Services

It is expected that in the future services could be as follows.

  • 6 tph – Stratford via Willesden Junction
  • 6 tph – Dalston Junction via Surrey Quays

As I regularly use the service between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction to get a connection to places like Portsmouth and Southampton, I know at least one regular traveller, who is looking forward to the increase in frequency.

But there could be another London Overground in the future.

In Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground, I wrote how in his report, Chris Gibb recommended that this hourly service should be transferred to the London Overground.

This is said in the Network Rail document about Platform 0 at Clapham Junction station.

The longstanding proposal for the creation of additional bay platform capacity at the northern end of Clapham Junction station, for the use of London Overground West London Line services, is supported by this strategy.

The scheme would reinstate the disused former platform 1 to create a newly designated ‘Platform 0’, adjacent to the present platforms 1 and 2.

This intervention has been recognised as key to long-term growth on the West London Line by several previous pieces of work for both Network Rail and Transport for London, which have consistently concluded that additional platform capacity at Clapham Junction is needed, if TfL’s aspiration to increase the WLL Overground service to 6 trains per hour is to be met.

Capacity analysis for the LRFS has reaffirmed that the desire to operate this level of service throughout the day cannot be achieved with a single bay platform.

Although this scheme would clearly be of direct benefit to the London Overground passenger service, the positive impact it would have on the capacity and performance of the WLL overall means that it is also very much in the interest of freight that Platform 0 be delivered. Without a new bay platform, the main alternative means to increase Overground train frequencies involves the use of platform 17 at the far end of the station, where freight and GTR trains pass through towards the BML. This is a sub-optimal solution for both freight and passenger operations.

Note.

  1. Platform 0 will share an island platform with Platforms 1 and 2, so there will be short level walks between trains.
  2. Platform 1 and 2 are already fully accessible, so Platform 0 will be as well.

The report feels that increasing passenger and freight services are often two sides of the same coin.

Questions

I have some questions.

Would Three Platforms Be Enough To Handle Twelve tph?

As two platforms seem to handle eight tph, at most times in the present, I suspect the answer is in the affirmative.

Would Three Platforms Be Enough To Handle Thirteen tph?

This would be needed, if the Milton Keynes service were to be transferred to the Overground and it used Clapham Junction station as a Southern terminus.

If it still went through Clapham Junction station to Croydon, then it would probably use Platform 17, as it tends to do now!

I do suspect that three platforms will be enough, as otherwise the LRFS would be proposing something else.

What Will Be The Length Of The New Platform 0?

Under Future Proposals in the Wikipedia entry for Clapham Junction station, this is said.

In a Network Rail study in 2015, it was proposed that platform 0 could reopen for 8-car operations of the West London Line.

An eight-car platform would allow the current eight-car Class 377 trains, that work the Milton Keynes service to use the platform.

Note that as an eight-car Class 377 train is 163.2 metres long, a platform that will accomodate this train, will be long enough to accomodate a five-car Class 378 train, which is only 102.5 metres long.

But should the platform be built long enough to handle two Class 378 trains working as a pair?

This Google Map shows Platform 1 and the current state of the future Platform 0 at Clapham Junction station.

Note.

  1. a five-car Class 378 train is standing in Platform 1.
  2. There are some minor obstructions along Platform 0.

I don’t think it would be impossible to create an eight-car Platform 0. Although, Platforms 0 and 1 might need to be extended by perhaps ten or twenty minutes towards London.

Does The Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction Service Need 110 mph Trains?

I have talked to several drivers, who drive trains on the four 125 mph lines out of London and some have complained about slower 100 mph trains, that get in their way and slow them down.

If the drivers get miffed, I suspect the train operating companies are more annoyed.

But over the last few years, the following has happened.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see 110 mph trains running between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction, as they would just be following a sensible practice to increase capacity.

Conclusion

I have no problems with creating a new Platform 0 at Clapham Junction, but suspect that faster trains would be needed for the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction, that would use it.

Work Appears To Have Already Started On Platform 0

With the installation of the all-important site hut and the fact that there were several engineers around with laser-measurement tools, I suspect that work is already underway to prepare everything for the construction of Platform 0 at Clapham Junction station.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

 

June 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Network Rail To Outline Business Case For Clapham Junction Redevelopment

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail have timetabled their plans to publish a strategy outline business case (SOBC) for the redevelopment of Clapham Junction station.

The public body told delegates at a rail conference in London that it intends to lay out the strategy by the end of the year.

To get a better idea of Clapham Junction station, this Google Map shows the station.

And this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout.

Note.

  1. The track layout is extremely complicated.
  2. A large amount of the area of the station is used for stabling of trains.
  3. The large number of platforms connected by a pedestrian bridge in the middle.
  4. There are a lot of stairs and lifts between the bridge and the platforms.

This description of the amount of traffic through the station is from Wikipedia.

Routes from London’s south and south-west termini, Victoria and Waterloo, funnel through the station, making it the busiest in Europe by number of trains using it: between 100 and 180 per hour except for the five hours after midnight. The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

All of this adds up to a challenging problem, that if it can be solved, will fulfil these objectives.

  • Greatly improve the passenger experience.
  • Increase the train and passenger capacity of the station.
  • Create more and longer platforms.
  • Create or release lots of space for housing and other developments.
  • Make the station ready for the Northern Line Extension from Battersea and Crossrail 2.

All of the development must be carried out with as little disruption to trains and passengers.

I’m no architect, but neither are Network Rail or were their predecessor British Rail, but they are good at creating well-thought out track layouts.

I suspect somewhere in a drawer or on a computer, is a British Rail plan for how the station could be laid out.

Such a plan probably existed for London Bridge station and with the design from good architects and structural engineers on top, one of the best terminal stations in the World has been built.

The Rail Technology Magazine article talks of decking over the whole station and putting two million square feet of development on top. But it also cautions, it would be very expensive.

  • Could an imaginative architect create a unique development?
  • Clapham Junction station, is the best-connected railway station in the South of London.
  • Could the development be built with very little provision for car parking?
  • Is the land strong enough for a cluster of high tower blocks?
  • Could green space be provided?

I’ve lived in the Barbican with a young family and that estate works. But it should be remembered that the City of London had a completely cleared site at the Barbican, due to Nazi bombing.

So would decking over the station, be the way to create a cleared site to create a high-quality eco-friendly development for all?

I think it would and I think it could allow the development to be built at an affordable price.

I also feel that the important objective of building the development without disrupting trains and passengers can be met, by arranging construction in the right order.

Conclusion

Clapham Junction station is a unique site on which to build and like the Barbican, if we build it right, it will be admired fifty years later.

 

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A London Overground Replacement For Southern’s East Croydon And Milton Keynes Service

In July 2017, I discussed this suggestion by Chris Gibb in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

In an article, in the July 2019 Edition of Modern Railways, , which was entitled ‘710s’ Debut On Goblin, this was this last paragraph.

On the West London Line, TfL is curremtly working with the Department for Transport on options for the devolution of services originally suggested in Chris Gibb’s report on the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, which could lead to ‘710s’ being deployed here.

It made me think, that further investigation was called for.

An Apology

I apologise, if you think I’m repeating myself.

What The Gibb Report Says

The Gibb Report, says this about the current service between East Croydon and Milton Keynes Central stations.

I believe there is an option to transfer the East Croydon – Milton Keynes operation to TfL and it’s London Overground concession in 2018.

TfL may decide to change the service, for example by not running it north of Watford Junction, or running it to an alternative southern destination other than East Croydon. They could also develop the combined West London line service to better match available capacity to demand.

They would have a number of crewing and rolling stock options, but should be able to operate the service more efficiently than GTR in the longer term, without the involvement of Selhurst.

Selhurst TMD is the depot in South London, where the current Class 377 trains are based.

A few of my thoughts.

The Trains

Using Class 710 trains  as suggested in the Modern Railways article, would surely offer a suitable  crewing and rolling stock option for the route, if they were based at the convenient Willesden TMD, where the fleet of up to twenty-five dual-voltage Class 710/2 trains are stabled.

The Northern Terminus

Chris Gibb suggested the service might not go past Watford Junction.

I think that could be difficult.

  • The longitudinal seating of the Class 710 train, is probably not suitable for outer suburban services North of Watford.
  • East Croydon to Watford Junction takes 69 minutes, which is not a good journey time to create an efficient service.

It would also appear to be tricky for a train to transfer between the West London Line and the Watford DC Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the complicated track layout in the Willesden Junction area.

Note.

  1. The two Willesden Junction stations, labelled High Level and Low Level.
  2. The Watford DC Line, which is shown in black and orange, passing to the North of Willesden TMD. and through the Low Level station.
  3. The four tracks shown in black are the West Coast Main Line, with Watford to the West and Euston to the East.
  4. The North London Line to Richmond and the West London Line to Clapham Junction splitting at Wilesden High Level Junction.

The current service between East Croydon and Milton Keynes, is only one train per hour (tph) and uses a succession of flat junctions to take the slow lines to and from Watford.

This is not a good operational procedure and I suspect Network Rail and various train operators, would like to see it discontinued.

So if trains in a new London Overground version of the service, don’t go up the Watford DC Line or the West Coast Main Line, where do they turn back?

Note the siding to the East of the High Level platforms, which is labelled Willesden Junction Turnout.

This is regularly used to turnback London Overground services on the West London Line.

I feel that London Overground will be turning their replacement service in Willesden Junction High Level station.

Current train services at the station include.

  • For passengers, who want to go further North, there is a good connection to the Watford DC Line for Wembley Central, Harrow & Wealdstone and Watford Junction stations.
  • The Watford DC Line can also take you to Euston.
  • The Bakerloo Line between Stonebridge Park and Elephant & Castle via Central London.
  • Frequent North London Line services between Stratford and Richmond.

The station has kiosks, coffee stalls, toilets and waiting rooms.

There are certainly worse places to change trains.

The Southern Terminus

Obviously, existing travellers on the route would like to see as few changes as possible.

East Croydon station must be a possibility for the Southern terminus, as it is the currently used.

But East Croydon is a busy station and perhaps it is not a convenient station for trains to wait in the platform.

On the other hand, West Croydon station offers some advantages.

  • The station has a long bay platform, which might be long enough for nine or ten cars.
  • There is a separate turnback siding.
  • It has space to add another bay platform, but this may have been sold to a developer.
  • It already has a four tph London Overground service to Highbury & Islington station.
  • Using West Croydon avoids the crowded lines to the North of East Croydon station.

It is also managed by London Overground, so the landlord would be co-operative.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed For A West Croydon And Willesden Junction Service?

West Croydon station has two possible routes, that trains could take to Willesden Junction.

  • Via Norwood Junction and Clapham Junction in 55 minutes.
  • Via Selhust and Clapham Junction in 45 minutes.

These times mean that a two-hour round trip between West Croydon and Willesden Junction should be possible.

Trains required for various frequencies would be as follows.

  • One tph – Two trains.
  • Two tph = Four trains.
  • Four tph – Eight trains.

They would need to be dual voltage Class 710/2 trains, as are now running on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Compare the figures with those for the current East Croydon and Milton Keynes service, which needs four pairs of four-car trains for an hourly service.

What Would Be The Frequency?

I think one, two and four tph are all possibilities!

One tph

One tph would be a direct replacement for the current service. But is it enough?

Services at West Croydon could probably share the bay platform with the existing Highbury & Islington station service.

Two tph

Two tph could be a compromise frequency.

Two tph could probably still share the current bay platform with the Highbury & Islington service.

Four tph

Four tph would be a full Turn-Up-And-Go service,

  • It would probably be London Overground’s preference.
  • It would give a very passenger-friendly eight tph between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction stations.
  • The two services would call at opposite sides of Clapham Junction station.
  • It would give a four tph link between Croydon and High Speed Two.
  • Westfield wouldn’t mind all the extra shoppers at Shepherds Bush!

But there could be downsides.

  • The service could need an extra bay platform at West Croydon.
  • Would it be possible to turn four tph at Willesden Junction?
  • Will the train paths be available through South London.

But four tph would probably would be London Overground’s preference.

It will be interesting to see the reasons, why Transport for London choose a particular frequency.

A Trip Between Imperial Wharf And East Croydon Stations

Today, I took a trip between Imperial Wharf and East Croydon stations at around 11:30.

  • The train was  two four-car Class 377 trains working as an eight-car train.
  • After Clapham Junction it wasn’t very busy.
  • I was in the last car, which was empty, except for myself.

I came to the conclusion, that an eight-car train was too much capacity for the Southern section of the journey.

I suspect that Transport for London have detailed passenger estimates for this route, so they should be able to determine the frequency and length of replacement trains required.

The Upgraded Norwood Junction Station

In Major Upgrade Planned For Norwood Junction Railway Station, I talked about a plan to upgrade Norwood Junction station.

The idea behind the upgrade is to improve connectivity and capacity in the crowded Croydon area.

If the West Croydon and Willesden Junction service, was routed via Norwood Junction station, the upgraded station would give easy access to both East and West Croydon stations.

Conclusion

I’ve always liked Chris Gibb’s suggestion of the transfer of the service between East Croydon and Milton Keynes stations to the London Overground and I can now start to see flesh on the bones!

At the present time and until better data is available, I think the replacement service should be as follows.

  • The Northern terminus should be Willesden Junction.
  • The Southern terminus should be West Croydon station, where there are good tram and train connections.
  • The route would be via Shepherds Bush, Kensington Olympia, West Brompton, Imperial Wharf, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction.
  • Going via Gipsy Hill, rather than the current route via Selhurst, would give access to the connectivity at Norwood Junction.
  • The frequency should be four tph.
  • Trains will be four- or five-car Class 710 trains.

The benefits would be as follows.

  • The rail hubs of Clapham Junction, Norwood Junction, West Croydon and Willesden Junction would be connected together by a Turn-Up-And-Go service.
  • The proposed four tph service would need eight Class 710 trains, whereas the current one tph service needs eight Class 377 trains. Would this be better value?

In the future with a connection to High Speed Two in the Old Oak Common area, the benefits would increase.

  • There would be a simple interchange with High Speed Two.
  • South London from Clapham to Croydon, would get a direct service to High Speed Two.
  • There would also be a better connection to Heathrow Airport and other rail services through Old Oak Common.

I think that the connection to High Speed Two trumps everything else.

July 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘710s’ Debut On Goblin

The title of this post is the same as an article in the July 2019 Edition of Modern Railways.

The article is mainly about the introduction of the Class 710 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

But the last sentence of the article is worth more investigation.

On the West London Line, TfL is curremtly working with the Department for Transport on options for the devolution of services originally suggested in Chris Gibb’s report on the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, which could lead to ‘710s’ being deployed here.

I investigate it fully in A London Overground Replacement For Southern’s East Croydon And Milton Keynes Service.

This was my conclusion.

At the present time and until better data is available, I think the replacement service should be as follows.

  • The Northern terminus should be Willesden Junction.
  • The Southern terminus should be West Croydon station, where there are good tram and train connections.
  • The route would be via Shepherds Bush, Kensington Olympia, West Brompton, Imperial Wharf, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction.
  • Going via Gipsy Hill, rather than the current route via Selhurst, would give access to the connectivity at Norwood Junction.
  • The frequency should be four tph.
  • Trains will be four- or five-car Class 710 trains.

The benefits would be as follows.

  • The rail hubs of Clapham Junction, Norwood Junction, West Croydon and Willesden Junction would be connected together by a Turn-Up-And-Go service.
  • The proposed four tph service would need eight Class 710 trains, whereas the current one tph service needs eight Class 377 trains. Would this be better value?

In the future with a connection to High Speed Two in the Old Oak Common area, the benefits would increase.

  • There would be a simple interchange with High Speed Two.
  • South London from Clapham to Croydon, would get a direct service to High Speed Two.
  • There would also be a better connection to Heathrow Airport and other rail services through Old Oak Common.

I think that the connection to High Speed Two trumps everything else.

I will keep returning to this vital link down thw West London Line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

I wrote this post in January 2017, when I decided to cut this out of my original post of A Hard Look At Crossrail 2.

Nearly two years later, I decided to update the post after the new platforms have reopened at Waterloo station.

I wrote Is This One Of The Best Platform Access Routes In Europe?, after the access to the new platforms was substantially completed in May 2019.

This has meant a further upgrade has been incorporated.

The Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

These suburban termini and their routes into Waterloo station are proposed  to be connected to Crossrail 2.

  1. Chessington South – 34 minutes – 9 stops
  2. Epsom – 37 minutes – 9 stops
  3. Hampton Court – 36 minutes – 9 stops
  4. Shepperton – 51 minutes – 14 stops

The times are for a typical one-way journey from Waterloo, which usually has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

I suspect that the timings are designed, so that they can be achieved by a 75 mph Class 455 train.

An Upgraded Waterloo Station

Waterloo station is getting a massive upgrade in August 2017, which I describe in detail in What Is Happening At Waterloo In August?.

That upgrade has now opened and is now substantially complete in May 2019.

After the upgrade, Waterloo station will handle the suburban services better than it does today.

  • There will be five extra platforms, with the reopening of the platforms 20 to 24 in Waterloo International.
  • Together these platforms should be able to handle another twenty tph.
  • There will be longer platforms, which will all be able to take twelve-car trains.
  • There will be an improved track layout, both in Waterloo and on the approach.
  • There will be related improvements to improve access to the Underground and the Waterloo and City Line at Waterloo station.

All this should mean Waterloo station, will be capable of handling a substantial increase in trains and passengers, with an improvement in efficiency and comfort.

As I said in Rail Engineer On New Platforms At London Waterloo, the number of passengers handled in a year will increase by twenty-five percent.

Improvements On The Branches

Each branch has its own problems, but the following would help in various places.

  • More step-free access.
  • Some level crossings on the branches can probably be removed..
  • Improved access to onward services like buses, cycling and walking at some stations.
  • Some trackwork to allow Crossrail 2’s proposed frequency of 4 tph.

These improvements will generally be needed, whether the services terminate in Waterloo or are a part of Crossrail 2.

New Trains

Currently, suburban services out of Waterloo are run by a large mixed fleet of generally excellent trains.

This gives 264 four-car trains and 60 five-car trains with a total of 1137 carriages.

South Western Railway are purchasing 30 five-car and sixty ten-car new Aventras with a total of 750 carriages.

The Class 707 trains and the Aventras could offer serious performance improvements, as they are probably designed to be able to have a short as possible time, for a stop at a station.

In an ideal world, all trains running these branches would be identical and all platforms would be designed to fit them perfectly, just as many Overground platforms, fit the Class 378 trains.

Crossrail 2 would do this, with possibly the same Class 345 trains, that have been developed for Crossrail.

But why shouldn’t the routes be worked by a homogeneous fleet, serving platforms and stations designed for the trains?

I believe that Crossrail 2 could make no extra difference to the passenger going between these branches and Central London, except for the route from Wimbledon, which will be in tunnel.

But the new Aventra trains will have three very big effects.

  • They will be walk-through ten-car trains.
  • They will have much better capacity for bags, cases and all the other paraphernalia passengers bring.

But most importantly, if they live up to the claims of train manufacturers, the high performance, well-designed trains with a consistent train-platform interface will save as much as three minutes a station.

  • Trains will stop from line speed faster.
  • Trains will accelerate back to line speed faster.
  • Bigger lobbies, will enable passengers to load and unload faster.
  • Wheelchair passengers and buggy pushers would roll across on the flat.
  • Regenerative braking and light weight will save the train operating company in electricity and train access costs.

Until we get actual figures, even one minute a stop, would reduce times on the branches as follows. Figures in brackets are for two minutes a station.

  1. Chessington South – 25 minutes (16)
  2. Epsom -28 minutes (19)
  3. Hampton Court – 27 minutes (18)
  4. Shepperton -37 minutes (23)

Note that the first three services are now under half-an-hour, without making any allowance that the timings will be for a 100 mph train with better performance, than the 75 mph Class 455 trains.

Is Four Trains Per Hour Possible?

If the round trip from Waterloo can be done in an hour, that means that just two ten-car trains can provide a 2 tph service, as opposed to the four trains now needed.

I suspect that South Western Railway will be experimenting to see if they can get a Shepperton round trip in under the hour.

It may seem difficult, but there are certain factors in their favour.

  • The Shepperton Branch Line is self-contained after it leaves the Kingston Loop Line.
  • It is double-track, so there is no passing loop problems.
  • There are no level crossings.
  • The stations on the branch are fairly evenly-spaced at just over a mile apart.

If a total out-and-back time from Waterloo could be under an hour for each branch, this would mean that a 4 tph service on a branch, would need just four trains.

So for each branch to have 4 tph would need just 16 ten-car trains, with similar performance and characteristics to Class 707 trains or the Aventras.

Currently, to provide a 2 tph service, needs sixteen trains, because it takes over an hour to do a complete round trip.

Would it be possible for trains to shuttle up and down these branches?

Look at the example of the East London Line, where four tph shuttle between dedicated platforms at Highbury and Islington and Dalston Junction stations in the North of London to various destinations in the South.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I reported on Transport for London’s plans to up the frequency on this line to 20 tph.

So could we be seeing something similar at Waterloo, where trains to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations, each have their own dedicated platforms?

The four platforms could even be adjacent, so if you want Wimbledon or a station common to more than one branch, displays would lead you to the first train.

Put simply to provide 4 tph for all branches would need 16 modern ten-car trains and four dedicated platforms at Waterloo. How efficient is that for passengers and train operating companies?

Crossrail 2’s Proposals For Services On The Branches

Wikipedia says this about Crossrail 2 services to these suburban branches, after surfacing from the tunnel South of Wimbledon station.

I think that Wimbledon will have to handle perhaps another 8 tph from other places on the fast lines. But they do that now!

Between Wimbledon And Waterloo

South Western Railway have not disclosed their hand yet, but I suspect that they are doing the maths.

I think that it will be possible for a 4 tph Crossrail 2 service and all the other slow services between Wimbledon and Waterloo to use a single pair of tracks carrying 20 tph.

Surely, if 20 tph can be handled on the East London Line with ten year old signalling technology and Class 378 trains, then this frequency can be handled with modern signalling and new Aventras.

It should be noted that Crossrail and Thameslink can both handle 24 tph under Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in a tunnel, so surely the slow lines can handle 20 tph on the surface under ATO or just using plain good driving.

There could even be capacity for some extra services.

Wimbledon Station

Wimbledon station would only need two platforms for these services, but I do feel that work would need to be done to accommodate the passengers.

But the station would probably not need the massive modifications until it was decided to build the Crossrail 2 tunnel.

Clapham Junction Station

If all these trains can be accommodated on just two tracks between Waterloo and Wimbledon, then these services could call at two dedicated platforms at Clapham Junction station.

  • All trains would stop.
  • Staff and passengers would see a succession of identical trains stopping every three minutes.
  • Passengers would have a maximum wait for fifteen minutes for a direct train, to their specific destination.
  • All trains to stations on the branches would use the same platform, making it easy for passengers.
  • As on the East London Line, trains for any station on the branches would be to a clock-face pattern.

The two platforms could be opposite faces of an island platform, with a waiting room, cafe and toilets in the middle.

Vauxhall Station

If it can be done at Clapham Junction station, why not have a dedicated pair of platforms at Vauxhall station, giving access to the Victoria Line?

I use the link at Vauxhall, between the Victoria Line and Waterloo suburban services occasionally and every time I do, it seems to have been improved.

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

Lines At Vauxhall

Lines At Vauxhall

I think it is true to say, that if the Victoria Line had been built in the last decade or so, the Victoria Line station could have been placed underneath the main line station.

But even so, I suspect Network Rail and Transport for London have ideas to improve the interchange.

Only Sixteen Ten-Car Aventras Will Be Needed

My calculations show that modern 100 mph trains, like the Aventras that South Western Railway have ordered could provide 4 tph on the Crossrail 2 routes with just sixteen ten-car trains.

All the calculations I’ve done show that replacing trains with faster modern ones, increases the frequency and results in more efficient use of trains.

South Western Railway have bought sixty of these trains.

So they must have some impressive plans!

Conclusion

Crossrail 2’s proposals for the suburban branch lines from Waterloo to the four destinations of Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations, can be fulfilled using the following.

  • More platform capacity in Waterloo.
  • Modern high-performance 100 mph trains like Class 707 trains or Aventras.
  • Some improvements to track and signals between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.
  • Wimbledon station would only need minor modifications.
  • A measure of ATO between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.

What effect will this have on the design of Crossrail 2?

 

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Between Heathrow And Gatwick Airports Using Heathrow Southern Railway

I have received a few messages asking how the Heathrow Southern Railway would help travellers get between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

How Many Passengers Would Actually Transfer Between The Two Airports?

This question would definitely be filed under pieces of string.

The direct route using Crossrail and Thameslink will take under two hours, with a change at Farringdon.

  • There are several major tourist attractions close the the Crossrail/Thameslink route; Oxford Street, British Museum, St. Paul’s, River Thames, Tate Modern, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, for those unencumbered by baggage.
  • Will Farrington develop into a joint terminal for both airports?
  • How many passengers, will want to have a day of rest and recuperation in the best city in the world?
  • How many travellers to and from Europe, the North and Scotland will switch to the long distance trains at Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations?

Passengers wanting to avoid London could use the Waterloo – Heathrow service proposed by Heathrow Southern Railway and change at Clapham Junction.

  • The proposed Waterloo – Heathrow service will be four trains per hour (tph)
  • It would probably run at an appropriate frequency at night, just like Gatwick Express and Thameslink.
  • Passengers would change at Clapham Junction between Gatwick and Heathrow services.
  • I estimate, that the Clapham Junction route, could be quicker than the Crossrail/Thameslink route, at perhaps an hour and twenty minutes.
  • Clapham Junction station is step-free, but the bridge could be made more passenger-friendly.

Until, I get firm evidence to the contrary, I have a strong feeling that not many passengers will want to a faster service thanthe one, these two routes offer.

What About The Workers?

There must be people in the aviation industry, who need to go regularly to both airports for the purposes of work.

If you were in that class of worker, you might choose to live, somewhere that was convenient for both airports.

I suspect that this valuable group will be well-served by services from Clapham Junction.

  • Clapham Junction to Heathrow – 30 minutes
  • Clapham Junction to Gatwick – 25 minutes

Feeder times to Clapham Junction using direct trains include.

  • Balham – 6 minutes
  • Canada Water – 29 minutes
  • East Croydon – 11 minutes
  • Epsom – 28 minutes
  • Peckham Rye – 19 minutes

With four tph, the maximum wait at Clapham Junction would be fifteen minutes.

Clapham Junction Will Become An Even Bigger Hub

Heathrow Southern Railway will make Clapham Junction station, an even more important hub.

  • It is about thirty minutes away from both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
  • Large numbers of stations have direct connections to Clapham Junction in under thirty minutes.
  • The Northern Line could be extended from Battersea to Clapham Junction.
  • Clapham Junction station is proposed to be on Crossrail 2.
  • Clapham Junction is at the centre of an extensive bus network.

It would certainly be very convenient to live close to Clapham Junction station, if you needed to go to both airports regularly.

But improvements are needed at the station.

Changing Trains

The Wikipedia entry for Clapham Junction station says this.

The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

I use Clapham Junction regularly as an interchange, if say I’m going from Dalston Junction to Gatwick, Reading or Windsor. It can be a sprint up the stairs, and a rush across the bridge, before a careful decent to the platform.

A typical change from Platform 1/2 to 5/6 took me two and a half minutes, in the middle of the morning.

Changing trains could be improved.

These pictures show the step-free bridge at Clapham Junction

Note.

  1. Lighting is not of a high quality.
  2. It is quite wide, but not as wide as the new bridge at Reading.
  3. There are lifts to most platforms, but they could be bigger.
  4. Reading has an up and down escalator for each platform.  Surely the busiest station in the UK, deserves the same.
  5. It is cluttered with retail outlets, which could be reduced in number or placed on the platforms.

If I was the CEO of Heathrow Southern Railway, I’d rebuild this bridge, as doing that might attrack more passengers for Heathrow to use the proposed new service.

Information

Clapham Junction is well organised, with trains for a particular destination generally leaving from the same platform or pair of platforms.

They even have a board that gives this information in detail..

But it’s now 2018 and we can do much better.

There would also need to be large, clear signs everywhere to Gatwick, Heathrow, Victoria and Waterloo!

Timetable Improvements

I took a train from Clapham Junction to Feltham and although there are six tph, I had to wait sixteen minutes for a train.

It’s just that in an hour, there are four short intervals and two long ones.

Improvements need to be made, so that the timetable is more passenger friendly.

Some Platform Reorganisation

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Clapham Junction station.

It looks to me, that that terrible engineer; Topsy had a big hand in the design.

Note.

  • Tracks and platforms in orange are the London Overground.
  • Trains to Heathrow will probably use Plstforms 5 or 6, as do the Reading and Windsor services.
  • Trains from Heathrow will probably use Plstforms 3 or 4, as do the Reading and Windsor services.
  • Heathrow, Reading and Windsor are to the West.
  • Platforms 3 to 11 are for services to and from Waterloo.
  • Platforms 12 to 15 are for services to and from Victoria.
  • Services to and from Gatwick will use these platforms.
  • Platforms 16 and 17 are for West London Line services.

It looks to me, that it might be possible to reorganise the platforms so that Heathrow and Gatwick services weren’t at opposite end of the bridge.

Or should the bridge be made wide enough for a travelator?

West London Line Services

The West London Line has two main passenger services.

  • 4 tph – London Overground between Clapham Junction and Stratford, which uses Platform 1
  • 1 tph – Southern between Milton Keynes Central  and East Croydon, which have virtually sole use of Platforms 16 and 17.

If possible, an increase in frequency on this line would surely help many travellers get to and from London’s two main airports.

  • London Overground are planning to add two extra tph between Clapham Junction and Stratford in 2018.
  • London Overground will match this in 2019, with another two tph between Clapham Junction and Dalston Junction via the South London Line.

This is going to make Southern’s one tph service between Milton Keynes Central and and East Croydon pathetic, especially as the route will eventually serve Old Oak Common with connections to Crossrail and HS2.

Chris Gibb recommended that this service , should be transferred to the London Overground in the Gibb Report. I wrote about it in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

If nothing else the current service which uses two platforms at Clapham Junction for a one tph service, which doesn’t run on Sundays, is a waste of resources at Clapham Junction.

.Conclusions

I have come to the following conclusions.

  • If Clapham Junction station is improved, Heathrow Southern Railway will create a faster route to Gatwick.
  • Clapham Junction station will become a major hub station feeding London’s two major airports.

It gives very large numbers of passengers a quicker route to the airports.

I also think it could be advantageous for Heathrow Southern Railway to contribute to the upgrading of Clapham Junction station.

 

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Crossrail And Thameslink Serve Clapham Junction Station?

This may seem a silly question, but I believe it is a valid one for the following reasons.

Clapham Junction Is A Major Interchange

Wikipedia says this about Clapham Junction station.

Routes from London’s south and south-west termini, Victoria and Waterloo funnel through the station, making it the busiest in Europe by number of trains using it: between 100 and 180 per hour except for the five hours after midnight. The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

It is also the tenth busiest station measured by passenger numbers in Great Britain.

Clapham Junction Is Step-Free

Clapham Junction station has both a bridge and a subway between the seventeen platforms.

The bridge is fully step-free with lifts to all platforms.

Clapham Junction Has A Wide Bridge

The bridge between platforms is not only step-free, but very wide.

rchitects have copied this Victorian design at Leeds and Reading stations.

Clapham Junction Is Often A Convenient Place to Change Trains

When I go to Portsmouth or Southampton, I will often avoid Waterloo, by using the Overground between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

It may be slower, but it is a very easy interchange, especially if I go step-free on the wide bridge.

Perhaps this explains why interchange passengers at Clapham Junction, are almost as many as those entering or leaving the rail network.

With some journeys like say Southampton to Wembley Stadium, changing at Clapham Junction is probably the most convenient.

Clapham Junction Links To The Overground

This interchange, is something I use a lot, as I have four trains per hour (tph) on the London Overground, from my nearest station at Dalston Junction.

As there are thirty-one stations on London’s circular railway, the interchange probably generates a lot of traffic.

Clapham Junction Seems To Be Well-Organised

If you want to go to say Gatwick, then generally the same platform will be used.

All Trains To Gatwick Go From 13

This can’t be said for many stations.

The station even has lists of stations and the platform to use.

This would be impossible at most large stations!

But this is the busiest station in Europe by the number of trains using it!

The Victorians certainly got the design right!

Does this passenger-friendly design attract passengers?

Crossrail, Thameslink And Clapham Junction Station

Crossrail and Thameslink don’t call at Clapham Junction station.

But some services do directly link Crossrail and Thameslink to Clapham Junction station.

London Overground From Stratford To Clapham Junction Via Willesden Junction

This West London Line service has a frequency of four tph, which from some time this year will be raised to six tph or one train every ten minutes.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at West Hampstead
  • Crossrail at Old Oak Common

It will also have interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District, Jubilee and Victoria Lines.

London Overground From Stratford To Clapham Junction Via Canada Water

This South London Line service has a frequency of four tph, which from some time this year will be raised to six tph.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye
  • Crossrail at Whitechapel

It will also have interchanges with the District, Docklands Light Railway, Hammersmith and City,Jubilee and Northern Lines.

Southern From East Croydon To Milton Keynes

This West London Line service has a frequency of one tph.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at East Croydon
  • Crossrail at Old Oak Common

If Crossrail is extended along the West Coast Main Line, there will be additional interchange stations.

It will also have interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District and Northern Lines.

Southern From Clapham Junction To Brighton Main Line

There is a high-frequency service from Clapham Junction along the Brighton Main Line.

  • 3 tph – Brighton
  • 1 tph – Hastings
  • 2 tph – Eastbourne
  • 2 tph – Littlehampton
  • 4 tph – Horsham
  • 4 tph – Haywards Heath
  • 4 tph – Three Bridges
  • 6 tph – Gatwick Airport
  • 12 tph – East Croydon

Most of these services terminate at Victoria.

The named stations, except for Hastings and Eastbourne, will also be served by Thameslink.

From the passenger point of view, those going to and from London from the Brighton Main Line and South Coast stations, have a choice of London terminus.

  • Thameslink – London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St. Pancras and Thameslink’s Northern stations.
  • Southern – Clapham Junction and ictoria.

The two separate routes have Central London fully covered.

Deficiencies Of The Current System

Suppose you want to travel from the extremities of Crossrail and Thameslink to say somewhere like Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Exeter, Portsmouth or Southampton, that is served by Waterloo and Clapham Junction in Central London.

  • From Brighton and other stations on the South of Thameslink, there is a high-frequency Southern service.
  • From Luton and other stations on the North of Thameslink, you will probably use the Jubilee Line between London Bridge and Waterloo.
  • From Shenfield and other stations on the East of Crossrail, you will probably use the Jubilee Line between Bond Street and Waterloo.
  • From Heathrow, Reading and other stations on the West of Crossrail, you will probably use the Bakerloo Line between Paddington and Waterloo.

All the Underground interchanges will be fully step-free with lifts and lots of escalators, but the connections could be simpler.

The Arrival Of Old Oak Common Station

The building of the new mega-hub station at Old Oak Common will tie together the following lines.

  • Crossrail
  • HS2
  • North London Line
  • West Coast Main Line
  • West London Line

There is also the possibility of the West London Orbital Railway linking Old Oak Common to Hendon and West Hampstead Thameslink.

Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction stations will be two mega-hub stations, that for obvious reasons will need a high-frequency connection service.

Currently, that is planned to be the following services.

  • 6 tph – London Overground from Stratford to Clapham Junction.
  • 1 tph – Southern from Milton Keynes to East Croydon.

It is not enough, especially, if either connection at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction is a long walk.

But there are easy ways to increase the numbers of connections.

Improve The Southern Service

In his report, Chris Gibb recommended that this Milton Keynes to East Croydon route be transferred to the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

In my view Chris Gibb is right for the following reasons.

  • All passenger services on the West London Line would then be run by London Overground.
  • London Overground have a reputation for running a good train service.
  • The Milton Keynes to East Croydon service could be integrated with the Watford DC Line, the North London Line and a possible West London Orbital Railway to produce an integrated frequent local service in an area of West London, that needs a greatly improved train service.
  • Frequency between Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction could be raised to as high as ten or twelve tph.
  • It would improve connections between Watford and the expanding Wembley Stadium complex with South London.

I doubt it would be an expensive and difficult project to move this service between operators.

Build The West London Orbital Railway And Extend It To Clapham Junction

In this article on Ian Visits, this is said about the service on the proposed West London Orbital line.

Phase 1: 4 trains per hour from West Hampstead to Hounslow, calling at West Hampstead, Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth, Hounslow.

Phase 2: additional 4 trains per hour from Hendon to Kew Bridge, calling at Hendon, Brent Cross/Staples Corner, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Kew Bridge.

The track is all in place and with a new bay platform at Hounslow, trains running on batteries could work Phase 1 with ease. The batteries would be charged South of Acton Central station.

Because of the importance of Clapham Junction as an interchange,, would it be a sensible idea to extend Phase 2 from Kew Bridge to Clapham Junction, by way of Chiswick, Barnes Bridge, Barnes, Putney and Wandsworth Town stations?

This may not be possible, as the route may not be able to accept four extra trains.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout around the two Overground platforms at Clapham Junction.

I also took these pictures of Platform 2.

I suspect that a bay platform could be added, opposite to Platform 2.

  • There would appear to be plenty of space.
  • The platform would share the lift, facilities and staff with Platforms 1 and 2.
  • It would make a good interchange, with simple connections to Platforms 1 and 2.

There could even be the possibility of making Platform 2 bi-directional so that a loop service from Hendon to Dalston Junction could be created, if that was considered the best solution.

One advantage of extending the Phase 2 Kew Bridge route, would be that it would give more electrified running to charge a battery train.

Luton/Bedford to Clapham Junction

If this route from Hendon to Clapham Junction via Old Oak Common and Kew Bridge can be successfully created, it establishes the important link between the Luton/Bedford branch of Thameslink and Clapham Junction.

Cambridge/Peterborough to Clapham Junction

There is no direct route, but probably the fastest is to dive into the Victoria Line at Finsbury Park and go to Vauxhall, from where it’s a single stop to Clapham Junction.

Just avoid changing to the Victoria Line at St. Pancras, unless you like long walks.

Crossrail to Clapham Junction

Three factors will determine how good using a double change at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction to get between Crossrail and Clapham Junction will be.

  • The frequency of trains between Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.
  • The quality of the interchange at Old Oak Common. As it will also involve HS2, I suspect it should be good.
  • The quality of the interchange at Clapham Junction. It probably needs improvement, but it’s not bad for something designed by the Victorians.

It could be a very good link.

Could Thameslink Serve Clapham Junction Directly?

From the Brighton Main Line, there is a frequent service, but going North to Thameslink is not easy.

It could be possible to use the West London Orbital Railway to get to and from Hendon, but whether anything other than a local route is needed is open to doubt.

Could Crossrail Serve Clapham Junction Directly?

This Google Map shows the Old Oak Common area.

The railway running across the map to the North is the West Coast Main Line, whilst the Great Western Main Line goes across the bottom.

Looking at the map in detail, it might be possible to thread flyovers or dive-unders into the area to allow Crossrail trains to take the West London Line to the North or South from the East or West.

Consider

  • There are certainly some large industrial sites that could be cleared.
  • There are a couple of cemetries too.
  • There are Central, Chiltern, Crossrail, Great Western Main Line, HS2, North London Line, West Coast Main Lines to connect together.
  • A Heathrow to Gatwick Link could be threaded through.

It all depends on how much can be spent!

And Then There’s The Heathrow Southern Railway!

This is a bit different, as it’s a privately-funded railway that aims to sneak into Heathrow by following and hiding by the M25 and the use of the odd tunnel.

This map is a schematic of the proposed railway, which is caused the Heathrow Southern Railway.

Note.

  1. The blue line is Crossrail.
  2. The yellow line is a direct link from Waterloo to Heathrow.
  3. The station in a six pointed star is Clapham Junction.

On the Heathrow Southern Railway web site there is a section called Service Opportunities.

It details two routes.

Heathrow – Staines – Clapham Junction – Waterloo

  • Most track is existing.
  • New track will run along the M25.
  • Trains will be fully-integrated with South Western Railway.
  • Four tph should be possible with planned capacity improvements.
  • A bay platform will be added at Staines, within the current railway.
  • Xrossrail could be extended from Terminal 5 to Staines.

Heathrow Southern Railway envisage that a lot of passengers from Staines will use Crossrail for London.

Basingstoke/Guildford – Woking – Heathrow – Paddington

The web site says this about the route.

An exciting additional benefit of Heathrow Southern Railway is the scope to introduce half-hourly services from Basingstoke and Guildford to Heathrow and Paddington. These trains would provide a 15-minute frequency from Woking, with stops at Farnborough Main (Basingstoke services), Woking, Terminal 5, Terminal 2 and 3 and Old Oak Common.

I like the ideas and the tone of the project.

Conclusion

With all the ideas in the West of London, I think that some very good things will happen to the railways in the area, whether Heathrow Airport builds another runway or not.

 

 

 

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March 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments