The Anonymous Widower

Waterloo Upgrade August 2017 – Walking Between Wandsworth Common And Clapham Junction Stations

These pictures show my walk this morning.

These are my thoughts on the various things I saw! Or in some cases didn’t!

Wandsworth Common Station

Wandsworth Common station is a curious station in some ways, as it certainly wouldn’t be built in the middle of Wandsworth Common in these conservation-minded days.

It also has an eleven trains per hour (tph) frequency to the next stations; Balham and Clapham Junction. Some trains take as little as two or three minutes.

Passenger numbers in 2015-16 at the three stations are as follows.

  • Balham – 10,115,000
  • Wandsworth Common – 1,690,000
  • Clapham Junction – 32,282,000

Wandsworth Common station would appear to be just an overflow station to take pressure from the other two much busier stations.

In the Gibbs Report, one of the things that Chris Gibbs says is that there are too many Off Peak services.

Surely four or six tph stopping at Wandsworth Common station is enough, given that there’s only 24 parking spaces and bus stops are 450 yards away.

Currently, there are six tph between Victoria and West Croydon stations and all stop at Wandsworth Common station, with the fastest journeys  taking thirty two minutes.

There are also six tph between Wandsworth Common and Norbury.

Surely on both these services stops can be eliminated, which would save a couple of minutes per stop.

Timing the trains for something like a Class 377 train and using a more efficient stopping pattern, might reduce timings between Victoria and West Croydon to under thirty minutes, which must help Southern to run a better service.

But would the good burghers of Wandsworth allow the simplification, even if it became a faster service?

The Cat’s Back Bridge

The Cat’s Back Bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the railway to the North of Wandsworth Common station.

The replacement of this bridge is described in this article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled A Trio Of Southern Bridges.

The article has some clear before and after pictures taken from the railway.

Wandsworth Seems An Information-Free Borough

Walking from the bridge to Clapham Junction station might have been quicker, if there had been some maps or information.

Perhaps, Wandsworth doesn’t welcome walkers!

At least I found a couple of helpful policemen!

Breakfast At Revolution

I had a hearty gluten-free breakfast at a bar-restaurant called Revolution in Clapham.

Incidentally, Clapham surprised me with the quality of the shops.

There were also a couple of interesting cafes, including one that was gluten-free and vegan called Without.

Clapham Junction Station And The Waterloo Upgrade

Again there was a lack of information.

Plenty of helpful Customer Service personnel were in attendance at the station, but some better signage was needed, for those unfamiliar with the station.

Conclusion

Wandsworth Council need to get their act together with regard to information.

I live in Hackney and the maps are so much better!

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

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

I have decided to cut this out of my original post of A Hard Look At Crossrail 2.

The 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?.

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

  • There will be extra platforms, with the reopening of the five platforms 20 to 24 in Waterloo International.
  • There will be longer platforms, which will all be able to take ten-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.

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 will 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 West Trains 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 of it takes ver 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.

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 West Trains 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 would 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?

 

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A New Station For Clapham East

In the June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, there was an article entitled Turning South London Orange.

One of the proposals in the article is to create a new station at Clapham East. The location is half a mile North-East of Clapham Junction station on the East London Line.

This Google Map shows the location.

Location Of Clapham East Station

Location Of Clapham East Station

 

Note Wandsworth Road station at the East of the map, with Clapham Junction station, off the map a short distance to the West.

I’m not too sure of the exact location of the proposed station but it would appear to be on the East London Line, where it runs along Eversleigh Road, close to the junction of Culvert Road.

These pictures were taken as my East London Line train passed through in the area.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr might help.

Lines Around Clapham East Station

Lines Around Clapham East Station

The bridge in the pictures is where the lines from Victoria go over the East Lo0ndon Line to get to Clapham Junction station.

I think the station will be on the East London Line, which is shown in orange, just above the words “Pouparts Junction.

The Centre for London report, says that the area rather lacks a train service and that a station is needed.

 

May 27, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

Increased Frequencies On The East London Line

This article from the South London Press is entitled More Trains For The London Overground. The article says  Transport for London (TfL) wants to make two service improvements are on the East London Line.

  • From 2018, there will be an extra two trains per hour (tph) between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace.
  • From 2019, there will be four additional trains between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction, making the frequency 8 tph.

I found the source of the report on TfL’s web site. This is a handy summary from the Appendix.

LO Improvements

LO Improvements

It looks like the pattern of extra trains is as follows.

  • From 2018, there will be an extra two trains per hour (tph) between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace.
  • From 2019, there will be an extra 2 tph between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction, making the frequency 6 tph.

Currently both these services go to Highbury and Islington.

It’s interesting that these increased services are starting in 2018-2019! This times them to start just as Crossrail and Thameslink are opening, which probably means that TfL are expecting that a lot of Crossrail passengers will change to and from the East London Line at Whitechapel. As I will, no doubt!

Buried in TfL’s Transport Plan for 2050 says are possible plans on improving the service on the East London Line.

  • Better late night and overnight services on the Overground.
  • Automatic Train Operation on the core of the line from Dalston Junction to Surrey Quays to increase service frequency from 16 tph to possibly as high as 24 tph.
  • Six car trains on the Overground.

At the moment the East London Line has 16 four-car trains an hour in the core route, so 24 six-car trains will mean an increase of capacity of 2.25.

The announced service improvements will mean that 20 tph will be passing Whitechapel and Canada Water.

So will we see other services started to bring the line up to the 24 tph capacity?

This would give London three almost-new 24 tph lines crossing the city; Crossrail, Thameslink and the East London Line, in an H-shape.

TfL don’t sem to be planning it yet!

The increase in frequency from Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction station is very welcome to me, as I often take a train to Clapham Junction to go south to Brighton, Gatwick or other places.

Increasing the frequency to Clapham Junction may also be needed, as extra stations and other changes are added to this branch of the East London Line.

  • New Bermondsey station will be opened to take advantage of the six services per hour between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction.
  • Clapham Junction might be served by the Northern Line Extension some time in the early 2020s.
  • Clapham Junction may well be served with other services to take the pressure off Victoria and Waterloo. It always strikes me as a station, that since its latest improvements could handle more services.
  • Camberwell station, which has been promised for some time, could finally be under way, to connect the East London Line to Thameslink at Loughborough Junction station. A design based on the split-level principles of Smethwick Galton Bridge station may solve the connection problem.

The only difficulty of this frequency could be that there might need to be upgrades at Clapham Junction to turnback more trains.

Increasing the frequency to Crystal Palace station will be of less use to me, as I’ve rarely used that service.

If it linked to Tramlink, I  might use it more, but that extension to Tramlink was dropped by Boris and there seems to be no enthusiasm on anybody’s part to build it.

I do wonder if Transport for London have other plans for Crystal Palace in their mind.

Look at this Google Map showing Crystal Palace, Penge West and Penge East stations.

Crystal Palace And Penge

Crystal Palace And Penge

Crystal Palace is a fully modernised and accessible station with lifts, a cafe and lots of platforms, so it makes an ideal terminus for trains on the East London Line.

Penge West is not the best appointed of stations and I suspect if a much better alternative was provided nearby, no-one would miss the station.

Penge East is on the Victoria to Orpington Line and needs upgrading for step-free access. But it has the problem of a Listed footbridge, that should be burnt. I wrote about it in An Exploration At Penge.

Buried in TfL’s Plan for 2050, is the one-word; Penge, as a possible new station. The line through Penge East passes under both the Brighton Main Line and the branch to Crystal Palace, in an area of railway land.

After looking at Smethwick Galton Bridge station or as I called it,  Birmingham’s Four-Poster station, I do feel that a good architect could design a station, that solved the challenging problem of the difference in height and created a fully-accessible interchange. This station could have a lot going for it, as services passing through the station would include.

  • 4 tph between Victoria and Orpington on the Victoria to Orpington Line
  • 6 tph between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace and 4 tph between Dalston Junction and West Croydon on the East London Line.
  • A selection of the East London Line services would go to Highbury and Islington.
  • 2 tph between London Bridge and Caterham on the Brighton Main Line.
  • Services between Bedford/St. Albans/St. Pancras and Beckenham Junction on the Victoria to Orpington Line

It would increase connectivity greatly all over East London, both North and South of the river.

I suspect too, that the station would open up the brownfield land around the railway for property development.

I think there is a strong case to watch that area of Penge!

October 14, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 9 Comments

Could Another Overground Platform Be Squeezed In At Clapham Junction Station?

Clapham Junction station has two Overground platforms, 1 and 2, at the Northern side of the station.

This Google Map shows the platforms at the station.

Clapham Junction Platforms 1 and 2

Clapham Junction Platforms 1 and 2

Platforms 1 and 2 are continuous at the top, with one on the left. Note that Class 378 trains are in both platforms.

These pictures show Platforms 1 and 2 and the space behind.

I don’t know whether another platform could be fitted in, but I suspect, if London Overground needed another one, then with some reconstruction and movement of the various cabins and boxes, then one could be built.

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

Could The West London Line Be Another Important North-South Link In London?

I took the Southern service from Wembley Central to East Croydon. It is an hourly service that goes between Milton Keynes and South Croydon stations using a Class 377 train. These pictures show some view of the route.

It is not a high-speed service, and it took about an hour. It does go by a bit of a roundabout route calling at the following stations.

Shepherd’s Bush – For the Westfield shopping centre.

Kensington Olympia – For the exhibition centre.

West Brompton – For Earl’s Court, which is being redeveloiped as housing

Imperial Wharf -For Chelsea and all the smart housing

Clapham Junction – For trains to just about anywhere in the South West and South

Wandsworth Common

BalhamThe Gateway to the South

Streatham Common

Norbury

Thornton Heath

Selhurst

East Croydon – For Tramlink, Thameslink and trains to Brighton, Gatwick and many places on the Sussex Coast.

I think we can assume that if a station is built at Old Oak Common to link Crossrail and the Overground, then the West London Line will be linked into this station with a modern step-free interchange.

London has two high capacity North-South routes that cross the central part of the City; Thameslink and the East London Line.

So could the West London Line be upgraded as a third high capacity North South link?

There are several reasons why this might be done.

1. Waterloo is a difficult station to go to, to get trains for the South West. If I’m going to Portsmouth or Southampton, I generally pick up my long-distance train at Clapham Junction, after using the Overground to get there. An upgraded West London Line would give a route to avoid Waterloo to many travellers.

2. The line would also act as a route to avoid going to Euston in the same way.

3. As the line should be linked to Crossrail and HS2 at Old Oak Common, an upgraded line will improve access to Heathrow and the North  for South and South West London.

4. In my view, the massive development at Earl’s Court needs a good rail link and possibly another station to the North, as it already has West Brompton to the South.

I think that in ten years time, when plans for HS2 and Old Oak Common are being put into concrete, we’ll see the West London Line upgraded to act as a high-capacity route.

The one thing we mustn’t do is build developments such as at Earl’s Court, so that they compromise what we might want to do on the West London Line.

We should make sure that any developments are done in a similar manner to Wembley Central, which has just enclosed the four rail lines underneath in a step-free concrete box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 5, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

The Clapham Kiss – Where East Meets West

I took these two pictures, as I went from Shepherds Bush to Dalston Junction stations this afternoon on the London Overground.

Normally, I’d take a northbound train at Shepherds Bush direct to Highbury and Islington or Canonbury, where I would use the footbridge to crossover to get on a train for Dalston Junction. The reason I like to end up in Dalston Junction station, is that there are lots of buses down the Balls Pond Road to my house and they mean, I don’t have to cross any roads.

But at Shepherds Bush, this would have meant waiting nearly ten minutes for a northbound train, so I took the first train to Clapham Junction. A factor that influenced my choice was that to change between the two trains, is just a short walk up the platform.

I spoke to the driver, who was very pleased, as they don’t always meet as precisely as this, although that is what’s intended.

But the whole layout at Clapham Junction shows that a little bit of innovative thinking can often make things better for all concerned.

October 20, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | 6 Comments

Clapham Junction To Clapham High Street

I got the Overground back from Clapham Junction, rather than struggle from Waterloo, which was suffering from engineering works.

what surprised me, was that the train virtually emptied at Clapham High Street station. I would have thought that a bus would have been quicker on this short journey, especially, as you often wait ten minutes for a train.

But the Overground takes eight minutes and the 345 bus takes twenty four. The man on the Clapham Overground isn’t stupid!

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

An Advantage Of Clapham Junction Station

One of the advantages of changing at Clapham Junction station is the bridge with lots of kiosks. I bought this excellent fresh lemonade for £1.90 at Knot Pretzels.

An Advantage Of Clapham Junction Station

An Advantage Of Clapham Junction Station

We need more kiosks with lemonade ready-to-go.

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

There Would Appear To Be Good Connections At Clapham Junction

One of my gripes with Clapham Junction station, is that if you arrive on the Overground like I do, you have to exit the barriers to either purchase or pick up a ticket for your onward journey.

I did think it might be likely, that the obvious place for a machine, the refurbished pedestrian bridge, didn’t have proper network connections!

Cashpoints At Clapham Junction

Cashpoints At Clapham Junction

But it’s got these two cashpoints, so that can’t be the reason!

As it was today, I was changing for Redhill and missed my train by a minute or so, because I was delayed by having to walk a long way to get the ticket.

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment