The Anonymous Widower

Uckfield Third Rail Is NR Priority

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Electrification of the line between Hurst Green and Uckfield in East Sussex and the remodelling of East Croydon are the top Network Rail investment priorities south of the river, according to Southern Region Managing Director John Halsall. He told Modern Railways that third rail is now the preferred option for the Uckfield Line, as it would allow the route to use the pool of third-rail EMUs in the area. This is in preference to the plan involving overhead electrification and use of dual-voltage units put forward by then-Network Rail director Chris Gibb in his 2017 report (p66, September 2017 issue).

NR has put forward options for mitigating the safety risk involved with the third-rail system, including switching off the power in station areas when no trains are present and section isolation systems to protect track workers.

The Office of Road and Rail hasn’t given Network Rail’s scheme the OK yet, but as an Electrical Engineer, I believe that a safe system is possible.

Making Charging Safe At Greenford

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Ex-London Underground Trains To Be Tested On The Greenford Branch Line.

The article describes how despite using London Underground’s four-rail electrification, it will be possible with the right interlocks and systems to make such a system safe.

As Vivarail’s system is to be installed, it must already agree with all the Health and Safety rules.

A Safe System On The Uckfield Branch

Consider.

  • The unelectrified section of the Uckfield Branch is twenty-five miles long.
  • There are seven intermediate stations, with the longest section between any two stations under five miles.
  • Trains stop in each station on the route.
  • Trains appear to have a dwell time of about a minute in each station.
  • A ten-car pair of Class 707 trains would be 203.2 metres long.
  • All platforms have been lengthened for ten-car trains.
  • A battery-electric train running along unelectrified track, is no more dangerous than a diesel train.

This picture shows some typical third-rail electrification at Kidbrooke station in South East London.

Electrification At Kidbrooke Station

Note.

  1. The electrified rails are between the tracks.
  2. Gaps are possible to isolate sections of tracks.
  3. The third-rail is tapered, so that the third-rail shoes on the train can connect and disconnect easily.

Suppose you have a third-rail electric train with a range of say seven or eight miles on batteries.

Would it be possible to devise a safe electrified railway using this train and standard third-rail electrification with some safety modifications?

  • The track in each station would be electrified in the normal way with the third-rail away from the platform.
  • The length of electrification in each station would be  a few metres shorter than the length of the ten-car pair of Class 707 trains.
  • This would mean that the train would completely cover the electrification, when it stopped in the station.
  • The third-rail electrification would only be switched on, when a train is stopped in the station and the right interlocks are engaged.
  • Even if a passenger fell onto the tracks, they would probably be safe, unless they crawled through the wheels to the centre of the tracks.
  • There would be no electrification between the stations, which would protect track workers and trespassers.

I believe that a safe system can be devised.

A train going through a station would do the following.

  • Slowing down, the train would use regenerative braking, that helped to charge the batteries
  • The train would stop in a station, so that it connected with and covered the third-rail.
  • When the charging system recognised that a train was connected, it would start to charge the batteries.
  • When all passengers had unloaded and loaded and the train was ready, the driver would stop the charging process.
  • The train would move to the next station on battery power.
  • Safety interlocks would stop the charging under various unsafe circumstances.

I believe that Siemens could have developed a charging system like this for their Class 707 trains, as some of their other trains of a similar vintage to the Class 707 trains already offer battery options.

A Stepping Stone Approach

On the unelectrified section between Hurst Green Junction and Uckfield, there are the following stations.

  • Edenbridge Town – two platforms
  • Hever – two platforms
  • Cowden – single bi-directional platform – 7.9 miles South of Hurst Green Junction.
  • Ashurst – two platforms
  • Eridge – single bi-directional platform – 6.3 miles South of Cowden
  • Crowborough – two platforms
  • Buxted – single bi-directional platform – 4.7 miles South of Eridge
  • Uckfield – single platform – 2.3 miles South of Buxted

Suppose the following were to be done.

  • Do nothing at the two platform stations.
  • Fit an intelligent fast charging system at Cowden, Eridge, Buxted and Uckfield.
  • If it was felt to be needed to ensure reliable operation, the power supply to the Southbound platform could be boosted at Hurst Green station.
  • Procure some ten-car battery-electric trains, which have regenerative braking and a range of perhaps ten-twelve miles on battery power.

Note.

  1. A pair of five-car trains could be used instead of ten-car trains.
  2. Some five-car Class 377 trains fitted with batteries might be ideal.
  3. This would mean only four platforms would need to be electrified with fast charging systems.

I am sure that Vivarail Fast Charge systems could be used, if they were modified to work with standard third-rail systems and for bi-directional use.

What size of battery would be needed for this approach?

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which is not very challenging.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

So for a ten-car train running for twelve miles, the train would need a battery capacity of between 360 and 600 kWh.

Or if it was two five-car trains between 180 and 300 kWh in each train.

Note that Vivarail find space for 424 kWh in the two-car Class 230 train, I wrote about in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

I believe that a five-car Class 377 or 707 train could be fitted with a 300 kWh battery and this would give the train a range of 12 miles, which would enable it to provide a battery-electric service on the Uckfield Branch.

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 10 Comments

Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Medway Council is working with Network Rail and other industry players in an effort to make restoration of a passenger service to Hoo on the Isle of Grain branch feasible. The Council was awarded £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2020 to support schemes to facilitate building of 12,000 new houses in the area, with £63 million of the HIF money for reinstatement of services on the Hoo Branch.

The article mentions, this new infrastructure.

  • A new station South of the former Sharnal Street station.
  • Works to level crossings, of which there are six between Gravesend station and proposed site of the new Hoo station.
  • A passing place at Hoo Junction, where the branch joins the North Kent Line.
  • A passing place at Cooling Street.

Note.

  1. The single-platform Bow Street station cost £8 million.
  2. The single-platform Soham station cost nearly £22 million, but it has a bridge.
  3. Reopening the Okehampton branch and refurbishing Okehampton station cost £40 million.

I think costs will be very tight.

Possible Train Services

This is said in the article about the train service on the branch.

While third rail electrification was originally proposed, this idea has been discarded in favour of self-powered trains on the branch, such as battery-operated trains. Possible destinations include Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet for interchange with trains going to London, or extension of London to Dartford or Gravesend services over the branch, using hybrid third-rail/battery trains.

Consider.

  • Merseyrail will be using battery-electric trains to provide services to the new Headbolt Lane station, as permission was not available for extending the existing third-rail track.
  • Electrification would probably cost more than providing a charging system at Hoo station.
  • Turning the trains at Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet could be difficult and a new bay platform would probably break the budget.
  • Both Dartford and Gravesend have two trains per hour (tph), that could be extended to the new Hoo station.
  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • The Dartford services have a possible advantage in that they stop at Abbey Wood station for Crossrail.
  • It may be easier to run services through Gravesend station, if the terminating service from Charing Cross were to be extended to Hoo station.
  • A two tph service between London Charing Cross and Hoo stations, with intermediate stops at at least London Bridge, Lewisham, Abbey Wood and Dartford would probably be desirable.

I feel that the most affordable way to run trains to Hoo station will probably be to use battery-electric trains, which are extended from Gravesend.

It may even be possible to run trains to Hoo station without the need of a charging system at the station, which would further reduce the cost of infrastructure.

Possible Trains

Consider.

  • According to Wikipedia, stopping Gravesend services are now run by Class 376, Class 465, Class 466 and Class 707 trains.
  • Real Time Trains indicate that Gravesend services are run by pathed for 90 mph trains.
  • Class 376, Class 465 and Class 466 trains are only 75 mph trains.
  • Class 707 trains are 100 mph trains and only entered service in 2017.

I wonder, if Siemens designed these trains to be able to run on battery power, as several of their other trains can use batteries, as can their New Tube for London.

In Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London, I said this.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled London Underground Deep Tube Upgrade.

This is an extract.

More speculatively, there might be a means to independently power a train to the next station, possibly using the auxiliary battery, in the event of traction power loss.

Batteries in the New Tube for London would have other applications.

  • Handling regenerative braking.
  • Moving trains in sidings and depots with no electrification.

It should be born in mind, that battery capacity for a given weight of battery will increase before the first New Tube for London runs on the Piccadilly line around 2023.

A battery-electric train with a range of fifteen miles and regenerative braking to battery would probably be able to handle a return trip to Hoo station.

An Update In The July 2022 Edition Of Modern Railways

This is said on page 75.

More positive is the outlook for restoration of passenger services on the Hoo branch, where 12,000 new houses are proposed and Medway Council is looking to build a new station halfway down the branch to serve them. As the branch is unelectrified, one idea that has been looked at is a shuttle with a Vivarail battery train or similar, turning round at Gravesend or another station on the main line.

Steve White worries that this could mean spending a lot of money on infrastructure work and ending up with what would be a sub-optimal solution. ‘Do people really want to sit on a train for 10 minutes before having to get out and change onto another train? I don’t think so. Ideally what you want is through trains to London, by extending the Gravesend terminators to Hoo.’

That would require a battery/third rail hybrid unit, but Mr. White thinks that is far from an outlandish proposal; with Networker replacement on the horizon, a small bi-mode sub-fleet could dovetail neatly with a stock renewal programme. Medway Council and rail industry representatives are working on coming up with a solution for Hoo that could do what it does best; facilitating economic regeneration in a local area.

Note that Steve White is Managing Director of Southeastern.

I’ll go along with what he says!

Conclusion

I believe that a well-designed simple station and branch line could be possible within the budget.

A battery-electric upgrade to Class 707 trains could be a solution.

But the trains could be very similar to those needed for Uckfield and to extend electric services in Scotland.

 

 

 

 

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Southeastern’s Class 707 Trains

A few days ago, I had my first ride in one of Southeastern‘s Class 707 trains.

Other than a change of colour, they seemed little different to when they were working for South Western Railway.

Note that the orange grab-handles have been retained.

November 29, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments

A Class 707 Train In Southeastern Livery

The Class 707 trains started running for Southeastern today and I photographed this example at Cannon Street station.

The trains have been branded as City Beam. I’m not sure I like it.

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Southeastern Signs Deal To Lease Unwanted Class 707s

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

New trains made redundant before they even entered traffic are set for a new home, with Southeastern signing a deal to lease the 30 five-car Class 707s.

These pictures show Class 707 trains.

Having ridden in the trains many times, the trains don’t seem to have a major problem, except for the high step, which isn’t very wheel-chair friendly.

I can summarise the Class 707 fleet as follows.

  • Thirty trains of five cars.
  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Metro interior with lots of space, as I wrote about in The Space In A Class 707 Train.
  • Air-conditioing
  • 275 seats
  • Built in 2014.
  • Wi-fi

Looking at Southeastern fleet, they have a fleet of Class 376 trains.

  • Thirty-six trains of five cars.
  • 75 mph operating speed.
  • Metro interior.
  • 228 seats
  • Built in 2004

Could it be that the Class 707 trains will replace these?

  • They are ten years younger
  • They have more seats.
  • They are 25 mph faster and probably have better acceleration.

The Class 707 have better passenger features like air-conditioning, power sockets and wi-fi. They may also have shorter dwell times in stations, just because they are newer trains.

On the other hand, the fleet is six trains smaller.

I do wonder though, if the Class 707 trains are faster over a metro route, than the Class 376 trains, because of better performance, does this mean that fewer trains can work Southeastern’s metro routes?

Kent On The Cusp Of Change

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways discusses the improvements that may be made by the new franchisee of the Southeastern franchise.

In Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Elimination Of Slow Trains, I outlined the reasons for replacing the 75 mph trains in Southeastern’s fleet.

There are three sub-fleets of 75 mph trains.

Note.

  1. The Class 465 and 466 trains generally work in ten-car formations of 2 x Class 465 and 1 x Class 466 trains.
  2. The Class 465 and 466 trains have toilets, but the Class 376 trains don’t.
  3. The Class 465 and 466 trains work both Main Line and Metro services.
  4. Surely, 75 mph trains will slow up Main Line services.
  5. I doubt that Class 707 trains can run Main Line services, unless they were updated with toilets.

It should also be noted that the trailer cars of Class 465 trains may be needed to lengthen Class 165 and 166 trains, as I wrote about in Shuffling The Class 165 Trains, where I estimated that sixty trailer cars would be needed from the Class 465 fleet.

I can see an intricate strategy being developed with the following objectives.

  • Introduce the Class 707 trains on Southeastern’s Metro services.
  • Withdraw sixty Class 465 trains so they can donate trailer cars to lengthen Class 165/166 trains.
  • Reorganise some services, so Main Line services can be all 100 mph trains.

Southeastern may need to acquire some additional rolling stock.

The first two fleets are 75 mph trains, but the Class 379 trains are 100 mph units, that could be ideal to support Southeastern’s Main Line services.

Conclusion

The Class 707 trains look like a good replacement for the Class 376 trains.

But because there appears to be a need for trailer cars to strengthen GWR’s Class 165 and Cass 166 trains, there also appears to be a need to withdraw some Class 465 trains, which creates the need for some detailed planning.

April 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Space In A Class 707 Train

This morning I got into an empty Class 707 train at Waterloo station and took these pictures.

They do show the wide aisle and the spacious lobbies by the wide double doors.

I think all suburban trains should be given lots of space like this.

  • It allows for a lot of standees.
  • A high proportion of passengers get a seat.
  • Passengers can circulate from car-to-car to find a seat or perhaps people they know.
  • The space helps quick exit and entry to the train.

Unfortunately, not all suburban trains have such spacious interiors.

These are a selection.

Note these pictures show London Overground’s Class 710 and Class 378 trains and Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

Seating along the side may not be to everybody’s taste, but it does get a large number of passengers into a train.

Siemans and Bomnardier use very different philosophies, but achieve the same result.

 

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Were South Western Railway’s Class 707 Trains Designed By An Accountant With A Red Pen?

I’ve just travelled between Syon Lane and Dalston Junction stations.

For the first part of the journey, I was in a South Western Railway Class 707 train, until I changed to the Overground and a Class 378 train.

The Class 707 train is better noted for what it doesn’t have.

  • Air-conditioning
  • Two door opening buttons
  • Toilets
  • Padding in the seats

But it does have wi-fi!

Was it designed by an accountant with a red pen?

As they were lumbered with these uncomfortable trains by the previous franchise holders; Stagecoach, I can understand why they are being replaced with Class 701 trains.

I am actually typing this in one of London Overground’s Class 378 trains, which have air-conditioning, better seats and more door buttons!

Conclusion

I can’t say I’m sorry to see Stagecoach abandon train operating!

August 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

The Coolest Trains In London

It was hot in London today, so I thought I’d investigate how well the New Class 710 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

I did the following journeys.

  • A 141 bus from my house to Harringay Green Lanes station.
  • A Class 710 train between Harringay Green Lanes and Gospel Oak stations.
  • A Class 710 train between Gospel Oak and Blackhorse Road stations.
  • A Victoria Line train between Blackhorse Road and Highbury & Islington stations.
  • A Class 707 train between Highbury & Islington and Moorgate stations.
  • After doing some shopping, I took a 141 bus to my home.

I took these pictures on the route.

Some observations.

Passengers Towards Gospel Oak Weren’t Numerous

The train going to Gospel Oak station wasn’t very full, wil only about half the seats taken.

The Train From Gospel Oak Was Packed

It was rather different going back, as every seat on the train was taken and there were passengers standing.

The Seats And Air In The Train Were Comfortable

I would certainly recommend a trip in a Class 710 train on a hot day, as a means to cool off.

Let’s hope that all the other classes of Aventras have the same quality of air-conditioning.

The Victoria Line Wasn’t Busy

The air and temperature ion the Victoria Line wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t of the same quality as the Class 710 train.

But the trip made me think that passengers avoid the deep tube in hot weather.

Class 707 Train To Moorgate

I used the cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station to switch to a Class 707 train, running a Great Northern service to Moorgate station.

The air-conditioning was working well and the two other passengers remarked that it was good in this hot weather.

It’s a pity that these trains have ironing-board seats.

Will These Trains Cut Crime?

When I moved to Dalston in 2010, the service along the North London Line was just being launched and wasn’t fully running until May 2011.

Dalston was the haunt of aimless youth and it wasn’t the best place to live.

Nine years on and it has all changed.

The youths have disappeared and the perceived threat of crime seems down. So where have they all gone?

From stories I have heard, public transport has improved so much, that a large proportion of the youths, have discovered something better to do! It’s called work.

  • New Class 378 trains
  • North London Line trains have gone from four trains per hour (tph) to eight.
  • East London Line trains didn’t exist in 2010 and are now sixteen tph.
  • There are several fleets of new buses.
  • Increases in train frequencies are planned.

Dalston is now a much better place to live.

The new Class 710 trains will soon be running on the following routes.

  • Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  • Liverpool Street to Cheshunt
  • Liverpool Street to Chingford
  • Liverpool Street to Enfield Town

And the new Class 707 trains will soon be running on the following routes.

  • Moorgate to Hertford East
  • Moorgate to Stevenage
  • Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City

Most new trains will be in service by the end of this year.

The following will be delivered.

  • More capacity
  • Increased frequencies
  • Better comfort
  • Wi-fi and power sockets
  • On-train CCTV

A lot of the previous ancient trains will be scrapped.

Will the new trains cut crime and the perception of crime in the areas of North-East London, that they serve.

It is too early to tell, but good public transport has had a remarkable affect on Dalston.

So will the same thing happen in Enfield, Hasringey and Wathamstow?

 

Conclusion

I wonder how many people with a Freedom Pass like me are cooling off in this weather by using these and other trains.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 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

Disabled Access On South Western Railway’s Class 707 Trains

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled RMT Backs Disabled Passengers Protest In London.

I will not comment directly on the article, but relate an incident, that I observed on Saturday, as I was travelling to Brentford station, to see Ipswich Town at nearby Brentford.

  • I was travelling in the fourth car of a ten-car formation of two five-car Class 707 trains, when we stopped at a station and seemed to be waiting a long time to depart.
  • I then noticed a guy in a motorised wheel-chair moving along the platform, who stopped at the door at the front of my car.
  • The guard then appeared on the platform, said something to the guy in the wheelchair and entered the train.
  • He returned a couple of minutes later holding the folding ramp, which he used professionally to load the guy and his wheelchair into the train.
  • A couple of minutes later after stowing the ramp, the guard closed the doors and gave the signal to start.

This picture shows the height difference at Brentford station.

This is not as bad as some train-plarform gaps, but why isn’t it flat?

A station-man on the London Overground once told me, that loading disabled passengers on to trains using a ramp,  is a major source of delay.

Saturday’s incident illustrated the problem beautifully.

It also showed the professionalism of one of their staff

South Western Railways use a very inefficient system.

  • The guard had to walk some way to load the passenger, as he happened to be at the back of the train.
  • He was actually in the second train, so had to walk on the platform.
  • The ramp had to be removed from and replaced in its cupboard.
  • How many times, do guards and station staff catch their fingers in the ramp?

If level access were to be provided between train and platform, the guard would just have acted as a guide to get the guy in the wheelchair on the train.

South Western Railways are getting a new fleet of Class 701 trains.

  • These trains will be walk-through, meaning the guard can get to where assistance is needed easily. And in the dry, if it’s raining hard.
  • Will the trains floors, be level with those of the platforms?
  • If not, will a Harrington Hump be provided?

Surely, this will mean many disabled in a wheelchair, like an acquaintance of mine, will be able to push or drive themselves into and out of the train.

It will of course help others like those with an infant in a buggy or dragging a heavy case.

Let’s hope the new fleet of trains, will be designed to access the trains in a much better way than the current Class 707 trains, and the older Class 455 trains.

Conclusion

Could this incident illustrate the problems, that prompted South Western Railway to decide to return the Class 707 trains to the leasing company?

Does what I saw , have any relevance to the role of guards on trains?

The incident I saw, would have required assistance from a second person, even if the access had been totally level.

Note.

  • London Underground and Overground try to always have somebody on the platform, when a train is in the station.
  • The Docklands Light Railway always have someone on the train.

South Western Railway could use either method.

 

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment