The Anonymous Widower

My First Ride In A Class 710/1 Train

I got on the Class 710/1 train at Liverpool Street station and took it as far as Bush Hill Park station, before catching it at the same station on its return from Enfield Town station.

I took it as far as Hackney Downs station, from where I got a 56 bus home.

Door Control Detail

These pictures show the comprehensiveness layout of the door controls on the Class 710 train.

Note that there are the following controls.

  1. Opening and closing buttons on both sides of the door inside the cars.
  2. An opening button in the middle of the pair of doors, on the inside of each car.
  3. An opening button in the middle of the pair of doors, on the outside of each car.

All these buttons must make entry and exit through the doors faster.

March 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Woo! There Are Now Brand New Overground Trains Running From Liverpool Street

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

These are going to make a big difference and I”ll go and have a look for them later.

I got a glimpse of two two-car units working together at Hackney Downs station.

One guy told me that three trains were running.

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | 6 Comments

Thoughts On Southeastern’s Metro Services

It is regularly proposed that Southeastern‘s Metro services should be taken over by Transport for London (TfL)

What Are The Metro Services?

According to Wikipedia, these are Metro services. I have added a quick thought of my own.

London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Bexleyheath

  • This service runs along the North Kent and Bexleyheath Lines at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).
  • Stations served are London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Barnehurst, Bexleyheath, Welling, Falconwood, Eltham, Kidbrooke, Blackheath, Lewisham, St. Johns, New Cross and London Bridge.
  • The round trip takes around 100 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Sidcup

  • This service runs along the North Kent and Sidcup Lines at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Crayford, Bexley, Albany Park, Sidcup, New Eltham, Mottingham, Lee, Hither Green, Lewsisham, St. Johns, New Cross and London Bridge.
  • The round trip takes around 100 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Charing Cross And Dartford via Blackheath And Abbey Wood

  • This service runs along the North Kent Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Woolwich Arsenal, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Gillingham

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Charing Cross And Dartford via Bexleyheath

  • This service runs on the Bexleyheath Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge,Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath and Barnehurst
  • London Charing Cross and Dartford takes around 60 minutes with a round trip of around 120 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London except for Dartford.

London Victoria And Gravesend via Bexleyheath

  • This service runs along the Bexleyheath Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye, Nunhead, Lewisham, Blackheath, Kidbrooke, Eltham, Falconwood, Welling, Bexleyheath, Barnehurst, Dartford, Greenhithe

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Charing Cross And Dartford via Sidcup

  • This service runs along the Sidcup Line at a frequency of two tph
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley and Crayford
  • London Charing Cross and Dartford takes around 45 minutes with a round trip of around 100 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London except for Dartford.

London Charing Cross And Gravesend via Sidcup

  • This service runs along the Sidcup Line at a frequency of two tph
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, New Eltham, Sidcup, Bexley, Crayford, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe and Northfleet

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Cannon Street And Orpington via Grove Park

  • This service runs along the South Eastern Main Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst, Petts Wood
  • London Cannon Street and Orpington takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of around 120 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Charing Cross And Sevenoaks via Grove Park

  • This service runs along the South Eastern Main Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Grove Park, Elmstead Woods, Chislehurst, Petts Wood, Orpington, Chelsfield, Knockholt, Dunton Green

Because it is more of an Outer Suburban service, this service would probably stay with Southeastern.

London Cannon Street And Hayes

  • This service runs along the Hayes Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are London Bridge, New Cross, St Johns, Lewisham, Ladywell, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, Elmers End, Eden Park, West Wickham
  • The Hayes Line could be on the Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • London Cannon Street and Hayes takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of just under 90 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Charing Cross And Hayes

  • This service runs along the Hayes Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Waterloo East, London Bridge, Ladywell, Catford Bridge, Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, Elmers End, Eden Park, West Wickham
  • The Hayes  Line could be on the Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • London Charing Cross and Hayes takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of just over 90 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Victoria And Orpington via Beckenham Junction

  • This service runs along the Chatham Main Line at a frequency of two tph.
  • Stations served are Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction, Shortlands, Bromley South, Bickley and Petts Wood.
  • London Victoria and Orpington takes around 40 minutes with a round trip of around 95 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

London Victoria And Bromley South via Beckenham Junction

  • This service runs along the Chatham Main Line at a frequency of teo tph
  • Stations served are Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction, Shortlands
  • London Victoria and Bromley South takes around 30 minutes with a round trip of around 67 minutes.

This route would surely be ideal for operation by TfL, as it runs totally in Greater London.

Some General Observations

These are some general observations on all the routes.

  • Lewisham will be on the Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • There are interchanges with TfL services at Abbey Wood, Elmers End, Greenwich, Lewisham, London Bridge, New Cross, Peckham Rye, Waterloo East, Woolwich Arsenal
  • All of the routes appear to be capable of handling 90 mph trains.
  • It is possible that an interchange would be built at Penge between the Chathan Main Line and the East London Line of the London Overground.

A Trip Between London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Sidcup

I took this trip on a Class 465 formation.

  • The service is more of a suburban trundler, than a brisk commuter train.
  • I timed the train around 60-65 mph in places, but at times in was running at around 30 mph.
  • Stops always weren’t always performed in the most urgent manner.

I got the impression, that the service could be run faster.

The Current Metro Trains

Currently, the Metro fleet appears to be formed these trains.

  • Class 376 trains – Five cars – Built in 2004-5 – 75 mph maximum – 228 seats
  • Class 465 trains – Four cars – Built in 1994 – 75 mph maximum – 334 seats
  • Class 466 trains – Two cars – Built in 1994 – 75 mph maximum – 168 seats.

Note.

  1. All can run as ten car trains, either as five+five or four+four+two.
  2. All have First Class seating.
  3. None of the trains don’t gangways.
  4. A ten-car Class 376 formation has 456 seats and is just over 200 metres long.
  5. A ten-car Class 465/466 formation has 836 seats and is 205 metres long.
  6. I think there are enough trains to form 99 ten-car trains and 15 twelve-car trains.

But what is the affect on timetables in that all are 75 mph trains?

Possible Replacement Trains

The trains could be replaced by other two hundred metre long trains, as anything longer would probably need platform lengthening.

Various examples of Bombardier Aventras with different interiors must be in the frame, if they can sort their software problems, but other manufacturers could also produce trains.

Performance

Trains must be able to make full use of the track, which appears to be good for 90 mph.

As the new trains will share tracks with Thameslink’s 100 mph Class 700 trains and Southeastern’s 100 mph Class 377 trains, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new fleet of trains have a 100 mph operating speed and the appropriate acceleration, that this brings.

Length

The current trains are just over 200 metres long, as are the nine-car Class 345 trains.

The new trains will be the same length to avoid large amounts of expensive platform lengthening.

Interior Layout And Capacity

These styles could be used.

  • Class 710-style with longitudinal seating, no toilets – Capacity estimate -482 seated and 1282 standing passengers.
  • Class 345-style with longitudinal/transverse seating, no toilets – Capacity – 450 seated, 4 wheelchair, 1,500 people total[passengers.
  • Class 701-style with transverse seating toilets – Capacity –  556 seats, 740 standing.

This will be a big increase in capacity.

Other Features

Trains will probably have these other features.

  • Full digital signalling, either fitted or future-proofed.
  • Ability to walk through the train.
  • Step-free access between platform and train.
  • Wi-fi, power sockets and 5G boosting.

First Class and toilets would be at the discretion of the operator, but TfL Rail and the London Overground see no point in fitting them.

Transfer To The London Overground

As I said earlier there is more than a chance, than some or all of the Metro routes will be transferred to the London Overground.

As Kent County Council doesn’t like the idea of London having control of their train services, I would suspect that a compromise would be reached, whereby any service wholly within Greater London or terminating at Dartford would be transferred to the London Overground.

This would mean that these services would be transferred.

  • London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Bexleyheath
  • London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street via Greenwich And Sidcup
  • London Charing Cross And Dartford via Bexleyheath
  • London Charing Cross And Dartford via Sidcup
  • London Cannon Street And Orpington via Grove Park
  • London Cannon Street And Hayes
  • London Charing Cross And Hayes
  • London Victoria And Orpington via Beckenham Junction
  • London Victoria And Bromley South via Beckenham Junction

All services would be run by high capacity 200 metre long trains.

  • The frequency would be two tph, with many doubling up to give four tph.
  • There would be no First Class seating.
  • Seating could be longitudinal, with no on-train toilets.
  • Step-free access between platform and train.

As the train will have better performance, services could be faster with shorter journey times.

Will Passengers Accept The Spartan Trains?

Some passengers might not like the lack of First Class, the longitudinal seating and no toilets.

But consider.

  • In the next few months, London Overground will be replacing conventional Class 315 trains between Liverpool Street and Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town. Currently, these trains don’t have First Class or toilets and it will be interesting to see how the new Class 710 trains on these routes are received.
  • When Crossrail extends to Ebbsfleet and/or Gravesend, they’ll get more of this type of train.
  • Trains with longitudinal seating have a much increased capacity at all times and especially in the Peak, where it is needed.
  • If you look at passenger numbers on the London Overground there is a very steady climb. So London Overground must be doing something right.
  • Toilets are being removed on several Metro services from London to Heathrow, Hertford North, Reading, Shenfield and Stevenage.
  • It may be better and more affordable to build more toilets in stations.

I think there is more than a chance, that if TfL take over these Southeastern Metro routes, that a less austere train could be used.

Perhaps for compatibility with Crossrail, Class 345 trains with their mixture of longitudinal and conventional seating would be used.

Penge Interchange

I wrote about TfL’s plans for Penge Interchange in this post called Penge Interchange.

This new station, should be one of the conditions of TfL taking over Southeastern’s Metro services.

The new station could be fully step-free and would seriously improve connections to and from South East London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Could The Northern Section Of The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line Be Combined?

The Bakerloo and Watford DC Lines to the North of Queen’s Park station annoy me.

There are two very different classes of trains.

Which are different sizes and ideally need different platform heights for step-free access between train and platform.

Often, you need to step up and down into the trains.

The pictures show a typical steps on Bakerloo Line and Class 710 trains.

They give a new meaning to Mind The Gap.

It would be so much easier, for passengers in wheelchairs or those pushing buggies or trailing heavy cases for there to be no step between train and platform.

I once remarked to a station guy, not in the first flush of youth, as he manhandled a ramp into place, that what he was doing must be the worst part of his job. He smiled and agreed.

Surely in this day and age, we can create a railway, where everything is as efficient as possible.

These are a few of my thoughts.

Could The Two Lines Be Run By A Unified Fleet Of Trains?

If the two lines were to be run using the same trains, this would give advantages.

  • All trains could be maintained together.
  • Platform-to-train access would be much easier to make step-free.
  • Staff would only deal with one type of train.
  • A certain amount of automatic train control could be used to increase frequencies.

Obviously, a National Rail-size train couldn’t use the Bakerloo Line tunnels, but a train built for the Underground could use the current Watford DC Line into Euston.

Siemens are designing a New Tube For London and this will be used on the Bakerloo Line.

I suspect, that they could design a train that would easily run into Euston.

Would An Underground Train Provide Enough Capacity Into Euston?

The current trains on both lines have the following capacity and length.

  • The 1972 Stock on the Bakerloo Line are 113 metres long and have a capacity of 851 passengers
  • The Class 710 trains on the Watford DC Line are 82 metres long and have a capacity of 678 passengers.

Now there’s a surprise! The smaller Underground trains hold more passengers.

This picture shows the spare platform length at Euston, after a Class 710 train has just arrived.

I don’t think capacity or platform length will be a problem!

What Would Be The Frequency Into Euston?

Consider.

  • The current Watford DC Line service into Euston uses a double-track line terminating in Platform 9 at Euston station.
  • The service frequency on this route, has recently been increased from three trains per hour (tph) to four tph.
  • The Overground is soon to start to run six tph on routes with a similar track layout.

I believe that a six tph service could be run between Euston and Watford Junction stations.

What Would Be The Frequency In The Bakerloo Line Tunnel To Elephant & Castle And Lewisham?

Note that I’m assuming an extended Bakerloo Line runs to Lewisham, although, it could run to Hayes station.

Dear Old Vicky (aka the Victoria Line) handles a train every hundred seconds or thirty-six tph.

I can’t see any reason, why all parts of the Watford Junction to Lewisham route can’t be designed to handle this frequency.

If six tph went to Euston, then this would mean the service South of Queen’s Park station would be as follows.

  • Up to thirty tph or a train every two minutes between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations.
  • It would connect the National Rail stations of Paddington, Marylebone, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, New Cross Gate and Lewisham.
  • A high capacity pedestrian link to Crossrail at Paddington, will be ready to open with Crossrail.
  • Connections to the Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines of the Underground.
  • Oxford Circus would have a high-capacity cross-platform interchange between the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines, both running in excess of thirty tph.

It would be a much needed capacity upgrade to the Underground.

Would Stations On The Combined Line Be Made Step-Free?

The combined route will have a total of 34 existing stations and four new stations.

I suspect the new stations will be step-free.

Of the existing stations, the following are fully or partially step-free.

  • Watford Junction
  • Bushey
  • Carpenders Park
  • Harrow & Wealdstone
  • Wembley Central
  • Willesden Junction
  • Queen’s Park – Scheduled to be made step-free.
  • Paddington – Will be step-free, when Crossrail opens.

The Bakerloo Line must be one of the worst lines for step-free access on the London Underground.

But then it has some of the oldest and least-capable trains and has been neglected for decades.

The station most in need of step-free access is probably Oxford Circus, where the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines have a cross-platform step-free interchange.

I lay out ideas for this station in Thoughts On Step-Free Access At Oxford Circus Station.

Upgrading The Lines

I think that Transport for London have a unique opportunity with the upgrading of the Bakerloo Line to Extension From upgrade the line as a series of separate projects, phased to be delivered in a continuous stream, rather than as one big launch, which was tried and failed with Crossrail.

Extension From Elephant & Castle To Lewisham Or Hayes

This project can be built independently, just like the Battersea Power Station Extension of The Northern Line. I detailed the latest thinking on this extension in TfL Moots Bakerloo Line To Hayes.

  • It is the only project that needs substantial tunnelling.
  • It probably needs a depot to be relocated.
  • Lewisham station would need some rebuilding.
  • It would need more trains to be delivered before it opens.

It could even be the last project to be delivered, which would allow time for the trains.

January 23, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Hertfordshire County Council’s Aspiration For A Watford Junction And Aylesbury Service

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Watford Junction Station Could Become A “Super-Hub”.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new Watford Junction to Aylesbury rail service, along with a new link between Stevenage and Luton are two of the proposals being put forward by Hertfordshire Council.

The proposals are contained in this document on the Hertfordshire County Council web site, which is entitled Rail Strategy.

In TfL Seeks New Procurement Plan For Metropolitan Line Extension, I proposed a service run by Chiltern Railways between Watford Junction and Amersham stations.

The rest of this article is a rewrite of part of that linked post, which explores the possibilities of a service between Watford Junction and Aylesbury stations.

This Was My Original Simple  Proposal

I think it would be possible to design a simpler link with the following characteristics.

  • Watford station would remain open.
  • A four trains per hour (tph) link would run all day between Watford Junction and Amersham stations.
  • Stops would be at Watford High Street, Vicarage RoadCassiobridge, Croxley, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood and Chalfont & Latimer.

No-one would get a worse service than currently and the new stations of Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road, would make rail an alternative for many travellers.

The cross-Watford service would give access to these London services.

  • Chiltern at all stations between Croxley and Amersham.
  • London Midland at Watford Junction,
  • Metropolitan Line at Croxley, Rickmansworth and Amersham.
  • Virgin Trains at Watford Junction,
  • Watford DC Line at Watford High Street and Watford Junction

The Bakerloo Line at Watford Junction and Watford High Street, could possibly be added, if the line is extended. Which I doubt, it will be!

Hertfordshire is proposing the terminal is Aylesbury, which seems to be a good idea. But I’ll example that later.

The next few sections, will cover various issues with the route.

New Track

There would need to be new track between Croxley and Watford High Street stations.

Will The New Stations Have Two Platforms?

All proposals have shown new stations on the new track at Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road.

I believe that money can be saved by creating two much simpler stations.

  • Only one platform, but probably an island platform with two faces like Watford High Street station.
  • No expensive footbridge if possible.
  • Only one lift.

Cassiobridge would be more complicated because of the viaduct connecting the line towards Croxley station.

This visualisation shows the viaduct and the location of Cassiobridge station.

croxley-rail-link-proposed-viaduct-connecting-the-existing-metropolitan-line-with-disused-croxley-green-branch-line

Cassiobridge station will be behind the trees towards the top-right of the image.

Would The New Track Be Single Or Double-Track?

There is space for double-track and the two ends of the route are already electrified double-track.

But surely the viaduct shown above would be much more affordable, if it were to be built for only one track!

Trains would need to pass at places East of Croxley station, but then if the line was double-track through and to the East of Cassiobridge station, trains could pass with impunity.

Consider.

  • The Borders Railway looks to have too much single-track
  • The Barking Riverside Extension is being built with a doubnle track.

Too much single-track is often regretted.

Why Four Trains Per Hour?

Four trains per hour (tph) is becoming a standard, as it encourages Turn-Up-And-Go behaviour from travellers.

It also fits well with keeping the four tph Metropolitan Line service to Watford station, as this could give a same platform interchange at Croxley station.

Would The New Track Be Electrified?

The only part of the route that is not electrified is the about three miles of new track between  the Watford Branch and the Watford DC Line.

All current electrification is either third-rail or to the London Underground standard. and any future electrification would probably be to the London Underground standard, so that S Stock can work the route.

I believe that the Class 710 trains will have a limited onboard energy storage capability, which could enable the trains to bridge the cap in the  electrification between Watford High Street and Croxley stations.

How much would not electrifying the new track save?

How Long Will A Journey Take From Amersham Or Aylesbury To Watford Junction?

Consider.

  • Amersham to Croxley takes about 30 minutes, but it does involve a change to a bus.
  • The Overground takes three minutes between Watford Junction and Watford High Street stations.
  • Chiltern Railways achieve a twelve minute time between Amersham and Rickmansworth.

I suspect that a modern train like one of London Overground’s Class 378 trains could do the journey in a few minutes under half-an-hour.

As Amersham to Aylesbury takes about sixteen minutes, that looks like a trip between Aylesbury and Watford Junction would take about forty-five minutes.

Amersham Or Aylesbury?

My original plan used Amersham, as it has a turnback facility.

But Aylesbury looks to have space as this Google Map shows.

It should also be noted that the forty-five minute journey time between Aylesbury and Watford Juncvtion stations, would give a two hour round trip, with relaxed fifteen minute turnround times.

This would allow time to top-up the batteries.

What Class Of Train Could Be Used?

Four-car Class 378 trains or the new Class 710 trains would be ideal. As the Class 378 train is out of production, it would have to be Class 710 trains or something similar from Bombardier. But other manufacturers might have a suitable train.

Battery power would be required, but that is becoming a standard option on metro trains like these.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed?

If the trains could do an Out-and-Back journey in an hour, then four trains would be needed to provide a four tph service.

A two-hour time would need eight trains.

Will The Link Have Any Other Services?

I have seen to plans to use the line for any other passenger or freight services.

Will There Be Infrastructure Issues At Existing Stations?

As all of the trains, I’ve mentioned and the London Underground S Stock trains, share platforms all over North West London, the answer is probably no, with the exception of a few minor adjustments to signs and platforms.

Croxley Station

Croxley station would be unchanged.

But in addition to the 4 tph between Baker Street and Watford, there would be 4 tph between Watford Junction and Amersham.

Platform 1 would handle.

  • Baker Street to Watford
  • Amersham to Watford Junction

Platform 2 would handle.

  • Watford to Baker Street
  • Watford Junction to Amersham

This would mean that if the trains alternated, the maximum wait for a connection would be about 7.5 minutes.

What I feel would be the two most common connections, would just involve a wait on the same platform.

I suspect that those, who timetable trains, would come up with a very passenger-friendly solution.

Watford Station

A property developer once told me, that the most profitable developments, are those where a railway station is involved.

The Platforms At Watford Station

The Platforms At Watford Station

So would the development of the extension involve a rebuild of Watford station to provide the following?

  • A modern future-proofed station, with all the capacity that might be needed in the next forty years or so.
  • Appropriate housing or commercial development on top of the new station.
  • Sensible amounts of parking for travellers.

With four tph to and from London in the basement, it would surely be a profitable development.

Watford Junction Station

Watford Junction station has four bay platforms 1-4, that handle the three tph service on the Watford DC Line.

At stations like Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace, Dalston Junction, Highbury and Islington and New Cross, single platforms handle four tph with ease for London Overground services.

This means that handling four tph to Amersham in addition to current services would not be difficult.

The only work, that I think should be done, is make sure that these platforms are long enough to take two of the future Class 710 trains working as an eight-car train.

There could even be two platforms left for Bakerloo Line services, if it were to be decided, that these services would go to Watford Junction.

Elton John Plays Vicarage Road Stadium

This or some football matches at Vicarage Road Stadium, would be the biggest test of the Link.

Note the following.

  • Some stations  like Watford High Street can already handle longer trains than the hundred metre long, five-car Class 378 trains they currently do.
  • Some stations like Croxley can handle the 133 metre long S Stock trains used on the Metropolitan Line.

So to future-proof the Link for massive one-off events would it be sensible to make the platforms long enough for eight-car trains or two Class 710 trains working as a pair?

Benefits

The benefits of this approach are as follows.

  • Watford station keeps its current service to London.
  • Watford gets a four tph link across the South of the town, serving the Shopping Centre, the Hospital and the Stadium.
  • Amersham or Aylesbury to Croxley stations get a link to the West Coast Main Line.
  • It could be built as a single track line without electrification.
  • Trains to run the services could be more easily available.
  • Simple island platform-based stations could be built at Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road.

In addition, Chiltern Railways, London Midland, London Overground and Underground, all gain a feeder railway bringing travellers to their services to and from London.

Cost Savings

Note.

  1. Transport for London needs cost savings on this project.
  2. Redevelopment of Watford station as a station with oversite development could raise a lot of money.
  3. The Croxley Link could be built as a single-track link without electrification and run initially run using battery-electric trains.

I also feel, that building the line this way would deliver it earlier, thus improving cash-flow.

The simple link would need at the minimum.

  • A single- or double-track railway without electrification between Croxley and Watford High Street stations.
  • Two stations with island platforms at Cassiobridge and Vicarage Road
  • A viaduct to connect Cassiobridge station to the Watford Branch.
  • Some Class 710 trains or similar.

If skates were worn, the link could probably open in 2025.

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Trains Watford Junction To London Euston Route Thanks To Class 710s

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

This paragraph sums up the new service.

From Sunday 17 November, Transport for London (TfL) will start to run four trains per hour (approximately every 15 minutes) throughout the day.

Currently, there are only three trains per hour (tph), which until a couple of months ago, were five car trains.

  • So it appears that the service will be increasing from three trains and fifteen cars per hour to four trains and sixteen cars per hour.
  • Checking the on-line timetable, it also appears that service might be a few minutes faster.
  • I can’t be sure of the latter as the on-line timetable or my internet connection seems to be playing up.
  • The Watford DC Line will now have the standard London Overground frequency of four tph.

The big improvement with both the the Watford DC Line and the Gospel Oak and Barking Line using identical trains could be in service recovery.

  • Eight trains are needed to run a full service on both lines.
  • Eighteen trains have been ordered.
  • This would mean one could be in maintenance and one can be kept as a hot spare.

It is not as tight as it looks, because I suspect a five-car Class 378 train can fill in on the Watford DC Line, if required.

 

 

 

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

A Selection Of Train Noses

I have put together a selection of pictures of train noses.

They are in order of introduction into service.

Class 43 Locomotive

The nose of a Class 43 locomotive was designed by Sir Kenneth Grange.

Various articles on the Internet, say that he thought British Rail’s original design was ugly and that he used the wind tunnel at Imperial College to produce one of the world’s most recognised train noses.

  • He tipped the lab technician a fiver for help in using the tunnel
  • Pilkington came had developed large armoured glass windows, which allowed the locomotives window for two crew.
  • He suggested that British Rail removed the buffers. Did that improve the aerodynamics, with the chisel nose shown in the pictures?

The fiver must be one of the best spent, in the history of train design.

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I did a simple calculation using these assumptions.

  • To cruise at 125 mph needs both engines running flat out producing 3,400 kW.
  • Two locomotives and eight Mark 3 carriages are a ten-car InterCity 125 train.

This means that the train needs 2.83 kWh per vehicle mile.

Class 91 Locomotive

These pictures show the nose of a Class 91 locomotive.

Note, the Class 43 locomotive for comparison and that the Driving Van Trailers have an identical body shell.

It does seem to me, that looking closely at both locomotives and the driving van trailers, that the Class 43s  look to have a smoother and more aerodynamic shape.

Class 800/801/802 Train

These pictures show the nose of a Class 800 train.

In How Much Power Is Needed To Run A Train At 125 mph?, I did a simple calculation to find out the energy consumption of a Class 801 train.

I have found this on this page on the RailUKForums web site.

A 130m Electric IEP Unit on a journey from Kings Cross to Newcastle under the conditions defined in Annex B shall consume no more than 4600kWh.

This is a Class 801 train.

  • It has five cars.
  • Kings Cross to Newcastle is 268.6 miles.
  • Most of this journey will be at 125 mph.
  • The trains have regenerative braking.
  • I don’t know how many stops are included

This gives a usage figure of 3.42 kWh per vehicle mile.

It is a surprising answer, as it could be a higher energy consumption, than that of the InterCity 125.

I should say that I don’t fully trust my calculations, but I’m fairly sure that the energy use of both an Intercity 125 and a Class 801 train are in the region of 3 kWh per vehicle mile.

Class 717 Train

Aerodynamically, the Class 700, 707 and 717 trains have the same front.

But they do seem to be rather upright!

Class 710 Train

This group of pictures show a Class 710 train.

Could these Aventra trains have been designed around improved aerodynamics?

  • They certainly have a more-raked windscreen than the Class 717 train.
  • The cab may be narrower than the major part of the train.
  • The headlights and windscreen seem to be fared into the cab, just as Colin Chapman and other car designers would have done.
  • There seems to be sculpting of the side of the nose, to promote better laminar flow around the cab. Does this cut turbulence and the energy needed to power the train?
  • Bombardier make aircraft and must have some good aerodynamicists and access to wind tunnels big enough for a large scale model of an Aventra cab.

If you get up close to the cab, as I did at Gospel Oak station, it seems to me that Bombardier have taken great care to create a cab, that is a compromise between efficient aerodynamics and good visibility for the driver.

Class 345 Train

These pictures shows the cab of a Class 345 train.

The two Aventras seem to be very similar.

Class 195 And Class 331 Trains

CAF’s Class 195 and Class 331 trains appear to have identical noses.

They seem to be more upright than the Aventras.

Class 755 Train

Class 755 trains are Stadler’s 100 mph bi-mode trains.

It is surprising how they seem to follow similar designs to Bombardier’s Aventras.

  • The recessed windscreen.
  • The large air intake at the front.

I can’t wait to get a picture of a Class 755 train alongside one of Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains, which are Aventras.

 

 

 

 

 

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Plans To Reopen The Brentford To Southall Railway

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

I have posted on the Brentford Branch Line several times previously and Ian says this about Hounslow Council’s thinking.

The council has been working on a scheme for some years to resurrect the line, with a new station built in Brentford and passenger services restored to Southall. A key factor for the plans is that Southall will then be on the Elizabeth line, which they hope will drive a lot more traffic on the spur down to Brentford.

In order to part-fund the 4-mile railway, Hounslow Council has now agreed to undertake a full business case to look at introducing a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) within the Great West Corridor (GWC).

In my trips to document the updating of Syon Lane station with a new step-free footbridge, I have talked to several people, who would find a rail link to Southall useful.

Ian also says this about the latest situation.

As part of the proposal, the council has also commissioned Network Rail to begin a detailed study (known as ‘GRIP 4’) on building the new train link from Brentford to Southall, following encouraging early studies into the feasibility of such a link.

At least, this will give the Hounslow a list of all the problems and a cost estimate.

A few of my thoughts.

What Should Be The Frequency Of The Service?

The current truncated Brentford Branch Line is mainly single track, but from my helicopter, it appears that there would be space to add an additional track for as much of the route as required.

Preferably, there should be a service on the branch of at least two trains per hour (tph). Although, ideally four tph is much better, as it attracts passengers in large numbers.

It should be noted that from December 2019, there will be four tph on Crossrail calling at at Southall station all day. Connections should surely be well-arranged.

Four tph would be possible between two single platforms at Southall and Brentford, but would require selective doubling or passing loops to accommodate the service and the freight trains going to Brentford.

This Google Map shows the various sites clustered around the branch.

The branch runs from the North-West to the South-East across the map.

  • The Great West Road is a couple of hundred metres to the South.
  • To the East of the branch, there are a collection of waste and scrap metal transfer sites, aggregate and concrete sites and others that hide away in big cities.
  • To the West is the massive Sky Studios complex.

I do wonder, if Sky would like a station? If they did, this would surely mean that a four tph service would be required.

What Is The Future Of The Industrial Site?

Because of London’s thirst for land for housing and office developments, sites like this inevitably get developed.

With its position between the River Brent and parkland, and the Brentford Branch Line, I believe that if new sites can be found for the various tenants, that this site could be a high quality housing development.

An intermediate station would surely be required.

What Should Be The Terminus Of The Branch?

I believe that the branch should terminate as close to the River as is possible.

  • There is a lot of new housing being constructed in Brentford.
  • I believe that Thames Clippers will eventually extend their river-boat services to Brentford and Kew.

But the problem would be that this would need an expensive bridge over the Great West Road.

These pictures show the Great West Road, where the current Brentford Branch Line finishes.

The tracks finish about a hundred metres North of the road, as shown on this Google Map.

The rusty footbridge over the busy road can be clearly seen.

Initially, I believe that the passenger service should terminate at the Great West Road.

If I was designing the station, I would build it much like the Deptford Bridge DLR station.

  • It would be on a bridge above the Great West Road.
  • It would be suspended from step-free towers on either side of the road.
  • Would it only need to be a single platform station?
  • The pavements on either side of the Great West Road would be improved to create a better walking environment.
  • If possible a walking and cycling route to Brentford and the River would be provided.
  • The design would leave provision to extend the railway South.

I also think, that it could be designed to enhance the collection of Art Deco and modern buildings in the area.

Could The Service Go Further Than The Great West Road?

This Google Map shows the former route of Brentford Branch Line, from just North of the Great West Road to the centre of Brentford.

Note.

  1. The former route is very green on the map.
  2. The Hounslow Loop Line crossing parallel and a few hundred metres South of the Great West Road.
  3. The only building on the route is some retail sheds between the Great West Road and the Hounslow Loop Line.
  4. To the \east of the Brentford Branch Line is a large and semi-derilict bus garage.

I’m sure that the railway could be extended through this area, as it is developed with housing and offices or parkland.

Could The Service Go Further Than Southall?

There is a section in the Wikipedia entry for the Brentford Branch Line, which is entitled Proposed Reopening, where this is said.

In April 2017, it was proposed that the line could reopen to allow a new link between Southall to Hounslow and possibly down to the planned Old Oak Common station with a new station in Brentford called Brentford Golden Mile.  The proposals suggest the service could be operated by Great Western Railway and could be open by 2020 with a new service from Southall to Hounslow and possible later to Old Oak Common

It sounds a good idea, but it would mean trains would surely have to reverse direction and cross over to the North side.

It must be better to provide full step-free access at Southall station, which should be finished fairly soon.

Crossrail will also be providing at least four tph to and from Old Oak Common.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed?

I am pretty sure, that several train types could do a Southall and Brentford round trip in under thirty minutes.

This would mean the following.

  • For a two tph service, one train would be needed.
  • For a four tph service, two trains would be needed.

I suspect too, that a spare train would be added to the fleet.

Would The Branch Be Electrified?

I doubt it!

  • The branch is only four miles long.
  • A 100 kWh battery would probably provide enough power for a four-car train.
  • It is unlikely electric haulage will be needed for the freight trains o the branch.
  • There is 25 KVAC electrification at the Southall end of the branch to charge trains with batteries.
  • The branch is probably short enough to not need a charging point at Brentford.

In my mind, it is a classic route to run using battery power.

What Trains Could Be Used?

I feel the trains need to have the following specification.

  • Abiility to use 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • A out and back battery range of at least eight miles.
  • Three or four cars.
  • 60 mph operating speed.

There are several proposed trains that meet this specification.

Class 710 Train

The Class 710 train would be an obvious choice, if London Overground were to run the service.

But it would need the 25 KVAC electrification be added to Platform 5 at Southall station.

Class 230 Train

The Class 230 train could be a lower cost option and would only require one of Vivarail’s clever charging systems at Southall.

Class 387 Train

A modified Class 387 train would surely be a choice, If Great Western Railway were to run the service.

But as with the Class 710 train, it would need Platform 5 at Southall station to be electrified.

Class 399 Tram-Train

A Class 399 tram-train to the South Wales Metro specification is also a possibility.

But as with the Class 710 train, it would need Platform 5 at Southall station to be electrified.

However, the lighter weight vehicle with a tight turning circle might allow the route to be extended further South.

Conclusion

I am led to these conclusions.

  • Battery power is capable of working the Brentford Branch Line.
  • At least two tph is needed between Southall and Brentford.
  • The operator will choose the trains.

IBut as they are a lower-cost and simpler option, this route could be run by Class 230 trains.

 

 

September 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Riding Sunbeams Deploys Solar Array

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

Riding Sunbeams Ltd has installed a 30 kWp solar test unit with around 100 panels near Aldershot which is directly supplying electricity to power signalling and lighting on Network Rail’s Wessex Route.

This will enable data to be gathered to assess how much larger solar arrays could be used to power trains.

Note that kWp is peak kW. On a very sunny day, 30 kW is the highest power level that will be supplied.

This page on the Energy Saving Trust is entitled Costs and Saving and this is said.about solar generation in the South of England.

A 4kWp system in the south of England can generate around 4,200 kilowatt hours of electricity a year – that’s the same amount of electricity as it takes to turn the London Eye 56 times. It will save around 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

For comparison, they say this about solar generation in Scotland.

A 4kWp system in Scotland can generate about 3,400 kilowatt hours of electricity a year – that’s the same amount of electricity as it takes to turn the Falkirk Wheel 2,200 times. It will save approximately 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

I’d be interested to know, the two locations, where they measured the sunlight.

It was a lovely sunny day recently, when I passed through Aldershot station, so I’ll use the Southern England figures.

  • Uprating the Energy Saving Trust figures by 30/4 gives a yearly output of 31,500 kWh,
  • The daily output is 86.3 kWh.
  • The hourly output based on a 0600-2200 sixteen hour day is 5.4 kWh

There would probably be a battery to make the most of the electricity generated.

Powering Feeder Stations For Third-Rail Electrification

As the Railway Gazette article says, the trial installation at Aldershot station will be used to power signalling and the station, which will then give figures to assess how trains can be powered.

In the September 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article entitled Wires Through The Weald, which discusses electrification of the Uckfield Branch in Sussex, as proposed by Chris Gibb. This is an extract.

He (Chris Gibb) says the largest single item cost is connection to the National Grid, and a third-rail system would require feeder stations every two or three miles, whereas overhead wires may require only a single feeder station for the entire Uckfield Branch.

It would appear that 750 VDC rail-based direct current electrification needs many more feeder stations, than 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

Could a solar system from Riding Sunbeams supply power in the following situations?

  • Places where there was space for a solar array.
  • Remote locations, where a connection to the grid is difficult.
  • Places, where the power supply needed a bit of a boost.

How large would an individual solar feeder station need to be?

Consider a feeder station on a rail line with these characteristics.

  • Third-rail electrification
  • Four-car trains
  • Each train uses three kWh per vehicle mile.
  • Two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • Electrification sections are three miles long.
  • Trains run from six in the morning to ten at night.
  • Trains pass at speeds of up to 100 mph.

The hourly electricity need for each section would be 144 kWh or 2304 kWh per day and 841 MWh for the whole year.

The Energy Saving Trust says this.

A 4kWp system in the south of England can generate around 4,200 kilowatt hours of electricity a year.

Using these figures says that a solar array of 800 MWp will be needed to provide the power for one feeder station.

Consider.

  • The largest solar array in the UK is Shotwick Solar Farm, which has a capacity of 72 MWp.
  • Shotwick covers 730 acres.

Am I right to question if that enough electricity to create a feeder station to power trains, can be produced reliably from a solar array and a battery?

I’d love to have the electricity usage and bill for one of Network Rail’s typical third-rail feeder stations. Not that I’d want to pay it!

How Would Station Stops Be Handled?

When a modern electrical multiple unit stops in a station, there is a three-stage process.

  • The train decelerates, hopefully using regenerative braking, where the braking energy is returned through the electrification to hopefully power nearby trains.
  • The train waits in the station for a minute or so, using power for air-conditioning and other hotel functions.
  • The train accelerates away using track power.

Would a Riding Sunbeams system provide enough capacity to accelerate the train away?

In What Is The Kinetic Energy Of A Class 710 Train?, I calculated the kinetic energy of a very full Class 710 train, which is just about as modern and probably efficient, as you can get.

These were my results.

  • 50 mph – 15.3 kWh
  • 60 mph – 22.1 kWh
  • 90 mph – 49.4 kWh – Operating speed of a Crossrail Class 345 train.
  • 100 mph – 61.3 kWh – Operating speed of many electric multiple units.

These kinetic energy values are low enough to make it possible that a modern electric multiple unit can run using on-board batteries.

  • Regenerative braking would be captured in the batteries.
  • Hotel power in the station can be provided by batteries.
  • Batteries can cruise the train through sections of line without electrification or with a poor electrical supply.

Suppose there is a twenty mile gap between two stations; A and B, where trains cruise at 90 mph.

  • The train arrives at station A, with a battery that has been charged on previous parts of the journey from the electrification.
  • Regenerative braking energy will be stored in the battery on braking.
  • Acceleration to 90 mph will need 49.4 kWh of electricity from the battery.
  • Using my 3 kWh per vehicle mile figure, going from A to B, will need 4 cars * 20 miles * 3 = 240 kWh of electricity.

It looks like a battery with a capacity of 300 kWh would handle this situation

Could this be fitted into a four-car train, like an Aventra?

In this article in Global Rail News from 2011, which is entitled Bombardier’s AVENTRA – A new era in train performance, gives some details of the Aventra’s electrical systems. This is said.

AVENTRA can run on both 25kV AC and 750V DC power – the high-efficiency transformers being another area where a heavier component was chosen because, in the long term, it’s cheaper to run. Pairs of cars will run off a common power bus with a converter on one car powering both. The other car can be fitted with power storage devices such as super-capacitors or Lithium-ion batteries if required. The intention is that every car will be powered although trailer cars will be available.

Unlike today’s commuter trains, AVENTRA will also shut down fully at night. It will be ‘woken up’ by remote control before the driver arrives for the first shift

This was published over eight years ago, so I suspect Bombardier have refined the concept.

If 424 kWh can be fitted under the floor of a two-car Class 230 train, I’m sure in a train designed for energy storage at least 500 kWh or maybe as high as 1000 kWh could be fitted to a four-car Aventra.

A 500 kWh battery would give a battery range of just under forty miles, whilst a 1000 kWh battery would give a ninety-five mile range.

Obviously, the battery would need to be charged, but in many cases the range would take the train between two existing electrified lines. Think Ipswich -Cambridge, Newcastle-Carlisle, the Fife Circle Line, the Uckfield Branch and Ashford-Hastings!

Conclusion

Riding Sunbeams may be suitable for providing local power for signalling and stations, but batteries on trains looks like it could be a better way of powering trains.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The London Overground Is Still Running Four-Car Class 378 Trains

This picture shows the three spare cars, that were taken from three five-car Class 378 trains to make them short enough to work the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

I would have thought that the trains would have returned to their full length, but they have been put into service on the Watford DC Line.

Perhaps, London Overground want to keep them at four-cars, as a precaution against a serious bug in the Class 710 train’s computer system.

Only when the Class 710 trains are behaving impeccably will the full length be restored.

Trains On The Watford DC Line

As it is, the services on the Watford DC Line are being changed from three x five-car trains per hour to four x four-car trains per hour.

This is roughly the same number of cars per hour, but at a higher frequency.

According to Wikipedia seven Class 710 trains are needed for the full service.

July 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment