The Anonymous Widower

Could Thameslink Connect To Heathrow?

This may seem an outrageous idea.

But I think it could be possible.

Can Class 345 Trains And Class 700 Trains Use The Same Tracks And Platforms?

Crossrail may use Class 345 trains and Thameslink may use Class 700 trains, but can the two trains use the same tracks and platforms?

Recently, Cambridge North station has opened and it will certainly be compatible with Class 700 trains and Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains, which are closely related to the Crossrail trains.

Heathrow’s platforms do not have platform-edge doors.

Both trains are designed to work at high frequencies using ERTMS.

So I think the answer to my question is a solid yes!

How Would Thameslink Trains Get To Heathrow?

The original plan for Heathrow Express envisaged using both Paddington and St. Pancras as terminals in Central London.

It would have used the Dudding Hill Line as a connection between the Great Western Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

This Google Map shows the tracks to the East of Acton Main Line station.

Note.

  • The four tracks of the Great Western Main Line run through Acton Main Line station.
  • The most Southerly pair of tracks are the fast lines, whilst the next pair are the slow lines as used by Crossrail.
  • The tracks shown in orange are the North London Line.
  • The two extra lines to the North of Acton Main Line station are the Goods Lines, connect at Acton Wells Junction to the North London Line, so freight trains can go across London between the Great Western Main Line and Stratford.

After crossing over the Central Line, the route splits with the North London Line going East to Stratford and the Dudding Hill Line going North through Acton Canal Wharf Junction.

To get to and from Heathrow, the services would take the same route as Crossrail to the West of Acton Main Line station.

The services would use the existing Cricklewood Curve Junction to connect with the Thameslink route to the North of Cricklewood station.

What New Infrastructure Would Be Required?

The infrastructure needed would not be of the sort of scale needed for Crossrail or Thameslink.

  • The Dudding Hill Line is would need to be electrified.
  • The Dudding Hill Line is double-track throughout.
  • The 30 mph speed limit of the Dudding Hill Line would need to be increased.
  • Would Harlesden and Dudding Hill stations be reopened or other new ones built?
  • The stations at Heathrow could probably handle Class 700 trains without too much difficulty.
  • There might be a need for a flyover to sort out the tangle of lines between Cricklewood and St. Pancras.

But nothing is too complicated or difficult.

What Frequency Of Thameslink Trains Would Serve Heathrow?

Currently, the following services are provided

  • Heathrow Express has four tph to Terminal 5 via Heathrow Central
  • There is a shuttle between Heathrow Central and Terminal 4, run by Heathrow Express.
  • Heathrow Connect run two tph to Heathrow Central.

When Crossrail opens in December 2019, the service to Heathrow will be four trains per hour (tph) to Terminal 5 and two tph to Terminal 4.

Crossrail will also provide the shuttle between Heathrow Central and Terminal 4.

It is certainly not a system designed by any individual or committee with any sense of good design.

At least, both Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 stations have two terminal platforms, so the two stations should each be able to handle up to eight tph.

If they did this would mean up to sixteen tph on the Heathrow spur, which would be well within the capability of the route and trains running using ERTMS, which will handle up to 24 tph on both Crossrail and Thameslink in the few years.

Under current plans, it appears that when Crossrail opens, the stations will get the following services.

  • Heathrow Central – 10 tph
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 – 2 tph plus shuttles
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 – 8 tph

I’m assuming that Heathrow Connect will quietly fade away.

With a bit of reorganisation of the services, it should be possible to squeeze another six tph into the airport, without building any new terminal platforms.

So I feel that say four tph Thameslink trains to Heathrow would be possible.

Could Crossrail Handle The Extra Trains?

The Thameslink trains would have to run on the Crossrail tracks between Acton Main Line station and Heathrow Airport Junction.

Currently Crossrail are proposing running 12 tph on this section, so as ERTMS can handle double this, I suspect there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Could Thameslink Handle The Extra Trains?

This article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled Thameslink Signalling Update, says this about possible Thameslink frequencies.

To meet the specification of 24 tph through the Thameslink core section, it is necessary to deploy Automatic Train Operation (ATO). This will provide a peak theoretical capacity of 30 tph, thereby creating a reliable 24 tph service with acceptable recovery margins.

So an extra six tph could be possible.

Would A Service Between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports Be Possible?

In my view it would be the logical service.

It would certainly be possible!

And it could also be a journey without any change of train!

Would There Be Any Other Useful Connections?

These are a few thoughts and ideas.

Same Platform Interchanges

Cross-city lines like Crossrail, Merseyrail’s Northern Line and Thameslink, have the advantage, that if you are going in the right direction, but are on a train to the wrong destination, you can just get off the train and wait for the correct train.

So if you leave Heathrow on a Gatwick train and you need to go to Maidstone East, you would get off at any of the stations in the central core and wait until the next Maidstone East train arrives.

Everybody will have their own favourite interchanges. Mine would probably be Blackfriars station, as it is above the Thames, has lots of seats and there is a large coffee shop on both platforms.

The ability to do this will mean that all stations South of West Hampstead  Thameslink station will have a very easy link to and from Heathrow.

Reversing Stations

Crossrail has several stations where you can reverse your direction of travel by just walking across the platform. Whitechapel station will allow passengers to go between Abbey Wood and Shenfield stations without going up or down any steps or escalators.

Thameslink only has one reversing station at London Bridge station, although St. Pancras Thamslink has escalators and lifts to allow passengers to change direction in a short time.

West Hampstead Interchange

If plans for a West Hampstead Interchange materialise, this will link the following lines.

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Jubilee Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Midland Main L:ine
  • North London Line

Note.

  1. This could be a very good interchange to be connected to Heathrow.
  2. West Hampstead Interchange would be a good alternative until Old Oak Common station is built.
  3. Passengers going between Heathrow and stations on the Midland Main Line to the North could change here.

Those like me living along the North London Line would find it a convenient way to get to and from Heathrow.

Kings Cross And St. Pancras Stations

The massive complex at Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations currently links the following lines.

  • Eurostar
  • Midland Main Line
  • East Coast Main Line
  • Southeastern Highspeed services
  • Circle Line
  • Hammersmith and City Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Northern Line
  • Piccadilly Line
  • Victoria Line

But the only way to get directly to Heathrow is a nearly hour long journey on the Piccadilly Line. Thameslink could be just over half that time, in a less cramped train.

Blackfriars Station

I use Blackfriars station a lot, as it is my the Tate Modern.

But others will use it as a same platform interchage for reasons I outlined erlier.

London Bridge Station

London Bridge station is another important interchange, with links to the following lines.

  • Southeastern services to Kent
  • Southern services to Surrey and Sussex.
  • Jubilee Line
  • Northern Line

Note.

  • This new station is well-equipped and interchange is totally step-free.
  • It is also a short walk to the city across London Bridge.
  • This station will be a very good same platform interchange.
  • The station allows passengers to reverse direction by just walking across the platform.

As with West Hampstead, this could be a very good interchange to be connected to Heathrow.

East Croydon, Orpington and Wimbledon Stations

East Croydon, Orpington and Wimbledon stations, which are important local hubs, would all be well-connected to Heathrow.

Collateral Benefits

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 is planning to have a Euston St. Pancras station, which is described like this in Wikipedia.

It would be a “mega station” serving the existing Euston, King’s Cross and St. Pancras main line stations. If funded and completed, it will be one of two such stations on the Crossrail 2 route (the other being Dalston).

If this station is designed properly, I am sure it will have the following.

  • A step-free and convenient link to both Thameslink and Eurostar.
  • Some form of high-capacity hi-tech people-mover, stretching under Euston Road, linking Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston stations.

I believe a station design is possible that makes the connection between HS1 and HS2 a no-hassle transfer for all passengers in less than ten minutes.

The people-mover should be in place when HS2 opens in December 2026, so that a credible HS1 to HS2 link opens at the same time.

Gatwick, Heathrow, HS1 And HS2 Will Be On One Rail Line

This could be of tremendous benefit to Londoners, travellers, tourists, rail companies and airlines, but Heathrow might not like it, as it could undermine their dominant position.

If Crossrail 2 opens around 2030, this will bring Stansted into the hub.

The Most Important Railway Station In The World

Eventually, Euston St. Pancras station will become the busiest and most important railway station in the world.

How Will Terminal Development At Heathrow Affect Crossrail And Thameslink?

Heathrow are disclosing a master-plan, for rebuilding a lot of the airport to make it more efficient and up with the best.

  • There will be two main terminals; Heathrow West and Heathrow East with satellites in between handling the actual planes.
  • These two terminals and the satellites will be between the two existing runways, with a passenger and baggage transport system beneath.
  • Terminal Five will become Heathrow West.
  • An extended Terminal Two will become Heathrow East.
  • Crossrail, Heathrow Express and the Underground will serve both main terminals.

I believe that this rebuilding could start in the next few years.

Heathrow will make sure they future-proof rail access, so we could see.

  • More terminal platforms at both Heathrow East and Heathrow West
  • Through platforms at Heathrow West to allow trains to go West from both terminals.
  • Freight shuttles bringing in provisions for the airport, the airlines and the aircraft.

This will allow Crossrail, Thameslink, Heathrow Express and other operators to have as many services as is thought necessary.

The biggest constraint will be the capacity of the Great Western Railway and the two tracks used by Crossrail.

Will Other Operastors Be Allowed Use Heathrow?

This probably depends more on politics than anything else, but technically these facts apply.

Bombardier Aventras

Bombardier have hinted that the design of an Aventra can provide commuter trains like Crossrail’s Class 345 trains and 125 mph expresses.

So it would be likely that a 125 mph Aventra of appropriate length would be able to serve Heathrow, if that were thought necessary!

All Trains Would Be Electric

I suspect that regulations would mean all trains would be electric, as you don’t want diesel or hydrogen fuels in the tunnels under Heathrow.

ERTMS

I also suspect that all trains using the eathrow stations would need to be equipped with ERTMS.

Possible Routes

Who knows what routes will become possible, but as the list of trains grows that are acceptable to Heathrow, various possibilities will arise.

  • Great Western Railway to Bristol
  • Great Western Railway to Cardiff
  • London Overground to Clapham Junction station
  • London Overground to Stratford
  • South Western Railway to Southampton
  • East Midlands Trains to Bedford/Kettering/Corby
  • West Midlands Trains to Watford/Milton Keynes/Birmingham

After Heathrow terminals are updated to East and West, there would be scope for cross country routes going vaguely South-West to North-East calling at both terminals in Heathrow.

 

Will Thameslink And Crossrail Strangle Heathrow Express?

I wonder if a ink to Thameslink will be more valuable to Heathrow, than Heathrow Express.

  • Abandoning Heathrow Express would release valuable platform space at Heathrow and Paddington.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink together would have connections all over London, rather than just Paddington.
  • Crossrail to and from Paddington would only take about five or six minutes longer.
  • Heathrow Express will have to update their trains with ERTMS and to compete with Crossrail.
  • Heathrow Express usually means a taxi to your hotel to and from Paddington.
  • Crossrail will connect the West End, The City and Canary Wharf to Heathrow.

Convenience and cost will eventually strangle Heathrow Express.

Conclusion

The following statements would appear to be true.

  • Class 345 and Class 700 trains can use the same infrastructure.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink both use ERTMS.
  • The stations at Heathrow,the Western section of Crossrail and the Thameslink core have spare capacity.

This means it should be possible to extend Thameslink services to Heathrow with a frequency of at least four tph, using an electrified Dudding Hill Line.

Some new infrastructure would be required, but nothing as comprehensive, as that for Crossrail and Thameslink.

 

 

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

Waterloo Upgrade August 2017 – A Progress Report From London Reconnections

This article on London Reconnections is entitled Back to the Future: (Re)lengthening and Shortening at Waterloo.

It describes in detail why and how the platforms at Waterloo station are being lengthened and shortened and information on other important topics can be gleaned.

Why Did The Train Hit The Barrier Train?

It doesn’t actually say why, but it does discuss the need for the barrier train to protect the workforce. As the train hit the barrier train, it seemed to have worked.

If you want to know more, I suggest you search for barrier in the comments added to the article by others. If nothing, you’ll realise there’s a lot to go wrong.

Why Weren’t The International Platforms Used Earlier?

The platforms were designed to handle six trains per hour (tph) with a long dwell time in the platform and after modification they will handle 18 tph for the Windsor Lines. So a lot of serious work was needed!

There was also complicated ownership of the five platforms.

Looking at it from a planning point of view, the provision of a terminal for Eurostar in London could have been handled better.

Why Are The International Platforms Only Being Used For A Few Weeks And Then Reopening in 2018?

The platforms are needed for this August’s blockade, but there is still a lot of work to do.

Effectively, the remodelling of the International Platforms have been almost split into two independent projects.

I like the way they’ve done this.

How Will Suburban Capacity Change?

In addition to the five platforms in the old International station, platforms 1-6 will also be remodelled for suburban use.

Currently, the slow lines through Wimbledon can handle 18-19 tph into four platforms.

After completion . these same slow lines will handle 22 tph, but they will have the use of two extra platforms.

In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed that if you were running 4 tph on the four branches  to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton, which will transfer to Crossrail 2, then you need.

  • New 100 mph trains.
  • A capacity of 20 tph between Waterloo and Wimbledon.

Both these conditions will be met.

How Will The Passenger Experience At Waterloo Change?

Read the article and there are some snippets in there, that give me hope, that passengers will like it. See what you think!

Conclusion

It is a highly intricate and difficult project, that will be performed in a short time.

 

 

August 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Musings On The West Anglia Main Line

The West Anglia Main Line is the main railway between Liverpool Street station in the City of London and the Scientific Powerhouse of Cambridge via Stansred Airport.

This post started off as The Mother Of All Level Crossing Jams, when I got caught in a jam caused by the level crossing at Enfield Lock station.

It has since grown into a long post of the inadequacies of this important main line.

The Mother Of All Level Crossing Jams

These are pictures I took at Enfield Lock station in mid-morning.

I had arrived at the station at 11:04 and my train had departed on its way at 11:08.

I was in no hurry taking the pictures and I left at 11:22 after eight trains had gone through, without the gates being raised.

In two of the pictures, you can see a discarded broken gate. Was it caused by an irate motorist?

After I got back to the station, the barriers were still going up and down like a whore’s drawers and talking to a fellow passenger, she said it happens all the time.

Improving The West Anglia Main Line

Consider the following, which could effect what happens in the future.

  • Stansted Airport, Greater Anglia, Transport for London, the London Borough of Enfield, Cambridge City Council and the local MPs, all want the line to be four-tracked so that services to Cambridge and Stansted Airport can have their own dedicated fast lines.
  • ,Greater Anglia have lots of new trains and I suspect they want to run much-needed extra services into both Stratford and Liverpool Street stations.
  • Enfield Lock could be a Crossrail 2 station in ten years or so.
  • Crossrail 2 would want to run up to twelve trains per hour (tph).

It is a certainly a case of squeezing a couple of gallons into a pint pot.

Enfield Lock And Brimsdown

To make matters worse there is another equally congested level crossing at the next station to the South; Brimsdown.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. Enfield Lock station is in the North West corner of the map, with Brimsdown in the South West corner.
  2. Mollinson Avenue, which tracks along the railway to its East, is nearly all dual carriageway.
  3. These is a lot of industrial premises in the area.
  4. There are a lot of distribution depots that need road access for heavy trucks.
  5. It is going to use all the ingenuity that Network Rail can muster to squeeze two extra tracks between those two stations.

If ever there was an area that needs an increased rail service it is this stretch of the West Anglia Main Line between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations.

Improving The Lea Valley Lines

I suspect that British Rail foresaw the problem in the 1950s, as by 1960, they had electrified all the Lea Valley Lines including the goods-only Southbury Loop, which is now part of the London Overground, who run two tph on the route.

Both London Overground and Greater Anglia are getting new Aventra trains, which should increase the capacity and speed up services on both routes.

However, this could create a problem, in that they are such good trains, they may persuade more commuters to leave their cars at home and take the trains.

More Frequent Services

London Overground like to run four tph on their various routes.

At present, their Lea Valley services are as follows.

  • 4 tph from Liverpool Street to Chingford.
  • 2 tph from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, with more services in the Peak and when Spurs are playing at home.
  • 2 tph from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt.

I suspect that they would like to run four tph all day and that after Crossrail opens and releases some platforms at Liverpool Street, this might happen.

Greater Anglia must be looking to improve services on the West Anglia Main Line, so that all stations South of Broxbourne get four tph, with perhaps two tph to each of  Liverpool Street and Stratford.

And then there’s STAR, which is a new service between Stratford and Angel Road stations. This article on IanVisits, which is entitled One of London’s quietest train stations set for major upgrade, gives a good explanation of this service, which will provide four tph between Stratford and a rebuilt Angel Road station, which will be renamed Meridian Water.

More Terminal Capacity In London

Adding these services together, I feel that  more capacity is needed at the London terminals of Liverpool Street and Stratford.

There are two short term solutions and one long term one.

Create More Capacity At Liverpool Street

This is the simplest short-term solution.

In the Wikipedia entry for Liverpool Street station, this is said.

Once Crossrail opens, platform 18 at the main Liverpool Street station will be decommissioned to allow platforms 16 and 17 to be extended, enabling them to accommodate longer trains.

I would assume this platform-lengthening is to accommodate the full-length Class 345 trains, that will run the Peak Hour service between Liverpool Street and Gidea Park stations.

I suppose too, having two platforms in Liverpool Street, that are capable of handling Crossrail trains must also be useful in special or exceptional circumstances.

Platform 18 is a curiosity, in that it is used by c2c as a diversion platform, when Fenchurch Street station is closed because of engineering works.

So after the work on platforms 16 and 17 is complete, will it be recommissioned?

That leaves fifteen platforms for Greater Anglia and London Overground to argue over.

If you compare the way Liverpool Street is organised compared to some more modern stations, I suspect that more modern trains can be handled without any expensive modifications to the existing station.

Modern practice means that a single platform can easily handle four tph, so as destinations like Norwich and Southend will only have three tph, could it mean that these destinations can be served by a single platform?

It would certainly make it easy for me, if I knew the fast Ipswich trains always left from platform 9.

I suspect that as London Overground has only three destinations; Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town, whiich have a maximum frequency of four tph, that they could easily manage with four platforms; one for each destination and a spare.

This would give Greater Anglia eleven platforms.

Note this about Greater Anglia’s new trains.

  • The Class 745 trains will be of a fixed formation of twelve cars.
  • Will the three-car and four-car Class 755 trains have the ability to join and split automatically?
  • Will the five-car Class 720 trains have the ability to join and split automatically?

Having seen how Class 395 trains and others can do this in under a couple of minutes and the flexibility of destinations it gives, I will be very surprised if Greater Anglia haven’t specified this capability.

  • As an example, two four-car Class 755 trains could start at Lowestoft and Bury St. Edmunds respectively and then join at Ipswich, before proceeding to London as an eight-car train.
  • Would it be sensible that all trains go into Liverpool Street at maximum length?
  • Trains might split and join at Ipswich, Colchester and perhaps Chelmsford. All that is needed is a long platform.

Perhaps Greater Anglia’s platforms at Liverpool Street could be allocated something like this.

For Flirts (Class 745 and Class 755)

  • Norwich
  • Ipswich/Lowestoft
  • Stansted Airport
  • Cambridge

For Aventras (Class 720)

  • Bishops Stordford/Broxbourne/Hertford East
  • Colchester/Harwich
  • Clacton/Walton
  • Chelmsford/Braintree
  • Southend

On this rough assessment, it would appear that at least for a few years Liverpool Street station could cope.

Developing Stratford As A Second Terminal

Consider these facts about the railway hub at Stratford.

  • Stratford has not been fully developed as a terminal for the West Anglia routes and only handles two tph to and from Bishops Stortford.
  • Stratford has two platforms 11 and 12, that were built to serve the West Anglia routes; the West Anglia Main Line and the Lea Valley Lines.
  • Platforms 11 and 12 are on the High Meads Loop, which would reverse the trains on West Anglia routes.
  • Stratford is well connected to Crossrail, Central and Jubilee Lines of the Underground, the DLR, the Overground , Highspeed services to Kent and Greater Anglia services on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Stratford has better connections than Liverpool Street to London Bridge and Waterloo
  • Stratford could have excellent connections to Highspeed services to Kent and Continental services at Ashford International.
  • Stratford will be only a few minutes from Liverpool Street on Crossrail.

Stratford is also a destination in its own right, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the massive shopping complex.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the complex at Stratford.

It is very much capable of development.

  • Better connections could be made between Stratford International and the main station.
  • The subways in the complex could be improved.
  • The Hall Farm Curve could be reinstated to give direct connections between Stratford and Walthamstow/Chingford.

I would not be surprised if Greater Anglia increased their services to and from Stratford.

I could also envisage a timetable, where trains alternate between the two terminals., as every passenger will have their favoured terninal.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 is the long-term solution.

Upwards of ten tph will run between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale, before entering the tunnel to Central and South West London.

It will obviously handle all the local services South of Broxbourne, with just the services from the North continuing to Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Following Abbey Wood, Reading and Shenfield stations on Crossrail, I think that we would see Broxbourne station developed as a simple interchange between longer distance services and Crossrail 2.

Both services would have their own tracks to London.

Conclusion

The West Anglia Main Line urgently needs improvement and this improvement can be broken down into a series of smaller projects, the first three of which have already started and could be completed by 2020.

  1. Creation of STAR – The Stratford-Angel Road Metro – Already started.
  2. Building of new Meridian Water station to replace Angel Road station – Already started.
  3. Rebuilding of Tottenham Hale station – Already started.
  4. Post-Crossrail Improvements at Liverpool Street and Stratford stations.
  5. Removal of level crossings at Brimsdown, Enfield Lock and Waltham Cross
  6. Four-tracking between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.
  7. Step-Free Stations
  8. Reinstatement of the Hall Farm Curve.

These projects will also get the main line Crossrail 2-ready.

This process has already started with the creation of STAR, which will create a third track as far as Angel Road station. In the article on IanVisits, this is said.

Along the tracks nearby there are already hi-vis wearing Network Rail contractors clearing the land to prepare it for the Stratford to Angel Road (STAR) rail upgrade project which will see a third railway track added. Passive provision for a fourth track will be included for Crossrail 2.

This work has already closed the level crossing at Nothumberland Park station.

In Innovation In Railway Projects, I describe how Network Rail are aiming to create a pipeline of smaller projects.

I feel that some parts of the updating of the West Anglia Main Line can be done in this way.

 

 

 

August 1, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Grayling On Crossrail 2

This is Chris Grayling’s thoughts on |Crossral 2 for this article in City AM.

I am a supporter of Crossrail 2 but given its price tag we have to ensure that we get this right. The mayor and I have agreed to work together on it over the coming months to develop plans that are as strong as possible, so that the public gets an affordable scheme that is fair to the UK taxpayer.

Following a successful outcome being reached I am keen to launch a fresh public consultation to help gather views to improve the scheme and clarify the position around the safeguarded route.

So perhaps, the line will get built after all.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

17 Tube Stations That Face Chronic Overcrowding If Crossrail 2 Is Stopped

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s Standard.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Hundreds of thousands more Londoners will suffer chronic overcrowding on the Tube if Crossrail 2 does not go ahead, it was claimed today.

Transport for London released a list of 17 Underground stations that could buckle under the strain of too many commuters within a few years.

It then lists the stations.

  • Euston
  • King’s Cross St. Pancras
  • Liverpool Street
  • London Bridge
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo
  • Finsbury Park
  • Stockwell
  • Stratford
  • Oxford Circus
  • Highbury & Islington
  • Clapham Common
  • Clapham North
  • Clapham South
  • Holborn
  • Warren Street
  • Leicester Square

It then quotes Caroline Pidgeon, who obtained the list, as follows.

Overcrowding on the Underground is already a daily battle, with many passengers facing regular delays to simply get through barriers at stations.

Unless Crossrail 2 is built these delays will increasingly build up until drastic measures are necessary at 17 key Tube stations, not to mention Clapham Junction railway station.

“Planning ahead for Crossrail 2 is not an optional extra for London’s transport network but of vital importance to keep London moving.

She has certainly highlighted a serious problem.

Call For Crossrail 2

Two years ago to the day, I wrote a post called Call For Crossrail 2 in response to a letter in The Times, from a wide cross section of business leaders calling for a start to be made on the line.

In the post, I talked about improving various stations, just by building Crossrail 2, so in the following notes on the list of crowded stations, I will refer to this post several times in the following.

Euston

Euston tube station is a particular problem in that in the next decade or so, the following will or could happen.

Hopefully, the rebuilding for whichever comes first of  HS2 or Crossrail 2, will make provision for even the most fanciful of expansions.

One Transport for London engineer told me that one of the main reasons for building HS2 and terminating it at Euston, is to be able to sort out the dreadful Euston tube station.

Kings Cross St. Pancras

Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station had a pretty good makeover around the time of the 2012 London Olympics, but it does suffer congestion and travellers have to walk long distances.

The Wikipedia entry for Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station has a section for Crossrail 2. This is said.

Since 1991, a route for a potential Crossrail 2 has been safeguarded, including a connection at King’s Cross St Pancras and Euston, forming the station Euston King’s Cross St Pancras. The proposed scheme would offer a second rail link between King’s Cross and Victoria in addition to the Victoria line. The locations for any new stations on the route will depend on the loading gauge of the final scheme. In the 2007 safeguarded route, the next stations would be Tottenham Court Road and Angel.

There is also a proposal to reopen the closed York Road tube station. In the Wikipedia entry for York Road station under Proposed Reopening, this is said.

One of London’s largest redevelopment projects, King’s Cross Central, began construction in 2008 across the road from the station. Islington council and Transport for London commissioned a study in 2005 to consider the possible reopening of the station. At the same time, however, it was recognised that other transport priorities reduced the likelihood of such a project moving forward in the near future. The site would need extensive overhauls to bring the station up to modern day standards, at a cost estimated at £21 million in 2005. Local political groups have been keen to see the station reopened in order to reduce passenger congestion at King’s Cross St. Pancras and to encourage development in the surrounding community. The Islington Liberal Democrats advocated the reopening of the station in their 2006 local election manifesto, and at least one candidate for the Islington Conservative Party similarly campaigned for the station to be reopened. However, to date, the reopening proposal has not been taken forward.

I wonder if York Road tube station will ever be reopened.

Liverpool Street

The Liverpool Street station complex will be even bigger and busier after Crossrail opens.

The main difference will be that the current Shenfield Metro will now disappear into the ground at Stratford and go under Central London to Heathrow and Reading.

Crossrail 2 will effectively channel the Lea Valley services, that current go into Liverpool Street station under London to emerge in the Wimbledon area.

Effectively, Crossrail and Crossrail 2 major effect on Liverpool Street station are to free up capacity in both tracks and platforms, thuis allowing more longer distance services to use the station.

London Bridge

London Bridge station is being rebuilt and expanded, but little seems to be planned for London Bridge tube station to cope with more passengers.

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this about Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line.

Crossrail 2 will have interchanges with the Northern Line at Angel, Kings Cross St. Pancras, Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Tooting Broadway and possibly Clapham Junction. So it looks like that Crossrail 2 will certainly make journeys easier for users of the Northern Line.

This should mean that travellers on the Northern Line will be able to avoid a congested London Bridge tube station.

Victoria

Victoria tube station is being extended and rebuilt, which should result in sufficient capacity for more than a few years.

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this about Crossrail 2 and the Victoria Line.

Crossrail 2 will effectively by-pass the central part of the Victoria Line as the two lines connect at Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters, Kings Cross, Euston and Victoria.

This should take some of the pressure from Victoria tube station.

Waterloo

Waterloo tube station is a very busy tube station, as it has to cope with all the passengers using Waterloo station.

Crossrail 2 will allow passengers to bypass Waterloo, when travelling to and from Central London.

However, three major improvements will be delivered this year.

  • The old Eurostar platforms are being brought back into use.
  • Extra capacity is being added to the Underground station.
  • I also think that when they have completed the improvements at the Bank end of the Waterloo and City Line. 
  • Will improvements follow at the Waterloo end?

I think Waterloo shouldn’t be judged until the current round of work is completed.

Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park station is a station that suffered badly when the Victoria Line was tunnelled through in the 1960s.

Lifts are being installed, but extra services will be added.

  • Thameslink will call regularly at the station.
  • The services on the Northern City Line will become the Great Northern Metro with an increased frequency.

Crossrail 2 will provide relief for Finsbury Park, as it provides a by-pass for the Victoria Line.

But the station needs to have quite a bit of rebuilding.

Stockwell

Stockwell tube station is where the Victoria and Northern Lines meet South of Victoria.

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

I’m not sure how Crossrail 2 helps here, but I suspect Transport for London hope that the new line will divert passengers away from Stockwell.

Stratford

Stratford station is another station that will be partially bypassed by Crossrail 2.

I do think that after Crossrail opens, that changes will be made at Stratford station to perhaps move some Liverpool Street services to Stansted and Cambridge.

This would bring more services to some not very busy platforms.

In West Anglia Route Improvement – The High Meads Loop, I described how it might all work.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in this area.

Trains from Cambridge and Stansted would arrive at Temple Mills East Junction and would go round the High Meads Loop dropping and picking up passengers in Platforms 11 and 12 bwfore returning North.

An extra platform could even be added to serve services in Stratford International station.

The tunnels under the platforms at Stratford station would probably need improvement, but who knows how Eastenders will duck and dive after Crossrail opens.

As an example, passengers from Shenfield to Canary Wharf will probably use the cross-platform change at Whitechapel station, rather than pick up the Jubilee Line or the DLR at Stratford.

Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus tube station has needed improvement for years.

Crossrail will give some relief, as there will be new additional entrances to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations closer to Oxford Circus.

I did look at what might happen in What Will The Elizabeth Line Do For Oxford Street?.

I came to this conclusion about Crossrail 2 and Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 has just one interchange in the Oxford Street area at Tottenham Court Road station.

I would be very surprised in that in the massive rebuilding of the current station for Crossrail, that provision hasn’t been made to connect to Crossrail 2.

There have been surface issues around the station concerned with Crossrail 2, but given good planning of the project, I feel that the building of Crossrail 2 would only effect the area in a similar way to the replacement of a major block on Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 will have two major effects.

  • It will bring large numbers of visitors to the Oxford Street area.
  • Just as Crossrail and the Central Line will work as a high-capacity pair, it will work closely with the Victoria Line to relieve that line.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the wider Oxford Street area needs to be and will be pedestrianised.

In some ways preparation for the pedestrianisation has already started by reorganising the buses.

Oxford Circus tube station is also high on Transport for London’s improvement list.

This map from carto.metro,free.fr shows the lines through the station.

I suspect that if developers were interested in rebuilding any of the buildings on the South side of Oxford Street or perhaps even around the BBC to the North, that there could be arm-twisting and deal-making to sneak new entrances into Oxford Circus tube station.

Highbury & Islington

Highbury & Islington station, is one of my local ones and it is getting some much-needed improvement.

  • The Northern City Line will be getting frequent new Class 717 trains to create the Great Northern Metro.
  • Highbury Corner will be remodelled to improve pedestrian access to the station.
  • Bus and taxi access is being improved..

But nothing has been announced about improving the chronic access to the two deep-level lines at the station.

Speaking to staff at the station, they feel that a solution is possible, using the second entrance on the other side of the road.

In some ways the Great Northern Metro with its cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line could be the saviour of this station, as it gives direct access to the City and to Crossrail at Moorgate station.

One of London’s forgotten lines could be riding to the rescue.

Clapham Common

Clapham Common tube station is one of my least favourite. This picture shows why.

It’s downright dangerous now, so when the Northern Line frequency is increased will the station cope?

Clapham North

Clapham North tube station is another dangerous island platform.

But at least the station has escalators.

In A Journey Round The Clapham Stations, a post I wrote in December 2015, I said this.

Having seen Clapham North and Clapham Common stations today, I do wonder if a diversion could be dug as at Angel, Bank and London Bridge, to create safe new stations. This new tunnel could surely be part of the works to add step-free access to one or both stations and connect the tunnels to Clapham High Street station.

What with the Northern Line Extension to Battersea, the rebuilding of Bank and Camden Town stations and all the resignalling of the past few years, the Northern Line could at last be fulfilling its potential.

This could go a long way to  sorting the problem of the Clapham stations.

Clapham South

Clapham South tube station is not as bad as the other two Clapham stations discussed earlier.

Crossrail 2 may reduce the level of overcrowding on the Northern Line trains through the three Clapham stations, as passengers could change at Balham or Tooting Broadway stations to and from the new high-capacity line.

However, nothing short of some serious building work will solve the island platform problems at Clapham Common and Clapham North stations.

Holborn

Holborn tube station is very busy, but is one that could benefit from Crossrail, due to that line’s relationship with the Cerntral Line.

Crossrail 2 will certainly benefit the station, as it will relieve the pressure on the Piccadilly Line.

But Transport for London have published plans to add a second entrance and full step-free access. This is a 3-Dview of the plans.

Note the second entrance will be in Procter Street.

The only problem is that it could be 2021 before a decision is made.

However as a Piccadilly Line station, Holborn will benefit from the New Tube For London, before the upgrade.

Warren Street

Warren Street tube station is another Central London station on the Victoria Line, that could benefit from Crossrail 2’s duplication of the Victoria Line.

Leicester Square

Leicester Square tube station is just one stop on the Northern Line from the major new interchange of Tottenham Court Road station, which will be served by both Crossrail and Crossrail 2.

The station has needed more capacity since I first used it in the 1950s.

It needs step-free access.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Leicester Square station.

There is quite a tight knot of stations, of which only Tottenham Court Road has both escalators and lifts, although Goodge Street and Covent Garden have lifts only.

Leicester Square is an unusual station in that both the Northern and Piccadilly Lines are accessed by short passages and a short staircase from a fair-sized lobby at the bottom of a long set of escalators.

Clapham Junction

Clapham Junction station is the only non-Underground station in the seventeen stations named, where overcrowding could become chronic if Crossrail 2 is not built.

It is the busiest station by number of trains in Europe, so it must be difficult to keep on top of increasing numbers of passengers.

In the Wikipedia entry for the station under Future Proposals, this is said.

In 2007 the alignment of one of the two variants of Crossrail 2, that via the station rather than Putney and Wimbledon, was safeguarded. The Department for Transport and Transport for London continue to discuss proposal for a Clapham Junction Northern Line extension and its London Underground alignment has been legally reserved through Battersea Park, and would connect Clapham Junction to the London Underground for the first time.

Government and Network Rail funding for in the early 2010s of £50 million of improvements was granted. This comprised an upgrade to the main interchange: new entrances and more retail.

Surely something needs to be done, if Crossrail 2 is not built.

My proposals would include.

  • Developing the West London Line services.
  • Extending the Northern Line from Battersea Power Station station.
  • Improving the frequency of trains into Waterloo.
  • Make the station subway step-free.

There may be a need for more platforms, but the London Overground found this difficult.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the platforms in the station.

Simple it isn’t!

Conclusions

It surprised me how many of these stations will need substantial building work to cure the overcrowding.

Note.

  1. Every Victoria Line station between Oxford Circus and Finsbury Park is on the list.
  2. Four Northern Line stations between Stockwell to Clapham South is on the list.
  3. I think this shows how the designers of the Northern and Victoria Lines didn’t expect the traffic the lines now handle.

But overall, I think it shows how when you design a station, you don’t cut corners.

I also think to blame all these problems on the uncertainty about Crossrail 2, is probably a bit strong.

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street will probably have enough capacity when Crossrail opens, especially as the station will incorporate Moorgate and be substantially step-free.
  • The new London Bridge effectively adds high-frequency rail lines to Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross and St. Pancras and when Thameslink and Southeastern are fully developed, the station will cope.
  • Victoria shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Waterloo shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Finsbury Park shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Stratford will probably have enough capacity when Crossrail  opens, especially as the station is substantially step-free.
  • Oxford Circus should see improvement when Crossrail opens, especially as there’ll be new step-free entrances to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, that will be closer to Oxford Circus, than the current stations.
  • Highbury & Islington should see marginal improvement, when the Northern City Line is updated.

However, nothing short of substantial construction will sort Euston, Clapham Common, Clapham North, Holborn, Leicester Square and Clapham Junction.

 

 

 

 

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

Simon Jenkins Questions Southern HS2 Terminal

Simon Jenkins in the Standard has a piece today entitled It’s Not Too Late To Make HS2 Somehow Work For London, by proposing even at this late stage the Southern terminal of HS2 be moved from Euston station to Old Oak Common station.

He makes these points against choosing Euston.

  • HS2 has never had many friends among politicians, railway buffs or think-tanks.
  • Serious questions must be asked about HS2’s most costly and controversial feature, the line’s route into Euston from its last stop at Old Oak Common in west London.
  • Euston is London’s worst station, with the worst connections.
  • The new Euston will need a costly new tunnel under Primrose Hill, incidentally wiping out hundreds of houses.
  • It will claim seven of Virgin’s platforms at Euston, thus reducing station capacity.
  • For some time, smart money in HS2 circles has been on the line stopping at Old Oak Common, at least “temporarily”
  • Successive plans for a new station have been submitted to Camden council and then withdrawn.
  • Either way, choosing Euston will mean a decade of chaos.

Against these points he says this in favour of Old Oak Common station.

Meanwhile, a terminus at Old Oak Common is plausible. The old Great Western Railway depot and marshalling yard has become London’s largest regeneration area since Canary Wharf. Its acres of tracks include lines to Paddington, Euston and Heathrow, as well as stations on Crossrail and the Central and Bakerloo lines. The site is near the North Circular and the M40, and is within spitting distance of the M1 and M4. Passengers on HS2 heading for the City would find it more convenient to join Crossrail at Old Oak Common, rather than trundle their bags down crammed access tunnels at Euston.

He makes strong arguments and personally, I would not be against what he says, as getting to Old Oak Common station will be easy for me on the North London Line.

But once Crossrail 2 is built, then Euston will be just two stops away from an enlarged Dalston station at the end of my road.

Conclusion

I can’t lose on house prices!

 

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Every Picture Tells A Story!

The April 2017 Edition of Modern Railways has a picture of a  Crossrail Class 345 train on the High Meads Loop.

The main purpose of the High Meads Loop would appear to be to allow trains to go from Lea Bridge station through Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station and then back to Lea Bridge without the driver changing cabs.

So what was the train doing?

  • I doubt it would have been running up the busy West Anglia Main Line, as even in the maddest scenarios, Crossrail will not be running there.
  • Could it have just been route proving on a line that other Aventras will use from 2018 or 2019?
  • Perhaps it was running to Broxbourne to assess performance for Crossrail 2.

But if it is was running on the High Meads Loop, as the picture caption says, was it testing that Aventras can be turned using the loop?

So could this mean that services from the  West Anglia Main Line terminating at Stratford will use the High Meads Loop rather than the Platforms 11 and 12.

Each of Platforms 11 and 12 could probably handle four trains per hour (tph), as is regularly handled by terminal platform on the London Overground.

But terminating in the High Meads loop, which would mean that all services would call at perhaps Platform 11 could give a capacity of upwards of 14 tph, as is the frequency on the Wirral Line on Merseyrail. But the Wirral Line was designed in the 1970s , so surely we can do better than that, as Crossrail and Thameslink will handle 24 tph and even the conventionally signalled East London Line will be handling 20 tph in 2019.

If it was 20 tph, this would mean that Platform 11 at Stratford could see a train every three minutes, possibly going to the following.

  • 4 tph to Walthamstow Central and Chingford via the Hall Farm Curve.
  • 8 tph to Broxborne
  • 2 tph to Hertford East
  • 2 tph to Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph to Stansted Airport
  • 2 tph to Cambridge

In addition the following services could run from Liverpool Street.

  • 2 tph to Hertford East
  • 2 tph to Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph to Stansted Airport
  • 2 tph to Cambridge

This sort of schedule would be possible given the following improvements and developments.

Signalling

Modern signalling as fitted to Crossrail and Thameslink is installed.

Stadler Flirts

Stadler probably have a good knowledge of the performance of the Flirts.

Current fastest timings are as follows.

  • Liverpool Street to Broxbourne – 25 minutes
  • Broxbourne to Cambridge – 45 minutes.

The Flirts will be faster than the current trains and will be optimised for a very fast stop at a station. So I do wonder what sort of times could be achieved between Bishops Stortford and Cambridge stopping at all stations.

Fast Lines To Broxbourne

Two separate non-stop fast lines will be built between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.

  • Cambridge and Stansted services take the fast line to Broxbourne.
  • All trains on the fast lines will be Stadler Flirts.
  • With fast line trains the first stop is Broxbourne.

The fast lines would also handle extra services from Liverpool Street, which might be 2 tph to each of Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

A summary of traffic on the fast lines between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne could be.

  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Cambridge
  • 2 tph – Stratford and Cambridge
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport
  • 2 tph – Stratford and Stansted Airport

There is probably a few paths for other trains.

North Of Broxbourne

North of Broxbourne the service will be very much better than now.

  • What helps is that both the Flirts and the Aventras will be masters of the quick stop-start at a station.
  • Stansted services will probably go non-stop from Broxbourne..
  • Some Cambridge services will go non-stop and others will stop at all stations.

I think it can be arranged that all stations North of Broxbourne get 4 tph in both directions.

A summary of traffic on the lines between Broxbourne and Bishops Stortford could be.

  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph – Stratford and Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Cambridge
  • 2 tph – Stratford and Cambridge
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport
  • 2 tph – Stratford and Stansted Airport

A summary of traffic on the lines between Bishops Stortford and Cambridge could be.

  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Cambridge
  • 2 tph – Stratford and Cambridge
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport
  • 2 tph – Stratford and Stansted Airport

There would also be additional Stansted Airport to Cambridge services.

Slow Lines

The slow lines will be upgraded to be able to handle 16 tph stopping at all stations between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne, which they probably do now at times.

  • All trains on the slow lines are Aventras.
  • A second platform is built at Ware, as this would enable four tph to Hertford East.
  • Cross-platform interchange between slow and fast lines at Broxbourne.

A summary of traffic on the slow lines between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne could be.

  • 8 tph – Stratford to Broxborne
  • 2 tph – Straford to Hertford East
  • 2 tph – Stratford to Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street to Bishops Stortford

Crossrail 2 is proposing a frequency of 12 tph North of Tottenham Hale, so my randomly-chosen frequency gives you that.

Liverpool Street

Liverpool Street station will become the terminus for the following.

  •  Great Eastern Main Line.
  • 2 tph to each of Bishops Stortford,, Cambridge, Hertford East and Stansted Airport.
  • London Overground setvices to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town.
  • Perhaps a few c2c services.

Given that Liverpool Street and Stratford are just eight minutes away on Crossrail, is there any reason to keep West Anglia Main Line services at Liverpool Street?

But then, there are others who know more about train scheduling than me and perhaps a good balance can be made between the two termini.

Stratford International Station

If Stratford services used the High Meads Loop, a connection could be built to Stratford International Station.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2-like frequencies would have been created between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.

All it would need to complete Crossrail 2 after the suburban services out of Waterloo have been upgraded this summer, is to build the Central Tunnel.

Conclusion

Using the High Meads Loop is a good plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

, Does that mean that Stansted and Cambridge services will be using Stratford as a terminal when Greater Anglia gets Aventras and Flirts?

 

Were they just seeing if it fits?

March 23, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Could Enfield Lock Station Have A Bay Platform?

In West Anglia Route Improvement – Modern Railways March 2017, I mentioned that Crossrail 2 might like to have turnback platform at Enfield Lock station.

As this morning, I turned back myself at Enfield Lock station, as it’s the Freedom Pass limit, I took these pictures.

This Google Map shows the middle of the station.

If you look at the West side of the station by the Down line, you’ll notice the house, which from the pictures could be a candidate for demolition.

So I do think, it might be possible to squeeze an extra platform, by the Down Line.

This Google Map shows the Southern end of the platforms.

The space available would certainly be enough for an extra platform, but will there be enough for two fast lines between the current Up Line and the houses?

I suspect that there is, if the current lines could be moved slightly to the West.

But as at Tottenham  Hale and Brimsdown, fitting the two fast lines through \Enfield Lock, is going to need a cunning plan.

H

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – Modern Railways March 2017

The March 2017 Edition of Modern Railways sheds some more light on what is happening at the between Angel Road and Tottenham Hale stations.

They state  the following about the current works.

  • The Stratford area and its station is growing in importance.
  • The line is slated for improvement under the Stratford-Tottenham-Angel Road (STAR) project.
  • STAR will involve laying a third track between Stratford and Angel Road, alongside the West Anglia Main Line and the Temple Mills Branch to Stratford.
  • STAR will be completed at the end of 2018.
  • STAR will run at a frequency of four trans per hour (tph)

A picture in the magazine taken from a footbridge shows very much what my pictures show.

They also state this about Crossrail 2

  • Crossrail 2 would be overlaid on the existing network serving both Liverpool Street and Stratford stations.
  • Coppermill junction could be converted to a grade-separated rather than a flat junction.
  • Crossrail 2 would emerge from the tunnel South of Tottenham Hale.
  • The project would quadruple the West Anglia Main Line from the tunnel portal to Broxbourne.
  • STAR would be built to facilitate this.
  • A turnback platform is being considered at Tottenham Hale
  • A turnback platform is being considered at Enfield Lock
  • Turnback platforms and stabling sidings are considered at Broxbourne.

So how does all this fit with my observations?

STAR

I very much feel that STAR could be only a stop-gap development until Crossrail 2 arrives. In What Is STAR?, I give a few basic details.

After all will it still be needed to run just four tph between Angel Road and Stratford, when there could be upwards of 10-15 tph on Crossrail 2 and other services between Tottenham Hale and Stratford?

Something is needed immediately to serve Angel Road station and the massive Meridian Water development, which will result in the renaming of Angel Road station to Meridian Water,

The timings from Tottenham Hale are currently as follows.

  • Stratford – 14 minutes
  • Lea Bridge – 4 minutes
  • Northumberland Park – 2 ,minutes
  • |Angel Road – 4 minutes

Modern Railways states STAR will use a third track between Stratford and Angel Road. So if it was designed to be straight and flat and if it is running new Aventra trains from either London Overground or Greater Anglia with a fast stop capability, I wonder if timings could be achieved, which would enable just two trains to run the required service.

But I also suspect that STAR would provide a valuable service to link Meridian Water to Tottenham Hale and Stratford stations, even after Crossrail 2 opens.

STAR At Tottenham Hale

This picture shows the available space at Tottenham Hale station, which doesn’t appear to be enough for two lines.

Not Much Space For Two Tracks

Note the newly-installed cable ducts.

Modern Railways states STAR will use a third track between Stratford and Angel Road. A single track would certainly fit through here.

Suppose the current platform 1 on the left, was made an island platform for the existing London-bound line and the track for STAR going along the route that now almost looks like freshly-mowed grass.

  • The new platform could be Platform 0
  • STAR would be worked in a bi-directional  manner, always calling at Platform 0
  • When Tottenham Hale station is re-built in the near future, Platform 0 will have full step-free access to the Victoria Line, courtesy of Platform 1.
  • It would have cross-platform access to Liverpool Street services on Platform 1.
  • Moving some Stansted or Cambridge service from Liverpool Street to Stratford might be operationally worthwhile after Crossrail opens.

Platform usage at Tottenham Hale would be as follows.

  • 0 – All STAR services.
  • 1 – Services to Liverpool Street
  • 2 – Northbound services except STAR.

That would be very logical for passengers and not the most complicated of construction projects.

STAR At Angel Road

If the third track continued to Angel Road station as seems to be proposed, then a  single bay platform could handle the four tph.

Space would have to be left for the two future new lines that will be installed, when the full West Anglia four-tracking takes place.

The STAR track could be close to the current West Anglia Up Line, as it will be at Tottenham Hale with the two new lines on the Eastern side of the station.

If the STAR track was on the outside, there would have to be a flat junction, where the STAR track crossed the two extra lines.

Until Crossrail 2 is built, I also suspect that STAR could be only service calling at Angel Road.

So there will be a lot of flexibility on how the station is built.

STAR At Northumberland Park

This picture shows the current works at Northumberland Park station.

Northumberland Park Station

This picture was taken from the footbridge in the station.

Could the current platform 1 at the station be converted into an island platform between the current West Anglia Up Line and a STAR track between the West Anglia Main Line and the Northumberland Park Depot for the Victoria Line?

I suspect the answer is in the affirmative.

There might even be space for more lines through the area, when the West Anglia Main Line is four-tracked.

STAR At Lea Bridge Station

Lea Bridge station is a recently-opened station on the Temple Mills Branch between Tottenham Hale and Stratford and I doubt  there is sufficient space for a separate track for STAR with its own platform through the station.

This picture is from A Look At Lea Bridge Station, which shows the station in detail.

 

Alongside Lea Bridge Station

 

The STAR track would have to go through here and would probably mean substantial rebuilding of a brand-new station.

So all services to Stratford will call at Platform 1 and all services from Stratford will call at Platform 2.

This will mean a junction North of Lea Bridge station, so that services can get themselves to the right lines for Tottenham Hale or in future the Chingford Branch along a rebuilt Hall Farm Curve.

  • Southbound STAR, Chingford Branch Line and other services to Stratford will merge before Lea Bridge station to pass through Platform 1.
  • Northbound STAR and Chingford Branch Line services will pass through Platform 2 and then cross over the Temple Mills Branch Up Line to the bi-directional STAR track alongside the main lines to Tottenham Hale.
  • Northbound Chingford Branch Line services will take the Hall Farm Curve to get to St. James station and the Chingford Branch Line.
  • Other Northbound services from Stratford will stay on the Temple Mills Branch Down Line and go straight to Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale.

Traffic crossing from the Temple Mills Branch Down Line over the Up Line to get to the STAR track would include.

  • STAR services of four tph.
  • Services from Stratford to Walthamstow and Chingford, which could be between two and four tph.

Due to restrictions on capacity caused by the level crossing at Highams Park station on the Chingford Branch Line, I suspect this could initially be just 2 tph, until a solution for the restriction is found.

STAR at Stratford

One possible problem is the capacity at Stratford station, which only has two possible terminal platforms 11 and 12.

Platform 11 is used for the current two tph that go up and down the West Anglia Main Line, but Platform 12 is currently just giving out messages saying “I’m Free!”

Platforms like these can generally handle four tph, as they do at stations like Highbury and Islington or Dalston Junction. But is a capacity of eight tph enough if some Stansted and Cambridge services are added to the mix.

But there may be other possibilities!

In High Meads Loop, I look at how an existing loop around Eastfield and Stratford International station could be used to turn trains.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr , shows the High Meads Loop.

stratfordlines

Use of the High Meads Loop would enable the following.

  • Probably upwards of 10-12 tph to be turned back at Stratford.
  • Trains would call in either Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station.
  • Trains could call at Stratford International station.

Currently Platforms 11 and 12 can only handle eight-car trains, but they could be lengthened for the the new 12-car Stadler Flirts, that will work the London to Cambridge and Stansted services in a couple of years.

Cambridge, Stansted and Lea Valley services would have simple changes to the following services at Stratford.

  • Central Line
  • Crossrail for City and East London, Essex, Heathrow, Paddington and the West End.
  • DLR for Docklands and South East London.
  • European services, if they were to call at Stratford International. As they should!
  • Greater Anglia for Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich and all the branches.
  • Jubilee Line for Canary Wharf, London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.
  • North London Line for Clapham Junction, Old Oak Common and West and South West London.
  • Southeastern Highspeed to Ebbsfleet, Kent and East Sussex.

I suspect that London Overground and/or Greater Anglia have a cunning plan to collect all of these services and platforms together in an optimal manner for the benefit of all stakeholders.

But it’s really just the East End of London asserting its true place in London’s hierarchy.

The Stratford/High Meads Advantage

Using the High Meads Loop at Stratford to turn trains from the West Anglia Main Line could be a big advantage in the next few years.

All of these construction projects need to be carried out.

  • Rebuilding of Tottenham Hale station.
  • Updating of Coppermill Junction.
  • Four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Lengthening of platforms at Liverpool Street station.
  • Connection of Crossrail 2 to the West Anglia Main Line.

If a connection between Tottenham Hale and Stratford  via Lea Bridge can be maintained at all times during this massive amount of construction, which given the space available is very possible, then Stratford could be an alternative destination for diverted West Anglia Main Line and local services, that are unable to connect to Liverpool Street.

STAR And Electrification

This picture shows where the single STAR track will pass under the Ferry Lane Bridge at Tottenham Hale station

Ferry Lane Bridge At Tottenham Hale Station

When I first looked at this bridge and saw the height of the overhead electrification on the existing West Anglia Main Line under the far span, I immediately questioned if they could fit the electrification under either of the blue steel bridges, where STAR might pass, in a manner that would meet all the Health and Safety regulations.

The only way to electrify and be certain of the safety would be to replace the bridge with a modern structure. But this would take a couple of years and can it be built without closing an important route to and from London for a couple of months?

So I come to the conclusion that the STAR line will not be electrified and the line will use electric trains with onboard energy storage or IPEMUs.

  • I have been told by the manufacturer that all Aventra trains are wired for onboard energy storage.
  • Both possible operators of the star service; Greater Anglia and London Overground are obtaining sizeable fleets of suitable Aventra trains,
  • Greater Anglia’s Aventras are five-car trains.
  • London Overground’s Class 710 trains are four-car trains.
  • Delivery of London Overground’s trains is scheduled to start in 2018, so they are a just-in-time delivery.
  • The route between Lea Bridge and Stratford is fully electrified, so trains could charge the batteries South of Lea Bridge station.
  • Diesel trains would be an alternative, but probably not appropriate in the Lea Valley.

For added safety, the well-proven method of slab track will be used under the bridge to ensure the train stays stable.

The outcome will be the ecologically sustainable development of Meridian Water gets appropriate electric trains to shuttle residents to Crossrail and the Eastfield Shopping Centre at Stratford.

Crossrail 2

I shall make a few comments about what the article says about Crossrail 2.

Crossrail 2 Would Be Overlaid On The Existing Network

How else is there to do it without building a whole new line on a different route up the Lea Valley?

Incidentally, plans used to exist for extending the Chingford Branch Line to Stansted Airport through Epping Forest. I doubt that will ever happen, especially as Queen Victoria is supposed to have said no!

Coppermill Junction Could Be Converted To A Grade-Separated Rather Than A Flat Junction

These pictures were taken from a train, that was going from Lea Bridge to Tottenham Hale, through the area of Coppermill Junction.

At present the following happens at Coppermill Junction.

  • Trains between Liverpool Street and Chingford pass straight over the junction.
  • Trains from Liverpool Street to Tottenham Hale curve left from the Chingford Branch Line to join the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Trains from Tottenham Hale to Liverpool Street cross in a flat junction over the West Anglia Down Line and the Chingford Branch Down Line to get on track for Liverpool Street.

When the West Anglia Main Line has been four-tracked and the STAR track has been inserted alongside the current tracks, the fast tracks will probably be the two most Easterly tracks through Tottenham Hale.

This will mean that the West Anglia Up Fast will have to cross the following lines to get on the Chingford Up Line.

  • The bi-directional STAR line.
  • The double-track of the Temple Mills Branch to Stratford.
  • The Chingford Down Line.

In the opposite direction, the following tracks will have to be crossed.

  • The double-track of the Temple Mills Branch to Stratford.
  • The bi-directional STAR line.

These movements will need a very complicated Coppermill Junction.

As four-tracking is all about faster services between Liverpool Street and Cambridge and Stansted, it would be detrimental to not have an efficient Coppermill Junction, with some grade separation.

I think we probably need flyovers or dive-unders on the following routes.

  • West Anglia Up Fast to Chingford Branch Up.
  • Chingford Branch Down to West Anglia Down Fast.

Routes would probably need to be provided so that the trains could go between the West Anglia Slow Lines and the Chingford Branch towards London.

In addition, I’ve heard rumours that trains will be able to go both ways between Tottenham Hale and Walthamstow/Chingford.

There is certainly lots of space to build a complicated junction, as the pictures show.

Crossrail 2 Would Emerge From The Tunnel South of Tottenham Hale

I think that has been known for some time and the possible site is full of London’s demolition rubble.

However, the junction with the West Anglia Slow Lines would probably need to be grade separated and integrated with the spaghetti that Coppermill Junction will probably have become.

The Project Would Quadruple The West Anglia Main Line From The Tunnel Portal To Broxbourne

If fast services to Cambridge and Stansted are to be retained, surely this must be done.

Just imagine 10-15 Crossrail 2 trains and ten fast trains, every hour sharing a pair of lines up the Lea Valley.

In my view the fast lines would be the two most Easterly lines and they probably wouldn’t stop very often, if at all between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Broxbourne.

,

STAR Would Be Built To Facilitate Four-Tracking

Everything I’ve seen leads me to think, that the single STAR track will be next to the West Anglia and Temple Mills Branch Up Line, with the two new lines outside to the East.

I also feel that these new lines will be the fast ones and possibly will have few if any platforms between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.

STAR could be an independent line, well out of the way operationally of other lines.

  • STAR will be bi-directional North of Lea Bridge station.
  • STAR could share island platforms with the West Anglia Up Line at Angel Road, Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale stations.
  • There could be no points on the route once it separates North of Lea Bridge station.
  • The fast lines between Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale could cross the Temple Mills Branch and the STAR line at Coppermill Junction using a flyover.

The last point probably explains the grade-separated junction, I mentioned earlier.

I said earlier that it could be difficult to put extra tracks through Tottenham Hale station. These pictures show the area, where the STAR line and the two new lines will go and also what lies on the other side in the new housing development of Hale Village.

There is more space than I thought earlier. As some of the concrete decking will probably be demolished or modified to build the new entrance and pedestrian bridge for the station, I suspect that the space between the current station and Hale Village can be made wide enough for at least the new lines needed to four-track the West Anglia Main Line.

But I suspect that a way will be found to get the STAR line and the two other lines in what space can be created.

This would mean.

  • The STAR service can continue, as long as it’s needed.
  • There certainly wouldn’t be space for platforms on the two other lines between the current station and Hale Village.
  • So as the slow lines will need platforms, the two new lines will be the fast lines.

North from Tottenham Hale, there is slightly more space, as my picture at Northumberland Park station showed.

As the STAR line is currently planned to terminate at Angel Road station, North from there, the requirement is only the easier one of two tracks and not three.

But if the requirement for three tracks should prove too difficult, as the four-tracking will see Crossrail 2 implemented, I’m sure that the STAR line can be sacrificed to make space. But that would create difficulty in maintaining an adequate service between Angel Road and Stratford whilst the four-tracjing is being carried out.

In some ways STAR has the feel of one of those temporary diversions you get in road works to keep the traffic moving.

  • Tottenham Hale station is going to be rebuilt.
  • Transport is needed urgently for Meridian Water.
  • STAR connects Angel Road to Stratford with all its connections and Crossrail from 2018.
  • When Crossrail 2 is opened, Angel Road, Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale stations will have a frequent high capacity service.
  • Greater Anglia might move some Cambridge and Stansted services from Liverpool Street to Stratford.

I wouldn’t be sure that STAR  would still exist after Crossrail 2 opens.

  • There will be well upwards of ten tph Crossrail 2 trains in both directions calling at Angel Road station.
  • STAR connects Meridian Water with Stratford.
  • STAR gives a four tph connection between Crossrail 2 at Tottenham Hale and Crossrail at Stratford.

Passenger numbers and patterns will decide.

A Turnback Platform Is Being Considered At Tottenham Hale

Tottenham Hale station is being rebuilt and I suspect that if a turnback platform is being considered the station will have provision for the extra platform to be built.

This picture shows the Southern end of Platform 2 at the station with the Ferry Lane Bridge behind.

dscn0039

It certainly couldn’t be described as good engineering.

Connecting the two current platforms is a 1960s bridge, which has steps at both end and a single escalator to bring passengers arriving from the North onto the bridge to walk to the Victoria Line.

Plans for the station envisage a lot of work being done before the end of next year. Future in the Wikipedia entry for the station includes these plans.

  • creating a new landmark entrance to the Station;
  • increasing the capacity of the Station concourse, by doubling the size of the current ticket hall;
  • improving interchange by relocating the Greater Anglia and London Underground gatelines;
  • providing new access to platforms via the new Access for All (AfA) bridge being delivered separately by Network Rail;
  • removing the existing subway which links the south side of Ferry Lane with the Station;
  • extending the existing bridge to form a new Station entrance from Hale Village, providing improved access from the east to Tottenham Hale transport interchange;
  • re-routing the London Underground escape route and relocating the vent shaft;
  • providing a new, upgraded Station control facility; and
  • retail units.

Nothing is said about a turnback platform.

But I think if the Ferry Lane Bridge was to be rebuilt and the new station was modified appropriately, the turnback platform could be positioned behind and alongside the current platform 2.

  • It would share step-free access with that provided for platform 2.
  • There would be cross-platform for passengers arriving in the turnback platform, with services going further down the line.
  • The current waiting room would be demolished.
  • There would be space for the platform.

Current works at the station are moving the taxi rank, which would help the provision of a turnback platform and other features.

A Turnback Platform Is Being Considered At Enfield Lock

When I looked at Enfield Lock station, I showed this Google Map of Enfield Lock station.

enfieldlock2

Given that there will be two extra lines through the area, will there be any space for a turnback platform?

In Level Crossing Issues, I said this.

The Southernmost three of these crossings; Enfield Lock, Brimsdown and Northumberland Park, are close to the A1055 which is variously called Meridian Way or Mollison Avenue, which was built to serve the various industrial and residential sites between Tottenham Hale and Waltham Cross.

This road should obviously be improved, but look at this Google Map of the Northern End of the road.

Note the West Anglia Main Line crossing the map, in a North-South direction. Waltham Cross station is on the other side of the M25.

Surely this could be a site for a new Park-and-Ride station for Crossrail 2!

Could this be where the turnback platform at Enfield Lock will be located in a new station?

Turnback Platforms And Stabling Sidings Are Considered At Broxbourne

Broxborne station has everything needed to be turned into a superb Northern terminus for Crossrail 2.

  • The station has four platforms; two fast and two slow, with cross-platform change.
  • The station is step-free.
  • There is space to add extra through and turnback platforms.
  • There is space for stabling sidings.
  • There is space for masses amounts of parking.
  • The station has a large water feature including the River Lea and the New River.

The station is even Grade II Listed.

I said more in this post called Broxbourne Station. The final paragraph is.

It would not need a massive amount of money to be spent at Broxbourne to make the station a superb Northern terminus for Crossrail 2. It makes Shenfield and Abbey Wood look decidedly second-class now.

It is not often that the terminus of a new rail line is so easy to develop.

Other Questions And Issues

As I have written this post, several questions and issues have suggested themselves.

  • What will be done about the noise of 100 mph plus trains every few minutes on some parts of the route, like through Enfield Lock and Waltham Cross?
  • Could the two new fast lines be placed in a cut-and-cover tunnel through Tottenham Hale?
  • Do any plans exist for the replacement of the Ferry Lane Bridge at Tottenham Hale?
  • Could the High Meads Loop be used to turn trains at Stratford?
  • Will a station be built on the High Meads Loop to serve Stratford International station?

Like Coppermill Junction, it will all get very complicated.

Conclusion

STAR, Crossrail 2 and four-tracking the West Anglia Main Line will probably bring a lot of benefits, but it is not a simple project.

 

 

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

West Anglia Route Improvement – Broxbourne Station – 22nd February 2017

I took these pictures at Broxbourne station.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

broxbourne Station

broxbourne Station

It is almost as if when the station was moved to its current site in 1959, that it was designed to be the Northern terminal of a line like Crossrail 2.

  • The site is generous with lots of space for stabling sidings and parking for cars.
  • The fast trains stop in the middle two platforms giving cross-platform access with the local services on the two outside lines.
  • The station has full step-free access with a waiting area, a cafe and toilets on the massive bridge over the lines.
  • Platforms appear to be ready for 12-car trains.
  • It is a Grade 2 Listed building with a prominent water feature, built in the early-1600s.

Greater Anglia And Broxbourne Station

I don’t think the potential has been lost on Greater Anglia.

  • They have been very vocal about about getting Broxbourne to Yottenham Hale four-tracked as soon as is practically possible. And it appears to be starting.
  • With the splitting of fast and slow services onto separate lines, it must be possible to run say 10 tph on the slow lines.
  • Fast trains to and from Cambridge, Ely and Stansted could probably interchange better with local services.
  • The station is virtually mid-way between the scientific powerhouse of Cambridge and the financial powerhouse of London.
  • Could the station have new a North-facing platform to accept new services from Cambridge, Norwich, Peterborough and perhaps even Lincoln?

Broxbourne must be one of the best mid-line interchanges anywhere in the UK.

It would not need a massive amount of money to be spent at Broxbourne to make the station a superb Northern terminus for Crossrail 2. It makes Shenfield and Abbey Wood look decidedly second-class now.

Greater Anglia’s Plans For Fast Broxbourne Services

But Crossrail 2 is some years away, so how will Greater Anglia maximise the use of this priceless asset?

Greater Anglia have ordered a fleet of 12-car Stadler electric multiple units for Cambridge and Stansted services. After the four-tracking of Broxbourne to Tottenham Hale, you can imagine these trains stopping in the middle two platforms, before or after a fast uninterrupted run to either Liverpool Street or Stratford.

As there are ten of these expresses, I suspect that will see five Stadler trains per hour (tph) to and from London. But we’ll also be seeing some Aventras with a similar performance taking the fast lines.

Greater Anglia’s Plans For Slow Broxbourne Services

I feel that to maximise traffic at all the intermediate stations, there will be a regular service of something like 4 tph all the way between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale.

The slower trains take about 20 minutes with typically five stops. But the trains are thirty-year-old Class 317 trains. and will be replaced by faster Aventras, which are optimised to minimise dwell times at stations.

A similar change is happening on Crossrail, which means that Romford to Liverpool Street stopping at eight stations will go from 31  to 17 minutes.

So I think we’ll see slow Broxbourne to Tottenham Hale services serveral minutes faster than they are now, despite stopping everywhere.

But 4 tph will increase ridership substantially.

Competition For Greater Anglia

It is between Cambridge and London, that Greater Anglia will face the greatest competition as they do now.

But the new trains may be able to almost match the fastest Cambridge to Kings Cross times.

Greater Anglia will also offer other sdvantages.

  • Access to the City of London through Liverpool Street.
  • Access to Crossrail at Liverpool Street and Stratford.
  • Easy access to Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow.

The effects of the new Stadler trains shouldn’t be underestimated.

Stansted is a monopoly, so that will do well!

Changing at Broxbourne between fast and slow services may mean that they generate traffic for Stansted, as currently for many it’s easier to drive.

There is also competition from London Overground’s route from Cheshunt to Liverpool Street, especially as with new trains, this will be route with new Aventra trains.

I do wonder if Greater Anglia will invite London Overground to extend their Cheshunt service by one station to a dedicated platform at Broxbourne station, as this would mean that they would have less need to stop fast Cambridge trains at Cheshunt.

Also before Crossrail 2 is up and running, it would create an eight tph service to London on two separate routes from Broxbourne.

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments