The Anonymous Widower

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 | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

West Anglia Route Improvement – Works Around Coppermill Junction And Along The West Anglia Main Line

There is a lot of work going on around Coppermill Junction and on the West Anglia Main Line between the junction and Northumberland Park station.

The map from carto.metro free.fr shows the lines around the junction.

Coppermill Junction

Coppermill Junction

Tottenham Hale station is on the West Anglia Main Line, which effectively starts and runs North West from Coppermill Junction.

In Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow, I talked about how I’d heard rumours of the following.

  • The Hall Farm Curve would be reinstated as a single bi-directional track to allow rains to go between Stratford in the Soithe and Walthamstow and Chingford in the East.
  • The Coppermill Curve would be reinstated as a double-track curve to allow empty stock movements to Chingford, where there are several sidings.

There’s also the problem of Crossrail 2 going through the area, which will need a connection to the Central Tunnel and four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line from Coppermill Junction North to Broxbourne station.

In the next few sections, I shall show the pictures I took this morning.

The Hall Farm Curve From The Chingford Branch

I took these pictures going between Clapton and St. James Street stations on the Chingford Branch Line.

Note how the area is quite large.

The work seems to have cleared all the old track, which in typical British Rail fashion seems to have been abandoned to the wildlife.

Tottenham Hale Station

I took these pictures around Tottenham Hale station.

There is quite a bit going on.

A helpful station man told me the following was happening.

  • Space is being created, so that two tracks can go through between the station and Hale Village.
  • The taxi rank in the forecourt of the station is being moved Northwards.
  • The current footbridge over the lines is going.
  • A new step-free footbridge is going to be built.

Effectively, there seems to be a cunning plan to rebuild the station around the working railway, which is confirmed in this document on the Transport for London web site. This is said about works on the bridge.

We plan to keep the station open during the work so that any potential disruption will be kept to a minimum.

That is a good start.

Obviously, the architects and engineers, who have designed the replacement station, but it does seem to me, that squeezing two tracks into the space behind Platform 2 at the station will need a very large and strong shoehorn.

From Tottenham Hale To Lea Bridge

I took these pictures between Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations.

Note.

  • A new cable duct has certainly been installed.
  • The Hall Farm Curve has been cleared of rubbish and vintage track.
  • It also looks like the route of the replacement Coppermill Curve is being cleared through the scrub.
  • There didn’t appear to be any electrification piles or gantries.

I can’t believe Network Rail would clear the two curves unless they were going to reinstate them.

From Tottenham Hale To Enfield Lock

I took these pictures between Tottenham Hale and Enfield Lock stations.

Note.

  • It would appear that there is space to the East of the current two-track West Anglia Main Line to squeeze in two extra tracks.
  • There are level crossings at Northumberland Park, Brimsdown and Enfield Lock stations.
  • The quality of some of the buildings that would probably be demolished is best described as suspect.
  • Meridean Way, which runs alongside the railway from Angel Road Northwards is an inadequate highway.
  • I wonder how many people have booked the Premier Inn because it is close to Angel Road station, only to find that there are few trains.

I say more about the level crossings in Level Crossing Issues.

The Current Stations

These posts describe the current state of the stations between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne around the 22nd February 2017.

Northumberland Park Station

Ponders End Station

Brimsdown Station

Enfield Lock Station

Waltham Cross Station

Broxbourne Station

There are also some relevant related posts.

How Many Fast Services Will Go Through Tottenham Hale Station?

How Many Slow Services Will Go Through Tottenham Hale Station?

Level Crossing Issues

A Level Crossing Replacement Station

What Is STAR?

Hopefully, this will mean I can add content without making this post overly long.

What Frequency Will Crossrail 2 Trains Have On The West Anglia Main Line?

The Crossrail 2 entry on Wikipedia says this about the Northern Regional branches.

Running at between 10 and 15 trains per hour on new rails above ground, connected to a junction north of Dalston:

I can’t see any space being found for two new tracks and I don’t think Greater Anglia will want this number of trains mixing with their fast services, so I must assume that they will share the two slow lines to Broxbourne with Greater Anglia’s slow services.

What Will Be The Platform Layout At Tottenham Hale?

The station looks to be gaining two new lines on the East side of the station.

But will they be slow or fast lines?

My pictures show that it will be very tight to put new platforms on these lines, as there just isn’t enough space.

I have read the planning documents  on the Harringey Council web site for Tottenham Hale station and came to these conclusions.

  • There are no definite plans for a platform 3 and/or 4.
  • There is controversy about if they are built, as to if or when they will get lifts.
  • There is talk of starting STAR, which would provide four trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and Angel Road stations.

This page on the Crossrail 2 web site says this.

In order to accommodate Crossrail 2 services at Tottenham Hale, we would add at least one new platform and carry out other station improvement works too.

Wikipedia says that a third platform is being worked on.

I suspect that it could be necessary that fast services will stop at Tottenham Hale, to allow  passengers to change to and from services on the following lines.

  • Victoria Line
  • Crossrail 2
  • Local services to Liverpool Street.
  • Local services to Stratford.

It should also be born in mind, that Crossrail will call at both Stratford and Liverpool Street, s say you’re going shopping at Oxford Street, to work at anary Wharf or to New York via Heathrow, would you mind which terminus you used in London, provided it was efficient?

At present both fast and slow services on the  main line all share the same platform at ottenham Hale, using 1 to go South and 2 to go North.

If this arrangement was to continue, after the new lines are built, the following would apply.

  • Interchange between services would be as now.
  • Fast services for London would stop in platform 1 before going to either Liverpool Street or Stratford.
  • Both platforms could be made step-free with lifts and a bridge at the London end of the platform.

It is workable, but you would still have the crowded platforms you get today, although the step-free bridge would make passenger circulation easier.

But what happens when Greater Anglia decide to increase fast frequencies or Crossrail 2 arrives.

Exclusive Fast Lines Between Tottenham Hale And Broxbourne Stations

One arrangement that could work, would be to use the two new lines exclusively for fast services from Tottenham Hale to Broxbourne, with trains stopping only at Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale as required.

  • With more Stansted services, some could be non-stop from Liverpool Street to Stansted to reduce the load on Tottenham Hale station.
  • Some Cambridge services might make their first stop at Broxbourne.
  • Fast commuter services not stopping South of Broxborne are possible.

Greater Anglia will be replacing their current trains on the line with new Stadler or Aventra trains, which will in some ways compensate.

At some point hopefully Crossrail 2 will arrive.

Using the two new lines exclusively for fast traffic, with slow services on the exiting lines  would have the following effects.

  • Speed up services by a few minutes.
  • Double capacity between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale.
  • All trains on the slow lines would be Crossrail’s or Greater Anglia’s Aventras, which can probably run together efficiently.
  • 20 plus tph could probably run on the slow lines
  • The only trains on the fast lines would be Greater Anglia’s Stadler expresses, which could do Broxbourne to Tottenham Hale inperhaps eiht minutes, travelling all the way at 100 mph or possibly more.

Removing fast trains from the slow lines would probably mean that a frequency of upwards of 10 tph could run on Crossrail 2 between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale. South of Tottenham Hale they would be out of the way in the Central Tunnel.

South Of Tottenham Hale Station

Trains between Tottenham Hale station and Stratford or Liverpool Street stations, take one of the three following routes.

  1. To and from Lea Bridge and Stratford station
  2. To and from Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street stations taking the fast lines South of Hackney Downs.
  3. To and from Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street stations taking the slow lines South of Hackney Downs.

To complicate matters trains to and from the Chingford Branch and some Greater Anglia slow services  use the fast lines South of Hackney Downs and change over around Bethnal Green station.

So could we see a bit of a reorganisation, so that all slow services are moved to the slow lines, through Hackney Downs station, so that the fast services to and from Cambridge and Stansted get a clear run between Clapton and Liverpool Street. That must save a minute or two.

It also looks like that with the opening of Lea Bridge station, some services will go to Stratford rather than Liverpool Street. These could include some services from the Chingford Branch, if the Hall Farm Curve is reopened, which some of my pictures indicate might be happening.

It should be born in mind, that Stratford has two platforms 11 and 12, connected to the lines to Lea Bridge station but only platform 11 is used.

After Crossrail opens will it matter if some of Greater Anglia’s suburban services go to Stratford rather than Liverpool Street?

In fact, it’s starting to happen, as today coming back from Cheshunt, I was on a train between Bishops Stortford and Stratford.

The Problem Of Clapton Station

Clapton station is not a massive problem, but it is on the route taken by fast Cambridge and Stansted trains to and from Liverpool Street.

Last year, Clapton station handled 1.6 million passengers, which is probably just about average or slightly above average for the Chingford Branch Line.

So there is probably not much to be gained by cutting services, as there are a lot of people to complain. But the Overground’s new Class 710 trains will have a better stop-start performance and could reduce the problem, especially if they used the slow lines through Hackney Downs.

A Pseudo-Crossrail 2

We might even see a pseudo-Crossrail 2, between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.

Suppose Greater Anglia on their slow lines ran something like the following services.

  • 4 tph between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Hertford East.
  • 2 tph between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Cambridge
  • 4 tph between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Bishops Stortford

This would give a ten tph service between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stopping at all stations.

As the slow lines would be for exclusive use of these services, except for a few freight trains, the  lines would cope admirably.

Everybody on the line would have a superb Turn-Up-And-Go-Service.

The Design Of Broxbourne Station

It could  be arranged that at Broxbourne, there was cross-platform interchange between fast and slow services going in the same direction. So a passenger between say Brimsdown station and Stansted Airport, would have the one change at Broxbourne.

The Design of The Fast Line Platforms At Tottenham Hale Station

The space limitiations at Tottenham Hale would probably mean that only one extra platform could be squeezed in. Perhaps it could be an island platform between the two lines. Being an island it would only need one lift and this would save all-important width and cost.

If it was thought a narrow island platform with fast trains that might run through, the platform could surely be fitted with platform edge doors.

But the required step-free change to Crossrail 2, Victoria Line and local services would be created.

I’m suspicious that my pictures show that through Tottenham Hale station, there is only room for a single extra line, if a platform is needed. It certainly looks as if, the cable ducts have been moved to only allow only one line.

So could we see platform 2 extended to have a second platform 3 on the opposite face, which gave access to a single bi-directional line through the station?

  • It would use the lift on Platform 2.
  • There would be cross-platform access from a fast train to London to a slow one.
  • Only access from a slow train out of London to a fast one would need the bridge.
  • Bi-directional working is increasing being used.

Once through Tottenham Hale station, the fast lines would result to normal double-track working.,

I suspect that when Tottenham Hale station was rebuilt in the 1990s, no-one thought that the station would be on a line with four-tracks.

 

 

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail 2 is a ‘threat to Soho’s soul’ says Stephen Fry

This is the title of an article on the BBC.

This is the sort of attitude displayed by Victorians who thought that railways would upset their grouse or disturb their dinner psarties.

Stephen Fry should stick to comedy!

Or is he being ironic?

February 11, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Greater Anglia’s Ten Point Wish List

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Greater Anglia to lobby government for investment in 10-point upgrade plea.

So what do they want?

  1. Haughley Junction upgrade.
  2. Ely area upgrade.
  3. Ely to Soham track doubling
  4. Trowse swing bridge replacement with a double track fixed link.
  5. Long loops at Colchester and Witham to allow fast trains to pass slow ones.
  6. Digital re-signalling between Colchester and London.
  7. Capacity upgrade to allow four trains between Angel Road and Stratford.
  8. Four-tracking between Coppermill Junction and Broxbourne.
  9. Wider level-crossing upgrade program.
  10. Platform and concourse upgrade at Liverspool Street station.

Should we call it ambitious, greedy or sensible?

1. Haughley Junction Upgrade

This has been requested for years, so I suspect it has been thought about for a long time.

But the new East Anglia Franchise has plans that will affect the traffic through Haughley Junction.

  • Three express trains per hour (tph) between Ipswich and Norwich – Up from 2 tph.
  • Two tph between Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds – Up from three trains per two hours.

To make matters worse, an increasing number of freight trains between Felixstowe and Peterborough will be going through the junction.

This Google Map shows the junction.

haughleyjunction

Note.

 

  • Stowmarket, Felixstowe and Ipswich are to the South.
  • There is a handy level crossing where station road crosses the tracks.
  • Diss and Norwich is to the North.
  • Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge and Peterborough are to the North West.

You could naively think, that around the junction is nothing but farmland and a few trees, but the owners of |Tiptree Fram probably have lived three for decades.

You are the driver of one of Greater Anglia’s new crack Stadler express electric multiple units scheduled to reach Norwich in ninety minutes from London

Going North, you have just stopped at Stowmarket station. But you can’t leave as Haughley Junction is blocked by one of the many long freight trains crossing the flat junction from the line to Peterborough to go South to Felixstowe.

So bang goes your schedule!

Going South, you have a similar problem, in that freight trains could delay progress, whilst they cross from the Peterborough Line.

Freight trains and passenger trains joining the Peterborough line from the South, would appear to not cause such a large problem, as they just turn left without crossing any lines.

In an ideal world, there probably needs to be a single-track flyover, so that trains from Peterborough to Stowmarket can cross the Norwich lines without delaying trains. A similar flyover at Hitchin cost £47million.

So it wouldn’t be cheap and would the locals fight the construction of such a structure in the midst of Suffolk countryside to benefit commuters from Norfolk?

A complete scheme would also add a loop line just to the West of Haugthley Junction, so that long freight trains could wait without getting in the way, until there was a suitable time to cross.

I suspect, that to keep costs down and avoid annoying the natives, all that will happen at Haughley Junction is a limited scheme so that trains can wait before crossing.

Over the last few years, Network Rail have developed some innovative junctions and crossings, so let’s hope that they come up with a scheme that’s efficient, affordable and can be built without closing either of the important routes through the area.

But whatever is done here will certainlt help Greater Anglia achieve their objective of three tph between London and Norwich in ninety minutes.

Knowing the area well, I suspect that there will also be an enormous fight over if Network Rail decided to close the level crossing shown on the map.

2. Ely Area Upgrade

I looked at this in Are The Trains In Ely Finally To Be Sorted?

Whatever is proposed here will not be just a few millions and probably very disruptive to implement, but it is essential to acommodate the planned extra services through the area.

3. Ely To Soham Track Doubling

Upgrading this six miles of single track might appear to be easy across the flat lands of Cambridgeshire, but the line does include a couple of level crossings and a couple of bridges.

This Google Map shows the ely end of the route at Ely Dock Junction.

Ely Dock Junction And Hawk Bridge

Ely Dock Junction And Hawk Bridge

Note the single-track Hawk Bridge over the Great Ouse.

Luckily, a freight train derailed on the original single-track bridge and virtually demolished it. The new bridge may be only single-track, but provision was made for a second track.

A few times, I’ve passed Ely Dock Junction on a train or stood on the platform at Ely and seen a freight train waiting at the Dock Junction to pass through the spaghetti at Ely.

Double-tracking would mean waiting freight trains wouldn’t delay Eastbound services on the Ipswich to Ely Line.

But will a chord be built so services can go directly between Cambridge North station and the Ipswich line?

This could enable Colchester Peterborough services to take a route of Bury St. Edmunds-Cambridge North

The Google Map shows the site of the original Soham station.

The Site Of The Former Soham Station

The Site Of The Former Soham Station

Note that the line reverts back to double-track, just South of the former station site.

So will doubling of line include provision for building a new station at Soham, as Cambridgeshire Council have proposed?

You can certainly see, why Greater Anglia want this section of line to be doubled.

4. Trowse Swing Bridge Replacement

The Trowse Swing Bridge is a major bottleneck on the Great vEastern Main Line, as not only does it restrict operations into Norwich station, but it makes access to Crown Point Depot difficult.

It’s definitely the railway equivalent of having a single-lane section for both directions on a motorway.

In Is This The Worst Bottleneck On The UK Rail Network?, I proposed the following under An Affordable Alternative.

It has to be said, that perhaps the most affordable solution would be to build a stylish fixed link, probably with a double-track railway and  foot and cycle bridges.

As to the boat users, all boats that need to go under the bridge regularly would be modified so their masts could be lowered at no cost to their owners.

Other bribes could be given to occasional users.

There will be many bridges to cross, before Trowse bridge is replaced with a modern structure, more suited to a modern railway.

Unless of course, the rusting and decrepit bridge decides to do the honourable thing and falls down of its own volition.

It’s probably too much to hope, that a freight train derails on the bridge, as one fortunately did on the Hawk Bridge at Ely.

5. Long Loops At Colchester And Witham

Colchester station is not a station that would win awards for efficiency.

This description of the platforms is from Wikipedia.

The “up” (London-bound) side comprises two platforms, numbers 3 and 4, which have an unusual layout: 3 is on the up main line and is served by intercity trains from Norwich, while 4 is on the up branch line which merges with the up main line where the two platforms join end-to-end. The junction is protected by a trap leading to friction buffer stops. There are also bay platforms at both ends of the up main platform. The London-end bay (platform 6) is used for peak trains to and from London. Previously this platform was used for frequent services for the Sudbury Branch Line. However, most of these services were truncated to terminate at Marks Tey from the mid-1990s. The other bay platform (platform 5) is used for services to Colchester Town and Walton-on-the-Naze. The “down” side platform is an island platform with two faces, one on the down main, and one on the down branch line. Platform 1 is mainly used for Clacton-on-Sea trains and occasionally for Norwich trains.

The new franchise has plans, that should make the station more efficient, but much busier.

  • Norwich to London trains will have a frequency of three tph.
  • A new one tph service will link Colchester and Peterborough, which would mean that Colchester to Stowmarket via Manningree and Ipswich would have a frequency of four tph.

But the interesting idea is to extend the service between Sudbury and Marks Tey stations to Colchester Town station via Colchester.

The  service between Sudbury and Colchester Town could be two tph, as the trains could pass each other between Colchester and Marks Tey, if the track allowed.

This Press Release from Network Rail is entitled More Reliable Railway For Essex As £100M+ Upgrade Is Completed.

This is said.

The last piece of the jigsaw included the commissioning of new ‘bi-directional’ signalling on the Great Eastern main line between Colchester and Marks Tey – meaning trains can now travel in both directions on both lines. This allows them to bypass problems should they occur and will improve flexibility and help reduce delays.

I have just flown my helicopter over the junction at Marks Tey and it looks like there is a short loop line of about a kilometre on the South side of the main line, which is connected by a series of crossovers to the \Gainsborough Line. On the other side of the main line, there would also appear to be a connection between the two lines.

So a train from Colchester Town could do the following.

  • Travel to Colchester station on the Sunshine Coast Line.
  • Stop in Platform 4 at Colchester station.
  • Travel on the main line towards Marks Tey.
  • Switch to the loop North of Marks Tey.
  • Cross over the main lines and enter the Gainsborough Line to stop in Marks Tey station.
  • Travel to Sudbury and back.
  • After stopping at Marks Tey station return via the main line to Colchester and then on to Colchester Town.

Currently, a train is scheduled to go from Colchester Town to Marks Tey in 13 minutes, with the round trip from Marks Tey to Sudbury taking about 45 minutes.

If the service between Colchester Town and Sudbury was to be two tph, the Marks Tey to Sudbury round trip must be under thirty minutes, so that only one train is on the branch line at a time.

The service is currently run using various trains like a Class 153 train, which have a top speed of 75 mph and acceleration to match, whereas the mosdern Class 170 train has a 100 mph capability. The Gainsborough Line also has a speed limit of just 50 mph.

So I suspect, that with some judicious engineering on the branch and modern trains, that a thirty minute round trip is possible, thus making two tph on the Gainsborough Line a distinct possibility.

All these service changes could simplify the pattern of trains through Colchester station.

  • Most trains stop in the station and continue on their journey.
  • Peterborough trains could use the bay platform 5 or a reversing siding to turn back.
  • The bay platform 6 could be used as a terminus for trains from London as now.

So will the tracks be arranged so that there is an avoiding line between the platforms just as there is at Ipswich station and used to be at Chelmsford station?

The certainly would appear to be enough space.

 

This picture illustrates the problems at Witham station.

A Long Freight Train At Witham

Note.

  • The freight train was going towards London and was slowly going through the station.
  • The two lines in the middle are the two main lines, where trains generally stop.
  • When the new Stadler and Aventra trains enter service in a couple of years, there will be more trains going through the station.
  • At times, trains could be separated by just a few minutes.
  • As these trains are designed expedite stops, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more trains doing a Touch-and-Go.

This article on the EssexLive web site is entitled Witham loop could happen by 2024 with added faster trains to Liverpool Street.

It says that the loop will be built North of Witham station and would allow faster trains to pass slower ones by 2024, but that Simon Burns MP will be pushing to have it built sooner.

This Google Map shows Witham station and the line to the North.

Witham Station

Note the Braintree Branch Line going off to the North-West.

It does appear that there would be space for the necessary extra tracks to create passing loops North of Witham station.

These would mean that passing wouldn’t have to be dome with the slower train blocking a slow platform.

It certainly looks as if that both loops will be beneficial to all train operators and passengers.

6. Digital re-signalling between Colchester and London

Given the following on the Great Eastern Main Line South of Colchester.

  • Increased numbers of trains.
  • Speeds of 100 mph and possibly more.
  • The need to do very fast stops and maintain headway of a few minutes.
  • The trains will be new.

I suspect that digital signalling will be a necessity to maintain the required service frequency.

7. Capacity upgrade to allow four trains between Angel Road and Stratford

There is certainly pressure for this service from the local Councils in the area.

Would it include the preliminary works from the upgrade of Angel Road station?

8. Four-tracking between Coppermill Junction and Broxbourne

This is important both for Greater Anglia services to Stansted Airport and Cambridge and Crossrail 2.

I wrote about this in Crossrail 2 ‘Cannot Go Ahead’ Without Four-Tracking Of West Anglia Line.

But it will be a large and very disruptive project.

9. Wider level-crossing upgrade program

I have been held up so many times by level crossing incidents, this can’t happen to soon.

10. Platform and concourse upgrade at Liverpool Street station

I thought that this was going to happen, as soon as the Crossrail trains go into the tunnels.

Conclusion

Greater Anglia are not asking for the stars and it is a generally sensible wish list.

Possibly the most expensive projects are the following.

  1. Ely area upgrade.
  2. Trowse swing bridge replacement with a double track fixed link.
  3. Digital re-signalling between Colchester and London.
  4. Four-tracking between Coppermill Junction and Broxbourne.

But some like the four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line are not urgent, until Crossrail 2 gets an opening date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 9, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

The Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

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

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

An Upgraded Waterloo Station

An upgraded Waterloo station will probably handle the suburban services better than it does today.

  • There will be extra platforms, with the reopening of the five platforms in Waterloo International.
  • There will be longer platforms, which will all be able to take ten-car trains.
  • There will be an improved track layout, both in Waterloo and on the approach.
  • There will be related improvements to improve access to the Underground and the Waterloo and City Line at Waterloo station.

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

Improvements On The Branches

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

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

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

New Trains

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new trains will have one very big effect.

I have seen train manufacturers claim, that high performance, well-designed trains with a considyent train-platform interface will save as much as three minutes a station.

  • Trains will stop from line speed faster.
  • Trains will accelerate back to line speed faster.
  • Bigger lobbies, will enable passengers to load and unload faster.
  • Wheelchair passengers and buggy pushers would roll across on the flat.

Until we get actual figures, even one minute a stop, would reduce times on the branches as follows.

Note that three services are now under half-an-hour, without making any allowance that the timings will be for a train with better performance, than the Class 455 trains, which work some of the routes, so probably feature in the timetable compilation.

Is Four Trains Per Hour Possible?

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

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

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

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

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

So for each branch to have 4 tph would need 16 ten-car trains or 32 five-car trains, with similar performance and characteristics to Class 707 trains.

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

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

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

Put simply to provide 4 tph for all branches would need 32 modern five-car trains and four dedicated platforms at Waterloo.

Crossrail 2’s Proposals For Services On The Branches

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

  • 20 tph at Raynes Park National Rail
  • 8-10 tph at Motspur Park National Rail
  • Exclusive use of the Chessington Branch Line to Chessington South (4 tph)
  • Mixed use of the Raynes Park – Epsom line to Epsom National Rail (Sutton and Mole Valley Lines) (4-6 tph)
  • 10-12 trains per hour at New Malden National Rail
  • Exclusive use of the Hampton Court Branch Line to Hampton Court (4 tph) with interchange at Surbiton National Rail
  • Shared use of the Shepperton Branch Line with 6-8 tph to Teddington National Rail and 4 trains per hour to Shepperton National Rail

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

Between Wimbledon And Waterloo

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

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

As Crossrail and Thameslink can both handle 24 tph under Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in a tunnel, surely the slow lines can handle 20 tph on the surface under ATO.

There would even be capacity for some extra services.

Clapham Junction Station

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

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

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

Vauxhall Station

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

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

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

Lines At Vauxhall

Lines At Vauxhall

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

 

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Will Crossrail 2 Affect Kingston?

This post was suggested to me, by this page on the Kingston Council web site, which is entitled Crossrail 2 to bring major benefits to the Royal Borough of Kingston.

After a couple of trips to the area in the last week or so, I thought I’d better have a look.

So what have I found already.

Waterloo Station Suburban Services Going To Crossrail 2

In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I looked at services into Waterloo , that could be going to Crossrail 2.

These suburban termini and their routes are due to be connected to Crossrail 2.

 

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

  • 20 tph at Raynes Park National Rail
  • 8-10 tph at Motspur Park National Rail
  • Exclusive use of the Chessington Branch Line to Chessington South (4 tph)
  • Mixed use of the Raynes Park – Epsom line to Epsom National Rail (Sutton and Mole Valley Lines) (4-6 tph)
  • 10-12 trains per hour at New Malden National Rail
  • Exclusive use of the Hampton Court Branch Line to Hampton Court (4 tph) with interchange at Surbiton National Rail
  • Shared use of the Shepperton Branch Line with 6-8 tph to Teddington National Rail and 4 trains per hour to Shepperton National Rail

My analysis shows that this pattern of service can be handled in two ways.

  • Using a Crossrail 2 tunnel from Wimbledon.
  • Using a dedicated high-capacity two-track line with Crossrail/Thameslink-style Automatic Train Operation (ATO), into an updated Waterloo.

So as far as Kingston is concerned, the Royal Borough will get the same improved levels of service, whether Crossrail 2 is built or not, as the only difference will be North of Wimbledon.

Station And Track Improvements On The Branch Lines

This will be the one major set of works that will effect Kingston.

  • Installation of lifts and platform improvements to make the proposed Crossrail 2 stations step-free.
  • Removal of level crossings on the Crossrail 2 branches.

I don’t know anything specific, but all stations and level crossings on Crossrail 2 routes will certainly be assessed.

New Trains

A big change will be the trains running on all the South-Western suburban lines out of Waterloo.

  • All platforms in Waterloo station are being lengthened to take ten-car trains.
  • The Hounslow Loop Line was recently updated with ten-car platforms.
  • All the latest trains bought by South West Trains are in sets of five-cars, which can run as pairs to create a ten-car train.

I’ve read somewhere that South West Trains are going for a ten-car railway.

\As the new trains for the Essex suburban services of Greater Anglia, are also a mixture of  five- and ten-car trains, there must be some magic in the train length.

What will be the capabilities of these trains?

  • 100-mph or more cruising speed.
  • Impressive acceleration and braking.
  • Wide lobbies for fast loading and unloading of passengers.
  • Level access between train and platform.
  • Wheelchairs, buggies and heavy cases will just roll across.
  • The ability to run under limited ATO.
  • Lots of driver assistance systems.
  • Driver Only Operation (DOO)

The trains will be truly-revolutionary and because their design coud result in upwards of a minute being saved at every stop.

At present trains are conservatively timetabled, as no-one wants late trains, but if a route is served exclusively by these new breeds of high-performance easy-entry trains, designed for a particular route, jouirney times will shorten.

The first trains of this standard to be introduced will be the Class 345 trains for Crossrail, which will start running between Liverpool Street and Shenfield stations in May 2017. The published timetables show a saving of about five minutes on the journey.

I believe this is just a taster of what can be achieved.

If trains of this type were to be run on the suburban branches from Waterloo, this would do the following.

  • Introduce four tph on all routes.
  • Introduce ten-car trains on all routes.
  • Reduce journey times on all routes.
  • I believe total out-and-back times from Waterloo will be reduced to under an hour, as this drammatically reduces the number of trains needed to provide 4 tph.

These trains will be introduced if Crossrail 2 is built or not. The recently-purchased Class 707 trains, will probably offer the same performance improvements as Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

So what will these trains do for Kingston?

  • The fastest journeys between Kingston and London Waterloo stations currently take 28 minutes with seven stops.
  • So Kingstonians will probably see times of around twenty minutes on this route, using ten-car trains, that stop at the same stations.
  • It won’t be just one train an hour, but every train via Wimbledon, will achieve these timings.

Wikipedia says current hourly Off Peak services is as follows.

  • 6 to Waterloo, of which:
    • 4 run via Wimbledon
    • 2 run via Richmond and Twickenham
  • 2 to Shepperton

But with new trains, there could be the following increases in services.

  • 4 tph instead of 2 tph to Shepperton
  • 4 tph instead of 2 tph on the Kingston Loop

This well mean the services at Kingston could be.

  • 10 to Waterloo, of which:
    • 8 run via Wimbledon
    • 4 run via Richmond and Twickenham
  • 4 to Shepperton

This will mean  Kingston to Waterloo will see a 67% increase in frequency and every train will be new ten-car trains.

 

 

 

January 1, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A Hard Look At Crossrail 2

We’re nearly into 2017 and in the last year or so various projects have been suggested and events have happened, that could affect the need, design and use for Crossrail 2.

In alphabetical order, here they are.

Bakerloo Line Extension

It now looks like the Mayor is keen to get the Bakerloo Line Extension started, so it can be completed earlier in 2029.

This will be a tube-size extension and if it goes as quietly as the Northern Line Extension, I can’t see its construction causing much disruption.

Note these points about the Bakerloo Line with its Extension.

  • It will be a feeder line into Waterloo station,
  • The line has no connection to Crossrail 2
  • The line will have interchange with Thameslink at Elephant and Castle station, which is scheduled for upgrading.
  • The line will have a useful cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line at Oxford Circus station.
  • The line will have an interchange with the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.
  • The line connects to four main line termini; Charing Cross, Marylebone, Paddington and Waterloo.

Because it connects to so many other lines and doesn’t connect to Crossrail 2, I feel that this project should be done before Crossrail 2.

Battersea Power Station Station

To be expanded!

Brexit

Who knows what effect this will have on Crossrail 2?

Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge and Waterloo East Stations

London Bridge station  will become effectively four stations after rebuilding is finished.

  • Platforms 1 to 3 will be a three-platform through station for trains to and from Cannon Street station.
  • Platforms 4 and 5 will be an island platform through station for Thameslink.
  • Platforms 6 to 9 will be a four-platform through station for trains to and from Charing Cross station.
  • Platforms 10 to 15 will become a six-platform terminal station.

Note.

  1. Exchange between any two sets of services is step-free and by escalator or lift.
  2. Platforms 4-5 are the only island platform on Thameslink’s central core.
  3. London Bridge will become London’s most usable large station and expose St. Pancras for the fraud that it is.

London Bridge is already changing my travel patterns.

  • When coming back from South of London, I always use the station and get a 141 bus from the forecourt.
  • When returning from Waterloo, I often walk to Waterloo East station and get a train across to London Bridge..
  • Charing Cross station is difficult to access from North and East London, so I now can easily access Charing Cross services from London Bridge.

The proof of the pudding is true for me with London Bridge.

Once  the Thameslink Programme and the rebuilding of London Bridge station is finished, I believe that the improvements across the South Bank will be impressive and very convenient for passengers.

There is one project left to be defined and started.

The upgrading of the rather poor Waterloo East station should meet the following objectives.

  • Better information as to which platform to get the next train.
  • Better access from street level.
  • Faster access with perhaps a travelator from Waterloo station.
  • Better connections to the Underground.

Given the location of the station, it could be one that was redeveloped to provide commercial or residential properties with a new station underneath.

If it were updated to a modern standard, it would become a true Charing Cross South station.

Central Line Improvements

The Central Line could be considered to be Crossrail Zero and various plans exist to improve it.

The Central Line is in some ways the joker in the pack, so don’t be surprised at some of the projects that take place on this line.

Its biggest effect on Crossrail 2, is that because of it’s connections in North-East London, an improved Central Line, Liverpool Street station and Four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line could absorb more traffic from North East to Central  and West London.

Chiltern Metro Creation

Wikipedia says this about a Chiltern Metro.

New Chiltern Metro Service that would operate 4+tph for Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park, South Ruislip and West Ruislip. This would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip, passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and a passing loop at Wembley Stadium (part of the old down fast line is in use as a central reversing siding, for stock movements and additionally for 8-car football shuttles to convey passengers to the stadium for events).[73] This ‘Chiltern Metro’ service was not programmed into the last round of franchising agreements.

When I wrote Could A Chiltern Metro Be Created? and came to the conclusion, that it might be possible, I got several positive responses.

With Chiltern getting access to Old Oak Common station in the future, this is the sort of project that Chiltern could develop themselves, if capacity was available.

This project wouldn’t connect to Crossrail 2, so I doubt its creation will have much affect on Crossrail 2.

It would certainly be a good fit wit the Bakerloo Line at Marylebone.

Clapham Junction Station

Clapham Junction station is a station that doesn’t make use of its full potential and I suspect that it will see considerable improvement before the late-2020s.

  • The Northern Line will be extended to Clapham Junction from Battersea Power station.
  • Crossrail 2 could be built to call at the station.
  • Reorganisation of the suburban services from Waterloo through Wimbledon could see a high-frequency 20 tph service calling at the station.
  • Could a similar reorgnaisation of services from Waterloo through Richmond create a high-frequency service on that route.
  • The Overground will be providing 6 tph from Dalston Junction from 2018.

I have not talked about the other main line services into Victoria.

  • It looks like suburban services into Waterloo can be grouped into high-frequency Waterloo-Richmond and Waterloo-Wimbledon Metros.
  • Could the services out of Victoria be grouped into a similar set of high-frequency Metros?

It does appear that suburban services between Victoria and Balham call at  Clapham Junction station as follows.

  • Platform 14 – Towards Victoria
  • Platform 15 – Towards Balham

As there would appear to be around 12 tph in both directions, could the capacity between Balham and Victoria be increased using ATO.

All this could result in a much more efficient station at Clapham Junction, with high-frequency suburban services and room for more  long-distance services.

Continental Connections At Ebbsfleet And Stratford positive comments

Millions of pounds were poured into creating the inadequate station at St. Pancras International.

  • There are not enough platforms for future Continental and Midland Main Line services.
  • Connection to the Underground and Thameslink are terrible.
  • St. Pancras is not on Crossrail, which was a truly awful design crime.
  • Passenger connections between the various lines at St. Pancras were designed by someone, who never used a train.

As the Heritage Taliban would forbid the demolishing of the station, we must find ways of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Developing Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International, as flexible interchanges for the Continent might be a workable project, to squeeze a quart into the pint bottle that is St. Pancras.

  • Some Continental trains would all go to St. Pancras and stop selectively at Stratford and Ebbsfleet.
  • Low-cost Continental services would terminate at Ebbsfleet.
  • Train stabling could be simplified by creating more at Ebbsfleet.
  • Stratford Internation and Stratford stations need a high capacity link, that means you don’t have to walk through Eastfield.
  • Ebbsfleet and Stratford would have easy access to Crossrail.
  • Tottenham Court Road station would be about 25-30 minutes from Ebbsfleet, Gatwick and Heathrow.

Sorting out Continental services by avoiding St. Pancras could lower the need to improve services to St. Pancras by building Crossrail 2.

Crossrail Collateral Improvements

Crossrail will not only go East-West across London, but it will enable other improvements.

  • Undergroud Lines at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations have already got better access.
  • Whitechapel station will be a major interchange.
  • The Bakerloo Line will get step-free access at Paddington station.
  • Access to the Nortern City Line at Moorgate station will be improved.
  • The Jubilee Line will become a loop of Crossrail between Straford and Bond Street via Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Waterloo.

The last two points will dramatically increase access to Waterloo station for its revamped suburban services, which are planned to become part of Crossrail 2.

Four-Tracking Of The West Anglia Main Line

If you travel to Cambridge or Stansted Airport in the Evening Peak, it is a nightmare.

Consider.

  • The West Anglia Main Line is a double-track main line.
  • It has a 100 mph maximum speed.
  • The signalling and electrification is generally good.
  • It has several busy level-crossings.
  • Most of the stations are not step-free and inadequate.
  • It has a decent Park-and-Ride station at Whittlesford Parkway, but needs more, including one with access to the Northern part of the M25.
  • An increasing amount of freight from London Gateway could need to use the line.
  • It has two London termini at Liverpool Street and Stratford, both of which will connect to Crossrail.
  • There is space to develop comprehensive interchange stations at Broxbourne, Bishops Stortford and Cambridge South (Addenbrooke’s)
  • In the next decade it will get improved connectivity to branches and East-West routes, like the Chingford, Stanstedand Hertford East branches, the East West Rail Link and improved and possible new lines from Cambridge.

All versions of Crossrail 2 and the improvement of Cambridge and Stansted Airport services, need the West Anglia Main Line to be of the following standard.

  • Four tracks.
  • At least 110 mph running between London and Bishops Stortford.
  • Elimination of level crossings.
  • New strategic stations.
  • Creation of the space for a Northern portal to Crossrail 2.

Project management also says, that this should be done before Crossrail 2, as otherwise the disruption to the West Anglia Main Line will be so high as to be a total nightmare.

Liverpool Street Station

The new Greater Anglia franchise has ordered £1.4billion on new trains.

Will Liverpool Street station be able to cope with all the increased services?

In An Idea For A New Station At Shoreditch High Street, I wrote about plans to create extra platforms North of the station in the area of Shoreditch High Street station.

It’s an idea, but also consider the following.

  • Crossrail will remove some local trains from the station.
  • Platforms at Liverpool Street station will be lengthened.
  • Overground services from the station will be getting new Class 710 trains.
  • The new trains should be able to turn round faster in the station.
  • Other Services might terminate at Stratford.

After Crossrail, the Overground and Greater Anglia have settled down, there will probably be some reorganisation at Liverpool Street station.

Perhaps extra platforms at Shoreditch High Street for Overground services from Liverpool Street station might be a good idea.

  • This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Shoreditch High Street station.
Lines Around Shoreditch High Street Station

Lines Around Shoreditch High Street Station

Consider.

  • The new platforms would be in the right place for the lines approaching from Bethnal Green and Hackney.
  • The new platforms could have extension development on top.
  • There would be good connection to the East London Line.
  • Up to four platforms could be released in Liverpool Street station.
  • What would connect all the knitting would be high-quality fast pedestrian links between the new platforms at Shoreditch, the main Liverpool Street station and Crossrail and the various Underground Lines.
  • As the Central Line is not deep underground, could it be opened up so all the terminal platforms at Shoreditch had their own escalators and lifts to the line?
  • Lea Valley services would gain their own well-connected dedicated terminal.
  • Cambridge and Stansted Airports could have the prime positions in the main Liverpool Street station.

Improving services up the Lea Valley, would fulfil some of the objectives of the North East leg of Crossrail 2.

Northern City Line Improvements

Use a station like Essex Road on the Northern City Line  and it’s like going back to the first few years of the Twentieth Century.

But the following improvements are scheduled.

  • New six-car Class 717 trains.
  • 12 tph all day with more in the Peak.
  • Some station improvements would also be welcome.
  • A well-designed interchange to Crossrail, the Underground and main line services out of Liverpool Street, enabled by a massive double-ended station  at Moorgate.
  • Will the operating procedures be modernised?

The line will also be renamed the Great Northern Metro.

It probably doesn’t affect Crossrail 2, but it will provide increased capacity from Hertfordshire into the City and Canary Wharf.

Northern Line Improvements

I may complain about some of the crap 1960s design on the Victoria Line, but many stations on the Northern Line have really been bodged together.

Would improving the line to the standard of the best of the other deep-level tube lines be a cost-effective way of creating a pair of modern North-South routes across London?

Once Camden Town station is rebuilt, Transport for London’s long term objective of splitting the Northern Line into two can be achieved.

  • Edgware to Battersea Power Station via Charing Cross and Waterloo
  • High Barnet to Morden via Bank

Probably the most difficult part, would be choosing understandable names.

The only effect on Crossrail 2, would be that once the Northern Line is split, it will become another feeder route for Waterloo.

Old Oak Common Station

If Old Oak Common station ever gets designed and built, it will enable interchange between a lot of lines.

  • Bakerloo Line
  • Central Line
  • Chiltern Line
  • Crossrail
  • HS2
  • North London Line
  • West Coast Main Line
  • West London Line

The station won’t directly affect Crossrail 2, but it could enable a lot of journeys to be done without it.

I also feel that Old Oak Common station should be built before Crossrail 2 because of its usefullness in avoiding Crossrail 2 territory.

Penge Stations

Various reportsincluding one from TfL have proposed an interchange between Penge East station on the Chatham Main Line with Penge West station on the East London Line.

This could create more capacity between Orpington and Highbury and Islington stations, without going through Victoria.

Piccadilly Line Improvements

I lived on the northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line for the first eighteen years of my life. Quite frankly the stations have changed little since the arrival of the unpainted aluminium 1956 Stock in  the late 1950s.

  • There are a lot of dingy stations.
  • There are very few step-free stations.
  • Some of the Central London stations have very narrow platforms.
  • Interchange with other lines often involves a lot of walking.
  • Compared to other lines, the trains seem slow.
  • The trains are still overcrowded.

Perhaps the biggest change to the line from that period, was the building of the  cross-platform interchange at Finsbury Park station with the Victoria Line, which improves access to Centra London.

But changes are happening.

  • The New Tube for London could be in service on the line by the mid-2020s.
  • The trains will run under ATO.
  • Train frequency will be improved from the current level of around 24 tph most of the week.
  • Crossrail could mean that less passengers use the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow.
  • Holborn station is scheduled for a rebuild.

Hopefully, the new trains will give the line a whole new persona.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr of the lines through Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square stations.

Piccadilly Circus And Leicester Square Stations

Piccadilly Circus And Leicester Square Stations

Note.

  1. These two stations desperately need better and step-free access.
  2. Piccadilly Circus was originally to be a Crossrail 2 station, but this has been dropped.
  3. Both stations have a large Art Deco ticket hall underneath major road junctions.
  4. Neither station has any surface buildings of architectural merit.

Could adding extra passageways, escalators and lifts to these two stations do the following?

  • Make both stations step-free.
  • Give step-free and fast easy access between the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Lines at Piccadilly Circus station.
  • Give step-free and fast easy access between the Northern and Piccadilly Lines at Leicester Square station.

This would give Piccadilly Line passengers easier access to the soon-to-be-extended Northern and Bakerloo Lines.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical solution in this area linking the important visitor destinations.

  • Covent Garden.
  • Leicester Square
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Soho
  • Trafalgar Square

It might start with pedestrianising the entire area.

A Piccadilly Line with more capacity, a good interchange at Piccadilly Circus and a better ambience could be an alternative  route to Crossrail 2 for many of those it is designed to serve.

Thameslink Collateral Improvements

Very little has been said about the benefits of an improved Thameslink in Central London.

The features and improvements that could have far reaching affects are.

  • Finsbury Park and Elephant and Castle stations will be rebuilt or upgraded.
  • Will Camberwell station be built?
  • The link to the Piccadilly, Victoria and Northern City Lines at Finsbury Park station could get heavy use to avoid the long walks at St. Pancras.
  • Gatwick Airport has lots of ambitions for a new station to serve most of the South.
  • Thameslink will run initially at 24 tph, but will this limit be increased?

A lot of the plans aren’t finalised yet and it will be interesting to see what develops.

Vauxhall Station Improvements

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

I suspect Network Rail and Transport for London have ideas to improve the interchange further.

Victoria Line Improvements

Dear Old Vicky – The Silver Queen of them all, who keeps on giving.

There is not much left to do with this line, but more capacity can be handled by doing the following.

  • Create a reversing loop at Brixton via a single platform station under Herne Hill station, which would improve frequency.
  • Create a double-ended station at Walthamstow Central to improve safe capacity and add lifts.
  • Further improve the interchange to services to and from Waterloo at Vauxhall station.
  • Improve stations like Tottenham Hale, Highbury and Islington and Oxford Circus.

As with the Central Line improvements, an improved Victoria Line could provide extra North-East to Central London capacity, prior to the building of Crossrail 2.

Victoria Station Improvements

Victoria station will be getting an upgraded Underground station in 2018.

Victoria is effectively two stations.

  • One for Southeastern services going down the Chatham Main Line.
  • One for Southern services going down the Brighton Main Line.

It is a crazy situation, with London’s most Westerly Southern terminal being the main terminal for the most Easterly services.

The Southern services via Clapham Junction, Balham and East Croydon are not too much of a problem, but the Southeastern services are designed more by the accident of history, than the needs of a modern railway and its passengers.

The typical 2015 off-peak service run by Southeastern is:

  • 4tph to Orpington via Herne Hill and Bromley South
  • 2tph to Dartford via Lewisham and Bexleyheath
  • 2tph to Dover Priory via Bromley South and Chatham
  • 1tph to Ashford International via Bromley South and Maidstone East
  • 1tph to Canterbury West via Bromley South and Maidstone East
  • 1tph to Ramsgate via Bromley South

All of these services have to be timetabled across South London and often cause bottlenecks and troubles at places like Herne Hill.

It has led to a suggestion of a tunnel from Battersea to Bromley under Brixton, that I wrote about in A Tunnel Under Brixton.

Waterloo And City Line Improvements

The Waterloo and City Line is not even a Cinderella Line, but one of her poor rats.

A new high-capacity step-free entrance in Walbrook Square at the Bank station end is opening in 2017.

This will mean that capacity is unbalanced. So could we see the following?

  • Larger capacity and step-free  entrance at the Waterloo end of the line.
  • Higher frequency and larger and more trains working the line.
  • Trains running automatically without drivers.
  • 24/7 operation.
  • The Night Drain, so that bankers can drink and gamble all night!

The upgrading of Bank and Waterloo stations for other services must have their own positive effects.

I believe that the Drain will be a very different animal in 2025.

It will act as a link line to all those suburban services going out of Waterloo. Perhaps an escalator connection between the suburban platforms at Waterloo and the Drain should be provided.

Waterloo Station Improvements

There are various improvements happening at Waterloo station.

  • The Eurostar platforms are being brought into use for suburban services.
  • This extra platform capacity will allow other platforms at Waterloo to be lengthened.
  • South West Trains are currently commissioning a fleet of 30 new Class 707 trains.
  • Improved services are being provided by Southeastern between Charing Cross and London Bridge stations via Waterloo East station, which are made possible by the Thameslink Program.

Whilst Waterloo is not a Crossrail 2 station, a fair proportion of its services via Wimbledon are planned to be transferred to the new line.

How will all the Waterloo developments affect this? I’ve no idea, but TfL could know after the end of 2017 and certainly will by the end of 2018.

Waterloo Station Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

These suburban termini and their routes are due to be connected to Crossrail 2.

I have written An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, which investigates the issues in detail.

I came to the following conclusion.

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

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

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

Waterloo Station Links To The North,South and East

Waterloo station is well connected to the North,South and East, in the opposite directions to the lines to Vauxhall, Clapham Junction stations and all points South-West.

  • Bakerloo Line between Queen’s Park and Elephant and Castle stations
  • Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line between Camden Town and Kennington stations
  • Jubilee Line between Baker Street and Stratford.stations.
  • Passengers using the Victoria Line to get to and from Waterloo, will use the cross-platform change at Oxford Circus.
  • Waterloo and City Line, to Bank station.

But it will be even better connected by 2029.

  • The Bakerloo Line will go between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations.
  • The Northern Line could be split into two, with the branch through Waterloo, going between Edgeware and Battersea Power Station stations.
  • The Waterloo and City line will have new entrance in Walbrook Square.
  • Waterloo East station will have frequent connections between Charing Cross and London Bridge stations.
  • Possible improvements at stations like Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus could create excellent links to the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines.

Waterloo station will have superb connections.

I can’t see any reason why, two routes to the South-West branches of Crossrail 2 couldn’t be provided; one through the central tunnel and the other from Waterloo station.

Wimbledon Station

The current plan requires Wimbledon station to be seriously rebuilt and this is causing problems with the natives, which I can understand.

In the plan, twenty tph will come together at Raynes Park or Wimbledon stations and take the tunnel to the North.

But why do all trains have to go through the tunnel?

Some could start at Clapham Junction or Wimbedon stations.

I’m sure that a better plan for Wimbledon will arrive.

An Initial Conclusion

The more I write about rail projects in Central London, the more I’m convinced that a lot of the objectives of Crossrail 2 can be met in other ways.

As an example of my thinking, I believe that new faster Class 707 trains or something similar could double the frequency from 2 tph to the Crossrail 2 frequency of 4 tph on the suburban services out of Waterloo via Wimbledon.

This would mean.

  • Wimbledon station would not need substantial rebuilding.
  • 20 tph would use the slow lines between Waterloo and Wimbledon,
  • Trains would stop as required at Clapham Junction, Earlsfield and Vauxhall.
  • Waterloo to Wimbledon would probably need ATO like Crossrail or Thameslink, but handling 20 tph is not exceptional.

But surely, the biggest factor is that Waterloo to Wimbledon local services would have at least double the capacity.

A Conclusion About Automatic Train Operation

You could argue, that as a Control Engineer, I’m biased, but it seems to me, that if ATO were installed on the lines through Clapham Junction to Waterloo and Victoria capacity could be increased on the following suburban routes.

  • Waterloo to Wimbledon
  • Waterloo to Richmond
  • Victoria to Balham

Whether the Unions would agree to its introduction is another matter.

But then the automation would only need to be to Victoria line standard with driver monitoring.

A Virtual Crossrail 2

I am drawn to thinking that we could have a high-capacity link along generally the route of Crossrail 2, that could be upgraded in the future as circumstances dictate that more capacity is needed.

The existing West Anglia Main Line is congested and it needs to be four-tracked from Coppermill Junction to Broxbourne for several reasons.

  • To accomodate Crossrail 2
  • To handle more trains to Stansted Airport and Cambridge.
  • To handle more freight trains.
  • To increase line speed.

This project would be backed by Greater Anglia, Stanstad Airport, Cambridge and Transport for London.

If the lines out of Waterloo were upgraded, as I mentioned in the previously, there would then be the problem of creating the middle section of a Virtual Crossrail 2.

If an extension to Liverpool Street station were to be built as I indicated earlier to the North of the main line station beside Shoreditch High Street station, there could be at least three routes.

  • Crossrail to Bond Street and then the Jubilee Line.
  • East London Line to Canada Water and then the Jubilee Line.
  • Walk to the Waterloo and City Line.

Good design of the extra platforms might m,ake this work well!

Conversion From Virtual To Real Crossrail 2

The big problem is that those living close to the intermediate stations (Like me!), would not get a brand new railway.

This would need a tunnel to be bored from Tottenham Hale to Wimbledon, which could be delayed until it is really needed and the money can be raised.

There would be ways to cut the cost.

  • The line could be tunnel only and would not connect to surface railways.
  • There would be no station in Chelsea
  • An alternative Southern terminus for Crossrail 2 could be Clapham Junction, Balham or Tooting Broadway stations, but that would mean that Balham and/or Tooting didn’t get their station.
  • It could be created as a small-bore tube between Tottenham Hale and Wimbledon.

Consider the services to the possible Southern termini, if lines through Clapham Junction were to be upgraded with ATO.

  • Wimbledon could be getting 20 tph from Waterloo and 2 tph from Thameslink
  • Balham currently gets 12 tph from Victoria and a few other services.
  • Tooting Broadway will just get the Northern Line.

So it is Tooting Broadway that is in the greatest need of extra services.

If extra services are needed at Wimbledon or Balham, the capacity could be on the existing lines signalled under ATO, which could certainly handle 24 tph.

So would it be logical to not pass through Tooting Broadway station, but use it as the Southern terminal?

Or could a loop tunnel from Clapham Junction go through the following stations?

  • Wandsworth Common
  • Balham
  • Streatham Common
  • Tooting
  • Tooting Broadway and/or St. George’s Hospital
  • Earlsfield

The tunnel is probably too long to be single-track with single-platform stations, like the Loop under Liverpool on the Wirral Line.

But fast trains and good design of track and stations, might just make an affordable Crossrail 2 serving both Balham and Tooting Broadway.

Who knows?

I don’t!

But I have seen some crazy ideas work on my travels around the railways of Europe and we must not put limits on what we think is possible.

Conclusion

I shall be surprised if Crossrail 2 is built before 2040, as various projects and ATO will create enough capacity to push the line futher into the future.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 4 Comments