The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail Rushes To Make Bond Street Ready For Testing

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

Mark Wild, who is Crossrail’s Chief Executive, is quoted as telling the London Assembly.

Our current focus is predominantly on key areas of risk such as ensuring that Bond Street station is at the required stage of completion to allow us to commence trial running early in 2020..

The more I read about this project, the more I believe, that the projects lateness is down to two things.

  • Some very optimistic project management by contractors to get some of the enormous contracts on offer.
  • A lack of resources in vital areas like some trades and the testing of trains.

But then what do I know about Project Management and computer software?

Could Bond Street also be the only really late station, as it is on a very cramped site in the centre of some of the most expensive real estate on the planet?

The 3D visualisation shows the area around the station.

Note .

  1. The new Western entrance to Bond Street Crossrail station, which is the cleared site with the russet-coloured building behind.
  2. The new Eastern entrance, which is just to the West of Hanover Square.
  3. Bond Street running down from Next on Oxford Street to Fenwicks.

Surface access is not good to say the least.

The same access problem probably applies at Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations, but at these five stations, there were buildings that could be demolished to give access for construction.

It should also be notes, that some of these stations have only a few local residents.

I’ll take a quick look at these five stations.

Paddington

This Google Map shows Paddington station.

Note the Crossrail station, which has been squeezed into the old cab rank, alongside the station.

Tottenham Court Road

This Google Map shows Tottenham Court Road station.

Note the amount of cleared space around the station,

Farringdon

This Google Map shows Farringdon station.

The Crossrail station is to the West of the current station. It must have helped contractors, that the station had been redeveloped a couple of times for the construction and update of Thameslink.

Moorgate

This Google Map shows Moorgate station.

Moor House, which is the large office block behind Moorgate station, was built in 2004 and was designed to accept Crossrail in the basement.

Finsbury Circus, which is the green space in the East was used as a construction site.

Liverpool Street

This Google Map shows Liverpool Street station.

The main entrance to the Crossrail station will be in front of the Broadgate office complex, which is to the West of the station.

This section of Broadgate is also being redeveloped, which probably helps and hinders in equal measure.

Conclusion

I think lessons will be learned that can be applied to other cross-city rail projects.

  • Future-planning as with Moor House should be increasingly used.
  • Should stations be built in conjunction with other developments?
  • Are stations in areas of high real-estate values a good idea?
  • Could more innovative ways be used to bring in construction materials?

Will future projects be better?

July 16, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seven Kings Station – 2nd July 2019

Seven Kings station appears to be substantially complete, as these pictures show..

A new bridge with lifts has been added to supplement the current stairs, which have been refurbished.

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Brentwood Station – 2nd July 2019

I took these pictures of Brentwood station today.

For comparison, this second set of pictures were taken in October 2014 and I posted them in Before Crossrail – Brentwood Station.

Note the excellent toilets.

There is still work to do to finish the station.

The biggest problem appears to be squeezing the lifts into the structure.

There is this article on Essex Live, which is entitled Brentwood Station Lift Fiasco Is Penalising Buggy-Users And Disable People.

This is said in the article.

Network Rail has previously said that the decision to not install a lift on platform four was “not taken lightly.”

But, the discovery of power cables and a disused culvert underneath where the lift shaft would go led to Network Rail’s conclusion that a lift could not be installed there.

I’m afraid that station modifications are liberally sprinkled with stories like this.

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Harold Wood Station – 2nd July 2019

Harold Wood station appears to be progressing towards completion.

These pictures were taken today.

For comparison, this second set of pictures were taken in October 2014 and I posted then in Before Crossrail – Harold Wood .

In the related post, I said this.

The station has toilets but a bad bridge and no lifts.

It won’t take much to get it ready for Crossrail.

It appears that  the following work has been done.

  • A temporary (?) step-free entrance has been built.
  • A new bridge has been put in place.
  • The platforms have been extended.

But the lift installation need finishing and the old station building needs refurbishing.

The station has the air of an overrunning refurbishing project or one that has run out of money.

 

 

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Gidea Park Station – 2nd July 2019

Gidea Park station is now almost ready to become step-free.

There is still a bit of testing and decorating to finish off and hopefully everything in the station will be fully operational in a few weeks.

Compare the pictures, with these of the bridge, that I took in October 2014.

The pictures come from Before Crossrail – Gidea Park, where I said this.

One of the station staff told me, that the bridge had obvious corrosion problems and it was being replaced with one with lifts.

It appears that the contractors have taken the old footbridge, refurbished it with all the care that the Scots use on the Forth Railway Bridge and added a pair of new lift towers to give step-free access to the platforms.

This method probably took longer than replacing the whole structure with a new bridge, but I suspect that the contractors were able to keep the station open at all times.

I have to add a tail-piece.

This picture was taken in the waiting room.

But then the station had a florist when I visited in 2014. Perhaps, it still does!

 

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Ilford Station – 2nd July 2019

Work is underway at Ilford station to rebuild the main station entrance and create a modern glass-fronted station.

This page on the Crossrail web site, which is entitled Ilford Station, lists these features.

  • A new spacious, modern and bright station building on Cranbrook Road
  • A new waiting room and benches on platforms
  • Improved customer information, lighting and wayfinding signage
  • Newly painted walls and tiled floor and ceiling
  • Two new ticket machines, four new ticket gates and a wide aisle gate
  • A new waiting room and benches on platforms.

This image is also shown.

I took these pictures of the station today.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the disused Platform 5 in the pictures and at the Northern side of the station in the map, for which I can’t find any future plans.

  • Perhaps it could be made into an operationally-useful bay platform? After all, it appears to be full length.
  • Could it be filled in to create a wide platform with a waiting room and a coffee kiosk?
  • Could it be used for bicycle parking?

I would wait until Crossrail is fully-open and see what is most needed.

Note too, the last picture with the footbridge over the station to the York Road entrance on the right. This picture shows the York Road entrance.

It was a shrewd move to build this second entrance, as it can function as the station entrance, whilst the main entrance on Cranbrook Road is rebuilt.

There would also appear to be plans to put a third entrance on the Southern side of the footbridge, which connects to Ilford Hill.

In my view, a station can never have too many entrances.

Conclusion

Will a new station attract more passengers to use Crossrail?

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Up To £3 Billion For Crossrail To Ebbsfleet

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the July 2019 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is an extract.

Current estimates gave a cost range of between £1.3 billion and £3 billion, which Mr. Williams said depended on whether services shared tracks with existing Southeastern services east of Abbey Wood or had their own segregated tracks.

Mr. Williams is Transport for London’s Direct of City  Planning; Alex Williams.

This Google Map shows Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.

Note.

  1. The large Ebbsfleet International station towards the bottom of the map.
  2. Northfleet station on the North Kent Line in the North East corner of the map.
  3. The two stations are about five hundred  metres apart as the  crow flies.

There has been a lot of pressure in the past to build a pedestrian link between the two stations, as reported by the Wikipedia entry for Northfleet station.

The station is very close to Ebbsfleet International station (the NNE entrance is only 334 yards (305 m) from Northfleet’s station), but passengers (using public transport) will find it far easier to access Ebbsfleet International from Gravesend or Greenhithe, as these stations are more accessible and offer easy access to Fastrack bus services. The walking route between the two stations is 0.6 miles (1 km) or 0.8 miles (1.3 km) and a suitable pedestrian link has not been built because of funding issues and objections from Land Securities.

Why when Ebbsfleet International station was built in the early 2000s for opening in 2007, was a pedestrian link not built between the two stations?

How much did omitting the link save?

Luton Airport are building the Luton DART, which is a people mover to  connect Luton Airport Parkway station with the airport.

  • It is 1.4 miles long.
  • It is fully automated.
  • It might have an extra station serving the mid-stay parking.
  • It appears to be taking three years to build.

All of this very comprehensive system appears to be costing around £200 million.

I doubt that a simple pedestrian link, like a bridge with travelators,  would have cost more than a few tens of million pounds.

To me, it is one of the great mysteries of the building of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, that this pedestrian link wasn’t built.

I think, in future, we could come to regret that it wasn’t built along with the rest of Ebbsfleet International station in the early 2000s.

The extension of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet is about the following.

  • Creating a high-frequency railway to serve all the new housing developments in the Thames Gateway and along the South Bank of the Thames.
  • Connecting  Ebbsfleet International station and other developments around the station to Crossrail.

In some ways, these two objectives are incompatible.

  • To serve the housing developments along the river, the Crossrail extension needs to run roughly along the route of the North Kent Line.
  • To serve Ebbsfleet International station, the route needs to be further inland.

Choosing either route is going to annoy people who live on the other.

For this reason, I feel we need a good old-fashioned British compromise or some very-radical thinking.

Current Services Along The North Kent Line

I shall start by looking at current services on the North Kent Line.

Thameslink – Luton And Rainham (Kent)

A Thameslink service

  • Two trains per hour (tph)
  • South of the Thames, the service calls at London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Whatcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe, Northfleet, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.
  • Eight-car Class 700 trains work the route, which have a 100 mph operating speed.
  • The service calls at Northfleet for a possible interchange with services running from Ebbsfleet International station
  • The service calls at Abbey Wood for interchange with Crossrail.

If there needed to be more capacity on this service, I suspect Thameslink could run twelve-car trains.

Southeastern – London Charing Cross And Gravesend

A Southeastern Metro service.

  • Two tph
  • Calls at Waterloo East, London Bridge, New Eltham, Sidcup, Bexley, Crayford, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe and Northfleet
  • The service calls at Northfleet for a possible interchange with services running from Ebbsfleet International station.
  • The service calls at Gravesend for interchange with Southeastern HighSpeed services between St. Pancras International station and North-East Kent, East Kent and soon-to-be East Sussex.
  • Class 465 trains work the route, which have a 75 mph operating speed.

This picture shows a train for Gravesend in London Bridge station.

My feeling, is that the service would be improved by modern 100 mph trains, as these antique slow-coaches must restrict the speed of faster trains.

Southeastern – London Cannon Street And Dartford Loop Line

A Southeastern Metro service.

  • Four tph in both directions.
  • Calls at London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • Two tph return to Cannon Street via Crayford and Sidcup and two tph return to Cannon Street via Barnehurst and Bexleyheath.
  • The service calls at Abbey Wood for a planned interchange with Crossrail.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with the previous service, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London Charing Cross And Dartford

A Southeastern Metro service.

  • Two tph
  • Calls at Waterloo East, London Bridge, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • The service calls at Abbey Wood for a planned interchange with Crossrail.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with the two previous services, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London Victoria And Dover

A Southeastern Mainline service.

  • Two tph
  • Calls on the North Kent Line at Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with previous services, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London Victoria And Ramsgate

A Southeastern Mainline service.

  • One tph
  • Calls on the North Kent Line at Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with previous services, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London St. Pancras And Faversham

A Southeastern HighSpeed service.

  • One tph
  • Calls at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham and Sittingbourne.
  • The service calls at Ebbsfleet International for an interchange with Continental services.
  • Class 395 trains work the route, which have a 100 mph operating speed on lines electrified using a third-rail.

This picture shows a Class 395 train at Gravesend station.

East of Ebbsfleet International, this service can be considered a 100 mph local train, that gets slowed by the 75 mph services.

Southeastern – London St Pancras International Loop Service

A Southeastern HighSpeed service.

  • One tph
  • Calls at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington-on-Sea, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Sandwich, Deal, Walmer, Martin Mill, Dover Priory, Folkestone Central, Folkestone West, Ashord International, Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International.
  • The service calls at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International for an interchange with Continental services.
  • Class 395 trains work the route.

East of Ebbslfleet International, this service can be considered a 100 mph local train, that gets slowed by the 75 mph services.

Southeastern – London St Pancras International And Ramsgate

A Southeastern HighSpeed service.

  • One tph
  • Calls at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Ramsgate and Broadstairs
  • The service calls at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International for an interchange with Continental services.
  • Class 395 trains work the route.

East of Ashford International, this service can be considered a 100 mph local train, that gets slowed by the 75 mph services.

A Summary Of Services By Station

I will look at the current number of trains at stations between London Bridge and Faversham.

  • Deptford – 6 tph
  • Greenwich – 6 tph
  • Maze Hill – 6 tph
  • Westcombe Park – 6 tph
  • Charlton – 8 tph
  • Woolwich Dockyard – 6 tph
  • Woolwich Arsenal – 8 tph
  • Plumstead – 8 tph
  • Abbey Wood – 8 tph
  • Belvedere – 6 tph
  • Erith – 6 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 12 tph to London and 6 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 4 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 6 tph
  • Swanscombe – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 6 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Higham – 2 tph
  • Strood – 4 tph
  • Rochester – 7 tph
  • Chatham – 7 tph
  • Gillingham – 7 tph
  • Rainham – 7 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Sittingbourne – 5 tph
  • Faversham – 5 tph

This is almost a train every ten minutes all the way from London to Faversham.

In addition Ebbsfleet International has four tph to and from London St. Pancras International.

Could Extra Services Be Run Along The North Kent Line?

Consider.

  • Six tph is not a high frequency for a relatively simple route like this.
  • The East London Line, which has about the same level of complication easily handles sixteen tph and it is planned to go to twenty tph in the next couple of years.
  • Digital signalling and Automatic Train Control will handle twenty-four tph on Crossrail and Thameslink.
  • Freight trains do not run at a high frequency on the route.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see another eight-ten tph added to the route.

How Many Trains Should Terminate At Ebbsfleet?

Currently, Crossrail has six fully-planned and built terminals.

  • Abbey Wood will handle twelve tph in the Peak and ten tph in the Off Peak
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 will handle four tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 will handle two tph all day
  • Maidenhead will handle two tph all day.
  • Reading will handle four tph in the Peak and two tph in the Off Peak
  • Shenfield will handle twelve tph in the Peak and ten tph in the Off Peak

It would appear that most terminals only handle between two and four tph.

I very much suspect, that research will show that four tph to and from Ebbsfleet will be sufficient.

It certainly meets the requirement for a Turn-Up-And-Go service, as used by London Overground and Merseyrail.

Possible Terminals For Crossrail In Kent

Wikipedia gives services to Abbey Wood station under Services as follows.

  • Peak – Twelve tph
  • Off Peak – Ten tph

There are several possible terminals for Crossail in Kent

Gravesend Station

When Crossrail was planned, the route was safeguarded to Gravesend station, with a depot at Hoo Junction to the East.

This section in Wikipedia, which is entitled To Gravesend And Hoo Junction, gives more details. This is the first sentence.

The route to Gravesend has been safeguarded by the Department for Transport, although it was made clear that as at February 2008 there was no plan to extend Crossrail beyond the then-current scheme.

These pictures show Gravesend station.

The station is well-appointed and has good services.

  • The station is close to the Town Centre.
  • It is step-free.
  • There is a West-facing bay platform, which is currently used for a two tph service to Charing Cross.
  • The platforms are very long.
  • HighSpeed commuter services and Thameslink call at the station.

Crossrail services could either terminate in the bay platform or run through the station to a turnback siding at Hoo Junction.

Either way, I’m sure four tph could be easily handled.

Ebbsfleet International Station

Ebbsfleet International station is named in the title of this post and many are expecting that Crossrail will be extended to the station.

This Google Map shows this station.

Note.

  1. The High Speed platforms 1 to 4, for St. Pancras, Ashford International and the Continent are to the left.
  2. The two separate platforms 5 and 6 for high-speed services to and from North Kent.
  3. The large amount of car parking around the station.

It’s not obvious, where a platform or two for Crossrail could fit in.

The Wikipedia entry for Ebbsfleet International station, says this about Crossrail.

It was formerly planned that Crossrail would terminate at a separate station between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet International but under the current plan, Abbey Wood further west will be the eastern terminus. However, a Crossrail extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend (Hoo Junction) remains safeguarded

Perhaps, Crossrail platforms could be on the Northfleet side of the station, to the North of platforms 5 and 6.

If two platforms are good enough for Abbey Wood station, then surely, two platforms would be sufficient at Ebbsfleet International station.

This Google Map shows where the North Kent Line rrosses the Channel Tunnel Rail Link about five hundred metres North of Ebbsfleet station.

Could a flyover or dive-under be created to create a spur from the North Kent Line, that would allow Crossrail trains to sneak down the Eastern side of the high speed lines to platforms, alongside the current Platforms 5 and 6?

This picture was taken from a train on the bridge that carries the North Kent Line over the high speed lines.

I suspect there is a solution in there somewhere.

One interesting possibility could be for the Crossrail trains to share Platforms 5 and 6 at Ebbsfleet International station with the HighSpeed commuter services to North Kent.

This picture shows the flying junction, where the tracks through Platforms 5 and 6, join the North Kent Line between Northfleet and Gravesend stations.

As currently, only two tph use the link, surely, Crossrail services of four tph could share, if they were to go through Ebbsfleet International and terminate at Gravesend?

I’m not an expert on designing bridges, but to my untrained eye, a flyover to connect the Ebbsfleet loop to the North Kent Line to the West of the station, wouldn’t be much more complicated, than the flyover to the East.

I think, a loop to serve Ebbsfleet would have other advantages.

  • Crossrail would have access to a much-needed Park-and-Ride site.
  • The interchange between Crossrail and Continental services would be a short walk.
  • Probably only minimal improvements would be needed to Ebbsfleet International station.
  • There would be a same-platform interchange between Crossrail and HighSpeed commuter services to and from St. Pancras.
  • Construction would be more affordable and less disruptive.

Perhaps, it’s a better idea, than I originally thought?

Abbey Wood

Abbey Wood station has been designed to handle twelve tph.

The picture shows the four platforms at Abbey Wood station with a Class 345 train in one of the two Crossrail platforms.

  • Two platforms can handle twelve tph.
  • A turnback facility that has been built at the station to handle more trains or service recovery.
  • There are three bridges, two escalators and at least two lifts to facilitate transfer between Crossrail and other services.
  • Platforms are spacious.
  • There is a wide gate line controlling entry to the station.
  • The station is well-served by buses, but car parking is limited.

It is one of the better new stations and would certainly have no problems handling the eight tph, it would need to in the Peak, if four tph, carried on to terminate at Ebbsfleet.

Dartford Station

Dartford station probably has claims to be terminal for Crossrail.

It is a large town, clustered around the station.

There is a lot of new housing close to the station.

It has regularly services to several London terminals, by a variety of routes.

But it appears to be a very cramped station with narrow platforms, as some of these pictures shows.

Services at the station include.

  • Eight tph – Charing Cross
  • Two tph – Victoria
  • Four tph – Gravesend

Thameslink also run two tph between Luton and Rainham.

It is much-more a station where travellers change trains, than one where services terminate..

But even for that it needs improvement.

My Preferred Crossrail Option

I would extend Crossrail to Ebbsfleet in a simple manner, that was capable of being expanded, as traffic needs changed in the future.

Four tph Would Continue Through Abbey Wood Station

I feel that a Turn-Up-And-Go service between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet, of four tph would be sufficient, especially if other services on the route, were to be increased in frequency and capacity.

Services Would Terminate At Gravesend Station

The original safeguarded plan for Crossrail to be extended to Gravesend, with a depot at Hoo Junction, is in my mind a good plan.

  • Gravesend station is probably Crossrail-ready.
  • Gravesend station could handle the turnround of Crossrail running at a frequency of four tph.
  • There is plenty of space for a depot at Hoo Junction.

But perhaps most importantly,, it is the original plan suggested in the original design of Crossrail.

Have decisions been made by the various councils on the extended route, based on this plan?

Crossrail Services Would Use The North Kent Line

The extended Crossrail service would call at Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe and Northfleet.

Frequencies of trains at the stations between Abbey Wood and Gravesend would be.

  • Belvedere – 10 tph
  • Erith – 10 tph
  • Slade Green – 10 tph
  • Dartford – 16 tph to London via a variety of routes and 10 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 8 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 10 tph
  • Swanscombe – 8 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph

In addition, Gravesend would have ten tph to and from London.

Handling these frequencies on a modern double-track railway shouldn’t be a problem.

Will Digital Signalling Be Needed?

Crossrail and Thameslink are both digitally signalled and will use a degree of Automatic Train Control, to handle up to twenty-four tph.

I could see advantages in applying similar systems to the Crossrail extension to Ebbsfleet.

Merging Of Services Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Services through both these stations would include.

  • 4 tph – Crossrail between London and Ebbsfleet/Gravesend
  • 2 tph – Thameslink between Luton and Rainham, which don’t stop at Belvedere.
  • 4 tph – Southeastern which are the Dartford Loop service to and from Cannon Street.
  • 2 tph – Southeastern between Charing Cross and Dartford

The current track layout appears to allow Crossrail trains to access the North Kent Line, but Class 345 trains are not fitted with shoes for third-rail elecrification.

This Google Map shows the Western end of Belvedere station.

Note how there appears to be space on either side of the double track, which continues as far as Abbey Wood station.

I suspect that a track layout can be designed between the two stations, so that trains can merge and diverge efficiently between the four tracks at Abbey Wood and the two tracks at Belvedere.

Digital signalling would make it easier.

Station Improvement Between Abbey Wood and Grsvesend Stations

As I indicated earlier, Dartford station would need improvement.

On the other hand Abbey Wood, Greenhithe for Bluewater and Gravesend will need very little modification.

I also suspect, Dartford would not be the only station, that will need improvement.

All stations would be made step-free.

A Loop For Ebbsfleet International Station

I feel that the best way to give access to Ebbsfleet International station would be to create a loop from the North Kent Line and use the current island platform 5 and 6 at the station for Crossrail as well.

The Eastern end of the loop has already been built to a high standard and it would only need a Western connection to be designed and constructed.

I’ll repeat the advantanges of this scheme, I listed earlier.

  • Crossrail would have access to a much-needed Park-and-Ride site.
  • The interchange between Crossrail and Continental services would be a short walk.
  • Probably only minimal improvements would be needed to Ebbsfleet International station.
  • There would be a same-platform interchange between Crossrail and HighSpeed commuter services to St. Pancras.
  • Construction would be more affordable and less disruptive.

Each side of the he island platform 5 and 6 would handle.

  • Two tph – HighSpeed commuter services.
  • Four tph – Crossrail services.

They may even be able to handle more trains in the future.

Will Crossrail’s Class 345 Trains Fleet Need Upgrading?

Crossrail’s Class 345 trains have a 90 mph operating speed, as opposed to the 100 mph operating speed of Thameslink’s Class 700 trains.

Southeastern Class 465 trains are even slower at 75 mph.

If all trains working the North Kent Line were 100 mph trains, it would surely make a robust timetable easier to create and operate.

I would expect that in a few years time, all trains working between London and Kent will be capable of at least 100 mph.

Where Will Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International Services Terminate In The West?

The obvious terminal would surely be Heathrow, as this would give a useful service Heathrow and Continental rail services, without the need to change trains.

Wikipedia is quoting 52 minutes between Heathrow and Abbey Wood on Crossrail and current times give  twenty-three minutes between Abbey Wood and Gravesend stations, with perhaps four minutes less to Ebbsfleet in the future.

So timings could be as follows.

  • Heathrow and Ebbsfleet – 75 minutes
  • Heathrow and Gravesend – 79 minutes

Surely, this will be better than struggling around a crowded M25.

Southeastern HighSpeed Commuter Service Improvements

The Southeastern franchise may change later in the year and speculation has started on what this will mean for services and the trains used.

A Revamped HighSpeed Service

In an article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Kent On The Cusp Of Change, some well-founded speculation is made about the future of the HighSpeed commuter service.

  • More Class 395 trains or similar need to be procured.
  • A new service between St. Pancras and Hastings is planned.
  • An all-day service between St. Pancras and Maidstone West via Gravesend.
  • An extra two tph between St. Pancras and Ebbsfleet International.
  • A second London terminal may be opened at possibly Waterloo or even Victoria.

Only the Maidstone West service would pass through platforms 5 and 6 at Ebbsfleet International station and would add a third hourly HighSpeed service.

In some ways, it might be better for HighSpeed services to run at four tph between Gravesend and St. Pancras via  Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International, as this would fit much better with a four tph Crossrail service.

Improvements To Stratford International Station

Pedestrian routes between the various services and the Olympic Park at Stratford International station are not good.

  • If HighSpeed services are going to be expanded, then it is only right that Stratford International station is improved, to a good modern connectivity standard.
  • If Stansted Airport and Cambridge services serve Stratford in the future, then there must be an easy pedestrian route between the two services.
  • Connectivity between HighSpeed and Great Eastern Main Line and Crossrail services is particularly poor.
  • The HighSpeed platforms at Stratford International station are bleak and draughty and need improvement.

It’s almost as if, the whole station complex was designed for the Eastfield Shopping Centre.

A Summary Of Services By Station

I will look at the current number of trains at stations between Abbey Wood and Faversham, after adding in two extra HighSpeed sevices.

  • St. Pancras and Maidstone West via Strood.
  • St Pancras and Faversham.

These would give.

  • Belvedere – 10 tph
  • Erith – 10 tph
  • Slade Green – 10 tph
  • Dartford – 16 tph to London via a variety of routes and 10 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 8 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 10 tph
  • Swanscombe – 8 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 8 tph to London and 7 tph to the East
  • Higham – 2 tph
  • Strood – 6 tph
  • Rochester – 8 tph
  • Chatham – 8 tph
  • Gillingham – 8 tph
  • Rainham – 8 tph to London and 6 tph to the East
  • Sittingbourne – 6 tph

Thameslink Improvements

My only thought about Thamesink, is that if Crossrail and Southeastern’s HighSpeed services run at a frequency of four tph, through Gravesend, then surely Thameslink should run at the same frequency Between St. Pancras and Rainham.

I say St. Pancras rather than Luton, as it would probably be sensible to send the extra two tph up the East Coast Main Line to either Welwyn Garden City, Peterborough or Cambridge.

A Summary Of Services By Station

I will look at the current number of trains at stations between Abbey Wood and Faversham, after adding in two extra Thameslink sevices.

These would give.

  • Belvedere – 12 tph
  • Erith – 12 tph
  • Slade Green – 12 tph
  • Dartford – 18 tph to London via a variety of routes and 12 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 10 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 12 tph
  • Swanscombe – 10 tph
  • Northfleet – 6 tph
  • Gravesend – 10 tph to London and 9 tph to the East
  • Higham – 4 tph
  • Strood – 8 tph
  • Rochester – 10 tph
  • Chatham – 10 tph
  • Gillingham – 10 tph
  • Rainham – 10 tph to London and 6 tph to the East
  • Sittingbourne – 6 tph

When you consider that these frequencies are obtained by trains running at 100 mph on a railway, that was most;ly built in the mid-nineteenth century and electrified with 750 VDC third rail before the Second World War.

Southeastern Improvements

Both Southeastern’s Metro services to and from Dartford and Chatham and their main line services to East Kent will probably be improved under the new franchise holder

  • New or refurbished 100 mph trains will replace the 75 mph Class 465 trains.
  • Dover and Ramsgate will get increased frequencies from Victoria.
  • Metro services to and from Dartford and Chatham will be at least a Turn-Up-And-Go four tph.
  • The enhanced performance of the new trains would enable faster services and more stops to be made without degrading the timetable.

I feel that it would not be impossible to see every station between London Bridge and Rainham having twelve tph.

The Pedestrian Link Between Northfleet And Ebbsfleet International Stations

I am not saying a pedestrian link between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet International station shouldn’t be built, but consider that the loop through Ebbsfleet International station gives two routes between Swancombe and Gravesend.; one via Northfleet and the other via Ebbsfleet International.

A lot depends on how many passengers will actually want to travel between the two stations.

  • Those from the West could change at a station like Dartford or Greenhithe for Bluewater to a train going to their required destination.
  • Those from the East could change at Gravesend to a train going to their required destination.

All changes would be same-platform changes and the best stations could be encouraged by coffee kiosks and comfortable waiting rooms.

For passengers starting from Northfleet the following rules would apply.

  • Passengers going East would take the first train and change if required at Bravesend, Rochester or their preferred station.
  • Passengers going West would take the first train and change if required.
  • Passengers going to Ebbsfleet International would probably catch the first train for a single stop and then cross-over to the other platform for a train to Ebbsfleet International.

If there were upwards of six tph on both routes and step-free access at all stations, these procedures would not be unduly tiresome.

Similar rules would apply for those starting their journeys at Ebbsfleet International.

Note that, as more trains ran on both routes between Swanscombe and Gravesend, the time to get between the two stations would decrease.

If as seems to be planned, a lot of housing is built on the undeveloped land between the two stations, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a progressively-minded developer build a pleasant tree-lined pedestrian and cycling route between the two stations.

This would be mainly to give easy access to the development to the two stations, but it would also link them together.

Conclusion

Everything, I have written in this post is based on sound facts and is possible with today’s technology.

  • 100 mph suburban electric trains have been around for several decades.
  • Digital signalling has been successfully running on Thameslink in the UK and other places in the world for a couple of years.
  • The construction methods to build a loop at Ebbsfleet station are nothing out-of-the-ordinary.

What I have outlined would be much more of a £1.3 billion project than a £3 billion one!

I also believe everything can be achieved without massive disruption or inconvenience to passengers and probably delivered in full by 2025.

It should be noted that North Kent will be reaping the benefit of three major new cross-London high-capacity railways.

  • The Chanel Tunnel Rail Link between Ebbsfleet International and St. Pancras via Stratford International.
  • Crossrail between Abbey Wood and West London via Canary Wharf, the City and West End of London, Paddington and Old Oak Common.
  • Thameslink between Kent and North of London via London Bridge, Blackfriars and St. Pancras.

As cross-London routes continue to develop in future decades, other commuter routes will benefit from similar strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The New Entrance To Moorgate Station

The new entrance to Moorgate station, is now more visible behind the hoardings.

But there still appears to be a lot to do!

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Major Upgrade Planned For Norwood Junction Railway Station

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

Ian introduces his article like this.

A somewhat shabby, and yet quite busy station in South London could get a major makeover if plans by Network Rail are approved.

The proposals are part of the wider plan to clean up the mess of tracks around Croydon to boost the capacity of the lines through the area, but it is also a stand-alone project.

Ian also has this visualisation of the upgraded Norwood Junction station.

Note.

  1. London Bridge station is to the left with East Croydon station to the right.
  2. The Main station entrance is on the near side, with the Clifford Road station entrance on the far side.
  3. Platform 1 & 2 is the highlighted island platform on the near side.
  4. Platform 3 & 4 is the highlighted island platform on the far side.

It looks expensive with two step-free bridges.

Both bridges have four sets of steps to.

  • The Main Station Entrance.
  • The Northbound Platform 1 & 2,
  • The Southbound Platform 3 & 4
  • The Clifford Road Entrance.

In addition, the Southern bridge has four lifts to the two entrances and two platforms.

These pictures show the current state of the station.

Currently, the station has three island platforms.

  • They are connected by a well-lit, step-only subway.
  • Some platforms are too short for twelve-car trains.
  • The wooden buidings need a quality makeover. Where is Terry Stollery, when you need him?
  • In the new layout, the central island platform will be removed, to allow a pair of fast lines through the station.
  • One advantage of the subway is during the station upgrade, it can still be used to access the middle platforms, thus easing construction and causing less disruption for passengers.

After the upgrade, the layout will be as follows.

  • Platforms 1 & 2, which are currently Platforms 2 & 3, would be for Northbound trains, with perhaps Platform 1 for stopping and Overground services and Platform 2 for limited-stop and Thameslink services.
  • Platforms 3 & 4, which are currently Platforms 5 & 6, would be for Southbound trains, with perhaps Platform 3 for stopping and Overground services and Platform 4 for limited-stop and Thameslink services.

The subway will probably be closed.

Improved Train Services

For people like me, who live on the Overground, North of Norwood Junction station, hopefully it will solve the problem of getting to Gatwick Airport.

  • It’ll just be a walk across the platform at Norwood Junction station, instead of a tram between West Croydon and East Croydon stations.
  • In the future, would the cross-platform interchange help travellers between Crossrail and Gatwick and the South Coast?
  • The Zeus of the Timetables could even make it better, by increasing the frequency of Thameslink trains between Norwood Junction and  Gatwick Airport stations to match the four trains per hour (tph) between Dalston Junction and West Croydon stations.

Note that the day, I took the pictures Bedford and Highbury & Islington trains were in the current Platforms 2 & 3.

Up here in sometimes-forgotten Dalston, I’ll certainly give this new layout at Norwood Junction station, a high score, if the trains are changed to use it to advantage.

Norwood Junction Will Become A Major Interchange!

The walk-across interchange between Northbound services on platforms 1 & 2 and Southbound services on platforms 3 & 4, will mean that the station, will become  the station where travellers will prefer change trains.

Suppose you were travelling from Luton to Epsom.

The Journey Planner on http://www.national.co.uk, suggests a double change at Farringdon and Carshalton, with a journey time of 1 hour and 51 minutes.

The upgraded Norwood Junction station, would allow the journey to be done in two legs.

  • Luton and Norwood Junction – one hour and three minutes.
  • Norwood Junction and Epsom – 29 minutes.

It could be quicker and it is a cross-platform change, where hopefully, there will be a climate-controlled waiting room and a coffee stall.

Current frequencies going North are as follows.

  • Anerley – Six tph
  • Balham – Two tph
  • Battersea Park – Two tph
  • Bedford – Two tph
  • Brockley – Six tph
  • City Thameslink – Two tph
  • Clapham Junction – Two tph
  • Crystal Palace – Two tph
  • Dalston Junction – Four tph
  • Farringdon – Two tph
  • Flitwick – Two tph
  • Forest Hill – six tph
  • Gypsy Hill – Two tph
  • Haggerston – Four tph
  • Harlington – Two tph
  • Harpenden – Two tph
  • Highbury & Islington – Four tph
  • Honor Oak Park – Six tph
  • Leagrave – Two tph
  • Hoxton – Four tph
  • London Blackfriars – Two tph
  • London Bridge (Non-stop) – Two tph
  • London Bridge (Stopping) – Three tph
  • London St. Pancras – Two tph
  • London Victoria – Two tph
  • Luton – Two tph
  • Luton Airport Parkway – Two tph
  • New Cross Gate – Six tph
  • Penge West – Six tph
  • Rotherhithe – Four tph
  • Shadwell – Four tph
  • Shoreditch High Street – Four tph
  • St. Albans City – Two tph
  • Streatham Hill – Two tph
  • Surrey Quays – Four tph
  • Sydenham – Six tph
  • Wandsworth Common – Two tph
  • Wapping – Four tph
  • West Norwood – Two tph
  • Whitechapel – Four tph

Current frequencies going South are as follows.

  • Carshalton Beeches – Two tph
  • Cheam – Two tph
  • Coulsdon Town – Two tph
  • Earlswood – Two tph
  • East Croydon – Six tph
  • Epsom – Two tph
  • Ewell East – Two tph
  • Gatwick Airport – Two tph
  • Horley – Two tph
  • Purley – Four tph
  • Purley Oaks – Two tph
  • Redhill – Two tph
  • Reedham – Two tph
  • Salfords – Two tph
  • South Croydon – Two tph
  • Sutton – Two tph
  • Waddon – Two tph
  • Wallington – Two tph
  • West Croydon – Eight tph

In addition these services pass through.

  • Bedford and Brighton – Two tph
  • Cambridge and Brighton – Two tph
  • London Brifge and Caterham & Tattenham Corner – Two tph
  • London Bridge and Uckfield – Two tph
  • Peterborough and Horsham – Two tph

It is a very comprehensive list of services and possible destinations.

I believe that if a few more trains stopped at Norwood Junction station, there could be at least two tph to every station connected to Norwood Junction station, with these higher frequencies to the more important stations.

  • Bedford – Four tph
  • Brighton – Four tph
  • Canada Water – Four tph
  • City Thameslink – Eight tph
  • Clapham Junction – Four tph
  • Crystal Palace – Four tph
  • Dalston Junction – Four tph
  • East Croydon – Eight tph
  • Epsom – Four tph
  • Farringdon – Eight tph
  • Finsbury Park – Four tph
  • Gatwick Airport – Four tph
  • Highbury & Islington – Four tph
  • London Blackfriars – Eight tph
  • London Bridge (Non-stop) – Four tph
  • London Bridge (Stopping) – Four tph
  • London St. Pancras – Eight tph
  • London Victoria – Four tph
  • Luton – Four tph
  • Luton Airport Parkway – Four tph
  • St. Albans City – Four tph
  • Stevenage – Four tph
  • Sutton – Four tph
  • Welwyn Garden City – Four tph
  • West Croydon – Eight tph
  • West Hampstead Thameslink – Four tph
  • Whitechapel – Four tph

These frequencies could be attained, by stopping a few extra services at Norwood Junction station.

It is certainly comprehensive and getting to most important areas of Central London is direct or a single change.

  • The step-free changes to Crossrail at Farringdon and Whitechapel will allow simple access to Canary Wharf, the City,, Heathrow, Paddington, the West End and all the towns and cities on the branches.
  • The Bakerloo Line Extension will connect at New Cross Gate.
  • The Central Line doesn’t connect
  • The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines connect at Farringdon, Kings Cross St. Pancras, London Blackfriars and Whitechapel.
  • The Jubilee Line connects at Canada Water, London Bridge and West Hampstead Thameslink.
  • The Northern Line connects at Kentish Town, Kings Cross St. Pancras and London Bridge
  • The Piccadilly Line connects at Finsbury Park and Kings Cross St Pancras.
  • The Victoria Line connects at Finsbury Park, Highbury & Islington and Kings Cross St. Pancras.

But there are some important places that are not well-connected or have difficult interchanges to Norwood Junction station.

  • Euston station, High Speed Two and the West Coast Main Line.
  • Cannon Street, Charing Cross and Waterloo mean a complicated interchange at London Bridge.
  • The connections to Great Northern services, the North London Line and the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington need serious improvement.
  • South East London needs going to London Bridge and coming out again!

Radical thinking and serious improvement is needed.

Milton Keynes Central and East Croydon

This is a useful service for some..

It calls at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton, Imperial Wharf, Clapham Junction, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst.

But, it has problems.

  • It has a high level of cancellation.
  • It has a totally inadequate hourly frequency.
  • It has no connection to the North London Line at Willesden Junction.
  • It blocks a platform at East Croydon, when it turns round.

In his report on Southern, Chris Gibb recommended that the service be the responsibility of the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

To connect High Speed Two at Old Oak Common, there needs to be a four tph service between Croydon and Old Oak Common.

Transport for London are proposing a new Hythe Road station on the West London Line..

  • It will be a seven hundred metre walk to the High Speed Two station. That is too long!
  • There will be a bay platform to turn trains from Clapham Junction.
  • Trains still won’t be able to call at Willesden Junction for the North London Line.

I think that building Hythe Road station is a bad idea.

This map shows the lines in the area.

Surely, the West London Line should have been re-routed over the Eastern end of Old Oak Common station at right angles, which would have the following benefits.

  • Quick and easy interchange with High Speed Two, the Great Western Main Line and Crossrail.
  • The ability to add bay platforms to terminate services.
  • Sharing of station services with the other stations.

Perhaps, though this practical passenger and operator-friendly idea would have ruined the architect’s vision.

Or is it, that the current track layout to connect to the West Coast Main Line only allows crap solutions.

Surely, the amount of money being spent on High Speed Two allows the best to be done everywhere.

London Overground principles say that services must be at least four tph.

The simplest way to do this would be to extend the current Stratford and Clapham Junction service via Willesden Junction to Croydon.

  • It would call at Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst, if it followed the current route.
  • I doubt that East Croydon station could handle four tph terminating at the station.

But why not use the route taken by London Victoria and West Croydon services via Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace, and Norwood Junction, to terminate at West Croydon?

  • This route calls at Norwood Junction, with all its connectivity.
  • If needed, there is space for a new platform at West Croydon.

I’ve no idea, what will happen, but the upgrade at Norwood Junction station should help.

Suppose you were going between Gatwick and High Speed Two.

  • The standard route will be Thameslink and Crossrail with a change at Farringdon.
  • A surface route with a change at Norwood Junction could be an alternative.

The second may be more pleasurable.

Upgrading The Station

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could two factory-built bridges like this be installed at Norwood Junction station?

  • The design is adaptable to multiple spans over the tracks.
  • Lifts could be left out for one bridge.
  • Once the site is prepared, I believe the bridges can be quickly installed, probably from a train with a crane.
  • The bridge is probably more affordable, than a traditional design.

During the installation period, the existing subway can be used for platform access.

Conclusion

Obviously, I am speculating that the new footbridge system will be used at Norwood Junction station.

But the new platform and track layout at the station, will certainly improve services on these routes.

  • Between East Croydon and London Bridge stations.
  • Between East Croydon and the London Overground and Crossrail.
  • Between the Overground and Gatwick Airport station and the South Coast.

All of the interchanges will be step-free and some will be cross-plsatform.

Are

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Sadiq Khan Be A One-Term Mayor?

This article on the BBC is entitled Donald Trump Hits Out Again At Sadiq Khan Over London Violence.

I don’t like Trump or many of his policies one bit and if in the unlikely chance, I was invited to meet him, I would decline.

But I’ve met many people, who think we need someone like Trump to stand-up for the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

I have two personal criticisms of Sadiq.

The Unaffordable Fare Freeze

The fare freeze he proposed, that must have impressed a large number of voters, has not been something that London can afford.

Now important projects like the rebuilding of Camden Town and Holborn station have been delayed.

He’s A South London Mayor

To my mind, Sadiq seems to favour his home territory over the North.

  • In the North, we seem to have suffered more from cuts in bus frequencies.
  • He was very slow to act on the problems with the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • Knife crime and violence seems to be worse in the North, so is it Mayoral neglect?

It is probably understandable, as his mates in the South have more chances to bend his ears and you don’t annoy your friends.

I wonder if Ken favoured the North!

I do think though that various effects are working against his reelection.

The ULEZ Effect

The London ULEZ currently only applies to the Congestion one, but from 2021, it will apply to all areas inside the North and South Circular Roads.

How many voters, who will be affected by the ULEZ extension, will vote for Sadiq?

The Brexit Effect

Sadiq has nailed his colours to Remain and is regularly interviewed about Brexit.

Most right-of-centre Brexiteers wouldn’t probably vote for him, but some traditional Labour boroughs voted to Leave, so could his support for Remain cost votes.

On the other hand, if Brexit has happened and going badly, will Sadiq gain votes?

The Next Prime Minister Effect

If Boris becomes Prime Minister, this would be an imponderable. It might help or hinder Sadiq’s reelection.

The Crossrail Effect

The late delivery of Crossrail, is not Sadiq’s fault, but it will have four effects.

  • The late delivery will ffect London’s transport budget and give the Mayor less money for projects.
  • Some people will view his oversight of the project as incompetent.
  • He won’t be able to bathe in the glow of a successful Crossrail.
  • It is a ready-made millstone to hang around his neck.

There will also be many Londoners, for whom, the late delivery of Crossrail caused a financial loss and they will vote accordingly.

The Trump Effect

I would expect, Trump to keep up his criticism of Sadiq.

Who’s to say, whether it will affect Sadiq’s vote, but there are quite a few people, who would support Trump.

Conclusion

There are a lot of questions to answer, but I feel given the state of British politics, that we could be in for a surprise.

Could we see a Brexit, Green or Lib Dem Mayor?

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments