The Anonymous Widower

Parallel Thinking From Bombardier

Bombardier’s New Talent 3 Electrical Multiuple Unit

This is the data sheet on Bombardier’s web site announcing the new Talent 3 EMU, which has recently been announced at Innotrans 2016. It is the successor to the Talent 2.

These are some phrases picked from the sheet.

  • Flexible and efficient when operating as commuter, regional, or intercity train.
  • The use of proven and optimized components, recognized in operation in several European countries,
  • For the first time a TALENT EMU train is compatible with the BOMBARDIER PRIMOVE Li-ion battery system.

Reading the data sheet the train seems very similar to the Aventra, except that in the case of the Talent 3, they mention batteries.

Primove

This Bombardier press release is entitled New PRIMOVE battery for rail presented at InnoTrans exhibition.

This is said.

The TALENT 3 EMU with PRIMOVE battery system will provide an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel trains operating on non-electrified lines. The results will significantly reduce noise pollution and emissions while making rail passenger transport cleaner and more attractive. Operators and passengers will also benefit from a battery technology that eliminates the need to change trains when bridging non-electrified track sections.

Other documents and web pafes emphasise how Primove is for all tranport applications. Thjs is the Primove web site.

In their data sheet, Bombardier said this.

For the first time TALENT EMU train is compatible with the BOMBARDIER PRIMOVE Li-ion battery system.

Reading about Primove, it would appear to be various standard modules.

Supposing you fit a train with the a standard Primove battery. This will give a defined range and performance to a p[articular train or tram with a specfic size battery.

As an electrical engineer and a control engineer in particular, I would suspect that the connections and the control system are the same for all batteries and that provided the battery can fit within the space allocated, all sizes will fit all trains.

So a suburban trundler would probably have less battery capacity, than a fast regional express, that stopped and started  quickly all the time.

If you want more range and performance, you just fit a bigger or more efficient battery.

I suspect too, that if an innovative company came up with another battery design, perhaps based on something like several miles of strong knicker elastic, so long as the plugs fit and it goes in the standard space, Bombardier would at least look at it.

So it looks like the fitting of batteries could be totally scale-able and future-proofed to accept new innovative battery technologies.

Aventras And Batteries

There has been no direct mention of batteries on Aventras

This is the best information so far!

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

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

Bombardier have confirmed the wiring for onboard power storage to me.

But you have to remember that the Talent 3 is for the more generous European loading gauge.

So could it be that Bombardier’s standard Primove system fits the Talent 3 and it’s too big for an Electrostar and an Aventra designed on standard lines?

But possibly, splitting the various heavy electrical components between two cars, as indicated in the Global Rail News article, gives more space for fitting a standard Primove battery and distributes the weight better.

Perhaps they can even fit a standard Primove battery into an Aventra, if it has the underfloor space to itself!

Obviously, using the same batteries in a Talent 3 and an Aventra must have cost and development advantages. Especially, if you can size the battery for the application.

Electrostars And Batteries

It has always puzzled me, why some Electrostars with an IPEMU-capability have not appeared. Could it be, that the amount of electrical equipment required is too much for a standard design of train running on a UK loading gauge?

Bombardier must have a target range for a train running on batteries. Perhaps, the Electrostar can’t get that range, but the Aventra with its twin power-car design can!

I wonder if the Electrostar with batteries and an IPEMU-capability will borrow from the Aventra design and have twin power-cars. That could be a much more major modification than that performed on a Class 379 train to create the BEMU denonstrator early last year.

But it could enable the use of a standard Primove battery and obtain the range needed for a viable Electrostar with an IPEMU-capability.

Crossrail And Energy

Crossrail is unlike any other railway, I’ve ever seen, with the exception of the RER under Paris.

  • Crossrail will be deep and all stations will have platform edge doors.
  • Crossrail will have twenty-four trains per hour.
  • A fully loaded Crossrail train going at the design speed of 145 kph has an energy of 105.9 kWh.

All of these and other factors will lead to lots of energy and heat being introduced into the stations, trains and tunnels.

One way of minimising problems is to design the the tunnels, trains, stations and electrical systems together.

As an example of how systems interact consider this. A train pulling away from the station needs a lot of energy to get to line-speed. In a traditional design, there could be a lot of energy wasted as heat in the overhead wires getting the electricity to the train. This heat would then need more air-conditioning to cool the platforms and the train.

So in this and many ways, saving energy, not only saves costs, but leads to further energy saving elsewhere.

Because of enegy problems, railways like Crossrail have to be designed very carefully with respect to energy usage.

Class 345 Trains

A few facts about Class 345 trains, for Crossrail, from their fact sheet.

  • They have been specifically designed for Crossrail.
  • Regenerative braking is standard.
  • High energy efficiency.
  • Acceleration is up to 1 m/s² which is more than an |Electrostar.
  • Maintenance will be by the manufacturer in purpose-built depots.

From this I conclude that it is in Bombardier’s interest to make the train efficient and easy to service.

I also founds this snippet on the Internet which gives the formation of the new Class 345 trains.

When operating as nine-car trains, the Class 345 trains will have two Driving Motor Standard Opens (DMSO), two Pantograph Motor Standard Opens (PMSO), four Motor Standard Opens (MSO) and one Trailer Standard Open (TSO). They will be formed as DMSO+PMSO+MSO+MSO+TSO+MSO+MSO+PMSO+DMSO.

As the article from Global Rail News  said earlier, the power system of an Aventra is based on two cars, with the heavy equipment split. So as each half-train seems to have be DMSO+PMSO+MSO+MSO in a Class 345 train, could the trains be using a three-car power system, with one car having the converter and batteries in the other two, all connected by a common bus.

It should also be noted that most Electrostar pantograph cars, don’t have motors, but the Class 345 trains do. Thus these trains must have prodigious acceleration with thirty-two diving axles in a nine-car formation.

There are also sound engineering and operational reasons for a battery to be fitted to the Class 345 trains.

  • Handling regenerative braking in the tunnels. As a train stops in a tunnel station, the regenerative brakes will generate a lot of energy. It would be much more efficient if that energy was kept in batteries on the train, as the tunnel electrical systems would be much simpler. There could also be less heat generated in the tunnels, as the overehead cables would be carrying less power to and from the trains.
  • Remote wake-up capability. Trains warm themselves up in the sidings to await the driver.
  • The depots could be unwired. I’ve read that the main Old Oak Common depot is energy efficient. Batteries on the trains would move the trains in the depots.

But the biggest advantage is that if power fails in the tunnel, the train can get to the next station using the batteries. In a worst case scenario, where the train has to be evacuated, the batteries could keep the train systems like air-conditioning, doors and communication working, to help in an orderly evacuation via the walkway at the side of the track.

How do you open the doors on a boiling train with fifteen hundred panicking passengers and no power? An appropriately-sized battery solves the problem.

Incidentally, I have calculated that a Class 345 train, loaded with 1,500 80 Kg people travelling at 145 kph has an energy of 105.9 kWh. As s Nissan Leaf electric car can come with a 50 kWh battery, I don’t believe that capturing all that braking energy on the train is in the realm of fantasy.

One big problem with regenerative braking on a big train with these large amounts of energy, must be that as the train stops 105.9 kWh must be fed back through the pantograph to the overhead line. And then on starting-up again 105.9 kWh of energy must be fed to the train through the pantograph, to get the train back up to speed.

As this is happening at a crowded station like Bond Street, twenty-four times an hour in both directions, that could mean massive amounts of energy flows generating heat in the station tunnels.

Remember that London’s tube train are smaller, have similar frequencies and have regenerative braking working through a third-rail system.

Surely, if the train is fitted with a battery or batteries capable of handling these amounts of energy, it must be more efficient to store and recover the energy from the batteries.

Batteries also get rid of a vicious circle.

  • Feeding the braking energy back to the overhead wire must generate heat.
  • Feeding the start-up energy to the train from the overhead wire must generate heat.
  • All this heat would need bigger air-conditioning, which requires more energy to be drawn by the train.

Batteries which eliminate a lot of the high heat-producing electricity currents in the tunnels at stations, are one way of breaking the circle and creating trains that use less energy.

After writing this, I think it is obvious now, why the trains will be tested in short formations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

The trains could be without any batteries during initial service testing, as all the reasons, I have given above for batteries don’t apply on this section of Crossrail.

  • Regenerative braking can either work using two-way currents on the upgraded overhead wiring or not be used during testing.
  • Remote wake-up is not needed, as the trains will be stored overnight at Ilford depot initially.
  • Ilford depot is still wired, although the jury may be out on that, given the depot is being rebuilt.
  • There will be no need to do rescues in tunnels.

Once the trains have proven they can cope with herds of Essex girls and boys, batteries could be fitted, to test their design and operation.

You have to admire Bombardier’s careful planning, if this is the way the company is going.

Could the following be the operating regime for Crossrail going from Shenfield to Reading?

  • The train runs normally between Shenfield and Stratford, using regenerative braking through the overhead wires or batteries.
  • The train arrives at Stratford with enough power in the batteries to come back out or get to a station, if there was a total power failure.
  • The train uses regenerative braking with the batteries between Whitechapel and Paddington.
  • In the tunnels, the power levels in the batteries, are kept high enough to allow train recovery.
  • Once in the open, regenerative braking could use overhead wires or batteries as appropriate.
  • The train even handles complete power failure and perhaps a problem with one pair of power cars, as the train is in effect two half-trains coupled together, with at least two of everything.

Has there ever been a train design like it?

Conclusions

It looks to me, that the Aventra and Talent 3 trains are just different-sized packages for the same sets of components like Flex-Eco bogies and Primove batteries.

One train is for the UK and the other for Europe and the rest of the world.

But have the two design teams been borrowing ideas and components from both sides of the Channel?

You bet they have!

Brexit? What Brexit?

The engineers of Crossrail, have not only dug one of the biggest holes in Europe for a long time, but with Bombardier’s engineers, they could also have designed a very efficient and different way of getting passengers through it.

I am very strongly of the opinion, that putting batteries on the trains to handle regenerative braking in tunnels, is almost essential, as it is simpler, possibly more affordable and cuts the amount of heat generated in the tunnels.

 

 

September 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

When I started to write Along The North Kent Line, I didn’t think that my conclusions would involve Crossrail.

I was wrong, so I’ve decided to write about extending Crossrail to Gravesend as a separate post.

Crossrail to Gravesend

Under Future in the Wikipedia entry for Gravesend station, this is said.

In December 2008, the local authority for Gravesend (Gravesham Council), was formally requested by Crossrail and the Department for Transport, to sanction the revised Crossrail Safeguarding. This safeguarding provides for a potential service extension, from the current south of Thames terminus at Abbey Wood, to continue via the North Kent Line to Gravesend station. The Crossrail route extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction, remains on statute. With current services from Gravesend to London Bridge, Waterloo East and London Charing Cross being supplemented by highspeed trains from the end of 2009 to St Pancras, the potential in having Crossrail services from central London, London Heathrow, Maidenhead and/or Reading, terminating at Gravesend, would not only raise the station to hub status but greatly contribute towards the town’s regeneration.

So it would appear that the route is safeguarded to Gravesend and Hoo Junction and it remains on statute.

Current Services At Gravesend

At present, Gravesend station has the following typical Off Peak service.

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) Highspeed services in each direction between London St. Pancras, Ebbsfleet International and Faversham and the East.
  • 2 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gillingham.
  • 4 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gravesend.

From 2019, Thameslink are saying that they will be running two tph between Rainham and Luton via Dartford and Greenwich.

This will mean that eight tph in each direction will go between Gravesend and Dartford, with another two tph going between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

Because of the  new Thameslink service, the train frequency between Gravesend and Gillingham will increase from the current four tph to six tph.

Gravesend As A Crossrail Terminal

I think that although Gravesend will be the nominated terninal for Crossrail, the trains will actually reverse direction at Hoo Junction, so there will be no need to use any platform space at Gravesend to prepare the train for its return journey.

Gravesend and Hoo Junction, will work very much like London Bridge and Cannon Street, where trains call at the first station and are reversed at the latter. Hoo Junction would just be a depot and a set of sidings.

I also think that the facilities at Hoo Junction could be built with minimal electrification, as the Crossrail Class 345 trains may have enough onboard energy storage to handle movement in depots and remote wake-up.

Remote wake-up is detailed in this snippet from an article in the Derby Telegraph

Unlike today’s commuter trains, Aventra can shut down fully at night and can be “woken up” by remote control before the driver arrives for the first shift.

So could we see a train parked up at night in the sidings at the end of the line, after forming the last train from London? The train would then call home and report any problems, which would be sorted if needed, by perhaps a local or mobile servicing team. In the morning, the driver would turn up and find that the train was warm and ready to form the first train of the day up to London.

Class 345 trains have an auto-reverse ability which I talked about in Crossrail Trains Will Have Auto-Reverse. Will this be used to turn the trains at Hoo?

Crossrail’s Service To Abbey Wood

At present, Wikipedia is saying this will be the Morning Peak Crossrail service from Abbey Wood station.

  • 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 6 tph to Paddington
  • 2 tph to West Drayton

With this Off Peak service.

  • 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 4 tph to Paddington

This gives totals of 12 tph in the Peak and 8 tph in the Off Peak.

Crossrail Frequency To Gravesend

What the current North Kent Line can handle would probably determine how many Crossrail trains travel to Gravesend and Hoo Junction.

But Crossrail won’t be short of seats to really provide a superb service to and from the Medway Towns.

I think that 4 tph could probsbly be fitted into the timetables between Abbey Wood and Gravesend. This would give.

  • 10 tph between Abbey Wood and Dartford
  • 12 tph between Dartford and Gravesend.

Six of the trains between Abbey Wood and Gravesend would be the two hundred metro long trains of Crossrail and Thameslink.

As the signalling is all new, I suspect that the line could cope.

The service level does generate some questions.

  • Would Thameslink need to run a twelve-car train on the Rainham to Luton service?
  • Dartford is a big winner, so will the other services from Dartford be re-routed?
  • How many services would stop at Greenhithe for Bluewater?
  • How would Western destinations be allocated between Abbey Wood and Gravesend?

Connecting To Ebbsfleet International

I think it is essential that Crossrail connects to Continental train services and as the cross-London line goes nowhere near to St. Pancras, the connection must be made at either the draughty Stratford International or the truly dreadful Ebbsfleet International.

Talk about choosing the lesser of two evils, one of which; Stratford, should but doesn’t have Continental services!

So the connection between the Crossrail, Thameslink and the North Kent Line and Ebbsfleet International must be improved.

Possible connections could be.

  • A shuttle bus from Northfleet station.
  • A decent people mover or travelator from Northfleet station
  • A shuttle bus from Gravesend.
  • More train services from Gravesend.

There is of course the option of creating a proper rail link. But that would be expensive.

I think that as the number of trains stopping at Northfleet station will be somewhere around ten tph in each direction, a frequent shuttle bus might be a good option to start with.

The problem with the trains, is that there is only two tph between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

 

Building The Crossrail Extension

I have a feeling that once Crossrail is running successfully, the traffic will define, if, when and how any extension to Gravesend is built.

But the creation of the extension to Gravesend and Hoo Junction will not be a massive undertaking.

  • The depot and other facilities at Hoo Junction will have to be built.
  • Could the depot at Hoo Junction be without electrification? If the Class 345 trains have sufficient onboard energy storage, which I believe could be the case and I wrote about in Bombardier’s Plug-and-Play Train, then this is a serious possibility, which would save money and time in building the depot.
  • All platforms are probably long enough for the Class 345 trains.
  • The Crossrail train specification says that trains must have the potential to be converted for third rail operation. The similar Class 710 trains will have this capability.
  • Judging by my observations in Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations, I feel that Abbey Wood station is probably capable of handling the same number of trains as it is planned on opening, even if some go further down the line.
  • The signalling would have to be adjusted for the new service pattern. But thre signalling has been upgraded!

But there would be no tunnelling and no major electrification on the North Kent Line.

Perhaps, the only major expenses would be.

  • Building the depot/reversing sidings and facilities at Hoo Junction.
  • Any extra trains needed.
  • The cost of any rail link into Ebbsfleet International station.

So I doubt, we’ll be talking large numbers of billions.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 5 Comments

Thameslink To Rainham

Modern Railways in August 2016, said that Thameslink would be running a two trains per hour (tph) service between Luton and Rainham via Greenwich and Dartford.

GTR’s Proposals

This document on their web site gives these outline proposals for Kent Thameslink services.

This is the opening paragraph.

Proposed new all-day Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday Thameslink service on the North Kent line via Greenwich, Dartford and Medway Towns.

They describe it in more detail later.

New cross-London journey opportunities providing multiple connectivity opportunities will be created between Luton – St Albans City – West Hampstead Thameslink – Central London (via London Bridge) – Greenwich – Abbey Wood – Dartford – Rochester – Rainham. This new route will provide multiple new connections with the new east to west Elizabeth Line (formally Crossrail) at Abbey Wood. The route can also be operated by 8 or 12 car trains.

I will now add a few comments.

The Eastern Terminal

In Rainham (Kent) Station, I took a look at the proposed terminal.

  • Rainham station is Thameslink-ready with a bay platform 0 of sufficient length for a twelve-car Class 700 train.
  • Rainham station can probably handle the two trains per hour (tph) from Luton without undue fuss.
  • Rainham as a terminal means the string of important stations in the Medway towns, which includes Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham, could all be served by Thameslink.
  • The only other station beyond Gravesend with a bay platform is Rochester.
  • Terminating at Rainham doesn’t increase the train frequency over the busy level crossing.
  • Terminating at Rainham gives 5 tph from Gravesend to Rainham and 7 tph between Rochester and Rainham, which creates a high-capacity frequent route through the Medway Towns.

It would appear to be the sort of choice, that is difficult to fault.

Should The Thameslink Service Stop At More Stations?

Coming back from Rainham today, I took a Highspeed service to Gravesend, from where I caught a Gillingham to Charing Cross service that was following a few minutes behind.

As there are several stopping services on the line, perhaps stopping at a few important stations will be sufficient.

  • Greenhithe for the shopping at Bluewater.
  • Dartford for all the connectivity.
  • Abbey Wood for Crossrail.
  • Greenwich for the culture and the Docklands Light Railway.

Stopping patterns could be altered to fit traffic patterns, passengers requirements and new property developments

Eight-Or Twelve-Car Trains

It would all depend on the traffic, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason why either train size can’t be used between Luton and Rainham.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

 

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 7 Comments

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

On my trip to Rainham station in Kent, I went through numerous stations.

I took this picture.

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Note the blue 10-12 sign, which indicates the stopping point for trains between ten and twelve cars.

I’m pretty certain that all stations between London Bridge and Rainham can accommodate trains of this length, as there were blue twelves everywhere.

To the East of Rainham, a good proportion of the services are run by six-car Class 395 trains. As these can run in 12-car formations, I suspect that most platforms have been made long enough.

This railway is probably future-proofed with regards to train length.

It will certainly accept.

Sadly, not all rail lines in the UK have been built with long enough platforms and extending some will be difficult.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

Along The North Kent Line

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

September 20, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

The Great Northern Metro

Govia Thameslink Railway have just announced their proposals to create a Great Northern Metro.

This was something I speculated about in A North London Metro.

GTR’s Proposals

This document on their web site gives these outline proposals.

  • 2018 timetable will provide new connections and increase capacity.
  • More frequent trains to provide a ‘true’ metro service.
  • New air-conditioned trains from 2018.

It looks like I got those right

These are other proposals.

14 Trains Per Hour To/From Moorgate in The High Peak

Currently, a maximum of 12 trains per hour (tph) can get in and out from Moorgate station in the High Peak.

Raising it by two to 14 tph surprised me, but it says that they have found a way with the new trains to save time possibly by using better technology to change the voltage quicker at Drayton Park.

Effectively, the headway between trains is being reduced from five minutes to four and a half minutes.

One big advantage for people like me, who live close to a Southern station on the line, as I do with Essex Road station, is that going North in the morning rush and South in the evening rush, will be easy.

Services To/From Moorgate in The Off Peak

This is a summary of the changes in the Off Peak.

On the other hand, it appears there will now be no direct trains between Moorgate and Letchworth Garden City.

My local station is Essex Road and I regularly use the line to go North and South between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace.

Instead of a measly six tph, I’ll now be getting 10 tph all day, with 8 tph on Sundays.

I thought it would be four tph to Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City, so they’re actually going to do better than I thought they would.

An Eastward Shift In Services

The two branches used to be treated fairly equally with 3 tph on each.

But now it appears that Hertford North gets preference.

But then the East Coast Main Line will be getting Thameslink services.

  • 6 tph stopping at Finsbury Park
  • 0 tph stopping at Alexandra Palace
  • 2 tph stopping at Potters Bar
  • 2 tph stopping at Welwyn Garden City
  • 6 tph stopping at Stevenage

Note that these are very much a summary.

Problem! – Will Thameslink Stop At Alexandra Palace?

,I do hope that Thameslink services not stopping at Alexandra Palace, when they stop at places like Oakleigh Park is a typo.

Consider.

  • Alexandra Palace is the last station before the Hertford Loop Line splits from the East Coast Main Line.
  • Alexandra Palace has an attraction that passengers might want to visit.
  • Alexandra Palace station may well be served by Crossrail 2.

But most importantly, Alexandra Palace could have a cross-platform and/or same-platform interchange between Great Northern Metro services on both routes and Thameslink.

So it would be a good interchange for eighty-year-old Aunt Mabel going from Enfield Chase to Gatwick Airport with her suitacse full of presents for her grandchildren.

My Link To Thameslink Going North

I laid this out in My Links to Thameslink and I suspect from 2018, I’ll take bus to Essex Road station and then take the Great Northern Metro to Finsbury Park.

 

I don’t think I’ll be alone, in using the Great Northern Metro to get access to Thameslink to go North.

My Link To Thameslink Going South

I laid this out in My Links to Thameslink and I suspect from 2018, I accept what GTR offer or take the Essex Road and Finsbury Park route.

  • Highbury And Islington Station

But what would help everybody within a couple of miles or so of Highbury and Islington station, is to upgrade the station to the Twentieth Century.

  • Provide a second entrance on the North side of Highbury Corner roundabout, where there is a disused station entrance.
  • Provide a better connection between the Northbound and Southbound deep-level platforms.
  • Provide full step-free access to the deep-level platforms.
  • Improve the lighting and ambience in the deep-level platforms.

Talking to someone who works in the station and is obviously familiar with the tunnels, he felt, as I do, that there are fairly simple solutions to sorting out the deep-level platforms.

I would do the following.

  • Open up the second entrance.
  • Create a subway under Holloway Road.
  • Improve the walking routes and access to buses outside the station.
  • Put lift access from the new entrance to a passage that would  cross all four deep-level lines.
  • Provide step-free access from the cross-passage to the four deep-level lines.
  • Replace the stairs connecting the two Southbound platforms

Unfortunately, I suspect that the new road bridge over the railway in front of the station has probably been built without leaving space for the subway.

The Link To Crossrail

In Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled, I showed that changing between Crossrail and the Northern City Line at Moorgate could be easy.

Now that the service into Moorgate will be 10 tph all day, with 8 tph on Sundays, the line will become an important link to Crossrail for a large area of North London.

Consider.

  • The Piccadlly Line has no connection with Crossrail, so changing at Finsbury Park for Moorgate might be the quickest way to get to the new line.
  • The Victoria Line has no connection with Crossrail, but there is cross-platform interchange at Highbury and Islington with the Great Northern Metro.
  • The North London Line connects to the Greater London Metro at Highbury and Islington.

Taken together, the Piccadilly Line, Victoria Line and the Great London Metro, with help from more local transport methods like bikes and buses, will certainly improve the link to Crossrail for a large area of Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.

My only worry, is that as the Great Northern Metro gives such good access to Crossrail for such a wide area of London and South Hertfordshire, that the planned 10 tph into Moorgate all day, with 8 tph on Sundays, will be too low.

At least the improvements to the service are coming in around 2018, which would be before Crossrail opens in 2019.

Once Crossrail opens, I suspect, it will give me a better link to Thameslink, especially when I need to go South.

Conclusions

The service is a great improvement on the current one. But I predicted that!

The service is going to meet what I suspect,  GTR hope it will.

As an average punter on the Northern City route from Essex Road, I will get a lot more trains.

I shall certainly use Essex Road and Finsbury Park to get to Cambridge.

It’s a pity it doesn’t help to use Thameslink in the difficult direction to the South.

Related Posts

GTR’s 2018 Timetable Consultation

Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled

My Links To Thameslink

Thameslink To Rainham

 

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Along The North Kent Line

The North Kent Line has seen some changes in the last few years and could see some more in the next few.

Starting from the terminal in London Bridge, which itself is going through a massive upgrade, these improvements have been done or will happen.

Woolwich Arsenal

Woolwich Arsenal station has from 2009 provided a direct link to the Docklands Light Railway, giving a direct connection to London City Airport and Bank.

In 2019, Woolwich station on Crossrail will open, which will be two hundred metres away from Woolwich Arsenal station. This will probably not have a direct effect on Woolwich Arsenal station, but two stations will certainly stimulate development in the area.

I doubt many will use this station to interchange between the North Kent Line and Crossrail, as it looks like the connection at Abbey Wood station could be easier.

Abbey Wood

Abbey Wood station is being rebuilt and in December 2018, Crossrail will start services at the station to Paddington via Canary Wharf and the central tunnel.

Wikipedia says this about Crossrail services at Abbey Wood station.

Abbey Wood is the terminus of one of two eastern branches of Crossrail and will offer cross-platform interchange between terminating Crossrail services (at 12 trains per hour on new line) and existing Southeastern services (along existing tracks)

Plans are always being talked about to link Abbey Wood station to the North Bank of the Thames at either Gallions Reach or Barking Riverside.

I doubt it will happen in the next ten years.

Dartford

Dartford station has from the beginning of this year been one of London’s contactless ticketing stations, as is reported in Oyster and Contactless Bank Cards, under the station’s Wikipedia entry.

Don’t be surprised if this creeps outwards from London.

Greenhithe

Greenhithe station was rebuilt in 2008 and is the station for Bluewater.

Because of the Shopping Centre, Greenhithe will probably be a station that could benefit from contactless ticketing.

Northfleet

Northfleet station is the closest to Ebbsfleet International and we could see an improved link between the two stations.

As Northfleet could have upwards of four trains per hour (tph) stopping in both directions, a frequent shuttle bus, could be an affordable option.

Smaller Stations

There are several smaller stations between London Bridge and Gravesend.

I’m obviously not sure, but on a quick look all of them seem ready to accept the long trains, that will be used by both Thameslink and Crossrail.

Gravesend

Gravesend station was remodelled in 2013 and now has two long through platforms and a bay platform.

Crossrail to Gravesend

Under Future in the Wikipedia for Gravesend station, this is said.

In December 2008, the local authority for Gravesend (Gravesham Council), was formally requested by Crossrail and the Department for Transport, to sanction the revised Crossrail Safeguarding. This safeguarding provides for a potential service extension, from the current south of Thames terminus at Abbey Wood, to continue via the North Kent Line to Gravesend station. The Crossrail route extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction, remains on statute. With current services from Gravesend to London Bridge, Waterloo East and London Charing Cross being supplemented by highspeed trains from the end of 2009 to St Pancras, the potential in having Crossrail services from central London, London Heathrow, Maidenhead and/or Reading, terminating at Gravesend, would not only raise the station to hub status but greatly contribute towards the town’s regeneration.

At present, Gravesend station has the following services.

Typical off-peak services are:

  • 2 tph Highspeed services in each direction between London St. Pancras, Ebbsfleet intewrnation and Faversham and the East.
  • 2 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gillingham.
  • 4 tph Southeastern services between London Charing Cross and Gravesend.

From 2019, Thameslink are saying that they will be running two tph between Rainham and Luton via Dartford and Greenwich.

This will mean that eight tph in each direction will go between Gravesend and Dartford, with another two tph going between Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International.

Because of the  new Thameslink service, the train frequency between Gravesend and Gillingham will increase from the current four tph to six tph.

I think that although Gravesend will be the nominated terninal for Crossrail, the trains will actually reverse direction at Hoo Junction, so there will no need to use any platform space at Gravesend to prepare the train for its return journey.

At present, Wikipedia is saying this will be the Morning Peak service from Abbey Wood station.

  • 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 6 tph to Paddington
  • 2 tph to West Drayton

With this Off Peak service.

  • 4 tph to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 4 tph to Paddington

What the current North Kent Line can handle would probably determine how many Croosrail trains went to Gravesend and Hoo Junction.

But Crossrail won’t be short of seats to really provide a superb service to and from the Medway Towns.

I have a feeling that once Crossrail is running successfully, the traffic will define, if, when and how any extension to Gravesend is built.

But the creation of the extension to Gravesend and Hoo Junction will not be a massive undertaking.

  • The depot and other facilities at Hoo Junction will have to be built.
  • Could the depot at Hoo Junction be without electrification? If the Class 345 trains have sufficient onboard energy storage, which I believe could be the case and I wrote about in Bombardier’s Plug-and-Play Train, then this is a serious possibility, which would save money and time in building the depot.
  • All platforms are probably long enough for the Class 345 trains.
  • The Crossrail train specification says that trains must have the potential to be converted for third rail operation. The similar Class 710 trains will have this capability.
  • Judging by my observations in Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations, I feel that Abbey Wood station is probably capable of handling the same number of trains going further down the line.
  • The signalling would have to be adjusted for the new service pattern.

But there would be no tunnelling and no major electrification on the North Kent Line.

Perhaps, the only major expenses would be.

  • Building the depot/reversing sidings and facilities at Hoo Junction.
  • Any extra trains needed.
  • The cost of any rail link into Ebbsfleet International station.

So I doubt, we’ll be talking large numbers of billions.

Class 395 Trains

The Class 395 trains are normally six-car trains, but they can work in pairs as twelve-cars.

This probably means that any station, where the Highspeed service calls can handle a twelve-car train.

Strood

Strood station was updated in 2009 for the Highspeed service. Ready for Crossrail/Thameslink.

Rochester

Rochester station was rebuilt in 2016. Ready for Crossrail/Thameslink.

Chatham

Chatham station accepts twelve-car trains. Ready for Crossrail/Thameslink.

Gillingham

Ready for Crossrail/Thameslink.

Gillingham station is an interchange with two long platforms and a bay platform.

Five tph including two Highspeed services pass through the station and two tph go to and from London Charing Cross.

From 2019, there will be another two Thameslink tph between Luton and Rainham stopping at the station.

All this adds up to comprehensive service which stretches out to several London termini and the Kent Coast.

London Bridge, Abbey Wood and Gravesend all have at least four tph from Gillingham.

Rainham

Ready for Crossrail/Thameslink.

Rainham station has been updated in the last couple of years. An Update section in the Wikipedia entry, says this.

As part of the rebuild of Rochester Station, a new Up Bay Platform has been added.
Trains are now able to use this new platform as the East Kent Resignalling Project has been completed. At present, only a couple of trains use it in the evening rush hour.

The East Kent Resignalling Project is described on this page of the Southeastern web site.

These improvements are noted.

  • New £26 million station at Rochester
  • 250 new signals to replace old signalling equipment
  • Disabled access at Strood station
  • New bay platform at Rainham
  • Safer level crossings fitted with obstacle detection technology at Aylesford, Yalding, Beltring, Wateringbury, East Farleigh, Cuxton and Snodland
  • Centralisation of signalling control to Gillingham and the decommissioning of several signal boxes.

It would appear that a updated railway and a short series of good stations through the Medway Towns has been created, that can handle the increased frequencies.

Thameslink To Rainham

Modern Railways in August 2016, said that Thameslink would be running a two tph service between Luton and Rainham via Greenwich and Dartford.

The new bay platform at Rainham would be ideal for this service.

Onward From Rainham

There doesn’t seem to be many changes to what services are run now.

Conclusions

Everything seems to fit together rather well.

  • Twelve-car platforms seem universal or at least where needed.
  • The signalling is up to scratch.
  • The new bay platform at Rainham makes the new two tph Thameslink service to Luton deliverable.
  • To extend Crossrail to Gravesend probably just needs the new depot at Hoo Junction.
  • Dartford to Rainham gets at least a four tph service with six car or longer trains.

The only area, where nothing has been published, is how to incorporate Ebbsfleet International station into the network.

I think it could suffer from London Overground Syndrome. This is my definition of the disease.

This disease, which is probably a modern version of the Victorian railway mania, was first identified in East London in 2011, when it was found that the newly-refurbished East London Line and North London Line were inadequate due to high passenger satisfaction and much increased usage. It has now spread across other parts of the capital and across the UK, despite various eradication programs.

It is usually solved by adding more capacity.

Related Posts

A Design Crime – Ebbsfleet International Station

A Trip To Sheppey

A Twelve-Car Ready Railway

Between Abbey Wood And Belvedere Stations

Connecting North Kent And The Medway Towns To Ebbsfleet International Station

Extending Crossrail To Gravesend

Rainham (Kent) Station

Thameslink To Rainham

Through The Medway Towns

What Do You Do With A Problem Like Sheppey?

 

September 18, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Under Crossrail And The DLR

Walking between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Pudding Mill Lane DLR station takes you under both Crossrail And The DLR.

Note that the Crossrail bridge is blue steel and theat for the DLR is concreate.

They are certainly a set of impressive bridges from underneath.

September 18, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

From The Greenway To Stratford International Station

These are pictures, I took whilst walking and riding from the ~Old Ford Recycling Centre on the Greenway to Stratford station.

Note.

September 18, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A North London Metro

My Memories Of The Lines Out Of Moorgate And Kings Cross

I grew up in North London and I can remember when the suburban services into Kings Cross were hauled by N2 tank engines and later when these were replaced by the Class 105 diesel multiple units.

Around 1970, I used to commute to Welwyn Garden City from Kings Cross and I regularly got Cambridge trains, that were coaches with compartments pulled by the then ubiquitous Class 31 diesel locomotives.

All changed in 1976, when the Northern City Line out of Moorgate and the East Coast Main Line out of Kings Cross were electrified and Class 313 trains started to work the lines.

They still do!

The Current Route

The East Coast Main Line, running North through Finsbury Park is four-tracked with separate fast and slow lines.

There is also the Hertford Loop Line, which effectively gives the route a second set of slow lines between Alexandra Palace and Stevenage.

The two lines have a network of fourteen suburban stations,, where each links with a rather measly three tph into Moorgate.

The line has a few good features.

  • The Hertford Loop has grade-separated junctions at both ends and is electrified throughout.
  • There are decent termini for the services at Gordon Hill, Hertford North, Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City.
  • There is a flyover at Welwyn Garden City to enable prompt turnaround of the trains.
  • The lines allow the trains to use their maximum speed.
  • Interchange between the two services at Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace is generally good.

But the route has the problem of a voltage change between the tunnel to Moorgate and the rest of the line at Drayton Park station, which adds a couple of minutes to every journey.

The Current Service

The current service is three trains per hour (tph) that trundle as fast as their 75 mph top speed and age will allow to the two main destinations of Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North stations. One of the trains from Hertford North in every hour continues to Letchworth Garden City.

This is not the frequent service that attracts new passengers and at least an extra train per hour is needed.

As an example, I can get a direct bus every two or three minutes or so  to Essex Road station, from where I can get trains to the North.

But three tph to the two destinations and six tph to Alexandra Palace is not the sort of service on a commuter route out of London. Four trains would reduce my maximum wait for say a Hatfield train from twenty to fifteen minutes.

But there are reasons for this level of service.

  • There probably aren’t enough trains.
  • Their performance is inadequate.
  • The complications of the route, which involves changing voltage at Drayton Park station, slows the service.

Even so they do manage to squeeze 12 tph into Moorgate in the rush hours.

Service Improvements In 2018

In the Wikepedia entry for Bowes Park station, the following is said.

From 2018, the pattern is due to change when Moorgate services via the Hertford loop are curtailed at Stevenage using a new terminating platform there:

  • 2 tph Great Northern service Moorgate – Stevenage
  • 2 tph Great Northern service Moorgate – Hertford North

This information is not given elsewhere, so I suspect it’s either from someone, who’s got good knowledge or wrong. There is no reference to the source of the information.

But, 2018 is when the new trains will start serving the line. So the Hertford Loop Line could be getting an extra train per hour.

Infrastructure Improvements

There are various infrastructure improvements that need to be done to squeeze the maximum capacity out of the system.

  • The archaic voltage change at Drayton Park should be replaced with one using the best modern technology and practice.
  • The maximum line-speed on the Hertford Loop Line should be increased to 100 mph wherever possible.
  • Platforms should be improved to ease getting on and off trains and facilitate easy interchanges between trains.
  • It looks like a bay platform is being built at Stevenage to serve the Hertford Loop Line.
  • Would there be any advantage in creating a passing loop or adding a fourth platform at Gordon Hill station?

In addition, I do think that there are opportunities for new stations on the Hertford Loop Line.

The New Class 717 Trains

New Class 717 trains have been ordered to send the Class 313 trains to the scrapyard.

These are similar to the Class 700 and Class 707 trains, so I think we can assume.

  • They will have a top speed of 100 mph, where the track allows it.
  • They will brake and accelerate faster than the current trains and with better door machinery should save time at every stop.

But I would also suspect that they will handle the voltage change at Drayton Park more efficiently.

It would appear from my calculation in A Numerical Analysis Of Great Northern’s Class 717 Trains, that there are enough Class 717 trains on order for a four tph service to all stations, with 2 tph onwards to Letchworth Garden City or more likely Stevenage.

As the Wikipedia entry for Bowes Park station says 4 tph  from 2018, I think it is reasonable to expect that Welwyn Garden City gets the same treatment.

This would produce an eight tph service between Alexandra Palace and Moorgate.

Current timings from Moorgate are.

  • Hertford North – 50 minutes
  • Welwyn Garden City  – 51 minutes
  • Stevenage – 63 minutes

So this means one shorter round trip could be done in two hours and a combination of a short and Long one in four.

This would mean.

  • 4 tph to Welwyn Garden City would require 8 trains
  • 6 tph to Welwyn Garden City would require 12 trains
  • 4 tph to Hertford North/Stevenage would require 8 trains
  • 6 tph to Hertford North/Stevenage would require 12 trains

But because the Class 717 trains are faster, have a better stopping performance and would probably save time in changing voltages, I wonder if the shorter round trip could be reduced to ninety minutes, with the combined trip at three hours.

This would mean.

  • 4 tph to Welwyn Garden City would require 6 trains
  • 6 tph to Welwyn Garden City would require 9 trains
  • 4 tph to Hertford North/Stevenage would require 6 trains
  • 6 tph to Hertford North/Stevenage would require 9 trains

So if the trains and the drivers can perform, it might be possible to have enough trains for a six tph service on both branches with a 12 tph service between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace.

One consequence of running 12 tph into Moorgate all day, might be that there would be no room for extra trains in the Peak. But the service in the Peak of twelve six-car tph would still have the same capacity as the current one

I think that Great Northern’s objective is to run twelve trains into Moorgate all day, with half serving each branch.

The full service to and from Moorgate would probably need 18 trains.

In A Numerical Analysis Of Great Northern’s Class 717 Trains, I said that a 2 tph service between Kings Cross and Foxton would require six trains, that would see the fleet fully utilised.

The Link To Crossrail

In Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled, I showed that changing between Crossrail and the Northern City Line at Moorgate could be easy.

I have a feeling that with eight or even twelve tph running into Moorgate, many passengers will change at Moorgate to and from Crossrail, even if they want to go to and from places like Hatfield or Potters Bar, for which they can also use Thameslink and a change at Farringdon.

Consider.

  • Running twelve tph into a two-platform terminal like Moorgate is way below the frequency of the Victoria Line at Walthamstow Central.
  • Half of all trains at Moorgate will go up the East Coast Main Line, with the other half taking the Hertford Loop Line.
  • Only one-in-four trains at Farringdon will go up the East Coast Main Line.
  • The Moorgate service will stop at all stations to Welwyn Garden City.
  • There is a split with suburban trains out of Moorgate and Thameslink out of Farringdon.
  • Farringdon to a station on the Hertford Loop Line, would need a second change.
  • Canary Wharf to North London and Hertfordshire would be a single change at Moorgate.

Never underestimate the capacity of Londoners to duck and dive to find their best route.

All of this could lead to a lot of passengers on the trains between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace.

The North London Metro And Thameslink

If you take the Welwyn Garden City branch of the routes out of Moorgate, it could be running four or possibly six tph between Finsbury Park and Welwyn Garden City. On the same route, according to their latest plans Thameslink will also be running six tph.

Even if they don’t run alternatively, there will certainly be plenty of opportunities to choose to go to Moorgate or take the main Thameslink route.

You might even argue that the Hertford Loop Line and the Northern City Line are just branch lines from Thameslink, with cross- or same-platform interchanges.

But however you put it, the two lines are strongly bound together.

Conclusions

Four tph  on both branches with eight tph into Moorgate is certainly possible with the fleet of new trains.

But if the trains can save time at each stop and there are some signalling, voltage-changing and  track improvements, I feel it could be possible to run six tph on each branch with twelve tph into Moorgate.

Those sort of frequencies would transform the  services out of Moorgate.

They would create a frequent link, which would serve at the Southern end

  • Crossrail
  • Northern Line
  • The City of London
  • Canary Wharf

And at the Northern end.

  • Thameslink
  • Victoria Line
  • Piccadilly Line
  • North London
  • Hertfordshire

It would truly be a North London Metro.

Related Posts

A Numerical Analysis Of Great Northern’s Class 717 Trains

Could A Reversing Siding Be Built At Alexandra Palace?

Could Passenger Services Be Run On The Canonbury Curve?

Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled

September 15, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 5 Comments

Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled

Liverpool Street station on Crossrail is a massive double-ended beast that stretches as far as Moorgate station, where it has a second entrance.

At the Liverpool Street end, it will connect to the following in addition the the Main Line services out of the station.

  • Central Line
  • Circle Line
  • Hammersmith and City Line
  • Metropolitan Line

At the Moorgate end, it will connect to the following lines.

  • Circle Line
  • Hammersmith and City Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Northern Line
  • Northern City Line

This is a  visualisation of how Moorgate station will look after it has been rebuilt for Crossrail, that I found on this web page from May 2009, so it may be out-of-date and wrong.

Liverpool Street-Moorgate Station Schematic

Liverpool Street-Moorgate Station Schematic

Note.

  • The royal blue line is labelled at First Capital Connect, for which I use the term Northern City Line.
  • Turquoise is used for new Crossrail work, with red and yellow for the Central and sub-surface lines.
  • If you enlarge the image by clicking on it, you can clearly see the escalators, that currently connect the Northern City and Northern Lines to the ticket hall.
  • Crossrail appears to have an escalator connection to an enlarged Moorgate ticket hall
  • The deep level Northern Line, which is shown in black,  passes over Crossrail, but underneath the escalators that lead down.

The interchanges possible at the combined station are best described as comprehensive.

Changing Between Crossrail And The Northern Line

The Northern Line crosses the Moorgate end of the Crossrail platforms at a right angle and it would appear to have a short escalator or step connection to a cross-passage between the two Crossrail platforms.

The only problem, is that you’ll have to make sure, you’re at the Western end of the Crossrail train.

Changing Between Crossrail And The Northern City Line

It would appear that Crossrail and the Northern City Lines are at roughly the same level and are very well connected.

  • Passengers would appear to be able to take an escalator or lift from one set of platforms to the ticket hall and then take another set down to the other line.
  • There also appears to be another independent passage, which starts midway down the Northern City Line  platforms and takes a circuitous route to the Crossrail platforms.
  • There may be another convenient route, where you go via the Northern Line and reappear on the other set of platforms.

It certainly won’t be a difficult interchange for passengers, although you’ll have to remember to position yourself at the Western end of the train.

Changing Between Crossrail And The Central Line

The Central Line crosses the Liverpool Street end of the Crossrail platforms at a right angle and it would appear to have a short escalator or step connection to a cross-passage between the two Crossrail platforms.

The connection is not as neat as the Northern Line one at the other end of the Crossrail platforms

The only problem, is that you’ll have to make sure, you’re at the Eastern end of the Crossrail train.

Changing Between Liverpool Street And Moorgate

I’ve read somewhere, that the double-ended station is designed so that passengers can walk easily between the two ends of the station.

So a passenger from perhaps Ipswich to Hatfield on a very wet day, will dive on arrival at Liverpool Street into the Crossrail station and use it as a dry walking route to the Northern City platforms at Moorgate.

The same route will give Moorgate passengers access to the Central Line and Liverpool Street passengers access to the Northern Line.

Related Posts

A North London Metro

A Numerical Analysis Of Great Northern’s Class 717 Trains

Could A Reversing Siding Be Built At Alexandra Palace?

Could A Reversing Siding Be Built At Alexandra Palace?

Could Passenger Services Be Run On The Canonbury Curve?

 

 

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 5 Comments