The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail’s Late-Running Bond Street Project Ready For Key Testing This Month

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

This is the opening paragraph.

Bond Street station should be ready for the crucial next stage of testing by the end of the month.

At last the end of the tunnel seems to be in sight.

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Crossrail: Late 2021 Target For Central London

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Crossrail trains could begin operating through central London by the end of next year – if trial running begins before the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Crossrail Ltd Chief Executive Mark Wild told RAIL on October 12 that a six-week blockade carried out in the summer enabled tunnel work to be completed and the company to catch up on work delayed because of Covid-19.

It definitely seems to be a project, where the project management wasn’t to the same standard as the design.

I put my thughts in detail in Thoughts On The Lateness Of Crossrail.

 

 

October 20, 2020 Posted by | Transport, Design | , | Leave a comment

How Covids-Unfriendly Is A Class 345 Train?

These pictures show Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

Note.

  1. This example was a nine-car train going to Heathrow.
  2. It is 205 metres long and can carry 1500 passengers.
  3. As with most London Underground trains, most of the passengers sit longitudinally.
  4. Having watched people on these trains several times in the last few weeks and feel that the design encourages social-distancing

But there are other big advantages, when it comes to suppressing the virus.

  1. Each car has three sets of sliding doors on each side, which is more than most trains. As the lobbies on the train are spacious, does this help the maintaining of social-distancing, when entering and leaving the train.
  2. The trains are walk-through, so if you end up with a car, that is full of mask deniers, it is easy to move.
  3. The trains have full air-conditioning, which should reduce the amount of virus in the air.

I hope Transport for London are watching the statistics for the covids, to see if they go up or down, as more new trains are introduced on Crossrail routes.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport | , , | 5 Comments

How Would Opening Crossrail Affect The Covids In London?

There seems to be very little on the Internet about this, that I can find, Partly because if you search for Crossrail and Covid-19 you get lots of articles about how the virus is delaying construction.

These are a few of my thoughts.

The Class 345 Trains

Crossrail’s Class 345 trains are 205 metres long and can hold 1500 passengers.

  • The passenger density is 7.3 passengers per metre, but the trains have three doors per car, as opposed to others like the Class 700 trains, which have a similar passenger density and only two doors.
  • Would the space and the wide doors, make social-distancing easier at all times?
  • I’ve ridden these trains several times during the pandemic and their full air-conditioning for the tunnels, would surely be ideal to help keep the trains free of the virus, by changing the air regularly.
  • The trains are walk-through, which means you can walk-away from someone who looks dodgy.

There will probably be some better trains to reduce the spreading of the virus, but I doubt there will be that many.

The Stations

I’ve only been in two Crossrail stations.

These are pictures taken in the Woolwich station box.

October 15, 2020 Posted by | Design, Health, Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ealing Broadway Station – 12th October 2020

I took these pictures, as I passed through Ealing Broadway station yesterday.

Note.

  1. It looks to be a large posh shelter on the platform.
  2. Ealing Broadway seems to be joining the group of Crossrail stations, with means to cross the tracks at both ends of the trains.

I took the pictures from a train with a full nine car Class 345 train! They have a capacity of 1,500 passengers and are 200 metres long.

October 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

West Ealing Station – 12th October 2020

These pictures show the current state of West Ealing station.

A few of my thoughts.

The Size Of The Station

It is not small!

Will The Current Entrance Be Retained?

From the outside the original entrance looks to be in good condition.

Will it be retained?

I think it won’t be as the stairs are a bit of an accident waiting to happen.

Electrification Of The Greenford Branch

If the Greenford Branch is going to be electrified, the last picture shows that gantries and headspan wires are in place over the Western end of Platform 5.

The electrification could be fixed to the new station building, if it were to be electrified.

Power would not be a problem, as a main sub-station for Crossrail and the Great Western Main Line is nearby.

In Could Class 165 HyDrive Trains Be The Solution To The Greenford Branch?, I showed that a train with better acceleration could provide four trains per hour (tph) on the Greenford Branch.

I feel that a pair of powerful two-car battery electric trains could  provide four tph on the branch.

  • They would charge using a short length of 25 KVAC overhead electrification in Platform 5 at West Ealing station.
  • The route is only 2.5 miles.
  • Recharging time wouldn’t be very long, as the battery wouldn’t be enormous.

In Special Train Offers A Strong Case For Reopening Fawley Line, the Managing Director of South Western Railway; Mark Hopwood is quoted as saying, that their Class 456 trains could be converted to two-car battery trains. Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains discusses this conversion in detail.

A two-car Class 456 train equipped with batteries and the ability to use 25 KVAC overhead electrification, would be ideal for the branch and could probably provide four tph.

Conclusion

This station is starting to look like a quality station for Crossrail.

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 6 Comments

London’s First Two HS2 Tunnelling Machines Ordered

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

The title gives a description of the story, but the article reveals a lot of details about the tunnels for High Speed Two.

  • There will be ten tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in total for High Speed Two.
  • The main tunnels are 42 % larger than those for Crossrail.
  • There will be three pairs of tunnels under London; West Ruislip and Greenford (5 miles), Greenford and Old Oak Common (3.4 miles) and Old Oak Common and Euston (4.5 miles).
  • It looks like these first two machines will bore the two outer tunnels and that two extra TBMs will be ordered for Greenford and Old Oak Common.

There are also two excellent infographics.

  • The first shows the route of the tunnels.
  • The second shows the three pairs of tunnels and the directions, they will be bored.
  • The third also  discloses that the tunnels will be up to fifty metres deep.

There will also be a vent shaft at Greenford in Green Park Way, when the tunnel opens.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The A 4127 runs North-South across the map.
  2. The railways running across the map are Acton and Northolt Line and the Central Line, which serves Greenford station.
  3. The Greenford Branch Line goes South from a triangular junction.

The green site squeezed in between the industrial buildings and just to the North of the railways could be the site for the vent shaft.

This second map is a clip of High Speed Two’s map of the area.

The black line is the route of the High Speed Two tunnel.

  • It is to the North of the Central Line.
  • It looks to be close to the vacant site.

When High Speed One was built through Hackney, they bored the tunnels under the North London Line, so High Speed Two only seem to be repeating, what worked successfully.

These pictures show some of the ventilation shafts for High Speed One in East London.

Crossrail’s vent shafts are smaller in number and less obtrusive. There is one disguised in this building; Moor House.

I would hope that High Speed Two could improve further and create a useful building on top, that adds value to the area and doesn’t follow the utilitarian constructions of High Speed One.

Boring the Tunnels

According to the infographics, the three tunnels will be built in the following directions.

  • West Ruislip and Green Park Way – Towards Green Park Way
  • Green Park Way and Old Oak Common – Towards Green Park Way
  • Old Oak Way and Euston – Towards Euston.

These High Speed Two tunnels will be the fourth set of large tunnels to be bored under London in recent years after High Speed One, Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Scheme and I suspect there will be those , who will have worked on all four, at every level.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see some innovative use of the TBMs, so that they are reused if possible.
  • As four TBMs start at Old Oak Common and four finish at Green Park Way, I wonder if the planners have sequenced the insertion and extraction of the TBMs to make best use of the very expensive cranes needed.
  • Two TBMs will be inserted at West Ruislip, where there is a public golf course that must give plenty of space.
  • Two TBMs will be extracted a short distance to the North of Euston station. Again, there appears to be space.

I suspect experience from previous projects and good project planning has contributed to the design.

The Work Has Started At Green Park Way 

These pictures show the Greenford site on the 12th of October 2020.

These pictures were taken from a Central Line train.

The Tunnel Portal Works At West Ruislip Station

These pictures show the West Ruislip site on the 12th of October 2020.

Note.

  1. This is where High Speed Two will emerge from the tunnels from Euston.
  2. The first three pictures were taken from the bridge over the railway and show the Chiltern Main Line, Chiltern’s turnback siding and the High Speed Two site.
  3. There is no sign of works around the car park and the L-shaped care home on the station side of the road, so I would assume, that they will be unaffected by the tunnel.

This Google Map shows West Ruislip station.

Note.

  1. The Central Line terminating in West Ruislip station.
  2. The Chiltern Main Line passing through the station.
  3. The scar of the construction of High Speed Two alongside the Chiltern Main Line.

If you follow the Chiltern Main Line on Google Maps for a couple of miles, you can see the route of High Speed Two.

This second map is a clip of High Speed Two’s map of the area.

Note.

  1. The black line is the High Speed Two tunnel, that surfaces, where it changes colour.
  2. The L-shaped care home is still on the map, so it does appear the tunnel goes underneath.

It looks to me, that the bridge and Chiltern Trains going towards London, will offer good views of the tunnel works.

In the late 1950s, British Rail were increasing the number of tracks through Hadley Wood station, from two to four, by digging two extra tunnels.

I can remember my father taking me to see the works from Waggon Road or Wagon Road, which had and still had a few years ago, different names at either end.

 

 

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

A Last Ride On A Class 315 Train Between Upminster And Romford?

This morning I went to Upminster and took the Class 315 train to Romford.

I added the question mark, as when I passed East Ham depot, there were two new Class 710 trains sitting there, covered in graffiti.

Could The Romford And Upminster Line Be Improved?

I see two possible simple improvements

Four Trains Per Hour

London Overground likes to run four trains per hour (tph).

Could this frequency be run on the Romford and Upminster Line?

Three years ago I wrote Could The Romford To Upminster Line Handle Four Trains Per Hour?, and came to this conclusion.

A seven minute trip would mean the train could perform the required four trips per hour.

It would still be tight.

I also investigated an automated shuttle train on the route in An Automated Shuttle Train Between Romford And Upminster, which I felt would be possible, to run a four tph service.

Extension Of The Service

There are various reasons, why the service could be extended from Upminster station, in the Grays direction.

  • It would give travellers from South Essex much better access to Crossrail.
  • It could give a shuttle between Romford and Grays via the Lakeside Shopping Centre
  • Tilbury Riverside station could be a possibility.
  • It could open up possibilities for more housing in the area.
  • If the route were to be extended to a new station at London Gateway, it could make it easier for people to travel to work at the large port.

Obviously, it would have to be viable for the operator, but the big beasts of Crossrail, Lakeside Shopping Centre and London Gateway might make it possible.

Planning the route wouldn’t be that easy.

Consider.

  • The connections to Romford and Grays are on different sides of the District Line, so a flyover or dive-under might be needed.
  • Upminster and Grays is a single-track line with a passing loop at the two-platform Ockenden station.
  • Upminster and Grays used to be worked by a shuttle service.
  • The signalling appears to be able to handle four tph in both directions.
  • The current service between Grays and Upminster is two tph in both directions.
  • There is a bay platform 1A, at Upminster, which faces towards Grays.

It can certainly be said, that the extension of the service can’t be run at four tph.

I also think, that the current track layout at Upminster looks like one of British Rail efforts to stop any expansion of the railway.

This Google Map shows the layout of Upminster station.

Note.

  1. The  platforms are numbered 1 to 6 from South to North.
  2. Platform 1A is the Southernmost platform, which is slightly at an angle.
  3. The main station footbridge is at the Western ends of the platforms.
  4. The station isn’t fully step-free.

Is an alternative approach possible?

Suppose the following were to be arranged.

  • A four tph endless shuttle between Romford and Upminster stations.
  • Full step-free access at Romford station is currently being installed.
  • Full step-free access at Upminster station.
  • A two tph shuttle between Platform 1a and Grays, London Gateway or wherever most passengers want. This service would be arranged to give four tph between Upminster and Grays, when combined with the current services.
  • The two four tph services would be timed to give a convenient interchange at Upminster.

Could it be made to work?

It would only need improvements to Upminster station.

These pictures show Upminster station.

Note.

  1. Platform 1a is fully-electrified and long enough for a Class 710 train.
  2. The bridge at the Eastern end of the station is not step-free but could be updated.
  3. It might be possible to extend this bridge to Platform 6.

Platform 1a could certainly be used to operate a shuttle service to Grays to create a new service across South Essex.

 

 

October 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Walking Along Moorgate – 30th September 2020

I took these pictures as I walked from North to South along Moorgate today from the bus stop by Finsbury Square.

 

Note.

  1. I did cross the road three times.
  2. The building site behind the blue hoardings in some of the first pictures, looks like it could be another tall building.
  3. The tower looming in the background of several of the pictures is Citypoint, which was originally built in 1967 and refurbished in 2000.
  4. The new looking building, with the Barclays branch at street level, is not new but another refurbished building, that has been finished in the last few months.
  5. The older red and white building is Moorgate station. There is nothing to indicate that this building will be rebuilt.
  6. The odd shaped building to the South of the station is Moor House.
  7. A large new entrance to the station, with an office block on top is being built between the original station entrance and Moor House.
  8. Between the new station entrance and Moorgate, 101 Moorgate is being built.

There is certainly, a lot of all types of property development going on at Moorgate station, which after Crossrail opens will become the Western entrance to the Crossrail station at Liverpool Street station.

This 3D Google Map shows Moorgate.

101 Moorgate is marked with a red arrow.

A Crossrail Video Of Liverpool Street Station

This video shows the design of Crossrail’s Liverpool Street station.

This screen-capture from the video shows a possible future Moorgate.

Note the new buildings at 101 Moorgate and the current Moorgate station.

These are related posts on the design of the Crossrail station at Moorgate and Liverpool Street.

The station could become the major one for the City of London.

Extending the Northern City Line To The South

This was intended by the builders of the Northern City Line and they intended to take the route to just North of Bank station at Lothbury.

In the Wikipedia entry for Moor House, this is said.

Completed in 2004, it was the first building to be designed for the forthcoming Crossrail, with a ventilation shaft to the station underneath the building. When built, it had the deepest foundations in London, which reach down 57 metres (187 ft) and are specifically designed to withstand further tunneling below it in the future.

I suspect that could mean that Moor House won’t get in the way of any further railway development.

In the Wikipedia entry for the Northern City Line, this is said about possible developments planned after World War 2.

After the war there were proposals to extend the Northern City Line north and south. The London Plan Working Party Report of 1949 proposed several new lines and suburban electrification schemes for London, lettered from A to M. The lower-priority routes J and K would have seen the Northern City Line extended to Woolwich (Route J) and Crystal Palace (Route K), retaining the “Northern Heights” extensions to Edgware and Alexandra Palace. The lines would have run in small-diameter tube tunnels south from Moorgate to Bank and London Bridge. The “K” branch would have run under Peckham to Peckham Rye, joining the old Crystal Palace (High Level) branch (which was still open in 1949) near Lordship Lane. Nothing came of these proposals, and the Edgware, Alexandra Palace and Crystal Palace (High Level) branches were all closed to passengers in 1954. As a result, the Northern City Line remained isolated from the rest of the network.

Note.

  • The proposed J branch to Woolwich has been covered by Crossrail calling at both Moorgate and Woolwich.
  • The proposed K branch to Peckham Rye and Crystal Palace has been covered by Crossrail and the London Overground with a change at Whitechapel.

So why bother to open up the possibility by designing Moor House for more tunnels to be bored?

As the London Plan Working Party Report of 1949 indicated several more lines and electrification were proposed.

Also during the war several deep-level shelters were built under Underground stations. Wikipedia says this about the background to the shelters.

Each shelter consists of a pair of parallel tunnels 16 feet 6 inches (5.03 m) in diameter and 1,200 feet (370 m) long. Each tunnel is subdivided into two decks, and each shelter was designed to hold up to 8,000 people. It was planned that after the war the shelters would be used as part of new express tube lines paralleling parts of the existing Northern and Central lines. Existing tube lines typically had 11-foot-8.25-inch (3.56 m) diameter running tunnels and about 21 feet (6.4 m) at stations; thus the shelter tunnels would not have been suitable as platform tunnels and were constructed at stations the new lines would have bypassed. However, they would have been suitable as running tunnels for main-line size trains. (One existing tube, the Northern City Line opened in 1904, used a similar size of tunnel for this reason, although in fact main-line trains did not use it until 1976.)

Shelters were planned on the Northern Line at Belsize ParkCamden TownGoodge StreetStockwellClapham NorthClapham Common, and Clapham South on the Northern Line. Did London Transport do a full survey of the Northern Line before the war and leave documents saying where an express Northern Line could be easily built.

My mother told me about these plans and as her best friend worked in Personnel at London Transport, she probably knew more than the average suburban housewife, who worked part-time for my father as a book-keeper.

After Crossrail opens and Moorgate station and the Bank station Upgrade are completed will it be possible to bore two new full-size tunnels underneath the Northern Line and Moor House and other buildings on the route to create a Northern Line Express service?

Consider.

  • The tunnels would be very deep and suitable for full-size trains.
  • Moorgate, Bank and London Bridge stations will have all been rebuilt in the last twenty years, so hopefully, they have been built to allow tunnels for a Northern Line Express service to pass through.
  • The Northern Line Express would take the pressure off the City Branch of the Northern Line?
  • Initially, the line might terminate under London Bridge station in perhaps a two platform station.
  • Modern digital signalling would allow up to 24 trains per hour (tph) on the section between London Bridge and Alexandra Palace station and 12 tph on the Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage branches

It would be a lot easier to build than Crossrail 2 and would give some of the benefits.

An Extension To North Cheam?

The Wikipedia entry for Morden station has this paragraph.

A post-war review of rail transport in the London area produced a report in 1946 that proposed many new lines and identified the Morden branch as being the most overcrowded section of the London Underground, needing additional capacity. To relieve the congestion and to provide a new service south of Morden, the report recommended construction of a second pair of tunnels beneath the northern line’s tunnels from Tooting Broadway to Kennington and an extension from Morden to North Cheam. Trains using the existing tunnels would start and end at Tooting Broadway with the service in the new tunnels joining the existing tunnels to Morden. The extension to North Cheam would run in tunnel. Designated as routes 10 and 11, these proposals were not developed by the London Passenger Transport Board or its successor organisations.

Perhaps, the solution would be to bore two new deep full-size tunnels from Moorgate to Tooting Broadway.

  • The Northern Line Express trains couldn’t continue to Morden, as they would be too big for the existing tunnels.
  • So they would have to turn back at Tooting Broadway station.
  • The stations between Kennington and Morden, that are in need of improvement could be updated.
  • I would design the interchange between Northern Line Express and Northern Line trains at Tooting Broadway station as a step-free cross-platform interchange.

The Wikipedia entry for North Cheam station, describes the extension to the station.

  • It would have been in tunnel from Morden.
  • There would be an intermediate station at Morden South station.
  • It didn’t think much of the economics.
  • I would suspect that the tunnel would run under the A 24.
  • The tunnel would be just under three miles long.

I wonder, if the extra distance, made operation of the line easier.

I estimate that a train could go from Morden to North Cheam stations and back in under ten minutes.

  • This would allow 6 tph with a single tunnel and track between the two stations.
  • The two new stations; North Cheam and Morden South could be single platform.
  • The signalling could be simplified.

The extension could be more affordable.

 

 

September 30, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Romford Station – 14th September 2020

I took these pictures at Romford station, a couple of weeks ago.

Note.

  1. The rebuild isn’t as extensive as at Ilford station.
  2. It appears to be mainly cosmetic and adding step free access.
  3. There would appear to be an ambitious reconstruction next to the station.
  4. The station has a marble entrance hall, which is a bit small, by modern standards.

Romford station must have one of the least spectacular entrances on Crossrail.

September 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment