The Anonymous Widower

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

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

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

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

It then lists the stations.

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

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

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

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

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

She has certainly highlighted a serious problem.

Call For Crossrail 2

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

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

Euston

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

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

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

Kings Cross St. Pancras

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liverpool Street

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

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

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

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

London Bridge

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

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

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

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

Victoria

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

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

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

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

Waterloo

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

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

However, three major improvements will be delivered this year.

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

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

Finsbury Park

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

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

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

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

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

Stockwell

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

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

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

Stratford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus tube station has needed improvement for years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crossrail 2 will have two major effects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highbury & Islington

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clapham Common

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

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

Clapham North

Clapham North tube station is another dangerous island platform.

But at least the station has escalators.

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

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

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

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

Clapham South

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

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

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

Holborn

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

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

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

Note the second entrance will be in Procter Street.

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

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

Warren Street

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

Leicester Square

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

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

It needs step-free access.

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

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

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

Clapham Junction

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

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

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

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

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

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

My proposals would include.

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

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

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

Simple it isn’t!

Conclusions

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

Note.

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

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

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

Consider.

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

Simon Jenkins Questions Southern HS2 Terminal

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

He makes these points against choosing Euston.

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

I can’t lose on house prices!

 

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

Crossrail Expands Before It Opens

This is certainly something you don’t hear often about a new rail line.

This article in Global Rail News is entitled TfL To Order More Elizabeth Line Trains.

Four new Class 345 trains are being ordered, which will mean that in the Off Peak the following will happen.

  • Trains between Whitechapel and Paddington will increase from 16 trains per hour (tph) to 20.
  • Trains between Paddington and Shenfield will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Abbey Wood will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Reading will double from two tph to four.
  • Trains between Paddington and Maidenhead will increase from four tph to six
  • From December 2019, six tph will call at Heathrow Terminal 5.

So have Transport for London miscalculated the capacity of the line?

I suspect not!

It’s just that they wanted to be sure that the trains and the signalling can handle the frequency of twenty tph, before ordering the trains.

That has probably been ascertained by now thorough thorough testing.

This article on the BBC, is entitled Crossrail Stations In West London Delayed Until 2019.

I wonder, if this is within the float of these station builds, so that the whole project is not delayed.

Have Crossrail only announced the actual completion date, when it is certain it can be met?

If it is, these two apparently disconnected stories show Project Management at its best, where a project is delivered on the date agreed before as much as a humble spade had entered the ground.

  • If it is late the client and the general public complain.
  • It it is early, the construction team have probably spent too much money.

So hopefully, everybody’s happy!

I would love to see Crossrail’s schedule of announcements until December 2019.

Like the ordering of more trains mentioned in the first article, I suspect some will be pleasant surprises.

The first article also has this paragraph.

The increased service frequency will be achieved, in part, by replacing five Great Western Railway services with Elizabeth line trains.

So could we see Greater Anglia and Southeastern losing paths and becoming better integrated with Crossrail?

In Abbey Wood Station in my series of Kent On The Cusp Of Change posts, I said that it looks like the track layout allows train to run on to Dartford, Gravesend or even Rochester, as other trains on a modern signalled North Kent Line.

At Shenfield station, provision has been made in the track layout for trains to continue from Platform 4 to Southend Victoria station and Greater Anglia trains already do it.at a frequency of three tph.

I don’t think it will happen, as the journey is too long for a train without toilets.

But if Platforms 4 and 5 at Shenfield were bi-directional, this would allow Crossrail trains to venture down the Southend Branch.

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Abbey Wood Station

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways talks about Kent and Crossrail.

This is said.

In December 2018, the Elizabeth Line is due to reach its south-eastern terminus at Abbey Wood, where there will be interchange with the North Kent line.

A wide range of new journey opportunities will open up, which over time will influence many choices over work and home locations. A train every five minutes from Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf and central London is expected to have a dramatic effect in North Kent.

The article goes on to say that a working group called Crossrail Gravesend is pushing to extend the Elizabeth Line to Ebbsfleet International station for High Speed One.

In this post, I will talk about issues at Abbey Wood station.

The Modern Railways article says that Abbey Wood station is a cross-platform interchange, as do other articles.

Track Layout At Abbey Wood Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of lines at Abbey Wood station.

Compare this with this track layout, that I posted in Abbey Wood Station –  29th August 2016.

Note the following.

  • The older layout shows cross-platform interchange.
  • The current one has two pairs of platforms, with Platforms 3 and 4 for Crossrail and Platforms 1 and 2 for other services.
  • The current layout probably connects better to the existing lines to Dartford.

These pictures were taken on the 28th June 2017 and show pictures generally taken from the West of the station.

They show a similar layout, of two Northern platforms (3 & 4) for Crossrail and two Southern platforms (1 & 2) for all other services.

Note.

  • The two cross-overs to the West of Abbey Wood station to get the Crossrail trains to and from the right platforms.
  • The station building and the two footbridges over the lines.
  • The solid wooden fence between the two pairs of lines.
  • The robust nature of the overhead wiring.

I suspect, that if they had wanted to have Eastbound and Westbound lines each share an island platform, it would have required a flyover, which would have been a large expense.

These pictures were taken on the 10th July 2017 to the East of the station.

Note that the first seven pictures were taken from a public footbridge that crosses the tracks about five hundred metres to the East of Abbey Wood station and the last few pictures were taken from a train leaving Abbey Wood station for Dartford station.

This recent Google Map shoews from Abbey Wood station, to where the reversing siding ends close to where Aliske Road turns North

The pictures and the map show the following.

  • The two third-rail electrified tracks of the North Kent Line run between Platforms 1 and 2 at Abbey Wood station to Belvedere station.
  • The North Kent tracks are fully in use, by services between London and Kent.
  • The two Crossrail Platforms 3 and 4 at Abbey Wood station are electrified with overhead wires.
  • The two tracks in Platforms 3 and 4 would appear to join together into a single line mainly without electrification, that connects to the North Kent Line about a kilometre to the East of Abbey Wood station.
  • There is only a short length of electrification to the East of the station.

It is not what I expected, as it means that there is no cross-platform interchange between services going to North Kent and Crossrail, as various sources including the The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article have said.

Passengers changing between the North Kent Lines and Crossrail will have to go over through the station or use the bridge.

So how will the station handle the various train movements?

Comparison Between Abbey Wood and Shenfield Stations

Abbey Wood will after rebuilding be a station with two North Kent and two Crossrail platforms

Shenfield station has now been converted into a station with six platforms, three of which can be used as Crossrail platforms.

In the Peak, services to the two stations are as follows.

  •  Shenfield – 10 trains per hour (tph)
  • Abbey Wood – 12 tph

In addition 4 tph on the Shenfield Branch turn-back at Gidea Park station.

In the Off Peak, services to the two stations are as follows.

  •  Shenfield – 8 tph
  • Abbey Wood – 8 tph

So it would appear that Abbey Wood is the harder station to operate with more services in the Peak and one less platform.

Train Stabling At Abbey Wood Station

Train stabling needs to be provided on a busy branch line, as it makes it easier to adjust the number of trains running to the demand throughout the day.

At Shenfield, the stabling sidings are beyond the station, which must be easier operationally, than the position of the sidings at Abbey Wood, where they are back down the line at the Plumstead tunnel portal.

If you look at the second set of pictures taken to the East of the station, spaqce would appear to be very limited. So is this why stabling is not ast of Abbey Wood station.

Turning Back Crossrail Trains At Abbey Wood

At Shenfield, train operators have been turning back Class 315 trains at a rate of six tph since 1980, so with the addition of a new platform and modern trains and signalling, the handling of ten tph should be achievable.

But at Abbey Wood in the Peak, there is a need to turn trains round at a rate of twelve tph or a train every five minutes.

The operation could involve each of Platform 3 and 4 handling six tph, using the cross-overs to the West of the station to get the train between each platform and the right Crossrail track, but handling six tph on two platforms feeding a 12 tph double track railway is a tough ask.

From what I have seen, I think that Crossrail will turnback their trains like this.

  • All Crossrail trains from London arrive in Platform 4.
  • All Crossrail trains to London depart from Platform 3.
  • All trains arriving in Platform 4 use the unelectrified single track line as a reversing siding to get to Platform 3
  • As the pictures show, the single track line is probably long enough to store a failed train, for later recovery.

But the Class 345 trains have a system called Auto-Reverse.

When the train is ready to leave Platform 4,the driver initiates an Auto-Reverse and the train moves automatically into the reversing siding, whilst the driver starts to walk back through the train to the other cab.

  • By the time, the train is in the reversing siding, the driver is ready to drive the train into Platform 3.
  • The process will have to be done within five minutes.
  • The process could also involve the basic cleaning and removal of rubbish, with cleaners getting on at Platform 4 and getting off at Plstform 3.

Crossrail is not your bog-standard railway.

Trains Leaving Service At Abbey Wood

Suppose a train was leaving service at Abbey Wood.

Normally, it would probably perform the Auto-Reverse and go to the stabling sidings at the Plumstead tunnel portal.

It might even go the wrong way directly out of Platform 4, if the signalling was bi-directiomal.

Remember too, that Class 345 trains could be two independent half-trains, so if one half fails, the other could be designed to get the train to safety and out of the way.

Class 345 trains are not a bog-standard trains.

Running Crossrail Trains To And From Gravesend

From what I have seen, I’m convinced that the track layout at Abbey Wood station, means that Crossrail can be easily extended to and from Dartford, Gravesend, Rochester, Gillingham or Rainham.

Let’s assume the terminal for four tph is Gravesend.

Crossrail trains from London to Gravesend will do the following.

  • Stop in Platform 4 at Abbey Wood station.
  • Lower the pantograph
  • Take the single uon-electrified line alongside the North Kent Line.
  • Cross over to the Down North Kent Line.
  • Use the third-rail electrification to travel to Gravesend.

Crossrail trains from Gravesend to London will do the following.

  • Use the third-rail electrification to travel from Gravesend.
  • Cross over to the single non-electrified line alongside the North Kent Line before Abbey Wood station.
  • Stop in Platform 3 at Abbey Wood station.
  • Raise the pantograph.

The Crossrail trains would be needed to be fitted with third-rail shoes.

Interchange BetweenThe Extended Crossrail And Other Services.

Suppose you are going from Ramsgate to Paddington, you would get a Highspeed service to Gravesend and then wait for a Crossrail train to call at the same platform.

To repeat myself, Crossrail is not a bog-standard railway.

Crossrail’s Trump Card

When the trains turnback at Abbey Wood or extend to and from Gravesend, the Class 345 trains will have to use the non-electrified single track line shown in the pictures.

It may be electrified in the next year! But why bother?

The distances that need to be handled without power are not much more than a kilometre at slow speed.

The Class 345 trains could be fitted with batteries to bridge the gaps in the electrification.

These batteries will also do the following.

  • Handle regenerative braking.
  • Provide emergency power, in the event of complete tunnel power failure.

Conclusion

To repeat myself again, Crossrail is not a bog-standard railway.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

July 10, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 19 Comments

Gibbs Report – Depot Issues

The Gibbs Report, looks in detail at GTR’s depot capacity and especially the stabling for Thameslink.

The section on depots starts like this.

The way in which the train fleet has expanded in recent years has resulted in a shortage of stabling facilities. New facilities have been located away from train crew depots (e.g. Hove from Brighton) and are less efficient, involving driver time in taxis. Siemens new depot at Three Bridges is now the main centre for the Thameslink fleet, and overall the depot capacity on Southern is just about sufficient from what I have seen, although it is inflexible and inefficient.

It then goes on to list problems at specific locations.

Ashford

Perhaps the late choice of Maidstone East station, as a terminus, has meant that a site hasn’t really been found for a depot at Ashford.

Bedford

The depot is unsuitable for 12-car fixed formation Class 700 trains, which block the entrance.

Cambridge

The facility is currently unsuitable for 12 car fixed formation trains and the current trains have to be uncoupled to be accommodated.

North Kent

The original plan was to increase stabling facilities at Slade Green, but this has now been established to cost £72m and too expensive. An alternative is urgently needed.

The report sums up the depot issues like this.

All of the above issues need to be finalised before the driver recruitment plans can be commenced, as the driver recruitment strategy must be decided around the stabling locations of the trains, and driver depot facilities, including parking, must be included in the scheme
implementation.

It also goes on to say, that more trains may need to be ordered to increase capacity on the Brighton Main Line and that a new depot will be needed.

Bombardier’s Class 345 Trains For Crossrail

Before I add my fourpennyworth on depot issues, I will look at some of the features of Bombardier’s Class 345 trains.

All Trains Are The Same Length

It is intended that all trains will be the same nine-car length, although at the present time, the trains under test in East London are a couple of cars short of a full train.

This is mainly because the platforms in Liverpool Street, are not long enough for a full train and won’t be lengthened until a year or so.

I suspect too, it enables Bombardier to build the trains in a more efficient manner and test out each type of coach fully.

One of the advantages in having all trains of the same length, is that you maximise the capacity in a depot and as on both routes, the manufacturer pays for the main depots, a correctly-sized depot will reduce costs.

Note that Thameslink’s main depots don’t seem to have issues, so can we assume they were well-designed?

The Class 345 Trains Have No Toilets

There was a bit of a fuss, when this was announced, as I wrote about  in Do Crossrail Trains Need Toilets?.

But given that many Crossrail stations have toilets on the platforms and trains are every ten minutes, no toilets on the train gives advantages.

  • There is no toilet on the train that needs regular cleaning and fails occasionally.
  • Overnight servicing of the train does not need the toilet to be emptied.

I also suspect that the modular nature of the Class 345 train would allow one to be fitted if required.

Class 345 Trains Are Designed For 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.

So imagine a Class 345 train finishes its last journey of the day in a platform at Shenfield station or a convenient stabling siding.

  • The driver checks the train for sleeping bankers, locks up and goes home.
  • The train reports to Ilford, that a couple of light bulbs have failed.
  • The servicing and cleaning team arrive and get the train pristine for the morning.
  • The train shuts down fully and all power is switched off to the overhead wires, so trespassers won’t be electrocuted.
  • At an appropriate time, the train is signalled to come to life and warms up ready for the day, using battery power.
  • The driver arrives and when signalled joins the main line, raises the pantograph and takes the train on its way.

When I once described this process to a driver from Northern going to pick up a Class 156 train in Halifax, he had a big smile.

In some ways, it’s a bit like parking your car out on the street.

  • Except that for trains, you need a convenient piece of track.
  • As power will be needed to warm the train up in the morning and you don’t want 25 KVAC  live wires about, the only source of power possible is a battery.
  • If the train had a toilet, it would be a more complicated process.

What will the devious Derbians think of next?

Solving GTR’s Depot Problems

In my view there is one big difference between Thameslink and Crossrail.

With Crossrail, which was in part a new railway line, every component was designed so it fitted together like a giant three-dimensional jigsaw.

But Thameslink was designed by different teams over a series of decades.

As we can’t go back to square one on Thameslink we have to make the best of what we’ve been left with.

Bombardier’s remote wake-up concept is a straight steal from some upmarket road vehicles, so why haven’t Siemens stolen it? Especially, as the Derby Telegraph article dates from June 2011. Perhaps, their press cuttings agency doesn’t read that newspaper?

If they had developed the technology, it would certainly help with remote stabling of trains, as you can have a much simpler facility.

The Problem Of Cambridge

I discuss this in Cambridge Depot

The Problem Of North Kent

Chris Gibbs suggest creating a new depot at Hoo Junction, which I discuss in Hoo Junction Depot

Thameslink’s Mixed Length Fleet

Thameslink also have a curious mix of eight-car and twelve-car trains, whereas Crossrail have sensibly opted for a common length, which as I said, must be much easier to store.

Intriguingly, both Greater Anglia and South Western Railway have ordered mixed fleets of five and ten-car Aventras. But most six-year-olds can tell you that 5+5=10.

The decision to buy a mixed length fleet of twelve and eight-car trains for Thameslink has caused a lot of these depot and a few other problems.

I wrote more about the problem in Has Thameslink Got The Wrong Length Of Train?.

I think in the end, Thameslink will lengthen the eight-car trains to twelve-cars and then lengthen the short platforms on the Sutton loop Line and a few other places.

This would create sixteen per-cent more capacity through the central tunnel, by making all trains twelve-cars.

But that is an expensive way to solve the problem created by not designing Thameslink as a continuous twelve-car railway.

Conclusion

It’s a bloody-great mess.

If you compare depot philosophies at  Crossrail, Greater Anglia and Thameslink, the first two companies seem to have developed a comprehensive purchase and maintenance solution for all their new trains, whereas Thameslink have worked on the basis that it will be alright in the end.

These factors don’t help Thameslink.

  • The choice of a mix of eight- and twelve-car trains.
  • The inability to join two short trains together to make a long train.
  • The design of a Class 700 train, which appears to be geared more towards a traditional depot.

I will be accused of being patriotic, but having ridden in both Class 700 and Class 345 trains, I’m coming to the conclusion, that Thameslink should have bought Aventras.

I would also have to ask, if Krefeld in Germany is a better place than Derby, for decision makers to visit.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Did Heathrow Back Down?

This article on the BBC is entitled New Elizabeth Line to serve Heathrow’s Terminal 5

A few months ago Heathrow was wanting to charge Crossrail an extortionate price for access to Heathrow and it was also holding out from allowing Crossrail to reach Terminal Five.

They treied all legal means to get Crossrail to cough up for the access to Heathrow, but no court found in their favour. And that includes the most important court of all; the Court of Public Opinion. Many and Londoners in particular look upon Heathrow Airports as a greedy bully and perhaps Heathrow decided this was a fight they couldn’t win.

So their only bargaining chip left was Terminal Five and perhaps British Airways had a quiet word.

Passengers complaining about being ripped off by Heathrow Express wouldn’t complain to Hathrow, but to British Airways.

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

The Class 345 Train Has An Updated Information Display

Bombardier have updated the information display on the Class 345 train, that I rode on the The 10:35 From Liverpool Street To Shenfield.

In that post I said this about the Information.

The current on-train information is simple, but then as I suspect the screens are software driven, any degree of required complication can be added.

I don’t know whether it is deliberate but everything is large and easy to read. There is also no maps or exhortations about security.

Long may it stay that way!

Simple is efficient!

So it looks like a new version of the software has been installed.

These pictures show the new display.

I wonder what the final version will be like.

I hope it’s not to fussy or full of advertising.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Will London Build Any More New Tube Lines?

In this post, by Tube, I mean one of London’s narrow-bore Underground lines like the Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.

Tube Lines And Crossrail

Yesterday, I rode a Jubilee Line train and after The 10:35 From Liverpool Street To Shenfield, it struck me as a cramped experience.

As I got up to leave from one of the areas of the train with metro-style seating along the train sides, I tripped all over everybody else’s feet.

Compare this to the Class 345 train on Crossrail.

You could seat basketball players either side and they’d have difficulty playing footsie, given the width of the train.

Note too the space under the seats for their kit.

And then there is the air-conditioning, which of course the Tube lines don’t have.

So what is the point of building new narrow-bore Tube lines under London? Especially, as I doubt the cost of a line is much less than the wider-bore Crossrail on a per kilometre basis.

Build extensions to existing Tube lines, by all means, as these probably have a better economic case.

The Bakerloo Line Extension

This is a portion of London’s famous Tube Map.

The Bakerloo Line Extension runs between the following stations.

It is a simple scheme to put new transport infrastructure into South-East London.

Conclusion

I doubt, we’ll see a complete new Underground line in London, built to the narrower-bore of the Tube.

 

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Bombardier’s Giant Spanner In The Works

On The 10:35 From Liverpool Street To Shenfield, I talked to several passengers and one thing that impressed a couple was the built-in 4G mobile-phone capability of the trains.

So much wi-fi on trains is tedious to use and the operator wants to get you to register, so they can bombard you with spam.

For this and other reasons, I rarely use wi-fi.

Now that Bombardier have fitted 4G to Crossrail’s Aventras, will every new train in the UK, be fitted with this capability?

You bet it will! Or the train won’t sell!

I actually, think that 4G capability could be a train feature that appeals to many older travellers., who I suspect generally aren’t the heaviest users of bandwidth, but also want instant access at all times.

4G all the time gives you this.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Crossrail

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways talks about Kent and Crossrail.

This is said.

In December 2018, the Elizabeth Line is due to reach its south-eastern terminus at Abbey Wood, where there will be interchange with the North Kent line.

A wide range of new journey opportunities will open up, which over time will influence many choices over work and home locations. A train every five minutes from Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf and central London is expected to have a dramatic effect in North Kent.

The article goes on to say that a working group called Crossrail Gravesend is pushing to extend the Elizabeth Line to Ebbsfleet International station for High Speed One.

Current Services Between London, Abbey Wood And The Medway Towns

Adding together current services at Abbey Wood station  as given in Wikipedia with the proposed Thameslink service between Rainham and Luton, which I wrote about in Thameslink To Rainham, gives the following service level at Abbey Wood station.

Westbound;

All trains will call at London Bridge station, which after rebuilding for Thameslink is complete, will be a formidable interchange to other services, such as the Underground, buses and Shank’s pony.

Londoners tend to think of Crossrail, as London’s most important rail project, but I do think that the rebuilding of London Bridge station in a few years time will be considered the second most important.

In addition, as Abbey Wood will be connected to Crossrail, there must be few places in Central London, to which travel is difficult from Abbey Wood station.

Eastbound;

  • 2 tph to Barnehurst via Slade Green returning to London via the Bexleyheath Line
  • 2 tph to Dartford
  • 2 tph to Gillingham (Kent)
  • 2 tph to Rainham (Kent)
  • 2 tph to Crayford via Slade Green returning to London via the Dartford Loop Line,

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

Note.

  1. Barnehurst is on the Bexleyheath Line.
  2. Cayford station is on the Dartford Loop Line.
  3. The North Kent Line goes East from Datford station to Gravesend , the Medway Towns and Thanet.

In addition at Abbey Wood station, using their separate platforms and separate tracks to the Crossrail tunnel, 12 tph will be providing the Crossrail service.

Future Services From London To The Medway Towns

Looking at the Southeastern services to Gillingham and the Thameslink services to Rainham, the following can be said

  • These are the only services, that go more than a few miles past Abbey Wood station.
  • The Gillingham service is a Southeastern Metro service, so probably needs to be run by faster modern trains, rather than the current Class 465 trains.
  • The combination of the Gillingham and Rainham services will hopefully give a very passenger friendly train every fifteen minutes between Abbey Wood and Gillingham, via Dartford, Gravesend, Rochester and Chatham.
  • The Gillingham service calls at Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton and Woolwich Arsenal between London Bridge and Abbey Wood.
  • The Rainham service calls at Greenwich between London Bridge and Abbey Wood.

I do wonder, if it would be better if the Southeastern service from Charing Cross to Gillingham were to be extended to Rainham and always run by a twelve-car train.

  • Rainham is only four minutes further from London than Gillingham.
  • Rainham has a twelve-car bay platform.
  • Gillingham’s bay platform may not be able to take a twelve-car train.
  • Four tph can be handled in a single bay platform.

This would give a high-capacity four tph service between Abbey Wood and the Medway Towns, with two tph from Thameslink and two tph from Southeastern.

But the major factor would be that passengers would surely find it a very easy service to use.

Service Frequencies East Of Dartford

Note that of the eastbound trains, only 6 tph go through Dartford, as the other 4 tph loop back to London.

Between Dartford and Rochester, there is only the 4 tph to Gillingham/Rainham, although they are joined by 2 tph Highspeed trains between Gravesend and Rochester.

It would thus appear that the maximum frequency between Abbey Wood and Rochester is probably 6 tph.

When you consider that the trains through the area, will all be modern trains fitted with the latest ERTMS signalling, handling these numbers of trains and perhaps 4-8 tph for Crossrail between Abbey Wood and Gravesend in the future, will be well below the 24 tph handled by Crossrail and Thameslink in their central tunnels.

The New Track Layout At Abbey Wood Station

Looking at the new track layout at Abbey Wood station, it appears to be very simple with just a reversing siding to the East of the two Crossrail platforms 3 and 4.

Cross-overs appear to be provided so that the following is possible.

  • Trains from Crossrail can continue towards Dartford after calling at Platform 4.
  • Trains from Dartford can continue towards Crossrail after calling at Platform 3.

It looks to me, that the track layout is designed, so that Crossrail trains can easily run to and from Dartford or any other station that the planners decide is the terminus.

Capacity Between Abbey Wood And Rochester

As the double-track line between Abbey Wood and Rochester with modern signalling can probably handle up to probably 24 tph, there is capacity for a lot of Crossrail trains to go past Abbey Wood.

Suppose  Crossrail is extended to Gravesend with 4 tph extended to the new terminal and trains stabled at a new depot at Hoo Junction to the East of the town.

The following frequencies to and from London would apply at various stations.

  • Abbey Wood – 10 tph + 12 tph Crossrail
  • Belvedere – 10 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • Erith – 10 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • Slade Green – 10 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • Dartford – 6 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • Stone Crossing – 4 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • Greenhithe – 4 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • Swanscombe – 4 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • Gravesend- 4 tph + 4 tph Crossrail + 2 tph Highspeed

North Kent is going to get a better train service.

Hoo Junction

Hoo Junction, which is a few miles to the East of Gravesend station, has been identified by Crossrail planners, as a suitable area for a depot to serve an extended South-Eastern branch of the line.

Chris Gibbs, in his extensive report on GTR’s performance, suggests that the Hoo Junction area , be used as a depot for Thameslink services to North Kent. I wrote about this in Gibbs Report – Hoo Junction Depot.

In addition, Southeastern are running short of space in Slade Green Depot.

But that’s just the railways.

This report on the BBC indicates that the new Lower Thames Crossing will cross North-South between Gravesend and Hoo Junction.

Should there be a Park-and-Ride station at Hoo Junction?

It would have a four tph service between London and the Medway Towns with a stop at Abbey Wood for Crossrail.

In Gibbs Report – Hoo Junction Depot, I came to the following conclusion.

Crossrail, the Department of Transport, Kent County Council, Network Rail, Southeastern, Thameslink and all other stakeholders and residents should sit round a large table and agree a common long-term philosophy that is in all their best interests for the future.

What happens at Hoo Junction, will be tremendously important to transport infrastructure in the South East of England in general and Kent in particular.

Crossrail To Ebbsfleet International Station

The article talks about extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet International station, by adding two new tracks  through Slade Green and Dartford stations, serving existing stations.

As I showed in the previous section, I think extra tracks are not necessary, as modern signalling can handle the required number of trains with ease. I suspect though, that the 75 mph Class 465 trains will need to be retired from the North Kent Line, as their performance is just not good enough.

The report says this about the connection at Ebbsfleet.

There would be a new station that would have pedestrian access with Ebbsfleet HS1 station and Northfleet on the historic line – this could be the terminus, or the new line might reach as far as Hoo Junction on the east side of Gravesend.

I’ve always felt that Ebbsfleet International station was a logical South-Eastern destination for Crossrail, mainly because of the space at the station for platforms, depots and car parking.

Consider.

  • St. Pancras station may have too few platforms for Continental services in the future, so Ebbsfleet International may end up being a terminus for some of these services.
  • Southeastern is developing the Highspeed commuter services to East Kent and East Sussex, which probably need a connection to Crossrail and/or Thameslink.
  • The Fawkham Junction link connects Swanley and Ebbsfleet International stations, and it could be used by extra Highspeed services or Thameslink.

I’ve always felt that there’s a simple solution in there, but vested interests and politicians seem to stop railway planners from finding it.

So why not use upgrade Northfleet station with the following features?

  • The ability to accept the services along the North Kent Line – 4 tph + 4 tph Crossrail
  • The ability to accept twelve-car trains.
  • A pedestrian link to Ebbsfleet International station based on something a bit sexy. Perhaps a fast travelator or some other form of people mover.

This Google Map shows that there is plenty of space between the stations.

 

Northfleet station is to the North-East of Ebbsfleet International station.

Could it be that a simple solution  would work?

  • Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe and Swanscombe become Crossrail and North Kent stations.
  • Northfleet station is connected to Ebbsfleet International station in a passenger-friendly way.
  • The four tph service through the Medway towns to London Bridge continue and are better-integrated with Thameslink at London Bridge.
  • The Swanley link to Ebbsfleet is reopened to allow more service opportunities.

But then what do I do know?

Is Abbey Wood Station A Cross-Platform Interchange?

One thing that the Modern Railways article says, is that Abbey Wood station has been designed with cross-platform interchange, in such a way that any delays to Kent services don’t have any knock-on effects on the new services.

The Modern Railways article says that Abbey Wood station is a cross-platform interchange, as do other articles.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of lines at Abbey Wood station.

Compare this with this track layout, that I posted in Abbey Wood Station –  29th August 2016.

Note the following.

  • The older layout shows cross-platform interchange.
  • The current one has two pairs of platforms, with Platforms 3 and 4 for Crossrail and Platforms 1 and 2 for other services.
  • The current layout probably connects better to the existing lines to Dartford.

These pictures were taken on the 28th June 2017.

They show a similar layout, of two Northern platforms (3 & 4) for Crossrail and two Southern platforms (1 & 2) for all other services.

Note.

  • The two cross-overs to the West of Abbey Wood station to get the Crossrail trains to and from the right platforms.
  • The station building and the two footbridges over the lines.
  • The solid wooden fence between the two pairs of lines.
  • The robust nature of the overhead wiring.

I suspect, that if they had wanted to have Eastbound and Westbound lines each share an island platform, it would have required a flyover, which would have been a large expense.

But at least with this layout, Crossrail trains can have their own pair of lines to the East, running to the North of the current tracks. The Modern Railways article says this.

Mindful of this, the working group is proposing two new dedicated tracks for the extension, running alongside the line through Slade Green and Dartford, with platforms serving the existing stations.

This Google Map shows the route through Dartford.

In some places putting in two extra tracks would be very difficult and extremely expensive and very disruptive to local residents.

Given the capabilities of modern signalling, now being demonstrated on Thameslink in Central London, I believe that something practical for the train companies and friendly for the passengers will emerge.

But one thing is certain. There will not be cross-platform interchange between Crossrail and other services at Abbey Wood station.

Interchange Between North Kent Services And Crossrail

I have a feeling, that this will come down to personal preferences.

After the opening of Crossrail to Abbey Wood in 2018 and the opening of Thameslink to Rainham, passengers will probably have to use Abbey Wood, where it will be an up-and-over via escalators, lifts or stairs.

If and when Crossrail is extended to Gravesend, any of Abbey Wood, Dartford and Gravesend, could be used as a same-platform interchange.

It would also be possible to take a Highspeed service from Ramsgate and change to Crossrail at Gravesend. Would this avoid the extra charge for High Speed One?

I think that Gravesend could become the interchange of choice, as it could have the following London-bound trains, if Crossrail is extended.

  • 2 tph – Thameslink to Luton
  • 2 tph – Southeastern to Charing Cross
  • 2 tph – Highspeed to Ebbsfleet International, Stratford international and St. Pancras.
  • 4 tph – Crossrail

There could be a need to improve the platforms to cope with the increase of passenger numbers.

Conclusion

Crossrail will get very involved with the new Southeastern franchise.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

June 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 18 Comments