The Anonymous Widower

Should The Moorgate Lines Be Transferred To Transport for London?

This article in Rail Magazine, is entitled TfL Targets Transfer Of Govia Thameslink Services.

One of the services, targeted by Transport for London (TfL) are the Great Northern services into Moorgate station from Hertford North, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City stations.

I know the line into Moorgate and the various branches well, as I’ve used them in different forms, since I was about eleven.

The section between Moorgate and Finsbury Park stations is often referred to as the Northern City Line.

I wrote about these lines in a series of posts linked to A North London Metro.

The biggest problem, I find with the lines, is the quality of the trains and the stations. But there are other issues that will also effect these services, which I detail in the following sections.

Trains

The current Class 313 trains are some of the oldest on the UK rail network, as they were built around 1976, which makes them only a couple of years older than London Overground’s Class 315 trains.

I ride in both fleets regularly and although both show their age, those on the Overground appear to have had a lot more TLC.

It’s almost as if GTR doesn’t care about the Northern reaches of their Network.

In some ways, when the Lea Valley Lines were managed by Greater Anglia from Norwich, it was the same Out-Of-Site-Out-Of Mind attitude.

Both operators are changing these elderly fleets by the end of next year.

My worry about moving the Moorgate services to the London Overground would be about the transfer of the new trains, although TfL do have some cards in their favour.

  • The Class 717 trains are designed for the rather unusual operating conditions of the Northern City Line.
  • Siemens have a contract to build and maintain the Class 717 trains.
  • TfL have recently signed a big deal with Siemens, for the New Tube for London.
  • The current Class 313 trains are single-manned.

I would hope that the trains and their crews would not be too difficult to transfer to the London Overground.

Stations

Many of the stations like Essex Road are tired and need serious work, which would start with a good deep clean. Is it the same Out-Of-Site-Out-Of Mind attitude?

Highbury & Islington Station

These pictures show Highbury & Islington station.

The decor needs a serious refresh.

If I want to go to say Hertford North or Welwyn Garden City, the easiest way is to go via Highbury & Islington station and get a direct train.

Until a few months ago, there used to be no way to buy a ticket at the station.

  • The destination is outside my Freedom Pass area.
  • I can’t use Oyster or contactless card at the destination.
  • There is no ticket machine to buy a ticket.
  • There is no ticket office.

However, the latest Underground ticket machines have solved the problem

When you consider that Highbury & Islington station is the fourteenth busiest station in the UK and that it handles more passengers in a year, than Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Edinburgh Waverley and Manchester Piccadilly, the station is a disgrace.

Are other stations as passenger unfriendly?

Crossrail

Crossrail will seriously affect the services into Moorgate station.

Consider the following.

  • Changing to and from Crossrail at Moorgate will become a preferred route for many passengers.
  • Moorgate is a short walk to much of the City of London.
  • Moorgate and Liverpool Street will be one massive interconnected station.
  • The new Class 717 trains will attract passengers, if they are better than Thameslink’s terrible Class 700 trains.
  • Between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations could have a frequency as high as twelve trains per hour (tph), that runs all day.
  • The Victoria Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail, but it does have a cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station with the Northern City Line.
  • The Piccadilly Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail or serve the City of London, but it will soon have a much-improved connection to the Northern City Line at Finsbury Park station.

Predicting the number of passengers on the services into Moorgate will become one of those classic extremely-difficult multi-variable problems.

Journeys Will Change

As an example of a changed journey take the case of someone living in Walthamstow wanting to go to Heathrow.

Currently, the easy route is.

  • Victoria Line to Finsbury Park – 9 minutes
  • Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Central – 64 minutes.

This is a total time of 73 minutes.

After Crossrail opens the high-frequency route will be.

  • Victoria Line to Highbury & Islington – 12 minutes.
  • Northern City Line to Moorgate – 10 minutes.
  • Crossrail to Heathrow Central – 33 minutes

This is a total time of 55 minutes.

Thameslink

Thameslink hasn’t been designed with improving the local services on the East Coast Main Line in mind and GTR are hoping that the new trains to and from Moorgate, will provide enough capacity.

As it might be hoped that the new trains on the Moorgate services will be an improvement on the dreadful Thameslink Class 700 trains, with ironing board seats and no wifi, power sockets or tables, will passengers be swapping their London terminal to Moorgate with its better trains and connections?

Hertfordshire

Thirteen of the thirty-one stations served from Moorgate are in Hertsfordshire.

What will that County Council’s reaction be to a transfer of the Moorgate routes to the London Overground?

Relationship With The Underground And Overground

The route between Finsbury Park and Mootgate stations used to be part of the Underground and there are several interchanges between the route and the Underground and Overground.

  • Bowes Park station is an out-of-station interchange with Bounds Green station on the Piccadilly Line.
  • Harringay station is an out-of-station interchange with with Harringay Green Lanes station on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • Finsbury Park station is an interchange with the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Highbury & Islington station is an interchange  with East London, North London and Victoria Lines.
  • Old Street is an interchange with the Northern Line.
  • Moorgate is an interchange with the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Northern Lines, in addition to Crossrail from the end of this year.

When the new Class 717 trains, with their increased frequency of at least four tph,  start running, it will be a new high frequency Metro for the London boroughs of Barnet, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.

Future

I can see various changes adn additions to this line in the future.

ETCS On The East Coast Main Line

ETCS is being installed on the East Coast Main Line to increase capacity. It would appear that trains running to Welwyn Garden City station, will need to have ETCS installed.

As the new Class 717 trains are similar to the Class 700 trains, which use ETCS in the Thameslink core between St. Pancras and Blackfriars stations, fitting the system to the trains, shouldn’t be a problem.

But fitting ETCS to all the Class 717 trains, would mean that installing and using ETCS on the routes into Moorgate station would not be a difficult enterprise.

If this were to be done, would trains between Moorgate and Finsbury Park stations be able to attain the Thameslink frequency of twenty-four tph?

I can’t see why not!

Faster Running On The East Coast Main Line

In Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route, I talked about an article in Edition 849 of Rail Magazine, with the same title, where I said this.

In addition to ETCS, which could improve capacity on the East Coast Main Line, they would also like to see journey time reductions using trains capable of running at 125 mph or faster on the King’s Lynn to Kings Cross route.

Faster limited-stop 125 mph trains from Cambridge, Kings Lynn and perhaps, Peterborough to King Cross would surely increase capacity and might even help with the double-track bottleneck of the Digswell Viaduct.

One of the problems is that Thameslink’s Class 700 trains are only capable of 100 mph.

They are just not fast enough.

With 125 mph running limited stop into Kings Cross or Thameslink, will this free up capacity on the slow line and perhaps allow extra services from London to Welwyn Garden City station. They can’t go further North because of the Digswell Viaduct, unless the trains use the Hertford Loop Line.

I’m pretty certain that introducing 125 mph trains to Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough could open up more csapacity for services on the Great Northern route.

Increased Capacity At Moorgate

Crossrail will connect to the routes into , through a rebuilt Moorgate station.

  • This connection will attract more passengers.
  • Crossrail provides connection to Canary Wharf, the West End, Paddington station and Heathrow.
  • The rebuilt station will also provide high-capacity step-free connections to the Central, Circle, Hammersith & City and Northern Lines.
  • There will hopefully be better access to walking routes through the City of London.

Looking at the plans for the massive double-ended Liverpool Street-Moorgate station on Crossrail, it would appear that, the station complex is being rebuilt for a large increase in passengers.

Currently, the frequency to and from Moorgate station is around ten tph, which is handled on two platforms.

Consider.

  • Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations on the Victoria Line, handle 36 tph with two platforms and Automatic Train Operation (ATO).
  • The East London Line will be handling twenty tph Between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations, by the end of next year.
  • The Class 717 trains will have a better performance than the current Class 313 trains.
  • The signalling could probably be updated and ATO added as I indicated earlier

I would suspect that a frequency upwards of at least sixteen tph to and from Moorgate could be possible.

I’d like to know, what capacity was assumed in the design of the rebuilt Moorgate station, to make sure, the station was future-proofed for all possible services.

Increased Frequencies

All stations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield have had a frequency of ten tph, as long as I can remember and this frequency will be increased to twelve tph, when Crossrail opens.

Alongside this, the frequencies of four tph to and from Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City look messily!

The Hertford Loop Line has three possible terminals; Gordon Hill, Hertford North and Stevenage, all of which could handle four tph. If all were used, this would give these frequencies.

  • 12 tph – Finsbury Park to Gordon Hill
  • 8 tph – Gordon Hill to Hertford North
  • 4 tph – Hertford North to Stevenage.

If what I said earlier is correct and that sixteen tph is possible into Moorgate, then this would still allow the current frequency of four tph to Welwyn Garden City.

Park-And-Ride

There is a need for at least one parkway station on the Great Northern route.

GNER were intending to provide one at Hadley Wood station.

Parliament held a debate in January 2000 about this and you can read the debate here on the Parliament web site. Generally, MPs were not in favour.

Stevenage has also been proposed for a parkway station and I think this is much more likely.

Incorporation Into The Tube Map

There will soon be calls for the Southern part of the route to be shown on the Tube Map.

 

Conclusion

I can see serious investment will be needed at stations on the Great Northern route and especially on the deep-level Northern City Line.

It is also likely, that more trains could be needed.

Do GTR have the will and the resources to invest in this line?

I doubt it, as it is probably seen as an irrelevant backwater, by GTR’s so-called management.

Given the close connection of this route to Crossrail and the Underground and that fifty-eight percent of the stations are in Greater London, then Transport for London would seem to be an ideal owner for this route.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

By Class 345 Train To Shenfield

This morning, I took one of Crossrail’s Class 345 train between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Even these initial trains, which are a couple of cars short of a full train, are a long walk from end-to-end.

I actually followed the driver, who was changing ends, by walking along the platform.

Two school parties of young children had arrived on the train, and she took time out from her walk, to chat to a couple of teachers and some of the children.

If you look at the second and last pictures, you’ll notice a door on the side of the cab. But the driver left and entered the train through the passenger compartment. In the last picture another driver is entering the train.He was perhaps taking over the train.

So it does seem, that drivers are happy to enter and leave the train, via the passenger compartment, which it appears they will be doing in the New Tube for London.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

From Farringdon To Tottenham Court Road Station

After photographing the artwork at the new Barbican entrance to Farringdon station, I went to the current station entrance with the aim of getting to Tottenham Court Road station.

Obviously, when Crossrail opens, this will be a single-station hop on Crossrail, but there is no obvious quick way as present.

So out of curiosity, I asked one of the station staff, what is the recommended route.

She said, that the easiest way is to walk to Chancery Lane station and take the Central Line.

I also asked her why Thameslink, which is so much part of Farringdon station and will be such an important route at the station after Crossrail opens.

She said, but that’s National Rail.

So I walked to Chancery Lane.

It was a very hot day and uphill. But I made it without difficulty.

Crossrail will certainly make my journey easier, but I can’t help feeling that some journeys from Farringdon are better done using Thameslink.

Consider the following journeys.

Farringdon To London Bridge

Currently, I would do this journey using Thameslink, but what will Transport for London want us to do?

  • Use Crossrail to Moorgate and get the Northern Line.
  • Use Crossrail to Bond Street and get the Jubilee Line.
  • Use Crossrail to Whitechapel and get the Jubilee Line.

I shall still use Thameslink.

Farringdon To Victoria

Currently, I would do this journey using Thameslink to Blackfriars and then get the Circle or |District Lines.

I suspect that Transport for London would recommend one of these.

  • Use the Circle Line all the way. Easy but long.
  • Go to Kings Cross on the Circle or Metropolitan Lines and get the Victoria. Not the easiest with a heavy case.

I shall continue to use Thameslink.

The New Museum Of London

The new Museum of London will be built close to Farringdon station.

I think, it will end up as one of London’s top museums.

But is it easy to get to the British Museum, National Gallery,Tate Modern and all those other museums in South Kensington.

The British Museum will be just a stop on Crossrail, when that opens, but for the others Thameslink will play a part.

For these routes and other reasons, Thameslink must be on the Tube Map.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Farringdon Station – 7th July 2018

These pictures show the Barbican station end of the Crossrail entrance at Farringdon station.

Note the design in the glass.

This article on Property Week is entitled Helical To Build £120m Office Over Farringdon Station.

It looks like the building of this block is starting.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Legal & General Has Acquired One Of The Last Major Crossrail Development Sites

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

There have been several stories like this is recent months and I think it shows how Crossrail will generate new housing an business developments across London.

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Detailed Layout Drawing For A Class 345 Train

Someone has requested this using a Freedom of Information request.

Click to access the detailed layout drawing for a Class 345 train.

The formation of a Class 345 train is as follows.

DMS+PMS+MS1+MS3+TS(W)+MS3+MS2+PMS+DMS

Note.

  1. Eight cars have motors and only one doesn’t.
  2. The train is composed of two identical half-trains, which are separated by the TS(W) car.
  3. There are four wheelchair spaces in the TS(W) car.

There is also other information on the drawing.

  • 454 seated passengers.
  • 1046 standing passengers calculated using a density of 4.025/m² of available floor standing area.
  • 4 wheelchair spaces.
  • 1500 passengers total
  • 51 priority spaces compliant with PRM-TSI
  • Trailer car length is 22,500 mm.
  • Driver car length is 23,615 mm.
  • Train length is 203,380 over mm. body ends.

There’s more information, based on what I read off the end of a train in Weight And Dimensions Of A Class 345 Train.

I estimated the weight of a nine car train to be 328.40 tonnes.

Kinetic Energy Of A Full Class 345 Train

I will assume the following

Train weight is 328.4 tonnes.

It is jam-packed with 1,500 passengers, with an average weight of 90 Kg. with their baggage.

Passenger weight is 13.50 tonnes

This gives a total train weight of 341.9

Calculating the kinetic energy for various speeds gives.

30 mph – 8.5 kWh

50 mph – 23.7 kWh

75 mph – 53.4 kWh

90 mph – 76.9 kWh

I used Omni’s Kinetic Energy Calculator.

Currently, the cost of a kWh of electricity is about fifteen pence to domestic customers, so accelerate a full Class 345 train to 90 mph, costs at that rate around £11.50.

The Deep Resource web site gives various conversion factors.

  • A kilogram of coal can be converted into 8.1 kWh.
  • A litre of diesel can be converted into 10 kWh.
  • A kilogram of hydrogen can be converted into 33.6 kWh.

It’s so easy to do these calculations today, as you can find little calculators and information all over the Internet.

 

 

July 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Will Crossrail Trains Run 24 Hours?

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

We don’t know the answer yet, but the article feels we should never say never.

After all, if Gatwick Airport has trains on a 24/7 basis, surely Heathrow should!

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Moorgate Is Being Refurbished In Readiness For Crossrail

I took these pictures as I walked from between Moorgate and Bank stations.

With Moorgate station about to become the Western end of the enormous Crossrail station at Liverpool Street, the office developments in the area are being refurbished or rebuilt, so that commuters have appropriate places to work.

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

West Ealing Station – 21st June 2018

The progress to create new station buildings at West Ealing station seems to be painfully slow, as these pictures show.

It looks like there are now no platforms on the fast lines and the actual platforms for Crossrail and the Greenford Branch Line appear to be complete except for finishing off.

There appeared to be no if any work going on to built the new station building and the fully-accessible bridge.

But there did appear to be some electrification gantries and wires over the Western end of the bay platform.

Were Network Rail making sure that if it were decided to electrify the Greenford Branch Line, it would not be a difficult job?

If on the other hand, it was decided to use battery trains on the Greenford Branch, I suspect that sufficient electrification could be installed to charge the batteries.

 

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

New Bank Tube Station Entrance In Final Stages Ahead Of Opening

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

Ian suggests that the new entrance under the Bloomberg Building, which will give better access to the Waterloo and City Line, will open in August 2018.

This picture shows the covered Underground roundel on the side of the Bloomberg Building.

Note the workers putting scaffolding on the truck behind.

Underground, these fire doors, which lead to the new escalators and lifts, look ready to be opened for passengers in the area between the travelator, the connecting tunnel and the Waterloo and City Line platforms.

IWill the area be tiled or just painted?

described the tunnel to the left with the blue entrance rail in The New Tunnel Under Bank Station.

This picture was taken from the tunnel on the left, looking at this area.

The tunnel takes passengers right into the heart of the station.

Other Developments

The new entrance at Bank station is the first of several major transport developments, that will happen in the next few years.

New Trains On The Northern City Line In Autumn 2018

The Northern City Line is London’s forgotten train line, with a history coloured by the tragic accident at Moorgate in 1975.

The first development, a year or so ago, saw the Northern City Line introduce seven days a week working.

Now, the Class 313 trains, which are some of the oldest in the UK, are being replaced with new Class 717 trains, that will offer increased capacity, frequency and passenger comfort.

The Northern City Line terminus at Moorgate station will also be linked directly to Crossrail, when that line opens.

For many travellers in the Northern part of London and Hertfordshire, their route to the City will be much improved.

The final frequency has not been published, but it looks like there will be at least twelve tph on the Northern City Line to and from Moorgate station.

With a step-free cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station, effectively Moorgate station will become a second Southern terminus of the Victoria Line.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In December 2018

This will be the first phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially provide a twelve trains per hour (tph) service between Paddington and Abbey Wood stations from December 2018.

This will mean that the double-ended Jumbo Crossrail station, which will serve Moorgate station at its Western end and Liverpool Street station at its Eastern end, will open a short walking distance to the North of Bank station.

For those not wanting to walk, the link will also be one stop on the Central or Northern Lines.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In May 2019

This will be the second phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially be provided a twelve tph service between Paddington and Shenfield stations from May 2019.

Crossrail To Heathrow And Reading In December 2019

The full Crossrail service will open in December 2019 and will provide the following services from Moorgate-Liverpool Street.

  • Six tph to Heathrow
  • Two tph to Reading
  • Two tph to Maindenhead
  • Twelve tph to Abbey Wood
  • Twelve tph to Shenfield

In the Central section, there will be twenty-four tph between Padsdington and Whitechapel stations.

Bank Station Upgrade In 2022

Bank station is being upgraded and this is said in Wikipedia.

TfL is also retunnelling and widening the Northern line platforms, and adding lifts and new entrances on King William Street and Cannon Street. The work, agreed in 2015, will be carried out from 2016 to 2022 and will boost capacity by 40%, with 12 new escalators, 3 new lifts and a new travelator (or moving walkway) to connect the Northern Line and DLR to the Central Line.

It is a massive upgrade, as this visualisation shows.

Note that the two larger diameter tunnels at the left of this visualisation are the tunnels and platforms for the Central Line. The third tunnel is the pedestrian tunnel that links the Waterloo and City Line to the main station.

The capacity upgrade at Bank station, will surely mean more people will be drawn to the area.

Bank Junction Improvements

The City of London has a project called All Change At Bank, which aims to improve the roads and pedestrian routes at Bank Junction.

Their web site gives these objectives.

  • Reduce casualties by simplifying the junction
  • Reduce pedestrian crowding levels
  • Improve air quality
  • Improve the perception of place, as a place to spend time in rather than pass through.

At present Bank Junction is restricted to buses and cyclists on Monday to Friday, between 0700 and 1900.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this restriction increased, especially as more pedestrians are drawn to the City at weekends and in the evening.

The Future Of The City As A Leisure And Tourist Destination

When I lived in the City in the early seventies, nothing happened in the City in the evenings or at the weekends.

Over the years, the City has started to use these freer times for other activities.

  • The Barbican Arts Centre and Tate Modern have opened.
  • Quality shopping has greatly increased and improved.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants have often increased their hours.
  • Better walking routs along and over the Thames have opened.

With its superb transport links, I can see the City of London becomes a much more important leisure and tourist destination.

Conclusion

The City of London is becoming a 24/7 area of London and the Waterloo and City Line must go with the flow.

It should run seven days a week, as do all other Underground lines.

Eventually, there will be a need for a Night Drain!

 

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment