The Anonymous Widower

Custom House Station – 24th July 2016

I took these pictures at Custom House station.

The pictures also show a work-train entering the tunnel and the Crossrail track alongside the DLR until near the Connaught Tunnel.

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

Sadiq Khan Backs Gatwick

This article on the BBC is entitled Sadiq Khan urges swift decision on Gatwick expansion.

Doesn’t most of those living and/or working in london and the South East?

This is said in the article.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged Theresa May to make a quick decision on airport expansion in the South East.

Mr Khan said the new Prime Minister should make the final decision on whether a new runway should be built at Gatwick or Heathrow a top priority.

This decision has been kicked further into the long grass for years, ever since Harold Wilson cancelled Maplin Airport in 1971.

With Brexit on the near hotizon, what better way to say the UK and London is open for business, than by deciding on the next runway in the South East.

I don’t believe Heathrow should build another runway for the following reasons.

  • Building another runway would cause endless problems as the M25 is diverted., if what happened when it was diverted for Terminal 5 is anything to go by.
  • Gatwick will have better rail connections.
  • Heathrow has annoyed a lot of influential and powerful people and organisations in West London.
  • The site is too small, even after demolishing the odd village.
  • I don’t believe they’ll solve the pollution problem.
  • I don’t like approaching the airport over Central London.
  • It is the more expensive option.

You can probably say similar things for Gatwick.

But at least Gatwick’s owners don’t seem to be as greedy and uncooperative as those at Heathrow.

At least Gatwick’s plans seem well advanced, as this visualisation shows.

Gatwick With Two Runways

Gatwick With Two Runways

This appears to me to be a good efficient design.

  • The new runway is on the left.
  • It looks like the secondary North runway, used when the current main runway is under msaintenance, is still in place.
  • Between the two runways is a massive new terminal.
  • Note the station in the bottom right corner, with the Brighton Main Line going across.
  • The red line is a shuttle, that takes passengers between the current North and Main terminals, the new terminal and the train station.
  • Little demolition seems to have taken place.

But in some ways, where the runway is built is irrelevant, if Crossrail and the improved Thameslink work as they say on their tins.

These two high-capacity railways will give Heathrow and Gatwick a shared terminal called London, that unfortunately for them, they will share with  Stansted, Luton, HS2 and Eurostar.

I feel though, that because of Brexit, we’ll see a decision before the end of the year and possibly in the next few weeks.

British governments have fiddled for far too long!

 

July 15, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could More Pedestrianisation And Better Public Transport Be A Weapon Against Terrorism?

Protecting against the sort of attack like the one in Nice last night , must be every policeman’s nightmare.

The City of London put a ring of steel around the Square Mile and there hasn’t been a serious attack since. But it caused lots of other problems.

I actually think, that we now have so many areas where large crowds congregate for work, shopping and sporting events, that we need more and more traffic restrictions like those proposed for Oxford Street.

Intriguingly, the City of London is going the same way and wants to remove a lot of traffic from the area around Bank.

So is this pedestrianisation, perhaps linked with better public transport, one of our best weapons against terrorism?

The Mind Of A Terrorist

I don’t know, as I’m at best, a poor amateur psychologist, but it strikes me there are two types of terrorist wanting to create mayhem and kill lots of people.

The first group, are those who want to leave a bomb or device and get safely away.The Bishopsgate and Baltic Exchange bombings which in today’s money together caused over a billion pounds of damage, are examples of this type, where no-one was ever prosecuted, or even publicly named.

The second group are the much-more suicide bombers, who generally strike without warning

Incidentally, I only think one Irish bomber was killed by his own bomb and we can all be thankful for that, as if suicide tactics had been employed, we would have seen many more deaths.

The City Of London’s Ring Of Steel

The City of London is protected by a so-called Ring of Steel, which is a network of barriers, check-points and 649 CCTV cameras.

It certainly seems to have protected the City from further bombings and made terrorists seek out alternative targets outside the Square Mile.

It has had one very positive effect, although at times that doesn’t seem to be as effective as it was. The City inside the ring, is now a very pleasant place to walk about and explore, as traffic is much-reduced.

Also, at weekends, the City is now a very quiet place for much of the year.

When I was still driving and needed perhaps to park a car for the evening or overnight, I would also park it prominently on a meter or legal parking space inside the ring, as I knew it would still be there in the morning.

The Future Of The City Of London

The City of London is pushing ahead with a policy of pedestrianisation, improved walking routes and better access to the Underground and rail network.

They have one great advantage compared to most other local authorities. Land is so expensive in the City and therefore fortunes are spent to create buildings that will earn billions, that if the City says to a developer, can you put an Underground entrance in your building, the answer is usually yes.

At the present time, Bloomberg are creating a new headquarters building called Walbrook Square, that will incorporate a second entrance to the Waterloo and City Line.

Other cities across the UK and the wider world are not so lucky!

Crossrail and the upgraded Thameslink will have their effects on the City, because of the positions of their stations and other factors.

  • , Crossrail will have a massive double-ended station stretching from Liverpool Street in the East to Moorgate in the West.
  • Thameslink will have a line of stations; Fasrringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars, down the West of the City.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink will have their important interchange at Frarringdon.
  • Crossrail will have a major interchange at Whitechapel serving the East of the City.
  • Thameslink will also have a major interchange at London Bridge, just across the River from the City.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink will be running two hundred metre long trains at a frequency of twenty-four trains per hour in both directions.

Add to that the existing services of the Central, Circle, District, Metropolitan and Waterloo and City Lines of the Underground and National Rail services out of Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street and Moorgate, all of which will be upgraded and I believe that at some point in the future, the City of London, will take the bold and very green step of making the whole area a pedestrian-only one, with the only vehicles allowed in the day, being approved electrical ones.

It would be a bold move, but it have several positive effects.

  • Air quality would improve.
  • The City would be the place to work!
  • The City would become one of London’s major tourist attractions, with visitors able to walk all across from St. Pauls to the Tower and the River.
  • Innovation would work to provide the services a city needed despite the restrictions.

Would terrorists realise that the sort of spectaculars they love, would be more difficult and go elsewhere?

We could see a return to suicide bombers on the Underground!

Conclusions

The City of London will reinvent itself, as it does periodically with great success.

Given that Oxford Street has said that it will pedestrianise by 2020, are we seeing a green transport revolution?

I can think of a few other cities and towns, that could follow London’s example.

 

 

 

July 15, 2016 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , , | 9 Comments

What Will The Elizabeth Line Do For Oxford Street?

I have decided to use Elizabeth Line for Crossrail from now on, as most articles seem to be dropping Crossrail in favour of the operational name.

I had an e-mail from Crossrail today and they’re still using Crossrail.

I have written before about Crossrail being a line for shopping in Is Crossrail Going To Be The Shopping Line?, but today I found this article in Retail Week, which is entitled London’s Oxford Street anticipates £1bn boost from Crossrail. This is said.

The iconic London high street already generates £5 billion per year in sales and New West End Company hopes to hit an annual target of £6 billion by 2020 – two years after Crossrail’s Queen Elizabeth line is expected to completed.

With the Crossrail providing direct commutes for counties such as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex, New West End Company hopes the three-mile shopping precinct experience a 30 per cent increase in visits.

In addition, 2000 new retail jobs are expected to be created, and the nearby Bird Street will transform into a new shopping precinct thanks to private donations and £200,000 from Transport for London’s Future Street’s Incubator Scheme.

Is Brexit figured in to these calculations?

I think that we may say more changes on Oxford Street, as surely Crossrail will enable other changes.

Oxford Street will have the following stations and entrances as you proceed from East to West.

  • Holborn – Central and Piccadilly
  • Tottenham Court Road (Current Entrance) – Central, Elizabeth and Northern
  • Tottenham Court Road (Dean Street Entrance) – Central and Elizabeth
  • Oxford Circus – Bakerloo, Central and Victoria
  • Bond Street – Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee
  • Marble Arch – Central

So could we see much of Oxford Street being pedestrianised?

The Mayor has said he would be in favour. According to this article on the BBC, it will happen by 2020.

I think that because of the number of the number of stations just North and South of Oxford Street, I do wonder if the pedestrian area could include Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Soho.

The main pedestrian routes would link up.

  • Green Park, Piccadilly and Shaftesbury Avenue in the South.
  • The British Museum, Bloomsbury and Holborn in the East.
  • Euston Road and Regents Park in the North.
  • Hyde Park in the West

Where would all the buses, taxis and cars go?

I think that there will have to be a serious rethink, which could see drastic reductions in numbers of all three!

But there will be other knock-ons as Crossrail will for a few years give spare capacity, that could be used to advantage.

The Central Line Should Be Less Busy

The Central Line will have excellent connections to Crossrail at Stratford, Liverpool Street and Ealing Broadway.

It is expected that as some cross-London passengers, who now use this line, will switch to Crossrail, thus releasing capacity on the Central Line.

It would certainly create a high-speed shuttle between three of London’s main shopping centres; Westfield at Shephered’s Bush, Oxford Street and Eastfield at Stratford.

Updating The Central Stretch Of The Central Line

The central stretch of the Central Line will have two rebuilt stations with full step-free access after Crossrail opens; Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.

Closure of the Central Line in Central London would be possible if needed fr engineering works, as the line has several turn-backs, so it could be run as an Eastern and Western section, whilst say major works were done in the centre.

This partial closure would enable the following.

  • A step-free station to be created on the Central Line at Marble Arch.
  • Step-free access to be created to at least the Central Line at Oxford Circus.
  • Step-free access to be created to at least the Central Line at Holborn.

It is interesting to note, that during the building of Crossrail, access to the Central and Northern Lines has sometimes been restricted at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road and Londoners didn’t moan too much.

So selective closure to get higher-capacity and step-free stations in the centre will not be the disaster it could have been, especially, if the improvements were done in a phased manner.

But all three are prime sites and there must be significant potential for over-site development.

Additionally, if you look at the railway lines on carto.metro.free.fr, this is a map of the lines between Holborn and Tottenham Court Road stations.

British Museum Station

British Museum Station

Note the old British Museum station on the Central Line.

I wouldn’t know whether it is practical to reopen the station, but I suspect Transport for London’s route planners have looked at the possibility to give better access to one of the busiest museums in the world.

As the Central Line through Central London is effectively a loop of Crossrail, it gives the great advantage of creating a double line across Central London, that offers redundancy, if either line needs to be closed for serious engineering work.

The Central Line never had that luxury before, so expect serious improvements on any Central Line station between Stratford and Ealing Broadway.

The Outer Reaches Of The Central Line

I suspect that Crossrail will generate more traffic on the outer reches of the Central Line to Epping, Hainault and West Ruislip.

These sometimes forgotten parts of the line will undoubtedly improve and change.

Wikipedia lists some of the line’s Cancelled and Future Plans.

I think what happens could surprise everybody.

Crossrail 2

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.

 

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Forest Gate Station – 4th July 2016

I took these pictures of the works at Forest Gate station.

Note the little kiosk outside the station.

I think that when this station is finished, it will be one of the best on the Eastern branch of Crossrail.

July 11, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Crossrail’s Loops And Branches Across London

Most people think of Crossrail, as an East-West railway under London serving the following places on its pair of branches in the East and the West.

  • Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East.
  • Heathrow and Reading in the West.

But it is more than that, as the East-West Crossrail can be considered to be part of a larger system that includes a number of North-South routes.

  • Thameslink from St. Pancras to East Croydon via Farringdon on Crossrail.
  • East Londson Line from Highbury and Islington to Canada Water via Whitechapel on Crossrail.
  • West London Line from Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction via Old Oak Common on Crossrail.
  • Bank Branch of the Northern Line from Camden Town to Kennington via Tottenham Court Road on Crossrail.
  • Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line from Camden Town to Battersea via Moorgate on Crossrail.
  • Bakerloo Line from Willesden Junction to Elephant and Castle via Paddington on Crossrail.

Cross-London journeys will get interesting, as there will often be a dozen ways to go between A and B, when they are in different parts of London.

Kids will race each other across the City.

Crossrail will also grab a strong hold of other cross-London routes.

Central Line

Crossrail has interchanges with the Central Line at the following stations.

  • Stratford
  • Liverpool Street
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Bond Street
  • Ealing Broadway

The Central Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Stratford to Ealing Broadway.

People who live say near Queensway will use the Central Line to access the outer reaches of Crossrail., at Ealing Broadway and Stratford.

In Step-Free Interchanges In East London, I pointed out the excellent interchange between Crossrail and the Central Line at Stratford, which sadly is Crossrail’s only top quality interchange to other lines.

The interchanges with the Central Line in Central London would sappear to be very unadventurous. Only when the line is opened, will we know how well they work and the quality of the design.

Perhaps the only way to have got better interchanges would have been for one track of Crossrail to be each side of the Central Line, through Central London.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the section of Crossrail from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road.

Crossrail Through Central London

Crossrail Through Central London

From this map it looks like it could be possible, but I know from this section in Wikipedia, that it was difficult squeezing the tunnels past the Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road, so perhaps the route that was chosen, was the best one from a construction and cost point of view. It could even have been the only one possible.

Metropolitan Line

Crossrail has interchanges with the Metropolitan Line at the following stations.

  • Whitechapel
  • Liverpool Street
  • Moorgate
  • Barbican
  • Farringdon
  • Paddington

The Metropolitan Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Whitechapel to Paddington. Although, due to the distance between the two lines at Paddington, this probably means the Metropolitan Line will serve as a North-Western branch of Crossrail, that serves Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the section of Crossrail from Whitechapel to Farringdon.

Crossrail Through The City

Crossrail Through The City

Note how two Crossrail stations; Liverpool Street-Moorgate and Barbican-Farringdon effectively each serve two Metropolitan stations.

Effectively, it gives a large choice of routes between North West London and East London and Essex.

Crossrail interchanges with the District Line at the following stations.

  • Whitechapel
  • Paddington
  • Ealing Broadway

The District Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Whitechapel to Ealing Broadway, with a partial interchange at Paddington.

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

Crossrail Through Paddington

Crossrail Through Paddington

Crossrail would appear to have a good right-angled connection with the District Line, between Edgware Road and Wimbledon.

So it could be argued that after Crossrail opens, the Edgware Road to Wimbledon service of the District Line is another North-South branch of Crossrail, just like Thameslink and the East London Line.

North London Line

Crossrail interchanges with the following stations on the North London Line.

  • Stratford
  • Old Oak Common

The North London Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Stratford to Old Oak Common.

Jubilee Line

Crossrail interchanges with the following stations on the Jubilee Line.

  • Stratford
  • Bond Street

The Jubilee Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Stratford to Bond Street.

The Stations On The Loops

The effect of all these loops, mean that these stations will be on a line that connects to both ends of Crossrail.

 

  • Acton Town
  • Aldgate East
  • Baker Street
  • Bank
  • Baron’s Court
  • Bermondsey
  • Bethnal Green
  • Blackfriars
  • Brondesbury
  • Brondesbury Park
  • Caledonian Road and Barnesbury
  • Camden Road
  • Canada Water
  • Canning Town
  • Cannon Street
  • Canonbury
  • Chancery Lane
  • Chiswick Park
  • Dalston Kinsland
  • Ealing Common
  • Earl’s Court
  • East Acton
  • Edgware Road
  • Embankment
  • Euston Square
  • Finchley Road And Frognal
  • Gospel Oak
  • Gloucester Road
  • Great Portland Street
  • Hackney Central
  • Hackney Wick
  • Hammersmith
  • Hampstead Heath
  • Highbury and Islington
  • Holborn
  • Hommerton
  • Kensal Rise
  • Kentish Town West
  • Kings Cross St. Pancras
  • Lancaster Gate
  • London Bridge
  • Mansion House
  • Marble Arch
  • Mile End
  • Monument
  • North Greenwich
  • Notting Hill Gate
  • Oxford Circus
  • Queensway
  • Ravenscourt Park
  • St. James’s Park
  • St. Paul’s
  • Shepherd’s Bush
  • Sloane Square
  • South Kensington
  • Southwark
  • Stamford Brook
  • Temple
  • Tower Hill
  • Turnham Green
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo
  • Westminster
  • West Acton
  • West Ham
  • West Hampstead
  • West Kensington
  • White City
  • Willesden Junction

The list may be impressive, even without stations on the North-South lines, but it has consequences.

  • Ealing Broadway could see a lot of interchange traffic between Crossrail and the Central and |District Lines. Is it up to the task?
  • Stratford and Whitechapel will see a lot of interchange traffic between Crossrail and other lines. These two stations have been designed for it.
  • The Victoria Line is difficult to access. However, it is only a short walk from the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street Crossrail station.
  • The Piccadilly Line is difficult to access.

I suspect that as at Oxford Circus, there will be small schemes in several places to create connectivity.

Kings Cross St. Pancras is a big problem as it is a mass of long tunnels, but Crossrail and Thameslink will give passengers the chance to avoid it.

  • If you’re on Crossrail and want to go North on the Victoria or Piccadilly Lines, I suspect that it would be easier to take Thameslink to Finsbury Park, where you can dive into the Underground.
  • If you’re on Crossrail and want to go South on the Victoria Line, the quickest way might be change to the Bakerloo at Paddington and then walk across the platform to the Victoria Line at Oxford Circus.

But whatever route you take in a few years time, won’t be the obvious one today.

Extra Connectivity

There are various projects either under construction, planned or proposed, that would increase Crossrail’s reach.

  • The Hall Farm Curve linking Walthamstow and Chingford to Stratford.
  • The rebuilding of Bank, Camden Town, Highbury and Islington and other stations.
  • The Northern Line Extension to Battersea.
  • The Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • The Greenford Branch is being improved.
  • The re-signalling of London Underground’s sub-surface lines.
  • The four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line in preparation for Crossrail 2.
  • The adding of a Central Line station at Shoreditch High Street.
  • Extensions to the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Old Oak Common will become more and more important with connections to the West Coast Main Line, HS2 and the Chiltern Main Line.
  • Increases in frequency on the Victoria Line, Jubilee Line, Sub-Surface Lines, the Northern City Line and the Overground.

I do think though we could see a few surprises.

  • There have been proposals to extend the Waterloo and City Line for years.  Modern tunnelling and innovative train concepts might allow a shuttle between Waterloo and Crossrail at Liverpool Street.
  • As the City of London wants to cut traffic in the Square Mile, what will they do?
  • Will Oxford Street finally become traffic free?
  • Will Manor House and Harringay Green Lanes be reorganised?
  • Crossrail has seen some interesting concepts developed for building lift and escalator tunnels, which will be used again and again.
  • Crossrail will be extended to somewhere not mentioned before.

I have a feeling that Crossrail 2 won’t be so urgent.

 

 

 

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Step-Free Interchanges In East London

This map from carto.metro.free,fr shows the lines around where I live, which can be best described as a post code of N1.

Lines Around N1

Lines Around N1

I live halfway on the diagonal line between Dalston Kingsland and Essex Road stations. Years ago, there used to be a station at Mildmay Park, between Dalston Kingsland and Csnonbury, which if it still existed would be very useful for me, as it would be about a hundred and fifty metres away.

So my journeys often start from one of the half dozen bus routes, that have stops within fifty metres or so of where I live.

  • I’ll take a 38, 30, 56 or 277 to Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction stations for the North London Line and East London Line respectively.
  • I’ll take a 141 to Manor House station for the Piccadilly Line.
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Essex Road station for the Northern City Line
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Angel station for the Northern Line.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Moorgate for the Metropolitan and Circle Lines
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to London Bridge for main line trains.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Bank for the Central and Waterloo and City Lines
  • I’ll take a 56 bus to St. Paul’s for the Central Line
  • I’ll take 30 bus to Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston for main line trains.

Who said the three most important things when buying a house, are location, location and location?

Strangely, I rarely go directly to Highbury and Islington station, as the station is one of the worst in London for passenger convenience, with long and crowded tunnels and no step-free access to the deep tunnels.

If I need to go North on the Victoria Line, I will sometimes go to Essex Road and then take the Northern City Line for one stop to Highbury and Islington station, where there is a step-free level interchange to the Victoria Line.

There are several of these interchanges in East London, making train and tube travel easier.

Northern City And Victoria Lines At Highbury And Islington Station

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

HighburyAndIslingtonLines

Note how the two Northbound lines and the two Southbound lines of the Victoria and Northern City Lines are paired, so that passengers can just walk through one of several short tunnels that connect the two platforms.

This connection will get more important in the future, as improvements will bring more passengers through the interchange.

  • Highbuty and Islington station will be rebuilt, with access to the deep level platforms much improved.
  • If traffic said it was needed, the Southbound and Northbound deep-level platforms, which are not far apart might even be connected together and to a second entrance on the other side of Holloway Road.
  • The Northern City Line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will give an increase in capacity and I believe that the frequency on the Northern City Line will improve to 6, 8 or even 10 trains per hour (tph), thus making my ducking and diving easier.
  • The Northern City Line will connect to Crossrail and for the first time N1 to lots of places, will be one change at Moorgate from the Northern City Line to Crossrail.
  • The Victoria Line will increase in frequency to possibly 40 tph and benefit from station improvements at stations like Tottenham Hale, Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Central.

It should also be noted how the Crossrail connection at Moorgate will help me.

When going to football at Ipswich, I may walk to Essex Road and then get a train to Moorgate, where I will take Crossrail to perhaps Shenfield for a fast train to Ipswich.

But who knows what I’ll do, as there will be several different routes, all of which will have their advantages?

East London Line To North London Line At Highbury And Islington Station

This is only from the East London Line trains arriving from West Croydon in Platform 2 at Highbury and Islington station to Westbound trains on the North London Line in Platform 7.

Although not as powerful as the double interchange at Highbury and Islington station between the Victoria and Northern City Lines, it is typical of well-thought out connections all over the Overground.

Piccadilly And Victoria Lines At Finsbury Park Station

This is a cross-platform interchange, that is heavily used as effectively it gives a simple choice of route through Central London for passengers from the Northern ends of the Piccadilly and Northern Lines. It’s a pity that the interchange between the two lines at Kings Cross St Pancras and Green Park aren’t as simple.

Metropolitan/District And Central Lines At Mile End Station

This picture gives a flavour of the interchange at Mile End station.

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

It is a cross-platform interchange, that I use more and more, to go to the East on the Central Line. I usually arrive on a Metropolitan/District Line train from Whitechapel station, which is just a few stops down the East London Line.

Central Line And Shenfield Metro/Crossrail At Stratford Station

This interchange at Stratford station is going to be an integral part of Crossrail, as it will firmly connect the new line to the Central Line, with advantages to both.

This picture shows the interchange on the Eastbound platform.

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

This interchange is certainly well-used and Crossrail will only increase that use.

Why Is This Not Done More Often?

These interchanges seem to work well!

But what always puzzles me, is why this layout is not used more often. And I don’t just mean in London. In all my travels, I can’t remember getting off a train in Europe and just walking across the platform to get a metro or a tram.

I suspect it could be because to get this type of interchange, you need to build some expensive railway infrastructure.

All of the examples I have given concern where a new line is being added to an existing network.

I am surprised that Crossrail doesn’t use a similar interchange anywhere else on its route.

Look at the Crossrail stations I documented in How Are Crossrail’s Eastern Stations Progressing?

In all stations, the Crossrail and fast lines are in pairs, whereas to get Cross-platform interchange between fast and stopping services, probably needs a different layout. That is not the fault of Crossrail, but the way the Great Eastern Main Line was built decades ago.

At the London end of  the East Coast Main Line, the two slow lines are on either side of the two fast lines. At Stevenage, they have put two island platforms between the slow and fast lines, so that passengers have a cross-platform interchange between trains.

Stevenage Station

Stevenage Station

The Google Map clearly shows the layout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Frame Of The New Roof At Whitechapel Station Takes Shape

I’ve been through Whitechapel station several times in the last few days and I’ve taken these pictures of the structure of the new roof.

This image from the Whitechapel station page on the Crossrail web site, shows what I take to be a visualisation of the inside.

06 whitechapel station - proposed ticket hall on mile end road_235989

The ticket hall seems big enough for the performance of a large troupe of appropriate dancers

 

 

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

How Are Crossrail’s Eastern Stations Progressing?

I took a train to Shenfield and back again, taking pictures on the way.

Before discussing the stations, it is worth reading this extract, from the Wikipedia entry for the Great Eastern Main Line.

The GER was grouped in 1923 into the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). In 1931/32 the LNER quadrupled the tracks to Shenfield which became the terminus for inner-suburban operation.

In the 1930s a flyover was constructed just west of Ilford to switch the main and electric lines over, to enable main line trains to utilise Liverpool Street’s longer west side platforms without having to cross east side suburban traffic in the station throat. The new arrangement also facilitated cross-platform interchange with the Central line at Stratford, with services commencing in 1946. Either side of the Ilford flyover there are single-track connections between each pair of lines, with the westbound track extending to Manor Park and just beyond. The eastbound track extends as far as Ilford station. It was also envisaged that a flyover would be built at the country-end of the carriage sidings at Gidea Park to allow trains bound for the Southend line to change from the main line to the electric line, instead of at the London-end of Shenfield as they do now.

Plans were drawn up in the 1930s to electrify the suburban lines from Liverpool Street to Shenfield at 1500 V DC and work was started on implementing this. However, the outbreak of the Second World War brought the project to a temporary halt and it was not until 1949 that the scheme was completed with electrification being extended to Chelmsford in 1956.

So it could be said that the quadrupling of the tracks to Shenfield, was the legacy of Sir Nigel Gresley and his team, that has enabled Crossrail to be easily extended to the East.

I suspect that Crossrail’s engineers, regret that the flyover at Gidea Park, as proposed in the LNER plans, was never built. It would have helped one of Crossrail’s problems and that is how you fit two Southend trains per hour, that call at Stratford, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood,  Shenfield and then all stations to Southend Victoria into Crossrail’s eight trains per hour schedule. I wouldn’t be surprised if Southend Victoria becomes an extra terminal for Crossrail, that receives four trains per hour.

On the other hand, the foresight of Gresley’s team would appear to have led to one of the most powerful features of Crossrail in the East, which will be the cross-platform interchange between the new line and the Central Line.

This 1930s rebuild also explains, why the stations have .a solid feel of the first half of the twentieth century, which means that some of the stations although needing a lot of work, are solid underneath and all seem to be capable of upgrading, rather than needing the substantial rebuilding of some of the stations in the West.

Summing up the stations, you would say the following.

Shenfield

Shenfield station is already fully step-free.

  • The station building probably just needs sprucing up.
  • The platforms all seem to be long enough, as Platforms 1, 2 and 3 take twelve-car Class 360 trains and Class 321 trains.
  • Platforms 4 and 5 aren’t much shorter, but may need to be lengthened, especially as trains will go through the station to new Eastern sidings.
  • The space for the new Platform 6 has been created, but work is continuing on the platform and track.
  • Work on the track is also continuing to update the electrification to a modern standard and the two western sidings that Crossrail trains will use.

Given that a proportion of passengers will probably want to interchange between Crossrail, services up and down the Great Eastern Main Line and to and from Southend Victoria, I do wonder, if there will be a reorganisation of stopping patterns for the longer distance services between Shenfield and London.

The works at Shenfield station, would appear to be taking a well-built mainly 1930s station and turning it into a terminus for Crossrail able to handle up to twelve trains per hour and an interchange with services to Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich, Southend and all points to the North and East of East Anglia.

Brentwood

Brentwood station has a lot of work completed or underway.

  • The station office seems to have been refurbished.
  • There are only lifts to the central Platforms 2 and 3.
  • Platform extensions to all four platforms are underway.
  • The bridge seems to be being refurbished rather than replaced.

I can find no references to lifts for Platform 1 and 4.

The works at Brentwood station would appear to be much simpler than Shenfield, but from the look of the new entrance and the visualisation in the Brentwood station web page on the Crossrail web site, they will create a very capable two platform station for Crossrail.

Harold Wood

Harold Wood station  has a lot of work completed or underway.

  • A new bridge has been installed, but not completed.
  • Lifts are to be installed.
  • Platform extensions to all four platforms are underway.
  • The platform buildings seem to have been refurbished.

I would also assume that the station office will be refurbished.

The works at Harold Wood station, show that it will be good station, with a good interchange between Crossrail and services on the fast lines.

But why is there such a good interchange between the two sets of lines? Is it just because Brentford is not a full interchange?

Or is it so that the services to and from Southend Victoria can still call??

Gidea Park

Gidea Park station is very much a work in progress.

  • A new bridge is being built with lifts under the largest plastic umbrella in London.
  • Platform extensions to all four platforms are underway.
  • The platform buildings seem to have been refurbished.

The works at Gidea Park station will create another good station, that has an excellent step-free interchange between Crossrail and the fast lines.

I must ask the same questions as I did for Harold Wood.

Romford

Romford station doesn’t appear to be seeing much work yet.

According to the Romford station page on the Crossrail web site, this is being done.

  • A substantially improved ticket hall with revised entrances
  • Three new lifts for step-free access to platforms
  • Platform extensions to accommodate the new 200 metre long Crossrail trains.

This is obviously in addition to revised and improved signage, help points and seating.

Romford station from the pictures looks to be a solid station with nice period features, with some excellent marble and quality ironwork.

Chadwell Heath

Chadwell Heath station is very much on the way to be ready.

  • A new footbridge has been built and commissioned.
  • Platform extension work is underway.
  • A turnback siding has been built east of the station.

 

I didn’t check out the actual station building, but this web page from Crossrail has a visualisation.

Goodmayes

Goodmayes station is in the process of being updated.

  • The current footbridge is being updated.
  • Three lifts will be added to provide step-free access to all platforms.
  • The station building is being rebuilt.
  • Platform extension work is underway.

The works at Goodmayes station will create a good suburban station, by building on the existing station office and footbridge.

Seven Kings

Seven Kings station is going through refurbishment.

  • Lifts will be added
  • The station building looks like it will be substantially rebuilt.
  • The area outside the station will be improved.

From the pictures, it does appear that the station is one of the few with a picnic table outside.

Ilford

Ilford station is scheduled to be completely rebuilt according to the Ilford station page on the Crossrail web site.

  • A new spacious, modern and bright station building on Cranbrook Road
  • A larger ticket hall with simplified ticket facilities and larger gate-line
  • A full refurbishment, by Transport for London, of the York Mews entrance
  • New lifts for platforms 1, 2/3, and 4
  • Platform extensions to accommodate the new 200 metre long Elizabeth line trains.

Only the platform extension seems to be starting.

At least the visualisation on the Crossrail web site seems promising, with a large pedestrianised area in front of the station.

Arriving At Ilford Station

Arriving At Ilford Station

This picture was taken from the right and shows the current traffic in the area.

In Front Of Ilford Station Now

In Front Of Ilford Station Now

As with Romford, the station is right in the middle of the shopping area.

Manor Park

Manor Park station is undergoing refurbishment. This is said about the station in Wikipedia.

Manor Park will be fully served by Crossrail from 2019 but part of the route is scheduled to open in 2017 and new Class 345 trains will enter service. Platforms 1 and 2 are only 168 metres (184 yd) and 185 metres (202 yd) long respectively and cannot physically be extended to accommodate the new trains, which will be over 200 metres (220 yd) in length, so selective door operation will be utilised. The freight loop around platform 1 is due to be removed and replaced by a new loop line further down-line, west of Chadwell Heath.

Due to the narrow platforms and the layout of the station, fitting lifts for disabled access would be difficult, requiring the walkways to be rebuilt and closing parts of the station for several months. The station will receive new ticket machines and gates, an accessible toilet and new retail space.

As the Manor Park web page on the Crossrail web site, says new lifts will be installed, I suspect this station will face several months of closures.

Given its location by the Southern end of Epping Forest, I do wonder, if it could be a Crossrail station with a walking and picnic area close by. This Google Map shows the station and the green space to the North.

North Of Manor Park Station

North Of Manor Park Station

As the area is mainly controlled by the City of London and there are also two large cemeteries, I suspect that any development will be totally appropriate. I suspect too that there are a lot of walks through the area to stations on the Central and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.

 

 

 

 

Crossrail

 

 

July 2, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Crossrail In The Home Straight

Crossrail’s opening dates are only just over a couple of years in the future and this article in Rail Engineer, which is entitle Crossrail – The Deadline Is looming, describes what is happening on the Eastern branch to Shenfield.

The article is a must-read and details how the project is organised, to make sure it is delivered on time and on budget. The last paragraph sums up the project.

In engineering terms, this project couldn’t be described as ‘cutting edge’ but, in railway engineering terms, it would be hard to find a more complex environment to work in with potential challenges at every step. Costain has reached almost two million man-hours on the project, and the team is confident that all of the deadlines will be met and train testing will be underway after November 2016 as planned.

East London and East Anglia have fed on scraps for decades and I think that meeting the target of November 2016, so trains can be tested, is highly likely.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

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