The Anonymous Widower

Should High Speed Two Have A Station At Calvert?

The leak of the Oakervee Report into High Speed Two published in today’s Times, says that extra stations might be added to High Speed Two and in particular one could be built at Calvert in Buckinghamshire, where it would also be an interchange  with the East-West Rail Link between Oxford and Cambridge.

Calvert And The Current Railways

This Google Map shows the area around the village of Calvert.

Note.

  1. The two lakes in old clay pits to the North of the village; one for sailing and one for fishing.
  2. A massive landfill to the South.
  3. The route of the East-West Rail Lnk runs East-West to the North of the two lakes.

The enlarged Google Map shows the two lakes and the East-West Rail Link.

There is a distinct cross where the North-South Great Central Main Line crosses the former the East-West Varsity Line.

The Great Central Main Line from Aylesbury Vale Parkway station in the South, has a chord to the East and joins the disused track, that used to form part of the Varsity Line. This chord and line will be developed in the next few yeas to allow Chiltern Railways to open a service to Milton Keynes Central station.

Calvert And High Speed Two

This paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for Calvert, describes the possibilities in the area for High Speed Two.

The planned route of High Speed 2 (HS2) will run along the Great Central Railway north-south corridor in this area, past Calvert and the phase one Infrastructure Maintenance Depot will be located near Calvert. No passenger interchange between East West Rail and HS2 is proposed, since stopping high speed trains ‘too often’ reduces their high speed benefits, although in February 2017, the local MP called for the station to be built at the junction between East West Rail and the HS2 line, serving both lines.

Note how the track of the Grand Central Railway can be picked out on the second map.

It looks like the Oakervee Report is recommending that at least passive provision is made for a station in the area, that would connect to the East-West Rail Link.

Calvert And The Oxford To Cambridge Expressway

This paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for Calvert, describes the trunk roads in the area.

Calvert sits in the strip of land which the Government announced in 2018 as its ‘preferred route’ for the new Oxford-Cambridge Expressway road, which would link the A34, M40, and M1 trunk roads. It has been noted that the convergence of HS2, East-West Rail, and the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway at this location would offer opportunities for future provision of a key regional facility, such as an airport, or a New Town.

I doubt there will be a new airport, but other forms of development would be better than landfill.

Oakervee’s Recommendation For Calvert

It looks like the Oakervee Report is recommending that at least passive provision is made for a station in the area, that would connect to the East-West Rail Link.

Thoughts On A Possible Calvert Station

These are my thoughts on a possible Calvert station, that would be built to connect the East-West Rail Link and High Speed Two.

Changing Between The East-West Rail Link And High Speed Two At Calvert Station

This would be very easy to arrange in a well-designed station and would give a lot of stations a direct connection to High Speed Two.

  • Oxford, Swindon, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea
  • Oxford, Swindon, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance
  • Reading, Basingstoke, Southampton and Bournemouth
  • Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich
  • Milton Keynes and Northampton

Bi-mode trains would run direct to Calvert station, where passengers would change to and from High Speed Two.

Could Trains Run Direct Between The East-West Rail Link And High Speed Two At Calvert?

In the leak of the Oakervee Report, The Times also says that it could be advantageous if existing trains could use the HS2 track.

Suppose Transport for Wales wants to improve services between South Wales and the Northern destinations of High Speed Two.

As I read the leak, they could obtain their own Classic-compatible High Speed Two trains and perhaps run services to Birmingham, Manchester,  Leeds and other destinations.

The only extra infrastructure needed would be as follows.

  • Appropriate flyovers at Calvert.
  • Electrification between Calvert and Didcot.
  • Electrification between Cardiff and Swansea.

The electrification would be needed, as I suspect trains running on High Speed Two would be unlikely to be bi-modes.

In fact, if the connection is built as Phase 1 of High Speed Two, Swansea and Birmingham via Cardiff, Bristol, Swindon and Oxford, could be one of the initial High Speed services on High Speed Two.

I estimate that a Swansea and Birmingham service would take about two and a half hours.

When the East-West Rail Link is completed between Calvert and Cambridge, services will also be able to turn East to Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich.

How the services are arranged will depend on where passengers want to go and in what numbers.

Will There Be Commuters From Calvert Station?

Consider.

  • Calvert station will not be surrounded by large amounts of housing, with the exception of Milton Keynes perhaps fifteen minutes away.
  • Services on the East-West Rail Link will probably call at Calvert station.
  • The route of the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway could serve Calvert station.
  • I estimate that Euston and Calvert will have a journey time around twenty-five to thirty minutes.

Calvert might develop into a commuter station and not just to London and Birmingham.

A Calvert And Market Harborough Service Via Milton Keynes And Northampton

In Shapps Supports Beeching Axe Reversals, I talked about a proposal to reopen the Market Harborough-Northampton Line that was only finally closed in 1981.

I also included this map, which shows the link between Milton Keynes and link to Market Harborough.

So could we see a service linking High Speed Two at Calvert to the fast-expanding Milton Keynes Northampton and Market Harborough?

I feel that if there was a four trains per hour (tph) service between Calvert and Milton Keynes, this could mean a possible simplification of the services on the completed East-West Rail Line.

\services to Milton Keynes could be.

  • Two tph – Calvert and Market Harborough via Winsford, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Wolverton and Northampton.
  • Two tph – Marylebone and Milton Keynes via Winsford and Bletchley.

East-West Rail Link services wouldn’t call at Milton Keynes Central, as this would mean a reverse.

Calvert Station Will Be A High Speed Station For The Local Area

If road access is good, the station will get used as a Park-and-Ride station for accessing High Speed Two for passengers living in the local area.

Useful Routes Via Calvert

Off the top of my head, these are a selection of routes, that could be run via Calvert station; either direct or with a change.

  • East Anglia (Cambridge, Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich) and The Midlands, Northern England and Scotland
  • South Wales (Cardiff, Newport and Swansea) and The Midlands, Northern England and Scotland
  • West and South West England (Bristol, Exeter, Penzance and Plymouth) and The Midlands, Northern England and Scotland
  • Southern England (Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Southampton) and The Midlands, Northern England and Scotland
  • Thames Valley (Oxford, Reading and Heathrow) and The Midlands, Northern England and Scotland

Journeys between areas like South Wales and East Anglia could be done with a change at Calvert.

Times To And From Calvert

These are my estimates of times to and from Calvert station.

  • Aylesbury Vale Parkway – 12 minutes
  • Baswingstoke – 68 minutes
  • Bedford – 49 minutes
  • Bicester Village – 14 minutes
  • Birmingham via HS2 – 19 minutes
  • Bletchley – 21 minutes
  • Bournemouth – 150 minutes
  • Bristol Temple Meads – 125 minutes
  • Bristol Parkway – 110 minutes
  • Cambridge – 91 minutes
  • Cardiff – 147 minutes
  • East Midlands via HS2 – 21 minutes
  • Euston via HS2  – 25-30 minutes
  • Exeter – 186 minutes
  • Glasgow via HS2 – 318 minutes
  • Leeds via HS2 – 60 minutes
  • Leicester – 74 minutes
  • Liverpool via HS2 – 66 minutes
  • Manchester via HS2 – 70 minutes
  • Manchester Airport via HS2 – 61 minutes
  • Market Harborough – 62 minutes
  • Marylebone via Chiltern – 77 minutes
  • Milton Keynes – 26 minutes
  • Newport – 133 minutes
  • Northampton – 42 minutes
  • Oxford – 29 minutes
  • Penzance – 360 minutes
  • Portsmouth – 146 minutes
  • Preston via HS2 – 54 minutes
  • Plymouth – 240 minutes
  • Reading – 52 minutes
  • Swansea – 203 minutes
  • Swindon – 85 minutes
  • Southampton – 103 minutes
  • Winchester – 83 minutes

I will improve and add to these figures.

As an example, I’ll take journeys from Leicester to the North West of England.

Currently, Manchester Piccadilly takes 140 minutes with one change, whereas my estimates say the HS2 route will be four minutes longer, with a change at Calvert.

Currently, Manchester Airport takes 165 minutes with two changes, whereas my estimates say the HS2 route will be thirty minutes shorter , with only a single change at Calvert.

Currently, Liverpool takes 170 minutes with one change at Birmingham New Street, whereas my estimates say the HS2 route will be thirty minutes shorter, with a change at Calvert.

Currently, the faster time to Preston is about 150-160 minutes with one change, whereas my estimates say the HS2 route will be about 130 minutes with a change at Calvert.

My estimates were only crude, but ithey do indicate.

  • Changing at Calvert often means the journey only needs a single change.
  • Some journeys are up to thirty minutes faster.

Other HS2 interchange stations, like Birmingham Interchange, Crewe, East Midlands Hub and Preston will probably function in a similar manner.

Conclusion

Trying to predict what would happen if a station were to be built at Calvert is not easy.

But on balance, I very much feel that it would improve the connectivity of High Speed Two.

A Calvert station would also improve the East-West Rail Link, with faster trains and better connectivity.

High Speed Two should be for all and not just services to and from London!

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Around London Road Depot Of The Bakerloo Line

These pictures show the area around the London Road Depot of the Bakerloo Line.

This Google Map shows the depot.

I walked along the road alongside the blue-roofed building from South-West to North-East.

As you can see from the pictures, some of the area has been developed and some is well past its rebuild date.

In TfL Moots Bakerloo Line To Hayes, I asked, whether this site would be worth developing.

After my quick walk around, I suspect that the answer could be in the affirmative.

In

October 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Expansion At Southall Station (?)

This Google Map shows Southall station.

 

Note

  1. Southall station with one side and two island platforms towards the top of the map.
  2. Two fast and two slow railway lines going East towards Paddington station.
  3. A large commercial and residential development called The West Works to the South of the map.

And this map from varto.metro.free.fr shows a map of the railway lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The two East-West fast lines, that are shown in black are used for Great Western Railway expresses and Heathrow Express services.
  2. The two East-West railway lines, that are shown in blue, will be used for Crossrail and other slow services into Paddington.
  3. Platforms and numbers South to North, with 1 and 2 serving the fast lines and 3 and 4 serving the slower services.
  4. The line going off to the South-East is the Brentford Branch Line.

These are pictures I took of a new step-free bridge that will link the platforms at Southall station.

Note.

  1. The bridge will definitely have access to platforms 1 and 2 and 3, and I would assume it will also serve platform 4.
  2. The bridge will have lifts.
  3. The West Works can be seen in the last picture.

Even now it looks to be a comprehensive scheme.

Access Between Southall Station And The West Works

Thjs picture was taken from the islans platform 2 and 3 in July 2015 and clearly shows a rusty footbridge, that has since been demolished.

 

I would assume the bridge used to provide access across the railway.

Has the new bridge been designed so that, it can be extended at both ends to give full step-free access across the railway and provide a step-free route between The West Works and Southall station?

Serving A Future Brentford Branch

Hounslow Council is keen to reopen the Brentford Branch Line, to link Btrntfprd to Southall station for Crossrail.

I wrote about it in Plans To Reopen The Brentford To Southall Railway.

This recent Google Map shows the Southernmost of the two island plsatforms at Southall station.

The island platform seems to have a few blue safety hoardings.

  • The Down Fast line from Paddington is on the North side.
  • It is likely, that the platform for the Brentford Branch Line will be on the South side.

For safety reasons, there will probably be a safety fence down the middle of the platform.

Passengers needing to change between Crossrail and the Brentford Branch Line will have to use the bridge.

I would assume that the step-free bridge will only need minor improvements to accommodate the Brentford Branch Line.

Southall’s Suicide Problem

I suspect that safety fences will be put on platforms 1 and 2, which will be only used occasionally and under strict supervision, to minimise the suicide problem at the station.

Southall Gasworks Site

Whilst at Southall, I’ll take a look at the massive Southall Gas Works site.

It is shown on this Google Wap to the West of Southall station.

It is likely to be over three thousand houses and flats.

  • So that will surely mean a similar number of cars.
  • Can the roads in the area cope?
  • What about the air quality?

Are there any plans for an innovative rail connection to the station? And cycleways through the site?

Conclusion

It does seem that the bridge will allow limited expansion of the station.

I feel very strongly, that the type of housing developments being built around Southall station, must be built with step-free access to a rail station or tram stop.

October 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?

Hackney Central station is a station that has been designed by that well-known architectural practice; Topsy and Partners.

When I moved back to London, the station was very simple with a crude concrete footbridge.

And now there is talk of a second entrance at Hackney Central station in Graham Road.

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Hackney Central Overground Station Could Get A Second Entrance

This is the first paragraph.

A second entrance for Hackney Central station to deal with overcrowding is being explored as part of a joint project between the council and Transport for London.

And this Google Map shows the plot of land, where the entrance would be built.

Graham Road runs across the bottom of the map and there is a gap in the houses on the North side, that leads up to the railway.

I took these pictures as I walked from West to East along Graham Road.

Notice the sign on the site, which says Development Site Sold.

The Ian Visits article says this about development of the second entrance.

Hackney council and TfL have agreed in principle to contribute to the scheme and work together with Network Rail on the project. Initial feasibility work has started and ground investigations are expected to begin in October. Depending on feasibility work and funding arrangements, construction of the second entrance may start next year.

Doubtless the new entrance will be funded by the usual over site development, but it is on the end of a row of residential houses, so a block of flats would not be overly out of place here.

Ian also states that the land is owned by Hackney Council.

Could it be that we’re looking at a plan being put together, by a property developer bearing in mind, the wishes of Hackney Council?

  • The Council have sold the land with conditions on development.
  • There would be an appropriately-sized block of apartments.
  • Some would be affordable.
  • The block would contain an entrance to the station.

It would certainly be a well-located housing development.

  • It would have a convenience entrance to the station, with trains every few minutes  to the North, South, East and West.
  • There are three frequent bus services on Graham Road.
  • Walk to the North and you are in Hackney’s main shopping area.
  • Walk to the South and you come to the Hackney Cultural Quarter that comprises the Town Hall, Library, the Hackney Empire theatre and the cinema.

I doubt there would be much if any car parking in the block and it will be difficult locally.

What Would The Station Entrance Do For Rail Passengers?

Obviously, it would help those who lived by the entrance, but it would also help other groups.

Passengers From The Cultural Quarter Going West

Currently, if you’re going from say the Town Hall to perhaps Highbury & Islington for the Victoria Line of Hampstead Heath for a constitutional, you have to walk under the railway, enter the station on the Stratford-bound platform and then use the footbridge to cross the tracks.

Wjen the second entrance opens, you would use it to go direct to the Westbound platform.

Passengers Arriving From Stratford Wanting To Catch A Bus To The West

I regularly come home from Stratford, after shopping in the big Marks & Spencer in Eastfield.

It is a tricky journey, as whatever way you take, there seems to be steps at some point.

When the second entrance opens, I will use it to catch one of the frequent 38 buses stopping outside the station to get home.

I don’t think, I will be the only person using this route..

Passengers Of Reduced Mobility And Those With Baggage, Bikes And Buggies

A Second Entrance on Graham Road would certainly make it easier for any of these groups of passengers.

Increased Services On The North London Line

Services on the North London Line are currently si-eight trains per hour (tph) and this frequency wil surely increase to reduce overcrowding.

There will be more passengers wanting to use train services at Hackney Central, making an additional entrance more necessary.

Conclusion

A Second Entrance to Hackney Central station on Graham Road would be a valuable additio to the increasingly busy Hackney Central/Hackney Downs station complex.

 

 

 

 

October 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is This A Massive Endorsement For The City Of London?

This Google Map is dominated by the new Goldman Sachs building in the City of London.

Make what you want of the building and its significance for the City.

But is it an endorsement of a strong future or a monument to a glorious past?

Location, Location, Location

One property developer once said, these were the three most important things about a property.

This Google Map shows the location with respect to Farringdon station.

The station, which is at the top of map, will be the best connected in Central London as it will be the crossing of Crossrail and Thameslin. That probably won’t be important to some of the employees of Goldman Sachs, but the building apparently has favoured bicycle spaces over car parking.

Note just to the South of Farringdon station, two of the large buildings of Smithfield Market. These two are very much under-used and plans exist to convert part of them into the new Museum of London.

But a lot of the area between Goldman Sachs and Farringdon is under-developed and will the Goldman Sachs decision, lead to more development of offices, hotels and residences in this part of London at the West of the actual City?

Terminal Six At Heathrow And Terminal Three At Gatwick

I often joke, that this area, will become extra terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, with an easy link to the trains to Scotland and the Continent just a short taxi ride, bicycle ride or one stop on the Underground up the road at Kings Cross and St. Pancras.

A Walk From Smithfield To The Goldman Sachs Building

These are some pictures I took on the way.

The New Museum Of London Site

Holborn Viaduct

The Goldman Sachs Building

I’m sure that if I can walk to and from Farringdon station at seventy-two, then a lor of people working in the building will use the railway to get to and from work.

Conclusion

Have Goldman Sachs decided to build their new offices at the Crossroads of the World?

 

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Walk Past Battersea Power Station – 11th August 2019

I took these pictures, as I walked past the Battersea Power station site last Sunday.

It’s certainly coming on!

This Google Map shows the area, where I walked.

I had taken the Thames Ckipper to Battersea Power Station Pier and then walked down the Western side of the Power Station before following the access road to Battersea Park Road, where I caught a bus.

August 17, 2019 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Stanmore Tube Station To Convert Car Park Into Flats

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

 

July 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , | Leave a comment

Network Rail To Outline Business Case For Clapham Junction Redevelopment

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail have timetabled their plans to publish a strategy outline business case (SOBC) for the redevelopment of Clapham Junction station.

The public body told delegates at a rail conference in London that it intends to lay out the strategy by the end of the year.

To get a better idea of Clapham Junction station, this Google Map shows the station.

And this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout.

Note.

  1. The track layout is extremely complicated.
  2. A large amount of the area of the station is used for stabling of trains.
  3. The large number of platforms connected by a pedestrian bridge in the middle.
  4. There are a lot of stairs and lifts between the bridge and the platforms.

This description of the amount of traffic through the station is from Wikipedia.

Routes from London’s south and south-west termini, Victoria and Waterloo, funnel through the station, making it the busiest in Europe by number of trains using it: between 100 and 180 per hour except for the five hours after midnight. The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

All of this adds up to a challenging problem, that if it can be solved, will fulfil these objectives.

  • Greatly improve the passenger experience.
  • Increase the train and passenger capacity of the station.
  • Create more and longer platforms.
  • Create or release lots of space for housing and other developments.
  • Make the station ready for the Northern Line Extension from Battersea and Crossrail 2.

All of the development must be carried out with as little disruption to trains and passengers.

I’m no architect, but neither are Network Rail or were their predecessor British Rail, but they are good at creating well-thought out track layouts.

I suspect somewhere in a drawer or on a computer, is a British Rail plan for how the station could be laid out.

Such a plan probably existed for London Bridge station and with the design from good architects and structural engineers on top, one of the best terminal stations in the World has been built.

The Rail Technology Magazine article talks of decking over the whole station and putting two million square feet of development on top. But it also cautions, it would be very expensive.

  • Could an imaginative architect create a unique development?
  • Clapham Junction station, is the best-connected railway station in the South of London.
  • Could the development be built with very little provision for car parking?
  • Is the land strong enough for a cluster of high tower blocks?
  • Could green space be provided?

I’ve lived in the Barbican with a young family and that estate works. But it should be remembered that the City of London had a completely cleared site at the Barbican, due to Nazi bombing.

So would decking over the station, be the way to create a cleared site to create a high-quality eco-friendly development for all?

I think it would and I think it could allow the development to be built at an affordable price.

I also feel that the important objective of building the development without disrupting trains and passengers can be met, by arranging construction in the right order.

Conclusion

Clapham Junction station is a unique site on which to build and like the Barbican, if we build it right, it will be admired fifty years later.

 

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Battersea Power Station To Outshine Typical Tourist Attraction Sites In The UK

The title of this post is the same as this article in the New Straits Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Malaysia-owned Battersea Power Station project is expected to outshine many prime property developments in London after seeing a 36 per cent capital appreciation for units offered under its first phase.

The article goes on to give an interesting view on how Malaysian investors and tourists see London.

On Tourism

This is a paragraph.

It is expected that when it opens, 40 million people will visit Battersea Power Station annually.

That is around 109,000 visitors for every day of the year.

Will the Northern Line Extension and the roads cope?

On Investment

This is two paragraphs.

“London is never going to be cheap. Those who wanted to invest, better do it now. A lot of people from overseas have already started investing in London,” he added.

Mason said London would still remain attractive place for investors globally due to its higher capital returns for the property sector.

Londoners like me, don’t look on their City as an investment, but as an exciting and fulfilling place to live.

 

 

 

 

July 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 2 Comments

St Michaels Station To Go Step-Free

This document on the Government web site is entitled Access for All: 73 Stations Set To Benefit From Additional Funding.

St. Michaels station is on the list.

These pictures show the current station.

St Michaels station, like Hunts Cross station, has rather unusual long shallow angle ramps, with steps.

This 3D Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. It is a well-appointed and well-maintained station with a Ticket Office, a toilet and cycle storage and hire.
  2. Car parking is very limited.
  3. But the station is designed for pedestrians, cyclists and visitors
  4. The station has a rather chequered history, being closed in 1972, only to be reopened six years later.
  5. I think the design of the ramps is a good example of independent Liverpudlian thinking, which often ignores conventional practice.

The ramps were built for International Garden Festival in 1984, the site of which is shown on this second Google Map.

St. Michaels station is in the top-right corner of the map.

The International Garden Festival site has since been updated and 1300 new houses are being built on the site.

Adding step-free access to the station, will surely be a big asset to the area.

Preparation For Class 777 Trains

Note that St. Michaels station has been updated to allow step-free access  between the new Class 777 trains and platform.

According to a fellow traveller, it had been done at night with little inconvenience to passengers.

Installing The Lifts

I would suspect, that the two new lifts could be installed in the space currently occupied by the two disused stairways.

Conclusion

This is the type of station that needs step-free access.

  • It will make nearby developments more desireable.
  • It will facilitate walking with children and for those in wheelchairs.
  • It will increase traffic at the station.

I would also suspect the lifts can be added without too much disruption to the travelling public.

I also think there a lesson in the chequered history of St. Michaels station.

Next time a station or even a whole line has to be closed, make sure that it can be reopened, if necessary in the future. To many useful stations like Horden and Maiden Lane have been reduced to rubble. The former is being rebuilt and many believe the latter is needed.

 

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment