When you read some of Network Rail’s published documents, you sometimes get snippets of information that point to their thinking.
This page on the Network Rail web site, allows you to download the Kent Route Study.
The study talks about the Metropolitan Reversible Line, which allows trains to access Cnnon Street station from the West.
Network Rail want to replace the line with a 12-car siding, to support operations at Peak times. This is what they say.
Replace the Metropolitan Reversible line with a single 12-car siding to serve
London Cannon Street.
The line currently allows empty coaching stock movements between
London Cannon Street and London Blackfriars, but will become redundant
following implementation of the revised Thameslink service in 2018. It is
therefore proposed that the Metropolitan Reversible line be modified into
a single 12-car siding to facilitate peak services into London Cannon Street station.
They even supply a nice map in the document.
Hopefully, they aim to get this work completed by 2024 at a cost of up to £10million.
This is a Google Map of the area.
I don’t know what the land around the Metropolitan Reversible Line is used for, but it does strike me that the location of the line could be a lucrative development site.
So perhaps a sympathetic developer could build a new housing or office complex and put the required siding in the basment as a sweetener for Network Rail.
Development of this simple siding, could be a win for a lot of stakeholders.
I took these pictures as I walked from the Market Porter public house to Southwark Street.
I don’t know what development is happening in this particular area, but it can certainly be improved.
If money was no object, which of course it never is, I would do the following.
- Replace the rather plain bridge over Park Street with something better.
- The arches must be filled in so they can have a valid commercial purpose or opened up, so they can be used for cafes or just walking through to Borough Market.
- The massive girder bridge over Southwark Street is not a beautiful object and it was built to carry a lot more weight than it will, when the Metropolitan Reversible Line is converted into a siding. So perhaps the bridge can be remodelled to improve its dreadful looks.
It is worth looking at this Google Map of the Southern part of the Metrolitan Reversible Line.
The Metrolitan Reversible Line starts at the top of the map, curves to the West and goes out the South-West corner.
Note, how only a small space on the viaduct and the bridges is used for track. The siding will use no more space than now!
The rest has the distinctive greenish tinge of grass.
I believe that this piece of free land in the sky, should be used for a positive purpose.
I said about putting the siding in the basement. But really, I meant putting the siding in a garage on the ground floor under the building, which if it was designed correctly, it wouldn’t interfere with the views of London’s disgrace; the Shard. You usually only get buildings as bad as that built with friends in the right places!
But seriously, if the design of the siding development was right and it was only a few storeys high, it would be hidden from view by the railway lines crossing all over the place.
The space could even become a spectacular cycling superhighway or walkway stretching along the side of the railway from Waterloo to the South Bank or even across Cannon Street railway bridge to the City.
Network Rail are converting the Metropolitan Reversible Line into a siding to increase the capacity of services into Cannon Street station.
I believe that if this creation of a siding is done with imagination, then other developments can be enabled, that would be to the benefit of all those living, working anf enjoying themselves in the area.
This question was asked in an article in SE1.
It points to this page on the Network Rail web site, where you can download the Kent Route Study.
This is said in the study.
5.11.2. Charing Cross has just six 12-car platforms and Platforms 4, 5 and 6 are very narrow, leading to operational restrictions. Class 465 units cannot operate in 12-car into these platforms and selective door operation is used on Class 375 units. A major rebuild of the station could allow it to be extended south over the river, like Blackfriars, providing compliant platforms and greater passenger circulation. At concept level, a new link to Waterloo from a southern entrance to Charing Cross may supersede Waterloo East allowing the station area to be used for additional track capacity, but there are likely to be many issues with a project on this scale.
5.11.3. The relieving of terminal capacity constraints at Cannon Street and Charing Cross will then move the bottleneck to other locations on the route, including North Kent East Junction, Lewisham, Parks Bridge Junction and the two track section between Orpington and Sevenoaks.
It could be an interesting idea.
My big issue, is that increasingly, I am using London’s latest high capacity link, from London Bridge to Charing Cross via Waterloo East as a cross-London link.
It is now my preferred way to get to where I live from Waterloo station or Trafalgar Square, as I just get a convenient 141 bus from the forecourt of London Bridge station. Often after buying my supper or a few supplies in the convenient M & S in the entrance of the station under the Shard.
This article in Construction Enquirer is entitled Quintain launches London’s largest build to rent site.
Quintain are to build thousands of rental homes at Wembley Park around Wembley Stadium.
Reading the article, they seem to be making a professional job of it.
- 3,000 houses will start construction this year.
- 5,000 houses will be built over seven years.
- There will be a primary School, a seven acre park and a landscaped square.
- Four companies will share the building.
- Quintain have even set up their own company to manage the properties and their rental.
- Brent Council seem to have given the development their blessing.
Looking back to the 1970s, when C, myself and our three boys were looking for somewhere to live, and were unable to get a mortgage because my income wasn’t in any way guaranteed, we had no option but to rent.
We had one choice of a quality development in London, where we could rent and that was the Barbican.
I don’t think we’d have gone to Wembley, but we would have loved to have had a choice.
I suspect we could see other developments like this all over the country.
Everyone will benefit.
Clearing of the site will start this winter.
This is another station project to be given the go-ahead, since I wrote Government Focuses On New Stations And Trains. So it could be that Chris Grayling has changed direction at the Department of Transport.
The Worcester News article gives more details of the station.
- New Class 800 trains will go direct on the Cotswold Line to Oxford and Paddington.
- Services between Gloucester and Birmingham will also stop.
- The station is close to Junction 7 of the M5.
- The station will have 500 parking spaces.
It should be noted that Worcester Foregate Street station is on a restricted site and has no parking and Worcester Shrub Hill station has only 121 spaces. I suspect that the two current stations don’t probably encourage mode shift from car to train by travellers.
The article says this about funding.
The majority of the budget for the scheme will be self-funded through station car park fees and access charges levied on the Train Operating Companies, along with £8.3 million from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s Growth Deal.
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership is very hopeful that the new station will be good for the local economy and employment.
It certainly looks like it will improve the journey of commuters and travellers from the Worcester area to Birmingham and London.
I also wonder, if once the station is built, there will be opportunities for the train companies to use trains more efficiently and add extra services to and from Worcester. Could some of these inefficiencies release valuable development land in the centre of Worcester?
Worcester Parkway is not a normal station project reliant on a lot of local and central government funding, but one with several different ways of raising the finance.
I ask this question as I have just read this article on the New Civil Engineer web site which is entitled Old Oak Common Megadeck Momentum Slows.
This is said.
Momentum for the 7ha deck to be built over the Crossrail depot in the new Old Oak and Park Royal development in west London has slowed according to the chief executive of the regeneration body in charge of the work.
Sadiq Khan is blaming Boris, as any politician would.
It is truly a massive site, as this Google Map shows.
The two stations at the top of the map is Willesden Junction station.
Running across the map is the Great Western Main Line, with the various depots and Cargiant to the North.
This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in the area.
This aerial view of the area is from Crossrail.
The megadeck is needed to go over much of this area, so that housing and other developments can be built.
Hackney Wick is the sort of area of London, where traditionally it has dumped things that most people don’t want to know about. Although, the area does have a thriving artistic and indistrial community, much of the latter has moved out.
But this article in Building Design and Construction, which is entitled 25 Million Pounds Devoted to Hackney Wick For Upgrades, paints a very different upbeat view of the area.
So where has the money for the work come from?
- A million from Tower Hamlets Council.
- A million from Hackney Council.
There is also a sizeable donation from the London Legacy Development Corporation.
But then an updated Hackney Wick station, will provide much better access to the Olympic Stadium and all the housing being built around the Olympic Park.
The article finished like this.
Through this, the infrastructure of this particular area of North London will be greatly improved, allowing for better property conditions, better employment opportunities and of course better transport conditions for its locals. Mister Jon Fox of Transport for London also put in a word in for the advancement of Hackney Wick Overground, which will improve the conditions of millions of people from all over the capital.
We need a lot more well-designed and much better stations to generate growth.
On the early-evening BBC London News last night, the BBC showed preview pictures of the new entrance to Victoria tube station, which they indicated is on Brettenham Place.
The station certainly needs more capacity, as this extract from Wikipedia indicates.
Victoria is currently the fourth busiest station on the London Underground, after Waterloo, Oxford Circus and King’s Cross St. Pancras, with nearly 85 million using the station (not including interchanging passengers) in 2013, of which around 60 million (including interchanges) use the Victoria line platforms. The station was not built for this number of passengers, which results in severe overcrowding. To prevent any dangerous situations like crowds pushing people off the platforms onto the track, crowd control measures are in place at the busiest times. This effectively means closing all the entrances to the Underground platforms and operating as an exit-only station until the overcrowding is relieved. These measures can last anywhere between a couple of minutes (when minor delays are occurring) up to several hours (during major incidents).
As to the layout of lines through the station, Victoria tube station is fairly simple, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.
- The Circle and District Lines have a typical Victorian layout, with two platforms on the outside of the tracks.
- The 1960s designers of the Victoria Line at least left a lot of space between the two tracks.
- The Victoria Line also incorporates two full sidings, numbered 22 and 23 between the tracks.
As nearly all trains throughout the day run run between Walthamstow Central and Brixton, the use of these sidings must only be for purposes like overnight stabling and parking failied trains.
According to Wikipedia, currently each set of lines have their own ticket offices on different levels and built over a hundred years apart.
Walking between the Circle/District Lines and the main line station is not for the faint-hearted or those with need for step-free access. The 1960s designers at least made walking between the Victoria Line and the main line station a bit easier, but there is still a flight of steps to be overcome.
If I go to Victoria station with a wheeled bag, which is not often, I take the easy route of a 38 or N38 bus from around the corner, direct from around the corner from my house.
So what is happening over this weekend?
This Google Map shows the area to the North of the station.
- North of Victoria Street is a massive building site.
- The rows of white-roofed red buses on the station forecourt..
Wikipedia says this about the current upgrade.
To provide a lasting solution to this problem preparatory building work has begun on major upgrade of the station. This will include a new northern exit/entrance on the north-west corner of Victoria Street which will be accessible via a new additional ticket office under Bressenden Place that will lead to both the Victoria line and the Circle and District line platforms.
I will go and do some more digging.
The Victoria Line Platforms
Currently, the Victoria Line platforms have two sets of escalators.
- The original set of three, that so up into the Victoria Line ticket hall under the bus station.
- A second set of three, that go from the platforms into a series of passages underneath the Circle and District Line platforms, to which they connect with short sets of stairs.
These pictures show the Victoria Line platforms, various passages and works.
It looks like there are two new sets of works.
One set could just be an extension of the current lobby at the bottom of the original escalators. This would increase the capacity between the Victoria Line and the main line station.
Judging by the sign saying Cardinal Place on the other works at the Northern End of the platforms, it would appear that these works are a new entrance from Cardinal Place.
The Cardinal Place Entrance
On the surface, the Cardinal Place Entrance is clearly visible, outside the Cardinal Place development.
According to a personable member of the station staff, The new entrance will open sometime after ten on Monday morning.
At Cardinal Place, the overall design would appear to be simple, where an escalator shaft has been dug between the Northern end of the Victoria Line platforms and a new entrance hall beneath Bressenden Place, which then has the simple pop-up entrance shown in my pictures
The constructure, appears to have been carried out, without massive closures of the Victoria Line platforms.
So I wonder how many new entrances can be created at existing stations, by using a similar design and building method.
Walthamstow Central Station
Walthamstow Central station suffers very bad overcrowding , with only two escalators and no lifts having to cope with the passengers from over 40 trains per hour.
This map from carto.metro.free,fr shows the layout of platforms at the station.
Note how there is a wide lobby at the Eastern end of the platforms underneath the Overground lines, which is used to accommodate the escalators and the waiting queues of passengers.
The crossover to the West of the station was installed in August 2015 and I suspect that this work didn’t compromise any of Transport for London’s thoughts of improving capacity at Walthamstow Central.
It could be tight to dig a shaft for three escalators into this area, but at least the area on top is mainly grass, market stalls and not the best of buildings, with the exception of the Library.
If you look at the length of the current escalators at the station, they indicate that the Victoria Line is not deep. So that would help.
I suspect we could see a very innovative and simple solution to create a new Western entrance at Walthamstow Central station.
I would also be possible to build the entrance without any disruption to either existing train services or passengers in the existing station.
This article on the BBC is entitled Kempton Park racecourse faces closure to make way for housing.
This Google Map shows Kempton Park racecourse and the surrounding area.
It is a large site of about a third of a square mile, bounded on the Southern side by the Thames, with the Shepperton Branch to Waterloo on the Northern side.
- London needs lots of quality housing and it would certainly provide that.
- Kempton Park station currently has two trains per hour (tph) taking 44 minutes to and from Waterloo.
- As I said in An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, whether Crossrail 2 is built or not, four tph could run on the Shepperton Branch to Waterloo in perhaps 30 minutes.
- There might be space for a section station on the London side of Kempton Park station.
- Road connections are good to the M3 and M25.
- A black-cab or mini-cab to Heathrow wouldn’t be outrageous.
On this rough look it certainly looks to be a good site for housing.
It is also possibly the only site owned by The Jockey Club, whose sale would create enough cash for thei improvements to go ahead.
But as on Radio 5 tonight, not all horse racing participants and fans will like this decision.
This news release on the Murphy Group web site is entitled Murphy Wins £60M+ London Overground Electrification Project.
Given, that it was known to be a difficult project, I don’t think I am alone in thinking that Murphy’s contract price was good value for London Overground.
Since then, progress has not been at a fast pace and some challenging problems seem to have emerged, but on whole professional commentators in magazines like Modern Railways an Rail Engineer have been broadly praising of the way the work is being done and what has so far been finished.
The troubles on the Holloway Road Bridge, which is not in Murphy’s contract, that I wrote about in Did The Project Management Go Wrong On The Holloway Road Bridge?, can’t have helped either.
I do wonder though, if the Murphy Group could be a beneficiary of the successful electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin).
This Google Map shows the area between Gospel Oak and Kentish Town stations.
- Gospel Oak station in the top left, where the GOBlin meets the North London Line.
- The Midland Main Line curves across the bottom of the map, with Kentish Town station, just off the bottom right corner.
- There is another rail line (Tottenham North Curve ?) connecting the GOBlin to the Midland Main Line, that is current used by freight trains.
Between all these lines is a massive builders yard, which is the home of the Murphy Group.
In some ways giving the Murphy Group, the contract for the GOBlin upgrade and electrification, is like giving your local builder, the job of upgrading your house.
The Murphy Group have even accessed some parts of the work, by putting gates in the security fence between the railway and their yard.
This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the railway lines in the are.
It shows how at times in the past, the rail connections from this area, were some of the most comprehensive in London.
There are already plans for some of the railways in the area.
- The Tottenham North Curve from Carlton Road Junction to Junction Road Junction is being electrified, so that electric-hauled freight trains can run between Barking and the Midland Main Line.
- Passenger services could be introduced on the Tottenham North Curve to create a second route across North London, linking Barking and Acton via West Hampstead Thameslink and the Dudding Hill Line.
- Could we even see a re-opened Highgate Road station?
I have a feeling, that all this, together with London’s enormous need for new housing will see the Murphy Group site developed, in a manner that is best for London. And the Murphy Group!
- The development will have very good transport links.
- A reopened Highgate Road station, would be in the middle of the development.
- The development site is occupied by largely one company.
- The site is well-connected to railways for the transport of building materials and spoil.
- The site could be developed gradually, as the Murphy Group released the space.
Probably, the biggest problem would be finding the Murphy Group a new site.
It will be very interesting to see what happens on this very valuable site!
I took these pictures around the old BBC Television Centre in White City.
Everybody must have their favourite image of the site from years ago.
I particularly remember an episode of Michael Bentine‘s It’s A Square World, where they flooded the building, using some superb special effects and lots of real water. I think that section started with Bentine interviewing Jack Hawkins and talking about making wartime naval dramas, with a big screen showing the sea, which then burst out of the screen. According to Wikipedia, he also sent the building into space.
But then Bentine was a unique comic genius.