The Anonymous Widower

London Overground: Design Work For West London Orbital Route Begins

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

This is the sub-heading.

Plans for a new London Overground link in west London are progressing, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has said.

These paragraphs outline what will happen.

Engineering consultants who worked on the Elizabeth line have been chosen for the West London Orbital service.

“This engineering design will help determine the cost of delivering the scheme, which is currently unfunded,” Transport for London (TfL) said.

It hopes the scheme, which would connect Hounslow with Hendon and West Hampstead, could start next decade.

My feeling, is that they should get on with it.

  • There would be no major construction like tunnels.
  • Four stations would need to be built.
  • I doubt there will be any demolition.
  • It wouldn’t need more electrification, as the route is electrified at both ends and battery-electric trains could be used.
  • It would create more connections to Old Oak Common for High Speed Two.

But if it does for North West London, what the Overground has done for North and East London, it will be very much worth it.

These are a few thoughts and observations.

The Route

This is a schematic of the route from the BBC article.

Note.

  1. The new stations are Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane and Lionel Road.
  2. Acton Central, Brentford, South Acton, Syon Lane and West Hampstead Thameslink are step-free and Isleworth is on the way.
  3. The fully step-free Brent Cross West station will open soon.
  4. Lionel Road station will serve the new Brentford stadium.
  5. Old Oak Common Lane will serve High Speed Two, the Elizabeth Line and the North London Line.

They look to be a useful set of stations.

Kew Bridge Station

There’s been a lot of development at Kew Bridge station, since I was last there.

There are lots of flats and Brentford’s new stadium.

I suspect all the stations between Kew Bridge and Hounslow will see similar levels of development.

Electrification Issues On The Dudding Hill Line

The Dudding Hill Line forms the Northern section of the route between the Midland Main Line and the North London Line at Acton Wells Junction.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the junction between the Dudding Hill and Midland Main Lines.

Note.

  1. The Midland Main Line is shown in red as it is electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires.
  2. The Dudding Hill Line is shown in black, as it isn’t electrified.

This second map from OpenRailwayMap shows the junction between the Dudding Hill and North London Lines at Acton Wells junction.

Note.

  1. As before red tracks are electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires and black tracks have no electrification.
  2. The Dudding Hill Line is the black track running North-South at the West of the map.
  3. Acton Wells junction, where the Dudding Hill and North London Lines join is in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. The North London Line is shown in red running across the North-West corner of the map.
  5. The Great Western Main Line is shown in red running across the South-East corner of the map.
  6. High Speed Two will run East-West across the map and is shown dotted in red.
  7. The red lines in the middle of the map is the Elizabeth Line depot.

With all the 25 KVAC overhead electrification at both ends of the Dudding Hill Line, it would appear, that if this section is ever electrified, it will be electrified with this form of electrification.

There may be a problem, in that there are three or four bridges over the line.

Electrification Issues At Kew

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the triangular junction by Kew Bridge station.

Note.

  1. As before black tracks have no electrification.
  2. Mauve tracks are electrified with 750 VDC  third-rail electrification.
  3. Kew Bridge station is indicated by the blue arrow at the Eastern point of the junction.
  4. Trains to Hounslow will arrive in the North-East corner of the map and go diagonally across the map to leave in the South-West point of the junction.
  5. Trains to Kew Bridge will arrive in the North-East corner of the map and take the Eastern chord of the junction to a new platform in Kew Bridge station.

Brentford’s new stadium and a lot of housing are in the middle of the junction.

It would seem to be obvious to electrify the triangular junction using 750 VDC third-rail electrification.

But not to the ORR it isn’t, as they won’t allow any new third-rail electrification to be installed on Health and Safety grounds.

Project Management Issues

I believe this could be one of those projects, where by careful selection of the order of the sub-projects, time and money can be saved and passengers will see benefits earlier.

For example.

  • Early delivery of Old Oak Common Lane station would also connect the North London Line to High Speed Two and the Elizabeth Line.
  • Early delivery of step-free access at Kew Bridge station would help passengers going to the new Brentford stadium.

There may be other projects, that need an early delivery.

The Feltham And Wokingham Resignalling Programme

The Feltham And Wokingham Resignalling Programme  is currently underway and there are pairs of new and old signals everywhere between Kew Bridge and Feltham and also between Feltham and Richmond.

These are digital signals and according to Network Rail, they will increase the capacity, which must surely allow the extra trains between Kew Bridge and Hounslow stations.

This signalling project finishes in mid-2024, so I suspect by then the Southern part of the West London Orbital Railway will not have any problems with interaction with other services.

The Feltham And Wokingham Resignalling Programme could be considered an important enabling sub-project of the West London Orbital Railway, that is being performed early.

Richmond Station

As I came through Richmond station, there was an Overground train in Platform 3 and I noticed that Platforms 3 to 5 were allocated to the Overground.

Has the new signalling given Network Rail and train operators more flexibility and extra capacity at Richm0nd?

Currently, the London Overground runs four trains per hour (tph)  between Stratford and Richmond.

The increased flexibility may allow the following.

  • An increase in frequency of trains to Stratford.
  • An increase in frequency of District Line trains, if Ealing Broadway station swaps from being a District to a Piccadilly Line terminus, as I wrote about in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway.
  • Could Richmond also act as a terminal of the West London Orbital Railway during construction and engineering works?

Another benefit that could be arranged is to run the current four tph London Overground services into Platform 3.

These pictures show a Waterloo-bound South Western Railway train in Platform 2 and a Stratford-bound London Overground train in Platform 3.

As there are 8 tph between Richmond and Waterloo via Clapham Junction, this could be quite a useful cross-platform interchange for passengers going from say Staines or Windsor to Hampstead.

Trains

Consider.

  • The three most likely Northern termini are Brent Cross West, Hendon and West Hampstead Thameslink.
  • There could be other terminals on the North London Line or the Gospel Oak and Barking Line.
  • All possible Northern terminals have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • The two most likely Southern terminals are Hounslow and Kew Bridge.
  • There may be other possible Southern terminals like Twickenham or Richmond.
  • All possible Southern terminals have 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • The sections without electrification of the route is less than twelve miles.
  • The ORR won’t allow any new third-rail electrification.

It looks like the trains will need to be dual-voltage with a battery capability.

In this article in Global Rail News from 2011, which is entitled Bombardier’s AVENTRA – A new era in train performance, gives some details of the Aventra’s electrical systems. This is said.

AVENTRA can run on both 25kV AC and 750V DC power – the high-efficiency transformers being another area where a heavier component was chosen because, in the long term, it’s cheaper to run. Pairs of cars will run off a common power bus with a converter on one car powering both. The other car can be fitted with power storage devices such as super-capacitors or Lithium-ion batteries if required. The intention is that every car will be powered although trailer cars will be available.

Unlike today’s commuter trains, AVENTRA will also shut down fully at night. It will be ‘woken up’ by remote control before the driver arrives for the first shift

This was published over twelve years ago, so I suspect Bombardier or Alstom have refined the concept.

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which is not very challenging.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

So for a four-car running for twelve miles, the train would need a battery capacity of between 144 and 240 kWh.

These are not large batteries.

I suspect that the best trains for the route, will be dual-voltage Class 710 trains.

  • The Class 710/2 variant used on the Gospel Oak and Barking Line is dual-voltage.
  • London Overground has 54 Class 710 trains.
  • I am certain, that the batteries needed can be fitted to the trains.
  • Aventras are still in production in Derby.

A test battery-electric version could probably be created and tested on the short Romford and Upminster Line.

There may be other places in London and the rest of the UK, where a four-car battery-electric Aventra would be the ideal train.

 

 

 

April 20, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Could The Giant Station At Bank, Liverpool Street, Monument And Moorgate Be Considered A Superhub?

In Is The City Of London Moving Towards One Giant Station?, I showed how the four stations were being drawn together and developed as one large station that served the heart of the City of London.

London is also developing other large interchange stations that could claim because of their connectivity could be classed as London superhub stations.

  • Canary Wharf stations, which connect the Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines, and the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Old Oak Common station, which could bring together the Central, Chiltern and Elizabeth Lines, the London Overground and High Speed Two.
  • Stratford station, which connects the Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines, the Docklands Light Railway, the London Overground, High Speed One and the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Whitechapel station, which connects the Circle, District, Elizabeth and Hammersmith & City Lines, and the London Overground.

But what are the  characteristics of a superhub station?

A Lot Of Lines And Services

Obviously, it must have a lot of lines and services, so perhaps Clapham Junction station is the original superhub station.

All Lines Should Have Step-Free Access

This surely, goes without saying.

There Should Be Lots of Information

If the station is large it needs a lot of information and there’s probably the space to put it.

Helpful Staff

Should we have a fully-staffed kiosk at superhub stations, as there are at some main line stations?

Good Bus Connections

Bus connections at a superhub station must be comprehensive and probably connect to other superhubs.

There Should Be A Selection Of Shops For Travellers

I do my daily food and other shopping, as I travel around London. I’ll often use a station like Paddington with a good selection of shops.

Toilets

There are not enough public toilets in London.

Cash Machines

I know we’re using less cash, but a large station is a secure place to put a cash-machine.

Works Of Art

I also believe that railway stations are a secure place to put some of those large bronze sculptures and other works of art, that are currently locked away in the storerooms of galleries.

January 29, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is The City Of London Moving Towards One Giant Station?

Bank and Monument Stations

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, there used to be an anomaly shown on Harry Beck’s iconic London  Tube Map, that stood out as a bit different.

It was between Bank and Monument stations and was marked as an Escalator Connection, which connected the Northern Line at Bank to the District and Circle Lines at Monument.

This link was opened in 1933 and has its own section in Wikipedia labeled Monument Link, 1933.

This link has been joined by more tunnels, lifts and escalators over the last eight decades.

  • In 1960, the Waterloo & City Line was connected to the main entrance of Bank station by two moving walkways.
  • In 1991, the Docklands Light Railway was extended to the complex, with escalators to both the Bank and Monument entrances to the station complex.
  • In November 2018, the new Bloomberg or Wallbrook entrance to the station opened, and I wrote about it in The Bank Station Walbrook Entrance Opened Today.

Bank and Monument stations have been developing as a pair of twin stations for eighty years.

The latest phase of the Bank Station Upgrade has added the following to the complex.

  • A new and much large Southbound platform for the Northern Line.
  • A moving walking between the Northern Line at Monument station and the Central Line at Bank station.
  • Escalators between the Central Line and the Bank station end of the new moving walkway.
  • Escalators between the Northern Line and the Docklands Light Railway.

The upgrade will be completed by a new entrance to the station complex on Cannon Street.

This Google Map shows the area of the station.

Note.

  1. The main Bank station entrance the top of the map, by the Bank of England with multiple entrances to the station.
  2. The main Monument entrance in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The Cannon Street entrance will be in the triangle formed by Abchurch Lane, Cannon Street and King William Street.
  4. The Wallbrook entrance is under the Wallbrook Building.

The station has spread over a wide area, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more entrances in the future.

Liverpool Street And Moorgate Stations

This Google Map shows Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations.

Note.

  1. The green space is Finsbury Circus Gardens.
  2. Moorgate station is to the West on the A501 or Moorgate.
  3. Liverpool Street station is to the East on the A10 or Bishopsgate.

There is now a tunnel between the two stations, as part of the double-ended Liverpool Street Elizabeth Line station.

The drawing from Crossrail shows a cross-section of the Liverpool Street Elizabeth Line station.

Note.

  1. Moorgate station is on the left.
  2. Liverpool Street station is on the right.
  3. In the middle looking like a giant juicer is the ventilation shaft in Finsbury Circus.
  4. The Crossrail tunnels, which consist of two running tunnels and a pedestrian walkway between them are at the deepest level.
  5. There are escalators and lifts all over the place.

If it’s raining it’s a good way between the two stations.

The Rail Lines At Liverpool Street And Moorgate Stations

These routes serve the two stations.

  • National Rail – Liverpool Street to Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk
  • National Rail – Moorgate to North London and Hertfordshire
  • Central Line – Liverpool Street
  • London Overground – Liverpool Street to North-East London and Hertfordshire
  • City, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines – Liverpool Street and Moorgate
  • Elizabeth Line – Liverpool Street and Moorgate
  • Northern Line – Moorgate

Note.

  1. The Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines have separate stations and platforms in both Liverpool Street and Moorgate.
  2. The Elizabeth Line station at Liverpool Street is a double-ended station with entrances in both the original Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations.
  3. You can walk between Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations using the connecting tunnel of the Elizabeth Line station.
  4. Both Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations are well-served by buses.

These connections mean that if you arrive in either of Liverpool Street or Moorgate and need to leave from the other main station, you can catch a train on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines for one stop or walk through the Elizabeth Line tunnel or on the surface.

The Triangle Of Lines In The City Of London

The City of London effectively has three main Underground stations, that connect to all the important lines through the City.

  • Bank/Monument station connects to the Central, Circle, District and Northern Lines
  • Liverpool Street station connects to the Circle, Elizabeth, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Northern Lines.
  • Moorgate station connects to the Central, Circle, Elizabeth, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines.

All three stations have direct Underground connections.

  • Bank and Liverpool Street via Central Line.
  • Monument and Liverpool Street via Circle Line.
  • Bank and Moorgate via Northern Line.
  • Monument and Moorgate via Circle Line.
  • Liverpool Street and Moorgate via Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines.

Note.

  1. All interconnecting services are frequent.
  2. The Circle at six trains per hour (tph) is the least frequent
  3. The connections at Bank have much improved recently, due to the Bank Station Upgrade.

It is also possible to walk between the three stations.

In Where The City Of London Leads The Rest Will Follow!, I laid out the plans of the City of London to cut vehicles in the City, impose a 15 mph speed limit and improve cycling and walking routes.

If all goes to plan, then this will open up more routes between the three stations.

Conclusion

Bank, Liverpool Street, Monument and Moorgate will evolve into one large interconnected City of London station, that is served by the Central, Circle, Elizabeth, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Northern Lines.

The most important thing that must be done is improve the information.

At least though, the vast walls that have been created in the Bank Station Upgrade and the Elizabeth Line stations, will be up to the task of informing passengers, the routes they need to take.

The other important thing, is to provide step-free and wheelchair-friendly routes between, Bank, Liverpool Street, Monument and Moorgate, so that passengers with reduced mobility can safely get on their way.

After the current round of construction and upgrades, I don’t think any of the rail routes between the stations are step-free.

 

 

 

January 27, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

So Many Cases On A Train!

This afternoon about three, I went to West Ealing station to see what it was like to transfer between the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel and the Western Branch at Paddington.

Coming back, I took an Elizabeth Line service that had started from Heathrow Airport and it was one of the busiest Lizzies, I’d ever ridden!

To get on the train at West Ealing station, I got in to probably coach 4 of 9, as that was in the dry and the back end of the train I needed for Moorgate station was certainly in the wet.

I then had to walk half the length of the train to get to the back of the train.

It was not easy, as the train was full of scores of passengers with large wheelie cases.

This got me thinking.

Are Passengers Transferring To The Lizzie Line?

And especially those with large cases. that are the sort you could use for bringing in a pair of folded-up contortionists.

  • These cases don’t fit well on the Piccadilly Line, which has only a few step-free stations.
  • From what I’ve seen cases are easily wheeled to Elizabeth Line platforms at Heathrow.
  • Many of these cases won’t fit in the average family car.
  • All parking is expensive at Heathrow, whether it is short, medium or long.
  • Valet parking at Heathrow has been devalued by all the scam artists.
  • Taxis are the province of those that own oil wells, hedge funds or belong to the highest wunch of bankers.
  • Pick-up and drop-off is now very expensive.
  • There were a good proportion of couples, who were both dragging or pushing a massive case.
  • The Elizabeth Line is cheaper than the Heathrow Express.
  • The Elizabeth Line like the Piccadilly Line allows the use of a bank card as a ticket.
  • Only the Elizabeth and Piccadilly Lines take you direct to dozens of stations with only same-platform interchanges.
  • The Elizabeth Line has step-free interchanges with the Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee, and Metropolitan Lines, the Docklands Light Railway and the London Overground.
  • Whitechapel has been turned into a major transport hub for the Easternmost part of London.

There seems to be quite a few reasons why a traveller going to or from Heathrow might at least try the Elizabeth Line.

And travellers seemed to be doing it in droves today!

Were Upmarket Passengers Using The Lizzie Line?

Take the couple next to me on the train from West Ealing.

  • Around sixty.
  • Very well-dressed.
  • Possibly Mediterranean or South American.
  • Matching medium-size wheelie-cases.
  • She was wearing expensive glasses.

A couple of years ago, they would have probably used the Heathrow Express.

They certainly weren’t the only passengers, who looked like archetypal Heathrow Express passengers.

Will The Lizzie Line Take Passengers From The Piccadilly Line?

As the cost will be the same, I suspect the answer will be yes.

Although, there will be groups of travellers, who will probably remain loyal to the Piccadilly Line.

  • If you were going to or from the step-free Cockfosters or Oakwood, with a heavy case, all the way on the Piccadilly Line could be a simple sensible option. I used to live near Oakwood station and remember several long trips on the Piccadilly Line, but not too Heathrow.
  • The step-free Kings Cross St. Pancras, Green Park, Knightsbridge and Earls Court may well have reasons to keep their regular passengers.
  • Those only travelling a few stops to or from Heathrow will probably stay with the Piccadilly Line for convenience.
  • Transport for London have been adding step-free access to the Heathrow Branch and this will surely promote use.

The Piccadilly Line is also getting new trains in a few years.

In Extending The Elizabeth Line – Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway, I talked about a proposal to turnback some Piccadilly Line trains at Ealing Broadway station.

I think it is a good idea, as it could make it simpler for Piccadilly Line passengers to access Heathrow and reduce congestion on the Piccadilly Line.

Will The Lizzie Line Take Passengers From The Heathrow Express?

This is an extract from Extending The Elizabeth Line – Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway

It will be difficult to predict what will happen to Heathrow Express, but I suspect several groups of passengers will desert it.

  • Passengers wanting to go anywhere East of Paddington without changing trains.
  • Passengers wanting any Elizabeth Line station.
  • Passengers, who don’t like the prices of Heathrow Express.
  • Passengers using Oyster or contactless cards.
  • Passengers who want to ride on London’s spectacular new Elizabeth Line.

After Old Oak Common station is opened for High Speed Two, the numbers could further decrease.

Will Heathrow Express survive?

Will The Lizzie Line Attract Passengers Who Usually Drive?

Large swathes of the country already have single-change step-free access to the Elizabeth Line.

  • All services out of Liverpool Street and/or Stratford.
  • All services out of Moorgate.
  • All Thameslink services through Farringdon.
  • All services out of Paddington.
  • All services through Abbey Wood.
  • When Crossrail to Ebbsfleet (C2E) opens, this will add all services through Gravesend and Ebbsfleet.
  • When High Speed Two opens, this will add all services through Old Oak Common.
  • When the Western Rail Approach To Heathrow is completed, this will add all services through Reading.

If you can get a train direct to the Elizabeth Line network and then a train direct to your terminal, would you seriously want all the hassle of parking after a two hour drive?

I can see parking at Heathrow suffering a severe lack of demand.

Conclusion

Lizzie will start a revolution in travel to and from Heathrow.

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Whitechapel Shortcut

Note that this post is unfinished.

When the East London Line of the London Overground opened just over a decade ago, the interchange with the District and Hammersmith and City Lines at Whitechapel station was not one of the best.

  • There were no lifts.
  • The stairs were too narrow and inadequate for the number of passengers using the interchange.
  • Adding extra Overground trains to Clapham Junction station didn’t help.

If the Elizabeth Line had been added without extra work, the station’s passageways and stairs would have jammed solid.

  • But improvements were added, when the station was expanded to handle the Elizabeth Line.
  • A wide interchange plaza was created between the Eastern ends of the District and Hammersmith and City Line platforms.
  • A double-width spiral staircase was installed between the Eastern end of the interchange plaza and the Southbound East London Line of the Overground.
  • A convenient lift was installed alongside the spiral staircase.
  • The original staircases to and from the Northbound East London Line of the Overground were updated and augmented by a lift.
  • Passengers entering or leaving the station, were given alternative routes to avoid the interchange plaza.

These pictures show the interchange plaza and the various lifts and staircases.

Note.

  1. The spiral stairs and the lift at the Eastern end of the plaza.
  2. The Eastern ends of the District and Hammersmith and City Line trains connect directly with the plaza.

It seems to be working well, since the opening of the Elizabeth Line.

Using The Whitechapel Shortcut

There are eight ways to change between the District and Hammersmith and City Lines and the Overground at Whitechapel station.

Southbound Overground To Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

Today, I travelled between Haggerston and Moorgate stations, which I wrote about in From Haggerston To Moorgate.

I could have changed at Whitechapel station for the brand-new Elizabeth Line, but this would have meant a long walk to get to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station.

So I did this.

  •  I got in the front carriage of the Overground train at Haggerston station, which was conveniently by the lift at the station.
  • This meant that on exiting the train, I was by the lift to the interchange plaza at Whitechapel station.
  • The lift took me up a level to the District and Hammersmith and City Line platforms.
  • I got in the rear carriage of a Hammersmith and City Line train to Moorgate station.
  • This positioned me by the lift to the exit at Moorgate station.

I would be surprised if I walked much more than sixty metres between the two station entrances, as against the road distance of around two-and-a-half miles.

Southbound Overground To Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

This is very similar to the previous section except that you take the District And Hammersmith and City Line trains from the opposite platform.

Northbound Overground To Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

There are two staircases and two lifts between the Northbound Overground and the interchange plaza.

Choose your stairs or lift and then take the Westbound District and Hammersmith and City Line.

Northbound Overground To Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

This is very similar to the previous section except that you take the District And Hammersmith and City Line trains from the opposite platform.

Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Southbound Overground

Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Southbound Overground

Walk to the interchange plaza and choose the spiral stairs or lift.

Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Northbound Overground

Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Northbound Overground

Walk to the interchange plaza and choose your stairs or lift.

Conclusion

It’s all very quick and painless.

 

 

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Escalators At Bank Station To The Docklands Light Railway – 18th October 2022

In New Escalators At Bank Station Between The Northern Line And The DLR, I indicated that construction could be almost finished of the escalators that will connect the two lines.

The escalators have now opened.

Note.

  1. At the top of the escalators, you are delivered to a plaza, where the cross-tunnel between the two Northern Line platforms and the moving walkway to the Central Line meet.
  2. At the bottom of the escalators, you are in a wide passageway between the two DLR platforms.
  3. At the other end of the passageway, there are a pair of escalators that lead to Circle and District Line platforms and the Monument entrance to Bank station.

The escalators certainly open some faster pedestrian routes through the station.

October 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway

Transport for London have proposed a reorganisation of the Piccadilly and District Lines in the Ealing area.

I first wrote about this in Is There Going To Be More Change At Ealing Broadway Station?, but now the Elizabeth Line is on the verge of being connected across London, I feel that this post needs to be replaced.

A Possible Proposal

Ealing Broadway station is being upgraded for Crossrail.

In the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a Capital Connection supplement, which discusses London’s railways.

On Page 7 in a section about the sub-surface lines, this is said.

One possibility being discussed is that the Piccadilly should take over the District’s Ealing Broadway service. This would free up space on the South side of the inner-London circle for more City trains off the Wimbledon branch, one of the sub-surface network’s most-crowded routes.

On Page 15 in a section about the Mayor’s plans, this is said.

It is suggested Piccadilly Line services run to Ealing Broadway instead of the District Line, enabling increased frequencies on the latter’s Richmond and Wimbledon branches.

As the plan is mentioned twice, certainly the proposal is being thought about.

The Lines At Ealing Broadway Station

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

Note how the Piccadilly and District Lines share tracks from Ealing Common station, which then split with District Line trains going to Ealing Broadway station and Piccadilly Line trains going to Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations.

If the change happened and Ealing Broadway station was only served by the Piccadilly and Central Lines of the Underground, then there might be opportunities to improve the efficiency of the Underground side of the station.

Capacities And Lengths Of London Underground Trains Serving Ealing Broadway Station

I’ll express these as a table.

  • Central Line – 1992 Stock – 930 passengers – 130 metres – 7.15 pass/m.
  • District Line – S7 Stock – 1209 passengers – 117.45 metres – 10.29 pass/m.
  • Piccadilly Line – 1973 Stock – 684 passengers – 106.8 metres – 6.40 pass/m.
  • New Tube for London – 1076 passengers – 113.7 metres – 9.46 pass/m.

Note.

  1. The New Tube for London is the shortest train, with the second highest capacity and the highest passenger density.
  2. The New Tube for London will be replacing the Piccadilly Line trains first.
  3. The New Tube for London will be replacing the Central Line trains second.

It looks like there will be no platform-length problems running the New Tube for London to Ealing Broadway station.

The District Line Platforms At Ealing Broadway Station

These pictures show the District Line at Ealing Broadway station.

Note.

  1. There are three platforms for terminating District Line trains, which are numbered 7 to 9.
  2. The service frequency is six trains per hour (tph).
  3. The bridge to the far platform 9, is not step-free.
  4. It appears to be possible to walk between platforms 8 and 9 behind the buffer stops, but it wasn’t signed.
  5. As a comparison the Central Line runs 9 tph to East London from two platforms, that are numbered 5 and 6.
  6. There was also a 3 tph Night Tube service before the pandemic, which appears to be running again.
  7. Platforms 8 and 9 seem to be covered by a building of very little architectural merit.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the detailed platform layout.

Note.

  1. Platforms are numbered from 1 to 9 from the South.
  2. Underground tracks are shown in blue.
  3. Elizabeth Line tracks are shown in orange.
  4. Great Western ~Main Line tracks are shown in red.

I believe that the three District Line platforms could be upgraded into an excellent terminus for another branch of the Piccadilly Line.

Consider.

  • Two platforms would probably be enough, but a third would be useful for service recovery.
  • As the Piccadilly and Central Line trains are the same size, could Platform 7 be a platform be available to both Underground services when needed?
  • The New Tubes for London are a few metres shorter than the current District Line trains, so would this help in creating a step-free level walkway between Platforms 8 and 9, behind the buffer stops?
  • Platforms 8 and 9 may need to be lengthened.
  • Is there any scope for any appropriate oversite development?

I certainly believe that a much better replacement could be created.

Changing Between The Underground Lines And The Elizabeth Line At Ealing Broadway Station

Ealing Broadway station is now step-free and changes between the Eastbound Elizabeth Line and the Underground are a walk on the level.

Only when changing to or from the Westbound Elizabeth Line do you need to use stairs and/or a lift.

Elizabeth Line Effects On Access To Heathrow

The Elizabeth Line will change the way a lot of passengers go to and from Heathrow Airport.

Elizabeth Line To Heathrow

At present, the service will be.

  • 4 trains per hour (tph) between Paddington and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 4 or Heathrow Terminal 5 via Ealing Broadway.

After November 6th, 2022, the service will be.

  • 4 tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 2 tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5

In addition these services will serve all station including Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street, Bond Street, Paddington and Ealing Broadway.

Effect On Heathrow Express

It will be difficult to predict what will happen to Heathrow Express, but I suspect several groups of passengers will desert it.

  • Passengers wanting to go anywhere East of Paddington without changing trains.
  • Passengers wanting any Elizabeth Line station.
  • Passengers, who don’t like the prices of Heathrow Express.
  • Passengers using Oyster or contactless cards.
  • Passengers who want to ride on London’s spectacular new Elizabeth Line.
  • After Old Oak Common station is opened for High Speed Two, the numbers could further decrease.

Will Heathrow Express survive?

Effect On Piccadilly Line

The current Piccadilly Line route to the Airport will not be closed, as for many it will still be a convenient route to the Airport

  • Passengers who live on the Piccadilly Line and don’t want to change trains. Think Southgate, Knightsbridge, Hammersmith and Osterley!
  • Passengers to the West of Acton Town station.
  • Passengers, workers and others needing to go to Hatton Cross station.

If the Elizabeth Line connected with the Piccadilly Line at say Holborn, it would be all so different.

Effect On District Line

When Crossrail opens, the District Line will become a loop from Crossrail, between  Ealing Broadway and Whitechapel running along the North Bank of the Thames via Earls Court, Victoria, Charing Cross and Monument.

The step-free interchange at Ealing Broadway could become busy with passengers travelling  to and from the Airport.

Effect On Piccadilly Line Overcrowding

Heathrow trains on the Piccadilly Line can get very overcrowded with so many passengers with heavy cases.

It must sometimes be very difficult to get on a Piccadilly Line train between Heathrow and South Kensington stations.

The Elizabeth Line should take the pressure from these trains, by allowing passengers to use the District Line with a change at Ealing Broadway.

The New Tube for London will also help to reduce the overcrowding.

Effect On My Personal Route

My personal route to the airport is to take a 141 bus to Manor House station and then get the Piccadilly Line. It takes 94 minutes.

After the Elizabeth Line fully opens, if I take the East London Line from Dalston Junction to Whitechapel and then used Crossrail, I’d take 57 minutes.

Conclusion

The Elizabeth Line will affect the way many get to and from Heathrow Airport.

But there are large areas of London, who still will need to change trains twice to get to the airport. But for many, one of those changes will be a step-free one at Ealing Broadway, Paddington or Whitechapel stations.

Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway Effects

Adding Ealing Broadway station as a fourth Western terminus to the Piccadilly Line will have effects, but not as important as the opening of the Elizabeth Line.

Some Improved Journey Times To Heathrow

Some Piccadilly Line stations will see improved journey times to Heathrow.

Hammersmith to Heathrow currently takes 37 minutes by the Piccadilly Line.

Taking a Piccadilly Line train to Ealing Broadway and then using the Elizabeth Line could save a dozen minutes.

The District Line Connection To The Elizabeth Line At Ealing Broadway Is Lost

Passengers along the District Line from Monument to Hammersmith will lose their direct access to the Elizabeth Line at Ealing Broadway.

Cross-platform access to the Piccadilly Line at Hammersmith and other stations will probably be provided or improved, but it will be a second change.

Note that until the Piccadilly Line gets upgraded and new trains arrive around 2023, the District Line with new trains and the soon to be installed new signalling may well be a better passenger experience.

More Trains To Richmond

This will certainly be possible, if some Ealing Broadway trains are diverted to Richmond.

But the Elizabeth Line has another delight in its cupboard for Richmond.

Old Oak Common station is scheduled to open in 2026 and will offer an interchange between the Elizabeth Line and the North London Line.

Richmond will certainly be getting a better train service to Central and East London.

More Trains To Wimbledon

This will certainly be possible, if some Ealing Broadway trains are diverted to Wimbledon.

The Ealing Common Problem

At Ealing Common station, the Piccadilly and District Line share the same tracks and platforms.

Some commentators have suggested that the new trains on the Piccadilly Line will be designed to work with platform-edge doors for improved safety and dwell times.

So if platform-edge doors were to be fitted to all stations on the Piccadilly Line as has been suggested, there would be no way the doors would fit the new S7 Stock of the District Line.

Swapping Ealing Broadway from the District to Piccadilly Lines would solve this problem and give more flexibility, but it might give London Underground other problems with regard to access for District Line trains to Ealing Common depot.

These pictures show Ealing Common station.

Note the difference in levels between the Piccadilly and District Line trains.

There would be no way to provide level access for both types of train using a Harrington Hump.

So is making a station that serves both deep-level and sub-surface lines, step-free, a problem that is still to be cracked?

This Google Map shows Ealing Common station.

It doesn’t look that it is a station, where two extra platforms could be squeezed in, so both lines could have their own platforms.

Could Ealing Common station be one of the main reasons to serve Ealing Broadway station with the Piccadilly Line?

Acton Town Station

These pictures show Acton Town station.

 

Note.

  1. The two central tracks appear to be Piccadilly Line trains only.
  2. The two outer tracks appear to be able to be used by both District and Piccadilly Line trains.
  3. There is quite a step-down to Piccadilly Line trains on some platforms.

Making Acton Town station, a Piccadilly Line-only station, would ease making the station step-free, as it would only be served by one type of train.

Chiswick Park And Ravenscourt Park

This section is shown in this map from cartmetro.com.

Note.

  1. The District Line is shown in green.
  2. The Piccadilly Line is shown in blue.
  3. The two Piccadilly Line tracks are in the middle and generally trains go straight through the four stations.
  4. The two District Line tracks are on the outside and trains stop at most stations.

It appears that the tracks have been laid out so that Piccadilly Line trains can get a real shift on between Acton Town and Hammersmith.

This could save a few minutes on some Piccadilly Line journeys.

But there is a problem!

  • District Line trains serve all stations.
  • Piccadilly Line trains serve none.
  • How is Chiswick Park station going to be served, as there are no District Line trains passing?
  • Passengers for intermediate stations, would need to get on the District Line trains before entering the Acton Town and Hammersmith section.
  • Passengers may want to change between Ealing Broadway and Chiswick Park.

There will  also be no trains running on the current District Line tracks between Acton Town and Turnham Green Junction. The only ones that do now, go to Ealing Broadway and they’re being changed to Piccadilly Line trains.

Serving Chiswick Park Station

Chiswick Park station only has platforms on the District Line, which will not see any passing trains if the District Line  doesn’t go to  Ealing Broadway.

One suggestion I found was to add two new District Line platforms to the Richmond branch.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the Richmond branch passing South of the station.

This second Google Map shows the tracks between Chiswick Park station and Turnham Green junction.

Note.

  1. The four tracks between Acton Town and Hammersmith stations.
  2. The current District Line tracks are the outside two of the four tracks.
  3. The Piccadilly Line tracks are the middle two.
  4. The two tracks at the South-West corner go to Richmond station.
  5. The Eastbound track from Richmond goes under the four-track railway, before joining the current Eastbound District Line track.
  6. The Westbound track to Richmond runs along the South side of the four-track railway, before joining the current Westbound District Line track.

These pictures were taken from a train approaching Chiswick Park station from the East.

Note, that there is enough space for a platform along the single track.

These pictures are of Chiswick Park station.

Note.

  1. The distinctive architecture of London Transport stations of the period.
  2. The two fast lines in the middle, with Piccadilly Line trains speeding through.
  3. The two District Line trains on the outside with platforms.
  4. The Richmond Branch passing to the South of the station and between the station and Sainsburys.

I would suspect that a pair of platforms could be built on the two tracks of the Richmond branch.

  • District Line trains to and from Richmond would stop at the new platforms at Chiswick Park stations and Turnham Green, Stamford Brook, Ravenscroft Park, Hammersmith, Baron’s Court and Earl’s Court stations.
  • Passengers between Ealing Broadway and Victoria stations would change at Hammersmith, Baron’s Court or Earl’s Court stations.
  • The car park at the bottom of the map is for a large Sainsbury’s. Perhaps, they would like a station entrance?
  • Chiswick Park station is Grade II Listed.

I’m sure that a good architect can find a more than acceptable solution.

Turnham Green Station

As I passed through Turnham Green station, I got off and took a few pictures, before catching the next train to Ealing Broadway.

Note.

  1. Piccadilly Line trains don’t generally stop, although they do at times to provide a service when the District Line is not running.
  2. The station is not step-free, with stairs to the entrance.
  3. It has some nice features.
  4. Herbs are provided for passengers

If required a step-free interchange between District and Piccadilly Lines could be arranged.

Hammersmith Station

I arrived at Hammersmith station on a Piccadilly Line train and left on a District Line train, after taking these pictures.

Note.

  1. The change is on the same island platform.
  2. There is plenty of space on the platform.
  3. The District Line trains are level with the platform.
  4. The Piccadilly Line trains require a step-down from the platform.
  5. The District Line trains run at a frequency of 12 tph.
  6. The Piccadilly Line trains run at a frequency of 21 tph.
  7. Hammersmith is also a big bus interchange and shopping centre.

There should be no problem changing between Piccadilly and District Lines at Hammersmith, with a wait of no more than five minutes.

Baron’s Court Station

In a brief stop at Baron’s Court station, I took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The change is on the same island platform.
  2. There is less space on the platform, than at Hammersmith station.
  3. The District Line trains are a step-up from the platform.
  4. The Piccadilly Line trains require a step-up from the platform.
  5. The District Line trains run at a frequency of 12 tph.
  6. The Piccadilly Line trains run at a frequency of 21 tph.

There should be no problem changing between Piccadilly and District Lines at Baron’s Court, with a wait of no more than five minutes.

Earl’s Court Station

I arrived at Earl’s Court station on a Piccadilly Line train and left on a District Line train, after taking these pictures.

Note.

  1. The change means that platforms have to be changed
  2. The District Line trains are a step-up from the platform.
  3. The Piccadilly Line trains require a step-up from the platform.
  4. The District Line trains run at a frequency of 12 tph.
  5. The Piccadilly Line trains run at a frequency of 21 tph.

There should be no problem changing between Piccadilly and District Lines at Earl’s Court, but Hammersmith and Baron’Court don’t need a change of platform.

What Is The Best Station To Change Between Piccadilly And District Lines?

It appears that the best place to change would be Hammersmith, or failing that Baron’s Court.

  • Earl’s Court requires a change of platform.
  • Turnham Green requires a change of platform and two sets of steps.
  • Hammersmith has a shopping centre and a lot of buses.
  • I’ve used Hammersmith before to get home from Heathrow, with a change to a 141 bus at Monument station.

I would always for preference use Hammersmith.

Conclusion

It appears to me, there are two opposite forces on either side of a possible proposal to serve Ealing Broadway station with the Piccadilly Line, rather than the District Line.

  1. The District Line will form a loop South of Crossrail between Ealing Broadway and Whitechapel stations.
  2. Making a station step-free that handles both deep-level and sub-surface lines, is not an easy undertaking.

Running the Piccadilly Line to Ealing Broadway means that a change is required at Hammersmith or Barons Court stations to use the loop described in point 1.

But this change would enable the step-free access to be created in all stations in the area.

I think that the change of terminus will go ahead, with the following additions.

  • Improved access to Ealing Common depot.
  • Improved cross-platform access at Hammersmith or Barons Court stations.
  • Possibly two extra platforms on the District Line at Chiswick Park station.

What started out as a simple change could end up as a substantial project.

But overall, because it sorts out step-free access in the area, I think it is a good proposal.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Grade II Listed Next-Train Indicators At Earl’s Court Station Are Back

This page on Rail News has a section, which is entitled Heritage Train Indicators Return To Service, where this is said.

Vintage train describers have returned to the platforms of Earl’s Court District Line station, which is Grade II listed. First installed in 1905 when London’s District Railway was electrified, they have been renovated and given replica destination name plates, which are highlighted as required by an illuminated arrow. The indicators had been switched off while they were connected to a new signalling system. Modern information panels showing the destination and the number of minutes before the next train is due from each of the four platforms have also been installed.

I went Earl’s Court station to have a look this morning and took these pictures.

They all seemed to working as they should.

Earl’s Court station is a Grade II listed London Underground station and Wikipedia says this about these indicators.

On each platform is an old-fashioned “next train” indicator board which had various routes shown, of which one is usually highlighted by an arrow to indicate that this is the route of the next train. As of March 2022, these have been temporarily disabled while signalling is upgraded to CBTC signalling, as part of the 4LM improvement works to the subsurface lines, although are expected to return in June the same year. These have not been replaced by modern electronic equivalents as they are Grade II listed.

There can’t be many next train indicators in the world, that are listed or given the local equivalent.

This does take me all back to the 1960s, when for two summers, I worked in the Electronics Laboratory at a company called Enfield Rolling Mills. The Electronics Laboratory developed control systems for the many machines in the factory. At that time, a lot of the work involved replacing relays and electronic valves with then-modern transistors. I learned a lot about industry in those two summers and it wasn’t all about automation and electronics.

Would a fifteen-year-old be allowed to do a job like that, these days?

I suspect that on that Earl’s Court indicator board, there is some interesting electronics connecting it to the CBTC signalling.

 

 

July 23, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lizzie Line And Circle/District Line Interchange At Paddington – 1st July 2022

This morning I wanted to go between Moorgate and Victoria stations.

It is a journey that can be done in any number of ways.

  • Circle, Hammersmith & City or Metropolitan Line to King’s Cross St. Pancras and then change to the Victoria Line.
  • Northern Line to King’s Cross St. Pancras and then change to the Victoria Line.
  • Northern Line to Euston and then change to the Victoria Line. This can be a cross-platform interchange.
  • Northern City Line to Highbury & Islington and then change to the Victoria Line. This is not an easy interchange.
  • Northern Line to Bank and the change to the Circle or District Line.
  • Circle or Hammersmith & City to Paddington and then change to the Circle or District Line. This interchange involves a walk all the way across Paddington station.
  • 21, 43 or 141 bus to Monument and the change to the Circle or District Line.

If you’re lucky and time it right, you can get a direct Circle Line train, which run at a frequency of six trains per hour (tph).

The Elizabeth Line has opened up another way.

The Elizabeth Line is taken to Paddington and then you walk up the side of the station to the Circle/District Line entrance on the other side of Praed Street from the National Rail station.

These pictures show my walk at Paddington station.

Note.

  1. It is an immaculate step-free climb out of the Elizabeth Line station.
  2. Once at station level, it is a walk up a gentle incline the the Circle/District Line station.
  3. There are shops; including Boots, M & S and Sainsburys, and toilets just inside Paddington station, as you walk beside the station.
  4. There are stairs to walk down to the Circle/District Line platforms.

I walked the transfer in under ten minutes. From Moorgate to Victoria took 38 minutes.

I feel that this route has advantages for many travellers.

  • The Elizabeth Line currently has 12 tph through Paddington.
  • When the Elizabeth Line is fully connected up in Autumn 2022, there will be 22 tph, through Paddington.
  • The convenient shops and toilets will be welcomed by many.
  • It is an easier route, than accessing the Circle/District Line station from inside the main station.

The Lawn, which has shops and cafes, would also be a good place to meet friends, family or a business colleague or client.

Moorgate And Victoria Via The Circle Line

I did this route on the 5th of July, after waiting ten minutes for a Circle Line train. It took me 23 minutes.

July 1, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

London Underground: Safety Checks Cause Metropolitan Line Disruption

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

These are the first three paragraphs.

Urgent safety checks are being carried out on trains running on the Metropolitan line section of the Tube, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

TfL is warning of severe disruption as engineers check over the entire fleet of trains – which also run on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines.

The trains were only introduced in 2010, but TfL said a fault had been identified on some of their wheels.

Obviously, safety is a priority and it will take some time to check all of the trains.

I have used these trains several times in the last few days and there are extended intervals between services.

Could Crossrail Come To The Rescue?

Consider.

  • Crossrail has interchanges with the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and the Metropolitan Lines at Whitechapel, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Farringdon, Paddington and Ealing Broadway.
  • Crossrail trains have been running between Paddington and Abbey Wood for a few months.
  • Crossrail has good connections to the Central and Jubilee Lines.

Perhaps, opening Crossrail at a lower frequency may take the pressure off the system?

 

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment