The Anonymous Widower

Ludgate Circus And Blackfriars Station

This morning, I had an excellent full English breakfast with a large mug of tea in Leon at Ludgate Circus.

It is unusual for a fast-food restaurant, in that it has acres of space, alcohol, including gluten-free beer, for those who want it, five or six large tables that seat ten and an outdoor area for a sunny and warm day.

So at ten in the morning, I can always find a place to lay out my copy of The Times and read it at leisure.

Others seemed to be having breakfast meetings or encounters.

The Wikipedia entry for Ludgate Circus has a section on Stations, which says this.

Had the Fleet line of the London Underground been built, it would have had a station at Ludgate Circus. However, the Fleet line’s proposed route evolved into what is now the Jubilee line, which went south of the River Thames before reaching Ludgate Circus. In 1990 however, St. Paul’s Thameslink (later renamed City Thameslink) was opened on the site of the proposed Ludgate Circus station.

North-South Thameslink services through the double-ended City Thameslink station, with its numerous escalators and lifts, will reach twenty-four trains per hour (tph), from the current sixteen tph by the end of next year.

I could have taken Thameslink to Blackfriars station, but I walked and took these pictures on the way.

It is not a pleasant walk with all the traffic.

Next time, I’ll take Thameslink!

The reason, I went to Blackfriars, was to catch a Circle or District Line train to Tower Hill station.

Where is the Fleet Line, when you need it?

Phase one of the line ran to Charing Cross station, where it was extended to become the Jubilee Line, we have today.

The original plan for the Fleet Line as given by Wikipedia was.

Phase 2: would have extended the line along Fleet Street to stations at Aldwych, Ludgate Circus, Cannon Street and Fenchurch Street. Parliamentary approval for this phase was granted on 27 July 1971.

Phase 3: would have seen the line continue under the river to Surrey Docks (now Surrey Quays) station on the East London Line, taking over both of the ELL’s branches to New Cross Gate and New Cross stations, with an extension to Lewisham.

Parliamentary approval for this phase as far as New Cross was granted on 5 August 1971 and the final section to Lewisham was granted approval on 9 August 1972.

Phase 2 would have whisked me to Fenchurch Street station and Phase 3 sounds a lot like the current proposal for the Bakerloo Line Extension.

I very much feel that there is a need for a line across London on the route of the Fleet Line and Transport for London have a plan to extend the Docklands Light Railway, that I wrote about in A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway.

This map from Transport for London, shows the possible Western extension of the DLR.

With all the problems of the funding of Crossrail 2, that I wrote about in Crossrail 2 Review Prompts Fresh Delays, could this extension of the DLR, be a good idea?

It would certainly provide an East-West route at City Thameslink station.

 

 

 

 

 

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Could A Platform Or Platforms Be Added To The High Meads Loop To Improve Connectivity At Stratford?

This Google Map shows Stratford International station..

The main station is obvious, but note the Stratford International DLR station to the North on the other side of Interbational Way.

  • From the DLR station the tracks curve Southwards and cross the High Speed tracks towards St. Pancras.
  • Alongside these tracks is the double-track High Meads Loop.
  • On the Northern side of the DLR station, the loop enters a tunnel to connect the tracks to Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale stations.
  • At the Southern end, the loop connects to the tracks that go through platforms 11 and 12 of the domestic Stratford station, before joining with the other side of the High Meads Loop at Temple Meads East Junction to go North.
  • Platform 11 would handle trains going clockwise round the loop and Platform 12 those going anti-clockwise.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout in detail.

The loop has been used in the past to turn Stansted Expresses that ran to Stratford, where they called in Platform 12. The signs are still there, as this picture, which was taken at the Eastern end of the Overground plstforms 1 and 2, shows.

The capacity of the loop must be quite large.

  • A similar single-track loop under Liverpool handles as many as fourteen trains per hour (tph).
  • The double-track loop could probably handle upwards of sixteen tph.

The following is also planned, is happening or could happen.

  • Crossrail should open in 2019 giving a direct connection between Stratford and Heathrow via Paddington, the West End and Liverpool Street.
  • Four tph will run between Stratford and Meridian Water stations.
  • A Stansted Express service between Stansted and Stratford could be reintroduced.
  • Liverpool Street is getting increasingly crowded.
  • London Overground might  run services between Stratford and the Lea Valley.

Utilising the capacity of the existing High Meads Loop would probably be an easier option, than expanding Liverpool Street.

I arrived at Stratford International DLR station today and after using the Western entrance, I took these pictures.

The High Meads Loop is not that far from the DLR station and there would appear to be scope to create at least one platform.

This Google Map shows the Western end of the DLR station and the High Meads Loop.

I think there is scope in the area to create a link between the three stations at the Western end of the DLR station, which is the building with the blue roof.

It could also be a better walking route to the Internation station, as you won’t have to fight your way through Eastfields.

Conclusion

I think it will be tricky, but a better interchange will be created.

 

October 29, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway

In the Wikipedia entry for the Docklands Light Railway, there is a section describing a proposed Euston/St. Pancras Extension.

This is said.

In 2011, strategy documents proposed a DLR extension to Euston and St Pancras. Transport for London have considered driving a line from City Thameslink via Holborn north to the rail termini. The main benefit of such an extension would be to broaden the available direct transport links to the Canary Wharf site. It would create a new artery in central London and help relieve the Northern and Circle lines and provide another metro line to serve the High Speed line into Euston.

This map from Transport for London, shows the possible Western extension of the DLR.

With all the problems of the funding of Crossrail 2, that I wrote about in Crossrail 2 Review Prompts Fresh Delays, could this extension of the DLR, be a good idea?

Consider,

  • Victoria, Euston and St. Pancras are prosposed Crossrail 2 stations.
  • It would link Canary Wharf and the City of London to Eurostar, Northern and Scottish services and High Speed 2.
  • It would give all of the Docklands Light Railway network access to Thameslink.
  • A pair of well-designed termini at Euston and St. Panras would probably increase frequency and capacity on the Bank branch of the system.
  • The DLR is getting new higher capacity trains.
  • Bank station is being upgraded with forty percent more passenger capacity.
  • Holborn station is being upgraded and hopefully will be future-proofed for this extension.
  • One big advantage at City Thameslink, is that Thameslink and the proposed DLR extension will cross at right-angles, thus probably making designing a good step-free interchange easier.
  • The Bank Branch of the DLR currently handles 15 tph, but could probably handle more, if they went on to two terminal stations at St Pancras and Victoria..
  • Waterloo and City Line can run at twenty-four tph.

Cinderella she may be, but then she always delivers, when there is a desperate need, just as she did magnificently at the 2012 Olympics.

The only problem with this extension of the DLR, is that compared to the rest of the system, the views will be terrible.

For myself and all the others living along the East London Line, with a step-free change at Shadwell, we would get excellent access to Euston, Saint Pancras and Victoria

But could the line still be called the Docklands Light Railway, as it spreads its tentacles further?

 

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Maiden Lane And York Road Stations

These two disused stations are in the area of Kings Cross Central to the North of Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the layout of the lines and stations.

Note.

  1. The lines into Kings Cross station shown in black.
  2. The North London Line shown in orange.
  3. The Piccadilly Line shown in blue.

It would appear that  York Road station has been designed to generous proportions.

Ian Visits

ThIs article on the Ian Visits web site, is entitled Reopening The Piccadilly line’s Disused York Road Tube Station.

Ian comes to the following conclusions.

A rebuilt Maiden Lane station on the Overground would be much cheaper to build, at around £8 million, and have much lower running costs. The site for the Overground station would be around 100 yards further to the north of York Road Station, roughly where a Camden Council maintains a bus garage.

Replacing that with the usual generic block of flats may generate the cash to fund a rebuilt Maiden Lane station.

However, York Road tube station is unlikely to ever reopen to the public again.

I very much agree.

However, there is a set of circumstances, where the building at York Road station may get reopened.

Look at this picture of York Road station.

The station building is a classic design by Leslie Green and just across the road from Central St. Martins, which is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. So surely, if the college were to have, it’s own station, it should be to one of London’s iconic designs.

Ian gives a lot of reasons, why York Road would be an expensive station to add to the Piccadilly Line, despite the fact that it could have lifts like Caledonian Road descending to the platforms.

But suppose the Docklands Light Railway were to be extended from Bank station as has been proposed.

This map shows a possible route.

But why stop at S. Pancras.? It could be extended under Kings Cross station, stopping where required to finish at York Road station.

  • Only the building would be used.
  • There would be no connection to the Piccadilly Line.
  • The Docklands Light Railway tunnels would be several metres down to travel under buildings and the stations.
  • An underground passage could be built to a reopened Maiden Lane station.

A worthwhile use would have been found for an iconic building and Kings Cross Central would have much better public transport connections.

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Riding Docklands Light Railway Trains In Essen

This may seem an unusual title, but look at these pictures.

These are the original Docklands Light Railway trains, that were sold to Essen, who rebuilt them for the Essen Stadtbahn.

Note how they have been converted from third-rail to overhead electrification.

Some of our trains will be scrapped when they retire, like probably the Class 314 trains in Scotland and the Class 315 trains in London, but many like London Underground’s  D78 Stock, which are being converted into Class 230 trains will find new jobs to do.

This article on Trains Magazine is entitled Pittsburgh-based Company Looks To Test ‘pop-up’ Transit Options In The UK And US.

It describes how they plan to use Class 230 trains, to develop rail services in the US.

This is the first paragraph.

U.S. Railroad investor Henry Posner III and his Railroad Development Corp. have plans to bring rebuilt self-powered former London subway cars to the U.S. to enable cities to introduce low cost rail transit on existing, lightly used freight routes.

I wish Henry well!

But I do think, that a lot of older trains will be recycled to other profitable and worthwhile uses, away from the UK.

Most people would sniff at driving to wor every dayk in a 1980s-built car, but many travel to work in a quality train of the same era.

The difference is that most cars are built for a life of perhaps ten years, so you will buy another,

UK trains, (Pacers excepted!) were built with a design lifetime of forty or even fifty years.

Some mid-life updates and refurbishments have confused passengers into thinking they were new trains.

We should think of trains much more like houses than cars, when it comes to refurbishment.

Over the next few years, we will see some inteesting recycling of redundant British rolling stock.

 

 

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Here Are 31 Better Names For City Thameslink, The Worst Name For A Railway Station Ever Devised

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

I tend to agree, as the name doesn’t give too much information about the location, unless you’re a Londoner or someone, who knows about Thameslink.

Look at the passenger statistics for 2013-14 for the station and its neighbours.

They are in line with their neighbours, but nothing special.

So would a renaming help.

Of the thirty-one names proposed by CityMetric, one name stands out to me. This is St. Paul’s West.

These pictures show City Thameslink station.

Note.

  • It is a double-ended station.
  • The Northern entrance is on Holborn Viaduct.
  • The Southern entrance is on Ludgate Hill.
  • There are escalators and lifts at both ends.
  • The station name is given on the platform as City Thameslink for St. Paul’s Cathedral.

This is a Google Map of the area.

Note St. Paul’s cathedral and Southern entrance to City Thameslink station are connected by Ludgate Hill. As Ludgate Hill suggests, it is uphill to the cathedral.

So perhaps a name like Ludgate and St. Paul’s West, might be better.

There could always be a referendum or an on-line vote. But some wag would come up with an unsuitable name that would win.

City Thameslink station is a modern high-capacity station.

  • The station is fully accessible.
  • The platforms accept twelve-car Class 700 trains.
  • Thameslink will soon be running twenty-four trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • Northern destinations include Bedford, Cambridge, Luton Airport, Peterborough, Saint Pancras International and Stevenage.
  • Southern destinations include Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Littlehampton, London Bridge, Maidstone, Rainham and Sevenoaks.
  • There is commercial development over much of the station, some of which is better than others.

I have also read that the signalling of Thasmeslink could accept thirty tph through the Snow Hill Tunnel. So the station could see a twenty-five percent increase in train capacity.

What the station needs is better East-West connections to make better use of the station.

Crossrail

Crossrail connects to Thameslink, one station to the North at Farringdon station, which is not a long walk.

A Pedestrian Connection To St. Paul’s Tube Station

I believe this is possible and I wrote about it in A Pedestrian Connection Between City Thameslink Station And St. Paul’s Tube Station.

A Connection To The Docklands Light Railway

This map from Transport for London, shows the possible Western extension of the DLR.

I wrote about this extension in detail in A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway.

Conclusion

City Thameslink station could grow significantly in importance.

As to the name, if it grows in importance, perhaps it deserves a more important name?

The French would name it after an important politician, artist, philosopher or soldier!

We don’t do that!

If City Thameslink station ends up with a good pedestrian connection to St. Paul’s station and the cathedral, perhaps the whole station complex should just be called St. Paul’s.

 

 

 

 

February 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

New Trains For The Docklands Light Railway And The Tyne And Wear Metro

Transport for London and Nexus (The Tyne And Wear Passenger Transport Executive) are both asking for bids for new trains on the Docklands Light Railway and the Tyne and Wear Metro respectively.

Both systems are standard gauge light railways, but how do they compare to each other and to other trains running or soon to run in the UK?

Width and Height Of Cars

This table shows the width and height of various trains, that are currently in use on the UK network.

Note.

  1. What surprised me was how similar the width and height of these vehicles are.
  2. The Class 345 train uses clever design to make the train as wide as possible inside.

Wikipedia says this about how Bombardier Electrostars were designed and built.

The Clubman/Turbostar/Electrostar platform is a modular design, which share the same basic design, bodyshell and core structure, and is optimised for speedy manufacture and easy maintenance. It consists of an underframe, which is created by seam-welding a number of aluminium alloy extrusions, upon which bodyside panels are mounted followed by a single piece roof, again made from extruded sections. The car ends (cabs) are made from glass-reinforced plastic and steel, and are huck-bolted onto the main car bodies. Underframe components are collected in ‘rafts’, which are bolted into slots on the underframe extrusion. The mostly aluminium alloy body gives light weight to help acceleration and energy efficiency.

From what I’ve seen in the media about the manufacture of Bombardier’s new Aventra, the manufacturing methods are similar but improved.

I would suspect that most modern trains are made in a similar way, with extensive use of lightweight aluminium extrusions for sides and roof.

Bombardier’s method of making the cabs of glass-reinforced plastic and steel, must also give the flexibility required to create an appropriate cab for different classes of trains. Currently, there are Aventras on other, that feature  cabs without and with a gangway.

I suspect that Bombardier’s design team for the Aventra made sure that the design of the body could be adapted to produce a replacement train for the Tyne and Wear Metro or the Docklands Light Railway. After all, they built most of the current cars for the DLR!

This all leads me to the conclusion, that production of the bodies for the new vehicles for both routes will not be a problem. And not just for Bombardier! Stadler seem to have downsized a Flirt for Merseyrail.

Using an existing design, must also mean that equipment like seats, air-conditioning, doors and other fitments, just have to resized if needed.

Design Of The Cars

Bombardier have shown with the Aventra, that they can make cars in different lengths for different versions of the train. The Class 710 trains for the London Overground are being built as twenty metre long trains, whereas other variants have longer cars.

All Aventras ordered so far, appear to be walk-through between articulated cars.

The picture shows the inside of one of Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

So what can we ascertain about the design the new fleets for the Docklands Light Railway and the Tyne and Wear Metro?

Docklands Light Railway

Under Future Stock in the Wikipedia entry for the Docklands Light Railway Rolling Stock, this is said.

TfL is seeking to order 43, 87-metre-long (285 ft) trains, 33 of which will replace the 70 B90/92 trains currently in use, which are the oldest on the DLR. The remaining 10 would support capacity increases in the Royal Docks area. DLR services presently operate with two or three trains coupled together, but the new fleet will be fixed formation units with walk-through carriages equivalent to the length of three current trains. The aim is to issue an invitation to tender for the new fleet later this year, with contract award planned for summer 2018.

Note.

  1. The trains will be walk-through.
  2. The new train length quoted of 87 metres,  doesn’t fit the length of three current trains, but it is close to the length of three current cars, so I suspect that is what is meant.
  3. In the early 2010s, the whole Docklands Light Railway was upgraded for three-car trains.
  4. The trains need the ability to handle tight curves.

It does appear that Bombardier and the other manufacturers  could design a train for the Docklands Light Railway by adapting their current design.

Consider.

  • To handle the tight curves, it would probably be a walk-through train with several articulated sections.
  • The current trains running as a three-car unit are 84 metres long.
  • Each of the current cars is 28 metres long.
  • Each of the current cars is articulated in the middle. Thus a three-car train has six sections.
  • The current cars have four double doors on either side. Thus a three-car train has twelve doors.
  • The new trains will be 87 metres long.

It should be noted that Edinburgh has a similar problem of tight curves and gradients like the Docklands Light Railway. The city’s Urbos 3 trams are just forty metres long, but have seven articulated sections, with six doors on either side.

Note the short sections, which show what is possible in an articulated rail vehicle.

I suspect the following.

  • As the current trains have six sections, this would be a starting point for a new design.
  • Four or five sections would be a more affordable design.
  • There will be an optimum number of sections to handle the curves and gradients.
  • Does an articulated walk-through design need quite as many doors as current trains?

It looks like a good cost-effective design is possible.

Tyne And Wear Metro

Under Proposed New Fleet in the Wikipedia entry for Tyne and Wear Metro Rolling Stock this is said.

In November 2017, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the government would provide £337 million towards the new fleet. The proposed new fleet would consist of 84 trains to replace the existing 90 train fleet, as Nexus believe that the improved reliability of the newer trains would allow them to operate the same service levels with fewer trains. These are proposed to have longitudinal seating instead of the 2+2 bench seating arrangement of the present fleet, and a full width drivers cab instead of the small driving booth of the existing trains. The proposed new fleet is planned to have dual voltage capability, able to operate on the Metro’s existing 1.5 kV DC electrification system and also the 25 kV AC used on the national rail network, to allow greater flexibility. Battery technology is also being considered.

Note.

  1. A dual-voltage capability will be required.
  2. Battery capability would be ideal for short movements and regenerative braking.
  3. In my view longitudinal seating needs a walk-though capability.
  4. Currently, trains are two-car units and generally work in pairs.
  5. Trains can work in formations of three and four units, but the ability is not used.

If trains generally work in pairs would it be more affordable to have four-car trains?

  • Could they be adapted from proven lightweight main line rolling stock, by perhaps giving the trains a smaller cross-section?
  • They would only have two instead of four cabs.
  • They could be articulated, walk-through trains.
  • Class 399 tram-trains have shown dual voltage through one pantograph is possible.

Using a certified main line train, that had been made smaller would surely mean that certification would be easier.

I believe, that a section of the Tyne and Wear Metro works using tram-train principles under the Karlsruhe model, which allows the current trains to share tracks with other rail services.

So the new trains would make it possible for the Metro to be expanded onto main line railways. If they were electrified using 25 KVAC. Freight lines, which might see a reopened passenger service, could be electrified using the current Metro 1,500 VDC system.

It strikes me thyat by getting the design of the rolling stock right, a lot of possibilities could open up for the Tyne and Wear Metro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Custom House DLR Station Reopens – 10th January 2017

Custon House  DLR station has now reopened and trains are now stopping again.

As the pictures show, there is still a fair bit of work to do.

I’m curious, as to what the structure on top of the station is for.

At the moment, it’s just a framework of steel beams, but is it for retail or a ticket office for either Crossrail or Excel.

Crossrail’s information on the design of the station is non-existent.,

 

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Stadler To Build Another Special

Stadlet seem to be getting a reputation for building trains for niche markets.

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Stadler to build narrow-gauge EMUs for Stockholm’s Roslagsbanan.

Wikipedia has an entry for the Roslagsbanan.

After trains for the Glasgow Subway and Merseyrail, the Class 88 locomotives and Class 399 tram-trains, they must be one of the companies in prime position for the new Docklands Light Railway trains.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Docklands Light Railway West From Bank Station

Two possible routes have been proposed foe extending the Docklands Light Railway to the West

Whether either is worth developing, I don’t know.

But consider.

  • The Thameslink Programme will improve access between London Bridge and Charing Cross stations, which could take pressure off the Jubilee Line.
  • The Thameslink Programme will improve Southeastern services into Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations.
  • Charing Cross station has a couple of spare platforms, that some would like to re-use.
  • Euston and St. Pancras stations have bad access to Canary Wharf and South East London.
  • The Bakerloo Line Extension has been given the green light.
  • Crossrail connects Canary Wharf to Bond Strreet, Heathrow, Liverpool Street and Paddington.

But the big issue, is what happens about Crossrail 2.

I feel that the more likely extension to the West is to go from Bank to Euston via City Thameslink and Holborn and/or Tottenham Court Road stations and finish by going on to St. Pancras.

It could link HS2 at Euston and European services at St. Pancras to the following.

  • Thameslink at City Thameslink station.
  • Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road station.
  • Bank and Canary Wharf stations.

It would also provide a decent link between the long distance services at Euston, Kings Cross and St. Pancras.

These factors would also influence the design of the DLR Extension.

  • The DLR has all the agility of a mountain coat to climb hills and turn sharply, so it might be possible to squeeze it through places impossible for a Crossrail or an Underground line.
  • 3D-design techniques are getting better every year.
  • Tunnel boring machines are getting more accurate.
  • Escalators are getting longer.

So could we see the extension going from Bank to City Thameslink as a traditional extension and then going in a long double-track loop via some or all of the following stations.

  • Holborn
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Oxford Circus
  • Regents Park
  • Euston
  • St. Pancras
  • Covent Garden

It would all depend on where they could squeeze the tracks through.

  • Stations could be island platforms between the tracks.
  • Platform edge doors could be fitted.
  • Escalators and lifts could link the platforms to existing station.

There’s no reason why the line should be designed traditionally for the DLR.

 

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment