The Anonymous Widower

The Bank Station Upgrade And The Western Extension Of The DLR

This map from Transport for London (TfL), shows the possible Western extension of the Docklands Light Railway (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?

If you look at the Bank Station Upgrade in detail, the DLR gets a much needed boost in the upgrade.

The two DLR platforms underneath the Northern Line get a triple-escalator connection to the Northern Line level, from where they have the following.

  • Level access to the Northern Line.
  • Escalator access to the Cannon Street entrance.
  • Travelator/escalator access to the Central Line.
  • Access to the current escalators and lifts to the various entrances around Bank Junction.

There will also be lifts everywhere.

According to Services in the Wikipedia entry for the DLR, the following services turn at Bank station.

  • 22.5 trains per hour (tph) in the Peak.
  • 18 tph in the Off Peak.

So the turnback is handling a train around every three minutes.

I have no idea, what is the maximum frequency of the DLR, but as it is an automated system, with new trains to be delivered in the next few years, I suspect the frequency will be pushed higher in the future.

The Bank Station Upgrade has been designed to handle more passengers using the DLR, so there should be no problem about handling more passengers in the two platforms deep in Bank station.

The limiting factor would more likely be in the turnback.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the DLR lines at Bank station.

Note the turnback for the DLR, under the Central Line platforms 5/6, running alongside the Northern Line.

  • Trains stop in the arrivals platform 10 at Bank station and unload all passengers.
  • They then move to the turnback and the automation then switches to the other end.
  • They then move to the departures platform 9 to pick up passengers.

It is an inefficient way to turn trains. A through station at Bank would have a much greater capacity.

If you look at the map of the proposed Western extension, it has two branches which join and split at City Thameslink station.

  • Charing Cross, Green Park and Victoria.
  • Holborn, Euston and St. Pancras

It should be noted that the two-platform terminal station at Lewisham currently handles upwards of 20 tph in the Peak.

This would mean that if both Western branches had a two-platform terminus, then there could be a theoretical total of forty tph through Bank station.

If Dear Old Vicky can manage thirty-six tph with ten year-old-trains and less automation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the DLR manage the magic forty tph, with twenty tph on each branch.

Obviously, though there would be other considerations and capacity limits, but I can see a big increase in the numbers of passengers using the DLR.

I would expect that the improvement to the DLR access being added in the Bank Station Upgrade must have been designed to handle the highest number of DLR trains and passengers that anybody can practically envisage.

It should also be noted that the DLR station is below the Northern Line and the turnback siding, which is shown in the map of the lines, will be well out of the way of the new Northern Line and travelator tunnels.

The map of the Western DLR Western Extension,  also shows the extension going West away from the Northern Line tunnels. This would mean it would comfortably  pass underneath the new Southbound Northern Line tunnel.

It therefor looks to me, that the Bank Station Upgrade is very much preparing Bank station for the DLR Western Extension to be built.

So will the DLR Western Extension be constructed?

Why Is It Needed?

Various reasons Have been given.

Better Connection To The Docklands Light Railway for Commuters From The South

The DLR Western Extension will connect to commuter routes at the following stations.

  • Charing Cross
  • City Thameslink
  • Victoria

This should help commuters get to the City and the business areas of East London.

Another Direct Connection Between East London And West Central London

It will also help travellers get betweenEast London and West Cerntral London without changing or using the overcrowded Victoria Line.

A few points.

  1. c2c commuters would also be able to change at Limehouse station to trains going further than Bank station.
  2. It would help me get to places South of Crossrail and Victoria becomes much easier.
  3. Access to Thameslink from the East will be improved, if you’re not near a Crossrail station.
  4. New housing in the East will get the transport links it needs.

East London has a great need for the DLR Western Extension.

Increase The Number Of Trains Serving Bank Station

The Mayor wants to extend the DLR to Abbey Wood and Thamesmead in the South East.

This will mean that extra capacity is needed in the West to turn the trains.

The DLR Western Extension and the Bank Station Upgrade seems a pretty good way to obtain this much-needed capacity.

The People Mover Between High Speed One, High Speed Two, West Coast Main Line And The East Coast Main Line

Proposals exist for a high capacity people mover between High Speed One at St. Pancras and High Speed Two at Euston.

The DLR Western Extension will accept this challenge and do it superbly and could even have connections to the East Coast Main Line.

Take The Pressure Off The Northern Line

Consider.

  • The Northern Line connects Euston and Bank stations via Kings Cross St. Pancras.
  • The Northern Line is supposed to take ten minutes.
  • The route is overcrowded and it is impossible to get a seat, for most of the day.
  • When High Speed Two opens in 2026, more travellers will want to travel to and from the City.

The DLR Western Extension could give as many as twenty tph on the following route.

  • St. Pancras
  • Euston
  • Holborn
  • City Thameslink
  • Bank

With the new DLR trains and the full automation of the DLR, the route will certainly outperform the Northern Line and possibly a black cab, driven  by Lewis Hamilton.

Improve Capacity Between Victoria And The City

Just as the DLR Western Extension will improve the route between Euston and the City of London, the other branch will improve the route between Victoria and the City

I’ve taken a District Line train from .Whitechapel to Victoria station and there are better ways to enjoy yourself.

It’s The Poor People’s Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 with its mega station at Euston/Kings Cross/St. Pancras will give North-East London much better access to National Rail services going North.

To get to any of these stations now, I have to take a bus to either Angel or Moorgate stations and then get a tube.

I used to be able to get a bus to Highbury & Islington station, but the Mayor from South London has halved the service, so I don’t bother to wait fifteen minutes for a bus and go via Angel.

If the DLR Western Extension were to be opened, I’d get an Overground train to Shadwell station and change to the required route.

Agility – The DLR Advantage

I must say something about the big advantage of the DLR.

The trains have the ability to twist, turn and climb gradients, that a conventional train would find impossible.

This means that the tracks can be threaded through places, where heavy rail just can’t go!

Tunnels

The DLR tunnels and platforms at Bank station are the deepest in London. This article in the Telegraph says this about the deepest station in Central London.

It is the DLR concourse at Bank, which is 41.4 metres below.

Crossrail’s depth by comparison is described in this page on the Crossrail web site like this.

A network of new rail tunnels have been built by eight giant tunnel boring machines, to carry Crossrail’s trains eastbound and westbound. Each tunnel is 21 kilometres/13 miles long, 6.2 metres in diameter and up to 40 metres below ground.

The DLR Western Extension tunnels would cross Crossrail close to Holborn station, so they would probably need to go below Crossrail at this point.

Designing the route of the tunnels is probably the easy part, as construction will be much harder and will take a lot of planning.

Consider, the places for construction sites, where a tunnel boring machine (TBM) could be inserted or the spoil could be taken out.

  • Bank, St. Pancras and Victoria stations are very crowded places, with most of the land already built on.
  • There are the Royal Parks and London’s leafy squares, on the route.
  • This article on IanVisits describes the railway sidings under Smithfield Meat Market, which could be somewhere to start digging. Could spoil be taken out at night by train on Thameslink?
  • As Holborn station is getting a second entrance, this could also be a key site in the construction of the tunnels.

The tunnellers might use the techniques employed in the Bank Station Upgrade, where the tunnel was dug without a TBM and spoil was taken out by truck. But the tunnels for the DLR Western Extension will be much larger.

Stations

It is worth looking at the stations on the route.

Charing Cross

Charing Cross station has been rebuilt in recent decades and still has the two former Jubilee Line platforms in working order, that might be able to be reused.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Charing Cross station.

Note.

  1. The old Jubilee Line tunnels go through the platforms.
  2. They are long enough to hold two trains.
  3. The tunnels would have to be enlarged to fit the larger DLR trains.

As these platforms and tunnels were built to be extended on a route not unlike that of the DLR extension, I suspect TfL have ideas about how this station could be rebuilt to be part of the Western DLR extension.

City Thameslink

– City Thameslink station is a reasonably-modern, one-line double-ended step-free station.

The DLR Extension would cross the station at right-angles, deep below Thameslink.

Euston

Euston station is being rebuilt for HS2 and the Underground station will be extensively improved.

I would be very surprised, if the new station, has been designed without a feasible place for DLR platforms to be added.

Green Park

Green Park station has been updated several times and I suspect that TfL have ideas about how the station could be served by the extension.

Holborn

Holborn station is being extended with a new entrance. As with Euston, I suspect it has been designed with a feasible place for DLR platforms to be added.

This document on the TfL web site, gives more details of what is proposed at Holborn station.

I extracted this visualisation of the proposed station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in the through and around the station.

.Note, Crossrail, which is shown by dotted lines passes to the North of the station.

This diagram from Crossrail shows a depth profile of the tunnels between Farringdon and Bond Street stations.

Note.

  1. The blue dot indicating the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The red dot indicating the Central Line

These two lines are close to Holborn station.

I would feel that the DLR Western Extension could be accommodated in the lower level of the updated station. If required, it could use the DLR’s agility to use a route, no normal railway could.

St. Pancras

St. Pancras station is virtually a new station, so at least, the surveys and drawings are up-to-date. This might make designing two platforms below the current complex a bit easier.

Although, actually building them might be more difficult.

Victoria

The Underground station has been substantially remodelled and rebuilding of the National Rail station is in the pipeline.

Plans are also being drawn up, as to how this station will connect to Crossrail 2.

Hopefully, they’ve taken the DLR Extension into account.

Should There Be Any Other Stations?

The DLR Western Extension must be built, so that if required, the two new branches can be extended.

Extending From St. Pancras

One article, I’ve read, says that this branch should be extended to Camden Town.

In Maiden Lane And York Road Stations, I suggested that it should be extended to these two former stations. I said this.

But why stop at S. Pancras? The DLR 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.

Given that over the next few years, there will be a large increase in capacity on the North London Line through Maiden Lane station, this could be a very important extension.

Extending further in the future from York Road would be enabled. Next stop Finsbury Park?

Or would it be better to create a connection to the Piccadilly Line at the combined York Road/Maiden Lane station complex?

Extending From Victoria

Obviously, if the Victoria Branch could be extended to Waterloo, this would be an ideal solution.

I would look at the possibility of having a very easy interchange between the Victoria Line and the DLR at Victoria.

Cross-platform interchange would probably be difficult, but if the DLR platforms were under those of the Victoria Line, I would feel a fast step-free interchange could be designed.

This would effectively mean that the Victoria Line would be a virtual extension to the Victoria Branch of the DLR Western Extension.

A Connection To Crossrail

Surely, the DLR Western Extension should connect to Crossrail. Especially, as it connects to Thameslink!

Conclusion

Build the DLR Western Extension!

Why?

  • It will add capacity between Euston and the City.
  • It will add capacity between Victoria and the City
  • It will unlock capacity at Bank and allow more services to the East.

It is the poor people’s Crossrail 2

It won’t be built though!

  • East London isn’t a priority and it’s where the scum and great unwashed live.
  • It doesn’t do much for South and West London, where important people live.
  • The North of England will object, as it’s another London project!

But I’m hoping that it will be built, as it will transform the lives of many who live in the East and/or rely on the DLR.

In 2010, I wrote Cinderella Will Take You to the Ball!, where I was looking forward to the Olympics.

After the Olympics, I was told by a Senior Manager of the DLR, whilst riding on a DLR train, that the system had performed magnificently at the Games and carried more passengers than everybody expected it would!

There certainly weren’t any complaints.

But I did find this article on Rail Magazine, which is entitled The Secret Of Serco’s Success.

This is the first two paragraphs.

In January 2013 Serco was awarded an 18-month contract extension to operate the Docklands Light Railway, one of the most reliable train services in the UK.

This extension (to September 2014) to the original seven-year franchise rewarded a remarkable performance in 2012, a performance that was also a principal reason for National Rail Awards judges awarding Serco Docklands the City & Metro Operator of the Year accolade.

So they got a Gold Medal too!

This is said about their performance during the year.

Almost 12 million passengers were carried during the entire Games period, and during the busiest times, passenger numbers reached more than double the normal level. Numbers peaked at around 500,000 passengers in a single day, over 125,000 more than DLR’s previous record. And yet, despite all that extra pressure, 2012 was DLR’s most reliable year ever.

Sexy the DLR is not, but like the character I name her after, this light railway, works incredibly hard and to a high standard!

It is a true heavyweight amongst urban transport systems.

Perhaps we should abandon Crossrail 2 and just extend the Docklands Light Railway?

 

 

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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 | Transport | , , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

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 | Transport | , , | 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 | Transport | , , , , | 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 | Transport | , , | 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 | Transport | , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment