The Anonymous Widower

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

How Will Crossrail Affect The Docklands Light Railway?

When Crossrail opens, there will be a simple step-free walking link between  Canary Wharf station and and Poplar DLR station.

As Poplar is the station on the DLR, where the North-South and the East-West routes cross, this is one of the better connectivity features of Crossrail.

Poplar serves a junction in four directions:

At present to get to Greenwich and Lewisham, you need to change at Canary Wharf DLR station, but as there is a reasonable walking route between Canary Wharf station and Canary Wharf DLR station, passengers for Lewisham could use that route.

As Crossrail will also have a reasonable link to the DLR at both Stratford and Woolwich, I wonder if we’ll see some reorganisation of services on the North-South DLR route between Lewishan and Stratford International.

Will some services go all the way between Lewisham and Stratford International?

Obviously, this will be determined by the routes travellers take after Crossrail opens.

There will also be affects due to the Law of Unexpected Consequences.

I am fairly sure, that Crossrail trains on the two Eastern branches will interface well at Whitechapel station, so passengers going between a station on the Abbey Wood branch to one on the Shenfield branch may prefer to go via Whitechapel, as it will be a simple cross-platform interchange.

How will this affect passenger numbers on the Jubilee Line and the DLR?

I suspect that passengers will use the route that is best for them and this can only mean spare capacity on the two historic routes.

As Crossrail will also be a bypass for the Central Line with connections between the two lines at Stratford, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Ealing Broadway, the Greater East London area will be a big beneficiary from Crossrail.

We’ll have to wait and see how passenger numbers work out, but I think that the North-South route of the DLR could be blessed with spare capacity because of Crossrail, so there may be scope to extend the route past Stratford International and Lewisham.

Two possible extensions from Lewisham are detailed on Wikipedia.

But there is nothing past Stratford International. The DLR Horizon 2020 Study, does propose an extension up the Lea Valley to Tottenham Hale. This is the report’s summary of this route.

A DLR extension to Tottenham Hale via the Lea Valley was tested extending all services (15tph) onwards from Stratford International. The route would run alongside the Lea Valley rail route. The DLR extension is seen as serving intermediate markets (heavy rail would only stop at Tottenham Hale and Stratford) and would serve the Olympic site(s) and the Olympic legacy with additional stops at Lea Bridge and Walthamstow Marshes. Potential drawbacks are largely environmental, covering concerns over Hackney Marshes and the Lea Valley reservoirs.

I talked about it in a sub-section of The High Meads Loop At Stratford. This is a summary of what I said.

Extension of the DLR to Tottenham Hale was mooted a few years ago and a document called DLR Horizon 2020 talked about extending the system from Stratford International up alongside the Lea Valley Lines to Tottenham Hale station

It may be a worthy idea, but does it really make economic sense, when according to what you believe a lot of things may be happening in the area.

When the heavy rail expansion is sorted and the area between Tottenham and Walthamstow is developed as housing and a very large wetland and leisure area, the case for a Lea Valley Light Railway may be stronger and in need of reassessment.

What happens to the North-South route will be driven by the consequences of Crossrail and the massive need for housing in London and the transport links to serve it.

The Mayor’s Plan For A Galion’s Reach Extension

The latest plan is to extend the DLR from Galion’s Reach across the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

I wrote about this plan in The Mayor’s Plans For East London River Crossings.

I shall repeat what I said, as I think this is a plan with legs.

BBC article says this about this proposal.

A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich

It is different to the original proposal of a Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock, which stayed on the North bank of the Thames.

This map shows the area of London from Gallions Reach to Abbey Wood.

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood


  • Gallions Reach DLR station is marked with the red arrow.
  • Just to the North of Gallions Reach station is the main DLR depot, which would probably be an excellent site to start a tunnel.
  • The tunnel would probably emerge on the South bank of the Thames to the West of Thamesmead.
  • It could then weave its way along the side of the main road.
  • The North Kent Line with Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations runs along the bottom of the map.
  • Crossrail could be extended to Gravesend.
  • Crossrail should also be extended Ebbsfleet International for European rail services.

If the DLR extension went from Gallions Reach DLR station  to Abbey Wood station it will be a loop on Crossrail serving a lot of areas ripe for quality housing and commercial development.

It certainly looks a feasible area to think about taking the DLR.

I also think if more destinations are created in the East, then this will need other developments.

  • More capacity in the new trains, that are being ordered.
  • Extra destinations in the West
  • Expansion of the North-South route t balance the network.

The North and South extensions were covered earlier.

Extension To The West


I have written about this in Extending The Docklands Light Railway West From Bank Station.


The Docklands Light Railway must be one of the best stop-gap transport projects ever created.

Crossrail’s affects on the DLR will be more about providing opportunities, than creating problems.

We also shouldn’t underestimate the role of the DLR in bringing passengers to Crossrail.

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Design Crime – Stratford International Station

I went to Canterbury today and took the Highspeed service from Stratford International station.

These are pictures I took at the station.

Most stations have the odd design issue, but Stratford International has a whole warehouse that’s full of them.

International In Name, But Not Trains

Stratford International station must be the only station in the world, which is billed as an International station, where all trains are domestic.

That to me is fraud!

Should I report the station to the Police?

Connecting With Stratford Station

I travelled to the station via the domestic Stratford station, which meant I had to walk the best part of a mile through the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which was mainly closed as it was earl;y in the morning.

Surely the connection could have been designed to be a shorter walk.

It’s not even straight through the Shopping Centre, but you have to double back after going right through almost to John Lewis.

It’s just designed so you pass as many shops as possible. I was wanting to use a train, not buy something.


This Google Map shows the two Stratford stations.


Topsy could have designed it better. Even when she was about five!

Surely something better can be done.

The Link To The Docklands Light Railway

You could use the Docklands Light Railway, but then that introduces more changes into to your journey.It is the route recommended by the National Rail Journey Planner.

But the DLR station is on the other side of a road, rather than inside Stratford International station.

The Link To Crossrail

It’s only going to get worse when Crossrail opens, as passengers wanting to go to between say Paddington and East Kent will be drawn to Stratford, only to discover the struggle through Eastfield to Stratford International.

The alternative route via Abbey Wood will be slower and will probably mean extra changes.

There will be one better route available from Crossrail to Stratford International, when the new line opens and that will be to go to Canary Wharf station and, take the short walk to Poplar DLR station. A trip on London’s unique Docklands Light Railway will take you direct to Stratford International station. The DLR always delivers when the chips are down, just as it did in the 2012 Olympics.

No Place To Wait Before The Platforms

Except for a few uncomfortable seats designed by a sadist and what looks to be a comfortable cafe, there is no place to wait on the station concourse before going to the platforms.

A few comfortable seats would be welcome.

The Bleakest Platforms In The UK

That is being charitable, as in all my traels across Europe, even in say a very cold Eastern Europe, any set of platforms as unwelcoming.

Perhaps I should try Siberia!

Appalling Train Access For The Disabled

Considering that the Class 395 trains are the only ones to use the platforms, the disabled acess using a ramp is so nineteenth century.

I joked about the quality of this to a member of staff and they said that in the rush hour, they are sometimes assisting as many as four passengers.

It’s probably lucky that the HighSpeed service is not an intense one, as with this level of disabled access, there would be train delays.


The station and line is a disgrace and especially for the disabled.

Considering it was only built a few years ago, everybody concerned should hang their heads in shame.

What would I do?

  • Where the DLR goes under the main line platforms at Stratford station, between the two subways, I’d extend the DLR platforms underneath and provide direct access between the two levels. This must be possible and would enable passengers to change between main line, Crossrail and Central Line services with the DLR between Canary Wharf and Stratford International.
  • Try and improve the connection to the DLR at Stratford International
  • Replace or modify the Class 395 trains/pltform interface with something fit for purpose, that had level access to the platforms, so wheelchair passengers could just roll in.
  • Do something about the bleakness of the station.

I’d also increase the number of Highspeed services through the station, so that all destinations got at least two direct trains per hour from Stratford.

I would also add some extra new destinations like Eastbourne and Hastings.



February 14, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Custom House Station – 26th January 2017

Custom House station will close on the DLR on February 3rd until late December 2017, so I went to take some pictures to see how far the builders have got.

It would appear that not to much has changed since I last visited and wrote this post called Custom House Station – 24th July 2016.

January 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Mayor’s Plans For East London River Crossings

This article on the BBC is entitled Mayor accused of ‘betrayal’ over Silvertown river tunnel.

I made my feeling clear about the tunnel in No To Silvertown Tunnel . I started by saying this.

My personal feelings about the Silvertown Tunnel are that it is irrelevant to me, except that it might help some trucks bring goods that I buy online or at a local shop. Although as a sixty-eight year-old-widower living alone, I don’t think my transport needs through the tunnel will be high.

I don’t drive after my stroke and I like that lifestyle, except when last night it takes me three trains, a coach and a taxi to get back from watching football at Ipswich. But that tortuous late night journey was caused because NuLabor spent my tax money on pointless wars that will haunt us for generations, rather than in extending and renewing our rail system, that will nurture and enrich our future.

I don’t think, that I’ve changed my views much.

The Mayor is actually proposing five river crossings.

Five New Thames Crossings

Five New Thames Crossings

Here my thoughts on each

Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge

This is detailed in Wkipedia as the Rotherhithe Crossing or Brunel Bridge.

Wikipedia says this about the location.

The preferred location for the bridge identified in the feasibility study would be between the Impound Lock close to Cascades Tower on the northern (Canary Wharf) bank, and at Durand’s Wharf park on the southern (Rotherhithe) bank.[2]

There is currently a Thames Clippers ferry shuttle between these two points. The Jubilee line parallels the route of the proposed bridge, with the nearest stations at Canada Water and Canary Wharf.

I took these pictures of the current ferry from Canary Wharf pier.

The bridge has its own web site, with a dramatic picture on the home page.

The visualisations show a bridge, that I think few would dislike. I certainly don’t!

  • It’s dramatic.
  • It would be open to pedestrians and cyclists.
  • It would be the longest bascule opening bridge in the world.
  • It would allow tall ships to pass through.

But above all I suspect that Marc and Isambard would have approved.

Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry

If Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe can sustain a ferry, then surely a ferry at the other side of Canary Wharf connecting to North Greenwich with the O2, must be viable.

This Google Map shows the Thames between Canary Wharf and North Greenwich.


Canary Wharf And North Greenwich

Canary Wharf And North Greenwich

It is not the longest ferry link, but there are questions to be answered.

  • Does the ferry go right into the heart of Canary Wharf or only as far as the bank of the Thames?
  • Does the ferry go all round the O2 to North Greenwich Pier or call at a new pier on the west side of the Greenwich Peninsular?
  • Will the ferry be fully accessible?
  • Will the ferry accommodate bicycles?
  • Will the ferry be free, as is  the current Woolwich Ferries?
  • How many boats will be used?

I think that there could be an opportunity to design an integrated ferry and pier, that would be all things to all users.

It certainly shouldn’t be boring and if possible it should call at the heart of Canary Wharf.

Silvertown Tunnel

In my view the Silvertown Tunnel is just another route for some travellers and possibly their goods to take between the two banks of the Thames.

Categories of traffic across the river through a new Silvertown Tunnel would include.

  1. Individuals, groups and families, who don’t necessarily need a vehicle. But sometimes choose to take one.
  2. Individuals, groups and families, who absolutely need to take a vehicle.
  3. Vans and trucks collecting or delivering goods.
  4. Buses and coaches
  5. Taxis, mini-cabs and private hire vehicles.

One thing that has been said about the Silvertown Tunnel is that it will be funded by a toll and some reports have said that the Blackwall and Rotherhithe Tunnels will be tolled as well.

London already has a congestion charging system for areas in the centre and I suspect that this could be updated to charge for the cross-river tunnels.

We’ve never had a toll to get across the Thames in London, with even the Woolwich Ferry being free, so I suspect that a toll would reduce cross-river vehicular traffic.

Remember that, when tunnels were built under the Thames in Central London, there was few quality alternatives with the exception of the Northern and Victoria Lines and the original undeveloped Thameslink.

But over the last few years, cross-river and other public transport has been getting better. And it still is!


  • In the last year, a lot has been disclosed about Crossrail and its enormous Class 345 trains.
  • We’ve also seen the opening of the new London Bridge station and can see the improvements taking place in South London.
  • We’ve also seen the arrival of the Night Tube.
  • Capacity is being increased on the cross-river East London Line and the Jubilee, Northern and Victoria Lines.
  • We have Night Thameslink, so will we see a Night Crossrail?

Other developments will follow.

The only certainty is that we will be seeing a large increase in  quality public transport, over, under and on the Thames.

I think for the first time in my life, there could be two competing ways of getting across the Thames; driving through a tunnel or using public transport.

Cost, convenience, needs and possibly an all-singing-and-dancing computer or phone app will tell you where to go.

As I said earlier, if the Silvertown Tunnel is built, it will be just another route for travellers, with perhaps a higher, but fixed cost.

If it is built, I think there should be conditions.

  • The Blackwall, Rotherhithe and Silvertown Tunnels should all have tolls.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink should have a great deal more Park-and-Ride capacity.
  • All buses, coaches, mini-cabs, taxis and trucks in Central London should be low emission.

I also think that large areas of Central London, like the City and Oxford Street should be pedestrianised and some are on track for this to happen.

Much of the decision about the Silvertown Tunnel revolves around politics.

Sadiq Khan, has said he’s in favour of the tunnel with conditions, but he is up against a formidable movement that don’t want the tunnel built at any price.

I also find it interesting, that Ken Livingstone was in favour of the Silvertown Tunnel. But Ken brought in congestion charging.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if there’s some researchhanging aroiund in TfL, that says that a tolled road crossing will cut traffic. But it’s the sort of research no-one would believe.

So perhaps a tolled Silvertown Tunnel with conditions will be a good idea.

But only because there are now alternatives!

Gallions Reach DLR

The BBC article says this about this proposal.

A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich

It is different to the original proposal of a Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock, which stayed on the North bank of the Thames.

This map shows the area of London from Gallions Reach to Abbey Wood.

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood


  • Gallions Reach DLR station is marked with the red arrow.
  • Just to the North of Gallions Reach station is the main DLR depot, which would probably be an excellent site to start a tunnel.
  • The tunnel would probably emerge on the South bank of the Thames to the West of Thamesmead.
  • It could then weave its way along the side of the main road.
  • The North Kent Line with Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations runs along the bottom of the map.
  • Crossrail could be extended to Gravesend.
  • Crossrail should also be extended Ebbsfleet International for European rail services.

If the DLR extension went from Gallions Reach DLR station  to Abbey Wood station it will be a loop on Crossrail serving a lot of areas ripe for quality housing and commercial development.

It certainly looks a feasible area to think about taking the DLR.

Barking Riverside Overground Extension

When I first heard about the Thamesmead Extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, I thought it was a good idea.

As it is mentioned in the Mayor’s plans, I suspect that building the extension is getting nearer to reality.

Certainly provision has been made in the design of the Barking Riverside Overground Extension to extend the line under the river if required.

Joined Up Connections

If you take out the Silvertown Tunnel, which is the only one of the five crossings for which you need a vehicle, you get a route along the Thames from Canada Water To Barking.

  • Walk from Canada Water to the Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge
  • Cross the Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge
  • Walk to the Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry
  • Take the Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry to North Greenwich
  • Take the Emirates Air-Line to Royal Victoria
  • Take the DLR to Gallions Reach and on to Thamesmead
  • Take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to Barking

It’s an interesting route using various means of transport.







October 8, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Under Crossrail And The DLR

Walking between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Pudding Mill Lane DLR station takes you under both Crossrail And The DLR.

Note that the Crossrail bridge is blue steel and theat for the DLR is concreate.

They are certainly a set of impressive bridges from underneath.

September 18, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Custom House Station – 24th July 2016

I took these pictures at Custom House station.

The pictures also show a work-train entering the tunnel and the Crossrail track alongside the DLR until near the Connaught Tunnel.

July 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

The New Cannon Street Entrance To Bank Station

This entrance will help to solve Bank station’s chronic problems. It will go on the corner of Nicholas Lane and Cannon Street.

These pictures were taken on a walk from King William Street to Cannon Street station.

I would assume, it will replace the McDonald’s, with a new office block on top.

This Google Map shows King William Street, Nicholas Lane, Cannon Street and the various stations.

New Cannon Street Entrance At Bank Station

New Cannon Street Entrance At Bank Station

Note the McDonald’s. I had an excellent lunch in the Leon.

If you want to read more about the proposed station, you start by looking at this page on the TfL web site, which is entitled.

I found these two documents answered a lot of the questions, I had about the design of the station.

Design and Access Statement – Part 1 – Opens with a detailed drawing of the whole new entrance project.

Design and Access Statement – Part 2 – Opens with a detailed summary of the proposal.

They also have a lot of good images, visualisations and diagrams.

Summarising what I learned, I will make the following points.

  • The new entrance will be a wide one where the current McDonald’s is situated.
  • Passengers will go through the wide gate line and banks of escalators will take them down to the Northern Line.
  • Passengers requiring step-free access will have a dedicated route to the lifts from two wide gates on the left of the entrance.
  • The Northern Line is deep and because of the constricted nature of the site, the escalators will be vertically split into two banks with a landing, as some at London Bridge station are.
  • At the bottom of the escalator will be a large circulation area, with cross passages accessing the rebuilt and wider Northern Line platforms.
  • Moving walkways from the circulation area, will take you to the Central Line.
  • The rise between the Northern and Central Line levels will be handled by escalators between the Central Line platforms.
  • Access to the DLR platforms, which are several metres below and parallel to the Northern Line platforms, will be via escalators in the middle.
  • The District and Circle Lines will be accessed from the Southern end of the circulation space by means of an improved passage to existing escalators.
  • I suspect that the access to the Central Line and DLR platforms, can be built without any lengthy closures.
  • Don’t forget that there is a new entrance at Walbrook Square being built to give lift and escalator access to the Waterloo and City Line, that will open in 2017.
  • All existing links between lines and the existing entrances will be preserved and upgraded.
  • Two seventeen passenger lifts will descend from the new entrance to both the Northern Line and the DLR.
  • The station is to be completed by 2021.

I think it is true to say, that the new Cannon Street entrance is effectively a second station that is connected to all the existing lines.

In the latter part of the project, the Bank branch of the Northern Line will be closed, so that the new running tunnel can be dug. I don’t think it will be possible to turn trains at say Moorgate and London Bridge, so the branch will cease to be any use.

Could this blockade, be planned to happen after Crossrail opens, so that passengers can walk to Liverpool Street/Moorgate to access other North-South routes?

  • Crossrail to Farringdon station for Thameslink
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road station for the Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line.
  • Crossrail to Whitechapel for the East London Line.
  • The Northern City Line at Moorgate station.

The Central, District and Circle Lines had better behave too!

So how would the new station at Bank change my transport habits?

  • Journeys between my house and Bank station are often done on a 21 or 141 bus, where the stops are within a hundred metres of my house. I would hope for better access between buses and the new complex at Bank.
  • The new Wallbrook entrance and the improved access to the Waterloo and City Line, will greatly improve one of my routes to Waterloo,
  • I often go south on the Northern Line, as it is easy to get a 38 or 56 bus around the corner from my house and dive straight into the Northern Line at Angel station. From Bank I will use the easy access to the DLR and the District and Circle Lines.
  • I suspect that when I need the DLR, I will go to Bank, rather my route now via Shadwell on the East London Line.
  • If I’m coming North on the Northern Line, I get out at either Bank, Moorgate or Old Street and take the 21 or 141 bus.

I shall certainly have a lot of interesting  transport routes.

The expansion of the station, in addition to sorting the connection between the various lines at the station, will after the Wallbrook entrance is complete, create two new terminii for the two smaller lines at the station.

Waterloo And City Line

The new Wallbrook entrance will create a step-free entrance into an upgraded Waterloo and City Line.

This will generate a few questions.

  • How long will it be before demand is such, that the Waterloo and City Line opens on a seven-day-a-week basis?
  • Will the passageways still connect the Waterloo and City Line platforms to the to the DLR and the Northern Line?
  • Will the connections to other lines at Bank station be good enough?
  • As the Bank end of the line will be step-free, what will happen at the Waterloo end?
  • Could access to the line be improved from Waterloo East station?

I think that the Waterloo and City Line will get a few more small upgrades. Especially, as during the blockade of the Northern Line to build the new spouthbound tunnel, it will be used to bring travellers to and from Bank station.

Docklands Light Railway

The two DLR platforms and their connections to the other lines will be transformed by the station expansion.

  • Many of the walking routes to other lines and the exits will be step-free, and all will be an improvement on the present routes.
  • The important connection to the Northern Line will be by escalator or lift.
  • There will be a lot more space around the two DLR platforms.

I think this ease-of-use of the DLR part of the station, will increase passenger numbers dramatically.

It appears to me that the new design will future-proof the DLR terminus, as the new layout of the DLR platforms and their connections seems to have been designed, so that the DLR can be extended to the West.

According to Wikipedia, two possible westward extensions have been proposed.

I think that the former which would take the DLR to Charing Cross and possibly Victoria via City Thameslink and Aldwych would be the most promising.

This would give me a route to Charing Cross station, which is probably the most difficult station to get to from Dalston.

But will it ever happen?

Bank station will certainly ready for a DLR extension in 2021.




January 7, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

There’s A Lot Happening Around Tilbury And Gravesend

Look at this Google Map of the Thames around Tilbury and Gravesend.

Tilbury And Gravesend

Tilbury And Gravesend

The North (Tilbury) Bank

Note the following.

Interspersed between the developments is the usual estuarine mix of creeks, salt-flats, a couple of nature reserves and lots of wildlife.

It may not be everybody’s idea of a place to have a good time, but there is a lot going on.

Developments On The North Bank

Several factors will drive developments in the area.

  • London needs housing and is already developing large numbers of houses and flats at Barking Riverside, which is a few miles to the East.
  • Will there be more housing developments along the river?
  • Crossrail will arrive in the next few years and will pass a few miles away to the North, through Romford station.
  • London Gateway might want their staff to come and go by train or light rail.
  • There is a need for another Thames crossing and how does a possible Lower Thames Crossing, which could cross Thames by East Tilbury, fit into the mix?

Many would argue that there should be better public transport along the north bank of the river.

The Gravesend (South) Bank

Note the following.

  • The Swanscombe Peninsular in the top left corner of the map.
  • Swanscombe and Northfleet stations on the North Kent Line, which runs to the North of Ebbsfleet International station.
  • According to Wikipedia, the walking routes between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet International stations are not the best.
  • Gravesend station is in the middle of the town and the Ferry to Tilbury is within walking distance.
  • Hoo Junction, which is just off the map to the East is safeguarded as the end of a possible extension to Crossrail.

In contrast to the North Bank, the South Bank seems to have much more housing and a lot less green space and industrial development.

Developments On The South Bank

Like the North Bank, there is also development on the South.

I don’t know the Gravesend and the South Bank well, but on my walks in the last few months, it strikes me that there needs to be some public transport improvements.

Transport Improvements

Transport improvements in Tilbury, Gravesend and the surrounding area fall into three categories.

  • Tilbury and the North Bank
  • Gravesend and the South Bank
  • Cross-River

In some ways the last is the most difficult, as other factors like a new Thames Estuary airport and a higher Thames Barrier must also be considered. The Wikipedia entry for the Lower Thames Crossing gives some options and says this about Option C.

A new road crossing connecting the M2 and M20 motorways in the south with the M25, which might be linked via a proposed new Thames flood barrier. The route from the north would pass close to South Ockendon, Orsett, Chadwell St Mary, West Tilbury, East Tilbury, across West Tilbury Marshes before it crossed the Thames just to the east of Gravesend and Thurrock. It would join the M2 in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in the Special Landscape Area. This proposed link is also within the Kent Downs AONB and special landscape area. According to the DfT, this long route would have “considerable environmental impacts”.

It won’t be a small fight to get that option built.

I will list the possible public transport improvements in the area.


Crossrail is more than just a major East-West route across London.

It is effectively a four-branch railway.

  • Abbey Wood – Connecting to Kent
  • Heathrow
  • Reading (or Paddington) – Connecting to the West Country and Wales
  • Shenfield or Liverpool Street) – Connecting to East Anglia

I believe that Crossrail should be considered as a two line railway, by including the equally capable Thameslink, which connects at Farrington and adds the following major branches.

  • Bedford (or St. Pancras) – Connecting to the East Midlands and Sheffield
  • Brighton and Gatwick
  • Peterborough (or Kings Cross) – Connecting to Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland

The major lines not connected to either Crossrail or Thameslink are the West Coast Main Line and the lines out of Waterloo and Marylebone.

Although care is being taken to create a good passenger link between the Bakerloo Line and Crossrail at Paddington.

The connectivity of the Crossrail/Thameslink system will be further improved by some smaller schemes.

There are two possible feeder lines in the area I am considering in this post.

Whatever happens Crossrail will become important to those in Kent, who want to get to the Southern part of Essex, as it will be a walk across platforms at Whitechapel.

At present from Abbey Wood to Shenfield takes about ninety minutes with two changes, but when Crossrail opens with a ten metre level walk at Whitechapel, it could be as short as fifty-two minutes.

Don’t underestimate how Crossrail will change the lives of everybody, who, lives, works or visits.

A Romford To London Gateway Train Service

I strongly believe that a train service from Romford to the London Gateway will eventually happen.

Consider the following.

  • As London Gateway develops, it is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs, which in turn will put enormous pressures on the roads.
  • A full service would improve connectivity to the large Lakeside Shopping Centre.
  • This could become an important feeder route to Crossrail.
  • The northern part of the route is the Romford to Upminster line, which is operated by London Overground as a shuttle using a dedicated train and platforms at the ends of the line.
  • London Overground is increasing services on the Romford to Upminster Line, so they must believe there is a need.
  • Track and electrification for the line is complete, although there would need to be some changes at Upminster.
  • c2c and London Overground are both very ambitious train operating companies.

We have evolving needs, an ease of creating the service, and ambition, which all work in favour of  implementing the service.

This route map from Wikipedia shows the stations in the area.

North Bank Lines

A full service on the route could  call at these stations?

The service could also call at Tilbury Riverside, as services used to do. This would serve the London Cruise Terminal and Tilbury Fort.

I wrote Exploring Tilbury Riverside about this area.

This is one of those ideas, that should be filed under Watch This Space.

Crossrail Extension To Gravesend

I wrote Crossrail Extension To Gravesend on this and the extension brings benefits.

  • It will give vastly improved connections from Central London to East Kent and East Sussex.
  • It would make Crossrail an even better option than driving across the Dartford Crossing.
  • It would mean that Heathrow Airport had a direct link to Continental rail services at Ebbsfleet International.
  • Ebbsfleet International is one of the few stations that could be an enormous Park-and-Ride station.
  • The proposed depot at Hoo could be good for both Crossrail in terms of flexibility and East Kent, in terms of employment.

I think this extension of Crossrail will happen.

Barking To The Dartford Crossing

I’m including this map, as it shows the nature of the area.

Barking To The Dartford Crossing

Barking To The Dartford Crossing

Barking is in the top left and the The Dartford Crossing is in the bottom right of the map.

Note the following.

  • The east-west main road just north of the river is the A13.
  • Dagenham Dock station is on this road with the Barking Riverside development below it and to the south-west.
  • To the south-east of the station, there is a large amount of industry.
  • The Beckton Sewage Works are on the North Bank, with Crossness on the south.
  • As you get towards the Dartford Crossing, the green space is Rainham Marshes RSPB Nature Reserve, with closer to the crossing Purfleet.

It is an area for those with imagination.

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line is to the west and is being extended to Barking Riverside, where tens of thousands of homes are being developed.

The Transport for London Plan for 2050, says this.

An extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to Barking Riverside is currently being planned to open up development of a major new quarter with 11,500 new homes.

A potential further extension could involve crossing the river to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood, where there are major regeneration needs and major opportunities for new housing developments.

My view is that if you give Barking Riverside connections to the north, west and south, perhaps a connection to the east to Dagenham Dock station on c2c is needed as well.

The Docklands Light Railway

The original plan for the area envisaged extending the Docklands Light Railway to Dagenham Dock. Wikipedia says this.

It is unlikely to go ahead as there are plans to bring the London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking Line to Barking Riverside giving better links to Barking and East London and via Barking station to Central London. This will however cause the Docklands Light Railway to not head east and have connections to c2c rail services at Dagenham Dock, so this extension could still take place and the two services would have an interchange at Barking Riverside.

I do think that some transport planners look with disdain at the Docklands Light Railway, but generally the over a hundred million rides taken on the system every year, give another view.

With the emphasis on leisure and with green issues to the fore, I could see the system reaching the Nature Reserve at Rainham.

The Docklands Light Railway is East London’s good fairy and she has ways of surprising everybody.

The Poor Connectivity Of HS1

HS1 must be one of the worst designed railways in Europe.

Currently, HS2 is being designed and great care is being taken to ensure that there is good connectivity all along the route. These are a few examples.

  • Old Oak Common station will be a hub in North West London.
  • Tram routes will reach Birmingham Curzon Street station long before HS2 does.
  • Birmingham Interchange will be linked to Birmingham Airport
  • Trams have already reached the area of the Nottingham HS2 station at Totton.
  • HS2 will call at Crewe, which is a major railway hub.

On the other hand, two of HS1’s intermediate stations have very poor connectivity.

  • Stratford International only has a direct link to the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Ebbsfleet International has very poor direct links to classic lines.

Neither station has a direct connection to Crossrail.

HS1 seems to been designed with very limited objectives in mind, one of which was to win the Olympics for 2012.

Crossing The River

There is no doubt that there is a need for more capacity across the lower Thames and there are several plans for a Lower Thames Crossing.

Other plans have included a combined rail and road link between Medway and Canvey Island and the latest proposal has been London’s plan for a Gospel Oak to Barking Line Extension to Abbey Wood.

It is also worth noting, that the distance between Tilbury Riverside and Gravesend is probably about the same as the distance spanned by the Emirates Air-Line at Greenwich.

Also, could modern ferries provide a better and more reliable link?

The only plan being implemented that will help get people cross the Thames at the present time, is Crossrail. It will be interesting to see how Dartford Crossing traffic changes, when Crossrail opens.

I think Crossrail could be part of quite a proportion of Cross-River traffic.

  • It links with the twenty-four trains per hour North-South links of Thameslink and the East London Line.
  • It links with West London and Heathrow.
  • If it served Ebbsfleet International, that would become a valuable Park-and-Ride station.
  • It passes right through the heart of London, as opposed to HS1 and the classic lines from the South, which terminate slightly to the North and South respectively.
  • I think one of the limiting factors on people switching from car to Crossrail, may well be the availability of car parking at Crossrail stations and especially those like Abbey Wood and Shenfield.

It is a pity that HS1 was so badly designed, as if Stratford International and Ebbsfleet International stations, were both better connected, then the Highspeed services on the line would be a valuable cross-River link.

I wrote about the poor connectivity of Ebbsfleet Internation to classic lines in So Near And Yet So Far!

My personal preference for another connection would be to build a bridge between Barking Riverside and Thamesmead, to take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line over rather than under the Thames, if this was possible. I would use tram-trains on the railway, that if required did a walkabout around the estates as trams on both sides of the river. The bridge would also be open to cyclists and pedestrians.

Properly designed, the bridge could be a visitor attraction in its own right!

Will Floods And Europe Solve The Problem?

If Crossrail/Thameslink is one elephant in the room, then flood protection for London and Europe are the others!

This is a Google Map of the Thames Estuary from Tilbury and Gravesend in the West to Southend in the East.

Gravesend And Tilbury To Southend

Gravesend And Tilbury To Southend

As I write this piece, the North West of England is suffering the ravages of Hurricane Desmond. Weather seems to be getting more extreme and the North Sea hasn’t had a major disaster since the North Sea Flood of 1953. This is from Wikipedia.

A combination of a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm over the North Sea caused a storm tide; the combination of wind, high tide, and low pressure led to a water level of more than 5.6 metres (18.4 ft) above mean sea level in some locations. The flood and waves overwhelmed sea defences and caused extensive flooding. The Netherlands, a country with 20% of its territory below mean sea level and 50% less than 1 metre (3.3 ft) above sea level and which relies heavily on sea defences, was worst affected, recording 1,836 deaths and widespread property damage. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern province of Zeeland. In England, 307 people were killed in the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Nineteen were killed in Scotland.

Desmond is very much a pussy-cat compared to what nature can and will throw at us.

In 1953, we had fewer casualties than the Dutch because our warnings were better and one would hope that because of universal television and better communications another North Sea Flood on the scale of 1953, would probably be less costly in lives lost.

The Dutch have determined that the sea shall not have them and have created impressive defences all along the coast call ed the Delta Works.

We have improved the defences along the Thames Estuary and London is now protected by the Thames Barrier.

In a section on the Future of the Thames Barrier in Wikipedia, this is said.

The barrier was originally designed to protect London against a very high flood level (with an estimated return period of one hundred years) up to the year 2030, after which the protection would decrease, whilst remaining within acceptable limits. At the time of its construction, the barrier was expected to be used 2–3 times per year. It is now being used 6–7 times per year.

It also says that the barrier would be replaced after 2070.

My cautious nature says that is a date that is too far in the future.

So why will Europe have such a large affect on the Thames Estuary?

Many predictions say that over the future, London will grow and become an even more powerful magnet for the people of Europe.

Europe itself will also become more prosperous, so we will see massive increase in both freight and road traffic across the channel.

The Channel Tunnel is unique amongst many major fixed cross-water links, in that it can be easily augmented by ferries, but I believe that people, vehicles and freight, will increasingly be on longer journeys on rail. Think about the effect of these developments.

  • The destinations served by direct train from St. Pancras will increase.
  • Cross-channel car traffic will increase.
  • The Dutch and the Germans have built th Betuweroute, which is high-capacity freight route.
  • Vehicle imports and exports are increasingly handled by special trains.
  • Liverpool is building a massive new container port. A lot of the freight could go by train to Europe.

I believe that a second fixed-link across the Channel will be built, which will in itself generate more trains to and from London and vehicular traffic to and from everywhere in the UK.

Improving the rail and road networks both suffer from the same problem – London.

  • Freight trains can get to and from Barking on HS1, but there is little spare capacity through London.
  • Passenger trains will increasingly be constrained by lack of capacity at St. Pancras, but using Ebbsfleet International and an extended Crossrail, would be a more than acceptable alternative for many travellers.
  • Road traffic will clog the Dartford Crossing and the Southern section of the M25.

The only solution is to create a new road and rail corridor to get around London.

As London will need a new flood barrier, probably we should start with an idea similar to Option C for a new Lower Thames Crossing.

A new road crossing connecting the M2 and M20 motorways in the south with the M25, which might be linked via a proposed new Thames flood barrier. The route from the north would pass close to South Ockendon, Orsett, Chadwell St Mary, West Tilbury, East Tilbury, across West Tilbury Marshes before it crossed the Thames just to the east of Gravesend and Thurrock. It would join the M2 in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in the Special Landscape Area. This proposed link is also within the Kent Downs AONB and special landscape area. According to the DfT, this long route would have “considerable environmental impacts”.

Given enough time to generate a full plan, we can probably come up with a better route, perhaps further to the East.




December 5, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments