The Anonymous Widower

Essex Road Station – 16th November 2020

These pictures show Essex Road station.

Note.

  1. It is a station of little architectural merit.
  2. It is not by any means step-free.
  3. The atmosphere could be better.
  4. In the last few weeks, I have witnessed two falls, that could have been serious with a little less luck on those dreadful stairs.

It is certainly not the best station in Islington, let alone North London.

 

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 7 Comments

A Train Of My Own!

To get to the the best Marks and Spencer food shop near me, I walk to Essex Road station and take a train to Moorgate or Old Street stations depending on the weather.

As it was sunny today, I took a private train to Old Street station.

Everybody else was asked to get on the Rail Replacement Bus.

November 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Northern City Line Must Almost Be At Capacity

Most Monday mornings, I go to LEON on Moorgate for breakfast.

I go to that branch, mainly because I can get a proper china mug for my tea and also because a cheery member of staff usually has what I want ready within a minute of my entering the store.

One day, I’ll confuse them by having something different! But then she looks the sort, who enjoys a joke!

To get to Moorgate station, I can take a bus, but I usually go via the Northern City Line from Essex Road station, as it’s quicker in the Peak and drops me in the right side of Moorgate for LEON.

Today, the train was very full and it looked like you’d have had trouble squeezing in any more.

Since the new Class 717 trains have been introduced ridership has grown and the trains are getting more crowded in the Peak. This is despite an 11% increase in capacity, compared to the older Class 313 trains.

Currently, there are the following Off Peak services into Moorgate station.

  • Four trains per hour (tph) – Welwyn Garden City
  • Four tph – Hertford North, Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage.

There are also extra services in the Peak.

Various improvements and developments will affect the number of passengers going to and from Moorgate.

Improvements To Stevenage Station

Stevenage station is a bottleneck on one leg of the services  of the Northern City Line to and from Moorgate station.

An additional platform with full step-free access, is being added to the station and should open this year, to terminate services from Moorgate station.

Currently, services that stop at Stevenage station, that are going North include.

  • One tph – LNER to Leeds or Harrogate.
  • One tph – LNER to Lincoln or York
  • Four tph – Thameslink to Cambridge.
  • Two tph – Thameslink to Peterborough.

These will be joined in Autumn 2021 by East Coast Trains to Edinburgh at a frequency of five trains per day.

I suspect a lot of passengers going between the North and Hertfordshire and Cambridge will change at Stevenage, rather than Kings Cross.

The works at Stevenage also give the impression, that they could handle more than the four tph, that run on the route.

Improvements To Highbury & Islington Station

Highbury & Islington station is going to get more escalators and step-free access to the four deep-level platforms at some point and this will surely attract more passengers to use both the Victoria and the Northern City Lines.

Frequency increases are also planned for the North and East London Lines, in the next year.

Will the Northern City Line be able to handle the extra passengers?

A Second Entrance At Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station is one of the constraints on even more trains on the ever-welcoming Dear Old Vicky and may have had money allocated for a second entrance with more escalators and much-needed lifts.

As I said with Highbury & Islington station, will the Northern City Line be able to handle the extra passengers?

Rebuilding Of Essex Road Station

I think that Essex Road station could be a good investment for a creative property developer.

  • The building has little if any architectural merit.
  • The location is convenient on a busy road Junction.
  • Large numbers of buses pass the station, but the positioning of bus stops could be improved.
  • The station needs step-free access.
  • A large number of flats could be built on the site, with good access to the station.
  • Car parking is terrible locally.

I could see this station being transformed.

But if it were to be improved with much better access, it would further increase the number of passengers using the services into Moorgate.

The Gospel Oak And Barking Line

If you are going between Barking and the West End, lots of passengers in the Peak seem to change to the Victoria Line at Blackhorse Road station and numbers doing this seems to have increased since the Gospel Oak and Barking Line was electrified and now, the route  has double the capacity it had before.

Also are more passengers needing the City walking across at Highbury & Islington station.

It should not be forgotten, that the Gospel Oak and Barking Line is being extended to Barking Riverside with a same platform interchange to c2c’s services to and from Grays.

An increase in frequency between Barking and Gospel Oak is also planned.

Developments on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will increase the number of passengers going to and from Moorgate station.

Crossrail

Consider.

  • The route between Moorgate and Highbury & Islington stations will become an important link between the Victoria Line and Crossrail, as there is no direct connection between the two lines.
  • The short route will also link the North London Line to Crossrail.
  • I suspect too,that passengers from Hertfordshire will go all the way to Moorgate for Crossrail.

In addition, when Crossrail opens, Moorgate station will be fully step-free with umpteen escalators and lifts.

Will there be enough capacity and services on the Northern City Line?

Conclusion

Rough calculations and my instinct suggest that there will need to be an increase of services into Moorgate station.

Currently, in the morning Peak, twelve tph or a train every five minutes run into Moorgate station.

  • This frequency is easily handled in a two platform station.
  • Lines with modern signalling on the London Underground can handle up to thirty-six tph in a two-platform station.
  • The route is double-track between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations, where the route splits into two.

Twenty or more tph could be run on this simple route, with modern signalling.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dalston Kingsland Station Problem

One of my local stations on the North London Line is Dalston Kingsland station.

Unlike Hampstead Heath station and the three neighbouring stations of Canonbury, Dalston Junction and Hackney Central, there are no lifts at Dalston Kingsland station and the stairs are narrower without a central rail.

Looking at the passenger traffic at the stations  I have mentioned, gives the following numbers for 2017-18 in millions.

  • Canonbury – 3.0
  • Dalston Junction – 5.7
  • Dalston Kingsland – 5.5
  • Hackney Central – 4.3
  • Hampstead Heath – 3.3

Dalston Kingsland serves almost as many passengers as does the nearby Dalston Junction, but it is a very inferior station.

  • Recently,  a high capacity wide gate-line has been installed.
  • When trains call at the station, it is difficult to get to the platforms, unless you wait until arriving passengers have come up the stairs.
  • There are no lifts.
  • More housing is being built around Dalston Kingsland station.
  • In December 2018, the train frequency through Dalston Kingsland was raised to eight from six trains per hour (tph).

Is Dalston Kingsland station an accident waiting to happen?

Various plans and other improvements will effect the passenger traffic through Dalston Kingsland station.

More Trains Through Dalston Kingsland Station

In Gospel Oak-Barking Fleet Plan Remains Unclear, I calculated that running the current combined eight tph service between Stratford and Clapham Junction/Richmond needs twenty trains.

  • Increasing this service from four tph to five trains per hour to both Western termini, would increase the frequency between Stratford and Willesden Junction to ten tph.
  • It would also require twenty-five trains to run the service.
  • London Overground has six five-car Class 710 trains on order, that will be used to improve the service on the North and West London Lines.

This would leave a spare train to cover failures and maintenance.

So it would appear that Dalston Kingsland station could get a train every six minutes in both directions.

Passengers would appreciate this, but what about the freight operators, that use the line?

Will a twenty-five percent increase in train capacity result in a similar increase in passengers using the stairs at the station?

The Effect Of London Overground Syndrome

In London Overground Syndrome, I described the syndrome like this.

This benign disease, which is probably a modern version of the Victorian railway mania, was first identified in East London in 2011, when it was found that the newly-refurbished East London Line and North London Line were inadequate due to high passenger satisfaction and much increased usage. It has now spread across other parts of the capital, despite various eradication programs.

The North London Line through Dalston Kingsland station seems to have a particularly strong form.of the syndrome.

In December 2018, the frequency through the station was increased by thirty-three percent, but overcrowding in the Peak seems not to have reduced.

Could it be that because the line offers a more pleasant and easier connection between Stratford, Highbury & Islington, Camden, Hampstead, Willesden, Clapham Junction, Acton and Richmond, that any increase in capacity is welcomed and passengers transfer from a more crowded Underground?

There will be more Ducking and Diving!

Crossrail Effects

I suspect only educated guesses can be made, as to what effects Crossrail will have on Dalston Kingsland station.

Judging by the number of passengers, who get on and off Overground trains at Highbury & Islington station, a lot of passengers use the North London and Victoria Lines for commuting and other journeys.

Crossrail, with its connection to the North London Line at Stratford and eventually at Old Oak Common will take passengers from the North London Line and the various connections between the two lines, will further even out passenger traffic.

If it does, it will be Londoners Ducking-and Diving again!

Avoiding Dalston Kingsland Station

I think that some groups of passengers will avoid Dalston Kingsland station.

  • Like me, some travellers have a choice of station.
  • Passengers walking between the two Dalston stations, may choose to use the shorter step-free interchange at Canonbury.
  • As the frequencies on the Overground increases, passengers may find that a less obvious route is better for them.
  • I suspect some savvy passengers take a train from West Croydon at Dalston Junction station and then cross the platform at Highbury & Islington station.

It’s classic animal behaviour to avoid problems and go by a better way.

Northern City Line Effects

The Northerrn City Line between Highbury & Islington and Moorgate stations could have an effect on passenger numbers at Dalston Kingsland station.

In a couple of years, the line will be much improved.

  • Services will be running seven days a week.
  • Elderly Class 313 traiins will have been replaced by new Class 717 trains.
  • There will be a step-free connection to Crossrail at Moorgate station.
  • Frequencies will be significantly increased.

Overall, there will be a new high-capacity line running North-South within walking distance or a couple of bus stops of the two Dalston stations.

I have already started to use the line more, by catching a bus to Essex Road station for a train to Moorgate station. It’s quicker in the morning Peak.

HS2 Effects

I remember using the North London Line in the 1970s, between Broad Street and Willesden stations. It was terrible. But now, when High Speed Two opens in 2026, London’s Mucky Duck which has grown into a swan, will speed you to Old Oak Common station for your journey to the North.

Because many of these travellers will have heavy bags with them, all stations on the North London Line must be made step-free.

Highbury & Islington Station Improvements

Highbury & Islington station was rebuilt for the Victoria Line in the 1960s, when costs were much more important than passenger convenience.

The area outside the station is being sorted, but the plans are starting to be developed to create better and step-free access to the deep level platforms.

A much improved Highbury & Islington station would create a lot of easier routes from both Dalston stations.

Essex Road Station Improvements

Essex Road station has lifts, but is not step-free as the lifts go to well below the platforms, to which the final connection is a long set of steps.

The station sits on what must be a valuable site in Islington, which would be ripe for redevelopment.

Redevelopment of this station will happen and it will make things a lot better for me, as it is within my walking range or a short bus ride.

Bus Improvements

When I moved to Dalston in 2010, there was a good bus service to Highbury & Islington station along the Balls Pond Road.

But now, a South London Mayor has cut this, because I suspect we can use the Overground.

But this assumes that Dalston Kingsland station is has quality access. Which of course it doesn’t!

The buses must be improved along the Balls Pond Road.

Six-Car Trains Through Dalston Kingsland Station

I’ve deliberately left this to last, as it is the biggest and most difficult.

There are two routes through Dalston Kingland station.

  • Four tph on that use the West London Line to go to Clapham Junction station.
  • Four tph on that use the North London Line to go to Richmond station.

One or both of these routes might be possible to be run by six-car trains using selective door opening on the short platforms.

Lengthening the new Class 710 trains will not be a problem, as a few extra coaches would be ordered.

On the other hand lengthening the existing Class 378 trains may be more problematical, as they are out of production. I suppose that two five-car trains could be converted into a six-car and a four-car.

Six-car operation would surely add twenty percent to the passengers going through the station.

The Future Of Dalston Kingsland Station

The extra trains and capacity through Dalston Kingsland station will increase the pressure on the inadequate access at the station.

But some of the other improvements will divert passengers from the station and take the pressure off.

I suspect that Transport for London are hoping this will be sufficient action to keep the station functioning at a comfortable level, until it is rebuilt for Crossrail 2.

But that is a tough ask and could contain a lot of wishful thinking.

Conclusion

Dalston Kingsland station needs lift and wider and safer stairs in the near future.

March 24, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Good Timetable Change In May For De Beauvoir Town

I live in the North of an area in London called De Beauvoir Town.

On the map, I live close to the junction of Mildmay Park/Southgate Road and the Balls Pond Road of Round the Horne fame!

The junction is a major bus interchange, with buses going regularly in all directions.

  • North to Manor House, Turnpike Lane and Wood Green.
  • South to Old Street, the City and London Bridge
  • West to Highbury and Islington station, the Angel and the West End.
  • East to Hackney, Waltham Forest and the River Lea.

All these buses was one of the reasons I moved here.

But note the railway stations ringing the area.

But that is not all!

  • Haggerston station is within walking distance on a good day, off the map to the South-East.
  • Highbury and Islington station is a short bus ride off the map to the West.
  • Angel station is a short bus ride off the map to the South-West.
  • Manor House station is a short bus ride off the map to the North.
  • Hackney Downs station is a short bus ride off the map to the East.

I can also get direct buses from local stops to Euston, Kings Cross, London Bridge, St. Pancras, Victoria and Waterloo.

From December 2018, I’ll be able to get a bus from the junction to the new Crossrail station at Moorgate/Liverpool Street.

Is there a better place to live for public transport?

On the twentieth of May, the date of the rail timetable change, things will get better.

An article on the timetable change in the May 2018 Edition of Modern Railways says this.

London Overground’s East London Line services are being recast in conjunction with the new Thameslink timetable. On the North and West London Lines, the off-peak timetable is being enhanced to match broadly the peak service, providing 8 tph between Stratford and Willesden Junction for most of the day seven days a week, with four continuing to Clapham Junction and the other four to Richmond.

London’s ugly duckling of the last century, is turning into a whole bevy of swans.

The service on the North London Line has improved several-fold since I moved here and will now be eight tph or a train every seven and a half minutes.

The East London Line will be recast, with another two tph this year to Crystal Palace station and two more next year to Clapham Junction station.

And then there’s the Northern City Line to Moorgate, that calls at Essex Road and Highbury and Islington stations!

In First ‘717’ In UK In June, I wrote about what will be happening in the May 2018 timetable change.

I said this.

From the May 2018 timetable change, the service levels will become.

  • Four tph to Welwyn Garden City
  • Five tph to Hertford North, with two tph extended to Stevenage or Watton-at-Stone.
  • No direct services will run to Letchworth Garden City. Change seems to be a cross-platform interchange at Finsbury Park.

The service termination at Watton-at-Stone station is only temporary until Network Rail build a new bay platform at Stevenage station.

These changes mean  that there will be nine tph between Alexandra Palace and Moorgate stations.

This represents a fifty percent increase in service frequency.

 

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

My Links To Thameslink

Thameslink is a railway, I don’t use much these days, as getting to stations is not that easy, since London Bridge was taken off the route, by the rebuilding.

St. Pancras is an absolute pain of a station to use, as the station was designed by a sadist with long tunnels from the deep-level Underground lines.

Farringdon is a better interchange going South, as it is step-free from the Westbound Metropolitan Line, which I take from Whitechapel after using the East London Line from Dalston Junction. But going North coming home from Farringdon is not easy.

City Thameslink is a bit of a walk from the 56 bus, which stops by my house.

Blackfriars is not the easiest station to get to from my area.

These are my thoughts about using Thameslink after about 2018, when the Great Northern Metro is open with its new Class 717 trains.

My Link To Thameslink Going North

Living where I do approximately midway between Highbury and Islington, Dalston Junction and Essex Road stations, getting to some major rail termini can be difficult and if I was taking a case with me, I would have to use a bus or taxi.

I tend to avoid Highbury and Islington station going out, as the station and its environs is in desperate need of a rebuild and to get say to the Victoria Line for Kings Cross is a long and difficult walk from the bus stop and through the maze of roads and tunnels to the platform.

But with Essex Road station having a frequent bus service from the stop nearest my house and a 10 tph connection to Finsbury Park, that will be my route to get to Thameslink going North to Cambridge or Peterborough.

I don’t think I’ll be alone, in using the Great Northern Metro to get access to Thameslink to go North.

My Link To Thameslink Going South

I have a choice of routes to go South on Thameslink.

  • I could take the same route as for going North, but the interchange at Finsbury Park is a dreaded down and upper.
  • I can take a 141 or 21 bus to London Bridge station. I regularly use this route coming home, but going South is dreadfully slow through Bank.
  • I can take a 38/56 bus to the Angel and get the Northern Line to London Bridge.
  • I can take a 56 bus to St. Bartholomews Hospital and walk downhill to Farringdon station.
  • I can take a train from Dalston Junction to Canada Water and then use the Jubilee Line.
  • Don’t suggest the Victoria Line to St. Pancras as the walk in the depressing tunnel at Kings Cross is to be avoided at all costs.
  • Don’t suggest a 30 bus to St. Pancras, as it requires a long walk through the busy Shopping Centre at St. Pancras because Thameslink doesn’t have a much needed Southern entrance.
  • I could always go via Essex Road and Finsbury Park.

I actually would like to take a train from Dalston Junction to say New Cross Gate for East Croydon and get Thameslink or the myriad Southbound services from there.

But the new proposed timetable for 2018, would seem to make that an more difficult dream, unless I wanted to wait for a long time on say Norwood Junction station.

Conclusion

Going North is easy, but as they don’t serve the \greater East London, GTR treat us with contempt and make it difficult for us to use Thameslink easily, if we’re going South.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Great Northern Metro

Govia Thameslink Railway have just announced their proposals to create a Great Northern Metro.

This was something I speculated about in A North London Metro.

GTR’s Proposals

This document on their web site gives these outline proposals.

  • 2018 timetable will provide new connections and increase capacity.
  • More frequent trains to provide a ‘true’ metro service.
  • New air-conditioned trains from 2018.

It looks like I got those right

These are other proposals.

14 Trains Per Hour To/From Moorgate in The High Peak

Currently, a maximum of 12 trains per hour (tph) can get in and out from Moorgate station in the High Peak.

Raising it by two to 14 tph surprised me, but it says that they have found a way with the new trains to save time possibly by using better technology to change the voltage quicker at Drayton Park.

Effectively, the headway between trains is being reduced from five minutes to four and a half minutes.

One big advantage for people like me, who live close to a Southern station on the line, as I do with Essex Road station, is that going North in the morning rush and South in the evening rush, will be easy.

Services To/From Moorgate in The Off Peak

This is a summary of the changes in the Off Peak.

On the other hand, it appears there will now be no direct trains between Moorgate and Letchworth Garden City.

My local station is Essex Road and I regularly use the line to go North and South between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace.

Instead of a measly six tph, I’ll now be getting 10 tph all day, with 8 tph on Sundays.

I thought it would be four tph to Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City, so they’re actually going to do better than I thought they would.

An Eastward Shift In Services

The two branches used to be treated fairly equally with 3 tph on each.

But now it appears that Hertford North gets preference.

But then the East Coast Main Line will be getting Thameslink services.

  • 6 tph stopping at Finsbury Park
  • 0 tph stopping at Alexandra Palace
  • 2 tph stopping at Potters Bar
  • 2 tph stopping at Welwyn Garden City
  • 6 tph stopping at Stevenage

Note that these are very much a summary.

Problem! – Will Thameslink Stop At Alexandra Palace?

,I do hope that Thameslink services not stopping at Alexandra Palace, when they stop at places like Oakleigh Park is a typo.

Consider.

  • Alexandra Palace is the last station before the Hertford Loop Line splits from the East Coast Main Line.
  • Alexandra Palace has an attraction that passengers might want to visit.
  • Alexandra Palace station may well be served by Crossrail 2.

But most importantly, Alexandra Palace could have a cross-platform and/or same-platform interchange between Great Northern Metro services on both routes and Thameslink.

So it would be a good interchange for eighty-year-old Aunt Mabel going from Enfield Chase to Gatwick Airport with her suitacse full of presents for her grandchildren.

My Link To Thameslink Going North

I laid this out in My Links to Thameslink and I suspect from 2018, I’ll take bus to Essex Road station and then take the Great Northern Metro to Finsbury Park.

 

I don’t think I’ll be alone, in using the Great Northern Metro to get access to Thameslink to go North.

My Link To Thameslink Going South

I laid this out in My Links to Thameslink and I suspect from 2018, I accept what GTR offer or take the Essex Road and Finsbury Park route.

  • Highbury And Islington Station

But what would help everybody within a couple of miles or so of Highbury and Islington station, is to upgrade the station to the Twentieth Century.

  • Provide a second entrance on the North side of Highbury Corner roundabout, where there is a disused station entrance.
  • Provide a better connection between the Northbound and Southbound deep-level platforms.
  • Provide full step-free access to the deep-level platforms.
  • Improve the lighting and ambience in the deep-level platforms.

Talking to someone who works in the station and is obviously familiar with the tunnels, he felt, as I do, that there are fairly simple solutions to sorting out the deep-level platforms.

I would do the following.

  • Open up the second entrance.
  • Create a subway under Holloway Road.
  • Improve the walking routes and access to buses outside the station.
  • Put lift access from the new entrance to a passage that would  cross all four deep-level lines.
  • Provide step-free access from the cross-passage to the four deep-level lines.
  • Replace the stairs connecting the two Southbound platforms

Unfortunately, I suspect that the new road bridge over the railway in front of the station has probably been built without leaving space for the subway.

The Link To Crossrail

In Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled, I showed that changing between Crossrail and the Northern City Line at Moorgate could be easy.

Now that the service into Moorgate will be 10 tph all day, with 8 tph on Sundays, the line will become an important link to Crossrail for a large area of North London.

Consider.

  • The Piccadlly Line has no connection with Crossrail, so changing at Finsbury Park for Moorgate might be the quickest way to get to the new line.
  • The Victoria Line has no connection with Crossrail, but there is cross-platform interchange at Highbury and Islington with the Great Northern Metro.
  • The North London Line connects to the Great Northern Metro at Highbury and Islington.

Taken together, the Piccadilly Line, Victoria Line and the Great Northern Metro, with help from more local transport methods like bikes and buses, will certainly improve the link to Crossrail for a large area of Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.

My only worry, is that as the Great Northern Metro gives such good access to Crossrail for such a wide area of London and South Hertfordshire, that the planned 10 tph into Moorgate all day, with 8 tph on Sundays, will be too low.

At least the improvements to the service are coming in around 2018, which would be before Crossrail opens in 2019.

Once Crossrail opens, I suspect, it will give me a better link to Thameslink, especially when I need to go South.

Conclusions

The service is a great improvement on the current one. But I predicted that!

The service is going to meet what I suspect,  GTR hope it will.

As an average punter on the Northern City route from Essex Road, I will get a lot more trains.

I shall certainly use Essex Road and Finsbury Park to get to Cambridge.

It’s a pity it doesn’t help to use Thameslink in the difficult direction to the South.

Related Posts

GTR’s 2018 Timetable Consultation

Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled

My Links To Thameslink

Thameslink To Rainham

 

September 19, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Step-Free Interchanges In East London

This map from carto.metro.free,fr shows the lines around where I live, which can be best described as a post code of N1.

Lines Around N1

Lines Around N1

I live halfway on the diagonal line between Dalston Kingsland and Essex Road stations. Years ago, there used to be a station at Mildmay Park, between Dalston Kingsland and Csnonbury, which if it still existed would be very useful for me, as it would be about a hundred and fifty metres away.

So my journeys often start from one of the half dozen bus routes, that have stops within fifty metres or so of where I live.

  • I’ll take a 38, 30, 56 or 277 to Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction stations for the North London Line and East London Line respectively.
  • I’ll take a 141 to Manor House station for the Piccadilly Line.
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Essex Road station for the Northern City Line
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Angel station for the Northern Line.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Moorgate for the Metropolitan and Circle Lines
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to London Bridge for main line trains.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Bank for the Central and Waterloo and City Lines
  • I’ll take a 56 bus to St. Paul’s for the Central Line
  • I’ll take 30 bus to Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston for main line trains.

Who said the three most important things when buying a house, are location, location and location?

Strangely, I rarely go directly to Highbury and Islington station, as the station is one of the worst in London for passenger convenience, with long and crowded tunnels and no step-free access to the deep tunnels.

If I need to go North on the Victoria Line, I will sometimes go to Essex Road and then take the Northern City Line for one stop to Highbury and Islington station, where there is a step-free level interchange to the Victoria Line.

There are several of these interchanges in East London, making train and tube travel easier.

Northern City And Victoria Lines At Highbury And Islington Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the layout of lines at the station.

HighburyAndIslingtonLines

Note how the two Northbound lines and the two Southbound lines of the Victoria and Northern City Lines are paired, so that passengers can just walk through one of several short tunnels that connect the two platforms.

This connection will get more important in the future, as improvements will bring more passengers through the interchange.

  • Highbuty and Islington station will be rebuilt, with access to the deep level platforms much improved.
  • If traffic said it was needed, the Southbound and Northbound deep-level platforms, which are not far apart might even be connected together and to a second entrance on the other side of Holloway Road.
  • The Northern City Line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will give an increase in capacity and I believe that the frequency on the Northern City Line will improve to 6, 8 or even 10 trains per hour (tph), thus making my ducking and diving easier.
  • The Northern City Line will connect to Crossrail and for the first time N1 to lots of places, will be one change at Moorgate from the Northern City Line to Crossrail.
  • The Victoria Line will increase in frequency to possibly 40 tph and benefit from station improvements at stations like Tottenham Hale, Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Central.

It should also be noted how the Crossrail connection at Moorgate will help me.

When going to football at Ipswich, I may walk to Essex Road and then get a train to Moorgate, where I will take Crossrail to perhaps Shenfield for a fast train to Ipswich.

But who knows what I’ll do, as there will be several different routes, all of which will have their advantages?

East London Line To North London Line At Highbury And Islington Station

This is only from the East London Line trains arriving from West Croydon in Platform 2 at Highbury and Islington station to Westbound trains on the North London Line in Platform 7.

Although not as powerful as the double interchange at Highbury and Islington station between the Victoria and Northern City Lines, it is typical of well-thought out connections all over the Overground.

Piccadilly And Victoria Lines At Finsbury Park Station

This is a cross-platform interchange, that is heavily used as effectively it gives a simple choice of route through Central London for passengers from the Northern ends of the Piccadilly and Northern Lines. It’s a pity that the interchange between the two lines at Kings Cross St Pancras and Green Park aren’t as simple.

Metropolitan/District And Central Lines At Mile End Station

This picture gives a flavour of the interchange at Mile End station.

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

It is a cross-platform interchange, that I use more and more, to go to the East on the Central Line. I usually arrive on a Metropolitan/District Line train from Whitechapel station, which is just a few stops down the East London Line.

Central Line And Shenfield Metro/Crossrail At Stratford Station

This interchange at Stratford station is going to be an integral part of Crossrail, as it will firmly connect the new line to the Central Line, with advantages to both.

This picture shows the interchange on the Eastbound platform.

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

This interchange is certainly well-used and Crossrail will only increase that use.

Why Is This Not Done More Often?

These interchanges seem to work well!

But what always puzzles me, is why this layout is not used more often. And I don’t just mean in London. In all my travels, I can’t remember getting off a train in Europe and just walking across the platform to get a metro or a tram.

I suspect it could be because to get this type of interchange, you need to build some expensive railway infrastructure.

All of the examples I have given concern where a new line is being added to an existing network.

I am surprised that Crossrail doesn’t use a similar interchange anywhere else on its route.

Look at the Crossrail stations I documented in How Are Crossrail’s Eastern Stations Progressing?

In all stations, the Crossrail and fast lines are in pairs, whereas to get Cross-platform interchange between fast and stopping services, probably needs a different layout. That is not the fault of Crossrail, but the way the Great Eastern Main Line was built decades ago.

At the London end of  the East Coast Main Line, the two slow lines are on either side of the two fast lines. At Stevenage, they have put two island platforms between the slow and fast lines, so that passengers have a cross-platform interchange between trains.

Stevenage Station

Stevenage Station

The Google Map clearly shows the layout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Will Be The Service On The Great Northern Lines After Thameslink Opens?

When I did the short trip from Essex Road station on the Northern City Line, that I wrote about in Never On Sunday, I was surprised to see that the frequency of the service was Transport for London’s turn-up-and-go frequency of 4 trains per hour (tph), with 2 tph to going to Hertford North, with 1 tph extended to Stevenage and 2 tph to Welwyn Garden City.

The services at Essex Road station in the Off Peak include these trains.

It is interesting to note that between 0800 and 0900 on a weekday morning, thirteen trains arrive at Moorgate.

From 2018, the new Class 717 trains will start to run on the Northern City Line. The number of passengers on this line will surely grow as the Southern terminus of Moorgate station will be on Crossrail from December 2018.

Assuming these six-car Class 717 trains can carry about half that of a 12-car  Class 700 train, then in that hour they could bring 4,329 passengers into Moorgate station.

Will the low-level platforms at Moorgate station be able to cope?

Probably easily, if there is a direct tunnel and escalator access to Crossrail.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the various lines at Moorgate.

 

MoorgateLines

Note.

  • The Northern City Line is superimposed on top of the Northern Line at Moorgate station.
  • The 200 m. long Crossrail platforms almost stretch between Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations.
  • Interchange between the Northern Line at Moorgate and the Central Line will probably be a three hundred metre walk.
  • Crossrail should mean that all Liverpool Street to Moorgate interchanges will be desert dry in the wettest weather.

If this massive interchange doesn’t create a need for more capacity on the Northern City Line, I’ll be very surprised.

As there have been improvements to the lines on the Great Northern Route, between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace stations, I wouldn’t be surprised that when Crossrail opens, this Cinderella line, that nobody wanted is running eight, ten or even more tph between Moorgate and Finsbury Park stations and further up the route.

The services on the Great Northern Route are intense, but despite that, the route has some of the most crowded trains in the UK..

Thameslink is coming and that will change everything dramatically.

At present Cambridge has 4 tph to Kings Cross in the Off Peak, of which two tph are non-stop Cambridge Cruisers.

When Thameslink connects to Cambridge, the provisional timetable says it will add 4 tph semi-fast trains between St. Pancras Thameslink and Cambridge.

Thameslink haven’t said what services they will retain between Kings Cross and Cambridge, but I did read somewhere that they want to hold on to the Class 387 trains to run the Cambridge Cruisers.

At present, Peterborough has 2 tph Great Northern services to Kings Cross, in addition to several non-stop expresses.

As with Cambridge, Peterborough will get an additional 4 tph, when Thameslink opens.

I think the outcome will be lots of direct services between Cambridge or Peterborough in the North and Kings Cross or St. Pancras Thameslink in the South.

If you are prepared to change just once, you’ll be able to travel between any station North of Finsbury Park to any of the three London terminals; Kings Cross, Moorgate and St. Pancras Thameslink.

I believe that because Thameslink has such a large number of stations and connections, that many passengers will have a wide choice of route.

There is also the performance and quality of the various trains on the routes to consider.

A succession of 100 mph plus trains speeding up and down the Great Northern Route won’t be a slower service than is currently offered.

There would probably be four semi-fast trains to and from both Northern destinsations, stopping at all major stations, with well-connected stopping trains serving the intermediate stations.

There might even be service patterns like say four tph between Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City stopping at all stations, which have a same platform interchange with four tph stopping services to Cambridge and Peterborough. So from say Foxton to New Barnet, you’d always change at Welwyn Garden City.

As an example of how the new improved Thanmeslink will help passengers, look at the routes from my home to Cambridge.

I could.

  1. Take a 277 bus to Highbury and Islington station and get a Victoria Line train to St. Pancras for a Thameslink train to Cambridge.
  2. Take a 38 bus or walk to Essex Road station and get a Northern City Line train to Finsbury Park for a Thameslink train to Cambridge.
  3. Take a 141 bus to Moorgate station and get a Northern City Line train to Finsbury Park for a Thameslink train to Cambridge.
  4. Take a 277 bus or walk to Highbury and Islington station and get a Northern City Line train to Finsbury Park for a Thameslink train to Cambridge.
  5. Take a 30 bus to Kings Cross station and get a Cambridge Cruiser to Cambridge.

The possibilities will be endless.

I wouldn’t take the first option, as St. Pancras is A Fur Coat And No Knicker Station, with a long walk between the Victoria Line and Thameslink.

My choice of route, will probably be decided by the first bus that arrives and the quality of the smile on the driver’s face.

 

 

 

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Never On Sunday

There have always been things that were banned on Sundays or because of personal reasons, you never did on that day.

  • A Welsh friend at Liverpool University called David Roberts didn’t use to drink on Sundays when I first met him. But we soon cured him of that!
  • My late wife, who had been a Sunday school teacher in her time, wouldn’t go to the cinema on Sunday, as her mother thought it ungodly.
  • For myself, I don’t think I went to a football match on a Sunday until I was about forty, as they were never staged on Sundays.

I also remember the first day, that C and myself went to the first 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on a Sunday. Now horse racing and most other sport on a Sunday is considered normal, just as it is in the rest of the world.

It also used to be that the Northern City Line didn’t run at weekends, despite having three stations that served The Emirates Stadium.

This morning before it rained, I took a trip to Harringay station to view the Wightman Road Bridge, by taking a 38 bus to Essex Road station and then going three stops to the North.

The line is getting new Class 717 trains, but I do feel that some work to improve the stations might not be a bad idea.

I actually wanted to buy a ticket on that dreadful machine from the Zone 6 boundary to Guildford, but unlike London Overground and some other companies ticket machines, it doesn’t sell such a useful ticket, which I wrote about in The Price Of Freedom.

More details of the Class 717 trains are given in this article in Rail Magazine, which is entitled New Govia Thameslink Railway trains to be Class 717s. This is said.

They are similar to the Class 700s being built by Siemens for GTR (of which 16 are in the UK), but they must have end doors as per safety regulations due to their operation in the Moorgate Tunnels. The design of this is at an advanced stage, with construction due to start this year.

I have felt that the Northern City Line, would be a classic application for an IPEMU for some time, as this would enable the Moorgate tunnels to be electrically-dead, as the trains would use batteries between Drayton Park and Moorgate stations. This would have the following effects.

  • The third-rail electrification could be deactivated or even removed.
  • The trains could also be 25 VAC only, if they wouldn’t be going into any other third-rail territory.

How would this impact tunnel safety regulations?

Whatever happens to this line, running a seven day a week service, will make the Northern City Line a valuable rail line in my part of London.

On a personal note, the line and Essex Road station in particular,  will help me cut-out the dreaded Highbury and Islington station, with its long passageways and lack of lifts.

June 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments