The Anonymous Widower

Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion

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

These is the first paragraph.

A report looking at transport upgrades across the southeast of England suggests that extending the Elizabeth line into Kent would cost around £3.2 billion. The report, by Transport for the South East (TfSE) also supports the proposal and looks at how it could be funded.

This image from the Abbeywood2Ebbsfleet consultation, shows the proposal.

Note, that there doesn’t appear to be too much new infrastructure, except for a proper connection between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations. References on the Internet, say that the similar-sized Luton DART connection at Luton Airport, cost around £225 million.

As the quoted cost is £3.2 billion, I would assume, that  installation of digital signalling on the North Kent Line and the trains that use it, is one of the major costs.

I have some thoughts.

Improvement Is Needed

There are endless jokes, which have a punchline something like, “If you want to go to X, I wouldn’t start from here.”

On Monday, I intend to go to visit my friend; Ian, who lives at Longfield in Kent. Abbey Wood is the nearest Elizabeth Line station to Longfield and it is only seventeen miles away from Abbey Wood, but the quickest way you can do it by train is 64 minutes with a change at Rochester or 79 minutes going back into London and coming out from Victoria.

As before, I leave London, I will be having breakfast with another friend in Moorgate, the Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood will be a good place to start.

If I got the trains right, I can get between Moorgate and Northfleet in 41 minutes. Northfleet is just 5.5 miles from Longfield.

If Ian, wants to go to London, he usually drives to Ebbsfleet, where there is lots of parking and gets the Highspeed trains to Stratford or St. Pancras. Trains take 12 and 19 minutes to and from the two London termini, but go nowhere near to Canary Wharf, the City of London, Liverpool Street, Oxford Street, Paddington, West London and Heathrow.

I believe that for Ian and the other nearly million residents of West Kent, that the following should be done as soon as possible.

  • Extend the Elizabeth Line to Gravesend, which would give 300,000 more people a local Elizabeth Line station.
  • Build a people-mover between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations, which would create a high-capacity rail hub for North-West Kent, with connections to London, Heathrow and the Continent, and massive parking.

Heathrow and Northfleet would take under an hour and a quarter on a direct train.

Current Services Between Abbey Wood And Gravesend

Currently, these services run at some point on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood And Gravesend stations.

  • Southeastern – London Cannon Street and London Cannon Street  – 2 tph – Via Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • Southeastern – London Cannon Street and Dartford – 2 tph – Via Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green and Dartford.
  • Southeastern – London Charing Cross and Gravesend – 2 tph – Via Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend.
  • Southeastern HighSpeed – London St Pancras and Ramsgate via Faversham – 1 tph – Via Ebbsfleet International and Gravesend.
  • Thameslink – Luton and Rainham – 2 tph – Via Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend.

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. I have only indicated stations, where trains stop between Abbey Wood and Gravesend stations.

Aggregating these trains gives the following totals for each station.

  • Abbey Wood – 6 tph
  • Belvedere – 4 tph
  • Erith – 4 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 6 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 4 tph
  • Greenhithe – 4 tph
  • Swanscombe – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 5 tph

As stations get at least four tph, with more important ones getting 5 or 6 tph, it appears to be a well-constructed timetable.

Effect Of Changing The London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street From The Erith Loop To A Dartford Service

This should make no difference to the numbers, as the service is now clear of the Elizabeth Line after Slade Green.

Effect Of Cutting Back The London Charing Cross and Gravesend Service To Dartford

This service between London Charing Cross and Gravesend has a frequency of 2 tph and calls at Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend.

Cutting it back to Dartford adjusts the totals as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 6 tph
  • Belvedere – 4 tph
  • Erith – 4 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 4 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 2 tph
  • Greenhithe – 2 tph
  • Swanscombe – 2 tph
  • Northfleet – 2 tph
  • Gravesend – 3 tph

Some of the frequencies have halved.

Effect Of Adding Eight tph To Northfleet And Four tph To Gravesend On The London Charing Cross and Gravesend Service

The Elizabeth Line Extension is proposed to add the following trains to the service.

  • 8 tph will continue from Abbey Wood to Northfleet.
  • 4 tph will continue from Abbey Wood to Gravesend.

This adjusts the totals as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 6 tph
  • Belvedere – 12 tph
  • Erith – 12 tph
  • Slade Green – 14 tph
  • Dartford – 12 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 10 tph
  • Greenhithe – 10 tph
  • Swanscombe – 10 tph
  • Northfleet – 10 tph ( 4 tph – Terminating, 6 tph – Passing through)
  • Gravesend – 7 tph ( 4 tph – Terminating, 3tph – Passing through)

Note.

  1. These surely are frequencies, that will satisfy the most picky traveller.
  2. There are freight trains running on the route.
  3. The tightest section would appear to be between Abbey Wood and Dartford, although Dartford and Northfleet is only two tph less.
  4. West of Northfleet it gets easier.
  5. But I do think though, that full digital signalling between Abbey Wood and Gravesend would be able to handle it.
  6. 14 tph is a frequency that is less than that of the central sections of the East London Line, the Elizabeth Line and Thameslink.
  7. I have flown my virtual helicopter along the line and there may be places to add a third track, which would add more capacity.

I believe that it is possible to achieve the passenger train frequencies in the last table.

Abbey Wood East Junction

This Google Map shows the track layout to the East of Abbey Wood station.

Note.

  1. There are crossovers so trains can run between the Elizabeth Line platforms on the North side of Abbey Wood station and the North Kent Line.
  2. There is space on either side of the railway.
  3. I have my doubts that the current track layout would be able to handle twelve Elizabeth Line, six North Kent Line and possibly a freight train in every hour, especially where flat junctions are involved.

I can see a flyover or dive-under being built in this area to handle the trains efficiently.

Abbey Wood Power Change-Over

Some thoughts.

  • I will assume, that the change-over between 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail power will take place in or near Abbey Wood station.
  • This would avoid any erection of electrification gantries to the East of Abbey Wood station.
  • If the Office of Road and Rail refuse to allow any more third rail, I could see a Headbolt Lane solution being applied, where batteries are used to bridge the 1.4 mile gap between Abbey Wood station with its 25 KVAC overhead electrification and Belvedere station with its 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • North Kent Line trains would take their existing route between Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations.
  • Also, if a comprehensive and efficient track layout is used here, then there might be cost savings if the Elizabeth Line trains supplied their own power from batteries.

An efficient junction to the East of Abbey Wood station, coupled with well-thought out electrification could be key to successfully handling the nearly 20 tph at Abbey Wood station.

Belvedere, Erith And Slade Green Stations

Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green stations are on a double-track section of the line.

  • The three stations are not step-free.
  • There appear to be a lot of industrial sites, that could be developed for housing.
  • There might be the possibility of adding an extra track in places.
  • Luckily, there are no level crossings.
  • There are some footbridges over the railway, that probably need updating to step-free

I suspect that developing the housing on this route will be most important.

Slade Green Depot

This Google Map shows Slade Green depot and the large triangular junction opposite the depot.

Note.

  1. Slade Green station is at the top of the map.
  2. Slade Green depot is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The West point of the junction leads to Bexleyheath.
  4. The West and North points of the junction are connected by the Erith Loop.
  5. The South point of the junction leads to Dartford.

There are rail capacity problems in this area.

  • Slade Green depot is not big enough.
  • One train service goes both ways on the Erith Loop between Slade Green and Bexleyheath every thirty minutes, which could be a block on increasing train frequencies between Abbey Wood and Dartford stations.
  • The proposal is saying that the Slade Green and Bexleyheath service will go via Dartford station, where it will probably reverse.

I can see comprehensive redevelopment of the depot and the junction to remove the capacity problems and perhaps build a lot of housing.

  • If the Erith Loop is not used could the centre of the junction be developed with a much-needed extension to the depot?
  • The depot might be moved elsewhere or perhaps rebuilt with tower blocks on the top.

I think that moving the Slade Green and Bexleyheath service via Dartford could mean that the Erith Loop isn’t needed, so this might free up space to increase the size of the depot.

Dartford Station

This Google Map shows Dartford station and the area around the station.

Note.

  1. The station has four long platforms.
  2. It should be able to handle the 12 tph in both directions.
  3. There is a lot of new developments by the station.
  4. The station is step-free.
  5. There are some pictures of Dartford station in Dartford Station – June 27th 2022.

But I do suspect that the station probably needs extra capacity and a substantial rebuild.

Stone Crossing, Greenhithe And Swanscombe Stations

Stone Crossing, Greenhithe and Swanscombe stations will be handling 10 tph.

  • Greenhithe is a new station with full step-free access.
  • But Stone Crossing and Swanscombe stations may need improvement to bring them up to Elizabeth Line standards.
  • More details of Stone Crossing station are given in Stone Crossing Station – June 27th 2022.
  • More details of Greenhithe station are given in Bluewater Shopping Centre By Train.
  • More details of the current state of Swanscombe station are given in Swanscombe Station – June 27th 2022.
  • The one level crossing in the area was closed in 2018.
  • There may be scope to add an extra track at places in this section.

I feel that these three stations could be fairly easy to bring up to the required standards.

Northfleet Station

Northfleet station is a station, which in the words of estate agent; Roy Brooks, would have a lot of potential.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The two tracks through the station are the North Kent Line.
  2. The other two tracks are freight sidings.
  3. The car-parks at Ebbsfleet station are in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. There appears to be a large cleared site to the North-West of the station.

These pictures show the station.

The requirements for the station will be as follows.

  • The ability to handle 6 tph passing through.
  • The ability to be able to handle 4 tph, that terminate at the station.
  • Terminating four tph, will probably need two platforms for all eventualities.
  • Full step-free access.
  • An interchange with Ebbsfleet International station is also needed.
  • Is car parking needed?

There is certainly enough space.

The Pedestrian Link Between Northfleet And Ebbsfleet Stations

This is part of the plan and is shown on the first map in this post.

This Google Map shows Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.

Note.

  1. The large Ebbsfleet International station towards the bottom of the map.
  2. Northfleet station on the North Kent Line in the North East corner of the map.
  3. The two stations are about five hundred  metres apart as the  crow flies.

There has been a lot of pressure in the past to build a pedestrian link between the two stations, as reported by the Wikipedia entry for Northfleet station.

The station is very close to Ebbsfleet International station (the NNE entrance is only 334 yards (305 m) from Northfleet’s station), but passengers (using public transport) will find it far easier to access Ebbsfleet International from Gravesend or Greenhithe, as these stations are more accessible and offer easy access to Fastrack bus services. The walking route between the two stations is 0.6 miles (1 km) or 0.8 miles (1.3 km) and a suitable pedestrian link has not been built because of funding issues and objections from Land Securities.

Why when Ebbsfleet International station was built in the early 2000s for opening in 2007, was a pedestrian link not built between the two stations?

How much did omitting the link save?

Luton Airport are building the Luton DART, which is a people mover to  connect Luton Airport Parkway station with the airport.

  • It is 1.4 miles long.
  • It is fully automated.
  • It might have an extra station serving the mid-stay parking.
  • It appears to be taking three years to build.

All of this very comprehensive system appears to be costing around £200 million.

I doubt that a simple pedestrian link, like a bridge with travellators,  would have cost more than a few tens of million pounds.

Will Northfleet/Ebbsfleet Become A Major Railway Hub?

If Northfleet station and the connection to Ebbsfleet is well designed,, I can see this station becoming a major railway hub.

  • It would have Eurostar Continental services.
  • It would have HighSpeed services to London and Kent.
  • It would have Elizabeth Line services to London and Heathrow.
  • It would have Thameslink and Southeastern services.
  • The station would have lots of parking.

I also feel in the future that more Continental services will be developed.

  • Adding extra platforms for Continental services could be easier than at St. Pancras.
  • It could be an ideal terminus for sleeper trains to and from the Continent.
  • I might be the ideal terminus for very long distance trains to and from the Continent.

Northfleet/Ebbsfleet has something that St. Pancras lacks – space.

Gravesend Station

Gravesend station is a rebuilt step-free station with three platforms, as these pictures show.

But is it the right station, for the end of the Elizabeth Line?

These points are in favour.

  • There is a bay platform, that could handle 4 tph.
  • The station is step-free.
  • The station has had a recent refurbishment.
  • It has HighSpeed services to London and East Kent.
  • Gravesend is a town of 74,000 people.
  • Passengers can change between through trains by just staying on the same platform.

But these points are against.

  • The station is on a cramped site in the town centre.
  • There is no train stabling nearby.
  • Adding lots of car parking may be difficult.
  • Suppose adding the Elizabeth Line to the town was very successful and it was felt more services were needed. Could Gravesend station cope?

These are the times for the various services.

  • HighSpeed to St. Pancras – 25 minutes
  • HighSpeed to Stratford – 17 minutes
  • Southeastern to Charing Cross – 65 minutes
  • Thameslink to Abbey Wood- 28 minutes
  • Thameslink to London Bridge – 60 minutes

I estimate that the Elizabeth Line will take just over 50 minutes to Tottenham Court Road.

This last timing in itself is a good reason for the Elizabeth Line to serve Gravesend.

But I don’t think the Elizabeth Line has to start there.

I am worried that the Elizabeth will be too successful.

  • It serves Central London, Paddington and Heathrow.
  • It will have a frequency of four tph from and to Gravesend.
  • It will have trains with a very large capacity.
  • The trains will have wi-fi and 4G connections.

I don’t think the cramped Gravesend station will be able to cope with the needs of expansion.

  • An extra platform.
  • Handling trains that need to be turned back to London.
  • More car parking.

Northfleet/Ebbsfleet will have the parking and eight tph on the Elizabeth Line, so surely the best solution is to have the actual Elizabeth Line terminal station to the East of Gravesend.

  • Travellers to the West of Gravesend will use Northfleet/Ebbsfleet.
  • Travellers in Gravesend will use Gravesend station by walking, cycling or using a local bus.
  • Travellers to the East of Gravesend will use the new terminal station.

The Elizabeth Line extension is supposedly costing £3.2 billion, so it should serve as many potential passengers as possible.

The Elephant In The Garden Of England

It is proposed that the new Lower Thames Crossing is built to the East of Gravesend.

This map from the Department of Transport, shows the route.

Note.

  1. The new crossing, which is shown in red, bypasses the Dartford Crossing on the M25.
  2. The A226 runs between Gravesend and Higham via a junction with the new crossing at Chalk.
  3. Northfleet is to the West of Gravesend.

This Google Map shows the area between Chalk and Higham.

Note.

  1. Chalk in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Higham in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The A226 running between Chalk and Higham.
  4. Higham station on the North Kent Line about half-way up the East side of the map.
  5. The North Kent Line running across the top of the map between Gravesend and Higham stations via Hoo Junction.

The Lower Thames Crossing will run North-South across this map to the East of Chalk and according to the Department of Transport map to the West of Thong.

I should admit, that I don’t drive, so the Lower Thames Crossing will be of no use to me, but I have friends in Kent and most seem to be in favour of the new crossing.

Reopening The Hoo Branch To Passenger Trains

In Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening, I wrote about an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways with the same title.

This is the first paragraph of the Modern Railways article..

Medway Council is working with Network Rail and other industry players in an effort to make restoration of a passenger service to Hoo on the Isle of Grain branch feasible. The Council was awarded £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2020 to support schemes to facilitate building of 12,000 new houses in the area, with £63 million of the HIF money for reinstatement of services on the Hoo Branch.

The article mentions, this new infrastructure.

  • A new station South of the former Sharnal Street station.
  • Works to level crossings, of which there are six between Gravesend station and proposed site of the new Hoo station.
  • A passing place at Hoo Junction, where the branch joins the North Kent Line.
  • A passing place at Cooling Street.

It looks like we may have the smaller project of reopening the Hoo branch railway, whilst a major road and tunnel is built through the area.

This OpenRailwayMap shows the North Kent Line between Gravesend and Higham stations.

Note.

  1. Gravesend station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Higham station is at the Eastern edge of the map.
  3. The railway shown in orange is the North Kent Line.
  4. The railway shown in yellow is the Hoo branch.
  5. The railway shown in red is the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

It looks like the path of the new crossing could follow a similar path to the overhead power cable shown on this map.

According to Modern Railways, the main reason for reopening the Hoo Branch for passenger trains is to provide rail access for new housing on the Isle of Grain.

  • Improving the Hoo branch will also help the freight services to the various docks and installations on the Isle of Grain.
  • Will the builders of the new crossing, use the Isle of Grain for the supply of aggregates and the disposal of tunnel spoil?
  • Remember that barges on the Thames were used to remove the tunnel spoil from London for both Crossrail and the Battersea extension to the Northern Line.

My knowledge of major projects is saying to me, that before the major works of the new crossing are started, this branch railway must be updated, otherwise it will cause problems in the future.

Could this be why, the Hoo branch reopening has been mentioned in both the April and July 2022 Editions of Modern Railways? Perhaps a sensible decision has been made, that means the Hoo branch will be improved first, to speed the construction of the new Lower Thames Crossing.

Could The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To The Proposed Hoo Station?

The proposed Hoo station is to be just South of the former Sharnal Street station.

  • This is under ten kilometres from Hoo Junction, where the North Kent Line is electrified.
  • A single platform could handle 4 tph, but provision for two platforms would be prudent.
  • A couple of sidings could provide stabling.
  • Services would join the North Kent Line at Hoo Junction.
  • Services would use battery power between Hoo Junction and Hoo station.
  • If charging were needed at Hoo station a short length of 25 KVAC overhead electrification would be needed.
  • There is plenty of power available locally to power any electrification.

This Google Map shows the possible location of the station.

Note.

  1. The A 289 road running NE-SW across the map from a roundabout in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The A 289 leads from the roundabout in the South-West corner of the map to the Medway Tunnel to Chatham.
  3. Sharnal Street is between the two roundabouts.
  4. The single-track railway crosses the A 289 at right-angles, about 500 metres South of Sharnal Street.
  5. There is even a high voltage power line  going through the area to the South of the railway.

It seems to be an ideal place for a station with good road access, space and plenty of power to charge battery vehicles and trains.

I took these pictures of where the A289 crosses over the railway on June 27th 2022.

Note.

  1. The substation site, which is marked with Network Rail logos. It looks like power has been provided to the site.
  2. The high-voltage line passing to the South of the site.
  3. There were trucks carrying tunnel segments. Is there a factory on the Isle of Grain and will it produce segments for the Lower Thames Crossing?
  4. The Sharnal Street bridge over the railway.

It certainly looks like Network Rail have been planning a station there for some time.

Around The Isle Of Grain

I took these pictures of the Isle of Grain on June 27th 2022.

Note.

  1. There is a lot of housing planned on the island.
  2. Someone wants to build a theme park.
  3. The road past the station leads to the Medway Tunnel.

All these factors would add to the case for the station.

Battery-Electric Class 345 Trains

There would be a need to develop a third-rail battery/electric version of the Class 345 trains.

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

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

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

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

A Simple Extension Of The Elizabeth Line

The branch to Hoo station could be a very simple extension of the Elizabeth Line.

  • There appear to be no challenging engineering problems.
  • Parking and cycling routes could be provided as required at the station.
  • The centre of Gravesend would be under ten minutes from Hoo station.
  • There would be a same-platform change for HighSpeed services at Gravesend station.
  • The developers of the housing would be over the moon.
  • Workers for the Lower Thames Crossing and the big energy projects on the Isle of Grain could reverse commute from London.
  • The station would only be a few minutes more than an hour from Central London.
  • The station could also double as a Park-and-Ride for Chatham and Gillingham.
  • Buses could connect Hoo station to Chatham and Gillingham.

It could prove to be a very valuable station for the Isle of Grain and the Medway Towns.

The Contactless Ticketing Conundrum

This is said on the Transport for London website.

Contactless pay as you go is accepted throughout the Elizabeth line.

So it’s just a case of Have Card Will Travel!

So this will mean, that contactless ticketing will have to be accepted at all stations East of Abbey Wood.

Everybody will love that!

Are There Any Other Possible Elizabeth Line Destinations In Kent?

Train companies, since the days of British Rail have run Peak time commuter trains to bring workers into London in the morning and take them home in the evening.

There will be four tph passing through Gravesend and they don’t all have to go to and from Hoo station.

Digital signalling will give flexibility as to which stations the trains could serve.

Possibilities include.

Gillingham

Gillingham station may be a possibility.

Maidstone West

Maidstone West station may be a possibility.

Rainham

Rainham station has three platforms and is already served by two Thameslink tph to Luton through Central London, which use the bay Platform 0

Some might argue that two Elizabeth Line tph should extend from Abbey Wood to Rainham, to give a four tph service between Abbey Wood and Rainham.

This would be a North Kent Metro.

Rochester

Rochester station has three platforms and Platform 3 can turn trains back to London.

It is already used by Thameslink to turn Peak services.

Project Management

The project may be budgeted to cost £3.2 billion, but it is a small number of independent projects.

  • Digital signalling
  • Electrification changeover at Abbey Wood station.
  • An efficient junction East of Abbey Wood.
  • Rebuild Belvedere station with step-free access.
  • Rebuild Erith station with step-free access.
  • Rebuild Slade Green station with step-free access.
  • Extend Slade Green depot.
  • Upgrade Dartford station.
  • Rebuild Stone Crossing station with step-free access.
  • Upgrade Greenhithe station.
  • Upgrade Swanscombe station.
  • Rebuild Northfleet station with step-free access and two extra bay platforms.
  • Install people mover between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.
  • Upgrade the Hoo Branch.
  • Build Hoo station.

Note.

  1. Gravesend station would only need minimal updating.
  2. As I said before, I suspect the digital signalling will be the biggest cost.
  3. Choosing the optimal order is good project management!
  4. Projects that create fare revenue should be done early, especially if they don’t interfere with services on the railway.

The first projects, that I would develop would be these.

  • Rebuild Northfleet station with step-free access and two extra bay platforms.
  • Install people mover between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.
  • Upgrade the Hoo Branch.
  • Build Hoo station.

As I said earlier, this project needs to be developed with the Lower Thames Crossing.

Conclusion

This seems an excellent plan.

 

 

 

 

 

June 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Council ‘Talking’ To Government On Improving Train Provision, Leader Says

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Barking and Dagenham Post.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell said the authority is “talking” to the government about improving train provision through the borough.

Last week saw the opening of the Elizabeth line, which stretches more than 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

But none of its stations are in Barking and Dagenham – with the nearest being Chadwell Heath – and Cllr Rodwell does not believe the borough stands to benefit from the line at the moment.

He has a point and is asking for extra stations in the borough.

Dagenham East on c2c is mentioned.

This paragraph also talks about HS1 domestic.

Cllr Rodwell, who is beginning a third term as council leader, also said HS1 domestic should stop in the borough.

At the moment, the domestic services that run on the line are operated by Southeastern and travel between London and Kent.

The sole stops in the capital are St Pancras and Stratford International.

“It should be Ebbsfleet, Purfleet, Barking, Stratford International” before terminating at St Pancras, Cllr Rodwell said.

“That would be massive for the ability of our young people to get jobs.

I feel he’s right about the jobs, but would the extra stations be possible.

Dagenham East

This map from cartometro.com shows the location of Dagenham East station.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line passing through Romford at the North of the map.
  2. The District Line and c2c passing through Upminster across towards the bottom of the map.
  3. Upminster is in the London Borough of Havering, as are all stations after Dagenham East.
  4. Dagenham East station is the second station on the line and used to be a c2c station until 1962.

This Google Map shows Dagenham East station.

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  • The c2c platforms appear to be still in place. Although, some work needs to be done.
  • A new bridge will be required to access the far platform.
  • six c2c trains per hour (tph) pass through the station.

I feel that perhaps a two tph service between Dagenham East and Fenchurch Street could be possible.

A Thought About High Speed One

High Speed One links London and the Channel Tunnel.

  • Every time a train stops, it increases the total journey time by a couple of minutes.
  • So two extra stops on Southeastern Highspeed services at Purfleet and Barking, would slow the service and take up capacity on High Speed One.
  • If you read the Wikipedia entry for the link, there are several operators, who seem to be hoping to run extra services on the route.
  • In addition Thalys and Eurostar have merged and surely, they will bring London more into their routes.

I feel that what spare capacity, there is on High Speed One will more likely be allocated to European services than domestic services in East London. It’s probably more profitable for the operator of High Speed One for a start.

Purfleet

This Google Map shows Purfleet station and its location in relation to High Speed One.

Note.

  1. Purfleet station is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. High Speed One runs across the North-East corner of the map.
  3. Purfleet station is served by two tph between Fenchurch Street and Grays.
  4. In Purfleet Station – 19th August 2021, there is a gallery of pictures of Purfleet station.
  5. In that post, I also describe planned developments at Purfleet station.

Given the distance between the current Purfleet station and High Speed One, and the planned developments, I think that an interchange between c2c and High Speed One at the current Purfleet station, would not be a very practical one.

But there may be possibilities to the East, where c2c and High Speed One cross.

This Google Map shows the location of their crossing by the QE2 bridge.

Note.

  1. High Speed One going diagonally NW-SE across the map
  2. The A 282 crossing over the QE2 bridge going North-South.
  3. The c2c line going East-West across the map.

Could the proposed station be built, where the two rail lines cross?

Probably, but!

  • High Speed One would only connect to the Fenchurch Street and Grays service running at two tph.
  • Passengers for the City of Southend would have to change at Grays.
  • There would probably need to be separate lines for expresses to pass stopping trains.
  • Stations on viaducts are expensive to build.

I don’t think a station at Purfleet would be the most practical or affordable of projects.

Barking

This OpenRailwayMap shows the routes of High Speed One and c2c through Barking.

Note.

  1. The red line is High Speed One.
  2. High Speed Two is shown in pink, when it is in tunnel.
  3. The orange line is the c2c line between Fenchurch Street and Grays.
  4. Dagenham Dock station is in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
  5. Rainham station is in the London Borough of Havering.

It looks like Dagenham Dock station would be the only station, where an interchange could be built.

This Google Map shows Dagenham Dock station.

Note.

  1. The top pair of lines are the c2c lines.
  2. The next pair of lines are High Speed One.
  3. The lines below High Speed One are a freight link between High Speed One and the Barking freight hub.

There certainly would appear to be space for two platforms on High Speed One.

But then we still have the problem of an extra station using up valuable space on High Speed One.

The only solution, that I can think of, is that Southeastern HighSpeed services would perhaps stop only at Dagenham Dock or Stratford, but not both.

Conclusion

In this simple analysis, it looks like an extra stop on c2c at Dagenham East is possible, but extra stations on High Speed One might be difficult to fit in.

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

RENFE Aims To Compete With Eurostar On Paris – London Route

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

There are a lot of issues in this article and there does seem to be a degree of rivalry between French and Spanish rail operators.

In From Madrid To London, I describe a journey by train from Madrid to London via Barcelona and Paris.

These three paragraphs were the end of that post.

I finally arrived in London at 18:30 or just thirteen hours forty minutes after leaving Madrid.

This journey will get quicker, as for quite a way along the south coast of France, the trains don’t run on high speed lines. I can’t find any references to the distances on the journey, although Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London are given as 621 and 495 kilometres respectively. Map Crow gives the Barcelona to Paris distance at 831 kilometres. I know this isn’t accurate and is probably a bit short, but that gives a total of 1947 kilometres, so my journey was at an average speed of 142 kmh. This compares with an average speed of 200 and 220 kmh on the first and last legs from Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London respectively.

If the centre section was capable of an end-to-end average of 200 kmh, then a time from Madrid to London of under ten hours should be possible, especially if it was one train all the way.

I suspect that the ultimate aim of RENFE is to run a direct Madrid and London service.

  • It would go via Barcelona, Perpignan, Lyon and Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy.
  • It would bypass Paris to the East.
  • It would serve Charles de Gaulle Airport and Disneyland Paris.
  • A sub-thirteen hour journey would certainly be possible with the existing infrastructure.

Note.

  1. There would be lots of opportunities to split the journey.
  2. Travellers regularly fly thirteen hours around the world. C and myself have done it with three kids in steerage.

My statement in the earlier post was ambitious and relied on building a new LGV across the South of France.

Conclusion

It could be an interesting way to travel between London and Spain.

October 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

These New Sleeper Trains Are Basically Luxury Hotels On Wheels

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

French startup; Midnight Trains, aims to update sleeper trains for the twenty-first century.

What Routes Are Being Offered?

The Time Out article says this.

Centred around Paris’s Gare du Nord train station, routes will stretch as far as 800km in a star shape across Europe, encompassing major destinations such as Madrid, Lisbon, Porto, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen and even Edinburgh.

A map on the Midnight Trains web site, shows these individual routes.

  • Paris and Barcelona
  • Paris and Edinburgh
  • Paris and Madrid
  • Paris and Porto
  • Paris, Brussels, Hamburg and Copenhagen
  • Paris, Brussels, Hamburg and Berlin
  • Paris, Milan and Venice
  • Paris, Florence and Rome

I’m sure this list will grow.

Some Detailed Looks At Routes

I shall give a few notes about some of the proposed routes.

Paris And Barcelona

Crows would fly 831 kilometres or 516 miles.

I have gone by train between Barcelona and Paris twice. One trip is described in From Barcelona To Paris.

It looks like it takes 06:40 in a TGV without a change.

The service leaves from Barcelona Sants and arrives at Paris Lyon.

Time Out says journeys are centred on Gare Nord, so could the train access that terminal from the South?

An eight or nine hour sleeper journey would probably be convenient for train operators and passengers.

But I suspect that this route may need trains that can take advantage of the high speed nature of much of the route.

Paris And Edinburgh

Crows would fly 873 kilometres or 543 miles.

  • I have gone by train between London and Edinburgh many times and four-and-a half hours would not be an unreasonable time.
  • I have also used  Eurostar between London and Paris many times and two-and-a-quarter-hours would not be an unreasonable time.

An eight or nine hour sleeper journey would probably be convenient for train operators and passengers.

The most efficient way could be for the Paris and Edinburgh service to operate would be with a reverse at St. Pancras.

  • It could be at between one and three in the morning, as sleeper trains run slower than high speed services.
  • It would take about ten-fifteen minutes for the driver to change ends.

Would they be allowed to pick up passengers on the way through London?

  • I doubt they would be able to do this universally, but there must be a market for passengers needing to get to Edinburgh or Paris early in the morning from London.
  • During the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, on one day, I used the Caledonian Sleeper to return to London. It was packed and a sleeper train leaving for Paris and Edinburgh might pick up a substantial number of passengers after sporting or cultural events or business that finished late in the evening.
  • Timings could be arranged, so that both the Edinburgh and Paris legs were sufficient for say four or five hours sleep.

Caledonian Sleeper would probably object. But competition of this nature is often mutually beneficial.

There is also an alternative fully-electrified route that avoids the reverse at St. Pancras.

It winds its way through East London between Barking and Holloway using the North London Line.

It is feasible, but wouldn’t have the commercial advantages of a reverse in St. Pancras.

Would the Paris and Edinburgh services call at other stations?

The Lowland Caledonian Sleeper to Edinburgh and Glasgow calls at the following other stations.

  • Watford Junction – Pick up Northbound – Set down Southbound
  • Carlisle – Pick up Southbound – Set down Northbound
  • Carstairs – Pick up Southbound – Set down Northbound
  • Motherwell – Pick up Southbound – Set down Northbound

Would the Midnight Trains do something similar. Perhaps they would call at the following stations.

  • Stevenage – Pick up Northbound – Set down Southbound
  • York – Pick up Southbound – Set down Northbound
  • Newcastle – Pick up Southbound – Set down Northbound

This would create three extra sleeper services.

  • Paris and Newcastle
  • Paris and York
  • Stevenage and Edinburgh

Commercially this must be attractive, as it would require no extra rolling stock.

I also suspect providing Customs and Immigration for outgoing passengers at York and Newcastle would not be an expense, that made the stops unviable.

Paris And Madrid

Crows would fly 1057 kilometres or 657 miles.

In 2014, I used trains from Madrid to Paris and on to London, which I wrote about in From Madrid To London.

That was a trip that I planned on the move, so it could have been done faster.

Looking at the timetables, I find the following.

  • Paris and Barcelona – 6:41
  • Barcelona and Madrid – 2:45

Note

  1. All times are given in hours:minutes.
  2. A direct service without a change at Barcelona must be possible.
  3. Would this service pick up and set down at Girona, Barcelona, Camp de Tarragona and Zaragoza?

A ten or eleven hour sleeper journey would probably be feasible and convenient for train operators and passengers.

But when I look at the route map on the Midnight Trains web site, their route between Paris and Madrid appears to go further to the West.

I have a strong feeling that they are proposing to use the currently closed route via the iconic Canfranc station.

But then Wikipedia says this about plans for the future of the route and the station.

The government of Aragon has long held various ambitions for the rehabilitation of the station. Plans have been mooted to redevelop the main station building into a hotel, which would involve the construction of a new station beside it to replace it. There have been explorations of options to reopen the through line as the “western trans-Pyrenean line”; this initiative would reportedly involve the assistance of the government of Aquitaine, the adjacent French region. In February 2020, it was announced that funding from the European Union had been made available for the purpose of reopening the through line and relaunching international services.

Note.

  1. A regular rail service between Pau in France and Zaragoza in Spain would tick a lot of boxes.
  2. On the French side the Pau-Canfranc railway is a fifty-eight mile electrified single-track, standard-gauge railway.
  3. On the Spanish side, the railway is Iberian gauge.
  4. It would probably be a useful freight route.
  5. If it could take a TGV, it would enable faster TGV links between France and the Iberian nations.

It looks to me, that if it was properly rebuilt, it could be a useful standard gauge line between the high speed networks of France and Spain.

Looking at the timetables, I find the following.

  • Paris and Pau – 4:24
  • Zaragoza and Madrid – 1:35

If Pau and Zaragoza could be achieved in three hours, times would be as good or better, than the Barcelona route.

Paris And Porto

Crows would fly 1213 kilometres or 753 miles.

This is a challenging one to find the route, but I did find a current time of just over fourteen hours with lots of changes.

But from Zaragoza, there does appear to be a route via Burgos and Vigo.

It could be up to sixteen hours, so would probably be the better part of a day.

Could the Madrid and Porto services, provide a service to and from Canfranc?

Consider.

  • Canfranc station is a spectacular station in the Pyrenees.
  • It has been blessed by St. Michael.
  • I suspect many people would like to visit.
  • The station might be converted into a hotel.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see innovative arrangements in the Madrid and Porto services, so that passengers could have a visit to Canfranc.

Paris, Brussels, Hamburg And Copenhagen

Crows would fly 1027 kilometres or 638 miles.

Looking at the timetables, I find the following.

  • Paris and Brussels – 1:32
  • Brussels and Hamburg- 6:49
  • Hamburg and Copenhagen- 5:06

Note

  1. All times are given in hours:minutes.
  2. When I went between Hamburg and Copenhagen by train, I used the Bird Flight Line which involved a train ferry, where passengers had to get on the ship for the crossing. I described that trip in From Copenhagen To Hamburg By Train.
  3. The ferry is being replaced by a tunnel by 2028.
  4. It looks like it might be possible to go between Hamburg and Copenhagen by a longer route further to the North.

An eleven or twelve hour sleeper journey would probably be feasible and convenient for train operators and passengers.

I was initially surprised that the service didn’t call at Amsterdam.

  • But then there are a lot of big cities between Brussels and Amsterdam; Antwerp, Rotterdam, Schipol Airport and The Hague.
  • There is generally one train per hour (tph) between Brussels and Amsterdam.
  • Paris and Amsterdam are only 3:20 apart by Thalys, so perhaps there wouldn’t be many takers for a sleeper train.
  • It would appear that the best route between Paris and Hamburg is via Brussels and Cologne.

From friends in the area, I also get the impression, that it would take forever for the Belgians and the Dutch to decide on the calling pattern.

Paris, Brussels, Hamburg And Berlin

Crows would fly 876 kilometres or 545 miles.

Looking at the timetables, I find the following.

  • Paris and Brussels – 1:32
  • Brussels and Hamburg- 6:49
  • Hamburg and Berlin – 1:36

Note that all times are given in hours:minutes.

A ten or eleven hour sleeper journey would probably be feasible and convenient for train operators and passengers.

I was initially surprised that the service didn’t call at Cologne.

  • Thalys runs a high speed service between Paris and Cologne.
  • DB runs a high speed service between Cologne and Hamburg.
  • NightJet runs a sleeper service from Brussels and Cologne to Austria.

It could be that the demand isn’t thought to be there.

Paris, Milan And Venice

Crows would fly 845 kilometres or 525 miles.

I have done much of this route before and wrote about it in From Novara To Paris.

Looking at the timetables, I find the following.

  • Paris and Milan – 7:22
  • Milan and Venice – 2:29

Note

  1. All times are given in hours:minutes.
  2. Would this service pick up and set down at Turin and Verona?

A ten or eleven hour sleeper journey would probably be feasible and convenient for train operators and passengers.

Paris, Florence And Rome

Crows would fly 1106 kilometres or 687 miles.

Looking at the timetables, I find the following.

  • Paris and Turin – 5:42
  • Turin and Florence – 3:00
  • Florence and Rome – 1:36

Note

  1. All times are given in hours:minutes.
  2. Would this service pick up and set down at Turin and Verona?

A ten or eleven hour sleeper journey would probably be feasible and convenient for train operators and passengers.

What Rolling Stock Will Be Used?

In recent years sleeper train sets have been ordered as follows.

  • Austrian Railways from Siemens.
  • Caledonian Sleepers from CAF of Spain.

But as Midnight Trains is a French Company, I suspect the train order could go to Alstom.

On the other hand because of European procurement rules and quality, the order could go to CAF.

The CAF Mark 5 Coaches are capable of running at 100 mph and there are pictures in On The Caledonian Sleeper To Glasgow.

I do wonder, though if we’ll see a radical design, which is different to current locomotive-hauled sleeper trains.

  • Electrical multiple unit rather than locomotive hauled.
  • 125 mph capability, which could be useful on some routes.
  • A fleet of identical train sets.
  • Ability to use all the voltages on the routes.
  • Ability to work in pairs or singly dependent on the needs of the route.
  • Ability to split and join automatically in a station.
  • Ability to use the signalling on all routes, including high speed ones.
  • The trains would be built to be suitable for all loading gauges on the routes served.

Note.

  1. Given that French-designed Class 373 trains used by Eurostar, could trundle all over South London into Waterloo, I don’t think it will be difficult to design a train, that fitted the Edinburgh service.
  2. Get the design right and there could be other customers.

They would be true Pan-European trains.

When Will The Trains Start Running?

2024 is the date given by Time Out and the Midnight Trains web site.

Conclusion

I like the proposed service.

These are reasons why.

The Proposed Level Of Service

When travelling for between eight and twelve hours, you need a quality train.

Over the years, I must have used sleeper trains run by Caledonian Sleeper at least twenty times,

When they have been good, they have been very good.

The new trains from CAF don’t need for anything more.

If Midnight Trains can match Caledonian Sleeper for quality on trains, service and food, they’ll attract passengers.

The Service Is Easy To Expand And Extend

Consider, these extra services could surely be added to the  proposed network.

  • Paris and Munich
  • Paris and Switzerland.
  • Paris, Nice and Genoa

If some of the plans to connect the UK and Irish railways come to fruition, there could even be a Paris and Dublin service in the distant future.

Consider, these extensions to the proposed services.

  • Edinburgh and Glasgow 1:12
  • Rome and Naples – 1:10
  • Barcelona and Valencia – 2:40

Note that all times are given in hours:minutes.

The Service Is Very UK-Friendly

Because of Eurostar, with its two-and-a-quarter hour journey between two of Europe’s largest cities, London and Paris can almost be considered twin cities with respect to long-distance transport.

Suppose a resident of Paris wants to go for a weeks holiday birdwatching in the North of Scotland, a late afternoon Eurostar to London and the Caledonian sleeper to Inverness is a very-feasible way to travel.

Suppose, I wanted to go from London to Berlin, in the future, I will be able to get a Eurostar to Paris and a Midnight Train to Berlin.

A Good Food Offering

I would hope that the food is of a quality nature.

I am coeliac and must have gluten-free food, like probably up to one percent of people.

I have found that the higher the quality of the food, the more likely it is, that the chef knows their allergies.

Before the pandemic, the best train food in Europe on a regular service was Great Western Railway’s Pullman Dining. But because of the restrictions, I’ve not tried it lately.

 

 

June 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Could Trains From The North Connect To High Speed One At St. Pancras?

I was casually flying my virtual helicopter over the throat of St. Pancras International station, when I took a few pictures.

This Google Map shows the Northern ends of the platforms and the tracks leading in.

Note.

  1. Platforms 1-4 to the West with darker tracks handle the East Midlands Railway services.
  2. Platforms 5-10 in the centre with lighter tracks formed of three shorter islands handle the Eurostar services.
  3. Platforms 11-13 to the East with longer platforms handle the Southeastern HighSpeed services.

This Google Map shows the East Midlands Railway platforms.

Note.

  1. There are two island platforms; 1-2 and 3-4.
  2. The four platforms are served by two tracks, that connect to the fast lines of the Midland Main Line.
  3. The platforms will be able to handle a pair of Class 810 trains, which will be 240 metres long.
  4. Will the two trains per hour (tph) using Class 360 trains between London and Corby always use the same platform at St. Prancras station?

This Google Map shows the Eurostar platforms.

Note.

There are three island platforms; 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10.

The two island platforms in the West are for East Midlands Railway services.

The two longer island platforms in the East are for Southeastern HighSpeed services.

The six platforms connect to two fast lines, that are shared with the Southeastern services.

This Google Map shows the lines proceeding to the North.

Note.

  1. There are four sets of tracks.
  2. The two light-coloured tracks on the left are for Thameslink or sidings.
  3. The next two dark-coloured tracks are the two tracks of the Midland Main Line.
  4. The next set of tracks are those connecting to the six Eurostar platforms.
  5. The two tracks on the right are those connecting to the Southeastern Highspeed platforms.
  6. There are crossovers between the Eurostar and Southeastern Highspeed tracks to allow efficient operation of the trains going to and from the twin tracks of High Speed One.

This Google Map shows where the Midland Main Line and High Speed One divide.

Note.

The two dark-coloured tracks of the Midland Main Line running North.

There appear to be four  tracks running North East towards High Speed One.

Between the two sets of tracks two further tracks lead to the North.

The track closest to the Midland Main Line joins to the slow lines of the Midland Main Line.

The other one connects to the North London Line.

This Google Map shows the connecting lines to the High Speed One tunnel.

Note the tunnel portal is in the North-East corner of the map.

  1. It looks to me that the following connections are possible.
  2. St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and Midland Main Line.
  3. St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and North London Line to the West.
  4. High Speed One and North London Line to the West.

These connections are in addition to those connections needed to run scheduled services.

They would enable trains to take the following routes.

  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and Midland Main Line.
  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and the West Coast Main Line via North London Line
  • High Speed One and the West Coast Main Line via North London Line
  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and the Great Western Main Line via North London Line
  • High Speed One and the Great Western Main Line via North London Line

I suspect most of the times, that these routes are used it is for engineering purposes or behaps dragging a failed train out of St. Pancras.

But the track layout would seem to allow the following.

Direct electric freight and passenger services between High Speed One and Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.

Direct electric passenger services between High Speed One and Sheffield and Leeds, with a reverse at St. Pancras, after the Midland Main Line were to be fully electrified.

Was this by design for Eurostar or was it just what Network Rail ended up with?

A Modern Regional Eurostar Service

These are my thoughts on a modern Regional Eurostar service.

Rolling Stock

High Speed Two is coming and this year, the company will order some of the rolling stock.

There will be fifty-four trains

The trains will be Classic-Compatible for running on the West Coast Main Line.

They will be 200 metres long and be able to run in pairs.

They will be able to operate at 225 mph.

The operating speed of High Speed One is 186 mph.

I can see no reason why trains of this type, couldn’t run between St. Pancras and many destinations in Europe.

North Of England And The Continent

Could this be the service pattern?

  • One train could start in the North West and another in the North East.
  • Both trains would proceed to St. Pancras picking up passengers en route.
  • At St. Pancras the two trains would join together.
  • The driver could then position themselves in the front cab and take High Speed One, through the Channel Tunnel.

The train could even split at Calais to serve two different Continental destinations.

Going North, the spitting and joining would be reversed.

What Infrastructure Would Be Needed?

I suspect the following will be needed.

  • The West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line would need in-cab digital ERTMS signalling.
  • Full electrification of the Midland Main Line would probably be necessary, as I don’t think the tunnel allows diesel trains to pass through.
  • Some platform lengthening might be needed.

It would not be an expensive scheme.

What Timings Would Be Possible?

Using current timings you get the following times.

  • Leeds and Paris – Five hours
  • Leeds and Brussels – Four hours forty minutes
  • Manchester and Paris – Five hours
  • Manchester and Brussels – For hours forty minutes
  • Newcastle and Paris – Six hours
  • Newcastle and Brussels – Five hours thirty minutes

Note, that the times are best estimates and include a long stop of several minutes at St. Pancras.

Could Sleeper Service Be Run?

I don’t see why not!

Conclusion

It looks like it may be possible to run regional services to Europe, where pairs of train split and join at St. Pancras.

 

 

 

St

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Eurostar Plans To Start Direct Amsterdam – London Trains In October

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette International.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Cross-Channel high speed operator Eurostar has confirmed its intention to launch direct Amsterdam – London St Pancras services from October 26, complementing the London – Amsterdam trains which have run since April 2018.

The article then goes on to give more details of the service.

  • Security checks will be undertaken at Amsterdam CS and Rotterdam Centraal stations.
  • Amsterdam to London will be nine minutes over four hours.
  • There will initially be two trains per day.
  • There was a hint of more next year.
  • It will carry Shengen area passengers between Amsterdam and Brussels.

Eurostar says it will offer flexible booking options to help, if the Government changes COVID-19 quarantine regulations.

Conclusion

It looks a sensible offering and as I’ve used it between London and Amsterdam three times, I will be trying to fit in a trip before the end of the year.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Nightjet Depot Investment To Support Sleeper Train Network Expansion

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette International.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Austrian Federal Railways held a groundbreaking ceremony on August 21 to launch the construction of a €40m facility at its Wien Simmering depot for the maintenance of its Nightjet overnight train fleet.

The article then goes on to give more details of Nightjet‘s expansion.

  • A service between Vienna and Brussels was introduced earlier this year.
  • The Nightjet  network currently has nineteen routes.
  • A service from Amsterdam to München, Innsbruck and Vienna, will be introduced in December.
  • Vienna is the EU city with the most night train services.
  • In August 2018, Nightjet ordered thirteen new seven-car trains from Siemens.
  • Another twenty seven-car trains were ordered this month.

It does look like Nightjet is linking up with Eurostar to take people far into Europe.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Eurostar Amsterdam To London Treaty Formally Signed

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

The first paragraph says it all.

The treaty allowing full customs and security procedures for Eurostar passengers at Amsterdam and Rotterdam has been formally signed, said the Department for Transport.

Perhaps, next time I go to Amsterdam, I’ll come back by train.

July 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 2 Comments

Put Thameslink On The Tube Map Says London Assembly

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A report on improving accessibility on London’s Transport services has called for the fully accessible Thameslink line to be on the Tube map as a matter of some urgency.

I’m all for this happening.

I use Thameslink quite a bit, as if I’m in some places South of the River and am coming home, taking Thameslink to West Hampstead Thameslink and then using the Overground to Canonbury, from where I walk home, is a convenient route.

  • It is step-free.
  • There is a Marks and Spencer at West Hampstead, where I can do a bit of food shopping.
  • Walking from Canonbury station to my house is gently downhill.

These are some other thoughts about Thameslink,

The Underground Train With A Toilet

Sometimes, I also find it doubly-convenient, as I need to spent a penny or more. Often, the toilets on Thameslink trains are free in the tunnels under London!

How many other Underground trains have toilets?

Obviously, Eurostar does, but does anybody know of any other trains that run deep under the surface, that have toilets?

Do Thameslink Want The Extra Passengers That Being On The Map Would Bring?

This may seem a dumb question, but sometimes, I do wonder, if the answer is that they don’t!

Thameslink Would Surely Make A Good Travel Partner For Eurostar

Increasing, many visitors from the Continent to London and the South East are travelling across the Channel using the excellent Eurostar.

As the Thameslink and Eurostar platforms at St. Pancras International, there could be mutual advantages to both companies to be partners.

Suppose you were travelling on these routes.

  • Paris and Gatwick
  • Brussels and Greenwich
  • Amsterdam and Brighton
  • Rotterdam and Luton Airport

And for one reason or other you didn’t want to fly; climate change, you like trains, awkward baggage or just plain fear of flying.

Surely, using Eurostar and Thameslink would be the obvious travel companies.

Note that Thameslink have posters, saying that they are the ideal way to get to Luton Airport.

Do they have posters, saying they are the ideal way to get to Eurostar at St. Pancras?

If I was running Thameslink, I’d do the following.

  • Make sure, that all Thameslink stations accepted contactless ticketing using bank or credit cards.
  • Put information and advertising on Eurostar trains and stations, telling passengers how to get to and from any Thameslink station without buying a physical ticket.
  • Devise a simple add on ticket, that would be printed on your Eurostar boarding pass or held in Eurostar’s app.
  • Market Thameslink to the French as the UK’s answer to the RER.
  • Put travel information in at least Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, at St. Pancras station.

I would think, that a properly thought-out plan, could be a nice little earner for Thameslink.

 

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Direct London-Bordeaux Service By 2022 – SNCF

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Magazine.

Diego Diaz, who is International President of SNCF is quoted as saying this.

With the view to opening up to the international scene, SNCF Gares & Connexions and HS1 Ltd, the owner of St Pancras station, have decided to twin the two stations and the operating teams.

I hope I can be on the first service, when it happens.

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments