The Anonymous Widower

Will The New Class 710 Trains Use Selective Door Opening At Gospel Oak Station?

These two pictures were taken of a Class 172 train in Platform 3 of Gospel Oak station.

The two-car Class 172 trains are just over 47 metres long.

In The Aventra Car Length Puzzle, I said that the Class 710 trains for the Overground would have twenty metre long cars, which is similar to the 20.4 metres of the Class 378 trains.

For information other four-car electric units, that Aventras are likely to replace have the following car-lengths

  • Class 315 trains – 19.80 metres
  • Class 317 trains – 19.83 metres
  • Class 319/769 trains – 19.83 or 19.92 metres
  • Class 321 trains – 19.95 trains
  • Class 455 trains 19.83 trains.

So it looks like the Class 710 train, has been sized as a direct replacement foe much of the Mark 3-based electric multiple units.

This would mean, that no platform lengthening work needs to be done, when the many older units are replaced with new Aventras.

It would also mean that as I talked about in Musical Trains On The Overground, that Aventras could share routes with Class 378 trains without too much trouble on the North and West London Lines.

So will a four-car Class 710 train, which will be about eighty metres long fit Platform 3 at Gospel Oak station?

This Google Map shows the station.

Note that a Class 172 train is in Platform 3 and in Platform 2 there is a five-car Class 378 train.

The length of Platform 3 can be ascertained and it looks like that Platform 3 is already long enough for an eighty metre train.

If it isn’t Bombardier certainly have fitted Selective Door Opening to the new trains.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Musical Trains On The Overground

The November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways (MR) has a news item entitled Nine More Class 710s Planned.

This is the first paragraph.

Transport for London is proposing the acquisition of nine additional Class 710 EMUs from Bombardier to support the London Overground rxtension to Barking Riverside and an enhanced service on the East London Line.

Transport for London (TfL)  are ordering six five-car and three four-car Class 710 trains.

This article on London Reconnections (LR) is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated.

The title gives a clue as to the first part of the article and it talks about how it may be necessary for TfL to get their order in now to get the best terms and price for the trains.

Putting the two articles together, some interesting train use could be happening on the various lines of the Overground.

The East London Line

Certain improvements have been planned for the East London Line.

The Class 378 Trains

The current fleet of 57 Class 378 trains are now five cars in length, after starting at just three cars.

Many of the stations on the East London Line could accept six-car trains and the other could be worked using selective door opening.

So TfL probably have an option to increase capacity on the East London Line by twenty percent, by adding an extra car to the Class 378 trains on the line.

The Class 378 trains are also certified for working the Thames Tunnel, whereas the Class 710 trains don’t appear they will be.

The Night Overground

A 24-hour service on Friday and Saturday nights, between New Cross and Dalston Junction/Highbury and Islington stations.

Crossrail And The East London Line

This will happen in December 2018, when Stage 3 of Crossrail opens between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations, with a connection to the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

When you consider that Whitechapel will be served by 12 x nine-car Crossrail trains per hour (tph) from December 2018 and 24 x nine-car tph from May 2019, you do wonder if the East London Line’s sixteen x five-car tph will cope with the extra passengwe.

Increased Frequencies

TfL have said they will increase the core frequency of the East London Line from sixteen tph to twenty in 2021.

I wrote about this two years ago in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, so the plan is an old one, even if it has slipped a bit.

The original plan envisaged the following extra trains on the East London Line.

  • Two tph – Dalston Junction to Crystal Palace in 2018
  • Two tph – Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction in 2019

It would need the following.

  • More Class 378 trains, as the Class 710 trains are not certified for the Thames Tunnel.
  • Improved digital signalling in the core, which would eventually enable twenty-four tph.

The LR article suggests that there may be capacity problems at Clapham Junction station and two tph to Battersea Park station is suggested as an alternative.

Battersea Park Station

Battersea Park station is already served by the Overground, with this service, which is detailed in Wikipedia.

1 train per day to Highbury & Islington / 1 train per day from Dalston Junction.

Wikipedia adds this comment.

Until December 2012, Southern operated a twice-hourly service from London Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill. This ceased when London Overground’s Clapham Junction to Dalston Junction service commenced at that time. However, since December 2012, a skeleton London Overground service has run to/from Battersea Park (instead of Clapham Junction) at the extreme ends of the day to retain a “parliamentary service” between Battersea Park and Clapham High Street.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Battersea Park station.

Note.

  1. The single track going in to Platform 2.
  2. Platform 1 at Battersea Park station is disused.
  3. The close proximity of the station to the new Battersea Power Station station, that opens in a few years.

These are some selected pictures of Battersea Park station.

I think it is true to say, that it is a Victorian station, that wasn’t designed for the modern age.

  • The station is Grade II Listed.
  • The booking hall is a tidy Victorian example.
  • There is a lot of excellent Victorian detailing.
  • Platform 2 and 3 is wide with sensible stairs.
  • Platform 2 is a well laid out terminal platform.
  • Platform 4 and 5 is narrow with terrible stairs.
  • Plstforms 3 and 4 seem to be long enough for ten-car trains.

It could be turned into what Roy Brooks would have called something better than a ruin. For those of you born since 1960, check the link to a memory of one of the world’s late great honest estate agents.

I’m sure Londoners used to buy the Sunday Times, just to read his adverts.

I can remember my late wife sitting on the sofa, laughing loudly, as she read aloud an advert about a flat, that wouldn’t suit an owner with a cat,.

Battersea Park station and a two tph service from Dalston Junction across South London have a lot going for them.

  • I’m sure a budding Lord Foster or Zaha Hadid could come up with a scheme to fix the platform access and make the station passenger friendly and their name.
  • The station is a short walk from Battersea Power Station station and must open up routes across London.
  • Battersea Park station could easily handle two tph on a single platform.
  • In A New Station For Battersea, I talked about a proposal to create a station at Battersea that linked the new tube station to the Southeastern lines into Victoria.
  • In Four Trains Per Hour Between Dalston Junction And Battersea Park Stations, I write about how on the 6th November 2017, because of a track fault, London Overground ran a four tph shuttle between the two terminals.

Will all of this be tied together?

Train Requirements On The East London Line

Doing a quick calculation, I think that each of the four branches need the following number of trains for four tph.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 8 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 8 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 2 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 8 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 26 trains.

Up the frequency to six tph on each branch or one train every 2½ minutes, which would be 24 tph through the Thames Tunnel and you get the following.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 12 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 3 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 12 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 39 trains.

If you just have an increase to six tph on just the Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace routes as London Overground are proposing for 2020, you get the following.

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 12 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 2 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 8 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 34 trains, providing a service of one train every 3 minutes, which would be 20 tph through the Thames Tunnel.

This is eight more trains than at the present time.

It’s all rather impressive for the Thames Tunnel, which was built between 1825 and 1843, by the Brunels.

The Ultimate Capacity Of The East London Line

If we look perhaps ten years into the future, the following will have happened.

  • Signalling will have improved.
  • Crossrail will be running more than 24 tph through Whitechapel.
  • Automatic Train Operation (ATO) will be driving the trains, with the driver keeping a vigilant watch, just as happens on the Victoria Line now!
  • Passenger information and management will have improved and passengers will be able to handle the increased frequency of trains easily.

So if Dear Old Vicky can manage thirty-six tph in a 1960’s tunnel, will the East London Line be able to manage the same frequency in an 1840’s tunnel?

The Brunels would have made sure it happened and if it is needed, so will their engineering successors!

Let’s cut it back a bit and aim for 32 tph through the Thames Tunnel, as that was the sort of target engineers were looking at, for the Victoria Line in the 2000s, when the East London Line was being proposed.

How many trains will be needed to run the eight tph on the four routes, that would comprise thirty-two tph through the Thames Tunnel?

  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 16 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace- 16 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 4 trains
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon – 16 trains

Which gives a total requirement of 52 trains.

The London Overground has fifty-seven Class 378 trains. I can’t believe that the original fleet was sized on eight tph in operation through the tunnel and a few as hot spares and in maintenance!

But surely eight tph is impossible, as turning the trains at the terminal platforms would be too much!

Think again!

  • The Victoria Line at Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations handles 36 tph using two platforms or 18 tph per platform.
  • The Northern Line is targeting 36 tph on both lines, when it has been split into two.

With ATO, I’m sure each terminal platform can handle more than eight tph.

More Trains On The East London Line

According to the LR article, the planned new services on the East London Line will require another eight trains. This fits with my calculation.

  • These trains have to be Class 378 trains, due to evacuation issues in the Thames Tunnel.
  • These trains have to be able to work on lines with third-rail electrification.

London Overground has ordered six five-car Class 710 trains and they will be run on the North London Line and West London Line, where they will displace some five-car Class 378 trains for running on the East London Line.

Some five-car Class 378 trains on the Watford DC Line will also be replaced by four-car Class 710 trains.

So it would look like the East London Line will get some of the eight Class 378 trains that it needs.

Improvements To The North London Line/West London Line

The LR article says this.

London Overground have a long-held desire to increase the frequency on the WLL from 4tph to 6tph. They also aspire to another 2tph (at least) from Clapham Junction continuing to Stratford, to further increase the frequency on the North London Line (NLL). This would enable 10tph on eastern end of the North London line. This is due to be implemented with with main order of the new Class 710 stock.

The article also suspects that London Overground want to run the following services.

  • 6 tph – Stratford to Richmond
  • 6 tph – Stratford to Clapham Junction

This would deliver a twelve tph service between Stratford and Willesden Junction.

Living about halfway between those two stations, I’m not complaining.

But the article concludes, that London Overground’s objective can’t be achieved until some freight is moved to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line after the electrification of that line is completed.

As I said earlier, the pair of lines will get six extra five-car Class 710 trains and displace some Class 378 trains to the East London Line.

So will London Overground stick with a mixed fleet on these lines? Or will they perhaps run one class on each route?

I have no idea, but there are quite a few Class 378 trains, that could be displaced by new Class 710 trains to allow the East London Line frequency to be increased.

The Watford DC Line

Currently the Watford DC Line has a three tph service and I suspect that this needs six five-car Class 378 trains to run it.

The LR article says that London Overground want to run four tph on this line and I calculate this will need eight four-car Class 710 trains.

The new trains will probably be a few minutes faster and they will offer an hourly capacity increase of six percent.

But they will release six five-car Class 378 trains to strengthen services on the North, East and West London Lines.

Step-Free Access

Step-free access from platform to train is not good on the Watford DC Line.

You step up into a Class 378 train and step down into a Bakerloo Line 1972 Stock train.

These pictures show the problem with the Class 1972 trains. When I got off one of these trains at Willesden today it was a jump.

It is some of the worst step-free access on the Underground.

On my short trip on the Bakerloo Line today, I deliberately sat in the last carriage. On most stations the the last carriage was aligned with the end of the platform, which leads me to the conclusion, that most stations are about as long as the trains, which are over 110 metres long.

Can a step-free platform be designed, that will work with the following trains?

  • The current Class 378 trains
  • The future Class 710 trains
  • The current Underground 1972 Stock.
  • Any future deep-level Underground trains

The latter could make design more difficult, if the train is built for Unattended Train Operation (UTO) and if platform edge doors are needed at all stations with UTO.

The only solution I can think of, is one that is used in Karlsruhe in Germany and is now being used at Rotherham Central station to accommodate main line trains and Class 399 tram-trains.

The platform is long enough to have two sections, with different platform heights.

  • A high section is used with the main line trains.
  • A low section is used with the Underground trains.
  • Platform edge doors could be fitted to the low section.
  • A gentle slope would connect the two sections.
  • Entry to the combined platform could be near where the two sections join.

Also, consider the following.

  • Given that the length of a Class 710 train is around 80 metres and that of a 1972 stock is in excess of 110 metres, it will be a long platform.
  • Selective door opening will be installed on all trains.
  • I do wonder, if the new trains for the Watford DC Line are only four cars to ease the problem of step-free access. The reduced length could knock twenty metres off every platform.
  • Could we even see the new Underground trains built to a shorter length?

I’m sure that a workable platform design is possible.

The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line

The Bakerloo Line is being extended to the South, but nothing has been said about how it will be changed in the North.

Possibilities for Northern terminals for the line could include.

  • Queen’s Park
  • Stonebridge Park
  • Harrow and Wealdstone
  • Watford Junction

It’s also complicated because the depot is at Stonebridge Patk.

I wouldn’t rule out extending the of the Bakerloo Line to Watford Junction, as is talked about in Wikipedia under Re-extension to Watford Junction.

What would be the consequences, if the following were to be done?

  • An extended Bakerloo Line has an increased frequency of at least twenty tph between Watford Junction and Lewisham.
  • The new trains for the Bakerloo Line are faster.
  • The new Bakerloo Line trains had a capacity increase from the current 700, so they carried about the same as the five-car Class 378 trains.

The increased frequency of Bakerloo Line service, would probably result in London Overground’s Euston to Watford service to be discontinued.

The benefits would be as follows.

  • Stations from Queen’s Park to Watford Junction would get a more frequent service, of possibly a train every three minutes.
  • The problems of step-free access and platform-edge doors would be solved, as all trains would be on the Bakerloo Line.
  • London Overground would not need any platforms at Euston, which could help in the rebuilding of Euston for HS2.

It would also mean that London Underground got another high-frequency Underground Line without any junctions, that could be run very efficiently.

But it would mean Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead stations would lose their connection to Euston.

A Willesden Junction To Stratford Via Kilburn High Road, South Hampstead and Primrose Hill Service

Reopening Primrose Hill station has been mooted in the past. This is said in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

It has been proposed to re-open Primrose Hill station by bringing the short stretch of line between South Hampstead and Camden Road stations back into the regular passenger service by incorporating it into the London Overground network.

A reopened Primrose Hill station, would only be a short walk to Chalk Farm station.

At Willesden junction station, there is even a convenient South-facing bay platform, that is numbered 2 and could handle four tph.

The picture shows a Class 378 train in Platform 2 at Willesden Junction station, was taken on Sunday, the 2nd of October 2016, during engineering works, when a Rail Replacement Train was run between Willesden Junction and Stratford stations.

But there are problems.

  • Where would you terminate the service at its Eastern end? Highbury and Islington, Stratford or somewhere else, like perhaps a reopened Maiden Lane station?
  • Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead stations sill lose their srtvoce to Euston and they would have to change at Highbury and Islington.
  • Organising the time-table might be difficult.
  • I also think, it would mean that Kensal Green station would be very difficult to make step-free, if it had to be served by both Overground and Bakerloo Line trains.

On the other hand, Queen’s Park station is an excellent example of a step-free cross-platform interchange between the two types of trains and Willesden Junction station could be equally good.

Crossrail, The Bakerloo Line And The Watford DC Line

All these three lines either serve Watford Junction or it has been suggested that they do.

  • Plans to extend Crossrail up the West Coast Main Line would probably include a stop at Watford Junction, if they materialise.
  • Extending the Bakerloo to Watford Junction is suggested from time-to-time.
  • The Watford DC Line already serves Watford Junction station.

Given that a high-frequency efficient extended Bakerloo Line running between Watford Junction and Lewisham would serve the smaller stations on the way to Watford very capably, I suspect that whatever happens to Crossrail and the Watford DC services, the Bakerloo Line will be extended to Watford Junction.

The extended Bakerloo Line would have the following characteristics.

  • Probably all trains running between Watford Junction and Lewisham.
  • A frequency of upwards of 20 tph
  • No junctions and end-to-end running like the Victoria and Jubilee Lines.
  • Full step-free access at all stations.
  • New faster, walk-through trains with wi-fi and 4G.
  • An efficient connection to Crossrail at Paddington will be opened in December 2018.
  • National Rail connections at Charing Cross, Elephant and Castle, Lreisham, Marylebone, Paddington, Waterloo and Watford Junction

It may be London’s forgotten line, but once extended, it could be a new star. Especially, if it gets to be linked directly into Old Oak Common station for all the services including HS2, that will be available there.

The Watford DC Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail, which makes me feel, that when everything gets decided about the extended Bakerloo Line and the new station at Old Oak Common, then the Watford DC Line could miss out.

Through Running Between North And East London Lines

I seem to remember reading in Modern Railways about ten years ago, that there was an ambition in TfL to extend some East London Line trains to Willesden Junction.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr, which shows the lines at Highbury and Islington station.

Note the single line labelled Transfer, that connects Platform 2 at Highbury and Islington station to the Westbound North London Line, that runs through Platform 7.

I think it would be possible to make Platform 2 into a bi-directional through platform.

  • All Westbound trains on the Westbound North London Line would leave from the island platform between platforms 2 and 7.
  • Voltage changeover between 750 VDC and 25 KVAC would take place in Platform 2.
  • A four tph service in both directions would mean a train every 7-8 minutes.
  • The four-track section of the North London Line between Highbury and Islington and Camden Road stations, includes two reversible lines.

Was this all future-proofing to allow services to run between the North London and East London Lines?

It is interesting to note, that Platform 2 is used for services to and from West Croydon station.

These services take around 51-55 minutes and currently need eight trains for a four tph service.

This screen capture shows the train timetable, when I rode between Highbury and Islington and Willesden Junction stations.

Note that the journey takes 22 minutes.

I am led to the conclusion, that it would be possible to run a  service between West Croydon and Willesden Junction stations.

The service would run via Kilburn High Road, South Hampstead and and a reopened Primrose Hill stations.

It would have a frequency of four tph.

Trains would change voltage at Highbury and Islington station.

I would certainly like the service for these reasons.

  • I regularly travel along the North London Line from the West to Dalston Junction station. The change between the North and East London Lines at Highbury and Islington can be very busy.
  • Going West along the North London Line from Dalston Junction can involve a lot of walking up and down at Highbury and Islington station.
  • Using Dalston Kingsland station to go East can be difficult, as there are masses of passengers changing between rge two Dalston stations.
  • I like to go to Primrose Hill and London Zoo.
  • Could the service also ease the pressure on Camden Town station, until the upgrade is complete?

I have no idea if London Overground would do this, but if there was a vote, I’d say yes!

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

I have never seen a detailed analysis of running trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBLin).

Currently, eight Class 172 trains provide the four tph service. Consider this round trip.

  • Leave Gospel Oak station at 09:05
  • Arrive Barking station at 09:42
  • Leave Barking station at 10.03
  • Arrive Gospel Oak station at 10.45

Note.

  1. It is a very generous timetable.
  2. There is a twenty minute turn-round time at both ends of the route, which is good for recovering the timetable after a delay.
  3. The Class 710 trains could save time at every one of the ten stops, as they accelerate faster, have smooth regenerative braking and should have a better platform-train interface.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the Class 710 trains could run a faster service on the line.

Extending Services To Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside station will only be a short distance from Barking station and I suspect, it would only add ten minutes at most to the end-to-end journey time.

As there is a twenty minute turn-round time, I suspect that a train will be able to go from Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside and back again in under two hours.

This would mean that the current service of four tph could be possible on the extended route, with the same fleet of eight trains.

This is said in the MR article about the Class 710 trains.

The remaining two additional four-car units would support the extension of Gospel Oak to Barking services to Barking Riverside.

This leads me to one of these conclusions.

  • The service is going to be extended somewhere else.
  • The frequency on the route is going to be increased to five tph.

The next few sections deal with the various options.

Extending To The West Along The North London Line From Gospel Oak

I sometimes change between the GOBLin and the North London Line, as I can get a convenient bus from my house to Harringay Green Lanes station.

Allowing GOBLin services to continue along the North London Line would need extensive and expensive remodelling of Gospel Oak station to create an Eastbound plstform for the GOBLin.

The tracks to the West of the station, would probably need to remodelled to allow efficient operation.

The GOBLin trains would also be four-car trains, as opposed to the five-car trains on the North London Line.

Extending To The North Along The Midland Main Line

By using the Carlton Road Junction after Upper Holloway station, GOBLin trains could access the Thameslink tracks and go North to a convenient station.

Unfortunately, the track layout is such, that crossing to the Dudding Hill Line is difficult.

But continuing to the proposed Brent Cross Thameslink station is surely a possibility.

Although, I can’t see anything happening until plans for the West Orbital Railway are agreed and Brent Cross Thameslink station is opened.

So it can probably be discounted for a few years yet!

Extending Across The Thames From Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside station is being built so that an extension under the Thames is possible.

But as a tunnel would be involved, I can’t see this extension being started or even planned fully for several years.

Five tph On The GOBLin

If two extra trains are added to the GOBLin fleet, this would mean that there are ten trains, which would be enough to run a five tph service between Gospel Oak and Barking Riverside stations.

I think this will be the most likely use of the two extra trains on the GOBlin.

Romford To Upminster

The Romford To Upminster Line is slated to get a brand-new Class 710 train to work the two tph shuttle.

The DR article says that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

This would mean a new Class 710 train could be deployed elsewhere, where its performance and comfort levels would be more needed.

Surely, this would be enough capacity for the line and a lot cheaper than a new Class 710 train! Provided of course, that it was reliable, comfortable and could maintain the current two tph service.

I discuss this in detail in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line.

Conclusion

It looks like Transport for London are planning for a large increase in services on the East London Line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Miserable Electrification Saga Of The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Electrification Continues

This article in the Waltham Forest Echo is entitled More Misery For Rail Passengers.

The article describes how yet again the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will be closed for two months to complete the electrification. This is said.

The next closure, to finally complete the work, will now commence from 6.30pm on Saturday 18th November, with trains not running again until Sunday 14th January. Staff from Network Rail, Transport for London and Arriva Rail London, the operator of London Overground, will be available to answer passengers’ questions on Wednesday 1st November at Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Queen’s Road stations, and on Thursday 2nd November at Leytonstone High Road Station.

It is a downright disgrace and on past form, I doubt it will be the last closure.

It looks like the electrification will be delivered about a year later than planned! By any standards that it is not good project management.

October 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 3 Comments

Along The Gospel Oak To Barking Line – 23rd October 2017

This is a random set of pictures from along the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Note the the electrification is not complete.

Sections still to be wired include.

  • East of Walthamstow Queen’s Road station.
  • The link To The Midland Main Line At Carlton Road Junction.
  • The Harringay Curve that links to the East Coast Main Line.

At least most of the gantries seem to have been erected.

According to TfL’s closure list, there is four partial weekend closures planned.

  • 28-29 October
  • 4-5 November
  • 11-12 November
  • 18-19 November

Let’s hope that finishes the electrification.

I suspect the two links, which are for freight and empty stock movements can be fitted in without any closures.

 

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Class 172 Trains And The Engine House At Walthamstow Wetlands

The Class 172 trains are running again on the Gospel Oak To Barking Line.

The pictures were taken by or from the Engine House at the Walthamstow Wetlands.

I have a feeling that Network Rail have used techniques to cut down the noise of trains, as when trains passed, they did seem rather quiet.

I have a feeling, when the new Class 710 trains start to run on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, this will be the place, where the enthusiastic photographers gather.

After all, it’s near to a good cafe!

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

A First Visit To Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands opened today, so I went to take a look.

It was well worth a visit.

I shall return!

October 20, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Add Trains

I took these pictures of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, as it passes past the Engine House on the Walthamstow Wetlands site.

This section, which is probably one of the easiest bits to electrify, looks to be ready for the trains.

Note that the pictures looking down on the line were taken from the fire escape on the side of the Engine House, shown in the last picture.

This Google Map shows the Gospel Oak To Barking Line crossing the area.

Note.

  • The Engine House has a green label saying Walthamstow Wetlands.
  • The bus stops by the Ferry Boat Inn have buses to and from Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Road stations.
  • The Engine House is about a hundred metres from the bus stops and
  • The Engine House has a step-free entrance and a lift inside.

The Engine House is certainly worth the walk.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | 2 Comments

New Railway Line For West London Proposed

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

I’ve also found this article on the Hendon Times, where the railway line is called the West Orbital Railway.

The West Orbital Railway now has a section in the Wikipedia entry for the Dudding Hill Line, which is entitled West Orbital Railway Proposal. This is said.

In September 2017, a proposal for a new West Orbital Railway from Hounslow to Hendon using the disused Dudding Hill Line could go via a new station at Old Oak Common which would be located at Victoria Road and other new stations at Staples Corner, Harlesden and Old Oak Common Victoria Road. 4 trains per hour would run from Hendon to Hounslow and another service from Hendon to Kew Bridge via Old Oak Common.

The proposal seems to be creeping into the media.

The Preamble

I will describe a few of the lines in the area first.

The Dudding Hill Line

The Dudding Hill Line is one of London’s unknown and almost forgotten railway lines.

Passenger services ceased in 1902, although even today the occasional charter service uses the line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the Dudding Hill Line.

Note.

  • How the line joins the Midland Main Line in a triangular junction, which is North of Criklewood station, enabling North and South connections.
  • How the line crosses the Chiltern Main Line by Neasden station.
  • How the line crosses the electrified West Coast Main Line by Harlesden station.
  • How the line joins the North London Line just North of the electrified Great Western Main Line.

This connectivity makes it a very useful freight line.

The Hendon Freight Lines

These two lines run on the Western side of the Midland Main Line between West Hampstead Thameslink and Hendon stations,

North of Hendon they cross the tracks of the Midland Main Line on a flyover and merge with the Slow Lines at Silkstream Junction.

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

The Hendon Freight Lines have following properties.

  • They are only partially electrified.
  • They have double-track connections from the North to the Dudding Hill Line, which is named the Brent Curve and Brent Curve Junction.
  • They have double-track connections from the South to the Dudding Hill Line, which is named the Cricklewood Curve and Cricklewood Curve Junction.
  • As shown at Hendon in the map, the Hendon Up Line passes behind Platform 4 at Hendon, Cricklewood and West Hampstead Thameslink stations.

The innovative use of these lines will be an important part of the proposal for a new passenger service in West London.

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line and the Dudding Hill Line are linked together by the Midland Main Line,

  • Between the two lines is fully electrified
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line will be electrified from May 2018.
  • The connecting lines between the Midland Main Line and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line are being electrified around Carlton Road Junction.

This will enable electrified freight trains from East London to the Midlands, using the following route.

  • Gospel Oak To Barking Line
  • Carlton Road Junction
  • Midland Main Line.

Note that there is no flyover between Carlton Road Junction and the Dudding Hill Line, which means they have to cross the Midland Main Line on the flat.

For this reason, electrified freight trains for the West Coast Main Line and the Great Western Main Line must probably take the North London Line from Gospel Oak station.

This probably rules out passenger services between Barking and Acton, using the Dudding Hill Line.

However passenger trains from East London could continue up the Midland Main Line to a suitable terminal.

Class 710 Trains

The Class 710 trains that will be delivered for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line have the following characteristics.

  • They are Aventras
  • They are dual-voltage and can operate on both 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • They may be fitted with onboard energy storage to operate without electrification for a few miles.

If the last point is true, they will be able to run between West Hamsted Thameslink or Hendon and South Acton stations, with a change of voltage at Acton Central station, using onboard energy storage on the Dudding Hill Line.

The Proposal

The West London Railway has been proposed by a consortium of West London Councils and other interests, that the Dudding Hill Line be reopened to passenger trains.

The passenger service would open in two phases.

  1. West Hampstead to Hounslow via Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  2. Hendon to Kew Bridge via Hendon, Brent Cross/Staples Corner, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central and South Acton.

Four trains per hour (tph) would run on both routes.

How Does The Proposal Stack Up?

In the following sub-sections, I’ll discuss the various issues.

Track And Signalling

This is said about the current state of track and signalling in Wikipedia.

In 2009, the track has received considerable maintenance in parts, including complete track and ballast removal and replacement. It was informally thought locally by Network Rail staff that replacement signalling, controlled from Upminster, was planned for Christmas 2010, leading to the closure of the three signal boxes (staffed 24-hours a day, at least during the working week). However, financial constraints within Network Rail have now delayed this timescale.

It looks like the track is in good condition, but the signalling needs replacing.

How Would The Service Be Run?

The Hendon Freight Lines connect to the Dudding Hill Line to give all possible access needed.

It should also be relatively easy to put a single platform on the Up Hendon Line at the following stations.

  • West Hampstead – It would act as a terminus.
  • Cricklewood
  • Brent Cross – When the station is built.
  • Hendon – It could act as a terminus.

The new platforms would have the following characteristics.

  • They would probably be numbered 5.
  • They would probably be able to share platform access and other services with current Platform 4 at each station.
  • Little demolition of existing buildings and structures would be required.

A Phase One service coming North from Neasden could do the following.

  • Take the Cricklewood Curve from the Dudding Hill Line.
  • Join the Up Hendon Line.
  • Stop in the new Platform 5 at Cricklewood.
  • Continue on the Up Hendon Line to the new Platform 5 at West Hampstead Thameslink.
  • Reverse the train at West Hampstead.
  • Proceed to and stop in Platform 5 at Cricklewood. Existing cross-overs would allow use of both Hendon Lines.
  • Cross over to the Down Hendon Line and take the Cricklewood Curve to rejoin the Dudding Hill Line.

As the service is four tph, provided a train can leave and return to the Dudding Hill Line in fifteen minutes, there should be no problem.

Currently, Cricklewood to West Hampstead takes three minutes, so the Phase One service looks possible.

The Phase Two service to Hendon could do the following.

  • Take the Brent Curve from the Dudding Hill Line.
  • Join the Up Hendon Line.
  • Stop in the new Platform 5 at Hendon.
  • Reverse the train at Hendon
  • Take the Brent Curve to rejoin the Dudding Hill Line

It looks to be a simple plan, that makes good use of the existing infrastructure.

  • Building the extra platforms at Hendon, Cricklewood and West Hampstead shouldn’t be difficult.
  • The new routes don’r cross the Midland Main Line.
  • The Hendon Lines seem to have plenty of cross-overs and I don’t think any new ones are needed.
  • Dual voltage trains would be at home on all existing electrification.

At the Southern end of the route, everything appears fairly simple.

Why Are There Two Phases?

If it’s so simple, why is the service proposed to have two phases?

Look at this map from carto.map.free.fr, which shows the railways around Brent Cross.

The development of Brent Cross Cricklewood and the building of Brent Cross Thameslink station is going to be a massive undertaking. This describes the development in Wikipedia.

Brent Cross Cricklewood is a planned new town centre development in Hendon and Cricklewood, London, United Kingdom. The development is planned to cost around £4.5 billion to construct and will include 7,500 homes, 4,000,000 sq ft (370,000 m2) of offices, four parks, transport improvements and a 592,000 sq ft (55,000 m2) extension of Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The developers of the scheme are Hammerson and Standard Life. Construction is planned to start in 2018 and be completed in 2021-22

The development will include the building of Brent Cross Thameslink station and the redevelopment of Cricklewood station.

Looking at the Phase One route to West Hampstead Thameslink, the following applies.

  • The route doesn’t go past the Brent Cross development.
  • The terminal platform at West Hampstead Thameslink would be step-free with a lift.
  • The Up Hendon Line is electrified at \West Hampstead Thameslink, but it is not at Hendon.
  • Hendon station needs a lot of work to make it step-free.
  • West Hampstead Thameslink could be part of a growing West Hampstead Interchange with excellent connections.
  • The service could even go straight through Cricklewood station, until it was redeveloped.

It would thus appear that for an easy and affordable construction, the service should serve West Hampstead Thameslink first.

Once Brent Cross Thameslink station is open, Hendon and Kew Bridge stations are updated, Phase Two can open.

Electrification

The electrification of the twelve mile route on the Chase Line between Rugeley and Walsall was budgeted at £78 million.

So hopefully, the four miles of the Dudding Hill Line should be able to be electrified for a reasonable cost.

Consider.

  • The track is in reasonable condition and probably well-surveyed.
  • There are a few bridges that might need to be raised.
  • There are no stations to electrify, just provision to be made.
  • Both ends of the route are electrified.
  • The route connects to three electrified main lines.
  • Electrification of the line would cause little if any disruption to passenger services.

I think that the needs of electrified freight will decide whether this route is electrified.

A Passenger Service Without Electrification

Dudding Hill Line Electrification is not necessary to run s passenger service using Class 710 trains.

  • Class 710 trains with onboard energy storage could easily bridge the four-mile electrification gap between the Midland Main Line and the North London Line.
  • There would be no problem charging the onboard energy storage at each end of the routes.
  • At various places, Aventras will share station platforms with Thameslink’s Class 700 trains and the North London Line’s Class 378 trains, so there should be no station issues.
  • From Acton Central to Hounslow and Kew Bridge, the trains would use the third-rail electrification.

Class 710 trains wouldn’t mind if the line is electrified or not.

Stations

The following stations will need to be built or modified.

  • Brent Cross Thameslink – New station to be built as part of large development – Might need a platform suitable for use as a terminus.
  • Gladstone Park – New station on the site of the old Dudding Hill station – Might be and/or with Neasden.
  • Harlesden – New station – Could be linked to the existing station on the Bakerloo Line?
  • Hendon – Existing station – Might need a platform suitable for use as a terminus.
  • Hounslow – Existing station – Might need a platform suitable for use as a terminus.
  • Kew Bridge – Existing station – A new terminus platform would need to be added.
  • Neasden – New station – Could be linked to the existing station on the Jubilee Line?
  • Old Oak Common – New station to be built as part of large development
  • West Hampstead Thameslink – Existing station – Might need a platform suitable for use as a terminus.

The next sections give my thoughts on specific stations.

Brent Cross Thameslink Station

Brent Cross Thameslink station is a planned new station to serve the £4.5 billion Brent Cross Cricklewood development in the area.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this station built as a close-to-London interchange station, in much the same way as Clapham Junction and Abbey Wood stations work and will work in South London.

At a minimum it will have the following characteristics.

  • Two slow platforms for Thameslink services.
  • Two fast platforms for long distance services.
  • Extra platforms for future services.
  • Full step-free access.

The design of the station will be key to extra services using the Midland Main Line.

Cricklewood Station

This Google Map shows the layout of Cricklewood station.

These pictures show the station.

Cricklewood station is one of four stations that need to be modified or built with a Platform 5 on the Up Hendon Line.

The station is also not step-free and this will probably be added in the redevelopment of the station to serve the Brent Cross Cricklewood development..

Harlesden Station

This Google Map shows the layout of Harlesden station.

The Dudding Hill Line runs down the map at the right and it crosses the shared tracks of the Watford DC Line and the Bakerloo Line, just to the West of Harlesden station.

These pictures show the station.

I think that, I am being very truthful, if I said that Harlesden station is not one of the London Underground’s finest stations. Ian in his article said this.

The other station, at Harlesden could also see the old station of the same name rebuilt, but again, the freight line runs close to the current Harlesden station, so a combined building would again be likely, this time with just a modest footbridge needed to link the new platforms to the existing station.

I very much feel that a station can be built at Harlesden on the other side of Acton Lane, that has platforms on both the Watford DC/Bakerloo Lines and the Dudding Hill Line. The high level platforms on the would be connected by steps and/or lifts to the low-level ones.

The new station could even be built without closing any of the lines and once completed the old Harlesden station could be demolished.

It would have the following services.

  • Three tph between Watford Junction and Euston.
  • Nine tph on the Bakerloo Line
  • Four tph between West Hampstead Thameslink and Hounslow.
  • Four tph between Hendon and Kew Bridge

The last two proposed services would provide an eight tph service to Old Oak Common for Crossrail, HS2, the North London Line and most importantly, a very healthy amount of employment opportunities.

Hendon Station

This Google Map shows the layout of Hendon station.

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  • The footbridge is not step-free.
  • The footbridge is used to support the electrification.
  • The electrified fast lines in Platforms 3 and 4.
  • The electrified slow lines in Platforms 1 and 2.
  • The two freight lines without electrification behind the white metal fence on Platform 4.

In my view, this needs to be done.

  • Make the station step-free.
  • Build a Platform 5 on the Up Hendon Line, that backs onto Platform 4, so it can share steps and the lift.
  • Electrify the line through the platform.

The created Platform 5, will be the terminus of the Phase Two service to Kew Bridge.

Hounslow Station

This Google Map shows the layout of Hounslow station.

These pictures show the station.

It will be tight to fit a bay platform into the station, but I suspect, it will be placed on the Up (London-bound) side of the station, in what is now an access road and yard to some business premises, where one is labelled Resco Living.

  • It will need some changes to the cross-overs at the station to allow trains to access the new platform.
  • The station needs a new step-free bridge.

This Google Map shows Hounslow station’s location with respect to Heathrow.

Hounslow station is in the bottom right-hand corer of the map.

I do wonder if Hounslow station, needs a frequent bus to Heathrow Airport. After all the extra four train per hour across London will make it a very busy station.

Kew Bridge Station

This Google Map shows the layout of the lines and the location of Kew Bridge station.

Note.

  • The triangal of lines, of which only the bottom side has any trains.
  • The top angle leads to South Acton station.
  • The proposed Phase One service would use the left side of the triangle.
  • The proposed Phase Two service to Kew Bridge would use the right side of the triangle and terminate in a reopened platform at Kew Bridge station.

These pictures show the station.

The work needed at Kew Bridge station would appear to be very simple.

  • Reinstate the former Platform 3 to handle four tph.
  • Replace the footbridge with a better step-free example.

It would also appear that there is a siding to the East of the station, that could be used to reverse trains if necessary.

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

As Brentford’s new stadium and other large developments are being built in the area, I wonder if the proposed Phase One Hounslow service should call at a reopened Kew station.

Neasden Station

This Google Map shows the layout of Neasden station.

And this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at the station.

These pictures show the station.

Ian says this about Neasden in his article.

The station at Gladstone Park could see the disused station called Dudding Hill brought back into use, although the likelyhood is that a new station closer to Neasden on the Jubilee line would be favoured for the shorter interchange walk.

There may even be enough space to flip the existing Neasden station southwards and link up with the new Overground line to create a single station linking the two lines.

Whether the funding for that would be available will doubtless depend on getting new housing developers to pick up some of the bill.

There are certainly possibilities.

A combined station would give the following services.

  • Upwards of twenty tph on the Jubilee Line
  • Four tph between West Hampstead Thameslink and Hounslow.
  • Four tph between Hendon and Kew Bridge

The last two proposed services would provide an eight tph service to Old Oak Common for Crossrail, HS2, the North London Line and most importantly, a very healthy amount of employment opportunities.

Old Oak Common Station

Old Oak Common station will be a major interchange between the following lines and services.

  • Crossrail
  • HS2
  • Great Western Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line
  • Chiltern Tailways
  • Bakerloo Line
  • Central Line
  • North London Line
  • West London Line

Whoever sorts this lot out, deserves a Turner Prize.

But after seeing some very complicated stations in both the UK and Europe, I believe that it would be possible to create a station that provided easy  step-free interchange between the various lines without walking halfway round the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

 

Connecting the West Orbital Railway to Crossrail would be a very valuable interchange.

West Hampstead Thameslink Station

This Google Map shows the layout of West Hampstead Thameslink station.

 

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  • In the Google Map, the lines are Slow, Fast and Freight from top to bottom.
  • The station is fully step-free.
  • The freight lines are electrified.
  • The last picture shows how the other West Hampstead stations are being improved.

In my view, all that needs to be done is build Platform 5 for the Phase One service behind Platform 4, so that it can share the steps and the lift.

As other improvements are appearing, West Hampstead will become an important interchange. It’s now got the absolute necessity for a Grade A Interchange; an Marks and Spencer Food Store.

Employment, Housing And Social Benefits

In the seven years since I moved to Dalston, the area has improved considerably.

  • New apartment blocks have appeared.
  • The shops, restaurants and cafes have got better.
  • It also appears to me, that the amount of idle youths hanging around has reduced.

I put a lot of all this, down to considerable investment in both buses and railways. It’s probably not surprising as the London Borough of Hackney doesn’t have an Underground station of its own.

The Overground has been a conspicuous success, offering train services of the following nature.

  • Safe, clean stations.
  • Visible, well-trained staff.
  • New modern trains.
  • Train services at a frequency of four tph.

The only problem, is that every time the capacity is expanded it quickly fills.

But then that is only new travellers opting for quality.

On Sunday, I took a ride on top of a bus between Willesden Green and Harlesden stations. These are some pictures I took.

The two most impressive buildings I passed were Courts.

It is my belief that after my experience in Dalston, that improving the transport links in an area of deprivation improves the area considerably, in any number of ways, some of which are rather surprising.

From speaking to people in Dalston, decent reliable transport links seem to have the benefit that those who are unemployed often benefit substantially, by being able to get to nre-found work easily and on time.

So if the proposed line is built with stations at Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common will we see the improvement in North West London, that the Overground has brought to Dalston?

Unfortunately, the only way to test my theory is to build the line.

Building The Line

This is no Crossrail or HS2, where billions need to be spent.

The three largest sub-projects would be.

  • Electrification of the Dudding Hill Line,  if it is to be done.
  • Resignalling of the Dudding Hill Line.
  • Necessary track replacement and updating.

In addition, there are around ten station projects.

There will also be a need for up to perhaps sixteen Class 710 trains. This could be around £90-100 million.

Other Possible Rail Services

It might be possible to connect the West Orbital Railway to other rail services and stations.

Changing At Old Oak Common

All stations on the West Orbital Railway will have at least a four tph connection to Old Oak Common, with Harlesden and Neasden having an eight tph connection.

 

Provided that the connection at Old Oak Common is well-designed, I think passengers will be happy to change here for the following services.

  • Six tph on Crossrail to Heathrow.
  • Twelve tph on Crossrail to Central London.
  • West Coast Main Line
  • HS2
  • Chiltern
  • North London Line
  • West London Line

I’ve left out the Bakerloo and Central Lines, as it will probably be quicker to take Crossrail and change.

Thameslink And The Midland Main Line

All stations on the West Orbital Railway will have at least a four tph connection to Thameslink, with Harlesden and Neasden having two separate four tph connections.

Depending on how the new East Midlands franchise arranges services, it might also be possible change onto some services to Derby, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Hopefully, the interchange will be step-free. West Hampstead Thameslink already is step-free and I would assume Brent Cross Thameslink will be built that way!

A direct connection from Midland Main Line or Thameslink services to the West Orbital Railway may be possible, but the current track layout would appear to make it difficult.

Changing At Hounslow And Kew Bridge

The two Southern termini are on the Hounslow Loop Line, which gives valuable connections in South West London, including Clapham Junction.

Affect On Other Services

The West Orbital Railway affects other passenger services in two places.

The North London Line Through Acton Central And South Acton

Acton Central and South Acton stations on the North London Line are both served by a four tph service between Stratford and Richmond.

  • There are also other trains.
  • Both stations also have a level crossing.

So would it be possible to fit the eight tph of the West Orbital Railway through this section of the North London Line?

I suspect the answer is positive, otherwise the impossibility would have killed the proposal.

The Hounslow Loop Line Between Kew Bridge And Hounslow

This section of line has a four tph service in both directions, so it should be able to handle an extra four tph.

Collateral Benefits

There are some benefits to existing services.

Services Through Acton

The two Acton stations; Acton Central and South Acton, receive a big boost to services.

Currently, they have just four tph between Stratford and Richmond.

After Phase Two of the West Ortbital Railway is complete, these servicesc will be added.

  • Four tph between West Hampstead Thameslink and Hounslow
  • Four tph between Hendon and Kew Bridge

All twelve tph will stop at Old Oak Common.

Major Developments Get New Or Improved Rail Connections

The following developments get new or improved rail connections.

  • Brent Cross Cricklewood
  • Old Oak Common
  • Brentford

How many housing and commercial developments will the passenger serviceencourage?

Conclusion

I believe that the West Orbital Railway is an elegant proposal.

  • No new track or electrification, just signalling and stations.
  • Four tph on two routes through areas of London that need much better public transport.
  • It links to the major rail hub at Old Oak Common for Crossrail and HS2.
  • It can be built without major disruption to existing services.
  • It can use the London Overground’s standard Class 710 trains.
  • It is very much a self-contained railway, that has little chance to affect existing services.

But above all, it is very much an affordable proposal, with a projected high return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How To Build A Short Railway Branch Line

This article in Global Rail News is entitled London Overground’s Barking Riverside extension given green light.

The Barking Riverside Extension to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is a 4.5 km. extension to serve a housing development of 10,800 houses at a derelict site by the Thames in Barking.

The article says this.

The Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, has now given his support to the project – approving the Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) for the extension.

It puzzles me, why Chris Grayling is in the loop, as the £263million project for the extension is funded by Transport for London, with a £172million contribution from the developers of the houses.

TfL’s contribution works out at just over ten pounds for every man woman and child in Greater London.

By comparison, this article in Rail TRechnology Magazine is entitled MPT wins £350m contract to build Metrolink’s Trafford Park extension. Was a TWAO signed by the Minister for that?

This country is far to centralised!

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 6 Comments

GOBLIN Electrification On Track For January 2018 Completion

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

This is said.

Network Rail has this week confirmed that the GOBLIN electrification project is expected to be completed in January 2018 ahead of new trains arriving in spring.

About time too!

In An Open Letter To All Those Along The Gospel Oak To Barking Line, I called for an alternative approach. Seeing what might happen in Aukland, that I wrote about in Auckland Mulls Battery-Electric Train Order,

I do wonder if there would have been a better way. This article in Rail Magazine, which is entitled Flex… and flexibility and consists of an interview with Helen Simpson and Mark Isbern of Porterbrook. It gives lots of clues to the thinking behind the Class 319 Fklex train.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 7 Comments