The Anonymous Widower

TfL’s Reaction To The Gospel Oak To Barking Problem

In Gospel Oak-Barking Fleet Plan Remains Unclear, I wrote a section, which was entitled.The Situation On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Is Critical.

I quoted the headings of this page on the Barking-Gospel Oak Rail User Group web site which was their latest newsletter.

  • Train Service On Brink Of Collapse
  • Not Enough Trains For Viable Service
  • TfL Has No Idea When New Trains Will Be Fit For Service
  • Rail Users Demand Mayor Takes Action To Restore Reliable Train Service Now
  • Rail Users Demand Compensation After Years Of Misery

It was all strong stuff.

The Barking-Gospel Oak User Group have now published a reply from TfL.

This is an extract.

I am very sorry for the continuing delay to the introduction of the new trains. I want to assure you that we are working very hard with all parties to bring the new trains into passenger service as soon as possible. However, the manufacturer, Bombardier Transportation has still not been able to fix the software problems that are causing the delays. Together with the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor for Transport, we are continuing to push hard to get the trains running as soon as possible.

As you know, we extended the lease on the diesel trains currently running on the line to account for the delay to the new trains. One of these trains will soon need to be released for use elsewhere in the country, with the remaining trains due to be released by mid March.

Given the continuing delays to the new trains, we are now exploring the option of modifying some other London Overground trains for temporary use on this line. There are a number of
considerations that need to be resolved before we can confirm whether this is possible. We are
testing a modified train on the line and expect to make a decision on whether it is possible to
operate it later this month.

So it looks like TfL are working towards running Class 378 trains on the route.

From the statement, it appears that one train is required soon and upwards of five are needed by mid-March.

As I indicated in Gospel Oak-Barking Fleet Plan Remains Unclear, five trains could be released by reducing the Stratford and Clapham Junction service from four trains per hour to two.

It would be tight, but the problem would be solved by the successful acceptance of a few Class 710 trains.

January 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Gospel Oak-Barking Fleet Plan Remains Unclear

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

In the article, there is a picture of 378232 at Barking station.

According to the Wikipedia entry for Class 378 trains, this unit is listed as being four-cars and TBA (To Be Allocated?)

So is it a spare train, that is used for driver and staff training and route proving?

It was certainly doing the latter at Barking.

The Situation On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Is Critical

This page on the Barking-Gospel Oak Rail User Group web site is their latest newsletter, which was issued on the 14th of January.

These are the headlines on the newsletter.

  • Train Service On Brink Of Collapse
  • Not Enough Trains For Viable Service
  • TfL Has No Idea When New Trains Will Be Fit For Service
  • Rail Users Demand Mayor Takes Action To Restore Reliable Train Service Now
  • Rail Users Demand Compensation After Years Of Misery

It’s all strong stuff.

Trains that work are urgently needed to replace the diesel Class 172 trains, which will all leave by the end of April or even March.

Possible Replacement Trains

These types of trains have been touted as replacement trains.

Class 315 trains

TfL has started to send some Class 315 trains, made redundant by TfL Rail, for scrapping.

Could these be held back for use on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line?

  • They would fit the route.
  • London Overground already runs these trains to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town.
  • The expertise and driving experience must be there to run a service.

But, as there have been no reports of any Class 315 trains on the route, I suspect that there’s a reason, why these trains can’t fill the gap.

Could it be the disability regulations, which kick in at the end of 2019?

It should also be noted that the proposed Class 710 trains for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line are dual-voltage, as are those for the Watford DC Line. The two groups also share stabling at Willesden TMD and probably spare trains as well.

But Class 315 trains are 25 KVAC only, so this could mean they don’t fit London Overground’s stabling and maintenance plans.

Class 365 Trains

Class 365 trains got ScotRail out of trouble, but like the Class 315 trains, they are 25 KVAC only, so may have the same stabling and maintenance issues.

It would also be a new train class for London Overground.

Class 319 Trains

Class 319 trains are dual-voltage and could probably be used on both routes, but they would need a refurbishment and would also be a new train class for London Overground.

Class 378 Trains

Class 378 trains already work the Watford DC Line and after the test of a four-car unit to Barking, London Overground probably know how difficult, it would be for four-car trains to work the route.

The trains are dual-voltage and London Overground’s strategy of basing trains for both routes at Willesden TMD would probably be possible.

Drivers and other staff know them very well, as do the passengers.

I am drawn to the conclusion, that of the trains available in the event of non-delivery of Class 710 trains, the Class 378 trains are the best choice.

How Many Trains Are Needed For The Gospel Oak To Barking Line?

The full service was run by a fleet of eight Class 172 service.

As the same number of Class 710 trains have been pencilled in for the route, I must assume that this is the number of trains required. I think six trains are needed for the service, with two in reserve or maintenance.

How Many Class 378 Trains Are Needed For A Full Overground Service?

If I go through the routes of the original Overground, I find the following.

Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction

Trains take 46 minutes to go South and 44 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means thatthe current four trains per hour (tph) service would need eight trains.

Dalston Junction And New Cross

Trains take 22 minutes both ways and a round trip would take an hour.

This means that the current four tph service would need four trains.

Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace

Trains take 44 minutes to go South and 43 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

Trains take 52 minutes both ways and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

Euston And Watford Junction

Trains take 47 minutes to go South and 50 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current three tph service would need six trains.

Stratford And Richmond/Clapham Junction

Between Stratford and Richmond, trains take 59-64 minutes to go West and 62 minutes to come East.

Between Stratford and Clapham Junction, trains take 62 minutes to go West and 64 minutes to come East.

The round trip times are very similar and are around two and a half hours.

This means that the current eight tph service would need twenty trains.

Summarising, these services gives.

  • Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction – 8 trains
  • Dalston Junction and New Cross – 4 trains
  • Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace – 8 trains
  • Highbury & Islington and West Croydon – 8 trains
  • Euston and Watford Junction – 6 trains
  • Stratford and Richmond/Clapham Junction – 20 trains

This gives a total of 54 trains. As there are fifty-seven Class 378 trains, this means there are three spares to cope for maintenance and breakdowns.

London Overground have plans to increase frequencies and they are detailed in this table.

Note that four extra services are planned for the East London, North London and Watford DC Lines.

  • Two extra tph between Stratford and Clapham Junction, which has already been implemented.
  • Two extra tph between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction. This would mean that twelve trains would be needed for this service.
  • Two extra tph between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace. This would mean that twelve trains would be needed for this service.
  • One extra tph between Euston and Watford Junction. This would mean that eight trains would be needed for this service.

Summarising again gives.

  • Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction – 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction and New Cross – 4 trains
  • Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace – 12 trains
  • Highbury & Islington and West Croydon – 8 trains
  • Euston and Watford Junction – 8 trains
  • Stratford and Richmond/Clapham Junction – 20 trains

This gives a total of 64 trains.

As London Overground only has 57 Class 378 trains, this proposed timetable is impossible without some new Class 710 trains.

London Overground plan to use some of the Class 710 trains to release Class 378 trains from the Watford DC Line, to reinforce East London Line services.

So it looks like the late delivery of the Class 710 trains has also scuppered London Overground’s plans to increase services on the East London Line.

How Many Class 378 Trains Could Be Scraped Together?

This table shows the number of Class 378 trains needed for the current service.

  • Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction – 8 trains
  • Dalston Junction and New Cross – 4 trains
  • Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace – 8 trains
  • Highbury & Islington and West Croydon – 8 trains
  • Euston and Watford Junction – 6 trains
  • Stratford and Richmond/Clapham Junction – 20 trains

This gives a total of 54 trains. With just three trains spare.

As the Gospel Oak to Barking Line needs eight trains to run a full service, this is not enough.

What strategies can be applied to increase the number of trains available?

Reduce The Stratford And Clapham Junction Service To Two tph

The Stratford and Clapham Junction service was two tph until recently, when it was raised to four tph.

Reducing it back to two tph, would reduce the number of trains required on Stratford and Clapham/Richmond services by five.

This would give eight spare trains, which would be almost enough to run a full service on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Provided of course, that there was a hundred percent availability, which is rather an impossible dream.

Introduce The Class 710 Trains On The Watford DC Line

The Class 710 trains for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line are dual-voltage trains, which will also run on the Watford DC Line. So would it be a sensible idea to introduce these trains first on the Watford DC Line?

  • The third-rail electrification on the line is at least fifty years old, so must be fully tested.
  • The drivers have extensive route knowledge of running electric trains on the route.
  • Willesden TMD, where the Class 710 trains are stabled, is on the Watford DC Line.
  • The route is only shared with the Bakerloo Line.
  • The route is to be equipped with six Class 710 trains anyway.

Every Class 710 train introduced will release a Class 378 train.

Introduce The Class 710 Trains On The North London Line

Running on the North London Line is more complicated than the Watford DC Line, but five-car Class 710 trains, are planned for this route.

They could be introduced to release Class 378 trains.

The Four-Car Train Problem

Every four-car train created means that a trailer car is removed from a five-car Class 378 train.

I would assume that it is most likely, these spare cars will be put into store until the, the new Class 710 trains finally enter service.

Or would they be added to other Class 378 trains to create six-car trains, which would then be run on the North or West London Lines, where the platforms could be almost long enough? Selective door opening on the trains could also be used at short platforms.

Conclusion

I feel if the London Overground swap trains around and perhaps reduce the Stratford and Clapham Junction service to its old level of 2 tph, then enough Class 378 trains would be available to run a full four-car service on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Have Transport for London Got A Plan To Finish Work On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line?

This article on CityMetric is entitled London’s Gospel Oak to Barking Line Might Be About To Lose All Its Trains To Birmingham.

These two paragraphs outline the problem with the Class 172 and Class 710 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Under Tf’L’s original plans for the GOBLIN, this would have been OK – the current diesel Class 172s were supposed to stay until the new electric Class 710s were in power. But there’s a big shortage of diesel trains in the UK, so the Department for Transport insisted that the 172s went to the West Midlands Railway franchise to boost services around Birmingham. TfL – under the previous mayor, who you may remember from certain gameshows and zipwires – signed up to transfer the trains early.

But the trains aren’t early. Two of the eight 172s on the GOBLIN have already been sent to the West Midlands, which leaves the GOBLIN service a mess because it requires all six trains to run a peak service. TfL is desperately trying to keep the trains running day-to-day by cancelling weekend services.

TfL need to cancel some weekend services, so that they can service the trains properly. I could imagine that of the six trains, that remain in North London, which run in the week, three would work Saturday and three would work Sunday.

Today, they are shuttling between South Tottenham and Gospel Oak stations.

  • The journey takes fourteen minutes.
  • There is a crossover at South Tottenham station, which allows trains to reverse there.
  • I think that two or three trains are providing a two train per hour (tph) service.

I went to South Tottenham station, this morning and there were some fractious relations between customers and staff, but nothing too fractious!

There were also posters on the wall of the station saying that on most weekends until the 20th of January, there would only be services between South Tottenham and Gospel Oak stations.

Closures between South Tottenham and Barking stations are on the following days.

  • 24th December 2018
  • 25th December 2018
  • 26th December 2018
  • 29th December 2018
  • 30th December 2018
  • 31st December 2018
  • 1st January 2019
  • 5th January 2019
  • 6th January 2019
  • 13th January 2019
  • 19th January 2019

The whole line will also be closed on the 20th January 2019.

Note that from now until the 6th January 2019, the trains will only be running for five days out of fourteen. Is this high degree of closure, so that the Class 172 trains can be fully serviced?

It looks to me that TfL are succeeding in providing a two tph service to the West of South Tottenham station.

Note that only Harringay Green Lanes and Crouch Hill stations aren’t direct or out-of-station interchanges.

If you look at the stations to the East of South Tottenham station, you find the following.

To increase services in the area, a Rail Replacement Bus is being run between Walthamstow Central and Barking stations.

The proposed level of service at weekends, should enable.

  • Enough time to maintain the six trains needed for the four tph weekday service on the whole line.
  • Three trains at the weekend to enable a two tph service between South Tottenham and Gospel Oak station.
  • Any outstanding work to be completed on the stations between Barking and South Tottenham stations.

I’m sure that it used to say on Wikipedia, that the new four-car Class 710 trains would be introduced gradually into the fleet.

This would certainly be possible, as the new trains became available and each one that entered service could release a Class 172 train for West Midlands Trains.

 

 

December 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

More Overground Delays As Introduction Of New Trains Pushed Back

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Ham & High.

These are a couple of paragraphs, about the delays to the new Class 710 trains.

Rory O’Neill, TfL’s general manager for London Overground, apologised for the delay, explaining it was due to manufacturer Bombardier needing to do further software development.

He said: “Safety testing for the new electric trains is now well underway and Bombardier has said that they should be ready to enter passenger service in the second half of December.

So it looks like the software is still being developed!

The Quality Of Programming

I have heard modern trains being described as a computer on wheels, but it does strike me that the standard of software development is slipping all over the place.

  • We have had various banking computer fiascos.
  • I find lots of issues with software on my phone.
  • There have been data breaches, where user details have been hacked from social media and retail systems.

Speaking as a programmer, who once paid a seven figure tax bill because of his competency, I am inevitably led to a conclusion, that important systems are being programmed by people, who are not up to the job.

Is history repeating itself?

In the early 1970s, I realised I was a very good programmer, so I left a secure job and broke out on my own. After a couple of years, I was earning much more than in the safe job, I’d left!

Due to luck and falling in with the right crowd, I ended up with a good share of a valuable company.

Life was more exciting and it set my family and myself up for life.

So today, if you’re a brilliant programmer in say Bombardier or TSB, who thinks that you’re underpaid, do you take the route I took and end up in a more exciting and rewarding programming world?

In the 1970s, due to the close nature of the programming world, where many were known to each other, poaching was rife!

So are we suffering from the same problems?

I would also throw in another problem!

Companies like to outsource their programming to companies and programmers living thousands of miles away.

Even with the Internet, this must mean that response to problems is much slower and a good deal worse.

Conclusions

Those that commission computer programming must not judge the quality of programming on how l;ittle it costs.

As to the trains, I doubt they’ll be in service before the end of February 2019!

 

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Digital Signalling Implications For North London

As I write this post, two big digital signalling projects are ongoing.

Four Lines Modernisation

This project is described in this document on the TfL web site.

This video is from that document.

The TfL web site says this about the new signalling system.

Work to install a new signalling and control system began in summer 2016. This will eventually allow the trains to be driven automatically, with a train operator in the cab to open and close the doors. The train operator will be responsible for managing customer information and safety.

Similar technology introduced in recent years on the Jubilee and Northern lines improved performance. The new signalling system allows trains to be run closer together, meaning a more frequent service and shorter waiting times, allowing more people to be carried. This new technology will enable us to reduce delays and improve reliability.

The programme will allow us to operate 32 trains per hour, a 33% increase in peak-hour capacity. Installation work will require some line closures.

So it looks that by around 2023, there will be a lot more trains running on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines.

The Four Lines Modernisation will have implications for other services.

North London Line

Between Gunnersbury and Richmond stations, the District Line and the North London Line share track, stations and signalling.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the complexity of the tracks around Gunnersbury station.

Obviously, whatever signalling is installed, it must be capable of handling both District and North London Line trains at Gunnersbury Junction and to and from Richmond.

Metropolitan Line To Amersham

Between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham stations, the Metropolitan Line and the London-Aylesbury Line, share track, stations and signalling.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Harrow-on-the-Hill station.

and this one shows the layout at Amersham station.

The solution for this section of track is detailed in the Wikipedia entry for the Metropolitan Line, where this is said.

Trackside signals with automatic train protection (ATP) will remain on the line north of Harrow-on-the-Hill, shared with Chiltern Railways DMUs

It is a solution, but will it last for ever?

And what about the Croxley Rail Link, if that is ever built?

Freight Trains Are Going Digital

This page on the Network Rail web site is entitled Freight Trains In Britain To Be Upgraded With Delay-Busting Digital Technology In Multi-Million Pound Deal.

The article says that all 750 freight locomotives will be upgraded.

This project must have implications for the freight services that run across North London on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and North London Line, especially if these lines were in the future to be digitally signalled.

A Digitally-Signalled Bakerloo Line

At some tie in the next few years a decision will be made about what to do with the Bakerloo Line.

  1. It will be extended to Lewisham.
  2. It will receive new trains.
  3. It will be left as it is.

Options one and two would probably involve new digital signalling.

Addition of digital signalling to the Bakerloo Line would mean implications for the Watford DC Line, with which the Bakerloo Line shares the track between Queens Park and Harrow & Wealdstone stations.

Conclusion

I am drawn to the conclusion, that digital signalling in North London could bring capacity benefits.

 

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Crouch Hill Station – 28th August 2018

The bridge at Crouch Hill station has now been rebuilt and is complete.

As can be seen it’s all clean and tidy.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

A Kestrel Hunts For Lunch Using A Train

I was travelling between South Tottenham and Blackhorse Road stations on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, where the line runs along the side of Walthamstow Wetlands.

I noticed a bird come and join us and it flew about ten metres away, straight and level and at the same speed as the train, which wasn’t going that fast.

I’d seen this behaviour before from a bird, when driving a truck through Suffolk lanes and realised that it was a kestrel waiting for the train to disturb a tasty vole.

The kestrel was unlucky!

August 6, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Capacity Of London Overground’s New Class 710 Trains

The first of London Overground’s new Class 710 trains has just been delivered and will enter service by November.

This article on the International Railway Journal is entitledTfL Unveils Class 710 EMUs For London Overground.

This is a short extract.

The new EMUs will double the capacity of the current class 172 DMUs to almost 700 passengers per train and feature walk-through carriages for greater capacity and improved accessibility, with more wheelchair spaces.

It strikes me, that seven hundred seems a lot of passengers, so how does this compare with other trains?

Class 172 Trains

The Class 172 trains currently working the Gospel Oak to Barking Line are only two cars and have a capacity of 120 seats.

They will be replaced with Class 710/2 trains with longitudinal seating.

Class 315 Trains

The Class 315 trains currently working the Lea Valley Lines, have 318 seats according to Wikipedia.

They will be replaced with Class 710/1 trains with a mix of transverse longitudinal seating.

Class 378 Trains

The Class 378 trains currently working the North and East London Lines, have similar longitudinal seating as the new Class 710/2 trains for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and can really cram passengers inside.

London Underground S7 And S8 Trains

The S7/S8 Stock trains of the London Underground are London’s biggest people carriers.

  • S7 – 7 cars – 117.45 metres long – 865 passengers – 7.36 passengers per metre
  • S8 – 8 cars – 133.68 metres long – 1003 passengers – 7.50 passengers per metre

As the Class 710 trains have been designed on similar principles, I suspect we’ll be seeing similar passenger densities of around 7-8 passengers per metre.

This would give a capacity of around six hundred passengers, if the trains are the same eighty metre length as the current Class 315 trains.

Conclusion

It appears that seven hundred is the only published figure and if it is, these new Class 710 trains are going to substantially increase public transport capacity across North London.

They are certainly future-proofed for an outbreak of London Overground Syndrome, where passenger numbers greatly exceed forecasts.

As some of the trains are being delivered as five-car units, there is always the option of adding an extra car. Especially, as the platforms on the line, seem to have been built for five or even six car trains.

London Overground have not made the platform length miscalculations of the North and East London Lines.

June 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Roll-Out Of Electric Trains Along Gospel Oak Yo Barking Line Delayed Until The Summer

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on City AM.

So the rumours that I talked about in New Overground Trains For Gospel Oak To Barking line Delayed… By Three Months, would seem to be correct!

According to the article, Bombardier are saying it’s due to software issues dragging out the testing, of the Class 710 trains.

All trains these days are about software and  I speak from personal experience of fifty years writing extremely complex software.

Getting all of the software systems working correctly is an extremely complex task and, as this is only the second train of the Aventra family to be built, Bombardier are probably still going through a learning curve.

I feel, the problems are made worse, because of a lack of test tracks in the UK. A lot of train testing seems to be done for Hitachi’s new Class 385 trains in the Czech Republic and Germany and I find it interesting that Talgo, are thinking of building a new test track in the UK, as I reported in Talgo Explores Options For Building UK Test Track.

My experience of software writing, says that there is light at the end of this particular tunnel.

According to Wikipedia, twenty of the Class 710 trains have now been built, so when one train is approved, if the other nineteen are identical, twenty trains can surely be introduced into service fairly quickly, once enough drivers and other staff have been trained.

The City AM article finishes with these two paragraphs.

Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham council, said: “Coming on the back of the announcement of a delay with the Barking Riverside Overground, this is another slap in the face for the residents of Barking and Dagenham.

“Moving the completion dates of this project tells a lot about the contractors managing it and in future, may need us to look very closely into how these private sector contracts are awarded and managed.”

Does he believe, that if everything were to be nationalised, it would be much better?

If I go back to the 1960s and 1970s, my memory tells me that British Rail had lateness problems, when they did everything. Some projects like the Advanced Passenger Train never even saw service, after consuming millions of pounds.

In some ways, the real problem is the lack of testing facilities for the large numbers of new trains and the new digital signalling coming into service. Too much has to be done at the Old Dalby test track near Melton Mowbray.

Incidentally, I’ve just returned from the Aosta Valley in Italy, where their new Stadler Flirt trains have been delivered, but are yet to enter service. The new trains for the Aosta Valley Line are still not in service, as I reported in Where Are The New Trains For The Aosta Valley?.

So do the Swiss have software problems as well?

Building trains would appear to be a complex business.

 

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Walthamstow Central Tube Station To Receive £15m Improvement

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Waltham Forest Guardian.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Walthamstow Central tube station has been allocated £15 million for improvements, but only if the controversial Walthamstow Mall redevelopment goes ahead.

New plans for the station include installing step-free access and a creating a new entrance.

That would surely get rid of the servere overcrowding that is experienced in Walthamstow Central station.

Overcrowding At Walthamstow Central Station

I often go to Walthamstow, at the tail end of the Evening Peak.

I have two routes.

  1. Take a bus to Highbury and Islington station and then use the Victoria Line.
  2. Take a bus to Hackney Downs station and then use the Chingford Line of the London Overground.

I always use the second route, as the two escalators at Walthamstow Central station can’t cope with the Victoria Line’s increased frequency of thirty-six trains per hour.

What makes matters worse is that all trains, except those going to and from the depot at Northumberland Park, run the whole length of the line between Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations.

Running this service on Dear Old Vicky, is one of the great engineering achievements on Metros around the world, but it means that passengers are finding some of the Victoria Line stations are inadequate. Walthamstow Central is one of them!

Another factor, that doesn’t help, is the excellent Walthamstow bus station. It is the third busiest in London and I’m sure it attracts more travellers to the rail and tube stations.

It is my belief, that the increase in train frequency and the building of the new bus station are the major cause of increasing overcrowding in the station.

It is worth noting that in 2016, the tube station handled nearly twenty-three million passengers with just two platforms and an up and a down escalator. By comparison, Cannon Street station, handled the same number of passengers with seven platforms and level access.

To be fair to Transport for London, they have sorted the gate lines at the station, but that still leaves the escalators severely overcrowded at times.

I actually can’t understand, why they haven’t replaced the middle staircase with a third escalator, as they have at Brixton, where there are also lifts.

Overcrowding Could Be Getting Worse!

Some transport improvements, that will happen in the next year or two,, will affect passenger numbers at Walthamstow Central station.

New Trains On The Chingford Line

The current Class 315 and Class 317 trains will be replaced by new Class 710 trains.

  • These will have the same number of carriages, but they will have a higher capacity, due to better design and being walk-through trains.
  • They will also have wi-fi and 4G available, if they follow the lead of the closely-related Class 345 trains.
  • Their operating speed has not been disclosed, but that of the Class 345 train is 90 mph, which is fifteen mph faster than a Class 315 train.
  • Their modern design will also allow them to save a minute or two at each of the seven stops.

The performance improvement may allow a more intense service.

The trains will certainly attract more passengers, as quality new trains always do!

  • Will the new trains generate more new passengers, than any forecaster dreamt was possible?
  • Will more passengers be attracted to stations North of Walthamstow Central and change to the Victoria Line?
  • Will some passengers change from using the Victoria Line to the Chingford Line?

Bear in mind, that new trains on the North London Line, started in 2010 with three-car trains running at six trains per hour (tph). They are now up to five-car trains running at eight tph. This is an capacity increase of over 120%.

On balance, I suspect that some of these factors will cancel each other out. But who knows?

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The geriatric Class 313 trains working the Northern City Line are being replaced by new Class 717 trains.

  • These new trains will offer higher frequencies and more capacity.
  • They will use 2+2 seating.
  • They will have wi-fi and power sockets.

Services on the Northern City Line have a cross-platform step-free interchange with the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington station, so I believe the route will be increasingly used by passengers between the Walthamstow/Chingford area and the City of London.

Undoubtedly, it will increase passengers using the escalators at Walthamstow Central station.

New Trains On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

The current two-car Class 172 trains on the Gospel Oak To Barking Line, are being replaced by four-car electric Class 710 trains.

  • The new trains will double capacity.
  • They will have better passenger facilities.
  • They will be more environmentally-friendly.

These trains could encourage travellers to use the quieter Walthamstow Queen’s Road station, instead of the very busy Walthamstow Central station.

Stratford To Meridian Water

This project will add a third track to the West Anglia Main Line and allow a four tph service between Stratford station and the new station at Meridian Water with stops at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.

I have no view on how successful, this new line will be and how it will affect traffic on the Victoria line.

Crossrail

When you discuss transport provision in London, there is always a herd of elephants in the room!

Crossrail will change everybody’s journeys!

Crossrail will create a high-capacity fast route between Heathrow and Canary Wharf via Paddington, the West End and the City of London.

So how will those in Walthamstow and Chingford tie into this new high-capacity line?

In my view a direct link to Stratford is needed, which could be created by reinstating the Hall Farm Curve.

The World Ducking And Diving Championships

East Londoners would undoubtedly win the World Ducking-And-Diving Championships, if one were to be held.

Network Rail and Transport for London, are creating the ultimate training ground in North-East London.

Most people do a number of common journeys over time.

They get to know the best routes for these journeys dependent on various factors, like the time of day, weather and whether they are carrying heavy shopping.

For most people though, choosing the route for a particular day’s journey will not be process that can be written down, that might be more determined by random factors.

I for instance, will often choose my route, based on the first bus that comes along, even if it is not usually the quickest route.

To make journeys easier, through a network like North-East London, you need the following.

  • As many links as possible.
  • As few bottlenecks as possible.

These rules will allow the passengers to flow freely.

Passengers like water automatically find the quickest way from A to B.

Improvements In North-East London

There are various improvements in alphabetical order, that are proposed, planned or under construction for North-East London

Bicycle Routes Across The Lea Valley

The Lea Valley has a lot of green space and I have seen plans mentioned to create quiet cycling routes across the area.

It should also include lots of bikes for hire.

Hall Farm Curve

I mentioned this earlier and by building it to link Walthamstow and Stratford, it would enable direct access from Walthamstow and Chingford to the the following.

  • Olympic Park and Stadium.
  • The shops at Eastfield.
  • Crossrail
  • Docklands Light Railway
  • Jubilee and Central Lines
  • Highspeed serevices to Kent.
  • Continental services, if in the future, they stopped at Stratford.

It is a massive super-connector.

More Bus Routes

It may be that more bus routes or even stops are needed.

As an illustration of the latter, when the Walthamstow Wetlands opened, bus stops were provided.

New Stations

The new station at Meridian Water will add a new link to the transport network.

Two new stations on the Chingford Branch Line have also been proposed, which I wrote about them in New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line.

New stations are a good way to add more links in a transport network.

I shall be interested to see how many passengers the rebuilt Hackney Wick station attracts, when West Ham United are at home.

Northumberland Park Station

Northumberland Park station is being rebuilt with full step-free access, to provide better rail access to the new White Hart Lane Stadium.

Step-Free Access At Stations

Progress is being made, but there are still some truly dreadful access problems at some stations in East London.

Clapton, St. James Street, Seven Sisters, Stamford Hill and Wood Street certainly need improvement.

Tottenham Hale Station

Tottenham Hale Station is being rebuilt to give it full step-free access and a new entrance.

As this station handles well over ten million passengers a year, it is a good place to start.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station is almost last in this alphabetical list.

It is probably, the second most important transport hub in North-East London and it does handle nearly thirty million passengers a year if the National Rail and Underground figures are combined.

But, is it treated last by the planners?

Walthamstow Wetlands

This massive urban nature reserve opened last year and its importance will only grow in the years to come.

Will transport links need to be added to the Wetlands?

West Anglia Main Line Four-Tracking

Stansted Airport will grow and to get proper rail access to the airport, the long promised four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line will happen.

  • There will be two fast tracks for Cambridge, Stansted and possibly Norwich services.
  • There will be two slow tracks for local services up the Lea Valley to Broxbourne, Hertford East and Bishops Stortford.

Broxbourne station and the rebuilt Tottenham Hale station, will be the interchanges between fast and slow services.

Four-tracking will open up the possibility of lots more services up the Lea Valley.

There has been rumours, that Greater Anglia would like to open up a service between Stratford and Stansted. But that would be just for starters.

Liverpool Street station is full, but there is space at Stratford if the High Meads Loop under the shops and housing at Stratford is used, just like it was a few years ago.

The West Anglia Main Line could be turned into a high-capacity main line into London with two London terminal station; Liverpool Street and Stratford.

  • Both termini would be connected to Crossrail.
  • Liverpool Street connects to Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines.
  • The massive Liverpool Street-Moorgate Crossrail station will connect to the Northern and Northern City Lines.
  • Stratford connects to fast Kent services and Central and Jubilee Lines.

Will passengers for places like the West End get a fast train to Crossrail, rather than change for the Victoria Line at Tottenham Hale.

Conclusion

North-East London’s transport network is going to get better and better!

Note that I haven’t mentioned Crossrail 2! I doubt, this will be built before 2040!

 

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments