The Anonymous Widower

New Overground Trains Are Here – But Service Remains Reduced Until The Summer

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

The title says most of it, but it appears that the trains will start running today from mid-morning!

May 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Where Do They All Come From?

Not the lonely people in the Beatles, Eleanor Rigby, but although some may be lonely, I am referring to the passengers on the North London Line.

Today on the Saturday morning before the Bank Holiday, the Class 378 train was fairly full, with all seats taken and quite a few standing.

When the refurbished line opened in 2009 with new trains, there were six trains per hour (tph) of three-cars between Stratford and Willesden Junction stations. Now there are eight tph of five-cars. This is an increase in capacity of 2.22.

Travel this route in the Peak and it is difficult to find space to put your feet on the floor.

Passenger loading on this line seems to have got higher, since the train frequency increased from six tph to eight in December 2018.

So where do these passengers all come from?

  • Are passengers avoiding the Gospel Oak To Barking Line, because of the reduced capacity?
  • Has the increased frequency on the Victoria Line and new Class 717 trains on the Northern City Line, encouraged more passengers between Highbury & Islington and Stratford stations.
  • Are passengers fed up with being fried on the Central Line?
  • Is it people living in new developments along the line?
  • Is it just people are fed up with driving in North London’s traffic and using trains as an alternative?
  • Is it passengers using the line as an alternative after the non-appearance of Crossrail?

But whatever it is, action needs to be taken to create more capacity.

So what can be done?

Crossrail Needs To Be Opened

Crossrail’s non-appearance must make a difference, so when it finally opens, I will be very surprised if a proportion of passengers travelling to Highbury & Islington, don’t use Crossrail with its massive capacity as an alternative.

Class 710 Trains Will Finally Arrive On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

When the Class 710 trains are working well on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, this will mean that the three Class 378 trains, currently working the line, can go back home to the North, West and East London Lines fleet.

The Gospel Oak to Barking Line may also take passengers from the North London Line, once it is working with four tph and four-car trains.

Class 710 Trains On The Watford DC Line

The six Class 378 trains on the Watford DC Line will be replaced with Class 710 trains, thus adding six trains to the North, West and East London Lines fleet.

Extra Class 710 Trains For The North and West London Lines

Six new five-car Class 710 trains will also be delivered for the North and West London Lines.

As Clsas 710 trains can’t work the East London Line, does this mean that the six Class 378 trains cascaded from the Watford DC Line will go to the East London Line.

I have to ask what frequency of services could be run with an extra six trains.

In Gospel Oak-Barking Fleet Plan Remains Unclear, I calculated how many Class 378 trains were needed to run a full service on the North, East and West London Lines.

I said this about the trains needed for North and West London Lines.

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

Extending this calculation gives the following numbers of trains for a combined North and West London Lines service.

  • Eight tph needs twenty trains.
  • Ten tph needs twenty-five trains.
  • Twelve tph needs thirty trains.

Could this mean that the North and West London Line will get these services?

Stratford and Willesden Junction – 10 tph

Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction – 5 tph

Willesden Junction and Richmond – 5 tph

There would be one train spare, to cover for maintenance, software updates and breakdowns.

Six-Car Trains

In Will The East London Line Ever Get Six-Car Trains?, I looked at the possibility of six-car trains on the East London Line.

I came to this conclusion.

I will be very surprised if Network Rail’s original plan on six-car trains on the East London Line happens in the next few years.

There are various reasons.

  • Bombardier don’t make Electrostars any more.
  • Trains need an end-door for tunnel evacuation.
  • Class 710 trains don’t have end doors.
  • Some platforms would probably need difficult and expensive lengthening.

But six-car trains on the North and West London Lines could be a possibility.

In By Overground To High Speed Two, I said this about running six-car trains on the North and West London Lines.

Only a few stations can handle six-car trains without selective door opening and even the rebuilt West Hampstead station still has platforms for five-cars.

Selective door opening would allow six-car trains to use the five-car platforms and passengers have in London have shown they can cope with moving forward to get out at certain stations. Especially, as the walk-through design of the train, makes this a lot easier.

These numbers of trains would be needed to run the following frequencies to Richmond and Clapham Junction stations.

  • Four tph – 20 trains
  • Five tph – 25 trains
  • Six tph – 30 trains

Obtaining these numbers of Class 710 trains would probably not be a big problem, if they were needed and the budget was available.


The new Class 710 trains and the moving around of trains should keep services going for a couple of years.

May 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Better News Day For New Trains

Yesterday, was a better news day for new trains, with articles with these headlines.

All are significant for passengers.

Class 710 Trains

The authorisation of the Class 710 trains is particular importance to me, as they will be running locally to where I live.

It will be a couple of months before they enter passenger service.

But the trains have mainly been delayed by software problems and now that appears to have been fixed and as there are twenty trains already built, I could see them entering service, as soon as drivers have been trained.

It should be noted that eight trains are needed for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and six for the Watford DC Line, so if twenty have been built, I would expect that these two routes could be converted to the new trains by the summer.

Class 801 Trains

LNER’s Class 801 trains will be a significant introduction, as they will enable the cascade of the Mark 4 coaches to other operators, like Trains for Wales and East Midlands Railway.

April 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts On Barking To Grays And Barking To Barking Riverside Train Services

c2c’s Fenchurch Street And Grays Service

This service runs at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

  • Each journey takes about 34-36 minutes each way.
  • If ten minutes is allowed at each end, that gives a ninety minute round trip.
  • The service will need three trains.

A four tph service would need.

  • Six trains.
  • The ability to handle  extra two tph at Fenchurch Street station and in the bay platform at Grays station.

Grays station can probably handle the extra trains, but Fenchurch Street station may need extra capacity.

London Overground’s Gospel Oak And Barking Riverside Service

This service runs at a frequency of four tph.

Changing At Barking Station

Both service will use.

  • Platform 7 At Barking Station When Running Eastbound
  • Platform 8 At Barking Station When Running Westbound

Both platforms will have to handle six tph.

Would It Be Better For Changing If Both Services Were Four tph?

This would mean.

  • Passengers would never wait more than fifteen minutes to their desired destination.
  • The combined frequency would be eight tph or a train every seven-and-a half minute.
  • There would be a lot of scope for optimising the timetable for the convenience of passengers.

As an example, consider a passenger going from Barking Riverside to Fenchurch Street.

If trains were equally-spaced at Barking station, passengers would wait a maximum of seven-and-a-half minutes, if trains were on time.

On balance, if both services were four tph would be better.


If c2c and London Overground co-operate, customers will benefit.

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Riding The 9:09 From Harringay Green Lanes to Barking

On my trip to Grays station this morning, I took the 9:09 train from Harringay Green Lanes station to Barking station, where I got a direct train to Grays.

The three Class 378 trains seem to be coping and the four-car train was not overly full.

  • In the short trip, a lot of passengers don’t seem to do more than one or two stations.
  • There were even several big cases and a couple of buggies.
  • There were spare seats all of the way.

If nothing else Bombardier’s late delivery of the Class 710 trains, has brought the qualities of the Class 378 trains to the fore.

As the Class 710 trains will have the same layout, I suspect when they are in service, there will be loads of space all day, until new passengers fill them up! As they always do!

April 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mayflower At South Tottenham Station

The steam engine called Mayflower came through South Tottenham station this morning.

It was the first steam special along the Gospel Oak to Barking Line since the recent electrification.

Intriguingly, the locomotive is younger than I am and it has probably had better TLC than I have had in the last seventy years.

The crowd at the station wasn’t that large, but I don’t think there was that much publicity, outside of enthusiasts and the Barking – Gospel Oak Rail Users Group.

As an engineer, I think that the enlightened policy of allowing heritage steam and diesel locomotives to use the main line, is a good one. If it encourages bright students to become engineers, all the investment will be repaid in the long term.

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Back To Two Trains Per Hour On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

Checking this morning, it appears that four trains per hour (tph), which has been flagged up all week, will not be happening tomorrow according to the on-line timetable.

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

It Gets Stranger On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

I’ve just looked at the on-line National Rail  timetable for the next few days in trains per hour (tph)

  • Friday, Mar 22nd – Two tph
  • Saturday, Mar 23rd – Four tph
  • Sunday, Mar 24th – Four tph
  • Monday, Mar 25th – Twotph
  • Tuesday Mar 26th – Two tph

We shall see what happens.


March 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Have Bombardier And Transport for London Pressed The Publicity Button On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line?

This morning, both the National Rail and Transport for London Journey Planners are still showing a Saturday March the 23rd service of four trains per hour (tph) on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

To run a four tph service will need six trains, which is a bit difficult with only three four-car Class 378 trains.

There are only three possibilities.

  1. Both timetables are wrong. But they have been like that all week and surely a mistake would have been rectified.
  2. They have shortened three more Class 378 trains and these will be joining the party. But it is known that other lines are under pressure because of the smaller fleet, so this is unlikely.
  3. Three Class 710 trains will come to the aid of the party.

Possibility three is the only practical one.

There is also another event on Saturday. A steam train will be passing along the route, with these tiomings.

  • Barking – 8:42
  • Leyton Midland Road – 8:51
  • South |Tottenham – 9:02
  • Upper Holloway – 9:11
  • Gospel Oak – 9:15

The steam train will also be coming back later in the day.

Is it a coincidence that it appears the full four tph electric service on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line starts on the day that a steam train uses the route?

Think of all those publicity pictures!

Or has it been organised to see if the steam trains interfere with the sophisticated computing on the Class 710 trains?


March 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Should The Three Class 378 Trains Saving The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Be Named?

Lots of passengers will be eternally grateful, if over the next few or more weeks, the three Class 378 trains, currently working the line provide an acceptable service across North London, until the Class 710 trains take over the route.

So after they return to normal service should they be given names?

I would suggest Faith, Hope and Charity, as these names wouldn’t cause offence to anyone.

But they would constantly remind the Mayor, Transport for London and Bombardier, that their failure to plan properly for non-arrival of the Class 710 trains, could have had a much more embarrassing outcome.

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment