The Anonymous Widower

No Wires At Salford Crescent Station – 17th April 2018

These pictures show the state of the electrification at Salford Crescent station.

Note that there were no overhead wires through the station and also on the line to Salford Central and Manchester Victoria station. There still appears to be a lot of work to do.

Under Improvements the Wikipedia entry for the station says this.

In 2007, Network Rail recognised that Salford Crescent could not cope with existing passenger levels, leading to platform overcrowding. It suggested expansion of the station with extra platforms, greater use of it as an interchange and use as a terminus for services from east of Manchester. It also raised the possibility of moving the station.

In 2012, improvement work started at the station, including platform extensions, a new rain canopy and the relocation of the ticket office to street level. The works were completed in October 2013 and officially opened by Mayor of Salford, Ian Stewart.

This Google Map shows the station.

I think, it will be a tight fit for extra platforms, as the station is surrounded on all sides by Salford University.

The solution would probably be to build on top of a new station, that was in a strong concrete box.

Changing Trains At Salford Crescent Station

Today, I arrived at Salford Crescent on a train running between Bolton and Manchester Victoria stations.

As I needed to go to Manchester Piccadilly station, I left on a train running between Blackpool North and Manchester Airport stations.

Consider.

  • In the few minutes, I was on the station, I must have heard staff asked, which train do I get to Piccadilly or Victoria, several times.
  • Surrey Quays station handles three routes at the South end of the Thames Tunnel and currently  handles sixteen trains per hour (tph)
  • With high-quality signalling and a measure of automatic train control, I could expect Salford Crescent station to handle at least 12 tph, in both directions.
  • Is the island platform wide enough?
  • Is loading slowed as a lot of trains calling at the station are just two cars, with four doors?
  • Is loading slowed as many of the trains, aren’t step-free from the platform to the train?
  • Are there always staff on the platform.

I believe that operation of the station could be improved.

Reversing Direction At Salford Crescent Station

The current island layout allows passengers to change direction by walking across the platform.

As an example, if you go between Farnworth and Swinton stations, one of the recommended routes is via Salford Cresent.

An Improved Design For Salford Crescent Station

Perhaps before deciding to rebuild the station, serious work should be done to see if the station throughput in terms of trains and passengers can be improved.

My ideas would include.

A Wider Platform

This picture shows the island platform at Canonbury station.

It could handle a whole company of Grenadier Guards and all their kit, whereas Salford Crescent would struggle with a platoon.

Canonbury’s wide platform also has the following in the centre.

  • A large covered shelter.
  • A large number of seats.
  • A coffee stall

It also allows passengers to stand well-back when a train goes through the station, without stopping.

Note that Canonbury is a station, where the platforms are uncovered. Would this be a wise idea in Manchester, even with a large central shelter?

Lomger Trains

a lot of trains going through Salford Crescent station are just two cars.

Northern‘s new trains will include, the following electric trains and bi-mode trains.

32 – four-car Class 319 trains

12 – four-car Class 331 trains

31 – three-car Class 331 trains, which will replace the Class 323 trains.

11 – four-car Class 769 bi-mode trsins.

If all trains calling at Salford Crescent were four-cars or more, this would probably mean at least eight doors, which would would speed up loading and unloading.

This would reduce dwell times at the station and increase capacity in terms of the number of trains per hour.

Level Access Between Platform And Trains

If the platforms are widened, I susopect with Harrington Humps, that this could be achieved.

This picture shows two Hsrrington Hump is at Canonbury.

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If passengers in wheelchairs, buggy-pushers and those  pulling heavy cases could just walk or push the,selves across.

Again, this would reduce dwell times and increase capacity.

Better Information

Given that I heard passengers asking the same question, I suspect that better informayion, could make the station easier fot  interchang passengers.

Using the displays on Thameslink and at London Bridge station would be a good start.

An Up Escalator

Sal;ford Central station has a long set of stairs and a lift.

Many passengers with movement difficulties would welcome an up escalator.

Conclusion

I believe that a much improved station can be creased , without the expence of adding a new platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Disabled Access On South Western Railway’s Class 707 Trains

This article on Rail Technology Magazine is entitled RMT Backs Disabled Passengers Protest In London.

I will not comment directly on the article, but relate an incident, that I observed on Saturday, as I was travelling to Brentford station, to see Ipswich Town at nearby Brentford.

  • I was travelling in the fourth car of a ten-car formation of two five-car Class 707 trains, when we stopped at a station and seemed to be waiting a long time to depart.
  • I then noticed a guy in a motorised wheel-chair moving along the platform, who stopped at the door at the front of my car.
  • The guard then appeared on the platform, said something to the guy in the wheelchair and entered the train.
  • He returned a couple of minutes later holding the folding ramp, which he used professionally to load the guy and his wheelchair into the train.
  • A couple of minutes later after stowing the ramp, the guard closed the doors and gave the signal to start.

This picture shows the height difference at Brentford station.

This is not as bad as some train-plarform gaps, but why isn’t it flat?

A station-man on the London Overground once told me, that loading disabled passengers on to trains using a ramp,  is a major source of delay.

Saturday’s incident illustrated the problem beautifully.

It also showed the professionalism of one of their staff

South Western Railways use a very inefficient system.

  • The guard had to walk some way to load the passenger, as he happened to be at the back of the train.
  • He was actually in the second train, so had to walk on the platform.
  • The ramp had to be removed from and replaced in its cupboard.
  • How many times, do guards and station staff catch their fingers in the ramp?

If level access were to be provided between train and platform, the guard would just have acted as a guide to get the guy in the wheelchair on the train.

South Western Railways are getting a new fleet of Class 701 trains.

  • These trains will be walk-through, meaning the guard can get to where assistance is needed easily. And in the dry, if it’s raining hard.
  • Will the trains floors, be level with those of the platforms?
  • If not, will a Harrington Hump be provided?

Surely, this will mean many disabled in a wheelchair, like an acquaintance of mine, will be able to push or drive themselves into and out of the train.

It will of course help others like those with an infant in a buggy or dragging a heavy case.

Let’s hope the new fleet of trains, will be designed to access the trains in a much better way than the current Class 707 trains, and the older Class 455 trains.

Conclusion

Could this incident illustrate the problems, that prompted South Western Railway to decide to return the Class 707 trains to the leasing company?

Does what I saw , have any relevance to the role of guards on trains?

The incident I saw, would have required assistance from a second person, even if the access had been totally level.

Note.

  • London Underground and Overground try to always have somebody on the platform, when a train is in the station.
  • The Docklands Light Railway always have someone on the train.

South Western Railway could use either method.

 

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The Bakerloo Line Extension

It is being proposed that the Bakerloo Line be extended to South East London.

  • There will be two new stations on the Old Kent Road.
  • There will be a connection to the existing New Cross Gate station.
  • The extension will terminate at Lewisham station.
  • The extension will be totally underground.
  • Provision will be made to extend the line further.

Almost nothing has been said about the frequency of trains on the line, stabling arrangements for the trains or what happens in the North.

The Train Frequency

Wikipedia gives the current off-peak services on Bakerloo line as.

  • 6 tph (trains per hour) from Harrow & Wealdstone to Elephant & Castle
  • 3 tph from Stonebridge Park to Elephant & Castle
  • 11 tph from Queen’s Park to Elephant & Castle

This forms a 20 tph service (or a train every 3 minutes) between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle.

New Trains And Signalling On The Bakerloo Line

As there will be new modern signalling and new trains on the Bakerloo Line in the future, are Transport for London relying on these to increase the frequency of trains.

Currently, there are thirty-three trains in service and according to the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, these will be replaced with forty new trains, which will give a twenty-five percent capacity increase.

As the Northern and Jubilee Lines run at 27 tph, with modern signalling and newer rolling stock, I suspect that at least this train frequency could be achievable.

Depots And Sidings

The Bakerloo Line has three depots.

London Road

London Road depot is located between Lambeth North and Elephant and Castle stations.

This Google Map shows the location of the depot.

It is the V-shaped site, just below the roundabout, at the top of the map, where London Road, Westminster Bridge Road and Borough Road meet.

However good this depot is for servicing trains, it strikes me that it is in a location, where land is very expensive.

I think one of two things will happen.

  1. The depot will be closed and the land given over to development.
  2. The depot will be rebuilt and there will be housing or commercial development on top.

If the latter happens, it is probably an affordable way to get a modern depot. White City depot on the Central Line is already under property development.

Stonebridge Park

Stonebridge Park Depot is relatively modern and is located to the North of Stonebridge Park station.

This Google Map shows the location of the depot.

Because of its young age and size, the only thing likely to happen at Stonebridge Park would be some modernisation for the new trains and a possible appropriate increase in capacity.

Queen’s Park

Queens Park Depot is not large and is effectively two sheds either side of Queens Park station.

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

Note.

  1. The North and South Sheds.
  2. The cross-platform interchange between the Watford DC Line and the Bakerloo Line.
  3. The platforms on the main lines are not operational at present, but may be so in the future.

Compared to the other two depots, Queens Park would appear to be less important.

I suspect though, that Transport for London have plans to improve operations at Queens Park.

Conclusion

The following should be noted.

  • The new trains will probably, be the same length as current trains.
  • But as there are going to be 40 instead of 33, more space will be needed.
  • A rebuilt London Road depot with housing and/or commercial development on top, could raise a substantial sum.
  • There is space for extra sidings at Stonebridge Park depot.
  • There will be turnround sidings on the extension to Lewisham in the overrun tunnels, which is standard London Underground practice.
  • The new trains should need less maintenance than the current nearly fifty-year-old 1972 Stock trains.

I think by some clever design, that the extra seven extra new trains will be incorporated in the two major depots of Stonebridge Park and London Road, with some help from Lewisham and Queens Park.

North Of Queens Park

These are various points and issues.

Queens Park Station

Queens Park station is a six platform station.

  • Two platforms for the Watford DC Line
  • Two platforms for the Bakerloo Line
  • Two unused platforms for the slow lines into Euston station.

There is an excellent cross-platform interchange between the Wstford DC and Bakerloo Lines, which is level between train and platform.

Wikipedia also says this about the station.

Queen’s Park is planned to become a step-free station and the project will be completed in 2019.

I visited the station this morning and saw no work in progress.

This picture shows the station’s rudimentary nature.

Opposite the station is a typical new block of housing, with a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store underneath.

So perhaps a developer will build some much needed housing.

  • Underneath would be a much-improved station, with full step-free access.
  • There could be some retail units.
  • They might even rebuild the sheds of the depot, that I mentioned earlier to improve the operation of the trains.
  • The two disused platforms could be refurbished.

These pictures show the platforms.

This project could be carried out independently of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

The Bakerloo And Watford DC Lines Share Tracks

Between Queens Park and Harrow and Wealdstone stations, the two lines share tracks, with trains calling at eight intermediate stations.

Current Bakerloo Line frequencies are.

  • 9 tph between Stonebridge Park and Harrow and Wealdstone
  • 12 tph between Queens Park and Stonebridge Park.

In addition, there are three tph on the London Overground between Queens Park and Watford Junction.

This arrangement means that passengers between Queens Park and Watford Junction stations have a flexible route to and from London, with a choice of Euston or Central London termini.

The Watford DC Line Fleet Is Being Changed

London Overground are replacing the current five-car Class 378 trains on the Watford DC Line with four-car  Class 710 trains.

This might seem to be a reduction in capacity, but it is part of a cunning plan.

  • The Class 378 trains will go to the East London Line, to enhance services.
  • It means that London Overground can maintain all the dual-voltage Class 710 trains at Willesden TMD.
  • Class 710 trains can’t work the East London Line, as they have no end doors for tunnels.

To compensate for the shorter trains, the frequency on the Watford DC Line will be raised from three to four tph.

The Watford DC Line will actually get a small capacity increase from fifteen carriages per hour to sixteen, with a much more passenger-friendly frequency of a new train, which may be slightly faster, every fifteen minutes.

But there is also a nugget in the tail.

The Watford DC Line currently handles five-car Class 387 trains. So if in a few years there is a need for more capacity, the Class 710 trains could be lengthened by adding a fifth carriage.

Given too, that there could be a lot of resignalling on this line, in conjunction with the Bakerloo Line extension and the new Bakerloo Line trains, I would not be surprised if train frequency and/or length on the Watford DC Line were to be increased again.

The Platform Height Problem On The Shared Platforms

These pictures show some of the platform height problems  on the platforms shared by Bakerloo and Watford DC Line trains.

The interchange at Queens Park station is level between both trains and the platform.

Both the Class 710 trains and the new Bakerloo Line trains will be walk-through, which will ease the design of an acceptable dual-height platform, when both new trains are in service. Passengers will be able to walk up and down to find a seat or a convenient place to exit.

One solution to the height proble, would be to lower the platform, so that it is level with the height of the new Bakerloo Line trains.

A hump similar to a Harrington Hump could be added at a convenient point.

This picture shows two well-designed humps at Canonbury station.

The humps on the Watford DC Line, would be sized as follows.

  • Height would allow level access to a Class 710 train.
  • Width would be determined by safety.
  • Length would probably be sized to fit two cars, which would be 40 metres.

The humps would be placed at an appropriate point on the platforms, which are long enough to take the current 113 metre long 72 Stock trains.

  • Drivers of Class 710 trains, would stop, so that, cars 2 and 3 were aligned with the hump.
  • Drivers of Bakerloo Line trains would stop, so they had the hump in the middle of the train.

Doors would then only open, where the access from train to platform was level.

All this would probably be handled automatically, with the driver monitoring everything.

It’s almost as if the trains had their own built-in platform-edge doors, which would ensure that safety was at least as good as it is now.

Will The New Class 710 Trains Reduce Timings On The Watford DC Line?

Conclusion

Everything published about the proposed Bakerloo Line Extension, does not mention the following.

  • Trains and their frequency
  • Depots
  • What happens North of Queens Park station.

Until proven otherwise, there seems to be few difficult problems, that effect the building of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

Modernising the line and building the extension would appear to be a series of separate projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Are Transport for London Planning For The Future In The West?

Over a dozen Underground stations in West London have been earmarked for upgrading to step-free access.

I listed them in West London Stations To Be Made Step-Free.

There are various common properties.

  • Boston Manor and Osterley stations are on the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly Line, which when updated would make the branch  seventy percent step-free.
  • Hanger Lane and Northolt stations are on the West Ruislip branch of the Central Line, which when updated would make the branch seventy-one percent step-free.
  • Ickenham, Ruislip, Sudbury Hill and Park Royal are on the Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly Line, which when updated would make the branch  sixty percent step-free.
  • Hanger Lane and Park Royal stations are a valid out-of-station interchange.
  • Sudbury Hill and Sudbury Hill Harrow are a valid out-of-station interchange.
  • Ickenham and West Ruislip are a valid out-of-station interchange.
  • Ealing Broadway and Old Oak Common are developing into major interchanges.

With Crossrail going through West London and due to be fully-open in a couple of years, transport in West London is certainly going to get better for all.

But other things will or possibly could happen.

New Trains On The Piccadilly Line

The Piccadilly Line is in some ways an odd one out of London Underground lines.

  • Only 28 % of the line’s stations have an interchange with other lines or National Rail compared with 94 % for the Victoria Line.
  • Only two of the major London terminals; Kings Cross and St. Pancras International, are served by the Piccadilly Line and very badly in truth!
  • The line has no interchange with Crossrail.
  • The line has a terminus at Heathrow.
  • The line runs extensively in West London on old District Line tracks, so there are a lot of stations in the area, where platform-to-train access is bad.

The trains are also some of the oldest on the London Underground.

Under Future Upgrades in the Wikipedia entry for the line, this is said.

The intention is for the new trains to eventually operate on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines. On current plans, resignalling work on the Piccadilly line will begin in 2019 and new trains should be in service by 2022.

Wikipedia also says this about the trains.

  • The trains will be lightweight, low-energy and semi-articulated.
  • The trains will have a battery capability to take them to the next station in case of power failure.
  • The trains will have a low-floor. Will this be lower than current trains? Probably yes, as it would increase headroom.
  • The trains will have an 11 % higher capacity than the existing trains.
  • The trains could have air-conditioning.

I would add the following comments and pedictions.

  1. The trains will be designed for quicker exit and entry to the trains.
  2. The trains will shorten journey times.
  3. The trains will be wheelchair and buggy friendly.
  4. The batteries on the train will be used to handle regenerative braking.
  5. The trains will have air-conditioning, as passengers will demand it.
  6. A solution will be found, so that there is level platform-to-train access at all stations.

Point six will be difficult, but in my view this must be done to enable trains to spend as little time as possible, whilst calling at a station.

Perhaps trains will adjust their ride height as they approach a station, by adding and releasing air from the suspension.

If this level access can be achieved by a clever train design, the expense and disruption of rebuilding station platforms substantially, could be reduced.

Unfortunately, some Piccadilly Line platforms are also used by the larger S Stock trains, so any technological advantages must be made on the new Piccadilly Line trains.

Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway

Ealing Broadway station is being upgraded for Crossrail.

In the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a Capital Connection supplement, which discusses London’s railways.

On Page 7 in a section about the sub-surface lines, this is said.

One possibility being discussed is that the Piccadilly should take over the District’s Ealing Broadway service. This would free up space on the South side of the inner-London circle for more City trains off the Wimbledon branch, one of the sub-surface network’s most-crowded routes.

On Page 15 in a section about the Mayor’s plans, this is said.

It is suggested Piccadilly Line services run to Ealing Broadway instead of the District Line, enabling increased frequencies on the latter’s Richmond and Wimbledon branches.

As the plan is mentioned twice, certainly the proposal is being thought about.

I discussed this in some detail in Is There Going To Be More Change At Ealing Broadway Station?

Distilling my thoughts from last year and what I’ve seen recently, I have the following thoughts, if the Piccadilly Line had a branch to Ealing Nroadway station.

  • The Piccadilly Line would have a two-platform step-free terminus, capable of handling twelve trains per hour (tph)
  • Increasing Piccadilly Line frequencies through the core, probably needs another high capacity terminal in the West.
  • The Piccadilly Line would have an interchange with Crossrail and Great Western Railway for Heathrow, Oxford and Reading.
  • In the later 2020s, when the Piccadilly and Central Lines are running the same new deep-level trains, Ealing Broadway would only handle one type of Underground train.
  • As Ealing Broadway, Ealing Common and Acton Town stations would only handle the new deep-level Underground trains, platform-to-train access problems could be solved by lowering the platforms.

The current Piccadilly Line service in the West is as follows.

  • Twelve tph to Heathrow
  • Six tph to Rayner Lane station, with three tph continuing to Uxbridge.
  • Three tph to Northfields

The new trains and signalling, must surely increase the core frequency from the current 21 tph to something approaching the 36 tph of the Victoria Line.

I suspect that twelve tph to Ealing Broadway would fit well, with both the needs of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail’s frequency of twelve tph.

There are other problems to sort out, but Piccadilly Line trains to Ealing Broadway station could be an excellent plan.

Piccadilly Line To Heathrow

The Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly Line will be seventy percent step-free, after Boston Manor and Osterley stations are upgraded.

I think the time will come in the next few years to bite the bullet and do the following on the branch.

  • Make all street-to-platform fully step-free.
  • Lower the platforms to give level platform-to-train access to the new deep-level trains.

As this branch is Piccadilly Line-only, there should be few related problems.

Piccadilly Line To Rayners Lane and Uxbridge

The Uvbridge branch of the Piccadilly Line will be sixty percent step-free, after Ickenham, Ruislip, Sudbury Hill and Park Royal stations are upgraded.

As with the Heathrow branch, I think that the following should be done.

  • Make all street-to-platform fully step-free.
  • Lower the platforms to give level platform-to-train access tothe new deep-level trains.

The problem is between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations, where the branch is shared with the Metropolitan Line.

The following could be done.

  1. Put in extra tracks and platforms.
  2. Live with the  current platforms and step down into a Piccadilly Line train.
  3. All Piccadilly Line trains could terminate at Rayners Lane and from Rayners Lane to Uxbridge is served by Metropolitan Line only
  4. As the platforms are long and all trains are walk-through, clever platform design with Harrington Humps could be a solution.

Only option 4 would be an affordable solution, that might be acceptable to all stakeholders.

Central Line To Uxbridge

In the Wikipedia entry for the Central Line, this is said.

The Central crosses over the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines’ shared Uxbridge branch near West Ruislip depot, and a single track linking the two routes was laid in 1973. The London Borough of Hillingdon has lobbied TfL to divert some or all Central trains along this to Uxbridge, as West Ruislip station is located in a quiet suburb and Uxbridge is a much more densely populated regional centre. TfL has stated that the link will be impossible until the Metropolitan line’s signalling is upgraded in 2017.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Ruislip Depot.

Note.

  1. The Central Line is shown in red.
  2. The track used by the Piccadilly and Metropolitan Lines is the bluey colour.
  3. The Chiltern Main Line is shown in black.
  4. Ickenham and Ruislip stations will soon have some measure of step-free access.
  5. Ickenham and West Ruislip stations are a  valid out-of-station interchange, with a walk of 1.1 miles.

Would running Central Line trains to Uxbridge be feasible?

Uxbridge station has four platforms and currently has the following Off Peak services.

  • Metropolitan  – 8 tph to Aldgate
  • Piccadilly – 3 tph to Cockfosters

With these frequencies in the morning Peak.

  • Metropolitan  – 6 tph to Aldgate
  • Metropolitan  – 4 tph to Baker Street
  • Piccadilly – 6 tph to Cockfosters

West Ruislip has a 3 tph Off Peak service.

Uxbridge with four platforms can probably handle up to twenty-four tph with modern signalling, so there should be scope once the the new signalling is installed on the Metropolitan Line for changes to be made.

It may need new trains on both the Central and the Piccadilly Line, that can use the new signalling, before full advantage could be taken of running Central Line trains to Uxbridge.

But at some time in the future, it looks like the following would be possible on the West Ruislip branch of the Central Line.

  • 4 tph to West Ruislip
  • 4 tph to Uxbridge

That would be a very worthwhile service.

The Greenford Branch

The Greenford Branch is one of those lines in London and the South East, that have a low priority for the train operating companies.

Others include.

Twenty years ago, you would have included the North London and the Gospel Oak to Barking Lines. But look at those two now!

The Greenford Branch is typical of this sort of line.

  • Single platform at each end.
  • Two tph run by a single train.
  • Elderly trains.
  • No electrification
  • No Sunday service
  • More information.
  • Virtually no marketing.
  • Poor interchange at West Ealing station, although interchange at Greenford is excellent.

All of these lines could benefit from a common philosophy.

  • Four tph where possible, to encourage Turn-Up-And-Go.
  • A viable train use philosophy.
  • Modern electric trains that attract passengers.
  • Good interchange at the principal station or stations.

A plan for the Greenford Branch has yet to emerge.

However Crossrail will change everything.

  • Up to twelve tph could stop at West Ealing station.
  • West Ealing station will have full step-free access between the Greenford Branch, Crossrail and GWR services.
  • Passengers might use the line with heavy bags to get to and from Heathrow.
  • Management of West Ealing station may pass to Transport for London.

On a cold, wet day, passengers changing to the Greenford Branch will not want to wait half an hour for the next train to Greenford and the intermediate stations.

Increased passenger numbers and pressure for good service will require a four tph frequency on the Greenford branch.

  • This will require two trains.
  • Better customer service will be needed.

|As the two end stations could both be under Transport for London control, would it be sensible to pass management of the line to that organisation and run the line under the Overground banner?

But what trains could be used?

  • As the line is not electrified and platforms can only handle two- or possibly three-car trains, London Overground’s standard four-car Class 710 trains would not be suitable.
  • Class 172 trains could be used, but these are going to West Midlands Trains.
  • Passengers might accept a modernised British Rail era diesel like a Class 150 train.
  • There is also the Class 230 train, which West Midlands Trains will be using on the Marston Vale Line.
  • Could Bombardier create a three-car Aventra with on board energy storage, that would be charged at either or both ends?

My money would be on one of the last two options.

  • A standard electric train would require electrification of the branch.
  • There would be servicing problems with a small diesel fleet.
  • Class 230 trains have been designed for remote servicing, so three trains would work.
  • The diesel trains and the Class 230 train would require little if no infrastructure changes.
  • The branch is under three miles long, so a return trip is probably well within range of a battery train.
  • A three-car Aventra with on board energy storage would have many applications in the UK.
  • The Aventra with on board energy storage  would require little if no infrastructure changes, except for some extra overhead wires to create a charging point at West Ealing.

London Overground will probably go for a surprising, but cost-effective solution.

Onward From Greenford

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

There must surely be possibilities to extend the current passenger service to the West.

  • It would create a West Ealing to West Ruislip feeder service for Crossrail.
  • Greenford station would need extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line.
  • Train length would be less of a problem and four-car trains could probably be used.

It would fit well with restoring passenger services on the Acton-Northolt Line.

Old Oak Common To West Ruislip On The Acton-Northolt Line

Network Rail have plans to reinstate passenger services on the Acton-Northolt Line, so that Chiltern Railways can have an extra London terminal with a connection to Crossrail, High Speed 2 and the London Overground. Under Chiltern Main Line Connection, in the Wikipedia entry for Old Oak Common station, this is said.

Network Rail has proposed that the Chiltern Main Line should have a second terminal at Old Oak Common to increase capacity on the route as there is no room to expand the station at Marylebone. To do so, services would use the Acton–Northolt line (formerly the “New North Main Line”) and perhaps see Chiltern trains terminating here rather than Marylebone.

A summary report by Network Rail, which was released in 2017, forecast that a new London terminal will be needed by 2043 and proposed Old Oak Common for this role, with upgrading of the Acton-Northolt Line.

I doubt that I’ll see it, as I’ll be 96!

But it does seem a credible idea with questions to ask!

  • Will the route be double- or single-track?
  • Will there be express and/or Metro services?
  • How many interchanges will there be with the Central Line?
  • Will the route be used by Crossrail?
  • Will the route be electrified?

I do think that there will be some very serious thinking going on.

A few thoughts on what could define what might ensue.

High Wycombe Station

High Wycombe station is a three platform station, with a lot of space between the tracks, as this Google Map shows.

It would appear there is space for the station to be developed, as a terminus for more services from London.

The Chiltern Metro

According to Wikipedia, Chiltern Railways have ambition to create a Chiltern Metro. Wikipedia says this.

New Chiltern Metro Service that would operate 4+tph for Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park, South Ruislip and West Ruislip. This would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip, passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and a passing loop at Wembley Stadium (part of the old down fast line is in use as a central reversing siding, for stock movements and additionally for 8-car football shuttles to convey passengers to the stadium for events). This ‘Chiltern Metro’ service was not programmed into the last round of franchising agreements.

This sounds to be a good idea but it would need a dedicated platform at Marylebone and is there sufficient capacity on the Chiltern Main Line to accommodate the number of extra trains required to West Ruislip.

Crossrail

How Crossrail will affect London is totally unpredictable.

  • Currently, the system is planned to run 24 tph between Heathrow, Paddington and Reading in the West and Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the East.
  • Various sources show that Crossrail has been built for 30 tph.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see the route move to a Thameslink or East London Line model, where two or four tph run to other destinations outside the core.

Ebbsfleet, Gravesend and Milton Keynes have been mentioned for expansion, but what about Basingstoke, Beaulieu, High Wycombe, Oxford and Southend?

Electrification

Three factors will be the main drivers if the Acton-Northolt Line is electrified for Network Rail’s proposed passenger services to Old Oak Common.

  • Extension of Crossrail to High Wycombe would surely need the Acton-Northolt Line to be electrified and possibly double-tracked.
  • The next generation of multi-mode trains will operate on a mixture of electric, diesel, hydrogen and battery power.
  • The ambition of Chiltern Railways.

I think on balance, if the Acton-Northolt Line is reopened to passenger services, it will be electrified.

Space could be limited as this picture from Hangar Lane station shows.

But most problems should be possible to solve, by lowering track  and rebuilding some bridges.

North Acton Station

North Action station could be updated in the following ways.

  • Extra platforms for the Acton-Northolt Line.
  • A connection to the North London Line.
  • Over-site development.
  • More spacious station buildings.

Note also that North Acton station could be a calling point on the West London Orbital Railway.

On the other hand, Old Oak Common station might handle a lot of these connections, so I suspect that if North Acton station has a connection, it will be led by the needs of property developers.

Park Royal Station

Park Royal station could be rebuilt with Hanger Lane station as an interchange between the Central and Piccadilly Lines, with extra platforms for the Acton-Northolt Line.

Again, property development will decide what happens.

Hanger Lane Station

This Google Map shows the location of Hanger Lane station in the middle of the Hanger Lane Gyratory.

Note the following.

  • The Central Line train in the Westbound platform.
  • The double-track of the Acton-Northolt Line to the North of the Central Line station.
  • Inside the ring of roads, there would appear to be a large site, that could be suitable for redevelopment, as perhaps offices or housing.

These pictures show the site in the middle of the roads.

Note.

  1. To call the site a junk-yard would be a compliment.
  2. Hanger Lane station is going to be made step-free.
  3. A  tunnel for HS2 will pass underneath., following the route of the Acton-Northolt Line.
  4. There are HS2 notices about. Are HS2 going to use the dump for a ventilation shaft for a tunnel underneath?

It would not be the most difficult design project in the world to make provision for platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line, to future-proof the station for Crossrail or any Chiltern service to Old Oak Common.

This is the sort of development that I like!

Imagine the following.

  • A cluster of perhaps four very high residential and office towers, reaching above the pollution and noise of the traffic.
  • A ring of trees could also shield the development from the traffic.
  • The tracks of the Acton-Northolt Line could be slewed to take advantage of an island platform.
  • Trains running at least four tph to Old Oak Common.
  • Crossrail could continue across Central London.
  • Trains could run to West Ruislip or High Wycombe in the West.
  • London Underground running up to ten tph on the Central Line.
  • Developers will integrate the station, the development and the required local services.

The possibilities are dramatic.

In the next decade or so, as vehicles get less polluting, developments like this will become more common.

Perivale Station

Perivale station is Grade II Listed with some of the worst steps I’ve seen on the London Underground.

Extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line and a step-free station would be very difficult.

 

I doubt, there are many stations worse for step-free access in London!

Greenford Station

Greenford station is already step-free, but extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line, could be very difficult, due to the different track levels.

But Action-Northolt Line platforms with a step-free connection would give easy access to the Greenford Branch.

Northolt Station

Northolt station is being made step-free and could be extended with extra platforms on the Acton-Northolt Line.

The picture was taken from the Central Line platform and shows  the station building, which almost looks as if it was built to be extended to a platform on the Acton-Northolt Line, which is to the left of the electrified Central Line track.

South Ruislip Station

South Ruislip station already has platforms on both lines.

Ruislip Gardens Station

Ruislip Gardens station probably wouldn’t need a connection to the Chiltern Line.

West Ruislip Station

West Ruislip station already has platforms on both lines.

A Possible Heavy Rail Service Between Old Oak Common and West Ruislip

Consider.

  • Central Line trains take seventeen minutes between North Acton and West Ruislip with six intermediate stops.
  • So I think it likely that a modern train could travel from Old Oak Common to West Ruislip in about fifteen minutes, with perhaps stops at three or four stations like North Acton, Hanger Lane, Greenford, Northolt and South Ruislip.
  • The Acton-Northolt Line is a mixture of single and double track. with some space for a second track.
  • All stations except Old Oak Common could have step-free interchanges with the bCentral Line.

It could either be a service linked to Chiltern or Crossrail.

I can’t help feeling that eventually, this service will be part of Crossrail.

Conclusion

The railway changes that are happening will certainly allow a lot more development in West London.

 

 

 

 

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is There Going To Be More Change At Ealing Broadway Station?

Ealing Broadway station is being upgraded for Crossrail.

In the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a Capital Connection supplement, which discusses London’s railways.

On Page 7 in a section about the sub-surface lines, this is said.

One possibility being discussed is that the Piccadilly should take over the District’s Ealing Broadway service. This would free up space on the South side of the inner-London circle for more City trains off the Wimbledon branch, one of the sub-surface network’s most-crowded routes.

On Page 15 in a section about the Mayor’s plans, this is said.

It is suggested Piccadilly Line services run to Ealing Broadway instead of the District Line, enabling increased frequencies on the latter’s Richmond and Wimbledon branches.

As the plan is mentioned twice, certainly the proposal is being thought about.

The Lines At Ealing Broadway Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Ealing Broadway station.

Note how the Piccadilly and District Lines share tracks from Ealing Common station, which then split with District Line trains going to Ealing Broadway station and Piccadilly Line trains going to Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations.

If the change happened and Ealing Broadway station was only served by the Piccadilly and Central Lines of the Underground, then there might be opportunities to improve the efficiency of the Underground side of the station.

Crossrail Effects On Access To Heathrow

Crossrail will change the way a lot of passengers go to and from Heathrow Airport.

Crossrail To Heathrow

From May 2018, the service will be.

  • 4 trains per hour (tph) between Paddington and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 4

After December 2019, the service will be.

  • 4 tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 2 tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5

In addition these services will serve all station including Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street, Bond Street,Paddington and Ealing Broadway.

Effect On Heathrow Express

It will be difficult to predict what will happen to Heathrow Express, but I suspect several groups of passengers will desert it.

  • Passengers wanting to go anywhere East of Paddington without changing trains.
  • Passengers wanting any Crossrail station.
  • Passengers, who don’t like the prices of Heathrow Express.
  • Passengers using Oyster or contactless cards.
  • Passengers who want to ride on London’s spectacular new Crossrail.

After Old Oak Common station is opened, the numbers will further decrease.

Will Heathrow Express survive?

Effect On Piccadilly Line

The current Piccadilly Line route to the Airport will not be closed, as for many it will still be a convenient route to the Airport

  • Passengers who live on the Piccadilly Line and don’t want to change trains. Think Southgate, Knightsbridge, Hammersmith and Osterley!
  • Passengers to the East of Acton Town station.
  • Passengers, workers and others needing to go to Hatton Cross station.

If Crossrail connected with the Piccadilly Line at say Holborn, it would be all so different.

Effect On District Line

When Crossrail opens, the District Line will become a loop from Crossrail, between  Ealing Broadway and Whitechapel running along the North Bank of the Thames via Earls Court, Victoria, Charing Cross and Monument.

The step-free interchange at Ealing Broadway could become busy with passengers travelling  to and from the Airport.

Effect On Piccadilly Line Overcrowding

Heathrow trains on the Piccadilly Line can get very overcrowded with so many passengers with heavy cases.

It must sometimes be very difficult to get on a Piccadilly Line train between Heathrow and South Kensington stations.

Crossrail should take the pressure from these trains, by allowing passengers to use the District Line with a change at Ealing Broadway.

Effect On My Personal Route

My personal route to the airport is to take a 141 bus to Manor House station and then get the Piccadilly Line. It takes 94 minutes.

After Crossrail fully opens, if I took the East London Line from Dalston Junction to Whitechapel and then used Crossrail, I’d take 57 minutes.

Conclusion

Crossrail will affect the way many get to Heathrow Airport.

But there are large areas of London, who still will need to change trains twice to get to the airport.

Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway Effects

Adding Ealing Broadway station as a fourth Western terminus to the Piccadilly Line will have effects, but not as important as the opening of Crossrail.

Some Improved Journey Times To Heathrow

Some Piccadilly Line stations will see improved journey times to Heathrow.

Hammersmith to Heathrow currently takes 37 minutes by the Piccadilly Line.

Taking a Piccadilly Line train to Ealing Broadway and then using Crossrail could save a dozen minutes.

The District Line Connection To Crossrail At Ealing Broadway Is Lost

Passengers along the District Line from Monument to Hammersmith will lose their direct access to Crossrail at Ealing Broadway.

Cross-platform access to the Piccadilly Line at Hammersmith and Turnham Green will probably be provided or improved, but it will be a second change.

Note that until the Piccafilly Line gets upgraded and new trains arrive around 2023, the District Line with new trains and the soon to be installed new signalling may well be a better passenger experience.

More Trains To Richmond

This will certainly be possible, if some Ealing Broadway trains are diverted to Richmond.

But Crossrail has another delight in its cupboard for Richmond.

Old Oak Common station is scheduled to open in 2026 and will offer an interchange between Crossrail and the North London Line.

Richmond will certainly be getting a better train service to Central and East London.

More Trains To Wimbledon

This will certainly be possible, if some Ealing Broadway trains are diverted to Wimbledon.

The Ealing Common Problem

At Ealing Common station, the Piccadilly and District Line share the same tracks and platforms.

Some commentators have suggested that the new trains on the Piccadilly Line will be designed to work with platform-edge doors for improved safety and dwell times.

So if platform-edge doors were to be fitted to all stations on the Piccadilly Line as has been suggested, there would be no way the doors would fit the new S7 Stock of the District Line.

Swapping Ealing Broadway from the District to Piccadilly Lines would solve this problem and give more flexibility, but it might give London Underground other problems with regard to access for District Line trains to Ealing Common depot.

These pictures show Ealing Common station.

Note the difference of levels between the Piccadilly and District Line trains.

There would be no way to provide level access for both types of train using a Harrington Hump.

So is making a station that serves both deep-level and sub-surface lines, step-free, a problem that is still to be cracked?

This Google Map shows Ealing Common station.

It doesn’t look that it is a station, where two extra platforms could be squeezed in, so both lines could have their own platforms.

Could Ealing Common station be one of the main reasons to serve Ealing Broadway station with the Piccadilly Line?

Acton Town Station

On a brief pass-through of Acton Town station, it would appear that the Ealing Common problem exists.

So making Acton Town station, a Piccadilly Line-only station, would ease making the station step-free, as it would only be served by one type of train.

Chiswick Park Station

Chiswick Park station only has platforms on the District Line and would need to be remodelled, if Ealing Broadway became the terminus of the Piccadilly Line.

One suggestion I found was to add two new District Line platforms to the Richmond branch.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the Richmond branch passing South of the station.

Chiswick Park station is Grade II Listed and I’m sure that a good architect can find a more than acceptable solution.

Conclusion

It appears to me, there are two opposite forces on either side of a possible proposal to serve Ealing Broadway station with the Piccadilly Line, rather than the District Line.

  1. The District Line will form a loop South of Crossrail between Ealing Broadway and Whitechapel stations.
  2. Making a station step-free that handles both deep-level and sub-surface lines, is not an easy undertaking.

Running the Piccadilly Line to Ealing Broadway means that a change is required at Turnham Green, Hammersith or Barons Court stations to use the loop described in point 1.

But this change would enable the step-free access to be created in all stations in the area.

I think that the change of terminus will go ahead, with the following additions.

  • Improved access to Ealing Common depot.
  • Improved cross-platform access at Turnham Green, Hammersith or Barons Court stations.
  • Two extra platform on the District Line at Chiswick Park station.

What started out as a simple change could end up as a substantial project.

But overall, because it sorts out step-free access in the area, I think it is a good proposal.

 

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mathematics Of The Lea Valley Lines

The mixture of Class 315 and Class 317 trains on the Lea Valley Lines are being replaced by new Class 710 trains.

Train For Train Replacement

London Overground currently has the following fleet, which work the Lea Valley Lines.

  • 17 x Class 315 trains – 75 mph
  • 8 x Class 317/7 trains – 100 mph
  • 6 x Class 317/8 trains – 100 mph

All these trains are being replaced by thirty-one Class 710 trains, which are 100 mph trains with a shorter dwell time at stations.

Time savings of over a minute, are claimed for each station stop, by other train manufacturers for their new generation of trains.

As one train is used on the Romford to Upminster Line, that leaves thirty trains to work from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town stations.

The Current Lea Valley Services

The current Lea Valley services can be considered to be two separate four trains per hour (tph) services to the following destinations.

  • Chingford
  • Edmonton Green with 2 tph extended to each of Cheshunt and Enfield Town.

Journey times are as follows from Liverpool Street.

  • Cheshunt – 39 minutes
  • Chingford – 27 minutes
  • Ednonton Green – 31 minutes
  • Enfield Town – 34 minutes

As an illustration of the slowness of some of these times, the fastest Cheshunt services take around twenty-five minutes, but they use the West Anglia Main Line, which has a higher speed limit.

Improving Journey Times

So how can journey times be improved?

The following factors will apply.

The Aventra Advantage

The Aventra and other modern trains will have the following advantages.

  • 100 mph operating speed.
  • Powerful acceleration and smooth regenerative braking.
  • Driver assistance systems to optimise train speed.
  • Level access from train to platform.

The last three factors will minimise the dwell time, when stopping at a station. Savings of up to three minutes have been claimed by some train manufacturers.

All Passenger Trains On The Routes Will Be Aventras

How much time this will save will probably be decided in practice.

Track, Station And Signalling Improvements

The operating speed of the routes is 40-75 mph , which could surely be improved.

Obvious problems include.

  • Level crossings at Bush Hill Park, Highams Park and Theobalds Grove.
  • Platform-train interface.
  • Provision of Harrington Humps.

A detailed analysis will probably be done to iron out any small time delays in running the routes.

Rewrite The Timetables For Aventras

Currently, the timetables are written so that they can be reliably run by the 75 mph Class 315 trains and also to allow for their possible presence on the routes.

How Much Can Be Saved?

This is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string, but assuming savings of a minute a station gives the following times.

  • Cheshunt – 24 minutes
  • Chingford – 20 minutes
  • Ednonton Green – 20 minutes
  • Enfield Town – 21 minutes

I would not be surprised if substantial time savings could be saved,

Liverpool Street Station

The pair of four tph services will mean that there will be a train arriving in Liverpool Street station every seven and a half minutes.

This should be no problem on two platforms, especially as all trains will be identical and designed for a fast turn-round.

Will they arrive and depart from a pair of platforms at Liverpool Street stations, like 2/3 or 4/5, so that passengers would know that their Lea Valley Line train always left from the same gates at the station?

This would surely make it easier for the train presentation teams!

Hopefully, by analysing the turning of trains, minutes can be saved.

Each Route In Detail

 

I shall now look at each individual route.

Liverpool Street To Edmonton Green

North of Hackney Downs station, in the Off Peak, the only trains on the route will be the following services.

  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt
  • Two tph between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town

These will be augmented in the Peak by some Greater Anglia limited-stop services stopping at Edmonton Green, Seven Sisters and Hackney Downs stations.

Current timings on this route are.

  • London Overground – 31 minutes with eleven stops using a 75 mph Class 315 train.
  • Greater Anglia – 23 minutes with two stops using a 100 mph Class 317 train.

As the distance between Liverpool Street and Edmonton Green stations is 8.6 miles, these timings give speeds of 16.6 and 22.4 mph respectively.

The following will speed up services on this route.

  • All trains on the route will be 100 mph Aventras.
  • The performance of the Aventras
  • Track, station and signalling improvements.
  • Driver assistance systems.

I suspect that my initial crude estimate of twenty minutes between Liverpool Street and Edmonton Green will be high.

Cheshunt Services

North of Edmonton Green station, the only service on the route will be the two tph service between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt.

As the route between Edmonton Green and Cheshunt is only 5.5 miles long, with just three stops, I wonder if when combined with the time between Liverpool Street and Edmonton Green, that the round trip time  could be reduced to under an hour, including the turn-round at both ends.

The current two tph service takes a few minutes over an hour-and-a half for a round trip from Liverpool Street, so three trains will be needed to run the service.

But if it could be done in an hour, then only two trains would be needed.

This level of speed improvement may seem ambitious, but the next generation of trains appear to be being built with it in mind.

Chingford Services

If the Chingford trains can do the trip reliably in twenty minutes, this would mean that a train could do a round trip from Liverpool Street to Chingford in under an hour, whereas now they take nearly an hour-and-a-half.

This means that four tph from Liverpool Street to Chingford needs either of the following trains.

  • 4 x Class 710 trains
  • 6 x Class 315/317 trains.

I doubt London Overground will park the spare trains in a siding.

It might even be possible to increase the frequency between Liverpool Street and Chingford. But this would probably need the removal of the level crossing at Highams Park station.

Enfield Town Services

North of Edmonton Green station, the only service on the route will be the two tph service between Liverpool Street and Enfield Town.

This is likely to be a route, where the return trip to Liverpool Street could be under an hour.

This means that two tph from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town needs the following trains.

  • 2 x Class 710 trains
  • 3 x Class 315/317 trains.

Conclusion

It does appear that on a rough look, the number of trains required to provide the current service will be less.

I think the three routes will need the following numbers of Class 710 trains to provide current services.

  • Cheshunt – 2 trains
  • Chingford – 4 trains
  • Enfield – 2 trains

As each train is usually eight-cars, then sixteen trains could be a minimum number to provide the current service.

But to do this, trains on each route must be able to do an out-and-back trip within an hour.

I think this could be possible and the extra trains will obviously be used to provide extra services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

The Rise Of One-Platform Stations

As I was writing DfT Names Five Winners Of Fresh £16m Stations Fund,  I came to the conclusion that a lot of well-designed one-platform stations have been built since the turn of the millennium.

New one-platform stations include.

  • Alloa – Scotland – Reopened 2008 – Commuter and terminal station
  • Alesbury Vale Parkway – Bucks – Opened 2008 – Park-and-Ride, commuter and terminal station.
  • Beauly – Scotland – Reopened 2002 – £250,000 – 75% of local commuters switched from road to rail.
  • Brunstane – Scotland – Opened 2002 – Commuter station
  • Chandler’s Ford – Hampshire – Reopened 2003 – Commuter station
  • Chatelherault – Scotland – Reopened 2005 – Commuter station.
  • Conon Bridge – Scotland – Reopened 2013 – £600,000 – Local station
  • Cranbrook – Devon – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • Ebbw Vale Parkway – Wales – Opened 2008 – Park-and-Ride and commuter station.
  • Ebbw Vale Town – Opened 2015 – Commuter and terminal station.
  • Eskbank – Scotland – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • Fishguard and Goodwick – Wales – Reopened 2012 – £325,000 – Local station and bus interchange.
  • Galashiels – Scotland – Reopened 2015 – Commuter station and bus interchange.
  • Gorebridge – Scotland – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • James Cook – Teeside – Opened 2014 – £2.2million – Serves the hospital
  • Kelvindale – Scotland – Reopened 2005 – Commuter station
  • Llanhilleth – Wales – Reopened 2008 – Commuter station
  • Merryton – Scotland – Opened 2005 – Commuter station
  • Newbridge – Wales – Reopened 2008 – Commuter station
  • Newcourt – Devon – Opened 2015 – £4million – Commuter station.
  • Newcraighall – Scotland – Opened 2002 – Park-and-Ride
  • Newtongrange – Scotland – Opened 2015 – Commuter station
  • Pye Corner – Wales – £3.5million – Commuter station
  • Rogerstone – Wales – Opened 2008 – Commuter station

That is a total of twenty-four stations including three termini since 2000.

Several of the stations are on three reopened or new lines.

The three routes have sections of single-track.

How many more one-platform stations will we see in the next few years?

  • They must be more affordable.
  • They don’t need expensive pedestrian bridges.
  • They are usually step-free.
  • They can be as long as you need
  • They are ideal for single-track lines without electrification.

On the other hand there may be signalling and safety issues.

Integrated Design Of Rail Routes, Stations And Trains

If you look at the design of a new or reopened railway line like the Borders Railway, there have been various complaints from residents, commuters, railway purists and tourists.

  • Why wasn’t it built as double-track throughout?
  • There is no siding to help if a train brakes down.
  • Parking is insufficient.
  • The capacity of the trains is small.
  • The trains are old and tired.
  • The trains perform poorly.

A lot of the complaints can be blamed on the need to deliver the railway on a minimum cost.

But, I also believe that if the line had been designed to fit around a small fleet of trains, designed specifically for the route, then more money could have been saved and the railway would offer a better service to everyone.

Imagine a train with these characteristics.

  • At least four comfortable carriages.
  • Ability to run on electricity, where 25 KVAC overhead electrification is available.
  • Ability to run on diesel or batteries, where there is no electrification.
  • Change of power mode would be automatic and at line speed.
  • Level access to Harrington Humps at all stations for those needing step-free access.
  • Integrated CCTV between train and stations, so train crew can check if there are any possible problems or passengers who need assistance as they approach a station.
  • Wi-fi and 4G, although the latter might be difficult on the Borders Railway.
  • An onboard ticket machine, so late passengers can board without a ticket and the conductor is busy.

The train doesn’t need to be new, but designed for the route and of refurbished to a high standard.

I believe that train designers can come up with a train that would be more efficient to operate at stations, so that time-keeping would be spot on.

A Rail Link To Saint Andrews

I will use this rail link as an example, because of the importance of the historic City and its links to golf.

The length of the route by road between Leuchars station and Saint Andrews is 5.8 miles.

This is not much longer than the 4.4 miles of the Greenford Branch Line in West London, which has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

The service is provided by a single Class 165 train. So I suspect, a single train could maintain a two tph shuttle between Leuchars station and Saint Andrews.

The minimum infrastructure to sustain this two tph service would be as follows.

  • A single bay platform at Leuchars station.
  • A single platform terminus at Saint Andrews.
  • Perhaps a single platform station for golfing visitors convenient for the courses.
  • All platforms would be able to handle six car trains.
  • A single track would connect all the stations.

But surely this is not good enough for Saint Andrews.

  • A passing loop could be provided at halfway.
  • There must also be the possibility of a triangular junction to link the rail link to the main line.

Doing both, might allow four tph and direct trains from Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow to Saint Andrews.

 

 

 

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A Bactrian Station

Canonbury station has now got two Harrington Humps.

dscn9985

Does that make it a Bactrian station?

It’s certainly the sort of thing, that you’ll see in posh Islington and would never see in plebian Hackney.

February 14, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Build A Step-Free Access Ramp For A Train

This new ramp or Harrington Hump, has been built on Platform 1 at Canonbury station.

I didn’t use it, as I was going the other way.

It looks to be a very good design.

  • Like all the best designs, it is simple.
  • It is double-ended.
  • It’s a gentle slope to ascend to train level, with no steps to trip on.
  • It’s got seats to prop yourself on.
  • It’s got a rail to hang on to.
  • Those with poor eye-sight wouldn’t miss it and trip over.
  • I suspect any sensible local builder could build one of these, from a kit of parts and instructions on a page of A4.

It looks to me like it is one of those classic engineering designs, that was developed using copious amounts of real ale, with everything written down on the back of fag-packets and used envelopes.

After my musings on dual-height platforms for the Bakerloo Line Extension, in How Will They Build The Bakerloo Line Extension?, I think that a modified version could handle the problems at stations on the Northern reaches of the Bakerloo Line, where 1972 Stock and Class 378 trains, share a platform.

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

The Platform For The Future

The June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways has a section about The Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2016.

One is labelled the Platform for the Future.

That probably sounds rather boring, but I’m a great believer in disruptive technology and using new and innovative methods to replace something that is rather dull, with something that is better, quicker to be installed and get working and more affordable.

This is said.

Abellio Greater Anglia and Dura have pioneered the use of a composite platform at Needham Market station in Suffolk, which was installed in just 36 hours.

This installation might be considered surprising as Needham Market station is a Grade II Listed building. So  it can’t look like.

A monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.

But the product comes with these advantages.

  • The design life is sixty years.
  • A financial saving of 25% is reported.
  • As the platforms are built in a factory, the quality should be tip-top.
  • Other features like Harrington Humps could be built-in.

Hopefully, this would dissuade even the most determined member of the Heritage Taliban from objecting.

There’s more here on the Dura website. There’s also this video, of the platform being installed at Needham Market station.

This is a picture I took from a p[passing train.

The New Platform At Needham Market

It looks good and  who would think it was long-life hard-wearing plastic.

Only members of the Taliban tendency of the Green and Heritage lobbies would probably object!

I think that this product could find lots of applications, in traditional heavy rail, light rail and tramways. Certainly, it could be used to create some of the needed extensions to platforms on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Look at these pictures taken at Harringay Green Lanes station.

Would composite platforms make extending these platforms an easier process?

The company might also have the solution to the dual-height platforms, that some people feel are needed for tram-trains. The Germans certainly use stepped platforms so that different types of tram-trains have step-free access.

In fact, why restrict it to rail applications?

It could be used to provide a disabled viewing platform at somewhere like a horse racecourse or other sporting venue.

Or how about helping to create step-free bus stops, that I wrote about in One Of London’s Step-Free Bus Stops?

One Of London's Step-Free Bus Stops

One Of London’s Step-Free Bus Stops

It’s certainly a very good innovation.

 

June 13, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment