The Anonymous Widower

Starter Homes At Cockfosters

This would seem to be the final failure of a 1960s office development at Cockfosters.

It must have been about 1962, when I remember my mother telling me about the topping-out ceremony of these blocks by Cockfosters station.

They probably will satisfy a need, but it wouldn’t be my place to choose to live.

  • You may have the Piccadilly Line to Central London, but it is a long way. It takes 43 minutes to Leicester Square.
  • Cockfosters shopping centre hasn’t improved much since the 1960s.
  • I doubt that the development will have lots of parking.

But then on top of the hill with all the wind blowing from the East in the winter, it will be a bitterly cold place to live!

There are perhaps two good points.

  • The development is close to Trent Park for walking.
  • The buildings do seem to be structurally fairly sound.

But they’ll need to be, with all that cold wind!

May 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Time To Detopsify Stratford Station

Stratford Station has grown like Topsy for too long and has several problems and possible future expansions.

Not least of these include.

  • The final arrival of Crossrail.
  • A direct connection to Chingford.
  • A Stansted Express service.
  • Massive housing developments in the area.
  • More hotels
  • New cultural developments like the branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • A new campus for University College London.

This article on IanVisits is entitled Stratford Station Set For Massive Transformation.

This is his opening paragraph.

Stratford station could be radically redeveloped under plans being worked on by the rail companies and local council.

That is rather understated!

The station will become several times busier and needs a complete rethink, many more services and deTopsification.

These are my thoughts.

The Development Of The High Meads Loop

The High Meads Loop exists and is a double-track loop that can turn trains arriving at Stratford station via Lea Bridge station.

  • It is underneath the Eastfield Shopping Centre – Westfield is in the West of London.
  • Each track of the loop has its own long platform in the station. – Platform 11 is for clockwise trains and Platform 12 is for anti-clockwise.
  • It has been used in the past for a Stansted Express service.

The Wirral Line in Liverpool like the High Meads Loop is now a modern loop for turning trains.

  • The Wirral Loop is only single-track.
  • It gives connections for over thirty stations on the Wirral and in Cheshire and North Wales to Liverpool City Centre.
  • It is run by fifty-year-old Class 507 and Class 508 trains.
  • The loop has now been improved and can handle upwards of the fourteen trains per hour (tph) it currently does.

Merseyrail will soon be introducing new Class 777 trains on the Wirral Line in the near future and will be increasing services and the number of destinations.

British Rail’s vision for Liverpool, that was cruelly cut-short by Liverpool MP; Harold Wilson, is finally coming to fruition.

Newcastle also got its British Rail tunnel which is now being used by the Metro, but what would have happened in Manchester if British Rail had been allowed to build the Picc-Vic Tunnel?

I have a strong belief, that a Lea Valley Metro can be developed on the West Anglia Main Line.

  • It would have two Southern terminals – Liverpool Street station and the High Meads Loop at Stratford.
  • When it opens, Crossrail will mean that Liverpool Street and Stratford stations will be seven or eight minutes apart with a frequency of at least 12 tph.
  • Northern terminals would include Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Chingford, Enfield Town and Hertford East.
  • Crossrail 2 was planned to have a frequency of 10 and 15 tph between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.

I believe that if services in East London are thoroughly reorganised, that all the benefits of Crossrail 2 can be brought to East London by the use of the High Meads Loop and the upgrading of existing lines.

Stansted Express Services

Go to Stratford station and there is an out-of-date sign at the end of Platform 1 and 2, where the Overground trains terminate.

It directs passengers to Platform 12 for Stansted Airport.

The picture was taken in 2017, but there is still a walk-through to Platform 12, that I use regularly, if I’m changing between London Overground and Greater Anglia or TfL Rail services to destinations on both the West Anglia or Great Eastern Main Lines.

I believe that there is still a need for a Stansted Express services from Stratford, as for some people, including myself, it is easier to get to Stratford, than Liverpool Street.

From some places the connections to and from Stansted are not very good. Try going between London Bridge, Canterbury, Euston, Victoria or Waterloo and Stansted with a few mobility issues like a heavy suitcase and/or a baby, without a degree in Ducking-and-Diving!

An additional Stansted Express service from Stratford would make things a lot easier to get to the airport for many travellers, because of Stratford’s connections to the Central, Jubilee and North London Lines and SouthEastern’s Highspeed services.

Better Connection Between High Speed One And The High Meads Loop For Passengers

Some passenger connections are missing at Stratford.

This is indicated in the IanVisits article.

This map from cartometro.com shows the Topsy-like nature of the platforms at Stratford.

Note.

  1. The Docklands Light Railway is shown in turquoise.
  2. The DLR platforms in the North-West corner of the map are those of Stratford International station.
  3. High Speed One and the four platforms of Stratford International station are shown in black.
  4. The North London Line of the London Overground is shown in orange.
  5. The North London Line terminates in Platforms 1 and 2, which have a level link to Platform 12.
  6. Platform 12 is on the anti-clockwise platform for the High Meads Loop and has step-free access to the subway system underneath the station.
  7. Platform 11 is on the clockwise platform for the High Meads Loop and has level access to Platform 10a and full step-free access,
  8. Platform 10a is used by some services to East Anglia.
  9. Crossrail is shown in blue.
  10. The Central Line is shown in red.
  11. The Jubilee Line is shown in silver.

It is not the best passenger-friendly station layout.

  • Inevitability, you often find yourself trudging a long way at Stratford station.
  • Changing to or from any high speed services is supremely difficult.
  • Often you have to walk through the busy Eastfield Shopping Centre.

Particularly annoying for me is coming back from Kent on High Speed One and needing to take the North London Line, as I do several times a year.

As it involves a long walk through the Shopping Centre, I now take the easy way out and carry on to St. Pancras and get a taxi home.

As Stratford International is one of the draughtiest stations in England, the station is a real Design Crime and it needs a serious makeover.

Conclusion

Sort it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

3,000 Homes To Be Built Next To Dagenham Dock Railway Station

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

A sleepy railway station in East London is due to get a lot busier as a large housing development is to be built next to it.

The former Dagenham Stamping Plant car works site has been cleared, and has now been bought by Peabody housing association for development. The initial phase will see 1,550 affordable homes built, supported by an £80 million grant from the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Programme.

There is a lot of housing under construction the area and the c2c lines and the London Overground are being expanded to cope.

But there is still only two trains per hour (tph) through Dagenham Dock and Beam Park, as opposed to the four tph, that will run to Barking Riverside.

The simple solution would be to improve the Fenchurch Street and Grays service.

  • Currently it is two tph.
  • The service calls at Limehouse, West Ham, Barking, Dagenham Dock, Rainham and Purfleet.
  • Renwick Road and Beam Park will be added to this service, when and if, they are built.

It needs to have the same frequency as Gospel Oak to Barking which is four tph.

So how could this frequency increase be provided?

For a start, the bay platform at Grays could probably handle four tph with improvement and the route possibly with some signalling improvements could probably cope.

The bay platform at Grays station would probably need lengthening.

It’s just where do you terminate the trains at the Western end?

Fenchurch Street is probably at capacity, as it handles 8 tph in the Off Peak.

  • 4 tph – Shoeburyness
  • 2 tph – Southend Central
  • 2 tph – Grays

But the station handles up to 20 tph in the Peak.

Could it be that with the installation of full digital ERTMS signalling on this route, that four tph between Fenchurch Street and Grays could run all day?

A Possible Crossrail Branch

Crossrail is a herd of testosterone-loaded elephants in the room, that have been locked up by some very poor decision making from the Mayor and Transport for London.

  • If ERTMS signalling is one of the keys to unlocking capacity on the tunnels for Crossrail and Thameslink, could its application to c2c services open up possibilities for serious new services in East London.
  • As I said, ERTMS signaling could open up the capacity into Fenchurch Street, but would it also allow Grays to be a terminal for Crossrail?

This map from cartometro.com shows Forest Gate Junction, where the Gospel Oak to Barking Line connects to the lines into Stratford and Liverpool Street.

Note.

  1. The orange tracks are the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBLin).
  2. Gospel Oak is to the North West and Barking is to the South East.
  3. The mauve-blue tracks are Crossrail, through Manor Park and Forest Gate stations.
  4. The black track are the fast lines into Liverpool Street station.
  5. Forest Gate Junction in the middle is regularly used by c2c trains accessing Liverpool Street, when there are engineering works.

I believe that with ERTMS signalling four or possibly six Crossrail tph could travel between Stratford and Barking stations via Maryland, Forest Gate and Woodgrange Park stations.

This second map from cartometro.com shows the lines through Barking station.

Note.

  1. Barking station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The orange platform on the North side of Barking station is Platform 1, which is the current terminal of the GOBLin.
  3. After the Goblin is extended to Barking Riverside, the GOBLin services will share Platforms 7 and 8 with the Fenchurch Street to Grays services.
  4. Platforms 7 and 8 are on the South side of the station and they are connect to the GOBLin lines by a flyover.
  5. To the East of the station, the GOBLin route is shown in orange.
  6. The GOBLin turns South to Barking Riverside station, which is by the Thames.

I suspect that there is capacity for more trains.

  • There will only be six tph through Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking station.
  • There will be four tph over the flyover and through Woodgrange Park station.

I believe that terminating four Crossrail tph at Grays could be an interesting possibility.

 

March 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking Between Oxford Circus And Tottenham Court Road Stations – 19th February 2021

Today, I walked down Oxford Street from Oxford Circus station to Tottenham Court Road station.

Note the pictures in the middle of the walk of the new Western entrance to Tottenham Court Road station, which will be on Crossrail.

This article on Construction Enquirer is entitled Galliard To Start £55m London Soho Resi Job.

  • 92 flats, a large store and smaller retail spaces.
  • Look at the pictures in the Construction Enquirer article and it looks to be a building that is not out of scale.
  • Ideal for Crossrail and the Northern and Central Line.
  • A hundred metres from the flagship stores of Marks & Spencer and Primark on Oxford Street.
  • All the colour and food of Soho at the back door.
  • Buses outside the front door to Euston, Kings Cross, Paddington and St. Pancras.

Who was it said, that the three most important points about a property are location, location and location?

 

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Housing Approved For Northern Line Extension Building Site

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A worksite in Kennington currently being used for the Northern line extension is set to be redeveloped as a mixed residential and light industrial estate. TfL bought the plot of land in 2012 as a worksite for the Northern line extension, as the access shaft for the tunnelling and permanent ventilation are close by.

This surely, is the way to build developments in a crowded city to incorporate the necessary ventilation shaft.

This development will provide 139 new rental homes and more than 2,700 sqm of light industrial workspace, in a partnership between the developer and Transport for London.

January 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Last Ride On A Class 315 Train Between Upminster And Romford?

This morning I went to Upminster and took the Class 315 train to Romford.

I added the question mark, as when I passed East Ham depot, there were two new Class 710 trains sitting there, covered in graffiti.

Could The Romford And Upminster Line Be Improved?

I see two possible simple improvements

Four Trains Per Hour

London Overground likes to run four trains per hour (tph).

Could this frequency be run on the Romford and Upminster Line?

Three years ago I wrote Could The Romford To Upminster Line Handle Four Trains Per Hour?, and came to this conclusion.

A seven minute trip would mean the train could perform the required four trips per hour.

It would still be tight.

I also investigated an automated shuttle train on the route in An Automated Shuttle Train Between Romford And Upminster, which I felt would be possible, to run a four tph service.

Extension Of The Service

There are various reasons, why the service could be extended from Upminster station, in the Grays direction.

  • It would give travellers from South Essex much better access to Crossrail.
  • It could give a shuttle between Romford and Grays via the Lakeside Shopping Centre
  • Tilbury Riverside station could be a possibility.
  • It could open up possibilities for more housing in the area.
  • If the route were to be extended to a new station at London Gateway, it could make it easier for people to travel to work at the large port.

Obviously, it would have to be viable for the operator, but the big beasts of Crossrail, Lakeside Shopping Centre and London Gateway might make it possible.

Planning the route wouldn’t be that easy.

Consider.

  • The connections to Romford and Grays are on different sides of the District Line, so a flyover or dive-under might be needed.
  • Upminster and Grays is a single-track line with a passing loop at the two-platform Ockenden station.
  • Upminster and Grays used to be worked by a shuttle service.
  • The signalling appears to be able to handle four tph in both directions.
  • The current service between Grays and Upminster is two tph in both directions.
  • There is a bay platform 1A, at Upminster, which faces towards Grays.

It can certainly be said, that the extension of the service can’t be run at four tph.

I also think, that the current track layout at Upminster looks like one of British Rail efforts to stop any expansion of the railway.

This Google Map shows the layout of Upminster station.

Note.

  1. The  platforms are numbered 1 to 6 from South to North.
  2. Platform 1A is the Southernmost platform, which is slightly at an angle.
  3. The main station footbridge is at the Western ends of the platforms.
  4. The station isn’t fully step-free.

Is an alternative approach possible?

Suppose the following were to be arranged.

  • A four tph endless shuttle between Romford and Upminster stations.
  • Full step-free access at Romford station is currently being installed.
  • Full step-free access at Upminster station.
  • A two tph shuttle between Platform 1a and Grays, London Gateway or wherever most passengers want. This service would be arranged to give four tph between Upminster and Grays, when combined with the current services.
  • The two four tph services would be timed to give a convenient interchange at Upminster.

Could it be made to work?

It would only need improvements to Upminster station.

These pictures show Upminster station.

Note.

  1. Platform 1a is fully-electrified and long enough for a Class 710 train.
  2. The bridge at the Eastern end of the station is not step-free but could be updated.
  3. It might be possible to extend this bridge to Platform 6.

Platform 1a could certainly be used to operate a shuttle service to Grays to create a new service across South Essex.

 

 

October 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Plans For North Kensington Crossrail Station Back On Track

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on London News Online.

The first two paragraphs say it all.

Proposals for north Kensington to get its own station on the long-delayed Crossrail project have been put back on track.

Kensington and Chelsea council has confirmed it is in talks with Network Rail on producing a feasibility study that could lead to the “Kensal Portobello Station” being built.

According to Wikipedia, if this station is built it will be called Ladbroke Grove station. Wikipedia says this about its location.

In March 2017, it was announced TfL was considering a Crossrail station in Kensal on site of a former gasworks and would be between Old Oak Common and Paddington.

The article says this about the precise location and plans for the area.

Canal Way, near the Kensington Gas Works and a Sainsbury’s superstore, is being eyed up as a location for the station.

Meanwhile, the council’s 2019 Local Plan refers to the area as the ‘Kensal Canalside Opportunity Area’, and says 3,500 homes could eventually be built there.

This is a Google Map of the area.

Note.

  1. The Grand Union Canal curving East-West in the top half of the map.
  2. There looks to be a substantial amount of green algae in the canal.
  3. The Great Western Main Line passing East-West in the bottom half of the map.
  4. Kensington Gas Works, a cleared site and a Sainsbury’s superstore, lie between the canal and the railway.
  5. Canal Way threads itself through to the North of the railway.

Crossrail uses the Northern pair of tracks closest to Canal Way.

Access To The Kensal Canalside Opportunity Area

Consider.

  • Canal Way doesn’t appear to have easy access at the Western end of the site.
  • Canal Way connects at the Eastern end to a roundabout on Ladbroke Grove.
  • How many vehicle journeys are 3,500 homes going to generate?
  • I have walked along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal.

I would feel that a Crossrail station to serve the development would improve access by a substantial amount.

This Google Map shows Canal Way and the railway.

Note.

  1. The Southern part of Sainsbury’s car park is at the top of the map.
  2. It would appear that there is space for a station.
  3. There appears to be a development site on the other side of the railway. Would a foot-bridge over the railway be a good idea?

The station would probably be served by between six and ten trains per hour.

Exploring The North Side Of The Railway

These pictures were taken on the North Side of the Railway, as I walked up Ladbroke Grove and into the Sainsbury’s site.

Is the traffic congestion always this bad?

Ladbroke Grove Station Site From The Railway

I took these pictures from a Crossrail train, running towards Paddington.

There would appear to be space for a station.

Conclusion

Because of the number of homes proposed for the site and the limited access, I feel that a station at this location is essential. Especially, as cars and buses seemed to be taking fifteen minutes to enter and exit the site.

I also think, there needs to be a pedestrian bridge over the railway to separate the pedestrians from the traffic.

September 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 10 Comments

Go-ahead For West London 460-home Build To Rent Scheme

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

This is the first paragraph.

The scheme is the first to be brought forward by Connected Living London, a partnership between build to rent specialist Grainger and Transport for London.

This must be the way for London to get best value from all the suitable sites for housing, owned by Transport for London.

Four sites are mentioned in the article.

  • Next to Southall station
  • Next to Arnos Grove station
  • Montford Place in Kennington. which is currently being used as a construction site for the Northern Line Extension.
  • Above the new Nine Elms station on the Northern Line Extension.

These are some thoughts on the sites.

Arnos Grove Station

The developers will have to be careful, with the design at Arnos Grove station, as it’s a Grade II* Listed building.

This Google Map shows the station.

I never knew, that the station had so much parking.

Will the development be over some or all of this car parking?

This article on Ian Visits is entitled Plans To Build Flats On Arnos Grove Tube Station Car Park.

Ian says that there will be four blocks, with a total of162 rental homes, of which 40 % will be affordable.

  • It doesn’t seem to be high density or high towers.
  • A map shows it is not over the railway.

Ian also says this about the loss of car parking.

Unsurprisingly, there are local objections to the plans to remove the car park with nearly 300 parking spaces, although TfL counters that a third of the people who currently drive to the station living within walking distance.

But then many people never drive very far from where they live. For environmental reasons, perhaps fossil fuel vehicles should pay a Movement Tax of say five pounds, every time the vehicle is moved in a built-up area. Zero-emission vehicles would be exempt!

Montford Place

I took these pictures of the Montford Place site in July.

This site could be sensitive too! But surely, the residents don’t want an ugly utilitarian headhouse for the ventilation shaft of the Northern Line Extension.

This Google Map shows the site.

It is not small, judging by the two buses at the side.

There’s also a large hole to cover!

 

 

September 19, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vital Energi To Build Waste Heat From Power Plant Centre

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Waste heat from the nearby £680m North London Waste Authority (NLWA) Energy Recovery Facility will be used to heat homes and businesses in the London Borough of Enfield.

Some of the homes, will be on the 82-hectare Meridian Water development.

We will see more schemes like this.

 

 

September 17, 2020 Posted by | Energy, World | , , | Leave a comment

Special Train Offers A Strong Case For Reopening Fawley Line

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 911 of Rail Magazine.

This is the opening paragraph.

On July 28, a South Western Railway train ran along the Fawley Branch Line. to make the case for reopening to passenger services after a 54-year gap.

On board were the Rail Minister; Chris Heaton-Harris, Network Rail Chairman; Sir Peter Hendy, Managing Director of South Western Railway; Mark Hopwood and Lord Montagu of Beulieu.

The article reports the trip and fills in more of the details, that make more sense of my sketchy post called Reintroduction Of Passenger Rail Services On The Waterside Line.

These are some points from the article.

The Infrastructure Needs Updating

This is a quote from the article.

The route has a line speed of 30 mph, with lower speed restrictions at level crossings, some of which are still hand-operated. Semaphore signals operated from by mechanical levers from Marchwood remain in use. A token is given to the driver to allow the train to run towards Fawley. All this would require updating.

Elsewhere the article says there are ten level crossings.

Housing Is The Game Changer

This is another quote from the article.

The big change is urban sprawl. In the half century since passenger services ended, housing estates for thousands of people have been built alongside the line. mostly for commuters into Southampton and the surrounding conurbation.

Up to 5,000 further new homes are planned, including an all-new small town on the site of the former Fawley power station on the southern tip of Southampton Water. Planning permission for at least 1,300 homes was granted the very evening before the Fawley train ran.

This Google Map shows the the town of Hythe and the giant Fawley Refinery.

Note.

  1. Hythe is towards the top of the map on Southampton Water.
  2. The refinery is the large beige blob in the middle on Southampton Water.
  3. The Fawley Branch runs close to the water and finishes inside the secure fence of the refinery.
  4. There will be stations at Marchwood, Hythe Town and Hythe & Fawley Parkway.
  5. The parkway station will be to the North of the refinery.
  6. The major housing site is on the former Fawley power station site, which is the Southernmost beige blob.
  7. The blue dot towards the West indicates the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

It looks to me, that an electric shuttle bus between Hythe & Fawley Parkway, Beaulieu and the various housing sites would be a good idea.

The Cost Of The Scheme

This is another quote from the article.

The campaign to open the line has been spearheaded by the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership.

Chairman Nick Farthing says:

“For £45m, you get the track, signalling and level crossings sorted. You get a 60 mph railway with three stations = upgrading Marchwood, a new station for Hythe, and Fawley park-and-ride (just beyond Holbury, where Hardley Halt used to be).

“Three Rivers commissioned a level crossing study from Network Rail, so we know what has to be done. We’ve used a rail-approved contractor to work out how much the three stations will cost.

Three Rivers have also identified some affordable diesel rolling stock.

South Western Railway’s Innovative Train Plan

This is another quote from the article.

However, SWR’s Mark Hopwood favours a much bolder plan. “We’d have to take a decision, once we knew the line was going ahead. But my personal belief is that we should be looking for a modern environmentally-friendly train that can use third-rail electricity between Southampton and Totton and maybe operate on batteries down the branch line.”

Pressed on whether that would mean Vivarail-converted former-London Underground stock, Hopwood ads. “It could be. Or it could be a conversion of our own Class 456, which will be replaced by new rolling stock very shortly. But I don’t think this is the time to use old diesels.

Converting Class 456 Trains Into Two-Car Battery Electric Trains discusses this conversion in detail.

Conclusion

This plan seems to be coming together strongly.

All the partners like Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership, Network Rail, South Western Railway and other local interests seem to be acting together and very professionally.

 

 

August 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments