The Anonymous Widower

Siemens Unveils Plans For £200m Train Factory In East Yorkshire

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in Rail Technology Magazine.

This is a key paragraph.

While the factory is only in the planning stage at the moment, Siemens hopes to begin construction later this year if the company can confirm some “major future orders.”

As to major future orders in the UK, the following would appear to be possibilities.

  1. New London Underground train orders for the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Central Lines.
  2. New trains for HS2.
  3. New trains for the new East Midlands Franchise.
  4. New trains for the new Southeastern Franchise.


  1. Siemens have shown designs for the Underground, which I discussed in Siemen’s View Of The Future Of The Underground.
  2. HS2 will be built to the same standard as most European High Speed Lines.
  3. The trains for the East Midlands could probably be based on German ICE trains.
  4. Desiro City trains would handle a lot of Southeastern’s needs.

I suspect, that Siemens have designs that could be adapted for most of the UK’s possible large orders.

I shall a few thoughts to these orders.

New Tube For London

The New Tube For London is a very large project, that will do the following.

  • Replace the current rolling stock on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo and City Lines.
  • Initially, there will be 250 new trains.
  • Increase capacity.
  • Increase frequency.
  • Run under a much higher level of automation.
  • Hopefully, the first train will run on the Piccadilly Line by 2023.
  • It is also intended that the new trains will replace the current trains on other lines.

Wikipedia says this about the project cost.

The project is estimated to cost £16.42 billion (£9.86 bn at 2013 prices)

The following companies were on an approved short list.

  • Alstom
  • Siemens
  • Hitachi,
  • CAF
  • Bombardier

Since this list was published, Bombardier and Hitachi have said they will propose a joint bid and Siemend and Alstom have merged their train-building interests.

So we are left with the following bidders.

  • Alstom-Siemens, who have various small factories in the UK.
  • Bombardier-Hitachi, who have two large factories in the UK.
  • CAF, who are building a factory at Newport in South Wales.

Various factors will come into the choice of manufacturer.

  • The London Underground order, is probably one of the largest train orders, that will be placed in the next few years and fulfilling it will most likely require a large manufacturing capacity in the UK.
  • Bombardier-Hitachi and Alstom-Siemens have the resources to create such a manufacturing capacity. Would CAF have that capacity?
  • Bombardier has been working with Transport for London for about thirty years and their recent trains for London have been generally well received.
  • Hitachi will add Japanese technology and finance to the bid.
  • Do Hitachi have a lot of space at Newton Aycliffe?
  • Siemens are Europe’s biggest industrial company, so they can invest heavily to ensure they get the order.
  • Delivering the first trains for the Piccadilly Line in 2023, could be a tough ask!

In a Brexit World, it will be interesting to see who gets the order.

Trains For HS2

Note these points about Siemens, High Speed Trains and the trains required for HS2.

  • It would appear that most German ICE trains are built by Siemens or the company is involved in a consortium.
  • Siemens latest trains for Eurostar have been well-received.
  • The High Speed Train market around the World is increasing in size.
  • The initial HS2 contract will be sixty trains, each of which will hold a thousand passengers.

As trains will be of two types;HS2-only and classic-compatible, the designing of the trains will be a challenging exercise.

But Siemens experience from Germany, where classic-compatible trains have to be extensively used, may give them an edge.

I have ridden High Speed Trains in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Kent, and single-deck trains are very similar, especially where trains are classic-compatible.

They are certainly more similar, than say commuter trains, which all seem to suffer from lots of local preferences.

Another factor is the size of the site at Goole, which is 23 hectares or the size of 23 football pitches.

  • Could Siemens be planning a new site to build its High Speed Trains?
  • Are Siemens short of space for expansion at Krefeld?
  • There is probably space for a test track at Goole, that could be connected to the factory.
  • The site would be well-connected to the East Coast Main Line and the rest of the UK’s High Speed Network and the Channel Tunnel.
  • Exports to the Rest of the World, could use the ports of the Humber.
  • Siemens have a lot of investment in other industries in East Yorkshire.

It looks to be a logical choice of location to manufacture and commission trains.

If they get the order for the new trains for HS2, it would be the ideal manufacturing site.

But if they do, will Siemens manufacture High Speed Trains for export?

This could explain, why Chris Grayling was present for the announcement in Goole.

New  Trains For The New East Midlands Franchise

With these trains, which will likely be bi-modes, it depends on whether they are trains like Hitachi Class 800 trains or classic-compatible versions of High Speed Trains.

But this order will be smaller than the London Underground or HS2 orders, so9 I wouldn’t be surprised if it went to the company with the best of the previous generation of 125 mph bi-mode trains.

New  Trains For The New Southeastern Franchise

Surely, if Siemens get this order it will be for Desiro City trains and like the Class 700 trains for Thameslink, Siemens would seriously, think about building them in Germany.

On the other hand, Southeastern’s routes could be very much in Crossrail territory and as I showed in Is Crossrail Having An Affect On Train Purchases In The South East?, I think it is very likely that the nod will go to Aventras for the franchise.

But I estimate, there are 1,300 trains needed, so with the right offer, they might get the order and decide to build them at Goole.

Once this franchise is settled, there probably aren’t too many large train orders left in the UK, for this class of train.

And Then There Is Hydrogen!

I believe that just as Alstom converted a Alstom Coradia Lint, into a hydrogen version, that Siemens could apply the same process to create a hydrogen-powered Class 707 train, which would probably be a useful train for a train operating company to have in its fleet.

I describe my thinking in Could The Unwanted Class 707 Trains Be Converted To Hydrogen-Power?

Perhaps, the current unwanted thirty trains could be converted to dual-voltage hydrogen-powered trains?

But this is not a project that would require a large factory!

Unless of course, it was linked to the 1,300 new trains that the new Southeastern franchise could need.


I feel that Siemens is in pole position to build the High Speed Trains, but it could be more than that!

Are Siemens developing Goole as their main manufacturing site for High Speed Trains, due to limitations at Krefeld in Germany?

Does this leave the Bombardier-Hitachi consortium to pick up the London Underground order?

It’s all getting very interesting!






March 3, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

MP Calling For Borders Link To High-Speed Rail Network

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Southern Reporter.

My feeling is that I don’t think the MP should worry about this one.


  • When High Speed 2 opens to Crewe in 2027, London to Glasgow trains will take under four hours.
  • The West Coast Main Line will be improved between Carlisle and Glasgow.
  • Freight traffic between England and Scotland is increasing.
  • A large freight interchange could be built at Longtown.
  • Increased services between Liverpool/Manchester and Edinburgh/Glasgow are starting.
  • Carlisle station is being refurbished.

All this will lead to more through traffic at Carlisle.

I would think it would be extremely likely, that the West Coast Main Line between Carlisle and Longtown will be improved substantially.

If this happens, then any extension of the Borders Railway will have a fast link to HS2 at Carlisle, from where it will probably join the West Coast Main Line in the Longtown area.

It should also be noted, that High Speed 2 is being designed to give benefits to as many places as possible.

A Borders Railway connected to Carlisle fits this strategy.

January 5, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Campaign For New Cross-Border Rail Link Gathers Pace

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Carlisle News And Star.

The interesting thing about the article is that it shows the growing co-operation between Councils and organisations on both sides of the border.

That co-operation and the need to increase capacity on the West Coast Main Line through Carlisle will eventually get a reinstated railway between Edinburgh and Carlisle via Galashield, Melrose and Hawick.

East-West and North-South Railways

When politicians talk about East-West links in the UK, they tend to be very parochial. Some are getting improved and some are not!

These can be considered major East-West links in the UK.

  • Inverness to Aberdeen – Being upgraded.
  • Glasgow to Edinburgh – Undergoing a major upgrade and electrification.
  • Carlisle to Edinburgh via Hawick – Still a study
  • Carlisle to Newcastle- Could be improved.
  • Carlisle to Leeds – Recently upgraded and safeguarded.
  • Preston to Leeds – Needs upgrading.
  • Manchester to Leeds – Desperately needs upgrading.
  • Manchester to Sheffield- Desperately needs upgrading.
  • Holyhead to Manchester – Needs some improvement.
  • Nuneaton to Felixstowe – Needs upgrading and electrification.
  • Oxford to Cambridge – Being rebuilt slowly.
  • Cardiff to London – Being upgraded and electrified slowly.
  • Exeter to Ashford via Southampton and Brighton – Needs upgrading.

East-West links are not in the same state as the major North-South routes.

  • West Coast Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • East Coast Main Line
  • Brighton Main Line
  • West Anglia Main Line
  • Great Eastern Main Line

It could be argued that the last three are in need of some improvements, but the first three will be augmented by HS2.

Look at the quality of trains on East-West routes compared to those on North-South routes.

HS2’s Needs

It could also be argued that all East-West routes should be substantially improved to compliment the building of HS2.

Carlisle, Crewe, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Preston and Sheffield will probably have excellent single-station interchange between HS2 and classic routes and good East-West connections will benefit a lot of passengers.

However, as things stand at present,Birmingham is getting rather a dog’s breakfast with passengers having to transfer between Curzon Street and New Street stations for onward travel.

Birmingham deserves better!



October 25, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

How Will Chiltern Railways Serve Old Oak Common?

Whilst writing A Proposal For Two London Overground Stations At Old Oak Common, I got to thinking about how Chiltern Railways would use Old Oak Common station as a second London terminus, to relieve pressure on Marylebone station.

Lines At Old Oak Common

This map from TfL shows the lines in the area and the location of the proposed two new stations; Hythe Road and Old Oak Common Lane, for the London Overground.

Hythe Road station will be on the  West London Line between Willesden Junction and Shepherd’s Bush stations.

Old Oak Common Lane station will be on the North London Line between Willesden Junction and Acton Central stations.

How Will Chiltern Serve Old Oak Common?

Search the Internet for “Chiltern Railways Old Oak Common” and you find little of substance.

So exactly how will Chiltern Railways get trains to the station complex?

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

The Acton-Northolt Line is a logical route from Northolt Junction on the Chiltern Main Line to Old Oak Common.

But there could be problems with the Acton-Northolt Line.

  1. It will be on top of the tunnel taking HS2 out of London and building HS2 might be difficult.
  2. It is partly single track and would need to be doubled.
  3. It might be difficult to find space to build the station at Old Oak Common around the platforms for HS2, Crossrail and the Great Western Main Line.
  4. Getting tracks to the Northern part of the site for a Chiltern station there, might be difficult.

Points 1 and 2 would probably combine together to delay the Chiltern extension until after HS2 or at least the tunnel, is substantially complete.

This map from illustrates the problem of finding a place for the station.


  1. The Great Western Railway is the multi-track in black .
  2. The single track shown in black North of North Action station is the Acton-Northolt Line.
  3. Old Oak Common Lane station is just to the North of Acton Wells Junction.
  4. The curves to connect the Acton-Northolt Line to the North London Line would be very tight.

The preferred position for the station is probably in the area of the current Heathrow Express Depot.

An alternative position for the station could be at North Acton station.

This Google Map shows North Acton station and its relation to the proposed Old Oak Common Lane station.

Old Oak Common Lane station would be located North of the Junction, where the Dudding Hill Line and the North London Line split, in the top-right corner of the map.

The rebuilt North Acton station could have the following characteristics.

  • Two or possibly three, Chiltern platforms could be built North of the current Central Line platforms.
  • The station could have a walking route or moving walkway to connect it to Old Oak Common Lane station and the main Old Oak Common complex.
  • It would also fulfil the aims of politicians to link the Central and North London Lines.

It could be a viable alternative with valuable over-site development.

I took these pictures from the bridge, where Victoria Road passes over the Central Line and Acton-Northolt Lines.


  1. The pictures were taken looking East towards Old Oak Common.
  2. The single-track Acton-Northolt Line is in the shrubbery on the left.
  3. The Acton-Northolt Line is about two or three metres higher than the Central Line.
  4. The greyish-blue bridge in the distance carries the North London Line over the cutting.

North Acton station is on the other side of the bridge.

It strikes me that the various levels give possibilities for an improved Central Line layout and a couple of platforms for Chiltern Railways.

Advantages and Problems Of Using The Acton-Northolt Line

The advantages of using this route could include.

  • It could open up development sites along the route.
  • New stations could be developed at Hanger Lane, Perivale, Greenford, Northolt, South Ruislip, Ruislip Grdens and West Ruoslip.
  • The new double-track line could be electrified without disrupting existing services.
  • It connects the Chiltern Main Line to HS2 and Crossrail.
  • It could enable a Crossrail extension along the Acton-Northolt Line.

The big problem could be doubling the Acton-Northolt Line and building the station, whilst the tunnelling work for HS2 was proceeding.

The Acton-Northolt Line And HS2

I do hope that HS2 is not being designed to block future use of the Acton-Northolt Line.

In fact, I hope the reverse is true and creation of a double-track Acton-Northolt Line is part of the specification for HS2.

Using The Dudding Hill Line

There is a connecting chord between the Chiltern Main Line and the Dudding Hill Line at Neasden.

This map from shows how trains would get between Wembley Stadium station and the Dudding Hill Line.


  1. The Dudding Hill Line is the line crossing all the tracks to the South of Neasden.
  2. The route would mean that Chiltern trains would be sent to their destination; Marylebone or Old Oak Common at Neasden.

The biggest problem may be where to put the station, as the Dudding Hill Line passes slightly to the West of the Old Oak Common complex.

But look at TfL’s visualisation for Old Oak Common Lane station.

The Dudding Hill Line is shown in the visualisation running under the pedestrian and cycle route to Victoria Road.

This Google Map shows the area in detail.


  1. The North London Line goes North-East.
  2. The proposed Old Oak Common Lane station would be built where the road is closest to the North London Line.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line goes North.

There would appear to be a site ripe for development to the West of the Dudding Hill Line.

Advantages and Problems Of Using The Dudding Hill Line

The advantages of using this route could include.

The station could be built in combination with London Overground’s proposed Old Oak Common Lane station.

  • There is a lot of space for the station.
  • No new track is required, although the Dudding Hill Line would need upgrading.
  • Good connections to HS2 and Crossrail will be built for Old Oak Common Lane station.
  • Thestation on the Dudding Hill Line could also be used by the proposed West London Orbital Railway.
  • Construction would not be a difficult job and would not affect existing services.
  • The site would not be affected by HS2.

The problems are mainly about connectivity to other lines, but well-designed connections to Crossrail and the Central Line would solve a lot of these problems.


There are at least two feasible options for a Chiltern station in the Old Oak Common area.



October 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Proposal For Two London Overground Stations At Old Oak Common

Transport for London published this proposal a few weeks ago, but it’s only now that I’ve found time to document it here.

TfL’s Proposal

This document on Tfl’s web site, gives full details of their proposals.

The Location Of The Stations

This map from TfL shows the location of the two stations.

Hythe Road station will be on the  West London Line between Willesden Junction and Shepherd’s Bush stations.

Old Oak Common Lane station will be on the North London Line between Willesden Junction and Acton Central stations.

This Google Map shows the area.

Three features on both maps link them together.

  • The Grand Union Canal.
  • The layout of the two Overground Lines that meet at the distinctive Willesden High Level Junction.
  • The long silver-roofed North Pole Depot at the bottom of the maps.

Note from the Google Map, how much space is available.

Are Two New Stations Needed?

There are various factors at work here.

More Stations And Entrances Shorten Journey Times

Research has shown that the more routes you give passengers, the quicker and easier the journeys.

Old Oak Common Is A Large Site

25,500 new homes and 65,000 jobs are being created in the Old Oak Common/Park Royal area and two new stations are probably needed.

The North And West London Lines Pass Separately Through The Site

Two separate stations give direct services to the following.

  • West and South-West London via the North London Line.
  • North and North-East London via the North London Line.
  • Clapham Junction for South London via the West London Line.

Some might argue, that a new spur from Willesden High Level Junction, where the two lines divide direct to the combined HS2 and Elizabeth Line station, may be a better and cheaper option.

But this would only provide a connection to North and North-East London. Connections to the latter area, are also provided by the Elizabeth Line with a change of train at Liverpool Street or Stratford.

Conclusion About Two Stations

I’m convinced, that two Overground stations are needed and I suspect eventually, there will be other stations.

Hythe Road Station

TfL’s proposal for Hythe Road station would be built to the North of the existing embankment of the West London Line, which would be demolished.

This visualisation is from the TfL document.

It would appear to be reminiscent of Shoreditch High Street station, but built at ground-level.

Conclusion About Hythe Road Station

It is an inherently simple proposal, that can be built around an existing rail line, so it shouldn’t create too many construction problems.

Old Oak Common Lane Station

TfL’s proposal for Old Oak Common Lane station would incorporate an overbridge extending westwards to Victoria Road, to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the railway.

This map from the TfL document shows the location of the station.

And this Google Map shows roughly the same area.

The line breaking off to the North is the Dudding Hill Line, which is an important part of a proposal for a new railway line in West London, which I wrote about in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

This visualisation is from the TfL document.


  • The bridge for cyclists and pedestrians to Victoria Road.
  • The Dudding Hill Line passing under the bridge.

It very much looks like Old Oak Common Lane station could have platforms on the Dudding Hill Line, which would be a very important addition to the West London Orbital Railway proposal.

Cnclusion About Old Oak Common Lane Station

TfL’s proposal looks comprehensive and reasonably simple to build.

It also includes provision to connect to the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

What Else Would I Do?

Here are my thoughts.

An East-West People Mover

The only one thing I would definitely add, is some form of people mover stretching East-West across the whole Old Oak Common site.

My preferred option would be to use a high-level moving walkway perhaps enclosed in a glass tunnel, which would stretch from Victoria Road in the West to perhaps Wormwood Scrubs Park in the East.

Escalators and lifts would give step-free connections to Old Oak Common Lane, HS2, Elizabeth Line and Hythe Road stations.

We’re not getting any younger!

Terminal Platforms

Both stations could have terminal platforms in the visualisations.

But they would surely be a good idea to allow extra services to be run to and from the major station complex.

Both new stations will have a platform on each track.

Would it be a good idea to have a third platform, that could be used as a bay platform in both directions?

A Terminal Platform At Hythe Road Station

The West London Line currently has a Milton Keynes to East Croydon service and this must mean that services to the West Coast and Brighton Main Lines are possible from a Hythe Road station.

  • Trains to the South could go to Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Gatwick and any desired station South of London.
  • Trains to the North could go to Wembley Central, Watford and Milton Keynes.

A stopping service on the West Coast Main Line would be complementary to HS2. Take for instance, sports or music fans going to an event at Wembley Stadium.

A Terminal Platform At Old Oak Common Lane Station

The only passenger services on the North London Line are London Overground services, between Stratford and Eichmond, but surely a terminal platform at Old Oak Common Lane station could be useful in providing some needed services.

If the West London Orbital Railway is created, this will add eight trains per hour after Acton Central. This might be too many trains for the route, so perhaps there would be a need to turn-back some trains from Stratford at Old Oak Common Lane?

A terminal platform at Old Oak Common Lane station might be used for an extended Gospel Oak to Barking service.

Building The Stations

I haven’t had a good look at the sites of the two stations and I don’t know the area well.

But I do have the feeling that both these stations can be built independently without affecting any other projects.

So they could be built at any convenient time in the development of this large site.





October 21, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Transport for London Warns Crossrail 2 Could Be Delayed By Decade

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the Financial Times.

It’s all about funding and probably the Government not wanting to finance all of the large rail projects.

  • HS2
  • Crossrail 2
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • East West Rail

HS2 is funded and underway and the last two projects are being sorted, but the cost of Crossrail 2 is too much to digest.

I have believed for some time, that Crossrail 2 is a number of separate projects.

  • Increasing capacity on the Waterloo suburban lines
  • Increasing capacity on the Lea Valley Lines
  • Creation of the mega-station at Euston-St. Pancras
  • New trains
  • The high capacity central tunnel

I will now look at each in detail.

Increasing Capacity On The Waterloo Suburban Lines

In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed that it would be possible to run a service with Crossrail 2’s characteristics terminating in Waterloo.

I said the following were needed.

  • More platform capacity in Waterloo.
  • Modern high-performance 100 mph trains like Class 707 trains or Aventras.
  • Some improvements to track and signals between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.
  • Wimbledon station would only need minor modifications.
  • A measure of ATO between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.

Much of the infrastructure works have been completed as I reported in It’s All Over Now, Waterloo!.

All it needs is Bombardier to build the new Class 701 trains for South Western Railway.

Increasing Capacity On The Lea Valley Lines

In Could A Lea Valley Metro Be Created?, I looked at the possibility of creating a Lea Valley Metro with the following characteristics.

  • Four-tracks between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.
  • Step-free stations.
  • Termination in the unused loop at Stratford.
  • 10-15 trains per hour.
  • Links to Crossrail, the Underground and Southeastern Highspeed services at Stratford.

I came to the conclusion it was very much possible.

Creation Of The Mega-Station At Euston-St. Pancras

In Should A Mega-Station Be Created At Kings Cross-St. Pancras-Euston?, I looked at this mega station project for Crossrail 2.

I came to these conclusions.

  • If Crossrail 2 is built, there will obviously be a mega station at Euston St. Pancras.
  • But I believe that all the other improvements that will happen before HS2 opens may well be enough to cope with the extra capacity needed.
  • Obviously though, any improvements must not compromise the building of Crossrail’s mega-station.

In Should A Mega-Station Be Created At Kings Cross-St. Pancras-Euston?, I proposed a four-level mega-station.

  • Surface level – National Rail and HS2
  • Sub-surface level – Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines
  • Deep level – Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Very deep level – Crossrail 2

Lines would be connected by escalators, travelators and lifts going all over the place.

It would not be that different to the double-ended Crossrail station at Moorgate-Liverpool Street station, which I described in London’s First Underground Roller Coaster, except that it connects three stations instead of two.

This would enable Crossrail 2 to be bored through at a deeper level after Euston station had been rebuilt for HS2.

In terms of Crossrail 2, the creation of the mega station at Euston St. Pancras could be the last project to be completed.

New Trains

This should be the easy bit, as surely using the same Class 345 trains on Crossrail and Crossrail 2, would be an objective, if it were possible.

The High Capacity Central Tunnel

I’ve never built a tunnel, although my software; Artemis helped to build the Channel Tunnel, but I would suspect that building the central tunnel for Crossrail 2 will be easier than building that for Crossrail.

So many things like riding a bike or sex are a lot easier the second time.

There must be so many lessons from Crossrail that can be applied to Crossrail 2.

If all of the central stations on the tunnel, from Dalston to Wimbledon, where there is interchange with Crossrail 2 can be made tunnel-ready, then I don’t see why boring the central tunnel can’t be one of the last jobs to be started.

The tunnel boring machines would then just pass through the stations to link them all together.

It’s probably not as simple as that, but it is going to be a lot easier job than Crossrail.

The Importance Of The Victoria Line

I’ve never seen this said before, but one of the keys to building Crossrail 2 is the Victoria Line or Dear Old Vicky.

I believe the Victoria Line should be updated as follows to be as near the standard of Crossrail as possible, by using the existing trains, track and signalling  and by updating the stations.

  • Addition of the missing escalators and other features left out to save money in the 1960s..
  • Full step-free access at all stations.
  • Addition of new  entrances at Oxford Circus, Highbury and Islington and Walthamstow Central.
  • Better interchange with the Overground at Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Central.
  • Better interchange with National Rail at Brixton, Vauxhall, Finsbury Park, Seven Sisters and Tottengham Hale.
  • Forty tph between Brixton and Walthamstow Central.

Forty tph may need a reversing loop at Brixton and an extra one-platform station at Herne Hill.

I believe that an update of this type and scale could be applied to the Victoria Line without causing too much grief for passengers. The work on the stations is necessary to cope with the current and increased passenger numbers and could be carried out in much the same way as the upgrade at Victoria station has been done in the last few years.

The Victoria Line would then offer a high capacity link between Tottenham Hale and Vauxhall prior to the building of Crossrail 2’s central tunnel.

Passengers from say Broxbourne to Hampton Court would take the following route.

  • Lea Valley Line from Broxbourne to Tottenham Hale – (10 tph)
  • Victoria Line from Tottenham Hale to Vauxhall – (>30 tph)
  • South Western Railway from Vauxhall to Hampton Court – (4 tph)

Two changes (both hopefully step-free) would be needed, but with improvement to the National Rail routes at both ends, it would be faster than now.

The Importance Of The Bakerloo Line

Ask TfL’s Journey Planner, which is the quickest way from Tottenham Hale to Waterloo and it gives the following route.

  • Victoria Line from Tottenham Hale to Oxford Circus
  • Bakerloo Line from Oxford Circus to Waterloo

There is a simple cross-platform interchange at Oxford Circus, with the two legs taking 16 and 8 minutes respectively.

Currently, the Bakerloo Line has a frequency of twenty-two tph and plans have been mooted, that will see this going to twenty-seven tph by 2033.

It looks like when combining an updated Victoria Line with the current Bakerloo Line, you get a excellent connection that can stand-in for the Crossrail 2 central tunnel between Tottenham Hale and Waterloo.

But the Bakerloo Line might be extended to Lewisham, so will this extension make the combined Victoria/Bakerloo route more important.

The extended Bakerloo Line is not planned to have a connection with Crossrail 2, so using the Victoria Line across Central London will probably be the fastest way from say Lewisham to Enfield Lock.

It looks to me, that the cross-platform interchange at Oxford Circus between the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines is more important than anybody thinks and will continue to be so.

The Splitting Of The Northern Line

TfL would like to split the Northern Line into two branches, but this can’t be done until Camden Town station is rebuilt around 2024.

The only effect this split will have on Crossrail 2, is it will give extra routes to Euston station, which may probably make it less important that Crossrail 2 is completed before HS2.

A Possible Timetable

This is very much speculation on my part.

  • 2020 – Improved Overground services to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town using new Class 710 trains.
  • 2021 – Increased Greater Anglia services on the Lea Valley Lines using new Class 720 trains.
  • 2021 – Waterloo suburban branches running at four tph using new Class 701 trains.
  • 2024 – Extended Camden Town station opens.
  • 2024 – Splitting of the Northern Line
  • 2024 – More capacity on the Victoria Line
  • 2025  – Increased services on the Lea Valley Line after four-tracking.
  • 2025 – Upgraded Euston station opens with better connection to the Underground.
  • 2026 – Old Oak Common statio opens
  • 2026 – HS2 opens to Birmingham

The Crossrail 2 central tunnel could be built, when traffic levels are predicted to be too much for the Victoria Line.


This analysis says to me that Crossrail 2 could be planned as a series of much smaller projects, that would give passengers benefits from the early-2020s and also ease the funding problems for the line.

But the analysis also says that if the central tunnel is not built before the 2040s, then the Victoria Line must be upgraded to create a high capacity link between Tottenham Hale and Vauxhall or Waterloo using the Bakerloo Line.







October 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should A Mega-Station Be Created At Kings Cross-St. Pancras-Euston?

The three important stations of Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston sit like three isolated islands on Euston Road.

Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross station was extended and refurbished in 2012 and is the most modern of the three, with a well-designed square in front of the station.

Kings Cross serves as a terminus for East Coast Main Line and some Cambridge services.


Kings Cross has connections to the following Underground lines at Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station.

  • Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan.
  • Northern
  • Piccadilly
  • Victoria

On the whole, the connections to the Underground are generally good, but crowded.


If you want to go East connectivity is good, but when taking a bus to the West or South, finding the stop can be difficult.


The taxi rank at Kings Cross generally works well, as it was reconfigured when the station was updated.

Summing Up Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross has a lot of space both inside and outside and using the station can be an easy process compared to many.

St. Pancras Station

St. Pancras station was rebuilt and extended for Eurostar and Southeastern Highspeed services in 2007.

I always describe St, Pancras as a Fur-Coat-And-No-Knickers station.

It may look spectacular, but it wasn’t designed for passengers or staff, due to the dreadful connectivity between the various services at the station.

  • Continental
  • Midland Main Line
  • Southeastern Highspeed
  • Thameslink

With all these services set to expand, I have a feeling that St. Pancras faces a capacity problem.


To further complicate matters, it’s a often a long walk to the Underground line you need, as these were designed to serve Kings Cross.

  • Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan.
  • Northern
  • Piccadilly
  • Victoria

There is a ticket hall at the front of the station, but it’s often very crowded with large numbers of Eurostar passengers queuing for tickets.


It’s a walk to Kings Cross in most cases unless you can find a way across the busy Euston Road.


I always walk to Kings Cross, as like most passenger facilities at St. Pnncras, the taxi rank wasn’t well-designed.

Summing Up St. Pancras

St. Pancras doesn’t have the space inside or outside that Kings Cross has and often feels cramped with every seat taken.

With the increase in all services expected in the next few years, passengers should think hard about how they can avoid the station,

Euston Station

Euston station is going to be rebuilt in the next few years for HS2.

Currently, it serves as a terminus for West Coast Main Line and a few suburban services.


The Underground at Euston is a mess with Euston tube station handling the following lines.

  • Both branches of the Northern
  • Victoria

Round the corner is the cramped Euston Square station which handles the Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines.

Neither station is fully step-free and the Underground connection will need expansion for HS2.


Euston has a good bus station if you’re going East, but going West means crossing the busy Euston Road.


Euston has an underground taxi rank, that seems to work well.

Summing Up Euston Station

Space is at a premium in Euston station and the Underground connections need urgent improvement.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 is being put forward  as the project that will sort out the problems of the three stations on the Euston Road.

A mega station is to be built called Euston St. Pancras, which will serve all three stations.

But Euston and St. Pancras need extra capacity in connecting services now, not in the early 2030s!

Existing Lines

This map from shows the current Underground Lines at the three stations.

Can these lines be improved to help solve the capacity problems?

Victoria Line

If you want an example of the quality of the engineers working on the London Underground, you only have to look at the Victoria Line.

Fifty years old next year, the line was built on the cheap, but with superb automatic systems and some clever station layouts and now every year, more trains seem to be squeezed down its pair of tunnels. Currently, the frequency of trains is thirty-six trains per hour (tph) along its whole length.

As the Victoria Line calls at all three stations, any improvements to Dear Old Vicky, like step-free access at Euston, will help.

Northern Line

The Northern Line has three major projects underway.

  • The extension to Battersea
  • The upgrading of Camden Town station.
  • The upgrading of Bank station

When these are complete around 2024, it will be possible to split the line into two separate lines each handling 36 tph.

But more trains will be needed.

Piccadilly Line

The major upgrade for the Piccadilly Line will be new trains, which should arrive from 2022, which will bring a double-digit increase in capacity.

It should also be noted that the frequency in the core is only twenty-one tph, so upwards of thorty tph must be an objectve.

Unlike the Northern And Victoria Lines, the Piccadilly Line doesn’t call at Euston station.

Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines

The Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines are being upgraded. This is said on Wikipedia.

Together with the introduction of S Stock trains, the track, electrical supply and signalling systems are being upgraded in a programme planned to increase peak-hour capacity on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines by 65 per cent by the end of 2018. A single control room for the sub-surface railway is to be established in Hammersmith and an automatic train control (ATC) system will replace signalling equipment installed from the 1940s. The cross-London Crossrail line, planned to open in 2018, is expected to reduce crowding between Paddington and Whitechapel.

This should result in a large increase in capacity between Baker Street and Liverpool Street.



Although Crossrail doesn’t fully open until December 2019, and doesn’t even call at Kings Cross, St.Pancras and Euston stations, the new line will have an effect on passengers travelling to the three stations.

  • In my quote  from Wikipedia, it says that Crossrail is expected to reduce crowding between Paddington and Whitechapel.
  • Crossrail is expected to have a link with HS2 at Old Oak Common station.
  • Crossrail may be extended up the West Coast Main Line.

The latter two points would allow passengers to bypass Euston.


Thameslink when it is running fully at the design frequency of 24 tph will certainly have effects on passenger traffic.

But it is difficult to say what they will be.

Difficult Interchanges

If you look at the interchanges between the various lines, in my opinion, the following are the more difficult interchanges.

  • Euston Square tube station to Euston station.
  • Euston station to St. Pancras station.
  • Victoria Line to Thameslink at St. Pancras station.
  • Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines ro Thameslink at St. Pancras station.
  • Euston Square tube station to Northern Line at Euston station.

In addition Euston Square and Euston stations are not step-free.

Transport for London probably know the improvements that would offer the most benefit.

Euston Square Station And Euston Station

The poor connectivity between Euston Square tube station and Euston station, is a major problem.

Sort this bad connectivity, when Euston station is rebuilt for HS2 and world’s oldest underground railway, dating from 1863, will be providing a high-frequency service to the UK’s premier high-speed railway.

Euston Road

Euston Road, which can be very busy, is a major problem for passengers needing to cross to perhaps use buses going to the West.

The experience of using the stations could be improved for a proportion of travellers, if crossing the road was easier.

Should A Mega-Station Be Created At Kings Cross-St. Pancras-Euston?

I’ll return to the original question I asked.

  • If Crossrail 2 is built, there will obviously be a mega station at Euston St. Pancras.
  • But I believe that all the other improvements that will happen before HS2 opens may well be enough to cope with the extra capacity needed for a few years.

Obviously though, any improvements must not compromise the building of Crossrail 2’s mega-station.


I believe it is possible to improve connectivity to the three major stations of King Cross, St. Pancras and Euston, by doing the following.

  • Improving the frequency and capacity on the various Underground lines serving the three stations.
  • Splitting the Northern Line into two separate lines.
  • Improving the links between the existing Nation Rail and Underground Lines.
  • Integrating Euston Square station into Euston station, when Euston is rebuilt for HS2.
  • Improving the crossing of Euston Road on foot.

In some ways the last-but-one point is the most important, as it cures the worst interchange.






September 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Everybody Who Thinks HS2 Is A Waste Of Money Should Read This!

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Economic benefits of HS1 revealed as high-speed line turns 10.

This is the first three paragraphs.

HS1 Ltd has assessed the economic impact of the UK’s first high-speed line as it approaches a milestone 10th year.

According to findings, HS1 has attracted a minimum of £3.8 billion in economic and social benefits since domestic services began, which was two years after its official opening in November 2007.

In addition, 5,766 tourism sector jobs have been created and supported by HS1 since the opening.

So I’d say that was a success.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Nottinghamshire MPs Pressing Government For Robin Hood Line Rail Extension

The title of this post is the same as that as an article on Notts TV.

This is an extract.

Besides the six mile-plus extension from Warsop to Ollerton, the plan would involve re-opening existing stations in Warsop, and Edwinstowe and building a new station in Ollerton.

The existing line is operated on a franchise held by East Midlands Trains, which is due for renewal in the coming months.

A Department for Transport spokesman said the extension is being consulted on as part of the franchise renewal, with a decision expected next month.

I have always liked this rail project and linking it to the new franchise will surely push it up the list of new projects.

It is actually, a low-cost project, as the track  already exists and is regularly used by both Network Rail and East Midlands Trains for test purposes and to train drivers.

I have flown my virtual helicopter over the route and between the Robin Hood Line and Ollerton, there is a lot of double-track with the Eastern end single track, Part of the line is the High Marnham Test Track. The track-bed would appear to lead all the way to Lincoln.

It appears to be that the major costs would be.

  • Replacing the track.
  • Adding new signalling to replace the previous system destroyed by vandals.
  • Building three new stations.
  • Finding a few extra trains.

Surely, some good engineers and designers could turn this at an affordable cost into a worthwhile and well-used passenger rail line between Mansfield and Ollerton.

The New Fanchise And Rolling Stock

East Midlands Trains’ current fleet is diesel-only and includes the following units from the last century.

Many routes are run by inadequate trains and with the East Midlands franchise up for renewal, there is likely to be a reorganisation of rolling stock.

All recent new franchise awards have involved fleets of new trains and I doubt this one will be any different.


Although HS2 doesn’t arrive at East Midlands Hub station at Toton until 2032, I feel that the over the next few years, rail lines in the Nottingham and |Derby areas will be developed to make this new station a focus.

In After The Robin Hood Line Will Nottingham See The Maid Marian Line?, I discussed possible rail development between Toton and Mansfield based on this article in the Nottingham Post.


What the planners decide about HS2 will decide whether the Robin Hood Line is extended to Ollerton.

Development of Lincoln to Toton as a 90 mph route, with proportions of 100 mph running, would certain transform the area.



September 10, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Doubts Arise About A third Runway At Heathrow

I have always been sceptical about a third runway at Heathrow and put down my thoughts in Will The Third Runway At Heathrow Be Actually Built In The Near Future?.

Media reports are now saying that there should be more consultation, due to the election stopping the publication of updated forecasts for passengers and pollution. The Labour Party also seems to be against the idea.

By the end of 2019, Crossrail and Thameslink will be fully operational and I believe that they will push everybody including politicians, airline boses and other business leaders to seriously rethink their positions. The statements of Willie Walsh; the Chairman of the airline group;IAG seems increasingly sceptical about Heathrow’s third runway.

2019 also marks the date when Gatwick Airport can start to think about developing a second runway.

In Could Thameslink Connect To Heathrow?, I showed that it would be possible to create a high-capacity link between Heathrow and Gatwick via Thameslink.

  • The link would connect Gatwick, Heathrow, HS1 and HS2.
  • No expensive infrastructure would be needed.
  • This link could easily accommodate four trains per hour and possibly double that, when Heathrow rebuilds its terminals to make it a greener airport, more reliant on rail.

It could be in place in 2020.


All of these forces will kick the third runway even further into the future.


September 9, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment