The Anonymous Widower

I Can’t Wait Until The Sixth Of November

This morning, I wanted to go between Moorgate and Romford stations.

Because the Elizabeth Line is not fully joined up, I wanted to avoid a long walk.

So I had decided, that the best way to go would be.

  • Hammersmith and City Line from Moorgate to Mile End.
  • Central Line from Mile End to Stratford.
  • Elizabeth Line from Stratford to Romford.

Note that both interchanges are cross-platform ones, so it is certainly a route with the minimum of walking.

When I got to Moorgate station, it appeared that there were problems with the Hammersmith and City Line, so assuming that things would be OK from Whitechapel, I took the Lizzie Line one stop to try my luck from there.

But my luck was out and after waiting for about twenty minutes in a stationary District Line train for a lift to Mile End station, I gave up and returned to the Lizzie Line, where I took a train to Canary Wharf station.

I’d changed between the Lizzie and Jubilee Lines before and wrote about it in Changing Trains At Canary Wharf Station – 13th June 2022.

I had not been impressed, as I’d found it a long walk.

But this time, I followed a route between the Eastern ends of both stations, which goes past Waitrose in the shopping centre. Opposite Waitrose was this stall.

That looks good for a pit stop. Badiani 1932 appear to have realised that London has a chronic shortage of ice cream and have opened a number of shops.

Once on the Jubilee Line, I finally got to Stratford and walked to the Lizzie Line for Romford Station.

What Had Caused All The Delays?

It appeared there had been a power supply problem on the Hammersmith and City Line.

Conclusion

Once Crossrail is fully open, it will be a bypass around problems like today.

 

August 31, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using The Elizabeth Line Between London City And Heathrow Airports

Today, I went from London City Airport to Heathrow using the Docklands Light Railway, the underground section of the Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express.

London City Airport And Poplar Stations

I took these pictures on this section of the route using the Docklands Light Railway.

Note.

  1. I started my journey at 13:15.
  2. I arrived at Poplar at 13:27.
  3. The journey took twelve minutes, which agrees with the timetable.

This is a route, that gives a view of London’s rebuilding in the East.

Poplar And Canary Wharf Stations

I walked this section.

Note.

  1. I started my walk from Poplar station at 13:27.
  2. I was on the platform at Canary Wharf station at 13:39.
  3. I used a lift at Poplar station and the escalators at Canary Wharf station.
  4. The walk took twelve minutes, but it was a roundabout route.
  5. It looks like a level walkway is to be built between the two stations.

This Google Map shows the are between the two stations.

Note.

  1. Poplar station in the North-East of the map.
  2. The bridge at Poplar station, that provides the route I took over Aspen Way.
  3. After crossing the bridge and using the lift, I walked along the South side of Aspen Way.
  4. I then walked South down the path at the East side of the site, where it appears from the hoardings, flats will be built.
  5. Finally, I turned left to walk along the dock and then right to cross into Canary Wharf station.

Work appears to have started at Canary Wharf on the Southern end of an extended walkway, that will link to the bridge over Aspen Way.

This direct route could be nearly two hundred metres shorter and would shorten the connection by several minutes.

Canary Wharf And Paddington Stations

This section of the journey took nineteen minutes and I arrived at Paddington at 13:58, as this picture shows.

It had taken forty-three minutes between London City Airport and Paddington stations.

Paddington And Heathrow Airport By Heathrow Express

I took the 14:10 Heathrow Express to the Airport and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. It took about six minutes to walk between the Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express.
  2. This was my first ride on Heathrow Express, since the service has started using Class 387 trains.
  3. The trains are fine, but where are the tables, that I like so much in the other Class 387 trains?
  4. The train arrived at Heathrow Central at 14:29.

This meant my journey between the two airports had taken an hour and fourteen minutes.

Canary Wharf to Heathrow using Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line had taken thirty-four minutes.

Return To Paddington On The Elizabeth Line

I came back from Heathrow on an Elizabeth Line train, which took 29 minutes.

That would mean that today using the Elizabeth Line to Heathrow.

  • Heathrow and Canary Wharf will take 48 minutes.
  • Heathrow and London City Airport will take one hour and twenty-nine minutes.

The difference in time between the two trains is solely down to the times of the Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line trains between Paddington and Heathrow.

What Difference Will A Direct Elizabeth Line Connection Make?

Canary Wharf are giving a figure of thirty-nine minutes between Canary Wharf and Heathrow, when the Elizabeth Line fully opens.

This would appear to indicate that fully opening the Elizabeth Line connection at Paddington will save nine minutes and the Elizabeth Line will only be a few minutes slower than Heathrow Express, if you can cut out the change at Paddington.

This table compares times between Canary Wharf and Heathrow.

  • Elizabeth Line with a change at Paddington – 48 minutes
  • Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express with a change at Paddington – 34 minutes
  • Elizabeth Line direct – 39 minutes

How many passengers will swap from Heathrow Express to a complete Elizabeth Line?

Is There Going To Be A Pedestrian Bridge Between Poplar And Canary Wharf Stations?

This Google Map shows the bridge that leads South from Canary Wharf station.

Note how the bridge could have been designed to go through the station to the housing to the North and perhaps ultimately to Poplar DLR station.

These pictures show the complete bridge on the South side and what could be the start of construction on the North side.

Note.

  1. This pictures were taken on two dates.
  2. A full bridge would connect the new housing to the shopping centre and the Jubilee Line station.
  3. Between Poplar and Canary Wharf stations would be around 120 metres.
  4. There would be a straight and level walking route between Poplar DLR station and the two Canary Wharf Jubilee and Elizabeth Line stations.
  5. A short branch would lead to Canary Wharf DLR station.
  6. Stairs would lead to the buses that run through Canary Wharf.

It does appear that the North and South bridges will form a continuous straight route.

The bridge would create a comprehensive transport interchange for East London.

 

 

 

 

June 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Changing Trains At Canary Wharf Station – 13th June 2022

I took these pictures around the new Canary Wharf station on the Elizabeth Line.

Note.

  1. The station appears to follow, a very similar design to some of stations on the Jubilee Line.
  2. Changing to various lines at Canary Wharf would appear to be a bit of a walk, that is very much in line with say a connection between the Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Railway.
  3. The connection to the Jubilee Line appears to be a tunnel under the offices.
  4. For West India Quay DLR station, you walk along the dock.

These are some of the routes that you would use from Canary Wharf.

  • Bank – DLR
  • Battersea Power Station – DLR – Change at Bank – Northern Line
  • Clapham Junction – Elizabeth Line – Change at Whitechapel – East London Line
  • Croydon – Elizabeth Line – Change at Whitechapel – East London Line
  • Crystal Palace – Elizabeth Line – Change at Whitechapel – East London Line
  • Enfield – Elizabeth Line – Change at Liverpool Street – Enfield Town or Cheshunt Line
  • Euston – DLR – Change at Bank – Northern Line
  • Heathrow Airport – Elizabeth Line
  • King’s Cross – DLR – Change at Bank – Northern Line
  • Liverpool Street – Elizabeth Line
  • London Bridge – Jubilee Line
  • London City Airport – Jubilee Line – Change at Canning Town – DLR
  • Marylebone – Elizabeth Line – Change at Paddington – Bakerloo Line
  • Moorgate – Elizabeth Line
  • Paddington – Elizabeth Line
  • St. Pancras – DLR – Change at Bank – Northern Line
  • Victoria – DLR – Change at Bank – District/Circle Line
  • Walthamstow – Elizabeth Line – Change at Liverpool Street – Chingford Line
  • Waterloo – Jubilee Line

Note.

  1. The new escalator connection between the DLR and the Northern Line at Bank station will enable easier journeys to Euston, King’s Cross, St. Pancras and many other Northern Line stations.
  2. The excellent connection between the Elizabeth Line and the East London Line at Whitechapel station, will get a lot of use.
  3. The DLR features in several routes, including the important one to London City Airport.

In A Short Cruise At Greenwich, I said this about the DLR.

The Docklands Light Railway is often thought by Londoners, commuters and visitors as a bit of a Cinderella.

However, like Cinderella she works hard all day and provides reliable and efficient transport, where the only alternatives are buses, bicycles, taxis and Shank’s pony.

Just after the 2012 Olympics, I met a big cheese in Transport for London on a DLR train. He felt that the DLR had been the star in getting everybody to the games.

It must be one of the most successful light railways in the world!

And yet, no-one has ever thought to build another running on the same principles.

So why does it work so well?

This article on Intelligent Transport is entitled Celebrating 30 years Of The DLR, where this is said, under a heading of Customer Satisfaction.

One of the biggest successes of the DLR over the last 30 years has been its high levels of reliability, with over 99% of its trains departing on time.

The DLR has also had consistently good feedback and engagement with its customers, with high satisfaction ratings averaging at 89 out of 100.

Do these numbers mean that people trust Cinderella  and will trust her to get through even in the most difficult of circumstances?

Conclusion

Canary Wharf station could develop into a very important interchange.

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Does The Paddington Bakerloo Line Link Make The Bakerloo Line A NW-SE Cross-Branch Of The Elizabeth Line?

The Elizabeth Line has these major North-South cross-branches.

  • Jubilee Line at Bond Street station.
  • Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road station.
  • Thameslink at Farringdon station.
  • Bank Branch of the Northern Line at Moorgate station.
  • East London Line of the Overground at Whitechapel station.

With the opening of the Paddington Bakerloo Line Link, another North-South cross-branch of the Elizabeth Line has been added.

It could be argued that London has a new NW-SE high frequency link between Harrow & Wealdstone and Abbey Wood stations.

  • Bakerloo Line – Harrow & Wealdstone and Paddington
  • Paddington Bakerloo Line Link – 165 metre level step-free walk
  • Elizabeth Line – Paddington and Abbey Wood via Whitechapel and Canary Wharf

The journey would appear to take 73 minutes from the National Rail journey planner, which allows fifteen minutes for the change at Paddington.

May 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Would A Mutant Many-Parent Child Help To Solve London’s Transport Problems?

London needs to increase the capacity of its public transport system, as the City continues to get larger and larger.

Current Major Projects

There are only three major rail projects ongoing in London at the present time.

The Bank Station Upgrade

The Bank Station Upgrade appears to be progressing well, albeit perhaps it’s a bit late due to the pandemic.

It is a complex project and from what I have heard and observed, it has been well designed and planned.

The Barking Riverside Extension

As with the Bank Station Upgrade the Overground extension to the new Barking Riverside station, appears to be going reasonably well.

But compared to that project, it is a relatively simple project, built mainly in the open air, with no tunneling.

Crossrail

Crossrail is in trouble, after what many believe was a very good tunnelling phase of the project.

But then tunnels under London usually seem to go well. I can remember the Victoria Line tunnelling and many other under London since the 1960s and all of these tunnels seem to have been dug without trouble. As I write, there don’t seem to be any tunneling problems with the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Crossrail now has been reduced to a series of station builds and rebuilds, some of which are as large as the Bank Station Upgrade, with other ongoing projects like the testing of trains and systems.

So why are some of these stations running late in their delivery?

If you walk along the route of Crossrail in the City of London and through Clerkenwell and the West End, it is one massive building side as developers raise massive clusters of new developments around and above the Crossrail stations.

The picture shows Farrington station’s Eastern entrance, with a new development on top.

This one wasn’t a big one, but it went up in record time.

These buildings are often funded by Sovereign Wealth Funds, who want their buildings finished ASAP and as they have bottomless pockets, they are prepared to pay more to get the builders and tradesmen they need.

And where did they get the workers from? Other projects, including Crossrail.

This problem happened in Aberdeen at the height of the oil boom in the last century.

I also think that Brexit worsened the problem, as workers from mainland EU moved to large projects closer to home, like Stuttgart 21 and the new Berlin Brandenburg airport, that were both very much in trouble and could have been offering premium salaries as well!

The solution would have been to phase developments so that the limited pool of workers was not exhausted.

But that probably wouldn’t have suited the developers and politicians for all sorts of reasons.

  • An uncompleted building doesn’t bring in money and jobs.
  • Early completion must improve chances of letting the building.
  • Delaying the building would probably have meant fewer holidays for politicians in exotic locations.

Hopefully, a comprehensive enquiry into the lateness of Crossrail will provide answers.

High Speed Two

High Speed Two is to my mind a London local project. But only in a secondary way!

  • Rebuilding Euston station will improve Underground connections and interchange at Euston and Euston Square stations.
  • It is claimed by High Speed Two, that the rebuilt Euston station will create 16000 jobs and 2200 homes.
  • High Speed Two will enable massive development at Old Oak Common, with tens of thousands of homes and jobs.
  • Old Oak Common station will be a very important rail hub in North-West London.

With seventeen trains per hour (tph) between Euston and Old Oak Common will High Speed Two attract local traffic?

  • I suspect High Speed Two between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly and between Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street will also attract local traffic.
  • I’ve used TGVs between Nice and Antibes.
  • Tourists might visit, just like they did and still do at the Olympic Park.
  • Many Londoners will join High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Some wag will suggest putting it on the Tube Map. But is it such a stupid idea?

Where Does London Need More Rail Services?

Having lived in London on and off for over seventy years, I feel the worst areas for rail links are probably.

  • North West London
  • South East London
  • South Central London between Wimbledon and Croydon.
  • South West London

Note.

  1. Over the years, there is no doubt that East and North London have improved considerably, with the development of the East London, North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
  2. Thameslink has been improved in North London and now it is being supported with improvements to the Northern City Line. Both routes now have new Siemens trains, which give a whole new dimension to using ironing-boards as seats.
  3. Crossrail will produce major improvements in West, East and South East London.
  4. Building of a new Penge Interchange station, which I wrote about in Penge Interchange could improve routes to and from South East London.
  5. Hopefully the work in recent years at Waterloo will improve suburban services out of Waterloo. In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed that four tph could be run to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations.

It looks like North West and South Central London are missing out.

How Can Services Be Improved In North West London?

There are radial routes from the centre of London to the suburbs.

Starting from the North and going to the West, there are the following lines.

When I used to live at Cockfosters as a child,  to visit my many cousins in North West London, there was no alternative but to use a bus and take well over an hour each way.

There are now some circular rail routes in London but nothing in the North West of the capital.

The Dudding Hill Line And The West London Orbital Railway

But there is the little-used freight route called Dudding Hill Line.

  • It runs between Cricklewood on the Midland Main Line and Acton Central on the North London Line.
  • It is four miles of double-track railway.

This YouTube video shows a cab ride from Acton to Cricklewood.

Plans exist to turn it into the West London Orbital Railway, which will run two services.

  • West Hampstead and Hounslow via Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton, Lionel Road, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth
  • Hendon and Kew Bridge via Brent Cross West, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton

Note.

  1. The proposed frequency of both services is four tph.
  2. There would be some stations to be built, but the track exists.
  3. There would be no new tunnels.
  4. The route is technically feasible.
  5. The route would connect West London to High Speed Two.
  6. There would be little disruption whilst it was built.
  7. The services could be run by dual-voltage battery-electric trains charged on the electrification at both ends of the route.
  8. The scheme represents a high value for money, with a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 2.2.

On the other hand, the scheme has two serious problems, as far as the current London Mayor is concerned.

  • Transport for London has no money, partly because of London’s Fare Freeze.
  • The project is not in South London.

This important and value-for-money project will not be built, whilst Sadiq Khan is still Mayor of London.

Harlesden Interchange

I believe that if we get the interchanges right on the West London Orbital Railway correct we can do things like.

  • Increase the benefit cost ratio.
  • Link the route to South London to make the Mayor a bit happier about the North London Scheme.

This Google Map shows Harlesden station.

Note.

  1. The Bakerloo Line/Watford DC Line running North-West/South-East through Harlesden station.
  2. The West Coast Main Line in the Southern section of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line running North-South across the map.

Platforms will be built on the Dudding Hill Line to connect that would probably be new or extended platforms in the current Harlesden station to enable interchange between the West London Orbital and the Watford DC Lines.

I also think there is a possibility that platforms could be added to the slow tracks of the West Coast Main Line, so that suburban services into London Euston can also connect to the West London Orbital Line.

It would also enable a connection between Southern’s Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes service and the West London Orbital Railway.

Looking at this from various angles, I think that an architect good at designing three-dimensional structures could develop a quality Harlesden Interchange station.

Neasden Interchange

Like Harlesden, Neasden is another possibility for a comprehensive interchange.

This Google Map shows Neasden station.

Note.

  1. There are a lot of lines going through Neasden station.
  2. The Dudding Hill Line goes across the South-East corner of the map.
  3. There is plenty of space in the area.

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The Dudding Hill Line is indicated by the former Dudding Hill station.
  2. The red tracks are Metropolitan Line tracks.
  3. The silver tracks are Jubilee Line tracks.
  4. The Southerly pair of lines through Neasden and Dollis Hill stations are Chiltern’s lines into Marylebone.
  5. The Chiltern tracks divide to the West of Neasden station, with the Aylesbury line following the other tracks and the Chiltern Main Line diverging to the West.
  6. London’s largest Underground Depot at Neasden, lies to the North-West in an area of London noted for few merits with the North Circular Road passing through.

I wonder, if the station and the depot offers a unique opportunity to offer large scale additions to London’s housing stock over the top of a rebuilt station and depot.

This Google Map shows the wider area.

Note.

  1. Much of the depot appears to be open-air stabling for trains.
  2. The North Circular Road passes North-South between the depot and Neasden station.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line cuts across the South-East corner of the map.
  4. This corner of the map is labelled as Dudden Hill.
  5. According to Wikipedia, Dudding Hill is considered a more genteel spelling of Dudden Hill and could be as old as 1544.

It looks as if it would be relatively easy to develop over the top of the depot to create housing, industrial or commercial properties.

But why stop there and cover both the North Circular Road and the six tracks through Neasden station?

Neasden station could be rebuilt into a station with platforms on the following lines.

  • Metropolitan Line
  • Jubilee Line
  • Chiltern Lines
  • Dudding Hill Lines

Note.

  1. I estimate that Chiltern has a train about every six minutes, so some could stop.
  2. There might be space for a bay platform for Chiltern.

Neasden could be a major housing and transport hub.

  • There could be large amounts of parking.
  • Road access would be good.
  • It would have good rail connections.
  • It could have a bus interchange.
  • London needs housing.

It might even be an alternative to Chiltern’s plan for a West Hampstead Interchange.

The Mayor of London, Transport for London and the Borough of Brent need to be bold!

Improvements To Chiltern’s Routes

Chiltern Railways have some plans that could improve services in North West London.

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

Wikipedia says this about using the Acton-Northolt Line to access new platforms at Old Oak Common station.

Upgrading the Acton–Northolt line (formerly the “New North Main Line”) to new platforms at Old Oak Common. This upgrade will also extend to London Paddington to increase capacity on the Chiltern Main Line as there is no room to expand the station at Marylebone.

This scheme has merit.

  • The platforms would be connected to the Chiltern Main Line along the route of a partly-disused railway.
  • The route could be double-tracked.
  • There must be space for at least two new platforms.
  • The new platforms could easily handle four tph.
  • There may be a case for some new stations.

The scheme could add valuable extra capacity for Chiltern.

A Chiltern Metro

Wikipedia says this about a  proposed metro service between Marylebone and West Ruislip stations.

  • The Metro would have a frequency of four tph.
  • It would call at Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park and South Ruislip.
  • The service would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip.
  • There would need to be passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and  Wembley Stadium.

Given that the Chiltern Metro was first proposed over a decade ago, perhaps the concept could be increased in scope.

  • Housing and other developments along the route may suggest that a station further out like High Wycombe might be a better terminal.
  • ERTMS in-cab digital signalling is likely to be installed at some time, which would decrease headways between trains and allow more services.
  • Electrification is likely in some form before 2040 and this will improve train performance.
  • If Neasden station were to be rebuilt, as a comprehensive transport and residential development, I believe that this Metro service should also call at Neasden, as it would complement the West London Orbital Railway.

I believe that a review of the Chiltern Metro may mean, that an improved version is worth building.

Improvements To The Milton Keynes And Clapham Junction Service

I feel that this service could be key in improving services between North London and South London via the West London Line and High Speed Two’s station at Old Oak Common.

Currently, this service is as follows.

  • It runs between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations.
  • It has a frequency of one tph.
  • It calls at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton and Imperial Wharf stations.
  • The service used to extend to South Croydon via Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst and East Croydon.
  • It uses Class 377 trains.
  • It shares parts of the route with the London Overground.

I also think it has various issues and questions with respect to the future.

  • The Class 377 trains are only 100 mph units, whereas the outer suburban trains on the West Coast Main Line are 110 mph Class 350 trains, which will soon be replaced by 110 mph Class 730 trains. Do the slower trains cause timetabling problems?
  • Is one tph enough?
  • The route doesn’t serve High Speed Two at Old Oak Common station.
  • Is the service run by the right operator?
  • What is the ideal Southern terminal?

These are my thoughts on the various issues.

The Service As A North-South Link

A friend, who lives in South London has told me, that if you go to an event at Wembley stadium the route is busy.

On the other hand, I’ve used it at midday on a Tuesday and found the trains empty.

But developed properly it could connect the following.

  • Milton Keynes Central
  • Bletchley for the East West Rail Link
  • Watford for the West Coast Main Line to the North
  • Wembley Central for Wembley Stadium and other entertainments
  • Willesden Junction for the North London Line
  • Hythe Road for High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • Shepherd’s Bush for the shopping.
  • Clapham Junction for most of South London and the South of England

It would be a very useful cross-London route to complement Thameslink and the East London Line.

The Frequency

The current Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction has a frequency of one tph.

This may be enough for some parts of the route, as other services also provide services.

But many would argue, that perhaps South of Watford Junction, the service needs to be increased to connect the area to Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.

I feel that High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway give so much connectivity, that between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction needs a frequency of at least eight tph.

As the North London Line and the Watford DC Line are working at a frequency of four tph, this could indicate that a four tph direct service Watford Junction and Clapham Junction be ideal. Perhaps, it could continue North to Milton Keynes with a frequency of two tph.

The Trains

I am absolutely certain, that the full service needs to be operated by dual voltage trains, that are capable of running at 110 mph.

The Class 350/1 trains of West Midlands Trains would probably be ideal for the full service.

  • They are dual voltage trains.
  • They are 110 mph trains.
  • They have a long distance interior.

They are being replaced with new Class 730 trains, so would be available.

If some services were running only as far North as Watford Junction, these could be either Class 378 or Class 710 trains of the London Overground.

The Connection To The West London Line And High Speed Two

This map from Wikipedia by Cnbrb shows the latest iteration of the lines at Old Oak Common station.

Note.

  1. The green route is taken by the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction trains.
  2. The bright blue is High Speed Two.
  3. The purple is Crossrail.
  4. The orange is the Overground
  5. Hythe Road station is proposed for the West London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.
  6. Hythe Road station will have a bay platform to turn trains from the South.
  7. Old Oak Common Lane station is proposed for the North London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.

But where is the connection between the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service and Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two?

  • Access from the South is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • Extra services from the South can be run to and from the bay platform at Hythe Road station.
  • Access from the East is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • How do passengers go between say Wembley Central and Heathrow?

In addition for access from the West is the Overground can be used to Old Oak Common Lane station.

But as things stand at the moment the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service bypasses Hythe Road station and the only ways to go from Milton Keynes to Old Oak Common station for either High Speed Two, Crossrail or the Great Western is to do one of the following.

  • Change to the Watford DC Line at Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone or Wembley Central and then change to the Overground at Willesden Junction for either Old Oak Common Lane or Hythe Road station.
  • Continue South to Shepherd’s Bush station, cross over to the other platform and then come back to Hythe Road station.
  • Go via Euston station. OK for High Speed Two, but not for Crossrail or the Great Western.

They cannot be serious!

I hope that there is a cunning plan to enable the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service to connect.

Whilst on the subject of connections at Old Oak Common, where is the promised connection of Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line?

Were all these connections just kicked into the long grass and quietly forgotten, as they were deemed too difficult and/or expensive?

I think serious questions need to be asked about the design of Crossrail and High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Why weren’t Crossrail and High Speed Two designed to connect directly to the London Overground at Willesden Junction station perhaps by the use of a North South people mover serving the following lines?

  • Bakerloo, Watford DC, West Coast Main and West London Orbital Lines at a rebuilt Harlesden station.
  • London Overground at the high-level Willesden Junction station.
  • High Speed Two
  • Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • The new Chiltern platforms.
  • Central Line at East Acton station.

Note.

  1. Hythe Road and Old Oak Common stations would not be needed.
  2. The Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service would call additionally at the rebuilt Harlesden station.

The current design of Old Oak Common stinks like a horse designed by a committee!

The Northern Terminal

I suggested earlier that some trains use Watford Junction and others use Milton Keynes Central.

Both stations have the capacity and the connectivity.

The Southern Terminal

In the last ten years, South Croydon, East Croydon and Clapham Junction have been used as the Southern terminal.

Thameslink seems to have chosen its various terminals to satisfaction of the travelling public, so perhaps the same method or personnel should be used.

The Operator

The Gibb Report said that this service should be transferred to the London Overground and I wrote about this proposal in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

This is one suggestion, but I do wonder, if it should be transferred to West Midlands Trains and run in conjunction with their West Coast Main Line services.

  • The service needs 110 mph trains.
  • Timetabling and operation should be easier.
  • London Overground trains don’t have a long-distance interior.

On the other hand, trains running between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction would probably be better if they were London Overground trains.

Conclusion

I believe that by using the current network and some modern trains and signalling, the passenger services to the West of the capital can be substantially improved.

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Thoughts On Step-Free Access At Oxford Circus Station

The London Underground station most in need of step-free access is probably Oxford Circus, where the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines have a cross-platform step-free interchange, which connects to the Central Line.

  • Oxford Circus is the third-busiest station on the Underground.
  • The capacity of the station probably limits the capacity of the Victoria Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the lines through the station.

Note.

  1. The cross-platform interchange between the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines
  2. The Central Line running East-West under Oxford Street.
  3. Crossrail is shown by dotted lines, passing to the South of the station..

South of the Central Line, it would probably be difficult to squeeze in lifts and more escalators, but to the North, there may be space for another entrance building.

  • The great advantage of making either the Victoria or Bakerloo Lines at Oxford Circus step-free, is that the other one will get it as well.
  • I think it will probably depend on which of the buildings in the area, need to be replaced.
  • I also suspect that the areas under Oxford Circus, Oxford Street and Regent Street are well surveyed, as there has been continuous development of Oxford Circus station since the 1960s.

On the other hand, the opening of Crossrail, with a new entrance to Bond Street station in Hanover Square, may mean that passenger numbers reduce at Oxford Circus, thus allowing a simpler solution.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a very innovative solution to provide step-free access at Oxford Circus station.

I feel that the Proposed Shopping Centre Under Cavendish Square could be the elephant in the room.

  • An upmarket shopping centre and medical centre needs good access for taxis, cars and public transport.
  • Cavendish Square was used to build the Victoria Line.
  • Tunnelling techniques have improved since the 1960s.

This Google Map shows Cavendish Square and the area between the square and Oxford Circus station.

Consider the four corners of the map..

  • Oxford Circus station is in the South-East corner.
  • Harley Street is just on the map at the North-West corner.
  • The BBC is just off the map in the North-East corner.
  • John Lewis’s flagship store occupies the South-West corner.

But perhaps the most interesting building is the former BHS flagship store, that lies to the East of John Lewis, with Cavendish Square to the North and Oxford Street to the South.

The proposed development under Cavendish Square will be upmarket and it will need high quality access to attract tenants, visitors and clients.

  • I doubt there will be masses of car parking, although they could probably dig up to a hundred metres below the square. Could there be an automatic car park, where vehicles are taken and stacked deep underground?
  • Good access for taxis, private hire vehicles and delivery trucks will be needed..I suspect that planning permission, would specify electric vehicles only.
  • The Bond Street station complex, with Crossrail, Central and Jubilee Lines is perhaps two hundred metres away. I feel the developers of Cavendish Square, will see access to Crossrail as being essential.
  • Oxford Street station is closer, but good access will be needed between the station and Cavendish Square.

Access to Bond Street and Oxford Circus stations would probably be via wide, deep tunnels with travelators as are being installed to solve the horrendous access problems at Bank station.

The former BHS building could be key in any design.

  • The BHS building has a superb location.
  • Tunnels between the two stations and the Cavendish Square complex could go via any development of the BHS building.
  • It might be possible to go higher on the site.
  • It might even be possible to put another station on the Central Line in the basement.

There is certainly a lot of scope for an innovative solution at Oxford Circus station.

December 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Funding Secured For New Entrance At Stratford Tube Station

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

The new entrance will give those coming from the Carpenters Estate direct access to Stratford station.

This Google Map shows the South East section of the station.

The main station building has the two station symbols on the top and the Jubilee Line platforms run Southwards from the building.

It would appear that the new entrance will be close to the Southernmost corner of the station building in a staff car park.

Knowing the station well, I suspect it will be a very useful new entrance for both residents and visitors to the Olympic Park.

It will make it easier to avoid the clutches of Eastfield.

The only details on the cost of the scheme is this sentence from Ian’s article.

Newham council has agreed to contribute £1 million to the scheme, which is being funded from its Community Infrastructure Levy.

As it incorporates some extra lifts in the station, the scheme is probably going to be more than a million pound one, but the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is involved, I suspect that everything is securely funded.

Should There Be Other Small Schemes Like This?

At Shepherd’s Bush station on the Overground, in 2015, a new entrance was built to give better access to Westfield. It is not very busy during the day, but I suspect that workers at Westfield use it more than shopper. Wikipedia says it cost £1.35 million, so I should think that the Stratford scheme wouldn’t cost a great deal more.

I believe there are other places, where extra entrances could be built.

Simple Ungated Entrances

Entrances don’t have to be grand, as I showed in An Ungated Entrance Used To Create Step-Free Access At Crofton Park Station.

These two entrances are just a hole in the station fence, Oyster readers and a bit of tarmac. There must be other places, where these entrances can be installed.

An Entrance At Hackney Central Station Into Graham Road

In It Looks Like The Hackney Downs/Central Link Is Ready To Open, I also talk in detail about adding a Southern entrance to Hackney Central station, that would lead directly into Graham Road. Eith a pedestrian crossing and changes to the bus stops, it would be a very useful step-free entrance for those living between the centres of Hackney and Dalston.

A Second Entrance At Highbury & Islington Station

In Could We Create A Second Entrance To The Overground At Highbury And Islington Station?, I investigated creating a West-facing entrance at Highbury & Islington station, that would improve access for those going to football.

Conclusion

I believe that a lot of stations can be improved, by adding extra entrances in convenient places.

It is probably easier to do in London’s Oyster/contactless card area, as a couple of readers can sort out ticketing.

 

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Future Of The Emirates Air Line

I’ve always liked the Emirates Air Line, but I hadn’t used it for some time until today.

As I was in the area, I used it to cross the river, this morning.

I can make these observations.

The Weather Could Have Been Better

The cable-car needs sunny weather, although I did once go across in the snow.

The Cable-Car Wasn’t Busy

Compare today’s pictures wit this one taken in February 2014.

The Cable Car Was Busy

One of the attendants said it was becoming more of a tourist attraction rather than a means of transport.

This meant today, I had a car to myself and didn’t have to share it with several excited kids.

I think too, that the weather was against visitors and tourists now know the best times to use the cable car.

In my view, when the sun is setting is by far the best.

There Are A Lot More Skyscrapers

The last time I rode across was in March 2016, after which I wrote Riding The Cable Car.

There has been a lot of high rise building in the intervening years.

I suspect that as more and more skyscrapers are built, a ride between them all across the river will become more popular.

The Line

The Line is a sculpture trail, that runs from Greenwich to the Olympic Park. The cable-car has to be used by non-swimmers  to cross the river.

The Line is connected OR or close to London’s railways as follows.

  • Stratford – Central Line, Jubilee Line, DLR, London Overground, National Rail and in the future; Crossrail.
  • Stratford High Street – DLR
  • Pudding Mill Lane – DLR
  • Bromley-by-Bow – District and Hammersmith & City Lines
  • Star Lane – DLR
  • Canning Town – Jubilee Line and DLR
  • Royal Victoria – DLR
  • North Greenwich – Jubilee Line

All these connections mean that it can be done in sections.

The Tide

The Tide is an partly elevated five km route, that will be linked to the cable-car, that will be fully-open in two years.

Crossrail

Crossrail will affect all travel in East London and it connects at Stratford stayion to The Line.

I don’t know the route of the Tide, but it may make walking from the O2 to Woolwich sttion for Crossrail much more relaxing.

Although it doesn’t serve Greenwich directly, I believe Crossrail will draw more tourists to the cable-car.

Docklands Light Railway

The DLR is getting new trains in the next few years and an extension to Thamesmead.

As with Crossrail it will draw more tourists to the area and the cable-car.

Thames Clippers

These are expanding and they will bring more tourists to the cable-car.

Conclusion

These and other factors, such as tourists venturing out of the centre of London, will mean that more vistors will explore the East and use the cable-car.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

West Hampstead Station – 7th July 2018

The new bridge at the West Hampstead station is now in use and it looks like the new station will be completed by the end of the year.

As the last picture shows this could be one of those station developments, where a deck could have been built over the North London Line to increase the number of flats built in the development on the South side of the railway.

This Google Map shows West Hampstead station on the North London Line and West Hampstead tube station on the Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines, although the latter don’t stop.

Note the development stretches a long way to the West between the North London Line and Underground Lines.

There have been plans to create a West Hampstead Interchange on West End Lane.

As these envisaged moving the Overground station to the East side of West End Lane and the new station is being built on the West side, It would appear there’s been a rethink.

Perhaps the Underground station is to be moved to the West side of West End Lane and will have an entrance on the small square in front of the M & S Simply Food and alongside the new Overground station.

This Google Map shows an enlargement of the area.

The new station could have platforms on the following lines.

  • Jubilee Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Cjhiltern Railway

It would be a very worthwhile interchange. Especially, as passengers could do the following.

  • Walk across the square for the Overground for East London.
  • Walk perhaps another hundred metres to West Hampstead Thameslink station, which is also proposed as the terminus of the West London Orbital Railway.

There could also be a development on the top of the new station, which would hopefully contribute to the cost.

I have no idea, if anything will happen here, but Transport for London are looking to create new stations with over-site development. The Mayor also seems keen on the West London Orbital Railway, as it is based on under-used infrastructure and requires no new track or tunnels.

 

 

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment