The Anonymous Widower

Engineering Work Closures Between Barnes And Feltham In June And July

There is more up-to-date information on this page on South Western Railway’s web site, which is entitled Engineering Works.

These are what I found.

Saturday 20 July and Sunday 21 July

Buses replace trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July

Saturday 27 July and Sunday 28 July

Buses replace trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July

Sunday 11 August

Buses replace trains between Barnes and Feltham via Hounslow Sunday 11 August

Sunday 18 August

Altered train services and replacement buses in the Feltham area Sunday 18 August

Sunday 25 August

Altered train services and replacement buses in the Feltham area Sunday 25 August

Thoughts On Works In The Area

My thoughts on the two projects follow.

Syon Lane Footbridge

When I wrote Why Are Replacement Buses Being Used To Syon Lane Station On July 20-21?, I didn’t find the two later closures through Syon Lane station.

I was checking the on-line timetable and it appears that the closure is not total on the days mentioned, in the current timetable.

It looks to me that Network Rail and South Western Railway are playing this in a safety first manner, as few people are going to complain, if a closure doesn’t happen and a shiny new step-free bridge has appeared and is almost ready for use.

Bedfont Lane Level Crossing Removal At Feltham Station

In The Removal Of Bedfont Lane Level Crossing, I gave a schedule of the works and it appears nothing much is slated to be done until later in the year.

I need more information about why there are closures in the Feltham area.

I did find this image of the proposed pedestrian and cycling bridge.

It certainly looks very traditional with long ramps.

This picture shows the progress on the 25th June 2019

Note the platform extensions and the pillar on the far side to support the bridge.

I’m not sure, if the ramps in the picture are part of an older bridge or new!

Conclusion

It’s all happening in Hounslow.

 

June 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Removal Of Bedfont Lane Level Crossing

I also passed through Feltham station and noted that the notorious Bedfont Lane level crossing had been removed.

This page on the London Borough of Houslow web site, gives details of what is happening.

This is the schedule from the leaflet.

Spring 2019

  • Network Rail to close Feltham West Level Crossing. There will be
    no access across the level crossing.
  • Access will be via the temporary stepped footbridge or step-free access via Feltham Station
  • Network Rail to remove the shopping centre bridge
  • Network Rail starts work to extend platforms at Feltham

Winter 2019/2020

  • Second step-free entrance to platform 1 open and accessible
    from Hounslow Road (note this is
    dependent on Hounslow Road
    completion)
  • Platform extensions completed

Spring 2020

  • Network Rail opens combined pedestrian and cycle railway footbridge at the level crossing site.

That all seems fairly straighforward, but a couple of visualisations would help.

This Google Map shows Feltham station a few months ago.

Note the awkward position of the Bedffont Lane level crossing to the West of the station.

Houslow’s Plans For Feltham

This page on the London Borough of Hounslow web site is entitled Funding Secured For Feltham’s Multi-Million-Pound Makeover.

It gives an overview of the £15.6million pound scheme.

These two paragraphs outline the scheme.

Network Rail is introducing ten car trains to increase capacity between London Waterloo and Reading, and proposes to increase the number of services from December 2018. To enable the longer trains to open all their doors at Feltham, and to eliminate the safety risks that were present at the level crossing, a decision was made to extend the platforms and close the level crossing following extensive consultation with local residents.

To ensure residents can still gain easy access between Bedfont and Feltham town centre, Network Rail will build a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the tracks and renovate the public space outside the station. Following the consultation, the council approved further measures to improve road safety and bus journey times between the station and Heathrow Airport, and to minimise the impact of the level crossing’s closure on surrounding roads.

There is a lot of work to do.

Conclusion

The removal of Bedfont Lane level crossing illustrates why the removal of level crossings is not always a simple process.

 

 

June 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

What Is Happening At Acton Central Station?

On my way home today, I stopped off at Acton Central station to have a look.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the level crossing and the partially demolished station building behind the hoarding.

The station could have a few problems in the future and may need partial rebuilding.

  • The level crossing handles four trains per hour (tph) in both directions and there are plans to increase this frequency by two tph.
  • The station is the changeover point between third-rail and overhead electrification.
  • There is no step-free access between the two platforms.

But the biggest cause of future problems could be the West London Orbital Railway.

  • This route will call at Acton Central station and it will have two services, each with four tph in both directions, giving a total of fourteen tph in each direction through the station.
  • It is also likely that some passengers will want to change direction, so they will have to use the subway.
  • The number of trains and passengers, may mean that a second entrance is needed on the Richmond-bound platform.

Could the work at Acton Central station be part of a solution?

Conclusion

It looks like it could be a second entrance is being created.

This might also make it easier for some passengers to change platforms and shut the level crossing.

May 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Steam Engine Hits Car At Sheringham Level Crossing

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

As it appears that no-one was hurt, I think that I can quote the article, which includes a less than serious quote from Norfolk Police.

General manager Andrew Munden said the Sweet Briar Lane crossing’s lights and sirens were sounding at the time.

“We are all so relieved that this was a low speed collision and that no-one was injured,” he said.

Services resumed by the afternoon after the Rail Accident Investigation Branch had given permission to clear the site, Mr Munden said.

PC Jon Parker, of Norfolk Police tweeted: “Currently on scene at a train vs car incident. Unsurprisingly, the train emerged the victor.”

I wonder when a steam engine was last involved in a level crossing accident in the UK.

Looking at this section on Wikipedia, there has only been one accident between a road vehicle and a steam engine and that was a horse and cart in 1832.

There must be others! But we all know that Wikipedia always gets its facts right!

That accident is described in detail in the Wikipedia entry for the Leicester and Swannington Railway.

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport | | Leave a comment

A Pedestrian Level Crossing And A Lone Coradia iLint At Bremervörde Station

öI’d waited at Buxtehude station for a Coradia iLint to appear in vain, so I moved on to Bremervörde station, where I took these pictures.

It turned out that one train had returned to the factory, so there wasn’t much to see. Coupled with the news I heard earlier about Not Enough Drivers, I suspect that the Germans seem to be suffering in the same way, as we are on the introduction of new trains.

 

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Full-Barrier Level Crossing For Pedestrians And Cyclists At Bremervörde Station

I photographed this full-barrier level crossing For pedestrians and cyclists At Bremervörde station.

I watched the crossing for several minutes as my train waited for a green signal and pedestrians and cyclists crossed safely at times when the barriers were up. The barrier were also lowered, so that a train could proceed into the nearby depot.

Nobody seemed to disregard the barriers.

Perhaps, though the Germans are better than obeying orders than we are? Although, walking about Hamburg, I did feel that German pedestrians cross in more dangerous ways, than Londoners do.

Surely, if the Germans can put in this level crossing under the same European Health and Safety rules as we use, then we can do the same?

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Think Again, If You Think We Have Too Many Level Crossings!

These are some pictures of the level crossing on the route between Buxtehude and Cuxhaven stations.

Some seemed to be very busy, but others were just on a concrete farm track.

I think with the exception of in the electrified Bremerhaven section, I didn’t see any bridges over the route.

The other feature visible from the line, was the large number of wind turbines.

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

How Removing Level Crossings Can Get Complicated And Expensive

This article in the East Anglian Daily Times is entitled Multi-Million Pound Lift Could Boost Rail Link From Sudbury To Colchester.

Greater Anglia intend to improve the service on the Gainsborough Line by running direct services between Sudbury and Colchester Town stations.

One of the reasons for doing this, is that the increasing number of passengers travelling between Sudbury and Colchester will avoid changing trains at Marks Tey station.

This Google Map shows Marks Tey station.

Note.

  • The two platforms on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • The single platform for the Gainsborough Line.
  • The footbridge over the main line.

As can be seen, the only step-free interchange with the Gainsborough Line is to and from trains going North to Colchester and Ipswich.

These pictures show the frootbridge and the Gainsborough Line platform.

It is not an ideal interchange for passengers other than the unencumbered, fit and healthy.

I suspect some passengers from Sudbury to London might even take a train to Colchester first and then use the lifts to change to a London train.

And then there’s the Car Parking!

Note in the Google Map, that the station has two car parks, one on each side of the line. So most using the car parks will have to cross the line on the footbridge.

Also note, that the car park on the Northern side of the station, is connected to the station using a pedestrian crossing over the single track rail line, that connects the Gainsborough Line to the Great Eastern Main Line.

According to the East Anglian article, this rail line is used twice a day. But when the Sudbury to Colchester Town service starts, it will be used twice an hour. Anf if this service is successful, I can see Greater Anglia wanting to run the service with a frequency of two trains per hour (tph), which would mean four tph going over the pedestrian crossing.

Understandably, Network Rail want to remove the pedestrian crossing.

This is a paragraph from the East Anglian article.

The national fund has £300m available – and Mr Burles said he estimated that the cost of the work at Marks Tey would be between £4m and £5m. It is at the top of Greater Anglia’s “wish list,” but political support would be necessary if the money was to be released.

As to the political support, the Gainsborough Line and Marks Tey are in a total of five constituencies; all of which are Conservative.

I suspect, Chris Grayling could be under severe pressure from this one.

Although you have to remember that to many civil servants in the Department of Transport, Suffolk is just an area, you pass through on the way to your weekend cottage in Norfolk.

 

 

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Ely In A Class 387 Train

I’ve not used one of the Class 387 trains on this route before.

It was nice to get a table to be able to lay my paper flat.

I was going via Ely to Ipswich for two reasons.

  • Yet again, there was no direct service between Liverpool Street and Ipswich.
  • Ely makes a change from Cambridge and I wanted to photograph the level crossing.

These are some of the pictures I took.

Note.

  • With a bit of smartening up, the Class 387 train makes the newer Class 700 train, look very ordinary.
  • The Ely by-pass is coming on.
  • The level crossing by the station is one of the UK’s worst.

Ely is becoming a much more important interchange, with five train operating companies using the station.

 

 

April 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Musings On The West Anglia Main Line

The West Anglia Main Line is the main railway between Liverpool Street station in the City of London and the Scientific Powerhouse of Cambridge via Stansred Airport.

This post started off as The Mother Of All Level Crossing Jams, when I got caught in a jam caused by the level crossing at Enfield Lock station.

It has since grown into a long post of the inadequacies of this important main line.

The Mother Of All Level Crossing Jams

These are pictures I took at Enfield Lock station in mid-morning.

I had arrived at the station at 11:04 and my train had departed on its way at 11:08.

I was in no hurry taking the pictures and I left at 11:22 after eight trains had gone through, without the gates being raised.

In two of the pictures, you can see a discarded broken gate. Was it caused by an irate motorist?

After I got back to the station, the barriers were still going up and down like a whore’s drawers and talking to a fellow passenger, she said it happens all the time.

Improving The West Anglia Main Line

Consider the following, which could effect what happens in the future.

  • Stansted Airport, Greater Anglia, Transport for London, the London Borough of Enfield, Cambridge City Council and the local MPs, all want the line to be four-tracked so that services to Cambridge and Stansted Airport can have their own dedicated fast lines.
  • ,Greater Anglia have ordered lots of new trains and I suspect they want to run much-needed extra services into both Stratford and Liverpool Street stations.
  • Enfield Lock could be a Crossrail 2 station in ten years or so.
  • Crossrail 2 would want to run up to twelve trains per hour (tph).

It is a certainly a case of squeezing a couple of gallons into a pint pot.

Enfield Lock And Brimsdown

To make matters worse there is another equally congested level crossing at the next station to the South; Brimsdown.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. Enfield Lock station is in the North West corner of the map, with Brimsdown in the South West corner.
  2. Mollinson Avenue, which tracks along the railway to its East, is nearly all dual carriageway.
  3. These is a lot of industrial premises in the area.
  4. There are a lot of distribution depots that need road access for heavy trucks.
  5. It is going to use all the ingenuity that Network Rail can muster to squeeze two extra tracks between those two stations.

If ever there was an area that needs an increased rail service it is this stretch of the West Anglia Main Line between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations.

Improving The Lea Valley Lines

I suspect that British Rail foresaw the problem in the 1950s, as by 1960, they had electrified all the Lea Valley Lines including the goods-only Southbury Loop, which is now part of the London Overground, who run two tph on the route.

Both London Overground and Greater Anglia are getting new Aventra trains, which should increase the capacity and speed up services on both routes.

However, this could create a problem, in that they are such good trains, they may persuade more commuters to leave their cars at home and take the trains.

More Frequent Services

London Overground like to run four tph on their various routes.

At present, their Lea Valley services are as follows.

  • 4 tph from Liverpool Street to Chingford.
  • 2 tph from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, with more services in the Peak and when Spurs are playing at home.
  • 2 tph from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt.

I suspect that they would like to run four tph all day and that after Crossrail opens and releases some platforms at Liverpool Street, this might happen.

However in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I publish a table, which says that from 2019, Enfield Town will get four tph.

Greater Anglia must be looking to improve services on the West Anglia Main Line, so that all stations South of Broxbourne get four tph, with perhaps two tph to each of  Liverpool Street and Stratford.

And then there’s STAR, which is a new service between Stratford and Angel Road stations. This article on IanVisits, which is entitled One of London’s quietest train stations set for major upgrade, gives a good explanation of this service, which will provide four tph between Stratford and a rebuilt Angel Road station, which will be renamed Meridian Water.

More Terminal Capacity In London

Adding these services together, I feel that  more capacity is needed at the London terminals of Liverpool Street and Stratford.

There are two short term solutions and one long term one.

Create More Capacity At Liverpool Street

This is the simplest short-term solution.

In the Wikipedia entry for Liverpool Street station, this is said.

Once Crossrail opens, platform 18 at the main Liverpool Street station will be decommissioned to allow platforms 16 and 17 to be extended, enabling them to accommodate longer trains.

I would assume this platform-lengthening is to accommodate the full-length Class 345 trains, that will run the Peak Hour service between Liverpool Street and Gidea Park stations.

I suppose too, having two platforms in Liverpool Street, that are capable of handling Crossrail trains must also be useful in special or exceptional circumstances.

Platform 18 is a curiosity, in that it is used by c2c as a diversion platform, when Fenchurch Street station is closed because of engineering works.

So after the work on platforms 16 and 17 is complete, will it be recommissioned?

That leaves fifteen platforms for Greater Anglia and London Overground to argue over.

If you compare the way Liverpool Street is organised compared to some more modern stations, I suspect that more modern trains can be handled without any expensive modifications to the existing station.

Modern practice means that a single platform can easily handle four tph, so as destinations like Norwich and Southend will only have three tph, could it mean that these destinations can be served by a single platform?

It would certainly make it easy for me, if I knew the fast Ipswich trains always left from platform 9.

I suspect that as London Overground has only three destinations; Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town, whiich have a maximum frequency of four tph, that they could easily manage with four platforms; one for each destination and a spare.

This would give Greater Anglia eleven platforms.

Note this about Greater Anglia’s new trains.

  • The Class 745 trains will be of a fixed formation of twelve cars.
  • Will the three-car and four-car Class 755 trains have the ability to join and split automatically?
  • Will the five-car Class 720 trains have the ability to join and split automatically?

Having seen how Class 395 trains and others can do this in under a couple of minutes and the flexibility of destinations it gives, I will be very surprised if Greater Anglia haven’t specified this capability.

  • As an example, two four-car Class 755 trains could start at Lowestoft and Bury St. Edmunds respectively and then join at Ipswich, before proceeding to London as an eight-car train.
  • Would it be sensible that all trains go into Liverpool Street at maximum length?
  • Trains might split and join at Ipswich, Colchester and perhaps Chelmsford. All that is needed is a long platform.

Perhaps Greater Anglia’s platforms at Liverpool Street could be allocated something like this.

For Flirts (Class 745 and Class 755)

  • Norwich
  • Ipswich/Lowestoft
  • Stansted Airport
  • Cambridge

For Aventras (Class 720)

  • Bishops Stordford/Broxbourne/Hertford East
  • Colchester/Harwich
  • Clacton/Walton
  • Chelmsford/Braintree
  • Southend

On this rough assessment, it would appear that at least for a few years Liverpool Street station could cope.

Developing Stratford As A Second Terminal

Consider these facts about the railway hub at Stratford.

  • Stratford has not been fully developed as a terminal for the West Anglia routes and only handles two tph to and from Bishops Stortford.
  • Stratford has two platforms 11 and 12, that were built to serve the West Anglia routes; the West Anglia Main Line and the Lea Valley Lines.
  • Platforms 11 and 12 are on the High Meads Loop, which would reverse the trains on West Anglia routes.
  • Stratford is well connected to Crossrail, Central and Jubilee Lines of the Underground, the DLR, the Overground , Highspeed services to Kent and Greater Anglia services on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Stratford has better connections than Liverpool Street to London Bridge and Waterloo
  • Stratford could have excellent connections to Highspeed services to Kent and Continental services at Ashford International.
  • Stratford will be only a few minutes from Liverpool Street on Crossrail.

Stratford is also a destination in its own right, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the massive shopping complex.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the complex at Stratford.

It is very much capable of development.

  • Better connections could be made between Stratford International and the main station.
  • The subways in the complex could be improved.
  • The Hall Farm Curve could be reinstated to give direct connections between Stratford and Walthamstow/Chingford.

I would not be surprised if Greater Anglia increased their services to and from Stratford.

I could also envisage a timetable, where trains alternate between the two terminals., as every passenger will have their favoured terninal.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 is the long-term solution.

Upwards of ten tph will run between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale, before entering the tunnel to Central and South West London.

It will obviously handle all the local services South of Broxbourne, with just the services from the North continuing to Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Following Abbey Wood, Reading and Shenfield stations on Crossrail, I think that we would see Broxbourne station developed as a simple interchange between longer distance services and Crossrail 2.

Both services would have their own tracks to London.

Conclusion

The West Anglia Main Line urgently needs improvement and this improvement can be broken down into a series of smaller projects, the first three of which have already started and could be completed by 2020.

  1. Creation of STAR – The Stratford-Angel Road Metro – Already started.
  2. Building of new Meridian Water station to replace Angel Road station – Already started.
  3. Rebuilding of Tottenham Hale station – Already started.
  4. Post-Crossrail Improvements at Liverpool Street and Stratford stations.
  5. Removal of level crossings at Brimsdown, Enfield Lock and Waltham Cross
  6. Four-tracking between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.
  7. Step-Free Stations
  8. Reinstatement of the Hall Farm Curve.

These projects will also get the main line Crossrail 2-ready.

This process has already started with the creation of STAR, which will create a third track as far as Angel Road station. In the article on IanVisits, this is said.

Along the tracks nearby there are already hi-vis wearing Network Rail contractors clearing the land to prepare it for the Stratford to Angel Road (STAR) rail upgrade project which will see a third railway track added. Passive provision for a fourth track will be included for Crossrail 2.

This work has already closed the level crossing at Nothumberland Park station.

In Innovation In Railway Projects, I describe how Network Rail are aiming to create a pipeline of smaller projects.

I feel that some parts of the updating of the West Anglia Main Line can be done in this way.

 

 

 

August 1, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments