The Anonymous Widower

London’s First Underground Roller Coaster

This picture shows a cross-section of the massive Liverpool Street Crossrail station, which will connect Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations when it opens in December 2018.

Note.

  1. Moorgate station is on the left.
  2. Liverpool Street station is on the right.
  3. In the middle looking like a giant juicer is the ventilation shaft in Finsbury Circus.
  4. The Crossrail tunnels, which consist of two running tunnels and a pedestrian walkway between them are at the deepest level.
  5. There are escalators and lifts all over the place.

Suppose you are walking from street level at Liverpool Street station to street level at Moorgate station in heavy rain and you don’t want to get wet.

You would take the following route.

  • Enter Liverpool Street Underground station.
  • Take the escalators down from street level to the intermediate level.
  • Walk along the passage and take the escalators down to the Crossrail level.
  • Walk along the central pedestrian walkway between the two Crossrail running tyunnels.
  • Take the escalators up to the Intermediate level.
  • Take the escalators up to street level in Moorgate Underground station.

You would actually walk a shorter distance, than you do now, as the four escalators would carry you forward.

In Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled, I showed this schematic of the station complex.

Note how the Northern Line passes through Moorgate station and the Central Line passes through Liverpool Street station, both at right-angles to Crossrail.

This image enlarged from the first shows a cross-section of Moorgate station.

Note the two circles under the escalator, which I suspect are the tunnels for the Northern Line.

There is probably some intricate spaghetti at this end of the station connecting the Bank branch of the Northern Line to Crossrail, in addition to the escalators.

But it means that if you want to go from Liverpool Street station to the Northern Line, you’ll descend to Crossrail and then ascend to the Northern Line.

This will be probably easier than the current long walk and the escalator descent at Moorgate station.

This image enlarged from the first shows a cross-section of Liverpool Street station end of the Crossrail station.

Note.

  1. The glazed entrance to the station.
  2. The Central Line tunnels.

Again, I suspect the spaghetti is intricate.

But from the schematic it would appear there’s a good link from the central tunnel to the Central Line.

Conclusion

I hope the signage and information will be good.

 

 

 

 

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

17 Tube Stations That Face Chronic Overcrowding If Crossrail 2 Is Stopped

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s Standard.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Hundreds of thousands more Londoners will suffer chronic overcrowding on the Tube if Crossrail 2 does not go ahead, it was claimed today.

Transport for London released a list of 17 Underground stations that could buckle under the strain of too many commuters within a few years.

It then lists the stations.

  • Euston
  • King’s Cross St. Pancras
  • Liverpool Street
  • London Bridge
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo
  • Finsbury Park
  • Stockwell
  • Stratford
  • Oxford Circus
  • Highbury & Islington
  • Clapham Common
  • Clapham North
  • Clapham South
  • Holborn
  • Warren Street
  • Leicester Square

It then quotes Caroline Pidgeon, who obtained the list, as follows.

Overcrowding on the Underground is already a daily battle, with many passengers facing regular delays to simply get through barriers at stations.

Unless Crossrail 2 is built these delays will increasingly build up until drastic measures are necessary at 17 key Tube stations, not to mention Clapham Junction railway station.

“Planning ahead for Crossrail 2 is not an optional extra for London’s transport network but of vital importance to keep London moving.

She has certainly highlighted a serious problem.

Call For Crossrail 2

Two years ago to the day, I wrote a post called Call For Crossrail 2 in response to a letter in The Times, from a wide cross section of business leaders calling for a start to be made on the line.

In the post, I talked about improving various stations, just by building Crossrail 2, so in the following notes on the list of crowded stations, I will refer to this post several times in the following.

Euston

Euston tube station is a particular problem in that in the next decade or so, the following will or could happen.

Hopefully, the rebuilding for whichever comes first of  HS2 or Crossrail 2, will make provision for even the most fanciful of expansions.

One Transport for London engineer told me that one of the main reasons for building HS2 and terminating it at Euston, is to be able to sort out the dreadful Euston tube station.

Kings Cross St. Pancras

Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station had a pretty good makeover around the time of the 2012 London Olympics, but it does suffer congestion and travellers have to walk long distances.

The Wikipedia entry for Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station has a section for Crossrail 2. This is said.

Since 1991, a route for a potential Crossrail 2 has been safeguarded, including a connection at King’s Cross St Pancras and Euston, forming the station Euston King’s Cross St Pancras. The proposed scheme would offer a second rail link between King’s Cross and Victoria in addition to the Victoria line. The locations for any new stations on the route will depend on the loading gauge of the final scheme. In the 2007 safeguarded route, the next stations would be Tottenham Court Road and Angel.

There is also a proposal to reopen the closed York Road tube station. In the Wikipedia entry for York Road station under Proposed Reopening, this is said.

One of London’s largest redevelopment projects, King’s Cross Central, began construction in 2008 across the road from the station. Islington council and Transport for London commissioned a study in 2005 to consider the possible reopening of the station. At the same time, however, it was recognised that other transport priorities reduced the likelihood of such a project moving forward in the near future. The site would need extensive overhauls to bring the station up to modern day standards, at a cost estimated at £21 million in 2005. Local political groups have been keen to see the station reopened in order to reduce passenger congestion at King’s Cross St. Pancras and to encourage development in the surrounding community. The Islington Liberal Democrats advocated the reopening of the station in their 2006 local election manifesto, and at least one candidate for the Islington Conservative Party similarly campaigned for the station to be reopened. However, to date, the reopening proposal has not been taken forward.

I wonder if York Road tube station will ever be reopened.

Liverpool Street

The Liverpool Street station complex will be even bigger and busier after Crossrail opens.

The main difference will be that the current Shenfield Metro will now disappear into the ground at Stratford and go under Central London to Heathrow and Reading.

Crossrail 2 will effectively channel the Lea Valley services, that current go into Liverpool Street station under London to emerge in the Wimbledon area.

Effectively, Crossrail and Crossrail 2 major effect on Liverpool Street station are to free up capacity in both tracks and platforms, thuis allowing more longer distance services to use the station.

London Bridge

London Bridge station is being rebuilt and expanded, but little seems to be planned for London Bridge tube station to cope with more passengers.

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this about Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line.

Crossrail 2 will have interchanges with the Northern Line at Angel, Kings Cross St. Pancras, Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Tooting Broadway and possibly Clapham Junction. So it looks like that Crossrail 2 will certainly make journeys easier for users of the Northern Line.

This should mean that travellers on the Northern Line will be able to avoid a congested London Bridge tube station.

Victoria

Victoria tube station is being extended and rebuilt, which should result in sufficient capacity for more than a few years.

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this about Crossrail 2 and the Victoria Line.

Crossrail 2 will effectively by-pass the central part of the Victoria Line as the two lines connect at Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters, Kings Cross, Euston and Victoria.

This should take some of the pressure from Victoria tube station.

Waterloo

Waterloo tube station is a very busy tube station, as it has to cope with all the passengers using Waterloo station.

Crossrail 2 will allow passengers to bypass Waterloo, when travelling to and from Central London.

However, three major improvements will be delivered this year.

  • The old Eurostar platforms are being brought back into use.
  • Extra capacity is being added to the Underground station.
  • I also think that when they have completed the improvements at the Bank end of the Waterloo and City Line. 
  • Will improvements follow at the Waterloo end?

I think Waterloo shouldn’t be judged until the current round of work is completed.

Finsbury Park

Finsbury Park station is a station that suffered badly when the Victoria Line was tunnelled through in the 1960s.

Lifts are being installed, but extra services will be added.

  • Thameslink will call regularly at the station.
  • The services on the Northern City Line will become the Great Northern Metro with an increased frequency.

Crossrail 2 will provide relief for Finsbury Park, as it provides a by-pass for the Victoria Line.

But the station needs to have quite a bit of rebuilding.

Stockwell

Stockwell tube station is where the Victoria and Northern Lines meet South of Victoria.

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

I’m not sure how Crossrail 2 helps here, but I suspect Transport for London hope that the new line will divert passengers away from Stockwell.

Stratford

Stratford station is another station that will be partially bypassed by Crossrail 2.

I do think that after Crossrail opens, that changes will be made at Stratford station to perhaps move some Liverpool Street services to Stansted and Cambridge.

This would bring more services to some not very busy platforms.

In West Anglia Route Improvement – The High Meads Loop, I described how it might all work.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in this area.

Trains from Cambridge and Stansted would arrive at Temple Mills East Junction and would go round the High Meads Loop dropping and picking up passengers in Platforms 11 and 12 bwfore returning North.

An extra platform could even be added to serve services in Stratford International station.

The tunnels under the platforms at Stratford station would probably need improvement, but who knows how Eastenders will duck and dive after Crossrail opens.

As an example, passengers from Shenfield to Canary Wharf will probably use the cross-platform change at Whitechapel station, rather than pick up the Jubilee Line or the DLR at Stratford.

Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus tube station has needed improvement for years.

Crossrail will give some relief, as there will be new additional entrances to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations closer to Oxford Circus.

I did look at what might happen in What Will The Elizabeth Line Do For Oxford Street?.

I came to this conclusion about Crossrail 2 and Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 has just one interchange in the Oxford Street area at Tottenham Court Road station.

I would be very surprised in that in the massive rebuilding of the current station for Crossrail, that provision hasn’t been made to connect to Crossrail 2.

There have been surface issues around the station concerned with Crossrail 2, but given good planning of the project, I feel that the building of Crossrail 2 would only effect the area in a similar way to the replacement of a major block on Oxford Street.

Crossrail 2 will have two major effects.

  • It will bring large numbers of visitors to the Oxford Street area.
  • Just as Crossrail and the Central Line will work as a high-capacity pair, it will work closely with the Victoria Line to relieve that line.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the wider Oxford Street area needs to be and will be pedestrianised.

In some ways preparation for the pedestrianisation has already started by reorganising the buses.

Oxford Circus tube station is also high on Transport for London’s improvement list.

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

I suspect that if developers were interested in rebuilding any of the buildings on the South side of Oxford Street or perhaps even around the BBC to the North, that there could be arm-twisting and deal-making to sneak new entrances into Oxford Circus tube station.

Highbury & Islington

Highbury & Islington station, is one of my local ones and it is getting some much-needed improvement.

  • The Northern City Line will be getting frequent new Class 717 trains to create the Great Northern Metro.
  • Highbury Corner will be remodelled to improve pedestrian access to the station.
  • Bus and taxi access is being improved..

But nothing has been announced about improving the chronic access to the two deep-level lines at the station.

Speaking to staff at the station, they feel that a solution is possible, using the second entrance on the other side of the road.

In some ways the Great Northern Metro with its cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line could be the saviour of this station, as it gives direct access to the City and to Crossrail at Moorgate station.

One of London’s forgotten lines could be riding to the rescue.

Clapham Common

Clapham Common tube station is one of my least favourite. This picture shows why.

It’s downright dangerous now, so when the Northern Line frequency is increased will the station cope?

Clapham North

Clapham North tube station is another dangerous island platform.

But at least the station has escalators.

In A Journey Round The Clapham Stations, a post I wrote in December 2015, I said this.

Having seen Clapham North and Clapham Common stations today, I do wonder if a diversion could be dug as at Angel, Bank and London Bridge, to create safe new stations. This new tunnel could surely be part of the works to add step-free access to one or both stations and connect the tunnels to Clapham High Street station.

What with the Northern Line Extension to Battersea, the rebuilding of Bank and Camden Town stations and all the resignalling of the past few years, the Northern Line could at last be fulfilling its potential.

This could go a long way to  sorting the problem of the Clapham stations.

Clapham South

Clapham South tube station is not as bad as the other two Clapham stations discussed earlier.

Crossrail 2 may reduce the level of overcrowding on the Northern Line trains through the three Clapham stations, as passengers could change at Balham or Tooting Broadway stations to and from the new high-capacity line.

However, nothing short of some serious building work will solve the island platform problems at Clapham Common and Clapham North stations.

Holborn

Holborn tube station is very busy, but is one that could benefit from Crossrail, due to that line’s relationship with the Cerntral Line.

Crossrail 2 will certainly benefit the station, as it will relieve the pressure on the Piccadilly Line.

But Transport for London have published plans to add a second entrance and full step-free access. This is a 3-Dview of the plans.

Note the second entrance will be in Procter Street.

The only problem is that it could be 2021 before a decision is made.

However as a Piccadilly Line station, Holborn will benefit from the New Tube For London, before the upgrade.

Warren Street

Warren Street tube station is another Central London station on the Victoria Line, that could benefit from Crossrail 2’s duplication of the Victoria Line.

Leicester Square

Leicester Square tube station is just one stop on the Northern Line from the major new interchange of Tottenham Court Road station, which will be served by both Crossrail and Crossrail 2.

The station has needed more capacity since I first used it in the 1950s.

It needs step-free access.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Leicester Square station.

There is quite a tight knot of stations, of which only Tottenham Court Road has both escalators and lifts, although Goodge Street and Covent Garden have lifts only.

Leicester Square is an unusual station in that both the Northern and Piccadilly Lines are accessed by short passages and a short staircase from a fair-sized lobby at the bottom of a long set of escalators.

Clapham Junction

Clapham Junction station is the only non-Underground station in the seventeen stations named, where overcrowding could become chronic if Crossrail 2 is not built.

It is the busiest station by number of trains in Europe, so it must be difficult to keep on top of increasing numbers of passengers.

In the Wikipedia entry for the station under Future Proposals, this is said.

In 2007 the alignment of one of the two variants of Crossrail 2, that via the station rather than Putney and Wimbledon, was safeguarded. The Department for Transport and Transport for London continue to discuss proposal for a Clapham Junction Northern Line extension and its London Underground alignment has been legally reserved through Battersea Park, and would connect Clapham Junction to the London Underground for the first time.

Government and Network Rail funding for in the early 2010s of £50 million of improvements was granted. This comprised an upgrade to the main interchange: new entrances and more retail.

Surely something needs to be done, if Crossrail 2 is not built.

My proposals would include.

  • Developing the West London Line services.
  • Extending the Northern Line from Battersea Power Station station.
  • Improving the frequency of trains into Waterloo.
  • Make the station subway step-free.

There may be a need for more platforms, but the London Overground found this difficult.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the platforms in the station.

Simple it isn’t!

Conclusions

It surprised me how many of these stations will need substantial building work to cure the overcrowding.

Note.

  1. Every Victoria Line station between Oxford Circus and Finsbury Park is on the list.
  2. Four Northern Line stations between Stockwell to Clapham South is on the list.
  3. I think this shows how the designers of the Northern and Victoria Lines didn’t expect the traffic the lines now handle.

But overall, I think it shows how when you design a station, you don’t cut corners.

I also think to blame all these problems on the uncertainty about Crossrail 2, is probably a bit strong.

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street will probably have enough capacity when Crossrail opens, especially as the station will incorporate Moorgate and be substantially step-free.
  • The new London Bridge effectively adds high-frequency rail lines to Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross and St. Pancras and when Thameslink and Southeastern are fully developed, the station will cope.
  • Victoria shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Waterloo shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Finsbury Park shouldn’t be judged until the current upgrade is complete.
  • Stratford will probably have enough capacity when Crossrail  opens, especially as the station is substantially step-free.
  • Oxford Circus should see improvement when Crossrail opens, especially as there’ll be new step-free entrances to Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, that will be closer to Oxford Circus, than the current stations.
  • Highbury & Islington should see marginal improvement, when the Northern City Line is updated.

However, nothing short of substantial construction will sort Euston, Clapham Common, Clapham North, Holborn, Leicester Square and Clapham Junction.

 

 

 

 

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Close Up To A Class 345 Train At Liverpool Street Station

These pictures of a Class 345 train, were taken in Liverpool Street station.

I also had a chat with a group of drivers.

  • The drivers find the trains well-built, quiet and fast.
  • One driver said they were effectively two half trains.
  • Drivers seemed enthusiastic or jealous depending if they’ve driven one.
  • Greater Anglia’s drivers were crawling all over the cab!
  • There is masses of space under the trains.
  • They are virtually silent as they move off!

The services start on Tuesday, the 23rd of May.

May 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Will The Broadgate Reconstruction Remove The Smoking Shelter?

Broadgate is reconstructing the building on the South side, which will face the new piazza in front of Liverpool Street station.

This visualisation shows what the entrance to Crossrail will look like in front of Broadgate.

Crossrail Broadgate Entrance

But what are they going to do with the smoking shelter, that sits in the entrance to the main-line station?

The shelter would be shown on the left of the visualisation, if the image had a wider format.

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Health, Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Greater Anglia’s Ten Point Wish List

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Greater Anglia to lobby government for investment in 10-point upgrade plea.

So what do they want?

  1. Haughley Junction upgrade.
  2. Ely area upgrade.
  3. Ely to Soham track doubling
  4. Trowse swing bridge replacement with a double track fixed link.
  5. Long loops at Colchester and Witham to allow fast trains to pass slow ones.
  6. Digital re-signalling between Colchester and London.
  7. Capacity upgrade to allow four trains between Angel Road and Stratford.
  8. Four-tracking between Coppermill Junction and Broxbourne.
  9. Wider level-crossing upgrade program.
  10. Platform and concourse upgrade at Liverspool Street station.

Should we call it ambitious, greedy or sensible?

1. Haughley Junction Upgrade

This has been requested for years, so I suspect it has been thought about for a long time.

But the new East Anglia Franchise has plans that will affect the traffic through Haughley Junction.

  • Three express trains per hour (tph) between Ipswich and Norwich – Up from 2 tph.
  • Two tph between Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds – Up from three trains per two hours.

To make matters worse, an increasing number of freight trains between Felixstowe and Peterborough will be going through the junction.

This Google Map shows the junction.

haughleyjunction

Note.

 

  • Stowmarket, Felixstowe and Ipswich are to the South.
  • There is a handy level crossing where station road crosses the tracks.
  • Diss and Norwich is to the North.
  • Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge and Peterborough are to the North West.

You could naively think, that around the junction is nothing but farmland and a few trees, but the owners of |Tiptree Fram probably have lived three for decades.

You are the driver of one of Greater Anglia’s new crack Stadler express electric multiple units scheduled to reach Norwich in ninety minutes from London

Going North, you have just stopped at Stowmarket station. But you can’t leave as Haughley Junction is blocked by one of the many long freight trains crossing the flat junction from the line to Peterborough to go South to Felixstowe.

So bang goes your schedule!

Going South, you have a similar problem, in that freight trains could delay progress, whilst they cross from the Peterborough Line.

Freight trains and passenger trains joining the Peterborough line from the South, would appear to not cause such a large problem, as they just turn left without crossing any lines.

In an ideal world, there probably needs to be a single-track flyover, so that trains from Peterborough to Stowmarket can cross the Norwich lines without delaying trains. A similar flyover at Hitchin cost £47million.

So it wouldn’t be cheap and would the locals fight the construction of such a structure in the midst of Suffolk countryside to benefit commuters from Norfolk?

A complete scheme would also add a loop line just to the West of Haugthley Junction, so that long freight trains could wait without getting in the way, until there was a suitable time to cross.

I suspect, that to keep costs down and avoid annoying the natives, all that will happen at Haughley Junction is a limited scheme so that trains can wait before crossing.

Over the last few years, Network Rail have developed some innovative junctions and crossings, so let’s hope that they come up with a scheme that’s efficient, affordable and can be built without closing either of the important routes through the area.

But whatever is done here will certainlt help Greater Anglia achieve their objective of three tph between London and Norwich in ninety minutes.

Knowing the area well, I suspect that there will also be an enormous fight over if Network Rail decided to close the level crossing shown on the map.

2. Ely Area Upgrade

I looked at this in Are The Trains In Ely Finally To Be Sorted?

Whatever is proposed here will not be just a few millions and probably very disruptive to implement, but it is essential to acommodate the planned extra services through the area.

3. Ely To Soham Track Doubling

Upgrading this six miles of single track might appear to be easy across the flat lands of Cambridgeshire, but the line does include a couple of level crossings and a couple of bridges.

This Google Map shows the ely end of the route at Ely Dock Junction.

Ely Dock Junction And Hawk Bridge

Ely Dock Junction And Hawk Bridge

Note the single-track Hawk Bridge over the Great Ouse.

Luckily, a freight train derailed on the original single-track bridge and virtually demolished it. The new bridge may be only single-track, but provision was made for a second track.

A few times, I’ve passed Ely Dock Junction on a train or stood on the platform at Ely and seen a freight train waiting at the Dock Junction to pass through the spaghetti at Ely.

Double-tracking would mean waiting freight trains wouldn’t delay Eastbound services on the Ipswich to Ely Line.

But will a chord be built so services can go directly between Cambridge North station and the Ipswich line?

This could enable Colchester Peterborough services to take a route of Bury St. Edmunds-Cambridge North

The Google Map shows the site of the original Soham station.

The Site Of The Former Soham Station

The Site Of The Former Soham Station

Note that the line reverts back to double-track, just South of the former station site.

So will doubling of line include provision for building a new station at Soham, as Cambridgeshire Council have proposed?

You can certainly see, why Greater Anglia want this section of line to be doubled.

4. Trowse Swing Bridge Replacement

The Trowse Swing Bridge is a major bottleneck on the Great vEastern Main Line, as not only does it restrict operations into Norwich station, but it makes access to Crown Point Depot difficult.

It’s definitely the railway equivalent of having a single-lane section for both directions on a motorway.

In Is This The Worst Bottleneck On The UK Rail Network?, I proposed the following under An Affordable Alternative.

It has to be said, that perhaps the most affordable solution would be to build a stylish fixed link, probably with a double-track railway and  foot and cycle bridges.

As to the boat users, all boats that need to go under the bridge regularly would be modified so their masts could be lowered at no cost to their owners.

Other bribes could be given to occasional users.

There will be many bridges to cross, before Trowse bridge is replaced with a modern structure, more suited to a modern railway.

Unless of course, the rusting and decrepit bridge decides to do the honourable thing and falls down of its own volition.

It’s probably too much to hope, that a freight train derails on the bridge, as one fortunately did on the Hawk Bridge at Ely.

5. Long Loops At Colchester And Witham

Colchester station is not a station that would win awards for efficiency.

This description of the platforms is from Wikipedia.

The “up” (London-bound) side comprises two platforms, numbers 3 and 4, which have an unusual layout: 3 is on the up main line and is served by intercity trains from Norwich, while 4 is on the up branch line which merges with the up main line where the two platforms join end-to-end. The junction is protected by a trap leading to friction buffer stops. There are also bay platforms at both ends of the up main platform. The London-end bay (platform 6) is used for peak trains to and from London. Previously this platform was used for frequent services for the Sudbury Branch Line. However, most of these services were truncated to terminate at Marks Tey from the mid-1990s. The other bay platform (platform 5) is used for services to Colchester Town and Walton-on-the-Naze. The “down” side platform is an island platform with two faces, one on the down main, and one on the down branch line. Platform 1 is mainly used for Clacton-on-Sea trains and occasionally for Norwich trains.

The new franchise has plans, that should make the station more efficient, but much busier.

  • Norwich to London trains will have a frequency of three tph.
  • A new one tph service will link Colchester and Peterborough, which would mean that Colchester to Stowmarket via Manningree and Ipswich would have a frequency of four tph.

But the interesting idea is to extend the service between Sudbury and Marks Tey stations to Colchester Town station via Colchester.

The  service between Sudbury and Colchester Town could be two tph, as the trains could pass each other between Colchester and Marks Tey, if the track allowed.

This Press Release from Network Rail is entitled More Reliable Railway For Essex As £100M+ Upgrade Is Completed.

This is said.

The last piece of the jigsaw included the commissioning of new ‘bi-directional’ signalling on the Great Eastern main line between Colchester and Marks Tey – meaning trains can now travel in both directions on both lines. This allows them to bypass problems should they occur and will improve flexibility and help reduce delays.

I have just flown my helicopter over the junction at Marks Tey and it looks like there is a short loop line of about a kilometre on the South side of the main line, which is connected by a series of crossovers to the \Gainsborough Line. On the other side of the main line, there would also appear to be a connection between the two lines.

So a train from Colchester Town could do the following.

  • Travel to Colchester station on the Sunshine Coast Line.
  • Stop in Platform 4 at Colchester station.
  • Travel on the main line towards Marks Tey.
  • Switch to the loop North of Marks Tey.
  • Cross over the main lines and enter the Gainsborough Line to stop in Marks Tey station.
  • Travel to Sudbury and back.
  • After stopping at Marks Tey station return via the main line to Colchester and then on to Colchester Town.

Currently, a train is scheduled to go from Colchester Town to Marks Tey in 13 minutes, with the round trip from Marks Tey to Sudbury taking about 45 minutes.

If the service between Colchester Town and Sudbury was to be two tph, the Marks Tey to Sudbury round trip must be under thirty minutes, so that only one train is on the branch line at a time.

The service is currently run using various trains like a Class 153 train, which have a top speed of 75 mph and acceleration to match, whereas the mosdern Class 170 train has a 100 mph capability. The Gainsborough Line also has a speed limit of just 50 mph.

So I suspect, that with some judicious engineering on the branch and modern trains, that a thirty minute round trip is possible, thus making two tph on the Gainsborough Line a distinct possibility.

All these service changes could simplify the pattern of trains through Colchester station.

  • Most trains stop in the station and continue on their journey.
  • Peterborough trains could use the bay platform 5 or a reversing siding to turn back.
  • The bay platform 6 could be used as a terminus for trains from London as now.

So will the tracks be arranged so that there is an avoiding line between the platforms just as there is at Ipswich station and used to be at Chelmsford station?

The certainly would appear to be enough space.

 

This picture illustrates the problems at Witham station.

A Long Freight Train At Witham

Note.

  • The freight train was going towards London and was slowly going through the station.
  • The two lines in the middle are the two main lines, where trains generally stop.
  • When the new Stadler and Aventra trains enter service in a couple of years, there will be more trains going through the station.
  • At times, trains could be separated by just a few minutes.
  • As these trains are designed expedite stops, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more trains doing a Touch-and-Go.

This article on the EssexLive web site is entitled Witham loop could happen by 2024 with added faster trains to Liverpool Street.

It says that the loop will be built North of Witham station and would allow faster trains to pass slower ones by 2024, but that Simon Burns MP will be pushing to have it built sooner.

This Google Map shows Witham station and the line to the North.

Witham Station

Note the Braintree Branch Line going off to the North-West.

It does appear that there would be space for the necessary extra tracks to create passing loops North of Witham station.

These would mean that passing wouldn’t have to be dome with the slower train blocking a slow platform.

It certainly looks as if that both loops will be beneficial to all train operators and passengers.

6. Digital re-signalling between Colchester and London

Given the following on the Great Eastern Main Line South of Colchester.

  • Increased numbers of trains.
  • Speeds of 100 mph and possibly more.
  • The need to do very fast stops and maintain headway of a few minutes.
  • The trains will be new.

I suspect that digital signalling will be a necessity to maintain the required service frequency.

7. Capacity upgrade to allow four trains between Angel Road and Stratford

There is certainly pressure for this service from the local Councils in the area.

Would it include the preliminary works from the upgrade of Angel Road station?

8. Four-tracking between Coppermill Junction and Broxbourne

This is important both for Greater Anglia services to Stansted Airport and Cambridge and Crossrail 2.

I wrote about this in Crossrail 2 ‘Cannot Go Ahead’ Without Four-Tracking Of West Anglia Line.

But it will be a large and very disruptive project.

9. Wider level-crossing upgrade program

I have been held up so many times by level crossing incidents, this can’t happen to soon.

10. Platform and concourse upgrade at Liverpool Street station

I thought that this was going to happen, as soon as the Crossrail trains go into the tunnels.

Conclusion

Greater Anglia are not asking for the stars and it is a generally sensible wish list.

Possibly the most expensive projects are the following.

  1. Ely area upgrade.
  2. Trowse swing bridge replacement with a double track fixed link.
  3. Digital re-signalling between Colchester and London.
  4. Four-tracking between Coppermill Junction and Broxbourne.

But some like the four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line are not urgent, until Crossrail 2 gets an opening date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

Flying rats or pigeons to the RSPB, are a problem in Liverpool Street station.

So BT has got tough!

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

It would probably help, if everybody dropping littler got sentence to sit on top of the phone-box for an hour.

November 21, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail Will Be Making Noise On Moorgate

I received an e-mail from Crossrail today entitled Access Passage Under Moorgate.

This is said.

We are making progress with the tunnel connections between the Crossrail Moorgate ticket hall and the station platforms.

From the evening of Wednesday 9 November until Saturday 12 November 2016, we will break out the connection between the top of the escalator shaft and the access passage to Moorgate.

As we are breaking out concrete, there is likely to be some audible ground borne noise and vibration for occupants of nearby buildings and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.

Hopefully, I won’t hear it a couple of miles to the North.

Seriously, though, I don’t think you can get fairer than that, especially, as the works at Moorgate so far, don’t seem to have been particularly disruptive.

The e-mail also pointed me to this cross-section of the station and the works.

East-West Cross-Section Of Moorgate Crossrail Station

East-West Cross-Section Of Moorgate Crossrail Station

Note.

  1. Two banks of escalators are used to descend to Crossrail at Moorgate station.
  2. It is a similar arrangement at Liverpool Street station.
  3. If you’re walking between the two stations, a good proportion ofthe journet wil be on escalators.
  4. I think that the two smaller tunnels running under Moorgate and below the lower bank of escalators are the Northern Line tunnels.

It looks like the design has followed the rule of trying to keep to using only North-South and East-West routes for the tunnels.

November 1, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Will c2c Push For Access To Stratford And Liverpool Street?

On Sunday in An Excursion To Shoeburyness, I indicated how instead of coming back the way I came via West Ham, I got off at Stratford and did some shopping at Eastfield.

But would c2c like to serve Stratford and Liverpool Street more?

The Current Weekend Service From Shoeburyness To Stratford And Liverpool Street

Currently two trains per hour (tph) run from Shoeburyness to Stratford and Liverpool Street at weekends, when there is no conflicting engineering work.

Incidentally, with my excursion, I think that I had to come back by c2c as the Great Eastern Main Line was closed for Crossrail work.

If nothing this engineering disruption shows the value of Southend being served by two independent rail lines.

The Stratford Effect

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Shopping Centre at Stratford will have a porofound effect on the operation of c2c’s trains.

This page on the c2c web site is entitled Christmas shoppers get direct c2c trains to Stratford.

This is said.

c2c will run two trains an hour on both Saturdays and Sundays that divert to Liverpool Street instead of Fenchurch Street. These will provide direct access to the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre plus easy access to London’s West End. This is in addition to the two trains an hour that run to Chafford Hundred, for the Lakeside shopping centre, as part of c2c’s existing service.

I think the news item dates from 2014, but it does show a level of intent.

There is also this article in the Southend Echo, which is entitled Extra trains planned as West Ham’s stadium move puts added pressure on c2c network.

This is said.

TRAIN operator c2c are running extra and longer trains for fans travelling to West Ham matches at the club’s new stadium in Stratford.

This won’t be a problem for weekend matches, but what about matches on weekday evenings?

c2c’s spokesman went into more detail.

When asked about direct trains running from Southend to Stratford to make the journey as quick and simple as possible for fans, c2c said they already run direct trains to Stratford from Southend and Basildon,but not Grays, and there will be two trains per hour direct to Stratford most weekends – and two more trains per hour to West Ham.

From Grays, all four trains an hour go to West Ham.

For weeknight games and during weekend engineering work, all trains run to West Ham.

At present, the weekend trains between Shoeburyness and Stratford, satisfy the weekend sopping and football, but what about other events at the Olympic Park? The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is only going to get busier.

So are the current services really what c2c and its customers want and need?

Car parking is fairly comprehensive at the outer stations according to this page on the c2c web site.

West Horndon Station

It wasn’t very busy on the Sunday I took this picture at West Horndon station, but for encouraging weekend leisure trips, the availability of car parking must be an asset.

I would imagine that c2c are pushing the authorities for permission to run evening services into Liverpool Street via Stratford.

The Crossrail Effect

When you talk about any of London’s railways, this herd of elephants, with its 1,500 passenger capacity Class 345 trains, always bursts into the room.

For c2c trains to get to Stratford, they need to take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) between Barking and Woodgrange Park, where they join the slow lines into London.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Woodgrange Park station.

woodgrangepark

As the GOBlin is currently being electrified and improved, I suspect that there will be no operational problems on  the short stretch of shared line.

Will there be problems though, after Crossrail opens and there are increased frequencies of trains to and from London?

In the Peak, Crossrail will be running 16 tph to and from Shenfield, so as they are only running 8 tph in the Off Peak, I suspect that at weekends, there will be capacity for c2c’s 2 tph to Stratford.

It is interesting to look at Crossrail’s proposed Peak service on the Shenfield branch.

  • 8 tph between Shenfield and Paddington
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Reading
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Maidenhead
  • 4 tph between Gidea Park and Liverpool Street

This says to me, that there are probably paths in the timetable to squeeze 4 tph in the Off Peak into Liverpool Street, as the Gidea Park service is Peak-only.

Access To Liverpool Street

Liverppool Street station has two problems.

  • There are not enough platforms – This is a difficult one to solve, although Crossrail might only need a single platform to handle the limited number of services not going through the core tunnel. London Overground regularly turns 4 tph in a single platform.
  • The platforms are too short – This will be remedied once Crossrail trains are using the core tunnel.

I’m certain, that in a few years Liverpool Street in the Off Peak, will be able to handle 2 tph with a length of 12-cars for c2c.

It is interesting to note, that my train on Sunday was only eight-cars. Was this because of limitations at Liverpool Street?

Should c2c Stop At Woodgrange Park?

Currently, they don’t, but after the GOBlin is reopened would it be a good idea to create a step-free change to get to and from a lot of stations across North London.

The change at Barking between the two lines is not easy and the alternative is to improve it.

c2c Needs Access To Crossrail

c2c’s current route structure has no connection to Crossrail.

As an example to go from West Horndon to Heathrow Airport, you’d need to change twice.

  • At West Ham onto the Jubilee Line.
  • At Stratford onto Crossrail.

Neither change is a short walk, but both are step-free in busy stations.

If however, it’s a Saturday or Sunday, you could take a train to Stratford and I suspect when Crossrail opens, just wait on the same platform until a Heathrow train arrives.

It should be remembered, that c2c runs an all-Electrostar fleet and I suspect that these are Crossrail compatible with respect to platform height, so the change at Stratford would be easy with heavy cases, buggy or even a week-chair.

What Will The Future Hold?

From what I have written, it would certainly be possible for there to be two 12-car trains every hour in the Off Peak between Shoeburyness and Liverpool Street calling at Basildon, Upminster and Stratford.

But this would have limitations and possible problems.

  • Passengers from stations like Grays would want the Crossrail connection too!
  • If it is needed in the Off Peak, is it needed in the Peak?
  • Would passengers changing at Stratford cause congestion?

There would also be the mother of all battles between the train companies involved, to make sure they kept market share.

My ideal world scenario would be something like.

  • 4 tph all day go into Liverpool Street.
  • 2 tph on both c2c routes through Basildon and Grays go into Liverpool Street.
  • Chafford Hundred is served from Liverpool Street
  • Ticketing is such, that Stratford to Southend can use either route and either Southend station.
  • c2c trains to and from Liverpool Street, call at Woodgrange Park for the GOBlin.

My wish list may not be possible, but there is certainly tremendous scope for improvement.

We could even see, a station like Grays, Pitsea or Southend becoming a Crossrail terminus.

Who knows? I don’t!

 

 

 

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Walk From Moorgate To Liverpool Street Station

This morning, I walked from Moorgate to Liverpool Street station, when it was quiet.

I took a route through Finsbury Circus, and was thus able to look at the various Crossrail works in the area.

These are some comments about the area, often based on this page on the Crossrail web site, which details the urban realm around Crossrail stations in the City of London.

Moorgate

Moorgate station will be much changed from the current station.

Reading the Crossrail web site, gives the impression that the majority of passengers will generally walk to the station from perhaps their office, a bus or a taxi. This is said.

  • Reducing carriageway width in Moorgate and increasing footway space.
  • Introduction of a central pedestrian median in Moorgate to improve crossing at a key pedestrian crossing point and improve accessibility for all users.
  • A new pedestrianised public space will be created on Moorfields between New Union Street and London Wall, with access limited to emergency and service vehicles only.
  • Moorfields south of Moor Place will act as a ‘secure zone’    outside the new station entrance in which vehicles access will be controlled via station controlled retractable bollards.
  • Away from the raised carriageway areas regular kerb heights are retained in close proximity to the station entrance in Moorfields, Moorgate and Fore Street which allow for comfortable boarding of taxis via wheel chair ramps. The closest regular height kerbs to the station are located approximately 30m from the station entrance on Moorfields and Moorgate.

All is part of a wider plan in the City of London, which will probably result in a more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly city.

Buses On Moorgate

Nothing is said about buses on Moorgate, which are important to me, as they stop at the end of my road, with Northbound and Southbound stops within a hundred metres of my house.

I have two main bus routes, that will take me to and from Moorgate; the 21 and the 141.

I can remember as a child the London trolleybuses, one of which was the 641, which was replaced by the 141 bus.

This link shows where the Balls Pond Road and Mildmay Park cross about sixty years ago and the present day, perhaps seventy metres from my house.

I find it very convenient.

Moorgate is served by four main bus routes; the 21, 43, 76 and 141, all of which except the 76 go between Bank and Old Street stations.

I don’t know how the buses will be reorganised after Crossrail, but I suspect that the current stops will be used initially and only changed, when a new pattern of use emerges.

Crossrail and the Moorgate rebuild could effect the buses in several ways.

  • Many new passengers will get a bus to and from Moorgate.
  • I would suspect that Crossrail could cut the number of private cars in the centre of London.
  • The better walking route to Liverpool Street station in the dry, might mean more bus passengers.
  • The improved Great Northern Metro might increase or reduce passengers using the buses at Moorgate.
  • Moorgate’s taxi-friendly design, may mean the station get choked by back-cabs and Uber.

\the rebuilding of Bank and London Bridge stations will also have an effect.

I suspect Transport for London, suspect what is going to happen, but the reality will only be found, when all the new lines, stations and walking routes are open.

Finsbury Circus

Finsbury Circus is an oasis in the City and Crossrail will hand it back after completion, with a hopefully-tasteful ventilation shaft in the middle.

Black Redstarts

Black Redstarts are quite a rare bird in the UK, but it appears that London has a population.

A notice in Finsbury Circus Gardens gave more details.

The Central Line

The Central Line isn’t built deep under buildings in central London, but it goes under the roads. At Liverpool Street station, I get the impression that it ran between the station and the next door Broad  Street station (now Broadgate), before going South under Old Broad Street and then curving to the West under Throgmorton Street to go to Bank station.

You can get an impression of the depth of the Central Line from the length of the escalators at Liverpool Street station.

This extract taken from the Wikipedia entry for the Central London Railway, which was the predecessor of the Central Line, describes the construction of the tunnels.

To minimise the risk of subsidence, the routing of the tunnels followed the roads on the surface and avoided passing under buildings. Usually the tunnels were bored side by side 60–110 feet (18–34 m) below the surface, but where a road was too narrow to allow this, the tunnels were aligned one above the other, so that a number of stations have platforms at different levels. To assist with the deceleration of trains arriving at stations and the acceleration of trains leaving, station tunnels were located at the tops of slight inclines.

So you have a stack of lines and tunnels at Liverpool Street station.

  • Close to the surface is the Metropolitan and Circle Lines going across the front of the station, roughly East-West
  • 18-34 metres down the Central Line runs perpendicularly to the sub-surface lines.
  • Crossrail is the deepest line in an East-West direction.

Crossrail is also building a pedestrian walkway in an East-West direction, that goes under the Central Line and above the level of the Crossrail running tunnels.

 

October 2, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled

Liverpool Street station on Crossrail is a massive double-ended beast that stretches as far as Moorgate station, where it has a second entrance.

At the Liverpool Street end, it will connect to the following in addition the the Main Line services out of the station.

  • Central Line
  • Circle Line
  • Hammersmith and City Line
  • Metropolitan Line

At the Moorgate end, it will connect to the following lines.

  • Circle Line
  • Hammersmith and City Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Northern Line
  • Northern City Line

This is a  visualisation of how Moorgate station will look after it has been rebuilt for Crossrail, that I found on this web page from May 2009, so it may be out-of-date and wrong.

Liverpool Street-Moorgate Station Schematic

Liverpool Street-Moorgate Station Schematic

Note.

  • The royal blue line is labelled at First Capital Connect, for which I use the term Northern City Line.
  • Turquoise is used for new Crossrail work, with red and yellow for the Central and sub-surface lines.
  • If you enlarge the image by clicking on it, you can clearly see the escalators, that currently connect the Northern City and Northern Lines to the ticket hall.
  • Crossrail appears to have an escalator connection to an enlarged Moorgate ticket hall
  • The deep level Northern Line, which is shown in black,  passes over Crossrail, but underneath the escalators that lead down.

I have since seen a cross-section of the station from Liverpool Street to Moorgate and it would appear that a few improvements have been made.

  • A pedestrian tunnel is now planned to run between the Crossrail platforms, which will effectively link the escalators at both ends, which connect into the station entrances and ticket halls upstairs.
  • It could be possible that the entrance to the station has been moved towards the East.

The interchanges possible at the combined station are best described as comprehensive.

Changing Between Crossrail And The Northern Line

The Northern Line crosses the Moorgate end of the Crossrail platforms at a right angle and it would appear to have a short escalator or step connection to a cross-passage between the two Crossrail platforms.

The only problem, is that you’ll have to make sure, you’re at the Western end of the Crossrail train.

Changing Between Crossrail And The Northern City Line

It would appear that Crossrail and the Northern City Lines are at roughly the same level and are very well connected.

  • Passengers would appear to be able to take an escalator or lift from one set of platforms to the ticket hall and then take another set down to the other line.
  • There also appears to be another independent passage, which starts midway down the Northern City Line  platforms and takes a circuitous route to the Crossrail platforms.
  • There may be another convenient route, where you go via the Northern Line and reappear on the other set of platforms.

It certainly won’t be a difficult interchange for passengers, although you’ll have to remember to position yourself at the Western end of the Crossrail train.

Changing Between Crossrail And The Central Line

The Central Line crosses the Liverpool Street end of the Crossrail platforms at a right angle and it would appear to have a short escalator or step connection to a cross-passage between the two Crossrail platforms.

The connection is not as neat as the Northern Line one at the other end of the Crossrail platforms

The only problem, is that you’ll have to make sure, you’re at the Eastern end of the Crossrail train.

Changing Between Liverpool Street And Moorgate

I’ve read somewhere, that the double-ended station is designed so that passengers can walk easily between the two ends of the station.

My view of the cross-section of the station from Liverpool Street to Moorgate confirms it is a feasble route.

  • Passengers at Liverpool Street will descend to an intermediate level, from where the Central Line can be accessed.
  • A walk of perhaps fifty metres will take you under the Central Line tunnels and  to an escalator, that will descend to a wide passage between the Crossrail platforms.
  • A walk of perhaps a hundred metres will give several entrances to the Crossrail platforms and take you to an escalator, which takes you to the intermediate level at Moorgate station.
  • A level walk of perhaps thirty metres or so, will take you over the Northern Line tunnels and to an escalator, that gives direct access to the booking hall at Moorgate.

So a passenger from perhaps Ipswich to Hatfield on a very wet day, will dive on arrival at Liverpool Street into the Crossrail station and use it as a dry walking route to the Northern City platforms at Moorgate.

I suspect that an Oyster card or a contactless bank card will give free access to the route.

The same route will give Moorgate passengers access to the Central Line and Liverpool Street passengers access to the Northern Line.

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Could Passenger Services Be Run On The Canonbury Curve?

 

 

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 7 Comments