The Anonymous Widower

Using Hitachi ABB Power Grids Technology At Uckfield Station

This post describes how the ABB Power Grids technology could be used to allow battery-electric trains to run between London Bridge and Uckfield stations.

The London Bridge And Uckfield Route

The London Bridge And Uckfield route has these characteristics.

  • It is forty-six miles long
  • The Southern section between Heald Green junction and Uckfield station is 24.7 miles and is not electrified.
  • A service takes approximately eighty minutes.
  • Trains run at a frequency of one train per hour (tph)
  • The route has been upgraded to be able to handle twelve car trains.
  • The route is currently run by Class 171 diesel trains.
  • Govia Thameslink Railway is the operator.

It looks to me if you assume a ten minute turnround, then that gives a three-hour round trip.

This would mean the following.

  • Trains would have ten minutes charging time at Uckfield.
  • If twelve car trains were running on the branch then nine four-car trains would be required for an hourly service.
  • Two tph would require twice as many trains.

It looks to me, that Network Rail have arranged the route and the timetables for a fleet of battery-electric trains.

The Battery-Electric Trains

There have been several hints in the rail media, that battery-electric Bombardier Electrostars will be used for the London Bridge and Uckfield route.

I wrote Battery Electrostars And The Uckfield Branch in September 2019.

  • In the related post I suggested Class 377, Class 379 or Class 387 trains.
  • All are four-car Bombardier Electrostars.
  • All are 100 or 110 mph trains.
  • The Class 387 trains are already dual voltage, but I suspect all trains could be converted to third-rail or dual-voltage.
  • My choice would be Class 379 trains, as they are being made redundant by Greater Anglia and thirty quality trains are looking for a new home.

But all three types would be acceptable and Govia Thameslink Railway has both of the other types in its extensive fleet.

Charging The Battery-Electric Trains

This picture shows the single twelve-car platform at Uckfield station.

There would appear to be plenty of space on the side away from the platform.

There would appear to be two main methods of charging the trains.

A Length Of 750 VDC Third-Rail Electrification On The Side Away From The Platform

  • The electrification would be long enough to charge a twelve-car train.
  • It could even be made very safe, if an interlock were to be provided, that ensured that the third-rail were only to be live, when a train was in the station that needed charging.

This would be possible, but I suspect the Anti-Third-Rail Electrification Mafia will get this simple method stopped.

A Length Of 25 KVAC Overhead Electrification Powered By One Of Hitachi ABB Power Grids Containised Power Systems

The electrification would be long enough to charge a twelve-car train.

The driver or an automated system would raise the pantographs after the train stopped in the station.

Interlocks could be provided to increase safety.

The overhead electrification would be powered by one or more of Hitachi ABB Power Grids’s containerised power systems

Lightweight catenary could be used to reduce visual intrusion.

The curved beam at the top of this overhead electrification gantry is laminated wood.

Because of the higher voltage used, I suspect that the Hitachi ABB Power Grids could charge a twelve-car train in under ten minutes.

 

July 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The Closure Of The Northern Line At Bank To Complete The Upgrade To Bank Station

The Bank Station Upgrade is a major project that will increase the capacity of Bank station by forty percent.

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the project.

It was originally planned that sometime in late 2021, the Northern Line will be closed through Bank station.

The document says this.

We will need to close part of the Northern line Bank branch in 2021, between Kennington and Moorgate, to connect new and existing sections of tunnel safely. Trains will run less frequently on those sections of the Bank branch that are still open. Check back here for details.

This would mean that Bank, London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle stations will be closed on the Northern Line.

To help passengers, TfL say, they will do the following.

  • Run 33% more trains on the Northern line Charing Cross branch
  • Review bus use and consider enhancing services where necessary
  • Investigate scope for passengers to use alternative National Rail services, such as Waterloo to London Bridge, and London Bridge to Cannon Street
  • Review available walking space on the Moorgate to London Bridge pedestrian corridor.

These are my thoughts.

The New Cannon Street Entrance To Bank Station

This visualisation shows the new Cannon Street entrance to Bank station.

Note.

  1. South is to the right and we’re looking from roughly the North-West.
  2. The existing twin bores of the Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The escalator connection to the District and Circle Lines at Monument station Starts at the Southern end of these two narrow platforms.
  4. The new single bore of the new Southbound tunnel on the near side of the visualisation.
  5. The triple escalators descending from the new Cannon Street entrance to one of the four cross-walks between the Northern Line platforms.
  6. The current Eastern ends of these cross-walks are shown in The Southbound Northern Line Platform At Bank Station.

But where is the Docklands Light Railway (DLR)?

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

Note.

  1. The two existing Northern Line Platforms 3 and 4 are shown in black.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The DLR is shown in turquoise and sneaks under the Northern Line into Platforms 9 and 10.
  4. Platforms 7 and 8 are the platforms of the Waterloo and City Line.
  5. It would appear that the escalator connection between Bank and Monument stations goes between the existing tracks of the Northern Line.

So where is the Docklands Light Railway?

  • As Platforms 3 and 9 appear to be close together with Platform 9, the deeper of the two, I suspect we can’t see  the Docklands Light Railway in the visualisation, as it is hidden behind and underneath everything else.
  • I also suspect that the triple escalators between the new Northern Line cross-walks descend in the space at the Southern ends of Platforms 9 and 10.

This is the Northern end of the visualisation I showed earlier

Note.

  1. North is to the left.
  2. The two tracks and the narrow island platform of the current Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The two staircases leading up from Northern Line to a lobby, where passengers can walk North to the Central Line.
  4. The double escalator barrel going down to the DLR.
  5. The travelator that will connect the Northern and Central Lines
  6. The three cross passages linking the DLR escalators to the lobby between the Central and Northern Lines.
  7. The most Southerly of these cross passages has a lift to the DLR.

The new Southbound platform of the Northern Line, would appear to be to the West of the Docklands Light Railway.

It appears to be a very tight fit.

These pictures show the current status of the new entrance.

There would appear to be still a lot to be done.

This TfL image shows how it will look in 2022.

Ducking And Diving

No-one ducks and dives like Londoners. So rest assured, that if someone needs to get from A to B and the obvious route is blocked, Londoners will always get through. And if all else fails, a black cab will find a way, usually driven by a Londoner or someone infected with the ducking and diving virus.

Crossrail

As ever Crossrail is the herd of elephants in the London railway system.

The Northern Line is possibly the most important North-South route across Central London with two branches through the centre; Bank and Charing Cross.

But Crossrail connects to these  North-South routes.

  • Lea Valley Lines at Stratford
  • East London Line at Whitechapel
  • Lea Valley and West Anglia Lines at Stratford
  • Northern Line Bank Branch at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Northern and City Line at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Thameslink at Farringdon
  • Northern Line Charing Cross Branch at Tottenham Court Road
  • Jubilee Line at Bond Street
  • Bakerloo Line at Paddington

Crossrail will give a lot of opportunities for ducking and diving.

Under original plans Crossrail was supposed to open in 2019, with the Bank station closure for the upgrade in 2021.

This phasing certainly seemed a good idea at the time.

  • Crossrail will be able to offer alternative routes during the closure.
  • If the Crossrail stations are substantially complete, they can release workers to finish Bank station.

I wonder, if it would be sensible to not upgrade the tracks through Bank station until Crossrail opens through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.

As I wrote in Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas, Crossrail could open this year.

So are we being prepared for the mother of all cunning plans?

  • Crossrail between Paddington and Abbey Wood opens before Christmas.
  • The closure of the Bank branch to allow the Bank station upgrade happens at a convenient time after the opening of Crossrail through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.
  • Moorgate continues to have a limited Northern Line service to the North.
  • Crossrail continues work on the other branches.

Note.

  1. There is a crossover to the North of Moorgate station, which might allow Moorgate to work as a two-platform terminal station handling up to 4 or 6 trains per hour (tph).
  2. If Crossrail is running at Moorgate, the station should be step-free to and from the deep-level platforms.
  3. Transport for London are looking at walking routes on the Moorgate and London Bridge route.
  4. During the closure of the Northern Line through Bank, passengers for the City will go to Moorgate and walk or perhaps take a bus.

It is my view, that Crossrail must be open, before the Northern Line through Bank station is closed to allow work to be completed.

A Demonstration of the Northern Line Capacity At Moorgate When Working As A Terminal Station

Yesterday, which was a Sunday, the Northern Line was closed between Moorgate and London Bridge stations.

  • After a walk, I returned home from Moorgate station via Angel station, where I got a 38 bus.
  • I was surprised to find that trains on the Northern Line were leaving Moorgate station for the North every four to five minutes.

This would seem to indicate that frequencies of between 12 and 15 tph are possible.

Current frequencies through Bank station are 24 tph in the Peak and 20 tph in the Off Peak, so it will be a substantial reduction. But it is better, than my original estimate earlier in this section.

33% More Trains on the Northern Line Charing Cross Branch

Currently, the Charing Cross branch has a capacity of twenty-four tph and handles the following services in the Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 2 tph between Edgware and Morden
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington
  • 2 tph between High Barnet and Morden

And these services in the Off Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington

Note.

  1. Extra trains go between the two Northern branches and Morden via the Bank branch.
  2. Kennington and Morden can handle 28 tph and regularly does.
  3. The loop at Kennington turns twenty trains per hour in both the Peak and the Off Peak

If there is an increase of 33 % in the number of trains, this must mean that 32 tph will run through Charing Cross in the Peak and 28 tph in the Off Peak.

  • The signalling system on the Northern Line is the same as that on the Jubilee Line, where it handles 30 tph.
  • It also can handle up to 30 tph between Kennington and Morden on the Northern Line.
  • Perhaps it can be stretched to 32 tph through Charing Cross in the Peak.

If the Charing Cross branch can only be uprated to 30 tph, that is still an increase of 25 % in the number of trains.

The Kennington Loop

I mentioned the Kennington Loop and this beautiful old drawing shows its layout.

Note.

  1. South is at the top of the drawing.
  2. At present, as I said, the loop turns twenty tph all day.
  3. The extension to Battersea connects to the loop.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows a map of the loop.

Note.

  1. The Charing Cross branch goes to the North-West from Kennington.
  2. The Bank branch goes to the North-East from Kennington.
  3. ,The lines to Battersea are shown dotted.
  4. Trains using the extension to Battersea can only use the Charing Cross branch.

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if the line speed to and from Battersea, is faster than it is round the loop.

It’s just that the lines to Battersea are not such a sharp curve and they have been recently designed and built.

As the Modern branch can handle 30 tph, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the Battersea extension has been designed to handle this frequency.

The Northern Line Extension To Battersea

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the Northern Line Extension To Battersea.

This paragraph introduces the project.

The Northern line extension (NLE) between Kennington and Battersea will help regenerate the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas by supporting new jobs and homes. The extension is scheduled to be completed in autumn 2021.

The opening of the extension could offer benefits to the existing Northern Line.

As I said in the previous section, twenty tph are turned at Kennington using the loop.

Will all these trains now use the new Battersea extension, when it opens?

  • The Battersea extension is fully double-track.
  • Battersea Power Station station has two platforms and a cross-over, so if Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations can handle in excess of 30 tph, I suspect London’s newest terminal station can too!

If the Battersea extension has a design capacity of 30 tph, it would certainly be able to handle 20 tph.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see all trains that currently turn at Kennington will take the Battersea extension, when it opens.

There must surely be the interesting possibility of before the Battersea extension opens to passengers, using it to turn the trains that would otherwise use the loop at Kennington. It would certainly be a very thorough test, of track and signalling.

I am fairly certain, there would be advantages in having the Battersea extension open before the Bank branch is upgraded.

  • Running trains to Battersea could be more efficient than using the Kennington Loop.
  • Opening the Battersea extension would need the signalling at Kennington to be upgraded and fully tested, so any changes needed for increased frequencies on the Charing Cross branch could be performed at the same time.
  • All the residents of the new housing in Battersea. would have an Underground connection.

Opening the Battersea extension will change passenger patterns on the Northern Line and as the changes will be difficult to predict, it would surely be better to upgrade Bank station, after the opening of the Battersea extension.

Thameslink

Thameslink is not mentioned in any of the Transport for London documents, but surely it has a big part to play.

  • Thameslink serves a lot of stations in South and South East London and beyond, including Brighton, East Croydon, Orpington, Sevenoaks and Woolwich Arsenal.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Circle and District Lines at Blackfriars.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Metropolitan and Circle Lines at Farringdon.
  • Thameslink will have an interchange with Crossrail at Farringdon.
  • Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations have good walking routes along the River and to the City.

Thameslink should be appearing on the Tube Map any time soon.

Waterloo And City Line

I am missing the Drain, as it is the easiest way for people in the area, where I live to get to Waterloo station.

I just take a bus to Bank and then walk underground to London’s shortest Underground line.

According to this article on London SE1, it is closed because of the covids, but should reopen in April 2021.

Surely, Transport for London could reopen the line, if they vaccinated all the drivers.

As the Waterloo and City Line has an independent new entrance on Wallbrook, there should be no reason, why it couldn’t reopen before the Northern Line through bank is upgraded.

The Central Line At Bank Station

Nothing has been said, about whether the Central Line will be closed through Bank station, during the upgrade.

I don’t think it will be continuously closed, although access to some parts may be restricted.

There could be partial closures at weekends or in the evenings.

So for commuters and other must-travellers, I suspect the Central Line will get through.

The Circle And District Lines At Monument Station

My thoughts about the Circle and District Line would be similar to the Central Line.

But these lines with their connections at Westminster, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Tower Hill and Whitechapel could prove important during the works.

The Docklands Light Railway At Bank Station

Again my thoughts about the Docklands Light Railway would be similar to the Central Line.

But there is a lot of work going on to improve access to the Docklands Light Railway, and this could result in a closure to allow completion.

Review Bus Use

When I come into London Bridge station, I usually go to the bus station and get a bus, which stops within fifty metres of my front door. Going to London Bridge isn’t as convenient and I take a variety of routes.

But the corridor between London Bridge and Old Street via Bank and Moorgate has three bus routes; 21, 43 and 141, the last two of which terminate in the bus station at London Bridge. I suspect that the frequency of the last two buses could be increased, if they had a few more buses and drivers, and turned them faster at London Bridge.

I also feel there is scope to run a shuttle between Finsbury Square and London Bridge station.

  • It would loop round Finsbury Square at the Northern end.
  • It would loop through London Bridge station, as the 43 and 141 buses currently do.
  • They would serve Moorgate and Bank.
  • As it will be running through a busy part of the City with lots of pedestrians, these buses should be either battery or hydrogen.
  • But as they should be high-capacity double-deckers, battery probably wouldn’t have enough power.

What better way would there be, to showcase London’s new hydrogen buses?

And I’m sure Jo Bamford, would make sure that London had enough new Wrightbus hydrogen buses  to provide the service.

National Rail Between Charing Cross/Waterloo And London Bridge

I am probably not alone in using this route in preference to the Jubilee Line to travel between Westminster and London Bridge, as where there is an alternative to the deep-level Underground, I will often use it.

In my case coming home from Waterloo, I’ll often hop to London Bridge on National Rail and then get a 141 bus home.

This is classic ducking and diving on my part.

I’m sure others will do the same during the Bank branch closure.

I would also hope, that season tickets would allow passengers to swap terminals without too much trouble and any expense.

National Rail Between Cannon Street And London Bridge

Using Cannon Street instead of London Bridge could be an relatively easy alternative for many passengers.

  • It connects to the Circle and District Lines.
  • There are East-West buses outside the station.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

There are a number of useful walking routes from the station, which is towards the bottom of the image slightly towards the right.

  • Bank station is about 300 metres and six minutes away.
  • The North-South buses between Moorgate and London Bridge on King William Street are 200 metres and three minutes away.
  • St. Paul’s is a bit further but it does have the Central Line and lots of buses including the 76 to Moorgate and Old Street stations.

At seventy-three, I can still walk between Cannon Street and Moorgate stations in 15 minutes.

Walking Between London Bridge and Moorgate

Transport for London have said they will review this,

It is not a difficult walk and it has improved since traffic was reduced at Bank.

Conclusion

As originally planned, the timings of the various projects were such that these projects would be more of less completed before the upgrade of the tracks at Bank station was to be performed.

  • Crossrail
  • The Northern Line Extension to Battersea.
  • The new Wallbrook entrance to Bank station.

But no-one had foreseen Covid-19.

So I would plan the date of the Northern Line closure with the utmost care.

February 8, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Lunch At Cafe Piazza In The Hays Galleria

I had a gluten-free lunch in Caffe Piazza in the Hays Galleria near to London Bridge station.

I only had a baked potato and chilli con carne with a glass of wine, but that was all I needed.

I’ll definitely go back again.

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street And Some Other Stations Compared

I am doing this exercise to get a handle on the scale of the problem at Platforms 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly station.

In 2018/19, these were some passenger statistics for the two stations and some others.

  • Birmingham New Street station handled 47.928 million passengers on its thirteen platforms or 3.62 million per platform per year.
  • Brighton station handled 17.385 million passengers on its eight platforms or 2.17 million per platform per year.
  • Bristol Temple Meads station handled 11.368 million passengers on its thirteen platforms or 0.87 million per platform per year.
  • Cardiff station handled 14.205 million passengers on its eight platforms or 1.78 million per platform per year.
  • Chelmsford station handled 8.927 million passengers on two platforms of 4.46 million per platform per year.
  • Crewe station handled 3.318 million passengers on its twelve platforms or 0.28 million per platform per year.
  • Deansgate station handled 0.458 million passengers on its two platforms or 0.23 million per platform per year.
  • Doncaster station handled 3,918 million passengers on its nine platforms or 0.44 million per platform per year.
  • East Croydon station handled 24.770 million passengers on its six platforms or 4.12 million per platform per year.
  • Exeter St. Davids station handled 2.620 million passengers on its six platforms or 0.44 million per platform per year.
  • Gatwick Airport station handled 21.225 million passengers on its seven platforms or 3.03 million per platform per year.
  • Leeds station handled 30.839 million passengers on its seventeen train platforms or 1.81 million per platform per year.
  • Leicester station handled 5.582 million passengers on its four platforms or 1.40 million per platform per year.
  • Liverpool Lime Street station handled 14.221 million passengers on its eleven platforms or 1.29 million per platform per year.
  • London Bridge station handled 61.308 million passengers on its fifteen platforms or 4.08 million per platform per year.
  • London Fenchurch Street station handled 18.508 million passengers on its four platforms or 4.63 million per platform per year.
  • London Paddington station handled 38.18 million passengers on its thirteen platforms or 2,94 million per platform per year.
  • Manchester Oxford Road station handled 9.338 million passengers on its five platforms or 1.87 million per platform per year.
  • Manchester Piccadilly station handled 30.252 million passengers on its fourteen platforms and two tram platforms or 1.89 million per platform per year.
  • Manchester Victoria station handled 8.950 million passengers on its eight platforms or 1.12 million per platform per year.
  • Newcastle station handled 8,914 million passengers on its twelve platforms or 0.74 million per platform per year.
  • Nottingham station handled 8.005 million passengers on its nine platforms or 0.89 million per platform per year.
  • Peterborough station handled 5.060 million passengers on its seven platforms or 0.72 million per platform per year.
  • Preston station handled 4.646 million passengers on its nine platforms or 0.52 million per platform per year.
  • Reading station handled 17.081 million passengers on its fifteen platforms or 1.14 million per platform per year.
  • York station handled 9.991 million passengers on its eleven platforms or 0.90 million per platform per year.

These figures have given rise to a few thoughts.

Brighton

Brighton station is an eight platform terminal station, that handles a lot of passengers, considering that the City doesn’t have any mass transit system and passengers rely on walking, bicycles, buses and private cars for onward travel.

  • There are upwards of eight trains per hour (tph) at the station to and from London, all of which can be up to twelve cars.
  • The West Coastway and East Coastway Lines have at least six tph in the Off Peak.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate line and out to walking routes and the buses, with leaving passengers walking the other way.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Brighton station is at capacity.

Chelmsford

It is truly remarkable that Chelmsford station is the second busiest station in terms of passengers per platform per year on my list.

  • The station has two separate platforms on either side of the tracks.
  • Access is via wide stairs and lifts.
  • The station appears to handle five tph in both directions in the Off Peak, with up to twice that number in the Peak.
  • Most trains calling at the station are between eight and twelve cars.
  • Chelmsford station could get even busier in terms of passengers when the new longer Class 720 trains and Class 745 trains are brought into service in the next twelve months, as these trains have higher capacities, than the current trains.
  • It is aimed, that the new trains though will have level access between train and platform, at some point in the future.

I very much feel, that Chelmsford shows what can be done at an ordinary two platform station with the application of good simple design.

London Fenchurch Street

London Fenchurch Street is the busiest station on my list.

  • The limited number of platforms will increase the number of passengers per platform per year.
  • The station has two entrances to each platform.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate line at the main entrance and down escalators to walking routes at street level, with leaving passengers walking the other way.
  • Many trains in the Peak are twelve cars.
  • Adding extra platforms would be difficult.

It does appear, that work has been done to maximise the station’s capacity.

Crewe, Doncaster, Exeter St. Davids, Newcastle, Peterborough, Preston and York

All these stations are interchange stations on the main lines, that may have been improved, but have not been substantially rebuilt.

They all manage to handle between 0.5 million and 1 million passengers per platform per year.

Leeds

Leeds station has been improved over the last few years.

  • There are six through platforms and eleven where trains can terminate.
  • After passing through the gate line, passengers are in a concourse from where long distance services to London and the North and local services to Bradford, Harrogate, Ilkley and Skipton can be boarded.
  • A new wide bridge with escalators, a lift and steps leads from this concourse across the through lines and platforms to the other side of the station.
  • There are lifts and escalators from the bridge to some of the through platforms and the terminating platforms beyond them.
  • At the far side of the bridge, a new Southern entrance has been added.

<The bridge works well and shows how a wide bridge over or a wide concourse under the tracks, can improve circulation in a station.

If you compare the bridge at Leeds, with the bridge at Reading, which was designed at around the same time, the Reading one is better in that it is wider and has more escalators, with one up and one down escalator to each pair of platforms.

Was a certain amount of design at Leeds station performed by accountants?

London Bridge

London Bridge station shows what can be done by applying good design in a new or rebuilt station.

  • There are nine through and six terminal platforms.
  • All platforms can take full-length twelve-car trains.
  • There is a massive concourse underneath all fifteen platforms.
  • There are lots of escalators and lifts between the concourse and the platforms.
  • Steps provide additional and reserve capacity.
  • Passengers changing between routes can take an escalator or lift to the concourse and another one to their new route.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate lines and out to walking routes, the Underground and the buses, with leaving passengers walking the other way.
  • London Bridge station was designed by Grimshaw Architects

It is a design with a wow factor that works very well.

Reading

Reading station is another good design applied to a rebuilt station.

  • There are nine through platforms,  three East-facing bay platforms and three West-facing bay platforms.
  • All through platforms can take full-length trains.
  • All bay platforms are a level walk from the Southernmost through platform and the main entrance gate line to the station.
  • There is a massive bridge over all nine through platforms.
  • There are lots of escalators and lifts between the bridge and the through platforms.
  • Steps provide additional and reserve capacity.
  • Passengers changing between routes can take an escalator or lift to the bridge and another one to their new route.
  • Arriving passengers can walk straight through the wide gate lines and out to walking routes, the car-parks and the buses, with leaving passengers walking the other way.
  • Reading station was designed by Grimshaw architects.

It is a design with a wow factor that works very well.

Redesigning Manchester Piccadilly

Could some of the principles of these stations be applied to rebuilding Manchester Piccadilly station?

There are currently twelve terminal platforms numbered 1-12 in the main part of the station.

  • Platforms 1 to 4 are used for services to Marple, New Mills, Rose Hill and Sheffield via the Hope Valley Line, and services on the Glossop Line.
  • Platforms 5 to 9 are the longest and used by Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry services.
  • Platforms 10 to 12 are shorter than the others and are usually used to accommodate local trains to Crewe and Manchester Airport, plus Mid-Cheshire line, Buxton Line and South Wales services.

The two through platforms 13 and 14 are on the Southern side of the station.

These ideas might be possible.

A Wide Bridge Or Concourse Connecting The Platforms At The London End

Currently, there is a bridge over the platforms 1 to 12 at the London end, but compared to the bridges at Leeds or Reading stations, it is a rather feeble affair.

  • It is narrow.
  • It doesn’t have any kiosks or shops.
  • It is only connected to the platforms by steps.

Could this be replaced by a wide bridge, like say the one at Reading?

It would certainly give advantages if it could!

  • Passengers arriving in Manchester Piccadilly needing to change to another service, might find it more convenient to use the bridge, rather than exit on to the main concourse.
  • The bridge could be designed as a waiting area, with kiosks, shops, cafes and other facilities.
  • The bridge would be connected to all platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Steps would provide additional and reserve capacity.

Note that if you buy a ticket to Manchester stations, that allows you to go to either Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Deansgate or Manchester Victoria stations, So a quick route up and down an escalator at the London end of Piccadilly station to Platform 14 would be very convenient.

Access To Platforms 13 And 14

Compared to the wide island platforms at Leeds and Reading, platform 13 and 14 are a bit narrow, but I’m fairly sure, that a good layout for escalators and lifts could be designed, so that access to these two platforms can be improved.

Trains Through Platforms 13 and 14

These must be arranged, so that they are all similar with wide double doors and step-free access between platform and train.

Improvement Along The Castlefield Corridor

Various improvements need to be done on the Castlefield Corridor.

  • Deansgate can be improved to provide better access to the Metrolink at Castlefield.
  • Manchester Oxford Road station needs a complete rebuilt and a better track layout.
  • The Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport service via Warrington and Manchester Oxford Road needs a strong rethink.

It appears that it has already been decided to reduce the number of trains, as I wrote about in Castlefield Corridor Trade-Off Plan For Fewer Trains.

Wide Gate Lines

Passengers arriving at Manchester Piccadilly station in the main part of the station should be able to walk forward to a gate line stretching right across all the platforms.

  • The present gate line isn’t continuous.
  • There is still a lot of manual checking of tickets.

The current layout can certainly be improved.

Access To Metrolink

I also wonder if better access to the Metrolink could be provided, so that passengers access the Metrolink station from inside the gate line. Now that the Metrolink allows contactless ticketing, this might be easier.

Conclusion

I believe there’s a solution in there somewhere!

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Garden Is Being Created Under London Bridge Station

I took these pictures as I walked in one of the tunnels under London Bridge station.

Somebody is doing a bit of garden creation.

 

 

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Amusing Seats At Victoria

The seats at London Bridge station, that I wrote about in Matched Seats And Roof At London Bridge Station, have now been installed at Victoria station.

Would they have amused Queen Victoria?

This press release from Network Rail is entitled Network Rail Puts Passengers First With Installation Of New Modern Seating At London Stations, gives more details on the new seating.

  • Seating capacity at each station will be increased from 150 to 400.
  • The seats were made by Green Furniture Concepts from Malmo in Sweden.

Generally, passengers I’ve asked, seem pleased with the new seats.

 

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Matched Seats And Roof At London Bridge Station

These pictures show the recently-built roof and the newly-installed seats at London Bridge station.

 

Note.

  1. The first picture shows the seats that were installed on a temporary basis.
  2. The second picture shows a section of roof.
  3. The remaining pictures show the seats in various places in the station.
  4.  I like the tables for your coffee, tea or chocolate.
  5. I like the randomness of the placement on the entry to the station.
  6. They also stand out against the stone floor.

They are very different and brought a smile to my face.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Innovative Use Of Ground Source Heat Pumps At London Bridge Station

I like the idea of ground source heat pumps, as an efficient way of heating and cooling a building.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled Looking Back On London Bridge.

This is an extract.

Working with GI Energy, we also drove the use of innovative technology – installing geothermal loops into 145 of the planned piles. These geothermal piles consist of pile foundations combined with two closed-loop ground source heat pump systems which span the length of the pile – they support the building while acting as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer. The piles alone will generate 79 tonnes per year in carbon savings.

Is that a case of having your cake and eating it?

January 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Bollard Advertising

I took these pictures at London Bridge station.

The adverts wrapped around the steel security bollards are for Thameslink.

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

The East London Line In 2030

The East London Line was opened in May 2010 using pieces of redundant infrastructure in the East of London.

Modern additions were added.

A new fleet of Class 378 trains were purchased and services began between two Northern and four Southern destinations, at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

Looking back just over eight years later, the line has been an overwhelming success.

East London Line Capacity

The proof of this success surely is shown in the increasing capacity of the line since 2010.

The Class 378 trains have got longer.

  • In 2010, they started at just three cars.
  • They were soon extended to four cars.
  • In 2016, all trains became five cars.

The trains could go to six cars, but there are platform length issues, that make five cars the current limit.

On the other hand, selective door opening could be used, which works so well with walk-through trains.

Now, Transport for London are going to increase frequencies on the line.

  • In 2018, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace stations.
  • In 2019, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

This would give twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink will handle twenty-four tph in their central tunnels, I suspect that to have the same frequency on the East London Line would not be impossible.

Developments That Will Happen

These developments will happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Crossrail

The Whitechapel station interchange with Crossrail will become the Jewel in the East, as it will give access to Canary Wharf, the West End, Stratford, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Heathrow to all those (like me!), who live along the East London Line.

As both lines will have train frequencies of at least twenty tph, you should never wait more than a few minutes for your train.

I can see, the number of passengers changing between Crossrail and the East London Line being very high.

  • For many travellers it will be their quickest way to Crossrail.
  • The Class 378 trains are more passenger-friendly than Thameslink’s Class 700 trains, which are best avoided, by those with sensitive posteriors.
  • Whitechapel station gives access to both the Eastern branches of Crossrail.
  • All East London Line services call at Whitechapel.

My scheduling experience says that the frequency of trains on Crossrail and the East London Line should be the same, to smooth travellers passage through the station.

So expect Crossrail to eventually push the East London Line to twenty-four tph.

Increased Frequencies On The Underground

The Sub-Surface Lines of the London Underground are being re-signalled, which will mean more capacity, where the District and Metropolitan Lines interchange with the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

There could also be improvements on the Jubilee Line, where it meets the East London Line at Canada Water station.

I doubt we’ll see more improvement to the Victoria Line, as you can only extract blood from a stone for a limited period.

It is also probably true, that Dear Old Vicky needs some relief.

New South Eastern Franchise

The new South Eastern Franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with the new incumbent taking over in December 2018.

The current Southeastern services have little interaction with East London Line services, except at New Cross station, where the following services call.

  • Southeastern – Northbound – Eight tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge.
  • Southeastern – Southbound – Eight tph to Lewisham via St. John’s.
  • Overground – Four tph to and from Dalston Junction.

New Cross is a good interchange for travelling to and from South East London and I suspect the new franchise will only make it more useful.

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line has been ignored for decades and in my view it is a disgrace with elderly Class 313 trains, dirty, dark and dingy stations and unmotivated staff, who seem abandoned by their employers.

If ever there is a line that should join the Overground, it is this one!

At least, the line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will bring the following.

  • Modern trains with wi-fi and hopefully comfortable seats.
  • Increased capacity.
  • Up to twelve tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations via Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations.
  • More passengers to the East London Line at Highbury & Islington station.
  • A direct cross-platform and step-free link for the Victoria Line to Crossrail.

Planners do not seem to have realised the effects these new trains will cause in North London and at Highbury & Islington station in particular.

North London Line Improvements

In the next few years, there will be improvements on the North London Line.

All these improvements will bring more passengers to the East London Line and put more pressure on Highbury & Islington station.

Property Development Along The East London Line

Only two stations on the East London Line; Dalston Junction and Shoreditch High Street, were designed to have development on top.

Dalston Junction station has now been virtually fully developed and only now are tower blocks starting to grow around and on top of Shoreditch High Street station.

The City of London will also expand to the East, which will mean more offices and housing clustered around stations like Whitechapel, Shadwell and Canada Water.

Property developent will greatly increase the ridership of the East London Line.

Rebuilding Of Highbury & Islington Station

Many travellers in East London, use the Overground to get to Highbury & Islington station for access to the Underground.

The below ground section of this station needs substantial improvement with a second entrance, more escalators and lifts.

Plans get talked about, but nothing happens.

I believe that the new Class 717 trains on the Northern City Line could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as they will bring more travellers to the station.

But on the other hand the existing cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line, might mean that less travellers need to go to and from the surface.

I have this feeling, that a rebuilt Highbury & Islington station will happen before 2030 and would attract more travellers to the East London Line.

Developments That Could Happen

These developments could happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

I believe extending the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham station is more likely to happen than Crossrail 2 and if it was built it would connect to the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.

This map shows the extension.

I believe that the East London Line and the extended Bakerloo Line will complement each other.

  • The Bakerloo Line will probably have at least twenty tph between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations via Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Baker Street stations.
  • The East London Line will have at least six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations and four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • New Cross Gate is currently a step-free station, so I suspect it will be a very smooth interchange.

Connections between South East and the whole of North London will be substantially improved.

Brockley Interchange

It has been suggested that Brockley station be connected to the line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, which crosses over the station.

Wikipedia says this about the connection.

At the London end the line is crossed by the Nunhead to Lewisham line. At this location adjacent to Brockley station was sited Brockley Lane station which closed in 1917 with the original London, Chatham and Dover Railway branch to Greenwich Park. The connection of that line to Lewisham is a later development. The possibility of opening platforms on this line with direct access to Victoria Station and the Bexleyheath Line to Dartford has often been suggested but is currently low on TfL’s priorities.

In some ways the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham does a similar job in connecting the East London Line to Lewisham, but at a much higher frequency.

Another problem with the Brockley Interchange is that there are only two tph between Victoria and Lewisham, that pass over Brockley station and does the capacity at Lewisham station exist to allow this to be increased to a viable frequency, that would make building Brockley Interchange an interchange worth building?

Crossrail 2

Will Crossrail 2 be built or even started before 2030?

I personally doubt it, unless Brexit is an unqualified success and the project is privately-funded.

There are also other projects that might lower the need for Crossrail 2 and allow it to be delayed to beyond 2030.

Extension Of East London Line Services Along The North London Line

I can remember reports, when the London Overground was created, that suggested that some East London Line services, might be extended to the West, possibly to Willesden Junction station.

I think there are two major problems.

  • Trains going West from Highbury & Islington station from the East London Line could stop in Platform 1 or 2 and go straight through on their way to Clendonian Road & Barnsbury station. But those going the other way would probably need to cross tracks on flat junctions!
  • Where is the suitable bay platform to turn the trains?

On the other hand, many passengers would find it useful, as it would avoid a change at Highbury & Islington station.

Penge Interchange

I discuss the possible Penge Interchnge station in Penge Interchange.

 

 

Note that the Penge Interchange offers four tph to and from Victoria, whereas the Brockley Interchange only offers a measly two tph.

Shoreditch High Street Connection To The Central Line

The Central Line passes directly underneath Shoreditch High Street station, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

Note the reversing sidings at Liverpool Street station in the South-West corner of the map.

Wikipedia says this about the possibility of creating an interchange.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak hours.

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street to Bethnal Green is one of the longest stretches on the Underground without a station.
  • There is a lot of  residential and housing developments, being proposed for around Shoreditch High Street station.
  • Large numbers of passengers use the East London Line to get to Highbury & Islington station for the Underground. Would a Shoreditch High Street connection take the pressure off?
  • It could give East London Line travellers, a single-change connection to Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane and Holborn stations.

For construction and operational reasons, the decision to create this connection will not be taken until Crossrail is fully open.

I suspect passenger statistics will play a large part in the decision.

Southeastern Connections

Southeastern has three main terminals in London.

  • Cannon Street – Jubilee and Northern Lines
  • Charing Cross – Circle and |District Lines
  • Victoria – Circle, District and Victoria Lines.

But they also serve other stations in South London with good connections.

  • Abbey Wood – Crossrail
  • Greenwich -DLR
  • Lewisham – DLR and possibly Bakerloo Line
  • London Bridge – Jubilee and Northern Lines and Thameslink
  • New Cross – East London Line
  • Woolwich Arsenal – DLR

The rebuilding of London Bridge station has probably improved connectivity, but are further improvements needed?

Two of the possible improvements to the East London Line; the Brockley and Penge Interchanges will connect current Southeastern services to and from Victoria to the East London Line.

Would the new South Eastern franchise like a connection to the East London Line?

  • ,Passengers to and from East London surely have have an easier route, than going to Victoria and then using the Underground!
  • Passenger numbers at Victoria might be marginally reduced
  • Both new interchanges would give a route to Crossrail at Whitechapel, which is not an easy connection to and from Victoria.
  • I have looked at timings and it appears that the Whitechapel route is perhaps five minutes slower to the West End or Paddington, but perhaps a dozen minutes faster to the Northern part of the City of London.

It is my view, that if Penge Interchange is built, then Brockley Interchange could be forgotten.

Thameslink Improvements

With all the money spent on Thameslink, it is likely that Network will want to maximise their investment by running as many trains as possible on the route.

Currently, the plan is for twenty-four trains an hour through the central tunnel, which then split as follows.

  • Eight tph via Elephant & Castle
  • Sixteen tph via London Bridge of which twelve tph continue to East Croydon.

It would also appear that there are another five tph between London Bridge and East Croydon, but only one tph runs on the fast lines.

So there would appear to be plenty of capacity between London Bridge and East Croydon stations, even if the central tunnel frequency on Thameslink were to be upgraded to thirty tph.

I think we might see a bit of sorting out of Thameslink to minimise some of the problems, that became evident after the May 2018 timetable change.

A problem I have, which I share with the millions in East London, is that it is difficult to get to Gatwick Airport, as there is no common station between the East London Line and Thameslink.

  • If the Penge Interchange is built, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • When the Bakerloo Line is extended to New Cross Gate station, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • Should all slow trains on the line be run by the London Overground?
  • Should all fast trains on the line be run by Thameslink?

Thameslink could be so much more useful.

West Croydon Or East Croydon

From a personal point of view, when I go to Croydon, I want to get to East Croydon station, as I’m usually taking a train to the South Coast or Gatwick Airport.

  • Inevitably, I end up taking a tram from West Croydon to East Croydon station.
  • Ging the other way is more difficult, as I inevitably get lost trying to find West Croydon station.
  • Although, there are now some trams at East Croydon only going to West Croydon.
  • Trains to the North of Penge West station, never seem to be very full.
  • East Croydon station is more important than West Croydon station.

So would it be better if the East London Line trains went to East Croydon?

The problem is that there is no space in East Croydon station.

Perhaps two new platforms could handle both East London and West London Line services.

West London Line services should also be run by the London Overground, as was proposed by Chris Gibb, as I wrote about in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

I would do the following.

  • Sort out Victoria and Thameslink services at East Croydon station, so that all Northbound and Southbound services used a separate pair of platforms, with one platform face for Thameslink and the other for Victoria services.
  • If possible, move services like London Bridge to Uckfield to Thameslink.
  • Put a pair of terminal platforms under the Thameslink and Victoria services platforms, connected to these platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Most of the tunneling would be under railway property North of East Croydon station.
  • These platforms could probably handle up to six trains per hour (tph) each.
  • It would be possible to run six tph between Highbury and Islington and East Croydon stations.
  • The West London Line could have a highly desirable four tph to the mega-station at Old Oak Common.
  • It might even be possible to use the platforms for service recovery on Thameslink.
  • It could release the pressure on the difficult Windmill Bridge Junction, which is a bit of a bottleneck.

It would be costly, but planned properly, I believe it could be created without any major disruption to the existing East Croydon station.

It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to the following.

  • Through services to London Bridge, St. Pancras and Victoria.
  • East London Line services to East London and Whitechapel for Crossrail for the City, Central London and Shenfield.
  • West London Line services to West London and Old Oak Common for High Speed 2, West Coast Main Line and Crossrail for Heathrow and Reading.

Capacity at East Croydon would probably be increased.

Conclusion

The East London Line will get better and better.

 

 

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment