The Anonymous Widower

Silvertown Tunnel Bus Network Proposals

This web page is the Silvertown Tunnel Bus Network Proposals.

These proposals are made.

  • A new high frequency, limited stop service between Grove Park and Canary Wharf referred to in this consultation as route X239
  • To extend route 129 (Lewisham – North Greenwich) north across the river to Great Eastern Quay via the Royal Docks development zone
  • A minor change to route 108 so that it uses the new Millennium Way slip road to exit the Blackwall Tunnel southbound
  • We are also seeking your views on route options for three sections of routes 129 and X239.

It looks like route 108 will continue to use the current stop.

The proposals include this map.

I copied this map from the TfL web site, as they don’t provide one for people who want or need to use it.

These are my observations.

The 108 Bus

The 108 seems to be more or less as now and will be continue to be run by a single-decker bus, as double-decker buses can’t use the Blackwall Tunnel.

North of the Thames, the 108 calls at these stations.

  • Stratford International for DLR and National Rail.
  • Stratford for DLR, Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines, and National Rail.
  • Bow Church for DLR
  • Devons Road for DLR
  • Langdon Park for the DLR
  • Bazely Street (All Saints) for DLR

South of the Thames, the 108 calls at these stations.

  • North Greenwich for the Jubilee Line.
  • Westcombe Park for National Rail
  • Blackheath for National Rail
  • Lewisham for DLR and National Rail

Note.

  1. It is possible to go between Lewisham and Stratford on the DLR with a change at Canary Wharf.
  2. It is possible to go between North Greenwich and Stratford on the Jubilee Line.
  3. Westcombe Park station is on the Greenwich Line.

I would wonder, if many people use this bus route for long distances.

The 129 Bus

Note.

  1. The 129 appears to connect Lewisham and Greenwich to the City Airport and the Becton branch of the DLR.
  2. Many journeys on the 129 bus, might be easier using the DLR, with a change at Westferry or Poplar, which is probably what travellers do now.
  3. The 129 bus is shown on the map with a stop at Silvertown. Does that mean that it could connect with a Silvertown station on the Elizabeth Line?
  4. As the 129 bus will pass through the larger Silvertown Tunnel, it could be a double-decker route, instead of the current single-decker.

North of the Thames, the 129 calls at these stations.

  • Gallions Reach for the DLR
  • Beckton for the DLR
  • Royal Albert for the DLR
  • London City Airport for the DLR
  • Silvertown
  • Pontoon Dock for the DLR
  • West Silvertown for the DLR

South of the Thames, the 129 calls at these stations.

  • North Greenwich for the Jubilee Line.
  • Cutty Sark for DLR
  • Greenwich for DLR and National Rail
  • Lewisham for DLR and National Rail

Would improvements and a frequency increase to the DLR and the building of Silvertown station, mean that changes to the 129 bus route, would not be so important?

The X329 Bus

Note.

  1. Canary Wharf must be served and starting at Westferry Circus is probably a good choice.
  2. But is Grove Park station, the ideal Southern terminal?
  3. Not stopping the X329 bus at North Greenwich is probably correct, as North Greenwich station is a large Jubilee Line and bus interchange close to the O2.

North of the Thames, the X329 calls at these stations.

  • Canary Wharf for DLR and Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines

South of the Thames, the X329 calls at these stations.

  • Blackheath for National Rail
  • Lee for National Rail
  • Grove Park for National Rail

Note.

  1. Blackheath station is on the Bexleyheath and North Kent Lines.
  2. Lee station is on the Dartford Loop Line.
  3. Grove Park station is on the South Eastern Man Line.
  4. Grove Park has a bus station, where there could be space for a battery charger for electric buses.

The X329 seems to have been partly designed on the premise, that an express bus should be run through the Silvertown Tunnel. But it does connect four of the rail lines going into London terminals to Canary Wharf.

Silvertown Station For London City Airport

Silvertown station would more than double the number of stations with easy routes to the London City Airport.

The Elizabeth Line would enable the direct connection that is needed to Canary Wharf, the City of London, Heathrow, Liverpool Street and Paddington stations and the West End.

  • A single change at Abbey Wood, would give access to much of Kent.
  • A single change at Farringdon, would give access to Thameslink services and Gatwick and Luton airports.
  • Around 2030, a single change at Old Oak Common, would give access to High Speed Two services.
  • A single change at Paddington, would give access to Wales and West services.
  • A single change at Whitechapel, would give access to the great circle of the London Overground.

I believe the case for a Silvertown station with at least a good walking route to the London City Airport is strong, and the station would be a marvellous asset for Silvertown and the Airport.

 

January 7, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Improving The Wood Green And Moorgate Public Transport Corridor

This morning I went for coffee with an old school friend from Minchenden Grammar School at Southgate station.

Southgate is not a bad place to meet someone.

  • There are a couple of good coffee shops.
  • There are plenty of buses.
  • It has a couple of the better chain restaurants including a Pizza Express.
  • The area also has a lot of memories for me.

It also has one of London’s most iconic Underground stations.

It may look familiar, as it regularly crops up in film and television dramas.

  • One station guy told me, that the ticket barriers have been designed to be easy to remove, so filming of an historic drama is possible.
  • It was used in The End Of The Affair to portray a Central London station.
  • As the escalators have the same bronze fittings as Moscow, they could be used in a story set in Russia.

As the Piccadilly Line doesn’t go anywhere near my house, to get to Southgate, I take a 141 bus to and from a convenient Piccadilly Line station.

  • Going North, I changed at Manor House station.
  • Coming South, I changed at Turnpike Lane station.
  • I could have also have changed at Wood Green station.

The journey home had four major problems.

  • The bus stop at Turnpike Lane station, is a few hundred yards from the station.
  • I waited fifteen minutes for a 141 bus.
  • When it did arrive, it was so packed, it didn’t have space for a miniature dachshund to squeeze in between the feet of the standing passengers.
  • The traffic was very heavy, so the journey was slow.

How can this bus route cope in the Peak, if it can’t cope on a Sunday morning?

Various issues and actions and will make these capacity issues worse.

The Victoria Line Has No Direct Connection With The Elizabeth Line

In my view, this was a mistake, although not that serious, as the young or energetic can probably walk between Oxford Circus and the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station on the Elizabeth Line.

Will this connection develop with coffee and snack shops to ease passenger interchanges?

When and if Oxford Circus station is ever made step-free, I can imagine a tunnel, perhaps with a moving walkway being built between  Oxford Circus station and he Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station.

There is also the cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station with the Northern City Line that links with Moorgate and the City of London.

The Piccadilly Line Has No Direct Connection With The Elizabeth Line

To get between the Northern stations on the Piccadilly Line and the Elizabeth Line is either a double-change at Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington stations or a ride on the 141 bus.

I wrote about these issues in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Northern City Line.

The Elizabeth Line Will Attract Travellers To Moorgate

I notice that my own travelling patterns have changed from using the Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines to using the Elizabeth Line since it opened and I suspect, when the Elizabeth Line is fully joined up, that more passengers will travel to Moorgate to access the Elizabeth Line.

Transport for London and the Mayor Are Rerouting The 21 Bus

The 21 bus duplicates the 141 bus between Newington Green and Moorgate station.

But it is being rerouted next year, which will increase the loading on the 141 bus.

The 141 Bus Used To Be The 641 Trolleybus

When I was a child, London’s trolleybus network was extensive and to get between Wood Green and Moorgate, you would have used the 641 trolleybus.

Trolleybus Ascending Jolly Butchers Hill in Wood Green

Many like me, look back on trolleybuses with affection.

Does this historical connection encourage passengers to use the 141 bus, which is the 641 trolleybus’s successor on the route?

My parents certainly had lots of trolleybus stories.

So What Could Be Done?

There are a variety of actions that could be taken to strengthen public transport between Moorgate and Wood Green stations.

Improve The 141 Bus Route

In Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?, I put forward ideas for using buses to link to the Elizabeth Line.

This was my suggestion.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

I feel that a high-quality 141 bus running every ten minutes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green, would be just what the passengers would order.

  • Palmers Green bus garage is at the Northern end of the route, so could be used for refuelling or recharging.
  • London Bridge station is at the Southern end of the route and was designed with an efficient bus station.
  • The 141 route connects London Bridge, Bank, Moorgate and Old Street stations in the City of London.

With the right buses, this could be a route with real quality and usefulness.

Increase The Frequency On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line may have new Class 717 trains, but it still has a pathetic frequency of eight trains per hour (tph)

  • I am sure it could be increased to at least 12 tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations.
  • Something like six tph would go to Welwyn Garden City, four tph to Hertford East station and two to Stevenage.
  • Large areas of the Northern suburbs would get a much better connection to the Elizabeth Line.

Once the digital signalling is installed and commissioned, no new infrastructure will be needed.

I am sure, that this would be the easiest way to improve public transport in North London.

Add Step-Free Access To As Many Stations As Possible

Moorgate, Finsbury Park, Oakwood and Cockfosters are step-free with lifts.

As many stations as budgetary constraints allow, should be made step-free.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Food, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

London Bridge Station – 16th September 2022

I went to London Bridge station, to see how the queue was going.

At the time, it was reaching all the way to Southwark Park and it was taking about 15 hours to go through.

When I went through overnight on Wednesday night it took me about eight hours.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Bermondsey To London Bridge – 17th September 2022

I took these pictures as I travelled from Bermondsey To London Bridge on the lower deck of a 381 bus.

Note.

  1. It was busy in Bermondsey station.
  2. Dome of the bus information was poor.
  3. The queue for the lying-in state was going slowly.

It looks like the lying-in state may be called off. I’m not surprised.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Every Station Should Have One!

I took these pictures at London Bridge station, today.

How many other stations in the world, have a proper organ?

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 7 Comments

London Bridge And Dalston Junction With A Reverse At New Cross

This may seem to be a strange route to go to my home from London Bridge station, but it’s a route I regularly use as it is step-free and it avoids the vagaries of the 141 bus route which can mean waiting longer than necessary at the bus station at London Bridge.

  • I went to Platform 1 at London Bridge and got the first train to New Cross, which was waiting in the station.
  • On arrival at New Cross, I walked across the platform and waited perhaps three minutes for the London Overground train for Dalston Junction to arrive.
  • I then went two stops from Dalston Junction to outside my house.

I took these pictures along the route.

Note.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Network Rail Uses Tree Planting Initiative To Combat Graffiti Hotspot

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

These two paragraphs introduce the article.

Network Rail has planted 35 trees, as part of its many sustainability initiatives, at a graffiti hotspot location in London with the hopes of acting as a vandalising deterrent whilst also improving the natural habitats within the area.

This action marks the first time that Network Rail have used ecological measures such as these to prevent graffiti and vandalism. The tree planting at the Bermondsey Dive Under – a junction where one set of rail lines tunnel under another – will not only create nicer visual stimulants for passengers and local residents but will also contribute to significant cleaning cost savings. It is estimated that the graffiti at the South-East London hotspot has cost taxpayers £150,000 in cleaning and rejuvenation works over the last 2 years.

I would expect that £150,000 buys a lot more than 35 trees.

These pictures show the trees from a train going Between East Croydon and London Bridge stations.

I also wonder whether those that are caught for painting the graffiti, should be sentenced to a community service order to plant new trees to stop the vandalism.

July 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Design Contract Awarded To Extend Railway Arches Low Line Concept

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Plans to revamp the railway arches running through Wandsworth and Lambeth to create an extension of Southwark’s “low line” have taken a step forward after a contract was awarded to a design agency.

The extension would create a continuous walking and cycling route from Battersea to London Bridge, to connect communities with the creation of new spaces alongside the viaduct.

It looks to be an interesting concept with lots of possibilities.

March 19, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alstom Hydrogen Aventras And The Uckfield Branch

In Alstom And Eversholt Rail Sign An Agreement For The UK’s First Ever Brand-New Hydrogen Train Fleet, I give my thoughts on Alstom’s new hydrogen train, which I have called the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra.

One possible route for the trains could be the Uckfield Branch, which has an hourly service from London Bridge via East Croydon and Oxted stations?

  • The route is forty-six miles long, with the Northernmost twenty-one miles electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • On each trip, the train would need to run for fifty miles without electrification.
  • There are seven stops on the route.
  • The platforms on the Uckfield Branch can handle a 240 metre train.
  • Trains take around three hours for the round trip.
  • Each train probably does around five round trips per day.

So would Alstom Hydrogen Aventras be able to work the route?

  • The length of a three-car Alstom Hydrogen Aventra is probably around 72 metres.
  • Three Alstom Hydrogen Aventras working together would be 216 metres.
  • Aventras can be configured to work on 750 VDC third rail electrification.
  • The capacity of a nine-car formation of Alstom Hydrogen Aventra would be similar to that of a ten-car Electrostar, which has shorter cars.

Three Alstom Hydrogen Aventra trains working together could seem to be a possible solution for the route.

These are my thoughts.

The Required Range

If each train has to do five round trips, with each needing fifty miles on hydrogen, the trains would need a range in excess of 250 miles, whilst running on hydrogen.

Refuelling With Hydrogen

This would probably be done at a depot setup to service the hydrogen trains, where they would be stabled at night.

I doubt that London Bridge or Uckfield stations would be suitable places to refuel

The Number Of Trains

In Battery Electrostars And The Uckfield Branch, I estimated that three ten- or twelve-car trains would be needed to run an hourly service. Running half-hourly would need six trains.

As each nine-car train would need three Alstom Hydrogen Aventras, an hourly service would need a total of nine and a half-hourly service would need eighteen individual trains.

I suspect that this would not be a cost effective way of using the trains, as a lot of trains would need to refuelled every day.

Conclusion

I am not saying that Alstom Hydrogen Aventras couldn’t work the Uckfield Branch, but I’m sure there are are better ways to decarbonise the route.

November 12, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , | 9 Comments

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/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment