The Anonymous Widower

The Mayor Of London Is Pruning The North London Bus Network Again

Sadiq Khan is proposing to cut these bus routes.

  • 4 – Archway and Blackfriars – North London
  • 11 – Fulham Town Hall and Appold Street – North London
  • 12 – Oxford Circus Stn / Margaret Street and Dulwich Library – Cross-River
  • 14 – Putney Heath and Russell Square – North London
  • 16 – Mora Road and Victoria Bus Station – North London
  • 24 – Grosvenor Road and Royal Free Hospital – North London
  • 31 – White City Bus Station and Baynham Street – North London
  • 45 – Newington Causeway and Atkins Road / New Park Road – South London
  • 72 – Brunel Road and Hammersmith Bridge Road – North London
  • 74 – Putney Exchange and Baker Street – North London
  • 78 -Shoreditch High Street Station and St Mary’s Road – Cross-River
  • 242 – Aldgate Station and Homerton Hospital – North London
  • 349 – Glyn Road and Rookwood Road – North London
  • 521 – Waterloo Station and London Bridge Station – North London
  • C3 – Clapham Junction Station / Falcon Road  Warwick Road Tesco – Cross-River
  • D7 – All Saints Church and Mile End Station – North London

Note.

  1. The 74 is one of the recommended ways to get to Zoo.
  2. The 242 is my preferred method to get between Dalston and the excellent Homerton Hospital.
  3. The 349 is probably important to the Jewish Community in Stamford Hill.
  4. 521 appears to be a very good link between the two terminal stations. Especially, if you have a heavy case or a baby in a buggy.
  5. I have judged whether a bus is North London, South London or Cross-River from TfL’s maps of each route.

I suspect others will have their own objections.

These are my totals.

  • North London – 12
  • South London – 1
  • Cross-River – 3

These are definitely the cuts that would be imposed by someone with their roots firmly in the South, who feels that there is no valid reason to cross the Thames.

But then with these cuts, he won’t get complaints from South Londoners.

 

June 1, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 8 Comments

Elizabeth Line To Open On 24 May 2022

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on Crossrail.

This is the sub-title.

Trains to run every five minutes 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

And these are the first two paragraphs describe what will open.

Transport for London (TfL) has today confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday 24 May 2022. The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility with spacious new stations and walk-through trains. The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.

In the coming weeks, Elizabeth line signage will continue to be uncovered across the network in preparation for the start of customer service. The updated Tube and Rail map will also be released later showing the new central section stations connected with the rest of the TfL network for the first time.

These are some points from the rest of the press release.

  • Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
  • All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line.
  • Passengers wanting to do longer journeys may need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street stations.
  • Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.
  • Paddington and Canary Wharf will have a journey time of only 17 minutes. It takes thirty minutes by the Underground.
  • All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance.
  • Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.
  • Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on 24 May. It will open later in the year.
  • Changes will be made to 14 bus routes to improve links to Elizabeth line stations in east and south-east London, where many customers will use buses to get to and from stations.
  • Full services across the entire route introduced by May 2023.

I have some thoughts.

My Routes To Crossrail

Like many in London, I will have multiple routes to and from Crossrail.

  • I could take a 21 or a 141 bus from the bus stop round the corner to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 38 bus from another bus stop round the corner to Tottenham Court Road station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Angel station and get a Northern Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Essex Road station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 30 bus from this stop to Highbury & Islington station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 30, 38 or 56 from yet another stop round the corner to Dalston Junction station and get an Overground train to Whitechapel on Crossrail.
  • I could even walk a few hundred metres to take a 76 bus from the stop in the centre of de Beauvoir Town to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.

One of the reasons, I bought my house, was that it would have good connections to Crossrail.

But there is a cloud on the horizon.

My easiest route will probably be to use a 21 or 141 bus direct to Moorgate.

But our South London Mayor in his wisdom is hoping to retire the 21 bus leaving us with just the 141 direct to Moorgate.

I am by training a mathematical modeller and I have lived much of my life at various points on the transport corridor from Cockfosters to Moorgate formed by the Piccadilly Line and the 141 bus. I can even remember using the predecessor of the 141 bus, which was the 641 trolley-bus to come up to London with my grandmother in the 1950s.

I’m certain that when Crossrail opens, that if you live in say Wood Green, Southgate and Oakwood, if you want to use Crossrail to get to Heathrow or Canary Wharf, you will be highly likely to take the Piccadilly Line to Manor House and then take a 141 bus to Moorgate to pick up Crossrail.

The only alternative will be to change at Finsbury Park for the Moorgate Line, which even after the improvements at Finsbury Park, would not be an easy change with a heavy bag or a baby in a buggy.

I talked about this problem before in Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?, where I said this.

I suspect that when Crossrail opens, the 141 bus will be heavily used by travellers going between the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail at Moorgate.

The 141 bus goes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green and it has a route length of about nine miles.

Currently, buses run every fifteen minutes or so, but I doubt it will be enough in future as Transport for London are rerouting the closely-related 21 bus.

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.

It should be noted that the 43 bus, that passes Moorgate, is already carbon-free.

I will be interested to see what action is taken by Transport for London.

I believe their current plan is lacking and will make it difficult for those where I live to get to Crossrail at Moorgate.

Feeder Bus Routes To Crossrail

I believe that there could be considerable scope for more high-capacity high-quality feeder routes to and from Crossrail.

Currently, there are four bus routes that pass Moorgate station, that come into this category.

  • 21 – Lewisham Shopping Centre and Newington Green
  • 43 – London Bridge Station and Friern Barnet
  • 76 – Waterloo Station and Stoke Newington
  • 141 – London Bridge Station and Palmers Green

How many other routes are there, that stop outside a Crossrail station?

I suspect that for many Londoners and visitors, a bus to Crossrail will be their fastest way to their ultimate destination.

For instance, my fastest way to Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Ealing, Heathrow, Paddington and Reading will start with a bus to the Crossrail entrance at Moorgate station.

And it looks like Transport for London will be reducing my bus frequency to Moorgate, when it probably needs a slight increase.

Crossrail’s North-West Essex Extension

One of the elegant parts of Crossrail’s design is its interchange with the Central Line at Stratford station.

  • The Eastbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.
  • The Westbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.

This arrangement allows step-free cross-platform interchange between the two lines.

This map, which was clipped from Wikipedia, shows the North-Eastern end of the Central Line.

I am sure, that those who live to the North-East of Stratford station will be some of the residents of London, who benefit the most from Crossrail.

The following stations are step-free.

  • Buckhurst Hill
  • Debden
  • Epping
  • Hainault
  • Newbury Park
  • Roding Valley
  • South Woodford
  • Stratford
  • Woodford

I suspect more stations will be made step-free.

Cross-Platform Interchanges

It was originally planned, that a similar cross-platform interchange would have been built at Walthamstow Central station, that would have allowed the Victoria Line to continue to Woodford.

As the Stratford interchange works so well, I’m surprised the track layout hasn’t been used at more places on London’s rail network.

The Whitechapel Reverse

In Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be A Jewel In The East?, I discussed the importance of Whitechapel station.

Whitechapel station solves the round-the-corner problem for passengers, who want to go between say Romford and Woolwich stations.

Passengers just walk the few metres between the two platforms at Whitechapel station and take the first train to their destination.

I will be interested to see if Crossrail has an effect on traffic over the Dartfood Crossing and through the tunnels. How many will use Crossrail instead, when they are visiting their team, clients or family on the other side of the river?

I call stations like Whitechapel reversal stations, as they allow passengers to easily reverse direction. There is more about reversal stations in Reversal Stations.

The New Tube Map

These pictures show the new tube map.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown as a double purple line.
  2. Thameslink is also shown as a double pink line.
  3. There are certainly some drawing gymnastics to fit it all in.

But Harry Beck’s design survives.

Abbey Wood Station

The more I look at the design of Abbey Wood station and compare it to the Crossrail/Central interchange at Stratford, the more I think it is a substandard station.

Would it have been better, if one island platform had been designed for Westbound services and the other had been designed for Eastbound services? Crossrail services might be on the outside with North Kent services between the two island platforms.

This would have enabled a journey between say Rochester and Bond Street to have been done with a simple cross-platform change at Abbey Wood station.

No Victoria Line Interchange

I was surprised by these omissions.

This article on London Reconnections is entitled Horrible Holborn: When Postponement Is Not An Option.

It is well worth a read.

One section is entitled The interchange that isn’t, where this is said.

Whilst modelling showed that Bond St and Tottenham Court Road would be capable of managing the expected passengers once the Elizabeth line opens, it was clear that a combined Oxford Circus/Bond St (Crossrail) east entrance could not. If you have ever wondered why the Elizabeth line has no sub-surface interchange with the Victoria line at Oxford Circus despite the eastern ends of the Bond Street platforms being tantalisingly close, this is your answer. As the Victoria line at Oxford Circus is never likely to be able to handle the expected numbers of people that would board if there were direct access from the Bond St Crossrail platforms, it appears the two stations will never be linked with publicly accessible passages below ground.

In other words, you would solve the problem of the interchange between the Elizabeth and Victoria Lines and create severe overcrowding on the Victoria Line.

When I have supper with my son at the Angel, he comes from his home in Walthamstow, via a cross-platform change at Euston.

Routes like this allow those that live on the Victoria Line to access the Elizabeth Line.

No Piccadilly Line Interchange

The article says this about an Elizabeth Line station at Holborn.

It is pertinent to note that an early plan to have a Crossrail station at Holborn was abandoned. In reality, it would have been too close to Tottenham Court Road station to be really worthwhile. It would have restricted the alignment (bearing in mind that sub-surface Crossrail stations have to be straight and level). It would also have added considerable expense and may have put the entire project at risk. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t a good business case. Whilst a station on the scale of the Elizabeth line could not be justified, however, an improvement of the existing Holborn station could.

The article also says that upgrading Holborn station would not be easy, even without the connection to the Elizabeth Line.

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Vote Hydrogen For London

London has an air pollution problem, as do many cities around the UK and the world.

This web page from Imperial College is entitled Air Pollution Research in London.

It starts like this.

Why Do Research In London?

  • Air pollution is a very large public health issue in London. It shortens the lives of Londoner’s leading to up to 9,400 extra deaths per year.
  • We still do not fully understand the health effects of air pollution.
  • London is a good place to do air pollution research, and acts as a giant laboratory.
  • Air pollution is well recorded in London, starting in 1993 and now covering about 200 sites.
  • London has a large population and good data on health, movement and population.

Surely, 9,400 extra deaths per year are 9,400 extra deaths too many!

These pictures were taken close to where I live in Hackney, mainly on the Bals Pond Road and Moorgate.

All show heavy diesel trucks, spewing out large amounts of carbon dioxide and other emissions.

So how can we reduce the pollution from these heavy trucks?

Consider.

  • I doubt that despite what Elon Musk says, these six- and eight-wheeled trucks can’t be powered by batteries.
  • Nearly all of these trucks, never go far from London.
  • Many of these trucks could be converted to hydrogen and thus become zero-carbon.
  • When they are replaced, these trucks should be replaced by zero-carbon hydrogen trucks.

But there is one big problem. Unlike Aberdeen, Birmingham, Glasgow and a few other areas, London has no hydrogen infrastructure and the Mayor has no plans to develop one.

I will not vote for any politician, who doesn’t support developing a hydrogen infrastructure and a hydrogen policy for London.

 

May 4, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Manchester Arena Attack: Families ‘Disgusted’ By Memorial Trespassing

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

These are the introductory paragraphs,

Families of people killed in the Manchester Arena attack have said they were “disgusted” after a memorial site for the 22 victims was trespassed on.

The Glade of Light memorial in the city centre remains a building site and does not officially open until the new year.

Two bereaved families said they were appalled to find the security fences pulled down on Sunday.

The article also said this.

Ms Curry said she found hundreds of people were walking through the area, which is supposed to be closed to the public.

She said one man stood on a memorial stone and was abusive when challenged, another woman vomited all over the area, and groups of youths were openly smoking drugs.

I can’t understand what led to this aggressive trespass.

When, I am in certain cities, there does seem to be more low life on the streets than you habitually see in London.

I do wonder, if it is partly because of London’s transport regulations and actions as laid down by the Mayor and Transport for London.

London has an extensive CCTV network and after the London bombings of July the seventh and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, I’m sure it was improved.

Did the improved CCTV and the police action in the shooting the unfortunate Brazilian, deter a lot of low life from going to the centre?

Ken Livingstone or was it Boris, introduced a policy of banning alcohol on London’s transport system.

The precise details are given in this recent article on the Sun.

I have a feeling it had a positive effect, but did it mean that less drunks found their way to the centre?

In 2011, I sat next to a guy on a Manchester bus going from Piccadilly Gardens to Bury. I noticed that about a dozen youths were harassing the driver, trying to get his fare money and remarked on this to my companion.

My companion on hearing my London accent, said you don’t get that in London because of the contactless ticketing, as there is no fare money on the bus.

I was surprised at his reply and asked him to explain. It turned out he was a Trade Union Official, who looked after bus workers in Manchester. He told me his Union wanted a London-style contactless ticketing system, as it had drastically cut the number of attacks on staff in London.

Having worked with the Metropolitan Police on the analysis of data, they have also found that contactless ticketing helps in the tracing of people through London’s transport network and has solved several serious crimes.

Conclusion

I feel that terrorism and London’s reaction to it, banning of alcohol on public transport, contactless ticketing and other measures have helped keep drunks and those up to no good out of the centre.

 

December 6, 2021 Posted by | News, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oakwood Tube Station’s Seat Is In Need Of Repair

I took these pictures at the Grade II* Listed Oakwood tube station.

How did it get into this state?

Could it be that Enfield is not a Borough, where voters need any urging to vote Labour?

So it has been allowed to deteriorate by London’s South London Mayor?

It certainly needs a bit of TLC!

June 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Current Major Projects

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

The Bank Station Upgrade

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

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

The Barking Riverside Extension

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

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

Crossrail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Speed Two

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

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

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

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

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

Where Does London Need More Rail Services?

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

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

Note.

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

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

How Can Services Be Improved In North West London?

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

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

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

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

The Dudding Hill Line And The West London Orbital Railway

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

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

Harlesden Interchange

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

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

This Google Map shows Harlesden station.

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

Neasden Interchange

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

This Google Map shows Neasden station.

Note.

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

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

Note.

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

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

This Google Map shows the wider area.

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

Neasden could be a major housing and transport hub.

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

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

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

Improvements To Chiltern’s Routes

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

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

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

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

This scheme has merit.

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

The scheme could add valuable extra capacity for Chiltern.

A Chiltern Metro

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

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

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

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

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

Improvements To The Milton Keynes And Clapham Junction Service

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

Currently, this service is as follows.

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

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

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

These are my thoughts on the various issues.

The Service As A North-South Link

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

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

But developed properly it could connect the following.

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

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

The Frequency

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

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

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

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

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

The Trains

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

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

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

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

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

The Connection To The West London Line And High Speed Two

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

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

They cannot be serious!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

The Northern Terminal

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

Both stations have the capacity and the connectivity.

The Southern Terminal

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

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

The Operator

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

 

 

 

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

Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in today’s Sunday Times.

I have thought this might happen for a few months.

I wrote project management software for nearly forty years. If you ever used Artemis, that was the system, I wrote in a Suffolk attic.

Artemis helped provide the UK with North Sea oil and gas, by calculating and scheduling the labour requirements.

One problem was that there was so many projects, that there was a severe labour shortage. As a friend, who supported our systems in Aberdeen, told me, you couldn’t get some tradesmen for love or money, as they had all retrained to go offshore.

Shortage of workers is often the reason for projects being late and Crossrail is no exception.

Walk through the City and West End of London along the route of the line and you’ll see endless new office, retail and residential developments around all the stations.

These Central London developments are often luxurious and funded by Sovereign Wealth or similar funds, all of whom have bottomless pockets.

If they need more workers, they just raise wages and they have been stealing them from Crossrail. Consequently Crossrail has had to pay more and has been hemorrhaging cash and getting later.

Many of these buildings are now complete and the workers can be hired by Crossrail to speed up the finishing of the line.

Unless of course, the Mayor and the Councils allow more new buildings to be constructed.

But there is a beneficial effect of the Covids working in favour of Crossrail. It has probably badly damaged forecasts for a new development, that they are being delayed for a few years.

So Crossrail can move towards a finish, which will start to generate revenue for Transport for London.

This page on the Crossrail web site is the Crossrail Project Update for December 2020, which was published on the 14th January 14th 2021.

This video shows Mark Wild, the Chief Executive Officer of Crossrail giving the latest update.

This text accompanies the video.

Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risks and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks. Our focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19.

We are planning to start intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity in 2021. It involves multiple trains operating in the central operating section to test the timetable and build reliability, while the final works to the stations are completed. It will take a period of time to fully test the Elizabeth line before it can open for passenger service. This includes a final phase known as Trial Operations involving people being invited onto trains and stations to test real-time service scenarios to ensure the readiness of the railway.

Following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east will be introduced. The introduction of full services will be aligned with the National Rail timetable change which occurs twice a year in May and December.

According to this article on Ian Visits, which is entitled An Update On The Crossrail Project Progress. Crossrail is in Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT), which is described  by Ian like this.

The pre-Trial Running tests, Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT) started early last December and allowed them to increase the number of trains running through the tunnels from four to eight. That meant running trains with 5-minute gaps, close to how the service will open with its initial 12 trains per hour each way.

Crossrail have produced a video, which describes the train testing.

SIDT restarted after Christmas on the 13th January and once complete, I assume Trial Running will start at the earliest opportunity.

Further sections of the Crossrail Project Update describe Trial Running, Covid-19.

There is also this video of Farringdon station.

When Will Crossrail Open?

Predicting this is difficult, but this article on Building, which is entitled Crossrail  Trial Running Set To Start By March.

These points are from the article.

  • Mark Wild said that trial running will start before the end of March.
  • From the start of trial running to opening will be between six and nine months,
  • It looks like Crossrail will open in the last quarter of 2021.

As it would be nice to open by Christmas to give shopping centres and hospitality a lift, I think that it will open in September or October 2021.

Could Crossrail Open Earlier, If A Shorter Service Were Run?

Some people have said, that Crossrail might be able to open earlier, if it ran initially between say Farringdon and Abbey Wood.

This paragraph from the Crossrail Project Update for December 2020, could be decisive.

All central section stations including Bond Street are certified to support Trial Running. Four of the central section stations have had all of their assets assured and certified as ready for use, the last stage for stations in the Trial Running pathway. The remaining central section stations are scheduled to achieve this by the end of the month.

Does this mean that trial running will start by the end of March and serve all central stations?

Bond Street station certainly seems to have caught up with the others and there is no longer any suggestion it could open a year later.

 

 

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 12 Comments

A Design Crime – Pedestrian Chaos At London Bridge

To get home from London Bridge station, I usually get the 141 bus in the station, or if I’m walking along the riverside, I get a 21 or 141 bus from the stop at the Southern side of the bridge.

There is now, no stop on the bridge, so it meant walking nearly to Bank station to get a bus. Not everybody of my age could manage that!

I hope the pea-brained idiot, who designed the current scheme at London Bridge, with no bus stops in either direction has been given his marching orders.

I know that for COVID-19 and wannabe terrorists something must be done, but surely one of the bus-stops in each direction should be working.

I suspect, it was designed by the same idiot, who decided to close the important Waterloo and City Line.

The Mayor won’t care, as he’s a South Londoner.

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sadiq Khan Scraps Tube Fare Freeze In Mayoral Election Pledge To Only Freeze Bus Fares

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Sadiq Khan has announced that if re-elected as Mayor of London, he’ll freeze bus fares for the next four years and ensure any other TfL fare rises are lower than the rate of inflation.

When I first heard of Sadiq Khan’s fare freeze for the 2016 Mayor of London election, I considered it a blatant electoral bribe, as the finances just didn’t add up.

I’m not sure, who I will be voting for next year, but it will be a North London candidate.

Recently, there have been cuts to buses in North and Central London, but few, that I can ascertain in the South of the City. Could this be because, if a Mayor cuts buses or any other services in their area, they get incessant pestering, as they go about their business? So do Mayor’s cut, where they are not instantly recognised?

March 14, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The One Station I Never Use Coming Home Is Highbury & Islington

I am typing this post in Highbury & Islington station as my Overground train, skipped all stations North of Whitechapel, diue to congestion.

I always avoid this station, as getting between my house and the station is difficult as there is only one crowded 30 bus, every fifteen minutes. There used to be twice as many buses, as the 277 bus used to serve the route as well. But nearly a year ago, it was cut back to Dalston Junction making it as useful for me, as a chocolate tea pot.

So now after a ten minute wait, I’m taking the two stops back to Dalston Junction to get a bus home. That is only three routes now, due to the cutback of the 277.

I find it interesting, that North East London appears to have got more bus cuts, than Sadiq Khan’s patch of South London. And it was all to pay the bribe of the fare freeze, that got him elected.

So in the next Mayoral election, I shall be voting more a Mayor, who lives in the North.

We certainly, did better under Boris, who lived a mile towards the City of London.

 

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 6 Comments