The Anonymous Widower

Does Harlow Need An Improved Train Service?

I ask this question, because I am increasingly seeing articles like this one on My London, which is entitled The Large Town Just Outside London Desperate For A London Underground Station.

The town is Harlow.

This Google Map shows the West Anglia Main Line, as it runs through the North of the town.

Note.

On the face of it the town seems well-served by the trains.

Harlow Town Station

This Google Map shows Harlow Town station to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The station has four platforms.
  2. The station has full step-free access.
  3. The station has 697 parking spaces with 18 fully accessible spaces.

The station was built in the 1950s and is a Grade II Listed building.

Train services at the station are as follows.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 2 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Bishop’s Stortford, Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale
  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale and Stansted Mountfitchet

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. The Stansted services are fast services and take 29 minutes between London Liverpool Street and Harlow Town.
  3. The other services seem to take a few minutes longer.
  4. London Liverpool Street or Stratford and Tottenham Hale both get six tph.
  5. Bishop’s Stortford gets a four tph service from Harlow Town.
  6. The two Cambridge stations only get two tph.

Harlow Town station has a fairly good service, but it could probably be improved.

Harlow Mill Station

This Google Map shows Harlow Mill station to a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms.
  2. The station has step-free access to the London-bound platform only.
  3. The station has 29 parking spaces with 1 fully accessible space.

The station was built in the 1840s and gets about 13 % of the passengers compared to Harlow Town station.

Train services at the station are as follows.

  • Stratford and Bishops Stortford – 1 tph – via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale, Waltham Cross, Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Sawbridgeworth
  • London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North – 1 tph – via Tottenham Hale, Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Roydon, Sawbridgeworth, Bishop’s Stortford, Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford and Cambridge

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour
  2. London Liverpool Street or Stratford and Tottenham Hale both get only two tph.
  3. Bishop’s Stortford gets two tph service from Harlow Mill.
  4. The two Cambridge stations only get one tph.

Unless you lived or worked nearby, I doubt you would be likely to use Harlow Mill station.

Recent And Planned Improvements

These improvements are planned and it is very unlikely they won’t happen.

Class 710 Trains

London Overground now runs new four-car Class 710 trains between London Liverpool Street and Cheshunt.

  • Each has 189 seats and can accept 489 standing passengers.
  • Busy services to Cheshunt will probably are pair of trains.
  • There are four tph between Cheshunt and London.
  • Will the trains shave a few minutes from journey times?

This massive increase in capacity and train quality must attract some passengers to change to and from the London Overground at Cheshunt.

Class 720 Trains

Greater Anglia has 133 new five-car Class 720 trains on order.

  • Each has 540 seats and can accept 145 standing passengers.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • Busy services through Harlow will probably be a pair of these trains.

These new trains will be a massive increase in capacity and should attract more passengers to the route.

Class 745 Trains

Greater Anglia has recently introduced ten new twelve-car Class 745 trains on Stansted Express services.

  • Each has 767 seats.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They run a two tph service between Harlow Town and London Liverpool Street station and Stansted Airport.

These new trains should attract more passengers to the route.

Crossrail

Services through Harlow will connect to Crossrail at both London Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Will this mean that some passengers will switch from the Victoria Line to Crossrail for their onward journeys?

  • Crossrail will have more capacity than the Victoria Line.
  • Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Heathrow, Paddington and West London will be easier by Crossrail.
  • Victoria and Waterloo will probably be easier by the Victoria Line.
  • London Liverpool Street station’s new connection to the Northern Line will give easier access to parts of South London.
  • London Liverpool Street station will have much improved step-free connections to all London Underground lines.

Crossrail will certainly change the way many people travel between Harlow and London.

Four Lines Modernisation

This page on the Transport for London web site explains the Four Lines Modernisation. This is the first paragraph.

We’re transforming the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. When the work is done we’ll be able to run trains more frequently and reliably to make journeys faster and more comfortable.

The project should increase Peak Hour capacity by 33 %.

This will benefit those who change trains at London Liverpool Street between the West Anglia Main Line and the Circle and Metropolitan Lines.

Possible Improvements

These are possible improvements that may happen.

Crossrail 2

It is unlikely, that a start will be made on Crossrail 2 in the near future.

Victoria Line Improvements

The Victoria Line will continue to do, what it has done reliability for over fifty years.

But there could be improvements.

I also suspect that engineers will find a way to increase the frequency to forty tph.

Four Tracks On The West Anglia Main Line

There are two reasons for four-tracking sections of the West Anglia Main Line.

  • To separate Crossrail 2 trains from fast expresses to Stansted and Cambridge.
  • To speed up services to and from Stansted Airport.

However four-tracking the route between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations would probably be very beneficial.

  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge services could be speeded up.
  • Extra services could be run on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • It could make it easier to extend the Overground from Cheshunt.

Four-tracking will be needed for Crossrail 2, so there is surely the possibility, that it could be done earlier to bring benefits to those living along the Lea Valley.

ERTMS Signalling On The West Anglia Main Line

ERTMS Signalling could speed up services and increase their number on the West Anglia Main Line.

It might also enable four-tracking, which would be very disruptive to both train services and road traffic to be delayed.

Station Improvements On The West Anglia Main Line

The stations between London Liverpool Street and Cambridge are a poor bunch with only Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park, Meridian Water, Waltham Cross, Broxbourne, Harlow Town, Bishop’s Stortford and Audley End having full step-free access.

Some of the other stations need refurbishment and step-free access.

As step-free access will be needed for Crossrail 2, why not setup a rolling program of station improvements.

Level Crossings On The West Anglia Main Line

There are four level crossings on the route to the South of Broxbourne, including three at Cheshunt, Enfield Lock and Brimsdown stations.

They all need to be removed for safety reasons.

New Trains And Capacity

The new trains being rolled out by Greater Anglia and the London Overground will certainly have effects on the services on the West Anglia Main Line.

  • The better performance could speed up services by a few minutes.
  • The capacity increase on the new trains should be welcome.
  • The trains will be of better quality than those they replace.

I also wonder, if the better quality of the trains and their facilities will surely attract more passengers. I suspect the train companies hope so!

Extending The London Overground

This map from cartometro.com shows Cheshunt station and Cheshunt Junction just to the South.

Note.

  1. The two platforms on the West Anglia Main Line and the single bay platform for the London Overground.
  2. The level crossing to the North of Cheshunt station.
  3. The comprehensive Cheshunt Junction which trains to go between the Southbury Loop and the West Anglia Main Line.

Cheshunt Junction is occasionally used by Greater Anglia trains to access the Southbury Loop.

It certainly seems to me, that the Overground could connect to the West Anglia Main Line.

  • All trains from London going to the North of Cheshunt could use Platform 2.
  • All trains to London coming from the North of Cheshunt could use Platform 1.
  • The bay Platform 3 would still be available to turn local trains on the Southbury Loop.
  • An extra crossover could probably be inserted to allow trains from London on the West Anglia Main Line to use Platform 3.

London Overground trains could run to a terminal further North.

Trains Between Cheshunt And London

It is worth looking at the number of trains between Cheshunt and London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North via West Anglia Main Line
  • Greater Anglia – 4 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport via West Anglia Main Line
  • London Overground – 4 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cheshunt via the Southbury Loop

This means that the West Anglia Main Line has 10 tph and the Southbury Loop has 4 tph.

This suggests possibilities.

  • Move some services from the West Anglia Main Line to the Southbury Loop.
  • Extend some or all of the London Overground trains to the North of Cheshunt.
  • Stations like Bishop’s Stortford, Broxbourne, Harlow, Hertford East and Ware could get extra services to London.
  • The new services would connect to extra stations without changing trains.

Very little new infrastructure would be required.

Bishop’s Stortford Station As A London Overground Destination

Bishop’s Stortford station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Bishop’s Stortford station could probably easily handle up to an extra two tph.
  • London Overground’s Class 710 trains only have an operating speed of only 75 mph.
  • The trains may need a speed upgrade to serve Bishop’s Stortford, as their speed could slow the Cambridge and Stansted Airport expresses.

If the London Overground services ran to Bishop’s Stortford station, all the smaller stations South of Bishop’s Stortford, could travel to and from Stansted Airport with a single change.

Bishop’s Stortford station may be a possibility, as a destination of two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Broxbourne Station As A London Overground Destination

Broxbourne station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North

Consider.

  • Broxbourne station could probably easily handle up to an extra two tph.
  • As Broxbourne is only 3.2 miles and six minutes to the North of Cheshunt, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

Broxbourne station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Harlow Town Station As A London Overground Destination

Harlow Town station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Harlow Town station could probably easilyhandle up to an extra four tph.
  • If one is needed there would appear to be space for a turnback facility or an extra platform.
  • As Harlow Town is only 5.4 miles and eight minutes to the North of Cheshunt, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

If the London Overground services ran to Harlow Town station, all the smaller stations South of Harlow Town, could travel to and from Stansted Airport with a single change.

Harlow Town station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to four tph on the London Overground route to London.

Hertford East Station As A London Overground Destination

Hertford East station has these trains to and from London.

  • Greater Anglia -2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Hertford East
  • There is an extra tph in the Peak.

Consider.

  • Hertford East station has platforms long enough for eight-car trains and may need modification to accommodate a pair of Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains.
  • Ware station would need to be remodelled to increase frequency above three tph.
  • As the route from Broxbourne is on a branch line, the 75 mph speed of the London Overground’s Class 710 trains may not be a problem.

Hertford East station may be a possibility, as a destination of up to two tph on the London Overground route to London.

Conclusion

I think the best two destinations of the London Overground service to the North of Cheshunt would be Harlow and Hertford East.

  • Trains could terminate at Harlow Town station to connect with Stansted Express and Cambridge trains.
  • It appears that the slightly shorter Class 710 trains may have advantages when using the short platforms at Hertford East station.

Perhaps each destination should receive two tph.

  • Harlow Town would be connected to the Overground.
  • Passengers using stations between Hackney Downs and Cheshunt on the Southbury Loop would change at Harlow Town to and from Cambridge and Stansted Airport.
  • But the biggest benefit would be that two paths on the West Anglia Main Line would be released, as the two tph to Hertford East would be using the Southbury Loop.

I feel there are possibilities to increase the number of trains on the West Anglia Main Line without adding expensive extra tracks.

 

 

April 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Khan Pledges To Name London Overground Lines If Re-Elected

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

If this is Khan’s big policy for people who use the Overground, then it is very small thinking.

It is also another pointless waste of money.

The Overground needs expansion not a rebranding exercise.

It is successful and every user has their own names for the various lines.

I shall be voting for someone who has an expansive vision for London.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 6 Comments

Hopes For West London Orbital Railway Consultation Later This Year

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

The title says it all about the latest thinking for the creation of the West London Orbital Railway.

  • The cost/benefit ratio appears good.
  • Funding appears difficult given Transport for London’s finances.

This map from the Mayor’s Transport Strategy shows the route.

I’ve always believed that the line will give better access to Heathrow for workers and passengers, but with expansion at the Airport less likely to happen because of carbon emission issues, is this railway less likely to be created?

March 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

Air-Conditioned Piccadilly Line Train Designs Presented

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

The article has four pictures of the final design of the new trains for the Piccadilly Line and the pictures don’t seem to be the same as those I took of the mock-up in October 2013 and can be seen in Siemens’ View Of The Future Of The Underground.

  • The design has a less dramatic nose compared to the mock-up.
  • It also appears to be taller.
  • Judging by the external profile, the design has a clerestory to perhaps add a couple of inches.
  • The seats appear to have a chunky profile. Is the air-conditioning partly behind the seats.

The interior seems to borrow heavily on the design for the London Overground’s Class 710 train.

Note.

  1. The air-conditioning outlets in front of or underneath the seats.
  2. No grilles behind the seats.
  3. The Class 710 train has a clerestory for extra height, but it is not visible on the outside. Does the one on the Siemens’ design have grilles from air entry or exit?

These are some views of seats in current Underground stock.

Note.

  1. The Piccadilly Line trains were fully refurbished in 2001.
  2. The Northern Line trains were fully refurbished in 2013.
  3. The grilles behind the seats on the Northern Line trains.

You can see a progression through the various designs, with the Class 710 trains

It looks like Siemens are using a similar interior layout to current trains on the Underground and the Overground.

A few thoughts.

Heated Floors

Some Bombardier Aventras like Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains have heated floors. Will Siemens copy this idea?

These trains will go to some of the coldest parts of the Underground around Cockfosters.

USB Charging

This screen-capture from one of the Siemens’ pictures shows the front of the seats.

I thought for a moment, that there was a USB charge point in the front of the seat, but on second thoughts, that is just a fitting to enable extra vertical grab rails.

Siemens should put USB charge points in the arm rests, as Vivarail have done.

Good design is often simple.

Walk-Through Cars

The Railway Gazette article says this about walk-through cars.

The longer cars and walk-through interior of the articulated design would maximise the usable interior space, increasing capacity by 10%.

They say nothing about what I think is there biggest advantage – Passengers can freely circulate in the train, to perhaps get a better seat or be better placed for a quick exit.

Do women feel less vulnerable in wall-through trains?

Step-Free Entry

One of the good points of the mock-up in 2013 was that entrance into the train was step-free, as this picture shows.

But look at this screen-capture for the detailed design.

The doors now seem a couple of inches above the platform.

Have the designers removed a must-have feature?

German trains have a terrible reputation for not being step-free between train and platform, but if Stadler and Merseyrail can do it with the new Class 777 trains, then surely it can be done on the London Underground.

Front End

The previous two pictures do show the front end of the mock-up and final design well.

I do wonder, if the original design with the bar across didn’t go down to well with drivers.

  • The driver on most trains sits to the left.
  • Trains in the UK generally run on the left.
  • Signals on the Underground are usually placed on the left.

So did the bar across get in the way of looking across at passengers, as a train entered a station?

Driver’s Doors

The previous two pictures also show that the original mock-up is without a door for the driver, but that these have been added to the final design.

Perhaps drivers feel a separate door is necessary, as it can’t be blocked by baggage, bicycles or buggies.

Train Length

In Thoughts On The New Tube For London, I speculated about train length and feel that with clever cab design, that the trains can be a bit longer than the platform with the walk-through design.

After all on the East London Line at a few stations, the platforms aren’t long enough for the five-car trains and passengers in the last car are just asked to walk forward.

This picture shows what happens on the Overground at Canada Water station.

Those travelling in the last car of the train have to walk forward to the front doors of the car to exit. I suspect that with Siemens new trains, this will be the case on the Piccadilly Line.

The big advantage is that it avoids lengthening the platforms, which would be extremely tricky and very expensive.

So will the new Siemens trains be made longer, by allowing overhang into the tunnel at the rear and messaging to inform passengers?

I think they might!

Wikipedia gives the length of the new Siemens 2024 Stock as 113.7 metres, which compares with the 106.8 metres of the current 1973 Stock.

So the new trains are 6.9 metres longer.

Does that mean that if the front of the train is at the same position it is now, the rear end of the train will be overhanging the platform, by almost seven metres?

Judging by what happens on the East London Line, I think it would be feasible. It could even be a few metres longer, in which case the first set of double-doors would be outside the platform and wouldn’t open.

Seats Per Car

I believe this screen-capture from one of Siemens pictures shows the view of one of the end cars looking towards the driver’s cab.

Note.

  1. The red and green labels on the door to the driver’s compartment at the far end.
  2. The two pairs of passenger doors and the lobbies with the black floors.
  3. The six banks of seats, each of which have six individual seats.

This means that the driver cars each have thirty-six seats.

According to Wikipedia, each new Siemens train has nine cars and a total of 268 seats.

So that means that the middle seven cars have a total of 196 seats or twenty-eight in each car. What convenient numbers!

Could that mean that the seven intermediate cars have four banks of seven seats arranged around a lobby with a pair of double-doors on both sides?

Could the intermediate cars have just one set of wide doors? I shall be taking a tape measure and my camera to a Class 710 train, to see what Bombardier have done.

So a new Siemens train might look something like this.

  • Car 1 – driver cab – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats
  • Car 2 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 3 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 4 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 5 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 6 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 7 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 8 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 9 – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats- driver cab

Note.

  1. There will be a maximum of fourteen seats between any two entrance and exit lobbies.
  2. The train will have eleven sets of doors on either side.
  3. Trains of different lengths can be made for the Waterloo and City Line, where trains are shorter, and the Jubilee, where trains are longer, by just removing or adding intermediate cars.

For the Piccadilly Line, so long as the distance between the front of the train and the first set of doors is greater than 6.9 metres, these trains can be run using the overhanging into the tunnel method used on the East London Line of the London Overground.

Observations From The Underground And Overground

I went for a look and can say this.

  • The seats on Overground Class 710 trains and Underground S Stock trains have a width of 0.5 metres. So is this a Transport for London standard?
  • Double doors on both trains are around 1.5 metres wide.

On Class 710 trains, some cars have a run of fourteen seats. Is it a design clue for Transport for London train interiors?

There must be some proof somewhere that fourteen 0.5 metre seats and two 1.5 metre lobbies can handle large numbers of passengers.

The new Siemens trains will have an articulated join in the middle.

Could The Trains Be Lengthened?

The only things we know about the lengths of the cars of the new Siemens trains are.

  • The average length of cars is 12.6 metres.
  • The two driving cars are probably identical.
  • The seven intermediate cars are probably identical.
  • The distance between the end of the train and the first set of doors must be long enough to allow the first set of doors to open on the platform, with nearly seven metres of the train in the tunnel.

If we assume that the length of the intermediate car is X metres and it has two banks of seats and one lobby, then the driving car with three banks of seats, two lobbies and a driving cab could be almost twice as long.

I can do a little calculation.

How long would the driver cars be for various lengths of intermediate car?

As the driver car is effectively an intermediate car with an extra pair of doors/lobbie and an overhang containing another set of sets and the driving cab, I can also estimate the between the end of the train and the first set of doors, by subtracting the intermediate car length and two metres for the lobby from the driver car length

  • 9 metres – 25.35 metres – 14.35 metres
  • 9.5 metres – 23.6 metres – 12.1 metres
  • 10 metres – 21.85 metres – 9.85 metres
  • 10.5 metres – 20.1 metres – 7.6 metres
  • 11 metres – 18.35 metres – 5.35 metres
  • 12 metres – 14.85 metres – 0.85 metres

Note.

  1. The three figures are intermediate car length, driver car length and an estimate of the distance between the end of the train and the first set of doors.
  2. I shall improve this table, when I get the measurements from a Class 710 train.
  3. As there is a need for at least an overhang into the tunnel of at least 6.9 metres, it looks like intermediate cars can’t be longer than 10.5 metres.

Suppose that the intermediate car length  is 10.5 metres.

Adding an extra car would mean that the new train length would be 124.2 metres, which would be 17.4 metres longer than the current Piccadilly Line 1973 Stock train.

This would be an overhang of 8.7 metres at both ends of the train, which would probably mean that the train wouldn’t fit the route, as the overhang is not long enough to accommodate it.

But with a length of ten metres, the overhang would be only 8.45 metres, which would appear to be feasible.

I wonder, if it would be possible with appropropriate modifications to the tunnel mouths and by using in-cab signalling to run ten car trains, if the intermediate cars were limited to ten metres.

  • It looks to be possible mathematically.
  • There would need to be no modifications to the platforms.
  • There would be a ten percent increase in capacity.

It will hopefully come clear, when Siemens release the length of the driver and intermediate cars.

I believe that it is possible, that Siemens have designed these trains, so they can be extended without having to lengthen the platforms.

 

March 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Whitechapel Station Emerging From Its Shell?

I took these pictures this morning at Whitechapel station, this morning.

I have broken them into sections.

The Overground Platforms

There is work to do, but they are certainly useable and safe for passengers.

Overground To Sub-Surface Lines

What an elegant way to hide the structure, that holds everything up!

Whitechapel Road

My granddaughter was born in the old Royal London Hospital.

Sub-Surface Platforms

The detail of the lights and the various platform fittings looks good.

Whitechapel Station In 3D

This Google Map shows a 3D image of the station.

It’s one of those sites, where you’d choose somewhere else.

Crossrail’s Progress Video From February 2020

Conclusion

The builders seem to be getting towards the final stages.

As they have a lot of testing to do, I suspect the earliest day for trains to be running through with passengers, would be sometime in November 2021,

 

February 2, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Go-ahead For £900m London Bishopsgate Goodsyard

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

It seems a good scheme.

  • Mixed-use urban quarter.
  • 500 homes, half affordable.
  • 1.4m sq ft of workspace
  • Public park sitting on top of restored historic railway arches
  • Six acres of public realm.

There is only one major problem, as far as I can see. – If Crossrail is still running late, this project could further delay it, by stealing the resources needed to finish the job.

Yet again, the Mayor has given planning permission to a project that could delay Crossrail, by stealing its resources.

Planning permission, should be conditional on Crossrail being finished.

A Central Line Connection To The East London Line At Shoreditch High Street Station

Shoreditch High Street station will be very close to the development.

There will be twenty trains per hour (tph) on London Overground’s East London Line.

Under Future Proposals in the Wikipedia entry for the station, this is said.

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.

I think it will be a good idea, to create the connection.

December 4, 2020 Posted by | News, Transport | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Greater Anglia Amends Class 720 Order From Bombardier To Increase Flexibility

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

Greater Anglia is changing its order for Class 720 trains from a mixed fleet of 22 x ten-car and 89 x five-car to one of 133 x five-car.

The order is still 665 carriages in total.

In Why Do Some Train Operators Still Buy Half-Trains?, I tried to answer the question in the title of the post.

There have also been articles in railway magazines, questioning the practice of buying short trains and doubling them up.

In the UK, the following companies are running new trains in pairs.

  • Great Western Railway – Class 800 and Class 802
  • LNER – Class 800
  • London Overground – Class 710

The only creditable explanation I have heard was from a driver, who said that if one train in a pair fails, you can still run a short train.

Abd now Greater Anglia say it’s for increased flexibility!

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A First Ride On A Class 710 Train Between Upminster And Romford

This morning I went to Upminster and took the Class 710 train to Romford and back.

All went well and what a difference from yesterday, which I wrote about in A Last Ride On A Class 315 Train Between Upminster And Romford?

These are my thoughts.

Capacity Improvement

These pictures show the interiors of the Class 710 train and the Class 315 train.

It looks like many more passengers can be squeezed into the Class 710 train, than the Class 315 train.

According to Wikipedia the Class 710 train can hold 189 seated and 489 standing passengers, whilst the Class 315 train has 318 seats.

Ride Improvement

I travelled along the route with a Transport for London engineer, who worked on the Crossrail trains.

We both felt the ride was a large improvement and we both felt that it Network Rail worked a bit of magic on the track, it would be a very good train service.

Could Four Trains Per Hour Be Possible?

My travelling companion had worked on the Docklands Light Railway, and we both felt that with a degree of automation, an increased frequency would be possible.

Consider.

  • There is only one train on the line at any one time.
  • No other trains use the line.
  • The route is under 3.5 miles long.
  • The acceleration and deceleration of the new trains is superior to those of the Class 315 trains.
  • Do the Class 710 trains employ regenerative braking to battery technology?
  • The current operating speed is just 30 mph.
  • I’m sure Network Rail could improve the operating speed.
  • My travelling companion told me, that Crossrail had successfully tested the automated auto-reverse feature on the Class 345 trains

All these points convince me, that, track improvements and simple automation, much less sophisticated, than that of the Victoria Line or the Docklands Light Railway, could run the service at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

There is one problem though.

This article on Time 107.5, is entitled New Train To Begin Running Between Romford And Upminster.

This is an extract.

From today, the new Overground train which has changes to certain features, will be implemented.

The key changes include a different colour at the front which has changed from yellow to orange.

Different LED lights have also been fitted to the train.

The new trains are also quieter so may sound different to the older trains.

As a result, Network Rail and Transport for London are reminding pedestrians using level crossings along the route to stay safe.

Network Rail and Transport for London seem to be worried about pedestrians on the level crossings.

I would think, it prudent, that before line speeds and the frequency of the service are increased, there should be a thorough period of testing to see how pedestrians cope with the new trains, at the level crossings.

What methods of automation could be used?

Borrow From Dear Old Vicky

The Victoria Line (aka Dear Old Vicky!) opened in 1968 and runs using a fully-automated system, at frequencies of up to 36 tph.

Under Service And Rolling Stock, in the Wikipedia entry for the Victoria Line, there is this description of the original automation system.

On opening, the line was equipped with a fixed-block Automatic Train Operation system (ATO). The train operator closed the train doors and pressed a pair of “start” buttons and, if the way ahead was clear, the ATO drives the train at a safe speed to the next station. At any point, the driver could switch to manual control if the ATO failed. The system, which operated until 2012, made the Victoria line the world’s first full-scale automatic railway.

The Victoria line runs faster trains than other Underground lines because it has fewer stops, ATO running and modern design. Train speeds can reach up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h).

Note.

  1. The original ATO system worked for over forty years.
  2. The method of operation seemed to be very safe,
  3. But most remarkably, the electronics that controlled the trains, were 1960s technology and contained a lot of thermionic valves and relays

What would 50 mph running do for timings between Romford and Upminster?

By training I am a Control Engineer, and although, I’ve never worked on large-scale automation systems, I have worked with lots of people who have and firmly believe that a simple system based on Dear Old Vicky’s original design would work.

What sort of times could be achieved between Romford and Upminster?

  • The route can be considered to be two legs; Romford and Emerson Park and Emerson Park and Upminster, both of which are about 1.75 miles long.
  • The fastest way in a train between too stations, is to accelerate to cruising speed, cruise at that speed and then time the deceleration, so you stop neatly in the station.
  • The Class 710 trains probably accelerate and decelerate at around 1 m/sec/sec.
  • The acceleration and deceleration section of each leg will take 22.2 seconds and during that time the train will travel 0.15 miles.
  • So that means the train will cruise at 50 mph for 1.45 miles, which will take 104 seconds.
  • The two legs of the journey will take around 150 second or 2.5 minutes.

The time for a round trip from Romford to Upminster can now be calculated,

  • Four legs between station 4 x 2.5 = 10 mins
  • Two stops Emerson Park 2 x 1 mins = 2 mins
  • One stop at Romford 2 mins = 2 mins
  • One stop at Upminster 2 mins = 2 mins

Note.

  1. This is a total of 16 minutes
  2. The longer stops at Romford and Upminster are needed for the driver to change ends.
  3. I have repeated the calculations for a 60 mph cruise and it saves just 40 seconds.

But I do feel that improving the method of operation could allow four tph.

The Driver Could Control The Train From One End

Consider.

  • Each cab could have a video screen showing the view from the other cab.
  • There could also be video screens on the platforms giving detailed views of the train in a station, as there are on many platforms now!

Would these and perhaps extra automation allow the driver to control the train from one cab, as it shuttled back and forth?

I suspect it would be cab at the Upminster end, as the platform is longer at Romford.

I believe that it would be possible and should allow stops of a minute at the two termini, as the driver wouldn’t be changing ends.

One minute stops would reduce the round-trip time to fourteen minutes and allow four tph.

Full Automation With The Driver In Control

The Docklands Light Railway is fully automated, so why not use a similar system on the Romford and Upminster Line?

But instead of having the system controlled by an operator in a remote signalling centre, the driver on the single train on the route is in control of it all.

The automation would enable fast stops and the driver would not have to change ends.

This would mean that four tph would be able to run at all times.

The System Would Self-Regulate

With public transport, things do go wrong.

Supposing someone turned up in a wheel-chair and it took five minutes to load them onto the train, so it left late.

This would mean that the train would be running late for the rest of the day, unless it was decided to wait for a few minutes, so it had the time of the following service.

After the wait, all trains would be on time.

Put Two Drivers On The Train

This would also be possible.

The train would have a driver in each cab.

  • The driver in the cab at the Romford end of the train would drive the train to Romford.
  • The driver in the cab at the Upminster end of the train would drive the train to Upminster.
  • At each terminus, they would swap over control, just as the two pilots do in an airliner.

There would probably need to be a simple interlock, so that only one driver could drive the train at the same time.

This should give the required four tph, as fast stops could be performed at all stations.

Using two drivers could be the ideal way to test out four tph and see whether it attracted more passengers.

Conclusion

The Romford and Upminster route has been markedly improved with the new Class 710 train.

I believe, that it is now possible to run four tph on this route, with some moderate extra expenditure or using two drivers.

 

 

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Last Ride On A Class 315 Train Between Upminster And Romford?

This morning I went to Upminster and took the Class 315 train to Romford.

I added the question mark, as when I passed East Ham depot, there were two new Class 710 trains sitting there, covered in graffiti.

Could The Romford And Upminster Line Be Improved?

I see two possible simple improvements

Four Trains Per Hour

London Overground likes to run four trains per hour (tph).

Could this frequency be run on the Romford and Upminster Line?

Three years ago I wrote Could The Romford To Upminster Line Handle Four Trains Per Hour?, and came to this conclusion.

A seven minute trip would mean the train could perform the required four trips per hour.

It would still be tight.

I also investigated an automated shuttle train on the route in An Automated Shuttle Train Between Romford And Upminster, which I felt would be possible, to run a four tph service.

Extension Of The Service

There are various reasons, why the service could be extended from Upminster station, in the Grays direction.

  • It would give travellers from South Essex much better access to Crossrail.
  • It could give a shuttle between Romford and Grays via the Lakeside Shopping Centre
  • Tilbury Riverside station could be a possibility.
  • It could open up possibilities for more housing in the area.
  • If the route were to be extended to a new station at London Gateway, it could make it easier for people to travel to work at the large port.

Obviously, it would have to be viable for the operator, but the big beasts of Crossrail, Lakeside Shopping Centre and London Gateway might make it possible.

Planning the route wouldn’t be that easy.

Consider.

  • The connections to Romford and Grays are on different sides of the District Line, so a flyover or dive-under might be needed.
  • Upminster and Grays is a single-track line with a passing loop at the two-platform Ockenden station.
  • Upminster and Grays used to be worked by a shuttle service.
  • The signalling appears to be able to handle four tph in both directions.
  • The current service between Grays and Upminster is two tph in both directions.
  • There is a bay platform 1A, at Upminster, which faces towards Grays.

It can certainly be said, that the extension of the service can’t be run at four tph.

I also think, that the current track layout at Upminster looks like one of British Rail efforts to stop any expansion of the railway.

This Google Map shows the layout of Upminster station.

Note.

  1. The  platforms are numbered 1 to 6 from South to North.
  2. Platform 1A is the Southernmost platform, which is slightly at an angle.
  3. The main station footbridge is at the Western ends of the platforms.
  4. The station isn’t fully step-free.

Is an alternative approach possible?

Suppose the following were to be arranged.

  • A four tph endless shuttle between Romford and Upminster stations.
  • Full step-free access at Romford station is currently being installed.
  • Full step-free access at Upminster station.
  • A two tph shuttle between Platform 1a and Grays, London Gateway or wherever most passengers want. This service would be arranged to give four tph between Upminster and Grays, when combined with the current services.
  • The two four tph services would be timed to give a convenient interchange at Upminster.

Could it be made to work?

It would only need improvements to Upminster station.

These pictures show Upminster station.

Note.

  1. Platform 1a is fully-electrified and long enough for a Class 710 train.
  2. The bridge at the Eastern end of the station is not step-free but could be updated.
  3. It might be possible to extend this bridge to Platform 6.

Platform 1a could certainly be used to operate a shuttle service to Grays to create a new service across South Essex.

 

 

October 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Greater Manchester Illegal Raves: Man Dies, Woman Raped And Three Stabbed

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A 20-year-old man has died, a woman has been raped and three people have been stabbed during two illegal “quarantine raves” that attracted 6,000 people.

What the hell was going on?

There have been some exuberant parties in Hackney Marshes, but they didn’t appear to be the on the scale of the Mancunian troubles.

Last night on Stephen Nolan’s program, there was some very heated debate on what went on in Manchester. Some, who had been present, should have been arrested, if what they alleged they’d done was true.

If you look at total COVID-19 cases in London and the North West on June 15th, they are as follows.

  • London 27, 330 – 306.8
  • North-West 26,759 – 367

The second figure is a rate per 100,000 of the population. Although the Government data doesn’t give the legend on the chart! Poor presentation again from the Government statisticians!

I have been on public transport a lot in London and the behaviour of passengers seems to follow the rules. Especially, on the Overground, which seems to be busier than the buses and the Underground. Today on a trip out, everybody I saw on public transport was masked!

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment