This post is based on another snippet from the Kent Route Study, which you can download from this page on the Network Rail web site.
The study says this about the possibility of reopening East Brixton station.
5.15.17. There was a station at East Brixton on the rail route between
Denmark Hill and London Victoria which closed in 1976. The station
site sits within the London Borough of Lambeth.
5.15.18. As with Camberwell, there have been numerous calls from
local stakeholders to reopen the station over the years. The London
Borough of Lambeth is keen to reopen the station to improve the
connectivity of Brixton town centre to orbital rail routes, building on
the success of the London Overground route to Clapham Junction
which opened in 2012. If reopened the station would be served
solely by London Overground services operating to and from
Clapham Junction via the East London Line.
5.15.19. The London Borough of Lambeth are therefore leading a
review of the business case and demand for East Brixton station
with support from Transport for London and Network Rail. This
review will include consideration of the impact of a new station on
local development opportunities. It is expected to complete during
early 2017 and will determine whether or not the station has a
viable business case. Any further developments will be reported in
the final Route Study.
If you look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr.
East Brixton station is clearly shown on the tracks now used by the East London Line.
These pictures show the railway and what remains of the station on Moorland Road.
This Google Map shows the location of the station.
Note that the venue; Brixton East 1871 is shown in the pictures and on the map.
In an ideal world Loughborough Junction and Brixton stations should have platforms on the Overground, but budgets are not limitless, so neither of them has.
It may look a stiff climb to the platforms, but it is no more than some other Overground and DLR stations. Lifts would be essential.
Does that make it a Bactrian station?
It’s certainly the sort of thing, that you’ll see in posh Islington and would never see in plebian Hackney.
This article in the Hackney Gazette is entitled Dalston Kingsland: Four in hospital after sparks and smoke cause stampede off train.
As the problem was sorted by the London Fire Brigade using a bucket of sand to extinguish a fire in the battery pack of a workman’s drill, it doesn’t appear to have been very serious.
The injuries seem to have been caused by panic, as passengers tried to get away fro the problem.
I know Dalston Kingsland station well and although the entrance, ticket hall and gateline has been updated, the stairs are not the best.
So did everybody try to get out of the station on these stairs and it was this that caused the injuries?
I think there are questions that have to be asked about the design of the station and its operating procedures.
If you look at the passenger numbers for 2015-16 on the North London Line, you get the following.
- Canonbury – 2.86million
- Dalston Kingsland – 5.93million
- Hackney Central – 5.98million
- Homerton – 4.65 million
- Hackney Wick – 2.10million
So the station has a fairly high usage.
At the moment, the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is closed, so is the station getting more passengers, who need to get across London?
It looks to me, that the incident could have been a lot worse.
Luckily it wasn’t, but I do believe that something must be done to improve the stairs at Dalston Kingland station.
These strikes have all the qualities of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.
The latest headline on an article on the BBC is Southern rail strike enters second day as Acas talks start.
I doubt the talks will be very productive.
Here are my thoughts about various issues.
I have been running around in driver-only-operated (DOO) trains for quite a few decades now. Especially, as I have always travelled frequently on the London Underground.
Wikipedia has a comprehensive section on One Man Operation in London.
This is said about the Underground.
All trains on the London Underground are single-manned.Conversion to one-man operation began in 1984 and was completed in 2000.
In some ways though the Underground, is not full DOO, in that on nearly all stations, there are staff on the station, who assist the driver to safely dispatch the trains.
Assistance From Staff
The staff on the platform are also there to assist passengers, who need help. This page on the Transport for London web site describes the role of staff.
This is said under Assistance To And From Trains.
On the Tube, TfL Rail and Overground, station staff will also accompany you to the train and help you on board and, if needed, can arrange for you to be met at your destination. Anyone can use this service, but it is particularly used by blind and visually impaired passengers and people using boarding ramps onto trains.
If you would like to use this service, ask a member of staff when you arrive at the station.
That is very much turn-up-and-go for everybody!
So what happens on Southern?
This page on the Southern web site gives full details of what they offer.
This is said.
When should I ask for help?
If you want to book ‘help’ try to call us at least one day before you travel.
That is not acceptable.
So there’s one job for the redundant guards on Southern – They could help on the platform, as they do on the London Underground and Overground.
The Gospel Oak To Barking Line
London hasn’t been without trouble though, as this from Wikipedia shows.
TFL now operates 100% of its overground network as driver-only trains. The latest conversion was announced in July 2013 on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) challenged the move, claiming passenger safety would be compromised. Transport for London replied that at the time the East London Line, already one-man operated, has one door-related incident for every 7 million passengers, while the section of the network which currently uses conductors has one door-related incident for every 4 million passengers. On 16 August 2013, the RMT called a 48-hour strike over the August Bank holiday weekend. According to the RMT, the proposal set forth by Transport for London would imply Driver Only Operations on the whole of the London Overground network and make 130 guards redundant London Overground Rail Operations stated in response that they had given “the RMT assurances on employing conductors in alternative customer service roles and offering a generous voluntary redundancy package to those who want it.” According to RMT, the proposals to implement driver only operations are in response to the 12.5% reduction in Transport for London’s funding announced in Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review
I certainly don’t remember that strike. So it must have been really significant!
Overground And Underground
You should always remember that when the Overground started, every train had a second man, but gradually they have been moved to the platforms.
The Overground works a different system to the Underground on doors in that the driver enables the doors for opening and they are actually opened by the passengers individually. On the Underground, the driver just opens and closes all doors.
It will be interesting to see, what system the new Class 345 trains for Crossrail use.
It’s an Overground train in the outer reaches and an Underground train in the centre.
The Class 345 trains also appear to be very hi-tech with various innovative features.
Automatic Train Operation
On the London Underground, the Central, Northern, Jubilee, and Victoria lines run with ATO.
ATO was introduced on the London Underground’s Northern line in 2013 and will be introduced on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines by 2022. Although ATO will be used on Crossrail and Thameslink, it has not yet been implemented on UK mainline railways
Lines like the Victoria Line, Crossrail and Thameslink, will not be completely automatic, but the driver will be an intelligent monitor to what the train is doing. It could be compared to auto-land on an aircraft, where the plane is actually controlled, by the autopilot and the pilots monitor.
As a Control Engineer, I believe we’ll be seeing large increases in the use of ATO in the UK in the next few years. Many intensively used lines could probably handle more trains, with a controlling ATO system.
Will the Unions object to ATO?
They haven’t seemed to yet, as ATO generally seems to see an increase in the number of trains, which means more staff.
More Automation On Trains
This is happening, but then this is only following the lead of more automation in planes and road vehicles.
Crossrail trains will set a new standard in automation.
This is a snippet from the an article in the Derby Telegraph
Unlike today’s commuter trains, Aventra can shut down fully at night and can be “woken up” by remote control before the driver arrives for the first shift.
I described this to a driver for Northern and a big smile came over his face.
Perhaps more contentious is the autoreverse system fitted to Crossrail trains, that I wrote about and explained fully in Crossrail Trains Will Have Auto-Reverse.
The system will work at a Crossrail terminal like Paddington or Abbey Wood.
- The driver selects auto-reverse in the terminal platform.
- The train then drives itself into the reversing siding.
- The driver starts to walk back through the train towards the other cab.
- When the train reaches the end of the reversing siding, it reverses back into the return platform.
- By the time the driver has walked the length of the train and installed himself in the cab, the train will have arrived in the platform and will be ready to depart.
I suspect that there will be a high-level of safety systems, with the driver probably carrying a dead man’s handle, that connects to the train by radio.
It will be interesting to see how the Unions react to such a system.
- One of the reasons for the auto-reverse is that it is needed to get 30 trains per hour, through the tunnel.
- Drivers will avoid a 200 metre walk.
- No passengers will be on the train, when the driver is out of the cab.
But it will mean more staff being employed, to drive and service the extra trains and handle the extra passengers.
I am drawn to the conclusion, that lots of automation and driver aids are coming to the railways.
DOO is the first of many issues, where there will be a fight.
If the Unions don’t like it, they will reap the wrath of the passengers, train companies and most politicians.
I didn’t use it, as I was going the other way.
It looks to be a very good design.
- Like all the best designs, it is simple.
- It is double-ended.
- It’s a gentle slope to ascend to train level, with no steps to trip on.
- It’s got seats to prop yourself on.
- It’s got a rail to hang on to.
- Those with poor eye-sight wouldn’t miss it and trip over.
- I suspect any sensible local builder could build one of these, from a kit of parts and instructions on a page of A4.
It looks to me like it is one of those classic engineering designs, that was developed using copious amounts of real ale, with everything written down on the back of fag-packets and used envelopes.
After my musings on dual-height platforms for the Bakerloo Line Extension, in How Will They Build The Bakerloo Line Extension?, I think that a modified version could handle the problems at stations on the Northern reaches of the Bakerloo Line, where 1972 Stock and Class 378 trains, share a platform.
With no end in sight f the Southern dispute and Govia seeming incapable of managing their way out of a paper bag, surely the time has come to explore the possibility of making Gatwick Airport a terminus of the East London Line?
A service could stop at all stations to New Cross Gate, Anerley (for my friend Nick), Norwood Junction, East Croydon, South Croydon and Gatwick Airport.
I know I’m being selfish, but it would create a valuable route to the East of Thameslink.
Gatwick have ambitions to be a massive rail hub and are putting millions where their mouth is.
So why shouldn’t they become a terminus for a two trains per hour (tph) service from Highbury and Islington, that alternates with a two tph service to West Croydon?
- At present you can get to Gatwick from Highbury and Islington, with a single change at New Cross Gate.
- It takes 26 minutes to New Cross Gate and after a three minute wait, 44 minutes from New Cross Gate to Gatwick.
- So total time is 73 minutes.
By comparison getting to Heathrow by Piccadilly Line takes about 70 minutes, so it’s not that slow.
I started this post on holiday, as a bit of a light-hearted post, but it does strike me, that it would be feasible.
- It gives the whole of East London from Walthamstow to Croydon, through Hackney, Tower Hamlets, New Cross a direct route to Gatwick.
- There is no new infrastructure required.
- Highbury and Islington is a well-connected terminal.
- Whitechapel gives a good connection to Crossrail.
I think that although it wouldn’t be something that some companies would welcome, it is the sort of idea, that an innovative Gatwick could fund to steal business from Heathrow.
Platform Changes At London Bridge Station
In 2012, the platform layout at London Bridge was as follows.
- Platform 1 – From Cannon Street
- Platform 2 – To/From Cannon Street
- Platform 3 – To Cannon Street
- Platform 4 – From Charing Cross
- Platform 5 – From Charing Cross and Bedford
- Platform 6 -To Charing Cross and Bedford
- There was also a through line to Charing Cross without a platform.
I can’t remember much about those days, except that the platforms were very crowded.
When London Bridge station and the Thameslink Programme is completed, the new platform layout will give opportunities to create new services through London Bridge to both; Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations.
The platform layout at London Bridge station will be as follows.
- Platform 1 – From Cannon Street
- Platform 2 – To/From Cannon Street
- Platform 3 – To Cannon Street
- Platform 4 – From Thameslink
- Platform 5 – To Thameslink
- Platform 6 – From Charing Cross
- Platform 7 – From Charing Cross
- Platform 8 – To Charing Cross
- Platform 9 – To Charing Cross
So, six through platforms and seven lines have been replaced by nine through platforms. This is a 50% increase in platforms and a 28% increase in tracks. The Borough Market Viaduct was the major engineering in creating the extra two tracks across the South Bank.
Other factors help capacity in the area include.
- The Bermondsey dive-under sorts out all the lines South of London Bridge station and will present trains to the right platforms at London Bridge. |Spaghetti Junction is so 1960s!
- Effectively, there are now three parallel and probably separate railway systems virtually from Bermondsey through London Bridge station, that split after the station; a pair of lines for Cannon Street, another pair for Thameslink and two pairs for Charing Cross.
- There has been a lot of work on track and signalling.
- The Tanners Hill Fly-Down has been built to improve capacity between London Bridge and Lewisham, which must help Cannon Street and Charing Cross services.
- The design of London Bridge station with its wide through platforms and more escalators than a science-fiction fantasy, could mean that passengers are there in time for their trains.
- The electrification changeover for Thameslink has been streamlined.
- The Class 700 trains must be better at changing voltages in the Thameslink tunnel.
All of these factoras must have positive affects on the capacity of the system.
I also think that one of the major benefits of the new layout, is what happens if something goes wrong.
If say a train breaks down on Thameslink at Blackfriars, because it is a separate railway, this doesn’t affect Cannon Street and Charing Cross services in the way it did before the new layout. There would still be the problems of fixing the train and what to do with those following behind, but the new design of London Bridge station means that passengers can be handled safely in all the space.
I’d love to see Network Rail’s thinking for handling all problems, but the design of London Bridge and its tracks could be one of those designs, that in a hundred years, engineers will look at and copy.
I can’t believe that the new layout won’t allow more trains to go to and from Cannon Street and Charing Cross, just as it allows more trains to go through the core Thameslink tunnels.
Thameslink is going from something like fifteen trains per hour (tph) to 24 tph or an increase of 60%. So what sort of increase will we see into Charing Cross and Cannon Street?
Services To Charing Cross
In 2012, Charing Cross to London Bridge was handled on three tracks between the two stations and three platforms at London Bridge. Two of the platforms were shared with Thameslink running 15 tph through them.
These three tracks and platforms have been replaced with four tracks, each with its own platform at London Bridge and possibly Waterloo East stations.
The tracks must have been fitted with a higher-capacity signalling system and an efficient track layout.
I am surprised that the four lines to and from Charing Cross share a platform at London Bridge with the other line going the same way.
Surely, it could be better if the Thameslink and Charing Cross services shared an island platform, when they were going in the same direction.
This would give a same-platform interchange between Thameslink and Charing Cross services, which the 2012 layout had.
I suspect that sharing is not possible, as it would mean that services would have to cross other lines to get there and the track doesn’t and can’t allow it.
But if the current service level of fourteen tph to and from Charing Cross station, can be achieved with just two platforms at London Bridge station as they are in the half-completed station, then there must be potential to increase the number of services to and from Waterloo East and Charing Cross, by a worthwhile margin.
Compared to some places in the UK, Charing Cross station already has an intense level of services to stations in South East London and beyond.
These are some example of trains out of Charing Cross between eleven and twelve in the morning.
- Abbey Wood – 2 trains
- Ashford International – 2 trains
- Dartford – 6 trains
- Gravesend – 4 trains
- Greenhithe – 4 trains
- Hayes – 4 trains
- Lewisham – 7 trains
- Orpington – 6 trains
- Rochester – 2 trains
- Sevenoaks – 8 trains
- Tonbridge – 6 trains
- Woolwich Arsenal – 2 trains
If this is increased, I can’t see any complaints from passengers, especially as most trains appear to have ten-cars or more.
I do think though that there will be a need to improve capacity, onward connections and walking routes at Waterloo East and Charing Cross stations.
It’s just that all these passengers will need somewhere to go.
Services To Cannon Street
Cannon Street station will be getting the same number of lines in 2018, as it did in 2012.
So I doubt, that the service will be any less intense, than it was in 2012.
Currently, in the Off Peak, there is a sixteen tph service, to and from Cannon Street station, which compares well with the current fourteen to and from Charing Cross station.
There is also going to be improvement at Cannon Street station with respect to onward connections and walking routes.
- Bank tube station is getting two new entrances, which are closer to Cannon Street.
- The connection between Cannon Street station and the Central Line will be improved with a travelator running North-South between the two Northern Line tracks at Bank station.
- The connection between Cannon Street station and the Northern Line will be improved with triple escalators directly down from Cannon Street, perhaps a hundred metres from Cannon Street station.
- The link to the District and Circle Lines is already excellent and those lines will be improved and get higher frequencies in the next few years.
- The City of London has ambitions to pedestrianise a lot of the area around Bank station.
Cannon Street station will certainly become one of London’s better-connected terminal stations.
There are more observations in Improvements At Bank Station.
Interchange At London Bridge Station
Effectively, London Bridge station has four sets of services.
- Those that terminate in the station.
- Through services on Thameslink
- Through service to and from Charing Cross station.
- Through service to and from Cannon Street station.
I’ll leave out the Underground, as the entrance to that hasn’t been fully opened yet!
All the current sets of services have their own set of platforms.
Interchange between the various services is a matter of taking an escalator down from the platform on which you arrive and then take another escalator up to your departure platform.
At present, they seem to be using the rebuilt through platforms flexibly as follows.
- Platform 7 – From Charing Cross
- Platform 8 – To/From Charing Cross
- Platform 9 – To Charing Cross
As trains out from Charing Cross seem to pass through London Bridge on either platform 7 and 8, there does seem to be a degree of flexibility in the track. But then there are no Thameslink services needing to be accommodated.
I do wonder if at some time in the future, they will arrange the lines at London Bridge, so that there is some cross platform interchanges. But I suspect that given the complex layout of the tracks, changes will only be limited.
So passengers will continue to go down and up the escalators. But they don’t seem to be complaining!
The Southeastern Metro
This map shows Southeastern Metro services, which are close to the London termini and fall within the Oystercard area.
If nothing else the map shows why Transport for London want to get control of Southeastern Metro services and paint them orange, as it is a ready made network that compliments the current Underground and Overground services.
The network has five Central London termini and stations; Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria and Waterloo East.
It also connects to the following other lines.
- Several Underground Lines including the Bakerloo, both branches of the Northern Line, the District Line and and the Circle Line.
- The Overground at Denmark Hill, New Cross and Peckham Rye
- The Docklands Light Railway at Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal.
- Tramlink at Elmers End.
- Crossrail at Abbey Wood.
- Thameslink at Dartford, Greenwich, London Bridge and Orpington.
In addition, many of the stations have step-free access..
These are the services from a selection of stations close to London.
- Dartford has six tph to Charing Cross and two tph to Cannon Street and Victoria.
- Greenwich has six tph to Cannon Street.
- Hayes has two tph to Charing Cross and Cannon Street.
- Lewisham has eight tph to Cannon Street, 4 tph to Charing Cross and 2 tph to \Victoria.
- Orpington has four tph to each of Cannon Street, Charing Cross and Victoria
- Woolwich Arsenal has six tph to Cannon Street and 2 tph to Charing Cross.
So in some ways it’s an all-places-to-all-terminals Metro.
Transport for London must look at the Southeastern Metro and have all sorts of ideas about how they could use the network to the benefit of London.
These are some Off Peak service levels.
- Sixteen tph between London Bridge and Cannon Street.
- Fourteen tph between London Bridge and Charing Cross.
- Ten tph between New Cross and Cannon Street.
- Eight tph between Orpington and London Bridge.
- Eight tph between Dartford and London Bridge
- Twelve tph between Lewisham and London Bridge.
- Would more services be possible after Thameslink is completed between London Bridge and Charing Cross.
- Could more use be made of an interchange at New Cross to get passengers to Canada Water for Canary Wharf and Witechapel for Crossrail?
- Could better use be made of Orpington station?
- Could Lewisham be improved?
- Will Brockley Lane station be rebuilt and a connection to the East London Line created?
- How would the area be affected by an extended Crossrail to Gravesend?
- How would New Cross cope with more than four tph on the East London Line?
I think that TfL could have lots of fun!
For instance, with a bit of reorganisation of services, it might be possible to create a ten tph or upwards set of lines across South London.
As an example Lewisham to Charing Cross via New Cross, London Bridge, Waterloo East could easily be ten tph.
No new trains, track or signalling would be needed, but the bottleneck of London Bridge must probably be removed before it is possible. And the Thameslink Programme is doing that!
Effects On The Jubilee Line
I don’t have any figures on passengers, but the section of Jubilee Line from London Bridge, will get a high-capacity by-pass on the surface.
But if we assume the current 14 tph on the rail line and 2019 frequency of 36 tph on the Jubilee Line, these are the numbers of carriages going between London Bridge and Charing Cross/Waterloo.
Heavy rail – 14 tph x 12 cars = 168
Jubilee Line – 36 tph x 7 cars = 252
Incidentally, the seats per hour figures are 10206 for Class 377 trains and 8424 for the S Stock on the Jubilee Line.
So will passengers choose to travel on the surface, thus freeing up capacity on the Jubilee Line?
- Changing from say Thameslink after travelling up from Brighton to a Charing Cross service at London Bridge will be down and up two escalators and fully step-free.
- How many passengers will walk or take a bus to and from London Bridge to complete their journey?
- Some connections to the Underground at London Bridge require lots of walking.
- Going between London Bridge and Waterloo by a train rather than the Jubilee Line may well be a more pleasing experience.
- There are people like me, who prefer not to use a deep-level Underground Line, if there is an alternative.
Remember though that the the Charing Cross platforms at London Bridge are paired with 6/7 handling trains from Charing Cross and 8/9 trains the other way. Both pairs will share an island platform, escalators and a lift. So it may be quicker if you’re going to say Waterloo station, Trafalgar Square or Covent Garden to take a train.
Every so often, various plans are put forward as to what to do with the closed Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross. This is said about the platforms in Wikipedia.
As the Jubilee line platforms and track are still maintained by TfL for operation reasons, they can can also be used by film and television makers requiring a modern Underground station location. While still open they were used in the 1987 film The Fourth Protocol, and after closure in numerous productions, including different episodes of the television series Spooks.
I can envisage someone coming up with a plan, whereby these platforms are used as a second Southern terminus for the Jubilee Line. By 2019, it is intended that 36 tph will be running from North Greenwich to West Hampstead.
But there could be a problem, in that depending on what you read, there may not be enough trains for this increase in service.
But if, the uprated service between London Bridge and Charing Cross takes passengers from the Jubilee Line between London Bridge and Waterloo could the service be split into two?
- Most Jubilee Line trains would run as now and provide sufficient service between North Greenwich to West Hampstead.
- A small proportion of trains, perhaps 10 tph, would divert into the closed platforms at Charing Cross station.
It would give some advantages.
- There would be improved Underground connections at Charing Cross station.
- Trafalgar Square would gain another Underground Line.
- Charing Cross would have a two-stop link to Crossrail and the Central Line at Bond Street station.
Unlike most new station and interchange projects, the infrastructure is already there and maintained.
Consequences For Southern Crossrail
If everything works out with the Thameslink Programme and the rebuilding of London Bridge station, I can see no point to Southern Crossrail.
However, there idea of rebuilding Waterloo East station, is probably a good idea, to improve connectivity to the Underground and Waterloo station.
Waterloo East station could be handled a lot more passengers in the near future.
It looks to me, that Thameslink has been well-thought out and if the trains, track and signalling performs from London Bridge along the South Bank, as everybody hopes it should, we will see a world class Metro service across South-East London.
But I do feel that if the service along the South Bank is a quality one, then it will take passengers from the Jubilee Line and this line could be open for development.