The Anonymous Widower

So Many Cases On A Train!

This afternoon about three, I went to West Ealing station to see what it was like to transfer between the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel and the Western Branch at Paddington.

Coming back, I took an Elizabeth Line service that had started from Heathrow Airport and it was one of the busiest Lizzies, I’d ever ridden on!

To get on the train at West Ealing station, I got in to probably coach 4 of 9, as that was in the dry and the back end of the train I needed for Moorgate station was certainly in the wet.

I then had to walk half the length of the train to get to the back of the train.

It was not easy, as the train was full of scores of passengers with large wheelie cases.

This got me thinking.

Are Passengers Transferring To The Lizzie Line?

And especially those with large cases. that are the sort you could use for bringing in a pair of folded-up contortionists.

  • These cases don’t fit well on the Piccadilly Line, which has only a few step-free stations.
  • From what I’ve seen cases are easily wheeled to Elizabeth Line platforms at Heathrow.
  • Many of these cases won’t fit in the average family car.
  • All parking is expensive at Heathrow, whether it is short, medium or long.
  • Valet parking at Heathrow has been devalued by all the scam artists.
  • Taxis are the province of those that own oil wells, hedge funds or belong to the highest wunch of bankers.
  • Pick-up and drop-off is now very expensive.
  • There were a good proportion of couples, who were both dragging or pushing a massive case.
  • The Elizabeth Line is cheaper than the Heathrow Express.
  • The Elizabeth Line like the Piccadilly Line allows the use of a bank card as a ticket.
  • Only the Elizabeth and Piccadilly Lines take you direct to dozens of stations with only same-platform interchanges.
  • The Elizabeth Line has step-free interchanges with the Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee, and Metropolitan Lines, the Docklands Light Railway and the London Overground.
  • Whitechapel has been turned into a major transport hub for the Easternmost part of London.

There seems to be quite a few reasons why a traveller going to or from Heathrow might at least try the Elizabeth Line.

And travellers were doing it in droves today!

Were Upmarket Passengers Using The Lizzie Line?

Take the couple next to me on the train from West Ealing.

  • Around sixty.
  • Very well-dressed.
  • Possibly Mediterranean or South American.
  • Matching medium-size wheelie-cases.
  • She was wearing expensive glasses.

A couple of years ago, they would have used Heathrow Express.

They certainly weren’t the only passengers, who looked like Heathrow Express passengers.

Will The Lizzie Line Take Passengers From The Piccadilly Line?

As the cost will be the same, I suspect the answer will be yes.

Although, there will be groups of travellers, who will probably remain loyal to the Piccadilly Line.

If you were going to or from the step-free Cockfosters or Oakwood, with a heavy case, all the way on the Piccadilly Line could be a simple sensible option. I used to live near Oakwood station and remember several long trips on the Piccadilly Line, but not too Heathrow.

The step-free Kings Cross St. Pancras, Green Park, Knightsbridge and Earls Court may well have reasons to keep their regular passengers.

Those only travelling a few stops to or from Heathrow will probably stay with the Piccadilly Line for convenience.

Transport for London have been adding step-free access to the Heathrow Branch and this will surely promote use.

The Piccadilly Line is also getting new trains in a few years.

In Extending The Elizabeth Line – Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway, I talked about a proposal to turnback some Piccadilly Line trains at Ealing Broadway station.

I think it is a good idea, as it could make it simpler for Piccadilly Line passengers to access Heathrow and reduce congestion on the Piccadilly Line.

Will The Lizzie Line Take Passengers From The Heathrow Express?

This is an extract from Extending The Elizabeth Line – Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway

It will be difficult to predict what will happen to Heathrow Express, but I suspect several groups of passengers will desert it.

  • Passengers wanting to go anywhere East of Paddington without changing trains.
  • Passengers wanting any Elizabeth Line station.
  • Passengers, who don’t like the prices of Heathrow Express.
  • Passengers using Oyster or contactless cards.
  • Passengers who want to ride on London’s spectacular new Elizabeth Line.

After Old Oak Common station is opened for High Speed Two, the numbers could further decrease.

Will Heathrow Express survive?

Will The Lizzie Line Attract Passengers Who Usually Drive?

Large swathes of the country already have single-change step-free access to the Elizabeth Line.

  • All services out of Liverpool Street and/or Stratford.
  • All services out of Moorgate.
  • All Thameslink services through Farringdon.
  • All services out of Paddington.
  • All services through Abbey Wood.
  • When Crossrail to Ebbsfleet (C2E) opens, this will add all services through Gravesend and Ebbsfleet.
  • When High Speed Two opens, this will add all services through Old Oak Common.
  • When the Western Rail Approach To Heathrow is completed, this will add all services through Reading.

If you can get a train direct to the Elizabeth Line network and then a train direct to your terminal, would you seriously want all the hassle of parking after a two hour drive?

I can see parking at Heathrow suffering a severe lack of demand.

Conclusion

Lizzie will start a revolution in travel to and from Heathrow.

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Whitechapel Shortcut

Note that this post is unfinished.

When the East London Line of the London Overground opened just over a decade ago, the interchange with the District and Hammersmith and City Lines at Whitechapel station was not one of the best.

  • There were no lifts.
  • The stairs were too narrow and inadequate for the number of passengers using the interchange.
  • Adding extra Overground trains to Clapham Junction station didn’t help.

If the Elizabeth Line had been added without extra work, the station’s passageways and stairs would have jammed solid.

  • But improvements were added, when the station was expanded to handle the Elizabeth Line.
  • A wide interchange plaza was created between the Eastern ends of the District and Hammersmith and City Line platforms.
  • A double-width spiral staircase was installed between the Eastern end of the interchange plaza and the Southbound East London Line of the Overground.
  • A convenient lift was installed alongside the spiral staircase.
  • The original staircases to and from the Northbound East London Line of the Overground were updated and augmented by a lift.
  • Passengers entering or leaving the station, were given alternative routes to avoid the interchange plaza.

These pictures show the interchange plaza and the various lifts and staircases.

Note.

  1. The spiral stairs and the lift at the Eastern end of the plaza.
  2. The Eastern ends of the District and Hammersmith and City Line trains connect directly with the plaza.

It seems to be working well, since the opening of the Elizabeth Line.

Using The Whitechapel Shortcut

There are eight ways to change between the District and Hammersmith and City Lines and the Overground at Whitechapel station.

Southbound Overground To Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

Today, I travelled between Haggerston and Moorgate stations, which I wrote about in From Haggerston To Moorgate.

I could have changed at Whitechapel station for the brand-new Elizabeth Line, but this would have meant a long walk to get to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station.

So I did this.

  •  I got in the front carriage of the Overground train at Haggerston station, which was conveniently by the lift at the station.
  • This meant that on exiting the train, I was by the lift to the interchange plaza at Whitechapel station.
  • The lift took me up a level to the District and Hammersmith and City Line platforms.
  • I got in the rear carriage of a Hammersmith and City Line train to Moorgate station.
  • This positioned me by the lift to the exit at Moorgate station.

I would be surprised if I walked much more than sixty metres between the two station entrances, as against the road distance of around two-and-a-half miles.

Southbound Overground To Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

This is very similar to the previous section except that you take the District And Hammersmith and City Line trains from the opposite platform.

Northbound Overground To Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

There are two staircases and two lifts between the Northbound Overground and the interchange plaza.

Choose your stairs or lift and then take the Westbound District and Hammersmith and City Line.

Northbound Overground To Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines

This is very similar to the previous section except that you take the District And Hammersmith and City Line trains from the opposite platform.

Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Southbound Overground

Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Southbound Overground

Walk to the interchange plaza and choose the spiral stairs or lift.

Westbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Northbound Overground

Eastbound District And Hammersmith and City Lines To Northbound Overground

Walk to the interchange plaza and choose your stairs or lift.

Conclusion

It’s all very quick and painless.

 

 

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Haggerston To Moorgate

I did this journey this morning and I described it in detail in The Whitechapel Shortcut.

It may seem obvious to take the Overground to Whitechapel and then take the Elizabeth Line to Liverpool Street and come out on Moorgate.

But that route means a long walk at either Whitechapel or Moorgate to get to the right end of the train.

So I took a Hammersmith and City Line train, which was slower, but involved much less walking.

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Minding The Gap – Barking Style

There are several ways of minding the gap between the train floor and the platform on railway systems.

  • There’s the simple get the geometry right method used on the Elizabeth Line, parts of the London Overground and some other routes.
  • There’s Stadler’s method where a gap filler comes out from the train.

But I’d never seen, this simplemethod that is used at Barking Riverside station on the London Overground.

Note the rubber strip, where all the doors on the train are by the platform.

This is a simple device and I’ve never seen it before.

But according to this article on Rail Technology Magazine, it has been in use on Heathrow Express for a year.

The devices are Australian and come from a company called Delkor Rail.

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

A First Trip To Barking Riverside Station

I took a first trip to Barking Riverside station this morning and took these pictures.

I have a few thoughts and observations.

A Map Of The Barking Riverside Branch

This Google Map shows the Barking Riverside Branch.

Note.

  1. In South-West corner of the map, in the river marked by a blue dot is the Barking Riverside pier for the Thames Clippers.
  2. In A Cruise To Barking – 13th May 2022, I wrote about a trip to Barking Riverside pier from London Bridge pier.
  3. The blue dot above the pier marks Barking Riverside station.

The question mark-shaped Barking Riverside Branch connects Barking Riverside and Barking stations.

The Concrete Viaduct

Much of the branch is a concrete viaduct, which is shown from the ground in these pictures taken on January 20th 2022.

These pictures were originally published in Following The Barking Riverside Extension – 20th January 2022, where I said this.

It seems to be substantially finished and an Autumn 2022 opening should be possible.

I don’t think anybody is bothering about a few months early.

It does seem that engineers are getting better at designing and building these massive structures.

In the last few years I have followed the construction of these structures.

They are impressive engineering projects and I expect that High Speed Two will add a few more to this list.

Why Is There A Need For Two Platforms?

It is generally accepted, that a single-platform at the end of a double-track railway can handle a frequency of six trains per hour (tph).

But plans to extend the railway under or over the Thames to Abbey Wood and Thamesmead, would need two platforms at Barking Riverside station.

Passenger Access At Barking Riverside Station

This picture shows the train-to-platform access at Barking Riverside station.

It is certainly is up there with some of the best on the Overground.

Street-to-platform access is unusual, in that there are two sets of stairs to navigate between platform and street, which is similar to other stations on the Overground.

But to compensate for the climb and give a reliable and easier alternative, two lifts have been installed.

Long Platforms

The platforms seem overly long for the four-car Class 710 trains, which are only eighty-three metres long.

As extending platforms is often a difficult and disruptive exercise, have the platforms been designed to the longest length that Transport for London feel may be needed?

On a second visit to the station, I took these pictures of the ends of the platforms.

Note.

  1. Platform 2 is the Western platform.
  2. Platform 1 is the Eastern platform.
  3. Trains can reverse in either.

I estimate that each platform could easily handle a four-and-a-half car train.

That seems a strange length of train.

I spent some time looking at the Southern end of the station and I came to the conclusion that the station has been designed so it can be extended towards the river.

I feel the station has been designed so that it can handle nine-car trains, with passenger access to the platforms in the middle.

If the station extension were to be built as a mirror image of the existing station, would this mean the following?

  • The extension has its own set of stairs.
  • But as the lifts, would be in the dividing wall between the two halves of the station would the current lifts be fitted with doors on both sides? Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture inside the lifts.

Barking Riverside station appears to be a well-designed station of two halves.

A High-Capacity Station

Consider.

  • The station has two platforms, which could be used as one platform in each direction.
  • Each platform could handle a train every ten minutes giving a capacity of six tph in each direction.
  • Nine-car trains could possibly be run on the route.
  • The station has good passenger access, with wide stairs and two lifts.

I appears, that Barking Riverside has been designed as a high-capacity station.

London’s Only Nine-Car Trains

The only nine-car trains in London are the Class 345 trains used by the Elizabeth Line.

This map from Cartometro shows where the Gospel Oak and Barking Line crosses over the Great Eastern Main and Elizabeth Lines.

Note.

  1. Wanstead Park and Woodgrange Park stations are on the Gospel Oak and Barking Line, which is shown in orange.
  2. Woodgrange Park station could be adapted to take the Class 345 trains.
  3. Forest Gate and Manor Park stations are on the Elizabeth Line, which is shown in purple.

Forest Gate and Woodgrange Park junctions allow trains to run between Liverpool Street and Barking using the route that c2c trains sometimes take at weekends.

I took this picture today, which shows one of c2c’s new Class 720 trains in Platform 8 at Barking station.

Note.

  1. These trains are five-car trains.
  2. Was it running as a five- or ten-car formation? I will have to check.
  3. But I do know that Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking stations can take eight-car trains with ease.
  4. Were c2c testing that the Fenchurch Street and Grays service could be run by Class 720 trains, which are siblings of the Elizabeth Line’s Class 345 trains?

It does look to me that the design of the tracks between Woodgrange Park and Barking Riverside will allow the following.

  • Nine-car Class 345 trains to run between the Elizabeth Line at Forest Gate junction and Grays station.
  • Nine-car Class 345 trains to run between the Elizabeth Line at Forest Gate junction and Barking Riverside station, if the terminal station had extended platforms.

I am certain that the Barking Riverside Branch has been designed, with future extension in mind.

Adding a Grays service to the Elizabeth Line could give advantages.

  • Woodgrange Park, Barking, Dagenham Dock, Rainham, Purfleet and Grays would get a direct connection to the Elizabeth Line.
  • The proposed Renwick Road and Beam Park stations would be served by the Elizabeth Line.
  • Barking Riverside would be connected to the Elizabeth Line with a change at Barking.
  • Grays could get four tph service to London, with two tph on c2c to Fenchurch Street and two tph on the Elizabeth Line.

As Grays has other services to London via Ockenden, it might be better to run four Elizabeth Line tph to Grays.

I suspect that to run nine-car trains to Barking Riverside would need the route to be extended under the Thames.

I can see two possible tunnelled solutions and one based on a bridge.

  1. A double track tunnel to Abbey Wood to link up with the Elizabeth and North Kent Lines.
  2. A single track tunnel running in a loop to perhaps serve Crossness, East Thamesmead, Abbey Wood and West Thamesmead.
  3. A high bridge over the Thames, that gave spectacular views of London.

I can see option two being the easiest to build and the most affordable.

 

 

Interchange At Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking Station

I have been taking pictures of the Barking Riverside Branch since 2014, when I wrote Is The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Going To Be Extended?.

My usual route has been as follows.

  • 141 bus to Harringay Green Lanes station.
  • Gospel Oak to Barking Line to Barking.
  • Change to c2c for Dagenham Dock.
  • Bus to Barking Riverside.
  • Bus from Barking Riverside to Barking station to go home.

But from today, services have been rearranged in Barking station, so that Platforms 7 and 8 handle the following services.

  • London Overground – 4 tph to Barking Riverside
  • London Overground – 4 tph to Gospel Oak
  • c2c – 2 tph to Fenchurch Street
  • c2c – 2 tph to Grays

So for my trip between Harringay Green Lanes and Dagenham Dock, I would go to Platform 7/8 at Barking station and wait for the first train to Dagenham Dock station.

  • It would be a totally step-free interchange.
  • There is a coffee stall on the platform.

The only improvement that could be made would be to increase the frequency of the c2c service to 4 tph to match the Overground service. I suspect that could be arranged with digital signalling in the area.

There could even be the possibility of running two tph into Liverpool Street, as c2c trains do on Sundays.

Platforms 7 and 8 at Barking Station could be developed into an extremely-useful mini hub.

Is Barking Station Going Step-Free?

Barking station is being refurbished and Wikipedia says this about the works.

Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council has developed a Barking Station Masterplan for the redevelopment of the station, including the removal of retail units from the station concourse, expansion of ticket barriers, additional Oyster card machines, and new building work to provide replacement retail and to increase natural light within the station. In 2009, the station was identified as one of the ten worst category B interchange stations for mystery shopper assessment of fabric and environment, and it was planned to receive a share of £50m funding for improvements.

I would hope step-free access would be included. The Barking Station Masterplan does say this.

Reinvigorate Barking Station so it can cope with the increasing demands which will be
placed on it, by restoring the station’s open feel and celebrating its architecture. Provide
step free access to all platforms and improve the quality of interchange between
different modes of transport. Significantly increase the ease with which pedestrians and
cyclists can use and navigate the area.

That would certainly be an improvement.

Barking Riverside And The District And Hammersmith & City Lines

The improvements at Barking station are probably the key to this. These will surely enable a quick er interchange, with lifts for those that need them.

Barking Riverside And The Lizzie Line

At present the easiest way is take either the District or Hammersmith & City Lines between Barking  and Whitechapel stations.

An alternative is to take the Gospel Oak and Barking Line to Wanstead Park station and then walk to Forest Gate station, which is a valid out-of-station interchange.

These pictures show the out-of-station interchange between Wanstead Park and Forest Gate stations.

When the Lizzie Line is fully connected, this will probably be the best way, if you’re not carrying a heavy bag, in a wheelchair or pushing a buggy.

Expect to see full step-free access at Wanstead Park station in the next few years.

Underneath The Power Lines At Barking Riverside

When the train is going to Barking Riverside station, if you look out to the right (West), you will see massive power lines leading to the Barking substation.

I have lived a mile or so from powerlines in the past and I don’t think, they are an asset to the area, when it comes to selling houses.

July 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bluebell Heritage Railway Planning Western Extension

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Bluebell Railway, a heritage railway that runs through Sussex has filed a pre-planning application as it seeks to extend the railway westwards along a partially disused railway alignment.

It seems to be a well-thought out plan.

  • Part of the route is a freight line to bring aggregates out of the area.
  • The Bluebell Railway appear to have been talking to Hanson Aggregates and the plan would not appear to affect Hanson’s business.
  • The eventual destination is Haywards Heath station, where from maps and Wikipedia, it appears that not too much work would need to be done.

A Hayward’s Heath connection would surely be good for the finances of the Bluebell Railway.

I also suspect that Hanson Aggregates would come out of this with a certain amount of good publicity.

Do Network Rail Have A Plan To Increase Capacity South Of Oxted?

In Kent Railway Viaduct Set For £3.5m Makeover, I wrote about Network Rail giving a viaduct a makeover, that will last for the next fifty years.

Could a reason for the makeover, be that once the trains to Uckfield are zero-carbon, there is a possibility that the frequency of trains on the route could be doubled to two trains per hour (tph)? This would surely increase the stresses and strains on the viaduct. Especially, if two trains were timetabled to pass in Ashurst station, where the line is double-track.

This would increase the trains North of Oxted station in the Off Peak from one train to Victoria and one to London Bridge to one to Victoria and two to London Bridge. Once capacity at East Croydon has been increased, this would provide a fifty percent increase in trains between London and Oxted.

If the capacity is increased through East Croydon and into London, I can see more people using the trains into London from Oxted and the South.

But there are some missing links.

  • Both London Bridge and Victoria don’t have easy connections to the Elizabeth Line.
  • Getting between Heathrow and Oxted is a double-change.
  • There doesn’t appear to be large amounts of parking, on the Oxted Line.
  • It also doesn’t look like there are obvious places to add stations.

I also suspect that faster electric or battery-electric trains working the Uckfield branch will attract more passengers.

Various solutions must be possible after an increase in capacity at East Croydon station.

  • As someone, who lives at the Northern end of the East London Line, we only have a connection to West Croydon station, rather than the much more useful East Croydon station. Will this change, after a remodelled East Croydon station?
  • In Major Upgrade Planned For Norwood Junction Railway Station, I wrote about possible improvements at Norwood Junction station. This upgrade would surely allow better connection between Southern, Overground and Thameslink, with the latter two lines giving access to the Elizabeth Line.
  • I also think that there could be more scope for trains to and from the South to stop at New Cross Gate station for interchange with the Overground.

It should also be noted that the Uckfield branch could become a twelve-car electrified branch.

Thameslink To Uckfield?

There has been talk of increasing the frequency of Thameslink through London from its current 20 tph. As Thameslink, already runs to Oxted and East Grinstead in the Peak, perhaps Thameslink could take over the Uckfield Branch?

  • This would give direct access to the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon station.
  • Services would still serve East Croydon and London Bridge.
  • There would also be direct access to Eurostar services at St. Pancras.

Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Euston, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Paddington, St. Pancras, Victoria and Waterloo would all be easy journeys, with no more than a single step-free change.

The service could even use the existing trains, if Hurst Green to Uckfield were to be upgraded with 25 KVAC overhead electrification. I would use lightweight catenary like this.

Trains would change over in Hurst Green station.

An East Grinstead And Oxted Shuttle

Could East Grinstead services be improved by adding a shuttle between East Grinstead and Oxted?

  • It would use the bay platform at Oxted station.
  • The timings would be arranged so there was an easy interchange.
  • East Grinstead and Oxted is electrified.
  • Oxted station is a step-free station.
  • The current service takes seventeen minutes between East Grinstead and Oxted, so an hourly service would be possible, which would mean both Uckfield and East Grinstead branches had a two tph service.

Such a service could certainly have possibilities.

How Does This Help The Bluebell Railway?

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the proposed extension.

Note.

  1. Horsted Keynes station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The Bluebell Railway runs North-South through this station.
  3. Haywards Heath station  is in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. The Brighton Main Line runs North-South through this station.
  5. Copyhold junction, which is to the North of Haywards Heath station, is where a short branch line serves Hanson Aggregates.

The proposed extension will run between the Hanson Aggregates site and Horsted Keynes station.

In my view, the obvious service would be to run between Haywards Heath and Oxted.

  • Haywards Heath station has been designed to turn trains.
  • Oxted station has a bay platform.
  • The route is electrified between Oxted and East Grinstead.
  • Copyhold Junction and Haywards Heath is electrified.
  • Only about thirteen miles of the route are not electrified.
  • The route services Lingfield racecourse and of course the Bluebell Railway.

Passenger numbers are incredibly hard to predict, but I believe that an hourly service could be very useful to some.

What Trains Could Be Used Between Oxted And Haywards Heath?

I wrote The Future Of The Class 387 And Class 379 Trains in February 2022 and in that post, I mused about the future of two fleets of excellent Electrostars.

  • In total, there are thirty Class 387 trains and a hundred and seven Class 387 trains.
  • Some of these trains are just sitting in sidings, which isn’t very productive for their owners.
  • One of the owners of some of the Class 387 trains, is Porterbrook, who are not afraid to innovate.

In the July 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an interview with Southeastern Managing Director; Steve White, under a title of Southeastern Under The State.

This is said on page 75.

More positive is the outlook for restoration of passenger services on the Hoo branch, where 12,000 new houses are proposed and Medway Council is looking to build a new station halfway down the branch to serve them. As the branch is unelectrified, one idea that has been looked at is a shuttle with a Vivarail battery train or similar, turning round at Gravesend or another station on the main line.

Steve White worries that this could mean spending a lot of money on infrastructure work and ending up with what would be a sub-optimal solution. ‘Do people really want to sit on a train for 10 minutes before having to get out and change onto another train? I don’t think so. Ideally what you want is through trains to London, by extending the Gravesend terminators to Hoo.’

That would require a battery/third rail hybrid unit, but Mr. White thinks that is far from an outlandish proposal; with Networker replacement on the horizon, a small bi-mode sub-fleet could dovetail neatly with a stock renewal programme. Medway Council and rail industry representatives are working on coming up with a solution for Hoo that could do what it does best; facilitating economic regeneration in a local area.

One solution for the battery/third rail hybrid unit to Hoo, would be a battery/electric four-car Class 387 or Class 379 train, which could run in formations of four, eight or twelve cars.

These trains would also be ideal for the Marshlink Line and would surely be able to handle the thirteen miles without electrification on the route between Oxted and Haywards Heath.

The sooner, someone makes a decision about some four-car battery-electric trains, the sooner we can see if they are a useful solution.

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Entrance At Hackney Central Station – 2nd July 2022

The new entrance at Hackney Central station opened yesterday.

Note.

  1. The cafe must be fairly good, as it has two flavours of gluten-free brownies.
  2. I may have a touch of arthritis these days, but stairs like these are fine for me, as there are two right-handed paths.
  3. There is a second set of stairs down from the footbridge to speed passengers on their way to Hackney Downs station.
  4. There is a light-controlled crossing over Graham Road.
  5. Bus stops in both directions are only about twenty metres from the crossing.
  6. The station buildings appear to have green roofs.
  7. The is plenty of bike storage, but no car parking.
  8. There is no lift, although the design should allow one to be added later, if it is thought one is needed.

I’ve seen bigger budgets produce worse designed station entrances than this one.

My Use Of The Graham Road Entrance At Hackney Central Station

I suspect, I will use the new entrance mainly in one of two ways.

Going West On The North London Line

If I want to go west on the North London Line, the obvious one is to get a bus to Highbury & Islington station from the closest stop to my house and get the train from there.

But that route has got more difficult in recent years.

  • Our South London Mayor in his wisdom cut the 277 bus back to Dalston Junction station.
  • So there is only the 30 bus left and the route uses badly-designed Egyptian-built buses. I’ve nothing against Egyptians, but these buses don’t have the flat floor, that people expect from a bus these days.
  • Since the roundabout was rebuilt, it seems to be a longer and more difficult walk for pedestrians.

So I’d prefer to take another route.

  • Canonbury station is probably the closest station, but it is an uphill walk from my house.
  • Dalston Kingsland station is a possibility, but the steps to the platform aren’t the safest.
  • Dalston Junction station is another possibility, as it is step-free, but it means more changes of mode and train.

Going via the new Graham Road entrance has advantages.

  • From my house, there are frequent 38 buses to the new entrance.
  • The 38 bus stop at Hackney Central is only a few metres from the station entrance.
  • There is a coffee stall in the station entrance.
  • The steps in the entrance are easy for me.

I will try out this route the next time, that I go to the West on the North London Line.

Coming Home From Stratford With Shopping

If I need a big Marks & Spencer or a John Lewis, it is convenient to go to Eastfield at Stratford and come home on the North London Line.

I will usually use the The Canonbury Cross-Over to double-back and get a bus home from Dalston Junction station.

It is an easy route, but sometimes the trains mean a wait of nearly ten minutes at Canonbury station.

The new entrance at Hackney Central gives an alternative route.

  • You would get in the back of the train at Stratford.
  • Alight at Hackney Central.
  • Exit the station through the new entrance.
  • Cross Graham Road on the light-controlled crossing.
  • Walk about twenty metres to the 38 bus stop.
  • Wait for a frequent 38 bus.

Today, I waited just a minute.

Conclusion

The entrance was first mentioned in an article on Ian Visits in October 2019 and I wrote about it in Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?.

In May 2021, I wrote £3m Hackney Overground Station Upgrade To Begin In June.

The entrance seems to have gone from a concept to reality in under three years and once the starting pistol was fired, it was built in under a year.

How many parts of the UK rail network could be improved, by small projects like this?

 

July 2, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Moorgate To Imperial Wharf – 30th June 2022

I wanted to see the new entrance at Imperial Wharf station today, so after a full English breakfast on Moorgate, I took the Lizzie Line, Central and West London Lines across London.

I took this route.

  • Lizzie Line – Moorgate to Tottenham Court Road
  • Central Line – Tottenham Court Road To Shepherds Bush
  • West London Line – Shepherds Bush To Imperial Wharf

I took these pictures along the route.

Note.

  1. The change at Tottenham Court Road station involves going up to the ticket hall and down again.
  2. The change at Shepherds Bush involves crossing the road between the Central Line and Overground station.
  3. The last few pictures show the new entrance at Imperial Wharf, which is for Northbound trains only.

When Bond Street station opens on the Lizzie Line, it should be easier to change there for the Central Line.

The Plans For A Connection Between The Lizzie And West London Lines?

This map from cartometro.com shows, where the Lizzie and West London Lines cross in the area of Old Oak Common.

Note.

  1. The Overground is shown in orange and splits into the North and West London Lines South of Willesden Junction station.
  2. The Lizzie Line is shown in purple and black, as it goes across the map, as at this point it shares tracks with the Great Western Main Line.

This map shows how High Speed Two will change the lines.


Note.

  1. Hythe Road station on the West London Line, which will have a walking route to High Speed Two and the Lizzie Line.
  2. Old Oak Common Lane station on the North London Line, which will have a walking route to High Speed Two and the Lizzie Line.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line, which is shown as an orange double-line and could be part of the West London Orbital passing North-South to the West of Old Oak Common Lane station.
  4. The Acton-Northolt Line, which is shown in blue and could give Chiltern Railways extra platforms at Old Oak Common with a walking route to High Speed Two and the Lizzie Line.

Wikipedia says that the status of the two Overground stations according to Transport for London is as follows.

Subject to funding being secured and further public consultation, we would seek permission to build and operate the proposals via a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO). Funding remains a significant constraint in delivering these proposals. We are currently seeking to establish a package of funding that could enable the stations to be delivered by 2026 alongside the new HS2 and Elizabeth line station.

I suspect that with our current South London Mayor, we will see little progress on these connectivity schemes at Old Oak Common station, as with the possible exception of Hythe Road station, there’s little in it for South London.

Conclusion

Hythe Road station would certainly have made my journey easier yesterday.

Hopefully, though, if I do the journey again in the next year or so, Bond Street station will be open on the Lizzie Line and I’ll change to the Central Line there.

 

 

June 30, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m Missing The Elizabeth Line Today

Today is a Sunday and because engineers are working on connecting the three sections of the Elizabeth Line, there are no trains in the central section between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations.

I have got used to the new line and generally use it if I stray farther than a couple of miles from home to the South. It’s just so handy, when you want to go in an East-West direction across London.

One of the draws to me of the Elizabeth Line is that it is air-conditioned and in the current heat-wave, it is much more pleasant to travel on the line compared to the Central and Northern Lines.

So for my journeys around Central London, I tend to stick to buses, the Overground, Elizabeth Line and Thameslink.

June 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

TfL Advances Plans For DLR And Overground Extensions

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on New Civil Engineer.

This is the first paragraph.

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it is moving ahead with plans to extend the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and the West London Orbital (WLO), part of the London Overground.

So it appears that despite all their financial problems, some progress is being made.

The Docklands Light Railway Extension To Thamesmead

I first wrote about this project in TfL Considering Extending DLR As Far As Abbey Wood.

Now it appears that TfL has been working with Homes England and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on a feasibility study for the extension.

I would like to see this extension incorporation the following.

  • A signature bridge over the Thames with good views of the river.
  • A station with a convenient connection to Crossness, which could become one of major London’s tourist attractions with better transport links.
  • A connection to the Elizabeth Line at Abbey Wood station.

It could help to level up Thamesmead, whose main claim to fame is that it was where the violent film Clockwork Orange was made.

The West London Orbital Railway

I have written extensively about this railway and you can see my posts here.

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

I believe this railway could do the following.

  • Level-up much of North-West London.
  • Provide better access to Heathrow.
  • Link West London to High Speed Two and the Elizabeth Line.

It would also provide better links to Brentford’s new stadium.

The New Civil Engineer says this about funding.

TfL now confirms that the West London Alliance has commissioned feasibility work for the scheme. Meanwhile, TfL is considering options for a Borough Community Infrastructure Levy to help pay for it and has been investigating development opportunities on the route that could unlock funds via Section 106 planning obligations and Carbon Offset funding.

Conclusion

It does appear there are ways and means to fund these schemes, without expecting the rest of the UK to fund London’s transport network.

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments