The Anonymous Widower

Osterley Becomes 89th Step-Free London Underground Station

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

So I went to Osterley station and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. Osterley station is Grade II Listed and was built in the style of Charles Holden.
  2. It does look that there is also step-free access between train and the platform for most wheelchair-users, buggy-pushers and case-draggers.
  3. The two new lift-towers are typical steel-and-brick constructions.

I don’t think that the most militant member of the Heritage Taliban will object to the quality of the design and the construction.

October 13, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Vivarail To Unveil 80mph Super-Class 230 At COP26

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

This is the first paragraph.

Vivarail intends to show off a new design of battery-powered zero-emission Class 230 unit at next month’s COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

Features of the train include.

  • 80 mph operating speed, as opposed to 60 mph of the mph of the current Class 230 train and 45 mph of the original London Underground D78 Stock.
  • Two driver cars and a trailer car in between.
  • Ten minutes to fully charge the batteries.
  • The two driver cars have three battery packs.

I doubt the designers of the train at Metro-Cammell, envisaged this future development.

 

October 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 7 Comments

Bank Station Upgrade – 28th September 2021

I walked past the works to upgrade Bank station this morning and took these pictures.

The first two pictures were taken on King William Street and the others were taken as I walked up Cannon Street to Cannon Street station.

This 3D Google Map shows the new section of the station from the South.

The construction site is surrounded by two roads and a lane.

  • Cannon Street runs East-West in front of the construction site.
  • King William Street  is on the Eastern side of the construction site.
  • Abchurch Lane runs Northward between the church of St. Mary Abchurch and the construction site.

There will be a lot more construction on top of the station.

This TfL image shows how it will look in 2022.

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

When Does The First Train Run To Battersea Power Station Tomorrow?

This paragraph from Wikipedia describes the opening of the Victoria Line.

The line opened from Walthamstow Central to Highbury & Islington on 1 September 1968. There was no opening ceremony; instead the normal timetable started. The first train left Walthamstow Central for Highbury & Islington at 7:32 a.m. The line proved to be popular; more than 1,000 tickets were purchased at Highbury & Islington within its first hour of opening.

When I went to the opening of Whitechapel station in August, it was very much a low-key opening that had been flagged-up on the Internet. I wrote about it in Whitechapel Station – 23rd August 2021. The only thing out of the ordinary was extra staff and cups of teas and biscuits, that could be purchased.

Surely, that is the way to do it! No fuss! No long boring political speeches and no keeping the plebs out of the way of the Great and Good!

Everybody just gets on with using the station or the line.

But I can’t find any information on what is happening tomorrow about the opening of the Northern Line Extension to Battery Power Station station.

Does this mean that there’s a big do with all the Great and Good?

As with the Victoria Line in 1968, there must be people who want to use the new extension.

 

September 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 9 Comments

London Underground Trains Are Getting Faster

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

A long-running signalling upgrade on the London Underground is starting to show results as the latest timetables show faster journeys on some trips. The four lines modernisation project is replacing antiquated signals across the entire sub-surface part of the Underground – that’s the District, Circle, Metropolitan, and the Hammersmith & City lines.

Iam then goes on to detail some of the timing improvements.

In Between Liverpool Street And Wimbledon Park Stations, I note that I think station dwell times are getting shorter.

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Epping Station – 30th August 2021

In Essex Councillors Call For Underground Link, I discussed the pros and cons of extending the Central Line from Epping station to Harlow.

As I didn’t have any pictures of Epping station. I went to the station and took these.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Epping station.

Note.

  1. There are two platforms both of which are used to terminate trains.
  2. Platform 2 is step-free, but Platform 1 is only step-free for exit only.
  3. There is a large car park with 541 spaces including twelve for disabled drivers.

I suspect this means, that someone who has difficulty with the bridge and has parked their car in the car park has a problem.

To my mind there are two obvious solutions.

  • Put in a second step-free bridge at the station.
  • If no trains go past the ends of the platform, it might be possible to build a level walkway across the two tracks.

It would all depend on the budget and any plans to extend the Central Line to Harlow or on to the tracks of the Epping Ongar Railway.

It would certainly be possible to extend Platform 1 to serve as a platform for the Epping Ongar Railway and have a walkway across the tracks  to give step-free access between all three platforms.

  • It would make the heritage Epping Ongar Railway into a unique London tourist attraction with direct access from the Underground.
  • It might even be possible for the heritage railway to run connection services between Epping and Ongar at times, when they would be financially worthwhile and operationally possible.

There are certainly possibilities.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Essex Councillors Call For Underground Link

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

This is the first paragraph.

Councillors in Harlow are calling for a new Underground link, saying that they are examining ‘all possibilities for improving and modernising transport connections’.

I’ve tackled this subject before in Does Harlow Need An Improved Train Service?, but this time I’m starting with what is possible and working backwards.

Harlow’s Current Train Service

Currently, these trains serve Harlow Town station.

  • 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

In addition these services run through Harlow Town station without stopping.

  • London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport – 2 tph – via Tottenham Hale

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.

Summarising the services gives the following.

  • Eight tph pass through the station of which six tph stop.
  • Cambridge and Cambridge North has a 2 tph service.
  • London Liverpool Street has a 4 tph service.
  • Stansted Airport has a 2 tph service.
  • Stratford has a 2 tph service.
  • Tottenham Hale has a 6 tph service.

Each of Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains, when working as a ten-car formation can carry well over a thousand passengers.

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

What Are Harlow’s Councillors Suggesting

This paragraph in the Railnews article gives the councillors wish list.

Harlow Councillor Michael Hardware is portfolio holder for strategic growth. He said: ‘With Harlow’s close proximity to London our plans include investigating the potential for the extension of the central line to Harlow, lobbying to extend London Transport Zones to Harlow, examining connectivity to Crossrail 2 and promoting four tracking of the main line to Stansted Airport as well as improving existing public transport links in and out of the town.

I’ll look at each proposal in turn.

Extending The Central Line To Harlow

Epping and Harlow are about nine miles apart.

This Google Map shows the two towns and the M11 that runs to the East of both towns.

Note.

  1. Epping is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. Harlow, which is a large town of nearly 90,000 residents is at the top of the map.
  3. The M11 runs North-South across the map to the East of both towns.
  4. North Weald Airfield lies to the East of the motorway.

Would it be possible to run an extension of the Central Line from Epping to Harlow?

It could run up the West side of the motorway.

  • The terminus could be in South-East Harlow close to Junction 7 of the M11.
  • Any plans for the development of North Weald Airfield could have a big effect on any plans.

This Google Map shows the location of Epping station with respect to the motorway.

Note Epping station is in the South-West corner of the map.

Running North-East from the station, the dark green scar of the single-track Epping Ongar Railway can be picked out, as it runs between St. Margaret’s Hospital and the village of Coopersale.

This third Google Map shows the railway as it passes under the M11.

Would it be possible to use the route of this line to connect to a new line alongside the motorway?

This fourth Google Map shows Epping tube station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms, but is not step-free.
  2. It has a large car-park.
  3. Trains take thirty-seven minutes between Epping and Liverpool Street stations.
  4. Trains have a frequency of nine tph.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Epping station and the interface with the Epping Ongar Railway.

Note.

  1. The Epping Ongar Railway has always been single track.
  2. The crossovers to the South of Epping station allow either platform to be used for Central Line services.
  3. When the Central Line ran to Ongar, it looks like all services used Platform 1 at Epping.

I feel that it might be possible to create an extension to Harlow, by doing something like the following.

  • Add a second bi-directional  track alongside the Epping Ongar Railway between Epping station and the M11.
  • Extend Platform 1 to the North, so that the heritage trains can load and unload passengers at Epping station.
  • The Central Line platforms would be unaltered, so could still handle the nine tph they currently handle.
  • Trains to and from Harlow would always use Platform 2.

At the M11, the new bi-directional track would turn North and become double-track to Harlow.

  • The double-track would allow trains to pass.
  • If the rolling stock for the Central Line has been renewed, it might be possible to run the extension on battery power.
  • If Harlow had a single platform, it would be possible to run four tph to Harlow.
  • The current 2012 Stock trains have a capacity of around a thousand passengers.
  • I estimate that trains would take about ten minutes between Epping station and the new Harlow station.

I feel something is possible, but building the line might be easier if new battery-electric trains were available, as this would probably allow the extension to be built without electrification.

On the other hand, it might not have the greatest financial case.

  • It could be difficult to add large numbers of passengers to the Central Line.
  • At around forty-seven minutes, the Central Line service will be slower than the main line trains, which currently take around a dozen minutes less.

I’ll be interested to see what the professionals say.

Extending London Transport Zones To Harlow

Harlow Town station has ticket barriers, but I don’t think it is part of London’s contactless card zone.

Adding Harlow Town and all stations between Harlow Town and the zone could be very beneficial to passengers and train companies.

Examining Connectivity To Crossrail 2

I think that in the current economic situation this should be discounted.

  • It is a very expensive project.
  • Building it will cause tremendous disruption on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • It is only planned to go as far as Broxbourne station.

But I don’t think politicians from outside London and the South-East would sanction another massive project for London.

I don’t think Crossrail 2 will ever be build in its currently proposed form.

Four Tracking Of The Main Line To Stansted Airport

Consider.

  • Currently, the numbers of trains on the West Anglia Main Line is under twelve tph.
  • Modern double-track railways with the latest digital in-cab signalling like Thameslink and Crossrail can handle twice this number of trains.
  • The West Anglia Main Line will be getting new trains with better acceleration.

Four-tracking is mainly needed to cut times to Cambridge and Stansted Airport, but I suspect that with some clever design and improved signalling, the current double-track can be improved significantly.

Improving Existing Public Transport Links In And Out Of The Town

I think that this could be a fruitful area.

  • As I said earlier, Harlow has only 6 tph trains stopping in the station.
  • I believe this could be increased to at least 10 tph, if the West Anglia Main Line were to be modernised.
  • Extending London Transport Zones To Harlow, which I discussed earlier would surely help.
  • Is there enough car parking?
  • Are there enough buses to the stations?
  • Would a fleet of zero-carbon buses tempt people to use them?
  • Would it be possible to run a hydrogen commuter bus service up and down the M11 between say Harlow and Ilford for Crossrail?, as is being done in Dublin, that I wrote about in Three Hydrogen Double Decker Buses Set For Dublin.

Hopefully, Harlow’s councillors would have a few good ideas.

A Few Thoughts On What Is Possible

These are a few of my thoughts on what is possible.

Digital Signalling Could Increase The Number of Trains Per Hour Significantly

Consider.

  • Currently, the West Anglia Main Line handles ten tph between Liverpool Street and Bishops Stortford.
  • Thameslink handles 24 tph with digital signalling.
  • Crossrail will handle 24 tph with digital signalling.
  • High Speed Two will handle eighteen tph.

I certainly believe that another four tph could be easily handled through the two Harlow stations, with full digital signalling.

Perhaps a frequency of eight tph, that would match TfL Rail between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield would be ideal.

If it works for Shenfield it should work for Harlow!

Rebuild Cheshunt Station

Cheshunt station with its level crossing is a bottleneck and any increase in the number of trains through the station will need the level crossing to be replaced by a bridge.

But developers are talking of high class housing in the area and removal of the level crossing appears to be in their plans.

New High-Capacity Class 720 Trains

Pairs of five-car Class 720 trains are coming to the West Anglia Main Line and each pair will carry over a thousand passengers.

These will be used on four tph, that call at Harlow Town station.

Turn Trains In The High Meads Loop at Stratford Station

The single-track Wirral Line Loop under Liverpool handles up to sixteen tph.

Network Rail built a double-track loop under the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which calls at Platforms 11 and 12 in Stratford.

If this loop was used to turn trains it could probably handle at least twelve tph on one platform.

Liverpool Street currently handles these trains that go up the West Anglia Main Line or the Lea Valley Lines.

  • 6 tph – Greater Anglia
  • 6 tph – London Overground

It looks to me that the terminal capacity in London could be as high as 20 tph.

Run More Trains On A Digitally-Signalled Route Through Seven Sisters

Just four tph run on the London Overground route through Seven Sisters station.

Compare that with the East London Line of the London Overground, where sixteen tph run between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

The London Overground has ambitions to run four tph to Cheshunt and Enfield Town, as they do to Chingford, but that would only up the frequency through Seven Sisters to eight tph.

The tracks in the area also allow trains from Stratford to use the lines through Seven Sisters stations to go North.

Run West Anglia And Lea Valley Services Together

Currently, Greater Anglia and London Overground seem to do their own things, but surely properly integrated and with the moving of more services to the London Overground, I suspect that everything could be more efficient.

I believe that by using Liverpool Street and Stratford as twin London terminals for Lea Valley services, that upwards of twenty tph can on digitally-signalled West Anglia Main Line and the Lea Valley Lines.

These are the current trains.

  • Bishops Stortford – 2 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 2 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 2 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

  1. This is a total of eighteen tph
  2. The pinch point is surely the stretch between Bethnal Green and Clapton stations, which handles 14 tph including a mix of fast expresses and London Overground services.
  3. On the other hand the route through Seven Sisters is handling just four tph.
  4. Ten tph run between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations on the West Anglia Main Line.
  5. Only two tph terminate in Stratford.

If the Cheshunt and Enfield Town services are increased to 4 tph, as is London Overground’s aspirations we get the following.

  • Bishops Stortford – 2 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 4 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 4 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

This is a total of twenty-two tph.

But there is still plenty of spare capacity at Stratford and through Seven Sisters.

If our objective is more trains through Harlow, why not double up the Stratford and Bishops Stortford service.

  • Bishops Stortford – 4 tph
  • Cambridge North – 2 tph
  • Cheshunt – 4 tph
  • Chingford – 4 tph
  • Enfield Town – 4 tph
  • Hertford East – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport – 4 tph

Note.

  1. This is a total of twenty-four tph.
  2. Harlow will have eight tph to and from London.
  3. There will be 8 tph through Seven Sisters.
  4. There will be twelve tph between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations on the West Anglia Main Line.
  5. Four tph will terminate at Stratford.

Perhaps to reduce the trains on the West Anglia Main Line, the Hertford East trains could go via Seven Sisters.

But that would mean that stations like Brimsdown and Ponders End would lose a lot of their service.

So why not add extra stops to the Bishops Stortford services?

Conclusion

I believe that by doing the following.

  • Adding digital signalling to all lines.
  • Turning more trains at Stratford.
  • Using the route through Seven Sisters at a much higher frequency.
  • Rebuilding Cheshunt station and level crossing.
  • Reorganising stops on the West Anglia Main Line.

That it would be possible to create a high-frequency Metro up the Lea Valley.

Except for the digital signalling and Cheshunt station, there is not much work to do on the infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Will Whitechapel Station Have The Widest Platform On The Underground?

I took this picture across the island platform for the Sub Surface Lines at Whitechapel station, this morning.

It will certainly be a wide platform, when the station is completed.

It is also shown on this map from carto metro of the lines through the station.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown in purple.
  2. The Overground is shown  in orange.
  3. The Sub Surface Lines are shown in green and red.

Platforms 1 and 2 form a very wide island platform.

The station is unique in that three full-size high-capacity and high-frequency lines connect at the station.

  • Crossrail – East-West – 24 tph – 1,500 passengers per train.
  • Sub Surface Lines – East-West – 21 tph – 1209 passengers per train
  • Overground – North-South – 16 tph – 170 passengers per train

A lot of passengers will change trains at Whitechapel station, so the spacious platform will be useful.

Will passengers also use the platform to reverse direction.

The quickest way between Liverpool Street and Blackfriars stations is to get a Circle Line train, but passengers could go two stops on a Hammersmith and City train to Whitechapel, walk across the platform and then take the District Line to Victoria.

Alternatively, you could take Crossrail to Whitechapel to get the District Line.

But the latter is in the advanced course on Ducking and Diving.

 

August 10, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Plan Ahead – Bank London Underground Station Upgrades To Disrupt Underground Services

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

This is the best summary I have seen about what will happen between the 15th January and mid-May next year, when the Northern Line is closed between Moorgate and Kennington stations to work on the upgrade to Bank station.

As I rarely use the Northern Line between Moorgate and Kennington stations, I probably won’t suffer much inconvenience.

But i do have two convenient bus routes between my house and London Bridge station and there is always the Overground and a change to the Jubilee Line at Canada Water station.

August 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

London Underground’s Northern Line Extension Starts Trial Operations

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

The Northern line extension between Kennington and Battersea has entered the final trial operations stage ahead of its opening later this year.

Four trains per hour are currently being run through the extension at weekends as part of trial operations. Throughout this trial period, operations and maintenance staff are testing all the systems required to keep the extension running, and existing Northern line train drivers will complete familiarisation training on the route.

As ever, Ian seems to have researched his facts and he is predicting the following.

  • The extension will open in September.
  • Mill Hill East will get direct services from Central London, which will eliminate the need to change at Finchley Central
  • The initial Peak hour service will be six trains per hour (tph)
  • The initial Off Peak service will be five tph.

I’m certainly looking forward to opening of the extension.

July 11, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment