The Anonymous Widower

TfL To Sell And Lease Back Elizabeth Line Fleet To Finance New Deep Tube Trains

The title of this post is the same as this article on Global Rail News.

Transport for London (TfL) is under financial pressure for various reasons and desperately wants to order new trains for the Piccadilly Line.

  • The current 1973 Stock trains entered service in 1975.
  • 87½ six-car trains were originally ordered.
  • Train technology has moved on in over forty years.
  • The new trains will be walk-through, lower-weight, energy efficient trains with air-conditioning and wi-fi.
  • The trains may have batteries to handle regenerative braking and power failures.

When the 1967 Stock trains on the Victoria Line were replaced, the new fleet had a similar number of 2009 Stock trains.

So will TfL order 87½ trains again?

According to the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, this is proposed.

  • Ordering a hundred trains.
  • Installing new signalling.
  • Increasing frequency from 24 to 33 trains per hour.

This would give a capacity increase of 60 %.

The five pre-qualiofied bidders were Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens. However since this was announced, the following has happened.

  • Bombardier and Hitchi are submitting a joint bid.
  • Alstom and Siemens have merged their rail transportation businesses.

As the order could lead to a total of 250 new trains, I suspect competition will be keen.

I can understand why, TfL are leasing the Crossrail trains to raise money for the purchase.

I would assume that TfL will lease the new Piccadilly Line trains, just like they lease the London Overground trains.

Some might think, that the trains should be purchased outright!

That means TfL would need to raise a lot of money up front.

  • What also helps is that trains are an asset that last a long time, with many still being in peak condition at forty years old.
  • So institutions with large amounts of cash assets like Pension Funds find trains a good place to use money to create an income for beneficiaries.
  • Given that rolling stock and especially electric trains are good for the environment, it could be considered an ethical investment.

Various models are used by different transport authorities, with Merseyrail actually buying the trains and then leasing them to the train operating company.

January 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

First Train Tries Out New Northern Line Extension Track

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

Ian says this.

The very first train has travelled on the extension of the Northern Line to Nine Elms and Battersea.

Two new junctions which will connect the extension to the existing Northern Line have now been completed, and the first train to travel over them was photographed on New Year’s Day.

As other reports say that more track will be installed, I wonder how far the train actually went!

 

January 14, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Western Arcade At London Bridge Station

These pictures show the Western Arcade at London Bridge station, which opened after Christmas.

The Arcade connects the spacious double concourse under the tracks of the National Rail station with the Underground station.

All it needs now, is for the shops to be occupied.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Massive Bank Station Upgrade Is Running Behind Schedule And Over Budget

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in City AM.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The hefty upgrade work on Bank station is set to be completed later than planned, and over budget, according to new papers from Transport for London (TfL).

TfL said in its recent investment programme report that final costs for the revamp at Bank are set to be £642m, £19m higher than the £623m originally forecast. That covers a capacity boost and systems integration upgrade at the station.

Other facts can be gleaned from the article.

  • Overall works will now finish in 2022 instead of the original date of late 2021.
  • £322m has been spent so far.
  • Opening of the new entrance to the Waterloo and City Line has been put back from January to March next year because of problems of obtaining fire doors with the correct specifications.
  • Problems have been found with digging the 00 metres of new tunnels.;

At least though, the contractors seem to be keeping all the lines open, as they carry out this most complex of projects in the heart of the City of London.

Once the station is completed, it will be interesting to see how many billions of pounds worth of office space are built on top of the new Underground complex.

 

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Successful Trial Means Tube On Track For 4G Coverage By 2019

The title of this post is the same as this article on Rail Technology Magazine. This is said.

The Tube network will see 4G connectivity arrive in 2019, TfL has confirmed, meaning mayor Sadiq Khan’s original ambitions will be able to go ahead.

The news comes following a successful trial of the technology on the Waterloo & City line, where 4G technology was tested in tunnels and stations along the line in the summer.

I wonder how long it will be before all trains, trams and buses have 4G connectivity.

In some ways, I think providing 4G connectivity outside stations, bus stops and other important places is more important.

Suppose you are stuck in an area with no signal and perhaps you have fallen over and seriously cut your leg and need help or just a lift home.

Wouldn’t it be so much better, if you could find somewhere, where you know you could summon assistance or a lift?

I have two questions.

  1. Will 4G connectivity be added to the Overground?
  2. Will 4G connectivity be switch on station-by-station and line-by-line or in one go in 2019?

In some posts about this, it is suggested that a driving force behind the connectivity, is that the emeergency services are moving to mobile phone technology. So if that is the case, then the answers to these questions must be in the affirmative!

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Development Of Knightsbridge Station

Knightsbridge station is an important station on the Piccadilly Line.

It is unusual in that it is one of the few double-ended tube station, with one entrance at Sloane Street by Harvey Nicholls and the other along the Brompton Road at Harrods.

I took these pictures on a Sunday morning as I walked around the station.

The existing building over the Sloane Street entrance is being redeveloped. Wikipedia gives these details.

The residential development of One Hyde Park opposite the station features an entrance to the station which is the diverted closed off exit. It re-opened in December 2010.

In 2017, a developer will refurbish the block above the station and close exits 3 and 4 that lead to Brompton Road and Sloane Street. When this work is complete, there will be a new entrance in Brompton Road, the two exits having been blocked permanently. The station will also feature Step Free Access available from a new entrance in Hooper’s Court, where the original station first opened, with lifts in the original lift shaft that will led to the Piccadilly platforms.

This page on the TfL web site gives more details. This is said.

Knightsbridge Tube station will have step-free access in 2020, reached by a new entrance at Hooper’s Court.

Two new lifts will serve the Piccadilly line platforms, making the station step-free from street level to the trains.

A second new entrance will open at 15 Brompton Road in 2019, replacing the former entrance on the corner of Sloane Street and Brompton Road. The pavement on Brompton Road and Sloane Street will be widened, making more room for pedestrians.

Note that the new entrance at 15 Brompton Road will be about halfway between the corner and the LK Bennett store, which is at 39-41.

Conclusion

It looks as if Knightsbridge tube station will be very much improved.

But!

  • Cutting the traffic through the area would help.
  • I can’t say that I’m impressed with the new entrance to the station on the North side of Knightsbridge.

At least the entrance by Harrods, is much more in keeping with the area.

November 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A RAT Sighted At Acton Town Station

I was surprised to see an old train running through North Action station.

As it said on the side it was a Rail Adhesion Train, that I wrote about in Specialist Trains Lead The Charge Against Leaf Fall on The Piccadilly Line.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled Leaf Fall On The London Underground and it gives more details on Rail Adhesion Trains and their use.

October 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Upgrades For Northern And Jubilee Lines Have Been Brought To A Halt By Transport for London

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in City AM. This is the first paragraph.

Planned upgrades for the Northern and Jubilee Lines have been paused by Transport for London (TfL), though train drivers’ union Aslef says they will be cancelled entirely.

But is it such a disaster?

The Jubilee and othern Lines need more trains to increase the service frquencies. This is said in the article.

The Northern Line upgrade plan was to buy 17 additional trains so the Northern Line could run a 30 trains per hour service on all branches of the line, while the Jubilee Line would have had 10 new trains to operate a 36 trains per hour service.

So it looks like twenty-seven new trains are needed.

The Central Line Train Upgrade

This article on Railway-news.com is untitled London Underground’s Central Line Trains Set For Upgrade.

Currently, the Central Line‘s 1992 Stock have DC motors, which will be replaced by more efficient motors  and a sophisticated control system.

The cost of the upgrade will be £112.1 million or about £1.3 million per train.

Transport for London are only making a reliability claim for the upgrade. Hopefully, if the trains are more reliable, then more can be in service. so can a higher frequency be run?

I also think in addition, the trains could possibly accelerate faster from stops, thus reducing the dwell times at stations and ultimately the journey times.

  • Epping to West Ruislip currently takes ninety minutes with 38 stops.
  • Ealing Broadway to Newbury Park takes sixty minutes with 24 stops.
  • Northolt to Loughton takes sixty-seven minutes with 28 stops.

Saving just ten seconds on each stop will reduce journey times by several minutes.

I suspect that Transport for London will rearrange the timetable to increase the service frequency from the current twenty-four trains per hour (tph).

It will be interesting to see what frequency of trains and journey times are achieved, when all the Central Line trains have been updated.

The Victoria Line Upgrade Of 2016

In 2016, the Victoria Line track was upgraded at Walthamstow Central station, so that services could be increased to thirty six tph.

The Problem Of Ordering A Small Batch Of Unique Trains

This article on London Reconnections is entitled Third World Class Capacity: Cancelling Tube Upgrades.

The article talks about the problems of building small batches of unique trains and I would conclude they will be expensive, unless you could find some way of not buying them.

Could The Jubilee And Northern Line Trains And Stations Be Upgraded To Increase The Capacity And Avoid The Need For More Trains?

I’ve no idea, but I suspect that Transport for London have looked into the possibility.

The Jubilee Line

Currently,  the Jubilee Line is worked by sixty-three 1996 Stock trains.

Wikipedia gives a good description of the Traction Control of the trains. This is the first sentence.

1995 and 1996 stocks have similar body shells but they use different AC traction control systems. The 1995 stock system is more modern, since the 1996 stock design specification was frozen in 1991.

This gives me the impression, that a more modern traction control system could improve the train performance, as electronics have moved on in the last twenty years.

The Northern Line

Currently, the Northern Line is worked by one hundred and six 1995 Stock trains.

Upgrading The Traction Control

I wonder if the most economic way is to update the traction control on both sets of trains with the same system.

If the upgrade needed new AC motors at the Central Line cost £1.3 million a train, would give total cost of around £220 million.

Upgrading The Stations

I suspect that Transport for London will upgrade the stations with Harrington Humps and other facilities to make train loading and unloading easier and less likely to delay the train.

I suspect that all the lessons learned in raising the Victoria Line to 36 tph will be applied.

Crossrail And The Jubilee Line

Crosrail appears to have been designed, so that it works in co-operation with London’s older Underground lines.

When considering Crossrail’s relationship with the Jubilee Line, the following must be taken into account.

  • The two lines have interchanges at Bond Street, Canary Wharf and Stratford stations.
  • Crossrail has good connections to the Metropolitan and Baskerloo Lines, which in North-West London serve Jubilee Line territory.

Perhaps more importantly, there is a cross-platform interchange at Whitechapel between the two Eastern branches of Crossrail. This will give passengers an easy route between Sssex and Canary Wharf.

These features should divert passengers away from the Jubilee Line.

Will this make upgrading the Jubilee Line, less urgent?

London Bridge Station, Thameslink And The Jubilee Line

One of the problems with the Jubilee Line is that you have to walk miles to get to the platforms at some stations.

London Bridge and Waterloo stations are bad examples.

These two stations are now connected by a fourteen tph link across the South Bank, which goes from London Bridge to Charing Cross via Waterloo East.

I use the route regularly back from Waterloo, as I can get a 141 bus to my home at London Bridge station.

Next year, when Thameslink is fully open even more passengers will be able to avoid the Jubilee Line.

And then there’s West Hampstead Interchange!

If this station were to be created to link all the lines together at West Hampstead, it would also create a second connection between Thameslink and the Jubilee Line.

The Splitting Of The Northern Line

Once Camden Town and Bank stations have been upgraded in 2025, the Northern Line will become two separate lines, with cross-platform interchange at Camden Town and Kennington stations. This will  enable thirty-six tph on both branches and allow trains to be used more efficiently.

I do wonder, if in the detailed design and planning of the station extension at Camden Town, has shown that the split can be performed earlier, thus efficient train usage can  start earlier.

Thameslink And The Northern Line

My late wife used to live in Barnet until we were married.

From that area in the 1960s, you could either take the Northern Line from High Barnet station or the two tph local train into Kings Cross from Oakleigh Park or New Barnet stations.

The local rail service is now three tph to Moorgate. Not a great improvement in fifty years!

However, things are changing at New Barnet and Oakleigh Park stations.

  • New trains and an uprated service into Moorgate.
  • Thameslink will add a two tph service to Sevenoaks.

Will these developments take a small amount of pressure off the Northern Line?

The Provision Of Depot Space

One of the disadvantages of buying more trains, would be that the depots would need to be expanded, so they could be stored.

London is a crowded city, which is short of land.

So is this a problem?

Londoners

Londoners are World Champions at ducking and diving!

So don’t underestimate their abilities to find the quickest routes that take the pressure off the Jubilee and Northern Lines.

Replacing The Whole Jubilee And Northern Fleets

It is intended that new trains will be in service on the Piccadilly Line around 2022. Wikipedia says this about Siemens proposal for the trains.

Siemens has publicised an outline design, which would feature air-conditioning and would also have battery power enabling the train to run on to the next station if third and fourth rail power were lost. It would have a lower floor and 11% higher passenger capacity than the present tube stock. There would be a weight saving of 30 tonnes, and the trains would be 17% more energy-efficient with air-conditioning included, or 30% more energy-efficient without it.

By the end of the 2020s, the Jubilee and Northern Line trains will be over thirty years old, and by then the two lines will be in need of even more capacity.

Replacing the current trains with a London-proven new train would surely be a distinct possibility.

Conclusion

The more I look at whether the top-up order for new trains is needed, the more I’m convinced it isn’t!

 

 

October 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Do Not Wait In The Green Lanes

These pictures show an experiment in Kings Cross St. Pancras tube station, on the Southbound Victoria Line platform, which aims to make boarding and unloading of trains faster.

The idea is you don’t wait on the green lines, which are reserved for those getting on and off the trains.

The pictures were taken at ten in the morning, so I’ll go back one day in the Peak, to see how it works at a busy time.

But I do think it could be a good idea and a bit like platform edge doors, without the expense of the doors.

Note how the train stops precisely as indicated by the green lines. But then the stopping position of the train is determined automatically and has been since the Victoria Lie opened in 1967.

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

London Over/Underground And New York Subway Compared

This article on Business Insider, is entitled I rode London’s famous Underground system for a week — and I saw why New York’s subway will never catch up.

It is good read.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment