The Anonymous Widower

Should The Moorgate Lines Be Transferred To Transport for London?

This article in Rail Magazine, is entitled TfL Targets Transfer Of Govia Thameslink Services.

One of the services, targeted by Transport for London (TfL) are the Great Northern services into Moorgate station from Hertford North, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City stations.

I know the line into Moorgate and the various branches well, as I’ve used them in different forms, since I was about eleven.

The section between Moorgate and Finsbury Park stations is often referred to as the Northern City Line.

I wrote about these lines in a series of posts linked to A North London Metro.

The biggest problem, I find with the lines, is the quality of the trains and the stations. But there are other issues that will also effect these services, which I detail in the following sections.

Trains

The current Class 313 trains are some of the oldest on the UK rail network, as they were built around 1976, which makes them only a couple of years older than London Overground’s Class 315 trains.

I ride in both fleets regularly and although both show their age, those on the Overground appear to have had a lot more TLC.

It’s almost as if GTR doesn’t care about the Northern reaches of their Network.

In some ways, when the Lea Valley Lines were managed by Greater Anglia from Norwich, it was the same Out-Of-Site-Out-Of Mind attitude.

Both operators are changing these elderly fleets by the end of next year.

My worry about moving the Moorgate services to the London Overground would be about the transfer of the new trains, although TfL do have some cards in their favour.

  • The Class 717 trains are designed for the rather unusual operating conditions of the Northern City Line.
  • Siemens have a contract to build and maintain the Class 717 trains.
  • TfL have recently signed a big deal with Siemens, for the New Tube for London.
  • The current Class 313 trains are single-manned.

I would hope that the trains and their crews would not be too difficult to transfer to the London Overground.

Stations

Many of the stations like Essex Road are tired and need serious work, which would start with a good deep clean. Is it the same Out-Of-Site-Out-Of Mind attitude?

Highbury & Islington Station

These pictures show Highbury & Islington station.

The decor needs a serious refresh.

If I want to go to say Hertford North or Welwyn Garden City, the easiest way is to go via Highbury & Islington station and get a direct train.

Until a few months ago, there used to be no way to buy a ticket at the station.

  • The destination is outside my Freedom Pass area.
  • I can’t use Oyster or contactless card at the destination.
  • There is no ticket machine to buy a ticket.
  • There is no ticket office.

However, the latest Underground ticket machines have solved the problem

When you consider that Highbury & Islington station is the fourteenth busiest station in the UK and that it handles more passengers in a year, than Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Edinburgh Waverley and Manchester Piccadilly, the station is a disgrace.

Are other stations as passenger unfriendly?

Crossrail

Crossrail will seriously affect the services into Moorgate station.

Consider the following.

  • Changing to and from Crossrail at Moorgate will become a preferred route for many passengers.
  • Moorgate is a short walk to much of the City of London.
  • Moorgate and Liverpool Street will be one massive interconnected station.
  • The new Class 717 trains will attract passengers, if they are better than Thameslink’s terrible Class 700 trains.
  • Between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations could have a frequency as high as twelve trains per hour (tph), that runs all day.
  • The Victoria Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail, but it does have a cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station with the Northern City Line.
  • The Piccadilly Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail or serve the City of London, but it will soon have a much-improved connection to the Northern City Line at Finsbury Park station.

Predicting the number of passengers on the services into Moorgate will become one of those classic extremely-difficult multi-variable problems.

Journeys Will Change

As an example of a changed journey take the case of someone living in Walthamstow wanting to go to Heathrow.

Currently, the easy route is.

  • Victoria Line to Finsbury Park – 9 minutes
  • Piccadilly Line to Heathrow Central – 64 minutes.

This is a total time of 73 minutes.

After Crossrail opens the high-frequency route will be.

  • Victoria Line to Highbury & Islington – 12 minutes.
  • Northern City Line to Moorgate – 10 minutes.
  • Crossrail to Heathrow Central – 33 minutes

This is a total time of 55 minutes.

Thameslink

Thameslink hasn’t been designed with improving the local services on the East Coast Main Line in mind and GTR are hoping that the new trains to and from Moorgate, will provide enough capacity.

As it might be hoped that the new trains on the Moorgate services will be an improvement on the dreadful Thameslink Class 700 trains, with ironing board seats and no wifi, power sockets or tables, will passengers be swapping their London terminal to Moorgate with its better trains and connections?

Hertfordshire

Thirteen of the thirty-one stations served from Moorgate are in Hertsfordshire.

What will that County Council’s reaction be to a transfer of the Moorgate routes to the London Overground?

Relationship With The Underground And Overground

The route between Finsbury Park and Mootgate stations used to be part of the Underground and there are several interchanges between the route and the Underground and Overground.

  • Bowes Park station is an out-of-station interchange with Bounds Green station on the Piccadilly Line.
  • Harringay station is an out-of-station interchange with with Harringay Green Lanes station on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • Finsbury Park station is an interchange with the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Highbury & Islington station is an interchange  with East London, North London and Victoria Lines.
  • Old Street is an interchange with the Northern Line.
  • Moorgate is an interchange with the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Northern Lines, in addition to Crossrail from the end of this year.

When the new Class 717 trains, with their increased frequency of at least four tph,  start running, it will be a new high frequency Metro for the London boroughs of Barnet, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.

Future

I can see various changes adn additions to this line in the future.

ETCS On The East Coast Main Line

ETCS is being installed on the East Coast Main Line to increase capacity. It would appear that trains running to Welwyn Garden City station, will need to have ETCS installed.

As the new Class 717 trains are similar to the Class 700 trains, which use ETCS in the Thameslink core between St. Pancras and Blackfriars stations, fitting the system to the trains, shouldn’t be a problem.

But fitting ETCS to all the Class 717 trains, would mean that installing and using ETCS on the routes into Moorgate station would not be a difficult enterprise.

If this were to be done, would trains between Moorgate and Finsbury Park stations be able to attain the Thameslink frequency of twenty-four tph?

I can’t see why not!

Faster Running On The East Coast Main Line

In Call For ETCS On King’s Lynn Route, I talked about an article in Edition 849 of Rail Magazine, with the same title, where I said this.

In addition to ETCS, which could improve capacity on the East Coast Main Line, they would also like to see journey time reductions using trains capable of running at 125 mph or faster on the King’s Lynn to Kings Cross route.

Faster limited-stop 125 mph trains from Cambridge, Kings Lynn and perhaps, Peterborough to King Cross would surely increase capacity and might even help with the double-track bottleneck of the Digswell Viaduct.

One of the problems is that Thameslink’s Class 700 trains are only capable of 100 mph.

They are just not fast enough.

With 125 mph running limited stop into Kings Cross or Thameslink, will this free up capacity on the slow line and perhaps allow extra services from London to Welwyn Garden City station. They can’t go further North because of the Digswell Viaduct, unless the trains use the Hertford Loop Line.

I’m pretty certain that introducing 125 mph trains to Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough could open up more csapacity for services on the Great Northern route.

Increased Capacity At Moorgate

Crossrail will connect to the routes into , through a rebuilt Moorgate station.

  • This connection will attract more passengers.
  • Crossrail provides connection to Canary Wharf, the West End, Paddington station and Heathrow.
  • The rebuilt station will also provide high-capacity step-free connections to the Central, Circle, Hammersith & City and Northern Lines.
  • There will hopefully be better access to walking routes through the City of London.

Looking at the plans for the massive double-ended Liverpool Street-Moorgate station on Crossrail, it would appear that, the station complex is being rebuilt for a large increase in passengers.

Currently, the frequency to and from Moorgate station is around ten tph, which is handled on two platforms.

Consider.

  • Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations on the Victoria Line, handle 36 tph with two platforms and Automatic Train Operation (ATO).
  • The East London Line will be handling twenty tph Between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations, by the end of next year.
  • The Class 717 trains will have a better performance than the current Class 313 trains.
  • The signalling could probably be updated and ATO added as I indicated earlier

I would suspect that a frequency upwards of at least sixteen tph to and from Moorgate could be possible.

I’d like to know, what capacity was assumed in the design of the rebuilt Moorgate station, to make sure, the station was future-proofed for all possible services.

Increased Frequencies

All stations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield have had a frequency of ten tph, as long as I can remember and this frequency will be increased to twelve tph, when Crossrail opens.

Alongside this, the frequencies of four tph to and from Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City look messily!

The Hertford Loop Line has three possible terminals; Gordon Hill, Hertford North and Stevenage, all of which could handle four tph. If all were used, this would give these frequencies.

  • 12 tph – Finsbury Park to Gordon Hill
  • 8 tph – Gordon Hill to Hertford North
  • 4 tph – Hertford North to Stevenage.

If what I said earlier is correct and that sixteen tph is possible into Moorgate, then this would still allow the current frequency of four tph to Welwyn Garden City.

Park-And-Ride

There is a need for at least one parkway station on the Great Northern route.

GNER were intending to provide one at Hadley Wood station.

Parliament held a debate in January 2000 about this and you can read the debate here on the Parliament web site. Generally, MPs were not in favour.

Stevenage has also been proposed for a parkway station and I think this is much more likely.

Incorporation Into The Tube Map

There will soon be calls for the Southern part of the route to be shown on the Tube Map.

 

Conclusion

I can see serious investment will be needed at stations on the Great Northern route and especially on the deep-level Northern City Line.

It is also likely, that more trains could be needed.

Do GTR have the will and the resources to invest in this line?

I doubt it, as it is probably seen as an irrelevant backwater, by GTR’s so-called management.

Given the close connection of this route to Crossrail and the Underground and that fifty-eight percent of the stations are in Greater London, then Transport for London would seem to be an ideal owner for this route.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Inside A Piccadilly Line 1973 Stock Train

These pictures show the interior of a 1973 Stock train.

There are worse trains in the UK.

It should be noted that the trains were extensively refurbished in 1996-2001.

In some ways, the current layout of the train, is now very much the standard layout for London Underground rolling stock.

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

Celebrating Gay Pride

Yesterday, was London’s Gay Pride Day.

Some of the roundels have been changed in certain stations.

Should we see jaunty alternatives at other times or events during the year?

 

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Progress On The Northern Line Extension Shafts

This article on IanVisits is entitled London Railway Upgrades – A Progress Report.

This is said about the Northern Line Extension.

The enclosure over the Kennington Green shaft, which protected nearby residents from noise, dust and light pollution from the tunnelling works has been removed, enabling construction of the new headhouse and subway.

This Google Map shows the location of the two shafts at Kennington Green and Kennington Park.

Note the two barn-like green buildings, one of which is labelled Kennington Green.

These pictures, which were taken today, show the site of Kennington Green shaft.

And these show the site of the Kennington Park shaft.

Note.

  1. The Kennington Green site appears to be nearer to completion, than the Kennington Park site.
  2. They are asking the public to vote on the options for the brick cladding for the headhouse.

It would appear that the headhouse at Kennington Park will be incorporated in a public building.

June 27, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Hot Air From The Underground

This article on IanVisits is entitled London Railway Upgrades – A Progress Report.

These are three entries from a long list.

Northern Line

  • The pump house steelwork on Islington’s Bunhill scheme has been completed. When working, waste heat from the Northern line will be piped into nearby homes.

Piccadilly Line

The York Road disused station is being studied for a possible heat extraction upgrade, with low grade heat then supplied to a nearby user.

Victoria Line

Work on a feasibility study into a heat extraction scheme at Forest Road vent shaft at the northern end of the Victoria line to reuse the heat for local homes is under way.

It is good to see waste heat from the Underground being used for a serious purpose.

I would hope that extracting heat, also cools the tunnels!

 

 

June 27, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Progress On Access To Platforms 20-24 At Waterloo Station – June 21st 2018

These pictures show the creation of the new access routes between Platforms 20 to 24 and the Underground at Waterloo station.

I suspect there will be a lot more retail outlets.

June 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Could The Waterloo And City Line Have An Intermediate Station At Blackfriars?

The Waterloo and City Line between Bank and Waterloo stations, is London’s shortest Underground Line.

In the Wikipedia entry for the line, there is a section entitled A Blackfriars Station Proposed. This is said.

In 1934 the LPTB, which now operated most of the London Underground system, proposed that the Waterloo & City should have a new intermediate station at Blackfriars, connecting with the District line station there. They further proposed that the Waterloo & City line should be extended to Liverpool Street station and Shoreditch, the trains there continuing over the East London Railway to New Cross and New Cross Gate. It is not clear whether the scheme had been costed, but nothing came of it.

So have things changed since 1934?

The Problem Of An Intermediate Station

The line is only a mile and a half long and trains take about three minutes to go from end-to-end.

Even allowing for the turn-round time at each end of the route, it must be very difficult with the current rolling stock to accommodate the time needed for an intermediate station.

Thameslink Has Been Built

Thameslink didn’t exist in the 1930s and when it is completed, there will be 24 trains per hour (tph) passing through Blackfriars station.

Consider.

  • The Thameslink frequency could increase to 30 tph.
  • How many Thameslink passengers want to go to Bank and Waterloo stations?
  • Blackfriars station is fully step-free.

I certainly think, that a Blackfriars station on Thameslink would be used by passengers.

Trains Can Be Fully Automated

As a Control Engineer, I believe that with the right automation, that capacity on the line can be increased.

I know the Unions attitude to driverless trains, but if ever there was a line, that would benefit, it is the Waterloo and City Line.

Perhaps, the driving position should be in the middle of the train, so the driver wouldn’t have to change ends and drove the train using CCTV.

New Trains Are Coming

London Underground has a plan to renew a lot of the trains, starting with the Piccadilly Line.

These trains will have the following characteristics.

  • Walk-through cars.
  • Shorter stopping times at station.
  • Improved performance.
  • Air-conditioning and other improved passenger features.

Would these trains and improved signalling enable an intermediate stop at Blackfriars to be added to be added to the line?

Conclusion

I obviously haven’t seen Transport for London’s figures, but I’m sure, there will come a time, when an intermediate station at Blackfriars will be a project worth doing.

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

London Has A New Underground Line

On Friday, I went between Brighton and Cambridge stations on one of the first Thameslink services on the route.

I wrote about it in Observations On Thameslink Between Brighton And Cambridge.

That journey took me on London’s new Underground Line between London Bridge and Finsbury Park stations.

The following trains are going North from London Bridge to Finsbury Park.

  • 11:29 – Horsham to Peterborough – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 11:52
  • 12:49 – Brighton to Cambridge – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 13:13
  • 15:04 – Horsham to Peterborough – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 15:27
  • 15:34 – Brighton to Cambridge – Arrives at Finsbury Park at 15:57

And the following trains are going South from Finsbury Park to London Bridge.

  • 10:59 – Peterborough to Horsham – Arrives at London Bridge at 11:24
  • 12:09 -Cambridge to Brighton – Arrives at London Bridge at 12:37
  • 14:29 – Peterborough to Horsham – Arrives at London Bridge at 14:55
  • 15:11 – Cambridge to Brighton – Arrives at London Bridge at 15:37

All journeys take around 23-25 minutes, with stops at Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St. Pancras International stations.

It may officially be part of Thameslink, but it will function like a convewntional Underground Line, but with bigger trains.

The Underground Alternative

If you look at Transport for London’s Journey Planner, this give a time of twenty minutes for a journey between London Bridge and Finsbury Park, using the Northern and Victoria lines with a change at Euston.

That is also not a step-free or wheel-chair friendly route.

Obviously, at the moment, most passengers have no choice, as there is only four trains per day in each direction on the new Thameslink route.

But when a Full Service is running, with a train every ten minutes, things will be very different.

My Access To Thameslink

Timings to Thameslink stations from my house are as follows.

  • Finsbury Park – 15 mins by 141 Bus and Piccadilly Line
  • London Bridge – 25 mins by 21 or 141 Bus
  • London Bridge – 31 mins  using Transport for London’s Journey Planner’s recommended route via Dalston Junction and Canada Water.

The latter probably explains why Londoners are generally Grade 1 Duckers-And-Divers!

I suspect, when I go to Gatwick Airport, I’ll go via Finsbury Park, using the mini-cab from around the corner or a black cab, as both will be quicker.

I suspected right. Returning from Finsbury Park station to home this evening, took ten minutes and cost a tenner.

A Preview Service

Thameslink are only running a preview service between London Bridge and Finsbury Park at the current time.

On my Friday trip, it was particularly noticeable, that passengers were thin on the ground between the two stations.

  • But then passengers probably didn’t know about the service and may have been confused seeing a train going to Cambridge.
  • It’s also not shown on the Tube Map.
  • I didn’t notice any advertising for the new route.

So how do you use something that you don’t know about?

The Full Service

This route will have the following characteristics, when Thameslink open it fully.

The Route Will Serve The City of London Well

These factors will help this section of Thameslink serve the City of London.

  • Step-free stations at Farringdon, City Thameslink and London Bridge ring the South and West of the City of London.
  • Crossrail with an interchange with Thameslink at Farringdon also gives a quick route to the East of the City of London and Canary Wharf.
  • The City of London is also planning a lot of pedestrianisation.

Other developments like Crossrail and the expansion of Bank station and the Docklands Light Railway, will make London’s financial district, one of the best connected by public transport in the World.

The Route Will Have Tourist Attractions

The route could have been designed for tourists.

  • London Bridge station has London and Tower Bridges, Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market, HMS Belfast and the Shard.
  • But the most spectacular modern architecture at London Bridge, is the station itself, with its lifts, escalators, fifteen platforms and a shopping centre.
  • Blackfriars is a unique station, as it spans the Thames with entrances on both banks, and it is the world’s largest solar-powered bridge.
  • Blackfriars station is a short walk along the river from the Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.
  • Many good walks along the river start from Blackfriars.
  • City Thameslink station dates from 1990 and it shows, but it is close to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Old Bailey, so it attracts visitors at both ends of the moral spectrum.
  • Farringdon station will be a major interchange, where Crossrail and Thameslink connect, so don’t let unsuitable organisations build all the hotels this area will attract.
  • Farringdon is close to two of London’s iconic markets; Smithfield meat market and the attached wife market.
  • Saint Pancras International station is a fur coat and no knickers station, as although it looks good, it’s practicality is suspect.
  • If they’d given the job to the architect, who updated Kings Cross station next door, they would have got a a more practical station.
  • Finsbury Park station is a place, where you go and explore the local area, which is vibrant and full of history.
  • You may even get as far as Alexandra Palace or Manor House, where I saw John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with a very drunk Eric Clapton in the 1960s.

It is a line to explore London.

Six Trains Per Hour

There will be six trains per hour (tph), which will run All Day.

  • Two tph – Peterborough to Horsham – twelve-car
  • Two tph – Cambridge to Brighton – twelve-car
  • Two tph – Cambridge to Maidstone East – eight-car

This gives a six tph service between Finsbury Park and London Bridge and also a four tph service to East Croydon and Gatwick Airport.

Two Additional Trains Per Hour In The Peak

In the Peak, there will be two tph, that run from Welwyn Garden City to Sevenoaks.

But they will go via Elephant and Castle rather than London Bridge.

Thameslink must have their reasoning behind this service, but I have some questions.

  • Would commuters in the Peak prefer to go to London Bridge?
  • Would passengers from Sevenoaks and Welwyn Garden City like an All Day service?

These questions and others will be answered in the next few years, as hameslink develops.

Full Step-Free Access At London Bridge Station

London Bridge station has full step-free access for all the following services.

  • Thameslink
  • Services to and from Cannon Street station
  • Services to and from Waterloo East and Charing Cross stations.
  • Jubilee and Northern Lines of the Underground
  • Terminating services at London Bridge
  • Several bus routes, including my bus home!

Note.

  1. Passengers will use the escalators to get to the right destination.
  2. Thameslink passengers will use the island platform to reverse direction.
  3. It took me just two minutes to change from Platforms 2/3 to Platforms 8/9.
  4. Going from Platform 6/7 to the bus station was under three minutes and a 141 Bus was just getting ready to leave.
  5. Passengers can walk across London Bridge to the City of London.

There are few stations better than London Bridge anywhere in the world!

Full Step-Free Access at Finsbury Park Station

Finsbury Park station is being updated to have full step-free access for the following services.

  • Thameslink
  • Great Northern Services to Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Peterborough
  • Northern City Line services to and from Moorgate station
  • Piccadilly and Victoria Lines. of the Underground.

There will also be same-platform interchange between Thameslink and Northern City Line services.

The Improved Northern City Line At Finsbury Park Station

The Northern City Line will be substantially improved.

  • New Class 717 trains have been ordered.
  • This could mean an increased All Day service of perhaps 10-12 tph.
  • Moorgate station will be on Crossrail.
  • There will be a same-platform interchange with Thameslink at Finsbury Park station.
  • Hopefully, the terrible stations on the route will be improved.

This line will change from being a crowded, outdated backwater of the UK rail system to an important modern link to the City of London and Crossrail from large parts of North and North-East London.

The Link To Crossrail

The link between Thameslink and Crossrail at Farringdon station will probably be heavily used, if it is well-designed and fully-step free. Which I suspect it will be, until proven otherwise!

Don’t forget too, the link to the Metropolitan and Circle Lines at this key station, which is much better than the link at St. Pancras

Step-Free Access At All The Intermediate Stations Between London Bridge and Finsbury Park

Access at Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St. Pancras stations are all fully step-free.

The Fastest Way To Gatwick Airport And Brighton From North London

My friend lives in Walthamstow and always goes to Gatwick Airport by using the Victoria Line and Gatwick Express.

  • This takes twenty-three minutes for the Victoria Line and thirty minutes for the train.
  • The Thameslink route via Finsbury Park, takes nine minutes for the Victoria Line and an hour for the train.

Note.

  1. Both trains will run every fifteen minutes, when the full Thameslink service is running.
  2. The Thameslink timing is only the time of the Preview Service. Will the Full Service be faster?
  3. Finsbury Park and Victoria will both be fully step-free within a year or so.
  4. The trains on Gatwick Express will be more comfortable.
  5. The walk at Finsbury Park is shorter than at Victoria.
  6. The Thameslink route will be more affordable.

Everybody will have their own preference.

The biggest winners will be.

  • Those living on the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line, who will have a full step-free interchange to Thameslink at Finsbury Park
  • Those living on the Northern City Line, who will have a same-platform interchange to Thameslink at Finsbury Park.
  • Those who walk, cycle or take a bus or cab to Finsbury Park.

Gatwick Airport could be a big winner, as a whole area of North London and Hertfordshire now has a new excellent direct connection to the Airport.

What Still Needs To Be Done?

It is a well-thought out route, but some things still need to be done.

Is Six Tph Enough Trains Between London Bridge And Finsbury Park?

I ask this question, with my scheduling hat on!

At the moment of the 24 tph through the Snow Hill Tunnel, two-thirds of the trains go up the Midland Main Line, with just a third on the East Coast Main Line.

I think that, when Thameslink increase the frequency through the central core, that they will increase the frequency through Finsbury Park.

Could Two Tph From The Sutton Loop Go To Welwyn Garden City?

Curremtly, four tph start at St. Albans City station, go through London, then round the Sutton Loop, before returning to St. Albans City.

Would it be desirable to start two of these services from Welwyn Garden City station?

It will all depend on operational issues and the routes passengers take.

City Thameslink And St. Paul’s Stations Need A Connection

I believe this is possible and I wrote about it in A Pedestrian Connection Between City Thameslink Station And St. Paul’s Tube Station.

 

Should The Docklands Light Railway Be Extended To City Thameslink, Euston And St. Pancras?

I wrote about this extension in detail in A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway.

Could Thameslink Connect To The Waterloo And City Line?

I wrote about this connection in Could The Waterloo And City Line Have An Intermediate Station At Blackfriars?

Development of new trains for the Underground, will make this link possible.

 

Should Thameslink Be On The Tube Map

I wrote about this in Thameslink Should Be On The Tube Map.

All Of Thameslink Should Be In The Oystercard Area

Gatwick Airport is already in the Oystercard area, but it is silly that Oyster cards and contsctless cards can’t be used on all Thameslink services.

Conclusion

The possibilities for Thameslink and the effects it will have will be enormous.

 

March 11, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TfL Drives Forward With ‘Hugely Exciting’ Tube Station Development

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

The station involved is South Kensington station,

Work to be done includes.

  • New housing will be added.
  • Upgrading of the Grade II listed shopping arcade.
  • A second entrance developed via the pedestrian subway will be developed.
  • Facilities will be improved for  current and new residents.
  • Step-free access will be provided to the District and Circle Lines.

This article in the Architects Journal gives more details.

The article also hopes everything can be completed by 2022.

Is this development the shape of things to come?

You have the following.

  • A tube station which is not in the best condition.
  • There is space to add much-needed housing.
  • It is an important transport location.
  • Annual passenger entry and exit in 2016 was 33.6 million.
  • It is a building with a partial Grade II Listing.
  • TfL have appointed a world-class firm of architects.

A successful property developer, with access to finance, could turn this into something that benefits all stakeholders; local residents;TfL, London taxpayers, staff and passengers.

Within walking distance or a short bus ride of my house, there are seven stations.

  • Dalston Junction is a new station with step-free access and high-rise housing on top.
  • Haggerston station is a new step-free station, that is probably fully developed.
  • Canonbury station is an older station, that has been made step-free. It is fully-developed.

But, the other four need development.

Dalston Kingsland

Dalston Kingsland station was rebuilt in the last couple of years with a new gate line and booking office.

  • The station has narrow platforms, not much shelter and no step-free access.
  • Passenger entry and exit for 2016-17 were over six million.
  • Next door, Taylor Wimpey are building a residential tower called 57 East.

Full development of this station is probably waiting for a decision about Crossrail 2.

Essex Road

Essex Road station is a station out of another era, but what era is hard to say.

  • It is a solid red brick building, built around the start of the Twentieth Century.
  • The building has little architectural merit.
  • Underground, the history of the station is echoed by faded Underground and Network Southeast liveries.
  • It could do with a good clean.
  • Access to the trains is by lifts and could probably stand-in for access to one of London’s Second World War bunkers.
  • It may have lifts, but it is not step-free.
  • Passenger entry and exit in 2016-17 was under a million.

It is a seriously neglected station.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

It is on a junction of two major roads, with some gardens, a few local stops and several important bus routes.

If the train-related parts of the building were updated with modern decor and lighting, full step-free access, this station could see a serious increase in passenger traffic.

The following, should also be born in mind.

  • The rather rudimentary forty-year old Class 313 trains will be replaced by brand-new Class 717 trains designed for the unique operation of the Northern City Line.
  • The new trains should bring an increase in frequency in trains through Essex Road station.
  • At the end of 2018, the Northern City Line will have a step-free connection to Crossrail and a dry underground waking route to Liverpool Street station at Moorgate station.

There is also the possibility, that was raised by Chris Gibb, of transferring the Northern City Line to the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – Moorgate Services Could Be Transferred To The London Overground.

So it would appear that whatever happens, the train service and station will be improved and Essex Road station will become a lot more important.

Surely, the obvious way to pay for the improvements at Essex Road station, is to develop the building into some housing in keeping with the area.

Highbury and Islington

Highbury and Islington station is the fifteenth busiest station in the UK and is busier than Manchester Piccadilly and Edinburgh Waverley.

It is a major interchange between the following lines.

  • East London Line
  • North London Line
  • Victoria Line
  • Northern City Line

Currently, it handles nearly thirty million passengers a year.

But that number is surely going to increase.

  • The East London Line is adding another four trains per hour (tph)
  • Extra trains will be running on the North London Line.
  • Dear Old Vicky will cram more passengers in.
  • The improved Northern City line will have more and better trains.
  • The Northern City Line will provide a step-free connection for Victoria Line passengers to Crossrail.

Highbury and Islington station is a station where the below-ground platforms are in desperate need of improvement and step-free access.

At least there should be no problems demolishing the station buildings at Highbury and Islington, as a flying bomb did that in 1944.

It was an impressive building.

However, there are factors that will help an architect,  after the Nazi damage and some unsympathetic 1960s development, when the Victoria Line was built.

  • The flying bomb destroyed all parts of the station with architectural merit.
  • The Victorian bridge over the Overground lines is being replaced.
  • The traffic is being sorted.
  • Pedestrian areas are being created to link the station entrance to the green space in the middle of Highbury Corner.
  • There is already an unused and intact second entrance to the station on the other side of Holloway Road.

This could be one of the best stations in London, with perhaps some of the best places to live in London on top.

Old Street

Old Street station is another bad station.

  • It sits in the middle of a roundabout called Silicon Roundabout.
  • The roundabout is surrounded by tower blocks, which are both residential and commercial.
  • It is owned by Transport for London.
  • It is served by the Northern and Northern City Lines.
  • Passenger entrances and exits are amos thirty million a year.
  • The station has escalators, but is not step-free.

This is surely, a site, where a tall residential block should be built above an improved station.

But getting the right building and mix will be difficult.

Conclusion

These four could all be redeveloped by imaginative architects and property developers to create better transport hubs and a sensible amount of useful housing development.

I hope TfL, architects and developers are scouring London for suitable sites.

 

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Siemens Unveils Plans For £200m Train Factory In East Yorkshire

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

This is a key paragraph.

While the factory is only in the planning stage at the moment, Siemens hopes to begin construction later this year if the company can confirm some “major future orders.”

As to major future orders in the UK, the following would appear to be possibilities.

  1. New London Underground train orders for the Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Central Lines.
  2. New trains for HS2.
  3. New trains for the new East Midlands Franchise.
  4. New trains for the new Southeastern Franchise.

Note.

  1. Siemens have shown designs for the Underground, which I discussed in Siemen’s View Of The Future Of The Underground.
  2. HS2 will be built to the same standard as most European High Speed Lines.
  3. The trains for the East Midlands could probably be based on German ICE trains.
  4. Desiro City trains would handle a lot of Southeastern’s needs.

I suspect, that Siemens have designs that could be adapted for most of the UK’s possible large orders.

I shall a few thoughts to these orders.

New Tube For London

The New Tube For London is a very large project, that will do the following.

  • Replace the current rolling stock on the Bakerloo, Central, Piccadilly and Waterloo and City Lines.
  • Initially, there will be 250 new trains.
  • Increase capacity.
  • Increase frequency.
  • Run under a much higher level of automation.
  • Hopefully, the first train will run on the Piccadilly Line by 2023.
  • It is also intended that the new trains will replace the current trains on other lines.

Wikipedia says this about the project cost.

The project is estimated to cost £16.42 billion (£9.86 bn at 2013 prices)

The following companies were on an approved short list.

  • Alstom
  • Siemens
  • Hitachi,
  • CAF
  • Bombardier

Since this list was published, Bombardier and Hitachi have said they will propose a joint bid and Siemend and Alstom have merged their train-building interests.

So we are left with the following bidders.

  • Alstom-Siemens, who have various small factories in the UK.
  • Bombardier-Hitachi, who have two large factories in the UK.
  • CAF, who are building a factory at Newport in South Wales.

Various factors will come into the choice of manufacturer.

  • The London Underground order, is probably one of the largest train orders, that will be placed in the next few years and fulfilling it will most likely require a large manufacturing capacity in the UK.
  • Bombardier-Hitachi and Alstom-Siemens have the resources to create such a manufacturing capacity. Would CAF have that capacity?
  • Bombardier has been working with Transport for London for about thirty years and their recent trains for London have been generally well received.
  • Hitachi will add Japanese technology and finance to the bid.
  • Do Hitachi have a lot of space at Newton Aycliffe?
  • Siemens are Europe’s biggest industrial company, so they can invest heavily to ensure they get the order.
  • Delivering the first trains for the Piccadilly Line in 2023, could be a tough ask!

In a Brexit World, it will be interesting to see who gets the order.

Trains For HS2

Note these points about Siemens, High Speed Trains and the trains required for HS2.

  • It would appear that most German ICE trains are built by Siemens or the company is involved in a consortium.
  • Siemens latest trains for Eurostar have been well-received.
  • The High Speed Train market around the World is increasing in size.
  • The initial HS2 contract will be sixty trains, each of which will hold a thousand passengers.

As trains will be of two types;HS2-only and classic-compatible, the designing of the trains will be a challenging exercise.

But Siemens experience from Germany, where classic-compatible trains have to be extensively used, may give them an edge.

I have ridden High Speed Trains in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Kent, and single-deck trains are very similar, especially where trains are classic-compatible.

They are certainly more similar, than say commuter trains, which all seem to suffer from lots of local preferences.

Another factor is the size of the site at Goole, which is 23 hectares or the size of 23 football pitches.

  • Could Siemens be planning a new site to build its High Speed Trains?
  • Are Siemens short of space for expansion at Krefeld?
  • There is probably space for a test track at Goole, that could be connected to the factory.
  • The site would be well-connected to the East Coast Main Line and the rest of the UK’s High Speed Network and the Channel Tunnel.
  • Exports to the Rest of the World, could use the ports of the Humber.
  • Siemens have a lot of investment in other industries in East Yorkshire.

It looks to be a logical choice of location to manufacture and commission trains.

If they get the order for the new trains for HS2, it would be the ideal manufacturing site.

But if they do, will Siemens manufacture High Speed Trains for export?

This could explain, why Chris Grayling was present for the announcement in Goole.

New  Trains For The New East Midlands Franchise

With these trains, which will likely be bi-modes, it depends on whether they are trains like Hitachi Class 800 trains or classic-compatible versions of High Speed Trains.

But this order will be smaller than the London Underground or HS2 orders, so9 I wouldn’t be surprised if it went to the company with the best of the previous generation of 125 mph bi-mode trains.

New  Trains For The New Southeastern Franchise

Surely, if Siemens get this order it will be for Desiro City trains and like the Class 700 trains for Thameslink, Siemens would seriously, think about building them in Germany.

On the other hand, Southeastern’s routes could be very much in Crossrail territory and as I showed in Is Crossrail Having An Affect On Train Purchases In The South East?, I think it is very likely that the nod will go to Aventras for the franchise.

But I estimate, there are 1,300 trains needed, so with the right offer, they might get the order and decide to build them at Goole.

Once this franchise is settled, there probably aren’t too many large train orders left in the UK, for this class of train.

And Then There Is Hydrogen!

I believe that just as Alstom converted a Alstom Coradia Lint, into a hydrogen version, that Siemens could apply the same process to create a hydrogen-powered Class 707 train, which would probably be a useful train for a train operating company to have in its fleet.

I describe my thinking in Could The Unwanted Class 707 Trains Be Converted To Hydrogen-Power?

Perhaps, the current unwanted thirty trains could be converted to dual-voltage hydrogen-powered trains?

But this is not a project that would require a large factory!

Unless of course, it was linked to the 1,300 new trains that the new Southeastern franchise could need.

Conclusion

I feel that Siemens is in pole position to build the High Speed Trains, but it could be more than that!

Are Siemens developing Goole as their main manufacturing site for High Speed Trains, due to limitations at Krefeld in Germany?

Does this leave the Bombardier-Hitachi consortium to pick up the London Underground order?

It’s all getting very interesting!

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment