The Anonymous Widower

The East London Line In 2030

The East London Line was opened in May 2010 using pieces of redundant infrastructure in the East of London.

Modern additions were added.

A new fleet of Class 378 trains were purchased and services began between two Northern and four Southern destinations, at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

Looking back just over eight years later, the line has been an overwhelming success.

East London Line Capacity

The proof of this success surely is shown in the increasing capacity of the line since 2010.

The Class 378 trains have got longer.

  • In 2010, they started at just three cars.
  • They were soon extended to four cars.
  • In 2016, all trains became five cars.

The trains could go to six cars, but there are platform length issues, that make five cars the current limit.

On the other hand, selective door opening could be used, which works so well with walk-through trains.

Now, Transport for London are going to increase frequencies on the line.

  • In 2018, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace stations.
  • In 2019, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

This would give twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink will handle twenty-four tph in their central tunnels, I suspect that to have the same frequency on the East London Line would not be impossible.

Developments That Will Happen

These developments will happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Crossrail

The Whitechapel station interchange with Crossrail will become the Jewel in the East, as it will give access to Canary Wharf, the West End, Stratford, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Heathrow to all those (like me!), who live along the East London Line.

As both lines will have train frequencies of at least twenty tph, you should never wait more than a few minutes for your train.

I can see, the number of passengers changing between Crossrail and the East London Line being very high.

  • For many travellers it will be their quickest way to Crossrail.
  • The Class 378 trains are more passenger-friendly than Thameslink’s Class 700 trains, which are best avoided, by those with sensitive posteriors.
  • Whitechapel station gives access to both the Eastern branches of Crossrail.
  • All East London Line services call at Whitechapel.

My scheduling experience says that the frequency of trains on Crossrail and the East London Line should be the same, to smooth travellers passage through the station.

So expect Crossrail to eventually push the East London Line to twenty-four tph.

Increased Frequencies On The Underground

The Sub-Surface Lines of the London Underground are being re-signalled, which will mean more capacity, where the District and Metropolitan Lines interchange with the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

There could also be improvements on the Jubilee Line, where it meets the East London Line at Canada Water station.

I doubt we’ll see more improvement to the Victoria Line, as you can only extract blood from a stone for a limited period.

It is also probably true, that Dear Old Vicky needs some relief.

New South Eastern Franchise

The new South Eastern Franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with the new incumbent taking over in December 2018.

The current Southeastern services have little interaction with East London Line services, except at New Cross station, where the following services call.

  • Southeastern – Northbound – Eight tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge.
  • Southeastern – Southbound – Eight tph to Lewisham via St. John’s.
  • Overground – Four tph to and from Dalston Junction.

New Cross is a good interchange for travelling to and from South East London and I suspect the new franchise will only make it more useful.

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line has been ignored for decades and in my view it is a disgrace with elderly Class 313 trains, dirty, dark and dingy stations and unmotivated staff, who seem abandoned by their employers.

If ever there is a line that should join the Overground, it is this one!

At least, the line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will bring the following.

  • Modern trains with wi-fi and hopefully comfortable seats.
  • Increased capacity.
  • Up to twelve tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations via Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations.
  • More passengers to the East London Line at Highbury & Islington station.
  • A direct cross-platform and step-free link for the Victoria Line to Crossrail.

Planners do not seem to have realised the effects these new trains will cause in North London and at Highbury & Islington station in particular.

North London Line Improvements

In the next few years, there will be improvements on the North London Line.

All these improvements will bring more passengers to the East London Line and put more pressure on Highbury & Islington station.

Property Development Along The East London Line

Only two stations on the East London Line; Dalston Junction and Shoreditch High Street, were designed to have development on top.

Dalston Junction station has now been virtually fully developed and only now are tower blocks starting to grow around and on top of Shoreditch High Street station.

The City of London will also expand to the East, which will mean more offices and housing clustered around stations like Whitechapel, Shadwell and Canada Water.

Property developent will greatly increase the ridership of the East London Line.

Rebuilding Of Highbury & Islington Station

Many travellers in East London, use the Overground to get to Highbury & Islington station for access to the Underground.

The below ground section of this station needs substantial improvement with a second entrance, more escalators and lifts.

Plans get talked about, but nothing happens.

I believe that the new Class 717 trains on the Northern City Line could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as they will bring more travellers to the station.

But on the other hand the existing cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line, might mean that less travellers need to go to and from the surface.

I have this feeling, that a rebuilt Highbury & Islington station will happen before 2030 and would attract more travellers to the East London Line.

Developments That Could Happen

These developments could happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

I believe extending the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham station is more likely to happen than Crossrail 2 and if it was built it would connect to the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.

This map shows the extension.

I believe that the East London Line and the extended Bakerloo Line will complement each other.

  • The Bakerloo Line will probably have at least twenty tph between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations via Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Baker Street stations.
  • The East London Line will have at least six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations and four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • New Cross Gate is currently a step-free station, so I suspect it will be a very smooth interchange.

Connections between South East and the whole of North London will be substantially improved.

Brockley Interchange

It has been suggested that Brockley station be connected to the line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, which crosses over the station.

Wikipedia says this about the connection.

At the London end the line is crossed by the Nunhead to Lewisham line. At this location adjacent to Brockley station was sited Brockley Lane station which closed in 1917 with the original London, Chatham and Dover Railway branch to Greenwich Park. The connection of that line to Lewisham is a later development. The possibility of opening platforms on this line with direct access to Victoria Station and the Bexleyheath Line to Dartford has often been suggested but is currently low on TfL’s priorities.

In some ways the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham does a similar job in connecting the East London Line to Lewisham, but at a much higher frequency.

Another problem with the Brockley Interchange is that there are only two tph between Victoria and Lewisham, that pass over Brockley station and does the capacity at Lewisham station exist to allow this to be increased to a viable frequency, that would make building Brockley Interchange an interchange worth building?

Crossrail 2

Will Crossrail 2 be built or even started before 2030?

I personally doubt it, unless Brexit is an unqualified success and the project is privately-funded.

There are also other projects that might lower the need for Crossrail 2 and allow it to be delayed to beyond 2030.

Extension Of East London Line Services Along The North London Line

I can remember reports, when the London Overground was created, that suggested that some East London Line services, might be extended to the West, possibly to Willesden Junction station.

I think there are two major problems.

  • Trains going West from Highbury & Islington station from the East London Line could stop in Platform 1 or 2 and go straight through on their way to Clendonian Road & Barnsbury station. But those going the other way would probably need to cross tracks on flat junctions!
  • Where is the suitable bay platform to turn the trains?

On the other hand, many passengers would find it useful, as it would avoid a change at Highbury & Islington station.

Penge Interchange

I discuss the possible Penge Interchnge station in Penge Interchange.

 

 

Note that the Penge Interchange offers four tph to and from Victoria, whereas the Brockley Interchange only offers a measly two tph.

Shoreditch High Street Connection To The Central Line

The Central Line passes directly underneath Shoreditch High Street station, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

Note the reversing sidings at Liverpool Street station in the South-West corner of the map.

Wikipedia says this about the possibility of creating an interchange.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak hours.

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street to Bethnal Green is one of the longest stretches on the Underground without a station.
  • There is a lot of  residential and housing developments, being proposed for around Shoreditch High Street station.
  • Large numbers of passengers use the East London Line to get to Highbury & Islington station for the Underground. Would a Shoreditch High Street connection take the pressure off?
  • It could give East London Line travellers, a single-change connection to Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane and Holborn stations.

For construction and operational reasons, the decision to create this connection will not be taken until Crossrail is fully open.

I suspect passenger statistics will play a large part in the decision.

Southeastern Connections

Southeastern has three main terminals in London.

  • Cannon Street – Jubilee and Northern Lines
  • Charing Cross – Circle and |District Lines
  • Victoria – Circle, District and Victoria Lines.

But they also serve other stations in South London with good connections.

  • Abbey Wood – Crossrail
  • Greenwich -DLR
  • Lewisham – DLR and possibly Bakerloo Line
  • London Bridge – Jubilee and Northern Lines and Thameslink
  • New Cross – East London Line
  • Woolwich Arsenal – DLR

The rebuilding of London Bridge station has probably improved connectivity, but are further improvements needed?

Two of the possible improvements to the East London Line; the Brockley and Penge Interchanges will connect current Southeastern services to and from Victoria to the East London Line.

Would the new South Eastern franchise like a connection to the East London Line?

  • ,Passengers to and from East London surely have have an easier route, than going to Victoria and then using the Underground!
  • Passenger numbers at Victoria might be marginally reduced
  • Both new interchanges would give a route to Crossrail at Whitechapel, which is not an easy connection to and from Victoria.
  • I have looked at timings and it appears that the Whitechapel route is perhaps five minutes slower to the West End or Paddington, but perhaps a dozen minutes faster to the Northern part of the City of London.

It is my view, that if Penge Interchange is built, then Brockley Interchange could be forgotten.

Thameslink Improvements

With all the money spent on Thameslink, it is likely that Network will want to maximise their investment by running as many trains as possible on the route.

Currently, the plan is for twenty-four trains an hour through the central tunnel, which then split as follows.

  • Eight tph via Elephant & Castle
  • Sixteen tph via London Bridge of which twelve tph continue to East Croydon.

It would also appear that there are another five tph between London Bridge and East Croydon, but only one tph runs on the fast lines.

So there would appear to be plenty of capacity between London Bridge and East Croydon stations, even if the central tunnel frequency on Thameslink were to be upgraded to thirty tph.

I think we might see a bit of sorting out of Thameslink to minimise some of the problems, that became evident after the May 2018 timetable change.

A problem I have, which I share with the millions in East London, is that it is difficult to get to Gatwick Airport, as there is no common station between the East London Line and Thameslink.

  • If the Penge Interchange is built, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • When the Bakerloo Line is extended to New Cross Gate station, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • Should all slow trains on the line be run by the London Overground?
  • Should all fast trains on the line be run by Thameslink?

Thameslink could be so much more useful.

West Croydon Or East Croydon

From a personal point of view, when I go to Croydon, I want to get to East Croydon station, as I’m usually taking a train to the South Coast or Gatwick Airport.

  • Inevitably, I end up taking a tram from West Croydon to East Croydon station.
  • Ging the other way is more difficult, as I inevitably get lost trying to find West Croydon station.
  • Although, there are now some trams at East Croydon only going to West Croydon.
  • Trains to the North of Penge West station, never seem to be very full.
  • East Croydon station is more important than West Croydon station.

So would it be better if the East London Line trains went to East Croydon?

The problem is that there is no space in East Croydon station.

Perhaps two new platforms could handle both East London and West London Line services.

West London Line services should also be run by the London Overground, as was proposed by Chris Gibb, as I wrote about in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

I would do the following.

  • Sort out Victoria and Thameslink services at East Croydon station, so that all Northbound and Southbound services used a separate pair of platforms, with one platform face for Thameslink and the other for Victoria services.
  • If possible, move services like London Bridge to Uckfield to Thameslink.
  • Put a pair of terminal platforms under the Thameslink and Victoria services platforms, connected to these platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Most of the tunneling would be under railway property North of East Croydon station.
  • These platforms could probably handle up to six trains per hour (tph) each.
  • It would be possible to run six tph between Highbury and Islington and East Croydon stations.
  • The West London Line could have a highly desirable four tph to the mega-station at Old Oak Common.
  • It might even be possible to use the platforms for service recovery on Thameslink.
  • It could release the pressure on the difficult Windmill Bridge Junction, which is a bit of a bottleneck.

It would be costly, but planned properly, I believe it could be created without any major disruption to the existing East Croydon station.

It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to the following.

  • Through services to London Bridge, St. Pancras and Victoria.
  • East London Line services to East London and Whitechapel for Crossrail for the City, Central London and Shenfield.
  • West London Line services to West London and Old Oak Common for High Speed 2, West Coast Main Line and Crossrail for Heathrow and Reading.

Capacity at East Croydon would probably be increased.

Conclusion

The East London Line will get better and better.

 

 

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calls For London Overground Extension To Lewisham

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

This is the first paragraph.

Lewisham council has issued a call for the Overground to be extended to Lewisham town centre as part of a wider series of improvements to the local rail and DLR networks.

To extend the Overground from New Cross station, Overground trains would need to be able to cross over to the tracks through the station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tracks at the station.

There are four Overground trains from Dalston Junction station and they terminate in the bay Platform D.

Note how the Overground skirts round New Cross Depot to get to the platform.

This Google Map shows the curve of the Overground Line and what lies between the lines out of London Bridge station and the Overground.

It looks to be the old New Cross depot and a green space surrounded by rail tracks, that is all inaccessible to the public.

I took these pictures as I passed.

Note.

  1. The Lines out of London Bridge are much higher.
  2. It’s quite a big space.
  3. It might be possible to connect the Overground to the down slow line, that goes through Placform C at New Cross station.
  4. It would need a tunnel under the lines out of London Bridge to connect to the up slow line, which is goes through Platform A at New Cross station.
  5. I suspect this connection would be difficult and the lines would have to be slewed to the West, so that trains could dive under the down slow line.
  6. Do Network Rail want to cause all the grief at London Bridge, whilst they built the junction.

It could be a challenging and very expensive project.

It might even be impossible!

On the other hand, it might be possible using flat junctions, but this line is busy and building and operating  them could be the stff of  nightmares.

Trains Services At New Cross Station

Wikipedia says these are the service frequencies at New Cross station in trains per hour (tph)

  • 10 northbound to Cannon Street
  • 4 northbound to Dalston Junction or sometimes Highbury & Islington
  • 2 southbound to Hayes
  • 4 southbound to Cannon Street via Sidcup, or via Bexleyheath and then returning via Greenwich
  • 2 southbound to Orpington, calling at all stations
  • 2 southbound to Tunbridge Wells, non-stop to Orpington then all stations

Merging ten trains to and from Cannon Street with four trains to and from Dalston Junction could be extremely difficult.

It should be said that the interchange between Overground services arriving at New Cross and Southbound services on Southeastern is just a walk across between Platform D and C, which is shown in the picture below.

Note the Overground train in Platform D.

It appears that most Overground trains from Dalston Junction, connect to a Lewisham train after between five and ten minutes.

As there is a coffee stall on the station, on a cold day, you can buy a hot drink.

The problem is coming North, as you have to use the step-free foot bridge from Platform A.

Too many times, I’ve negotiated the bridge only to arrive on Platform D, to watch the Overground train disappearing.

Increasing Frequency On The Overground

Currently, the frequency of trains on the East London Line is as follows.

  • 4 tph – Dalston Junction to New Cross
  • 4 tph – Highbury and Islington West Croydon via New Cross Gate
  • 4 tph – Highbury and Islington to Crystal Palace via New Cross Gate
  • 4 tph – Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction

In the next couple of years, Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction services will be raised to six tph. I wrote about this in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line.

This will mean that New Cross Gate will have ten tph on the East London Line, as against four at New Cross.

I don’t know whether it’s possible to increase the Dalston Junction to New Cross service to six tph, but this would reduce the wait, when changing at New Cross to go North.

The Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line is being extended to New Cross Gate and Lewisham, so perhaps in the future, East London Line passengers will go via New Cross Gate.

New Cross Interchange

I have read, that Transport for London would like to make it easier to change between New Cross and New Cross Gate stations.

Conclusion

Extension of the Overground to Lewisham will be extremely difficult and other developments will improve rail transport in South-East
London

 

 

 

April 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Trip To Bromley

I like to explore and when I saw the Bromley North Branch on the Tube and Rail Map, I just had to visit.

One sub-theme that percolates through this post is that everything I wanted to buy seemed to be unavailable.

It started at the Co-op outside Dalston Junction station, where all copies of The Times had been sold.

I took a train to New Cross station, where the charming newsagent sold me my paper and I had a chat and a moan with a web designer called Ben about the lack of seats on platform C/D on the station to sit in the sun.

At least if it had started to rain, I wouldn’t have got wet!

From New Cross I took a train to Grove Park station.

This Google Map also shows Grove Park station

Grove Park Station

Grove Park Station

Note that Platform 1 is to the south side of the station and the Bromley North Branch Line goes out of the South East corner of the map

From Platform 1, I got a train to Bromley North station.

This Google Map shows the station.

Bromley North Station

Bromley North Station

It would appear that there isn’t much space to extend the line from Bromley North station.

I then walked down to Bromley South station.

It was a fairly easy walk as it was generally downhill.

My ability to buy a drink was restricted though, as all tables in the sun were busy.

At Bromley South station, i took a train to Victoria.

In the Wikipedia entry for Bromley North station, there is a section called Future Proposals, where this is said.

Proposals have been put forward by Transport for London and the London Borough of Bromley for the Bromley North Line to be extended and connected to either the Docklands Light Railway via a link south of Lewisham, to the Tramlink system from Beckenham Junction, or to an extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle. These schemes have not been taken beyond the proposal stage and recommendations are expected to be published around 2017.

Additionally, it has been suggested that the Bromley North Line could be connected to London Overground via an extended service from New Cross, although the problems of line capacity make this seem an unlikely solution.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in the area.

Lines Around Bromley

Lines Around Bromley

Grove Park station is beyond Sunbridge Park station.

This Google Map shows the two Bromley stations.

Bromley Stations

Bromley Stations

Note.

  • Bromley North station is in the North and Bromley South station is in the South, as would be expected.
  • The only surface routes between the two stations would be through the Town Centre along the High Street or along the A21.
  • Building along both would probably be highly controversial and extremely difficult.
  • Creating any connection between a tram or train to the lines through Bromley South station would need a lot of land and possibly some demolition.

So I think that it is unlikely that there will be any connection between the two stations, unless it is in a tunnel.

The Germans, who have had this sort of problem in cities like Kassel would probably do something like this.

  • Use  tram-trains starting in Platform 1 at Grove Park station, running as trains to Bromley North station.
  • At Bromley North station, they would switch to tram operation, cross under the main road at the station and run towards the Town Centre.
  • Alternatively, they could cross the main road under control of traffic lights, as is done in Nottingham.
  • The trams would run to Bromley South station down the middle of the High Street.

As I believe there isn’t enough space for trams or tram-trains to join the railway to go to Beckenham Junction station, they would probably just go round a loop with a couple of stops to return to Bromley North station.

There is also the problem of building tram-trains that work on railways with third-rail electrification. I believe it is technically possible, but it could be complicated and have safety issues.

Quite frankly, I think it is unlikely any surface transport solution will be added to Bromley North station.

A much better and safer solution could be to use several small electric buses, that shuttled between the two stations through the Town Centre.

April 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Changing At New Cross

If you get an East London Line Class 378 train and want to continue your journey South from New Cross station, you often just walk across the platform to catch your next train.

The pictures show how I changed at New Cross for St. John’s station.

There is no problem going South but coming North, you have to climb over the bridge from platforms A or B to get to platform D. The walk is step free, but modern station layouts would be designed, so that you walk across between trains or wait on the platform for a few minutes, until your train arrives.

In an ideal world Northbound East London Line services would start from Platform A, with Platform B being reserved for services to Cannon Street.

New Cross Gate station uses a layout with the East London Line trains calling at the outermost platforms.

This would not be possible at present with the trains terminating at New Cross in Platform D, as they have no means to get to Platform A, without reversing out and crossing the busy lines through the station.

But if the East London Line trains terminated South of New Cross, this would not be a problem.

The service frequency from New Cross to Dalston Junction would still be the same as now, but there would be differences.

  • Passengers joining the railway at New Cross wanting to use the East London Line to go North would have to cross the step-free footbridge, just as passengers for Cannon Street do now.
  • Usually, because the Northbound East London Line train is waiting, you can sit and wait in a warm train, rather than on a draughty platform.
  • Passengers from St. John’s, Lewisham and other stations in the South might avoid at least one change of train, by using East London Line trains.

Remember too, that from 2019, Crossrail will run through Whitechapel, giving better access to the West End, Paddington. Heathrow and East London. Charing Cross and Cannon Street aren’t exactly connected well to Crossrail. This will surely see a lot of passengers going between New Cross and Whitechapel.

November 27, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment