The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Elizabeth Line – A Branch To The Isle Of Grain

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I talked about extending the Elizabeth Line to Ebbsfleet International and Gravesend stations.

In Gibb Report – Hoo Junction Depot, I talked about how Chris Gibb proposed using the former Hoo branch to create a depot for Thameslink trains.

I am a great believer in the idea, that modern railways are a great way of levelling up an area.

I have watched as Dalston and Hackney have risen as the London Overground has developed more and more frequent services through the area.

So when I wrote about the Ebbsfleet Extension to the Elizabeth Line, I asked this question.

Could The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To The Proposed Hoo Station?

The Hundred of Hoo Railway, leaves the North Kent Line about three miles to the East of Gravesend and runs across the Isle of Grain.

I wrote about the proposed reopening of the Hundred of Hoo Railway or the Hoo Branch as it is commonly known in Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening.

I then put various proposals and facts together.

It is proposed that the Elizabeth Line runs a four trains per hour (tph) service to Gravesend station.

  • Gravesend station is a not very suitable station to turn nine-car Class 345 trains, that are over two hundred metres long, as it is on a cramped site.
  • Government money has been pledged to build a station on the Isle of Grain to support the new housing on the island.
  • According to Chris Gibb, there is space to build a depot.

So why not build a terminal station for the Elizabeth Line on the Isle of Grain?

I had these thoughts on the proposed Hoo station.

  • It would be  under ten kilometres from Hoo Junction, where the North Kent Line is electrified.
  • A single platform could handle 4 tph, but provision for two platforms would be prudent.
  • A couple of sidings could provide stabling.
  • Services would join the North Kent Line at Hoo Junction.
  • Services would use battery power between Hoo Junction and Hoo station.
  • If charging were needed at Hoo station a short length of 25 KVAC overhead electrification would be needed.
  • There is plenty of power available locally to power any electrification.

The only problem is that there would be a need for battery-electric Class 345 trains, but as Aventra trains were designed and built with battery operation in mind, this shouldn’t be too challenging.

I have a few other thoughts.

Housing By An Elizabeth Line Station

Woolwich station was built to serve a housing development and the developers even built the station box, which I wrote about in Exploring The Woolwich Station Box.

So I don’t think the developers of the housing on the Isle of Grain will be against the Elizabeth Line station.

What Would Be The Frequency To Hoo Station?

As I said, the proposed Hoo branch, could easily have a capacity of four tph.

But services to Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Maidenhead and Reading are all two tph. Only Abbey Wood, Paddington and Shenfield have a higher frequency.

I suspect that two tph maximises the number of passengers, as they are prepared to wait thirty minutes.

Conclusion

I can see the branch to Hoo station on the Isle of Grain, being one of these options.

  • A branch to turn trains running to Gravesend.
  • A short branch to level-up the Isle of Grain.
  • A short branch to provide transport for new housing.

Or perhaps a mixture of some or all options.

Could we see other branches like Hoo?

February 26, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could There Be An Elizabeth Line Extension To Grays?

This article on My London is entitled London Underground Tube Map: The Towns That Could Be Added To The Elizabeth Line As New Giant Loop Through London, Essex And Kent Is Proposed.

This paragraph described the proposal.

The proposal, which is part of its Vision 2050 local transport plan, would see the current Elizabeth line service from Romford take over the Overground branch to Emerson Park and Upminster, then join c2c services continuing via Chafford Hundred Lakeside to Tilbury. It would then head under a new tunnel beneath the Thames to Gravesend, connecting with the reintroduced Eurostar at Ebbsfleet International/Northfleet.

It’s certainly a bold idea and you can view the report to Thurrock Council here.

These are my thoughts.

The Frequency Of Trains

Currently, these services have a frequency of two trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

  • Romford and Upminster.
  • Upminster and Tilbury Town.

It would seem sensible that this frequency is preserved, thus giving every station on the loop four tph to and from the Eastern End of the Central Tunnel at Whitechapel station. Two tph would go via Romford and Stratford and two tph would go via Ebbsfleet and Abbey Wood.

What Would Be The Western Terminal?

It would probably be the two busiest terminals in the West.

I suspect that these will be Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5

  • Two tph would go between Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5 via the loop.
  • Two tph would go between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Heathrow Terminal4 via the loop.
  • Two tph would go clockwise.
  • Two tph would go anticlockwise.

I suspect the digital signalling can sort it out, just as it does the loop in Thameslink.

The Connection At Romford To The Romford and Upminster Line

Consider.

  • The Romford and Upminster Line is single-track.
  • A well-signalled single-track railway can handle two tph in both directions in an hour.
  • Trains take five minutes to go between Romford and Emerson Park stations.
  • Trains between Romford and Upminster will use Platform 5 at Romford station.
  • Trains between Upminster and Romford will use Platform 4 at Romford station.

This map from cartometro shows the track layout at Romford station.

Note.

  1. The orange lines are the Overground tracks of the Romford and Upminster Line, which connects to Platform 1 in Romford station.
  2. The black and purple lines are the Elizabeth Line, which go through Platforms 4 and 5 at Romford station.
  3. The black lines are the fast lines of the Great Eastern Main Line, which go through Platforms 2 and 3 at Romford station.
  4. There is no connection between the Elizabeth Line and the Romford and Upminster Line.

I believe it is possible to build a single-track flyover or dive-under that connects both Platforms 4 and 5 at Romford station to the Romford and Upminster Line.

A similar double track flyover was built to connect the Barking Riverside branch to the main lines through Barking.

  • But this track layout would only need to be single-track.
  • I also suspect that there may not be enough space to put in a full double-track flyover.
  • It would avoid the inconvenience and danger of using flat junctions to cross the fast lines of the Great Eastern Main Line.

As it only takes five minutes to go between Romford and Emerson Park stations, there is plenty of time to fit two tph in both directions in an hour.

Platform Extension In Platform 1 At Romford Station

Platforms 4 and 5 at Romford regularly take nine-car Class 345 trains, but I think that Platform 1 should be lengthened, to provide a bay platform on the route to help out when the service needs to recover.

Platform Extension At Emerson Park Station

The platform at Emerson Park station will need to be lengthened to take nine-car Class 345 trains.

Some commentators claim, that the passing loop at the station needs to be rebuilt. But I suspect, this isn’t needed as the expanded layout at Romford station effectively creates a passing loop.

The Connection At Upminster Between The Romford and Upminster Line And The Upminster And Tilbury Town Line

Consider.

  • Both lines are single-track.
  • But there is a passing loop at Ockenden station.
  • There are three tracks between West Thurrock junction and Grays.
  • Trains take five minutes to go between Emerson Park and Upminster stations.
  • Trains take ten minutes to go between Upminster and Chafford Hundred stations.
  • Trains take four minutes to go between Chafford Hundred and Grays stations.
  • Trains take thirteen minutes to go between Upminster station and West Thurrock junction.

This map from cartometro shows the track layout at Upminster station.

Note.

  1. The orange lines are the Overground tracks of the Romford and Upminster Line, which connects to Platform 6 in Upminster station.
  2. The green lines are the District Line tracks that handle the services that terminate at Upminster station.
  3. The black lines are the c2c tracks between Fenchurch Street and Southend Central stations go through Platforms 1 and 2 at Upminster station.
  4. The Upminster and Tilbury Town Line leaves Upminster station in a South-Easterly direction.
  5. The Upminster and Tilbury Town Line connects to Platforms 1 and 2 at Upminster station.

I believe it is possible to build a single-track flyover or dive-under that connects both Platforms 1 and 2 at Upminster station to the Romford and Upminster Line.

This would connect the following.

  • The Romford and Upminster Line to the the Upminster and Tilbury Town Line.
  • The Romford and Upminster Line to the the Fenchurch Street and Southend Central Line.

Upminster station would be a much improved interchange.

Two tph Between Tilbury Town and Romford Stations

Consider.

  • The route is fully electrified.
  • The route is a mixture of single and double-track.
  • There is a passing loop at Ockendon station.
  • The platform at Emerson Park and possibly others may need to be extended to take nine-car Class 345 trains.

I believe single-track flyovers or dive-unders at Romford and Upminster stations would enable two tph on the route.

The only downside I can see, is that passengers going between Fenchurch Street and Chafford Hundred or Ockendon stations would need to change at Grays or Upminster stations.

Alternatively, they could take the Elizabeth Line, which would have a 4 tph direct service between the Central Tunnel of the line and Chafford Hundred and Ockendon stations.

Under The Thames

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the lines on the North bank of the Thames.

Note.

  1. The orange line is the double-track Tilbury Loop Line between Fenchurch Street and Southend Central stations.
  2. Tilbury Town station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. There is a proposal for a Tilbury Fort station in the North-East corner of the map.
  4. The blue arrow at the bottom of the map indicates the former Tilbury Riverside station, which is next to the London International Cruise Terminal.

I believe the North portal of the tunnel under the river could be at the site of the former Tilbury Riverside station.

Would it be an idea to rebuild the station and connect it to the cruise terminal, so that passengers on the cruise ships would have excellent access to Central London, Ebbsfleet International station for High Speed One and Heathrow Airport?

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the lines on the South bank of the Thames.

Note.

  1. Tilbury Town station, the former Tilbury Riverside Riverside station and the Tilbury Loop Line are in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Gravesend station is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The wide orange line going vaguely North-South at the Western side of the map is High Speed One going through Ebbsfleet International station.
  4. Connecting Gravesend and Ebbsfleet International stations is the North Kent Line.

I suspect it would be possible to bore a tunnel from Tilbury Riverside, that passed under Gravesend station and joined the North Kent Line to the West of the station.

How Would The River Crossing Connect To Gravesend Station?

The platform or platforms on the Elizabeth Line Loop would have to be underground, as there is not much space at Gravesend station as these pictures show.

 

Note.

  1. Gravesend has SouthEastern HighSpeed services to St. Pancras International station and North-East Kent.
  2. The route to Gravesend has been safeguarded for the Elizabeth Line.
  3. The railway under the Thames could replace the Tilbury and Gravesend Ferry.

There also could be operational advantages in not terminating Elizabeth Line services at Gravesend.

Abbey Wood And Gravesend

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I looked at the Transport for the South East proposal for extending the Elizabeth Line to Kent.

This image from the Abbeywood2Ebbsfleet consultation, shows the proposal.

Note, that there doesn’t appear to be too much new infrastructure, except for a proper connection between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations. References on the Internet, say that the similar-sized Luton DART connection at Luton Airport, cost around £225 million, but we now know it was well upwards of that.

The TfSE proposal says that trains would terminate as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 4 tph

As space is limited at Gravesend and there is money for extending a railway service to a new Hoo station, I feel that proposing a two tph service to Hoo station would be a prudent action to take.

This would leave a handy two tph to take the loop back to Central London.

Could A Large Parkway Station Be Built Between Romford and Tilbury Riverside Stations?

Ebbsfleet International station, which is to the South-East of London, has 5,000 parking spaces and is the only large Park-and-Ride site around the capital.

Could another large Park-and-Ride site be opened on the Elizabeth Line North of the Thames?

One place could be at Chafford Hundred station and the nearby Lakeside Shopping Centre.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The M25 runs North-South up the Western side of the map.
  2. Chafford Hundred station is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The shopping centre is next to the station.

Last time I went, Lakeside was looking tired.

Timings To And From Whitechapel

These are estimated timings to and from Whitechapel.

  • Romford – 26 mins – 81 mins
  • Emerson Park – 31 mins – 76 mins
  • Upminster – 35 mins – 72 mins
  • Ockendon – 41 mins – 66 mins
  • Chafford Hundred – 45 mins – 62 mins
  • Grays – 49 mins – 58 mins
  • Tilbury Town – 52 mins – 55 mins
  • Tilbury Riverside – 58 mins – 49 mins
  • Gravesend – 62 mins – 45 mins
  • Northfleet – 65 mins – 42 mins
  • Swanscombe – 68 mins – 39 mins
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 71 mins – 36 mins
  • Stone Crossing – 73 mins – 34 mins
  • Dartford – 81 mins – 26 mins
  • Slade Green – 86 mins – 21 mins
  • Erith – 88 mins – 19 mins
  • Belvedere – 89 mins – 18 mins
  • Abbey Wood – 92 mins – 15 mins

Note.

  1. The times between Tilbury Town and Gravesend are my best estimates.
  2. All other times are taken from current services.
  3. The first time is the time to Whitechapel via Romford.
  4. The second time is the time to Whitechapel via Abbey Wood.

It does appear that the best times from all stations are under an hour.

 

 

 

February 26, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line

This may seem rather fanciful, but could it be the way to maximise the use of the Elizabeth Line?

  • I feel that the Elizabeth Line will eventually serve other destinations like Basingstoke, Beaulieu, Oxford, Southend and Swindon.
  • The capacity of the Elizabeth Line will grow to over thirty trains per hour (tph) under control of digital signalling.

These are a few thoughts.

The Design Of The Trains

As any train would have to be compatible with the platform-edge doors in the central tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, the trains would have to be dimensionally identical to the current Class 345 trains.

  • Nine cars
  • Possibility of lengthening to ten cars.
  • 204.73 metres long.
  • 6 sets of doors per carriage
  • Ability to run under full digital signalling.

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 110 or 125 mph, to enable running on the fast lines of these routes.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

They would also be able to run at 100 mph on the Chiltern Main Line, the Great Eastern Main Line and the North Kent Line.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Extra facilities could include.

  • Toilets
  • Tables
  • A third-rail capability for running in Kent.

Effectively, it would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Note that in A High Speed Train With An IPEMU-Capability, I started the post with the following.

Bombardier were reported by Ian Walmsley in the April 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, to be developing Aventra, with a 125 mph capability.

Bombardier have also told me, that all Aventras will be wired so they could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

Could it be that the design of a Class 345 train could be modified to run at higher speeds? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Oxford To Southend Victoria

This could be a typical route.

  • Between Oxford and Paddington, it would follow a route similar to the GWR’s Oxford service with stops at just Reading and Slough.
  • At Paddington the train would take the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line and travel under London, at the same speed as the other trains.
  • It would emerge at Stratford and move to the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • It would probably stop at Stratford, Romford, Shenfield and all stations to Southend Victoria.

Note.

  1. Digital signalling would enforce the precise timekeeping needed.
  2. Much of the Oxford and Paddington section would be up to speeds of at least 125 mph.
  3. Times in the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line would be identical to the current Class 345 trains.
  4. Much of the Stratford and Southend section would be up to speeds of at least 100 mph.

I estimate that total time would be a few minutes under two hours.

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Royal Oak

I discuss this in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Western Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel.

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

I discuss this in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Eastern Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel.

 

 

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Abbey Wood

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Abbey Wood.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. The North Kent Line is shown in black.
  3. The North Kent Line platform to London is the Southernmost platform and is numbered 1.
  4. The North Kent Line platform from London is the other Southern platform and is numbered 2.
  5. The Elizabeth Line platforms are numbered 3 and 4.
  6. Platform 4 is the Northernmost platform.

At present the Elizabeth Line service to Abbey Wood station is twelve tph, with each platform handling six tph.

This picture shows trains in both Platform 3 and 4 looking towards the station buildings.

Note.

  1. Platform 3 is on the right.
  2. Platform 4 is on the left.

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I talk about this proposal as described in this article on Ian Visits.

One of the key features of Crossrail To Ebbsfleet (C2E) project is that instead of all trains terminating at Abbey Wood, trains will terminate as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 4 tph

This will mean that 8 tph would pass through Abbey Wood station.

  • Platform 4 could certainly handle the four that terminated on the Elizabeth Line.
  • Platform 3 would need to handle eight tph in both directions or sixteen tph to fulfil the proposed C2E service.
  • This would be one train every 225 seconds.

I believe that digital signalling could handle this easily and safely.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Abbey Wood allows eight tph to go both ways between the North Kent Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

The Maximum Capacity At Abbey Wood Station

Because of the current track layout at Abbey Wood, I believe that without track modifications, Abbey Wood station will not be able to handle more than 12 tph.

Thameslink

These proposed trains would also be compatible with Thameslink, as this route has no platform edge doors.

No platform extensions would be needed, as the Class 345 trains are shorter than the 12-car Class 700 trains.

If they were 125 mph trains, then this would ease timetabling on the East Coast Main Line, as the trains could mix it with the expresses on the fast lines.

Could These High Speed Trains For The Elizabeth Line Have A Cruising Speed Of 140 mph?

It is likely, when full authority digital ERTMS signalling is installed on main lines out of London, that 140 mph will be possible on some at least these routes.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

The extra speed would maximise capacity.

August 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Stone Crossing Station – June 27th 2022

I changed trains yesterday at Stone Crossing station and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. It is a basic station with two long platforms.
  2. There is a bridge at one end.
  3. More houses are being built nearby, behind the trees.

It needs upgrading to the Twentieth Century.

A Second Visit To Stone Crossing Station

As I wanted to look at the footbridge, I went back again today.

This looks very much like an interim design to get passengers and pedestrians across the line safety.

A Crossrail To Ebbsfleet Station

This station will need to be made step-free, if Crossrail is extended to Ebbsfleet station.

The station will be handling ten trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

 

 

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Northfleet Station – June 27th 2022

This Google Map shows Northfleet station.

Note.

  1. The two tracks through the station are the North Kent Line.
  2. The other two tracks are freight sidings.
  3. The car-parks at Ebbsfleet station are in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. There appears to be a large cleared site to the North-West of the station.

These pictures show the station.

Northfleet station is best characterised by a series of negatives.

  • No step-free access from street-to-platform.
  • No step-free access from platform-to-train.
  • No train information on the London-bound platform.
  • No toilets.
  • No ticket office.
  • No staff
  • Not enough seats.
  • Not enough car parking.
  • Not enough trains.

The only thing that is ready for Crossrail are the long platforms, which will take a 240 metre long train.

A Crossrail To Ebbsfleet Station

This station will need to be made step-free, if Crossrail is extended to Ebbsfleet station.

The station will be handling ten trains per hour (tph) in both directions, with 4 tph terminating at the station.

I suspect new platforms will be built to accommodate the terminating trains.

 

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

Swanscombe Station – June 27th 2022

I went to Swanscombe station today and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The station is just two long platforms with steps down from the road, that goes across the bridge, that is shown in the pictures.
  2. Whilst I was at the station, a couple had great difficulty bringing a baby in a buggy down the stairs on the Eastbound platform.

This Google Map shows the station in detail.

This station is a real insult to anybody with reduced mobility.

A Second Visit To Swanscombe Station

As it was so bad, I went back again today.

As it’s Tennis Time – You Cannot Be Serious!!

A Crossrail To Ebbsfleet Station

This station will need to be made step-free, if Crossrail is extended to Ebbsfleet station.

The station will be handling ten trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

 

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion

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

These is the first paragraph.

A report looking at transport upgrades across the southeast of England suggests that extending the Elizabeth line into Kent would cost around £3.2 billion. The report, by Transport for the South East (TfSE) also supports the proposal and looks at how it could be funded.

This image from the Abbeywood2Ebbsfleet consultation, shows the proposal.

Note, that there doesn’t appear to be too much new infrastructure, except for a proper connection between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations. References on the Internet, say that the similar-sized Luton DART connection at Luton Airport, cost around £225 million.

As the quoted cost is £3.2 billion, I would assume, that  installation of digital signalling on the North Kent Line and the trains that use it, is one of the major costs.

I have some thoughts.

Improvement Is Needed

There are endless jokes, which have a punchline something like, “If you want to go to X, I wouldn’t start from here.”

On Monday, I intend to go to visit my friend; Ian, who lives at Longfield in Kent. Abbey Wood is the nearest Elizabeth Line station to Longfield and it is only seventeen miles away from Abbey Wood, but the quickest way you can do it by train is 64 minutes with a change at Rochester or 79 minutes going back into London and coming out from Victoria.

As before, I leave London, I will be having breakfast with another friend in Moorgate, the Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood will be a good place to start.

If I got the trains right, I can get between Moorgate and Northfleet in 41 minutes. Northfleet is just 5.5 miles from Longfield.

If Ian, wants to go to London, he usually drives to Ebbsfleet, where there is lots of parking and gets the Highspeed trains to Stratford or St. Pancras. Trains take 12 and 19 minutes to and from the two London termini, but go nowhere near to Canary Wharf, the City of London, Liverpool Street, Oxford Street, Paddington, West London and Heathrow.

I believe that for Ian and the other nearly million residents of West Kent, that the following should be done as soon as possible.

  • Extend the Elizabeth Line to Gravesend, which would give 300,000 more people a local Elizabeth Line station.
  • Build a people-mover between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations, which would create a high-capacity rail hub for North-West Kent, with connections to London, Heathrow and the Continent, and massive parking.

Heathrow and Northfleet would take under an hour and a quarter on a direct train.

Current Services Between Abbey Wood And Gravesend

Currently, these services run at some point on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood And Gravesend stations.

  • Southeastern – London Cannon Street and London Cannon Street  – 2 tph – Via Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • Southeastern – London Cannon Street and Dartford – 2 tph – Via Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green and Dartford.
  • Southeastern – London Charing Cross and Gravesend – 2 tph – Via Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend.
  • Southeastern HighSpeed – London St Pancras and Ramsgate via Faversham – 1 tph – Via Ebbsfleet International and Gravesend.
  • Thameslink – Luton and Rainham – 2 tph – Via Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend.

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. I have only indicated stations, where trains stop between Abbey Wood and Gravesend stations.

Aggregating these trains gives the following totals for each station.

  • Abbey Wood – 6 tph
  • Belvedere – 4 tph
  • Erith – 4 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 6 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 4 tph
  • Greenhithe – 4 tph
  • Swanscombe – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 5 tph

As stations get at least four tph, with more important ones getting 5 or 6 tph, it appears to be a well-constructed timetable.

Effect Of Changing The London Cannon Street And London Cannon Street From The Erith Loop To A Dartford Service

This should make no difference to the numbers, as the service is now clear of the Elizabeth Line after Slade Green.

Effect Of Cutting Back The London Charing Cross and Gravesend Service To Dartford

This service between London Charing Cross and Gravesend has a frequency of 2 tph and calls at Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet and Gravesend.

Cutting it back to Dartford adjusts the totals as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 6 tph
  • Belvedere – 4 tph
  • Erith – 4 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 4 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 2 tph
  • Greenhithe – 2 tph
  • Swanscombe – 2 tph
  • Northfleet – 2 tph
  • Gravesend – 3 tph

Some of the frequencies have halved.

Effect Of Adding Eight tph To Northfleet And Four tph To Gravesend On The London Charing Cross and Gravesend Service

The Elizabeth Line Extension is proposed to add the following trains to the service.

  • 8 tph will continue from Abbey Wood to Northfleet.
  • 4 tph will continue from Abbey Wood to Gravesend.

This adjusts the totals as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 6 tph
  • Belvedere – 12 tph
  • Erith – 12 tph
  • Slade Green – 14 tph
  • Dartford – 12 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 10 tph
  • Greenhithe – 10 tph
  • Swanscombe – 10 tph
  • Northfleet – 10 tph ( 4 tph – Terminating, 6 tph – Passing through)
  • Gravesend – 7 tph ( 4 tph – Terminating, 3tph – Passing through)

Note.

  1. These surely are frequencies, that will satisfy the most picky traveller.
  2. There are freight trains running on the route.
  3. The tightest section would appear to be between Abbey Wood and Dartford, although Dartford and Northfleet is only two tph less.
  4. West of Northfleet it gets easier.
  5. But I do think though, that full digital signalling between Abbey Wood and Gravesend would be able to handle it.
  6. 14 tph is a frequency that is less than that of the central sections of the East London Line, the Elizabeth Line and Thameslink.
  7. I have flown my virtual helicopter along the line and there may be places to add a third track, which would add more capacity.

I believe that it is possible to achieve the passenger train frequencies in the last table.

Abbey Wood East Junction

This Google Map shows the track layout to the East of Abbey Wood station.

Note.

  1. There are crossovers so trains can run between the Elizabeth Line platforms on the North side of Abbey Wood station and the North Kent Line.
  2. There is space on either side of the railway.
  3. I have my doubts that the current track layout would be able to handle twelve Elizabeth Line, six North Kent Line and possibly a freight train in every hour, especially where flat junctions are involved.

I can see a flyover or dive-under being built in this area to handle the trains efficiently.

Abbey Wood Power Change-Over

Some thoughts.

  • I will assume, that the change-over between 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third-rail power will take place in or near Abbey Wood station.
  • This would avoid any erection of electrification gantries to the East of Abbey Wood station.
  • If the Office of Road and Rail refuse to allow any more third rail, I could see a Headbolt Lane solution being applied, where batteries are used to bridge the 1.4 mile gap between Abbey Wood station with its 25 KVAC overhead electrification and Belvedere station with its 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • North Kent Line trains would take their existing route between Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations.
  • Also, if a comprehensive and efficient track layout is used here, then there might be cost savings if the Elizabeth Line trains supplied their own power from batteries.

An efficient junction to the East of Abbey Wood station, coupled with well-thought out electrification could be key to successfully handling the nearly 20 tph at Abbey Wood station.

Belvedere, Erith And Slade Green Stations

Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green stations are on a double-track section of the line.

  • The three stations are not step-free.
  • There appear to be a lot of industrial sites, that could be developed for housing.
  • There might be the possibility of adding an extra track in places.
  • Luckily, there are no level crossings.
  • There are some footbridges over the railway, that probably need updating to step-free

I suspect that developing the housing on this route will be most important.

Slade Green Depot

This Google Map shows Slade Green depot and the large triangular junction opposite the depot.

Note.

  1. Slade Green station is at the top of the map.
  2. Slade Green depot is in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The West point of the junction leads to Bexleyheath.
  4. The West and North points of the junction are connected by the Erith Loop.
  5. The South point of the junction leads to Dartford.

There are rail capacity problems in this area.

  • Slade Green depot is not big enough.
  • One train service goes both ways on the Erith Loop between Slade Green and Bexleyheath every thirty minutes, which could be a block on increasing train frequencies between Abbey Wood and Dartford stations.
  • The proposal is saying that the Slade Green and Bexleyheath service will go via Dartford station, where it will probably reverse.

I can see comprehensive redevelopment of the depot and the junction to remove the capacity problems and perhaps build a lot of housing.

  • If the Erith Loop is not used could the centre of the junction be developed with a much-needed extension to the depot?
  • The depot might be moved elsewhere or perhaps rebuilt with tower blocks on the top.

I think that moving the Slade Green and Bexleyheath service via Dartford could mean that the Erith Loop isn’t needed, so this might free up space to increase the size of the depot.

Dartford Station

This Google Map shows Dartford station and the area around the station.

Note.

  1. The station has four long platforms.
  2. It should be able to handle the 12 tph in both directions.
  3. There is a lot of new developments by the station.
  4. The station is step-free.
  5. There are some pictures of Dartford station in Dartford Station – June 27th 2022.

But I do suspect that the station probably needs extra capacity and a substantial rebuild.

Stone Crossing, Greenhithe And Swanscombe Stations

Stone Crossing, Greenhithe and Swanscombe stations will be handling 10 tph.

  • Greenhithe is a new station with full step-free access.
  • But Stone Crossing and Swanscombe stations may need improvement to bring them up to Elizabeth Line standards.
  • More details of Stone Crossing station are given in Stone Crossing Station – June 27th 2022.
  • More details of Greenhithe station are given in Bluewater Shopping Centre By Train.
  • More details of the current state of Swanscombe station are given in Swanscombe Station – June 27th 2022.
  • The one level crossing in the area was closed in 2018.
  • There may be scope to add an extra track at places in this section.

I feel that these three stations could be fairly easy to bring up to the required standards.

Northfleet Station

Northfleet station is a station, which in the words of estate agent; Roy Brooks, would have a lot of potential.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The two tracks through the station are the North Kent Line.
  2. The other two tracks are freight sidings.
  3. The car-parks at Ebbsfleet station are in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. There appears to be a large cleared site to the North-West of the station.

These pictures show the station.

The requirements for the station will be as follows.

  • The ability to handle 6 tph passing through.
  • The ability to be able to handle 4 tph, that terminate at the station.
  • Terminating four tph, will probably need two platforms for all eventualities.
  • Full step-free access.
  • An interchange with Ebbsfleet International station is also needed.
  • Is car parking needed?

There is certainly enough space.

The Pedestrian Link Between Northfleet And Ebbsfleet Stations

This is part of the plan and is shown on the first map in this post.

This Google Map shows Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.

Note.

  1. The large Ebbsfleet International station towards the bottom of the map.
  2. Northfleet station on the North Kent Line in the North East corner of the map.
  3. The two stations are about five hundred  metres apart as the  crow flies.

There has been a lot of pressure in the past to build a pedestrian link between the two stations, as reported by the Wikipedia entry for Northfleet station.

The station is very close to Ebbsfleet International station (the NNE entrance is only 334 yards (305 m) from Northfleet’s station), but passengers (using public transport) will find it far easier to access Ebbsfleet International from Gravesend or Greenhithe, as these stations are more accessible and offer easy access to Fastrack bus services. The walking route between the two stations is 0.6 miles (1 km) or 0.8 miles (1.3 km) and a suitable pedestrian link has not been built because of funding issues and objections from Land Securities.

Why when Ebbsfleet International station was built in the early 2000s for opening in 2007, was a pedestrian link not built between the two stations?

How much did omitting the link save?

Luton Airport are building the Luton DART, which is a people mover to  connect Luton Airport Parkway station with the airport.

  • It is 1.4 miles long.
  • It is fully automated.
  • It might have an extra station serving the mid-stay parking.
  • It appears to be taking three years to build.

All of this very comprehensive system appears to be costing around £200 million.

I doubt that a simple pedestrian link, like a bridge with travellators,  would have cost more than a few tens of million pounds.

Will Northfleet/Ebbsfleet Become A Major Railway Hub?

If Northfleet station and the connection to Ebbsfleet is well designed,, I can see this station becoming a major railway hub.

  • It would have Eurostar Continental services.
  • It would have HighSpeed services to London and Kent.
  • It would have Elizabeth Line services to London and Heathrow.
  • It would have Thameslink and Southeastern services.
  • The station would have lots of parking.

I also feel in the future that more Continental services will be developed.

  • Adding extra platforms for Continental services could be easier than at St. Pancras.
  • It could be an ideal terminus for sleeper trains to and from the Continent.
  • I might be the ideal terminus for very long distance trains to and from the Continent.

Northfleet/Ebbsfleet has something that St. Pancras lacks – space.

Gravesend Station

Gravesend station is a rebuilt step-free station with three platforms, as these pictures show.

But is it the right station, for the end of the Elizabeth Line?

These points are in favour.

  • There is a bay platform, that could handle 4 tph.
  • The station is step-free.
  • The station has had a recent refurbishment.
  • It has HighSpeed services to London and East Kent.
  • Gravesend is a town of 74,000 people.
  • Passengers can change between through trains by just staying on the same platform.

But these points are against.

  • The station is on a cramped site in the town centre.
  • There is no train stabling nearby.
  • Adding lots of car parking may be difficult.
  • Suppose adding the Elizabeth Line to the town was very successful and it was felt more services were needed. Could Gravesend station cope?

These are the times for the various services.

  • HighSpeed to St. Pancras – 25 minutes
  • HighSpeed to Stratford – 17 minutes
  • Southeastern to Charing Cross – 65 minutes
  • Thameslink to Abbey Wood- 28 minutes
  • Thameslink to London Bridge – 60 minutes

I estimate that the Elizabeth Line will take just over 50 minutes to Tottenham Court Road.

This last timing in itself is a good reason for the Elizabeth Line to serve Gravesend.

But I don’t think the Elizabeth Line has to start there.

I am worried that the Elizabeth will be too successful.

  • It serves Central London, Paddington and Heathrow.
  • It will have a frequency of four tph from and to Gravesend.
  • It will have trains with a very large capacity.
  • The trains will have wi-fi and 4G connections.

I don’t think the cramped Gravesend station will be able to cope with the needs of expansion.

  • An extra platform.
  • Handling trains that need to be turned back to London.
  • More car parking.

Northfleet/Ebbsfleet will have the parking and eight tph on the Elizabeth Line, so surely the best solution is to have the actual Elizabeth Line terminal station to the East of Gravesend.

  • Travellers to the West of Gravesend will use Northfleet/Ebbsfleet.
  • Travellers in Gravesend will use Gravesend station by walking, cycling or using a local bus.
  • Travellers to the East of Gravesend will use the new terminal station.

The Elizabeth Line extension is supposedly costing £3.2 billion, so it should serve as many potential passengers as possible.

The Elephant In The Garden Of England

It is proposed that the new Lower Thames Crossing is built to the East of Gravesend.

This map from the Department of Transport, shows the route.

Note.

  1. The new crossing, which is shown in red, bypasses the Dartford Crossing on the M25.
  2. The A226 runs between Gravesend and Higham via a junction with the new crossing at Chalk.
  3. Northfleet is to the West of Gravesend.

This Google Map shows the area between Chalk and Higham.

Note.

  1. Chalk in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Higham in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. The A226 running between Chalk and Higham.
  4. Higham station on the North Kent Line about half-way up the East side of the map.
  5. The North Kent Line running across the top of the map between Gravesend and Higham stations via Hoo Junction.

The Lower Thames Crossing will run North-South across this map to the East of Chalk and according to the Department of Transport map to the West of Thong.

I should admit, that I don’t drive, so the Lower Thames Crossing will be of no use to me, but I have friends in Kent and most seem to be in favour of the new crossing.

Reopening The Hoo Branch To Passenger Trains

In Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening, I wrote about an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways with the same title.

This is the first paragraph of the Modern Railways article..

Medway Council is working with Network Rail and other industry players in an effort to make restoration of a passenger service to Hoo on the Isle of Grain branch feasible. The Council was awarded £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2020 to support schemes to facilitate building of 12,000 new houses in the area, with £63 million of the HIF money for reinstatement of services on the Hoo Branch.

The article mentions, this new infrastructure.

  • A new station South of the former Sharnal Street station.
  • Works to level crossings, of which there are six between Gravesend station and proposed site of the new Hoo station.
  • A passing place at Hoo Junction, where the branch joins the North Kent Line.
  • A passing place at Cooling Street.

It looks like we may have the smaller project of reopening the Hoo branch railway, whilst a major road and tunnel is built through the area.

This OpenRailwayMap shows the North Kent Line between Gravesend and Higham stations.

Note.

  1. Gravesend station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Higham station is at the Eastern edge of the map.
  3. The railway shown in orange is the North Kent Line.
  4. The railway shown in yellow is the Hoo branch.
  5. The railway shown in red is the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

It looks like the path of the new crossing could follow a similar path to the overhead power cable shown on this map.

According to Modern Railways, the main reason for reopening the Hoo Branch for passenger trains is to provide rail access for new housing on the Isle of Grain.

  • Improving the Hoo branch will also help the freight services to the various docks and installations on the Isle of Grain.
  • Will the builders of the new crossing, use the Isle of Grain for the supply of aggregates and the disposal of tunnel spoil?
  • Remember that barges on the Thames were used to remove the tunnel spoil from London for both Crossrail and the Battersea extension to the Northern Line.

My knowledge of major projects is saying to me, that before the major works of the new crossing are started, this branch railway must be updated, otherwise it will cause problems in the future.

Could this be why, the Hoo branch reopening has been mentioned in both the April and July 2022 Editions of Modern Railways? Perhaps a sensible decision has been made, that means the Hoo branch will be improved first, to speed the construction of the new Lower Thames Crossing.

Could The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To The Proposed Hoo Station?

The proposed Hoo station is to be just South of the former Sharnal Street station.

  • This is under ten kilometres from Hoo Junction, where the North Kent Line is electrified.
  • A single platform could handle 4 tph, but provision for two platforms would be prudent.
  • A couple of sidings could provide stabling.
  • Services would join the North Kent Line at Hoo Junction.
  • Services would use battery power between Hoo Junction and Hoo station.
  • If charging were needed at Hoo station a short length of 25 KVAC overhead electrification would be needed.
  • There is plenty of power available locally to power any electrification.

This Google Map shows the possible location of the station.

Note.

  1. The A 289 road running NE-SW across the map from a roundabout in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The A 289 leads from the roundabout in the South-West corner of the map to the Medway Tunnel to Chatham.
  3. Sharnal Street is between the two roundabouts.
  4. The single-track railway crosses the A 289 at right-angles, about 500 metres South of Sharnal Street.
  5. There is even a high voltage power line  going through the area to the South of the railway.

It seems to be an ideal place for a station with good road access, space and plenty of power to charge battery vehicles and trains.

I took these pictures of where the A289 crosses over the railway on June 27th 2022.

Note.

  1. The substation site, which is marked with Network Rail logos. It looks like power has been provided to the site.
  2. The high-voltage line passing to the South of the site.
  3. There were trucks carrying tunnel segments. Is there a factory on the Isle of Grain and will it produce segments for the Lower Thames Crossing?
  4. The Sharnal Street bridge over the railway.

It certainly looks like Network Rail have been planning a station there for some time.

Around The Isle Of Grain

I took these pictures of the Isle of Grain on June 27th 2022.

Note.

  1. There is a lot of housing planned on the island.
  2. Someone wants to build a theme park.
  3. The road past the station leads to the Medway Tunnel.

All these factors would add to the case for the station.

Battery-Electric Class 345 Trains

There would be a need to develop a third-rail battery/electric version of the Class 345 trains.

In this article in Global Rail News from 2011, which is entitled Bombardier’s AVENTRA – A new era in train performance, gives some details of the Aventra’s electrical systems. This is said.

AVENTRA can run on both 25kV AC and 750V DC power – the high-efficiency transformers being another area where a heavier component was chosen because, in the long term, it’s cheaper to run. Pairs of cars will run off a common power bus with a converter on one car powering both. The other car can be fitted with power storage devices such as super-capacitors or Lithium-ion batteries if required. The intention is that every car will be powered although trailer cars will be available.

Unlike today’s commuter trains, AVENTRA will also shut down fully at night. It will be ‘woken up’ by remote control before the driver arrives for the first shift

This was published over eleven years ago, so I suspect Bombardier have refined the concept.

A Simple Extension Of The Elizabeth Line

The branch to Hoo station could be a very simple extension of the Elizabeth Line.

  • There appear to be no challenging engineering problems.
  • Parking and cycling routes could be provided as required at the station.
  • The centre of Gravesend would be under ten minutes from Hoo station.
  • There would be a same-platform change for HighSpeed services at Gravesend station.
  • The developers of the housing would be over the moon.
  • Workers for the Lower Thames Crossing and the big energy projects on the Isle of Grain could reverse commute from London.
  • The station would only be a few minutes more than an hour from Central London.
  • The station could also double as a Park-and-Ride for Chatham and Gillingham.
  • Buses could connect Hoo station to Chatham and Gillingham.

It could prove to be a very valuable station for the Isle of Grain and the Medway Towns.

The Contactless Ticketing Conundrum

This is said on the Transport for London website.

Contactless pay as you go is accepted throughout the Elizabeth line.

So it’s just a case of Have Card Will Travel!

So this will mean, that contactless ticketing will have to be accepted at all stations East of Abbey Wood.

Everybody will love that!

Are There Any Other Possible Elizabeth Line Destinations In Kent?

Train companies, since the days of British Rail have run Peak time commuter trains to bring workers into London in the morning and take them home in the evening.

There will be four tph passing through Gravesend and they don’t all have to go to and from Hoo station.

Digital signalling will give flexibility as to which stations the trains could serve.

Possibilities include.

Gillingham

Gillingham station may be a possibility.

Maidstone West

Maidstone West station may be a possibility.

Rainham

Rainham station has three platforms and is already served by two Thameslink tph to Luton through Central London, which use the bay Platform 0

Some might argue that two Elizabeth Line tph should extend from Abbey Wood to Rainham, to give a four tph service between Abbey Wood and Rainham.

This would be a North Kent Metro.

Rochester

Rochester station has three platforms and Platform 3 can turn trains back to London.

It is already used by Thameslink to turn Peak services.

Project Management

The project may be budgeted to cost £3.2 billion, but it is a small number of independent projects.

  • Digital signalling
  • Electrification changeover at Abbey Wood station.
  • An efficient junction East of Abbey Wood.
  • Rebuild Belvedere station with step-free access.
  • Rebuild Erith station with step-free access.
  • Rebuild Slade Green station with step-free access.
  • Extend Slade Green depot.
  • Upgrade Dartford station.
  • Rebuild Stone Crossing station with step-free access.
  • Upgrade Greenhithe station.
  • Upgrade Swanscombe station.
  • Rebuild Northfleet station with step-free access and two extra bay platforms.
  • Install people mover between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.
  • Upgrade the Hoo Branch.
  • Build Hoo station.

Note.

  1. Gravesend station would only need minimal updating.
  2. As I said before, I suspect the digital signalling will be the biggest cost.
  3. Choosing the optimal order is good project management!
  4. Projects that create fare revenue should be done early, especially if they don’t interfere with services on the railway.

The first projects, that I would develop would be these.

  • Rebuild Northfleet station with step-free access and two extra bay platforms.
  • Install people mover between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.
  • Upgrade the Hoo Branch.
  • Build Hoo station.

As I said earlier, this project needs to be developed with the Lower Thames Crossing.

Conclusion

This seems an excellent plan.

 

 

 

 

 

June 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Elizabeth Line – Abbey Wood Station – 24th May 2022

I took these pictures at Abbey Wood station on the Elizabeth Line.

Note.

  1. Abbey Wood station has four platforms, three bridges and six lifts.
  2. In Abbey Wood Station Opens, there are pictures from when the station opened in October 2017.
  3. The interchange between the North Kent and Elizabeth Lines seemed to be working well.

It will be interesting to see how this station changes to accommodate more Elizabeth Line services to Kent.

 

May 25, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Medway Council is working with Network Rail and other industry players in an effort to make restoration of a passenger service to Hoo on the Isle of Grain branch feasible. The Council was awarded £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2020 to support schemes to facilitate building of 12,000 new houses in the area, with £63 million of the HIF money for reinstatement of services on the Hoo Branch.

The article mentions, this new infrastructure.

  • A new station South of the former Sharnal Street station.
  • Works to level crossings, of which there are six between Gravesend station and proposed site of the new Hoo station.
  • A passing place at Hoo Junction, where the branch joins the North Kent Line.
  • A passing place at Cooling Street.

Note.

  1. The single-platform Bow Street station cost £8 million.
  2. The single-platform Soham station cost nearly £22 million, but it has a bridge.
  3. Reopening the Okehampton branch and refurbishing Okehampton station cost £40 million.

I think costs will be very tight.

Possible Train Services

This is said in the article about the train service on the branch.

While third rail electrification was originally proposed, this idea has been discarded in favour of self-powered trains on the branch, such as battery-operated trains. Possible destinations include Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet for interchange with trains going to London, or extension of London to Dartford or Gravesend services over the branch, using hybrid third-rail/battery trains.

Consider.

  • Merseyrail will be using battery-electric trains to provide services to the new Headbolt Lane station, as permission was not available for extending the existing third-rail track.
  • Electrification would probably cost more than providing a charging system at Hoo station.
  • Turning the trains at Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet could be difficult and a new bay platform would probably break the budget.
  • Both Dartford and Gravesend have two trains per hour (tph), that could be extended to the new Hoo station.
  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • There are also half-a-dozen level crossings on the route, which I doubt the anti-thord rail brigade would not want to be electrified.
  • The Dartford services have a possible advantage in that they stop at Abbey Wood station for Crossrail.
  • It may be easier to run services through Gravesend station, if the terminating service from Charing Cross were to be extended to Hoo station.
  • A two tph service between London Charing Cross and Hoo stations, with intermediate stops at at least London Bridge, Lewisham, Abbey Wood and Dartford would probably be desirable.

I feel that the most affordable way to run trains to Hoo station will probably be to use battery-electric trains, which are extended from Gravesend.

It may even be possible to run trains to Hoo station without the need of a charging system at the station, which would further reduce the cost of infrastructure.

Possible Trains

Consider.

  • According to Wikipedia, stopping Gravesend services are now run by Class 376, Class 465, Class 466 and Class 707 trains.
  • Real Time Trains indicate that Gravesend services are run by pathed for 90 mph trains.
  • Class 376, Class 465 and Class 466 trains are only 75 mph trains.
  • Class 707 trains are 100 mph trains and only entered service in 2017.

I wonder, if Siemens designed these trains to be able to run on battery power, as several of their other trains can use batteries, as can their New Tube for London.

In Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London, I said this.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled London Underground Deep Tube Upgrade.

This is an extract.

More speculatively, there might be a means to independently power a train to the next station, possibly using the auxiliary battery, in the event of traction power loss.

Batteries in the New Tube for London would have other applications.

  • Handling regenerative braking.
  • Moving trains in sidings and depots with no electrification.

It should be born in mind, that battery capacity for a given weight of battery will increase before the first New Tube for London runs on the Piccadilly line around 2023.

A battery-electric train with a range of fifteen miles and regenerative braking to battery would probably be able to handle a return trip to Hoo station.

An Update In The July 2022 Edition Of Modern Railways

This is said on page 75.

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

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

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

Note that Steve White is Managing Director of Southeastern.

I’ll go along with what he says!

Conclusion

I believe that a well-designed simple station and branch line could be possible within the budget.

A battery-electric upgrade to Class 707 trains could be a solution.

But the trains could be very similar to those needed for Uckfield and to extend electric services in Scotland.

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

An Analysis Of The Train Service On The East Kent Line With Respect To The Three Options For Crossrail To Ebbsfleet (C2E)

Much of the analysis is an update of a post called Up To £3 Billion For Crossrail To Ebbsfleet, that I wrote in June 2019.

Current Services Along The North Kent Line

I shall start by looking at current services on the North Kent Line.

Thameslink – Luton And Rainham (Kent)

A Thameslink service

  • Two trains per hour (tph)
  • South of the Thames, the service calls at London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Whatcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe, Northfleet, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.
  • Eight-car Class 700 trains work the route, which have a 100 mph operating speed.
  • The service calls at Northfleet for a possible interchange with services running from Ebbsfleet International station
  • The service calls at Abbey Wood for interchange with Crossrail.

If there needed to be more capacity on this service, I suspect Thameslink could run twelve-car trains.

Southeastern – London Charing Cross And Gravesend

Southeastern Metro service.

  • Two tph
  • Calls at Waterloo East, London Bridge, Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham, New Eltham, Sidcup, Albany Park, Bexley, Crayford, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe and Northfleet
  • The service calls at Northfleet for a possible interchange with services running from Ebbsfleet International station.
  • The service calls at Gravesend for interchange with Southeastern HighSpeed services between St. Pancras International station and North-East Kent, East Kent and soon-to-be East Sussex.
  • Class 465 trains work the route, which have a 75 mph operating speed.

This picture shows a train for Gravesend in London Bridge station.

My feeling, is that the service would be improved by modern 100 mph trains, as these antique slow-coaches must restrict the speed of faster trains.

Southeastern – London Cannon Street And Dartford Loop Line

A Southeastern Metro service.

  • Four tph in both directions.
  • Calls at London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • Two tph return to Cannon Street via Crayford and Sidcup and two tph return to Cannon Street via Barnehurst and Bexleyheath.
  • The service calls at Abbey Wood for a planned interchange with Crossrail.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with the previous service, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London Charing Cross And Dartford

A Southeastern Metro service.

  • Two tph
  • Calls at Waterloo East, London Bridge, Lewisham, Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Arsenal, Plumstead, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith and Slade Green.
  • The service calls at Abbey Wood for a planned interchange with Crossrail.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with the two previous services, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London Victoria And Dover

A Southeastern Mainline service.

  • Two tph
  • Calls on the North Kent Line at Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with previous services, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London Victoria And Ramsgate

A Southeastern Mainline service.

  • One tph
  • Calls on the North Kent Line at Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham.
  • Class 465 trains work the route.

As I said with previous services, these 75 mph trains need replacing with 100 mph trains.

Southeastern – London St. Pancras And Faversham

A Southeastern HighSpeed service.

  • One tph
  • Calls at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham and Sittingbourne.
  • The service calls at Ebbsfleet International for an interchange with Continental services.
  • Class 395 trains work the route, which have a 100 mph operating speed on lines electrified using a third-rail.

This picture shows a Class 395 train at Gravesend station.

East of Ebbsfleet International, this service can be considered a 100 mph local train, that gets slowed by the 75 mph services.

Southeastern – London St Pancras International Loop Service

A Southeastern HighSpeed service.

  • One tph
  • Calls at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Gravesend, Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Birchington-on-Sea, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Sandwich, Deal, Walmer, Martin Mill, Dover Priory, Folkestone Central, Folkestone West, Ashford International, Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International.
  • The service calls at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International for an interchange with Continental services.
  • Class 395 trains work the route.

East of Ebbsfleet International, this service can be considered a 100 mph local train, that gets slowed by the 75 mph services.

Southeastern – London St Pancras International And Ramsgate

A Southeastern HighSpeed service.

  • One tph
  • Calls at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Canterbury West, Ramsgate and Broadstairs
  • The service calls at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International for an interchange with Continental services.
  • Class 395 trains work the route.

East of Ashford International, this service can be considered a 100 mph local train, that gets slowed by the 75 mph services.

A Summary Of Services By Station

I will look at the current number of trains at stations between London Bridge and Faversham.

  • Deptford – 6 tph
  • Greenwich – 6 tph
  • Maze Hill – 6 tph
  • Westcombe Park – 6 tph
  • Charlton – 8 tph
  • Woolwich Dockyard – 6 tph
  • Woolwich Arsenal – 8 tph
  • Plumstead – 8 tph
  • Abbey Wood – 8 tph
  • Belvedere – 6 tph
  • Erith – 6 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 12 tph to London and 6 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 4 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 6 tph
  • Swanscombe – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 6 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Higham – 2 tph
  • Strood – 4 tph
  • Rochester – 7 tph
  • Chatham – 7 tph
  • Gillingham – 7 tph
  • Rainham – 7 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Sittingbourne – 5 tph
  • Faversham – 5 tph

Note.

  1. This is almost a train every ten minutes all the way from London to Faversham.
  2. Between Gravesend and Faversham one tph is a Southeastern HighSpeed service.
  3. In addition Ebbsfleet International has four tph to and from London St. Pancras International.

This can be considered the base service to which Crossrail services can be added.

Service Frequency Of Option 1

The first option provides for an extension of Crossrail from Abbey Wood to Northfleet/Ebbsfleet and Gravesend, sharing the existing tracks with National Rail services.

  • Of the 12 trains per hour (tph) that are planned to run to Abbey Wood. four tph will terminate at each of Abbey Wood, Northfleet/Ebbsfleet and Gravesend.
  • Crossrail trains would call at all stations on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood and Gravesend stations.

This gives a summary as follows.

  • Deptford – 6 tph
  • Greenwich – 6 tph
  • Maze Hill – 6 tph
  • Westcombe Park – 6 tph
  • Charlton – 8 tph
  • Woolwich Dockyard – 6 tph
  • Woolwich Arsenal – 8 tph
  • Plumstead – 8 tph
  • Abbey Wood – 20 tph
  • Belvedere – 14 tph
  • Erith – 14 tph
  • Slade Green – 14 tph
  • Dartford – 20 tph to London and 14 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 12 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 14 tph
  • Swanscombe – 12 tph
  • Northfleet – 12 tph
  • Gravesend – 10 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Higham – 2 tph
  • Strood – 4 tph
  • Rochester – 7 tph
  • Chatham – 7 tph
  • Gillingham – 7 tph
  • Rainham – 7 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Sittingbourne – 5 tph
  • Faversham – 5 tph

Note.

  1. Train frequencies between Abbey Wood and Northfleet have increased by 8 tph
  2. Train frequencies at Gravesend have increased by 4 tph.
  3. Train frequencies to the East of Gravesend are unchanged.
  4. Between Gravesend and Faversham one tph is a Southeastern HighSpeed service.
  5. Crossrail has a direct interchange at Gravesend with the Southeastern HighSpeed services.

I am fairly certain that signalling must be improved and train speeds must be increased for Option 1.

Service Frequency Of Option 2

The second option is to draw out Crossrail from south east London to Dartford using new dedicated tracks built next to the existing North Kent line, with increased rail service frequency between Dartford and Northfleet.

  • All the 12 tph, that currently are planned to run ro Abbey Wood, all will terminate at Dartford station.
  • Crossrail trains would call at all stations on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood and Dartford stations.
  • I will assume that Southeastern run an extra 4 tph between Dartford and Northfleet.

This gives a summary as follows.

  • Deptford – 6 tph
  • Greenwich – 6 tph
  • Maze Hill – 6 tph
  • Westcombe Park – 6 tph
  • Charlton – 8 tph
  • Woolwich Dockyard – 6 tph
  • Woolwich Arsenal – 8 tph
  • Plumstead – 8 tph
  • Abbey Wood – 20 tph
  • Belvedere – 18 tph
  • Erith – 18 tph
  • Slade Green – 18 tph
  • Dartford – 24 tph to London and 10 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 8 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 10 tph
  • Swanscombe – 8 tph
  • Northfleet – 8 tph
  • Gravesend – 6 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Higham – 2 tph
  • Strood – 4 tph
  • Rochester – 7 tph
  • Chatham – 7 tph
  • Gillingham – 7 tph
  • Rainham – 7 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Sittingbourne – 5 tph
  • Faversham – 5 tph

Note.

  1. There is a big increase in services to between Abbey Wood and Dartford.
  2. There is an increase of 4 tph in services between Dartford and Northfleet.
  3. There is no increase in services at Gravesend.
  4. Between Gravesend and Faversham one tph is a Southeastern HighSpeed service.
  5. Crossrail has no direct interchange with the Southeastern HighSpeed services.

I am fairly certain that signalling must be improved and train speeds must be increased for Option 2.

Service Frequency Of Option 3

A third option consists of improving the National Rail service between Abbey Wood and Northfleet, combined with a new Bus Rapid Transit service.

  • It appears Crossrail services would stay the same at Abbey Wood, with all twelve tph terminating at the station, as are currently planned.
  • Southeastern services to Dartford via Abbey Wood would be extended to Northfleet. This would increase the number of Southeastern trains to/from London serving stations between Northfleet and Dartford for connection to Crossrail at Abbey Wood from four to eight tph.

This gives a summary as follows.

  • Deptford – 6 tph
  • Greenwich – 6 tph
  • Maze Hill – 6 tph
  • Westcombe Park – 6 tph
  • Charlton – 8 tph
  • Woolwich Dockyard – 6 tph
  • Woolwich Arsenal – 8 tph
  • Plumstead – 8 tph
  • Abbey Wood – 20 tph
  • Belvedere – 6 tph
  • Erith – 6 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 8 tph to London and 10 tph to the East
  • Stone Crossing – 8 tph
  • Greenhithe for Bluewater – 10 tph
  • Swanscombe – 8 tph
  • Northfleet – 8 tph
  • Gravesend – 6 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Higham – 2 tph
  • Strood – 4 tph
  • Rochester – 7 tph
  • Chatham – 7 tph
  • Gillingham – 7 tph
  • Rainham – 7 tph to London and 5 tph to the East
  • Sittingbourne – 5 tph
  • Faversham – 5 tph

Note.

    1. There is a 4 tph increase in services between Abbey Wood and Northfleet.
    2. There is no increase in services at Gravesend.
    3. Between Gravesend and Faversham one tph is a Southeastern HighSpeed service.
    4. Crossrail has no direct interchange with the Southeastern HighSpeed services.

I am fairly certain that signalling must be improved and train speeds must be increased for Option 3.

Conclusion

I have come to several small conclusions about future services on the North Kent Line.

Improved Signalling

To handle the number of trains required, I am fairly certain that modern digital signalling as used on the central sections of Crossrail and Thameslink, should be installed on the route.

Faster Trains

The operating speed of the North Kent Line is 90 mph, which is not a good fit to the operating speed of the trains.

I’m sure that train capacity would be increased if trains could operate at 90 mph or even 100 mph on the route.

 

Only Option 1 Allows Interchange Between Crossrail And Southeastern HighSpeed Services

Option 1 allows this interchange at Gravesend and it could prove useful, when travelling between North-East Kent and Crossrail stations, including Paddington and Heathrow.

More Services East Of Gravesend

I suspect that there could be extra paths to the East of Gravesend.

These could be either classic or HighSpeed services.

In Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Highspeed Routes, I said this.

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways talks about the Southeastern Highspeed routes through Kent.

Some principles are laid down.

The article gives an estimate that at least another twenty Class 395 trains are needed of which perhaps three would have batteries for operation along the Marshlink Line between Ashford International and Ore stations.

The new timetable proposed in the article is similar to that now, with the following changes in each hour.

  • All Day – A St. Pancras – Ashford – Dover Priory service runs once per hour and splits at Ashford with one six-car train going to and from Hastings and the other six-car train going to and from Dover Priory.
  • Off Peak – A new St. Pancras – Ashford – Canterbury West service runs once per hour.
  • All Day –  A new St. Pancras – Ebbsfleet service runs twice per hour.
  • Off Peak – A new St. Pancras – Gravesend – Strood – Maidstone West service runs once per hour.

In addition all trains passing Thanet Parkway station will stop after it opens.

Note.

  1. Southeastern HighSpeed services will serve Hastings.
  2. Gravesend gets a second Southeastern HighSpeed service to St. Pancras.

I also wrote Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Fawkham Junction Link, which is about a Network Rail proposal to use Victoria as a second terminal for Southeastern HighSpeed services.

Little has been said about using Victoria as a second terminal, but if it was, it could free up space on the North Kent Lines, which would allow more paths for Crossrail.

 

August 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments