The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Northern City Line

Some parts of North and North-East London, have less-than-good connections with the Elizabeth Line.

  • The Piccadilly Line has no direct connection with the Elizabeth Line.
  • The Victoria Line has no direct connection with the Elizabeth Line.
  • The Bank branch of the Northern Line has only a poor connection with the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station.
  • The Northern City Line has only a poor connection with the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station.
  • The Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line has a good connection with the Elizabeth Line at Tottenham Court Road station.
  • The Lea Valley Lines of the London Overground have good connections with the Elizabeth Line at Liverpool Street station.
  • Thameslink has a good connection with the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon station.

It would appear that if you live near one of the Lea Valley Lines or Thameslink stations, you can access the Elizabeth Line fairly easily at Liverpool Street or Farringdon stations, but if you rely on a Northern, Northern City, Piccadilly or Victoria Line local station, you are not so lucky!

Could The Northern City Line Be Improved To Give Better Connections Between North London And The Elizabeth Line?

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines between Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington stations.

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line, which calls at M (Manor House), Finsbury Park, Arsenal, Holloway Road and Caledonian Road, before going South-West to King’s Cross St. Pancras.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line, which calls at Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington, before going South-West to King’s Cross St. Pancras.
  3. The black tracks on the Western side of the map are those of the East Coast Main Line into King’s Cross.
  4. The black tracks going South-East from Finsbury Park are the Northern City Line, which calls at Finsbury Park, Drayton Park, Highbury & Islington, E (Essex Road) and Old Street before terminating at Moorgate.

This second map shows the lines through Finsbury Park station.

 

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line.
  3. The black tracks going through Drayton Park station are the Northern City Line.
  4. The platforms of the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines are paired at Finsbury Park station, so that passengers can change lines with a simple walk-across.

This third map shows the lines through Highbury & Islington station.

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line.
  3. The orange tracks are the London Overground.
  4. The black tracks going through Drayton Park and Highbury & Islington stations are the Northern City Line, which terminates at Moorgate station.
  5. The platforms of the Northern City and Victoria Lines are paired at Highbury & Islington station, so that passengers can change lines with a simple walk-across.

The big problem with Highbury & Islington station is that is not step-free.

A Step-Free Route Between Wood Green And Moorgate  Stations

Currently, it is possible to go between Wood Green and Moorgate stations by using three trains.

  • Piccadilly Line – Wood Green to Finsbury Park – 6 mins
  • Victoria Line – Finsbury Park to Highbury & Islington – 6 mins
  • Northern City Line – Highbury & Islington to Moorgate – 10 mins

Note.

  1. These are actual times measured on my phone.
  2. The total time is twenty-two minutes.
  3. I had to wait a couple of minutes at both changes.
  4. Both changes are walk-across.
  5. The changes are not as perfect as they could be, although they would be easily managed with a buggy or a heavy case.

These pictures show the change at Highbury & Islington station.

These pictures show the change at Finsbury Park station.

This route works for all stations Between Manor House and Cockfosters.

  • Cockfosters – Add 15 minutes
  • Oakwood – Add 12 minutes
  • Southgate – Add 9 minutes
  • Arnos Grove – Add 6 minutes
  • Bounds Green – Add 3 minutes
  • Turnpike Lane – Subtract 2 minutes
  • Manor House – Subtract 5 minutes

But look at the frequencies of the three sections in trains per hour (tph)

The Northern City Line frequency is not high enough, as you could have a fifteen minute wait for a train.

Improvements Needed To The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line now has new Class 717 trains, a terminal platform at Stevenage and full digital signalling is being installed.

  • The major improvement needed would be to improve frequency to at least 12 tph.
  • Six tph on both branches should be possible.

I would also install step-free access at more stations.

Moorgate Station’s Northern City Line Platforms

These pictures show the platforms of the Northern City Line at Moorgate station.

Note.

Improved Connections At Moorgate Station

I talked about the connections between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines at Moorgate station in Elizabeth Line To Northern Line At Moorgate Station.

This was my conclusion.

Routes between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines at Moorgate need to be improved.

I feel that some of the improvements could be fairly minor, but adding step-free access to the Northern City Line could be more difficult.

An Improved Connection Between Bank And Moorgate Stations

Currently, there are three ways between Bank and Moorgate stations.

  • Use the Northern Line
  • Use a 21, 43 or 141 bus routes
  • Walk

I believe that it would also be possible to dig a pedestrian tunnel between the two stations and fit it out with a moving walkway.

This visualisation shows the updated Bank station.


Note.

  1. Moorgate station is to the left.
  2. The only more-or-less completed bits are the two Northern Line tunnels and platforms and parallel pedestrian tunnel.
  3. The four cross tunnels can be picked out towards the far end of the station.
  4. Three of the cross tunnels can now be used by passengers.
  5. The moving walkway can be accessed from the two cross tunnels nearest to the Central Line.
  6. The escalators from the yet-to-open Cannon Street entrance appear to lead directly into a cross tunnel and a parallel tunnel to the moving walkway.

I believe that the moving walkway to Moorgate station could connect with the Bank station complex, at the Moorgate end of the new moving walkway in Bank station.

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HS2 Completes First Tunnel Cross Passages

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from High Speed Two.

This is the first paragraph.

As the tunnelling machines under the Chilterns approach the four-mile mark, HS2 completes the first of thirty-eight underground connections between the northbound and southbound tunnels.

This video from High Speed Two, shows the construction of the cross tunnels.

There appears to have been a resurgence of traditional tunneling methods, albeit it with the assistance of modern mechanised tools.

In London recently, these tunnels have been dug without the use of expensive tunnel boring machines.

  • The running and station tunnels for the Bank Station Upgrade.
  • The tunnel for the Paddington Bakerloo Line Link.

I suspect there will a lot more dug traditionally in the future.

Bank And Moorgate

The map from cartometro.com shows the plethora of lines at Moorgate and Bank stations.

Note.

  1. Moorgate station is served by the Circle, Elizabeth, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern and Northern City Lines.
  2. Bank station is served by the Central, Circle, District, Northern and Waterloo & City Lines.
  3. Bank station is also one terminus of the DLR.

I believe it would be possible to dig a long pedestrian tunnel with a travelator, between Moorgate and Bank stations under Moorgate, which connects the two stations.

City Thameslink Station And St. Paul’s

I discussed this in A Pedestrian Connection Between City Thameslink Station And St. Paul’s Tube Station.

August 30, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elizabeth Line To Northern Line At Moorgate Station

In Elizabeth Line – Moorgate Station – 27th May 2022, I took the recommended step-free route at Moorgate station between the Northern Line and the new entrance to the station.

It is a rather underwhelming and long route and this was my conclusion.

The rat-up-the-drainpipe route is acceptable to me, but I don’t feel the step-free route via the long tunnel will be acceptable for all those, who need to use it.

It’s just too long to walk for many!

Perhaps the addition of seats for a rest would help.

I wrote about the rat-up-the-drainpipe route to the surface, in Up From The Depths At Moorgate Station and in my view, if you can manage an escalator it is a better route between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines. Once at the surface, there are lifts and stairs to the new entrance, where there are escalators and a lift to the Elizabeth Line.

This morning, I was coming the other way, as I’d just off an Elizabeth Line train from Canary Wharf. These pictures show my route to the Northern Line.

Note.

  1. The signing at the start of the route, which is shown in the first picture is dreadful.
  2. I suspect, it leads to some of those in wheel-chairs ending up at the main escalators to Moorgate.
  3. The main route to the Northern Line includes a double set of stairs, but there is a by-pass lift.
  4. The connecting tunnel is overly long.
  5. At the end of the tunnel, there is a choice of a lift or long stairs.
  6. At least the tunnel is fully air-conditioned.

I took the lift and then used the escalator to the Northern City Line opposite.

Step-Free Access To The Northern City Line

It hasn’t been added.

Conclusion

Routes between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines at Moorgate need to be improved.

 

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Track Layout At Bank And Moorgate Stations

This map from cartometro.com shows the new track layout through Bank And Moorgate.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown in purple.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The Circle, Hammersmith and City and the Metropolitan lines are shown in yellow and mauve.
  4. The Circle, District lines are shown in yellow and green stripes.
  5. The Northern Line is shown in black.
  6. The Northern City Line, that terminates at Moorgate is also shown in black.

The routes of the Northern Line are now clear from the map.

The Northbound Route Of The Northern Line

The Northbound trains pass through the following platforms.

  1. The Easternmost platform, which is numbered 4 at Bank station.
  2. The Western Northern Line platform, which is numbered 7 at Moorgate station.

This route of the Northbound tunnel will be identical before and after the works.

The Original Southbound Route Of The Northern Line

Until January this year, the Southbound trains passed through the following platforms.

  1. The Eastern Northern Line platform, which is numbered 8 at Moorgate station.
  2. The original Western Northern Line platform, which was numbered 3 at Bank station.

Note how the Northbound and Southbound tracks cross between the two stations.

The New Southbound Route Of The Northern Line

The new Southbound route is shown dotted on the map.

  • The new Southbound platform is also shown dotted.
  • The Northbound and Southbound tracks still cross between the two stations.

The tracks don’t return to standard left-hand running until South of Borough station.

After the line fully-reopens, some time in May this year, the Southbound trains will pass through the following platforms.

  1. The Eastern Northern Line platform, which is numbered 8 at Moorgate station.
  2. The new Western Northern Line platform at Bank station.

Effectively, the Southbound tunnel has been moved to the West to create more space in Bank station.

Conclusion

The design of the new tunnel appears simple, but I don’t think it was that easy to construct.

 

 

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Digital Signalling Work Outlined By Network Rail For Northern City Line

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

This is the first paragraph.

Network Rail has detailed work due to be delivered on the Northern City Line to Moorgate.

I use this line regularly and I believe that with digital signalling the Northern City Line could see a large increase in frequency.

Currently, the service from Moorgate is as follows.

  • 4 tph to Welwyn Garden City via Potters Bar
  • 4 tph to Hertford North of which 2 tph extending to Watton-at-Stone and 1tph of those continuing to Stevenage.

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. Although the service is reduced from that shown, because of the pandemic and lower passenger demand.

But eight tph means a train every seven minutes and thirty seconds.

If you look at London’s high frequency lines, they have or will have passenger frequencies as follows.

  • Crossrail – 24 tph on dedicated tracks with digital signalling.
  • East London Line – 16 tph on dedicated tracks.
  • North London Line – 8 tph on tracks shared with freight trains.
  • Thameslink – 24 tph on dedicated tracks with digital signalling.

Note.

  1. The East London Line is planned to go to 20 tph with two extra tph to Clapham Junction and Crystal Palace.
  2. 20 tph means a headway between trains of three minutes.
  3. 24 tph means a headway between trains of two minutes and thirty seconds.

It should also be noted that the Victoria Line runs upwards of thirty tph on a fully digitally-signalled line.

What Level Of Service Would Be Possible?

These are my thoughts on various aspects of the Northern City Line.

How Many Trains Could Be Handled Between Finsbury Park And Moorgate?

This section of track is a simple double-track with a diamond crossing to the North of the two platforms at Moorgate, so that trains can use either platform.

This layout is used at Brixton and Walthamstow Central on the Victoria Line and Battersea Power Station on the Northern Line to name just three of many.

So I suspect that the track layout at the terminus at Moorgate can handle well-upwards of twenty tph.

The new Class 717 trains that run into Moorgate have an operating speed of 85 mph, which is faster than the previous Class 313 trains, which appear to have run at 30 mph South of Drayton Park.

I suspect that eventually twenty or even twenty-four tph will be possible on a digitally-signalled route between Finsbury Park and Moorgate.

But in the interim, sixteen tph would be a good compromise.

How Many Trains Could Be Handled On The Current Routes?

Currently, four tph use the both the Welwyn Garden City and the Hertford East/Stevenage routes.

I am fairly sure that both routes could handle eight tph, with the only proviso, that there is enough terminal capacity to turn the trains.

Looking at the layout of Welwyn Garden City station, I am certain that it could be modified to be able to handle eight tph.

I would hope that the new platform at Stevenage station, built to handle trains to and from Moorgate, can cater for four tph. As there are turnback platforms at Gordon Hill and Hertford North stations, I’m sure the other four tph could be handled.

The Piccadilly Line And The City of London

It has always been difficult to get between the Northern section of the Piccadilly Line and the City of London.

In the 1960s, I used to use my bicycle. By public transport, you generally had to use the bus or the 641 trolley bus to Moorgate.

With the improvement of the Northern City Line and Finsbury Park station, the fastest route to Moorgate is probably to change between the Piccadilly and Northern City Lines at Finsbury Park station.

Increasing the frequency of Northern City Line services between Finsbury Park and Moorgate would create a high-capacity route to the City for those commuting from the Northern section of the Piccadilly Line.

The Piccadilly Line And Crossrail

There is no connection between the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail.

A trip between Oakwood and Canary Wharf would be difficult.

As with getting to the City of London, the improvement of the Northern City Line and Finsbury Park station offers a route to Crossrail.

Oakwood and Canary Wharf would probably be done with changes at Finsbury Park and Moorgate.

The Victoria Line And The City of London

There is a cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station between the Victoria and Northern City Lines.

With an increased frequency of Northern City Line services between Finsbury Park and Moorgate, I would expect that more people would use this route.

The Victoria Line And Crossrail

There is no connection between the Victoria Line and Crossrail.

The easiest route will be to take the route in the previous section and join Crossrail at Moorgate.

Conclusion

It does look that with the current routes sixteen tph to and from Moorgate could be a practical limit.

But that would still be a train every three minutes and forty-five seconds between Finsbury Park and Moorgate.

This increased frequency could be needed to create a high capacity link between the Northern sections of the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines and the City of London and Crossrail.

 

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Could British Land’s Plans For Finsbury Square Car Park Include A Rail Link To The Northern City Line?

This map from cartometro.com shows the railway lines in the area of Liverpool Street, Moorgate and Old Street stations.

Note.

  1. The four tracks in black are the Northern and Northern City Lines.
  2. It is planned to install digital signalling on the Northern City Line to increase capacity.

Finsbury Square is to the East of these lines.

The Northern Line is about fifteen metres deeper and underneath the Northern and City Line.

This picture shows the escalator between the two lines at Moorgate station.

 

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the Northern City Lines are deep enough to be below the Finsbury Square Car Park.

So would it be possible to run a four-car electric multiple unit into the Finsbury Square Car Park, so that there is no need to shuttle parcels and light freight to Liverpool Street station.

The digital signalling on the Northern City Line will probably allow a few extra trains to travel to a siding in or under the Finsbury Square Car Park, so it wouldn’t effect services into Moorgate.

 

 

August 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Finsbury Square Car Park Becomes British Land Hub For Delivery Drivers

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

It is a surprising headline or is it a logical development given some of the projects in the rail freight business.

In A Freight Shuttle For Liverpool Street Station Planned. I talked about Rail Operations Group and their plans to run a freight shuttle between London Gateway and Liverpool Street station.

  • Trains will be Class 769 bi-mode trains.
  • The trains will be fitted with roller doors, roller cages and strengthened floors.
  • Three services will leave Thames Gateway at 0029, 1208 and 1856.
  • They will return from Liverpool Street at 0242, 1421 and 2100.
  • Services will use Platforms 9 and 10 in Liverpool Street station.
  • Goods would be delivered to the customer by e-bikes or electric vans.

This a very detailed plan.

But would it be better, if it had a logistics hub close to or even in the station?

These pictures show the Old Cab Road at Liverpool Street station.

This would probably be the only area in the station, that can be used. But it is not very large. Although it does have an access road at the back of the station.

This Google Map shows the area between Finsbury Square and Liverpool Street station.

Note.

  1. Finsbury Square is in the North West corner of the map.
  2. Liverpool Street station is in the South East corner of the map.
  3. There is an entrance to the Old Cab Road Liverpool Street station on Primrose Street.
  4. Amazon UK’s corporate office is in the North East corner of the msp.

Could roller cages be rolled into electric vans and taken to Finsbury Square for sorting and onward distribution?

  • The car park has a height limit of 1.98 metres.
  • It has 258 parking spaces.
  • Could it be expanded downwards?
  • How many e-bikes would it hold?

It think that this could be the reason for the purchase.

But I would be very surprised if a siding was dug that connected to the nearby Northern City Line that runs into Moorgate station.

 

August 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moorgate Station’s Old Entrance Has Now Reopened

I went to Moorgate station today, as the old entrance has now reopened with lifts and stairs to the sub-surface lines.

Note.

  1. The stairs down to the tunnel connecting the Northern Line and Crossrail look a bit steep.
  2. The ceiling design in the entrance lobby.
  3. The escalators down to Crossrail at the Southern side of the entrance lobby.
  4. The gate line is very wide.

The oversite development, which is still being built, will surely tidy up the entrance.

In The New Lift To The Northern Line At Moorgate Station, I showed and described this visualisation.

Note.

  1. The Northern City Line is shown in purple.
  2. The double escalator going down to between the two terminal platforms of the Northern City Line.
  3. The Northern Line is shown in black and the two platforms are underneath the Northern City Line.
  4. The Northern Line tunnels cross over the top of the Crossrail running tunnels.

The dark green tunnel with the right angle bend at the top of the map, is the pedestrian tunnel that connects the Northern Line and Crossrail.

The tunnel will be accessed from the Northern line platforms by the lift or the stairs, shown in the first two pictures.

Alternatively, you will be able to take he rat-up-the-drainpipe route to the surface from the Northern Line, that I described in Up From The Depths At Moorgate Station. That route is escalators all the way and then the lift in the pictures to the main entrance lobby.

On August 1st 2021, I finally took the lift from the Westbound Hammersmith & City, Circle and Metropolitan platform to the new ticket hall and took these pictures.

This is a general view of the lift.

This is the information plate on the outside of the lift at the sub-surface platform level.

It shows two lifts from the Sub-service platforms to the new ticket hall.

This picture shows the lift buttons on the outside of the lift at the sub-surface platform level.

It appears you can go up and down.

The down must mean that there is a level below the sub-surface platform level.

These are the buttons inside the lift.

It appears that there is a level below the platforms, which passengers can use.

Although it is not named on the plate, the lift must connect to the right-angled tunnel to the Northern and Northern City Lines.

  • It does appear that of the two lifts between the new ticket hall and the sub-surface platform level, only one accesses the connecting tunnel.
  • It might also mean that passengers in wheelchairs will need to use two lifts between the Northern Line and the Eastbound sub-surface platform.

I did see another tunnel from the lift on the Westbound sub-surface platform, stretching to the East.

Let’s hope I’m wrong or it will be sorted before opening.

Moorgate station appears to be getting extremely complicated.

 

July 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Would A Mutant Many-Parent Child Help To Solve London’s Transport Problems?

London needs to increase the capacity of its public transport system, as the City continues to get larger and larger.

Current Major Projects

There are only three major rail projects ongoing in London at the present time.

The Bank Station Upgrade

The Bank Station Upgrade appears to be progressing well, albeit perhaps it’s a bit late due to the pandemic.

It is a complex project and from what I have heard and observed, it has been well designed and planned.

The Barking Riverside Extension

As with the Bank Station Upgrade the Overground extension to the new Barking Riverside station, appears to be going reasonably well.

But compared to that project, it is a relatively simple project, built mainly in the open air, with no tunneling.

Crossrail

Crossrail is in trouble, after what many believe was a very good tunnelling phase of the project.

But then tunnels under London usually seem to go well. I can remember the Victoria Line tunnelling and many other under London since the 1960s and all of these tunnels seem to have been dug without trouble. As I write, there don’t seem to be any tunneling problems with the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Crossrail now has been reduced to a series of station builds and rebuilds, some of which are as large as the Bank Station Upgrade, with other ongoing projects like the testing of trains and systems.

So why are some of these stations running late in their delivery?

If you walk along the route of Crossrail in the City of London and through Clerkenwell and the West End, it is one massive building side as developers raise massive clusters of new developments around and above the Crossrail stations.

The picture shows Farrington station’s Eastern entrance, with a new development on top.

This one wasn’t a big one, but it went up in record time.

These buildings are often funded by Sovereign Wealth Funds, who want their buildings finished ASAP and as they have bottomless pockets, they are prepared to pay more to get the builders and tradesmen they need.

And where did they get the workers from? Other projects, including Crossrail.

This problem happened in Aberdeen at the height of the oil boom in the last century.

I also think that Brexit worsened the problem, as workers from mainland EU moved to large projects closer to home, like Stuttgart 21 and the new Berlin Brandenburg airport, that were both very much in trouble and could have been offering premium salaries as well!

The solution would have been to phase developments so that the limited pool of workers was not exhausted.

But that probably wouldn’t have suited the developers and politicians for all sorts of reasons.

  • An uncompleted building doesn’t bring in money and jobs.
  • Early completion must improve chances of letting the building.
  • Delaying the building would probably have meant fewer holidays for politicians in exotic locations.

Hopefully, a comprehensive enquiry into the lateness of Crossrail will provide answers.

High Speed Two

High Speed Two is to my mind a London local project. But only in a secondary way!

  • Rebuilding Euston station will improve Underground connections and interchange at Euston and Euston Square stations.
  • It is claimed by High Speed Two, that the rebuilt Euston station will create 16000 jobs and 2200 homes.
  • High Speed Two will enable massive development at Old Oak Common, with tens of thousands of homes and jobs.
  • Old Oak Common station will be a very important rail hub in North-West London.

With seventeen trains per hour (tph) between Euston and Old Oak Common will High Speed Two attract local traffic?

  • I suspect High Speed Two between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly and between Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street will also attract local traffic.
  • I’ve used TGVs between Nice and Antibes.
  • Tourists might visit, just like they did and still do at the Olympic Park.
  • Many Londoners will join High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Some wag will suggest putting it on the Tube Map. But is it such a stupid idea?

Where Does London Need More Rail Services?

Having lived in London on and off for over seventy years, I feel the worst areas for rail links are probably.

  • North West London
  • South East London
  • South Central London between Wimbledon and Croydon.
  • South West London

Note.

  1. Over the years, there is no doubt that East and North London have improved considerably, with the development of the East London, North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
  2. Thameslink has been improved in North London and now it is being supported with improvements to the Northern City Line. Both routes now have new Siemens trains, which give a whole new dimension to using ironing-boards as seats.
  3. Crossrail will produce major improvements in West, East and South East London.
  4. Building of a new Penge Interchange station, which I wrote about in Penge Interchange could improve routes to and from South East London.
  5. Hopefully the work in recent years at Waterloo will improve suburban services out of Waterloo. In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed that four tph could be run to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations.

It looks like North West and South Central London are missing out.

How Can Services Be Improved In North West London?

There are radial routes from the centre of London to the suburbs.

Starting from the North and going to the West, there are the following lines.

When I used to live at Cockfosters as a child,  to visit my many cousins in North West London, there was no alternative but to use a bus and take well over an hour each way.

There are now some circular rail routes in London but nothing in the North West of the capital.

The Dudding Hill Line And The West London Orbital Railway

But there is the little-used freight route called Dudding Hill Line.

  • It runs between Cricklewood on the Midland Main Line and Acton Central on the North London Line.
  • It is four miles of double-track railway.

This YouTube video shows a cab ride from Acton to Cricklewood.

Plans exist to turn it into the West London Orbital Railway, which will run two services.

  • West Hampstead and Hounslow via Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton, Lionel Road, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth
  • Hendon and Kew Bridge via Brent Cross West, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton

Note.

  1. The proposed frequency of both services is four tph.
  2. There would be some stations to be built, but the track exists.
  3. There would be no new tunnels.
  4. The route is technically feasible.
  5. The route would connect West London to High Speed Two.
  6. There would be little disruption whilst it was built.
  7. The services could be run by dual-voltage battery-electric trains charged on the electrification at both ends of the route.
  8. The scheme represents a high value for money, with a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 2.2.

On the other hand, the scheme has two serious problems, as far as the current London Mayor is concerned.

  • Transport for London has no money, partly because of London’s Fare Freeze.
  • The project is not in South London.

This important and value-for-money project will not be built, whilst Sadiq Khan is still Mayor of London.

Harlesden Interchange

I believe that if we get the interchanges right on the West London Orbital Railway correct we can do things like.

  • Increase the benefit cost ratio.
  • Link the route to South London to make the Mayor a bit happier about the North London Scheme.

This Google Map shows Harlesden station.

Note.

  1. The Bakerloo Line/Watford DC Line running North-West/South-East through Harlesden station.
  2. The West Coast Main Line in the Southern section of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line running North-South across the map.

Platforms will be built on the Dudding Hill Line to connect that would probably be new or extended platforms in the current Harlesden station to enable interchange between the West London Orbital and the Watford DC Lines.

I also think there is a possibility that platforms could be added to the slow tracks of the West Coast Main Line, so that suburban services into London Euston can also connect to the West London Orbital Line.

It would also enable a connection between Southern’s Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes service and the West London Orbital Railway.

Looking at this from various angles, I think that an architect good at designing three-dimensional structures could develop a quality Harlesden Interchange station.

Neasden Interchange

Like Harlesden, Neasden is another possibility for a comprehensive interchange.

This Google Map shows Neasden station.

Note.

  1. There are a lot of lines going through Neasden station.
  2. The Dudding Hill Line goes across the South-East corner of the map.
  3. There is plenty of space in the area.

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The Dudding Hill Line is indicated by the former Dudding Hill station.
  2. The red tracks are Metropolitan Line tracks.
  3. The silver tracks are Jubilee Line tracks.
  4. The Southerly pair of lines through Neasden and Dollis Hill stations are Chiltern’s lines into Marylebone.
  5. The Chiltern tracks divide to the West of Neasden station, with the Aylesbury line following the other tracks and the Chiltern Main Line diverging to the West.
  6. London’s largest Underground Depot at Neasden, lies to the North-West in an area of London noted for few merits with the North Circular Road passing through.

I wonder, if the station and the depot offers a unique opportunity to offer large scale additions to London’s housing stock over the top of a rebuilt station and depot.

This Google Map shows the wider area.

Note.

  1. Much of the depot appears to be open-air stabling for trains.
  2. The North Circular Road passes North-South between the depot and Neasden station.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line cuts across the South-East corner of the map.
  4. This corner of the map is labelled as Dudden Hill.
  5. According to Wikipedia, Dudding Hill is considered a more genteel spelling of Dudden Hill and could be as old as 1544.

It looks as if it would be relatively easy to develop over the top of the depot to create housing, industrial or commercial properties.

But why stop there and cover both the North Circular Road and the six tracks through Neasden station?

Neasden station could be rebuilt into a station with platforms on the following lines.

  • Metropolitan Line
  • Jubilee Line
  • Chiltern Lines
  • Dudding Hill Lines

Note.

  1. I estimate that Chiltern has a train about every six minutes, so some could stop.
  2. There might be space for a bay platform for Chiltern.

Neasden could be a major housing and transport hub.

  • There could be large amounts of parking.
  • Road access would be good.
  • It would have good rail connections.
  • It could have a bus interchange.
  • London needs housing.

It might even be an alternative to Chiltern’s plan for a West Hampstead Interchange.

The Mayor of London, Transport for London and the Borough of Brent need to be bold!

Improvements To Chiltern’s Routes

Chiltern Railways have some plans that could improve services in North West London.

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

Wikipedia says this about using the Acton-Northolt Line to access new platforms at Old Oak Common station.

Upgrading the Acton–Northolt line (formerly the “New North Main Line”) to new platforms at Old Oak Common. This upgrade will also extend to London Paddington to increase capacity on the Chiltern Main Line as there is no room to expand the station at Marylebone.

This scheme has merit.

  • The platforms would be connected to the Chiltern Main Line along the route of a partly-disused railway.
  • The route could be double-tracked.
  • There must be space for at least two new platforms.
  • The new platforms could easily handle four tph.
  • There may be a case for some new stations.

The scheme could add valuable extra capacity for Chiltern.

A Chiltern Metro

Wikipedia says this about a  proposed metro service between Marylebone and West Ruislip stations.

  • The Metro would have a frequency of four tph.
  • It would call at Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park and South Ruislip.
  • The service would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip.
  • There would need to be passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and  Wembley Stadium.

Given that the Chiltern Metro was first proposed over a decade ago, perhaps the concept could be increased in scope.

  • Housing and other developments along the route may suggest that a station further out like High Wycombe might be a better terminal.
  • ERTMS in-cab digital signalling is likely to be installed at some time, which would decrease headways between trains and allow more services.
  • Electrification is likely in some form before 2040 and this will improve train performance.
  • If Neasden station were to be rebuilt, as a comprehensive transport and residential development, I believe that this Metro service should also call at Neasden, as it would complement the West London Orbital Railway.

I believe that a review of the Chiltern Metro may mean, that an improved version is worth building.

Improvements To The Milton Keynes And Clapham Junction Service

I feel that this service could be key in improving services between North London and South London via the West London Line and High Speed Two’s station at Old Oak Common.

Currently, this service is as follows.

  • It runs between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations.
  • It has a frequency of one tph.
  • It calls at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton and Imperial Wharf stations.
  • The service used to extend to South Croydon via Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst and East Croydon.
  • It uses Class 377 trains.
  • It shares parts of the route with the London Overground.

I also think it has various issues and questions with respect to the future.

  • The Class 377 trains are only 100 mph units, whereas the outer suburban trains on the West Coast Main Line are 110 mph Class 350 trains, which will soon be replaced by 110 mph Class 730 trains. Do the slower trains cause timetabling problems?
  • Is one tph enough?
  • The route doesn’t serve High Speed Two at Old Oak Common station.
  • Is the service run by the right operator?
  • What is the ideal Southern terminal?

These are my thoughts on the various issues.

The Service As A North-South Link

A friend, who lives in South London has told me, that if you go to an event at Wembley stadium the route is busy.

On the other hand, I’ve used it at midday on a Tuesday and found the trains empty.

But developed properly it could connect the following.

  • Milton Keynes Central
  • Bletchley for the East West Rail Link
  • Watford for the West Coast Main Line to the North
  • Wembley Central for Wembley Stadium and other entertainments
  • Willesden Junction for the North London Line
  • Hythe Road for High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • Shepherd’s Bush for the shopping.
  • Clapham Junction for most of South London and the South of England

It would be a very useful cross-London route to complement Thameslink and the East London Line.

The Frequency

The current Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction has a frequency of one tph.

This may be enough for some parts of the route, as other services also provide services.

But many would argue, that perhaps South of Watford Junction, the service needs to be increased to connect the area to Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.

I feel that High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway give so much connectivity, that between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction needs a frequency of at least eight tph.

As the North London Line and the Watford DC Line are working at a frequency of four tph, this could indicate that a four tph direct service Watford Junction and Clapham Junction be ideal. Perhaps, it could continue North to Milton Keynes with a frequency of two tph.

The Trains

I am absolutely certain, that the full service needs to be operated by dual voltage trains, that are capable of running at 110 mph.

The Class 350/1 trains of West Midlands Trains would probably be ideal for the full service.

  • They are dual voltage trains.
  • They are 110 mph trains.
  • They have a long distance interior.

They are being replaced with new Class 730 trains, so would be available.

If some services were running only as far North as Watford Junction, these could be either Class 378 or Class 710 trains of the London Overground.

The Connection To The West London Line And High Speed Two

This map from Wikipedia by Cnbrb shows the latest iteration of the lines at Old Oak Common station.

Note.

  1. The green route is taken by the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction trains.
  2. The bright blue is High Speed Two.
  3. The purple is Crossrail.
  4. The orange is the Overground
  5. Hythe Road station is proposed for the West London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.
  6. Hythe Road station will have a bay platform to turn trains from the South.
  7. Old Oak Common Lane station is proposed for the North London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.

But where is the connection between the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service and Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two?

  • Access from the South is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • Extra services from the South can be run to and from the bay platform at Hythe Road station.
  • Access from the East is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • How do passengers go between say Wembley Central and Heathrow?

In addition for access from the West is the Overground can be used to Old Oak Common Lane station.

But as things stand at the moment the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service bypasses Hythe Road station and the only ways to go from Milton Keynes to Old Oak Common station for either High Speed Two, Crossrail or the Great Western is to do one of the following.

  • Change to the Watford DC Line at Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone or Wembley Central and then change to the Overground at Willesden Junction for either Old Oak Common Lane or Hythe Road station.
  • Continue South to Shepherd’s Bush station, cross over to the other platform and then come back to Hythe Road station.
  • Go via Euston station. OK for High Speed Two, but not for Crossrail or the Great Western.

They cannot be serious!

I hope that there is a cunning plan to enable the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service to connect.

Whilst on the subject of connections at Old Oak Common, where is the promised connection of Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line?

Were all these connections just kicked into the long grass and quietly forgotten, as they were deemed too difficult and/or expensive?

I think serious questions need to be asked about the design of Crossrail and High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Why weren’t Crossrail and High Speed Two designed to connect directly to the London Overground at Willesden Junction station perhaps by the use of a North South people mover serving the following lines?

  • Bakerloo, Watford DC, West Coast Main and West London Orbital Lines at a rebuilt Harlesden station.
  • London Overground at the high-level Willesden Junction station.
  • High Speed Two
  • Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • The new Chiltern platforms.
  • Central Line at East Acton station.

Note.

  1. Hythe Road and Old Oak Common stations would not be needed.
  2. The Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service would call additionally at the rebuilt Harlesden station.

The current design of Old Oak Common stinks like a horse designed by a committee!

The Northern Terminal

I suggested earlier that some trains use Watford Junction and others use Milton Keynes Central.

Both stations have the capacity and the connectivity.

The Southern Terminal

In the last ten years, South Croydon, East Croydon and Clapham Junction have been used as the Southern terminal.

Thameslink seems to have chosen its various terminals to satisfaction of the travelling public, so perhaps the same method or personnel should be used.

The Operator

The Gibb Report said that this service should be transferred to the London Overground and I wrote about this proposal in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

This is one suggestion, but I do wonder, if it should be transferred to West Midlands Trains and run in conjunction with their West Coast Main Line services.

  • The service needs 110 mph trains.
  • Timetabling and operation should be easier.
  • London Overground trains don’t have a long-distance interior.

On the other hand, trains running between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction would probably be better if they were London Overground trains.

Conclusion

I believe that by using the current network and some modern trains and signalling, the passenger services to the West of the capital can be substantially improved.

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The New Lift To The Northern Line At Moorgate Station

Look at this image, I’ve clipped from this large visualisation of the massive Liverpool Street-Moorgate Crossrail Station.

The image shows the Northern City Line coming into Moorgate station.

Note.

  1. The Northern City Line is shown in purple.
  2. The double escalator going down to between the two terminal platforms of the Northern City Line.
  3. The Northern Line is shown in black and the two platforms are underneath the Northern City Line.
  4. The Northern Line tunnels cross over the top of the Crossrail running tunnels.
  5. Note the other escalator going down to the left of the Northern City Line escalators, that is connected to the Northern Line by two passages and stairs.
  6. There are also two single escalators connecting the Northern Line to the Northern City Line above. I regularly use the up escalator, when I arrive in Moorgate station on the Northern Line, as it is quicker and there are no steps. I described this exit in Up From The Depths At Moorgate Station.
  7. There is also a new passage shown in the visualisation, which appears to link the main Crossrail station with the Northern Line platforms or the area underneath them.

Whilst going through the station today, I found this lift.

It appears to be squeezed in between the two escalators linking the Northern and Northern City Lines.

Note

  1. Does it serve the Northern City and Northern Lines and the passage to Crossrail?
  2. The sign says Moorgate. Does this mean that the lift goes to the surface? But it would come probably up to the surface in Boots. So I suspect it leads to the passage, which means you go to Moorgate that way.
  3. The lift looks finished.
  4. The lights are on.

It certainly looks Crossrail-ready.

If you look at the visualisation in detail by clicking on it, it looks like,there could be two new short escalators and a lift going down from the Northern Line platforms to the passage underneath.

It looks to me, that if you arrive in the passage underneath the Northern Line from the main Crossrail part of the station, that you can do one of the following.

  • Take one escalator to the Northern Line.
  • Take two escalators to the Northern and City Line.
  • Take three escalators to the surface.

In addition you can do the following.

  • If you’re on the Northern and City Line platforms, you can take two escalators down to take the passage to access Crossrail.
  • If you’re on the Northern Line platforms, you can take pne escalator down to take the passage to access Crossrail.
  • Use the lift to go up or down as required.

If I’m not right what is shown in green?

I can see this technique used to squeeze escalators and a lift between the platforms on some stations with less space than a 1960s Mini.

March 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 8 Comments