The Anonymous Widower

Essex Road Station – 16th November 2020

These pictures show Essex Road station.

Note.

  1. It is a station of little architectural merit.
  2. It is not by any means step-free.
  3. The atmosphere could be better.
  4. In the last few weeks, I have witnessed two falls, that could have been serious with a little less luck on those dreadful stairs.

It is certainly not the best station in Islington, let alone North London.

 

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 7 Comments

The Northern City Line Must Almost Be At Capacity

Most Monday mornings, I go to LEON on Moorgate for breakfast.

I go to that branch, mainly because I can get a proper china mug for my tea and also because a cheery member of staff usually has what I want ready within a minute of my entering the store.

One day, I’ll confuse them by having something different! But then she looks the sort, who enjoys a joke!

To get to Moorgate station, I can take a bus, but I usually go via the Northern City Line from Essex Road station, as it’s quicker in the Peak and drops me in the right side of Moorgate for LEON.

Today, the train was very full and it looked like you’d have had trouble squeezing in any more.

Since the new Class 717 trains have been introduced ridership has grown and the trains are getting more crowded in the Peak. This is despite an 11% increase in capacity, compared to the older Class 313 trains.

Currently, there are the following Off Peak services into Moorgate station.

  • Four trains per hour (tph) – Welwyn Garden City
  • Four tph – Hertford North, Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage.

There are also extra services in the Peak.

Various improvements and developments will affect the number of passengers going to and from Moorgate.

Improvements To Stevenage Station

Stevenage station is a bottleneck on one leg of the services  of the Northern City Line to and from Moorgate station.

An additional platform with full step-free access, is being added to the station and should open this year, to terminate services from Moorgate station.

Currently, services that stop at Stevenage station, that are going North include.

  • One tph – LNER to Leeds or Harrogate.
  • One tph – LNER to Lincoln or York
  • Four tph – Thameslink to Cambridge.
  • Two tph – Thameslink to Peterborough.

These will be joined in Autumn 2021 by East Coast Trains to Edinburgh at a frequency of five trains per day.

I suspect a lot of passengers going between the North and Hertfordshire and Cambridge will change at Stevenage, rather than Kings Cross.

The works at Stevenage also give the impression, that they could handle more than the four tph, that run on the route.

Improvements To Highbury & Islington Station

Highbury & Islington station is going to get more escalators and step-free access to the four deep-level platforms at some point and this will surely attract more passengers to use both the Victoria and the Northern City Lines.

Frequency increases are also planned for the North and East London Lines, in the next year.

Will the Northern City Line be able to handle the extra passengers?

A Second Entrance At Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station is one of the constraints on even more trains on the ever-welcoming Dear Old Vicky and may have had money allocated for a second entrance with more escalators and much-needed lifts.

As I said with Highbury & Islington station, will the Northern City Line be able to handle the extra passengers?

Rebuilding Of Essex Road Station

I think that Essex Road station could be a good investment for a creative property developer.

  • The building has little if any architectural merit.
  • The location is convenient on a busy road Junction.
  • Large numbers of buses pass the station, but the positioning of bus stops could be improved.
  • The station needs step-free access.
  • A large number of flats could be built on the site, with good access to the station.
  • Car parking is terrible locally.

I could see this station being transformed.

But if it were to be improved with much better access, it would further increase the number of passengers using the services into Moorgate.

The Gospel Oak And Barking Line

If you are going between Barking and the West End, lots of passengers in the Peak seem to change to the Victoria Line at Blackhorse Road station and numbers doing this seems to have increased since the Gospel Oak and Barking Line was electrified and now, the route  has double the capacity it had before.

Also are more passengers needing the City walking across at Highbury & Islington station.

It should not be forgotten, that the Gospel Oak and Barking Line is being extended to Barking Riverside with a same platform interchange to c2c’s services to and from Grays.

An increase in frequency between Barking and Gospel Oak is also planned.

Developments on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will increase the number of passengers going to and from Moorgate station.

Crossrail

Consider.

  • The route between Moorgate and Highbury & Islington stations will become an important link between the Victoria Line and Crossrail, as there is no direct connection between the two lines.
  • The short route will also link the North London Line to Crossrail.
  • I suspect too,that passengers from Hertfordshire will go all the way to Moorgate for Crossrail.

In addition, when Crossrail opens, Moorgate station will be fully step-free with umpteen escalators and lifts.

Will there be enough capacity and services on the Northern City Line?

Conclusion

Rough calculations and my instinct suggest that there will need to be an increase of services into Moorgate station.

Currently, in the morning Peak, twelve tph or a train every five minutes run into Moorgate station.

  • This frequency is easily handled in a two platform station.
  • Lines with modern signalling on the London Underground can handle up to thirty-six tph in a two-platform station.
  • The route is double-track between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations, where the route splits into two.

Twenty or more tph could be run on this simple route, with modern signalling.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wi-fi On A Train In A Deep Tunnel Under London

I’ve just been using wi-fi on a Class 717 train between Essex Road and Moorgate stations.

Is this the first railway line deep underneath the surface of London to have wi-fi installed?

I shall be interested to see, if I use the line more, as an alternative way to get to Moorgate from my house.

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Scrapyard Special Ready For The Blowtorch

I took these pictures of possibly the worst train, I’ve ridden in for some years.

I took this Class 313 train between Hertford North and Old |Street stations.

Not all trains of this age have to be so dirty and unkempt.

In Liverpool’s Underground Trains, I showed these pictures.

 

These Merseyrail Class 507/508 trains are only three years younger, than those in London.

Both fleets are being replaced before the end of 2020.

So it’s not that if trains are going to the scrapyard they have to be let go!

I do wonder whether that this illustrates the point, that if trains are run as a concession from the Local Authority, like those of Merseyrail and London Overground, there is much better control of service quality.

In Gibb Report – Moorgate Services Could Be Transferred To The London Overground, I laid out Chris Gibb’s view of what should happen.

This was my conclusion.

Chris Gibb has made an interesting proposal.

There are good reasons to transfer the Great Northern Metro to London Overground.

  • London Overground have the expertise to introduce the new trains.
  • Transport for London have the expertise to redevelop the stations on the route at the Southern end.
  • GTR will be able to concentrate on Thameslink
  • Moorgate, Old Street, Essex Road and Highbury and Islington stations become Transport for London-only stations.
  • London would gain a new Metro line between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace via Highbury and Islington and Finsbury Park, that extends into Hertfordshire and has a frequency of at least twelve tph.
  • Crossrail gets another North-South feeder line.
  • Highbury and Islington and Finsbury Park will become high quality interchanges.
  • The Hertford Loop Line can be developed independently of Thameslink and the East Coast Main Line to be a high-capacity North-South Metro from North London to Stevenage.
  • The Victoria Line gets a cross-platform connection to the Great Northern Metro for Crossrail at Highbury and Islington.
  • The only problem, is that it might remove some of the reasons for extending Crossrail 2 to New Southgate.

Overall it strikes me that GTR have been working totally without any vision or any idea about how their new trains will transform the Great Northern Metro.

I hope Sadiq Khan is watching what is happening from his bunker in South London.

 

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

The Shape Of Things To Come

Yesterday, I needed to go between Moorgate and Tottenham Hale stations.

It was just before the evening Peak and I took the escalators down to the Northern City Line platforms, where a new Class 717 train was waiting.

The increased capacity meant I got a seat and I took the train three stops to Highbury & Islington station.

It was then just a walk through a very short tunnel to the Victoria Line and a train to Tottenham Hale.

It was so much more relaxed than squeezing into a crowded and very elderly Class 313 train.

After the timetable change in May, there will be eight trains per hour (tph), as there is now, but given the number of trains in the new fleet and signalling improvements in the pipeline, I feel that this frequency will be increased.

It should also be noted that in the Peak there are twelve tph, which in the future could be used all day.

But in the interim, trains with extra capacity will be very welcome.

From An Ugly Ducking To A Swan

These developments are either underway or planned for the next few years.

  • Improved signalling on the Northern City Line.
  • Full step-free interchange at Finsbury Park between Moorgate services and Thameslink, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Higher frequencies on Thameslink and the Piccadilly Line through Finsbury Park
  • Full step-free access to the Northern City and Victoria Lines at Highbury & Islington station.
  • Full step-free access at Old Street station.
  • Hopefully, Essex Road station will be cleaned.
  • Crossrail will finally arrive at Moorgate station.

North London’s ugly ducking, which has caused passengers, British Rail and London Underground, so much trouble, will finally have turned into a swan.

I always wonder if the City of London;’s transport planners, wish that the Victorians had built the planned extension to a new Lothbury station, close to Bank.

What Will Be The Ultimate Frequency?

Currently the frequency between Alexandra Palace and Moorgate stations in the Peak is twelve tph.

Compare this with the following frequencies.

  • Crossrail will be initially 24 tph.
  • The East London Line is planned to go to 20 tph
  • The Piccadilly Line is currently at 24 tph between Arnos Grove and Acton Town stations in the Peak.
  • Thameslink will soon be at 24 tph
  • The Victoria Line is currently at 36 tph.

I don’t think it unreasonable that a frequency of at least sixteen and possibly twenty tph between Alexandra Palace and Moorgate stations is achievable.

  • Digital signalling and Automatic Train Control will be possible.
  • If Dear Old Vicky can turn 36 tph at Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations, with two platforms, then surely 20 tph at Moorgate is possible, once there is better access for passengers to the platforms.
  • Alexandra Palace to Moorgate is a double-track railway, that is almost exclusively used by Moorgate services.
  • 16-20 tph would make the cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington station very efficient.
  • There are two branches North of Alexandra Palace station. I’m sure each could handle 8-10 tph.
  • The Hertford Loop Branch has three terminal stations; Gordon Hill, Hertford North and Stevenage stations.
  • The East Coast Main Line has two terminal platforms  at Welwyn Garden City station.

I could see the following frequencies.

  • Moorgate and Gordon Hill – four tph
  • Moorgate and Hertford North – four tph
  • Moorgate and Stevenage – four tph
  • Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City – four to eight tph

It will be a very high-capacity Metro into Moorgate. There could be a need for a few more trains.

But with increased speed

Should The Northern City Line Be Shown On The Tube Map?

Increasingly, passengers will use the high-frequency Southern section of the Northern City Line between Alexandra Palace and Moorgate stations, as a new tube line.

So like Thameslink, the arguments will start as to whether this line should be on the Tube Map.

If Crossrail is to be shown, it is my view that nThameslink and the Northern City Line should be shown too!

April 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Great Northern Class 717s Finally Enter Passenger Service

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

I arrived at Finsbury Park station and found one there.

So I took a ride to Moorgate and back to Essex Road station

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Latest On The Class 717 Trains For The Great Northern

This is another tweet from the South East Rail Group.

Because of centre door of the cab some start signals can’t be sighted by the driver. Thus SDO will be used and trains stopped short. Once ERTMS is installed (the trains already have the in-cab signalling displays to go with it) then fixed signals and triphandles will be removed.

They also say that squiadron service is could be on March 11th.

Effect Of ERTMS

The tweet also confirms that ERTMS will be available on this line, after the first stage of installation of ERTMS on the East Coast Main Line.

Currently, the service to Moorgate station is twelve trains per hour (tph) in the Off Peak, with extra services in the Peak.

As Thameslink and Crossrail will be running twenty-four tph in a couple of years, so when ERTMS is working on the Southern part of the East Coast Main Line and on the Northern City Line into Moorgate station, how many trains per hour will be possible to Moorgate?

The current twelve tph means that turning the trains at Moorgate must be done in five minutes, which having watched the process is fairly relaxed.

Fifteen tph and a four minute turnround is certainly possible, as that is sometimes achieved in the Peak with the ancient Class 313 trains.

With a fleet of twenty-five trains, and a frequency of twenty-four tph possible under ERTMS, I suspect that twenty tph and a three minute turnround at Moorgate could be achieved all day.

Highbury & Islington Interchange With The Victoria Line

With Dear Old Vicky gamely plugging on at thirty-six tph, the typical maximum wait in a cross-platform interchange will be as follows.

  • Victoria to Northern City – three minutes
  • Northern City to Victoria – one minute and forty seconds.

How many passengers will use this route to the City rather than use the London Overground?

Interchange With Crossrail At Moorgate

The Northern City will be my link to Crossrail, as I can walk or get a bus to Essex Road station.

The interchange between Crossrail and the Northern City Lines will be high capacity, feature a lot of escalators and be fully step-free.

Conclusion

London’s forgotten underground line with its tragic history of the Moorgate Tube Crash, will become a new star in the broad firmament of London’s railways.

It just needs some improvements to some of the stations.

March 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

A Class 313 Train In Not Bad Condition

On Friday, I took a train between Moorgate and Essex Road stations.

It was not in bad condition.

These trains are three-car trains and run in pairs as six-cars.

These trains used to run on the Watford DC Line, so I wonder if when they get to be released by the new Class 717 trains, some could be put back on that line to release some more Class 378 trains for the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Anybody like a game of Musical Trains?

February 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pan Up And Pan Down At Drayton Park Station

The years and decades go by and the new Class 717 trains, just like their predecessors; the Class 313 trains, continue to change between 25 KVAC overhead and 750 VDC third rail electrification at Drayton Park station.

There appears to have been little noticeable development in the forty years since the Class 313 reains were introduced. But the operation of the Class 717 trains appears smoother and quieter.

I would have thought, that for safety reasons, the new trains would have used battery power between Drayton Park and Moorgate stations.

After all it’s only two and a half miles, that is run using third-rail electrification.

I’d be very interested to see how much power is used by the new Class 717 trains South of Drayton Park.

In Weight And Configuration Of A Class 717 Train, I showed that the kinetic energy of a jam-packed Class 717 train at 85 mph is 56.15 kWh.

  • I doubt that this sort of speed is achieved in the tunnels.
  • At 60 mph, the energy would be 28 kWh
  • At 40 mph, the energy would be just 12 kWh.

Obviously, hotel power for air-conditioning and lights will be needed for the train, but even at 5 kWh per car per mile, that would only be 150 kWh.

To carry 200 kWh of batteries on a six-car train is a very practical proposition.

  • Vivarail have done it in a three-car train.
  • There could be a short length of third-rail electrification to top up the batteries at Moorgate station, if required.
  • Battery power could be used in depots to move trains, which would mean depots could have less electrification.
  • Trains could be moved to the next station, if the electrification should fail.

The route between Moorgate and Drayton Park stations, is probably one of the best and easiest in the UK for battery operation.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

No Progress On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

I was talking to a station guy on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line yesterday and he told me, it will be two weeks before the new Class 710 trains start running.

He indicated that the Class 378 trains don’t fit the route, which I do find strange, as the Class 710 and Class 378 trains should eventually be sharing the North London Line.

According to Wikipedia widths of the trains are as follows.

  • Class 172 – 2.69 m.
  • Class 378 – 2.80 m.
  • Class 315 – 2.82 m.

By comparison a Class 345 Aventra is 2.78 m.

Perhaps that twenty millimetres is critical!.

But the guy had a point, when he suggested the line should have had a slightly larger gauge,, as it might have been possible to run a few redundant Class 315 trains on the route.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a rumour that the Class 717 trains didn’t fit the tunnels into Moorgate.

It sounds like there has been a lack of people, who can read a tape measure.

 

 

January 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments