The Anonymous Widower

Could The Giant Station At Bank, Liverpool Street, Monument And Moorgate Be Considered A Superhub?

In Is The City Of London Moving Towards One Giant Station?, I showed how the four stations were being drawn together and developed as one large station that served the heart of the City of London.

London is also developing other large interchange stations that could claim because of their connectivity could be classed as London superhub stations.

  • Canary Wharf stations, which connect the Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines, and the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Old Oak Common station, which could bring together the Central, Chiltern and Elizabeth Lines, the London Overground and High Speed Two.
  • Stratford station, which connects the Central, Elizabeth and Jubilee Lines, the Docklands Light Railway, the London Overground, High Speed One and the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Whitechapel station, which connects the Circle, District, Elizabeth and Hammersmith & City Lines, and the London Overground.

But what are the  characteristics of a superhub station?

A Lot Of Lines And Services

Obviously, it must have a lot of lines and services, so perhaps Clapham Junction station is the original superhub station.

All Lines Should Have Step-Free Access

This surely, goes without saying.

There Should Be Lots of Information

If the station is large it needs a lot of information and there’s probably the space to put it.

Helpful Staff

Should we have a fully-staffed kiosk at superhub stations, as there are at some main line stations?

Good Bus Connections

Bus connections at a superhub station must be comprehensive and probably connect to other superhubs.

There Should Be A Selection Of Shops For Travellers

I do my daily food and other shopping, as I travel around London. I’ll often use a station like Paddington with a good selection of shops.

Toilets

There are not enough public toilets in London.

Cash Machines

I know we’re using less cash, but a large station is a secure place to put a cash-machine.

Works Of Art

I also believe that railway stations are a secure place to put some of those large bronze sculptures and other works of art, that are currently locked away in the storerooms of galleries.

January 29, 2023 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Regulator Approves New Grand Union Train Service From Carmarthen To London Paddington

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from the Office of Rail and Road.

This is the sub-heading of the press release.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has opened up the Great Western Main Line to competition and enabled a significant increase in rail services between London and South Wales.

These points are made in the press release.

  • The rail regulator has approved the introduction of new train services between London, Cardiff and South West Wales from the end of 2024.
  • The services will be operated by a new open access operator, Grand Union Trains, bringing competition to the Great Western route out of Paddington.
  • Passengers travelling between London, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport, Cardiff, Gowerton, Llanelli and Carmarthen will benefit from an extra five daily return services and greater choice of operator.
  • The decision opens up the Great Western Main Line to competition for the first time, with potential benefits in terms of lower fares, improved service quality and innovation for all passengers using the route.
  • The application, submitted to ORR in June 2022, was disputed by Network Rail due to concerns about capacity on the network. But following careful consideration and analysis, ORR has directed Network Rail to enter into a contract with Grand Union.
  • Grand Union has committed to significant investment in new trains.
  • As an ‘open access’ train operator, however, it will not get paid subsidies from public funds, unlike current operators along the route.

ORR supports new open access where it delivers competition for the benefit of passengers. In making this decision, the regulator has weighed this up against the impact on Government funds and effect on other users of the railway, both passengers and freight customers.

These are my thoughts.

The Company

Grand Union Trains have certainly persevered to get this approval.

  • The company was created by Ian Yeowart, who previously created open access operators; Alliance Rail Holdings and Grand Central before selling both to Arriva.
  • After multiple negotiations with the Office of Road and Rail (ORR), Yeowart must know how to get an acceptable deal.
  • Grand Union Trains have a similar application for a service between Euston and Stirling with the ORR.

Grand Union Trains also have a web site.

The home page has a mission statement of Railways To Our Core, with this statement underneath.

At Grand Union we are passionate about Britain’s railways. We are committed to the traditional values of providing a high-quality customer service and a comfortable journey experience at a fair price.

I’ll go with that.

The Financial Backing Of The Company

All the UK’s open access operators are well-financed either by Arriva or First Group.

The ORR would not receive any thanks, if they approved an operator, which duly went bust.

So what is the quality of the financing behind Grand Union Trains?

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled RENFE Looks At Entering UK Rail Market Through Open Access Partnership, which starts with this paragraph.

Open access passenger service developer Grand Union Trains is working with Spain’s national operator RENFE and private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners on a proposed service between London and Wales.

That is fairly clear and would surely help in the financing of Grand Union Trains.

The Route

Trains will run between Carmarthen and London Paddington, with stops at Llanelli, Gowerton, Cardiff, Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol Parkway.

A new station at Felindre will replace Gowerton at some time in the future.

There will be five trains per day (tpd).

I have some thoughts and questions about the route

Felindre Station

Felindre station is named in Wikipedia as the West Wales Parkway station, where it is introduced like this.

West Wales Parkway is a proposed railway station north of Swansea, near to the boundaries of the neighbouring principal area of Carmarthenshire, and the villages of Felindre and Llangyfelach. The station is proposed to be situated at the former Felindre steelworks, near Junction 46 of the M4 and A48, and near Felindre Business Park and Penllergaer Business Park. The project is in the planning stages, as part of a wider Department for Transport proposal to re-open the Swansea District line to passenger traffic.

This Google Map shows where, it appears the Felindre station will be built.

Note.

  1. The Felindre Business Park in the North-West corner of the map, with a Park-and-Ride.
  2. The M4 running across the bottom of the map.
  3. The Swansea District Line runs East-West between the motorway and the Business Park.

It looks that the new station could be located on the South side of the Business Park.

When High Speed Two Opens Will Trains Call At Old Oak Common?

When High Speed Two opens, all GWR trains will stop at Old Oak Common station for these connections.

  • Chiltern for for Banbury, Bicester, High Wycombe and the West Midlands
  • Elizabeth Line for Central and East London and the Thames Valley
  • Heathrow Airport
  • High Speed Two for Birmingham and the North
  • Overground for Outer London

As Old Oak Common will be such an important interchange, I think they should.

Will The Platforms At Carmarthen Station Need Lengthening?

This Google Map shows Carmarthen station.

Note.

  1. The station has two platforms.
  2. There are certainly pictures of the station with an InterCity 125 in the station. There is a picture on the Wikipedia entry for Carmarthen station.

These pictures show the station.

I suspect that the station will be upgraded to accommodate Grand Union Trains.

The Trains

An article in the June 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Grand Union Bids For London To Carmarthen, gives these details of the trains.

  • Three classes.
  • 2023 start for the service.
  • Cycle provision.
  • Vanload freight will be carried.
  • Electric trains could start between London and Cardiff by 2023.
  • In 2025, trains could be nine-car bi-modes.
  • South Wales-based operation and maintenance.
  • 125 full-time jobs created.

It certainly seems to be a comprehensive and well-thought out plan.

I have a few thoughts on the trains.

What Make Of Trains Will Be Procured?

Consider.

  • Lumo’s Class 803 trains were ordered from Hitachi in March 2019 and entered service in October 2021.
  • So if they ordered their version of the Hitachi trains by the end of 2022, the trains could be in service by July/August 2025.
  • It would probably be easier, if the only fast trains on the Great Western Main Line between London and South Wales were all Hitachi trains with identical performance.

But the Spanish backers of Grand Union Trains may prefer Spanish-designed trains assembled in South Wales. So would a bi-mode version of CAF’s Class 397 trains be suitable?

On the other hand, the Carmarthen and Cardiff section of the route without a reverse at Swansea is only seventy-five miles.

This Hitachi infographic shows the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train.

Consider.

  • Charging could be provided at Carmarthen using a short length of electrification or one of Furrer + Frey standard chargers.
  • Charging would also use the electrification between London Paddington and Cardiff.
  • A nine-car Class 800 or Class 802 train has five engines and a five-car train has three engines.
  • The Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train was announced in December 2022.
  • In the intervening two years how far has the project progressed?
  • For the last twelve months, Lumo have been running trains with an emergency battery-pack for hotel power. How are the batteries doing, whilst being ferried up and down, the East Coast Main Line?

Can Hitachi configure a train with more than one battery-pack and a number of diesel engines, that has a range of seventy-five miles? I suspect they can.

I suspect that CAF also have similar technology.

There is also a benefit to Great Western Railway (GWR).

If GWR were able to fit out their Class 802 trains in the same way, they would be able to run between Cardiff and Swansea on battery power.

  • It is only 45.7 miles.
  • Charging would need to be provided at Swansea.
  • GWR could still run their one tpd service to Carmarthen.

It looks like both train operating companies could be able to do as Lumo does and advertise all electric services.

What Could Be The Maxmum Range Of A Hitachi Train On Batteries?

This Hitachi infographic shows the Hitachi Regional Battery Train.

Consider.

  • It has a battery range of 90 km or 56 miles on the single battery.
  • I would expect that by a regional train, Hitachi mean a five car Class 800 or 802 train, like those that go to Cheltenham, Lincoln or Middlesbrough.
  • A five-car Hitachi Regional Battery Train would have a battery that could contain power equivalent to 280 car-miles.
  • Five-car Class 800 or 802 trains have three engine positions.
  • These Hitachi trains have a very sophisticated control system, which I wrote about in Do Class 800/801/802 Trains Use Batteries For Regenerative Braking?

I believe the engineers at Hyperdrive Innovation have designed the battery-packs that replace the diesel engines as simulations of the diesel engines, so they can be a direct replacement.

This would mean that battery-packs could be additive, so the following could apply to a five-car train.

  • Two battery packs could have a range of 112 miles.
  • Three battery packs could have a range of 168 miles.

GWR generally runs pairs of five-car trains to Swansea, which would be 90 miles without electrification.

If five-car trains with two battery packs, could be given a range of 112 miles, GWR could run an electric service to Swansea.

They could also run to Carmarthen, if Grand Union Trains would share the charger.

What ranges could be possible with nine-car trains, if one battery pack is good for 280 car-miles?

  • One battery-pack, gives a range of 280/9 = 31 miles
  • Two battery-packs, give a range of 2*280/9 = 62 miles
  • Three battery-packs, give a range of 3*280/9 = 93 miles
  • Four battery-packs, give a range of 4*280/9 = 124 miles
  • Five battery-packs, give a range of 5*280/9 = 155 miles
  • Six battery-packs, give a range of 6*280/9 = 187 miles
  • Seven battery-packs, give a range of 7*280/9 = 218 miles

Note.

  1. I have rounded figures to the nearest mile.
  2. There are five cars with diesel engines in a nine-car train, which are in cars 2,3,5, 7 and 8.
  3. Diesel engines are also placed under the driver cars in five-car Class 810 trains.
  4. For the previous two reasons, I feel that the maximum numbers of diesel engines in a nine-car train could be a maximum of seven.
  5. I have therefor assumed a maximum of seven battery packs.

These distances seem sensational, but when you consider that Stradler’s Flirt Akku has demonstrated a battery range of 243 kilometres or 150 miles, I don’t think they are out of order.

But, if they are correct, then the ramifications are enormous.

  • Large numbers of routes could become electric without any infrastructure works.
  • Grand Union Trains would be able to run to Carmarthen and back without a charger at Carmarthen. 
  • GWR would be able to run to Swansea and back without a charger at Swansea.

Prudence may mean strategic chargers are installed.

Rrenewable Energy Developments In South West Wales

In Enter The Dragon, I talked about renewable energy developments in South West Wales.

I used information from this article on the Engineer, which is entitled Unlocking The Renewables Potential Of The Celtic Sea.

The article on the Engineer finishes with this conclusion.

For now, Wales may be lagging slightly behind its Celtic cousin to the north, but if the true potential of the Celtic Sea can be unleashed – FLOW, tidal stream, lagoon and wave – it looks set to play an even more prominent role in the net zero pursuit.

The Red Dragon is entering the battle to replace Vlad the Mad’s tainted energy.

South West Wales could see a massive renewable energy boom.

Grand Union Trains will increase the capacity to bring in more workers to support the developments from South Wales and Bristol.

 

 

 

December 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Barriers And Planters On The London Overground Platforms At Clapham Junction Station

To get home from Feltham station, after my visit this morning to see the new bridge, which I wrote about in The Completed Bridge At Feltham Station, I changed trains at Clapham Junction station.

I noticed that a barrier has been put up between the current two Overground platforms; 1 and 2.

.I suspect it is for safety reasons, as it will certainly stop passengers falling off the platform.

I also noticed that planters had been placed where I suspect that the new Platform 0 will be built.

Note.

  1. If the track is to placed between the planters and the platform, the space could be a bit small.
  2. Or is the platform going to be rebuilt a bit narrower?
  3. It also looks like the platform won’t be long enough for the planned eight-car train.

I also took these pictures of what looks to be a Fire Exit.

Could it be a temporary entrance, that will be used if there is a lot of work going on about the Grant Road entrance to create the new platform?

I also took these pictures of the Eastern end of the platform.

Considering, that the Class 378 train is five cars and an eight-car train would be sixty percent longer, it looks to me, that they will have to extend the platform, behind the temporary entrance or perhaps further towards the East.

Or could Network Rail have called up Baldrick, and asked him for one of his cunning plans?

Consider.

  • Currently, there is a one train per hour (tph) between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations, run by Southern.
  • The service used to run between Milton Keynes and South Croydon stations.
  • There surely is a need for a high-frequency service between the High Speed Two station at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction station.
  • Currently, there is no planned link between Crossrail and the West London Line.

Hythe Road station is planned to be on the West London Line and will serve the High Speed Two station at Old Oak Common.

This Transport for London map, shows the position of the proposed Hythe Road station with respect to High Speed Two and Crossrail.

Note.

  1. The West London Line to and from Clapham Junction goes down the East of the map.
  2. The North London Line to and from Richmond goes down the West of the map.
  3. The current Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service doesn’t go through the site of Hythe Road station, but somehow sneaks round on the freight line in the map.

Wikipedia describes the proposal for Hythe Road station like this.

Hythe Road railway station would be situated about 700 metres (770 yards) from the mainline Old Oak Common station. Construction work would involve re-aligning the track along a new railway embankment (built slightly to the north of the existing line) and demolishing industrial units along Salter Street, on land currently owned by a vehicle sales company (‘Car Giant’). The station structure will sit on a viaduct, with a bus interchange underneath. The station will incorporate 3 platforms, allowing through services between Stratford and Clapham Junction with an additional bay platform to accommodate terminating services from Clapham Junction.

I can envisage an eight tph service between Clapham Junction and Hythe Road stations, made up something like this.

  • Four tph between Stratford and Clapham Junction stations
  • One tph between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations
  • Three tph between Hythe Road and Clapham Junction stations

Note.

  1. Services would stop at Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton and Imperial Wharf.
  2. Two platforms at Clapham Junction station could easily handle eight tph.
  3. The London Overground’s five car Class 378 trains would probably be long enough for the shuttle.
  4. There is even the possibility of running the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service with five car trains, to void the expense of creating an eight-car platform at Clapham Junction station.

It would be better if the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service could go through Hythe Road station. But this might be difficult to arrange.

Conclusion

An eight tph service through Old Oak Common could be a nice little add-on for both High Speed Two and Crossrail.

January 12, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 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

London Will Still Need Crossrail 2 To Deal With HS2 Influx, London Mayor Predicts

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

This is the first paragraph.

Sadiq Khan says he expects mothballed scheme will eventually get built.

I don’t disagree that it will eventually get built, but it will be long after both Sadiq Khan and myself have gone.

You might think, that as I live in Dalston, I would be very much in favour of Crossrail 2 being built as soon as possible.

But then, I’m a duck-and-diver and there will always be a quick route to get to Euston.

I currently use four routes regularly and coming home, if it’s late or I want to get home quickly to cook supper say, I can take a taxi for a reasonable price.

The easiest way is actually to walk about two hundred metres and get a 73 bus to directly outside Euston station.

I very much feel we need to improve access in London to High Speed Two and that this can be done by making sure several smaller projects are completed before High Speed Two opens.

Improved Underground Connections At Euston Station

This page on the High Speed Two web site, says this about the station layout and Underground connections at the rebuilt station.

HS2 will deliver eleven new 400m long platforms, a new concourse and improved connections to Euston and Euston Square Underground stations. Our design teams are also looking at the opportunity to create a new northerly entrance facing Camden Town as well as new east-west links across the whole station site.

I would suspect that connection to the Underground will have step-free options.

I wrote about Underground connections at Euston station in Ian Publishes Details Of Future Developments At Euston And Euston Square Underground Stations.

The developments certainly look comprehensive and include a new entrance in Gordon Street on the South side of Euston Road.

Note.

  1. The view is looking North.
  2. A tunnel from this entrance will lead to the Eastern ends of the platforms at Euston Square station, where it appears there will be at least escalator access.
  3. The tunnel will also lead into Euston station.
  4. It is a simple improvement, that shouldn’t be too challenging.

This diagram shows the layout of the tunnel.

It looks to me to be a neat design, that could be installed between Gordon Street and Euston Square stations without disturbing the traffic on the busy Euston Road.

Once the subway and the Gordon Street entrance were built, there would have these benefits.

  • There would be a step-free route between Euston and Euston Square stations.
  • It would be a shorter walk  in an air-conditioned tunnel, rather than currently along the very polluted Euston Road.
  • It would be the fastest way to transfer between Euston and Kings Cross or St. Pancras stations.
  • It would give excellent access to the other London terminal stations of Liverpool Street, Moorgate and Paddington.
  • It would give step-free access to Crossrail at Farrington, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Paddington and Whitechapel
  • With a change at Farringdon or Liverpool Street to Crossrail, it would offer the fastest route to Canary Wharf.
  • The Gordon Street entrance would improve walking routes between Euston station and University College London and other buildings on the South side of Euston Road.

I also suspect that as this project is part of the rebuilding of Euston station for High Speed Two, that it will be completed before Euston station opens for High Speed Two.

If possible, it should be built much sooner to improve access between Euston station and the sub-surface lines.

Once open, even without other improvements at Euston station, this subway would improve access to Euston station by a very substantial amount.

Camden Town Station Upgrade

In 2015, I went to see an exhibition about the proposed expansion of Camden Town station and wrote The Camden Town Station Upgrade Exhibition.

I believe this upgrade should be delivered before High Speed Two opens around the end of this decade.

But due to the financial problems of Transport for London, this project has now been kicked into the long grass.

The Wikipedia entry for Camden Town station, states that upgrading the station will take four years.

Northern Line Split

The completion of the Camden Town Station Upgrade will enable the splitting of the Northern Line into two separate lines, after the completion of the Northern Line Extension to Battersea and the Bank Station Upgrade.

  • Northern Line West – Edgware to Battersea Power Station via Camden Town, Euston, Charing Cross and Waterloo.
  • Northern Line East – High Barnet to Morden via Camden Town, Euston, Kings Cross, Moorgate, Bank and London Bridge.

Each branch will be running at least 24 trains per hour (tph) and will significantly increase capacity between High Speed Two and other terminal stations and the City of London.

The Northern Line should be split into two lines by the time High Speed Two opens, but with no start date in sight for the Camden Town Station Upgrade, this might not be possible.

Victoria Line Improvements

The Victoria Line or Dear Old Vicky probably won’t be able to help much, but I do think it would be feasible to improve the three most inadequate stations on the line.

I doubt the money can be found to carry out these improvement projects, that are essential, but very much smaller than the Camden Town Station Upgrade.

Sub-Surface Lines Improvements

The big project on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines is the Four Lines Modernisation (4LM) project.

  • It is an upgrade of the trains, track, electrical supply, and signalling systems.
  • This will add 27 % more capacity in the Peak.
  • As anybody will know, who has been to a major event at Wembley Stadium, the new S8 Stock trains, that have been running for a few years now, have an almost infinite capacity.
  • Incidentally, the S8 Stock trains hold 1350 passengers, which is not far short of the 1500 that each Crossrail Class 345 train can hold.
  • Euston Square station will have a step-free connection from the rebuilt Euston station complex.

Most of the Modernisation will be completed by 2023.

I believe that the sub-surface lines will become the main method to get to and from the upgraded Euston station, until Crossrail 2 is built.

  • There will be direct trains to around seventy stations from Euston Square station.
  • With a change at Paddington to Crossrail, there is a route to Heathrow Airport and Reading.
  • With a change at Farringdon or Liverpool Street to Crossrail, there is a route to East London, Canary Wharf and South East London.
  • With a change at Farringdon to Thameslink, there are routes to over a hundred stations.
  • With a change at Whitechapel to the East London Line, there are routes to North, East and South London.

When you consider that the Metropolitan Line opened in 1863 and was the first passenger-carrying underground railway in the world, hasn’t it done well?

When the Euston Square station upgrade is complete, I will probably use that route to get home from Euston, changing on to a bus at Moorgate, which stops close to my house.

Old Oak Common Station

High Speed Two’s Old Oak Common station is introduced like this on this page on the High Speed Two web site.

Old Oak Common is a new super hub set to be the best connected rail station in the UK.

This map from Transport for London shows the various lines at the station.

Note.

  1. The bright blue line is High Speed Two.
  2. The purple line is the Great Western Main Line and Crossrail.
  3. I suspect that the interchange between these three lines will be a good one.
  4. Will all Great Western services stop at Old Oak Common station?
  5. The orange lines are London Overground services, with two new stations; Old Oak Common Lane and Hythe Road close to the main Old Oak Common station.
  6. The green line is the Southern service between Milton Keynes and South Croydon.
  7. The red line is the Central Line and it could be joined to the main station.
  8. There are plans for a West London Orbital Railway, from Brent Cross and West Hampstead in the North to Hounslow and Kew Bridge in the West, that would call at the main Old Oak Common station.

Old Oak Common station could be well connected to most of London, through its Crossrail. London Overground and West London Orbital connections.

It is my view that these three smaller projects must be completed before the opening of High Speed Two.

  • Hythe Road station
  • Old Oak Common Lane station
  • West London Orbital Railway.

None of these three projects would be very challenging.

Chiltern Railways And High Speed Two

Chiltern Railways already have a London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street service

Birmingham Moor Street station will be close to High Speed Two’s Birmingham Curzon Street station.

Plans exist for a second London terminus for Chiltern Railways close to the main Old Oak Common station.

  • Could Chiltern Railways become a partner for High Speed Two on routes like between Leeds and Banbury?
  • They could certainly bring passengers to Old Oak Common from Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
  • One of my principles on High Speed Two, is that it should be a One-Nation railway.

Old Oak Common would be a very different station to Marylebone with its very useful Crossrail. London Overground and West London Orbital connections.

The terminal for Chiltern Railways at Old Oak Common is another project that should be completed before the opening of High Speed Two.

The Duality Of Euston and Old Oak Common Stations

Euston and Old Oak Common stations could almost be considered to be one station.

  • All High Speed Two trains terminating or starting at Euston also call at Old Oak Common station.
  • They will be just five minutes apart.
  • Both stations have comprehensive networks of connections.
  • Taken together the connections from both stations cover most of London and the South East.

There could be advantages for both operators and passengers.

  • Would a ticket to and from London Terminals be usable at both stations?
  • For some London destinations, passengers might prefer to use one terminal or the other.
  • By changing at Old Oak Common to Crossrail will probably be the fastest way to Heathrow, the West End, the City, Canary Wharf and other places.
  • Passengers could make the decision about the London terminal to use en route.
  • Operators sometimes put the cleaning crew on the train at the last station before the terminal to save time in the turnround. The closeness of the two stations would enable this.

I think the London end of High Speed Two has been designed to make it easy for the operator and passengers.

The Losers If Crossrail 2 Isn’t Built

Crossrail 2 will provide better access to High Speed Two and the London terminals of Euston, Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Victoria for parts of London and the South East.

Victoria Line Passengers

The Victoria Line will have interchanges with Crossrail 2 at the following stations.

  • Tottenham Hale
  • Euston and Kings Cross St. Pancras on the Victoria Line and Euston St. Pancras on Crossrail 2
  • Victoria

Note.

  1. Crossrail 2 will relieve capacity on the Victoria Line between Tottenham Hale and Victoria
  2. There will be a very comprehensive interchange at Euston St. Pancras to serve High Speed Two, Eurostar and classic lines out of Euston, Kings Cross and St. Pancras.

From what has been disclosed about the connrection between Euston and Euston Square stations transfer between Euston and Kings Cross and St. Pancras will be a lot easier than it is now.

This reworking of the poor connection to Euston Square station might take some pressure off the Victoria Line.

It might also might be possible to squeeze more trains down Dear Old Vicky.

Passengers On The Suburban Lines Into Waterloo

The suburban lines into Waterloo will go into tunnel at Wimbledon and connect directly to Victoria, Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross.

This will be superb access for South West London to four major London terminals.

Without Crossrail 2, passengers  will have to use one of these routes to get to and from Euston.

  • Change at Waterloo to the Northern Line.
  • Change at Waterloo to the Bakerloo Line and then at Oxford Circus to the Victoria Line.
  • Change at Vauxhall to the Victoria Line.

Could it be, that the Northern Line Extension should be extended to Clapham Junction station, as it is an aspiration over a safeguarded route under Battersea Park?

In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed it was possible to run a Crossrail 2 schedule of four tph into Waterloo station, if the following were done.

  • More platform capacity in Waterloo.
  • Modern high-performance 100 mph trains like Class 707 trains or Aventras.
  • Some improvements to track and signals between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.
  • Wimbledon station would only need minor modifications.
  • A measure of ATC between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.

This would not be a large project

Passengers In Balham And/Or Tooting

Crossrail 2 is planned to run between Wimbledon and Victoria via the following stations.

Note.

  1. Crossrail 2 should take pressure off the Northern Line.
  2. Public Opinion is against King’s Road Chelsea station. How will their cleaners, cooks and nannies get to work? Especially, as the roads in the area are already jammed by Chelsea tractors.
  3. The original route favoured Balham to give an interchange with National Rail. Tooting Broadway also has geological problems for the tunneling.
  4. On the other hand, Sadiq Khan supports the route through Tooting Broadway, which better serves his former constituency.

This Map from cartometro.com shows the rail lines in the area.

Note.

  1. Balham station in the North is an interchange station between the Northern Line and National Rail, with a possible four National Rail platforms.
  2. Tooting Broadway is a simple through station on the Northern Line.
  3. The next station after Wandsworth Common towards London is Clapham Junction.
  4. Transport for London have been advocating a new Streatham Common station, that would be an interchange between the lines through Streatham Common and those through Streatham.
  5. Streatham and Tooting stations are on the Wimbledon Loop Line, which only carries two tph in both directions.

Since I have been writing this blog, there have been several ideas to make better use of the National Rail lines in this area.

There was even a plan that I wrote about in 2016 called The Streatham Virtual Tube.

  • Trains would run through Streatham Common, Streatham, Streatham, Hill, Balham, Wandsworth Common, Clapham Junction and into Victoria.
  • Trains could also go North from Clapham Junction to Old Oak Common for High Speed Two.
  • The Streatham Common Interchange would be built. This would give a useful interchange to the Wimbledon Loop Line.
  • There would be four tracks through Streatham.
  • A tunnel would be build to allow trains to go through both Streatham and Streatham Hill stations.
  • It would have an interchange at Balham with the Northern Line.
  • It could have an interchange at Clapham Junction with an extended Battersea Branch of the Northern Line.
  • Suppose it had a frequency of perhaps six or even ten tph.

I think it might work, but it shows what can be done, with a bit of out-of-the-box thinking.

Passengers In Dalston And Hackney

One of the entrances to the proposed massive double-ended Crossrail 2 station at Dalston will be at the end of my road and very close to where my mother used to work and where her mother was actually born.

East London had not had major rail improvements since the 1950s and 1960s, when most of the lines into Liverpool Street were electrified and the Southbury Loop was reopened.

But since the creation of the Overground in 2007 from the remains of the ill-performing Silverlink, with the addition of new trains and ticketing and a good clean, there has been a series of smaller projects that have been completed, in and around East and North London.

Note.

  1. There have also numerous smaller upgrades like the addition of lifts to several stations.
  2. Stations between Stratford and Shenfield have been upgraded for Crossrail.
  3. There has also been considerable upgrades to the electrification, which in some places was not in the best of condition.
  4. Most lines have a frequency of four tph or more.

Some may feel that East London has done well with rail improvements in the last few years.

I would agree in some ways, but would counter by saying that before the Overground was created, East London’s were in a terrible state and their state today is a excellent example of what can be achieved by good design, planning and execution, without spending vast sums.

East London and the boroughs of Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Newham and Waltham Forest in particular, now have a good rail network, that is going to get a lot better with the addition of Crossrail.

  • The North London Line is about half a mile to the North of where I live and can walk to two stations or get a bus to another three.
  • Crossrail will be a couple of miles to the South with station entrances at Moorgate, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Stratford.
  • There are four electrified railway lines with new trains, which run North-South with connections to the two East-West lines.
  • Although my quickest way to Crossrail will be a bus from close to my house to outside Moorgate station.
  • I suspect that everybody in the Borough of Hackney and the Eastern part of Islington will be able to get to a Crossrail station in well under thirty minutes.
  • In addition, from where I live the Gospel Oak to Barking Line runs a couple of miles North of the North London Line.

I believe that Dalston’s success over the last decade has been a collateral benefit of its comprehensive rail system, supported by lots of shiny new buses.

Does Dalston want Crossrail 2? Probably, Yes!

Does Dalston need Crossrail 2? Possibly, No!

Do other areas of large cities need Dalstonisation of their railway and bus systems? Absolutely!

I certainly don’t regret moving to Dalston!

Note that one of the reasons I’m so keen on the West London Orbital Railway is that it could do the same for North West London, as the Overground and the Lea Valley Lines have done for North East London.

Passengers Along The Lea Valley

Crossrail 2 will connect the Lea Valley Lines to Dalston and on to Central London.

It will involve the following changes to the West Anglia Main Line.

  • Four-tracking of the route at least as far as Broxbourne.
  • A junction South of Tottenham Hale station will connect the route to a tunnel to Dalston.
  • Level crossings at Brimsdown, Enfield Lock and Cheshunt will be removed.
  • Like Crossrail, stations would be substantially step-free.
  • The signalling will be upgraded to full in-cab digital ERTMS signalling, that is used by Crossrail and Thameslink under London.

This would enable 10-15 tph running between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stations.

With all the development going on around Cambridge and possible expansion of Stansted Airport, I believe that even if Crossrail 2 is not build, then there will be pressure to four-track the West Anglia Main Line, remove the level crossings and improve the stations and signalling.

If this were to be done, then there is an interim plan that could be implemented that I wrote about, four years ago in Could A Lea Valley Metro Be Created?

I envisaged the following.

  • Updating the West Anglia Main Line to four-tracks and a standard suitable for Crossrail 2.
  • Using the double-track loop at Stratford  as the Southern terminal, for some of the trains.
  • Updating the Victoria Line stations. The major interchange at Tottenham Hale station has already been improved substantially.
  • Providing an appropriate service between Stratford and Broxbourne stations.
  • Terminating some Stansted and Cambridge services in the Stratford Loop, as Stratford has better connections to South London and Kent than Liverpool Street.
  • Integrating Lea Valley Metro, London Overground and Greater Anglia services to Bishops Stortford, Cambridge and Hertford North stations.

Note.

  1. All services connect to Crossrail and the Central Line at the Southern end.
  2. Services to Liverpool Street connect to National Rail services, the Lea Valley Lines of the London Overground and the Circle, District and Metropolitan Lines.
  3. Services to Stratford connect to National Rail services, the North London Line of the London Overground and the Jubilee Line.
  4. Could alternate trains serve Liverpool Street and Stratford?
  5. Could splitting services between Liverpool Street and Stratford mean that the largest proportion of routes have just a single change?

As Transport for London and the train operating companies know where passengers want to go and actually go, I’m sure that a service pattern, that is acceptable to all could be created.

Conclusion

Crossrail 2 is quoted as being a £33 billion project.

I believe that with a good review lots of money could be saved and other smaller projects could be planned and executed to handle the expected increase in the number of passengers.

I would do the following.

  • Camden Town station – Upgrade
  • Chiltern Railways – Build their connection to Old Oak Common station
  • Euston Station – Improve connections to Euston and Euston Square Underground stations.
  • Northern Line – Extend the Battersea branch to Clapham Junction
  • Northern Line – Split Into Two Lines
  • Overground – Build Old Oak Common Lane and Hythe Road stations
  • Southern – Build the new Streatham Common station and implement The Streatham Virtual Tube.
  • South Western Railway – Run four tph on all proposed Crossrail 2 routes into Waterloo station
  • Victoria Line – Upgrade Highbury & Islington, Oxford Circus and Walthamstow Central stations and increase the frequency if possible
  • West Anglia Main Line – Upgrade ready for Crossrail 2 and develop the Lea Valley Metro

All of these projects would have their own benefits, whether Crossrail 2 is built or not!

Only when the needs of all passengers have been assessed in a few years, should we make a decision about Crossrail 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A London Overground Replacement For Southern’s East Croydon And Milton Keynes Service

In July 2017, I discussed this suggestion by Chris Gibb in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

In an article, in the July 2019 Edition of Modern Railways, , which was entitled ‘710s’ Debut On Goblin, this was this last paragraph.

On the West London Line, TfL is curremtly working with the Department for Transport on options for the devolution of services originally suggested in Chris Gibb’s report on the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise, which could lead to ‘710s’ being deployed here.

It made me think, that further investigation was called for.

An Apology

I apologise, if you think I’m repeating myself.

What The Gibb Report Says

The Gibb Report, says this about the current service between East Croydon and Milton Keynes Central stations.

I believe there is an option to transfer the East Croydon – Milton Keynes operation to TfL and it’s London Overground concession in 2018.

TfL may decide to change the service, for example by not running it north of Watford Junction, or running it to an alternative southern destination other than East Croydon. They could also develop the combined West London line service to better match available capacity to demand.

They would have a number of crewing and rolling stock options, but should be able to operate the service more efficiently than GTR in the longer term, without the involvement of Selhurst.

Selhurst TMD is the depot in South London, where the current Class 377 trains are based.

A few of my thoughts.

The Trains

Using Class 710 trains  as suggested in the Modern Railways article, would surely offer a suitable  crewing and rolling stock option for the route, if they were based at the convenient Willesden TMD, where the fleet of up to twenty-five dual-voltage Class 710/2 trains are stabled.

The Northern Terminus

Chris Gibb suggested the service might not go past Watford Junction.

I think that could be difficult.

  • The longitudinal seating of the Class 710 train, is probably not suitable for outer suburban services North of Watford.
  • East Croydon to Watford Junction takes 69 minutes, which is not a good journey time to create an efficient service.

It would also appear to be tricky for a train to transfer between the West London Line and the Watford DC Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the complicated track layout in the Willesden Junction area.

Note.

  1. The two Willesden Junction stations, labelled High Level and Low Level.
  2. The Watford DC Line, which is shown in black and orange, passing to the North of Willesden TMD. and through the Low Level station.
  3. The four tracks shown in black are the West Coast Main Line, with Watford to the West and Euston to the East.
  4. The North London Line to Richmond and the West London Line to Clapham Junction splitting at Wilesden High Level Junction.

The current service between East Croydon and Milton Keynes, is only one train per hour (tph) and uses a succession of flat junctions to take the slow lines to and from Watford.

This is not a good operational procedure and I suspect Network Rail and various train operators, would like to see it discontinued.

So if trains in a new London Overground version of the service, don’t go up the Watford DC Line or the West Coast Main Line, where do they turn back?

Note the siding to the East of the High Level platforms, which is labelled Willesden Junction Turnout.

This is regularly used to turnback London Overground services on the West London Line.

I feel that London Overground will be turning their replacement service in Willesden Junction High Level station.

Current train services at the station include.

  • For passengers, who want to go further North, there is a good connection to the Watford DC Line for Wembley Central, Harrow & Wealdstone and Watford Junction stations.
  • The Watford DC Line can also take you to Euston.
  • The Bakerloo Line between Stonebridge Park and Elephant & Castle via Central London.
  • Frequent North London Line services between Stratford and Richmond.

The station has kiosks, coffee stalls, toilets and waiting rooms.

There are certainly worse places to change trains.

The Southern Terminus

Obviously, existing travellers on the route would like to see as few changes as possible.

East Croydon station must be a possibility for the Southern terminus, as it is the currently used.

But East Croydon is a busy station and perhaps it is not a convenient station for trains to wait in the platform.

On the other hand, West Croydon station offers some advantages.

  • The station has a long bay platform, which might be long enough for nine or ten cars.
  • There is a separate turnback siding.
  • It has space to add another bay platform, but this may have been sold to a developer.
  • It already has a four tph London Overground service to Highbury & Islington station.
  • Using West Croydon avoids the crowded lines to the North of East Croydon station.

It is also managed by London Overground, so the landlord would be co-operative.

How Many Trains Would Be Needed For A West Croydon And Willesden Junction Service?

West Croydon station has two possible routes, that trains could take to Willesden Junction.

  • Via Norwood Junction and Clapham Junction in 55 minutes.
  • Via Selhust and Clapham Junction in 45 minutes.

These times mean that a two-hour round trip between West Croydon and Willesden Junction should be possible.

Trains required for various frequencies would be as follows.

  • One tph – Two trains.
  • Two tph = Four trains.
  • Four tph – Eight trains.

They would need to be dual voltage Class 710/2 trains, as are now running on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Compare the figures with those for the current East Croydon and Milton Keynes service, which needs four pairs of four-car trains for an hourly service.

What Would Be The Frequency?

I think one, two and four tph are all possibilities!

One tph

One tph would be a direct replacement for the current service. But is it enough?

Services at West Croydon could probably share the bay platform with the existing Highbury & Islington station service.

Two tph

Two tph could be a compromise frequency.

Two tph could probably still share the current bay platform with the Highbury & Islington service.

Four tph

Four tph would be a full Turn-Up-And-Go service,

  • It would probably be London Overground’s preference.
  • It would give a very passenger-friendly eight tph between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction stations.
  • The two services would call at opposite sides of Clapham Junction station.
  • It would give a four tph link between Croydon and High Speed Two.
  • Westfield wouldn’t mind all the extra shoppers at Shepherds Bush!

But there could be downsides.

  • The service could need an extra bay platform at West Croydon.
  • Would it be possible to turn four tph at Willesden Junction?
  • Will the train paths be available through South London.

But four tph would probably would be London Overground’s preference.

It will be interesting to see the reasons, why Transport for London choose a particular frequency.

A Trip Between Imperial Wharf And East Croydon Stations

Today, I took a trip between Imperial Wharf and East Croydon stations at around 11:30.

  • The train was  two four-car Class 377 trains working as an eight-car train.
  • After Clapham Junction it wasn’t very busy.
  • I was in the last car, which was empty, except for myself.

I came to the conclusion, that an eight-car train was too much capacity for the Southern section of the journey.

I suspect that Transport for London have detailed passenger estimates for this route, so they should be able to determine the frequency and length of replacement trains required.

The Upgraded Norwood Junction Station

In Major Upgrade Planned For Norwood Junction Railway Station, I talked about a plan to upgrade Norwood Junction station.

The idea behind the upgrade is to improve connectivity and capacity in the crowded Croydon area.

If the West Croydon and Willesden Junction service, was routed via Norwood Junction station, the upgraded station would give easy access to both East and West Croydon stations.

Conclusion

I’ve always liked Chris Gibb’s suggestion of the transfer of the service between East Croydon and Milton Keynes stations to the London Overground and I can now start to see flesh on the bones!

At the present time and until better data is available, I think the replacement service should be as follows.

  • The Northern terminus should be Willesden Junction.
  • The Southern terminus should be West Croydon station, where there are good tram and train connections.
  • The route would be via Shepherds Bush, Kensington Olympia, West Brompton, Imperial Wharf, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction.
  • Going via Gipsy Hill, rather than the current route via Selhurst, would give access to the connectivity at Norwood Junction.
  • The frequency should be four tph.
  • Trains will be four- or five-car Class 710 trains.

The benefits would be as follows.

  • The rail hubs of Clapham Junction, Norwood Junction, West Croydon and Willesden Junction would be connected together by a Turn-Up-And-Go service.
  • The proposed four tph service would need eight Class 710 trains, whereas the current one tph service needs eight Class 377 trains. Would this be better value?

In the future with a connection to High Speed Two in the Old Oak Common area, the benefits would increase.

  • There would be a simple interchange with High Speed Two.
  • South London from Clapham to Croydon, would get a direct service to High Speed Two.
  • There would also be a better connection to Heathrow Airport and other rail services through Old Oak Common.

I think that the connection to High Speed Two trumps everything else.

July 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Major Upgrade Planned For Norwood Junction Railway Station

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

Ian introduces his article like this.

A somewhat shabby, and yet quite busy station in South London could get a major makeover if plans by Network Rail are approved.

The proposals are part of the wider plan to clean up the mess of tracks around Croydon to boost the capacity of the lines through the area, but it is also a stand-alone project.

Ian also has this visualisation of the upgraded Norwood Junction station.

Note.

  1. London Bridge station is to the left with East Croydon station to the right.
  2. The Main station entrance is on the near side, with the Clifford Road station entrance on the far side.
  3. Platform 1 & 2 is the highlighted island platform on the near side.
  4. Platform 3 & 4 is the highlighted island platform on the far side.

It looks expensive with two step-free bridges.

Both bridges have four sets of steps to.

  • The Main Station Entrance.
  • The Northbound Platform 1 & 2,
  • The Southbound Platform 3 & 4
  • The Clifford Road Entrance.

In addition, the Southern bridge has four lifts to the two entrances and two platforms.

These pictures show the current state of the station.

Currently, the station has three island platforms.

  • They are connected by a well-lit, step-only subway.
  • Some platforms are too short for twelve-car trains.
  • The wooden buidings need a quality makeover. Where is Terry Stollery, when you need him?
  • In the new layout, the central island platform will be removed, to allow a pair of fast lines through the station.
  • One advantage of the subway is during the station upgrade, it can still be used to access the middle platforms, thus easing construction and causing less disruption for passengers.

After the upgrade, the layout will be as follows.

  • Platforms 1 & 2, which are currently Platforms 2 & 3, would be for Northbound trains, with perhaps Platform 1 for stopping and Overground services and Platform 2 for limited-stop and Thameslink services.
  • Platforms 3 & 4, which are currently Platforms 5 & 6, would be for Southbound trains, with perhaps Platform 3 for stopping and Overground services and Platform 4 for limited-stop and Thameslink services.

The subway will probably be closed.

Improved Train Services

For people like me, who live on the Overground, North of Norwood Junction station, hopefully it will solve the problem of getting to Gatwick Airport.

  • It’ll just be a walk across the platform at Norwood Junction station, instead of a tram between West Croydon and East Croydon stations.
  • In the future, would the cross-platform interchange help travellers between Crossrail and Gatwick and the South Coast?
  • The Zeus of the Timetables could even make it better, by increasing the frequency of Thameslink trains between Norwood Junction and  Gatwick Airport stations to match the four trains per hour (tph) between Dalston Junction and West Croydon stations.

Note that the day, I took the pictures Bedford and Highbury & Islington trains were in the current Platforms 2 & 3.

Up here in sometimes-forgotten Dalston, I’ll certainly give this new layout at Norwood Junction station, a high score, if the trains are changed to use it to advantage.

Norwood Junction Will Become A Major Interchange!

The walk-across interchange between Northbound services on platforms 1 & 2 and Southbound services on platforms 3 & 4, will mean that the station, will become  the station where travellers will prefer change trains.

Suppose you were travelling from Luton to Epsom.

The Journey Planner on http://www.national.co.uk, suggests a double change at Farringdon and Carshalton, with a journey time of 1 hour and 51 minutes.

The upgraded Norwood Junction station, would allow the journey to be done in two legs.

  • Luton and Norwood Junction – one hour and three minutes.
  • Norwood Junction and Epsom – 29 minutes.

It could be quicker and it is a cross-platform change, where hopefully, there will be a climate-controlled waiting room and a coffee stall.

Current frequencies going North are as follows.

  • Anerley – Six tph
  • Balham – Two tph
  • Battersea Park – Two tph
  • Bedford – Two tph
  • Brockley – Six tph
  • City Thameslink – Two tph
  • Clapham Junction – Two tph
  • Crystal Palace – Two tph
  • Dalston Junction – Four tph
  • Farringdon – Two tph
  • Flitwick – Two tph
  • Forest Hill – six tph
  • Gypsy Hill – Two tph
  • Haggerston – Four tph
  • Harlington – Two tph
  • Harpenden – Two tph
  • Highbury & Islington – Four tph
  • Honor Oak Park – Six tph
  • Leagrave – Two tph
  • Hoxton – Four tph
  • London Blackfriars – Two tph
  • London Bridge (Non-stop) – Two tph
  • London Bridge (Stopping) – Three tph
  • London St. Pancras – Two tph
  • London Victoria – Two tph
  • Luton – Two tph
  • Luton Airport Parkway – Two tph
  • New Cross Gate – Six tph
  • Penge West – Six tph
  • Rotherhithe – Four tph
  • Shadwell – Four tph
  • Shoreditch High Street – Four tph
  • St. Albans City – Two tph
  • Streatham Hill – Two tph
  • Surrey Quays – Four tph
  • Sydenham – Six tph
  • Wandsworth Common – Two tph
  • Wapping – Four tph
  • West Norwood – Two tph
  • Whitechapel – Four tph

Current frequencies going South are as follows.

  • Carshalton Beeches – Two tph
  • Cheam – Two tph
  • Coulsdon Town – Two tph
  • Earlswood – Two tph
  • East Croydon – Six tph
  • Epsom – Two tph
  • Ewell East – Two tph
  • Gatwick Airport – Two tph
  • Horley – Two tph
  • Purley – Four tph
  • Purley Oaks – Two tph
  • Redhill – Two tph
  • Reedham – Two tph
  • Salfords – Two tph
  • South Croydon – Two tph
  • Sutton – Two tph
  • Waddon – Two tph
  • Wallington – Two tph
  • West Croydon – Eight tph

In addition these services pass through.

  • Bedford and Brighton – Two tph
  • Cambridge and Brighton – Two tph
  • London Brifge and Caterham & Tattenham Corner – Two tph
  • London Bridge and Uckfield – Two tph
  • Peterborough and Horsham – Two tph

It is a very comprehensive list of services and possible destinations.

I believe that if a few more trains stopped at Norwood Junction station, there could be at least two tph to every station connected to Norwood Junction station, with these higher frequencies to the more important stations.

  • Bedford – Four tph
  • Brighton – Four tph
  • Canada Water – Four tph
  • City Thameslink – Eight tph
  • Clapham Junction – Four tph
  • Crystal Palace – Four tph
  • Dalston Junction – Four tph
  • East Croydon – Eight tph
  • Epsom – Four tph
  • Farringdon – Eight tph
  • Finsbury Park – Four tph
  • Gatwick Airport – Four tph
  • Highbury & Islington – Four tph
  • London Blackfriars – Eight tph
  • London Bridge (Non-stop) – Four tph
  • London Bridge (Stopping) – Four tph
  • London St. Pancras – Eight tph
  • London Victoria – Four tph
  • Luton – Four tph
  • Luton Airport Parkway – Four tph
  • St. Albans City – Four tph
  • Stevenage – Four tph
  • Sutton – Four tph
  • Welwyn Garden City – Four tph
  • West Croydon – Eight tph
  • West Hampstead Thameslink – Four tph
  • Whitechapel – Four tph

These frequencies could be attained, by stopping a few extra services at Norwood Junction station.

It is certainly comprehensive and getting to most important areas of Central London is direct or a single change.

  • The step-free changes to Crossrail at Farringdon and Whitechapel will allow simple access to Canary Wharf, the City,, Heathrow, Paddington, the West End and all the towns and cities on the branches.
  • The Bakerloo Line Extension will connect at New Cross Gate.
  • The Central Line doesn’t connect
  • The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines connect at Farringdon, Kings Cross St. Pancras, London Blackfriars and Whitechapel.
  • The Jubilee Line connects at Canada Water, London Bridge and West Hampstead Thameslink.
  • The Northern Line connects at Kentish Town, Kings Cross St. Pancras and London Bridge
  • The Piccadilly Line connects at Finsbury Park and Kings Cross St Pancras.
  • The Victoria Line connects at Finsbury Park, Highbury & Islington and Kings Cross St. Pancras.

But there are some important places that are not well-connected or have difficult interchanges to Norwood Junction station.

  • Euston station, High Speed Two and the West Coast Main Line.
  • Cannon Street, Charing Cross and Waterloo mean a complicated interchange at London Bridge.
  • The connections to Great Northern services, the North London Line and the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington need serious improvement.
  • South East London needs going to London Bridge and coming out again!

Radical thinking and serious improvement is needed.

Milton Keynes Central and East Croydon

This is a useful service for some..

It calls at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton, Imperial Wharf, Clapham Junction, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst.

But, it has problems.

  • It has a high level of cancellation.
  • It has a totally inadequate hourly frequency.
  • It has no connection to the North London Line at Willesden Junction.
  • It blocks a platform at East Croydon, when it turns round.

In his report on Southern, Chris Gibb recommended that the service be the responsibility of the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

To connect High Speed Two at Old Oak Common, there needs to be a four tph service between Croydon and Old Oak Common.

Transport for London are proposing a new Hythe Road station on the West London Line..

  • It will be a seven hundred metre walk to the High Speed Two station. That is too long!
  • There will be a bay platform to turn trains from Clapham Junction.
  • Trains still won’t be able to call at Willesden Junction for the North London Line.

I think that building Hythe Road station is a bad idea.

This map shows the lines in the area.

Surely, the West London Line should have been re-routed over the Eastern end of Old Oak Common station at right angles, which would have the following benefits.

  • Quick and easy interchange with High Speed Two, the Great Western Main Line and Crossrail.
  • The ability to add bay platforms to terminate services.
  • Sharing of station services with the other stations.

Perhaps, though this practical passenger and operator-friendly idea would have ruined the architect’s vision.

Or is it, that the current track layout to connect to the West Coast Main Line only allows crap solutions.

Surely, the amount of money being spent on High Speed Two allows the best to be done everywhere.

London Overground principles say that services must be at least four tph.

The simplest way to do this would be to extend the current Stratford and Clapham Junction service via Willesden Junction to Croydon.

  • It would call at Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst, if it followed the current route.
  • I doubt that East Croydon station could handle four tph terminating at the station.

But why not use the route taken by London Victoria and West Croydon services via Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace, and Norwood Junction, to terminate at West Croydon?

  • This route calls at Norwood Junction, with all its connectivity.
  • If needed, there is space for a new platform at West Croydon.

I’ve no idea, what will happen, but the upgrade at Norwood Junction station should help.

Suppose you were going between Gatwick and High Speed Two.

  • The standard route will be Thameslink and Crossrail with a change at Farringdon.
  • A surface route with a change at Norwood Junction could be an alternative.

The second may be more pleasurable.

Upgrading The Station

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

So could two factory-built bridges like this be installed at Norwood Junction station?

  • The design is adaptable to multiple spans over the tracks.
  • Lifts could be left out for one bridge.
  • Once the site is prepared, I believe the bridges can be quickly installed, probably from a train with a crane.
  • The bridge is probably more affordable, than a traditional design.

During the installation period, the existing subway can be used for platform access.

Conclusion

Obviously, I am speculating that the new footbridge system will be used at Norwood Junction station.

But the new platform and track layout at the station, will certainly improve services on these routes.

  • Between East Croydon and London Bridge stations.
  • Between East Croydon and the London Overground and Crossrail.
  • Between the Overground and Gatwick Airport station and the South Coast.

All of the interchanges will be step-free and some will be cross-plsatform.

Are

June 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Funding For Homes And A New Railway Station In North London

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

The government has said, that two major housing developments will be built in London beside new railway stations.

Brent Cross Thameslink

The development and the funding for Brent Cross West station is introduced by this paragraph.

The larger investment will see £320 million being spent on a new Brent Cross West Thameslink station which will lead to a new community of 7,500 properties being built. This is in addition to the £97m grant awarded in the 2016 budget bringing total government investment £416.5 million.

Other points about the development include.

  • The development is on the site of the Cricklewood depot.
  • The station could be asn interchange with the West London Orbital Railway.
  • A contractor should be appointed this year, with opeing in 2022.
  • Services could be eight trains per hour (tph) in the Peak and four tph in the Off Peak.
  • A public bridge over the railway will be included.
  • There will be new offices.
  • The Brent Cross Shopping Centre will be extended.
  • The £320 million investment will be repaid from business rates from the commercial development.

It all seems to me, that there could be a lot of winners here.

Old Oak Common

The development and the funding for Old Oak Common station is described by this paragraph.

The government will also be providing £250 million so up to 13,000 new homes can be built close to the new HS2 railway station at Old Oak Common.

This scheme provides more properties, but it doesn’t as yet include the commercial development.

Conclusion

London seems to be building more housing, that at any time in my life.

 

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heat From HS2 Trains Will Warm 500 New Homes

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the third paragraph.

HS2 Ltd, the company building the  £56 billion high-speed line, has produced plans to recycle waste heat from the electric motors and brakes of trains approaching and departing from a £1 billion “super hub” station at Old Oak Common, near Willesden, North West London.

Other points from the article include.

  • Five air source heat pumps will be used.
  • , Each heat pump costs around £11,400.
  • The carbon footprint of each house could be reduced by a fifth.
  • Plans are at an early stage, but the technology is proven.
  • Similar technology could be applied to tunnels on the Northern routes to Leeds and Manchester.

I can only see one problem with the idea.

The companies bidding to make the trains for HS2, will design trains with the following features.

  • Highly-efficient aerodynamics of both trains and tunnels, to reduce energy losses and power required to move the train.
  • Regenerative braking to onboard electricity storage.
  • Train systems like air-conditioning, lighting and toilets that use smaller amounts of electricity.

HS2 will also draw heavily on proven  innovative ideas from similar projects, to reduce the energy used by the trains, whether in the tunnels or the open.

But, I would also suspect that HS2’s proposal is based on a good assessment of the energy dissipated by the trains.

 

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A406 North Circular Road ‘Most Congested’ In The UK

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

This is the first paragraph.

Motorists on the UK’s most congested road spend an average of two and a half days a year sitting in traffic.

The section of the A406 between the Hangar Lane Gyratory and Chiswick Roundabout has always been a dreadful road to drive on, as long as I can remember.

These pictures show typical traffic around eleven o’clock in the morning.

There does seem to be rather a lot of private cars and small commercial vehicles, with only a few HGVs and buses.

I would love to see an analysis of where these journeys start and finish.

Converting the road to a multi-lane dual carriageway wouldn’t be possible, as much of it is lined with private houses and even if it could be built it would just attract more traffic and would need to be widened even more.

There are circular routes further out of London like the M25 and the A412, but this road is an intractable problem.

Perhaps, it needs to be in a Congestion Charge Zone?

But is a solution at hand?

Crossrail

Crossrail, if and when it opens, will not be a direct solution, as it goes East-West and not North-South like the A406 through the area.

But it will give better access to Heathrow, which is a large traffic generator in West London.

Crossrail will link the following to the Airport.

  • Canary Wharf
  • The City of London
  • East London and Essex
  • South-East London and Kent
  • West End and Paddington

It will do little to help those in North and South London to travel to and from the Airport.

Old Oak Common Station And High Speed Two

The connection of High Speed two and Crossrail could make a difference.

  • Passengers using High Speed Two travelling to and from Heathrow, would have an easy route.
  • North and North-East Londoners will be able to use the North London Line with a change at Old Oak Common.
  • South Londoners will be able to use the West London Line with changes at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction stations.

But Old Oak Common station won’t open under 2026 at the earliest.

It is needed now.

It also does nothing for those travellers in wide swathes of North-West London.

The West London Orbital Railway

If there is a trusty knight on an immaculate white charger, coming to the rescue, it could be the West London Orbital Railway, although as it would be stitched together from parts of existing and underused infrastructure, it has more of the Dirty Dozen about it.

There would be two routes.

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

The project has various advantages.

  • No substantial amount of new track will be needed.
  • It could be run using battery-powered trains.
  • Costs would be well under half a billion pounds.
  • It would connect to Thameslink and Bakerloo, Jubilee and North London Lines.

When Old Oak Common and High Speed Two open, it would have a direct connection.

I wrote about this railway in detail in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

North Acton Station

As stated under Development in the Wikipedia entry for North Acton station, there may be reasons to rebuild the station to create a connection between the North London and Central Lines.

This Google Map shows the area around North Acton station.

Note.

  1. North Acton station in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The North London Line running North-South to the right of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line branches off the North London Line at the top of the map.
  4. The Central Line running East-West through North Acton station and under the North London Line.
  5. Threading its way through North of the Central Line is the Acton-Northolt Line.
  6. The Acton-Northolt Line could be developed by Chiltern Railways to give access to a second London terminal at Old Oak Common.

To develop a successful station at North Acton, that tied everything together would be a hard ask.

  • The bridge carrying the North London Line is very high.
  • The height would make step-free access expensive.
  • The frequency of trains on both the North London and Central Lines could be twelve trains per hour (tph).
  • At least, there does appear to be plenty of space from the map.

On the other hand, an architect with vision might be able to create a station that was affordable and provided high benefits for passengers.

Conclusion

There’s certainly potential in West London to improve the rail routes, although I’m not sure whether rebuilding North Acton station would be viable.

But, we should start building the West London Orbital Railway immediately.

 

 

 

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment