The Anonymous Widower

Penge Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through Penge West and Penge East stations.

The two stations are a valid out-of-station interchange, but neither is step-free.

Penge East station could be difficult to make step-free, as the footbridge is listed.

I think that it is one of those structures that Network Rail wouldn’t miss, if it was decided to install it at the National Railway Museum.

Could this be one of the reasons, why it has been suggested by Transport for London, that a new station be built, where the lines through the two Penge stations cross.

  • It could be fully step-free.
  • The station would be built on railway land.
  • It would have four tph between Victoria and Bromley South stations.
  • It would have four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • It would have two tph between London Bridge and Caterham stations
  • It might also be possible to have platforms on the Crystal Palace branch, thus adding six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace. stations.
  • The station could have Thameslink platforms.

I feel it would offer the following benefits.

  • Better connection between South East and North London.
  • Better connection between South East London and Crossrail, with all its connections.

Penge Interchange might allow the two older Penge stations to be closed.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

The East London Line In 2030

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

Modern additions were added.

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

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

East London Line Capacity

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

The Class 378 trains have got longer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Developments That Will Happen

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

Crossrail

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

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

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

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

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

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

Increased Frequencies On The Underground

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

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

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

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

New South Eastern Franchise

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

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

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

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

New Trains On The Northern City Line

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

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

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

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

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

North London Line Improvements

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

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

Property Development Along The East London Line

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

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

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

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

Rebuilding Of Highbury & Islington Station

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

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

Plans get talked about, but nothing happens.

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

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

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

Developments That Could Happen

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

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

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

This map shows the extension.

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

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

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

Brockley Interchange

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

Wikipedia says this about the connection.

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

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

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

Crossrail 2

Will Crossrail 2 be built or even started before 2030?

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

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

Extension Of East London Line Services Along The North London Line

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

I think there are two major problems.

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

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

Penge Interchange

I discuss the possible Penge Interchnge station in Penge Interchange.

 

 

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

Shoreditch High Street Connection To The Central Line

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

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

Wikipedia says this about the possibility of creating an interchange.

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

Consider.

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

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

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

Southeastern Connections

Southeastern has three main terminals in London.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thameslink Improvements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thameslink could be so much more useful.

West Croydon Or East Croydon

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would do the following.

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

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

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

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

Capacity at East Croydon would probably be increased.

Conclusion

The East London Line will get better and better.

 

 

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

A Hard Look At Crossrail 2

We’re nearly into 2017 and in the last year or so various projects have been suggested and events have happened, that could affect the need, design and use for Crossrail 2.

In alphabetical order, here they are.

Bakerloo Line Extension

It now looks like the Mayor is keen to get the Bakerloo Line Extension started, so it can be completed earlier in 2029.

This will be a tube-size extension and if it goes as quietly as the Northern Line Extension, I can’t see its construction causing much disruption.

Note these points about the Bakerloo Line with its Extension.

  • It will be a feeder line into Waterloo station,
  • The line has no connection to Crossrail 2
  • The line will have interchange with Thameslink at Elephant and Castle station, which is scheduled for upgrading.
  • The line will have a useful cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line at Oxford Circus station.
  • The line will have an interchange with the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.
  • The line connects to four main line termini; Charing Cross, Marylebone, Paddington and Waterloo.

Because it connects to so many other lines and doesn’t connect to Crossrail 2, I feel that this project should be done before Crossrail 2.

Battersea Power Station Station

To be expanded!

Brexit

Who knows what effect this will have on Crossrail 2?

Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge and Waterloo East Stations

London Bridge station  will become effectively four stations after rebuilding is finished.

  • Platforms 1 to 3 will be a three-platform through station for trains to and from Cannon Street station.
  • Platforms 4 and 5 will be an island platform through station for Thameslink.
  • Platforms 6 to 9 will be a four-platform through station for trains to and from Charing Cross station.
  • Platforms 10 to 15 will become a six-platform terminal station.

Note.

  1. Exchange between any two sets of services is step-free and by escalator or lift.
  2. Platforms 4-5 are the only island platform on Thameslink’s central core.
  3. London Bridge will become London’s most usable large station and expose St. Pancras for the fraud that it is.

London Bridge is already changing my travel patterns.

  • When coming back from South of London, I always use the station and get a 141 bus from the forecourt.
  • When returning from Waterloo, I often walk to Waterloo East station and get a train across to London Bridge..
  • Charing Cross station is difficult to access from North and East London, so I now can easily access Charing Cross services from London Bridge.

The proof of the pudding is true for me with London Bridge.

Once  the Thameslink Programme and the rebuilding of London Bridge station is finished, I believe that the improvements across the South Bank will be impressive and very convenient for passengers.

There is one project left to be defined and started.

The upgrading of the rather poor Waterloo East station should meet the following objectives.

  • Better information as to which platform to get the next train.
  • Better access from street level.
  • Faster access with perhaps a travelator from Waterloo station.
  • Better connections to the Underground.

Given the location of the station, it could be one that was redeveloped to provide commercial or residential properties with a new station underneath.

If it were updated to a modern standard, it would become a true Charing Cross South station.

Central Line Improvements

The Central Line could be considered to be Crossrail Zero and various plans exist to improve it.

The Central Line is in some ways the joker in the pack, so don’t be surprised at some of the projects that take place on this line.

Its biggest effect on Crossrail 2, is that because of it’s connections in North-East London, an improved Central Line, Liverpool Street station and Four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line could absorb more traffic from North East to Central  and West London.

Chiltern Metro Creation

Wikipedia says this about a Chiltern Metro.

New Chiltern Metro Service that would operate 4+tph for Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park, South Ruislip and West Ruislip. This would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip, passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and a passing loop at Wembley Stadium (part of the old down fast line is in use as a central reversing siding, for stock movements and additionally for 8-car football shuttles to convey passengers to the stadium for events).[73] This ‘Chiltern Metro’ service was not programmed into the last round of franchising agreements.

When I wrote Could A Chiltern Metro Be Created? and came to the conclusion, that it might be possible, I got several positive responses.

With Chiltern getting access to Old Oak Common station in the future, this is the sort of project that Chiltern could develop themselves, if capacity was available.

This project wouldn’t connect to Crossrail 2, so I doubt its creation will have much affect on Crossrail 2.

It would certainly be a good fit wit the Bakerloo Line at Marylebone.

Clapham Junction Station

Clapham Junction station is a station that doesn’t make use of its full potential and I suspect that it will see considerable improvement before the late-2020s.

  • The Northern Line will be extended to Clapham Junction from Battersea Power station.
  • Crossrail 2 could be built to call at the station.
  • Reorganisation of the suburban services from Waterloo through Wimbledon could see a high-frequency 20 tph service calling at the station.
  • Could a similar reorgnaisation of services from Waterloo through Richmond create a high-frequency service on that route.
  • The Overground will be providing 6 tph from Dalston Junction from 2018.

I have not talked about the other main line services into Victoria.

  • It looks like suburban services into Waterloo can be grouped into high-frequency Waterloo-Richmond and Waterloo-Wimbledon Metros.
  • Could the services out of Victoria be grouped into a similar set of high-frequency Metros?

It does appear that suburban services between Victoria and Balham call at  Clapham Junction station as follows.

  • Platform 14 – Towards Victoria
  • Platform 15 – Towards Balham

As there would appear to be around 12 tph in both directions, could the capacity between Balham and Victoria be increased using ATO.

All this could result in a much more efficient station at Clapham Junction, with high-frequency suburban services and room for more  long-distance services.

Continental Connections At Ebbsfleet And Stratford positive comments

Millions of pounds were poured into creating the inadequate station at St. Pancras International.

  • There are not enough platforms for future Continental and Midland Main Line services.
  • Connection to the Underground and Thameslink are terrible.
  • St. Pancras is not on Crossrail, which was a truly awful design crime.
  • Passenger connections between the various lines at St. Pancras were designed by someone, who never used a train.

As the Heritage Taliban would forbid the demolishing of the station, we must find ways of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Developing Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International, as flexible interchanges for the Continent might be a workable project, to squeeze a quart into the pint bottle that is St. Pancras.

  • Some Continental trains would all go to St. Pancras and stop selectively at Stratford and Ebbsfleet.
  • Low-cost Continental services would terminate at Ebbsfleet.
  • Train stabling could be simplified by creating more at Ebbsfleet.
  • Stratford Internation and Stratford stations need a high capacity link, that means you don’t have to walk through Eastfield.
  • Ebbsfleet and Stratford would have easy access to Crossrail.
  • Tottenham Court Road station would be about 25-30 minutes from Ebbsfleet, Gatwick and Heathrow.

Sorting out Continental services by avoiding St. Pancras could lower the need to improve services to St. Pancras by building Crossrail 2.

Crossrail Collateral Improvements

Crossrail will not only go East-West across London, but it will enable other improvements.

  • Undergroud Lines at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street stations have already got better access.
  • Whitechapel station will be a major interchange.
  • The Bakerloo Line will get step-free access at Paddington station.
  • Access to the Nortern City Line at Moorgate station will be improved.
  • The Jubilee Line will become a loop of Crossrail between Straford and Bond Street via Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Waterloo.

The last two points will dramatically increase access to Waterloo station for its revamped suburban services, which are planned to become part of Crossrail 2.

Four-Tracking Of The West Anglia Main Line

If you travel to Cambridge or Stansted Airport in the Evening Peak, it is a nightmare.

Consider.

  • The West Anglia Main Line is a double-track main line.
  • It has a 100 mph maximum speed.
  • The signalling and electrification is generally good.
  • It has several busy level-crossings.
  • Most of the stations are not step-free and inadequate.
  • It has a decent Park-and-Ride station at Whittlesford Parkway, but needs more, including one with access to the Northern part of the M25.
  • An increasing amount of freight from London Gateway could need to use the line.
  • It has two London termini at Liverpool Street and Stratford, both of which will connect to Crossrail.
  • There is space to develop comprehensive interchange stations at Broxbourne, Bishops Stortford and Cambridge South (Addenbrooke’s)
  • In the next decade it will get improved connectivity to branches and East-West routes, like the Chingford, Stanstedand Hertford East branches, the East West Rail Link and improved and possible new lines from Cambridge.

All versions of Crossrail 2 and the improvement of Cambridge and Stansted Airport services, need the West Anglia Main Line to be of the following standard.

  • Four tracks.
  • At least 110 mph running between London and Bishops Stortford.
  • Elimination of level crossings.
  • New strategic stations.
  • Creation of the space for a Northern portal to Crossrail 2.

Project management also says, that this should be done before Crossrail 2, as otherwise the disruption to the West Anglia Main Line will be so high as to be a total nightmare.

Liverpool Street Station

The new Greater Anglia franchise has ordered £1.4billion on new trains.

Will Liverpool Street station be able to cope with all the increased services?

In An Idea For A New Station At Shoreditch High Street, I wrote about plans to create extra platforms North of the station in the area of Shoreditch High Street station.

It’s an idea, but also consider the following.

  • Crossrail will remove some local trains from the station.
  • Platforms at Liverpool Street station will be lengthened.
  • Overground services from the station will be getting new Class 710 trains.
  • The new trains should be able to turn round faster in the station.
  • Other Services might terminate at Stratford.

After Crossrail, the Overground and Greater Anglia have settled down, there will probably be some reorganisation at Liverpool Street station.

Perhaps extra platforms at Shoreditch High Street for Overground services from Liverpool Street station might be a good idea.

  • This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Shoreditch High Street station.
Lines Around Shoreditch High Street Station

Lines Around Shoreditch High Street Station

Consider.

  • The new platforms would be in the right place for the lines approaching from Bethnal Green and Hackney.
  • The new platforms could have extension development on top.
  • There would be good connection to the East London Line.
  • Up to four platforms could be released in Liverpool Street station.
  • What would connect all the knitting would be high-quality fast pedestrian links between the new platforms at Shoreditch, the main Liverpool Street station and Crossrail and the various Underground Lines.
  • As the Central Line is not deep underground, could it be opened up so all the terminal platforms at Shoreditch had their own escalators and lifts to the line?
  • Lea Valley services would gain their own well-connected dedicated terminal.
  • Cambridge and Stansted Airports could have the prime positions in the main Liverpool Street station.

Improving services up the Lea Valley, would fulfil some of the objectives of the North East leg of Crossrail 2.

Northern City Line Improvements

Use a station like Essex Road on the Northern City Line  and it’s like going back to the first few years of the Twentieth Century.

But the following improvements are scheduled.

  • New six-car Class 717 trains.
  • 12 tph all day with more in the Peak.
  • Some station improvements would also be welcome.
  • A well-designed interchange to Crossrail, the Underground and main line services out of Liverpool Street, enabled by a massive double-ended station  at Moorgate.
  • Will the operating procedures be modernised?

The line will also be renamed the Great Northern Metro.

It probably doesn’t affect Crossrail 2, but it will provide increased capacity from Hertfordshire into the City and Canary Wharf.

Northern Line Improvements

I may complain about some of the crap 1960s design on the Victoria Line, but many stations on the Northern Line have really been bodged together.

Would improving the line to the standard of the best of the other deep-level tube lines be a cost-effective way of creating a pair of modern North-South routes across London?

Once Camden Town station is rebuilt, Transport for London’s long term objective of splitting the Northern Line into two can be achieved.

  • Edgware to Battersea Power Station via Charing Cross and Waterloo
  • High Barnet to Morden via Bank

Probably the most difficult part, would be choosing understandable names.

The only effect on Crossrail 2, would be that once the Northern Line is split, it will become another feeder route for Waterloo.

Old Oak Common Station

If Old Oak Common station ever gets designed and built, it will enable interchange between a lot of lines.

  • Bakerloo Line
  • Central Line
  • Chiltern Line
  • Crossrail
  • HS2
  • North London Line
  • West Coast Main Line
  • West London Line

The station won’t directly affect Crossrail 2, but it could enable a lot of journeys to be done without it.

I also feel that Old Oak Common station should be built before Crossrail 2 because of its usefullness in avoiding Crossrail 2 territory.

Penge Stations

Various reportsincluding one from TfL have proposed an interchange between Penge East station on the Chatham Main Line with Penge West station on the East London Line.

This could create more capacity between Orpington and Highbury and Islington stations, without going through Victoria.

Piccadilly Line Improvements

I lived on the northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line for the first eighteen years of my life. Quite frankly the stations have changed little since the arrival of the unpainted aluminium 1956 Stock in  the late 1950s.

  • There are a lot of dingy stations.
  • There are very few step-free stations.
  • Some of the Central London stations have very narrow platforms.
  • Interchange with other lines often involves a lot of walking.
  • Compared to other lines, the trains seem slow.
  • The trains are still overcrowded.

Perhaps the biggest change to the line from that period, was the building of the  cross-platform interchange at Finsbury Park station with the Victoria Line, which improves access to Centra London.

But changes are happening.

  • The New Tube for London could be in service on the line by the mid-2020s.
  • The trains will run under ATO.
  • Train frequency will be improved from the current level of around 24 tph most of the week.
  • Crossrail could mean that less passengers use the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow.
  • Holborn station is scheduled for a rebuild.

Hopefully, the new trains will give the line a whole new persona.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr of the lines through Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square stations.

Piccadilly Circus And Leicester Square Stations

Piccadilly Circus And Leicester Square Stations

Note.

  1. These two stations desperately need better and step-free access.
  2. Piccadilly Circus was originally to be a Crossrail 2 station, but this has been dropped.
  3. Both stations have a large Art Deco ticket hall underneath major road junctions.
  4. Neither station has any surface buildings of architectural merit.

Could adding extra passageways, escalators and lifts to these two stations do the following?

  • Make both stations step-free.
  • Give step-free and fast easy access between the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Lines at Piccadilly Circus station.
  • Give step-free and fast easy access between the Northern and Piccadilly Lines at Leicester Square station.

This would give Piccadilly Line passengers easier access to the soon-to-be-extended Northern and Bakerloo Lines.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical solution in this area linking the important visitor destinations.

  • Covent Garden.
  • Leicester Square
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Soho
  • Trafalgar Square

It might start with pedestrianising the entire area.

A Piccadilly Line with more capacity, a good interchange at Piccadilly Circus and a better ambience could be an alternative  route to Crossrail 2 for many of those it is designed to serve.

Thameslink Collateral Improvements

Very little has been said about the benefits of an improved Thameslink in Central London.

The features and improvements that could have far reaching affects are.

  • Finsbury Park and Elephant and Castle stations will be rebuilt or upgraded.
  • Will Camberwell station be built?
  • The link to the Piccadilly, Victoria and Northern City Lines at Finsbury Park station could get heavy use to avoid the long walks at St. Pancras.
  • Gatwick Airport has lots of ambitions for a new station to serve most of the South.
  • Thameslink will run initially at 24 tph, but will this limit be increased?

A lot of the plans aren’t finalised yet and it will be interesting to see what develops.

Vauxhall Station Improvements

I use the link at Vauxhall station, between the Victoria Line and Waterloo suburban services occasionally and every time I do, it seems to have been improved.

I suspect Network Rail and Transport for London have ideas to improve the interchange further.

Victoria Line Improvements

Dear Old Vicky – The Silver Queen of them all, who keeps on giving.

There is not much left to do with this line, but more capacity can be handled by doing the following.

  • Create a reversing loop at Brixton via a single platform station under Herne Hill station, which would improve frequency.
  • Create a double-ended station at Walthamstow Central to improve safe capacity and add lifts.
  • Further improve the interchange to services to and from Waterloo at Vauxhall station.
  • Improve stations like Tottenham Hale, Highbury and Islington and Oxford Circus.

As with the Central Line improvements, an improved Victoria Line could provide extra North-East to Central London capacity, prior to the building of Crossrail 2.

Victoria Station Improvements

Victoria station will be getting an upgraded Underground station in 2018.

Victoria is effectively two stations.

  • One for Southeastern services going down the Chatham Main Line.
  • One for Southern services going down the Brighton Main Line.

It is a crazy situation, with London’s most Westerly Southern terminal being the main terminal for the most Easterly services.

The Southern services via Clapham Junction, Balham and East Croydon are not too much of a problem, but the Southeastern services are designed more by the accident of history, than the needs of a modern railway and its passengers.

The typical 2015 off-peak service run by Southeastern is:

  • 4tph to Orpington via Herne Hill and Bromley South
  • 2tph to Dartford via Lewisham and Bexleyheath
  • 2tph to Dover Priory via Bromley South and Chatham
  • 1tph to Ashford International via Bromley South and Maidstone East
  • 1tph to Canterbury West via Bromley South and Maidstone East
  • 1tph to Ramsgate via Bromley South

All of these services have to be timetabled across South London and often cause bottlenecks and troubles at places like Herne Hill.

It has led to a suggestion of a tunnel from Battersea to Bromley under Brixton, that I wrote about in A Tunnel Under Brixton.

Waterloo And City Line Improvements

The Waterloo and City Line is not even a Cinderella Line, but one of her poor rats.

A new high-capacity step-free entrance in Walbrook Square at the Bank station end is opening in 2017.

This will mean that capacity is unbalanced. So could we see the following?

  • Larger capacity and step-free  entrance at the Waterloo end of the line.
  • Higher frequency and larger and more trains working the line.
  • Trains running automatically without drivers.
  • 24/7 operation.
  • The Night Drain, so that bankers can drink and gamble all night!

The upgrading of Bank and Waterloo stations for other services must have their own positive effects.

I believe that the Drain will be a very different animal in 2025.

It will act as a link line to all those suburban services going out of Waterloo. Perhaps an escalator connection between the suburban platforms at Waterloo and the Drain should be provided.

Waterloo Station Improvements

There are various improvements happening at Waterloo station.

  • The Eurostar platforms are being brought into use for suburban services.
  • This extra platform capacity will allow other platforms at Waterloo to be lengthened.
  • South West Trains are currently commissioning a fleet of 30 new Class 707 trains.
  • Improved services are being provided by Southeastern between Charing Cross and London Bridge stations via Waterloo East station, which are made possible by the Thameslink Program.

Whilst Waterloo is not a Crossrail 2 station, a fair proportion of its services via Wimbledon are planned to be transferred to the new line.

How will all the Waterloo developments affect this? I’ve no idea, but TfL could know after the end of 2017 and certainly will by the end of 2018.

Waterloo Station Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

These suburban termini and their routes are due to be connected to Crossrail 2.

I have written An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, which investigates the issues in detail.

I came to the following conclusion.

Crossrail 2’s proposals for the suburban branch lines from Waterloo to the four destinations of Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations, can be fulfilled using the following.

  • Modern high-performance 100 mph trains like Class 707 trains.
  • Some improvements to track and signals between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.
  • Wimbledon station would only need minor modifications.
  • A measure of ATO between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.

What effect will this have on the design of Crossrail 2?

Waterloo Station Links To The North,South and East

Waterloo station is well connected to the North,South and East, in the opposite directions to the lines to Vauxhall, Clapham Junction stations and all points South-West.

  • Bakerloo Line between Queen’s Park and Elephant and Castle stations
  • Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line between Camden Town and Kennington stations
  • Jubilee Line between Baker Street and Stratford.stations.
  • Passengers using the Victoria Line to get to and from Waterloo, will use the cross-platform change at Oxford Circus.
  • Waterloo and City Line, to Bank station.

But it will be even better connected by 2029.

  • The Bakerloo Line will go between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations.
  • The Northern Line could be split into two, with the branch through Waterloo, going between Edgeware and Battersea Power Station stations.
  • The Waterloo and City line will have new entrance in Walbrook Square.
  • Waterloo East station will have frequent connections between Charing Cross and London Bridge stations.
  • Possible improvements at stations like Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus could create excellent links to the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines.

Waterloo station will have superb connections.

I can’t see any reason why, two routes to the South-West branches of Crossrail 2 couldn’t be provided; one through the central tunnel and the other from Waterloo station.

Wimbledon Station

The current plan requires Wimbledon station to be seriously rebuilt and this is causing problems with the natives, which I can understand.

In the plan, twenty tph will come together at Raynes Park or Wimbledon stations and take the tunnel to the North.

But why do all trains have to go through the tunnel?

Some could start at Clapham Junction or Wimbedon stations.

I’m sure that a better plan for Wimbledon will arrive.

An Initial Conclusion

The more I write about rail projects in Central London, the more I’m convinced that a lot of the objectives of Crossrail 2 can be met in other ways.

As an example of my thinking, I believe that new faster Class 707 trains or something similar could double the frequency from 2 tph to the Crossrail 2 frequency of 4 tph on the suburban services out of Waterloo via Wimbledon.

This would mean.

  • Wimbledon station would not need substantial rebuilding.
  • 20 tph would use the slow lines between Waterloo and Wimbledon,
  • Trains would stop as required at Clapham Junction, Earlsfield and Vauxhall.
  • Waterloo to Wimbledon would probably need ATO like Crossrail or Thameslink, but handling 20 tph is not exceptional.

But surely, the biggest factor is that Waterloo to Wimbledon local services would have at least double the capacity.

A Conclusion About Automatic Train Operation

You could argue, that as a Control Engineer, I’m biased, but it seems to me, that if ATO were installed on the lines through Clapham Junction to Waterloo and Victoria capacity could be increased on the following suburban routes.

  • Waterloo to Wimbledon
  • Waterloo to Richmond
  • Victoria to Balham

Whether the Unions would agree to its introduction is another matter.

But then the automation would only need to be to Victoria line standard with driver monitoring.

A Virtual Crossrail 2

I am drawn to thinking that we could have a high-capacity link along generally the route of Crossrail 2, that could be upgraded in the future as circumstances dictate that more capacity is needed.

The existing West Anglia Main Line is congested and it needs to be four-tracked from Coppermill Junction to Broxbourne for several reasons.

  • To accomodate Crossrail 2
  • To handle more trains to Stansted Airport and Cambridge.
  • To handle more freight trains.
  • To increase line speed.

This project would be backed by Greater Anglia, Stanstad Airport, Cambridge and Transport for London.

If the lines out of Waterloo were upgraded, as I mentioned in the previously, there would then be the problem of creating the middle section of a Virtual Crossrail 2.

If an extension to Liverpool Street station were to be built as I indicated earlier to the North of the main line station beside Shoreditch High Street station, there could be at least three routes.

  • Crossrail to Bond Street and then the Jubilee Line.
  • East London Line to Canada Water and then the Jubilee Line.
  • Walk to the Waterloo and City Line.

Good design of the extra platforms might m,ake this work well!

Conversion From Virtual To Real Crossrail 2

The big problem is that those living close to the intermediate stations (Like me!), would not get a brand new railway.

This would need a tunnel to be bored from Tottenham Hale to Wimbledon, which could be delayed until it is really needed and the money can be raised.

There would be ways to cut the cost.

  • The line could be tunnel only and would not connect to surface railways.
  • There would be no station in Chelsea
  • An alternative Southern terminus for Crossrail 2 could be Clapham Junction, Balham or Tooting Broadway stations, but that would mean that Balham and/or Tooting didn’t get their station.
  • It could be created as a small-bore tube between Tottenham Hale and Wimbledon.

Consider the services to the possible Southern termini, if lines through Clapham Junction were to be upgraded with ATO.

  • Wimbledon could be getting 20 tph from Waterloo and 2 tph from Thameslink
  • Balham currently gets 12 tph from Victoria and a few other services.
  • Tooting Broadway will just get the Northern Line.

So it is Tooting Broadway that is in the greatest need of extra services.

If extra services are needed at Wimbledon or Balham, the capacity could be on the existing lines signalled under ATO, which could certainly handle 24 tph.

So would it be logical to not pass through Tooting Broadway station, but use it as the Southern terminal?

Or could a loop tunnel from Clapham Junction go through the following stations?

  • Wandsworth Common
  • Balham
  • Streatham Common
  • Tooting
  • Tooting Broadway and/or St. George’s Hospital
  • Earlsfield

The tunnel is probably too long to be single-track with single-platform stations, like the Loop under Liverpool on the Wirral Line.

But fast trains and good design of track and stations, might just make an affordable Crossrail 2 serving both Balham and Tooting Broadway.

Who knows?

I don’t!

But I have seen some crazy ideas work on my travels around the railways of Europe and we must not put limits on what we think is possible.

Conclusion

I shall be surprised if Crossrail 2 is built before 2040, as various projects and ATO will create enough capacity to push the line futher into the future.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

A South London Metro

Some of my recent posts including.

Are leading me to the conclusion that it would be possible to create a South London Metro, that worked under similar principles to the East London Line.

The East London Line

If anybody doesn’t believe that the East London Line is one of the best creations on the world’s railways in recent years, then they should go and read something else now.

Consider.

  • There is a core section between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations, where sixteen trains per hour (tph) shuttle passengers under the river in modern trains.
  • In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I indicated that TfL are planning to increase this frequency to 20 tph.
  • At the Northern end four dedicated platforms at two different termini; Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington give passengers choices of onward routes.
  • At the Southern end, there are four separate termini; Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace, New Cross and West Croydon.
  • Three of the southern termini have excellent onward connections and if the Tramlink is sorted at West Croydon, then that would be improved.
  • The line has excellent connections to the Victoria and Jubilee Lines of the Underground and other rail lines.

It has been a marvellous success.

The North London Line

The North London Line is not as radical in its design as the East London Line, as it effectively just a a simple line across North London, that carries up to eight trains per hour and a lot of freight.

It has been successful, but not as successful as the East London Line.

The Future Of The Overground In North And East London

The success of removing, third-rate trains on the North and East London Lines is now being repeated on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, where two-car diesel trains are being replaced with four-car electric ones.

But this is only the start, as other plans are being put together in North London.

But to use the well-known phase – “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

South London In The Slow Lane

South London is very second-rate compared to the North with respect to railways.

My mother always told me to never go South of the River, as I’d get lost.

Look at the historic radial routes out of East, North and West London termini like Euston, Fenchurch Street, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Paddington and St. Pancras and the lines have a simple structure that the average child of ten could understand. The Underground also follows a simple structure.

But if you look at trains South of the River, there is not even any logic as to which terminus you use to get your train, with the exception perhaps of Waterloo. Only South London’s crazy rules would mean that going to East Kent would be from the most western Southern terminus at Victoria.

It is mainly down to the fact that much of the rail network South of the River were developed by companies, whose idea of co-operation was stopping the other companies from expanding.

My mother was so very right!

There are problems galore of inadequate infrastructure.

  • Some stations are in desperate need of more platforms.
  • Lines often cross each other in flat junctions, which severely limit capacity.
  • Many of the lines have heavy peak-hour use from commuters and infrequent services in the off-peak.
  • Any electrification is non-standard third-rail.
  • The main lines don’t have enough capacity.
  • Commuters are also often very vocal opponents of even the smallest change.

Even new lines like the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at Ebbsfleet International and Crossrail at Abbey Wood are only partly integrated into the existing network and don’t share a station.

The engineers are doing their best with innovative schemes like the Bermondsey Dive-Under, but the railways in South London need a whole new philosophy to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

North London may have a long list of projects in the pipeline, but after the upgrading of Thameslink and the Northern Line Extension to Battersea, South London’s future plan is very thin.

In some ways Crossrail 2 sums up the South. North London will be affected by this line’s construction, but all of the protests are from Chelsea, which can probably be ignored, and South London.

The Centre For London Proposals

In the June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, there was an article entitled Turning South London Orange, which is a radical set of proposals from an organisation called the Centre for London, with the aim of improving rail services in South London.

This is a summary of their proposals, as they affect the lines across South London from Victoria to Peckham Rye, Herne Hill and Surrey Quays.

  • A tunnel should be built from Battersea to South of Herne Hill under Brixton to remove fast services from Victoria to Kent from the area.
  • The four-track South London Line should be reconfigured so that London Overground services use the Northern rather than the Southern pair of tracks.
  • A new station is built at Battersea linking the Northern Line Extension to the South London Line.

One of the consequences of this, is that it would be possible to create three modern step-free stations at Wandsworth Road, Clapham High Street and Brixton, with the latter two connected to the Northern and Victoria Lines of the Underground using escalators and/or lifts.

A South London Metro

So what would a South London Metro look like?

I will assume the following.

  • The fast line tunnel under Brixton is built.
  • The South London Line is reconfigured to put the London Overground service on the Northern pair of tracks.
  • A new interchange station is built at Battersea.

In the next few sections, I will look at the various parts of the South London Metro.

The Brixton Tunnel

Although not actually part of the South London Metro, the Brixton Tunnel must be built before the Metro can be created, as it removes all the fast Chatham Main Line services between Victoria and Kent, from the lines across South London.

Trains will use a tunnel between Battersea and South of Herne Hill.

So what Southeastern Mainline services, that serve Victoria could use the tunnel?

  • 1 tph to Ramsgate via Chatham with a first stop at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Dover via Chatham with a first stop at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Dover via Chatham with a first stop at Orpington and a second at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Canterbury West via Maidstone East with a first stop at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Ashford International via Maidstone East with a first stop at Bromley South.

There are another nine trains per day running in the peak.

The question has to be asked, if extra services can be provided through a fast tunnel, as the current number of trains might even be within the capacity of a single-track tunnel.

But I suspect that for redundancy and safety reasons that the five-kilometre tunnel would probably be built as double track or a twin-bore tunnel.

At present non-stop services take sixteen minutes between Victoria and Bromley South stations, which is a distance of 20.4 kilometres, which gives a start-to-stop average speed of about 75 kph. At that speed the trains would take around four minutes to pass through the  tunnel. So even if the Class 375 trains, that generally work the line went through at full speed of 160 kph, not much would be saved on the journey.

But given the transit time through the tunnel of four minutes or less and the generally low number of trains through the tunnel, I suspect that a single-track tunnel is under serious consideration.

But I would future-proof the line by providing a double-track tunnel.

As Bombardier have said, that the Class 375 trains could be retro-fitted with on-board energy storage, I suspect too that the tunnel could even be left without electrification, as an electrically-dead tunnel must be safer in the unlikely event of a train needing to be evacuated. Evacuation will probably be through the side doors of the trains onto a walkway, as is proposed for Crossrail.

I think that the developments in infrastructure creation and the powering of trains in the last few years could enable a very radical and affordable approach to building this tunnel.

I think there’s a chance we’ll see this five kilometre tunnel bored as a single bore, with either one or two tracks, but no electrification.

Remember that the Severn Tunnel, which is the longest main line rail tunnel in the UK and was built by the Victorians, is seven kilometres long.

London’s latest tunnel which is the Lee Tunnel for sewage  is just under seven kilometres long, seven metres in diameter and at a depth of over seventy-five metres under East London. It is probably big enough for a third-rail electrified double-track railway. According to Wikipedia, the Lee Tunnel cost an estimated £635 million.

As we’re moving towards a Golden Age of Tunnelling, I think we’ll be seeing more tunnels proposed.

The Core Section

I would define the core section of the South London Metro as between Wandsworth Road and Peckham Rye stations, so it would also include the following intermediate stations.

  • Clapham High Street
  • Brixton
  • Denmark Hill

If fast services from Victoria to Kent are in a tunnel under Brixton and Herne Hill, the Centre for London Report says that it would be possible for London Overground services to use the Northern pair of tracks rather than the Southern ones. Freight, empty stock movements and other non-stopping services would continue to use the Southern tracks.

At present there are just four tph  each way on the Overground along the current line, but as the East London Line core is currently handling sixteen tph, I would think it possible, subject to some reorganisation of the tracks at the two ends of the core section, that all Metro and Overground services could share the Northern tracks and platforms.

Similar sharing has been done successfully between New Cross Gate and Norwood Junction on the Overground, since the East London Line was extended to West Croydon in 2010. On that existing route, the fast trains have their own separate tracks out of the way, just as under the Centre for London proposals, fast trains between Victoria and Kent will be separated in a tunnel under Brixton.

As to the ultimate capacity of the core section, who knows? Figures of 24 tph have been quoted as possible for the East London Line, but twenty through the core will do well for several years.

I suspect that as the only trains on the Northern pair of tracks through South London will be slow Overground/Metro trains, that any routing problems could be solved by simple flat junctions, of which there are many already.

So how would this affect the stations on the core section?

  • Wandsworth Road would have two new Northern platforms. As the lines split for Victoria and Clapham Junction just after the station, would each pair of lines and platforms  be for appropriate destinations?
  • Clapham High Street would have two new Northern platforms for Metro/Overground services. As the Northern platforms are closer to Clapham North station, it might be sensible to create an escalator connection between the two stations and not generally use the Southern platforms.
  • East Brixton is a station, that has been discussed for rebuilding.
  • Brixton would have reopened Northern platforms for Metro/Overground services. Services via Herne Hill would still use the current platforms and as no trains on the high-level lines over the station would stop, providing step-free access between the Victoria Line and Metro/Overground services would be much easier.
  • Many believe that Loughborough Junction station should be connected to the Overground. If Metro/Overground services are moved to the Northern tracks as they go over Loughborough Junction station, I believe that step-free connection between new Metro/Overground platforms and Loughborough Junction is now possible.
  • Denmark Hill station would need some reorganisation, but it is already step-free.
  • Peckham Rye station would need some reorganisation and it is on the list of being made step-free.

The list of projects to create a core section of the South London Metro would include.

  • Build the Brixton Tunnel
  • Add the extra platforms and station infrastructure at Wandsworth Road station.
  • Add the extra platforms and station infrastructure at Clapham High Street station.
  • Create an escalator/lift connection between Clapham High Street and the Northern Line at Clapham North station.
  • Reopen the Northern platforms at Brixton station.
  • Create an escalator/lift connection between the low-level platforms at Brixton with the Victoria Line.
  • Add two high-level platforms at Loughborough Junction station on the Metro/Overground lines.
  • Make Loughbrough Junction station fully step-free.
  • Make various changes to the tracks, so that all required routes are possible.

There would obviously be other small projects, but I can’t see anything major except for the building of the Brixton Tunnel, that would be needed to create a sixteen train-per-hour route from Victoria across South London.

All projects and that includes the Brixton Tunnel could be carried out without large disruption of the existing train services, which in my view is a tribute to the Centre for London proposals.

I think that without any further major infrastructure after the Brixton Tunnel has been built, and some other smaller projects that are already being planned, the core section of the South London Metro could be a run of step-free stations interchanging with the Northern and Victoria Lines, Thameslink and other services out of Victoria and London Bridge.

Reversal Stations

I also wonder if any of the core stations could be created with an island platform, so that passengers can reverse direction without going up and down stairs. This can already be done at Queens Road Peckham station if say you are on a Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction train and want to go to South Bermondsey or London Bridge.

Never underestimate passengers’ ability to duck and dive!

Connectivity just encourages passengers to take more outrageous, faster and convenient routes.

The Western Termini

At present there are two western termini for the services along the South London Line; Victoria and Clapham Junction and Victoria.

There is probably not enough platforms, if it is desired to run sixteen tph or more through the core, as is done on the East London Line.

Clapham Junction As A Western Terminus

At present 4 tph run to Clapham Junction and as I wrote in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, this will be increased to 6 tph in 2019.

I suspect that despite the rather unusual platform arrangements at Clapham Junction, which I call The Clapham Kiss, that 6 tph can be handled at the station.

So I think it will be very much Carry On Clapham!

Victoria As A Western Terminus

At present, the following services serve Victoria along the South London Line.

  • 4 tph to Orpington, which turn off at Brixton.
  • 2 tph to Dartford via Bexleyheath, which turn off at Peckham Rye.

Combined with the 6 tph from Clapham Junction, between Wandsworth Road and Brixton, there are 12 tph.

Given that Victoria is crowded and needs more platforms, would it be possible to handle the South London Metro from a dedicated platform or pair of platforms in Victoria?

Assigned platforms at Dalston Junction certainly helps passengers, as you know where your train to the various destinations will call.

  • Through Platform 1 for Highbury and Islington
  • Bay Platform 2 for New Cross
  • Bay Platform 3 for Clapham Junction
  • Through Platform 4 for Crystal Palace and West Croydon

This is certainly what is happening today as I write.

I think it would be a great advantage if you went to a particular platform or pair of platforms to pick up the South London Metro.

This mini sub-station concept is used at.

  • Cheshunt for the Lea Valley Lines
  • Clapham Junction for the East London Line.
  • Crystal Palace for the East London Line.
  • Liverpool Street for the Lea Valley Lines.
  • Richmond for the North London Line.
  • Stratford for the North London Line.

Usually, you just look for the orange!

Battersea As A Western Terminus

Given that Victoria is crowded and probably needs more platforms, an alternative terminus is probably needed.

Just as when Dalston Junction was rebuilt for the East London Line, two bay platforms were incorporated, could the same thing be done at the new Battersea station?

Certainly, the system works well at Dalston Junction, so why wouldn’t a similar arrangement work at Batttersea?

  • Passengers needing to get to Victoria on a train terminating at Battersea would just walk across the platform and wait a couple of minutes for the train to Victoria.
  • Passengers from Victoria on a train going to a wrong destination would only have to go to Wandsworth Road to get a train to any destination, including those served from Clapham Junction.

It is a system, where to do any journey you either do it direct, or with a single same-platform change.

Old Oak Common As A Western Terminus

Because of the capacity problems and the unusual layout at Clapham Junction station, it might also be possible to use somewhere on the West London Line as a Western terminus.

Old Oak Common station with its connections to the West Coast Main Line, HS2, Crossrail and the North London Line would be an obvious choice.

The Eastern Termini

At present services from Victoria and Clapham Junction, go although the South London Line to the following destinations.

  • Dalston Junction – 4 tph from Clapham Junction – 6 tph from 2019
  • Dartford – 2 tph from Victoria via Bexleyheath
  • Orpington – 4 tph from Victoria

Even with Dartford services raised to 4 tph, that is probably still below the capacity of the core section of the line.

Dalston Junction As An Eastern Terminus

I would assume that the current Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction service will continue.

Currently there are 4 tph, but this will go to 6 tph in 2019 as I wrote about in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line.

As  TfL’s predictions in the document I found for 2016 and 2017 have already happened, I would think the 6 tph is likely, if the new Class 710 trains are delivered to boost the fleet.

With the increase in service frequency, London Overground Syndrome means that the passengers using the service will increase.

Dartford As An Eastern Terminus

At present, 2 tph go between Victoria and Dartford via Bexleyheath.

But is Dartford, the best terminal in the area for the South London Metro?

Consider.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see 4 tph service along a South London Metro to a Dartford station, where Crossrail calls to give a direct link to HS2 at Ebbsfleet International.

London Bridge As An Eastern Terminus

As London Bridge station used to be linked along the South London Line to Victoria, this important station must be added.

Especially, as there were a lot of passengers, who objected to losing the direct service along the South London Line between London Bridge and Victoria.

On the East London Line, there is a short 4 tph service between Dalston Junction and New Cross which is used as a short direct service through the core, perhaps to boost train frequencies there.

So could a  service with a similar frequency  be run on the South London Line between Victoria and London Bridge? It could call at.

  • South Bermondsey
  • Queen’s Road Peckham
  • Peckham Rye
  • Denmark Hill
  • Loughborough Junction
  • Brixton
  • Clapham High Street
  • Wandsworth Road
  • Battersea

It would have step-free connections to the Northern and Victoria Lines and Thameslink, if the appropriate stations were upgraded.

Orpington As An Eastern Terminus

I think that Orpington has the greatest potential as a terminal.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the route from Kent House station via Beckenham Junction and Bromley South to Orpington.

From Kent House Via BromleySouth To Orpington

From Kent House Via BromleySouth To Orpington

It has very good connectivity.

Because of all this connectivity, Bromley and Orpington might be able to provide enough passengers for more than four trains per hour going to Victoria and/or Battersea.

Remember there will still be the five fast trains per hour through the Brixton Tunnel  in addition to the stopping ones of the Metro.

Bellingham As An Eastern Terminus

When the Overground took over the line, there was some discussion about a service between Victoria and Bellingham.

So could Bellingham station be a terminus?

This Google Map shows the area around Bellingham station.

Bellingham Station

Bellingham Station

There doesn’t seem to be much of importance in the area, except the leisure centre.

In addition.

  • The station doesn’t seem to have a suitable bay platform, but there may be space to build one.
  • The station would provide a link to Thameslink.
  • It only handles a couple of trains an hour most of the day, so perhaps the terminating of trains was to be slipped in the large gaps.

Perhaps it was all to stimulate development in the area.

An HS1 to HS2 Link

If Old Oak Common is chosen as a Western Terminus with a 4 tph service down the West London Line and the core route of the South London Metro, what would be a suitable terminal in the East?

Given what I said about Dartford as an Eastern terminus, surely a four tph service across South London linking HS1 and HS2 must enter into the route planners’ thinking.

As Crossrail does the business linking HS1 and HS2 for North and Central London, a South London Metro could be configured to do a similar job for a whole swath of South and West London.

A Brockley Interchange

The Centre for London report proposes a new pair of platforms on the South London Line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, providing interchange with the existing Brockley station.

I gave my views on Brockley station in A Report On The Bakerloo Line Extension, which I now repeat in an edited form.

This Google Map shows Brockley  station.

Brockley Station

The Bexleyheath Line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations crosses the East London Line and Brockley station at a high level.

I wrote A Four-Poster Station about connecting these two lines.

It would appear that Transport for London have advanced this project from one word in their 2050 Infrastructure Plan to a proposal.

If the South London Metro included the services to Dartford via Bexleyheath, then this interchange at Brockley station might make some passengers journeys a lot easier.

A Penge Interchange

The Centre for London report proposes an interchange between Penge East station on the Chatham Main Line with Penge West station on the East London Line.

This Google Map shows the lines and the two Penge stations.

Penge Stations

Penge Stations

The report suggests that it would be possible to reduce the walking distance between the two stations from 650 to 400 metres and there might be potential to move Penge West station to the North of the High Street.

As the walking appears substantially to be flat, I wonder if a section of travelator would be possible!

I recently walked from East to West station and took these pictures.

One of the station staff said that they need step-ladders to access the Crystal Palace line, that runs over the top.

The walk incidentally took me fifteen minutes, so if it decreases from 650 to 400 metres, by moving the station North of the High Street that should reduce the time to under ten minutes.

Will a travelator be added.

As with the extra platforms at Brockley station, this interchange has the potential to ease some passengers journeys.

My Proposed Schedule

I will give my view of the trains on a South London Metro.

  • 6 tph between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction.
  • 4 tph between Dartford and Old Oak Common.
  • 4 tph between Victoria/Battersea and London Bridge
  • 6 tph between Victoria/Battersea and Orpington

This gives a total of 20 tph, which would be the same as the East London Line will be in 2019.

The Rolling Stock

Due to platform restrictions on the East London Line, I would envisage that the trains between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction will probably still be the same five-car Class 378 trains.

The trains on the other destinations can probably be anything suitable and would include Class 375, Class 377 or even some new Class 710 trains.

But as there is no platform restrictions to the other destinations, the trains could probably be any desired formation between four and twelve cars.

Any new platforms would of course be built to accept twelve-car trains.

Getting To Heathrow

At the present time, getting to Heathrow can be a bit of a problem from some places in South London.

But after Crossrail and Old Oak Common station are opened, it would just be a matter of getting one of a 4 tph South London Metro train to Old Oak Common and changing for Crossrail.

It may of course be easier to use one of the other possible routes to Crossrail.

  • Take the Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road from Battersea or Clapham North.
  • Take Thameslink to Tottenham Court Road.
  • Go via Whitechapel.

We’ll all develop our favourite routes.

Getting To Gatwick

At the present time, Thameslink haven’t published their full route yet, but anybody on the South London Metro should be able to do one of the following.

  • Go to Clapham Junction and get a direct train.
  • Go to Victoria and get Gatwick Express.
  • Go to London Bridge and get Thameslink.

Unfortunately, it looks like I might lose my option of going to New Cross Gate and getting a direct train.

Conclusion

A South London Metro running 16 tph or more between Wandsworth Road and Peckham Rye stations, with multiple termini at either end, must be a feasible and affordable possibility, if the following is done.

  • The Brixton Tunnel is built to give fast Victoria to Kent services a by-pass.
  • The Overground/Metro services are moved to the Northern pair of tracks on the South London Line.
  • Various station and track improvements are carried out.

It looks to me, that this project could transform South London and improve the lot of people like me, who live on the East London Line.

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Exploration At Penge

I took the Overground to Penge West station and then walked to Penge East station. The walk is about 15 minutes.

The objective was to investigate the Penge Interchange proposed in the Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, After all, I can’t find any other reference to this on the Internet. Even if you search the whole of the Infrastructure Plan, Penge is only mentioned once.

This is a Google Map showing both stations.

Penge West And East Stations

I took these pictures at Penge West station

Penge West is a typical South London station, but it is not step-free and it has an uncovered bridge. There is also only one entrance and exit on the Northbound platform. It will have to be rebuilt with a new footbridge and a possible entrance/exit on the Southbound side. This Google Map shows the station and the surrounding area.

Penge West Station

Penge West Station

It would appear that there is enough space to rebuild the station with a second entrance/exit on the Sounthbound side of the lines. The other line crossing the top left corner of the map, is the line that takes the East London Line to Crystal Palace.

Whilst I walked to Penge East station, I took these pictures.

The bridges at Penge West station, probably rule out any connection of the two lines in a rebuilt station.

Incidentally, the walk is well-signposted except for the unfortunate sign directing you to Penge East station off the High Street, which is only visible when you’ve passed by.

These are pictures of Penge East station.

The station has the worst footbridge, I’ve seen for a long time and surely only the grace and favour of the woodworms holding hands, stops it from falling onto the railway. It is of course not step-free.

Believe it or not this dreadful footbridge is Listed. It also is a regular walking route across the railway for people not using the trains.

So making Penge East station comply with the disability Regulations would mean putting a second footbridge somewhere else.

The irresistible force of the Disability regulations has met the immoveable object of the Heritage Lobby. Wth which group would Network Rail least prefer to have a big fight?

This Google Map shows the area from Penge East station to where the lines go under the Brighton Main Line

Penge East Station

Penge East Station

I think that having looked at both Penge East and Penge West to improve services in the area, TfL and Network Rail have taken the decision to perhaps build a new Penge Interchange station, where the lines cross.

This has led to the inclusion of the single word, Penge, under a list of possible interchange stations in Transport for London’s future predictions. This Google Map shows the area where the lines cross.

A Possible Site For A Penge Interchange Station

A Possible Site For A Penge Interchange Station

There are actually three groups of lines that cross the lines through Penge East.

  • The single-track northbound Sydenham Spur linking Crystal Palace to the Brighton Main Line.
  • The four-track Brighton Main Line with the slow lines on the outside.
  • The single-track southbound Sydenham Spur linking the Brighton Main Line to Crystal Palace.

Depending on how much you would want to spend, you could build new platforms on the Brighton Main Line and the Sydenham Spur and link them by lifts to platforms on the line through Penge East.

A few points.

1. I think that the platforms would be extended from Penge East towards the new interchange.

2. The Listed footbridge at Penge East would be saved and the woodworm can be given help from craftsmen to hold the bridge up.

3. There would appear to be a service tunnel under the railway, that gives access to the building on the eastern side of the Brighton Main Line. Could this help in the design and construction of the station?

4. From the Google Map, there would appear to be space for an access to the station from Lawrie Park Road.

5. The area around Penge West station could probably be connected to the new complex by a footpath running along the railway lines. There could also be some rerouting of buses.

6. The station could probably be designed to create an East- West walking and cycling route under the railway.

7. Network Rail would get improved access to their building on the eastern side of the tracks.

It is also interesting to look at the passenger statistics for the stations in the area for 2013-14.

  • Penge West – 0.5 million
  • Penge East – 1.5 million
  • Anerley – 0.7 million – South of Penge West
  • Sydenham – 2.3 million- North of Penge West

These statistics provoke me to say, that if a Penge Interchange station was developed where the lines cross, would it be sensible to close the current Penge West station?

After my visit to Penge and my cursory investigation, I am led to the conclusion, that building a new Penge Interchange station, which possibly incorporates elements of the current Penge East station, and closing the lightly-used Penge West station, is not an impossible dream.

 

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2015 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , | 6 Comments