The Anonymous Widower

Elizabeth Line To Open On 24 May 2022

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on Crossrail.

This is the sub-title.

Trains to run every five minutes 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

And these are the first two paragraphs describe what will open.

Transport for London (TfL) has today confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday 24 May 2022. The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility with spacious new stations and walk-through trains. The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.

In the coming weeks, Elizabeth line signage will continue to be uncovered across the network in preparation for the start of customer service. The updated Tube and Rail map will also be released later showing the new central section stations connected with the rest of the TfL network for the first time.

These are some points from the rest of the press release.

  • Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
  • All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line.
  • Passengers wanting to do longer journeys may need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street stations.
  • Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.
  • Paddington and Canary Wharf will have a journey time of only 17 minutes. It takes thirty minutes by the Underground.
  • All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance.
  • Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.
  • Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on 24 May. It will open later in the year.
  • Changes will be made to 14 bus routes to improve links to Elizabeth line stations in east and south-east London, where many customers will use buses to get to and from stations.
  • Full services across the entire route introduced by May 2023.

I have some thoughts.

My Routes To Crossrail

Like many in London, I will have multiple routes to and from Crossrail.

  • I could take a 21 or a 141 bus from the bus stop round the corner to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 38 bus from another bus stop round the corner to Tottenham Court Road station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Angel station and get a Northern Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Essex Road station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 30 bus from this stop to Highbury & Islington station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 30, 38 or 56 from yet another stop round the corner to Dalston Junction station and get an Overground train to Whitechapel on Crossrail.
  • I could even walk a few hundred metres to take a 76 bus from the stop in the centre of de Beauvoir Town to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.

One of the reasons, I bought my house, was that it would have good connections to Crossrail.

But there is a cloud on the horizon.

My easiest route will probably be to use a 21 or 141 bus direct to Moorgate.

But our South London Mayor in his wisdom is hoping to retire the 21 bus leaving us with just the 141 direct to Moorgate.

I am by training a mathematical modeller and I have lived much of my life at various points on the transport corridor from Cockfosters to Moorgate formed by the Piccadilly Line and the 141 bus. I can even remember using the predecessor of the 141 bus, which was the 641 trolley-bus to come up to London with my grandmother in the 1950s.

I’m certain that when Crossrail opens, that if you live in say Wood Green, Southgate and Oakwood, if you want to use Crossrail to get to Heathrow or Canary Wharf, you will be highly likely to take the Piccadilly Line to Manor House and then take a 141 bus to Moorgate to pick up Crossrail.

The only alternative will be to change at Finsbury Park for the Moorgate Line, which even after the improvements at Finsbury Park, would not be an easy change with a heavy bag or a baby in a buggy.

I talked about this problem before in Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?, where I said this.

I suspect that when Crossrail opens, the 141 bus will be heavily used by travellers going between the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail at Moorgate.

The 141 bus goes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green and it has a route length of about nine miles.

Currently, buses run every fifteen minutes or so, but I doubt it will be enough in future as Transport for London are rerouting the closely-related 21 bus.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

It should be noted that the 43 bus, that passes Moorgate, is already carbon-free.

I will be interested to see what action is taken by Transport for London.

I believe their current plan is lacking and will make it difficult for those where I live to get to Crossrail at Moorgate.

Feeder Bus Routes To Crossrail

I believe that there could be considerable scope for more high-capacity high-quality feeder routes to and from Crossrail.

Currently, there are four bus routes that pass Moorgate station, that come into this category.

  • 21 – Lewisham Shopping Centre and Newington Green
  • 43 – London Bridge Station and Friern Barnet
  • 76 – Waterloo Station and Stoke Newington
  • 141 – London Bridge Station and Palmers Green

How many other routes are there, that stop outside a Crossrail station?

I suspect that for many Londoners and visitors, a bus to Crossrail will be their fastest way to their ultimate destination.

For instance, my fastest way to Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Ealing, Heathrow, Paddington and Reading will start with a bus to the Crossrail entrance at Moorgate station.

And it looks like Transport for London will be reducing my bus frequency to Moorgate, when it probably needs a slight increase.

Crossrail’s North-West Essex Extension

One of the elegant parts of Crossrail’s design is its interchange with the Central Line at Stratford station.

  • The Eastbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.
  • The Westbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.

This arrangement allows step-free cross-platform interchange between the two lines.

This map, which was clipped from Wikipedia, shows the North-Eastern end of the Central Line.

I am sure, that those who live to the North-East of Stratford station will be some of the residents of London, who benefit the most from Crossrail.

The following stations are step-free.

  • Buckhurst Hill
  • Debden
  • Epping
  • Hainault
  • Newbury Park
  • Roding Valley
  • South Woodford
  • Stratford
  • Woodford

I suspect more stations will be made step-free.

Cross-Platform Interchanges

It was originally planned, that a similar cross-platform interchange would have been built at Walthamstow Central station, that would have allowed the Victoria Line to continue to Woodford.

As the Stratford interchange works so well, I’m surprised the track layout hasn’t been used at more places on London’s rail network.

The Whitechapel Reverse

In Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be A Jewel In The East?, I discussed the importance of Whitechapel station.

Whitechapel station solves the round-the-corner problem for passengers, who want to go between say Romford and Woolwich stations.

Passengers just walk the few metres between the two platforms at Whitechapel station and take the first train to their destination.

I will be interested to see if Crossrail has an effect on traffic over the Dartfood Crossing and through the tunnels. How many will use Crossrail instead, when they are visiting their team, clients or family on the other side of the river?

I call stations like Whitechapel reversal stations, as they allow passengers to easily reverse direction. There is more about reversal stations in Reversal Stations.

The New Tube Map

These pictures show the new tube map.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown as a double purple line.
  2. Thameslink is also shown as a double pink line.
  3. There are certainly some drawing gymnastics to fit it all in.

But Harry Beck’s design survives.

Abbey Wood Station

The more I look at the design of Abbey Wood station and compare it to the Crossrail/Central interchange at Stratford, the more I think it is a substandard station.

Would it have been better, if one island platform had been designed for Westbound services and the other had been designed for Eastbound services? Crossrail services might be on the outside with North Kent services between the two island platforms.

This would have enabled a journey between say Rochester and Bond Street to have been done with a simple cross-platform change at Abbey Wood station.

No Victoria Line Interchange

I was surprised by these omissions.

This article on London Reconnections is entitled Horrible Holborn: When Postponement Is Not An Option.

It is well worth a read.

One section is entitled The interchange that isn’t, where this is said.

Whilst modelling showed that Bond St and Tottenham Court Road would be capable of managing the expected passengers once the Elizabeth line opens, it was clear that a combined Oxford Circus/Bond St (Crossrail) east entrance could not. If you have ever wondered why the Elizabeth line has no sub-surface interchange with the Victoria line at Oxford Circus despite the eastern ends of the Bond Street platforms being tantalisingly close, this is your answer. As the Victoria line at Oxford Circus is never likely to be able to handle the expected numbers of people that would board if there were direct access from the Bond St Crossrail platforms, it appears the two stations will never be linked with publicly accessible passages below ground.

In other words, you would solve the problem of the interchange between the Elizabeth and Victoria Lines and create severe overcrowding on the Victoria Line.

When I have supper with my son at the Angel, he comes from his home in Walthamstow, via a cross-platform change at Euston.

Routes like this allow those that live on the Victoria Line to access the Elizabeth Line.

No Piccadilly Line Interchange

The article says this about an Elizabeth Line station at Holborn.

It is pertinent to note that an early plan to have a Crossrail station at Holborn was abandoned. In reality, it would have been too close to Tottenham Court Road station to be really worthwhile. It would have restricted the alignment (bearing in mind that sub-surface Crossrail stations have to be straight and level). It would also have added considerable expense and may have put the entire project at risk. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t a good business case. Whilst a station on the scale of the Elizabeth line could not be justified, however, an improvement of the existing Holborn station could.

The article also says that upgrading Holborn station would not be easy, even without the connection to the Elizabeth Line.

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Knightsbridge Station – 25th April 2022

I wrote Development Of Knightsbridge Station on November 27th 2017.

It is now a few days short of four years and five months later and the station looks a bit different.

Note.

  1. The original station entrance on the corner of Sloane Street and Knightsbridge is now a new retail unit for Burberry.
  2. The original entrance in front of Harvey Nicholls is still open.
  3. The entrance opened in 2017 on the North side of Knightsbridge is still open.
  4. The new step-free entrance with lifts, is behind the black hoarding to the right of the new Burberry.
  5. The pavements are wider around the frontage of Burberry, than they were, when it was the station entrance.

The station is intended to fully open with lifts to the Piccadilly Line by Summer 2022.

Conclusion

This Google Map shows the site of the original Sloane Street entrance.

Note.

  1. Knightsbridge running East-West across the top of the map.
  2. Brompton Road running towards the South-West and past Harrods.
  3. Sloane Street running North-South towards the right of the map.
  4. The London Underground roundel indication the old entrance.
  5. Thee large size of the development site.

Is this going to be the world’s most expensive step-free rebuild of a Metro station?

The development is being carried out by the owners of the site; the Knightsbridge Estate, who are ultimately owned by one of Saudi Arabia’s richest families.

On the Development page of the web site, this is said about improving the public realm.

Significant improvements are being made to the public realm. The pavements on Brompton Road and Sloane Street have been widened to ease the pedestrian flow, Hooper’s Court, which links Brompton Road and Basil Street, is being completely remodelled and the Knightsbridge underground station is being substantially upgraded. A brand new tube entrance is being created further west along Brompton Road, a step-free access via two 17-person lifts located on Hooper’s Court will be introduced as well as on-platform cooling systems.

How many other tube stations are there in London with air-cooled platforms?

But then those, who buy the multi-million pound flats in this development, will expect a constant atmosphere between flat and platform. Remember too, that the New Tubes for London being built by Siemens for the Piccadilly Line will be air-conditioned.

 

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

A Thought On The Prospects For Crossrail

Someone asked the question, in a discussion group, that I visit, if Crossrail will be a success.

I believe that you only have to look at the success of the London Overground to realise that Crossrail will be a success.

When the North London Line reopened as the first route of the London Overground with new Class 378 trains, it used to run four-car trains at a frequency of six trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and Willesden Junction stations.

Now the line runs eight tph on that route and the trains are five cars.

That is a capacity increase of 66% in terms of cars per hour.

And still at times, the trains are full and Transport for London are looking at ways of adding extra trains and/or cars.

Crossrail will have the factors going for it, which helped to make the Overground that success. It is new and has a novelty value, but above all like the Overground, it is built for full-sized people, who could be pushing bikes and buggies and trailing baggage.

Crossrail, also increases options for alternative routes for Londoners , who are World Champions at ducking-and-diving.

Crossrail has also been designed so that the trains can be extended.

If Crossrail has a problem, other than the lateness and budget overrun, it is that it doesn’t connect to the Victoria or Piccadilly Lines.

February 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?

If Crossrail has a major problem, it is that some areas of the capital will find it difficult to access the new line.

Up to the age of sixteen, I used to live half-way between Oakwood and Cockfosters stations on the Piccadilly Line.

There are a large number of people who live along the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line, who might want to use Crossrail to perhaps go to Heathrow or places in East London.

But the journey will need a double change as there is no interchange between the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail.

I suspect that many will link to Crossrail by taking the Piccadilly Line to Wood Green, Turnpike Lane or Manor House and then get a 141 bus to Moorgate. It is a route, I use if I want to go to Southgate or Cockfosters from my house, which has a 141 stop opposite.

But then as a child to go to Harringay, where my father had an uncle, my mother would use a 641 trolley bus from Wood Green or Turnpike Lane.

Do people follow the public transport habits of their parents?

I know I do!

My father never went on a deep tube. As he several times mentioned the terrible Bank station bombing in the Blitz, which killed 56 people, I always thought that was his problem. But now living as I do along the Northern and Northern City Lines, I suspect it was more to do with air quality, as we were or are both bad breathers.

I suspect that when Crossrail opens, the 141 bus will be heavily used by travellers going between the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail at Moorgate.

The 141 bus goes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green and it has a route length of about nine miles.

Currently, buses run every fifteen minutes or so, but I doubt it will be enough in future as Transport for London are rerouting the closely-related 21 bus.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

Other Routes

According to me, the 141 bus route needs improvement!

But how many other routes could need similar improvement?

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sudbury Town Station – 6th January 2022

As I was visiting the next station Sudbury Hill, I popped in to Sudbury Town station and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The station is Grade II* Listed.
  2. It has been made partially step-free by the means of a crude ramp.
  3. It is a typical Charles Holden design.

Despite its high status, it is not one of the best stations on the Piccadilly Line.

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

Sudbury Hill Station – 6th January 2022

Sudbury Hill station is now step-free, as these pictures show.

Adding two brick lift towers seems to work well at this Grade II Listed station, that was designed by Charles Holden.

January 6, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Digital Signalling Work Outlined By Network Rail For Northern City Line

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

This is the first paragraph.

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

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

Currently, the service from Moorgate is as follows.

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

What Level Of Service Would Be Possible?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Many Trains Could Be Handled On The Current Routes?

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

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

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

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

The Piccadilly Line And The City of London

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

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

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

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

The Piccadilly Line And Crossrail

There is no connection between the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail.

A trip between Oakwood and Canary Wharf would be difficult.

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

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

The Victoria Line And The City of London

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

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

The Victoria Line And Crossrail

There is no connection between the Victoria Line and Crossrail.

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

 

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

Should All Trains Have Grab Handles By The Doors?

These pictures show the vertical grab handles on London Overground Class 710 trains.

Note the vertical handles everywhere and especially tucked into the corner behind the door.

These pictures show the interior of a 1973 Stock train on the Piccadilly Line.

There are worse trains in the UK.

It should be noted that the trains were extensively refurbished in 1996-2001.

Should all trains have lots of grab handles like these two examples? And especially by the door?

I think they should.

This is an interesting picture of a Siemens design study, which I wrote about in Siemens’ View Of The Future Of The Underground.

Note the grab handles by the sides of the doors.

So at least Siemens are following the rule of grab handles by the door.

November 3, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Osterley Becomes 89th Step-Free London Underground Station

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

So I went to Osterley station and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. Osterley station is Grade II Listed and was built in the style of Charles Holden.
  2. It does look that there is also step-free access between train and the platform for most wheelchair-users, buggy-pushers and case-draggers.
  3. The two new lift-towers are typical steel-and-brick constructions.

I don’t think that the most militant member of the Heritage Taliban will object to the quality of the design and the construction.

October 13, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ickenham Station Has Gone Step-Free

I wrote West London Stations To Be Made Step-Free in January 2018.

One of the stations on the list; Ickenham station, is now step-free.

These pictures showed the station, when I visited the station in early 2018.

And these show it, after the addition of step-free access.

It is a practical rather than architectural lift installation incorporating new walkways connecting the two lifts and the main entrance to the station.

  • Unlike many Underground stations, Ickenham station, does not appear to be Listed.
  • The cladding for the installation, appears to be in a slate-grey steel.
  • The stairs are still there for the agile.

As the pictures show the walkways are open to the elements, but there is enough headroom to use an umbrella.

June 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment