The Anonymous Widower

A Passing Loop At Ponders End

I can’t write Ponders End without smiling, as my mother was born in that district of Enfield and used to refer to herself in light-hearted moments as a Ponders Plonker.

The West Anglia Main Line, through Ponders End station is a busy line and Enfield Council want to have four trains per hour (tph) serving their new development at Meridian Water.

This page on the CPMS Group web site is entitled The Changing Face Of Rail Investment and it describes the solution to the capacity problem at Ponders End/Meridian Water stations.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Peter George, Meridian Water Programme Director, London Borough of Enfield, and Damien Gent, Managing Director, CPMS Infrastructure, talk about the ground-breaking work undertaken by the London Borough of Enfield to deliver the rail infrastructure needed to increase passenger capacity at the newly built Meridian Water rail station and regenerate brownfield land to make space for up to 13,000 new homes and create over 6,000 new jobs in North-East London.

The Meridian Water project has been split into three phases.

  • Phase 1 of the project was the construction of the new Meridian Water rail station.
  • Phase 2 was building the rail infrastructure which would support the increased rail traffic.
  • Phase 3 was the regeneration of the area, the procurement of new homes and creation of new jobs.

Only Phase 1 has so far been completed with Meridian Water station opening in June 2019.

This paragraph describes the complexity and solution to Phase 2.

The complexity of Phase 2 of the project was very high. The West Anglia mainline is one of the most congested routes into London. Consequently, the team had to find a way to reconcile increased capacity and trains stopping at Meridian Water station with ensuring high speed trains could still pass through the station seamlessly. This was a very challenging task. The solution which received the most support and proved the most viable was to install a new passing loop, approximately 1700 metres of new track at Ponders end, and to create a bi-directional section on the mainline heading towards London, as well as to implement broad changes to the signalling, telecoms and Overhead Line power systems to align with the new track position. This infrastructure solution provides the capacity within the rail network to then consider the timetable changes required to increase the frequency of services calling at Meridian Water.

It does seem that the web page is getting a bit ahead of reality.

But there is also this article on the Enfield Dispatch, which is entitled Boost For Rail Services At Meridian Water.

This is said.

Plans to boost rail services at Enfield Council’s £6billion Meridian Water regeneration scheme have taken a step forward.

The council has agreed a construction deal to create a passing loop at Ponders End Station, which will allow four trains per hour to serve Meridian Water Station, which was opened in June 2019.

The loop will enable fast trains on the West Anglia Main Line to overtake stopping services at Ponders End Station, allowing more trains to stop at Meridian Water, which is presently only served by two trains per hour towards Stratford.

To secure funding the works need to be completed by the end of March 2024.

A Visit To Ponders End Station

I went to Ponders End station this morning.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The Brimsdown Ditch on the East side of the station.
  2. The footbridge spanning both the railway and the road.
  3. The footbridge has ramps for step-free access.
  4. I suspect that the platforms will take a 240 metre train.

These pictures show the station

Note.

  1. The station serves the Lee Valley Regional Park and the Lea Valley Athletics Centre, so it probably needs lifts in an ideal world.
  2. The bridge seems to be built high enough for a track or even two to pass underneath.
  3. There seems to be plenty of space between the railway tracks and the A1055 road.

I wonder if a very simple solution is going to be built.

Consider that the distance between the two stations either side of Ponders End station is 3.2 miles or 5150 metres. So if the loop is placed symmetrically around Ponders End station to the East of the station, that would mean that the loop started and finished around 1700 metres from Brimsdown and Meridian Water stations. The Brimsdown Ditch could be put in a culvert, if more space were needed.

A Southbound express after passing through Brimsdown station would then take the loop between the platform and the road at Ponders End station and then cross over to the main line after the station.

I could envisage the Southbound express path through the three stations, being as straight as possible for several hundred metres through Ponders End station, with very gentle curves to connect to the current Southbound track at each end.

To access the Southbound platform at Ponders End, there would be two crossovers from the loop to the track through the station at each end of the station. As the train would be stopping or accelerating away, when it crossed between the passing loop and the station track, it could be done at a much slower speed.

There will be no problem for Southbound represses overtaking a stopping train sitting in Ponders End station. The loop would be very simple and I suspect Network Rail have enough expertise to design it for perhaps 100 mph. The sharpest changes of direction would only be performed by the stopping train at a much slower speed.

But surely, a Northbound train will need to overtake a stopping one.

Could this be done at Meridian Water station by stopping the Northbound stopping train in Platform 3 at the station and allowing the Northbound expresses to overtake through Platform 4?

It would need a couple of crossovers either side of Meridian Water station and bi-directional running through Platform 3 at the station.

Conclusion

How many small rail schemes like this, that unlock housing and job opportunities could be accelerated by better design, management, planning and cooperation between stakeholders.

March 12, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

West Anglia Route Improvement – Ponders End Station – 22nd February 2017

I took these pictures at Ponders End station.

This Google Map shows a closeup of the station.

Ponders End Station

Ponders End Station

Note.

  • Between the station and Meridian Way is an area that is wide enough for a twin-track railway or another carriageway for Meridian Way.
  • There used to be a level crossing at Ponders |End, but the station was given reasonable pedestrian access and a decent road by-pass.
  • The footbridge may be step free, but I wouldn’t like to see grandma pushing grandpa in a wheelchair over the tracks.

This station could need a Level Crossing Replscement Station, as I detailed earlier, to replace the current bridge and allow pedestrians an easier route across what will be a four-track railway.

February 22, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – Works Around Coppermill Junction And Along The West Anglia Main Line

There is a lot of work going on around Coppermill Junction and on the West Anglia Main Line between the junction and Northumberland Park station.

The map from carto.metro free.fr shows the lines around the junction.

Coppermill Junction

Coppermill Junction

Tottenham Hale station is on the West Anglia Main Line, which effectively starts and runs North West from Coppermill Junction.

In Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow, I talked about how I’d heard rumours of the following.

  • The Hall Farm Curve would be reinstated as a single bi-directional track to allow rains to go between Stratford in the Soithe and Walthamstow and Chingford in the East.
  • The Coppermill Curve would be reinstated as a double-track curve to allow empty stock movements to Chingford, where there are several sidings.

There’s also the problem of Crossrail 2 going through the area, which will need a connection to the Central Tunnel and four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line from Coppermill Junction North to Broxbourne station.

In the next few sections, I shall show the pictures I took this morning.

The Hall Farm Curve From The Chingford Branch

I took these pictures going between Clapton and St. James Street stations on the Chingford Branch Line.

Note how the area is quite large.

The work seems to have cleared all the old track, which in typical British Rail fashion seems to have been abandoned to the wildlife.

Tottenham Hale Station

I took these pictures around Tottenham Hale station.

There is quite a bit going on.

A helpful station man told me the following was happening.

  • Space is being created, so that two tracks can go through between the station and Hale Village.
  • The taxi rank in the forecourt of the station is being moved Northwards.
  • The current footbridge over the lines is going.
  • A new step-free footbridge is going to be built.

Effectively, there seems to be a cunning plan to rebuild the station around the working railway, which is confirmed in this document on the Transport for London web site. This is said about works on the bridge.

We plan to keep the station open during the work so that any potential disruption will be kept to a minimum.

That is a good start.

Obviously, the architects and engineers, who have designed the replacement station, but it does seem to me, that squeezing two tracks into the space behind Platform 2 at the station will need a very large and strong shoehorn.

From Tottenham Hale To Lea Bridge

I took these pictures between Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations.

Note.

  • A new cable duct has certainly been installed.
  • The Hall Farm Curve has been cleared of rubbish and vintage track.
  • It also looks like the route of the replacement Coppermill Curve is being cleared through the scrub.
  • There didn’t appear to be any electrification piles or gantries.

I can’t believe Network Rail would clear the two curves unless they were going to reinstate them.

From Tottenham Hale To Enfield Lock

I took these pictures between Tottenham Hale and Enfield Lock stations.

Note.

  • It would appear that there is space to the East of the current two-track West Anglia Main Line to squeeze in two extra tracks.
  • There are level crossings at Northumberland Park, Brimsdown and Enfield Lock stations.
  • The quality of some of the buildings that would probably be demolished is best described as suspect.
  • Meridean Way, which runs alongside the railway from Angel Road Northwards is an inadequate highway.
  • I wonder how many people have booked the Premier Inn because it is close to Angel Road station, only to find that there are few trains.

I say more about the level crossings in Level Crossing Issues.

The Current Stations

These posts describe the current state of the stations between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne around the 22nd February 2017.

Northumberland Park Station

Ponders End Station

Brimsdown Station

Enfield Lock Station

Waltham Cross Station

Broxbourne Station

There are also some relevant related posts.

How Many Fast Services Will Go Through Tottenham Hale Station?

How Many Slow Services Will Go Through Tottenham Hale Station?

Level Crossing Issues

A Level Crossing Replacement Station

What Is STAR?

Hopefully, this will mean I can add content without making this post overly long.

What Frequency Will Crossrail 2 Trains Have On The West Anglia Main Line?

The Crossrail 2 entry on Wikipedia says this about the Northern Regional branches.

Running at between 10 and 15 trains per hour on new rails above ground, connected to a junction north of Dalston:

I can’t see any space being found for two new tracks and I don’t think Greater Anglia will want this number of trains mixing with their fast services, so I must assume that they will share the two slow lines to Broxbourne with Greater Anglia’s slow services.

What Will Be The Platform Layout At Tottenham Hale?

The station looks to be gaining two new lines on the East side of the station.

But will they be slow or fast lines?

My pictures show that it will be very tight to put new platforms on these lines, as there just isn’t enough space.

I have read the planning documents  on the Harringey Council web site for Tottenham Hale station and came to these conclusions.

  • There are no definite plans for a platform 3 and/or 4.
  • There is controversy about if they are built, as to if or when they will get lifts.
  • There is talk of starting STAR, which would provide four trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and Angel Road stations.

This page on the Crossrail 2 web site says this.

In order to accommodate Crossrail 2 services at Tottenham Hale, we would add at least one new platform and carry out other station improvement works too.

Wikipedia says that a third platform is being worked on.

I suspect that it could be necessary that fast services will stop at Tottenham Hale, to allow  passengers to change to and from services on the following lines.

  • Victoria Line
  • Crossrail 2
  • Local services to Liverpool Street.
  • Local services to Stratford.

It should also be born in mind, that Crossrail will call at both Stratford and Liverpool Street, s say you’re going shopping at Oxford Street, to work at anary Wharf or to New York via Heathrow, would you mind which terminus you used in London, provided it was efficient?

At present both fast and slow services on the  main line all share the same platform at ottenham Hale, using 1 to go South and 2 to go North.

If this arrangement was to continue, after the new lines are built, the following would apply.

  • Interchange between services would be as now.
  • Fast services for London would stop in platform 1 before going to either Liverpool Street or Stratford.
  • Both platforms could be made step-free with lifts and a bridge at the London end of the platform.

It is workable, but you would still have the crowded platforms you get today, although the step-free bridge would make passenger circulation easier.

But what happens when Greater Anglia decide to increase fast frequencies or Crossrail 2 arrives.

Exclusive Fast Lines Between Tottenham Hale And Broxbourne Stations

One arrangement that could work, would be to use the two new lines exclusively for fast services from Tottenham Hale to Broxbourne, with trains stopping only at Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale as required.

  • With more Stansted services, some could be non-stop from Liverpool Street to Stansted to reduce the load on Tottenham Hale station.
  • Some Cambridge services might make their first stop at Broxbourne.
  • Fast commuter services not stopping South of Broxborne are possible.

Greater Anglia will be replacing their current trains on the line with new Stadler or Aventra trains, which will in some ways compensate.

At some point hopefully Crossrail 2 will arrive.

Using the two new lines exclusively for fast traffic, with slow services on the exiting lines  would have the following effects.

  • Speed up services by a few minutes.
  • Double capacity between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale.
  • All trains on the slow lines would be Crossrail’s or Greater Anglia’s Aventras, which can probably run together efficiently.
  • 20 plus tph could probably run on the slow lines
  • The only trains on the fast lines would be Greater Anglia’s Stadler expresses, which could do Broxbourne to Tottenham Hale inperhaps eiht minutes, travelling all the way at 100 mph or possibly more.

Removing fast trains from the slow lines would probably mean that a frequency of upwards of 10 tph could run on Crossrail 2 between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale. South of Tottenham Hale they would be out of the way in the Central Tunnel.

South Of Tottenham Hale Station

Trains between Tottenham Hale station and Stratford or Liverpool Street stations, take one of the three following routes.

  1. To and from Lea Bridge and Stratford station
  2. To and from Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street stations taking the fast lines South of Hackney Downs.
  3. To and from Hackney Downs and Liverpool Street stations taking the slow lines South of Hackney Downs.

To complicate matters trains to and from the Chingford Branch and some Greater Anglia slow services  use the fast lines South of Hackney Downs and change over around Bethnal Green station.

So could we see a bit of a reorganisation, so that all slow services are moved to the slow lines, through Hackney Downs station, so that the fast services to and from Cambridge and Stansted get a clear run between Clapton and Liverpool Street. That must save a minute or two.

It also looks like that with the opening of Lea Bridge station, some services will go to Stratford rather than Liverpool Street. These could include some services from the Chingford Branch, if the Hall Farm Curve is reopened, which some of my pictures indicate might be happening.

It should be born in mind, that Stratford has two platforms 11 and 12, connected to the lines to Lea Bridge station but only platform 11 is used.

After Crossrail opens will it matter if some of Greater Anglia’s suburban services go to Stratford rather than Liverpool Street?

In fact, it’s starting to happen, as today coming back from Cheshunt, I was on a train between Bishops Stortford and Stratford.

The Problem Of Clapton Station

Clapton station is not a massive problem, but it is on the route taken by fast Cambridge and Stansted trains to and from Liverpool Street.

Last year, Clapton station handled 1.6 million passengers, which is probably just about average or slightly above average for the Chingford Branch Line.

So there is probably not much to be gained by cutting services, as there are a lot of people to complain. But the Overground’s new Class 710 trains will have a better stop-start performance and could reduce the problem, especially if they used the slow lines through Hackney Downs.

A Pseudo-Crossrail 2

We might even see a pseudo-Crossrail 2, between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.

Suppose Greater Anglia on their slow lines ran something like the following services.

  • 4 tph between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Hertford East.
  • 2 tph between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Cambridge
  • 4 tph between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Bishops Stortford

This would give a ten tph service between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne stopping at all stations.

As the slow lines would be for exclusive use of these services, except for a few freight trains, the  lines would cope admirably.

Everybody on the line would have a superb Turn-Up-And-Go-Service.

The Design Of Broxbourne Station

It could  be arranged that at Broxbourne, there was cross-platform interchange between fast and slow services going in the same direction. So a passenger between say Brimsdown station and Stansted Airport, would have the one change at Broxbourne.

The Design of The Fast Line Platforms At Tottenham Hale Station

The space limitiations at Tottenham Hale would probably mean that only one extra platform could be squeezed in. Perhaps it could be an island platform between the two lines. Being an island it would only need one lift and this would save all-important width and cost.

If it was thought a narrow island platform with fast trains that might run through, the platform could surely be fitted with platform edge doors.

But the required step-free change to Crossrail 2, Victoria Line and local services would be created.

I’m suspicious that my pictures show that through Tottenham Hale station, there is only room for a single extra line, if a platform is needed. It certainly looks as if, the cable ducts have been moved to only allow only one line.

So could we see platform 2 extended to have a second platform 3 on the opposite face, which gave access to a single bi-directional line through the station?

  • It would use the lift on Platform 2.
  • There would be cross-platform access from a fast train to London to a slow one.
  • Only access from a slow train out of London to a fast one would need the bridge.
  • Bi-directional working is increasing being used.

Once through Tottenham Hale station, the fast lines would result to normal double-track working.,

I suspect that when Tottenham Hale station was rebuilt in the 1990s, no-one thought that the station would be on a line with four-tracks.

 

 

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment