The Anonymous Widower

Network Rail Get The Project Management Wrong Again!

This article in Rail Technology Magazine is entitled Kenilworth station opening delayed until December 2017.

This is said.

Warwickshire County Council has announced that the new station in Kenilworth will now not be opened until this December due to track and signalling issues, one year after services were meant to begin running.

The station will now open on 10 December 2017 after a revised deadline of August this year was pushed back further, with the opening already postponed from the initial date of December 2016.

Surely, if Network Rail agreed to the Aufgust 2017 date, they  felt they could meet it.

There is some very bad Project Managment going on, if you agree a date of August 2017, which in a short time slips to December.

If say it was a serious problem, like old mine workings, that had not been foreseen, then the cause of the delay would be disclosed.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

HS2 Euston Hub May Not Be Viable, LBC Discovers

This is title of this article on the LBC web site. This is the first paragraph.

The time saved by travelling on HS2 could be wasted waiting for a tube at Euston, a the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport has told LBC.

I don’t know whether the statement will prove correct, but I’ve always thought that Crossrail 2, should be built before HS2..

In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this.

HS2 is currently planned to terminate at Euston station, although I think that could be changed by a more innovative solution. But whatever happens to the London end of HS2, it needs to be simply connected into the knitting of the Underground, so terminating somewhere in the area between Kings Crossand Euston, is probably a certainty.

Every recent design for Crossrail 2 shows it serving the three important London stations of Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston. It also links these stations to Victoria and Clapham Junction.

Have you ever tried to use the Victoria Line between Euston and Victoria with a heavy case or a baby in a buggy? It’s bad enough at normal times and impossible in the rush hour.

So when HS2 starts squeezing more passengers through the congested Euston Underground station, it will be a disaster.

I believe that the only way to connect HS2 into London is to build Crossrail 2 first.

But what do politicians know about building things, except messes and debts?

 

 

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

How Will They Build The Bakerloo Line Extension?

I ask this question, as my trip yesterday to Redbridge station, got me thinking.

Wanstead, Redbridge and Gants Hill stations share several characteristics.

  • They are built under a main road.
  • They are architecturally significant, with two being designed by Charles Holden.

During the Second World War, they were part of an underground factory for Plessey.

It strikes me that as the route of the Bakerloo Line Extension, will for some way, lie under the Old Kent Road, with two stations currently called; Old Kent Road 1 and Old Kent Road 2, that the section of line could be similar in nature to the Redbridge stretch of the Central Line.

This map shows a route.

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

Bakerloo Line Extension Map

I’m sure, that they’ll come up with better names, on their initial route to Lewisham, via New Cross Gate.

This Google Map, shows the route of the Old Kent Road from Bricklayers Arms to New Cross Gate station.

Bricklayers Arms To New Cross Gate

Bricklayers Arms To New Cross Gate

Bricklayers Arms is at the North-West corner of the map and New Cross Gate station is the South-East.

To my naive mind, the route would be one that an experienced Tunnelling Engineer would find attractive.

  • Elephant and Castle station is not far to the West of Bricklayers Arms.
  • The current Bakerloo Line station at Elephant and Castle points vaguely East, so could probably be connected to under Bricklayers Arms.
  • The tunnels could go under the Old Kent Road between Bricklayers Arms and New Cross Gate.
  • The tunnels could go under the railway between New Cross Gate and Lewisham stations.
  • The Extension could terminate in two deep-level platforms under the current Lewisham station.
  • The Old Kent Road is lined with supermarkets and large out-of-town stores like Asda, B & Q, Sainsburys and Toys R  Us.

But possibly above all, the extension could probably be built without causing too much disruption to existing infrastructure.

I’ll look at a few issues in a bit more detail.

Cut And Cover Or Bored Construction

Some European nations would build the extension using cut and cover methods, but then we’re the tunnel kings!

As there has also been improvement in the tunnel boring machines over the last twenty years, I would expect that a big hole will be dug somewhere and then the main tunnels will be bored out, as is being done on the Northern Line Extension.

The choice of the main tunneling site will depend on several factors.

  • Sufficient space.
  • Good road or rail access to get heavy equipment to the site.
  • Away from sensitive areas for noise.

Probably the most difficult problem, is getting the tunnel spoil out.

Although there are plenty of large sites along the Old Kent Road, look at this Google Map of New Cross Gate station.

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate Station

Note that next to the station is a large Sainsburys. The supermarket group has form in co-operating with large rail infrastructure projects, in that their Whitechapel superstore was virtually rebuilt to make space and access for Crossrail.

So could we see the same co-operation here?

New Cross Gate Station

New Cross Gate station is the middle interchange on the Bakerloo Line Extension.

If as I speculated above, Sainsburys co-operate, I think we could see a rebuilt superstore growing into a more important shopping centre with good rail and tube access.

Consider.

  • Trains between London Bridge and Surrey call.
  • East London Line trains call.
  • Thameslink trains will soon be passing through at speed.
  • Around a dozen bus routes pass the station.
  • There would probably be space for housing above the development.

So could we see New Cross Gate station growing into a major transport interchange?

Yes! Especially, if Thameslink called at the station!

Lewisham Station

Lewisham station has been proposed as the terminus of the Extension.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines in through the station.

Lines Through Lewisham

Lines Through Lewisham

Lewisham station has one of those layouts designed by Topsy.

Perhaps for now, the best solution would be to just add a couple of deep-level platforms to create a new terminus for the Bakerloo Line.

Consider.

  • Transport for London are planning at least 36 trains per hour (tph) between two underground two platform terminals on the Victoria Line.
  • Battersea Power Station station is being built like this.
  • I doubt the extension will need a depot South of Elephant and Castle station.

Lewisham station would be rebuilt to provide a high capacity interchange between all services at the station.

The Bakerloo Line Train Frequency

Wikipedia says this in the Current And Future Infrastructure section of the Bakerloo Line.

Transport for London proposes to upgrade the line eventually, but not until other deep-level lines have been dealt with. This will include new signalling and new trains, enabling a maximum frequency of 27 trains per hour. TfL currently expects these to be in place by 2033.

So when the Extension is built, it would seem logical that the line could be rebuilt for 27 tph.

The Northern Section Of The Bakerloo Line

If the Bakerloo Line is extended to the South, then it would seem logical that the Northern end should be improved to take the increased number of trains, which share a lot of the line to Watford Junction with London Overground.

Platform Height Issues

At some station on the Northern section to get in to and out of the Bakerloo  Line 1972 Stock trains, is quite a step and it would be difficult in a wheel-chair.

I have covered this in Platform Height Issues On The Watford DC Line and feel that dual-height platforms could be used.

Onward From Lewisham

Most proposals for the extension of the Bakerloo Line, envisage the line taking over one or both of the terminals on the Hayes Line.

Wikipedia has a section on the current proposal.

This is said.

In December 2015, Transport for London announced that the Old Kent Road option was indeed its preferred route, and proposed taking the line as far as Lewisham, which it said could be running by 2030. Proposals for a further extension beyond Lewisham, such as to Hayes and Beckenham or Bromley, would now be considered in a separate phase in the more distant future.

But I do wonder, if extensions to Hayes and Beckenham Junction could be less necessary than they were a few years ago.

  • The construction of a Camberwell station on Thameslink is being considered.
  • Good design at New Cross Gate and Lewisham could improve connections for passengers on the Hayes Line.
  • The extra capacity across the South Bank and through London Bridge, must benefit passengers from the Hayes Line.
  • Elmers End station is getting an improved Tramlink service.

Bear in mind too, that Transport for London now have much better statistics from which to plan new connections and lines.

How would the following smaller projects on various wish-lists affect services South from Lewisham?

  • Better links connecting to Abbey Wood station in addition to Crossrail.
  • A decent connection between Catford and Catford Bridge stations.
  • Interchanges at Brockley and Penge on the East London Line.

Could they even kick extension of the Bakerloo Line in the Hayes direction into at least the 2040s?

The Issue Of Bakerloo And National Rail Trains Sharing Tracks

If the Bakerloo Line is to be extended past Lewisham on the Hayes Line to Hayes and Beckenham Junction, you have the problem of two types of train with different characteristics.

  • First Class is not available on the Underground.
  • Platform height can be matched to the train, to give level access.

Restricting the Bakerloo Line Extension to deep-level platforms at New Cross Gate and Lewisham, avoids the sharing issues, by keeping the two sizes of train separate.

  • Bakerloo Line trains terminate at Lewisham.
  • Good interchange must be provided between the Bakerloo Line and National Rail trains.

Obviously, by the correct design of the deep-level platforms at Lewisham, extension of the Bakerloo Line to somewhere suitable in the future is not ruled out.

 

The Northern And Bakerloo Line Extensions Are Similar

The similarity between the two extensions is very strong.

  • The Northern Extension adds two stations and the Bakerloo adds only four.
  • Both extensions are reasonably short.
  • Both extensions start at an existing station.
  • Both extensions could end in similar underground two-platform terminals.
  • Both extensions might be extended further.

So could the Bakerloo Line Extension be an ideal follow on project for the Northern Line Extension?

And after that, there are other follow-on projects, where provision for extension has been left.

  • Extending the Northern Line Extension from Battersea Power Station to Clapham Junction.
  • Extending the Bakerloo Line Extension to wherever is needed.
  • Extending the Jubilee Line from North Greenwich and Charing Cross.
  • Extending the DLR from Bank
  • Extending the Victoria Line to Herne Hill.

Could the relative success in getting such a good start on the Northern Line Extension, with hardly any controversy or disruption have influenced Transport for London to bring forward the Bakerloo Line Extension.

Perhaps with even the same team!

Conclusion

I feel that the Bakerloo Line extension will be built in a very similar way to the Northern Line Extension.

The more I dig, the more I like the plan for the extension and think it is right for project management reasons to bring it forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 11, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Has Sadiq Khan Got His Sums Right?

This article on the Rail Technology web site, which is entitled Underground set to undergo biggest capacity expansion ever, is a good summary of Sadiq Khan’s plans for Transport for London.

It’s All About Cash Flow

I am unsure about the plans, as it seems to me that a there is a lot of money to find in two years less to fund the building of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

So there is the double whammy of the fare freeze and accelerated construction!

Crossrail And Thameslink

I also think that Crossrail will contribute some of this money and because it is properly designed, it will stimulate growth in areas like Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Old Oak Common, Paddington, Romford and West Drayton, to name a few places.

The same however, can’t be said for Thameslink.

  • It doesn’t serve many areas ripe for development.
  • As it is not a TfL route like Crossrail, it won’t generate anything like the same fare revenue.
  • Thameslink could turn out to be too much of a long-distance commuter line.
  • Govia Thameslink Railway’s first loyalty is not to London.

On the whole, I don’t think it will benefit London as much as Crossrail will.

The Underground

Until I learn otherwise, I do think that the engineers of the Underground, may have thrown the Mayor a few lifelines.

  1. It would appear that the Victoria and Jubilee Lines can go to 36 trains per hour (tph).
  2. By raising the voltage and installing automatic train control on the sub-surface lines, there can be a 33 % increase in capacity.
  3. New Piccadilly Line trains will be ordered in 2017.

One and two, should happen easily and if the design is right, three could be a big game-changer.

But the problem, is that although these will generate cash flow in the long term, only 36 tph on the Victoria Line will happen in the near future.

I also feel, that although the capacity of the Victoria Line can easily be increased, will the stations be able to cope. Highbury and Islington, Oxford Circus and Victoria are not mentioned in the article.

All of these trains and passengers will also generate lots of heat and although Crossrail is designed to handle the watts, the deep-level Underground trains and stations were not.

This might mean a route change by passengers from older lines to Crossrail, which could have various effects.

The Non-Devolution Of Rail Lines To TfL

I have a feeling that the figures show that this is very much neutral to TfL’s finances, as some of the routes need a lot of money spent on stations and new trains. But under the new arrangement, TfL will probably have more say in service quality on the lines, than they do now.

Good Design Of The Bakerloo Line Extension

There must surely be scope to save more money in the design of the Bakerloo Line Extension. But I suspect that most of the easy savings have already been found.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical  design for the extension come out at a late stage. But this is less likely, as because the line is an extension, it must be compatible with the existing line.

The Petty Cash

I think that where the Mayor might make up the shortfall is in the smaller things, that people forget.

For example.

  • Expansion of the Night Tube to all lines, the Drain and the Overground.
  • Tactical and expanded contactless ticketing.
  • Better train scheduling.
  • Expansion of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and the Barking Riverside Extension.
  • Expansion of the East London and Lea Valley Lines.
  • Extra stations and station entrances.
  • Development of Old Oak Common.

But some things already proposed will be tricky.

  • I don’t think that he’ll save the money he wants on staff.
  • Politicians always overestimate what they’ll earn from property development.
  • You can only build so much affordable housing.
  • Developers might find building housing just outside London is more profitable.
  • The Mayor could have Union trouble.

There are probably a lot more where these came from.

Conclusion

With Brexit and Trump, there is a possibility of a drop in passenger numbers and income, which could derail everything.

It will be a close run thing.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Theresa Working A Flanker?

With my Project Management knowledge, but no actual experience, if I look at the three options for a new runway in the South-East, I come to these conclusions about each.

  1. New North-West Runway at Heathrow – Virtually impossible to build due to political, environmental and local opposition.
  2. Extended Northern Runway at Heathrow – Difficult but not impossible to build.
  3. New Southern Runway at Gatwick – Probably fairly easy to build.

But reading the media this morning it looks like Option 1 will get the go-ahead.

So could Theresa give her blessing to this option, knowing it will never get built, due to the will of the House and the people?

It would be Brexit all over again, where the electorate and some rebellious MPs override the wish of the Prime Minister and their cabinet.

Ultimately, it would mean that Option 3 at Gatwick could go ahead, followed in a few years by a cut-down Option 2.

This would future-proof the South-East’s airport capacity for decades.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail In The Home Straight

Crossrail’s opening dates are only just over a couple of years in the future and this article in Rail Engineer, which is entitle Crossrail – The Deadline Is looming, describes what is happening on the Eastern branch to Shenfield.

The article is a must-read and details how the project is organised, to make sure it is delivered on time and on budget. The last paragraph sums up the project.

In engineering terms, this project couldn’t be described as ‘cutting edge’ but, in railway engineering terms, it would be hard to find a more complex environment to work in with potential challenges at every step. Costain has reached almost two million man-hours on the project, and the team is confident that all of the deadlines will be met and train testing will be underway after November 2016 as planned.

East London and East Anglia have fed on scraps for decades and I think that meeting the target of November 2016, so trains can be tested, is highly likely.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Signs Of Bad Planning On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Were There

This article in Rail Technology entitled J Murphy & Sons to carry out electrification of Gospel Oak-Barking route, was published on September 29th last year.

I reread the article to see if I could find any reference to the Wightman Road bridge, but there is none.

However, I did find this section.

But Glenn Wallis, secretary of Barking-Gospel Oak Line User Group (BGORUG), said at the time: “Our expert rail industry advisers tell us that for Network Rail to have taken three years to complete GRIP 3 [completed in March this year] indicates that they have not exactly been throwing resources at the job.

“The likelihood of Network Rail completing electrification of the line by mid-2017 is now said to be improbable.”

That looks to me like Network Rail didn’t get all their ducks in a row on this job.

Searching for Wightman Road bridge on the Internet led me to this article on Harringay Online, which is entitled Wightman Road Closure – What Will it Mean? The article was published on December 17th last year. This is said.

Whilst this work has been on the cards for a number of years, its programming to start in Spring 2016 has been driven both by the serendipitous coinciding of the signing off of the nearly £3M budget (from TfL and Network Rail) and the planned electrification works of the Gospel to Barking Oak line.

I find it interesting that in endless articles written about the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, the reconstruction of this important road bridge is not mentioned once. This is especially surprising, as bridge reconstructions in Palmerston Road in Walthamstow and Upper Holloway, have been extensively reported.

There was also the major reconstruction of the railway bridge at South Tottenham in December 2014, which I wrote about in VolkerFitzpatrick Are Having A Christmas Party At South Tottenham.

The Palmerston Road bridge was rebuilt in 2014, but it doesn’t appear that any plans to rebuild the Wightman Road bridge surfaced until December 2015.

I think that any major bridge reconstruction would normally be done before the electrification work, as the masts, gantries and possibly wires, would get in the way of the heavy lifts needed for bridge replacement. Also, a sturdy bridge is a convenient place on which to mount the overhead wires.

So it looks like some seriously bad planning to me, that this bridge wasn’t replaced before the electrification started!

The only feasible alternative, is that because of a particular problem, the bridge replacement and the electrification need to be done at the same time.

But if that was the case, then you’d think that the bridge replacement would take place after the complete closure of the line on September 24th, 2016.

But as I said in Wightman Road Bridge Is Falling Down, the bridge should be fully open in September 2016.

Or was the rebuilding of the bridge, just forgotten?

June 13, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Abbey Wood Station – 9th June 2016

I took these pictures at Abbey Wood station.

If you look at the various pictures I have taken over the past months of this station, the station is progressing and the builders seem to be managing to always have a working station amongst all the construction work.

Certain factors have helped in this important aim.

  • The previous station was unloved by everyone and had absolutely no architectural merit.
  • There are no heritage issues.
  • Good design of a temporary step-free pedestrian bridge, that appears to be morphing into a permanent one, has aided passengers.
  • There always seems to be cheery staff on hand for lost and puzzled passengers.
  • Traffic is heavy in the area, but not unmanageably so.

But I think most importantly, the Crossrail portal is some distance away from the station, keeping the two projects effectively separate.

Compared to some station rebuilds, I’ve encountered in the past, so far it has been a textbook example of good project management.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farewell To The Old Gospel Oak To Barking Line

Today is the last day, that you can ride the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to the East of South Tottenham station, until after the wires are erected in a few months time.

So I took some pictures.

I must say I have not been impressed with progress so far.

  • It looks like a large proportion of the piles are in the ground.
  • If the piles are in the ground securely, why aren’t more masts erected?
  • There would appear to be no start on clearing the platform extensions.
  • Only in one place did I see a work-site.
  • I didn’t see anyone actually working.
  • There is masses of litter
  • There’s no sign of how the stations will be electrified.

With my limited experience of looking at large projects that are in trouble, this project has the air of something not being up to scratch.

What has really puzzled me about this project, is that the information coming from Network Rail and especially TfL, has not been up to the usual standard.

June 3, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Mutual Blogging

A reader of this blog, who used to be an old Artemis professional, is currently working on a large project, where there are a large number of sub-contractors and a difficult public relations problem with those, who live locally to the project.

They asked me, if a blog could solve some of his problems.

So here goes!

I would suggest, he starts a simple blog, probably using WordPress, as it is generally easily managed by an individual with average computer skills.

  • Only a tight group of individuals would be allowed to add posts to the blog.
  • Posts would be limited to so many a week.
  • Anybody would be allowed to comment, but under a set of behavioural rules and moderation, If the project is controversial, you don’t want the blog to become the focus of discontent.
  • I believe that with a difficult project, it could be a place for constructive discussion.
  • Hopefully, each post would generate comments and discussion, that improved the original post.
  • The blog would also point on its home page to useful sites concerned with the subject of the blog.
  • There would be a contact form.

If you were having a blog like this for say a public infrastructure project like Crossrail, it could be public, but a project like perhaps trialling a new treatment for a controversial-to-some illness like HIV-Aids, might be password-protected.

I think on balance most project blogs would be public.

If a system like WordPress is used, all of what I said is possible. And a lot more too!

North of me, they are electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and there has been a bit of controversy over noisy piling in the middle of the night.

A simple post apologising for the noise and giving locations may have eased the problems. You might even get comments to the blog from those overlooking the piling, which show the details of the engineering and the generated noise.

You can never be sure, the way that such a blog will develop.

But I’m sure it will work, to improve the smooth running of a project.

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Computing, World | , , | Leave a comment