The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Re-Opening of Camberwell Station

The re-opening of Camberwell station is one of the projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Some of Lord Beeching’s relatives and friends, may consider it a bit of a cheek to add this project to a list of Beeching Reversals, as the station closed in 1916.

This station re-opening project has been around for donkeys years and endless studies have analyse, whether Camberwell station should be re-opened.

Under Possible Re-opening, Wikipedia says this about a possible Thameslink service and costs.

Steer Davies Gleave produced a TfL-commissioned report discussing the possibility of the station’s re-opening in 2026 in three future land use densities across three levels of operational use (four 8-car trains per hour, six 8-car trains per hour and six 12-car trains per hour) to give a total of nine scenarios. It estimated the capital cost of an 8-car station at £36.74m and a 12-car station at £38.50m.

It also says this about the business case.

In September 2018, TfL published a strategic business case to explore the station’s reinstatement. It acknowledged the area’s poor transport connectivity and that the reopening of the National Rail station was the best of eight option examined. While it concluded the local area would benefit from the station’s re-opening, its conclusions were similar to Steer Davies Gleave’s 2017 report.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the various lines in the area of Camberwell station.

Note.

  1. The station had four platforms, which if they followed the pattern of Elephant & Castle station to the North would be numbered from the West.
  2. Trains would appear to use all four lines at Elephant & Castle, but only stop in Platforms 1, 2 and 4.
  3. Thameslink services go through Platforms 1 & 2 at Loughborough Junction station and Platforms 3 & 4 at Denmark Hill station.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. The railway cuts across the North-West corner of the map.
  2. There is a bridge over the busy A202 road.
  3. The original station appears to have been close to where the railway and the A202 road cross.
  4. The area is well served by buses and even has a bus garage close to where the station will probably be built.

It would appear that it is a good location for a new station.

Redevelopment Of Elephant & Castle Station

Two big projects and a smaller one may affect Elephant & Castle station in the next few years.

  • The whole area is to be redeveloped, with probably better connections between the three different Elephant & Castle stations.
  • The Bakerloo Line may be extended from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham.
  • Elephant & Castle station will get step-free access.

Would a functioning Camberwell station help, if Elephant & Castle station needed to be closed at times during all the construction work?

Thameslink And Elephant & Castle And Camberwell Stations

Thameslink run four services through Elephant & Castle station and the site of the proposed Camberwell station.

  • St. Albans City and Sutton via Loughborough Junction and Mitcham Junction
  • St. Albans City and Sutton via Loughborough Junction and Wimbledon
  • Luton or Catford and Orpington via Denmark Hill and Catford
  • Welwyn Garden City or Blackfriars and Sevenoaks via Denmark Hill and Catford

Note.

  1. All services are run by eight-car trains.
  2. All services have a frequency of two trains per house (tph)

This means that Camberwell station would only need to be able to handle eight-car trains. I would suspect that it would be built, so that platforms could be extended in the future, but certainly only short platforms would be needed with the present Thameslink service.

Could costs be saved, by ensuring that all services went through Camberwell station in the pair of Eastern platforms; 3 and 4? I suspect from looking at the pattern of trains, that both Elephant & Castle and Camberwell stations could work as two-platform stations.

Both stations would be built, so that access to the other lines could be added in the future, if needed.

There is certainly scope for cutting the cost of building the station, through good design.

The Current State Of The Station Site

These pictures show the current state of the station site.

It’s not very tidy, but it did appear to be in a similar state, than when I last saw it.

It almost looks to me, to be in a state of partial demolition.

  • All these railway arches have been taken over in a massive £1.5 billion deal from Network Rail by Blackstone and Telereal Trillium.
  • On looking at these properties, did they take a look and see them as development potential.
  • In fact, the whole area could do with a makeover and there are two bus garages nearby, which might also be rebuilt with towers on top.

So is there a plan from Blackstone behind this reopening of the station?

These viaducts are often very sound and can scrub up well, as these [pictures show.

I wonder if a good architect could squeeze in, a quality modern step-free station and half-a-dozen business units, that would enhance the area.

Conclusion

I very much feel, that money for this project to sort out the various design, building and project management issues would be money well spent.

I wonder if this is a project promoted by Sir Peter Hendy, of which he has experience of his time in London.

As I said, Blackstone and their partners might want to turn an underperforming asset into something that all stakeholders would be proud of.

Could it be one of those projects, where the sums don’t add up, but Sir Peter and others with a nose for these projects, feel that if the station is re-opened, the passengers will use it in droves?

 

July 3, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Hackney Does A Bicester

Hackney is developing a name for being a centre of designer outlet stores.

It’s certainly a lot closer than Bicester Village.

There’s also quite a few railway arches leading towards Hackney Central/Hackney Downs station complex, which could make a whole lot more designer outlets or fashion workshops.

But at least the Council has its finger on the pulse and are consulting about what to do with the area.

Let’s hope they get it right!

 

April 15, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

From Salford Central To Deansgate

I took these pictures as I walked from Salford Central station to the Deansgate-Castlefield tram-stop.

Despite the fact, that it was not raining and is very sunny, it is Manchester! Although probably, some parts are Salford!

It is certainly, an impressive bridge over the Irwell and a reconstructed viaduct to Deansgate.

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Elephant And Castle Station

Elephant and Castle station couldn’t be called a well-preserved architectural gem.

But it certainly could be improved.

It looks like it’s another of those stations, where the arches could be opened up underneath the railway.

February 16, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

In Praise Of Ancient And Modern

I last visited Deptford station nearly three years ago and wrote about the station in Deptford Station Is Almost Finished.

Today, it certainly was finished, as the pictures show.

It certainly is a good mix of Ancient (Actually 1836!) and Modern!

I wouldn’t be surprised if White Hart Lane and Hackney Central stations amongst others,develop the arches in the same way.

I suspect a few decades ago, British Rail used to despair at the number of brick arches and bridges they were responsible for.

Now, they have realised that they are an asset to exploit!

 

 

December 24, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

In The Brick Caverns Under London

I took these pictures as I walked through London Bridge station to the Underground.

I do like well-executed brickwork! I hope they don’t cover it with plaster or concrete.

I certainly don’t think they’re finished yet! The lights are for light rather than to a design that fits.

This set of brick arches will form a level passageway between the inner concourse of the station and the exits towards the City and the Underground.

London Bridge looks like it could take the mantle of London’s best railway station from Kings Cross.

December 20, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Walking Between Manchester Piccadilly And Deansgate Stations

I took these pictures as I walked between Manchester Piccadilly and Deansgate stations.

The viaduct is certainly substantial.

I find walking difficult in Manchester, as there are virtually no maps. In London there are walking maps everywhere; on bus stops, at tube and rail stations and free standing.

One of the strange things, is that in all the pictures I took on this walk, there is no evidence of Oxford Road station, which is between Piccadilly and Deansgate. There were so signs either.

Perhaps, it’s been knocked down, since I visited a few weeks ago?

Others would say that I should use the map on my phone, but that is not easy, as my left hand is dodgy and to use a phone, I prefer to lay it flat somewhere and use it with my right hand.

I still think that the reason London is so well-mapped, is that because it is so large, the average Londoner find themselves in a strange area quite often and need immediate help. But in smaller cities, the city is small enough for all the locals to memorise the city, so they object if sums of money are spent on maps.

The only other city in the UK with good maps is Glasgow, which in terms of area is the second largest.

With this walk from Piccadilly to Deansgate, I just followed the viaduct. But it wasn’t easy at times, as there were various dead-ends, too much unnecessary traffic and parked vehicles and difficult road crossings.

Perhaps Manchester needs some combined Cycling and Walking Superhighways! And perhaps a Congestion Charge, to discourage people from bringing cars into the centre, as it did in London.

I wonder if anybody, has done an analysis of the number of visitors and tourists a city gets against the usability of its public transport and walking routes. My personal scores out of five for various UK cities would be.

  • Birmingham – 3
  • Brighton – 4
  • Bristol – 2
  • Cardiff – 4
  • Edinburgh – 3
  • Glasgow – 4
  • Leeds – 3
  • Liverpool – 4
  • Manchester – 2
  • Newcastle – 3
  • Nottingham – 4
  • Sheffield – 3

This is all very personal, as obviously I know Liverpool well. But in fairness you can give brief instructions on how to spend a day or two in Liverpool, as the centre is extensively pedestrianised and this gives the visitor a linear focus on which to explore the City.

Brighton has the seafront and once you know how to get back to the station, on foot or by bus, it has this focus on which to base your visit.

Does Manchester City Centre have a linear focus?

Manchester doesn’t draw you in with a welcoming station, as do Liverpool, Sheffield or Newcastle, and I suspect, it doesn’t make the most of casual visitors passing through.

December 16, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

An Excursion To Clitheroe

On Saturday morning before the football, I took a train along the Ribble Valley Line to Clitheroe and back to have a look.

On the way back I stopped to have a look at the 48-arch Whalley Viaduct. Whalley is also a village with an ruins of an abbey.

Clitheroe reminded me very much of a Lancashire version of several I know well in Suffolk.

From the new houses, that I saw in the area, I suspect it’s becoming more important as a dormitory town.

The later history of the Ribble Valley Line between Manchester Victoria and Hellifield via Bolton, Blackburn and Clitheroe, is one of closure and reopening.

  • Blackburn to Hellifield was closed to passengers in 1962.
  • The only train, other than freight and diversions, was a once a week train between Manchester and Glasgow, which stopped in 1964.
  • Blackburn to Bolton was reduced to a single-track.
  • Public pressure led to a service between Blackburn and Clitheroe in 1994.
  • Later a Sunday service was started between Blackburn and Hellifield.
  • The line became a community rail line in 2007.

In the last few years, Network Rail have spent millions of pounds on improvements.

  • A five million scheme renewed the permanent way between Blackburn and Clitheroe in 2008.
  • Sections of single track have been doubled.
  • Signalling has been improved.
  • Line speed has been increased.
  • Platforms have been lengthened.
  • The passing loop at Darwen has been lengthened.

Builders certainly seemed to have been at work on the stations between Clitheroe and Whalley.

It All Happens In 2017

All of this should mean that two trains per hour (tph), can run between Manchester Victoria and Clitheroe in December 2017.

Probably by design rather than co-incidence, December 2017 is also given as the opening date of the Ordsall Chord and the completion of the electrification of the Manchester to Preston Line.

A year later, in December 2018 there could be the extra two through platforms into use at Manchester Pioccadilly, which will help alleviate  capacity problems.

I don’t think we’ll see direct services between Clitheroe and London, but an improved Ribble Valley Line connecting with Manchester’s new cross-city line can only be good for passengers.

Things that could or should happen include.

  • Two tph between Manchester Victoria and Clitheroe has virtually been promised.
  • The service will become faster because of track improvement and new trains in a few years. Applying a conservative estimate reduces the end-to-end journey time from seventy-five to somewhere  around fifty minutes.
  • The Manchester Victoria to Clitheroe service could probably run two tph each of four carriages by December 2018. It all depends on rolling stock deliveries.
  • TransPennine services will go through Manchester Victoria and any sensible train planner would arrange a decent link between Clitheroe and TransPennine services.

It will certainly be a big improvement.

Manchester Airport And Clitheroe

One journey that illustrates how the Ordsall Chord will improve services, is getting between Clitheroe and Manchester Airport.

Currently, these are typical timings.

  • Clitheroe to Manchester Victoria – 75 minutes
  • |Cliteroe to Manchester Airport via Bolton – 126 minutes
  • Salford Crescent to Manchester Victoria – 9 minutes
  • Salford Crescent to Manchester Airport – 30 minutes

As Manchester Victoria to Manchester Airport, is effectively via Salford Crescent with the train taking a short cut, it’s probably reasonable to assume that Manchester Victoria to Manchester Airport won’t be more than 39 minutes.

Current services take about twenty minutes from Manchester Piccadilly, but it’s not a proper airport service, which the full route to Victoria could be.

  • It doesn’t use the same platforms every time.
  • The trains are not built for heavy luggage.

The service certainly doesn’t say Manchester is open for business.

Wikipedia says this about services to Manchester Airport after the Ordsall Chord opens.

On completion, it is anticipated that the chord would allow four trains per hour to travel between Manchester Airport/Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria in each direction, with a further eight trains per hour possible from Manchester Victoria towards the west via Chat Moss, and six trains per hour from Manchester Piccadilly towards either Chat Moss or Bolton and Preston.

So this means that even if you just miss the connection at Manchester Victoria, you’d only wait a maximum of fifteen minutes for the next train to the Airport.

As I think we can reasonably assume that there will be a Clitheroe to Manchester Victoria time of around fifty minutes, this means that Clitheroe to the Airport could be about ninety minutes plus how long you wait at Victoria for the Airport train.

But I suspect there could be a better connection for Manchester Airport at Bolton.

If you opt for a route with only one change, then the journey takes a few minutes over two hours, often with a wait of thirty-five minutes, whilst trains are changed at Bolton.

  • A  route with only one change at Bolton, takes a few minutes over two hours, often with a wait of thirty-five minutes at the change.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see Clitheroe to Manchester Airport in under ninety minutes via Bolton, with the current trains, after the Ordsall Chord is opened.
  • But hopefully in |December 2017, Bolton to Manchester Airport will be served by 100 mph electric trains.
  • December 2018 could bring the extra two through platforms into use at Manchester Pioccadilly.

Incidentally, various web sites, say it takes an hour to go by car.

One project that will speed up these services is the updating of Bolton station. I showed pictures and made some small assumptions in this post called Bolton Station.

I think it would be possible to have same- or cross-platform interchange between the following services.

  • Clitheroe and Manchester Victoria.
  • Preston and Manchester Piccadilly/Airport
  • Preston and Manchester Victoria
  • Wigan Wallgate and Manchester Piccadilly/Airport

This happens to a certain extent at Bolton already, as the Windsor Link Line  allows trains to go direct from Bolton to Manchester Piccadilly and onto Manchester Airport.

If it could be arranged that the frequency between Bolton and Manchester Airport was 4 tph, then this would mean a maximum wait of fifteen minutes.

Currently, the frequency is a miserly 2 tph, which explains the long waits at Bolton.

Manchester Piccadilly

I suspect that because even with the Ordsall Chord built, that Piccadilly with its completion date a year later could be the main bottleneck.

You could say run twelve-car semi-fast  Class 319 trains from Preston to Manchester Airport,, but if Mancunians are anything like Londoners for ducking and diving, then this could just add to the congestion at Manchester Piccadilly.

It all shows the problems of how the adding of the two extra platforms 13 and 14 in the 1960s was not a project that had any degree of future proofing.

When I see those draded numbers 13 and 14 against my train to or from Manchester Piccadilly, I breathe a sigh and ask myself, why I came this way.

Trains always seem to be late through the platforms and sometimes, I feel the platforms aren’t the safest.

Onward From Clitheroe

I have not taken the line northward from Clitheroe to Hellifield, where it joins to the Leeds to Morecambe Line with its connections to the Settle and Carlisle Line.

At present the historic Settle route is closed after last winter’s storms, but Network Rail is spending £23million to bring it back into top condition.

With the new franchise saying it will run extra trains on this route, I feel that the Settle route will have a busy future.

Blackburn to Carlisle via Settle is certainly a trip I want to take.

You have to ask the following questions about the current services to Clitheroe

  • When two tph are going from Manchester Victoria to Clitheroe, should one tph go on to Hellifield?
  • Given rivalry across the Pennines, do loyal Lancastrains feel that Leeds has no right to services along the Settle route and some should start in the county of the red rose?

From what I saw of the Ribble Valley Line at Blackburn, Whalley and Clitheroe, the track and stations would certainly be up to the increased footfall.

All the line needs is modern trains.

Conclusion

Without doubt, the Ribble Valley Line is ready to take its place in that group of secondary and rural rail lines across the North, that will take be good for the locals and will attract tourists to the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

A Walk In Leeds City Centre

I had time to waste, so I took a walk in a wide circle around Leeds station.

I went under the railways through the station and then walked along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towards the West. I turned North and followed the Kirkstall Viaduct, that used to take the trains into Leeds Central station.

One of the problems of this walk in Leeds, is that you might like to go through the station. But it doesn’t seem to be encouraged.

September 25, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Both Sides Of The Bermondsey Dive-Under – 26th August 2016

The Bermondsey Dive-Under is on track to be completed by Spring 2017.

This is a visualisation of the completed structure.

Bermondsey Dive-Under

Bermondsey Dive-Under

These pictures show the dive-under from a train, running from London Bridge to Caterham on the line between the Millwall FC ground and the structure.

It’s now getting to look a lot like the official visualisation.

These pictures were taken from a train running into London Bridge from New Cross, on  the other side of the structure.

Crossrail may be the more spectacular and expensive project, but it has no intricate blend of old and new like the Bermondsey Dive-Under.

Thinking about the dive-under and when it is complete.

  • Will there be walking routes through the structures and in the green spaces?
  • How many extra small business units will be created underneath and around the arches?
  • Will the area be integrated into the surrounding community?

Judging on other Network Rail sites, I don’t think the space will be wasted.

I do think that railway arches are a unique city resource, that can create jobs and increase economic activity and also improve the local environment.

Network Rail ought to sponsor an award for the Best New Railway Arch Business every year.

 

 

 

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment