The Anonymous Widower

New Bridge In Tottenham Marks The Beginning Of Restoring A Line Lost During The Beeching Era

The title of this post says it all and is the same as this article on Rail Professional.

Some might argue that Beeching got it wrong!

My feelings though are the politicians and British Rail managers of the day  generally didn’t have any vision about how the railways should be simplified to on the one hand save money and on the other perhaps create paths, cycleways and leisure facilities, for the good of everyone.

Harold Wilson’s view that everybody would have their own car and the railways were finished didn’t help either.

The Lea Valley was my childhood playground and I’d regularly cycle to the area. But unlike now, much was closed to the public.

This Google Map shows the location of the bridge.

Note.

  1. The railway line is the West Anglia Mail Line, running South from Tottenham Hale stations.
  2. The bridge carrying the Easter pair of tracks is being replaced.
  3. Tottenham South Junction is North of the bridge and the line going West is the Tottenham South Curve, that links the West Anglia Main Line to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  4. The Markfield Beam Engine is to the West.
  5. The Walthamstow Wetlands are to the East.

The area will get even more complicated in the future, when Crossrail 2 is built.

These are various pictures of the bridge site, taken on different dates

The bridge will be an important link in the development of the railways in the area.

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – Meridian Water, Road Traffic And Level Crossings – 1st March 2017

This map from the Meridian Water web site shows the area of Meridian Water outlined in red.

meridianwatersite

And this Google Map shows the Lea Valley from the North Circular Road in the North almost to Tottenhsm Hale in the South.

riverlea

Note.

  • Tesco and IKEA are in the middle of the Meridian Water site with the West Anglia Main Line and the main North South road to their West.
  • The River Lea and the River Lea Navigation Canal pass between the Meridian Water site and the Banbury Reservoir.

With the building of Meridian Water, traffic in the area is only going to get worse.

The main North-South route shown in the second map starts North of Enfield Lock, where it has rather dodgy connections to the M25 and is generally a single carriageway road, all the way to the Tottenham Hale Gyratory, where traffic is heavy at all times.

One problem is going or coming West from this North-South route, as vehicles need to cross the West Anglia Main Line.

Starting from the North, the crossings of the railway are as follows.

  • A level crossing at Enfield Lock station.
  • A level crossing at Brimsdown station.
  • A bridge for the A110
  • A bridge at Conduit Lane, just North of the current Angel Road station.
  • The North Circular Road, which is not well-connected to the North-South route.
  • A bridge at Leeside Road, just South of the proposed site of Meridian Water station.
  • A level crossing at Northumberland Park station.

Another bridge over the railway delivers you into the jams at Topttenham Hale.

STAR is currently envisaged to provide a seven-day-a-week services of four trains per hour (tph) between Angel Road and Stratford with calls at Northumberland Park, Tottenham Hale and Lea Bridge stations.

However the current local service up the Lea Valley from Stratford goes to Hertford East and Bishops Stortford stations with a rather erratic stopping pattern at stations North of Tottenham Hale.

So will STAR be based on these services or a separate train turning back at Meridian Water station?

But whatever happens it will increase the number of trains through Northumberland Park station.

The Bridges Are For Four Lines

It has now been announced in the last few weeks, that the level crossing will be closed.

Drivers wanting to go across the level crossing, following the closure will now do one of the following.

  • Go South and over the railway to Tottenham Hale.
  • Go North and cross the railway on the Leeside Road bridge.

They could always use the train.

I think the following would help mitigate the loss of the crossing.

  • Some road improvement at the junction of Leeside Road and the North-South road.
  • A decent pedestrian route between the new Meridian Water station and Glover Drive for Tesco and IKEA.
  • The STAR service going North from Meridian Water station, as well as South to Stratford.

Hopefully, it will all be clear by the end of 2018.

 

 

 

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – Cheshunt Station – 26th February 2017

I took these pictures at Cheshunt station.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

Cheshunt Station

Cheshunt Station

The station is very much a gateway to the Lea Valley Country Park and it could be difficult to find a by-pass for the level crossing.

I think putting two extra tracks through the station could be difficult.

  • ,The space is a bit narrow.
  • The level crossing will probably have to stay.
  • A lot of express trains stop, so that passengers can change to the London Overground.

Perhaps the solution is to do something like the following.

  • Extend the London Overground service to Broxbourne station, where there is space for extra platforms.
  • Stop fast services calling at Cheshunt station.
  • Move the two slow tracks Westward a bit, to create space for the two new lines on the Eastern side.

I also think, that extending the Overground to Broxbourne would make Broxbourne station an even better interchange.

 

 

February 26, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

From Walthamstow To Hackney

The space in the East of London up the Lea Valley between Walthamstow and Hackney is all grass, scrub, reservoirs, canals, rivers and railways.

These pictures were taken on a train between Walthamstow James Street and Clapton stations.

It is a very underused area and lies just to the south of the proposed Walthamstow Wetlands. The only development that will happen here is to reinstate the Hall Farm Curve to enable trains from Walthamstow and Chingford to join the Lea Valley Line to Lea Bridge and Stratford. It will probably end up though, ringed by high-rise housing, like you can see along the River Lea.

London is a surprising city. Soon it will be a City with a world-class nature reserve just a few minutes from the business heart of the City, This is a Google Map of the area.

Walthamstow To Hackney

Walthamstow To Hackney

Note the two rail lines crossing in the middle. The route of the Hall Farm Curve can be made out, as it hugs the boundary of the unmanaged area.

At the top of the picture you can see the filter beds of Thames Water’s giant water factory, that provide a lot of London with water using the massive reservoirs of the Lea Valley, some of which will form part of the Walthamstow Wetlands.

If you take a train from Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport or Cambridge, you’ll come over the River Lea and then take the curve to join the main line  before passing through the Walthamstow Wetlands and stopping at Tottenham Hale.

August 18, 2015 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Could The Gospel Oak to Barking Line Transform East London?

Two reports on the web prompted me to write this post.

The first was an article on CityMetric entitled Forget Road Bridges. TfL Should Extend The Overground To Thamesmead And Abbey Wood, which prompted me to write No To Silvertown Tunnel.

The second report was on various web sites with headlines like Enfield Council Shortlists Developers For Meridian Water.

Enfield Council is planning to build substantial numbers of new  homes at a 85 ha site called Meridian Water near Lee Valley Regional Park over the next couple of dcades.

To help the development at Meridian Water, the station at Angel Road is to be improved and this page on the Meridian Water web site gives details. This extract details the development of the station and the related rail line and transport interchange.

The station will be a thriving new hub that combines rail and bus services to provide better access to Meridian Water for future residents and businesses. Meridian Water is a new £1.5 billion, 85 hectare, eco-development which will provide up to 5,000 new homes and up to 3,000 new jobs. The improvements, which will be completed in the next five years, will bring benefits for those that currently live and work in the area, as well as the new residents of the Meridian Water development. The project is being funded with £2.5 million from the Greater London Authority with a further £1 million from Enfield Council. This new station combined with additional investment in three tracking the railway, will bring forth a four trains per hour service at Angel Road Station.

All good stuff and very much about motherhood and apple pie in the manner of the way that the Metropolitan Railway used to sell Metroland.

But let’s not knock it for that, as London needs lots of new housing and the current station, Angel Road, which will be renamed Meridian Water, is one of the worst transport interchanges in the UK,. They’ve probably got better stations in many of the worst slums in The Third World.

Angel Road is just two platforms and a bridge as Before Crossrail 2 – Angel Road shows, whereas the average station in deepest Africa or South America, probably has at least someone, who’ll help you or sell you a tasty local morsel or a bottle of fizzy drink.

Whilst looking at developments in this area, it is worth looking at the wider area and investigate how transport links might develop. This Google Map shows the Lower Lea Valley from Angel Road and Meridian Water in the North to Lea Bridge Road in the South.

Lower Lea Valley

Lower Lea Valley

In addition to the housing developments at Meridian Water, more housing is being developed around Tottenham Hale station and other places in the area. But the development that will have the biggest impact on the area is not these developments but Thames Water and Waltham Forest’s massive plan to create the Walthamstow Wetlands. The project web site has this strap-line.

Transforming Walthamstow Reservoirs into a new urban wetland reserve for London

I have written about the Walthamstow Wetlands before in Before Crossrail 2 – Walthamstow Wetlands and now the project has its own web-site, I shall be following this exciting project a lot more. I believe the project has a lot going for it, but also it could be very important for Thames Water, who over the last few years haven’t exactly had the best of publicity at all times, what with our water bills and the Thames Tideway Scheme.

Because so much of London’s water is stored in the Lea Valley, it is very much in their interest to be good neighbours to the people and wildlife of the area.

The map also shows the rail links through the area.

1. The Lea Valley Lines

The Lea Valley Lines go northwards from Liverpool Street, Stratford and Hackney going up to Broxbourne, Hertford, Cambridge and Stansted Airport and as indicated earlier, extra tracks are being added and stations like Angel Road are being upgraded. A new station  at Lea Bridge is also being built.

2. The Victoria Line

The Victoria Line goes underneath the area and links Central London to Tottenham Hale and Walthamstow. The line was built on the cheap in the 1960s and I have dreamed of what might have been. This August the line is closed to rectify one of its shortcomings, which will increase the capacity of the line.

3. The Chingford Branch Line

The Chingford Branch line crosses the Lea Valley Lines and the Walthamstow Wetlands as it links Chingford to Hackney and Liverpool Street. It is a line that can’t be extended, but there are plans to link it to the Lea Valley Lines by reinstating the Hall Farm Curve to allow trains to run from Stratford and Lea Bridge to Walthamstow and Chingford.

4. The Gospel Oak to Barking Line

The Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) is the forgotten and down-trodden Cinderella, who could gatecrash the party in the Lea Valley and be a star of East London’s transport system.

Over the next few years, the following will or may happen to the line.

  • Electrification
  • Extension to Barking Riverside
  • New four-car electric trains
  • Smaller numbers of day-time freight trains.
  • Increased passenger train frequency

The first three are hopefully cast in stone, as to cancel them now, would probably cost more than doing them. Especially, as the new trains have been ordered.

I am hopeful, that once the line is upgraded and electrified, this will enable freight operators to switch to electric traction, that could mean quieter services that might possibly run through at night.

As an aside, if I was standing for London Mayor, I would say I would put a limit of perhaps two non-electric trains a day on both the GOBlin and the North London Line. The freight operators would protest, but Class 66 locomotives have no business going through residential areas and crowded stations. Especially, when environmentally acceptable locomotives are available.

If the number of day-time freight trains could be reduced, this would allow more passenger services.

5. Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 will have a big impact, when and if it arrives, as it will serve Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Angel Road.

Before I finish this post, I have to ask, if we are doing enough with our transport network to serve large developments like Meridian Water, the Walthamstow Wetlands and Barking Riverside.

So what would I look at?

1. Crossrail 2

Politicians of all colours and tendencies are putting their faith in Crossrail 2.

But, I believe that the line, although surveys show it is much-needed, is a bit like the US Cavalry in a 1950s film, arriving in force after the poor settlers or ranchers have virtually been wiped out by the Indians.

We should prepare for Crossrail 2, so that all the engineering and architectural connections are there and all surface stations are upgraded over the next few years. This would mean that building Crossrail 2 would be just a matter of accurately threading the needles and then linking the tunnels to the existing stations.

Perhaps we should think of Crossrail 2 as a series of closely-related projects, rather than one huge mega-project.

The great advantage of this, is that political responsibility for a lot of the work like the upgrading of surface stations, can be shared with the relevant Local Authority.

This post started with Enfield Borough Council and the Meridian Waters project and wandered into rail infrastructure, because Angel Road station is an important part of that project.

I doubt I’ll ever live long enough to see the opening of Crossrail 2. But I live in hope!

2. Improving Connectivity On The Gospel Oak to Barking Line

The Gospel Oak to Barking Line hasn’t got the best connectivity to other lines and it is also blessed with some difficult out of station interchanges for even strong walkers.

Walthamstow is an example, where the walk between Queen’s Road and Central isn’t that long but it is tortuous. This Google Map shows the area.

Walthamstow Stations

Walthamstow Stations

The East-West line is the Chingford Branch, with St. James Street station in the West and Central in the East. Croosing this line is the GOBlin with its station at Queen’s Road.

Surely something better could be done in Walthamstow. Interchange for someone pushing themselves in a wheelchair would be very difficult.

There is also an out of station interchange between Wansted Park on the GOBlin and Forest Gate on the lines out of Liverpool Street, which in a few years time will be Crossrail. This map shows the area.

Wanstead Park And Forest Gate

Wanstead Park And Forest Gate

It is an area, where some selected development could be of value, especially as the GOBlin passes over the Liverpool Street Lines. I’ve walked this interchange a couple of times and the following would help.

  • Step-free access at both stations. Forest Gate is getting this with Crossrail.
  • A light-controlled crossing at Wansted Park station
  • A minor rerouting of the buses so that some passing through the area stop at both stations.

This would mean that someone pushing themselves in a wheelchair could use the interchange.

One station that needs to be improved is Blackhorse Road, which connects the GOBlin to directly to the Victoria Line. This Google Map shows the area.

Blackhorse Road Stations

Blackhorse Road Stations

 

Note that the station site is not particularly cramped and it would be a not-to-difficult walk to the Walthamstow Wetlands, especially if you could hop on a bus for a couple of stops.

There is also the possibility of an improved station at Harringay Green Lanes, where a large amount of property development is possible according to this document on the Harringey Council web site. I talked about the possibilities in The Piccadilly And Victoria Lines, Manor House Station And Harringay Green Lanes Station, where I believe a flagship station could be built across Green Lanes.

This section in the Wikipedia entry for the GOBlin, lists other ideas for extra connectivity for the line.

But I believe there are three other important interchanges that will or may happen and I describe them in the next three sections.

3. Seven Sisters Interchange With Gospel Oak to Barking Line

Transport for London’s Plan for 2050, has a section in an Appendix with the heading of News links and/or Stations for Strategic Interchange. In a list of places where this might be done are the words Seven Sisters (GOB). Seven Sisters station is currently a valid out of station interchange with South Tottenham station on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. In Crossrail 2 At South Tottenham/Sevens Sisters, I speculated as to how the two stations could be linked by a large double-ended Crossrail 2 station. This Google Map shows the two stations.

South Tottenham And Seven Sisters

South Tottenham And Seven Sisters

There are also other possibilities here, like building a new station, housing or commercial development or allowing trains to link from the Northbound Lea Valley Lines through Seven Sisters to the Eastbound GOBlin. But whatever happens here, the GOBlin will eventually be linked to the Victoria Line and Crossrail 2.

Search the Internet and You’ll find little about this project, which is just two words buried in a TfL report.

4. Extending The GOBlin To Angel Road

This is speculation on my part, but the Meridian Water development will need more than just the one station at Angel Road. As the GOBlin goes across the southern part of the development site, is there an opportunity for an innovative connection through the development to Angel Road? This is a Google Map of the area from Angel Road in the North to Blackhorse Road in the East.

Blackhorse Road To Angel Road

Blackhorse Road To Angel Road

The connection might be difficult for a train, but use a Class 399 tram-train and it could twist and turn its way between Blackhorse Road and Angel Road stations amongst the reservoirs and the developments to serve both those developments and the Walthamstow Wetlands.

5. Extending The GOBlin To Thamesmead And Abbey Wood

In No To Silvertown Tunnel, I examined the possibilities of extending the GOBlin from Barking Riverside over or under the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood  station, where it would join up with Crossrail.

I felt that this would best be done using Class 299 tram-trains as they could go walk-about on both sides of the river giving much needed connectivity to the housing on both sides of the river. If it could be done, I felt that a bridge shared with pedestrians and cyclists would be the best way to join the two banks of the Thames.

6. The Hall Farm Curve, High Meads Loop and Dalston Eastern Curve

These three curves, if reinstated for passenger trains would create routes between the Chingford Branch and Lea Bridge, Stratford and any desirable station to the West. Reopening the Dalston Eastern Curve would give access to the East London Line for Crossrail at Whitechapel and South of the Thames.

As there could be spare capacity on the East London Line, which has been designed for twenty-four trains per hour, there could be a myriad of ways it can be used to increase the services under the Thames, so what Transport for London might do would be pure speculation on my part.

But I think they will eventually use these three curves to improve services in the Lea Valley.

7. Tram-Trains On The GOBlin

This may seem a bizarre idea, but having seen these hybrid vehicles all over Germany, I believe tram-trains are the way to add extra destinations to core electrified lines. On the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, in addition to being used to connect to Angel Road, as I showed previously, they could also be used with a tunnel or a bridge to extend the line from Barking Riverside under or over the river to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

People might worry that when running as trains, they may need different stations to the other trains, but the Germans seem to be able to design stations that accept both vehicles and I suspect the planned Rotherham extension of the Sheffield Supertram, will come up with solutions applicable to our standards. As to the required overhead lines, the Class 399 tram-trains can run using any of the voltages used for trams and trains in the UK.

There may be other places on the GOBlin and the other rail lines in East London, where tram-trains could be used effectively.

This will obviously be up to the planners, but I will be very surprised if tram-trains don’t infiltrate there way into many places all over the UK. At the moment transport planners, haven’t the experience of seeing a well-designed tram-train system working in the UK, but after what I believe will be a successful trial in Rotherham, I think we’ll see planners embracing the technology with open arms.

Conclusion

The GOBlin won’t be Cinderella any more!

 

 

 

August 14, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Has A New Island And Bridge

City Island is a housing development in a bend of the River Lee. The island has been connected to Canning Town, by a new bridge, that was lifted in place by the UK’s largest mobile crane.

Unfortunately, by the time I got there the bridge was in place and the crane was virtually dismantled.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Visiting The New Park

I finally, got to view the new Queen Eizabeth Olympic Park yesterday.

It is obviously not finished by any means, but it is impressive.

It also opens early in the morning at 06:00 and closed fairly late.

I travelled to the park, by getting a 588 bus from Hackney Wick, to the stop by the Copper Box. At present, the information on the bus isn’t working in the area of the park, but I suspect it will be in a few days.

July 30, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

An Attempt To Find The New Olympic Park

On Monday, I attempted to find the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which the BBC announced had opened.

After a very unwelcoming walk from Eastfield, I found the entrance and it was crawling in security, who said it opened later.

Information and maps were also a bit lacking about the buses, but eventually I got a 588 to Hackney Wick, from where I got a 30 home.

July 29, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stratford Panorama From The Emirates Air-Line

The picture shows the Olympic Park from the Emirates Air-Line cable-car.

Stratford Panorama From The Emirates Air-Line

Stratford Panorama From The Emirates Air-Line

The mouth of the River Lee is in the foreground.

March 3, 2013 Posted by | Travel, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Walking From Leamouth To Canning Town Station

This morning in what could be the last of the summer sun, I took a 277 bus to Leamouth and then walked to Canning Town station along Bow Creek.

The area is one of the more interesting in London, with the River Lea of which Bow Creek is part, gradually silting up and reverting to reed beds. The inside of the bend used to be the the home of the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company and now it is one of the tunnelling sites for CrossRail. The successor of the works football team of the Thames Ironwork still exists as West Ham United, but the company is long gone, deespite building many ships for the Navy and companies like P & O.

From Canning Town station, I  got the DLR, the Emirates Air-Line cable-car and the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf for lunch. I suppose, I could have taken the Jubilee line from Canning Town station, but the cable-car has better views.

Thinking about the route, you could take the 277 bus from any number of places like Highbury and Islington and then go back to Central London on the Jubilee line.  but on a sunny day, don’t cut out the cable-car as it gives some spectacular views.

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Sport, Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments