The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail’s New Opening Plan

This article on the excellent and well-informed IanVisits is entitled Crossrail Changes Its Staged Opening Plans.

Ian states that Crossrail will be split into two routes.

  • Shenfield and Paddington
  • Abbey Wood and Heathrow/Reading

Frequencies will be reduced, but Ian states there could be two positive benefits.

  • Abbey Wood and Paddington could open earlier in 2022.
  • The full integrated service could be brought forward six months.

Why is this possible?

These are my thoughts.

The Covid-19 Pandemic

The current TfL Rail service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street stations coped well before the pandemic  and now with reduced passenger numbers it is able to handle current passenger loads without a problem.

I have used Crossrail from Paddington to Heathrow and Reading during the pandemic and Crossrail’s nine-car trains are handling passenger numbers with ease.

It would appear to me, that by using two platforms at Liverpool Street and Paddington stations, the benefits of Crossrail have been delivered to the East and West of the massive Greater London conurbation.

Stratford Station

Stratford station is more or less complete with respect to Crossrail.

  • It can handle ten-car trains, if they run in the future.
  • The two dedicated platforms for Crossrail, can probably handle the maximum frequency of trains, the line will ever carry.

But Stratford’s biggest advantage is the connections to the Central and Jubilee Lines, and the North London Line of the London Overground, which between them give access to most of Central and North London.

Ealing Broadway Station

A few weeks ago, a fully step-free Ealing Broadway station opened, as I wrote about in Ealing Broadway Station – 31st May 2021.

As with Stratford station, Ealing Broadway station is ready for any future Crossrail service.

It also has connections to the Central and District Lines to give access to most of Central London.

Can The Underground Cope In Central London?

All Lines except the Northern and Piccadilly Lines have seen improvement to signalling and/or trains in recent years and in my meandering around London, they seem to be coping well with the current passenger levels.

Liverpool Street Station

I use Liverpool Street station regularly and changes are happening at the station.

  • Platforms have been lengthened so that ten-car Crossrail trains can be handled.
  • The main entrance to the Underground was updated a few years ago and has a very wide gateline.
  • A wider gateline is being installed for Crossrail and other suburban services on the East side of Liverpool Street station.
  • A new entrance to Crossrail has been completed in front of Broadgate and appears ready to open, as I observed in Crossrail’s First Inclined Lift Is Now Available To View!.

A second high capacity step-free entrance has opened on Moorgate. When Crossrail opens through Liverpool Street station opens it will enable the following.

Passengers will be able to walk underground between Liverpool Street and Moorgate, with a substantial section of the route up and down escalators. I described the route in detail in London’s First Underground Roller Coaster.

The Crossrail entrance inside the Underground station at Liverpool Street station is now visible.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is behind the two pairs of massive stainless-steel doors.
  2. Peeping through the window, construction appeared to be almost at completion.
  3. If you turn right here, you take the escalator down to the Central Line.

Eventually, Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations could even be considered a single station with a massive escalator connection between the two original stations.

Liverpool Street And Stratford Stations Together Give Crossrail A Comprehensive Under/Overground Connection

These Under/Overground lines connect to either or both stations.

  • Central Line – Connects to both stations, but at Stratford it’s a cross-platform interchange with Crossrail. Ideal for Oxford Street, the City of London and St. Paul’s.
  • Circle Line – Connects to Liverpool Street. Ideal for Euston, Kings Cross, Paddington, St. Pancras, Victoria and large parts of South Central and West London.
  • Hammersmith And City Line – Connects to Liverpool Street. Ideal for Euston, Kings Cross, Paddington, St. Pancras and large parts of West London.
  • Jubilee Line – Connects to Stratford. Ideal for Bond Street, Canary Wharf, London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.
  • Lea Valley Lines – These Overground Lines connect to Liverpool Street. Ideal for Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Waltham Forest and North East London and South East Hertfordshire.
  • Metropolitan Line – Connects to Liverpool Street. Ideal for Euston, Kings Cross, Paddington and St. Pancras, Wembley Stadium and North-West London.
  • North London Line – This Overground Line connects to Stratford. Ideal for Acton, Brent, Dalston, Hackney, Hampstead and a large proportion of North and West London.

Liverpool Street and Stratford certainly have comprehensive connections to the Underground and Overground.

Liverpool Street And Shenfield Is Signalled With TPWS

TPWS is the only signalling system used on the section of Crossrail between Liverpool Street And Shenfield stations.

It offers these benefits, as opposed to the ETCS used in Crossrail’s core tunnel.

  • It eased the replacement of the original Class 315 trains with new Class 345 trains.
  • It allows Crossrail’s trains to share tracks with other trains not fitted with ETCS.
  • Drivers only have to handle one signalling system on the route.

The single signalling system must make commissioning and operating the service between Liverpool Street And Shenfield stations easier.

Liverpool Street Station Gives Crossrail Flexibility In The East

The distance between the two current Crossrail platforms at Liverpool Street station and the steel doors will probably be no more than a couple of minutes walk with just a couple of steps down into the Underground station, which can be by-passed by a lift.

Currently, the service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield station has a frequency of eight trains per hour (tph)

  • These trains are currently nine-cars long.
  • The two Crossrail platforms at Liverpool Street have been lengthened to handle ten-car trains.
  • The gateline for the Crossrail platforms is being improved to handle a higher volume of passengers.

If overcrowding should become a problem between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, then there is a quick fix of adding a tenth car to the trains, which would increase capacity by eleven percent.

The extra cars would be borrowed from Crossrail trains sitting in sidings, that are not needed because of the reduced train frequencies.

When Crossrail opens between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations, passengers needing to go between say Ilford and Paddington will be able to take the short walk between both pairs of Crossrail platforms at Liverpool Street station.

But the big advantage comes, when Crossrail starts running between Shenfield and Paddington.

Trains can be gradually swapped between Liverpool Street and Paddington as a terminus.

If there is a problem in Crossrail’s central tunnel, then services can be swapped back to Crossrail’s two current platforms in the National Rail station.

It looks to be a well-designed system.

Could The Pedestrian Route Between Liverpool Street And Moorgate Stations Be Opened Early?

This article on IanVisits is entitled Northern Line Bank Branch To Close For 4 Months Next Year.

The Northern Line will be closed between Moorgate and Kennington stations from the 15th January to mid-May.

Extra buses will obviously be run between Moorgate and Kennington to help during the closure.

  • Finsbury Square is already used to turn buses and could be used as a Northern terminal.
  • London Bridge has a bus station and could be used to turn buses.
  • In his article Ian talks of buses between Oval and the City.
  • The 21 and 141 bus routes run between Moorgate and London Bridge.

Would opening the pedestrian link help a lot of people by providing an easier route between Bank and Moorgate stations, by using the Central Line to Liverpool Street and then the tunnel?

  • It would be fully step-free.
  • Passengers from say St. Paul’s or Chancery Lane stations on the Central Line needing to get to say Angel station might find it an easier route.
  • The weather isn’t always good enough for a walk.

It would be an escalator connection par excellence.

I suspect that this pedestrian route could open before January 15th.

  • It will obviously need to be open when Crossrail opens between Abbey Wood and Paddington.
  • As a pedestrian route, it will improve connectivity at both Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations.
  • The Crossrail station at Liverpool Street, has been handed over to Transport for London.
  • It could allow the opening up of the step-free tunnel from the Northern and Northern City Lines to the new entrance at Moorgate station.

Could the last point be the most significant, as it would make the Northern Line platforms at Moorgate station fully step-free in time for the blockade between Moorgate and Kennington stations?

As Transport for London have accepted Liverpool Street station, opening of the pedestrian route is surely their sole decision.

Could The Pedestrian Route Between The Bakerloo Line And Crossrail Be Opened Early?

Access to the Bakerloo Line at Paddington is being transformed by two projects.

  • The addition of a step-free pedestrian tunnel, which will be around eighty metres long, that will link the Bakerloo Line and Crossrail.
  • A new step-free entrance and booking hall for the Bakerloo Line,that will replace the current Praed Street entrance.

This page on the Transport for London web site, which is entitled Paddington Bakerloo Ticket Hall, gives more details of the new entrance.

Transport for London indicate that the second project will be completed by mid-2022.

But I do wonder, if after Paddington station is handed over to Transport for London, if this tunnel could be opened to give interim step-free access to the Bakerloo Line, until either Crossrail or the new entrance opens.

When Crossrail and these two projects are completed, will this mean that the Bakerloo Line will see a lot more passengers?

Abbey Wood And Paddington

Crossrail between Abbey Wood And Paddington has the following characteristics.

  • It is a new twin-track railway, that it doesn’t share with other trains.
  • Most of the route is in tunnel, with just three sections on the surface.
  • The route is signalled with ETCS.
  • All new underground stations will have platform-edge doors.

It is very much a railway designed to the highest modern standards.

The Surface Section At Abbey Wood

The surface section at Abbey Wood has these purposes.

  • To provide an interchange station with the North Kent Line.
  • To turn back trains towards the West.
  • To provide stabling for trains and service trains to enable a smooth operation of the Abbey Wood and Paddington section of Crossrail.

This map from cartometro shows the track layout to the East of Plumstead station.

Note.

Crossrail is shown in purple.

Abbey Wood station has two platforms for Crossrail and two for the North Kent Line.

The platforms appear to be numbered one to four from the South.

There appears to be a turnback for Crossrail trains in Platform 3, which also appears to have crossovers to connect to the North Kent Line.

Crossovers to the West of Abbey Wood station allow trains to use either Crossrail platform.

These crossovers also allow access to the sidings at Plumstead.

The Plumstead tunnel portal can be seen below Plumstead Depot.

If Abbey Wood station follows the two National Rail platforms at Liverpool Street in handling a total of 8 tph, then initially Abbey Wood could handle this frequency of trains.

Ian says this in the first article about the frequencies of Crossrail during testing.

Before the blockade, Crossrail was testing the line with an 8 trains per hour (8tph) service, but this week they are going to be ramping that up to 12tph, which will mirror the timetabled service that the line will offer when it opens early next year.

Note.

12 tph will require Abbey Wood station to handle 6 tph on each platform.

Transport for London also intend to simulate 24 tph through the central section, which will be the Peak frequency when the line fully opens.

The Surface Section At Custom House

This map from cartometro shows the track layout around Custom House station.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown in purple.
  2. The DLR is shown in light green.
  3. The tunnel portal for the central Crossrail tunnel is to the West of Custom House station.
  4. The tunnel portal for the Connaught tunnel is in the area of the former Connaught Road station.
  5. Between the other end of the Connaught tunnel and Woolwich station, some of the route is in a cutting.
  6. There are crossovers either side of Custom House station.

I suspect a lot of the complications are because an old route was reused.

The Surface Section At Paddington

This map from cartometro shows the track layout around Paddington station.

Note.

  1. The Crossrail station at Paddington is a straight-through two platform station.
  2. The Royal Oak portal, where Crossrail comes to the surface is just to the West of Royal Oak Underground station.
  3. Two lines are labelled CRL Eastbound and CRL Westbound are connected to the Crossrail lines.
  4. Between and around these lines is Paddington New Yard
  5. There are two full crossovers between Paddington New Yard and the Royal Oak portal.

To reverse at Paddington, trains proceed to Paddington New Yard, where the driver changes ends and then returns to Paddington, when needed.

Trains for Reading and Heathrow use the CRL Eastbound and CRL Westbound lines to connect to Crossrail’s Western surface tracks and the Central core tunnel.

It all looks well-designed to my untrained eye.

Platform Edge Doors

This page on the Crossrail web describes the platform edge doors.

This is the first paragraph.

Crossrail has installed floor-to-ceiling platforms screen doors at each of the eight new underground stations on the Elizabeth line – that’s roughly 4 kilometers of platform edge screens in total.

The new stations between Abbey Wood and Paddington are,

  • Paddington
  • Bond Street
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Farringdon
  • Liverpool Street
  • Whitechapel
  • Canary Wharf
  • Custom House
  • Woolwich

This is eight underground stations and one surface station; Custom House.

So does it mean that Custom House station doesn’t have platform edge doors?

 

I took thse pictures of Custom House station today.

Note.

  1. The Crossrail trains were running at a frequency of 8 tph.
  2. , The pictures don’t show any platform edge doors or structures capable of supporting platform edge doors.

Could the regulations allow a surface station like Custom House to be built without doors, or were they left out to save money?

Safety is assured by being able to shut off all entrances to the platforms.

But it does appear that between Custom House and Paddington stations, passengers and trains are separated by platform edge doors.

Platform edge doors are controlled by the signalling, so with the correct interlocking a lot of things are possible.

Suppose, a station is not ready for passengers, then by locking the doors closed, trains can still pass through.

Does this mean that at stations like Liverpool Street, where passengers might need to walk between the Moorgate and Liverpool Street ends of the station to change trains, that these pedestrian routes could be opened? I think it does?

It does appear to me, that platform edge doors are the key to opening a partially-completed railway.

When Could Abbey Wood And Paddington Open?

It strikes me that the following conditions must be met.

  • Paddington station must be handed over to Transport for London.
  • Platform edge doors at all stations must work reliably.
  • The trains must work reliably with the signalling.

It looks like Bond Street, Paddington and Whitechapel stations, are the only stations that have not been handed over to Transport for London.

I suspect, as Paddington is a terminal station, it must be handed over.

Crossrail have said they could live with Bond Street opening later.

Whitechapel appears to have been a difficult station to build, so perhaps it could open later.

Could Crossrail open partially, earlier than anyone thinks?

Perhaps this post called Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas, was based on fact and not rumour in the Sunday Times.

 

 

 

 

 

July 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail Tests Its Trains In Southend

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Southend Echo.

This is the first paragraph.

Crossrail trains are being tested from Southend to London – raising hopes that in future they could run to and from the town on a regular basis.

As the title of the article indicates, it could be that Bombardier and Crossrail are seeing how a Class 345 train performs on the route, prior to the delivery of Greater Anglia’s similar Class 720 trains, which are another train in Bombardier’s Aventra family.

Southend Victoria Station

Southend Victoria station could be a destination for Crossrail in the future, but consider these facts.

  • Southend Victoria station is 41.5 miles from London Liverpool Street station and the fastest services take about an hour.
  • Southend Victoria has a frequency of three trains per hour (tph) to London Liverpool Street.
  • Southend Victoria station has four terminal platforms and is a short walk to the Town Centre.
  • Reading station is 36 miles from London Paddington station and the fastest services take just over half-an-hour.
  • Fast-growing Southend Airport with its station is on the Shenfield to Southend Line and the Airport would surely welcome a direct link to Central London and Heathrow.
  • The three tph on the Shenfield to Southend Line doesn’t have a good interchange with the one train every forty minute service on the Crouch Valley Line.

If there is a major problem, it is that Greater Anglia is losing passengers to c2c with its station at Southend Central.

Between 2013/14 and 2015/16 Southend Victoria has lost 2.79 million passengers, whereas in the same period Southend Central has gained  1.14 million.

From what I have seen Greater Anglia intend to speed up the Liverpool Street to Norwich services to ninety minutes and run at a frequency of 3 tph. They are also going to add a fourth train that goes to Ipswich. So again, the three tph service to Southend, isn’t the best fit to services on the Great Eastern Main Line for passengers travelling between say Southend and the County Town of Chelmsford.

There are probably not too many reasons for Crossrail to be extended to Southend for its own sake, but if Greater Anglia and Crossrail decide that an integrated service is to be provided between Shenfield and Southend, then everything is up for discussion.

Fast Trains Between London And Southend Victoria

The current Southend to London trains stop seven times to the East of Shenfield.

They would probably need to stop at Southend Airport and perhaps two of the busiest stations, but cutting out five stations would probably bring the journey time down to fifty minutes, which would attract passengers and make it easier for Greater Anglia to run the service, as trains could do the round trip in comfortably under two hours.

Running three tph, as now, would need just six trains and running a desirable four tph would need eight trains.

I’d be very interested to see what time a one of the new Stadler Class  745 trains, could achieve on the route, with just four stops at Stratford, Shenfield, Billericay and Southend Airport.

Slow Crossrail Trains Between Shenfield And Southend Victoria

Paired with the fast trains could be a number of extended Crossrail services.

Based on Crossrail’s projected timings between Liverpool Street and Shenfield of 41 minutes and the current 35 minutes between Shenfield and Southend, a timing of 76 minutes is estimated.

  • Crossrail’s trains could save as much as two minutes at each of the seven stops, East of Shenfield.
  • The Shenfield to Southend Line has an 80 mph speed limit, which I suspect could be improved.

So could we see Slow Crossrail trains achieving the times that Fast Greater Anglia trains do now?

I think the answer is yes and it shows how trains have improved in the last few decades.

How Many Trains Could Use The Shenfield To Southend Line?

The capacity must be quite high, as the only complication is the totally independent Crouch Valley Line.

Southend Victoria station has four platforms, so the station could probably handle sixteen tph, which is more than enough.

I feel that it would be possible to run four Fast expresses and four Slow Crossrail trains in an hour.

Whether that would be an acceptable timetable is another matter.

Interchange With The Crouch Valley Line

The Crouch Valley Line’s one train every forty minutes must be a nightmare for Greater Anglia and passengers alike, and I suspect that Greater Anglia have a cunning plan to run a two tph service on the line.

It appears that the track layout can achieve this, with the two trains passing at North Fambridge station. But as they don’t run two tph on this branch there must be other limitations.

Foremost of these could be the three tph service on the Shenfield to Southend Line.

So sorting out the Shenfield to Southend Line might improve the service on the Crouch Valley Line.

Conclusion

I have come to these conclusions about services between Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria stations..

  • A Fast Greater Anglia express service could probably achieve a sub-fifty minute time.
  • A Slow Crossrail service, could probably do the trip in an hour.
  • Better interchange with Crouch Valley Line and Great Easstern Main Line services would be achieved.
  • Four Fast and four Slow services in each hour is possible.

My choice for the Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria service would be as follows.

  • Four tph – Crossrail Class 345 trains – Stopping at all stations.
  • Four tph – Greater Anglia Class 745 trains – Stopping at Southend Airport, Billericay, Shenfield and Stratford.

Or the simple option of just running the four Crossrail trains.

Crossrail to Southend, isn’t a ridiculous aspiration.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Service Will Eleven Class 345 Trains Provide On The Shenfield Metro?

This article in the International Railway Journal is entitled Crossrail Trains Enter Passenger Service.

This is the third paragraph.

In the initial phase of operation from Liverpool Street TfL Rail will operate 11 trains, which have been formed as 160m-long seven-car sets to cope with shorter platforms. All 11 of these trains will be in service by September, replacing pairs of class 315 EMUs, which date from the early 1980s. Some of these trains will be retained until the full Elizabeth Line service begins in 2019.

So it would appear that when these eleven trains are all in service, the Shenfield Metro service will be run by new Class 345 trains.

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail Expands Before It Opens

This is certainly something you don’t hear often about a new rail line.

This article in Global Rail News is entitled TfL To Order More Elizabeth Line Trains.

Four new Class 345 trains are being ordered, which will mean that in the Off Peak the following will happen.

  • Trains between Whitechapel and Paddington will increase from 16 trains per hour (tph) to 20.
  • Trains between Paddington and Shenfield will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Abbey Wood will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Reading will double from two tph to four.
  • Trains between Paddington and Maidenhead will increase from four tph to six
  • From December 2019, six tph will call at Heathrow Terminal 5.

So have Transport for London miscalculated the capacity of the line?

I suspect not!

It’s just that they wanted to be sure that the trains and the signalling can handle the frequency of twenty tph, before ordering the trains.

That has probably been ascertained by now thorough thorough testing.

This article on the BBC, is entitled Crossrail Stations In West London Delayed Until 2019.

I wonder, if this is within the float of these station builds, so that the whole project is not delayed.

Have Crossrail only announced the actual completion date, when it is certain it can be met?

If it is, these two apparently disconnected stories show Project Management at its best, where a project is delivered on the date agreed before as much as a humble spade had entered the ground.

  • If it is late the client and the general public complain.
  • It it is early, the construction team have probably spent too much money.

So hopefully, everybody’s happy!

I would love to see Crossrail’s schedule of announcements until December 2019.

Like the ordering of more trains mentioned in the first article, I suspect some will be pleasant surprises.

The first article also has this paragraph.

The increased service frequency will be achieved, in part, by replacing five Great Western Railway services with Elizabeth line trains.

So could we see Greater Anglia and Southeastern losing paths and becoming better integrated with Crossrail?

In Abbey Wood Station in my series of Kent On The Cusp Of Change posts, I said that it looks like the track layout allows trains to run on to Dartford, Gravesend or even Rochester, as other trains on a modern signalled North Kent Line.

At Shenfield station, provision has been made in the track layout for trains to continue from Platform 4 to Southend Victoria station and Greater Anglia trains already do it.at a frequency of three tph.

I don’t think it will happen, as the journey is too long for a train without toilets.

But if Platforms 4 and 5 at Shenfield were bi-directional, this would allow Crossrail trains to venture down the Southend Branch.

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

The 10:35 From Liverpool Street To Shenfield

I took these pictures on the untimetabled 10:35 TfL Rail service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield stations and on the return to Liverpool Street.

As you can see it is a new Class 345 train.

There were a lot of Crossrail and Transport for London staff about, talking to passengers.

These are my thoughts on various issues.

Ride Quality

This is up with the best or the legendary British Rail Mark 3 coach, which was designed in the 1960s.

One of the Crossrail staff was wearing stiletto heels close to four inches and she was walking up-and-down with no difficulty.

For someone who suffered a bad stroke, my balance is good and I had no difficulty walking along the seven-car train.

Cabin Height And Width

I don’t know how Bombardier have done it, but the cabin seems higher and wider than any other train I’ve ridden in the UK.

Next time, I ride one, I’ll take a couple of tall guys and a tape measure.

Information

The current on-train information is simple, but then as I suspect the screens are software driven, any degree of required complication can be added.

I don’t know whether it is deliberate but everything is large and easy to read. There is also no maps or exhortations about security.

Long may it stay that way!

Simple is efficient!

Seats

Not everybody was completely satisfied with the seats, but I found them much more comfortable than those in the Class 700 trains on Thameslink.

There were some good points.

  • The sets of four seats were arranged as they were in the original InterCity 125 around a large window.
  • The metro-style seating had a wide aisle in the middle, that would satisfy a basketball team.
  • An amply-proportioned  man, thought the seats comfortable.
  • Most seats had well-designed armrests.
  • There was plenty of space under the seats for airline-size carry-on baggage or a labrador.

On the other hand, there were no cupholders, tables or litter bins. But there aren’t any on the Class 378 trains or London Underground‘s S Stock.

Entry And Exit

I feel that trains should be a level step across from the platform.

This train wasn’t as good as a Class 378 train on many Overground stations, but it was better than some.

As many Crossrail stations will be one train type only there is probably scope to get this better.

I regularly see a lady in a simple wheel-chair on the Overground and I feel she would probably be able to wheel herself in and out, which she does at Dalston Junction station with ease.

It should be noted that each coach has three sets of wide double doors and a large lobby, so perhaps a mother with triplets and a baby in a buggy would find entry easier than any train on the Underground.

Walking Up And Down The Train

I found this very easy on a train that was no more than a third full, as it was an extra service to introduce the train to passengers.

There were numerous hand-holds and vertical rails in the centre of the lobbies. Unlike on some trains in France, Italy or Germany, the rails were very simple. They also borrowed heavily from the Overground’s Class 378 trains.

Wi-Fi And 4G

I didn’t try the wi-fi, as it is not something I use very often.

But I was getting a strong 4G signal all the way to and from Shenfield. Was this direct or was I picking up a booster in the train? I  suspect it was the latter at some points close to Liverpool Street.

Windows

The windows on the train are large and well-positioned.

The simple seat and window layout, seems to appeal to all classes of rail user.

A Train For Families

When Celia and I had three children under three, with two able to toddle-along (they had too!) and the youngest in his McClaren, I could imagine us taking a train from Barbican station to perhaps go shopping on Oxford Street, sitting in one of those set of four seats by that large window.

A Train For Commuters

The Class 378 trains of the Overground cram them in and the metro layout of much of the Class 345 train will accommodate large numbers of commuters.

I would question, if there are enough seats, but the proof should be apparent by the end of the year, as eleven of the current seven-car trains will be in service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

For the full Crossrail service, they will be lengthened to nine cars and there is a possibility of adding a tenth.

A Train For Shoppers

If say, I’d been to Eastfield at Stratford and was coming back to Moorgate heavily loaded with shopping to get a bus home, I could probably put some bags under the seat. Try that on the Underground!

A Train For The Not-So-Young

From what I saw today, I couldn’t make too many observations, as the train wasn’t crowded, but the few older travellers that I did see were smiling at the experience.

A Train For The Disabled

As I’m not disabled, I can’t comment and would love to hear from those who are.

A Train For The Tall

Compared to other trains in London, the headroom seemed to be generous, but then I didn’t see anybody who was much more than six foot.

A Train For The Airport

Class 345 trains will serve Heathrow Airport. I feel they will cope, as the metro layout of the Class 378 trains, seems to accommodate large cases well!

Comparison With A Class 700 Train

The Thameslink Class 700 trains are designed for running over a longer distance at a higher speed and they have toilets.

But for a thirty minute journey through a busy part of London, there is no doubt in my mind, as to which train I would choose.

The Class 345 train, with its large windows, more comfortable seating, space for bags, uncluttered views and the appearance of more space, is undoubtedly in my view a better designed train.

Incidentally, for every metre of a nine-car Class 345 train, 7.31 passengers can be accommodated, as opposed to 7.07 in an eight-car  Class 700 train.

I think we can put all this comparison down to Derby 1 – Krefeld 0!

Comparison With A Class 387 Train

The trains will be compared with Bombadier’s last Electrostar, the Class 387 train, which will be in service with GWR between Paddington and Reading, alongside the Class 345 train.

Passengers will be able to take whichever train they want on this route.

Will they choose the Class 387 train, with its tables, very comfortable seats and toilets or the Class 345 train?

I’d choose the Class 387 train, as I like to lay out my newspaper for reading.

No matter what happens Derby wins again.

Moving Forward On Approach To Liverpool Street

I was surprised how many people walked to the front as we approached Liverpool Street.

But were they only demonstrating the Londoners’ ducking and diving ability of getting to the right place for exit.

Regular passengers on regular routes will anticipate their stops and I will be interested to see how much passenger behaviour increases the capacity of the train.

Conclusion

This first Aventra feels like it is a very good train.

Consider how Bombardier improved the Electrostar since it was first produced in 1999.

So what will an Aventra be like in 2035?

 

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The New Platform 6 At Shenfield Station

These pictures show the new double Platform 5 and Platform 6 at Shenfield station, which opened a few days ago.

I think that it is a good design.

  • Platform 5 is a through platform, where trains can go through the station to and from the sidings to the East of the station.
  • Platform 6 is a new bay platform.

If these two platforms are for the exclusive use of Crossrail services, that means that in the Peak, they will be handling sixteen trains per hour (tph) or eight tph  on each platform. The Victoria Line handles over twice as many trains on each of its four terminal platforms at Brixton and Walthamstow Central, so the more modern Crossrail should handle the number of trains with ease.

There has also been a major restructuring of the other lines through the station. But as services terminating at Shenfield are not now handled by Platform 4, I would assume that it is a much more operator-friendly layout.

These could be platform assignments.

  1. Southend Branch to London trains
  2. Great Eastern Main Line to London trains
  3. London to Great Eastern Main Line trains.
  4. London to Southend Branch trains
  5. Crossrail
  6. Crossrail

As there is more platform capacity, it will be interesting to see how Greater Anglia use their share of the extra capacity.

Current and Crossrail times between Liverpool Street and Shenfield are as follows.

  • Shenfield Metro – Current – 43 minutes
  • Single-Stop at Stratford – Current – 24 minutes
  • Crossrail – 41 minutes.

The interesting time will be what will be achieved by Greater Anglia’s Aventras, with just a single-stop at Stratford. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sub-twenty minute time.

I think passengers between Shenfield and London will choose a route appropriate to their journey.

Crossrail will be a line for the duck-and-divers.

May 10, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Shenfield Station – April 1st 2017

It is perhaps around sixty days before the first part of Crossrail opens between Liverpool Street and Shenfield stations.

A lot of work has been done.

  • It would appear that space could have been made for an extra track most of the way between Brentwood and Shenfield station.
  • Is one going to be built to improve access to Platform 5 and the new Platform 6?
  • Platforms 3 and 4 would appear to have been lengthened substantially. The new Stadler Flirts may be longer than the current trains.
  • It looks like the stabling and reversing sidings are on the outside of the down line to Southend, which dives under the Great Eastern Main Line.

But there is still some work to do.

 

April 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Crossrail’s Park-And-Ride Facilities

Crossrail is costing upwards of around fifteen billion pounds, but when it comes to providing Park-and-Ride facilities for passengers, it probably scores a massive zero-out-of-ten.

Consider.

  • Parking at Shenfield station is no more than adequate for current customers.
  • Abbey Wood station‘s restricted site, may well be getting a flagship station, but where will passengers park?
  • Crossrail’s South-Eastern branch doesn’t serve Ebbsfleet International stastion, which has masses of parking.
  • Of the three branches, only Reading station can probably increase its parking to cope.
  • Where are the Park-and-Ride sites , where Crossrail and the M25 intersect?

It is certainly not good enough.

A Park-and-Ride At Brentwood

This Google Map shows where Crossrail crosses the M25, just South of the junction between the M25 and the A12.

Crossrail And The M25 And A12 At Brentwood

Crossrail And The M25 And A12 At Brentwood

I feel that this would be a logical site for a station with large and efficient Park-and-Ride facilities.

  • It would be about thirty minutes from Liverpool Street station and seventy minutes from Heathrow.
  • There would be over a dozen trains per hour (tph) to and from Central London.
  • Long-distance trains to and from Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich and Southend could call and have cross-platform interchange with Crossrail.

I suspect that there would be massive opposition to building the station.

A Park-and-Ride At Iver

This Google Map shows Iver station and the M25 as it goes South from the M40 to the M4.

Crossrail And The M25 At Iver

Crossrail And The M25 At Iver

I feel that this would be another logical site for a station with Park-and-Ride facilities.

In Network Rail Plans Another Tunnel Into Heathrow, I talked about plans to create a Western Rail Approach to Heathrow.

  • The route starts between Langley and Iver stations, goes South roughly parallel with the M25 and then goes into Terminal 5 from the West.
  • Much of the route is in tunnel.

Surely, if a Park-and-Ride site was to be built in the West of London, then these two projects should be combined.

Since I wrote about the PRT System in A Visit To Heathrow Terminal 5, I’ve met someone, who’s had a ride. Their view was totally positive on this new technology.

So I think there could be possibilities for a very futuristic transport system to Heathrow linked to Crossrail at Iver, in addition to the full rail option.

A Park-and-Ride At Abbey Wood

Abbey Wood Station

Abbey Wood Station

This Google Map shows the area of South East London around Crossrail’s terminus at Abbey Wood station..

There doesn’t appear to be much space around the station for a Park-and-Ride site.

This Google Map shows the roads in the area.

Roads Around Abbey Wood Station

Roads Around Abbey Wood Station

Abbey Road station is on Harrow Manor Way, which links two East-West routes; the A2016 and the A206.

As Abbey Wood is the only surface station on the South-Eastern branch, I don’t think that there is a great probability, that a large Park-and-Ride site can be built on the South-astern branch of Crossrail.

A Park-and-Ride On An Extended South-Eastern Branch

Crossrail have safeguarded an extension Gravesend, which is described in this section in Wikipedia.

The route to Gravesend has been safeguarded by the Department for Transport, although it was made clear that as at February 2008 there was no plan to extend Crossrail beyond the then-current scheme. The following stations are on the protected route extension to Gravesend: Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe, Northfleet, and Gravesend

So does this route give possibilities for a large Park-and-Ride?

This Google Map shows how the proposed extended route of Crossrail, runs under the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

Crossrail, And The QE2 Bridge

Crossrail, And The QE2 Bridge

Slade Green station is to the West of the bridge  and the M25, in the top-left corner of the map, whilst Stone Crossing station is to the East, in the bottom right corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the route between Slade Green station and the Southern end of the bridge using the A206.

Slade Green Station To The QE2 Bridge

Slade Green Station To The QE2 Bridge

Slade Green station is in the top-left corner of the map and the Southern approach of the bridge in the bottom-right.

This Google Map shows between the bridge and Stone Crossing station.

The QE2 Bridge To Stone Crossing Station

The QE2 Bridge To Stone Crossing Station

The Southern approach to the bridge is in the bottom-left with Stone Crossing station in the bottom-right.

After a brief look at both stations, using Wikipedia and Google Maps, the following can be said.

  • Both stations are on the A206 road.
  • The links to the M25 and M2 could probably be improved.
  • There would appear to be space at both stations to build substantial parking.
  • Both have at least two tph to and from Abbey Wood at the present time.
  • From 2018, Thameslink will be running two tph will run from Rainham to Luton stopping at Stone Crossing, Slade Green and Abbey Wood stations.
  • Nearly all the trains on the line will be 12-car trains.

Could the Park-and-Ride needs on the Abbey Wood branch be solved by increasing the parking at stations like Stone Crossing and Slade Green, with passengers using local trains and Thameslink to access Crossrail?

  • There should be sufficient capacity in the 12-car trains to fit in a few short-distance travellers.
  • The frequency between Abbey Wood and Rochester should be at least four tph.
  • These trains will call at Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, and Gravesend.
  • The Crossrail frequency at Abbey Wood will be at least eight tph.
  • Because of these frequencies, there shouldn’t be too much time wasted, waiting for a train at Abbey Wood.

I think that this shows that if the connecting trains to Abbey Wood have a medium to high frequency and there is plenty of parking along the line, then loyts of parking doesn’t need to be provided at Abbey Wood.

The more that I look at the lines and services in North Kent, it does appear that running Thameslink between Rainham and Luton via Greenwich, Abbey Wood and Dartford was a piece of very high-class thinking.

 

 

November 3, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Are Crossrail’s Eastern Stations Progressing?

I took a train to Shenfield and back again, taking pictures on the way.

Before discussing the stations, it is worth reading this extract, from the Wikipedia entry for the Great Eastern Main Line.

The GER was grouped in 1923 into the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). In 1931/32 the LNER quadrupled the tracks to Shenfield which became the terminus for inner-suburban operation.

In the 1930s a flyover was constructed just west of Ilford to switch the main and electric lines over, to enable main line trains to utilise Liverpool Street’s longer west side platforms without having to cross east side suburban traffic in the station throat. The new arrangement also facilitated cross-platform interchange with the Central line at Stratford, with services commencing in 1946. Either side of the Ilford flyover there are single-track connections between each pair of lines, with the westbound track extending to Manor Park and just beyond. The eastbound track extends as far as Ilford station. It was also envisaged that a flyover would be built at the country-end of the carriage sidings at Gidea Park to allow trains bound for the Southend line to change from the main line to the electric line, instead of at the London-end of Shenfield as they do now.

Plans were drawn up in the 1930s to electrify the suburban lines from Liverpool Street to Shenfield at 1500 V DC and work was started on implementing this. However, the outbreak of the Second World War brought the project to a temporary halt and it was not until 1949 that the scheme was completed with electrification being extended to Chelmsford in 1956.

So it could be said that the quadrupling of the tracks to Shenfield, was the legacy of Sir Nigel Gresley and his team, that has enabled Crossrail to be easily extended to the East.

I suspect that Crossrail’s engineers, regret that the flyover at Gidea Park, as proposed in the LNER plans, was never built. It would have helped one of Crossrail’s problems and that is how you fit two Southend trains per hour, that call at Stratford, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood,  Shenfield and then all stations to Southend Victoria into Crossrail’s eight trains per hour schedule. I wouldn’t be surprised if Southend Victoria becomes an extra terminal for Crossrail, that receives four trains per hour.

On the other hand, the foresight of Gresley’s team would appear to have led to one of the most powerful features of Crossrail in the East, which will be the cross-platform interchange between the new line and the Central Line.

This 1930s rebuild also explains, why the stations have .a solid feel of the first half of the twentieth century, which means that some of the stations although needing a lot of work, are solid underneath and all seem to be capable of upgrading, rather than needing the substantial rebuilding of some of the stations in the West.

Summing up the stations, you would say the following.

Shenfield

Shenfield station is already fully step-free.

  • The station building probably just needs sprucing up.
  • The platforms all seem to be long enough, as Platforms 1, 2 and 3 take twelve-car Class 360 trains and Class 321 trains.
  • Platforms 4 and 5 aren’t much shorter, but may need to be lengthened, especially as trains will go through the station to new Eastern sidings.
  • The space for the new Platform 6 has been created, but work is continuing on the platform and track.
  • Work on the track is also continuing to update the electrification to a modern standard and the two western sidings that Crossrail trains will use.

Given that a proportion of passengers will probably want to interchange between Crossrail, services up and down the Great Eastern Main Line and to and from Southend Victoria, I do wonder, if there will be a reorganisation of stopping patterns for the longer distance services between Shenfield and London.

The works at Shenfield station, would appear to be taking a well-built mainly 1930s station and turning it into a terminus for Crossrail able to handle up to twelve trains per hour and an interchange with services to Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich, Southend and all points to the North and East of East Anglia.

Brentwood

Brentwood station has a lot of work completed or underway.

  • The station office seems to have been refurbished.
  • There are only lifts to the central Platforms 2 and 3.
  • Platform extensions to all four platforms are underway.
  • The bridge seems to be being refurbished rather than replaced.

I can find no references to lifts for Platform 1 and 4.

The works at Brentwood station would appear to be much simpler than Shenfield, but from the look of the new entrance and the visualisation in the Brentwood station web page on the Crossrail web site, they will create a very capable two platform station for Crossrail.

Harold Wood

Harold Wood station  has a lot of work completed or underway.

  • A new bridge has been installed, but not completed.
  • Lifts are to be installed.
  • Platform extensions to all four platforms are underway.
  • The platform buildings seem to have been refurbished.

I would also assume that the station office will be refurbished.

The works at Harold Wood station, show that it will be good station, with a good interchange between Crossrail and services on the fast lines.

But why is there such a good interchange between the two sets of lines? Is it just because Brentford is not a full interchange?

Or is it so that the services to and from Southend Victoria can still call??

Gidea Park

Gidea Park station is very much a work in progress.

  • A new bridge is being built with lifts under the largest plastic umbrella in London.
  • Platform extensions to all four platforms are underway.
  • The platform buildings seem to have been refurbished.

The works at Gidea Park station will create another good station, that has an excellent step-free interchange between Crossrail and the fast lines.

I must ask the same questions as I did for Harold Wood.

Romford

Romford station doesn’t appear to be seeing much work yet.

According to the Romford station page on the Crossrail web site, this is being done.

  • A substantially improved ticket hall with revised entrances
  • Three new lifts for step-free access to platforms
  • Platform extensions to accommodate the new 200 metre long Crossrail trains.

This is obviously in addition to revised and improved signage, help points and seating.

Romford station from the pictures looks to be a solid station with nice period features, with some excellent marble and quality ironwork.

Chadwell Heath

Chadwell Heath station is very much on the way to be ready.

  • A new footbridge has been built and commissioned.
  • Platform extension work is underway.
  • A turnback siding has been built east of the station.

 

I didn’t check out the actual station building, but this web page from Crossrail has a visualisation.

Goodmayes

Goodmayes station is in the process of being updated.

  • The current footbridge is being updated.
  • Three lifts will be added to provide step-free access to all platforms.
  • The station building is being rebuilt.
  • Platform extension work is underway.

The works at Goodmayes station will create a good suburban station, by building on the existing station office and footbridge.

Seven Kings

Seven Kings station is going through refurbishment.

  • Lifts will be added
  • The station building looks like it will be substantially rebuilt.
  • The area outside the station will be improved.

From the pictures, it does appear that the station is one of the few with a picnic table outside.

Ilford

Ilford station is scheduled to be completely rebuilt according to the Ilford station page on the Crossrail web site.

  • A new spacious, modern and bright station building on Cranbrook Road
  • A larger ticket hall with simplified ticket facilities and larger gate-line
  • A full refurbishment, by Transport for London, of the York Mews entrance
  • New lifts for platforms 1, 2/3, and 4
  • Platform extensions to accommodate the new 200 metre long Elizabeth line trains.

Only the platform extension seems to be starting.

At least the visualisation on the Crossrail web site seems promising, with a large pedestrianised area in front of the station.

Arriving At Ilford Station

Arriving At Ilford Station

This picture was taken from the right and shows the current traffic in the area.

In Front Of Ilford Station Now

In Front Of Ilford Station Now

As with Romford, the station is right in the middle of the shopping area.

Manor Park

Manor Park station is undergoing refurbishment. This is said about the station in Wikipedia.

Manor Park will be fully served by Crossrail from 2019 but part of the route is scheduled to open in 2017 and new Class 345 trains will enter service. Platforms 1 and 2 are only 168 metres (184 yd) and 185 metres (202 yd) long respectively and cannot physically be extended to accommodate the new trains, which will be over 200 metres (220 yd) in length, so selective door operation will be utilised. The freight loop around platform 1 is due to be removed and replaced by a new loop line further down-line, west of Chadwell Heath.

Due to the narrow platforms and the layout of the station, fitting lifts for disabled access would be difficult, requiring the walkways to be rebuilt and closing parts of the station for several months. The station will receive new ticket machines and gates, an accessible toilet and new retail space.

As the Manor Park web page on the Crossrail web site, says new lifts will be installed, I suspect this station will face several months of closures.

Given its location by the Southern end of Epping Forest, I do wonder, if it could be a Crossrail station with a walking and picnic area close by. This Google Map shows the station and the green space to the North.

North Of Manor Park Station

North Of Manor Park Station

As the area is mainly controlled by the City of London and there are also two large cemeteries, I suspect that any development will be totally appropriate. I suspect too that there are a lot of walks through the area to stations on the Central and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.

 

 

 

July 2, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Future At Shenfield Station

There is an article on Rail Technology Magazine, which describes how Network Rail completed £14.5 million preparations for Crossrail over the bank holiday.

This is one of the comments by Andrew Gault, which describes the operation of Shenfield station after Crossrail opens.

Plus the new new bay platform (Platform 6) at Shenfield is soon to be built and once the new Platform 6 at Shenfield is built and opened then Crossrail Elizabeth Line trains will use Platforms 5 and 6 as a terminus with Platform 4 being used for Abellio Greater Anglia’s Southend Victoria trains to stop on Platform 4 freeing up Platform 3 for Semi-Fast trains and Stopping Commuter trains to Ipswich, Braintree, Colchester, Clacton-on-Sea and Intercity trains passing through Shenfield towards Norwich and Ipswich and yes Shenfield will see more passengers using Crossrail Elizabeth Line once the full service is in operation in late 2019/early 2020 and same with Abbey Wood, Reading, Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport.

Is Mr. Gault indicating that some or all fast Ipswich and Norwich trains will stop at Shenfield?

If he is correct, then it will certainly make getting to Portman Road for Tuesday Night matches a lot easier for me.

May 8, 2016 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , | 1 Comment