The Anonymous Widower

Government Delays Silvertown Tunnel By Six Months

This article on City AM is entitled Government Delays Silvertown Tunnel Decision By Another Six Months Over Air Quality Concerns.

The decision on the Silverton Tunnel will now be made in May 2018.

But surely this is too early.

  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations in December 2018.
  • The Elizabeth Line will open between Shenfield and Paddington stations in May 2019.
  • Thameslink will open between Kent and Central London via London Bridge in May 2018.
  • The ULEZ becomes operational in April 2019.

I would have thought that the decision should be made after the effects of these changes have settled down.

This map shows the route of the tunnel.

Will any other public transport developments reduce the urgency for the tunnel?

London City Airport Crossrail Station

Under New Stations, the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail says this about a station at Silvertown close to the London City Airport.

London City Airport has proposed the re-opening of Silvertown railway station, in order to create an interchange between the rail line and the airport. The self-funded £50m station plan is supported ‘in principle’ by the London Borough of Newham. Provisions for re-opening of the station were made in 2012 by Crossrail. However, it is alleged by the airport that Transport for London is hostile to the idea of a station on the site, a claim disputed by TfL

This must surely cut down the traffic needing to cross the Thames in this area.

Gallions Reach Crossing And Thamesmead Extension Of The Docklands Light Railway

Wikipedia has a section, which says this about the extension.

The proposed Gallions Reach Crossing has been suggested by TfL as allowing a branch to leave the existing DLR network at Gallions Reach, and cross the river on the proposed tunnel/bridge and into Thamesmead. The new branch could then pass through Thamesmead and towards Abbey Wood, Woolwich, or northwards towards Barking. On 4 October 2016 the London Assembly approved the extension to Thamesmead.

Will this extension be a game-changer?

Extending The Gospel Oak To Barking Line From Barking Riverside To Thamesmead

This is definitely another rail extension that will be looked at.

The New Southeastern Franchise

The successor for the current Southeastern franchise will be announced in August 2018 and they will take over the franchise in December 2018.

If this award follows the pattern of others in recent time, there will be a lot of new services and trains promised.

Updating The Woolwich Ferry

Wikipedia has a Future section for the Woolwich Ferry, which says that two new diesel-electric hybrid vessels are on order.

Conclusion

We should wait until all related issues and projects are decided before making the decision on the Silvertown Tunnel.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Mayor’s Plans For East London River Crossings

This article on the BBC is entitled Mayor accused of ‘betrayal’ over Silvertown river tunnel.

I made my feeling clear about the tunnel in No To Silvertown Tunnel . I started by saying this.

My personal feelings about the Silvertown Tunnel are that it is irrelevant to me, except that it might help some trucks bring goods that I buy online or at a local shop. Although as a sixty-eight year-old-widower living alone, I don’t think my transport needs through the tunnel will be high.

I don’t drive after my stroke and I like that lifestyle, except when last night it takes me three trains, a coach and a taxi to get back from watching football at Ipswich. But that tortuous late night journey was caused because NuLabor spent my tax money on pointless wars that will haunt us for generations, rather than in extending and renewing our rail system, that will nurture and enrich our future.

I don’t think, that I’ve changed my views much.

The Mayor is actually proposing five river crossings.

Five New Thames Crossings

Five New Thames Crossings

Here my thoughts on each

Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge

This is detailed in Wkipedia as the Rotherhithe Crossing or Brunel Bridge.

Wikipedia says this about the location.

The preferred location for the bridge identified in the feasibility study would be between the Impound Lock close to Cascades Tower on the northern (Canary Wharf) bank, and at Durand’s Wharf park on the southern (Rotherhithe) bank.[2]

There is currently a Thames Clippers ferry shuttle between these two points. The Jubilee line parallels the route of the proposed bridge, with the nearest stations at Canada Water and Canary Wharf.

I took these pictures of the current ferry from Canary Wharf pier.

The bridge has its own web site, with a dramatic picture on the home page.

The visualisations show a bridge, that I think few would dislike. I certainly don’t!

  • It’s dramatic.
  • It would be open to pedestrians and cyclists.
  • It would be the longest bascule opening bridge in the world.
  • It would allow tall ships to pass through.

But above all I suspect that Marc and Isambard would have approved.

Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry

If Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe can sustain a ferry, then surely a ferry at the other side of Canary Wharf connecting to North Greenwich with the O2, must be viable.

This Google Map shows the Thames between Canary Wharf and North Greenwich.

 

Canary Wharf And North Greenwich

Canary Wharf And North Greenwich

It is not the longest ferry link, but there are questions to be answered.

  • Does the ferry go right into the heart of Canary Wharf or only as far as the bank of the Thames?
  • Does the ferry go all round the O2 to North Greenwich Pier or call at a new pier on the west side of the Greenwich Peninsular?
  • Will the ferry be fully accessible?
  • Will the ferry accommodate bicycles?
  • Will the ferry be free, as is  the current Woolwich Ferries?
  • How many boats will be used?

I think that there could be an opportunity to design an integrated ferry and pier, that would be all things to all users.

It certainly shouldn’t be boring and if possible it should call at the heart of Canary Wharf.

Silvertown Tunnel

In my view the Silvertown Tunnel is just another route for some travellers and possibly their goods to take between the two banks of the Thames.

Categories of traffic across the river through a new Silvertown Tunnel would include.

  1. Individuals, groups and families, who don’t necessarily need a vehicle. But sometimes choose to take one.
  2. Individuals, groups and families, who absolutely need to take a vehicle.
  3. Vans and trucks collecting or delivering goods.
  4. Buses and coaches
  5. Taxis, mini-cabs and private hire vehicles.

One thing that has been said about the Silvertown Tunnel is that it will be funded by a toll and some reports have said that the Blackwall and Rotherhithe Tunnels will be tolled as well.

London already has a congestion charging system for areas in the centre and I suspect that this could be updated to charge for the cross-river tunnels.

We’ve never had a toll to get across the Thames in London, with even the Woolwich Ferry being free, so I suspect that a toll would reduce cross-river vehicular traffic.

Remember that, when tunnels were built under the Thames in Central London, there was few quality alternatives with the exception of the Northern and Victoria Lines and the original undeveloped Thameslink.

But over the last few years, cross-river and other public transport has been getting better. And it still is!

Consider.

  • In the last year, a lot has been disclosed about Crossrail and its enormous Class 345 trains.
  • We’ve also seen the opening of the new London Bridge station and can see the improvements taking place in South London.
  • We’ve also seen the arrival of the Night Tube.
  • Capacity is being increased on the cross-river East London Line and the Jubilee, Northern and Victoria Lines.
  • We have Night Thameslink, so will we see a Night Crossrail?

Other developments will follow.

The only certainty is that we will be seeing a large increase in  quality public transport, over, under and on the Thames.

I think for the first time in my life, there could be two competing ways of getting across the Thames; driving through a tunnel or using public transport.

Cost, convenience, needs and possibly an all-singing-and-dancing computer or phone app will tell you where to go.

As I said earlier, if the Silvertown Tunnel is built, it will be just another route for travellers, with perhaps a higher, but fixed cost.

If it is built, I think there should be conditions.

  • The Blackwall, Rotherhithe and Silvertown Tunnels should all have tolls.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink should have a great deal more Park-and-Ride capacity.
  • All buses, coaches, mini-cabs, taxis and trucks in Central London should be low emission.

I also think that large areas of Central London, like the City and Oxford Street should be pedestrianised and some are on track for this to happen.

Much of the decision about the Silvertown Tunnel revolves around politics.

Sadiq Khan, has said he’s in favour of the tunnel with conditions, but he is up against a formidable movement that don’t want the tunnel built at any price.

I also find it interesting, that Ken Livingstone was in favour of the Silvertown Tunnel. But Ken brought in congestion charging.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if there’s some researchhanging aroiund in TfL, that says that a tolled road crossing will cut traffic. But it’s the sort of research no-one would believe.

So perhaps a tolled Silvertown Tunnel with conditions will be a good idea.

But only because there are now alternatives!

Gallions Reach DLR

The BBC article says this about this proposal.

A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich

It is different to the original proposal of a Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock, which stayed on the North bank of the Thames.

This map shows the area of London from Gallions Reach to Abbey Wood.

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood

Note.

  • Gallions Reach DLR station is marked with the red arrow.
  • Just to the North of Gallions Reach station is the main DLR depot, which would probably be an excellent site to start a tunnel.
  • The tunnel would probably emerge on the South bank of the Thames to the West of Thamesmead.
  • It could then weave its way along the side of the main road.
  • The North Kent Line with Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations runs along the bottom of the map.
  • Crossrail could be extended to Gravesend.
  • Crossrail should also be extended Ebbsfleet International for European rail services.

If the DLR extension went from Gallions Reach DLR station  to Abbey Wood station it will be a loop on Crossrail serving a lot of areas ripe for quality housing and commercial development.

It certainly looks a feasible area to think about taking the DLR.

Barking Riverside Overground Extension

When I first heard about the Thamesmead Extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, I thought it was a good idea.

As it is mentioned in the Mayor’s plans, I suspect that building the extension is getting nearer to reality.

Certainly provision has been made in the design of the Barking Riverside Overground Extension to extend the line under the river if required.

Joined Up Connections

If you take out the Silvertown Tunnel, which is the only one of the five crossings for which you need a vehicle, you get a route along the Thames from Canada Water To Barking.

  • Walk from Canada Water to the Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge
  • Cross the Rotherhithe – Canary Wharf Bridge
  • Walk to the Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry
  • Take the Canary Wharf – North Greenwich Ferry to North Greenwich
  • Take the Emirates Air-Line to Royal Victoria
  • Take the DLR to Gallions Reach and on to Thamesmead
  • Take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to Barking

It’s an interesting route using various means of transport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 8, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No To Silvertown Tunnel

My personal feelings about the Silvertown Tunnel are that it is irrelevant to me, except that it might help some trucks bring goods that I buy online or at a local shop. Although as a sixty-eight year-old-widower living alone, I don’t think my transport needs through the tunnel will be high.

I don’t drive after my stroke and I like that lifestyle, except when last night it takes me three trains, a coach and a taxi to get back from watching football at Ipswich. But that tortuous late night journey was caused because NuLabor spent my tax money on pointless wars that will haunt us for generations, rather than in extending and renewing our rail system, that will nurture and enrich our future.

So when I read this article on CityMetric entitled Forget Road Bridges. TfL Should Extend The Overground To Thamesmead And Abbey Wood. I couldn’t agree more although after recent trips to Germany and Birmingham, I think there could be a better and more comprehensive plan.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made quite a few trips to South East London, including this one where I walked along Bazalgette’s sewer between Plumstead and Abbey Wood. It is a land that London forgot.

This was brought home to me, by my travelling companion to Birmingham, who is a solicitor, who lives near where I do and works in South East London. She said the East London Line has made a difference, but connections are still not the best.

When TfL published their plans about public transport in 2050, I wrote about a tunnel connecting Barking Riverside to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

Since I wrote that article, I have visited Germany and seen their tram-trains. I now believe that these could be the way to create a universe-class connection. Tram-trains like these Class 399 trains, which are soon to be trialled between Sheffield and Rotherham, could run on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and then perhaps do a little loop at Barking Riverside before returning to Gospel Oak.

Note that we’re not talking untried technology here as you can see the German version of the Class 399 on the streets and railway tracks of several German cities. Undoubtedly, if the Germans were extending the GOBlin, they would use tram-trains, as they could serve build several stops with with the money needed to build Barking Riverside station.  And all the stops, like those on the London Tramlink would be fully step-free.

But we are talking about the Silvertown Tunnel in this article, so the loop in Barking Riverside, would extend across the river in one way or the other. Sometimes, I think that a tunnel under the Thames would be a case of hiding your biggest light under an enormous bushel. So why not create a high bridge to allow the biggest ships underneath, with a tram track or two, a cycle path and a walking route? It would have some of the best views in London. Forget the Garden Bridge! This would be blue sky thinking creating something that those living on both sides of the river could use every day to get to work or for leisure reasons. Tourists would come to view London, as they do on large entry bridges in cities like New York and Lisbon.

Effectively, you have a conventional tram connecting Barking, Barking Riverside, Thamesmead and Abbey Wood. At Barking and Abbey Wood, the Class 399 trains become trains and could go to Gospel Oak and perhaps Romford, Upminster and Tilbury in the North and perhaps Woolwich, Lewisham, Dartford or Bluewater in the South.

Everything you would need to create such a link is tried and tested technology or designs that have been implemented in either the UK or Germany over the last few years.

In TfL’s plans for 2050, I found the words Penge and Brockley High Level buried in an Appendix listing places where there could be new transport interchanges.

I believe that an interchange at Penge would link the East London Line to the South Eastern Main Line and trains between Victoria and Orpington. Another interchange at Brockley would link the East London Line to the trains going across South London between Lewisham and Abbey Wood.

Conventional thinking says that these interchanges will be difficult to build, but Birmingham has already created a station that solves this problem at Smethwick Galton Bridge.

As London Overground have the capacity to run twenty four trains every hour each way on the East London Line, these two interchanges would help solve the chronic connectivity to and from South East London. They would also bring more passengers to the East London Line to fill all those trains.

One of the things that the increased number of trains on the East London Line would need is another terminal and possibilities include Beckenham Junction or my favourite, Orpington.

I think it is true to say that there are more possibilities to improve connectivity east of the East London Line, both North and South of the River, than both London’s Mayors have ever dreamed about. To be fair to both of them, it’s only in recent years that tram-trains have been seriously thought about in the UK, although the Germans have had them for a decade or so.

Get it right and the Silvertown Tunnel can just be a entry on that large directory of projects that were never started.

The No To Silvertown Tunnel Campaign is right!

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments