The Anonymous Widower

The Future Of Class 378 Trains

This post is a musing on the future of the Class 378 trains.

The Thames Tunnel

The Thames Tunnel is the tail that wags the East London Line, when it comes to trains.

  • For evacuation and safety purposed, trains running through the tunnel, must have an emergency exit through the driver’s cab.
  • It hasn’t happened yet, as far as I know, but a version of Sod’s Law states if you ran trains without this emergency exit, you’d need to use it.
  • London Overground’s Class 378 trains have this feature, but their Class 710 trains do not.

So it would appear that until Bombardier build an Aventra with an emergency exit through the driver’s cab, that the existing Class 378 trains must work all services through the Thames Tunnel.

Incidentally, I can’t think of another long tunnel, that might be served by the London Overground, so it could be that Class 378 trains will be the only trains to go through the Thames Tunnel, until they wear out and need to go to the scrapyard.

Six Car Trains On The East London Line

I covered this in Will The East London Line Ever Get Six-Car Trains? and I came to this conclusion.

I will be very surprised if Network Rail’s original plan on six-car trains on the East London Line happens in the next few years.

It might happen in the future, but it would need expensive platform extensions at Shadwell, Wapping, Rotherhithe and Canada Water and Surrey Quays stations.

Increased Frequency On The East London Line

If five-car Class 378 trains are the limit, the only way to increase capacity of the East London Line would be to increase frequency.

The current frequency of the East London Line is sixteen trains per hour (tph)

There are four tph on each of these routes.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Dalston Junction And New Cross
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

Two increases are planned.

  • 2018 – 6 tph – Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • 2019 – 6 tph – Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction

This would increase the frequency of the East London Line to twenty tph.

It will probably mean an updated digital signalling system on the East London Line.

Eventually, I think it likely, that a full ERTMS system as is fitted to Thameslink and Crossrail will be fitted to at least the East London Line, but possibly the whole Overground network.

Digital signalling would certainly allow the twenty-four tph frequency of Thameslink and CXrossrail, which could mean that the four routes all received a frequency of four tph.

But Thameslink and Crossrail are theoretically capable of handling thirty tph or a train every two minutes, through their central tunnels.

If the two modern multi-billion pound tunnels can handle 30 tph, why can’t their little brother, that started life as a half-million pound pedestrian tunnel in 1843,

The Number Of Trains Needed For The Current Service

If I go through the routes of the original Overground, I find the following.

Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction

Trains take 46 minutes to go South and 44 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

Dalston Junction And New Cross

Trains take 22 minutes both ways and a round trip would take an hour.

This means that the current four tph service would need four trains.

A six tph service in the future would need six trains.

Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace

Trains take 44 minutes to go South and 43 minutes to come North and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

Trains take 52 minutes both ways and a round trip would take two hours.

This means that the current four tph service would need eight trains.

A six tph service in the future would need twelve trains.

This means that the current four tph on all four routes needs twenty-eight trains.

The Proposed 2020 Service

This will have two extra tph to Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction and will need thirty-six trains.

Six Trains Per Hour On All Four Routes

as each route terminates at both ends in a single platform, which can handle six tph, with the right signalling, I feel that this could be the design objective of the East London Line, when it was built in the early-2010s.

This could be achieved with forty-two trains, leaving perhaps twelve to fifteen trains for other duties, depending on how many are needed on stand-by or are in maintenance.

What Could Be Done With Twelve Trains?

As I calculated earlier, three routes need twelve trains to provide a six tph service.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

All three services take between 44 and 52 minutes.

So could another six tph service that takes around this time be added to the current four services?

Willesden Junction As A Northern Terminal

Trains could take the North London Line to Willesden Junction and terminate in the Bay Platform 2.

I estimate the following timings from Willesden Junction.

  • Highbury & Islington – 27 mins
  • Dalston Junction – 31 mins
  • Whitechapel –  – 41 mins
  • New Cross – 49 mins
  • Crystal Palace – 64 mins
  • Clapham Junction – 73 mins.
  • West Croydon – 74 mins

It would appear that the only possible Southern terminal of the current four, would be New Cross, as that is the only terminal within the 44-52 minute range of journey time.

So could a service between Willesden Junction and New Cross replace the current one between Dalston Junction and New Cross?

  • It would need to be run using dual-voltage trains
  • Voltage changeover could be at Highbury & Islington station.
  • Extending the New Cross service would free up a bay platform at Dalston Junction station.
  • It should be possible to have a frequency of six tph.
  • Serious modifications or additions to infrastructure would probably not be required.

As running to Willesden Junction was talked about before the Overground opened, I wonder if the numerous crossovers on the North London Line, already allow trains from the East London Line to terminate at Willesden Junction.

Southern Terminals Via New Cross Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at New Cross station.

Note how the double-track East London Line, shown in orange, arrives from Surrey Quays station arrives in the North-Western corner of the map, becomes a single-track and then goes under the main lines before going into the bay platform D.

This Google Map shows the same area.

The London Overground track is clearly visible.

Could extra track be added, to enable the following?

  • Southbound trains could join the main line and stop in Platform C
  • Northbound could leave the main line after stopping in Platform A and go towards Surrey Quays station.

If this is possible, then trains could run between Dalston Junction and Lewisham stations.

Once at Lewisham they would have choice of Southern terminal,

Hayes As A Southern Terminal

Consider a service between Dalston Junction and Hayes stations.

  • I estimate that a train could go between the two stations in 53 minutes.
  • Hayes station has two terminal platforms

Six tph would probably be too many services, but 2-3 tph might be very welcome.

Orpington As A Southern Terminal

Consider a service between Dalston Junction and Orpington stations.

  • I estimate that a train could go between the two stations in 47  minutes.
  • Orpington station has three terminal platforms.

Six tph would probably be too many services, but 2-3 tph might be very welcome.

A Combined Hayes And Orpington Service

As a case can be made for services to both Hayes and Orpington via Lewisham, I think the ideal service could be two tph to both Hayes and Orpington.

  • There would be four tph between Dalston Junction and Lewisham.
  • Stations on the East London Line would have access to the important interchange station at Lewisham.
  • Several stations on the routes to Hayes and Orpington would have a two tph service to Crossrail and the Jubilee Line.

Other Stations Via New Cross

Looking at rail maps, there would seem to be several possibilities including with their times from Dalston junction station.

  • Beckenham Junction – 41 mins
  • Bromley North – 40 mins
  • Gove Park – 35 mins

There are probably others.

Southern Terminals Via Peckham Rye Station

As an example Streatham Common station is planned to be a major interchange and is 43 minutes from Dalston Junction.

Would a bay platform work here as an East london Line terminal?

Conclusion

If all fifty-seven Class 378 trains worked the East London Line, they could run six tph on the current routes.

  • Dalston Junction And Clapham Junction
  • Dalston Junction And New Cross
  • Highbury & Islington And Crystal Palace
  • Highbury & Islington And West Croydon

It would need forty-two trains.

Suppose the Dalston Junction and New Cross service was replaced with a Willesden Junction and New Cross service.

  • This would provide a useful direct four tph service between East and North London.
  • Changing at Highbury & Islington station would be avoided for a lot of journeys.
  • The journey time wold be around 49 minutes.
  • A two tph service would need four trains.
  • A four tph service would need eight trains.
  • A six tph service would need twelve trains.
  • Many journeys between North and South London would now be possible with just a single same platform interchange.

To run the following frequencies on this route would mean these total frequencies on the East London Line and total numbers of trains.

  • 2 tph – 20 tph – 40 trains
  • 4 tph – 22 tph – 44 trains
  • 6 tph – 24 tph – 48 trains

I think that if the figures are juggled a bit, there is enough trains to run extra services to one or more Southern destinations from Dalston Junction.

My preference would be a split service of 2 tph to both Hayes and Orpington via New Cross, where some new track would be needed.

This would do the following.

  • Create a frequent connection between South-East and North-East London.
  • Both areas would be connected to Crossrail and several Underground Lines, including the future Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • The Hayes Line would be shared between Overground and Southeastern trains.

No more new trains or large amounts of new infrastructure would be needed.

I suspect that London Overground and the new Southeastern franchise can do better than my musings.

 

 

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Major Overhaul Of One Of Country’s Longest Tunnels Sees Delays Fall By A Fifth

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A major refurbishment of Sevenoaks tunnel has seen a 20% reduction in delays and halved journey times for passengers, even as the £21m infrastructure renewal nears completion.

One of the longest tunnels in southern England, Sevenoaks has been given a major overhaul which has included replacing thousands of sleepers, laying several miles of news track, and installing new drainage systems.

Sevenoaks tunnel is a single-bore tunnel, double-track tunnel about two miles long.

Obviously, this refurbishment has been worthwhile.

I do wonder how many other schemes, that are stuck in Network Rail’s pipeline would show similar improvements in the quality of the service?

 

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

SuperSaturday On Southeastern

This article on IanVisits is entitled Cheap Train Tickets On Southeastern Railway This Weekend.

This is the first three paragraphs.

This weekend is SuperSaturday on Southeastern railway and they’re offering unlimited travel across their entire network for just £20. You can also add up to four children for £1 each.

You have to book a ticket from a set departure station, but beyond that, you are free to travel to as many stations as you like on the day.

It also includes travel on High Speed One out of St Pancras.

What a brilliant marketing idea!

Perhaps other train operating companies should do the same thing.

If Greater Anglia did it on a day when several of Cambridge United, Colchester United, Ipswich Town, Norwich City, Peterborough United and Southend were at home, what would it do to gates and travel around East Anglia.

Obviously, Northern couldn’t do it, as the RMT strike on Saturdays.

 

 

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

TfL In Talks Over Extending Crossrail Eastwards

The title of this article is the sam as that of this article on Construction News.

The article talks about the following.

  • Extending from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet International.
  • TfL has had discussions with Network Rail.

Serious talks may well happen, once the new Southeastern Franchise takes over later this year.

 

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Alstom To Join Stagecoach’s Southeastern Franchise Bid

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in Global Rail News.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Stagecoach has announced that Alstom is to become part of its bid for the new Southeastern franchise.

The move, which is subject to approval by the Department for Transport (DfT), will make Alstom a 20 per cent shareholder in the new train operating company.

I think the pairing of a train manufacturer with a train operator could be something that we’ll see more often. Remember that two of Abellio’s UK franchises; Greater Anglia and West Midlands Trains, have placed substantial orders for Bombardier Aventras.

UK rail franchises are not very similar, with often a mixture of different types of route.

In the case of the Southeastern franchise, there are the following.

  • High speed commuter routes.
  • Intense metro services.
  • Long-distance commuter routes.
  • Branch lines with low frequencies.
  • Extensions over lines without electrification.

Having a train manufacturer involved in the process, must help in formulating a high-class bid.

So how will Alstom’s expertise help in the formulation of the bid?

Highspeed Commuter Trains

The current fleet of Class 395 trains will need to be expanded, as the new franchise will be offering extra services to Hastings and Eastbourne, with the possible addition of a second London terminal.

The easy route would be to go to Hitachi and order some extra Class 395 trains. But these would have to be built with some method of using the Marshlink Line, which is not electrified. In Hitachi’s Thoughts On Battery Trains, I discussed Hitachi’s published thoughts on using battery trains on this line.

I don’t doubt that Hitachi could provide the trains.

Alstom have a lot of expertise in high speed trains and would have no problem producing a train with the following performance.

  • 140 mph on high speed lines.
  • 100 mph on third rail DC lines.

Could they have done the calculations and found that their hydrogen power technology could drive a train from Ashford to Ore at the 60 mph operating speed of the Marshlink Line?

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

If I assume that the extra trains will be five cars and will be efficient enough to need only 3 kWh per vehicle mile for the 25 miles without electrification of the Marshlink Line, this gives an energy requirement of 375 kWh.

  • Electrification between London and Ashford would charge the batteries at the Ashford end.
  • Electrification between Hastings and Eastbourne would charge the batteries at the Hastings end.
  • Hydrogen-power would continuously top up the batteries en-route between Ore and Ashford.
  • Electrification at Ashford and Hastings would probably be able to do a lot of the acceleration to the 60 mph operating speed.
  • Rye station could be electrified to make the stop easier.

Only Alstom know what size of battery and hydrogen power-pack would be needed.

If they could produce a high speed train, that could extend its range by the use of hydrogen power, it would be a very public demonstration of the capabilities of the technology.

Commuter Fleet Replacement

A lot of the current fleet is coming to the end of its life and I would expect the new franchise will replace the trains. A proportion of the trains also have an operating speed of 75 mph and are lacking in some of the features passengers like.

So perhaps, Alstom would be looking forward to building trains for the new franchise.

They’ve even got a suitable design in Siemens Class 707 train, that was built for South West Trains, which was run by Stagecoach.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that Alstom have two trains; one in reality and one on the drawing board, that could enable Stagecoach to put forward a creditable bid for the Southeastern franchise.

But these trains will not be one-off specials for the Southeastern franchise.

The high speed train with a range extended by hydrogen would be a unique bi-mode train for 125 mph routes like the East Coast Main Line, Great Western Main Line, Midland Main Line and West Coast Main Line.

Think.

  • London Euston to Chester
  • London Euston to Barrow-in-Furness
  • London Kings Cross to Hull
  • London Kings Cross to Sunderland
  • London Paddington to Oxford

And that’s just the UK!

London St. Pancras to Hastings and Eastbourne would be the ideal route for a demonstrator. Especially, for the French!

The commuter unit may not be as unique, but the Siemens design is proven and it would be a competitor to Bombardier’s Aventra.

 

February 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Conditions And Thoughts On The New Southeastern Franchise

The January 2018 Edition of Modern Railways gives a review of the conditions, that the Department for Transport are imposing on bidders.

The First Sentence

This is the first sentence of the article.

The Department for Transport says bidders for the next Southeastern franchise will be required to provide space for at least 40,000 additional passengers in the morning rush hour with 12-car services on the busiest routes.

This raises an interesting question.

Does the DfT mean actual twelve-car trains or ones as long as current twelve-car trains?

In Big On The Inside And The Same Size On The Outside, I discussed how by using  good design, Bombardier were getting more passengers in a train of the same length.

This is an extract from c2c’s Press Release.

The Aventra is one of the fastest-selling trains in the UK rail industry, and these new trains will be manufactured at Bombardier’s factory in Derby. Each new train, which will operate in a fixed set of 10-carriages, will include over 900 seats, plus air-conditioning, wifi, plug sockets and three toilets onboard. Each new carriage is larger and contains more seats than on c2c’s current trains, so each 10-carriage new train provides capacity for 15% more passengers onboard compared to a current 12-carriage c2c train.

So three x four-car trains working as a twelve-car train are replaced by one ten-car train, just as with Greater Anglia. Note the claimed fifteen percent capacity increase!

Metro Services

The article says this about Metro services,

Metro-style trains will be introduced on suburban routes, similar to those on other high-capacity routes into London.

Is the DfT thinking of trains like Crossrail’s Class 345 trains?

Changes Of London Terminals

The DfT was thinking of all inner suburban services going to a single London terminal, but this has been dropped following opposition.

Changes are still proposed, to stop conflicts at Lewisham.

  • Bexleyheath Line services will switch from Victoria to Cannon Street or Charing Cross.
  • Hayes Line services will serve Victoria and Charing Cross, but not Cannon Street.
  • North Kent Line services will run to Cannon Street.
  • Sidcup Line services will run to Charing Cross and Cannon Street in the Peak.
  • Extra services will serve Abbey Wood for Crossrail.
  • More twelve-car trains.

The objective is a turn-up-and-go Metro-style service on suburban routes.

To London Overground, Merseyrail and other commuters around the K, that means four trains per hour.

As there was with the proposal Network Rail made to curtail Sutton Loop Line services at Blackfriars, there will be complaints. Especially, from those who were at Eton with certain MPs!

Hopefully the design of London Bridge station will help smooth things over.

Twelve-Car Trains At Charing Cross And Waterloo East

If most trains are twelve-car trains, then surely all platforms at Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria and Waterloo East stations, must surely be able to handle trains of this length.

As it is specifically mentioned, Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations must be the most problem.

There have been suggestions of rebuilding the two stations, with the platforms at Charing Cross extending over the Thames.

Consider.

  • Modern signalling could handle twenty-four trains per hour between Charing Cross and London Bridge.
  • Connections to the Jubilee Line could be better.
  • The Bakerloo Line is planned to be extended to Lewisham.
  • Waterloo East station could surely have over-site development.
  • Techniques borrowed from London Underground could be used to turn trains faster at Charing Cross.

I have a feeling that we will see something fairly radical happen in the next few years to increase capacity across the South Bank.

Faster Services To Hastings

This is said about services to and from Hastings.

DfT has specified a new two trains per hour service between London, Tonbridge and Ashford, allowing services to Hastings to be speeded up by removing calls at Orpington, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough.

Bidders are incentivised to develop further proposals for reducing journey times, including for deliveringn high speed services between London St. Pancras, Hastings and Bexhill via Ashford.

That all sounds good for Hastings.

More Trains Between Strood And Tonbridge

This route along the Medway Valley Line will have two trains per hour all day.

Trains For The Franchise

The DfT has specified the trains in a fairly detailed way.

Cars No Longer Than Twenty Metres

This is probably because of curved platforms and other restrictions on the various routes.

It is also a similar car length to the current Class 465 trains and Class 377 trains.

No Extra Selective Door Opening, Except At Waterloo East

I suspect this could be that selective door opening, confuses passengers and perhaps slow the stops.

First Class To Be Removed By September 2020

Will this be popular with all passengers?

There doesn’t seem to have been too many protests about the future removal of First Class on Greater Anglia’s services in Essex.

But it will allow the capacity of the train to be increased, to provide space for some of those 40,000 additional passengers.

ETCS Will Have To Be Deployed

European Train Control System (ETCS)  can enable higher frequencies of trains in a safe manner and mandating that it be deployed is a sensible move.

At Least One Accessible Toilet On Main Line And High Speed Trains

I think most train operating companies would do this!

Adequate Wi-Fi

Not providing wi-fi and in addition 4G signals, is probably an easy way to reduce ridership.

Walk Through Trains

The fleets that have been bought recently, are all of this type, so I think it would be unlikely, that any new trains for the Southeastern franchise would be different.

My Thoughts

Train Length

 

Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast have set a pattern, by ordering trains and half-trains, that can probably be used in a flexible manner.

Half-train/Full-train ratios for the various companies are.

  • Great Western Railway – 1.6
  • Greater Anglia – 4.0
  • South Western Railway 0.5
  • Virgin Trains East Coast – 0.5

Each company has chosen an appropriate number of trains for their routes, but each can adjust numbers by running two half-trains as a full train.

So will we see the same strategy on a future Southeastern franchise?

Perhaps most trains will be twelve-car trains with a small number of six-car trains, that can work together as required.

Train Speed

In Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Elimination Of Slow Trains, I came to this conclusion.

All trains incapable of running a service at 100 mph should be eliminated, just as the two operators;Greater Anglia and South Western Railway, are planning to do.

All of the new Southeastern franchise’s trains should be 100 mph trains.

 

 

 

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

C2E – Crossrail 1 1/2?

The title of this post is the same as that in this article in Rail Engineer.

It describes a proposal to extend the Abbey Wood Branch of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet International station along the North Kent Line.

The article starts with these two paragraphs.

With the main Crossrail project now mostly complete, and with tracks running right through the new tunnels, there has been much talk of Crossrail 2 as the next project, crossing under London from South West to North East and linking Wimbledon with the Leigh Valley.

Rather overlooked is a shorter-term proposal to extend the current Crossrail (or Elizabeth line as it will be called) from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet in Kent.

The article talks about the advantages of an extension to Ebbsfleet International station.

This proposal would connect several major brownfield development sites with central London, London City and Heathrow airports, and the West, while also connecting Crossrail passengers with Eurostar and the continent

Specific figures and points include

  • Bexley has 1,100 acres of development space available.
  • 55,000 homes could be built.
  • Potential for high-value jobs.
  • Dartford, where there is a lot of demand, has six trains per hour  (tph) to London.

In addition the following additional services call or will call in the near future at Dartford.

  • Southeastern – Two tph running between Gillingham and London Charing Cross.
  • Southeastern – Two tph running between Gravesend and London Charing Cross.
  • Thameslink – Two tph running between Rainham and Luton.

This map from the article shows the route.

I think it is a good plan and I’ll give my reasons in the following sections.

Abbey Wood Is Not A Terminal Station

Was the reason Abbey Wood station was chosen as a terminus more to do with giving a rail connection to the public transport desert of Thamesmead and all its supposed Labour voters?

  • It’s not by any important tourist venue like the Thames.
  • There’s not even a Shopping Centre.
  • There’s little space for car parking.
  • Abbey Wood station is a very cramped site.

When compared to the three other termini, it is the least significant.

  • Shenfield is a small town with shops and a railway junction.
  • Reading is a thriving city and a major transport interchange.
  • Heathrow is Heathrow.

I also suspect that the track layout at Abbey Wood station has been designed to allow Crossrail trains to continue Eastwards on the North Kent Line.

Ebbsfleet International Would Be A Much Better Terminal Station

Ebbsfleet International station has a lot going for it, as a Crossrail terminal.

  • It is a station for Eurostar and the Continent.
  • Some continental services might terminate at Ebbsfleet in the future due to capacity limitations at St. Pancras.
  • It would connect Crossrail to the Highspeed commuter services to and from East Kent and East Sussex.
  • There’s plenty of space for platforms and depots.
  • There’s already masses of car parking.
  • The area may get a theme park.

There is also the interesting possibility, that it could be faster for many passengers from Central London to use Crossrail and Ebbsfleet, rather than a taxi and St. Pancras to get a train to Paris and Brussels.

I also believe that one of our World Class architects can come up with a proposal for a passenger-friendly station that combines the current Ebbfleet International station with Northfleet station on the North Kent Line.

The Route Would Require Little Major Engineering Works

The route to Ebbsfleet would be predominantly, if not completely, on the surface, along the double-track North Kent Line. Having just flown my helicopter along the route, there is a lot of apace on either side of the tracks for quite a proportion of the route.

A four-track route would probably be impossible, but I suspect that Network Rail could design an efficient route, that would handle the services on the route efficiently.

Trains Along The North Kent Line

Current frequencies of Off Peak through trains on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood and Gravesend stations are as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 8 tph
  • Belvedere – 8 tph
  • Erith – 6 tph
  • Slade Green – 6 tph
  • Dartford – 4 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 4 tph
  • Greenhithe – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 2 tph

There will be additional services in the Peak and Thameslink will run an extra two tph from Rainham to Luton, within the next year or so.

The North Kent Line doesn’t seem to have the most extensive level of services.

The New Southeastern Franchise

The new South Eastern franchise will be awarded in August 2018 and is due to start by the end of the year.

The franchise will probably bring changes and add new trains to the fleet and lines like the North Kent Line.

I also suspect that all trains running on the North Kent Line will in a few years be modern trains capable of operating at 100 mph.

Modern Signalling Could Handle Twenty-Four Trains Per Hour On The North Kent Line

There is no doubt, that if Crossrail-style signalling were applied to the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood the Medway towns, capacity could be increased, if all trains on the line were modern 100 mph units.

I doubt that twenty-four tph would be needed, but I’m sure that enough capacity could be created on the route to handle all services; curent or proposed.

How Many Trains Would Crossrail Run Between Abbey Wood And Ebbsfleet International Stations?

Crossrail’s timetable plan shows  these frequencies at the various termini in the Peak.

  • Abbey Wood – 12 tph
  • Gidea Park – 4 tph
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 – 4 tph
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 – 2 tph
  • Liverpool Street – 4 tph
  • Maidenhead – 2 tph
  • Paddington – 12 tph
  • Reading – 4 tph
  • Shenfield – 12 tph

From these figures, it would appear that four tph to Ebbsfleet International would be reasonable starting point.

This would give the following frequencies along the line.

  • Abbey Wood – 14 tph
  • Belvedere – 14 tph
  • Erith – 12 tph
  • Slade Green – 12 tph
  • Dartford – 10 tph
  • Stone Crossing – 10 tph
  • Greenhithe – 10 tph
  • Gravesend – 4 tph

Note I have added in the 2 tph Thameslink trains from Rainham to Luton.

These frequencies are well within the limits of a double-track railway with a 100 mph operating speed and modern signalling.

The Original Plan Was To Extend To Gravesend

The route for Crossrail from Abbey Wood is safeguarded to Gravesend. Under Future Extensions in the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, this is said.

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.

A depot would be built at Hoo Junction to the East of Gravesend.

The extended service could always call at both stations.

  • Ebbsfleet International station connects to Eurostar and has space for masses of parking.
  • Gravesend connects to services to East Kent and is on the Thames.

Money and accountants would decide.

Conclusion

Extending four tph from Abbey Wood to a new terminus at Ebbsfleet International station, doesn’t appear to be the most difficult of undertakings.

 

 

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Class 800/801 Trains Work Southeastern Highspeed Services?

Southeastern Highspeed services are run by Class 395 trains.

These trains are capable of the following.

  1. 140 mph running on HS1.
  2. Running on third-rail lines.
  3. Joining and separating in under a couple of minutes.

As the electric Class 801 trains are also members of Hitachi’s A-train family, I’m sure that they could built to a similar specification.

  • The trains are capable of 140 mph on suitable lines.
  • Rhird-rail gear can probably be easily added.
  • The joining and separating is in the specification.

So I think the answer to my question must be in the afformative.

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

Thoughts On Highspeed to Hastings

Since I wrote Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Highspeed To Hastings, a couple of months ago, several things have happened.

And Now There Are Three!

Trenitalia has pulled out of bidding for the new Southeastern franchise as reported in this article in the International Rail Journal.

This leaves just three bidders.

  • A joint venture of Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui
  • Govia
  • Stagecoach

The same joint venture were recently awarded the West Midlands franchise.

The new franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with services starting in December 2018.

Electrification Has Been Abandoned

Major electrification schemes have been abandoned, so I suspect it will be even more unlikely that Ashford to Hastings will be electrified.

The Aventras Are Coming

Class 345 trains have started to appear on Crossrail and it is my opinion that they are a fine train.

In An Exciting New Aventra, I laid out the philosophy of the new trains and in How Long Will It Take Bombardier To Fulfil Their Aventra Orders?, I discussed how Bombardier will build the trains, at a rate of twenty-five carriages a month.

The rate comes from this article in The Guardian, which is entitled Full speed ahead for train builders as minister pulls plug on electrification, where I found this useful nugget of information, from the General Manager of Bombardier’s Derby plant.

Building trains in an “ergonomically correct” fashion, he says, means completing and testing the carriage’s constituent parts, then assembling them, rather than wiring them up afterwards – and also takes the risk away from a production line which boasts a rate of 25 carriages per week.

It sounds like Bombardier’s engineers have been drinking and swapping ideas, with Toyota’s production engineers a few miles down the road at Burnaston.

The New South Eastern Franchise

So do we have any clues as to what the new South Eastern franchise will be doing?

South Western Railway

South Western Railway‘s routes have a similar pattern to those of the South Eastern franchise, with an intense suburban network and longer distance services.

You could also argue that Greater Anglia isn’t much different.

Both these other franchises have are replacing their suburban trains with new 100 mph trains with all the trimming like wi-fi and toilets.

Both have chosen a mix of five and ten-car Aventras.

This would appear to give the following advantages.

  • The 100 mph trains with excellent acceleration and smooth regenerative braking help to make services faster and more frequent.
  • A near identical fleet will help maintenance and crew training.
  • It is easier to get the train-platform interface better, if only one class of train calls at a station.
  • Platform compatibility with Crossrail and Crossrail 2.

I suspect that the new South Eastern franchise will think on similar lines.

The Networkers Must Be Going

Southeastern currently has a total of 674 Networker carriages, most of which will surely be moved on by the new franchise holder.

I believe that these trains with their 75 mph speed and average performance, is not high enough for efficient timetabling of services and that consequently the new franchise holder will probably replace these trains with 100 mph units.

One choice would be to use a mix of new five and ten-car Aventras as chosen by Greater Anglia and South Western Railway. Replacing Networker carriages with the same number of Aventra carriages would take around six months of production at Bombardier.

The Aventras must be high on the list of new trains, as some of the new trains, may have to use the same platforms as Crossrail, if the line is extended from Abbey Wood station.

The Extra High Speed Trains

To serve Hastings and increase the number of Highspeed services, the new franchise holder, will have to obtain some more trains that can use High Speed 1.

Some of these trains will need the ability to travel on the Marshlink Line between Ashford and Hastings.

Consider.

  • It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to have two different types of trains working to Ashford on High Speed 1.
  • Class 800 trains, which are closely related to the Class 395 trains have onboard diesel power and might have energy storage to handle regenerative braking.
  • Class 395 trains are getting towards ten years old and are approaching the need for a refresh.
  • Hitachi have built trains with onboard energy storage in Japan.
  • Diesel fuel might not be allowed in the tunnels of High Speed 1.
  • Hitachi would probably be very disappointed to not get this order.

More Class 395 trains fitted with either onboard energy storage must be the favourite.

Conclusion

Kent will get Aventras to improve suburban services and more Class 395 trains with batteries for Highspeed services.

 

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Waterloo Upgrade August 2017 – Waterloo To Sevenoaks

During this week Network Rail are working on the OverJubilee or the lines between London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing Cross, so capacity from places like Sevenoaks station is reduced.

To compensate Southeastern are running a two trains per hour (tph) service between Sevenoaks and Platform 22 at Waterloo station.

  • One train goes to Dover Priory station and the other goes to Ramsgate station.
  • The trains take the old Eurostar route into Waterloo station over the Waterloo Curve or the Nine Elms Flyover.

So I thought I’d have a look, hoping to perhaps have a lunch in Sevenoaks.

These are a few pictures I took.

There would have been more, but it was chucking it down and the ones I took were terrible.

The Linford Street Junction And The Waterloo Curve

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the Linford Street Junction and the Waterloo Curve.

The Junction and the Curve are used by trains to connect from Waterloo in the North East, to the lines from Victoria that go across South London via Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye stations.

Note how the train going into Waterloo and the train coming out passed on the flyover. I assume this was for safety so that trains could leave and join the lines to Victoria at Linford Street Junction.

These pictures of the flyover were taken on another journey to Clapham Junction station.

The flyover is recent and was built for Eurostar and completed in May 1993. There’s a page called Nine Elms Flyover on the Kent Rail website, which gives a detailed history of the flyover.

The Route Between Waterloo And Sevenoaks

The journey between Waterloo And Sevenoaks passed through the following stations without stopping.

  • Vauxhall
  • Wandsworth Road
  • Clapham High Street
  • Denmark Hill
  • Peckham Rye
  • Nunhead
  • Lewisham
  • Hither Green
  • Grove Park
  • Elmstead Woods
  • Chislehurst
  • Petts Wood
  • Orpington
  • Chelsfield
  • Knockholt
  • Dunton Green

From Lewisham station onwards the route is on the South Eastern Main Line.

Overall Impressions

The route seemed to work well, although between Waterloo and Lewisham, the train was rather slow, with a slight delay joining the lines out of Victoria.

The journey was timed at 47 minutes, with the fastest normal services between London and Sevenoaks being around ten minutes faster.

It certainly seems to be providing an extra two tph between London and Sevenoaks. In Eurostar days, it handled up to six tph.

I also suspect it could handle twelve-car trains, although my journey was in an eight-car train.

Future Developments Along The Route

There are going to be more developments to rail services along the route and also into Kent. Many will be driven, by the bidding for the new Southeastern Franchise.

Ashford International Station

In  Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Ashford Spurs, I talked about the completed upgrading of Ashford International station, so that more Eurostar and other Continental services can call.

As the station is going to get more Highspeed services, I can envisage some innovative ways to make more and better use of this station.

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

The Bakerloo Line Extension will provide passengers with the option of using the Underground from Lewisham to access Central and North London.

Brockley Lane Station

The Lewisham Line runs between Peckham Rye and Lewisham stations and is used by Southeastern trains from both Victoria and Waterloo.

There used to be a Brockley Lane station, where the route crosses the current London Overground’s East London Line, close to Brockley station.

This is said under Future in the Wikipedia entry for the station.

According to the Department for Transport and the Transport for London rail prospectus report released in 2016, it has been listed as one of the Southeastern franchise planned improvements in the document entitled “New interchange at Brockley”, suggesting that there might be a case to reopen the station.

Creating an interchange here would certainly open up lots of travel opportunities.

It should be noted that Brockley station will from 2020, have a ten tph service to Canada Water and Whitechapel stations, with all their Crossrail and Underground connections.

Charing Cross Station

Charing Cross station is bursting at the seams, with typically fourteen and more trains in each hour.

This extract comes from Network’s Kent Route Study.

Charing Cross has just six 12-car platforms and Platforms 4, 5 and 6 are very narrow, leading to operational restrictions.

Class 465 units cannot operate in 12-car into these platforms and selective door operation is used on Class 375 units.

A major rebuild of the station could allow it to be extended south over the river, like Blackfriars, providing compliant platforms and greater passenger circulation.

At concept level, a new link to Waterloo from a southern entrance to Charing Cross may supersede Waterloo East allowing the station area to be used for  additional track capacity, but there are likely to be many issues with a project on this scale.

One of the many issues would be how to keep services running during the rebuild of the station.

I suspect that Waterloo could have a role to play in handling some of the services.

Fawkham Junction Link

In Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Fawkham Junction Link, I talked about the proposal to reopen the Fawkham Junction Link,  which was originally used to allow Eurostar trains to get to Waterloo station.

If this link were to be reopened, coupled with what has been happening between Waterloo and Sevenoaks, this would enable extra Southeastern HighSpeed services to Thanet to be run to either Victoria or Waterloo.

Victoria Station

Victoria station will periodically need work and might even be subject to a major upgrade project.

As with Charing Cross, I’m sure Waterloo could be used as an alternative terminus for a few trains.

Could Southeastern Services Into Waterloo Become Permanent? 

I suspect that as has been successfully shown this week, that it is a feasible proposition.

But whether it actually happens would be up to the train operators.

Consider.

  • Eurostar used to run a 6 tph service on this route.
  • A single well-designed platform can handle 4 tph.
  • The new platforms can handle twelve-car trains.

But most importantly, the train operators will have all the passenger data!

Conclusion

Southeastern and Network Rail have certainly shown it is possible to run a two tph service successfully between Sevenoaks and Waterloo.

If nothing else, it could prove to be a useful alternative route during engineering works or other diversions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment