The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connection To Southeastern High Speed One Services

The Two Stratford Stations

In this post, Stratford station is the station handling Greater Anglia and London Overground, Underground and Docklands Light Railway services, with Stratford International station handles High Speed services.

The Elizabeth Line And The Great Western Railway Services

One of the most important stations on the Elizabeth Line is Paddington, where it connects to the London terminus of the Great Western Railway.

I would expect that quite a few passengers going to the West and Wales on the Great Western Railway, will be transported to Paddington by the Elizabeth Line.

The Elizabeth Line And Greater Anglia Services

Another of the important stations on the Elizabeth Line is Liverpool Street, where the station is the London terminus of the Greater Anglia.

I would expect that quite a few passengers going to East Anglia on the Greater Anglia, will be transported to Liverpool Street by the Elizabeth Line.

Southeastern High Speed One Services

Southeastern runs some High Speed services  on High Speed One to provide Kent with an improved service to London.

Current services are

  • London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Faversham.
  • London St Pancras International to Ramsgate via Dover Priory.
  • London St Pancras International to Margate via Canterbury West.

Note

  1. All trains are one train per hour (tph).
  2. All trains stop at Stratford International and Ebbsfleet International.
  3. All trains are run by 140 mph Class 395 trains.

There has also been talk of running a fourth service to Hastings and Eastbourne via Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.

St. Pancras Station

All of these trains terminate in three platforms; 11 to 13 at St. Pancras International station.

St. Pancras is not the ideal terminal for the Southeastern High Speed services.

  • St. Pancras is not on the Elizabeth Line.
  • St.Pancras doesn’t have good connections to Heathrow.
  • All connections to the Underground are a long walk.
  • Eurostar services are a longer walk.
  • East Midland services are also a longer route, with stairs and escalators for good measure.

St. Pancras station was designed by a committee, as a museum to Victorian architecture, rather than as a working station.

Ebbsfleet International Station Must Be The Largest Parkway Station In The UK

It holds nearly five thousand cars and it is served by Southeastern High Speed Services.

Thanet Parkway Station Will Open This Year

Thanet Parkway station is under construction.

  • It will have nearly three hundred parking spaces.
  • It will be served by Southeastern High Speed Services.
  • It should open in May 2023.

This station will need a good connection to London.

Could An Interchange Between The Elizabeth Line And Southeastern High Speed Services Be Provided At Stratford?

Such an alternative interchange would be popular with passengers.

  • The Elizabeth Line from Stratford currently serves the West End, the Northern section of the City of London, East London, Liverpool Street, Paddington and the West End directly.
  • The Elizabeth Line from Stratford currently serves Canary Wharf, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Euston, Heathrow, King’s Cross. Reading, St. Pancras and Victoria with a change at Whitechapel.
  • The Central Line, which shares platforms with the Elizabeth Line  serves Bank and the West End directly.
  • The Overground is easily accessed for travel across North London to Richmond.
  • The Jubilee Line is easily accessed for travel to London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.

It would be connected to two large parkway stations and lots of parking all over Kent.

I believe that Stratford must be promoted as an alternative terminus for Southeastern High Speed Services.

Today, I walked both ways between two Stratford stations.

These pictures show the route I took between Stratford and Stratford International stations, through the Eastfield Shopping Centre.

Note.

  1. I went through the Shopping Centre.
  2. I passed Marks & Spencer’s large food hall, excellent toilets and a Food Court.
  3. By the Food Court is an exit that leads to an entrance to Stratford International station.
  4. The walk took about 10 minutes.
  5. It was vaguely level.
  6. Lifts by-passed the escalators.
  7. One thing that makes the journey to London easier, is to travel in the Eastern end of the train, as the lifts and escalators at Stratford International station, are at that end.

It does need some better signage, but they were doing a bit of refurbishment, so that may already be underway.

It could be a very high quality interchange and it is already better than St. Pancras.

Coming back I took the longer route outside the Shopping Centre.

Note.

  1. I just turned left out of the entrance, walked along the road and turned right past the bus station.
  2. If the weather had been colder or wetter, I’d have gone back via the Shopping Centre.
  3. The walk took about 12 minutes.

I think normally, I’d go back through the Shopping Centre, as there’s a Marks and Spencer Food Hall on the route and it’s slightly quicker and often warmer.

 

Could Stratford Station Be A London Superhub Station?

When you consider the stations connected to Stratford in London, East Anglia and Kent, it has an excellent collection.

  • Airports – Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southend and Stansted
  • Cities – Cambridge, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich and Southend-on-Sea
  • London Main and Terminal Stations – Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Clapham Junction, Euston, Farringdon, King’s Cross, London Bridge, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Moorgate, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo
  • Major Areas – Canary Wharf, City of London, Hampstead, Olympic Park and West End
  • Ports – Dover, Felixstowe, Folkestone and Harwich

You can even get a train to Slough, with a change at Whitechapel.

I would think it already is a London Superhub Station.

January 30, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Serving South-East London

The Inadequacies Of Abbey Wood Station

Abbey Wood station is the Elizabeth Line’s main terminus in South-East London.

The architecture is impressive, as the pictures taken before the station was finished show.

But other things are less than impressive.

  • There is no station parking.
  • Central London rail terminals served by Elizbeth Line services are only Liverpool Street/Moorgate and Paddington.
  • Central London rail terminals served by National Rail services are Cannon Street, London Bridge, King’s Cross and St. Pancras.

In my view, Abbey Wood is a lost cause, as a commuter station, unless substantial parking is built at the station.

Parking At Stations In West Kent

This list shows the number of car parking spaces at stations in West Kent and South East London.

  • Barnehurst – 162 *
  • Belvedere – None *
  • Bexleyheath – 83 *
  • Chatham – 276 *
  • Dartford – 186 *
  • Ebbsfleet International – 4945 #
  • Erith – None *
  • Eynsford – 15
  • Farningham Road – None
  • Gillingham – 152 *
  • Gravesend – 94 *
  • Greenhithe – 8 *
  • Longfield – 88
  • Meopham – 167
  • Northfleet – None *
  • Plumstead – None *
  • Rochester – None *
  • St. Mary Cray – 31
  • Slade Green – 25
  • Sole Street – 61
  • Stone Crossing – None *
  • Strood – 112 *
  • Swanley – 106
  • Swanscombe – None *
  • Welling – 117

Note.

  1. An asterisk (*) indicates direct trains to and from Abbey Wood station for the Elizabeth Line.
  2. An hash(#) indicates direct trains to and from Stratford International for the Elizabeth Line.

These figures are according to the National Rail web site.

It looks like unless you can walk to your nearest station and that has an easy connection to Abbey Wood, you’re probably better off going to Ebbsfleet and parking there.

Travelling Between Ebbsfleet International And The Elizabeth Line At Stratford International

Consider.

  • Southeastern’s Highspeed service between Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International has a frequency of three trains per hour (tph)
  • It takes less than twelve minutes between the two stations.
  • It takes ten minutes to walk between Stratford International and Stratford Station for the Elizabeth Line and Greater Anglia services.
  • There are eight Elizabeth Line tph to Paddington, calling at all stations. For Heathrow change at Whitechapel station.

Note.

  1. From these points, it should be possible to estimate the time you should park at Ebbsfleet to get to an event in London or East Anglia, if you live in Kent and are parking at Ebbsfleet International.
  2. I think four tph between Ebbsfleet International and Stratford International would make the route more attractive.
  3. If you’re going to Norwich or Ipswich be careful, as only one of the two tph stop at Stratford.

I catch the 12:30 from Liverpool Street for matches at Ipswich on Saturdays. This is the 12:38 from Stratford, so I suspect if you parked at parked at Ebbsfleet before 12:00, you’d make it.

Who’d have thought, that when they built the massive car parks at Ebbsfleet international, that they would be a Park-and-Ride for football at Ipswich. And Norwich too!

Changing Trains At Stratford

This map from Cartometro shows the two Stratford stations.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The Jubilee Line is shown in silver.
  4. The Overground is shown in orange.
  5. Lifts and escalators take passengers to and from the surface from between platforms 2 and 3 at Stratford International station.

Two pedestrian tunnels connect all the platforms in Stratford station.

  • Elizabeth Line trains use platforms 5 and 8.
  • Central Line trains use platforms 3, 3a and 6.
  • Great Eastern Main Line trains use platforms 9, 9a and 10.
  • Overground trains use platforms 1 and 2.

All platforms have lifts.

I suspect, that when you get to know the Stratford complex well, it’s easier than it looks.

But it does need better signage.

Full Step-Free Route Between Ebbsfleet And Heathrow Central

I have just used Transport for London’s Journey Planner, as if I was in a wheelchair and need full step-free access to go from Ebbsfleet to Heathrow Central.

This was the route.

  • Southeastern to Stratford International station – 10 mins
  • Walk to Stratford station – 21 mins
  • Jubilee Line to Bond Street – 24 mins
  • Bond Street to Heathrow Central – 32 mins

Note.

  1. The times are slower than say myself.
  2. I think it is possible to pick up the Elizabeth Line at Stratford.

But the route is certainly possible in a wheel-chair.

The Penge Interchange

This map from Cartometro shows where the East London Line of the London Overground and the Chatham Main Line between Victoria and Chatham cross in Penge.

Note.

  1. The East London Line runs North-South through Sydenham and Penge West stations.
  2. The Chatham Main Line runs through Penge East station.

There is a plan by Transport for London to create a Penge Interchange station on railway land, where the two lines cross.

  • The station could replace Penge West and Penge East stations.
  • It would be fully step-free.
  • Interchange would be allowed between the East London Line and the Chatham Main Line.

This would increase connectivity for those travelling to and from South-East London and West Kent.

I brlieve that this one interchange could help level-up a large area of South-East London.

 

January 29, 2023 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Linking To The Chatham Main Line

Preamble

I believe that everybody in the South East of England needs the best access possible to the Elizabeth Line, by train from where they live.

  • The Elizabeth Line serves the important places like Brick Lane, Canary Wharf, the City of London, Heathrow Airport, Liverpool Street station, the Olympic Park, Oxford Street and Paddington station directly.
  • Because of its connection to Thameslink, the Elizabeth Line also serves important places like Bedford, Brighton, Cambridge, Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport and Tate Modern with a single change at Farringdon station.
  • Using the Elizabeth Line, Thameslink and perhaps a bus, it is possible to get to most important places in Central London.
  • The more passengers that use the Elizabeth Line and Thameslink, the more London’s businesses will thrive creating employment and tax revenues.
  • It should also be remembered, that using a train to visit central London, probably cuts your carbon footprint.
  • The Elizabeth Line also cost a fortune, so perhaps by using it, you will be getting some of your portion of what it cost you back.

This post is one of several, where I discuss how to bring more passengers into the Elizabeth Line network.

The Chatham Main Line

This is the introduction to the Wikipedia entry for the Chatham Main Line.

The Chatham Main Line is a railway line in England that links London Victoria and Dover Priory / Ramsgate, travelling via Medway (of which the town of Chatham is part, hence the name).

Services to Cannon Street follow the route as far as St Mary Cray Junction where they diverge onto the South Eastern Main Line near Chislehurst.

Thameslink services to Luton run in parallel from Rainham to Rochester, diverging once across the River Medway at Rochester Bridge Junction onto the North Kent Line via Gravesend and Dartford.

A shuttle service operates on the Sheerness Line which starts at Sittingbourne.

Note.

  1. The main London terminals for trains to London on the Chatham Main Line are Cannon Street (Peak only), St. Pancras and Victoria.
  2. Services stop at Rainham station, so passengers can change to the two trains per hour (tph) Thameslink service to Luton.
  3. St. Pancras has one tph from Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne and Faversham stations.
  4. Victoria has two tph from Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham, Sittingbourne and Faversham stations.
  5. Rochester, Gillingham, Rainham and Faversham can turnback trains to London.

The only connections to the Elizabeth Line are.

  • The HighSpeed service to St. Pancras calls at Stratford International, where the connection is tortuous.
  • The Thameslink service calls at Farringdon, where the connection is easy.

As an example say you were going from Chatham to Heathrow Terminal 4.

The National Rail timetable suggests this route.

  • Southeastern HighSpeed – Chatham to St. Pancras
  • Thameslink – St. Pancras to Farringdon
  • Elizabeth Line – Farringdon to Heathrow

Note that the change at St. Pancras is not the easiest.

Extending The Elizabeth Line To The Chatham Main Line

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I talk about this proposal as described in this article on Ian Visits.

One of the key features of Crossrail To Ebbsfleet (C2E) project is that instead of all trains terminating at Abbey Wood, trains will terminate as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 4 tph

This will mean that 8 tph would pass through Abbey Wood station.

Gravesend is not the best place to turn trains, so why not turn two tph at somewhere like Rochester, Gillingham, Rainham or Faversham?

If two tph to Rainham is good enough for Thameslink, surely two tph to Faversham could be good enough?

Extending The Elizabeth Line To A New Hoo Station

In Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening, I discussed opening the new Hoo station.

Consider.

  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • Aventras have been designed to run on battery power, so I suspect Lizzie’s Class 345 trains could be so fitted.
  • Range would be sufficient for one return trip from Hoo junction to Hoo station
  • Two tph at Hoo station could be handled by a single platform.

It looks to me, that of the four tph to Gravesend if C2E is built, two tph could go to both of Hoo and Faversham.

This assumes of course that digital signalling can fit all the trains on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood and Faversham.

Chatham And London Main Line Stations

In these routes, I am assuming that there are two tph on the Lizzie Line between Faversham and Heathrow.

  • Chatham and Cannon Street – Lizzie Line to Whitechapel and then District Line
  • Chatham and Charing Cross – Lizzie Line to Whitechapel and then District Line
  • Chatham and Euston – Lizzie Line to Whitechapel and then Hammersmith & City Line
  • Chatham and Farringdon – Lizzie Line direct – Thameslink direct
  • Chatham and Fenchurch Street – Lizzie Line to Whitechapel and then District Line
  • Chatham and Liverpool Street – Lizzie Line direct
  • Chatham and Marylebone – Lizzie Line to Paddington and then Bakerloo Line
  • Chatham and Paddington – Lizzie Line direct
  • Chatham and Kings Cross – Thameslink direct – Lizzie Line to Whitechapel and then Hammersmith & City Line
  • Chatham and St. Pancras – Thameslink direct – Southeastern HighSpeed direct
  • Chatham and Victoria – Southeastern direct – Lizzie Line to Whitechapel and then District Line
  • Chatham and Waterloo – Lizzie Line to Paddington and then Bakerloo Line

Note how Whitechapel is an important interchange, as I said in Whitechapel Station Is The Preferred Interchange.

Conclusion

I do believe that the Elizabeth Line could be successfully extended to Kent.

 

 

December 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Battery EMUs Envisaged In Southeastern Fleet Procurement

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

Southeastern has invited expressions of interest for the supply of new electric multiple-units with an optional battery capability for operation away from the 750 V DC third-rail network.

This article on bidstats is entitled Supply Of And Maintenance Support For New Rolling Stock For Southeastern, and gives more details.

These are my thoughts.

Southeastern HighSpeed Services

There would appear to be no changes in this contract to the Class 395 trains, that work on High Speed One, as this is said in the bidstats article.

Full compatibility with Southeastern infrastructure (excluding High Speed 1 infrastructure)

which appears to rule out running on High Speed One.

In addition, this article on Rail Magazine is entitled Southeastern’s Class 395 Javelin Train Sets Are To Receive A £27 million Facelift.

Southeastern Have Both 75 and 100 mph Trains

In addition to their Class 395 trains, Southeastern have the following trains in their fleet.

Note.

  1. Running a mixed fleet of 75 and 100 mph trains can’t be very efficient.
  2. The Class 465 and 466 trains are the oldest trains and date from 1991-1994.
  3. They are often to be seen in ten-car formations of 2 x 465 trains and a Class 466 train.
  4. Another twelve Class 707 trains are planned to join Southeastern.

I would expect the Class 465 and Class 466 trains to be replaced first.

What Length Will The New Trains Be?

If you look at the new suburban electric trains, they have the following lengths.

Note.

  1. Southeastern already run five-car trains as pairs.
  2. A significant proportion of existing suburban trains are five-car trains.
  3. Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Lumo and TransPennine Express run five-car Hitachi trains, with more companies  to follow.
  4. A pair of five-car trains make a pair of a convenient length for most platforms.

I would be fairly confident, that the new trains will be five-car trains, with the ability to run as pairs.

What Will Be The Operating Speed Of The New Trains?

To match the speed of the Class 375 and Class 707 trains, I would expect them to be 100 mph trains.

The Quietness Of Battery-Electric Trains

All of the battery-electric trains I have ridden, have been mouse-quiet, with none of the clunking you get for a lot of electric trains.

This is said in the bidstats article says this about the interiors

Interiors suitable for metro & mainline operation.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of these trains on commuter routes to attract passengers.

Battery Power

This is said in the bidstats article about battery power.

Inclusion of options for traction batteries with capability for operation in depots and sidings without the need for external power supply, and with the capability to operate on the main line where power supply is not available due to isolations or incidents, or for non-electrified line sections of up to 20 miles.

Although Merseyrail’s new Class 777 trains are not in service yet, I find it interesting that the proposed Southeastern trains will be similarly-fitted with a small battery for depot and siding operation.

The twenty mile battery range is specific and I wonder if it will be used innovatively. I suspect it could be a bit longer in the future, as battery technology improves.

Possible Electrified Routes Using Battery Power

These are a few possibilities.

The Hoo Branch

In Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening, I discussed running electric trains to a proposed Hoo station.

I made these two points.

  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • There are also half-a-dozen level crossings on the route, which I doubt the anti-third rail brigade would not want to be electrified.

It would appear that a battery-electric train with a range of twenty miles would handle this route easily.

  • Charging would be on the nearly thirty miles between Hoo junction and Charing Cross station.
  • No charging would be needed at Hoo station.

There may be other possibilities for new routes locally to open up new housing developments.

The Sheerness Line

The Sheerness Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is double-track
  • It is electrified
  • It is less than eight miles long.
  • For most of the day, the service is one train per hour (tph)
  • There are two tph in the Peak.
  • Would two tph attract more passengers to the line?
  • Does the power supply on the Sheerness Line limit the size and power of trains that can be run on the line?
  • Is there a need for one train per day to London in the morning and a return in the evening?
  • Could the Sheerness Line be run more economically with battery trains. providing a two tph service all day?

The Isle of Sheppey needs levelling up, perhaps 100 mph trains to London using battery power on the Sheerness Line, might just make a difference.

The Medway Valley Line

The Medway Valley Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is double-track
  • It is electrified
  • It is less than twenty-six and a half miles long.
  • For most of the day, the service is two tph.
  • In the Peak there are HighSpeed services between Maidstone West and St.Pancras International stations.

If electrification was removed between Paddock Wood and Maidstone West stations, the HighSpeed services could still be run and battery-electric trains with a twenty mile range could still run the Tonbridge and Strood service.

The Marshlink Line

The Marshlink Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is mainly single-track with a passing loop at Rye station.
  • It is not electrified
  • It is 25.4 miles between the electrified Ashford International and Ore stations.
  • Services are irregular and less than one tph.

If the proposed battery-electric train had a range of thirty miles, it should be able to handle the Marshlink Line.

The service between Eastbourne and Ashford International stations would need to be moved between the Southern and Southeastern operations.

The Uckfield Branch

The Uckfield Branch has the following characteristics.

  • It is a mixture of single- and double-track.
  • It is not electrified South of Hurst Green Junction.
  • It is 24.7 miles between the electrified Hurst Green Junction and Uckfield station
  • Services are one tph.

If the proposed battery-electric train had a range of thirty-miles, it should be able to handle the Uckfield Branch, with a charging system at Uckfield station.

Will Battery-Electric Trains Allow Some Lines To Have Their Electrification Removed?

There are several reasons, why electrification might be removed.

  1. It is on a line, where the electrification needs upgrading.
  2. It is on a line, where there are lots of trespassers.
  3. Possibly at a level-crossing or a stretch of track with several.
  4. Possibly in a tunnel, with a large inflow if water.
  5. It is a depot or siding, where safety is important to protect the workforce.

Obviously, the electrification would not be removed unless  battery-electric trains can handle all possible services.

These are surely some possibilities for electrification removal.

The Hayes Line

The Hayes Line has the following characteristics.

  • It is double-track
  • It is electrified
  • It is less than eight miles to Ladywell Junction, where the branch joins the main line at Lewisham.
  • It is currently run by Class 465 and Class 466 trains, which will likely be changed for the new trains with a battery capability.
  • Services are four tph.

If the proposed battery-electric train had a range of twenty-miles, it would be able to handle the route between Ladywell junction and Hayes station.

Erith Loop, Crayford Spur and Slade Green Depot

This map from Cartometro.com shows the Erith Loop, the Crayford Spur and the Slade Green Depot.

Note.

 

Not many trains take the Erith Loop or the Crayford Spur.

  • The distance between Slade Green and Barnehurst is less than a mile-and-a-half.
  • Dartford station is off the South-East corner of the map.
  • The distance between Barnehurst and Dartford is less than three miles.
  • The distance between Slade Green and Crayford is less than two miles-and-a-half.
  • The distance between Crayford and Dartford is less than two miles.
  • The main line through Slade Green would need to remain electrified, as electric freight trains use the line.

I suspect, that quite a lot of electrification could be removed here, much to the disgust of the copper thieves.

It might even be possible to build on top of the depot.

 

 

November 14, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Effort To Contain Costs For Hoo Reopening

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

Medway Council is working with Network Rail and other industry players in an effort to make restoration of a passenger service to Hoo on the Isle of Grain branch feasible. The Council was awarded £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in 2020 to support schemes to facilitate building of 12,000 new houses in the area, with £63 million of the HIF money for reinstatement of services on the Hoo Branch.

The article mentions, this new infrastructure.

  • A new station South of the former Sharnal Street station.
  • Works to level crossings, of which there are six between Gravesend station and proposed site of the new Hoo station.
  • A passing place at Hoo Junction, where the branch joins the North Kent Line.
  • A passing place at Cooling Street.

Note.

  1. The single-platform Bow Street station cost £8 million.
  2. The single-platform Soham station cost nearly £22 million, but it has a bridge.
  3. Reopening the Okehampton branch and refurbishing Okehampton station cost £40 million.

I think costs will be very tight.

Possible Train Services

This is said in the article about the train service on the branch.

While third rail electrification was originally proposed, this idea has been discarded in favour of self-powered trains on the branch, such as battery-operated trains. Possible destinations include Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet for interchange with trains going to London, or extension of London to Dartford or Gravesend services over the branch, using hybrid third-rail/battery trains.

Consider.

  • Merseyrail will be using battery-electric trains to provide services to the new Headbolt Lane station, as permission was not available for extending the existing third-rail track.
  • Electrification would probably cost more than providing a charging system at Hoo station.
  • Turning the trains at Gravesend, Northfleet or Ebbsfleet could be difficult and a new bay platform would probably break the budget.
  • Both Dartford and Gravesend have two trains per hour (tph), that could be extended to the new Hoo station.
  • Hoo junction to Hoo station is no more than five or six miles.
  • There are also half-a-dozen level crossings on the route, which I doubt the anti-thord rail brigade would not want to be electrified.
  • The Dartford services have a possible advantage in that they stop at Abbey Wood station for Crossrail.
  • It may be easier to run services through Gravesend station, if the terminating service from Charing Cross were to be extended to Hoo station.
  • A two tph service between London Charing Cross and Hoo stations, with intermediate stops at at least London Bridge, Lewisham, Abbey Wood and Dartford would probably be desirable.

I feel that the most affordable way to run trains to Hoo station will probably be to use battery-electric trains, which are extended from Gravesend.

It may even be possible to run trains to Hoo station without the need of a charging system at the station, which would further reduce the cost of infrastructure.

Possible Trains

Consider.

  • According to Wikipedia, stopping Gravesend services are now run by Class 376, Class 465, Class 466 and Class 707 trains.
  • Real Time Trains indicate that Gravesend services are run by pathed for 90 mph trains.
  • Class 376, Class 465 and Class 466 trains are only 75 mph trains.
  • Class 707 trains are 100 mph trains and only entered service in 2017.

I wonder, if Siemens designed these trains to be able to run on battery power, as several of their other trains can use batteries, as can their New Tube for London.

In Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London, I said this.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled London Underground Deep Tube Upgrade.

This is an extract.

More speculatively, there might be a means to independently power a train to the next station, possibly using the auxiliary battery, in the event of traction power loss.

Batteries in the New Tube for London would have other applications.

  • Handling regenerative braking.
  • Moving trains in sidings and depots with no electrification.

It should be born in mind, that battery capacity for a given weight of battery will increase before the first New Tube for London runs on the Piccadilly line around 2023.

A battery-electric train with a range of fifteen miles and regenerative braking to battery would probably be able to handle a return trip to Hoo station.

An Update In The July 2022 Edition Of Modern Railways

This is said on page 75.

More positive is the outlook for restoration of passenger services on the Hoo branch, where 12,000 new houses are proposed and Medway Council is looking to build a new station halfway down the branch to serve them. As the branch is unelectrified, one idea that has been looked at is a shuttle with a Vivarail battery train or similar, turning round at Gravesend or another station on the main line.

Steve White worries that this could mean spending a lot of money on infrastructure work and ending up with what would be a sub-optimal solution. ‘Do people really want to sit on a train for 10 minutes before having to get out and change onto another train? I don’t think so. Ideally what you want is through trains to London, by extending the Gravesend terminators to Hoo.’

That would require a battery/third rail hybrid unit, but Mr. White thinks that is far from an outlandish proposal; with Networker replacement on the horizon, a small bi-mode sub-fleet could dovetail neatly with a stock renewal programme. Medway Council and rail industry representatives are working on coming up with a solution for Hoo that could do what it does best; facilitating economic regeneration in a local area.

Note that Steve White is Managing Director of Southeastern.

I’ll go along with what he says!

Conclusion

I believe that a well-designed simple station and branch line could be possible within the budget.

A battery-electric upgrade to Class 707 trains could be a solution.

But the trains could be very similar to those needed for Uckfield and to extend electric services in Scotland.

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Southeastern’s Class 707 Trains

A few days ago, I had my first ride in one of Southeastern‘s Class 707 trains.

Other than a change of colour, they seemed little different to when they were working for South Western Railway.

Note that the orange grab-handles have been retained.

November 29, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , | 4 Comments

Night Train To Return In South East London From Mid-December

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the South London Press.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Southeastern is set to reintroduce night trains from Charing Cross to South East London for the first time since March 2020.

The railway company say they want to boost the night time economy and encourage people to leave their cars at home.

We certainly need more late trains like these, which will run from Charing Cross to Woolwich Arsenal, Sidcup, Bexleyheath and Orpington until one in the morning.

November 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | Leave a comment

A Class 707 Train In Southeastern Livery

The Class 707 trains started running for Southeastern today and I photographed this example at Cannon Street station.

The trains have been branded as City Beam. I’m not sure I like it.

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Proposals For Crossrail Elizabeth Line Extension To Ebbsfleet Cut Down To Three Options

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Kent Online.

So what are the three options?

Crossrail To Northfleet/Ebbsfleet And Gravesend

The first option provides for an extension of Crossrail from Abbey Wood to Northfleet/Ebbsfleet and Gravesend, sharing the existing tracks with National Rail services.

  • Of the 12 trains per hour (tph) that are planned to run to Abbey Wood. four tph will terminate at each of Abbey Wood, Northfleet/Ebbsfleet and Gravesend.
  • A single platform at Abbey Wood, Northfleet and Gravesend would be capable of handling the required four tph.
  • Crossrail trains would call at all stations on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood and Gravesend stations.
  • It looks like some form of people-mover will be needed between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.
  • Gravesend station could either turn the trains directly or have a turnback facility to the East of the station at Hoo, where provision has been made for train stabling.
  • Extension of Crossrail’s digital signalling along the North Kent Line, at least as far as Hoo would probably be needed to cope with the extra trains.

This option would be feasible and would require just a new platform at Northfleet station, the people-mover and perhaps some work at Gravesend station.

Crossrail To Dartford And Northfleet/Ebbsfleet

The second option is to draw out Crossrail from south east London to Dartford using new dedicated tracks built next to the existing North Kent line, with increased rail service frequency between Dartford and Northfleet.

  • All the 12 tph, that currently are planned to run ro Abbey Wood, all will terminate at Dartford station.
  • Crossrail trains would call at all stations on the North Kent Line between Abbey Wood and Dartford stations.
  • It looks like some form of people-mover will be needed between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet stations.
  • Extension of Crossrail’s digital signalling along the North Kent Line, at least as far as Hoo would probably be needed to cope with the extra trains.

This option would be feasible and would require a new platform at Northfleet station, the people-mover and a lot of work between Abbey Wood and Dartford stations and at Dartford station.

A Lower Cost Option With Buses

A third option consists of improving the National Rail service between Abbey Wood and Northfleet, combined with a new Bus Rapid Transit service.

  • It appears Crossrail services would stay the same at Abbey Wood, with all twelve tph terminating at the station, as are currently planned.
  • Southeastern services to Dartford via Abbey Wood would be extended to Northfleet. This would increase the number of Southeastern trains to/from London serving stations between Northfleet and Dartford for connection to Crossrail at Abbey Wood from four to eight tph.
  • There would need to be turnback facilities at Northfleet station for the Southeastern services.
  • Extension of Crossrail’s digital signalling along the North Kent Line, at least as far as Hoo would probably be needed to cope with the extra trains.
  • A Bus Rapid Transit service would be provided between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet stations via Slade Green, Dartford and Bluewater.
  • A Bus Rapid Transit service would be provided between Slade Green and Ebbsfleet via Greenhithe and Northfleet.
  • Both Bus Rapid Transit services would have a frequency of six buses per hour.

This option looks to be feasible and would only require a new platform at Northfleet station.

The Views Of New Civil Engineer

This article on New Civil Engineer gives its views on the three options.

It says this of the first option.

This option would require the construction of some sections of additional track and junction works within the existing rail corridor, significant works at Abbey Wood, Slade Green and Dartford stations and require additional land to accommodate additional train stabling facilities.

And this of the second option.

This option would require significant construction work to build a new two track rail alignment alongside the existing North Kent line, requiring potential compulsory purchase of land and property beyond the existing rail corridor in some areas and significant works at Abbey Wood, Slade Green and Dartford stations, as well as the provision of new train stabling facilities.

It doesn’t comment about the third option, which I take to mean, that all work for the trains can be done within the existing rail corridor.

Components Of The Options

Although the options are different there are some components that appear in more than one option.

Improved Digital Signalling

The number of trains running to the East of Abbey Wood station, will surely  increase under all three options and I feel it is essential, that  modern digital signalling be installed on the North Kent Lines.

More Train Stabling

Commenting on the first two options, New Civil Engineer says that more stabling will be needed.

In the Gibb Report, Chris Gibb looked at stabling problems with Thameslink and found there was a problem along the North Kent Line. I wrote about it in Gibb Report – Hoo Junction Depot.

I feel that a review of all train stabling in Kent should be performed, so that there is enough space to service and stable the trains of the various operators.

When Crossrail was originally planned, the route was safeguarded to Gravesend and Hoo Junction was put forward as somewhere to stable trains.

A Turnback Platform At Northfleet Station

All three options need a turnback platform at Northfleet station.

  • In Option 1 it will be handling Crossrail trains.
  • In Options 2 and 3, it will be handling Southeastern trains.
  • It probably needs to handle four tph.
  • Nine-car Class 345 trains used by Crossrail are 205 metres long.
  • Twelve-car Class 377 trains used by Southeastern are 240 metres long.

This Google Map shows Northfleet station.

Note.

  1. The North Kent Line goes diagonally across the map from North-West to South-East.
  2. Northfleet station is a two-platform station.
  3. To the South of the station, there are sidings, which are connected to the North Kent Line.

 

This picture shows the sidings from Northfleet station, with Ebbsfleet station about a mile away.

It appears that there would be space to add a well-appointed turnback platform at Northfleet station.

These pictures show some of the features of the current Northfleet station.

Rebuilding to add the turnback platform, could also include.

  • Full step-free access
  • Modern station buildings
  • A deep clean of the pedestrian tunnel.
  • An appropriately-sized bus station, with a zero-carbon shuttle bus to Ebbsfleet station.
  • Future provision for a high-tech people-mover to Ebbsfleet station.

It is not one of the better stations on the Southeastern network.

But it certainly could be!

I very much feel that Northfleet station needs to be rebuilt with an extra platform.

A People-Mover Between Ebbsfleet And Northfleet Stations

I wrote So Near And Yet So Far! about the poor connection between Ebbsfleet And Northfleet stations.

It is a design crime of the highest order.

There has been a lot of pressure in the past to build a pedestrian link between the two stations, as reported by the Wikipedia entry for Northfleet station.

The station is very close to Ebbsfleet International station (the NNE entrance is only 334 yards (305 m) from Northfleet’s station), but passengers (using public transport) will find it far easier to access Ebbsfleet International from Gravesend or Greenhithe, as these stations are more accessible and offer easy access to Fastrack bus services. The walking route between the two stations is 0.6 miles (1 km) or 0.8 miles (1.3 km) and a suitable pedestrian link has not been built because of funding issues and objections from Land Securities.

Why when Ebbsfleet International station was built in the early 2000s for opening in 2007, was a pedestrian link not built between the two stations?

It sounds like it was a Treasury design for Civil Servants, who work in Westminster and wouldn’t dream of living in Gravesend.

How much did omitting the link save?

Probably in the the long term, about two-fifths of five eighths of f***-all!

The specialists in this type of people-mover are the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, who in the UK have built the Emirates Air Line and the Air-Rail Link at Birmingham Airport. Currently, they are building the Luton DART people mover.

Wikipedia says that the Emirates Air-Line cost £60million.

Wouldn’t something similar be an ideal way to welcome people to the UK?

The London Resort

The London Resort, is described like this in its Wikipedia entry.

The London Resort is a proposed theme park and resort in Swanscombe, Kent. The project was announced on 8 October 2012 and, if given planning permission, it is estimated that construction will begin in 2022, with a first gate opening in summer 2024 and a second gate by 2029.

It certainly sounds the sort of place I avoid, but just like Disneyland Paris, I feel the developers will want a rail connection.

They could even want to have another people-mover from Ebbsfleet station.

A Connection To The Bluewater Shopping Centre

The Bluewater Shopping Centre is not easy to get to by public transport and requires a bus from Greenhithe for Bluewater station.

Only Option 3 offered an improvement with a bus between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet stations via Slade Green, Dartford and Bluewater, that would run every ten minutes.

Conclusion

It seems that whatever option is eventually chosen, certain works will need to be performed as they are needed for all options.

  • Extension of Crossrail’s digital signalling along the North Kent Line, at least as far as Hoo junction would probably be needed to cope with the extra trains.
  • A review of train stabling in Kent should be carried out, to make sure there are enough places to service and stable the trains needed, by all the operators/
  • Northfleet station needs to be rebuilt with an extra turnback platform for at least four tph.
  • Provision should be made for a possible people-mover between Ebbsfleet And Northfleet stations.

The North Kent Line to the East of Abbey Wood station would now be ready for whichever option is chosen.

Because of the London Resort, which has still not been given a definite go-ahead we could see some changes and other options or even some that combine more than one option.

August 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Could Trains From The North Connect To High Speed One At St. Pancras?

I was casually flying my virtual helicopter over the throat of St. Pancras International station, when I took a few pictures.

This Google Map shows the Northern ends of the platforms and the tracks leading in.

Note.

  1. Platforms 1-4 to the West with darker tracks handle the East Midlands Railway services.
  2. Platforms 5-10 in the centre with lighter tracks formed of three shorter islands handle the Eurostar services.
  3. Platforms 11-13 to the East with longer platforms handle the Southeastern HighSpeed services.

This Google Map shows the East Midlands Railway platforms.

Note.

  1. There are two island platforms; 1-2 and 3-4.
  2. The four platforms are served by two tracks, that connect to the fast lines of the Midland Main Line.
  3. The platforms will be able to handle a pair of Class 810 trains, which will be 240 metres long.
  4. Will the two trains per hour (tph) using Class 360 trains between London and Corby always use the same platform at St. Prancras station?

This Google Map shows the Eurostar platforms.

Note.

There are three island platforms; 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10.

The two island platforms in the West are for East Midlands Railway services.

The two longer island platforms in the East are for Southeastern HighSpeed services.

The six platforms connect to two fast lines, that are shared with the Southeastern services.

This Google Map shows the lines proceeding to the North.

Note.

  1. There are four sets of tracks.
  2. The two light-coloured tracks on the left are for Thameslink or sidings.
  3. The next two dark-coloured tracks are the two tracks of the Midland Main Line.
  4. The next set of tracks are those connecting to the six Eurostar platforms.
  5. The two tracks on the right are those connecting to the Southeastern Highspeed platforms.
  6. There are crossovers between the Eurostar and Southeastern Highspeed tracks to allow efficient operation of the trains going to and from the twin tracks of High Speed One.

This Google Map shows where the Midland Main Line and High Speed One divide.

Note.

The two dark-coloured tracks of the Midland Main Line running North.

There appear to be four  tracks running North East towards High Speed One.

Between the two sets of tracks two further tracks lead to the North.

The track closest to the Midland Main Line joins to the slow lines of the Midland Main Line.

The other one connects to the North London Line.

This Google Map shows the connecting lines to the High Speed One tunnel.

Note the tunnel portal is in the North-East corner of the map.

  1. It looks to me that the following connections are possible.
  2. St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and Midland Main Line.
  3. St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and North London Line to the West.
  4. High Speed One and North London Line to the West.

These connections are in addition to those connections needed to run scheduled services.

They would enable trains to take the following routes.

  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and Midland Main Line.
  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and the West Coast Main Line via North London Line
  • High Speed One and the West Coast Main Line via North London Line
  • St. Pancras station Eurostar platforms and the Great Western Main Line via North London Line
  • High Speed One and the Great Western Main Line via North London Line

I suspect most of the times, that these routes are used it is for engineering purposes or behaps dragging a failed train out of St. Pancras.

But the track layout would seem to allow the following.

Direct electric freight and passenger services between High Speed One and Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.

Direct electric passenger services between High Speed One and Sheffield and Leeds, with a reverse at St. Pancras, after the Midland Main Line were to be fully electrified.

Was this by design for Eurostar or was it just what Network Rail ended up with?

A Modern Regional Eurostar Service

These are my thoughts on a modern Regional Eurostar service.

Rolling Stock

High Speed Two is coming and this year, the company will order some of the rolling stock.

There will be fifty-four trains

The trains will be Classic-Compatible for running on the West Coast Main Line.

They will be 200 metres long and be able to run in pairs.

They will be able to operate at 225 mph.

The operating speed of High Speed One is 186 mph.

I can see no reason why trains of this type, couldn’t run between St. Pancras and many destinations in Europe.

North Of England And The Continent

Could this be the service pattern?

  • One train could start in the North West and another in the North East.
  • Both trains would proceed to St. Pancras picking up passengers en route.
  • At St. Pancras the two trains would join together.
  • The driver could then position themselves in the front cab and take High Speed One, through the Channel Tunnel.

The train could even split at Calais to serve two different Continental destinations.

Going North, the spitting and joining would be reversed.

What Infrastructure Would Be Needed?

I suspect the following will be needed.

  • The West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line would need in-cab digital ERTMS signalling.
  • Full electrification of the Midland Main Line would probably be necessary, as I don’t think the tunnel allows diesel trains to pass through.
  • Some platform lengthening might be needed.

It would not be an expensive scheme.

What Timings Would Be Possible?

Using current timings you get the following times.

  • Leeds and Paris – Five hours
  • Leeds and Brussels – Four hours forty minutes
  • Manchester and Paris – Five hours
  • Manchester and Brussels – For hours forty minutes
  • Newcastle and Paris – Six hours
  • Newcastle and Brussels – Five hours thirty minutes

Note, that the times are best estimates and include a long stop of several minutes at St. Pancras.

Could Sleeper Service Be Run?

I don’t see why not!

Conclusion

It looks like it may be possible to run regional services to Europe, where pairs of train split and join at St. Pancras.

 

 

 

St

April 20, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments