The Anonymous Widower

Meridian Water Station – 14th June 2018

Since my last post on Meridian Water station, that was called The Site Of The New Meridian Water Station – 25th April 2018, things have moved on at a good speed.

Note.

  1. It will be a four-platform station.
  2. It will have fullstep-free access, with five lifts.
  3. It will be ready for Crossrail 2, if that line ever arrives.
  4. It will also be a step-free bridge over the railway., for those not using the trains.
  5. It will be very handy for Tesco and IKEA.

It also looks like it could be ready for use in May 2019, which is the planned opening date.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Third Track Between Northumberland Park And Lea Bridge Stations – 12th June 2018

The third track between Northumberland Park and Lea Bridge stations is substantially complete, as these pictures show.

Now that the track is laid, it becomes apparent, that with a bit of a squeeze, a fourth track could be laid.

Electrification Progress

Progress also seems to be being made with the overhead gantries.

Yet again, there seems to be better performance in electrification, where it is carried out on a new or totally rebuilt line.

This may be only a single track, but it is all new, with no buried Victorian unknowns.

Raising The Bridges

Steel footbridges, that are so numerous in South Wales, are notable by their rarity and where they do exist, they were raised or built to a safe height, when the West Anglia Main Line was electrified in 1969.

This bridge spans both the West Anglia Main Line and the Victoria Line‘s Northumberland Park Depot.

I walked across it in March 2017 and there are some pictures in From Tottenham Hale To Northumberland Park.

The only bridge that could be a problem, is the road bridge at Tottenham Hale station.

It might be possible to squeeze one electrified track underneath.

I suspect methods that will be used on the South Wales Metro, that I wrote about in How Can Discontinuous Electrification Be Handled?, could be used to electrify this section.

At some point, this bridge looks like it will have to be rebuilt.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Northumberland Park Station – June 12th 2018

The new Northumberland Park station is coming on and has allowed the temporary footbridge to go somewhere else!

The level crossing will not be reinstated and I was wondering how pedestrians and others will cross the railway. There is still an old bridge on the other side to the station, but it doesn’t look to be in the best condition.

I then saw the two staircases in the new station.

So will there be two separate routes across the railway in one bridge?

This image from Network Rail, shows the station from the Eastern side.

There appears to be the following.

  • Two bridge sections, with the one on the far side connected to the low station buildings.
  • Two sets of stairs and a lift giving access from the bridge to the current Platform 1 and new platform behind it, that will become an island platform.
  • Two tracks this side of the island platform.
  • With the two tracks on the other side of the island platform, this means the station will be ready for four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • A set of steps leading down from the near rend of the footbridge, this side of the extra tracks.

I have wondered for some time, when the West Anglia main Line is four-tracked and/or Crossrail 2 is built, which pair of tracks will be the fast lines.

In the interim it is obvious, that the third rack, which will run between  Meridian Water and Lea #bridge stations, will run on the near side of the island platform.

My only question is will it only handle trains towards Stratford or will the line be bi-directional?

But when the line is fully four-tracked, I think that the lines from West to East will be as follows.

  • Northbound Slow (Current Platform 2) – Local trains and Crossrail 2
  • Southbound Slow (Current Platform 1) – Local trains and Crossrail 2
  • Northbound Fast – Stansted and Cambridge services
  • Southbound Fast – Stansted and Cambridge services

I have put the slow lines on the West, as these are the platforms with the best access and few if any, fast services will stop in the station.

Crossrail 2 could of course change everything.

But I suspect that Northumberland Park station is being rebuilt, so that it will work with the most likely arrangement of tracks.

June 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tottenham Hale Station – 30th April 2018

These pictures show the space to the East of the third platform space, where the third track will go through.

It looks like there isn’t much space for the fourth track, if they want to squeeze one in. Or will the piles for the electrification have to be moved?

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The STAR Track Connection At Lea Bridge Station – 25th April 2018

This picture taken from the end of the platform at Lea Bridge station, shows the new connection, that links the third track being built to the Lea Valley Lines though the station.

Note how trains going North will be able to join the third track and those coming South can join the track to Stratford.

These pictures were taken as I took a train North, a few minutes later.

Note the track layout and that nothing is completed yet.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Lea Bridge station.

Note.

  1. The original track layout from the 1800s is shown dotted.
  2. The original crossover was a double one.
  3. Lea Bridge station used to have a third bay platform and space has been left for one.
  4. The two parallel tracks originally connected via the Hall Farm Curve to the Chingford Branch.

This Google Map shows the area to the East of where the Lea Valley Lines and the Chingford Branch cross.

Adding in the curve at a later date would not appear to be compromised, by the current works.

 

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

West Anglia Route Improvement – STAR – 5th March 2018

These are some pictures I’ve taken and observations I’ve made in recent days.

An Unusual Train Movement At Stratford

I took some of the pictures for this post from a Stratford to Bishops Stortford train.

Whilst waiting in Platform 11 at Stratford, a Class 321 train, ran past my train and through Platform 12.

It could have just been an empty stock movement from Orient Way Sidings to Liverpool Street.

Or was it going round the High Meads Loop, possibly for driver training?

From Lea Bridge Station To South Of The Chingford Branch

Work has been progressing on this section, as these pictures show.

Track is starting to be laid, but there is no evidence of the points, where the three tracks will merge into two.

From North Of The Chingford Branch To Tottenham Hale Station

Work has been progressing here too!

The Space Towards Chingford

This Google Map shows Coppermill Junction.

Note there is a lot of space on the Chingford side of the junction.

Could Network Rail be reinstating the Coppermill and Hall Farm Chords? Or at least creating the space to do it? I wrote about these chords in Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow.

Nothing has been published or said, but there’s an awful lot of work going on to just add a third-track between Meridian Water and Lea Bridge stations.

The Island Platform At Tottenham Hale Station

An island platform is emerging at Tottenham Hale station.

The current platforms are as follows.

  • 1 – Southbound to Liverpool Street and Stratford
  • 2 – Northbound to Bishops Stortford,Cambridge,  Hertford East and Stansted Airport.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the new layout.

Blue is the Victoria Line.

So it looks like an extra Platform 0 is to be added on the new track, which will be an island platform with Platform 1.

These pictures show the current works.

It looks to me, that there is a surprising amount of space and it might be possible to squeeze two tracks in the space.

Conclusion

Work is certainly progressing.

 

p

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Some might argue that Beeching got it wrong!

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

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

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

This Google Map shows the location of the bridge.

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

West Anglia Route Improvement – STAR – 19th September 2017

Progress appears to being made on installing the third track for STAR.

Note.

  • The piles for the electrification.
  • The completed piles with their orange caps.
  • The digging out of the bed for the third track.
  • The work around Meridian Water station

There’s certainly a lot of work going on.

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

Musings On The West Anglia Main Line

The West Anglia Main Line is the main railway between Liverpool Street station in the City of London and the Scientific Powerhouse of Cambridge via Stansred Airport.

This post started off as The Mother Of All Level Crossing Jams, when I got caught in a jam caused by the level crossing at Enfield Lock station.

It has since grown into a long post of the inadequacies of this important main line.

The Mother Of All Level Crossing Jams

These are pictures I took at Enfield Lock station in mid-morning.

I had arrived at the station at 11:04 and my train had departed on its way at 11:08.

I was in no hurry taking the pictures and I left at 11:22 after eight trains had gone through, without the gates being raised.

In two of the pictures, you can see a discarded broken gate. Was it caused by an irate motorist?

After I got back to the station, the barriers were still going up and down like a whore’s drawers and talking to a fellow passenger, she said it happens all the time.

Improving The West Anglia Main Line

Consider the following, which could effect what happens in the future.

  • Stansted Airport, Greater Anglia, Transport for London, the London Borough of Enfield, Cambridge City Council and the local MPs, all want the line to be four-tracked so that services to Cambridge and Stansted Airport can have their own dedicated fast lines.
  • ,Greater Anglia have ordered lots of new trains and I suspect they want to run much-needed extra services into both Stratford and Liverpool Street stations.
  • Enfield Lock could be a Crossrail 2 station in ten years or so.
  • Crossrail 2 would want to run up to twelve trains per hour (tph).

It is a certainly a case of squeezing a couple of gallons into a pint pot.

Enfield Lock And Brimsdown

To make matters worse there is another equally congested level crossing at the next station to the South; Brimsdown.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. Enfield Lock station is in the North West corner of the map, with Brimsdown in the South West corner.
  2. Mollinson Avenue, which tracks along the railway to its East, is nearly all dual carriageway.
  3. These is a lot of industrial premises in the area.
  4. There are a lot of distribution depots that need road access for heavy trucks.
  5. It is going to use all the ingenuity that Network Rail can muster to squeeze two extra tracks between those two stations.

If ever there was an area that needs an increased rail service it is this stretch of the West Anglia Main Line between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt stations.

Improving The Lea Valley Lines

I suspect that British Rail foresaw the problem in the 1950s, as by 1960, they had electrified all the Lea Valley Lines including the goods-only Southbury Loop, which is now part of the London Overground, who run two tph on the route.

Both London Overground and Greater Anglia are getting new Aventra trains, which should increase the capacity and speed up services on both routes.

However, this could create a problem, in that they are such good trains, they may persuade more commuters to leave their cars at home and take the trains.

More Frequent Services

London Overground like to run four tph on their various routes.

At present, their Lea Valley services are as follows.

  • 4 tph from Liverpool Street to Chingford.
  • 2 tph from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, with more services in the Peak and when Spurs are playing at home.
  • 2 tph from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt.

I suspect that they would like to run four tph all day and that after Crossrail opens and releases some platforms at Liverpool Street, this might happen.

However in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I publish a table, which says that from 2019, Enfield Town will get four tph.

Greater Anglia must be looking to improve services on the West Anglia Main Line, so that all stations South of Broxbourne get four tph, with perhaps two tph to each of  Liverpool Street and Stratford.

And then there’s STAR, which is a new service between Stratford and Angel Road stations. This article on IanVisits, which is entitled One of London’s quietest train stations set for major upgrade, gives a good explanation of this service, which will provide four tph between Stratford and a rebuilt Angel Road station, which will be renamed Meridian Water.

More Terminal Capacity In London

Adding these services together, I feel that  more capacity is needed at the London terminals of Liverpool Street and Stratford.

There are two short term solutions and one long term one.

Create More Capacity At Liverpool Street

This is the simplest short-term solution.

In the Wikipedia entry for Liverpool Street station, this is said.

Once Crossrail opens, platform 18 at the main Liverpool Street station will be decommissioned to allow platforms 16 and 17 to be extended, enabling them to accommodate longer trains.

I would assume this platform-lengthening is to accommodate the full-length Class 345 trains, that will run the Peak Hour service between Liverpool Street and Gidea Park stations.

I suppose too, having two platforms in Liverpool Street, that are capable of handling Crossrail trains must also be useful in special or exceptional circumstances.

Platform 18 is a curiosity, in that it is used by c2c as a diversion platform, when Fenchurch Street station is closed because of engineering works.

So after the work on platforms 16 and 17 is complete, will it be recommissioned?

That leaves fifteen platforms for Greater Anglia and London Overground to argue over.

If you compare the way Liverpool Street is organised compared to some more modern stations, I suspect that more modern trains can be handled without any expensive modifications to the existing station.

Modern practice means that a single platform can easily handle four tph, so as destinations like Norwich and Southend will only have three tph, could it mean that these destinations can be served by a single platform?

It would certainly make it easy for me, if I knew the fast Ipswich trains always left from platform 9.

I suspect that as London Overground has only three destinations; Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town, whiich have a maximum frequency of four tph, that they could easily manage with four platforms; one for each destination and a spare.

This would give Greater Anglia eleven platforms.

Note this about Greater Anglia’s new trains.

  • The Class 745 trains will be of a fixed formation of twelve cars.
  • Will the three-car and four-car Class 755 trains have the ability to join and split automatically?
  • Will the five-car Class 720 trains have the ability to join and split automatically?

Having seen how Class 395 trains and others can do this in under a couple of minutes and the flexibility of destinations it gives, I will be very surprised if Greater Anglia haven’t specified this capability.

  • As an example, two four-car Class 755 trains could start at Lowestoft and Bury St. Edmunds respectively and then join at Ipswich, before proceeding to London as an eight-car train.
  • Would it be sensible that all trains go into Liverpool Street at maximum length?
  • Trains might split and join at Ipswich, Colchester and perhaps Chelmsford. All that is needed is a long platform.

Perhaps Greater Anglia’s platforms at Liverpool Street could be allocated something like this.

For Flirts (Class 745 and Class 755)

  • Norwich
  • Ipswich/Lowestoft
  • Stansted Airport
  • Cambridge

For Aventras (Class 720)

  • Bishops Stordford/Broxbourne/Hertford East
  • Colchester/Harwich
  • Clacton/Walton
  • Chelmsford/Braintree
  • Southend

On this rough assessment, it would appear that at least for a few years Liverpool Street station could cope.

Developing Stratford As A Second Terminal

Consider these facts about the railway hub at Stratford.

  • Stratford has not been fully developed as a terminal for the West Anglia routes and only handles two tph to and from Bishops Stortford.
  • Stratford has two platforms 11 and 12, that were built to serve the West Anglia routes; the West Anglia Main Line and the Lea Valley Lines.
  • Platforms 11 and 12 are on the High Meads Loop, which would reverse the trains on West Anglia routes.
  • Stratford is well connected to Crossrail, Central and Jubilee Lines of the Underground, the DLR, the Overground , Highspeed services to Kent and Greater Anglia services on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • Stratford has better connections than Liverpool Street to London Bridge and Waterloo
  • Stratford could have excellent connections to Highspeed services to Kent and Continental services at Ashford International.
  • Stratford will be only a few minutes from Liverpool Street on Crossrail.

Stratford is also a destination in its own right, with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the massive shopping complex.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the complex at Stratford.

It is very much capable of development.

  • Better connections could be made between Stratford International and the main station.
  • The subways in the complex could be improved.
  • The Hall Farm Curve could be reinstated to give direct connections between Stratford and Walthamstow/Chingford.

I would not be surprised if Greater Anglia increased their services to and from Stratford.

I could also envisage a timetable, where trains alternate between the two terminals., as every passenger will have their favoured terninal.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 is the long-term solution.

Upwards of ten tph will run between Broxbourne and Tottenham Hale, before entering the tunnel to Central and South West London.

It will obviously handle all the local services South of Broxbourne, with just the services from the North continuing to Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Following Abbey Wood, Reading and Shenfield stations on Crossrail, I think that we would see Broxbourne station developed as a simple interchange between longer distance services and Crossrail 2.

Both services would have their own tracks to London.

Conclusion

The West Anglia Main Line urgently needs improvement and this improvement can be broken down into a series of smaller projects, the first three of which have already started and could be completed by 2020.

  1. Creation of STAR – The Stratford-Angel Road Metro – Already started.
  2. Building of new Meridian Water station to replace Angel Road station – Already started.
  3. Rebuilding of Tottenham Hale station – Already started.
  4. Post-Crossrail Improvements at Liverpool Street and Stratford stations.
  5. Removal of level crossings at Brimsdown, Enfield Lock and Waltham Cross
  6. Four-tracking between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.
  7. Step-Free Stations
  8. Reinstatement of the Hall Farm Curve.

These projects will also get the main line Crossrail 2-ready.

This process has already started with the creation of STAR, which will create a third track as far as Angel Road station. In the article on IanVisits, this is said.

Along the tracks nearby there are already hi-vis wearing Network Rail contractors clearing the land to prepare it for the Stratford to Angel Road (STAR) rail upgrade project which will see a third railway track added. Passive provision for a fourth track will be included for Crossrail 2.

This work has already closed the level crossing at Nothumberland Park station.

In Innovation In Railway Projects, I describe how Network Rail are aiming to create a pipeline of smaller projects.

I feel that some parts of the updating of the West Anglia Main Line can be done in this way.

 

 

 

August 1, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

West Anglia Route Improvement – Angel Road Stations – 20th March 2017

I took these pictures.as I walked from the current Angel Road station to the works, which could be the construction of the new Meridian Water station.

There is obviously a lot of serious work going on in the area, as some of the trains seem to be slowing appreciably.

But most of the work so far, seems to have been setting up the site, moving the signalling cables and generally clearing up the rubbish.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment