The Anonymous Widower

Osterley Becomes 89th Step-Free London Underground Station

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

So I went to Osterley station and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. Osterley station is Grade II Listed and was built in the style of Charles Holden.
  2. It does look that there is also step-free access between train and the platform for most wheelchair-users, buggy-pushers and case-draggers.
  3. The two new lift-towers are typical steel-and-brick constructions.

I don’t think that the most militant member of the Heritage Taliban will object to the quality of the design and the construction.

October 13, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On Splitting The Northern Line

In Battersea Power Station Station Opens, I talked about the scale of the new Battersea Power Station station.

  • It looks like it could have three entrances.
  • It’s got four escalators and two lifts to go to down to platform level.
  • It has two terminal platforms.

I feel it has been designed to handle as many passengers and trains as Morden station.

  • Morden station has five platforms.
  • The station is step-free.
  • The station handles ten million passengers per year.

The signalling can handle up to thirty trains per hour (tph) to Morden.

It looks to me that Battersea Power Station station has been designed to be big enough to take half the trains from North London with ease.

The Proposed Split

There has been talk of splitting the Northern Line into two separate lines for some years.

  • The Western Line (Charing Cross Line) would run between Edgware and Battersea Power Station via Camden Town, Euston, Charing Cross and Kennington.
  • The Eastern Line (Bank Line) would run between High Barnet and Morden via Camden Town, Euston, Bank and Kennington.

Note.

  1. I will call the two lines the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.
  2. Both lines could have Victoria Line frequencies of over thirty tph.
  3. It is generally felt that the split would need a rebuild at Camden Town station to handle the extra passengers.
  4. Camden Town station needs better access between the trains and the street.
  5. There would need to be better connections at Kennington and Euston stations.

Surely, the main advantages of the split would be as follows.

  • Trains on both lines would go end-to-end without crossing a junction, where signals and points were constantly switching trains. This is why the Victoria Line can handle more than thirty-three tph.
  • Trains will run at Victoria Line frequencies on both lines.
  • All trains at Camden Town and Kennington stations would use a route without points to go as fast as possible through the station.
  • Eliminating the points, would make both lines more reliable.
  • Euston station will have upwards of sixty tph connecting it to Crossrail.

Effectively, the new Bank and Charing Cross Lines would be able to perform just like Dear Old Vicky.

I will now look at where work needs to or could be done to successfully split the two lines.

Kennington Station

In Could Access Between Platform And Train Be Improved At Kennington Station?, I outlined how passengers might use Kennington station to change between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

I developed this rule.

The rule would appear to be if you’re on one line and are going to a station on the other, you change at Kennington station.

Staff would need to be on the platform to help those, who were changing direction.

But I do think changing can be made to work well with step-free access between train and platform on all four platforms at Kennington station.

It will be interesting to see, what proportion of train changes at Kennington are simple cross-platform changes, where there is no use of the steep stairs. I think it could be quite high.

I believe Kennington station will grow into a very smooth interchange between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

Although, there’ll be a problem for some time, if you’re in a wheelchair and want to go between Morden and Battersea Power station.

This could be solved by lifts between each pair of platforms and the intermediate level passage, which connects to the lifts to the surface.

The Camden Town Problem

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines around and through Camden Town station.

Note.

  1. Camden Town station has four platforms.
  2. The Eastern pair are under Kentish Town Road and connect to High Barnet in the North.
  3. The Western pair are under Camden High Street and connect to Edgware in the North.
  4. In each pair of tracks the Northbound track is above the Southbound track.
  5. There is a level passage between the two Northbound tracks, so it is an easy interchange, if you’re on the wrong train going North.
  6. The passage between the two Southbound tracks has stairs at either end, if you want to change Southbound trains at the station.

But the real problem lies South of the station; the horrendously complicated Camden Town Junction.

The junction must be able to handle trains going between the following stations.

  • Bank and Edgware
  • Bank and High Barnet
  • Charing Cross and Edgware
  • Charing Cross and High Barnet

Note in the map, that the High Barnet tracks dive under the Edgware tracks so they can form two separate pairs of tracks to Euston, only one of which goes via Mornington Crescent.

If there was a similar junction on the motorways of the UK or the Interstate Highways of the US, it would have years ago been simplified.

The split will mean the following.

  • The Eastern pair of platforms will still be connected to High Barnet as now, but will also be directly connected to the tracks that go directly to Euston and on to Bank.
  • The Western pair of platforms will still be connected to Edgware as now, but will also be directly connected to the tracks that go to Euston via Mornington Crescent and on to Charing Cross.
  • Camden Town Junction could be seriously simplified, with perhaps the ability to swap between routes only available for depot and engineering movements.

I do suspect, it would also mean all trains from High Barnet will go via Bank and all trains via Edgware will go via Charing Cross.

  • A proportion of passengers would have to change at Camden Town.
  • Both routes would connect to High Speed Two at Euston.
  • Both routes connect to the Central, Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Improvements promised for Euston will give better access to the Sub-Surface Lines.

I think it will be a case of winning some good routes and losing others. Disgusted from Finchley might complain.

But then there will be Crossrail, which as it connects to both lines at Tottenham Court Road and Moorgate could give serious advantages.

The split isn’t without passengers who will object to losing their preferred route.

Camden Town Station

This document on TfL’s web site gives more details of the proposed capacity upgrade at Camden Town station. This schematic of the tunnels, platforms and walkways shows how the station could look in a few years time.

Note.

  1. New tunnels are shown in light grey.
  2. Existing tunnels are shown in dark grey.
  3. The Northbound platforms are above the Southbound ones.
  4. The tunnels in the foreground are those of the Charing Cross Line.
  5. The far tunnels are those of the Bank Line.
  6. The new Buck Street entrance is labelled 8.
  7. There is a new pedestrian tunnel between the two Northbound Lines.
  8. Below it is a new tunnel between the two Southbound Lines.
  9. There is an existing passage linking the four lines.

The full upgrade is very much on the back burner, but could Camden Town station be upgraded with the proposed extra cross passages.

  • These would enable passengers to change lines easily on the level.
  • Passengers changing between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines would be kept away from the existing escalators and the space at their bottom.
  • The tunnels would increase the circulation area.
  • The tunnels would be part of the new Buck Street entrance if it were to be built.

I feel with improved cross-platform interchange, Camden Town could function as an interchange station between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

A similar rule as I used for Kennington station would apply for passengers.

The rule would appear to be if you’re on one line and are going to a station on the other, you change at Camden Town station.

Staff would need to be on the platform to help those, who were changing direction.

But it would be a more comprehensive and easier interchange than Kennington, as all changes would be without steep stairs.

Once Camden Town station is working well with the new cross passages, I would then get a developer to put a large development on the proposed site of the Buck Street entrance, with a new entrance with lifts and escalators underneath, that reached down to the new cross tunnels.

After what the contractors did at Whitechapel, I suspect this could be achieved, whilst keeping the trains running and leaving the existing Camden Town station intact.

This Google Map shows the area between Camden Road and Camden Town stations.

Note.

  1. Camden Road station on the North London Line is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Camden Town station is at the bottom of the map towards the West.
  3. The Charing Cross Line to Edgware is under Camden High Street.
  4. The Bank Line to High Barnet is under Kentish Town Road.
  5. Buck Street is to the North of Camden Town station connecting Camden High Street and Kentish Town Road.
  6. The red-roofed building in Buck Street is the former Hawley School, which is now owned by Transport for London and is earmarked for the new station entrance.
  7. The Regent’s Canal, which has a convenient towpath, runs East-West across the map.
  8. A lot of development is happening on the North bank of the canal.

The map doesn’t show how difficult it is to walk between the two stations along the busy Camden Road.

In Between Camden Road And Camden Town Stations Along The Canal, I walked between the two stations along the canal and then up Kentish Town Road. It took me fourteen minutes in total with seven minutes between the canal and Camden Town station.

I believe the following will happen.

  • People living and working in the new developments will need access to Camden Town station.
  • The Regent’s Canal towpath will be updated into a safer walking route between Camden Lock and Camden Road station, that serves a lot of the developments.
  • More tourists will need to get to Camden Lock and the markets.

These will increase the need for extra capacity at Camden Town station.

The only way it will get built is by a private developer, who puts a lot of housing on the Buck Street site and sells it as quality housing in an iconic location.

A lot of politicians won’t like it, but solving the problems at Camden Town station, which is an overcrowding accident waiting to happen, is more important than their egos.

These pictures show some of the features of Camden Town station.

I believe Camden Town station could grow quickly into a very smooth interchange between the Bank and Charing Cross Lines.

In a few years time, when the Buck Street entrance is built, the capacity problems will be on their way to solution.

Finally, once the Buck Street entrance is complete, the original station can be refurbished.

 

Euston Station, Crossrail, Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line

Consider.

  • Euston station is a very busy station and it will be even busier, when High Speed Two opens.
  • Crossrail 2 will not be built before High Speed 2 opens.
  • The Victoria Line doesn’t connect to Crossrail.
  • The only connection between Euston station and Crossrail are the two branches of the Northern Line.

Splitting the Northern Line into the Bank and Charing Cross Lines will increase the number of Northern Line trains through Euston to at least sixty tph, if both lines can handle Victoria Line frequencies.

It looks to me, that making the Northern Line step-free at Euston is the best short-term alternative to building Crossrail 2.

Euston Station

Euston station is the third station, where the Bank and Charing Cross Lines connect.

This map from cartmetro.com shows the Northern Line through Euston station.

Note.

  1. The Northern Line is shown in black.
  2. The Victoria Line is shown in blue
  3. The Sub-Surface Lines are shown in purple and yellow.

In the map, the platforms are as follows going from top to bottom.

  • Platform 1 – Northbound – Northern – Charing Cross to Camden Town
  • Platform 2 – Southbound – Northern – Camden Town to Charing Cross
  • Platform 6 – Southbound – Northern – Camden Town to Bank
  • Platform 5 – Northbound – Victoria – Victoria to Walthamstow
  • Platform 4 – Southbound – Victoria -Walthamstow to Victoria
  • Platform 3 – Northbound – Northern – Bank to Camden Town

It  is a bit unusual as the cross-platform interchange between Bank and Victoria Lines involves a change of direction.

With the development of Euston station for High Speed Two, I am sure interchange between the two branches of the Northern Line and the other lines at Euston will be made step-free.

Plans have already been published that will connect Euston Square station and Euston station. I wrote about it in The New Step-Free Entrance At Euston Square Station.

These pictures are of Euston station.

I feel the wide Platform 6 could give scope for innovation.

Level Access Between Train And Platform

I believe that many platforms on the Northern Line can be modified to give level access between train and platform.

In Could Access Between Platform And Train Be Improved At Kennington Station?. I outlined how it could be achieved at Kennington station.

At Kennington station, all platforms are straight and this is a prerequisite to making the access level.

I also feel that any straight platform with a Harrington Hump could effectively be given a full length hump.

I suspect that a lot of stations could be converted to level access between train and platform

Conclusion

I believe that splitting the Northern Line would be very worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Access Between Platform And Train Be Improved At Kennington Station?

Before I look at the solutions, I will look at passenger flows around Kennington station, now that the extension to Battersea has opened.

  1. Passengers will enter the station and take a train.
  2. Passengers will arrive at the station and leave.
  3. Passengers will change trains going between say Morden and Battersea Power Station stations.
  4. Passengers will change between the two Northbound services through the station, by walking between Platforms 1 and 3.
  5. Passengers will change between the two Southbound services through the station, by walking between Platforms 2 and 4.

Kennington station has two major access problems for those of restricted mobility.

  • Getting between street and platform
  • Getting between platform and train

There used to be a third problem, which was that there wasn’t enough cross-platform access between Platforms 2 and 4 and Platforms 1 and 3, which has now been improved.

The pictures show the passage between Platforms 2 and 4, which seems to have been built to a high quality.

How will these access problems affect passengers and especially those with reduces mobility?

  • Passengers with reduced mobility may avoid Kennington station, if they are using Routes 1 and 2, as the stairs are difficult.
  • Passengers using Route 3 may find it easier to change at Waterloo, London Bridge or another convenient station.
  • There are lots of buses, which may offer a convenient alternative.

Operating experience will give the correct answer, but I feel that passengers using the station will contain a large proportion, who are using Routes 4 or 5 and just changing from one train to another going in the same direction.

Access Between Street And Platform

These pictures show the stairs that give access to the platforms from the passageway leading to the lifts.

Note.

  1. The stairs are steep and not very wheelchair or buggy friendly.
  2. They are not all the same length.

Unless it is possible to sneak a lift down into the new cross-passages, I suspect that providing step-free access to the platforms will be a long time coming at Kennington station.

It will also probably need passengers to use two lifts between street and platform, which could encourage them to find a better route.

Access Between Platform And Train

These pictures show trains in Kennington station.

Note that a Harrington Hump is fitted to the platform to ease boarding for those in wheelchairs.

The map from cartometro.com shows the platform layout at Kennington station.

Note that in the pictures and this map the platforms are almost straight.

I wonder, if as at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms stations, the platforms could be arranged so that there is step-free access between train and platform.

These pictures show level access at the two stations on the new extension.

This would surely help those changing trains by walking between Platforms 2 and 4 or 1 and 3.

Conclusion

I am very doubtful, that large numbers of passengers with reduced mobility will use Kennington station, except to change from one train to another going in the same direction.

For that reason, I suspect Transport for London have not gone for full step-free access at Kennington station.

But I do think, that level access could be installed between the trains and all four platforms to make it easier for passengers with reduced mobility to change trains.

Passenger Flows If The Northern Line Is Split Into Two Lines

The Northern Line could be split into two.

  • The Western Line (Charing Cross Line) would run between Edgware and Battersea Power Station via Camden Town, Euston, Charing Cross and Kennington.
  • The Eastern Line (Bank Line) would run between High Barnet and Morden via Camden Town, Euston, Bank and Kennington.

Northbound routes through Kennington station would be as follows.

  • Passengers between Battersea Power Station and a Bank Line station would change between Platforms 1 and 3 at Kennington.
  • Passengers between Morden and a Charing Cross Line station would change between Platforms 3 and 1 at Kennington.

Southbound routes through Kennington station would be as follows.

  • Passengers between a Bank Line station and Battersea Power Station would change between Platforms 4 and 2 at Kennington.
  • Passengers between A Charing Cross Line station and Morden would change between Platforms 2 and 4 at Kennington.

All of these Northbound and Southbound changes are a level walk of perhaps ten metres.

Passengers between Morden and Battersea Power Station would change at Kennington, if they can manage the stairs.

Otherwise, they will need to do two cross-platform interchanges at Kennington and Waterloo.

The rule would appear to be if you’re on one line and are going to a station on the other, you change at Kennington station.

Staff would need to be on the platform to help those, who were changing direction.

But I do think changing can be made to work well with step-free access between train and platform on all four platforms at Kennington station.

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Is Clapham Common Station Dangerous?

Clapham North and Clapham Common stations are the last two Northern Line platforms with an island platform in the tunnel and must be towards the top of any list. This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows their locations.

Note their closeness to Clapham High Street station, I am sure, that eventually a better solution to these two stations will come about because of property development in the area.

I passed through Clapham Common station this morning and took these pictures.

Well to be fair, the fourth picture is one I took earlier.

Using The Experience At Bank To Advantage

As I write this, there are underground construction workers starting the final push to rebuild Bank station. After dismantling a lot of the Northern Line through Bank station, I would expect that engineers and workers have ideas as to how they could sort Clapham Common station and its near neighbour to the North; Clapham North station.

There would appear to be two possible lines of thought.

One would be to apply the Bank solution of digging a new Northbound tunnel.

  • It would  by-pass the two current stations, by looping to the West.
  • The current Northbound track would be filled in at both stations and used to widen the platform, which would handle Southbound trains on the current track.
  • A new platform on the new Northbound track would be built outside the current tunnel and connected to the widened platform over the old Northbound track, by passageways through the tunnel wall.
  • It should be possible to slip a lift down to the wide island platform to give step-free access.

Hopefully the current access to the surface could still be used.

I also wonder if engineers know enough about Victorian tunnel construction to just strip the tunnel and widen it

  • The tracks would be moved further apart.
  • The island platform would be widened.
  • Step-free access might be difficult.

As with the other method, the current access to the surface could still be used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 6 Comments

Is Kennington Station Ready For The Extension?

As I passed through Kennington station, this morning, I took these pictures.

Note.

  • Trains turning at Kennington in the loop are signed as not in service.
  • Some of the signage has been updated.
  • It does appear that there is some need for some decorators.

But the biggest problem is that if you need to change direction , at the station, it’s up one steep staircase and down another. The step-free route would mean changing at London Bridge or Waterloo, as these stations have the platforms between the tracks.

September 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Spalding Station – 8th September 2021

I’d only ever been through Spalding station a couple of times, but I’d never seen the station, so because I wanted to take some pictures of the completed Werrington Dive Under, I decided to take a train to the station today.

The quality of the station was a welcome surprise.

  • It was opened in 1848.
  • But it is a Grade II Listed Building.
  • It has a very tasteful step-free footbridge totally in-keeping with the rest of the station.
  • The Entrance Hall, which I didn’t photograph, was excellent.

I can only fault the station in that it lacks a café or better still a real ale pub. But there is a Sainsbury’s outside the door.

Greengauge 21’s Suggestion, That Thameslink Be Extended To Spalding

In the study by Greengauge 21, which is entitled Connecting East Lincolnshire, this is said.

As noted the Spalding-Peterborough line should be a strong candidate for electrification because of its freight potential, and if so it could also accommodate an extension of Thameslink services from London and the South East to Spalding where interchange would be made with a Spalding–Boston–Louth–Grimsby express bus using the A16.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. The station only has forty-five parking spaces.
  2. I suspect the express bus could park outside the station.
  3. There is probably space to the North of the station for a turnback siding.
  4. Trains seem to take about 21 minutes to cover the 16.6 miles from Peterborough.

There certainly doesn’t seem to be anything that gives a great big No!

 

September 8, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Debden Station – 30th August 2021

Debden station is now step-free, so I popped in to have a look on my trip back from Epping.

Note.

  1. The station has three bridges; an old heritage one, a girder construction in the middle and the new steel one between the lift towers.
  2. The heritage bridge seems to be the one that most passengers use.
  3. The station building is typical of the 1970s.
  4. The station has over two hundred parking spaces. They are also bookable in advance.

The two new lifts are from Otis and they are in a self-contained installation of just two lifts and a bridge with no steps. Although, there does appear to be emergency stairs to one side.

Have Otis Developed A Modular Lift System?

This picture of Wimbledon Park station, is taken from Wimbledon Park Station – 27th August 2021.

The new lift can be seen on the left of the station behind the wall with the posters. It is encased in a dark-grey steel box, with a brick facia on the far side. The lift at Wimbledon Park station is from Otis.

This picture shows the new lifts at Ickenham station.

The lifts appear to have a lot of similarity to those at Debden.

I didn’t check the make of the lifts at Ickenham station, but if they are Otis, it looks like the company could have a modular system for lifts.

As this picture from Wimbledon Park station shows, they can even be given a tasteful facia.

The single lift at Wimbledon Park station could be the prototype for many similar installations.

Debden Station As A Step-Free Park-And-Ride Station

This Google Map shows the location of Debden station.

Note the closeness of the M11 to Debden station.

Unfortunately, the junction only connects Chigwell Lane with London and has no connection with the North and Harlow.

There is an urban myth, that Northbound slip roads weren’t built here, to stop robbers getting away to the countryside if they robbed the De La Rue factory of newly-printed bank notes.

This section in Wikipedia says this about Northbound slip-roads at Junction 5.

An official plan to add north-facing connections at junction 5 in Debden, Loughton was abandoned in 1998.

The sliproads would enable Debden station to be used as a Park-and-Ride station for London using the Central Line.

  • Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Pauls and Chancery Lane stations would be served in the City of London.
  • Debden and Bank are just over half-an-hour apart.
  • Driving would probably take a few minutes longer.
  • There would be a step-free cross-platform interchange with Crossrail at Stratford station for the West End, Paddington and Heathrow.

I suspect it would be an expensive scheme to develop a fully step-free Park-and-Ride and it would be more affordable to make Epping station fully step-free.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Epping Station – 30th August 2021

In Essex Councillors Call For Underground Link, I discussed the pros and cons of extending the Central Line from Epping station to Harlow.

As I didn’t have any pictures of Epping station. I went to the station and took these.

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Epping station.

Note.

  1. There are two platforms both of which are used to terminate trains.
  2. Platform 2 is step-free, but Platform 1 is only step-free for exit only.
  3. There is a large car park with 541 spaces including twelve for disabled drivers.

I suspect this means, that someone who has difficulty with the bridge and has parked their car in the car park has a problem.

To my mind there are two obvious solutions.

  • Put in a second step-free bridge at the station.
  • If no trains go past the ends of the platform, it might be possible to build a level walkway across the two tracks.

It would all depend on the budget and any plans to extend the Central Line to Harlow or on to the tracks of the Epping Ongar Railway.

It would certainly be possible to extend Platform 1 to serve as a platform for the Epping Ongar Railway and have a walkway across the tracks  to give step-free access between all three platforms.

  • It would make the heritage Epping Ongar Railway into a unique London tourist attraction with direct access from the Underground.
  • It might even be possible for the heritage railway to run connection services between Epping and Ongar at times, when they would be financially worthwhile and operationally possible.

There are certainly possibilities.

August 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Southall Station – 28th August 2021

Southall station is now another station, that is ready for Elizabeth!

I took these pictures this morning.

Note.

  1. It appears all four current platforms will be getting step-free access with lifts.
  2. The leg of the bridge to Platform 1 hasn’t been completed, although the lift tower is in place.
  3. The station signage is bi-lingual; English and Punjabi.
  4. A new modern station building has been added to the North of the original station building, which opened in 1839.
  5. A level walkway runs between  the new station building and the footbridge.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note.

  1. This image was taken during building of the footbridge.
  2. The new station building and the walkway to the footbridge don’t appear to have been erected at the time of the image.
  3. The Southern pair of lines are the fast lines that go through Platforms 1 and 2.
  4. The Northern pair of lines are the slow lines that go through Platforms 3 and 4, which will be used by Crossrail.
  5. There is a fifth unused platform face, that shares the island and the stairs and future lift with Platform 1.

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines through the station in detail.

Note the single line coming in from the South-East is the freight-only Brentford Branch.

A Passenger Service On The Brentford Branch

It would appear that, when the builders complete the step-free footbridge at Southall station, that there will be a step-free interchange between Crossrail and any future passenger service on the Brentford Branch.

I feel that the Brentford Branch would be ideal for one of Adrian Shooter‘s Pop-Up-Metros, that would use Vivarail‘s Class 230 trains or similar.

In its simplest form a train would just shuttle between Brentford and the unnumbered fifth platform at Southall station.

August 28, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Wimbledon Park Station – 27th August 2021

Wimbledon Park station has now gone step-free so I went to have a look.

Note how the lift has been squeezed in neatly alongside the staircase.

I suspect this lift layout can be copied at a lot of stations.

August 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , | 3 Comments