The Anonymous Widower

Could A Platform Or Platforms Be Added To The High Meads Loop To Improve Connectivity At Stratford?

This Google Map shows Stratford International station..

The main station is obvious, but note the Stratford International DLR station to the North on the other side of Interbational Way.

  • From the DLR station the tracks curve Southwards and cross the High Speed tracks towards St. Pancras.
  • Alongside these tracks is the double-track High Meads Loop.
  • On the Northern side of the DLR station, the loop enters a tunnel to connect the tracks to Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale stations.
  • At the Southern end, the loop connects to the tracks that go through platforms 11 and 12 of the domestic Stratford station, before joining with the other side of the High Meads Loop at Temple Meads East Junction to go North.
  • Platform 11 would handle trains going clockwise round the loop and Platform 12 those going anti-clockwise.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout in detail.

The loop has been used in the past to turn Stansted Expresses that ran to Stratford, where they called in Platform 12. The signs are still there, as this picture, which was taken at the Eastern end of the Overground plstforms 1 and 2, shows.

The capacity of the loop must be quite large.

  • A similar single-track loop under Liverpool handles as many as fourteen trains per hour (tph).
  • The double-track loop could probably handle upwards of sixteen tph.

The following is also planned, is happening or could happen.

  • Crossrail should open in 2019 giving a direct connection between Stratford and Heathrow via Paddington, the West End and Liverpool Street.
  • Four tph will run between Stratford and Meridian Water stations.
  • A Stansted Express service between Stansted and Stratford could be reintroduced.
  • Liverpool Street is getting increasingly crowded.
  • London Overground might  run services between Stratford and the Lea Valley.

Utilising the capacity of the existing High Meads Loop would probably be an easier option, than expanding Liverpool Street.

I arrived at Stratford International DLR station today and after using the Western entrance, I took these pictures.

The High Meads Loop is not that far from the DLR station and there would appear to be scope to create at least one platform.

This Google Map shows the Western end of the DLR station and the High Meads Loop.

I think there is scope in the area to create a link between the three stations at the Western end of the DLR station, which is the building with the blue roof.

It could also be a better walking route to the Internation station, as you won’t have to fight your way through Eastfields.

Conclusion

I think it will be tricky, but a better interchange will be created.

 

October 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Could A Lea Valley Metro Be Created?

Crossrail 2 envisages these developments and level of service North along the Lea Valley.

Crossrail 2 also envisages that at Tottenham Hale station, the line will enter a tunnel for Central and South West London.

But there is an unused alternative terminal, that could handle perhaps 16 tph with modern signalling.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr of the lines at Stratford.

Note the double-track  loop that encircles Stratford International station and goes through Platforms 11 and 12 at Stratford station.

Consider.

  • Loops like this can easily handle 12 tph, as they do in Liverpool with the Wirral Line.
  • Stratford is well-connected to the Central, Great Eastern Main, Jubilee and North London Lines, Crossrail and the Docklands Light Railway.
  • The Loop could be connected to Stratford International station for Southeastern Highspeed services.
  • There’s probably enough capacity to allow a couple of Stansted services to terminate in the loop.
  • There is a massive development going on at Meridian Water, where a new station is being built.
  • Liverpool Street station lacks capacity.

I can’t believe that a viable 12 tph service is not possible.

The major works would be as follows.

  • Four-tracking the West Anglia Main Line into two fast and two slow lines.
  • Making all stations step-free.
  • Removing the level crossings.
  • Creating a flyover at Coppermill Junction to connect the fast lines to Liverpool Street and prepare for Crossrail 2.

If Crossrail 2 is built in the future, the Metro service would be diverted into the central tunnel at Tottenham Hale station.

Integration With The London Overground

The Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town services of the London Overground will not only offer alternative routes during the four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line, but they could be better connected to a Lea Valley Metro.

  • Tne Class 710 trains could enable four tph on each branch.
  • The Class 710 trains will enable faster services on each branch.
  • A reinstated Hall Farm Curve would connect Chingford and Walthamstow to Stratford.
  • Creation of a step-free Cheshunt station would ease transfer between the London Overground and the Lea Valley Metro.

The new trains will be key and may open up more possibilities.

Note too, that moving services to Stratford from Liverpool Street will release capacity at Liverpool Street, that will be well-used by Greater Anglia and London Overground.

Dear Old Vicky

She’s always there when you need her and engineers keep coming up with ways to keep the Victoria Line giving more.

Currently, the frequency of trains between Walthamstow Central and Brixton is 36 tph.

I can’t believe that the engineers working on the line, don’t want to squeeze another four tph out of her, to achieve the fabulous forty.

This might be possible with the trains, tracks and signalling, but the problem is the capacity of some of the 1960s-built stations.

  • Many stations have an empty space, where a third escalator could be.
  • Lifts are few and far between.
  • Some stations don’t have ceilings in the platform tunnels.

These stations could be improved.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station gets desperate in the Peak, but it could be given a third escalator, a second entrance at the other end of the platforms and a much better step-free connection to the Chingford Branch of the Overground.

Blackhorse Road Station

Blackhorse Road station could be finished and given a third escalator to cope with the extra passengers that will transfer to and from an electrified Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Tottenham Hale Station

Tottenham Hale station is being rebuilt to increase capacity. Will it get the missing third escalator and ceilings?

Seven Sisters Station

Seven Sisters station will be a Crossrail 2 station and will need updating to cope with an expected eight tph on the Overground.  Expect a major project here.

Finsbury Park Station

Finsbury Park station is one of London’s stations designed by Topsy. Improvements are underway to cope with the extra passengers from Thameslink and an upgraded Northern City Line.

Highbury and Islington Station

Highbury and Islington station suffered worst at the hands of the Nazis and 1960s cost cutting, when the Victoria Line was built. This made it one of London’s worst stations.

However help is at hand.

  • Plans are being prepared for a second entrance to the station on the other side of the Holloway Road.
  • The frequency on the Northern City Line is being upgraded to twelve tph with new larger capacity Class 717 trains.
  • There is space for a third escalator to be added to connect the Overgriound with the deep-level Victoria and Northern City Lines.

It should be born in mind, that Highbury and Islington station is busier than either Manchester Piccadilly or Edinburgh Waverley stations.

But with an upgrade, because it has cross-platform interchange between the Victoria and Northern City Lines, it could be an upgrade that increases the passenger capacity of the Victoria Line.

Euston Station

Euston station will be upgrqaded for HS2.

Oxford Circus Station

Oxford Circus station is desperately in need of more capacity, especially as there will be an upgrade to the Bakerloo Line in the future.

The opportunity at Oxford Circus is that some of the buildings around the junction are tired and some probably need to be replaced.

So will we see a development like Bloomberg Place, that will create a new entrance to Bank station, at Oxford Circus?

Could it also have an subterranean connection to Crossrail’s Hanover Square entrance for Bond Street station?

Victoria Station

Victoria station is in the process of being upgraded.

It certainly appears to be a case of so far so good!

South Of The River

Vauxhall and Brixton stations have rather undeveloped interchanges with the National Rail lines and these could surely be improved.

Under Possible Future Projects in the Wikipedia entry for the Victoria Line, this is said.

For many years there have been proposals to extend the line one stop southwards from Brixton to Herne Hill. Herne Hill station would be on a large reversing loop with one platform. This would remove a critical capacity restriction by eliminating the need for trains to reverse at Brixton. The Mayor of London’s 2020 Vision, published in 2013, proposed extending the Victoria line “out beyond Brixton” by 2030.

This would surely be the last upgrade to squeeze even more out of Dear Old Vicky.

Conclusion

A Lea Valley Metro can be created and eventually, it can be the Northern leg of Crossrail 2.

Before Crossrail 2 is completed, it will have great help in the following ways.

  • In North East London from the London Overground.
  • Across London from the Victoria Line.

Don’t underestimate how Crossrail and an updated Northern City Line will contribute.

 

 

 

 

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

West Anglia Route Improvement – The High Meads Loop

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

stratfordlines

Note Temple Mills East Junction at the Northern (top) end of the map.

If you go North from here, you are on the Temple Mills Branch of the West Anglia Main Line and you will pass through Lea Bridge station and Coppermill Junction before you reach Tottenham Hale station.

Go South from that Junction and you pass the crossover of Olympic Park Junction, cross over the Eastern End of Stratford International station and then arrive in Platforms 11 and 12 at Stratford station.

Platform 11 is used for the current two trains per hour (tph) that go up and down the West Anglia Main Line, but Platform 12 is currently just giving out messages saying “I’m Free!”

Platforms like these can generally handle four tph, as they do at stations like Highbury and Islington or Dalston Junction. But is a capacity of eight tph enough if some Stansted and Cambridge services are added to the mix at Stratford?

But there may be other possibilities!

On the map in this post, look  at the lines to the North-West of Platform 11 and 12 at Stratford station and how they curve round the Eastfield Shopping Centre and Stratford International station.

The main route is called the High Meads Loop and this picture taken from a Docklands Light Railway train to Stratford Internation station, shows the twin-track loop.

dscn9935

Southbound trains from Tottenham Hale could do the following.

  • Call at  Platform 1 in Lea Bridge station.
  • Call in Plastform 11 at Stratford station.
  • Go round the High Meads Loop and past the Stratford International DLR station.
  • Rejoin the Temple Mills Branch on the Down Line at Temple Mills East Junction.
  • Call at  Platform 2 in Lea Bridge station.

The train has been turned round using the High Meads Loop, after a stop at Platform 11 in Stratford station.

So do trains currently take this route?

On this page in RailForums, this was said in a post made in 2006.

Another option is the use of Channelsea Junction and the High Meads loop to turn trains at Stratford. I’ve managed to go from Stansted Airport to Stratford and back again without changing ends using that particular route before now.

I would assume from the words, the poster of the information is a driver. So they should know!

Channelsea Junction is clearly shown on the map in this post.

I have a few questions, that should be answered.

Is The Route Bi-Directional?

I suspect it is and trains would call in the unused Platform 12 at Stratford station. As I said in Platforms 11 and 12 At Stratford,

Trains stopping in Platform 12, will have a very simple step-free access to the London Overground services in Platforms 1 and 2.

My personal view, would be that services using the loop called in Platform 12, as that would give me easy access from the North London Line from where I live.

But going round this way through Platform 12 at Stratford would mean that trains would have to cross on the flat at Temple Mills East Junction.

How Long Are Platforms 11 and 12 at Stratford?

They certainly accept an eight-car train as they do now, but would they accept a twelve-car one?

The Picture Says 8

The Picture Says 8

If they can’t and it would be needed to accept Greater Anglia’s new Stadler Flirts for the Stansted Express, there would appear to be space to lengthen the platforms, at the Temple Mills End.

It has to be asked if Platforms 11 and 12 have enough capacity.

I would appear that they have been built reasonably wide to accept  high passenger numbers.

What Services Could Use This Loop?

I suspect any service arriving at Stratford from the West Anglia Main Line, that needed to be turned back, could use this route.

  • Angel Road using the new STAR service.
  • Bishops Stortford
  • Broxbourne
  • Cambridge
  • Chingford using the Hall Farm Curve.
  • Hertford East
  • Stansted Airport

That is a very comprehensive list.

How Many Trains Per Hour Could Use The Loop?

The capacity of the loop could be at least as high as the similar Wirral Loop in Liverpool, which handles 12 tph or just one train every five minutes.

Modern signalling with a measure of Automatic Train Control could probably raise this figure substantially.

In addition, Platform 11 could probably handle four tph as it does now.

Could A Station Be Built On The High Meads Loop To Serve Stratford International?

If it could, it would ease one of London’s truly dreadful transport issues. How do you get to Stratford International station without walking a long way or going through Eastfield?

Can Services Using Platforms 11 and 12 At Stratford Access The North London Line?

As there is a triangular junction connecting the North London Line, the High Meads Loop and Platforms 11 and 12 at Stratford, a lot of services are possible, if they are needed.

But for the time being a good step-free interchange between Angel Road, Chingford and other services from the West Anglia Main Line to the North London Line services at Stratford is all that could be needed.

If High Meads Loop services called in Platform 12 at Stratford, that would be an ideal solution.

A short walk would connect North London Line services to Stanstead Airport services and local trains up and down the West Anglia Main Line.

Note the sign in this pictuire.

It directs passengers to Platform 12 for Stansted Airport services.

How Many Trains Per Hour Could Use The Loop?

The capacity of the loop could be at least as high as the similar Wirral Loop in Liverpool, which handles 12 tph or just one train every five minutes.

Modern trains and signalling with a measure of Automatic Train Control could probably rise this figure substantially.

So perhaps there could be twelve to fifteen tph through platform 12.

In addition, Platform 11 could probably handle four tph as a traditional terminal platform.

Do Any Other Services Use The Temple Mills Branch?

I’m not saying they don’t, but I’ve never a freight train go through Platform 11 or 12 at |Stratford or Tottenham Hale or Lea Bridge station.

But I have seen an engineering train at Coppermill Junction and empty stock needs to get in and out of Temple Mills Depot.

Conclusion

Trains arriving at Stratford station on the Temple Mills Branch of the West Anglia Main Line can call at Stratford station and go straight back from whence they came using the High Meads Loop.

One positive effect would be that however many trains went round the High Meads Loop, all could call at the following stations.

  • Platform 1 at Lea Bridge station
  • Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station
  • A platform at Stratford International station, if it were to be built.
  • Platform 2 at Lea Bridge station

Look at the service that Lea Bridge station gets to and from Stratford.

 

February 28, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

West Anglia Route Improvement – Modern Railways March 2017

The March 2017 Edition of Modern Railways sheds some more light on what is happening at the between Angel Road and Tottenham Hale stations.

They state  the following about the current works.

  • The Stratford area and its station is growing in importance.
  • The line is slated for improvement under the Stratford-Tottenham-Angel Road (STAR) project.
  • STAR will involve laying a third track between Stratford and Angel Road, alongside the West Anglia Main Line and the Temple Mills Branch to Stratford.
  • STAR will be completed at the end of 2018.
  • STAR will run at a frequency of four trans per hour (tph)

A picture in the magazine taken from a footbridge shows very much what my pictures show.

They also state this about Crossrail 2

  • Crossrail 2 would be overlaid on the existing network serving both Liverpool Street and Stratford stations.
  • Coppermill junction could be converted to a grade-separated rather than a flat junction.
  • Crossrail 2 would emerge from the tunnel South of Tottenham Hale.
  • The project would quadruple the West Anglia Main Line from the tunnel portal to Broxbourne.
  • STAR would be built to facilitate this.
  • A turnback platform is being considered at Tottenham Hale
  • A turnback platform is being considered at Enfield Lock
  • Turnback platforms and stabling sidings are considered at Broxbourne.

So how does all this fit with my observations?

STAR

I very much feel that STAR could be only a stop-gap development until Crossrail 2 arrives. In What Is STAR?, I give a few basic details.

After all will it still be needed to run just four tph between Angel Road and Stratford, when there could be upwards of 10-15 tph on Crossrail 2 and other services between Tottenham Hale and Stratford?

Something is needed immediately to serve Angel Road station and the massive Meridian Water development, which will result in the renaming of Angel Road station to Meridian Water,

The timings from Tottenham Hale are currently as follows.

  • Stratford – 14 minutes
  • Lea Bridge – 4 minutes
  • Northumberland Park – 2 ,minutes
  • |Angel Road – 4 minutes

Modern Railways states STAR will use a third track between Stratford and Angel Road. So if it was designed to be straight and flat and if it is running new Aventra trains from either London Overground or Greater Anglia with a fast stop capability, I wonder if timings could be achieved, which would enable just two trains to run the required service.

But I also suspect that STAR would provide a valuable service to link Meridian Water to Tottenham Hale and Stratford stations, even after Crossrail 2 opens.

STAR At Tottenham Hale

This picture shows the available space at Tottenham Hale station, which doesn’t appear to be enough for two lines.

Not Much Space For Two Tracks

Note the newly-installed cable ducts.

Modern Railways states STAR will use a third track between Stratford and Angel Road. A single track would certainly fit through here.

Suppose the current platform 1 on the left, was made an island platform for the existing London-bound line and the track for STAR going along the route that now almost looks like freshly-mowed grass.

  • The new platform could be Platform 0
  • STAR would be worked in a bi-directional  manner, always calling at Platform 0
  • When Tottenham Hale station is re-built in the near future, Platform 0 will have full step-free access to the Victoria Line, courtesy of Platform 1.
  • It would have cross-platform access to Liverpool Street services on Platform 1.
  • Moving some Stansted or Cambridge service from Liverpool Street to Stratford might be operationally worthwhile after Crossrail opens.

Platform usage at Tottenham Hale would be as follows.

  • 0 – All STAR services.
  • 1 – Services to Liverpool Street
  • 2 – Northbound services except STAR.

That would be very logical for passengers and not the most complicated of construction projects.

STAR At Angel Road

If the third track continued to Angel Road station as seems to be proposed, then a  single bay platform could handle the four tph.

Space would have to be left for the two future new lines that will be installed, when the full West Anglia four-tracking takes place.

The STAR track could be close to the current West Anglia Up Line, as it will be at Tottenham Hale with the two new lines on the Eastern side of the station.

If the STAR track was on the outside, there would have to be a flat junction, where the STAR track crossed the two extra lines.

Until Crossrail 2 is built, I also suspect that STAR could be only service calling at Angel Road.

So there will be a lot of flexibility on how the station is built.

STAR At Northumberland Park

This picture shows the current works at Northumberland Park station.

Northumberland Park Station

This picture was taken from the footbridge in the station.

Could the current platform 1 at the station be converted into an island platform between the current West Anglia Up Line and a STAR track between the West Anglia Main Line and the Northumberland Park Depot for the Victoria Line?

I suspect the answer is in the affirmative.

There might even be space for more lines through the area, when the West Anglia Main Line is four-tracked.

STAR At Lea Bridge Station

Lea Bridge station is a recently-opened station on the Temple Mills Branch between Tottenham Hale and Stratford and I doubt  there is sufficient space for a separate track for STAR with its own platform through the station.

This picture is from A Look At Lea Bridge Station, which shows the station in detail.

 

Alongside Lea Bridge Station

 

The STAR track would have to go through here and would probably mean substantial rebuilding of a brand-new station.

So all services to Stratford will call at Platform 1 and all services from Stratford will call at Platform 2.

This will mean a junction North of Lea Bridge station, so that services can get themselves to the right lines for Tottenham Hale or in future the Chingford Branch along a rebuilt Hall Farm Curve.

  • Southbound STAR, Chingford Branch Line and other services to Stratford will merge before Lea Bridge station to pass through Platform 1.
  • Northbound STAR and Chingford Branch Line services will pass through Platform 2 and then cross over the Temple Mills Branch Up Line to the bi-directional STAR track alongside the main lines to Tottenham Hale.
  • Northbound Chingford Branch Line services will take the Hall Farm Curve to get to St. James station and the Chingford Branch Line.
  • Other Northbound services from Stratford will stay on the Temple Mills Branch Down Line and go straight to Platform 2 at Tottenham Hale.

Traffic crossing from the Temple Mills Branch Down Line over the Up Line to get to the STAR track would include.

  • STAR services of four tph.
  • Services from Stratford to Walthamstow and Chingford, which could be between two and four tph.

Due to restrictions on capacity caused by the level crossing at Highams Park station on the Chingford Branch Line, I suspect this could initially be just 2 tph, until a solution for the restriction is found.

STAR at Stratford

One possible problem is the capacity at Stratford station, which only has two possible terminal platforms 11 and 12.

Platform 11 is used for the current two tph that go up and down the West Anglia Main Line, but Platform 12 is currently just giving out messages saying “I’m Free!”

Platforms like these can generally handle four tph, as they do at stations like Highbury and Islington or Dalston Junction. But is a capacity of eight tph enough if some Stansted and Cambridge services are added to the mix.

But there may be other possibilities!

In High Meads Loop, I look at how an existing loop around Eastfield and Stratford International station could be used to turn trains.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr , shows the High Meads Loop.

stratfordlines

Use of the High Meads Loop would enable the following.

  • Probably upwards of 10-12 tph to be turned back at Stratford.
  • Trains would call in either Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford station.
  • Trains could call at Stratford International station.

Currently Platforms 11 and 12 can only handle eight-car trains, but they could be lengthened for the the new 12-car Stadler Flirts, that will work the London to Cambridge and Stansted services in a couple of years.

Cambridge, Stansted and Lea Valley services would have simple changes to the following services at Stratford.

  • Central Line
  • Crossrail for City and East London, Essex, Heathrow, Paddington and the West End.
  • DLR for Docklands and South East London.
  • European services, if they were to call at Stratford International. As they should!
  • Greater Anglia for Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich and all the branches.
  • Jubilee Line for Canary Wharf, London Bridge, Waterloo and Westminster.
  • North London Line for Clapham Junction, Old Oak Common and West and South West London.
  • Southeastern Highspeed to Ebbsfleet, Kent and East Sussex.

I suspect that London Overground and/or Greater Anglia have a cunning plan to collect all of these services and platforms together in an optimal manner for the benefit of all stakeholders.

But it’s really just the East End of London asserting its true place in London’s hierarchy.

The Stratford/High Meads Advantage

Using the High Meads Loop at Stratford to turn trains from the West Anglia Main Line could be a big advantage in the next few years.

All of these construction projects need to be carried out.

  • Rebuilding of Tottenham Hale station.
  • Updating of Coppermill Junction.
  • Four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Lengthening of platforms at Liverpool Street station.
  • Connection of Crossrail 2 to the West Anglia Main Line.

If a connection between Tottenham Hale and Stratford  via Lea Bridge can be maintained at all times during this massive amount of construction, which given the space available is very possible, then Stratford could be an alternative destination for diverted West Anglia Main Line and local services, that are unable to connect to Liverpool Street.

STAR And Electrification

This picture shows where the single STAR track will pass under the Ferry Lane Bridge at Tottenham Hale station

Ferry Lane Bridge At Tottenham Hale Station

When I first looked at this bridge and saw the height of the overhead electrification on the existing West Anglia Main Line under the far span, I immediately questioned if they could fit the electrification under either of the blue steel bridges, where STAR might pass, in a manner that would meet all the Health and Safety regulations.

The only way to electrify and be certain of the safety would be to replace the bridge with a modern structure. But this would take a couple of years and can it be built without closing an important route to and from London for a couple of months?

So I come to the conclusion that the STAR line will not be electrified and the line will use electric trains with onboard energy storage or IPEMUs.

  • I have been told by the manufacturer that all Aventra trains are wired for onboard energy storage.
  • Both possible operators of the star service; Greater Anglia and London Overground are obtaining sizeable fleets of suitable Aventra trains,
  • Greater Anglia’s Aventras are five-car trains.
  • London Overground’s Class 710 trains are four-car trains.
  • Delivery of London Overground’s trains is scheduled to start in 2018, so they are a just-in-time delivery.
  • The route between Lea Bridge and Stratford is fully electrified, so trains could charge the batteries South of Lea Bridge station.
  • Diesel trains would be an alternative, but probably not appropriate in the Lea Valley.

For added safety, the well-proven method of slab track will be used under the bridge to ensure the train stays stable.

The outcome will be the ecologically sustainable development of Meridian Water gets appropriate electric trains to shuttle residents to Crossrail and the Eastfield Shopping Centre at Stratford.

Crossrail 2

I shall make a few comments about what the article says about Crossrail 2.

Crossrail 2 Would Be Overlaid On The Existing Network

How else is there to do it without building a whole new line on a different route up the Lea Valley?

Incidentally, plans used to exist for extending the Chingford Branch Line to Stansted Airport through Epping Forest. I doubt that will ever happen, especially as Queen Victoria is supposed to have said no!

Coppermill Junction Could Be Converted To A Grade-Separated Rather Than A Flat Junction

These pictures were taken from a train, that was going from Lea Bridge to Tottenham Hale, through the area of Coppermill Junction.

At present the following happens at Coppermill Junction.

  • Trains between Liverpool Street and Chingford pass straight over the junction.
  • Trains from Liverpool Street to Tottenham Hale curve left from the Chingford Branch Line to join the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Trains from Tottenham Hale to Liverpool Street cross in a flat junction over the West Anglia Down Line and the Chingford Branch Down Line to get on track for Liverpool Street.

When the West Anglia Main Line has been four-tracked and the STAR track has been inserted alongside the current tracks, the fast tracks will probably be the two most Easterly tracks through Tottenham Hale.

This will mean that the West Anglia Up Fast will have to cross the following lines to get on the Chingford Up Line.

  • The bi-directional STAR line.
  • The double-track of the Temple Mills Branch to Stratford.
  • The Chingford Down Line.

In the opposite direction, the following tracks will have to be crossed.

  • The double-track of the Temple Mills Branch to Stratford.
  • The bi-directional STAR line.

These movements will need a very complicated Coppermill Junction.

As four-tracking is all about faster services between Liverpool Street and Cambridge and Stansted, it would be detrimental to not have an efficient Coppermill Junction, with some grade separation.

I think we probably need flyovers or dive-unders on the following routes.

  • West Anglia Up Fast to Chingford Branch Up.
  • Chingford Branch Down to West Anglia Down Fast.

Routes would probably need to be provided so that the trains could go between the West Anglia Slow Lines and the Chingford Branch towards London.

In addition, I’ve heard rumours that trains will be able to go both ways between Tottenham Hale and Walthamstow/Chingford.

There is certainly lots of space to build a complicated junction, as the pictures show.

Crossrail 2 Would Emerge From The Tunnel South of Tottenham Hale

I think that has been known for some time and the possible site is full of London’s demolition rubble.

However, the junction with the West Anglia Slow Lines would probably need to be grade separated and integrated with the spaghetti that Coppermill Junction will probably have become.

The Project Would Quadruple The West Anglia Main Line From The Tunnel Portal To Broxbourne

If fast services to Cambridge and Stansted are to be retained, surely this must be done.

Just imagine 10-15 Crossrail 2 trains and ten fast trains, every hour sharing a pair of lines up the Lea Valley.

In my view the fast lines would be the two most Easterly lines and they probably wouldn’t stop very often, if at all between Liverpool Street or Stratford and Broxbourne.

,

STAR Would Be Built To Facilitate Four-Tracking

Everything I’ve seen leads me to think, that the single STAR track will be next to the West Anglia and Temple Mills Branch Up Line, with the two new lines outside to the East.

I also feel that these new lines will be the fast ones and possibly will have few if any platforms between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne.

STAR could be an independent line, well out of the way operationally of other lines.

  • STAR will be bi-directional North of Lea Bridge station.
  • STAR could share island platforms with the West Anglia Up Line at Angel Road, Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale stations.
  • There could be no points on the route once it separates North of Lea Bridge station.
  • The fast lines between Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale could cross the Temple Mills Branch and the STAR line at Coppermill Junction using a flyover.

The last point probably explains the grade-separated junction, I mentioned earlier.

I said earlier that it could be difficult to put extra tracks through Tottenham Hale station. These pictures show the area, where the STAR line and the two new lines will go and also what lies on the other side in the new housing development of Hale Village.

There is more space than I thought earlier. As some of the concrete decking will probably be demolished or modified to build the new entrance and pedestrian bridge for the station, I suspect that the space between the current station and Hale Village can be made wide enough for at least the new lines needed to four-track the West Anglia Main Line.

But I suspect that a way will be found to get the STAR line and the two other lines in what space can be created.

This would mean.

  • The STAR service can continue, as long as it’s needed.
  • There certainly wouldn’t be space for platforms on the two other lines between the current station and Hale Village.
  • So as the slow lines will need platforms, the two new lines will be the fast lines.

North from Tottenham Hale, there is slightly more space, as my picture at Northumberland Park station showed.

As the STAR line is currently planned to terminate at Angel Road station, North from there, the requirement is only the easier one of two tracks and not three.

But if the requirement for three tracks should prove too difficult, as the four-tracking will see Crossrail 2 implemented, I’m sure that the STAR line can be sacrificed to make space. But that would create difficulty in maintaining an adequate service between Angel Road and Stratford whilst the four-tracjing is being carried out.

In some ways STAR has the feel of one of those temporary diversions you get in road works to keep the traffic moving.

  • Tottenham Hale station is going to be rebuilt.
  • Transport is needed urgently for Meridian Water.
  • STAR connects Angel Road to Stratford with all its connections and Crossrail from 2018.
  • When Crossrail 2 is opened, Angel Road, Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale stations will have a frequent high capacity service.
  • Greater Anglia might move some Cambridge and Stansted services from Liverpool Street to Stratford.

I wouldn’t be sure that STAR  would still exist after Crossrail 2 opens.

  • There will be well upwards of ten tph Crossrail 2 trains in both directions calling at Angel Road station.
  • STAR connects Meridian Water with Stratford.
  • STAR gives a four tph connection between Crossrail 2 at Tottenham Hale and Crossrail at Stratford.

Passenger numbers and patterns will decide.

A Turnback Platform Is Being Considered At Tottenham Hale

Tottenham Hale station is being rebuilt and I suspect that if a turnback platform is being considered the station will have provision for the extra platform to be built.

This picture shows the Southern end of Platform 2 at the station with the Ferry Lane Bridge behind.

dscn0039

It certainly couldn’t be described as good engineering.

Connecting the two current platforms is a 1960s bridge, which has steps at both end and a single escalator to bring passengers arriving from the North onto the bridge to walk to the Victoria Line.

Plans for the station envisage a lot of work being done before the end of next year. Future in the Wikipedia entry for the station includes these plans.

  • creating a new landmark entrance to the Station;
  • increasing the capacity of the Station concourse, by doubling the size of the current ticket hall;
  • improving interchange by relocating the Greater Anglia and London Underground gatelines;
  • providing new access to platforms via the new Access for All (AfA) bridge being delivered separately by Network Rail;
  • removing the existing subway which links the south side of Ferry Lane with the Station;
  • extending the existing bridge to form a new Station entrance from Hale Village, providing improved access from the east to Tottenham Hale transport interchange;
  • re-routing the London Underground escape route and relocating the vent shaft;
  • providing a new, upgraded Station control facility; and
  • retail units.

Nothing is said about a turnback platform.

But I think if the Ferry Lane Bridge was to be rebuilt and the new station was modified appropriately, the turnback platform could be positioned behind and alongside the current platform 2.

  • It would share step-free access with that provided for platform 2.
  • There would be cross-platform for passengers arriving in the turnback platform, with services going further down the line.
  • The current waiting room would be demolished.
  • There would be space for the platform.

Current works at the station are moving the taxi rank, which would help the provision of a turnback platform and other features.

A Turnback Platform Is Being Considered At Enfield Lock

When I looked at Enfield Lock station, I showed this Google Map of Enfield Lock station.

enfieldlock2

Given that there will be two extra lines through the area, will there be any space for a turnback platform?

In Level Crossing Issues, I said this.

The Southernmost three of these crossings; Enfield Lock, Brimsdown and Northumberland Park, are close to the A1055 which is variously called Meridian Way or Mollison Avenue, which was built to serve the various industrial and residential sites between Tottenham Hale and Waltham Cross.

This road should obviously be improved, but look at this Google Map of the Northern End of the road.

Note the West Anglia Main Line crossing the map, in a North-South direction. Waltham Cross station is on the other side of the M25.

Surely this could be a site for a new Park-and-Ride station for Crossrail 2!

Could this be where the turnback platform at Enfield Lock will be located in a new station?

Turnback Platforms And Stabling Sidings Are Considered At Broxbourne

Broxborne station has everything needed to be turned into a superb Northern terminus for Crossrail 2.

  • The station has four platforms; two fast and two slow, with cross-platform change.
  • The station is step-free.
  • There is space to add extra through and turnback platforms.
  • There is space for stabling sidings.
  • There is space for masses amounts of parking.
  • The station has a large water feature including the River Lea and the New River.

The station is even Grade II Listed.

I said more in this post called Broxbourne Station. The final paragraph is.

It would not need a massive amount of money to be spent at Broxbourne to make the station a superb Northern terminus for Crossrail 2. It makes Shenfield and Abbey Wood look decidedly second-class now.

It is not often that the terminus of a new rail line is so easy to develop.

Other Questions And Issues

As I have written this post, several questions and issues have suggested themselves.

  • What will be done about the noise of 100 mph plus trains every few minutes on some parts of the route, like through Enfield Lock and Waltham Cross?
  • Could the two new fast lines be placed in a cut-and-cover tunnel through Tottenham Hale?
  • Do any plans exist for the replacement of the Ferry Lane Bridge at Tottenham Hale?
  • Could the High Meads Loop be used to turn trains at Stratford?
  • Will a station be built on the High Meads Loop to serve Stratford International station?

Like Coppermill Junction, it will all get very complicated.

Conclusion

STAR, Crossrail 2 and four-tracking the West Anglia Main Line will probably bring a lot of benefits, but it is not a simple project.

 

 

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How Will Crossrail Affect The Docklands Light Railway?

When Crossrail opens, there will be a simple step-free walking link between  Canary Wharf station and and Poplar DLR station.

As Poplar is the station on the DLR, where the North-South and the East-West routes cross, this is one of the better connectivity features of Crossrail.

Poplar serves a junction in four directions:

At present to get to Greenwich and Lewisham, you need to change at Canary Wharf DLR station, but as there is a reasonable walking route between Canary Wharf station and Canary Wharf DLR station, passengers for Lewisham could use that route.

As Crossrail will also have a reasonable link to the DLR at both Stratford and Woolwich, I wonder if we’ll see some reorganisation of services on the North-South DLR route between Lewishan and Stratford International.

Will some services go all the way between Lewisham and Stratford International?

Obviously, this will be determined by the routes travellers take after Crossrail opens.

There will also be affects due to the Law of Unexpected Consequences.

I am fairly sure, that Crossrail trains on the two Eastern branches will interface well at Whitechapel station, so passengers going between a station on the Abbey Wood branch to one on the Shenfield branch may prefer to go via Whitechapel, as it will be a simple cross-platform interchange.

How will this affect passenger numbers on the Jubilee Line and the DLR?

I suspect that passengers will use the route that is best for them and this can only mean spare capacity on the two historic routes.

As Crossrail will also be a bypass for the Central Line with connections between the two lines at Stratford, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Ealing Broadway, the Greater East London area will be a big beneficiary from Crossrail.

We’ll have to wait and see how passenger numbers work out, but I think that the North-South route of the DLR could be blessed with spare capacity because of Crossrail, so there may be scope to extend the route past Stratford International and Lewisham.

Two possible extensions from Lewisham are detailed on Wikipedia.

But there is nothing past Stratford International. The DLR Horizon 2020 Study, does propose an extension up the Lea Valley to Tottenham Hale. This is the report’s summary of this route.

A DLR extension to Tottenham Hale via the Lea Valley was tested extending all services (15tph) onwards from Stratford International. The route would run alongside the Lea Valley rail route. The DLR extension is seen as serving intermediate markets (heavy rail would only stop at Tottenham Hale and Stratford) and would serve the Olympic site(s) and the Olympic legacy with additional stops at Lea Bridge and Walthamstow Marshes. Potential drawbacks are largely environmental, covering concerns over Hackney Marshes and the Lea Valley reservoirs.

I talked about it in a sub-section of The High Meads Loop At Stratford. This is a summary of what I said.

Extension of the DLR to Tottenham Hale was mooted a few years ago and a document called DLR Horizon 2020 talked about extending the system from Stratford International up alongside the Lea Valley Lines to Tottenham Hale station

It may be a worthy idea, but does it really make economic sense, when according to what you believe a lot of things may be happening in the area.

When the heavy rail expansion is sorted and the area between Tottenham and Walthamstow is developed as housing and a very large wetland and leisure area, the case for a Lea Valley Light Railway may be stronger and in need of reassessment.

What happens to the North-South route will be driven by the consequences of Crossrail and the massive need for housing in London and the transport links to serve it.

The Mayor’s Plan For A Gallions Reach Extension

The latest plan is to extend the DLR from Gallions Reach station across the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

I wrote about this plan in The Mayor’s Plans For East London River Crossings.

I shall repeat what I said, as I think this is a plan with legs.

BBC article says this about this proposal.

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

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

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

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood

Note.

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

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

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

I also think if more destinations are created in the East, then this will need other developments.

  • More capacity in the new trains, that are being ordered.
  • Extra destinations in the West
  • Expansion of the North-South route t balance the network.

The North and South extensions were covered earlier.

Extension To The West

I have written about this in Extending The Docklands Light Railway West From Bank Station.

Conclusion

The Docklands Light Railway must be one of the best stop-gap transport projects ever created.

Crossrail’s effects on the DLR will be more about providing opportunities, than creating problems.

We also shouldn’t underestimate the role of the DLR in bringing passengers to Crossrail.

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Design Crime – Stratford International Station

I went to Canterbury today and took the Highspeed service from Stratford International station.

These are pictures I took at the station.

Most stations have the odd design issue, but Stratford International has a whole warehouse that’s full of them.

International In Name, But Not Trains

Stratford International station must be the only station in the world, which is billed as an International station, where all trains are domestic.

That to me is fraud!

Should I report the station to the Police?

Connecting With Stratford Station

I travelled to the station via the domestic Stratford station, which meant I had to walk the best part of a mile through the Eastfield Shopping Centre, which was mainly closed as it was earl;y in the morning.

Surely the connection could have been designed to be a shorter walk.

It’s not even straight through the Shopping Centre, but you have to double back after going right through almost to John Lewis.

It’s just designed so you pass as many shops as possible. I was wanting to use a train, not buy something.

 

This Google Map shows the two Stratford stations.

stratford2

Topsy could have designed it better. Even when she was about five!

Surely something better can be done.

The Link To The Docklands Light Railway

You could use the Docklands Light Railway, but then that introduces more changes into to your journey.It is the route recommended by the National Rail Journey Planner.

But the DLR station is on the other side of a road, rather than inside Stratford International station.

The Link To Crossrail

It’s only going to get worse when Crossrail opens, as passengers wanting to go to between say Paddington and East Kent will be drawn to Stratford, only to discover the struggle through Eastfield to Stratford International.

The alternative route via Abbey Wood will be slower and will probably mean extra changes.

There will be one better route available from Crossrail to Stratford International, when the new line opens and that will be to go to Canary Wharf station and, take the short walk to Poplar DLR station. A trip on London’s unique Docklands Light Railway will take you direct to Stratford International station. The DLR always delivers when the chips are down, just as it did in the 2012 Olympics.

No Place To Wait Before The Platforms

Except for a few uncomfortable seats designed by a sadist and what looks to be a comfortable cafe, there is no place to wait on the station concourse before going to the platforms.

A few comfortable seats would be welcome.

The Bleakest Platforms In The UK

That is being charitable, as in all my traels across Europe, even in say a very cold Eastern Europe, any set of platforms as unwelcoming.

Perhaps I should try Siberia!

Appalling Train Access For The Disabled

Considering that the Class 395 trains are the only ones to use the platforms, the disabled acess using a ramp is so nineteenth century.

I joked about the quality of this to a member of staff and they said that in the rush hour, they are sometimes assisting as many as four passengers.

It’s probably lucky that the HighSpeed service is not an intense one, as with this level of disabled access, there would be train delays.

Conclusion

The station and line is a disgrace and especially for the disabled.

Considering it was only built a few years ago, everybody concerned should hang their heads in shame.

What would I do?

  • Where the DLR goes under the main line platforms at Stratford station, between the two subways, I’d extend the DLR platforms underneath and provide direct access between the two levels. This must be possible and would enable passengers to change between main line, Crossrail and Central Line services with the DLR between Canary Wharf and Stratford International.
  • Try and improve the connection to the DLR at Stratford International
  • Replace or modify the Class 395 trains/pltform interface with something fit for purpose, that had level access to the platforms, so wheelchair passengers could just roll in.
  • Do something about the bleakness of the station.

I’d also increase the number of Highspeed services through the station, so that all destinations got at least two direct trains per hour from Stratford.

I would also add some extra new destinations like Eastbourne and Hastings.

 

 

February 14, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

From The Greenway To Stratford International Station

These are pictures, I took whilst walking and riding from the ~Old Ford Recycling Centre on the Greenway to Stratford station.

Note.

September 18, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Platforms 11 and 12 At Stratford

In December this year, an service hourly service called STAR will be started between Stratford and Angel Road along the Temple Mills Branch of the Lea Valley Lines via Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations. Wikipedia says this about services to and from the Angel Road station.

Angel Road is only served by a number of trains every weekday to and from Stratford. No services operate at the station on weekends or public holidays. However, from December 2015 Angel Road will receive an hourly service to Stratford that will start here and vice versa, the service will be known as (STAR).

STAR services will obviously call at the new Lea Bridge station, when it opens next year.

I shall probably use the service occasionally, when I need to get home from Stratford, as Lea Bridge station is on the 56 bus route that passes by my house.

At Stratford, there are two platforms that have been positioned to give easy access to the Temple Mills Branch through Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale and onwards to Stansted Airport. I took these pictures of the platforms.

They sit at the end of the two London Overground platforms, which are the Eastern terminus of the North London Line. You can see two Class 378 trains peeking out from underneath the rusty bridge. (Not my name, but an East London nickname, I’ve heard from locals and station staff!) This Google Map shows the layout of the platforms.

Stratford Platforms 11 And 12

Stratford Platforms 11 And 12

In the map, platforms 11 and 12 curve away to the North from underneath the rusty bridge, which connects Eastfield to Stratford town centre.

Platform 11 is the Easternmost platform and is used as the terminus of the Stratford to Bishops Stortford service, which has been rumoured many would like extended to Stansted.

Platforms 1 and 2 for the North London Line are connected to the unused Platform 12, by a simple walkway, so in the future if Platform 12 is used for the STAR services, passengers going from anywhere on the North London Line to Tottenham Hale or Angel Road would just have an easy interchange.

As the STAR service will initially be an hourly service and the Bishops Stortford service is half-hourly and they run from platforms connected by a subway, I can’t help feeling that this will be an arrangement that won’t last long, before it is improved.

Suppose you arrive at Stratford wanting to get home to your house near Lea Bridge station and just miss the hourly train. Do you wait an hour for another train or catch the Bishops Stortford train, that will probably stop at Lea Bridge, after the new station opens?

It would be so much easier, if the two local services started from an shared island platform or at lest two platforms with a level walk between them.

This is going to get very complicated, if some of the plans for Stratford services up the Lea Valley are implemented.

  • I’ve read several times, that reinstatement of the link to Stansted Airport is an aspiration of many, especially as Stratford is close to the Olympic Park and it is an important rail interchange and a terminus for two branches of the DLR and the Jubilee and North London Lines.
  • There are also aspirations to start a direct service between the Chingford branch and Stratford using the reinstated Hall Farm Curve.
  • With all of the housing, business and leisure developments along the lower Lea Valley, it will not be long before an hourly STAR service is inadequate.
  • If the Hall Farm Curve is reinstated, would there be a need to run services between the Chingford branch and the North London Line?
  • There is also the Crossrail effect, which in the Lea Valley’s case could not be just Crossrail, but Crossrail 2 if that ever gets built.
  • Perhaps unlikely now, but I feel that at some point the Dalston Eastern Curve will be reopened, so enabling services between say Walthamstow to South London.
  • Is there a need to better connect Stratford International station to the main regional complex?

I can’t help feeling that the layout of Platforms 11 and 12 will at some time not be able to handle all the Lea Valley services.

I suspect though there may be an innovative solution.

Look at the Google Map and you see that the Temple Mills Branch passes over the deep hole of the International station. I wrote Is This The Most Unwelcoming Station In The UK? about that dreadful station.

So could two or three bay platforms to serve the Lea Valley and Stansted Airport, be built alongside the Temple Mills Branch, as it passes over the International station?

This Google Map shows Stratford International station.

Stratford International Station

Stratford International Station

The building at the bottom right is also shown on the previous map that shows Platforms 11 and 12.

If the extra platforms were built over the Eastern end of the International station, it would enable the following.

  • A new Eastern entrance to the International station could be created to give better connections between International and High Speed services from Stratford International and all the other services at Stratford Regional station.
  • Crossrail would have a step-free interchange to Eurostar and other International services, if those services stopped at the International station.
  • Interchange between Lea Valley and North London Line services, would be via a double Clapham Kiss, where passengers would just walk on the level to the other set of platforms.
  • There might be opportunities to extend or improve the connectivity of the DLR. The current DLR station is at the top left of the map.
  • Any direct services between the Temple Mills Branch and the North London Line would use the existing Platforms 11 and 12.

To get the connection right, the pedestrian links would have to be well-designed, but surely there is space to put a travelator effectively between the Regional and International stations.

Stratford International station would end up as what it should be, the International section of Stratford station.

 

 

 

 

September 21, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Improving The East London Line

I make no apologies for returning to this subject, but I use the East London Line of the Overground virtually every day and it is very much part of my daily life.

What also prompted me to think about this topic, was coming back from Birmingham into Marylebone and thinking how I would get home in the aftermath of a Friday rush-hour. At the time I was passing Dollis Hill station, where the Chiltern Line runs alongside the Jubilee And Metropolitan Lines.

Dollis Hill Station From A Marylebone-Bound Train

Dollis Hill Station From A Marylebone-Bound Train

It reminded me of the plan to create a proper Interchange between all of lines at West Hampstead. But I can’t expect all trains into Marylebone to stop there, so that I can get easily to Dalston on the North London Line.

So in the end, when I got to Marylebone, I took one stop to Baker Street to get the Metropolitan line to Whitechapel for the East London Line. But usually the Metropolitan was a disaster with no trains and no information, so in the end I took the Jubilee Line to London Bridge from where I got a bus home.

To put it mildly, I’d hit the usual problem. – Getting to and from the Bakerloo Line from East London. It just doesn’t interchange with anything useful within a couple of stops from say Whitechapel or Dalston Junction.

There are two major developments that will happen in the next few years to the East London Line. As the Eastern end of the North London Line from Highbury & Islington to Stratford is closely tied to the East London Line, related improvements to that line will also be covered.

1. Six-car trains 

As I indicated in this earlier post on improving the Overground, the East London Line could be easily upgraded to take twenty-four six-car trains in each direction. I said this in that post.

At the moment the East London Line has 16 four-car trains an hour in the core route, so 24 six-car trains will mean an increase of capacity of 2.25.

But the East London Line already has five-car trains, so the improvement in capacity will be just a factor of 1.8.

The history of the Overground and their Class 378 trains has been one of continuously adding new carriages, ever since they were introduced. I feel that by the end of this decade plans will be in place for a sixth carriage on the East London Line.

There are documents from Network Rail and Transport for London, that also show that six-car trains and higher frequencies will be operating on the North London Line.

I don’t know the economics of building trains, but I suspect that Bombardier would like all new trains to be Aventras, so that they only have one type in production. After all the next order from London Overground is for Aventras for the Lea Valley Lines.

So we might see an early order for sixth carriages or London Overground may go for a fleet that was 100% Aventras. The latter wouldn’t be a waste of a fleet of Class 378 trains, as Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool, would probably like to acquire a fleet of trains less than a decade old.

2. Crossrail

Crossrail will also interface to the East London Line at Whitechapel station and who can predict accurately how much the new line will increase passengers on the East London Line? I suspect that Transport for London’s forecasts will be wrong, just because you are dealing with East Londoners, who have all the flexibility and cunning in their transport plans of little furry animals, who want to enter your property. I think this is due to the legacy of East London having pretty terrible Underground and rail lines  until the last few years.

All of these extra passengers travelling on the East London Line will generate a series of actions that will need to be taken, which fall vaguely into two groups.

1. Extra Terminal Platforms At Both The North And South Ends

For operational reasons, it is probably better to have the same number of North and South terminal platforms at both end of the line.

At present the East London Line operates four separate services with one train every fifteen minutes in both directions.

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

Which gives the current sixteen trains per hour, so if they keep to the current balancing rule and a four trains per hour, they’ll need two extra terminal platforms in both North and South.

I think it is probably right to assume that the terminus shouldn’t be too far away from Whitechapel. Currently, West Croydon and Clapham Junction take about 40 minutes, so much longer than this is probably not possible.

I suspect that the planners of Transport for London have some surprising ideas, when they have a few drinks on a Friday night.

2. New Stations And Interchanges

The Overground and the East London Line in particular always seems to have someone pushing for a new station or better interchange with other lines.

Current interfaces beween Overground and Underground lines are as follows.

Bakerloo Line – Harrow & Wealdstone, Queen’s Park, Wembley Central and Willesden Junction

Central Line – Shepherds Bush and Stratford

District Line – Gunnersbury, Kew, Richmond, West Brompton and Whitechapel

Hammersmith And City – Whitechapel

Jubilee Line – Canada Water, Stratford And West Hampstead

Metropolitan

Northern Line – Camden Road-Camden Town

Piccadilly Line – None

Victoria Line – Highbury & Islington

I think, that there is scope for a lot more connections.

So what has been suggested and what would I like to see?

In alphabetical order we have.

Bakerloo Line Extension

The route of the Bakerloo Line Extension has not been decided yet, although TfL have received overwhelming support for the extension.

The three options for the extension all interchange with the East London Line.

Option 1 via Burgess Park, east to Peckham Rye and Catford Bridge,with the option of taking over the Hayes Line to terminate at Hayes, interchanges at Peckham Rye and Honor Oak Park.

Option 2 south to Camberwell Green, and then on to Herne Hill and Streatham Hill, with a branch at Tulse Hill which would take over the National Rail line to Beckenham Junction, interchanges at Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction

Option 3 a similar route to option 1, but after Burgess Park running via the Old Kent Road and New Cross before joining the Hayes line at Lewisham and terminating at Hayes, interchanges at New Cross.

So whatever option is chosen will effectively create a circular route round Central London with this route.

  • Highbury & Islington
  • Whitechapel
  • Surrey Quays
  • Crystal Palace, Honor Oak Park, Lewisham, New Cross, Norwood Junction or Peckham Rye
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Waterloo
  • Charing Cross
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Oxford Circus
  • Baker Street
  • Marylebone
  • Paddington
  • Queen’s Park
  • Willesden Junction
  • Harrow & Wealdstone

The line could follow its old route and end up in Watford.

It would appear that this route is more useful than the current truncated one to Elephant & Castle.

Hopefully, it would go some way to making it easier to get from East London to Marylebone and other awkward to access places in North West London.

Beckenham Junction As A New Southern Terminal

Beckenham Junction station has a lot going for it as a southern terminal. It has rail and tram services and it even has a bay platform, which is clearly shown in this Google Map.

Beckenham Junction Station

Beckenham Junction Station

As Beckenham Junction is probably less than forty minutes from Whitechapel, it may be a possibility, provided passenger statistics show it can generate enough revenue.

If as seems a possibility, the Hayes Line gets to become part of the Bakerloo Line, how will this effect Beckenham Junction.

It’s all very complicated as to how the Bakerloo Line Extension will fit in with the East London Line.

Brixton High Level Station

In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London are proposing a Brixton  High Level station.

The connection of a Brixton High Level station to the existing Brixton station and the Victoria Line will be difficult. Before the Overground opened to Brixton, I visited and wrote Could the London Overground Call at Brixton? This is a picture from that article from May 2012.

The Overground Flies Over Brixton Station

The Overground Flies Over Brixton Station

Either a high climb or a big set of lifts or escalators.

I said this in the article.

I tend to think that the only solution would be to spend millions to create a proper interchange station, that connects all of the three lines; Victoria, East London and main line together.  But in the present financial climate that is impossible.

Perhaps with the current upgrading of the Victoria Line to allow 36 trains per hour on the full line and London’s growing population, the economic rules have changed Or a big property developer needs to get a Planning Application through?

I wonder if when they are upgrade the Victoria Line at Brixton, they will also extend the southern end of the line to Herne Hill, as is described here in Wikipedia.This is said.

For many years there have been proposals to extend the line one stop southwards from Brixton to Herne Hill. Herne Hill station would be on a large reversing loop with one platform. This would remove a critical capacity restriction by eliminating the need for trains to reverse at Brixton.[48] The Mayor of London’s 2020 Vision, published in 2013, proposed extending the Victoria line “out beyond Brixton” by 2030.

There’s an interesting article from London Reconnections, which describes the problems at Herne Hill.

If they got their contracts and project management right, they might even be able to use one of the tunnel boring machines bought for the Northern Line Extension.

Brockley High Level Station

In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London are proposing a Brockley High Level station.

Brockley station sits underneath and is crossed by the Bexleyheath Line as this Google Map shows.

Brockley Station

Brockley Station

There was a station called Brockley Lane on the Bexleyheath Line, but it closed in 1917.

After the complicated nature of the problem at Hackney, I wouldn’t think creating a Brockley High Level station would be that difficult.

TfL would just have to make sure it was worth doing.

Camden Road Station Connection To The Northern Line

In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London are proposing a link between Camden Road and Camden Town stations.

Having walked between the two stations several times, I wouldn’t have thought they were close enough. However this railway map of the two stations, shows that they are closer than they appear on the surface and it might be possible to create perhaps an escalator connection. This Google Map shows the area.

Camden Town And Camden Road Stations

Camden Town And Camden Road Stations

Camden Town station is going to be rebuilt to relieve the chronic overcrowding. It is a project that will take several years and I suspect Transport for London will want to get as many other issues, like the interchange to the North London Line out of the way for ever.

 

Chingford As A New Northern Terminal

Chingford station is a possible new northern terminal if the Dalston Eastern Curve is reinstated. Trains would go via the High Meads Loop at Stratford, the new Lea Bridge station and the Hall Farm Curve. This would mean that a new station could be created within easy walking distance of Stratford International station, which would also serve the Northern part of the Olympic Park. This Google Map shows how the High Meads Loop curves between Stratford International station and the Olympic Park.

Olympic Park And Stratford International Station

Olympic Park And Stratford International Station

An East London Line station at Stratford International would certainly ease problems getting to events at the Velopark.

Lea Bridge station could also connect to services up the Lea Valley, Bishops Stortford, Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

Chingford is a well-appointed station, linked to a bus station, that could probably be reached in forty minutes from Whitechapel.

Using Chingford as a terminal would also directly link much of the boroughs of Waltham Forest and Hackney on a single line and then link the stations directly to South London.

But Chingford has big advantages in that it is already run by London Overground and it has three platforms and some sidings to park trains. This Google Map shows the station.

Chingford Station

Chingford Station

Note the bus station to the North-East of the station and the extensive sidings on the approach to the station.

Using Chingford as a new northern terminal, would also intertwine the two sections of the Overground together, with direct same platform interchange at Hackney Central, Homerton, Hackney Wick and all stations after St. James Street on the Chingford branch.

Dalston Eastern Curve

In my view the Dalston Eastern Curve could be important, as it would enable direct services between the Eastern terminal of the North London Line at Stratford and any of the South London destinations.

Also, if the Hall Farm Curve were to be rebuilt to give the Chingford Branch a direct connection to Stratford, services could run between Chingford and Walthamstow Central, and South London, by using the High Meads Loop.

There will be opposition to rebuilding the curve, but the number of passengers, will decide the issue.

I have a feeling that because the Kingsland Shopping Centre is going to be upgraded and the owners of that have rights over the land, that we might see a decision one way or the other on this fairly soon. Although on the contrary, this article in the Hackney Citizen seems to be all about various delays and problems, with redevelopment of the Shopping Centre.

I would also think that a lot of the arguments in the Hackney Citizen article about development and car parking, are getting to be more and more irrelevant, as Eastfield is probably taking a lot of the business of the Dalston Kingsland Shopping Centre. In my mind, the sort of people moving into the flats being developed around Dalston Kingsland are probably not the sort of people, who would shop in the Centre. Unless of course, it was substantially upgraded! Could this be, why the proposed development incorporates quite a few residential properties?

The other thing that could kickstart work in this area, would be a decision to proceed with either Dalston Kingsland station or Crossrail 2.

An interesting point, is that if Transport for London believed that rebuilding the Dalston Eastern Curve is essential to handle the traffic on the East London Line, they would probably get their way and the Shopping Centre would have to be redeveloped.

I think there is a lot of horse trading going on in dark corners of various offices of Hackney Council, Transport for London, the developers; Criterion Capital and hopefully a decent architect.

Whatever happens, when and if Crossrail 2 is given the go aged, Criterion Capital won’t be taking a loss.

What the outcome will be, is anybody’s guess!

I know nothing that hasn’t been published on the Internet, but I have this feeling that the Dalston Eastern Curve will be reinstated. Or at least it won’t be compromised! No Project Manager worth his salt would do the latter!

Dalston Station For Crossrail 2

In this article called Crossrail 2 Through East London, I said this when I was discussing the Dalston stations.

I have heard from Michele Dix of Crossrail 2, that they are looking at a double-ended station to serve both Dalston Kingsland and Junction stations. This was said.

We have been working closely with the London borough of Hackney on the early development of the proposals for how Crossrail 2 could ultimately serve Dalston. The work to date has been based around delivering a double-ended station, with one end being at Dalston Junction, and the other at Dalston Kingsland, thereby allowing the Crossrail 2 station to link to both existing stations. As Mr. Miller rightly points out, the distance between the existing stations is well suited to the 250m long platforms that will be required for the Crossrail 2 station, and the greater interchange opportunities to London Overground services also deliver significant benefits.

I believe that there is an opportunity to create a world class station that subtly brings together all the good elements of the area. The only necessary demolition would be the unloved Dalston Kingsland station. TfL have told me off the record, that Kingsland station will be replaced fairly soon.

Hayes As A New Southern Terminal

The Hayes Line and its terminal at Hayes, would seem to be a line that Network Rail doesn’t want, but TfL do, if you read this section in Wikipedia. Here’s a short extract.

The driving force for this change is that Network Rail would like the train paths freed up for services mainly from the South Eastern Main Line. Transport for London prefer this route due to its largely self-contained after Lewisham.

You also have the passenger reaction to being told they are going on smaller Underground trains to a different part of Central London.

Hayes though is just over forty minutes from Whitechapel and there are two terminal platforms at the station, so it could be used as a southern terminal.

But on balance, I think it is unlikely that Hayes will be chosen as a southern terminal.

Herne Hill Congestion

Herne Hill station may well be Grade II Listed, but read the Future section in its Wikipedia entry.

It has problems, as it would appear a gallon is being squeezed into a gill pot! If you read this article in London Reconnections, you’ll see that it is not just a serious problem, but an almost impossible one. Take this paragraph, which is one of many in a similar vein.

There are also specific local issues arising from land ownership and planning. Aside from being in a Conservation Area, where buildings and trees are protected, the Dulwich Estate retains significant planning powers and is probably the freeholder of the rail lines alongside the estate. Network Rail will be cognisant of the potential level of opposition from local residents in this affluent part of south London, as well as the likely difficulties in negotiating with the Estate, including any legal wrangling which may necessitate revisiting the 1870 Act of Parliament curtailing the Estate’s powers. This probably explains why the default position is to keep this project firmly in the pending tray ― something needs to be done, but not right now.

The report was written in 2012, so let’s hope that some of the problems have gone away.

I’ve never scheduled trains, but I’ve scheduled things that are just as difficult and the solution to the congestion at Herne Hill station needs either more capacity or less passengers wanting to use the line. Taking this direct from Wikipedia illustrates the problem.

Network Rail, in its July 2011 London & South East route utilisation strategy, recommended that all services from Herne Hill towards Blackfriars should terminate in the bay platforms at Blackfriars after London Bridge’s redevelopment is completed in 2018 and the diverted Thameslink trains return there. Passengers from Herne Hill would then have had to change at Blackfriars to travel further north. Network Rail made this recommendation because more services will be using the route between St Pancras and London Bridge from 2018; sending trains from Herne Hill to the terminating platforms on the western side of Blackfriars (instead of the through tracks on the eastern side of the station) would have removed the need for them to cross in front of trains to/from Denmark Hill and trains to/from London Bridge at junctions south of Blackfriars.

In January 2013, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that trains serving the Sutton Loop Line (also known as the Wimbledon Loop) will continue to travel across London after 2018. The number of trains calling at Herne Hill on the route will remain unchanged, with four trains per hour. The DfT has also decided the Sutton/Wimbledon Loop will remain part of the Thameslink franchise until at least late 2020; as such, the route will eventually be served by the new Thameslink trains.

Network Rail have a solution and then the politicians kill it.

So is there anything that the Overground and the East London Lines in particular can do to help?

Probably not!

But longer trains on the Clapham Junction branch may persuade passengers to take a different route. On the other hand, commuters are very conservative.

Hopefully, three other developments will help.

1. The opening of Crossrail, which might mean that some commuters travel via Abbey Wood. Crossrail’s opening will also improve the East London Line’s access to Central London, with a single change at Whitechapel.

2. If Crossrail were to be extended to Ebbsfleet International, as has been safeguarded, then this could help.

3. The completion of Thameslink with the new Class 700 trains, may increase capacity and persuade passengers to go via a reopened London Bridge station, rather than Victoria.

But it very much looks like Transport for London is pedalling hard to stand still.

 

Highbury & Islington Needs Rebuilding

Highbury & Islington station has needed rebuilding ever since British Rail’s cheapskate design produced the inadequate Underground station, that came with the Victoria Line.

When the East and North London Lines get more and bigger services through Highbury & Islington, this can only result in more and more passengers using the inadequate escalators and tunnels to access the Victoria and Northern City Lines. The station won’t be able to cope, just as it can’t now when Arsenal play at home.

The first stage of the rebuilding has started, as contractors are replacing the ageing bridge that carries the road over the Overground lines. No firm plans have been published yet for the station, but it needs a large increase in both capacity and accessibility.

I have a feeling though, that this station has a lot of potential possibilities, that could be used to create a top-notch station. For instance, there is a second building and entrance on the other side of the road, which has been used for signalling equipment for the Victoria Line.

Lewisham As A New Southern Terminal

Lewisham station is a possible choice for an extra southern terminal, as it has lots of rail and bus connections. This a Google Map of the station.

Lewisham Station

Lewisham Station

It shows a possible problem, in that there appears to be no easy place for a terminal platform. As it’s also only four or five minutes away from the existing terminus at New Cross, I think that Lewisham can be discarded as a terminal.

Maiden Lane Station

Maiden Lane station is an aspiration for Camden Council to serve the Kings Cross Central developments.

I discussed Maiden Lane station in this article in January and came to the conclusion, that the station might only be built as part of one the large developments in the area.

Using the station as a way of getting to Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations is probably not a possibility due to the distances involved.

Meridian Water As A New Northern Terminal

Angel Road station which will be renamed to serve the Meridian Water development, would be the most unlikely choice for a new northern terminal if the Dalston Eastern Curve is reinstated. Trains would go via the High Meads Loop at Stratford, the new Lea Bridge station and could possibly interface with a future Crossrail 2 at Tottenham Hale, Northumberland Park and Meridian Water itself.

New Entrances And Stations

Over the last few years, London has been going through a quiet ticketing revolution.

People are rarely using cash in a station to buy tickets and if rumours are right, the proportion of those using contactless bank cards for tickets is increasing rapidly. Over the last week or two, signs are up everywhere on the Underground, saying that ApplePay is now accepted.

I’ve not really seen an article anywhere discussing the effects of this cashless and booking office free ticketing.

I recently used the new entrance at Shepherds Bush station and it was just a gate line with a shelter over the top and a refuge for staff. Obviously, as that entrance has been built to serve the Westfield Shopping Centre,  There is also a similar entrance at Harold Wood station, serving the car park.

I think we’ll be seeing more of these short-cut entrance/exits at several stations. I proposed this for Highbury & Islington in this article in March 2013 and personally, I’d like one at Hackney Central on the Westbound platform, to give access to the buses on Graham Road.

The technology could also mean that complete stations could be built much more easily and quickly.

It will be interesting to see how architects use their imagination in the freer environment created by the new ticketing technology, to design exciting, practical and very passenger and staff friendly.

New Interchanges

The new ticketing technology may also open up opportunities to create new interchanges between lines.

Obviously, this will probably be more to do with interchanges between two surface railways, as anything where digging is involved will be very expensive and probably rules out most linking with the Underground.

With the recent building of the walkway between Hackney Downs and Hackney Central stations, Transport for London have shown that they won’t rule out connecting lines by any affordble and sensible method.

So are there any possibilities for new interchanges, made possible by the new technology linked to some imaginative thinking?

I think there are stations that could be improved in this way and they are in the text in their alphabetical position.

North Acton Station Connection To The Central Line

Development at North Acton station on the Central Line has for a long time talked about linking to the North London Line.

Just a few years ago, it would have needed a lot of expensive construction, but with the development of new ideas in ticketing, station architecture and the successful introduction of the walkway at Hackney, the cost will have been considerably reduced. This Google Map shows the area around North Acton station.

North Acton Station

North Acton Station

The North London Line is at the right of the image and at the top is the junction where the Dudding Hill Line branches off.

Whether it is now a station and interchange worth building is up to Transport for London, but modern techniques have opened up possibilities.

Old Oak Common As A New Northern Terminal

The yet to be developed, Old Oak Common station is a possible new northern terminal. As a completely new station, hopefully you’d get a perfect solution.

But I don’t think you’d want to have both Old Oak Common and Willesden Junction stations as terminals, but a lot of the reasoning, that applies to Willesden also applies to Old Oak Common.

There is not much point in predicting what will happen at Old Oak Common, but I suspect whatever is proposed will be worth waiting for.

Orpington As A New Southern Terminal

Orpington station is a possible choice for an extra southern terminal, as it has lots of rail and bus connections.

This a Google Map of the station.

Orpington Station

Orpington Station

Orpington would be reached by way of New Cross, Lewisham and Beckhenham Junction is around 35 minutes, so it is actually closer than West Croydon and only just five ,minutes longer than Crystal Palace. It also has several terminal platforms, that could easily accommodate the six-car trains.

An extension to Orpington would appear to connect a lot of places in South East London to Crossrail at Whitechapel and the Jubilee Line at Canada Water.

 

Penge

In their Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050, Transport for London mention a new interchange at Penge. This is a Google Map showing both stations.

Penge West And East Stations

Penge East station has services between Victoria and Orpington and on Thameslink.

Penge West Station has services on the East London Line and the Brighton Main Line.

This small mention in the TfL report is the only thing I can find about an interchange at Penge.

But could it be a dastardly plot to overcome the Great Anomaly in South London’s suburban services, where many services to Kent and the South East tend to terminate at Victoria?

Look at this enlarged Google Map, where the line through Penge West cross over the line through Penge East.

A Place For Penge Station?

A Place For Penge Station?

Note the isolated line a short distance to the East of the main lines to London Bridge. This is the line that carries East London Line services to Crystal Palace

TfL must think there is a need for an interchange between East London Line and London Bridge services and those Victoria and Thameslink services.

Shoreditch High Street Station Connection To The Central Line

Shoreditch High Street station sits on top of the Central Line and Wikipedia in a section on plans for the station, says this about creating a connection between the two lines.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak times.

It would appear from this detailed map of the London Underground and around Liverpool Street in particular, that trains can be turned back at both Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green stations, so as there are depots at both ends of the Central Line, once Crossrail was providing a bypass, construction might be possible, if the link was actually needed.

The Shoreditch area has also been talked about for some more platforms for Liverpool Street station. I found this article in the Architect’s Journal.

I put forward my idea in this article called An Idea For A New Station At Shoreditch High Street.

My idea is probably total crap, but who’d have thought the rickety North London Line and the orphaned branch of the Metropolitan Line, through the Thames Tunnel would have morphed from forgotten, crumbling and dirty assets into one of the best urban railways in Europe?

One thing I said in the previous post, when talking about a new station to handle traffic for Liverpool Street was this.

I think if a station gets built alongside or under Shoreditch High Street station, it will be nothing like any ideas, that might get talked about in the media now. One of the Foster/Farrell/Rogers fraternity could probably do something extraordinary here.

I think we’ll see something spectacular at Shoreditch High Street, with the Overground and possibly the Central Line in the thick of it.

Stratford As A New Northern Terminal

Stratford station is a possible new northern terminal if the Dalston Eastern Curve is reinstated.

It is a well-appointed station, linked to Crossrail and long distance services, buses and the shops at Eastfield, that could probably be reached in thirty minutes from Whitechapel.

I think that a platform could be found to terminate services, but using Stratford offers nothing that isn’t also solved by the opening of Crossrail. Also it doesn’t solve one of the main problems of the Stratford stations, which is the difficulty of getting to Stratford International. On the other hand, using Chingford as a terminal gives the possibility of a connection to the high speed station.

Willesden Junction As A New Northern Terminal

Willesden Junction station is a possible new northern terminal.

When the original plans for the East London Line were published a few years ago, I’m sure Willesden Junction was mentioned as a possible terminal.

It is a well-appointed station, linked to the Bakerloo and Watford DC Lines, that could be reached from Whitechapel in under forty minutes.

It already has a bay platform, which lies between the two North and South platforms, that could be used as a terminal, as it has been recently lengthened and upgraded. There is also another disused bay platform that might be reinstated. This Google Map show the station.

Willesden Junction Station

If Willesden Junction is made a terminal, this has other advantages, especially if it gets the standard service of four trains per hour.

As now there are effectively three Northern branches going to Highbury & Islington instead of two, there will be a fifty percent increase in services between Highbury & Islington and Whitechapel and South London, with an extra destination served directly.

The four trains an hour  to Willesden Junction, would increase the service frequency on the section of the North London Line between Dalston and Willesden. Various pronouncements from Transport for London have said that the frequency of trains on the North London Line should be increased.

If the Dalston Eastern Curve were to be reopened and four trains per hour went to either Chingford, Meridian Water or Stratford, this would effectively put an extra four trains per hour between Stratford and Willesden Junction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The High Meads Loop At Stratford

This piece started life as an investigation into a rail line connecting the North London and Lea Valley Lines at Stratford, but it ended up as more of an index to what is happening to trains around Stratford and up the Lea Valley.

If you travel on the North London Line from Hackney Wick station to Stratford station, you’ll see a rail line going off to the North side of the line under the Olympic Village.

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins North London Line

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins North London Line

If you travel up the Lea Valley Line, you’ll see the other end of the line.

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins Lea Valley Line

High Meads Loop At Stratford Joins Lea Valley Line

This is the High Meads Loop and it is generally used to move freight trains. You can see it on this Google Earth image, as it curls round the western side of Stratford International station, starting from the triangular junction to the east of Hackney Wick station and the River Lea and eventually joining the Lea Valley Line between Stratford and the under-construction Lea Bridge station.

High Meads Loop

I walked around the area today starting from Stratford International DLR station and much of it is hidden under concrete in East Village.

What has always surprised me, is that this line doesn’t appear to have provision for a station, especially as it could connect to so many important places in the area.

But then it does seem to me that the design of the rail system in the area of the Olympic Park and Village didn’t put getting an efficient railway first. These questions must be answered.

1. Why was a fully-functional International station, built at Stratford International and has then never been used to run services to the Continent through the Channel Tunnel? This is answered partially in this section in Wikipedia about International services at the station. If Kent gets two stations at Ebbsfleet and Ashford International, then surely East London and Essex deserves one too!

2. Why too, is the link between the two Stratford stations, so much of an afterthought? Today, when I came back from my walk, there was the inevitable lost soul, who’d taken a train to Stratford International and needed to get a train to Romford. And his Narional Rail ticket wasn’t valid for the one-stop hop on the Docklands Light Railway. But this is East London and the Train Captain told him to ride Don’t get me wrong, I like the DLR, but surely for the Olympics we could have put a more spectacular or at least a better link between the two stations?

3. In some ways too, I often think that they used the high-speed service from St. Pancras to Stratford, just to give it something to do. For a start foreign day-trippers to the Olympics should have come straight into Stratford International on Eurostar. Why wasn’t this arranged?

4. I am pretty local to the Olympic Park and can get a train from Dalston Kingsland to Stratford. I went to the Olympic Park that way a couple of times, but to get home, the powers-that-be either sent you to Stratford International or West Ham. In one instance I walked to Clapton and got a bus home as everything was congested. The arrangements might have worked for getting to Central London, but they weren’t good for locals, who like me wanted to walk out of the Olympic Park and then probably get a bus home. One solution would have been to put more capacity on the North London Line, by extending the Class 378 trains to five cars, as is now being done. Why wasn’t this done on the North London Line in time for the Olympics? Especially, as the line has always been overcrowded compared to the East London Line.

5. Soon after the Olympics, I met a big cheese in the Docklands Light Railway on a train. He felt and I probably will agree with him, that the DLR overperformed in the Olympics and dear old Cinderella didn’t miss a beat. I suspect though that to many she has more than a touch of Minnie Mouse, but to East Londoners and knowledgeable visitors, she is the way to travel, where you get a grandstand view much of the time. So why wasn’t more use made of the DLR for the Olympics by designing it into the heart of the Olympic Park?

6. We also had the farce of if you went to the Olympics from St. Pancras, you had to go through the Eastfield shopping centre to get into the Olympic Park. Why? Was the Olympics about sport or shopping?

7. Look at this Google Earth image of the Eastfield shopping centre.

Eastfield

Eastfield

Notice how the DLR goes under the centre and emerges on the west side before curving round to get to the station at Stratford International. It has always puzzled me that no provision has been made for an extra station on this loop. It strikes me that the developers feel most shoppers will bring their cars or not buy anything heavy. I would use the centre more if it was easier to get home from say John Lewis with perhaps something weighing ten or twenty kilos. Why was this extension of the DLR designed to be never more than a timid link?

If I look at some of the rail designs of the last few years, I get the impression, that they are less timid and not designed to be easiest to construct. The London Overground in particular has been innovative in some of its infrastructure to design affordable and efficient railways. Look at the Clapham Kiss as just one example.

In any developments to improve Stratford, there is also a thundering herd of elephants in the room, which will probably have more effect on what happens than any politician.

And that is Crossrail!

What is planned now is only Phase 1 of Crossrail and future developments will give Crossrail a bigger share of London’s passengers and even more influence.

1. Crossrail has been designed to take slightly longer trains and with its massively long platforms, the capacity of the system is quite a bit bigger than what we’ll see when the line opens.

2. Crossrail can also take more trains through the core, so we’ll definitely see extra branches on the line. Ebbsfleet on HS1 is safeguarded and Tring on the West Coast Main Line is being seriously studied.

3. Crossrail lacks an easy and hopefully cross-platform interchange to high speed services to Europe and in the future to the North. An easy interchange to HS1 at St. Pancras and Stratford is impossible, but one at Ebbsfleet could be incorporated with the extension of Crossrail to the station.

So what do I think should be done to sort out the sins of the pre-Olympic rail system development in the Stratford area?

1.  A Better Connection Between The Two Stratford Stations And To The Eastfield Shopping Centre.

Look at this Google Earth image of Stratford station.

Stratford Layout

Stratford Layout

The DLR branch between Stratford International and the core system passes underneath the rail lines, including Crossrail and the Overground , and the Central Line, at right angles.

The passenger connection between the DLR and the lines passing through above is not easy, although it is step-free. If you take the wrong tunnel from the rail lines, you end up on the wrong DLR platform.

As the two subways are one each side of the DLR lines, couldn’t something better be done to make this interchange easier? For a start how about a sign saying take these stairs from the through platform to get your DLR service to Stratford International?

I also think that there should have been a station on the DLR line underneath Eastfield. It would be interesting to know what the shopping centre thinks.

2. Will We Ever See International Services From The Station That Has The Word In Its Name?

If Crossrail extends to Ebbsfleet, this will take a big chunk out of High Speed passengers to Stratford and St. Pancras. If say you lived in East Kent and worked in the City or the West End of London, why would you not take a convenient service, High Speed or otherwise, to Ebbsfleet and then change to Crossrail for where you actually needed to go?

Stratford International also lacks an easy link to all of the other services at Stratford and especially to Crossrail, even if the DLR link is improved. But any cross-platform link is impossible!

Passengers will get increasingly fed up with second-rate stations, when they see some of the modern ones that work, like Reading and Kings Cross. St. Pancras may look spectacular, but it is A Fur Coat And No Knickers Station

So Stratford International, which I find an unwelcoming place,  could become a massive white elephant, that had its brief moment of fame at the Olympics.

3. The Moans In North East London

Read the various Internet forums and web pages and some of the biggest complaints are about the poor transport links to and from places in  North East London and the Lea Valley, like Walthamstow, Leyton and Tottenham.

Things are improving,

The transfer of the Lea Valley Lines to an operator who cares about passengers in London and the uprating of the Victoria Line later this year, can’t be anything but positive.

But more could be done!

4. A Shoreditch High Street Station On The Central Line?

After Crossrail has bedded in, will we finally see a connection between the Central Line and the East London Line at Shoreditch High Street? I think we will as because Crossrail is an effective by-pass for the Central Line from Stratford to Liverpool Street, the Central Line could probably be shut for several months under Shoreditch High Street, whilst the link is created without causing too much inconvenience to passengers, except for those using Bethnal Green. But even those would have the new Whitechapel Crossrail station a couple of bus stops away

5. Extending the DLR to Tottenham Hale

This was mooted a few years ago and a document called DLR Horizon 2020 talked about extending the system from Stratford International up alongside the Lea Valley Lines to Tottenham Hale station. This article on London Reconnections describes the proposal like this.

Extend the DLR from Stratford International to Tottenham Hale via the Lea Valley. The route would run alongside the current Lea Valley rail lines where possible and the line would serve the Olympic site and feature additional stops at Lea Bridge and Walthamstow Marshes.

It may be a worthy idea, but does it really make economic sense, when according to what you believe a lot of things may be happening in the area.

When the heavy rail expansion is sorted and the area between Tottenham and Walthamstow is developed as housing and a very large wetland and leisure area, the case for a Lea Valley Light Railway may be stronger.

6. Using The High Meads Loop For Passengers

Trains can use the High Meads Loop to pass across the northern side of Stratford Intergenerational station. This Google Earth image of the station, shows the lines passing round the North-Western corner.

 

Stratford International Station

Stratford International Station

Note also the Docklands Light Railway station on the northern side of the deep station box, virtually above the DLR logo.

I think with a will a station could be built on the High Meads Loop just to the north of the DLR station, which would allow trains to travel between the North London Line and the Lea Valley Line calling at a station close to the International station and possibly a station in the East Village.

But as with extending the DLR from Stratford International would it all be worthwhile?

Unless of course some developer wants to do a mega-development and pays for the trains and the infrastructure.

7. Conclusion

I think we should leave well enough alone and accept that Stratford International station is probably a shining white elephant.

In the meantime, we should make it easier to transfer between one station too many at Stratford.

The High Meads Loop is probably best left to sort out the freight that has to travel through the area until someone does the right thing and builds a proper freight line that avoids the North London and the Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.

 

 

 

 

 

May 26, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments