The Anonymous Widower

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 | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Class 345 Trains Really Are Quiet!

This morning I was sitting waiting on Platform 8 at Stratford station.

Platform 8 is separated from Platform 9 by just two tracks, so you notice a train, when it goes through Platform 9 at speed.

Usually, the trains that go through Platform 9 at speed towards Liverpool Street station are Class 321 trains or rakes of Mark 3 coaches oulled by a Class 90 locomotives.

Today, a new Class 345 train went through and the level of noise was extremely low compared to other trains.

Bombardier have applied world class aviation aerodynamics to these trains. Particularly in the areas of body shape, door design, car-to-car interfaces, bogies and pantographs.

Remember too, that low noise means less wasted energy and greater energy efficiency.

May 18, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Class 345 Trains At Stratford Station

I was waiting on Platform 8 at Stratford station and I was able to take these pictures of two Class 345 trains going through the station.

They were not in passenger service, but probably running up and down for purposes of driver training and showing off!

As you can see I was fairly close to the train that passed through Platform 8. The pass left me with the impression that these trains are rather quieter than the Class 315 trains currently working through Platform 8.

Quietness And Aerodynamics

I suspect that this quietness could be down to the better aerodynamics of the modern train and the fact that it was not carrying any passengers.

Remember too, that Bombardier build airliners, so have the various parts of the train, seen the inside of a wind tunnel?

Looking at other photos of the Class 345 on the web, it would appear that especial care has been taken around the join between the articulated carriages, but no-one has published a close-up yet.

One Or Two Pantographs?

I didn’t look and on a crowded platform, it would have been difficult to see, but was the train running on one or two paragraphs?

As pantographs are a source of noise, running on one would be quieter.

They Are Long Trains

As I left Stratford, on the North London Line, a Class 345 train was stationary to the West of Stratford. One impression it gave was that of length.

But then this seven-car train is about one hundred and sixty metres long or the same length as an eight-car Class 315 formation.

Some Videos

Video of the Class 345 trains are starting to appear.

Note.

  1. The first video shows some internal details through the windows.
  2. In the second video both pantographs are up.
  3. You can clearly see the articulated sections between cars.

The first video does raise the question that Crossrail might be extended to Southend Victoria station.

May 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

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 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.

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.

But 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.

Could A Station Be Built On The 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.

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 | Travel | , , , , , | 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 | Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Will c2c Push For Access To Stratford And Liverpool Street?

On Sunday in An Excursion To Shoeburyness, I indicated how instead of coming back the way I came via West Ham, I got off at Stratford and did some shopping at Eastfield.

But would c2c like to serve Stratford and Liverpool Street more?

The Current Weekend Service From Shoeburyness To Stratford And Liverpool Street

Currently two trains per hour (tph) run from Shoeburyness to Stratford and Liverpool Street at weekends, when there is no conflicting engineering work.

Incidentally, with my excursion, I think that I had to come back by c2c as the Great Eastern Main Line was closed for Crossrail work.

If nothing this engineering disruption shows the value of Southend being served by two independent rail lines.

The Stratford Effect

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Shopping Centre at Stratford will have a porofound effect on the operation of c2c’s trains.

This page on the c2c web site is entitled Christmas shoppers get direct c2c trains to Stratford.

This is said.

c2c will run two trains an hour on both Saturdays and Sundays that divert to Liverpool Street instead of Fenchurch Street. These will provide direct access to the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre plus easy access to London’s West End. This is in addition to the two trains an hour that run to Chafford Hundred, for the Lakeside shopping centre, as part of c2c’s existing service.

I think the news item dates from 2014, but it does show a level of intent.

There is also this article in the Southend Echo, which is entitled Extra trains planned as West Ham’s stadium move puts added pressure on c2c network.

This is said.

TRAIN operator c2c are running extra and longer trains for fans travelling to West Ham matches at the club’s new stadium in Stratford.

This won’t be a problem for weekend matches, but what about matches on weekday evenings?

c2c’s spokesman went into more detail.

When asked about direct trains running from Southend to Stratford to make the journey as quick and simple as possible for fans, c2c said they already run direct trains to Stratford from Southend and Basildon,but not Grays, and there will be two trains per hour direct to Stratford most weekends – and two more trains per hour to West Ham.

From Grays, all four trains an hour go to West Ham.

For weeknight games and during weekend engineering work, all trains run to West Ham.

At present, the weekend trains between Shoeburyness and Stratford, satisfy the weekend sopping and football, but what about other events at the Olympic Park? The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is only going to get busier.

So are the current services really what c2c and its customers want and need?

Car parking is fairly comprehensive at the outer stations according to this page on the c2c web site.

West Horndon Station

It wasn’t very busy on the Sunday I took this picture at West Horndon station, but for encouraging weekend leisure trips, the availability of car parking must be an asset.

I would imagine that c2c are pushing the authorities for permission to run evening services into Liverpool Street via Stratford.

The Crossrail Effect

When you talk about any of London’s railways, this herd of elephants, with its 1,500 passenger capacity Class 345 trains, always bursts into the room.

For c2c trains to get to Stratford, they need to take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) between Barking and Woodgrange Park, where they join the slow lines into London.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Woodgrange Park station.

woodgrangepark

As the GOBlin is currently being electrified and improved, I suspect that there will be no operational problems on  the short stretch of shared line.

Will there be problems though, after Crossrail opens and there are increased frequencies of trains to and from London?

In the Peak, Crossrail will be running 16 tph to and from Shenfield, so as they are only running 8 tph in the Off Peak, I suspect that at weekends, there will be capacity for c2c’s 2 tph to Stratford.

It is interesting to look at Crossrail’s proposed Peak service on the Shenfield branch.

  • 8 tph between Shenfield and Paddington
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Reading
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Maidenhead
  • 4 tph between Gidea Park and Liverpool Street

This says to me, that there are probably paths in the timetable to squeeze 4 tph in the Off Peak into Liverpool Street, as the Gidea Park service is Peak-only.

Access To Liverpool Street

Liverppool Street station has two problems.

  • There are not enough platforms – This is a difficult one to solve, although Crossrail might only need a single platform to handle the limited number of services not going through the core tunnel. London Overground regularly turns 4 tph in a single platform.
  • The platforms are too short – This will be remedied once Crossrail trains are using the core tunnel.

I’m certain, that in a few years Liverpool Street in the Off Peak, will be able to handle 2 tph with a length of 12-cars for c2c.

It is interesting to note, that my train on Sunday was only eight-cars. Was this because of limitations at Liverpool Street?

Should c2c Stop At Woodgrange Park?

Currently, they don’t, but after the GOBlin is reopened would it be a good idea to create a step-free change to get to and from a lot of stations across North London.

The change at Barking between the two lines is not easy and the alternative is to improve it.

c2c Needs Access To Crossrail

c2c’s current route structure has no connection to Crossrail.

As an example to go from West Horndon to Heathrow Airport, you’d need to change twice.

  • At West Ham onto the Jubilee Line.
  • At Stratford onto Crossrail.

Neither change is a short walk, but both are step-free in busy stations.

If however, it’s a Saturday or Sunday, you could take a train to Stratford and I suspect when Crossrail opens, just wait on the same platform until a Heathrow train arrives.

It should be remembered, that c2c runs an all-Electrostar fleet and I suspect that these are Crossrail compatible with respect to platform height, so the change at Stratford would be easy with heavy cases, buggy or even a week-chair.

What Will The Future Hold?

From what I have written, it would certainly be possible for there to be two 12-car trains every hour in the Off Peak between Shoeburyness and Liverpool Street calling at Basildon, Upminster and Stratford.

But this would have limitations and possible problems.

  • Passengers from stations like Grays would want the Crossrail connection too!
  • If it is needed in the Off Peak, is it needed in the Peak?
  • Would passengers changing at Stratford cause congestion?

There would also be the mother of all battles between the train companies involved, to make sure they kept market share.

My ideal world scenario would be something like.

  • 4 tph all day go into Liverpool Street.
  • 2 tph on both c2c routes through Basildon and Grays go into Liverpool Street.
  • Chafford Hundred is served from Liverpool Street
  • Ticketing is such, that Stratford to Southend can use either route and either Southend station.
  • c2c trains to and from Liverpool Street, call at Woodgrange Park for the GOBlin.

My wish list may not be possible, but there is certainly tremendous scope for improvement.

We could even see, a station like Grays, Pitsea or Southend becoming a Crossrail terminus.

Who knows? I don’t!

 

 

 

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hopefully, The First Of The Many!

Transport for London have placed this ticket machine on the island platform 7 and 8 at Stratford station.

A Ticket Machine On Platform 7 And 8 At Stratford Station

A Ticket Machine On Platform 7 And 8 At Stratford Station

Hopefully, it is the First of the Many!

The Germans do it all the time, as this picture, taken at a station in Leipzig shows.

A Ticket Machine On The Platform At Leipzig Markt Station

It is just so convenient.

When I took the picture of the Stratford machine, I was going to Braintree, by using my |Freedom Pass to Shenfield and then buying a ticket to Braintree from Shenfield in the machine there.

But as I had my Shenfield to Braintree ticket before I left Stratford, it was just so much more quicker, not having to go through the barriers at Shenfield station to buy a ticket.

Knowing the way the self loading cargo ducks and dives its way around East London, I think it won’t be long before this machine at Stratford gets used in all sorts of legal ways.

  • Buying a ticket for a train later in the day, or even later in the week, month or year.
  • Buying an extension ticket to a Freedom Pass, Travel Card or even an ordinary ticket.
  • Topping up your  Oyster whilst waiting for a train.
  • Avoiding queues at machines in Booking Halls and busy stations.

I do wonder how many people on seeing the mchine, are reminded to buy a ticket for a future trip.

I don’t know whether the machine at Stratford is an experiment or permanent, but this user would like to see more machines on platforms.

Stratford, is one of the few stations, where you can catch both Underground and National Rail trains. So I suppose, there could be times where passengers get to the station on the Central or JubileeLines with Oyster and want to use main line services to perhaps Colchester, Chelmsford or Southend,  that stop at Stratford.

A ticket machine inside the barriers, avoids the need to go out to buy another.

 

 

August 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

A Stray Class 68 Locomotive At Stratford Station

I took these pictures of a Class 68 locomotive.

You don’t see them very often at Stratford station.

But when you see them in a station, as I did here, you realise how much less noisy and smelly they are than the ubiquitous Class 66 locomotive.

This blog post from Reading University entitled EU Emission limits bite for new freight locomotives, gives a few details.

  • The Class 66 meets the Stage 3A emission regulations, but the author does not know of any plans to meet Stage 3B.
  • The Class 68 meets the Stage 3A regulations, and can be easily modified to meet Stage 3B.
  • The Class 70 meets the Stage 3A regulations, but not Stage 3B, although that could be a future option.

You certainly don’t see anything other than a Class 68 pulling a passenger train.

July 10, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Step-Free Interchanges In East London

This map from carto.metro.free,fr shows the lines around where I live, which can be best described as a post code of N1.

Lines Around N1

Lines Around N1

I live halfway on the diagonal line between Dalston Kingsland and Essex Road stations. Years ago, there used to be a station at Mildmay Park, between Dalston Kingsland and Csnonbury, which if it still existed would be very useful for me, as it would be about a hundred and fifty metres away.

So my journeys often start from one of the half dozen bus routes, that have stops within fifty metres or so of where I live.

  • I’ll take a 38, 30, 56 or 277 to Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction stations for the North London Line and East London Line respectively.
  • I’ll take a 141 to Manor House station for the Piccadilly Line.
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Essex Road station for the Northern City Line
  • I’ll take a 38 or 56 bus to Angel station for the Northern Line.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Moorgate for the Metropolitan and Circle Lines
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to London Bridge for main line trains.
  • I’ll take a 21 or 141 bus to Bank for the Central and Waterloo and City Lines
  • I’ll take a 56 bus to St. Paul’s for the Central Line
  • I’ll take 30 bus to Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston for main line trains.

Who said the three most important things when buying a house, are location, location and location?

Strangely, I rarely go directly to Highbury and Islington station, as the station is one of the worst in London for passenger convenience, with long and crowded tunnels and no step-free access to the deep tunnels.

If I need to go North on the Victoria Line, I will sometimes go to Essex Road and then take the Northern City Line for one stop to Highbury and Islington station, where there is a step-free level interchange to the Victoria Line.

There are several of these interchanges in East London, making train and tube travel easier.

Northern City And Victoria Lines At Highbury And Islington Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr, shows the layout of lines at the station.

HighburyAndIslingtonLines

Note how the two Northbound lines and the two Southbound lines of the Victoria and Northern City Lines are paired, so that passengers can just walk through one of several short tunnels that connect the two platforms.

This connection will get more important in the future, as improvements will bring more passengers through the interchange.

  • Highbuty and Islington station will be rebuilt, with access to the deep level platforms much improved.
  • If traffic said it was needed, the Southbound and Northbound deep-level platforms, which are not far apart might even be connected together and to a second entrance on the other side of Holloway Road.
  • The Northern City Line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will give an increase in capacity and I believe that the frequency on the Northern City Line will improve to 6, 8 or even 10 trains per hour (tph), thus making my ducking and diving easier.
  • The Northern City Line will connect to Crossrail and for the first time N1 to lots of places, will be one change at Moorgate from the Northern City Line to Crossrail.
  • The Victoria Line will increase in frequency to possibly 40 tph and benefit from station improvements at stations like Tottenham Hale, Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Central.

It should also be noted how the Crossrail connection at Moorgate will help me.

When going to football at Ipswich, I may walk to Essex Road and then get a train to Moorgate, where I will take Crossrail to perhaps Shenfield for a fast train to Ipswich.

But who knows what I’ll do, as there will be several different routes, all of which will have their advantages?

East London Line To North London Line At Highbury And Islington Station

This is only from the East London Line trains arriving from West Croydon in Platform 2 at Highbury and Islington station to Westbound trains on the North London Line in Platform 7.

Although not as powerful as the double interchange at Highbury and Islington station between the Victoria and Northern City Lines, it is typical of well-thought out connections all over the Overground.

Piccadilly And Victoria Lines At Finsbury Park Station

This is a cross-platform interchange, that is heavily used as effectively it gives a simple choice of route through Central London for passengers from the Northern ends of the Piccadilly and Northern Lines. It’s a pity that the interchange between the two lines at Kings Cross St Pancras and Green Park aren’t as simple.

Metropolitan/District And Central Lines At Mile End Station

This picture gives a flavour of the interchange at Mile End station.

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

Cross-Platform Interchange At Mile End Station

It is a cross-platform interchange, that I use more and more, to go to the East on the Central Line. I usually arrive on a Metropolitan/District Line train from Whitechapel station, which is just a few stops down the East London Line.

Central Line And Shenfield Metro/Crossrail At Stratford Station

This interchange at Stratford station is going to be an integral part of Crossrail, as it will firmly connect the new line to the Central Line, with advantages to both.

This picture shows the interchange on the Eastbound platform.

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

Central Line To Shenfield Metro/Crossrail Interchange

This interchange is certainly well-used and Crossrail will only increase that use.

Why Is This Not Done More Often?

These interchanges seem to work well!

But what always puzzles me, is why this layout is not used more often. And I don’t just mean in London. In all my travels, I can’t remember getting off a train in Europe and just walking across the platform to get a metro or a tram.

I suspect it could be because to get this type of interchange, you need to build some expensive railway infrastructure.

All of the examples I have given concern where a new line is being added to an existing network.

I am surprised that Crossrail doesn’t use a similar interchange anywhere else on its route.

Look at the Crossrail stations I documented in How Are Crossrail’s Eastern Stations Progressing?

In all stations, the Crossrail and fast lines are in pairs, whereas to get Cross-platform interchange between fast and stopping services, probably needs a different layout. That is not the fault of Crossrail, but the way the Great Eastern Main Line was built decades ago.

At the London end of  the East Coast Main Line, the two slow lines are on either side of the two fast lines. At Stevenage, they have put two island platforms between the slow and fast lines, so that passengers have a cross-platform interchange between trains.

Stevenage Station

Stevenage Station

The Google Map clearly shows the layout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The People Of London Welcome Lea Bridge Station

In the absence of any visible presence of the great and good, this evening about a hundred of the people of London welcomed the first train into Lea Bridge station since 1985.

In fact two trains turned up together and the pictures show the greetings and my trip to Stratford and back again.

All the station needs now is the reopening of the Hall Farm Curve, so that services can be run between Chingford and Stratford via the stations between St. James Street and Highams Park.

I can see this becoming a very busy station in a developing part of London.

  • The Stratford to Angel Road station service is down to be improved as the big housing site at Meridian Water is developed.
  • A Chingford/Walthamstow to Stratford service must certainly happen if the Hall Farm Curve is built.
  • A Chingford/Walthamstow to Stratford service must surely take the pressure off the overcrowded Victoria Line and provide alternative routes to the Central Line and the current Chingford Branch.
  • Crossrail will push services to get more passengers to its station at Stratford.

For myself, I’d like to see a Stansted service at the station, as I’d just get a 56 bus to the station. But will the Airport want a service to Stratford, rather than an improved and faster service to Liverpool Street.

I might even use this station to get to Stratford, if a higher frequency of trains ran through the station to Stratford.

But who knows, where the good burghers of Waltham Forest and their politicians will push Transport for London after getting the most important and expensive improvement completed?

I think congratulations are very much in order for the successful completion of this station.

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | 3 Comments