The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting West Anglia Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel

If say it was ever needed to run a train between Cambridge or Stansted stations and the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, three things must be possible.

Trains Would Have To Be Compatible With The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line

As any train would have to be compatible with the platform-edge doors in the central tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, the trains would have to be dimensionally identical to the current Class 345 trains.

  • Nine cars
  • Possibility of lengthening to ten cars.
  • 204.73 metres long.
  • 6 sets of doors per carriage
  • Ability to run under full digital signalling.

I covered this in detail in Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line.

Trains Would Need A 100 mph Capability To Travel On The Fast Lines Of The West Anglia Main Line

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 100 mph, to enable running on the fast lines.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Effectively, the train would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Trains Must Be Able To Connect Between The West Anglia Main Line And The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Stratford.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in black and purple.
  2. The Elizabeth Line enters and leaves the Central Tunnel at the Pudding Mill Lane Portal Eye.
  3. The West Anglia Main Line to and from Stansted and Cambridge goes through Platforms 11 and 12 at Stratford station, before crossing over Stratford International station and going through Olympic Park Junction.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Stratford does not allow trains to go both ways between West Anglia Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

But I suspect with the addition of a couple of extra crossovers, that this could be arranged.

February 5, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

The Two Stratford Stations

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

The Elizabeth Line And The Great Western Railway Services

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

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

The Elizabeth Line And Greater Anglia Services

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

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

Southeastern High Speed One Services

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

Current services are

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

Note

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

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

St. Pancras Station

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanet Parkway Station Will Open This Year

Thanet Parkway station is under construction.

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

This station will need a good connection to London.

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

Such an alternative interchange would be popular with passengers.

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

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

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

Today, I walked both ways between two Stratford stations.

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

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

 

Could Stratford Station Be A London Superhub Station?

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

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

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

I would think it already is a London Superhub Station.

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

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Serving South-East London

The Inadequacies Of Abbey Wood Station

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

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

But other things are less than impressive.

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

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

Parking At Stations In West Kent

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

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

Note.

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

These figures are according to the National Rail web site.

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

Travelling Between Ebbsfleet International And The Elizabeth Line At Stratford International

Consider.

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

Note.

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

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

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

Changing Trains At Stratford

This map from Cartometro shows the two Stratford stations.

Note.

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

Two pedestrian tunnels connect all the platforms in Stratford station.

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

All platforms have lifts.

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

But it does need better signage.

Full Step-Free Route Between Ebbsfleet And Heathrow Central

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

This was the route.

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

Note.

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

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

The Penge Interchange

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

Note.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A Trip Along The Central Line – 26th January 2023

Today, I took a trip on the Central Line from Leyton station in the East to Ealing Broadway station in the West.

The trip was about eleven this morning and one aim was to assess how busy the line was.

For much of the journey between Leyton and Marble Arch, the train had about half the seats taken, but by the time we got to Ealing Broadway, there were only two of us in my carriage.

After arriving, I had a short chat with the cheery Scots lassie, who had driven us across London.

  • She said, that passenger levels had held up on the Central Line, despite the competition from the Elizabeth Line.
  • But she also said that large numbers of passengers transfer from the Elizabeth Line to the Central Line at Stratford in the Morning Peak.
  • She didn’t say, but there is probably an opposite change in the Evening Peak.

With the exception of a couple of ladies with babies in buggies, most passengers were not travelling with any heavy luggage.

 

January 26, 2023 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Six Good Points Of The Elizabeth Line

The Ride Quality

I wrote about this in The Quality Of The Ride On The Lizzie Line.

The Virtual Extension Of The Elizabeth Line To Epping And South West Essex

I wrote about this in Elizabeth/Central Line Interchange At Stratford – 23rd June 2022.

The Quality Of The Station Staff

They are excellent and I suspect they’ve been very well-trained.

The Bakerloo Line Link At Paddington Station

I wrote about this in Elizabeth Line – Paddington Bakerloo Line Link – 24th May 2022.

The Connection Between The Northern And Lizzie Lines At Tottenham Court Road Station

Iwrote about this in The Connection Between The Northern And Lizzie Lines At Tottenham Court Road Station.

The Underground Link between Liverpool Street and Moorgate Stations

I wrote about this in London’s First Underground Roller Coaster.

I wrote about my first ride in Elizabeth Line – Riding The Underground Roller Coaster At Liverpool Street Station – 24th May 2022.

September 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Extending the Elizabeth Line – Stratford To Walthamstow and Chingford

A lot of people in Walthamstow and Chingford would like a direct rail connection to Stratford with its shopping, sporting, entertainment and employment opportunities.

The Hall Farm Curve used to provide this connection, but it was removed in 1968, despite having been electrified in 1960.

This map from cartometro.com shows the curve.

Note.

  1. The Chingford branch line is shown in orange.
  2. The triple-track Stratford branch of the West Anglia Main Line crosses the Chingford branch line at right angles.
  3. Lea Bridge station reopened in 2016.

It has been stated that the Hall Farm Curve would be reinstated as an electrified single track.

There would probably be a need for a crossover to the North of the former Hall Farm junction to enable trains from Lea Bridge to get to the Chingford-bound track.

The Hall Farm Curve would also give access to Elizabeth Line and Greater Anglia services at Stratford. But it may be that when the Elizabeth Line opens fully in November, travellers get used to going into Liverpool Street and changing there.

Services Between Stratford and Chingford Via Walthamstow

Providing this service might be difficult, but not impossible.

  • Trains could use the High Meads Loop at Stratford.
  • Digital signalling may allow more trains to be squeezed in.
  • Chingford could certainly handle eight trains per hour (tph)

But there is always the problem of the level crossing at Highams Park station.

Changing Between The Elizabeth And Chingford Branch Lines At Liverpool Street Station

Consider.

  • At present Liverpool Street station on the Lizzie Line has sixteen trains per hour (tph).
  • Eight tph go to both Eastern termini at Abbey Wood and Shenfield.
  • In the West two tph go to each of Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Maidenhead and Reading, with the other eight tph reversing at Paddington.
  • If you travel in the Eastern end of a Lizzie Line train, you should enter Liverpool Street station opposite to where all London Overground services including those to and from Chingford terminate in the station.
  • The walking route between the Elizabeth And Chingford Branch Lines At Liverpool Street is step-free.

Some passengers will use this route to places like Walthamstow Central, but others moan, that there is no direct connection between the Victoria and Lizzie Lines.

Stations Without Step-Free Access On The Chingford Branch Line

These stations on the Chingford Branch Line do not have full step-free access between train and street.

  • Bethnal Green
  • Cambridge Heath
  • London Fields
  • Hackney Downs
  • Clapton
  • St. James Street
  • Walthamstow Central
  • Wood Street

Only Hackney Downs and Walthamstow Central have been mentioned with respect to installing some form of step-free access.

Increasing Capacity Between Liverpool Street And Chingford

The Chingford Branch Line can handle pairs of four-car trains and running these all day, would surely be the best way to increase capacity.

Conclusion

If money was no object, the Chingford Branch Line could be improved to make it a much better feeder line for the Elizabeth Line.

I also have a feeling, that a lot of people living in North-East London will switch their travelling from the Victoria Line to the Chingford Branch Line and the Lizzie Line.

 

September 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Eastern Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel

If say it was ever needed to run a train between Ipswich or Southend Victoria stations and the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, three things must be possible.

Trains Would Have To Be Compatible With The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line

As any train would have to be compatible with the platform-edge doors in the central tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, the trains would have to be dimensionally identical to the current Class 345 trains.

  • Nine cars
  • Possibility of lengthening to ten cars.
  • 204.73 metres long.
  • 6 sets of doors per carriage
  • Ability to run under full digital signalling.

I covered this in detail in Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line.

Trains Would Need A 100 mph Capability To Travel On The Fast Lines Of The Great Eastern Main Line

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 100 mph, to enable running on the fast lines.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Effectively, the train would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Trains Must Be Able To Connect Between The Fast Lines And The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Stratford.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in black and purple.
  2. The Elizabeth Line to Shenfield goes through Platform 8 at Stratford station and Platform 2 at Maryland station.
  3. The Great Eastern Main Line to Shenfield goes through Platform 10 at Stratford station and Platform 4 at Maryland station.
  4. The Stratford country end crossovers allow a train using the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel to go through Platform 8 at Stratford station and Platform 4 at Maryland station before continuing on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  5. The Elizabeth Line to Central London goes through Platform 1 at Maryland station and Platform 5 at Stratford station.
  6. The Great Eastern Main Line to Central London goes through Platform 3 at Maryland station and Platform 9 at Stratford station.
  7. The Stratford country end crossovers allow a train using the Great Eastern Main Line to go through Platform 3 at Maryland station and Platform 3 at Stratford station before continuing through the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Stratford allows trains to go both ways between Great Eastern Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Could An Oxford And Cambridge Service Be Run Via The Lizzie Line?

This article on the BBC is entitled East-West Rail: Part Of £5bn Scheme ‘Appears To Be Unachievable’.

These are the first four paragraphs.

A £5bn rail project “appears to be unachievable” in parts, a government report said.

The East-West Rail scheme will create a link from Oxford to Cambridge, with services being introduced in stages.

Stage two, between Oxford and Bedford, and stage three, between Bedford and Cambridge, have “major issues”, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority said.

A spokesman for East-West Rail said the delivery programme was “under review”.

As someone, who used to live near Cambridge, I have seen the transport routes improve in East Anglia, but not the area’s connections to the rest of the country.

The article describes Stage 2 and 3 of the East West Railway like this.

Stage two involves predominantly upgrading existing infrastructure, between Bletchley and Bedford, to allow services between Oxford and Bedford.

Stage three involves building a new line, between Bedford and Cambridge, to extend the railway and facilitate services from Oxford to Cambridge.

So if the Government feel that the major issues and opposition should lead to cancellation of the scheme to the East of Bedford or even Bletchley, what are the problems and alternatives?

Freight

The Port of Felixstowe is the UK’s busiest container port and it handles 48% of Britain’s containerised trade.

Having lived as a teenager in Felixstowe and in Suffolk for probably half my life, there is only one certainty about the port in my mind. It will get bigger and will generate more rail and road traffic in East Anglia.

  • The roads have improved greatly, since the 1960s, when I used to cycle between Ipswich and Felixstowe, along a two-lane single carriageway road.
  • The renamed A14 has replaced the A45 and now connects the port to the M1 and the M6.
  • Tens of long freight trains every day now connect Felixstowe with the rest of the country.
  • The East West Railway will be a very useful link between Felixstowe and South Wales and the West of England.
  • Global warming will mean the decarbonisation of heavy freight, with more traffic on an electrified railway.

Felixstowe’s connections to the North and Midlands may have improved greatly, but they will need to be improved a lot more.

The Port of Southampton is the UK’s second busiest container port.

  • Most freight trains from Southampton go North via Basingstoke, Reading and Oxford.
  • A plan some years ago was for an Electric Spine, that would have connected the Port of Southampton to the Northern cities.
  • The Electric Spine would have envisaged electrification of the East West Railway to the West of Bedford and electrified connections with the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.
  • The Midland Main Line is now planned to be fully electrified, under the the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands.

Southampton, like Felixstowe will be in need of improved transport connections.

In an ideal world, an electrified East West Railway, would improve freight connections between the UK’s two busiest container ports and major cities in the UK.

Problems With Freight

Could this be the major problem East of Bletchley, where the residents living along the route, don’t want to see large numbers of freight trains running close by?

In this document on the East-West Rail Consortium web site, this is said.

Note that doubling of Warren Hill Tunnel at Newmarket and
redoubling between Coldham Lane Junction and Chippenham Junction is included
in the infrastructure requirements. It is assumed that most freight would operate
via Newmarket, with a new north chord at Coldham Lane Junction, rather than
pursuing further doubling of the route via Soham.

Will the residents of Newmarket object to a double-track freight railway through the town? Freight trains and horses are not a good mix.

I do wonder, if freight trains hauled by noisy and unfriendly diesel locomotives are one of the reasons a full Oxford and Cambridge railway is losing its appeal and becoming a vote loser for the Government.

Cambridge Has An Accommodation And Commuting Problem

There is a shortage of accommodation in Cambridge for offices, laboratories, workshop and above all workers.

So it looks to the surrounding towns and cities to provide help.

London and Ely have good links, but the city needs better links to Bedford, Bury St. Edmunds, Haverhill, Ipswich, Norwich, Kings Lynn, Peterborough, Soham, Stansted Airport, Stevenage, Sudbury and Thetford.

Cambridge may be the place in the South East with the largest numbers of commuters from London.

Cambridge Needs A Decent Rail Network

In my view Cambridge needs at least the following services in trains per hour (tph)

  • Colchester via Haverhill, Sudbury and Marks Tey – 2 tph
  • Ipswich via Newmarket, A14 Parkway, Bury St. Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market – 2 tph
  • King’s Lynn via Cambridge North, Ely and Downham Market – 2 tph
  • Oxford via Bedford, Milton Keynes/Bletchley and Bicester – 2 tph
  • London King’s Cross via Cambridge South – 2 tph
  • Norwich via Cambridge North, Ely, Thetford, Attleborough  and Wymondham – 2 tph
  • Peterborough via Cambridge North, Ely and March – 2 tph
  • Stansted Airport via Cambridge South and Audley End – 2 tph
  • Stevenage via Royston and Hitchin – 2 tph
  • Wisbech via Cambridge North, Ely and March – 2 tph

Note.

  1. Some services already exist.
  2. Some of these services duplicate each other to give 4 tph or even 6 tph on certain routes.
  3. Some services could be back-to-back through Cambridge.
  4. A 14 Parkway station is a new station proposed by the East West Railway. I wrote about it in detail in Soham Station – 14th December 2021.
  5. Haverhill would be served by a rebuilt Stour Valley Railway.
  6. Wisbech would be served by restoring the railway to March.

To complete the network there would be a two tph service between Peterborough and Ipswich, which would go via March, Ely, Soham, A 14 Parkway, Bury St. Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market.

Oxford Could Probably Argue that It Needs A Decent Rail Network Like Cambridge

Oxford would argue this and they have a point.

The East West Railway Is The Odd Line Out

Looking at the rail networks at Cambridge and Oxford, it appears, that with the exception of Cotswold services at Oxford and a few CrossCountry services, it appears that the East West Railway is a bit of an odd line out, as everything else is a local service.

The Effects Of Not Building The Bedford And Cambridge Section Of The East-West Railway

What will it mean, if the Bedford and Cambridge Section of The East-West Railway is not built?

  • Cambourne will not get the promised station.
  • Bedford and Cambridge journeys will be by bus, train via London or private car.
  • Commuting into Cambridge from the West will be difficult.
  • Milton Keynes and Cambridge journeys will be by bus, train via London or private car.
  • Oxford and Cambridge journeys will be by bus, train via London or private car.
  • Train journeys between Cambridge and much of the rest of the UK, will need to go via London.

It would appear that by not building the third section of the East West Railway, a lot of potential passengers will be denied a rail service.

Could Services Be Run Using Existing Infrastructure Through London?

The Elizabeth Line will eventually be able to handle a lot more services than it does at present.

Would Extending The Elizabeth Line To Oxford Be A Good Start?

Consider.

  • Oxford has two services to London; Chiltern to Marylebone and Great Western Railway (GWR) to Paddington.
  • The GWR service to Paddington stops only at Reading and Slough, has a frequency of two tph and takes under an hour.
  • The fastest journey between Oxford and Liverpool Street using a fast GWR train and the Elizabeth Line takes one hour and 20 minutes.
  • Only 10.6 miles of the route between Oxford and Paddington is without electrification.
  • There is also a two tph stopping shuttle train between Oxford and Didcot Parkway stations and a two tph stopping train between Paddington and Didcot Parkway.

I feel that combining the two Didcot Parkway services and moving them to the Elizabeth Line would be an experiment worth trying.

This would give 2 tph direct to the following stations.

  • Bond Street for the West End
  • Canary Wharf for finance.
  • Farringdon for Cambridge, Gatwick and Brighton.
  • Hayes & Harlington for Heathrow.
  • Liverpool Street for the City of London, Cambridge and Stansted
  • Reading for Wales and the West.

Note.

  1. No-one would have a worse service than currently, but many passengers would avoid a change on their journey.
  2. Services could terminate at either Abbey Wood or Shenfield stations.
  3. Services could be an extension of the two tph to Reading or additional services.
  4. Between Didcot Parkway and Oxford is shown on OpenRailwayMap, as proposed for electrification.
  5. There may need to be some new platforms at Didcot Parkway station.
  6. I estimate that between Oxford and Liverpool Street would take one hour and fifty minutes.

It certainly looks, that it would be possible to replace the current GWR service between Oxford and Paddington, with an all-electric Elizabeth Line service.

The direct stopping service between Oxford and Liverpool Street would be thirty minutes slower, than the current fastest train.

The current fastest train between Liverpool Street and Cambridge takes 71 minutes, so with a change at Liverpool Street Oxford and Cambridge  would probably be just over three hours.

Google Maps estimate a driving time of two hours between the two University Cities.

Could The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To Cambridge?

There is no train connection between the Elizabeth Line and the West Anglia Main Line at Liverpool Street station, although the walk for passengers is not that long.

In Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting West Anglia Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel, I describe how it could be possible to connect the West Anglia Main Line to the Elizabeth Line at Stratford station.

This connection would allow services from Cambridge, Harlow and Stansted to anywhere on the Elizabeth Line to the West of Stratford.

Oxford and Cambridge and Heathrow and Stansted would be distinct possibilities.

Could A High Speed Limited Stop Service Run Between Oxford And Cambridge?

In Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line, I proposed running faster long-distance trains through the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line.

  • They would have to be dimensionally identical to the Class 345 trains to fit the platform edge doors.
  • They would have a long-distance interiors.
  • In the Central Tunnel, they would behave like 345 trains. with Paddington to Stratford taking 19 minutes.
  • But on main lines like the Great Western Main Line, they could rattle along at 125 mph.

If the trains could keep up with Class 802 train performance between Oxford and Paddington and enter the Central Tunnel quickly, these times could be possible.

  • Oxford and Paddington – 55 minutes
  • Paddington and Stratford – 19 minutes
  • Stratford and Tottenham Hale – 14 minutes
  • Tottenham Hale and Cambridge – 65 minutes

Just over two-and-a-half hours, without a change of train, sounds fine to me.

What About The Trains From Great Malvern?

The fast services between Paddington and Oxford, run twice an hour, with the service formed of one hourly Paddington and Oxford service and another hourly Paddington and Great Malvern service.

  • If Oxford gets electrified soon, this will mean that the Oxford and Paddington service would be all-electric.
  • But the Great Malvern service would need to be able to handle 65.5 miles of line without electrification each way.
  • The speed limits between Oxford and Great Malvern vary between 70 and 100 mph.

I’m certain that Stadler could design and build a train, with the following characteristics.

  • Class 345 dimensions.
  • 125 mph performance.
  • Ninety miles range on battery power.

The trains would be charged between Paddington and Oxford and by a charger at Great Malvern.

Conclusion

Would an Oxford and Cambridge service through Central London be an alternative to the East-West Railway?

Perhaps not an alternative, but an addition?

 

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The New Entrance At Hackney Central Station – 2nd July 2022

The new entrance at Hackney Central station opened yesterday.

Note.

  1. The cafe must be fairly good, as it has two flavours of gluten-free brownies.
  2. I may have a touch of arthritis these days, but stairs like these are fine for me, as there are two right-handed paths.
  3. There is a second set of stairs down from the footbridge to speed passengers on their way to Hackney Downs station.
  4. There is a light-controlled crossing over Graham Road.
  5. Bus stops in both directions are only about twenty metres from the crossing.
  6. The station buildings appear to have green roofs.
  7. The is plenty of bike storage, but no car parking.
  8. There is no lift, although the design should allow one to be added later, if it is thought one is needed.

I’ve seen bigger budgets produce worse designed station entrances than this one.

My Use Of The Graham Road Entrance At Hackney Central Station

I suspect, I will use the new entrance mainly in one of two ways.

Going West On The North London Line

If I want to go west on the North London Line, the obvious one is to get a bus to Highbury & Islington station from the closest stop to my house and get the train from there.

But that route has got more difficult in recent years.

  • Our South London Mayor in his wisdom cut the 277 bus back to Dalston Junction station.
  • So there is only the 30 bus left and the route uses badly-designed Egyptian-built buses. I’ve nothing against Egyptians, but these buses don’t have the flat floor, that people expect from a bus these days.
  • Since the roundabout was rebuilt, it seems to be a longer and more difficult walk for pedestrians.

So I’d prefer to take another route.

  • Canonbury station is probably the closest station, but it is an uphill walk from my house.
  • Dalston Kingsland station is a possibility, but the steps to the platform aren’t the safest.
  • Dalston Junction station is another possibility, as it is step-free, but it means more changes of mode and train.

Going via the new Graham Road entrance has advantages.

  • From my house, there are frequent 38 buses to the new entrance.
  • The 38 bus stop at Hackney Central is only a few metres from the station entrance.
  • There is a coffee stall in the station entrance.
  • The steps in the entrance are easy for me.

I will try out this route the next time, that I go to the West on the North London Line.

Coming Home From Stratford With Shopping

If I need a big Marks & Spencer or a John Lewis, it is convenient to go to Eastfield at Stratford and come home on the North London Line.

I will usually use the The Canonbury Cross-Over to double-back and get a bus home from Dalston Junction station.

It is an easy route, but sometimes the trains mean a wait of nearly ten minutes at Canonbury station.

The new entrance at Hackney Central gives an alternative route.

  • You would get in the back of the train at Stratford.
  • Alight at Hackney Central.
  • Exit the station through the new entrance.
  • Cross Graham Road on the light-controlled crossing.
  • Walk about twenty metres to the 38 bus stop.
  • Wait for a frequent 38 bus.

Today, I waited just a minute.

Conclusion

The entrance was first mentioned in an article on Ian Visits in October 2019 and I wrote about it in Will Hackney Central Station Get A Second Entrance?.

In May 2021, I wrote £3m Hackney Overground Station Upgrade To Begin In June.

The entrance seems to have gone from a concept to reality in under three years and once the starting pistol was fired, it was built in under a year.

How many parts of the UK rail network could be improved, by small projects like this?

 

July 2, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Elizabeth/Central Line Interchange At Stratford – 23rd June 2022

During the rail strike yesterday, it was a good time to show how the interchange between the Elizabeth and Central Lines at Stratford station.

Note.

  1. I took these photographs from the London-bound platform.
  2. Platform 3 is the Central Line platform on the Southern side.
  3. Platform 3A is a second platform face to allow boarding of Central Line trains from both sides.
  4. Platform 5 is the Elizabeth Line platform on the Northern side.
  5. To the North of this pair of platforms, there is a second pair for Essex bound trains.
  6. Platform 6 is the Central Line platform on the Southern side.
  7. Platform 8 is the Elizabeth Line platform on the Northern side.

Due to the strike I only saw one Elizabeth Line train in the time I was there and I took that to Liverpool Street station.

Step-Free Access Between Train And Platform

These four pictures show the step between trains and platforms at the stations.

The step is bigger on the Elizabeth Line, but both sides could be improved.

This Is An Important Interchange

These two cross-platform changes at Stratford station form an important interchange on the Elizabeth Line and when the Elizabeth Line is fully operational, they will have the following trains.

  • Elizabeth Line – Peak – 16 tph
  • Elizabeth Line – Off-Peak – 12 tph
  • Central Line – Peak – 35 tph
  • Central Line – Off-Peak – 24 tph

Note.

  1. tph is trains per hour.
  2. These two double-sided platforms will be very busy.
  3. In the Peak, a train will arrive every seventy seconds.

I believe that this interchange will effectively make the Central Line stations, that are North-West of Stratford, a virtual extension of the Elizabeth Line.

A side-effect could be a rise in house prices near any of those Central Line stations.

Conclusion

This very important interchange, between the Underground and National Rail services was actually opened in October 1946.

It is surprising to me, that we don’t have more interchanges like this in the UK, between local and long-distance rail services.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment