The Anonymous Widower

Council ‘Talking’ To Government On Improving Train Provision, Leader Says

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Barking and Dagenham Post.

These are the introductory paragraphs.

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell said the authority is “talking” to the government about improving train provision through the borough.

Last week saw the opening of the Elizabeth line, which stretches more than 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

But none of its stations are in Barking and Dagenham – with the nearest being Chadwell Heath – and Cllr Rodwell does not believe the borough stands to benefit from the line at the moment.

He has a point and is asking for extra stations in the borough.

Dagenham East on c2c is mentioned.

This paragraph also talks about HS1 domestic.

Cllr Rodwell, who is beginning a third term as council leader, also said HS1 domestic should stop in the borough.

At the moment, the domestic services that run on the line are operated by Southeastern and travel between London and Kent.

The sole stops in the capital are St Pancras and Stratford International.

“It should be Ebbsfleet, Purfleet, Barking, Stratford International” before terminating at St Pancras, Cllr Rodwell said.

“That would be massive for the ability of our young people to get jobs.

I feel he’s right about the jobs, but would the extra stations be possible.

Dagenham East

This map from cartometro.com shows the location of Dagenham East station.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line passing through Romford at the North of the map.
  2. The District Line and c2c passing through Upminster across towards the bottom of the map.
  3. Upminster is in the London Borough of Havering, as are all stations after Dagenham East.
  4. Dagenham East station is the second station on the line and used to be a c2c station until 1962.

This Google Map shows Dagenham East station.

These pictures show the station.

Note.

  • The c2c platforms appear to be still in place. Although, some work needs to be done.
  • A new bridge will be required to access the far platform.
  • six c2c trains per hour (tph) pass through the station.

I feel that perhaps a two tph service between Dagenham East and Fenchurch Street could be possible.

A Thought About High Speed One

High Speed One links London and the Channel Tunnel.

  • Every time a train stops, it increases the total journey time by a couple of minutes.
  • So two extra stops on Southeastern Highspeed services at Purfleet and Barking, would slow the service and take up capacity on High Speed One.
  • If you read the Wikipedia entry for the link, there are several operators, who seem to be hoping to run extra services on the route.
  • In addition Thalys and Eurostar have merged and surely, they will bring London more into their routes.

I feel that what spare capacity, there is on High Speed One will more likely be allocated to European services than domestic services in East London. It’s probably more profitable for the operator of High Speed One for a start.

Purfleet

This Google Map shows Purfleet station and its location in relation to High Speed One.

Note.

  1. Purfleet station is in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. High Speed One runs across the North-East corner of the map.
  3. Purfleet station is served by two tph between Fenchurch Street and Grays.
  4. In Purfleet Station – 19th August 2021, there is a gallery of pictures of Purfleet station.
  5. In that post, I also describe planned developments at Purfleet station.

Given the distance between the current Purfleet station and High Speed One, and the planned developments, I think that an interchange between c2c and High Speed One at the current Purfleet station, would not be a very practical one.

But there may be possibilities to the East, where c2c and High Speed One cross.

This Google Map shows the location of their crossing by the QE2 bridge.

Note.

  1. High Speed One going diagonally NW-SE across the map
  2. The A 282 crossing over the QE2 bridge going North-South.
  3. The c2c line going East-West across the map.

Could the proposed station be built, where the two rail lines cross?

Probably, but!

  • High Speed One would only connect to the Fenchurch Street and Grays service running at two tph.
  • Passengers for the City of Southend would have to change at Grays.
  • There would probably need to be separate lines for expresses to pass stopping trains.
  • Stations on viaducts are expensive to build.

I don’t think a station at Purfleet would be the most practical or affordable of projects.

Barking

This OpenRailwayMap shows the routes of High Speed One and c2c through Barking.

Note.

  1. The red line is High Speed One.
  2. High Speed Two is shown in pink, when it is in tunnel.
  3. The orange line is the c2c line between Fenchurch Street and Grays.
  4. Dagenham Dock station is in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
  5. Rainham station is in the London Borough of Havering.

It looks like Dagenham Dock station would be the only station, where an interchange could be built.

This Google Map shows Dagenham Dock station.

Note.

  1. The top pair of lines are the c2c lines.
  2. The next pair of lines are High Speed One.
  3. The lines below High Speed One are a freight link between High Speed One and the Barking freight hub.

There certainly would appear to be space for two platforms on High Speed One.

But then we still have the problem of an extra station using up valuable space on High Speed One.

The only solution, that I can think of, is that Southeastern HighSpeed services would perhaps stop only at Dagenham Dock or Stratford, but not both.

Conclusion

In this simple analysis, it looks like an extra stop on c2c at Dagenham East is possible, but extra stations on High Speed One might be difficult to fit in.

May 31, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Eurostar Confirms Start Date For Amsterdam – London Through Services

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

Points made in the article include.

  • A preview service ran on February 4th.
  • Two services a day will run from Amsterdam Centraal to London from April 30th.
  • Journey times will be around four hours.
  • Through journeys from Rotterdam to London will be possible from May 18th.
  • Tickets will be available from February 11th.

I’m fairly sure that after the success of the London to Amsterdam Centraal service, which will be four trains per day (tpd), by the end of this year and five tpd by the end of 2021, that this could be the start of something similar.

  • Five tpd would mean a capacity of 4,500 passengers or about the same as eleven Ryanair 737 Max 8 aircraft.
  • Four hours between city centres.
  • Current prices for a trip this month are under fifty pounds or under ninety for Premium Economy.

As Paris has sixteen tpd and Brussels has seven tpd, I could see that five tpd will be increased.

  • All London to Amsterdam Centraal services stop at Brussels to pick up passengers.
  • I’m sure that a method will be found to allow Amsterdam Centraal to London trains to drop passengers at Brussels.
  • If Rotterdam will get direct services, surely Antwerp and Schipol Airport should as well.
  • Thalys between Paris and Amsterdam Centraal runs at 10 tpd.
  • Thalys and Eurostar are merging and surely Eurostar between London and Amsterdam Centraal and Thalys between Paris and Amsterdam Centraal should be combined between the Belgian and Dutch capitals.

Get the Brussels and Amsterdam Centraal route right, after the merger of Thalys and Eurostar and I can see the following.

  • Two trains per hour (tph) between Amsterdam Centraal and Brussels.
  • One tph starting in London and the other in Paris.
  • Ability to pick up and set down International and domestic passengers at the intermediate stations; Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schipol Airport.

Surely, if a two tph service works between London and Edinburgh is highly successful, two tph between Brussels and Amsterdam Centraal would be the same.

The same philosophy could then be applied to the London/Paris routes via Brussels to Cologne/Frankfurt.

  • Eurostar has stated it wants to serve the two German cities.
  • Thalys runs services between Paris and Dortmund via Brussels, Liege, Cologne and Essen.
  • The Thalys frequency between Paris and Cologne is five tpd.

The London and Paris services could combine to run a joint service into Germany.

  • Destinations could be Cologne, Dortmund and Frankfurt with stops at Liege and Aachen.
  • London and Germany could probably sustain the currently proposed Amsterdam frequency of five tpd.

I’m looking forward to taking a direct train from London to Cologne.

 

February 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 8 Comments

Thalys-Eurostar Merger Planned Under Green Speed Initiative

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first paragraph.

SNCF, SNCB and the Patina Rail investment vehicle announced on September 27 their intention to combine the Eurostar and Thalys high speed rail operations, reporting that outline proposals were being presented to their respective boards.

Eurostar runs or has ambition to run these services.

  • London and Paris Nord via Calais and Lille
  • London and Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy
  • London and Bordeaux via Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy and Tours
  • London and Amsterdam via Calais, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp, Ritterdam and Schipol Airport
  • London and Frankfurt via Calais, Lille, Brussels, Liege, Aachen and Cologne.
  • In Winter services run to skiing resorts.
  • In Summer services run to the sun.

Thalys runs these services.

  • Paris Nord and Amsterdam via Brussels, Antwerp, Ritterdam and Schipol Airport
  • Paris Nord and Cologne via Brussels, Liege and Aachen.
  • Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy and Amsterdam via Brussels, Antwerp, Ritterdam and Schipol Airport
  • In Winter services run to skiing resorts.
  • In Summer services run to the sun.

Eurostar and Thalys seem to have a good fit of routes.

  • Both have two Northern terminals; Amsterdam and Cologne or Frankfurt.
  • Both serve Schipol Airport
  • Both serve Brussels Midi, which is in the city centre.
  • Both serve Paris Nord, which is a large well-connected station just to the North of the city centre.
  • Both serve Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy, which is in Disneyland Paris, has a connect to Charles de Gaulle airport and is a major hub for French TGV services.
  • Both have winter and summer holiday services.

You could almost consider the combined networks to be the following.

  • A high-frequency Paris and Brussels service.
  • Northern branches to Amsterdam and Cologne or Frankfurt.
  • A branch to London via Lille, Calais and the Channel Tunnel.
  • A Southern branch to Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy for Disneyland Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport and onward travel to much of France.

It’s all very simple really and as they say Simple is Efficient.

A few thoughts.

London And Amsterdam Services

As an example, suppose you are going from London to Amsterdam at the present time..

  • There are three direct services taking around four hours.
  • There are four services with a change at Brusseks Midi to Thalys taking ten minutes short of five hours.

You could  catch a direct train, but sometimes, you might have to change at Brussels Midi.

There is no problem with immigration control, as that has been done in London.

Going from Amsterdam to London, services are as follows.

  • There seems to be eight daily services, taking ten minutes short of five hours.
  • They also seem to be very heavily booked.

There is no problem with immigration control, as that is done in a forty-five minute stopover in Brussels.

Experienced travellers, and some following a more relaxed schedule, might appreciate the stopover in Brussels, but most travellers would prefer a direct service through Brussels.

I suspect too that Eurostar or the future joint operator would prefer direct services.

  • It would increase capacity between Brussels and Amsterdam via Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schipol Airport.
  • It would increase domestic capacity.
  • The organisation of the trains and onboard staff would surely be easier.

The only problem, is doing the immigration control on the journey to London.

Solutions have been suggested, where Amsterdam and London services are two half trains; one for domestic passengers and one for those going to London, but I’m sure there is a solution out there.

London And Cologne Or Frankfurt Services

The same rules will apply.

Going out will be easy, but coming back will probably need a change of train at Brussels.

Was There A German Solution?

Some years ago, I remember reading that Deurche Bahn were intending to run services from Amsterdam and Cologne to London, where the two trains divided and combined at Brussels.

Using current Thalys and Eurostar times and assuming a fifteen minute stop at Brussels, would probably have meant these times.

  • London to Amsterdam – four hours and thirty minutes.
  • London to Cologne – four hours and twenty minutes.
  • London to Frankfurt- five hours and forty minutes.

Note.

  1. Amsterdam and Cologne services are fairly similar times, which must improve the utilisation of the trains.
  2. Like Amsterdam, the station in Cologne is in the heart of the historic city.
  3. You can get a train to virtually anywhere in Germany from Cologne. But note that Berlin will be a six-hour journey.

As the London to Amsterdam service has been successful, I’m sure London to Cologne would attract passengers.

Were the Germans going to organise Amsterdam and Cologne services, like this?

  • Each service could be a double-train, which could be joined and split quickly, as some operators do.
  • This train would meet all the Channel Tunnel regulations.
  • Going out from London, the double-train would arrive in Brussels and split with one train going to Amsterdam and the other to Cologne.
  • Going into London,, the two trains would join at Brussels and be just another Brussels to London service.

But as with the Amsterdam service, the major problem is immigration control.

There is also the problem of utilising the spare capacity North of Brussels for inbound services to London, which could increase the cash-flow generated by the services.

Or were the Germans thinking in a more innovative manner?

I do wonder if using double trains from Amsterdam and Cologne, with one train for London and the other for Paris or Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy could have been in the German’s minds.

With some creative joining amd splitting in a long platform at Brussels Midi, could it be made to work?

If Eurostar and Thalys were two parts of the same operator, I suspect that it is more likely that a service pattern will be found, that delivers the following.

  • More direct services between London and Amsterdam and Cologne.
  • Extra capacity between Amsterdam and Cologne and Paris and Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy.
  • More efficient utilisation of trains and oboard staff.

It would surely attract more passengers.

Brussels Midi

Brussels Midi station can be considered to be a prototype for the ideal station on both the main network and the London branch.

It will have to do the following.

  • Handle through services between Landon and Amsterdam and London and Cologne or Frankfurt.
  • Terminate some services between London and Brussels.
  • Allow local passengers to use through services to and from London to access other stations on the route.
  • Handle through services between Paris or Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy and Amsterdam and Paris or Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy and Cologne or Frankfurt.
  • Allow Passengers to and from London to use the other services.
  • Handle immigration for passengers to and from London.
  • Allow a passenger from London to connect to any onward services at the station.
  • Allow a passenger to London to arrive on any train and after checking through immigration catch the train to London.
  • The station has full UK Border Control.

It’s complicated, but I suspect that it’s more of an architectural and train design problem than anything else.

Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy

If Brussels Midi can be made to work efficiently, the same thing can be organised at Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy.

  • It is very close to Disneyland Paris.
  • It has good connection to Charles-de-Gaulle Airport
  • There are ten TGV services to other parts of France.
  • There are two Oiugo low cost high-speed services to other parts of France.
  • There are also some international services.
  • The station has full UK Border Control.

Could the plan be to develop this hub close to the airport, with train services to destinations in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom?

London To Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy

Eurostar already has direct services between London and Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy.

  • Some services going to destinations further South use this route.
  • London to Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy takes two hours forty-nine minutes.

Will the proposed London and Bordeaux service stop at Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy?

  • This would give Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy, will all its connections and attractions another service.
  • If the service stopped at Lille Europe, this would double the High Speed service between Lille and Bordeaux.

Could it be that the London and Bordeaux service will also improve internal French High Speed services?

If SNCF control Eurostar, Thalys and the French TGVs, this must give scope for the services to compliment each other and run economically.

The UK Immigration Control Problem

I can see UK Immigration Control being centred on the following stations.

  • Brussels Midi
  • Lille Europe
  • Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy
  • Paris Nord

These would work as they do now.

Outbound services are not a problem, as it is all handled in London. I have travelled from London to Amsterdam a couple of times and notice how seats vacated in Brussels are used by other passengers between Brussels and The Netherlands.

I believe that it would be possible to develop an efficient system to handle incoming passengers to the UK.

Consider the following.

  • Passengers to and from the UK could be asked for passport details when checking in on-line.
  • Passengers for the UK would use an automatic passport gate, as is common at airports and on Eurostar.
  • Passengers for the UK would sit in a separate part of the train, isolated from the domestic passengers, except in an emergency.
  • If a train stopped at say Marne-la-Vallée–Chessy and Lille Europe, UK Border Force could check passengers on the train between these two stations.

These and other ideas can surely be developed.into a system that would satisfy the most xenophobic of polticians and their supporters.

Conclusion

This proposed merger could be good for High Speed rail in Europe and the UK.

The French government also hopes it could be good for France.

 

 

 

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 6 Comments

What Do You Do With An Unwanted Eurostar Train?

In Edition 865 of Rail Magazine, there is a short article which is entitled Eurostar ‘373s’ Leased To Thalys.

This is the first paragraph.

Class 373s that were due to be scrapped have instead been leased to Thalys for a year.

Class 373 trains and Thalys rolling stock are very similar, as both were built by GEC-Alsthom around the same time.

So just as ScotRail borrowed a few Class 365 trains to make up for a shortage, Thalys are borrowing a pair of Class 373 trains.

I wonder if passengers between Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, that they are getting a train, that was destined for the scrapyard?

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment