The Anonymous Widower

Capacity Of Cross London Rail Routes

I shall start by looking at the current and future capacity of various rail routes across London.

Bakerloo

The Bakerloo Line has a frequency of twenty trains per hour (tph) between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle stations.

The current 1972 Stock trains have a capacity of 700 passengers.

This gives a capacity a 14,000 passengers per hour (pph) in each direction.

In the Wikipedia entry for the New Tube for London, this is said.

Bakerloo line capacity could be increased by 25% with 27 trains per hour at peak times by 2033.

This gives a future capacity of 17,500 pph in each direction.

Central

The Central Line has a frequency of thirty-five tph between White City and Leytonstone stations.

The current 1992 Stock trains have a capacity of 930 passengers.

This gives a capacity a 32,550 pph in each direction.

In the Wikipedia entry for the New Tube for London, this is said.

Central line capacity increased by 25% with 33 trains per hour at peak times by 2030.

This gives a future capacity of 40,687 pph in each direction.

Crossrail

Crossrail is planned at present to have twenty-four tph between Paddington and Whitechapel stations.

Each of Crossrail’s Class 345 trains can hold 1,500 passengers.

This gives a capacity a 36,000 pph in each direction.

It has been said in several places that Crossrail has a future frequency of thirty tph.

If this could be achieved this would increase capacity to 45,000 pph in each direction.

District

The District Line has a combined frequency with the Circle Line of  twenty-four tph between Gloucester Road and Tower Hill stations.

The current S7 Stock trains have a capacity of 865 passengers.

This gives a combined capacity a 20,760 pph in each direction.

The Wikipedia entry for the District Line talks about a future frequency of thirty-two tph.

This could increase the future capacity to 27,680 pph in each direction.

East London

The East London Line has a frequency of sixteen tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

The current Class 378 trains have a capacity of 840 passengers.

This gives a capacity of 13,440 pph in each direction.

London Overground are planning to increase the frequency to twenty tph in the next couple of years.

This would give an increased capacity if 16,800 pph in each direction.

Gospel Oak To Barking

The Gospel Oak To Barking Line has a frequency of four tph across North London,

The current Class 172 trains have a capacity of 120 seats, with perhaps a total capacity of 300.

This would give a capacity of 1,200 pph in each direction.

The new Class 710 trains have a capacity around 700, according to various reports.

This would give a future capacity if 2,800 pph in each direction.

Hammersmith & City

The Hammersmith & City Line has a combined frequency with the Circle Line of twelve tph between Paddington and Liverpool Street stations.

The current S7 Stock trains have a capacity of 865.

This gives a combined capacity of 10,380 pph in each direction.

Jubilee

The Jubilee Line has a frequency of thirty tph between North Greenwich and Willesden Green stations.

The current 1996 Stock trains have a capacity of 875 passengers.

This gives a capacity of 26,250 pph in each direction.

With Siemens new trains, I suspect that this value could be increased by perhaps fifteen percent to 30,187 pph in each direction.

Metropolitan

The Metropolitan Line has an Off Peak frequency of sixteen tph between Baker Street and Liverpool Street stations.

The current S8 Stock trains have a capacity of 1003.

This gives a combined capacity a 16.048 pph in each direction.

With the Metropolitan Line Upgrade, we can probably see some more capacity.

A not unreasonable twenty percent would raise the future capacity to 19,257 pph in each direction.

Northern

In the Peak both branches of the Northern Line have a frequency of twenty-four tph between Camden Town and Kennington stations.

This is reduced to twenty tph in the Off Peak.

With the addition of the Extension to Battersea, these figures are unlikely to get lower.

The current 1195 Stock trains have a capacity of 662 passengers.

This gives a capacity of 31,776 pph in each direction.

With Siemens new trains, I suspect that this value could be increased by perhaps fifteen percent to 36,542 pph in each direction.

North London

The North London Line has a frequency of eight tph between Willesden Junction and Stratford stations.

The current Class 378 trains have a capacity of 840 passengers.

This gives a capacity a 6,720 pph in each direction.

London Overground are possibly planning to increase the frequency to twelve tph in the next couple of years.

This would give an increased capacity if 10,080 pph in each direction.

Piccadilly

As we don’t know the capacity of the new Siemens trains, this is a best estimate, for when they are in service around 2023-2025.

Currently, the Piccadilly Line is running at a frequency of twenty-four tph between Barons Court and Arnos Grove stations.

The current 1973 Stock trains, each have a capacity of 684 passengers.

This gives a current capacity of 15,416 pph in each direction.

In the Wikipedia entry for the New Tube for London, this is said.

Piccadilly line capacity could be increased by 60% with 33 trains per hour at peak times by 2025.

This gives a 2025 capacity of 24,666 pph in each direction.

Dividing  the 24,666 by 33 gives a train capacity of 750 passengers for a New Tube for London.

Thameslink

Thameslink will have a frequency of twenty-four tph between St. Pancras and Blackfriars stations.

Half of these will be twelve-car Class 700 trains with a capacity of 1754 and the other half will be eight-car trains with a capacity of 1146.

This gives a capacity of 34,800 pph in each direction.

It has been stated that Thameslink will be able to handle thirty tph in the future, which would raise the capacity to 43,500 pph in each direction.

Victoria

The Victoria Line is currently running at a frequency of thirty-six tph.

The current 2009 Stock trains, each have a capacity of 876 passengers.

This gives a capacity of 31,536 pph in each direction.

I think it is reasonable to assume that the Victoria Line is at capacity.

But I wouldn’t be surprised, that with station improvements, which would include a double-ended Walthamstow Central station, engineers on Dear Old Vicky managed to squeeze forty tph out of the old girl.

This would give a capacity of 35,040 pph in each direction.

I also wouldn’t rule out replacing the current trains with the New Tube for London, if the new trains have proved an outstanding success on all the other lines. But that probably wouldn’t be to well into the 2030s.

Current And Future Summary And Total Capacity

The current figures in passengers per hour can be summarised as follows.

  • Bakerloo – 14,000
  • Central – 32,550
  • Crossrail – 36,000
  • District – 20,760
  • East London – 13,440
  • Gospel Oak To Barking – 1,200
  • Hammersmith & City – 10,380
  • Jubilee – 26,250
  • Metropolitan – 16,048
  • Northern – 31,776
  • North London – 6,720
  • Piccadilly – 15,416
  • Thameslink – 34,800
  • Victoria – 31,536

This gives a total current capacity of 290,876

Reasonable projections for future figures can be summarised as follows.

  • Bakerloo – 17,500 (25% Increase) – New Tube for London/New Signalling
  • Central – 40,687 (25% Increase) – New Tube for London/New Signalling
  • Crossrail – 45,000 (25% Increase) – 30 tph from 24 tph
  • District – 27,680 (33% Increase) – New Signalling
  • East London – 16,800 (25% Increase) – 20 tph from 16 tph
  • Gospel Oak To Barking – 2,800 (133% Increase) – New larger trains
  • Hammersmith & City – 10,380
  • Jubilee – 30,187 (15% Increase) – New Tube for London
  • Metropolitan – 19257 (20% Increase) – New Signalling
  • Northern – 36,542 (15% Increase) – New Tube for London
  • North London – 10,080 (50% Increase)
  • Piccadilly – 24666 (60% Increase) – New Tube for London/New Signalling
  • Thameslink – 43,500(25% Increase) – 30 tph from 24 tph
  • Victoria – 31,536

This gives a total future capacity of 356615

Or a capacity increase of around twenty-three percent.

What Do These Figures Show?

My figures are very much rough estimates, based on what is proposed to happen.

New Tube for London

Five of the improvements in capacity require the replacement of the current trains with the New Tube for London. Three of these replacements will need new signalling and only the Piccadilly Line trains have actually been given the go-ahead.

If these train replacements and signalling are done sequentially, they would show these overall capacity improvements.

  • Piccadilly – 3.2%
  • Central – 2.6%
  • Bakerloo – 1.1%
  • Jubilee – 1.3%
  • Northern – 1.5%

Overall, these five projects will increase capacity by 10.2%

Some of these figures may appear small, compared to the Piccadilly and Central, but then with the exception of the Bakerloo, the other lines already have Automatic Train Control and high-frequency services.

The great thing about the effects of the New Tube for London on capacity, is that it is a rolling program and as each line is converted, more capacity will continue to be added, benefiting many parts of London.

Digital Signalling

Increasingly, lines in London are digitally-signalled with a degree of Automatic Train Control.

In a few years time, these lines will be controlled this way in Central London.

  • Central
  • Circle
  • Crossrail
  • District
  • Hamersmith & City
  • Jubilee
  • Metropolitan
  • Northern
  • Piccadilly
  • Thameslink
  • Victoria

All these lines are or will be carriers of high numbers of passengers.

In A North London Line With Digital Signalling, I looked at the benefits of installing digital signalling on the North London Line. This was my conclusion.

It looks to me, that they’ll come a time, when digital signalling to squeeze the required number of trains along the North London Line.

Digital signalling will have to be applied to all the other lines in my list to make the most of the train lines we have in London.

Bakerloo

These lines will be given new signalling

  • Bakerloo – 17,500 (25% Increase)
  • Central – 40,687 (25% Increase)
  • District – 27,680 (33% Increase)
  • Hammersmith & City – 10,380
  • Metropolitan – 19257 (20% Increase)
  • Piccadilly – 24666 (60% Increase)

Of the deep level Underground lines, the Bakerloo Line is well below the capacity in passengers per hour (pph) of the other lines, through Central London.

The easiest way to increase the capacity would be to increase the frequency of the trains, by the application of digital signalling.

Earlier in the section on the Piccadilly Line, I calculated the capacity of each New Tube for London on that line as 750.

So if the Bakerloo Line could handle the thirty-six tph currently running on the Victoria Line, this would give a capacity of 23,333 pph in each direction.

Like the Victoria Line, the Bakerloo is a simple double-track without junctions through Central London.

At the Southern end the line terminates in the two platforms at Elephant & Castle station. If Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations can handle thirty-six tph, then surely with modern trains and digital signalling, this number of trains can be handled at Elephant & Castle station.

But at Queen’s Park station, it’s more difficult.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layou at Queens Park station.

Note.

  1. The Watford DC Line of the Overground is shown in orange and runs through Kilburn High Road and Queens Park stations.
  2. The Bakerloo Line is shown in brown and runs through Kilburn Park and Queens Park stations.
  3. There are reversing sidings to the West of Queens Park station for the Bakerloo Line.

The following services go through or terminate at Queens Park station.

  • Three tph between Euston and Watford Junction on the London Overground.
  • Six tph between Harrow & Wealdstone and Elephant & Castle on the Bakerloo Line.
  • Three tph between Stonebridge Park and Elephant & Castle on the Bakerloo Line.
  • Eleven tph between qQueens Park and Elephant & Castle on the Bakerloo Line.

It is also likely that the Overground service will go to four tph.

So this means that services will be as follows.

  • Four tph on the Watford DC Line run through Kilburn High Road station.
  • Twenty tph on the Bakerloo Line run through Kilburn Park station.
  • Nine tph on the Bakerloo Line run through Queens Park station.
  • Four tph on the Watford DC Line run through Queens Park station.
  • Eleven tph on the Bakerloo Line terminate at Queens Park station.

Thirteen tph will continue to various destinations towards Watford.

So how many trains could the double-track line between Queens Park and Wartford Junction stations handle?

Consider.

  • All services on the line are london Overground or London Underground.
  • There are no junctions, where services divide and join.
  • There is a turnback facility at Harrow & Wealdstone station, that can handle six tph.
  • The Overground trains are being replaced with Class 710 trains, which must be able to be made compatible with digital signalling.
  • Watford Junction station has four platforms connected to the Watford DC Line.
  • Good design should be able to make the stations step-free for both Class 710 trains and New Tube for London.
  • The Watford DC Line service, always seems to terminate in platform 9 at Euston.
  • London Underground have run thirty-six tph on the Victoria Line for about a year now.

I suspect that if the trains are digitally signalled, with a degree of Automatic Train Control, that there could be as many as thirty-six tph between Queens Park and Watford Junction stations.

I also think it is significant that the New Tube for London, specifies that the Bakerloo Line will run at twenty-seven tph. Why not more, if the theoretical capacity North of Queens Park is thirty-six tph?

But a single platform at Euston can probably handle six tph, so add 27 and 6 and you get 33 tph, which is the proposed core frequency of the Piccadilly Line.

Suppose too, that all Bakerloo services ran all the way to Watford Junction.

  • This would simplify operation at Queens Park, Stonebridge Park and Harrow & Waldstone.
  • Digital signalling would easily handle the frequency.
  • The platform arrangement at Queens Park would be unchanged, with Euston services on the outside and Bakerloo services in the middle.

Suppose too, that the Watford DC Line service were to be run by New Tube for London trains.

  • All platform heights could be the same.
  • All services would be step-free between train and platform.
  • Digital signalling could easily handle 33 tph along the route.

This last section has very much been speculation on my part, but it shows how it may be possible to create a service on the Bakerloo Line with the following characteristics.

  • Twenty-seven tph between Watford Junction and Elephant & Castle stations.
  • Six tph between Watford Junction and Euston stations.
  • All stations would be step-free between platform and train.
  • All trains would be identical New Tube for London trains.
  • All trains would run under Automatic Train Control, as does the Victoria Line.

Note, that I have said nothing about the Bakerloo Extension to Lewisham.

In my view, that extension does what it says on the tin and creates a new twenty-seven tph service between Elephant & Castle and Lewisham, which brings new services to an area of South-East London, where they are much needed.

Effectively, the Bakerloo Line could become two twenty-seven tph lines, that happen to connect back-to-back at Elephant & Castle station to enable cross-London journeys.

If we look at the Victoria Line, where the frequency has increased over the last few years by the addition of various improvements, I would not be surprised to see the frequency of twenty-seven tph increased.

After all London Underground’s engineers have been squeezing Dear Old Vicky for half a century, so they must know more tricks, than Paul Daniels knew at the peak of his success.

Crossrail

Taking the figures in the current table, Crossrail will add 36,000 pph in both directions across London, to a current capacity of 254,876.

This is a increase of fourteen percent on the current total capacity.

Increasing the frequency from twenty-four to thirty tph, adds another 9,000 pph in each direction, which is an increase of seventeen percent on the current total capacity.

It is very likely, that Crossrail has been designed, so that the train length can be changed as required.

The initial trains have been supplied as seven-car trains and when the line opens nine-car trains will be used.

I have read somewhere that the trains could be extended to ten cars, but eleven might be a bit difficult.

So what would be the effect on capacity of ten-car trains.

I will assume each ten-car train has a capacity of 1500 *10 / 9 = 1667.

This means that Crossrail capacity is increased as follows with ten-car trains.

  • 24 tph gives a capacity of 40,000 pph in each direction. Or sixteen percent on the total current capacity!
  • 30 tph gives a capacity of 50,000 pph in each direction. Or twenty percent on the total current capacity!

It looks like Crossrail might have been built to be expanded.

East London Line

It is my view that the East London Line will eventually be digitally signalled and there could be an increase in frequency from the proposed twenty tph.

It has been stated in the past, that the East London Line will eventually have a service based on six-car trains, running at a frequency of twenty-four tph.

Six-car trains could be a problem, as some of the stations like Canada Water, Shadwell, Wapping and Rotherhithe are a bit short for five-car trains and use selective door opening.

The hopefully high-capacity connection to Crossrail at Whitechapel station will surely drive more passengers to use the East London Line.

So increasing the frequency to twenty-four tph using digital signalling would be an option to increase the capacity.

There are four separate services on the East London Line.

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

Each currently has a srvice of four tph, but it is planned that six tph will run to Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction before 2020.

Note that all services terminate in a dedicated platform, that is not shared with other services.

With modern signalling and good driving, these platforms should be able to handle six tph.

If all services went to six tph, that would mean twenty-four tph, through the core of the East London Line.

This would mean that the capacity of the line would be 20,160 pph in each direction, which would be a fifty percent increase on current capacity.

There may even be space for more trains through the core, as thirty tph is certainly possible with digital signalling. But where would the trains terminate?

Extra tunnel-capable Class 378 trains to run the extra services shouldn’t be a problem, as new Class 710 trains, will displace the older units from the Watford DC and the North London Lines.

North London Line

It is my view that the North London Line will eventually be digitally signalled to allow a more intensive passenger service than eight tph, amongst all the freight trains.

I have said that twelve tph between Willesden Junction and Stratford will be possible, within a few years.

But this could be the limit for the following reasons.

  • Terminating twelve tph in the two platforms at Stratford is probably possible but difficult.
  • Clapham Junction with one platform can probably handle six tph but no more.

Only Richmond has enough capacity for extra trains.

 

Conclusion

It looks to me that digital signalling and well-designed new trains can improve the capacity across London. Or Liverpool, Newcastle or Berlin to name just three major cities.

 

 

 

October 4, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Piccadilly Capacity Study Commissioned

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the October 2018 Edition of Modern Railways.

This is the first paragraph.

New NR Chief Executive Andrew Haines has commissioned work to understand options for capacity through platforms 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly.

It was originally planned to build two extra tracks, with additional platforms  between Manchester Piccadilly and Deansgate stations, to improve the capacity over the Ordsall Chord.

But various engineers and politicians have suggested that Digital Signalling may be an alternative solution.

Speaking to the House of Commons Transport Committee, Mr. Haines said.

We might be better off replacing some of those fleets of trains with trains which have more doors.

Boarding is slow all across the North and I suspect Mr. Haines has studied the problem.

He also added.

He had commissioned work to understand if 15 trains per hour could be delivered through platforms 13 and 14 without major infrastructure works.

I don’t think that Network Rail would waste money on a study, if they didn’t think that 15 trains per hour (tph) were not possible.

Consider.

  • Thameslink and Crossrail will soon be running 24 tph through Central London in four directions.
  • The East London Line currently runs 16 tph in a tunnel that was opened only thirteen years after the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
  • Trains designed for short dwell times and easy boarding and unloading, as suggested by Mr. Haines would obviously help.

Platforms and the related access at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road and Deansgate stations would need to be improved.

But that would be a smaller number of affordable projects.

Conclusion

I do think Andrew Haines has a mind that doesn’t believe in boxes, so his ideas won’t go down well with those with big-spending conservative ideas like most rail union leaders, some rail company bosses and the Mayor of Manchester.

 

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Class 700 Trains Don’t Have Destination Boards On The Side

I was intending to go between St. Pancras and London Bridge stations, so as I was close to the Thameslink platforms, I decided to use London’s hidden North-South link.

As I approached the platform, I saw a train had just arrived and it would either be going via London Bridge or Elephant & Castle stations.

So I looked on the side of the train for a destination board, which is present on many trains in the UK.

But there wasn’t one!

Luckily, a station man was on the platform and I asked him. He said it was a Rainham train, which meant it was via London Bridge.

So it was a train I wanted and I duly boarded, after taking this picture.

As Thameslink is a complicated route, surely there should be displays on the side saying things like.

  • Rainham via London Bridge and Greenwich
  • Brighton via Gatwick Airport
  • Cambridge via Finsbury Park
  • Sevenoaks via Elephant & Castle

It would make boarding safer and quicker, if all trains had details on their sides.

I know there are excellent displays on the platform, but I couldn’t see one from where I stood.

 

 

August 26, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Should Some Thameslink Routes Be Transferred To Transport for London?

Some commentators and politicians advocate the transfer of some Thameslink services to Transport for London (TfL).

Thameslink has been designed as a single solution to multiple needs, with too much input from politicians worried about losing elections.

Split Fleets And Franchises

If you look at Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway and South Western Railway, who have a similar mix of services as do Thameslink, they have opted for split fleets with short-medium and long distance trains,designed for their tasks.

In the North of England, the short-medium routes are run by Northern and the long distance routes by TransPennine.

Transport for Wales has now split their fleet into three; South Wales Metro, North Wales Metro and long distance.

The Consequences Of Thameslink’s Single Fleet

Services with different needs are using one fleet of Class 700 trains.

Effectively, Thameslink are using a train more suitable for services between St. Albans and Wimbledon stations, on long distance services between Bedford, Cambridge and Peterborough, and destinations along the South Coast.

Going between Brighton and Cambridge stations on an ironing-board seat is not a pleasant experience, as I noted in Observations On Thameslink Between Brighton And Cambridge.

I believe that Thameslink could be split into two; short-medium and long distance routes.

Short-Medium Thameslink Routes

Currently of the twenty-four services planned in the Provisional Timetable, just four are short medium services that run all day.

If we apply the London Overground principle of four tph stopping at all stations, then the Sutton Loop services, are already working  to a version of this principle.

Could other services work to the Overground principle?

East Coast Main Line

On the East Coast Main Line, a terminal to the North of Welwyn Garden City station is probably impossible, due to the limited capacity of the Digswell Viaduct.

Welwyn Garden City also has a flyover, so that four tph services to London can reverse in a single platform.

Welwyn Garden City with small modifications should be able to handle four tph on both Moorgate and Thameslink services.

Hertford Loop Line

The Hertford Loop Line services have or could have excellent cross-platform interchanges with Thameslink services at Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace stations, although they could be improved.

The weak interchange is coming South at Alexandra Palace, which means using a bridge, but it is easy to use Finsbury Park instead.

The Hertford Loop Line also gives access to three terminal stations; Gordon Hill, Hertford North and Stevenage, which could handle four tph.

So could we see Thameslink services using the route?

It would probably need some new six-car trains, which could be shortened from Thameslink’s dreadful Class 700 trains.

Finsbury Park Station

These pictures were taken at Finsbury Park station.

Could a bay platform for Thameslink services by added here?

I suspect that one could, but would it be worthwhile?

Midland Main Line

On the Midland Main Line, in addition to St.Albans City, currently, short-medium distance services terminate at Kentish Town and Luton.

It is a pity, that the Midland Main Line doesn’t have a handy branch!

A Balanced Northern Service

I think for balance that both Northern branches will take an equal number of short-medium distance trains. Perhaps, four tph to two destinations on each branch.

I might choose.

  • St. Albans City on the Midland Main Line.
  • Luton on the Midland Main Line.
  • Welwyn Garden City on the East Coast Main Line.
  • Stevenage on the East Coast Main Line via the Hertford Loop.

All services would be four tph.

Southern Destinations

In the South, there are several stations, that could handle four tph.

Traffic will determine which, but I like the claims of Dartford, East Croydon, Orpington and Sutton on the Wimbledon Loop.

Transfer To London Overground

These short-medium distance routes should be transferred to the London Overground.

It should be noted how if the Moorgate services are also transferred to the London Overground, as I outlined in Should The Moorgate Lines Be Transferred To Transport for London?, then the following frequencies would apply.

  • 8 tph – Alexandra Palace to Welwyn Garden City
  • 12 tph – Alexandra Palace to Gordon Hill
  • 8 tph – Gordon Hill to Hertford North
  • 4 tph – Hertford North to Stevenage.

There would be 20 tph between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace.

With ETCS, I don’t think that last frequency would be unrealistic, as there are two separate lines in each direction between the two stations.

Long Thameslink Routes

Class 700 Trains

These are currently, a disaster for passengers, as travelling between say Brighton and Cambridge in the dreadful Class 700 trains, is possibly the worst train journey in the UK in new train. In some ways Pacers are better!

This article in the Express is entitled ‘One Is Not Amused’ The Queen Is Not Happy With Changes To Trains, Claims Rail Boss.

If the Royal Posterior finds them hard in First Class, the seats must be dreadful there too!

But it’s not just the passengers who don’t like them.

I came back to London recently with a group of East Midlands Trains drivers. Their professional view of the Class 700 trains, is that they are not fast enough with an operating speed of 100 mph, as against the 125 mph of the trains run by East Midlands Trains.

It should be noted that on the East and West Coast Main Lines, the semi-fast medium-distance services are generally run by 110 mph trains.

So I feel very strongly, that the Class 700 trains are not only bad from the customers point-of-view, but totally unsuitable to run services on the Midland and East Coast Main Lines, where all other trains can cruise happily at 125 mph.

They must be assigned to more suitable duties!

The Routes

Get some new trains on these routes designed by people with sense and style and the routes would be transformed.

I also think, that the destinations served South of the Thames should be simplified. Thameslink is trying to serve too main destinations in the South, compared to the North, where long distance routes only serve Bedford, Cambridge, Peterborough and the intermediate stations.

Perhaps, there should be more services linking from all along the South Coast to an improved rail station at Gatwick Airport.

An Airport Route

I have travelled to and from Gatwick Airport several times, since Thameslink reopened through London Bridge a few months ago.

Outside of the Peak, these trains may be busy between London Bridge and Gatwick stations, but in the Central Core, passengers are fairly thin on the uncomfortable seats.

Luton Airport have been campaigning for more services and I suspect Gatwick would like more too.

So why not run a four tph service between the two airports, using well-designed airport trains?

An Increased Frequency Through The Core

Thameslink is currently planning twenty-four tph through the core tunnel, but there are statements that thirty tph could be handled.

The destinations to handle the extra trains exist in the South, especially, if routes out of London Bridge are replaced by Thameslink services, but accommodating more services on the East Coast and Midland Main Lines could be tricky.

Conclusion

I believe it is possible to split Thameslink into two sections.

Long distance services with new trains would stay with National Rail, but short-medium services would go to the London Overground and probably be run by six and eight-car versions of the existing trains.

 

July 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

From Farringdon To Tottenham Court Road Station

After photographing the artwork at the new Barbican entrance to Farringdon station, I went to the current station entrance with the aim of getting to Tottenham Court Road station.

Obviously, when Crossrail opens, this will be a single-station hop on Crossrail, but there is no obvious quick way as present.

So out of curiosity, I asked one of the station staff, what is the recommended route.

She said, that the easiest way is to walk to Chancery Lane station and take the Central Line.

I also asked her why Thameslink, which is so much part of Farringdon station and will be such an important route at the station after Crossrail opens.

She said, but that’s National Rail.

So I walked to Chancery Lane.

It was a very hot day and uphill. But I made it without difficulty.

Crossrail will certainly make my journey easier, but I can’t help feeling that some journeys from Farringdon are better done using Thameslink.

Consider the following journeys.

Farringdon To London Bridge

Currently, I would do this journey using Thameslink, but what will Transport for London want us to do?

  • Use Crossrail to Moorgate and get the Northern Line.
  • Use Crossrail to Bond Street and get the Jubilee Line.
  • Use Crossrail to Whitechapel and get the Jubilee Line.

I shall still use Thameslink.

Farringdon To Victoria

Currently, I would do this journey using Thameslink to Blackfriars and then get the Circle or |District Lines.

I suspect that Transport for London would recommend one of these.

  • Use the Circle Line all the way. Easy but long.
  • Go to Kings Cross on the Circle or Metropolitan Lines and get the Victoria. Not the easiest with a heavy case.

I shall continue to use Thameslink.

The New Museum Of London

The new Museum of London will be built close to Farringdon station.

I think, it will end up as one of London’s top museums.

But is it easy to get to the British Museum, National Gallery,Tate Modern and all those other museums in South Kensington.

The British Museum will be just a stop on Crossrail, when that opens, but for the others Thameslink will play a part.

For these routes and other reasons, Thameslink must be on the Tube Map.

July 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The East London Line In 2030

The East London Line was opened in May 2010 using pieces of redundant infrastructure in the East of London.

Modern additions were added.

A new fleet of Class 378 trains were purchased and services began between two Northern and four Southern destinations, at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

Looking back just over eight years later, the line has been an overwhelming success.

East London Line Capacity

The proof of this success surely is shown in the increasing capacity of the line since 2010.

The Class 378 trains have got longer.

  • In 2010, they started at just three cars.
  • They were soon extended to four cars.
  • In 2016, all trains became five cars.

The trains could go to six cars, but there are platform length issues, that make five cars the current limit.

On the other hand, selective door opening could be used, which works so well with walk-through trains.

Now, Transport for London are going to increase frequencies on the line.

  • In 2018, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace stations.
  • In 2019, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

This would give twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink will handle twenty-four tph in their central tunnels, I suspect that to have the same frequency on the East London Line would not be impossible.

Developments That Will Happen

These developments will happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Crossrail

The Whitechapel station interchange with Crossrail will become the Jewel in the East, as it will give access to Canary Wharf, the West End, Stratford, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Heathrow to all those (like me!), who live along the East London Line.

As both lines will have train frequencies of at least twenty tph, you should never wait more than a few minutes for your train.

I can see, the number of passengers changing between Crossrail and the East London Line being very high.

  • For many travellers it will be their quickest way to Crossrail.
  • The Class 378 trains are more passenger-friendly than Thameslink’s Class 700 trains, which are best avoided, by those with sensitive posteriors.
  • Whitechapel station gives access to both the Eastern branches of Crossrail.
  • All East London Line services call at Whitechapel.

My scheduling experience says that the frequency of trains on Crossrail and the East London Line should be the same, to smooth travellers passage through the station.

So expect Crossrail to eventually push the East London Line to twenty-four tph.

Increased Frequencies On The Underground

The Sub-Surface Lines of the London Underground are being re-signalled, which will mean more capacity, where the District and Metropolitan Lines interchange with the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

There could also be improvements on the Jubilee Line, where it meets the East London Line at Canada Water station.

I doubt we’ll see more improvement to the Victoria Line, as you can only extract blood from a stone for a limited period.

It is also probably true, that Dear Old Vicky needs some relief.

New South Eastern Franchise

The new South Eastern Franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with the new incumbent taking over in December 2018.

The current Southeastern services have little interaction with East London Line services, except at New Cross station, where the following services call.

  • Southeastern – Northbound – Eight tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge.
  • Southeastern – Southbound – Eight tph to Lewisham via St. John’s.
  • Overground – Four tph to and from Dalston Junction.

New Cross is a good interchange for travelling to and from South East London and I suspect the new franchise will only make it more useful.

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line has been ignored for decades and in my view it is a disgrace with elderly Class 313 trains, dirty, dark and dingy stations and unmotivated staff, who seem abandoned by their employers.

If ever there is a line that should join the Overground, it is this one!

At least, the line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will bring the following.

  • Modern trains with wi-fi and hopefully comfortable seats.
  • Increased capacity.
  • Up to twelve tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations via Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations.
  • More passengers to the East London Line at Highbury & Islington station.
  • A direct cross-platform and step-free link for the Victoria Line to Crossrail.

Planners do not seem to have realised the effects these new trains will cause in North London and at Highbury & Islington station in particular.

North London Line Improvements

In the next few years, there will be improvements on the North London Line.

All these improvements will bring more passengers to the East London Line and put more pressure on Highbury & Islington station.

Property Development Along The East London Line

Only two stations on the East London Line; Dalston Junction and Shoreditch High Street, were designed to have development on top.

Dalston Junction station has now been virtually fully developed and only now are tower blocks starting to grow around and on top of Shoreditch High Street station.

The City of London will also expand to the East, which will mean more offices and housing clustered around stations like Whitechapel, Shadwell and Canada Water.

Property developent will greatly increase the ridership of the East London Line.

Rebuilding Of Highbury & Islington Station

Many travellers in East London, use the Overground to get to Highbury & Islington station for access to the Underground.

The below ground section of this station needs substantial improvement with a second entrance, more escalators and lifts.

Plans get talked about, but nothing happens.

I believe that the new Class 717 trains on the Northern City Line could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as they will bring more travellers to the station.

But on the other hand the existing cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line, might mean that less travellers need to go to and from the surface.

I have this feeling, that a rebuilt Highbury & Islington station will happen before 2030 and would attract more travellers to the East London Line.

Developments That Could Happen

These developments could happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

I believe extending the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham station is more likely to happen than Crossrail 2 and if it was built it would connect to the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.

This map shows the extension.

I believe that the East London Line and the extended Bakerloo Line will complement each other.

  • The Bakerloo Line will probably have at least twenty tph between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations via Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Baker Street stations.
  • The East London Line will have at least six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations and four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • New Cross Gate is currently a step-free station, so I suspect it will be a very smooth interchange.

Connections between South East and the whole of North London will be substantially improved.

Brockley Interchange

It has been suggested that Brockley station be connected to the line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, which crosses over the station.

Wikipedia says this about the connection.

At the London end the line is crossed by the Nunhead to Lewisham line. At this location adjacent to Brockley station was sited Brockley Lane station which closed in 1917 with the original London, Chatham and Dover Railway branch to Greenwich Park. The connection of that line to Lewisham is a later development. The possibility of opening platforms on this line with direct access to Victoria Station and the Bexleyheath Line to Dartford has often been suggested but is currently low on TfL’s priorities.

In some ways the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham does a similar job in connecting the East London Line to Lewisham, but at a much higher frequency.

Another problem with the Brockley Interchange is that there are only two tph between Victoria and Lewisham, that pass over Brockley station and does the capacity at Lewisham station exist to allow this to be increased to a viable frequency, that would make building Brockley Interchange an interchange worth building?

Crossrail 2

Will Crossrail 2 be built or even started before 2030?

I personally doubt it, unless Brexit is an unqualified success and the project is privately-funded.

There are also other projects that might lower the need for Crossrail 2 and allow it to be delayed to beyond 2030.

Extension Of East London Line Services Along The North London Line

I can remember reports, when the London Overground was created, that suggested that some East London Line services, might be extended to the West, possibly to Willesden Junction station.

I think there are two major problems.

  • Trains going West from Highbury & Islington station from the East London Line could stop in Platform 1 or 2 and go straight through on their way to Clendonian Road & Barnsbury station. But those going the other way would probably need to cross tracks on flat junctions!
  • Where is the suitable bay platform to turn the trains?

On the other hand, many passengers would find it useful, as it would avoid a change at Highbury & Islington station.

Penge Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through Penge West and Penge East stations.

The two stations are a valid out-of-station interchange, but neither is step-free.

Penge East station could be difficult to make step-free, as the footbridge is listed.

I think that it is one of those structures that Network Rail wouldn’t miss, if it was decided to install it at the National Railway Museum.

Could this be one of the reasons, why it has been suggested that a new station be built, where the lines through the two Penge stations cross.

  • It could be fully step-free.
  • The station would be built on railway land.
  • It would have four tph between Victoria and Bromley South stations.
  • It would have four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • It would have two tph between London Bridge and Caterham stations
  • It might also be possible to have platforms on the Crystal Palace branch, thus adding six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace. stations.
  • The station could have Thameslink platforms.

Note that the Penge Interchange offers four tph to and from Victoria, whereas the Brockley Interchange only offers a measly two tph.

Penge Interchange might allow the two older Penge stations to be closed.

Shoreditch High Street Connection To The Central Line

The Central Line passes directly underneath Shoreditch High Street station, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

Note the reversing sidings at Liverpool Street station in the South-West corner of the map.

Wikipedia says this about the possibility of creating an interchange.

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

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street to Bethnal Green is one of the longest stretches on the Underground without a station.
  • There is a lot of  residential and housing developments, being proposed for around Shoreditch High Street station.
  • Large numbers of passengers use the East London Line to get to Highbury & Islington station for the Underground. Would a Shoreditch High Street connection take the pressure off?
  • It could give East London Line travellers, a single-change connection to Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane and Holborn stations.

For construction and operational reasons, the decision to create this connection will not be taken until Crossrail is fully open.

I suspect passenger statistics will play a large part in the decision.

Southeastern Connections

Southeastern has three main terminals in London.

  • Cannon Street – Jubilee and Northern Lines
  • Charing Cross – Circle and |District Lines
  • Victoria – Circle, District and Victoria Lines.

But they also serve other stations in South London with good connections.

  • Abbey Wood – Crossrail
  • Greenwich -DLR
  • Lewisham – DLR and possibly Bakerloo Line
  • London Bridge – Jubilee and Northern Lines and Thameslink
  • New Cross – East London Line
  • Woolwich Arsenal – DLR

The rebuilding of London Bridge station has probably improved connectivity, but are further improvements needed?

Two of the possible improvements to the East London Line; the Brockley and Penge Interchanges will connect current Southeastern services to and from Victoria to the East London Line.

Would the new South Eastern franchise like a connection to the East London Line?

  • ,Passengers to and from East London surely have have an easier route, than going to Victoria and then using the Underground!
  • Passenger numbers at Victoria might be marginally reduced
  • Both new interchanges would give a route to Crossrail at Whitechapel, which is not an easy connection to and from Victoria.
  • I have looked at timings and it appears that the Whitechapel route is perhaps five minutes slower to the West End or Paddington, but perhaps a dozen minutes faster to the Northern part of the City of London.

It is my view, that if Penge Interchange is built, then Brockley Interchange could be forgotten.

Thameslink Improvements

With all the money spent on Thameslink, it is likely that Network will want to maximise their investment by running as many trains as possible on the route.

Currently, the plan is for twenty-four trains an hour through the central tunnel, which then split as follows.

  • Eight tph via Elephant & Castle
  • Sixteen tph via London Bridge of which twelve tph continue to East Croydon.

It would also appear that there are another five tph between London Bridge and East Croydon, but only one tph runs on the fast lines.

So there would appear to be plenty of capacity between London Bridge and East Croydon stations, even if the central tunnel frequency on Thameslink were to be upgraded to thirty tph.

I think we might see a bit of sorting out of Thameslink to minimise some of the problems, that became evident after the May 2018 timetable change.

A problem I have, which I share with the millions in East London, is that it is difficult to get to Gatwick Airport, as there is no common station between the East London Line and Thameslink.

  • If the Penge Interchange is built, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • When the Bakerloo Line is extended to New Cross Gate station, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • Should all slow trains on the line be run by the London Overground?
  • Should all fast trains on the line be run by Thameslink?

Thameslink could be so much more useful.

West Croydon Or East Croydon

From a personal point of view, when I go to Croydon, I want to get to East Croydon station, as I’m usually taking a train to the South Coast or Gatwick Airport.

  • Inevitably, I end up taking a tram from West Croydon to East Croydon station.
  • Ging the other way is more difficult, as I inevitably get lost trying to find West Croydon station.
  • Although, there are now some trams at East Croydon only going to West Croydon.
  • Trains to the North of Penge West station, never seem to be very full.
  • East Croydon station is more important than West Croydon station.

So would it be better if the East London Line trains went to East Croydon?

The problem is that there is no space in East Croydon station.

Perhaps two new platforms could handle both East London and West London Line services.

West London Line services should also be run by the London Overground, as was proposed by Chris Gibb, as I wrote about in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

I would do the following.

  • Sort out Victoria and Thameslink services at East Croydon station, so that all Northbound and Southbound services used a separate pair of platforms, with one platform face for Thameslink and the other for Victoria services.
  • If possible, move services like London Bridge to Uckfield to Thameslink.
  • Put a pair of terminal platforms under the Thameslink and Victoria services platforms, connected to these platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Most of the tunneling would be under railway property North of East Croydon station.
  • These platforms could probably handle up to six trains per hour (tph) each.
  • It would be possible to run six tph between Highbury and Islington and East Croydon stations.
  • The West London Line could have a highly desirable four tph to the mega-station at Old Oak Common.
  • It might even be possible to use the platforms for service recovery on Thameslink.
  • It could release the pressure on the difficult Windmill Bridge Junction, which is a bit of a bottleneck.

It would be costly, but planned properly, I believe it could be created without any major disruption to the existing East Croydon station.

It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to the following.

  • Through services to London Bridge, St. Pancras and Victoria.
  • East London Line services to East London and Whitechapel for Crossrail for the City, Central London and Shenfield.
  • West London Line services to West London and Old Oak Common for High Speed 2, West Coast Main Line and Crossrail for Heathrow and Reading.

Capacity at East Croydon would probably be increased.

Conclusion

The East London Line will get better and better.

 

 

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Class 700 Trains Now Have Tables

I took this picture yesterday, on a Class 700 train.

But they still have hard seats, no wi-fi and no power sockets.

May 24, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

London To Rainham And Back On Thameslink

Today was the first Monday of a new timetable and I took a trip to Rainham (Kent) station from London Bridge on the new Thameslink service,, before returning to Abbey Wood station.

Note.

  1. I took a picture at each station as we went out to Rainham.
  2. There is a lot of housing and commercial development going on by Dartford and Rochester stations.
  3. Thameslink are scheduled to run trains between Luton and Rainham (Kent) stations every thirty minutes.
  4. There were two Class 345 trains at Abbey Wood station.
  5. I went in a Class 700 train with eight-cars.

There was the odd cancelled train on the route, but what surprised me on the return journey, was that my train passed four Class 700 trains going in the other direction.

I must assume, that Thameslink were training more drivers for the route.

The Service I Took

The Thameslink service between Luton and Rainham, that I took from London Bridge to Rainham is a replacement for the Southeastern service between Charing Cross and Gillingham.

  • Both services use the same route between London Bridge and Gillingham.
  • Both services stop everywhere between London Bridge and Gillingham.
  • Both services are well-connected to other services at Abbey Wood (Crossrail), Woolwich Arsenal (DLR), Greenwich (DLR) and London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee).
  • The previous Southeastern service took 66 minutes between London Bridge and Gillingham,
  • The current Thameslink service is timetabled to take 82 minutes.
  • The Thameslink service takes over forty minutes to turn round at Rainham.

Given that the Thameslink Class 700 trains are 100 mph trains and the previous Class 465 trains are only 75 mph trains, I find it extraordinary that faster and more modern trains are delivering a slower service.

Complaints

There have been complaints about the new timetable, so I asked a couple of station staff, what they felt about the new Thameslink service from Luton to Rainham.

They seemed in favour and added, these points about the service.

  • It would help with getting the service out of trouble, when there were delays East of Rainham.
  • It gives a direct connection to Dartford.
  • The extra capacity will help.

The service to Rainham will surely act as a collector service for those changing to Crossrail at Abbey Wood.

Rainham to Bond Street with a change at Abbey Wood, should be under an hour and a half.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thameslink Information At London Bridge Station – 3rd March 2018

This picture was taken at the foot of the escalators leading to the Thameslink Platforms 4 and 5 at London Bridge station.

Thameslink Information At London Bridge Station - 3rd March 2018

The trains were fairly crowded, although it was mid-afternoon.

But at the bottom of the escalators under the tracks going through the station, in the vast space, there were relatively few travellers.

I should visit in the Peak.

But it does seem the design is working.

May 3, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

More Thameslink Trains Serving The East Coast Main Line From May 20th 2018

The National Rail timetable is now showing the following new Thameslink trains serving the East Coast Main Line.

There will be two trains per hour (tph) between Peterborough and Horsham.

  • XX:26 and XX:56 – Peterborough
  • XX:08 and XX;38 – Finsbury Park
  • XX:00 and XX:30 – London Bridge
  • XX:08 and XX:38 – Horsham

Note.

  1. Trains take two hours and 45 minutes.
  2. Stops include Huntingdon, St. Neots, Hitchin, Steveange and Finsbury Park, to the North of the Thames.
  3. The trains call at St. Pancras Thameslink, Farringdon, City Thameslink and London Bridge in the core.
  4. Stops include East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges and Crawley to the South of the Thames.
  5. The first train is 05:24 from Peterborough.

Trains generally leave Horsham at XX:25 and XX:55.

There will be one tph  between Cambridge and Brighton.

  • XX:54 at Cambridge
  • XX:52 – Finsbury Park
  • XX:15 – London Bridge
  • XX:19 – Brighton

Note.

  1. Trains take two hours and 25 minutes.
  2. Stops include Royston, Hitchin, Steveange and Finsbury Park, to the North of the Thames.
  3. The trains call at St. Pancras Thameslink, Farringdon, City Thameslink and London Bridge in the core.
  4. Stops include East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges and Haywards Heath to the South of the Thames.
  5. The first train is 05:54 from Cambridge.

Trains generally leave Horsham at XX:07.

But going to Gatwick, I might go to Finsbury Park, where I can now get three trains per hour to the Airport.

  • XX:08 taking around 70 minutes
  • XX:38 taking around 70 minutes
  • XX:52 taking around 52 minutes

But coming back, I would take the first train to London Bridge, from where I’d get a 141 bus to just outside my door.

Are The Trains Acceptable?

For my journey of an hour to Gatwick, the trains are just about acceptable.

But, in some ways, I think that passengers from Cambridge and Peterborough will only use Thameslink to South of East Croydon occasionally, as over two hours in a Class 700 train, is an experience, passengers will be reluctant to repeat.

I would do the following.

  • Add wi-fi and power sockets.
  • Add a few tables to make some groups of four seats, suitable for families.
  • Add seat-back tables.
  • Make the seats more comfortable.

I’d love to have five minutes with the idiot who signed off the order for these trains, which must be the worst new trains on the UK network. Perhaps, that’s not being harsh enough. I suspect they could be the worst new trains in the world!

I’ve had better passenger comfort in a Pacer, that I wrote about in Is This Really A Pacer In A New Outfit?.

But that journey was only between Rotherham and Sheffield, not say Cambridge and Gatwick.

April 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments