The Anonymous Widower

A Central Londoner’s View Of Thameslink

The Thameslink route, which runs North-South across London is used by different purposes, by different passengers.

  • To many, who live close to its outer reaches it is a commuter railway into London.
  • It serves two airports at Gatwick and Luton.
  • Londoners use it to explore the delights of the South Coast of England.

But to those who live in Central London like me, it is a useful rail line.

Kings Cross And London Bridge

I regularly use Thameslink for this route, as compared to the Northern Line.

  • The trains are more spacious and are generally less crowded.
  • It is less walking at Kings Cross.
  • The trains are air-conditioned.
  • The trains have toilets.
  • I have a convenient bus or taxi home from both end stations.

I suspect, I use this route a couple of times a week.

Access To Tate Modern

I like the Tate Modern and the gluten-free egg sandwiches are good.

There is also restaurants in the area; Leon and Carluccio’s for a start, that are good places for lunch or dinner.

So sometimes, I’ll use Thameslink to Blackfriars to visit the Tate Modern and then after my visit, I’ll walk over the Wobbly Bridge and take a bus home.

Thameslink is also an easy way to visit St. Paul’s and in a few years, the new Museum of London will be accessed from Farringdon station.

Access to Gatwick And Luton Airports

I haven’t used Luton Airport in years, as getting there by train is a bit tedious.

But I regularly use Gatwick Airport, usually by getting a bus to and from London Bridge station and then using Thameslink.

West Hampstead Thameslink

West Hampstead station on the Overground has recently been rebuilt and regularly I come home by changing between Thameslink and the Overground.

There is also a Marks & Spencer by the station, which helps too.

The area is becoming a major interchange and if the West London Orbital Railway is created, the Overground will be taking over or adding a platform at West Hampstead Thameslink station.

Does Thameslink Cater For All Passengers?

I say this deliberately, as I think that Thameslink concentrates more on the longer distance and airport passengers, rather than those, who use it as another North-South line across London.

Thameslink Will Run At Rapid Transit Frequencies

In the central core section between Blackfriars and St. Pancras International stations, the trains will run at a frequency of 24 trains per hour (tph) or a train every two and a half minutes.

Trains will run automatically at a frequency, that is higher than many rapid transit systems in the world.

Thameslink Is Part Of London’s Oyster/Contactless Ticketing Zone

From Gatwick Airport in the South to Elstree & Borehamwood and Hadley Wood in the North, Thameslink is part of London’s Oyster/Contactless Ticketing Zone.

In Oyster Card Scheme Extension Agreed, I wrote about how the zone is being extended to Luton Airport Parkway and Welwyn Garden City.

So increasingly, Thameslink will be covered by London’s ticketing, that is increasingly used by residents, commuters and visitors.

Thameslink Has Interchanges With The Underground And Overground

Thameslink has several interchange stations with the Overground and Underground.

These include.

  • Blackfriars
  • Denmark Hill
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Farringdon
  • Finsbury Park
  • Kentish Town
  • London Bridge
  • Peckham Rye
  • St. Pancras Thameslink
  • West Hampstead Thameslink
  • Wimbledon

In addition East Croydon, Mitcham Junction and Wimbledon are interchanges with Tramlink and Blackfriars and London Bridge are interchanges with the river buses.

Thameslink Is Not On The Tube Map

This is a bone of contention with many! Including myself!

According to the Wikipedia entry for the Tube Map, Thameslink was shown on the map between 1977 and 1998.

So why was it removed?

Some Thameslink Stations Don’t Have Tube Maps On The Platforms

I was on the platform at City Thameslink station and needed a Tube Map.

There wasn’t one!

Why not?

Conclusion

Thameslink is very much part of London’s rail network.

It should be treated as such, by doing the following.

  • Extending Oyster/Contactless ticketing to all Thameslink stations.
  • Adding all or part of Thameslink to the Tube Map.
  • Putting a Tube Map on all station platforms in the London area.

But this mess has existed for twenty years, since Thameslink was removed from the Tube Map.

 

 

January 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The West London Orbital Railway At West Hampstead Thameslink Station

I passed through West Hampstead Thameslink station today and took some pictures of the two tracks that run through the station on the South side of the four tracks of the Midland Main Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through the various stations at West Hampstead.

Note.

  1. The six tracks shown in black through West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  2. The Northernmost four tracks are those of the Midland Main Line.
  3. The Southernmost pair are labelled Up Hendon and Down Hendon and lead to the the Dudding Hill Line. via Cricklewood station.
  4. There is also a short track which is labelled Run Round Road, which could be useful to reverse trains on the West London Orbital Railway.
  5. The six tracks are crossed by the North London Line, which is shown in orange.

This picture shows the two Hendon Lines looking away from London from the footbridge of the station.

Note.

  1. The Down Hendon is on the left, with the Up Hendon on the right.
  2. Both tracks have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  3. The bridge, from which I took the picture, is step-free.

As there are numerous crossovers on the approach to the station, I feel that it would be possible to build a platform on the Up Hendon line.

  • The platform would share an island and access with the existing Platform 4.
  • It would be fully step-free.
  • Electrification in the platform could recharge an electric train, that was using batteries.
  • A single platform could handle the required four trains per hour (tph)

This picture shows the two Hendon Lines looking towards London from the footbridge of the station.

It would appear that if required the platform could be made long enough for an eight-car train or built on the Down Hendon line.

There are certainly possibilities to make the interchange between Thameslink and the West London Orbital Railway a very easy one, that is totally step-free.

Will The West London Orbital Railway Take Passengers From The North London Line?

I suspect that there are passengers, who will swap from the the North London Line to the West London Orbital Railway.

They will do it because the new route will be more convenient.

This will be no bad thing, as the North London Line can get crowded at times. And it will only get more so in the future!

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Bollard Advertising

I took these pictures at London Bridge station.

The adverts wrapped around the steel security bollards are for Thameslink.

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

A Detailed Look At The Space Between Farringdon Station And The New Museum Of London Site

I took these pictures as I walked up Charterhouse Street beside the new site of the Museum of London.

Note.

  1. The buildings to be used for the museum need a lot of work.
  2. The two  buildings which could both be cold stores on the railway side of Charterhouse Street wouldn’t appear to have much architectural merit.
  3. Once Crossrail works are finished, there will be two big gaps leading to the railway lines and Farringdon station.

This picture from Crossrail says it is the Chaterhouse Street ticket hall.

So it looks like that box in the third picture is an entrance to the station and it’s bang opposite the museum.

This Google Map shows the space on the railway side of Charterhouse Street.

Note.

  1. Farringdon station at the top of the map towards the left.
  2. To the left of the station is the site I talked about in TfL Gives Go Ahead To Build Above Farringdon Station.
  3. Below that site, is another site on the corner of Charterhouse Street and Farringdon Road, that could either be developed in conjunction with the site above it or on its own.
  4. The Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines curving between Farringdon and Barbican stations.
  5. What appear to be a couple of sidings are the remains of the Widened Lines, which used to lead to Moorgate.
  6. There is also a large curved space, which used to be which was used by services between Bedford and Moorgate, before Thameslink was created.

There’s a lot of space in the area to create a building or series of buildings that provide.

  • A worthwhile amount of office space.
  • A landmark hotel on one of the best-connected sites in London.
  • The right amount of retail space, bars, cafes and restaurants.

But above all a short and pleasant walking route between Farringdon station and the new Museum of London could be designed.

 

 

 

 

 

November 17, 2018 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

TfL Gives Go Ahead To Build Above Farringdon Station

The title of this post is the same as this article on New Civil Engineer.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Transport for London (TfL) has signed an agreement with developer HB Reavis to build an oversite development above the new Farringdon Elizabeth Line station.

TfL said the new seven-storey, mixed use building was part of a huge programme of Elizabeth Line property development which could raise £500M to be reinvested into improving transport in London.

The article then goes on to add more detail about this development and a dozen or so others under development or construction.

I took these pictures at Farringdon station this morning.

This Google Map shows the site.

The site is between the station and Farringdon Road.

I feel that the site will be a very well-connected one.

  • There is a direct rail connection to Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton Airports.
  • Eurostar is one stop away on Thameslink.
  • There is a direct rail connection to Euston, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Paddington and St. Pancras stations.
  • Many of London’s Central attractions are easy to access.

Could it become  an up-market hotel?

 

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Ludgate Circus And Blackfriars Station

This morning, I had an excellent full English breakfast with a large mug of tea in Leon at Ludgate Circus.

It is unusual for a fast-food restaurant, in that it has acres of space, alcohol, including gluten-free beer, for those who want it, five or six large tables that seat ten and an outdoor area for a sunny and warm day.

So at ten in the morning, I can always find a place to lay out my copy of The Times and read it at leisure.

Others seemed to be having breakfast meetings or encounters.

The Wikipedia entry for Ludgate Circus has a section on Stations, which says this.

Had the Fleet line of the London Underground been built, it would have had a station at Ludgate Circus. However, the Fleet line’s proposed route evolved into what is now the Jubilee line, which went south of the River Thames before reaching Ludgate Circus. In 1990 however, St. Paul’s Thameslink (later renamed City Thameslink) was opened on the site of the proposed Ludgate Circus station.

North-South Thameslink services through the double-ended City Thameslink station, with its numerous escalators and lifts, will reach twenty-four trains per hour (tph), from the current sixteen tph by the end of next year.

I could have taken Thameslink to Blackfriars station, but I walked and took these pictures on the way.

It is not a pleasant walk with all the traffic.

Next time, I’ll take Thameslink!

The reason, I went to Blackfriars, was to catch a Circle or District Line train to Tower Hill station.

Where is the Fleet Line, when you need it?

Phase one of the line ran to Charing Cross station, where it was extended to become the Jubilee Line, we have today.

The original plan for the Fleet Line as given by Wikipedia was.

Phase 2: would have extended the line along Fleet Street to stations at Aldwych, Ludgate Circus, Cannon Street and Fenchurch Street. Parliamentary approval for this phase was granted on 27 July 1971.

Phase 3: would have seen the line continue under the river to Surrey Docks (now Surrey Quays) station on the East London Line, taking over both of the ELL’s branches to New Cross Gate and New Cross stations, with an extension to Lewisham.

Parliamentary approval for this phase as far as New Cross was granted on 5 August 1971 and the final section to Lewisham was granted approval on 9 August 1972.

Phase 2 would have whisked me to Fenchurch Street station and Phase 3 sounds a lot like the current proposal for the Bakerloo Line Extension.

I very much feel that there is a need for a line across London on the route of the Fleet Line and Transport for London have a plan to extend the Docklands Light Railway, that I wrote about in A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway.

This map from Transport for London, shows the possible Western extension of the DLR.

With all the problems of the funding of Crossrail 2, that I wrote about in Crossrail 2 Review Prompts Fresh Delays, could this extension of the DLR, be a good idea?

It would certainly provide an East-West route at City Thameslink station.

 

 

 

 

 

November 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

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 | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , , , | 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 | Transport | , , | 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 | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments