The Anonymous Widower

Passengers At Cambridge Station

I found a reference to the passenger growth at Cambridge station, which is confirmed in Wikipedia.

In 2011/12 passengers at the station were around 9 million and in 2015/16 that had grown to around 11 million.


  • Cambridge North station opens in May this year.
  • Thameslink will start services to Cambridge from all over London in 2018.
  • Greater Anglia will be increasing capacity and frequency to Bury St. Edmunds, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough and Stansted Airport.

So what will be the traffic in say 2020?


January 29, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will DOO Mean DOO on Thameslink?

On Thursday I took a Thameslink Class 700 train from St. Pancras to Blackfriars.

A Class 700 At Blackfriars

A Class 700 At Blackfriars

At Blackfriars an announcement said that the doors would open automatically.

Which they did without any of the usual intervention from passengers after the driver had released the doors.

This is how DOO works on the London Underground.

It is surely better, especially if you are getting off and your hands are otherwise engaged.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 6 Comments

Has Sadiq Khan Got His Sums Right?

This article on the Rail Technology web site, which is entitled Underground set to undergo biggest capacity expansion ever, is a good summary of Sadiq Khan’s plans for Transport for London.

It’s All About Cash Flow

I am unsure about the plans, as it seems to me that a there is a lot of money to find in two years less to fund the building of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

So there is the double whammy of the fare freeze and accelerated construction!

Crossrail And Thameslink

I also think that Crossrail will contribute some of this money and because it is properly designed, it will stimulate growth in areas like Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Old Oak Common, Paddington, Romford and West Drayton, to name a few places.

The same however, can’t be said for Thameslink.

  • It doesn’t serve many areas ripe for development.
  • As it is not a TfL route like Crossrail, it won’t generate anything like the same fare revenue.
  • Thameslink could turn out to be too much of a long-distance commuter line.
  • Govia Thameslink Railway’s first loyalty is not to London.

On the whole, I don’t think it will benefit London as much as Crossrail will.

The Underground

Until I learn otherwise, I do think that the engineers of the Underground, may have thrown the Mayor a few lifelines.

  1. It would appear that the Victoria and Jubilee Lines can go to 36 trains per hour (tph).
  2. By raising the voltage and installing automatic train control on the sub-surface lines, there can be a 33 % increase in capacity.
  3. New Piccadilly Line trains will be ordered in 2017.

One and two, should happen easily and if the design is right, three could be a big game-changer.

But the problem, is that although these will generate cash flow in the long term, only 36 tph on the Victoria Line will happen in the near future.

I also feel, that although the capacity of the Victoria Line can easily be increased, will the stations be able to cope. Highbury and Islington, Oxford Circus and Victoria are not mentioned in the article.

All of these trains and passengers will also generate lots of heat and although Crossrail is designed to handle the watts, the deep-level Underground trains and stations were not.

This might mean a route change by passengers from older lines to Crossrail, which could have various effects.

The Non-Devolution Of Rail Lines To TfL

I have a feeling that the figures show that this is very much neutral to TfL’s finances, as some of the routes need a lot of money spent on stations and new trains. But under the new arrangement, TfL will probably have more say in service quality on the lines, than they do now.

Good Design Of The Bakerloo Line Extension

There must surely be scope to save more money in the design of the Bakerloo Line Extension. But I suspect that most of the easy savings have already been found.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical  design for the extension come out at a late stage. But this is less likely, as because the line is an extension, it must be compatible with the existing line.

The Petty Cash

I think that where the Mayor might make up the shortfall is in the smaller things, that people forget.

For example.

  • Expansion of the Night Tube to all lines, the Drain and the Overground.
  • Tactical and expanded contactless ticketing.
  • Better train scheduling.
  • Expansion of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and the Barking Riverside Extension.
  • Expansion of the East London and Lea Valley Lines.
  • Extra stations and station entrances.
  • Development of Old Oak Common.

But some things already proposed will be tricky.

  • I don’t think that he’ll save the money he wants on staff.
  • Politicians always overestimate what they’ll earn from property development.
  • You can only build so much affordable housing.
  • Developers might find building housing just outside London is more profitable.
  • The Mayor could have Union trouble.

There are probably a lot more where these came from.


With Brexit and Trump, there is a possibility of a drop in passenger numbers and income, which could derail everything.

It will be a close run thing.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Natives Are Getting Restless In Crofton Park

One of my Google Alerts picked up this article on Brockley Central, which is entitled You Shall Go To Blackfriars – Join The Campaign For Crofton Park Trains Every Fifteen Minutes.

This is said.

Local action groups aren’t supposed to be this successful. The Cinderella Line is a campaign to improve the frequency and quality of services that run through Crofton Park Station.

The group has had a recent success, in that there are now four more trains stopping at the station in the peak.

So I thought I’d go and have a look, getting my paper and some bits of shopping I need on the way.

I had started out, just before 0900, with the aim of getting the 0930 Thameslink train to Crofton Park station. Hopefully, it would have been running a bit late, so I could use my Freedom Pass.

But it was worse than that, as the train had been cancelled, so in the end, I had to take a train to Catford station and then come back a station to get to Crofton Park. As I couldn’t afford to wait, I had to pay for the ticket myself.

Not that I’m bothered!

But did Thameslink cancel the first train after 0930, to force people to catch an earlier train at full price, if they wanted to get to work on time?

Am I being cynical?

These pictures tell the story of my journey to Crofton Park and back via Peckham Rye station to Haggerston station, from where I walked home.

A few points.


I took three Thameslink trains and one London Overground train this morning.

  • St. Pancras to Catford – 8-cars and overcrowded until Farringdon.
  • Catford to Crofton Park – 4-cars and crowded.
  • Crofton Park to Peckham Rye – 4-cars and overcrowded
  • Peckham Rye to Haggerston – 5-cars and plenty of space, with seats for those who wanted them.

Considering, that all these journeys were in the Off Peak, except for the last Overground train, it is just not good enough.

Crofton Park Station

Crofton Park station, is typical of many stations, that are South of the Thames.

  • It is certainly scruffy.
  • The main entrance is not step-free and the stairs are steep.
  • The platforms are ready for twelve-car trains.
  • There was a bad gap to mind, between train and platform.
  • Staff were only noticeable by their absence.
  • A fellow passenger said that announcements were unreliable.
  • The information displays were not of the best.
  • Typical Off peak services are 2 trains per hour (tph)

But it was certainly a station, that with the spending of some money to add lifts, could be a station of high quality and a modicum of quality.

The New Class 700 Trains

Hopefully, the new eight-car Class 700 trains will improve matters at Crofton Park, as they are better designed than the overcrowded four-car Class 319 trains, that I had to endure this morning.

This report on Brockley Central, says this about the new trains.

“We have also been pushing Thameslink to introduce new Class 700 trains, with 30% more capacity than the trains we currently have. The first of these will appear from the end of November and then replace our current trains at the rate of one per week.

So that is good news.

Extra Services To Victoria And Blackfriars

The report on Brockley Central, says this about the new services.

“From December 12th, four new trains will stop at Crofton Park between 7-9am . Three will go on to Denmark Hill and Victoria and one to Elephant & Castle and Blackfriars.

“The Victoria services currently pass through Crofton Park but don’t stop there, so they will now make the additional stop at Crofton Park.

So that is good news as well.

The interesting thing about these new train services, is that no new services are actually being introduced, but the extra service at Crofton Park is being created by getting a train that normally goes straight through to stop at Crofton Park.

The latest generation of trains, are designed to execute a stop and start in a minimum time, so I think we’ll see extra stops added on more than a few services.

This quick stop feature is achieved by several things.

  • Powerful braking and acceleration.
  • Wide doors.
  • Level step between train and platform.
  • Good information, so passengers getting on can find space.
  • Good coordination between the driver and staff on the platform.

Increasingly, for some operators, a fast dwell time will be an important factor in choosing the trains to procure and providing a better service.

Here at Crofton Park station, it is being used to get extra trains to stop at the station.

Increasing Thsmeslink Frequency From 2 tph To 4 tph At Crofton Park Station

This is an aspiration for Crofton Park, but I suspect that this cannot be done at present, as there are not enough paths through the core Thameslink tunnel.

So until Thameslink is fully open in 2018, Crofton Park will probably get 2 tph.

Thameslink  is consulting on the service when the full service opens.

This document on the Thameslink web site, shows two different services calling at Crofton Park.

  • TL8 from Blackfriars (Welwyn Garden City in the Peaks) to Sevenoaks
  • TL9 from Kentish Town (Luton in the Peaks) to Orpington.

Both have a frequency of 2 tph at all times,so this gives 4 tph through Crofton Park.

Thameslink put it like this in their proposal.

Thameslink Metro Routes TL8 and TL9 combine to provide four trains per hour (daily) between Central London, Catford, Bromley South and Bickley. During peak times these services may be supplemented by Southeastern Metro services providing six trains per hour.

That’s a well-thought out service, by any standards.

The Catford Metro

I always like calling lines like this a Metro.

As Govia Thameslink Railway have just given the name of the Great Northern Metro to the services out of Moorgate, why not call this line the Catford Metro?

It would call at the following stations.

  • London Blackfriars
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Camberwell (if added)
  • Denmark Hill
  • Peckham Rye
  • Nunhead
  • Crofton Park
  • Catford
  • Bellingham
  • Beckenham Hill
  • Ravensbourne
  • Shortlands
  • Bromley South

So it looks like Crofton Park could be in the middle of a  Catford Metro.

  • It would have a frequency of at least 4 tph.
  • It would be running new eight-car Class 700 trains.
  • 2 tph would go North to each of Welwyn Garden City and Luton in the Peak
  • 2 tph would go North to each of Blackfriars and Kentish Town in the Off Peak
  • 2 tph would go South to each of Orpington and Sevenoaks.
  • It would have a good connection to the 4 tph South London Line at Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye.

It’s a lot better than Crofton Park has at the present time!


Crofton Park has a big future.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do We Sometimes Misjudge The Consequence Of New Railways And Roads?

I ask this question after reading this article in the Hawick News, which is entitled Calls for extension of Borders Railway to Hawick building up fresh head of steam.

It was this phrase that worried me.

“Hawick businesses are feeling the impact of a one-way ticket that is seeing local shoppers travel from Tweedbank to all points north without any reciprocal arrangements.

It looks like building the Borders Railway has hurt businesses in Hawick. And what about other places in the area like Selkirk?

I think we’ve seen this before in other places.

Where I live near Dalston Junction station, has seen a massive uplift, since the creation of the East London Line. It was in some ways predictable, but I don’t think Transport for London expected the uplift that happened.

Our predictions, were never good in the past, but they don’t seem to be improving.

I wonder how far out predictions will be for Crossrail/Thameslink?


  • Crossrail and Thameslink working together will make a lot more journeys single change.
  • Crossrail has good connections with the East London Line.
  • Crossrail gives much improved access to the Bakerloo and Northern City Lines.
  • Crossrail/Thameslink gives much improved access to Canary Wharf, the City of London, Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport, Luton Airport and Oxford Street in the centre of the cap[ital.

One consequence I see, is that those with Freedom Passes like me, will use the new free railways to advantage.

Roll on 2018 and 2019!





November 14, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections On My Journey From Gatwick

After a good night’s sleep, it is perhaps worth taking a look at my experience yesterday in getting through and home from Gatwick Airport.

The train problems were hopefully exceptional, but having seen the new plans for Thameslink’s services, which make it difficult for anybody in East London to go South, I suspect that these problems will go on for some time.

The trouble with the new Thameslink is that it has no step-free interchange with any of the main North South routes through East London.

East London Line

Currently, you can change at New Cross Gate for Gatwick services, but after Thameslink fully opens, this connectivity will be lost under current plans.

It looks like the best route will be to go to West Croydon station and take the tram to East Croydon.

Bank Branch Of The Northern Line

Currently, the interchange at London Bridge between Northern Line and National Rail is not good, although it is step-free.

Hopefully, it will get better.

But the problem with the Northern Line is that many of the stations need reconstruction for full step-free access.

If the London Bridge interchange is improved and the excessive walking is cut, I could use this route a lot to get to Thameslink from Angel station.

But Angel is not a station for a large case, a wheelchair or a baby in a buggy.

Victoria Line

Many on the Victoria Line go direct to Victoria and get a direct train.

Victroria Line access to Thameslink is currently terrible with the only interchange at Kings Cross being step-free and a very tortuous and long walk.

After Thameslink is fully open, there will be a much easier change at Finsbury Park station.


I’m still not sure that the new fully-open Thameslink will not be without controversy.

There is also a need for a solution to the Freedom Pass problem.

I suspect that savvy passengers will just buy an extension ticket between East bCroydon and Gatwick Airport.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t put it past Gatwick Airport to fund the moving of Gatwick Airport into Travel Zone 6, if Heathrow does something unfriendly with Crossrail ticketing. After all, each return ticket costs just £6.

November 11, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Using Southern Crossrail Lite

On my trip to Shepperton today, I went from and to Waterloo station for  the Shepperton Branch Line.

For both journeys, I used the route between London Bridge and Waterloo East stations, that some want to use as part of Southern Crossrail.

Going to Waterloo, I started at Farringdon, and this waan’t a good place to start, as I didn’t have a clue to the best way and neither did the London Underground staff.

So I took the Metropolitan to Moorgate and hopped South on the Northern Line to London Bridge, from where I had three routes.

  • Jubilee Line
  • Train from London to Waterloo East.
  • Bus

At a pinch, I could walk along the Embankment

I suspect that when Crossrail and Thameslink are fully open, there will be a better route, between Farringdon and Waterloo.

  • Crossrail to Paddington, then Bakerloo Line to Waterloo.
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road, then Northern Line to Waterloo.
  • Thameslink to London Bridge, then train to Waterloo East.

As a special Crossrail-Bakerloo pedestrian tunnel is being built at Paddington, that may be the best way. I wrote about this in Paddington Is Operational Again.

My route to Waterloo worked today, as did the route home after a raid on the excellent Marks and Spencer at Waterloo. The only problem was that a 141 bus to my house, had broken down and I had to wait at London Bridge.

I tend to use a 141 bus to and fropm London Bridge, as one stop is in the forecourt of the station and the other is less than a hundred metres from my house.

So how could this abbreviated Southern Crossrail Lite route be improved?

  • The London Bridge end works well, as generally all trains for Waterloo East station turn up on Platforms 8 or 9, which are the two sides of the same island.
  • Only one up escalator at London Bridge was available and I have a feeling, there could be a bit of a reliability issue.
  • I used a lift to go down coming back, to avoid walking to the escalator, and the lift was the sort of size the Victorians used because escalators weren’t in common use until later.
  • The lift was certainly big enough for a cricket team and all their kit.
  • There needs to be better connection between main line and Underground at London Bridge. I suspect this will get better, as more of the station opens.
  • For this route four trains per hour, as you get on a Sunday, aren’t enough.
  • At Waterloo East, the walking route could be improved.
  • Waterloo East needs a Next Train To London Bridge Indicator.
  • Waterloo has twin up and down escalators between the main concourse and the walking route, which is more than enough. Especially, as they were all working!

But I did notice several passengers used the route from London Bridge to Waterloo East stations, including at least two couples with children in pushchairs.

This new Southern Crossrail Lite is going to prove an invaluable alternative to the Jubilee Line.




October 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smithfield’s Iceberg

One Central London Crossrail station, that doesn’t seem to make the headlines is Farringdon station.

This article on is entitled Crossrail prompts Farringdon makeover plans, brought the station into my mind.

Like some other Crossrail stations, Farringdon is a long double-ended station, stretching almost from Barbican station to the current Farringdon station, where Thameslink and the Sub-Surface Lines cross.

Wikipedia says this about Crossrail development at the station.

The Farringdon Crossrail station is being built between Farringdon and Barbican Underground stations and it will have interchanges with both of them.[19] Access at the Farringdon end will be via the new Thameslink ticket hall. Work is anticipated to be completed in 2018. Crossrail will link Farringdon to London City Airport and London Heathrow Airport, the Olympic Park in Stratford, Canary Wharf, Bond Street and Oxford Street, and Maidenhead in the west and Shenfield in the east. The station will also be a hub for cross-London travel, being the only station to be on both the north-south Thameslink service and the east-west Crossrail service.

This Google Map shows the area.

farringdon And Barbican Stations

farringdon And Barbican Stations

Station Entrances

There would appear to be station entrances in Long Lane at the Barbican end and Cowcross Street at the Farringdon end, according to this page on the City of London web site, which contains these details of Farringdon station.

The station will include two ticket halls. The eastern hall will be located within the City at Lindsey Street and the western hall (shared with Thameslink, and which opened in December 2011) is be located at Cowcross Street in the London Borough of Islington. The eastern ticket hall will also provide a second entrance to London Underground’s Barbican station.

The entrance to the eastern ticket hall will be via a double height space, occupying most of the frontage on Long Lane and part of the frontage on Lindsey Street. The remaining frontage will be formed by future over-site development. Part of the frontage is also required for the discharge of Smithfield Market car park ventilation and escape stair.

Access to the platforms will be by means of escalators and there will be a number of lifts to provide step-free access to the Crossrail platforms and the London Underground platforms at Barbican station.

Preliminary discussions have commenced with Crossrail about the need for complementary measures such as improved crossing facilities and streetscape improvements to handle the projected increase in pedestrians in this area when the station opens. Crossrail have been advised that the over-site development will have to complement the settings of the listed market buildings and the Smithfield Conservation Area.

Rail Lines

It is interesting to look at this map of the rail lines through Farringdon from

Lines Through Farringdon Station

Lines Through Farringdon Station

Note how the two Crossrail tracks appear to move apart through the area. It will certainly allow lots of escalators at each end of the Crossrail platforms.

Platform Length

Crossrail platforms are long, to accept the Class 345 trains, which are two hundred metres long.

But this article on the Crossrail web site, which is entitled Current Works At Farringdon Station, contains this paragraph.

A new ticket hall is being constructed at the eastern end adjacent to the London Underground Barbican Station.  It is linked to the Cowcross Street Ticket Hall by two platform tunnels which are among the longest on the route at 350 metres, more than double the length of the Hammersmith and City line platforms.

As the crow-flies distance between the two Sub-Surface Line stations is around 500-600 metres, these are seriously long platforms.

Obviously, this length of 350 metres is deliberate, but why?

I can think of the following reasons.

  • Longer platforms might be needed to connect to the two ticket halls.
  • Because the platforms appear to curve apart, they would need to be longer.
  • Passenger access to the various walkways, escalators and lifts, might be better.
  • There could be some safety reason.
  • Two trains could both be partly in the Farringdon platforms at one time, to perhaps transfer passengers from a stalled train.

But whatever the reason, it could be a long walk,, if you get in the wrong end of a train for the exit at your destination.

A Gallery

Early on a Sunday morning, I walked between Barbican and Farringdon staions.

I’ll split comments into sections..

Barbican Station

Note the following about Barbican station.

  • It has some excellent brick walls enclosing the station.
  • The station was unsympathetically remodelled by the Nazis.
  • You can still see the remains of a steel and glass roof , that was removed in the 1950s.
  • There will be an entrance to the Barbican end of the Crossrail station at Farringdon from the Western End of the central platform.

My thoughts on Barbican station.

  • When as a family we lived in the Barbican, we used this station extensively and I suspect that the humble entrance to and from the station will be heavily used by Crossrail passengers.
  • If the central island platform proves to be too narrow for a walking route, it could always be widened, by using some of the space, where the trains used to run to Moorgate.
  • Will an entrance be built on the other platform to Crossrail, so that passengers going East on the Sub-Surface Lines will have an easy step-free interchange with Crossrail?

On a personal travel point, Barbican might be my entrance to Crossrail/Thameslink, as I’d just take a 56 bus from round the corner from where I live.

The Long Lane Entrance To Farringdon Crossrail Station

This Google Map shows Barbican station and the building that will contain the Long Lane entrance to Farringdon Crossrail station.

Barbican Station

Barbican Station

This map is a very informative one.

  • You can actually see behind the hoardings on the platform at Barbican station.
  • There are two trains in the station.
  • There is a gap in the buildings on the South Side of the station along Long Lane, that I labelled a development opportunity in the gallery.
  • You can see the two domes on the Eastern end of Smithfield Market.

This image shows how the Long Lane entrance to Farringdon Crossrail station and Barbican station, will end up being treated as one station by travellers.

This is an image from the Farringdon station page on the Crossrail web site.


And this is my picture taken on my walk.

I think that the angles are similar, but I probably needed to stand further out.

This second image from the Crossrail web site, shows the view from just round the corner.


This is the nearest picture I have.

Note the zebra crossing, which appears on both images.

The Cowcross Street Entrance To Farringdon Crossrail Station

This Google Map shows the Cowcross Street site in relation to the current station.

Farringdon Station

Farringdon Station

The site with the obvious hole and what looks to be a large grating is where the Cowcross Street entrance is being built. If you go into the Thameslink Ticket Hall and look to your right, you’ll see that the wall is not of the highest quality. It could be just temporary, until the Crossrail station is built.

Between Comptoir Gascon and Smiths of Smithfield, is a small Crossrail site, which is shown in the gallery. Is it just a delivery and work site, or is it for something more substantial?

I think it could be the former, as from a Metropolitan Line train, little is visible, as this picture shows.

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street

This Google Map shows quite good detail.

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street From Above

Behind The Hoardings On Charterhouse Street From Above

The hole shown in the top-left corner of the second image is shown on some drawings,labelled as Network Rail Lift Shift.

But, I can’t help thinking that with the development of Smithfield and especially the new Museum of London, that an entrance to Farringdon station at this location, would be beneficial,

The New Museum Of London

This is being built in West Smithfield. This Google Map shows the area.

The New Museum Of London Site

The New Museum Of London Site

This article in the Guardian is entitled Off to market: Museum of London shows off its new Smithfield site.

Read the article and this third paragraph is an ambitious vision.

“Our job is to make this the best museum in the world,” Ament said, carefully stepping around pigeon droppings and pools of water in the old market, which has been empty for the last 30 years while developers and conservationists fought over its fate. “I’m desperate to keep the train line running through it – nobody else has one of those. Just imagine the people on the trains looking out and seeing a museum around them, and the people in the museum seeing the trains go by.”

Surely, one of the best cities in the world, needs one of the best museums in the world to explain itself.

This map from shows the railway lines in the area.


Snow Hill station would have been just South of the Museum site, but it is known that under the market there are numerous railway lines and sidings, where animals were brought to the market.

These must create ideas for the architects.

There are more notes on Snow Hill station on this page of the Disused Stations web site.

The train line refereed to in the Guardian article previously, is of course Thameslink, running in the Snow Hill Tunnel.

Certainly, the future development of the area must provide a decent connection between the Museum and Farringdon station.

I don’t think that Snow Hill station will be reopened, but there must be ways to connect the museum to the Thameslink platforms at Farringdon.

A Walk from City Thameslink Station Through The New Museum Site To Farringdon Station

I started the walk at City Thameslink station, as I wanted to see if the new Class 700 trains, changed voltage smoother than the Class 319 trains. I felt that three decades of progress had improved matters.

The Museum site needs work and some good architects. This is one proposal.


There is more in this article on the Dezeen web site.

The Future Of The Widened Lines To Moorgate

Trains from North of London used to go to Moorgate station along the Widened Lines until 2009, when platform lengthening for Thameslink at Farringdon station meant they couldn’t be used.

Two platforms at Moorgate are still used in busy times, but two platforms at Moorgate and Barbican stations are unused.

The only thing, I can find about the future of these lines is they could be used for storing Metropolitan Line trains.

If this is done, then let’s hope there is worthwhile oversite development!

Some spaces are quite large as this picture from East of Farringdon station shows.

Space East Of Farringdon

Space East Of Farringdon

You could store a lot of trains there.

London’s Future Air Terminal

This article on the Network Rail web site is entitled Farringdon Station: London’Newest Transport Hub.

This is said.

From 2018 Farringdon will be the only station where Thameslink, Crossrail and tube services meet. Passengers will have the choice to travel north-south, east-west or around London.

With up to 24 trains an hour running in each direction on Thameslink and Crossrail, including tube trains Farringdon will be served by over 140 trains an hour.This will relieve pressure from the Tube and deliver more seats for commuters.

Farringdon will provide direct links to three of London’s major airports, Heathrow, Gatwick, and Luton, and to St Pancras International for Eurostar services.

I have a feeling some of the spaces and oversite development in the area of Farringdon station, could become visitor-friendly ones, like hotels, cafes and restaurants.

Get it right and long-haul passengers into Heathrow and Gatwick, might prefer a night to refresh and enjoy themselves around Farringdon, before travelling out a day or so later.

The area will have a lot going for it in a few years.

  • The Barbican Centre
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Hatton Garden
  • The best church in London; St. Batholomew-The-Great
  • The new Museum of London
  • A short walk to the Thames.
  • Direct links to Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports.
  • Direct links to Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Old Oak Common, Paddington and St. Pancras stations.
  • One-change links to City and Stansted airports and Euston, Marylebone, Victoria and Waterloo stations.
  • Good restaurants
  • Superb urban walks.

If it all goes wrong, you can always visit the Wife Market.

As some places like Iceland and Dubai market themselves as a journey break, why can’t London? Or do passengers prefer ice, geysers, sand and anonymous concrete and glass buildings?

Not that London doesn’t have a few of the latter!


The area round Farringdon station will be a new centre for London.

I wonder what my Huguenot grandfather, who was born in 1870, a couple of hundred metres to the North, would have thought?








October 30, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Could Old Oak Common Be London’s Super Hub Station?

Old Oak Common station is going to be a very important rail hub in the future, with all the services that various companies and organisations would like to see serving the proposed station.

This map shows some of the existing and proposed rail lines in the area.


Rail Lines At Old Oak Common

Rail Lines At Old Oak Common

Current Plans

I’ll now list the lines shown in the map or that go through the area. and are listed in Wikipedia, as having connections at the proposed Old Oak Common station.

1. Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line will call

2. Central Line

The Central Line will call.

The Central Line acts as a loop from Crossrail through Central London, serving stations not on the direct route, in Central London between Stratford and Bond Street.

I wrote about the relationship between Crossrail and the Central Line in Ducking And Diving Between Crossrail And The Central Line.

3. Crossrail

Crossrail goes through the area and development of a station has been proposed.

4. Great Western Main Line

The Great Western Main Line goes through the area and local and other services may call.

5. HS2

HS2 will be building a station at Old Oak Common.

6. North London Line

The North London Line is consulting on a new station as I wrote about in Should An Overground Station Be Built At Hythe Road?

The North London Line acts as another East-West line across London and will probably have a frequency of upwards of the current  4 trains per hour (tph) between Richmond and its Eastern connection to Crossrail at Stratford.

7. West Coast Main Line

The West Coast Main Line  goes through the area and local and other services may call.

8. West London Line

The West London Line will call and this line gives an easy route to Balham, Clapham Junction and East Croydon stations, which by-passes Central London.

I suspect that the frequency of trains on this route will be increased.

Eight lines is an large amount of connectivity.

Other Possibilities

If that isn’t enough connectivity, there are also these extra possibilities.

1. Chiltern Railways

Chiltern Railways have ambitions to use Old Oak Common station as another London terminus, with perhaps 2 tph.

I wrote about it in Linking Chiltern To Crossrail.

2. Dudding Hill Line

The Dudding Hill Line, runs to the West of Old Oak Common station. It could be electrified and have a station that is connected to Old Oak Common station.

For various reasons, both the Brent and Cricklewood \curves would be electrified, thus giving fully electrified access to and from North and South on the Midland Main Line.

3. Gospel Oak To Barking Line

Transport for London have published ideas to extend the Gospel Oak to Barking Line along an electrified Dudding Hill Line.

Suggestions have talked about 4 tph between Hounslow and Gospel Oak stations.

4. Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express uses the Crossrail route, so it could call.

5. Midland Main Line

If Chiltern can justify using Old Oak Common station, I suspect that services on the Midland Main Line can make the same arguments for using Old Oak Common station as a terminal.


It would give passengers from the East Midlands much better access to London and the South East.

6. Thameslink

There are no plans to link Thameslink to Old Oak Common station, but why not?

I proposed this in Will The Third Runway At Heathrow Be Actually Built In The Near Future?

Under Integration With Both HS1 And HS2, I said this.

It would be possible to do the following.

  •  Arrange for Heathrow Express and/or Crossrail to call at Old Oak Common for HS2.
  • Terminate some Thameslink services at Old Oak Common, thus linking HS1 and HS2.
  • Build an easy entrance at St. Pancras to Thameslink close to Eurostar.
  • It goes without saying, that Old Oak |Common will make interchange easy between the umpteen lines meeting there.

The Dudding Hill Line would be electrified.

This proposal and the related electrification of the Dudding Hill Line would do the following.

  • Give Chiltern, Crossrail, GWR and Heathrow Express a  connection to HS1.
  • Give Thameslink a better connection to HS2 and the West Coast Main Line
  • Create a fast ink between HS1 and HS2.

What could a Thameslink service to Old Oak Common station look like?

  • I would terminate 4 tph trains at Old Oak Common to give an  adequate level of service.
  • It might be advantageous to use eight-car Class 700 trains on this route, so that all trains North of Cricklewood could be twelve-car trains.
  • Could the trains going to Old Oak Common be the Wimbledon Loop trains?
  • There could be advantages in having 2 tph between Old Oak Common and London Bridge.

Obviously, passenger statistics would determine the services required.

Old Oak Common As An Airport Hub

If all or some of these plans come to pass, Old Oak Common station will be well-connected to the following airports.

  • Birmingham – Under 50 minutes by HS2.
  • City – Under 20 minutes by Crossrail
  • Gatwick – Under 50 minutes by Thameslink
  • Heathrow – Around 20 minutes by Crossrail and around 15 minutes by Heathrow Express
  • Luton – Under 30 minutes by Midland Main Line.
  • Manchester – Around an hour by HS2.
  • Southend – Around 80 minutes by Crossrail and Greater Anglia.
  • Stansted – Around 55 minutes by Crossrail and Stansted Express.

The figures are very much my best estimates, as the Thameslink and HS2 web sites don’t have simple journey time calculators as does the Crossrail web site.

But these timings do show some interesting facts, that will effect the developments of airports in Southern England.

  • Birmingham Airport is a practical alternative for those living with easy access to the HS2 stations at Euston or Old Oak Common.
  • Gatwick access needs to be faster to compete with Heathrow and Luton.
  • When HS2 reaches Manchester Aiorport, it will be a practical alternative for Middle England.
  • Southend Airport will be good for those East of London, but the journey time needs to be cut, by running faster trains to London.
  • Stansted Airport needs a faster connection to London and they will push for the four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.

There will be a massive battle for passengers and Network Rail will be under tremendous pressure to perform.

Rail Companies, Lines And Terminals, Without A Direct Connection To Old Oak Common Station

There is quite a few, even if you cut out train operators like Arriva Trains Wales, Scotrail, Northern and TransPennine, that don’t serve London.

1. Caledonian Sleeper

With all its connectivity, would Old Oak Common be the logical destination for the Caledonian Sleeper?

Could Old Oak Common, be London’s hub for all sleeper trains?


2. Circle, District And Metropolitan Lines

There are various ways to get on the Circle, District and Metropolitan Lines depending on where you want to go.

Just as the Central Line acts as a loop from Crossrail, the Sub-Surface Lines have various loops running parallel to Crossrail through Central London.

  • Circle and Metropolitan Lines, running North of Crossrail,  from Paddington to Whitechapel.
  • Circle and District Lines, running South of Crossrail,  from Paddington to Whitechapel.
  • District Line, running, South of Crossrail,  from Ealing Broadway to Whitechapel.

My prediction in Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be A Jewel In The East?, seems to becoming true.

3. c2c

As I said in Will c2c Push For Access To Stratford And Liverpool Street?, c2c needs a connection to a station on Crossrail.

With some reorganisation of services, I believe that it might possible to have a 4 tph service to Stratford and Liverpool Street stations, which would give passengers in the c2c area, access to Crossrail

4. East Coast Main Line

These are routes between Old Oak Common and Kings Cross station for the East Coast Main Line.

  • Crossrail to Farringdon and then the Metropolitan Line
  • North London Line to Highbury and Islington and then the Victoria Line.
  • Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus and then the Victoria Line.
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road and then a 10, 73 or 390 bus.
  • Narrow boat on the canals.
  • If Thameslink should in the future serve Old Oak Common, that can be taken to St. Pancras Thameslink, followed by a walk.

None of the routes are of the best.

If you had plenty of time, Tottenham Court Road station and then a bus would be a good route, as the bus drops you in the front of Kings Cross station, with totally flat access to the trains. If you’re early and it’s sunny, you can sit in the best Waiting Room at a London station.

For local services on the East Coast Main Line, there are two slower alternatives.

  • Crossrail to Moorgate and then use the Great Northern Metro.
  • Thameslink to St. Pancras Thameslink, cross to the other platform and take Thameslink to Cambridge or Peterborough.

The second route, would be much easier, if St. Psncras had an island platform for Thameslink. At least it’s only escalators and lifts.

There is one development, that might happen, that could improve journeys to and from Kings Cross station. That is the reopening of Maiden Lane station.

5. Jubilee Line

The Jubilee Line has interchanges with Crossrail at Bond Street, Canary Wharf and Stratford stations, with an interchange with Thameslink at London Bridge station.

It also has a step-free interchange with the Bakerloo Line at Baker Street station.

The Jubilee Line also acts as a loop from Crossrail serving stations away from the main route through Central London between Stratford and Bond Street.

6. London Bridge, Cannon Street And Charing Cross

I have grouped all these three stations together as the rebuilding of London Bridge station and the Thameslink Programme have connected these three stations in a way that will change passenger patterns dramatically for users of these three stations.

For myself, it will mean that to access any trains from Cannon Street and Charing Cross or on Thameslink going South, I will probably use a bus to the superb London Bridge station with all its escalators and lifts, rather than fight my way through Central London.

Others will also choose to go direct to London Bridge, possibly by using the Jubilee or Northern Linse. It will be interesting to see how passenger usage changes at Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations.

London Bridge shows what could have been done, if they’d spent the money wisely at the dreadful St. Pancras.

There are four main routes between London Bridge and Old Oak Common stations.

  • Bakerloo Line to Waterloo and then the Jubilee Line.
  • Crossrail to Bond Street and then the loop of the Jubilee Line.
  • Crossrail to Farringdon and then Thmeslink
  • If Thameslink serves Old Oak Common, there could even be a direct train.

I suspect there are other routes and it will all be down to personal preference and where you catch your next train in London Bridge.

Cannon Street station could almost be considered a London Bridge North station.

  • It has seven terminal platforms. Try fitting more into London Bridge.
  • It is within easy walking distance of much of the City of London.
  • On a nice day, many might even walk from Cannon Street to Moorgate for Crossrail, as this route could be pedestrianised.
  • It has access to the Circle and District Lines, which with a change at Paddington give access to Crossrail and Old Oak Common station.
  • In a few years time, it will have good access to the Northern and Central Lines at Bank station.

Cannon Street station will become more important, as Network Rail and the various operators learn how to use the new infrstructure.

Sometimes, I struggle to see the point of Charing Cross station, but as it’s a very busy station others certainly see the station’s purpose.

It’s on the Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern Lines, so getting to Old Oak Common won’t be a problem.

Transport for London are looking to take over South London inner suburban routes, so I think we’ll see changes in the management of Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations if this happens.

7. Northern Line

Both branches of the Northern Line are directly connected to Crossrail.

  • Tottenham Court Road station connects to the Charing Cross Branch.
  • Moorgate station connects to the Bank Branch.

Connections to the Northern Line might improve, if two separate lines are created

8. Piccadilly And Victoria Lines

The Piccadilly and Victoria Lines share three interchanges, but unfortunately they have no interfaces with Crossrail and only one poor one with Thameslink.

The best bet is to get on the Bakerloo Line and change at either Oxford or Picadilly Circus.

9. Victoria

Victoria station is another tricky station from which to get to and from Old Oak Common.

  • Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus and then Victoria Line.
  • Crossrail to Paddington and then Circle or District Line.

As some services out of Victoria stop at stations served by the West London Line, it is possible to use that line to by-pass Central London.

10. Waterloo

Like London Bridge, Waterloo station is very well connected to Crossrail and the Old Oak Common hub.

  • Bakerloo Line direct.
  • Crossrail to Bond Street and then the loop of the Jubilee Line.
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road and then the Northern Line.

As some services out of Waterloo stop at stations served by the West London Line, it is possible to use that line to by-pass Central London.


I have come to the following conclusions.

Everybody will want to be connected to Old Oak Common station.

Groups of lines across London are emerging.

  • East to West – Crossrail, Central, District, Metropolitan, North London, Gospel Oak To Barking, Dudding Hill.
  • North to South – Thameslink, West London,East London, Northern.
  • North-East to South-West – Crossrail 2, Piccadilly, Victoria.
  • North-West to South-East – Bakerloo, Jubilee

A very strong grid with good interchanges is probably the main objective.

Looking at these groups, makes me think, that actions are suggested, that would strengthen the network.

  • Build Crossrail 2
  • Increase the capacity on the Bakerloo Line
  • Split the Northern Line into Charing Cross and Bank branches.

London will quickly fill the extra capacity.




October 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Crossrail And Its Class 345 Trains Set Mobile Connection Standards For The UK?

Search for “Class 345 trains 4G” or “Class 345 trains wi-fi” and you find reports like this on London Reconnections about the Class 345 train.

This or something like it, is said in several of these reports.

According to the accompanying press notes both free wifi and 4G services will be delivered on board, as will multiple wheelchair and luggage spaces.

It would be very embarrassing for London’s flagship multi-billion pound project, if it wasn’t correct.

So it would appear that I could board a Class 345 train at Shenfield and watch a video all the way to Heathrow or Reading.

But where does this leave Thameslink?

Their Class 700 trains have been designed without wi-fi, 4G and power-sockets as I said in By Class 700 Train To Brighton And Back.

But at least Siemens felt that the Department for Transport, who ordered the trains, were out of step with reality and  appear to have made provision to at least fit wi-fi.

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled Class 707 Breaks Cover and it describes the Class 707 train, which is a sister train to the Class 700. This is said about the two trains and wi-fi and toilets.

Thameslink (or the Department for Transport which ordered the trains) decided not to include Wi-Fi in the Class 700s, a questionable decision that has now apparently been reversed. Fortunately, Siemens had included the technology framework in the design so, hopefully, the upgrade will not require too much effort. Suffice it to say that South West Trains has included Wi-Fi in its specification for Class 707s.

Reversing the story, Thameslink Class 700s are all fitted with toilets. However, South West Trains has decided not to include toilets in its Class 707 specification given that the longest journey time is less than one hour and their inclusion would reduce the overall capacity of the trains.

So it appears that Siemens may have future-proofed the trains.

This article on the Railway Gazette describes the third fleet of the Siemens trains; the Class 717 trains for Moorgate services. This is said.

Plans for the installation of wi-fi are being discussed with the Department for Transport as part of a wider programme for the GTR fleet.

So at least something is happening.

But how close will mobile data services get to the ideal that customers want.

  • 4G everywhere from the moment you enter a station until you leave the railway at your destination station.
  • Seamless wi-fi, so you log in once and your login is valid until you leave the railway.

It will be tough ask to achieve, as it must be valid on the following services.

  • Crossrail
  • Thameslink
  • London Overground
  • London Underground
  • All train services terminating in London.

And why not all buses, trams and taxis?

On a related topic, I believe that for safety and information reasons, all bus and tram stops and railway stations must have a quality mobile signal and if it is possible wi-fi.

One life saved would make it all worthwhile.


October 11, 2016 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment