The Anonymous Widower

Construction Has Started On The Silvertown Tunnel

These pictures show that construction has started on the Silverton Tunnel.

Note that New Civil Engineer is reporting that tunnelling has started.

My Current Thoughts On The Silvertown Tunnel

In 2015, I wrote No To Silvertown Tunnel, which I started with these two paragraphs.

My personal feelings about the Silvertown Tunnel are that it is irrelevant to me, except that it might help some trucks bring goods that I buy online or at a local shop. Although as a sixty-eight year-old-widower living alone, I don’t think my transport needs through the tunnel will be high.

I don’t drive after my stroke and I like that lifestyle, except when last night it took me three trains, a coach and a taxi to get back from watching football at Ipswich. But that tortuous late night journey was caused because NuLabor spent my tax money on pointless wars that will haunt us for generations, rather than in extending and renewing our rail system, that will nurture and enrich our future.

But my objections to the Silvertown Tunnel have changed and expanded.

New Transport Infrastructure Attracts Passengers

This may seem obvious, but there has been several cases recently in London to prove my point.

  • The London Overground has been a success beyond Transport for London’s wildest dreams and as an example the North London Line, that started with three x three-car trains per hour (tph) is now running eight x five-car tph. This is a four time increase in capacity.
  • New buses and contactless ticketing have encouraged more passengers to use the buses.
  • Electrification and new trains has transformed the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  • The expansion of Thameslink and new trains now carries a lot more North-South traffic through London.
  • Every time, a new section of the Elizabeth Line opens more passengers are attracted to the new line.
  • The remodelling of London Bridge station has increased passenger numbers. And shoppers!

On a personal note, I live on a bus corridor, that runs between North London and Moorgate for the Lizzie Line. Since the Lizzie Line has been fully connected, passenger numbers have risen by a big margin.

I don’t believe that the ability to attract more traffic of the Silvertown Tunnel will be any different.

More Traffic Means More Congestion And Pollution

I live close to the Balls Pond Road, which increasingly seems to be a truck route across North London.

The Silvertown Tunnel will be two lanes each way; one for trucks and buses, and one for smaller vehicles.

I can’t see that pollution and congestion around the Silvertown Tunnel and on the routes to the tunnel, will not increase.

There Is Little Or No Provision For Cyclists And Pedestrians

This will be a big problem. Especially, as the local traffic in the area will increase dramatically.

Does Central London Have Enough Parking For The Increased Traffic?

Parking in Central London is probably close to capacity now!

So What Would I Do?

Given that construction has already started, I feel it is too late to cancel.

Better Alternatives Than Driving

I feel measures should be adopted that provide better alternatives than driving.

Obviously, this won’t help with trucks, but it could reduce the total number of vehicles going through the tunnel.

These could include.

  • Increase the frequency of trains on both the Lizzie Line and Thameslink.
  • Increase the number of destinations on both the Lizzie Line and Thameslink.
  • Add an extra car to Lizzie Line trains.
  • Remove First Class on the shorter eight-car Thameslink trains.
  • Add provision on some Lizzie Line and Thameslink routes for bicycles.
  • Add a Silvertown station to the Elizabeth Line for London City Airport.
  • Add one or more pedestrian and cycling bridges across the Thames.
  • Expand of the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Expand the Thames Clipper.
  • Connect Barking Riverside station to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood station either by a rail or a fast ferry.
  • Keep the cable-car.

I suspect there are other viable ideas.

Develop Incentives To Use Public Transport

Incentives could be in these areas.

  • Better station and bus terminals encourage more to use trains and buses.
  • Full free onboard wi-fi and phone charging.
  • Special fares for some journeys.

An example of the latter could be a discount for certain cross-river journeys.

Make The Silvertown Tunnel Available For Zero Carbon Vehicles Only

This would surely cut pollution in London.

Conclusion

We should use the Silvertown Tunnel to improve London’s air quality.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Northern City Line

Some parts of North and North-East London, have less-than-good connections with the Elizabeth Line.

  • The Piccadilly Line has no direct connection with the Elizabeth Line.
  • The Victoria Line has no direct connection with the Elizabeth Line.
  • The Bank branch of the Northern Line has only a poor connection with the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station.
  • The Northern City Line has only a poor connection with the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station.
  • The Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line has a good connection with the Elizabeth Line at Tottenham Court Road station.
  • The Lea Valley Lines of the London Overground have good connections with the Elizabeth Line at Liverpool Street station.
  • Thameslink has a good connection with the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon station.

It would appear that if you live near one of the Lea Valley Lines or Thameslink stations, you can access the Elizabeth Line fairly easily at Liverpool Street or Farringdon stations, but if you rely on a Northern, Northern City, Piccadilly or Victoria Line local station, you are not so lucky!

Could The Northern City Line Be Improved To Give Better Connections Between North London And The Elizabeth Line?

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines between Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington stations.

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line, which calls at M (Manor House), Finsbury Park, Arsenal, Holloway Road and Caledonian Road, before going South-West to King’s Cross St. Pancras.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line, which calls at Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington, before going South-West to King’s Cross St. Pancras.
  3. The black tracks on the Western side of the map are those of the East Coast Main Line into King’s Cross.
  4. The black tracks going South-East from Finsbury Park are the Northern City Line, which calls at Finsbury Park, Drayton Park, Highbury & Islington, E (Essex Road) and Old Street before terminating at Moorgate.

This second map shows the lines through Finsbury Park station.

 

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line.
  3. The black tracks going through Drayton Park station are the Northern City Line.
  4. The platforms of the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines are paired at Finsbury Park station, so that passengers can change lines with a simple walk-across.

This third map shows the lines through Highbury & Islington station.

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line.
  3. The orange tracks are the London Overground.
  4. The black tracks going through Drayton Park and Highbury & Islington stations are the Northern City Line, which terminates at Moorgate station.
  5. The platforms of the Northern City and Victoria Lines are paired at Highbury & Islington station, so that passengers can change lines with a simple walk-across.

The big problem with Highbury & Islington station is that is not step-free.

A Step-Free Route Between Wood Green And Moorgate  Stations

Currently, it is possible to go between Wood Green and Moorgate stations by using three trains.

  • Piccadilly Line – Wood Green to Finsbury Park – 6 mins
  • Victoria Line – Finsbury Park to Highbury & Islington – 6 mins
  • Northern City Line – Highbury & Islington to Moorgate – 10 mins

Note.

  1. These are actual times measured on my phone.
  2. The total time is twenty-two minutes.
  3. I had to wait a couple of minutes at both changes.
  4. Both changes are walk-across.
  5. The changes are not as perfect as they could be, although they would be easily managed with a buggy or a heavy case.

These pictures show the change at Highbury & Islington station.

These pictures show the change at Finsbury Park station.

This route works for all stations Between Manor House and Cockfosters.

  • Cockfosters – Add 15 minutes
  • Oakwood – Add 12 minutes
  • Southgate – Add 9 minutes
  • Arnos Grove – Add 6 minutes
  • Bounds Green – Add 3 minutes
  • Turnpike Lane – Subtract 2 minutes
  • Manor House – Subtract 5 minutes

But look at the frequencies of the three sections in trains per hour (tph)

The Northern City Line frequency is not high enough, as you could have a fifteen minute wait for a train.

Improvements Needed To The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line now has new Class 717 trains, a terminal platform at Stevenage and full digital signalling is being installed.

  • The major improvement needed would be to improve frequency to at least 12 tph.
  • Six tph on both branches should be possible.

I would also install step-free access at more stations.

Moorgate Station’s Northern City Line Platforms

These pictures show the platforms of the Northern City Line at Moorgate station.

Note.

Improved Connections At Moorgate Station

I talked about the connections between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines at Moorgate station in Elizabeth Line To Northern Line At Moorgate Station.

This was my conclusion.

Routes between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines at Moorgate need to be improved.

I feel that some of the improvements could be fairly minor, but adding step-free access to the Northern City Line could be more difficult.

An Improved Connection Between Bank And Moorgate Stations

Currently, there are three ways between Bank and Moorgate stations.

  • Use the Northern Line
  • Use a 21, 43 or 141 bus routes
  • Walk

I believe that it would also be possible to dig a pedestrian tunnel between the two stations and fit it out with a moving walkway.

This visualisation shows the updated Bank station.


Note.

  1. Moorgate station is to the left.
  2. The only more-or-less completed bits are the two Northern Line tunnels and platforms and parallel pedestrian tunnel.
  3. The four cross tunnels can be picked out towards the far end of the station.
  4. Three of the cross tunnels can now be used by passengers.
  5. The moving walkway can be accessed from the two cross tunnels nearest to the Central Line.
  6. The escalators from the yet-to-open Cannon Street entrance appear to lead directly into a cross tunnel and a parallel tunnel to the moving walkway.

I believe that the moving walkway to Moorgate station could connect with the Bank station complex, at the Moorgate end of the new moving walkway in Bank station.

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Would A Joint Development Of Thameslink And The Elizabeth Line Be A Cost-Effective Way To Improve London’s Rail Network?

The operation of Thameslink and The Elizabeth Line are more similar than many people think.

  • Both have a central tunnel.
  • On the Elizabeth Line, the central tunnel is between Paddington and Whitechapel stations, which always takes thirteen minutes.
  • Trains on the Elizabeth Line run five minutes apart.
  • On Thameslink, the central tunnel is between St. Pancras International and London Blackfriars stations, which always takes nine minutes.
  • Trains on Thameslink run 3-4 minutes apart.
  • There are no branches in the central tunnels.
  • No other regular train services run through the central tunnels.
  • Trains appear to be controlled very accurately to the timetable.
  • Each train on both lines seems to take a similar time through their central tunnel.

I am by training a Control Engineer and this is not surprising, as if you want to get the most number of trains down a tunnel, they should all take the same time and be equally spaced.

  • As there are twelve trains per hour (tph) on the Elizabeth Line, the five minute interval is to be expected.
  • As there are twenty tph on Thameslink, the 3-4 minute interval is to be expected.

It should be noted that the Victoria Line was fully opened in 1971.

  • It has a single central tunnel with no branches.
  • The line is used exclusively by Victoria Line trains.

But when new faster trains and automatic train control (ATO) were introduced, it enabled the train frequency  to be increased from 27 to 33 tph.

By comparison to the Victoria Line, I believe that increased frequencies of trains through Thameslink and The Elizabeth Line should be possible.

The Elizabeth Line Frequency

The Wikipedia entry for the Elizabeth Line gives a central tunnel frequency of 24 tph, consisting of the following services.

  • 12 tph – Shenfield and Paddington
  • , 6 tph – Abbey Wood and Heathrow
  •  6 tph – Abbey Wood and either Reading or Maidenhead

Note, in Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line, I said this.

Because of the current track layout at Abbey Wood, I believe that without track modifications, Abbey Wood station will not be able to handle more than 12 tph.

So will Abbey Wood be restricted to 12 tph for some years?

It does appear to me, that to increase the frequency through the Elizabeth Line’s central tunnel, there will need to be services to new destinations in both the East and the West.

Various destinations have been suggested for the Elizabeth Line.

  • Northfleet, Gravesend and possibly Hoo for Chatham.
  • Billericay, Southend Airport and Southend Victoria.
  • Tring and Milton Keynes
  • Staines

I would also add.

  • Chelmsford and the new station at Beaulieu.
  • Didcot, Oxford and possibly Swindon.

There are a lot of possibilities.

The Thameslink Frequency

The Wikipedia entry for the Thameslink gives a central tunnel frequency of 20 tph, consisting of the following services.

  • 2 tph – Cambridge and Brighton
  • 2 tph – Cambridge and Maidstone East
  • 2 tph – Peterborough and Horsham
  • 2 tph – Bedford and Brighton
  • 2 tph – Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Redhill
  • 2 tph – Luton and Rainham via Greenwich
  • 2 tph – St Albans City and Sutton via Wimbledon (loop)
  • 2 tph – St Albans City and Sutton via Mitcham (loop)
  • 2 tph – Kentish Town and Orpington via Catford

There are few suggestions for extra Thameslink services.

High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line

Some suggested destinations for the Elizabeth Line and some existing destinations for Thameslink are on high speed lines, that will be digitally-signalled in the next few years.

These destinations might be better served by an Elizabeth Line or Thameslink train with a better performance.

In Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line, I explained my reasoning in detail.

Conclusion

A comprehensive survey needs to be carried out to identify what destinations should be added to the Elizabeth Line/Thameslink network.

Reasons for a new destination could possibly be employment, housing, leisure, tourism or other factors.

August 14, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Linking To The Oxted Line

I believe that everybody in the South East of England needs the best access possible to the Elizabeth Line, by train from where they live.

  • The Elizabeth Line serves the important places like Brick Lane, Canary Wharf, the City of London, Heathrow Airport, Liverpool Street station, the Olympic Park, Oxford Street and Paddington station directly.
  • Because of its connection to Thameslink, the Elizabeth Line also serves important places like Bedford, Brighton, Cambridge, Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport and Tate Modern with a single change at Farringdon station.
  • Using the Elizabeth Line, Thameslink and perhaps a bus, it is possible to get to most important places in Central London.
  • The more passengers that use the Elizabeth Line and Thameslink, the more London’s businesses will thrive creating employment and tax revenues.
  • It should also be remembered, that using a train to visit central London, probably cuts your carbon footprint.
  • The Elizabeth Line also cost a fortune, so perhaps by using it, you will be getting some of your portion of what it cost you back.

This post is the first of several, where I discuss how to bring more passengers into the Elizabeth Line network.

The Oxted Line

The Oxted Line is a line with two branches; East Grinstead and Uckfield, which runs South from East Croydon station.

  • The branch to East Grinstead is electrified, but the branch to Uckfield is not and is still run by diesel trains.
  • Plans exist to run battery-electric trains on the Uckfield branch, but they always seem to be awaited,
  • Network Rail are now saying that they will electrify the Uckfield branch with third-rail.
  • All platforms on both branches can take ten-car trains, if not twelve.
  • A reasonable amount of money has been spent on the Uckfield branch to improve it.
  • Services on both branches are one train per hour (tph).
  • London terminals of trains are London Bridge and Victoria, both of which have no easy connection to the Elizabeth Line.

The major faults of the current services are as follows.

  • One tph is not enough.
  • Victoria is an overcrowded terminal with no connection to the Elizabeth Line or Thameslink
  • At London Bridge and East Croydon, there are tortuous step-free change to Thameslink.
  • From London Bridge you can use the Northern Line to transfer to the Elizabeth Line, but it wouldn’t be the best route when taking a heavy case to Heathrow.
  • From Victoria, you can use the Circle and District lines to the Elizabeth Line at Paddington.

The Oxted Line service needs to be improved.

I would do the following.

Move Uckfield Branch Services To Thameslink

This would mean that Uckfield services would call at East Croydon, London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St. Pancras and then terminate somewhere to the North.

  • There would be a step-free change to the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon.
  • East Croydon and London Bridge are still served.
  • There are connections to the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines of the Underground.
  • There will be no need for a terminal platform at London Bridge.

I believe that this gives much better connectivity.

Electrify To Uckfield

This is a long-debated question.

But as Thameslink trains are Class 700 trains, which are dual voltage, I’d electrify the Uckfield branch with 25 KVAC overhead electrification between Hurst Green and Uckfield.

Lightweight catenary could be used to reduce visual intrusion.

Note.

  1. The curved beam at the top of this overhead electrification gantry is laminated wood.
  2. Power changeover would take place at Hurst Green station.

Hopefully, the electric trains would offset any anger at overhead wires.

Run Two tph To Uckfield

I am fairly certain that when Network Rail lengthened the platforms on the Uckfield branch, that they arranged the track and signalling, so that two tph could use the branch.

Run An Hourly Shuttle Between Oxted And East Grinstead

This service would be as follows.

  • It would terminate in the bay platform at Oxted station.
  • This would give 2 tph on this route.

The existing hourly service between East Grinstead and Victoria would continue.

Conclusion

I believe that this simple scheme could give very good benefits to all stakeholders.

 

 

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bluebell Heritage Railway Planning Western Extension

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Bluebell Railway, a heritage railway that runs through Sussex has filed a pre-planning application as it seeks to extend the railway westwards along a partially disused railway alignment.

It seems to be a well-thought out plan.

  • Part of the route is a freight line to bring aggregates out of the area.
  • The Bluebell Railway appear to have been talking to Hanson Aggregates and the plan would not appear to affect Hanson’s business.
  • The eventual destination is Haywards Heath station, where from maps and Wikipedia, it appears that not too much work would need to be done.

A Hayward’s Heath connection would surely be good for the finances of the Bluebell Railway.

I also suspect that Hanson Aggregates would come out of this with a certain amount of good publicity.

Do Network Rail Have A Plan To Increase Capacity South Of Oxted?

In Kent Railway Viaduct Set For £3.5m Makeover, I wrote about Network Rail giving a viaduct a makeover, that will last for the next fifty years.

Could a reason for the makeover, be that once the trains to Uckfield are zero-carbon, there is a possibility that the frequency of trains on the route could be doubled to two trains per hour (tph)? This would surely increase the stresses and strains on the viaduct. Especially, if two trains were timetabled to pass in Ashurst station, where the line is double-track.

This would increase the trains North of Oxted station in the Off Peak from one train to Victoria and one to London Bridge to one to Victoria and two to London Bridge. Once capacity at East Croydon has been increased, this would provide a fifty percent increase in trains between London and Oxted.

If the capacity is increased through East Croydon and into London, I can see more people using the trains into London from Oxted and the South.

But there are some missing links.

  • Both London Bridge and Victoria don’t have easy connections to the Elizabeth Line.
  • Getting between Heathrow and Oxted is a double-change.
  • There doesn’t appear to be large amounts of parking, on the Oxted Line.
  • It also doesn’t look like there are obvious places to add stations.

I also suspect that faster electric or battery-electric trains working the Uckfield branch will attract more passengers.

Various solutions must be possible after an increase in capacity at East Croydon station.

  • As someone, who lives at the Northern end of the East London Line, we only have a connection to West Croydon station, rather than the much more useful East Croydon station. Will this change, after a remodelled East Croydon station?
  • In Major Upgrade Planned For Norwood Junction Railway Station, I wrote about possible improvements at Norwood Junction station. This upgrade would surely allow better connection between Southern, Overground and Thameslink, with the latter two lines giving access to the Elizabeth Line.
  • I also think that there could be more scope for trains to and from the South to stop at New Cross Gate station for interchange with the Overground.

It should also be noted that the Uckfield branch could become a twelve-car electrified branch.

Thameslink To Uckfield?

There has been talk of increasing the frequency of Thameslink through London from its current 20 tph. As Thameslink, already runs to Oxted and East Grinstead in the Peak, perhaps Thameslink could take over the Uckfield Branch?

  • This would give direct access to the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon station.
  • Services would still serve East Croydon and London Bridge.
  • There would also be direct access to Eurostar services at St. Pancras.

Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Euston, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Paddington, St. Pancras, Victoria and Waterloo would all be easy journeys, with no more than a single step-free change.

The service could even use the existing trains, if Hurst Green to Uckfield were to be upgraded with 25 KVAC overhead electrification. I would use lightweight catenary like this.

Trains would change over in Hurst Green station.

An East Grinstead And Oxted Shuttle

Could East Grinstead services be improved by adding a shuttle between East Grinstead and Oxted?

  • It would use the bay platform at Oxted station.
  • The timings would be arranged so there was an easy interchange.
  • East Grinstead and Oxted is electrified.
  • Oxted station is a step-free station.
  • The current service takes seventeen minutes between East Grinstead and Oxted, so an hourly service would be possible, which would mean both Uckfield and East Grinstead branches had a two tph service.

Such a service could certainly have possibilities.

How Does This Help The Bluebell Railway?

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the proposed extension.

Note.

  1. Horsted Keynes station is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. The Bluebell Railway runs North-South through this station.
  3. Haywards Heath station  is in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. The Brighton Main Line runs North-South through this station.
  5. Copyhold junction, which is to the North of Haywards Heath station, is where a short branch line serves Hanson Aggregates.

The proposed extension will run between the Hanson Aggregates site and Horsted Keynes station.

In my view, the obvious service would be to run between Haywards Heath and Oxted.

  • Haywards Heath station has been designed to turn trains.
  • Oxted station has a bay platform.
  • The route is electrified between Oxted and East Grinstead.
  • Copyhold Junction and Haywards Heath is electrified.
  • Only about thirteen miles of the route are not electrified.
  • The route services Lingfield racecourse and of course the Bluebell Railway.

Passenger numbers are incredibly hard to predict, but I believe that an hourly service could be very useful to some.

What Trains Could Be Used Between Oxted And Haywards Heath?

I wrote The Future Of The Class 387 And Class 379 Trains in February 2022 and in that post, I mused about the future of two fleets of excellent Electrostars.

  • In total, there are thirty Class 387 trains and a hundred and seven Class 387 trains.
  • Some of these trains are just sitting in sidings, which isn’t very productive for their owners.
  • One of the owners of some of the Class 387 trains, is Porterbrook, who are not afraid to innovate.

In the July 2022 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an interview with Southeastern Managing Director; Steve White, under a title of Southeastern Under The State.

This is said on page 75.

More positive is the outlook for restoration of passenger services on the Hoo branch, where 12,000 new houses are proposed and Medway Council is looking to build a new station halfway down the branch to serve them. As the branch is unelectrified, one idea that has been looked at is a shuttle with a Vivarail battery train or similar, turning round at Gravesend or another station on the main line.

Steve White worries that this could mean spending a lot of money on infrastructure work and ending up with what would be a sub-optimal solution. ‘Do people really want to sit on a train for 10 minutes before having to get out and change onto another train? I don’t think so. Ideally what you want is through trains to London, by extending the Gravesend terminators to Hoo.’

That would require a battery/third rail hybrid unit, but Mr. White thinks that is far from an outlandish proposal; with Networker replacement on the horizon, a small bi-mode sub-fleet could dovetail neatly with a stock renewal programme. Medway Council and rail industry representatives are working on coming up with a solution for Hoo that could do what it does best; facilitating economic regeneration in a local area.

One solution for the battery/third rail hybrid unit to Hoo, would be a battery/electric four-car Class 387 or Class 379 train, which could run in formations of four, eight or twelve cars.

These trains would also be ideal for the Marshlink Line and would surely be able to handle the thirteen miles without electrification on the route between Oxted and Haywards Heath.

The sooner, someone makes a decision about some four-car battery-electric trains, the sooner we can see if they are a useful solution.

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Do They Paint Their Own Toilets Like This?

I took these pictures in the toilet of a Thameslink train.

It is vandalism, pure and simple and those that did this should spend a long time in a suitable prison!

But then I hate graffiti and others might consider it art!

 

 

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , | 5 Comments

A Trip To Northfleet

Yesterday, I went to Northfleet station.

Partly, it was to have a drink with my old friend; Ian, but mainly it was to take some pictures to add to Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion.

Normally, when I go to see Ian I take the HighSpeed service out of St. Pancras.

But this service is expensive and as I was leaving from Moorgate, I decided to take the Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood and get a train to Northfleet station instead.

I have a few thoughts on my journey.

Cost

I used my Freedom Pass to Abbey Wood and then bought an Off Peak Day Return between Abbey Wood and Northfleet for just £4.95 with a Senior Railcard.

Convenience

As you have to use one of the bridges at Abbey Wood to change to and from the Elizabeth Line, I used the one at the station end and popped through the barrier to buy my onward ticket from a machine.

Surely, Freedom Passes should be linked to a bank account, so if you want to stray outside Zone 6, you are automatically charged.

Elizabeth Line Messages On Southeastern

At Swanscombe station today, whilst waiting for my Thameslink train to take me back to Abbey Wood, I noticed that the displays were telling passengers to change at Abbey Wood for the Elizabeth Line.

You certainly wouldn’t use the dreadful Swanscombe station with heavy cases, but stations like Abbey Wood, Dartford, Gravesend and others would enable granny or grandpa to take a sensible-size wheeled case to Heathrow Airport with reasonable ease, once the Elizabeth Line becomes a fully-connected railway between Abbey Wood and Heathrow.

Onward Trains At Abbey Wood

There are two easy onward Thameslink tph at Abbey Wood, that run at sixteen and forty-six minutes past the hour.

You can also take the first Dartford train and then take the first train from there.

If you get the Thameslink train from Abbey Wood timings are as follows.

  • Slade Green – 6 minutes
  • Dartford – 11 minutes
  • Stone Crossing – 16 minutes
  • Greenhithe – 18 minutes
  • Swanscombe – 21 minutes
  • Northfleet – 23 minutes
  • Gravesend – 27 minutes
  • Higham – 33 minutes
  • Strood – 39 minutes
  • Rochester – 42 minutes
  • Chatham – 45 minutes
  • Gillingham – 50 minutes
  • Rainham – 55 minutes

Note.

  1. There are also two Southeastern tph between Charing Cross and Gravesend, but they don’t serve Abbey Wood.
  2. The timings appeared sensible in my two trips; yesterday and today.
  3. Travellers also have a choice in that they can use the more expensive HighSpeed services to selected stations.

After just missing a Thameslink train today by a few seconds, and then had to wait thirty minutes for the next train, I am convinced that there needs to be a four tph service between Abbey Wood and Rainham.

Four tph Between Rainham And Abbey Wood

In Crossrail Ltd Outlines Plan To Complete The Elizabeth Line, I said this about Western branch services.

When Crossrail is fully open, the Western Branch frequencies are planned to be as follows.

  • Reading and Abbey Wood – 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood – 4 tph all day.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day.

This includes 6 tph between Heathrow and Abbey Wood all day.

Crossrail To Ebbsfleet is proposing that the South-Eastern branch will terminate as follows.

  • 4 tph – Abbey Wood
  • 4 tph – Northfleet
  • 4 tph – Gravesend

So will this mean that the six tph to Heathrow will be split equally between Abbey Wood, Northfleet and Gravesend, with two Heathrow tph terminating at each terminal?

The North Kent Metro

My naive mind thinks, why don’t the two Heathrow and Gravesend services terminate at Rainham?

This would give the following.

  • The minimum four tph between Abbey Wood and Rainham.
  • Rainham should be able to turnback for tph.
  • Services would call at Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.

North Kent would have its own metro running under London Overground rules.

It could even start as soon as Class 345 trains are allowed to run to Rainham.

Airport Connect

Consider

  • The Elizabeth Line service between Abbey Wood and Rainham could serve Heathrow at its Western end.
  • The Thameslink service would serve Luton Airport Parkway.
  • Both services would serve Liverpool Street for the Stansted Express and services to and from Southend Airport.
  • Both services would serve Farringdon for services to and from Gatwick Airport.
  • An extra station at Silvertown could serve London City Airport.
  • In future, there could even be a connection to High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

One service on the Elizabeth Line would connect all these together.

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

I’m Missing The Elizabeth Line Today

Today is a Sunday and because engineers are working on connecting the three sections of the Elizabeth Line, there are no trains in the central section between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations.

I have got used to the new line and generally use it if I stray farther than a couple of miles from home to the South. It’s just so handy, when you want to go in an East-West direction across London.

One of the draws to me of the Elizabeth Line is that it is air-conditioned and in the current heat-wave, it is much more pleasant to travel on the line compared to the Central and Northern Lines.

So for my journeys around Central London, I tend to stick to buses, the Overground, Elizabeth Line and Thameslink.

June 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Westbound Elizabeth Line To Northbound Thameslink At Farringdon Station

This journey is the reverse of the one I did earlier today in Southbound Thameslink To Eastbound Elizabeth Line At Farringdon Station.

These pictures show my walk at Farringdon station.

Note.

  1. This route starts at the Western end of the Elizabeth Line platforms in Farringdon station.
  2. I took the escalator there to the top.
  3. I then walked to the left of the second bank of stairs and escalators.
  4. This took me directly on to the Northbound Thameslink platform.

This route also works if you’re going East on the Elizabeth Line and want to go North on Thameslink.

This second set of pictures show the walk in the reverse direction.

Interchange with the Northbound Thameslink platform is very easy in both directions, as most of the walk between platforms is done on the escalator.

Conclusion

There would appear to be an imbalance of quality between the connections between the Elizabeth Line and the two Thameslink platforms.

  • Those going between the Elizabeth Line and the Northbound Thameslink platform will find it easy, as most of the route is on an escalator.
  • On the other hand, those using the Southbound Thameslink platform at busy times could find it congested and slow.

I suspect that regular users of the station, will develop their own routes through the station.

 

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Southbound Thameslink To Eastbound Elizabeth Line At Farringdon Station

I travelled today from St. Pancras International station to Whitechapel station, using the following route.

These pictures show my walk at Farringdon station.

Note.

  1. I was riding at the back of the train, so I had a long walk to the lifts.
  2. It would be better to travel in the Southern end of the Thameslink train, as the lifts are at the Southern end of the Southbound Thameslink platform.
  3. I used the lifts to descend to the Elizabeth Line platforms.
  4. It is only a short walk between the lifts and the Elizabeth Line trains.

As the last picture indicates, the connecting lifts that I used, can also be used to go from the Southbound Thameslink to the Westbound Elizabeth Line at Farringdon Station.

These connecting lifts can also be used in the reverse direction to go from all Elizabeth Line services to Southbound Thameslink services to London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Brighton and all the other Southern Thameslink destinations!

If you want to avoid the lifts, as it appears they can busy, you have to climb the stairs to get to the concourse and then descend to get the escalator down to the Elizabeth Line, that I wrote about in Westbound Elizabeth Line To Northbound Thameslink At Farringdon Station.

Conclusion

There would appear to be an imbalance of quality between the connections between the Elizabeth Line and the two Thameslink platforms.

  • Those going between the Elizabeth Line and the Northbound Thameslink platform will find it easy, as most of the route is on an escalator.
  • On the other hand, those using the Southbound Thameslink platform at busy times could find it congested and slow.

I suspect that regular users of the station, will develop their own routes through the station.

 

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment