The Anonymous Widower

Why Do 21 And 141 Buses Always Come Together?

To get between my house and Moorgate station, I use either a 21 or a 141 bus.

During the day, both buses run at a frequency of about one bus every ten minutes.

As the buses take exactly the same route between Bank station and Newington Green, surely it would be logical, if the buses were timed on this section, so that the buses ran every five minutes.

But inevitably, a 21 and a 141 bus always turn up together, which generally means if you miss both, you have to wait ten minutes until another pair come along.

Surely, a bus every file minutes might encourage more people to use the buses.

October 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 5 Comments

Nine Elms Station Opens

I took these pictures at Nine Elms station today, after it opened.

Note.

  1. The space is generous on the wide island platform.
  2. Access between platform and train is level.
  3. There is a set of three escalators and a lift connecting the platform to the surface.

The underground parts of the station feel very much like Canary Wharf station without the platform edge doors and fewer escalators.

Why Aren’t There Platform Edge Doors?

I was chatting to someone and they wondered how the station and Battersea Power Station station had been built without platform edge doors.

  • The thought had occurred to me too and we both thought that EU regulations meant that new underground platforms had to have these doors.
  • As the 1995 Stock on the Northern Line are very similar to the 1996 Stock on the Jubilee Line, it is unlikely to be a technical or design issue.
  • I also think it would be unlikely to be a cost issue given the size of the budget for the two stations.

Look at this picture of a train in Nine Elms station.

Note.

  1. The platform is long and straight.
  2. The platform is generally wider than some of London’s older Underground platforms.
  3. The track is arranged, so that the door openings and carriage floors line up with the platform edge, so that wheelchair users, bugger pushers and case draggers can go safely across.
  4. There is only a small gap between the train side and the platform edge, between the doors on the train, which is probably too small for anybody capable of walking can fall through.
  5. There is no Mind The Gap written on the platform. There is just a yellow line.
  6. There are no obstructions on the platform.

This second picture shows the structure of the track.

Note.

  1. The four rail electrification system is clearly visible.
  2. The far rail is energised at +420 VDC.
  3. The centre rail is energised at -210 VDC.
  4. The two running rails don’t carry any current.
  5. There is a suicide pit between the running rails and under the centre rail to protect anybody or anything falling onto the tracks.

I do wonder if Transport for London have done an analysis and found that the number of serious accidents on stations with these characteristics is small enough, to build these two new stations without the doors.

Other factors could include.

  • Stadler are the masters of step-free access and have built several innovative fleets of trains for safe step-free access without platform edge doors. Although they have nothing to do with this project, their statistics would be relevant.
  • The UK has left the EU, so we’re ignoring the regulation.
  • The Northern Line might get new trains.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this philosophy of straight uncluttered platforms being applied across the Underground.

This picture shows the Southbound platform at Angel station.

Note.

  1. This platform was built in the early 1990s.
  2. It is wide and uncluttered.

Note that the trains were introduced after the station was opened, so that is perhaps, why the train floors are higher.

 

September 21, 2021 Posted by | Design, Transport | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Crossrail: Report Finds Not Enough Money To Finish Project

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

The cost of completing Crossrail exceeds available funding, the government spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office (NAO) estimates the cost of the new rail link will be between £30m and £218m above the current funding.

After such a good start with the tunneling and surface line going well, how did we get here?

My main business for nearly forty years was writing project management software and that gave me a deep insight into the dynamics and mathematics of large projects.

The software, I created in the 1970s; Artemis was deeply involved in the most important project of the time; North Sea Oil.

But then more by luck, than any judgement on my part, it was well suited to solving the management problems of North Sea Oil.

The software ran on a small Hewlett-Packard mini-computer with an attached display and a printer, whose footprint, gave Artemis an advantage over competitors who needed a mainframe, for which there was no office space in Aberdeen.

I had first got involved in scheduling resources at ICI about five years earlier and because from previous experience I knew resources would be critical, I gave the program extension resource aggregation and scheduling capabilities.

I have been told that the latter proved invaluable in successfully developing North Sea Oil. People may have been flattering me, but I do know that Shell used to ensure that all their suppliers used Artemis, so they could check easily if they were being told the truth.

I suspect that Shell and others used the aggregation capability to see that they weren’t overloading the pool of labour available.

Artemis definitely proved itself capable of handling the various projects in the North Sea.

We have now moved on forty years, but has project management moved on to cope with the advances in technology of the modern world?

As with North Sea Oil in Aberdeen, in the 1970s, Crossrail and other large projects like Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport will always have a need for large numbers of resources, be they men, materiel or machines.

I have some questions.

  • Do all contractors working on Crossrail use the same software?
  • Does Crossrail have the right to inspect the contractors project management systems?
  • Is the upward reporting what it needs to be?
  • Does the software the contractors use, have an aggregation capability?
  • Do Crossrail track and predict the resources needed?

Someone I respect told me, that a lot of modern project management software doesn’t even have an aggregation capability- Enough said!

I must admit, aggregation and scheduling software is difficult to write, so it might be easier to cut it out and let your clients muddle through!

Worsening The Resource Problem

Crossrail,the Greater London Authority and the Boroughs should have been monitoring this growing resource problem, but I doubt they were in anything other than a perfunctory way!

Instead the politicians were giving planning permission to anybody with money, who wanted to build a shiny new development close to a station.

These project would need more men, materiel or machines.

As many of these new developments are backed by companies or funds with bottomless pockets to get their developments finished they are prepared to pay more for their labour.

So labour has been deserting Crossrail in droves, thus further delaying the project.

Senior politicians in the Greater London Authority and the boroughs should accept some responsibility for Crossrail’s delay.

They didn’t need to withhold the planning permission, just say that construction could’t commence until an appropriate phase of Crossrail was open.

In some parts of the world, brown envelopes will have changed hands, but it would be nice to know how many mayors and senior politicians have had holidays in places, they would not normally visit.

Senior project managers tell me, that they would not be surprised if developments along Crossrail had delayed the project.

The Covid Problem

No-one saw Covid coming, except possibly the Chinese.

But good project management is all about negotiating the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

There is the story of the miniMetro production line.

The first body shells coming out of the automated welder were crooked and it turned out that the machine had hit a motorway bridge in Germany. But by good project management using Artemis, British Leyland engineers were able to get the second line working before the first and the car was launched on time.

With Covid, the Mayor shut construction, and it was some months before it restarted again.

I am certain, that with good project management we could have done better.

Covid is also a good excuse for lateness.

On the other hand good project management got the vaccines developed, manufactured and delivered into arms.

Covid also blew a big hole in Transport for London’s finances.

But then so did Sadiq Khan’s Fare Freeze, that brought him to office.

Could Crossrail Have Part-Opened Earlier?

I often ponder this and others ask me if it would be possible.

The Victoria Line was built with crossovers and it was able to open in phases.

Crossrail has crossovers in the following places.

  • Either side of Custom House station
  • To the West of Whitechapel station
  • Between Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations

Note.

  1. It doesn’t appear to have been built for part opening.
  2. From media reports, it appears Whitechapel station is the basket case in the East.

The answer is probably that Crossrail can’t be part-opened, but there are reasons, why it could be opened earlier.

  • To generate a small amount of revenue.
  • To give travellers and Londoners in general a lift.

The only practical service would be a few trains turning at Farringdon.

July 10, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Could London’s New Routemaster Buses Be Fully-Electric In The City Centre?

London’s New Routemaster buses are different from nearly all the other buses built in the UK, in that Wrightbus designed them around a custom-design of chassis and series hybrid drive-train, whereas most other buses are built on a standard chassis from Volvo or another manufacturer.

These pictures show the buses from different angles.

For comparison, two of London’s other buses are shown.

Could The New Routemasters Be Fitted With Slim Pantographs?

If you look at the different profiles of the New Routemaster and the other two buses, it appears to have a thicker profile.

I very much feel that a lightweight tram pantograph could be designed to fit in the roof of a New Routemaster.

  • The bus might be a few centimetres taller at most.
  • I would be very surprised if there are many places in Central London, where clearance is limited.

This pantograph could be used to strategically charge the batteries.

It Would Not Be A Trolley Bus

I can remember London’s trolley buses.

Note.

  • All of these modern trolley buses in Europe have two overhead wires, which are needed to handle electric currents.
  • They are also designed for powering the bus as it moves along the road.

But I suspect there is a design somewhere to connect a bus to two overhead rails for charging purposes.

 

 

 

 

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Would A Mutant Many-Parent Child Help To Solve London’s Transport Problems?

London needs to increase the capacity of its public transport system, as the City continues to get larger and larger.

Current Major Projects

There are only three major rail projects ongoing in London at the present time.

The Bank Station Upgrade

The Bank Station Upgrade appears to be progressing well, albeit perhaps it’s a bit late due to the pandemic.

It is a complex project and from what I have heard and observed, it has been well designed and planned.

The Barking Riverside Extension

As with the Bank Station Upgrade the Overground extension to the new Barking Riverside station, appears to be going reasonably well.

But compared to that project, it is a relatively simple project, built mainly in the open air, with no tunneling.

Crossrail

Crossrail is in trouble, after what many believe was a very good tunnelling phase of the project.

But then tunnels under London usually seem to go well. I can remember the Victoria Line tunnelling and many other under London since the 1960s and all of these tunnels seem to have been dug without trouble. As I write, there don’t seem to be any tunneling problems with the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Crossrail now has been reduced to a series of station builds and rebuilds, some of which are as large as the Bank Station Upgrade, with other ongoing projects like the testing of trains and systems.

So why are some of these stations running late in their delivery?

If you walk along the route of Crossrail in the City of London and through Clerkenwell and the West End, it is one massive building side as developers raise massive clusters of new developments around and above the Crossrail stations.

The picture shows Farrington station’s Eastern entrance, with a new development on top.

This one wasn’t a big one, but it went up in record time.

These buildings are often funded by Sovereign Wealth Funds, who want their buildings finished ASAP and as they have bottomless pockets, they are prepared to pay more to get the builders and tradesmen they need.

And where did they get the workers from? Other projects, including Crossrail.

This problem happened in Aberdeen at the height of the oil boom in the last century.

I also think that Brexit worsened the problem, as workers from mainland EU moved to large projects closer to home, like Stuttgart 21 and the new Berlin Brandenburg airport, that were both very much in trouble and could have been offering premium salaries as well!

The solution would have been to phase developments so that the limited pool of workers was not exhausted.

But that probably wouldn’t have suited the developers and politicians for all sorts of reasons.

  • An uncompleted building doesn’t bring in money and jobs.
  • Early completion must improve chances of letting the building.
  • Delaying the building would probably have meant fewer holidays for politicians in exotic locations.

Hopefully, a comprehensive enquiry into the lateness of Crossrail will provide answers.

High Speed Two

High Speed Two is to my mind a London local project. But only in a secondary way!

  • Rebuilding Euston station will improve Underground connections and interchange at Euston and Euston Square stations.
  • It is claimed by High Speed Two, that the rebuilt Euston station will create 16000 jobs and 2200 homes.
  • High Speed Two will enable massive development at Old Oak Common, with tens of thousands of homes and jobs.
  • Old Oak Common station will be a very important rail hub in North-West London.

With seventeen trains per hour (tph) between Euston and Old Oak Common will High Speed Two attract local traffic?

  • I suspect High Speed Two between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly and between Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon Street will also attract local traffic.
  • I’ve used TGVs between Nice and Antibes.
  • Tourists might visit, just like they did and still do at the Olympic Park.
  • Many Londoners will join High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Some wag will suggest putting it on the Tube Map. But is it such a stupid idea?

Where Does London Need More Rail Services?

Having lived in London on and off for over seventy years, I feel the worst areas for rail links are probably.

  • North West London
  • South East London
  • South Central London between Wimbledon and Croydon.
  • South West London

Note.

  1. Over the years, there is no doubt that East and North London have improved considerably, with the development of the East London, North London and Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
  2. Thameslink has been improved in North London and now it is being supported with improvements to the Northern City Line. Both routes now have new Siemens trains, which give a whole new dimension to using ironing-boards as seats.
  3. Crossrail will produce major improvements in West, East and South East London.
  4. Building of a new Penge Interchange station, which I wrote about in Penge Interchange could improve routes to and from South East London.
  5. Hopefully the work in recent years at Waterloo will improve suburban services out of Waterloo. In An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2, I showed that four tph could be run to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations.

It looks like North West and South Central London are missing out.

How Can Services Be Improved In North West London?

There are radial routes from the centre of London to the suburbs.

Starting from the North and going to the West, there are the following lines.

When I used to live at Cockfosters as a child,  to visit my many cousins in North West London, there was no alternative but to use a bus and take well over an hour each way.

There are now some circular rail routes in London but nothing in the North West of the capital.

The Dudding Hill Line And The West London Orbital Railway

But there is the little-used freight route called Dudding Hill Line.

  • It runs between Cricklewood on the Midland Main Line and Acton Central on the North London Line.
  • It is four miles of double-track railway.

This YouTube video shows a cab ride from Acton to Cricklewood.

Plans exist to turn it into the West London Orbital Railway, which will run two services.

  • West Hampstead and Hounslow via Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton, Lionel Road, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth
  • Hendon and Kew Bridge via Brent Cross West, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common Lane, Acton Central, South Acton

Note.

  1. The proposed frequency of both services is four tph.
  2. There would be some stations to be built, but the track exists.
  3. There would be no new tunnels.
  4. The route is technically feasible.
  5. The route would connect West London to High Speed Two.
  6. There would be little disruption whilst it was built.
  7. The services could be run by dual-voltage battery-electric trains charged on the electrification at both ends of the route.
  8. The scheme represents a high value for money, with a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 2.2.

On the other hand, the scheme has two serious problems, as far as the current London Mayor is concerned.

  • Transport for London has no money, partly because of London’s Fare Freeze.
  • The project is not in South London.

This important and value-for-money project will not be built, whilst Sadiq Khan is still Mayor of London.

Harlesden Interchange

I believe that if we get the interchanges right on the West London Orbital Railway correct we can do things like.

  • Increase the benefit cost ratio.
  • Link the route to South London to make the Mayor a bit happier about the North London Scheme.

This Google Map shows Harlesden station.

Note.

  1. The Bakerloo Line/Watford DC Line running North-West/South-East through Harlesden station.
  2. The West Coast Main Line in the Southern section of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line running North-South across the map.

Platforms will be built on the Dudding Hill Line to connect that would probably be new or extended platforms in the current Harlesden station to enable interchange between the West London Orbital and the Watford DC Lines.

I also think there is a possibility that platforms could be added to the slow tracks of the West Coast Main Line, so that suburban services into London Euston can also connect to the West London Orbital Line.

It would also enable a connection between Southern’s Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes service and the West London Orbital Railway.

Looking at this from various angles, I think that an architect good at designing three-dimensional structures could develop a quality Harlesden Interchange station.

Neasden Interchange

Like Harlesden, Neasden is another possibility for a comprehensive interchange.

This Google Map shows Neasden station.

Note.

  1. There are a lot of lines going through Neasden station.
  2. The Dudding Hill Line goes across the South-East corner of the map.
  3. There is plenty of space in the area.

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines in the area.

Note.

  1. The Dudding Hill Line is indicated by the former Dudding Hill station.
  2. The red tracks are Metropolitan Line tracks.
  3. The silver tracks are Jubilee Line tracks.
  4. The Southerly pair of lines through Neasden and Dollis Hill stations are Chiltern’s lines into Marylebone.
  5. The Chiltern tracks divide to the West of Neasden station, with the Aylesbury line following the other tracks and the Chiltern Main Line diverging to the West.
  6. London’s largest Underground Depot at Neasden, lies to the North-West in an area of London noted for few merits with the North Circular Road passing through.

I wonder, if the station and the depot offers a unique opportunity to offer large scale additions to London’s housing stock over the top of a rebuilt station and depot.

This Google Map shows the wider area.

Note.

  1. Much of the depot appears to be open-air stabling for trains.
  2. The North Circular Road passes North-South between the depot and Neasden station.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line cuts across the South-East corner of the map.
  4. This corner of the map is labelled as Dudden Hill.
  5. According to Wikipedia, Dudding Hill is considered a more genteel spelling of Dudden Hill and could be as old as 1544.

It looks as if it would be relatively easy to develop over the top of the depot to create housing, industrial or commercial properties.

But why stop there and cover both the North Circular Road and the six tracks through Neasden station?

Neasden station could be rebuilt into a station with platforms on the following lines.

  • Metropolitan Line
  • Jubilee Line
  • Chiltern Lines
  • Dudding Hill Lines

Note.

  1. I estimate that Chiltern has a train about every six minutes, so some could stop.
  2. There might be space for a bay platform for Chiltern.

Neasden could be a major housing and transport hub.

  • There could be large amounts of parking.
  • Road access would be good.
  • It would have good rail connections.
  • It could have a bus interchange.
  • London needs housing.

It might even be an alternative to Chiltern’s plan for a West Hampstead Interchange.

The Mayor of London, Transport for London and the Borough of Brent need to be bold!

Improvements To Chiltern’s Routes

Chiltern Railways have some plans that could improve services in North West London.

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

Wikipedia says this about using the Acton-Northolt Line to access new platforms at Old Oak Common station.

Upgrading the Acton–Northolt line (formerly the “New North Main Line”) to new platforms at Old Oak Common. This upgrade will also extend to London Paddington to increase capacity on the Chiltern Main Line as there is no room to expand the station at Marylebone.

This scheme has merit.

  • The platforms would be connected to the Chiltern Main Line along the route of a partly-disused railway.
  • The route could be double-tracked.
  • There must be space for at least two new platforms.
  • The new platforms could easily handle four tph.
  • There may be a case for some new stations.

The scheme could add valuable extra capacity for Chiltern.

A Chiltern Metro

Wikipedia says this about a  proposed metro service between Marylebone and West Ruislip stations.

  • The Metro would have a frequency of four tph.
  • It would call at Wembley Stadium, Sudbury & Harrow Road, Sudbury Hill Harrow, Northolt Park and South Ruislip.
  • The service would require a reversing facility at West Ruislip.
  • There would need to be passing loops at Sudbury Hill Harrow, and  Wembley Stadium.

Given that the Chiltern Metro was first proposed over a decade ago, perhaps the concept could be increased in scope.

  • Housing and other developments along the route may suggest that a station further out like High Wycombe might be a better terminal.
  • ERTMS in-cab digital signalling is likely to be installed at some time, which would decrease headways between trains and allow more services.
  • Electrification is likely in some form before 2040 and this will improve train performance.
  • If Neasden station were to be rebuilt, as a comprehensive transport and residential development, I believe that this Metro service should also call at Neasden, as it would complement the West London Orbital Railway.

I believe that a review of the Chiltern Metro may mean, that an improved version is worth building.

Improvements To The Milton Keynes And Clapham Junction Service

I feel that this service could be key in improving services between North London and South London via the West London Line and High Speed Two’s station at Old Oak Common.

Currently, this service is as follows.

  • It runs between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction stations.
  • It has a frequency of one tph.
  • It calls at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington (Olympia), West Brompton and Imperial Wharf stations.
  • The service used to extend to South Croydon via Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst and East Croydon.
  • It uses Class 377 trains.
  • It shares parts of the route with the London Overground.

I also think it has various issues and questions with respect to the future.

  • The Class 377 trains are only 100 mph units, whereas the outer suburban trains on the West Coast Main Line are 110 mph Class 350 trains, which will soon be replaced by 110 mph Class 730 trains. Do the slower trains cause timetabling problems?
  • Is one tph enough?
  • The route doesn’t serve High Speed Two at Old Oak Common station.
  • Is the service run by the right operator?
  • What is the ideal Southern terminal?

These are my thoughts on the various issues.

The Service As A North-South Link

A friend, who lives in South London has told me, that if you go to an event at Wembley stadium the route is busy.

On the other hand, I’ve used it at midday on a Tuesday and found the trains empty.

But developed properly it could connect the following.

  • Milton Keynes Central
  • Bletchley for the East West Rail Link
  • Watford for the West Coast Main Line to the North
  • Wembley Central for Wembley Stadium and other entertainments
  • Willesden Junction for the North London Line
  • Hythe Road for High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • Shepherd’s Bush for the shopping.
  • Clapham Junction for most of South London and the South of England

It would be a very useful cross-London route to complement Thameslink and the East London Line.

The Frequency

The current Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction has a frequency of one tph.

This may be enough for some parts of the route, as other services also provide services.

But many would argue, that perhaps South of Watford Junction, the service needs to be increased to connect the area to Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.

I feel that High Speed Two, Crossrail and the Great Western Railway give so much connectivity, that between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction needs a frequency of at least eight tph.

As the North London Line and the Watford DC Line are working at a frequency of four tph, this could indicate that a four tph direct service Watford Junction and Clapham Junction be ideal. Perhaps, it could continue North to Milton Keynes with a frequency of two tph.

The Trains

I am absolutely certain, that the full service needs to be operated by dual voltage trains, that are capable of running at 110 mph.

The Class 350/1 trains of West Midlands Trains would probably be ideal for the full service.

  • They are dual voltage trains.
  • They are 110 mph trains.
  • They have a long distance interior.

They are being replaced with new Class 730 trains, so would be available.

If some services were running only as far North as Watford Junction, these could be either Class 378 or Class 710 trains of the London Overground.

The Connection To The West London Line And High Speed Two

This map from Wikipedia by Cnbrb shows the latest iteration of the lines at Old Oak Common station.

Note.

  1. The green route is taken by the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction trains.
  2. The bright blue is High Speed Two.
  3. The purple is Crossrail.
  4. The orange is the Overground
  5. Hythe Road station is proposed for the West London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.
  6. Hythe Road station will have a bay platform to turn trains from the South.
  7. Old Oak Common Lane station is proposed for the North London Line to connect to Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two.

But where is the connection between the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service and Old Oak Common station for High Speed Two?

  • Access from the South is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • Extra services from the South can be run to and from the bay platform at Hythe Road station.
  • Access from the East is not a problem as the Overground can be used to Hythe Road station.
  • How do passengers go between say Wembley Central and Heathrow?

In addition for access from the West is the Overground can be used to Old Oak Common Lane station.

But as things stand at the moment the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service bypasses Hythe Road station and the only ways to go from Milton Keynes to Old Oak Common station for either High Speed Two, Crossrail or the Great Western is to do one of the following.

  • Change to the Watford DC Line at Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone or Wembley Central and then change to the Overground at Willesden Junction for either Old Oak Common Lane or Hythe Road station.
  • Continue South to Shepherd’s Bush station, cross over to the other platform and then come back to Hythe Road station.
  • Go via Euston station. OK for High Speed Two, but not for Crossrail or the Great Western.

They cannot be serious!

I hope that there is a cunning plan to enable the Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service to connect.

Whilst on the subject of connections at Old Oak Common, where is the promised connection of Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line?

Were all these connections just kicked into the long grass and quietly forgotten, as they were deemed too difficult and/or expensive?

I think serious questions need to be asked about the design of Crossrail and High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

Why weren’t Crossrail and High Speed Two designed to connect directly to the London Overground at Willesden Junction station perhaps by the use of a North South people mover serving the following lines?

  • Bakerloo, Watford DC, West Coast Main and West London Orbital Lines at a rebuilt Harlesden station.
  • London Overground at the high-level Willesden Junction station.
  • High Speed Two
  • Crossrail and the Great Western Railway
  • The new Chiltern platforms.
  • Central Line at East Acton station.

Note.

  1. Hythe Road and Old Oak Common stations would not be needed.
  2. The Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction service would call additionally at the rebuilt Harlesden station.

The current design of Old Oak Common stinks like a horse designed by a committee!

The Northern Terminal

I suggested earlier that some trains use Watford Junction and others use Milton Keynes Central.

Both stations have the capacity and the connectivity.

The Southern Terminal

In the last ten years, South Croydon, East Croydon and Clapham Junction have been used as the Southern terminal.

Thameslink seems to have chosen its various terminals to satisfaction of the travelling public, so perhaps the same method or personnel should be used.

The Operator

The Gibb Report said that this service should be transferred to the London Overground and I wrote about this proposal in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

This is one suggestion, but I do wonder, if it should be transferred to West Midlands Trains and run in conjunction with their West Coast Main Line services.

  • The service needs 110 mph trains.
  • Timetabling and operation should be easier.
  • London Overground trains don’t have a long-distance interior.

On the other hand, trains running between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction would probably be better if they were London Overground trains.

Conclusion

I believe that by using the current network and some modern trains and signalling, the passenger services to the West of the capital can be substantially improved.

 

 

 

 

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Could We See More Bunhill 2s On The London Underground?

This article on Railway Gazette, is entitled Air-Conditioned Piccadilly Line Train Designs Presented.

This is said in the article about the air-conditioning of the new trains.

The trains will feature air-conditioning for the first time on one of the capital’s small-profile deep-level Tube lines, which has posed a significant engineering challenge. The heat passed into the tunnels from the air-conditioning units is expected to be offset by a reduced heat output from the traction and braking equipment, given the trains’ lower energy consumption.

Cutting the energy consumption will be mainy good basic engineering.

  • Lighting will use LEDs to use less electricity and cut heat generated.
  • Efficient air-conditioning units will save energy.
  • All electrical equipment like traction motors, transformers and door actuators will be low energy units.

There could also be some more complex ways to save energy.

Extensive Mathematical Modelling Of the Temperature And Humidity Of The Trains

I have built large numbers of mathematical models. I can see a lot of scope to use the technique to find the most efficient method of operation.

  • On hot days would the trains be cooled down on the surface sections, so that they entered the tunnels cold?
  • Conversely on cold days, would the heat in the tunnels be recovered to get cold trains entering the long central tunnel up to temperature?
  • How does passenger loading effect the temperature and humidity?

The model would help to identify, the best operating procedure given the weather conditions.

The mathematical model could even be built into the control system of the train.

Heated Floors

As I said in Air-Conditioned Piccadilly Line Train Designs Presented, the trains could have heated floors, which are an efficient use of space.

They might even be an efficient way of warming a train on a cold day.

I lived near Cockfosters Depot for the first sixteen years of my life and know from personal experience, it can get very cold in the winter.

Regenerative Braking To Batteries

Regenerative braking is used in two ways on the London Underground.

  • As the system is DC, electricity generated during braking, can be returned to the rails for use by nearby trains.
  • Some stations are also hump-backed, so trains are slowed coming up the hill into the station and pick the energy up, going downhill out of the station. Stations using this technique are very noticeable on the Victoria Line.

I believe that the new Siemens trains should and probably will use regenerative braking to batteries.

  • Electricity generated during braking is stored in a battery or batteries on the train.
  • When accelerating away from the station, this energy is reused.

The method has advantages.

  • There is less electricity transfer between train and conductor rails, which means less heat generated and less contact shoe wear.
  • If there is a power failure, the batteries can provide hotel power for the train and could even be large enough to move it to the next station for evacuation of the passengers.
  • There may even be scope in building batteries and traction motors as an integrated unit to save weight and reduce heat generation.
  • Because of the reuse of energy, energy use is reduced.

I will be very surprised if these new trains aren’t fitted with batteries.

Why Build More Bunhill 2s?

The Bunhill 2 Energy Centre is described on this page of the Borough of Islington web site, which is entitled Bunhill Heat Network.

This is said about Phase 2 of the project.

Phase 2 of the Bunhill Heat and Power network involves building a new energy centre at the top of Central Street, connecting the King’s Square Estate to the network and adding capacity to supply a further 1,000 homes.

The core of the new energy centre is a 1MW heat pump that will recycle the otherwise wasted heat from a ventilation shaft on the Northern Line of the London Underground network, and will transfer that heat into the hot water network. During the summer months, the system will be reversed to inject cool air into the tube tunnels.

Note that a 1MW heat pump can supply enough hot water to heat upwards of a thousand homes.

This page on the Islington web site lists the project partners.

Transport for London is a key partner and this is said.

As a key partner in the Bunhill 2 scheme, TfL upgraded its City Road mid-tunnel ventilation system to enable the capture and utilisation of waste heat from the Northern line tunnels to provide hot water to local homes and businesses. TfL is also carrying out further research to identify opportunities for similar projects across the Tube network as part of its Energy and Carbon Strategy.

So what other stations could be used?

These are disused stations on the deep lines.

York Road, which is close to all the developments to the North of Kings Cross, would probably be the most likely to be converted into an energy centre to transfer heat to and from the Underground.

Could Some Ventilation Shafts Be Converted Into Energy Centres?

The obvious one is probably Green Lanes Ventilation Station.

Green Lanes Ventilation Station

But then I suspect this is on Transport for London’s list of sites to be converted into something more useful.

 

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Air-Conditioned Piccadilly Line Train Designs Presented

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

The article has four pictures of the final design of the new trains for the Piccadilly Line and the pictures don’t seem to be the same as those I took of the mock-up in October 2013 and can be seen in Siemens’ View Of The Future Of The Underground.

  • The design has a less dramatic nose compared to the mock-up.
  • It also appears to be taller.
  • Judging by the external profile, the design has a clerestory to perhaps add a couple of inches.
  • The seats appear to have a chunky profile. Is the air-conditioning partly behind the seats.

The interior seems to borrow heavily on the design for the London Overground’s Class 710 train.

Note.

  1. The air-conditioning outlets in front of or underneath the seats.
  2. No grilles behind the seats.
  3. The Class 710 train has a clerestory for extra height, but it is not visible on the outside. Does the one on the Siemens’ design have grilles from air entry or exit?

These are some views of seats in current Underground stock.

Note.

  1. The Piccadilly Line trains were fully refurbished in 2001.
  2. The Northern Line trains were fully refurbished in 2013.
  3. The grilles behind the seats on the Northern Line trains.

You can see a progression through the various designs, with the Class 710 trains

It looks like Siemens are using a similar interior layout to current trains on the Underground and the Overground.

A few thoughts.

Heated Floors

Some Bombardier Aventras like Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains have heated floors. Will Siemens copy this idea?

These trains will go to some of the coldest parts of the Underground around Cockfosters.

USB Charging

This screen-capture from one of the Siemens’ pictures shows the front of the seats.

I thought for a moment, that there was a USB charge point in the front of the seat, but on second thoughts, that is just a fitting to enable extra vertical grab rails.

Siemens should put USB charge points in the arm rests, as Vivarail have done.

Good design is often simple.

Walk-Through Cars

The Railway Gazette article says this about walk-through cars.

The longer cars and walk-through interior of the articulated design would maximise the usable interior space, increasing capacity by 10%.

They say nothing about what I think is there biggest advantage – Passengers can freely circulate in the train, to perhaps get a better seat or be better placed for a quick exit.

Do women feel less vulnerable in wall-through trains?

Step-Free Entry

One of the good points of the mock-up in 2013 was that entrance into the train was step-free, as this picture shows.

But look at this screen-capture for the detailed design.

The doors now seem a couple of inches above the platform.

Have the designers removed a must-have feature?

German trains have a terrible reputation for not being step-free between train and platform, but if Stadler and Merseyrail can do it with the new Class 777 trains, then surely it can be done on the London Underground.

Front End

The previous two pictures do show the front end of the mock-up and final design well.

I do wonder, if the original design with the bar across didn’t go down to well with drivers.

  • The driver on most trains sits to the left.
  • Trains in the UK generally run on the left.
  • Signals on the Underground are usually placed on the left.

So did the bar across get in the way of looking across at passengers, as a train entered a station?

Driver’s Doors

The previous two pictures also show that the original mock-up is without a door for the driver, but that these have been added to the final design.

Perhaps drivers feel a separate door is necessary, as it can’t be blocked by baggage, bicycles or buggies.

Train Length

In Thoughts On The New Tube For London, I speculated about train length and feel that with clever cab design, that the trains can be a bit longer than the platform with the walk-through design.

After all on the East London Line at a few stations, the platforms aren’t long enough for the five-car trains and passengers in the last car are just asked to walk forward.

This picture shows what happens on the Overground at Canada Water station.

Those travelling in the last car of the train have to walk forward to the front doors of the car to exit. I suspect that with Siemens new trains, this will be the case on the Piccadilly Line.

The big advantage is that it avoids lengthening the platforms, which would be extremely tricky and very expensive.

So will the new Siemens trains be made longer, by allowing overhang into the tunnel at the rear and messaging to inform passengers?

I think they might!

Wikipedia gives the length of the new Siemens 2024 Stock as 113.7 metres, which compares with the 106.8 metres of the current 1973 Stock.

So the new trains are 6.9 metres longer.

Does that mean that if the front of the train is at the same position it is now, the rear end of the train will be overhanging the platform, by almost seven metres?

Judging by what happens on the East London Line, I think it would be feasible. It could even be a few metres longer, in which case the first set of double-doors would be outside the platform and wouldn’t open.

Seats Per Car

I believe this screen-capture from one of Siemens pictures shows the view of one of the end cars looking towards the driver’s cab.

Note.

  1. The red and green labels on the door to the driver’s compartment at the far end.
  2. The two pairs of passenger doors and the lobbies with the black floors.
  3. The six banks of seats, each of which have six individual seats.

This means that the driver cars each have thirty-six seats.

According to Wikipedia, each new Siemens train has nine cars and a total of 268 seats.

So that means that the middle seven cars have a total of 196 seats or twenty-eight in each car. What convenient numbers!

Could that mean that the seven intermediate cars have four banks of seven seats arranged around a lobby with a pair of double-doors on both sides?

Could the intermediate cars have just one set of wide doors? I shall be taking a tape measure and my camera to a Class 710 train, to see what Bombardier have done.

So a new Siemens train might look something like this.

  • Car 1 – driver cab – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats
  • Car 2 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 3 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 4 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 5 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 6 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 7 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 8 – seven seats – double-door/lobby – seven seats
  • Car 9 – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats – double-door/lobby – six seats- driver cab

Note.

  1. There will be a maximum of fourteen seats between any two entrance and exit lobbies.
  2. The train will have eleven sets of doors on either side.
  3. Trains of different lengths can be made for the Waterloo and City Line, where trains are shorter, and the Jubilee, where trains are longer, by just removing or adding intermediate cars.

For the Piccadilly Line, so long as the distance between the front of the train and the first set of doors is greater than 6.9 metres, these trains can be run using the overhanging into the tunnel method used on the East London Line of the London Overground.

Observations From The Underground And Overground

I went for a look and can say this.

  • The seats on Overground Class 710 trains and Underground S Stock trains have a width of 0.5 metres. So is this a Transport for London standard?
  • Double doors on both trains are around 1.5 metres wide.

On Class 710 trains, some cars have a run of fourteen seats. Is it a design clue for Transport for London train interiors?

There must be some proof somewhere that fourteen 0.5 metre seats and two 1.5 metre lobbies can handle large numbers of passengers.

The new Siemens trains will have an articulated join in the middle.

Could The Trains Be Lengthened?

The only things we know about the lengths of the cars of the new Siemens trains are.

  • The average length of cars is 12.6 metres.
  • The two driving cars are probably identical.
  • The seven intermediate cars are probably identical.
  • The distance between the end of the train and the first set of doors must be long enough to allow the first set of doors to open on the platform, with nearly seven metres of the train in the tunnel.

If we assume that the length of the intermediate car is X metres and it has two banks of seats and one lobby, then the driving car with three banks of seats, two lobbies and a driving cab could be almost twice as long.

I can do a little calculation.

How long would the driver cars be for various lengths of intermediate car?

As the driver car is effectively an intermediate car with an extra pair of doors/lobbie and an overhang containing another set of sets and the driving cab, I can also estimate the between the end of the train and the first set of doors, by subtracting the intermediate car length and two metres for the lobby from the driver car length

  • 9 metres – 25.35 metres – 14.35 metres
  • 9.5 metres – 23.6 metres – 12.1 metres
  • 10 metres – 21.85 metres – 9.85 metres
  • 10.5 metres – 20.1 metres – 7.6 metres
  • 11 metres – 18.35 metres – 5.35 metres
  • 12 metres – 14.85 metres – 0.85 metres

Note.

  1. The three figures are intermediate car length, driver car length and an estimate of the distance between the end of the train and the first set of doors.
  2. I shall improve this table, when I get the measurements from a Class 710 train.
  3. As there is a need for at least an overhang into the tunnel of at least 6.9 metres, it looks like intermediate cars can’t be longer than 10.5 metres.

Suppose that the intermediate car length  is 10.5 metres.

Adding an extra car would mean that the new train length would be 124.2 metres, which would be 17.4 metres longer than the current Piccadilly Line 1973 Stock train.

This would be an overhang of 8.7 metres at both ends of the train, which would probably mean that the train wouldn’t fit the route, as the overhang is not long enough to accommodate it.

But with a length of ten metres, the overhang would be only 8.45 metres, which would appear to be feasible.

I wonder, if it would be possible with appropropriate modifications to the tunnel mouths and by using in-cab signalling to run ten car trains, if the intermediate cars were limited to ten metres.

  • It looks to be possible mathematically.
  • There would need to be no modifications to the platforms.
  • There would be a ten percent increase in capacity.

It will hopefully come clear, when Siemens release the length of the driver and intermediate cars.

I believe that it is possible, that Siemens have designed these trains, so they can be extended without having to lengthen the platforms.

 

March 13, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cowper Street Entrance To Old Street Station – 21st February 2021

These pictures show the start of the works to create the new Cowper Street entrance to Old Street station.

Note the large frame, which had been delivered the previous day.

This map from Transport for London shows the future layout.

The Cowper Street entrance will be in the South-East corner of the roundabout. The map says it will have stepped-access only.

This TfL image is a visualisation of the entrance.

I wonder if it should be step-free with a lift, as walking across to the lift in the centre, could be some way in bad weather.

 

February 26, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On The Closure Of The Northern Line At Bank To Complete The Upgrade To Bank Station

The Bank Station Upgrade is a major project that will increase the capacity of Bank station by forty percent.

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the project.

It was originally planned that sometime in late 2021, the Northern Line will be closed through Bank station.

The document says this.

We will need to close part of the Northern line Bank branch in 2021, between Kennington and Moorgate, to connect new and existing sections of tunnel safely. Trains will run less frequently on those sections of the Bank branch that are still open. Check back here for details.

This would mean that Bank, London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle stations will be closed on the Northern Line.

To help passengers, TfL say, they will do the following.

  • Run 33% more trains on the Northern line Charing Cross branch
  • Review bus use and consider enhancing services where necessary
  • Investigate scope for passengers to use alternative National Rail services, such as Waterloo to London Bridge, and London Bridge to Cannon Street
  • Review available walking space on the Moorgate to London Bridge pedestrian corridor.

These are my thoughts.

The New Cannon Street Entrance To Bank Station

This visualisation shows the new Cannon Street entrance to Bank station.

Note.

  1. South is to the right and we’re looking from roughly the North-West.
  2. The existing twin bores of the Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The escalator connection to the District and Circle Lines at Monument station Starts at the Southern end of these two narrow platforms.
  4. The new single bore of the new Southbound tunnel on the near side of the visualisation.
  5. The triple escalators descending from the new Cannon Street entrance to one of the four cross-walks between the Northern Line platforms.
  6. The current Eastern ends of these cross-walks are shown in The Southbound Northern Line Platform At Bank Station.

But where is the Docklands Light Railway (DLR)?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Bank station.

Note.

  1. The two existing Northern Line Platforms 3 and 4 are shown in black.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The DLR is shown in turquoise and sneaks under the Northern Line into Platforms 9 and 10.
  4. Platforms 7 and 8 are the platforms of the Waterloo and City Line.
  5. It would appear that the escalator connection between Bank and Monument stations goes between the existing tracks of the Northern Line.

So where is the Docklands Light Railway?

  • As Platforms 3 and 9 appear to be close together with Platform 9, the deeper of the two, I suspect we can’t see  the Docklands Light Railway in the visualisation, as it is hidden behind and underneath everything else.
  • I also suspect that the triple escalators between the new Northern Line cross-walks descend in the space at the Southern ends of Platforms 9 and 10.

This is the Northern end of the visualisation I showed earlier

Note.

  1. North is to the left.
  2. The two tracks and the narrow island platform of the current Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The two staircases leading up from Northern Line to a lobby, where passengers can walk North to the Central Line.
  4. The double escalator barrel going down to the DLR.
  5. The travelator that will connect the Northern and Central Lines
  6. The three cross passages linking the DLR escalators to the lobby between the Central and Northern Lines.
  7. The most Southerly of these cross passages has a lift to the DLR.

The new Southbound platform of the Northern Line, would appear to be to the West of the Docklands Light Railway.

It appears to be a very tight fit.

These pictures show the current status of the new entrance.

There would appear to be still a lot to be done.

This TfL image shows how it will look in 2022.

Ducking And Diving

No-one ducks and dives like Londoners. So rest assured, that if someone needs to get from A to B and the obvious route is blocked, Londoners will always get through. And if all else fails, a black cab will find a way, usually driven by a Londoner or someone infected with the ducking and diving virus.

Crossrail

As ever Crossrail is the herd of elephants in the London railway system.

The Northern Line is possibly the most important North-South route across Central London with two branches through the centre; Bank and Charing Cross.

But Crossrail connects to these  North-South routes.

  • Lea Valley Lines at Stratford
  • East London Line at Whitechapel
  • Lea Valley and West Anglia Lines at Stratford
  • Northern Line Bank Branch at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Northern and City Line at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Thameslink at Farringdon
  • Northern Line Charing Cross Branch at Tottenham Court Road
  • Jubilee Line at Bond Street
  • Bakerloo Line at Paddington

Crossrail will give a lot of opportunities for ducking and diving.

Under original plans Crossrail was supposed to open in 2019, with the Bank station closure for the upgrade in 2021.

This phasing certainly seemed a good idea at the time.

  • Crossrail will be able to offer alternative routes during the closure.
  • If the Crossrail stations are substantially complete, they can release workers to finish Bank station.

I wonder, if it would be sensible to not upgrade the tracks through Bank station until Crossrail opens through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.

As I wrote in Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas, Crossrail could open this year.

So are we being prepared for the mother of all cunning plans?

  • Crossrail between Paddington and Abbey Wood opens before Christmas.
  • The closure of the Bank branch to allow the Bank station upgrade happens at a convenient time after the opening of Crossrail through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.
  • Moorgate continues to have a limited Northern Line service to the North.
  • Crossrail continues work on the other branches.

Note.

  1. There is a crossover to the North of Moorgate station, which might allow Moorgate to work as a two-platform terminal station handling up to 4 or 6 trains per hour (tph).
  2. If Crossrail is running at Moorgate, the station should be step-free to and from the deep-level platforms.
  3. Transport for London are looking at walking routes on the Moorgate and London Bridge route.
  4. During the closure of the Northern Line through Bank, passengers for the City will go to Moorgate and walk or perhaps take a bus.

It is my view, that Crossrail must be open, before the Northern Line through Bank station is closed to allow work to be completed.

A Demonstration of the Northern Line Capacity At Moorgate When Working As A Terminal Station

Yesterday, which was a Sunday, the Northern Line was closed between Moorgate and London Bridge stations.

  • After a walk, I returned home from Moorgate station via Angel station, where I got a 38 bus.
  • I was surprised to find that trains on the Northern Line were leaving Moorgate station for the North every four to five minutes.

This would seem to indicate that frequencies of between 12 and 15 tph are possible.

Current frequencies through Bank station are 24 tph in the Peak and 20 tph in the Off Peak, so it will be a substantial reduction. But it is better, than my original estimate earlier in this section.

33% More Trains on the Northern Line Charing Cross Branch

Currently, the Charing Cross branch has a capacity of twenty-four tph and handles the following services in the Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 2 tph between Edgware and Morden
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington
  • 2 tph between High Barnet and Morden

And these services in the Off Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington

Note.

  1. Extra trains go between the two Northern branches and Morden via the Bank branch.
  2. Kennington and Morden can handle 28 tph and regularly does.
  3. The loop at Kennington turns twenty trains per hour in both the Peak and the Off Peak

If there is an increase of 33 % in the number of trains, this must mean that 32 tph will run through Charing Cross in the Peak and 28 tph in the Off Peak.

  • The signalling system on the Northern Line is the same as that on the Jubilee Line, where it handles 30 tph.
  • It also can handle up to 30 tph between Kennington and Morden on the Northern Line.
  • Perhaps it can be stretched to 32 tph through Charing Cross in the Peak.

If the Charing Cross branch can only be uprated to 30 tph, that is still an increase of 25 % in the number of trains.

The Kennington Loop

I mentioned the Kennington Loop and this beautiful old drawing shows its layout.

Note.

  1. South is at the top of the drawing.
  2. At present, as I said, the loop turns twenty tph all day.
  3. The extension to Battersea connects to the loop.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows a map of the loop.

Note.

  1. The Charing Cross branch goes to the North-West from Kennington.
  2. The Bank branch goes to the North-East from Kennington.
  3. ,The lines to Battersea are shown dotted.
  4. Trains using the extension to Battersea can only use the Charing Cross branch.

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if the line speed to and from Battersea, is faster than it is round the loop.

It’s just that the lines to Battersea are not such a sharp curve and they have been recently designed and built.

As the Modern branch can handle 30 tph, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the Battersea extension has been designed to handle this frequency.

The Northern Line Extension To Battersea

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the Northern Line Extension To Battersea.

This paragraph introduces the project.

The Northern line extension (NLE) between Kennington and Battersea will help regenerate the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas by supporting new jobs and homes. The extension is scheduled to be completed in autumn 2021.

The opening of the extension could offer benefits to the existing Northern Line.

As I said in the previous section, twenty tph are turned at Kennington using the loop.

Will all these trains now use the new Battersea extension, when it opens?

  • The Battersea extension is fully double-track.
  • Battersea Power Station station has two platforms and a cross-over, so if Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations can handle in excess of 30 tph, I suspect London’s newest terminal station can too!

If the Battersea extension has a design capacity of 30 tph, it would certainly be able to handle 20 tph.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see all trains that currently turn at Kennington will take the Battersea extension, when it opens.

There must surely be the interesting possibility of before the Battersea extension opens to passengers, using it to turn the trains that would otherwise use the loop at Kennington. It would certainly be a very thorough test, of track and signalling.

I am fairly certain, there would be advantages in having the Battersea extension open before the Bank branch is upgraded.

  • Running trains to Battersea could be more efficient than using the Kennington Loop.
  • Opening the Battersea extension would need the signalling at Kennington to be upgraded and fully tested, so any changes needed for increased frequencies on the Charing Cross branch could be performed at the same time.
  • All the residents of the new housing in Battersea. would have an Underground connection.

Opening the Battersea extension will change passenger patterns on the Northern Line and as the changes will be difficult to predict, it would surely be better to upgrade Bank station, after the opening of the Battersea extension.

Thameslink

Thameslink is not mentioned in any of the Transport for London documents, but surely it has a big part to play.

  • Thameslink serves a lot of stations in South and South East London and beyond, including Brighton, East Croydon, Orpington, Sevenoaks and Woolwich Arsenal.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Circle and District Lines at Blackfriars.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Metropolitan and Circle Lines at Farringdon.
  • Thameslink will have an interchange with Crossrail at Farringdon.
  • Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations have good walking routes along the River and to the City.

Thameslink should be appearing on the Tube Map any time soon.

Waterloo And City Line

I am missing the Drain, as it is the easiest way for people in the area, where I live to get to Waterloo station.

I just take a bus to Bank and then walk underground to London’s shortest Underground line.

According to this article on London SE1, it is closed because of the covids, but should reopen in April 2021.

Surely, Transport for London could reopen the line, if they vaccinated all the drivers.

As the Waterloo and City Line has an independent new entrance on Wallbrook, there should be no reason, why it couldn’t reopen before the Northern Line through bank is upgraded.

The Central Line At Bank Station

Nothing has been said, about whether the Central Line will be closed through Bank station, during the upgrade.

I don’t think it will be continuously closed, although access to some parts may be restricted.

There could be partial closures at weekends or in the evenings.

So for commuters and other must-travellers, I suspect the Central Line will get through.

The Circle And District Lines At Monument Station

My thoughts about the Circle and District Line would be similar to the Central Line.

But these lines with their connections at Westminster, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Tower Hill and Whitechapel could prove important during the works.

The Docklands Light Railway At Bank Station

Again my thoughts about the Docklands Light Railway would be similar to the Central Line.

But there is a lot of work going on to improve access to the Docklands Light Railway, and this could result in a closure to allow completion.

Review Bus Use

When I come into London Bridge station, I usually go to the bus station and get a bus, which stops within fifty metres of my front door. Going to London Bridge isn’t as convenient and I take a variety of routes.

But the corridor between London Bridge and Old Street via Bank and Moorgate has three bus routes; 21, 43 and 141, the last two of which terminate in the bus station at London Bridge. I suspect that the frequency of the last two buses could be increased, if they had a few more buses and drivers, and turned them faster at London Bridge.

I also feel there is scope to run a shuttle between Finsbury Square and London Bridge station.

  • It would loop round Finsbury Square at the Northern end.
  • It would loop through London Bridge station, as the 43 and 141 buses currently do.
  • They would serve Moorgate and Bank.
  • As it will be running through a busy part of the City with lots of pedestrians, these buses should be either battery or hydrogen.
  • But as they should be high-capacity double-deckers, battery probably wouldn’t have enough power.

What better way would there be, to showcase London’s new hydrogen buses?

And I’m sure Jo Bamford, would make sure that London had enough new Wrightbus hydrogen buses  to provide the service.

National Rail Between Charing Cross/Waterloo And London Bridge

I am probably not alone in using this route in preference to the Jubilee Line to travel between Westminster and London Bridge, as where there is an alternative to the deep-level Underground, I will often use it.

In my case coming home from Waterloo, I’ll often hop to London Bridge on National Rail and then get a 141 bus home.

This is classic ducking and diving on my part.

I’m sure others will do the same during the Bank branch closure.

I would also hope, that season tickets would allow passengers to swap terminals without too much trouble and any expense.

National Rail Between Cannon Street And London Bridge

Using Cannon Street instead of London Bridge could be an relatively easy alternative for many passengers.

  • It connects to the Circle and District Lines.
  • There are East-West buses outside the station.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

There are a number of useful walking routes from the station, which is towards the bottom of the image slightly towards the right.

  • Bank station is about 300 metres and six minutes away.
  • The North-South buses between Moorgate and London Bridge on King William Street are 200 metres and three minutes away.
  • St. Paul’s is a bit further but it does have the Central Line and lots of buses including the 76 to Moorgate and Old Street stations.

At seventy-three, I can still walk between Cannon Street and Moorgate stations in 15 minutes.

Walking Between London Bridge and Moorgate

Transport for London have said they will review this,

It is not a difficult walk and it has improved since traffic was reduced at Bank.

Conclusion

As originally planned, the timings of the various projects were such that these projects would be more of less completed before the upgrade of the tracks at Bank station was to be performed.

  • Crossrail
  • The Northern Line Extension to Battersea.
  • The new Wallbrook entrance to Bank station.

But no-one had foreseen Covid-19.

So I would plan the date of the Northern Line closure with the utmost care.

February 8, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in today’s Sunday Times.

I have thought this might happen for a few months.

I wrote project management software for nearly forty years. If you ever used Artemis, that was the system, I wrote in a Suffolk attic.

Artemis helped provide the UK with North Sea oil and gas, by calculating and scheduling the labour requirements.

One problem was that there was so many projects, that there was a severe labour shortage. As a friend, who supported our systems in Aberdeen, told me, you couldn’t get some tradesmen for love or money, as they had all retrained to go offshore.

Shortage of workers is often the reason for projects being late and Crossrail is no exception.

Walk through the City and West End of London along the route of the line and you’ll see endless new office, retail and residential developments around all the stations.

These Central London developments are often luxurious and funded by Sovereign Wealth or similar funds, all of whom have bottomless pockets.

If they need more workers, they just raise wages and they have been stealing them from Crossrail. Consequently Crossrail has had to pay more and has been hemorrhaging cash and getting later.

Many of these buildings are now complete and the workers can be hired by Crossrail to speed up the finishing of the line.

Unless of course, the Mayor and the Councils allow more new buildings to be constructed.

But there is a beneficial effect of the Covids working in favour of Crossrail. It has probably badly damaged forecasts for a new development, that they are being delayed for a few years.

So Crossrail can move towards a finish, which will start to generate revenue for Transport for London.

This page on the Crossrail web site is the Crossrail Project Update for December 2020, which was published on the 14th January 14th 2021.

This video shows Mark Wild, the Chief Executive Officer of Crossrail giving the latest update.

This text accompanies the video.

Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risks and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks. Our focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19.

We are planning to start intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity in 2021. It involves multiple trains operating in the central operating section to test the timetable and build reliability, while the final works to the stations are completed. It will take a period of time to fully test the Elizabeth line before it can open for passenger service. This includes a final phase known as Trial Operations involving people being invited onto trains and stations to test real-time service scenarios to ensure the readiness of the railway.

Following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east will be introduced. The introduction of full services will be aligned with the National Rail timetable change which occurs twice a year in May and December.

According to this article on Ian Visits, which is entitled An Update On The Crossrail Project Progress. Crossrail is in Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT), which is described  by Ian like this.

The pre-Trial Running tests, Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT) started early last December and allowed them to increase the number of trains running through the tunnels from four to eight. That meant running trains with 5-minute gaps, close to how the service will open with its initial 12 trains per hour each way.

Crossrail have produced a video, which describes the train testing.

SIDT restarted after Christmas on the 13th January and once complete, I assume Trial Running will start at the earliest opportunity.

Further sections of the Crossrail Project Update describe Trial Running, Covid-19.

There is also this video of Farringdon station.

When Will Crossrail Open?

Predicting this is difficult, but this article on Building, which is entitled Crossrail  Trial Running Set To Start By March.

These points are from the article.

  • Mark Wild said that trial running will start before the end of March.
  • From the start of trial running to opening will be between six and nine months,
  • It looks like Crossrail will open in the last quarter of 2021.

As it would be nice to open by Christmas to give shopping centres and hospitality a lift, I think that it will open in September or October 2021.

Could Crossrail Open Earlier, If A Shorter Service Were Run?

Some people have said, that Crossrail might be able to open earlier, if it ran initially between say Farringdon and Abbey Wood.

This paragraph from the Crossrail Project Update for December 2020, could be decisive.

All central section stations including Bond Street are certified to support Trial Running. Four of the central section stations have had all of their assets assured and certified as ready for use, the last stage for stations in the Trial Running pathway. The remaining central section stations are scheduled to achieve this by the end of the month.

Does this mean that trial running will start by the end of March and serve all central stations?

Bond Street station certainly seems to have caught up with the others and there is no longer any suggestion it could open a year later.

 

 

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 12 Comments