The Anonymous Widower

The London Tube Map Gets A New Line

This picture shows the latest London tube map, which now shows the Thameslink network.

Note.

  1. There is a lot of new pink or red-and-white lines everywhere.
  2. The lines are numerous in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. Crossrail is not shown.

These pictures show areas in greater detail.

I am surprised that the whole of the Thameslink network has been added.

 

February 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Thameslink Is Back On The London Tube Map

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

Thameslink last appeared on the tub map in 1999.

I’m glad it’s back.

I regularly use Thameslink as a quick route across London, especially, if I  want to go to Tate Modern, as the gallery is a short walk from Blackfriars station.

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Darlington Station – 28th October 2020

I went to Teesside to have a look round yesterday.

These are my thoughts on Darlington station.

Platform 1 And Platform 4

These pictures show the two main platforms at Darlington station.

Note.

  1. They are affectively a very wide island platform.
  2. Platform 1 handles all trains going South and East to Middlesbrough and Saltburn.
  3. Platform 4 handles all trains going North and West to Bishop Auckland.
  4. The platforms are well over 200 metres long.
  5. Both the main platforms have a second track, between the current track and the walls of the station.
  6. Both main platforms have a large clock.
  7. Platform 1 has some innovative seating.
  8. Uniquely, there is a London Rail Map on the London-bound Platform 1. Every London-bound platform needs a copy of this map, but they are very rare.

They appear to handle all the current services easily.

There is certainly a lot of space to improve the station.

Station Structure

The station stricture is probably best described as grand, stylish and Victorian and it appears to be in good condition.

  • The tracks through the station are enclosed in two large brick walls.
  • A roof of the period, is supported on the walls and a number of perhaps forty cash-iron columns.

These pictures give a flavour of the station.

There must be few better station structures than Darlington in the UK and as it is Listed Grade II*. I would expect this is recognised by English Heritage.

The Southern Bay Platforms

There are two bay platforms at the Southern end of the station.

There were bay platforms at the Northern end, but these have now been removed.

I wonder, if these two bay platforms could be invaluable in the expansion of services both on the Tees Valley Line and generally in the area.

Current plans envisage the following.

  • Four trains per hour (tph) between Saltburn and Darlington.
  • Two tph between Darlington and Bishop Auckland.

One obvious way to achieve this objective would be to do the following.

  • Run two tph between Saltburn and Bishop Auckland. These trains would run as now with Saltburn services using Platform 1 and Bishop Auckland services using Platform 4 at Darlington station.
  • Run two tph between Saltburn and Darlington. These trains would use Platform 2 at Darlington station.

The advantages of this are.

  • To get to Middlesbrough or Saltburn, you would go to the island Platform 1/2, as you do now.
  • To get to Bishop Auckland, you would go to Platform 4, as you do now.
  • If battery trains were to be used the bay platforms would be ideal for a Vivarail Fast Charge system

There would probably need to be some changes to the tracks serving Platform 1 and 2.

Other possibilities might include.

  • Darlington might also be a useful terminal for a service to Whitby via Middlesbrough.
  • Using the station as a Northern terminus for an Express Parcels Service from London.

Lengthened platforms able to take a five-car Class 802 train, could be useful for service recovery.

The Western Pedestrian Entrance To The Station

Darlington Town Centre lies to the West of the station and these pictures show what probably was a very grand entrance to the station connected to it by a subway.

This Google Map shows the size of the entrance.

It is one of those buildings that would be described by a certain breed of estate agent, as having development potential.

  • There are no lifts to the subway.
  • It could be turned into a retail experience.
  • Does the clock tell the right time?
  • Buses were signposted in this direction, but there appeared to be little information.

Surely, it could be turned into an asset to both the railway and the town.

The Southern Approaches To The Station

These pictures show the Southern approach to the station.

The Tees Valley Line to and from Middlesbrough and Saltburn joins to the South of the station and trains going to Bishop Auckland have to cross over the two tracks of the East Coast Main Line.

This Google Map shows the track layout just to the South of the station.

Note.

  1. The Southern ends of the platforms can just be seen at the top of the map.
  2. Platforms are numbered 1 to 4 from West to East.
  3. The two avoiding lines going past the East side of the station.
  4. The yellow train is one of Network Rail’s Mobile Maintenance Trains.

The Mobile Maintenance Train was parked in the same place yesterday, as this picture shows.

The second Google Map shows Darlington South Junction, where the Tees Valley Line from Middlesbrough joins the East Coast Main Line.

These two maps indicate the problem of train operation at Darlington.

A train between Bishop Auckland in the West and Middlesbrough and Saltburn in the East, can sneak down the Southbound East Coast Main Line and take the Tees Valley Line to continue on its way.

But a train going the other way, needs to cross both tracks of the East Coast Main Line on the flat, which means precision working by drivers and signallers, to avoid causing delays to both main line and local trains.

I suspect all the following are true.

  • The number of London and Scotland expresses will increase.
  • London and Scotland expresses will be running faster.
  • The number of freight services on the route will increase.
  • The number of services between Bishop Auckland and Saltburn will increase from the current hourly only service.
  • High Speed Two will eventually start to run services between London and Birmingham, and at least as far North as Newcastle

All will make the need for improvements South, and probably North, of Darlington station increasingly important.

Could it be that the simplest solution would be to create a dive-under?

  • It would only need to be single-track.
  • It could probably be built without affecting current services, as was the Acton dive-under.
  • There would appear to be plenty of space.

It would only need to allow trains from the Eastern branch of the Tees Valley Line to access Platform 4 at Darlington station.

High Speed Two Is Coming

High Speed Two is coming to Darlington and I wrote about that in £100m Station Revamp Could Double Local Train Services.

This was my conclusion about what will happen to services at Darlington in that post.

I think that this will happen.

  • The Tees Valley Line trains will be greatly improved by this project.
  • Trains will generally run at up to 140 mph on the East Coast Main Line, under full digital control, like a slower High Speed Two.
  • There will be two high speed platforms to the East of the current station, where most if not all of the High Speed Two, LNER and other fast services will stop.
  • There could be up to 15 tph on the high speed lines.

With full step-free access between the high speed and the local platforms in the current station, this will be a great improvement.

So what will the step-free access be like?

The young assistant in WH Smith told me that a hole will be made in the wall on the East side of the current Platform 1.

It does seem that a new bridge could reach over all the platforms with an entrance for the Town Centre in a refurbished Western entrance.

Passengers would arrive by high speed train every few minutes from the South, Newcastle or Scotland.

  • Those for the Town Centre would walk across the bridge and exit the station in a refurbished Western entrance.
  • Those needing onward local train travel would descend into the current station to catch another frequent train.
  • Hopefully, there would be space somewhere for a bus station.

It would be a real gateway station for Darlington.

 

 

October 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Put Thameslink On The Tube Map Says London Assembly

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A report on improving accessibility on London’s Transport services has called for the fully accessible Thameslink line to be on the Tube map as a matter of some urgency.

I’m all for this happening.

I use Thameslink quite a bit, as if I’m in some places South of the River and am coming home, taking Thameslink to West Hampstead Thameslink and then using the Overground to Canonbury, from where I walk home, is a convenient route.

  • It is step-free.
  • There is a Marks and Spencer at West Hampstead, where I can do a bit of food shopping.
  • Walking from Canonbury station to my house is gently downhill.

These are some other thoughts about Thameslink,

The Underground Train With A Toilet

Sometimes, I also find it doubly-convenient, as I need to spent a penny or more. Often, the toilets on Thameslink trains are free in the tunnels under London!

How many other Underground trains have toilets?

Obviously, Eurostar does, but does anybody know of any other trains that run deep under the surface, that have toilets?

Do Thameslink Want The Extra Passengers That Being On The Map Would Bring?

This may seem a dumb question, but sometimes, I do wonder, if the answer is that they don’t!

Thameslink Would Surely Make A Good Travel Partner For Eurostar

Increasing, many visitors from the Continent to London and the South East are travelling across the Channel using the excellent Eurostar.

As the Thameslink and Eurostar platforms at St. Pancras International, there could be mutual advantages to both companies to be partners.

Suppose you were travelling on these routes.

  • Paris and Gatwick
  • Brussels and Greenwich
  • Amsterdam and Brighton
  • Rotterdam and Luton Airport

And for one reason or other you didn’t want to fly; climate change, you like trains, awkward baggage or just plain fear of flying.

Surely, using Eurostar and Thameslink would be the obvious travel companies.

Note that Thameslink have posters, saying that they are the ideal way to get to Luton Airport.

Do they have posters, saying they are the ideal way to get to Eurostar at St. Pancras?

If I was running Thameslink, I’d do the following.

  • Make sure, that all Thameslink stations accepted contactless ticketing using bank or credit cards.
  • Put information and advertising on Eurostar trains and stations, telling passengers how to get to and from any Thameslink station without buying a physical ticket.
  • Devise a simple add on ticket, that would be printed on your Eurostar boarding pass or held in Eurostar’s app.
  • Market Thameslink to the French as the UK’s answer to the RER.
  • Put travel information in at least Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, at St. Pancras station.

I would think, that a properly thought-out plan, could be a nice little earner for Thameslink.

 

March 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Toilet On A London Underground Train

On my short journey between City Thameslink, and London Bridge stations, I sat next to one of the toilets.

I also made use of the facility.

As there is a lot of pressure to show Thameslink on the Tube Map, will these trains become the only trains on the Underground to have toilets?

As modern controlled emission toilets, don’t throw anything on the tracks, they can be safely used anywhere.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Surprising Reason For London Underground’s New Heritage Signs

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

This post will be finished, when I get a few pictures.

But in the meantime read Ian’s article.

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

A Central Londoner’s View Of Thameslink

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

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

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

Kings Cross And London Bridge

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

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

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

Access To Tate Modern

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

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

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

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

Access to Gatwick And Luton Airports

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

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

West Hampstead Thameslink

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

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

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

Does Thameslink Cater For All Passengers?

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

Thameslink Will Run At Rapid Transit Frequencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thameslink Has Interchanges With The Underground And Overground

Thameslink has several interchange stations with the Overground and Underground.

These include.

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

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

Thameslink Is Not On The Tube Map

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

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

So why was it removed?

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

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

There wasn’t one!

Why not?

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

From Farringdon To Tottenham Court Road Station

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

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

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

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

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

She said, but that’s National Rail.

So I walked to Chancery Lane.

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

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

Consider the following journeys.

Farringdon To London Bridge

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

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

I shall still use Thameslink.

Farringdon To Victoria

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

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

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

I shall continue to use Thameslink.

The New Museum Of London

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thameslink Should Be On The Tube Map

Consider.

  • Cambridge and Gatwick Airport are two of the most important destinations within an hour of Central London.
  • The outer branches of Thameslink to East Croydon, St. Albans, Welwyn Garden City and Wimbledon act in a similar manner to Underground Lines.
  • The central core of Thameslink will be used by many as just another Underground Line.
  • The London Overground is on the Tube Map.
  • Crossrail will be on the Tube Map.

For these and other reasons, the London sections of Thameslink should be on the Tube Map.

If Thameslink should be added, what about the Northern City Line?

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

An Amateur Tube Map

This amateur Tube Map is published in Gizmondo.

Amateur Tube Map

Amateur Tube Map

It is a brave attempt to make something that is getting increasingly complicated, more readable.

As I travel around Europe, I see some terrible maps, but the biggest sin is places, where they show their maps far to small or place them so you have to be nearly two metres tall to see them.

London has a unique advantage in that many stations have been designed so you go down the escalators, you are often in a large spacious lobby, with often quite large flat walls. Also with the removal of booking offices, there is now often a sizeable flat wall, as you enter the station from the street.

The current common map in stations is printed in A0 format which is 841 x 1189 millimetres. But there are larger paper sizes.

So why not use 2A0 (1189 x 1682 mm.) or even 4A0 (1682 z 2378 mm.)?

They could be printed direct onto high-strength vinyl in a similar way to the advertising you see wrapped around buses and trains.

Not all maps would be this size, but I believe putting them in prominent locations on the transport network would be a good idea.

After all, we’re always being told Big is Beautiful.

Eventually, as electronic screens get larger and more affordable, these could be used.

It doesn’t really matter what the map looks like, as I hope any bad ones would never be displayed.

But size and readability is everything!

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment