The Anonymous Widower

Elizabeth Line Bond Street Station And South Molton Street

South Molton Street is one of my favourite streets in London.

  • It runs between Bond Street station on Oxford Street in the North and Fenwick’s department store on New Bond Street in the South.
  • Many times, I bought my late wife; C’s Christmas or birthday present on that street, on New Bond Street or in Fenwick.
  • One of her last purchases had been an Armani suit for work on New Bond Street.
  • She also usually bought her shoes in Salvatore Ferragamo at the Southern end of New Bond Street.
  • I would usually travel there by taking the Central Line to Bond Street station or the Victoria or Piccadilly Line to Green Park station.

C and I spent many hours happily shopping in that small area of the West End of London.

  • We used to shop together for clothes, shoes and many other things.
  • One day at a party in her barristers chambers in Cambridge, one of her colleagues expressed surprise that the following day, I was going clothes shopping with her in London.
  • C replied to everyone’s amusement, that I was a transvestite-by-proxy. In other words, I am a man, who likes dressing ladies in appropriate clothes.
  • I am also lucky, that my mother taught me to sew and in the early years of our marriage, I used to borrow my mother-in-law’s sewing machine and make some of C’s clothes.
  • When long coats became fashionable in the 1960s, C had the first of any of her friends. Because I had made it!

So today, I just had to go and see how the new Elizabeth Line Bond Street station fitted in with my favourite shopping street.

I travelled to the new Davies Street entrance of the station.

  • I walked through the tunnels to the original Underground station.
  • I emerged onto Oxford Street.
  • I walked down South Molton Street to Fenwick, with a couple of diversions.
  • I then walked through Medici Courtyard to the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station.

Finally, I took the Elizabeth Line back to Moorgate for a bus to my house.

Note.

  1. There are two banks of escalators to the surface at the Davies Street entrance at Bond Street station.
  2. The tunnel between the Davies Street entrance at Bond Street station and the original Underground station has a seat at halfway.
  3. South Molton Street connects to Oxford Street.
  4. South Molton Passage connects the Davies Street entrance at Bond Street station and South Molton Street.
  5. C had her unusual wedding dress made in Haunch of Venison Yard.
  6. The Medici Courtyard sign also says it leads to the Elizabeth Line.
  7. I couldn’t find a coffee shop selling a cappuccino and a gluten-free cake in Medici Courtyard. That is poor!

One of the station staff at Hanover Square indicated, that there may be additional passages to the West of New Bond Street, that will connect to the Davies Street entrance at Bond Street station.

I feel this could make the area even better.

October 24, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From October 24th 2022, It Looks Like Bond Street And Oxford Circus Stations In London Will Share An Out Of Station Interchange!

Consider.

  • Bond Street station is served by the Jubilee and Central Lines.
  • Oxford Circus station is served by the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central Lines.
  • On this page on Oyster Fares Central, the distance between Bond Street And Oxford Circus stations, is given as 280 metres or yards.
  • On the 24th of October 2022, Bond Street station on the Elizabeth Line will open with two new entrances in Davies Street and Hanover Square.
  • Westminster City Council have refurbished Hanover Square to improve walking routes to and from the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street Station.
  • In Hanover Square – 9th May 2022, I show some of the wide pavements around the area.
  • There is no direct interchange between the Victoria and Elizabeth Lines.
  • There is no direct interchange between the Piccadilly and Elizabeth Lines.

I think it is likely, that some travellers will walk between Oxford Street station and the Hanover Street entrance at Bond Street station, to do journeys like these.

  • Victoria Line stations and Elizabeth Line stations
  • Piccadilly Line stations, that are North of Finsbury Park station and Elizabeth Line stations, with a cross-platform change between Piccadilly and Victoria Line trains at Finsbury Park station.
  • Some travellers may prefer this interchange between Bakerloo Line stations and Elizabeth Line stations, than use the Bakerloo Line Link at Paddington.
  • Some travellers arriving in Euston, King’s Cross and St. Pancras may use the Victoria Line to transfer to the Elizabeth Line.

I can see a substantial number of travellers walking between Oxford Street station and the Hanover Street entrance at Bond Street station.

I suspect Transport for London can too, as they have made Bond Street and Oxford Circus stations an out of station interchange, with a time limit of twenty minutes.

  1. It would be time enough to pick up a coffee on the way.
  2. As Tony Hancock once said, there would be time for a cough and a drag.
  3. There are several useful shops on the route.

It is not your normal interchange and I suspect shops will adjust their wares to the traffic.

I have a few thoughts.

Toilets

I think toilets are needed on the pedestrian route.

Interchange With The Central Line At Bond Street Station

Consider.

  • From West to East the Elizabeth Line has interchanges with the Central Line at Ealing Broadway, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Liverpool Street and Stratford.
  • Passengers for stations like Notting Hill Gate, Marble Arch, Holborn, St. Paul’s and Bank will have a large choice of new routes.

I suspect many passengers will change at Bond Street and Stratford. Stratford is an easy interchange, but how good will Bond Street be?

This visualisation shows the knitting that connects the lines at Bond Street station.

I think for a fast interchange, using the minimum amount of walking, you would need to travel in the Western end of an Elizabeth Line train if you want to change to the Central Line.

But some passengers might prefer to travel in the Eastern end of an Elizabeth Line train and use the out of station interchange to Oxford Circus station for the Central Line.

Interchange With The Jubilee Line At Bond Street Station

Consider.

  • From West to East the Elizabeth Line has interchanges with the Jubilee Line at just Bond Street and Stratford.
  • Passengers for stations like Green Park, Westminster, Waterloo, London Bridge and Greenwich will take the Jubilee Line.

Passengers will have to change at Bond Street or Stratford. Stratford is an easy interchange, but how good will Bond Street be?

October 22, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving The Wood Green And Moorgate Public Transport Corridor

This morning I went for coffee with an old school friend from Minchenden Grammar School at Southgate station.

Southgate is not a bad place to meet someone.

  • There are a couple of good coffee shops.
  • There are plenty of buses.
  • It has a couple of the better chain restaurants including a Pizza Express.
  • The area also has a lot of memories for me.

It also has one of London’s most iconic Underground stations.

It may look familiar, as it regularly crops up in film and television dramas.

  • One station guy told me, that the ticket barriers have been designed to be easy to remove, so filming of an historic drama is possible.
  • It was used in The End Of The Affair to portray a Central London station.
  • As the escalators have the same bronze fittings as Moscow, they could be used in a story set in Russia.

As the Piccadilly Line doesn’t go anywhere near my house, to get to Southgate, I take a 141 bus to and from a convenient Piccadilly Line station.

  • Going North, I changed at Manor House station.
  • Coming South, I changed at Turnpike Lane station.
  • I could have also have changed at Wood Green station.

The journey home had four major problems.

  • The bus stop at Turnpike Lane station, is a few hundred yards from the station.
  • I waited fifteen minutes for a 141 bus.
  • When it did arrive, it was so packed, it didn’t have space for a miniature dachshund to squeeze in between the feet of the standing passengers.
  • The traffic was very heavy, so the journey was slow.

How can this bus route cope in the Peak, if it can’t cope on a Sunday morning?

Various issues and actions and will make these capacity issues worse.

The Victoria Line Has No Direct Connection With The Elizabeth Line

In my view, this was a mistake, although not that serious, as the young or energetic can probably walk between Oxford Circus and the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station on the Elizabeth Line.

Will this connection develop with coffee and snack shops to ease passenger interchanges?

When and if Oxford Circus station is ever made step-free, I can imagine a tunnel, perhaps with a moving walkway being built between  Oxford Circus station and he Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street station.

There is also the cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station with the Northern City Line that links with Moorgate and the City of London.

The Piccadilly Line Has No Direct Connection With The Elizabeth Line

To get between the Northern stations on the Piccadilly Line and the Elizabeth Line is either a double-change at Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington stations or a ride on the 141 bus.

I wrote about these issues in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Northern City Line.

The Elizabeth Line Will Attract Travellers To Moorgate

I notice that my own travelling patterns have changed from using the Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines to using the Elizabeth Line since it opened and I suspect, when the Elizabeth Line is fully joined up, that more passengers will travel to Moorgate to access the Elizabeth Line.

Transport for London and the Mayor Are Rerouting The 21 Bus

The 21 bus duplicates the 141 bus between Newington Green and Moorgate station.

But it is being rerouted next year, which will increase the loading on the 141 bus.

The 141 Bus Used To Be The 641 Trolleybus

When I was a child, London’s trolleybus network was extensive and to get between Wood Green and Moorgate, you would have used the 641 trolleybus.

Trolleybus Ascending Jolly Butchers Hill in Wood Green

Many like me, look back on trolleybuses with affection.

Does this historical connection encourage passengers to use the 141 bus, which is the 641 trolleybus’s successor on the route?

My parents certainly had lots of trolleybus stories.

So What Could Be Done?

There are a variety of actions that could be taken to strengthen public transport between Moorgate and Wood Green stations.

Improve The 141 Bus Route

In Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?, I put forward ideas for using buses to link to the Elizabeth Line.

This was my suggestion.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

I feel that a high-quality 141 bus running every ten minutes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green, would be just what the passengers would order.

  • Palmers Green bus garage is at the Northern end of the route, so could be used for refuelling or recharging.
  • London Bridge station is at the Southern end of the route and was designed with an efficient bus station.
  • The 141 route connects London Bridge, Bank, Moorgate and Old Street stations in the City of London.

With the right buses, this could be a route with real quality and usefulness.

Increase The Frequency On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line may have new Class 717 trains, but it still has a pathetic frequency of eight trains per hour (tph)

  • I am sure it could be increased to at least 12 tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations.
  • Something like six tph would go to Welwyn Garden City, four tph to Hertford East station and two to Stevenage.
  • Large areas of the Northern suburbs would get a much better connection to the Elizabeth Line.

Once the digital signalling is installed and commissioned, no new infrastructure will be needed.

I am sure, that this would be the easiest way to improve public transport in North London.

Add Step-Free Access To As Many Stations As Possible

Moorgate, Finsbury Park, Oakwood and Cockfosters are step-free with lifts.

As many stations as budgetary constraints allow, should be made step-free.

October 9, 2022 Posted by | Food, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Development of Liverpool Street And Paddington Stations

This article in The Telegraph is entitled Row Over ‘Grotesque’ £1.5bn Liverpool Street Revamp.

There is no doubt that Liverpool Street and Paddington stations will need a higher number of trains per hour and this will probably mean more platforms. But there is no space in either station.

Suppose a long-distance version of the current nine-car Alstom/Bombardier trains were to be built with toilets, a 110 mph top speed, but dimensionally identical to the existing Class 345 trains.

The Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line could probably handle more trains, than it currently does, given that Dear Old Vicky handles 36 trains per hour.

So services like Southend and Oxford or Beaulieu and Newbury could be run through the Central Tunnel, replacing the current Greater Anglia and GWR services.

This would relieve platform space in the current terminals and the high-speed Elizabeth Line trains, would just be more trains going through the Central Tunnel at 80 mph.

The important Oxford and Cambridge route would be one change at either Farringdon or Liverpool Street, Or with some track modifications, it might be possible to run direct via the Central Tunnel, Stratford and the West Anglia Main Line.

Sorting out the trains, would ease the development of Liverpool Street and Paddington stations.

October 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Interior Lights On Victoria Line Trains

After looking at the lighting on the Bakerloo Line trains, before and after the fitting of LEDs in Seeing London Underground’s Bakerloo Line Trains In A New Light, I thought it would be useful to look at other lines.

These pictures show the 2009 Stock trains of the Victoria Line.

They look like florescent tubes to me.

I am surprised that these trains which are less than fifteen years old, don’t have LED lights.

I very much suspect though, that if the Bakerloo Line LED lights are an undoubted success, that the Victoria Line trains will be updated.

 

 

October 6, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Extending the Elizabeth Line – Stratford To Walthamstow and Chingford

A lot of people in Walthamstow and Chingford would like a direct rail connection to Stratford with its shopping, sporting, entertainment and employment opportunities.

The Hall Farm Curve used to provide this connection, but it was removed in 1968, despite having been electrified in 1960.

This map from cartometro.com shows the curve.

Note.

  1. The Chingford branch line is shown in orange.
  2. The triple-track Stratford branch of the West Anglia Main Line crosses the Chingford branch line at right angles.
  3. Lea Bridge station reopened in 2016.

It has been stated that the Hall Farm Curve would be reinstated as an electrified single track.

There would probably be a need for a crossover to the North of the former Hall Farm junction to enable trains from Lea Bridge to get to the Chingford-bound track.

The Hall Farm Curve would also give access to Elizabeth Line and Greater Anglia services at Stratford. But it may be that when the Elizabeth Line opens fully in November, travellers get used to going into Liverpool Street and changing there.

Services Between Stratford and Chingford Via Walthamstow

Providing this service might be difficult, but not impossible.

  • Trains could use the High Meads Loop at Stratford.
  • Digital signalling may allow more trains to be squeezed in.
  • Chingford could certainly handle eight trains per hour (tph)

But there is always the problem of the level crossing at Highams Park station.

Changing Between The Elizabeth And Chingford Branch Lines At Liverpool Street Station

Consider.

  • At present Liverpool Street station on the Lizzie Line has sixteen trains per hour (tph).
  • Eight tph go to both Eastern termini at Abbey Wood and Shenfield.
  • In the West two tph go to each of Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Maidenhead and Reading, with the other eight tph reversing at Paddington.
  • If you travel in the Eastern end of a Lizzie Line train, you should enter Liverpool Street station opposite to where all London Overground services including those to and from Chingford terminate in the station.
  • The walking route between the Elizabeth And Chingford Branch Lines At Liverpool Street is step-free.

Some passengers will use this route to places like Walthamstow Central, but others moan, that there is no direct connection between the Victoria and Lizzie Lines.

Stations Without Step-Free Access On The Chingford Branch Line

These stations on the Chingford Branch Line do not have full step-free access between train and street.

  • Bethnal Green
  • Cambridge Heath
  • London Fields
  • Hackney Downs
  • Clapton
  • St. James Street
  • Walthamstow Central
  • Wood Street

Only Hackney Downs and Walthamstow Central have been mentioned with respect to installing some form of step-free access.

Increasing Capacity Between Liverpool Street And Chingford

The Chingford Branch Line can handle pairs of four-car trains and running these all day, would surely be the best way to increase capacity.

Conclusion

If money was no object, the Chingford Branch Line could be improved to make it a much better feeder line for the Elizabeth Line.

I also have a feeling, that a lot of people living in North-East London will switch their travelling from the Victoria Line to the Chingford Branch Line and the Lizzie Line.

 

September 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Northern City Line

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

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

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

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

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

Note.

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

This second map shows the lines through Finsbury Park station.

 

Note.

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

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

Note.

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

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

A Step-Free Route Between Wood Green And Moorgate  Stations

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

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

Note.

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

These pictures show the change at Highbury & Islington station.

These pictures show the change at Finsbury Park station.

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

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

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

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

Improvements Needed To The Northern City Line

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

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

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

Moorgate Station’s Northern City Line Platforms

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

Note.

Improved Connections At Moorgate Station

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

This was my conclusion.

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

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

An Improved Connection Between Bank And Moorgate Stations

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

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

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

This visualisation shows the updated Bank station.


Note.

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

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

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Thoughts On The Maximum Frequency In The Central Tunnel

The Wikipedia entry for the Elizabeth Line, says this about the indicative timetable after the 6th November 2022.

The indicative timetable consists of the following services on the Elizabeth line during peak hours: there will be 24 trains per hour (tph) in each direction in the central section (Paddington to Whitechapel): of these, 12 will run between Shenfield and Paddington, 6 will run between Abbey Wood and Heathrow, and 6 between Abbey Wood and either Reading or Maidenhead. Some trains on the Reading branch will not stop at all stations. Passengers travelling between stations west of Paddington and those on the north-eastern branch will need to change trains in the central section. Changing trains at Hayes & Harlington will be required for travel between Hanwell, West Ealing or Acton Main Line and other stations on the Reading branch.

The north-eastern section via Stratford is expected to see an additional four trains per hour during peak times between Gidea Park and the existing main line Liverpool Street station’s high level terminating platforms. Since these trains run over existing above-ground lines from Liverpool Street to Stratford, they will not call at Whitechapel.

When you consider, that Dear Old Vicky can handle 36 tph in the Peak, I  feel that at some point in the future, the Elizabeth Line will handle more trains in the Central Tunnel.

This article on London Reconnections, which is entitled The Ninety Second Railway: Making the Victoria The Most Frequent Metro In The World, gives a history of increasing the frequency on the Victoria Line.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Of course, having the trains is only one part of the requirement. As our editor John Bull is prone to point out, there comes a point where frequency is not about how many trains you can squeeze through the tunnels, but about how quickly you can get passengers onto and clear of, the platforms.

As a regular passenger on the Victoria Line, there are times, when you notice that there are queues for the escalators and in the passageways at certain stations.

The Victoria Line probably can’t go to forty tph without substantial work on several stations.

But as these pictures show, the Elizabeth Line has space.

The Central Tunnel stations also have step-free walk-across access to the trains.

On my many journeys on the Lizzie Line, I’ve yet to see any delays in boarding in the Central Tunnel.

Extra Terminals

At present, the Elizabeth Line has been designed to have these terminal stations.

  • Abbey Wood
  • Heathrow Terminal 4
  • Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Maidenhead
  • Paddington
  • Reading
  • Shenfield

The capacity in the East must match the capacity in the West.

Possible terminals in the East could be.

  • Beaulieu Park
  • Gravesend
  • Hoo
  • Northfleet
  • Southend Victoria

And in the West they could be.

  • Bedwyn
  • Oxford
  • Swindon

The numbers must still match.

Extra services would probably best be added gradually with time, when a need was proven.

Conclusion

I feel that only three things will limit the frequency of Elizabeth Line trains through the Central Tunnel.

  • A frequency that fits the passenger numbers and route preferences.
  • The capacity of the terminals
  • The ability for engineers to meet that frequency safely and at an affordable cost.

Given that at certain times of the day, the Elizabeth Line is busier than you would expect, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that frequency higher than that planned.

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

New £3.6bn London Transport Funding Deal Agreed

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

These five paragraphs outline the deal.

A new £3.6bn government bailout to keep Tube trains, railways, buses and trams running in London has been agreed.

The package includes almost £1.2bn of upfront funding for Transport for London (TfL) to secure the long-term future of the capital’s transport network.

It is the sixth bailout for TfL after its revenues plummeted in the pandemic.

The funds will allow Piccadilly line trains to be built as well as upgrades to three Tube lines.

TfL Commissioner Andy Byford described the deal as “hard won” but Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who is also chair of TfL, branded it “far from ideal”.

I have a few thoughts.

Will The North And Scotland Like It?

In my travels around the UK, when I ask someone on a bus,train or tram about their new transport funding, I often get a reply something like.

It’s good, but London gets more.

I don’t think other areas of the UK will like £3.6 billion, especially after Crossrail’s over budget and late construction.

Driverless Trains

The BBC article says this about driverless trains.

The 16-page settlement letter includes a commitment to “press forward a joint programme on the implementation of driverless trains on the London Underground”.

These seven paragraphs in the  settlement letter say this about driverless trains.

29. TfL’s record of modernisation and innovation should not leave it behind other European
networks, which are achieving significant operational efficiencies through driverless trains.
Accordingly, DfT and TfL will press forward with the joint programme on the implementation of
driverless trains on the London Underground, recognising TfL’s safety, regulatory and statutory
responsibilities.
30. Taking the findings of the network review to the next stage, TfL will continue to work with DfT
to develop the evidence required to make a strong case for investment in driverless trains on the
London Underground. This will include but not be limited to the work set out below.
31. TfL will work with DfT to assess the case for introducing GoA4 on the London Underground
network, taking into account opportunities and risks.
32. TfL will undertake further studies and wider research to support progressing driverless trains
on the lines where the case(s) are strongest.
33. In addition, TfL should continue working with DfT to make progress developing and testing
innovative technology, where it can save money in the delivery of driverless trains.
34. Based on the findings of the above, TfL will work with DfT to develop a business case for
driverless trains as necessary.
35. TfL will ensure senior representation on the joint programme and will actively support this work
through the provision of staff resources, expertise and access to both the London Underground
network and any information sources. TfL’s participation should seek to explore all options in a
collaborative and open manner and work with the programme on an implementation plan. HMG
will provide resource funding to TfL to enable it to support the programme’s work

Around 1970, I worked at ICI in sections who were at the forefront in creating computer-controlled chemical plants.

I also remember that Simulation magazine gave a detailed description about how London Underground’s Victoria Line worked using automation, which colleagues thought was an excellent system.

The trouble with driverless trains, is that they have got too political.

  • You have the Government wanting to introduce driverless trains for reasons of efficiency and to follow the best technological practice in Europe.
  • You have the Unions totally against it for their obvious reasons.
  • You have the Mayor of London grudgingly accepting it.

I take a practical attitude to automation based on the views of world-class automation engineers, I worked with in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • In an airliner, most of the flying, landing and control of the aircraft is automatic, with the pilot monitoring everything on instruments.
  • Much of the automation I was involved with all those years ago, was about ensuring optimal operation of plant and machinery and ensuring that the safety margins were not exceeded.

These two paragraphs from Wikipedia, explain the operation of the Victoria Line.

On opening, the line was equipped with a fixed-block Automatic Train Operation system (ATO). The train operator closed the train doors and pressed a pair of “start” buttons and, if the way ahead was clear, the ATO drives the train at a safe speed to the next station. At any point, the driver could switch to manual control if the ATO failed. The system, which operated until 2012, made the Victoria line the world’s first full-scale automatic railway.

The Victoria line runs faster trains than other Underground lines because it has fewer stops, ATO running and modern design. Train speeds can reach up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). A common method used by north London residents to visit the West End is to take the Northern line Bank branch, change platforms at Euston, and continue on faster Victoria line trains. The original signalling has been replaced with a more modern ATO system from Westinghouse Rail Systems incorporating ‘Distance to Go Radio’ and more than 400 track circuits. The track operator, London Underground Limited, claimed it is the world’s first ATO-on-ATO upgrade. The new system allowed a revised timetable to be introduced in February 2013, allowing up to 33 trains per hour instead of 27. In combination with new, faster trains, the line’s capacity increased by 21%, equivalent to an extra 10,000 passengers per hour.

Note.

  1. I very much approve of this type of automation, which fits well with the operation of metro services.
  2. The driver is very much in control, as he initiates and can stop all train movements.
  3. The original automation in the 1960s, used thermionic valves and relays.
  4. I believe that automation like this can be exceptionally safe.

As the extract says, Automatic Train Operation system (ATO) increases the frequency of trains, runs them faster and increases capacity.

The only problem is how do you sell it to the unions.

 

August 30, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Elizabeth Line Frequency

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

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

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

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

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

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

Various destinations have been suggested for the Elizabeth Line.

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

I would also add.

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

There are a lot of possibilities.

The Thameslink Frequency

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

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

There are few suggestions for extra Thameslink services.

High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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