The Anonymous Widower

The East London Line In 2030

The East London Line was opened in May 2010 using pieces of redundant infrastructure in the East of London.

Modern additions were added.

A new fleet of Class 378 trains were purchased and services began between two Northern and four Southern destinations, at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph).

Looking back just over eight years later, the line has been an overwhelming success.

East London Line Capacity

The proof of this success surely is shown in the increasing capacity of the line since 2010.

The Class 378 trains have got longer.

  • In 2010, they started at just three cars.
  • They were soon extended to four cars.
  • In 2016, all trains became five cars.

The trains could go to six cars, but there are platform length issues, that make five cars the current limit.

On the other hand, selective door opening could be used, which works so well with walk-through trains.

Now, Transport for London are going to increase frequencies on the line.

  • In 2018, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace stations.
  • In 2019, an additional two tph will run between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

This would give twenty tph between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink will handle twenty-four tph in their central tunnels, I suspect that to have the same frequency on the East London Line would not be impossible.

Developments That Will Happen

These developments will happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Crossrail

The Whitechapel station interchange with Crossrail will become the Jewel in the East, as it will give access to Canary Wharf, the West End, Stratford, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Heathrow to all those (like me!), who live along the East London Line.

As both lines will have train frequencies of at least twenty tph, you should never wait more than a few minutes for your train.

I can see, the number of passengers changing between Crossrail and the East London Line being very high.

  • For many travellers it will be their quickest way to Crossrail.
  • The Class 378 trains are more passenger-friendly than Thameslink’s Class 700 trains, which are best avoided, by those with sensitive posteriors.
  • Whitechapel station gives access to both the Eastern branches of Crossrail.
  • All East London Line services call at Whitechapel.

My scheduling experience says that the frequency of trains on Crossrail and the East London Line should be the same, to smooth travellers passage through the station.

So expect Crossrail to eventually push the East London Line to twenty-four tph.

Increased Frequencies On The Underground

The Sub-Surface Lines of the London Underground are being re-signalled, which will mean more capacity, where the District and Metropolitan Lines interchange with the East London Line at Whitechapel station.

There could also be improvements on the Jubilee Line, where it meets the East London Line at Canada Water station.

I doubt we’ll see more improvement to the Victoria Line, as you can only extract blood from a stone for a limited period.

It is also probably true, that Dear Old Vicky needs some relief.

New South Eastern Franchise

The new South Eastern Franchise will be awarded in August 2018, with the new incumbent taking over in December 2018.

The current Southeastern services have little interaction with East London Line services, except at New Cross station, where the following services call.

  • Southeastern – Northbound – Eight tph to Cannon Street via London Bridge.
  • Southeastern – Southbound – Eight tph to Lewisham via St. John’s.
  • Overground – Four tph to and from Dalston Junction.

New Cross is a good interchange for travelling to and from South East London and I suspect the new franchise will only make it more useful.

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line has been ignored for decades and in my view it is a disgrace with elderly Class 313 trains, dirty, dark and dingy stations and unmotivated staff, who seem abandoned by their employers.

If ever there is a line that should join the Overground, it is this one!

At least, the line is getting new Class 717 trains, which will bring the following.

  • Modern trains with wi-fi and hopefully comfortable seats.
  • Increased capacity.
  • Up to twelve tph between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace stations via Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park stations.
  • More passengers to the East London Line at Highbury & Islington station.
  • A direct cross-platform and step-free link for the Victoria Line to Crossrail.

Planners do not seem to have realised the effects these new trains will cause in North London and at Highbury & Islington station in particular.

North London Line Improvements

In the next few years, there will be improvements on the North London Line.

All these improvements will bring more passengers to the East London Line and put more pressure on Highbury & Islington station.

Property Development Along The East London Line

Only two stations on the East London Line; Dalston Junction and Shoreditch High Street, were designed to have development on top.

Dalston Junction station has now been virtually fully developed and only now are tower blocks starting to grow around and on top of Shoreditch High Street station.

The City of London will also expand to the East, which will mean more offices and housing clustered around stations like Whitechapel, Shadwell and Canada Water.

Property developent will greatly increase the ridership of the East London Line.

Rebuilding Of Highbury & Islington Station

Many travellers in East London, use the Overground to get to Highbury & Islington station for access to the Underground.

The below ground section of this station needs substantial improvement with a second entrance, more escalators and lifts.

Plans get talked about, but nothing happens.

I believe that the new Class 717 trains on the Northern City Line could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, as they will bring more travellers to the station.

But on the other hand the existing cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line, might mean that less travellers need to go to and from the surface.

I have this feeling, that a rebuilt Highbury & Islington station will happen before 2030 and would attract more travellers to the East London Line.

Developments That Could Happen

These developments could happen, that will affect the East London Line.

Bakerloo Line Extension To Lewisham

I believe extending the Bakerloo Line to Lewisham station is more likely to happen than Crossrail 2 and if it was built it would connect to the East London Line at New Cross Gate station.

This map shows the extension.

I believe that the East London Line and the extended Bakerloo Line will complement each other.

  • The Bakerloo Line will probably have at least twenty tph between Queen’s Park and Lewisham stations via Waterloo, Oxford Circus and Baker Street stations.
  • The East London Line will have at least six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace stations and four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • New Cross Gate is currently a step-free station, so I suspect it will be a very smooth interchange.

Connections between South East and the whole of North London will be substantially improved.

Brockley Interchange

It has been suggested that Brockley station be connected to the line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, which crosses over the station.

Wikipedia says this about the connection.

At the London end the line is crossed by the Nunhead to Lewisham line. At this location adjacent to Brockley station was sited Brockley Lane station which closed in 1917 with the original London, Chatham and Dover Railway branch to Greenwich Park. The connection of that line to Lewisham is a later development. The possibility of opening platforms on this line with direct access to Victoria Station and the Bexleyheath Line to Dartford has often been suggested but is currently low on TfL’s priorities.

In some ways the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham does a similar job in connecting the East London Line to Lewisham, but at a much higher frequency.

Another problem with the Brockley Interchange is that there are only two tph between Victoria and Lewisham, that pass over Brockley station and does the capacity at Lewisham station exist to allow this to be increased to a viable frequency, that would make building Brockley Interchange an interchange worth building?

Crossrail 2

Will Crossrail 2 be built or even started before 2030?

I personally doubt it, unless Brexit is an unqualified success and the project is privately-funded.

There are also other projects that might lower the need for Crossrail 2 and allow it to be delayed to beyond 2030.

Extension Of East London Line Services Along The North London Line

I can remember reports, when the London Overground was created, that suggested that some East London Line services, might be extended to the West, possibly to Willesden Junction station.

I think there are two major problems.

  • Trains going West from Highbury & Islington station from the East London Line could stop in Platform 1 or 2 and go straight through on their way to Clendonian Road & Barnsbury station. But those going the other way would probably need to cross tracks on flat junctions!
  • Where is the suitable bay platform to turn the trains?

On the other hand, many passengers would find it useful, as it would avoid a change at Highbury & Islington station.

Penge Interchange

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines through Penge West and Penge East stations.

The two stations are a valid out-of-station interchange, but neither is step-free.

Penge East station could be difficult to make step-free, as the footbridge is listed.

I think that it is one of those structures that Network Rail wouldn’t miss, if it was decided to install it at the National Railway Museum.

Could this be one of the reasons, why it has been suggested that a new station be built, where the lines through the two Penge stations cross.

  • It could be fully step-free.
  • The station would be built on railway land.
  • It would have four tph between Victoria and Bromley South stations.
  • It would have four tph between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon stations.
  • It would have two tph between London Bridge and Caterham stations
  • It might also be possible to have platforms on the Crystal Palace branch, thus adding six tph between Highbury & Islington and Crystal Palace. stations.
  • The station could have Thameslink platforms.

Note that the Penge Interchange offers four tph to and from Victoria, whereas the Brockley Interchange only offers a measly two tph.

Penge Interchange might allow the two older Penge stations to be closed.

Shoreditch High Street Connection To The Central Line

The Central Line passes directly underneath Shoreditch High Street station, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

Note the reversing sidings at Liverpool Street station in the South-West corner of the map.

Wikipedia says this about the possibility of creating an interchange.

There have also been discussions of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green which runs almost underneath the station. However, this would not be able to happen until after the Crossrail 1 project is complete, due to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak hours.

Consider.

  • Liverpool Street to Bethnal Green is one of the longest stretches on the Underground without a station.
  • There is a lot of  residential and housing developments, being proposed for around Shoreditch High Street station.
  • Large numbers of passengers use the East London Line to get to Highbury & Islington station for the Underground. Would a Shoreditch High Street connection take the pressure off?
  • It could give East London Line travellers, a single-change connection to Liverpool Street, Bank, St. Paul’s, Chancery Lane and Holborn stations.

For construction and operational reasons, the decision to create this connection will not be taken until Crossrail is fully open.

I suspect passenger statistics will play a large part in the decision.

Southeastern Connections

Southeastern has three main terminals in London.

  • Cannon Street – Jubilee and Northern Lines
  • Charing Cross – Circle and |District Lines
  • Victoria – Circle, District and Victoria Lines.

But they also serve other stations in South London with good connections.

  • Abbey Wood – Crossrail
  • Greenwich -DLR
  • Lewisham – DLR and possibly Bakerloo Line
  • London Bridge – Jubilee and Northern Lines and Thameslink
  • New Cross – East London Line
  • Woolwich Arsenal – DLR

The rebuilding of London Bridge station has probably improved connectivity, but are further improvements needed?

Two of the possible improvements to the East London Line; the Brockley and Penge Interchanges will connect current Southeastern services to and from Victoria to the East London Line.

Would the new South Eastern franchise like a connection to the East London Line?

  • ,Passengers to and from East London surely have have an easier route, than going to Victoria and then using the Underground!
  • Passenger numbers at Victoria might be marginally reduced
  • Both new interchanges would give a route to Crossrail at Whitechapel, which is not an easy connection to and from Victoria.
  • I have looked at timings and it appears that the Whitechapel route is perhaps five minutes slower to the West End or Paddington, but perhaps a dozen minutes faster to the Northern part of the City of London.

It is my view, that if Penge Interchange is built, then Brockley Interchange could be forgotten.

Thameslink Improvements

With all the money spent on Thameslink, it is likely that Network will want to maximise their investment by running as many trains as possible on the route.

Currently, the plan is for twenty-four trains an hour through the central tunnel, which then split as follows.

  • Eight tph via Elephant & Castle
  • Sixteen tph via London Bridge of which twelve tph continue to East Croydon.

It would also appear that there are another five tph between London Bridge and East Croydon, but only one tph runs on the fast lines.

So there would appear to be plenty of capacity between London Bridge and East Croydon stations, even if the central tunnel frequency on Thameslink were to be upgraded to thirty tph.

I think we might see a bit of sorting out of Thameslink to minimise some of the problems, that became evident after the May 2018 timetable change.

A problem I have, which I share with the millions in East London, is that it is difficult to get to Gatwick Airport, as there is no common station between the East London Line and Thameslink.

  • If the Penge Interchange is built, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • When the Bakerloo Line is extended to New Cross Gate station, should Thameslink trains stop at the station?
  • Should all slow trains on the line be run by the London Overground?
  • Should all fast trains on the line be run by Thameslink?

Thameslink could be so much more useful.

West Croydon Or East Croydon

From a personal point of view, when I go to Croydon, I want to get to East Croydon station, as I’m usually taking a train to the South Coast or Gatwick Airport.

  • Inevitably, I end up taking a tram from West Croydon to East Croydon station.
  • Ging the other way is more difficult, as I inevitably get lost trying to find West Croydon station.
  • Although, there are now some trams at East Croydon only going to West Croydon.
  • Trains to the North of Penge West station, never seem to be very full.
  • East Croydon station is more important than West Croydon station.

So would it be better if the East London Line trains went to East Croydon?

The problem is that there is no space in East Croydon station.

Perhaps two new platforms could handle both East London and West London Line services.

West London Line services should also be run by the London Overground, as was proposed by Chris Gibb, as I wrote about in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

I would do the following.

  • Sort out Victoria and Thameslink services at East Croydon station, so that all Northbound and Southbound services used a separate pair of platforms, with one platform face for Thameslink and the other for Victoria services.
  • If possible, move services like London Bridge to Uckfield to Thameslink.
  • Put a pair of terminal platforms under the Thameslink and Victoria services platforms, connected to these platforms by escalators and lifts.
  • Most of the tunneling would be under railway property North of East Croydon station.
  • These platforms could probably handle up to six trains per hour (tph) each.
  • It would be possible to run six tph between Highbury and Islington and East Croydon stations.
  • The West London Line could have a highly desirable four tph to the mega-station at Old Oak Common.
  • It might even be possible to use the platforms for service recovery on Thameslink.
  • It could release the pressure on the difficult Windmill Bridge Junction, which is a bit of a bottleneck.

It would be costly, but planned properly, I believe it could be created without any major disruption to the existing East Croydon station.

It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to the following.

  • Through services to London Bridge, St. Pancras and Victoria.
  • East London Line services to East London and Whitechapel for Crossrail for the City, Central London and Shenfield.
  • West London Line services to West London and Old Oak Common for High Speed 2, West Coast Main Line and Crossrail for Heathrow and Reading.

Capacity at East Croydon would probably be increased.

Conclusion

The East London Line will get better and better.

 

 

June 23, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Connection Between City Thameslink Station And The Docklands Light Railway

In the Wikipedia entry for the Docklands Light Railway, there is a section describing a proposed Euston/St. Pancras Extension.

This is said.

In 2011, strategy documents proposed a DLR extension to Euston and St Pancras. Transport for London have considered driving a line from City Thameslink via Holborn north to the rail termini. The main benefit of such an extension would be to broaden the available direct transport links to the Canary Wharf site. It would create a new artery in central London and help relieve the Northern and Circle lines and provide another metro line to serve the High Speed line into Euston.

This map from Transport for London, shows the possible Western extension of the DLR.

With all the problems of the funding of Crossrail 2, that I wrote about in Crossrail 2 Review Prompts Fresh Delays, could this extension of the DLR, be a good idea?

Consider,

  • Victoria, Euston and St. Pancras are prosposed Crossrail 2 stations.
  • It would link Canary Wharf and the City of London to Eurostar, Northern and Scottish services and High Speed 2.
  • It would give all of the Docklands Light Railway network access to Thameslink.
  • A pair of well-designed termini at Euston and St. Panras would probably increase frequency and capacity on the Bank branch of the system.
  • The DLR is getting new higher capacity trains.
  • Bank station is being upgraded with forty percent more passenger capacity.
  • Holborn station is being upgraded and hopefully will be future-proofed for this extension.
  • One big advantage at City Thameslink, is that Thameslink and the proposed DLR extension will cross at right-angles, thus probably making designing a good step-free interchange easier.
  • The Bank Branch of the DLR currently handles 15 tph, but could probably handle more, if they went on to two terminal stations at St Pancras and Victoria..
  • Waterloo and City Line can run at twenty-four tph.

Cinderella she may be, but then she always delivers, when there is a desperate need, just as she did magnificently at the 2012 Olympics.

The only problem with this extension of the DLR, is that compared to the rest of the system, the views will be terrible.

For myself and all the others living along the East London Line, with a step-free change at Shadwell, we would get excellent access to Euston, Saint Pancras and Victoria

But could the line still be called the Docklands Light Railway, as it spreads its tentacles further?

 

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Conditions And Thoughts On The New Southeastern Franchise

The January 2018 Edition of Modern Railways gives a review of the conditions, that the Department for Transport are imposing on bidders.

The First Sentence

This is the first sentence of the article.

The Department for Transport says bidders for the next Southeastern franchise will be required to provide space for at least 40,000 additional passengers in the morning rush hour with 12-car services on the busiest routes.

This raises an interesting question.

Does the DfT mean actual twelve-car trains or ones as long as current twelve-car trains?

In Big On The Inside And The Same Size On The Outside, I discussed how by using  good design, Bombardier were getting more passengers in a train of the same length.

This is an extract from c2c’s Press Release.

The Aventra is one of the fastest-selling trains in the UK rail industry, and these new trains will be manufactured at Bombardier’s factory in Derby. Each new train, which will operate in a fixed set of 10-carriages, will include over 900 seats, plus air-conditioning, wifi, plug sockets and three toilets onboard. Each new carriage is larger and contains more seats than on c2c’s current trains, so each 10-carriage new train provides capacity for 15% more passengers onboard compared to a current 12-carriage c2c train.

So three x four-car trains working as a twelve-car train are replaced by one ten-car train, just as with Greater Anglia. Note the claimed fifteen percent capacity increase!

Metro Services

The article says this about Metro services,

Metro-style trains will be introduced on suburban routes, similar to those on other high-capacity routes into London.

Is the DfT thinking of trains like Crossrail’s Class 345 trains?

Changes Of London Terminals

The DfT was thinking of all inner suburban services going to a single London terminal, but this has been dropped following opposition.

Changes are still proposed, to stop conflicts at Lewisham.

  • Bexleyheath Line services will switch from Victoria to Cannon Street or Charing Cross.
  • Hayes Line services will not serve Victoria and Charing Cross, but not Cannon Street.
  • North Kent Line services will run to Cannon Street.
  • Sidcup Line services will run to Charing Cross and Cannon Street in the Peak.
  • Extra services will serve Abbey Wood for Crossrail.
  • More twelve-car trains.

The objective is a turn-up-and-go Metro-style service on suburban routes.

To London Overground, Merseyrail and other commuters around the K, that means four trains per hour.

As there was with the proposal Network Rail made to curtail Sutton Loop Line services at Blackfriars, there will be complaints. Especially, from those who were at Eton with certain MPs!

Hopefully the design of London Bridge station will help smooth things over.

Twelve-Car Trains At Charing Cross And Waterloo East

If most trains are twelve-car trains, then surely all platforms at Cannon Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria and Waterloo East stations, must surely be able to handle trains of this length.

As it is specifically mentioned, Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations must be the most problem.

There have been suggestions of rebuilding the two stations, with the platforms at Charing Cross extending over the Thames.

Consider.

  • Modern signalling could handle twenty-four trains per hour between Charing Cross and London Bridge.
  • Connections to the Jubilee Line could be better.
  • The Bakerloo Line is planned to be extended to Lewisham.
  • Waterloo East station could surely have over-site development.
  • Techniques borrowed from London Underground could be used to turn trains faster at Charing Cross.

I have a feeling that we will see something fairly radical happen in the next few years to increase capacity across the South Bank.

Faster Services To Hastings

This is said about services to and from Hastings.

DfT has specified a new two trains per hour service between London, Tonbridge and Ashford, allowing services to Hastings to be speeded up by removing calls at Orpington, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough.

Bidders are incentivised to develop further proposals for reducing journey times, including for deliveringn high speed services between London St. Pancras, Hastings and Bexhill via Ashford.

That all sounds good for Hastings.

More Trains Between Strood And Tonbridge

This route along the Medway Valley Line will have two trains per hour all day.

Trains For The Franchise

The DfT has specified the trains in a fairly detailed way.

Cars No Longer Than Twenty Metres

This is probably because of curved platforms and other restrictions on the various routes.

It is also a similar car length to the current Class 465 trains and Class 377 trains.

No Extra Selective Door Opening, Except At Waterloo East

I suspect this could be that selective door opening, confuses passengers and perhaps slow the stops.

First Class To Be Removed By September 2020

Will this be popular with all passengers?

There doesn’t seem to have been too many protests about the future removal of First Class on Greater Anglia’s services in Essex.

But it will allow the capacity of the train to be increased, to provide space for some of those 40,000 additional passengers.

ETCS Will Have To Be Deployed

European Train Control System (ETCS)  can enable higher frequencies of trains in a safe manner and mandating that it be deployed is a sensible move.

At Least One Accessible Toilet On Main Line And High Speed Trains

I think most train operating companies would do this!

Adequate Wi-Fi

Not providing wi-fi and in addition 4G signals, is probably an easy way to reduce ridership.

Walk Through Trains

The fleets that have been bought recently, are all of this type, so I think it would be unlikely, that any new trains for the Southeastern franchise would be different.

My Thoughts

Train Length

 

Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast have set a pattern, by ordering trains and half-trains, that can probably be used in a flexible manner.

Half-train/Full-train ratios for the various companies are.

  • Great Western Railway – 1.6
  • Greater Anglia – 4.0
  • South Western Railway 0.5
  • Virgin Trains East Coast – 0.5

Each company has chosen an appropriate number of trains for their routes, but each can adjust numbers by running two half-trains as a full train.

So will we see the same strategy on a future Southeastern franchise?

Perhaps most trains will be twelve-car trains with a small number of six-car trains, that can work together as required.

Train Speed

In Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Elimination Of Slow Trains, I came to this conclusion.

All trains incapable of running a service at 100 mph should be eliminated, just as the two operators;Greater Anglia and South Western Railway, are planning to do.

All of the new Southeastern franchise’s trains should be 100 mph trains.

 

 

 

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Victoria As A Highspeed Terminal

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways has made me ask  questions about services into St. Pancras International station.

Is There Enough Capacity For Continental Services At St. Pancras International Station?

Platforms 5-10 at the station are allocated to Continental services.

Under Eurostar (High Speed 1) in the Wikipedia entry for the station this is said.

Seventeen pairs of trains to and from Paris Gare du Nord every day, ten pairs of trains to and from Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid for Brussels and the European Union de facto capital, and one train to and from Marne-la-Vallée for Disneyland Resort Paris. Extra services run to Paris on Fridays and Sundays, with a reduced service to Brussels at weekends. Additional weekend leisure-oriented trains run to the French Alps during the skiing season, and to Marseille via Lyon and Avignon in the summer.

So it looks like on a typical day, there are  just under thirty pairs of trains between St.  Pancras International station and the Continent. So on a typical operational day from 0700 to 2200, that means it’s approximately two trains per hour (tph).

I feel that with perhaps some changes to the operation of the passenger and train cleaning and victualling systems, that six platforms could easily handle up to six tph.

So I doubt, that there is too much of a problem increasing the number of Continental services from St. Pancras International station.

Is There Enough Capacity For Highspeed Services At St. Pancras International Station?

Platforms 11-13 at the station are allocated to Southeastern‘s Highspeed services, which are run by Class 395 trains.

Is There Enough Capacity On High Speed 1 Between Ebbsfleet International And St. Pancras International Stations?

Under Services in the Wikipedia entry for High Speed 1, this is said.

High Speed 1 was built to allow eight trains per hour through to the Channel Tunnel. As of May 2014, Eurostar runs two to three trains per hour in each direction between London and the Channel Tunnel. Southeastern runs in the high peak eight trains per hour between London and Ebbsfleet, two of these continuing to Ashford. During the 2012 Olympic Games, Southeastern provided the Olympic Javelin service with up to twelve trains per hour from Stratford into London.

I think the key figures here are the ability to handle eight tph for the Channel Tunnel and the twelve tph that was achieved during the Olympics.

Let’s fast forward to 2024 when Paris could be hosting the Olympic Games.

Given too, that by then, Continental services to Germany, the Netherlands and other parts of France could have expanded and there must be a strong possibility, that the full eight Channel Tunnel paths will be needed.

So that would leave just four train paths for the Highspeed services.

I suspect that whoever is running the Highspeed services will want to develop them with services to other destinations like Hastings and Eastbourne and more frequent services to the existing destinations in Thanet.

This leads me to the conclusion, that more capacity is needed for Highspeed services into London.

Some extra capacity can probably be created by improving the signalling and operational methods, but will that be enough.

The Problems With The Highspeed Services

Every time, I use the Highspeed services, they work well, but they do have problems.

  • The only London terminal is St. Pancras International station.
  • The interchanges at Stratford International station to the Underground is a long walk.
  • The interchange at Stratford International station to Crossrail will be equally poor.
  • The frequency of services are not what passengers demand these days.
  • The services need to connect to Hastings and Eastbourne.
  • Passengers complain about the cost.

Expanding the Highspeed services would solve some of these problems, but if the Continental services of Eurostar and other operators expand, there could be a capacity problem before the mid-2020s.

The Two London Terminal Solution

Network Rail and the train operating companies (TOCs) seem to have come up with a cunning plan.

In the Kent on the Cusp of Change article and in one in the May 2017 Edition, Modern Railways, the magazine reports that consideration is being given to reopening the Fawkham Junction link, that used to be used by Eurostar trains to access Waterloo station from the Channel Tunnel.

Trains would not now go to Waterloo, as there are other plans for the expansion of the station.

But it would be fairly simple for trains to go via Swanley and Bromley South stations into Victoria station.

In the next few sections, I will outline why I think this station could and probably will be used as a second London terminal for Highspeed services.

Extra Highspeed Terminal Capacity In London

As I indicated earlier, I think that within the next few years, there may be a capacity problem between London and Ebbsfleet and opening a second terminal at Victoria would add extra train psths on the surface through South L:ondon.

A Second Highspeed Terminal In London

Services to Victoria with its Underground connections, that are currently being improved dramatically, would be welcomed by many travellers, who want to go to places like Kensington and Westminster or perhaps avoid the long walks at Stratford International station to the Underground or Crossrail.

Crossrail 2 will also call at Victoria, if it’s ever built.

Services Between Victoria And Thanet Could Go Highspeed

All or some of the services between Victoria and the Thanet area would be able to go Highspeed and use the Class 395 trains.

The Highspeed services would use the reinstated Fawkham Junction link and High Speed One between stops at Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International stations.

Suppose All Services Between Victoria And Thanet Used Class 395 Trains

Surely, this would have tremendous advantages for Network Rail and the operator in that, all of the stations and tracks, to the East of Ashford International station,  could be updated, so that they efficiently handled twelve-car Class 395 trains.

In a Network Rail document about the East Kent lines, Network rail says this.

Increase speed to rolling stock and signalling capability.

As the East Kent Re-Signalling Project seems to be improving the signalling, the faster Class 395 trains would set the desired operating speed.

As I indicated earlier, if the new batch of Class 395 trains could have a faster capability on third-rail routes.

What Times Could Class 395 Trains Achieve On Classic Routes?

As an illustration of the operating speed on the East Kent lines, Ashford International to Ramsgate stations takes thirty-six minutes for a journey of about thirty-five miles with only one stop.

Network Rail probably know how to reduce this important journey by at least ten minutes, which would benefit Highspeed and Classic services.

Currently, London Victoria to Ashford International stations takes just under an hour and a half via Maidstone East and another ten stops.

This document from Network Rail has two projects, that will improve times on the Chislehurt to Ashford section of this route.

  • Journey Time Improvement – Reduce impact of Permanent Speed Restrictions
  • Maidstone signalling interlocking renewal – Renewal of interlocking and external equipment

The document indicates they could be completed in 2019.

The Class 395 trains are a modern train with bags of grunt and probably the ability to execute a station stop in double-quick time.

So with the track improvements to allow higher speeds between London Victoria and Ashford International station, I suspect that it might be possible to trim perhaps twenty minutes from the journey time.

Could Network Rail be aiming for an hour between Victoria and Ashford International stations on the Classic route, via Bromley South, Swanley and Maidstone East stations?

If they could manage the magic hour, then Hastings could be within perhaps 95 minutes of Victoria in a Class 395 train with either diesel or battery power.

This would be a few minutes faster than the current faster times to Cannon Street on the Hastings Line.

It would certainly be a good interim alternative, until trains can go between High Speed One and the Marshlink Line.

What Times Could Class 395 Trains Achieve Using High Speed One Between Victoria and Ashford International Stations?

I estimate that Victoria to Ebbsfleet International using the Fawkham Junction link and Class 395 trains could be in the order of thirty minutes.

As Class 395 trains take nineteen minutes between Ebbswfleet International and Ashford International stations, I believe it would be reasonable to assume between Victoria to Ashford International stations will tqke forty-nine minutes or just twelve minutes longer than the current time between St. Pancras and Ashford International stations.

Victoria To Fawkham Junction

If the Fawkham Junction link were to be reinstated, a number of the trains between Victoria and Thanet would take the Chatham Main Line after passing Swanley station and then take the Fawkham Junction link to Ebsfleet International station.

Other than the Fawkham Junction link, no substantial new infrastructure would be required, but if line improvements increased the speed between Victoria and Fawkham Junction, the Class 395 trains could certainly take advantage.

I suspect that each Class 395 train, would just take over the path of the Classic service it replaced.

There might even be a bonus, in that all fast trains through Bromley South and Swanley became Class 395 trains, w3hich might aid the timetabling.

Class 395 Trains At Victoria Station

There are various reports on the Internet of Class 395 trains running into Victoria station, sometimes as a twelve-car train.

Class 377 trains also appear to run as twelve-car trains to Ramsgate.

So I think we can assume that Class 395 trains can run into Victoria.

Conclusion

I think that it is possible that Victoria can be used as a second terminal for Highspeed services from Thanet into London.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

 

July 1, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 16 Comments

Changing Between The Circle/District Lines And Victoria Line At Victoria Tube Station

This is not a change, I do regularly, as I have direct access to the Circle/District Lines at Whitechapel station, but it must be a change that some passengers need to do.

For example.

  • Sloane Square to Kings Cross St. Pancras
  • Temple to Kings Cross St. Pancras
  • Monument to Pimlico

In these journeys a good interchange at Victoria could speed up the journey.

One thing that helps is the upwards of thirty trains per hour on the Victoria Line, where you only have to wait under three minutes for a train on that line.

I did this the District/Victoria change this morning and took these pictures.

The new passages and escalators certainly speed up the change.

The position of the passages may be more obvious from this map from carto.metro.free.fr.

victorialines

Note that the escalators to the Cardinal Place entrance are the more Northerly of the three sets and I think it is reasonable, that they start between platforms 3 and 4 and rise to the surface in line with the platforms.

The divided passage connecting the two lines would appear to be underneath the Circle/District platforms and lines and after aligning Northwards it links up with the middle set of escalators between the two platforms of the Victoria Line.

In some ways it looks like the space underneath the Circle/District Lines has been dug in a similar manner to the traditional mining method of room and pillar. There certainly seems to be tunnels going everywhere, but I suspect the methods used were more sophisticated than the traditional mining ones. I suspect that there may even have been a fair bit of hand digging.

At the top of the escalators connecting the Cardinal Place entrance to the Victoria Line, there would appear to be another blocked off passageway leading off to the west.

Where Does This Passage Go?

Could behind the blue be future-proofing for another exit on the West side of Bressenden Place close to the Victoria Palace theatre?

I have found this visualisation on the Internet in this PDF document on the TfL web site.

The Passenger Link Between North And South Ticket Halls At Victoria Tube Station

The Passenger Link Between North And South Ticket Halls At Victoria Tube Station

So it would appear to be a passenger link, allowing passengers to enter the station at the Cardinal Place entrance walk underground to the South Ticket Hall and from there into the main line station.

Passengers entering the station at the Cardinal Place entrance, in the top right of the visualisation,would take the following route.

  • Go down the escalators after the ticket gates.
  • Take the cross passage, that also leads to the second set of escalators for the Victoria Line.
  • Go straight on into the connecting passage.
  • The passage turns left and goes over the Victoria Line platforms and under the Circle/District Line platforms.
  • After crossing the platforms, the passage turns right to run parallel with the Victoria Line platforms.
  • A set of new escalators, then brings passengers to and from the South Ticket Hall.

It’s a bit round the houses, but I suspect it was the best that can be done in the grand scheme of things.

  • The Terminal Place entrance, has its own routes to all four Underground platforms.
  • The Cardinal Place entrance, has direct access to the Victoria Line platforms and indirect access to the Circle/District Line platforms.
  • There is a short route between the Circle/District and Victoria Lines.
  • There is a walking route in the dry between the Cardinal Place entrance and the main line station.

I wonder when the scheme opens will there be other features to improve routes and accessibility.

 

 

January 17, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The New Cardinal Place Entrance At Victoria Tube Station

In The Start Of Change At Victoria Tube Station, I talked about the new Cardinal Place entrance to Victoria tube station.

It opened this morning and I took these pictures as I used it to get to an Eastbound District Line train.

It’s obviously not fully finished and it had only just been opened.

But passengers were able to flow straight through the gates and down the escalators to the Victoria Line platforms. So there won’t many of them, but it was lunchtime.

The Victoria Line platforms now have three sets of escalators.

  • The original set of three at the Southern end linking to the original ticket hall and Victoria station.
  • The new set of three at the Northern end linking to the new ticket hall and the new Cardinal Place entrance.
  • In the middle another bank of three link to cross passages under the District and Circle Line platforms.

Passengers only wanting to change lines at Victoria would appear to be separated from those needing to enter or exit the Underground station.

It’ll be interesting to see, how passengers distribute themselves between the two station entrances.

  • If you are coming from or going to Victoria station, you’ll probably still use the existing route.
  • If you are coming from or going to Victoria Street, Westminster City Hall, Westminster Cathedral or Cardinal Place, you’ll probably use the new Cardinal Place entrance.
  • Travellers to and from the Victoria Palace and Apollo Victoria rheatres, who want to use the Underground, will probably have better access.

A guy who worked in the station, felt that passengers wanting to get to or from the District and Circle Lines could be the major beneficiaries and he should know his passenger flows better than most.

As this is only an interim solution until the rest of the Underground station opens in 2018, it is certainly a quality improvement.

Wikipedia also says this about improvements at the main line station end of the Underground station.

The work will also enlarge the existing Victoria line ticket hall serving the railway station and add a new relief bank of escalators there. This aspect of the scheme has been criticised as access to platforms from the new escalators will be very long and indirect compared to the direct access using the existing escalators.

On the other hand, with all the new routes and escalators in Victoria tube station coupled with substantial capacity improvements on the Underground Lines through the station, I suspect that it’ll all even out, as passengers find their own best routes.

Incidentally, I arrived at Victoria station on a 38 bus from Piccadilly Circus and although it was the middle of the day, the access couldn’t be faulted.

Once all the building work is complete, I suspect the buses will have a bugger part to play.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Start Of Change At Victoria Tube Station

On the early-evening BBC London News last night, the BBC showed preview pictures of the new entrance to Victoria tube station, which they indicated is on Brettenham Place.

The station certainly needs more capacity, as this extract from Wikipedia indicates.

Victoria is currently the fourth busiest station on the London Underground, after Waterloo, Oxford Circus and King’s Cross St. Pancras, with nearly 85 million using the station (not including interchanging passengers) in 2013, of which around 60 million (including interchanges) use the Victoria line platforms. The station was not built for this number of passengers, which results in severe overcrowding. To prevent any dangerous situations like crowds pushing people off the platforms onto the track, crowd control measures are in place at the busiest times. This effectively means closing all the entrances to the Underground platforms and operating as an exit-only station until the overcrowding is relieved. These measures can last anywhere between a couple of minutes (when minor delays are occurring) up to several hours (during major incidents).

As to the layout of lines through the station, Victoria tube station is fairly simple, as this map from carto.metro.free.fr shows.

victorialines

Note.

  • The Circle and District Lines have a typical Victorian layout, with two platforms on the outside of the tracks.
  • The 1960s designers of the Victoria Line at least left a lot of space between the two tracks.
  • The Victoria Line also incorporates two full sidings, numbered 22 and 23 between the tracks.

As nearly all trains throughout the day run run between Walthamstow Central and Brixton, the use of these sidings must only be for purposes like overnight stabling and parking failied trains.

According to Wikipedia, currently each set of lines have their own ticket offices on different levels and built over a hundred years apart.

Walking between the Circle/District Lines and the main line station is not for the faint-hearted or those with need for step-free access. The 1960s designers at least made walking between the Victoria Line and the main line station a bit easier, but there is still a flight of steps to be overcome.

If I go to Victoria station with a wheeled bag, which is not often, I take the easy route of a 38 or N38 bus from around the corner, direct from around the corner from my house.

So what is happening over this weekend?

This Google Map shows the area to the North of the station.

victoriastation

Note.

  • North of Victoria Street is a massive building site.
  • The rows of white-roofed red buses on the station forecourt..

Wikipedia says this about the current upgrade.

To provide a lasting solution to this problem preparatory building work has begun on major upgrade of the station. This will include a new northern exit/entrance on the north-west corner of Victoria Street which will be accessible via a new additional ticket office under Bressenden Place that will lead to both the Victoria line and the Circle and District line platforms.

I will go and do some more digging.

The Victoria Line Platforms

Currently, the Victoria Line platforms have two sets of escalators.

  • The original set of three, that so up into the Victoria Line ticket hall under the bus station.
  • A second set of three, that go from the platforms into a series of passages underneath the Circle and District Line platforms, to which they connect with short sets of stairs.

These pictures show the Victoria Line platforms, various passages and works.

It looks like there are two new sets of works.

One set could just be an extension of the current lobby at the bottom of the original escalators. This would increase the capacity between the Victoria Line and the main line station.

Judging by the sign saying Cardinal Place on the other works at the Northern End of the platforms, it would appear that these works are a new entrance from Cardinal Place.

The Cardinal Place Entrance

On the surface, the Cardinal Place Entrance is clearly visible, outside the Cardinal Place development.

According to a personable member of the station staff, The new entrance will open sometime after ten on Monday morning.

At Cardinal Place, the overall design would appear to be simple, where an escalator shaft has been dug between the Northern end of the Victoria Line platforms and a new entrance hall beneath Bressenden Place, which then has the simple pop-up entrance shown in my pictures

The constructure, appears to have been carried out, without massive closures of the Victoria Line platforms.

The surface building also looks very similar in concept to the new standalone glass and steel entrances at Kings Cross St. Pancras and Tottenham Court Road stations.

So I wonder how many new entrances can be created at existing stations, by using a similar design and building method.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station suffers very bad overcrowding , with only two escalators and no lifts having to cope with the passengers from over 40 trains per hour.

This map from carto.metro.free,fr shows the layout of platforms at the station.

wcp

Note how there is a wide lobby at the Eastern end of the platforms underneath the Overground lines, which is used to accommodate the escalators and the waiting queues of passengers.

The crossover to the West of the station was installed in August 2015 and I suspect that this work didn’t compromise any of Transport for London’s thoughts  of improving capacity at Walthamstow Central.

It could be tight to dig a shaft for three escalators into this area, but at least the area on top is mainly grass, market stalls and not the best of buildings, with the exception of the Library.

If you look at the length of the current escalators at the station, they indicate that the Victoria Line is not deep. So that would help.

I suspect we could see a very innovative and simple solution to create a new Western entrance at Walthamstow Central station.

I would also be possible to build the entrance without any disruption to either existing train services or passengers in the existing station.

 

 

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Victoria To Bromley South

I took this sequence of pictures to show the route of trains from Victoria down the Chatham Main Line to the first important station of Bromley South.

The route goes past or through these stations.

The Brixton Tunnel proposed by the Centre for London report called Turning South London Orange, would start in the Battersea area and emerge before West Dulwich station.

This journey illustrates one of the benefits of the Brixton Tunnel.

Fast trains from Victoria to Bromley South and on to Kent down the Chatham Main Line, would have their own private express tunnel to keep them clear of all the lines through Battersea, Wandsworth, Clapham, Brixton and Herne Hill.

Note.

  • Kent services will probably be a few minutes faster.
  • There will be capacity for more trains between Victoria and Kent.
  • Thameslink and other services that cross the Chatham Main Line will not have to wait for the fast trains to go through.
  • There would appear to be plenty of space for a tunnel portal at Battersea on railway land.
  • After West Dulwich station, the trains will run as now.

It will also have major positive affects on the lines across South London.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

A South London Metro

Some of my recent posts including.

Are leading me to the conclusion that it would be possible to create a South London Metro, that worked under similar principles to the East London Line.

The East London Line

If anybody doesn’t believe that the East London Line is one of the best creations on the world’s railways in recent years, then they should go and read something else now.

Consider.

  • There is a core section between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays stations, where sixteen trains per hour (tph) shuttle passengers under the river in modern trains.
  • In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I indicated that TfL are planning to increase this frequency to 20 tph.
  • At the Northern end four dedicated platforms at two different termini; Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington give passengers choices of onward routes.
  • At the Southern end, there are four separate termini; Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace, New Cross and West Croydon.
  • Three of the southern termini have excellent onward connections and if the Tramlink is sorted at West Croydon, then that would be improved.
  • The line has excellent connections to the Victoria and Jubilee Lines of the Underground and other rail lines.

It has been a marvellous success.

The North London Line

The North London Line is not as radical in its design as the East London Line, as it effectively just a a simple line across North London, that carries up to eight trains per hour and a lot of freight.

It has been successful, but not as successful as the East London Line.

The Future Of The Overground In North And East London

The success of removing, third-rate trains on the North and East London Lines is now being repeated on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, where two-car diesel trains are being replaced with four-car electric ones.

But this is only the start, as other plans are being put together in North London.

But to use the well-known phase – “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

South London In The Slow Lane

South London is very second-rate compared to the North with respect to railways.

My mother always told me to never go South of the River, as I’d get lost.

Look at the historic radial routes out of East, North and West London termini like Euston, Fenchurch Street, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Paddington and St. Pancras and the lines have a simple structure that the average child of ten could understand. The Underground also follows a simple structure.

But if you look at trains South of the River, there is not even any logic as to which terminus you use to get your train, with the exception perhaps of Waterloo. Only South London’s crazy rules would mean that going to East Kent would be from the most western Southern terminus at Victoria.

It is mainly down to the fact that much of the rail network South of the River were developed by companies, whose idea of co-operation was stopping the other companies from expanding.

My mother was so very right!

There are problems galore of inadequate infrastructure.

  • Some stations are in desperate need of more platforms.
  • Lines often cross each other in flat junctions, which severely limit capacity.
  • Many of the lines have heavy peak-hour use from commuters and infrequent services in the off-peak.
  • Any electrification is non-standard third-rail.
  • The main lines don’t have enough capacity.
  • Commuters are also often very vocal opponents of even the smallest change.

Even new lines like the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at Ebbsfleet International and Crossrail at Abbey Wood are only partly integrated into the existing network and don’t share a station.

The engineers are doing their best with innovative schemes like the Bermondsey Dive-Under, but the railways in South London need a whole new philosophy to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

North London may have a long list of projects in the pipeline, but after the upgrading of Thameslink and the Northern Line Extension to Battersea, South London’s future plan is very thin.

In some ways Crossrail 2 sums up the South. North London will be affected by this line’s construction, but all of the protests are from Chelsea, which can probably be ignored, and South London.

The Centre For London Proposals

In the June 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, there was an article entitled Turning South London Orange, which is a radical set of proposals from an organisation called the Centre for London, with the aim of improving rail services in South London.

This is a summary of their proposals, as they affect the lines across South London from Victoria to Peckham Rye, Herne Hill and Surrey Quays.

  • A tunnel should be built from Battersea to South of Herne Hill under Brixton to remove fast services from Victoria to Kent from the area.
  • The four-track South London Line should be reconfigured so that London Overground services use the Northern rather than the Southern pair of tracks.
  • A new station is built at Battersea linking the Northern Line Extension to the South London Line.

One of the consequences of this, is that it would be possible to create three modern step-free stations at Wandsworth Road, Clapham High Street and Brixton, with the latter two connected to the Northern and Victoria Lines of the Underground using escalators and/or lifts.

A South London Metro

So what would a South London Metro look like?

I will assume the following.

  • The fast line tunnel under Brixton is built.
  • The South London Line is reconfigured to put the London Overground service on the Northern pair of tracks.
  • A new interchange station is built at Battersea.

In the next few sections, I will look at the various parts of the South London Metro.

The Brixton Tunnel

Although not actually part of the South London Metro, the Brixton Tunnel must be built before the Metro can be created, as it removes all the fast Chatham Main Line services between Victoria and Kent, from the lines across South London.

Trains will use a tunnel between Battersea and South of Herne Hill.

So what Southeastern Mainline services, that serve Victoria could use the tunnel?

  • 1 tph to Ramsgate via Chatham with a first stop at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Dover via Chatham with a first stop at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Dover via Chatham with a first stop at Orpington and a second at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Canterbury West via Maidstone East with a first stop at Bromley South.
  • 1 tph to Ashford International via Maidstone East with a first stop at Bromley South.

There are another nine trains per day running in the peak.

The question has to be asked, if extra services can be provided through a fast tunnel, as the current number of trains might even be within the capacity of a single-track tunnel.

But I suspect that for redundancy and safety reasons that the five-kilometre tunnel would probably be built as double track or a twin-bore tunnel.

At present non-stop services take sixteen minutes between Victoria and Bromley South stations, which is a distance of 20.4 kilometres, which gives a start-to-stop average speed of about 75 kph. At that speed the trains would take around four minutes to pass through the  tunnel. So even if the Class 375 trains, that generally work the line went through at full speed of 160 kph, not much would be saved on the journey.

But given the transit time through the tunnel of four minutes or less and the generally low number of trains through the tunnel, I suspect that a single-track tunnel is under serious consideration.

But I would future-proof the line by providing a double-track tunnel.

As Bombardier have said, that the Class 375 trains could be retro-fitted with on-board energy storage, I suspect too that the tunnel could even be left without electrification, as an electrically-dead tunnel must be safer in the unlikely event of a train needing to be evacuated. Evacuation will probably be through the side doors of the trains onto a walkway, as is proposed for Crossrail.

I think that the developments in infrastructure creation and the powering of trains in the last few years could enable a very radical and affordable approach to building this tunnel.

I think there’s a chance we’ll see this five kilometre tunnel bored as a single bore, with either one or two tracks, but no electrification.

Remember that the Severn Tunnel, which is the longest main line rail tunnel in the UK and was built by the Victorians, is seven kilometres long.

London’s latest tunnel which is the Lee Tunnel for sewage  is just under seven kilometres long, seven metres in diameter and at a depth of over seventy-five metres under East London. It is probably big enough for a third-rail electrified double-track railway. According to Wikipedia, the Lee Tunnel cost an estimated £635 million.

As we’re moving towards a Golden Age of Tunnelling, I think we’ll be seeing more tunnels proposed.

The Core Section

I would define the core section of the South London Metro as between Wandsworth Road and Peckham Rye stations, so it would also include the following intermediate stations.

  • Clapham High Street
  • Brixton
  • Denmark Hill

If fast services from Victoria to Kent are in a tunnel under Brixton and Herne Hill, the Centre for London Report says that it would be possible for London Overground services to use the Northern pair of tracks rather than the Southern ones. Freight, empty stock movements and other non-stopping services would continue to use the Southern tracks.

At present there are just four tph  each way on the Overground along the current line, but as the East London Line core is currently handling sixteen tph, I would think it possible, subject to some reorganisation of the tracks at the two ends of the core section, that all Metro and Overground services could share the Northern tracks and platforms.

Similar sharing has been done successfully between New Cross Gate and Norwood Junction on the Overground, since the East London Line was extended to West Croydon in 2010. On that existing route, the fast trains have their own separate tracks out of the way, just as under the Centre for London proposals, fast trains between Victoria and Kent will be separated in a tunnel under Brixton.

As to the ultimate capacity of the core section, who knows? Figures of 24 tph have been quoted as possible for the East London Line, but twenty through the core will do well for several years.

I suspect that as the only trains on the Northern pair of tracks through South London will be slow Overground/Metro trains, that any routing problems could be solved by simple flat junctions, of which there are many already.

So how would this affect the stations on the core section?

  • Wandsworth Road would have two new Northern platforms. As the lines split for Victoria and Clapham Junction just after the station, would each pair of lines and platforms  be for appropriate destinations?
  • Clapham High Street would have two new Northern platforms for Metro/Overground services. As the Northern platforms are closer to Clapham North station, it might be sensible to create an escalator connection between the two stations and not generally use the Southern platforms.
  • East Brixton is a station, that has been discussed for rebuilding.
  • Brixton would have reopened Northern platforms for Metro/Overground services. Services via Herne Hill would still use the current platforms and as no trains on the high-level lines over the station would stop, providing step-free access between the Victoria Line and Metro/Overground services would be much easier.
  • Many believe that Loughborough Junction station should be connected to the Overground. If Metro/Overground services are moved to the Northern tracks as they go over Loughborough Junction station, I believe that step-free connection between new Metro/Overground platforms and Loughborough Junction is now possible.
  • Denmark Hill station would need some reorganisation, but it is already step-free.
  • Peckham Rye station would need some reorganisation and it is on the list of being made step-free.

The list of projects to create a core section of the South London Metro would include.

  • Build the Brixton Tunnel
  • Add the extra platforms and station infrastructure at Wandsworth Road station.
  • Add the extra platforms and station infrastructure at Clapham High Street station.
  • Create an escalator/lift connection between Clapham High Street and the Northern Line at Clapham North station.
  • Reopen the Northern platforms at Brixton station.
  • Create an escalator/lift connection between the low-level platforms at Brixton with the Victoria Line.
  • Add two high-level platforms at Loughborough Junction station on the Metro/Overground lines.
  • Make Loughbrough Junction station fully step-free.
  • Make various changes to the tracks, so that all required routes are possible.

There would obviously be other small projects, but I can’t see anything major except for the building of the Brixton Tunnel, that would be needed to create a sixteen train-per-hour route from Victoria across South London.

All projects and that includes the Brixton Tunnel could be carried out without large disruption of the existing train services, which in my view is a tribute to the Centre for London proposals.

I think that without any further major infrastructure after the Brixton Tunnel has been built, and some other smaller projects that are already being planned, the core section of the South London Metro could be a run of step-free stations interchanging with the Northern and Victoria Lines, Thameslink and other services out of Victoria and London Bridge.

Reversal Stations

I also wonder if any of the core stations could be created with an island platform, so that passengers can reverse direction without going up and down stairs. This can already be done at Queens Road Peckham station if say you are on a Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction train and want to go to South Bermondsey or London Bridge.

Never underestimate passengers’ ability to duck and dive!

Connectivity just encourages passengers to take more outrageous, faster and convenient routes.

The Western Termini

At present there are two western termini for the services along the South London Line; Victoria and Clapham Junction and Victoria.

There is probably not enough platforms, if it is desired to run sixteen tph or more through the core, as is done on the East London Line.

Clapham Junction As A Western Terminus

At present 4 tph run to Clapham Junction and as I wrote in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, this will be increased to 6 tph in 2019.

I suspect that despite the rather unusual platform arrangements at Clapham Junction, which I call The Clapham Kiss, that 6 tph can be handled at the station.

So I think it will be very much Carry On Clapham!

Victoria As A Western Terminus

At present, the following services serve Victoria along the South London Line.

  • 4 tph to Orpington, which turn off at Brixton.
  • 2 tph to Dartford via Bexleyheath, which turn off at Peckham Rye.

Combined with the 6 tph from Clapham Junction, between Wandsworth Road and Brixton, there are 12 tph.

Given that Victoria is crowded and needs more platforms, would it be possible to handle the South London Metro from a dedicated platform or pair of platforms in Victoria?

Assigned platforms at Dalston Junction certainly helps passengers, as you know where your train to the various destinations will call.

  • Through Platform 1 for Highbury and Islington
  • Bay Platform 2 for New Cross
  • Bay Platform 3 for Clapham Junction
  • Through Platform 4 for Crystal Palace and West Croydon

This is certainly what is happening today as I write.

I think it would be a great advantage if you went to a particular platform or pair of platforms to pick up the South London Metro.

This mini sub-station concept is used at.

  • Cheshunt for the Lea Valley Lines
  • Clapham Junction for the East London Line.
  • Crystal Palace for the East London Line.
  • Liverpool Street for the Lea Valley Lines.
  • Richmond for the North London Line.
  • Stratford for the North London Line.

Usually, you just look for the orange!

Battersea As A Western Terminus

Given that Victoria is crowded and probably needs more platforms, an alternative terminus is probably needed.

Just as when Dalston Junction was rebuilt for the East London Line, two bay platforms were incorporated, could the same thing be done at the new Battersea station?

Certainly, the system works well at Dalston Junction, so why wouldn’t a similar arrangement work at Batttersea?

  • Passengers needing to get to Victoria on a train terminating at Battersea would just walk across the platform and wait a couple of minutes for the train to Victoria.
  • Passengers from Victoria on a train going to a wrong destination would only have to go to Wandsworth Road to get a train to any destination, including those served from Clapham Junction.

It is a system, where to do any journey you either do it direct, or with a single same-platform change.

Old Oak Common As A Western Terminus

Because of the capacity problems and the unusual layout at Clapham Junction station, it might also be possible to use somewhere on the West London Line as a Western terminus.

Old Oak Common station with its connections to the West Coast Main Line, HS2, Crossrail and the North London Line would be an obvious choice.

The Eastern Termini

At present services from Victoria and Clapham Junction, go although the South London Line to the following destinations.

  • Dalston Junction – 4 tph from Clapham Junction – 6 tph from 2019
  • Dartford – 2 tph from Victoria via Bexleyheath
  • Orpington – 4 tph from Victoria

Even with Dartford services raised to 4 tph, that is probably still below the capacity of the core section of the line.

Dalston Junction As An Eastern Terminus

I would assume that the current Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction service will continue.

Currently there are 4 tph, but this will go to 6 tph in 2019 as I wrote about in Increased Frequencies On The East London Line.

As  TfL’s predictions in the document I found for 2016 and 2017 have already happened, I would think the 6 tph is likely, if the new Class 710 trains are delivered to boost the fleet.

With the increase in service frequency, London Overground Syndrome means that the passengers using the service will increase.

Dartford As An Eastern Terminus

At present, 2 tph go between Victoria and Dartford via Bexleyheath.

But is Dartford, the best terminal in the area for the South London Metro?

Consider.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see 4 tph service along a South London Metro to a Dartford station, where Crossrail calls to give a direct link to HS2 at Ebbsfleet International.

London Bridge As An Eastern Terminus

As London Bridge station used to be linked along the South London Line to Victoria, this important station must be added.

Especially, as there were a lot of passengers, who objected to losing the direct service along the South London Line between London Bridge and Victoria.

On the East London Line, there is a short 4 tph service between Dalston Junction and New Cross which is used as a short direct service through the core, perhaps to boost train frequencies there.

So could a  service with a similar frequency  be run on the South London Line between Victoria and London Bridge? It could call at.

  • South Bermondsey
  • Queen’s Road Peckham
  • Peckham Rye
  • Denmark Hill
  • Loughborough Junction
  • Brixton
  • Clapham High Street
  • Wandsworth Road
  • Battersea

It would have step-free connections to the Northern and Victoria Lines and Thameslink, if the appropriate stations were upgraded.

Orpington As An Eastern Terminus

I think that Orpington has the greatest potential as a terminal.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the route from Kent House station via Beckenham Junction and Bromley South to Orpington.

From Kent House Via BromleySouth To Orpington

From Kent House Via BromleySouth To Orpington

It has very good connectivity.

Because of all this connectivity, Bromley and Orpington might be able to provide enough passengers for more than four trains per hour going to Victoria and/or Battersea.

Remember there will still be the five fast trains per hour through the Brixton Tunnel  in addition to the stopping ones of the Metro.

Bellingham As An Eastern Terminus

When the Overground took over the line, there was some discussion about a service between Victoria and Bellingham.

So could Bellingham station be a terminus?

This Google Map shows the area around Bellingham station.

Bellingham Station

Bellingham Station

There doesn’t seem to be much of importance in the area, except the leisure centre.

In addition.

  • The station doesn’t seem to have a suitable bay platform, but there may be space to build one.
  • The station would provide a link to Thameslink.
  • It only handles a couple of trains an hour most of the day, so perhaps the terminating of trains was to be slipped in the large gaps.

Perhaps it was all to stimulate development in the area.

An HS1 to HS2 Link

If Old Oak Common is chosen as a Western Terminus with a 4 tph service down the West London Line and the core route of the South London Metro, what would be a suitable terminal in the East?

Given what I said about Dartford as an Eastern terminus, surely a four tph service across South London linking HS1 and HS2 must enter into the route planners’ thinking.

As Crossrail does the business linking HS1 and HS2 for North and Central London, a South London Metro could be configured to do a similar job for a whole swath of South and West London.

A Brockley Interchange

The Centre for London report proposes a new pair of platforms on the South London Line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations, providing interchange with the existing Brockley station.

I gave my views on Brockley station in A Report On The Bakerloo Line Extension, which I now repeat in an edited form.

This Google Map shows Brockley  station.

Brockley Station

The Bexleyheath Line between Nunhead and Lewisham stations crosses the East London Line and Brockley station at a high level.

I wrote A Four-Poster Station about connecting these two lines.

It would appear that Transport for London have advanced this project from one word in their 2050 Infrastructure Plan to a proposal.

If the South London Metro included the services to Dartford via Bexleyheath, then this interchange at Brockley station might make some passengers journeys a lot easier.

A Penge Interchange

The Centre for London report proposes an interchange between Penge East station on the Chatham Main Line with Penge West station on the East London Line.

This Google Map shows the lines and the two Penge stations.

Penge Stations

Penge Stations

The report suggests that it would be possible to reduce the walking distance between the two stations from 650 to 400 metres and there might be potential to move Penge West station to the North of the High Street.

As the walking appears substantially to be flat, I wonder if a section of travelator would be possible!

I recently walked from East to West station and took these pictures.

One of the station staff said that they need step-ladders to access the Crystal Palace line, that runs over the top.

The walk incidentally took me fifteen minutes, so if it decreases from 650 to 400 metres, by moving the station North of the High Street that should reduce the time to under ten minutes.

Will a travelator be added.

As with the extra platforms at Brockley station, this interchange has the potential to ease some passengers journeys.

My Proposed Schedule

I will give my view of the trains on a South London Metro.

  • 6 tph between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction.
  • 4 tph between Dartford and Old Oak Common.
  • 4 tph between Victoria/Battersea and London Bridge
  • 6 tph between Victoria/Battersea and Orpington

This gives a total of 20 tph, which would be the same as the East London Line will be in 2019.

The Rolling Stock

Due to platform restrictions on the East London Line, I would envisage that the trains between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction will probably still be the same five-car Class 378 trains.

The trains on the other destinations can probably be anything suitable and would include Class 375, Class 377 or even some new Class 710 trains.

But as there is no platform restrictions to the other destinations, the trains could probably be any desired formation between four and twelve cars.

Any new platforms would of course be built to accept twelve-car trains.

Getting To Heathrow

At the present time, getting to Heathrow can be a bit of a problem from some places in South London.

But after Crossrail and Old Oak Common station are opened, it would just be a matter of getting one of a 4 tph South London Metro train to Old Oak Common and changing for Crossrail.

It may of course be easier to use one of the other possible routes to Crossrail.

  • Take the Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road from Battersea or Clapham North.
  • Take Thameslink to Tottenham Court Road.
  • Go via Whitechapel.

We’ll all develop our favourite routes.

Getting To Gatwick

At the present time, Thameslink haven’t published their full route yet, but anybody on the South London Metro should be able to do one of the following.

  • Go to Clapham Junction and get a direct train.
  • Go to Victoria and get Gatwick Express.
  • Go to London Bridge and get Thameslink.

Unfortunately, it looks like I might lose my option of going to New Cross Gate and getting a direct train.

Conclusion

A South London Metro running 16 tph or more between Wandsworth Road and Peckham Rye stations, with multiple termini at either end, must be a feasible and affordable possibility, if the following is done.

  • The Brixton Tunnel is built to give fast Victoria to Kent services a by-pass.
  • The Overground/Metro services are moved to the Northern pair of tracks on the South London Line.
  • Various station and track improvements are carried out.

It looks to me, that this project could transform South London and improve the lot of people like me, who live on the East London Line.

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lines At Battersea Power Station On the Way Into Victoria

This Google Map shows the area to the West of Battersea Power station, where the various lines go across the Thames into Victoria.

Battersea Power Station, The Lines Into Victoria And The Dogs Home

Battersea Power Station, The Lines Into Victoria And The Dogs Home

 

This image was taken a couple of years ago and the iconic gas-holders next to the power station and between the rail lines were still standing.

The lines to the West of the gas holders include the Brighton Main Line. They go through Battersea Park station before turning towards Clapham Junction station and all places to the South.

The lines to the East of the gas holders include the Chatham Main Line. They go via Wandsworth Road, Chatham High Street, and Brixton stations to places in Kent and the South-East.

There is also a set of lines that come from the station and go under the Chatham Main Line before turning to the West towards Clapham Junction.

It certainly is a complicated layout of tracks and points.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr might make things a bit clearer.

Lines Between Battersea And Victoria

Lines Between Battersea And Victoria

Note on the map, there is a Battersea Park Road station on the Chatham Main Line.  The new station wouldn’t surely be far from this position.

This set of images were taken on a train from a Clapham Junction to Victoria train show the Chatham Main Line, as it passes the power station and the Dogs Home.

Note.

  1. The new modern viaduct, where the Chatham Main Line crosses over the third set of lines.
  2. The massive area, where the gas-holders once stood.
  3. There is quite a space between the lines going through Battersea and the Chatham Main Lines,
  4. How the Dogs Home seems to be using any bit of space they can.

Although not a lover of the power station, the flats do seem to be hiding any decent view of the iconic building.

This is another set of images, which were taken coming in to Victoria on the Chatham Main Line.

Note that taken with the previous set of pictures, they certainly reinforce what I said there.

This third set of images show the other side of the Chatham Main Line going out from Victoria.

Note.

  1. There wouldn’t appear to be much space between the flats and the line, so the new Battersea station will probably be built further towards the South.
  2. If you look at these pictures carefully, you can see when the train is on the new concrete viaduct.
  3. It would appear that there are three tracks on the viaduct.
  4. The blue building is only shown as it puts a marker on the line.

If I was going to be pushed, I would suspect that a new station could be built fairly easily, that was linked by escalators and lifts to Battersea Power Station station.

I’ll leave the position and design to the architects and engineers.

But before I finish this post, look at this Google Map.

BatterseaParkStation

In the South-West corner, there is Battersea Park station.

Some think it an architectural gem, but I think, it’s a dump and a death-trap for anybody with any movement problems. This post entitled Battersea Park Station gives some more details.

In the North-East corner, you can just see Battersea Power Station.

The map of the lines earlier in this post, showed that the Northern Line Extension points at Battersea Park station, if the map is correct.

So could it be that now the gas-holders are cleared, that it would be possible to create a surface level walkway between all three stations.

  • Battersea Power Station tube station on the Northern Line Extension.
  • The proposed Battersea station on the Chatham Main Line into Victoria.
  • Battersea Park station on the Brighton Main Line into Victoria.

It would certainly make things a lot easier for architects, construction companies, train operators and passengers.

It would probably just be called Battersea! Or Perhaps Cats and Dogs! Would it be the first station in the world named after a charity?

One point is that the remains of Battersea Park Road station are still tucked into the bridge, that takes the Chatham Main Line over Battersea Park Road.

As you often find in this country, the railway arches under the viaduct seem to be in very good condition.

A combined station would be a station with very good connectivity.

One interesting possibility, is that a terminating platform could be provided at the station. Occasional services to Dalston Junction do already terminate at the station and perhaps if reorganised South London Line services were created. then Victoria And Battersea could share terminating duties, just as Dalston Junction and Highbury and Islington stations do at the Northern End of the East London Line.

The proposed tunnel under Brixton would start somewhere to the South of Battersea Park Road.

 

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment