The Anonymous Widower

Walthamstow Central Tube Station To Receive £15m Improvement

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Waltham Forest Guardian.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Walthamstow Central tube station has been allocated £15 million for improvements, but only if the controversial Walthamstow Mall redevelopment goes ahead.

New plans for the station include installing step-free access and a creating a new entrance.

That would surely get rid of the servere overcrowding that is experienced in Walthamstow Central station.

Overcrowding At Walthamstow Central Station

I often go to Walthamstow, at the tail end of the Evening Peak.

I have two routes.

  1. Take a bus to Highbury and Islington station and then use the Victoria Line.
  2. Take a bus to Hackney Downs station and then use the Chingford Line of the London Overground.

I always use the second route, as the two escalators at Walthamstow Central station can’t cope with the Victoria Line’s increased frequency of thirty-six trains per hour.

What makes matters worse is that all trains, except those going to and from the depot at Northumberland Park, run the whole length of the line between Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations.

Running this service on Dear Old Vicky, is one of the great engineering achievements on Metros around the world, but it means that passengers are finding some of the Victoria Line stations are inadequate. Walthamstow Central is one of them!

Another factor, that doesn’t help, is the excellent Walthamstow bus station. It is the third busiest in London and I’m sure it attracts more travellers to the rail and tube stations.

It is my belief, that the increase in train frequency and the building of the new bus station are the major cause of increasing overcrowding in the station.

It is worth noting that in 2016, the tube station handled nearly twenty-three million passengers with just two platforms and an up and a down escalator. By comparison, Cannon Street station, handled the same number of passengers with seven platforms and level access.

To be fair to Transport for London, they have sorted the gate lines at the station, but that still leaves the escalators severely overcrowded at times.

I actually can’t understand, why they haven’t replaced the middle staircase with a third escalator, as they have at Brixton, where there are also lifts.

Overcrowding Could Be Getting Worse!

Some transport improvements, that will happen in the next year or two,, will affect passenger numbers at Walthamstow Central station.

New Trains On The Chingford Line

The current Class 315 and Class 317 trains will be replaced by new Class 710 trains.

  • These will have the same number of carriages, but they will have a higher capacity, due to better design and being walk-through trains.
  • They will also have wi-fi and 4G available, if they follow the lead of the closely-related Class 345 trains.
  • Their operating speed has not been disclosed, but that of the Class 345 train is 90 mph, which is fifteen mph faster than a Class 315 train.
  • Their modern design will also allow them to save a minute or two at each of the seven stops.

The performance improvement may allow a more intense service.

The trains will certainly attract more passengers, as quality new trains always do!

  • Will the new trains generate more new passengers, than any forecaster dreamt was possible?
  • Will more passengers be attracted to stations North of Walthamstow Central and change to the Victoria Line?
  • Will some passengers change from using the Victoria Line to the Chingford Line?

Bear in mind, that new trains on the North London Line, started in 2010 with three-car trains running at six trains per hour (tph). They are now up to five-car trains running at eight tph. This is an capacity increase of over 120%.

On balance, I suspect that some of these factors will cancel each other out. But who knows?

New Trains On The Northern City Line

The geriatric Class 313 trains working the Northern City Line are being replaced by new Class 717 trains.

  • These new trains will offer higher frequencies and more capacity.
  • They will use 2+2 seating.
  • They will have wi-fi and power sockets.

Services on the Northern City Line have a cross-platform step-free interchange with the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington station, so I believe the route will be increasingly used by passengers between the Walthamstow/Chingford area and the City of London.

Undoubtedly, it will increase passengers using the escalators at Walthamstow Central station.

New Trains On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line

The current two-car Class 172 trains on the Gospel Oak To Barking Line, are being replaced by four-car electric Class 710 trains.

  • The new trains will double capacity.
  • They will have better passenger facilities.
  • They will be more environmentally-friendly.

These trains could encourage travellers to use the quieter Walthamstow Queen’s Road station, instead of the very busy Walthamstow Central station.

Stratford To Meridian Water

This project will add a third track to the West Anglia Main Line and allow a four tph service between Stratford station and the new station at Meridian Water with stops at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.

I have no view on how successful, this new line will be and how it will affect traffic on the Victoria line.

Crossrail

When you discuss transport provision in London, there is always a herd of elephants in the room!

Crossrail will change everybody’s journeys!

Crossrail will create a high-capacity fast route between Heathrow and Canary Wharf via Paddington, the West End and the City of London.

So how will those in Walthamstow and Chingford tie into this new high-capacity line?

In my view a direct link to Stratford is needed, which could be created by reinstating the Hall Farm Curve.

The World Ducking And Diving Championships

East Londoners would undoubtedly win the World Ducking-And-Diving Championships, if one were to be held.

Network Rail and Transport for London, are creating the ultimate training ground in North-East London.

Most people do a number of common journeys over time.

They get to know the best routes for these journeys dependent on various factors, like the time of day, weather and whether they are carrying heavy shopping.

For most people though, choosing the route for a particular day’s journey will not be process that can be written down, that might be more determined by random factors.

I for instance, will often choose my route, based on the first bus that comes along, even if it is not usually the quickest route.

To make journeys easier, through a network like North-East London, you need the following.

  • As many links as possible.
  • As few bottlenecks as possible.

These rules will allow the passengers to flow freely.

Passengers like water automatically find the quickest way from A to B.

Improvements In North-East London

There are various improvements in alphabetical order, that are proposed, planned or under construction for North-East London

Bicycle Routes Across The Lea Valley

The Lea Valley has a lot of green space and I have seen plans mentioned to create quiet cycling routes across the area.

It should also include lots of bikes for hire.

Hall Farm Curve

I mentioned this earlier and by building it to link Walthamstow and Stratford, it would enable direct access from Walthamstow and Chingford to the the following.

  • Olympic Park and Stadium.
  • The shops at Eastfield.
  • Crossrail
  • Docklands Light Railway
  • Jubilee and Central Lines
  • Highspeed serevices to Kent.
  • Continental services, if in the future, they stopped at Stratford.

It is a massive super-connector.

More Bus Routes

It may be that more bus routes or even stops are needed.

As an illustration of the latter, when the Walthamstow Wetlands opened, bus stops were provided.

New Stations

The new station at Meridian Water will add a new link to the transport network.

Two new stations on the Chingford Branch Line have also been proposed, which I wrote about them in New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line.

New stations are a good way to add more links in a transport network.

I shall be interested to see how many passengers the rebuilt Hackney Wick station attracts, when West Ham United are at home.

Northumberland Park Station

Northumberland Park station is being rebuilt with full step-free access, to provide better rail access to the new White Hart Lane Stadium.

Step-Free Access At Stations

Progress is being made, but there are still some truly dreadful access problems at some stations in East London.

Clapton, St. James Street, Seven Sisters, Stamford Hill and Wood Street certainly need improvement.

Tottenham Hale Station

Tottenham Hale Station is being rebuilt to give it full step-free access and a new entrance.

As this station handles well over ten million passengers a year, it is a good place to start.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station is almost last in this alphabetical list.

It is probably, the second most important transport hub in North-East London and it does handle nearly thirty million passengers a year if the National Rail and Underground figures are combined.

But, is it treated last by the planners?

Walthamstow Wetlands

This massive urban nature reserve opened last year and its importance will only grow in the years to come.

Will transport links need to be added to the Wetlands?

West Anglia Main Line Four-Tracking

Stansted Airport will grow and to get proper rail access to the airport, the long promised four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line will happen.

  • There will be two fast tracks for Cambridge, Stansted and possibly Norwich services.
  • There will be two slow tracks for local services up the Lea Valley to Broxbourne, Hertford East and Bishops Stortford.

Broxbourne station and the rebuilt Tottenham Hale station, will be the interchanges between fast and slow services.

Four-tracking will open up the possibility of lots more services up the Lea Valley.

There has been rumours, that Greater Anglia would like to open up a service between Stratford and Stansted. But that would be just for starters.

Liverpool Street station is full, but there is space at Stratford if the High Meads Loop under the shops and housing at Stratford is used, just like it was a few years ago.

The West Anglia Main Line could be turned into a high-capacity main line into London with two London terminal station; Liverpool Street and Stratford.

  • Both termini would be connected to Crossrail.
  • Liverpool Street connects to Central, Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan Lines.
  • The massive Liverpool Street-Moorgate Crossrail station will connect to the Northern and Northern City Lines.
  • Stratford connects to fast Kent services and Central and Jubilee Lines.

Will passengers for places like the West End get a fast train to Crossrail, rather than change for the Victoria Line at Tottenham Hale.

Conclusion

North-East London’s transport network is going to get better and better!

Note that I haven’t mentioned Crossrail 2! I doubt, this will be built before 2040!

 

 

 

 

 

May 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

In Improving The Chingford Branch Line, I showed how the new Class 710 trains and some adjustment to timetables could run eight trains per hour (tph) to Chingford, with 4 tph each going to Liverpool Street and Stratford, by getting the trains to cross at the level crossing at ighams Park station.

Several stations in London, including some on the Underground, have what is known as reversing sidings. In How Trains Reverse At West Croydon, I described the working of the reversing siding there, which London Overground trains use to swap tracks to get back to Dalston Junction station.

So could a strategically placed reversing siding be placed to turn back some services, before the Highams Park level crossing?

I don’t think a reversing siding would be needed until the Coppermill Curve was reinstated to allow trains to go to and from Tottenham Hale to Walthamstow, And even then, it would only be needed if more than eight tph were running to Walthamstow.

A reversing siding would allow the following.

  • More than eight tph to go to Walthamstow.
  • The creation of a triangular service from Tottenham Hale to Lea Bridge via Walthamstow.
  • Services between Chingford/Walthamstow and Seven Sisters/South Tottenham for a future Crossrail 2.
  • Services between Chingford/Walthamstow and Gospel Oak along the Gospel Oak to Barkjing Line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the railway lines around Seven Sisters station.

sevensistersstations

There are certainly a lot of possibilities.

  • The Seven Sisters Chord gives access to Seven Sisters, Enfield Town and Cheshunt.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line gives access to Cricklewood, Gospel Oak, Richmond and West Hampstead.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line gives access via Cricklewood to the Dudding Hill Line for Acton..
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking Line gives access via |Willesden Junction to the West London Line for Clapham Junction.

If another four tph service is created to Walthamstow, I suuspect it will be a third long East-West service, which will give eight tph on the busy part of the Gospel Oak to Barkling Line west of South Tottenham.

There are only three stations or four if you add in Forest Road, which I talked about in New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line.

  • St. James Street
  • Walthamstow Central
  • Wood Street
  • Forest Road.

I’ll look at each in detail.

St. James Street Station

This is probably too difficult and it’s the first station.

Walthamstow Central Station

This Google Map shows the station.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central Station

I think it could be a possibility.

I think that the platforms are certainly able to accept eight car trains and might even take twelve, so there should be space for a reversing siding between the two lines to the East of the station.

Wood Street Station

This Google Map shows the station.

Wood Street Station

Wood Street Station

Again, I think this is a possibility.

Wood Street station will need a lot of rebuilding to make it step-free and there is space beyond the platforms towards Chingford to put in a reversing siding for a train.

These pictures show the station.

It is a station with potential.

Forest Road Station

This Google Map shows where Forest Road station will probably go.

Forest Road Station

Forest Road Station

It could be just too restricted a site.

How Would The Trains Be Organised?

I think that Walthamstow Central or Wood Street will be the station with a reversing siding.

Say there are going to be three 4 tph services. They could be.

  • Gospel Oak to Walthamstow Central or Wood Street
  • Liverpool Street to Chingford
  • Stratford to Chingford

The sequence at the reversing station would be.

  1. The train from Gospel Oak arrives in the down platform, discharges passengers and goes into the reversing siding.
  2. The two Chingford services arrive in the down platform, one after the other, pick up any passengers and go to Chingford.
  3. The two Chingford services arrive in the up platform, one after the other, pick up any passengers and go to Stratford and Liverpool Street.
  4. The train for Gospel Oak comes out of the reversing siding into the up platform, picks up passengers and goes on to Gospel Oak.

No passengers would have to change platforms to change trains.

Would It Be Sensible To Have A Reversing Siding Anyway?

I’m no expert, but I think the answer is Yes!

Crossrail have a reversing siding at Chadwell Heath station, that they say is for service recovery, in this page on their web site.

So perhaps, if say there was a problem on the highams Park level crossing, a train or two could be diverted to the reversing platform to await their slot on the return from Chingford.

Conclusion

A reversing siding at either Walthamstow Central or Wood Street would allow extra services to be developed around the Coppermill Curve and also be useful for service recovery.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

 

 

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 7 Comments

Will Walthamstow Central Station On The Victoria Line Be Expanded?

This post is prompted by this article on London Reconnections, which looks at Transport for London’s World Class Capacity Upgrades for the Victoria, Jubilee and Northern Lines.

After the upgrade of the crossing at Walthamstow  last summer, the Victoria Line now has a capacity of 33 trains per hour and most trains run all the way between Walthamstow Central and Brixton stations.

Sometime this year the limit will be further increased to 36 tph, which will be a very high limit considering the design of the line.

The London Reconnections article says this about future upgrades.

With the Victoria line pushing towards what must be the theoretical limit for a line with that amount of rolling stock and – more importantly – two-platform termini, there are no plans to further improve the service. Indeed the challenge of procuring more trains and finding the depot space for them would probably discourage any such plans on its own. This does not mean that the line will be forgotten, as both Oxford Circus and Walthamstow Central are on TfL’s top ten hit list of stations in need of a major capacity upgrade. Simply that the days of pushing more trains through the same stations more quickly have passed. In the case of Walthamstow Central it is highly likely that the next step will be making the station double-ended, with an entrance near or in the shopping centre.

Certainly with just two escalators, Walthamstow Central station can be busy with both working. At the moment it is on my list of stations to avoid, as one of the escalators is being replaced.

Is the idea of creating a double-ended station at Walthamstow Central worth pursuing?

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr, which shows the lines at the station.

Walthamstow Central Lines

Walthamstow Central Lines

So it would appear that the Victoria Line platforms could be somewhere under the bus station and the shopping centre.

It certainly isn’t an impossible dream to create a second entrance to the Victoria Line platforms.

Walthamstow Central station was one of London Transport’s economy stations. Wikipedia says this.

The underground station, like many stations on the Victoria line, was never completely finished. White ceiling panels were never fixed to the ceilings above the platforms; instead the steel tunnel segments were painted black and used to support the fixtures and fittings. This has had a detrimental effect on the lighting levels. There is a concrete stairway between the two escalators instead of a third escalator; this caused a hugely disruptive station closure for several weeks in 2004 when both escalators went out of service.

It would be hoped that any upgrade of the station finishes the 1960s era construction.

But surely creating a double-ended station is the way to go.

  • It would take the pressure off the passageways in the existing station.
  • The existing station is not step-free and there is no deep lift.
  • If the second entrance had two escalators and lifts, it would give a lot of redundancy in platform access.
  • There is plenty of space in the shopping centre for a new entrance.

Passengers interchanging with the Chgingford Brancxh Line and those interchanging with buses or going shopping, could possibly be persuaded by good design to use appropriate and different entrances.

Conclusion

It’s feasible.

But the biggest advantage is surely that by planning carefully, the second entrance can be built around the current station, without disrupting passenger entrance and exit.

Related Posts

Improving The Chingford Branch Line

Could Electrification Be Removed From The Chingford Branch Line?

Could Reversing Sidings Be Used On The Chingford Branch Line?

Could The Hall Farm Curve Be Built Without Electrification?

Crossrail 2 And The Chingford Branch Line

New Stations On The Chingford Branch Line

Rumours Of Curves In Walthamstow

Wikipedia – Chingford Branch Line

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , | 7 Comments

My Thoughts On Tube Noise At Walthamstow Central

This report in the Standard is entitled Homes in Walthamstow hit by ‘jack-hammer’ Tube train noise after Victoria line upgrade work.

It describes how after all of the upgrade work I described in What Really Happened At Walthamstow Central, noise levels have increased in some of the houses by the station. This is an extract.

Resident Lynda Bailey said the noise, which strikes about every three minutes during peak hours and less frequently the rest of the time, began after Transport for London undertook engineering work over the summer.

“We bought this house about 10 years ago knowing it was above the southbound tunnel of the Victoria line.

“We came a couple of times – it was a rumble but we deemed it to be reasonable noise, as did everyone else.

“But this is unacceptable. I would liken it to a jack-hammer in the next room, like a banging sound … It’s almost like we’re on a Tube platform itself.”

Tonight, I had supper with my son in Walthamstow. He told me how one of his friends lives in a hoise, where the noise has reduced considerably since the work.

It’s all very curious.

Taking my answers from this article in Rail Engineer, there are major differences, indicated in this extract.

Careful survey work of the tunnels checked every millimetre of available space – especially length. The new crossover design is a technical step-change in that it involves the use of Sonneville Low Vibration Track (LVT) – a track system embedded in slab concrete. The point ends have been taken as far as practicable into the tunnels to achieve the longest possible crossover length. Coupled with new components, the maximum speed has been raised to 60kph (35 mph) – enough to secure the required turnround and the 36 trains per hour throughout the line.

Put simply, the crossover should generate less noise because of the Low Vibration Track, but because of the increased speed, more noise could be generated unless LVT was used for a lot more of the line.

I would think that my son’s friend lives over the crossover and its LVT, whereas the other complainants are on lines, where the trains are now going faster. The Standard reports this.

“Our engineers are treating this as a priority and have been improving and renewing the track beneath their properties over the last week.

Hopefully, this will affect a solution. If not, I suspect that London Underground will have a solution in their toolbox.

I have been involved in various noise and vibration issues in the past and in most cases a simple solution is usually found.

If they can’t find one, then I suspect they’ll lay a bit more Low Vibration Track.

 

 

 

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

What Really Happened At Walthamstow Central

I heard a lot of complaints about the closure of the Victoria Line in August. So I was pleased to see this article in Rail Engineer entitled Life is not a rehearsal… but pumping concrete can be!

As detailed by Transport for London this is a summary of what needed to be done.

Improvement work planned this summer by London Underground (LU) will lead to the operation of 36 trains per hour. From April 2016, this will provide a train every 100 seconds during peak hours, making the Victoria line the UK’s highest frequency railway and comparable with the very best in the world. All peak-time trains will run the full length of the line from Walthamstow Central to Brixton, giving a 40% capacity boost for customers northeast of Seven Sisters.

But it wasn’t that simple to achieve and the Rail Engineer article explains the main problem of a crossing at Walthamstow.

The trackwork kept pace with the times, but wasn’t shiny and, of course, it was out of sight. At Walthamstow – the end of the line – the track arrangement ended in a scissors crossover. For the non-pway engineers, this is a compact and complex track arrangement where terminating trains arriving at the crossover from the south in the northbound tunnel can be routed into either of the two platforms at Walthamstow Central, then routed back from either platform into the southbound tunnel.

Changing it wasn’t simple and they used every trick in the book to do the project.

  • A bespoke overhead crane was installed at the crossover, for ease of working, and after the job was completed it was left behind in the tunnel, so it could be used again if needed.
  • A number of demolition techniques were used to remove the old track and its concrete base.
  • They even wrapped the new track in polythene, so that no concrete got on the rails.
  • They had actually rehearsed the major concrete pouring which required fifty truck-loads of concrete in the open at Acton Depot.

The major outcome is that the speed of trains through the crossing has been raised from 20 mph to 35 mph, which is necessary to achieve thirty-six trains an hour through London.

Read the full article.

This is the sort of project that would make good television!

Except for one thing!

Nothing went wrong and the project was delivered thirty-six hours early.

 

 

October 5, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Poetry In Walthamstow Bus Station

I was greeted by these poems and words on the shelters in Walthamstow bus station.

They are simple and different and even the supervisor was enthusiastic.

Transport for London now need to get the closely related Walthamstow Central station up to a similar standard.

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Walking Between Walthamstow Central And Queens Road Stations

Walthamstow Central and Walthamstow Queens Road stations are not far apart and are considered to be an out-of-station interchange. This means that if you touch out in one station and then walk to the other to continue your journey, you only get charged for one journey.

It used to be tortuous to walk between the two stations, but in recent months a link called Ray Dudley Way has opened.

It does make the walk easier, but it is still not properly signed.

Note too, that it would appear that the eastern entrance to Walthamstow Central has been closed.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

What Might Have Been At Walthamstow And Woodford

The World Class Engineering And Penny-Pinching Architecture Of The Victoria Line

The Victoria Line is to reverse one of my favourite phrases, an all knickers and no fur coat Underground line.

Underground and remember, it is a totally below the surface except for the depot at Tottenham Hale, it is superb, with some world class engineering.

1. The original 1967 Stock lasted until 2011 and was a real tribute to its designers and builders.

2. The trains run automatically and the line was the world’s first to do this. I remember reading a document about how it worked in 1969 or so and because of the date the automation was largely controlled by thermionic valves and relays.

3. There was quite a bit of innovative design in the layout of the lines, which included the hump-backed stations, summed up here from Wikipedia.

The line has hump-backed stations to allow trains to store gravitational potential energy as they slow down and release it when they leave a station, providing an energy saving of 5% and making the trains run 9% faster

4. The overall concept has proved to be sound, as the line has a very good safety record.

But they certainly didn’t spend a large amount of time, effort and money on the stations. Again from Wikipedia.

When the Victoria line was built, budget restrictions meant that station infrastructure standards were lower than on older lines and on later extension projects. Examples include narrower than usual platforms and undecorated ceilings at Walthamstow Central, Blackhorse Road and Tottenham Hale, adversely affecting lighting levels. At most stations there is still a concrete staircase between the up and down escalators, where an additional escalator could be installed.

Walthamstow Central, Seven Sisters and Highbury and Islington are still truly dreadful stations.

The Bad Stations Can Only Get Better

Hopefully :-

1. The takeover of the Chingford Line by London Overground and the developments in Walthamstow town centre, will result in substantial improvements to Walthamstow Central.

2. Crossrail 2 and the Overground takeover coupled with development could also improve Seven Sisters.

3. Much needed better disabled access, enhancements to the Northern City line and increased passenger numbers will drive a need for the rebuilding of Highbury and Islington.

4. Other stations like Brixton, Euston and Blackhorse Road will have improvements driven by other new and upgraded lines.

Finally fifty years on, the sins of the 1960s are being eradicated.

The Victoria Line Extension To South Woodford or Woodford

But there are no plans to extend the line to Woodford or South Woodford stations on the Central Line which was part of the original proposals. Again from History on Wikipedia.

It had been intended to build the line beyond Walthamstow Central to Wood Street (Walthamstow), where it would have surfaced to terminate next to the British Rail station. Proposals were also made to extend the line as far north as South Woodford or Woodford, to provide interchange with the Central line. However, in a late decision in 1961 the line was cut back to Walthamstow (Hoe Street) station, renamed Walthamstow Central in 1968.

Let’s take a look at the Underground lines in the area. This map from Walthamstow Central to Woodford station is from Google Earth.

 

Walthamstow Lines

Walthamstow Lines

The red line at the right is the Central Line with South Woodford and Snaresbrook stations shown, in addition to Woodford station to the north of the A406.

The orange and light blue at the left being the Gospel Oak to Barking and Victoria Lines, with the two Walthamstow stations; Central and Queens Road.

The Victoria Line was originally planned to surface at Wood Street station, which can be seen to the north of Whipps Cross Hospital and then presumably cut across the southern part of Epping Forest to the Central Line.

I can’t find an article specifically stating why the extension to Woodford was dropped, but I did find this general article on London Reconnections, entitled Why We Do (And Don’t) Extend Tube Lines. This is two paragraphs.

One lesson quickly learnt by the early entrepreneurs who built early tube lines (and by this, as for the duration of the article, we mean the deep level lines) was that the longer the line and the bigger the network, the more profitable it was. To some extent this may seem obvious – a tube line between only two stations is of limited use (although exceptionally the Waterloo and City line manages to perform this role).

As usage tends to tail off at the extremities, it made sense to have the ends only being a small portion of the line. It also made sense to maximise use of resources. Trains sitting in terminal platforms were not in revenue earning service and a lot of the infrastructure – such as power supply – had large initial costs but the add-on cost for these items when extending the line was not that great.

So it’s generally all about economics and probably in the case of the Victoria Line; government money.

Walthamstow is a large catchment are and it has two routes into Central London and one to the west, two of which will be upgraded in the next few years, so I doubt the Victoria Line will be extended in the near future. This Google Earth image from Wood Street to South Woodford stations, shows the mass of development in between the two lines.

Wood Street To South Woodford

Wood Street To South Woodford

Wood Street station is just visible at the bottom left and South Woodford is at the far right towards the top.

There is also the small matter of putting the line through the green lung that is Epping Forest.

So any extension from Walthamstow Central to the Central Line would probably be in an expensive tunnel.

But there are some other reasons why any extension will not be built as planned in the 1950s.

1. There now appears from this Google Earth image to be little space around Wood Street station.

Around Wood Street Station

Around Wood Street Station

Although it does look like that some of the buildings around the station were built in recent decades.

This would appear to further rule out a surface route.

2. Walthamstow now has an impressive new bus station, that was built 2005 and is the third busiest in London with twenty-four hour operation.

Buses go all over north east London from the bus station, to places like Wood Green, East Ham, Barnet and Ilford, but there is also a comprehensive local network that covers the area to Chingford and Woodford. This spider map shows all the routes from Walthamstow Central.

3. Crossrail will also have an effect when it opens. How will passengers between Walthamstow and Woodford, get on Crossrail? They have several choices.

What Should Be Done

In my view it would be better to spend money on the following.

1. Adding new routes and extra capacity to the buses in the area, so the in-between passengers will have a choice to go east or west.

2. After May 2015, improving the stations on the Chingford Branch from Hackney Downs to Chingford, with step-free access and better information systems and interchange with the buses in the area.

3. Increasing the frequency of Overground trains to Chingford and possibly running some through to Stratford via the reinstated Hall Farm Curve and the new Lea Bridge station.

4. New trains have been promised and I suspect they’ll arrive in the next few years. However, giving the Class 317 trains a good scrub, some new seat covers and a bit of TLC and they will hold the line in the meantime. On the Chingford branch more services are more important than flash new trains.

5. In the Future Developments section of the Wikipedia entry for the Chingford Branch, it is said that there may be a station at both Forest Road and Chingford Hatch, either side of Highams Park station. This map shows the area.

Around Highams Park

Around Highams Park

The red arrow indicates Chingford Hatch, with the two stations shown being Highams Park in the middle and Wood Street at the bottom.

The Effect Of An Expanded Stansted Airport

However, there is one factor that has been ignored, which would change everything.

And that is if Stansted Airport is expanded.

Plans for this sometimes show another rail link direct to London, which is an extension of the Chingford Branch line from Chingford.

Can Any Conclusions Be Drawn?

I can’t see any reason why the Victoria Line would be extended to join the Central Line, unless a second line is built to Stansted Airport or a similar large project was developed in the area, that required a major sort out of lines.

But the major conclusion is that because of developments that are already in place and others that could easily be implemented there are masses of ways to improve public transport in the Walthamstow area, which are proven and a lot more affordable.

I think that in perhaps ten years time, the following will have been done.

1. The Chingford Branch Line will have upgraded stations and a proper interchange to buses and the Victoria Line at Walthamstow Central.

2. The Chingford Branch Line will be running possibly as many as six trains an hour and a proportion will go to Stratford, rather than Liverpool Street.

3. There will be at least two new stations on the Chingford Branch Line.

4. The bus services based on Walthamstow Central bus station will be expanded.

5. New or refurbished trains will be running the service on the Chingford Branch.

I’m not speculating, just applying logic to see what is possible and history from the East and North London Lines after they were taken over by London Overground.

I shall be very surprised if the Victoria Line is extended to Woodford.

I will not be surprised to see house prices in the area rise astronomically, as they have done here in Dalston.

Good railway connections really seem to bring the best or worst out of house prices.

 

 

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

One For London Overground To Correct

I was at Walthamstow Central station last night and wanted to return home the quickest way, for which I have a choice of routes.

1. Take an Abellio Greater Anglia train to Hackney Downs and then get a 56 bus.

2. Take a Victoria Line train to Highbury and Islington and then cross the road and get a 277 or 30 bus.

3. Take a Victoria Line train to Seven Sisters and then get a bus to Dalston.

I prefer the first route, it has the least amount of walking and if it’s raining hard it’s mostly under cover. But the route has the disadvantage that you can wait fifteen minutes for a train. This is a bad picture of the information screen on the platform.

Information At Walthamstow Central

Information At Walthamstow Central

The trouble is that like all the other information screens at the station, it doesn’t give information for the Underground services in their station below.

Last night I waited about two minutes for a train, but if it had been six or so, I’d have probably dived into the Underground.

To make matters worse, if you arrive in the station using the underpass from the bus station, you do not pass any information screens at all and you have to climb the stairs to finds out the next train.

That’s not very customer friendly in my book.

Hopefully, when the Chingford services are taken over by London Overground in May, then as it will be an Overground/Underground station exclusively, then this lack-of-information problem will be resolved.

January 10, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment