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.


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.


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

Along The Reopened Gospel Oak To Barking Line

The Gospel Oak to Barking Line reopened after its major upgrade on Monday.

The stations generally need need work  in several areas

  • Gantries – Some overhead gantries have not been erected.
  • Lifts – Some stations need lifts.
  • Platform Extensions – Some stations need platform extensions to be completed
  • Ticket Gates – Ticket gates might need to be installed at some stations.
  • Wires – Wires need to be installed.

These are some pictures I have taken along the line.


Barking station is more or less complete.

Might need – Lifts, Platform Extensions

Note the unique step-free double cross-platform interchange to Gospel Oak and c2c services.

Woodgrange Park

Woodgrange Park station is more or less complete.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Needs – Lifts

Note the excellent refuges enclosing the new ticket gates.

Wanstead Park

Wanstead Park station needs a fair bit of work.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Gantries, Wires

Needs – Lifts

Leytonstone High Road

Leytonstone High Road station needs a fair bit of work.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Gantries, Wires

Needs – Lifts

The station’s brickwork has been sympathetically restored.

Leyton Midland Road

Leyton Midland Road station needs a fair bit of work.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Gantries, Wires

Needs – Lifts

I’ve used the station many times and the builders had done a very good job in improving the station with imaginative use of brickwork.

Walthamstow Queens Road

Walthamstow Queens Road station is more or less complete.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Gantries, Wires

Migh need – Lifts

Needs – Ticket Gates

I think adding lifts is going to be difficult, but aren’t strictly necessary due to the long ramps.

Blackhorse Road

Blackhorse Road station is more or less complete .

In progress – Lifts, Platform Extensions

Still to do – Gantries, Wires

South Tottenham

South Tottenham station is more or less complete.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Wires

Harringay Green Lanes

At Harringay Green Lanes station needs a fair bit of work.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Gantries, Wires

Needs – Lifts, Ticket Gates

Crouch Hill

Crouch Hill station needs a fair bit of work.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Gantries, Wires

Needs – Lifts, Ticket Gates

There might also be a serious problem with not enough clearance under the station bridge.

Upper Holloway

Upper Holloay station needs a fair bit of work.

In progress – Platform Extensions

Still to do – Wires

Needs – Lifts, Ticket Gates

Gospel Oak

Gospel Oak station is more or less complete.

Might need – Platform Extension

I was glad to see the coffee hut hat been reinstated.

Passengers Comments

Speaking to other passengers, all seemed pleased that the line was back in service and a couple remarked how neat and tidy it all was.

No-one seemed to be bothered work was still ongoing.

I even got praise for the Class 172 trains, which will be replaced by new Class 710 trains in 2018. One guy said there’s no need, although when I told him, they will be bigger, he liked that.



February 28, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 8 Comments

Between Walthamstow Queen’s Road And Leyton Midland Road Stations

These pictures show the Gospel Oak and Barking Line (GOBlin) between Walthamstow Queen’s Road and Leyton Midland Road stations.

This part of the route isn’t as interesting as the section I covered in The Bridges Of Walthamstow.


  • In my peek at Walthamstow Queen’s Road station, nothing much seemed to have happened at the station.
  • The track in the Gospel Oak direction appears to have been removed and track replacement seemed to be happening in the region of the Baker’s Arms Bridge.
  • The cutting is well-buttressed between the Shrubland Road Bridge and the relatively-new Alobert Road Bridge
  • You can see pairs of piles for electrification gantries east of Queen’s Road Bridge.
  • The embankment that carries the line through North East London appears to start around the Boundary Road Bridge.
  • The railway arches don’t seem to be in the worst of conditions, even if they do have a touch of the Arthur Daley’s.

What I find strange about this line is the lack of a station at Bakers Arms. It’s not that there ever was one, but as the line crosses the major Lea Bridge Road and on this line, that is usually a good enough reason for a station, I’m surprised the Victorians didn’t build one.

The Barking Gospel Oak Rail User Group suggest one in this page on their web site.

There may be a lot of reasons to build a station at Bakers Arms.

  • It is near to several new hotels and housing developments.
  • It is better positioned than the two adjoining stations.
  • It is well served by lots of buses.
  • It is on a busy main road.

But contrary to that.

  • The buses can take you to the better connected stations of Walthamstow Central and Lea Bridge, in under fifteen minutes.
  • It might be a difficult site on which to build a station.
  • Reopening the Hall Fsrm Curve may be a better option.

It should probably have been built, when one of the adjoining developments was constructed.

June 15, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 7 Comments

Before GOBlin Electrification – Walthamstow Queen’s Road

Walthamstow Queen’s Road is of a similar standard to most of the other stations on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

The station like Harringay Green Lanes is step-free by ramps and at some point will need lifts.

August 16, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment