The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On The Closure Of The Northern Line At Bank To Complete The Upgrade To Bank Station

The Bank Station Upgrade is a major project that will increase the capacity of Bank station by forty percent.

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the project.

It was originally planned that sometime in late 2021, the Northern Line will be closed through Bank station.

The document says this.

We will need to close part of the Northern line Bank branch in 2021, between Kennington and Moorgate, to connect new and existing sections of tunnel safely. Trains will run less frequently on those sections of the Bank branch that are still open. Check back here for details.

This would mean that Bank, London Bridge, Borough and Elephant & Castle stations will be closed on the Northern Line.

To help passengers, TfL say, they will do the following.

  • Run 33% more trains on the Northern line Charing Cross branch
  • Review bus use and consider enhancing services where necessary
  • Investigate scope for passengers to use alternative National Rail services, such as Waterloo to London Bridge, and London Bridge to Cannon Street
  • Review available walking space on the Moorgate to London Bridge pedestrian corridor.

These are my thoughts.

The New Cannon Street Entrance To Bank Station

This visualisation shows the new Cannon Street entrance to Bank station.

Note.

  1. South is to the right and we’re looking from roughly the North-West.
  2. The existing twin bores of the Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The escalator connection to the District and Circle Lines at Monument station Starts at the Southern end of these two narrow platforms.
  4. The new single bore of the new Southbound tunnel on the near side of the visualisation.
  5. The triple escalators descending from the new Cannon Street entrance to one of the four cross-walks between the Northern Line platforms.
  6. The current Eastern ends of these cross-walks are shown in The Southbound Northern Line Platform At Bank Station.

But where is the Docklands Light Railway (DLR)?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Bank station.

Note.

  1. The two existing Northern Line Platforms 3 and 4 are shown in black.
  2. The Central Line is shown in red.
  3. The DLR is shown in turquoise and sneaks under the Northern Line into Platforms 9 and 10.
  4. Platforms 7 and 8 are the platforms of the Waterloo and City Line.
  5. It would appear that the escalator connection between Bank and Monument stations goes between the existing tracks of the Northern Line.

So where is the Docklands Light Railway?

  • As Platforms 3 and 9 appear to be close together with Platform 9, the deeper of the two, I suspect we can’t see  the Docklands Light Railway in the visualisation, as it is hidden behind and underneath everything else.
  • I also suspect that the triple escalators between the new Northern Line cross-walks descend in the space at the Southern ends of Platforms 9 and 10.

This is the Northern end of the visualisation I showed earlier

Note.

  1. North is to the left.
  2. The two tracks and the narrow island platform of the current Northern Line on the far side of the visualisation.
  3. The two staircases leading up from Northern Line to a lobby, where passengers can walk North to the Central Line.
  4. The double escalator barrel going down to the DLR.
  5. The travelator that will connect the Northern and Central Lines
  6. The three cross passages linking the DLR escalators to the lobby between the Central and Northern Lines.
  7. The most Southerly of these cross passages has a lift to the DLR.

The new Southbound platform of the Northern Line, would appear to be to the West of the Docklands Light Railway.

It appears to be a very tight fit.

These pictures show the current status of the new entrance.

There would appear to be still a lot to be done.

This TfL image shows how it will look in 2022.

Ducking And Diving

No-one ducks and dives like Londoners. So rest assured, that if someone needs to get from A to B and the obvious route is blocked, Londoners will always get through. And if all else fails, a black cab will find a way, usually driven by a Londoner or someone infected with the ducking and diving virus.

Crossrail

As ever Crossrail is the herd of elephants in the London railway system.

The Northern Line is possibly the most important North-South route across Central London with two branches through the centre; Bank and Charing Cross.

But Crossrail connects to these  North-South routes.

  • Lea Valley Lines at Stratford
  • East London Line at Whitechapel
  • Lea Valley and West Anglia Lines at Stratford
  • Northern Line Bank Branch at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Northern and City Line at Moorgate/Liverpool Street
  • Thameslink at Farringdon
  • Northern Line Charing Cross Branch at Tottenham Court Road
  • Jubilee Line at Bond Street
  • Bakerloo Line at Paddington

Crossrail will give a lot of opportunities for ducking and diving.

Under original plans Crossrail was supposed to open in 2019, with the Bank station closure for the upgrade in 2021.

This phasing certainly seemed a good idea at the time.

  • Crossrail will be able to offer alternative routes during the closure.
  • If the Crossrail stations are substantially complete, they can release workers to finish Bank station.

I wonder, if it would be sensible to not upgrade the tracks through Bank station until Crossrail opens through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.

As I wrote in Your First Crossrail Service May Arrive In Time For Christmas, Crossrail could open this year.

So are we being prepared for the mother of all cunning plans?

  • Crossrail between Paddington and Abbey Wood opens before Christmas.
  • The closure of the Bank branch to allow the Bank station upgrade happens at a convenient time after the opening of Crossrail through Moorgate/Liverpool Street.
  • Moorgate continues to have a limited Northern Line service to the North.
  • Crossrail continues work on the other branches.

Note.

  1. There is a crossover to the North of Moorgate station, which might allow Moorgate to work as a two-platform terminal station handling up to 4 or 6 trains per hour (tph).
  2. If Crossrail is running at Moorgate, the station should be step-free to and from the deep-level platforms.
  3. Transport for London are looking at walking routes on the Moorgate and London Bridge route.
  4. During the closure of the Northern Line through Bank, passengers for the City will go to Moorgate and walk or perhaps take a bus.

It is my view, that Crossrail must be open, before the Northern Line through Bank station is closed to allow work to be completed.

A Demonstration of the Northern Line Capacity At Moorgate When Working As A Terminal Station

Yesterday, which was a Sunday, the Northern Line was closed between Moorgate and London Bridge stations.

  • After a walk, I returned home from Moorgate station via Angel station, where I got a 38 bus.
  • I was surprised to find that trains on the Northern Line were leaving Moorgate station for the North every four to five minutes.

This would seem to indicate that frequencies of between 12 and 15 tph are possible.

Current frequencies through Bank station are 24 tph in the Peak and 20 tph in the Off Peak, so it will be a substantial reduction. But it is better, than my original estimate earlier in this section.

33% More Trains on the Northern Line Charing Cross Branch

Currently, the Charing Cross branch has a capacity of twenty-four tph and handles the following services in the Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 2 tph between Edgware and Morden
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington
  • 2 tph between High Barnet and Morden

And these services in the Off Peak.

  • 10 tph between Edgware and Kennington
  • 10 tph between High Barnet and Kennington

Note.

  1. Extra trains go between the two Northern branches and Morden via the Bank branch.
  2. Kennington and Morden can handle 28 tph and regularly does.
  3. The loop at Kennington turns twenty trains per hour in both the Peak and the Off Peak

If there is an increase of 33 % in the number of trains, this must mean that 32 tph will run through Charing Cross in the Peak and 28 tph in the Off Peak.

  • The signalling system on the Northern Line is the same as that on the Jubilee Line, where it handles 30 tph.
  • It also can handle up to 30 tph between Kennington and Morden on the Northern Line.
  • Perhaps it can be stretched to 32 tph through Charing Cross in the Peak.

If the Charing Cross branch can only be uprated to 30 tph, that is still an increase of 25 % in the number of trains.

The Kennington Loop

I mentioned the Kennington Loop and this beautiful old drawing shows its layout.

Note.

  1. South is at the top of the drawing.
  2. At present, as I said, the loop turns twenty tph all day.
  3. The extension to Battersea connects to the loop.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows a map of the loop.

Note.

  1. The Charing Cross branch goes to the North-West from Kennington.
  2. The Bank branch goes to the North-East from Kennington.
  3. ,The lines to Battersea are shown dotted.
  4. Trains using the extension to Battersea can only use the Charing Cross branch.

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if the line speed to and from Battersea, is faster than it is round the loop.

It’s just that the lines to Battersea are not such a sharp curve and they have been recently designed and built.

As the Modern branch can handle 30 tph, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the Battersea extension has been designed to handle this frequency.

The Northern Line Extension To Battersea

This document on the Transport for London web site gives details of the Northern Line Extension To Battersea.

This paragraph introduces the project.

The Northern line extension (NLE) between Kennington and Battersea will help regenerate the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea areas by supporting new jobs and homes. The extension is scheduled to be completed in autumn 2021.

The opening of the extension could offer benefits to the existing Northern Line.

As I said in the previous section, twenty tph are turned at Kennington using the loop.

Will all these trains now use the new Battersea extension, when it opens?

  • The Battersea extension is fully double-track.
  • Battersea Power Station station has two platforms and a cross-over, so if Brixton and Walthamstow Central stations can handle in excess of 30 tph, I suspect London’s newest terminal station can too!

If the Battersea extension has a design capacity of 30 tph, it would certainly be able to handle 20 tph.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see all trains that currently turn at Kennington will take the Battersea extension, when it opens.

There must surely be the interesting possibility of before the Battersea extension opens to passengers, using it to turn the trains that would otherwise use the loop at Kennington. It would certainly be a very thorough test, of track and signalling.

I am fairly certain, there would be advantages in having the Battersea extension open before the Bank branch is upgraded.

  • Running trains to Battersea could be more efficient than using the Kennington Loop.
  • Opening the Battersea extension would need the signalling at Kennington to be upgraded and fully tested, so any changes needed for increased frequencies on the Charing Cross branch could be performed at the same time.
  • All the residents of the new housing in Battersea. would have an Underground connection.

Opening the Battersea extension will change passenger patterns on the Northern Line and as the changes will be difficult to predict, it would surely be better to upgrade Bank station, after the opening of the Battersea extension.

Thameslink

Thameslink is not mentioned in any of the Transport for London documents, but surely it has a big part to play.

  • Thameslink serves a lot of stations in South and South East London and beyond, including Brighton, East Croydon, Orpington, Sevenoaks and Woolwich Arsenal.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Circle and District Lines at Blackfriars.
  • Thameslink has an interchange with the Metropolitan and Circle Lines at Farringdon.
  • Thameslink will have an interchange with Crossrail at Farringdon.
  • Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations have good walking routes along the River and to the City.

Thameslink should be appearing on the Tube Map any time soon.

Waterloo And City Line

I am missing the Drain, as it is the easiest way for people in the area, where I live to get to Waterloo station.

I just take a bus to Bank and then walk underground to London’s shortest Underground line.

According to this article on London SE1, it is closed because of the covids, but should reopen in April 2021.

Surely, Transport for London could reopen the line, if they vaccinated all the drivers.

As the Waterloo and City Line has an independent new entrance on Wallbrook, there should be no reason, why it couldn’t reopen before the Northern Line through bank is upgraded.

The Central Line At Bank Station

Nothing has been said, about whether the Central Line will be closed through Bank station, during the upgrade.

I don’t think it will be continuously closed, although access to some parts may be restricted.

There could be partial closures at weekends or in the evenings.

So for commuters and other must-travellers, I suspect the Central Line will get through.

The Circle And District Lines At Monument Station

My thoughts about the Circle and District Line would be similar to the Central Line.

But these lines with their connections at Westminster, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Tower Hill and Whitechapel could prove important during the works.

The Docklands Light Railway At Bank Station

Again my thoughts about the Docklands Light Railway would be similar to the Central Line.

But there is a lot of work going on to improve access to the Docklands Light Railway, and this could result in a closure to allow completion.

Review Bus Use

When I come into London Bridge station, I usually go to the bus station and get a bus, which stops within fifty metres of my front door. Going to London Bridge isn’t as convenient and I take a variety of routes.

But the corridor between London Bridge and Old Street via Bank and Moorgate has three bus routes; 21, 43 and 141, the last two of which terminate in the bus station at London Bridge. I suspect that the frequency of the last two buses could be increased, if they had a few more buses and drivers, and turned them faster at London Bridge.

I also feel there is scope to run a shuttle between Finsbury Square and London Bridge station.

  • It would loop round Finsbury Square at the Northern end.
  • It would loop through London Bridge station, as the 43 and 141 buses currently do.
  • They would serve Moorgate and Bank.
  • As it will be running through a busy part of the City with lots of pedestrians, these buses should be either battery or hydrogen.
  • But as they should be high-capacity double-deckers, battery probably wouldn’t have enough power.

What better way would there be, to showcase London’s new hydrogen buses?

And I’m sure Jo Bamford, would make sure that London had enough new Wrightbus hydrogen buses  to provide the service.

National Rail Between Charing Cross/Waterloo And London Bridge

I am probably not alone in using this route in preference to the Jubilee Line to travel between Westminster and London Bridge, as where there is an alternative to the deep-level Underground, I will often use it.

In my case coming home from Waterloo, I’ll often hop to London Bridge on National Rail and then get a 141 bus home.

This is classic ducking and diving on my part.

I’m sure others will do the same during the Bank branch closure.

I would also hope, that season tickets would allow passengers to swap terminals without too much trouble and any expense.

National Rail Between Cannon Street And London Bridge

Using Cannon Street instead of London Bridge could be an relatively easy alternative for many passengers.

  • It connects to the Circle and District Lines.
  • There are East-West buses outside the station.

This Google Map shows the location of the station.

There are a number of useful walking routes from the station, which is towards the bottom of the image slightly towards the right.

  • Bank station is about 300 metres and six minutes away.
  • The North-South buses between Moorgate and London Bridge on King William Street are 200 metres and three minutes away.
  • St. Paul’s is a bit further but it does have the Central Line and lots of buses including the 76 to Moorgate and Old Street stations.

At seventy-three, I can still walk between Cannon Street and Moorgate stations in 15 minutes.

Walking Between London Bridge and Moorgate

Transport for London have said they will review this,

It is not a difficult walk and it has improved since traffic was reduced at Bank.

Conclusion

As originally planned, the timings of the various projects were such that these projects would be more of less completed before the upgrade of the tracks at Bank station was to be performed.

  • Crossrail
  • The Northern Line Extension to Battersea.
  • The new Wallbrook entrance to Bank station.

But no-one had foreseen Covid-19.

So I would plan the date of the Northern Line closure with the utmost care.

February 8, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Design Crime – Pedestrian Chaos At London Bridge

To get home from London Bridge station, I usually get the 141 bus in the station, or if I’m walking along the riverside, I get a 21 or 141 bus from the stop at the Southern side of the bridge.

There is now, no stop on the bridge, so it meant walking nearly to Bank station to get a bus. Not everybody of my age could manage that!

I hope the pea-brained idiot, who designed the current scheme at London Bridge, with no bus stops in either direction has been given his marching orders.

I know that for COVID-19 and wannabe terrorists something must be done, but surely one of the bus-stops in each direction should be working.

I suspect, it was designed by the same idiot, who decided to close the important Waterloo and City Line.

The Mayor won’t care, as he’s a South Londoner.

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

I wrote this post in January 2017, when I decided to cut this out of my original post of A Hard Look At Crossrail 2.

Nearly two years later, I decided to update the post after the new platforms have reopened at Waterloo station.

I wrote Is This One Of The Best Platform Access Routes In Europe?, after the access to the new platforms was substantially completed in May 2019.

This has meant a further upgrade has been incorporated.

The Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

These suburban termini and their routes into Waterloo station are proposed  to be connected to Crossrail 2.

  1. Chessington South – 34 minutes – 9 stops
  2. Epsom – 37 minutes – 9 stops
  3. Hampton Court – 36 minutes – 9 stops
  4. Shepperton – 51 minutes – 14 stops

The times are for a typical one-way journey from Waterloo, which usually has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

I suspect that the timings are designed, so that they can be achieved by a 75 mph Class 455 train.

An Upgraded Waterloo Station

Waterloo station is getting a massive upgrade in August 2017, which I describe in detail in What Is Happening At Waterloo In August?.

That upgrade has now opened and is now substantially complete in May 2019.

After the upgrade, Waterloo station will handle the suburban services better than it does today.

  • There will be five extra platforms, with the reopening of the platforms 20 to 24 in Waterloo International.
  • Together these platforms should be able to handle another twenty tph.
  • There will be longer platforms, which will all be able to take twelve-car trains.
  • There will be an improved track layout, both in Waterloo and on the approach.
  • There will be related improvements to improve access to the Underground and the Waterloo and City Line at Waterloo station.

All this should mean Waterloo station, will be capable of handling a substantial increase in trains and passengers, with an improvement in efficiency and comfort.

As I said in Rail Engineer On New Platforms At London Waterloo, the number of passengers handled in a year will increase by twenty-five percent.

Improvements On The Branches

Each branch has its own problems, but the following would help in various places.

  • More step-free access.
  • Some level crossings on the branches can probably be removed..
  • Improved access to onward services like buses, cycling and walking at some stations.
  • Some trackwork to allow Crossrail 2’s proposed frequency of 4 tph.

These improvements will generally be needed, whether the services terminate in Waterloo or are a part of Crossrail 2.

New Trains

Currently, suburban services out of Waterloo are run by a large mixed fleet of generally excellent trains.

This gives 264 four-car trains and 60 five-car trains with a total of 1137 carriages.

South Western Railway are purchasing 30 five-car and sixty ten-car new Aventras with a total of 750 carriages.

The Class 707 trains and the Aventras could offer serious performance improvements, as they are probably designed to be able to have a short as possible time, for a stop at a station.

In an ideal world, all trains running these branches would be identical and all platforms would be designed to fit them perfectly, just as many Overground platforms, fit the Class 378 trains.

Crossrail 2 would do this, with possibly the same Class 345 trains, that have been developed for Crossrail.

But why shouldn’t the routes be worked by a homogeneous fleet, serving platforms and stations designed for the trains?

I believe that Crossrail 2 could make no extra difference to the passenger going between these branches and Central London, except for the route from Wimbledon, which will be in tunnel.

But the new Aventra trains will have three very big effects.

  • They will be walk-through ten-car trains.
  • They will have much better capacity for bags, cases and all the other paraphernalia passengers bring.

But most importantly, if they live up to the claims of train manufacturers, the high performance, well-designed trains with a consistent train-platform interface will save as much as three minutes a station.

  • Trains will stop from line speed faster.
  • Trains will accelerate back to line speed faster.
  • Bigger lobbies, will enable passengers to load and unload faster.
  • Wheelchair passengers and buggy pushers would roll across on the flat.
  • Regenerative braking and light weight will save the train operating company in electricity and train access costs.

Until we get actual figures, even one minute a stop, would reduce times on the branches as follows. Figures in brackets are for two minutes a station.

  1. Chessington South – 25 minutes (16)
  2. Epsom -28 minutes (19)
  3. Hampton Court – 27 minutes (18)
  4. Shepperton -37 minutes (23)

Note that the first three services are now under half-an-hour, without making any allowance that the timings will be for a 100 mph train with better performance, than the 75 mph Class 455 trains.

Is Four Trains Per Hour Possible?

If the round trip from Waterloo can be done in an hour, that means that just two ten-car trains can provide a 2 tph service, as opposed to the four trains now needed.

I suspect that South Western Railway will be experimenting to see if they can get a Shepperton round trip in under the hour.

It may seem difficult, but there are certain factors in their favour.

  • The Shepperton Branch Line is self-contained after it leaves the Kingston Loop Line.
  • It is double-track, so there is no passing loop problems.
  • There are no level crossings.
  • The stations on the branch are fairly evenly-spaced at just over a mile apart.

If a total out-and-back time from Waterloo could be under an hour for each branch, this would mean that a 4 tph service on a branch, would need just four trains.

So for each branch to have 4 tph would need just 16 ten-car trains, with similar performance and characteristics to Class 707 trains or the Aventras.

Currently, to provide a 2 tph service, needs sixteen trains, because it takes over an hour to do a complete round trip.

Would it be possible for trains to shuttle up and down these branches?

Look at the example of the East London Line, where four tph shuttle between dedicated platforms at Highbury and Islington and Dalston Junction stations in the North of London to various destinations in the South.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I reported on Transport for London’s plans to up the frequency on this line to 20 tph.

So could we be seeing something similar at Waterloo, where trains to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations, each have their own dedicated platforms?

The four platforms could even be adjacent, so if you want Wimbledon or a station common to more than one branch, displays would lead you to the first train.

Put simply to provide 4 tph for all branches would need 16 modern ten-car trains and four dedicated platforms at Waterloo. How efficient is that for passengers and train operating companies?

Crossrail 2’s Proposals For Services On The Branches

Wikipedia says this about Crossrail 2 services to these suburban branches, after surfacing from the tunnel South of Wimbledon station.

I think that Wimbledon will have to handle perhaps another 8 tph from other places on the fast lines. But they do that now!

Between Wimbledon And Waterloo

South Western Railway have not disclosed their hand yet, but I suspect that they are doing the maths.

I think that it will be possible for a 4 tph Crossrail 2 service and all the other slow services between Wimbledon and Waterloo to use a single pair of tracks carrying 20 tph.

Surely, if 20 tph can be handled on the East London Line with ten year old signalling technology and Class 378 trains, then this frequency can be handled with modern signalling and new Aventras.

It should be noted that Crossrail and Thameslink can both handle 24 tph under Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in a tunnel, so surely the slow lines can handle 20 tph on the surface under ATO or just using plain good driving.

There could even be capacity for some extra services.

Wimbledon Station

Wimbledon station would only need two platforms for these services, but I do feel that work would need to be done to accommodate the passengers.

But the station would probably not need the massive modifications until it was decided to build the Crossrail 2 tunnel.

Clapham Junction Station

If all these trains can be accommodated on just two tracks between Waterloo and Wimbledon, then these services could call at two dedicated platforms at Clapham Junction station.

  • All trains would stop.
  • Staff and passengers would see a succession of identical trains stopping every three minutes.
  • Passengers would have a maximum wait for fifteen minutes for a direct train, to their specific destination.
  • All trains to stations on the branches would use the same platform, making it easy for passengers.
  • As on the East London Line, trains for any station on the branches would be to a clock-face pattern.

The two platforms could be opposite faces of an island platform, with a waiting room, cafe and toilets in the middle.

Vauxhall Station

If it can be done at Clapham Junction station, why not have a dedicated pair of platforms at Vauxhall station, giving access to the Victoria Line?

I use the link at Vauxhall, between the Victoria Line and Waterloo suburban services occasionally and every time I do, it seems to have been improved.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Vauxhall station.

Lines At Vauxhall

Lines At Vauxhall

I think it is true to say, that if the Victoria Line had been built in the last decade or so, the Victoria Line station could have been placed underneath the main line station.

But even so, I suspect Network Rail and Transport for London have ideas to improve the interchange.

Only Sixteen Ten-Car Aventras Will Be Needed

My calculations show that modern 100 mph trains, like the Aventras that South Western Railway have ordered could provide 4 tph on the Crossrail 2 routes with just sixteen ten-car trains.

All the calculations I’ve done show that replacing trains with faster modern ones, increases the frequency and results in more efficient use of trains.

South Western Railway have bought sixty of these trains.

So they must have some impressive plans!

Conclusion

Crossrail 2’s proposals for the suburban branch lines from Waterloo to the four destinations of Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations, can be fulfilled using the following.

  • More platform capacity in Waterloo.
  • Modern high-performance 100 mph trains like Class 707 trains or Aventras.
  • Some improvements to track and signals between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.
  • Wimbledon station would only need minor modifications.
  • A measure of ATO between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.

What effect will this have on the design of Crossrail 2?

 

December 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Should The Drain Get The First New Tubes For London?

Introducing new trains onto a rail route can be a difficult process, where all sorts of problems occur.

Testing And Introducing Class 710 Trains

Currently, London Overground are introducing Class 710 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

As the trains are about eighteen months late, I think that there must have been problems.

I’ve never tested a train, but the modern train must require lots of systems to be tested and Aventras and other recent trains could best be described as computers-on-wheels.

So I must admit, I was a bit surprised, when I heard that first route to receive the new Class 710 trains was the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

  • The line had only been recently electrified.
  • Both diesel and electric freight trains use the route.
  • Eight trains are needed to run a complete service.

As this will be the first time the trains are used, there would appear to be a lot of things that could go wrong.

The simplest route, where the new Class 710 trains are to be used is the Romford-Upminster Line.

  • It is 5.4 km long.
  • It is single-track
  • It has a 30 mph speed limit.
  • There is only three stations, each of which are a single platform.
  • The journey takes nine minutes.
  • The service operates every thirty minutes.
  • There is only one signal.
  • Only one train is needed for the service.

It must be one of the simplest electrified railways in the world.

My instincts would have been to put a single train on this line and constantly shuttle it backwards and forwards.

This was exactly how Bombardier tested the Class 379 BEMU train on the Mayflower Line.

  • Only the train is being tested.
  • Passenger systems can be tested.
  • Drivers can be trained.
  • Passengers can be asked their opinions.

If the train fails, there is a regular bus service between the two stations and service engineers are not far away at Ilford Depot.

There must be good reasons, why this approach hasn’t been used.

Perhaps, it’s just that London Overground are not going to use a Class 710 train on this route. There have been rumours of this, that I talked about in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line.

The New Tubes For London

London Underground are buying New Tubes For London from Siemens for four lines.

  • Piccadilly – 100 trains
  • Bakerloo – 40 trains
  • Central – 100 trains
  • Waterloo & City – 10 trains

First trains are to run on the Piccadilly Line in 2023.

I think that it will not be a simple case of replacing one fleet of old trains, with another fleet of new trains, as has been done in the past.

It was managed successfully in recent times on the Victoria Line, when 2009 Stock trains replaced 1967 Stock trains.

But Siemens design is more radical and may need track and platform work to be performed before the trains can be run.

My research in The Train-Platform Interface In London, showed that the interface seemed fairly consistent on the Piccadilly Line, so it may be easy to design trains to run the line efficiently with step-free access between train and platform.

But what about the section of the line, where the trains share track with the S8 Stock trains of the Metropolitan Line.

If the Piccadilly Line has to be closed to make it fit for the New Tubes for London, then it will be a major undertaking, even if it is done in sections.

It would be a high-risk undertaking.

A Test Line For New Tubes for London

I believe there would be advantages in creating a test line for the following purposes.

  • Test the engineering for track and platforms.
  • Test the train performance and reliability.
  • Test the Automated Train Control
  • Test the passenger systems.

One of the suburban sections could be used, but there could be problems.

The Waterloo & City Line As A Test Track

On the other hand the Waterloo & City Line could be an ideal test track.

  • It has only two stations.
  • It is step-free
  • It is only 2.4 km. long.
  • Journeys take four minutes.
  • It is integrated with a depot.

The only problem is that trains have to be moved in and out by the use of a crane.

Using the Waterloo & City Line as a test track does have other advantages.

Alternative Routes During Closure

If the line had to be closed for any period of time for track or platform work, then in 2023, there will be some excellent alternative routes.

  • Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road and then the Central Line to Bank.
  • Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road and then Crossrail to Moorgate.
  • Bakerloo Line to Embankment and then the Circle/District Lines to Monument.
  • Jubilee Line to London Bridge and then the Northern Line to Bank.
  • Southeastern From Waterloo East to London Bridge and then bus or walk.

There is also the direct 76 bus and possibly others.

It should be noted that from late 2021, the Northern Line platforms at Bank station will be much improved.

So, if the Waterloo & City Line was used to test the trains, this in itself would not present any problems during closure or unreliable service.

Improved Capacity For The Line

According to an article in the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Deep Tube Upgrade, new trains for the Waterloo & City Line will give a capacity increase of twenty-five percent.

This is much-needed.

Automatic Train Control Testing

Testing of any automatic control system must be very rigorous and the short double-track route of the Waterloo & City Line would be ideal for testing automatic control of the new trains.

Trains could test twenty-four hours per day and every day of the year and not annoy anybody.

Driver Training

It could a valuable resource in training new drivers and converting others to the new trains.

Ongoing Train Development

It is London Underground’s and Seimen’s objective to have the same trains on as many lines of the London Underground as possible.

Siemens might get it right first time, but each line has its own quirks and design features and having a short line in London, where the next version of the trains could be tested by the public could be an advantage.

Conclusion

I believe that introducing the New Tubes for London on the Waterloo & City Line before the other lines could give advantages in the testing and designing of the trains and for the passengers of this short route.

 

 

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Completing The Bank Station Upgrade

I’m writing this post for two reasons.

The first is to inform people that in the Summer of 2021, there is going to be a closure of the Bank Branch of the Northern Line for several months.

The second, is to illustrate, how in a large transport system like London, good project management can carry out major works, without too much inconvenience to passengers.

This article on IanVisits is entitled Behind The Scenes At London Underground’s Bank Tube Station upgrade.

I suggest you read the article, to get the scale of the project.

In the Summer of 2021, a section of the Bank branch of the Northern line will close for roughly 3 months.

The main reason is so that the New Southbound tunnel can be joined to the existing Southbound tunnel, North and South of Bank station. Think of it as installing a by-pass round a village. Except it’s a railway and it’s around forty metres below ground.

Ian says this about what else will happen, whilst the Northern Line is closed.

While that’s going on, at Bank station, the old southbound tunnel will have it’s tracks filled in and turned into a new large concourse, while the currently hidden new side passages are cut through into the old northbound platform and finished off.

Come roughly September 2021, after a few months of closure, people will arrive at Bank station and see these huge new tunnels, the new escalators down to the DLR, the travolator to the Central line.

This approach is very common on the railways.

If a line has to be closed completely for a few months, say because a tunnel is being repaired, then during the closure, you do all the other tasks you can.

At Bank, where a new track is being connected, there will be no trains through the station for a few months. So all the other jobs will be done in this window.

There may also be other advantages. At Bank station, the Northbound track itself is not being radically changed, so it might be possible to use battery locomotives to bring in supplies and take out rubbish.

Summer 2021 Is Two And A Half Years Away

Project Planners have calculated and it will probably take until the end of 2020, for everything to be ready before the closure can take place, so that the joining of the tracks can begin.

But there could  other reasons, for the 2021 date.

Bank station is an important station on the Northern Line and closing it will cause a lot of inconvenience for passengers, many of whom will still be commuting to the City of London.

Some Big Projects Will Be Complete Before The Closure

Before Summer 2021, these big projects should have been completed.

  • One completed on Friday, when the new Bank Station entrance on Walbrook opened.
  • Crossrail will have opened.. On current forecasts nearly two years earlier.
  • The Northern City Line will be running new Class 717 trains into Moorgate station.
  • Travellers will have learned to use Thameslink as part of the Underground.

All of these projects will help passengers to cope with the Northern Line Closure at Bank station.

Bank Station Will Still Be Partially Open For Business

Bank station will not be fully-closed.

  • The Central Line will be working at Bank station, to something like full capacity.
  • The Waterloo & City Line will be working normally using the new Wallbrook entrance.
  • The Docklands Light Railway will be working, as is possible around all the work.
  • Some new and refurbished routes will connect the Central Line and Docklands Light Railway to the myriad station entrances around Bank Junction.
  • The Circle and District Lines will be working normally, through Monument station.

In addition, the City of London will have improved walking and cycling in the Square Mile.

Where Will Northern Line Trains Run During The Closure?

For a start, all Northern Line trains through Charing Cross station will be running normally.

The Northern Line Extension to Battersea might even have opened, which would give an extra Southern terminal to the Northern Line, which would help operation of the Charing Cross Branch.

Looking at the detailed tracks on carto.metro.free.fr, it appears that trains from the North can turn back at Euston and Moorgate.

Consider.

  • Euston will be in the throws of rebuilding for High Speed Two.
  • The Northern Line is the preferred route between Euston and the City.
  • Moorgate will be a fully step-free rebuilt station with connections to Crossrail and the Central Line.
  • Many people can walk to most parts of the Square Mile from Moorgate.

It looks to me, that it is most likely that Northern Line services will terminate at Moorgate during the closure of the Northern Line through Bank.

Northern Line trains approaching the City from the South have no such convenient turn back between Kennington and Bank stations.

I think the best direct service passengers from the Morden Branch to the City can expect will be a not-very-frequent shuttle service to London Bridge.

Most who need to go to Bank station from the South will find alternative routes and there are several.

  • Travel to London Bridge and walk across the river.
  • Change to the Waterloo and City Line at Waterloo.
  • Change to the Circle and District Lines at Embankment.
  • Change to the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road
  • Change to Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road and walk from Moorgate.

It should also be remembered, that as the closure is taking place in the Summer holidays, travellers should cope.

Conclusion

As Project Managers always seem to say.

You must get your ducks in a row!

So in this example, I would have felt that to have rebuilt Bank station without completion of the following projects.

  • Crossrail
  • Bank Station Walbrook Entrance

Would have been a lot harder.

This example also means that you must get your large projects in the right order, so they help each other to be delivered on time.

London has several large station interchange projects in the pipeline.

  • Camden Town station
  • East Croydon station
  • Holborn station.
  • Oxford Circus station
  • Victoria station

Which I believe should be done in the optimal order, so that travellers suffer the least disruption.

Smaller projects like a second entrance At Walthamstow Central station should probably be done at a time, when money and resources are available.

 

December 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Before The First Rush Hour At The New Bank Station Walbrook Entrance

I took these pictures just before four this evening.

One station guy told me that the low levels of passengers were to be expected and predicted that Tuesday would see a large increase of passengers, as word spread that the entrance was open.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Bank Station Walbrook Entrance Opened Today

I was there at ten o’clock this morning to see the new Walbrook Entrance to Bank station open.

There are various features of the design that are excellent.

  • It looks like the entrance has been designed to be able to handle the full capacity of the uprated Waterloo & City Line, running higher capacity new trains with a higher capacity and possibly a higher frequency.
  • The stairs are wide and built to a standard, that will tempt  fit people to use them at busy times.
  • They will also be very safe in emergencies.
  • The route from the pedestrianised Walbrook to the gateline is clear and level, so it should handle very large numbers of passengers in safety.

It should be noted that those I spoke to, liked the entrance.

Conclusion

London and other cities need more entrances to subways and underground railways like this.

It must be one of the best in London, ranking alongside these stations on the Jubilee Line.

  • Canary Wharf
  • Canada Water
  • North Greenwich
  • Westminster

And the new entrances at Bond Street, Kings Cross St. Pancras and Victoria.

 

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

Is London Going To Get A Christmas Present From Michael Bloomberg?

I took this picture in June of the fire doors that connect to the new station entrance under the Bloomberg building from the travelator, the connecting tunnel and the Waterloo and City Line platforms.

I took this picture today.

It looks like the entrance is nearer to completion.

I did ask a station-man and he thought it would open in a couple of weeks.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

New Bank Tube Station Entrance In Final Stages Ahead Of Opening

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

Ian suggests that the new entrance under the Bloomberg Building, which will give better access to the Waterloo and City Line, will open in August 2018.

This picture shows the covered Underground roundel on the side of the Bloomberg Building.

Note the workers putting scaffolding on the truck behind.

Underground, these fire doors, which lead to the new escalators and lifts, look ready to be opened for passengers in the area between the travelator, the connecting tunnel and the Waterloo and City Line platforms.

IWill the area be tiled or just painted?

described the tunnel to the left with the blue entrance rail in The New Tunnel Under Bank Station.

This picture was taken from the tunnel on the left, looking at this area.

The tunnel takes passengers right into the heart of the station.

Other Developments

The new entrance at Bank station is the first of several major transport developments, that will happen in the next few years.

New Trains On The Northern City Line In Autumn 2018

The Northern City Line is London’s forgotten train line, with a history coloured by the tragic accident at Moorgate in 1975.

The first development, a year or so ago, saw the Northern City Line introduce seven days a week working.

Now, the Class 313 trains, which are some of the oldest in the UK, are being replaced with new Class 717 trains, that will offer increased capacity, frequency and passenger comfort.

The Northern City Line terminus at Moorgate station will also be linked directly to Crossrail, when that line opens.

For many travellers in the Northern part of London and Hertfordshire, their route to the City will be much improved.

The final frequency has not been published, but it looks like there will be at least twelve tph on the Northern City Line to and from Moorgate station.

With a step-free cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station, effectively Moorgate station will become a second Southern terminus of the Victoria Line.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In December 2018

This will be the first phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially provide a twelve trains per hour (tph) service between Paddington and Abbey Wood stations from December 2018.

This will mean that the double-ended Jumbo Crossrail station, which will serve Moorgate station at its Western end and Liverpool Street station at its Eastern end, will open a short walking distance to the North of Bank station.

For those not wanting to walk, the link will also be one stop on the Central or Northern Lines.

Crossrail Between Paddington And Abbey Wood Stations In May 2019

This will be the second phase to be delivered and Crossrail will initially be provided a twelve tph service between Paddington and Shenfield stations from May 2019.

Crossrail To Heathrow And Reading In December 2019

The full Crossrail service will open in December 2019 and will provide the following services from Moorgate-Liverpool Street.

  • Six tph to Heathrow
  • Two tph to Reading
  • Two tph to Maindenhead
  • Twelve tph to Abbey Wood
  • Twelve tph to Shenfield

In the Central section, there will be twenty-four tph between Padsdington and Whitechapel stations.

Bank Station Upgrade In 2022

Bank station is being upgraded and this is said in Wikipedia.

TfL is also retunnelling and widening the Northern line platforms, and adding lifts and new entrances on King William Street and Cannon Street. The work, agreed in 2015, will be carried out from 2016 to 2022 and will boost capacity by 40%, with 12 new escalators, 3 new lifts and a new travelator (or moving walkway) to connect the Northern Line and DLR to the Central Line.

It is a massive upgrade, as this visualisation shows.

Note that the two larger diameter tunnels at the left of this visualisation are the tunnels and platforms for the Central Line. The third tunnel is the pedestrian tunnel that links the Waterloo and City Line to the main station.

The capacity upgrade at Bank station, will surely mean more people will be drawn to the area.

Bank Junction Improvements

The City of London has a project called All Change At Bank, which aims to improve the roads and pedestrian routes at Bank Junction.

Their web site gives these objectives.

  • Reduce casualties by simplifying the junction
  • Reduce pedestrian crowding levels
  • Improve air quality
  • Improve the perception of place, as a place to spend time in rather than pass through.

At present Bank Junction is restricted to buses and cyclists on Monday to Friday, between 0700 and 1900.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this restriction increased, especially as more pedestrians are drawn to the City at weekends and in the evening.

The Future Of The City As A Leisure And Tourist Destination

When I lived in the City in the early seventies, nothing happened in the City in the evenings or at the weekends.

Over the years, the City has started to use these freer times for other activities.

  • The Barbican Arts Centre and Tate Modern have opened.
  • Quality shopping has greatly increased and improved.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants have often increased their hours.
  • Better walking routs along and over the Thames have opened.

With its superb transport links, I can see the City of London becomes a much more important leisure and tourist destination.

Conclusion

The City of London is becoming a 24/7 area of London and the Waterloo and City Line must go with the flow.

It should run seven days a week, as do all other Underground lines.

Eventually, there will be a need for a Night Drain!

 

 

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Could The Waterloo And City Line Have An Intermediate Station At Blackfriars?

The Waterloo and City Line between Bank and Waterloo stations, is London’s shortest Underground Line.

In the Wikipedia entry for the line, there is a section entitled A Blackfriars Station Proposed. This is said.

In 1934 the LPTB, which now operated most of the London Underground system, proposed that the Waterloo & City should have a new intermediate station at Blackfriars, connecting with the District line station there. They further proposed that the Waterloo & City line should be extended to Liverpool Street station and Shoreditch, the trains there continuing over the East London Railway to New Cross and New Cross Gate. It is not clear whether the scheme had been costed, but nothing came of it.

So have things changed since 1934?

The Problem Of An Intermediate Station

The line is only a mile and a half long and trains take about three minutes to go from end-to-end.

Even allowing for the turn-round time at each end of the route, it must be very difficult with the current rolling stock to accommodate the time needed for an intermediate station.

Thameslink Has Been Built

Thameslink didn’t exist in the 1930s and when it is completed, there will be 24 trains per hour (tph) passing through Blackfriars station.

Consider.

  • The Thameslink frequency could increase to 30 tph.
  • How many Thameslink passengers want to go to Bank and Waterloo stations?
  • Blackfriars station is fully step-free.

I certainly think, that a Blackfriars station on Thameslink would be used by passengers.

Trains Can Be Fully Automated

As a Control Engineer, I believe that with the right automation, that capacity on the line can be increased.

I know the Unions attitude to driverless trains, but if ever there was a line, that would benefit, it is the Waterloo and City Line.

Perhaps, the driving position should be in the middle of the train, so the driver wouldn’t have to change ends and drove the train using CCTV.

New Trains Are Coming

London Underground has a plan to renew a lot of the trains, starting with the Piccadilly Line.

These trains will have the following characteristics.

  • Walk-through cars.
  • Shorter stopping times at station.
  • Improved performance.
  • Air-conditioning and other improved passenger features.

Would these trains and improved signalling enable an intermediate stop at Blackfriars to be added to be added to the line?

Conclusion

I obviously haven’t seen Transport for London’s figures, but I’m sure, there will come a time, when an intermediate station at Blackfriars will be a project worth doing.

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment