The Anonymous Widower

Nervous Operators Force Network Rail To Defer King’s Cross Plan

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Magazine.

King’s Cross station has to be closed for three months, so that tracks, electrification and signalling can be replaced and modernised for about 1.5 miles from the buffer stops at the station.

The original dates of the closure were to have been between December 2019 and March 2020, but now it looks like it could be delayed by up to a year.

The article on the web site, is a shortened version of the article in the magazine, where this is said.

Closure dates have yet to be announced, and NR is still developing a passenger handling strategy which could include long-distance services at Finsbury Park or some services terminating at Peterborough. Some trains could even be rerouted into London Liverpool Street.

I wonder, if Network Rail’s planners are cursing that the around thirty miles between Peterborough and Ely is not electrified.

If it were electrified, it would allow electric trains as well as diesel and bi-mode trains to access Liverpool Street station via the West Anglia Main Line.

What Benefits Would There Be From Electrifying Peterborough To Ely?

I can imagine Oxford-educated civil servants in the Department of Transport and The Treasury dismissing calls for more electrification in the backwater of East Anglia, after the successful electrification to Norwich in the 1980s.

But now Cambridge is powering ahead and East Anglia is on the rise, with the massive Port of Felixstowe needing large numbers of freight trains to other parts of mainland UK.

This East Anglian success gives reasons for the electrification of the Peterborough-Ely Line.

Direct Electric Trains Between Peterborough And Cambridge

I have met Cambridge thinkers, who believe that Peterborough is the ideal place for businesses, who need to expand from Cambridge.

Peterborough has the space that Cambridge lacks.

But the transport links between the two cities are abysmal.

  • The A14 is only a two-lane dual-carriageway, although a motorway-standard section is being added around Huntingdon.
  • Peterborough station has been improved in recent years.
  • The direct train service is an hourly three-car diesel service between Birmingham and Stansted Airport, which doesn’t stop at the increasingly-important Cambridge North station.

The road will get better, but the rail service needs improvement.

  • There needs to be at least two direct trains per hour (tph) between Cambridge and Peterborough.
  • They would stop at Cambridge North, Waterbeach, Ely and March.
  • End-to-end timing would be under an hour.
  • Greater Anglia will have the four-car bi-mode Class 755 trains, which would be ideal for the route from next year.

If the Peterborough- Ely Line was electrified, Greater Anglia could use five-car Class 720 trains.

An Electric Diversion Route For The East Coast Main Line

The works at Kings Cross station, and the possible proposal to run some trains into Liverpool Street station, show that an electric diversion route would be useful, when there are closures or problems on the East Coast Main Line.

In the case of the Kings Cross closure, if Peterborough were to be used as the terminal for some trains from the North, then I suspect some high-capacity Class 800 trains could shuttle passengers to Liverpool Street.

If the date of the Kings Cross closure is 2020, then certain things may help.

  • Crossrail will be running.
  • Extra trains will be running from Finsbury Park to Moorgate.
  • Hull Trains will be running bi-mode Class 802 trains.
  • There could be more capacity on the West Anglia Main Line.
  • There could be more capacity and some longer platforms at Liverpool Street.

What would really help, is the proposed four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.

The latter could prove extremely useful, when Network Rail decide to bite the bullet and four-track the Digswell Viaduct.

Extending Greater Anglia’s Network

Greater Anglia have bought new bi-mode Class 755 trains.

This would appear to be more than enough to covering the current services, as they are replacing twenty-six trains with a total of fifty-eight coaches with thirty-eight trains with a total of one hundred and thirty-eight coaches.

That is 46 % more trains and 137 % more coaches.

The new trains are also genuine 100 mph trains on both electricity and diesel.

Obviously, Greater Anglia will be running extra services, but with the explosive growth around Cambridge, coupled with the new Cambridge North station, I feel they will be running extra services on the Peterborough to Cambridge route and perhaps further.

The new Werrington Grade Separation will make a difference.

  • It will open in a couple of years.
  • Trains between Peterborough and Lincoln won’t block the East Coast Main Line.
  • The Leicester route could also be improved.

So services to and from Lincoln and Leicester would probably be easier to run from Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

CrossCountry run a service between Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport stations.

  • The service stops at Coleshill Parlway, Nuneaton, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Stamford, Peterborough, March, Ely and.Cambridge and Audley End stations.
  • The service doesn’t stop at Cambridge North station.
  • The service is run by an inadequate Class 170 train, which sometimes is only two coaches and totally full.
  • Trains take just over three hours ten minutes for the journey.

Will Greater Anglia take over this route? Or possibly run a second train as far as Leicester?

Their Class 755 trains with better performance and specification would offer the following.

  • Electric running between Ely and Stansted Airport stations.
  • Greater passenger capacity.
  • wi-fi, plugs and USB sockets.
  • A three hour journey both ways.
  • The extra performance would probably allow an extra important stop at Cambridge North station.

The new trains would certainly offer what passengers want.

CrossCountry run an extra train between Birmingham New Street and Leicester, so perhaps at the Western end, the Greater Anglia service need only go as far as Leicester.

At the Stansted end of the route, there will be an hourly train between Stansted Airport and Norwich, so there could be scope for perhaps cutting one the services back to Cambridge.

Obviously, time-tabling would sort it out to the benefit of the train operators and passengers, but I can envisage a set of services like this.

  • Norwich and Stansted Airport – Greater Anglia – 1 tph
  • Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport – CrossCountry – 1 tph
  • Leicester and Cambridge – Greater Anglia – 1 tph
  • Colchester and Peterborough – 1 tph
  • Norwich and Nottingham (Currently Liverpool Lime Street) – 1 tph

Adding these up you get.

  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge – 2 tph – As now!
  • Stansted Airport and Cambridge North – 2 tph – New service!
  • Cambridge and Ely – 4 tph – At least!
  • Ely and Peterborough – 4 tph – At least!
  • Cambridge and Peterborough – 2 tph – Up from 1 tph
  • Stansted Airport and Peterbough – 1 tph – As now!
  • Cambridge and Leicester – 2 tph = Up from 1 tph.

This pattern or something like it would be much better for all.

If the Ely-Peterborough section of the were to be electrified then it would enable the following.

  • A reduced journey time for electric or bi-mode trains.
  • If required Greater Anglia could run an extra electric service using Class 720 trains between Stansted Airport and Peterbough.

I said earlier that the Werrington Grade Separation will make it easier to run services between Peterborough and Lincoln.

So why not add an hourly service between Cambridge and Lincoln?

I can envisage, when the West Anglia Main Line is four-tracked at the southern end, that there might be enough capacity for a Liverpool Street to Lincoln service via Cambridge, Cambridge North, Ely, Peterborough, Spalding and Sleaford.

But whatever happens Greater Anglia’s choice of bi-mode Class 755 trains, seems to give them the flexibility to match services to passengers needs.

Electro-Diesel and Battery-Electric Freight Locomotives

The Class 88 locomotive is an electro-diesel freight locomotive, that can use either power from overhead electrification or an pnboard diesel engine.

I believe that locomotives like this will become more common and that eventually, we’ll see a battery-electric heavy freight locomotive.

I wrote about the latter in Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive.

The Peterborough-Ely Line will see increasing numbers of trains hauled by these powerful electric locomotives, with either diesel or battery power to propel them over the gaps in the electrification.

Electrifying the line would speed these hybrid trains through and increase the capacity of the route.

Conclusion

Network Rail have annoyed the train operators with their planning and timing of the upgrade at Kings Cross station.

It looks to me, that the part of the problem, is that there is no viable electrified secondary route to London.

Bi-mode trains can use the Peterborough-Ely Line to go to Liverpool Street via Cambridge.

This line is one of those routes that sits in a sea of electrification, which carries a lot of traffic, that would bring several benefits if it were to be electrified.

  • Direct electric trains between Cambridge and Peterborough, would greatly improve the spasmodic service between the two cities, with large economic benefits to the county.
  • An electric diversion route would be created from Peterborough to Liverpool Street via Ely and Cambridge.
  • It would allow Greater Anglia to develop routes West of Cambridge to places like Lincoln and Leicester using their future fleet of Class 755 trains.
  • It would also make it easier for battery-electric freight locomotives to cover the busy freight route between Felixstowe and Peterborough.

I also feel that it wouldn’t be the most difficult route to electrify.

The Fens are flat.

There is no history of mining.

The track is fairly straight and simple.

I suspect that it could become a high-quality 90-100 mph, electrified line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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December 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Will Greater Anglia/London Overground Use The Third Track On The West Anglia Main Line?

This morning as I often do, I took the 11:00 train between Stratford and Enfield Lock stations.

I like to have a look at progress on STAR, which involves the following.

  • A five and a half kilometre third track to the East of the current two tracks of the West Anglia Main Line between Lea Bridge and Angel Road stations.
  • A third platform and station improvements at Tottenham Hale station.
  • A third platform, removal of a level crossing and complete rebuilding of Northumberland Park station.
  • Building of a completely new three-platform station at Meridian Water to replace the current inadequate Angel Road station.

This Google Map shows the location of Meridian Water station with respect to Tesco Extra and IKEA in Glover Drive.

You can just see the concrete foundations of the station and its platforms alongside the West Anglia Main Line to the West of the Tesco Extra.

In Meridian Water Station – 14th June 2018, I show pictures of the station just over two months ago.

There has been steady and worthwhile progess since.

  • Meridian Water station now has platforms under construction.
  • Northumberland Park station looks like it could be ready before Spurs’ new stadium.
  • The lift towers for the footbridge at Tottenham Hale station are being erected.
  • I estimate about seventy percent of the third track has been laid.
  • All the electrification gantries seem to have been erected and there are even some overhead wires.

The target for finishing the works is said to be May 2019 and I suspect that is achievable.

Use Of The Third Track

It certainly looks like the third track will be ready, so how will it be used?

The Northern End

At the Northern end, the third track appears to finish in a bay platform at Meridian Water station.

Once Angel Road station is closed and reduced to rubble, there would be plenty of space to add a junction, so that trains going South towards Stratford, could use the third track.

This would surely ease operation of the West Anglia Main Line.

Meridian Water Station

Meridian Water station appears to be being built as a three-platform station with provision for a fourth.

From various drawings and notes on the Internet it looks like there will be two platforms on the West Anglia Main Line and a separate bay or through platform to the East.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the relationship of Angel oad and Meridian Water station.

The dotted line on the map is the third track.

I took these pictures from a slow train through the station.

It looks very much like a through platform is being created.

I feel that access to this platform will be in two ways.

  • From the North via a junction with the Southbound track of the West Anglia Main Line. This junction could be to the North the current Angel Road station.
  • From the South using the new third track.

This would mean that no trains will have to cross the West Anglia Main Line using a flat junction.

I don’t believe that trains can run bi-directionally on the third track, as there is not enough time in an hour for four trains to shuttle between Lea Bridge and Meridian Water.

So that means all services calling at Meridian Water will go further up the Lea Valley to turn back.

Using The Third Platform At Tottenham Hale Station

I think it is likely that the current two platforms will be used as follows.

  • Platform 2 – Northbound trains
  • Platform 1 – Southbound trains to Liverpool Street

It would be logical that the new third platform would handle Southbound trains to Stratford.

As Platform 1 and the new platform share an island, passengers will have a step-free cross-platform  interchange, if they need to go to the alternative destination.

The following journey times should be noted.

  • Tottenham Hale to Stratford currently takes 14 minutes
  • Tottenham Hale to Liverpool Street currently takes between 14 and 17 minutes
  • Liverpool Street to Stratford will take eight minutes on Crossrail

I suspect a lot of passengers will change to a direct train.

It could also mean that an ideal service would see the same frequency of trains at both platforms.

The Southern End

At the Southern end, the third track joins the West Anglia Main Line going towards Stratford, but there is also a crossover to allow trains coming from Stratford to use the third track.

Is The Third Track Going To Be Bi-Directional?

Loops like this third track are often signalled to be bi-directional, to ease operation. But as I said earlier, I think the third track is too long to operate in that way all the time with passenger services.

What Will Be The Operating Speed Of The Third Track?

I have watched the third track being constructed and it is totally new.

  • All bridges have been replaced with new structures.
  • The track is fully electrified.
  • There appear to be no junctions, except at the two ends.

Everything certainly looks professional to my untrained eye.

The operating speed will probably be determined by the time set for the driver to take the train between stations on the line.

But the track has surely been designed to minimise the time between Meridian Water and Stratford.

Could The Third Track Be Extended Northwards?

The length of the third track is 5.5 km.

Could the third track be extended to the North?

If Crossrail 2 is built, there will be a need to make the route four tracks.

  • Two fast tracks for the expresses between London, Stansted and Cambridge.
  • Two slow tracks for Crossrail 2 as far as the terninus at Broxbourne.

These are my observations

  • Looking from both a train and on Google Map, it appears that it will be a tight fit to squeeze in two tracks.
  • There is the serious problems of the two level crossings at Brimsdown and Enfield Lock stations.
  • Waltham Cross station seems very tight too.

But I do think, that with a clever redesign at the three troublesome stations, that a third track, but not necessarily a fourth can be squeezed in  as far as North as Broxbourne, which would be another 11.2 miles.

Although in places, like these pictures taken just South of Tottenham Hale station show, there may be plenty of space for two tracks.

I suspect that to put in the fourth track will mean that the bridge at Ferry Lane will need to be rebuilt.

But it does appear that in building the third track, the builders are making sue there is space for a fourth track to be added in a few years.

Currently, How Many Calls Are There At Each Station?

These figures are calculated from the current timetable.

Lea Bridge

  • Two trains per hour (tph) – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Two tph stop in both platforms.

Tottenham Hale

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge North
  • Four tph – Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport
  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Ten tph stop in both platforms.

Northumberland Park

  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Two tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, eight tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Meridian Water

  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Two tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, eight tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Ponders End

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East

Two tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, eight tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Brimsdown

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East

Two tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, eight tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Enfield Lock

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • One tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Three tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, seven tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Waltham Cross

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Four tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, six tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Cheshunt

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge North
  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Six tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, four tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Broxbourne

  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge North
  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Six tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, four tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Harlow Town

  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge North
  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Stansted
  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Six tph stop in both platforms.

In addition, two tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

Bishop’s Stortford

  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • One tph – Liverpool Street to Cambridge North
  • Two tph – Liverpool Street to Stansted
  • Two tph – Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford

Four tph stop in both platforms.

Two tph would terminate at the station.

In addition, two tph pass through both platforms without stopping.

A Summary Of Current Services

This is summary of stops at the selected stations.

  • Lea Bridge – 2 tph
  • Tottenham Hale – 10 tph
  • Northumberland Park – 2 tph
  • Meridian Water – 2 tph
  • Ponders End – 2 tph
  • Brimsdown – 2 tph
  • Enfield Lock – 3 tph
  • Waltham Cross – 4 tph
  • Cheshunt – 6 tph
  • Broxbourne – 6 tph
  • Harlow Town – 6 tph
  • Bishop’s Stortford – 6 tph

Note.

  1. To say the least service is a bit patchy, with some stations getting a much better service than others.
  2. London Overround, Merseyrail and others feel that a service of four tph is highly desirable and attracts passengers.

The service definitely needs improvement.

STAR Services

It is certainly intended that four tph, will be run between Stratford and Meridian Water stations calling at Lea Bridge, Tottenham Hale and Northumberland Park stations.

Current Services

Currently, this service is provided at a frequency of two tph by Greater Anglia, who extend the service to Bishop’s Strortford station.

There are various ways that this could be increased to four tph

Possible Northern Terminals

As I said earlier to avoid train-slowing flat junctions, STAR services must terminate North of Meridian Water station.

I think there are these possibilities.

  • Bishop’s Stortford, which currently handles two tph in the bay platform 3.
  • Broxbourne which is a large station with 8 platforms and has been earmarked as the terminal for Crossrail 2.
  • Hertford East has platform space, but there may not be the capacity for the trains on the Hertford East Branch.

Passenger numbers will drive the choice, but I suspect all three terminals have their merits.

In the following sub-sections I’ll look at each terminus.

Two Extra Trains To Bishop’s Stortford

I will assume these services will call at the same stations as the current two trains.

This is summary of stops at the selected stations.

  • Lea Bridge – 4 tph
  • Tottenham Hale – 12 tph
  • Northumberland Park – 4 tph
  • Meridian Water – 4 tph
  • Ponders End – 2 tph
  • Brimsdown – 2 tph
  • Enfield Lock – 4 tph
  • Waltham Cross – 8 tph
  • Cheshunt – 8 tph
  • Broxbourne – 8 tph
  • Harlow Town – 8 tph
  • Bishop’s Stortford – 8 tph

Note.

  1. Enfield Lock now has the preferred four tph.
  2. Ponders End and Brimsdown probably need more services.
  3. Are there too many services at Harlow Town and Bishop’s Stortford?

But generally, it is a better distribution than now!

Two Extra Trains To Broxbourne Or Hertford East

I will assume these services will call at the same stations as the current two trains, that run between Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford.

This is summary of stops at the selected stations, which will be the same for both destinations.

  • Lea Bridge – 4 tph
  • Tottenham Hale – 12 tph
  • Northumberland Park – 4 tph
  • Meridian Water – 4 tph
  • Ponders End – 2 tph
  • Brimsdown – 2 tph
  • Enfield Lock – 4 tph
  • Waltham Cross – 8 tph
  • Cheshunt – 8 tph
  • Broxbourne – 8 tph

Note.

  1. Enfield Lock now has the preferred four tph.
  2. Ponders End and Brimsdown probably need more services.
  3. There will be no increase in frequencies North of Broxbourne.

Operational needs and passenger numbers will decide if these are better destinations.

Use Of The High Meads Loop At Stratford

The High Meads loop under the Eastfield Shopping Centre was designed to turn trains.

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

On the map it is the horeshoe-shaped double track shown in black.

  • , It goes through Platforms 11 and 12 in Stratford station.
  • Currently, Platform 11 is used exclusively as a terminal for the two tph between Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford.
  • Currently, Platform 12 is not used and the track is used to take trains to and from the Orient Way sidings
  • Both ends of the loop join together just to the South of the Orient Way sidings and Lea Bridge station.
  • In the past it has been used to turn Stansted Expresses, which used Platform 12 according to the signs still in place.
  • I believe it would be possible to build a platform on the loop to serve Stratford International station and the Northern part of the Olympic Park.

In my view it is wasted fully-working infrastructure.

The Wirral Line Loop Under Liverpool

The most important rail loop in the UK is the loop of the Wirral Line under Central Liverpool.

  • The loop is single-track with three single-platform stations
  • This loop handles fourteen tph.
  • The loop is built for full-size trains.
  • Trains take eight minutes to go round the loop from Liverpool James Street station and fourteen minutes from Birkenhead Hamilton Square station on the other side of the Mersey.

It was built in the early 1970s and I’m sure the designers of the High Meads Loop were influenced strongly by the track layout in Liverpool.

The Wirral Line Loop showcases the major examples of this type of track layout.

  • The driver just keeps driving and doesn’t have to change ends.
  • A single terminal platform can handle a maximum of perhaps 4-6 tph, whereas a single platform on a loop can handle at least 14 tph.
  • Stations can be provided at several places on the loop, where they are needed.

A loop is a very fast and simple way to turn trains.

Time Saving At Stratford Using The High Meads Loop

The 06:34 from Bishop’s Stortford stops at Tottenham Hale at 07:29, Lea Bridge at 07:33 and Stratford at 07:43.

The train then forms the 08:04 from Stratford, which stops at Lea Bridge at 08:10, Tottenham Hale at 08:18 and terminates at Bishop’s Stortford at 09:02.

So the train has taken thirty-seven minutes between the two calls at Lea Bridge station on a modern double track railway.

If the train loaded and unloaded passengers at Platform 11 at Stratford, I suspect that this time could be reduced to under twenty minutes, if the train continued round the High Meads Loop.

Even if there was an extra station on the loop to serve Stratford International station and the Northern part of the Olympic Park, I suspect that a saving on twenty minutes could be made.

Greater Anglia would be a big beneficiary. Currently the train leaves Bishop’s Stortford at 06:34 and arrives back at 09:02, which means a total trip time of 148 minutes for an out-and-back journey with ten intermediate stops both ways.

With a bit of time saving and the new Class 720 trains, I suspect that with the turnround time at Bishop’s Stortford added in, that a train could do the full trip within two and a half hours.

This would mean that ten trains would be needed for a four tph service between Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford.

Take off the twenty minutes saved by the High Meads Loop and the minutes saved by the new trains and I believe that well-driven trains could do the full trip in two hours

This would mean that eight trains would be needed for a four tph service between Stratford and Bishop’s Stortford.

Stansted Airport To Stratford

How much time would be saved if Stansted Airport trains went to Stratford and used the High Meads Loop?

The fastest trains take forty-seven minutes between Liverpool Street and Stansted, with about fourteen minutes needed for the short stretch between Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale.

Using the High Meads Loop at Stratford would probably mean a similar journey time, as from Liverpool Street, but there would be other advantages, disadvantages and score draws.

  • Both platforms used by Stansted Expresses would be step-free.
  • Train tracks to Stratford are probably less likely to delay.
  • Walking routes at Stratford might be shorter.
  • Both Liverpool Street and Stratford will be served by Crossrail.
  • Stratford could have links to Highspeed services to Kent.

Greater Anglia would be a big winner, as they would have a better train utilisation.

What Length Of Trains Could Use The High Meads Loop?

The only restriction will be the length of platforms at Stratford, Lea Bridge and Tottenham Hale.

Without getting my tape measure out, I suspect they are all capable of taking a twelve-car Class 317 train, which is around 240 metres long.

Ten-car versions of Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains are 243 metres long.

I would be very surprised if the platforms couldn’t accept these long trains.

What Would Be The Ultimate Capacity Of The High Meads Loop?

Consider.

  • The Wirral Line Loop under Liverpool handles fourteen tph.
  • More complicated tunnels under London like Crossrail, the East London Line and Thameslink are planned to handle 24 tph.
  • Modern digital signalling will be applied in the next couple of decades to the West Anglia Main Line.

Consider.

  • The Southbound third track and the route to Stratford from Lea Bridge can probably easily handle fifteen tph or a train every four minutes.
  • Platform 11 at Stratford with perhaps some escalators, could probably handle fifteen or even twenty tph, as do stations like Canada Water and several stations on Thameslink and the Wirral Line.
  • Northwards from Stratford, there is probably a total limit of twelve tph along the Lea Valley, that could be increased by removing level crossing and modern signalling.

I suspect that the ultimate capacity is way in excess of the number of services that need to be run from Stratford up the West Anglia Main Line.

Using The High Meads Loop To Take Pressure From Liverpool Street

Liverpool Street is crowded.

  • Some platforms can’t accept full length trains.
  • West Anglia services crawk between Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale at a speed of not much more than 40 mph at times.
  • The two operators; London Overground and Greater Anglia want to add additional services to the station.
  • c2c also want to serve the station, as they have capacity problems at Fenchurch Street.

However, future developments will make Stratford a viable alternative to Liverpool Street.

  • Crossrail will provide a high-capacity service linking both stations to the Canary Wharf, Heathrow and the West End.
  • Better access to the Central Line will happen.
  • Stratford has access to the important Jubilee Line.
  • Stratford will be able to take advantage of Docklands Light Railway developments.
  • Tottenham Hale station will have better interchange to the Victoria Line.

So why not move some services from the West Anglia Main Line to the High Meads Loop?

What Services Could Be Transferred From Liverpool Street To The High Meads Loop?

At present, all stopping trains between London and Bishop’s Stortford, start from Stratford and I can see this continuing after the third track opens.

I could also see extra services on this route to deliver the promised four tph to Meridian Water and Nothumberland Park.

Four tph can probably use Platform 11 st Stratford, but looking at the smooth unhurried operation of the Wirral Line Loop at Liverpool, I suspect that the High Meads Loop will be used.

Looking at all the other services between Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale, only the two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East, stop at another station, which is South of Tottenham Hale.

So it would probably not be sensible to transfer theseHertford East services to the High Meads Loop, but it might be a good idea to add two tph all day between Stratford and Hertford East, to create a four tph service to Hertford East with two tph from both Southern terminals.

Some services between Liverpool Street and Cambridge and between Liverpool Street and Stansted might be augmented with more services or moving the services to the High Meads Loop at Stratford.

I would suggest that about half the services went to Liverpool Street and terminated as they do now and the rest used the High Meads Loop.

This would mean that those, who’d caught the wrong train or changed their destination, could just change at Tottenham Hale by walking across the island platform.

I was on a train going South to Liverpool Street recently, when I changed my mind and transferred to a Stratford train. As I inew a Stratford train was close behind, I only had to wait a few minutes.

Note that, if there are six trains on both branches, then the maximum wait would be ten minutes.

Examining A Possible Timetable

This is definitely my speculation, but I am trying to show what is possible!

I also very much believe that Network Rail, Greater Anglia and London Overground will come up with something much better.

A Few Rules

I am using these rules to guide me in my thinking.

  1. All trains going to Stratford use the High Meads Loop and Platform 11 at Stratford.
  2. No station gets an inferior service to that it gets at the present time.
  3. All Southbound trains for Stratford use the new third track between Meridian Water and Lea Bridge Junction.

I think that this could be a good mix of services.

  • One tph Liverpool Street to Cambridge
  • One tph Liverpool Street to Cambridge North
  • Two tph Liverpool Street to Hertford East
  • Four tph Liverpool Street to Stansted
  • Four tph Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford
  • Two tph Stratford to Hertford East
  • Two tph Stratford to Stansted

Note.

  1. Greater Anglia have said they will run a Stratford to Stansted service from 2019.
  2. The two extra Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford and Hertford East services will have similar calling patterns to the existing services.
  3. Eight tph goes to and from both Liverpool Street and Stratford.
  4. Currently, eight tph run between Tottenham Hale and Liverpool Street.
  5. Based on the my observations of the relaxed operation of the Wirral Line Loop under Liverpool, I feel the capacity of the High Meads Loop could be as high as sixteen tph.
  6. Calling patterns will be adjusted to improve frequencies at Ponders End and Brimsdown stations
  7. The only other passenger trains on the route are two tph between Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

The number of trains running on each section of track would be as follows.

  • Eight tph – Liverpool Street to Tottenham Hale
  • Eight tph – Stratford to Tottenham Hale – Southbound trains use the third track where is has been added.
  • Sixteen tph – Tottenham Hale to Broxbourne – Southbound trains use the third track where is has been added.
  • Twelve tph – Broxbourne to Bishop’s Stortford
  • Eight tph – Bishop’s Stortford to Stansted Airport
  • Six tph – Stansted Airport to Cambridge

I’m not sure if this would be achievable, but there are several double-track main lines in the country, that handle at least sixteen tph.

Extra Services On The Lea Valley Routes Of The London Overground

The London Overground services from Liverpool Street to Cheshunt and Enfield Town have the following characteristics.

  • A frequency of two tph.
  • Extra peak hour services.
  • Both services pass through Hackney Downs and Seven Sisters stations.

London Overgriound probably want to add two extra tph to both routes to increase the frequency to four tph. Unfortunately, the crowded lines South of Seven Sisters and a full Liverpool Street station, probably make this difficult.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr, which shows the lines South of Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters stations.

South Tottenham station is on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, with the following connections.

  • At the Western end of the station, the Seven Sisters Chord connects the station to the Lea Valley Line to Cheshunt and Enfield Town.
  • At the Eastern end of the Tottenham South Curve connects the station to the line to the High Meads Loop at Stratford.

Would it be possible to run the extra two tph from both Cheshunt and Enfield Town to the High Meads Loop?

If it is possible, then the following frequencies will be achieved.

  • Four tph between Cheshunt and Edmonton Green
  • Four tph between Enfield Town and Edmonton Green
  • Eight tph between Edmonton Green and Seven Sisters.
  • Four tph between Seven Sisters and Stratford.

But more importantly, it will create more routes for East London’s Duckers-and-Divers to challenge the clock.

  • Large parts of Enfield and Haringey now get a direct connection to Stratford.
  • The new White Hart Lane station will have a direct connection to Stratford.
  • Stratford to stations on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is now just a step-free change at South Tottenham station.

I also wonder how many new sites for housing will become viable because of all the new transport links.

Future Developments

There are several developments planned or proposed, that will affect traffic on the West Anglia Main Line.

Track Improvements

The mainly two-track West Anglia Main Line has a maximum operating speed of 100 mph, but travelling the line over the last few days, at times we were only travelling at about 50 mph for long periods.

So I suspect that the average operating speed could be increased.

There are also several level crossings, including those at Brimsdown, Enfield Lock and Cheshunt on the busiest Southern section of the route..

Digital Signalling

Modern digital signalling on the West Anglia Main Line must allow more trains to be squeezed into the timetable.

New Trains

The current trains that work the West Anglia Main Line are Class 379 and Class 317 trains.

Both trains are 100 mph trains although the Class 317 trains are now nearly forty years old.

They are being replaced with Class 720 and Class 745 trains, which although they are also 100 mph trains, may offer advantages, because they are newer designs.

  • Better acceleration and smoother regenerative braking.
  • Easier passenger entry and exit.
  • Shorter dwell times at stations.
  • Better passenger comfort and facilities.

But crucially, they will be able to take advantage of the modern digital signalling.

I think it is very likely that the new trains will speed up services on the West Anglia Main Line.

I also think that the combination of digital signalling and new trains, that are capable of using it, will allow higher frequencies of trains to be run on the West Anglia Main Line.

A Possible Pattern Of West Anglia Line Services

Could we see the following in the future?

  • London Overground services on the Lea Valley Lines use Liverpool Street, as they do now.
  • Greater Anglia services on the West Anglia Main Line to Bishop’s Stortford, Cambridge, Hertford East and Stansted Airport are split between Liverpool Street and Stratford.
  • Stratford services use the High Meads Loop and stop at either Platform 11 or 12 at Stratford.

It would certainly increase terminal capacity at the Southern end of the West Anglia Main Line and free up platform space in Liverpool Street.2 ru

.Conclusion

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the following.

  • Twenty tph up and down the West Anglia Main Line.
  • Direct services up the West Anglia Main Line to Norwich via Cambridge using bi-mode Class 755 trains.
  • Extra services between Stratford and Cambridge, Hertford East and Stansted.
  • Services are adjusted so that each station South of Broxbourne gets four tph or more.

Note that I haven’t mentioned adding a fourth track.

I believe that my calculations show it might not be needed to achieve the required intensive service on the West Anglia Main Line.

 

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Meridian Water Station – 14th June 2018

Since my last post on Meridian Water station, that was called The Site Of The New Meridian Water Station – 25th April 2018, things have moved on at a good speed.

Note.

  1. It will be a four-platform station.
  2. It will have fullstep-free access, with five lifts.
  3. It will be ready for Crossrail 2, if that line ever arrives.
  4. It will also be a step-free bridge over the railway., for those not using the trains.
  5. It will be very handy for Tesco and IKEA.

It also looks like it could be ready for use in May 2019, which is the planned opening date.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Third Track Between Northumberland Park And Lea Bridge Stations – 12th June 2018

The third track between Northumberland Park and Lea Bridge stations is substantially complete, as these pictures show.

Now that the track is laid, it becomes apparent, that with a bit of a squeeze, a fourth track could be laid.

Electrification Progress

Progress also seems to be being made with the overhead gantries.

Yet again, there seems to be better performance in electrification, where it is carried out on a new or totally rebuilt line.

This may be only a single track, but it is all new, with no buried Victorian unknowns.

Raising The Bridges

Steel footbridges, that are so numerous in South Wales, are notable by their rarity and where they do exist, they were raised or built to a safe height, when the West Anglia Main Line was electrified in 1969.

This bridge spans both the West Anglia Main Line and the Victoria Line‘s Northumberland Park Depot.

I walked across it in March 2017 and there are some pictures in From Tottenham Hale To Northumberland Park.

The only bridge that could be a problem, is the road bridge at Tottenham Hale station.

It might be possible to squeeze one electrified track underneath.

I suspect methods that will be used on the South Wales Metro, that I wrote about in How Can Discontinuous Electrification Be Handled?, could be used to electrify this section.

At some point, this bridge looks like it will have to be rebuilt.

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

The Site Of The New Meridian Water Station – 25th April 2018

These pictures show the site of the new Meridian Water station.

The site is substantial and the station will feature four platforms and a walking and cycling route over the West Anglia Main Line.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Northumberland Park Station – 25th April 2018

These pictures were taken of the rebuilding of Northumberland Park station.

The light coloured bridge is one of the first elements of the new station, whereas the dark bridge is a temporary structure to allow passenger access during the works.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

New Bridge In Tottenham Marks The Beginning Of Restoring A Line Lost During The Beeching Era

The title of this post says it all and is the same as this article on Rail Professional.

Some might argue that Beeching got it wrong!

My feelings though are the politicians and British Rail managers of the day  generally didn’t have any vision about how the railways should be simplified to on the one hand save money and on the other perhaps create paths, cycleways and leisure facilities, for the good of everyone.

Harold Wilson’s view that everybody would have their own car and the railways were finished didn’t help either.

The Lea Valley was my childhood playground and I’d regularly cycle to the area. But unlike now, much was closed to the public.

This Google Map shows the location of the bridge.

Note.

  1. The railway line is the West Anglia Mail Line, running South from Tottenham Hale stations.
  2. The bridge carrying the Easter pair of tracks is being replaced.
  3. Tottenham South Junction is North of the bridge and the line going West is the Tottenham South Curve, that links the West Anglia Main Line to the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.
  4. The Markfield Beam Engine is to the West.
  5. The Walthamstow Wetlands are to the East.

The area will get even more complicated in the future, when Crossrail 2 is built.

These are various pictures of the bridge site, taken on different dates

The bridge will be an important link in the development of the railways in the area.

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could A Lea Valley Metro Be Created?

Crossrail 2 envisages these developments and level of service North along the Lea Valley.

Crossrail 2 also envisages that at Tottenham Hale station, the line will enter a tunnel for Central and South West London.

But there is an unused alternative terminal, that could handle perhaps 16 tph with modern signalling.

Look at this map from carto.metro.free.fr of the lines at Stratford.

Note the double-track  loop that encircles Stratford International station and goes through Platforms 11 and 12 at Stratford station.

Consider.

  • Loops like this can easily handle 12 tph, as they do in Liverpool with the Wirral Line.
  • Stratford is well-connected to the Central, Great Eastern Main, Jubilee and North London Lines, Crossrail and the Docklands Light Railway.
  • The Loop could be connected to Stratford International station for Southeastern Highspeed services.
  • There’s probably enough capacity to allow a couple of Stansted services to terminate in the loop.
  • There is a massive development going on at Meridian Water, where a new station is being built.
  • Liverpool Street station lacks capacity.

I can’t believe that a viable 12 tph service is not possible.

The major works would be as follows.

  • Four-tracking the West Anglia Main Line into two fast and two slow lines.
  • Making all stations step-free.
  • Removing the level crossings.
  • Creating a flyover at Coppermill Junction to connect the fast lines to Liverpool Street and prepare for Crossrail 2.

If Crossrail 2 is built in the future, the Metro service would be diverted into the central tunnel at Tottenham Hale station.

Integration With The London Overground

The Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town services of the London Overground will not only offer alternative routes during the four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line, but they could be better connected to a Lea Valley Metro.

  • Tne Class 710 trains could enable four tph on each branch.
  • The Class 710 trains will enable faster services on each branch.
  • A reinstated Hall Farm Curve would connect Chingford and Walthamstow to Stratford.
  • Creation of a step-free Cheshunt station would ease transfer between the London Overground and the Lea Valley Metro.

The new trains will be key and may open up more possibilities.

Note too, that moving services to Stratford from Liverpool Street will release capacity at Liverpool Street, that will be well-used by Greater Anglia and London Overground.

Dear Old Vicky

She’s always there when you need her and engineers keep coming up with ways to keep the Victoria Line giving more.

Currently, the frequency of trains between Walthamstow Central and Brixton is 36 tph.

I can’t believe that the engineers working on the line, don’t want to squeeze another four tph out of her, to achieve the fabulous forty.

This might be possible with the trains, tracks and signalling, but the problem is the capacity of some of the 1960s-built stations.

  • Many stations have an empty space, where a third escalator could be.
  • Lifts are few and far between.
  • Some stations don’t have ceilings in the platform tunnels.

These stations could be improved.

Walthamstow Central Station

Walthamstow Central station gets desperate in the Peak, but it could be given a third escalator, a second entrance at the other end of the platforms and a much better step-free connection to the Chingford Branch of the Overground.

Blackhorse Road Station

Blackhorse Road station could be finished and given a third escalator to cope with the extra passengers that will transfer to and from an electrified Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

Tottenham Hale Station

Tottenham Hale station is being rebuilt to increase capacity. Will it get the missing third escalator and ceilings?

Seven Sisters Station

Seven Sisters station will be a Crossrail 2 station and will need updating to cope with an expected eight tph on the Overground.  Expect a major project here.

Finsbury Park Station

Finsbury Park station is one of London’s stations designed by Topsy. Improvements are underway to cope with the extra passengers from Thameslink and an upgraded Northern City Line.

Highbury and Islington Station

Highbury and Islington station suffered worst at the hands of the Nazis and 1960s cost cutting, when the Victoria Line was built. This made it one of London’s worst stations.

However help is at hand.

  • Plans are being prepared for a second entrance to the station on the other side of the Holloway Road.
  • The frequency on the Northern City Line is being upgraded to twelve tph with new larger capacity Class 717 trains.
  • There is space for a third escalator to be added to connect the Overgriound with the deep-level Victoria and Northern City Lines.

It should be born in mind, that Highbury and Islington station is busier than either Manchester Piccadilly or Edinburgh Waverley stations.

But with an upgrade, because it has cross-platform interchange between the Victoria and Northern City Lines, it could be an upgrade that increases the passenger capacity of the Victoria Line.

Euston Station

Euston station will be upgrqaded for HS2.

Oxford Circus Station

Oxford Circus station is desperately in need of more capacity, especially as there will be an upgrade to the Bakerloo Line in the future.

The opportunity at Oxford Circus is that some of the buildings around the junction are tired and some probably need to be replaced.

So will we see a development like Bloomberg Place, that will create a new entrance to Bank station, at Oxford Circus?

Could it also have an subterranean connection to Crossrail’s Hanover Square entrance for Bond Street station?

Victoria Station

Victoria station is in the process of being upgraded.

It certainly appears to be a case of so far so good!

South Of The River

Vauxhall and Brixton stations have rather undeveloped interchanges with the National Rail lines and these could surely be improved.

Under Possible Future Projects in the Wikipedia entry for the Victoria Line, this is said.

For many years there have been proposals to extend the line one stop southwards from Brixton to Herne Hill. Herne Hill station would be on a large reversing loop with one platform. This would remove a critical capacity restriction by eliminating the need for trains to reverse at Brixton. The Mayor of London’s 2020 Vision, published in 2013, proposed extending the Victoria line “out beyond Brixton” by 2030.

This would surely be the last upgrade to squeeze even more out of Dear Old Vicky.

Conclusion

A Lea Valley Metro can be created and eventually, it can be the Northern leg of Crossrail 2.

Before Crossrail 2 is completed, it will have great help in the following ways.

  • In North East London from the London Overground.
  • Across London from the Victoria Line.

Don’t underestimate how Crossrail and an updated Northern City Line will contribute.

 

 

 

 

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Harlow Council Leader Jon Clempner Hopes Crossrail 2 Will Extend To Town

The title of this post is the same as this article in Essex Live.

You might feel that Jon Clempner has a point, if you look at this diagram of the West Anglia Main Line between the M25 and Stansted Airport.

Note that Harlow Town station is only five and a half miles North of Crossrail 2’s proposed terminal of Broxbourne.

Greater Anglia’s New Trains

Greater Anglia are replacing ten twelve-car Class 379 trains on Cambridge and Stansted Airport services with ten twelve-car Class 745 trains.

You might ask why bother with this replacement, if the number of trains and carriages are the same, which initially will result in the same number of services.

I answer that question in  Why Are Greater Anglia Replacing Class 379 Trains With New Stadler Class 745 Trains?

But this doesn’t mean the current frequency is cast in stone, as the other fleet of Class 720 trains have a similar performance to the Class 745 and 755 trains, so they can mix it on the West Anglia Main Line.

I feel that all the trains would have these features.

  • Trains would be fitted with the latest signalling, so they could work with headways between trains as low as two or three minutes.
  • Trains will all be 100 mph trains or faster.
  • Trains would be designed to stop and restart at a station very quickly.
  • Trains could couple and decouple to make a longer train in a couple of minutes.

They will offer lots of opportunities to improve services.

The Current Service North Of Broxbourne

These current services stop at Broxbourne station in both directions..

  • One train per hour (tph) between Cambridge and London Liverpool Street – fast – stopping at Bishops Stortford and Hsrlow Town
  • One tph between Cambridge and London Liverpool Street – semi-fast – stopping at Stansted Mountfichet, Bishops Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Harlow Mill, Harlow Town and Roydon
  • One tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford – local stopping at Roydon, Harlow Town, Harlow Mill and Sawbridgeworth
  • One tph between Stratford and Bishops Stortford – local stopping at Harlow Town and Sawbridgeworth
  • Two tph between Hertford East and London Liverpool Street

In addition, there are four tph between Stansted Airport and London Liverpool Street (Stansted Express).

This means that the frequency of trains through various stations are as follows.

  • Broxbourne – 10 tph – Six stop (not Stansted Express)
  • Harlow Town – 8 tph – Four stop and some Stansted Express stop
  • Bishops Stortford – 8 tph – Two stop, two terminate and some Stansted Express stop.

So there is a maximum of ten tph or just one train every six minutes at Brombourne.

Given that Crossrail and Thameslink handle twenty-four tph through their central tunnels, eight tph is not very high!

Crossrail 2 At Broxbourne

Crossrail 2 will have its own dedicated tracks between London and Broxbourne and could be running twelve tph.

So if there were to be cross-platform interchange between the North of Broxbourne services and Crossrail 2, passengers could change between services as they needed.

The trains going North of Broxborne would be as follows.

  • 2 tph to Cambridge or Cambridge North
  • 2 tph to Bishops Stortford
  • 2 tph to Hertford East.
  • 4 tph to Stansted Airport

There would be a lot of scope to create an efficient service between all stations on the West Anglia Main Line and the two london termini of Liverpool Street and Stratford.

The Hertford East Branch

The Hertford East Branch isn’t a problem now, but the two tph between Liverpool Street and Hertford East station take up valuable paths on the lines to London.

The branch also has the following characteristics.

  • The platforms may not be long enough for ten-car Class 720 trains.
  • It is mainly double-track with a short length of single-track through Ware station.
  • It is fully electrified.
  • It is just seven miles long.
  • It might be possible to add a chord so that trains can access the branch from the Harlow direction from the West Anglian Main Line.

I suspect Network Rail and Greater Anglia have a plan with at least the following objectives.

  1. Keep a direct service between London Liverpool Street and Hertford East.
  2. Increase the frequency of trains to and from Hertford East to four tph.
  3. Avoid as much infrastructure work as possible.

Because of the new trains ability to couple and uncouple, I wonder if we could see two five-car Class 720 trains arrive at Broxbourne as a ten-car unit, with one train going to Hertford East and the other going to Bishops Stortford.

This would have the following advantages.

  • Hertford East gets four tph, including two new tph from Stratford.
  • Bishops Stortford get four tph, including two new tph from Liverpool Street,
  • Two tph could serve each of the London termini of Liverpool Street and Stratford.
  • The number of trains along the West Anglia Main Line between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne is unchanged.
  • Hsrlow Town and Sawbridgworth  get another two tph to Liverpool Street.

I’m probably wrong, but there will be a better idea somewhere.

Conclusion

Crossrail 2 doesn’t need to go to Harlow Town, but Greater Anglia’s new trains should give a better service.

 

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Extra Track Up The Lea Valley

Yesterday, Network Rail released this document on their web site, which is entitled Extra track to be installed in Lee Valley this autumn for a bigger and better railway.

This is the opening sentence.

Work to build a new track between Stratford and Angel Road is being stepped up this autumn as part of the £170m Lee Valley Rail Programme to increase services and boost local regeneration.

Network Rail will carry out the following work as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan:

  • Strengthening the River Lea rail bridge near Tottenham Hale to support the new third track
  • Installing foundations for the new overhead line structures to provide power for trains using the third track
  • Installing foundations for the new island platform and footbridge at Tottenham Hale station to help people move around the station easier
  • Installing foundations for a new island platform at Northumberland Park to allow access to trains that will use the new track
  • To make the most of the closure, track will also be renewed near Lea Bridge station as part of the track renewals programme

It certainly makes my pictures clearer.

I took these pictures yesterday.

Note.

  1. The current platform 1 at Tottenham Hale station will be turned into an island platform.
  2. It will be tight to squeeze everything in at Tottenham Hale.
  3. It looks like the space for the track between Tottenham Hale and Angel Road stations has been cleared.
  4. The current platform 1 at Northumberland Park station will be turned into an island platform.
  5. The level crossing at Northumberland Park station has been closed.

It would appear a good start has been made.

This Google Map shows the footbridge that goes over the tracks and the Victoria Line Depot.

Note that when it comes to squeezing in a fourth track, there is more space than first appears.

 

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments