The Anonymous Widower

SWR Applies To Build New London Maintenance Depot

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Edition 865 of Rail Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

Hounslow Borough Council is considering an application by South Western Railway to build a new depot on the site of Feltham’s former marshalling yard in South West London.

This Google Map shows the site.

It appears to be remarkably clear and the only clue to its former use must be Feltham Railway Club.

  • The depot will lie between Feltham and Whitton stations on the Southern side of the Waterloo-Reading Line.
  • The depot will have ten roads and will be able to accommodate ten car trains.
  • Construction will start in February 2019 and the depot will open in 2020.

There houldn’t appear to be too many construction problems.

I do have a few questions.

Would The Opportunity Be Taken To Upgrade The Waterloo-Reading Line?

Waterloo to Reading and Windsor services might be increased in frequency.

Could an extra track be added alongside the depot or other works be performed to add capacity to services Reading and Windsor?

What Will Be The Affects Of The Proposed Heathrow Southern Railway?

The Heathrow Southern Railway is a proposal for a new route between Waterloo and Heathrow Airport via Clapham Junction and Staines.

Should Level Crossings In The Area Be Closed?

There are level crossings at Barnes, Feltham, Isleworth, Mortlake and North Sheen.

Would The Land Be Better Used For Housing?

This could be the major objection from the Council.

They could always build a depot with housing on top.

Could A Bigger Feltham Station Be built At The Same Time?

This could be a possibility, with perhaps a turnback platform for the proposed West London Orbital Railway.

Conclusion

Building the depot seems a good and fairly simple plan, but willit cover all possibilities?

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Batteries In Class 378 Trains Revisited

Two and a half years ago, I wrote Will London Overground Fit On-board Energy Storage To Class 378 Trains?.

This post effectively updates that post, with what we now know.

As far as I know, batteries have not been fitted to the Class 378 trains, but there have been other developments involving Bombardier since.

Aventras

The linked post was based on statements by Marc Phillips of Bombardier in this article in Rail Technology Magazine entitled Bombardier enters key analysis phase of IPEMU. He also said about Aventras.

Bombardier is also looking at battery options on new builds, including its Aventra platform.

I have stated several times including in Rail Magazine, that the Class 345 trains for Crossrail must have batteries and no-one has told me that I’m wrong.

Battery Train Applications

The Rail Technology article also says this.

Bombardier has started assessing potential customers for battery-powered trains, looking first at branch line applications. Batteries could be a solution allowing non-continuous electrified infrastructure, and emergency rescue and last-mile opportunities.

The article was written three and a half years ago and I suspect Bombardier have been busy researching the technology and its applications.

The High-Speed Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries

This train was first reported to be in development in this article in Rail Magazine, which was entitled Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra Could Feature Battery Power.

The article stated the following.

  • Battery power could be used for Last-Mile applications.
  • The bi-mode would have a maximum speed of 125 mph under both electric and diesel power.
  • Bombardier’s spokesman said that the ambience will be better, than other bi-modes.

I very much believe that the key to the performance of this train is using batteries to handle regenerative braking in both electric and diesel modes.

In Mathematics Of A Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, I looked at how the train might operate.

Bombardier with better data and the latest mathematical modelling techniques have obviously extensively modelled the proposed trains and prospective routes.

No sane company listed on a Stock Exchange would launch such a product, if it didn’t know that the mathematics of the dynamics and the numbers for the accountants didn’t add up.

Voyagers With Batteries

In Have Bombardier Got A Cunning Plan For Voyagers?, I discuss a snippet found in the July 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, in an article entitled Bi-Mode Aventra Details Revealed.

In a report of an interview with Bombardier’s Des McKeon, this is said.

He also confirmed Bombardier is examining the option of fitting batteries to Voyager DEMUs for use in stations.

Batteries appear to be being proposed to make the trains more environmentally-friemdly and less-noisy.

Talent 3 With Batteries

Bombardier have launched a version of their Talent 3 train with batteries. This is the launch video.

Some of Bombardier’s points from the video.

  • Emission-free
  • The current range is forty kilometres
  • The range will be extended to a hundred kilometres by 2020.
  • Charging for forty kilometres takes between seven and ten minutes from overhead electrification.

This looks to be a serious train with orders from German train operators.

It would appear that Bombardier are very serious about the application of batteries to both new and existing trains.

Class 378 Trains And Batteries

What could batteries do for the Class 378 trains?

It looks like over the next few years, the Class 378 trains will be increasingly used on the East London Line, as they have the required evacuation capability for the Thames Tunnel.

Various documents indicate that to maximise capacity on the line, the following may happen.

  • Some or all services may go to six trains per hour (tph)
  • Trains may be lengthened to six-cars from five-cars.

Extra destinations might be added, but although this could be easy in South London, it would probably require a lot of station or platform development in the North.

Trains Required For The East London Line

If you look at the timing of the East London Line, you get the following journey times for the four routes.

  • Highbury & Islington to West Croydon – 52-57 minutes
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 24 minutes
  • Highbury & Islington to Crystal Palace – 46 minutes
  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 47-48 minutes

It could almost have been choreographed by Busby Berkeley.

This means that to run four tph on the routes needs the following number of trains.

  • Highbury & Islington to West Croydon – 8 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 4 trains
  • Highbury & Islington to Crystal Palace – 8 trains
  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 8 trains

Which gives a total of 28 trains.

To make all these services six tph, would require the following number of trains.

  • Highbury & Islington to West Croydon – 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to New Cross – 6 trains
  • Highbury & Islington to Crystal Palace – 12 trains
  • Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction – 12 trains

Which gives a total of 42 trains.

At present only the Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction routes have dates for the extra trains and if only these routes were increased in frequency, there would be a need for 36 trains.

Six-Car Trains

The trains might also go to six cars to increase capacity on the East London Line.

As I indicated in Will The East London Line Ever Get Six Car Trains?, cars could be used from the five-car trains not needed for the East London Line.

You would just end up with a number of three- and four-car Class 378 trains, that could be used on other routes with less passengers.

My conclusion in Will The East London Line Ever Get Six Car Trains? was this.

It will be interesting to see how London Overground, increase capacity in the coming years.

There are fifty-seven Class 378 trains in total, which have the following formation.

DMOS-MOS(B)-PTOS-MOS-DMOS

They can be lengthened and shortened, by adding or removing MOS cars.

As an extra MOS car was added to convert all trains from four-cars to five-cars a few years ago, I suspect it is not the most difficult of processes.

It should also be noted that the original three-car trains for the North London Line had the following formation.

DMOS-PTOS-DMOS

If all East London Line routes go to six tph, the required number of trains would be forty-two.

This would leave a surplus of fifteen trains to act as donors for lengthening.

To make all trains six-cars would require a further forty-two MOS cars.

Reducing the trains not needed for the East London Line to three-cars, would yield thirty MOS cars.

This could give the following fleet.

  • Thirty six-car trains.
  • Twelve five-car trains
  • Fifteen three-car trains

To lengthen all trains needed for six-cars would require another twelve MOS cars to be obtained.

Some services could be run with five-car trains, but I don’t think that be a good idea.

I am inevitably led to the conclusion, that if the the Class 378 trains need to be extended to six-cars, then Bombardier will have to produce some more cars.

Adding Batteries To A Six-Car Class 378 Trains

Batteries would be added to Class 378 trains for all the usual reasons.

  • Handling energy from regenerative braking.
  • Health and safety in depots and sidings.
  • Short movements on lines without electrification
  • Emergency train recovery

But there might also be another important use.

The Thames Tunnel is under five hundred metres long.

As the only trains running through the tunnel are Class 378 trains, it might be possible and advantageous to run services on battery power through the tunnel.

I will estimate the kinetic energy of a six-car Class 378 train, as the batteries must be able to handle the energy of a full train, stopping from maximum speed.

  • The empty train will weigh around 192 tonnes
  • The maximum speed of the train is 75 mph.
  • The train will hold 1050 passengers, who I will assume each weigh 90 Kg with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • This gives a fully loaded train weight of 286.5 tonnes.

Using the Omni Kinetic Energy calculator gives an kinetic energy of 45 kWh.

If four 100 kWh batteries can be fitted under a two-car Class 230 train, then surely a reasonable amount o capacity can be fitted under a six-car Class 378 train.

These pictures show the under-floor space on a dual-voltage Class 378/2 train.

As a six-car train will have five motored cars, why not put one 50 kWh battery in each motored car, to give a capacity of 250 kWh.

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which is not very challenging.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

So how far would a six-car Class 378 train go with a fully-charged 250 kWh battery?

  • 5 kWh per vehicle mile – 8 miles
  • 4 kWh per vehicle mile – 10 miles
  • 3 kWh per vehicle mile – 14 miles
  • 2 kWh per vehicle mile – 20 miles

This is only a crude estimate, but it shows that fitting batteries to a Class 378 train with batteries could give a useful range.

Adding Batteries To A Three-Car Class 378 Trains

The same calculation can be performed for a three-car train created by removing the two MOS cars.

  • The empty train will weigh around 96 tonnes
  • The maximum speed of the train is 75 mph.
  • The train will hold 525 passengers, who I will assume each weigh 90 Kg with baggage, bikes and buggies.
  • This gives a fully loaded train weight of 143.3 tonnes.

Using the Omni Kinetic Energy calculator gives an kinetic energy of 22.4 kWh.

Unsurprisingly, the kinetic energy of the three-car train is around half that of a six-car train.

As a three-car train will have two motored cars, why not put one 50 kWh battery in each motored car, to give a capacity of 100 kWh.

Using the Ian Walmsley formula gives the following ranges.

  • 5 kWh per vehicle mile – 7 miles
  • 4 kWh per vehicle mile – 8 miles
  • 3 kWh per vehicle mile – 11 miles
  • 2 kWh per vehicle mile – 17 miles

When you consider that the length of the Greenford Branch Line is 2.5 miles, these ranges are very useful.

Routes For Three-Car Class 378 Trains With Batteries

I would suspect that these trains will have the following specification.

  • Dual-voltage with ability to use either 25 KVAC overhead or 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • A maximum speed of 75 mph
  • Three cars
  • Passenger capacity of 525 passengers.
  • Range of between seven and fifteen miles

So for what routes would the train be suitable?

Brentford Branch Line

There have been various ideas for reopening the freight-only Brentford Branch Line to passenger traffic.

The simplest proposal would be to run a two tph shurttle train Southwards from Southall station.

As the branch is only four miles long, I believe that a three-car Class 378 train, which ran on battery-power and charged at Southall station could work the branch.

Greenford Branch Line

I’ve already mentioned the 2.5 mile long Greenford Branch Line.

The following work would need to be done before the trains could be used.

  • Electrification of the bay platform at West Ealing with 25 KVAC overhead wires.
  • Electrification of the bay platform at Greenford with 750 VDC third-rail.
  • Minor lengthening of the bay platform at Greenford to allow sixty metre long trains.
  • An extra crossover at the West Ealing end of the branch.

With these modifications it might be possible to run four tph on the branch.

Romford To Upminster Line

Currently, the Romford-Upminster Line uses a single train to shuttle the three miles at a frequency of two tph.

If the passing loop were to be reinstated, I believe that two trains could run a four tph service.

Using battery-power on the line and charging on the existing electrification at either end of the line might be a more affordable option.

It should be noted that increasing the current two x four-car tph to four x three-car tph, would be a doubling of frequency and a fifty percent increase in capacity.

West London Orbital Railway

The West London Orbital Railway is outlined like this in Wikipedia.

The West London Orbital is a proposed extension to the London Overground that makes use of a combination of existing freight and passenger lines including the Dudding Hill Line, North London Line, and the Hounslow Loop. The route runs for approximately 11 miles from West Hampstead and Hendon at the northern end to Hounslow at the Western end via Brent Cross West, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton and Brentford.

This is one of those plans, which ticks a lot of boxes.

  • The tracks are already in existence.
  • There is a proven need.
  • Passenger numbers would support at least four tph.
  • The route connects to Crossrail and HS2.
  • Changing at Old Oak Common to and from Crossrail gives a quicker route to Heathrow for many in West London.
  • There is electrification at both ends of the route, with only four miles without any electrification.
  • At only eleven miles, it could be run by electric trains under battery power.
  • The cost is quoted at around £250 million.
  • Studies show it has a benefit cost ratio of 2.2:1.

As the route is now being promoted by the Mayor of London, I have a feeling this route will be created in time for the opening of HS2 in 2025.

If you want to know more about the proposals, this document on the Brent Council web site, which is entitled West London Orbital Rail, was written by consultants WSP to analyse the proposals and give a cost.

This is paragraph 5.4.38

At this stage we are assuming that the railway will be operated by diesel traction, or possibly battery or hybrid traction. While the Kew – Acton and Dudding Hill Line sections are not electrified, all the rest of the line is and battery technology may have developed sufficiently by the time of opening to be a viable option. Therefore, potential subsequent phases of the
enhancement plans could electrify the non-electrified sections.

The consultants go on to say, that stabling for diesel trains is more difficult to find in London than for electric..

The route would be suitable for Class 378 trains with batteries, but the consultants say that four-car trains will be needed.

So four-car Class 378 trains with a battery capability will be needed.

Alternatively, new four-car Class 710 trains, which I’m certain are built around a battery capability could be used instead.

A rough estimate says that for the full service of two four tph routes will need a total of eight four-car trains.

This is a much-needed route with definite possibilities.

Should A Battery MOS Car Be Designed?

If the Class 378 trains are lengthened to six cars, it looks like there will be a need for at least twelve new MOS cars.

I wonder, if it would be better to design a new BMOS car with batteries, that could either be created from an existing MOS car or newly-built.

The car would have the following specification

  • It would be able to replace any current MOS car.
  • It would contain the appropriate size of battery.

The advantages of a compatible new BMOS car are.

It would not require any modifications to the PTOS or DMOS cars, although the train software would need to be updated.

It would make it possible to easily create trains with a battery option with a length of four and five cars.

Could The PTOS Car Be Updated With Batteries?

This could be a logical way to go, if a battery of sufficient size can be fitted in the limited space available with all the other electrical gubbins under the floor of a PTOS car.

 

These pictures show a Class 378/2 PTOS car.

Modifying only the PTOS cars would give the following advantages.

  • Only the PTOS car would need to be modified.
  • PTOS cars for Class 378/1 trains would be 750 VDC only.
  • PTOS cars for Class 378/2 trains, would be dual-voltage.
  • Only PTOS cars for Class 378/2 trains would have a pantograph.

I will propose that the PTOS car is fiited a 100 kWh battery.

This would be sufficient for the six-car East London Line services, as all it would do was handle the regenerative braking energy, which has a maximum value of just 45 kWh. Battery range of the train would be between three and five miles, which would be enough to recover the train if power failed.

For three-car trains, the 100 kWh ranges would be as I calculated earlier.

  • 5 kWh per vehicle mile – 7 miles
  • 4 kWh per vehicle mile – 8 miles
  • 3 kWh per vehicle mile – 11 miles
  • 2 kWh per vehicle mile – 17 miles

Which is a very useful range.

If some four-car trains, were built by adding a new MOS car, the ranges on 100 kWh batteries would be.

  • 5 kWh per vehicle mile – 5 miles
  • 4 kWh per vehicle mile – 6 miles
  • 3 kWh per vehicle mile – 8 miles
  • 2 kWh per vehicle mile – 12.5 miles

As the Dudding Hill Line is only four miles long with electrification at both ends, these four-car Class 378 trains would be able to work the routes of the West London Orbital Railway.

Conclusion

Fitting batteries to Class 378 trains opens up a lot of possibilities.

One scenario could be.

  • Forty-two six-car trains for the East and |South London Lines.
  • One three-car train for the Brentford Branch Line
  • Two three-car trains for the Greenford Branch Line.
  • Two three-car trains for the Romford to Upminster Line.
  • Eight four-car trains for the West London Orbital Railway.

There would be two spare three-car trains and another twenty MOS cars would be required.

 

 

.

 

 

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A North London Line With Digital Signalling

In Digital Signalling Implications For North London, I indicated that there may be benefits in equipping the North London Line with digital signalling.

  • It would ease co-ordination of services between Gunnersbury and Richmond stations, where track, stations and signalling are shared with the District Line.
  • All freight trains are being fitted with digital signalling capabilities.

Obviously, the other benefits of digital signalling like closer running of trains would apply.

Current Service Levels

The Service Levels section of the Wikipedia entry for the North London Line, gives the following details..

Services run seven days a week

Peak Hours

  • Four trains per hour (tph) – Richmond and Stratford
  • Four tph – Clapham Junction and Stratford

Which gives eight tph between Willesden Junction and Stratford

Off Peak

  • Four tph – Richmond and Stratford
  • Two tph – Clapham Junction and Stratford

Which gives six tph between Willesden Junction and Stratford

Compared to the service I remember from the 1980s, it is a great improvement.

Possible Future Service Levels

London Reconnections is a web site, that usually gets things right.

In this article, which is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated, this is said.

London Overground have a long-held desire to increase the frequency on the WLL from 4tph to 6tph. They also aspire to another 2tph (at least) from Clapham Junction continuing to Stratford, to further increase the frequency on the North London Line (NLL). This would enable 10tph on eastern end of the North London line. This is due to be implemented with with main order of the new Class 710 stock.

What, it is suspected, London Overground would really like is to have 6tph from Richmond to Stratford and 6tph from Clapham Junction all the way to Stratford. Unfortunately, the additional trains to Stratford would appear to rely on freight, travelling between East London and the West Coast Main Line, using the route via Gospel Oak instead of via the NLL. Until that actually happens, sometime after the electrification of the GOBLIN, such an intensive service on the NLL can only be a dream.

Would this mean this service?

Peak Hours

  • Six tph – Richmond and Stratford
  • Six tph – Clapham Junction and Stratford

Which gives twelve tph between Willesden Junction and Stratford

Off Peak

  • Six tph – Richmond and Stratford
  • Four tph – Clapham Junction and Stratford

Which gives ten tph between Willesden Junction and Stratford

I can’t say I’d complain living equidistant from Dalston Kingsland and Canonbury stations.

Richmond Station

The current service between Richmond and Gunnersbury station is as follows.

  • Four tph – London Overground to Stratford
  • Six tph – District Line to Upminster

Digital signalling on the District Line is likely to add 33% capacity to Peak Hour services, so this would mean another two trains to Upminster.

So a future service could be as follows.

  • Six tph – London Overground to Stratford
  • Eight tph – District Line to Upminster

This level of service could be easily handled by conventional signalling and good driving or by digital signalling.

Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway Station

This article on Chiswick W4, is entitled Major Reorganisation Of Local Tube Services Planned.

This is said.

The decision appears to have been made by Transport for London (TfL) to press ahead with a major restructuring of local underground services. This would see the District line service to Ealing Broadway ended and services switched to the Piccadilly line. The rolling stock would transfer to the Richmond and Wimbledon branches of the District line allowing an increase in regularity for these services.

Currently, Ealing Broadway station has a six tph service to Upminster on the District Line.

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

Note that after the changeover, the following would apply.

  • The Piccadilly Line would have three platforms.
  • In a few years time, the Central and Piccadilly Lines will have similar trains.
  • Passengers for Turnham Green, Stamford Brook and Ravensbrook Park, would use the Piccadilly Line, which would probably have a higher frequency.
  • Passengers for Victoria and other stations in the East on the District Line, would probably have a step-free cross-platform interchange at a number of stations.

But I think, that probably the main reason for the change, is that it will make the proposed frequency of well upwards of twenty tph of the Piccadilly Line easier to operate.

Consider.

  • The platforms would help min service recovery,
  • I suspect that TfL would like to see a Victoria Line frequency of thirty-six tph.
  • Currently, twenty-four tph run between Arnos Grove and Acton Town in the Peak.
  • Twenty-one tph run in the Off Peak.

If thirty-six tph is the intended frequency, then two terminal platforms in a rebuilt step-free Ealing Broadway station,  could turn a lot of trains.

A Side Effect Of Changing The District Line Terminus

If the District Line service of six tph to Ealing Broadway, were to be reallocated between Richmond and Wimbledon, this would add three tph to the section between Gunnersbury and Richmond.

So now we could be looking at seventeen tph between Gunnersbury and Richmond stations.

Will that mean that North London Line trains to Richmond will need digital signalling and automatic train control?

The West London Orbital Railway

The proposed West London Orbital Railway will use the Dudding Hill Line to create the following services.

  • West Hampstead to Hounslow
  • Hendon to Kew Bridge

If both routes run at four tph, then it will add eight tph to the North London Line between Acton Wells and South Acton junctions.

Added to the six tph between Richmond and Stratford, this would be fourteen tph through Acton Central and South Acton stations.

Digital signalling on the North London Line and the West London Orbital Railway would probably ease the merging of trains for the joint section.

Freight

It appears that there are up to four freight trains per hour in both directions on the line.

The Level Crossing At Acton Central Station

I doubt the users of the level crossing at Acton Central would like the levels of traffic, that digital signalling would enable.

Conclusion

It looks to me, that they’ll come a time, when digital signalling to squeeze the required number of trains along the North London Line.

 

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Latest On The New London Overground Class 710 Trains

The August 2018 Edition of Modern Railways has a two-page article on the latest on the new Class 710 trains for the London Overground.

Seating Arrangement

Wikipedia says this about the seating.under Background And Specifications.

The units will be delivered in two sub-classes; an AC-only version with longitudinal and transverse seating (very similar to the S8 units on the Metropolitan line of the London Underground) for use on the West Anglia and Romford-Upminster services, and a dual-voltage version with longitudinal seating for the Watford DC and GOBLIN services.

But it now appears that all the seats on the trains will be longitudinal ones.

I use the current trains a lot to go to Walthamstow and I also use the Class 378 trains, which have longitudinal seats, frequently on the North and East London Lines of the Overground.

I probably aren’t bothered too much about longitudinal seats, but I suspect there will be others who will complain.

This discussion of RailForums is entitled Annoying Things About The Class 378. Search for “seat” and you don’t find many complaints about the longitudinal seating, which is also used on much of the Underground.

On the other hand, if all the trains have identical interiors, this must save on construction and maintenance costs.

If the interiors are basically similar to the Class 378 trains, it must also save on staff training costs.

I actually think, that the biggest complaint will not be about the new trains, but why don’t the older Class 378 trains have wi-fi and USB charging points!

Eight-Car Trains On West Anglia Routes

The article also states that services on West Anglia routes to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town stations will work as eight-car trains or a pair of four-car trains.

If they are always working in pairs, why not build them as eight-car trains in the first place?

In A Detailed Layout Drawing For A Class 345 Train, I said that the formation of a Class 345 train for Crossrail is as follows.

DMS+PMS+MS1+MS3+TS(W)+MS3+MS2+PMS+DMS

Note.that the train is composed of two identical half-trains, which are separated by the TS(W) car.

As the Modern Railways article says that these trains are to be the last to be delivered, would it not be sensible to fully understand the four-car units and then decide if instead of pairs of four-car units, they were built as eight-cars.

Consider.

  • Trains would be formed of identical four-car half-trains.
  • An eight-car Class 710 train would be nearly fifty metres shorter than a nine-car Class 345 train.
  • Passengers would be able to walk through the whole train.
  • Passengers can position themselves for their best exit at their destination station.
  • Would passenger security be better on a train, where passengers could walk all the way through?
  • I have seen drivers on Class 345 trains change ends inside the train
  • Aventras and other modern trains are fitted with intelligent control systems, that determine the number and type of the intermediate cars in the train.
  •  Two Driving Motor Standard Cars (DMS) would be replaced with simpler Trailer Standard (TS) or Motor Standard (MS) cars.
  • The choice of a TS or MS car would depend partly on performance issues, which could be tested with the earlier four-car trains.
  • Building and maintenance cost savings by reducing the number of driving cars, must be possible.
  • Capacity could be increased by adding cars in the middle, if platforms were long enough!
  • Would providing overnight stabling for fifteen eight-car trains be easier than for thirty four-car trains?

It should also be noted, Cheshunt station has a very long platform without a roof. Passengers could walk to the front of the train inside a warm dry train. This already happens with the Class 378 trains at Highbury & Islington station.

Romford-Upminster Shuttle

The Modern Railways article says this about the service on the Romford-Upminster Line.

TfL is still considering whether to utilise a ‘710’ on the Romford to Upminster shuttle or to retain an older unit for the line.

I wrote about this in A Heritage Class 315 Train For The Romford-Upminster Line, after this article in London Reconnections, which is entitled More Trains for London Overground: A Bargain Never to be Repeated,   said that it is possible that this line could be served by a Class 315 train, held back from the scrapyard.

I came to this conclusion.

If it is decided that a Class 315 train is to be used on the Romford to Upminster Line, I believe that the service could be marketed as a quirky heritage unit, that in conjunction with its main purpose of providing a public service, could also be used for other education, training, marketing, innovation and research purposes.

Eversholt Rail Group might even shift a few redundant Class 315 trains!

Why not?

Chingford Upgrades

The Modern Railways article says this.

A £7million investment has seen the stabling facility at Chingford upgraded, including the addition of an AVIS-scanner here as well.

These pictures show the investment.

With the Automatic Vehicle Inspection System (AVIS), Chingford is becoming more than a stabling facility.

Note the large maintenance structure, so that trains can be worked on in the dry.

A Few Questions Of My Own

I have a few of my own questions.

If The Thirty Four-Car Trains For West Anglia Routes Are Converted To Eight-Cars, What Happens To The Spare Driving Motor Cars?

If the thirty four-car trains are converted to fifteen eight-car trains, it appears to me that Bombardier could  have at best many of the long-lead components for thirty Driving Motor Standard (DMS) cars. At worst, they would have thirty DMS cars for Class 710 trains.

But London Overground will have need for a few more trains in a few years.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I showed this London Overground table of improvements.

LO Improvements

Note that two extra tph are proposed on the Liverpool Street to Enfield Town service. I calculate, that this would need another two Class 710 Trains.

Similarly, to add two tph to the Liverpool Street to Cheshunt service, would appear to need another three trains.

The Mayor is also looking favourably at creating the West London Orbital Railway.

I estimate that the two proposed routes would need around four trains each to provide a four tph service, if they could be run using dual-voltage Class 710 trains with a range of perhaps ten miles on battery power.

What Is Happening About The Hall Farm Curve?

I heard from someone, who should know, that the Hall Farm Curve and the Coppermill Curve will be reinstated.

These curves would allow the following.

  •  A direct service between Chingford/Walthamstow and Stratford.
  • Better access to the upgraded stabling at Chingford.

But I think these curves would be invaluable in maintaining services, during the construction of Crossrail 2.

Will A Bay Platform Be Developed At Lea Bridge Station?

I also wonder if a bay platform will be developed at Lea Bridge station, which would enable a four tph service to be run between Lea Bridge and Chingford stations, if Chingford Branch trains couldn’t get into Liverpool Street station, because of construction works.

I certainly feel that the curves connecting the lines at Coppermill Junction will have a major part to play in the development of East London’s railways.

 

 

 

July 29, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

West Hampstead Station – 7th July 2018

The new bridge at the West Hampstead station is now in use and it looks like the new station will be completed by the end of the year.

As the last picture shows this could be one of those station developments, where a deck could have been built over the North London Line to increase the number of flats built in the development on the South side of the railway.

This Google Map shows West Hampstead station on the North London Line and West Hampstead tube station on the Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines, although the latter don’t stop.

Note the development stretches a long way to the West between the North London Line and Underground Lines.

There have been plans to create a West Hampstead Interchange on West End Lane.

As these envisaged moving the Overground station to the East side of West End Lane and the new station is being built on the West side, It would appear there’s been a rethink.

Perhaps the Underground station is to be moved to the West side of West End Lane and will have an entrance on the small square in front of the M & S Simply Food and alongside the new Overground station.

This Google Map shows an enlargement of the area.

The new station could have platforms on the following lines.

  • Jubilee Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Cjhiltern Railway

It would be a very worthwhile interchange. Especially, as passengers could do the following.

  • Walk across the square for the Overground for East London.
  • Walk perhaps another hundred metres to West Hampstead Thameslink station, which is also proposed as the terminus of the West London Orbital Railway.

There could also be a development on the top of the new station, which would hopefully contribute to the cost.

I have no idea, if anything will happen here, but Transport for London are looking to create new stations with over-site development. The Mayor also seems keen on the West London Orbital Railway, as it is based on under-used infrastructure and requires no new track or tunnels.

 

 

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heathrow Southern Railway And West London Orbital Railway

West London waits umpteen years for more rail lines and then two come along at the same time.

Heathrow Southern Railway

West London Orbital Railway

Both do substantially, what their names imply.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tracks between Feltham, Hounslow and Whitton stations.

Note.

  1. Heathrow Southern Railway’s proposed Heathrow – Clapham Junction – Waterloo service will probably go via Whitton, rather than the Hounslow, as Whitton is the faster route.
  2. Hounslow is the proposed terminus of the route of the West London Orbital Railway from West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  3. Hounslow will have a new East-facing bay platform, to handle the trains from West Hampstead.
  4. Heathrow Southern Railway have said their service between Heathrow and Waterloo will be four trains per hour (tph)

I suspect that the West London Orbital Railway will have a typical Overground frequency of four  tph.

Unfortunately, the two railways don’t meet up, as it would probably be worthwhile to give more stations a simple route to Heathrow with perhaps a change at Feltham station.

This Google Map shows Feltham station.

Would there be space to squeeze in an East-facing bay platform on the North side of the station?

  • It could be the terminus of the West Hampstead service of the West London Orbital Railway
  • It could be useful if there were operational problems to turn trains.
  • There is the advantage that Feltham is a step-free station and Hounslow isn’t.

I went to Feltham station and took these pictures.

By the side of the track on the other side of the road bridge to the station, is the Feltham Signalling Centre and a Network Rail yard.

I think it could be possible to fit a platform into the space, behind Platform 1.

  • A five-car platform looks possible.
  • It would be an island platform with the current Platform 1.
  • I doubt overhead electrification could be used.
  • Slab track might be needed to squeeze the train under the bridge.

Ideally, it should be able to take a ten-car train, which might be possible, by extending the platform to the other side of the bridge.

Currently, there are six tph each-way through the station. The following new services will be added if both the Heathrow Southern and West London Orbital Railways are built.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Southern Railway’s proposed service between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Waterloo via Staines, Feltham, Twickenham, Richmond and Clapham Junction.
  • 4 tph – West London Orbital’s proposed service from Feltham to West Hampstead

Would modern trains and signalling, coupled with good driving, be able to handle this level of trains?

Looking at the tracks and the space on either side, it might be possible to thread a third track between Feltham Station and Feltham Junction.

This Google Map shows Feltham Junction

There would appear to be more space on the South side of the tracks, so perhaps an extra track could go on this side.

But I suspect Network Rail could find a solution from their library of cunning plans.

There could be advantages.

  • West London Orbital Railway could terminate in a step-free station.
  • Travellers between South Acton and Hounslow get a step-free route to Heathrow.
  • The bay platform at Feltham, could help when the service is disrupted.
  • An extra track to the East of Feltham, might help capacity between Clapham Junction and Staines.

I’m certain that be a simple connection between the two systems can be built.

Conclusion

There are possibilities to connect the West London Orbital Railway to the Heathrow Southern Railway, which could be beneficial for all parties.

 

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could There Be A Bi-Mode Aventra for Commuter Routes?

The London Overground has ordered a fleet of four-car Class 710 trains.

The Gospel Oak to Barking Line is being extended to a new Barking Riverside station.

In an article in the October 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled Celling England By The Pound, Ian Walmsley says this in relation to trains running on the Uckfield Branch, which probably has a terrain not much different to the lines in London.

A modern EMU needs between 3 and 5 kWh per vehicle mile for this sort of service.

The proposed Barking Riverside Extension is about a mile, so this could need up to 20 kWh each way.

This could easily be done with a battery, but supposing a small diesel engine was also fitted under the floor.

Would anybody notice the same 138 kW Cummins ISBe diesel engine that is used in a New Routemaster hybrid bus? I doubt it!

It is revealing to calculate the kinetic energy of a fully-loaded Class 710 train. I estimate that it is around forty kWh, if it is travelling at 90 mph.

That speed would rarely be achieved on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

If a Class 710 train, had only one 75 kWh battery from a New Routemaster bus, the charge levels would be as follows, as it went to Barking Riverside and back.

  • Joining the new line to go to Barking Riverside and leaving the electrification – 75 kWh
  • Starting braking for Barking Riverside station – 55 kWh
  • Stopped at Barking Riverside station, after regenerative braking, which generates perhaps 30 kWh.- 75 kWh
  • At line speed after accelerating away from Barking Riverside station – 35 kWh
  • Joining the electrified main line – 15 kWh

Note,.

  1. I have assumed that the train needs 20 kWh for the journey, but this figure will probably be lower, as the Aventra is a very efficient train.
  2. Regenerative braking is not hundred percent efficient, so that explains generating only 30 kWh. But it could be more.

It would appear that the diesel engine would not need to be used.

I come to the conclusion, that there is no need to electrify, the Barking Riverside Extension!

Here are a few other thoughts.

The Size And Number Of Batteries

The total capacity of the battery or batteries must be such, that they can handle, the maximum amount of energy that will be generated in braking.

This has the following benefits.

  • The train may not have any need to be fitted with resistors on the roof or other means to use the generated eectricity.
  • Any electrification will not need to be given the ability to handle return currents from the train.
  • The train will use less energy on a given trip.

As an engineer, I like the concept of putting a battery in all cars with traction motors.

  • Each battery will have shorter cables to where energy is used and created, which will cut losses.
  • More batteries probably improves reliability.
  • Distributing the weight might be a good thing.

I would suspect that only unmotored trailer cars might not have batteries.

Supposing a Class 710 train had three 75 kWh batteries.

This would give a capacity of 225 kWh and the following ranges on battery against energy usage in k|Wh/per mile/per car.

  • 5 kWh – 11 miles
  • 4 kWh – 14 miles
  • 3 kWh – 19 miles
  • 2 kWh – 28 miles
  • 1 kWh – 56 miles

These figures show that an efficient train is key to a longer range.

The ultimate Class 710 train might have the following.

  1. Two 75 kWh batteries per car.
  2. Energy usage of 3 kWh/per mile/per car.

This would give a range of fifty miles.

With a small and almost silent Cummins diesel engine from a New Routemaster, it could go as long as you wanted.

Should A New Routemaster Bus Diesel Generator And Battery Be Used?

Consider.

  • There are a thousand New Routemaster buses on the streets of London, so the reliability of the power train must be known very accurately.
  • The Cummins diesel engine and generator are very quiet and are only noticed on an empty bus, when they start and stop.
  • The engine and generator are under the back stairs.
  • The battery is fitted under the front stairs.

The power train doesn’t appear to be large.

Using these components would certainly be a good place to start and they could probably be easily fitted under the train.

In the rest of this post, imagine a Class 710 train with a single 75 kWh battery and a Cummins diesel and generator,

Would Be The Maximum Speed On Diesel Power Be The Same As On Electricity?

Because the battery and the diesel generator will work together, I believe this will be possible, if there is a well-programmed computer system on the train.

  • Accelerating to line speed of 90 mph will take around forty kWh, as that will be the energy of the train.
  • This will perhaps take thirty seconds in which time, the 138 kW Cummins generator, will produce just over a kWh of electricity, so the battery will provide 39 kWh.
  • The battery will be charged by electrification where it exists and regenerative braking.
  • In addition, the diesel generator could also top up the battery.
  • In the cruise, energy would need to be supplied to overcome aerodynamic losses, to climb gradients and provide train and passenger services.
  • Under braking, the regenerative braking would charge the battery.

You wouldn’t be able to run on a challenging line, but running on a fairly level line, which was perhaps twenty miles long with a dozen stations, would be a possibility.

Range on a real route, would be increased by adding extra batteries.

I suspect, Bombardier have created a sophisticated computer simulation of various train configurations and routes.

In this article in Rail Magazine, which is entitled Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power, a company spokesman is quoted as saying.

The bi-mode would have a maximum speed of 125 mph under both electric and diesel power.

So I’m pretty certain, a bi-mode version of a Class 710 train would have a 90 mph operating speed .

And for some easy routes on the similar-sized battery and diesel generator to that of a New Routemaster bus.

The Get-You-Home Train

Imagine a Class 710 train with a single 75 kWh battery and a Cummins generator.

Suppose power is cut to the electrification for some reason.

A normal electric train would just sit there, but the generator would cut in and using the residual energy in the battery, the train would go slowly to the next station.

With just 75 kWh and an energy usage of 3 kWh/per mile/per car, the train would go six miles.

Fast Station Stops

The keys to a fast stop at a station or a short dwell time are down to the following.

  1. Smooth, fast deceleration under regenerative braking.
  2. Efficient loading and unloading of passengers and their baggage.
  3. Fast acceleration away from the stop to regain operating speed.

Point two has nothing to do with the traction system of the train and it can be improved by good design of doors, lobbies on the train and platforms, and by better staff deployment and training.

Will the traction system be designed in a similar way to that of a New Routemaster bus?

The train’s traction, passenger, driving and other systems will be powered directly from the battery.

The battery will be charged in one of four ways.

  • From 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • From 750 third-rail electrification.
  • From the onboard generator.
  • From regenerative braking.

Note.

  1. A well-programmed computer system would control the whole traction system.
  2. Fast acceleration to operating speed will probably need the onboard generator or the electrification to provide a backup to the battery.
  3. The battery can probably supply more power for a short period, than an onboard generator or the electrification
  4. When the train stops in a station, the computer will ensure that the battery contain as much power as possible, so that a quick acceleration away is possible.
  5. A lot of power will have come from regenerative braking, but at times, the onboard generator  or the electrification would be used to charge the battery.
  6. At each stop, because of the limitations of regenerative braking, a certain proportion of the electrical energy will not be recovered and stored in the battery. The onboard generator or the electrification would make up the difference.

Note that the train works in the same way with an onboard generator or electrification.

The West London Orbital Railway

The proposed West London Orbital Railway will connect Hounslow and Kew Bridge stations in West London to West Hampstead and Hendon stations in North London using the Dudding Hill Line.

  • It is around twelve miles long.
  • It is electrified at the Western End using third-rail electrification.
  • There is overhead electrification in the North.
  • The middle section is not electrified.

Class 710 trains, with a diesel generator and a battery stolen from a New Routemaster bus could be able to handle the routes proposed.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion. that if you fitted the battery and diesel generator of a New Routemaster bus under one of the cars of a Class 710 train, you would have the following.

  • A train capable of 90 mph on diesel and electrification.
  • A useful range without electrification.

The train would need a well-programmed computer system.

The London Overground could use these trains on the Barking Riverside Extension and the West London Orbital Railway.

 

April 3, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Crossrail And Thameslink Serve Clapham Junction Station?

This may seem a silly question, but I believe it is a valid one for the following reasons.

Clapham Junction Is A Major Interchange

Wikipedia says this about Clapham Junction station.

Routes from London’s south and south-west termini, Victoria and Waterloo funnel through the station, making it the busiest in Europe by number of trains using it: between 100 and 180 per hour except for the five hours after midnight. The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

It is also the tenth busiest station measured by passenger numbers in Great Britain.

Clapham Junction Is Step-Free

Clapham Junction station has both a bridge and a subway between the seventeen platforms.

The bridge is fully step-free with lifts to all platforms.

Clapham Junction Has A Wide Bridge

The bridge between platforms is not only step-free, but very wide.

rchitects have copied this Victorian design at Leeds and Reading stations.

Clapham Junction Is Often A Convenient Place to Change Trains

When I go to Portsmouth or Southampton, I will often avoid Waterloo, by using the Overground between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

It may be slower, but it is a very easy interchange, especially if I go step-free on the wide bridge.

Perhaps this explains why interchange passengers at Clapham Junction, are almost as many as those entering or leaving the rail network.

With some journeys like say Southampton to Wembley Stadium, changing at Clapham Junction is probably the most convenient.

Clapham Junction Links To The Overground

This interchange, is something I use a lot, as I have four trains per hour (tph) on the London Overground, from my nearest station at Dalston Junction.

As there are thirty-one stations on London’s circular railway, the interchange probably generates a lot of traffic.

Clapham Junction Seems To Be Well-Organised

If you want to go to say Gatwick, then generally the same platform will be used.

All Trains To Gatwick Go From 13

This can’t be said for many stations.

The station even has lists of stations and the platform to use.

This would be impossible at most large stations!

But this is the busiest station in Europe by the number of trains using it!

The Victorians certainly got the design right!

Does this passenger-friendly design attract passengers?

Crossrail, Thameslink And Clapham Junction Station

Crossrail and Thameslink don’t call at Clapham Junction station.

But some services do directly link Crossrail and Thameslink to Clapham Junction station.

London Overground From Stratford To Clapham Junction Via Willesden Junction

This West London Line service has a frequency of four tph, which from some time this year will be raised to six tph or one train every ten minutes.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at West Hampstead
  • Crossrail at Old Oak Common

It will also have interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District, Jubilee and Victoria Lines.

London Overground From Stratford To Clapham Junction Via Canada Water

This South London Line service has a frequency of four tph, which from some time this year will be raised to six tph.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye
  • Crossrail at Whitechapel

It will also have interchanges with the District, Docklands Light Railway, Hammersmith and City,Jubilee and Northern Lines.

Southern From East Croydon To Milton Keynes

This West London Line service has a frequency of one tph.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at East Croydon
  • Crossrail at Old Oak Common

If Crossrail is extended along the West Coast Main Line, there will be additional interchange stations.

It will also have interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District and Northern Lines.

Southern From Clapham Junction To Brighton Main Line

There is a high-frequency service from Clapham Junction along the Brighton Main Line.

  • 3 tph – Brighton
  • 1 tph – Hastings
  • 2 tph – Eastbourne
  • 2 tph – Littlehampton
  • 4 tph – Horsham
  • 4 tph – Haywards Heath
  • 4 tph – Three Bridges
  • 6 tph – Gatwick Airport
  • 12 tph – East Croydon

Most of these services terminate at Victoria.

The named stations, except for Hastings and Eastbourne, will also be served by Thameslink.

From the passenger point of view, those going to and from London from the Brighton Main Line and South Coast stations, have a choice of London terminus.

  • Thameslink – London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St. Pancras and Thameslink’s Northern stations.
  • Southern – Clapham Junction and ictoria.

The two separate routes have Central London fully covered.

Deficiencies Of The Current System

Suppose you want to travel from the extremities of Crossrail and Thameslink to say somewhere like Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Exeter, Portsmouth or Southampton, that is served by Waterloo and Clapham Junction in Central London.

  • From Brighton and other stations on the South of Thameslink, there is a high-frequency Southern service.
  • From Luton and other stations on the North of Thameslink, you will probably use the Jubilee Line between London Bridge and Waterloo.
  • From Shenfield and other stations on the East of Crossrail, you will probably use the Jubilee Line between Bond Street and Waterloo.
  • From Heathrow, Reading and other stations on the West of Crossrail, you will probably use the Bakerloo Line between Paddington and Waterloo.

All the Underground interchanges will be fully step-free with lifts and lots of escalators, but the connections could be simpler.

The Arrival Of Old Oak Common Station

The building of the new mega-hub station at Old Oak Common will tie together the following lines.

  • Crossrail
  • HS2
  • North London Line
  • West Coast Main Line
  • West London Line

There is also the possibility of the West London Orbital Railway linking Old Oak Common to Hendon and West Hampstead Thameslink.

Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction stations will be two mega-hub stations, that for obvious reasons will need a high-frequency connection service.

Currently, that is planned to be the following services.

  • 6 tph – London Overground from Stratford to Clapham Junction.
  • 1 tph – Southern from Milton Keynes to East Croydon.

It is not enough, especially, if either connection at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction is a long walk.

But there are easy ways to increase the numbers of connections.

Improve The Southern Service

In his report, Chris Gibb recommended that this Milton Keynes to East Croydon route be transferred to the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

In my view Chris Gibb is right for the following reasons.

  • All passenger services on the West London Line would then be run by London Overground.
  • London Overground have a reputation for running a good train service.
  • The Milton Keynes to East Croydon service could be integrated with the Watford DC Line, the North London Line and a possible West London Orbital Railway to produce an integrated frequent local service in an area of West London, that needs a greatly improved train service.
  • Frequency between Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction could be raised to as high as ten or twelve tph.
  • It would improve connections between Watford and the expanding Wembley Stadium complex with South London.

I doubt it would be an expensive and difficult project to move this service between operators.

Build The West London Orbital Railway And Extend It To Clapham Junction

In this article on Ian Visits, this is said about the service on the proposed West London Orbital line.

Phase 1: 4 trains per hour from West Hampstead to Hounslow, calling at West Hampstead, Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth, Hounslow.

Phase 2: additional 4 trains per hour from Hendon to Kew Bridge, calling at Hendon, Brent Cross/Staples Corner, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Kew Bridge.

The track is all in place and with a new bay platform at Hounslow, trains running on batteries could work Phase 1 with ease. The batteries would be charged South of Acton Central station.

Because of the importance of Clapham Junction as an interchange,, would it be a sensible idea to extend Phase 2 from Kew Bridge to Clapham Junction, by way of Chiswick, Barnes Bridge, Barnes, Putney and Wandsworth Town stations?

This may not be possible, as the route may not be able to accept four extra trains.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout around the two Overground platforms at Clapham Junction.

I also took these pictures of Platform 2.

I suspect that a bay platform could be added, opposite to Platform 2.

  • There would appear to be plenty of space.
  • The platform would share the lift, facilities and staff with Platforms 1 and 2.
  • It would make a good interchange, with simple connections to Platforms 1 and 2.

There could even be the possibility of making Platform 2 bi-directional so that a loop service from Hendon to Dalston Junction could be created, if that was considered the best solution.

One advantage of extending the Phase 2 Kew Bridge route, would be that it would give more electrified running to charge a battery train.

Luton/Bedford to Clapham Junction

If this route from Hendon to Clapham Junction via Old Oak Common and Kew Bridge can be successfully created, it establishes the important link between the Luton/Bedford branch of Thameslink and Clapham Junction.

Cambridge/Peterborough to Clapham Junction

There is no direct route, but probably the fastest is to dive into the Victoria Line at Finsbury Park and go to Vauxhall, from where it’s a single stop to Clapham Junction.

Just avoid changing to the Victoria Line at St. Pancras, unless you like long walks.

Crossrail to Clapham Junction

Three factors will determine how good using a double change at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction to get between Crossrail and Clapham Junction will be.

  • The frequency of trains between Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.
  • The quality of the interchange at Old Oak Common. As it will also involve HS2, I suspect it should be good.
  • The quality of the interchange at Clapham Junction. It probably needs improvement, but it’s not bad for something designed by the Victorians.

It could be a very good link.

Could Thameslink Serve Clapham Junction Directly?

From the Brighton Main Line, there is a frequent service, but going North to Thameslink is not easy.

It could be possible to use the West London Orbital Railway to get to and from Hendon, but whether anything other than a local route is needed is open to doubt.

Could Crossrail Serve Clapham Junction Directly?

This Google Map shows the Old Oak Common area.

The railway running across the map to the North is the West Coast Main Line, whilst the Great Western Main Line goes across the bottom.

Looking at the map in detail, it might be possible to thread flyovers or dive-unders into the area to allow Crossrail trains to take the West London Line to the North or South from the East or West.

Consider

  • There are certainly some large industrial sites that could be cleared.
  • There are a couple of cemetries too.
  • There are Central, Chiltern, Crossrail, Great Western Main Line, HS2, North London Line, West Coast Main Lines to connect together.
  • A Heathrow to Gatwick Link could be threaded through.

It all depends on how much can be spent!

And Then There’s The Heathrow Southern Railway!

This is a bit different, as it’s a privately-funded railway that aims to sneak into Heathrow by following and hiding by the M25 and the use of the odd tunnel.

This map is a schematic of the proposed railway, which is caused the Heathrow Southern Railway.

Note.

  1. The blue line is Crossrail.
  2. The yellow line is a direct link from Waterloo to Heathrow.
  3. The station in a six pointed star is Clapham Junction.

On the Heathrow Southern Railway web site there is a section called Service Opportunities.

It details two routes.

Heathrow – Staines – Clapham Junction – Waterloo

  • Most track is existing.
  • New track will run along the M25.
  • Trains will be fully-integrated with South Western Railway.
  • Four tph should be possible with planned capacity improvements.
  • A bay platform will be added at Staines, within the current railway.
  • Xrossrail could be extended from Terminal 5 to Staines.

Heathrow Southern Railway envisage that a lot of passengers from Staines will use Crossrail for London.

Basingstoke/Guildford – Woking – Heathrow – Paddington

The web site says this about the route.

An exciting additional benefit of Heathrow Southern Railway is the scope to introduce half-hourly services from Basingstoke and Guildford to Heathrow and Paddington. These trains would provide a 15-minute frequency from Woking, with stops at Farnborough Main (Basingstoke services), Woking, Terminal 5, Terminal 2 and 3 and Old Oak Common.

I like the ideas and the tone of the project.

Conclusion

With all the ideas in the West of London, I think that some very good things will happen to the railways in the area, whether Heathrow Airport builds another runway or not.

 

 

 

In

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Commitment To West London Orbital Rail Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in Global Rail News.

This is the first three paragraphs of the article.

A new West London Orbital rail line has been included in a revised 25-year Transport Strategy for the city.

Its addition follows a public consultation. The document describes an extension of the Overground network connecting Hounslow with Cricklewood and Hendon via Old Oak, Neasden and Brent Cross.

The line would reinstate a regular passenger service on the Dudding Hill line, which links Acton and Cricklewood.

I like this proposal and I wrote about the railway in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

In the related post, I said this about building the line.

This is no Crossrail or HS2, where billions need to be spent.

The three largest sub-projects would be.

Electrification of the Dudding Hill Line, if it is to be done.
Resignalling of the Dudding Hill Line.
Necessary track replacement and updating.
In addition, there are around ten station projects.

There will also be a need for up to perhaps sixteen Class 710 trains. This could be around £90-100 million.

Since, I wrote that, things have moved on.

Trains

The first order for Class 230 trains has been placed, giving them credibility.

They could do the short routes on batteries.

But if these trains can do it on batteries, why can’t Class 710 trains?

So that means no new electrification!

Stations

Some of the stations, that will need to be built or modified, like Harlesden or Neasden, sit on sizeable brownfield sites.

Surely, property developers can be persuaded to build a station underneath much-needed housing.

It’s all about good design and very much in the Mayor’s thinking and the property developers’ interests!

Project Management

Get this right and, the line could be built simply and reasonably quickly.

The West London Orbital could be built to the following specification.

  • No full electrification.
  • Battery trains.
  • Platforms long enough for four-car Class 710 trains.
  • Bay platforms with possible charging at West Hampstead, Hendon, Hounslow and Kew Bridge stations.
  • Four tph on both routes.

It lends itself to a very efficient way of building the railway.

  1. Update the tracks and signalling as required on the route.
  2. Build a platform on the freight line through West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  3. Build a bay platform that will accept a four-car train at Hounslow station.
  4. Establish a four tph shuttle service between West Hampstead  Thameslink and Hounslow stations calling at Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  5. Stations could be built at Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common, where there is a generous amount of brownfield land, with lots of space for housing above the tracks and platforms.
  6. Add a bay platform at Hendon and Kew Bridge stations.
  7. Establish a second four tph shuttle service between Hendon and Kew Bridge stations calling at Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton Central and South Acton.

Note.

  1. Batteries would be charged South of Acton Central using the existing third-rail electrification.
  2. About five miles of the route would not be electrified.
  3. Housing developments on top of a station are a property developers dream.

The service could be started using Class 230 trains, with the option to switch to four-car Class 710 trains, powered by batteries, when more capacity is needed and Bombardier have fully developed the battery Aventra.

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Will London Overground Procure Some Class 230 Trains?

Transport for London has a cash flow problem caused by various factors.

  • The reduction in grant from Central Government.
  • A fall in bus revenue caused by traffic congestion.
  • The freeze of fares by the Mayor.
  • The need to add services to stimulate much-needed housing.

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled Vivarail’s D-Trains Confirmed For Bedford-Bletchley.

As West Midlands Trains have now confirmed the order for the Class 230 trains, does this mean that buying Vivarail’s innovative refurbished London Underground D78 Stock, is now a less-risky train purchase?

Battery Or Diesel Class 230 Trains?

Would Transport for London buy a diesel or battery version of the Class 230 train?

Transport for London will have an exclusively electric fleet in a few months, when they have passed the Class 172 trains to West Midlands Trains.

I can’t believe they’d want to buy a small number of diesel trains, so I suspect they’ll go for battery versions.

Advantages Of Class 230 Trains For Transport for London

The trains must have advantages for Transport for London.

  • They are simple trains, built for remote servicing.
  • In some applications, their short length of just two cars must help, in that expensive platform extensions will not be needed.
  • I would suspect that one two-car train is designed to rescue another.
  • Capacity can be increased by adding a third-car.
  • Transport for London must also have a lot of expertise on how to get the most out of these trains.

Possible Routes

There are a handful of possible routes.

Greenford Branch Line

The Greenford Branch Line must be a prime candidate for running with two-car battery version of a Class 230 train.

Consider.

  • Using a four-car train, like a Class 710 train would require the platform at Greenford to be lengthened.
  • A Class 230 train would only need some form of simple electrification at Greenford and/or West Ealing stations.
  • Class 230 trains, would probably fit all platforms easily and give level access for wheelchairs and buggies.
  • Could London Overground’s third-rail engineers add suitable electrification to charge the batteries at Greenford station?
  • The branch is only four kilometres long.
  • The branch only has the two tph passenger service and the occasional freight train.
  • All trains use the new bay platform at West Ealing station.

One train could obviously work the current two trains per hour (tph) timetable, but could two trains and a possible spare run a four tph service on the branch?

The advantages of using Class 230 trains over a more conventional approach using perhaps Class 710 trains would include.

  • No electrification of the branch.
  • No platform lengthening and possibly little platform modification.
  • Only a short length of third-rail electrification would be needed to charge the batteries.
  • A four tph service might be possible.

The big advantage would be that it would be a low-cost project.

Romford To Upminster Line

The Romford To Upminster Line is currently run by a single four-car Class 315 train, which was to be replaced by a new Class 710 train.

In the March 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, whilst discussing nine more Class 71 trains for the London Overground, it is said, that a Class 315 train will be retained for the Romford To Upminster Line.

Why not procure another Class 230 train and use that to shuttle along the branch?

Consider.

  • The electrification can be removed from the line, to save maintenance costs.
  • A short length of third-rail electrification can be used to charge the batteries at Upminster station.
  • The trains could be stabled at Upminster Depot.

The line used to have a short passing loop between Romford and Emerson Park station, that could be long enough for a two-car Class 230 train. If this loop were to be reinstated without electrification, if might allow a four tph service.

It would be another low-cost project.

Bromley North Line

The Bromley North Line is currently served by Southeastern.

Reading Wikipedia for the line, I get the impression, that the line isn’t a major problem, but there are little annoyances.

  • Services are not frequent enough at some times of the day and week.
  • Connection to services to and from London aren’t always convenient.
  • It is not the easiest branch to provide with trains and drivers.

In addition, Southeastern would appear to be amenable to pass the line to Transport for London.

The track layout for the line has the following characteristics.

  • Double-track throughout.
  • There is a single platform at Grove Park station.
  • There are two platforms at Bromley North station.
  • The intermediate station; Sundridge Park has two platforms.

It looks like the line was designed so that two trains can operate simultaneously.

  • Two Class 230 trains could run a four tph service.
  • Stabling and servicing could be in Bromley North station.
  • Trains could be third-rail or battery.
  • A spare train could be held ready if it was felt needed.

It would be a self-contained low-cost solution.

Epping To Ongar

The Epping to Ongar service on the Central Line is no more, but would it be viable now with a Class 230 train?

Brentford Branch Line

The Brentford Branch Line has been proposed for reopening.

Class 230 trains powered by batteries would be ideal rolling stock.

The trains would be charged in Southall station.

West London Orbital

This article on Global Rail News is entitled Commitment To West London Orbital rail line.

This is said.

A press release distributed by the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This new line, delivered through TfL, the West London Alliance, boroughs and Network Rail, could potentially support the delivery of an additional 20,000 homes, as well as employment growth in west London.”

In this article on Ian Visits, this is said about the service on the proposed West London Orbital line.

Phase 1: 4 trains per hour from West Hampstead to Hounslow, calling at West Hampstead, Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth, Hounslow.

Phase 2: additional 4 trains per hour from Hendon to Kew Bridge, calling at Hendon, Brent Cross/Staples Corner, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Kew Bridge.

The track is all in place and with a new bay platform at Hounslow, Class 230 trains could work Phase 1 on batteries with ease.

The key to the intermediate stations is property development. At Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common, there is a lot of spare land around the Dudding Hill Line, where the trains will run. Developers will be told to build an appropriate amount of housing with a new station underneath.

The West London Orbital could be built to the following specification.

  • No full electrification.
  • Battery trains.
  • Platforms long enough for four-car Class 710 trains.
  • Bay platforms with possible charging at West Hampstead, Hendon, Hounslow and Key Bridge stations.
  • Four tph on both routes.

It lends itself to a very efficient way of building the railway.

  1. Build a platform on the freight line through West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  2. Build a bay platform that will accept a four-car train at Hounslow station.
  3. Establish a four tph shuttle service between West Hampstead  Thameslink and Hounslow stations calling at Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  4. Stations could be built at Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common, where there is a generous amount of brownfield land, with lots of space for housing above the tracks and platforms.

Note.

  1. Batteries would be charged between Acton Central and Hounslow using the existing third-rail electrification.
  2. About five miles of the route would not be electrified.
  3. Housing developments on top of a station are a property developers dream.

The service could be started using Class 230 trains, with the option to switch to four-car Class 710 trains, powered by batteries, when more capacity is needed and Bombardier have fully developed the battery Aventra.

Phase two of the project would need development of platforms at Hendon and Kew Bridge stations.

The beauty of the West London Orbital, is that the only costs for Transport for London are four new platforms, some track-work and a fleet of new trains.

Hopefully, the development of the intermediate stations would be down to property developers, as they will make a fortune out of the housing!

Conclusion

I think the answer to my original question posed in the title of this post is Yes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments