Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Victoria tube station upgrade

TfL have released some more details of the expansion of Victoria Tube station, especially this hi-res image of the plans. Compared to the previous image, the enlargement of the existing ticket hall at the mainline station end is much more extensive. I'm not sure what's going on with the escalators numbered 12, which the label says run "between South Ticket Hall and street level" but in the diagram appear to go from the ticket hall downwards.

Monday, 23 April 2007

King's Cross dome approved

The plans to build a massive dome shaped concourse on the side of King's Cross have been approved:

The London Borough of Camden has resolved to approve Network Rail's GBP400 million redevelopment of King's Cross station. The decision will allow major benefits of the scheme to be realised in time for the 2012 Olympics. The project, which will be funded by the Department for Transport and Network Rail, will support the continued growth in passenger numbers at Britain's busiest transport interchange.
Oddly, the new northern ticket hall for the tube is already well under construction, and will essentially form the basement of the new structure.

Bakerloo Line extenstion on?

This week's Time Out is tube themed and has an interview with Tim O'Toole, the man in charge at London Underground. He says the usual stuff about Crossrail, Thameslink and other things before dropping this bombshell:

We've also got plans to extend the Bakerloo south.
This is news to me (though apparently not to Wikipedia, where an anonymous user claims it's part of the Mayor's "South London Tube Plan", whatever that is). The TfL Transport 2025 document has no mention of a southern extension. The only thing I can find that backs it up is this evergreen news story, which is indistinguishable from Ken being polite to a campaign group so they'll go away.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Custom House to North Woolwich reused

The closed eastern extremity of the North London Line has been rebranded the Royal Docks Heritage Railway. The line will also be run as a rail training school, and a fancy diesel thingy is being transferred there from Swindon for this purpose. There's even talk of redoubling the tracks, using one for heritage trains and one for driver training.

The whole project has a wonderful air of doomedness, since if Crossrail goes ahead it will all be obliterated.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Piccadilly Line Tube Wrap

TfL have extended their Platform for Art scheme to cover an entire Piccadilly Line train. The only info I can find on TfL's website is here and there are some photos of the train here. [via]

Thursday, 5 April 2007

North London Line getting 4-car trains (maybe)

I noticed this snippet in the 2007 Network Rail Business Plan:

On the North London Line platforms are to be extended to allow 4 car operation.
It's been suggested before in the Cross London Route Utilisation Strategy and various other places, but I'm fairly sure this is the first time it's been publicly discussed as anything more than a good idea. The timetable at the back mentions a date of 2010 for completion.

Oddly, the new trains ordered for the line will only be 3 car, and are due to be delivered by July 2009, which doesn't seem worth it if they're going to need extending straight away. Something else that doesn't add up is this from the TfL business plan:
256 new build vehicles in three-car and four-car formations. North London Railway (NLR) vehicles to be dual voltage, East London Railway (ELR) vehicles to be DC, with provision for future conversion to dual voltage use.
All other public statements have said 152 cars total with the possibility of 200 more. Evidently they've ordered 104 more without telling anyone. Even more weirdly they still seem to be promising 6 car trains to the Olympics people (see page 80).

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Gatwick Express extended to Brighton

The Gatwick Express has been a thorny issue for a while. They take up an enormous amount of track capacity on one of London's busiest commuter routes, yet even at peak times are at best half-full. Meanwhile, pressure from BAA and the airlines make scrapping them politically impossible.

The DfT today announced a plan that does a shockingly good job of pleasing everyone. The Gatwick Express service itself will be essentially unchanged, but 6 trains each rush hour will double as commuter services to Brighton. To pull this off, the separate franchise will be scrapped and operations transferred to Southern. The enhanced service will need extra trains, so Southern will be getting some of the Class 442 units that were controversially withdrawn by South West Trains last year.

Also announced is the repatriation of 12 trains from Southern back to the Thameslink route they were built for, which should increase capacity there. Southern will in turn get a new fleet of Electrostars.

The DfT's full briefing is here, and the Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy that prompted this is here.