Thursday, 28 June 2007

Eliminating request Bus Stops

TfL want to do away with the distinction between Request and Compulsory bus stops, apparently because neither drivers nor passengers pay much attention to it. The aim appears to be to reflect current prevailing practice, where passengers ring the bell regardless of whether they need to or not, and compulsory stops are skipped when no one is waiting and no one has rung the bell. The only anomaly is that drivers will be required to stop anywhere people are waiting, regardless of whether the bus is hailed or not, which Diamond Geezer is quite angry about.

TfL's PDF with a few more details is here.

East Coast Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy

Network Rail have published their strategic plans for the East Coast Main Line, which covers all services from King's Cross and Moorgate via Finsbury Park. Of interest to Londoners:

  • The Finsbury Park to Moorgate branch is currently closed all weekend and after 10pm on weekdays, with trains directed to King's Cross at other times. The document rejects
    extending these hours as too expensive, though they suggest it might be needed on Saturdays to free up capacity at King's Cross.
  • Inner-suburban services (ie the ones that run to Moorgate) may be increased from 3tph (trains per hour) to 4tph off-peak on each branch north of Alexandra Palace, and therefore from 6tph to 8tph south of there. A similar extra train may run at weekends.
  • Four North London Line Class 313s may be transferred to First Capital Connect to run more inner-suburban trains as six car formations. They recommend doing this as soon as possible, which won't be until the new London Overground trains come into service.
  • Lots of vagueness over when and whether the ECML will be connected to Thameslink. Seeing as a decision on this is meant to be due shortly and it has a major impact on any plans, it's an odd time to publish the document.
  • Outer-suburban services will probably be extended to twelve car eventually, though due to the Thameslink Programme indecision, it's hard to say when.
  • The long rumoured new "Platform 0" at King's Cross is apparently now called "Platform Y". It would be created by building a track through the more-or-less derelict arches and buildings along the east wall of the station.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

New trains on Gospel Oak to Barking by 2009

The GLA has put out a press release confirming the award of the London Overground concession to MTR Laing. Amongst the typical fluff, it hides this surprise:

A fleet of new trains between Gospel Oak and Barking from 2009, in addition to the 44 new London Overground electric trains already ordered by Transport for London
Although it doesn't say whether these are diesel or electric, it's unlikely the line could be electrified on that timescale, so I'd bet they'll be diesel. [via]

MTR Laing wins London Overground concession

According to various reports, MTR Laing has won the contract to operate the London Overground rail concession, meaning they'll take over operation of Silverlink Metro this November and will also run the extended East London Line when it opens.

London Overground is not a typical rail franchise, in that TfL are responsible for rolling stock, timetabling, fares, branding and so on. MTR Laing's main responsibility will be day-to-day operation, in a similar way to Serco running the DLR.

MTR operate the metro system in Hong Kong, and Laing Rail own Chiltern Railways.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Tramlink Crystal Palace route survey results

TfL have published the results of their consultation to choose a route for the Tramlink Extension to Crystal Palace. 67% preferred Option 2 (illustrated right), which runs directly past Crystal Palace station, with minimal on-street running. Although the press release says it will "run off-street along the existing railway line", this is slightly misleading. The railway is in a cutting and trams will run alongside it on the embankment, which will require ripping up a lot of trees but hopefully only minor demolition (see the left side of the tracks in this Google Map).

The actual route will be decided by the end of the year, with opening due in 2013 if everything is approved.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

East London Line replacement services

This blog post outlines potential replacement bus services for the two years plus the East London Line will be closed.

Friday, 8 June 2007

More on the East London Line route

Following on from this morning's post, I've hit the jackpot. Here is a planning map showing the precise line of the route all the way from the Broad Street viaduct to the existing line from Whitechapel.

[Update: a proper map]

It shows very clearly how Shoreditch High Street station will be marooned in the middle of the Bishopsgate Goods Yard site, a long way from its namesake or any other significant thoroughfare. It'll be interesting to see where the entrances are built and how development around it proceeds. The station would appear to be directly above the Central Line, though this isn't shown on the map.

The map accompanies a longwinded planning application about noise abatement. The only interesting diagram is on Page 31, which shows the area discussed in the previous post, including the new road configuration (the route of Crossrail shown is obsolete).

The East London Line route through Shoreditch

Detailed plans of how exactly the East London Line will get from Whitechapel to Hoxton are conspicuously absent from the web, but this planning application does at least show what will happen in the Shoreditch area.

[Update: a proper map]

According to the map, the cutting north from Whitechapel will be partly filled in, providing a ramp up to ground level, which it will reach at Bratley Street. It will then continue rising on an embankment, crossing the Great Eastern Main Line and then going over Brick Lane. The embankment is where the line leaves the existing alignment into Shoreditch station, as shown by the dotted rectangle on the map.

Because the cutting is being filled in, the bridges that carry Pedley Street, Fleet Street Hill, Bratley Street and Weaver Street over the line (area map) will need to be removed to provide clearance. New roads will be built to reconnect everything, as briefly mentioned in the East London Line Extension Order. Pedley Street will be rerouted further north (Work No. 7), passing under the new line and connecting with the north ends of the severed streets, then continuing east to meet Valance Road (Work No. 4). The south ends of the severed streets will be connected to Buxton Street by Work No. 5. A footbridge over the line will be provided at Fleet Street Hill (Work No. 6).

The planning application itself is mainly about the demolition of Bridge GE19, for which Liverpool Street will be closed this Christmas. This is the railway viaduct visible from Brick Lane near the site of the recently closed Shoreditch tube station. The East London Line extension will cross the Great Eastern Main Line and Brick Lane in much the same place, but on a brand new structure.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

New Stratford DLR platform: June 18

TfL has finally published opening plans for the new DLR platforms at Stratford. The existing platform will close on June 15 and the new one will open on June 18, with no service on the entire Poplar-Stratford branch all weekend. The second platform will open this autumn.

Until recently the dates given for each platform were "April 2007" and "Summer 2007", which themselves were delayed from the original dates of January and June. [via]

Monday, 4 June 2007

Thameslink Programme schedule

There's an archived webchat on the First Capital Connect site that provides some concrete information of what will happen if the Thameslink Programme gets funding (announcement due very soon). There's also some info on it in the Network Rail Business Plan. Cross-referencing with existing info, it looks like the plan is:

  • Key Output 0: By December 2008, the central section will have been upgraded to allow 15 trains per hour (tph). The Moorgate branch and the Blackfriars bay platforms will then be closed to allow the main construction to happen, and the displaced services will have to run all the way through, with Thameslink trains from the north going on to serve some of Southeastern's current routes.
  • Key Output 1: By December 2011, all (or most) stations will have been rebuilt for 12-car trains. This would have to include the full rebuilds of Blackfriars and Farringdon.
  • Key Output 2: By December 2015, 24 tph will be running through the core section. This requires rebuilding London Bridge station, and the remaining major works.
It's still not clear when the Kings Cross First Capital Connect services will start running via Thameslink. The tunnels for this have already been built, but no track has been laid.

Ice cooled tube trains

After the rash of cooling schemes announced last week, the Daily Mail is running a dubious story about another one. Piccadilly Line trains are to be fitted with blocks of ice to cool them down:

Under the plans, blocks of ice would be hidden from view in refrigerated tanks stored underneath seats. Above ground, where temperatures are generally lower, the ice will simply be kept in its frozen state. But, when the train goes underground, the refrigeration will be switched off, allowing the ice to slowly melt. As this happens, air will be cooled by pumping it over the ice, which absorbs much of the heat.
Presumably what they mean is that in tunnels hot air will be blown over cubes, melting the ice and cooling the air. Above ground, the ice will be re-frozen electrically, extracting the heat.

There's no space for such apparatus on the current trains, so as the article notes, it could be linked with the new 2012 Stock due on the line by 2014, which hasn't been designed yet. That is, assuming there's any truth in it.

Crossrail cross section

This boring Crossrail pamphlet is nevertheless worth looking at for the cross section of the central tunnel, showing how it weaves past the other tube lines.

It's not necessarily a pro-Crossrail diagram though, as it very clearly shows how trains will sail past the Piccadilly Line at Holborn with no connection, and how the east end of Bond Street station will be very close to the Victoria and Bakerloo Lines, again with no connection as Oxford Circus is already overcrowded.