Monday, 30 July 2007

Thameslink Borough Market timetable announced

Following the Thameslink funding decision last week, Network Rail have announced the first work to get the go ahead. A second viaduct will be built over Borough Market between January 2009 and October 2011. This fits in with the upgraded Thameslink timetable due in December 2011.

The viaduct is both the most controversial part of the plan, responsible for much of the delay in getting planning permission, and the most urgent, since at present all trains to Charing Cross and half of the Thameslink service must share a single two-track viaduct over the market. With the second viaduct in place, the two services can be segregated.

Between now and January 2009, there are preparatory works planned, including acoustic protection for Southwark Cathedral and building a roof over "the relocated section of the market". Presumably relocating said section is also one of the things that needs doing, but it isn't mentioned.

Gospel Oak to Barking TIF funding

Last week the DfT announced that the Gospel Oak to Barking line was getting £18.5m from the Transport Innovation Fund, but didn't detail what it would be spent on. Today, TfL came out with a press release filling in the blanks. As expected, the signalling will be upgraded to allow 4 passenger trains an hour, and there are no plans to electrify the line. Structures will be modified to allow full-height containers to be carried on ordinary wagons. Network Rail will be providing an additional £16.5m in funding.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Thames Gateway Bridge in doubt

Yesterday the mayor released this statement:

Any delay to the Thames Gateway Bridge is a blow to east London and south east London in particular.[...]The re-opening of the public inquiry will delay bringing the benefits of the Thames Gateway Bridge to an area that sorely needs them.
Yes, they put out a press release starting with the word "any", and published it before the thing it relates to was even news.

The context is the decision by Hazel Blears to re-open the public enquiry, following the publication of the inspector's report. The inspector concluded the bridge would do more harm than good in Bexley and that TfL did inadequate traffic modelling in general. Blears also reports receiving a large amount of correspondence since the original enquiry closed, which she thinks needs to be considered publicly.

If you aren't familiar with it, the Thames Gateway Bridge is a proposed road bridge across the Thames just east of City Airport. It would feature six lanes including two for public transport, linking the proposed East London Transit and Greenwich Waterfront Transit schemes.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

London rail improvements

Hidden within yesterday's rail white paper is the image to the right (click to enlarge) that gives some estimates of capacity improvements planned for London Rail stations. The only detail worth picking out is at Moorgate GN, where average peak loadings will reach 102% by the end of the period.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Thameslink Programme approved

As rumoured, the Thameslink Programme got funding today, which is the last hurdle before construction can commence. There was some suggestion it would only include the northern half, but that seems to be a misunderstanding. The current budget period only lasts until 2014, a year before the work is due to be complete, but there's no suggestion it won't be funded in the next period.

Today's white paper has some details hidden at the end. It confirms the 16 train per hour frequency and 12 car train length due by 2011 will only involve trains on the Midland Main Line. Trains on the Great Northern route (those that currently go to Kings Cross) will be added only in the next phase. The infrastructure budget is still said to be £3.55 billion, with the £5.5 billion figure mentioned today apparently covering rolling stock procurement (well over 1,000 carriages will be needed, at around £1 million each) and franchise renegotiation, and possibly other things.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Gospel Oak to Barking improvement details

The Barking - Gospel Oak Line User Group has some interesting information on the London Overground-related improvements planned for the line. Highlights:

  • The new trains to be introduced in 2009 are Class 172 Turbostars. These are the same as are being ordered by London Midland, and presumably TfL saw an oppurtunity to get in on the order. Unlike current Turbostars, they use the lightweight bogies currently seen on Virgin Voyagers, and the lower weight gives improved acceleration away from stations. Each carriage is 23m long, vs 20m for the current Sprinters.
  • Four trains per hour from December 2009, though whether any will run beyond Gospel Oak isn't mentioned.
  • All stations staffed, and ticket machines at every entrance.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

TfL gets right to vary London rail services

The Railways Act 2005 included provision for the Mayor to pay for improved train services on London's inner-suburban network. These powers come into force on August 8th, and some guidelines have been published today. A summary and list of lines involved is here.

Reading through the guidelines, it looks like the main aim is for TfL to help write franchise specifications before they're sent out to tender, of which the next one is Southern in 2009. They will also have the ability to alter existing schedules, either by entering into agreements directly with the train companies, or persuading the DfT to renegotiate the franchise contract.

There's no word yet on how TfL plan to use these powers.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Shepherd's Bush station opening soon-ish, maybe

I emailed TfL to ask when the Shepherd's Bush West London Line station is opening (their site says July). The response:

Shepherd's Bush station is nearing completion and we hope to see it opening towards the end of the summer period or early autumn based on present assessments.
A crazy person might suggest it'll be pushed back a little further to tie in with the launch of London Overground in November, but clearly that person would be crazy.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Barclays Oyster card coming in September

Barclays have announced a name and launch date their combined credit and Oyster card. It will be named OnePulse and be available from September. You can see a few more details and pre-register on their site.

Imperial Wharf station: LB H&F is on the case

Hammersmith and Fulham Council have issued a press release regarding the rising price of the planned Imperial Wharf station on the West London Line. Sadly, the release is almost as enigmatic as the station itself. Here's the nearest it comes to announcing anything:

Council officers have been working with Network Rail - the Government's ‘not for profit’ quango - to investigate where the spiralling costs are coming from. [...] H&F Council is working with neighbouring K&C, TfL and the developers of Imperial Wharf, St George, to work out how the funding shortfall can be bridged.
So there's no actual progress to announce yet, but at least they're still trying to get it built. [via]

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Hitachi A-Train on its way to the UK

The first train for Southeastern's forthcoming high speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link services to Kent has completed testing in Japan and has been loaded onto a ship bound for Southampton. It'll arrive in August and begin testing on the network in October.

Transport Briefing has a pretty picture of the train and some more details, though they incorrectly state it can do 186mph (the line speed is indeed 186 mph, but the A-Train's top speed is only 140 mph). There's a picture of it being loaded onto the ship on the Southeastern site.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

TfL expands London Overground rolling stock order

TfL have announced that all trains on the North London Line will be lengthened to 4 carriages in early 2011. They've also ordered 3 extra trains for the East London Line fleet, to be delivered at the same time, possibly corresponding to the extension from Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington.

The new total is 188 cars, which still leaves us short of the 256 previously discussed. Also no mention of the new Goblin stock, which may also be built by Bombardier.

Monday, 2 July 2007

GEML East London Line new bridge date

TfL have started their PR offensive over the closure of Liverpool Street station this Christmas. This is to demolish the bridge where the East London Line will cross the Great Eastern Main Line. What I don't think has been said before is the date the replacement bridge goes up, which will be Spring 2008.

We also learn that the new bridge will be "the length of three Wimbledon Centre Courts". They presumably mean 234 feet or 73 metres.

Tfl Board Meeting, 27 June 2007

The minutes from TfL's June 27 board meeting have been published. Of note:

  • The Hackney Downs - Hackney Central interchange looks to be going ahead, though the only timescale given is sometime before the Olympics.
  • Archway station will be made step-free 2009-2012, with a new passageway leading from the ticket hall to a lift shaft between the platforms.
  • There are detailed diagrams of the Victoria station upgrade.
  • TfL want to make Ilford, Bromley South, Ealing Broadway, Edmonton
    Green, Dalston Kingsland, West Croydon, Worcester Park, Gospel Oak, Hampstead Heath and Camden Road step-free, with the DfT paying the bill.
  • The number of Oyster outlets will soon increase from 2,200 to 4,000.
  • Oyster fares for London Overground are still being worked out, and there may be discounts initially.
  • The East London Line extension, DLR upgrades, Stratford station upgrade and so on are all on schedule.