Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Bank-Monument: TfL mellows out

So on Monday morning London Underground were handing out an amazing little booklet at Bank station:

That's it on the right, next to their earlier snotty dictatorial attempt at public relations.

They've managed to produce a nice, well-illustrated, detailed look at the history of Bank and Monument and a reasonably detailed overview of the escalator refurbishment programme*. It's informative, relevant, well-written and borders on being friendly in places. It doesn't even contain any outright lies.

Let's look at some quotes:

There will be no interchange at Bank and Monument stations
Customers are advised not to interchange at Bank and Monument stations
Remaining walking routes through the station will change significantly, so please use nearby Cannon Street, London Bridge, Mansion House or Moorgate stations
To minimise disruption we are endeavouring to keep as many walking routes as possible through the stations open.
But the most astonishing thing about the new leaflet is how it closes:
We apologise for any inconvenience caused to your journey.
Disingenuous or not, there wasn't anything even resembling an apology before.

[* though not as detailed as it could be]

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Oyster PAYG on First Great Western could be due in May

An anonymous tipster points me to this set of London Travelwatch minutes, which say:

Meeting with First Great Western (FGW) and Passenger Focus to discuss implementation of Oyster pay as you go on FGW. This was on schedule for May 2008 – nine months ahead of most other train operating companies (TOCs).
An early rollout was mentioned at another London Travelwatch meeting.

First Great Western recently started accepting Oyster PAYG between Greenford and Ealing Broadway, with an extension to Paddington due soon. This announcement appears to allude to all their London services. It may also include Heathrow Connect as far as Hayes & Harlington, since that portion is technically a First Great Western service.

I also note 9 months from May is February 2009, which is either a miscalculation or they're expecting other companies to miss the advertised January date.

Imperial Wharf funding plan approved

Last night Hammersmith & Fulham council approved the funding plan for Imperial Wharf station, which means everything is in place for the station to go ahead, with construction starting later this year, and opening in 2010.

The station will be located on an embankment section of the West London Line between West Brompton and Clapham Junction, and served by London Overground and possibly Southern.

[Update: Southern trains that on the WLL will call at all stops except Imperial Wharf, according to themodel timetable for the North London Line upgrade]

The entrances will be on Townmead Road, which is the road passing under the new bridge* by the bus in the photo above (taken from the southwest). The ticket office will be located within the old bridge to the right, with ticket barriers and stairs up to the platforms either side. I did once locate the planning application which showed all this in detail, but it's alluding me right now - the rendering on Always Touch Out sort of shows the set up.

(* which the Railtrack signs call "Yuppies". It appears to have been built for access to the luxury flats in the photo. Is there a story here?)

[Thanks, anonymous commenter]

Monday, 28 April 2008

Finsbury Park station upgrade plans

I've been over the plans to install ticket barriers and lifts at Finsbury Park station before, but I saw on TfL's project page they've taken the unusual step of pointing passengers to the planning application, which comes with a long list of documents and plans.

The design statement will tell you everything there is to know about the proposal, including photos of disused parts of the station. It suggests Network Rail may install lifts up to their platforms at the same time, and gives serious consideration to Islington Council's Western Ticket Hall proposal. One odd detail mentioned is the spiral staircases need to have their direction reversed.

The northbound and southbound cross-sections show just how shallow the tube lines are at the station, and where they're located in relation to the rail platforms above.

The future site plan shows a set of doors enclosing the Station Place entrances. This certainly doesn't exist now and isn't part of the works in this planning application, so I'm not sure what that's about.

Finally, TfL's site says the application is still pending, but it was actually approved on April 4th.

Shepherd's Bush Overground hole getting bigger

The work to widen the platform at Shepherd's Bush seems to be moving ahead quickly):

It was barely started last Tuesday. They only seem to be bothering with the southern half of the platform, nearest the station building, at least for now.

And it's nice to see the station finally being used for something, even if it's just as a site office:

The Imperial Wharf council meeting

Today's council meeting that could have finally given the green light to Imperial Wharf station seemed too momentous an occasion to miss, so I popped along, and this is what I found.

I was going to make a joke at their expense, but then I spotted this in the agenda:

The Cabinet is invited to resolve [...] that the public and press be excluded from the meeting
So that was a waste of time*. We'll just have to wait for the press release.

Anyway, the budget contains a lot of juicy information anyway. They've acquired a huge pile of cash:
• The Committee also agreed to reallocate to the station £750k of Section 106 funds initially earmarked for expansion of primary schools required for Imperial Wharf but no longer considered to be necessary. This, together with interest earned on the station Section 106 account since 2000, amounts to a total of £4.25 million available from St George
• £1 million from Transport for London complementary measures for the western extension of the congestion charge (already received and with interest accruing).
• £1 million from the Lots Road power station development, payable on commencement of development on the land in Hammersmith and Fulham.
• Up to £650,000 on offer from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (subject to a Council decision)
• £300,000 Section 106 funding from Chelsea Harbour design centre, payable upon commencement of development.
• £60,000 Section 106 funding already received (with interest accruing) from Sainsbury’s, Townmead Road.
That's over £7 million. The final price for the station is a secret (though it was £7.93m), but Hammersmith & Fulham Council are apparently willing to pay the remainder, including if any of the above deals fall through. They'll be paying St George to handle construction of the station. Network Rail and Transport for London don't seem to be involved at all, beyond being consulted on the design.

* It does also say "Members of the Public are welcome to attend" in bold on the front page, so I am quite grumpy

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Shadwell DLR platform extension nearing completion

For whatever reason, Shadwell is getting its platform extended to take three cars long before most other stations. I was passing through and spotted this muddy hole in the ground is a bit of surfacing away from being a proper platform:

There was a reference to "Shadwell Track Slew Completed: May-08" in the recent board papers, which is probably a reference to the eastbound track not being in line with the platform:

In other platform extension news, most stations on the Poplar-Stratford route now have their extension boundaries marked out with blue fencing.

Don't got too excited though. I've just noticed the official completion date has been officially pushed back to early 2010 (not just unofficially). And if you live on the Beckton branch, sorry, you're not included.

Stratford station photos

The official London 2012 blog has an post on the upgrade works at Stratford station, with a couple of vaguely interesting photos. 

Saturday, 26 April 2008

DLR improvement works

I've been emailed  a document that includes several interesting bits about DLR current projects, mainly regarding service changes during it.

Royal Mint Street Junction remodelling. This is where the Tower Gateway and Bank branches split. Currently the route to Tower Gateway is a single lead design which limits capacity, and the two tracks west of there are used bi-drectionally to reach each platform, rather than one for eastbound and one for westbound. Hopefully these two problems will be fixed - they'll have to be given Tower Gateway will in future only have one platform.

Single-line working south of Crossharbour. For two months starting this June the Stratford-Lewisham service will terminate at Crossharbour and the Bank-Lewisham service will terminate at Island Gardens, with cross-platform interchange to an Island Gardens-Lewisham shuttle, as well as parallel bus services. These services will only use one track, enabling the platform extension work to take place on the other.

Canning Town junction rebuild. The new junction for the Stratford International Extension is going in east of Canning Town. From 21 April trains from King George V go to Tower Gateway and trains from Beckton terminate at Poplar. From 30 June trains from King George V switch back to Bank, with Beckton services cut back further to Canning Town. This doesn't seem to reduce the number of trains over the junction, but whatever.

Bank station closing. For 5 weeks starting Christmas Day 2009, Bank will be closed for works relating to the three-car project. This appears to indicate a delay in the start of three-car running (scheduled for late 2009).

Bank-Monument escalator works

It looks there's a lot more work planned for the escalator refurbishment at Bank and Monument. I've been sent some info that gives details of the full programme:

  • April 2008-Autumn 2009: DLR-Monument (E12-13 and E14-15). These are the ones currently closed.
  • September 2008-June 2009: Northern Line-Monument (E4-5), one at a time. If the remaining one fails the Northern Line will have to non-stop Bank due to lack of evacuation routes.
  • May-October 2008: Lombard Street ticket hall escalators (E6-7), one at a time.
  • Late 2009-Autumn 2011: DLR to Bank (E8-9 and E10-11). These have already been worked on, but it seems it was life-extending maintenance, and this will be the full replacement.
  • TBD: Main Central Line escalators (E1-3)
(The map I made of the station has the escalators and their numbers marked on)

The presentation notes that the DLR escalators are being replaced so early in their life (17 years) due to much heavier usage than anticipated.

The E4-5 works will mean there'll actually be no Monument to Bank interchange, though Bank to Monument should still be a goer. One of the E6-7 escalators is closed already, so that work shouldn't make things any worse at the Bank End. In fact, things are better since I made that last map - the spiral staircase route has been open every time I've been there.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Shepherd's Bush Overground platform widening begins

Ain't it a lovely day today? The sun is shining, Imperial Wharf is being built, and they've started digging a hole behind the legendary wall at Shepherd's Bush Overground:

Inside the ticket hall, they've put up fences and boxed up the gates:

This is the first time anything at all at the station has changed in six months.

(And yes the lift and the station signs are still pointlessly switched on)

[Thanks to Dazz285 for the tip off]

Shepherd's Bush Central Line update

They've started putting the western half of the frame (in the background), plus the internal walls for the staff accomodation:

Ever seen a brand new escalator on the back of a truck?

Thought not.

Imperial Wharf to open by 2010

The flood of press releases does contain one interesting statement:

There are 73 stations on the London Overground network; 50 on the North London Railway with two new stations due to open on the West London line by 2010 and 17 stations on the East London line with four new stations due to open in 2010
One is obviously Shepherd's Bush, and even that saga should be over soon. So we're looking at a timescale - however flimsy - for the construction of Imperial Wharf, which we haven't heard anything about since October.

The station also makes an appearance in the provisional future timetable. There's still hope.

Update: More than just hope (press release) [Thanks D-Notice]

Monday, 21 April 2008

London Overground station improvements

Friday's premature adulation of Homerton station has become not one but five near-identical press releases, covering: 

Crouch Hill is listed at the bottom of each release, but isn't worthy of a headline. The improvements are:
stations have been thoroughly cleaned and re-painted. The existing equipment including the public announcement and CCTV systems, information screens and lights have also been checked and repaired where necessary.
So no upgrades yet, just cleaning and repairs. Exactly what I found at Homerton.

(If, like me, you're wondering why they're announcing this now rather than waiting until all the stations are finished - most are coming along nicely - it seems this was an incoherent attempt to mark the 6 month anniversary of Overground, which was a week ago. Well done TfL press office)

Mitcham Eastfields latest

View all posts about Mitcham Eastfields

With the opening of Mitcham Eastfields allegedly only a month away, it's time for another visit.

Here's an overview of the site, looking south:

The station building and the northbound platform:

The liftshafts, footbridge columns, and the very end of the southbound platform:
(NB This blog does not endorse the commandeering of handy nearby tall buildings for photography purposes. Unless, of course, there's no one about)

So since three weeks ago they've put up equipment rooms for the lifts as well as pillars for the footbridge to stand on - but still no bridge. The station building has gained eaves and the canopies on both platforms look finished but unpainted, and the platform edging looks complete. The empty end of the building is where the ticket office, toilets and so on will be. Either it's all going to arrive in one piece on the back of a lorry, or they have a lot of work to do.

ELL phase 2 funding approved?

Now here's an interesting possibility. Reader Phillip Baker points out a comment Ken made during a TV debate, during a discussion of the news blackout rules that prevent announcements being made in the run up to an election:

And then also let's announce the government's going to let me build the East London Line to Clapham Junction, because we can announce that as well, if we're doing the good news
So was he trying to say it has been approved, but the rules prevent it being announced? Or was he just making an awkward hypothetical? Watch it for yourself - it's only a couple of minutes in.

You may also like to consider Peter Hendy's "watch this space" comment and the suddenly coy mention of the project in the last set of board papers.

London Overground new train update

Reader Dazz285 sends in the following picture of the new London Overground trains under construction, taken from the LOROL staff magazine:

The accompanying article says the delivery of the first two trains in June will be followed by a 15 week programme of night-time testing on the network, presumably to make sure they don't hit anything. That puts us in October for the first trains to enter passenger service, and Dazz has heard the Watford DC Line will be the first to be converted. The article says the full fleet will be in service by January 2009.

This all only applies to electrified lines. The Gospel Oak to Barking Line will have to wait until the following December for its own fleet of diesel trains to arrive.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Mitcham Eastfields opening May 18th-ish

View all posts about Mitcham Eastfields

The new First Capital Connect timetable gives a provisional date for Mitcham Eastfields station to open:

At the time of printing, the exact opening date of the station has not been determined, however it is anticipated that it will open on or close to 18 May 2008. Times of trains at Mitcham Eastfields (which is between Streatham and Mitcham Junction stations) are included in the tables of this booklet. However trains will not call there until the station has opened.
Handy advice in that last sentence.

A walk along East London Line phase 2

With the recent talk of funding for phase 2 of the East London Line extension, it seems a good time to take a look at what it amounts to.

There's an overall route map here. The plan is to reopen just under a mile of long disused track between Surrey Quays on the East London Line and Queens Road Peckham on the South London Line, with a new station at Surrey Canal Road, with trains terminating at Clapham Junction. I've drawn the link and station locations on Google Maps.

The route diverges from the main East London Line just south of Surrey Quays:
This is a temporary junction put in to allow construction materials for the current works to be taken in by rail, but in exactly the same location as the Phase 2 junction will be.

According to the TWA Order the new junction will be grade separated. Southbound trains turning right towards Clapham Junction will pass underneath the track carrying northbound trains from the other branches. Obviously serious construction work will be required to achieve this, and I don't think it could easily be done after the line reopens.

Looking south from the same spot, this is the Silwood Triangle work site. There are a couple of new sidings used for loading construction materials, again built on the route of the phase 2 extension. The ELL currently has no main line connection so there's a dedicated fleet of small diesel locomotives:

The track currently ends there, but the ELL route continues through these arches under the London Bridge-New Cross line, and in the distance the London Bridge-New Cross Gate line:
There were once three tracks here, so there'd still be a spare arch for the footpath.

The line continues on past Millwall's football ground to a footbridge over Surrey Canal Road. This photo is taken from the bridge looking back north:

Crossing over the footbridge you're only about 200 yards west of where the main East London Line also crosses the road at the north end of the New Cross Gate depot site. The TWA Order states the footbridge will be replaced by "a new bridge incorporating a station", meaning Surrey Canal Road station will be build above its namesake.

South of the road there's a large open green space (Bridge House Meadows) that was once enclosed by a triangle of railways:
The East London Line will follow the footpath to the right, on a route closed since 1913. Another single track once turned left - explaining why there were three tracks earlier - connecting to the west side of New Cross Gate station. This route was closed in 1964 but potentially could have done the same job as the New Cross Gate flyover, if there weren't now houses in the way.

Moving on, the ELL route would arrive on the footpath (bottom right) and I think go up onto this remaining bridge abutment:

Climbing up onto the bank puts you within sight of the South London Line:

Then a short walk through woods gets you to the South London Line viaduct:

Which is where trains continue along existing tracks to Clapham Junction. The TWA Order is ambiguous about whether a flat or grade-separated junction is envisaged here, but I'd lean towards flat.

It's hard to imagine a railway passing along here now, as its entirely open as public footpaths, and at the south end passes through a quiet residential neighbourhood. The Transport and Works Order for the branch has already been approved, so there's limited scope for residents to object, but TfL will still require planning permission for the individual structures.

Homerton station improvements: 404 Not Found

This weird item popped up in TfL's press release RSS feed on Friday night. It had no title and the page it links to doesn't exist. But if it did, it'd be trumpeting the completion of the "second phase of improvements at Homerton station".

A mistake, right? Or is Homerton station wonderful enough to be worthy of a press release? Let's have a look.


Saturday, 19 April 2008

Central Line trains to get new motors

The trains on the Central Line are generally regarded as lemons, and recently they've been suffering serious motor problems* causing service disruption. London Underground appear to be taking drastic action to get it solved, as they propose spending £90-130m to replace the entire drive system of every train:

Replacement of existing DC traction system by new AC traction system on approximately 85 trains each of 8 cars. Requirement includes replacement of 4 electric traction motors and related equipment on each car.
Almost all new electric trains are built with AC motors - including the Jubilee and Northern Line fleets - as they're simpler, smaller and more efficient. Note that "AC" refers only to the design of the motors and the way they're controlled, so the fourth rail DC supply system on the line will not need to be replaced.

It would previously have been Metronet's responsibility to solve this problem. You may like to ponder whether they'd been putting off fixing it properly.

(* if you don't trust that rant, the problem is also mentioned briefly on page 33 of the Feb 2008 board papers)


Thursday, 17 April 2008

Crystal Palace Tramlink follow up

While I was writing my post on the Tramlink extensions to Crystal Palace, I emailed a few questions to the project team. They just got to back to me, saying:

  • Complete taking over the rail route from Crystal Palace to Beckanham Junction is still a possibility, although not currently part of the preferred scheme.
  • The route across the other rail tracks is still under consideration.
  • They reckon they can get from Penge Road to Anerley Road using only existing railway land, rather than talking away adjacent back gardens as I suggested*, though I doubt they can manage this between Anerley Road and Crystal Palace station.
* Yes, they bothered to read my blog. A lot better than when I phoned TfL's press office to ask for an explanation about Bank-Monument, and was yelled at almost immediately, and told I should just post whatever nonsense they'd put in their press release, how dare a blogger question TfL.

Transport Committee minutes

I've just been reading through this transcript of a recent London Assembly Transport Committee meeting in which Peter Hendy talks in detail about the East London Line Extension Phase 2, Cross River Tram, Oxford Street Tram, taking over local rail services and various other topics. There aren't any major revelations, but it's worth a look if you're interested in TfL's current thinking on these projects.

One thing that did catch my eye was blaming the overcrowding at King's Cross St Pancras tube station on the Thameslink station being moved away, putting more passengers through the ticket hall gateline.

He also mentions the advantages of putting in the junction by Surrey Quays for ELL phase 2 while the line is still closed, and hints at a development in this area. On the subject of why TfL won't just pay for it themselves, he does some logical maneuvering to label Thameslink as a national project and so its knock on effects should be paid for out of national funds, ignoring that TfL wanted to do it anyway. Unconvincing.

Monday, 14 April 2008

ELL bridge move dates confirmed

TfL have a press release which confirms the dates to move the other two major East London Line bridges into place, as previously noted on this site.

The GE19 bridge goes into place on the weekend of May 4-5, requiring the closure of Liverpool Street station. The New Cross Gate bridge goes into place the following weekend, which will require the closure of one of the routes into London Bridge.

The press release also notes part of Brick Lane will be closed to cars for four months starting in May, to allow the viaduct over it to be built.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The new Circle Line: a diagram

I've made a diagram of the new Circle Line, so it's clearer what the proposal is and what issues it causes (click to enlarge).
I've included the other lines and their frequencies. As I understand it, each service on the network runs at roughly 7 trains per hour (tph), so that trains align when they meet at junctions. Hence one line on my map represents one 7 tph service, and the overall line thickness where they run alongside each other represents the total frequency on that section of track. I'm assuming that apart from the changes to the Circle, there'll be no significant changes to other lines.

You can see how there'll be double the number of trains on the branch to Hammersmith, but it also illustrates the big downside, which is the separation of the north and west sides of the [present] Circle Line. All trains from High Street Kensington terminate at Edgware Road, and all trains on the north side go to Hammersmith or up the Metropolitan Line, with none going towards High Street Kensington.

The major operation concern: the number of trains running over the flat junction at Praed Street, which will increase by a third because Circle Line services go over it twice on each journey.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Initial Thameslink works announced

Network Rail have a press release announcing the awarding of contracts for initial works for the Thameslink Programme. They are:

  • Farringdon station - "replacement of the existing interchange bridge, construction of part of a new station entrance & concourse on Turnmill Street and other minor works on emergency access / escape routes and cable diversions"
  • Borough Market viaduct - "minor works to enhance facilities at Borough Market and will also provide a new temporary market hall alongside the existing wholesale market" (previously announced)
  • Blackfriars station - "a wide range of advance works at and around the existing National Rail and Underground stations and on the railway bridge across the River Thames "
This is all preparatory work that will happen this year, ready for the main construction work from 2009 to 2011.

Mudchute third platform

Mudchute DLR station has a siding behind the northbound platform for storing failed trains and where trains terminating at Crossharbour can go to reverse*. As part of rebuilding the station for the three-car project, the siding will be turned into a third platform so that passengers can board trains reversing there instead of having to use the crowded trains arriving from Lewisham.

Work has already begun and the siding has had most of its track removed:
(looking north from the northbound platform)

The planning application is here. It includes before and after plans and a short rationale. The station will gain full length platform canopies during the work - something that will also happen at other stations.

[* There's also a siding nearer Crossharbour between the two tracks that serves a similar purpose]

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Crossrail images

A few weeks ago I attended a talk by the Engineering Director of Crossrail. Nothing particularly juicy was revealed, but there were some great diagrams shown.

Looking at Crossrail's online picture library, I found a few similar ones:

  • This station diagram corresponds with the general layout of Tottenham Court Road (it's definitely not Liverpool St), with Oxford St runs along the top where the stairs come out, with Chraing Cross Road on the far right. As noted in the talk, the amount of walking needed to get from the platform to the street is designed to be as small as possible.
  • Diagram of a running tunnel No chance of getting a double deck train in.
  • Paddington station platform area, showing the huge slot that will allow daylight all the way down. You can also see the platform edge doors.
I would have posted about this a while ago, but I've been trying to get copies of the actual images. An apparently cooperative press officer did send me a couple of renderings, which weren't what I was after at all and are barely worth your time. But in the interests of having a petty "you won't find these anywhere else on the web" exclusive, I'm posting them anyway.

"Tottenham Court Road - Upper concourse"

"Bond Street - Western Entrance - Davies Street ticket hall"

The only things worth noting are the video avatars on the ticket machines (and no ticket offices) and the incredibly poor compositing work in the background of the second image.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Thameslink train specifications published

The Department for Transport has posted an outline specification of the trains it wants to order for the Thameslink Programme, amounting to 275 4-car trains.

There are few interesting details - trains will have WiFi throughout and be fitted with 2+2 seating with a wide aisle, rather than the 3+2 common in commuter trains. Another thing that stood out for me was the requirement that trains be fitted with automatic train operation for use in the central section, which would be a first for the National Rail network.

"Hammersmith & Circle Line" looking likely

Plans to rework the subsurface network* have been being discussed for years now, but with no real indication of exactly what is planned and when it might happen.

This posting quotes TfL's current thinking and it looks fairly definite to me. The plan is to have Circle Line trains start at Hammersmith, run along the Hammersmith & City Line to Edgware Road then do a clockwise lap of the Circle, arriving back at Edgware Road. They'd then reverse and go anticlockwise round the circle back to Hammersmith. Despite my headline, the service would continue to be called the "Circle Line".

The big advantage for passengers is the doubling in service to Hammersmith as the Hammersmith & City Line will continue to run - currently the branch only gets 7 trains per hour. The big drawback is no through service between the west and north sides of the Circle - you will always have to change at Edgware Road.

Reader John Hawkins emailed an analysis of the numbers in this press release about the new S Stock trains that seems to confirm the plan:

There will be 133 7-car trains. If this is all about the Hammersmith-Barking service, and D-stock replacements remains 78 S7 instead of 75 D6, then leaves 55 S7 to replace 46 C6, which must be the T-cup service enhancement to Hammersmith.
The other rumoured change, to have the Metropolitan run to Barking and the Hammersmith & City to Aldgate appears to be dead.

* The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines, which all share track

Monday, 7 April 2008

Shepherd's Bush / Wood Lane update

Before I start, potentially big news: An anonymous commenter reports that work has begun today to move the wall at Shepherd's Bush Overground after six months of inactivity. Can anyone confirm?

[Update 9/4: I'm thinking false alarm or hoax or they've buggered off already]

Anyway, some pictures I took last week. The entrance to Wood Lane tube station has gained solid walls since February:

And the platforms: (click to enlarge)

Moving just around the corner to Shepherd's Bush tube station.
This gap is where the original building stood, of which nothing remains. The framework must be to protect the escalator replacement works. On the right is one half of the new building, which will eventually cover the whole site.

Paddington getting ticket gates

Ticket gates are now being installed at Paddington station to wall off most of the suburban platforms and resolve the lack of full gating on the mainline platforms. They should come into use in the next month or two, hopefully coinciding with the extension of Oyster PAYG.

The current setup is fairly interesting. Platforms 2-5 are gated at the concourse end, but the footbridge halfway along allows free access from the ungated platforms. Similarly, the gates on the footbridge for the Hammersmith & City Line (15-16) also include platforms 13-14, which are ungated at the concourse end, again making it easy to slip behind them.

The plan is to put a new gateline across the north side of the concourse (pictured) to enclose platforms 10-16, and move the H&C gateline along the footbridge to match. New gates on the footbridge will properly close off 2-5 (this diagram from the planning application should make everything clear).

Of the remaining platforms 1 is used for access and essentially ungateable; 6 and 7 are dedicated to Heathrow Express; leaving only 8-9 conspicuously ungated.

[diagram via uk.railway]

£160m of Crossrail work in the next 12 months

Cross London Rail Links plan to award contracts for enabling works worth £160m over the next 12 months, just as soon as the Crossrail Bill passes. The works are described as "utility diversions, demolitions, site investigations, rail infrastructure modifications, environmental mitigation, traffic management and civil engineering works", but no more details are given.

Think of it as two Croxley Rail Links.

Picture: Crossrail borehole in Soho Square

Friday, 4 April 2008

Bank-Monument: Open!

I made a visit to Bank-Monument on my way home and bring good news in diagram form (closed areas in purple - click to enlarge).

Two of the three closed to scare you away passageways are back open, and in both directions - at least when I was there. With only the spiral staircase passageway closed, movement around the north end of the station is almost completely free, and the "no interchange at Bank and Monument" is even less true than ever.

There is some bad news for passengers arriving on the DLR. The gates across to the departures platform at Bank were closed, making the stairs up to the Northern Line and so the route to Monument inaccessible. The only way out is to take an escalator up to the interchange hall, from where you can take a short flight of stairs down to the Northern Line, but to get to Monument you then have to walk the entire length of the platforms. I have a feeling this was just a temporary measure due to rush hour crowding on the departures platform, however.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

London Overground shutdown from September

The Network Rail closures register provides details of the North London Line and Gospel Oak-Barking closures this autumn (pages 190 and 193). As far as I can tell:

  • The North London Line will be split in two from September 1st to November 16th for the enlargement of Hampstead Tunnel for container trains. The services will be Richmond-Willesden Junction and Gospel Oak-Stratford.
  • For the week of September 22nd-28th, the section from Gospel Oak to Camden Road will also be closed. During this week, trains from Stratford will instead run to Willesden Junction via Queen's Park.
  • From September 1st to September 28th, the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will also be closed. Major track maintenance and replacement will occur, probably not unrelated to the upgrade of the line.
Obviously this is all subject to change. Previously mentioned here.

[via Railchat]

Enfield Town, Walthamstow and Twickenham stations to be redeveloped

Network Rail have teamed up with a property developer to make some money and - if we're lucky - improve the facilities at several stations:

Network Rail and Kier Property Limited (Kier) will work together in equal partnership to regenerate brownfield sites. The initial portfolio of sites are six stations at Enfield Town, Epsom, Guildford, Maidstone East, Twickenham and Walthamstow and a further site at Wembley Cutting and have a gross development value in excess of £500m.
[...]we will maximise the value of the chosen sites, delivering significant passenger benefits and creating a sustainable income stream to improve the railway for years to come. [...] developments are likely to include residential, retail and office accommodation
The press release also mentions redevelopment plans for Euston and Victoria will be announced soon. King's Cross and London Bridge already have schemes on the table, and the plans for Waterloo are ongoing.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Bank-Monument: They want to scare you away

Still wondering why passageways without escalators have been closed for escalator refurbishment? This internal staff briefing document has answers [hosted by Going Underground]. In particular, read the "Why will this help?" section.

The logic goes:

  1. One of the two main routes to the DLR needs to be closed, so...
  2. The other route will have to become up only to provide extra capacity, which requires...
  3. Passengers going down to the DLR to use a temporary route via the Northern Line platforms, but...
  4. Those platforms are too crowded, so...
  5. The aforementioned passageways will also be closed in order to...
  6. Make interchange to the Central and Waterloo & City Lines so difficult that...
  7. Passengers get exasperated and go elsewhere...
  8. Reducing the crowding on the Northern Line platforms.
I can't figure out whether this is bonkers or genius.

The East London Line route through New Cross Gate

Here's a quick map I've knocked up of the route of the East London Line extension through New Cross Gate.

I hope it gives a good idea of how everything fits together - the tracks along the top are the old ELL route (only the southbound will be in regular use), while the one along the bottom is the new connection. The background is a diagram of the under construction New Cross Gate depot taken from this planning application.

The new connection includes a flyover over the main line, the main span of which has been assembled alongside the line, as shown on the diagram. This bridge is far too heavy to moved by crane, so it's going to somehow be pushed into place using "self propelled vehicles". The planning application for the flyover is here, and includes some good diagrams and rationale.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

London Overground train order number crunching

TfL have put out a short press release announcing a second expansion of the order for new trains for London Overground, a move mooted a month ago. As expected, the order is for 7 additional 4-car trains.

I'd like to say what the new total is, but the numbers don't add up. Previous indications were that the final fleet would be 54 trains, but the press release mentions the 7 as being in addition to the "44 trains" of the original order. They seem to have forgotten about the 3 extra trains they ordered last July.

The documentation for the North London Line upgrade sums up the delivery schedule thus:
  • The original order, which was 24 3-car trains for the North London Line, West London Line and Watford DC Line, plus 20 4-car trains for the East London Line
  • Tranche 1: Extending the 24 NLL et al trains to 4 cars.
  • Tranche 2: 3 extra trains to cover ELL services from Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington, and 3 trains for the Stratford to Camden Road shuttle, plus a maintenance spare.
Today's order corresponds to Tranche 2. Again, the 3 trains from last July have disappeared. It might just be that they mentioned in this document due to being specifically for the ELL, and additionally whoever prepared today's press release simply forgot about them, but it's all very strange.

On a related note, I've also just spotted that the draft timetable assumes the new diesel trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will be 3-car, which gives some hope they'll be given third cars within the next few years. 

It also mentions  that six trains from the East London Line fleet will be stabled in Stratford overnight, which would mean some or all of the ELL fleet will be dual voltage, as the ELL is entirely third rail and the route to Stratford is AC overhead only. Previously it was thought the ELL would be built without overhead capabilities.

Going back to today's press release, it  notes that the new trains will have the "look and feel of Tube trains" and there will be "six passenger information displays inside" (per train? per carriage?), as well as previously known information about the carriage connections being walk-through (think bendy bus) and the trains having air conditioning.