Thursday, 17 April 2008

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.


Mizter T said...

Regarding getting the DfT to fund ELLX phase 2 - the point is that as a direct result of the Thameslink works and associated reconstruction of London Bridge station there will be fewer terminating platforms there, so something has to give. The chosen sacrificial lamb is the South London Line (SLL) service (Victoria to London Bridge via Peckham Rye) which will be kicked out of London Bridge station and will thus be homeless.

Whether this should be allowed to happen is a legitimate question, but happen it is going to - the decision has all but been made.

As a result of this the SLL service needs to morph into something else. As the South London RUS recommends, a new all-stations Victoria to Bellingham via Peckham Rye service provides one part of the answer, whilst ELLX phase 2 provides the other part.

I think that if the SLL gets booted out of London Bridge as a direct result of the Thameslink project (which appears inevitable), then it's only fair that the Thameslink project/ DfT provides some redress for this - hence they should pay for the new link.

Anonymous said...

I've never thought London Bridge used the terminating platforms very intensively outside of peak hours - and even then with more than Victoria (Southern).

After the SLL train goes, what else would terminate at London Bridge in off-peak hours? Those Uckfield trains, and the Redhill/Tunbridge Wells service, as far as I can tell.

Editor said...

But the ELL taking over the SLL was something TfL wanted to do even before this Thameslink issue became apparent (unless they were being very prescient, which I suppose is a possibility). They consider it a major transport improvement.

So while I think it's fair for the Thameslink project to compensate for the harm its doing, I don't think it's fair for them to pay the full cost, which I think is what TfL are demanding.

Anonymous said...

If the SLL stops operating out of London Bridge, will there no longer be a way for me to go from a station on the Sidcup line to Victoria using a cheap day return to London terminals?

I've used that in the past, changing at London Bridge, as it keeps me exclusively on the National Rail network so a ticket to London terminals is valid. Don't much like the sound of that service being abolished.

But then we do keep getting screwed over on the Sidcup line anyway, following our unceremonial dumping from Thameslink the other day. Perhaps I should give up on ever getting any improvements here and move house!

Mizter T said...

@editor/Mr Thant - I'm pretty sure that TfL's embryonic plan for ELLX phase 2 was for the ELLX trains to run in addition to the SLL service, though I'm not sure whether that was genuinely regarded as realistic.

However given how long the Thameslink plans have been in the oven the fact that the post-reconstruction London Bridge station would be pushed for space can't really have come as a surprise to anyone, so perhaps the prescience argument comes into play here.

TfL are of course going to play it for all it's worth - perhaps the DfT could fund the link except for the new Surrey Canal Road station. Also, bear in mind that the ELLX works site at Silwood Triangle has been mooted for re-use by the Thameslink project.

@anon 1 - the terminating platforms at London Bridge are used by a great many busy 'South London Metro' services to exotic destinations such as West Croydon via New Cross Gate, Victoria via Crystal Palace, Beckenham Junction via Peckham Rye etc.

@anon 2 - Technically I don't think you actually are allowed to use a 'London Terminals' ticket to get to Victoria via London Bridge and the SLL - however if you change at Lewisham onto the half-hourly Victoria to Dartford via Bexleyheath service that'd be OK.

Anyway in the future anyone wanting to travel by mainline train from London Bridge to Victoria could do so by changing at Peckham Rye.

Also, you could always just go to Charing Cross and then take the bus or indeed walk to Victoria - it's just over a mile and you can walk through St James' Park - most pleasant!

Editor said...

The only valid route from Sidcup to Victoria is to go direct from Lewisham to Peckham Rye, not via London Bridge.

Sidcup-Dartford-Blackheath-Charlton-Greenwich-London Bridge-Lewisham-Peckham Rye-Victoria is also a valid route.

Alan said...

I am amused that Peter Hendy thinks the 2 tube stations at Elephant and Castle are not joined up(page 22). I could have sworn I have transferred between them underground countless times! Admittedly it is an inadequate and overcrowded connection. He is right about the difficulty of transferring between the tube stations and national rail.

Groupie said...

Just a follow-on from one of Mizter T's points: isn't part of the plan to have some of those Thameslink trains as stoppers via Sydenham?

There was once talk of the Charing X - Tattenham Corner (the only 'Southern' service there?) service being cut to LB. Is this still on the cards? Wonders why weren't these two weren't deemed good for Thameslink?

Pedantic of Purley said...

Tattenham Corner services will almost certainly be cut back to London Bridge at all times due to Thameslink. That is the intention.

Its not good enough for Thameslink simply because the case for other services is better. The Tattenham Corner branch is relatively lightly used off-peak.

Not to cut back to London Bridge would create conflicting movements. I will lose out as a result but this will be more than compensated for by the additional Thameslink services available with just one change of train. In any case it is almost impossible to have a new transport scheme where nobody gets a worse deal as a result. Sometimes I think we should just accept that.

Anonymous said...

One of the objectives of Thameslink is 12-car trains through central London. The destinations for Thameslink trains therefore have to accept 12-car trains technically and to justify having 12-car trains. Most of the platforms on the Tattenham Corner branch are a lot shorter: it would be expensive to extend them, or half the train would have the doors shut by SDO. The number of passengers really doesn't justify extending the platforms on the branch.

It also has been realised that dual-voltage trains are more expensive. The idea now seems to be to turn them round as close to London as possible, and to avoid having 12-cars of expensive stock run down a branch where 4-cars of cheaper stock is quite sufficient.


Anonymous said...

There was an interesting meeting of minds about S106 agreements and how they failed to provide adequate transport upgrades following Tottenham's move to Ashburton Grove. It looks like West Ham will be a different case. Has anybody heard if there are any futher developments on the move from Upton Park?
TfL have obviously been singed by the West London Tram experience and I felt that Peter Hendry was very, if not over, cautious about the Oxford Street tram - this surely must now be regarded as a subset of the Cross River Tram -itself a saga that continues to saag.
One question they did not address when discussing black cabs - will Sat Nav have the effect of making "the Knowledge" redundant. Why not try it out on the next taxi trip you take - the driver is bound to have an opinion.

THC said...

Tottenham? Ashburton Grove?!? Either you're at the wind-up mwmbwls or you just don't do football...


Anonymous said...

Apologies Jove nods and Mwmbwls fwmbwls.

Anonymous said...

Peter Hendry said:
“We would like to move forward if we had a little bit of extra funding quickly because, as you know, the East London Line work has started and I was only down there two Fridays ago and it would be very elegant to get the fly-under needed at Surrey Quays to be built during the course of the East London Line works. I am hoping that - watch this space - we will produce something to be put in a short space of time”.

Will this be an extension of an existing TWA? Has any work been done in applying for planning permission etc., for the new link. Where is this new flyunder to be located. I was labouring under the impression that there would be a flat junction at Surrey Quays.