Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Partial Northern Line split now permanent

Back in January signs appeared at Northern Line tube stations advising that during the morning peak, all northbound trains on the Bank branch would go to High Barnet, and all northbound Charing Cross branch trains would go to Edgware*. Today they've put out a cryptic press release hailing its success:

A series of changes to the Northern line schedule, the product of over a year of detailed study, has resulted in more trains running on time. Modifying the service in response to increasing customer demand has led to increased reliability and has reduced journey times by around a minute.
Interestingly they manage to ramble for 400 words without once mentioning what the major change is. The thing I find interesting is they could have used this as an opportunity to butter up the press for the probably upcoming full split, but have instead chosen to say nothing of substance.

(* actually each sign only mentioned the arrangements for the branch the station was on. Can't have the passengers knowing too much)


Pedantic of Purley said...

According to the cryptic press release "The Northern line is the most complex and challenging manually driven railway in Europe, with services operating on six branches".

Six branches ? How do they work that out ?

Leisa & Malcolm said...

Well, there are three possible `northern' starting points on the line (Edgware, High Barnet, Mill Hill East.) From one of those a train can run to Morden via either Bank or Charing X. So there's your six. Pretty tenuous to call them all `branches' though.

Tom said...

If the Northernline were to be split permanently in two and one of the south bound branches, presumably Charing X were to terminate at Kennington, would there be any chance of extending that part of the line down to Camberwell or Peckham? I vaguely remember this being talked about at some point?

James said...

Re. Tom

Clearly the logical thing to do - and would be massively useful to south london. Logicaly if your assembling a team and carrying out alot of ground survey work in south london extending the Bakerloo in conjunction would be very economical.

Anonymous said...

Seems slightly anti-climatic to have all trains terminate at Kennington, and so similar to the already under-used Bakerloo at Elephant.

Surely both could be extended fairly easily, at least further into zone 2/3 or take over commuter routes.

Alan said...

I remember platform staff on the Bakerloo telling me that it is really difficult to avoid big service intervals on their line once a problem occurs, because it doesn't have any branches! I can't see this myself. A single route must be much simpler to run than one with junctions - look how awful the District and Circle are compared with most other lines.

Groupie said...

Really good points about the the Bakerloo at Elephant and Northern at Kennington - most apparent when trains from either line come into Waterloo from the south.

Extensions of both needn't really be massively long, just with a few choice stops along the way. A few interchanges with national rail (a la Balham, Wimbledon), new hubs for local buses and massive carparks (like North Greenwich) would probably guarantee patronage.

Groupie said...

Forgot my main reason for posting: the Northern line.

Perhaps this incremental separation will do for now. The next big step could come when the line goes ATO. In order to win the PR battle TfL could boast that the separation is necessary to achieve full benefits of the upgrade: Not only faster, more frequent trains but also improved reliability?

Anonymous said...

There was talk about extending the Bakerloo Line to Camberwell. What about extending the Charing X branch to Camberwell, (openning a Thameslink station there while you're at it) and instead extending the Bakerloo Line to run via the Bricklayers Arms to follow the Old Kent Road towards New Cross or even Greenwich?

As for the Northern Line, it could go on from Camberwell to Peckham and Catford, before taking over the Hayes Line. This wouldn't be tricky as the Hayes Line doesn't tie in with the National Rail trains at all, just as long as you improve interchange with the CML and Tramlink around Beckenham.