Monday, 31 December 2007

Shepherd's Bush Overground: End of the year

Last month, we were told that Shepherd's Bush station on the West London Line would be "ready for service by the end of the year". And on the latest tube map going up in stations now, it's shown as open. So if you visited today you'd expect to see - if not an open station - at least some serious progress, right?

Not a sausage. But then it is a spectacular cock up with no obvious solution. There was a suggestion of opening only the southbound platform (on the left in the photo), which is very wide for most of its length. But the opening to it from the footbridge is onto the narrow part, and there are structural tension rods preventing the window facing us being turned into a doorway. On the northbound platform, even if it were decided to move the retaining wall, they'd also need to demolish a corner of the station building, which in turn may well be holding up the footbridge.

I've also dug up an incriminating diagram from the planning application. Most glaringly, it shows the lights were always meant to mounted on the fence rather than blocking the platform, something that's since been proposed as a solution. And it makes it obvious why no one's keen on moving the wall.

Disclaimer: Site last visited on Friday. Optimists may assume it was sorted over the weekend and opened today.

[Latest: The wall will be moved, taking at least four months]

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Eastfields station

All posts about Mitcham Eastfields

I've neglected to mention Eastfields, a new station under construction in south London. Construction started a few months ago (after years of talking) and it's scheduled to open some time next year.

It's located between Streatham, Mitcham and Tooting (Google Maps) and I've marked it on our eponymous map. According to the Transport Statement, only the half-hourly Southern services to/from Victoria are expected to call. The line is also part of the Thameslink Sutton/Wimbledon loop service, but it's uncertain if those trains will stop.

The transport statement also mentions that "just over 13,300 residents live within 800m (as the crow flies) of the new station. Only a very few small proportion live within 800m of any other station." A quick check of the London Gaps map bears this out (I've marked it on the version to the right - click to enlarge).

The station itself is interesting in a couple of ways. It's being built at a level crossing with each platform on a different side of the road (plan), so that in both directions trains will go over the crossing before they reach a platform. This allows the gates to reopen while the train is stopped.

Secondly, it's the prototype of Network Rail's "modular" station concept. They're written a long essay on the topic as part of their planning application (though this news article is a lot more digestible). They want to use standard easy-to-maintain components for the station buildings and canopies. Having only one station using standard components isn't very useful, so the plan is to rebuild many stations this way. The concept doesn't extend to the platforms, which are concrete beams on breezeblock walls.

The photos show how far along constructions is. They've built about half the length of each platform, which will eventually be 170m long (for 8 car trains) and a healthy 3m wide, and by my count of the breezeblocks underneath they appear to be so. Both photos are looking north: The first shows the northbound platform, with the site of the station building on the far left. The second is from further south, and shows the southbound platform, with the level crossing and northbound platform in the distance.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

How Green Park works

"What on earth is this horrendous tunnel for?" you sigh to yourself, as you once again make the mistake of changing between lines at Green Park. In an effort to figure out exactly how bad interchange here is, I've done a few laps of the station and come up with this diagram.

It turns out interchange between the Jubilee and Victoria is perfectly reasonable, but anything involving the Piccadilly Line sends you down one of the long tunnels. Changing between the Victoria and the Piccadilly you can avoid a long walk by going up to the ticket hall and back. But between the Jubilee and the Piccadilly a long walk is inevitable and you should avoid journeys that need it (unless you need to use lifts, because then it's the only interchange you can do here). The Jubilee Line is also long trek from the street.

A few notes: I used the Green Park drawing from here as a starting point, so while the Piccadilly and Victoria lines are likely to be accurate the Jubilee Line location is pure guesswork. The parallel grey lines are escalators, the stripey bits are stairs and the black squares are lifts. If it isn't obvious, all escalators go down in the direction away from the ticket hall.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

East London Line progress in pictures

As you probably know, Liverpool Street station is currently closed to allow the demolition of bridge GE19, so that a new bridge carrying the extended East London Line can be built across roughly the same spot. Here are some photos I've taken today around the area (click to enlarge).

Firstly, Liverpool Street station itself. Despite the completely blank departures board, it's surprisingly busy.

This is the gap where the bridge was, from the south side. The wall abutting Brick Lane on the far left is all that remains. Between the digger and the houses are what appear to be giant moulds for casting supports for the new bridge.

From the same spot, but turning slightly to the right. The demolished bridge would previously have dominated this picture. The building on the right is Shoreditch tube station.

Here's the same scene from the opposite direction...

...and here's a photo taken from roughly the same place on Saturday.

Finally, here's the new viaduct that will support Shoreditch High Street station. The artist's impression on the hoarding shows the same view a couple of years from now.

Next installment (February 2008) >>

Monday, 17 December 2007

Imperial Wharf gets more funding

This is old news, but doesn't seem to have been widely circulated - on October 31st Hammersmith and Fulham Council announced that they've extracted another £1.25m from developers St George for the construction of Imperial Wharf station. This came only a couple of weeks after they said they needed roughly that amount in extra funding over what was already in place.

What they conspicuously don't mention is whether this means the station is going to be built.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Crossrail through Commons

The Crossrail Bill has now cleared the House of Commons and now has to be approved by the House of Lords. As previously discussed, there'll be another round of public petitioning. The petitioning period in the Commons resulted in this document, which details the various complaints and the committee's responses and recommendations.

Update: The Crossrail newsletter points to the Lords' Crossrail page. The petitioning period is 8th-30th January.

Shepherd's Bush Central Line station closed for eight months

TfL have announced that the Central Line station at Shepherd's Bush is closing from 2 February 2008 until October:

This will result in the ticket hall being demolished and rebuilt, as well as the installation of new escalators and modernisation of the station.
I note that the press release mentions the new Wood Lane station, the renaming of Shepherd's Bush H&C. the new Central Line depot, even the new H&C viaduct over the entrance to that depot, but not a peep about a certain other station.

(this announcement may explain why both stations are shown as under construction on one version of the new tube map)

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Look ma, Crossrail 2

I was looking at the plans for the Victoria Transport Interchange* development, when I found this diagram showing where the platforms for the Chelsea-Hackney Line will be (the grey bits on the left), with interchange passageways shown and everything!

The southbound platform will be directly under Buckingham Palace Road, the northbound platform a bit off to the west, and there'll be a new entrance on the north side of Bressenden Place (a long way from Victoria station, but handy for Buckingham Palace), and an interchange passageway across to the District Line ticket hall, and another to the Victoria Line platforms.

Sadly, it's all fictional:

No detailed plans yet exist for this scheme but the Victoria Transport Interchange proposals incorporate a safeguarding zone anticipating the station being located below Buckingham Palace Road.
And the redevelopment scheme itself is looking shaky.

If you still want to take a look, the diagram is on page 18 of this 108 MB PDF, and pops up again on page 50, and there are some cross sections at the back.

(* Ignore the name - it's actually just office blocks in the area north of the station, its major effect on transport being "removal of the bus station from in front of the station and dispersal of the bus stops to the surrounding streets")

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Board Papers time again

The notes from this month's TfL board meeting have been published. A few things of note:

  • TfL have started ordering Oyster equipment for the roll out to the whole National Rail network in 2009
  • London Bridge may not have capacity for South London Line trains when it's rebuilt for Thameslink (there'll be fewer terminus platforms). TfL suggest the East London Line phase 2 should go ahead ASAP to solve this problem.
  • Major DLR works will happen at Stratford during the Christmas closure on Liverpool St (this probably actually means the new North London Line platforms).
  • An "Oyster Control Centre" has been setup, whose main job seems to be reprogramming the gatelines to fix unresolved journeys after station evacuations and other events.
  • The first new Piccadilly Line train is due in 2011, with the upgrade progamme finsihed by 2014
  • TfL are having doubts about how feasible it is to extend Circle Line stations for 7 car trains, and are investigating other options.
  • TfL are still deciding whether to go with the "Harmony" or SLC2k service patterns for the North London Line upgrade. No idea what either of these are.
  • The future of the Cross River Tram and Crystal Palace Tramlink extension looks very murky
  • "The review of a number of projects in the Planning directorate continued this quarter, including tram and bus transit schemes. The outputs of these reviews are expected to be made available at the end of the year."
  • The East London Transit project (Ilford-Barking-Dagenham) appears to be progressing, but isn't due to start in October 2009.
  • Greenwich Waterfront Transit is still in public consultation, and will take even longer.
  • A TWA application for the DLR Dagenham Dock extension will be made early next year, but the project has no funding after that.
The last few bits are from the appendices.

Update: The document has been updated with a load of extra bits tacked on, including enormous tables of Travelcard and London Overground prices.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Stratford DLR bridge finally opens

I took a detour to Stratford on the way home today to check on the DLR bridge, and by the power of Ken it is open. Bemused commuters were being herded that way even if they were going east (it connects only to the westbound platforms).

It's actually less a footbridge and more a walkway - it only has stairs at one end (the short flight shown in the picture), while at the DLR end it comes out level with the platforms. It didn't need to be built any taller because the only thing it goes over is the westbound Central Line descending into its tunnel.

Meanwhile, in second platform news, they still weren't using both platforms at once.

Update: Building has an excellent aerial photo of it.

The Millennium Busway

The latest Smoke has a write-up of London's only subaquatic bus route, the 108 (Stratford-North Greenwich-Lewisham), and by my reckoning one of very few that pass the same point 3 times during their run. Anyway, the article briefly mentions the Millennium Busway, built to speed passengers from Charlton station to the Dome. Having no recollection of what this engineering marvel amounts to and finding little online, I decided to take a look while I was in East London yesterday.

The answer: not much. Here it is on a map. Very nearly three quarters of a mile of, well, bus lane, stretching all the way from North Greenwich station to North Greenwich Odeon.

The northern half runs adjacent to one of the Dome's gridlocked access roads and has no stops - the only building it passes is this isolated pub with a terrace of houses behind it.

The southern half runs around the back of Greenwich Millennium Village (where there are two lonely stops), then terminates at a junction with Bugsby's Way (pictured). Buses cross from here into the retail park with that Millennium eco-Sainsbury's. Then it's out onto normal streets.

Under the "Millennium Transit" plans it was intended that buses on the route would be guided electronically, following a buried cable, but the technology was abandoned before public service commenced, partly because of safety concerns. The busway is now used by ordinary buses to get passengers to North Greenwich station slightly quicker, but one day will be part of Greenwich Waterfront Transit, and far in the future that could be converted to trams, finally fulfilling the busway's destiny.

Railcard discounts on Oyster PAYG

Another new thing in the fares leaflet is the availability of Railcard discounted fares caps on Oyster PAYG. You'll be able to have your Young Persons, Disabled Persons, HM Forces or Senior Railcard loaded onto your Oyster card (no details how) and from then on the off-peak fares cap for you will be around a third lower than normal (e.g. £3.10 vs £4.80 for Zones 1-2). There doesn't appear to be a discount on peak caps or single journeys.

Oyster PAYG extensions this January

The new fares leaflet is on tube station leaflet racks everywhere, though not yet online. It confirms the new National Rail route sections where Oyster PAYG will be valid from January, though they're not quite as expected:

  • Grays to Upminster and Barking on c2c. This covers all their London stations, with the exception of their few trains to Liverpool Street where Forest Gate and Maryland still aren't covered.
  • West Ruislip to Marylebone on Chiltern, covering all their London stations.
  • Greenford to Ealing Broadway on First Great Western, but not at intermediate stations. This is a surprise, but since both already have PAYG for their tube services, no expenditure was necessary.
  • All intermediate stations between Walthamstow Central/Tottenham Hale/Seven Sisters (i.e. the Victoria Line) and Stratford/Liverpool Street on 'one'. 6 of the 9 added stations are in almost-tubeless LB Hackney. The promised expansion to Chingford hasn't happened.
  • Kentish Town to West Hampstead Thameslink on First Capital Connect. This actually happened last month for the launch of London Overground.
The brochure also confirms that both Southern and London Midland will be accepting Oyster PAYG between Watford Junction and Euston/Clapham Junction.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

The new new tube map

There's another new tube map coming out this January to go with the changes to the Travelcard zones, among other things, and copies of it are leaking out in various places. The London Connections version has appeared on TfL's website. The tube map version can be found in the centrefold of the London Overground timetable book now available at stations (that's a photo of my copy to the right - click to enlarge). Reader Marcel has emailed me photos of the poster tube map that's already up at Langdon Park, which is very similar to the version here, but shows the zones.

Quite a few notable changes:

  • Travelcard zones A-D have been replaced by 7, 8 and 9. See the London Connections map for exactly how this works.
  • The East London Line is replaced by buses, and the extenstion are illustrated on the tube map version. The northern extension is simply "Under construction" (terminating at Highbury and Islington) while the southern extension has a long disclaimer about Oyster Pay As You Go not being valid on current services on the route.
  • On the tube map version, the interchanges at West Hampstead, Heron Quays and Canary Wharf are connected by tiny walking distances (100m, 150m and 200m). They haven't done this anywhere else, like Hammersmith or Bow Church.
  • Shepherd's Bush: On the London Connections map, it's shown as open and a direct interchange with the Central line. In the London Overground version the two stations have separate ticks but only one label, under which it says "Under construction", with no indication the Central line station isn't. Finally, on the version at Langdon Park it's shown as open, with a double interchange blob, one end of which indicates the Overground station is accessible. There are blank rows for the station in the actual Overground timetable, with the footnote "station may open during the currency of this timetable".
  • Waterloo says "International rail services now depart from King's Cross St Pancras"
  • Wood Lane "opens late 2008"
  • Tower Gateway is "closed summer 2008 to spring 2009" for three-car extensions
  • Hampstead Heath, Acton Central and Willesden Junction have had their zones rationalised to increase the number of single zone journeys.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 opens Spring 2008, which means we have another map due then.
I think that's everything. Diamond Geezer has a write up here, and tube buffs discuss the changes here.

Station openings today

This weekend saw the opening of two new London stations, and the closure of another after 134 years.

The last ever train left King's Cross Thameslink last night around 1.15am (several minutes late), and the first ever train to call at St Pancras International arrived on time at 9.13am (earlier trains today called at neither, though did appear on the St Pancras departures board). The interior is a lot like City Thameslink, but with everything twice as big. Meanwhile, King's Cross Thameslink is now plastered with massive red "Do not alight here" signs. I was there for both events, but my photos were eaten by a shonky cheap memory card (don't do it kids), so you'll have to make do with this picture of a random train at St Pancras this afternoon.

Langdon Park DLR also opened this morning. When I passed yesterday afternoon the entrances were sealed off and it was swarming with men in orange jackets fiddling with the paving. But today the fences were gone and trains were stopping there, confusing at least a couple of passengers. As shown in the second picture, they've really gone to town with the footbridge roof. Disappointingly the station still has the standard DLR ticket machines that don't do Oyster.

At Stratford this afternoon, all DLR trains were using the north platform, rather than the south platform as they usually do. I'm not sure if this has been happening for a while or only started today, but at least both are now in use, though apparently not yet at the same time. The new footbridge from the old platform area is still sealed off, but appears complete (that's the rather unpromising Central Line/One end of it in the photo).

Friday, 7 December 2007

The King's Cross St. Pancras nexus - a novelty tube map

Just in time for the closure of King's Cross Thameslink and the opening of the Thameslink platforms at St Pancras this weekend, here is a complete diagram I've made of the whole complex, in the style of the tube map. It attempts to show every public passageway, escalator and entrance, and as far as possible it's geometrically as well as topologically accurate, so in a very approximate way the shape of the interchange blobs matches the shape of each interchange.

There are a few of the more obvious things I left out:

  • None of the changes for the new King's Cross concourse are shown, though the new tube station passageways underneath it are.
  • It shows all of St Pancras as open. The Circle and the coach station are not.
  • Pancras Road continues further north.
  • The public part of the mezzanine level at St Pancras is not shown, but there's very little on it of note.
  • The temporary diversion of the passageway to the Piccadilly Line is not shown.
  • I couldn't be bothered drawing separate lines for GNER/NX East Coast, Hull Trains, Grand Central, etc.
  • It's in Gill Sans, not New Johnston.
Links: PNG | Zipped PDF

Monday, 3 December 2007

TfL Journey Planner: Langdon Park opens 5am Saturday

If the TfL Journey Planner can be trusted, the first DLR train to call at Langdon Park will be at 5:00 am exactly, travelling towards Stratford. Oddly, you can't yet enter Langdon Park as a destination (try the nearby postcode, E14 6PG). If you're feeling hardcore, the only place you can catch this train is All Saints a couple of minutes earlier, as it appears to originate at Poplar depot rather than coming from central London.

Mr diamondgeezer has been in touch again to say there'll be open days held at the station all week. The first is this Saturday 10am-1pm.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Pedestrian projects

A new map has just appeared on the TfL website showing the various improvements they're making to walking around the city. Mostly new pedestrian crossings and so on, but worth a look.

TfL appear to be going ahead with the Walthamstow interchange idea, which will provide an easy walking route between Walthamstow Queens Road (on the Gospel Oak to Barking line) and Walthamstow Central. They're going for the easier option of providing new street entrances at the closest corner of each station, making the route as short as possible, rather than the more expensive idea mentioned on Always Touch Out of providing a subway from Queens Road station to Selbourne Road, which would give the station easy access to the main Walthamstow shopping area, though the walk to Walthamstow Central this way would be longer.

The pedestrianisation of Cowcross Street (outside Farringdon station) is also on the map.

Update: An anonymous commenter points out Waltham Forest's own plans which include the subway scheme: "New walkway under the railway line to link this area with the Town Centre, to be connected to a new high-level platform and station building over the Queens Road station." So both schemes are potentially going to be built, as well as a major upgrade to Queens Road station.