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In the first part of this trip into the Overground’s future, we spent a considerable amount of time in the past (you can find that article here). Doing so may on the surface have seemed counter-intuitive, but it was necessary.

This is because the future of the Overground falls largely into to parts – parts which might possibly be described as the “direct” and the “indirect.” The “direct” is the improvements which need to be made to the existing orbital network. The “indirect” is a more intangible beast – it’s the nature of TfL’s relationship with the existing Franchise system and how its role may develop.

To a certain extent, these two parts overlap. For the sake of clarity, however, it is probably best to try and tackle them in turn. Here in Part 2, therefore, we will looking at what challenges face the existing Overground network and, based on TfL’s HLOS2 response and feedback from various other sources, what plans we may see in place to deal with them.

Minding the Capacity Gap

As early as 2005 – before the Overground had even effectively been born – it had been established that the collection of lines we now know of as the London Overground would face capacity issues even were frequencies to be improved and trains lengthened.

As it stands now this continues to be the case. Although line capacity across the Overground has risen, so has demand – and indeed continues to do so. Rightly, therefore, TfL’s HLOS2 response puts capacity issues at the top of the table in terms of risks for the near future. Put simply, morning peak demand is predicted to grow by 60% to 2031, but committed-to schemes will only see capacity rise by 35% without any further interventions.

When the predicted passenger numbers are communicated visually, it is easy to see the scale of the problem for the Overground. The graphic below shows predicted number of passengers per square metre in 2021, black being the most dense (a Silverlinkesque 4-5 men-per-metre), green the least.

As can be seen it is the WLL and ELL that fare worst, but the NLL has its share of problems as well – especially beyond Willesden.

In light of the above, lengthening trains is, to put it bluntly, pretty much essential and unsurprisingly this sits high on TfL’s list of priorities for the next control period. The 4-car 378s currently used across the WLL, NLL and ELL are all designed to take an additional car, and the current proposal is that they should all be lengthened and, on the WLL and ELL, augmented with extra services – an extra 2tph from Clapham Junction to Shepherds Bush all day operated by Southern on the WLL, and an extra 2tph during the peaks on the ELL.

Lengthening the 378s obviously has knock-on effects, but the signalling work now completed on the NLL at least means it is now possible. Depot improvements will be needed and signal sitings reconsidered, but the major expense lies in platform extension work. A total of 14 stations will need to have platforms extended on the WLL and NLL and 6 stations on the ELL. Sadly SDO will be required at a number of ELL stations, thanks to design issues for which the Victorians can probably be forgiven (notably Wapping and Rotherhithe) but for which the builders of the JLE most certainly can’t (Canada Water).

Precisely which stations will require lengthening or SDO is perhaps better visualised than listed, and the graphic below does exactly that.

Sharp eyes will have have spotted another proposal on that diagram. One which has been advocated by many on both this site and elsewhere before – the Electrification of the GOBLIN.

De-nobblin’ the GOBLIN

GOBLIN Electrification is long overdue. It’s a small scheme that has long sat too low in the priority scale. Its various benefits may all seem small-scale when taken individually and weighed up against other alternatives, but as a package it just reeks of common sense.

In capacity terms, GOBLIN electrification would allow, under TfL’s current proposals, a 4-car electric service on that line. The benefits, however, would extend well beyond that, notably into one other area that TfL have identified as being a major barrier to future expansion of both NLL and GOBLIN – freight.

London currently sees a large volume of rail freight movements. 10% of all rail freight moved through the UK travels via London, with only 3% of that actually intended for London itself (mainly aggregates for construction). Most of that traffic comes from the deep water ports and the Channel tunnel, to which will be added the London Gateway in the not-too-distant future. On top of this, container traffic is increasing, especially in the 9 feet 6 inch tall containers that have been rapidly cementing themselves as the new international standard (they’re more efficient in shipping terms).

Here, its the London and South East RUS that provides us with figures on the likely increase in required daily freight trains for the ports in the coming years – Felixstowe/Bathside Bay is likely to go from 28 trains each way in 2010 to 58 in 2030. Tilbury/London Gateway is predicted to go from 8 trains to a mammoth 50 (reflecting the new DP-World port and logistics centre coming online). Finally, Kent Thamesside is likely to go from 9 paths to 24.

Taken alongside the predicted increase in Channel Tunnel freight trains from 6 to 35, its easy to see why moving freight away from the NLL is so crucial. Freight trains are slow and long. They require signal spacing not optimised for metro services, and they block junctions.

Without heading too heavily into detail (for that, see Mwmbwls previous assessment of the issue here), the GOBLIN links directly to the Tilbury loop via a set of graded under and overpasses built for the earlier 1955 British Railways modernisation scheme that resulted in the electrification of the London Tilbury and Southend Lines. GOBLIN electrification will thus help mitigate the above freight increases as it allows some freight to be diverted away from the NLL.

Between the need to divert freight, therefore, and the need to increase capacity on the line, it appears that the case for de-nobblin’ the GOBLIN may finally have reached the financial tipping point.

A Question of Stations

Beyond issues of train-lengthening and paths, there are few major plans explicitly highlighted for the existing Orbital in TfL’s HLOS2 response or elsewhere. Several station upgrades are, however, currently recommended in order to mitigate foreseen congestion – notably at Barking and Clapham Junction. Similarly, TfL’s HLOS2 response recommends the restoration of the link between Hackney Downs and Hackney Central station.

Beyond this, the Orbital projects we are likely to see in the near future move beyond those that are currently recommended and into those which are currently merely suggested or unfunded. Reopening the Crystal Palace ticket hall falls into this category and sources suggest that the restoration of the old Hackney Central ticket hall now does as well – although that is a project which currently falls very much into the area of “funds and logistics allowing.” Finally, moving the 378 current transition point to Shepherd’s Bush and adding a turnback facility is another project that features on the “possibility” list.

Outside of TfL, the success of the Overground will likely see more calls for the reinstatement of old stations resurface. Primrose Hill disappeared almost completely at track level at the end of 2008, but rumblings in the local community about reopening it have begun to gain traction once again. It would be no surprise if questions over its viability began to surface in Mayor’s Question Time and beyond in the coming years – particularly if a shift in Freight away from the NLL occurred. Similarly on the WLL, sources suggest that some elements of Kensington and Chelsea Council may push for the case for the old station at St Quintin Park & Wormwood Scrubs to be reopened. Reopening old stations (or adding brand new ones) seems unlikely, given the capacity issues above, but TfL have stressed that such proposals will not be dismissed out of hand – with the right champion and the right finance, it is not entirely outside the realms of possibility that we will see further new stations on the Overground in the coming years.

In conclusion, therefore, it is clear that in “direct” terms the Overground’s journey is far from complete. Its rolling stock is better, its infrastructure much improved. There are still, however, significant challenges yet to come – most notably around capacity. It is on these that TfL now appears to be focused. Indeed if the level of service that Overground passengers have now become used to is to be even simply maintained, capacity improvements are not merely optional, they are in fact compulsory.

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There are 39 comments on this article
  1. Bob says:

    Interestingly the HLOS2 document shows the expected crowding AFTER the proposed improvements, and the WLL and SLL will still be very crowded.

    On the WLL presumably the infrastructure simply can't take the number of trains that are needed given that freight also has to be accommodated.

    However, is there any reason the SLL/ELL to Clapham Junction could not have more than 4tph if it is expected to be so busy?

  2. Chris says:

    The first graphic seems to suggest that the overground will be extended to Twickenham by 2021. Have I missed that announcement? It would be really welcome – by me at least.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don't get this idea that electrification of the Goblin will enable freight to be diverted – 90% of freight trains seem to be diesel hauled, and they can already use the Goblin.

    Twickenham is surely on the map because it is intended to show overcrowding by route, it isn't intended to show future LO takeovers. ISTM that to consider LO as a panacea is naive – the lines from Twickenham are running at capacity anyway, with platform lengthening for ten cars happening now – what major improvement could LO make?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Freight benefits of the GOB are a red herring. Almost every train from the Tilbury line does (and post London Gateway still will) go via the GOB already. And all it does is move the frieght to a different part of the NLL.

  5. Chris says:

    The improvement I would notice in having the LO terminate at Twickenham is saving 5 to 10 minutes by not having to change at Richmond. Sitting around at Richmond waiting for trains seems to be a significant part of most journeys I make.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Excellent summary of the TfL docuemetn, John.

  7. John Bull says:

    @Chris – as Anonymous says, Twickenham is there because TfL's response doesn't JUST cover the Overground Orbital services.

    This ties into the second future area – moving beyond the theoretical that moves beyond the orbital.

    More on that in the final part to this series, which I'm tidying up now.

    @Anonymi – with regards to freight, I'll happily hold my hands up and admit that it's probably my weakest area of knowledge. With that in mind, if there's a consensus that I've misread (or overemphasised) its impact here then if people agree on a better summary of the situation and options I'll happily amend the article.

  8. Greg Tingey says:

    Freight on the GOBLIN needn't go onto the WLL.
    There is, after all the link from Junction Road down towards Carlton Road Jn and thus onto the Midland.
    It's like electrifying the OTHER connecting links across the NLL and extensions to electrified main lines, around Acton Wells for instance

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is it not the case that a lot of the freight coming onto the east end of the NLL goes via Primrose Hill and up the Watford DC? If that is the case then electrifying GOBLIN would allow Barking trains onto the NLL to increase frequency to Richmond and Clapham Junction? Or is that totally wrong?

    Also, if it is possible to get more SLL services, maybe they can miss out CJ and head straight up to the new turnback at SB? Helping the congestion on both and overlapping the orbital a bit.

  10. John Bull says:

    Is it not the case that a lot of the freight coming onto the east end of the NLL goes via Primrose Hill and up the Watford DC? If that is the case then electrifying GOBLIN would allow Barking trains onto the NLL to increase frequency to Richmond and Clapham Junction?

    Interestingly, I found that running services from Barking to Clapham Junction actually popped up as early as 2004 in the plans for what TfL wanted to do with the Overground.

  11. mr_jrt says:

    …as discussed in other places, I'm surprised the HLOS2 document suggests the turnback at Shepard's Bush. Yes, It's the busiest section of the line, but the far more logical location for a turnback would be at Willesden Junction (with all it's interchange opportunities), and the difference in overcrowding between Willesden junction and Shepard's Bush is just that – a marginal difference in overcrowding, not spare capacity.

    …and I keep on at it, but the WLL needs more lines.

    Willesden Junction to north of Shepard's Bush is wide enough for 4 tracks. Close the northbound lanes on the West Cross Route (seriously, what's the point of a short motorway that ends on a roundabout with narrow roads leading off in all directions?) and either narrow the remaining road to a normal dual carriageway or rebuild the road with an additional pair of rail lines underneath a rebuilt northbound set of lanes. That gets you to Olympia, and the Earl's Court redevelopment gives the opportunity to widen down through West Brompton. Things get somewhat tight from there down through Imperial Wharf, but Willesden-West Brompton should suffice for the majority of the additional capacity required.

  12. Cobarn says:

    They should really alter the electrification a bit around the Shepherd's Bush area. I seems daft that trains have to stop around where the [far distant future] wormwood scrubs station would be, just to change from overhead to 3rd rail and vice versa. wouldn't it be better to change at a station, like at acton central. maybe im wrong but this might add an extra train path along the way.

  13. Chris says:

    Is there any news on Crystal Palace? Is the new roof still going ahead, along with the lift to the central platform and the refurbishment of the Booking Hall?

  14. Anonymous says:

    What is simple needed is a new freight only line from Essex/Kent north of London (ie outside the m25) connecting with MML and WCML but that is going to cost $$$$$$$$ and is never going to happen…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why is my station Queens Road Peckham not on your maps? :)

  16. Rich says:

    Can HS2 be squeezed into the equation somehow? If OOC is going to have a station, instead of (or perhaps, as well as) the proposed Wormwood Scrubbs, why not built a link through to the new OOC. Pretty sure there is enough existing railway/derelict land to allow a curve from SLL/WLL through. So instread of shorts to Shepherd's Bush plus a silly stop for traction change, extend the Shep-CJ/ECroy/Gat Airport shorts through to OOC, and send some (2ph?) SLL through to OOC as well, avoiding Clap Jn.

    Though admittedly probably expensive, That gives a raft of new links from SB/Westfield (to SLL) and lots of connections to HS2/Crossrail at OOC to Clapham Junction plus Sth/West London.

    It won't happen, I know, but still…

    (I also like a similar if vague idea i have heard mooted, but along the same lines, of 4 tracking the WLL and extending the Olympia district branch through Shepherd's Bush to OOC, though that doesn't really help Overground)

  17. timbeau says:

    Interesting to see tbnat they project no peak hour standing passengers on the Kingston loop by 2021 – there are plenty on most trains at present, so where are they expected to go to?

  18. Anonymous says:

    The reason all freight from Tilbury is diesel operated is due almost soley to the un-electrified GOBLIN route. The NR electrification RUS also bought up the need to electrify it as it would allow the majority of freight trains to be electric traction & reduce the number "running under the wires" to improve speed/acceleration/costs etc. It's therefore no surprise TFL agree & note it fits in with their expansion plans, pity about the nice new diesel trains they've leased but I'm sure they can be cascaded somewhere useful.

    As for a new freight only route, those who have followed the central railway proposal will be aware of the likelihood of that occurring. The only other option would be a routing trains up to Upminster via chafford hundred over a new fly over to the Romford route but you'd still have problems there with a woeful line, need for a new curve & GE mainline capacity constraints to go before getting to the Felixstowe-Nuneaton/east-west rail freight route.

  19. timbeau says:

    Twickenham – the map does indeed appear to show two separate routes between Twickenham and Richmond (in different colours). Either the station should be labelled "Richmond" (where the NLL and SWT actually meet), or the two parallel lines in yellow and in green should be one red line – unless there are plans for a new line extending from the terminal platforms at Richmond through the town centre and the Old Deer Park, across the river on a new bridge, and through the heavily built up areas of St Margarets and East Twickenham. The chances of that even getting through the planning stage by 2021 are slim.

  20. mr_jrt says:

    What is simple needed is a new freight only line from Essex/Kent north of London (ie outside the m25) connecting with MML and WCML

    My suggestion comes in several sections, but by far the easiest is a new diveunder at Watford Junction, and a reinstated line between St Albans and Hatfield. That links the Met main line (and HS2 at Calvert), the WCML, the MML, and the ECML, and additionally with a short chord, the proposed freight depot at Radlett (itself with excellent M25 connections). Hatfield to Hertford is also quite easy, and that would give you both the loop line and the WAML at Broxbourne.

    A diveunder at Upminster would happily get the freight between Grays and Romford, but it'd still unfortunately be running along the GEML between Romford and Stratford where it could take the new WAML lines up to Broxbourne.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Reinstate the earth-bonded fourth rail north of Harrow & Wealdstone and then transfer the C77 stock from the Circle/District/H&C lines to the Watford DC lines.

    A release of rolling stock for elsewhere across the Overground, without funding more vehicles.

    For that matter, why scrap the D78 stock ? Introduce a 4th rail and move the lot of Merseyrail – as a discrete network, that wouldn't be too difficult. Instantly, a whole load more rolling stock then becomes available for elsewhere.

    In these times of lack of cash, a bit of creativity could help solve the capacity problems.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Why can't there be 6-car trains on the NLL and WLL? I thought they were going to join two 3-car trains together – instead of having to add a new carriage to each one…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Looking at the Grays to Romford via Upminster freight route there would be infrastructure requirements; double tracking both single track sections, Upminster grade separation however at Romford a new chord/grade separation heading east would allow some or all of the Tilbury freight to bypass london to go via Network Rail's Felixstowe-Nuneaton rail upgrade, an outer orbirail I suppose. That would allow the increase in frequencies required. Whilst the freight upgrade I imagine is outside the remit of this blog it does have knock on effects to london freight routing.

    The inner suburban GEML & NLL would become free from the Felixstowe traffic which currently uses it freeing up paths & the above Tilbury suggestion again frees up the busiest C2C section (as per passenger density diagram in the HLOS2 document), paths on the GOBLIN/NLL & GEML/NLL routings.

    Whilst it puts increased pressure on the east bound GEML traffic there would be slots freed up by Felixstowe traffic no longer having to return to the port via central london (once upgrade opens) & would interfere mostly with the evening rush hour traffic leaving london which is less capacity constraining than the morning peak due to spreading of passengers finishing work.

    Whether or not the freight upgrade would be capable of handling that amount of traffic remains to be seen but it could certainly have a helpful effect on overground capacity.

  24. mr_jrt says:

    …I just remembered an addendum to my above post – a new curve from the GEML up to the Goblin (incidentally a good idea on its own), restricting the GEML section to being Romford to midway between Manor Park and Forest Gate.

    That lets the freight get onto the WAML via South Tottenham. You could get onto the WAML proper with a big 'ol curve from the Goblin bypassing Tottenham Hale.

    …and as for the 6 cars…I don't know why they didn't build it to handle Met line-style 8 car trains.

  25. Fandroid says:

    John- I think the freight issue on the GOBLIN is a red herring within the current circumstances. I don't know what the proposals are for Thameshaven in terms of rail connections, but the biggest source currently is Felixstowe. That sits on the end of a non-electrified branch. They are putting in a lot of rail investment there – redoubling the track and building a new curve to take trains directly towards Nuneaton, so avoiding London altogether, but not electrifying the branch as far as I am aware.

    Also, I don't think that one of the main intermodal (container) freight operators – Freightliner – has any electric locos. And, it has just invested in bigger diesels.

    Lastly the Goblin route has had a lot of investment recently to strengthen it for more freight. As others have said, I think that capacity is already well on the way to being used up. TfL want the route electrified for sensible reasons – to reduce operating and maintenance costs, to give better performance and reliability, and to give greater operational flexibility, such as allowing greater use of all those electric units they now own!

  26. Greg Tingey says:

    Freight route ROUND London?

    Oh do come on!

    Alternative [1] – the cheap one.
    Third-side @ Redhill, electrify Redhill-Reading gaps + Oxford – Brum.
    [2] New N & E facing curves @ flovers, then re-open Braintree – Stansted, electified, for freight.
    [3] As above, but re-open March-Spalding, and continue using diesel traction.

  27. lemmo says:

    As bob noted above, it's clear that capacity problems will still exist even after the improvements recommended by TfL. The diagrams p42-43 of their HLOS2 response make this clear. So, what's the long-term strategy, and who is responsible for it?

    I'd venture that TfL now needs to ensure the planning framework exists to safeguard alignments, and and start pitching for major investment in the orbitals, and in new freight routes outside London. The WLL will need to be 4-track as far as possible, with provision for passing loops at stations and grade-separated junctions. The NLL should become largely passenger, with the pinch-point junction west of Camden Road 4-tracked. And the SLL should be reconfigured with the existing SLL around Brixton becoming fast or freight, with new 4-track and grade-separated junctions west of Brixton.

    And TfL needs to develop it's thinking over HS2 and look at how proposals like the Old Oak Common interchange have broader merit.

    I'd love to see a future TfL document that integrates these proposals for the Network Rail lines with future extensions to LUL lines. In particular, what LUL extensions are required to support TfL's 'strategic interchange' concept (p32)?

  28. Anonymous says:

    The reference to a Shepherds Bush turnback siding is odd, because such a siding was recently provided in the former exit road from North Pole depot, and it is already used by the SN peak extras.

    The advantage for SN of only running to Shepherds Bush is that they can diagram their normal DC 455s or 377s on the route.

  29. Mwmbwls says:

    For me the weak link in the chain is Clapham Junction. I remain unconvinced that the need to change from the ELX phase 2 trains to the WLL by along platform interchange is a good idea. I believe that in addition to increasing the frequency of trains from Croydon over the WLL that trains should also run from Bellingham to Willesden Junction. The overlay of services in a braided loop around London is the secret strength of the Outer Circle concept.The presence of intermediate turn round points also creates systemic resilience in the case of service disruption.

    As far as freight on the GOBLIN is concerned I believe that the new generation of electric locomotives, such as TRAXX, with last mile or wire free shunting capability will be a game changer in removing the need for engine changes for dock side shunting.
    Faster and longer freight trains will integrate more easily into busy main lines north and west of London and that faster transit times will be decisive in promoting rail as opposed to road use. The potential for road congestion particularly in those areas of London closest to the Gateway is problem that has not been given the attention it deserves.

    I also feel electrifying the GOBLIN will enable passenger services to be projected beyond Barking into the the World Port area whose hinterland support facilities adjacent to the docks are going to be one of the region's largest single new employment sites. For TfL the issue with there is the question of crossing boundaries into Thurrock but given the choice between artificial constraints formed by historic political boundaries and the agglomoration economic effects of the real world I favour addressing the latter.

  30. Chris says:

    Freightliner DOES have a fleet of electric loco's – probably the largest of any freight operator. A number of its Intermodal trains from Felixstowe (loco change at Ipswich) use either pair's of 86's or 90's down to the NLL and up the WCML.

    Regarding why the NLL/WLL cant have 6-car trains – the platforms arent long enough. 5-car trains are much more achievable. They were never going to run in 3-car pairs as far as im aware.

  31. mr_jrt says:

    re: 6 car trains…I think the point was that the 313s used to run in 6 car formations originally, and of course, much longer trains used to run down to Broad St originally.

    This is a helpful post. All platforms on the DC lines can take 6 car trains, and a few can take more: e.g. Bushey P2 can take 7 cars, H&W P2 can take 9 cars, QP P1 can take 7 cars, KHR P1 can take 8 cars, P2 can take 7 cars, and Euston can take 9 cars.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The facts on freight to/from the Tilbury line are…

    There are roughly 85 freight trains in the timetable, approximately on third of which actually run on any given day.

    About 2/3 of the traffic that does run is aggregates and other general freight trains to a variety of terminals including the Somerset & Midland quarries. All involve a majority of their journey on non-electrified line (excluding the GOB).

    The other third is intermodal traffic Tilbury to/from ECML, WCML, Lawley St, Felixstowe, Bristol and a couple of other destinations. Of these, only the WCML services (12 per day) can be routed via the GOB *and* would benefit from electric haulage. Eight already run electric via Stratford overnight when there is capacity. The rest run diesel via the GOB in the day.

    So as it stands electrification would benefit about 4 freight trains a day. Hardly a compelling case for electrification.

    With the opening of London Gateway, the equation would change *if* the Thameshaven Branch was also electrified, but even then only for traffic to the electrified WCML terminals at Daventry, Crewe, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Freight trains to Bristol would also benefit from GOBLIN electrification, when the GW has been electrified.

  34. Anonymous says:

    for those of you who want a suprise look at the tottenham – seven sister chord on google ariel maps ! zoom in a lot !

  35. Dave Hodgkinson says:

    Surely (re-)opening something at the Chalk Farm end of things is a no-brainer? Especially given the overcrowding at Camden Town tube. It would also nicely alter the centre of gravity of the market. There's some good stuff up the top end now!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Agreed that something in the Chalk Farm zone is essential, but it needs to be done properly, i.e. subsurface interchange with the Northern Line and a decent exit towards Primrose Hill. Hence it will not come cheap (and is presumably only possible if an electric GOBLIN reduces the day-time freight volumes through Camden Road junction).

  37. jp says:

    I always thought that the NLL was built as six car perhaps it was 5 + loco. I think that Dalston Kingsland being extended to 5 car is going to be close to its limit with the ELL to Highbury. They should have bitten the bullet and re sited the station to the other side of the Kingsland Road when they extended to 4 car. The station was inadaquate for handling 3 Car trains let alone 5 Car (3 + 1 disabled gates from memory) and they could have saved the cost of rebuilding the bridge over boleyn road. Just typical of railway planning no eye to the future.

    Regards using Met 8 Car I believe the S Stock 7 car is equivalent to 6 standard cars therefore the 8 car must be some odd length which means National rail probably don't want it on there network even if it would fit. Overground would't want the 7 car because its more maintenance than a Six car train.

    Regards a segregated Freight line across London. Stratford to Watford would have cost a pittance if the ELL northern extension had been built with that in mind however now you are right billions plus still doesn't answer how you get to stratford.

    Regard Goblin electrification The whole British Rail Network is probably going to have to be electrified in the next 30 years, due to fuel avaliabity/costs by 2040. It's the only passenger line in London which isn't electrified (Chilten Line does not serve London in a way Met Doesn't). It would be a good place to start.

  38. therealdrhyde says:

    If you want a turnback somewhere near Shepherds Bush, then Olympia is the place, as there's already a bit of mostly-unused track there! Extend the overhead wires to there, and leave the third rail in place as far north as Shepherds Bush, so that Southern can use their stock between Shepherds Bush and Points South.

  39. Anonymous says:

    @mr_jrt

    A re-instated St Albans to Hatfield line would be unlikely (much as I too would like to see it), as the curve and cutting that used to carry the branch line (just north of Hatfield station) now contains a large block of residential flats known as York House.
    From a purely practical point of view, even if a chord was built so trains could run St Albans – Welwyn Garden city, an onward link to Hertford would require crossing the four-track ECML / inner suburban GN lines, a massively costly project that would not see the light of day. Sorry to pour cold water on your ideas.

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